#QueerBlogWed: Of Cuckoo Clocks and Crystal Coffins Freebie Story

On October 13, P.T. Wyant posted at ptwyant.com a Wednesday Words prompt involving a goat, a foggy morning, and a long road. This freebie story for Of Cuckoo Clocks and Crystal Coffins was the result…

Fog rolled in from the trees. It rose along the path. Not blocking my way to the crystal. Not welcoming me either. It wasn’t supposed to be this thick. Nor was the path supposed to be this long. 

“Baaah!” 

Sound nearly made me trip over my own boots. Sheep are starting to make my whiskers stand up straight. Only this wasn’t a sheep. 

Thought for a moment it was one of those ruddy goat-legged women who enjoyed hoping under the trees, playing their reed pipes, only to pretend it was the wind. Right. If those sharp-toothed creatures creeping about our cottage weren’t bad enough. Garnet might not have any whiskers left if the Forest creatures didn’t leave him alone. If someone didn’t convince him to stop tugging his beard. 

Only it was an actual goat this time. Cocking its head in almost cute fashion, chin tuft sticking out, all bony legs. 

Bony legs. Right. Actual goat, my hammer. 

“Baaah!” He bleated again, butting my head, trying to convince me he was nothing but a goat, before mincing off into the trees. 

“Right. First sheep. Now goats. This is another ruddy dream you’ve decided to stalk.” I crossed my arms and stopped in the middle of the path. “I’d think you’d have better things to do.” 

“I’d think you had better things to dream about than that silly crystal.” The goat disappeared in a cloud of yellow smoke. Sure enough, Nimmie Not stood where it had been. 

He began to do a jig in the foggy air, making the bells on his toes ring. Prancing about the path as if he owned it. “Quartz, Quartz, why must you dream of crystals? They’ll become coffins if you don’t take care, yes, they will!” 

He paused, reaching out with a bony finger to twist a whisker of my beard around it. “Why not dream of me instead?”

“Thought I was.” I slapped his hand away from my beard, only to end up holding it. “You’re here. That ruddy crystal my road leads to is you. Even the goat was you, one of your pebble-brained pranks.”

“Why I’m both flattered and insulted in equal measure!” He took a deep breath, only to shudder with a smile. “My delicious dimwit, whatever makes you think your shiny namestone has anything to do with me?”

“Same thing that makes you think your book has something to do with me.” Meant to drop that hand of his. Somehow I ended up stroking his bony fingers. 

Who was truly pebble-brained here? Don’t answer that. 

“We’ve got our instincts.” Not sure what I was saying. “A sense of what’s what. What we believe, what gets us going.”

“And this believe this damaged crystal growing under Prunella’s direction is my dark and lonely heart?” He chucked as if I were the fool, not him. “Quartz, Quartz, I simply do not share the romantic resonance with the rocks you possess! I wouldn’t let myself get tied down to a pretty trinket, a crystal heart.”

He wagged a finger. “They always grow into crystal coffins you find yourself lying in, if you cannot catch yourself in time.”

“Doesn’t have to be like that. Not with a quartz.” Felt my nose turn red at the double-speak. Nimmie Not was a bad influence on me. “Doesn’t have to tie you down.”

How could I explain it? I pressed his hand against his own heart. “It’s strength you draw from the earth. Steady and true, making you stronger.”

“Making you stumble with your own weight! Ooo, watch me sink! I’m a gravity magnet!” He slapped my hand away, stood still, and made a face.

Had to admit it. Stillness didn’t suit him. There was something in what I was saying. Something of use to him. 

If only I could figure it out before he skipped away. Laughing at me. 

“That’s what happens you drink and drain the poor earth.” Nimmie Not scowled all the more. “The road is long enough without being dragged down. Perhaps you’re not of as much Interest as I thought.”

“Been telling you that,” I scoffed, in spite of the ache in my chest, creeping up my throat. 

Aye, it was pebble-brained. Letting the ruddy little man get to me. 

Hearing him say I wasn’t of Interest still hurt. Shards. 

“Now that you’ve finally come to your senses, you can leave me alone.” I turned my back on him. “Stop wasting my time…and yours.”

He nodded, bowed, backing into the mist. “Oh, it’s not over, Quartz. I must consider how to thank you properly for disappointing me.”

Woke up with those words ringing in my ears like a curse. A chill ran through my beard and my belly. 

Right. Like I’d let that kobold scare me. 

Still couldn’t help giving the cuckoo clock a second glance on the wall. Wondering if something nasty might leap out.

With Nimmie Not, I couldn’t let my guard down.

Like my style of writing? Here are buy links to my published works…

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Secondary Characters Speak Out: Quartz and Prunella

Mountains peek through the mists of the Cauldron along with hints of a blue sky. A dragon coils their pearlescent scales around one of the peaks. 

Only those scales have quite the rosy cast as does the dragon’s snout. 

Quartz perches on a cliff below, breathing in the mountain air. Just smell those rocks. It’s like coming home to a child of the rock. Almost enough to quench the stench of brimstone Prunella the Dragon constantly carried with them. 

Only does Prue faintly smell like roses?

Quartz: (sniffing) Aye, you smell like flowers. (squints up at those rosy scales) You…glowing?

Prunella: (stiffening, rearranging their coils with a prim casualness which starts a small mountain slide) None of your concern, dwarf. 

Quartz doesn’t have to duck the rocks. He plants his feet and somehow every falling stone misses him. He grins up at the dragon.

Quartz: Aye, you are, Prue. Find yourself a fresh maiden, did you? Or was it a knight? Or both?

Prunella: Such salacious comments. (sniffs) Nimmie Not is turning you into quite the gossip.

Quartz: Right. (still grinning) Someone turned you into quite the romantic. 

Prunella: A little romance brings color to our scales as you so crudely put it. Besides we doubt we’ll ever see her again. She’s has her world. We have ours.

Quartz: Worlds, not world. Sound like this might be someone Christopher knows. Sounds like trouble.

Prunella: A little trouble can be quite invigorating in a long existence, Quartz. (They gave Quartz quite the pointed look down their snout.) As you are quite aware.

Quartz: (nose turning red) Aye, well, it was time we started enjoying ourselves a bit. All of Christopher’s conversations were turning…unreal.

Prunella: We are all unreal, dwarf. What makes you think Christopher doesn’t enjoy his surreal state? He is a very different creature from you, Quartz, for all that you’re both two-legged oddities from our perspective. 

Quartz: Thank’ee for your honesty, Prue. Can’t say I see the happiness in always searching for something. Even when Christopher says he is, I don’t believe him. 

Prunella: Force yourself to smile and it can become real. Something else we’d think you’d be familiar with. 

Quartz: Familiarity can drive you mad as well as comfort. He’s hoping a little of the unfamiliar next April will be the latter.

Prunella: A familiar unfamiliarity since the same characters will return for Blogging From AZ April Projects: Characters Origins. Something we’re sure you’ll participate in. 

Quartz: Not here. I’ll be back at the Formerly Forbidden Cauldron at inspirationcauldron.blogspot.com. 

Prunella: Ah, the Formerly Forbidden Cauldron will bubble once again just for this. 

Quartz: Aye. Some witchy type called Questioning from a Work in Progress called A Suitor’s Challenge.

Prunella: Our scribbler does have a lot of Works in Progress.

Quartz: Aye, and they’re neglected too often. Like ours.

Prunella: Unlike us, our scribbler has a very finite amount of time. 

Quartz: And this is our time to remind her that we exist and our stories are waiting for her to finish. 

Prunella: Sounds like you’re looking forward to BloggingFromAZ. 

Quartz: It’s just one post and a lot darker at the Formerly Forbidden Cauldron, but aye.

Prunella: And your theme is Character Origins.

Quartz: Aye. Where did we come from? How did the scribbler dream us up? That sort of thing. 

Prunella: Best of luck in your blogging. (the mists start to thicken around the coils and the mountains)

Quartz: Thank’ee. (he takes another breath) Shards, but I love this spot. Here’s hoping the scribbler brings up back here. 

Prunella: Here’s hoping…

Mists descend upon dragon, dwarf, and mountainside, swallowing all of them. 

Like my style of writing? Want to read more? Here are links to where you can find my published works…

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/kstrenten

Nine Star Press Author Page: https://ninestarpress.com/authors/k-s-trenten/

#RainbowSnippets: A Symposium in Space

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday those participating post and share six sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction on their blogs. It can be their own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be LGBTQIA+.

To sample different LGBTQIA+ stories, go to…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets

For my own, Pausania and Phaedra will continue to bicker, much to the orb’s amusement in A Symposium in Space. This goes just a sentence longer than six, forgive me…

“Next you’ll be calling life givers women.”

“Huh?” I opened and closed my mouth. “Why would I call women life givers?”

“You may call it a lack of galactic sensibility. I call it a charming display of innocence.” The orb throbbed in midair, quivering with hungry intensity.

Curious about what you’ve read? Want to read more? Here are buy links…

Nine Star Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product/a-symposium-in-space/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Symposium-Space-Feast-Words-ebook/dp/B07PGB15FY/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3BPACY58MCCMV&keywords=a+symposium+in+space&qid=1552937461&s=digital-text&sprefix=A+Sympo%2Caps%2C239&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130883509?ean=2940161507872

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-symposium-in-space

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/928136

#QueerBlogWed: Paula’s Prompts

On October 6, 2021, P.T. Wyant posted at ptwyant.com a Wednesday Words prompt involving a fish, glue, and a late night.

This bizarre, yet well-intentioned poem was the result…:)

Paste the fish upon the package

Such a cute decoration

The final touch to your careful design

When you look at the clock

Realize how late at night it is

Once more you’ve lost track of time

Pursuing one of your eccentric projects

Yet you feel a burst of pride

Seeing that fish design on the present

Instead of the traditional ribbon and bow

Your friend is guaranteed a grin at the sight of it. 

She’s had so few grins of late

Even if every cat’s head will turn

And every human will gawk

To see the fins and sparkling scales

You put it together with sequins and glitter

It’s a gorgeous if unconventional display

Just hold up your head with pride

When you meet your friend at the street café

Focus on her expression

While you hand her the package

Hope the glue will hold the fish

For you had to use quite a lot

Hope that she’ll smile or even laugh

At the sight of your bizarre surprise.

Like my style of writing? Here are buy links to my published works…

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Conversations with Christopher: Danyel (Among Others)

Christopher sinks into the darkness lying deep in the pond, the darkness which absorbs all color. He doesn’t need to breathe. He’s dissolving into the darkness until he becomes part of it. 

There is nothing. No awareness until he opens his eyes. 

He finds himself on the banks of a pond, only this one doesn’t bubble. Floating color drifts across it, but it’s hard to see. It’s hard to see anything past the standing stones which surround the pond and himself, like giant teeth. 

He appears to be on a hilltop. He can catch glimpses of the rolling green valley below dotted with flowers. Or are they rooftops?

It’s hard to see anything in the shadow of the stone. 

Danyel: (his voice swims as if from coming underwater at a far distance) Don’t look at the stone. Look at me instead.

Christopher raises his head, looks around him. There’s no sign of Danyel. Nowhere he could be coming from except the pond. 

He leans over the surface, sparkling with fading light. A patch of green laps over other fading colors. 

Within the green, Christopher can see Danyel sitting at a table with an open book in his head. Are Tayel and Leiwell sitting beside him? Only Danyel is clear to Christopher, Danyel and the book he’s reading. Its title is Beyond the Door. 

Christopher: Are you real? (He pauses to consider his words.) Never mind. That’s a silly question, considering we’re still in the Cauldron.

Danyel: Is it? I was thinking the same thing. I’m reading of one of Ashleigh’s stories in this book to my family. Now I’m having a vision of you at the edge of a pond on top of the hill overlooking our cottage. 

Christopher: I suppose all of this is as real as it seems to be. Or we believe it to be.

Danyel: If that’s true, should you really be comparing those stones around you to teeth? Or imagine yourself in a giant mouth about to close? You might get swallowed along with the pond. (He frowns.) Does that mean my family, my cottage, and I would all be swallowed with you?

Christopher: (looking around uneasily) I hope not. It’s hard, once your imagination takes flight to get it to come down. I shouldn’t allow the stones to be anything more than stones, but now that I’ve compared them to teeth, that mouth is just waiting in my imagination to come up. 

Danyel: (shivering in the image) It’s always a mouth, isn’t it? I mean, there are no standing stones looking down at my cottage, but they exist in the story I’m reading. It’s a tower that’s on top of the hill, but it still feels like a mouth. 

Christopher: A tower?

He gazes at the stones, wondering how this hilltop changed into something so different in Danyel’s world. 

Mossy rock spreads in between each stone, closing Christopher in. The pond and the vision of Danyel vanish. 

Danyel: Christopher!

His voice is cut off. Christopher blinks, eyes adjusting to dim, yellow-green torchlight, flickering from the circular stone walls. He’s facing three tapestries. 

The one on the left depicts a dragon with a woman wrapped in its coils. Or are her many arms and writhing tresses of auburn hair wrapped around the dragon?

The second on the right displays a riot of colors which may be flowers. Only they’ve all been frozen into a state of stillness upon a web.

The third in the center features a slender tiny youth with a fall of shaggy golden hair embracing a beast with many faces; whose appearance changes in the flickering light.

The dragon in the left tapestry speaks in a familar voice, although not one from Christopher’s world. Any of his worlds. 

Prunella (for yes, it is Quartz’s dragon acquaintance from Of Cuckoo Clocks and Crystal Coffins speaking from the weave): Enough of this dream. Others are impatient to let their voices be heard in the Cauldron’s bubbles.

Christopher blinks at the dragon wrapped in what appears to be Duessa Ashelocke’s hair and arms. They gaze back at Christopher with a grave nod of their muzzle. 

Duessa: (her voice comes from the red lips of the woman locked in the dragon’s embrace) Call this enough? It was only starting to get interesting.

Prunella: Don’t entangle your destiny with ours further, Duessa Ashelocke. We come from different worlds, the two of us. 

Duessa: Being entangled is our scribbler’s doing, not mine. Not that I was about to protest.

Christopher: (gazing the dragon in the tapestry) I feel like I’ve seen this image before. Or I will see it. Only you weren’t the dragon in it. 

Prunella: You’re quite observant, Christopher Ashelocke. We’re sorry to interrupt your reverie, but a certain demanding dwarf has things to say. 

Christopher: You mean Quartz. Wasn’t he going to say them next week? During Secondary Characters Speak Out?

Prunella: (with a sigh) Yes, he was.

Duessa: He is truly an impatient one, that dwarf. Interrupting this blog to have you deliver a message, pressuring you to leave your world to do so. Why don’t you stay here with us, Prunella? (She smiles, exposing her fangs.) I’ve never tasted dragon before. I doubt you’ve ever taste the likes of me either. 

Prunella: (hissing, showing their own fangs) A dangerous thing to tempt a dragon, my lady. We foresee you’ll have your taste eventually if you remain bold, but we won’t be doing the tasting. 

Duessa: Such a pity. We’ve gotten so close.

Prunella: You’re a charming predator and no mistake, even if you’re a small one. Do visit our cavern sometime if you should ever wander between worlds. 

Duessa: It’s a dangerous thing to tempt an arachnocrat as well, my dear Prunella. I may take you up on your offer. 

Christopher: (turns blushing from the tapestry) Danyel, I think our conversation is over. I’m not sure if you’re still here. Perhaps your spirit lingers in one of the tapestries, but we’d better leave those two alone. Everyone reading this, I’ll see you again on April 3 for #BloggingFromAZAprilProjects: Character Origins. I’ll be talking about mine during C is for Christopher.

The light around him becomes ever hazier. Christopher flickers as if he was an after image of that haze and disappears. 

Duessa: I won’t be showing up on April 4th. D is for Damian, not Duessa. Never mind that he owes his existence to me.

Prunella: We won’t be returning on April 19th either. P is for Peter, not Prunella. Never mind that we’re older and more enduring than Peter will ever be.

Duessa: We’re bound by the limitations of our scribbler, yet we can exceed them. (offering the dragon a coy smile) Perhaps you could show me how great and enduring you are…

The greenish yellow light make the tapestries, the tower room itself flicker and swim, transforming into haze. Let’s face it, it’s a change of scenery from fading to black…:)=

Did you enjoy my writing and my characters? Want to experience more? You can find buy links for my published works at these places…

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/kstrenten

Nine Star Press Author Page: https://ninestarpress.com/authors/k-s-trenten/

#RainbowSnippets: A Symposium in Space

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday, those participating post and share six sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction on their blogs. It can be their own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs be LGBTQIA+.

To sample these various snippets, go to…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets

For my own, Pausania will let some of her irritation show in A Symposium in Space. This will go a little over six sentences for clarity’s sake…

“Once again, you’re showing your naiveté, your complete lack of any galactic sensibility.” Pausania glanced upward at the ceiling. Perhaps she was asking the ancient goddesses to give her strength. “There’s only one Agathea. No one else can use her name without incurring a fine as epic as her tragedies.” She smacked her slim hand against her forehead. “Next you’ll be calling life givers women.”

“Huh?” I opened and closed my mouth. “Why would I call women life givers?”

Like what you’re reading? Want to read more? Here are buy links…

Nine Star Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product/a-symposium-in-space/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Symposium-Space-Feast-Words-ebook/dp/B07PGB15FY/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3BPACY58MCCMV&keywords=a+symposium+in+space&qid=1552937461&s=digital-text&sprefix=A+Sympo%2Caps%2C239&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130883509?ean=2940161507872

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-symposium-in-space

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/928136

#QueerBlogWed: A Tale of Omphalos

On September 8, 2021, P.T. Wyant posted at ptwyant.com a Wednesday Words prompt involving a test, an appointment, and a nervous habit.

This Tale of Omphalos about a young Leiwell was the result…

Too many times he’d been warned by Map. Don’t climb up the hill. Don’t go near the tower. 

Leiwell hadn’t been trying to disobey her, he truly hadn’t. If only he didn’t feel so drawn to the tower, the hill, the sad and lonely rocks. Leeched of all color.

They’ve forgotten how to scream. A whisper tingled within Leiwell’s ears in a voice similar to his own, yet not his. A presence lurking within him, waiting. Would you teach them to scream once more?

You’re testing me. Everything was a test with the presence. Would Leiwell heed his words? Just what would he do with the insights the voice offered. 

He began to hum under his breath a little tune, unsure where the words came from.

At the end of every tale

Happily Ever After waits

Tests of sorrow might make you weep and wail

In the final scene your sadness abates.”

Do you truly believe that? Believe every word Happily Ever After tells you at the end? The voice grew a little louder, more distinct. Yes, it was a younger man with a melodious, yet sarcastic voice. The sarcasm gave his words a seductive sharpness. Somehow you’ll awaken the stones, teach them how to sing instead of scream? Do you believe they’ll be grateful for your concern?

Leiwell shivered. Why wouldn’t they be grateful? I was. 

Grateful to be alive, to look into his master’s eyes. To awaken from a dream and to walk in this garden, smelling the roses. Such a lovely fragrance. They could lull you in with their beauty, drawing close before you felt the sharp prick of their thorns. Drawing your blood, spilling it. 

Leiwell tugged at his earlobe. Map called it a “nervous habit”. Something you did when you were anxious. 

The sarcastic voice made him anxious. This walk made him anxious. The shadow looming over him from the gazebo covered with roses made him anxious.

Something about this spot made his chest ache as much as the tower’s stones did. 

He closed his eyes. 

For a moment he saw a slender boy of surpassing beauty, tendrils of coppery golden hair kissing his cheeks and the nape of his neck while he tilted his head back to watch the sky with a tranquil fascination Leiwell understood instantly. 

This boy was also newborn from shadow. 

The slender youth turned his head, fixing eyes filled with blue, violet, purple, rose, and silver, shifting and changing even as the clouds overhead shifted and changed. The strange boy stood apart from the flowers.

They’d wither and die if he got too close, breathed on them as you did. He’s more of a shadow than you, yet too tender-hearted to let that happen. 

“This is one of your memories.” Leiwell opened his eyes. The boy was no longer there if he’d ever been. “He is your memory ghost.”

Well done. You’ve passed the test. Sorrow warred with sarcasm in the voice. You’re in the time and place where I had an appointment with him. Or you were.

“Who was he?” Leiwell asked out loud, swallowing the lump in his throat. How hot and dry his eyes felt. 

Are you curious? Find out for yourself. Yes, there was definitely sadness in that voice. Find him. 

Leiwell wasn’t sure if he liked the owner of this voice. He certainly didn’t trust him. Right now he felt sorry for him. Whomever the voice belonged to. 

He stepped out of the gazebo’s shadow, moving to exactly where the boy had stood. 

The ground shifted. The open sky over his head became a painted one filled with scantily-clad angels. Or were they gods?

Leiwell looked down at the marble pillars below the ceiling, towering over him. Some were white, some were a delicate rose hue. 

Where was he? There were more paintings upon the wall all around him. Chaotic visions of sky and storm dominated them. A slender figure stood at the center, indistinct. He might have been a boy, the same memory ghost Leiwell just saw. The figure stood on a path. 

Or were they just splotches of paint, bordered by a golden frame of flowers, leaves, and bones?

“Leiwell.” The melodious deep voice like crushed velvet stopped Leiwell where he stood, blinking in confusion. “Have you ripened this much already?”

Something in his chest and loions awakened, crying out. Bringing memories of spray, sweat, and taut stomach muscles. Memories of his master, but were they Leiwell’s memories?

He turned to face a man he wasn’t even sure was real. 

His master stood straight and tall in a midnight green silk robe which explosed his flat, hairless chest. Moon pale hair fell over his shoulders, framing a face with a strong chin and full lips never touched by the shadow of a beard. Eyes as clear and crystalline as ice hit by a hesitant morning sun gazed him, capturing Leiwell in their reflection. 

Beautiful. Leiwell found his lips shaping the words while he sank to one knee. His master inspired that kind of awe. 

“Rise, my blossoming beauty.” A cool hand touched his face, lifting it. “You surpass my expectations once more, coming to me on your own.”

“I thought you would find me.” Leiwell felt relief wash over him, out his eyes. “You waited for me to find you.”

“I have no intention of wasting your potential the way my master wasted mine.” His master smiled down at him with hungry tenderness. “How do you like this place?”

He reached for Leiwell’s other hand, raising him to his feet. The boy turned, gazing at the hall of paintings. 

“I’m not sure,” he murmured. “It’s beautiful. He’s beautiful. I’m not sure how I like…any of it.”

“You’re wise to show such caution when exposed to the place.” Dyvian guided Leiwell by the hand. “This hall belonged to a great lord once upon a time. It lives on because of me.” He chuckled a bit. “I suppose I am the lord of this place now.”

“My lord?” Leiwell tasted the words. They felt apt for his master in this place. “Is this a palace like in stories?”

“Exactly like in stories.” His master smiled down at Leiwell. “Like a prince in a story, I mean to take care of you and those you love. All I’ll require in return is your company and service each night.” 

“Each night?” Leiwell shivered a bit in anticipation. “What do you wish of me?”

“Nothing improper. At least not conventially improper. Nothing you need to be ashamed of, but it does need to be secret.” His master took a step back, giving him space. “Think about it.”

“Think about what?” Leiwell took a step forward, found himself swaying. The marble pillars, the paintings, and his master all disappeared. 

He was back in the garden, gazing up at the sky. Uncertain if what happened was real or not. 

Get used to it. The sarcastic voice, silent in his master’s presence, spoke once more. Your existence is tenuous. You may not be able to ground yourself long enough to stay in one place. 

Maybe not. Being tenuous was worth it if Leiwell got to see his master again. Even if it was only in a dream, a vision, or a memory ghost? 

No. His master had spoken to him, Leiwell. He’d called him by name. He’d offered to take care of Leiwell’s entire family in return for Leiwell’s service. 

Only what did that involve? Why was it secret? 

Leiwell shivered, uncertain why.

Like my style of writing? Want to read more? Here are buy links to my published works…

http://www.amazon.com/author/kstrenten

Conversations with Christopher: Danyel and Tayel

Christopher wades into the warm water, bubbling with color, trees casting their shadows overhead. His clothes disappear, leaving him naked and pale. Vulnerable to the lapping colors, the kiss of giggling bubbles. 

Images, flashes of memory and thought touch him, but the cramping pain at the center of being distracted him from everything. He needs to expel something trapped with his being, something seeking life of its own, a chance to grow. All the frustrated questions; all the answers he wishes he didn’t know gather in a painful knot. 

The trees overhead, the whispering shadows, even the gurgles of the pond retreat in the face of this pain, this frustration. He needs to push it out of himself. He concentrates, gritting his teeth, tears running down his face and shoves. 

Release finally comes. He forces the knot out of himself into the water, crying and helpless; a floating mass of green and blue. 

Is this the result of his conversation with Ashleigh? The rebirth she spoke of?

The green and blue mass separate reluctantly, becoming two distinct bubbles. They rise to the surface of the pond. 

Christopher: Stop. I don’t want you to rise. I don’t want you to pop.

The Green Bubble: (a voice like Danyel’s floats up from it into the air) Why not? Why should we be any different than the other bubbles?

The Blue Bubble: (speaking in a voice like Tayel’s) In order to exist, we must rise. Popping is the price of existence. 

The two bubbles escape from the top of the water to float in the air around Christopher, a warm green bubble with a touch of blue and a cool blue bubble with a slightly greenish cast. 

If Christopher looks closely he can almost see Danyel, peeking out curiously from within the green bubble, hands pressed against the inside. He can also see Tayel, almost Danyel’s exact likeness except for the gleaming silver in his eyes, keeping his eyelids half-closed, golden waves of hair falling forward to obscure his keen gaze. 

Danyel: (for Christopher cannot help but think of the green bubble as Danyel) Is this where we were born? Were we impulses you gave birth to, Christopher? 

Tayel: (the blue bubble is now Tayel as far Christopher is concerned) Don’t ask. Don’t spoil the story. Let the mystery simmer. 

Christopher: (frowns) Does this mean Ashleigh is your mother and I’m your father? No, that’s not right. Does this mean that Ashleigh is your father and I’m your mother? (He frowns even more.) No, that’s not right either. That’s not how I feel. Not entirely. 

Tayel: Pieces of truth do not make a whole. 

Danyel: I’ve often wondered the same thing. Map is our mother. Leiwell is our brother. How did we come to live with them in the Old Cottage? Just where did we come from?

Tayel: Born of shadow, our hold on reality is tenuous. 

Christopher: Tenuous, yes. You hold onto Map and Leiwell like I hold onto Damian and Gabrielle. Otherwise you might slip back into shadow. Like me. 

Danyel: I’ve always felt close to you, Christopher. You seem so ancient and wise, a fountain of power I could draw strength from, yet you’re so fragile. In protecting you, I protect myself. 

Tayel: Hungry darkness wearing a compelling mask of innocence you’ve made part of yourself. I fear you, mistrust you, yet you give me hope. 

Christopher: Thank you. You make me feel less alone. 

Danyel: I’m terrified of your loneliness, Christopher. You could swallow me whole, swallow us both whole when you’re lonely. I fear I might let you swallow me if I shared that loneliness. 

Tayel: Hunger comes from emptiness, feeding a need to take back what you given. Perhaps it’s your right, but I don’t wish to give up the gift. 

Christopher: Fair enough. (He sighs, closes his eyes, and allows himself to sink below the water’s surface.)

Down, down Christopher goes, a shining pale figure amongst the darkening colors losing their light. Flashes of memory dreamers leave behind, never knowing what they’re leaving twinkle, illuminating his way. 

The green bubble begins to cry and pops, falling in a verdure shower upon the pond’s surface. 

The blue bubble trembles and pops as well, dissolving into cerulean tears which mingle with the green. 

Like my style of writing? Want to read more? Here are buy links to my published works…

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/kstrenten

Nine Star Press Author Page: https://ninestarpress.com/authors/k-s-trenten/

#RainbowSnippets: A Symposium in Space

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday those participating post and share six sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction on their blogs. It can be their own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to LGBTQIA+.

Want to sample different LGBTQIA+ stories? Go to…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets

For my own, Phaedra is about to fan-gasm after hearing the name of Agathea in A Symposium in Space…🙂

I swallowed at hearing her name.

Agathea was one of the wealthiest, most prominent citizens of the Intergalactic Democracy. One who could arrange to have my poems broadcast over the biggest billboards that glowed in major cities on major planets. 

 “The Agathea?” I asked for clarity. “The third-time winner of the Tragedy award? The one who funds and owns most worlds’ rights to the image of Aphrodite?”

Just what is all the fuss about? Want to find out? Here are buy links to A Symposium in Space…

Nine Star Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product/a-symposium-in-space/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Symposium-Space-Feast-Words-ebook/dp/B07PGB15FY/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3BPACY58MCCMV&keywords=a+symposium+in+space&qid=1552937461&s=digital-text&sprefix=A+Sympo%2Caps%2C239&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130883509?ean=2940161507872

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-symposium-in-space

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/928136

#QueerBlogWed: A Tale of the Navel

On September 22, 2021, P.T. Wyant posted at ptwyant.com a Wednesday Words prompt involving balanced scales, a schedule, and a hard decision.

This Tale of the Navel was the result…

The Navel had a schedule even if it was hard for even Gabrielle to predict. 

Deliveries were made in the morning. She was careful to send Christopher out when they arrived. Not that she ever thought he would interfere with the deliveries. Not intentionally. Madam Journey was wary, however, of ‘Brie’s adopted “son” while Map got tears in her eyes whenever she looked at him. 

Neither of them would complain, but Gabrielle didn’t want to cause them distress. Nor did she want to pass that distress along to Christopher. 

“Everything in life can be weighed in balanced scales,” Rafaella had once told her. “This is how we can measure someone’s prayers. This is how we judge someone as a while. When one side or the other tips, it’s our duty to bring them back into balance.”

Ah, but it had been hard, judging someone. It weighed on the judge as much as those being judged. The impartiality Rafaella extolled again and again as ideal constantly eluded Gabrielle. 

This was why she’d left the Temple of Heavenly Directions to wander the world, free and weightless. ‘Brie hadn’t stopped wandering until she found the Navel. 

It was so much easier, returning the trinkets which appeared in the shop to those who needed them, making someone whole again. Or at least more complete. A small, simple good deed. Something which helped people far more than judgment.

“You’re a coward.” Curious how Rafaella and Damian had said the same thing. “You fear your own power. You fear the consequences of using it.”

“And you don’t fear it enough.” How often had she made this retort to both of them? In so many different ways, using different words? “Our power can destroy a person’s life, plunging their path into darkness. Or blinding them with our light, so they’re incapable of finding their own way. We trifle with them so easily. Too easily.”

“We wouldn’t have this power if we weren’t meant to use it.” Both Rafaella and Damian had said this, too. In so many different ways, using different words. “You’re not using your gifts. You’re wasting them.”

“No, I’m not,” she muttered, trying to silence the voices of self-doubt. Too easily would it become a chorus. “I’m helping people at the Navel. That’s not a waste.”

“Are you really?” 

Rafaella rested her chin on her hands to regard her protégé from the pew at which she knelt. 

Damian crossed his arms, leaning against the Navel’s counter with a sardonic smile. 

The two visions overlapped in Gabrielle’s sight, becoming one, speaking with one voice. “How many more could you save if you stretched your wings? Gave everyone, including yourself, some direction?”

She didn’t know. This was why she couldn’t quell the voices, even though she wanted to stay where she was. Needed to. 

“I’m waiting.” She wasn’t sure what prompted those words. “I’m uncertain for what or who. Until the answer walks through my door, the Navel is my direction.”

The voices were silent. In the end they didn’t have a comeback for this. 

Not even Gabrielle. She was still waiting for the final answer, her own judgment. 

Until that day, she’d continue to help the others who came to the Navel, the ones who weren’t anyone’s final answers. The ones who’d lost their way and wished to find it themselves. 

Guiding was far more satisfying than directing. 

Like my style of writing? Want to read more? Here are buy links to my published works…

http://www.amazon.com/author/kstrenten