Sweet Solace

Soothing of the mind
The dusk blending to twilight 
Midnight in waiting


Thank you for reading
Richard

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The Night

Photo by Nick Owuor (astro.nic.visuals)
Photo by Nick Owuor (astro.nic.visuals)

Jonny scowled at the onrushing dusk and the miserable old uncle his wife had lumbered him with. The day had almost gone. He tried the philosophical method first, knowing the miserable uncle as he did.

“The night’s an empty, unwelcoming place, Uncle Frank, full of nothing and proud of it. There’s no colour, no warmth, no proof of life. It’s like it’s not even trying. Give me the sun any day of the week.”

Nothing.

Jonny sighed. “Anyhoo, the party’s moved indoors. Janine sent me to fetch you. ”

The uncle said not a word.

“Not coming? It is for you, you know! Oh well, suit yourself.” Jonny spun on his heels and headed back into the party tent, frustrated that Frank hadn’t even raised his ancient head.

Old Uncle Frank was alone with only his thoughts. He watched the sun singe the horizon before disappearing in a charcoal puff of smoke. Soon, the stars appeared, and then the moon. The night blazed a celestial welcome. And even though the party continued, louder if anything, he raised his craggy face and smiled.

“The night is all those things and more, my young friend. And we can all thank God for that.”


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.
Also Available:
The Eternals Series: The Eternals / Hunter Hunted / Into Eternity

Destiny?

Image courtesy Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash.com
Image courtesy Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash.com

destiny displayed
in a glistening dewdrop
until made vapour


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.
Also Available:
The Eternals Series: The Eternals / Hunter Hunted / Into Eternity

Raindrops, We Circulate in

Image courtesy reza shayestehpour on Unsplash.com
Image courtesy reza shayestehpour on Unsplash.com

Water

💧

Wash this life away
In liquidated atoms

Submerge

💦

And swim as others
Laugh as others

🌊

Bubble

☁️

Mouth agape and smiling
Sleeping in aquamarine

☔️

Nirvana

💦

An abyssal dispersement
Of another’s fluid dream

🌧

Rain

💧

The cycle renews
Whether wanted or not

🌏


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.
Also Available:
The Eternals Series: The Eternals / Hunter Hunted / Into Eternity

Magenta Moments

Photo by Joey Nicotra on Unsplash
Photo by Joey Nicotra on Unsplash

The fade from dusk to permanent night passed in shades of doom. I deserved every bit of darkness, most men do, but was ever thankful for the moments before. I think it was a gift, a final farewell, an ‘at-least-he tried.’ And I did in my own way.

I had waited in my bed with the curtains flung wide. The window glass was dirtier than I would have liked, smudges like spectres haunting the pane, unmoving, critical of all I’d done. Yet, these questionable fractions of a life made torrid departed as the sun failed to illuminate them, blending into the background as I had for all my eighty years.

There’s a pivot, a hinging of self, when you realise, it will happen to you, it won’t last. All those years of pretending Death a visitor to others, slumped. Reality hit. An unorthodox life — a good word that, I always thought — for an otherwise pointless existence, was over. I gritted my teeth, said I was ready, glad to go. I was neither.

This moment came at ten o-clock one September evening as a bat whizzed past the glass, looped in a fluttering, flittering arc and came to rest on the outside ledge. It stood there on two legs like the world’s ugliest doll.

I squinted like the old fool I was, as if in doing so, the bat would disappear. But it didn’t disappear, not yet, anyway. The leathery creature tapped a tiny claw upon the glass to a perfect percussion, and then waved its almost transparent wing like a thrown shroud. I’d have ducked if I’d had the energy.

I was a skeptic and always had been. Omens were for others, and fate didn’t apply. I was beyond such things. People told of the ridiculous to bring false amazement to their otherwise inept existences. And, yet, here I was with such a story to tell, with no time to tell it and no one to hear it screamed.

The bat grinned as I shook my head, and then flew away.

I was a goner. I was about to meet my maker, or his darker self, if I was realistic. Bats did not do what the little one had, and chests only felt this much pain before they burst.

I contemplated pulling the telephone closer, stabbing those three particular numbers in an effort to save my skin, but instead, pushed it off the sideboard.

I settled into my pillows as best I might and watched the last light fade.

Everyone knew that dusk came in grey and left in black. There was no reason for any different. Still, I wanted to die with my eyes open. Closing them would give whoever found me something to do.

There was a mountain in the distance and a forest I couldn’t see. I imagined it all spiky haired spruces and pines, all ancient oaks and weeping willows.

That’s when the tears came. All the years I’d lived there, or rather inhabited the place, as I never really lived anywhere, and I’d never walked among them. What a pity. What a waste.

Every saline drop hurt to shed. Every slug-like trail stung my skin. Until it didn’t.

I woke with a start and a stab to the chest.

I was still in my bed and, if judged by the rasping breaths ghosting across my bedroom, alive. And yet…

Magenta moonbeams blazed from outside, filling my room with unnatural light. The night cringed at its brilliance, as did I. All those things, all those bits and pieces of paraphernalia accumulated in a tedious lifetime, be they sat upon shelves, the carpet where I’d kicked them, even the posters on the wall, shone in that rarest of colours. Not red. Not purple. A brilliance somewhere between what was never really seen in real life, yet everyone knew. This magenta moment was mine and mine alone. It was my colour. It was my gift.

I smiled.

I waved.

There was no reason for it other than unadulterated joy. The magenta light pooled in my eyes, coursed into my open mouth and into my lungs, streamed around my veins. There were no golds, no blacks, no lava reds, none of those colours associated with the world beyond. There was only magenta. There was only me.

They came through that bruise in forever, all those I’d known. They came because in age and befuddlement I’d forgotten, twisted, corrupted a life well-lived. I was never worthless, dangerous, useless or the rest, just long-lived, too long for the rest of them. There was my father, mother, brother and sister, too. Rebecca was laughing; she always laughed. There were classmates and colleagues, brothers in arms, sharers of medals and more. And somewhere at the back, there was you, Alice.

She wore magenta lipstick, my Alice. It accentuated her lips, distracted others from the beauty that was the rest of her. But not me. Not ever. I’d remembered it until the day I died. Just like I promised.

The End


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.
Also Available:
The Eternals Series: The Eternals / Hunter Hunted / Into Eternity

Only

Image by me
Image by me

Only in sadness is happiness found.

Only in melancholy is there a shift to peace.

Only when the ravens bow is life acknowledge.

Only at midnight do we cease to die.

Why?

Only time will tell, and only if we listen.


Thank you for reading
Richard

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

Raven

allef-vinicius-XRLjA9Qq65Y-unsplash

I once watched an artist paint the sky. His brush caressed the canvas like a lover’s kiss. His every fluent movement was poetry in motion. At least, I thought so. The painter did not.

Whether it was frustration, or a lack of imagination, who knew? But the fellow grew so incensed, he snatched each sheet from his easel and tossed them into the wind. There they drifted like enormous snowflakes off to decorate unfamiliar landscapes.

The trees provided shade and anonymity. These I used for hours. The painter remained unaware of my presence throughout. And although I couldn’t see what he painted, I took a certain satisfaction in knowing I would.

As the sun evaporated into the river in tangerine bursts, things changed. The poor fellow’s inability to capture what he wished gained momentum until, in one shrieking outburst, he threw his palette away. It landed upside down in the water.

I expected to see a brief flash of vermillion, perhaps a touch of violet, cerulean or emerald green; there was only black. The paint bled into the river like a cut vein during an eclipse. Spilled ink might have described it, but ink had a purpose and this did not. What a waste. What a terrible waste.

I clasped a hand to my mouth, but too late. The cough echoed into infinity.

The painter turned. He wept. Tears streamed from his old, rheumy eyes.

“I’m sorry,” I spluttered.

The painter looked right through me, right into my soul. His eyes took in my colours, my personal palette. He refused to stop swamping me in his sorrows. I feared we’d both drown.

When the sun disappeared below the horizon with a pfft of extinguished flame, only then did he look away. To heaven, actually.

“Ah,” he crooned. “Now I remember.”

“Remember what?” The words left my lips without permission.

“Raven. Her hair was raven. If only I’d not tossed my paints away. Ah, well!”

Head drooped and feet shuffling, the painter packed up his belongings and made to leave. He paused as the moon came out in mercury silvers, turned back. “Never forget what she looks like, young man.”

“I won’t,” I promised.

With that, he departed. I never saw him again.


I often looked back and mulled over his words. He’d seemed so genuine. But only as I too regarded her bone white features and robes of liquid obsidian, did I know who he meant. I couldn’t have captured her raven hair either, as her ebony eyes already held my own.

An End.


Thank you for reading.

Richard

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

Solitary Lines

Courtesy Xoltan Taso Unsplash.com

Hours pass in endless judgements
Arguments of self
There is no winner
Can be no winner
Just the ticking from the shelf
Reminders from the mantle
Motioning of time
That I’m a sinner
Soul’s growing thinner
‘Cross this solitary line

Thank you for reading
Richard

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

Anonymous

Photo by Filipe Almeida on Unsplash

She had no status, no place in this world. She barely had a life. Then again, neither did I. 

#

We met one Easter morning and had married by tea in an unorthodox ceremony involving a stray cat who fussed our feet like catnip. It then peed on the floor. We laughed like hyenas. The pastor didn’t. The next day became our anniversary, and the next, and the next. Not a great legacy but something. We all must have something.   

We left the city for the coast on an empty bus, a move in direct opposition to the latest trends, and got off at the last stop because the driver made us. He smiled as he did so like a man in the know. 

We found a tiny house with a bed, a toilet, a door, and a view. This was all we required. This and each other. 

It began soon after.

#

She forgot my name by Halloween and my face by Christmas. My voice went last. Perhaps it reassured her? A somnambulist by day, worse still by night, she wandered. I wandered with her when I could. It was only a matter of time. 

#

New Year’s Day. I found her mangled body upon the rocky shore. She’d stepped from the cliffs as though them our lawn, whilst the sea fret tickled her eyelids and vindictive gulls egged her on. I was sad, but not inconsolable.  

I buried her deeper than I ought, marking her grave with a simple cross of two bound sticks. There, I scratched the message: To My beloved Wife.

Later, when malicious gossip made the pastor aware of my situation, he visited one gloomy afternoon. 

“It’s untitled, anonymous!” he exclaimed.

“What is?” I replied. 

“Her grave, man. Her grave!”

“As was she.”

“Because she had no name?” he ventured, calming at my obvious heartbreak. 

“Because I never needed it.” 

#

The End


Thank you for reading

Richard