Consequences

Posted in Prose with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2018 by beautifulimposter

Fitful light flickers about, defining shapes more from shadow than illumination. It wouldn’t matter much, as I’m well familiar with the landscape of an artist’s room, bare floorboards, paint chipped cupboards, a table with mixmatched legs, two lonely chairs, small, narrow bed with rumpled sheets. They never change much, perhaps the decorations a bit, but in all the centuries, for every one I’ve walked into, they’re all the same. Perhaps they come as a kit of some kind when you buy your brushes or first slab of clay.
What light that is cast shimmers over the artist’s skin, cold, coruscating flames writhing over bare shoulders, limning the line of the spine, seething upwards from the brows in a crown of colors unseen and undreamt of. The floor around his bare feet is littered with brushes, palette knives, crumpled rags, the shed detritus of creation, all of it showered in weird sparks raining from frenzied fingers scratching at canvas, piles and drifts of madness making it seem that he’s standing in a puddle of live coals. It is far too much, not right at all.
I approach slowly, looking over his shoulder. The canvas is a mire of brush strokes, cuts, finger slashes, the paint nearly an inch thick in places, layered, textured, water colors mixed with acrylics mixed with oils mixed now with thick, dark streaks of blood. His breath is labored, what May once have been a skinny but well sculpted chest is now a collapsing caricature of itself, rising and falling in paper bag rattles. Sweat gleams over taught skin, pale, almost waxen yet not, somehow less, like badly rendered tallow, rancid and running. He clearly can’t see any longer, not the canvas or the room at least, his eyes wide, the whites only nail pairing crescents around the edges of iris and pupil. This has been going on for days. I purse my lips, turning my eyes to follow his.
Lounging upon a rug, clothing discarded in a heap upon a third chair, completely nude glimmers a slim, perfect creature, long hair flowing in perfect summer honey cascades down rounded shoulders, narrow cheek bones sharp, alien, yet still beautiful, mouth set in a decadent pout. I shake my head, impatient, vexed, dealing with the fae is always a tedious task.
“Let him go” the words resound in the dim room, a clap of thunder within a space that over days has been accustomed only to scraps and breath.
“Why should I?” Petulance drips with every syllable. “He’s lovely, and so full of passion, so much beauty. He said he wanted to paint me, that he’d never been more inspired. I just gave him what he wanted” it doesn’t even look at me as it speaks, it’s lavender eyes looking adoringly upon the artist in the way only a predator can look upon its prey. My presence is at best a nuisance.
“I’m quite sure he would have balked more if he’d been aware of your price, but that’s entirely beside the point. You should not be here.”
“Why not? I am of the free folk, in high standing within my court, I shall do as I please, not heed the whinging of the doorman because I didn’t pay him mind, go back to your junkyard realm and leave us be, he’s got so much more to give” it purrs, stretching a languid arm out, fingers caressing the air as if running over the hollowed, fevered cheek of its “lover”. I can’t help but shudder.
“You crossed into The Real when it is not your season, The Rules are clear on this. If you don’t leave of your own will, I will have to take steps.”
It turns to me then, contempt etched upon its perfect face, lips turned upwards in a condescending sneer. “And what, pray tell, can you do ragged king? I know full well in your realm you may not be defied, but you are not in your realm now are you? You are here, in the mortal world and I am a Seelie lord in the fullness of my power.” It rises slowly, a new light, wild and green washes outward from it, lapping in waves onwards. It has a strong Glamour, making the Real shimmer and boil. I’m unimpressed, yawning slowly, pressing the back of my hand over my mouth. It reaches more deeply, tendrils of power lashing out, power that could rend a mind apart, have the target of it clawing out their eyes in adoration, or digging beneath their ribs to make a gift of their heart.
“Poor fool, get thee gone swiftly, your better gives you leave, tattered magpie, I fear you not!!!”. My coattails flutter out behind me, the force it exerts rising to a gale, blowing up strange shapes out of the dust. Everything to excess with them, the fair folk, no subtlety whatsoever. Rare that a member of Summer’s Court should be so cruel and rapacious, but no matter. I allow it to feel it’s triumph, for a moment at least, the threads of enchantment tugging at my clothes yet finding no purchase.
“Are you finished?” As I watch the expression change from arrogant gloating to incredulity I continue gathering The Boarderlands closer, seeping inward on soft feet. What most seem to forget whenever I’m called upon to fulfill my duty is that all a boarder is is a line between things. You can always just redraw the line wherever it’s needed, my realm is only ever a shadows thickness away. Whilst my Seelie was so full of his stolen passion and power, I was calling it towards me. It hadn’t even noticed the room changing, the walls falling away, replaced by brambles and Victorian lampposts and other oddities that could be perched upon. Since it seemed bent on resisting to the last, I feel its destruction should serve some useful purpose, and the brethren hadn’t feasted so well in a long time.
As the Real fades, they come, inky feathers whispering, alighting on branches, ruffs standing out stiff, gleaming blue black, silent save for a small croak here and there. Bead eyes all focused on the fae, now seeming small, it’s nakedness now painfully apparent, casting its glance about itself now, a cornered small animal within a tight ring of ravens and crows. It’s power lashes in fits, yet here, as my realm is neither here nor there, not the bright fields of Arcadia or the drab pavements of the mundane, the green tendrils fade into the smoke they always were. Skergaal, my seneschal alights upon my shoulder, bowing.
“You called us my lord?”
“Do what is needful, leave me two, but let the rest feed” I turn then, as Skergaal lifts from his perch, replaced one on either side by two others. I walk away with my hands clasped behind my back, unhurried, as the croaking grows louder, the suserous of feathers impatient.
“No, no, you cannot!!! I am a lord, you do not dare…no, please, please no!!!” One by one, The Murder lives up to its name, beaks and claws tearing as the brethren descend, eclipsing the bright, shining fae inside a clot of night that writhes and screams…the screams will go on for some time, and that part makes me smile a grim smile. I don’t kill often, nor with pleasure, but cruelty sometimes must be answered in kind. The shrieks echo away as I let The Boarder fade, rising back towards the artist’s rooms.
The poor boy is on his knees, weeping, hands dripping paint and blood, his hair limp in front of his eyes. Lost, broken, arms akimbo, fingers flexing in spasms, the discarded toy of a spoiled child. I kneel down, gently lifting his head, looking into his eyes, hoping, but not much. He had been ravaged so hard, if anything other than insanity looked back at me I’d be astonished. Yet, there, far in the back, a slim flicker, some remembrance of who and what he used to be before he was just a vessel to be drunk from. The crows hop from my shoulders to his lightly, dipping thier heads as if to whisper into either ear, yet their sharp beaks slide into his temples without resistance. Normally, when I gather to me my treasures, I never take the thing itself, just the form it impresses upon the never. This time though, it would be monstrous to leave him with these memories.
“You’ve been ill my boy, very ill indeed, a deep fever that’s left you weak, given you such foul dreams, but it is past now, the fever broken. You will mend, rest, be whole again soon.” As Memory and Thought do their work I lift him up, guide him to his bed. He’s frail, but will recover. I should have been more alert, perhaps I should spend less time on my hobbies, maybe I could have prevented any lasting damage. These violations seem to come more and more frequently, despite ancient treaties and Rules. A sign of the times perhaps.
I turn, taking in the canvas at last. Carved through the paint is a slim figure, once pale but now streaked with red, deep tissue purple, flesh hanging in rags, hanging from a thorn bush, formerly regal features twisted into a rictus, screaming agony forever. It has to be said, the boy has talent, it’s an incredible likeness. I take the painting, waste not, want not, and I stride back into The Boarderlands, leaving not a trace.

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The Imposter Steps Out

Posted in Fun stuff, Poetry, Prose with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2018 by beautifulimposter

There are few times that The Rules permit my touching the mortal world in any appreciable fashion. So, when such moments do arise, I must admit, I do approach with a certain gusto. Only my best, inky blackest, long tail flowingest coat will do (I’ve only the one coat really, I just will it to be fancier and slightly more sinister) as I walk out of The Tower With No Door, my boots scrape out an almost jaunty tattoo on the cobbles. The weight in my pockets tugs at the corners of my lips, my hands dipping into my pockets, fingering their contents, rummaging through until I grasp the box. It’s going to be a lovely day.
The Real folds around me, the Borderlands fading, trailing in whispers of strangeness. It’s a bright day, golden, early spring I believe, vague haloes of green hovering around the shapely, nude limbs of the trees, a rich jade mist rising from rich black soil. I seem to be in a park, some kind of open area with footpaths and trees and little benches. People flood and flock, whirling, almost grounded starlings in coats and scarves. Some sit, enjoying the bright but weak sunlight, wrapped in a fragrant fug of steam from cups held just below their faces so that their breath gets tangled in it. It is all too perfect.
I stride with purpose, pulling out the small casket, a shimmering four footed little beast that gleams like beetle wing case, purple-blue-green. I reach the rough center of the square or commons or whatever, watching, anticipation jumping nervous cat like from my shoulder blades. I set the box down reverently on a little table marked out for chess, fingers twitching as I manipulate the mechanism to open it. It’s very complex, I fumble with it a moment in my excitement. I would curse it’s tricksyness, but I know it needs be thus, don’t want it opening randomly, which it most certainly would do if left to its own devices.
The lid springs open, yawning out a rainbow. Within, flashing very strange glimmers are embers, coals, white hot, seemingly made of every single color and shade, some you’d know, others you’ve never heard of nor contemplated except in your stranger dreams or if you’ve hit your head particularly hard when they might flash momentarily at the edges of your vision. So lovely, crackling there, alive, wild, expectant. My breath catches, oh how I love this bit, I truly do…trembling, fingers itch crawl forward, digging in to my trove, writhing beneath, feeling the utter oddness. Imagine dipping your hand into fire made of water, it’s like that only not at all. I gather two fistfuls, great big bunches, holding my hands at my sides, tilting my head back, eyes closed, nostrils flaring, shivering in delight.
I let out a self indulgent whoop, tossing my hands to the sky, fingers uncaging, the bright gledes scattering, little crumbles of madness showering about like sparks. The set things afire, crackling blazes of bizzarre flames. I watch as it spreads, licking hands, turning hair into crowns of twisting strands, blown up by weird winds. Randomly, a passerby pirouettes, their feet alight, eyes flashing surprised delight as this touch of madness moves them. Songs break out, laughter, tiny bits of personal strangeness flow outward. All of this is wonderful, but I wait, I watch, for the best part. I see a spark nestle into an eye, the iris contracting, shimmering a very, very different color. This is it, the subtle change, oh yes, the shift. They look about, everything new, every single thing just a bit different. There is fear and wonder and exultation etched on thier features. Now, forever, this one will see the whole world how no one else sees it and will paint it, write it, sing it how they see it and it will change others too.
I cannot help but laugh, spinning in place, grabbing more, moving off and trailing madness like glitter. Never too much, never in one place lest the fires consume, that would be a horror not countenanced. No, with care, with prudence I spread the breadcrumbs of insanity on a spring day, setting the whole world ablaze with dreams. Tee hee…

The Birds Will Still Sing

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2018 by beautifulimposter

Birds sing because they want to
While I am sure there are other
More scientific reasons,
Purposes of biology and evolution
I see no better reason,
After all, wouldn’t you sing so
If you could?

Therein lies the beauty I think
Song for the singing
Joy and revelry for simple being
Hymns of sun and wind beneath wing,
A chorus for bright bead eye
Turned skyward and flying dizzy.

Too many envy birds thier freedom
Hence cages, it sooths bitter heart
To see such wildness cloistered
As if we too locked up song and blue heaven,
Unaware or perhaps just denying
That they will sing and dream regardless.

I for one take comfort
For as rock crumbles, pride falls
Ash and smoke rise in choaking cloud
They will be there, mad charlatans,
Ragged finery ruffled, still pinwheel turning
Still singing, above it all
In the forever blue.

The Imposter Seeks a Nightlight

Posted in Fun stuff, Prose with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2018 by beautifulimposter

Patience is a virtue, one it could be said I possess in abundance. Then again, when you have all of the time that will ever be, there’s no rush and one can afford to stay very still for a very long time. Fortunately I don’t think that will be necessary.
I rest lightly upon the street light, coattails fluttering in the soft spring evening breeze. Anyone looking up would think it’s impossible for a man to be standing up here, unswaying, unmoving, and it is, so they don’t look and even if looking they wouldn’t believe their eyes. More people really should believe their eyes, they tend to work well as designed which is to see things, but for my purposes it’s just as well that they don’t.
Below, it’s late, the streets are sleepy, a week night as far as that kind if thing matters, just another night really. Few walk the streets, every once in a while a car will pass, grumbling softly to itself, muttering old beasts. The silence is almost complete, or as complete as can be expected…it’s going to be a good hunt, the conditions are just right. I allow myself to rub my hands together gleefully and my lips to curl up into my best Cheshire grin, the one I save for occasions like this. I practice it a lot, again, I have time on my side and it needs filling, it’s hungry.
A door opens and amber light spills upon the sidewalk like good whiskey, the flow of it carrying burbles of conversation, threads of music tangling with the strands of night air in complex and odd and wonderful tapestries. A handful of people exit, letting the door close, cutting the light off as with scissors, letting the more sober silence fill the bubble left by light and sound’s departure. They amble with the exuberance if youth, the pavements glittering beneath their feet, because they are fresh minted and their coin is accepted and there seems to be endless abundance in promise. I like young people quite well, they tinge everything about them with orange and rose and it’s a nice change.
Upon my perch, I crouch, hands upon the cold metal, leaning, eager, hungry. Soon, it will be soon and I must be ready. Their conversation drifts, rising, falling, the streams of it gathering and carrying them along. One of them tells a joke, or a tall tale, or some other token of amusement. This is it…
Laughter bursts forth, first one, then another and another, lips and throats issuing gleaming motes of light, shooting up, new stars climbing for the night sky. They fly swift, but I am swifter, long time hunter. I leap, coat whipping in the wind of my speed, bootheels clicking on roof tops, hands flickering deft and sure. Laughter tickles when you catch it, most people don’t know that. It wriggles too, like eager bright scaled fish. One by one, I snatch the gleams and shimmers, one handed, stuffing them into a mason jar. As a side note, mason jars are best for holding laughter, the lids are the only thing I’ve found tight enough, they were after all designed to hold preserves.
Over and under and around, flying fast and far, they swim through blue black night and I follow, dark salmon cleaving cleanly. Oh my but this is fun, each one plopping into the glass with a soft splash. Laughter, in its natural state is liquid, breath just warms it, allows it to fly. It would be easier by far to let it condense, gather into dew, but this is by far more fun. It’s brighter when it’s fresh, more concentrated. I swirl and jib along, almost, but not quite giggling in glee along with them, but I haven’t mastered giggling yet, that takes great skill, so I don’t. Still, I pursue joy fleeing gladly, oh, yes, what a merry chase…

The Imposter Listening

Posted in Prose with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2018 by beautifulimposter

The Borderlands don’t always reflect the lands they touch. A bitter wind swirls around me, grey and chill, damping the sunlight of The Real into fragile eggshell white. I’m standing in what was a field, the wan blades of grass superimposed over concrete and asphalt, the remembered dreams of a deep green. Here though, in this place, the most solid are the bodies, so very many, stretching out past all sight, in every direction. It’s a curious thing, in a place where one can observe the everyday people wandering through the walls of a castle that’s no longer there in the place they are, their feet instinctively avoid the corpses, unconsciously reorganized footsteps adjusting their path so as not to disturb the twisted limbs.
Of all the places where memory gathers, this is the one I visit only reluctantly, when duty can no longer be shirked. I call it the Untimely Vale, because the geography dips slightly towards the middle and that things need names and here I am the sole namer. Here lay all of the dead cut down, the victims of Fate’s shears too eager, clipping threads in frenzy. I’m gazing down into the lidless eye of a young girl, a well of ugly red and clotted black shattering the left side of her face, splits in the flesh creeping in spiderweb fractures. They’re all so delicate, broken so easily and carelessly. I kneel down, long fingers brushing the hair back from her brow, trying to turn my gaze more to the rich brown of her other eye as she begins to speak. Dry, ashen lips move slowly, haltingly, as she tells me her tale, and I listen with reverence, every word, each pause, all of her inscribed somewhere permanent and unforgetful. I won’t share what she says, that is not for anyone. I just remember, forever, and that’s the point. Long, long after mortal minds let go of their shame and anger or indignant righteousness, I will remember this person wholelly and completely, from beginning to end. At least one perfect record will exist of this woman for the rest of time. One among many, oh so very many.
She finishes speaking, returns to rest, and I move on. I try to listen to as many as I can, as many as I can force myself to before the weight of them, this place would trap my exhausted limbs to the earth and all I could do was lay down with the rest. Not far away, a new form begins to shape itself, quivering into being like heat over tarmac. I cannot see it fully, but it is small, oh so tiny. My eyes wander over the landscape, taking in the vastness of it. I’ve written down so many of their stories, carved the letters of them into my soul, but there are so many more, new ones ticking off the seconds. I worry sometimes I will not be able to speak to them all and those moments are the closest to despair that I care to wander. That precipice is dangerous and crumbles easily. It must be done and I am the only one to do it. So today I will spend with the discarded, my footsteps resounding in the thunderous silence of billions.

Tuesday

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2018 by beautifulimposter

Tuesday mornings are problematic
Too far to recall Sunday’s soft, drowsy light
Over the gap of Monday, a wreckage of stumbling, barely alive, mutter mumbling
Yet at the small foothills of Wednesday’s towering hump uphill to downward slide,
A valley in the hours of days of the week.

Its a gentle confusion, not unlike Thursday without the H and the slow thunders hammer,
Another inbetween space, which as has been made plain, can be where magic hides
Strange jazz pauses, the shapes of sound and form and color
Rustling at the edge of thought teasing
Tongue tip resting, almost words, an agony of recollection but not quite memory.

A muddled, muddy, middle is Tuesday
Running through puddles hesitantly
Halfway between caution and exuberance
Running helter skelter forward back and around
Coattails disheveled and pockets turned out
Dripping the pieces of weekend dreams
Along with crumpled bits of workaday paperwork
Or just mad spinning in place grinning
Time’s perfect problem child.

Termination

Posted in Poetry, Social Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2018 by beautifulimposter

In light of recent events the company finds you Superfluous to current needs,
Redundant, a dangling appendix full of bile
Waiting to be pruned, we hope
This won’t cause offense and is meant in
The fullest sense of positivity and current
Political and social correctness in just
The right amount for the climate of public
Acceptance of the period.

We do regret to inform that this means
Immediate termination with extreme prejudice
So if you will kindly swallow the enclosed
Arsenic capsule and shuffle off your mortal coil
Forthwith and with alacrity it would be demonstrably appreciated
As we could use your meat suit in our exciting
New recycling program
Which should provide some comfort
As in your obsolescence you can still find a purpose
In fattening up the next meat sack in line.

In conclusion, we the company do hope
To end our partnership on a positive note
Being that we are positive that everything useful
Has been wrung from your bones in the most
Efficient way possible, a complete rendering
By which we have profited immensely
Whilst you have been left
Holding the bag.

Sincerely, Management