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The Moons that Hunters Must Walk

 The Five Moons claim the sky with blood and cosmic violence. Crimson-saffron light splashes across the huge storm clouds beneath their fierce visages, and turns the world eerie. Dreamlike. Haskes, the Moon of Windfall. Storms curl into whirlwind frenzies across the bone-colored face. It is the place of howling furies and hellish nightmares, where hunters must walk across the Stormchasm to stand strong against endless wind-- or be thrown into bottomless abyss. Ahnios, the Moon of Waves. Hunters know the Tidesong, a deep welling howl of sorrow and exultance, the song to be sung out when those worthy sailed out across tsunamis vast enough to sunder continents into crushing abyss. A moon of an ocean untamed, beautiful, and unforgiving. Khinq, the Moon of Dunes. Those beneath the chaotic sky know the Blood Passage as a time of fear and annihilation, a time when the Moon of Endless Sand has returned from distant void to once again reign among its brethren. Red glows like silent, crawling fl
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The Miracle

 I was just a boy. A young mind brimming with questions in a small town tucked away from the world by lonely willow-choked roads and thick swamps. Seems so long ago.  I remember the reverend, all red-faced and swollen above me, like an ugly moon. Angrier words that lashed out at the room beyond him, turned the crowd to a thrall with answers that even as a kid I knew were unsatisfactory. My mind knew only a future where it seemed that Man had triumphed over God. Man had walked on the Moon, and Man had split the atom for its Promethean gifts. Where was God, I had asked, completely serious, inside a Saturn V, or an H-bomb?  The lashings my father gave me for this heresy were not at all delivered in the form of sermon.  I still remember the day. Claustrophobic heat that drains your muscles. Turns every breath shallow lest you drown in humidity and sorrows. I skipped church now regularly, slipping away into all consuming greenery. My worn bag stuffed with the essentials for any young would-

Rituals

 A black Cadillac idles. It’s clean, impossibly, the dirt roads and worn trails are all slick with muck. But the car is there anyway, ominously clean. This car once ferried nightmares. Stalked quiet, sedate neighborhoods and rural properties like headless horse-mounted specters of old. It’s calling is the same. Made material by ancient fear, given breath from contemporary paranoia. It’s occupants have worn endless faces. Legends never die.  Chilly air. Frigid. Starlight peers down at the earth between bony branches clawing at stark sky. Defiant evergreen trees are still and silent in the dark. The Cadillac idles. Waits. A black shape in the dark beneath cold, unwavering stars.  The memories return. Churning, industrious concrete titans producing an endless stream of explosives for a war far away. Bullets, missiles, charges.  Sulphuric scents waft, distant voices waver before vanishing on phantom breezes. The bunker tombs lie deserted now, silent. Empty— and watchful. Deeper strata spea

The Archbishop

 “It never gets old. Like watching living mountains dance. Look, now.” Harper says it in a whisper so close to me I can smell the whiskey on his breath. Christ, man, I think to myself. Ease on the— and then I see them.  It’s dim morning, everything wreathed in grayness and silence, far off hills undulating charcoal colored waves. Ink-black trickles snake their way across a plain of muck, dirt. Westerly forests are all cloaked in fog. Gloomy shadows. There are giants in the clearing. Behemoths. Massive, near-vertical necks seem to effortless rise up into the sky, carrying delicate looking heads to survey our earthly realm beneath. “ Watch .” Huge muscular slats down flanks and rippling tendons layered upon pillar legs, clawed toes that could crumble concrete. The whip tail is almost comedic, swishing with elegant undulations.  The dinosaurs are leviathans. Almost— fuzzy. Hard to see, hard for primate minds to grasp and reason with, the way they move as if buoyant, ballet dancers nearly

Monsters in the Age of Men

 I saw a woman in the grocery store.  I saw her true shape, beneath raven black hair and pale eyes. She bore great wings, wings that carried endless plains across them and above roared storms, bruised clouds cracking and howling. Lightning split the sky into so many shattered pieces. She stared back at me, surrounded by the tiny people who so long ago had feared and worshipped darkening skies, crashing crescendoes.  We found each other out in the night, behind the building where trees and grass and vines grew untamed like in memories of vanished wilderness. I felt electricity when our lips met, felt spiking painful potential when I caressed her bronzed skin. In my ear I heard thrumming and pounding, shrieking wind. Building and building up into the sky, strong enough to crack mountains and scatter the stars.  I gave her the sea, brine and crushing depths between every kiss. I unfurled myself beneath massive wings, sprawling and armored and impossible, flashing colors to match every his

The Chapel

 There’s a chapel.  That’s what the locals call it, out of town over the barren hills and sunken into mountain shadows like something crawling away into darkness to hide, to die.  It’s all black rock, dark masonry seamless and perfect. Every corner is sharp as a blade. Cuts the sunlight that dares penetrate looming clouds into shards, scattered pieces thrown haphazard over broken ground. It’s huge pillars are overseers of the wasteland. Untouched by erosion, unerring in their ominous majesty.  Even harsh desert plants and hardy volcanic growths that have claimed this place a thousand times over do not stray too close. Just bleached, yellow- crusted ground surrounds this hallowed ground.  Wind blows. A mountain with an angry bleeding heart of superheated rock rumbles in discomfort.  The air is painfully still.  There is a doorway in the chapel. It cannot be opened. Not by dynamite, not by prying hands, not by even a locomotive-turned-battering ram acquired solely to enter this alien pla

Time Cadillac

  ”Please keep all hands and in feet inside the ride at all times! Please do not—“ Conrad and Lucy didn’t pay any attention. The Time Cadillac ride always started the same way. And they were too busy all over each other, submerged as deep in youthful needs as the Cadillac was submerged in deep time.  Conrad was already kissing Lucy again, breathless and with too much saliva as the slick, black car slowly rolled over a desolate landscape that would’ve fit Hell or the airless Moon than Earth. Lucy ran her hands through her boyfriends short, combed brown hair, feeling the car lurch a little. Far away came lightning flashing beneath cataclysmic looking clouds all purple, bruised, and furious looking. She glimpsed jagged landscape burbling,  saw the eerie monoliths of volcanic happenstance which poured streamers of superheated gases into impossibly thin air. For a full ten minutes they rode over different variations: fire, ice, black blistering sands— even a sea bottom, flat and dark, with