2B – The Second Feast

She wedged the knife deep, the blade angled just so.

– Apt. 2B, Eidolon Avenue: The Second Feast

COMING SOON (2019)

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Eidolon Two – Apt. 2E sneak peek

Though no longer a small girl, I am far from where I came but not far enough. Whatever devil lived in the dirt of that land can travel far and wide. And I trust it was in the dirt or the wood of the house for I cannot believe it was in Ma’s heart, though she could be cruel and unkind. Rough hands and a hungry mouth will do that to anyone.

– Apt 2E, Eidolon Avenue: The Second Feast

COMING SOON (2019)

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Eidolon – empty stone

Lucky’s face felt strange. She swallowed. Blinked her eyes. Found it odd that she felt heavy. Like stone. Empty stone. Like a corpse. One of those mummified Buddhists found hidden deep in a dark cave. The skin grey and shrunken, the skeleton still sitting as if waiting for coins to clink in his bowl. She was a husk. A husk that lived and breathed. – Lucky, Apt. 1A, Eidolon Avenue: The First Feast

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2D – The Second Feast

“No one tells you of the consequences of that spiral. Of what waits at that bottom. Of what waits for you in the years of guilt and regret and memory. In the eyes of others who can’t possibly know what you’ve done, what horrible things have occured by your hand, but somehow, in some way, they do.” Her chin trembled. She fought the urge to bite her lip. “No one tells you that no matter how much someone else suffers because of you, and how much they lose, in the end, you are destined to suffer more and lose more.”

– Apt. 2D, Eidolon Avenue: The Second Feast

COMING SOON (2019)

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Umbra – Eidolon:The Second Feast

“‘Tis not death, child, only darkness.”

– Apt. 2E, Eidolon Avenue: The Second Feast

COMING SOON (2019)

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that shallow bowl of blond

He feared the yellow waiting below. That shallow bowl of blond wavering in the breeze ringed by the dark trunks of monstrous trees. He knew what waited there, hidden in the grass.

– Apt. 2A, Eidolon Avenue: The Second Feast

COMING SOON (2019)

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an easy lie

In the silence of the Temple, they spoke.

A murmur, a sigh, an awakening, a cry.

Mother …

Father …

King …

I moved my cheek from the stone, the pain of the whispers too great to bear.

Although night, the workers — slaves, prisoners of war, many of them mere boys — still pulled and pushed the immense blocks into place, the already overwhelming Temple forever expanding, a veritable mountain of stone at the edge of the city.

For many of them, this was all they knew, their lives after capture, after defeat, one of constant work, nonexistent sleep, and death, quick and inevitable.

Above them all, the Priests watched.

And here, under the light of an almost full moon, the pain, the rage, the powerless despair of all those trapped and troubled bones in the stone surrounded me like a fog.

In the quiet, safe in the dark, far from those who watched and those who worked, I pressed myself to the cool rock.

I would listen.

Cry …

Whimper …

Sob …

Yes, I feel you.

Wound …

Suffer …

Die …

I pulled away.

Die …

King …

Die …

“They know you.”

I turned.

A small woman stood behind me, her long hair as silver as the light bathing her, the years in her face softened by the glow of the moon.

I glanced around for my guards. But, no, I had left them hours ago, ordering them away before I climbed the hill to the Temple.

“Your guilt needed solitude,” she said. “Your shame too great to share, yes?”

She waited.

I nodded.

Yes.

“And this is why you, the Almost King, stand here now, at this hour, under the moon, listening.”

She stepped closer.

Though draped in woolen, the rough fabric scarred by clumsily mended rips and tears, her feet bare, her wiry frame alarmingly thin, she carried herself with an unapologetic sense of majesty and dignity and strength as she moved near.

“Is your power worth all that death?”

“No.” The answer came from me, quick and unthinking. “No.”

“And yet it is not something you can deny, this power. This crown. It will be yours regardless of what you want or what you do. Or what I do. Born into this, you are as trapped as those in the stone.”

The tears threatened to come. I blinked. And blinked again.

“The most powerful of men,” she said, her voice gentle and kind, “utterly powerless to change what must be changed.”

Watching me, she grew silent as if she, too, were listening.

She turned her head, her gaze on the workers in the distance, the sweat on their skin shining under the glow of torchlight.

“Your mother is one with the Dark Gods, yes?”

I hesitated.

“There’s no need to answer.” She continued to watch the nameless who toiled under the gaze of the constant moon. “It’s commonly known, understood. We barbarians, as she calls us, here in the city talk of her and the Priests and their ancient religion. Those beliefs from the Time of the Moon. Of their worshipping those who must be paid in blood, in flesh, in fear. In the tears and cries of those they slaughter.”

“This is known?”

Looking at me, she continued.

“It is also known, and spoken of, that once these souls are bled and lifeless and useless, they burn –”

“Stop. Please.”

She stopped.

It was my turn to watch the strangers pull and push, the thick, braided rope threatening to split and shred under the weight of the stone.

“The gift you must give,” she said, my mother’s words echoed in hers.

“Is something I regret.” I refused to look this stranger in the eye. “Something I wish I didn’t have to do. Something I wish I had never done.”

“But it’s done.”

I looked at her.

“She’s a very powerful woman, your mother. Not many can deny her. Not many dare. Those who do …. ”

She grew quiet, the thought unfinished.

“And the Priests?” I asked. “What of them? Do the people talk about the Priests?”

“Yes, they do. And they understand what you and your mother do not: these men, these Priests, are more powerful than you know.”

“She believes she’s a God.”

“An easy lie for them to feed her. And her mind …”

Hesitating, she looked for the words.

“Her mind is wounded and hungry. Desperate for comfort, the grief, the guilt, the horror of what she’s done still at war with the tender delusion of her immortality.”

“She struggles.”

“And eats.”

Confused, I watched her, her eyes almost silver under the light of the moon.

“The bones are in the stones, yes?” she asked.

I waited.

“And what of the flesh? The flesh you burn before they grind these bones?”

She stopped, watching me before asking again.

“What of the flesh?”

— an excerpt from The Martuk Series, A Collection of Short Fiction, Vol. 1

COMING SOON

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