Forward Through the Fog

It smells like Fall now,

bonfires and dead leaves.

Beneath my jacket, the skin on my arms bubbles,

trying to fend off the cold.

In a year, I’ll have to know

where I’m going and

I’m already scared.

 

Fog cuts off the sidewalk in front of me.

Good thing I’m walking.

 

I want you to be standing on the corner,

right where the sidewalk turns.

I want to navigate together not just because

doing it alone makes my throat close

but because it’s pointless without you.

 

My feet slap against the pavement.

Too late to turn around.

Phantom fingers from the past pull me

back.

Or they try.

That girl’s gone.

 

I’m Sorry

Callie had been missing for 18 hours before it occurred to me that they wouldn’t find her alive. I’d been sitting in the library, staring out the window at the high school football field across the street. No one had seen her since 3 in the afternoon the day before. It was 9 am.

I checked social media again. No news. I texted my brother. He sent me the article. They’d found her body somewhere in the park. It didn’t say where or what happened.

It’s always the boyfriend, right? He took off shortly after the police report was filed. I never liked him.

I couldn’t call Callie a friend. I hadn’t seen her in two years, but we had been in classes together and had studied together a few times.

A text flashed across my phone, the day and time of the memorial service. Of course it was on a Tuesday. Callie and I weren’t that close, and funerals are for the family and friends. I didn’t know them. Was I supposed to go to the memorial?

I didn’t go. Going wouldn’t bring her back.

Never, Never, Never

Every year the autumn whisper

whistles over hills and vales,

bringing word of fairy dances

and the fair folk lore and tales.

Never resting, pixie feet will dance until the dawn,

rhythmic stepping, twirling, prancing ever on and on.

“Invite the mortals,” they all jeer

but never make it past a sneer.

You’re the first invited in

and never will you leave again.

Accept your fate. Accept your lot.

You’ll keep dancing til you rot.

Writing Update: September

Last month I wasn’t able to find time to work on my novels, but I did work on a few exciting, new projects. I typed up a story for my workshop class about unrequited love. I’ve kept busy writing articles for The Odyssey. It’s one of the only platforms where I write nonfiction. The other platform, and one of the reasons I’ve been so busy, is Her Campus. My school recently launched it’s own Her Campus Chapter, and I’ve started writing articles for them as well. My first article was published this week about living on campus as an introvert, and my article for next week will be about high school dress codes. It’s been really fun and exciting to get my writing out there more.

My goals for October are to stay on top of writing for my website, to improve my short story writing, and to find time to work on my novels. Life can be crazy, but as long as I can find time to write, everything else usually falls into place.

Meds Don’t Help

The drip, drip, drip of the sink invades my dreams. The medication, four blue pills and two green, turns even good dreams into nightmares of shape, color, and sound. In my dream, orange squares with beady squirrel eyes chase me through my house which coincidentally is full of quicksand. My legs sink. The sand sucks. I’m falling.

My back hits the mattress. Dim moonlight crosses over the unfamiliar, blue bedspread. Someone rolls over in the bed beside me. A man’s nose brushes my shoulder, his blonde hair almost silver in the darkness. I shift away from him. Why is he in my bed?

He looks like he belongs there, but his name escapes me. I’ve probably woken him up before to ask. It’s not worth it tonight.

I grab the small, black photo album on my bedside table. Little pieces of tape label each picture. The first one is me: Andrea Fae Lynn. I’m in a flowing, white wedding dress. My face was younger, and my hair was darker then. The second is the man in my bed: Danny Lynn. He’s in a tuxedo. We’ve been happily married for twenty years. Danny and the kids tell me these things every morning, hoping I will start to remember. It’s working. I’m remembering what they tell me.

The third picture is the kids: Daisy and Ben. Its Daisy holding baby Ben. They’re both grown now I think. Yes, the next picture is of Daisy with a family of her own. I almost remember Daisy’s baby being born, only because it was after my accident.

Danny mumbles beside me. His eyes open a little bit. “Andrea, are you okay?” He lifts a hand to touch my face, but he stops. The air between us buzzes with hesitation. I kiss him. Our lips don’t fit together anymore, but he smiles. “You remembered me.”

Just his face. I don’t remember what I felt for him. Those feelings are locked away somewhere I’ll never be able to reach, but I return his smile anyway.

When Nothing Was Real

Trilling keys of the piano

And spring blooms

Take me to a Victorian garden, a life that’s not

my own.

 

Fall leaves,

the bonfire,

and the brassy sound of a marching band

take me to high school

when marching made me strong.

 

Crisp cold,

snow coating everything

take me home

to being little when nothing mattered,

when nothing was real.

 

And summer brings me to you,

the time we were most separated

and the time I almost lost you.

Sun screen and swim suites and part-time jobs.

And none of it matters without you.

Research Beyond the Veil

The purple shade of twilight fell over the cemetery. These things always happen in cemeteries or old mansion, but this one was the cemetery on the hill by a high school in the suburbs. Most of the headstones were readable. Only one had a chip in it. The perfect target.

The witch, a local one who usually only dealt in herbs including but not limited to weed, set up her white protection candles. A small pentagram was already dug into the mud with a stick. She sprinkled a salt circle around it. “No such thing as too much protection.”

As the moon rose over her head, she lifted her hands. “Oh wise Moon Goddess, your daughter speaks. Bring down eternal life so that I may do your work.”

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, but pearly, silver rain drops fell. The moon tears broke over the witches skin, filling her with energy and youth. Her spider veins faded, and her wrinkles pulled tight. “Thank you, Goddess.”

As the witch packed up her belongings, the sky turned ashy. Not the deep blue of night, but the gray of death. Then a tear formed in the graveyard. The ground beneath her feet split, the crack continuing up a headstone and into the open air. Then the split opened.

They say that beyond is full of eternal misery or wandering souls or darkness or snow. Whatever it is must be terrifying though because it’s rare to see inside and live. But that witch lived. I tracked her down. I’ve tracked them all down. Most of the Seerers are dead. Some are paralyzed or comatose. She wasn’t. When I asked her to tell her story, her tongue twisted and her hands shook, but I saw images. They were fast flashes (nothing distinguishable) and they filled me with pure fear.

Contemplating How the World Will Burn

It’s like standing on the train tracks,

the headlights filling your eyes as it bares down on you.

The sound splits to the sides, skipping your

ears.

The vibrations shake your foundation.

Too late to jump off the tracks.

 

It’s like waiting to board the plane,

the sun setting down the runway.

You’re going somewhere you’ve never been,

and you don’t have a return flight.

 

Or maybe it’s like living normally,

except everything cuts off.

Without warning, you’re sitting in the living room,

and then it’s dark.

There’s no replay of your life,

no time for a final thought.

Just the power button turning off.

Just eternity.

Infinity of Holding On

Moonlight casts shadows on the paisley wallpaper. Everything is a different shade of gray in the dark. Down the hall, a grandfather clock strikes midnight. Tingling fills the air, a sign of magic. Charged silence replaces the chimes. My skin prickles. I unfold my hands, letting them fall open in my lap. “Are you here?”

My body shivers and panicked sadness catches in my stomach. My breath comes fast. My lungs tighten. Images flash through my mind, digging into me. I can’t make sense of them. I can’t slow them down.

Please, help, the soft voice whispers in my ear. My body stiffens. The images freeze. It’s like the girl is standing right in front of me, reddish brown hair falling to her hips. She’s young and faded. The longer someone has been dead, the harder it is to see them. She can’t be the one I’m looking for, but she’s here.

“What’s the last thing you remember?” I brace myself as I always do, but it never helps. Pain blots out the room in front of me. The air pulls from my lungs. My heart thumps, bruised and terrified. Fear freezes my brain. As I feel myself twisting around, I see hands reaching for me. They tighten around my throat, and I thrash and scream. No sound comes out. My body releases, giving into death. As my eyes close, I see a familiar square-jawed man, her step-dad. His normally cheery, brown eyes are dark pits of hate. His lips scowl down at me. Then he’s gone. The room rushes back to meet me. Air fills my lungs too fast, giving me a headache. I wrap my arms around myself, taking a moment to breathe. My neck aches from where I scratched myself trying to escape the phantom hands.

The girl watches me, eyes wide. I press my shaking hands between my thighs. “I’m sorry that that happened to you.”

Don’t be. I’m glad I died. Better to die with honor than be exiled and shamed. 

“How long have you been trapped wandering?”

Too long.

“I can set you free.”

What do I have to do?

“Let go.”

The girl’s eyes narrow. How do I do that?

“Don’t carry this with you anymore.”

What does that mean? You talk like that’s easy.

“I know it’s not, but as soon as you let it go, it can’t hurt you anymore.”

It will always hurt me, even if I manage to forget. I will always be dead because of him.

“Just like my sister. She was murdered by her ex-boyfriend.” My voice comes out strong, but inside I’m crumbling.

Did your sister let go? Is she at peace?

“No, and I need to find her.”

Maybe she doesn’t want to be at peace if it means letting go of everything, if it means forgiving.

“But when you wander you’re in pain and you’re alone!”

But you’re you, and you’re fighting. If I let go, I’m letting him win.

“If you stay, you’re letting what he did control you.”

The girl is quiet for a long time. Then she is gone, and I’m no closer to finding my sister.

August Writing Update

August is back to school month, so of course it was crazy. I moved back to school and classes have started up. I haven’t had a lot of time to write outside of things for class, for my website, and for The Odyssey. However, I am still going to be editing my novel, The Matter Bend very soon, hopefully for one of the last times.