Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Golden Pocket – part 4

Golden Pocket cover 30%

At first there was freedom in the endless supply of golden coins, and I gave them freely. I was charitable to the poor in every town I came upon. I tithed in abundance to each church, filling their poor boxes to bursting. I gave hope to the widows in meeting their meager needs and brought smiles to the orphans through toys and treats. And I asked them all to pray for me that I might not die within the years of my sojourn.

The golden knife, as it turned out, was enchanted as well. It would cut through wood, metal or stone just as easily as through butter, bread or cheese.

Occasionally I would be held up by robbers who demanded I turn out my pockets which I did cheerfully, letting them know to return should they need more. If they threatened violence, I would simply display the power of the knife by cutting down a tree, or through one of their own blades. Only once was I forced cause harm; he lost a hand. What I discovered was that everything was done out of desperation, both theirs and my own.

In that first year, there were many men who sought my hand for marriage. I was never fooled, for they were attracted to the green coat…or rather the gold in the green pockets. My heart ached for someone who could love me without the coat, for I knew it was borrowed and would return to its owner someday.

As the sun turned many times over, I found myself growing into an ever alarming state of decay. My nails grew long and curved into a resemblance of talons. My hair clumped together in a pile of braids unwilling to unwind. My unwashed skin acquired a layer of sticky brown patina and unfortunately I smelled like the grave. Most devastatingly, whiskers from my chin and corners of my mouth grew into a thin and wispy tangle.

My beauty passed away and my visage resurrected into a creature doomed to the outskirts of social acceptability. I became unrecognizable to people I once helped, and they were happy to ignore me as I traveled through towns and homesteads. My money was always accepted but my company was rejected everywhere. Once again I returned to sleeping in the wood, well wrapped in my bearskin which I slept in every night.

I learned to live in the wood and made my home there in a cave. The gold became cursed to me, as I no longer had a need for it. Happily, I learned to live off the land, trapping for meat when necessary and eating roots and berries in their respective seasons. On occasion my pockets grew heavy with the weight of coins and I would empty them into crevices in the cave. Each corner had its fill of gold. Oh how I hated it, wishing for it all to end.

And in that seventh year’s winter, the snow fell heavy and the winds bit my bones. I was forced to seek proper shelter away from the cave, which meant I must re-enter civilization.

I knew my time drew short. I was desperate to live and see this terrible task through. Back on to the road I trod, seeking shelter elsewhere.


Golden Pocket: Kindle Ebook

Categories: Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Golden Pocket – part 3

Golden Pocket cover 30%

I found myself on the same stretch of forest road I had left some time before. We had not moved at all. Turning about, I could see the front door was one and the same as the golden carriage door. The driver remained on duty up top and the pale horses stood as still as statues. He followed through and joined me on the road in the wood.

Nearby bellowed a desperate roar. The sound of anguish and anger hollering through the trees threw me into a shudder. I looked at the man in green, his arrogant smile ever upon me. Tilting his head, he indicated I should follow. I considered running but getting far enough away would be impossible. I was content to acquiesce…for the moment.

A short span away we came to the tree I had hidden beneath when he found me. He reached down and picked up the lone item left among the cedar’s bulging roots: the knife I’d taken from my father’s house.

I now knew to expect the worst. My mind fluttered with the images of the other desperate women who died in this wood. Their pale, delicate frames splayed upon the bedding of the tiny, sloughed cedar branches littering the forest floor. It seemed my turn had come.

Instead, he walked onward. I followed him into a clearing where before us was an enormous brown bear. Roaring at us in his pain, I could see the fear leaking through the hulking animal’s eyes. His front paw was snared in a massive, iron, toothy trap cutting through flesh to the bone.

The man looked at me now, holding up the knife. “The second option is before you. Should you so choose, you will wander the world for seven years with no home to call your own. You cannot bathe, trim your nails or cut your hair. Yet you will want for nothing,” he said and took off his beautiful green coat, placing it around my shoulders. “In any pocket of this coat you will find gold in continual supply. Every time you reach into the pocket, it will be there for you.”

His gaze never wavered from mine. While watching him warily, my hand slipped into the outer pocket and retrieved a handful of gold coins. I did the same with the other pocket and found the same result.

His mouth now widened into a wolfish grin. Again he held up my knife and ran the blade down his palm, running his own blood along the knife’s edge. Then holding up his palm, as if to display a magic trick, he showed me the cut quickly healing itself. It was as if he declared: I am immortal. Then he took the knife and sank it with ease to the hilt in the nearest cedar, and as easily as cutting soft cheese, he cut around the circumference of the tree. With a single finger he pushed, and it fell crashing through the forest.

The man walked over to the bear and before the sad animal knew what had happened, he dealt a swift incision to the bear’s neck. The beast bled out and collapsed into a final rest. With a quickness of hand and skill I had never yet seen, the man skinned the hulking carcass in a matter of minutes. Then taking the pelt, he shook it out, like when I would clean the rugs of father’s house. The bear’s pelt transformed into a large, brown, furry cape and cowl that he now latched around my shoulders.

“You will sleep every night in this bearskin for the next seven years. Should you die in this time, you will lose this challenge…and belong to me. Are we agreed?”

I stood fixed to the spot. Words refused to escape my lips as my tongue quit cooperating.

“Are we agreed, Athena?”

My eyes met his again and tumbled into their hypnotic azure void. I gave a single nod and affirmed with a single word.

“Good,” he said with a jovial tone and began to walk back toward the road before stopping and turning. “One last thing.” He held up the knife, which had now turned to gold in his hand, and gave it back to me. “For your protection.”

He turned once more and I followed him to the road. Climbing inside the carriage, he faced me once more to say: “You have gold aplenty but your time runs short. Spend both wisely.”

The driver atop cracked his whip. The pale horses reared and lunged forward. They all disappeared in a crackle and peal of blue light.

Although I’m certain he kept his watchful blue eyes upon me, I never saw that man again for seven years.


Golden Pocket: Kindle Ebook

Categories: Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Golden Pocket – part 2

Golden Pocket cover 30%

Not knowing how I got there, I found myself in a bed. The linen sheets wrapped about my frame in loose tangles would not release me, nor did I give them permission. I sat up, realizing that I had been bathed and fitted in a simple, lovely green nightgown. It did not matter how it happened, because the stickiness of old, cold sweat was gone and my skin was warm.

On a chair next to the bed my dress draped perfectly, freshly laundered during my rest. A simple card on the nightstand read: join me, when you are ready.

I replaced the nightgown with my simple clothing once again. Looking at the lovely green of the cloth, the thought fluttered so briefly through my mind to take it with me. Surely it would sell for a decent value in town. The thought, though tempting, was forced to surrender to my will. I refused to repay kindness with bad grace for it would only welcome darkness.

Picking up the brush in front of the vanity mirror, I held it aloft to my hair but stopped. My black tresses had already been brushed. A small smile stretched my lips…and then pursed. Was I this man’s guest? His prisoner? His plaything? Or worse? It didn’t occur to me until now that I may very well suffer the same fate as those other unfortunate women who had at one time wandered the wood toward their own demise.

Straightening my posture, I put on my best mask: a truly disarming smile.

I wandered through the bedroom door and into the room beyond. It was large and well furnished. A love-seat and chaise upholstered in scaly leather sat upon a bearskin rug in front of a roaring fire. Though clearly not innocent setting, it was inviting.

“There you are darling,” he said as he entered the room. “I was beginning to think you might never awake.” He motioned to the chaise, “please…”

I smiled but stood still, unable to will my unwilling body.

Then he smiled, the sharp V of his lips parting to reveal perfect teeth. “Athena,” he said and motioned again.

I melted when he spoke my name and my body became limber once again. I was surprised when I sat upon the scaly green leather by the cool and soft touch beneath my hands. “You know my name, but do I know you?”

His crystalline gaze set upon me as he reclined on the love seat. A deep chuckle resonated from his core. “Yes, you know me.” He stretched out his legs toward the fire and my eyes fell upon the obvious abomination. In the place of his left foot was a cloven hoof, shoed like a horse but in gold that reflected the dancing flames before it.

My throat turned to sand, dried up and brittle. I gave him the clearest nod I could muster but he knew it was weak. I was in a most clear danger.

He stood up and walked over to the bar. “Forgive me, you’re thirsty,” he said, approaching with a crystal decanter of wine and a glass. He poured the wine out, but when it filled up in the glass it was only water. My eyes grew wide as two moons and he laughed. “Please accept my apologies. There are those who say my humor is twisted.”

He placed the glass in my hand and I sipped the clearest water, instantly refreshing the desert of my throat. My voice returned and faintly I spoke: “Am I to die tonight?”

He hummed and paced before the fire before answering: “That is up to you.”
“How so?”

He knelt down in front of me and rubbed my ankles with his soft hands. “You can surrender to me now and I’ll care for you…for a while. You’ll be well treated and dressed. Gifted with gold, jewels and pearls. And every night you’ll dine as my queen. But eventually every meeting has a parting. After some years I’ll bore of you.” There was no need to say more for the piercing lust of his eyes illuminated the intended end.

I fought the bile of my loathing and every ounce of desire to shrug his advancing hands. Instead I replied: “Or…what?”

He withdrew and stood up, no longer affectionate but now calculating and reptilian in his gaze. He pointed to the big green door behind me. “Or you see what is out there. It may lead to your survival or your death.”

Standing upright, I squared my shoulders and walked toward the green front door. I grasped the black iron handle and opened it.


Golden Pocket: Kindle Ebook

Categories: Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Golden Pocket – Part 1

Golden Pocket cover 30%

Desperation will guide a woman to hard decisions. When I was found seven years go, I was desperate: lovely and desperate; naive and desperate. Shivering as the bony branches in the whipping winter wind, and just as skinny, I left my father’s house in haste after his death. His wife had a loathsome lawyer as her lover, and she was not my mother. She took everything except the clothing draped about me. I stole through the kitchen and confiscated the sharpest blade and thus I was on my own, alone in the world.

Seven days and seven nights I wandered about the wood, afraid to step onto the road in case I found myself in the clutches of a devil passing by. So many tortured tales rang in my youthful ears about women who, alone in the wild, had been seized, used and left upon the forest floor. They watered the roots of these trees with their ebbing life-force leaking away through violent inflictions. I would not let it happen.

Night after night I would shelter beneath the cedar canopy, finding the right tree that could hide me from view with it’s swathing branches sweeping the floor. I was tucked beneath by the trunk and could see through the branches to the road. I never lit a fire at night, and finding food in the cold was impossible. The poking pains of hunger in my stomach stopped by the fourth day. Occasionally I would hear the stamping of hooves on the road and through the dark would see a carriage pass with its lanterns shining out front. My heart would throb as I held my breath until it passed. I began to expect that I would meet death and be taken from this place.

That final night lit up the forest by the pale rays of the full moon. The trees stood as silent sentinels in the stillness, as if they knew what was coming from beyond the fork in the road. A lone, long, and lonely howl pierced the silence and hung in the air for what seemed an infinite expanse of time, but it was cut off by the wind. A rushing gale swept through, bending the elder cedars as if they were saplings. It was unlike other storms. It was a malevolent maelstrom, whispering to me as it whipped by: “Athena…Athena…”

It knew my name.

With the crack of a whip, everything drew silent again, as if through obedience. I drew the tresses of my black hair away from my face and gazed through the branches toward the road, where stood a golden carriage at full stop. I never even saw it coming, as if it appeared of its own accord. The horses pulling it were monstrous and pale. Their eyes shown as embers in deep sockets. The driver was gangly and attentive to the road, never looking anywhere but ahead. In the pale of the night light, the golden carriage shimmered and made me think of a gilded coffin. Its door opened and out stepped a man with a cane, a green coat and a matching hat. His eyes were the color of a clear sky and glowed as such, and they fixed on me. My hiding place was useless.

“Athena, come out from there. You’ll catch your death in this cold,” he called out.
He knew my name. I heard creaking reverberate in the deep of the forest, as if a throaty laugh pushed down at my expense. He knew my name.

“Athena, come out from there. You’ll catch your death in this cold,” he called out again.

The laughter of the forest came again, resounding as if many laughs filtering into one. I looked back toward the source of noise. When my head swiveled forward, the man in green was directly in front of me, nose to nose.

“Athena, come with me,” he said.

I remained frozen, fixed upon his blue eyes. His strong featured face exhibited energy and vitality, yet his white hair betrayed the youthful portrait. He was ageless.

The sharp corners of his mouth turned upward. “Athena,” he said and blew a kiss.  As the wind of his breath caressed my cold face, I felt warmth and sleep overtake me. One final thought clouded my head as I fell into his arms: this was the most beautiful man I’d ever seen.


Golden Pocket: Kindle Ebook

Categories: Fiction | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tales Welcome

Come all you who dream,
You earth-bound, and cloud-dweller,
You feet-on-the-ground,
You faery tale teller.

Make ready your tale,
You shy, and you earth-shaker,
You witty, you wry,
You pleb, and kingmaker.

Step in from the cold, hang your coat, douse your flare;
Come eat at my table; the stories we’ll share.

Categories: Poetry | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Steadfast – part 10 finale

Steadfast is a serial short fiction piece.

To start from the beginning, go to part 1.

Steadfast Cover 25% shrink copy Steadfast Kindle Ebook.

Upon waking I discovered a curious and familiar face peering down at me.
“The Spartan?” I said.

The old man chuckled and patted my chest. “That’s right.”

“Am I down beneath the city?”

“No, you’re topside,” he said.

I glanced about at my surroundings. Sterile. Clean. It was like an infirmary but there were several other clocks in various states of repair on different beds.

“Confused?” he said.

I affirmed.

The Spartan sighed and sat next to my bedside. “There’ve been a few changes since your…sacrifice. The mob turned against Reverend Harquinn and she ended up in the flames. Your story spread like a city fire and eventually reached us beneath, where we all took heart from your example. We rose to the surface and took over the city without any bloodshed. That’s when we found you and began immediate repairs. You are valuable Ajax. There is none like you.” He placed his hand upon mine. “And that’s not all…” Then the Spartan rose and walked away and I closed my eyes, considering all I had lost and wishing they had melted me down.

“What else is there?” I said.

“There’s me,” spoke a sweet, feminine voice I didn’t recognize.

I opened my eyes and saw her sitting next to me. The woman of my dreams. My ballerina.


Categories: Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at