Wednesday, July 11, 2012

two hundred and eleventh night

i'm going to take a break from blogging for a bit.

this is not an ending. there are still nights to come. but i have to take a break. there are still things i need to work through.

and i need to help anya. i need to help pull her away from the edge of the abyss. it's not that she's been alone for too long; it's that she's been afraid for too long. afraid of so many things, like i was. like i am.

in any case, this blog will still be here when i choose to write again.

one more story:

inanna was a fertility goddess. one season, she decided to attend a funeral in the underworld ruled by her sister ereshkigal. ereshkigal was jealous of inanna, as ereshkigal could not leave the underworld and no one visited her there. so at each of the seven gates of the underworld, she had the guards demand a piece of jewelry and clothing from inanna until she arrived at ereshkigal's throne naked and alone.
and ereshkigal had her judges condemn inanna and inanna died and her body was hung from a hook.
inanna was well-liked by the other gods, but no god could go to the underworld to retrieve her body for fear that they themselves could not leave. so enki, god of mischief, created two entities from the dirt under the gods' fingernails - gala-tura and kur-jara - and together they retrieved inanna's body and revived her.
but ereshkigal did not want to let her go. she demanded someone else stay in inanna's place. inanna eventually had to allow her husband dumuzi to take her place and he was dragged into the underworld.
inanna mourned for him and caused winter to descend and ereshkigal saw her tears and allowed it to be that dumuzi would only spend half the year in the underworld and the other half with inanna. creating summer and winter.
inanna forgave her sister and ereshkigal let go of her jealousies.

i am scheherazade.

and here's my one piece of advice:

don't let go

and never stop telling stories.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

two hundred and tenth night

let me tell you a story:

once upon a time, there was a girl named anya. 

but that is not my story to tell. i can only tell what happened tonight.

it was like she wrote: we set the trap and when the time came, i pulled the lever and let the tar loose on them. it's an old punishment: tar and feathers. we were just adding the tar.

i didn't mean to set them on fire. it was, like so many other things, an accident. but it doesn't really matter. i can consider them evil and still mourn them, can't i?

i pulled anya away from the blaze, her laughter and tears intermingling. it made me realize something: that there is only so much a person can go through without breaking down completely. anya was on the edge, i knew. if this hasn't tipped her over...i was afraid that she would break completely. would i have turned out like her without paul? i hugged her and pulled her up and together we walked away.

we had walked several blocks before we stopped. we did not stop voluntarily. there was something blocking our way:

tigris. the ebon hound, as anya called it.

it was bigger than it was before. taller than we were. i remember what my brother had said: so large that it was nine feet between its lungs. its eyes were blood-red and it stared at us, not menacing, but knowing. it knew what we did, it knew everything we did. it was our punishment for our secrets.

so i stepped forward. i let go of anya and stepped forward and i put out my hands and i said, "i killed my brother. it was inadvertent, but i did it. and every day i remember him and i am sorry. and those people at the diner, we left them behind. we might not have been able to save them, but we could have tried. i could have tried. but i didn't."

i looked back at anya and then at tigris and said, "and i killed a mother and child tonight. i killed them and i accept the responsibility for that." i had no more secrets to tell. i was stripped bare, like inanna in the underworld.

and then tigris looked at anya. and i turned to look at her, too.

and anya slowly said, "i could have saved her, but i was too afraid."

tigris still looked at us with blood-red eyes, but i could see it growing smaller, until it was the size of a dog. it came forward and i put out my hand.

it bit off a piece of flesh and i gasped. then, it did the same with anya.

it had marked us. it had our flesh now. it would not kill us, not tonight, but perhaps at the end of our lives, it would return to take us away. but not now.

its eyes were the last thing to go as its body turned to wisps of smoke. i held anya's hand and together we went back to our room.

once upon a time, there were two girls named cheryl and anya.

once upon a time.

Monday, July 9, 2012

two hundred and ninth night

remember when i used to tell stories here? "tales of faceless monstrosities and nameless horrors," i wrote.

i don't seem to tell stories anymore. but here's one:
the stymphalian birds were favorites of the god ares. they had bronze beaks and metallic feathers and liked the taste of human flesh. heracles, as part of his labors, was tasked to kill them, but could not even see them as they nested in a swamp which could not support his weight. so athena gave him a rattle designed by hephaestus which scared the stymphalian birds into the sky where heracles was able to kill them with a bow and arrows.

i wish it was this simple.

i wish so many things. i wish i could talk to anya without feeling hurt. i wish she would stop begging me to forgive her.

i want to forgive her. i know why she lied. what we did. how we left those people to die. it wasn't right.

but we can't ignore bad things just because we did them.

i just need time.

time and arrows.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

two hundred and eighth night

goddamit, anya. god-fucking-dammit.

she didn't lose her memory. or she didn't lose all of it. she knew how we escaped.

and as she told me, i remembered. i remembered holing up in the kitchen to fight off the birds the mother and child unleashed. i remembered turning on the gas and lighting the fires and then trying to push forward.

we were going to die, i remember. it was inevitable. i could see the diner patrons faces and i know they didn't understand what was going on, but we could see outside. there were maybe fifty birds indoors.

there were a million outside. probably more.

and the storm. as soon as anya described the tempest, i remembered it. lightning struck and...she grabbed my hand and pulled me and i followed her without knowing where i was running and there was a window wreathed in lightning.

this must be how they get here, i thought and suddenly we were back. and i took one look back to see the people in the diner and the window closed and i knew they were all dead and we had just left them and i couldn't take it.

so i guess i repressed that memory. four months between worlds and i didn't remember because i didn't want to remember.

and then she told me.

goddammit, anya.

i don't have time right now for...for whatever she expected of me. forgiveness, maybe. we don't have time to talk. not now.

we have a trap to set.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

two hundred and seventh night

we saw them again. well, anya spotted them first. she's better to catching things - i would say she's more paranoid than i am, but if you really are being chased after by people inhabited by eldritch birds, is that really paranoia?

in any case, we spotted then and hid. they didn't see us, i think.

we need to move again now. i don't know how they are tracking us. maybe it's some eldritch sixth sense, where because we were in the place with black sands, they know know where we are. if that's true...fuck, we can't escape them.

but we have to try.

Friday, July 6, 2012

two hundred and sixth night

i found her in the hall. anya (i don't think i can continue calling her croc, it just sounds weird). she broke down crying when she saw me.

i hugged her as she told me about seeing tigris, seeing the hound. i had almost forgotten what i was like to hug someone, but i tried calming her down and it worked. i brought her back to the room and then went out to see where she had seen the beast.

for some reason, i don't feel any fear about the beast. it's strange. even when i saw it, it troubled me but not in the way the golem machine did. not in the way that the mother and child did. perhaps it is simply what the dream of my brother said (despite the fact that i know it was simply a dream and probably didn't mean anything).

in any case, i didn't see the beast, so i went back to the room, but anya was already asleep.

i'm glad we're sticking together. in some ways...i don't know, she reminds me of when i was young and it was just me and paul. old memories that i used to think painfully on, but now the pain is gone from them.

i only wish my other memories were as intact as they are. those missing months still bother me.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

two hundred and fifth night

we changed motels. anya, or i guess i should call her croc, and i decided it was too dangerous to stay in the same motel we woke up in. the mother and child could still be out there, looking for us.

so we're sticking together. it's...actually nice to have a companion. i've been quite alone since the golem machine took paul. i didn't think i would ever actually enjoy someone else's company.

there was an incident, however. we went to a supermarket and pooled what was left of our cash in order to buy food. cheap food, but food nonetheless. and as we exited the supermarket, we saw it.

tigris. the creature that the dream of my brother told me about.

i could not make out how large it was, since it was so dark, but i saw its eyes. they were red and staring at us, as if they could see straight into us, see everything about us, and it disapproved. it opened its mouth and i saw a pink tongue and white teeth.

we hurried back to the motel. i don't know if it followed us. croc says that it seeks those with secrets.

i don't have any secrets. unless...unless there is something i did during the time i don't remember. but if it is that, then it's a secret even to me.

edit: croc's pov of this event.