Why Is There No Perfect Place?

A world to be happy in,

To be lost in,

Just to rest again

Without this stress,

This uncertainty,

This anxiety,

Taken hold of me

Having hurt.

Show me mountains,

Show me fountains,

The sublimest

Of their kind.

Let me stay there,

Waste away there,

I shouldn’t dare

But I would

To sleep forever

In beauty’s tether,

A watcher weathered

Down to rocks.

The Spider And The Wolf

In the cleft of a remote mountain lived a harem of ravenous spiders. Sheets of webbing stretched from end to end, defining the extent of their domain. Its sides were steep and treacherous. Rabbits, foxes, and the occasional stray elk that wandered too close would inevitably wind up trapped there. Many desperate crows also found themselves entangled in their webs in search of carrion. All other animals avoided the place.
For the spiders, the mountain’s cleft served as an ideal home. The mountain itself provided consistent shade from the hot sun. The surrounding country was plentiful, providing for an abundance of wildlife in which to prey upon. Rainwater settled into shallow pools that could last for weeks between storms. The spiders lacked nothing, and most deemed their society good and prosperous. They grew fat, feeding and mating as they desired and giving little thought to any affairs beyond their borders.
“The mountain breeds the sweetest meats,” the old spider mother Esmeralda would often cackle. “Twas a time when I was young and we had naught to eat but flys! The birds and beasts of warmer blood are better to eat by far!”
Esmeralda had been the oldest spider of the harem for many years and was well respected by the young spider maidens. Though most of the younger generations hadn’t so much as seen a fly, let alone eaten one, they were well prepared to take her word for it. The variety of prey that wandered into their nets was enough to satisfy even the most eclectic of tastes.
“Eat your fill dearies, eat, eat,” Esmeralda would entreat them. “Slack not a pace! Healthy and fat, that’s the ticket m’dears. All you can stomach and more. The king’s sons love-em a spider maiden that’s fat!”
The maidens gladly ate all they could, savoring every morsel with thoughts of becoming fat enough to please their future mates. The spider king was master of all spiders living on the mountain. He and his sons took as many mates as they pleased at their leisure. Often, they mated several times a day with their favorites and largely ignored all the rest. Winning the affection of one of the king’s sons was therefore considered essential. The older maidens gossiped freely about the paragons of ecstasy they experienced while mating.
“The old king, he loooved him a large back,” Esmeralda would tell them gleefully. “The times he used cling to me, shaking all wild like a crow caught in webs, until he fell flat atop me drained as could be! Hahaha! Many a good rump the old king had with me!”
These tales from Esmeralda and the other older spiders were devoured lustily by the young spider maidens. It seemed none of them could wait until the day they experienced for themselves, a “good rump.”
The mating experience, for one young maiden named Sofina, had indeed proven to be as pleasurable as the elders described. She’d managed to attract one of the king’s youngest sons, a somewhat gentler spider named Rownos, and fulfilled her desires for the first time. What started as a pleasant tingle elevated into wave after wave of shivering delight. The peak of delectation fell simultaneously with the moment of orgasm from her lover, followed by his immediate exhaustion. Once it was over, he fell to her side without a word and slept, leaving Sofina brimming with freshly satiated lust.
Now, Sofina stood by one of the shallow pools alongside her sister Ollga, discussing the whole experience in depth.
“I’d never guessed rightly how it felt to be touched in that spot,” Sofina told her. “Like a secret pass to some unnatural good feelings”
“Ha!” cackled Ollga. “I never heard it said like that before! It was good, that’s all that need be said.”
“I suppose. I just felt like,.. like maybe good was too short. Lots of things are good, but this was better.”
“You’re dreaming. Good is good, and that’s all it was. It was a good thing.”
“Yes, I suppose you’re right.”
Sofina pondered her own thoughts for a moment, wondering if she’d been right to embellish the way she did. Her sister had, after all, been through the experience many more times than she. If “good” was all there was to such a feeling, then “good” as a word, would have to do. Still, she imagined there was more that could be said, more to the effect of how she’d really felt at the time, though it was difficult to think what. Perhaps, she thought, she really was imagining more than there really was.
“Drink, Sofina!” entreated Ollga. “Tis good to drink lots after mating, it’ll keep you strong for the next time!”
“I don’t feel thirsty.”
“Eat then! My sister, you must fill your belly to keep the pace! An empty stomach will flatten your back and leave you too laggard to keep up!”
“Yes, I know. Perhaps I’ll see what’s hanging in the webs today.”
“Go! Eat your fill! Rownos might be wanting more of you back tonight, haha!”
Sofina left her sister by the pool and crawled leisurely up towards the webbing. In truth, she was not really hungry, but she knew her sister was right. It wouldn’t do to let herself go unfed and disappoint her newfound lover so soon. That, and there simply wasn’t much else to do. She reasoned that by the time she reached the webs, she may have worked up an appetite. Since there was no rush, she took her time climbing the mountain’s walls, thinking of all there was to do between mating.
“Drinking, eating, sleeping, talking,” she named each thing out loud as she thought of it. After the first four, she found it difficult to remember anything else, until she reached the first layer of webbing.
“Checking the webs!” she shouted, laughing to herself.
Today, as usual, the first layer of webs didn’t contain much. Only a few large rats that must’ve lost their way up the mountain. Further up were plenty of crows, magpies, a rather ancient looking owl, a few small goats, and several jackrabbits. Sofina passed them all without the slightest inclination to eat. None of these familiar tastes felt appealing at the moment, so she kept climbing and looking out for whatever else there was.
Nearing the top of the mountain’s cleft, she espied a creature still alive, struggling in the webbing. It was an unusually large creature, and its writhing was so fierce as to sway the entire structure. Even so, Sofina knew the creature’s efforts were in vain. Once any animal had been caught, there was no chance of it escaping on their own. She laughed to herself, imagining the poor beast’s naivety, and raced forward to investigate more closely.
There, entangled in the highest bed of webbing, was a snow-white wolf. Sofina had never seen such a creature before, and at first mistook it for a large fox. Then she remembered that she’d never heard of a white fox before, and she noticed this animal’s features were actually quite different. Its limbs were more muscular and powerful, and its fur was rough but also sleek. It made a most pitiful moan as it struggled, braying helplessly from its snout as it rocked back and forth within the web. Driven by curiosity, Sofina inched closer, stepping out onto the web and gently crawling towards the captured beast.
Sensing the shifted weight of the webbing, the creature’s eyes found Sofina and it howled aggressively toward her.
“Leave me alone!” it cried. “I’ll bite you!”
The creature thrashed about, and Sofina could see it was indeed capable of biting her at a close distance. Timidly, she ventured as close as she deemed it safe.
“What are you?” she asked. “Are you a white fox?”
“I’m a wolf pup!”
“A what?”
“A WOLF PUP!”
Sofina had never heard of such a thing. The words were unfamiliar and made her giggle, as though it were joking. The beast snarled at her. That brought her laughter to a halt. Her curiosity, however, increased.
“I’ve never seen one of your kind before. Where did you come from?”
“The north,” responded the wolf brusquely.
“I see,..” said Sofina, not really comprehending. “So, why are you here?”
“We’re starving. My pack is searching for prey. We crossed the mountains yesterday and I could smell the dead things here.”
“I see.”
The wolf continued to struggle. He was perched so high, Sofina wondered why he even bothered. Even if he freed himself, there would be nowhere to go but straight down. He would either plummet to his death or be caught in the webs further down.
“Settle down,” said Sofina. “You’re caught, that’s all there is to it.”
“NOT FOR LONG!” roared the wolf.
His response almost set Sofina into a fit of titters, but she held them in for the sake of adding insult to injury.
“You can’t break these webs,” she pointed out. “And even if you did, you’d just fall even more.”
“My pack will free me when they get here!”
“Your pack?”
“They’ll hear me! When they get here, you’ll wish you never laughed at me like you did!”
The wolf howled loudly. It was a long and piercing wail that sent a chill through every hair on Sofina’s legs. There was a feeling, like something wild and dangerous that lingered in the ensuing silence. The idea that others of his kind, other wolf pups, would hear his call and descend upon their mountain, with their powerful limbs, their teeth and their claws, and rip them all to pieces, was palpable.
Words failed her. Sofina wondered what she should do, given her premonition of impending peril. Perhaps, she thought, she should tell the spider king there were wolf pups about. He and his sons could maybe kill them before they arrived, if they could be roused from sleep, that was. On the other hand, she could kill the wolf pup herself and eat it. That seemed like the best thing to do. The others may not have heard him yet and maybe wouldn’t come if there were no more howls. The beast had gotten itself caught after all, and that had been the whole point of checking the webs in the first place. The only problem was the beast’s jaws waiting to sink their teeth into her at the first chance.
“Are there many more?” Sofina ventured to ask. “In your pack,… many wolf pups?”
“Lots!”
“How many more?”
“Fifty!”
That, in Sofina’s estimate, was hardly many. Their harem had hundreds, maybe even thousands of spiders. The spider king had at least fifty sons himself. Almost, she laughed aloud at her previous worries, but she remembered the strength the wolf pup before her possessed. If it weren’t ensnared, she reasoned it could easily dispatch her and several more spiders before it was brought down. Perhaps fifty wolf pups really could pose a threat.
“Where are they?”
“What?”
“Your pack, where are they now?”
The wolf didn’t answer immediately. It turned its gaze and stopped struggling for a brief interval before growling back his response.
“They’re close by, on the other side of the mountain! They’ll hear me howl! They’ll be here soon enough if you don’t set me free!”
Sofina considered his words.
“Why are they so far if you’re here?”
“They’re not far! They’ll be here soon!”
“But why are you alone here? Why are you here and they’re on the other side of the mountain?”
The wolf snorted.
“I smelled the dead things,” he said. “I came looking for food, that’s why I’m alone. The others will follow my scent. They’ll know I’m here and they’ll kill anything that gets in their way!”
“When will they be here?”
“SOON!”
The wolf emitted another howl and Sofina fell silent. Again, she was confused on how to proceed. Killing the pup herself no longer appeared possible while the beast remained vigilant. She considered going down to find Ollga and some of her other sisters for help. That, she determined, was absolutely the best thing she could do. Two or more spiders would certainly be capable of killing him regardless of how powerful his jaws were. She was in the process of backing off the webbing when the wolf barked at her.
“Where are you going?” he asked.
Sofina froze.
“Nowhere,..” she lied.
“You aren’t going for help?”
“No, no,… I’m just,…” but she couldn’t think of anything to say. The wolf pup watched her expectantly, but she said nothing more. In truth, Sofina didn’t know why she lied, as there was absolutely no need for it. She could easily go for help whether the beast knew what she was doing or not. Again, she started to back away.
“NO! Don’t go! Wait!”
“Why?”
“Just wait a second! Why don’t you just let me go?”
Sofina pondered this . There really wasn’t any reason to let him go as far as she could see. He’d been caught in their web and so had become food, and he’d threatened their entire harem. There wasn’t any profit in letting him go.
“Why should I?” she asked.
“If you let me go, you’ll be spared!” exclaimed the wolf. “We’ll leave all the spiders alone! If not, you’ll all soon be dead!”
“If I let you go, you’ll all go away?”
“Far away! Back over the mountain! Let me go and we’ll leave all spiders alone for good!”
Now Sofina was absolutely baffled. If there was a chance their harem would be attacked, then surely she should do whatever she could to stop it. Killing the wolf pup still seemed like the best way to do so, but with this offer she couldn’t be sure. Releasing him from the webs alive was unheard of, almost comically insane, yet it might save many of their lives.
“You’ll promise to go away?”
“YES! Yes I promise! I DO!”
More hesitation. Now that she considered the idea, it didn’t actually seem that ridiculous. It was actually quite as easy thing to do, she realized. Even so, there was something strange, something simply unnatural about the whole idea.
“Are you lying?” she asked.
“No, no, no, I’m not lying,” responded the wolf. “Promise, I’m not. Please, let me go,… we won’t kill you. I swear.”
That was all well and good, but still.
“You’re prey,” said Sarafina. “You fell into the web. A spider should not make deals with prey. This, I was taught as a young maiden. I think you are lying.”
Sofina turned and made her way off the webbing, quickly this time. She’d made up her mind that killing the wolf pup was the only thing to do. It was the only sensible thing any spider could do regardless of the circumstances. It was the only thing that made sense, but the wolf pup howled once more, a pitiful wailing this time, shivering the very flesh of her bosom. It was uncomfortable to listen to, almost painful.
“No! NO! NOOOO!!!!” howled the wolf pup. He howled again, louder this time. “DON”T LEAVE! I DON’T WANT TO DIE!!”
Sofina stood motionless. Seconds later, she detected the quiet sound of whimpering coming from the web. The wolf pup was crying. She didn’t understand why, but she discovered then that she hated the sound. It almost made her want to cry too, and she almost did. She imagined how it would feel to be trapped, waiting to die, knowing what was going to happen. It wasn’t a good feeling.
The wolf pup continued to cry and Sofina staid where she was. It had become impossible to follow through with her decision, to seek help and end the poor beast’s life. As much as it made sense to do so, the wolf’s crying seemed to have made her immovable, stuck where she was. She couldn’t go down to find her sisters but neither could she go back out to the web. She waited on the mountainside, watching as the wolf pup continued to cry, swaying futilely in his diminishing struggle to break free.
It was growing late in the day and the sun sank behind the other side of the mountain, casting a deep shadow over the cleft. The wolf pup’s struggling had all but ceased. Twice more he’d howled loudly to the sky, staring longingly into the distance. His crying had gotten quieter, but Sofina could tell he never really stopped. She frequently heard him sniveling from her place on the mountainside. Hours passed and the sun had all but disappeared, but nothing happened. No wolf pups came to rescue the poor beast, and no spiders came from below.
A chilling wind began blowing, and Sarafina could no longer bear staying where she was. After listening to the wolf pup cry for so long, she decided to at least attempt to comfort him. Killing him in such a state would feel simply terrible, and in any case, there no longer appeared to be any threat from his pack.
“Are you cold?” she asked, having made her way back onto the web.
The wolf pup nodded weakly, his eyes wet with tears. He shivered so violently, Sofina realized she need not have asked.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered. “Let me help you.”
Working carefully, Sofina propped herself back to weave a little more webbing of her own. The wolf pup watched her, which she intended, knowing it would set his mind at ease to see what she was doing. Using her front legs, she wove fresh webbing into as fine a sheet as she could. She’d never done such a thing before, but had seen older spiders doing it for their young maidens when they got cold. Soon she had a thick sheet long enough to cover the beast from his neck down, which she draped over him snugly, proud of how well it covered him.
“How’s it feel?” she asked grinning.
The wolf pup gave no answer, but after a few seconds gave a single nod. At first, Sarafina thought this rather rude, but considering his position, she thought it was probably difficult to show gratitude when trapped in a spider’s web.
“Your pack hasn’t come yet,” Sarafina pointed out.
The wolf pup nodded, but said nothing.
“Do you think they still will?”
Still no answer, but the wolf’s eyes spilled over with fresh tears and started to weep. Something icy cold and sharp felt like it was pressing into Sarafina’s heart, and she begged him to stop.
“Don’t!” she entreated him. “Please, don’t cry! I’m sure they’ll come eventually, They’re probably just lollygagging is all!”
The wolf shook his head, tears pouring down his snout and gritted teeth. Low wails escaped in short bursts from his mouth which he seemed unable to control.
“I’m sure they will!” Sofina insisted. “Stop that now! It’s a bad feeling, what you’re doing. Your pack won’t want to hear all this, would they?”
The wolf pup answered her between fits of ragged breathing and sobs.
“I lied,” he said.
“… you lied?”
“No one’s coming for me. My pack is,… I don’t know where they are. I lost them.”
“Lost them? How could you have lost them?”
The web trembled as the wolf pup’s entire body shook violently.
“I ran away,” he whispered. “There was no food, my pack was starving, we fought with the pinnacle pack for their lands but we lost. My older brothers all died. We had nothing to eat and the Alpha began eating the younger pups. I knew I had to leave, I walked by myself as far as I could, and I found this place with all the dead things in the nets. I tried to sneak just one, just one dead crow for myself, I was starving for days and days, and now I’m caught. I’m caught and I’m all alone, and I’m still hungry!”
All of this was said between continued heavy sobs. They showed no signs of slowing, like they might go on forever. Clearly, the wolf pup was too badly hurt. Divining a remedy, Sofina scurried away to the web below them. Here, she pulled a crow loose and brought it back up to where the wolf pup lay suspended. She helped him raise his head enough to swallow and held it close enough for him to eat. The pup finished the bird in seconds, quaffing every bit of it down until nothing but bones remained. It seemed to have done the trick, Sofina noticed with satisfaction that the beast no longer cried.
“Does that feel better?” she asked.
The wolf pup nodded, emitting a contented sigh as he rested his eyes. Sofina brushed the fur around the back of his ears gently, proud of herself for taking care of the wolf pup so well. Having taken care of his needs and eased his pain, she found it was a good feeling to take care of something else. A feeling unlike others that were also good, but satisfying for reasons she couldn’t really think to explain.
It had grown dark and the moon was now their only source of light. The wind blew harsher, swaying them both on the web, but Sofina hardly minded. She was enjoying her time with the wolf pup, stroking his fur and listening to his breath. Eating and drinking hadn’t so much as crossed her mind, even though she hadn’t done so for hours. Letting Rownos ride her into ecstasy didn’t appeal to her at the moment either. There would be plenty of time for that anytime, she reasoned, but this wolf pup was clearly a once-in-a-lifetime happening. She might never get the chance to see one again, which was a shame she thought, given how interesting and gorgeous they were.
“Are you going to let me go now?” asked the wolf pup.
“I,.. well,…” said Sofina, embarrassed.
Now that she thought about it, she realized she no longer had any desire to kill the beast. Since he had no pack either, there didn’t seem to be any danger of letting him go free. The reason she hesitated, and why she didn’t answer, was that she had a new reason for keeping him there in the web. Now, it was because she wanted him there with her. She wasn’t ready to part from him yet. The wolf pup’s clear bright eyes looked up at her, all semblance of trouble in them gone, and she knew she would have to do it. What good would it be to kill him after all the trouble she’d gone through to comfort him? She was about to say yes, when they were both startled by a voice from behind.
“Sofina! Still up on the webs since the morning?! What’ve you got there?!”
It was Ollga, making her way towards Sofina and the wolf pup on the web. It was like reawakening after a vivid dream, realizing her sister had found her comforting what should have been prey. Instinctively, Sofina attempted to conceal her embarrassment and responded with the quickest answer she could think of.
“It’s nothing Ollga. Just a wolf pup is all.”
“A wolf pup?!?!”
Ollga raced furiously to their side, bending around Sofina’s body to see the beast herself more closely. Her mouth fell open and emitted a gasp so full of joy it could’ve been orgasmic. Spittle dripped down freely, falling carelessly on the beast’s pelt. The pup had frozen, watching the newcomer with widened eyes.
“Clever girl, Sofina!” Ollga cackled. “Look how precious he is! I bet this is the first wolf to come along in twenty, no, thirty years! Even old Esmeralda hasn’t had one herself! Oh, let’s eat him now Sofina! Now, before anyone else sees!”
“I don’t think I want to,” Sofina said.
Ollga stared at her dumbfounded, then fell into a cackling fit of laughter.
“Whatever you say sister!” she said. “Doesn’t want to eat, doesn’t want a snow-white wolf, won’t want to mate next! Hahahahaha, I swear. Suit yourself then.”
She made to occupy the space where Sofina stood to allow better access to her prey, but Sofina stood firm.
“Budge up, Sofina! Let me in!”
“No, I don’t want you to eat him either.”
“Why NOT?!?!”
“Because,… I like him. It’s a good feeling to take care of him. If you eat him I’ll feel bad, Ollga, and I won’t feel happy for you.”
Ollga stopped trying to get closer to the wolf and stared at her sister, her chest rising rapidly from barely contained excitement.
“We don’t take care of prey, Sofina,” she said. “This every spider knows. You should have eaten it!”
“I don’t want to,” Sofina stated.
“Then go away! And don’t talk anymore foolishness if you know what’s good for you!”
Ollga pushed her way to the wolf’s neck, mouth open, ready to sink her teeth into its flesh. Sofina couldn’t allow it. It was awful, terrible, not good at all, to think about the poor beast dying now. After losing its brothers, running away from its pack, starving for days, falling into their web, and after everything Sofina had already done with him. No, she couldn’t let him die. It was a bad thing to do. That’s all there was to it. It was a bad thing.
Sofina pushed her sister roughly away from the pup with both her front limbs. Her sister fell back, but quickly sprang forward to attack. The web swung wildly as the two sisters battled furiously, all semblance of empathy for the other gone. Limbs and teeth lashed and bit into each others flesh. The wolf pup howled fearfully. It was all Sofina could do to keep the fight away from him while infuriated as she was. Ollga had bitten into the tendon of her strongest front limb, nearly succeeding in tearing it free. Sofina rolled onto her back, holding Ollga in her clutches as she did and pushing her forcefully away. Her sister had no chance to recover. She tumbled off the side of the web and fell through each successive web below them until they heard her hit the solid earth.
For several seconds, Sofina couldn’t move. She was out of breath, her limbs hurt where she’d been bitten, and she could scarcely process what she’d done.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t time enough to waste recuperating. The spiders below had already seen the fall and could be heard murmuring curiously, some of them already on their way to investigate. As swiftly as she could, Sofina set herself aright and worked to free the wolf pup from the webbing.
“You’re setting me free?!”
“Yes,” said Sofina, tearing away the last shreds of webbing binding him.
The wolf pup balanced precariously on the web. He almost fell, but Sofina steadied him and helped him off to the mountainside. The other spiders were quickly approaching.
“Run away,” she said, and the wolf pup obeyed. In seconds he vanished over the side of the cleft.
A troop of male spiders ascended to the highest web at Sofina’s side, led by the king’s oldest son Uruk.
“Your sister is dead,” he declared. “And here you are where she fell.”
“There was a wolf pup,” Sofina said. “She fell trying to trap him. I managed to fight him away.”
The spider prince took a look at Sofina’s battered body.
“Which way did he go?”
Sofina pointed across the cleft to the other side of the mountain. Uruk and the others immediately set forth upon the trail, passing over the side of the mountain in a wave, leaving Sofina to herself.
It was quiet. And cold. There was nothing to do there anymore, so she turned and descended into the cleft.

The male spiders returned empty-handed after only an hour. After reporting to his father, Prince Uruk declared to the rest of the spiders that the wolf had fled the mountain and that they were safe. The excitement that had been flowing freely through the harm since Ollga died faded. Her body was buried and normality was restored. The spiders readily resumed their eating, drinking, and mating as though nothing had ever happened.
Rownos found Sofina later that night and the two of them mated for the second time. It was almost identical to the previous experience, only this time Sofina found her mind wandering far away from the act. After it was finished, Rownos fell back asleep and she scurried off to a find a quiet corner to herself.
So much had happened, it seemed, yet no one but herself seemed to notice. Her sister was dead, but this wasn’t an inconvenience to anyone. As long as the rest of them were safe from the beast that killed her, they wouldn’t spare a passing thought for their dead maiden. Only Sofina, who realized that she’d never contemplated life without her sister before, could feel the difference. The fact that it had been she, and not the wolf pup, who had killed her, added more to think about than anyone else could’ve guessed. She wasn’t sorry, she decided, though there was still a strange feeling when she thought about it. It wasn’t terrible, but it definitely wasn’t good either. It was somewhere in between, somewhere Ollga would never have thought to look, or any other spider for that matter. Only she seemed to understand such things.
Later, after the moon had sunk behind the mountains and everyone else was asleep, Sofina rose from her quiet corner and journeyed back up the mountainside. She reached the highest web where she’d first seen the wolf pup and kept going. The web was now empty, but she hardly noticed this as she crept over the mountaintop and crawled carefully down the other side. Here, there was an abundance of trees that blanketed the ground in total darkness. Her spider eyes guided her through the thickly crowded trunks, journeying deep into the heart of this strange country. She’d never seen it before, had never even been outside the mountain crook, yet something told her she was going to be okay. She wasn’t scared of losing her way, as she didn’t intend to find her way back again anyway.
It may have been ten or twenty minutes before she found what she was looking for, or rather until he found her. From out of thicket of ferns sprang the beast, the young wolf pup, bounding with energy as it barked and bared its teeth. Sofina smiled at this display, reminded of how bold he’d been when she first espied him in the net.
“No need for that,” she said. “I haven’t come to hurt you.”
“Then why are you here?”
Sofina sighed, and thought carefully about her next words.
“I’ve decided to run away too,” she said. “That was my sister who fell back there. Now that she’d gone,… I guess I thought I’d rather be with you.”
The wolf pup looked confused, but no longer appeared hostile. His posture slouched into a more relaxed position and he spoke plainly without aggression.
“Why though?” he asked. “You could’ve eaten me. I was starving for days out here and you have all those dead things to eat. Why come with me?”
“Because,… I don’t really know. I guess I liked talking to you. I liked it when I helped you, it was like,… it was a good feeling, but it was more than just that. It was more than good. I guess I’d rather help someone like you and feel better, than just feeling good on my own.”
After a moment, the wolf pup snorted and pawed at the ground. It looked like he was thinking, and Sofina held her breath. It he rejected her now, she didn’t know where or what she would do. At length, the pup looked up and crawled gently to Sofina’s bosom. He licked the wounded spot on her shoulder delicately and nuzzled against her cheek.
“You can join my pack if you like,” he said.
Sofina smiled.
“How many are there?”
“Only two, for now. But two can survive better than one.”
“True,” said Sofina. “Thank you.”
“No problem. I guess I owe you for not eating me when you had the chance. What’s your name then?”
“Sofina. And yours?”
“Anwill”
“Are you sleepy Anwill?”
“Yes.”
“I’ll weave us a blanket.”
The two of them retreated into the thicket of ferns. Anwill lay tucked between Sofina’s legs, resting his head against her bosom. After weaving a blanket over them both, Sofina lay snugly with Anwill comfortable below her. As the wolf pup’s breath slowed and his belly rose and fell peacefully with the breath of sleep, she closed her eyes savoring how much better it felt to care and be cared for by someone else. It was a lovely feeling, better by far than good.

Story Tellers

Watching words will read you,

Willingly or not. As it were,

We’re read as readers.

Eyes watching eyes see

Watching ourselves on T.V.

A subversive narrative is only

Narrative not yet subverted.

All writing is fiction as

All perceptions are hollow.

Naked words reveal nothing.

 

One thought fills immensity,

Well, it may as well,

As immeasurably limited is the Id,

The psyche soundly snug

In conceptual bliss.

Emptiness laughs to see

Loneliness subverted by such

Rationalized madness and

Imaginative beliefs.

Nature clings to anything,

Latching onto whatever’s present,

Precarious as it might be,

Only hoping to survive.

People pretend their whole lives,

Acting, dressing, watching, and telling.

At ease with their lies,

If at least it makes a good story.

My Little Ghosts

Ghosts, vivid as any indelible memory,

Opaque characters complex as any pain.

Whispering phantoms of fancy and debate,

Debased to be displayed within me.

Fragments of former friends and foes

Haunting the pensive moments of my mind.

Frequently visiting my somber silences

To stimulate my passive passions.

Enticing my impulses to aggravation,

My bitter hates and petty joys,

And long past my solemn recompense

They goad me into fits of familiar disillusion.

The remembered and imagined coalesce

Into perfect torments for my indolence,

So whatever quiet moments I acquire

Inevitably fill with vexatious rants.

 

Leave me be, but never go too far,

As long as I need to fill these voids.

As much as I move on, you’re still my ghosts

And I need your stimulation to survive.

Maybe once I’ve passed along

From one sad form into the next,

I’ll fill the quiet with better voices

And forms that leave me better vexed.

I Built A World

I built a world.

In the manner of a lonely child, I imagined a life more perfect than my own.

Histories, cultures, and infinite varieties of drama most suited for my soul.

Escapism, for the creative depressive, provides a multiverse of pleasant distractions,

But no amount of fantasy and detachment could bring me satisfaction.

A dream unrealized breeds a most uncomfortable unrest,

As a lack of attention breeds a desire for intimacy and human contact.

Imagined lives tease us with the taste of everything we’re missing,

Contrasted by who we are and how we define ourselves as being.

I built a world.

The void and lonely chambers of my heart combusted into matter.

Like a supernova, the elements of creation chaotically birthed and scattered.

I quiver with excessive anticipation, separating the firmament from the water.

The shape begins to form, and my passions give rise to nature.

I carve the coastlines of continents into temperate lands of abundance.

Every aspect of my subconscious gives birth to another substance.

Creatures of every sort roam wild across my creation,

And characters I’d only imagined breathe in their first sensations.

I built a world.

My child, a living art piece with a plethora of adventure and possibility.

Beautiful personages, alive and well aware of me.

Everything balanced so perfectly I’m in tears.

Finally I can touch all my loves and my fears.

In a world of my own, I don’t ever want to leave.

The most precious attachment I have is the one I’ve conceived.

If a millennia were to pass, I doubt I would miss my life.

Better than any fiction I could imagine or write.

I built a world,

And I hold empathy for every God humanity has conceived.

A creation so magnificent where I am worshiped and believed.

The more I watch it grow, the more in love with it I fall.

Generations live and die, as I adore and lament them all.

Tragedy and romance, adventures and days of peace,

Uncountable amounts of story that change and never cease.

Can’t tare myself away enough to live my life outside.

God is dead, as Nietzsche said,  but it was blissful suicide.

 

 

 

 

 

In A Fantasy World

The stress and drudgery of the waking world

Draining life from the body as time depletes

Constant demands for more money and labor

Driving the cycle of efforts to bleed

And bodies that strain to maintain their position

Hold minds that are pining to wander as they please

In the confines of those physical prisons

Are dreams and fantasies burning for release

She imagines castles carved into mountainsides

In a majestic woodland with enchanted streams

With friends of all kinds, shapes, sizes, and genders

In renaissance dresses, residing at ease

Magical flowers in their abundant gardens

Crystal clear water in natural shallow pools

Adventures every morning and parties in the night

Never needing, never bleeding, never forced to be a fool

The time never passes and their beauty never dims

Their bodies never tire and they’re never out of love

The characters inspire and are always entertaining

And life is but a dream from which they’re never waking up

She imagines all of this, as the world demands some more

As she struggles through the constant fatigue that is her life

Spending her strength while her muscles bruise and sore

And the body is used and exploited without respite

The hours burn away the flesh until expired

Without any comfort in those promising words

With only one desire, to die one day in misery

And wake to be free in her fantasy world.

 

The Dream Puller

Andrew regretted his actions almost as soon as they’d concluded. In an instant he knew that he’d screwed up, that he’d let his emotions get the better of him and hurt someone he cared about. He’d gone from being truly mad to being guilty and ashamed. The consequences from his teacher and parents were nothing compared to knowing that he’d betrayed a loyal friend.
There wasn’t anything to do now but sleep. It was still early in the evening and the dim amber rays of the setting sun still shone through the blinds of his window, but sleep was the only thing worth doing. He’d already been sent home and sentenced to a weekend alone in his room for the crime he’d committed. It was just as well, as Andrew wasn’t in the mood to do much else. Until he could make up with Samantha in some way, he wouldn’t have the heart to do anything that would make him happy. Perhaps he would call her tomorrow, if she’d even consent to speak to him.
The memory of Samantha’s stricken face persisted into his thoughts as he laid in bed trying to rest. It simply wouldn’t leave him alone, as if deliberately reinforcing his guilty feelings. As his mind grew more and more dim, that face continued to confront his mind’s eye until he was scarcely conscious of anything else.
“Samantha, I’m sorry,” he whispered aloud to no one before finally drifting off to sleep.

It was foggy and gray, with a chill breeze blowing like a distressed whisper through the trees. Clouds of mist unfurled from the low wooded landscape up the side of the hill where Andrew now stood. Everything was quiet, without a bird or cricket or chattering chipmunk to disturb the serenity. The wood was thick and the trees were tall and imposing, like silent guardians of a sacred wilderness. Traveling through the brush would be difficult, but at the very bottom of the hill there was a narrow path which Andrew began making his way toward.
Once beneath the canopy, there was little enough light to see the path at all. What small amount of sunlight that persisted through the clouds and trees was barely enough to illuminate the forest floor. Andrew walked slowly at first, taking his time in descrying the path ahead of him. After a time his eyes began to adjust and he was better able to see the scenery he was enveloped in.
The trail was narrow but it was exceptionally clear. Not a single fern, or weed, or sapling stood in his way. In contrast, the forest on either side of him was thick with weeds, grasses, bushes, and immense towering trees. Their branches often interleaved with one another overhead, creating a sheltered archway for Andrew to pass through, as if the forest itself was a sort of wooded palace. The deeper he journeyed, the taller and thicker the trees on either side became. As far he could tell, Andrew was the only creature passing through those words. There were no other sounds but his own footsteps and slow steady breathing.
In the gloom just ahead, Andrew perceived a doorway with a stone arch barely discernable in the dim light. It was only a few feet away by the time he noticed it. At first, it looked like a relatively small structure but upon arriving at its entrance, Andrew realized it was actually massive.
A fifty foot tall stone tower stood before him, surrounded on all sides by near impenetrable forest. It was soon apparent that there would be no going around it. The trail ended here and the surrounding forest was much too dense. The gray stone stood out so peculiarly from the environment, that Andrew couldn’t help but feel curious about its place here. Clearly this was where the path was meant to lead, but what purpose could an enormous tower have in the middle of a desolate and deserted wood like this? Guardedly, Andrew grasped the wooden handle of the door and pulled.
Andrew was taken aback by what he saw next. There was a stairway here as he might have expected, but instead of leading up the length of the tower it went straight down. Lit torches adorned the wall every few feet but the bottom was too far down yet to be seen. He knew instantly that wherever this path led, it had to be somewhere deep underground. It was uncanny, and its appearance did not inspire much confidence, but it was still the only way forward.
Andrew had only taken a few paces down the stairway before he heard to door slamming shut behind him with a bang. The torches flickered and the echo reverberated ominously through the deep passageway below. Andrew swallowed and steeled himself to go on. He told himself that it had only been the wind. He walked on, wondering as he did if it wouldn’t be wiser to turn back. He couldn’t say, but he couldn’t help himself from feeling curious either. He had to know what secrets this trail might lead to, wherever he ended up in the end.
Deeper and deeper her descended as the torches grew further and further apart. The air grew hotter and heavier until it was almost difficult to breathe. The moist aroma of earth enveloped him, assuring Andrew that he was indeed completely underground.
The descent was so long and the air so thick that before long Andrew could feel himself slowly giving in to panic. His pulse quickened and he began to step faster and faster down every stair. His vision grew hazy and the walls began to look as if they were closing in, as if the passage was constricting, getting smaller and smaller, and that they would surely suffocate him if he didn’t make it to the end soon. He flew down the stairs, jumping several steps at a time, desperately hoping to reach the bottom before something terrible happend. Then, slam! His feet hit solid and level ground, the stairway ended and he was staring straight through an open archway several feet ahead.
Cautiously, still catching his breath, Andrew proceeded through the stone portal to find himself in the most dazzling room he’d ever seen.
A wide open chamber lit with dazzling golden chandeliers opened up before him. It looked like a palace out of some fantasy novel. The floor was marble white, stone gothic columns adorned the walls on either side, and ahead of him was a magnificent jewel encrusted throne upon an ornately sculpted marble dais. The air was much easier to breath here, and Andrew found himself unable to do anything but marvel at his surroundings for several moments. It was like waking up into a beautiful new world, so staggeringly gorgeous that it was a wonder why such a place would be hidden so far underground.
He wandered awestruck down the hall between the columns as if he’d been enchanted. It may have been several minutes before he even realized that he was not alone. Sitting in the throne at the end of the hall was a person whose eyes had been silently watching him this whole time. Her face was stern, and by all appearances she wasn’t happy to see him. Andrew couldn’t believe his eyes, but here she was, the person he most needed to see.
“Samantha!” he yelled, urgently sprinting towards the throne.
“Shhhhhhhh!!!” Samantha hissed. She stood and held a finger to her lips, glaring at him warningly.
“Sam!” said Andrew, lowering his voice. He ran all the way to the foot of the dais and stopped. “Sam,… I’m so glad it’s you! Listen, I need to apologize – “
“Shut up!” Samantha hissed dramatically. “Andrew, not now! Please, don’t say anything about what happened! It doesn’t matter!”
“Yes it does,” said Andrew earnestly, hanging his head in shame. “It does matter Sam, I shouldn’t let my anger control me like that. You’ve never done anything but try to help me. You’re the last person I should take my anger out on.”
“It’s okay Andrew!” said Samantha impatiently. “It’s okay! Just stop talking or they’ll hear you!”
“Just let me say I’m sorry, okay?” Andrew begged. “If you don’t want to talk to me after that I understand. I’m sorry for losing my temper and I’m sorry for hitting you. It’s just I-”
There wasn’t time to say another word. Suddenly, from every corner of the room came shadows. Dark silhouettes that sped towards his position until Andrew was surrounded. For a brief moment he could see them clearly, human-like figures clothed in black but terrifyingly inhuman-like in their features. Their faces were exceptionally pale and wrinkled. Their eyelids were shut tight as if they’d been sewn together that way. Gray tufts of thinning hair hung limply from their scalps and long dripping fangs hung from their grimacing open mouths.
Andrew was encircled by the things. Helplessly, he turned to Samantha who only looked down at him pityingly. In the next instant the were on him, jabbing, biting, pulling, and ripping. Every angle of his body felt like it was being torn apart at the same time and the creatures that were devouring him were all that he could see.
“I’m sorry Andrew,” said Samantha, her voice sad and possibly teary. “I didn’t want this to happen,… I’m so, so, sorry,…”
The pain was excruciating. Andrew could barely believe it was really happening, but his flesh and blood were flying all around him. The creatures dove hungrily into his skin and pulled away grinning maliciously as they devoured him. Andrew screamed loud and piercingly, until quite suddenly he was silent. Before long not a trace of him remained to be seen but bloody stains on the marble floor.

Samantha woke shaking from her bed. She grabbed her pillow and wept into it bitterly while curling herself into a sad ball. She hadn’t meant for it to happen, it wasn’t fair, but there wasn’t anything she could’ve done to stop it.
Her cries must have alerted her mother, who appeared outside the doorway of her bedroom worriedly.
“Sammy,…” whispered her mother delicately. “What happened…? Did you do it again?”
Turning toward her mother, Samantha sat up straight and nodded sadly. With a sigh, her mother walked in and sat next to her on the bed.
“Who was it?”
“My friend Andrew,” said Samantha, gasping quietly through her tears.
Her mother nodded solemnly, holding back tears of her own.
“The one who hit you today?”
“Yeah,” gulped Samantha. “I must’ve,… I must’ve been thinking about him before I fell as-s-s-sleep. That’s why he -sob- I pulled him in with me.”
Her mother stroked her hair comfortingly wearing the bitterest look of sorrow that a mother could.
“Mom,” Samantha gasped. “I-I-I’m so sorry! I didn’t want to hurt him! I just couldn’t control myself! H-h-he apologized and they just ripped him to pieces once they knew what h-h-he’d done!”
“No one will ever know child,” her mother said somberly. “Know one will ever know.”
It was what she’d always said, the only thing she could ever think to say. Indeed, no one would ever think of tracing his death back to Samantha. No one could have suspected that she had anything to do with the deaths of all those that had wound up in her dreams. It didn’t take much, just a slight annoyance was enough to decide their fate if she couldn’t keep them out of her mind. She was a danger to anyone that crossed her, and nobody would ever suspect it.
“Go back to sleep dear,” said her mother consolingly. “What’s done is done. Try not to dwell too much on what can’t be fixed.”
“Okay,” said Samantha resignedly.
Samantha watched her mother get up and turn out her light. The scars on the back of her neck served as a constant reminder of what she was capable of. Even my own mother fears me, she thought depressingly. Anyone who cares about me is going to wind up dead!