My Midnight

Author’s Note: This is a story I wrote some time ago. It was written for a specific theme that I don’t suppose will ever return, so I thought I’d post it for you. I hope you enjoy it.


Image Courtesy Trevor McKinnon Unsplash.com

She bathed in the waters of the midnight sea unlit by the vibrant moon. Mysterious in her dark allure, she radiated a misting shade far beyond that of the night. An ebony presence outlined by rivulets of flowing stars, her slender figure slipped through the surf in silence. Even the sea gods shied from touching so divine a darkness. Her purity demanded it.

Almost spectral in those quiet hours, I observed her from behind the sand dunes. She gave no acknowledgement of my presence, or any other, so there I remained unable to tear my eyes from such exquisite a form. She made slow passage through the shallows taking her time as though savoring every delicious moment. I prayed she did it to tease me; a wishful fantasy. Unhurried, she passed my hiding place in slow, undulating strokes, fearless of those creatures that lurked near the ocean boundaries. Then again, why need she, the night was she and she the night.

And so it was I lingered on her horizon as I did each night since first spying her. Drawn to her elemental majesty, I watched from so near, yet so far. However long I dallied it seemed never enough and always over too soon. Time can play tricks on a person in such situations. How I yearned above all else to hold, kiss, love her; tell her I watched over her. But I could not. The coward in me prevented it and the coward within that proved too scared to speak up.

And so it was I made my peace in being content to look but not touch, listen but not speak. Still, what I wouldn’t have given to see her eyes just once. It would have been worth the risk to know the color of perfection, would it not? The same question every night. I must have asked it myriad times from dusk to dawn and back again. There was never an answer to quench my thirst for her.

Time moved slower than usual, or so I imagined. The October moon hovered in an obsidian sky, a diamond set upon a ring of night, and never once looked like descending. The silver orb cast its light upon the ocean, but could not touch she. That saddened me. Such beauty deserved so divine a spotlight more than any soul I had known. And so in a moment I would eternally regret, I revealed myself. Shattered, our tryst lay in tatters.

No sooner did I rise from my eastern berth like a dawning sun, at first slow just peeking above the dunes, then faster ever rising, did she depart. In a haze of smudged charcoals where the pair of us collided as sea mist, then fog, she vanished. My heart felt ripped from its all too mortal cage.

Cursed to never know the one soul I wished, I paced the dawn beach ashamed of my timidity. By the time the tide had swallowed her damp footprints, I had forgotten her. Or so I told myself. By night those thoughts would change.

Once again my midnight would consume me, and the heartache would begin anew. For I, a lowly fisherman did not deserve a goddess for a bride, though I hoped. If I could have talked to her, held her in a tender embrace, then perhaps she would’ve known and wanted me. Perhaps? Sometimes, I thought she already did. Sometimes, but not often.

The End


Thank you for reading

Richard

Richard M. Ankers

Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.

Advertisement

Within

Courtesy Axel Eres on Unsplash.com
Courtesy Axel Eres on Unsplash.com

The ghosts ate the sky first.
As albino Swallows, they nibbled and swooped, munched and slurped. They spared nothing. Like strands of candy floss pulled from the whole, the ghosts sucked them away. For a time, the sky couldn’t have been clearer.
We watched mouths agape, eyes rubbed raw, minds flittering in disbelief. The cleansed sky grew brighter with each passing, shining in sapphire, glittering in gold. I liked how it sparkled just before they ate the sun. I’d seen rainbows give their all and then disappear, fill the atmosphere with hope and beauty and dreams before shattering them, but I’d never seen it with the sun. No one had.
They took the moon before it breached the mountains, sucking it up like spilt milk. The stars never stood a chance.
We prayed in small, circular groups. The eldest told us to shut our eyes, but I suspected them scared. It was an excuse, a white lie told for their benefit, not ours. So, I set my vision on one of them, less a bird now and more a blanket, and that’s where it remained.
It was odd following the ghost’s haphazard movements. One might have thought it blown, or tugged like a kite, but neither explained its ability to travel wherever it wished. I envied it if truth be told. I wanted to roam the air. And then suddenly, I did not.
They dove as a luminesce squadron. Perhaps it was their insatiable hunger, perhaps not, but the ghosts required new sustenance, and we were it.
They took the men first and the odd large woman. Their mouths yawned wide like aerial whales, and we were their oversized plankton. People fought back, but to no avail. They swiped and bashed and kicked and screamed, but all ended up in the same place: Within.
The children held their parents until the last seconds of their adult lives. Some lost their hands they gripped so tightly. The rest of us ran.
Some ascended, others descended, whilst I hid in plain sight. Actually, that’s not entirely true.
I ran inside, petrified. Up the stairs I hurtled, and through my bedroom door. My mind relaxed for an instant. I stumbled, fell, got entwined in my sheets. There I lay, gasping.
Coincidence ushered them in at that moment, sweeping through the windows, pouring through the doors. I quaked. My teeth chattered. The ghosts saw and heard nothing.
They left when they realised the house empty, and I breathed again.
It took several hours to muster the courage to step outside, and even then, only long after the screaming stopped. I wished I’d stayed inside.
There was nothing: no mountains, woods, or cities; no rocks, trees, or grass. The lake was as empty as my stomach, and the distant ocean roared no more. I was alone. Well, almost alone.
They hovered and stood and lounged and lay, everywhere and nowhere, up, down and all around. Their job was done. But what was mine?
In a moment of divine inspiration, I approached them.
Hello, I said, though not a sound came out.
The ghost nodded, or dipped, or wavered.
Why?
If it was its head, the ghost cocked it, or slumped like a half-empty bag of coal.
Why not me? I said. It was the bravest thing I’d said since, Stop!
A void opened where a mouth ought to have been. The ghost attempted to form words. It failed.
And I thought I might never know why I alone survived humanity’s cleansing.
I slipped out of the sheet and cast it aside. Not one ghost gave me a second look.
Kill me. I don’t want to be the last.
My desperate eyes slipped to the ground like April rain, and there written in the dust were the words:You’re already dead.
I knew they were right, had for a long time. But when you play and sleep and act human, as I did the night he hit her and I stepped in-between, then you almost convince yourself you are. Almost.
It was then that she came for me. I’d have known her anywhere.
It was all for me, but was it in my head, delusions of a spectral brain? Who knew? Who cared! She was there and that’s all that mattered.
I realised the ghosts had never taken us within, but me that had stepped outside.

The End.


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.

Beyond the Places We Dream

Courtesy Ameer Basheer Unsplash.com
Courtesy Ameer Basheer Unsplash.com

The lure of the darkness draws this moth to its moonlight eclipse. There is no room for silver in a shadow’s imagination. There is no need for light where I must travel.

The caverns ring with the sounds of the damned and their children: Is this the silence she promised? I think not.

Onwards, I press. Deeper, I probe.
She sits on an obsidian throne, shrouded by glimmering mists. Like a Black Widow on her web.

“You came,” she coerces.

“How could I not?”

There is a dream beyond the wild places, beyond the oceans, the dead, and their dreams. There, I sit beside an eternal, praying for endings, but living the dream. The question is as it always was: Whose?


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.

Available Now!
Available Now!

Published on Spillwords

I’m proud and pleased to have had my first piece of writing published on Spillwords.com.

Spillwords is a wonderful place for both readers and writers to overindulge on quality stories, poetry and more, and I highly recommend it.

My short fiction post titled ‘This Frost Upon Me‘ goes live today. I hope to publish many more there.

Do wander across via the link and have a good look around.

Thank you for reading

Richard

Un-Blue


Photo by Silas Baisch on Unsplash

Her eyes were the colour of the open sea, transitioning from calm to storm, rippling in sargasso blue, almost indigo, deep and dark, yet tepid. This changed as she changed. Her demeanour ignited. The calm still of the soul she hid so well rippled into being. Those waters that were her eyes pulsed a cerulean mirage. She brooded. I gulped.

Seconds became minutes became more, or so it seemed, and the storm she’d often threatened whirled a maelstrom of frothing cobalt. Hurricane winds tore at her kelp fields for lashes. All the energies of all the seas manifested as a single violent ocean. She churned. I feared.

The abyssal depths had nothing on her, as she exploded in ultramarine, a devastating tsunami. The tears poured forth not from sorrow, but absolute rage. Her world was my world, one of liquid purification. She laughed as I wept, as I fell, as I dreamed a torrent of lies.

I awoke to a strange sensation of bobbing, and her calm again cyan orbs.

“Sorry,” I murmured.

“I know,” she breezed and leant in closer.

She pressed. I dipped beneath the waves. The blue faded to something darker.


The drowning didn’t kill me, just the reality of my foolishness: Her eyes had never been blue, but as black as her cold, dead heart.

The End


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.

The Blackbird Sings

Photo by Andrea Tummons on Unsplash

I wake. I weep. My blackbird alarm clock chirps all the louder, only adding to this hell. 

I dress. I fall. The belt I wrap twice about me fails to secure. Will I ever learn!

I eat. I drink. The race to the toilet is a mismatch, and I’m the loser. 

I dress… partly. For once, I use my head and don’t bother with pants. Take that fate! Yeah, take that.

I mow. I rake. Several women and a few giggling schoolgirls shout or point or scream or jeer.

I work. I slave. There’s always a distraction, but never a distraction enough. 

I avoid. I blur. My beat-up Volvo hovers on the periphery, catching the light in concave shadows and rusting browns. 

I vacate. I climb. The shower beckons a sweat-stealing pleasure. But I don’t deserve pleasure, so head to my room, instead. 

I undress. I collapse. My eyes close like shutters this evening, midnight filling the void. 

I dream. I scream. They are here, as always, unblemished by blood or glass or broken bones, or my drunken incompetence. 

I hope. I pray. Perhaps this time that blackbird named Death will let me die in peace. 

Chirrup! Chirrup! No release today. 


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.

50 Word Stories: Plain Bad

Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash
Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash

Grinning, she toasted his death, then smashed the bottle over his head.
They locked her away, called her mad. She was mad, but not without reason.
Seventeen years later, and release. She went straight to his grave and did a jig. The police were waiting. They each shook her hand.


Thank you for reading
Richard

50 Word Stories: Unfortunate Times

Image courtesy Zoe Holling on Unsplash.com

It was an unfortunate situation, she and I, an overlong affair. We had our good times, or hours, or first moments, which were longer than most. I should have counted myself lucky, really. Honestly, I should. But I didn’t, and neither did she. Shame! After all, she was my mother.


Thank you for reading

Richard