"In the Back Room" by S.J. Saighead
In the back room, where the smoke hugs the ceiling and away from eyes of those unfeeling. Fighting for each other, aggressively running fingers through hair, down grabbing and hoping like drowning men in a sordid act of indiscreet passion. The floor is never washed or swept, but the clientele ensure their space is well kept.
"Outlandish" by M.A.A. *please view in landscape mode if on mobile*
Senseful, unforgiving, wasteful,
residing in the caves underneath,
a little mistake, wakes up in rage,
on the other side of the web,
it shows its teeth, the look stuck in-between anger and hope, yet striving for nought,
this is an unforgiving age, finally more things to be sought,
hieroglyphic, lost, grateful, and all those things after the drought,
on the other side of the web, the grimace is embedded in love,
then it shows its teeth, the look stuck in-between anger and hope, yet striving for nought,
hymn after hymn, after every long chord of instrumental will, it’s always calling for some,
calling for songs to be sung back to its chambers, admittedly annoying, but always fun,
thousand names taken while only labels given,
hereby we only have wastes and they are shown through a mirror,
formations reaching up, down, just to show all is forgiven,
senseful, unforgiving, wasteful, still hieroglyphic, grateful, all those things after the drought,
on the other side of the web, it’s the sum of the things taken, yet its grimace is embedded in love,
it shows its teeth, while one grins in jest, now together in amazement, a suspenseful standoff,
it dances backwards, and one does the same, figures get closer,
nothing makes sense in this unforgiving age, push the heat out and it gets warmer,
a few jokes about bread and tax, summarized by someone as konx om pax,
nonetheless it’s a friend, if a bit outlandish; or to put in a more senseful way: maybe something a bit torn,
thus the web may break, and then our lands dive into its realms, for we are of the same mist, if less forlorn.
“The Faerie’s Decision” by Linda M. Crate
Cornett felt her wings wrap around her in a comforting way. The fae bent her head over her wings, feeling very vulnerable and also very lost. She didn’t know what she was supposed to do or how she was supposed to feel.
Her entire life she had always been other: other daughter, other friend, other faerie, other creature, other.
The faerie wondered when would her life begin to pepper her with some sunlight and flowers? Why did it always feel like it was her against the world? Why was it always bleak nightmares, thorns, and cutting thistles.
She had loved Daryl with her entire being and he had lied. Told her that her wings were beautiful, that he loved her truly, that she had the brightest and most vivid green eyes he had ever seen… Everything of their love had been a lie on his behalf, it was merely lust.
He had stolen more than a mere kiss.
Cornett also knew she could not tell her mother about what had happened or her sisters because they would only tell her she should expect to be betrayed by a human. She knew she couldn’t tell her father because he would only remind her that every man she had ever loved had only turned out to wound her.
As if he hadn’t wounded her, too, she thought bitterly. Her black feathers wrapped tighter and tighter around her, as she clenched her fists. Enough of this misery!
Angry tears raged down her cheeks in a flood.
She was tired of being other.
Today Cornett convinced herself that she was enough, she was worthy of all the love she had given yet never received, and she was worthy of the acceptance and the care she had never been given by those whom she held nearest and dearest to her heart.
One day, someone was going to love her for the incredibly wild and fierce creature she was, flaws and all. Even if that person was simply her, she would be content.
Cornett felt her wings beat against the sky and she flew through the clouds with a renewed purpose. She was the author of her story, and she was going to rewrite it.
She wouldn’t be the “other” woman anymore. She was Cornett, and she could never be replaced. Even if some silly human chose a human woman over her.
It was his loss, not hers.
“The Creature” by Alberte Ploug Steengaard
There was another rustle in the dark. Vhalla strained her eyes to see, but the sun had only begun to rise making it impossible to see further than a few meters ahead. It was probably just a fox. She only had a few hours left of her watch before they would pack up the tents, and she could sleep for a few hours in one of the carts. Above her, in the vast green blanket of the treetops the birds began to sing, as the weak embers of the fire slowly died out. She had always loved the forest. When she was a little girl she would always beg her father to bring her with him when he went to the city – not because she wanted to see the city, but because she wanted to see the forest. As she got older she would hide in his carts, forcing him to send one of his guards back to the village with her.
When she was 12 he finally brought her with him. Vhalla was so excited she could barely sleep the night before, as she imagined how it would be to finally go deep into the forest she had longed to see her whole life. When they finally found a clearing in between the trees, where they could set up camp for the night, Vhalla had been so exhausted she had fallen asleep before dinner. The next day she tried so hard to stay up and listen to the tales and the songs of the other traders and the guards, but again she fell asleep from the exhaustion before the fire had been lit. That morning she had woken up before everyone else. As she waited for her father and the others to wake up she listened to the sounds of the forest. It was like music to her, the wind in the trees seemed perfectly in tune to the soft beat created by the rustling of twigs and dry leaves. It was like a symphony older than time itself.
Needing to relieve herself she slipped out from under the blankets and looked towards Bayne, a blacksmith the size of a mountain, who had fallen asleep on his watch. She went behind a couple of bushes at the edge of the clearing, making sure the camp was within sight like her father had instructed her. As she stood up and walked back to the camp, she noticed a figure in between the trees. At first glance she thought it was a deer because of the giant antlers, but as her eyes adjusted to the dim light of the morning she realised it was standing on two legs. Moreover, it was looking straight at her. It had an almost human face, although the eyes were big and black like a deer’s. Vhalla had a sense that she was intruding, as if she was not supposed to see the creature. But it didn’t run, in fact something that could easily have been mistaken for a smile spread across its face. With a slow bow, like the one you would expect a knight to do for a king, the creature turned and walked back into the forest. Vhalla wanted to follow, but Bayne had awoken from his sleep and stopped her. When she tried to explain what she had seen to her father later that day, he simply smiled at her and told her it was a dream. No one of the trader, not any of the guards, had ever heard of such a creature and slowly she started to convince herself that maybe it had just been a dream.
A noise startled Vhalla awake. She couldn’t have slept for long, because the light of the morning was still dim. It was not time to wake the others yet. She took out the amulet her mother had given her as protection the first time she went into the forest, and pressed it to her lips. Not a day went by when she did not miss her parents, although the years and the war had forced her to grow up from the excited little girl that made up stories about creatures in the forest. The silver plated amulet caught the rays of the sun, and for a split second Vhalla thought she saw a pair of eyes in there. Big, black, deer-like eyes. “You need to sleep” she whispered to herself and stood up to go wake the others, shaking her head trying to rid herself of her illusions. They had slept long enough. But as she looked across the
small clearing she saw something moving in between the trees. There was not one, but three of them, each with an impressive set of antlers and each bowing with a hand over their hearts. Vhalla forgot all about traders and guard duty, and without hesitation she followed the creatures deep into the tightest part of the forest.
NEXT WEEK’S THEME: DANCE
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