edited by PurpleZoe
The first time I laid eyes on the scripts hidden in our albums, I knew there were others, distributed probably amongst our family. No doubt Aunt Xolani was one of the first Grandmother had in mind to keep some of them safe. The easiest to talk to by far, she shared her albums willingly. Most of them contained nothing, but there was one that offered proof of the otherworld, unlocking easily with the Ahknlet key. Old ads, and several tales came into my hands. I share them with you here.
Please register your Aether symbol with the Head clerk, if you have information regarding her whereabouts.
Whips of lightning cracked the dreary night's fragile shell. The sea was a harridan driving away what little warmth was left on the wind. The beastly sky rumbled. The earth trembled. The explosive boom of a starship taking off with haste, ripped a hole into the distant horizon. The earth had long become another backwater industrial throwaway, the kind of place most people only stopped long enough to fill up on fuel and bare necessities on the way to someplace else. Even the meanest weather couldn't convince a pilot to delay departure. Vivian's front door flew open. The intruder was tall, silhouetted by the curtain of tumultuous elements at his back. Wet was dripping from his head to his eyes. His locks were knotty and littered with leaves. There was a smirk and a feral show of sharp, sharp teeth. Vivian's ire bubbled forth. "You're letting the rain in," she muttered darkly and went back to watching rivulets of rain snake down her window. Honestly, the world must be in dire straits. She mused. Still, all was not lost. Misfortune for a reality so washed out and tattered equaled a boon for purveyors of certain magical crafts. The Unseen World had gradually become the proverbial Cup That Runneth Over. Lately, all manner of spectral manifestations had been running amok. They popped up like the unexpected dandelion poking its head out of sheet rock or the gutter-flowers that graced the deep end of rot-laden alleyways. The stars only knew why this one seemed to have latched on to her person like a tick--a spider to be more precise, she silently amended. "As I was saying," he began in earnest. "Until you die, people will still come to you. Strangers pick you out of a crowd. They pour their hearts out to you, donâ€™t they? They tell you their dreams?" "I don't ask them to. Don't want them to." She'd carved out her place under a sheltering rock, far enough from the maddening booms of ramjets. Not quite far enough though, to escape that ever present and increasingly acrid stench from the massive Leoline generator or the endless progression of locomotives--decades upon decades past their decommission dates. Practical magicians made a meager living but as long as she squeaked by and had her quiet time by the sea, Vivian was content. What use did a wobbly world on its last legs have for a prophet anyway? Shape shifting liar, here he was--the grand-daddy of all tricksters--come in earnest to sell her the mother of all cons. When he said nothing, she eyed him archly, peering up from her spectacles. "Ah, you didn't really want that answer. Is that it?"
"It wasn't simply superstition that drove Balan to bury her baby's navel-string with a naseberry seed." He finally quoted tightly. "That tree grew up strong, healthy and so did that boy." Vivian finished the proverb. "When they chopped the naseberry down though, what do you suppose became of that man?" "This isn't your riddle!" "It's not a riddle though, is it? It's a warning. Earthbound deities bring nothing but trouble. You aren't a lot that can be trusted." He laughed lowly. His eyes glowed copper in the firelight. The smoke rising from the pipe caught between his slender fingers was beginning to sting her eyes. He wasn't exactly bad to look at, that man... that thing. Behind him the rain poured down from the boiling clouds and moon-dogs worshiped the ghostly disc in the tilted sky. "Humans are a forgetful sort, is all." He shrugged. "Why don't you just leave me alone?" He eyed her speculatively, amber flecks glowing. "All the time, you pray. Your little mortal heart cries out to your god like some spoiled kid throwing a tantrum--" "I don't pray to any god." "The universe then." She sighed. Just as well. With a live subject on hand, she'd had ample opportunity to fine tune her wordmagic. She'd whittled the inflection and intent behind his treatment down to a single word. No better time than the present to test her theory. She opened her mouth to speak. "Ana--" "Wretched human!" He was the kind that caught on quickly. "I forbid you to utter that--" "Forbid?" She skipped a beat, eying him as one might... a mite. "Anansi!" "Uncalled for!" He complained, with an affronted snort. His mournful shake of the head suggested her incantation had been a dart, aimed quite well enough. "I'll have you know it hurts a little more each time you--"
There was a pop and a flash, like the explosive death of a gaslight. Her gaze arced down to the floor. The black-bodied, eight-legged thing scurried across the threshold and back out into the wet, wild dark. Vivian rose up from her cot and firmly shut the door. She re-secured the latches and frowned down at the water seeping into her floorboards. That had been the specter's fourth visitation tonight. The least he could have done was close the blasted door behind him.
A note from Mythwhisperer Tonya Moore:
In West African mythology, Anansi was son of the sky god Nyame and earth goddess, Asase Ya. Anansi brought fire, rain and stories to the world. Anansi is most often depicted as a Trickster, much like Kokopelli of Native American myth or Loki of Norse mythology. He is often depicted as a petty and self serving sort who sets out to take advantage of human foibles. As easily swayed as his victims, Anansi oftens find himself in predicaments similar to the ones he plots for his would-be victims.
When I was a child growing up in Jamaica, Anansi was the staple of campfire-style tales. As a former slave colony, Jamaica is home to many people of strong West African ancestry. As a result, a myriad of Anansi fables have been passed down by way of oral tradition.
Research in the Hueman Terra suggests Tonya Moore a.k.a Miko Dragonfly has myshthispered Research the Hueman for the in realms of the Terra outer suggests limits onTonya many Moore an a.k.a Miko Dragonfly has mythwhispered for the realms occasion. As well, she appears to keep a multiofcultural the outer limits on an occasion. As from well, she directory logmany of mythwhisperings appears to keep directory of many scribs at aanmulticultural Aethernet site viewablelog with mythwhisperings from many scribes at an Aethernet the code TonyaMoore.com site viewable with the code: TonyaMoore.com
In the days preceding the coming of the Comet, Alina had taken possession of the coveted 'Ice that Never Thaws'. Frozen at the heart of the forever cold pendant was believed to be an inter-dimensional pixie. For the wearer, the comet was their chariot to a world of magic and wonder that would never be seen by those who did not possess it. She walked the enchanted woods of Tharkin alone, her dark-chocolate complexion glowing a dark blue in the misty moonlight, which made her look like she was gliding in her white dress. As she approached the clearing where her grandmother had finally been laid to rest, she saw Veruna seated on the tombstone, dressed all in black. "That did not take long..." the witch smirked in a gravelly voice, crossing her legs. She did not move from the tombstone, looking squarely at Alina, gauging her reaction. "I see you have made a pastime of profaning tombs, Veruna of Elkior," Alina said, in perfect calm. "Come, come now." Veruna pushed herself up off the white marble tombstone and approached Alina, eyes on the coveted jewel. "What is a tomb to you who are not destined to rot like the rest of us?" Alina involuntarily covered the pendant with her hand; almost too late she caught the gleam in Veruna's eyes. The motion of the dark witch's hand was fast and sudden, and the ball of blue fire singed her lace sleeve as she moved sideways to dodge it. She was unaware that the movement was a feint, a diversion-until she saw the biggest wolf she had ever seen, charging out of the woods straight at her. She gasped, her hand tightening around the pendant, which was now glowing, brighter and brighter...
With the aid of thorough digging I've learned Mythwhisperer Antony Kamau lives in the Hueman Terra of another Era, spinning jewels in threads of Aether. His works can presently be found through the Aethernet code: GladysBMoore.blogspot.com
Mythwhisperer Dazjae Zoem appears to document the faery realms regularly from aboard the Zoem train theater-lounge, with some documentation found via Aethernet code: Zambarau.com
This lone tattered rendering of a frock coat over mid-length frock is either wishful thinking on the part of the artist, that the fae may be in some way fascinated with the hueman culture, despite their magikal stature, to suggest (by way of patches and tatters) that even they too experience moments where they have forgotten their abundance consciousness. The idea is preposterous, but artists are allowed their fancy, and this article must be logged along with the others.
I knew immediately where the next scripts were when I laid my eyes upon a rather blaring clue. It became a surety that this was meant to aid easy location of the documents for any in the family who'd gotten this far. The only problem was getting past Aunt Amonke, who was rather spendthrift, and suffocatingly possessive of her things. Only strategy, perhaps of the devious variation, would remedy it. I set to a plan right away that involved an expensive teaflavored fizzie, and fushcia cakelets, beetdyed bright. Stuffed well into mirthful mood, she pulled out the old albums, when I mentioned my fondness of visiting her as a boy (a stretch of truth to be sure, but I assume you've no objection considering the wealths being uncovered dear reader, that most assuredly benefit both you and I). I was able to capture clear-quality visigraphs with the imagist goggles I procured for no small price (my collection of Kem cards! With ALL of the matriarchs of old-I cannot talk about it further-I've just managed to find a calm place in my heart after the loss, which I am sure you can appreciate the gravity of). I present them to you here with Aunt Amonke Thulile's seal.
Lazare peered through the second story window. He was perched on the fire escape and would’ve been visible to any passersby except for the spell he’d cast to make himself dim. He was invisible to the human eye -- that is as long as no one looked in his direction for too long. If they did a creature obviously not of their world would seem to appear out of thin air. The troll shifted his feet uncomfortably on the steel grate. His long toe nails clicked loudly and he flinched. The troll’s bumpy skin was a deep shade of purple, with orange circles around his wide set violet eyes. His eyes were large – twice as large as any humans’ – with long lashes. Lazare’s lips were thick, and when he smiled his mouth opened to reveal 32 ragged teeth; an ordinary number for a human. But his were huge and pointed. At his full height he was only four feet tall, and had powerful arms, and equally powerful stubby legs. He stared through the window at Glenda. As if she felt his gaze she stirred restlessly in her sleep. The girl was fourteen with chocolate colored skin and full lips. Her thick kinky hair was braided and spread out now against her pillow. She slept in a bed she shared with her mother Pearl. In the next bedroom, her brother Henry Jr. slept. Today was his 12th birthday, and Pearl had scrapped together enough money to make him a yellow cake. Henry had also received a card with $10.00 inside. Henry Jr. had been very disappointed – he’d wanted a video game. Pearl worked at a drycleaners and the children’s father, James, in another city as a mechanic. Even though their parents no longer lived together, James sent money each month. But it wasn’t enough. It was never enough. The tiny two bedroom apartment was expensive. Then there was electricity bill, the telephone, food, clothing… Lazare surveyed the streets below. Except the cars moving up and down the street it was deserted. Good. He clamored down the fire escape, surprisingly fast for his girth, and scurried up the street, turning into the first alleyway on his right. The alley was filled with homeless who had bedded down for the night, under blankets and makeshift shelters made of cardboard. Some were too mentally ill to notice he was different, but he was still careful to time his excursions after they fell asleep. The troll climbed inside his own shelter and pulled his dirty blankets around him. Faery but it’s cold! I can’t wait ‘til I’m finished here! At the clanging of the bell, announcing the end of the school day – and the weekend – youngsters poured through the four doors of Frederick Douglas Middle School. Children quickly partnered up into groups, while some took solitary routes home, to the playground or other more mysterious – and sometimes forbidden – destinations. Henry was a foot shorter than his sister, but had the same dark brown skin, his kinky hair cut close to his small head. He headed west, Glenda dogging his heels. Both were heavily bundled against the cold in worn coats and gloves. After a half block, he turned and confronted his sister. “Quit following me!” he snarled. Glenda’s rosebud mouth thinned into an angry line. “I ain’t following you! I’m going home!” “Home is that way!” Henry pointed east. Glenda’s face softened. “Henry, you know Mama told you to stop hanging out with the Scorpions,” there was plea in her voice now.
“So what!” her brother countered. You gonna tell her?” Glenda hugged her books close to her chest. “Two of those boys already went to juvenile for stealing a car. Why do you want to be friends with them anyway?” Henry sighed tiredly, for a moment looking much older than his twelve years. “Look I’m small for my age! I’m tired of getting jumped on at school! If I join the Scorpions I ain’t got to worry about that no more! Plus which I’ll have some money in my pocket…Maybe I can buy some new clothes for me and you Lyn – and some other stuff besides.” Glenda twisted her mouth and looked disgusted. “Uh-huh; and where is all this money supposed to come from? Next you’ll be on your way upstate for stealing! And why didn’t you tell me you were getting picked on at school? I can take up for you – just like I used to when we were little!” Henry shook his head. “Just what I need – my sister helping me fight! Oh yeah, that’ll definitely get me the rep I need!” At that moment, three boys came abreast of the siblings and quickly surrounded them. All were heavier and taller than Henry. One, a ginger colored youth of fifteen who'd been held back in the 8th grade twice sneered at the smaller boy. “What’s up?” Henry looked nervous. “How you doing Leroy?” Leroy looked Glenda over, as if seeing her for the first time. “Who’s the skez? She supposed to be your protection?” His friends laughed raucously. “She’s my sister,” Henry answered with gimleted eyes. “What you want?” Leroy’s nasty smile vanished. “What you got?” “Leave us alone!” Glenda shouted. “Come on Henry, let’s go – you aint’ got to talk to them!” “Come on Henry!” the dark boy to Henry’s right, mimicked in falsetto then shoved Henry hard. Henry stumbled into Leroy, dropping his books. “Get off me man!” Leroy yelled smirking. He pushed Henry into the third boy: a hulking red-brown youngster. “Man what’s wrong with you?” the reddish-brown youth propelled Henry back to Leroy. “Stop it!” Glenda dropped her books and balled up her fists … then pulled up short. No one but she saw the creature fluttering beside Leroy’s ear. It was two inches long, with sepia skin, close cropped, curly hair and pointed ears. She was clothed in a purple daffodil, with two golden antennas. Diaphanous wings protruded from her back. In the blink of an eye she took hold of Leroy’s left ear in her tiny hands and bit it – hard. Leroy howled and batted his ear – the faery dodged his groping hand with lightning speed. He turned his head, searching for the source of his pain. “What the – ?!” A wide eyed Glenda and Henry drew closer together… Now three more faeries joined the fray: one with onyx skin, clothed in red rose petals; another dressed in white lilies, her complexion the color of brown sugar; and a third coconut colored faery wearing peach fuzz. They zoomed over the heads of Henry’s goggle eyed tormentors like enraged mosquitoes, biting and clawing. “What are they –?” “Ow –!” The reddish brown boy cried, as one creature sank her sharp little teeth into his nose. They took off howling up the street, pursued by the creatures.
“Come on!” Glenda shouted. “Let’s get out of here before they come back!” They raced east towards their brownstone. “What – are – those – things?” Henry gasped as they ran. Glenda shook her head. “Don’t – know!” As they rounded the corner he appeared: a monster with purple skin, long powerful arms, and pointed ears. They screamed. “Hush up!” Lazare hissed. They clutched each other and screamed even louder. The creature vanished. Reluctantly, Henry and Glenda released one another. The creature was gone. Only their neighbors remained: standing about or sitting on their porch stoops staring at the youngsters as if the two had lost their minds. With trembling fingers Glenda took the key hanging round her neck and opened the door of their apartment. Lazare reappeared in his shelter, huffing and puffing from the effort. My magic is weak in this world! It had been hard enough to glaze Glenda’s and Henry’s neighbors’ eyes over so they wouldn’t see him. But he couldn’t be expected to keep them quiet as well. I’m lucky only they saw me – another moment and Ises would’ve had my hide! The troll shook his head in frustration and pulled a box of moldy chocolates from beneath his blankets. The sweets would replenish his magic – besides filling his gut – but he couldn’t go back. Not without the children. The moon will be high ‘fore my sorcery returns. No matter, Lazare grinned, I know where they live. Glenda and Henry sat at their kitchen table. “We gotta tell Mama,” gasped Henry he was still out of breath from running. Carlotta was still at work and wouldn’t arrive until 5:30 PM. The dark girl shook her head. “Uh-uh, it’ll worry her.” Henry screwed his face up incredulously. “You for real? What if that thing comes back?” Glenda stood reached into the cabinet and pulled out a jar of peanut butter. She opened a loaf of bread, took a knife and two plates and began making sandwiches for their afternoon snack. “Fine,” she said. “You tell her.” “Lyn –! You ain’t gonna back me up?” Glenda put the knife down and locked eyes with her brother. “Nope. Mama’s got enough on her mind trying to take care of us.” She took two glasses, opened the refrigerator and poured milk into each glass. “Besides it’s probably just some dope head dressed up in a costume.” “It looked real to me!” Henry replied stubbornly. It looked like a…a troll! Yep that’s exactly what it looked like!” Glenda placed Henry’s milk and sandwich before him. “Well there you have it,” she said reasonably. “There’s no such thing as trolls!” “Yeah…what about those other…flying things?” Henry persisted. “Those weren’t folks dressed up in costumes!” Glenda sat down at the table, and gazed at her brother earnestly. “OK you’re right, but let’s not tell Mama yet. I don’t wanna bother her. Let’s think about it first –”
“Our books!” Henry exclaimed. “We left our books!” Glenda hit the table in frustration. “Dang!” At that moment there was a rapping at their door – like a barrage of pebbles hitting the wood at once. The children locked eyes. “Don’t open it Lyn!” Henry hissed. Together they crept into the living room…Their school books were stacked neatly on the coffee table. When Carlotta’s key turned in the lock, they both jumped off the couch and hugged her. “Well, I’m glad to see you too!” Carlotta exclaimed. She was an older version of Glenda: with the same cocoa shaded skin and nappy hair that she’d kept in a short afro. Let me just rest a moment and I’ll start dinner…” All at once Carlotta furrowed her brow quizzically. “Is everything alright?” She looked from Glenda to Henry. Glenda cut her eyes at her brother. “Yes m'am.” “You sure?” Carlotta studied her children’s faces. “Because, you know you can talk to me about anything.” “Everything’s fine… right Henry?” “Yeah…” he mumbled. “I’ll fix dinner Mommy,” Glenda offered, “you rest. I’ll call you when it’s ready.” Carlotta’s face melted in a smile: her teeth flashing in her dark face. “How could I say no to an offer like that?” She hugged them both and went upstairs to take a nap. When bedtime came, Henry insisted on sleeping the floor next to Glenda and Carlotta’s bed. “Alright now that’s it! First you tackle me when I first come through the door and now this! What’s going on?” Carlotta demanded. Glenda averted her eyes, “We’ve been having nightmares.” “Both of you?” “Naw that ain’t it!” Henry blurted. “Henry –!” Ignoring his sister he poured out the story of their otherworldly afternoon. “…And he looked just like one of them trolls in the fairytales you used to read us.” Henry finished. For a long moment, Carlotta was silent. “Your sister’s right. More than likely it was a drug addict or some other nut dressed up to look like a troll –” “But what about the other ones Mama?” Glenda interrupted. Now that the truth was out she wanted an answer – one that made sense. “The things that looked like um…fairies?” Carlotta’s eyes twinkled. The hint of a smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. “It doesn’t seem like they did you any harm,” Carlotta went on, “seems like they did you a good turn. But since we know faeries don’t exist, they must’ve been dragonflies.”
Henry and Glenda both shook their heads emphatically. “Uh-uh Mama –! They definitely weren’t dragonflies!” Henry disagreed. Carlotta held up one slender hand. “Never mind about them, from now on I’m picking you up after school.” “What about your job?” cried Glenda. “Your safety is more important to me than any job,” Carlotta replied firmly. “I should be at home with you more anyway. I’m not letting the streets raise my children.” “But if you cut your hours won’t that mean less money for us…?” asked Henry, thinking of how tight money was already. Yeah but if she picks me up, I don’t have to worry about getting beat up after school. Carlotta rose. “Let me worry about that.” “Can I still sleep in here with you and Lyn?” “Sure baby,” she kissed them both on the check. “Love ya’ll…goodnight.” She pulled the door shut. “Did you see the way Mama looked, when she told us about the fai— I mean faeries? She was actually smiling!” Henry whispered excitedly. “Yeah, that was really weird… You think something like this happened to her?” Glenda breathed. “Nah… she’d of told us.” But he didn’t sound convinced. “You know Henry maybe it was good they showed up like they did. Now you don’t have to worry about those boys bothering you anymore.” “That takes care of afterschool, but what about during? “You should tell Mama about that too, or the principal.” “I ain’t snitching like some little punk!” Henry said petulantly. “Protecting yourself doesn’t make you a punk!” Glenda shot back. “Not wanting to fight doesn’t make you one either! You’re smart, and smart people fight with their brains – not their fists!” Henry adjusted his pallet on the floor, his small face thoughtful. At the stroke of midnight, the closet door swung open and bright moonlight streamed across the floor. Lazare’s squat body was silhouetted in the portal. Tiny iridescent bodies danced on each of his broad shoulders. “Do her first,” the troll whispered, pointing to the sleeping form of Carlotta. Two faeries flew from Lazare to the sleeping woman: one the color of tofu, and clothed in violets; the other midnight shaded, wearing white roses. Together they sprinkled golden dust over Carlotta’s face. And as it settled the dust twinkled across the dark room. “Not too much, eh! You don’t want to put her in a coma! Then we’ll have to a fetch a prince to wake her up.” The faeries giggled their laughter like the sound of tiny bells. “Now do those other two – but just enough so they can go across.” The faeries split up: one took Henry, the other Glenda. “Don’t be long!” their squeaky voices spoke in unison. They soared back through the doorway.
Stepping around Henry, Lazare timidly shook Glenda. “Wake up child…” Glenda opened her eyes…the first thing she saw was Lazare’s orange ringed eyes. She opened her mouth to scream and he clapped his big hand over her mouth. “None of that now – I’m not going to harm ye! I’ll take my hand away but no caterwauling. Fair? Nod if you agree.” Glenda nodded yes. Lazare lifted his hand, and Glenda had time to let out a yelp, before he put his hand back up again. Lazare wiggled his purple brows in frustration, “Come on child, ye must cooperate! We’re taking a trip and we only have so much time fore ye Mum wakes!” At this, Glenda glanced over at the sleeping Carlotta. No wonder Mama can sleep through this – he drugged her! She snatched Lazare’s hand down – more angry now than afraid. “I’m not going anywhere with you! You’re a troll and everybody knows trolls eat children!” Lazare looked amazed “Who’s been filling ye head with such nonsense? Trolls love children!” “Yeah to eat!” On the floor beside them, Henry stirred in his slumber. “That’s not true child! I love to play with children – I’ve been playing with such as ye for 300 years.” Glenda gawked at him. “You’re 300 years old?” “Aye,” Lazare grinned proudly, “and I don’t think I look a day over 200 if I do say so myself.” At this Glenda took a good look at the troll. His violet eyes were honest almost innocent and she felt no danger from him: only calm and sweetness. Now she spied the open portal over his shoulder…Beyond it was a moonlit sky, with blossoming trees. It looks wonderful! She pointed to the doorway. “Is that where we’re going?” “Why of course child! Where else? Not wake ye brother for me.” Glenda swung her legs to the floor, kneeled beside her brother and shook him. “Henry! Wake up!” “Wha…” Henry murmured sleepily. He opened his eyes saw Lazare and came full awake: clutching his sister. “It’s him, he’s back –!” “It’s OK Henry, he won’t hurt us!” “You crazy?! Look at him!” By now he scooted against the wall, and was tugging at his sister’s arm. “I’m very handsome for a troll,” Lazare said indignantly. “Why in my village I’ll have ye know, child I always have a dance partner for the fair.” Glenda giggled. “You see? I told ya! Come on!” She pulled him to his feet. They followed Lazare through the door… They crossed over and stepped on to a cobbled path bordered on either side by flowering trees of tulips, roses, orchids and daffodils. As they walked past the trees whispered: “Welcome little ones…” and Henry and Glenda’s faces stretched in goofy half smiles. Lazare led them to a beach with golden sands and an indigo ocean, above three moons shined down upon rippling waves. A dark body broke the surface of the sea – they caught a glimpse of a dark female body, braided hair and a spotted green tail before she plunged back into the water. “Oh -! A mermaid!” cried Glenda. She and Henry clapped their hands in delight. As they watched more mermen and women leap out of the water heading skyward and diving back down.
At that moment a centaur galloped down the beach toward them: his hair hung in dreds about his shoulder; his upper body light brown and muscular, his lower body ending in the mahogany colored hindquarters of a horse. “Juele!” Lazare greeted him with a smile. “Come to join the fun?” “Aye!” the centaur grinned back. “Who wants to ride me first?” his voice was a melodious baritone. “Me –!” said Henry. “Me first –!” Glenda echoed. “The lass shall be the first to ride,” Jueles said. He lowered his body so that Glenda could mount his back, with Henry looking on wistfully. But at that moment, five more centaurs clopped toward them— centaurs ranging in color from butter yellow to the darkest of midnight. Henry climbed on to the back of a fair colored female centaur, Lazare on to another and they raced... At length, the troll led them back into the forest to a mushroom table with three toadstool chairs. Lazare sat down with them and four faeries brought over a plate of the tiniest, most delicious cookies Glenda and Henry had ever tasted; along with a fruity green liquid in tulip shaped cups. “Faery juice,” Lazare said with a wink. No sooner then they’d finished eating, a murmur began throughout the trees: “Ises…Ises…Ises…” And she appeared before them: a tall woman with brown sugar skin, close cropped hair, pointed ears and slanted eyes. She was dressed in a green jerkin and trousers made from leaves. Lazare stood and inclined his head: “My Queen…” Queen Ises put a slender hand on his shoulder: “Lieutenant Lazare…you have done well!” Lazare grinned broadly. The children gazed at her, speechless: except for her ears and skin tone she could’ve been their mother’s twin! Ises greeted them: Princess Glenda…Prince Henry…” she shook their hands. Prince? Princess? “Oh yes,” said Ises as if she could read their thoughts, “you have stout heart and brave souls too! You will be great leaders in your world and so it falls to all of fairyland to watch over you and keep you safe.”
“Lieutenant Jueles… their gifts please.” Jueles appeared and handed Glenda and Henry each a volume of Black history apiece and another with blank pages. The blank books were inscribed on the cover with the words: “Write your own story.” “Thank you Queen Ises,” breathed Henry. “Yes, thank you…my Queen,” said Glenda. “My pleasure, and now it’s time for you to go. “No –!” “Not so soon!” “But you must!” said Ises. “Your mother,” at this the corners of her lips twitched in smile, “will awake soon and it would not do to have you missing.” “Can we come back…?” asked Glenda “Please?” Henry pleaded. “Of course!” Ises smiled, “I’m looking forward to it…”
The beginning… Mythwhisperer Valjeanne is stationed also in hueman terra of another era, where she shares writ of Lycan, Fanged night creatures, and even as it's to be understood, Centaurs! A fascinating pen, her tales are called 'Immortal', and there appear to be 3 tellings thus far, also called 'novels' in her era terra. They can be found at an Aethernet address entitled ImmortalFantasyBooks.com
Tonight, Conjoo island twists and writhes with the cackle-horn blows and stin-stin beats of Bacaban-Fairy songs. The Conjooners hear the soft overtures to these songs just moments before the Bacaban-Train arrives and the Re-membering begins. Who can? We can! Because we’re Bacaban Who can? You can! Because you love Bacaban “The Bacaban have come early this year!” announces the Long-Legged Stidgeon, pausing beneath a Joontree. “Isn’t it wonderful?!” shout a chorus of Galfellow Flowers, gathered together beneath the tentaclegs of the Stidgeon. The Galfellows, shaking with the rhythm of the song, clasp their petals together and open their eyes. Who can? We can! Because we’re Bacaban “Wonderful? I don’t know about that! It’s much too early for Bacaban. We’re not ready. We’re not ready.” The Stidgeon march-runs across the beach and across the surface of the water, dropping below the horizon, then diving into its underwater home. “We’re never ready for them, even when we know they’ll come,” say the Galfellow flowers in unison. The Stidgeon can no longer hear them because the Bacaban songs have grown louder. Listen: All of this land Blessed by Bacaban Cry, when we cry It’s for Shummingfly. Black, we so black As the Nightingjack Twinkling lights infect the petals of the Galfellows, sending tremors through their stems. Each grain of sand opens its ears and eyes and the Conjooners begin to suffer great bouts of imagination. "Oh, how I want to be a fish," the Whistle-flower whists. "I want to be a Mountain!" shouts the diminutive Rose. "I want to be the shining Sun," says the Sunflower. They all laugh shaking their leaves until their laughter is drowned out by the Bacaban-Train's whistle. The silver Bacaban Train comes winding through the island, like the SomedaySalamander. If you touch it, your hands, petals or claws will turn into lights that won't turn off until the sun rises in the morning. Tanty, the Black Ant Queen stops her descent through the winding paths when she hears the songs. Her entire colony becomes silent. She turns to her children, most of them grown now. A question she knows the answer to glistens in the pitch of her eyes.
"It's the Bacaban!" they yell, like common bug-children. The ants run along their paths, nearly pushing Tanty aside but she stops them with a stern tilt of her head and ascends to the apex of the anthill. She peers out onto the island. The island’s fever is rising, cooling the air underground. "And so it is," she says when she spies the Bacaban through the windows of their train. She wonders to herself why, though the fairies seem to age and have hieroglyph-like wrinkles neatly roped through their black skin, they never seem to lose their lights. It is never easy when the Bacaban-Fairies come. In the midst of their bacchanal, their mischief and mockery, their well-wishes and songs of spirit and love, they open up a tender place. When they leave (and they always do, because they insist they must) they leave behind the droppings of their unrequited dreams, which mix with our own. Listen: "I want to be the Crowspus River," announces the young field mouse. "I want to touch the Heavens," sings the sparrow. "I want to be a house!" bellows the slug. The first Bacaban emerges from the train. Her dark skin glows with a light behind it that rivals the moon. Some Conjooners secretly wonder if the Moon is her sister. Her eyes, like most of the Bacaban, emit black delicious lights that wander around the island, searching for places to enchant. The Conjooners wave to her. “Hello Acaravanna!” But she doesn’t smile or wave back. Instead, she begins to flutter and sing in a low unrecognizable chant, her little body bending into a dance imitating the movements and sounds of the Shummingfly. “Eh-eh, now what could be the meaning of this?” Spider Rock asks itself. Many Conjooners instead of running to embrace the Bacaban-Fairies, as they usually would, remain mired in their roots. The Bacaban come only once a year and they never imitate the Shummingfly, mockingly or otherwise. The Bacaban dances before the African Violets now, who shake their petal-heads with a mixture of confusion and delight until Tingro, their leader, says to the dancer: “You must stop this, now. You’ll anger them.” “Where are the Shummingflies, anyway?” asks the Spider Rock. “I haven’t seen any of them around for a long while.” But the dancer, oblivious to the questions, continues her Shummingfly dance while other Bacaban-Fairies bless the ground around her. Below the ground, the ants begin their ascent out of the anthill to witness the dancing Bacaban, Acaravanna, dance to the tune of the Paraswan-whistle. Her little body moves with mourning and matches the baroque pata-pata-rastatat rhythm of the StinnyDrum. The Stin –Beats produced by the Music-caste Bacaban (a group of fairies so ethereal in appearance you could mistake them for a warm Conjoo Island Breeze) pulse through the entire island. Yes, the garden glows with light tonight on the island planet called Conjoo, an island filled with animals and flowers, now overrun with weeds and Bacaban. Before the first arrival of the Bacaban, Conjoo had been a regular, dusty, un-enchanted island-planet. It hung in a corner of the sky like a tumbleweed. Colorless, fruitless and barren, it was inhabited by Stidgeons. Long before this, it had hummed with life from the presence of the Shummingfly who built up the island into a majestic place where great learning occurred. It was this learning that produced the Bacaban, though the Bacaban would tell you it was the other way around. A Bacaban would say that they were there before anyone – that they built up Conjoo only to have it swallowed up by lava from Filligus Volcano. Some Conjooners might say that a Shummingfly and a Bacaban are quite the same thing. But it isn’t true. Is it?
Oh Acaravanna! Great Peacock-Bacaban look at her wings as she moves them. The moonlight streams vibrant colors: deep purples, greens and reds. Look at her great black beauty, her antler-crown, a deep Shummingfly-sadness in her fluttering eyes. The moonlight hovers above the Conjoo Ocean. A group of long-legged Stidgeons rise from beneath the water, dip their heads beneath the horizon line and walk across the water to the island forest where the train has stopped and where many of the Beings of Conjoo watch the Shummingfly movements of Acaravanna. After she reaches the end of her dance, she bows her head in prayer. All of Conjoo stands, or sits, in silence. Tanty, losing her patience, crawls up to the praying Acaravanna. “What is it, Acaravanna? What has happened to the Shummingflies?” “They’re gone,” she says, raising her head from her prayers, “all of them.” “What do you mean?” “We received notice today of their extinction.” A chorus of gasps escapes from the Conjooners. “Who notified you?” asks Jinti, the Stidgeon. “Monyo,” whispers Nester, a senior Bacaban. “Monyo! But Monyo’s a Shummingfly,” shouts the slug. “If they’re extinct, how is it possible that they delivered this message?” Nester turns toward Acaravanna, who looks away. “We’ve come to pay our respects. Conjoo was their homeland. They are our ancestors.” “Did you not hear the Slug’s question? Did-Did you not? How can a Shummingfly deliver a message when it is extinct?” asks Jinti. “I don’t like this. I don’t like this at all.” “This is not easy to explain. We come to honor the Shummingfly. Their presence on Conjoo has helped extend the work we carry on year after year to ensure that this island remains enchanted. But, in recent years, most of the Shummingflies ceased to aid us in our work. Why? Because they were dying. When a Shummingfly or a Bacaban-Fairy dies, a place loses its imagination. Remember when the entire island would rise up, taller than the Stidgeon, revealing hidden legs, and start to travel? Do you recall a time when the flowers and plants in the garden moved from place to place, and doors opened in the trees, revealing world upon worlds hidden in the narrow bark of each? And there were so many more wonders. Year after year, we Bacaban brought our bacchanal and the Shummingfly continued it. But gradually they ceased and none of you noticed.” “Of course we noticed!” cries Jinti, his small head knocking the overripe Joon fruit off of a Joontree, “but what could we do?” In an earlier time, the Bacaban and the Shummingflies worked together: the Bacaban brought their magic from another place and the Shummingflies continued to spread it; they preached the magic of the Bacaban, though they often felt powerless to perform the magic on their own. “Monyo is dead like the rest of them, isn’t he?” Jinti asks Acaravanna, and she nods her antler-head. “So how did you speak to him, then?” “Have you already forgotten our teachings? Everything speaks. You only have to listen.” A great heat descends, becoming a mist that rubs itself into the skin of the island and its inhabitants. A voice off in the distance calls and shouts. A looming dark shadow appears in the Joontree.
“Monyo!” shrieks the slug. Jinti and the other Stidgeons run away, deep into the forests of the island, but quickly return to find the Bacaban with their heads down, kissing the ground, before the angel-apparition. “This is the Great Re-membering of what all of Conjoo, including those great carnival -conjurers, the Bacaban, have struggled to forget: we are one, conjoined race. We die, you die Because you’re Shummingfly Try to deny you are Shummingfly You believe you soar high above the Shummingfly.” The Bacaban move closer together and the rest of the Conjooners move away from them. “We’ve come to honor you and your people, Monyo, with song and dance,” pleads Nester. “My people are your people!” Monyo yells. “Yes, we accept you as our ancestors, but the magic, you would agree…” “Our magic has been taken away, just as our lives!” “Taken by whom, and where?” asks a chorus of Stidgeons, watching the Bacaban closely. Monyo, so unlike himself in life, yet so similar, laughs without smiling, shaking his shadow-head: “Some among you have killed our spirits and stuffed them along with our Batabones deep inside of Filligus Volcano, where at the base we languish in death, surrounded by doors. Some of us have gone through these portals. I have passed through one of them and this is how I am here. But what I’ve seen and learned along the way… ” “Monyo!” screams a chorus of Bacaban. “You are frightening the Conjooners.” “No, I am preparing them.” “For what?” yells Tanty. With that, Monyo vanishes, appearing to merge with the Joontree, as if he were never there. “The Bacaban are lying!” shouts Jinti. He picks up the tiny Bacaban-Fairy train with his beak and flings it into the sea. The few elder Bacaban who remained onboard, sipping leaf-cups of angel-foot tea, find themselves swimming in water. A group of sea horses hovering and listening just beneath sea level rise to their aid and the elder Bacaban ride them to land. All of Conjoo gasps at what has just transpired. Never has such disrespect been shown to the Bacaban. “Conjooners, please! Those of you who love us must come with us. We must travel to Filligus Volcano and come to our ancestor’s aid. We must not turn against each other!” Acaravanna cries out. “Let the Shummingflies help themselves. They’ve got the magic. Of course they do,” says the Slug. “Monyo’s message has more to it. We know it has. Lots of things have happened that even we Bacaban cannot decipher. Their seems to be a thread of deceit that has spun itself through us and all of Conjoo,” Acaravanna pleads. “How do we get to Filligus Volcano?” Nester asks the assembled Conjooners.
"To get to Filligus Volcano,” instructs Tingro, the African Violet, “if you've lost your way, you must close your wonderful eyes until they open, then follow the chime of the Paraswanwhistle. Yes, you must let its song lead you through cities you've never entered before, cities full of libraries and monuments and gusts of strong wind. Then follow it through to the regions where the mountains have been brushed with the juice of sugar cane. Bite these mountains, for they will nourish you. You must then swim along the Crowspus River, where, beneath the waters, other cities will wait in darkness until you pass, for fear that you, in all of your majesty, Bacaban, will extinguish their lights. Once you get to the end of this river, (and, believe me, it will seem to never end) you must summon all of your courage and climb into the mouth of Filligus Volcano where you will finally (and in the Great Book of Conjoo, this is already written) meet your ancestors. Filligus Volcano is indeed a Cathedral: solemn and silent, and ever able, in sorrow, to erupt. At the bottom of Filligus, once you get past the Batabones and unhappy spirits of the Shummingflies, behind one of the doors you will find the dwelling of the Conjoo Priestess, who will be resting in the comfort of one of her large wings. Ask her questions, because I am sure she will have answers. “How do you know all of this?” asks Acaravanna. “It is written in the Great Book of Conjoo. All of this is foretold.” “Where is this book? You must give us this book!” the Bacaban implore. “We must know our destiny, so we can change it.” “Oh, you won’t be able to change what’s written there. But you could read about it if you like.” “Tingro! Where is this Book?” shouts Nester. “The Conjoo Priestess has it in her possession.” “There are other copies,” Tanty adds. “Where!?” Acaravanna demands. Tanty crawls closer to the group of Bacaban, wishing she had thought to make a pot of angel-foot tea. “Some, I’ve heard, are hidden in a cluster of Trees surrounding the city of Ji-roobi,” she whispers. “You mean, all of you have read about our destiny? You know what is to become of us?” Acaravanna’s eyes search the Conjooners, who look away. “We read about it in school. The Shummingflies used to preach about it. But you, yourselves, have made us all forget. Don’t you remember?” Tanty asks. The island’s mind travels around itself, trying to find its memory. “Who are we?” asks a chorus of Bacaban. “Who are you!?” responds all of Conjoo, backing away from the Bacaban. “How can we travel without our train?” Nester wonders aloud. “You can travel by sea-horse, if they will go so long a distance. They can take you as long as you ride on water. After that, on the other side of Conjoo, you might be able to find other kinds of trains,” Tanty offers. “But what is written?” pleads Acaravanna. “The Great Book of Conjoo must know our way.” “Look for it in the Tree-City of Ji-roobi,” Tanty whispers again and quickly crawls back into her anthill, followed by her children. Who says that the greatest imaginations in the universe cannot stand to open and expand some more, moving even beyond the borders of places such as Conjoo? It saddened the Conjooners to see their dear fantastic Bacaban so humbled. Where did it leave Conjoo?
After the Bacaban drifted toward the beach for a conference with the sea horses, Tingro, accompanied by a family of Galfellow Flowers, called a private meeting of the most prominent Beings of Conjoo. Avoiding the crowds of sand, they gathered together on top of one of the tallest Joontrees on Conjoo in order to accommodate the long-legged Jinti and a few other Stidgeons. Tingro addressed all those gathered: “In the Great Book,” he said, “it is written that our planet is due for an upheaval, a restructuring of the mind, an expansion of our imaginations. We will become more powerful and no longer will need to rely on the aid of the Bacaban. It is already happening. The Higher Spirit of Conjoo has shown us that there is, indeed, no need for the intrusive Shummingfly. We must act quickly, because I do not recall what the Great Book says about what will transpire once the Bacaban unite with the Shummingfly spirits, meddle with their bones, and speak with the Conjoo Priestess. Those of us who have imagination to walk must reach Filligus Volcano before the Bacaban and see what can be done. Do we all agree?” The most prominent beings of Conjoo (except for the gaggle of Stidgeons) climb down from the Joontree in the midst of the dark, vibrant, yet dying night colors.
Mythwhisperer Bassagirl appears to share story in both dancing image and word through an Aethernet haven for her Revolutionary Picture Book, and shop of masterworks therein among a network of what are called Makers in the era of her terra. The Aethernet code I've located is: BassaBassa.blogspot.com
Lé m' t'yon ti gason an--when I was a little boy--I believed it was Père Noël who left kado under the Christmas tree for me and my sisters. Me and Jeanne-Marie and Nathalie would put our shoes by the fireplace and fill them with carrots and pain patate for Père Noël and his donkey the night before Christmas. And while we slept three-in-a-bed, Père Noël would let us know in the best way possible that we'd been bon gacon ak tifi that year. He would leave bannann yo and a shiny Full Steam Ahead! Airship for me, pom yo and a brand new thaumatrope for Jeanne-Marie, and joumou yo and a colorful wooden marionette for Nathalie. As we played with our toys and munched on our fruit Christmas morning, me and my sisters were amazed that Père Noël knew exactly what we wanted and liked. By the time I was eight years old, though, I knew that Papa ate the carrots and sweetbread we'd left in our shoes, and that Manman stayed up all night to wrap the toys and arrange the plantains, apples and pumpkins under the Christmas tree just right. But I didn't tell Jeanne-Marie and Nathalie. And then Papa died. Eventually, Jeanne-Marie and Nathalie also found out Père Noël wasn't real, but we continued to put our only pair of shoes by the fireplace on Christmas Eve anyway. And though Manman didn't tell me, I knew I was supposed to eat the kawòt yo and pain patate in our shoes just before we went to bed. Life was very difficult those first few years after Papa died, especially for Manman. She didn't say much in those days. Trankil ak tris. Manman had been like a quiet, sad ghost: sometimes there, sometimes not, but always unhappy. We hadn't been pòv when Papa was alive, but we hadn't been rich, either. Papa had done all right as a charcoal burner, peddling his coal. And Manman had made some extra coin selling her pain patate. But after Papa died, Manman had gone from selling pain patate for two hours at the farmer's market to hawking it from sun up to sundown. She was hardly home. The most we saw of Manman was her climbing beneath the covers every night. Jeanne-Marie and Nathalie made sure she got some food in her before she fell asleep, though, even if it was just a little bit of pumpkin soup. So it was a surprise for me and Jeanne-Marie and Nathalie to wake up Christmas morning during those years and find fruit and toys waiting for us.
I used to think that Manman would pull her tired self out of bed in the wee hours of that special morning and wrap and arrange the bannann an, pom an, joumou an, airship, thaumatrope, and marionette as we slept. So when I was eleven years old, I tried to stay up all night Christmas Eve and catch her in the act. But as far as I could tell, the only time Manman stirred was when we woke her the next morning to come look at the fruit and toys someone not Père Noël had left. Manman had seemed just as surprised as us to see them under the tree. As the years passed, Manman shook off her sadness and became her wonderful cheery self again and things got a little better for us. Copper was still sparse and times were still hard, but a Christmas didn't go by without fruit and toys--sweeter and more intricate than the year before--under the tree. And now, fifteen years later, I know how they got there. When Papa was alive, steam was clean and coal was plentiful. But New City has changed since then. Nowadays, it's all about dirty diesel being rendered from stuff deep in the earth by a growing technocracy of mad scientists and engineers. Life is tough for a charcoal burner. For the first time ever, at the age twenty-six with de tifi, two little girls, I wasn't looking forward to Christmas. The coin just hasn't been stacking since everyone got all hot and bothered over diesel. Me and Lucie hardly had enough copper for Esmé and Aimé to fill their shoes last night with carrots and sweetbread for Père Noël and his donkey. And after shopping at the market yesterday for this eve’s dinner, we had no copper left for toys. Heavy-hearted, sa se bèl madanm mwen, that beautiful wife of mine sat in the hearth room after we put the girls to bed, trying to figure out how and from whom we could get toys at that hour to put under the tree. And I sat there with her by the fireplace, helpless. We pondered a long while. I must have nodded off, though, because next thing I knew, an intimate, sensual whisper pulled me from a fitful sleep. "Awaken, Jean-Baptiste." A woman I'd never seen before was standing before me. Se bèl fanm, a beautiful woman. Vivid blue lace-up corset dress to her ankles. Dark, loose-curled ‘fro holding a crown of equally vivid blue forget-me-nots. Lovely amber-hued skin. My heart knocked hard in my chest. A small teasing smile touched her full lips. "Who are you? How do you know my name?" "Père Noël is not the only one with lists." I looked over at Lucie. She was in a restless sleep of her own. "Don't worry. I was just leaving." The woman gestured at the Christmas tree. "My work here is done."
Beneath it were plantains, passion fruit, mangoes, apple guava, pumpkins, two skipping ropes, wooden building blocks, and two wooden jumping jack string puppets. Some time passed before I could close my mouth. "As for your other question, I am Asterid, the Forget Me Not Faery." Lucie shifted next to me, opened her eyes." I aid the downtrodden and bless the poor." Lucie took my large ebon hand into her smaller mahogany one and laid her head on my shoulder. I could feel her tears there. "For fifteen years you wanted to know. Now you do." And then she was gone. And now, on this Christmas morning, as I sit in the hearth room and smile at Lucie while EsmĂŠ and AimĂŠ play with their toys, I wonder if I dreamed it all.
Malon Edwards is a mythwhisperer with a predeliction for what is referred to on the terra of his era, as Cyberpunk. He's written about Lycans,shapeshifters of a kind, and curious happenings in what some call an alternate steam and diesel era. He keeps a personal record at an Aether site entitled East of Mars on a platform entitled blogspot.
Still cloaked, her veil though discarded, as she was during the Presentation Ceremony, Jisreen leans against a massive column, arabesque in design, the western horizon ablaze with the various shades of sunset. Softly, she sings a haunting Desert Lands' ballad. Take my hand and walk with me Through the evergreen Leave behind your loneliness No more to be seen Hold me close, if you will To your beating heart So that I make take from you Comfort for a start On my lips, lay a kiss Soft as morning dew Stay with me forevermore To you I will be true Hear this song, I sing to thee Of love without bound In my keep, place your heart You will be safe and sound "You have a beautiful voice." She tenses, though she cools her features against a betrayal of the emotion suddenly running rampant through her chest as Archer Kale rounds the column and comes to a stand before her. "Thank you, Sir knight." "How fares the duchess?" "It was not the duchess who collapsed but the Kirin." "The Kirin?" "Aye." He frowns. "How fares she?" "I do not know. She has kept council only with the dowager sovereign and her Eilfr companion these last few hours." He nods, a motion indicating his acceptance and approval of the Kirin's withdrawal into that intimate fold. "An odd thing her collapse." Jisreen shrugs delicately. "Perhaps. The Kirin bears the burden of a great responsibility upon her shoulders though, and is still some years shy of the completion of her training." Kale inclines his head slightly. "How do you fare?" Despite her best efforts to the contrary, her smile is small, sad, her tone strained.
"I am not Kirin." "Does that make you less deserving?" He steps closer still. "Accept my suit, Jisreen." She shakes her head, tears blemishing the determination transcribed in her dark eyes. "I cannot. My life is already thrice pledged." Kale sighs, the sound almost stricken. "I am sorry, Sir knight. More than you shall ever know." She makes to move away. "If you will excuse me." He forestalls her with a light touch upon her shoulder. "Will you be attending the eventide meal?" "If the Kirin attends, then aye. If not, I will dine in the duchess's suite." Kale's hand drops away and she crosses the now dark terrace, entering the palace.
It appears Mythwhisperer Wamuhu has been at work on her tale 'In Legends: Realm of the Elementals' since a time referred to in her era, as the 90's. You can find her work 'pon the Aethernet through the code: GladysBMoore.blogspot.com
As luck would have it, Cousin Tau has come to call! And would you believe what he has in his possession?! Yes, dear reader. He has been seeking work in the city, and was just on his way out of town with the few possessions he has to his name. I was appalled he didn't come here when he first arrived. Imagine having to pay for lodging when you have family members fully capable of putting you up! Well, he is here now, and that is what's important. He can stay as long as he likes, he's a great cook (a master of black bean steaks and tahini risotto surely), and he has allowed me to attempt to fit the ahnklet to his albums. One of them bears interesting contents, indeed, from another myth-keeper, Abidemi Chinasa.
Zeke leaped off the front porch of the shotgun shack, almost landing on the hound dog and scattering the chickens rooting around the persimmon tree. His back burned where Poppa's strap hit him; Zeke darted across the freshly plowed snap bean field and plunged into the pines, ignoring the briars cutting into his bare arms. "Bring yo a-- back here, boy!" Poppa shouted. "Running just gonna make it worse!' Zeke didn't slow down. He wasn't going to let Poppa beat him anymore. He wasn't his real poppa anyway. His poppa...his daddy died working for the railroad five years ago. His daddy was a good church going man that treated him and Momma like Sunday morning. His daddy was a big, dark skin man with skin like glass and a smile that shamed the sun. Zeke ran up the hill and down to Little Uchee Creek. He waded across the muddy trickle and kept going until he reached Big Uchee. There he finally halted, leaning against a big mulberry tree tilting over the bank. He gasped for breath, tears creasing his face. "I wish I was bigger," he panted. He eased down, his legs dangling over the bank. "Momma wouldn't need no man. I could plow the field and chop the wood. I could feed the mule and the chickens." The mulberry's bark was rough and soothing against his back. He wished he had his cane pole and some worms. He could fish until he figured Poppa wasn't drunk anymore. If he brought home a couple of bream or catfish everybody would be happy. Zeke closed his eyes. "But if I was bigger..." They swarmed over the creek, buzzing before Zeke like an aggravated cloud and blinking like fireflies. But it was too early for fireflies. The swarm edged closer to the sleeping boy then engulfed him in a bright pulsing iridescence. Zeke felt warmth on his eyelids and opened his eyes to rainbow colors. He closed his eyes; shook his head hard and opened his eyes again. The light was gone. Instead he looked up into a starry night sky. He jerked up and bumped his head on a low hanging branch. “Momma gonna whup me now,” he moaned. Zeke ran through the woods back to the house, careful to take his time wading through the creeks. He heard momma calling him the closer he got to the house. She was standing on the front porch holding a kerosene lamp and he stumbled into the yard. “I’m sorry, momma,” he said. “I feel asleep under the mulberry tree by Big Uchee…” Zeke stopped talking. Momma was looking at him, her mouth hanging open and her eyes as wide as saucers. Just then, poppa pushed the screen door aside so hard it slammed against the wall. “’Bout time you brought your no good behind back! Where…what the hell?” Poppa’s eyes got small like pinheads. Zeke looked back at them, wondering what was wrong. “That boy done went and go him some hoodoo,” Poppa said. He rolled up his sleeves, a mean smile coming to his face. “We’ll, I ain’t scared of no hoodoo,” he said as he swaggered down the steps. “I’ll whip his a-- no matter how big he is.”
Zeke scratched his head as poppa stomped down the stairs, his fists balled up. What was he talking about being big? Then Poppa was standing right it his face and he understood. He and poppa were really face to face. He wasn’t looking up at Poppa. He was looking at him. Then a bright light blinded him and his mouth starting hurting real bad. He fell on his butt, tears welling up in his eyes. Poppa stood over him, rubbing his right fist with his other hand. “I told you I wasn’t worried about no hoodoo,” he said. Just then another light appeared. The swarm that hovered over him at the creek swirled down over him with its rainbow colors. Zeke’s mouth stopped hurting and he climbed back to his feet. “I ain’t scared of you no more,” he said. “I’m going to fight you!” Poppa didn’t say nothing. He staggered back, his mouth as wide as Momma’s. Zeke smiled but then his mouth fell open, too. He wasn’t looking at Poppa, he was looking down at him. Poppa got smaller and smaller; pretty soon Zeke could see the top of the house. One of the swirling lights broke from the rest and landed on Zeke’s big nose. It wasn’t a light, and it wasn’t a bug. It was a little naked person with wings like a rainbow and curly hair on its head like him. It grinned at him, jumped off his nose and flew back into the swirl. Zeke looked down and saw Poppa running for the house. He hunched low, watching Poppa scurrying down the hallway to the back door. Zeke reached into the house, his hand barely fitting through the door. He grabbed Poppa by the leg and dragged him onto the porch. Once he got him outside he wrapped his hand around him and stared him in the face. “Who’s gonna whup who?” Zeke said. Poppa started shivering like he was cold and Zeke felt something warm in his hand. “You peed on me!” he shouted. Zeke tossed Poppa into the trees and wiped his soiled hand on his pants. He heard branches breaking as Poppa fell to the ground behind the house. The little flying people swarmed around Zeke again. The roof came closer and closer until he couldn't see it anymore. He stood before the house, looking up at the front porch the way he always did. He wasn’t big Zeke anymore. Momma crept up to him like a child trying to scare a cat. “Baby, what you done got yourself into?” she said. “Nothing, Momma. These little naked people made me big so I could beat up Poppa. Now we don’t have to worry about him anymore.” Rainbow lights danced around his head. Momma grabbed Zeke around the shoulders and rushed him into the house, slamming the doors behind them. She dragged him to the bathroom, took off his dirty clothes and bathed him like she was trying to wash the hoodoo out of him. “It’s alright momma,” Zeke said. “We’re alright momma!” Momma dried him off, put on his sleeping clothes, put him to bed. “Good night, Momma,’ he whispered. Momma looked at him with love and fear in her eyes. “Don’t be scared,” he said as he drifted to sleep. “We gonna be alright now.” Zeke and Momma got on alright, just like he said. They tended the farm on their own. Zeke discovered that he didn’t need to be big to do most the chores, but when he did, the naked flying people would show up and shine their colors on him. At first Momma would run in the house when they came, but gradually she would just sit and watch as they made Zeke bigger. One hot summer night, Zeke and Momma sat on the front porch drinking tea. The hound dog slept by their feet and a cool breeze blew in from the creek. Fireflies flittered under the oak, the old tree’s canopy thick with leaves. Just then the flying folks came in with the breeze. They mixed in with the fireflies, dancing around the bugs. Them must be angels,” Momma said. “Tiny angels sent to help us out.” Zeke never thought about that before. He hoped Momma was right.
When harvest season come, Mr. Calhoun sent his boys to Momma’s to help pick the vegetables. When they rumbled up the dirt road in their Ford they were surprised to see bushels lined up in front of the house, Zeke and Momma sitting on the porch with big smiles on their faces. Nathaniel Calhoun, the oldest and the biggest of the boys, jumped out the truck scratching his bald head. “How in the world did y’all do that by yourself?” “Don’t worry about it,” Momma said. “Y’all taking us to market or what?” They rode up to Columbus and sold everything at the Farmer’s Market. The Calhouns took Zeke and Momma to Woolworth’s. Momma bought herself a yellow dress and hat, then bought Zeke a brand new suit. “Why do I need a suit?” Zeke asked. “Cause we going to church this Sunday,” Momma said. “We gonna thank the Lord for his blessings.” The next day Momma and Zeke sat in the front pew in Little Bethel AME Zion Church. Everybody was happy to see them, the women telling Momma how pretty she looked and how glad they were she got rid of that no good man, the men rubbing Zeke’s head and telling him how much he looked like his daddy. Just around the time Reverend Williams told the ushers to take their seat there was a commotion at the back of the church. Zeke turned around to see a tall man in Army dress blues striding down the aisle, a big white smile on his cocoa face as bright as the medals on his chest. He sat right beside Momma and nodded. “How you doing, ma’am?” he said. His voice was deep like a borrow pit. Momma’s eyelids fluttered. “I’m fine,” she answered. The army man looked at Zeke and smiled. “How you doing, son?” Zeke couldn’t help but smile back. He liked the way the army man called him son. “I’m fine, sir,” he answered. Momma and the army man talked for a long time after church. Zeke knew Momma liked him. She was looking at him like she used to look at Daddy and Poppa. He seemed to be okay. For a minute Zeke got nervous but then he went to play with the other boys. He wasn’t going to worry, because if anything went wrong between Momma and the army man, Zeke could always get bigger.
A prolific mythwhisperer, Milton Davis has written Meji 1 and Meji 2 to high acclaim upon the terra of his era. There seem to be other tomes focusing on The Sivads, an enchanted child named Amber, and a book entitled Changa's Safari as well. His works can be located through Aethernet code: MVMediaATL.com
One fall evening as the yellow sun lowered in the red sky, three ghosts, their hair matted with algae and seaweed, swam upward through the waves. From the farthest depths of the sea they had come. Two hundred years had passed since the day Urdu the fisherman murdered them and threw their bodies out of his tattered boat, and these ghosts who had lived among the sea-dead could no longer suppress the memories that made them so discontent. Because of their long sojourn in the sea, they were now green-skinned and greeneyed instead of the brown skin and black eyes the Lord of all life had given them while they were alive. In spite of their deaths, they were like living children in many ways and prone to getting into trouble. Elkanah, the oldest, was known among all the sea villages for his trickery. It was even rumored that he had visited the land of the living without permission to haunt and disturb the cruel and unkind. Nuru often invaded the sleep of the living with frightening dreams. When alive, he had been a joker; death hadnâ€™t changed that. Varlu was the saddest and angriest of them. He had never grown content with being exiled to the sea far away from those who had been fortunate enough to die on land. He missed his mother who had been long dead and had gone to that good place where those who died on land went. Often he would think of Urdu the fisherman, the one who had murdered him and separated him from his mother and from the living. Nothing could quench the inner fire of anger that continually burned within his spirit soul. The boys had not asked the seven great lords for permission to visit the land of the living: The seven lords were: The Lord of the Living and The Dead, The Lord of All Living, The Lord of The Dead, The Lord of the Land Living, The Lord of the Land Dead, The Lord of the Living things in the Sea, and The Lord of the SeaDead. One would have thought that with so many rulers these children would have thought twice about their journey, but they pined for the land of the living, with its couscous and peanuts, its goat-meat and coconuts. They remembered the outskirts of villages, the shush-shatta rhythm of the women weaving on their shuttles, the fresh air blowing about them. So they wafted on top of the waves, allowing the green sea algae to float through their spirit bodies. As they journeyed toward the land, Varlu said to his companions, â€œBrothers, we are almost there. What should stop us from taking the next step and going on land? Day follows day with no change or joy. We are the worst of the dead, doubly exiled. For, we live among the Sea-Dead
and far from the green earth. I, myself, have neither loving mother nor father with me. I have decided that come what may, I will stay in the land of the living and never return to the sea again. If I am lucky enough to find one of Urdu’s descendants I will give haunt his nights with endless grief.” Elkanah said, “Varlu, when you speak of never returning, you terrify me. When you speak of haunting Urdu’s descendants you terrify me more. Will you roam the earth a solitary spirit? You know how powerful human priests are. If a spirit causes trouble, they will exorcise them and cast them into outer darkness. You will be even more solitary and troubled than you are now. Therefore, fellow shade, leave Urdu’s descendants alone. At Time’s end, all will be made right and we will be reunited with those we love. For the Lord of all life, living and dead, is faithful.” They turned to Nuru and waited to hear his opinion. “Varlu,” he said, “I have visited the land and its living. The world is full of evil still. Although those in the Villages of the SeaDead are not truly our family, they care for us and will worry if we do not return.” “Even so,” Varlu answered, “I am heartsick with this watery life. Do you not remember the air during festival time? The air now is redolent with peanut soup and the aroma of sausages sweet and spicy hanging from rafters of many huts. Tonight is a good night to glean the fields of the living.” He looked up at the setting sun. “Word has come to me that tomorrow will be the great Harvest festivals. The hearts of the villagers should be merry. And they will be too busy with their joyous preparations to notice us as we wander their fields or roads. We can safely delight in the brown and green earth, and glean their harvest. And if we meet any who are descended from Urdu, we might make sport of him.” A ship had sunk the day before. With sudden violence, the passengers were swiftly transferred to the kingdom of the Sea-Dead. The Prince of the Sea-Dead had much to attend to. None in the villages would miss them. So they decided to venture ahead. They recounted the rules: they should travel on the outskirts of the fields and not go near the human churches, and they should not touch human brew. No, they did not want to bring calamity on themselves or encounter some over-eager priest who would send them to the world of demons or into outer darkness instead of the land of the Sea-dead where they rightly belong. Now, Nuru had carried a flute with him, something to make their journey through the land of the living merry. Such flutes, you must know, are pleasant enough for those who died at sea, but dangerous if touched to living lips. As they set their spirit feet on brown earth, he opened his little spirit bag and placed his found trinkets inside the bag beside the flute. The spirit children stood on the shore and watched the sun set. They remembered their childhood centuries ago when they played among the fishermen’s boats. They had been from different villages but Urdu the fisherman, now long dead, had tricked them and carried them to slavetraders. But when the slavetraders refused to take such small youths because the journey across the Great Sea would kill them, Urdu had stained the green water with their red blood. That evil man did not wish the boys to tell the villagers of his evil. Elkanah and Nuru managed to put these old memories behind them as they journeyed through the vineyards and grain fields but Varlu’s anger grew hotter and hotter as he ventured more and more into the living world. In the centuries since they had died, great towering buildings blocked the moon. People wore strange clothing and worked late into the night using strange lights. Oh! how things had changed since their last visits! Oh! how things had not changed! Villagers still lived in huts, wore the old style clothing and worked at the age-old jobs.
They decided to visit the old towns of their childhood: First Town, Second Town, and Third Town. When they arrived at First Town which had been Nuru’s home, they saw that the harvest had indeed been good. Grapevines drooped to the ground, apples covered the countryside. Nuru plucked the grapes and corn grains as he traveled. Then they traveled past the savannahs and prairies to see how Second Town and Third Town fared. Since they saw no living soul on the roads between the villages, Nuru removed his flute and played it. But when they approached Second Town and people were once again to be seen he put the flute away. Here, too, the people were preparing a harvest dance. But the people of Second Town had just enough food, not too much and not too little. Their feast meals were not so abundant and although they were celebrating they did not waste their food. Grapes and oranges did not lie rotting on the ground as they did in First Town. Instead, the people of Second Town loaded up carts of oxen to bring their excess to the people of Third Town. Elkanah, Nuru, and Varlu followed the ox-carts of goods to Third Town. They did not follow too closely because they knew some living folk could see spirits. At last they arrived at Third Town where the cries and moans of starved children met them and the little bodies wracked and twisted from disease, skin only, over protruding bones. The provision from Second Town was not enough to feed such hungry mouths. But what could be done? The people of Second Town had so little. They had given all they could. Nuru thought back on the Town Square of First Town, where grapes, corn and wheat lay withering on the ground and no one cared to glean them. “Why this could break even a spirit’s heart!” he said. “How can the people of First Town allow this suffering? Perhaps they do not know. I had forgotten that humans could starve.” “The age-old hatred!” Varlu shouted and anger made his skin a deeper shade of green. “Do you not remember how cruelly the people in Third Town treated the people of First Town many years ago? They rightly deserve this poverty.” But Elkanah said, “Should hatred last forever? Come, brothers, let us help these people.” But Nuru warned, “The Great Rule states that the dead must not speak directly to living unless absolutely necessary and not unless the princes have given their permission first. And if he gives us permission to speak to them, we must speak in symbols, in cryptics, and we must not interfere with human life by plainly telling the living what they must do.” And Varlu added, “Brothers, if matters were the other way, the people in Third Town would not be kind to those in First Town either.” But Elkanah was determined to help and convinced the others. In order to avoid breaking the Great Rule, Elkanah, ever tricky, said, “We will get the living ones to help. In that way we will not be helping these people at all. And there is no rule about asking questions, is there?” “How tricky you are!” Varlu said. “Do you find loopholes in every law?” Elkanah shrugged his spirit shoulders, “Let the living humans who can, figure out what we are saying.” And so they set to work. The three friends returned quickly to First Town. They crept into the painter’s shop and stole --for spirits are magnificent thieves-- such equipment that they could carry. Soon, with paint and brush, they had written a question on the barns of all the First Town farmers concerning the people of the Third Town. I will not tell you what the question was. It does not matter to us now. But I will say that as they worked, it happened that the Chief of First Town was walking home and saw something written on a miller’s barn that upset him greatly. He was so angry that he raced to the miller’s
door and banged hard on it with his bare fists. As he knocked, he glanced all about him and noticed that all the barns asked the same question. The barns of the religious and the non-religious, the barns of the sojourner and the native, the barns of the childless and the fertile. Even the tanner’s barn asked the same question. The chief well knew that the tanner and the miller were not friends. They could not have planned this together. As he pondered, he saw a moving brush, as if wielded by an invisible hand, painting the dreaded message on the barn of the dressmaker. The Chief was an intelligent man. He knew what he was up against. Spirits were notorious for helping the poor. Had they not helped the poor shoemaker several years ago? Surely they were behind the hidden question. But the chief was not a man to be challenged by spirits. He did not wait for the miller – a notorious sleepyhead– to come to the door. Immediately, he raced in the direction of the night watchman. And the question seemed to follow fast behind him, appearing on the barns behind him as he ran. Soon enough he met the night watchman. “Fellow,” he said, “Have you noticed what is happening in my town?” “Good night to you, Chief,” the watchman said. “I see you are walking about, doing my job.” “This is no time to joke,” the Chief replied. “On my way to the harvest fields to see what I could see –for, you know, the festival dance is tomorrow– what did I see?” He pointed to the barns. The night watchman looked in the direction that the Chief indicated and his mouth dropped open. “And who do you think has done it?” the Chief asked. “Strangers new to town?” “It is spirit-work,” the Chief shouted. “This is very like them. For they have nothing better to do than to come to our living towns and meddle with matters that do not concern them. But we will best them yet. Lazy indolent folk are cursed with disease and famine, but our own hands worked hard. The good earth has rewarded us. And now these spirits blame us for not helping those lazy louts!” “An affront!” the night watchman said. “I will not be challenged by spirits,” the chief shouted. “And neither will my people. Therefore, get white-wash and remove this question from the barns in our entire village. When the villagers awake, they won’t be any wiser. True, they will see the white-wash, but the question will be gone. And their peace of mind will not be disturbed.” The night watchman pondered this for a while. Then he peered down the long length of the road. “Let not the Chief be angry with such a mere worm as I,” he began. “I well understand that the peace of mind of our village is important even if children in other villages cry without food. But the task you are asking of me is very great. The night is far gone. And I am only one man. And from what I can see and know the Chief is not a man who does a lot of manual labor. It will be impossible for one man alone to white-wash the entire question. If I actually manage to do the work you are asking me to do, perhaps the spirits will harm me. Perhaps we should allow the townsfolk to read what is written, then tomorrow at the festivities you may speak and challenge the devilish question?” The Chief shook his head. “No, the thought must not enter the heads of my people.” The night watchman shrugged. “I know well how hard it is to change a Chief’s mind.”
The Chief grunted but did not reply in words. All the time they spoke, Varlu stood beside them listening as they hatched their plans. The Chief looked familiar, he thought, but he could not place the face. The Chief wrapped his scarf around his shoulders and said, “I have it now. Remove the foul word only. You know what word that is. That will be enough. If you need help, wake Tamaru, the deaf-mute. He cannot speak of the matter. And neither can he write.” “True,” the night watchman said, “the boy is pitiful and none here care for him but I.” The Chief shrugged. “What you must do, do quickly and you will find three gold coins and one copper one in your coffer tomorrow. Give the copper coin to Tamaru and that will suffice him.” The night watchman set to work, waking Tamaru from the dirty shed in which the boy slept. “Come now, Tamaru,” he said, speaking exaggeratedly with his lips so the youth could understand the task before him and making signs with his hand. “Have I not taken care of you since you arrived here from Fourth Town so many years ago in search of work?” Tamaru nodded and the night watchman continued. “There is a job to do, which no one must know about, not by words or by speaking of your hands.” He explained the matter and soon Tamaru set to work. By morning all that remained on the sides of the red and yellow barns were the words, “Are you____?” followed by a large white washed empty space. Together the spirits watched as young deaf Tamaru and the watchman whitewashed their questions from the barns. Varlu shook his head. “It is as it always was. No kindness in the world at all.” He looked up at the sun rising in the sky. “We must return to the World of the Sea-Dead before we are missed. I no longer wish to remain among the living.” And so they began to race back to the Sea-Dead village. But Nuru raced so quickly he did not see that his flute fell from his pouch as he ran. “I have lost my flute,” he said, and the spirits turned backward toward First Town to look for it. Meanwhile the yellow sun rose high in the white sky. The people of First Town woke and stepped out of their houses. They saw their barns and the half-asked question: “Are you___?” Well, soon enough one housewife ran to another and one husband ran to another to discuss who might have spent the night doing the deed. Soon the whole town fell to worries and disagreements. The half-complete question disturbed the people more than the full question might have. All manner of adjective and adverb, all manner of vice and virtue, all manner of illness and complaint were supposed to be the missing word. The morose could not help but believe that the question referred to the state of their soul, the sickly thought it referred to their death. The wealthy assumed one word. The not-sowealthy assumed another. But no one hit upon the word the spirits had used. And even if the word were mentioned, there would be no agreement that that was indeed the missing word. And never once did the chief or the night watchman tell them the truth of the matter. Soon enough, the joys of the festival day made the town forget their selfquestionings. Soon night began falling again and the village turned from working to thoughts of revelry. The young girls put on their ribbons and bows, the boys their ties and hats. All began to make merry. Nuru then saw a certain young man carrying his flute to one of the
piper in the band. The eyes of the flutist glistened with amazement at the sight of the flute – for the thing was well-made and beautifully worked, with wondrous ornamental carvings of gold and silver-- and immediately thanked the young man for finding his flute. In turn the young man begged a tune. When the flutist set his lips to play out came a piercing wail –only one note. Immediately all but one of the living in the entire town fell asleep. The one who did not fall asleep was Tamaru who had never heard a sound all the days of his life. But across the town every one else had fallen asleep where they stood, falling beside the pig trough, across the fields, against houses and wood barns. And some were draped over rocks and tables in the most unseemly positions. The little deaf fellow hardly knew what to make of all he saw. But so affrighted was he at the sight before him that he stood staring all about him in amazement. Now, the very second the people of First Town fell asleep, the prince of all the Living and the Dead lifted his head. His spirit ears were keen indeed. He turned to his steward and said to her, “Did you hear the sound of spirit-pipe on living lips?” “That I did,” said she. “But how could it be? Of late, none of the earth or sea dead has ventured into living lands.” “None that we know of,” the prince answered, raising his spirit eyebrow. So the question went round and down. In the court of the Prince of all Living and downward through the ranks. Soon enough, the steward came to the prince of the SeaDead. “The prince of the Living and the prince of all the Dead wish to speak to you about Elkanah, Nuru, and Varlu,” she said. “There is quite an uproar between them because the humans of First Town have fallen fast asleep on their feet.” Meanwhile Elkanah, Nuru, and Varlu were wondering what to do with all the people who had fallen asleep on their feet. The snores of the villagers were almost deafening. “The Seven Lords will never forgive this,” Elkanah said. “I thought we were quite careful, actually.” “One can never be too careful,” Nuru said, picking up the flute. Then Varlu became aware that a human was quite awake and staring at them in the distance. “Living One,” he called when he noticed Tamaru, for although the deaf cannot hear living voice, they can hear the voices of spirit and sprite well-enough. “Why do you think we will harm you?” I will tell you that Tamaru looked quite surprised to see the spirits, their green skins and green eyes and water-logged brown loin-cloths. But his eyes grew even wider when they spoke to his mind. “I am amazed,” his thoughts answered theirs, “that people –dead or alive– seem interested in talking to me. I like you spirits well.” Nuru said – and he had to speak in this way because it is forbidden for dead spirits to speak directly to the living “Is it possible that some living human played our flute?” All the while Nuru spoke, Varlu stared at the living boy and thought about his mother. The boy looked so like his mother he was wondering if this were one of her descendants. “What is wrong with me?” he kept asking himself. “Everyone I see seems familiar.” Tamaru pointed around at the barns and a thought framed in his mind: “Were you the ones who put the question on the barns?” “Will one of our pipes lead people where they will not go?” Varlu said cryptically.
"And will another toot on the flute wake them? And will we not be mightily punished when the princes hear of this situation?” Tamaru looked at them strangely, even more strangely than before. But after he understood spirit speech, he said, “You certainly have made a mess of things, haven’t you?” Elkanah answered, “It seems to me that since we have already gotten into more trouble than we know how to get out of, and since food must be carried to the poor children of Third Town, we might as well finish our first plan. In for a penny, in for a pound, I always say.” And this is true: he often did. Oh, how the sleeping people of First Town sang and danced to the magic pipe while they filled their oxen and cart with provisions for the citizens of Third Town. All day, they traveled back and forth along the savannahs while Varlu played the crystal flute while the maypole of First Town lay empty with its green and red ribbons hanging solemn and unused. The sleepers lifted and carted and never once did they complain of the hard work. As for the spirits, although they did not have human stomachs, they ate their fill of the earth fruits and complained wistfully about their inability to drink of the old brews. Tamaru, too, enjoyed the day. For never had he had such lovely and kind companions who understood his every word. Tamaru carried with him a brew of corn and honey and drank his fill. And as the spirits spoke of World of the Sea-Dead and all its wonders, and how the rules and the forbidden matters such as never touching human brew, Tamaru said to the spirits, “I want to live with you in the World of the Sea-Dead. The people here in First Town have never treated me well. How lonely I have been here without true friends.” Elkanah shook his spirit head. “True friends you will get in time.” “Does not a flower bloom where it is planted?” Nuru asked. But Varlu disagreed. “No true friends on earth you’ll find.” “May I hold your flute, Varlu?” Tamaru asked. Varlu raised his eyebrow and said, “Hold it but do not let your lips touch it or else some other harm will come to these sleeping people. And no, you will not go to the world of the sea-dead with us. You haven’t died in the sea, have you?” Tamaru took the flute from Varlu and examined it carefully. The sun was setting and the sleeping farmers and town merchants had all danced merrily back to First Town and all gone to their respective beds. As the spirits walked, Tamaru sighed to himself. Now, I have heard it said that spirits can read human minds. If this were true, would they not have detected Tamaru’s plans? When the group prepared to leave, Tamaru asked Varlu, to play him a song even if he could not hear it.Varlu blew the flute but at the moment his lips touched the flute, Varlu felt a change within himself. He shrugged off his discomfort but foreboding rose in his heart. Soon he noticed that his friends seemed not to hear him. They seemed not to see him. When he tried to enter sea, it would not claim him. At last he understood that human brew had touched his lips and he was now forced to wander between worlds, alone and friendless. Soon Elkanah and Nuru realized that their friend was lost to them. “It’s one trouble upon another,” Nuru said, looking around for Varlu but being unable to see him. “But the prince might be able to save our friend.” Straightway they raced quickly, through reef and sea mountains to the palace of the prince of the Sea-Dead with its dead bones and coral. The prince shook his head when he saw them. They were so distressed over their friend’s disappearance he didn’t have the heart to rebuke them harshly. “This I have no power over.
The laws are not under my control.” They asked permission to go to the prince of all the dead. They received it, but there also, their intercessions could not prevail. The prince of all the living could not help them either. Poor Varlu was lost. Meanwhile Varlu’s anger raged. The angry words he shouted at Tamaru I will not say, but if he could have grabbed Tamaru by the neck and choked him he would have done so. Although he could not hear Varlu’s words, Tamaru had seen Elkanah’s and Nuru’s fears and he now realized what he had done. Although he could neither hear nor see Varlu, Tamaru spoke, “My friend. Perhaps there is a way out of this. Perhaps a priest can save you. They have spells from the Lord of all life, living and dead. Those spells are greater than any human brew. Follow me.” Varlu realized the risk he was taking. But what else could he do? Surely the worst thing to do would be to put his fate in the hands of human exorcists who might send him to the land of demons instead of the land of the sea-dead. But there seemed no other way home for lost spirits. And while he pondered, the people of First Town woke. How their feet ached. And when they walked outside to the grandstand, they saw that their excess provisions were nowhere to be seen, for either human or spirit had stolen them. The Chief stood up. “I know the works of the spirits. If we look with keen eyes, we will find our food has been taken and given to the poor in one of the surrounding towns. For that is the way these spirits do, taking away what is rightly ours, what our own hands have blessed us with. And who is to say they are finished with us? Let us therefore call the priest and let him exorcise the town that we might be free from these meddling spirits.” So at the same time that the villagers journeyed to the priest’s hut, Tamaru and Varlu journeyed there also. But the way was longer for humans...and the spirit reached the priest’s house before the feet of the living did. He presented himself, visible, to the old man who, not being one to fling himself into the harvest revelings and being protected from the power of the pipe, had just awakened from a long night sleep. When the old priest saw the spirit standing there, staring at him, he scratched his bald head and wondered aloud why a demonic spirit would choose to wear such old-fashioned clothing. “Be you demon or lost human soul?” he asked. “You cannot be angel or heaven-dwelling spirit, for the sorrow on your face betrays your exile from that glorious place?” Then he spoke some words from his holy book, “I adjure you, by the Lord of all living that you speak directly and clearly to me, without cryptic or dark messages.” “Lost human I am,” Varlu answered. “I died at sea a hundred years ago when Urdu the fisherman took three children on his boat.” The priest raised his eyebrows. He well-knew the story of Urdu the fisherman. “So why come to the living now?” the priest asked. “You have waited a long time.” “I came from the land of the Sea-Dead to see what I could see. I carried a flute to play with. Then I lost the flute and a human blew on it. Then Tamaru put human brew on it and captured my soul here. I am not free to go back to the land of spirits.” The old priest shuffled across his hut and glanced at Tamaru. “Are you so lonely, Tamaru,” he asked. “My lad, promise none of your tricks and you can stay here as my son.” As he said this, what did he hear but the villagers’ footsteps? They rushed into his hut on aching feet. And although Varlu stood among them, they saw him not.
It was the Chief who began. “Old and revered father,” he said. “Come see what the evil spirits have done. They have taken our food to who knows where and have left us nothing but pain and harm. Our feet and arms ache as if from heavy work, and yet we have all slept.” The old priest turned to Varlu but it seemed to the villagers that he spoke only to the air. “Why have you lied to me, Spirit?” Varlu protested. “I have not lied.” “But you have!” the old man retorted. “You did not mention your thievery and your enchantment of these good people. It is my opinion, then, that you are an evil demon and no human spirit and you have come to do us evil.” Varlu stood trembling before the old priest dreading those awful words which could toss him into the land of demons. But the priest was a wise man and quite kind-hearted. He didn’t want to cast anyone into outer darkness. “Chief,” he said, “are you not descended from one Urdu the fisherman who sold slaves to the far continent?” When Varlu heard this, how angry he became! The Chief nodded. “But what has that got to do with anything? Many of us here have ancestors who sold their brothers to traders from faraway places.” The priest advanced carefully. “True, our ancestors are guilty of many crimes. But the spirit who has approached me is none other than Varlu who was murdered by your ancestor Urdu.” “Lies! Lies!” shouted the Chief. “My ancestor, Urdu, was no murderer.” The old priest shook his head. He said to Varlu, “I have no intention of sending you to dwell with demons.” He then said a long complicated prayer which I do not quite remember so you will not hear it. And soon enough, who should come and lay prostrate before the prince of the SeaDead, sorrowing and begging mercy for their crime? “So it is you, Varlu?” the prince of the Sea-Dead asked when Varlu appeared before him. “Why do you travel to places where you should not? And cause problems for everyone?” Varlu was too surprised to suddenly find himself at the foot of the Prince of the SeaDead to say anything. He glanced at Nuru and Elkanah who both looked terribly guilty as they too awaited their punishment. The Prince continued, “Why do you not accept your hone, Varlu? Others have accepted their early deaths. Cease longing for your mother and the life of the living.” The prince called the other two spirits forward. “Life among the living is unpredictable. Sometimes good deeds are rewarded with bad ones. Do you understand this?” “I do, my lord,” Elkanah answered. “I do, my lord,” Nuru answered. “Such matters as the starving of living children are no concern of ours. Sad though it is. Now, tell me what must I do to punish you for your crimes?” The last time he was punished, Elkanah had had to clean the sea floor for three years. He had not liked it. He spoke up, “Truly, my prince, you are kind and powerful to overlook our crimes against our laws. Please forgive us. We have learned our lesson.” The prince answered, “It is in my power to forgive and change what I can. But not all. The Lord of the Lost Dead is equally forgiving. But all your trespasses I cannot forgive. Forgiveness can only be given by the Lord of all life, living, dead, lost, and undead.
And that great Lord is a hard taskmaster.” “Let me speak to the Lord of all Life then,” Varlu asked. “Let him tell me what I need to do. And I will do it.” At that, the Lord of all Life appeared. “Varlu,” he asked, “I have seen your sadness. What will you do to see your mother again?” “I will do anything, Great Prince over all.” “Will you forgive this man?” The Lord then showed him Urdu the Fisherman in the land of the evil dead. Flames of fire encircled the old murderer, wails of pain echoed from his mouth. Oh how that man suffered. Varlu had never heard or seen such suffering. Varlu could only cry out and weep and close his eyes. Yet, how could he forgive this horrible man who was just as evil and greedy as his murderous ancestor? And yet, how he missed his mother and how he longed for the life of the glorious dead who eat coconuts and pineapples and honey every day. He thought of his mother and he remembered the kindness of the old priest who had had mercy upon him. “Yes,” he said, “I will forgive him.” And as he said those words, the flames around the old murderer ceased and Urdu ascended toward the joyous place. The lord of all Life took Varlu’s hand. “And what a day you’ve had, Varlu?” he said. Varlu nodded. A bad day indeed. “And will you come with me?” the Lord of all Life asked. “Is this true?” Varlu asked. “Am I going to see the face of my dear mother?” The Lord of all Life nodded. Varlu could only smile in amazement. “Does a human priest have so much power?” he asked. “Even over the Lord of all life.” “No,” the Prince answered, “But human forgiveness does.” THE END
Mythwhisperer Carole McDonnell has written an acclaimed tale upon her terra entitled, Wind Follower. She has been referred to as a master world-builder. I have no doubt this is influenced by her otherworld travels, but can only speculate at this time with no proof of that in hand.Some information about her writings can be found via the blogspot platform with her name as Aethernet code.
If only they knew There's more than otherworld in you You're more than new dream More than just a seem You're far from unreal, Paper Merman. Dara barely concealed her grimace, at the flicker of the author's Paper Merman song, poorly timed as it always was. The Loonchilds glanced at her from their tree bench. The Merman's eyes flickered in her direction, then lazily back to the Everyman, who'd taken the form of an Anomaly hiveminder, before settling on the form of a crow on an ivypost. Dara's expression stoicized. She looked over the metallic landscape. She folded her arms over her chest. 'Like to know how it happened?' asked the Everyman, branches emerging from his almond brown head; now in formist splendor, a fruit not bigger than a crabapple, and pigmented like spacefruit, swelling from it's rapidly filling offshoots. 'I suppose it would be useful,' she replied, miraculously maintaining her calm when the formist pressed the gear, of the nameless metal, into her hands. The waves whipped around her with too much force for a mere memory, and brought her quickly to her knees and hand, sections of deep lavender cotton falling to cover her earthen face. She squeezed her eyes shut in the tornado of ether, swiftly panicking at her inability to move, and the rousing sounds of water filling her ears. It wasn't the writ of the Othr Compendium's AnomalyCodex flooding her. She couldn't discern what it was at all. 'High Maroons in Sky Balloons,' a child's voice whispered. Dara knew the language... It was a creole of sorts. Not Haitian. Saramakan? Yes, probably. 'Come to take you to the Everyman, dolling,' the voice whispered again. Loom? Dara winced at the departure of the ethers, dropping the metal gear instinctually, as one would something hot. The Everyman's blackfire eyes bore down on her from where he sat now, in a throne of willowy wood, a round diamond-shaped patch of arrow-poised Ujuux locs at the top of his earthen-brown crown, ears just as longer-than-everyone-else's as they pleased to be. 'Loom was brought to you? She was hurt?' Dara's mouth grew drier, her spirit sagging, the stoicizing wasted and gone. Her knees buckled at the nudge of wood behind her knees, growing into a stool catching her collapsing form. 'I would love to tell you all about it,' said the Everyman with a grin. 'It is a most peculiar turn of events, I assure. One wonders, if you still have access to the floating gardens?' Weary, but steeling at the words all the same, Dara frowned. 'You know very well, I don't tread the Strawberry Zeppelin any longer.' 'A pity. A crucial piece of that tale is upon the very ship you're heart seeks most to avoid. I'm afraid I've been sworn to secrecy, myself. Aether trapped in a momento however... is not.'
'Surely, someone else can tell me what you cannot.' 'Well... there is that full-blown gal at the Oilspill Rainbow. Pity she never told you she knows why Loom vanished.' 'You mock me.' 'You de-fy me.' 'I'm not under your rule, Everyman.' 'Of course you aren't, eigthling child.' You dreaming, Meta? Dreaming on the job?' The Procurist leared. Cough it up,' he said to the Brassgirl,' 'spit it out!' Dara grimaced with the pressure of the passing memory. 'Writer got your head again... or something else perhaps? You don't hide your pain well. Pity that violet cap of yours went and got misplaced. Someone with a crown as... vulnerable as yours should not walk about unprotected.' 'I hope you've had you're fun,' Dara said absently, rising from the stool, without a glance in the Everyman's direction. 'Deliver something for me,' the Everyman replied. 'Now I am your courier?' She could see the seriousness deepening in his eyes, and tensed in spite of herself, adding 'Is someone in danger?' Pursing his lips together, the Everyman allowed a moment to pass between them before uttering another word. 'A new flora has been born to us. I should very much like it delivered to a man, who will know where its seed will best take root.' 'And it's name,' Dara asked, swallowing the foreboding rising in her heart. 'Aiyana vine. It glows when there are threats to sleeping, or vulnerable children, wraps around the legs of those seeking to cross a place, where it grows, with intent to harm a child, and visits upon them advance karma of what their act would feel like to a victim, should they have been successful, in which case they would not have been. And for those who have been successful in harming an innocent, it causes recurring empathy of the pain caused to an innocent, to a degree that could inspire debilitation; for it grows instinctually ever near them, and cannot be uprooted by them, or any attempting to alleviate their returned pain unjustly.' Dara swallowed visibly. There hadn't been a vine or spore since the prism cells that grew into a virus that only seemed to harm the attackers of peoples targeted for their sunkissed skins. Areas surrounding Zambarau had returned to the garden of diverse celebration life is, after it's emergence. New genus' rarely birthed themselves for no reason. 'It was born to us on 16 May. Its petals heal ancient wounds, and unify the fragmented, completely.' Dara nodded grimly, lowering herself onto the stool.
* She'd made candies for the child. The regular way. Simulated candies like the Dragon Tears' cinnamon flameys, similar in flavor to Pyra's wedding melon-cinnammons, Drake's 1st day of flyergarden blueberry cinnamons, and a few others. She mixed the sugar water and boiled it to syrup with a bit of lemon til hot hot. She added flavor syrup, with the skins of lemons, or the dehydrated powders of strawberries, or plums melting into the heavy sugar, dependent on the flavor need. Loom, they said, watched confectioners often. Sometimes Dara believed it, felt her, or tricked herself into feeling something making imitations of Succor sweet candies of the 'Future-now', for a child of the every-now representing the point of it all it would seem, to the distress of the many who couldn't accept psi-evolution, and called it devilry or deformity. Fuzz sat towards the back now, in the Oilspill Rainbow audio diner, with friends. Friends she'd been warned not to bring out of their time. Dara took an ether-spinner stool, fashioned into a vintage album at its top, masking the strain coming over her, looking over the menu. She evened her breath, soundless and still when the words took her mind. 'It's mine now,' she said, reaching for the heart, polishing it with the bottom of her sleeve. She served the party buttercake when she got it working. Reinstalled, it hummed in her chest. He ate his cake slowly. Eyed her. Angry, perhaps. But he had many hearts didn't he? Many wooden dolls with hollows in their chests, waiting for an autonomy never promised. Not so with hers now. But she would pour him his tea just like before, and sprinkle in the stardust, too. And she would be, now. Not just dream. And maybe she would have a love of her own. Someone without a cupboard key to lock away her heart, and usher in the grey lull, between fixes of her own energy as channeled through someone else, postconsumption. Why didn't the passing ethers ever know rhyme or reason? Dara swallowed with the passing of the thoughts, focusing her energy to her root chakra, demanding feeling in her soles, speeding productivity consciousness out of dazed stupor. 'Cherry empanada? It's on special following Tahini Risotto, and crĂ¨me of paperleaf soup today. Freshly thought.' The waitress grinned at her, just a hint of animosity peeking through her gaze. 'Guava Fraipe, please.' 'Lemon pearl candies to go with that? Watermelon Tartlets, caramel cakelets?' 'Lime cremes will do nicely, thankyou.' 'I'd take cinnamon-limes over that, anyday of the anuum. But tastebuds vary amongst the greentongues, yes? Specially with branches. We'll have that to you right away, watcher.'
Dara swallowed her response, keeping herself from wincing at the title, and the 'branches' slur some of the more arrogant used against treelings, or halfling treelings.All due to the anger caused singlehandedly by the self-proclaimed treekin; very much preferring their separation from the treelings, or other Phupha and Lora kind. An important distinction the more generalizing psi kind's never seemed to make. Her eyes flickered over to Fuzz, who sipped dandelion milk from a serving vine, eating green banana pancake miniatures sprinkled in what smelled of powdered fig and jerk seasoning. One of the elder time-guests sipped a pumpkin whiskey. The others stuck to raspberry rum. She'd be unapproachable in the diner. Dara would have to wait. She made slow work of the fraipe when it arrived, focusing her attention on the riddle-print of the lime-creme wrappers when the 'Aether for the discerning Othernaut' offered no further pages to turn, squeezing her eyes tightly shut when the ether forced its way in again. This time, focused on another of the evolved psi. 'A present to you. The Country of Anika' The girl beamed toothily. Her arms came into a fold over her zip-up jersey, where she stood beneath the newly installed orange flag hung over the small shed opening into a place larger than a mere room. 'Wanna know how I did it?' She smirked, glowingly self-important, and threateningly desirous of applause.
* Dara locked eyes with Fuzz, stifling a sigh, willing compassion to the forefront of her gaze. The willful innocence in the child's cat-shaped eyes could wear her down if she let it. She wouldn't. She'd warned her. 'You've acquired a time-winder. How?' 'You can't take my friends.' 'They won't stop being your friends, but they certainly can't stay in this era.' 'I've made it better for them.' 'You're interfering with time. It can't be allowed.' 'What is allowed?' 'Responsible co-creation. You know that.' The child pouted, looking away. Her chin quivered. 'I'm not your enemy, Fuzz.' The small etherist folded her arms over her chest proudly. She hadn't allowed a tear to fall, having somehow sucked back the glaze from her eyes. 'If a wise set of rules aren't followed, psi's will be policed, Fuzz. It would be a lot worse then. How many are here, and where are you keeping them?' The child's brow creased. She was young still but much wiser than the first time Dara encountered her. She'd been so open then; all her colors offered up willingly to paint the world around her, despite the ignorance of her foster parents.
'It's beautiful,' Dara had told her, looking over the golden aircab hovering in the air of the girl's small moonroom. 'You see it,' Fuzz had asked; all innocence, and relief waiting to be realized. 'They all see it. They just fear it, and block it out.' 'Silly of them,' Fuzz said with a small confidence, juggling the newness, and biting her lower lip in punctuation. 'You have to be careful. What you can do... it's not for making living things beyond the world of plants. There are rules for us.' 'Us?' 'Yes.' * The bald-headed halfling grinned at her, touching her finger to the bottoms of the corkscrew-clasped b-girl flywheel hoops hanging from her long-ears. Flicking her eyes to the steam-skate converters on her feet, she bent to lower the stilts, pulling the Victrolah horn-phones from her head to rest around her neck, removing the needle from the wax *Antikythera mechanism-type discs at the trumpetphone's ends. Bloodspeak Futura. She probably traveled through her mother's line to collect the treasures. 'Gum? I have Mulberry Vegly left, from the future-now.' 'Thankyou, no.' 'Will you be attending the Dreaming at the LittleBeach Aether castle? They're finally launching it you know. The Succor Sweet shop gave full permission.' 'I'm not sure.' 'We have to go. The same fiends seeking to make a gate of Old Ceylon, and Loomcity, wish to smuggle Dna-Original-Link-Lifeforms they've ethered with forgotten doll-parts if you will. Blue blissworkers, they call them.' 'Like a living automata?' 'Not like any we'd recognize. Something far more sinister. Madness. These things are fragmented; made of many neglected dreams in one. How will they find their core?' 'They'd be doomed to have masters directing them.' 'So it would seem,' the halfling replied, punctuating the thought. 'The leafcarrier! Please excuse me,' the halfling burst to life, rolling speedily to the mailslot for the loaded parcels left by the messenger peddling off on his Aethercycle. Swallowing, Dara grasped her head at the ethers rushing in. Basanta eyed the balloon bobbing on the aether, small and round. Wine red. He moved closer just a hair, his book clapping shut. She'd come. The smooth onyx curve of her glittering head, the bright violet wings flapping like a dragonfly's. The Princess Moonfly. She read his letter. Straightening, Dara headed to the cabin of the Strawberry Zeppelin's head Aetherist, who'd know exactly where the gears and era threadists could be found. *The Antikythera is known as the world's oldest analog (astrological) computer, which was originally considered a kind of clock. Found in a shipwreck underwater, on a sail back from Afrika by a team of sponge divers led by Captain Dimitrios Kondos, in October 1900. It's thought to have been built 150-100 bc.
'How did you come by this?' The clothier looked Dara over, turning her head away, frowning just slightly. 'What did she give you for it?' Dara persisted, with a less forceful tone now. 'You know very well the value of Ujuuh curls.' 'You run a loom?' 'I'm still in business aren't I?' 'I'd like to buy every timewinder in your keep.' 'I assume you're willing to shave your high head, greenbone.'
Research reveals, mythwhisperer Dazjae 'Moonvein Eth' Zoem began penning melinated faerytales when her hueman child was a biddy manling, so he and his friends could enjoy tales with enchantments that celebrated likenesses of color, after trouble finding such tales to read him. Eventually the fae found their way into her Books of Zambarau Maji Omnibus in a time called 2006, and an interactive series of tales two years before. She celebrates Faerypunk (Diverse Steamy faerytales) in the multi-tome 'Wonderdark'. Her works can be found via Aethernet code: Zambarau.com
Ward Well I ran from the three of them until I was out of breath. Their faces slowly taking on the grooves of the frowns in their hearts. Their clothes smelling of the spaghetti from their Uncle's deli. I hid behind the wax museum, climbing into an old crate I hoped to the ancestors would be strong sanctuary. And found it. The token, for the wax machine. I held it tight in my palm. It helped the hour pass while they scoured the area for me; prey that got away. I snuck out as soon as I could see the moon in the sky, and climbed through the museum's basement window. I'd been down there plenty of times to see the wax well, but I still didn't know how it worked. I didn't have a token then though. Breathless, I put the coin in,to the crooked metal slot, and placed my hand on the moon ball, and waited. It took a long time for the gears to turn, and the image to come to being in the pool of wax, waiting for the dyes to splash it. My breath was ragged, and my heartbeats raged. I jumped at the sound of the bell, announcing the made thing, rolling down the small conveyor in its bright orange egg. I didn't open it before I got home, or before dinner. I waited until everyone was asleeep, staring at it in disbelief, and wonder, and fear. It stared at me too, looking down after a minute at the shed egg-like packaging later in the quiet of my room, then back to me with kind eyes, and ferocious teeth.And then it spoke. 'Only you can chase away your fears, it said. But as your ward I can help you build the courage'
Mythwhisperer Keck Mau, continues to remain, a decided mystery.
Otherworld Case No. 2243
Identification report Dreamkind: Possible halfling Attributes: Sleep-spinning Name: Unknown. Given the temporary Moniker Moonray to fit the image attached, drawn when brief glimpse of her was caught by the Sun shop.
Otherworld Case No. 212022
This peculiar item appears to be a kind of leaf wing stencil, perhaps for the backs of coats, if enlarged and the image cut around the earth toned portions by an adult or adultsupervised hand, with the remaining stencil image laid flat over cloth, and painted over, to leave an image in the like of the open portions. I've seen something like this with vest -front stencil images worn for fun by the students enrolled at the communiversity.
If anyone could descry the gold fae, it was Oliver Cobbler. His eyes were keen, his ears were sharp, and his heart was greedy. But one did not need to inform his cohorts Robert Shepherd, Tobias Baker and Bijou LaVoix of such. Intimate associates of Ollie's for the better half of a decennium, Bobby, Toby and Bijou were very much cognizant of their nominal leader's avarice. Were Ollie to somehow (emphasis on the word somehow since pennies often eluded to the thirteen-year-old boy) obtain a sweaty, grubby handful of Ms. Violet's penny candy, he would, with great haste, cram the ill-gotten pieces into his mouth before his companions could assail him with incessant yawps requesting a caramel square or saltwater taffy twist. And were Bobby, Toby or Bijou to whine at Ollie's stinginess or express their displeasure of his churlish behavior in a vociferous manner, they would be right away shushed by his vibrant but hard North African green eyes and bunched, knotted fists. While Ollie was parsimonious, he also punched like a piston, which was no hyperbole since the lad's left arm was made of metal and powered by a steam piston. So come one early Tuesday morning, before first bell in the New City Elementary School play lot, when Ollie uttered the word "share" in the midst of divulging his plot for the foursome to kidnap a gold faery and steal her most prized element, Bobby, Toby and Bijou were struck dumb by his word choice. However, they soon regained their voices as they realized Ollie's scheme was not playful jest and in their fervor interrupted his stratagem. "Your scheme will not work." Ollie raised his clenched left fist and pressed iron knuckles against the pleats and ruffles of Bijou's black high-collared short-sleeved blouse, just above the dark brown leather chest harness bodice that cupped nothing, right over where her heart used to be. "Keep sayinâ€™ stuff like that and you won't work. Ever again." Grasping Ollie's metal forearm with courteous, careful honey-hued hands, Bobby shook his head, sending the loose dark brown curls framing his face flying. "Don't." Ollie smirked. "Don't what? Touch your flat-chested girlfriend? Or what? You gonna beat me up?" Bobby pulled the bigger boy's iron fist away from Bijou, utilizing the majority of his strength to do so, even though the piston in Ollie's arm wasn't offering much resistance. As a result, steam vented from Ollie's armpit. The foursome guffawed, allowing the tension to slink away for the moment. "What I think Bee meant," Bobby said, turning his almond-shaped eyes upon Bijou in a brief but adoring gaze before casting a nervous but neutral one on Ollie, â€œis how we gonna catch a gold faery?" "Yuh." Toby pulled his Harris tweed sporting cap lower on tightly-woven, backlength dreadlocks bound with a thin leather strip, obscuring his dark brown eyes. "Those fings are majickal, fer flip's sake."
"But not when inside this." Ollie removed a small, wrinkled grayish pouch from the front right pocket of his highwaisted, rust-colored, navy-striped trousers. Bobby reached for it. "Is that what I think it is?" he asked. Ollie smacked Bobby's hand. "Don't touch." Toby pushed his sporting cap further back on his head to allow for closer scrutiny of the pouch. He glanced sideways at Bobby. "An' jus' what the flip do you fink it is?" "A goat scrotum." Bijou arched an eyebrow at Bobby then looked to Ollie for confirmation, her hazel eyes sparkling with amusement. Ollie nodded, an errant thatch of his straight, ravenblack hair bobbing with the motion. Toby scowled, derision apparent on his pudgy face. "Figgers yude know goat balls when you see 'em. Flippin' shepherd boy." Bobby's face and neck flushed scarlet. "Fat a-- pastry boy." Abrupt silence descended amongst the group for an awkward ten seconds or so. And then in the time it took Bobby to blink twice, Toby crossed the short distance between him and the much smaller boy, moving considerably faster than one would believe a thirteen-year-old stout boy could move. "You say what I fink you jus' said?" Toby bent down to place his large, bulbous nose on Bobby's forehead. His voice was tight and dangerous. Ollie licked his lips and smiled, spoiling for a fight. Bijou found sudden interest in her chest harness and adjusted the shoulder straps before cinching the brass buckles of the bodice tighter. Bobby closed his eyes and bobbed his Adam's apple. However, for the second time that day, violence and bloodshed were averted with steam humor. Toby vented his boiler with blat of the warm, moist cloud from between his metal buttocks. Ollie again sprayed the superheated vapor out of the metal aperture recessed within his armpit. Bijou belched a polite puff of it through full Oringed lips. And Bobby creaked a curled wispy mist of it out of his right metal knee. Tension broken, the foursome sniggered and snorted, doubled over with unabashed glee. "So where the flip you get a goat scrotum?" Toby asked after the laughter abated. Ollie pulled a lop-sided moue, one of obvious mischief. "From beneath your Mud's chin." Toby shook his head and smiled at the lighthearted dig, despite the foursome's unspoken rule to do just the opposite when insulted. "Nuh. I fink you got me mixed up wif Bobby's Mud." Jabbing a metal elbow into Toby's fleshy ribs (who winced and oofed), Ollie chortled and said, "Or his Pud. Herders get mighty lonely out there on the Clearing Prairie with all them goats." Bobby bit his lip, took a deep breath--his shoulders rising at inhalation and falling with exhalation--then looked at Ollie. "Speaking of lonely, yer Mud's lonely 'cause she's so godawful ugly. She's so ugly that yer Pud asked Smitty to make her an iron mask so he don't have to see her, but Smitty said no 'cause yer Mud's ugly face would melt the mask and destroy all his hard work!"
Ollie crouched on the ground, slipped the rucksack from his back, and unbuckled its leather straps. His mates huddled close, peering with curious intensity over his shoulder. Relishing the attention, Ollie made a show of searching the rucksack: his movements were slow and deliberate; his iron hand was soft and gentle. Finally, he removed what seemed to be an over-sized Chinese finger trap woven of bamboo and Lady Fern. Toby scowled. "Oi! Ollie, we ain't got time fer games, fer flip's sake." "No games here." Ollie put the green cylinder under Toby's nose. "It's a faery trap. Yeah, I know; it looks like a Chinese finger trap. But it ain't. It's a faery trap. The old lady assured me of that." Bijou creased her brow in skepticism. "What old lady do you speak of?" "Well, milady, I speak of an old Chinese lady with a small, quaint shop just a stone's throw from the Cermak Road Station. She has nothing but two teeth in her head and looks like she could be Bobby’s grandmother on his mother’s side." Two years ago, the affected manner of speaking Ollie frequently adopted to mock Bijou's elocution, diction, and enunciation would have troubled the Creole girl so much so that she would not have uttered a word amongst her companions for a week or more. These days, however, Bijou more often than not neutralized the teasing by blowing a kiss at Ollie with her naughtiest of fingers, refusing to be aggrieved. And why should she have hurt feelings? Since Bijou no longer spoke Louisiana Creole outside of the home (at the behest of her New Orleans-born mother), her school marks had showed drastic improvement and her mother was a much happier woman. For Bijou, that was all that mattered. Ollie resumed his normal manner of speaking. “The old Chinese lady said it works the same as a Chinese finger trap, but instead of catching fingers, it'll catch a gold faery within a twenty mile radius." Bobby tried to keep the dubiety off his face. “How?" "Inside are dew drops, nectar, sunlight slices, moonbeam bliss, and all that other good stuff gold fae like." Ollie placed the faery trap on the ground near the box cut entrance of the mine. "There. Now scram for an hour. Go stoke your boilers; explore the area or something. Just stay away from the trap. Fae won't come to eat if big galoots like us are nosing 'round.” The foursome moved off in different directions towards the vivid green wooded slopes, slowly picking their way through the small boulders of the Gold Coast Valley flats, searching for a secluded copse or discreet brushwood. Stoking one's boiler was just as private a ritual as urinating or defecation, but even more so given the naked vulnerability of the act. Ten minutes later, Bijou had discovered a thicket of trees and was feeding the tiny fire in the boiler in her stomach a scoop of coal dust from her rucksack so that the steam clock serving as her heart would continue to tick. Bobby, Ollie and Toby were at that very moment engaged in similar behavior, though the measure of their coal varied: Bobby stoked the boiler in his midsection with one lump of coal to energize the tiny pistons in his metal knee; Ollie stoked his somewhat larger boiler with two lumps of coal to power the steam piston in his metal arm; and Toby stoked his boiler--the largest of the foursome--with half a dozen lumps
of coal to fuel the numerous steam pistons that ambulated his entire metal lower body. However, dear reader, the foursome was not the only children afflicted with what might seem a grotesque and unfortunate condition. Seven years ago, more than sixty percent of the adult population and eighty percent of children under the age of seventeen were infected during a polio epidemic that ravaged New City. Thousands died, but thousands more were left with various body parts and organs withered by the disease. Instead of living a life of pain and hardship, the polio survivors turned to metallurgists and steam surgeons to improve their health and quality of life through iron, copper, coal, and steam. As a result, life expectancy for polio sufferers was extended by decades. But for most of them, whether they were healers, cobblers, bakers or shepherds, the sacrifice was great and entire life savings were wiped out. Which brings us back to Bijou, Ollie, Bobby and Toby. Gathered back at the box cut mouth of the mine after the elapse of an hour, the foursome regarded the faery trap with apprehension and distance: it buzzed and jittered angrily. Ollie nodded at the faery trap. "Bijou, go get it." "Me? Why me? It's your stupid trap." "Your have the smallest hands." Bijou scowled, but said nothing, unable to think of an appropriate retort. She didn't move towards the faery trap, either, though. Instead, she fussed with the simple cloth hair band holding the exquisitely coiffed henna-tinted cornrows that exploded into a dark, wonderfully massive supernova fro at the back of her head. "Aren't you tired of being poor?" Ollie hissed. "Aren't you?" Bijou hissed back. Ollie shoved her towards the faery trap and Bijou stumbled on the dusty, uneven ground, nearly losing her footing. She gave him a dirty look over her shoulder, but did not hold it for long; the faery trap had quieted with abrupt silence. "Well, go on," Bobby whispered. Bijou crept towards the faery trap, stepping with soft care upon the sandy-colored dirt and gravel so that the stones didn't crunch. When the faery trap was at her feet, she bent over it, cocking an ear towards it to listen for more anger from within. "Oi! Watch out!" Toby startled Bijou so badly that her steam clock stopped a tick or two and she nearly jumped out of her thick-soled, knee-high brown leather boots. "It's gonna bite yer thrupenny bits!" Toby grinned and slapped his chest with the flat of his palm. "Oh wait. You ain't got any!" He and Ollie brayed with laughter. "Wretched boy." Bijou picked up the faery trap, surprised at the dense weight of it. She closed her right eye and peeped inside the narrow opening of one end. The bright day could not penetrate its innards. "Just reach in there and yank it out." Ollie circled his index fingers and rolled his wrists in a vigorous, impatient hurry-up motion. "No."
"No?" Ollie was taken aback. None of them had ever said no to him before. "No." Bijou lifted her chin in defiance. "Give it." Ollie snatched the faery trap from Bijou, his voice more snarl than pubescent teen. "Stupid girl." He thrust two fingers and a thumb into the cylinder, splitting it down the middle with a violent rent. His fingers probed and dug for a few moments before he withdrew them from the wrecked mass of bamboo and woven grass. "What the hell is this?" Held tight and fast in Ollie's hand was an ebon-skinned faery with a pewter mohawk. She was clad in a high-collared intricately laced sleeveless and backless pewter blouse and a deep purple ankle-length wrap skirt. Two sets of lavendertinted translucent wings--a larger pair sprouting from her shoulder blades and a smaller pair from her lower back--were trapped by Ollie's index and middle fingers. "Release me! â€œHer voice was high-pitched and ethereal, but loud and clear as it bounced around the slopes of the valley. Ollie peered closely at her. "What are you?" The ebon-skinned faery looked down her pert but African-wide nose at him. "I am Asha, the Coal Dust Faery."
This tale seems to continue on the Aether site called 'Mythseed' on a platform called tumblr.com, with digital excerpt through BlackFaery, a digital form of the project for which it was composed, on the same tumblr platform. It is also penned by the Mythwhisperer Malon Edwards who offered the tale, entitled 'After Papa Died' found in the family records.
At first I didn’t know what was happening because it was so dark, and I thought maybe I had fallen over a cliff. I panicked though I didn’t feel any falling sensations. Then my sight came, allowing me clear night vision. I had manifested, flying through the air in shock. I was terrified, unable to control my aerial path, fearing I would crash to earth from my great height so dizzying I prayed for the return of night blindness. But it didn’t come. I saw every frightening detail of my wild flight, reaching speeds that were faster than any vehicle I’d ever been in. Then the inevitable happened. I crashed, rolling and tumbling a long time before finally coming to a stop, miles from home. I wasn’t hurt but it took me awhile before I realized it. I grabbed onto the tall grass beside me with trembling hands, fearing I’d lift into the air again. I cried while looking around my unfamiliar surroundings but I recognized nothing. I could hear the sounds of night predators, roaming in the dark, searching for a meal. I was alone for a long time, my fists numb from gripping the grass, waiting to be found. My father’s jeep finally appeared in the distance. I stayed where I was, trying to stop my tears because I knew he wouldn’t approve. He was so excited that he jumped out of the jeep before it rolled to a complete stop, the headlights lighting me up. He lifted me into the air and the grass still clinched in my grip came up at the roots with me as he swung me around, happier than I’d ever seen him.
Mythwhisperer Wendy Raven Mcnair seems to have more information on this child, with possibly the full flight journal entry on her Aether site WendyRavenMcnair.com where she shares her mythwhisperings of superhuman beingness upon the terra of her era, in her book, Asleep.
The door in my neighbor's garage I was bored! You'd have opened it too. How could I know it led to no room? How would I know I drank from a Cactus Kings spring? I'm a child, not high-master of listening. But boy would I ever listen now. if told not to enter strange doors. You could end up in worlds with many-faced beings, worlds with uncomfortably fleeting dreams, worlds with complete absence of ordinary things. Everyday things you will long for, if you go around opening strange doors, and make a mistake near a King's juice spring, by partaking of things, only dish-washing hands can be repay.
Mythwhisperer Keck Mau, continues to intrigue.
And that is all I can share at this point in time, dear reader, before I have the rest of these otherworld records in my keep. I hope it will serve your heart well to know that we are not alone. Nor have we been at anytime. Our dreams have aided us, stood with us when we could not see them, waited patiently in the shadows when our hearts knew few friends. They are numerous. They are ancient and beautiful. I dedicate any proceeds raised from this tome to those in need of basic resources in the Eastern/Motherland Diaspora. All works herein remain in the keep of their mythwhisperers where rights are concerned, but as a whole, these collected findings I dedicate to reconstruction, with a heart full of celebration. Please follow my transmissions, to stay abreast of news of the rest of my findings for the second part of this tome, if you have access to the purplemag.com Aether site in the terra of your era. The air tours begin tomorrow. I leave for the papers on the UbatiMweze.
All works are the properties of their mythwhisperers/imagers (c)2009-2010 of names assigned to each work. All works not attributed to other specific author or illustrators belong to their mythwhisperer/imager(c)2009-2010 Dazjae Zoem a.k.a PurpleZoe, Anthology editor.