Calm before the Storm
Tranquility is life's silent beauty.
Easily lost, rarely found, yet...
undeniably and profoundly present.
Perception is everything.
Decisively different, unique, still...
unwaveringly and steadfastly consistent.
Danger is lost in this moment.
Distantly remembered,vague, somehow...
blissfully and consciously lost.
Quotes by me #9
"The beauty of a break is not in the stepping away, but in the returning with renewed energy." _ J.E.Hixon
Some Really Bad/Sad News
I will be leaving my prose account for now. I have very much enjoyed writing here, and someday I may return. For now, I have to make some serious life changes. All of your work is too good, and I spend entirely way too much time absorbing it. I need to focus my time in other places of my life for now. I will still be writing on occasion but it will be posted on my web page only. Please feel free to come and sign up for email notification of my new writing at jehixonpoetry.wordpress.com if you have enjoyed any of my writing.
For those of you who have been following my serialized fiction story 'Modern Steam' there is going to be a website dedicated to that story soon. I will make it available through the above-listed web page and will make a post so you are notified when it goes live.
Please take a moment to follow my writing if you have enjoyed reading my work. I don't write just for the reads, but every writer loves to know they are being read. If you drop me a line at my web page, I will also follow your web pages if you have one. Again, most writers write because they love it, but without readers writing dies on the page.
Thank You all so much for the great reads and amazing comments. I hope to see your web pages and your work online so that I can at least read a little of your great work. Goodbye for now Prosers!
Flower in The Fire
The earth is ashen all around,
no bird dares to even make a sound
Fire has ravaged my once lush ground.
All those who have enjoyed the sight,
question why none the blaze did fight.
Flames ate only what was dead from blight.
Memories of my youth; a black field,
despised and dead, no fruit did it yield.
At the center, a single flower faith did shield.
Barefoot I run towards its beautiful life,
agony erupts as embers burn; more strife.
Collapsing in tears as I hear my wife.
Across the field screaming and burned she lay,
the blaze separates us,"The Flower" her lips say.
"Save us from this pain," to the flower I pray.
The flames die down when the flower I seek;
if my gaze from the flower strays; I grow weak.
Truth revealed to me, the flower alone I must seek
The flower before my eyes is growing; rebuilding.
The longer I look, the more beautiful it's calling.
On my knees I crawl, it keeps me from failing.
Life from this ashen ground does grow,
I work day and night pulling the furrow.
In the pain, the flower has seeds I must sow.
Fire from the evil one my field has destroyed,
This pain will fade yet now of smiles I'm devoid.
Oh, Day of harvest come and I'll be overjoyed.
"Mr. Joe," A whisper cut through Joe's shallow sleep, "Wake up, we have to go now."
Joe rolled away from the whisper and fell to the ground with a thunk, "Whoa, who's there."
"It's me, Penny," The whisper came out of the dark shadows of the room, "The girl you helped all those years ago?"
"Years?" Joe said stunned by the comment, "It wasn't years ago at all."
"We don't have time to argue this now," Penny said still in a whisper, "I'm helping you get out of here."
The door of the bedroom slammed against the wall as Maxine burst into the room.
"Who are you?" Maxine yelled throwing Penny to the floor with a dagger to her throat, "Are you planning to kill Joe too?"
"Maxine!" Joe said in a hushed yelled, "She's okay, she's here to help."
"Tell that to the two dead guards at your door!" Maxine said still holding the knife to Penny's throat.
"Oh no," Penny said with a faint smile, "They aren't dead, they 're just sleeping from a herb I put in their soup."
Joe pulled a reluctant Maxine off of Penny and helped Penny up off the floor. He marveled at how it could be the same young girl he had talked to before.
"I couldn't kill anyone....Again," Penny said under her breath as she stood, "We really need to hurry now."
Penny helped Joe and Maxine sneak through the castle and out of the kitchen side door. On their way through the kitchen, she packed them a couple days worth of food.
"Penny, come with us?" Joe said as they stood outside the castle,"We can all escape together."
"No," Penny said with a frown, "I believe there is a good man inside of Justin someplace. Someday I will be able to find him and get him to make things right."
With tears in her eyes, Penny closed the door, leaving Joe and Maxine out on the grass under the moonlight.
Maxine reached up and touched the place on Joes face where the whip had cut him open. Joe could see that she wanted to say something about it, but instead, she turned and began to walk away from him.
"Maxine, wait," Joe said walking after her, "Where are you going?"
"I 'm not going to just let Justin continue to rule people with an iron fist," Maxine said heading back behind the castle, "I bet he keep his time slaves on that airship."
"Maxine, that ship is going to be full of men ready to shoot anyone who climbs aboard," Joe said grabbing her arm, "It's a death sentence to just go climb aboard. Let's go find a place to sleep, gather some supplies, and come back another day."
Maxine turned to face him with tears in her eyes, "Part of me doesn't care if I die. My dad is gone...he is gone forever! There's a hole in my heart that couldn't possibly be filled."
Joe reached out and pulled her into a hug before he knew what he was doing, "I know Maxine, I have a hole left by my parents too."
The pair stood in an embrace crying together for a long while before they heard a commotion from the front of the castle.
"We have to go!" Maxine whispered, "They must have found that you are gone."
Joe took Maxine by the hand and headed back towards the woods behind the castle, "There is a path to get back into town, or at least there was in my world."
The pair headed back into the woods for the second time in just a few hours. Just inside the tree line, Joe found the path he had expected. It was paved with cobblestone and had grass growing through the cracks.
"This hasn't been used in years," Joe said in amazement, "It comes out at a long ago abandoned stone cottage near the river. Maybe we can camp there until we get a plan together."
The path wound its way around large rock formations and over a couple small streams before coming out at a ridge above the stone cottage. The cottage itself did not appear to be abandoned at all. There were lights shining through the glass windows and smoke puffing gently out of the chimney.
The scene was more beautiful than Joe had remembered. He stood at the edge of the forest looking down at the neatly kept stone cottage. Beyond the river, the lights of the small city stretched out over the landscape. The scene looked like it had been painted by a great artist.
"This is amazing!" Maxine said with tears on her face, " My father would have loved this, he always wanted a place on the river."
Joe took her hand and led the way towards the cottage, "Maybe the person that lives here is friendly. It's the only place we can get to without being easily seen by guards."
Joe led the way down the gentle slope. It was covered in pine needle making it a treacherous journey. After a couple falls each they finally made it to the front of the cottage. They walked towards the home cautiously and slowly.
"What business do you have here?" Came a mysterious voice from the cover of the dark front porch, "You best stop there before you lose your heads."
Joe felt Maxine grab her daggers and ready herself for an assault from the porch while he staggered backward from the surprise of the unknown voice.
"We...um...just need a place to stay for a couple nights," Joe's voice came out more shaky than he had intended.
"The girl needs to put away the daggers," The man said, "Then we can talk more openly."
"I'll do no such thing!" Maxine yelled taking a step towards the porch, "How do we know you won't kill us or turn us over to Justin?"
A flash of blinding blue light erupted from the porch with a shower of sparks and thunderous boom. In the flash of light, Joe saw the outline of a normal sized man with what looked like mechanical body parts.
From the sky, a bat fell and landed in front of Maxine. Joe looked down and realized that its head had been cleanly sliced from its body. Joe looked back up at Maxine who was staring at it with all the color drained from her cheeks.
"You take another step and you'll join the bat in the headless corpse party." The man chuckled at his sadistic joke.
"Maxine," Joe whispered under his breath," Put the daggers away if he was going to kill us he would have done it already."
"Yes," The man chuckled again, "If I was going to turn you into living robots, I would have killed you at the top of the hill."
Joe turned back to the man on the porch, surprised that he had heard his advice to Maxine, "Please, we don't mean to invade your home. we are in a spot of trouble with Justin and need to find a way to escape him."
The porch creaked as the man walked across it, "Ah, anyone who is an enemy of that man is a friend of mine."
The porch filled with electric blue light as the ceiling of the porch lit up with static electricity. The air filled with the buzzing and crackling of the thin blue lines of electricity dancing about the ceiling. The ceiling was made of glass, and beyond the glass was a large metal probe that the electricity seemed to be radiating from.
The man standing before them was very old and had some kind of machine strapped to his entire body. The mechanism on his legs had a tight group of gears at the knee joint and a shock style spring from the knee to the heel. His whole body was covered by these gadgets, and on his head sat a basket that appeared to control the thing.
"My name is Wade Vanderhousen," The man said with a toothless smile, "But the locals just call me Mr.Gadget. You can call me whatever you would like."
"Mr. gadget, I'm pleased to meet you." Joe stepped up onto the porch and reached out his hand.
"Best not touch each other under the static light," Mr. Gadget smiled, "It is great for an effect, but it makes for a shocking greeting."
Mr. Gadget laughed hysterically at his joke in a high-pitched wheezy kinda laugh. Joe smiled politely at the charismatic man before him. Mr. Gadget didn't seem to notice that Joe and Maxine were not at all amused by his joke.
Maxine stepped up onto the porch and her hair pulled out of its neat bun and stretched out towards the ceiling, "What is happening to my hair?"
"Static electricity," Mr. Gadget said as his laugh died down, "It is the stuff the ceiling lightning is made of. It tends to gather on hair and pull it towards the highest source of the stuff. In this case, it pulls towards the static generator in my ceiling. Wonderful isn't it?"
Joe watched as Maxine tried quite valiantly to gather her hair back into a bun. It was a fruitless effort, however, as her hair stood on end again the moment she let go of it.
"Let's go inside and have a chat," Mr. Gadget said reaching for the door knob, "I really hate opening the door after having the ceiling light on."
The built up static electricity released the moment he touched the door knob. The flash from the small explosion was bright enough to make Joe turn and shield his eyes. The buzzing sound that filled the porch suddenly stopped as the ceiling slowly went black.
Joe and Maxine followed Mr. Gadget into his house wich were just as unique as the front porch they had been standing on. The layout was the same as most homes Joe had ever seen but the decor was much less...normal.
The kitchen table appeared to be the hood of an old car that had been welded to an axle with a wheel still attached to act as a base. The table chairs themselves had been made from 55-gallon steel barrels. The barrels were cut half round with a seat welded into the middle and neatly upholstered with black leather.
"That is quite a table there Mr. Gadget," Joe said in awe of the craftsmanship that had gone into it, "Where did the parts come from?"
Mr. Gadget smiled his toothless grin before reaching into his pocket and grabbing a set of false teeth. He popped them in and licked his lips before speaking.
"Ah... that is much better." He said pulling a chair out for Maxine to sit in, "The parts from this table have come from one of the other dimensions. I like to call them time lines really, so many changes between them that it is hard to imagine you are even in the same years or technological time frames. This table was made from a 1961 Dodge D-series pickup. The axle and wheel came from the same vehicle."
"How did you go to another timeline?" Maxine jumped in before he could continue, "Is there a way to get back to 1419?"
Mr. gadget looked at Maxine intently, "Back to the time before Justin's beginning? Well, I have tried many times. He has set many blockades along the way, he is a brilliant man. I am the only man to ever have challenged his technological prowess. But he has altered so many things near and around his place of origin that it is tough to get to the true timeline. See if you or I could move back or forward in a timeline on our own, we would be limited to moving forward. If we move back in time to try and change something, time rights itself."
"Yes," Joe said frustrated that he was reminded of the cut above his eye, "I am well aware of that."
Mr. Gadget stared at Joe intently as if he was trying to figure out how he could possibly understand what he had just said.
"I know because I have tried to change the past," Joe said, "I have been exposed to the day Justin created this ability to jump between worlds."
At this statement Mr. gadgets face twisted in agony, "You are a time slave? I should have known, you two look out of place. why would you come here? You have tracking devices and will be tracked through anytime and to any location."
Mr. Gadget got up and started to usher them towards the door. He seemed as though he didn't want to be rude, but knew he couldn't afford to be caught harboring runaway time slaves.
"I'm not a time slave," Joe said angrily, "I'm Justin's grandson!"
At these words, Mr. Gadget collapsed back into his seat. He buried his face in his hands and proceeded to run his hands through his white hair.
"I don't have a tracking device," Joe said trying to assure the man, "I'm the original Joe. I was reading a book on the lawn in front of the castle just a day couple days ago. That is when this time capsule came up out of the ground in front of me. I drank the liquid Justin had preserved for the future and went back to his time."
Mr. Gadget sat upright in flash, "Wait for you...That means...You can get back to the past while remaining within your future!"
Mr. gadget stood and began to run around the house gathering paper and pencils in a hurry. Joe and Maxine watched as he grabbed straight edges and boxes full of little gadgets. After only a few minutes of mad scrambling, he returned to the table.
"Jigga doodle!!!" Mr. Gadget screamed looking back over his shoulder, "Hurry out here, we have some guests that need to drink something."
From around the corner came a young man about Joe's age. He walked like he had just run a marathon with long heavy steps.
"This is my very own humanoid," Mr. Gadget smiled, "Unlike Justin, I didn't kill anyone to make this beautiful robot. He is 100 percent mechanical, with the exception of a brain borrowed from a cadaver at the medical center in town."
Joe and Maxine both eyed the very realistic looking humanoid suspiciously.
"Jig, Would you please fetch these lovely guests a cup of hot coffee, please? I'll take a hot cup of cinnamon tea." Mr. Gadget said turning his attention back to the gadgets and drawing utensils he had grabbed from around the house.
"What is all of this stuff for Mr. Gadget?" Maxine questioned still looking around the house suspiciously.
"We're going to have to start planning our attack ship. If my calculations are correct, we should be able to have a battle worthy airship constructed within about three months. It is going to take a lot of teamwork to gather the materials needed." With the last bit, Mr. gadget looked at Joe and Maxine.
"We hardly know who you are," Joe said concerned by Mr. Gadgets overwhelming eagerness to start helping them, "I don't even know who you are, for all I know you are stalling until Justin can get here to collect me."
Mr. Gadgets face changed suddenly. Since they had been able to see his face, it had been filled with smiles. Now, however, his face was marked by deep sorrow. With a tear rolling down his face he looked at Joe and motioned for him to follow him.
Joe followed him down a hallway and a long flight of stairs. At the bottom of the stairs, Mr gadget opened a heavy steel door. The instant the door opened joe could hear the sound of steam rushing through pipes.
In the middle of the room was a large brass tube standing upright with a window in the front of it. Inside was a woman with her eyes wide opened staring at him. The top of the tube had hoses running this way and that way, every corner of the room was filled with small steam powered motors and glass vials that were filling and emptying themselves with different colored liquid.
"This is my wife," Mr. Gadget said with tears rolling down his cheeks, "She was a time slave before Justin started putting tracking chips in them. He used her to get to our time, and he used her so many times that her mind shut down and refused to accept reality. She slowly started to die of hypothermia as her brain forgot how to regulate temperature. By the time I could save her, she was nearly brain dead."
Mr. Gadget walked to the chamber and put his hand up to the window, "I love you, darling, we will find a way to change what has happened."
Mr. gadget turned to Joe with a tear stained face, "This is why I was so eager to help you. This is why I grabbed hold of the opportunity to change what Justin has upset."
Joe couldn't help but remember his parents sitting as though dead, waiting to be Justin's puppets. Before he could stop it tears began to stream down his face and cloud his vision.
"I understand what you mean," Justin said trying to hide his emotional state, "We will do whatever it takes to help right this terrible wrong."
Without another word, the two of them returned to the table with Maxine who was breathing hard. Joe could see that she had eavesdropped on their little basement trip. Her eyes betrayed her innocence, they too had been wet with tears.
A Body of Pain
The pain in layers brutally applied,
Carelessly plastered back to a wound.
Consequences oozing from the flesh,
Squeezed from a venomous snake bite.
Reality choking out life's joy,
Forcefully filled with muddy water.
Trust left shattered on the floor,
Crushed by a devastating blow.
Hope left hanging on by a bloody thread,
Like a body;
Ravaged by death yet filled with adrenaline.
Rotting is the past I leave behind,
Like a corpse;
Abandoned to decay in the fiery heat of the desert.
Distant is the hopeful future
Like an eye;
Gazing longingly at beauty beyond its reach.
Shame of the Betrayer
Pain a snake constricting my heart,
surely soon death will collect my soul.
Betrayal the poison tearing me in two,
I the betrayer have chosen this years ago.
A lie held to avoid the inevitable pain,
has turned into a bitter blackened snow.
Covering my world with cold sorrow.
Will ever my eyes behold real joy again?
My heart has really loved only one,
yet my lust has craved another.
Weakness in a lustful moment years ago
kept hidden to delay what I feel today.
My eyes have beheld the one I did not love,
shattering the heart of my one beloved.
Oh death, swallow up this wretched man.
I no longer deserve to take in this air.
God, I am full of despair, darkness covers me.
Restore what I have broken beyond repair.
The heart of the betrayer is poured out,
desolate, broken, deserving of pain alone.
Page 1 - Far From Mars/ Chapter 1
Jacob gazed curiously at the phenomenon he had just discovered. It was like a mirror to another land. It was like nothing he had ever seen before. He watched as people were walking past in the small old western town. Some people went by on horses, while others rode in wagons covered by canvas.
For one hundred and ninety years Jacob had lived in this forsaken wasteland. Fifteen of which he had lived completely alone. Mars had been the promised great next. It had been the glue that brought the civilizations of earth together after the nuclear destruction of 2020. He was just a newborn in those days, now he was the oldest man to have ever walked the face of mars at 220 years old.
Though his body was that of a twenty-year-old, his genetically modified DNA had allowed him to live many normal lifetimes over. In the year 2050, he had been selected as one of five people to live on mars. Now one hundred and ninety years later, he was about to step into the unknown.
Without hesitation, Jacob reached his gloved hand out to touch the nearest person beyond the window. The instant his gloved hand reached the window between two worlds, his body was jerked forward in a blur of color. Without warning the color instantly stopped and Jacob found himself standing in the middle of the old western town.
"Excuse me, mister," Came the gruff voice of a man from behind Jacob, "Not sure where you come from, but around these parts, you can be hung for indecency."
Jacob looked down and realized his clothes had disappeared in the blur of color that had landed him in this strange place. His hands shot down to cover himself as he realized the entire town seemed to be staring right at him.
Hearts desires pushed aside,
giving all I have left inside.
Self-subdued all for you;
hope for passion renewed.
Left waiting, pouring out.
Binding desire swallowed
fighting the blaze, left hollow.
For love, for you, self-denied.
To myself, maybe I have lied?
Left waiting, pouring out.
Desire bound with love's passion,
now bitterness burns a heart ashen.
Outside, words trying to inspire;
Inside dying, lying on the pyre.
Left empty inside, poured out.
A Rising Light: Prologue
Ealdræds massive frame outlined the evening sky at the top of the highest castle tower. His long black hair and beard draped over his black dragon scale cloak.
"Everything that lives in Holbeck, bow to your king!" Ealdræd shouted from his perch.
The sky filled with dark clouds as Beadu forest nearly bowed to the ground from the tumult of westward wind brought on by the words of Ealdræd. Not only did the trees bow, but every living thing in all of Holbeck heeded the command of their King.
It had been ten years since Ealdræd had given half of his soul to the evil that had promised him power to command every living thing in his Kingdom of Holbeck. Every evening he exercised that power, and every day he strove to expand his kingdoms reach.
Moments after the daily bow, rain fell so forcefully that the wheel ruts in the road filled nearly the instant it began. Not a soul was found outside of the makeshift huts that sat in the shadow of the castle walls.
In one such hut was Ealdgyð, one of few women in the kingdom unfortunate enough to have conceived a child. As a little girl, she had dreamed of one-day holding her own child. Her dream would be had this day, though it was sorrow that filled her heart.
Ealdræd had taken her, forced upon her himself in a drunken rage. That is how she had conceived the child that was fighting to enter the cold world. Ealdræd knew of the child and if it was a boy he promised to kill Ealdgyð and raise the child as the future King of the land. If it were a girl, he would have them both killed the very day she was born.
The evening turned to night as Ealdgyð fought to bring a life into the world. At nearly midnight just as the baby was born, the door of the shack burst open. A flood of cold air rushed into the candle lit one room shack as a hooded figure appeared at the door.
"Quick, there is no time!" A man's voice came from under the hood, "Ealdræd's men are nearly here."
"What do want?" Ealdgyð cried clutching her baby close to her chest.
The man lowered his hood revealing a thick beard and tangled mess of black hair, "There is no time, King Ealdræd will kill you and your baby girl."
Ealdgyð hadn't even had time to see if it was a boy or girl. She held the baby up and looked, it was indeed a baby girl. She then held the baby close, wrapping her tight in a blanket made from old clothing all stitched together.
Ealdgyð studied the man, he looked a lot like Ealdræd, with a large frame and black hair. There was a kindness in this man's eyes that Ealdræd was not capable of having, otherwise she would have suspected it of being Ealdræd himself.
"She is staying with me," Ealdgyð said with tears streaming down her face, "You can't take my baby!"
In the distance, the sound of the great castle gate being lowered echoed through the village of shacks. The gate crashed to the ground with a thundering boom that shook the castle walls. The sound of horses trotting through the mud soon followed.
"Search every shack along the wall!" The voice of a commander thundered, "The baby has been born. If it is a girl kill it and the mother. If it is a boy, kill only the mother and bring the baby to me."
The bearded man knelt down next to Ealdgyð, "Please, I have seen a vision of this child. She is the only hope left in the realm. Soon Ealdræd
will control not only Holbeck but all of Aenaghar. If you allow her to die at the hand of Ealdræd, you are allowing the hope of a world free from a tyrant to die as well."
With eyes full of tears Ealdgyð stared at her babies face, "Wassa, that shall be your name. It means uncertain because that is what your life has begun with, uncertainty."
Ealdgyð held Wassa out to the bearded man with tears running down her face. The chaos of the search was drawing close, her only hope of saving the baby girl lay with this strange man.
"I am Cenric," The man said opening the door, "If you are not killed, word will be sent about Wassa in due time."
Cenric rushed through the door and disappeared into the rain with the baby girl tucked safely within his cloak.
Ealdræd paced back and forth in front of his throne while the commander of the army stood before him in silence.
"There is no excuse," Ealdræd said without raising his voice, "Do you know what you have done?"
"Sir, we have searched every shack within ten miles." The commander pleaded, "It is just a child, we can force women to have more if you want?"
Ealdræd turned to the commander and lifted him off the ground with an outstretched hand, "That child is one hundred percent royal blood! Her mother was the direct descendant of the realms original king, and I am her father!"
With a flick of his wrist, Ealdræd threw the commander across the room and out the window of the castle.
"Hellcniht.." Ealdræd whispered into the shadows of the room, "What would you give for the other half of my soul?"
"Immortality" A whisper echoed across the room, " Is that not what you seek?"
"Yes," Ealdræd said, "You can have my soul in its entirety in exchange for immortality. There will be no heir to my throne, it will be mine forever!"
The moment the words escaped his lips he dropped to his knees in agony. Darkness surrounded him as his soul was taken by Hellcniht.
"Now rise you fool," Hellcniht shrieked, "Without a soul, you are mine to command. Without a soul, you have no free will left. Though Immortal, you will forever be my pawn in the war to destroy mankind."