Nighttime Reading

Flotsam above the bureau;
the mermaid mirror swims,
a butterfly filleting
a timeless abyss of
glinting fairy footfalls.

Rose powdered dusk
rolled over dead in
Goliath chains of
puce dark
epochs
ago.

A satiny black tulip
opens to reveal
a plume of pale
spirit fire,
a tassel
of golden lion’s
mane.

Day breaks the
enchantment of
night.
My eyes break the
glassy transmission
of sight with

s l e e p.

The Time Thief; Chapter 2, Part 4

Chapter 2, Part 4

Hera is poking her nose above the black freshwater. Her two pinprick nostrils are sucking in oxygen and droplets of liquid. Her legs are kicking underneath her in the river. Hera is swimming sloth slow to the river’s edge. Now, she is at its brink.

Hera is quietly pulling herself out of the river. Her skin is glimmering like wet, hard armor: her girlish knees and elbows are slick and golden; aiguillettes of red hair matt into a sleek helmet; her hair-helmet tapers into a thin tadpole down her back. She is dripping; and stands barefoot in nothing but her white lace bra and underwear.

Holstered to Hera’s hips are a sharp bowie knife, and a powerful firearm equipped with a silencer. Hera is walking cautiously towards the dusk swaddled trees; she is walking away from the cusp of the riverbank.

The river is making guttural sounds under the crescent moon. Hera is seeing the thin, grey star-shine of a naked sword. The metal is twinkling almost imperceptibly. Hera’s breathing is a tattered swatch of cloth. An invisible magician is trying to tug the rope of breath out of her living soul. It’s not working: she isn’t breathing.

The undergrowth near the river’s shore is exhuming a live body. The body is agile and quiet; this figure is drawing a long shadowy saber out of its side. This silent act (drawing out a sword in the dark) is shimmering within a parenthetical cone of silence; outside the conical silence the waterfall is noisily gushing, like water and blood cascading from the bleeding oblique of Jesus.

Hera is reaching for her weapon; her arm is delineating a trajectory of fluid animation. She is a ballerina pulling the trigger of her gun. Death is whizzing through the Cinderella blonde starlight; a bullet is lacerating the darkness in a sterling snail trail of velocity; her gun’s dark, testicular chamber is inseminating her target’s flesh with killer-sperm.

The shadow figure is falling. Their sword is crying in the tall grass; its clean metal is throwing long, grey sparks of moon-glister. The waterfall is foaming with nymphal nocturnes; the water’s glossolalia glissandos over Hera, but she is hearing nothing.

Hera is sweating. She is walking towards her fallen stalker slowly. She is thinking of Sasha and Xyla, who are still hiding in the grotto. The grass feels like dry, bristly hair to her clammy soles. She is now standing a mere two feet away from the grounded figure.

A cloud of light—tulle like, palpable light that sparkles like a bluish veil—is passing over the face of the fallen. Time’s mammoth shadow is retrograding several degrees on the mage Memory’s sundial: and wide-eyed, nonplussed Hera is recalling the face before her.

Hera is dropping to her knees next to the still-breathing body. It’s Akira, a Japanese samurai that she met once while time-traveling through the Kamakura period.

When Hera first sees Akira, he is kneeling by a river dappled in leaf shadows. She watches him fill earthenware with iron infused river sand. He gracefully ferries his cumbersome load to a site near his dwelling. Akira does this for a while.

Hera watches through komorebi (or, sunlight that filters through translucent leaves). Daylight snows, filling the negative spaces between tree leaves. The samurai shovels the towhead-dandruff and charcoal into a geometric clay stove. He is making jewel-steel, or tamahagane, for a katana—a samurai sword.

Hera is hypnotized by the process of sword making. One evening, Hera emerges from the trees to watch the samurai openly. Akira allows her to watch as he smelts steel for three days and nights.

His clay furnace breaths fire on the flaxen sand, coal, and iron ore in its maw; his clay furnace reaches temperatures north of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hera watches Akira in the oncoming weeks as he tests the tamahagane for its carbon content—a ratio indicative of the steel’s potential for sharpness and sturdiness.

She witnessed the exorcism of slag from the tamahagane via the holy water of Akira’s hammer. This sacral beholding made Hera feel beholden to Akira. She espied the birth of a samurai’s soul.

For many weeks, Akira shines his katana with stones. He sends his sword to local artisans who give his sword a gold hilt, and a beautifully lacquered scabbard of cedar wood. Akira hires a skilled friend to filigree gold inlays onto the katana blade.

While time-traveling, Hera visits Akira many times to check on the progression of the sword. She eats many meals with Akira and grows extremely fond of his intuitive brown eyes.

Hera is holding the stunning katana in her lap. A single tear is hanging like a ripe, fetid fruit at the end of one of her long, ghostly eyelashes. Hera is touching Akira’s face, and remembering his handsome laugh. Akira is sitting up, suddenly. Hera is startled.

Akira is touching the bloody gun wound, which is closing. He is wincing a little, but smiling his signature half-smile.

“It’s my good luck that I’m a Sylph now. I can self-heal,” says Akira.

“Are you okay? I’m sorry I shot you. I thought you were someone else, somebody from the New School,” says Hera, checking his wound.

“I’m fine, I’m alright.”

“I’m really, really sorry. It’s just I assumed—”

“You assumed right. I was tailing you. I deliberately followed you. I work for the Librarian.”

“What?”

“He offered me a job, and I agreed. So, I could travel here. And see you.”

Akira is reaching into his deep blue kimono, and pulling out a golden shard. The shard is affixed to a wispy, golden chain around his neck.

“Look,” he says, “this is the needle to your old time-compass. On your last visit, you lost it. Well, I found it one day—the glass crushed, the metal warped—and, when I picked it up, I pricked my finger. On this needle, the needle to your compass. It made me into a Sylph.”

“But what’s a Sylph?”

“I’ll show you. Give me your hand.”

“Why?”

“Because I can take you anywhere.”

“In the Labyrinth?”

“Anywhere at all.”

***

The Time Thief: Ch. I, pt. II

Chapter 1 Part II: The Librarian

Fluvial fly ash in the wind shimmering primeval blue. Time atoms fluxing on whetted edges of hoary cold. He is leaving the door to the Time Labyrinth ajar; crystals of glass-slipper snow are slip-coating sleeping, peaty time in booty: ice is a treasure here. Cutaneous minutes frieze voluptuously; are shivering in a silver clock; are storming thicker than magma from a death rose.

Lonesome Homo sapiens slashing snuff-like snow; his halberd dragon-slaying frozen monoliths. He is scalping ice, spraying demigod forever-twinkles of sacral winter everywhere. Spattering his snow goggles is mythic galactic hunter, Orion; hero now vanishing in smoke of snow. More snow. The lone gallant scraping frost from his goggles. Already, a new star formation of ice is streaking his just-cleaned lenses. Maybe, he will see Orion again.

The black footed wind war whooping, color yellow. The librarian pulling his gilt pocket watch out. It isn’t telling the time, it’s telling the years, the sentinel centuries softened by gloaming. He is standing (frozen) betwixt parentheses. Time and its parallel are eddying around him.

He hails from the Victorian Era. He is standing at the arctic crux of the Time Labyrinth; which he has access to via a clandestine door in his palatial library. Right now, he is trying to determine which white gust will be ferrying him to the epoch of Zed.

He knows that his destination is AD 2015, circa Zed’s latest attempt at suicide. He knows she is heading for the athletic track; if he’s late, she will have already succumbed to lethal sleep. He knows he can’t be late. However, he is still mining for the master key to the invisible, central Labyrinth Door. He is filleting ice in utter agitation.

Clink! He is using the dagger on the south-most pole of his halberd to dig up the key. Fairy dust is undulating in a translucent partition of particles. The librarian is wallowing in snow scum, finally clutching the hard, slippery high-tech key.

He is using the key as a compass. When the limpid key becomes an opaque neon pink, he will have reached the invisible portal. The librarian is trekking due east in the blizzard. The key is flushing a full-bodied flamingo pink. “The door! I’ve found the door to wonders!” he cries. A chink in the realm appears: a door from nothing, suddenly.

Science! Science! He thinks, That Dr. Yoshimoto is a brilliant man! Except for the nasty business of hiding the key in the depths of perdition. Rather disagreeable assignation, I’d say.

Hurrying, the librarian is fitting the luminous key into the Lab door’s static black keyhole. The keyhole looks like a square on a Rubik’s cube where the sticker was peeled off. The behemoth door looks like it belongs to an English castle; it’s a skeuomorphic gateway to the black river of time. On this side of the door, the snow is yelling in dark blue tones.

The librarian is pulling the yelping door open; he is feeling the carbuncles on the iron door rings; he is vanishing into the soundless vacuum that is future time.

I’m off to see the wizard, he’s thinking, the wonderful wizard named Zed.

Sneak Peek: Nymphs, Steampunk, and The Chest of (Be)Wares

Hey, you wonderful reader! Tonight’s all about revealing juicy, all new developments in the fictional realm of my story, The Time Thief.

As you know, building a story from the ground up can be tenuous (and thrilling! Oh, the wordsmithian thrill! Yes, I just made a word up. Call Merriam Webster and tell them I did it. Tell them I said, “Kill…Bill. Baby.”)

Anyhow, off to the races! On with the show, and myriad other clichés on inception. Warning: excitement and multiple POV’s up ahead!

Frontal Nudity: Character Reveal!

Up first is a (sexy) character prototype. Ooh la la! Try him on for size.

The Librarian: Your name is Heathcoat. You are a wealthy business tycoon of noble blood. You are from the Victorian Era. You have a catacomb like library; it’s steeped in cobwebs of shadow. You have remarkable beauty, and a sumptuous love interest in the brainy, ash blonde ‘nymph’ Heather Tingston—but you only find solace in books. You’ve searched countless tomes for The Answer—but you can’t find it.

Quest: Your quest is History. You’re In Search of Lost Time. Maybe the meaning to your dreary life is buried in the sands of erstwhile ages. Find out.

Physical Appearance: You are a British man. You wear a monocle and have big, sad amber eyes. Your shiny red mustache is curled to look like handlebars. You wear dark, rich colors; have manicured nails; and dress impeccably. You frown a lot, and always have déjà vu after checking your mysterious pocket watch.

Was that too much chemical X (rated) for ya? Ha ha. Was that too much ha-ha-hotness. Okay, I’m done. I’m done. I’m having way too much fun. : P

Late Night Apparitions

If you read chapter 1 of The Time Thief, you’ve probably met the ghostly Zed. Here’s a glimpse of the blueprints for her physical features:

In the mirror she is dressing quickly. Zed is tangling herself in a skinny, leather trousers. She is fitting her black The Beatles tee over metaphysical angel wings. She is stuffing her diaphanous mermaid tail into dark pants. Invisible webs of integument are scintillating between her toes. She is looking at herself.

In the infinity pool of her reflection she is seeing: a medium height Chinese girl, age seventeen. She is albino, and her arctic white hair is falling to her hips. Half of her head is shaven. She is putting on tiny earrings with beer can charms. She has never had an alcoholic beverage before. She is rimming her pallid blue eyes in gel eyeliner. Her hands are shaking, struggling to achieve the perfect cat eye. She is frowning.

Keep in mind that the mysterious Zed is both emotionally turbulent and brainy.

The Chest of (Be)Wares

Every story needs game changers. Here are a special sneak peek at some of mine:

*Romeo’s Phial: Mere mortal death comes to all. At least yours can be sweet. But take heed, what’s to be done can’t be undone. And what’s more, the Cimmerian apothecary might have concocted a non-lethal dose of the phial’s contents. You may come away from this alive, but permanently altered. Use at your own risk.

And there’s more! The story blueprints may feature steam powered treks into parallel universes, time machines, and hot Victorian men! There may be cool kids, high school dances, and major league crushes!  There’s so much more juiciness waiting for you! So, stay tuned for you next sneak peek into the Time Lab.

Happy almost hump day!