Archive for April 30th, 2013

Absurd – 15 min.

Amelia felt the tears burn behind her eyes as she flipped the page in her old, brown diary. She remembered this ugly part of her life, some five years ago, with painful clarity.

Perhaps I should just break up with P now to save him from me.  I feel so unstable, so ugly, so unlovable.

“Run, girl,” she whispered to the pages.  “Run before he can—“           

I started seeing a therapist today.  I hate these medications I’m on.  One makes me so sluggish I can barely function, the other is to combat that, but it’s not working yet.  P says I should keep taking them.  I feel nothing inside anymore, I can’t connect, I can’t see out of the haze.   The stupid thing is, these meds are anti-seizure meds.  That’s how they treat the bi-polar.  This and therapy.  My brain isn’t moving fast enough to seize, so that’s good, I guess.

But ten pages later, it was too late.  P and I are broken up.

The black ink was striking and unnerving in the white space.  Amelia remembered writing that way on purpose, trying to capture how stark and stiff she felt when P had told her over dinner at her apartment that he thought it best if they parted ways.  He’d knelt beside her as she sobbed her non-understanding and pleas for another opportunity to try to set things right.  In trying to comfort her, he suddenly forged the connection they’d been missing for months with the kindness in his eyes that had been banished after conversations with his sister.

They made love that night.  Amelia felt the horror of the action wash over her again and again in cold waves.  It was completely absurd—“Go from me, I don’t love you” should not mean “Let’s get naked.”  Yet that was where they were.  Amelia remembered the slow motion because even as her body reacted to P’s , as he pulled her and she pushed him towards her bedroom, she knew it was absurd and wrong and that pain was coming.

Amelia could feel the space around her growing, like a cavernous vomitorium to the theatre of her mind, as she sank back into that fog that rose from the pages of the brown diary.   The ink itself reached for her, stained her fingers, and pulled her down so she could relive each moment as recorded all those years ago.

A gentle tap on the doorframe caused her to jump and look around to see her husband.  She sprang to her feet and ran into his arms.  “Hi!” he said, surprised.  “Cleaning up?”

Amelia nodded.

“Find anything interesting?”

She shook her head, burying her face into his warm, strong neck.  “Just some old memories.”  She looked at him.  “I love you.  How was your day?”

Overcoming the Monster – 15 min.

           “It’s a growing threat, Your Grace.  Our correspondents in the East write that the Orient army is fortifying itself for what could be an invasion.”

            Aubra leaned back against the bone stays of her green corset, her eyes half-closed in thought.  The information being presented to her now was nothing new, thanks to Theresa’s vast spy network.  She still had to let her Council do its job.  “Are we to assume they are preparing to attack or is the Khan sending supplies to reinforce his men?”

            Sixteen pairs of eyes slid towards her.  “Your Grace,” a voice from the end of the table came to Aubra’s ears.  “With all due respect, the idea that the Khan could be doing anything other than preparing an invasion is naïve indeed.”  The silence that descended upon the room was deafening.  Aubra smiled icily.

            “He has not historically been a quiet neighbor. What exactly is he sending to these outposts?”

            “ Supplies, horses, likely munitions and extra weaponry,” another voice floated towards her.  “They are probably laying supply lines back to the capitol as well.”

            “What is the Council’s recommended course of action?  Should we not send someone to ensure these reports are true?”

            “ We should,” a voice at Aubra’s elbow.  “Your Grace.”  A dark young man bowed.  Aubra straightened immediately to hide how startled she was.  “Master Riley,” she acknowledged him.  “Was there something you had intended to share with the Council?”

            “Only that the Khan has been in power for over a quarter century, Your Grace, and he knows the business of running a far-flung kingdom better than we at this point.  He could be resupplying his outposts or he could very well be arming them for an invasion.  Were I in Your Grace’s position, I should send a trusted, informed person to discover the absolute truth beyond the observations of a few jumpy noblemen—”

            This brought murmurs of discontent from the group.

            “—to better inform us so that we could act appropriately.”

            “And if the Khan is preparing for invasion?”

            Riley’s face, already masked in partial shadow, grew darker.  “We would have no choice but to call upon our allies.”  Aubra’s brow furrowed.

            “Your Grace!” a messenger clad in royal standard approached Aubra hastily, knelt, and presented her with a sealed letter.  Aubra wondered if her Private Advisor, Tymon, had had time to read it.   As she lifted the wax seal and scanned the hastily written words, her face paled. 

            “Your plan comes too late, Master Riley,” she said in a less than satisfied tone.  “The Khan has already made his intentions clear.”