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Fisherman

It's pivotal, this undercurrent that swirls within us all. Like insignificant leaky boats, we wade on our individual sea, casting our lines faithfully into the salty unknown. I have thought of better days to catch a fish - days where the skies open up and swallow me into the bellies of whales. I get tongue tied and pressed for time, this solitary traveler with no ticket for two. It's there though. It's in us all. The lonely, the rich, the poor, the blissful, the wasted - washing in and out like the roaring of tides. Sometimes I feel you, just you. Hair like seaweed glistening in the sandy sun. I know better than to believe in mermaids and sapphire reefs, but this undertow gets me every time. You get me, my open water fantasy. So, I'll throw this line in again and again, not because I am a hopeless romantic, or an adventurer in want of a perfect catch - but because I am a fisherman, a wanderer like yourself, just waiting for something to happen.

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Oh, Paris!

            Lindsey Grant locked the door behind her to her Paris apartment and leaned against it, sighing heavily. She had just received her tenth letter from her overbearing mother. The tenth in a month. She called home back to New York once a week. Paris was the place to go in the nineteen-fifties, that’s what they all said. “Go to Paris, meet a handsome young man, fall in love,” her uncle had said as though it were so simple, such an easy dream. “They call it that you know; the City of Love. La Ville Lumiére.” He was so excited by the idea that she had not the heart to tell him that lumiére meant ‘light’ in French. Her doting uncle insisted though that she go, and paid for the whole trip.

 

            Putting away her groceries, she tried not to think of what the letter her mother sent her would say. She would mention Michael, mention how sorry he was, how much he missed her, how she should reconsider. Was it wrong of her to be furious that she had caught him kissing another woman? Of course not, she told herself! But her mother was hopelessly old-fashioned, and Michael Horn was a fabulously wealthy businessman.

Of course, Lindsey thought, marry an unfaithful, handsome, rich man, keep the house and raise the children and never say anything at all, never want for anything more than money and security. “You’re reaching for the moon,” her mother would said, “and you won’t be young and pretty much longer. You’re almost thirty!” As if twenty-seven were old and she were halfway in the grave! And Michael… he may have been handsome, but she had always known in the back of her mind that there was something wrong. It was in his eyes; they were empty. She understood that her mother worried; Lindsey’s father had died when she was very young, and her mother had a hard life, raising a daughter with only her much-older brother for help. And Lindsey’s uncle had only become wealthy in the last ten years. Money had been a constant worry, second only to their security.

 

She pushed all this out of her mind as she glanced through her bedroom and out of the window to see it raining. Foolish as it was, she loved when it rained in Paris. Everyone always said that, but she truly did. The soft glow of street lamps filtered in through the grey evening into her window and she decided to go out to the café and just sit for a while and enjoy the quiet. It felt good to be alone, in Paris to her. It felt good to be away from her mother and her friends who all treated her like someone damaged. She hardly cared for Michael; it was easy to get over someone when it happened like that.

And yet, as calming as it was to be alone, she thought as she walked the cobbled streets, umbrella in hand, her heels clicking, even the splendor and beauty of Paris could not replace that hollow space in her chest. It was the space that swelled at night, when she lay in bed alone. It was the ache that surrounded it when she saw two lovers kissing in the street, or on a park bench. Paris could not replace that longing in her hands when she saw two people walking down the street, holding on to each other as if they were all that kept them anchored to life.

 

Still, she was in Paris, and if there was any place to be lonely, it was there. She rounded a corner and saw the most curious thing from the corner of her eye, snatching her out of her thoughts. A man in a suit with an umbrella was walking behind her. She had no reason to think anything of it, but something about him simply caught her eye. He was wearing a brown suit and carrying an umbrella. Looking across the street, she saw another man, this one in a grey suit, also with an umbrella. Her uncle, a war veteran and perhaps a tad paranoid from his time in the Pacific, had always told her to be careful. “The world isn’t as safe as it once was,” he said. “There’s bad men out there.” Something about these men told her they were bad men. And they were watching her.

She had made eye contact with the one across the street and he had immediately looked away. This was most unusual. She did not boast, but Lindsey knew herself to be an attractive woman, one most men took at least an extra moment to take in before looking away, but he had done so immediately, and without so much as a smile. He had even looked ill-tempered upon seeing her.

Don’t be silly, she told herself as she came in view of the café, the windows a great yellow light against the dull grey. There were people in there, warm and cozy and quietly murmuring to one another. If these men were indeed following her, they wouldn’t dare follow her inside. The man across the street had disappeared, getting into a cab and driving away after she spotted him and this dispelled her fears. She glanced behind her and saw the umbrella of the brown-suited man turning out of sight down an alley. Nothing to worry about, she told herself.

 

Lindsey sat in a corner booth, sipping her coffee and nibbling an apple tart. She had been there only five minutes, letting the warmth soak into her cold body, when another man in a suit approached her. It was too much coincidence for one night, which meant it was no coincidence at all to her. Yet he was different than the two she had spotted before. His black hair was slightly ruffled, like his suit and he was clean-shaven; the other two had mustaches which, if anything, made them seem even more forbidding than their expressions let on. This man was younger, too. He might have been even younger than Lindsey. There were no lines in his face as he smiled, and yet there was something in his eyes… something that made her think of steel, yet at the same time, of the sky. They were beautifully blue-gray.

 

“Bonjour, mademoiselle. Parlez-vous anglais?” he asked. His accent was Parisian, as though he were a native. She looked around quickly and saw no one else suspicious in the café. No one besides this man.

“Yes, what is it you want?” she said. He looked taken aback. He frowned, hands in his pockets.

“Well, to ask you your name of course, and if I may be so lucky as to join you? Unless of course mademoiselle is expecting someone. I shouldn’t be surprised,” he said with a sly smile. He had a very handsome smile, she noticed. And while it did not strike her as a sincere one, there was something about him that made him seem familiar, as though they had met before. His English held a decidedly East Coast American accent, articulate but relaxed, confident. There was something even flippant in the way he hunched his shoulders, leaning back slightly, not as a lazy man slouches but as a man who knows how to handle himself stands supposedly relaxed, but tensed and ready for trouble. Yes, Lindsey thought, he looked like a man ready for trouble in his black suit and tie, hands in his pants pockets. She decided she liked him.

 

“Lindsey,” she said, “Lindsey Grant. And you may.” He sighed, still smiling.

“I was afraid you’d say that. Miss Grant, I…” he faltered, glancing around at the entrance to the café. And then she saw the most peculiar look in his eyes. It was guilt. It suddenly etched itself across his whole face, his eyes pleading with her to believe what he was about to say. “Miss Grant, I know you have no reason to trust me, but I must ask you to come with me. You see, I’m Lindsay Grant, and I’m afraid there’s been a very unfortunate misunderstanding.” Her eyes widened.

“What kind of misunderstanding?” she asked. He glanced again to the street outside. She followed his eyes and saw two men in suits approaching, both with umbrellas. Both had their hands inside their coats.

“Now’s not the time. Again, I can give you no reason to trust me, except to tell you that I will do everything in my power to take care of you. But please, you must come with me. Now! Please Miss, we’re in danger.” Her heartbeat quickened as she stared into his blue eyes, those impossibly grey-blue eyes. She had been right; those men had been following her. But why?! Who were they? Who was this other Lindsay Grant? There was no time! The men outside were crossing the street and she understood that they must get away. “Please Miss,” he said again, reaching into his own coat, his eyes pleading with her. Somehow suddenly she knew he held a gun and that so did those men outside and that he was one of the good guys.

“Yes,” she said breathlessly, and he took her hand and took her away.    

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The Beholder

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Untitled Project Post 4

This was Jack, when Boy first met him: thin and cold, sharp as the knife he was. Driven by needs so deep they had become habit. Slayer of monsters and worse things besides. Like people. Monsters have no choice but to be what they are: people do. You cannot watch people throw away choices lifetime after lifetime without cost: watch them fight when they should give in, give in when they should fight, and not become a kind of monster yourself.

 

To slay evil is to become evil. This is not a truth, but a fact. And Boy, who had been lost once and lost deeper still to find a friend in an emptiness worse than death, offered up the smile of his second childhood.

 

Innocence sharper than a blade.

 

Magic older than magic.

 

The blade pressed to his throat had lowered. "But you are a mage," Jack had said, voice rough and hard.

 

"Not by choice. And it is not all I am," Boy had replied, his gentleness uncompromising. And because he was what he was, as well as who: "Giant-killer, Witch-slayer: it is not all you are," he'd added. Sometimes the best tricks are not tricks at all. He had learnt that long ago. That, and this:

 

A man who is smart enough never has to lie.

 

"It is now," Jack had said in turn, because what he was did not allow for lies.

 

"I could use a roommate in my apartment," Boy had said then, surprising himself with the offer.

 

 

This is Jack, now: he can pass for a child again, so long as you do not stare in his eyes. He is still a hunter of witches, a righter of wrongs, and he carries all the sins such a duty implies. You cannot destroy evil and remain good, and he does not have it in him to convince evil to be good. Such trust was taken from him when his sister died.

 

They say time heals all wounds, forgetting how many time causes.

 

Jack slips out of the bedroom to the smell of pizza, at least one life secreted on his person, his clothing giant-green, his hair pale-blond, his eyes so sharp a shade of blue. Even now, two months since meeting Boy, he does not relax entirely. It may be he no longer knows how.

 

Boy hands him a slice of pizza. "The fog is gone."

 

"I asked it to leave."

 

Jack had not left the room, but Boy does not question this and merely nods, eating a slice of pizza in turn.

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Leaving Tennessee.

You roll the window down to let the air in, change the station until you find something that sounds alright. Walking in Memphis does the trick, and you find yourself remembering the time she was absolutely convinced it was Springsteen and not Marc Cohn, wondering how anyone so in tune with her smartphone could make the mistake of misattributing a popular song. You yawn as you adjust your aviators, hoping the the February air chills you to life.

You got four days this time, as opposed to the usual three, and like a normal twenty-something you spent nearly the entire time in bed. There had been breaks of course, half-watched movies and well-dressed dinner dates, make-up to cover bitemarks and liberal amounts of cologne and perfume to mask the smell of fuck emanating the both of you.

Did the waiter notice? Could he see the blood pooled under the skin on her neck? Could he tell that her carefully styled hair had just been wrapped in your fist? That those smokey eyes had just been staring into a mirror, fixed on her reaction to every thrust and smack and grunt. Could he fathom that the pleaseant voice that had just asked him to hold the dressing on her salad had just been screaming in desperation to be called a slut and fucked harder? And did he know that it was practiced, that every boy before you had the heard the same exact routine.

You stop at a Waffle House halfway between here and there, to grab some hashbrowns and calm your head. Knowing you'll never see that city and that bed again is a strange feeling, though you can't help but smile when she calls mid-meal to check up on you.

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Poor Baby... (TW: Abuse)

It's not the lies, you know.. You never told me any lies worse than the ones I told myself. It's that you never once even tried to correct me. You knew when I dressed us both up in those spoon-fed Midwestern fantasies, but like a deaf-mute or a helpless doll, you didn't make a sound.

You let me play with you. Your lies held mine together.

It's not the money, either. You never took a dime from me. In fact, that's the worst part. You took my time, my faith, my patience, and the nights I could have just slept. You took the meat off of my bones. You took the smooth skin from underneath my eyes. You took my breath away and stowed it high inside my chest until you could get away with it. But you didn't make it back.

You left it there. Buried treasure, lost to time.

It's not the bruises, though it should be. It should have been. Why wasn't it? That's  it, isn't it? That it's not the bruises. I can feel them, but I can't quite put it all together. I can't imagine how they got there. I can't believe for even one second that I'm that weak. That you're that strong.

That none of the rules apply to us.

It's not the bruises, no. It's the way your heart broke when you saw them. The way you cried.

Your heart hurts you more than impacts on your knuckles.

That just isn't fair.

Prompt: An apoplectic Anonymous asked me:

Things I will never forgive you for.

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins. Seeking writing prompts, fanmail, follows, and enabling behaviors.

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Love Is...

Someone I follow on Tumblr posted a video about love... and he says he doesn't believe love is entirely emotional. That at some point, you choose to continue loving a person because that "in love" feeling fades.


I entirely disagree.


Love is powerful. It's an emotion that rips worlds apart and bends time. It's what helps a mother lift a car off her child and what people fight for their entire lives. When love is real and true, nothing can break it. Nothing can damage it. There is nothing more unstoppable than two people in love. Not even the gods who control the very workings of fate can keep lovers apart.


If the creative force of the universe itself tried, it couldn't tear apart two people in love.


And the thing is... when you feel that? You know... And it doesn't go away. You may have times where it's just a nice, quiet hum in your chest. But you'll also have times where the force of it knocks you to your knees and makes you sob because it's just so damned beautiful.

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My Air

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She glimpsed at an empty glass around 11:00 pm. I’m drinking too fast again she thought. It was only yesterday that she found pieces of herself written in napkins and tissues across a strange place. She waved her finger in the air to signal the barkeep for another glass.

She was never a person for conversations; each time a guy walked up to her, she never as muched moved her eyes or lifted a finger.

She sat alone, stirred her scotch and soda and made whirlpools from tiny ice cubes just for the fun of it.
She liked the taste as the burn crawled through her throat as if she drank fire to cough out smoke.

She took a look down again at 11:11 
pm and she wished for her glass to fill itself up. But she knew she had to call it a night.

She thought of him doing the same thing. Probably, unlikely true. Yet she stood up and went home.

The taste of her victory lingered in her lips. She’ll probably, unlikely be back again tomorrow.

There is a war to withstand. A battle yet to be waged.

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Notice

As I sit here, in the comfy chair by the corner window, I begin to notice. The man flirting with the woman at the bar, but surreptitiously glancing at the male bartender who keeps giving them drinks on the house. The hostess making her rounds, with an empty glass of wine in her hand. The couple, who just entered the room, standing a little farther apart than would be expected. I notice the man in another chair, scribbling furiously on a piece of paper like a someone running out of time. The teenage girl, who's sitting on the couch and pretending to text her friends, but really watching the boy across the room who's standing in the corner, examining the book spines. I notice the frost beginning to form on the window, and the elderly woman drawing designs on it. The man sitting at the island, watching his coffee go cold. I notice all of these, and realize that while we're all in the same room, we're all alone.