We are the darkness, and as the sun sinks in a bloody streak to the crux where the land rises up to touch the bottom of the sky, we ride. Like razors cast from liquid steel, our wings flex against wind and our engines cry out with the roar and the fire of a thousand ravening furies. Alive, we tear a streak across the sky that divides the heavens into darkness and light. We are the gozen, lieberstoter, honored dead. We carve our names in the bosom of the night with knives and nails of light and liquid fire.
Headfirst, we plunge into the darkening clouds. Tonitura and Fulgura prowl close at my sides, Tomoe and Hangaku burn rigid at my flanks, and the Boanerges dominates the sky high above. Izanami shudders around and beneath me on the prismatic wake of wave cascades that flay themselves in their vain attempts to rip us out of the sky. With electronic clarity, we pick out our targets one by one, dozens flagged in the darkness within fractions of a second. The machine grows tense around me, around each of us. The unspoken command bounces between neuron and steel, reverberates through mind, machine, blossoms clear in the fleshy centers of us all.
It is time.
Reflexively, we loose our payload, and in the sudden storm of angry warheads, there is a scream; the sound of death’s own seraphim ripping from our wings like the hunting fingers of skeletal banshees. Plumes of fire and white fly from vectored thrusters, and for a moment the night is endless cloud and billowing ash, a fimbulvinter of burnt fuel and tortured sky. We lose ourselves in the moment, watching scopes and feeling the feedback as the machine reaches into our minds to show us what we’ve come to see, images that burn on wires and leads into and through the inner bodies of meat and bone that crouch within an exoskeleton of windborne steel. In the distance, the lines and jutting teeth of our targets burn brightly, reduced to rubble so suddenly, so precisely, that the streets below have yet to be scorched. In the darkness, the Boanerges speaks, and we obey the call, folding ourselves into the night like ghosts. There will be nothing to betray us when the sun rises– only the testament to our wrath will remain.
I decided to try something new, so I started this experimental art campaign. The plan was to write a piece of flash fiction only five sentences long and spread it across five business card sized slips of cardstock that could easily be placed around in public places or handed out, with each card being a piece of the puzzle. It would have to be good-- the story would have to be composed of sentences that were strong and intriguing alone, but could hold their own when combined into a story on the front page of my website, all while still giving an example of the kind of writing I do. (see below)
After all, what better way to get the word out about my books, my online series, and my collection of articles and short stories? (Check the links to the right and down.)
Also-- If you're interested in picking up the whole set of five numbered cards in series 1 in hardcopy, let me know! If you include your mailing address with a donation of $5 (see link to the right and up labeled "Donate") I'll gladly send you an entire set of signed cards, but act fast! Supplies are limited!
What can I offer her? A home. The simple comforts that come with four walls and a sprawling garden surrounded by land begging to be cultivated. Soft smiles as constant as the morning sun, and a passion that warms as gently and completely as the last coals of a dying day. Bits of wit salvaged from the works of a thousand authors, and the rock-solid patience and dependability of weathered stone. I am but one man, a simple man, a firm-souled homebody with simple tastes, simple desires.
But these things are not for her, they don’t hold any appeal for her warrior soul. Joy for her is the next adventure, the next thrill. She finds happiness amid the booted feet and broken glass at the bottom of a beer soaked moshpit. She revels in the flying sweat, the blood, the thrashing, pounding beat, and the adrenaline that comes with every split lip and battle bruise. She screams into the wind and the rain, runs blind into the whipping, rocky darkness, abandoning both shield and spear and emerging from every vicious skirmish wanting more, grinning at the feeling it gives her, at the feeling that tells her she is alive.
Every morning when I awake, I greet the sun with a silent smile that says I too am alive. When I rise and begin my day, when I sit down to write or immerse myself in the world of the mind, I know I am alive. I run into the depths of my own creativity and struggle not to emerge, always wanting more, always trying to take each idea one step further and follow it to its final destination. I put pen to paper or thrust my hands into the soil and revel in the creative process. My greatest thrills come from within, blossom into the forms of sudden inspiration, planning, creating, in building something new and wonderful with my hands. I find happiness in the leaves of a book, joy in the petals of a rose. I struggle and fight and battle against the tides of life just to spend one more moment at home, lost in my own internal pursuits, but she...
She flies away from the homes she knows like an unbreakable falcon. She seizes fate and danger in her talons and rockets recklessly skyward, each time reaching higher, straining toward the stars with open-mouthed grins.
I am the falcon that never strays far from the falconer. The great unknown is, for me, a place more fun to watch and experience through the tales of others than to ride out on the wavefront of a whirlwind tour of fire and thrashmetal. My flights of fancy are all taken within the confines of my mind. When I look at the distant horizon, I see the beauty of the mountains, the way their peaks are clothed in snow. I see the many colors of the endless sky and I smile, knowing I could never name them all. But for her, the horizon is a goal, a new adventure, a new reality to thrust herself into and conquer, to live within for a time and explore every crevice of. She looks at the sky and sees only the distance, the next frontier, the next challenge.
She is a warrior, and I am a poet. She is more at home lashed to the prow of a pirate vessel as it plows headlong through stormy seas, and I am more at home among my books and the dusty old authors who write them. I spin verses, I study, and I fight to become a better writer, a better teacher. She runs free, leaps from the sky and drags the heat of battle to the field before her like a flapping crimson herald. She runs screaming into the fray, leads every assault like a veteran valkyrie come to life straight from the eddas of old. She fights to fly in that new frontier, claws her way forward and hurls herself into each greater challenge, always running to the front lines wherever the struggle is hottest and the battle is most pitched against her.
If Óttar, a man once as simple as I, could rise to take his earthly crown and catch the favor of a goddess as beautiful and loving as Freyja, then maybe I too could find the path to the giantess who will tell me of my pedigree. Maybe I too can catch the eye of a goddess, this one goddess, this fearless berserker who is surely the chief among valkyries, this untamable Freyja incarnate. Maybe I can be the golden-bristled battle boar that carries her, not as a weight to snare or capture her, but as the one reliable constant in her ever changing life, the sole devotee to her mortal tradition and keeper of her sacred temple, the immovable rock which waits for her, always there to shelter her against the waves.