“For I Am Missing You…”

In Memoriam by Alfred Tennyson is a wonderful piece full of despair for his friend whom he loved like a brother, and this hopeful tone that offers the reader some solace from the unfortunate situation of a death. Such imagery that suggests this sort of praising to God and allowing his love to make a person feel better, there is definitely an argument in the early stanzas/ the prologue, “thy foot / Is on the skull. Which thou hast made.” (67-8) but there are just as many places where Tennyson seems to be almost showing a hatefulness to God and bitterness to how swiftly a person’s life can end, almost as if God should be benevolent. I remember once writing a paper for an American History class on whether God is benevolent or omnipotent, based on the idea of the genocide of the Jewish community. The idea was that is God aware of these terrible things and letting them happen or is he unaware and only has time to focus on so many things at one time, because if he knowingly allows these atrocities to occur he can not be seen as benevolent, but if he fixes all the terrible things in the world then he cannot be seen as omnipotent for he would then allow terrible things to happen . 
Tennyson seems almost to be chastising these people who believe that their loved ones will always make it home, and if not chastising then he is definitely writing in cynicism. He writes about how a father can send his son to his death, how a mother can think that her prayers may have any effect on saving her son, and a girl whose only worry is for how she will appear to her beloved. The image of the naive girl is carried a little farther than that of the mother or father however, “O somewhere, meek unconscious dove, / That sittest ranging golden hair; / And glad to find thyself so fair, / Poor child, that waitest for thy love!” (145-8) and then gives her even further vanity by making her set the hair again with trappings that no one would care about save she and other silly women. In this same chapter we see that there is also the image of a mirror, something that is to be used to see into the soul, and it appears that this girl’s soul is too wrapped up in her vanity to worry about whether the man she waits for is even alive. 
We see a lot of references to boats and the sea, especially as Arthur Hallam’s remains were being brought from Italy on a boat. Tennyson likens the sails of this boat to a shroud of death, but also to wings, “Spread thy full wings,” (204) almost as if the boat were a bird or perhaps the angel of death ferrying the man home. The imagery of the boat also evokes the idea of Charon (Death) and his boat that moves along the River Styx, ferrying those who have died to their final resting place in the Underworld where they shall either be granted eternal happiness in Elysium or eternal pain in Tartus. Coupled with this image of Charon/ Death we also see a reference to the god Pan and his pan flute that was made out of a reeds so that he could always feel that closeness to his love, “since the grasses round me wave, / I take the grasses of the grave, / And make them pipes whereon to blow.” (438-40). There is a decided murkiness to whether he believes in God or gods, or if this is just imagery that he is accustomed to seeing and has introduced this into the narrative.

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Killing Insecurities

There was once a time where I believed that the world around me was easily defined in colors of black and white. I wanted my world to be like those old cliches where everything beautiful always defeats the darkness, and every person who is evil are as ugly outside as they are inside. These were the things that I wished would be true, but I know now that this was not something that was true.

When I was a little girl I was given this small bear from my father as a birthday present, it was supposed to keep me safe. How a toy bear can keep a person safe is beyond me, because it didn’t do its job. To be fair, I think the bear was part of the reason I grew up with so many problems. At age 5 I was convinced that someone was whispering things to me in my sleep, things about how I was going to die alone with no one to miss me. My thoughts at night were swamped with the images of people telling me how I disgusted them on a daily basis, and I believed the voices… they were my subconscious after all weren’t they? Not even close.

One night when I had turned 15, perhaps a bit too old to be sleeping with a teddy bear, but I didn’t care what other people thought of me. I ended up waking up this night during the voice whispering things to me, and saw something that scared me out of my mind. The voice that I had always heard in my head was that of a small child who was extremely convincing to my mind that had been weakened over time, and when I reached for my bear it was to find that it was staring at me. I looked back at the bear, and reached out to it since I had no reason to be scared of a toy. I was wrong. As I stretched my arms out to grasp the bear closer to me the eyes caught the moonlight that was flooding my room from the open window, and they seemed to take on a menacing light.

“You aren’t supposed to be awake,” the bear’s child-like voice caroled at me, and I could feel the cold sweat beading on my head. I immediately thought of that movie Chucky, and I knew that this toy was trouble.

“I– I’m sorry….” I croaked out, and then I saw a blade coming toward my face as the toy jumped for me.

“You should know better than to wake up while I am talking to you!” it screamed at me, and I let out a shriek like that of a banshee. I pop-tarted out of bed and ran for the closest room that had matches. The toy bear pursued me down the hall with it’s knife clutched within his fisted paw. “COME BACK!!!”

I made it to the kitchen, and dug out the matches before rushing outside into the stifling summer night, and waited. Just as I assumed, the bear came running right toward me, and before it had time to do anymore than get within 3 feet of me I splashed the toy in kerosene and struck the match which I then hurled away.

That damn bear burned like a forest fire in California, and soon there was nothing left of my insecurities. All was well, and I no longer felt that I wasn’t good enough.

How to Cure a Zombie

Mature language and situations ahead, reader discretion is advised.

Good morrow Dear Adventurer! A powerful curse has befallen your village, and everyone, except yourself, has been turned into a zombie. It is up to you to find the cure for your village! Let us get started!

You must first fine the Miller who knows the Miner who knows the Minter. From him you will receive an axe. Start by finding the men in reverse. Once the axe is in your possession, travel to the north. This will consist of a 2 1/2 day journey where you will come across the Minter’s son Ernesto. When you follow him home he gives you a places to lay your weary head for the night: a cardboard box. After a rather atrocious night of sleeping and nearly freezing to death, he will hand you a ‘magical’ sack and chase you away. Once you look at this sack you realize there is nothing magical about it, and it was something you could have gotten at home without freezing nearly to death in a box. From here you will continue to go north and begin to veer to the northeast once you are past the Cactus of Many Faces who decides to make you dance a sillier version of the Macarena while he sticks you with his spikes. If you pass the test then you are able to continue on the way you were going.

Before too long, you will happen upon the apple pie baker’s shop that you had heard the miner’s, daughter’s, fiance’s, mother mention long ago. Here you will acquire both food and a plain looking jar and then continue on your way. Your travels will take you a day or so further north, and here you will find the Tree of Many Fruits. Many other trees surround him, and you must decide which tree he is. Throwing rocks that you find on the ground may be helpful, but only if you find the correct rock that is located down by the stream in the belly of a giant fish who decides that he wants to molest you rather than give you this rock. If you wish to go about finding the Tree of Many Fruits after dying a couple of times from the fish insanity you may just want to go about asking which tree the Tree of Many Faces is… of course, this all depends on the player.

The Tree of Many Fruits will ask you a series of riddles, the answer no matter the question will always be ‘not only are you a pig, but a dead one at that.’ In the tree’s astonishment that you actually answered his absurd questions correctly, you will have enough time to find the fruit that looks as if it were covered in blood and yet washed clean of it all at once. Put this within that sack that you nearly died for, and begin your journey back. This time, detour and do not return to that completely mental cactus unless you have a death wish. The cactus has decided that you are a ghost of someone he has never before met, but wishes him dead and will plug you with spikes if you get within  100 feet of him.

Eventually you will make it back to the shoppe of that apple pie maker, and you will take that lovely fruit you now have and crush it up into a paste after searching the millions of cookbooks this woman has within her home. Half-way through reading the Zombie Cure recipe you realize that something important is missing from this concoction… a piece of the half-crazed cactus has to be added in order for this paste to hold any threat over the zombies of your village. Hurry along to find this cactus again, and after dodging the spikes he shoots at you gather enough of the ones on the ground that you can race back to where the paste is waiting for the spikes. After these are added you are free to go, but decide to stay the night since it has been quite a while since the creator of this long-winded and pointless adventure has neglected to let you do so since you were see in the cardboard box at Ernesto’s.

That next day you are thrown out of the dwelling at the ass-crack of dawn and you hurry along to continue your adventure. It is at this exact moment that you realize something is quite heavy, and you have been carrying the blasted object since you left the village…. that axe that you had to waste your precious time finding when this journey began. You have not had to use the object that was weighing down your movement speed, and start to curse whatever God may be deriving amusement from this farce of an adventure. Still, you must adventure on or the ending of this idiotic curse will never come.

Ernesto’s home is not too far ahead now, and you are starting to get rather tired again as it has been a day or so since the last time you were able to snatch more than an hour or so of sleep. Deciding that you would go so far as to actually sleep in that uncomfortable box for whatever reason, probably because the writer here has gotten exceedingly bored and is tired of the constant whining you seem to indulge in. Ernesto greets you perhaps a bit too friendly, and offers you a bed this time stead of the box that he had to give you the last time you had invited yourself upon his land. The only problem here? The bed that he offers you is the bed that he himself sleeps in. You must share his bed, or you may move onward with your journey and not rest for the remainder of the trip. Keep in mind that you will die if you do not rest.

You choose to stay in Ernesto’s home for the night, and when you leave the next morning you have an aura of horrific shame. Something happened last night that you will never be able to cope with, and are not even sure that this quest you are on is worth completing anymore if you now have to live with the memories of…. that…. for the rest of your life. You do have to live with it, for you just gained invincibility for the remainder of this trip back to your home. Have fun trying to kill yourself, but you will not be able to.

Eventually you make it back to your little village where the zombies are still milling around mindlessly… You remember what you read about the past that you made, and remember that you have to rub the stuff all over your exposed skin and let the zombies flock to you. Feeding time!!!!! The zombies start to walk towards you, and begin chewing on every inch of skin they find. Everyone has been turned back to normal with no memory of what has happened to them during the time the curse was placed.

Something has gone wrong with your plan to cure the zombie, however. That invincibility spell that had been place on you? It wore off after entering your village, and now you have contracted the zombie disease that affected everyone only moments before. Suddenly there is an agreement struck up between all of the townspeople, and you are run through with a spear and your head is chopped off. You did, however, finish your adventure, and won the game!!!!!!! Congratulations on winning…. too bad you died and it doesn’t matter!

Dearling House

Emilie felt alone. She had always been the little demoness that her parents had doted on to others. Love had always been a part of her life, but that had been taken away from her suddenly. ‘Father is death, and Mother may as well have followed him.’ Emile though to herself as she looked over to the corner of the sitting room that her mother was currently occupying.

Mister Dearling had met his end by contracting a human disease that almost every demon or demoness was immune to. “Not enough travel between the planes– realms– of existence would have made his immune system become lax to certain illnesses.” the doctor had explained as the cause for such a sudden on-set of the human tuberculosis disease. “You and little Emilie do not need to worry about catching it, however. With all of the off-plane outings you two divulge in there’s not much that could harm either of you.”

Treatments for the disease had been tried, but the internal working of both species were so different. “For all we know, that damn quack of a doctor has been the one to really kill him!!” her mother had cursed the man to the Escape (what demons knew as the afterworld) and back for what she perceived as his fault.

What had made Emilie so alone, however, was that she had also been an outlet for her mother’s wrath. Emile was now the age of sixteen, and was allowed to leave the realm of her home without her parents. That last time she had done plane-travel she had commented that she felt slightly off kilter. A night of sleep had cured all of the sickness that had followed her back, but her father had been another matter entirely.

“How dare you bring human diseases home!? Your father could now very well die because of your idiocy!!” her mother had done nothing aside from shriek at Emilie for day afterward. Not that Emile blamed her at all for the anger, but it was not as if she had meant to get her father sick. It had been bad enough to wallow in her own guilt without having it tripled.

‘Mother will now only respond if the speaker is persistent enough, or to shoot me dirty looks from the perch she has chosen in the massive house.’ Emilie thought bitterly to herself. ‘Of the nearly fifteen rooms here she chooses the sitting room. Probably because it had been the one Father had frequented the most while alive.’

This day, however, Emilie’s mother decided to actually turn ad speak to her daughter for the first time in a few days. “I have been thinking, Emilie, perhaps we should find more suitable arrangements for you now that you are of age.” ‘And I am tired of being reminded of how much I hate you.’ though that last part went unsaid.

“If that is as you wish it, mother.” Emilie replied, barely keeping herself from voicing all of the anger she kept inside.

“It is…”

Emilie refused to reply to something that needed no reply.

“There is a rather lovely little wooded copse a little distance from this house.I have already purchased the home that rest inside the clearing. You shall be its owner by the end of this day.” the demoness said, despite being weak and weary, with a voice that spoke of finality.

Emilie’s dark brown hair flamed a deep red color that seemed to math puddles of blood. It was a color that spoke of the anger and the death that would have been cast on anyone else. “As. You. Wish.” she bit out between clenched teeth. ‘I hate you!’ she wanted to scream. ‘You’re not a mother! You’re a heartless, cold, unfeeling bitch from the human Hell!’

—————————————

That night Emilie laid her head to rest in an unfamiliar home that was all her own. As soon as she had seen the home her mother – no not ‘mother’ but Andora- had purchased for her, everything felt much more right with the world.

Emilie resided in a cozy little house of her won with five bedrooms, and all of the necessities a proper home needed such as a kitchen dining room, sitting room, library, study,and each bedroom contained a private bath. ‘It’s enough that I could almost forgive Andora everything she has done to me.’ she thought to herself before drifting off to sleep.

Indeed, this rather beautifully made home was completely perfect, or would have been had it not been a hand-picked tomb for the young demoness.

That night, Andora sent a bird to deliver a message, which disintegrated two minutes after being read, to a band of reptilian creatures known as Kristhos who hunted rogue demons and demonesses. Never let it be said that they wouldn’t also hunt and kill non-rogue demonic beings just as quickly for the right price.

After little Emilie Dearling had fallen asleep that night, the band of Kristhos swept into the little manor, and preceded to rouse their prey.

—————————————-

‘Something is standing over me.’ Emilie thought to herself behind tightly closed eyes. Fear gripped her heart tightly and refused to let go.

“We know you are awake, little beauty. Open thosssssse eyessssss of yoursssss.” the creature hissed.

‘Obviously the leader,’ she thought to herself, ‘and if I open my eyes I have to face these creatures. Surely there are more than just the one who spoke. If my eyes stay closed, I am as good as dead anyway.’

Slowly, ever so slowly, Emilie opened her eyes, and what she saw was death personified. “Kristhos!” she gasped in complete terror.

“Indeed. We were sssssent here to complete a missssssion given to usssss by your very own mother.” the ugly creature spoke softly. “Never knew how beautiful you would be though. Not many demonsssss have blue eyesssss.” while saying this, the thing slithered over to gaze at her with a gleam in his eyes that spoke of hunger. Demons were a delicacy of sorts to the Kristhos.

“Hey, Bosssssss,” called one of the others that were surrounding Emilie’s bed, four in all, “why don’t we play with thissssssssss one a bit firssssssssst? Then we can eat her tasssssssssty flessssssssh.”

“What an ingeniussssssss idea!” the leader said in that eery voice that made all of the blood in her veins run cold. Then the four beings descended on the demoness all at once.

———————————————————-

That next morning found a house filled with the green blood of demons coating everything in one of the bedrooms. Little Emilie Dearling had been ripped into nothing but muscle and scattered bones by the creatures that had visited her that night. Four bodies of Kristhos’ were found as well, and they were of a particular group that had taken to being mercenaries rather than picking off the creatures who went bad.

No one enters Dearling House out in the clearing anymore (either the one that is in the human or demon realm0), and the ones that do, end up as examples. Many a body had been found upon the lawn of that cursed house with letters carved into the dead’s flesh. Always the message was the same:

“Any who choose to enter,

Be aware that you are not alone in here. My spirit can not escape, and so now it is my turn to take.”

Zaceriados

My eyes darted back and forth beneath the shroud of death I wore. There were three people here, including myself. Always three of us. Less than had once graced the path we trekked along in perhaps centuries. The stones under my boot clad feet echoed ominously, and it was the only thing that seemed to make the place we were in appear real.

Zaceriados was once the name of the now crumbling city I am presently striding through. My mother had once told me about the place I had been alive, it seemed all so long ago. She had explained to me of all the different realms which no one person could ever count, yet co-existed along side others without every becoming known. Zaceriados had been a beautiful city once, filled with music and laughter which never seemed to have and ending, just a constant ebb and flow. Some might say that such things as a constantly serene lifestyle was an extremely far-fetched thing to dream about. Fairy tales were the only place that constant light would banish away all things evil. Light lived in stories. Zaceriados may have been beautiful once, but it was no fairy tale. It turned to ruins in the end.

Click. Click. My boots again. This place has the ability to unnerve the best of people, and the constant grey sky only spreads shivers up spine when I look at it. Odd right? Who knew that a dead person could be so cold? Maybe I just want to believe I’m cold so it seems that I’m still alive. I have walked past that old cathedral before, probably more than a hundred times by now. Who knows. I stopped counting.

We never stop walking here. My companions and I are always moving, constantly trudging around the perimeters of the once great city. Apparently, our role is to protect our home from “others”. There are never any “others” here. Just us three. Always us.

Zaceroados, that once beautiful city on a far away plane, is where I died one day. We, every person here, died. Light was lost to the dark. Our city of multicolored waterfalls, golden skies, and ancient buildings was crushed. I was cursed to become a soul-less creature who was forced to perform one task for all eternity. Walking. Clicking. Shuffling across these stone paths of my once great city.

Zaceriados, once my lively home I wished to flee to, is now the prison I wish most to escape.

Image

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