It was a dusky Wednesday evening, and, Wednesday generally being my botany day, it dovetailed perfectly with my need to collect certain ingredients for the recipe I was preparing to try. My collaborator and I had travelled up to the foothills of Mt Hood to forage for some fresher(more) specimens than could be obtained in town. We had left directly from work mid afternoon, and the sun had been high in the sky; but now the light had become flat and smoky, and my initial sense of elation at the prospect of our endeavor taken a similar turn.
We wandered through the trees studying the ground for the cottony heads of the Taraxacum Officinale that the recipe called for, but I had soured on the idea of pursuing the project in tandem. If I was honest with myself, I did not want to share it. When I closed my eyes and pictured my laboratory space, I saw only myself in it.
I enjoyed discussing and debating the natural sciences with a group of enthusiasts with which I met weekly. However, I truly preferred pursuing my studies alone. I could choose to offer what I learned, or not to.
An eager voice called me back into the present, and my friend was crouched in a small field with his back to me. He was rummaging through his knapsack for his trowel and collection box. As I walked towards him, I observed the stones on the ground. I picked one up, and it seemed to fit my hand so perfectly; its heft so manageable, so useful.
As I walked closer, I felt a sense of clarity returning to me. I knew what I really wanted; what was best for me. I stood behind him and raised the stone high above my head.(less)
There's a trio of school girls sitting on the old weathered bench, the two on the ends both leaning into the one in the middle, all three with their attention locked on the cell phone. They're taking a selfie, in the cool fall twilight, waiting(more) for their ride home. Their excited chatter is loud enough that it reaches him down the road, where he's lingering by the tree - though he can't pick out the individual words. It doesn't really matter, what they're saying.
He'd missed coming out last year; something had come up - and the year before that Masayoshi had been ill and the day passed unnoticed. It left a funny feeling in his chest that he could forget, now - that he could allow this day to just be another day and pass him by.
He felt guilty.
Masayoshi's arm brushed his, and he linked their arms automatically. "You all right?" Masayoshi asked - he'd stayed back as he'd promised but Gotou had stopped, hadn't approached the bus stop like he usually would.
The girls were taking another picture together, and there was a brief burst of light as the camera's flash triggered in the twilight.
/Squinting up at a tiny cell phone camera as she poked her finger into his cheek, trying to prod the expression out of him; "smile for me, Gocchin!"
"I am smiling!"
"Are you sure? I think you just have gas."/
Gotou looked over to Masayoshi, who was watching him quietly with a concerned expression on his face and he realized, suddenly, that this was the last time he would come here. He glanced back to the bus stop and smiled finally.
"Yeah," Gotou said, and patted Masayoshi's hand on his arm. "Yeah, I am. Let's go home."(less)
"I am NOT-" Lance hissed, his voice echoing despite his low tone, and he dropped it further as Shiro shut the door behind him, enclosing them both in the cramped space, "sharing a room with them, Shiro!"
"Would you rather sleep outside?" Shiro was unamused; he was running o(more)n even less sleep than Lance and wasn't in the mood to put up with anything that would keep him from passing out face-first in a musty motel pillow.
"In a word? YES."
"Lance, it's like 30 degrees outside."
"I have blubber." Lance folded his arms and scowled, as Shiro pushed a hand back through his hair. "She's a vampire, Shiro. She has Keith under her thrall."
At that, Shiro did hesitate finally. He mirrored Lance's pose subconsciously, folding his arms as he regarded his husband. "He's not under a thrall," Shiro said finally, and Lance let out a noise of disbelief, going to throw his arms wide but realizing he didn't really have the space. "I've seen her thrall, Lance. Keith is doing this of his own volition."
"Yeah, okay," Lance said. "I'm sleeping in the bathtub then, at least that door locks."
They were interrupted by a knock on the door, and Keith's voice, muffled and exhausted as Shiro's. "You two done in there? I gotta piss."
"Piss out the window," Lance yelled through the door as Shiro said, "one second, Keith."
They both glared at each other, and Shiro said, pointedly, "if Allura really wanted to hurt you, do you think the lock on this door would really stop her?"
"I'm not worried about /me/," Lance said. Shiro pulled Lance in so that he could kiss the top of his head.
"I love you," he said, "but I'm not sleeping on the floor while you sleep in the tub."(less)
Allura's skin had gone ashen in the flickering, reflected light of the old television. Keith had left the set on for background noise before he'd closed the door to the motel room behind him; it remained on the channel he'd set it on, replaying some ancient budget horror movie(more) from decades before he was born.
She lay silent in the bed, unmoving, still as death. Keith turned on the bedside lamp and flooded the room with fake yellow light - her skin tone looked no better illuminated, her cheeks sharply defined and eyes sunken behind their lids.
"Holy shit," Lance said, hovering just inside the door. "Is she dead?"
Keith sat carefully on the side of the bed, the mattress dipping with his weight. Very tenderly he brushed some of her lank white hair from her face and realized he couldn't remember if she breathed, if she had a pulse. Vampires were dead - but then again they weren't.
"No," Keith said, and rolled up the sleeve of his jacket. "I don't think she is."
He blanched in pain when he bit his wrist open, and Lance made a noise of genuine alarm, moving away from the door and toward Keith. Keith held out his uninjured hand palm-up toward Lance to stop him, and tilted his wrist over Allura's face, as fresh blood ran down his torn flesh and dripped slowly onto her mouth.
Long seconds ticked by, before Allura's tongue darted out and cleaned the blood from her lips. Keith exhaled in relief when suddenly Allura lunged forward and latched onto his wrist, dragging his arm down to her face greedily.
"Hell," Lance yelped as Allura, with fangs extended, yanked Keith bodily onto the bed, rolling on top of him in a flurry of bedding. "Sleeping Beauty she ain't!"(less)
"Be good," Shiro had said firmly, the motel door clicking closed behind him. He hadn't addressed the directive to either of them in particular, but his words still hung in the air for a few moments before Keith let out a small scoffing noise and shifted his weight, glaring(more) at Lance on the bed.
"Hey, don't look at me," Lance said. "I wasn't the one who let an ancient unrelenting horror loose on a small town because I didn't feel like asking for help."
"Allura's not an unrelenting horror," Keith said, arms folded and shoulders pulled in tight. Lance tilted his head and gave Keith a measured look, then put his hands on his leg and /grinned/ in a way that sent every one of Keith's hackles up.
"I wasn't talking about Allura, but way to throw your girlfriend under the bus there, Keith."
"Yeah, yeah," Lance slid off the center of the bed, his feet hitting the floor. Unfolding like that Keith realized again that Lance was naked, save for the coat he wore over his shoulders like a cloak - despite having being fished out of the ocean with its owner, the jacket didn't even appear damp. "Allura's not your girlfriend, you just let her suck you off."
Keith flushed angrily. "/Feed/," he hissed at Lance. "I let her /feed/ on me."
"And then you fuck her."
Lance shrugged loosely. "I don't give a shit who you stick your dick into as long as it's not my husband. Besides, we got bigger fish to fry at the moment." Lance had his hand on the doorknob before Keith realized what he intended.
"You're naked! Where the hell do you think you're going?"
"I'm not naked," Lance said sagely. "I've got my jacket on. You coming?"
It was late on a Thursday night, and, Thursday night being my alchemy night, I was deep in my supply room gathering tools and materials to begin working on a recipe that I had just gotten from the Voynich Manuscript. Although, I hesitate to overstate: I could not afford(more) the entire manuscript on my meager salary; but only a portion of it, and only in partnership with another enthusiast. One page. Page 98.
Collecting the materials had proven challenging, as the author was very specific about the results depending heavily on using only organic, whole grain, free-range ingredients; and in this day and age (1899) everything is so processed. It took perseverance, and some foraging in the field, but eventually I had what I needed.
As I began integrating the ingredients over my bunsen burner my anticipation was almost uncontrollable. The voices in my head were clamoring for me to turn it up, to hurry it up; but one voice quietly told me to be patient. Let the process work itself through. Allow the results to unfold at their own pace.
And unfold they did. A purple vapour began to issue from the glass, and I watched in fascination as it curled in the air before me. I was mesmerized by its color and beauty, but also becoming drowsy as the haze thickened around me. I thought I heard a knocking on the front door upstairs, but it seemed so late and so far away; and in the end I could not rouse myself to answer it.
I was brought back by the shattering of glass, and shards hitting me in the face and on my hands. The liquid must have all simmered away as I dozed. How long? I wondered. I shut off the gas and stepped back bewildered.(less)
I'm melting. So fat at the edges I'm like a grilled cheese oozing out of its bread. Breathless with distaste whenever I see myself by accident. Heart skips a beat when I think about how lost I am, how far I have to go to even be normal. I(more) know that men don't want to even fuck me, and women won't love me so long as I look like their walking, breathing nightmare.
Yet for some reason I hold my chin up higher than ever. I feel better than ever. Isolation feels clean as polished glass.
My skin is perfect. So what. Hair and eyebrows, perfect. So what. My heart is a sinking ship, beating fast and crazy like rats trying to escape a doomed ferry.
But I feel fine. I feel equal to shoving aside whatever gets in my way. I can push over bullies and sociopaths. I don't need anybody, and I grow bigger and bigger to prove my certainty, my bravery. (less)
As Gotou unlocked the door, he heard the unmistakable sound of a mad scramble coming from inside the apartment. He rolled his eyes and didn't rush heeling off his work shoes in the genkan and setting them beside Masayoshi's sneakers; there weren't exactly a lot of places for Masayoshi(more) to hide anything in the studio apartment.
A shadow crossed his vision and he looked up to see Masayoshi in the door that separated the tiny kitchen area from the rest of the apartment. "Welcome home, Gotou-san," Masayoshi chirped cheerfully, and there was a smudge of blueish paint on his cheek.
Gotou narrowed his eyes at Masayoshi. "What is it?" he asked, and Masayoshi was the picture of innocence for all of fifteen seconds. "What are you up to, Masayoshi?"
"Nothing! I thought we'd go out for dinner." Masayoshi wasn't about to let him in the main room of the apartment.
"I'm still in my uniform," Gotou said, and pointed at Masayoshi's cheek. "And you have paint on your cheek."
Masayoshi scrubbed his palm over his cheekbone in horror - the wrong one, Gotou noted with amusement, and then he deflated slightly. "I wanted to get it done before you got home," he muttered, shuffling out of the way to show his handiwork.
The table was covered in newspapers, and there was a freshly-painted figurine propped on a paint-splattered stand.
"They're making Samurai Policeman figures now?" Gotou said, and wasn't sure how he felt about that.
"It wasn't RIGHT," Masayoshi said, jabbing at the box on the floor. "The colors were all wrong, it's not like it's complicated! I was fixing it."
Gotou sighed and put his hand on the back of Masayoshi's head, knocking their foreheads together gently. "You're an idiot," he said fondly, and smiled. "Thanks for fixing it."(less)
Shiro hesitated in the threshold of the cabin, a bag of ice under his arm. Lance lay mostly starfished out on the floor, one leg still hanging on the couch, arms thrown above his head. He lolled his head to assess the the threat, and seeing Shiro, let out(more) a long, dramatic sigh.
"I want my coat back," he said. "I'm going back to the sea. It's less wet."
"It's not that bad," Shiro said, stepping over Lance as he carried the ice into the kitchen. "The humidity will break in a few days, it'll be nice for a little while and then we'll get blasted into the ice age."
"How can you live like this? It's miserable." Lance waved just his foot in the air. "I'm sweating so much. Look at this. I started sweating again and all I did was move my foot."
Shiro smiled as he broke open the bag and filled a plastic cup with ice. "You big baby," he said, putting the cup on Lance's forehead and making him squawk at the sudden sensation of cold. He flailed upright, catching the cup of ice in both hands and savoring the feel of it as Shiro pulled his shirt off, moving into the bedroom. "I'm off until Friday," he said, and cocked his head at Lance. "We still have Keith's jeep, want to drive up north and see if we can chase down some cooler weather?"
"Isn't the full moon soon? Like, tomorrow or something." Lance crunched on some ice thoughtfully when Shiro didn't respond. "Ooh, does that mean you'll fuck me in the back of Keith's jeep under the full moon?"
"Pretty sure that was implied," Shiro said, as Lance flung himself to his feet.
"Well, what are you waiting for? Let's hit the road!"(less)
Gotou leaned his shoulder against the door frame, watching the gentle rain of a mid-October evening. He could hear Masayoshi fussing, the rustle of papers jammed between rental DVDs louder than he realized, and smiled to himself.
(more) The movie had let out an hour ago. When the rain started, Masayoshi had tugged him into a cafe, and they'd sat and had coffee and ... it was /nice/, even if Masayoshi had to pick apart the movie's rather thin plot and complain, extensively, about how this was going to impact The Show Going Forward.
(It was entertaining to needle Masayoshi into a nerdish rage, if only because he was so passionate about it he didn't notice that Gotou was being obtuse on purpose until Gotou was nearly done with his coffee.)
"They were right here," Masayoshi complained, and let out a small huff, folding his arms indignantly after securing the flap of his bag.
"There's a fifth dimensional imp out there who delights in disappearing your gloves," Gotou said, pushing off the door frame. "I ought to own stock in a glove company, with how many pairs I buy you."
Masayoshi wrinkled his nose when he frowned at Gotou, and for a moment Gotou was struck, because that was /cute/. Masayoshi's rebuke died on his lips, and they stared at each other for a moment, caught out unexpectedly. Masayoshi's ears went pink and his expression softened, and Gotou looked away and cleared his throat.
"Anyway," Gotou said firmly. "It's not even that cold out, you don't need your gloves tonight." He didn't startle when Masayoshi put his hand tentatively on Gotou's arm, and didn't jerk away, either, when Masayoshi slid that hand down into Gotou's own.
"No," Masayoshi said, as Gotou linked his fingers with Masayoshi's. "I guess I don't."(less)
Cornialia just wached as caleb her "friend" ran away back to the line to get his dorm number and schedule. she felt violated by those pigs. she hated them and she made a promise to kill them. she walked up the stairs feeling her throbing lips. she saw the(more) number on her paper 666. "excelant." she said as she opend the dorm and picked up the key that was hanging on the wall. it was white she had to fix that. she took out one of her sharpies and started coloring it in when she heard the door open. And there stood her worst night mare a girl dressed in all pink and make up with the worst perfume on ever. she schrunched up her nose and wished she could see caleb again. "hi im jena winn and you are?" she said as she enterd not to hiper good. "i'm cornialia" "oh thats odd but still cool" she held out her hand and as a natural instinct she shook it back. she noticed that Jenas finger nails were not pink but black like hers. Jena went to her bed and opend her suit case not a pink thing in sight thank god! she decided not to unpack her suit case becouse they would just be wearing the uniforms in the closet. she threw her suite case in the closet and looked at jena. she looked back and said "hey do you want to go get some lunch im starving" She hesitated but finaly said ok. she wanted to see caleb so bad she didnt know why either she had just met him. Jena and cornialia were walking side by side on the side walk it being a hot day they both a t-shits on. (less)
We got in line to have our stuff searched I saw Caleb stuff his cell phone on
the side of his pocket. "If you want to keep that you better give
it to me" I said motioning for him to hand it over. He handed it
over an(more)d I stuffed it into the faulty bottom of my suitcase. The
security guard checked me over and was starting to feel me up to see
if I had any weapons or electronics hidden any were. I had a mini
skirt on but he still felt up my legs. He was moving more up and over
my thigh. "There's nothing up there!" I told him. "Oh you'll
be surprised were i found some things." The room was Full of
security guards guarding the exits they looked on like the drooling
pigs they were. He was going slowly there was a mirror for people to
look in but you couldn't see them. I hoped Caleb was watching. Not
because I was perverted because I hoped he would burst in here and
tell them to stop. "Stop!" I screamed he only laughed and went to
the next leg. He was going higher than the thigh this time but he
stopped only to go to my stomach. He went a little higher than my
ribs when he was about to touch my breast Caleb started to pound on
the door. The security guard stopped remembering the mirror. Under
his breath he said oh shit. He said I was free to go without even
checking my bag. I ran out of the room feeling like I had been raped.
Caleb came bursting out the door and I ran to him tears streaming
down my face. I hugged him as tight as I could make up running down
i just don't under stand why you don't want to go to a bording school."
Corniela thought to herself as
she packed under force of not being able to take her best friend
along. Her best friend was a voodoo doll named Kenis he was (more)green
with funky red hair that stood out all over the place. As she packed
everything from combat boots to black candels into her suit case her
mother kept ranting and raving on how it was gonna make her a better
person. The bording school was for delinquits and her mother thought
she needed it. So
what if im goth it dosent mean im a delinquit Corniela thought to herself. Corniala could not get out of going and she new it. "Beep! Beep!"
the car was already hear. She grabbed her bags and since her tuition
to the hell hole was paid off till the end of her high school year
she decided why not and flipped her mom the bird. All the way into
the car she laughed an air cutting laugh.
As she plugged into her ipod filled with heavy metal she saw people line
up for her flight. When she walked up to her flight attend she gave her
a dirty look like Why the hell dose she get a vacation and i dont. So
she gave the same dirty look to her and walked on to the plane. She
sat down next to a young boy around the age of 8. His face diminished
to a scared look as she sat next to him. She rolled her eyes and
pulled out her laptop. She loged on to her chat room and there he
wasnt "Playa137" was logged off. her relativley crapy mood
i walked a mountain side alone for three weeks straight. it was all i could take. my year of the self fell short to selfish insecurity.
the comfort of warm bath water and black reflective surfaces were enough to turn my back to the mountain. i crawled bac(more)k into my cubicle life. i put my hand into my pocket to connect to the instant gratification but instead i found a mountain fern. i never put that mountain fern in my pocket. i tried not to think of how it got there. instead i plucked at its leaves awhile. a pang of guilt and existential crisis stirred in me with each pluck.
“this isn’t how you should live.”
“this isn’t where you should be.”
what a waste of a life.
i buried the mountain fern back at the mountain side. but most nights when I’m asleep i feel it against my palm.