The Opposite of Indifference

Yuuki yawned, opened his eyes, and again was amused by the pains taken to make the room look more like a guest suite than a hospital. He supposed there must be some initial comfort to the humans who entered here, but looking at the young couple’s tired and strained faces, he imagined whatever soothing effects the pastel print wallpaper or ruffled duvet offered were forgotten hours ago.

He helped himself to a discarded glass of water, hoping it wouldn’t be much longer. Yuuki had never been to a human birth before, even though he had plenty of opportunity. Births were reminders he was still a captive, still bound to a family he detested and who grew to detest him back. Hatred eventually faded to forgetfulness on the humans’ part.

Yuuki could never forget – there was no getting around the oath he swore - though he too had let go of hate, for the most part, decades ago. His oath required him to serve one hundred generations of this family, whether they acknowledged his existence or not. Three centuries to the day he made his promise the newest in the family line was about to make her grand entrance.

“Do you know how many of your kin’s deaths I’m responsible for, small one?” Yuuki said out loud. 

No one in the room noticed, as none had the skill to hear him. Though one nurse must have had a small sensitivity to fae creatures as she gave a tiny shudder and crossed herself after he spoke.

Yuuki smirked under his kitsune’s mask, pleased to see any reaction, even a small one. Being ignored for over a century was demoralizing. If the nurse could truly see him, kimono clad with a sharp toothed smile painted on his fox’s mask, she’d probably run out of the room screaming prayers. So would the young man holding the hand of his laboring wife. It was not an unwise choice when dealing with kitsune.

But fae-blind Fernando had never once in his life seen Yuuki for what he was, and likely never would. Yuuki slumped on a plump chair, resting his face in his hand and addressed an unaware Fernando. “To be fair, I’m responsible for saving a few lives too, as well as helping you look away from your books long enough to find a woman to create this one.” Yuuki nodded towards Angela’s swollen belly. “Fernando you are a good, but sublimely boring and unimaginative man. I don’t hate you, but I certainly won’t miss you. Hopefully your spawn will be somewhat more interesting, though that is hardly a high bar to reach.”

By the fussing of the various hospital staff and yelling coming from Angela, Yuuki realized the time had come at last. A few moments later, what looked like a slimy gore and membrane covered raisin emerged and shrieked her first cries into the world. The staff jumped to clean off most of the mess, and once that was done, laid the child in her mother’s arms.

“God has been good to us Angela,” Fernando said.

Yuuki rolled his eyes behind his mask. “You’d never have met your wife if it wasn’t for me. I’ll let you call me Jesus Christ if you promise to give me some sake every now and again. Or tea. I’ll accept tea,” he said.

“He has. Look at our little princesita  Fernando, our little princess,” Angela said.

“I’m a lucky man," Fernando said, stroking the fuzzy patch of  hair on the baby's head. "I've always felt like I've had more than my fair share of good fortune. But whatever luck or divine grace has guided me to this moment, I wish it all go to our little Ana. May whatever saint or guardian angel that has been watching over me give themselves completely to the care of her. I want nothing else from life.”

Yuuki felt a strange shift at Fernando’s words. He looked from him to the baby girl and realized that his time protecting Fernando had come to an end.

“If you wish for a diaper change, I am not doing it. That is still your parents’ job,” he said, making a horrible face appear on his mask.

The girl child looked up at Yuuki and smiled. Yuuki blinked and waved his hand in front of her. A tiny fist grasped his finger tight.

“You see me,” Yuuki whispered.

“Look at that Fernando,” Angela said. “Our girl is smiling!”

“It’s not a real smile,” one nurse said. “She’s too young for that. It’s likely gas.”

“It’s not gas, you simpleton,” Yuuki said as the nurse walked out of the room. “This girl sees me. After all these years…”

When a plush fox doll appeared among the gifts for Angela and Fernando’s new daughter, no one noticed it among the sea of toys that arrived from family and friends. By the time she could walk, it was a joke among her family that you could offer her the fanciest doll in the world, but the only thing that could calm her was that toy fox. Once she was old enough to talk, Ana practiced most of her new skills babbling to her favorite toy.  The plush fox presided over every tea party Ana held, though she insisted on serving real tea instead of pretending over empty cups.

“Tell me again about the day I was born,” Ana often asked.

“You were covered in blood and guts, not minding it a bit. And you were smiling. That is how I knew we would be friends,” Yuuki always replied.

"Cool," Ana said.

This blog post is part of May Monster Madness, hosted this year by Little Gothic HorrorsMagaly GuerreroHolly's HorrorlandMaynard's Horror Movie Diary, and Not This Time, Nayland Smith. Be sure to follow the link and enjoy more monstrous fun with the other party goers. 

Exposed to the Elements

The steel colored sky draws me out
 as everyone else scurries in.
The treetop’s wild dance is reflected in my eyes
as I pay barefoot homage to the gathered elements
and storm ready to be birthed in their play.

I am aware of the ogling through glass.
Any fool can tell whispers apart from honest thunder.
Fool is one of the more charitable epithets given to me
from the asylum of their sturdy walls.

If I stayed inside, away from the feel
of wind tumbling my hair around me,
if I denied myself the pleasure
of water easing the heat
of the day from my skin,
I’d be the darling of all the parties
featuring makeup and storage containers.

I would not be alone.

But I am alone, watching the clouds unabashed
at their own power, parading their majesty.

When the rain finally comes,
I, as the lone worshipper
sing the hallelujahs in my heart
out loud so that the voyeurs
will have something to discuss
at the next container party.

This song is the product of combing prompts from Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads (Fireblossom Friday, A Touch of Gray) and A Dash of Sunny Prompt Nights (Rain showers my spirit and waters my soul)

Cotton Avenger

Steel can be too cold to be comforting,
and you need to have the right convictions for crusading.
Not everyone is called to perform orbit reversing heroics
or other red carpet worthy feats.

My stitches are the great-grandchildren
of thousands of practice threads joining scraps to buttons.
Each ancestral seam holds the lore of my origin story.
 It’s a far humbler tale, filled with earthbound bits
better suited to scaling trees instead of skyscrapers.

But to the hands that hold me, each homely stitch is a grace note,
bringing reassurance in a too big world.
The familiar fabric is the only talisman capable 
of shepherding in rest, and perhaps dreams of adventure.

Doll created by Zoe Swindell 

This two for one prompt. The Toads provided inspiration with this weekend's Play It Again theme, and I chose Dolls, Revisited . The doll that I chose to write about pictured above. He looked a bit like a superhero to me, reminding me of one I watched on a TV sitcom back in the 80's. I combined it with A Dash of Sunny's Prompt Night's Topic: Imperfection is Beautiful.  

To Know

Some days I am cognizant
of the fact there are things I’ll never know.

I recognize even if there is no grim prognosis
to halt my attempts at progress,
or some other misfortune
no prognostication could forestall,
I will reach my limit.

And if pressed, I must admit
a certain level of agnosticism.
In that respect, my knowledge
most assuredly has its limitations.

Yet I remain hopeful,
even within the limits of my cognizance.
I may never be a cognoscente
of every subject that fascinates me.
I may never acquire the gnosis of the ages.
But I will enjoy my quest for cognition,
and trust in the knowledge I find along the way.

Song Choice: Faith by George Michael 

This post was inspired by Imaginary Gardens For Real Toads: Let's Visit the Family (poem based on related words. I chose words with the word roots cogni and gnos which mean "to know")


It was clutter strewn.
Four years worth of living
in boxes, stacked all around us,
except for the sheets and blankets
still unpacked that last night.
I remember that,
and the smell of the lilacs you gathered.

Roses wouldn’t do.
They were too bold,
saying too much.
The lilacs were just right
for confessions unwillingly made.

The last few months
should have been packed away,
along with your copy of Shakespeare’s sonnets
and my biology text books.
That’s what we agreed to do.

But the scent of lilacs
while the moon shone on us both,
weakened our resolve
to never say the words
we swore we would not.

Before dawn came we said them,
despite knowing how much easier it would be
if they weren’t true.
We learned easier doesn’t mean happier,
as the lilacs bore witness to a new promise
of a word we would not say.

This poem was inspired by a prompt given by A Dash of Sunny: Nothing Is More Memorable Than Scent.

They Kissed

Krishna kissed Mirabai,
lightning kissed her poet’s soul,
filling her mouth
with words and wonder.

He kissed her.
Kissed her hard,
claimed her as His,
caring little for the claims 
the rest of world
had put upon her. 

Gems traded for jesses,
she knew freedom
flying in His sky
towards the targets 
He set her upon.

Love inflamed her,
became her shield
against all 
who wished to ground her. 

Mirabai kissed her Lord back.
She kissed Him
with every word,
every song,
that passed her lips.

She kissed Him.

Process Note: Mirabai (also known as Mira or Meera) was a Hindu mystic devoted to Krishna. There are many beautiful poems attributed to her that speak of her devotion in romantic terms. These poems are considered part of the Bhakti tradition of devotion.

This poem was inspired by the prompt given over at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads: Harrows and Hallows