The Time Crevice

I have been struggling with some mental health issues for several weeks but I do seem to be coming out of it. This is the beginning of something I have began to write. Hope you enjoy it….

***

The Time Crevice

The girl worked quickly, trying to take advantage of what little natural light remained of the day. She dug a shallow hole with her fingers deftly working the cool, damp soil into a small mound at one end so that it resembled a miniaturized tombstone. She removed a small fabric wrapped packet from a hidden pocket in the dark blue jumper she wore slowly opened it to reveal six smooth brown, black, and gold stones. Carefully, she placed each stone in the hole, quietly recited an incantation over them, and sprinkled some soft powdered ash across the top before carefully replacing the dirt over what now resembled a fresh miniature grave. She whispered a more desperate, fervent incantation, and sprinkled the topsoil with a remaining layer of soft gray ash. She folded the now-empty fabric packet and replaced it back into a secret pocket, whipped the remaining ash from her fingertips on the hem of her jumper, and sat back on her heels, breathing deeply.

“Ka’tya!”

The girl jumped at the sound of her name. Her uncle, a member of the Red Guard and the King’s trusted Advisor, was calling for her. “Ka’tya!”

“Coming, Uncle!” Ka’tya stood up, brushed the dirt of her jumper, and went to find him.

Etienne was standing with his back to the doorway when Ka’tya arrived at his quarters. He seemed lost in thought, staring fixedly out a window the overlooked the courtyard Gardens. He was a tall, stoic man, with sandy brown hair and dark expressive eyes. He had a serious demeanor, but he also laughed often, and although he was often lost in his thoughts, as he seemed to be now, he served the King well, and his ability to keep secrets was commonly known and respected. Ka’tya was his only living relative, and he encouraged her activities as a Healer, but kept them an enigma even unto the Master he served. His position in the Red Guard as a Helmsman and Advisor kept them both safe and more than well provided for. Healers were both feared and revered, and Etienne taught his niece to be more of an observer than an attention seeker, and it was a role she wore like a second skin.

“Uncle?” Ka’tya rapped on the doorframe with her now clean knuckles. Etienne snapped back to the now present.

“Ah, yes. Ka’tya. Is it done?” He nodded towards the door so she would quietly close it.

“The ritual is complete,” Ka’tya affirmed. “Time will only tell if it worked or not. Harvest time is months away, and the land will not show signs of health until then. And then there are the Dragons. If they do not hibernate early this year, it will not matter how well our land produces at harvest time—they will take it from us, and burn what they do not consume.”

“Do you really suppose that the Dragons hate us—the people of Alonia—that much?” Etienne reeled on his heels away from the window and faced his niece.

“It is not a choice that is theirs to make,” Ka’tya clarified. “The Queen’s Curse mandates it. Our only hope is that the Healers and the Goddess Priestesses can come together long enough to lure the Dragons—at least the young, inexperienced ones—to the Temples where they can be sedated with the Red Dust to induce hibernation.”

“And if that fails? If the Goddess Priestesses continue to force the Healers underground?” Etienne was a pragmatic man; it was why the King listened to his counsel. He was also able to see things from all sides without judgment most of the time. When it came to his niece, however, he tended to be a bit over-protective. Ka’tya called it being “nose-blind.”

“Uncle,” Ka’tya kept her voice steady and soothing, a trick she had learned from her mentor, Ana’l. “We Healers are just as much to blame as the Priestesses. There are no Innocents in that feud, except the people of Alonia.”

“You are so much like your mother,” Etienne’s voice caught slightly. His sister, Sofia had been his best friend. Her husband, George had been killed on the battlefield before Sofia had even known she was pregnant with Ka’tya, and she died in childbirth. Etienne, a powerful magician in his own right, had recognized the girl’s gift almost immediately, and Ana’l began her training as soon as the girl could walk on her own. “You are so forgiving. You speak no evil toward the Queen, only to the Queen’s Curse and its’ mandates.”

“The Queen is not to blame,” Ka’tya said emphatically. “She was cursed before she was even conceived. So was her mother and her mother before her. It is a curse of Generations, not one easily broken.”

“But, as a Healer,” Etienne asked softly, “you do believe that she may be healed one day?”

“That is not up to me,” Ka’tya smiled grimly. “I know that I am not powerful or skillful enough to break the Curse. Only someone in her lineage who is just as powerful as the Queen’s Curse can break it. They say a Generational Curse is predestined to be broken by a certain person at a certain time only under a specific set of circumstances designed by the Goddess Herself.”

“They also say that a Healer can help usher in such an event,” Etienne said in an oddly quiet voice.

“Uncle,” Ka’tya laid a gentle hand on his shoulder. “You cannot force a miracle. If you could, then…” she shrugged. “…it wouldn’t really be a miracle, now would it?”

“Maybe not that one,” he conceded, seeming to snap back into the present again. “But what if you, Ka’tya, could help with a different kind of miracle? Something only a Healer could aid in? Something the King and Queen themselves have tasked me with finding such a Healer?”

“What did you have in mind?”  Ka’tya eyed him suspiciously.

“Just hear what they have to say and then make up your own mind.”

“What?” Ka’tya squawked. “You want me to see the Royals? Now? Like this?” she indicated her dark jumper and her messy hair. “I need to braid my hair and change into the Colors of a Healer. I need to present myself in crimson, gold, and green. I can’t go like this.” She self-consciously started to braid her hair.

“You can make yourself more….presentable if you wish,” Etienne’s eyes were crinkled with good-natured laughter. “The Royals requested I send for a Healer. They also…suggested that I might bring my niece to them, since obviously, you are the best Healer that I know of. I agreed. I also let them know that I was making no promises—you have a mind of your own and that you would hear their request but beyond that, it is entirely your choice.”

“And you wonder why I seem terrified,” she muttered.

“Ka’tya,” his voice was like smooth butter now. It was his turn to apply his Diplomat voice. It was the voice Ka’tya never disobeyed. “I know it is scary. But King Sebastian and I have been friends since we were children, and I assure you that Queen Sia’ha’na is not nearly as frightening in person as the stories you hear may have led you to believe.”

***

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Sludge

I know I have not been keeping up with the blog. I am going to try to be back on track. I have some plans to network and do some freelance stuff. I did Camp NaNoWriMo for the month of July, picking up with a story I started last year for the month of November for NaNoWriMo. The point is, I am writing again, even though it is not every day. I am trying to make a better effort. The following is a piece of flash fiction I just sort of threw out there, and I am hoping something will stick. Enjoy!

Sludge

At first, we thought he black liquid was oil, that we’d struck it rich and we’d be able to retire and live in leisure. We actually started writing down all the ways we’d spend the money. Our first choice was a converted school bus turned into a tiny house. We already had the land—a piece of farmland Tom inherited from his grandparents before we met. Tom let the parcel get overgrown, and was able to rent the property out to a nearby goat farmer ever summer. The goats ate the underbrush that grew abundantly on the land, and Tom was able to maintain the it with no actual manpower on his part.

The Tiny House Dream was something we both wanted, and the converted school bus was an idea that came to me one day while I was watching some home improvement show on television. I was also doing laundry at the time and I remember getting excited about the stacked washer and dryer unit that a family had installed in their RV. Once I knew that a washer and dryer were possible, I was even more excited about the Tiny House idea. The school bus was not cheap, but it could be affordable. My sister was a school bus driver, and she let us know whenever there were auctions. We were saving up, as the conversion itself is going to cost us, big time.

Unfortunately, the ‘oil’ we struck was just mud and sludge from a failing septic system. We had to use about a third of our savings to repair a third of our savings to repair it. Tom, trying to relieve the stress of the situation, quipped, “There goes our dream down the hole, to fix a hole.”

I rolled my eyes and went back to my laundry and my Tiny House daydream.

Snipette 1

So I have been slammed at work, but I have been writing. I had been a bit stuck, but I am inspired again, at least somewhat. I will be giving you some snipettes of what I have been working on. Enjoy!

*** From “A Dance in the Rain”

“I was just lucky that Jeremy was as understanding as he was. I will say this: Jeremy is not a bad guy. He never was. We just grew apart. He loved my mom and dad. He knew my mom was a wreck, and both of my brothers were….” she hesitated. “You know how they are. They are shit in a crisis. So it was me or nothing. And Jeremy couldn’t ever say no to me. That was part of the problem.”

“I had the opposite problem with James. He was such a damn control freak.”

“James had other issues going on,” Helena reminded her. “And the crazy family they came from didn’t help. Shelly was a total control freak. There was no doubt who wore the pants in the family, and it wasn’t her husband.” Shelly and Frank were their former in-laws.

“She is still like that,” Ellie said. “They insist on seeing Charlie, and I can’t keep him from his grandparents. I really wish they would leave us alone, if you really want to know. If it wasn’t for the girls in the family, I’d just block their number and not ever answer if they called.”

“So,” Helena teased, a little unkindly “you would be basically emotionally held hostage by them. Isn’t that what James does to you now?”

“That’s not fair,” Ellie said darkly. “But I see your point. I am still friends with Katie, Alice and Marsha. I am civil to Shelly and Frank for their sake. And I see Jeremy every once in a while. He loves Charlie.” She shrugged. “However, the bitch he married can die for all I care.”

“Now wait a minute,” Helena said, much more kindly. “I know Jeremy wasn’t happy when he was with me. Especially towards the end. I know I was miserable. If Jen makes him happy, then I am all for that. I know the way it went down wasn’t ideal, but I did leave him for someone else. I knew what the consequences would be. I know Jen didn’t wait long to swoop in and ‘comfort’ Jeremy after I left. However, if it had been the other way around, I might have done the same thing. If she loves him, and he’s happy, then I am happy for him.”

“What upsets me about Jen,” Ellie said quietly, “is what it did to Jesse. You don’t break up with one brother and actively go after another brother. Especially when he’s still technically married. Jesse says he’s okay with it, but we both know it has to hurt. And it obviously has made his relationship with Jeremy tense. I don’t blame Jeremy. I agree he’s a good guy. I blame Jen. She was pretty much a predator.”

“I could have fought for Jeremy when everything fell apart with Jonathan,” Helena pointed out. “But by the time I actually was ready to come home and admit defeat, I was not in any shape to fight

anymore. I was ready for it to be over. It sucked, but I got over it. It’s nice to see he’s moved on, too. I just wish he had handled cutting ties with my family a bit differently. My mom was heart-broken over it, and he made me do the dirty work because he didn’t have the balls to do it himself.”

“Maybe it just proved that the two of you had become way different people, and it was better if you weren’t together anymore,” Ellie observed. “Because the Jeremy I knew at that time would have never hurt your mom like that. Again, I blame Jen.”

“I ran into Margot at the Wal-Mart over by my house last week. She told me that Jen is pregnant,” Helena replied. “If anyone in this world deserves to be a dad, it’s Jeremy. He really wanted

kids. I always felt like I was never ready. It’s one of the things that broke us up. I don’t hold any ill will towards him. I am happy for him, and for Jen. She got the best one out of all the boys in the family. Jesse will make someone a good husband some day, but face it, he still has a lot of growing up to do.”

“You are more forgiving than I ever would have been,” Ellie told her.

“I also don’t have to see either of them on a regular basis. As long as you are tied to James and his crazy-ass family, you are going to have to see Jen once in a while. For my sake, no, for Jeremy’s sake, try to be nice to her.”

“Well, I’ll try not to be openly hostile to her. Not for you. Not for Jeremy. Not even for Jesse. For my son’s sake, I will be civil. Civil is not the same as being nice,” Ellie pointed out. “It means not being ugly to her when I really want to hit her with a brick.”

“Ellie,” Helena said softly. “You are one of my most loyal friends. After I left Jeremy, especially when everyone found out that I left him for someone else, I lost nearly all of my friends. Friends I had had since I was eighteen months old. Friends I grew up with. My relatives thought I had lost my damn mind. My mom was fit to be tied. I am glad my dad wasn’t around then to witness that. I think had he

still been alive, we would have kept together, just for him. But you,” she shook her head. “You defended me to everyone who talked about me behind my back. I really love you for that.”

“I love you,” Ellie said simply. “When I needed a friend, back in high school, you were the first one I came to. Your family has always accepted me. I love you all for that. Shelly and Frank have always been nice to me, but I watched how they treated you, and how they have treated every other female to come into any of their sons’ lives. It’s not right. I come really close to telling Shelly to go fuck herself every time I see her. And I won’t ever leave Charlie alone with either of them. You know that. But I can leave him with any member of your family, your idiot brothers included, and know he’ll

be treated right. Why wouldn’t I be loyal to you after all that you did for me when James was out playing the fool?”

“I only did what any friend would have done in my place,” Helena said firmly. “You came to me for help. I would have moved the stars to give it to you.”

“I now know that you and Jeremy were dealing with your own stuff. I didn’t know that then. And you still helped me get away from James long enough so that I could at least think straight for a minute. I don’t know what I would have done if that hadn’t happened,” Ellie mused.

“You would have found a way. Katie and John were all too ready to help, too. You would have figured things out eventually.”

“I don’t think I would have asked Katie for help,” Ellie said slowly. “I didn’t want James hurt. I just needed some breathing room for a bit. John would have shot him on sight.”

“Okay,” Helena giggled. “You have a point there. John is very protective when it comes to his family. The fact that James was Katie’s brother wouldn’t have stopped him.”

“I still don’t know how you got Jeremy to agree not to tell James you guys were hiding me.”

“It wasn’t that difficult. First of all, Jeremy would rather give in to me than fight with me. I rarely heard the word ‘no’ from him,” Helena recalled. “Second of all, he knew how bad James was treating you. The day you called me to ask if you could come stay with us, as soon as I got off the phone with you, I called Jeremy and told him you were staying with us. No argument. His reaction was just something like ‘it’s about damn time.’ So it wasn’t that difficult.”

“Too bad I didn’t listen to my better instincts, and went back to him two weeks later.”

“But if you hadn’t done that, Charlie wouldn’t be here,” Helena pointed out.

“True. I gave James more than enough time to pull his head out of his ass. Especially after you and Jeremy split up. I waited over a year before I had had enough. The day I found out I was pregnant, I headed to my parents for help. My dad was ready to shoot him if he came anywhere near me.”

“No different than John, then,” Helena said.

“Except my dad was way more protective. I am their only daughter, and that does something to a dad. You know how it is. Your dad was the same way. Maybe not as willing to go to the lengths my parents were, but face it. If Jeremy ever did to you a tenth of what James did to me, I have a feeling he wouldn’t stop one of your brothers from making it the last thing Jeremy ever did,” Ellie replied.

“My dad loved Jeremy, and he did his best to treat me right,” Helena reiterated. “But if it had been any different, you know my brothers would have acted just like your dad did with James. My dad couldn’t have stopped them from that.”

“Well, I never feared for my safety,” Ellie said after a long moment. “I did, however, question my sanity on more than one occasion. James was really good at gas-lighting me. He raised that to a whole new level.”

“I know what that must have been like,” Helena sighed. “Jonathan did that to me all the time. I knew it wasn’t going to last, and I used him to get out of my marriage. I just didn’t think Jonathan would turn out to be such an emotional mess himself. We kind of crashed and burned before we started, you know?”

***

Family and other musings

Today is Father’s Day and I cannot think of a more appropriate time to write about what has been rattling around in my brain lately: the things we take for granted and what it means to be family.

I received a call from my mom a few weeks ago saying that she saw on Facebook that my half-brother was in the ICU. I told her she was mistaken, as someone would have called me if this was the case. (I stopped using FB due to it being such a time waster for me a while ago). Jeff and I have not been close for a long time, since my dad died in 1999, but I would have thought his wife Gena would have called me nonetheless. Two weeks go by, and then my mom tells me that on FB there is another post saying Jeff was on a ventilator and a feeding tube. I told mom not to worry, but that I would call Jeff and see what was going on. If he was in the ICU he would not be able to answer, but I figured Gena would more than likely have his phone. I left a voice mail, and ten minutes later Gena called to tell me that Jeff was indeed on life support.

Apparently, Jeff may have been bit by a tick at some point. He had been experiencing a fever of 104, and he was panting like a dog, and could not get his breath, even when he was sleeping. He put off going to a doctor (so much like my dad it is not funny) but Gena finally made him go to the ER. They put him in the ICU and heavily sedated him, as they needed to put a breathing tube in to regulate his breathing. His kidneys shut down, so he has been on dialysis ever since. He also had a bit of a liver infection. Doctors suspected Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, but he did not have any antibodies for it. He also tested negative for Lyme Disease.

When I spoke to Gena, she immediately apologized for not calling me before but that things had been understandably insane. I could hear Jeff in the background, heavily sedated, repeating some of what Gena would say, but it came out garbled because of the ventilator. Over the next week or so, they slowly took him off of the sedation, hoping they might be able to take out the breathing tube so he could breathe on his own. This happened eventually, but they left the feeding tube in, as he could not swallow strong enough to be able to eat solid food yet. They started him on physical therapy—getting him up in a chair wiped him out, because he was still doing dialysis which really wiped him out.

Breathing on his own, but still in a weakened state, he began to slowly recover. Yesterday, he called me and I have never been happier to hear someone’s voice in my life! He is having to learn how to walk, feed himself (they took the feeding tube out a few days ago), clean himself….everything a healthy person takes for granted. He said he had been hallucinating, and some of what he saw was nothing short of terrifying. He told me he had been really scared, and I can tell he still is. He said that the PT he had earlier in the day had to be cut short, as his energy level is very low. He is going to be on dialysis for a while yet and he has been moved to a rehab center. He is expected to make a full recovery, but it will be a few months.

I had already made the decision that if he needed a kidney, I would volunteer mine, although my health is not the best. When I heard his voice, I don’t think I have been so happy! And I am making a plan to go to see him late summer/early fall, if he is up to it. He sounded super enthusiastic when I suggested it. I just have to figure out the finances.

Earlier this week, Ryan and I found out from Matt (our other co-host for our podcast) that a friend of theirs passed away suddenly from a cardiac arrest. I knew him slightly, and when I heard, I felt like the wind had been knocked out of my lungs. I had one of the most disruptive sleeps that night. I dreamt of my dad (although nothing specific—no nocturnal message from beyond or anything like that).  Ryan let me know that there was a viewing scheduled, but I didn’t find out about it until 3 hours before it was to be held. I had NO energy, and passed on the viewing. I am going to the funeral, however. He was only a few years older than I am.

I have been thinking about my mortality a lot lately. Death and dying in general, really.  I also have been thinking how lucky I am that my family came together the way it did. (I have written extensively about this on this blog, and if I write about it again, it will be in a future post). Sometimes what could have been a real tragedy can be made to be truly beautiful by the grace of God. I will write about how grateful I feel in a future post. I am still trying to process all the crap running through my head.

I have not been in my right mind lately. First of all, I have been a bit manic, at least in my brain. I always feel a bit off kilter when that happens. Then to make matters worse, I have had some hormonal imbalance issues. I am hoping this will be resolved soon. I feel exhausted, worn out, and like my spoons are in the dishwasher. (If you don’t get the reference, go to www.butyoudontlooksick.com to read about the Spoon Theory). It is maddening. I have no control over it, and I basically have to play the waiting game for it to resolve itself.

So…this is part of what is rattling around in my brain lately. If this seems a bit disjointed, I apologize. Welcome to my world. I will write a bit more in depth about my thoughts soon. Until then, remember to tell those you love how much you love them. No one is promised tomorrow.

Scarlet

Weirdness

So I have gotten a bit distracted lately. I am working on a couple of writing things that I plan to put here eventually. I have fallen into a podcast black hole, and am listening to some new stuff. I had an IUD inserted last week, and so far I seem to be one of the lucky ones, and am experiencing no pain or bleeding, which is good. Time will tell how well it works in the long run.

My half-brother was stricken with some weird infection, and he ended up being really ill, to the point he was put on a ventilator and a feeding tube for a while. He is breathing on his own now, and is expected to make a full recovery, but it will take a few months more than likely. They aren’t sure what caused the infection, but they suspect it is some sort of tick-born illness. They ruled out Rocky Mountain Yellow Spotted Fever and Lyme Disease so far. His kidneys shut down, so he is undergoing dialysis but his kidneys are trying to work.

I really have no other excuse for not keeping up with this, other than the normal blah blah blah. I will keep trying to do better.

Until then….

Scarlet

Yearly Sickness from Hell

I hate being sick. I have been sick now for nine days and counting. It started as a simple head cold and started to slowly morph into bronchitis and laryngitis was not far behind. I stayed home one day when it first started, and I had to go home earlier this week because my voice was so skwonky that no one could hear me on the phone. I am picking up an extra day over the weekend to make up for the Easter Holiday. I feel much better than I feel, which is a bonus.

I feel a bit better each day that passes, but it takes a lot out of me to be even the least bit ill. My immune system is so out of whack that it takes me forever to recover. On top of that, I started my period in the midst of feeling like I needed to go to bed for a month. Peter pointed out that it usually takes me 7 to 10 days to get over my yearly Spring Sickness, so another day or so should knock it out for good.

In a word, Ugh.

wow….I have been neglectful of this blog!

I have been super busy, and have had to deal with some health issues. I also got a promotion at work, which means more money and less stress. It is a different kind of stress. My teammates are awesome, my new manager is awesome, and I am super happy in my new position. I am going to try to write in this blog at least once every other week or so. I am super bad about that now, so maybe making new goals will help.

I underwent a sleep study over last weekend, because apparently I snore like a freight train, which is not bad when I am with Peter, because he sleeps downstairs and I sleep upstairs, so we don’t have to put up with the other one snoring. Ryan, on the other hand, ends up on the couch and it has been that way for several months. It is not a matter of if he ends up on the couch; it is a matter of when during the night. Kind of kills the romance…

I am seeing a surgeon for a consultation later this week, because a test I had ran last month came back clean, and then my doctor called and said they found something a little concerning, but they won’t tell me what it is until I have the consultation. A little more than stressful, you can imagine. I also have been seeing a specialist for endometriosis/poly cystic ovarian syndrome/menopause-related issues. Lots of pain and bleeding and more pain and more bleeding…kind of kills the romance again…

But both Peter and Ryan are sticking around, and are both extremely supportive. I will keep you posted as I know more. Until then….

Scarlet

The ramblings of a poly chic