The Woods

Once upon a time, there was a young woman named Katherine. She was a little short and freckled in just the right way. She liked sun dresses and canvas tennis shoes and splashing in mud puddles. She liked tadpoles and salamanders and the way the sun speckled through the leaves on the forest floor.

Sometimes she’d just bring a book to read and wait for the sun to set. The breeze blew through her hair, tossing it this way and that. Occasionally, she would squint up at the sun or brush her tousled locks out of her eyes. She had taken her little shoes off hours ago, and now a little tiny spider was crawling across her foot. She didn’t fear spiders, and wished them no harm. When a spider crawled on you though, it is supposed to be a blessing.

Katherine thought about that for a minute, who was doing the blessing and what did that mean? She had studied mythology in school. There was the story of Arachne, who bested Athena (the weaver of fates) in a weaving contest. Athena tore up her tapestry, resulting in the suicide of Arachne. She was restored and now weaves the weather and the seasons as a goddess of the sky. So, if the spider blessed in the name of Arachne, Katherine mused that there would be good weather.

At this point, the spider was long gone, and so was the sun. The sky was suddenly too grey. Too early to be dark yet, though it looked almost bruised all the sudden. RAIN?! So much for the spider blessing, she thought as she went deeper into the woods to avoid getting rained on.

She came upon a little patch of forest that was carpeted with pine needles. They were all red/brown and soft. She sat down to put her shoes back on. Looking around, she didn’t see the expected pine tree they had fallen from. Just a small circle of pine needles scattered on the ground. She looked all around herself and saw that the circle was perfectly round, almost as if someone laid it that way. She became aware of an odd noise, almost a hum, but musical somehow, like the melody of a bird.

She knelt to get a closer look at the pine needles, and discovered they were mixed with brick dust. Brick dust was commonly used in spells where you needed to keep a spirit in one place. It sort of trapped them, kind of like salt will keep bad spirits out, brick dust keeps spirits in. It’s more useful in exorcism rituals. The hum seemed to be ebbing and flowing, like a song, or a chant.

Katherine got up and brushed her dress off. Mystery solved, she guessed. Someone was doing rituals out here. Dark stuff, hoodoo and the like. She looked around and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Just that circle. She shrugged and got a sudden chill. She hugged into her thin sweater and thought about when her mother had told her to wear a jacket, that it might be cold later she had said. That had been hours ago.

The song, (she was sure it was a song now) seemed to be pleasant, it made her want to see the people that sang it. It was coming from miles away, but if she turned this was or that, the song seemed to fade. If she kept still, the song kept wafting toward her. The song was at once soothing and exhilarating. She wanted to sit back down and listen until she fell asleep, but she wanted to go to where the song was coming from too. She was drawn to it and lulled by it at the same time.

She lay on the ground and put her head down on her knees. The song changed, became more aggressive, she could almost hear it. Though it was still from far away. She closed her eyes. That was it, she wasn’t hearing it at all, it was a memory. But not her memory, somehow.

She thought of when she was 5 and had her tonsils out, she remembered looking up from the gurney as the florescent lights lit up every other section of tile in the ceiling. She remembered the trying to count the lights as she went under them but it was no use, her eyes got tired after like 3 of them. It was easier to look at the lights than to try and understand what the people around the wheeled bed were saying.

The voices behind her had that same sing-song quality she was experiencing now. People were talking about her, but not too her. Their voices, then and now, were rising in anticipation and excitement. She thought of the lights and opened her eyes. At first there was only darkness, then flickers of light, like a candle or bonfire. She couldn’t see it but she could feel it, to the right side of the circle of pine needles. It was crackling and popping, she could feel the heat and thought about taking her sweater off.

A drip of sweat rolled down from her hair line. The song was becoming more urgent with every chorus. There were voices and shadows everywhere. The shadows flickered like they were being chased by flames.

All at once, she couldn’t breathe. The forest seemed to be on fire! Her heart hurt in her chest. She felt weighted down and unable to rise off the floor of the forest. The song was indeed a chant, the words became two single syllables that she DID understand. COME FORTH. COME FORTH. COME FORTH.

Her gut tensed in her and her eyes watered from the smoke of the fire that she still couldn’t see. She choked on the smoke that wasn’t there. She tried to get low, get beneath the smoke, the noise. COME FORTH. COME FORTH. She could make that out very plainly now. In a fit of desperation, she thought, “I would if I could”.

There was an abundance of light and no trees around, suddenly. The smoke was in her eyes for real now. There were maybe 20 people in a circle around her. They were singing and chanting and drawing symbols in the air with little daggers. They were all robed and she couldn’t tell one from another. Until one stepped forward and offered her his hand. As soon as they clasped hands, a little spider ran from her sleeve to his hand, and bit him. He drew back his hand and gasped. She sat back down in the dirt with a thud.

He raised his hand and she could already see the spider bite making a welt on his wrist. He spat on the ground and kicked some dirt on her. The pine needles were no longer in a circle. She was in the forest again. She got up and ran home. She was never exactly sure what had happened, but she was glad for the little spider that had saved her.


Mental Illness: My Brain Demons Want Me to Fail

Just awesome

Calliope Writing

Let’s be gritty, raw, and real for a change. I always try to approach this blog with lightheartedness and wit (and I rarely talk about anything terribly personal), but today, I’d like to be brutally honest.

My Mental Illness

For the past two and a half years, I’ve struggled with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, both of which can be overwhelming, confusing, frustrating, and debilitating.

Chances are, some of you reading also have a demon in your brain – be it in the form of depression, anxiety, or another mental illness. After all, in 2014, it was estimated that approximately 18% of the United States adult population had one or more mental illnesses.

I’m finally on the upswing (thank whatever god(s) you believe in), but I think it’s time to add my voice to the others who have spoken out about their own personal demons.

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The night is pleasant. A light breeze with just a hint of winter. The grass underfoot is crisp with the crackle of evening frost. It’s sweater weather. Fall leaves blow around the post I’m tied to. My straw filled head lolls to one side and I can only see with one button eye, but that’s how it’s always been. I’ve gotten used to only seeing with one eye. The smell of a nearby bonfire floats though the early night air. A small raccoon eyes me suspiciously and then makes a meal of a small pumpkin in my patch. I love corn, but the pumpkins are my favorite crop. The children, (how I love the children) would pick out THE perfect pumpkin. My favorite of the children will sleep in the pumpkin patch every Halloween night. He seemed to be waiting for something I couldn’t name. He spoke to me sometimes. But mostly, he just waited patiently.

I loved his chubby little hands, his chubby little face, and his bright eyes in the moonlight.

The moon was full tonight, it felt special somehow. Trick or treaters would stop and taunt the boy, I came to think of him as my Halloween boy. They made fun of him because he never went to the houses getting candy like the rest of them. A house at the end of the street turned its porch light off and the other children ran off with urgency. They had to get as much candy as possible. They ran off in the opposite direction of the pumpkin patch and left my Halloween boy and me alone. I grinned into my shoulder and relished our time alone. The boy had brought a blanket with him. As a cold chill rolled in from across the field the boy wrapped the blanket around himself tighter. He curled into a ball as the night crept in. One by one the houses all turned the porch lights off. The night was still as the stars popped out and glittered their love onto the earth. The clouds crept in and obscured the magnificent moon.

The boy squished his blanket into a pillow at one end and lay his head down. Soon his breathing was even and it was time. I knew him to be asleep. I watched him a few moments longer and as the little puffy night clouds blew away, I winked at that great big moon. The moon winked back and the night became alive. The frost on the pumpkins sparkled, the pumpkin vines seemed to sigh with their heavy burdens. The sparse grass in the patch waved in the slight breeze. The boy mumbled in his sleep and stretched out among his blanket.

I was distracted by a wooly bear crawling on my gloved hand. It’s roiling little body came to rest on my plaid shoulder. It seemed to be saying hello, but I didn’t speak caterpillar. It turned around and crawled down my shirt and rested in my shirt pocket for the winter. I think wooly bears hibernated for the winter, but again, I didn’t speak caterpillar so I couldn’t ask it. Its tiny feet tickled as it crawled, I let out a giggle.

The world stopped and I became aware of a thumping in my chest. I looked at the moon and she winked at me again. I cracked the knuckles of my left glove. The old leather made a muffled cracking noise. I slowly turned my straw filled head, and the shock of the movement knocked me off of the perch I was propped on. I landed under the wood stake that had been my home for years.

I just lay there in a heap for several minutes and that thumping in my chest slowed. I became aware of a pumpkin under my head and I raised my head to look at it. It was round and firm and big. It was the biggest pumpkin I had ever seen and I wondered at how I didn’t notice it even though it was right under me all pumpkin season. Sometimes crows would break one open and steal the seeds, but they must have actually been afraid of me, they had left this prize. I turned it over slowly, marveling at both the perfection of the vegetable, and the motion of my glove as it turned the squash over. My straw body moving would never get old. People move all the time, I wondered at their LACK of wonder over that. I picked the pumpkin up and I saw that a small rotted spot was on the very bottom of it.

Little bugs were in it. I popped my glove into the rotted spot and scooped the innards out of the pumpkin, careful to not disturb the bugs too much. I gently put them and the inside of the squash on the ground, and looked up at the moon again. She was smiling at me. The hole was directly on the bottom. I had a thought.

I put the pumpkin over my head and suddenly felt whole, complete in a way that way that is hard to explain to non scarecrow people. My new pumpkin head was perfect; it was hard to get used to though. It was heavier than I was used to, (what am I saying?). It felt awkward at first, but I got used to it quickly. Soon I was dancing my straw body around the patch of pumpkins. I leapt and twirled, spun and jumped. I had no bones, so it is amazing the positions I could contort into in my dance. I even forgot the Halloween boy, until I almost tripped over him.

I looked down at the boy as I leapt-stumbled, over him. I landed in a heap again and lay still as the boy turned over and sat up, rubbing his eyes. He looked around the patch, as he was gathering up the blanket, he grumbled something about ‘next year’. I sat up to get a better view of the boy who had kept me company all night.

He stopped what he was doing and very slowly turned his head and looked at me. I looked at him and stood up to walk over to him, to thank him for his wish. It had to be his wish.

He sucked air into his lungs and yelled, “It’s a Halloween Miracle! The great pumpkin is here!” And fainted dead away. I laughed and got back on my perch in the pumpkin patch and waited for the sunrise…….The moon was obscured by the clouds again, but the magic was still there.

Christmas 2016

I’m sitting under THE tree. You know the one. The tree that cats can’t stop attacking. The tree the children had picked out. It had to be this one. The ‘bungie’ one, whatever that means. But all three of the children agreed this tree was the ‘bungie-est’ tree on the lot. The oldest child had brought his ax (that he had gotten last Christmas but hadn’t gotten to use yet this year) He had meticulously cut down the tree. The girls were all sniffling but the oldest wore a thin sheen of perspiration from the exertion of cutting the ‘perfect’ tree down.

As always, it fell to the grown-ups to wrap the lights around the tree that night, after the worn-out children went to sleep. then the little ones would awake to throw tinsel and ornaments onto this glorious tree. As a family tradition, the baby blocks or small toys where given hooks and put on the tree as each child outgrew them. It was also family tradition to sleep on the floor next to the lighted and bedecked tree Christmas eve’s eve.

This was where I came in, I’m the Christmas shadow. I hang out in corners and under furniture waiting all year for this moment. People give too much credit to ‘Santa Claus’. He was a great man with a great heart, but the shadows of each season help spread little miracles around.

A simple thing like tree spotting can be cause for the miracle this year, I’ve decided. The family HAD a fake tree, but this year Mom saw an ad for natural trees that I had let slip out of the newspaper, onto the floor at an opportune moment. She was tidying up the living room and the newspaper in her hand had released the ad at just the right moment. Seeing the trees on the glossy paper, she thought of a much-sought gift that hadn’t had any use over the last year. (the ax) She thought of her own childhood and hot chocolate with tiny marshmallows and cold fingers and noses and doing something as a family.

Mom and Dad bundled the kids into their warmest winter gear with the promise of something special. The children were all a-twitter with questions, but Mom held her peace, until they arrived. The children were confused at first, what was this lot they had arrived at and what were they to do here. At first the girls wanted to play hide-and-seek among the trees. (They were but 8 and 10) The oldest stayed near the adults and just watched the younger ones with a mixture of brotherly love and envy at the childish play.

Mom watched her younger children for a while, then went back to the car and brought out a thermos of hot cocoa and the ax, still shiny and new. The boy’s eyes grew bright and he tentatively reached for his ax. He met his father’s gaze and Dad nodded. Realization made the boy’s eyes even brighter. Mom called the girls over and told them the plan. They were to find the perfect tree and their brother was to cut it down for the family. The 2 girls ran off looking for this ‘bungie’ tree and brother followed slowly, the magnitude of cutting down the family tree making his heart skip a beat, he had a surreal look on his face. A look of determination and duty and love for his family. Mom caught a glimpse of the man, the boy would become, and she too was proud.

Mom looked at dad and saw that he was proud of his children too. He looked up at the sky and the bright stars were witness to the Christmas miracle of Johnny’s first tree.

My job was done. And all it took was making a paper ad flip out of a stack of papers at the right time. Santa brought presents to needy children in the 1400’s or something, but I brought Johnny a little closer to manhood, and Johnny’s family a little closer.

The dream/nightmare

The Dream

Picture this; a stark white bathroom, white tiles by the white sink. White floor tiles near the white tub and the white toilet.

All white, clean, pristine. The smell of bleach not too far off in the distance, but mostly the candle scent of fresh linen permeates the air. All the white and clean alienates the girl. She stands staring at the mirror, and dark is all she sees. She is wronged, savaged, beaten and betrayed. Mostly though, she is out of love. The stark white bathroom only amplifies the inner turmoil she feels. There is only this moment. The rest is the past. In THIS moment, she is alone and lonely, there is only her own heartbeat and it’s beating on borrowed time.

    She looks at the razor in her hand and watches the light glint off of it. There is only one road left to take, she thinks and she closes her eyes a moment. Takes a breath, and then opens her eyes. The blade is sharp, but it stumbles across her skin.

    Yet another thing to hate about herself, being a coward. She thinks of the boy who holds her heart, a thousand little girl sad puppy love poems fill her heart. She slashes her wrist deeper. There is blood this time. “why doesn’t he love me?” She slashes again. “He only uses me for pleasure.” She slashes again.

With every slash, the pain goes deeper, she’s not watching her wrist, she’s watching her eyes in the mirror. In her eyes, she’s crouched, hopeless; she was a good person once. There is only this moment, the here and now. She tells herself. Nothing else matters.

    But if that were true, she’s be pain free, her past haunts her. She never meant to be a home wrecker, her guilt stabs at her again. She slices again, getting braver all the time. After a while it doesn’t even hurt. Not like the hurt in her heart.

    It occurs to her blood deprived mind that it doesn’t matter if he loves her or not, that she doesn’t love herself. She starts crying for the first time. The blade is slippery in her hand. She looks down and sees blood. The white purity of the bathroom is all red. Fear creeps in, and in this moment, she doesn’t want to die. Her lips are pale and her eyes vacant in the mirror. She tries to dig her cell phone out of her pocket and dial, but the cell slips out of her hand. She must have severed tendons, she can’t grasp. The cell bounces off the white tiles and slides in the blood. It slides just out of her reach. The blood is all over now, and her thinking is slowed. There is one thought and one thought only: I DON’T WANT TO DIE. She gets to her knees and goes after the phone, but it skittered behind the toilet.

    She crawls/drags herself to the phone, her main reason for breathing at this point. As she takes her last breath, she realizes she is dying. Her body recognizes that fact before she does. It shudders and convulses. The thought, a final thought, enters her mind. That she died on the floor of a bathroom, next to a toilet, trying to grab her cell phone. She dies with a smile on her face.

When I was a girl, my mom would open the door to my room, making sure I was there and still breathing I suppose. She would brush my hair back from my head and pull the blankets closer around my chin. She would walk slowly back to the doorway, and turn the light off. She would watch from the doorway until she was convinced I slept soundly, then she would close the door behind her and walk away. How did I know all this? I never slept when she came in. I would breathe deeply and evenly. I would pretend to sleep, I got so good at it, I would fool myself into actually sleeping. I mean to say, I’d breath so evenly, so deeply, that I seemed to my mother that I was sleeping. Sometimes I’d even fall asleep pretending to sleep.

    She’d look on me because I had nightmares. I would have nightmares a lot in my young life. Some call them night terrors. I’d awaken, screaming, completely sure that I was being attacked. I was never harmed physically in these dreams. The trauma of them has lasted me a lifetime though. There was this man or god or something manlike that had a lot of power. He accused me of harming them. But who them was, I was never completely sure. In the dream I couldn’t see myself, but I could see all around myself, a sort of circle view of my surroundings. I could see all the way around myself, but still HE snuck up on me. Out of nowhere he was there, accusing me. At first I didn’t know what I was being accused of, he (I’m quite sure it was a he) accused me in another language, several other languages, in fact. He yelled and cursed and spit as he yelled at me. There were sheep all about me, grazing, oblivious to the rantings of this mad man.

    Until the lightening flashed. As the flash of it lit the sky, I seen a thousand sheep eyes focus on me at the same time. The death I seen in their eyes, the horror I saw reflected by them, it drew a sharp focus to what the man screamed at me. I was to blame for their deaths, all of them. While the man screamed and cursed, the condemnation in all those innocent eyes. The eyes of the sheep speared me with a nameless blame. It was those eyes that seared into me, those eyes that held me hostage. Those eyes told my fate.

    The lightening flashed, and all the soft-pretty sheep with the condemning eyes were gone in a flash. In their places were the bodies of the one’s I’ve killed. They were barely recognizable as flesh, they more closely resembled hamburger, maybe just roadkill. There were mounds of segregated flesh everywhere. Heaps of it, no more eyes though. I guess my guilt was my own to deal with at that point. They no longer needed to condemn me, the damage is done now.

    This dream has become a part of me, I close my eyes and I can see the bodies, I can smell them, the scorching of their flesh from the lightening…..the flies that I can’t see but I can hear. This dream haunts me, but not so much as the other one.

    My other dream of lying in a shallow ditch, as I’ve grown I recognize the spot as a shallow grave. In the dream my life goes on forever and ever, there is no sleep, no rest, no hope or joy. There is just this ..forever. I have dug a shallow grave and lay down in it. My blood seeps into the soft ground around me and I can feel little things in the dirt reaching out with their minds to touch mine. I shut my eyes and my heart to their soft questions. I prepare to die, FINALLY. This endless existence has lasted too long, longer than any one person should live. I can feel the earth worms and moles and mice and other little creatures burrowing into the earth around me.

    Nature takes its course, there is only bone and hair left after a time. I’m at peace, finally. This business of breathing, of endlessly searching, for what? I’ve forgotten what I’m searching for over time. The solace of oblivion called me into earth’s deep embrace now. There is nothing to search for, nothing to fear any longer. Even though I was still, everything was still around and in me, there were still thoughts. Not even thoughts anymore, almost memories, but not quite. Maybe impressions would be a good thing to call them. Some kind of flashback that you can remember in your bones. Some final impression that leaves an indent in your soul. As I lay there in the ground, worms crawling around me, these images plagued me. At first they were gentle, quietly insisting that my mind still lingered. Then the images got visually louder. Brighter colors, sharper memories, and soon the memories all but shouted me out of my deathly slumber.

    THAT is a pain worse than death, the memories that haunt you to your very essence. I try to turn from the memories, but I have no muscles, no tendons, no flesh to turn with. There is nothing to even get away from. These memories are so sharp; they strive to pierce my very bones. If you can imagine; thought, sharper than steal, severing your very existence over and over and over again. When you are but dust and age, thoughts, even happy thoughts, only caused you pain.

    When I Lived, I had a memory that wasn’t mine. I joy so sharp, so exquisite that it could only be expressed by human tears. I used to think of this as a memory I had before I was born, a memory of being in God’s presence.

    All my memories are sharp like that now. The wronged all hurt, and you can’t get away from them at all. As the maggots swarm and the worms squirm, there is no reprieve from the pain in your soul. Even the memory of the sunshine, the feel of a little tadpole in your hand, the crackle of a fire, or the lights from fireflies. It was all way to sharp, way too scary.

    I rolled over in bed. The dreams were getting to me again. I lay in a half asleep-stupor for hours; not awake, yet not asleep. Something was eating at me like the maggots, something in the base of my skull. It just sat there like a toad, waiting for something to happen.

    There is nothing to fear, my semi-asleep self, told the inner child in me. But the reasoning me didn’t believe that at all. The instinct to pretend to be asleep, that comes from somewhere. Sleep was supposed to feel safe, you fall into sleep. It doesn’t creep up and grab you like some creature hiding under the bed, it doesn’t ambush you as your walking down the street. You kind of slide into sleep.

    None of this made any difference though, I couldn’t reach restful sleep. My mind kept circling around to the sharpness of naked bone, of the sweet oblivion of being a maggot’s meal, and the creature under the bed. In the dream I idly wondered what would happen if you were having a conversation with a co-worker and blood started pooling under your fingernails. Would you stuff your hands in your pockets to avoid the look of horror and possible confrontation? Would you share the horror the co-worker might experience? Would you know immediately that this was some kind of injury? That it had nothing to do with some gory meal or a possible homicide?

    I moved in my bed, restless now. I heard a voice in my subconscious. It was low and guttural. It spoke words that weren’t for my ears. I knew it to be alien, but I also knew to go to sleep and forget what I heard.  The kind where I remembered that I was asleep and wanted to awake now. I heard myself murmur in my dream, I knew myself to be dreaming, but now I couldn’t wake up.

    The room tilted like a fun house, but it wasn’t fun at all. I became aware of numbness in my hands and arms. I flexed my fingers and they hurt. In the dream, the alien was coming in the window, it was coming to get me. It knew I knew about it. I would tell others. I had to be stopped. I still couldn’t wake up, the nightmare had me.

It was one of those dreams that seems to go on forever. I’m walking down a long hallway, looking for…. Something. I try each door I come too, each is locked. Some doors are old and splintered, some are new and firm in their frames. They were all white. PRISTINE white. Like the bathroom I had just painted for my daughter. The daughter who got a migraine from the smell of paint and had to sleep in my room tonight. The more doors I try, the more panicked I feel. IT has to be here, it just has to.

Suddenly it’s not a what, it’s a who. I have to find her. I’m racing up and down the hallways of the old house. I’m beating on the doors till plaster crumbles off the walls and the lattice boards are showing everywhere. Still I can’t find her. I’m yelling for her, I yell so loud, I wake myself up.

It’s coming in the bedroom window! I can’t tell what’s real and what’s a dream, I try to get out of bed and the sheets tangle around my feet. I fall with a hard thud grasping with my hands at the thing in the window. I grab one of it’s heads and slam it against the window ledge. I do that over and over until I’m not afraid anymore. I free my feet and dive into my closet. The one with the golf clubs. I pull out the wood and turn on the light. The light wakes me up, more, or less. I look at my hands and look at the gold club in my right. The left is covered in some sticky red stuff. Trembling, I look at the window, at the alien from the dream with 3 heads. It was Bobby, from next door. He was climbing into my daughters’ room in the middle of the night for some reason. Only he didn’t look like Bobby anymore. I sat on the edge of the bed and dialed 911. I got blood on the phone and wondered if it would be alright if I washed my hands or not.

The panic of the dream sits me straight up in bed. I wait for my heartbeat to slow up a little. When I’m a little more still inside, I get up and walk down the hallway to the bathroom. The lights on under the door, so I knock. Gently at first, then more urgently. The dream still had me, the feeling of not being able to wake up washed over me again. As in the dream, I banged on the door and turned the knob….

Life and Death

Lilly sat on a field of aging dandelions. The yellowness had faded from most of them as they went to seed. There was white puffs everywhere and she was glad that she didn’t have allergies.

    She sat with her back to the wind and thought about life and death.

The life of a butterfly, the death of a star. She thought about Virgos, the virgin constellation. She had been doing a paper on it for school. She liked the idea of new stars coming into being in the ‘virgin’ constellation, but they weren’t, not really. New stars were coming into being other places in the galaxy, but nothing notable was happening in Virgo. But there was a symmetry to new stars using old star parts to be born.

    As far as butterflies go; their consciousness had to change when they changed from caterpillars to become butterflies. When consciousness ceases, you are considered dead. But what about one celled organisms? They were alive but not conscious. Or do they have a consciousness that we can’t comprehend?

    Some cultures saw death as a process, rather than a single event. If you die by degrees, how can you ever really be dead?

People that loose a limb sometimes have what’s called ‘phantom limb syndrome”. That’s where you feel the limb you lost even though it’s gone. Lilly thought back to when her Uncle Pete had lost his thumb in a wielding accident. He had gone to see the local psychic on a whim, the advertisement had said they were preforming ‘Aura photographs’. He’d always felt his thumb was still there but taking a pic of his hands’ aura, it showed 4 fingers and a thumb. His body still believed the thumb was there!

Back to butterflies: do caterpillars know they are going to change so completely? Are their minds up to the task? The more Lilly’s mind wandered, the more relaxed she became. Soon the stress of the day was lifted from her.

The breeze began to blow, fluffing more dandelions into a cottony cloud around her. She was in a time out of time, nothing held her to the ground.

She looked down at earth and saw the people scurrying around down there. Her belly grew round and firm, she knew herself to be pregnant. She was somehow transported to the heavens where she gave birth to a galaxy.

She awoke on the hill of dandelions, they were white and fluffy around her. She picked one up and blew the seeds into the sky.

Two Animals Escape the Zoo

Two Animals Escape the Zoo

I was upset. Didn’t I feed them enough? Were they not well groomed and well loved? What could I have done that would have made their lives better? They had each other, most of all, they had me. I doted on them each, in turn I assumed they loved and respected me. This does not seem like something they would do on their own, I said while looking for them. They were not in their enclosure I made specifically for them. I looked everywhere. They were nowhere to be seen.

    I had imagined my love to be a bond with those that I loved so much. I loved them like my children. In my mind’s eye, I chose to believe this would never happen. I believed they would follow me anywhere, to obey me and love me as I loved them.

    Some outside force must have influenced them to wander away. Some ‘other’ that I had not warned them about. I warned them about the dangers in the world, though they weren’t really any dangers to speak of. This zoo was a perfect habitat for them. I spoke to them of being only there for each other. I let them know that love was the law, the only law.

    I stopped in my looking for them, my pondering over them. Something about laws drew me to a halt. Something small and insignificant slithered across my foot at that moment. It’s very presence caused a shadow in my heart. The serpent.

I thought about the serpent. In the catalog of my mind, I remembered bringing such creatures to this place. This was different though. Something dark had happened here to my beloved creatures. I remembered the slither of the thing on my foot. Though it’s feel was different. It had about it a darkness, it had left a distaste in my mind for it.

How can this be so? How could any creature cause harm to another? I had envisioned peace here. I wanted nothing less than paradise for my animals. I began to walk faster, I felt my animals were in danger suddenly. Fear seized my lungs and made my eyes burn. Soon I was running. I ran the opposite direction the serpent had been traveling. It had been running as well. As if it were guilty of some crime.

I was running straight for the tree. The tree was in the center of this paradise, it was my masterpiece. It was all the knowledge that I had gained in the millennia of time. The tree was beautiful, it’s fruit ripe and beckoning. As I neared the tree, I stumbled over one of its fruits. I picked up the fruit. It was a glossy red and was crisp and fragrant. I turned it over in my hand and saw two bites taken out of it.

Tears crept out of my eyes and down my cheeks. I knew the story at last. I called to my animals, but they were hiding. Hiding from me?!?

I called them each by name and they crept out of their hiding places. Slyly, like the movements that serpent had made. The serpent had turned to follow me, to gloat, as it were.

I called to the male, he came forward at my command. He was trying to cover himself and bowed his head at me. He acted as if in fear of me. Before I spoke to him, he was telling me how the female was at fault. She stepped forward, and cowered to the ground. She spoke without being spoken to. She began to cry. She touched her tears as they streamed from her eyes and looked at the water first, then at me in question.

It had begun. They knew more than they had, they knew sadness, I would show them despair and pain. First though, the serpent had to be punished. I didn’t need to hear the story; I knew it already. With a look, I took the legs from the serpent, made it crawl on its belly. It looked at me with menace and flicked it’s tongue at me, I threw it upon the ground and made as if to step on it. The thing moved very fast and was gone.

I didn’t need to tell my beloved animals anything. They knew it all now. I turned my back and started to walk away. They weren’t hiding now, they wanted only to be loved again. They screeched and yelled at each other, they begged and pleaded with me. They tripped over each in their haste to be with me again. I looked at the sky and two of my angels came down. They not-so-gently threw my beloved animals out of my paradise. I feel at times that I was heavy handed, at other times I know myself to be right to cast them out. They know more than they need to. How can they be happy? Their knowledge of sin, makes them a danger to themselves and each other. I had to kick them out.