Child’s Play

Delilah could feel them gaining on her. She wanted to look back, gauge their distance, but she couldn’t take her eyes off the ground. What if she tripped on a branch, or stepped on a chipmunk? It would squeal under her foot, it’s back crunching, it’s body writhing. She’d scream, and lose her balance. No; she couldn’t afford any mistakes.

“Heeeeereee piggy piggy!” she heard them squeal.

Hoards of maniacal laughter followed from the eager, unrelenting, crowd behind her. Delilah gasped, her air supply falling short now. She dared a glance beside her and tried to calculate whether she could hide behind the tree to steal a breath. Maybe she could change directions and lose them completely. But, that would be cheating; Delilah knew the rules better than anyone. In fact, she had made the rules.

“Hey Piggy Piggy Piggy!”

Delilah swiftly brought her attention back to her feet. Her eyes widened when she saw they were caked in mud – when had that happened? She had only looked away for a second! Grunting and panting in displeasure and desperation, Delilah kept moving. But now she could hear the stampede right on her heels. She could feel their sticky hands clamouring for her, smell their anxious breath being carried by the autumn breeze.

It was now or never, so Delilah chanced another glance up. Hopefully she wouldn’t get stuck in a knee-high mud pond. But it was worth the gamble, because just ahead, within her reach, she could see it. Safety. She was going to make it. She was going to be fine. She leapt, just the way her phys-ed teacher had taught her.

“HA!” she yelped as her feet slipped into the centre of the giant leaf pile they had compiled for this very moment.

She cackled obnoxiously, throwing leaves at the boys who looked distraught and unnerved. Max rolled his eyes and insisted they start over; he’d be the pig this time and Delilah would be a wolf. But no one was paying much attention to him. They were all in the leaf pile now, so he put his sulking aside and joined in.

“I told you I was faster!” Delilah screeched at him, sticking out her tongue and scrunching up her face. He smashed a handful of crisp yellow leaves into her face, laughing as she spat and whined.

“Sore loser!” she accused.

Delilah scrambled free of the group and looked down at her shoes. Her mother was going to have a fit. They were brand new and Delilah had heard daddy complain about the price. She looked at her watch and felt a cold sweat overtake her. 6:48! The trouble had just doubled. She was late for dinner – again. Delilah could hear the scolding now, ‘you and those boys Delilah I swear, you’re like a wild animal out there! No sense, I tell ya, no sense!’

“I gotta go!” Delilah yelled passingly behind her as she made her way back through the woods. If she was as fast as a piggy, she’d make it just in time to not get dessert.

© Shyla Fairfax-Owen

 

 

The Morning After

The sound of his heaving envelops you; your heart rate syncs itself to the chase. At some point you start to pant and realize your sweating – slippery, sticky, terrified. Your legs go numb. Your thoughts start to jumble. You try to plan your next move and the one after that. The only signal your brain seems to compute anymore is GO.

So you go. It’s all instinct, now. You go, go, go. You know you can’t keep going, and yet – you do. There’s a desire you never knew you had; a desire so strong it fuels you when you have nothing left to give. It’s the desire to live.

He catches your arm and in an instant it might be all over. Might be – but it’s not. Because you drive the knife right through him. And the skin is tougher than you imagined; everything under it, softer. Physically, it’s a difficult thing to do, but you do it. He drops. The blood seeps out of him and crawls towards you; disappears under your feet and surrounds you.

You did it. You survived. Now what?

A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Walter practiced smiling sheepishly in the mirror, but it was useless. When he bared those sharp, inhuman, canines, his smile became a snarl; he became a threat. Everything about him from his piercing yellow eyes to his thick, tool-like, toenails screamed villain. There was no house of straw, or stick, or even brick that he couldn’t be accused of blowing down. No three innocents they wouldn’t have him hanged for killing. No creature in all the lands that wouldn’t hear his tale and cringe. Except, of course, Gale. He had to get to Gale. A man of his size, temper, and smarts would not turn Walter away – he hoped.

In Gale’s dimly lit office, crowded with antiques from far and wide, Walter sat as still as any of the statues that lined the walls. He could feel his chest anxiously heaving. Gale stood against his own desk, looking down on Walter – analyzing every last bit of him. His eyes narrowed, head slightly tilted; the intensity thickened the air.

“You’re a monster, Walter. Why should I take your case?”

Walter felt his left eye twitch at the insult.

“They made me a monster, sir.”

“And the three dead cops? Who do you suppose took them out, if not you?” Gale was lighting a cigarette now, the glowing ember directed right at Walter – a target.

Feeling a rage building in his tightening chest, Walter’s low voice slowly turned to a growl. “They came at me. I – Self-defence. We still allow that in this tyranny. Don’t we?”

Gale and Walter’s eyes met and locked into a hardened standoff.

“And the girl? Val,” Gale finally asked, not breaking his stare – not even for a blink.

Walter leapt to his feet and in one quick stride was overtop of Gale, breathing so wildly the ember began to flicker. The edge of the desk was digging into the small of Gale’s back now, but still, he didn’t blink. Slowly, he brought the cigarette back to his lips and sucked hard, reigniting its power.

Walter shook his head violently, as if to release his anger. He moved an inch or two back, and huffed.

“I loved her,” he finally said. “And she me.”

With the silence hanging heavy over them, Walter collapsed back into his chair, eyes torn away from Gale’s. He finished, “But – yes. I killed her.”

Tears pushed forcefully out of his eyelids, but he made no sound other than the heaving huffs of a madman. Gale watched patiently.

“She – She said she’d defend me. She said – she said she’d make them see what she saw.” After a long pause, Walter grunted. “I suppose that’s exactly what she did; let them see me as she saw me. Wild, dangerous, exotic. A monster. A monster she could call her own.”

Walter looked up after what seemed an eternity. The ember had gone out, and on the edge of the desk Gale now sat behind was a contract. Stunned, Walter looked up at Gale.

“I ask nothing of my clients but the truth. The truth can always be defended.”

© Shyla Fairfax-Owen

 

 

 

 

Song and Salacity

It had begun as a typical night.  There was a light howl in the wind, whispering desires through the air; a flutter to the crisp leaves that hung from the branches above, plotting their descent; a flap of wings, eager to dance to the sirens’ song.

Percie had just completed a tiresome novel by the fire.  The sun had just begun to set and she decided to ease her eyes by letting the night pour in.  She smothered the fire and breathed deeply, allowing the scent of char to wash through her.  In the kitchen, Percie prepared herself a cup of warm milk on the gas stove.  The crickets had begun their annoying symphony, but she knew her songstress’ would put an end to it soon.  Anything that bothered Percie was considered a threat in the eyes of her winged protectors.

As she sipped her milk, Percie gazed at the blackness outside of her back window.  It was not unusual for her to do this; it calmed her to affix her sights on something non-specific.  Otherwise, they grew weary, and she became utterly aware of her aching body.  But tonight, something felt different.  There was an eeriness about the night that seemed to be staring right back at her.  Believing it to mean her subconscious was warning her that she had forgotten to tend to her garden, Percie placed her cup down and reluctantly walked over to the sink.  The crickets had hushed and a low rhythmic humming was in the air now.  Her songstress’ had fed, but only a little.

Outside, she flitted about the garden, swiping her dainty fingertips against petals to check for dampness.  It did seem as though all of her plants had been watered, which all the more confused her.  Something was making her uneasy.  As her heart rate sped up, the humming grew louder.  Her songstress’ could sense her distress and were growing anxious by it.  She was happy to have their protection, but also needed to assure them that, for the moment, everything seemed alright.  If she did not, they may become undisciplined.  Temperamental as they were, she loved them.  She offered a reassuring whistle, lacing it with a familiar cadence that they returned before falling back to their quiet, watchful, humming.

Back inside, Percie let the rest of her milk flow down the drain.  She watched it spiral away, tickled by the image of disappearance, until she was jarred back to reality by a squawk so violently intrusive that she had to bring both hands to her ears.  Losing her balance, she fell over and cried out gently.

It was her songstress’; their worry and tension had suddenly turned to erratic vexation.

Percie scrabbled about until she was on all fours, simultaneously basking in the pain and trying to detach herself from it.  That was the thing about sirens, their pain was inviting. Even Percie, a keeper and beloved friend, was not immune.

The squawking continued to rise.  The pitch seemed impossible, and yet, there it was forcing its way into her.  The songstress’ had found a real threat.  Something terrible was out there.  Against her better instincts, Percie began the tedious task of crawling out to the garden.  For this, she had to rely upon her forearms and fingertips, for, her legs were incapacitated by the invasive song.  Her hair was in her eyes now, and she grunted in a high pitch, almost matching her songstress’ emphatic levels.

When she finally made it to the back door the squawking had begun to lull. Sensation tingled a return up Percie’s legs, making their throb more apparent.  Every muscle in her body screamed.  It was always like this when they fed – always.  Percie staggered through the gardens and around to the back of their tree.  She knew she would find them there, and she did.

As she came upon her protectors she squinted impotently through the dark, but their shadows were immediately apparent.  Three heads bobbed up and down excitedly.  Their song was now reduced to a croon, backed by a ruffle as their wings flapped with appeasement.

Although he made no sound, Percie could see their slender arms pulling and tugging at their victim.  A man who thought he could creep about, unnoticed – watching, lurking.  A man who thought he was a predator when in fact he was merely prey.

One feeder sensed Percie’s presence and rose from the earth, elongating her crouched legs.  Percie caught a glimpse of her bouncing breasts in the moonlight as she turned to face her.  She smiled graciously, knowing the songstress could see her well.  The other two continued to feast, though there could not have been much of the man left. The thrilling obscenity of the picture caused Percie’s heart to pound against her chest.

The standing songstress soon curled herself back to a perched position, guarding the others.  She let her wide bronze wings fold over one another so that only one eye would remain exposed.  Percie could not see this exactly, but knew the posture well enough to imagine it distinctly.  Drained from the ordeal, she let herself drop to the cold ground, and then lied flat against it.  All she felt now was an exhaustive satisfaction.

When the songstress’ had had their fill, they took flight over Percie’s amative body, offering a resuscitating breeze.  It was as welcomed as the bright moon.  Their eyes twinkled until they disappeared again into the treetops, while Percie slept deeply, and fully.

© Shyla Fairfax-Owen

Utopia, Now

No boundaries,

No safe words,

No sorrys or goodbyes.

No distance that can’t be breached,

No gasps that can’t be heard.

No thirst unquenched.

No crevice unexplored.

No wish unheard.

No desire unseen.

No overthinking the underthoughts.

No untying of the precious knots.

No words.

No you and me nor I and you.

 

No falsities or fallacies.

No speciousness or disguise.

No left.

No right.

No tomorrow,

No yesterday,

No last time.

No next time.

Just now.

© Shyla Fairfax-Owen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Statement of Sanity

It was anarchy, the way you looked at me. The twinkle behind your eyes broke all the rules, and in a heartbeat, society crumbled. We weren’t star-crossed lovers, we were aggressive defiants of the social order. And when our eyes met, cities burned. The ignition? The simple idea that what was, was not what had to be.

It was chaos, the way you ran to me. The fire behind your eyes shook the earthly foundations, and with it, structures fell. We weren’t desperate romantics, we were dedicated destroyers of the status quo. And when our minds met, truths brightened. The light? The simple idea that what was, was not what should be.

I’m writing this to let you know I’m glad we did what we did. You see, this is not a confession of love, nor of guilt; but a statement of sanity – questioned as it may be. With it, I reclaim my body; my mind; and my name.

I need you to know, I’m not sorry.

© Shyla Fairfax-Owen

 

The End

It was unexpectedly beautiful, the end of the world.

The fires, blazing west to east. The waters flooding north to south. The earths opening up, devouring our very being. The winds scooping up whatever was left.

I watched it all in awe, and not once did I consider stopping it. There’s nothing quite like the rush of devastation. My only loss was its completion.