By the Light of the Moon

By the Light of the Moon

By the Light of the Moon

By: Kanyla Wilson

The odds were stacked against him today. No, the odds were stacked against Elijah every day, but today they were tall enough to scrape the cracked, faded blue paint from the sky hovering above his building. The air in his one room apartment smelled of teeth grinding and sweat like his fitful sleep the night before had materialized into a stench permeating every surface. He’d risen four hours too early, and the sun outside crept up his body where he sat, scanning him and deciding what kind of day he deserved. The alarm on his phone blinked to life and he stood at attention leaving his nerve behind in the chair to decide if it was brave enough to leave the apartment. The place wasn’t anything to see. Ancient charcoal gray carpet covered the floor looking suspicious enough to make Elijah avoid ever touching bare feet to it. A mattress set upon a plain bed frame was pushed against the wall of the only window, and one battered hotel chair stood in the middle of the room beneath a dim light connected to the ceiling fan. This was the dwelling of a man who was unfortunate enough to love the unfortunate. The kind of love that would always leave you on the wrong side of life.Read More »

Unleashed

Unleashed

Unleashed

Kanyla Wilson

Rayne never had the luxury of recklessness. It wasn’t prudent of her to let her guard down not now not ever; not when she was a girl with scrapped ashy knees and especially not now. Her mother never let her forget that. Morbid warnings about turning on her charm to entice the neighborhood boys to buy her swizzle sticks from the candy stand stayed echoing in her mind every time she ran full speed out of the screen door to play with the lightness that only comes from being seven. She was forbidden from wearing short skirts and flashy makeup in high school just as her friends were but she knew her mother’s worry grew beyond having a bad reputation. Sixteen-year-old girls were constantly warned about the dangers of a bad reputation. Life always seemed so easy for those girls; what must it have been like to only fear the thoughts of others. Rayne envied them; her mother envied their parents; their worries seemed like fairy tales projected on a big screen just out of reach.

Mommy was gone now. She’d sheltered Rayne all through high school and tried her damnedest to protect her through college, but the cancer had other plans. As Rayne sat by her mother’s side as she wasted away, there were no tender moments, no last revelations only fervent warnings about what could happen if Rayne ever let go. If she ever lost control of herself. Mommy cried every second of her last day. She knew she wouldn’t be there with Rayne anymore with whispered warnings and reminders to remain aware. Rayne would be alone to be responsible for herself with a lifetime of teaching stored up to help her remember the dangers of inhibition.

Rayne had remembered. Every day she put more energy into minding herself that she did anything else. It was more important than her studies, more important than her friends. It was the difference between living and dying, and she never took that lightly, even on the day she finally lost control. Mommy had always warned her about why women like them couldn’t afford to fall in love. The all-consuming intoxication made it impossible to remain constrained. Rayne had heard the tragic story of her father’s death more times than she’d cared to remember but even still after all of that preparation she was powerless when she finally met the man who would test her strength.

Her sorrow for him would stretch centuries, and her guilt would never let her believe he’d come over to her that day in the supermarket on the steam of free will. He was drawn to her, and it had nothing to do with her smile or her eyes or the way she wore her clothes, but she let him believe it was. She sat across from him at dinner, something she’d never before allowed herself to do, and listened to him softly tell her she was the one. She could hear Mommy’s voice in her head so loud she could have been sitting at the next table, but Rayne managed to ignore it. She’d gone years avoiding men, but at that moment she just wanted him to keep smiling at her. She wanted to hold on the taste of what normal felt like.

Rayne sat on the edge of the strange bed, in the strange apartment wrapped tightly in the sheet she’d just finished feeling like a normal girl underneath. She could feel Mommy there with her again as she mourned knowing she’d have used her stern voice to comfort Rayne instead of chastising at a time like this. She would have said, “Everyone makes mistakes Rayne, our mistakes just cost a little more than others.” Rayne looked over her shoulder at the lovely boy who thought enough of her to pick her up and take her on a proper dinner date. The boy who smiled and laughed with her like she was just a regular girl. The boy who’d made a grave mistake getting involved with a girl like Rayne.

His skin was stretched tight over his skull looking rough and gray like stone in the harsh morning light. Beneath the covers, he’d shrunken down to a third of his normal weight, and the sharp curve of his bones pressed their way down the length of him. His legs and arms were twisted at odd angles, and the fingers on one hand were all broken and jutted out in a sickening formation. He’d tried in desperation to fight her off when he finally realized what was happening but at her full strength, he’d only managed to break a few of his bones as he tried to resist. Rayne had let herself want him as he kissed and caressed her. She’d let herself feel like she deserved to be touched by a man like him. She’d forgotten that there was no such thing as innocent love for a succubus. Most of all she was disgusted at the euphoria that still coursed through her. That electrifyingly satisfying feeling of breathing in his energy and swallowing his delicious life force. This feeling was what Mommy was most worried about. It wasn’t the killing that was the problem; the trouble lies in liking it. Rayne cursed the dopamine rebounding in her brain rewarding her for taking a man’s life but the excitement she felt when she thought of this happening again made a mockery of that.

Mommy always told her that she was only a monster if she allowed herself to be. Rayne gathered her things being careful to wipe away her fingerprints from everything she’d touched and took one last look at the sweet boy who’d been foolish enough to trust her. Mommy had been wrong. She was a monster, and she could only be normal if she allowed herself to be.

Edited Memories of the Present

SPRINGTIME (4)

 

I took a road trip back to where I began. I passed the time reminiscing on the present, softening the jagged edges of the past with hazy nostalgia. I became a stranger in my memories where everything seemed to be the same while I returned so different. I easily let go of all of the pain and remembered the good times full of excited screams and tinkling laughter of children. The fondness of the days before monopolized my mind as I drove and I felt, just for a second, I could re-create my childhood with those fleeting moments of happiness. I wanted to stretch them until they were an unending road with a divider in the middle for my siblings to drive alongside me. But, we carried our scars with us on that road and over packed our baggage in the trunks of our cars until they could take no more. It slowed us down just enough to see the trash littering our highway of edited memories of times when we all smiled in unison, at each other.Read More »

I is for: Immortal #AtoZChallenge

She turned to the sunlight And shook her yellow head,And whispered to her neighbor- -Winter is dead.”

If I combined all of the moments I’ve spent wondering about when the end of my life would come, their number would exceed the number of days I have lived. Mortality is a funny thing. The living hold on to the knowledge of mortality as the driving force for all actions. We know we are going to die, but as we gravitate towards the end of our days, we spend most of our moments trying to survive. It is the never ending futile game of preserving this existence. I wanted my demise to come as a whisper in my senescent ear as I fall asleep with years of memories surrounding me to cushion my exit. I wanted to control it. I suppose I’m not the only one who doesn’t hope for it to come anytime soon. However, I am in sparse company when considering what I have done to ensure death and I would never meet.Read More »

F is for: The Face #AtoZChallenge

SPRINGTIME (1)

The building was an exact copy of the other five lining the street on which it stood. It was part of a neighborhood created to provide suitable housing for those in need and at some point during the planning, someone decided that income level should directly correlate to uniformity. It was not a neighborhood of “Good Mornings.” and borrowed lawn tools. Scowls greeted outsiders from porches and stoops instead of welcoming smiles. Unfortunate events occurred more often than positive ones, so when The Face appeared on the unassuming building with five identical brothers, the residents immediately considered it evil.Read More »

E is for: The Elevator #AtoZChallenge

william conrad + heidi pratt.jpg

Eric and his wife exchanged weary glances as they waited for the elevator in the beachy, bright lobby of their Key West resort hotel. They were about twenty minutes away from the kids’ nap time but the two youngsters showed no signs of slowing. They were locked in a rambunctious battle using a pool noodle and an inflatable shark as swords with their soggy flip flops thwacking loudly on the floor. Read More »

D is for: Dallas #AtoZChallenge

eachingis thegreatest actof optimism.

He hadn’t been elected. The time it took to follow the steps of democracy was not a luxury still afforded to them. Dallas was old enough to remember how the nation once painstakingly mulled over these decisions. This was different. Leadership had been shoved into his hands like the hot potato no one wanted to be caught holding when the clock stopped. The center-set faucet of the sink before him was suffocating beneath years of grime and rust but it was still inviting. Dallas wanted nothing more than to turn its handles and splash a refreshing dose of clarity in his face but poisonous liquid flowed through city plumbing systems now. Even the simple pleasures of their life before were like a dream to him.Read More »

C is for: The Cabin #AtoZChallenge

SPRINGTIME

“Don’t blink, don’t breathe, don’t move,” He told himself over and over standing at the window. For fifty-one nights he stood this post, repeating the same line and staring out into the dark void of the woods surrounding the cabin. “Don’t blink, don’t breathe, don’t move.” Fifty-one nights of pounding heartbeats and moist, nervous hands gripping the slick steel of the shotgun he held close to his chest. He didn’t dare sit, fearing even the slightest bit of comfort would make him vulnerable. He had to be ready to fight for his life, he needed to be alert. “Don’t blink, don’t breathe, don’t move.”Read More »