Haiku – Cruise

Cruising on vapours
At the end of a long year
Reflecting sadly

 

Written for: https://haikuhorizons.wordpress.com/2015/12/27/haiku-horizons-prompt-cruise/

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Picture credit: flickr.com/photos/hadock/9377824124

Haiku – Haunted

Strange days are turning.
Rough deeds beget dust, no more,
Haunted by my past

Rough ghosts assail me
Strange fruits turn to dust and ash
Clogging in my maw

It’s the ghost of her.
Dust turning in eve’s strange light
Rough-forms her image

I cry.

 

Written for secret keeper’s weekly poem prompt, using – ghost rough dust strange turn. http://thesecretkeeper.net/2015/12/14/weekly-writing-prompt-15/

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flickr.com/photos/garytrinity/2645250035

 

Haiku Challenge – “Glass”

These are my contributions for this week’s haiku challenge from TJ, on the theme of “glass”. I enjoyed this theme… so much potential! Check out the other entries here: https://amaviedecoeurentier.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/tjs-household-haiku-challenge-glass/

#1
My heart is shaped glass
Channeling clear emotion
If dropped, I shatter

#2
I rattle the ice
Deep sigh. Tap fingers. Chantelle.
Drain the final drops

#3
Hold it to the light,
Reflecting and refracting,
Lying with its truth

glass

Heading In To Work (poem)

I want to be a slug-a-bed
Sleeping in my nice warm bed
But now I’m on the bus instead
Heading in to work

Thoughts are swimming round my head
About the stupid things I said
But now I’m on the bus instead
Heading in to work

I feel I’m hanging by a thread
Like butter scraped on too much bread
And now I’m on the bus instead
Heading in to work

My mind turns to the day with dread
A thousand messages unread
Because now I’m on the bus instead
Heading in to work

I wish I’d ran, I wish I’d fled
But now I’m on the bus instead
But now I’m on the bus instead
Heading in to work

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Creative Commons

Piano (haiku)

Here are two contributions for TJ’s weekly haiku challenge, on “piano” theme. The first is reflective, the second more playful. Hope you enjoy these! Check out some great haiku (and stunning photography) here: https://amaviedecoeurentier.wordpress.com/2015/08/08/tjs-household-haiku-challenge-piano/

#1
Unplayed piano
Waits in a dusty corner
For just one more song

#2
Jaunty melody,
Discordant tinkling of keys;
Cat on piano!

piano

Transitions (poem)

I started a “this”
Now I’m a “that”
Didn’t notice it happen
Feeling so flat

Going through changes
Nothing stands still
Prime of my life
And over the hill

I paid the piper
Danced to his tune
From sweat-drenched samba
To Clair de Lune

Going through changes
Nothing stands still
Prime of my life
And over the hill

Change is a constant
But so is regret
You’re the sweetest mistake
That ever I met

The sweetest mistake…

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/maiptitfleur/3773887233 / Creative Commons

Steps (Short Story – Pt 5 of 5)

Part One: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/07/06/steps-short-story-pt-1-of-5/
Part Two: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/steps-short-story-pt-2-of-5/
Part Three: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/07/08/steps-short-story-pt-3-of-5/
Part Four: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/07/09/steps-short-story-pt-4-of-5/
This is the fifth and final part.

DAY SIX
The man did not sleep, in any meaningful sense. The close, dank air smothered him completely. He felt like a man taken out of time and space, dropped in the void for infinity.

I fell, and am still falling.

He stopped to listen for sounds from above at regular intervals, cupping his hands to his ear.
scratching…
scraping…
slithering…
scuttling… sliding

Am I imagining it?

Fatigue and dehydration were taking their toll. Most times he couldn’t hear anything over his own reedy breath and the ba-boom ba-boom of blood pumping furiously through his head. Sometimes he stopped and didn’t hear anything and in the silence found himself losing consciousness and sleeping as he stood, only to be jolted awake by the sensation of falling.

I am falling. I am fallen.

The excruciating, unrelenting torture of movement.

Step. Drag.

Step. Drag.

He refused to give in, stubbornly continuing down through this lonely pit of Babel. Boots and water bottle were abandoned on the steps, then his shorts and underwear, which had chafed his thighs bloody and swollen. He clutched the lighter in his hand, and carried on downwards naked, caked in dust and sweat and regret.

His pursuer did not seem to be gaining at any pace, but he dared not rest, or sit, for fear of never rising again. Every single atom in his body howled in pain; he slowed to massage his knees at regular intervals, for petty relief. His shins screamed with each jolt forward; head dizzy from the endless pirouette.

Step. Drag.

He paused to look back up the stairwell. There were three swollen heads peering down at him from some way above, silhouetted against the tiny clouds beyond, forked tongues flicking the air. Shadows among shadows.

What the hell is that?

Heart pounding, head thumping, hands shaking, he kept his bloodied feet moving, one hand constantly in contact with the wall for support. For reassurance.

He risked another look upwards. Had he imagined it? He looked down. A dim red glow, faint. The heart of the darkness.

Something.

He took no joy, felt nothing.

At least an end is coming. He stumbled on in the dark, teeth gritted, corkscrewing down through the earth.

DAY SEVEN
Step. Drag.

Pause.

Step.

The man had not slept, drank or ate in a long time. The raging thirst, the hunger in his belly, had gone. Only the numbness of total exhaustion remained. He scratched slowly at his face, prodding at sunken eyes, patchy stubble, cracked skin. The scar.

Willpower kept him going, fear his only companion. He had not heard his pursuer for a while. He was truly alone.

Was it ever there? Is my mind playing tricks on me? Do I even know what’s real any more?

He whispered his thoughts out loud, voice cracked and hoarse, to break the smothering spell of the silence.

What have I done to deserve this? This slow, torturous death, deep in the bowels of the earth. A worm wriggling and writhing upon the hook, with no possibility of escape.

He felt the steps above contracting, closing in on him, throbbing.

It couldn’t be that thing with the girl, could it?

He wondered what the end would feel like, when it surely came, and what lay beyond.

Am I already dead?

Is this my personal hell? Running down through the dark, forever?

Maybe I’m in purgatory…

He imagined the content of his soul being weighed and judged by unseen forces, balanced against his actions that day.

What choice did I have?

He walked, and wondered.

It couldn’t be that.

The light from below grew stronger with each passing flight, giving him the resolve to continue down what had to be the final steps. The stairs had narrowed now to shoulder width, a head-sized hole at the center lighting the stairwell with an eerie red glow. A sudden smell of rotten decay, damp and fusty, filled the air, filled his nostrils. He wrinkled his nose in disgust, then gagged, dry-heaving.

Could it?

Then, after a million steps, the stairs simply ended.

They opened out into a large chamber, bathed in soft, red light. He collapsed to his knees as his legs continued downwards reflexively. Kneeling awkwardly on the cool, hard floor, he sucked in deep lungfuls of rancid air, looking for the long-awaited exit door. In the center of the room, directly beneath the hole at the stairwell’s heart, lay the pieces of his axe head, broken by the fall.

At either end of the chamber was a small, circular room, seemingly identical. One was lit with a dazzling light, the source of which was not visible. The other was in darkness, save for the light reflected from the other. Both rooms contained a six foot bench carved into the smooth gray rock, but nothing else. He looked closely around the chamber. Nothing. No door. No exit. No water. No piles of food. Nowhere else to go.

The man had his first decision to make since choosing to head down the steps all those days and miles ago. He made it in an instant, as if it was no choice at all. It was the choice he always made, now. He dragged himself to his feet, legs groaning against this final effort, and inched towards the dark room. He lay his broken body down on the bench, and closed his eyes.

In the moment before all the lights went out, a slight smile formed on the corners of the man’s mouth.

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https://www.flickr.com/photos/v1ctory_1s_m1ne/872441928 – Creative Commons

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Steps (Short Story – Pt 4 of 5)

Part One: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/07/06/steps-short-story-pt-1-of-5/
Part Two: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/steps-short-story-pt-2-of-5/
Part Three: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/07/08/steps-short-story-pt-3-of-5/
This is part four.

DAY FOUR
He slept badly. The darkness seeped into his dreams, like ink dropped into a bowl of water, while a single discordant note hummed in the distance. Faceless dream-slugs crawled over his body, covering his eyes, filling his mouth… He woke slapping the creatures from his face, choking.

His head throbbed, muscles ached. He rubbed at his feet and ankle, kneading them hard, grimacing at his own touch. The lighter clicked on, and he sat staring into the flame until he burnt his thumb. He looked up at the gray dot of sky, so far away.

Why, WHY? WHY?

In a rage, he screwed his hands into fists, beating them upon the walls. He grabbed the shoes from round his neck, lashing out ineffectually, swinging and slapping them against cold stone. Screaming like a cornered animal, he lashed out at his cage, flailing and wailing, burning bright with impotent anger, then slumping in the dark, sobbing, spent, alone.

Why?

He edged towards the central gap, looking once more into the darkness. He lay on his front and hung his head over the side, feet touching the wall behind him, wondering whether he could throw himself down.

Would I even land?

He stared and wondered, closed his eyes and wondered. He lay motionless for a long time, in silent prayer.

Something struck the back of his head. He instinctively swatted it away. Then something else struck, and again. Plip. Plip. He turned over. A raindrop fell directly onto his face. He experienced a moment of the purest joy, cackling and rolling and stamping his feet. He opened his mouth wide, holding his bottle open by the side of his head to catch every drop of moisture. A concentrated stream of rain, of life, fell straight down the center of the shaft, cleansing him of his sins, and he laughed manically.

The storm passed, the wind above changed, and the rain stopped falling.

He lay there on the step, head hanging over the central gap, for a long time, hoping for more. More. Eventually, he sat up to take stock. He had re-filled maybe a quarter of his bottle. He’d caught some in his mouth, and in that moment didn’t feel the aching pull of dehydration. That purifying, reviving water on his face had been the most refreshing feeling of his life.

I am reborn.

Sitting there in blackness, a thought went through his mind. He lay down on the step again, measuring its width. He couldn’t be sure as he hadn’t measured it at the top, but the steps felt narrower now than when he fell in. They were tapering. That means there must be a bottom.

They must taper to something, right?

He stood up, stretched as many muscles as he could, and resumed down the steps, limping with the effort of each step, but determined to go on. The rain had given him hope, and he walked for hours feeding on that hope, gorged and buoyed with belief.

DAY FIVE
On the morning of the fifth day, he ate the last of the mints, and drank the last of the water. Standing still, body slouched forward, he ran his fingers through his greasy hair, and massaged his neck. After the adrenaline rush of the previous day, his tank was empty.

Step.

Step.

Step, damn you.

Each step was slow, laboured; he grunted in pain. Each step required an effort of will to overcome the crushing weight of a mile of earth above him, the thinning of the air, the rising heat in the stairwell, the hopelessness of continuing…

He fumbled on, smoothed fingertips leading along the wall to guide his way through this dark, silent prison.

A noise stopped him.

What was that?

In the muffled shadows, he had grown used to the only sound being his own labored, wheezy breathing. Part of him enjoyed the silence, had always enjoyed it.

Probably nothing.

Somewhere above him, he heard a shuffle of feet and the sounds of something sniffing the air.

There is a reason that children fear the dark, the monster under the bed, the boogeyman, the enemy unseen…

What is that? It sounds… animal.

Another shuffle, somewhere far off, above.

His heart rate shot up, pounding half out of his chest. He felt sick to his stomach, and stumbled, bracing himself with both trembling hands against the wall.

There’s nowhere left to hide. Nowhere left to hide. Nowhere left to hide.

Chest tightening, gasping for breath, he saw spots in the dark before him, dancing and taunting. He picked up the pace to a hobbled stumble, down and down and down, no longer running towards salvation, but fleeing some-thing, chasing him through the black.

Hope will drag you so far. Fear drives you the rest of the way.

He smelled sulfur in the air. Hell itself was waiting for him, and he couldn’t get there fast enough.

… to be continued

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https://www.flickr.com/photos/v1ctory_1s_m1ne/872441928 – Creative Commons

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