A Book Of Winter

A Book Of Winter

A Poem by huh

A Book of Winter

Chapter One: The Creature in the Boys Chest

 

And so in July The Boy sits overlooking the sea on the far side of the world. Behind him the wind sweeps the field of tall grass, blowing against his hood. He is close to crying, something he hasn’t done in a long time. His lip trembles and his eyes glaze over, fixated on some unimportant point in the distance.

Deep inside his chest, the small creature that lives there was curled up crying in the corner of his heart. He could feel the tears pooling in the chamber.

“All the plans I had made to be…somebody else entirely. Gone now.” Said the creature, his voice sounding in The Boy’s ear.

The light  meticulous through the slats of the blind
I am looking for something I will never find.

It said again, the words barely audible over it’s jagged sobbing.

The Boy sat for a long time on that cliff, just watching the sea. Long enough for the sun to set and the lights on the boats to come on one by one. And behind him the wind continued to sweep the grass, and the little creature inside of his chest had fallen asleep, mumbling the same words over and over.

I am looking for something I will never find…

I am looking for something I will never find…

The Boy eventually picked himself up, allowing the blood to rush to his head, careful not to wake The Creature. He started the long walk down the Cliffside towards the town, and while he walked, he filled in the blanks that the creature had left.

Illūnis

All the plans I had made to be
Somebody else entirely
The light, meticulous
Through the slats of the blind
I am looking for something I
Will never find

Strange, she said late last night.
'strange that I didn’t see'

its smaller now, but still there
she changed the colours in her hair, again
apollo hear me call out her name
apollo hear my prayer

And if we should sit, on some future afternoon
Just two people
With no distance between us
No empty chairs painting pictures of sadness
No light, no dead life

Smaller now, but still there
You used to like the way the light would
Dance against the curtains
That smelled of old wood
And i used to like the way
The light would dance against your golden hair

Smaller now, but still there

And the streets are old and lined with love
That existed long before you and I
Before I had the chance to catch your eye
In that crowded but sacred place
We walked and ended up somewhere
all the secrets we keep, locked in perfect places
Smaller now, but still there

And you changed the colours in your hair
From autumn brown to winters white
As the seasons change, make me right
I could almost swear it was the winter light
That adorned you, head to toe

It could have been a midnight glow, suspended in winters air
We are smaller now, but still there

 

 

///

The town was not his home, none of this unfamiliar place was even close to his home. The Boy lived an ocean and a half away, in a house on a hill surrounded by land, in the centre of Avalon. When he was at home in Avalon, he would talk with people in the town and walk around the markets and the natural flowerbeds. In the evening he and his friends would go into the neighbouring Albion and drink. They would drink and talk and let the night melt itself across their shoulders like a heavy winter coat. His laughter would cut lines into the night.

 

Avalon was where The Boy grew up, and as he got older it became harder and harder to walk around the town. He could see memories lingering on every corner, in every pub, every park, and every alleyway that cut through the town towards the suburbs. These ghosts would watch him with sunken eyes and heavy forms. The oldest ones were no more than faded bed sheets thrown over green eyes who would blow a distant chill through him if he got too close, monsters that should have lived beneath his bed.

 

Eventually he stopped going out in the daytime, he would sleep during the day and when the night came he would awaken and soar down the grassy hill towards Albion, where the night became him, and before long the night became the only thing he cared about.

Avalon was a landlocked town, but the neighbouring Albion held arms with the sea and the town was, after a long earthly battle lasting hundreds of years, slipping slowly back into the ocean, at the rate of about 5 inches a year. The bridge between the towns was built specially to accommodate the moving earth. Every so often the panelled floor structure would be lengthened the keep the bridge from collapsing.

 

The Boy liked thinking of his home, it made it feel real. Like the bridge would be the next thing to emerge from behind the grassy hill. But footstep after footstep revealed the busy alien skyline of an unrecognisable violet city.

Purple haze hung about the town as the sun finally dipped below the distant buildings and the moon rose swiftly behind where he was walking.

On the hill, far from the unnatural light, the Boy craned his neck to see the stars appearing above, more stars than he had ever seen in one place before.

He felt the little creature inside of him stir from his sleep, still feeling the sadness radiate.

 

How am I a whole and complete being?
When so many pieces have been
Chipped away and left to decay
In long forgotten memories

The colossal weight, the nuance
I thought I had found it once
But the feeling can never stay
(Chipped away in secret places)

 

The stars twinkled peacefully in their cosmic graves, and watching them The Boy thought he remembered what it was like to be a star, and to have no earthly worries. The thought filled him momentarily with bliss.

He had found a concrete spot high above the city lights, empty but for a few parked cars. No people around. The little creature inside of him, still reeling from the sadness began to sing.

 

Out there,
In the place I cannot quite call your name,
Or hear your strangers footstep,
I saw the colour in your hair,
And heard you giggle, in the dark out there,
But nobody else is around,
And nothing else is to be found,

 

He repeated the verse a few times and The Boy felt his lips tremble once more. In the woods behind him a number of creatures gathered to the source of the sound. Several squirrels hung from the branches above, their busy hands fumbling, above birds hopped curiously along the branches, mimicking the song in the air.

A baby doe, his legs still unsure about his own weight, his eyes wide and black, crept anxiously forward, stopping to the side of the bench. The Boy was looking at the city lights and didn’t notice when the doe hopped shakily onto the bench and curled himself up into a little ball, his eyes slowly blinking closed. Behind him his mother stood guard, but allowed her neck to relax, feeling safety radiating from the Creature in The Boys chest.

 

Feel the heat rising in my shoes,
Traced the park with a delicate movement,
You are again, a stranger to me,
Making a stranger's footstep,
Nothing passing under the dark light,
No heavenly things in sight,

 

The song continued on and The Boy thought more about his home. He could remember all he knew and loved about it, but whenever he tried to remember how he got here, his head ached with loss and the Creature inside his chest began to shake the bars of his heart. And he struggled to discern anything from the feeling inside. He did not know how to get home, and he was impossibly alone.

The only comfort he had was the Creature, another thing without a name.

It was a responsibility he held to care for this sickly being, a responsibility he had been entrusted with long ago, before he even knew what music and words truly were.

He placed his hand to his chest and felt, just above the shallow beating of his heart, the creature gently purring and pacing, restless.

He looked down to the lights and allowed his hand to fall. He knew it was time to go into the city. If there are no answers in wandering the hillsides, there must be answers there.

 

 

Chapter 2: Hands of the Old Man

 

I haven't been back
To all those old nocturnal places
Holding nocturnal pieces of me
Slipped from my ancient pocket

Places I was called a Rose Colored boy
And my laughter cut lines into the night
I found different feelings for the same things
In those old sleeping places
Rocked from their slumber to turn in my head
And make me remember a flash of the past
When I was Rose colored and everything
I ever thought was extinguished on the table outside

Driven into the ashtray as our conversation cut lines into the dark
Bordering the edge of the park
In those purple places

Bodies on the street driving cigarette butts into the gutter
Stamp their feet and let out a mutter
About it being a cold summer night

I heard them once but only once
I haven't been back

To see your house wrapped in streetlight
Asleep on your sofa, I know it’s alright
Hiding me from the feet and cigarette smoke and bodies
Lining up in the street outside
Flooding out of bars and cutting lines
In places no lines should be

And I fell asleep, eventually
On that rose colored sofa

Pieces of me

Cutting into the lines where no lines should be

 

 

The little one inside of The Boy fed him memories of a past life, a life that existed before they had to build the bridge across the towns, and before the streets grew heavy with his old ghosts. The memories were of a specific night, in the reaches of Reigate. It was the night he came into possession of the Creature.

 

///

 

Outside a colourful club, amongst the bodies spilled into the street, Our Boy leant against a cold steel rail, waiting for the smoke to leave his lungs so he could re-enter and rejoin his friends. He is 17 years old, with a red face and a bad haircut. He was lost in a world that wasn’t his to exist in. The nights like this he cherished and held close to his chest, but there was something empty about it. He could not swallow the colours. He could not make it real.

 

Outside he waited against the rail for his headache to shake, when a noise called out from the alleyway. It was far too quiet for anyone else to hear, but he heard it.

It sounded like a cat calling out for help. Without thinking too much he ducked below the metal fence, barring himself re-entry, and followed the noise down into the side of the buildings.

It soon became too dark to see absolutely anything at all, he pulled out the light on his phone but it was lost to the blackness.

He tried to turn back but he could not find the way.

He was trapped.

 

He stumbled around blindly, trying to feel for the brick walls that had existed less than a minute ago. He shook with fear and tried his best to stay calm.

There in the darkness up ahead, a small light called him fourth. A light the shape of the crescent Moon. He followed it until he found its source.

There huddled on the ground, clutching his hands tightly to his chest, sat a man wrapped in old looking blankets boasting bizarre patterns that the boy couldn’t quite understand.

 

The man sensed a presence and lifted his head wearily, he looked positively near death and the Boy began panicking, telling him he needed to call an ambulance. He looked around for any way out of this alley, but the brick walls towered to a gargantuan height, and before he could even attempt to leave, the old man gripped his arm.

“I’m here,” the old man said. “as are you.”

The Boy looked at him quizzically, until something changed, like a switch had been flipped, and the words became more than words.

 

I am here but it's okay, I am nearly gone,
find me in the snow,
beneath the canopy of an oak,
that was born before me,
and will live long after,
i die beneath his twisted branches,
bared by winters teeth,
turned white by the snow that falls,
over my red cheeks,
bleeding into the field beneath me,
allowing my life to leave me,
the stars melt from the sky,

the fires fade behind my eyes,

 

The Boy could hear the words but they were strange and soaked in hidden rivers, sounding from another place.

“Take care of him, please.” The man said, and with that he pushed his hands into The Boy’s chest. A searing pain of panic filled him as he scrambled out of the grasp, and collapsed backwards into a place of light. He looked up and saw the entrance to the club, and all the bodies floating outside.

His headache had dimmed and something about his person felt different, like some kind of instruction manual to a machine that didn’t make sense had been thrust into his head. He placed his hand to his chest and felt two weak heartbeats.

 

 


Chapter 3: The Hidden River of my Life

 

A hidden river ran beneath the concrete overwatch and The Boy and his Creature followed it downhill, into the town.

Below the concrete resting place they had just left, the city began to spring into life. Lights blinked on one by one and a busy hum settled on the electric streets. After walking for a long time the woods turned to low rise buildings, which eventually turned to skyscrapers. They walked through the busy financial district. Observing people hailing cabs, walking while staring at their phones and more specifically a man and his dog, a couple kissing on a street corner, a group of friends looking both ways before crossing the street.

 

The Creature watched the world out of the Boy’s eyes and found himself excited. He shuffled nervously, pressing his eyes to the internal periscope, and letting the outside world fill him up.

 

i hope you come and find me

 

when the houses are buried beneath the winters snow and every light that lingers is

a pale reflective glow

 

i hope you come and find me

when the space between us cannot grow

and we i have all but forgotten what life was like

before

the snows came and buried our houses

in heavy white powder

 

i walked across the surface of that risen height

white powder sticking to my boots

i hope you come and find me here

before the world is covered further

and i cannot linger any longer

in the place i sit and wait

beneath the white hue,

for the pale light to lead you back to me

(where i sit a dream of you)

 

A person stopped the boy in the street when he noticed him trying to crane his neck and see the stars (which were blotted out by the light pollution) and said.

“The Moon is crescent because she is kissing the rest of the sky, can you see it? Close your eyes just a little…”

 

So the boy squinted towards the sky and watched as dust fell from the moon and burned up in the atmosphere, glittering brightly like sparks from a lighter.

The violet light of the city tinted her, and the craters that washed out her face seemed to take the shape of lips.

The moon is still settling and dust falls from her as the shifts ever so slightly in the sky, holding the stars firmly in her net.

 

As they pierced through the glow of the city light, everything else around The Boy fell away, and a soft static filled his ears. The people and the noise drowned and were replaced by piano and the sound of rain on train tracks.

 

///

The Boy found a bar on a street corner and ordered himself the strongest drink he could handle. Looking around at people drinking he slipped himself momentarily into their shoes, as he had imagined others doing during those long sweet nights in Albion.

The man seated at a table, gazing lovingly into another’s eyes. He saw the love that held itself between them.

The couple dancing in the Centre of the crowd, their arms nervously around each other. The unsteady excitement of possibility.

It filled him with a temporary melancholy he had decided to take as momentary joy. A hundred other peoples lives, mingling here in this street corner, just for a moment. A small moment in time, but like the people here themselves, it was so filled with cemented love and possibility.

And so the Creature watching the world from inside The Boy’s chest, placed his small hand to the wall of the heart he was in.

 

And so Summer slipped away,

From my window, down the drain,

and winter some to clear our minds,

perfect heart, perfect eyes,

 

Everyone around seemed to crane their heads towards the singing voice, a few people even taking steps closer.

 

I feel so far from the world,

That appears before my life,

Count the seasons seeking change,

Count the blessings, all the same

And so summer it slipped away,

From my fingers, down the drain,

And the winter comes to clear our minds,

Perfect reasons, perfect lies,

 

The room watched The Boy drain his drink with at least one eye, and felt in their heart’s the burden he was carrying.

Despite almost everyone watching him, less than half of them could sympathize a great deal, and only one understood completely.

 

Her name was Katie and she sat in a remote booth near the back, away from the louder music and conversation. Her eyes were closed, head tipped, and she hadn’t touched her drink since the waiter placed it there over an hour ago.

She sat still, contemplating nothing really very important, when her senses were all of a sudden touched by a strange voice that seemed to cut through the room.

She looked to see the source but it was blocked by a wall of people.

The voice then ended and the room returned to normal, after a few minutes she began to question whether it had even sounded at all.

“Must have been the music.” She reasoned in her head. She often reasoned things out aloud, but only when she was home alone and the curtains were drawn. When she was out she stuck inside her own head. She grew tired of the music, and the people, and the quietly persistent Ocean of thought that hammed through her like a pneumatic drill. So she gathered her purse close to her side and walked past the crowds to the door, sparing a glance towards the empty seat at the bar where she could have sworn the sound had radiated from earlier.

“just an empty seat, just your imagination.” She reasoned, walking out into the violet street.

She made her way down the familiar passage toward the train station, only a few streets away. The train was waiting, doors open and lights blinking softly in the warm hum.

She stepped on, glancing up and down the carriage to see if there was anyone else here.

Nobody.

Finding a seat, she instinctively reached for her phone, stopping herself halfway.

“It’ll only hurt,” She thought, “it’ll only hurt.”

Before the doors called to close Katie heard another passenger entering the train, but no shadow fell across the floor.

The doors hissed shut and Katie looked up to see the last thing she had expected.

It was a large Wolf.

Something about its form triggered a train of thought that Katie could only let ride through her head.

And just like the wolf that wandered onto the train carriage and stood hesitantly by the door, Katie could only see herself as being somewhere she didn’t belong. A world rebuilt for the concrete generation who lived in the neon night. Who skittered and lingered maliciously beneath the streetlights and the glow of the liquor store down the street she walked past sometimes on her way home.

They stood as groups in shadows smoking cigarettes and begging the older kids to buy them booze, giving her the eye as she walked past. She felt as though they could see the scar even through the hood she kept pulled tight around her head.

 

Katie watched the wolf standing in the train carriage. It looked like a large dog, with more poignant features and a thinner snout. It locked eyes with her for a moment, it’s tongue hanging in a pant, before turning its head and pattering to the opposite side of the carriage.

She didn’t feel fear that the sight of the creature, instead she felt as though it was the reason she had fallen asleep and ended up at the end of the line. As if it was a predestined meeting.

The wolf hopped up onto the seat, displaying its full length for a brief moment, before it slinked into a semi curl, with its paws in front of it.

 

She sat watching the Wolf for a long time.

 

 

The lights in the carriage dimmed and the train took Katie towards her home. When it pulled into her station, Katie stood up. The Wolf’s ears picked up and she lifted herself also, hopping down from the seat.

The Wolf watched, her tongue out in a pant, and as Katie walked swiftly into the night, the Wolf followed her out of the train. The doors hissing shut behind them.

 

The gate to the station was open and the couple trod swiftly into the night. Katie’s footsteps were accompanied by the heavy skittering of claws, both sets ringing from the dark shapes of buildings.

 

They made it back to her apartment and the Wolf followed her up the stairs. The whole time from the station to her door Katie had been wondering why this wasn’t hitting her as a strange and peculiar thing. I mean, it’s not every day you just make friends with a wolf in the middle of the city, and bring it back to your apartment.

And any dread she figured she should be feeling was entirely non-existent.

 

This large grey Accalia, who’s back stood level with Katie’s hip bone, wasn’t making her afraid.

 

They two entered her apartment where Katie took to her sofa for a brief moment to think. She opened the window to get some air and watched the Wolf as she walked around and smelled the room.

The night air of damp earth mixed with the sudden exhaustion put Katie into a gentle and dreamless sleep, where pastel lights crossed across her closed eyes and the world was kinder to her than it had been of late. These gentle colours were accompanied a little later by a song.

 

 

Katie woke with a slight start, the colours fizzed away but the song remained, bouncing around the buildings of the street outside, she recognised it from earlier.

She jumped up from her sofa and sprinted to the open window, crouching behind it.

Down in the street a Boy was staggering his way up the centre of the road. It sounded like he was the one singing but his mouth wasn’t moving, although it was hard to tell in the pale light of the street.

He stopped in the street and looked down at his chest, nodding his head like he was talking to himself.

He then found himself a seat beneath a streetlight and flopped down, his head hanging limp.

 

(2) Boy

 

The Creature was drunk. Well. Both The Creature and The Boy were drunk, but it’s an easy guess who instigated the drinking.

 

 

The Boy allowed the Creature to finish his song, he didn't feel it as deeply as the others, and was beginning to feel the night get to him. He necked his drink cold and walked out into the street.
The drink fizzed in the pit of his stomach and filled him instantly with a numbing buzz.
The Creature felt the drink also, it hit him hard and he stumbled around in the Boys chest.

They both walked the streets together drunk, as they had done back in Albion, when the nights were lighter and the lights shone brighter and the drink would flow cheaply and plentifully.

 

The stars signalled faintly above. Flickering over the parks, squares and Alleys. The great keepers of knowledge in the universe. Dying a million deaths. And still trying to guide the Boy even now, with memories of their elder light. He looked up to them again, trying to see past the cities haze that built a heavy cloak around the moon, who was still kissing the sky, but seemed to have turned her eye on him.

Music sounded from an open window and The Creature picked up the tune, they turned left down a cobbled alley. For a moment the Boy held the notion he was doubling back on himself, potentially to find some place that called out to him in some way. It was all stupid, he knew that deep down, but he needed to try regardless.

But these streets were dark and unfamiliar, and the world was spinning too fast to make sense of where they had both wandered to. The Boy reached out for something to hold and collapsed to the pavement below a streetlight, feeling the headache turn to black.
As the world disappeared the drunk creature inside of him began to sing.


She presses on my throat when she wants to forget
But sometimes I don't feel it

My foot rested against something warm
Thanks again for letting me take form

My shoulder stopped aching the moment I stepped out of the sea
Swelling at your door
She presses on my throat when she wants me to leave
But I never feel her anymore

And sometimes the world around just seems to disappear
And I refuse to take shape
I think I fell asleep?

I was pulled from that black sea long ago
Tried to pull the sadness from you like a string
Why does the silent world ask me for anything?
Doesn't it know that I am still heaving water from my lungs?


And sometimes the seaweed wraps around my neck
But I don't feel it

I am awake in another place
I am a pair of hands in a blue room
We are driving to the place the city lights cannot see
Sparkle like a quiet furious field of emeralds
And take your hand away from my throat

Sometimes I cannot help but feel it be

 

 

Chapter 4: Scream for the Silence

 

In a small village on an otherwise quiet street, muffled music pours from a run downish black building. Bodies pour onto the street outside, smoking and talking and laughing and hiding the fact that they are gasping for air.

Inside The Boy is dancing drunk, all his memories temporarily forgotten, all his cares and worries down the drain. He doesn’t know it yet, but this is the happiest he will be for a long time.

 

He doesnt know the song but it sounds like one he loves and dancing across from him is Kyrie, his kind of something special.

 

She takes his arm in her hand and drags him gently towards the bar for another drink.

 

"Who is that girl sitting by Anamosity? the one with the dark hair and glasses? Do you know her?"

 

The Boy swings his head lazily about the room but cannot see who she is talking about. He shakes his head.

 

"I don't like her." Kyrie says, putting £2 in The Boy's hand.

"I'm goign to the toilet."

She slurred her words and for a moment The Boy thinks better than to buy her another drink, but his mind wasn’t his when he was like this, so he ordered her a Vodka Lemonade.

 

He scanned the room and finally caught sight of the girl she was talking about, with dark black hair and giant framed glasses. She was leaning against the other bar with a relaxed expression, next to her Animosity leant against the bar also, her face sour, as if she had sucked on the lemon in her drink.

The Boy ducked as Animosity looked his way and Kyrie returned not a second after.

"Get up you daft fool." she said, her hands on the hips of her sparkling dress.

She looked over the where Animosity was sitting and quickly ushered The Boy towards her.

"c'mere quick."

She pulled him into a kiss, her eyes watching Annie for some kind of reaction.

The Boy didn't notice, he didn't really notice anything.

 

The song changed and the dancefloor half cleared, Kyrie left him at the bar and he tried to figure out if something was wrong or not, but he had had too much to drink, so he let the thought slip and the night continued on.

 

 

 

Chapter 5: The Common Swift

///


The Dream

///

Sing the song of me!
Sing the song of me!

The moon is crescent and kissing the sky!
She cannot turn her head to see, what kind of mess the world has left
Below the black sea, my Boy
Come and find me beneath the black sea
The world is wilting and I am waiting,
To turn you inside out

I knew the moon long ago, she and I were lovers
Before the face of the world had been formed
Before there were any others
Before Avalon and Albion were built on the roots of a great tree
And before I decided to take Albion back into me

We existed and she still knows my waves

Sing the song of me!
Sing the song of me!
Nothing's going to hurt you in the deep
So throw yourself from the cliff
And allow me to to take you home
To guide you through the sea

 

We spoke about it in the red glow
Before December swallowed the year
In party hats and fireworks and so much history between us
You hardly heard the explosions that rocked the house
Even later into the evening
It doesn't come through and rock you like it should

We spoke about it outside your house
Smoking a few cigarettes
Swallowed by the gutter
Smoke rising in the bonfire air
You rubbed your eyes again
Lost to the pain of the past

We spoke about it before the year ended
And I was thankful we did
And when the 00:00 timer swallowed everything you held so deeply
You went upstairs to find the silence you hoped all the smoking would give you
And it came through the bathroom mirror
I closed my eyes and waited for next December

/

Far beyond the cliff there is a road

That vanishes beneath me

It flattens the rocks and disappears below the ebb and flow

Find the road and I will take you home

 


Trust in me!
And wake

///

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 6: The Strangers Sofa

 

The Boy opened his eyes slowly. Sleep drifted from his eyes and the world came into being. Above him a ceiling fan rotated softly, touching the curtains with its breeze. He craned his neck to see a glass of water had been placed on the coffee table next to him and a blanket had been draped over him He was lying on a sofa in an unfamiliar place. He tried to move himself up but a dull shooting pain ebbed over his brain.

He felt a sudden pang of fear for the Creature inside of him and placed his hand over his chest. A nervous moment held him, but he felt the shallow beat of the Creature. He left out a sigh of relief and looked to the window.

It was still night outside, maybe an Albion sky had followed him across the world. One of those nights that lasted forever had come to this far place, just to give him comfort.

A figure appeared in the doorway to his side and he turned to see. A large grey wolf that towered over him in his lying position, fixated him with deep eyes.

He felt a deep fear take immediate root and hoped this was his mind playing tricks on him.

The Wolf stared for a long while, before letting out a pant and turning her head toward the kitchen light behind her.

In the doorway appeared another figure, the slender frame of a girl. Her hair was wet and she was dressed in a white dressing gown.

The Boy just now realized he had been hearing the sound of a shower up until a minute ago.

The girl crouched and looked to whisper something into the Wolf’s ear, it licked her nose with an enormous tongue and padded off.

Once the Wolf was out of The Boy’s vision he breathed a tiny sigh of relief. The Creature inside of him was still asleep, and had not seen any of this.

The Girl watched it go and stood up, turning her attention to the sofa. She approached The Boy slowly and with a quizzical look on her face.

The Boy felt a strange fear for the Creature and himself and tried to back up away from her, but his headache roared back in waves and prevented him from moving.

“It’s okay,” she said, with a voice that was coming from miles away. “I’m not going to hurt you, you collapsed in the street...”

She sat down next to him and seemed to study his face.

“I’m Katie,” she said. “What’s your name?”

The Boy locked eyes with her, one hand on his chest.

“I don’t have one,” he says, his mind involuntarily digging through his memories. “At least, I can’t remember what it was.”

“Why can’t you remember?” she asked.

“A girl,” he rubbed his chest softly, careful not to wake him. “She took it from me.”

 

Katie was intrigued by The Boy’s words, but did not know what to say next.

 

She leaned back deep in thought and The Boy caught sight of a tattoo on her arm. It was a blonde haired figure skater mid pose with handwritten words below.

 

strangely together to our doom we go

 

The room was quiet, the stars and the city outside were quiet. For a long time, no-one spoke.

 

//////////

 

High above the city, slithering quietly side to side on the cool night air, a dragon watched the scenes play out below. He was long and thin, like a snake, and his eyes were painted cardboard, his dazzling white teeth catching the lights from below.

 

He watched The Boy and The Girl sitting a quiet room, and he saw into the heart of The Boy. The Dragon had followed The Boy’s journey, all the way from Albion, through the muddy river than ran through the heart of Swift. All along the dried banks of waterlogged countries.

Up until the Boy floated into this bright bay, fishing him out of the sea before he met the rocks at the bottom of the cliff, pulling him up to the top and placing him in the long grass.

The Boy had been knocked unconscious and The Dragon circled above until he came to, at which point he fled to watch from a distance.

He followed The Boy now also, on his way down from the concrete park, and into the hidden river of the world.

 

Circling above, the White Dragon recalled the events the night before he left Avalon, the day he found The Boy.

 

Chapter 7: The Sea, The Moon, and The Single Star

Somewhere far away from home, tucked just between the gap of Avalon and Albion

 

so i walked down the street. two beers in my back pocket and two in my hand

sounds from a distant speaker sing into the air

 

// dont you waste your sins again

 

she dont need you or wont f**k your friends //

 

the night peaks. my throat is swollen and someone is in front of me. im making more bad decisions again.

the world ran out of beers and i clutched the ones in my pocket, i drank the ones in my hand, I’m on a street with people i know they’re dressed for where we are going, i hoped i was as well.

“yeah she told me yesterday, but he…”

 

**********

 

***need******

 

*****take it the best way you can its something strange I’m sorry its not from this world there is little i can tell you********

 

 

***********************sarah’s bed is so big and your shoes can barely fit

the night drags and no one can tell me what I need to hear, I am already a ghost in this place/

throw the bottle against the lamp//

run when someone yells//

catch up with the others beneath the sweeping faze of the moon/

the nights peaks and I am listening to the message she left on my phone, horribly beautiful and horribly bright,

up there, the moon shakes off a string of dust that dances toward the earth, burning up or setting alight, heading straight for me…

 

we are in arms with the sea, and I can feel it take a hold of my free arm, still a single beer in my back pocket.

I looked at my reflection in the water but it wasn’t me, I looked old and cold and scared and alone. And I had never been this far from home, and here comes the orange comet falling from the sky, where only the moon and a single star can be seen.

And written in the sand, a long message,

Like the tidal wave said to you when you were young
Slip beneath me and be at peace
Six years old and swimming for your life

 

It was me, and I was still swimming,

An orange light, now almost blinding me from above,… I collapse beneath the weight of it all and the sand caught my body, the rock catching my head/////

And I fell from Albion for the last time.

 

Chapter 8: Sudden Blizzard

 

Back in The Foreign city, snow fell from the moon, tumbling heavily past the dragon, who strained his sight against the sudden blizzard. It fell quickly and silently, catching the city off guard, building in drifts by the financial district, and forming snow banks across the street from the square and library.

The Dragon shimmered his way through the falling snow, circling the spot above the Girls apartment, where she and The Boy had been silently contemplative while the snow fell outside.

 

He watched the features of the girls face, rounded and smooth, with thick eyebrows and a slight hint of acne on her cheek. She had closed her eyes and for he first time The Boy noticed the snow outside.

Snow had never fallen in his home, he loved the beauty of it. How it covered the world in a blanket of pure white powder. And under the moon, the glow it gave the world was unmatched by anything The Boy had ever seen.

But looking at Katie, he realized this wasn’t the first time he had seen her. Just before he woke up he had a dream.

He was sitting down against the concrete wall of a stadium, looking around at the other kids dressed in gym clothes. Someone walked up to him and stood above him. She wore denim Jean shorts and a dress. The sunlight behind her head blinded him.
'im here,' she said.
He said something in reply but didn't remember what it was.
'im here and so are you, and we can exist in the same place'


Each of her words was unfathomably profound and he liked to think in the dream that he understood what it all meant when she walked away into the building.
He wanted to stand up, to go after her, to say anything.
But instead he closed his eyes and sat against the concrete, watching the sunlight leaving with her, and he woke up.

 

 

Back in this room now he could swear Katie was the girl he saw in his dream. The lamp beside her sofa glowed against her acne scarred cheeks, and The Boy thought she looked incredibly beautiful.

Inside his chest he felt the familiar stirring of the Creature waking up.

 

 

Through the periscope of The Boy, The Creature watched the girl scratch her neck. He looked into her and felt the words take him.

To the girl who sits at the foot of the lake
And closes her eyes
And far across the water the wind paints birds into the sky
Still and unmoving
And she is still and unmoving

Behind her closed eyes she doesn't remember
How she came to be here in this place
The street behind her is dark
And shapes move between the parked cars
Kind spirits of another plane

They surround and envelop her in loving light
A real warmth

And the girl who stands before everything that breaks against the waves

even when she closes her eyes, the tides that roll
and the night encloses to illuminate her soul

I can she is a delicate creature of real love

 

The song filled the silent room, and The Girl listened as the words poured out, bouncing from every surface. They flickered the bulbs of the Christmas lights hanging out of a corner box, and weaved the red and blue and green lights in patterns around the room, intertwining and interlocking them with the furniture. The Boy watched this, and Katie listened.

He had never seen a song take this strong a form before. The words had bounced from streets and foamed at the base of the sea when he had been on the beach. But this was something else entirely.

When the last sentence left the Creatures lips, the glow hung about the room until the Boy climbed out of bed, still uneven on his feet, and opened the window.

And like a pet sensing an open door, the light spun across the room and released itself into the night where it jetted upwards and split into beams across the sky.

The Boy saw above them in the light drift, the shape of a great Dragon, snaking and contorting across that expanse. The light curved and struck him in a great explosion of confetti. The Dragon laughed a deep and moonstruck sound into the drift, diving in and out of the light like a deep sea creature surfacing.

The Boy closed the window and turned to see Katie. Her eyes were glazed over and she hadn’t moved her gaze since hearing the song.

“I’m sorry,” said The Boy. “He doesn’t mean it sometimes, its just the way he sees things.”

“No,” Katie shook her head. “It’s okay, its…its true.”

The Boy sat down next to her.

“I don’t know how he found the words but those are them. And that’s exactly how I feel.”

The Boy looked at the window, almost able to see the dark cliffs in the distance.

Something inside told him he would find his answers back there.

 

“I have to go,” he told her. “I have to go back to the cliffs.”

 

Chapter 9: Dancing to Girls in my room on a perfect Wednesday afternoon

 

Back in Avalon, Kyrie and The Boy sat in silence in her van.

"I don't understand." he said. "Why are you doing this to me?"

He was near tears and she couldn’t meet his eye.

 

The window was down but a heavy ring of smoke hung inside. The Smiths sounded from the radio, telling The Boy all he needed to know about life.

 

I left the North,

I traveled South,

I found a tiny house,

And I can't help the way I feel,

 

Kyrie’s radio was broken so half the words were missing in static, but it was only really background noise. She had told him she thought it was time they saw other people, and then quickly asked him what he was going to do now that College had finished. He was stunned for a moment, looking at her with a confused face. She tapped him with half a cigarette and took it awkwardly from between her fingers.

I left the South,

I traveled North,

I got confused - I killed a horse, 

I can't help the way I feel,

"Why are you doing this?" he said again, his head swimming with horrible emotions. The roof caved in, the floor crushed upwards, breaking his legs. The smoke choked him and burned his lungs.

Inside him he could feel the alien presence of the thing that the old man had put inside of him, slowly waking up. His chest was expanding rapidly, he felt as though he might burst.

“You okay?” she asked him, a concerned look on her face. He struggled to air, handing the little glowing stick back to her before he dropped it.

She moved her head quickly, her short curly black hair bouncing slightly in the corner of his eye, like how sometimes the moon would catch in the corner of his eye.

“I'm sorry,” she said, after a while. “I know how hard it feels.” He turned to look at her but she wouldn't meet his gaze.

How did she know how this felt?

Inside his chest the Creature had woken up for the first time and it took everything The Boy had to not scream out of stress and confusion and fear.

 

"Are you o-?" the words died in the air as the ground shook beneath them, the streetlights outside flickering off.

High above them the moon shook loose a piece of dust that fireballed towards the earth. Kyrie watched it soar towards them where it transformed itself into a long shape, like a snake.

It came towards the car and before she could say anything a flash of light blinded her.

And when she opened her eyes, The Boy was gone.

 

Chapter 10: A place with a bench and a fountain and a park

 

The Boy stepped out of Katie’s apartment and started up the street. He had said goodbye but did not want to try and understand why he saw her in his dream, or why the Creature sang about someone else, or why that song took the form that it did. This place was a devil city and The Boy needed to go home.

Behind him a second pair of footsteps crunched through the freshly fallen snow and he turned to see Katie, wrapped deep in a scarf, pacing to catch up with him.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“I’m coming too,” she replied, her panting releasing soft clouds into the air.

The Boy did not try to fight her, he needed to go.

 

So the two of them walked through the silent city. Through parks, squares, and alleys. Past empty houses lit by yellow streetlights, past busy pubs and bars with bodies spilling out onto the street. The creature kicked restlessly at the walls of The Boy’s chest, humming an old song that had been stuck in The Boy’s head since yesterday morning. Wherever he had been yesterday, he did not even remember. Perhaps he had been on that cliff all week. Time didn’t follow the same rules in this place. He could not tell how long this night had been going on for, or how long it had been since he collapsed in the street and was brought in by this stranger.

He watched her feet as she walked next to him, her shoes breaking the walked through snow.

For the first time in a long time, The Boy felt something stir in a forgotten corner of his brain. The part that would take all his thoughts and feelings and turn them into poems, the part which had been taken over by The Creature, began to fizzle into life.

And as they walked free of the busy city center, out into the suburbs, The Boy cleared his throat.

the look it all gave killed me twice

A look given by no light

No pyre burning bright

(Burning for me)

No ash stained chimney peeking at the moon

Nothing

An empty hum in the drum of my brain

Where once upon a time I would call your name

 

And you would call me a rose tinted bed

One that exists in your metric head

And it takes so long

 

To recollect myself, readjust my clothes

And leave it all there

I cannot see the moon from here

But I know that it is just tucked in the corner of my eye

 

The words rang clear and crisp into the cold air. Katie stopped and listened, a smile creeping across her face as the last word rang up into the sky.

Something deep inside of him had changed, and the world all of a sudden seemed to be kinder and more forgiving than before.

“I’m sorry,” he said, loud and clear. “I want to thank you for helping me when I needed it.”

 

Katie shrugged and smiled. “It’s no problem.” She replied. “This certainly has been a strange night for me.”

The Boy agreed and they continued walking until all parts of the city were behind them, and ahead lay the steep hill towards the cliffs.

 

 

 

Chapter 11: Leaving for Littlehaven

 

Once at the top of the hill the two of them looked down at the raging sea below.

The Boy thought about being back where he had started

 

I have said all I need to say
So bury me beneath a peaceful sea
My words are all that's left of me

 

 

The Boy was dreaming the lights of him home, a place he liked to think some stars were born, long before the sea slowly reclaimed the city, long before the bridge was built between the towns, and long before the girl took his name away.

 

And I, a thing long forgotten by the expanse of the universe. Breathing my life into this speck of dust by the oceanside. I can feel the universe pull me upwards, I can feel my feet leave the grass and the wind sweep me. I can feel.

Listen…there are no voices now…there are no words left, listen.

And The Creature did listen, and silence roared through both of them like a thunder of crashing waves, and he felt tears finally spilling from his eyes.

 

He drifted slowly into the air, below the gaze of a sudden moon, appearing from behind the heavy curtain of rolling sea. Night’s sudden punch, the city a sudden blush of red, abasing the valley cheek.

“Its beautiful but it isn’t mine.” he thought, watching the lights slowly blinking from a distance. And he turned back to look at Katie.

 

“I wanted it,” he said.

“I wanted all of it so badly. I wanted her hand on mine to leave a mark. I wanted her kisses to burn, to brand me. I…I needed it all to leave me with something. A natural tattoo. A mark, a burn, a break in the natural order of my skin. I wanted it to sink in deep, to show to others what had happened. What she and that city did to me. Not for sympathy, but for understanding.”

Katie nodded, and took a step back.

And in the long grass behind her, tall and poised, her Wolf watched The Boy as he stood on the edge of the rocks, and looked down to the sea.

He heard the familiar voice in his head.

 

Come and find me,

I am resting beneath the waves,

Come to me,

Let me take you home,

Tired boy without a name,

 

Above him thunder clapped from the clear sky and a white Dragon made of pure moondust slithered towards him, gaining speed.

The Boy closed his eyes and the Creature in his chest held his breath.

Everything passed through him. The snow, the city, the girl who had broken his heart and taken his name away, and Avalon �" his home.

His body slipped from the cliff and tumbled through the air, into the arms of the Dragon who took him down.

Katie ran to the edge and watched as the Boy, held in the Dragon’s grasp, disappeared below the surface of the water.

 

“Godspeed Boy,” she said, her Wolf appearing at her side.

 

“Godspeed.”

 

 

© 2018 huh


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Added on January 15, 2018
Last Updated on January 15, 2018
Tags: dragons, ambience, sleep, short story, poetry

Author

huh
huh

London, United Kingdom



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