Empowered

Empowered I rise to face you
The fallen have claimed their own,
Another sleepless night to
Conquer being alone-
A thundering heartbeat rages
Against the injustice of Love
Forbidden by Eden’s cages,
Held captive in Eden’s glove-
The goddess Diana shudders
The Earth trembles with her tears-
The place that Hate now plunders
Voices cries that no one hears;
The eyes of Love once saw
And the ears of Love once heard
The lack of any flaw
Or guile in any word-
Now the cages free their charge
And empowered I rise to face you-
Love will find you wherever you are,
And your payment will be what is true.

Bob

This is very different for me; just a little feel good sort of piece. I’m not sure one can fully appreciate the dark, seamy side of the human psyche, without the light to compare it to. And while I’m a pretty questionable character most of the time, I have my warm and fuzzy moments, as well. I hope you enjoy! Love, Felicity


Kitty tugged hard on the rope clamped in the billy goat’s teeth. It was also around his neck, but as he was mired in mud up to his belly, he had nothing else to eat, so the rope would have to do.

He’d gotten out, again. And Daddy had said if he got out again, he was going up the river. Kitty wasn’t sure where that was, but it didn’t sound like a place Bob would really enjoy. And now he could add stuck in the mud to his laundry list of crimes that included eating Mama’s petunias, eating Mama’s tomatoes, eating Mama’s garbage, and eating Mama’s linens. Mama was at the end of her rope too, and she wasn’t happy just eating it.

Bob belched and chewed the rope. He stared at her with empty yellow eyes. He always looked like he was smiling at a very private joke.

Kitty dropped the rope and sat down in the grass. She felt a few tears squeeze out and slide down her cheeks. She was going to have to get Jim to help her get him out, and Jim was mean-spirited and would go right to Daddy and tell him, Bob got out again and got his fool self stuck in Mr. Montgomery’s mud puddle. You couldn’t ask for a worse big brother than Jim.

If Joey was still at home, he’d have helped her get Bob back to their property. And he’d have gone on the quiet and given Mr. Montgomery some money to smooth things over with him, too.

The old man was due home any minute, and wouldn’t be able to get in his drive because there was a goat in it. And a girl. And he was a cranky old man.

She dried her face on her sleeve. There was nothing to do but go get Jim.

“What’s this, Girl?” It was Mr. Montgomery, standing behind her with his elbows all askew and a look on his face meaner than a grizzly bear. “What’s your fool goat doing on my property?”

She scrubbed her face again and tried to look grown-up. “I’m Kitty Largen, from-”

“I know who you are, Girl,” he said. “Why can’t you Largen people keep your stock on your side of the property line?”

She shook her head, “We tried, but he climbed out of the fence.”

Mr. Montgomery muttered, “If you knew how to build a decent fence…” his voice trailed off while he assessed the goat happily chewing rope in the mud puddle. “Get in there and get the dang rope out of his mouth. Put it around his middle behind his arms, understand?”

She nodded and waded into the mud and did as he said. She handed the end back to him.

“Now you get up under his ass end and push when I tell you.”

So he pulled and she pushed, and with a great slurping, sucking sound, Bob walked calmly out of the puddle. Mr. Montgomery handed her the rope and surveyed her ruined clothes. “Your mama’s gonna have a fit when she sees you, Girl.” Bob started chewing on the leg of his overalls, and he kicked him off.

Kitty started to cry again. Mama was going to do worse than that. She was going to tell Daddy that that goat was just too useless to live, and Daddy was going to send up him up the river. She looked up at Mr. Montgomery’s mean gray-bristled face with its mean saggy jowls. “Do you know where up the river is?”

His face softened at her tears. “No, Child. What do you mean? And this silly goat ain’t worth blubberin’ over, so just stop that.”

She nodded, and tried to dry her face, but now her sleeve was caked in mud. She told him what Daddy said about Bob.

He nodded, and plopped down on the grass bank behind them. “Well, Child, up the river is the place goats go when they won’t stay in fences. I won’t lie to you, it ain’t always the best place, but for Bob, I’m thinkin’ he’d find a nice home, with another nice girl to take care of him up there.”

She felt a glimmer of hope. Bob let out another noisy burp and walked over and pulled Mr. Montgomery’s John Deere hat off his head. The old man snatched it back and called him a fool again. “He’d miss me though,” she said.

“Yeah, for a while.  But I reckon it’d be worth a little missin’ to make your pa happy again,”

Kitty knew that was true. “You really think he’d be happy there?”

“I do, Child. Now you git on. And take that waste of hide with you.” He’d got all gruff again. “And you tell your pa he owes me some gravel for what it done tore up in my driveway.”

She nodded and pulled on Bob’s rope while Mr. Montgomery got back in his car. She didn’t care for the thought of what Mama would say when she saw the state of her, but she felt a little better knowing maybe up the river was a better place for Bob.  “C’mon you fool goat,” she said, and braced herself for their homecoming.

The Editing Journey

I have a tentative release date for Erotic Passages. We are aiming for a predictable but appropriate Valentine’s release, or a few days prior, hopefully to give those significant others in our lives time to make a gift of it! Wishful thinking? Perhaps! It would certainly make an excellent gift for yours truly.

Right now, it is in the editing stages. I’m combing through it, making tweaks and adjustments. And my lovely publisher, Yael, is being so patient with my perfectionism! She’s wonderful to work with, I highly recommend her services over at Pro-Wordsmith. If you’re in the market, give her a try.

My perfectionism is justified, I think. This book is a reflection of me, as an author. It’s a weird little digital child I’m putting out into the world. And if people are willing to pay for it, it’s very important to me that it be worth the price. It’s also a reflection of the years I’ve put into this journey. I hope it’s the first of many. But I also want it stand apart as the first, and worthy of a discerning public.

Erotic Passages will be available for Kindle, through Amazon. I will offer a free copy to any takers, in exchange for a fair review.

Feel free to leave me any comments with promotional ideas, like contests, or giveaways. I am new to all this, and would like to get some buzz going for my little bundle of joy. 🙂

Love, Felicity

Wreck

Reviving an older story…

Felicity Johns

It flared, a red flash behind the eyes, blinding, intense. His face swam in and out of focus. It was red, too. But it was not the red of artificial light. It was the red of life. Running over his brow and pooling in his eye-sockets like a horror movie haunt. It made him unrecognizable, the pools for eyes and the way his soul left.

Tires screeched. Someone screamed. It might have been her because she felt it, but it was too far away. The pavement pressed into her kneecaps, and the blood on her hands left tracks on his body everywhere she touched him. The cry in her throat stayed there, buried beneath the pounding of her heart that she was certain was trying to follow him into the darkness, or the light, or wherever it was he was going.

Hands dug into her biceps, pulling her back. The…

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The Carousel

Author’s Note: Read parts one and two of this story here and here.

 


 

 

“I’m afraid I’m losing my will to live,” she told him. The carousel skimmed by them and she smiled and waved at the boys on the purple zebra and green duck. “I’m afraid I don’t care.”

He didn’t know what to say. He thought he’d lost his long ago, but he was still here, so he figured it had been an illusion. Or perhaps having a will to live in the first place was the card trick.  “You have to get out.”

She smiled toward the carousel again. “You make it sound so easy. Like it’s a choice I have the ability to make. Like it’s something I just wake up and do one day, and happily ever after is something lying on the bedroom floor; I just have to bend over and pick it up.” She looked at him. “You’re not happy with your life. Why don’t you change it?”

That made him uncomfortable. “It’s out of my hands.”

“Why? You don’t like pan-handling? Then get a job.”

He couldn’t decide if she was serious. Her words stung, though he suspected they probably shouldn’t. He suspected she was making a point that he was too slow to catch.

She waved at them again. “You can’t just get a job, John. The universe is against you being more than a guy scraping his needs out of a sidewalk every day. The universe is against me living a day without getting hit in the face so my kids don’t. It’s not that easy. It’s not something divided down the middle by a line.”

“I’m sorry.”

She looked at him again. “Why?”

“It sucks.”

“And yet, here we are.”

He thought he was falling in love with her. He also thought he should probably tell her, but he couldn’t. She might take it the wrong way and stop coming to the store, stop calling him in the afternoons while the boys were napping, stop meeting him in this park where he could stand by her side with his hands in his pockets and listen to her talk and smell the dollar store detergent on her clothes. “You’ve given me back mine.”

She looked at him quickly, her face wide with a question she didn’t ask.

He looked away. Rolled a bit of lint between his thumb and finger deep inside his pocket. The music stopped, and children rolled off the carousel like fleas off a wet dog, running to parents who took their hands and led them back into the stream that was real life. Calvin and Martin ran up to the them, and Martin tugged his sleeve till he discarded the lint and pulled his hand out where the little boy could grab it.

Carolina bent and lifted Calvin, set him on her hip. “Time to go home, guys,” she said. John searched her tone for something that said she accepted what he’d said, or at least heard it. But there was nothing. Only that real life they walked back to.

She left him in front of the Save-A-Lot, with her usual quiet smile and ‘see you around.’ He watched the van drive away, and knew he couldn’t be in this lot the rest of the day without her. He shoved his hands deep into his pockets and followed his thoughts home; thoughts of kissing her, of undressing her and putting his lips on each bruise and scar. Thoughts of the man who administered those marks that turned the backdrop of his mind black. Thoughts that there must be a better way, a way through it, a way out of it.

For both of them.

The Beast Inside

In this, the tomb
Of hearts encased
Where darkness falls
For fears embraced-
It is the moment
Left to chance
That gutters, wavers
Breathes its last
While we watch
The love that thrived
Between us suffer
Gasp and die-
This kiss of life
This ray of light
These silken velvet
Lips on mine
To taste this sun
Upon my tongue
What dark kept hidden
From both of us-
In this, the womb
Where lust gestates
Where want and love
Do lie in wait
For branding touch
On hungry skin
For eager mouths
To taste again
Slip against this
Satin cage
And feel what rampant
Desires rage-
Awake the beast
Where she sleeps
And pray for strength
To still the beat
For in this, the tomb
We live and die
We find our peace
We fall or fly
Within this darkness
Locked inside
A forgotten Temptress’
Wanton sighs-
Ignite and burn
With lover’s touch
To quiet her
And quench her thirst.

Carl

Author’s Note: This is a continuation of the short story “Carolina“. While it can certainly stand on its own, “Carolina” provides a bit of background on John.~

It wasn’t about the face staring back, eyes separated from one another by the jagged, chipped fissure running the mirror’s diagonal. It wasn’t about gray eyes that were at one time blue. Nor the fat lip that split again each time she spoke.

It was what she saw in it. Years, stacked up like old newspapers. Flesh puffing her cheeks and concealing her jawline. Yellowing teeth. Gray strands dulling her blonde hair.

It was who she was.


 

“Fuck, Carolina. What in the name of fuck is this fucking shit?”

She cringed. Not at the string of profanity that dripped from him like slime. At the loud, sharp slam of the glass bowl of oatmeal against the tabletop.

“Breakfast, Carl,” she returned.

It was certainly surprising to hear nothing. She turned. The bowl made solid contact with her face, momentarily stunning her blind and deaf. She staggered back and caught the corner of the Formica counter top sharp in her kidney. Her breath left.

Thank God the boys were at Gramma’s.

When her hearing returned, so did the pain. Deep and throbbing in her lip and jaw, echoed by stabbing protests in her side.

“Fat cunt,” he was saying. “How many times?” he was pushing his face close to hers, and his breath reeked of stale Beam and bile. “Lay off the motherfucking slop. Can’t you fucking stir up an egg once in a while?”

She inched along the counter away from him. Blood slid like molten metal on the back of her throat. She didn’t meet his eyes.

“Fuckin’ weak bitch. No wonder the little assholes is growin’ up to be sissies. Get to the store. I want eggs. And some of that ham steak. Today.”


 

It wasn’t about the fact she was in a gas station restroom, in her pajamas and overcoat, using cheap brown towels to try to wipe away the forming bruises. It was about who she had become. Who he had made her. And how she had allowed it to happen.

There was a tap on the door.

“Occupied.”

A hesitant voice asked, “Carolina?”

Her heart stopped. Flipped over. She awaited the next beat, half hoping it wouldn’t come.

“I saw you come in – I was in front of the store… It’s John.”

There it was, the next beat.

He persisted. “I’m worried about you.”

She cleared her throat. “I’m fine. Thanks for asking.”

“I’ll wait,” he said.

“There’s no need.”

“I’ll wait.”

Wait for what? What did he want? Money? Panic swelled through her chest when she realized she’d left the house without her purse. She had no way to buy the eggs and ham steak.

A sob, the first one in a long time, caught in her throat. She forced her voice around it, forced it to be steady. “I don’t have any cash today, I’m sorry.”

There was a moment of silence long enough to make her think he’d left. Then, as though through clenched teeth, “Would you open the door, please?”

He wasn’t going away. And she thought she might just have to stay here till she died. She couldn’t go back to the house empty-handed. Or late. She unlocked the door, and moved to stand with her back to it, studying the tiny white tiles on the wall, each surrounded by dark stained grout. There was writing. She didn’t register it though.

The door clicked closed. He didn’t say anything.

“I’m alright, really,” she said. Her lip cracked again. She had to turn to grab another paper towel, but he intercepted her, caught her hand and took it from her. He ran it under the water, till it was warm. Then he faced her, tilted her chin toward him and began to carefully swab at the blood. She flinched.

“It’s okay,” he whispered. “What happened? Run into a door?”

She swallowed and fought the tears.

“Where are Calvin and Hobbs?” That what he called Martin. It made the five-year-old giggle, and he’d asked her in the car the first time, “Ma, who’s Hobbs?” When they’d gotten home, she’d found a picture of the strip, on the internet.

“With my mom.”

“Where’s he?”

She shook her head, clenched her jaw. Averted her eyes and clutched her coat over her breasts, to hide their heavy sag inside her tired old pajamas. She wished he’d stop looking.

He sighed, stepped back and dropped the soiled towel in the trash. “You should call the cops.”

She finally looked at him. She had before, and she’d always thought he was attractive, beneath the burdens life had laid on him, behind the tension around his eyes. He had a gentle smile. There was no smile now, though. “It doesn’t work,” she said. “He’s just meaner when he gets out.”

“It would give you time to get away, take the boys and go someplace he couldn’t find you.”

She laughed, a humorless bark of a sound that bounced off the high corners of the room. “And go where? I got no money. I’ve got nothing that’s mine. Except the boys.”

He stepped in and put his arms around her, pulled her close. She stiffened, feeling self-conscious, awkward, but also wanting badly to accept the comfort.

He held her for a long time, not moving, not speaking. The fluorescent tube over the cracked mirror hummed and buzzed quietly. He was warm and solid. She found herself feeling at home against the cool nylon of his coat. A fly ricocheted mindlessly off the ceiling and light.

He finally stepped back. Held her by the shoulders, looked into her face. They were equal in height. “What’re you gonna do?”

She shook her head and moved away, to the sink. She looked at him in the mirror while she moistened yet another rough towel. “I have to go back. Hope he’s sleeping so I can grab my purse.” So he didn’t know she’d been so stupid to forget it, and still didn’t have his ham and eggs.

John shoved his hands in his pockets, like he was looking for something. “Here,” he handed her a crumpled ten. Her eyes welled. She was well aware it was likely all he had, that it meant he wouldn’t have what he needed for the day. She shook her head. “I know it’s not much. But take it.”

He pressed it into her palm, and curled her fingers around it.

She didn’t know what to say to him as they emerged into the hard daylight of the parking lot. He walked beside her, and she felt his hand on her back. She wasn’t sure what made that okay, only that it was, and that it felt good. For just a moment, safety cocooned her thoughts.

She went inside without him, bought the eggs and ham steak. She took the change from the cashier and walked back out through the automatic doors. She looked for him, expecting him to be gone. But he was there. He took the bag from her. She dropped the change into his coat pocket, and he smiled. They walked to her van.

“Could I come with you?” he asked.

“Come with me?” His words didn’t quite register.

“Yes, come with you. Would he do anything if I were there?”

She grappled with the concept, and why it made her feel happy and terrified at the same time. There was that safe feeling that followed him around. But it couldn’t happen. She wouldn’t put him, a virtual stranger, in the line of fire. “It would be worse, John. But thank you.”

He reached up touched her face, ran his thumb just beneath the throbbing split in her lip. “I wish you could come stay with me.”

She tried to smile and flinched instead. “I’ll see you around,” she said, as she got behind the wheel.

“Wait, here.” He pulled a scrap of paper from his pants pocket. “Got a pen?”

She found one. He scribbled something and handed it to her. “That’s a seven.” He grinned. “Call me, if you need anything. I’ll do whatever I can, Carolina.”

She looked at it, then at him. “Why are you being so nice to me?”

He didn’t hesitate. “Why did you give me your number a while back?”

It had been a moment of desperately wanting something different than what she had. A moment of instinct. A flash of realization that he was nothing like Carl. “In case you needed anything.”

He smiled. “In case you need anything, Carolina.” He bumped the car door lightly with his hand, and walked away.

Wasted Moments

Love is grateful
For a soul to touch
For a life to change
For a heart to clutch…

Listen to the ticking clock
In the heavy silence of darkness-
Whiling away the time that we have
Moments that pass as days in the themselves
Holding their nights to their breasts-
Breathless in the secret intents
They hide from us while we rest-
Hours slip by while we carelessly watch
Trying to understand our state
Of mind that presses to find the time
To speak before it’s too late;
Listen to the ticking clock
In a place where no clock lives-
Have you ever heard the sound of time
Falling to nothingness?

The Christmas Post – Or Close as it Gets

As I scroll through my reader these days, I see so many holiday related posts. This is because, for “normal” people, it’s a big part of life, this holiday season. I’ve run blogs before… kept one going for over 8 years, to be exact, and as always, regardless of my personal feelings on the subject, I start feeling that pressure to conform. As though, if I don’t wish everyone a ‘merry,’ ‘happy,’ ‘good’ something, I’m that guy with the green fur and permanent frown.

I won’t conform, though. And I won’t go into my history with Christmas, either. Nor will you hear any ‘bahs’ or ‘humbugs’ coming from this direction. My feelings are my feelings, they are rooted in experiences I’d as soon forget, and I do actually want every person to celebrate and enjoy the season in whatever way they choose.

My wishes for peace and joy go out to each of you; not just at Christmastime; it is something I wish for you every day of the year.

Love, Felicity