Worms (Haiga-Senryu)

For Colleen’s 2019 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 128 #SynonymsOnly Spring & Sing, I used Bound & Call. With my graphite, I combined this Senryu into a Haiga.

Senryu:

a call bluffing wild
worms inching a creepy dive
bound for her apple
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Hunger (Fiction, Poem)

For the monthly writing prompt that Diana Wallace Peach provided, this is my inspired prose and poetry from this image:

pixabay image by Natan Vance

Be sure to check out all the amazing submissions that people are doing all month!

So first off, sorry that my story is >1,000 words. And also, please be aware that it contains some mild language and violence.

Prose:

Moldy wallpaper festooned the office building I was currently living in, providing an eerie atmosphere to the already desolate environment. The power to the whole city was shut off long ago and as oft happens when things get left abandoned, decay moved in. Without human contact, it felt like a prison though I was trying my best to sleep through most of it. I was stuck in another long interval, but this time I wasn’t amusing myself with keeping track of how much was left, or even ticking off the days on the walls. There actually was a real danger that I could miss the next eclipse entirely.

It is curious how time stopped having any meaning for me. Days would casually blend to weeks and skip right over into years without any real apology. The notion of setting an alarm, or being on time for an appointment were becoming as antiquated and foreign as my desires to seek out food.

The few adventures that I had tried eating an old discarded candy bar or crinkled bag of chips from a vending machine sent me writhing with such a bad bout of nausea that I quickly wrote off the whole exercise. It didn’t really make sense why I could go on without it, or why my body didn’t need water for normal functions but what could I do about it? It was all out of my control. Worrying about things like that stopped mattering so long ago. There was only one thing I wanted anymore, and all I could do was wait.

Before it all happened, I wasn’t interested in news media or being social with a daily status waved about for a thumbs up. I just figured I wasn’t that interesting and honestly, I was okay with it. My friends wrapped their lives around each other’s acceptance – funny that even then I had the impression that I was an outsider. I wasn’t connected to the pulse of society, and the irony of that now was biting me right in the ass.

I had little information on what happened, or why in the hell the sunlight caused me so much pain. As solitude in my hideaway increased, I found even the light coming in from the office windows to be unpleasant and I lurked further into the dark recesses of the building.

Routine walks around the floors of the building started to have less and less appeal. Doing thousands of push-ups yielded no change in my muscle mass, and since my body wasn’t losing any, there seemed little point in obsessing over it. Sleep was the only activity that continued to have the same payoff.

But tonight, something was different. I woke with a start. There was something out of place. For starters, it wasn’t actually night, and yet it was dark as any before. Darker even.

Why is it so dark? 

For a moment I just laid there, unable to answer my own question. And then it came to me. Like a lingering summer cold that finally melts away, lifting away mountains of fog to reveal beautiful clarity. I felt more alive and vibrant that I had in so long. I could smell things again. I could feel the wind pushing on the office windows, gasping through the broken holes and rustling some paper. And I knew the reason, the eclipse was starting.

The next few moments were a blur; I don’t even remember navigating through the building. A driving hunger was pulling me down flight after flight of stairs in a blaze of motion. I found myself sprinting down miles of empty streets towards a smell that drove my senses wild. I never knew lust like the voracity that coursed through my veins during these eclipses. And suddenly there he was.

The man was facing me, and as I approached at a sprint, he yelled something unintelligible that echoed in the silent streets. My footsteps thundered as I continued my charge. His stance turned rigid, but he did not flee like so many others had done. Instead he brought to bear a long rifle he had been holding at his side and he aimed it at me. I didn’t care, my wounds always had a way of healing without fussing about with pain or annoying discomfort. Being shot at sometimes happened when I obeyed the hunger.

I knocked him done easily, and effortlessly ripped the gun from his hands. Amused at how easy it had been, I threw it across the street. I smiled with satisfaction as the force of the impact snapped the rifle in half.

As I turned back, I sensed a weird tingling in my right arm. Surprised I looked down at a large needle protruding from where the man had shot me. I was annoyed now, and my anger began to boil. Rage flowed out, blending with the desire to feed on the only thing that ever mattered to me since the hunger took over my life. I snatched out the needle from my arm and then turned with devastating attention to the fallen figure.

The protective suit broke easily in my hands. The man’s thrashing was only causing my strength to return in waves of crushing force. He screamed and screamed as I bit into his flesh. Blood gushed out, splashing out in a torrent over his body as I fed. I knew I was being sloppy, but I didn’t care. There was little time, the eclipse would be gone in a few hours and I had to find another before the alignment passed over the city. With the moon out of position I would lose all the power it now blessed me with. Not even a full moon stretching out of a gibbous offered me the clarity that the eclipse now encouraged. There wasn’t any room to be delicate.

Just then, something slammed into my side. Startled, I looked down and saw the mussel of the pistol the man was aiming. He fired another round and I fell back as another bullet found its target.

I had been shot before, but this felt different. Ages of not feeling anything and suddenly I was overwhelmed by barrage of sensation. Gasping with surprise I stumbled backwards as pain pulsed with a sickening rhythm in my chest.

I flew back to the shadows, towards safety. The closest place was an alley and as I stumbled, shots rang out behind me. Angry sparks chipped off bricks as I hurried to get out of range.

Dammit, I had been so careless. I should have searched him before I let the hunger take over. With every step I could feel strength leaking out in nasty little drops. But the worst sensation was in my right arm. A strong tingle was apparently spreading a numbing cold up into my shoulder. What was in that needle?

The man had shouted something at me when I first rushed him. But I had only heard echoes, snatches of a phase. Now that I was thinking about it, it had sounded like he was saying “cure”.

Barely a few more feet and I found my legs giving out. I fell behind a dumpster to catch my breath and as soon as I slid down against the cold metal, shots slammed into the side. The dumpster screamed in protest as the bullets tore holes inches to where I hid.

Whatever he had shouted didn’t seem to matter now. Nothing seemed to matter. I slowly pulled my hand away from my chest and stared with a curious sort of detachment at the rivers of red that began to flow down, running out past my legs.

The irony of the whole situation made me cough out a feeble chuckle that turned into a few shallow coughs. My heart was slowing down, there wasn’t more it had left to do. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a cure after all? An end to the apathy and listless existence that plagued me for so long? An end to the hunger that haunted me?

Things were very hazy now, I wanted to just close my eyes for a moment. I could think about this all later. Later. All later. The world was trying its best to spin and I saw no reason to fight it anymore.

Poem (Senryu):

Moon invites our lust
No cure will kill half of us
Seeking out more blood

Roots (Tanka)

For Colleen’s 2019 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 125 #SynonymsOnly Origin & Write, I used Roots & Pen (though to be fair, I was using Pen as a way to enclose, rather than to write…).

Left bare – my roots dried
Below singing her sorrow
Human waste chokes life
She dawns a dress to pen Spring
Disease, it seems, lets it fall

2019

This is one of my own watercolors that inspired me to write, or dare I say to pen?

Hollow Void (Haibun-Haiga)

For Colleen’s 2019 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 124 #SynonymsOnly Game & Trouble – I used Match & Ill in a Haibun. I also used one of my own watercolors to elevate the Senryu into a Haiga. I wasn’t sure if there was a duration to the prose, so it may need to be reduced for brevity.

Poem:

Spreading void, ill light
Match's neglect waxes high
As hollow wick dries

Prose:

Thick pools of viscous swirled and bounced in front of my vision as I struggled, trying to adjust to the all-encompassing void. I searched in vain to discern shapes the pitch, hungry to pick out anything familiar. I couldn’t see a thing.
 
The house’s darkness was unyielding, holding tightly to any vestige of light. Deprivation had a lethargic effect on me, bonding with some primitive fear that seemed all too happy to glue my legs in place. This instinct continued its torment by spreading cold goosebumps that crawled over my skin like wildfire. The unpleasant sensation was causing the hairs on my arms to stand at attention.
 
I stretched out my hands slowly and they soon discovered the hollow door frame I was standing in. The wood’s tactile reassurance offered very little in the way of comfort as it was but an insignificant island in an overwhelming sea of abstract. And yet the dim glitter of hope held me captive. As often an anchor moors against an anxious tide, I too stood hostage, tethered to this hollow refuge.

The sleeping house was still new to me, having only moved in the week before. Most of my belongings were still locked safely in cardboard and smothered in bubble-wrap, strewn about the strange rooms with curious abandon. There was simply no sense of where things were in the dark.

Gradually, ever so slowly quietly, I felt myself calming down, gaining control. Relieved that the tension was finally over, I took a steadying breath, chasing out the last knots of terror from my stomach. I was going to be okay.

As soon as I released my noisy exhale, it echoed back to me from beyond the black. As if waiting for this very moment a savage snarl broke out from down the hallway. Something had heard me. Something alive was with me in this darkness, and now it knew exactly where I was.