Friday Fictioneers – You Are The One

(No Author’s Note this time around. Enjoy! ^_^)

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© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

You Are The One

by Miles H. Rost

Arches. Too many arches.

Donna Argento never liked her ancestral home. The arches of the city made her feel like she was being led to slaughter like a lamb.

Until she saw the incredibly handsome man who turned down “Arch Avenue”, for lack of a better word, that is.

She couldn’t stop staring as he disappeared under the first of the 160 arches that comprised the street. And she finally told herself that she had enough.

A few minutes after he turned, Donna started walking after him. She didn’t care what fear might do to her, she was going to get her man, like the mounties!

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Ambushed By Myself

Ambushed by Myself
(aka “I’ve Been Losing You”)
by Miles H. Rost

(Part II of the Warrior Series. For Part I, see Unstoppable God, Invincible)

 

We spent a few days at the rocky confluence of the two river, what we would later call the Ford of Light. We celebrated a major win there, repelling the legions back across the river and far away. Things were going well for all of us, including myself. We had victory, we were moving forward and taking territory that was once not thought possible to be taken.

A courier came to us with news that filled the masses in the camp with joy. Another of our divisions took over a fort, and were cleaning it up for a permanent use for all of our divisions. The fort was one of the Higher Legion’s forts, a difficult faction to drive out. It was done, however, and the fort was going to be rechristened Fort Antioch. An appropriate name, if I ever thought of one.

Eventually, our group had to make our way onward. We had more to do and didn’t want to spend too much time resting around. A small contingent stayed behind to secure the perimeter of the land and sanctify it, to make sure that the land would never fall back into enemy hands. They would later join up with us.

It was during our trek, through the high weeds of the plains that we would encounter, where things started to go a little haywire. At first, it was a mere stumble. One or two of us would walk a little too quickly and catch ourselves on some weeds. We’d stumble, but we’d eventually get back up. For me, I started to lag behind a little bit, as something was bothering me. Something wasn’t right with my body, and I told my fellow compadres that I may have needed to take a quick rest and get some water from the creek nearby. They asked if I needed someone to help. Chelsey even asked if I needed some help.

I told them no, that I would be back with them in a short while and that I wouldn’t be but a few moments.

I walked down to the creek to take in the water. Before I could even kneel down to lift some of the water, I felt the dizziness come. I stumbled to a nearby tree and held on for dear life, the vertigo and stuffiness in my face threatening to tear it apart. The feelings of helplessness and abandonment started to come quickly, and I held onto that tree for dear life. My life depended on that, and I screwed my eyes shut while dealing with all of the things that attacked.

That’s when I felt the pressure on the side of my belly, and the force that plowed me from the tree and onto the sandy ground. The forceful pain caused an ache to spread through my lower belly and down my thighs.

Suddenly, blow after blow rained down upon me. I barely was able to open my eyes, and when I did, I saw a large number of legionnaires ganging up on me and beating me something fierce. I knew each of the type of legionnaires that were hitting me, the color bands that identified their divisions.

A few of them wore red bands, showing they were trained in angry or lustful combat. A couple with yellow bands were trained to use guilt and shame, their blows hitting the soul just as much as the body. The ones that wore green were of the worry and envy wing, not as powerful but near lethal if left on a target for too long.

Each of them took turns beating. They used their feet, their hands, various weapons that they held. The beating was so fierce, I simply awaited my imminent death right there. But, just as it seemed like there was no hope left, I saw something magnificent.

I barely remember seeing it, but I saw fire at the end of a large log. I saw someone waving it around, and the legionnaires screaming in it’s presence. As the flaming club waved around, I saw one or two of the green-banded legionnaires get smacked in the face with a scepter.

The blows that were raining on me stopped, and the sounds of the legionnaires started to move away quickly.

I looked up at the people who had found me. I recognized the face of Chelsey, the scepter wielding woman of authority. The one who I liked to call “little sister”. She looked at me with a concerned and shocked expression, and looked over at someone else. I slowly moved my head, and I saw one of the guys who was in the backline in the last battle. I recognized Ilya, a man who was a soft-spoken man, but one of the firmest guys rooted. He looked down at me, and gave a smile.

“I’ve been where you are, man. We’ll get you taken care of.”

I felt myself get lifted up. I could barely see anything, my vision was so blurry. I could only feel things.

I was in the air, and I didn’t know which direction I was going. For what seemed like an eternity, I was on my back and being carried somewhere that I had no idea I was going to. The sun was beating down on me, and I felt my skin get quite hot as I was carried.

Suddenly, things got darker. I didn’t feel the sun on me anymore. I was able to perceive the sounds of different things around me, and small conversations.

“I need some help here. He’s been badly injured,” I heard Ilya say, “Maria, scrub up. I’m gonna need your help.”

I heard the bright voice of Maria, someone who I knew as a bright presence around the camp, reply in the affirmative as she moved around the area with what I could tell was an air of calm.

“He looks bad, want me to clear the air and make sure he’s surrounded well?”

The voice that I heard was one I recognized. He was my roommate in the tents when we slept within the camp. Nigel was a good man, someone who I knew as a healer of sorts. He was meticulous in his work, and put everything into it. When he told people that he was going to clear the air, he was not joking.

My eyes were barely open again, as I saw Ilya say a prayer of thanksgiving.

“Lord, we thank you for finding our brother here. We ask you for guidance, and declare that your hands will be on him as we work to help him heal. You are the great physician, and we ask you to guide us as we tend to our brother’s wounds. In your son’s name, Amen.”

I barely moved my head, and I saw Nigel close his eyes. He slowly waved his arms around, his hands like cups that moved the air around. A very soft green “mist” fell from the air around the surgical table, and a feeling of peace overflowed through the area.

Maria, the scrub nurse and the bright presence that helped to boost morale around, followed Ilya’s instructions, giving him the swabs with medicine and antiseptic on them. When he needed the healing balm, she was there to help him hand it.

I felt Nigel’s hand on my arm, firm and very warm. Ilya’s hand was on my other arm, hotter than Nigel’s and gripping very hard. Maria’s hand was gripping around my ankle, what I believe felt to be grounding me from all the other attacks that could have come.

A fourth hand came along to help grip my other ankle. I recognized the energy and scent immediately as that of my leader, Brian. I am not sure when he came along, but I just knew that he was praying and keeping me grounded.

I felt warmth, love, and understanding flow through me. I could feel understanding from Ilya, a combination of that and sympathy from Brian. I felt love and compassion flow from Maria’s hands into my system, and the friendship of Nigel mixing into the whole mess.

That was when I felt the intense heat that poured through my being, through my veins. The heat, and the peace that only came from the one I served.

I felt the muscles that were in knots and swollen from the beatings return back to normal. The puffiness of my face was reduced considerably. The internal pain I had felt slowly died down to a nothingness. My belly felt the rearrangement, the normalizing of my internal organs from where they were forced to where they needed to be.

Shortly thereafter, the heat stopped and the peace overcame the entire tent. I slowly sat up, my mind clear and eyes able to focus again. I felt forgiven, healed and nearly ready for battle again. Everyone smiled, as I swiveled myself off the medical table.

“Ilya, Brian, I need you two to do a favor for me,” I said, looking at both of them, “I need you to assist me if something like this happens again. I need you guys to make sure my accounting is correct and that if I don’t need something, I don’t get that something.”

Both men looked at each other, then looked back at me and nodded.

Friday Fictioneers – Train of Thought

Author’s Note: Welcome aboard yet again! Most of you have noticed that today’s offering is a bit late. That’s because a lot of things have happened this week regarding my potential move to Australia. Things should be stable, and because of that…here’s your story for today! 

copyright Jennifer Pendergast

Train of Thought

by Miles H. Rost

Obedience.

Lucas Milford hated hearing that word, in the modern context. His commute and his job, though, were the biggest forms of forced obedience for him.

He looked around the subway car, seeing all the gray and black suits and dresses. He wondered for just a moment whether he would be able to survive it all.

“Pulling into 92nd Street. Next stop: 112th Street – Broadway Station” the speaker droned out.

Lucas sighed as the train pulled one stop closer to his home. He started to close his eyes.

A flash of yellow streaked by him.

His eyes shot open, and he looked around. He spied the lemon yellow dress of a beautiful woman, whose green eyes bore into his, and red hair screamed out “different!” to him.

“Such…color…” he said, as the woman started moving closer to him.

Angel In The Snow

Angel In The Snow
by Miles H. Rost

The Witch of Winter. Snow fairy. The Winter Wife. Yuki-Onna.

She was called many different names from the time of her youth, referred to in legends. She was one of many, but not as many as others. She wasn’t a monster,though, like what many people thought.

Her skin was a beautiful alabaster, her hair nearly crystalline in appearance. Out of the sun, it looked a beautiful strawberry blonde color. She was dressed in a shorter yukata that came down to the knees, colored white, with broad and wide sleeves, along with a salmon-colored sash across her waist. To the uninitiated eye, she would have been described as a young, teenaged beauty.

However, to quote Bob Dylan, “The times they are a-changin’.” With the internet, more people found out and knew about the legend of the Yuki-Onna. As a result, more people were scared, or were fascinated but didn’t do anything about it as human instinct is to avoid things that mean death.

She remembered hearing about the stories from her mother. While there were many who took to the traditional way of freezing their mates to death, and joining them in whatever afterlife there was, she wasn’t one who would do that. She was different, and to her kind, an outcast. She wanted what the humans had.

She sat on a cliff, overlooking a lake that was thawing. She sighed as she kept thinking about her love, whoever he was. She looked at the melting snow,  a sign of the springtime that was to come and the summer that would be tough. She thought about leaving her native land, going to a new land where she may be more accepted. She heard about the Australian snow fairies, who make their homes in the highlands of the east coast; and even the Rocky Mountain Yuki-Onna, the rare and yet most striking of the snow fairies in the mountains of America and Canada.

She didn’t have the income to move, however. Because of this realization, she slid further into her reflections. She sighed as a slight chilly air flowed from her mouth into the air.

She heard a slight crunching behind her, and she immediately shifted around to see who was coming. She waited, patiently, hearing the slow movement of rock and the groaning of someone who sounded quite masculine. Waiting patiently, she sat placidly as the form of the newcomer came into view.

The man was brown-haired, young, and a slight bit overweight. He didn’t look unhealthy, but he could easily shed a few pounds if he so chose. He reached the overlook where she was and sat down.

“Hello there, love. Looks like…WHOA-!”

He looked over the lake, the beauty of it all flowing into his eyes and piercing his brain. The deep blue of the lake, contrasted with the grayish white of the melting sheets of ice, and the deep, dark green evergreen trees that blanketed the landscape. The sun shone in rays and peaks from around the needles of the trees, creating a near-kaleidoscope effect to a person’s eye.

In the young man’s eyes, this was intense beauty. He smiled broadly, as he pulled out his expensive camera and started taking shots. The young beauty sitting close to his feet was in awe at how engrossed he was in the scenery, many thoughts and questions running through her mind.

“You…like nature?” she asked him.

He looked down and grinned.

“Absolutely! I have never seen or experienced such beauty since I look out from Cape Blanco in Oregon, in the USA. This is the essence of Japan, and I now have a piece of it for my memories. Now, since I’m done gushing over nature’s beauty, how about you?”

She looked down, demurely, trying to hide the embarrassment of having this foreigner’s attention on her.

“The name’s Tom. Tom Bishop. Cairns, Australia.”

Her eyes lit up and she smiled, broadly.

“Australia?! Is Cairns anywhere close to snow?”

Tom looked at the young lady and smiled.

“Nah. Snow is farther south. Down in the hills around by Melbourne and Canberra. Cairns is tropical. Which is okay, because I don’t really like tropical places. What’s your name?”

The young yuki-onna bit her lip as she looked at him.

“My name would translate to Yukiri in this language. It’s hard to pronounce my actual name in your language.”

“Well, Yukiri, I am very glad to meet you. It’s not everyday you see someone who is beautiful surrounded by beautiful nature.”

She sighed, and a wan smile towards the compliment.

“If you know more about me, you may not think I’m so beautiful. Many times, people even think I’m a real monster.”

Tom looked at her, squinted for a few seconds, and gave a little chuckle.

“Everyone has a little bit of monster inside. The most pious of people have that, or there wouldn’t be something called “the human condition”,” he said, while looking out at the placid lake, “There are men and women out there who appear to be normal, but who are murderers and thieves deep down. They show kindness to the world and hatred reigns in their hearts. If you think you are a monster, then obviously you haven’t seen how some humans can be.”

Yukiri looked at him with wide eyes, not realizing that for even a moment that someone would state that some humans are worse than her. She quietly looked out at the lake, serenity perceived, and a tear started to fall down her face.

“Tom, what if someone told you that they were a real monster. Like a monster from legend, or someone who was unbelievably different that it would make you question everything you know?”

Tom looked down at her, and gave her a sideways smile. He crouched down and his smile broadened.

“Everyday, I question what I know. It’s not because I think God’s wrong, or that I’m wrong, but it helps me to realize that there are things I can’t explain out there. If you told me you were a real legendary monster, it’s likely I wouldn’t believe it. But, after a while, when I think about it and pray over the idea, I might change my mind.”

He sat down, dangling his legs over the edge of the cliff, and he reached over to touch her shoulder. Yukiri started to pull away, but then relaxed as the warm hand lightly gripped her shoulder.

“God has shown me many things in my life. He’s shown me the greatest highs and the greatest lows. He has shown me beauty unimaginable in nature, and he has shown me true ugliness. If you’re asking me whether real life monsters exist, then I could say yes. But again, the question we should be asking is, ‘What is the true definition of a monster?'”

Yukiri eyes started to tear up heavily as Tom continued to speak to her.

“Yukiri, beauty and monstrosity are in the eye of the beholder. I know of women back in Oz that are beautiful as can be in their looks, but their personality is absolutely horrific to the point of revolting. I also know of women who are not 10s in their looks, but have some of the warmest and most beautiful hearts imaginable. When you find a balance, that’s where perfection comes in.”

She launched herself at Tom and buried her head in his shoulder, cold tears soaking into the microfiber jacket that he wore. He looked down at her, and he didn’t know what to do.

Do I hug her? Do I ask her what’s wrong? What’s…does she really think she’s a monster?

After a minute of sobbing, the icy tears soaking through Tom’s jacket, she pulled away slowly and sniffled.

“You made me feel…like a human, Tom.”

Tom put up his hands and laughed nervously.

“Hey hey…I’m no saint here. I’m guilty of being a monster myself at times.”

Yukiri smiled at him as he attempted to deflect the compliment with self-deprecation. She put a finger on his lips and smiled.

“What I mean is this, that your words make me think that there is hope for someone like me.”

“What do you mean?”

She looked him in the eye, and took a deep breath.

“Well, what I’m going to say may be hard to believe. You’re talking to a real live legendary monster.”

Tom cocked his head to the side and raised an eyebrows, as if he was saying, “Go on…”

She stood and revealed her true face, which was a little bit wider, with what looked to be sharp saw-like teeth. She raised her hands, which were now a deep ice blue, the fingers looking like sharp, razor claws.

“My family are snow fairies. We are Yuki-Onna. In legend, we are accused of leading men to their death.”

Tom’s eyes widened, but as Yukiri looked into his eyes, she didn’t see fear. She saw what she only could describe as amazement.

“You….aren’t scared?”

Tom blinked, and reached for her icy claws. She started to recoil from the touch, as if to cry out “Don’t touch me!”, but he was quick enough to put his hand into her claw.

“Your hands are ice cold. It’s like dipping my hand in a blast freezer. But…I can still feel a bit of your skin. It’s like grooved ice.”

Yukiri smiled, showing the razor teeth in her mouth. She wasn’t showing malice at all, and she felt like Tom was receiving that message in his mind.

“Yukiri, I want to know more. You’re a new being that I never knew existed, but a testament to the greatness of the God I serve.”

She morphed back to her human form and smiled, knowing that this was something she hoped for.

“I’d like to know more about you, Tom. And the God you talk so highly about…”

 

Living A Boy’s Adventure Tale

Living A Boy’s Adventure Tale
by Miles Rost

“It’s coming! It’s coming in! Mama, look! It’s huuuuuge!”

Peter Brislin couldn’t contain his excitement at seeing the beautiful new plane that was pulling off to the side of the terminal. The young 8-year old was so excited to see the brand new DC-10.

“Ain’t that a sight, Petey? Big ol’ plane for my big ol’ boy,” his mother said, grinning all the while.

“Is that what I will be flying on today, Mama?”

“Yes, you’ll be flying on that type of plane. You’ll be going to places that you would have never dreamed of while here.”

Peter looked on with excitement, holding his suitcase with his clothes and toys.

“Will you be going with me, Mama?”

“You’re going ahead of me. I will be on a later flight, as I have to finish things here.”

Peter looked up at his mom and smiled.

“I can’t believe I get to go on that plane!”

After waiting for another hour for their plane to pull up close to the terminal gate, the big DC-10 with the large Northwest Orient Airlines banner across the top.

Peter’s mom walked with her son out to the stairs and slowly helped him up the stairs. After they reached the top, she waited next to one of the stewardesses. Peter waved at his mom as he was led to his seat by another stewardess. He buckled in, and his mom smiled a sad smile as the other people filed through the plane.

“Your son is traveling alone today?” the stewardess asked her.

“Yeah, I’m sending him to his uncle and aunt in Portland.”

“You’re not going with him.”

“He’s going to a…a better home. I can’t provide for him here.”

The stewardess looked at her, and noticed the small bruises on her face, covered by a large floppy hat on her head.

“I understand. I wish you could go with him.”

“I wish I could too. I just can’t, not when I have another little girl to protect from the man I married.”

The mother gave a brown paper envelope to the stewardess.

“There’s a note on the front. That’s for the head stewardess. It tells her what needs to happen, and how he needs to get led to where his aunt and uncle will pick him up at the terminal. It also has important papers that they need to have. Guardianship papers.”

The stewardess took the envelope and put it under her arm.

“I’ll do my best to make sure he gets to his destination safely. I’ll even check with the pilot to see if we can do something special for him.”

The women bantered for a few minutes, solemnly. Once all the passengers were on board, the time came to seal up the plane and get ready for takeoff. His mother walked down the stairs and stood far off to the side, looking for her son in the plane. She saw a small hand waving on the plane, and she waved back, tears now flowing down her face.

It would be the last time she would see him.

On the plane, Peter smiled as the plane started taxiing to the end of the runway. The stewardess that talked to his mother came up to him and smiled.

“You must be Peter.”

“Yes. Mom told me I’m not supposed to talk to strangers. But you’re helping me, and you’re nice, so you’re not a stranger.”

She chuckled at Peter’s insistant declaration.

“Well, Peter, my name is Tanya. I will be helping you and the other people in this plane, and if you need anything at all, let me know by pressing this button over here.”

“Could I have a soda?”

“After we take off, I’ll get you what you want. We’ll get you to Portland safely, too.”

“Okay! Thanks Miss Tanya!”

The stewardess smiled, but as she left Peter’s seat, her face betrayed a sadness that no one else could see. The brown package that she had under her arm was now placed in a secure spot on her seat. She would help get Peter where he needed to go.