InkStains: Day 1

NOTE: This entry is almost verbatim out of my Moleskine; it is just the words that spilled, as ink, from my fountain pen. A few have been corrected in transition, but mostly these words have not been massaged into a final story. This is from the first day of InkStains.

The moon, overhead, she smiles on me, she guides me, she offers me the greatest of gifts, even if I cannot recognize them at the time.

The moon, high above, sends her blessings, sends her archers, sends her poisonous children, to aid me in the great things I must, in this lifetime, accomplish.

The moon, behind her veil or fully exposed, she doesn’t merely watch. She manipulates. She plans. She changes. She’s responsible for the most intricate machinations.

The moon, hanging low, tonight, eyes focused on me, angry, disappointed, dissatisfied — she’s taken her blessings, she’s sent her archers and poisons, she means to eradicate me.

I won’t let her.

I have learned a great many things, and fostered a great many talents. As fine as her archers may be, I am swift, agile, light as the wind and fluid like no thing these men have ever seen.

Arrows in the air, a rain of them, a storm, but I retreat to city streets and narrow alleys. I make them chase me into close quarters. They are archers, designed for long range assault, and have little protection from my knives.

I don’t make them suffer. I am quick, merciful, merely fighting for my life, my own life, perhaps the fate of the world. I don’t know if I’m bold enough to make such an assertion.

Ultimately, the moon’s archers fail, and the moon’s archers fall.

I have devoted myself to the study of a great many poisons. The powders do not tempt me. The smokes dissipate. The odorless, colorless, invisible and undetectable poisons that she sends, the moon up in her sky, swim uselessly in my veins. They fight amongst themselves, acting and counteracting, and yes they make me ill, they bring a sickly color to my cheeks, they steal my strength, but they fail to bring me down. My lungs still draw breath. My heart beats. In an uncomfortable, unsightly moment, I am purged.

Almost, I admit, the venom of a lover threatens me, but even against impossible beauty I emerge triumphant. I would like to say I changed my lover’s heart, that Love conquered, but this night, that would be a lie.

Finally, atop a hill, still within sight of the city and my former lover’s fresh grave, the moon comes down from the sky wrapped in elegant darkness, shadows cascading from her hair, eyes like diamonds, lips and hips dangerously curved.

We circle each other on the hilltop. I can defeat her archers and her poisons, her plans and designs. I can overcome the loss of her favor. I do not know if I am capable of defying the moon directly.

“Why will you not die?” she asks.

“I will. But not tonight.”

“Why must you resist me?” she asks.

“I never have.”

“You mock me.”

“Never would I dare.”

She smiles. It’s the sharpest weapon in her arsenal. She says to me, “I may have fallen in love.”

I don’t presume to ask, so I say nothing.

“You have proven yourself worthy,” she tells me. She steps forward. I step back. Her smile trembles.

I say, “You turned away from me.”

“Tis my nature,” she says.

“You set your archers on me, and your poisons.”

She shrugs. “I have more archers, and more poisons.”

“You wanted me dead.”

“Death,” she says, “is not an end.”

“I will not die this night,” I tell her. “I will not fall for your lies, your machinations, your fabrications. I will not fall for you. You’d be gone within a fortnight.”

She looks away. A moonlit tear slips from her eye. Sadly, she admits, “Tis my nature.” Then she looks to me again and extends a hand, a final invitation. “But I can promise a glorious fortnight.”

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