The Princess, The Tiger & The Pear: Part 3

She was trying to think.

She was trying to think about the moment and not what it would soon be like to be free of the hell she had lived in for a year.

She was trying to think about what she would say to try and get the wicked ogre to eat the fruit that would spell his ultimate doom.

But most of all she was focusing on being calm and being natural, trying to harness whatever rage still flowed in her veins into this; her final mission, if she was not careful. And as she walked into the entrance, holding the pear behind her in her hands, she felt the disgusting cool of the wooden cabin welcome her like a vulture’s claws wrapping themselves around a mouse. And of course, there was that ugly ogre, Brute, sitting by his gross living-room table on his chair, looking smugly expectant as rivers of anger flowed through the squelches in his brow.

Aline tilted her head down, looking at him with unflinching intensity, breathing with hard anger.

For a moment, neither said anything.

“Don’t just stand there girl!,” Brute roared, clearly uncomfortable with the vicious stare Aline was destroying him with. “Get over here now!”

But Aline stood as still as as the mountain; only a slight breeze rustled her hair.

Brute blinked in stupid confusion; ‘did this scrawny human girl just disobey me?’ But that was impossible, he would kill her immediately if she disobeyed him.

He immediately stood up, hoping that his eight-foot height and bulky frame would scare her back to her senses but this too was ineffective. So he began walking towards her, raising his hand to strike her across her stubborn face. But before he could, she raised her right hand in front of her, holding the red pear in front of her.

“Un moment, monsieur,” she said aloud and Brute did stop for a brief moment to eye the oddity in her hand, only to smack it out of her grasp. The moment was fast, but she saw the pear fly across the air and hit the nearby wall.

“No!,” she thought to herself as she focused her gaze back on Brute who had now wrapped his ugly claws on her shoulders and was shaking her with great, angry strength. Aline heard inconsolable and unintelligible anger in his voice as she saw her hair whipping all around her. She was being shaken so hard and with such force that she thought that if she didn’t keep her neck straight she thought it might break, before he forcefully threw her hard on the ground, causing her to hit her forehead against the floor.

“Ugh,” Aline coughed in pain as she began massaging her forehead, all the while Brute roared so hard, dust in the air was pushed all around him. Aline didn’t pay attention to him for she knew that he was just blabbering on about how she could never disobey him like that without punishment. And yet, in that moment, the only thing she found herself doing was being angry; not at the ogre but instead at Aurore, of all people. How is it that her mother, the most beautiful and gentle woman Aline had ever met had not just left herself become shattered but had also left her daughter in the dregs of a hideous, unstoppable, offensive beast like this monster?



How could you do this? How could you do this to yourself and to your daughter?

“Hate,” Aline whispered to herself, spitting a tiny bit of blood onto the floor in front of her while trying to get up. “I hate you, Aurore.”

“Pardon?,” came the deep voice of Brute, confusion swathing through his anger. Aline looked back up at him. “How did my mother shatter? How is it that I am here, and have only memories of living with my mother and then suddenly being here?

“I have no idea why I’m here right now.”

There was a moment’s pause from Brute before he made a quiet chuckle which of course quickly turned into a belly grabbing, full forced laughter.

“Who the hell are you?,” she demanded.

“Stupid girl, it looks like I shook you into idiocy,” he said, while looking down at her coyly. “But as I told you once before, your mother lost a bet with the king of the goblins.”

“What bet?”

“The bet that she could not fall in love with him or else she would turn into diamonds. But Matthieu, the king of the goblins is shrewd and cunning; he courted her the way all men who want a woman only for the sake of a game court them.

“Do you know how men court women only for the sake of a game?”

Aline shook her head and Brute smiled smugly.

“Some find those with little self-confidence and force themselves into their lives by way of sweet blessings. Others find those who have a little more confidence and let them think they are in charge of the relationship and the situation, even when they are clearly not. But your mother, well, she was not either of those types of women; she is the strong and mystical type, the type of woman that is the hardest and most satisfying to conquer. To conquer strong women like Aurore is hard.

“But Matthieu is patient; and so, by using his charms, his magics, his cleverness, and his vernacular she could not help but fall in love with him. And when she did, in a gasp, she turned into diamond, all according to his plan, his plan to steal her magic.

“But,” said Brute, looking disgruntled and angry, stopping himself. “But the queen of the fairies was watching over your mother. And when Aurore fell into pieces, she shattered her to protect her from falling into his clutches.

“Yet, fortunately, I was lucky enough to have claimed Aurore’s heart. Even now, Matthieu looks all across the kingdom for me.”

Aline listened intently, while memories of Aurore flooded her vision, cold goosebumps creeping across her arms. Looking up at Brute, she asked him plainly, “Why am I in your clutches then?”

And for the first time, Brute looked at her with but the slightest hint of something other than cruelty and malice. It was a look of condescension tinged with a small balance of respect, as if this is something his young prisoner should know herself.

“Because you are closest to her heart,” he replied.

For a moment, he kept looking down at her while Aline, dirty and calloused, covered her mouth with her hand and let out a small tear. Any sympathy Brute may have had had quickly left his senses. But he turned around to where the red pear had landed, went over and picked it up. It was small in his massive claw.

“A red pear?,” he asked the air. “And it is warm with the softness of a slight magic.” Looking over to her, he said, “Once I eat it, you will go back to work immediately.” Aline then looked up to see Brute, without anymore hesitation, throw the fruit into his mouth and swallow it with a loud, juicy crunch.

Then, nothing.

“What a strange flavor,” Brute said. “Hot, with an Earthy flavor. Like a heavier, darker cinnamon flavor.”

Aline watched expectantly from her corner on the floor. Had the magic failed?

Then, Brute went to say something when he suddenly stopped, a horrified expression on his face. He made a few puzzled, painful gasps as tears began to flow from his eyes and smoke began to pour from his mouth in lengthy plumes.

“Aaaah!,” he loudly screamed, clutching his throat and falling onto the floor. Aline stood up, watching in horror as Brute’s entire body soon began smoking and sparking, his dirty clothes quickly catching fire while he rolled in agony and futility.

“What have you done to me?,” he roared as the fire consuming his body from the inside began to fume from his bubbling skin and start igniting the entire cabin on fire. He was in such pain, he was destroying the floor with his bare hands as he pounded them in painful vain.

In but a moment, Aline was beginning to find herself in an inferno.

But still, she was paying attention.

Brute, who was writhing on his back, quickly turned onto his gut and was trying to crawl out to the back porch door when Aline saw her opportunity finally before her. She ran over to the struggling ogre and while his back pocket was undefended, she pulled the iron key from his pocket, surprisingly cool in her hand.

Without a moment to lose, she ran up the stairs to Brute’s room and let herself in to the poorly maintained room that consisted of a lone mattress in the corner, several piles of trash and next to a little stand, the ornate box that held her mother’s diamond heart.

She had just grabbed the box when she heard the heavy footprints of the ogre coming up the stairs. Knowing that he was probably in a rage and no longer had any patience for her to be alive, she noticed his long window, the one he had used to watch her work in his orchard with for several months.

“That has to be it,” she told herself. Looking around the room that also had smoke breaking through the cracks in it’s walls, she put the heart’s box on the ground, grabbed Brute’s little nightstand and threw it against the glass of the window, shattering it. She picked the heart’s box again and noticed a clear bottle that messily read ‘alcool,’ when the door to the room opened and Brute came in, practically nothing more than a flaming, angry skeleton.

“Give me back your mother’s heart!,” he roared with fury, running over to where Aline stood. With few options left, Aline picked up the bottle, pulled out the cork that sealed it and threw it against the monster that had enslaved her for a year of her life. At the same time, she picked up the massive pillow Brute slept with, a hard and disgusting thing and with the ornate box still underneath her arm, leapt out the window with the pillow underneath her while the explosion that once was Brute followed behind her like a shadow of fire.

Aline could feel the heat of the flames against her feet and felt the breeze of flying for but a moment before the hard slam of the ground against the pillow and her body.

“Ooph!,” she exclaimed, rolling on the ground, trying to absorb as much of the blow as she could. She looked up to see the cabin was completely on fire, and some of the pear trees were also beginning to catch fire as well. Quickly getting up and holding the key and box as tightly as she could to herself, she proceeded to run as long and as hard as she could, out of the orchard and into the forest.

How long she ran, she could not say. Barefoot and with but her working dress, she felt the stabs of the forest floor and the slashes of the tree branches against her face and shoulders.

But she was free.

“Wooh!,” she began to scream in joy, ignoring the pain she felt. She was smiling and felt more joy than she had had in a long time.

The monster was gone and she felt no pity for him.

Eventually, as darkness began to descend, she eventually found a small, woodland pool. Stopping by it’s banks, she rested the key and small treasure chest on the shores and took a few steps in. There, she took a few deep drinks from the clean mountain water and cleaned her feet and arms, washing the sap and dirt away from her face and hair, occasionally letting out a small laugh and smile.

She was resting.

Which is why she did not immediately notice the boy.

Looking down in the water, she followed the silver swimming of a tiny fish by her feet. As the fish swam into the deeper part, she saw a shape she did not immediately recognize. At first she thought it might have been a small bear deep in the pool. But when she looked closer she saw that some twenty feet away from her was the shape of a young man who looked like he had lost conscious underwater and was drowning.

“Oh mon dieu!,” Aline cried. Seeing no other options but not being much of a swimmer herself, she took a few steps forward and a deep breath before she dove down to where the boy was as best as she could. Here, the water was cold and the depths were making her head pound. Her head was ringing like a bell from the pressure and she herself was running out of air. But she finally grabbed the boy by his shirt and just as she began having to gulp water, they made it to the surface.

She was coughing, sputtering with water. Using all of her strength, she carried the well dressed young man to the shore by her belongings, laying him on his back. Exhausted and without energy, she could feel herself passing out. But squeezing her hand into a fist, she slammed it against the young man’s armored chest as hard as she could.



Thrice before he sat up and began sputtering and coughing great amounts of water from his lungs.

“What, no!,” he shouted while looking around himself, appearing unsure of his surroundings. Wiping a few black hairs from his handsome face, he found himself looking into the wet, exhausted face of Aline, blinking from fatigue.

“You, you saved me,” he whispered politely.

Aline tried to weakly smile before she passed out on the spot, her head falling on a soft, comforting pile of red leaves, that had not been on that shore but a second ago.


The Princess, The Tiger & The Pear: Part 2

“What is this, grand tigre?,” Aline asked the great beast, her strong voice laced with twirling rivers of confusion and anger while her hair pranced in the wind like many wild horses. She was still staring at the strange, white, magical pear, while the voice of Xavier informed her; “it is an aspect of power that comes to those who are gifted with the sight of compassion and the hearth of fury, to accomplish a great task.

“Pluck it, than whisper unto it’s skein the mission you seek to complete and gift it with a kiss. Then give the fruit to the being you wish to have eat it and with but a nibble, they will have all of that emotion forced into their being, like the venom of a million vipers in their veins. But be warned, for there is a price to be payed”

Aline’s gaze then immediately centered themselves and dived into the oceans of power that constituted the former princes’ grand eyes; for a moment, mortal and genii, female and male, determined and reserved stared into each other, their soul’s dueling in the divide between them in the warm air as Aline searched for un-pronounced truth hidden in Xavier’s formidable stare.

But she could only find cool honesty.

“And what is this price?,” she asked.

“The pear will absorb all of the emotion you put into it, an emotion you will never feel again. An emotion that will be as gone as the wind that now whispers across your palms will be in the next three minutes when you decide with finality the course of your predetermined, fatalistic, rouge destiny. And yet still, in this case, only your rage can defeat the ogre.”

Aline listened to Xavier explain the magic and to her slight surprise, she found she accepted the nature of the spell rather easily, for here she was talking to him to begin with. But that didn’t mean she didn’t comprehend the possible severity of the action that must be done without any less realization as to it’s possible consequences. “I must sacrifice my rage,” she whispered to herself as she lowered her head and wondered what it would be like in the future to never feel anger again.

Would she be less different?

Would she not be as powerful.

She closed her eyes and contemplated this for a second that was scraping the lashes of eternity before she regained her focus and returned her attention to the tiger prince. “Not only is the life of me and my mother at stake but so are potentially more innocent lives, lives that do not deserve to end by way of the ogre’s violence. Lives full of their own miracles, tribulations, contributions and softer romances.”

“Than go and pick the white pear,” sternly whispered the tiger before he said with great force “and know that I will return to you in the future.” As he said this, a hard breeze rustled through where they stood and as it reached Xavier, he dissipated into a swirl of red pear blossom petals that became a hurricane that stormed the entire clearing.

And Aline walked with renewed strength and confidence to the low-branch where the pear hung calmly, past the reach of where Xavier rested while the red blossoms magically circled around her. She then plucked the white fruit and brought it to her lips, so that her breath graced it softly while she spoke: “I wish to kill the ogre.”

Then she kissed it; immediately, there was a flash of blinding light, and Aline again found herself in the beautiful pear orchard where she worked. At first, it seemed as if nothing had changed; the sun was still out and birds were still singing in the brisk April air. She looked around before she realized that she must have simply had a strange reverie; she had not been transported to the dimension of a tiger prince, not at all.

“Pas possible,” she said to herself.

But as she readjusted herself to her everyday surroundings, she became aware that she was holding something in her chill palms. She then looked at her hands and saw that in her grasp she was holding a pear that glimmered with the fading mystery of magic most consequential. Assuredly, this was the same pear that Xavier had given her but there was a difference; no longer fresh snow white, the pear was now a deep crimson, like blood coated iron. It even pulsed with slight warmth that felt not unlike an ember’s shade, the warmth Aline knew came from her fine, royal rage.

For a moment she did nothing but stare at this lovely ruby crafted from sweet flesh while the songs of sparrows were replaced by the mellow caws of distant ravens.

Then, terrible, shrill shrieking interrupted the brief moment of contemplation: “Girl! I see you have a fruit in your hands! Come here now and face the consequences of your dim, reckless decision!”

Aline snapped back into reality, having zoned off. But though she had regained her senses, it was almost as if her feet were walking on their own accord as she strolled to Brute’s cabin, time seeming to have slowed like ice sliding across the grass of a meadow as she opened the door and let herself in.

Endless Suffering

I wander aimlessly through constant darkness, through rollicking meadows of pain and misery, where the scarlet flowers of hatred blossom in the constant moonlight of cooling apathy.

I reach out with my sword and my claws bared to rip apart at this endless army of ever encroaching shadows; the gore I am drenched in coats every molecule of the dark matter that constitutes my well-being and my sight. I slaughter the men, the women, and yet through barely contained rage I spare the children only to watch them grow up and attempt to destroy me in their full strength when I can barely defend myself, only for me to kill them again, when I should have done it much sooner.

I can never fly; don’t ever have hope for me.


Why is it so hard to find victory in the even the smallest of things when other people can float endlessly upon the calmest wave? Only when they find that up-draft do I reach up in my mind to rip them apart in the bredth of my own sea of vomiting depression and wish them as much suffering as I contain in my ashened, iron heart when I know they don’t deserve it.

No one should ever have to be me.

No one.

For such must be the truest hell.

And every time I look at myself in the mirror, I wonder when I became such a useless piece of wretched flesh; when did failure and uselessness begin to consume my bone marrow and eat away at my heart as much as it does through every constant second of both my awake and sleeping self?

Maybe I’m not handsome enough; I don’t blame them, just thinking about my own hopes and dreams in regard to how fat and horrible my face and body are makes me revile in the definition of pathetic bullshit that was once the confidence I use to have.

Why is confusion always the hammer that shatters my skull and eats at what should be my light through cannibalistic, gleeful indifference?

I hate everyone and everything; everyone, especially those who want to help the most, need to back the fuck off and run away from me as fast as they can before I run them through.

Glaciers and ice; glaciers and ice.

Drown me in the river of a wasted life, the river I already live in at every second. I am a tiny minnow in a sea of darkened tears that I have been crying ever since I was born and that now suffocates me.

And I feel the fangs of self-inflicted endless suffering bite into me yet again; into my neck, my heart, my soul, only for me to somehow find that same miniscule of strength to somehow break them in the face again, crushing both the eye bones and nostrils of endless suffering with the silver bells of my own unfiltered anger; from blood spilt on old wooden porches and the angels that accompanied said drops of blood to the tired floor and darkness where I was born, where I was given the opportunity to love.

I tear the demons of misery apart in my scarred hands, screaming like a dreaded dragon as I do so, being showered in the darkest, richest blood.

No hope, I have no hope for anything left in my life.

And yet, I declare my only enemy to be endless suffering yet again; and as many times as it takes, I will behead this forever unworthy opponent and throw his lifeless body into the Isere, where I spent endless nights dreaming of my own, alone death.

Even if it takes an infinity; the oak tree of my fortitude will be replenished by it’s blood.



The Princess, The Tiger & The Pear: Part 1

Once upon a time in a far-away land, there lived a beautiful young girl whose name was Aline. Smart and strong, Aline was a brilliant soul who was often enraptured by the brilliance of nature, from the crescending meadows of the nearby valleys to the shadows of the mighty Pyrenees that often covered her like a gentle, dark cape. Dark yet mighty, she told herself one day when she was young that she would reach their snowy tops. “I can’t wait to see what angels live on those peaks,” she whispered quietly to herself one calm evening.

Sadly though, Aline found herself not living in the best of circumstances. For you see, though she was human, her mother, Aurore, had once been one of the hand-maidens to the queen of the fairies as well as one of the queens closest friends. But through circumstances she did not yet fully understand, her mother had been turned into diamond and had then been shattered, pieces of her having been scattered and traded by the hands of merchants and farmers all across the land. But the greatest piece of her that remained, Aurore’s diamond heart, had fallen into the hands of a terrible ogre, named Brute. And with the claiming of Aurore’s diamond heart, he had inexplicably found himself the caretaker of her daughter, Aline.

Aline remembered the night when she had first found herself in the dreaded mansion of the ogre, but somehow she could not remember how she had gotten there; her head ached and she was confused, wiping pretty blonde hairs away from her eyes as she picked herself up off the cold wooden floor to look at the towering, immense and ugly creature, who held the diamond heart, still beating, in one of his massive claws.

“Hmm,” the ogre growled thoughtfully, as he stared into the shimmering stone with small, snakelike eyes, that were like tiny match-fires in-between an ugly cliff of misshaped goblinoid features that served as his face. His gaze was intense and visible amidst the darkness of his cabin and through the shabby window several feet behind him, Aline could only look out into the darkest night she had ever seen, hail and rain dreadfully pounding themselves against the walls, begging to be let in like a million firefly orphans.

“Give me back my mother’s heart!,” screamed Aline, who ran against the ogre with all of her might, slamming her body against his long leg. But the ogre’s muscles were as hard as stone and Aline was sent flying back onto the floor with an “oompf!”

“Bwa ha ha!,” the ogre boomed with laughter while Aline massaged her shoulders, while he looked over her. “How foolish of you to think you would be strong enough to stop me in any capacity, ma petite.”

But Aline had not yet given up; spotting a nearby stool, she got up off the floor, grabbed it, then ran back to the monster and slammed the wooden furniture piece against the ogre’s leg as hard as she could, only to feel the simple pieces of wood that constituted the piece break apart in her hands and before her shocked eyes.

The ogre laughed and snarled even harder than he had before, clutching his massive, fat gut while flecks of rotten fat and gristle spewed with spittle from his fang-lined maw, some of which flew against Aline’s face, which she then quickly wiped away with the sleeve of her coat. Still holding the beating, diamond heart in his right hand, Brute reached out and shoved Aline with his left hand as hard as he could, sending her flying against one of the nearby walls.

The ogre laughed hard again, getting ahold of himself as Aline, adjusting herself against the wall, stared into Brute’s yellow eyes with her own fierce hazel-brown eyes unflinchingly, from across the room and between the skein of darkness.

“Give me back my mother’s heart,” she growled as hard as she could. But the ogre scoffed, quickly looking away from the child. He reached into the back pocket of his enormous, dirty jeans and pulled out compared to the rest of his filthy living conditions, a beautiful red box. When he opened it, Aline saw briefly that it was full of pretty, but ultimately dead, red leaves. He closed the beating jewel into it’s red prison then pulled out from his coat pocket a dark, large iron key and locked the box, which he then put back away in his back pocket, smiling smugly the whole time.

He then returned his attention to Aline, who was still staring at him in pure anger, and he shuffled himself to where he was standing right before her.

“I should eat you here and now while you’re still young and juicy,” he began. “But I believe I have a better use for you,” and as he finished this statement, he walked over, reached down and picked Aline up by one of her small arms. She instantly began thrashing in his steel-like grasp; “let go of me, you foul ogre, let go of me!” And even though it was useless in his taut strength, she was fighting with such veracity that the ogre, who was leading her to the back door of his cabin, still had to stop and kneel down to her, anger in his eyes; “stop struggling or I will snap your arm in two!,” he bellowed. Aline stopped struggling, but just barely, for her eyes still could not hide her anger, which was far greater than his.

And this he knew.

The ogre made a sly, fanged smile at her. He then stood up and having reached the back door, pulled it open. Aline stared into the tomb of the night and only saw leaved, twisting shapes. “Though you may not be able to tell in the now while the sun is gone, I have here many dead and dying pear trees.” He looked down at her again. “Your task is simple; restore them and maintain them, though you cannot eat them. In return, I will let you live. And who knows?; maybe you will be lucky and I will let you see your mother’s heart again.

Aline stared at contentment first at the ogre then, with angry huffs, at what must be a long orchard.

“Now,” the ogre said, closing the door and leading her to another small door next to the stairs by the front of the house, which he opened so powerfully, Aline thought he would pull the door off it’s somehow still intact hinges. Aline saw briefly that it lead into the basement of Brute’s house, before she herself was shoved all the way in, tumbling down a small flight of stairs that lead down into a cold, dirty and disgusting chamber, closed in by many dusty walls. She moaned in pain, spitting out a small bit of blood, while the door to this place was suddenly closed tightly, trapping her in this frightful realm of darkness.

Feeling the floor she found herself laying on, she reached out and felt something that she at first thought was a rock. But as she felt the long shape and somewhat softer texture, she realized in sudden horror what she had found. “Bones,” she whispered lowly. “These are the bones of his victims.”

She heard the shuffling of heavy footsteps away from the basement door, only for them to loudly come back. The door opened briefly, letting in a tiny gasp of light, and the ogre threw down for her the tiny rug he had kept by the front door. “You can use that to keep yourself warm, my human pet!,” he angrily laughed, before closing the door once again.

Aline took another minute to get to her feet before she ran up the small flight of the basement stairs and began angrily pounding on it’s surprisingly heavy frame as hard as she could, until her fists were covered in splinters. “You can’t do this to me,” she screamed. “Let me and my mother go!”

She yelled like that for several more minutes, until she heard the approaching thud of angry footsteps, she took a few steps back away from the door and meant to run at it when it opened so as to make her escape. But when Brute opened the door and Aline began to try to make her fast escape, she found herself suddenly splashed with freezing, icy water from the bucket held in his hands. This stopped her as she gasped from the shock, wiping her wet bangs from her eyes.

“Silence! Quit your hollering!,” Brute frantically roared at her so loud, Aline saw the dust in the air shake around him. There was a moment’s pause while the fat Brute regained his breath and Aline, soaked and shivering, watched him intently. “Let me remind you that you are in this predicament because your mother lost a very important bet with the king of the goblins. Now she has shattered into a million pieces. And the only hope you have of bringing her back is with her diamond heart, which I have now hidden from you. So if you want to have any chance of bringing her back you. Will. Listen to me!”

And with that, Brute slammed the door for the last time that night.

Aline, confused, tired, wet and angry, was forced to retire, where she tried to keep herself as warm as possible with the rug she had been given. She was immensely sad and confused, trying desperately to figure out what had happened to her mother, and how she had fallen into this predicament. But though she thought long and hard, no answers would come to her.

For the next year, Aline always begrudgingly found herself working in Brute’s pear orchard, her body becoming hard and strong from the nature of the fieldwork. And indeed, what once had been a dying lot was soon turned into a beautiful place due to her surprising affinity for orchard-work. But though the pears she found herself surrounded by were beautiful and their blossoms smelled ripe and wonderful, they remained an impossible treasure to taste, for Brute kept a close eye on the orchard every night and every day, and knew exactly when a pear had been picked. Only once had she eaten one of the pears out of famished desperation and Brute had punished her by taking her rug away for the night. The basement ended up being so cold she had almost frozen to death, so she kept as compliant and ate the bones, gruel and meat of the animals Brute gave to her as best as she could instead.

She never spoke to Brute who was content to watch her from his perch up on the second-floor of his house. As he had reminded her many times, “feel free to leave whenever you want, ma petite.” But then he would smile sickly and add “it is about a month’s trip to the nearest human settlement,and if nature doesn’t get to you first the wolves will with the absoluteness of death. And more than that, my house is protected by magic that makes it impossible for any human to find it. That means, you won’t be able to find it either. And lastly,” Brute concluded with a sick smile, “you will definitely never see your mother’s heart again.”

So Aline was content to play along as best as she could. She tried her best to formulate a plan to escape Brute’s clutches but she could not find any way to escape that could include both her and the heart of her mother. And what’s more, Brute revealed to her his plan one night, just as the pears were approaching harvest; “if you are wondering why I make you work in my orchard as much as I do, it is because I knew you would be able to bring it to life spectacularly, for I could tell the moment I saw you that you have a magic for healing.”

Aline eyed him from across the floor where she ate while he looked down at her from his tall table and rickety chairs. “And now, my plan to feast has also come to near completion. For you see, in the next few days I will lower my spell that allows my house to not be found by humans.” As he spoke, a sudden flicker of fear quickly raced across Aline’s strong face.

“Then,” Brute continued, “I will snatch up any passerby’s attracted by the sight of my delicious pears, and I will devour them.” Aline kept her gaze stoic, but thought to herself “oh no,” while Brute laughed his hideous, awful, smug laugh before he got up and pushed Aline back into the mold-ridden and rat infested basement. She stood close to the door of the basement as she listened to him in his boots walk up the nearby stairs, to his room, where she heard him locking his door.

Deep in the bowels of that basement, Aline desperately searched for answers; she knew she could not allow anyone to be eaten by Brute on her good conscience. But she also knew that she would never let herself be killed by the ogre, not while her mother’s heart was still in his clawed clutches. “I am stronger than that,” she whispered to herself, while gently pounding her head against one of the basement walls that formed her prison. “I will be in charge of my own fate and I will save my mother’s soul. And then, with all of my strength, I will defeat the ogre before he has a chance to hurt anyone ever again.”

She stopped pounding her head against the wall and went to lay down as she thought about how little time she had left to come up with a plan.

“It is three days until my 14th birthday,” she suddenly realized. “And it is four days until the pears are ready to be picked.”

Grabbing her rug, she went to the driest corner of the basement where she kept a small pile of leaves she had gathered over her year of work as a small pillow and rested her head there as best as she could.

“What am I going to do?,” she whispered to herself quietly as she fell into a fitful sleep. “What am I going to do?”

On the first day of the last four days before the harvest, Aline was content to just work and let her mind wander absentmindedly, hoping that a brilliant plan for a daring escape would come to her on it’s own. This was a futile hope, but as she was pulling some weeds out in the cold, spring afternoon dirt she heard a loud snap, the breaking of twigs and a growl.

It took her a moment before she realized that the audibility of what she had just heard could only have come from a very large animal. She then immediately stood up and began looking around her to find the source of whatever it is that had made that sound, but all she could see was the dazzling greens and browns that come with the ripening of pear trees.

She wondered what could have made such an intimidating sound; the growl sounded as large as that of Brute’s! But the only animals that really ever made themselves known in the pear orchard were small, like insects and birds, which Brute often captured and used to feed his most poor slave. Furthermore, Aline had never encountered a wolf here, and the growl certainly had not sounded like that of a wolf’s.

However, her concentration was then split away by Brute’s bellowing; “get back to work, girl!” Snapping back into the presence, Aline hurriedly began picking up the work where she had stopped, though her mind was still racing fervently, searching for a plan.

And still, none came; as long as Brute was alert and awake, Aline could not come up with any assured way to steal his key from away him. And Aline had no immediate concoctions, poisons or potions that could reliably put Brute to sleep.

On the second day before the harvest, Aline was busy cleaning up some of the branches of the smaller pear trees, when she heard the same snap and and an even greater growl!

This time, when she heard that growl, she looked behind the tree she was mending and saw a fleetingly fast blur of fiery orange, like a rabbit made of candleflame. She jumped where she stood, startled, and quickly chased after the blur for a short time to where she thought it had gone, but she found nothing.

“What on Earth?,” she whispered to herself. Not entirely unaware of how to stalk an animal, she tried to look for any sign of pawprints or scat, but could not find any sign that any large animal had recently passed by.

She continued for the rest of the day still desperately trying to find anything, be it an old weapon or unearthed path available to her that could help her escape, and still, nothing that could be of use in her vicinity was found. And again, she went to sleep that night feeling the pressure even harder then she had been before.

“Is it too late,” she asked herself? “Am I out of options to save anyone?,” she asked herself while the horrid laughter of the despicable ogre rang through the halls of his cold cabin, loud and freezing. And Aline could only imagine how, up in his chamber, Brute was holding the beautiful heart of the lovely Aurore, staring and unjustly petting and caressing it, something he absolutely did not deserve.

Aline fell asleep to the visions of rage she imagined against the darkness of the ceiling.

And so it was on the third day, the day before harvest, the day that was Aline’s 14th birthday, that answers once cloudy suddenly became clear, like fire in a wheatfield.

Aline, in tears, was mending the roots of one of the larger pear trees, the trees that had in a way lead to her downfall. It was one of the farthest clearings away from the house of the ogre but Aline knew that Brute was still keeping an eye or ear out for her, he always did. But that was the least of the reasons she had at this point in her life for why she was upset; for more than anything she was upset at herself for not being able to come up with any plan to save her mother, herself, or anyone else. And this in a way was another small victory Brute kept over her.

So upset was she that she did not immediately notice the sudden burst of red leaves and petals that suddenly surrounded her. When she finally did, she stood up quickly, wrapping her musty cloak over herself and the poor dress she wore, her blonde hair whipping around her like golden ropes. All around her red pear blossom petals were swirling with sudden velocity and wind and Aline could sense that magic was around her.

When the storm stopped, Aline found herself atop a red hill overlooking a strange, wine-dark sea. She turned away from the intimidating waves and saw for miles and miles, red meadows that went like the bloody footprints of giants. These red meadows were devoid of trees, like a desert. Aline turned around yet again to look back at the large pear tree she had originally been working underneath. It was still there, though it’s petals and leaves had suddenly taken on a brilliant, blood-red color to them. And beneath those branches, at the base of the trunk lay a large, orange colored cat with long, sharp, black stripes along his massive body, staring at Aline with the intense eyes of a hungry king.

For a moment, Aline could do nothing but stare into his regal gaze, remaining as unflinching as she could be. “Welcome to my domain,” the beast suddenly spoke to her.

Aline gasped!; “you are a tiger!,” she yelled.

“I am Xavier,” he spoke again in a loud, royal, deep voice. “I was once a prince, a son of the king of the Genii, until my father exiled me for my ferocity. But though I am now old, and I don the form of this beast, I still have great power.”

Aline gulped, while a zephyr brushed past her. “You were watching me in the orchard these last couple of days?”

“Oui,” said Xavier lowly. “I have come, possibly, to help you rid yourself of this nuisance, this ogre.”

“Are you going to defeat him?,” Aline asked pleadingly. “You are strong enough to kill him.”

“No, I am not,” Xavier began, his eyes glowing brightly. “But I hope you are strong enough to do so, for the weapon I am going to give you has a price of it’s own.”

“Please, tell me!,” Aline shouted.

“Look at the branches of the pear tree I lay beneath,” said the tiger. “What do you see?”

Aline looked on intently; though the tree once had many pears growing from it’s branches, now there was just one: a pear as white as snow that glowed with a small hue of magic, aloft on one of it’s black branches. Aline looked back at Xavier who merely looked on from his rest, exuding power from his frame.

He was waiting.

“Pick it, this pear,” he commanded. “And fill it with all of the rage you have.

“And you will kill the monster.”

The Jade Prophecy

Prophecy I






I woke up with her name upon my lips; such a pleasant feeling, that becomes fleeting and distant like the sound of shifting aether upon a harp. I am young, and though my room is dark, it is lit by a soft glow that comes from nowhere, but just is. The staccato ceiling reminds me of stalactites, and the shadows on the wall could be the afterglow of fairies and goblins running away and back to their holes when they saw me stirring, the sun rising, forcing them to end their midnight orgies and courtly dances. Somewhere in the distance, I hear a windchime loudly ring off in the quiet suburban block, but next to me in the same little bed I sleep in my younger brother snores softly, unaware of anything, dreaming sweet dreams, I hope.

I have to leave this place. There is something that must be done.

I kiss the child’s brow then leave the warmth of the blankets; I am wearing a silly dinosaur shirt, blue pajama pants, and I am barefoot. I step lightly, leaving my room, and running down a long, dark hall with a wooden floor and more white walls lit by small lanterns on their tops, holding meek, silent candles. It is the kind of hall angels carry coffins of their loved ones through, when their faces cannot be seen by white hoods, and the coffin itself is a large, somber beast.

I am in the living room; there is a grungy carpet now, as well as an ugly couch, a TV and VCR on top of it, as well as a tall grandfather clock in the corner, which suddenly booms loudly. I stare at the clock and shudder for some reason before darting to the front door, and looking back one last time to the end of the living room where I know my parents slumber. They are so young, so sweet at this time, and though I’m sure I will be safe, I’m not entirely sure I will return to them the same, so I whisper to them a soft goodbye, then turn and escape through the door and into the brisk night air.

It is a Summer night, and the stars have pierced through the shroud of polluted air, and are beautiful. I look around and see no cars or people, so I step off the cement step and onto cool, wet grass, which feels pleasant, and I miss the feeling as I soon run off of our lawn and onto the jagged, sharp asphalt of the street we live on, still warm from the heat of the day. I move quickly, through streets and sidewalks, around the backyards of giant, sentinel like red apartment buildings. Lampposts illuminate everything, and if someone were to look out of there window, they might have seen me, a small, scrawny creature, pale and with bright blond hair. But I pay no heed to any of it; I am following an invisible path.

Soon, I escape the confines of the 90′s suburban world and after climbing a high fence, find myself along the banks of a chill creek. Pieces of ice float on the surface, but I know that it is shallow and not very wide, so I take off my pants, holding them above my head, grit my teeth, and quickly run through the freezing water. When I get to the other shore, I let out a small cry of pain, and clutch my numb legs, and I begin to rub them to try and bring heat back to them.

Once they feel fine again, I collect my emotions, put my jammers back on and take in my current surroundings. I’m sure the trees weren’t as tall as I remember them, but at the time, they appeared to tower over me, watching over me like giants. Fierabras; I eyed them warily, took a deep breath, and stepped into their realm, the forest, the moon lighting my path.

I wrapped my arms around myself, continuing to walk, scared by the sounds of things chirping, rustling, fluttering. Immense shadows crisscrossed around me like a sea of swords that I was stepping on the surface of. Old America and it’s spirits were still potent then, back when old timers still wandered with a singular ounce of remaining dried out, bitter, fleeting youth.

At one moment I had to stop as a band of spirits crossed my path and I could find no tree to hide behind, forcing me to stay as still as possible: perhaps fourteen see-through men in old, raggedy suits, with top hats and big, bushy mustaches suddenly wandered into the clearing. They carried with them a diverse collection of old-fashioned instruments, from guitars and mandolins to accordians, and most were smoking thick cigars but a few also held small candles in their hands. They also had opened flasks and were singing happy, old-fashioned songs but in ghostly, indefinable voices. One large fellow stepped to the side and I could see behind him was a small boy about my age, aglow with spiritual fire. The boy held a candle of his own, was wearing silk, black pants with suspenders over a white button-up shirt, and he had black hair in accompaniment with happy, sweet orange eyes. He turned his head, and saw me; I felt a shiver of fear run up my spine. But the boy simply smiled at me, waved, and continued with his merriment, along with the rest of the old time spirits as they left the path and continued on their way through the forest. But I still didn’t move, for I couldn’t get over the mark I had seen that had been carved onto the boys hand; the bloody image of a house on fire.

I heaved a heavy sigh; I only had to stop once more, as a second series of ancient things crossed my path, the great golden, glowing spirits of bizarre animals, with heads like that of lions, bodies of dolphins and the wings of moths. I was so terrified, I had to close my eyes, and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. And I must say, it’s such a bizarre feeling to forget how to breathe for a moment; you focus on the thing that is stopping you from moving your chest, and it fills your eyes, but your eyes and lungs are suddenly one yet you can move neither for a second but that second feels like an eternity and then you jarringly regain the knowledge that you have lost, and there is this bizarre, triumphant feeling as you take in air again, as if you won a battle that you didn’t know you were going to fight and what you see in your eyes and lungs is suddenly before you, but there are no distractions and there is a moment of clarity. I had this feeling, staring into the bodies of those terrifying things that exist above and across, and I knew it was a sign that I was close to my destination.

After what felt like hours, where my feet were made cold from dirt that has been too long in shadow, I finally found a circular, round clearing, free of the presence of both titans and nephilim. Once upon a time, a theater, and in the center of the stage was a shadowy being, barely discernible in the illumination that came from nowhere but the hallowed Earth itself. I called to him, a pathetic mewl, but there was no response, just a soft, gentle ‘shooshing’ noise, like the sound of a breeze stepping upon cold, trickling river stones.

I ran my small hands through my hair, moving golden bangs, and bit my lips, wrapping my arms around myself. I stepped into the circle, very cautiously, until the figure was more defined; he wore a brilliant, bright green mask that fit his face, and this mask was made out of a multitude of green leaves that fell down his face as a green beard. Dark, black hair that was straight fell to his shoulders, and his hair matched the color of his eyes, of which no reflection of light could be seen in their black voids. He was wearing dark, loose robes, and the scent of strange but sweet spices could be smelled. He was sitting in the zen position, legs crisscrossed, and his dark, tan palms were resting on his knees. Sometime earlier he he must have set a fire, for smoke drifted up from the ground in front of him.

When I was closer, I jumped slightly, for though he had been motionless, his right hand was suddenly raised, for a pause, but then he brought the rest of his right arm, still held aloft to the right side of his body. He stood, and then turned his whole body to the right, like how when you push the left-side door of a building to let yourself in. He was looking at me while I did this, before making a slight bow. My hazel-green eyes grew wide with understanding; he wanted me to keep walking forward.

Before I did though, I darted to the firepit and grabbed two pieces of still smokey but strong twigs. I took a rubber band that I still had in my pocket and wrapped it where I had them meet, forming a tiny but perfect enough cross. I didn’t necessarily think it would help me, but I felt better with it. Then, having made it, I looked at my guide, who was still waiting for me patiently. I hadn’t noticed before but little white flowers were growing out of his verdant, mossy beard, and he wore a golden shirt underneath his robes that was inlaid with shining jewels.

With all distractions taken care of, I inhaled, held it in, slowly let it out and began walking forward, the spirit of the forest following a few steps behind me.

It didn’t take long before I was at the place I needed to be; a huge, black oak tree, massive and intimidating, with branches that seemed to be slashing out at the darkness of space itself, and surrounding it’s surface entirely was cool, white fire, playful, seeming to dance like a million white butterflies. It suddenly came out of the path in front of me, this burning tree, as if waiting for this moment as well, and together, I had to gasp, for the tree and the fire were both just so beautiful together, intense but comforting. I stood there watching and stayed that way for what felt like many very long hours, just staring at this beauty of an angel that was before me, feeling the warmth emanating from the two of them together, for the fire never seemed to grow small and the tree never seemed to burn. I oohed and awed, in giggling, childish amazement at such a wonderful, gorgeous and sublimely celestial and beautiful sight. My eyes were wide with such joy, and let this be known, that that brief second I had with that fire and that tree is and always will be the greatest second of my life.

But it was a moment not meant to last.

A cold wind, unnoticeable at first, began to blow. Firstly, it was at the bottom of my feet, but it blew up, rustling fallen leaves, and the fire began to shiver and the oak began to moan in pain. I saw this, and my cheerful expression began to change into something more dour, as I saw the evil that was at work begin to unfold.

From the fire, I saw flashes of things sick and solid; flecks of ice. At first the pieces were small and unnoticeable, but soon they reached out, becoming bigger, taking up more of the fire’s place, consuming the flames, which began retreating inwards. The flames, in turn, tried to take a bit more fuel from the tree to combat the coldness. And here’s the part that kills me, that makes my gut wrench, because no matter how the fire tried to spread, the tree beneath it wouldn’t burn. But the branches of the tree were suffering from the cold too, and were themselves beginning to freeze, and the once mighty oak tree began to shrink in size as well.

I couldn’t stand-by for another second. I tried to look around on the ground for a rock, or something I could use as a tool or for a hammer. At that moment, I looked up to see the man with the leaf mask shudder violently, and the once splendid leaves upon his face began to yellow and fly away en masse.

“No!,” I screamed! Unable to find anything of use, I remembered the little cross I had in my hands. I eyed it; so small, gentle, but it looked so strong. It would have to do.

As I turned and ran to the tree, I saw the forest spirit out of the corner of my eye suddenly burst into a cloud of yellow leaves, his robes unwinding themselves into thread as they all hit the ground without sound. I was sad, but turned forward again to face the tree and fire, which were quickly becoming more and more like a glacier and ran toward it as fast as I could.

Finally, when I was at the skin of the ice, I took my tiny cross and with all my strength, tried to begin chipping away at the beast while dried, dead leaves stormed around my head like a tornado. And indeed, drops of ice were struck off, hitting my face with coldness that felt like bullets, hurting me, but alas, my efforts were miniscule and not nearly enough to slow the doom down.

I screamed no! continuously, constantly, until my voice and throat were raw and sore, but soon the tree, fire and ice were all but one block that was smaller than the entirety of me; the oak tree itself looked not unlike a sapling, that was constantly growing smaller.

Giving up, I dropped the little cross I had made and began sobbing vehemently, wrapping my arms around what remained of it all, desperately trying to use my own heat to melt away the ice, but to no avail, only growing intensely numb in coldness as well. When I hugged the ice, I was resting on my knees, but soon, I was laying on the ground, face in the mud, not knowing what had happened. I just lay there, crying.

Tears still streaming down my sorrow contorted face, I pushed myself up after what felt like a million eternities of nothing but sadness, to see that my arms, body and clothes were all extremely muddy, and I was staring into a puddle that showed only my own heartbroken visage. I reached into the puddle with my fingers to see that my hands were covered in nothing but wet, cold ash.

I took my hands, my whole body shaking, and rubbed them against my face, feeling the shape of my nose, cheeks and little lips. And then I ran my hands through my hair, darkening the strands. Soon, my face was so dark, it was unrecognizable.

I screamed one final time again, up at the sky, alone, muddy, at midnight, in the forest of spirits.

And I knew I would be alone as such for the rest of my life.

And now I have felt the consuming pain of endless sorrow. The streets where I now roam may at any second be trampled by the darkness of the somber midnight I forever carry in my chest, fervently trying to escape the disintegration that tears apart their matter to no avail.

I walk both invisibly and forever shattered.

My life is defined by uselessness, by innumerable defeats both physical and torturously psychological. Every night I waste upon a throne of golden, desolate bitterness, alone and cold. My only friends are the wraiths of ravaged memories, my only lover the cruel hand of fear, gracing me with her sweet caresses of suffering.

Hate is all I am, hate is all I see. I eat the fruits of my own anguish, their vile taste keeps me awake when all I wish to do is sleep in endless agony; I stare with stoic yet barely contained fury at anyone foolish enough to enter this cave which I have already divined as my tomb.

Darkness has overcome me; even if I should try to escape, it is impossible for me to tear away at this now sacred stone.

I have lost my sight, it is gone. Like the wind, like her.

And yet, I keep a sword by my side, and my nerves stay taught. The jittering of nerves, and anger, scattering away the leaves but not the roots. Instinctively, I can feel myself training in the deepest realms of my useless, pitiful, sacred dreams.

There are lanterns on the wall, there are lanterns on the wall. And between the drops of water, walls of moss and freezing air, I can see they are lit.

Only by rage, and blood, shall I reach them, and the path they illuminate.

Now I understand the white fire and the dark tree. I see with jade eyes what must be reforged.

No one between me and the lanterns shall receive any mercy.

None whatsoever.

Begone, forever.