The Witch’s Memory part 15 (recap)

What she said next would haunt her for days
For weeks, months, years, decades in many different ways
She would remember this moment with creeping dread
“I wish you were dead.”
As soon as she uttered the words she wished to reel them back
Hoping she’d be cut some slack
That she could apologize and set things straight
But at once she knew it was far too late
The treacherous words dwelling inside
Refused to stay hidden no matter how hard she tried
“I’m going to go” Jaspeak began
“This abuse I will not stand
Count your blessings if I choose to return
Know it was you who let this bridge burn”
At once both hot and cold
Although that part from the story would go untold
She stomped off not dating a second glance to take
For if she did she knew her heart would break
Jaspeak heard her father speak
The mere sound of his voice making her weak
She ran off without a word
Thinking this was all a bit absurd
This was the moment that would withstand time
To never be captured in prose or rhyme
When she abandoned her people for the sake of a boy
So why oh why did she feel this joy
This sense of peace and glorious calm
Feeling the electric prickle in her palm
This wealth of emotion bursting inside
All because her former self died
Now she had to rush to be with Roland
To be with someone who’d surely understand
What it was like to be so alone
Someone who could see what was inside shone
So she cast away her worries and her woe
Knowing where her heart needed to go
Jaspeak trekked through valley and mountain
She travelled through morning and nights dark as sin
Until she came to an unknown place
Nestled between two mountains as if they were giving it space
Her heart thundered as she knew
This was the home of the one she knew to be true
Roland the idiot who stumbled into her life
The one who was more than worth the strife
She found a cluster of trees for her to wait
For the boy, praying him not to be too late
The sun fell giving way to the moon
This burdening anticipation had to end soon
At last her wish was granted
As she peered beyond the trees where she was planted
She spotted Roland as he came shuffling in
When she saw him she broke out into a wide grin
“Here I am!” she had spoken
And at her voice his trance was broken
Now no smile came to greet his face
His eyes had lost their luster and grace
She asked “What does trouble you my dear?”
“I wish that you were still far from here”


The Witch’s Memory part 13 (recap)

Jaspeak’s heart swelled at this sight
This would be what she took from the night
The stunned silence which crowded the air
As they marveled at the lake without a care
The moon rose high as minutes turned to hours
Along came a misting shower
Calming rain washed over the two
Signaling their night was through
She bid the boy goodbye
And the boy let out a deep sigh
“Same place and time in two weeks?”
Asked Roland in a voice rather meek
Jaspeak gave a smile rather great
“Yes indeed but please don’t be late.”
They went their separate ways
Then they met again every fourteen days
In secrecy they continued this game
Their doings never quite the same
Under the pale gaze of the moon
She showed him the wonders of Ryamadoon
The cave of wonders hidden deep
To the Singing Pool where mermaids sleep
She showed him how to conjure a storm
Then how to create a fire to keep warm
There were so many things for them to see
But other place she’d rather be
Her feelings for him grew with every tryst
And she wondered how it would be if they kissed
A different kind of magic she did assume
One capable of relieving any gloom
Like a rainbow bursting through the clouds
Making her heart sing boisterously loud
It went on this way for some time
The feeling was going rather sublime
Six months went by and the air started to grow chill
A time when everyone had been left to winter’s will
Traveling to see Roland was going to be a challenge
But she started to think she could manage
As she thought up another ploy
Her father thought she was being rather coy
Up to something in these late night excursions
Coming home with such aversion
Hiding secrets under his roof
It was a trait a tad uncouth
These were not the actions of the daughter he knew
The one who loved him and her mother through and through
This was a stranger dressed in her flesh
One who couldn’t get along or mesh
With the offerings of her home and land
And that was something he couldn’t stand
She came home sweet, content
But he wondered how her time was spent
He ventured to ask before she laid down her head
Having her speak her heart instead
Still he chose to let her rest for now
He’d find the truth someway somehow
The next time she went out , air chilled and crisp
As she was followed by a pestering wisp
That glowed light blue right by her ear
A persistent reminder that someone was near
She spotted Roland caught in the midst of trees
A feeling of joy travelled from her head to her knees
He offered a smile rather tired
Losing the charm and mystique she had admired
“Has something happened to you my dear?”
She asked not feigning her fear
“It’s nothing Jaspeak” He answered quite wry
“Just pondering things by and by
I enjoy our time together I truly do
So it grieves me to ask something of you”

The Witch’s Memory part 11 (recap)

At this Jaspeak did scoff
Rolling her eyes and jutting her head aloft
“I didn’t need any of your rescue
I am quite fine and well to do
It seems we’ve come to an impasse
So tell me your name at last.”
He brushed off his clothes with the back of his hand
“I go by the name Roland
From a kingdom a ways aways
A journey by foot rounding about four days
The kingdom is called Udonvalle
My father works the majesty’s jail
My mother passed away last winter
Every fallen snowflake makes me miss her
I myself am the apprentice of a smith
A patient man who is very forthwith
I am learning the craft at lightning pace
Building weaponry for a swordsman with grace
It is a craft where I can mature
Making quite certain my future is secure.”
Jaspeak gave a quizzical gaze
As if losing herself in a distant haze
She wondered after this strange boy
The one who now seemed devoid of joy
Jaspeak stood letting the moment linger
A wind coming in as fierce as winter
“So tell me how it is you found yourself here
In these woods cloaked in fear
Are you seeking to forage from this land
Stealing our riches that you conceal in your hand?”
She posed the question serious and steadfast
After a wounded pause the boy spoke at last
“I have no desire to pilfer this place
For that matter to invade yours or anyone’s space
I sought some solace so I ran away
Not to tarry long, I expected to be gone a day
As I began walking my head went clear
Clearer it got with no one near
My father began speaking the word destiny
And I truth the word frightened me
To think of being a part of a preset plan
Not having the option to become my own man
Never being free to explore the earth
To find out what I’m truly worth
I didn’t mean to be gone this long
Surely father thinks something is wrong
Perhaps it would be best if I take my leave
I don’t want my father too much to grieve.”
With that the boy readied himself to go
What to do Jaspeak didn’t know
She knew all too well how he felt
To be a part of a hand already dealt
She herself had been destined to become
A better example of where her name came from
To be great, shining, and bright
To turn a dark deed toward the light
It was a burden, cumbersome at best
Always wondering if you’ll pass the test
The boy was ready to walkout of her life
Her heart conflicted and filled with strife
“Wait,” she hollered as well as she could
Still loud enough to wake the wood
“Don’t leave in such a huff
I was giving you a bit of guff
My name is Jaspeak I was born here
That is why these woods offer me no fear
Don’t run off just like that
I’ll tell you that I’d like to chat
It’s not easy to be me
To be expected to be more than you see
Perhaps we can meet where we are
Beneath the point of the highest star
The one so bright and easy to seek
Maybe we can greet each other every other week?”
There was a hopeful glint within her gaze
And an eyebrow the boy did raise
A smile creased his charming face
A serene calm washing between the space

The Witch’s Memory part 3 (recap)

But a greater matter rested at hand
A matter that would affect the land
To his surprise the situation was known to Jaspeak
A solution he already did seek
He told our leader to go about his way
Perhaps he’d have a solution by the end of the next day
This pleased our magical lord
Those actions were the reason Jaspeak was adored
Happy that Jaspeak was hard at work
He felt there’d be an answer to this murk
Then the next day came as the sun did rise
And more complaints were brought to our leader’s surprise
This time the king was a part of the company
Our leader said “What bring you to see me?”
The king could not hide his countenance
“It seems we’ve been plagued by a new circumstance
This has nothing to do with the deal we’ve made
But we’ve exhausted options, unheard went what we prayed
Gone mad every animal has
They hiss, growl and even spazz
Their eyes glow garnet red
They gnash and bite, and don’t crave to be fed
All they do is run crazed and wild
Just the other day a wolf bit a child
This child fell ill and rabid as well
Quite a situation as you can tell
For now the young one is locked in the tower
As you can imagine this all has been rather dour
We cannot begin to eat such beasts
For fear of becoming the same at least
We have little to offer in way of wage
Any help at all would be so sage.”
Our leader waved away this jest
“We will all do our best
Something strange is happening in this land
An answer to this is what I demand
Take back to your castle an eased heart
Jaspeak will know just where to start.”
The king and his folk bid adieu
Now that this conversation was through
Our leader sought out Jaspeak once again
Hoping with his wisdom he’d know where to begin
The sun gave way to the night’s pearl eye
Our leader felt dismayed yet he didn’t know why
He knocked on the door for the wizard Jaspeak
Instead of strongly the knock came meek
Strong or not the knock was heard
And Jaspeak wore a grin like a cat who’d caught a fat bird
He stood in the doorway basked in moonlight
The once great wizard now looking a fright
His hair once bright as the ideas he did think
Was now the shade of the darkest, blackest ink
Jaspeak’s eyes were now like coal
And our leader had a horrible feeling in his soul
Yet he remained at the wizard’s whim
For he would always have to go to him
Again his bride was nowhere to be found
He prayed she was not somewhere gagged and bound
In need of his help though kept our leader quiet
Dread burrowed into his heart where it set
“How is it I find you once more
At the foot of my most welcome door,”
Said Jaspeak with a gleam
“Trouble apparently it does seem
With those folk without the gift
What is it now causing my focus to shift?”
Our leader spoke of the troubles he had heard
And Jaspeak rubbed his chin without speaking a word
Looking up into a sky that mirrored his own gaze
Appearing as though he could be lost up there for days
“This is a quandary,” Jaspeak said at last
“Of course I will handle this fast
Surely this will get done once I’ve figured the first
Hopefully their situation is the worst
If they are plagued by something else so grim
I’d hate to think what that would mean for them.”
With that the door was closed with a creak
And to our leader things seemed bleak
Not sure if the great wizard was someone to trust
But caught in a predicament where he must
He prayed that he was wrong
Hoping Jaspeak was the man he knew all along
The next day came and his prayer went unheard indeed
As the room sun broke there came the king on his steed
Anger and confusion played at the king’s stare
Trouble seemed to slither through the air
So our leader settled a spell in his tongue
To ward off attack of any begun
The horse came up with a strong neigh
“Do magic folk handle deals this way
To have your enemy call you friend
So they won’t realize the lies your tongues bend
Offering my land and daughter on bended knee I came
All that and yet it is more you seek to claim.”
It is said the king’s heart could be heard underneath his armor
Giving our leader a frightful tremor
“How have we wronged you so you say
What is it that brings you here today?”
At this question the king seemed offended
Any chance of reconciliation appeared absconded
“You chastise me on what brings me here
Truly your life you do not hold dear
My other daughters vanished without a trace
Never more my presence shall they grace
And a father with no children is a lost soul
There are no words uttered that could console
My daughters’ eyes went dark my helpers say
They offered strange mutterings everyday
Bizarre words that made little sense
Yet it is those words they continued to dispense
It is on their lips one word repeatedly they did speak
The name of your wizard, your beloved Jaspeak
I know it is him who would do something so foul
A villainous soul minus the cloak and cowl
So I give you this warning, once and no more
Prepare yourself for this means war.”

The Witch’s Memory part seventy eight

“It must be you,” said the princess with glee

“That I have been instructed to see 

I met your kin outside these walls

Where the wilderness pleads its call

Your sister showed me things bordering the impossible 

Sights that left me with a deep chill

I fall at your feet with gratitude 

For your generosity is too much to exude”

With that she fell to her knees

And it seemed the world did freeze

All went still and quiet

The women turned toward the girl

And at that moment her world did swirl

The Witch’s Memory part seventy six

Then she found the source of the noise

Three women of regality and poise

Sat around a cauldron with a song in their throat

In the middle of a deep moat

The water was purple, deep, and rich

The princess knew immediately each one was a witch

Just like the one she met in the forest

She became even less stressed

Surely they were here to help her on her journey

To help her be where she needed to be

A smile came to greet her face

Confidence abounding she stepped into the space

Inkslayer’s Journal Entry 5

Hey everyone! Still reeling from getting Beyond Here out into the world. Make sure to get your copy. Also if you message me I can set up signing and delivering you a copy if you wish. In the meantime here’s a free read of a flash fiction piece that I hope to make a full fledged novel at some point. I hope you enjoy!!

Ghost of the Arena

Her nights were always the same. 
The blood and her lone symbolic act were washed away with coarse goat hairbrushes. With each pass through she felt her wounds begin to tear anew. It reminded her that she will still alive. That the gods thought to curse her for another day.
She slept bare under the canopy of stars, the night sky matching her skin of coal. Each blazing jewel in sky was an unanswered plea for the release from the misery of this world. Before the morning light a new star would be born.
By the break of day she’d be awakened by Doc, a member of her troupe. In spite of overwhelming sense of death and horror which hung over the arena Doc managed to be cheery, sunlight dancing in his blue eyes.
“Perhaps you shouldn’t take a direct shot to the shoulder today. That is unless you’re not attached to it,” he said as he traced her collarbone with his finger.
Her waking pain was the same yet new nonetheless. “Are you giving instruction to your lanista?”
“Simply observing. It’s what I do.”
His olive skin never ceased to look pale against her own dark tones. The sun had taken its toll on his flesh leaving weathered lines behind in its wake. They paled in comparison to her menagerie of scars.
“How are the others?” she asked as she stood, her nude figure unabashed in the morning rays.
“That’s all that can be asked.”
They held a mutual respect for each other. A quiet means of foreplay that would proceed no further. There was no love for gladiators, not even amongst themselves. 
Before eating or partaking in the meager water rations provided she had to become the warrior she was made to become, the ghost of the arena. As she slumbered through the night the crew used a large kiln to dispose of the losers of yesterday. Their ashes would be ready for her by the rising of the sun, a mixture of grey and ivory. From the top of her head to the soles of her feet the dark skinned warrior dusted herself in the regret of yesterday. When she was done she was new, baptized in the death of fire.
From here she dressed herself in her armor before joining her troupe for their rations. Although the only female amongst the several men they held her in high regard. Her actions in the arena had saved their skin on numerous occasions.
The rest of the morning consisted of practice, practice, and trying to find out why she was a black girl sentenced to die in the arena. Soon it was mid-afternoon and the daylight was saturated with the cries of a bloodthirsty audience. The games were set to begin, and her and her Poison Apples were set to take center stage.
But today was different. 
The gates would wait longer today to open, to usher them into the madness. A trove of royal guards entered the confines of the area they called home, carrying with them the scent of sweat…and of her. The queen stank of nightshade, as poisonous as her heart. The queen considered herself to be a mother to the people, but to the gladiators made to fight on her behalf she may as well have been a wicked stepmother.
With her robes barely touching the tainted sand the queen made her way down the line of the Poison Apples until she reached the ghost of the arena. It was hard to discern anything about the queen behind that damn porcelain mask she wore.
“Will you win today?” the queen asked, her voice darkened as the sky as the sun sought to be tucked under the horizon. 

The black girl painted in ash didn’t speak. Her time spent as a gladiator gave her the impression the queen had something to do with her imprisonment. 
Although she couldn’t see it the warrior felt a cruel grin arch from behind the porcelain facade. “One can only hope so. My favorite apple in the batch. My Snow White.”

The Witch’s Memory part seventy two

Give me one moon to conjure 

A spell truly big and major

One that will be a blessing

One that will make your heart sing

I’ll need you to run way over yonder

Where you will get better from here on out

No more fussing or need to shout

Let the wind guide you where you need to go

Moon gilded lilies will start to show

The path that’ll keep you safe and sound

Once there you will not be found

For one night and will be well

Just one night and no more hell”

The Witch’s Memory part seventy

The wind swirled with ribbons of color

And the scent of rose petals began to smother

The staleness of the night air

Meanwhile Jaspeak’s blood flowed without care

Drop after crimson drop by her feet

From this bit of magic there was no retreat

All around where the blood did flow

The grass grew and the flowers did glow

Lilies stretched up to the moon

Large enough to make grown men swoon

Solid white luminescence saturated the night

Like the witch had become sun bright

It was as though she became a conductor to the stars

A beautiful entity kept afar

The Witch’s Memory part sixty nine

At that moment Jaspeak struggled to hold back her tears

That held all of frustration and tears

They came up hot and heavy

Threatening to breakthrough like cracks in a levy

But she was able to keep her resolve

Although her pain was an open wound dosed in alcohol

Jaspeak continued on in her speech

While her past clung like a hungry leech 

“I can go ahead and feed you lies

To do so would be of no surprise 

But in looking at you I can see your pain 

So I will have to refrain 

Causing you anymore with my words and phrases

It would do so little against someone so courageous 

With that the witch pulled out a blade 

A wicked sharpness it did display 

She ran the knife across her palm

Her eyes vacant and her nerves calm

Jaspeak let several drops of blood fall free

What happened next was a sight to see