The Serenity of the Moon

Photo by Luca on Unsplash

“It washes across you like a mother’s first kiss. You don’t remember the sensation, but it’s always been there. That tactile moment of skin on skin, of what was within being without. There’s nothing more magical.”
He waved away the horseman and drew his guest further into the fields. Tall and dark, only his flashing, bright eyes proved him there, unlike his guest, who wore scarlet. He assisted her over a small, uneven fence, the poorest of barriers, and led her on by the arm. He renewed his soliloquy as though never having missed a beat, he the actor and she his audience.
“No words written or spoken may explain nor surpass it. No other feeling comes close. This is the bliss of a perfect night. Alas, you only truly remember the last.” He turned away as though moved by his own words, a shadow within a shadow within a dream.
She spoke for the first time, light and hopeful. “And tonight, my love?” The girl shook out her usually ink-black hair to a deluge of silver, so bright was the moonlight, batted long lashes the same.
“More than any.”
She took him in all his brooding majesty. And despite his obvious melancholy, an almost perpetual predilection, and how the moonlight shied away from his form, she smiled a smile of utter contentment, of getting just what she wanted and when. “I think I’ve waited long enough.”
“Yes, my dear. I believe you have.”
The two nestled down in a quicksilver ocean of rippling grasses, disappearing beneath those unusual waves like breaching whales bound for an ultramarine abyss. Neither the hooting owl nor the gathering wind disturbed them. Not a watching ghost disrupted their repose.
Time passed.
#
It was many hours before they resurfaced, one head at a time, eyes rubbed awake and blinking. She of the waist-length hair came first and him second. The moon had barely moved, giving no evidence of time having altered, as though hung there by some invisible cosmic thread. The stars surrounded it still like a celestial shawl. Those ebony spaces between them engulfed the rest.
And so it was her amber eyes wandered, whilst his remained on her. Up they rose, higher and higher, defiant against both nebulae and shooting stars alike. Her head cocked to one side like an inquisitive robin, a look her outfit enhanced. She grinned as the moon winked daggers.
Secure in his gaze, she reached into her jacket and pulled out a tortoiseshell comb. There, beneath infinity, she brushed out that which marked her beauty, defiant in her belief that to him, at least, she rivalled the eternal night.
“Do you bring many women here?”
“Not here.”
“Then, I am the first?”
“Beneath this moon, at this time, and this place, yes.”
“I’m honoured. You, so privileged and dashing, might have chosen any woman.”
“Just any woman wouldn’t do.”
Her cheeks glowed a crimson to rival her dress. “Do you think we might return here every evening? Beneath this same moon? This same space?”
“We need never leave.”
“Good,” she said. “Though I am a little hungry.”
“As am I.”
He leant in close, closer, closer still.
Her heart beat like a moth’s wings, fast and silent.
The night breathed long and deep.
His lips met her neck and kept on going. Strong hands pinned her arms as his mouth bit deep. It was soon over.
The fields kept rippling as the moon shone brighter, and a man who’d seen more than he ought, wept.
Time stalled.
#
When his anguish seemed inconsolable, he stopped, as though God had suddenly dammed his eyes. He licked stained lips.
“I shall bury you, my love, as I have them all.”
He used his hands to scoop the soft earth from the ground, powerful arms to drive them. He excavated more soil in a minute than a dozen gravediggers might shift in a week.
Once finished, he stepped back. Looked down. Sighed. The hole stood not empty, but full. It brimmed with sloshing moonlight.
The man removed his jacket, ancient in its styling, bursting with brocade and lace. Next came his shirt revealing a milk-white torso, then his shoes and britches. He lowered himself into the hole-made-grave and, a second later, was gone.
One might have feared for the fellow then, but he had other ideas. Rising from those false, silver waters, he lifted the one whose life he’d taken and lowered her gently into the pit. He spoke as though in a trance.
“I shall make right what fate corrupted by sacrificial blood and flesh. For this, I thank you. Truly, yours was a gift. Thanks to you, I endure, not in hate or violence, but nocturnal bliss. Thanks to you, my dear. Yes, thanks to you. And I say this with a sincerity others would claim absent, I loved you. For a time, I have loved you all. But nothing, nothing, my love, rivals the serenity of the moon.”
Time pooled.

The End.


Thank you for reading

Richard

November Mists

November mists descend as a widow’s shawl

The Summer long gone, hidden

Tossing aside the fallen leaves

Snapping branches heavy with sorrow

Easing flocks into the sky, departing

Securing the waters to prevent their return

This is how Winter arrives uninvited, unannounced

Emerging from beyond this gloom

From Gaia’s last deep, clearing breath

And a possible sparkling future

It is welcomed in an unwelcoming way

Postponed only by our own interventions

The Cellist

Photo by Tanya Trofymchuk on Unsplash

The Cellist

There’s something about the cello that ruins the soul. It’s as if whoever first built one had fallen from grace, and in so doing, torn their heart from their chest and strung it from ear to toe. Before bleeding into the land, into history, into nothingness, they’d picked up a twig and begun to play. Death was not an option. Only a life of unending sorrow remained.


I recite this story to my secretary as I sit here and play. The notes rise and fall with her breaths. My fingers rest only when she blinks. I pour my everything into this most personal performance, not to impress, but to explain.


She smiles when I desperately wish her to weep.


Thank you for reading

Richard

This Dark Tide

image courtesy of Lester Salmins on Unsplash.com

This Dark Tide

I concentrate, close tired eyes, breathe

Feel the air enter sinuses all of a rush

Surge down my throat like the North Wind a gorge

Pool in otherwise forgotten lungs like stagnant water

The accompanying rise and fall lifts a grumbling gut

Expands a chest with pigeonesque pomposity

It’s all fake, but proves I’m alive until sliding away

A moment. A dream. A thought. An almost.

This dark tide has infiltrated troubled shores

Revealed only by a spotlight moon, an inner eye, and sent scurrying

The clouds soon regather and it begins anew

This is the way, the looping thrum of existence

And I wonder: Is this really life

Unsavoury Games

Photo by Radu Florin on Unsplash

Unsavoury Games

The Look

There was something unsavoury about her smile, an unavoidable diagnosis of disgust. Whilst she revelled in self-centred superiority, the world might’ve burned. The others played on.

The Feel

She felt wrong. The whole thing felt wrong. As if having swallowed a live worm when expecting a jellied one, she wriggled within. I’d have wretched, but she was watching.

The Fact

She’d done nothing other than sit there politely minding her own business. I hadn’t sought her, nor looked upon her by any other reason than an accident. She happened upon me. This was the simple truth.

The Result

Evasion proved the smarter side of valour. I slipped away to another table like a furtive rat, eager for some space and a place to breathe. She followed. Why the hell had I chosen this casino?

The Game

She sat and asked the time. I made a point of looking at her watch, but she ignored it. I gave her the correct hour but added twenty minutes. She laughed a crescendo.

The Cost

I woke to an empty bed and an emptier wallet. She was long gone. I wasn’t annoyed, though. I blamed myself. She enjoyed her games, always had. I savoured them, too, once, but less so after we married.

THE END

Thank you for reading

Richard

Forgetting to Breathe

Stunning Image courtesy of Daniel Jensen: Unsplash.com

On nights when the moon shines brightly and the moonbeams swallow my every exhalation, I pretend. Never for long. Never forever. I imagine myself with her of the dark swirling shawls and alabaster features, the one who’ll love me forever. I smile and close my eyes, but I always wake.
She’s the one at the end of a heartbeat, the girl with hollowed-out eyes. She’s eternity in a sweeping, celestial moment, forgotten to most, but never to me.
I’ll know her when the others falter. As millions tumble into abyssal pits or spiral in updrafts the opposite way, I’ll cling to the cliffs like an eagle, fractured granite marking my way. My free hand will reach out and she’ll take it in her bones for fingers. She has to! She must! And I’ll let go without hesitation, the already cold blood in my veins burning a hello.
“Take me,” I’ll plead.
“You’re already there,” she’ll whisper.
And I’ll smile, sing, pass on without protestation. I will, my friends. For life is the dream and death the reality. How I hate not forgetting to breathe.

The End


Thank you for reading

Richard