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

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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.
“Surviving.”
“That’s all that can be asked.”
“Indeed.”
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 five

Further in the light continue to burn 

Bringing her the freedom that she did yearn 

Yet now she felt her heart stir 

As she noticed a faint whisper 

Starting off as delicate as a kiss 

Booming into something impossible to miss 

The sound was a haunting song 

Pushing and pulling her right along 

Three distinct voices, lithe and feminine 

If she were to describe the beauty she couldn’t begin 

She knew the end of her troubles with soon 

As each note cause her heart to swoon

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 one 

The spell had dwindled to a flicker

To the princess’ surprise the air seemed thicker

Thick enough to chew and swallow

Without the magicthe world seemed hollow

It was a drug that she’d been given a taste

Leaving her tongue to fly with haste

“Whatever it is it’s yours to take

Any amount of gold to my days to wake

Your magic is power that much I can see

Of royal blood I don’t want to be

I trust in your skill and in you

Please do what you must do”

With this Jaspeak gave a grin

“Well well well where to begin

The Witch’s Memory part seventy

The witch tossed back her hair and searched the sky

“I’m going to help you and I’ll tell you why

Too long our world have been at arms’ length

Not taking advantage of each other strength

So we battle amongst ourselves

Placing us in our combined hell

To break free means to reach out

Showing that vengeance is not all that where about

If that means starting with you and me

Then that is how it must be

I carry no ill will towards you

For we have only just met that much is true

But our struggles are connected down to the bone

This is our plight that we must own

We need to save each other no longer broken

By the words so long ago spoken”

The princess was confused by the witch

As her surroundings return to pitch

The Witch’s Memory part sixty nine

Soon the spell came to an end

Her eyes no longer had to fend

When they adjusted the princess could see

And what she saw left her with glee

It was as though the witch had captured sunshine 

Leaving her in a garden of plants of varying size

The moon replaced with a glorious sun

A comparable sight there was none

And there stood Jaspeak a sight so beaming

Amongst the forestation gleaming

The princess was speechless in front of the woman

“That is but a taste of what I can summon 

I assure you I am not about death and disease

If that is enough to put you at ease”

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

The Witch’s Memory part sixty eight

The princess as unsure what to do next

In the presence of the woman with skin so perfect

She was lost, for the first time on her own

And part of that frightened her to the bone

Here she was at the mercy of nature

Not sure what else she’d be made to endure

She was left down on her knees

At the vicious mercy of an unnatural freeze

So she rose up to stand

Her cheeks flushed red as a heated brand

“How do I know in you I can trust

Perhaps if I say yes you’ll turn me to rust

I don’t mean for you to think me rude

Like I’ve been cursed with a foul attitude

But perhaps I’ve been duped by my trusting nature

So now I need to be quite sure”

Said the princess cautiously

While the witch made herself hard to see

The witch was dressed in shadows of black

Yet her grin with its radiance that did not lack

“You are as wise as the morning is bright

Not willing to take on unnecessary plight

I wish I had your vision when I was young

Maybe then I would not have been stung”