Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Of Butterflies: Crushed Wings Heal

She took it again as she always did.

It always started this way.

She'd be sitting quietly watching her favourite show.

The evening. He'd be in his favourite chair.

His chair.

"Did you get the wash done?" he'd always start.

"Yes." she'd always answer.

"Did you fold my shirts the way I asked?" he'd ask.

"Yes. I did." she'd answer.

"Good thing." he'd say with an edge.

"Look, can we wait until the commercial?" she'd ask.

"No. I have to know now." he'd say.

"Why is it the same thing every night?" she'd ask.

"Because. Did you clean up the bath?" he'd ask.

"Look. It's all done. Just the same as it is every day." she'd tell him.

The commercial would come. He'd sit quiet. Knowing it gnawed at her.

The show would start again. So did he.

"Did you rearrange something in here?" he'd ask.

"Yes. I switched the end tables. The one with the broken leg rests better against that wall. Makes sense..." she answered before she was interrupted.

"I like it better the other way. What's up with your hair?" he'd continue.

"I dyed it. You don't like? What the..." she'd get close to her breaking point.

"Did I say I liked it?" he'd tell her.

"You bastard! I do everything I can to make this a happy home and you come home after your day hanging out at the coffee shop, like you just got home from work and lay into me? Every day! You bastard!" she'd be screaming by that point.

"I had a hard day." he'd say purposely making his voice a little quieter.

She'd get up stomping into the bedroom and slam the door.

On the other side of town, a man sits alone in his apartment.

A few moments of quiet. Its his favourite time.

He tries to take advantage of the peace and does some of his work.

Then they start.

"You ripped up all of our hate." the neighbour spoke quietly.

He'd ignore it.

"Right now you're in a little girl." the neighbour continued, accenting it with a quiet slap as if to underline the absurdity.

He'd shake his head.

"Ripped. You're in jail." the neighbour said quietly.

He'd ignore it again though he's disappointed at the loss of his peace.

"Love means hate. Your in a little dog." the neighbour would continue.

"No I'm not." he'd say buying into the neighbours game.

"You gave a hit to your best friend." the neighbour accused.

"I've never hit anyone in my life." he'd answer trying to continue his work typing away at the keyboard.

"Ripped! Debts paid out. You're in a little man." the neighbour would continue a bit more manic.

"No I'm not. Could you just please leave me alone." he'd ask.

"Ripped! You ripped too many people." the neighbour would continue.

"Look! Stop bothering me." he'd say clearly losing his patience.

"You just gave a hit a little boy!" the neighbour said.

"No I didn't! I don't have any children!" he said.

"Ripped! You're cold!" the neighbour said.

"No I am not! Leave me alone. Its the same thing every day! I try to accomplish something and you start this nonsense! Now stop this or I'll call the Police!" he'd say.

"Oh. He ripped up all of our great hate." the neighbour would say speaking a little more quietly pressing for guilt.

Back on the other side of town, she'd lay still in the bedroom.

Fuming mad. Why did he do that to her?

She'd be having a great day. He'd come in and pick her apart.

She'd calm down and her body's cortisol levels would be replaced by serotonin and dopamine.

She'd go from feeling bad to feeling better. Suddenly he wasn't such a bad person.

Maybe I was too hard on him. I shouldn't have responded that way.

Too late though, I already did. My fault.

I know. I'll make it up to him.

On the other side of town he stopped his work and started to calm down.

His neighbour had gotten quiet for a moment. He wondered why they always did that.

Sometimes the one on the left side. Sometimes the one below. Sometimes the one on the right side.

They'd take turns. When he'd work they'd take him apart.

Then he'd respond after hours of their taunting and tormenting.

Sometimes he'd give them a long winded speech.

Sometimes he'd just give them a short outburst to confront their abuse.

He always calmed down.

Maybe it's not that bad. I was probably too hard on them.

I should have been a bit more tactful.

On the other side of town, she'd come out of the bedroom.

She'd waltz towards him, a bit slinky and a bit sexy.

She'd have on her night gown. The one that he liked.

"Hey sailor. Want to play?" she'd ask him.

He'd sit there a moment not looking at her. Milking it for everything he could.

"Look I know I over reacted. Maybe I could make it up to you?" she'd say with that smile on her face.

He'd sit quiet for a moment waiting for it to reach the peak. Timing was everything.

"Ok. That'll make it better between us and for your outburst." he'd say.

She'd lead him to the bedroom and pleasure him with her mouth and her privates.

On the other side of town he'd speak to the neighbour from his apartment.

"Look. I over reacted but you have to stop doing this. Its wrong and I never start this but I over reacted." he'd say.

The neighbours would wait. Not saying anything. Milking it for everything they could.

"I was trying to get something important done/ Its my home work. I work from home. I just needed some peace and quiet. I didn't mean to react." he'd say.

"You owe us. Debts owed." the neighbour would say.

He'd reluctantly accept it just by not saying anything.

On the other side of town. She'd lay quietly in bed while her lover snored.

It's not so bad being with him. He's only hit me once.

She'd never realize that she just rewarded him for his abuse of her.

And the cycle would continue without her even knowing.

He knew. Because timing was everything.

Timing his bothering her and slowly ramping it up until she reacted.

When she did, he'd just leave her alone for a while.

It never failed. She'd calm down and then blame herself.

To make up for her guilt, she'd reward him.

On the other side of town, he'd been fed up.

The neighbours had played him this way as a team every single day since he'd lived there.

Then he'd feel guilty for his reaction and defence of his rights.

They'd profit by this even though they started it.

Every single time. He'd go outside.

The community would treat him as if he was the one doing the abusing.

He'd carry the lack of effort of his neighbours.

The community would then treat him like he was the problem.

The neighbours would walk around with the credit for his work.

His identity taken from him with him given that of another.

Like the bullies of the past showing up and trading their past with yours.

You grew up the victim.

As an adult, you're treated like the bully because of what they did to you.

Double victimization.

Enough was enough.

He didn't have much, but he'd had enough.

He packed up his belongings into a suitcase.

His laptop into a case.

He couldn't afford to take his furniture nor did he have anywhere to bring it.

Regardless, it was time for him to break the cycle.

He was sure that after he'd left, they would just find someone else to milk dry with the same scam.

Barnacles on a boat. More and more on the hull until it would.

Sink.

She had just about drifted asleep when he awoke with a loud snore.

He sized up the situation and estimated how much credit he had with her.

She'd really gave him a good night, but he thought foolishly that he'd try to milk it.

After all. She didn't have anybody else.

Nowhere to run. He still had credit with her so he pushed it like the fool that he was.

"Look. Could you make me a sandwich or a snack?" he asked her knowing she was just barely awake by her breath.

She lay still not really feeling as satisfied as she'd convinced herself she might be.

She'd put on his favourite gown. She'd pleasured him thoroughly never once receiving the same herself from him.

She noticed it for the first time. Like the waves on a body of water.

He'd wait for the tides to get the most from her.

He'd start to pick her apart when she was at her high point.

On the peak of the wave.

Then he'd cash in when she was at the lowest part of the wave.

She'd react against him somewhere in between.

Then she'd feel guilty. She was rewarding him for it.

He'd tell his friends, "I don't know. The broad gets crazy.".

They'd think it was her. It was always her debt owed to him.

She thought back.

He'd started it. Every single time.

She got up. She went to the kitchen and made him his sandwich.

Then she handed it to him and went back to sleep.

He didn't even thank her.

On the other side of town, he awoke.

The neighbours had been awake for some time.

They'd started their constant quietly spoken battering already.

He ignored it and had his shower and got ready.

His money sorted. One pile for rent. The other for survival.

He carried his belongings out the door and left.

Gave his written notice to the superintendent. Never turned back.

He got to the coffee shop good and early.

Bought a newspaper and a coffee and looked for an apartment.

That was the way to do it. No safety net.

Sink or swim. Easier without the barnacles.

Not far away, she woke up.

He was gone already. A sink full of his dishes.

She did the dishes and then she packed her things.

She wasn't going to leave him without a debt to her.

For all the times he'd done the same to her.

The bed was made. The house was clean.

His dinner was prepared and wrapped in the fridge.

The dishes were her exclamation mark.

I didn't do this because I owe you.

She sorted her money. Some for the rent. The rest for survival.

Then she grabbed her bags and left.

Never turned back.

He sat drinking his third cup of coffee. He'd only found three apartments so far.

He'd called two of them. They wanted first and last.

He had last but not first. Or was it the other way around?

That was when she walked in. Her bags in hand.

She found a table and got her coffee.

The mouthy sexist creep sitting in the corner with his friends said something.

She said something back to him with a pretty smile on he face.

He got up and approached her.

"Where are you going?" he asked her.

"To find a new life." she said to him.

"What for? This is just like you. You act all wacky to me yesterday. Then you just up and leave? You are one messed up broad." he says with an obvious penchant for women and language.

"Always my fault. You always make it my fault. Its your fault. You started it every single time. Then when you got me to react, you purposely waited for me to feel guilty for defending myself. You let me reward you. I was rewarding you for abusing me!" she said to him on the verge of tears.

"Dan, she's a wacky broad. Always was. You don't need her." one of his friends said from the corner table.

That's when he stood up.

He knew her story because he'd lived it with his neighbours.

Not the kind of neighbours that you should love.

Stalkers. Bullies. They trade places with their victims though.

They would make him look like the instigator by his reaction.

Then he'd feel guilty for defending himself and be in their debt.

She was trying to tell that creep the same thing.

Dan was doing the same thing to her as his neighbours did to him.

"Let the lady speak!" he stood dropping his pen on the newspaper classifieds.

"Who the f# are you?" Dan asked him.

"Don't worry about me. You listen to her you prick." he told Dan.

"This b#? I don't know what she's talking about. I gave her a place to live." Dan said treating her like it was her problem.

The door opened to the coffee shop and a well dressed Oriental woman entered and approached the cashier to buy her daily Chai Latte. She'd come in early to get a start on a new design she'd been mulling over the prior night.

"The only thing that you ever gave me was abuse. You purposely abused me knowing that when I defended myself, other people might think that I was at fault. Then you purposely got quiet and waited for me to calm down enough to feel guilty knowing that I'd get all gussied up to make it up to you. You were playing me all along!" she told him very obviously having been filled with his garbage and crap for long enough.

"Listen you b#! I did nothing of the sort to you!" his anger peaked and he slapped her face.

The apartment shopper dove for Dan and Dan being much bigger quickly dispatched him to the floor.

The apartment shopper got up and placed himself between Dan and the lady.

"You prick! You purposely picked on her knowing that if you got her to react, that you could cash in on her guilt the bigger the reaction you got from her. You were putting her into debt! Then collecting it by taking sexual favours from her. You don't care about her! Not at all. You were using her you scumbag!" he told him having been filled up by his neighbours similarly.

The apartment shopper didn't have time to dodge Dan's fist which ploughed into his face and knocked him to the floor.

That was when the Oriental lady at the cashier moved, though nobody could really see her move.

It was too fast. Nobody could move that fast. Unless they were a...

Dan was calling the apartment shopper on though the apartment shopper was clearly done. Then Dan's arm was twisted behind his back by the beautiful Oriental lady.

"Owww! What the f#!" Dan screamed.

His friends got up from the table and charged at the Oriental lady, Heylyn, who was holding Dan's arm.

The first one she side stepped sticking her leg out. He careened over it and face first onto the floor.

The second grabbed at one of her free arms, which immediately moved faster than he could see or react. It caught him in the solar plexus and he fell down gasping for air.

The last one threw a punch at her face and that is when the strangest thing he'd ever seen happened.

Her skin suddenly grew impossibly hard diamond shaped scales which shattered his knuckles as his fist collided with her face. As quickly as the scales had appeared they had disappeared.

"Let me go! I'll press charges." Dan said.

"You started the conflict. You hit the lady and the gentleman trying to defend her." the cashier and other patrons agreed.

"There you have it. So do you still want to dance?" Heylyn asked Dan.

"I can't beat you with your kung fu karate crap!" Dan said to her.

"But you certainly can beat up on other women, can't you?" Heylyn tightened her grip.

As she did, the room got dark and Dan found himself in the middle of a field at night.

The apartment shopper was there too and had woken up getting up from the grass.

He noticed the lady with the bags and stepped over to her side.

There were several others around them who the apartment shopper recognized as his former neighbours.

"Where the heck are we?" one of the former neighbours asked of this daymare.

"I'm going to get a piece of you when we get out of here." Dan pointed to the apartment shopper."

That was when it got very strange for them.

The giant reptile descended from the sky flying upon the feathered wings of a butterfly.

slithered through the air and found its way before them, coiled and floating ready to strike.

"And what have tell of we here but nothing to fear? You're much scarier looking than you really are and that's not too far from what you really are is it?" the giant flying reptile's eyes furrowed as it addressed Dan.

Dan backed away in disbelief.

"Let's play a game you can all call to fame but don't let your shame find its way to the blame for when its truth is revealed your fate will be sealed. Dare you such a risk?" its voice rumbled as it spoke.

The apartment shopper and the lady with the bags paired up. The neighbours congregated with Dan.

"Let this game begin but who's going to win?" the scaly reptile looked over the two teams.

"I don't know what this is all about. This crazy broad used to live with me and she just got up and left. She came into the coffee shop and started this." Dan lied to the giant flying reptile.

"That's not true. I was faithful to this man for four years and all through that time he played me. He abuses me, then keeps me in his debt for my reactions in defence of myself." the lady said aloud.

"I am sorry my dear but need you nought fear for I am a friend and this truth will find end. Your friend is the same but first what is your name?" the reptile asked her.

She smiled to the flying reptile.

"I hope that this is not a Garden of Eden?" she asked the reptile warily.

"I know that tale but there's no such nail and by tooth I do not try deceit or to to lure you to defeat. Perhaps you've found passage to the same by my simple game for truth already known your gold virtue`s been sewn." the flying reptile wove its words into magic.

She felt a bit of relief.

"My name is Selara. Thank you for asking. Its been a long time since anyone asked me." she replied.

"I am honoured by your presence and from this moment forth whence we do meet by this name I shall you greet." the lizard returned a smile.

It then turned its attention to the apartment shopper.

"My dear kind Sir it did just occur to me that your name is unknown the same?" the reptile asked the apartment shopper.

"You can call me Brendan." the apartment shopper replied.

"Well then an introduction is in order 'afore we cross this border from unknown to familiar. Selara might I give you Brendan's acquaintance. Lest I be rude and so eritude you need my own title while I'm still so vital. I am Weltherwithsp the fair before you in air." the Dragon replied.

"Now we must ask of our guests their past and then to compare by known truth do we dare?" the Dragon addressed the former neighbours of Brendan and Selara's former boyfriend.

"She lived with me for four years. I covered everything she required to live. Food and the roof above her head. I put up with so much crap from her night after night. Her crazy outbursts. Then one day she wakes up and walks out on me." Dan explained.

"Now we do need to a tale's new seed by these people here what truth hold they dear?" Weltherwithsp asked the former neighbours.

"We lived beside... Brendan is it? Well we lived beside him for about three years. We were quiet all the time. Every once in a while we'd hear these outbursts from him or long winded speeches as we call them. We just thought he was crazy. Then one day he starts saying how we stole his work but I think its the other way around." one of the neighbours explained.

"Your name do express for you are no less." Weltherwithsp eyed the former neighbour.

"I'm Mitchel." the spokes person for the former neighbours told Weltherwithsp.

"So you both weave a similar tale but truth shall reveal where you've both failed." Weltherwithsp's eyes narrowed as he spied Dan and Mitchel.

The field momentarily disappeared and the group was thrust into Brendan's apartment as the scene played out before them much like a film. There sat Brendan at his computer, working on something with determined intent quietly. The music played in the background quietly.

All of the sudden, Brendan responded to something verbally that was not very audible but could be heard nonetheless.

"That's when I usually react. They're in the other apartment tormenting me verbally. There's only one wall that is close to mine so they have a whole apartment huge but choose to sit on the wall closest mine and spend most of their time verbally harassing me. Tormenting me I assume because there is nobody else in earshot but me." Brendan tried to explain.

"Lets turn up the volume before any do us assume." Weltherwithsp told them.

"Ripped! You're in hate." the voice of Mitchel was clear through the wall.

"You're in a little girl. Wait a little boy." Mitchel's voice said.

"No I am not. I don't have any kids." Brendan responded.

"Ripped! You ripped up all of our hate!" Mitchel replied.

"Leave me alone! I've had enough of this! You've been doing this for weeks to me and then when I go outside you have people in the neighbourhood treat me like you while you get the credit for my work! Enough is enough!" Brendan responded getting a bit emotional.

Mitchel had stopped momentarily, just adjusting his volume slightly quieter so as to take on the softer side of things clearly having provoked Brendan to anger and reaction.

"Let's watch this unfold then truth will be told." Weltherwithsp interjected carefully.

A short time later, Brendan had calmed slightly and the tinges of guilt were apartment in his change of demeanor. His reaction had left him indebted to Mitchel even though Mitchel had clearly started the conflict from the start and with the goal of getting such a reaction from Brendan. They were preying upon this to create a debt.

"You are collecting something from him that should not be taken for with such any person is so forsaken. You sense of worth comes from what you put forth and when you take it from another that person's life you do smother. All just to quiet the sound of your own conscience that knows that you have done so little that you quiet it by stealing someone else's deeds." Weltherwithsp explained to Mitchel.

"You prey upon his reaction and sense of guilt and by what you do his flowers wilt and wither: none their beauty to bare in a world that you've stolen by impostering yourself beware! For what you've taken does not come without its own price and played as you have with your own by your roll of the fate dice." Weltherwithsp's voice boomed as he spoke.

A giant pair of dice fell from the sky and landed upon the field before them, where they had returned.

Weltherwithsp put himself between Mitchel and the neighbours and the dice.

"Choose your fate by the dice or by Brendan should suffice." Weltherwithsp's voice pieced the air sending chills through them.

Mitchel stepped forward and spoke.

"I'll take the dice." he said.

Three of the other neighbours said they would take Brendan's decision on the matter.

"So be it. Now to another very important matter by one I do hope that we'll find our Mad Hatter. To borrow the wisdom of a Mr. Lewis."

The field once again disappeared and they were in the apartment of Selara and Dan as they sat before the television. Dan sat in his favourite chair, washing down a plate full of food with a glass of water while Selara sat on the couch slightly stretched out.

"Take my plate to the kitchen." he told Selara.

"At the commercial." she replied to him.

"Now." he told her.

"At the commercial." she told him again.

"Now! I said dammit!" he ordered her.

She recognized that tone and quickly got up and grabbed up the plate waiting as he finished the water to take his cup. Once he was done he handed it to her and she went into the kitchen and cleaned the dishes while he lit up a smoke.

He picked up the remote and changed the channel to another show.

"I was watching that." she told him.

"It's my television." he said changing the channel again as if to accent his statement.

"Why do you get like this?" she asked him.

He considered his next statement as he had to keep her on the defensive for this to work.

"You didn't clean the ashtrays." he said.

"What the hell is going on! You never give me any credit for what I do! You bastard!" she burst out loud.

A smile clearly crossed his face though she could not see it from the kitchen.

"I just asked you to clean the ashtrays is all." he said more quietly and peacefully.

"And now I'm the bad girl am I! You prick! You are nothing but a bastard prick!" she flew off and into the bedroom and onto the bed where she lay crying.

He sat in his chair puffing the cigarette right down to the filter a broad smile crossed his face.

"Yep. I'm going to get some tonight. For sure." he said quietly to himself.

Brendan's eyes narrowed as he watched the situation unfold recognizing the pattern right away.

Selara moved closer the Brendan slightly brushing against him.

He offered his hand to her and she accepted it.

"Let's shall we do travel ahead by a few...Forty five minutes to be precise." Weltherwithsp spoke as time sped forward and the bedroom door opened.

Selara stepped out as she'd gone to bed looking a little groggy.

"I'm sorry. Let me make it up to you." she sat on the arm of his chair.

He paused a moment watching the television.

"Give me a minute." he said secretly harbouring a smile on his face.

Brendan tensed up as did Selara in reliving that moment.

"What have ye to say?" Weltherwithsp focused on Dan.

"No. This isn't what it looks like. She's trying to buy me and pay for her living space with sex. That was what was happening. It costs money for food and rent. I wasn't playing her. She was playing me. She was trying to pay her room and board with sex. Crazy slut." Dan said trying to wriggle his way out.

"You bastard! Just like my neighbours. They always tried to turn it around on me. You're doing the same thing to her. You're putting it on your victim!" Brendan yelled at Dan.

"Careful I say, he's doing it again though you need keep your cool and stand by your friend." Weltherwithsp reminded Brendan with insight and wisdom.

"No. This is wrong! She played me!" Dan tried to explain to Weltherwithsp.

"Nonetheless there's the bill as you've had your fill. The price must be paid and you'd best be afraid..." Weltherwithsp gathered them back to the field where the dice were still hidden and two new arrivals greeted them there.

"I'm Alicia." a blonde lady in a tight dark lavender body suit and mask introduced herself.

"You can call me Heylyn. We met in the coffee store."  Heylyn winked at Selara and Brendan.

"Butterfly. Butterfly. And the Night in Style" Weltherwithsp greeted the new arrivals.

"Alicia here used to be bullied by her school mates during class and at break, oft more than she could take. Her friend and ally helped her to find her to face her fears. It is often by understanding the problems of another that we understand our own." Weltherwithsp explained to the group.

"There are some difficulties that could benefit from the help of others to overcome, but most of all it takes the support of your friends and peers, and your own confidence and belief in yourself. Don't let others take that away from you. There are those that prey upon that in others. Even worse, when you get older, there are people that will prey upon you in attempt to take your own past from you. Trade places with you as the victim to their bullying. Double victimization. Be aware of this and keep your friends and loved ones and don't let anyone take your identity and being." Alicia told Selara and Brendan.

"Further. Don't let people who prey upon others keep you in their debt in such a way. Like Dan with Selara or Brendan's neighbours with Brendan. If you let others make you react in ways that require others to cover it up or eat your reaction, they'll turn it into an economy and before you know it, you'll be forever paying it back to them the more frequently they can make you react in such a way that requires a payment. Likewise when you're in person or online with others. Don't let others play you in such a way to keep you indebted. You don't owe them anything at all. They often need what you have or do to quiet their own conscience in order to avoid the guilt of not doing enough but don't be afraid to share. Try to be with people who are motivated. The kind of people who might rry to take from others, their conscience doesn't really exist inside themselves. It exists in what others know about them. If they can convince others that they are responsible for your words and deeds and benefit from them in your place, they won't feel a tinge of guilt about it. Because their conscience comes from others externally not inside themselves. That means when they take from you like that, they won't feel a thing unless others know about it and disagree with it or penalize them for it. Don't let them play you or take from you in such a way like Dan here played Selara. Likewise if you're online and dealing with others you don't really know. Be confident and careful but remember they`re the same too. Help them to avoid the pitfalls as well." Heylyn advised Selara and Brendan.

"And don't let others provoke you to anger or reaction. That's where this all starts most of the time and they'll do so knowing that you'll feel guilty for it later. That's when they try to take from you. Worst is the fact that you'll look like the wrong doer to others because they won't understand that you were pushed to reaction. In a planned and coordinated way." Alicia told them.

"They might play you like a wave. Provoking you to reaction will have effects upon you physiology afterwards. Your body will go from being on high alert, to feeling very good to balance the effects that aggression or anxiety trigger cause. They know that when you feel good, that you'll be more susceptible to guilt and self blame even though defending yourself and your rights are the right thing to do. That's the high part of the wave. The lower part is when you drop to an emotional low and react with aggression or anxiety. When your mood is in balance, they'll try to push it to one side of that balance or the other. The more extreme the response they can get from you either way, might result in you being at the other end of the scale some time later. Playing you back and forth between those two extremes is how they profit. They'll try to keep you feeling like you owe them for your reactions against them. Don't let yourself be played and try to maintain your emotional balance." Heylyn summed up for them drawing from her background with Martial Arts.

"Now with those words of wisdom so bold I must ask another decision be told. Your fate still rests in the hands of your test. I am referring to you Dan. By dice do you rise or Selara you advise." Weltherwithsp's voice shook the ground as it spoke clearly not impressed by the turn of events.

Dan thought about it for some time avoiding eye contact with Selara before speaking.

"I'll take the dice. For sure." Dan said.

"Then let there be a fate by whose hands they're made!" Weltherwithsp demanded.

First the dice spoke for Mitchel and for Dan.

Then Selara and Brendan spoke for the remainder together after they'd spoken it over.

"It is decided then..." Weltherwithsp roared as the field faded,

Epilogue

Selara sat at the table with Alicia and Heylyn as Brendan brought in the dinner on two serving trays.

"Can I get anyone a drink?" Brendan asked the ladies.

"I'll have a glass of wine thank you." Alicia replied.

"Yes please. I'll have one of the sweet drinks. The vodka watermelon one. Thanks." Heylyn replied.

"What about you honey?" Brendan asked Selara.

"I'll have a glass of the Chardonnay sweetie." Selara replied.

Selara stood and served the dinner from the trays that Brendan had brought out.

"He's a pretty good cook. He still needs some guidance here and there though." Selara joked pinching his tush.

"Yes, I'm still on training wheels. There's anti-acid in the bathroom if anyone needs it." Brendan responded as he brought the last of the drinks.

"Well. Here's to the new place and I'd like to propose a warm toast to Heylyn and Alicia for helping us to find this place." Brendan stood and raised his glass.

"There was no work in finding it. One of the condo owners in my building agreed to a reduced rental rate. Just make sure the maintenance fees are paid and don't burn the place down." Heylyn raised her glass.

"Its a nice place. Quiet too. Selara's been working on starting a graphic design business. She left some portfolio samples for you there." Brendan told Heylyn pointing to the binder on the end table.

"So how's things working out for those neighbours of yours from the other place?" Heylyn asked Brendan.

"Oh, not bad I think. They're still doing their community service. They're working with a suicide prevention organization. We thought it would be the best way for them to pay back their debt to us and to others they've wronged in that way." Selara answered confidently.

"I hope they're not counselling?" Alicia said sarcastically.

"No. They're custodians for the office. They get to hear some of the effort that goes into saving the lives of people who get emotionally damaged by others like them. I think it might give them a bit of self reflection and introspection." Selara continued.

"It could have been worse. They could have ended up like Mitchel or Dan." Heylyn replied.

"That's true." Selara said as the conversation at the table died for a moment.

A minute later they'd picked up on a new topic.

Outside as the autumn sky darkened Weltherwithsp marvelled in the joy of the kids who'd been treated with the SY349 and newly approved SY369, Months earlier they'd been confined to wheelchairs and now they were walking under the supervision of the program coordinator.

Its amazing what can be accomplished when bullying or manipulating doesn't run the playground and girls and boys and women and men are free to pursue their dreams.

Copyright © 2014 Brian Joseph Johns

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Valkyra's Deal

She'd been hard at work putting the proposal together.

Her eyes were tired her back was sore, more so than her times as a pseudo costumed superhero with Alicia, Heylyn and Monique had been.

She'd been putting together a proposal to secure a development deal between several companies.

She'd worked with these companies years before under Torman's "guidance".

Working with Torman was more like lying down for him so he could walk on her, to get to someone else.

The control powers he'd used against her and her friends was bad, because it was against their will.

But wanting control isn't so bad.

Playing it as such with a lover is not such a bad thing. For women and men or for both as she'd done so many times before.

As long as you play and you both agree that you are playing.

Torman never played. Everything was for real to him and when he was alive he'd really wanted control.

When he had become that super powered creep, Hostile Takeover, he'd control of her. She could still hear the screams in her head when he'd died.

In her head. He died.

Finally free.

Now Valerie aka Valkyra had control of her own life. Much like the mythical ancient Norse warrior women of the same namesake had liberated themselves from the tyranny of the giants.

Ancient legends and fairy tales had become like life.

The proposal was for a joint business venture between several companies who were in a complimentary position to each other's business, though none would have recognized it.

None but her. She had that thing. Whatever it was. She had it.

She delivered the proposal the next day. In front of a room of a hundred, not including the catering and the wait and bell staff, though they were very much part of her team and rooting for her as well.

The hundred in the ballroom represented the buying interests of these companies. They made the decisions for these companies and they were a hard sell.

She received the usual customary "I'll clap because its polite and respectful and as thanks for the food and catering" applause and then she was done and stepped down from the stage and podium.

It set in. Anxiety she kept at bay. Self doubt which she buried deep in herself.

She'd failed. She knew she should have stayed home. In bed. Nobody would know. Nobody.

"That was an excellent delivery. If you ever consider coming back into the sales force, give me a call" one of her audience said to her in passing.

"Torman taught you well, didn't he. I could almost see a bit of him up there." another somebody said.

"Thank you. Thank you for attending." she said politely as they shovelled it in.

"You ought to be a model you know. There's big money in that for a woman like you." another said to her looking her over top to bottom and pausing at her breasts.

"I have friends in that industry. Some of the most interesting people that I know are in that line of work. We do business all the time. They tend to keep their attention where it counts. On business." she replied cheerfully with a hint of sarcasm.

She'd held her ground and knew this was part of it, but what a struggle it was.

Then three men approached her.

"Hi, I'm Carsen. This is Tanner and Rhang." Carsen said introducing them.

"Valerie. Pleased to meet you. Did you see the talk?" she offered her hand.

"That's why we're here. You see we agree with you. You've found a niche that has great potential for our business sector." Carsen told her affirmatively.

"I'm glad to hear. Continue. Please." she said modestly nodding her head.

"We'd like to move ahead with your proposal. We're willing to meet with you to finalize the details and get some of this in writing. How's next week? Say..." Carsen said looking over to Tanner.

"Ten. Friday." Tanner said pulling up an agenda on his tablet.

"That sounds fine. Wait." Valerie pulled out her phone.

"Two. Would that be fine?" she asked containing herself.

Tanner looked back to the tablet and then to Carsen who nodded.

"Two it is." Tanner agreed.

"Miss Valerie. I look forward to seeing you. If you'll excuse me, I've a plane to catch." Carsen accepted her hand to seal the deal.

She shook it gently and as quickly as opportunity came it went.

Valerie went back into service hall of the hotel and found the Maitre'D.

"Is everything alright Madame?" the elderly gentleman asked her.

"Yes. Absolutely. They agreed. We're signing on it next week!" she caught him by surprise hugging him.

"That is wonderful news Madame." he said politely with a smile on his face.

"I will let the staff know." the Maitre'D assured her.

"Thank you so much. You did a wonderful job out there." she told him.

"Ahhhh. But it was you who made the speech. We just did our job." the Maitre'D replied.

"Tonight we worked together. I've got a little bonus planned for everyone." she told him.

"You don't have to but gratuities are always appreciated." he told her professionally.

Later that night she popped the cork on a bottle of champagne in the complimentary hotel room and proceeded down the corridor of pleasant intoxication by herself. After she'd consumed her room service meal, she decided to settle in for the night and that's when the parade of self doubt hit her.

"You're just like Torman." one voice said.

"You're a chip off the bench aren't you. Torman would be mighty proud." another voice.

"What are you doing later tonight? You look like the type for some fun? You interested? Room 3904." yet another voice said.

Soon she was delivering the speech again in front of the banquet hall audience. She'd been partway through her delivery when someone shouted from the audience:

"Why don't you let Torman take the podium for a while?" they said.

"Yeah. We came here to see him. Not you. Unless you're going to take it off." someone else yelled.

"Gentlemen. If you could please keep your voices down I could finish the talk." she replied politely.

"You are finished! Without him you're nothing!" the voice told her.

"Look Sir. Could you please keep it down! I'm trying to let you in on a..." she was interrupted.

"No you weren't. You're Torman. He's controlling you. You can't take the credit for this. Any of it." the voice said to her.

"Torman is not up here at the podium. I am. Now if you'll let me finish..." Valerie tried to continue keeping her cool.

"You were never anything without him." the voice said though she knew this not to be the case.

She'd brought access to a whole sector of business that he would not have had access to without her.

She made the opportunities and developed them.

Torman used her as long as he could and then threw her to the wolves and here they were now.

She felt herself getting angry and thought that maybe Valkyra would be better suited to deal with this.

"Madame. I don't think you want to let her handle this. Valkyra. The other one. Maybe you should give yourself a bit more credit. Don't let them affect you. They are lost and they want you to fail. If you give in, then years down the road you'll be down there beside them. Doing the same thing to someone else. They think they are a part of something but they are a part of nothing. That's what they are. Nothing. They aren't your customers or the people you came here to give the proposal to. They're the ones who came here to see you fail. The people not saying anything, they're the ones that are interested in what you're saying. Appeal to them." the Maitre'D had stepped up beside her on the podium.

She nodded to the Maitre'D thanking him gratefully with just that look in her eyes.

When she tried to continue, a single person in the audience stood.

She squinted a little to see him through the lights though she already knew.

It was Torman.

The room broke out in cheers for him though a good portion of the room remained silent.

He bowed for his audience playing it up like a professional show man.

"Well it looks like they're here to see the main event." he said to her confidently.

She clasped both sides of the podium and readied herself to lift it and throw it and the whole stage if necessary.

"Don't give in. Beat him with this and your business sense." he pointed to her head.

"He wants you to go that road. Leave Valkyra for another day. She's cheering for you too." the Maitre'D finished.

"Hey! This is between me and her even though she's going to need all the help she can get." Torman played the audience once again and they cheered him on.

"Alright. What do you propose?" Valerie asked him.

"I say that you try to make a deal. You try and sell them on this deal. I'll try and sell them out of it. Whomever wins will settle this dispute once and for all. If I win, then I get the credit for everything we did together. If you win, verse vica so to speak." he looked around the room for any disapproval.

"Returning to your days as a street hood are you Torman? That's how gangs and thugs play. I've heard about how you do things. Clean a person out of their life and family." Valerie said to him.

In Torman's neck of the woods, any time a new person moved into his neighbourhood, his other friends would set up situations that would make it hard to differentiate that newly arrived person from Torman.

So if Torman was guilty of an offence or something that would hurt his repute, his friends would set up a situation that would make it seem like the newly arrived person was guilty of the same thing.

Then they would slowly transfer Torman's deeds over to that person over time even making it a competitive game and others would buy it.

Torman would walk clean with a fresh reputation and the so called new arrival would be laden with the burden of Torman's deeds. It used to be a game to them in his neighbourhood.

Worse, if the new arrival had something that made them notable about their past, say an accomplishment or achievement, Torman's crew would try to steal it using the same means for one of their group or for Torman himself.

This is where Torman likely got his repute for business because his means were not conventional or professional for that matter. They usually involved crony-ism with the help of an organized gang. In other words he got ahead by the way he could negatively affect the lives of those who resisted him. Not on the basis of his abilities or services because he really had few to offer.

When Torman had occupied her mind to control her, she'd found out all of these things about him and it made her cringe. She could not believe that she had spent such a long time with such a man as this. To think that there were people out there who did that as a social game.

"Hey. It's a vicious world out there. We all gotta make a living. Am I right?" he looked around the audience and some of them cheered or whistled in approval.

"Why not make an honest living with your own past, not someone else's." Valerie accused him.

"Whoa. Baby. Are you saying that I stole my past from someone else? I'm hurt. I'm really hurt." Torman said feigning disappointment.

"You know what you did." Valerie reminded him.

"Alright baby. Yes I'll admit I took some of other people's past. Yes. My hoods might have even done so for me. Looking out for me you know. Maybe even dumped some of mine onto others. So? What do ya say to the deal?" Torman asked her quickly changing the subject.

"Alright. You're on. I'll make the deal, you try and break it." Valerie agreed.

"Here are the terms though. If you win, then you have everything from the time we were together and the credit for contributing to my current success, no more. If I win, you return the true past of everyone whose past you've ever stolen and I get the credit for what I did during our time together and my independence from you. That means you'll never show up in my life in any form ever again." she laid out the rules for his approval.

"I don't know if I can agree on that baby. It's all for you and nothing for me. I want a bit more." Torman said to her egging for more.

She paused for a moment looking at him and getting a little impatient with him.

Inside her Valkyra told her Go with it. I have you covered.

"Alright. Then you get the credit for everything. I'll take your burden and the blame for everything you've done. Even this deal if you win. I'll keep what I said from the prior deal. Ok?" Valeria asked.

"That's more like it. Let's get this show under way." Torman looked around for approval and got some.

"Deal?" Valerie confirmed.

"Deal. Let's get this game going!" he said even stepping up onto the stage and shaking with her.

Valkyra simply put her lips to the microphone and spoke.

"I win." she stepped back taking a bow.

"Wha... No... No... That's not fair baby. I thought..." Torman looked out to the audience.

"You said if I sell the deal that I win and if you unsell it that you win. I sold the deal to you. I win." Valkyra looked to the audience who was now cheering for her chanting her name: Valkyra, Valkyra, Valkyra!

"No... Baby. Please." Torman begged.

"I win." Valkyra said once again and the audience stood cheering her.

They began throwing their napkins at him and he left the stage and ran out the ballroom doors.

She never saw or heard from him again. While asleep or awake.

A week later she arrived back at her hotel room, though a different one from her stay the night of the proposal and knocked on the door.

The lock clicked and the door opened.

"Signed and sealed?" Monique asked her from behind the door.

"Signed and sealed, its a done deal." Valerie told her friends.

"We knew you could do it. We were rooting for you, you know." Heylyn told her giving her a hug.

"Yeah. Now lets get this show on the road. Where to?" Alicia asked them.

"I don't know, this is Valkyra's deal." Heylyn replied.

Copyright © 2014 Brian Joseph Johns

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Dragon Butterfly

For every left there is a right.


For every day. A night.


So be it told for every dragon, a butterfly.


For every butterfly dragon.


A dragon butterfly.


And she was borne.


Much as Heylyn was on that fateful day.


Was the dragon butterfly born of night.


Where Heylyn helped it did hurt.


Its pain was pleasure.


Its love was hate.


It despised its friends.


It loved its spate.


Where Weltherwithsp brought hope.


It brought their fate.


Heylyn's opposite.


Day and night.


She'd nought encountered another her equal.


Until she'd met her own night sequel.


When she slept alone it slept with another.


When she found pleasure it found pain.


Where she found loss it found no such strain.


She met it that first night since she'd brought to a halt a human trafficking network. Weltherwithsp had told her in her sleep and the accounts of victims made her weep.


She'd spent every night for weeks up and in her suit.


Hunting and fighting their presence until she'd found their headmaster. She'd flailed him to and fro, though he fell in the end.


She cried and then the dragon butterfly came and laughed at her.


"So you think your beauty matches mine. You're sick and ugly to see and I am the pleasure's mind." she spoke, her suit much like Heylyn's only much more seductive and vile.


"Why do you come at me at such a time?" Heylyn asked her between tears.


"Because." the dragon butterfly said between laughs.


"Stop!" Heylyn screamed as it drove her to anger the dragon butterfly laughed.


"I will only carry on much more than you can handle you washed up and decrepit excuse for a dragon! Your butterfly's wings are crushed under my heel for I'm the real deal. I am sex and pain. I am vile you are tame." a lizard's tongue leapt from her mouth and touched the tip of her nose.


Heylyn fled for the first time in her life. She sat on her balcony and stared at the sky. A single star looked back at her and cried her name from a constellation.


She went to bed not noticing and cried herself to sleep upon her pillow.


She'd heard the news the next day about her success with the trafficking ring and found peace within herself. Even happiness. Then the vision came.


"Butterfly! Butterfly. Huaaa haa haa haa. You aren't so smooth now as you through you were?" it said a forked tongue from within her daydream.


"Who are you?" the little girl Heylyn asked it.


"I am Witherwelsp. Your worst nightmare. Huaaa haa haa!" it laughed and its voice was shrill and she cried though she could not hide.


The worse she felt the happier it was until it was ecstatic.


It did not gloat for it had no concept of victory.


She awoke from a sleepless night. It laughed at her all night, taunting her.


There the star on the balcony in the morning just greeted her barely through the light.


"Strange." She thought.


"It said my name." she noticed and it had.


She went to the mirror and there she was in its reflection: Leyhyn.


Heylyn's face was smooth and hers was worn.


Within the mirror a different person though one the same were sworn.


She turned away in hiding and when she returned Leyhyn was not there looking back.


Heylyn showed up at the studio her design portfolio in arm.


Monique greeted her happily.


"Whatcha got for me today boss?" she joked with her friend and saviour.


"I don't know yet." Heylyn slithered into the dressing room unsure of what to say.


"What's wrong?" asked Monique.


"Nothing. Something. A big something." Heylyn thought about the sky and the star.


Hours later when she was at home alone she spent the night in her bed.


The dragon butterfly had company.


They made love all night and there they shed their pain.


Heylyn bore it all and carried their shame.


She awoke the next day for work grouchy having accomplished nothing. Not a single design idea. No patterns. Just the star in the sky. She dipped into the night.


When she got to work, there it was with a lover: the dragon butterfly.


"I made it all night with him you know?" the Leyhyn told her a big smile on her face.


"Why do you follow me? Leave me alone! You can't be here!" she screamed.


"I am you. You are me. We're the same. Can't you see?" the dragon butterfly mocked her laughing.


The dragon butterfly's man ran his hand up her leg and kissed her neck, sucking it violently.


"You see this? Do you?!" the dragon butterfly demanded.


Heylyn thought of the mirror. Then she thought of the star.


"You're my reflection! My opposite!" Heylyn said observantly.


"Very good!" said the dragon butterfly.


"You really mean: very bad!" Heylyn responded.


"You're absolutely wrong!" Leyhyn replied.


"You mean right." Heylyn gleed feeling happier.


"You b!tch." the dragon butterfly scorned.


"Hey this is pretty good! I'm finally defeating you!" Heylyn laughed feeling ecstatic.


"I'm going to kill you. You're nothing but trouble! You b!tch!" the dragon butterfly exclaimed.


Heylyn had noticed that it had become more extreme in the opposite direction of her behaviour so if she remained balanced, all should be alright.


"I am calm." Heylyn stated truthfully.


"So am I." the dragon butterfly replied as it disappeared with her lover.


Heylyn left that day feeling steady and calm. When she got home she thought about the day's events and the perplexing question of how it all worked.


What if she wanted to be happy or sexual with someone that she loved? Would the dragon butterfly show up somewhere else and make other people unhappy and miserable elsewhere?


The star in the sky spoke to her again. It said her name.


That was when she decided to look it up on the internet, and she did.


The star was called Polaris. The North Star.


It was aligned with the North Pole so that other stars appeared to circle it as the Earth rotated. It was also part of the constellation Ursa Major.


She thought carefully about this and its significance. Then the mirror came to mind and her reflection the dragon butterfly.


"If this star is part of the constellation in the North, is there another one identical to it with the same qualities in the south?" Heylyn checked it in the online ephemeris.


There was no such indication so she searched it on the internet and there was no such South Star or constellation that were equal to the ones in the Northern hemisphere.


That could only mean one thing.


In her dreams that night she was the little girl and Weltherwithsp was fighting Witherwelsp intertwined.


There was another big girl there who was mean and belligerent who was clearly the dragon butterfly.


"Well little girl. Let's see who is best here." the big girl dragon butterfly said.


"You're not real." the little girl butterfly dragon replied.


"Now what makes you say that real little girl?" asked the big girl.


"You're an opposite. A mirror reflection." the little girl replied.


"Yes. Everything has a reflection." the big girl replied meanly.


"No. Not everything has a reflection." the little girl said boldly.


"You're wrong. Everything has an opposite. Everything. Up has down. East has West. Top has bottom. Hot has cold. In has out." the big girl said.


"Not everything. Ursa Major." the little girl said.


"Ursa Minor." said the big girl.


"It's not an opposite. Its another constellation. It is not a reflection of Ursa Major." the little girl replied confidently.


"What? What kind of nonsense is this?" the big girl said getting impatient with the little girl.


"The Big Dipper. A constellation in the Northern Hemisphere. It contains the North Star. The North Pole points almost directly at the North Star. All other stars in the northern hemisphere are seen to revolve around it." the little girl said.


"Really. So. What is so important about that?" the big girl asked.


"There is no such same star and constellation as those in the South Pole. No mirror reflection of it." the little girl replied.


"What! That's impossible! That cannot be!" the big girl said slowly turning to the dragon butterfly.


"No it isn't. I am real. You are a fraud. There is not a reflection for everything. Therefore there is not an opposite for everything. That means also that you cannot reverse opposites in definition. So love cannot mean hate. Hate cannot mean love." the little girl replied to the big girl.


Witherwelsp appeared in place of the big girl.


"You may have won this time, but you will not win again!" the dragon butterfly spat at the little girl and Weltherwithsp.


"No my counterpart for thou art fake and you cannot even art's fold make. For your reflection is not true where I am alive you are not dead. Where I am silent you aren't said. You're a fool's folly made to look real but truth be said you lack truth's appeal." Weltherwithsp responded to the dragon butterfly and Witherwelsp alike.


The Dragon Butterfly disappeared immediately without a sound just as she came when she'd been found.


Only the Butterfly Dragon did remain with Weltherwithsp by her side to claim.


Heylyn awoke the next morning rested and well.


Her star still in the sky watching over her.


"North star. I will no longer you call you North Star or Polaris. You are my North Knight." Heylyn spoke and went comfortably back to sleep.


Copyright © 2014 Brian Joseph Johns

Monday, November 10, 2014

Someone Remembered

Someone broken. Someone fixed.
It seems funny when you think.
He thought. But it wasn't funny.
He wasn't fixed. He was broken.
Trying to fix someone else.
A lot of someone elses.
Broken. Now they're fixed.
He was broken.
And nobody remembered.

She wheeled him away.
The names. The memories.
And nobody remembered them.
Except him. She wouldn't understand.
Young. Naive. Sent to help.
A strawberry caught in the eclipse.
She wheeled him back. To his home.
He thanked her. Then she left. Said goodbye.
And he was forgotten. Until next time.

The butterfly had told her. About him.
She had been told by her friend in her dreams.
How he'd been broken. His friends lost.
Gone. Fixing someone else.
A lot of someone elses. Fixed.
When it was done. He was forgotten.
The bullet that found him didn't forget.
It found his spine. Broken but not fixed.
On that fateful day. The forgotten day.
When his friends disappeared. Gone.
Forgotten. Fixing someone else.
Fixing a lot of someone elses.
Did they forget? Those who were fixed?

Another delay. Too many hurdles.
Was Zek right? Too futile to try.
The miracle. Caught in red tape.
Maybe the one way. Many.
Fixed.
Norler's frustration. He'd tried.
Approval had died. The miracle blocked.
Voted down. The study was perfect.
Norler had fought with words. Defeated by red tape.
Alicia rubbed his shoulders. At their home.
They made love, but no miracles.
Their dream. Because someone had forgotten.
Nobody fixed.

The butterfly remembered. Her grandmother.
The story. Given her by someone who was fixed.
A long time ago. Many gone.
Forgotten while fixing them. Their freedom.
Her grandmother from a different place.
Her friend from somewhere fixed.
Many people came back broken.
And then forgotten.
Her grandmother's friend remembered.
Their family too.
For they had been fixed by the forgotten.
They'd been free ever since.
Her grandmother's friend had a grandson.
He a daughter and a son.
They remembered.

Norler gave it one more try.
He never gave up. Or in.
The miracle was worth it.
They were worth it.
The day the vote came.
The butterfly's family friends.
Those who'd been fixed.
By those who'd been forgotten.
Were there on the committee.
Their daughter. All grown up.
Her family free. Fixed.
While those who'd fixed them.
Broken. Forgotten.
She spoke to the committee.
Told her story. The story of the family.
Free. The one that had given them the story of the butterfly.
And their family before.
Because someone had given their life.
To fix what was broken.
Becoming broken themselves.
Then forgotten.

Monique sat with him. The forgotten.
They watched it live. Television.
The butterfly too.
Alicia with Norler.
Valerie behind her own desk and feeling very Valkyra.
Many in the nation.
When the vote came through.
The miracle had won.
Maybe the forgotten would once again walk.
Maybe.
They cheered.
The broken one cried. 
Monique hugged him. Kissed his cheek.
The butterfly too.
Her tear fell while Weltherwithsp watched from inside it.
She thought of her grandmother.
Her grandmother's best friend.
Both from different places.
Where there were butterflies. And dragons.
Her grandmother's best friend.
Freed by the efforts of the forgotten.
Before they had left seeking a new life here.
Her grandmother's friend thought of their son.
Their son thought of their daughter.
And their daughter on that day worked for the committee.
She'd told the committee the story of their freedom.
Those who'd fought for them to be free.
The vote went through and they might walk.
Because someone had remembered.

Copyright © 2014 Brian Joseph Johns

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Practice Makes Perfect...

He lines up the shot. Bang.

The scourge is dead. Simple as that.

Plain as day.

When you keep at something, you become good at it.

His Uncle used to tell him.

Bang.

Another one falls. A hundred meters this time.

No blood. Just broken glass.

Another bottle that used to be it's neighbour.

One day.

He goes inside and prepares.


She is elsewhere. Somewhere in the city.

Her day job. The only one she ever knew.

Fixing things. Fixing people.

With her mind. The more she does the better she gets.

Chemistry. Bio-transmorphology. All better.

One day. Cancer gone. Maybe.

For good.

When you keep at something, you become good at it.


Her lab coat would tell the story.

But remains silent after she removes it.

She looks plain but she is anything but.

Plain is just a word. The night is about to come.

That's her time to let it all hang loose.

Become the style. A night style.


Miles away in his car.

A gas guzzler from a different era.

Long before smart phones.

Computers.

Reagan? Gorbachev?

Maybe. Still running.

Like his Uncle through his brain.

Make it to the prize.

Tonight. No bottles this time.

Only words.

And bullets.

They're so much alike, aren't they?

Bang.

Someone dies.

Someone cuts him off.

More scourge.

He's back in his car.

His finger raised in salute.

He shoots with words.

But misses.

There's always tonight.


She's out the door.

As quick as she arrived.

Too late at work.

She might miss it.

For her its not a problem.

Off and out into the air.

Too fast. Agile.

Running. Into an alley.

Up a wall. Parts of the fire escape.

She almost misses a jump.

Then lands.

Twenty stories below.

The hotel.

Too far to jump. But not to climb.

A view rarely seen by most.

Weltherwithsp told her.

In her sleep.

Be there or miss.

The cold iron kiss.

The butterfly's too far.

To night style's the star.

The field again.

It flew above them.

Her and them.

Her dream and she awakes.

In a window of the hotel.


His car parked. Someone comments.

He ignores it. They're just sheep.

They eat the crap they're fed.

They don't know what lurks.

His Uncle used to tell him.

In the dark. There's things that will take you.

All of us. They will.

They lead. The sheep follow.

Knowing this and you are removed from the flock.

Be ready for the day.

Bang. They're dead.

His Uncle. Used to.

Before he went. Bang.

Into the ballroom. Up the stairs.

He waits. For the main attraction.

This is a circus. He wants the ring master.

Not the sheep.


She runs down the hall. Someone shouts.

Hey, there's that one from the news.

She ignores him. The stairs.

Flight by flight. She jumps.

Bang. As she hits each landing.

He imagines the shot.

Just like the bottles. He might get three or four.

Before they stop him. Not the sheep.

The scourge have protectors.


She runs as fast as she can.

Down the hall. Second floor.

She finds the service elevator.

She's not used to waiting.


The sheep introduce the feast.

The scourge master. His feast.

Like he imagined it so many times.

He pulls the bullpup from his jacket.

Levels it from the darkness.


The elevator opens. She's a blur to the staff.

Down another hall and in quietly to the ballroom.

On stage. The speech.

He delivers it with no reproach.

Ears listening. Security too.

She scans until she sees him.

The grim reaper. She has eyes for the night.

She can smell death from a mile away.

He stinks of it.

She leaps.


Bang.

Something crossed his sights.

Too fast. Screams.

Did any bottles fall? He fires again.

Bang. Bang. Then darkness.


She holds him still having broken him.

Not dead. But definitely broken.

His gun falls. Security have guns too.

Don't move they tell her.

She doesn't listen.

Too fast she's out again.


On her way home. The hard way.

Avoiding sirens. Sticking to the shadows.

Nobody will know what she did.

Except Weltherwithsp.

And the butterfly.


The water runs over her body, which returns to its natural form.

Plain. A bit overweight.

But still beautiful. She does her part.

Drying on the couch. The news.

The ring master was saved. But not the speech.

Maybe he'll deliver it another day.

She rubs the spot on her chest.

Bang. The grim reaper's shot.

Mostly healed, but still sore.

She was fast enough because she keeps at it.

Like her day job. She keeps going though nobody knows.

She gets better.

Because practice makes perfect.


Copyright © 2014 Brian Joseph Johns