Sunday, December 24, 2006


A thousand coffeehouses spread over a thousand cities on the same rainy night. What makes yours stand out? What makes this one so very different? It might be the atmosphere. But then, you could claim that anywhere else, too. The yellow light, shining from the front window into the rain and twilight darkness? Perhaps. It goes deeper than that, though. Allow me to explain, if you will.

Sit back, relax. Have a Sugar? Cream? Sure, you could go for a fancy, seven ingredient concoction. But is that really what you want? Settle for a cup of something simpler. Look around you. It's a haven. The people here, they're disparate. That man, in the scruffy gray sweater? Just this side of unemployed, but he comes in every Thursday for a cup of tea. The tea's not quite as excellent, by the way. Look how he sips, savoring the warmth from the cup circulating through his body. The elbows on his sweater worn, but the garment is clean. The couple, right in that armchair. They're in college, met each other here a few weeks ago. See how she glances up at him as he speaks? I can tell that she's in love. He'll notice it soon as well.


Sunday, October 01, 2006


He wondered what love was. Was it rainy afternoons in sleepy little cafes, sipping chai and holding thoughtful conversations? Or was it untold faith and belief in the person you were with at the time? A willingness to do anything to make your loved one happy?

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Black Flags, Flowing Rum

She was imposing, in a way. Wouldn't have control of the crew otherwise... though it's mainly that they respect her and would do anything for her. Flowing white shirt, purples breeches, tall boots. What piratess doesn't have tall boots? Flintlock at her belt alongside a cutlass, and a maroon bandana to hold back her hair. Peace sign on a silver chain peeking out from her shirt. How odd, that. Perhaps a trinket from an earlier life, or maybe our dear Dread Piratess just likes peace symbols. Then again, none of the crew had ever seen her directly harm someone, when giving it further thought.
This fine day she was in high spirits. The letter had been dispatched, more chai and rum were on their way, and Faerie was hers for the taking. The Stardust had been pulled up on shore for scraping, an odious task that straws were pulled for, dice were thrown, and the occasional fist met the occasional nose. A pier was under construction as well; a shoddy affair, ready to tumble into the sea at a moment's notice, but the lads were giving it their best. Gathering crews were out o pull coconuts, bananas, and whatever lemons they could find, and a third foray into Faerie was planned for later that afternoon.
The captain found herself with nothing to do, thanks to careful planning and organization, and so she locked herself away in her cabin and penned a further report.

Dear Admiral,

I shall now go into further detail on the previous expedition into Faerie, as I'm sure you're quite excited to hear about it. Aren't you? I thought so. But yes, I took a gang of fifteen with me, the most vicious on the crew that I knew about. Vicious enough to fight a shark in it's own territory! Hah! Some of these lads are terrors, Sir. I've seen them in knife fights. Why, Seemus once had part of an ear sliced off, and still stuck the limey he was dueling! Simply wonderful.
We headed past the boundary at roughly noon, armed with our customary weaponry. Flintlock, cutlass, club, that sort of thing. The lads were a bit unsettled by the change in weather, not to mention the terrain being completely different within the span of three feet, from sand and palms to dirt and scrub.

...Beg pardon, but there's some disturbance up abovedecks that seems to need my utmost attention. >_< Shall continue this letter in but a moment, Sir.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Somewhere in the Tropics...

Lord Admiral,

As you may know, we have recently established a beachhead on the island. Recently being several months ago, actually, or will have been several months by the time you receive this missive, if indeed the couriers are still as slow as they were when I first took the post of Captain, back in '73... then again, those were the days when a privateer didn't necessarily need letters of marque, he(she, in my case, haha) simply plundered and pillaged. Ah, how the rum and eggnog flowed in those days! I remember them all fondly. 'T wasn't such a long time ago, now was it, Sir? You and I both, full of ideals and rampant disregard for the King's laws. Then again, we're subject to those laws now, eh? You old scurvy dog, you. But I ramble, forgive me. Paper isn't so bountiful that I can waste space on memories, isn't that right. Though I suppose we could always attempt to press more out of those palm leaves... shall have the crew look into it.

But yes! The island. We found the boundary you spoke of, and have undertaken several expeditions into the ...Faerie, I suppose you'd call it. The place where the natural state of the island meets Faerie is odd, to say the least. It's as if the island simply ends, and Faerie begins, with no sensible markers or anything to indicate a break. You walk down an animal path, looking ahead to the coconut groves, and then find yourself in Faerie, where the land is much like that of the Highlands back home, flattening into moors and hilly plains after about two dayss travel. Tis quite a shock, to trod from tropical heat to that sort of autumnal cool. The meeting-place line extends quite a ways, perhaps half a mile or so, and we've taken steps to mark it with little flags, so as not to get a sudden surprise upon our morning patrol. Everything goes rather well; only minor casualties so far. Lost a couple of men to a rock troll. Terrible, really. Wandering the gully one moment, down the troll's gullet the next. Rest of us just ran; what where we to do against the likes of that? Have marked the gully as well, with careful notation to the rest of the lads to avoid it. I say that everything goes well, but that would be a lie... our rum has gone, and the lads were upset about that, but I calmed them with promises of faerie gold and trinkets. And that worked, but well, there's a problem you see. The chai has run out. And this the lads don't take nearly so well. So please Sir, if you could find it in your best interest to send more chai via an expedient source, then myself and the rest of the lads would be quite grateful to you and the rest of the Navy. More eggnog, too. And some bagels, perhaps? I shall continue to do the best to research the nature of (F)faerie and send updated reports on a reg'lar basis.

In yer service,

Dread Piratess

Friday, July 21, 2006

All The Things She Said

She arrived wearing a long black skirt, semi-gothic in its details, flowing like a shadow at twilight. A semi-formal white shirt, top button undone to show the hollow of her throat, the silver chain with her peace symbol resting there, just at the button. Hair up in chopsticks, still damp... her glasses the purple frames that I liked so much. A grin greeted me when I opened the door for her, followed by a tight hug into my arms and a kiss like peppermint and honey. My tongue briefly touched hers before we broke apart, my hands in hers as I returned her smile. It had been too long since we'd last seen each other, and I wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of the day with her in my arms. Alas, I had a previous engagement, as it were.

"Hi love, you look beautiful as always. And you dressed appropriately for what we're doing today..." I grinned and lightly bit her neck, wrapping my arms around her waist.

"Oh, and what would that be, my darling?" She gave a soft laugh and ran her fingers through my hair.

"Research at the library. And you, my dear darling librarian, very much look the part of the intrepid researcher, poring over old tomes in search of forbidden knowledge. The only thing missing," I said as I traced my forefinger along the edge of her ear, "is a pencil right here."

"Hmm, well I'm sure we can fix that..." She smiled and kissed me again, more deeply this time, pulling her nails down my back in long strokes as I growled deep in my throat and pulled her tighter to me. Somehow we found our way to my room and managed to close the door before I pinned her against that corner and showered her with kisses burning with passion. She gasped as I bit her neck once more, and wrapped her leg around mine as I pushed against her. Her body tensed as she pressed back, tongues meeting again as I tasted her need for me and met it with equal intensity.

"It's all about us, all about us,
it's all about us, all about us,
We'll run away if we must,
cause you knooooow... it's all about us.
It's all about us, it's all about us.
In you I can trust..."

I slid my hand down over her thigh, turned smoothly to let her pin me, her hands on my shoulders and her eyes staring deep into mine, her smile sensuous enough to make me shiver over my entire body. She paused briefly, then surprised me with a quick kiss and a bite on my lip that again made me gasp. I loved that we were of equal enough height to kiss without trouble, and moaned softly with eyes closed at the memory of our first kiss, there on the rock. She must have sensed what I was thinking, because she smiled and whispered "Je t'adore" in my ear as I held her, content as I always was in her presence. "I love you too, dear one."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Memories Uncounted

I've been living so long with these pictures of you...

-The Cure, Pictures of You

The beach was empty and the wind cold, the air filled with seamist and the roaring of the surf. Gray skies overlooked the sands and the lone figure leaving a fading line of footsteps at the edge of the tidemark. Thunder rumbled, but he paid no mind to the ominous rumble. He felt her there, at the edge of consciousness, a phantom ache in the corners of his mind. She'd been gone too long, and longing was a not word not strong enough to describe his feelings. His hands pushed deeper into the pockets of his coat, and he wandered on. It grew colder, and the footsteps no longer carried a straight line, but the man did not notice. He simply walked on, determined to find her, a lost puzzle piece.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Ethereal Journey, Memory

The forest continues, unabated, for as long as the eye can see. The trees stretch skyward, leafless and gray on this overcast fall day, and the farther trunks obscure sightlines. The man walks on, accompanied by the ravens, who periodically take flight to perch on lone branches, far ahead. He turns and twists the dull black knife in his hand, and distance becomes meaningless as his mind moves inward.

Memory: It is raining, a cold rain that soaks quickly into the skin, hard drops coming in multitudes from low thunderclouds. They step outside, and she presses against him, her mouth finding his in a kiss filled with passion, and he embraces her, bodies tight together. Tongues meet, and she runs her hands through his hair as he caresses the back of her neck, one arm wrapped around her waist. She whispers "Pin me" in a low whisper, filled with urgency, and he complies, one hand sliding over her thigh, her leg wrapped around his, the kiss breaking only to draw breath.

Later he recalls further kisses, embraces.. conversation held hand-in-hand. As he dreams that waking dream, he sees that the raven called Memory has become sharper, more detailed, more substantial. The real world paled in comparison, shadowed and dark against that black-feathered avian, and he in turn looked into the man and quorked, in a voice of thunder and ice-furied blizzards, power of centuries behind the words "This is the power of Memory..."

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Matters of the Heart

He looked at the raven, perched on its branch in the leafless tree. It looked back, and quorked at him. Beneath, behind, woven into the quork he heard the question. "What will you do now?" The man adjusted his coat, ran a hand through his hair. The hand slid into his pocket. "Wait. And be there. I am hers, as she is mine. Our threads have interwoven, and I will be there for her when she needs me. Because right now, that is all I can try to do. That, and love her." He glanced down, deep in thought. A second raven joined the first. Claws scraped bark as the bird secured his perch. The two examined the man, and he, only partially startled, examined back.

The birds were large for their kind, and their eyes shone with an old intelligence. A hint of having seen too much in too many places. The first to speak ruffled his feathers with a slight shrug, the movement expressing distaste with the world. The newcomer preened for a moment. Another quork. "It is a long time to wait. The time will pass slowly." The man gave a small grimace. "I know that. But I will wait, as she will wait for me. We are together now, and this will not change." A pocketknife appeared in his hand, dull black, and twisted and turned in his fingers. He appeared not to notice.

With a screech the larger of the ravens flew from the branch and dove for the man's face. Its claws scratched bloody lines, almost taking the man's eye, but he reacted with surprising speed, and a small rain of feathers graced the frosted earth. The bird landed on, gripped the man's shoulder. "Good memory. I will be your reportory of knowledge long forgot in these modern times. You will need my help, Child of Man. And I may have need of yours."

"You and she will find one another again, there where the sea meets the horizon. You have told her so. We shall make it so. A journey lies ahead, as much of time as distance. Let us guide you, as once we were guided by Wodan in his search for wisdom. Love is not an easy thing to find, nor an easy one to lose. Yours has been found, and now needs safeguarding."
No longer restricted by clumsy quorks, the two ravens claimed a shoulder each, silent now that their advice had been given. The man gave each a look and then, resigned, began walking. The direction didn't matter; it was all featureless forest anyway, apart from the tiny path he now followed. He would get to his destination eventually, and be reunited with her in his arms. He smiled, and thought of her... and the journey seemed lighter.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Mal made anothert tour of the home, checking on various cases as he made his rounds. Checked off that each resident received his evening medicine, stopped in a few rooms to chat for a minute or two about the day, the weather, how this season's sports teams were doing. Mrs. M still hadn't shown up by the time he slotted his time card and signed out for the evening. He wrote a quick report, left it with the front desk for the night shift.

The afternoon and early evening sun gave way in the south to a bank of thunderclouds, dark and menacing on the horizon. Rain before the night was out, he was sure. Even as he watched, lighting flickered through the storm and a cold wind picked up. Reached up to adjust his glasses and checked the his messenger bag was closed all the way.

The first drops were just beginning to fall as he unlocked his apartment, the crescent moon of previous nights now hidden for the duration of the storm. The place wasn't in the best part of town, but at least management kept things tidy, and the rent was cheap. Mal never saw his roommate. A few years older than he was, the man made an art form of entering and leaving with minimal noise. Paid his rent on time, and kept his portion of the kitchen tidy. No reason to complain. Mal threw together a quick sandwich, checked his email as he ate. Nothing new. An hour later he was in bed, fast asleep.

Mrs. M wandered in the next morning, looking slightly confused and partially dazed. Her pupils were dilated, and she made repeated mention of “that nice man at the cozy house.” After a checkup by the resident doctor she was given a sleeping pill and led back to her room with orders not to leave the premises unaccompanied.

Bobby was in charge of the front desk. Jittery, his cracked Garfield mug close to hand. The desk a scattered mass of papers, pens, inkwell – where did he get inkwells from, and whatever for? - random office paraphernalia that always seemed to accumulate around him no matter where he went.

“Hiya Mal. Might wanna be careful... Abrahams is up in arms over the whole Mrs. M debacle, and looking to tear somebody a new asshole. Coffee?”

“Thank you, no. Which cup are you on? Never mind, it doesn't matter. Did she ever show up?”

“Like a lost kitty comin' home. They tranq'd her and locked her in her room. She's out like a light, shouldn't be up again til tonight. Supposed to have an hourly check anyways though, and since you're the first one here, hey look! You get to look in on her.” Manic grin as he took a swallow of coffee.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Mal wandered the halls, mind wandering as he passed the large windows, shafts of late afternoon sunlight lighting his face in random bursts. It was strangely quiet for a Sunday afternoon. Most of the residents were in their rooms, asleep or doing whatever it was that they did when left alone. He came across few visitors, eyed them warily with trepidation and tried to look busy. His white coat was wrinkled and creased; no chance to iron it the past few days. A strain of piano-laced cabaret music fled down the hall ahead of him from Mr. Poransi's room. He paused, his tiny food cart wobbling to a stop ahead of him. Burst of too-loud laughter from the entertainment room. Must have been watching the Oldies channel.

The walkie-talkie at his waist crackled, and he jumped, startled.

"Mal, did you sign out Mrs. M? She's not on the premises, and wasn't supposed to be out today." Evie at the front desk. Worrier, too organized, anal-retentive. Good attention to detail. Too much stress. Snuck pills from storage on the late shift.

"No I did not. I haven't seen her today either, maybe she went for tea again? Ask Carl, he may know. Will call if I see her." Sighed and glanced at his watch. Another hour to go. The retirement home was quiet, a rambling old estate surrounded by a few acres of park. Family was always welcome to visit, but so few really did that there was little point in setting official visitng hours. He felt sorry for the residents, who had little in the way of entertainment and less in love and support. The staff was stretched thin these days, a blessing in disguise for him since it let him grab extra hours to pay for expenses. He ran a hand through his brown hair and set off to find the wayward Mrs. M.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Dark Places

He stepped, and found himself on the hillside. It sloped down, down to the crashing surf, harsh waves breaking against the rocky beach. It was less than twilight, in that the storm blackened the sky to ink, yet there was light to see. To his right the land curved gently around the bay, dunes stretching away into the dark. Leftwards led toward the mountains, and the factory. Lights winked even at this hour. Behind him was the forest. Its branches offered a small respite from the light drizzle, but he hadn't entered that shelter in a long time. The wind keened off the beach and up the hill, cutting through his t-shirt and jeans, the grass rustling with its own low noise, at once soothing and sibilant. Raindrops marked his gray shirt, and he stood to watch the lightning play in the distance, across the sea. His bare feet found a patch of sand, and his toes dug into the still-warm sand. Something troubled him, a feeling hard to put words to, even for him. And that in itself was cause for worry. He'd go down the dark spiral again, and the cycle of sleep and dream would begin all over. A frown creased his face as he considered. Thoughts fluttered in his mind, but none stayed to offer comfort. Nothing would help, could help. Well. There was one thing, he thought. But the chances were too remote to offer the hope he wanted, needed. And so he quietly gave up on that memory.. thought.. wish.