A Beginning in the End pt. 10

Logan                                                                                                              2020/1/9

I didn’t really want to leave that house behind today but what choice did I really have? Part of me wanted to stay, wanted to make that house a home again. I left it regretfully and not before slaying the dozen or something monsters around the place.

I didn’t doubt that more of the things would soon come around. I didn’t like to think about it.

I walked thirty miles today but I couldn’t stop thinking about that house and the people who had once lived there. For all I know I killed them for the second time out there. Not that it actually matters anymore. What difference would it have made if I had known who those monsters once were? None at all that’s the difference.

All of the things infesting this land were once people, people with names and lives. I killed so many of them on the road today, indiscriminately waylaying on them. my blood lust was up today, more than usual. I think it was that house. It roused me somehow, my hatred for the monsters reigniting. It never died of course but it had faded in my heart to a dim ember.

They still haunt the roads although there are no travelers anymore besides myself. They still wander among the cars as if something might yet linger there.

I wonder sometimes if there isn’t something else in those rotting brains. Do they realize that cars are associated with humans and humans are food? Is there still some animal faculty left in those neurons besides insatiable hunger? I don’t know and I’m not sure that I want to.

My heart is restless tonight and I don’t know why. I found this military outpost and barricaded myself in one of the guard towers for the night. I don’t feel safe but I’m probably safer here than I have been in a long time.

Later

Their moans woke me up. It must be about one in the morning. I don’t know how they figured out I was here but they are swarming down there. There must be two dozen of them and more coming every minute.

I feel strangely calm here, calm enough to write. I don’t know how i’m going to get out of this one but I feel sure that I’ll find a way. I’ve gotten out of worse situations before.

Dymphna

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A Bright Sunshiny Day, Chapter 1

It was a bright sunshiny day, and Mary Ann could not be happier. Today she was getting married. Oh, not just married, but united in the sacrament with the man she most adored and loved. James Bartle was tall, elegant, suave, and so deeply romantic. Whenever she looked into his blue eyes- blue like the ocean during a storm- she felt her heart flutter. Then he usually kissed her.

Mary Ann was a sweet, delicate young maid of a not so well-to-do family with no harshness in her, while her new-wedded husband came from a very wealthy and respectable family- but had been disowned for his little bride. This made Mary Ann adore him ever so much more. So they were married.   And so they lived happily until their small store of funds was depleted- which was quite soon. James was a heavy drinker and a gambler. Before the marriage, he had hidden these from Mary Ann, and when she learned of them, she was quite distressed. They were forced to leave the elegant city house, and settle in a small country cottage. MaryAnn was charmed- more romantic, she thought. But James was furious at losing his easy access to his diabolic habits. That first night in the country, he beat Mary Ann. Just to teach her, he said. But he never said what he was trying to teach her.

Soon a child was to be born. Mary Ann was overjoyed, but James seemed indifferent. She had the child with only the midwife for company on a dark stormy day. The thunder was violently loud, drowning out the screams of the poor woman in labor. When the lightning flashed, the room erupted with sights of pain; but within an instance, darkness flowed in. A short time later, the candle’s minute flame danced into sight, spreading its soft glow until all was visible again. It was near three in the afternoon that the child entered the world. Mary Ann held the darling infant in her arms- her first pure joy since her marriage day.

Then James came home. He was drunk. Very afraid, Mary Ann told him about his newborn little girl. He grunted, and sat down near the vacant fireplace. Mary Ann wondered how she was going to ask him what she wanted to ask. Her heart was fluttering. “James, my darling,” she quavered, “Is there any particular name you prefer? I rather like Anastasia. But-”

“Nastasia! Woman, you out a mind?! Giv’n such rid-clus names… hmm… Stasia… Mightn’t be so bad aft-all… Alright. Stasia, Stansia, Stalata… what you said.”

So Anastasia it was. Not long after her, Jemima came along, followed by Thomas. The two latter both had black hair like their mother and blue eyes like their father. But Anastasia was different. Her hair was brown like strong coffee or tea and her eyes… how to describe such intense peepholes into the soul? Near the pupil there was a golden brown which slowly mutated into a pale green, so that to look directly into her eyes one was given a haunting glimpse. And whereas her two siblings had impeccable complexions, Anastasia had not. One side of her face seemed to have been attached wrong, for her left eye was slightly too large and her lower jaw on the same side was more pronounced. But she was pretty still, although with a beauty not pristine like her younger sister, and for this she was neglected and considered less dear by her father.

Growing up was difficult too. Thomas and Jemima would not let her play with them; and if they did, it was only to make fun of or humiliate her. In schooling, she was slower than her younger siblings- at least so she was told. Really, Anastasia was adept at understanding literature, and with a little more help she would have excelled in the sciences too, for she was a deep thinker and natural philosopher. But her little brother and sister soon passed her, due to their more pampered education by their mother. It is not that Mary Ann favored the other two over her eldest, it is just that James did so much enjoy them that too neglect them in any way might mean her own punishment.

Needless to say, James was a horrible father. If he brought any bonbon or trinket home, there was never one for Anastasia, or if there was, it was the poorest and smallest. Each night when he returned from the tavern after work, he would ask the three children if their mother had done anything out of line. Jemima and Thomas were always ready to give information, hoping for a bonbon as reward. Thus, they were wild children, and James knew there was nothing Mary Ann could do to stop them or the beating that night. Once Anastasia had tried to say something only thinking of the sweet, but instead she had been spanked and told to mind her place. In dazed confusion, although without tears, she had looked at Mary Ann, who had tears in her eyes. It was obvious her maternal heart was breaking.

Once, late at night, when Anastasia was about eight, she had wakened thirsty. As she had been going down the stairs, father had come home with a strange lady. They were both drunk. She didn’t understand what it meant, but she knew mother was very upset. Mary Ann just sat down and cried. Then James had hit her and told her to, “Stop bawlin’ over nutin.” Neither parent had seen her, so she crept back up the stairs to bed. But she did not sleep. She had kept thinking what it must have meant, wondering why mother had cried, and why father had hit her; she decided that mother was sad because father didn’t love her any more, and father had hit her because she was crying. Well, Anastasia would never cry, not if it meant a beating. And she would never love if it meant that someday she would not be loved.

                Then, one dreary day, near Anastasia’s twelfth birthday, a little after noon, father had come home very drunk and irate, more so than usual. Jemima and Thomas slipped upstairs; Anastasia had dashed behind the settee. All she could see was his mudded boots framed in the grey sky and verdure of outside through the open door.

“Mary Ann! Come here, gaddam you!” Although she couldn’t see, Anastasia was certain his face turned purple. “Woman, get in here!”

Luckily, Mary Ann was out buying groceries, and thus avoided his deathly wrath. But this did not cease the inappropriate names and angered bellowing of James. He stood in the middle of the living room howling as loud as he could. Then suddenly, he stopped. He coughed a little. Moaning, he sank to his knees; then, fell on his face. With glassed over eyes he stared into Anastasia’s eyes. The poor child gave a terrified shriek and bolted towards the door. She ran as far and as fast as she could, unaware of where she was going. The light drizzle of rain dampened her hair and dress, adding weight to her frantic flight. Then, she tripped and fell, tearing her skirt and bruising her hands. Looking up, exhausted and breathless, she recognized the little country church were each Sunday her mother took her to pray. Beginning to sob, Anastasia clambered up the three stone steps on her knees. She tugged on the handle, but it was locked. So she curled up on the stoop, wet and terrified.

Yet somehow she felt safe. She was not certain how to address God, but she knew He was there and somehow looking over her. Thoughts of her last visit to this simple building came to mind: how Rev. Doubleday had taught of God’s mercy and grace, how the sweet melodies had seemed to her to dance with the stone walls as in a ballroom, how she had not wanted to leave. It was her haven of peace then as it was now. Or was God really her protection? Oh, it didn’t matter. She was safe, and so sleepy…

That was all she remembered until a hand shook her awake. She awoke in an awful fright, thinking it was father coming after her. She scrambled to her feet and began to flee down the lane, when a voice called after her, “Child! Child, there’s nothing to fear!” Uncertain, she stopped. She could see the man who had called, but did not recognize him because of the strange light of dusk. However, his voice was kind and gentle. Then he knelt in the muddy road, saying, “Please, my dear little one, please don’t go away. I’m Rev. Doubleday.”

Sobbing once again, the poor distraught girl ran to him and hugged him. He let her cry as long as she had tears to shed- which was a good deal. Every now and again, he would gently tap her shoulder and whisper, “It’s alright. Give it to God your Father.” Eventually, Anastasia’s wail became a stifled sniffling. “Alright then, let’s go inside and dry you off. How does a spot of tea and a bite of crumpet sound to you? Good, eh?” And he smiled down at her. Then taking her hand, they walked toward the rectory.

Inside, the young and newly wedded Mrs. Doubleday had Anastasia change into one of her dresses saved from her own childhood and hopefully destined someday for one of her daughters. Then, in front of the roaring fire with the lightning and thunder safely shut outside, the Doubledays entertained little Anastasia with funny stories from their childhood and young adult years. Anastasia laughed and laughed. She felt safe and secure like never before. The couple was opening a door she never knew existed: the door of hope and joy and peace.

Suddenly, the little maid burst into tears. Worried and afraid, the man and wife tried to comfort her and learn what had upset her. What had they said? What had they done? Finally, Anastasia sobbed, “You’re too good! You’re happy and love each other. My parents are miserable. I’m miserable. No one will ever love me like you love each other.”

“My dear child!” Mrs. Doubleday exclaimed as she wrapped her arms around her little guest. “You don’t have to be miserable.   No one does. God makes us happy. He loves you more than you realize. Love Him back. Give Him your tears and sorrows and He will turn them into joy. He did for me.”

Anastasia wept less loudly. A glimmer of hope had glistened down the dark vista of the future. Maybe things could be better, maybe she would be loved, maybe… But no. Love was dangerous. Mrs. Doubleday was young and inexperienced. It was too simple to be really true. She snuffed out the glimmer so all was black within.

A Beginning in the End pt. 9

Arabella                                                                                                         2020/1/8

I came upon something different today, something that threw me. My car was nearly depleted of fuel and I had my eyes open for any place whatsoever where I might find more when I came upon it. It was a town, a little rural place that was hardly more than a village.

It was well barricaded and I saw hardly any of those stinking monsters in the area. There was a stillness and clarity in the air that I hadn’t felt in many long years. I could smell the flowers, the buildings, and nearly clean air around me. It had been a terribly long time since I had seen a town lying in such peace.

The barricade had not been breached and the dead had apparently lost interest. They were still milling about, just a few of them, lazily and without purpose  but that wasn’t unusual. I already knew there was nothing they could want in the town.

Back in the past I remember it wouldn’t have been so certain but now I knew instantly whether or not a place was inhabited. The signs were clear to me after years of looking and searching for other people. Nobody was there anymore and it nearly broke my heart.

I shouldn’t have been feeling those sorts of things anymore. I should have had a stone heart by then, hardened against those feelings of disappointment. It’s happened so many times and it’s been so long since I’ve seen another human that I should be used to this depressing outcome.

I don’t know what has come over me lately. I haven’t felt so many of these emotions in such a long time. I hadn’t even known that I could be disappointed anymore. I thought I was long past those days, that I was beyond all of that.

I didn’t bother taking out the few monsters walking around. They didn’t notice me and I didn’t want to make them. I reached the barricade without incident. The lack of bodies around was a bit odd but there could have been any number of reasons for it. All the same I was immensely careful as I assessed my surroundings.

The state of the barricade was a little confusing to my mind. It was solid and unbroken without a gate of any kind. Apparently the people inside hadn’t thought they would ever want to exit the town. They must have believed themselves safe.

It was no challenge for me to scale the barricade although it would have been impossible for one of those monsters. They lacked the thought, muscle control, and living cells to do it.

I peered over the top of the barricade, peeking into the most remarkable place I had seen in a long time. Smack in the middle of the town was a giant heap of charred ash and remains. It had been incinerated years ago and the smell of burning flesh was gone. The remains had long been cold when I gazed on them.

I glanced around for any sign of the living dead but the town appeared empty. I clambered down the other side of the barricade and dropped silently to the street below. The air was clear within the little town with only the faintest scent of death in the air.

The town was dead but it felt like it had never been alive at all. It was as if the place had always been dead, a fake town made for show. I felt like I was looking at a painting of the very essence of my world, a place where nothing was and nothing ever had been.

I hunkered down in one of the houses closest to the barricade as night was falling. Somehow I know that there is  nothing here to hurt me. There are no monsters in this place, at least not anymore. I’ll explore tomorrow but for now I have found the closest thing to the peace I desire.

Dymphna

Spring

Regrets lie like scattered seeds over the barren soil,
The wind now howls, cutting through the shell I thought was love
Rain falls, warm tears from heaven’s grief
This too shall pass, shall pass

Good intentions drift like flakes of driving snow
thin with promise, covering over the bones of the land
Covering the lies and deceit, the fears, cares, longings
But not changing them, not yet, still a hidden menace
Yet this too shall pass

Winter can’t last forever, the frozen ground softens
The buds of growth soften, the icy heart softens
Water runs, clear springs gushing forth, new baptism
This too shall pass, shall pass

Winds shift, like an incomprehensible rage
Reason flies like the bird flown north too soon
Distractions fall like fat flakes of spring snow
Destroying what had dared to grow on that ground
Bitterness lies like the winter that never ends
Yet this too shall pass

Dreams blaze out like the sun
Distractions melt, soaking into the ground
Regrets begin to sprout, changing, something new
Rain falls, heaven’s joy
Life strains, reaching ever higher
Buds open, sheltering Hope’s dove
Marriage of heaven and earth in the green of the field
This too shall pass, shall pass

The cycle repeats, ever on, ever higher
Birth life, love, death, wheeling unceasingly in the dance
Until the day the dancers come home to rest
Rest like the lover’s arms, encircling
Rest, the beating of the heart that holds the world
Yet this shall never pass.

C. Angelina

A Beginning in the End pt. 8

Logan                                                                                                              2020/1/7

Took down a good ten or twelve of those despicable walking corpses today. The others are too stupid to notice that anything happened. I had to do away with them in order to establish myself in this farmhouse. I found a stash of non-perishables that I can take with me when I leave.

Everywhere I look it seems as though the inhabitants could come back at any moment. They were caught in the middle of their lives and everything was stripped away. I could tell by the way everything was left that it had been sudden for them.

It wasn’t exactly sudden for me, not in the same way as it was for the rest of the world. I knew what was happening from the start but there was nothing I could do about it. I was as helpless back then as the people in this house were when they were taken. I remember what it was like to be caught in the middle of that nightmare. I was so helpless swept up in something unimaginable that I had no control over.

I dream about those days sometimes, not as often as I used to but just as vividly. I wake up in a near panic that is strangely backed by my usual calm and stead demeanor. I think rationally in my dreams, as odd as that might seem. I learned to always keep my head a long time ago.

My rational mind left me only once, a time I can hardly stand to remember. I can’t even bear to write about it yet.

I tried the radio again today as always but it was the same, nothing. I miss the recorded warning that told me that at least something still stood. Now there seems to be no hope at all. Even the machines are down now, the power reserves gone and the radio stations dead. There is not a soul left to run them and no power to make them function. It is all dead now, the world that is.

I feel as dead as this house often enough, hollow and utterly empty. My body feels completely lifeless at times, more dead than a monster with my sword through his head. It is as though I myself am rotting away on the inside, slowly wasting away as my life in this decaying world slowly eats away at my soul. I wonder sometimes if I can take it anymore, if I won’t just vanish at some point.

I can hear some of those creatures outside, stumbling dumbly around. They haven’t found me yet but I must stay on the alert. I shall have to be on my way again in the morning. I wish I could stay in a place for more than a day. I would like to find a permanent place to hole up one of these days.

Why can’t I find a safe place to just live for a little while? I just want peace. I know I can’t have a companion which is what I truly desire, so all I feel the need for is a moment of peace in this life. Sometimes all I want is to die.

 

Dymphna.

A Beginning in the End pt. 7

Arabella                                                                                                       2020/1/7

I found another car today. It got me a good way down the road and helped me to feel just a bit safer for a short time. Just having that metal contraption between me and the monsters made a favorable difference. I made it to a place that is less infested with the monsters. The air is clearer here, the smell of flesh less dense. I can breath better here although I still can smell the rotten flesh. There is no place on earth to escape from that.

I wish I had something to hold to my nose to banish the scent just for a moment. Sometimes I don’t know how much longer I can take it. It drives me nearly crazy some days and all I want is to run away. I just want to escape this nightmare for one moment in time to know that I can.

I’m so trapped. I have the entire world at my feet and I feel as though I am confined within a tiny cage made of indestructible metal. I can’t get out but there’s a whole world in here. I’ll never get out of here, not alive that is.

I dream of home sometimes, back when I was happy and safe. I dream of my family, my mother, father, and my five brothers and three adorable sisters.  I was the third eldest after my older brothers. They had left home by the time the epidemic hit. They visited once before everything fell apart and I never saw them again.

Mom tried calling them but they never answered again. They lived away on the west coast in one of the big cities, don’t remember which anymore. Not long after they left the whole west coast was taken by the epidemic and we knew they were gone. I don’t remember mourning for them, not for long anyway.

Before we knew it the plague was on us and the world had fallen into chaos. My other brothers were the next to go. I remember when they were vanished to the hospital and we never saw them again. Mom and Dad refused to talk about what had happened. The news on the TV was vague as if no one really understood what was happening.

I don’t think that anybody really knew what was going on. If anyone knew they weren’t even letting the news agencies  possess the information. Those in charge were doing their utmost to keep the world from total panic but it only held off for so long. When the living dead were swarming in every backyard and through every door there was no hope of preserving the calm.

Dad took us away before the dead came to us. We were gone before the TV and internet fell, headed off into more rural areas. Mom and dad packed me into the car with my three remaining siblings and we were gone, leaving behind everything we had ever known.

My sisters were always terrified and we hardly ever spoke. We never wanted to talk. It was always as if we were afraid to speak, as if it would cause the plague to come upon the rest of us.

I remember seeing those things on the side of the road for the first time. I couldn’t believe my eyes but I could only assume that it was my new reality. That was when it really hit me that I was in a living nightmare. Part of me wondered how it could ever get any worse. I had no idea.

Dymphna

 

 

Kòmanse Pt. 1: Intro

This will be my first post on thepenandtheinkstand. Now my stories are usually in a different form: I like to write epic poetry in the Anglo Saxon  style.  So here is the intro of Kòmanse. (Kòmanse means beginning)

Oh many faced; the fable writer

Ch’ian, let me sing; the story of cosmos

Let me see to past; previous of every man.

Of fiery Callindrill, of chaotic Mehiya

Of Zutar beating; of breather Nythil.

The children of Elyon; answers of their coming.

Inspire me Ch’ian; choose to shine upon me

The story must be told; of betrayal and evil

Of men alive; in this mourning

Of how death was born; birthed from injury

This is what I create; Ch’ian’s gift-story

~VolenteDeus.