Promise of Spring

It was near the cusp of Spring, yet Spring never arrived
As Winter’s pallid hands choked firmly ‘round the Sun,
The Moon and all the unfathomable creatures, cursed,
Forever formless, dwelling far beyond the withering stars.
Dull were the skies, lacking clouds or the joy of birds,
As were barren fields famished for any sign of growth,
And the seas grew restless, swallowing the pride
Of Man in greedy gulps, dragging souls and stonework
Down, down to lay forever with listless ships and
Unknown leviathans chained in lightless prisons.

Man grew restless with the stretching gloom,
As eternal Winter stirred misery in the hearts of all;
Who sought an end to this unnatural nature,
Who sought to right the course of this steady cycle-
Birth and death, renewal and desolation, all too vast,
Too universal for Man to see the necessity of this Winter-
And so they fought, as Man always has, fought against nature,
Fought to hang on as the light died, as the Sun snuffed itself out,
As the mighty oaks hollowed and fell, as seeds lay dormant,
Eternally locked in their shells, never to see the coming Spring –
And atrophy was the nature of all that still dwelled.

So the world fell to darkness, pierced only by flickering lights,
The faint torch of Man, powered by the rot of reptilian eons –
And dim were the cities, where crowds thronged and writhed,
Setting upon the world as starving wolves on sheepless folds;
Here was Man, formless mounds of gaunt mouths gnawing,
Tearing, gnashing at all that yet lived, consuming ferocious beasts
And docile creatures of all breeds – lank meat chewed by lank jaws.
Soon the lights of Man stuttered, then failed- inviting the dark
And chill of Winter back into the hearts of furtive survivors.

Man still fought against the darkness- setting alight their greatest works:
Libraries, the treasury of all man’s knowledge and worth;
The hubs of learning and culture; monuments to great men,
And palaces of long-dead kings; all were kindling, all were sacrificed
For a glimpse of warmth and light in a world with neither.

As the last flame settled from ember to ash, a song was heard
From beyond the stars- not the blast of trumpets heralding Horsemen,
But weirdly wistful wailing; angelic yet distorted, the death-knell of the cosmos,
Carrying creatures that laid dreaming before the stars coalesced,
And for them it was Spring; a Spring unlit by the ray of any stagnant Sun.

Knight by Night

The call came in at 2:14 AM, a frantic voice pleading for help. Radislav was never the greatest judge of phone voices, but this one sounded like a soccer mom, probably about 40, Caucasian, with a radio in her minivan that consistently squeaked conservative talk shows.

“This is Radislav, what seems to be the problem?” Some kind of wolf was eating her dog. Could be his department, could just be a particularly vicious coyote. Continue reading “Knight by Night”

Gallow’s Coin

It had a rather nefarious glint to it, and that’s probably why it caught my eye. It was a larger coin, just wider than a half-dollar, and bore a face that looked, from a distance, very much like a jubilant skull; on closer examination the profile was of some long-dead king or president of a foreign land. The lettering read ‘AXIIL’, and it held no other indicator of the time or place of its minting. Continue reading “Gallow’s Coin”

Lonely Trail

A decorated wagon crept across the desert with a peculiar slothfulness rarely seen during June, as though whoever dwelled beneath the brilliant crimson-and-violet canopy had no heed of the intense heat. Mr. Hall, who most certainly was aware of the intense heat, walked alongside the pair of dusty oxen hitched to the front of the cart. “Is everythin’ comfortable for ya’, Doctor?” He called in-between commands to the great beasts. Continue reading “Lonely Trail”