#TalesNoir

#Tales Noir

Aaron had been the first to reach the shadows of the forest. The thick undergrowth and low branches scratched and clawed at him as he barreled his way through. He could hear the others crashing though behind him.

A faint path opened up before him, and Aaron dashed down it, lithe and nimble, putting more distance between himself and the rest of the pack. A born runner, it took only a few minutes before the sound of their pursuit dimmed to a whisper. And then the lush forest swallowed even that sound.

Aaron ran along the path for several more minutes; down a slope, leaping over a small stream, clambering over fallen logs. Up another rise, grasping at exposed roots for purchase. Sweat streamed down his face, darkening the green jumpsuit he wore. The bright white D.O.C. lettering soon smudged with dirt.

After what seemed like an hour, he slowed, panting. Resting his hands on his knees, he filled his lungs with long, shuddering gasps. After a quick look around, he settled back against a soaring tree and took stock of recent events.

***

A week ago, the warden of San Clemente, Henry Santos, had made an announcement to a group of 100 inmates. “We are opening up a trial labor system, in which there is the possibility of release. You will notice that those gathered here today are all facing life sentences, without the possibility of parole.” The warden cast his eyes around them, concentrating on a few.

“Some of you have been brought here from Death Row,” he continued. “This opportunity has been extended to you as well, depending on your current plea arrangements.” Warden Santos cleared his throat, his eye narrowing. “While I, personally, would love to see all of you pissing yourselves before a firing squad immediately, you have been,” he coughed, seeming to choke on the words, “ahem, selected, to participate in this trial.”

A murmur broke out amongst the inmates; a few cheered, several yelled choice epithets at the warden, many exchanged whispered comments with each other. Most of the men though, Aaron included, stood in incredulous silnce.

A man Aaron knew from his cellblock nudged him in the ribs. Aaron turned, startled. Vance Dubois raised his eyebrows in question, to which Aaron could only shrug and shake his head. “What do you think of this?” “Not sure, but I don’t think I buy it.”

Vance had had his tongue cut out a month after being in lockup. He’d been sentenced to death, only having his sentence reduced after ratting out a few of his colleagues. Some of his fellow inmates had taken offense to that. After slicing out his tongue, they’d beaten him so badly they’d left his hearing badly damaged as well.

The warden let the talk go on for a moment before continuing. “None of you are obligated to participate in this trial. Those who are interested have 48 hours to declare. After that, there will be no more admissions, and those choosing to participate will be moved to another cellblock to begin the final qualifications process.”

When Warden Santos walked off, the guards slowly began ushering the prisoners back to their designated blocks. Vance fell in with Aaron, exchanging looks and gestures.

“You going to sign up?” Vance mimed.

Aaron shrugged again, then tilted his head and spread his hands. “Dunno. Maybe?”

Vance grasped him by the shoulder, pointing to Aaron then back at himself.

“If you do, I will.”

Aaron sighed, nodded. “I’ll let you know,” he said.

***

Aaron caught himself nodding off, slumped against the tree. The forest – “tropical forest,” he noted – had fallen silent, a deep gloom descending as the sun set somewhere beyond the trees. He wasn’t sure how long he’d rested, but the sweat on his skin had cooled, and a clamminess had risen from the forest floor. He stood, legs and back protesting as he stretched. Hearing no movement close by, he decided it might be safe to move on, find some shelter.

He wondered, as he trudged through the darkness, where Vance had wound up.


Defense

She’d set out at dusk, letting the twilight shadows mask her as she crept amongst the trees. The outsider’s camp was a short walk away. Their campfires glowed, the smoke pillaring into the purpled sky. She stalked them, unseen, watching as they joked and laughed, unaware that they’d already branded themselves.

Circling their camp, she took stock. Two of the ten were armed with rifles, only four with machetes. She struck, whirling in like a storm, and before any of them could take a full breath, they were dead at her feet.

Her village was safe again, for the moment.


Viam Veritatis

Her fingers lightly glided along the covers. Some tattered, some tape-bound. A few, here and there, slick and uncreased from non-use. Like braille, she could tell each apart from a single touch.

Her library ensconsed her, filling rooms to the height she could reach. No piles, no stacks, everything neatly shelved, perfectly categorized to her preference.

Eyes closed, she hummed to herself, letting her fingers guide her. Past stories of romance, thrilling sea tales, down towards the far reaches of her collection. Frayed bindings tickled her fingertips, like the softest of feathers, pure down. Those were her favorites.

She performed a sort of dance, reaching up , trailing down to the floor. From the floor back up to her toes. A delicate ballet, led by the music of grand stories, fantasies, tall tales and sky-bound knights. Each case of books was a symphony in her mind, and she couldn’t help but laugh.

Through several rooms she wandered, letting her senses guide her. The smell of books, old and new, surrounded her like the finest of incense. Sun warmed wood softly creaked beneath her bare feet as dust motes danced around her.

Coming to a shaded room, where her darker fantasies lay sleeping in their oak-encased thrones, she paused. Her fingers trailed among them, then paused, lingering on a pebbled leather find. She knew her books like a mother knows her children, and this, this was not one of hers.

Soft grey-green eyes fluttered open. Her hand had stopped just above her sight, on a shelf barely within reach. Tightly wedged between paperbacks of a well loved author of science, the tall book put up a fight as she tried to pull it out. Finally, with a less than feminine  grunt, she yanked, ducking her head as a cascade of stories fell down around her. Her green paisley sundress did little to protect her shoulders from the cascade of heavy books.

Peeking through a veil of walnut colored locks, she listened to the rustling of pages settling, anxious of another avalanche. Hearing only leaves settling, her gaze was caught by the book she held cradled against her chest.

“Viam Veritatis,” the title read, in glistening red letters on fawn colored leather. The pages were gold-leafed, she noted, turning the slim tome in her hands. No other writing could be found. No publisher’s stamp, nothing on the spine.

The book felt warm to the touch, though the room was dim and cool. Glancing around, she realized she was nervous, anxious. Never in her years here had she felt anything but calm and comfortable. Suddenly, an icy shiver gripped her. She clutched the book to her breast, backing up against the shelving. She could see the rooms beyond subtly dimming, as if clouds were passing outside. But the gloom remained, and deepened, growing closer till she felt swallowed by it.

Long moments passed in nearly pitch black. Her back ached from the shelves jammed into her back. The only sound now was a soft percussion of panting. Slowly, the shadows lifted. As the light grew brighter, her breathing slowed, recognizing her familiar surroundings. Covered in cold sweat, she glanced down at the book in her hands.

With trembling fingers, she opened the cover.


Testing

Haven’t done this in years, and posting from my phone (with a ‘lil USB thingy that connects my phone to my keyboard, but also means I can’t charge). Not sure if this will post to Twitter? The dashboard here is weird too.  Goddamn I miss my computer!

But, I suppose if I had my computer, I’d probably be playing games and not thinking of writing, so there’s that. Meh, guess we’ll see.

@Cruitionix is streaming now, so that’s the end of this test.  =P


I should write something

And I will. Eventually. Probably. Maybe?


Color Me #SpeakPoetry

[audio https://audioboo.fm/boos/2329345-color-me.mp3]

 

I gave you

A silhouette

A shadow of

A drawing of

The heart

That beats

Within me

To fill

Freely

To rend me

As you see me

And you

You

You color

Me deadly

In blacks

And greys

With no shade

Entirely

Abject

Of light

You paint me

As you see me

But you paint

Yourself

As well

For all I gave

Was a silhouette

An abstract

Portrait

For you

To fill

As you

And only you

Will


Lantern Light #fieryverse

[audio https://audioboo.fm/boos/2329299-lantern-light.mp3]

 

A lost child

Enters his forest

Drawn on

By lantern light

By hope of warmth

She encounters

The devil himself

A beastly form

Worn and torn

Snarling

Alone

Timidly

She approaches

Extends a small

Soft hand

He twitches

Turns

His eyes flare

And burn

But the child

Does not shy away

She instead

Caresses

His pelt

Meets his gaze

Selflessly

Welcoming

Her death

In the

Lantern light

Of his eyes

 


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