Her word was a minuscule spark in a vast ocean of shouting men. None but the old farmer and the seamstress, sitting to her right and to her left on the pew, noticed that a sound had crossed her lips. The ones occupying the dais seemed beyond all reach.

“If we cut him, he’ll lose too much blood to stay conscious,” the head of the council said. “He burned our barn, we will burn him until he reveals where the rest of his horde is hiding.”

She raised a hand. The farmer and the seamstress did the same. The council failed to see them.

“Burning is as bad as cutting.” The security chief was red in the face. “He might get an infection before we get what we need from him. Partial drowning will break—”


The council began to quiet, until it was completely silent. Not because they had heard her voice, but because she had left the back of the room, walked past the landowners, past the merchants, past the families of the councilmen, and was now standing next to the metal folding chair that held the gagged prisoner. Four others had followed her to the front.

“This is council business, my dear woman.” The head of the council smiled. “I’m sure—”

Whatever he was sure of was consumed by a united, “No!” that got louder and louder as the people that made her small village continued to chant their outrage.

Her spark was now ablaze in the hearts of her neighbors.

The man on the folding chair would pay for the arson. But there would be no torture. Her people were better than that, even if a handful of old men had made them forget for a time.

a wee note…
– Every now and again, the news oozes into my fiction and I don’t fight the intrusion.
– Linked to Sanaa’s Prompt Nights (Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad), and to The Twiglet #8 (“folding chair”).

She is way more intense than the character in the tale. I just couldn’t resist Chandra Ablaze.

Miracles and Cesspools

“Borderlines forget the existence of gray. Life is a beautiful miracle, or a cesspool of despair.” ~ Borderline, by Mishell Baker

The sun on your face is heart-feeding music to my eyes. I kiss your eyelids once, thrice… move back to my side of our bed and watch you watch me, remembering how your touch, the taste of you… fills my bones with fire and might. A smile awakens your lips, and you say, “I love you.”

Liar, liar, liar, I think. I want to rip out my eyes, leave my Self dark. Eyeless, I won’t have to watch me in your mirrors, see a pitiful thing that’s not worth loving. I’m sorry. So, so sorry.

stop it, you breather
of rot that chills brain and bone,
I loathe you; trust me
I am made of wild mushrooms,
high… bright, a lover of rot

(not so) wee notes…
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a serious (and complex) mental illness that steals emotional control. I have two friends who live with it. They are like night and day when it comes to their personalities… But their behavior (when stuck at either extreme of the disease) is very, very similar—self-destructive and malicious… or, all-giving and determined. Neither behavior lasts very long. And the in-between periods are filled with guilt and self-loathing. Many say that it is very hard to love someone who has been diagnosed with BPD. That hasn’t been true for me for quite some time. Listening to my friends, and spending a lot of time with one of them, I’ve realized that their emotional explosions are rarely personal. They can’t help how BPD attacks their bodies and minds. But we (their family, friends… society) can control how we react to their suffering. Remembering this bit—during the highs and the crashes—is the best way to truly show our friendship and our love for them. At least, that is what I think.

– On the technical side… I am really enjoying my exploration of books, prompts, and random bits of life through tanka-prose. I love the simplicity of the form… and the punch it can pack.

– Partly inspired by the quote at the beginning of the post. Linked to my Diversity Reading List for 2017, and to the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (Tuesday Platform).

detail from the cover of Borderline, by Mishell Baker