Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Red House

I used to have a story here, but I am slowly deleting posts. For my own amusement purposes, I wanted to keep my original comments (I find them useful or entertaining) and the dates I posted this (as it is usually the time I completed the original text). It was only the original, but I still disliked having it around.


This was an idea that occurred in my creative fiction class last year. We had to write a brief exercise with a lot of feeling, like cold, hot, etc. Back then it was about a guy named Neil and his wife wandering around in the fog and wind, while Neil falls down a small hill and sees a red barn, and ends up in some other world. Then that's all I got to. Here, I made it an inn. A lot of the people here aren't really people. I like to think of the tan leather jacket kids as the pumas, really. The bushy guy, Neil's dog. Morelia is a genus or family or something of snakes. I decided to not put in her nickname of Snake. Boar's real name is Suscroff, after the boar's scientific name Sus scrofa.

Monday, March 24, 2008


“Chlol, chlol. Tchau muon tchitli tlul.” The man sitting across the fire spoke. My assistant, Adrian, looked at me uneasily. He was new and had not yet fully grasped the language of the Akzametl, the Edge-Folk, so called for living at the edge of the great forests.

I leaned towards Adrian and translated, “Quite indeed. There are things in the forest.”

“Tzhilitchauchlici tu kan-

“-The… Animal-Folk live.” Adrian and I shared a look. The Empire believed the great forests were uninhabitable. “Ti tu kan muontakli?” I asked.

“Tcha! Tcha! Tzhilitchlici tcha takli!”

“No! Not at all! The Animal-Folk are not animals! Ti tu kan muonmet?”

The man paused. He cocked his head and stared hard at me. This was how his people expressed thought. Adrian shuffled on his log. It took me a while to get used to this, for years their hard staring was uncomfortable. “Tcha… Tzhilitchlici tcha met… Tzhilitchlici te Tzhilitchlici.”

My assistant looked at me for translation. I hesitated, the Akzametl were rarely unsure of themselves, something that made them hard to work with and one reason why the Empire was not so favourable of them. “He says that no, the Animal-Folk are not people. The Animal-Folk are the Animal-Folk.”

“What does that mean?” Adrian asked. I looked at him sardonically. “Sorry, I know, stupid question. Should we report this to Rogerts then? You know that the Empire will love hearing about new naked natives running around this place.”

“I don’t know. They could be just the run of the mill ape for all we know. But do you notice how Jaktl fiddles with that marking on his right hand? It’s the symbol for Akzatliquatkitlihaucan. Here he his both death-bringer and life-giver, as opposed to the Mountain-Folk beliefs. That is why his symbol is black, but the hourglass-figure representing woman. The Edge-Folk must fear the Animal-Folk. Perhaps we may have to do a search for these Tzhilitchlici, then. See why they are neither called animal nor human, but rather both.”

“Tchu litlitkahamoun?”

“Chlol… Tuli-Kitlaunli hacamoun.” Adrian raised his eyebrows at me as I stood up. I nodded my head towards our tent and said “Sleep time.”

· · ·

My youngest son, Kyran, appeared behind the door-frame. He looked up at me, staring but not speaking. He was a good boy, if a little shy. I looked to my wife and she nodded to me. I smiled and took my son’s hand as I took him to his room. He crawled into his bed and there I sat down and as per ritual, I began my tale:

“In the far away lands, across the Edge where the Dragons lie, there is a woman. Her name is Chaliqi. Every day and every night, this woman collects a bundle of Golden Wheat. In the morning, she mills it by the Lautqau River and as it turns to flour and to dough and to bread, it grows even more radiant with each touch of Chaliqi’s hands. She takes the Golden Radiant Loaf to her grandfather who lies sickly and old in his house in the mountains. It is a long and arduous journey, but she carries the loaf in her arms, so none may take it from her. She reaches her grandfather in the mountains and he eats the Golden Loaf. With each bite, the radiance fades. Seeing that her grandfather is now healthy, Chaliqi takes her journey back to the Lautqau River, but as she does so, Akzatliquatkitlihaucan, the Dark Snake of Birth, sneaks into the house of Chaliqi’s grandfather and bites him. She does not know this and the Golden Loaf that her grandfather has eaten draws him into a deep sleep from which neither noise nor touch may awaken him. And the Dark Snake of Birth takes a piece of his life for the Dark Snake needs life sacrifice to tend to his crop of Golden Wheat.”

Kyran shifted in his covers. A sign for me to stop.

“Is the Dark Snake the Demon-Foe, father?” he asked. To the Akzametl, the Dark Snake brought Life to this world. To the Empire, any belief other than theirs was heresy and witchery. Lies were considered a sin and yet to tell the truth was worth your life when the truth was unwanted.

“The Dark Snake took life, son. The taking is life is forbidden, is it not?” I responded.

My son nodded his head, and then asked, “But what about the woman? She stole from the Dark Snake!”

I smiled. My son, the ever thoughtful one, who never lets any thing go by him. I answered, “Some things… Some things are not as they seem. Think on it, Kyran. Tomorrow, give me your answer.”

· · ·

Adrian came running to me, nearly tripping over a piled loop of rope. He called out, “Sir! Sir! I heard the news! Kyran just ran into my office and told me. You plan to do it!” He reached me, past the grumbling sailors and various suitcases and cargo being loaded onto the ships. His leather bag slammed against his thighs. “You’re going to search for them, aren’t you? The Animal-Folk, the Tzhilitchauchlici!” He grinned conspiratorially. If I came back with any sort of finding, the Empire would award me richly and I would receive an even better pay than I did now. I smiled sadly at him, at how young he was. He and my son were two years apart and both so similar in youthful innocence and hope.

“I will search for the Tzhilitchauchlici, Adrian. Dammit! Wipe that grin off your face! You know why I am going. Just… take care of Kyran, and little Aria, will you? You may wish that I find them, but I don’t. I hope that damn forest kills me.” I said. I resented the bitterness in my voice, even though I did not show it. Adrian was a great man, if faulted to be a little young.

Adrian bowed his head and said in a low voice, “So it’s true… Your reason for going, it’s because your wife was murdered, isn’t it? That’s why you’re leaving. If you succeed in finding the tribe, they’re most likely to be hostile. If you don’t, well… that forest is hostile. You won’t survive the trip. I was hoping you’d see Aria and I married, that you’d walk her down the aisle and watch with pride from the sidelines as I said my vows. Your absence will darken her life, you know this. You don’t care. You can’t. Well, sir, it has… It has been a pleasure to w-work with you. I’ll take my leave now. May the ailments take you.” His eyes were red and glossy as he straightened up from his bow and stood, staring at me. Then he turned, stumbled across the port and disappeared behind a carriage.

A sailor called out, exclaiming that it was time to depart. Silently, I picked up my personal luggage and carried it aboard to my cabin. My only thought was of despair in how the ship was full of men of no moral obligations. Men just like the one that raped and murdered my wife.

· · ·

Metihauca, a female guide stopped and clicked. The llama carrying my luggage groaned while stopping. “Tcha nlili kqlimacklit.” She would take me no further. The Akzametl had been reluctant to allow a Miktli, a Guide, to show me a safe passage into the forest. The Miktli were a wandering tribe, a rarity to have in abundance in any area. Their maps and guiding were the best in these lands. To have one in service was a great honour.

I may have worked with the Akzametl for a time, but not to place any sense of honour. I was merely a diplomat. But these men knew death. They have seen my hair pepper and then grey as we have worked together. They have heard my tales of my son growing of age and my daughter receiving her first bloody flower. We share stories, the tribes-people and I. They tell of their hard winters and barren summers, I tell of mine. I watched as Jaktli’s son procured the demon’s spots and I told how to cure them. And they knew. They knew that this time, when I stepped off the ship and travelled to their village, that there was something different. A wife of Jaktli gave me the bitter tea that they drink at a death’s service. When I requested that I would ask in which direction to find the Animal-Folk, Jaktli held his hand on my shoulder and said that the dead will meet no bitter end. A meaning which, as long as the grieving drink of the bitter tea, those who have died will find happiness in death. I believe he meant to drink of the tea when I left to my journey into the forest. And then they assigned the Miktli woman to guide me. At times for those old and weak, a guide will show them to a place they desire, sometimes to the coast or mountains. A place that they had a relation to. Most headed towards a place of ardour or personal meaning; I headed towards my death.

Adrian was correct in his assumptions, I wished for death and I will find it. Jaktli will drink his bitter tea, Adrian will scowl as the memorial service is performed, and my son will bitterly wallow in work and find some greater purpose. My daughter, my little Aria, she will cry and despair. She will wear a symbol of grief and hide deeper within herself than after her mum died. Adrian will attempt to get her out of the house and she will refuse. She will cry and suffer the plagues of a survivor. But I am the parent and I have nothing left.

It is my time to die.

The Miktli woman leaves.

· · ·

The air is thick and dank, the air of a tropic-forest. The ground is dark and rich; each step brings the scent of rot and leaves. There is a lack of light; day and night are the same. The stars, the sun, the moon, they are all eclipsed by the towering, damp trees.

The world is slick with humidity, pressing with life and death presents itself everywhere.

A root catches my foot and I stumble. It is hard to stand; my legs and arms are weak with hunger. My mind reels with the world and I turn to my left and vomit. I remain there, prostrated and ready to expel more fluids. My eyes slowly force themselves to focus upon the bush in front of me. Nauseating unfocussed thoughts slam against the small inch of focus in my mind and I vomit again. Tears leak down my cheeks in pain. A slam of agony forces my body to eject as much liquid as possible. My very mind is being tortured—stabbing, wrenching pain. My voice is hoarse as it lets out a howl of suffering.

· · ·

Pain is my first thought.

I open my eyes to find myself on the forest ground. A leg is in front of me. I jerked, and then stopped. While the pain in my head is a never-ending force, movement causes my stomach to rebel. I slowly turn towards the rest of the body sitting beside me.

A woman. She is naked, her breasts have never seen a support and her body remains natural without the deformation of clothing. She holds a few scars, the main one on her left leg—not deep, but she will keep it for life. Her hair is lengthy, the hair on her legs like down. She is obviously unwashed, the hair matted together. Her eyes are hard and shock me with their ferocity. They dart to me and to the forest. I see that her skin is taut, not fattened by everyday consumption of meat, but the hardiness found by living in a world of harshness. I realise that as I stand, a waft of a musky sweetness comes from her. This woman is something I would call nature. I realise her beauty and the magnificence of her being. I realise that I have found life.

Then I realise that I am naked.

I move to cover myself and she turns swiftly towards me. Her muscles taut and she lurches forward slightly, ready to spring on me in case I flee. She glares at me, giving me a harsh noise. Taken aback, I pitch backwards. In catching myself, my chest exposes. Her eyebrow raises and she grins, not showing off her teeth. Her canines are sharper and more pronounced and when she grins, they show a sense of dangerous play.

I remain still. She coos a little and looks away. I pull myself in; the lack of clothing brings an odd light feeling on my skin, as though I am missing something.

After a while, a man comes, just as natural as the woman. He is older than her and has greying hair like me. He holds more scars than her, one across his cheek and his back and arms are riddled with them. He is muscular. He too has long hair and a beard. He makes a soft yet loud call to the woman and she answers back. He throws a satchel to her, who in turn hands it to me. It is soft and contains water. I drink.

· · ·

I am in a throng of these natural beings. Every so often, one sniffs towards me and looks me over. Usually they give a sort of chuckle to themselves and go about their business. Sometimes a younger male will make a threatening gesture.

Looking around, they appear to have a social order. There’s the requisite alpha male and female which lounge near the centre, giving barks to various workers. A group of children play watched by unisex care-takers. Gatherers come with berries, nuts and other plants of use. Sometimes they wander over to what appears to be a doctor of sorts to get an order for some plant. Hunters come by, holding spoils of strange birds, small hogs and what looks to me as a tree-rabbit. I can see guards up in the trees and I am sure that there are more that I cannot see. From what I noticed, there is no distinction between male or female. Men take care of children and they hunt; women gather and guard. One young male hunter came in with a slashed leg and ever since he has prepared food and medicines. I believed that he would have lost the leg and be left out to die, as is the cruelty of nature. However, the doctor bandaged and placed salves and a poultice on the leg. For the past few days, two of the women have kept by him, sleeping and cuddling next to him. His leg is fine and he appears to only wait for the gash to heal.

I have remained in their camp for several days and the woman who found me has come and gone, her place is as a scout. At least that is what I believe. I can find no real language, just a series of noises and motions. I have tried the Akzametl language and some of them merely gave their chuckled coos and others gave me a look of confusion. I have found that the woman and I can communicate, but I do not understand how—or at least not entirely.

On the first night, I awoke starving. I had long since ran out of food and water during my trek through this forest and was long-needed of a meal. The woman had been sleeping beside me, something I found disconcerting given my lack of clothing and that I am a man of moralities. I do not go sleeping with other women, not since I found all I wanted in my late wife. She started and when she saw that I was awake, she nuzzled closer to me, trying to get me to lie back down. I nudged her away. She made a noise, one I suspected of annoyance, and left. She came back moments later with a bowl of nuts. I ate them, but ever since then, I’ve noticed a series of unspoken conversations between her and me.

I have found myself sleeping with the woman every night. It seems as though how these people keep warm. There is nothing sexual or intimate, but there is this odd sense of togetherness. I realise that this is what it is to be in a pack. We are joined as a unit, everyone participating in a duty to which they are fit and none are to be left behind. I do not know my place in this, I am unfit to be a hunter and completely unused to their customs to be allowed to teach their children.

· · ·

It is a warm night. I lie awake, listening to the sounds of the forest and those that live here. Next to me is the woman, who I call Che. She awakens and nuzzles closer to me, latching on. I move myself to be more comfortable. My wife and I never slept like this, but I never knew why. This sleeping is warm, comfortable, and secure. Che and I are one, together underneath the canopy-tops.

She slips into a light sleep, dosing and slipping awake enough to give a noise of comfort. I brush my hand across her back. Her skin is soft and warm. The air around us is a casing of our scent mingling. There is a male musk mixed with her sweeter, more feminine smell. I nuzzle my head against her’s. She moves upwards to lick at my ear. It startles me; this is the first of this type of action. She makes a light growling and holds one of my arms as the other brushes against me in a movement to kiss my lips. I move more forcibly away.

Then her smell hits me.

It’s entrancing and sweet, a strange attraction.

There’s a faint strength of spice in it, something familiar. It’s intoxicating.

I lean inwards, towards her. The smell of her, the feel of her skin, the taste of her all pulling me in. I cannot pull away.

I do not pull away.

All the time, this deep inner part of me takes over. My actions, my wants, my Che. My mind no longer functions as logic and rigid thinking. I no longer remember the lessons taught as a child about morality or the works of the all-father. I no longer remember my wife or children; they are all a world apart to what is a dream. My mind and this deep thrumming part of me exchange.

I am the animal.

I am the wild.

I am the nature.


The original point of it was to say that there is more than one way to live, there is more than one way to think. He was supposed to leave, wander and die into the forest. But now I'm not so sure... he might live on, he might not. The thing is, he is no longer the stuffy archaeologist from the Empire anymore. He's now this wild thing in the middle of a gigantic forest. He doesn't even HAVE a name. The one character in the story to not have a name, and it's the main character. I don't think he really needed one. He was just a random man from the Empire (Britain, essentially; and the place where the tribes are are obviously the Aztecs and Amazon rain forest).

It's not a happy ending. The thing is, he left all these people behind to mourn and cry over him. He LOVES his daughter, but he left her in his own misery. His son and assistant hate him (Kyran is less likely to admit that). His wife was raped and murdered. The own man's way of thinking and views were destroyed; he had sex with some RANDOM feral woman for no REAL good reason. Whether or not he dies physically, his life is destroyed and dead.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Blue Rose - Valentine's Day Gift to All

There was once a young man and this young man loved a young woman very deeply. This young woman was not entirely fond of this young man and like most of her gender at that age wanted, she asked him to show her his love for her.

Now, he did not know what to say. So he asked instead what she would want. Like most women at the time, she sent him along on a quest. She had done this quite a lot to her suitors, which was fine for them as it tended to allow them to see the world, conquer various strange beasts and end up with a bar wench who was quite prettier (and less apt to ask them for more than the typical house and children) than the lady they were trying to woo. After her last suitor failed to bring her a unicorn and the one before that a cloak of starlight, she decided to ask for something she believed a little more attainable.

So, when the young man asked her for what she wanted, she asked for a bouquet of blue roses. When he asked her, “Why not just one?” she replied, “Because one is not enough. Every year for ten years, you must bring me one blue rose. Only after that I will see that you are persistent, loyal and hard-working.” Believing this to be a time for adventure and fun, the young man consented to the deal. Pleased with herself, the young woman went back to her daily activities, which mostly included thinking up impossible things to ask of young men.

The young man planned and packed that night for his journey. His father hinted that he had heard during his own travels that a young woman in the Orient had asked for a blue rose and had even received it. Believing that a good place to start as any, he headed for the Orient.

However when the young man arrived at his destination, he found something relatively different than what he expected. Upon asking a young princess how her husband had gained a blue rose, she told him that he obtained it by being honest, true, valued her love, had been patient and kind. The young man told her that he had to give his young woman a blue rose every year for ten years and to that, the young princess smiled and told him to remain as honest, loving, patient and kind as he was now and his young woman would find what her heart desired. Confused by this strange idiom of wisdom, he felt that he would continue his way west.

As he headed to his destination by train, then by ship, he spoke to an old man with a thick accent. The man spoke of new times and a blue rose. When the young man asked the old man if he knew where the blue rose was, the old man said, “I plucked death from a lake and saved my love.” Unsure of what the old man’s tale meant, he followed the train west.

He found himself lost within the islands of the Mediterranean and there he found a woman. As he had asked many who had helped him along his way, he asked her if she knew of blue roses and their location. To this, the woman said that she had not fashioned any rose of that colour and to end his search for it was in vain. Wistfully as she sewed rose petals together in the form of a small woman, she mentioned that she had heard of poems contrived due west. Perturbed by the woman’s rose petal person, who had sprung to life and danced, he headed as she said, west.

He again took use of ship and yet another train and here he found a man somber and, when people asked him, told them a short fanciful combination of words. The young man question the somber man about blue roses. The somber man answered that those you will search the world all over and people will mock you for your try; the only place to find blue roses is in Death’s embrace.

Not very fond of that answer, the young man felt that he would, instead, dream. He took residence in a meadow in the west, where it was warm and many would often time slumber in such places. He fell asleep the warmth and golden sunlight and peaceful breeze. And there was a young lady. She was his age and she wore a dress. He smiled at her, for that was the polite thing to do. She bent and tended to a bush of flowers. Curious, he bent over her, realizing that that was not an entirely polite thing to do. She asked, “Do you wish for something, sir?” To this he replied, “I wish for a blue rose.”

She looked at him funny then. She asked why. He answered that he needed it to please a lady. She said, “You do not need these things to make a woman happy.” He told her that she wanted it. She replied, “Wants flitter and scamper about; they do not stay the same. To appease desire is to do the impossible.” To this he remained silent for a while.

She asked this time, “What do you dream for?” To this he replied, “I dream for a young lady who dreams for me.”

She said, “You dream for the impossible.”

He asked, “Why?”

She replied, “Young ladies, these days, only dream for things desired, those cloaks of starlight and unicorn fouls and bouquets of blue roses. They do not dream for love but for a show of it.”

This made the young man think again. He seemed puzzled, trying to work things out. He nodded his head and said, “Then what I dream for and what I want, you cannot give me?”

The young lady smiled at this and answered, “I can give you what you dream for, young man. Awake and find yourself a pub.”

To that, he awoke. Not quite remembering what he dreamed about, he headed toward the town for something to eat. There he spied a pub called the Blue Rose. Smiling at the irony, he entered this pub. There it was quite quiet and still, not many travelers wandered into this parts and the pub was not really the rambunctious drunk pub but more of the calm with delicious stew variety.

He ordered what was delicious and as he sat by himself, a young lady entered. The man who ran the place greeted her and she gave him a bouquet of blue roses. The young man exclaimed loudly to this and startled the young lady. She laughed at his surprise and said, “Not many travelers come to these parts, we’re not on the map you see. Who are you?” He told her that he was a young man and that he was searching for a blue rose. She said, “Oh, well, you’ve come to the right place, I s’pose. Here, you can take one. They grow lovely around here, probably the soil.” And she handed him a blue rose.

To this he paused, looking at her. He said, “I have also dreamed of a young lady to take with me.”

To this, she paused, smiling at him in embarrassment. She said, “I have often dreamed of a young man to take me away with him.”

He took her hand, placing the rose on the table and kissed her lightly. She stroked his hair and he closed his eyes. She kissed his forehead. The next day they both traveled from the town which they never found again and with it they brought their love and blue rose.


This is my Valentine's Day gift to you all. It was written to work with my gift to Michael, my boyfriend. Those pictures of his gift shall appear when I actually give it to him.

Monday, February 04, 2008


An old woman wrapped in a shawl, red in colour, was rocking on her porch. She was enjoying the nice warm sun and slept. The woman was most commonly known as Kozani Shapash and while most knew who she was, nobody knew much about her otherwise. The townsfolk had learned that she was never either generous or stingy, but inbetween. She was not friendly and nor was she rude. Shapash, or Shapa as the little ones called her, remained neutral in everything.

That seemed very much impossible, and some of the town philosophers would contemplate this while sipping their coffee in the local shop in the morning. As far as anyone knew, she had never married nor had children. A very rare few people and a pinch more of other folk did actually know the answer to this question; however they would not be apt to discuss it, even if you could get a hold of them.

Now, one day a stranger came into town and the wind blew, as more than often times it does in these situations, and he entered the local coffee shop. He was a medium-sized man wearing a tan mud-splattered, with a few darker stains that gave a hint of long-splattered blood and even some other non-descript stains, trench coat and a dark moss coloured fedora. He was a traveller most certainly and not one of these touristy loudmouths that the town seemed to get too often these days. He was a brand of traveller that was well-welcomed because he would have stories to tell of worth and kept a certain amount of mystery on his person. What the townsfolk did not know that this was a special brand of traveller, one that was even more rare than usual.

The man, his name Thomas Shriver, ordered a small latté and sat down next to the early afternoon philosophers (who normally discussed how much film has fallen his Federico Fellini and how the producers should have left Orson Welles be or how publishers shouldn’t let 15 yr old boys publish their books and that nothing new is left to write). One of the men with a lime green tea mug leaned forward, “But what about this… You, Winston, can write about the mushrooms and Mark, you do the cats. I’ll write about the socks and-”

“-But I want to do the cats. And why are there cats in this anyways? WHAT are we doing?”

“What do you mean? We decided last time that in order for this to feel right, there needed to be cats.”

“But I don’t like cats, you like-”

“Alright, alright! No cats. How about envelopes?”

“Why envelopes? That doesn’t make anymore sense than cats OR socks OR mushrooms. I thought you said we were gonna do something normal.”

“Oh come on! When does writing EVER make sense?”

“So now what? We’re just going to do things that have no thought process then? We’re just going to end up just like those experimental film-makers - explaining the world by not making sense.”

“FINE. If you don’t want to do this book, then we’ll just call the entire group off. I’ll message Kat and Maddy; tell them that we can’t do it.”

“Look, I had to pick up my daughter 15 minutes ago, I’m sorry. I have to leave.”

There was a silence as one of the men stood up. As he left the shop, the one named Mark smiled and shrugged his shoulders. He gave a meek noise, Thomas didn’t catch it and he was fairly certain neither did the remaining man, and left. Thomas looked at the man with the lime green mug. The man with the lime green mug sighed and noticed Thomas staring at him.

“An anthology of stories about kitchen-related objects, I presume? Mushrooms ready to be cut and placed into a stew, an envelope ready to be sent to a sister’s birthday, a cat drifting in for her afternoon meal and socks - things that do not belong in a kitchen but yet they somehow found themselves there anyway?” said Thomas Shriver. The man with the lime green mug gave a puzzled look. He was about to say something, realized another and with an apology, left the shop in a hurry.

Thomas Shriver smiled and drained his cup. He stood and threw his cup away. While exiting, he paused and asked a woman, “Do you know of the old woman named Kozani Shapash?”

“Oh, well… I do not believe I would call her old, however she lives on Oak Road, I think. Dear, where does that woman live?” she said turning to her husband.

“That is fine. I just needed to know the road to travel by, thank you. Ah, and no, stealing the stray hundreds from your dying mother is not justified.” Thomas said and before the woman could recount against what the man said, he left the shop with a jingle of the bells on the door.

He paused at the roadway and breathed in. A car or two passed by. “Oak Road, eh?” he murmured. He stepped into the road, strong deliberate steps. A wind passed around him, unlike that which is normal. It did not, say, pass around a little girl with her balloon and mother or a town-cat that eats on the scraps freely given by various shop owners. As he took his steps, the place he was heading in across the street changed from an old trinkets shop and shoe store and a blackened out building that went out of business to a young tree and a yard and a porch and a house. It was not blip of instantaneous or melting into a thing to another, but more so as though Thomas walked several miles by crossing the street. It was a direct walk, as some say as the crow flies however here it may be more prudent to say ‘as the stork walks’. Thomas was always most fond of this ability, it certainly was less work than wandering the through the mazes that people had built. He had once heard a preacher say that the god’s path was not easily walked and yet all Thomas had to do was step onto a road with a destination in mind and there he was. Then again, he was quite certain that the man was not actually talking about the REAL god-path but some sort of thing some one once made up.

Thomas glanced over to the end of the street and the sign said ‘Oak Road’. Sure enough, he had indeed arrived at the right location. Even the house he stood in front of had an old woman covered in a red blanket. It was all too easy and as some say, too easy means something is wrong. Thomas shrugged at the thought and walked up the porch steps.

“Now I assume that you are under the guise of ‘Kozani Shapash?’” he asked the old woman.

She did not stir, but answer nonetheless, “Ah, I was wondering when my little Norn would come around for me.” Thomas cleared his throat and she opened a lazy eye at him.

“Yes, well I prefer Thomas now. I suppose you may call me at the present, Lee Thomas. I have been known on occasion to be Thomas Shriver. It’s these Americans and the New Ages. They just don’t know the old gods like they used to. A New World, A New Name, eh? My dearest Mati Syra Zemlya?”

“Toh! I always hated that one, Thoth. I prefer the Earthmother or Sun-Mother.”

“Hm. Yes well, now you’re the Sun-Mother. It’s mid-day, isn’t it?”

“You did not come to chat about the Americans and their names or the New World and the End of the Old Ways, did you? Odin, he calls himself Wednesday now, came around and mentioned it to me too. Get on with the business and leave this town be.”

“Yes,” Thoth said. “Well, let’s see here.” He rummaged through his pockets, bringing out a piece of parchment and a stork feather quill. “Crocus All-Mother, the Serpent-Mother to Knossos, the Death Goddess, the Warrior Goddess, the Aphrodisiac in Living Flesh, Earthmother, Kar the Wise, Mother of Athena, The Hound of Hades, One of the Three-Fold Face, Plague-Bringer, Sun-Mother, The Meadow and Lady of the Organs.” He paused for breath. “And you know I never understood that last one?”

“Oh, please do get on with it, Thoth. I do not have all day.”

“Ah, yes. I do suppose that you do not. Have all day that is. Usually my clients are less… ah… knowing of what to come. They tend to keep silent and are not in hurry. I haven’t judged a god for a while, you know. We just don’t die that easily. I suppose I’ll have to get used to it. People judge themselves these days.”

He hurriedly read through the last few lines to catch his place. “I, Thoth, the Judge, shall ah… judge your soul and heart against the Feather of Truth. If your soul and heart weigh more greatly than the Feather of Truth, then you shall be eaten. If the Feather weighs the same, you shall go to the Underworld, which Anubis, the Guide, shall show you.”

“Where is Anubis?” the Crocus All-Mother asked.

“Oh? Well, he is holding up our morgue we’ve put together. Have to make a living, of course. Now, where did I put that scale?” He again rummaged through his pockets, bringing out a normal-sized scale that looked, in the least, a little tired. He place a raggedly feather, again from his pocket, on one side of the scale. “Your heart please, Crocus All-Mother?”

“I haven’t had to take it out for ages, you know. I might have to dig around a bit. Probably in the back somewhere out of the way.” She took off her dress and stabbed her hand into her chest. She grimaced and after a moment of feeling around, she pulled it out. It was still, silent and looked as though it had not been used for a while. “Here you go.”

“Ah, thank you.” He placed it one the other side of the scale. They watched as the heart and Feather bounced from heavy to light and light to heavy. Finally the heart settled on being lighter. Thoth made a grunt and scribbled something down on his parchment ledger.

“Well, you shall be reborn, then. Of course, you ARE a god-being. That’s no surprise. The people will always need something to worship.” Thoth flipped the page. “Now it says here that you shall become Saffron. It’s not too readily worshipped around, so you might not get too high a rank. However you shall be, let’s see, patroness of spice, food, chefs, red dye… Still of crocuses and autumn crocuses, poison too.”

“Thoth, it’s been a good run, hasn’t it? I guess this Old Way is not needed anymore. Good luck in your own travels, Thomas.” Said the dying Crocus All-Mother.

There was a flash. It was not light, it was not dark. It was Change. It was Death and Birth. It was that of a goddess needed no more being reborn into one that was. It was an Old Way disappearing from the Human Lands and a New Way coming into. It smelled of red and was the colour of spice, of cooking and was as light as night and dark as day. It was a flower dying into existence. What was once an old woman with a red-coloured shawl was a young girl in a red-coloured spring dress.

“Hello,” said Thoth to the girl named Saffron.

She smiled back and asked, “Would you like some tea? Maybe some lunch?”

“Ah, no. I must decline. Work to do I am afraid.” Thoth responded and he left.

As he began to cross the street into a place over in California where his old partner Anubis was and his morgue resided, he thought that he might have curry for lunch. He knew a great, and expensive, Indian restaurant that served a special curry with saffron.


This is my newest piece. I was originally going to make it my first manuscript to send out to some fantasy magazine. HOWEVER, a few days later, I've decided the idea is a little too flimsy. It's sort of... based from TWO ideas that formed during the writing of it. One is about an old lady with a red shawl and she IS the Crocus All-Mother, the Lady of Spring and Autumn, of Sun and Moon, Life and Death, who dies and turns into Saffron. The other is about a medium-aged man named Thomas. He is the embodiment of Thoth in the new ages. Shriver comes from schreiben, German from 'to write'. Thoth IS a god of writing. He tells the writer in the coffee shop not the IDEA, for the writer came up with it himself, but more of the connection from dream-stuff to real-world ideas. Lee Thomas is the Judgement side of Thoth. Lee being a name in Korean that means 'judge' or 'plum'.

So instead, I think I'll send in a rewritten story about the Daily Life of Thoth and write one about Saffron for a series of illustrated books on spice.

Satu is a Scandinavian name meaning fable or fairytale.