Midnight Madness

There is no one
Not a single stirring soul
I feel like a ghost
Traversing the veil alone
My light barely piercing the ink
The silhouettes merging with shadow
Shines of space nonexistent
But alas I see a being
Someone to voyage with me perhaps
My hopes were in vain
Merciless fog enshrouds me
A thick cloth of cool air
Blanketing my sight further
The feeling of loss consumes me
Apparitions taunt my waning attention
Melting into the smoke soup
Another form beckons me
Breaking off into a pair
Glowing eyes guide my steps
Until basin fires are revealed to me
Perched upon ancient stone
The sight stealing breath from my lungs
Under the casts of warm illumination
Reads a chilly communication
“Welcome” scratched in blood
My heart pulsing wildly
Sweat beading on clammy skin
It’s here I find my end
And wake from the cruel night terrors
If only it had been a dream….

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Where I Consider Home

The past couple weeks, I’ve been looking through old photos. And you know what old photos do. They bring up memories, both good and bad. Thankfully, my past photos haveĀ  reminded me of a lot of good. Reminded me of the place I still call home. I’ve also been messaging (off and on) a lifelong friend, and that’s also had me thinking.

I’ve moved around a bit. It was kind of a byproduct of my dad’s job. Every eight years, it seemed like. Until I got married three years ago, and I moved in with my husband. We’ve moved three times in those few years. Hopefully, we’ll be set for awhile. Moving is tedious and stressful.

The first eight years of my life, I lived in a little bitty town. In fact, if you Google it, it’s registered as a village. Yep. I was raised, until I was eight years old, in a village. It tickles the fantasy side of me. According to the 2016 census, the town had a population of 285 residents. Just to put it in perspective. Sometimes, I wonder if they’re numbering people or if they’re also adding farm animals with their head count.

So you could say I’m a Midwestern, corn fed kid. But that’s not the whole story. After I was eight, we moved to the suburbs. Unfortunately, I’ve been a suburbanite ever since. But to a country kid, the suburbs were city. I’ve since learned that city is much more massive than I so naively imagined. Still, I went from a place that had roughly 300 people, let’s say, to a place that had almost 22,000 residents. Quite a big jump.

Yes. I hated it. With every single fiber in my being. I grew accustomed eventually. Made a few fleeting friends. After I was sixteen, we moved again. To a city with nearly 70,000 people. Which wasn’t too big of a shock to my system. Yet, there was something that has always nagged the back of my mind.

Where did I call home? Did it matter if I had a home or not? What do I say when people ask me where I’m from? Do people even need to know where I’m from? (I’m a paranoid person.) Where was home?

After some soul-searching, I kept coming back to the little town. The “village.” That was where I wanted to call home. Then I came to the second part of my inquiry. Why was it the place I wanted to call home? Well, my favorite memories are from there. That was my childhood. What I consider the happiest part of my life. (Outside of my marriage, of course. I’m sure the husband will read this. Love you, hun.) I still have dreams about being there. I still cry when I remember how painful it was to leave. The other places? Not so much.

There’s something else. The Smokey Mountains in Tennessee. My family has vacationed there for years. I remember going there for the first time. It absolutely took my breath away. It was so green, so much of a fantasy setting. All I required was a wizard to lead me on an epic journey. I felt different there. Felt…free, so-to-speak. I could hike trails, climb along stream beds, see waterfalls. It was everything I needed to fuel my fictional mind. Everything I needed to clear my mind from stress and the mundane of everyday life.

While I do love the beach and ocean, I like to say my heart belongs to those mountains. I try to go there every year. Or, at least, every other year. It fills me with so much vigor, so much life. Reminds me of the times when I was a kid in the little town and allowed my imagination to soar. I’ve been to many places. I don’t know what it is about the Smokies, but that’s where I want to return. I feel like a piece of me has been left there since the first time I went. There’s a piece of my heart in my hometown, and you can bet your behind, there’s a piece of my heart running through the trees on the Smokey Mountains.

I plan to settle down there sometime. Maybe it’ll be when my husband retires. Maybe it’ll be if I can make money off my books. I don’t know. But I do know I will get there. One way or another, I will have my house in the middle of some of the most beautiful scenery. I will find the piece of my heart and run in the forests with it. I will find my wizard and finally go on that epic journey through the woodlands. Along with the characters I’ve created, the creatures I’ve designed, the dragons I’ve made to ride on the backs of. It’s where I can let my mind be unleashed.

It’s the same sensation I had playing in the woods around my lifelong friend’s house. We could be anything we wanted, whether it be cowboys and space rangers, secret agents, horses, or anything else our limitless, child minds could conjure. It was our sense of freedom. Our sense of belonging. The mountains feel the same way to me. They always have and always will. I can be that little kid again. I can be anything I imagine myself to be. I can be free.

Where do I call home? Well, it’s a two-fold answer. My hometown, I consider to be my past home. The Smokey Mountains, I consider to be my future home. They’re almost the same to me in importance. Both places hold pieces to my heart. And that’s okay. Because I know where I came from, and I know where I will end up.

And it’s always home.

Unconditional Love

I love you while you’re
Sitting in the back aisle
Feigning perfect smiles

I love you while you’re
Meeting your stranded wit’s end
Working hard to pretend

I love you while you’re
Rejecting everyone’s help
Providing their hearts melt

I love you while you’re
Sitting in the lonely dark
Breaking your fragile heart

I love you while you’re
Lying in a broken bed
Chasing screams in your head

I love you while you’re
Driving down neglected roads
Fighting suicide mode

I love you while you’re
Taking your imperfect life
Destroying all the strife

I love you while you’re
Even in your dying breath
Leaving me with nothing left

Emotions

A bleeding heart
A bleeding mind
Worn boldly on my sleeve
Yet…
The mask still hides all
Nobody cares to see underneath
Nobody seems to hear my pleas
Crying in silence
Tears falling in darkness
Weeping brings anger to others
Though I’m not sure why
So the mask stays
Tears leaving invisible scars
Untraceable self-harm
The world turns a blind eye
Fear takes control
Turns sorrow into paranoia
Am I cursed
Am I the problem
How do I remove the problem
Would others even notice
Should I remove the problem
They still can’t see beyond the mask
While my heart hemorrhages
Both sleeves permanently stained
Blatant, obvious
Wordless suffering
Endless torment
Can nobody see past the facade
My lies of happiness
My dishonest joy
Thousands of fraudulent smiles
To keep others pleasant
So they could never know my true pain
Though I desire for them to dig deeper
A constant conundrum
Of what I think I want
And what I’m not sure of
An exhausting battle
All behind the lighthearted mask
Except my heart
My bleeding heart
Sliced with depression and uncertainty
Blackened by hatred of self
Thickened with envy and lust
For the life I see in others
The grass is greener on the other side
While I forever drown in woe
Brought on by my own misery
I am aware
I am so painfully aware
Of what I do to myself
And yet…
I cannot break the cycle
I’m a poison, a lethal toxin
Killing those around me
Behind this mask filled with laughter
How can they realize it’s me
Nobody suspects what they deem as
The good person
But I will always know
Of who I truly am inside
A mendacious thief of life
A dedicated torturer of self
And a perfect butcher of emotions

Sword (Flash Fiction)

The young maiden gasped, amber eyes wide. Her lips trembled as she looked down at the sword sticking through her chest. Then she lifted her gaze to her attacker. It was none other than her lifelong friend. They had grown together, cried together, laughed together. Fell in love together. The person she trusted most. While it was true that Anne was considered nothing more than a handmaiden to the rest of the castle, Princess Marie called her sister.

The heir to the throne blinked as she felt her blood running down the front of her gown. “Why?”

Anne gritted her teeth, holding the sword in place. “You know why!”

Tears ran down Marie’s cheeks. “I-I don’t.” She gasped for air at this point.

Despite herself, tears welled up in the handmaiden’s eyes. Seeing her friend in such a pained state. But she persisted. “Yes, you do. You sent John to his death. We were going to be married.”

The princess’s eyes fluttered, and she struggled to remain balanced. “I always supported you and John. I don’t, I don’t have that kind of…authority.”

Anne’s expression twitched. It was true that the princess did not have the ability to carry out executions. “But…but–” She cut herself off, looking down at the cold stone floor. “They talked. They all said you wanted him dead. That you begged your father…”

Marie swallowed, though trickles of blood came out the corners of her mouth. “No, Anne.” She choked. “You, you have been blinded.” A short breath. “Fooled.”

The handmaiden’s mouth opened and closed. Yet, no words came. Her dark eyes searched her sister. “Marie…”

The royal heir struggled. “I thought…I thought you trusted me. I trusted you.” A final breath escaped her, and the last thing she saw was her lifelong friend weeping. Her eyes finally fluttered close. She didn’t know what had caused this confusion in Anne, but she knew one thing before her death. It was not the sword that cut her heart.

 

Lines from a Bleeding Heart

Never picturing solitude
Not with promises
People swore
Now those closest
Are furthest away
Those depended on
Are no longer there
Those who listened
No longer hear
I never understand
Why false promises are made
Does no one truly care
Is that why they’re gone
Are those really masks they wear
A heart is given
Yet never returned
They still flock to me
Pouring out their souls
Help them set problems free
Living can be hard
Everyone knows
Yet when it comes to individual strife
The empathetic are tossed away
Pitched like the trash of life
Is it asking too much
For someone to be supportive
But it returns to care
And honesty behind it
Would anyone dare
To reach out to one in need
Who gave so much love
When others called for it
So it could be done for them
Though they never admit
How they failed
Their human support
Now the empathetic is gone
They have indefinitely lost
The other ultimately won