The Moment We Last Fell

THE MOMENT WE LAST FELL


Today, I had NO choice but to leave the dusty, but mostly sanitary and virus free, confines of the Pharoah Buddy Compound. I went out into the badlands in search of sustenance and some other supplies.

I am what is left of an old guard of warrior – now turned poet, left alone to care for the elders of my tribe and its acquaintances, as well as the great, but often ill, Pharoah Buddy.

My name is Winter NightTiger –  Nocturnal Witch and retired Warrior. I have been lost for years, ever since the untimely death of my Witch companion and Familiar, the soft Ganymede.

Despite my loss, and my dusty and prickly spirit, I mustered the old magick, rarely used anymore, to place a force field of deflecting energy about my body the night prior to my quest. This is a gift few have, and a power for which I have always been grateful.

I prayed to the oldest of gods among the Universe to allow my success, and ensure my safe return; free from the touch of the invisible, evil Monster that has invaded so many lands near and far, and tortured and even killed so many helpless folks while they were just living. I’ve cried for so many strangers, people only akin to me through the force of the Great Spirit. I have pulled my sword so many times, seeking to destroy what lurks in the Void, to save a ravaged species. Yet, feeling pangs of guilt, I wonder if we aren’t being served up what we have dished out. It happens sometimes, when Mother Nature punishes us. But, ’tis a story for another day.

Despite a fairly sleepless night  and a tiredness burning behind my eyes, I arose while it was still dark, tiptoeing around the castle so as not to awake the castle’s chronically worried – the Most High Elder, or Pharaoh Buddy who feels he must ride the wind with me at any time, in any weather, at any cost. I knew that to avoid much lamenting or ride begging, I had to be as quiet as a church mouse.

So, armed with my shield, hand sanitizer, tissues, and prepared to don vinyl gloves, I set out at dawn to seek the much needed goods as quickly as I could find and gather any of them.

Though there were closer vendors, I set out on longer trip. Going further into the wastelands, seeking that which I knew those closest to me could not supply due to not carrying the products even under normal circumstances. That grand trading post is The World of Wally, where I hoped to find the Jimmy Dean’s Sausage Crumbles that I sought…among other things.

When I arrived at the trading post, the other travelers there were in good spirits too, despite waiting outside in inclement weather for the doors to open.

There were only about 20 of us strangers at 7:00am. With a newfound happiness of finding a courage to venture outdoors, many folks seemed glad to see others and spoke, talking above the blaring winds, of their circumstances and experiences; finding camaraderie in fear and helplessness; in boredom and loneliness; in the need to help and be helped. Yet, you could hear it in voices and see it on faces…the hard-to-hide feeling of being the Most Hunted.

Nothing could hide it. Not gloves, nor masks, nor smiles, nor gleaming eyes. It was there. There in the uneasiness in the step, saddness of the heart, worry upon the face. The feeling of helplessness snuggled underneath the masks of courage. Us all…the Aging, and already Aged, Warriors. Not a Younger in sight at that moment; we are People of Legend.

When the doors opened, we all made jokes and waved our “good luck, be safe,” to one another…wishes that I knew were genuine. This World is changing…again. Can we navigate well enough to survive it…again?

A few of us who made friends ran across each other in the market again. There were a couple of fellows who I might’ve wanted to talk to longer under other circumstances, but we just  passed by and smiled, making quick but positive comments.

During my foraging, I enlisted the aid of a tall gentleman to reach something from a top shelf, and despite being of the Hunted – like me, he stopped with good cheer and plucked an out-of-reach bag of Jimmy Dean’s Sausage Crumbles from the depths of the tallest shelf of a cooler section. He even made small talk for about 5 seconds as he steered his cart back onto his own trail. We do have need of each other.

As swiftly as I could, I made my way through the large, fairly empty trading post, where the strangers were well behaved and kept a decent distance from one another…lest the Monster finds us huddled too close…the odors of healthy human hosts too overbearing to resist.

During my hunt, I was able to commandeer hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, toilet paper and bleach – once dying breeds seeming to be making a resurgence in some territories. I was ecstatic to find the elusive sanitizing wipes, and the ever-evasive, dying species…the sanitizer of hands.

I was able to find much of what the Most High elders of my tribe – my Queen Mother and her good friend, Lady Mary, needed.

Yesterday, I had ventured to the Kingdom of the Smart Pets for no-touch curbside service of the Pharoah’s prescription specialty grub and healthy treats. The trek was seemingly uneventful and I never left my chariot. The Kingdom of the Smart Pets lives to serve the pharaohs, kings, queens, wood peckers, flea scratchers, and the feathered jokers in our miserable human lives…despite those same Servants also being among the Hunted. They, along with those that labor in places such as The World of Wally, and infirmaries where Servants take care of the ill – despite their own odds, these are the strong along with hero First Responders and emergency personnel, and those that pick up our waste and clean our messes. These are the best of our species.

I exchanged cash for my foods and dry goods at the trading post of Wally, then hurried to my chariot as the winds whipped at my hair and water sprinkled from dark clouds. Despite that, a fierce wind can be our friend, possibly blowing the Monster to points uninhabited, ripping its tentacle feelers along the route.

As I loaded the chariot, I looked this way and that…searching for a flying Creeper; an airborne Monster that no animal can see with the naked eye. “Where are you hiding, shadowy Monster? You, who has even outdone, even impressed, the Devil. Will you leave us be?”

I heard no answer with my ears. But despite the only noise being that of the wind, I felt an answer to my final question was given, although unspoken: “I have just begun.”

Other than that ominous feeling, I fought off doom and gloom and deemed my quest quite successful.

The Elders were grateful and joyful upon my return. Pharoah Buddy was happy to see me, yet, was loaded with questions of the “why didn’t you take me with…you shouldn’t have gone alone” sort.

I hope that I was swift enough and kept enough distance from others to elude the silent Monster that lurks in shared spaces and atop oatmeal canisters and packages of beef jerky.

Each time a member of a tribe, a house, compound, or kingdom, and so forth, goes out in search of supplies, they go alone. And upon return, they do not know if they have lead the silent, yet deadly, Monster back to their home.

Once home, the terrifyingly real waiting period begins another cycle.

I disguarded my armour in the carriage house, to rid myself of possible tentacles or spores deposited by the Monster. I donned my robe, and breathed deeply, unsure of the future of my House.

Be strong, fearless species. We shall rise again. But hopefully, we will emerge from this darkness, more patient, kinder and smarter than at the moment we last fell.

Copyright 2020 Wanda Paryla

Happy Halloween!

Greetings All!

I haven’t blog posted in so long! I apologize for that. With my mundane job and writing, I haven’t  had a lot of post time. Regardless, I hate that it’s been so long.

I want to wish you a safe and happy Halloween.

And to those who observe, Blessed Samhain.  )O(

A New Look

Good day to you all.

I’m all too happy to admit how much my author/writer friends have, unknowingly, inspired me to not give up my craft.

Several times over the past couple of years, I’ve mentioned on Facebook how hard it’s become for me to write. Once upon a time, the words flowed like water to wine. Like rapids even. Then one day, they were seemingly gone. Dried up. It went beyond writer’s block. The words were just gone. It was so bad that I asked the doctor if I could be getting Alzheimer’s. I was lost.

But my hopes that the words would return to me were kept alive vicariously through others. I’d watch their progress, secretly cheering them on. Their words and the thrill of performing their craft were not lost. Quite the contrary.

Recently, I got very ill. And as I lay in my hospital bed the first week in January waiting for the cardiologist to tell me I had some terrible heart ailment (luckily and thankfully, my heart & arteries are as exquisite and tough as Ethan Hunt), I was also very lucky. Due to these terrifying circumstances, I had some time to go over the good old mistakes-made list. I got a chance to see what many others never get to. My heart appears healthy.  But no one knew that for sure at the time.

Alone in the middle of the night – hooked up to all sorts of scary, beeping shit – in an all too quiet room in the cardiac unit, perhaps dying at 46, I was scared shitless as this Scorpio held back her emotions.

Hell, if I died, I was not going out all dramatic like a pussy. Heck, no. I’m Scorpio. I rule death. And if She’s coming for me, she better have 40 silver fucking pitchforks.

Regardless of how worried this warrior pretended not to be, death nor sleep ever came.

At the top of my mistakes-made list was not the things that I thought would be there such as vacations I didn’t take, the kids I didn’t birth, or sorrow at fights with family members. Nothing about a Master’s degree, or the lottery, or all the sugar I’ve consumed in my lifetime. Not even apologies never spoken.

There were two things there. Two sorrows. They are: never loving in return the men that loved me; never giving them a chance. They DID love me. I know that now.

The next is: giving up on my writing for reasons truly unknown to me at the time. I was beaten into submission by me, but had no clue.

Some who know me chalked up the lost interest in writing to depression, sadness, anger, etc. All sorts of barriers. A couple of thrifty pals delegated it to my recent obsession with fixing my past. Or my desire to live there, which actually may have caused my sadness. Maybe they are correct. It was destroying me on many levels. Keeping me blind to all the good; allowing me to only see the bad. I was drowning.

I had no idea what was going on. Maybe I was blind on purpose. That happens, you know? I think I’ve been fighting my age. Maybe those who are older than I know what I mean.

So I enjoyed watching my writer friends. I think if there was no Internet,  I might not have had access to them and who knows where I’d be now. In what state of mind.

They are all winners. And despite that I wasn’t writing, they didn’t treat me any differently than they had years ago. They let me stay in the winner’s circle while, unknowingly, hanging on to me by threads.

I’ve been ill before and hospitalized. But never with something potentially life-threatening.  Life ending. For awhile I was like, “FTW? Figures.” But, while we’re still searching for answers, I’m very much alive. My mistakes-made list is changeable because I’m not dead yet. It’s changeable because I’ve seen others change directions many times.

Scorpio may rule death, but also rebirth. I’m reborn. It’s not time to return to the Underworld just yet. The gods have forced my eyes toward what I should see: the good. This goes beyond writing. It encompasses my spirituality and beliefs. It extends to who I know, where I live, as well as to my abilities of storytelling. My ancestors have given me a gift, and I’m still alive to use it. I should not abuse that.

My advice: do not fight the inevitable.  Change only what can certainly be moved. Let the rest go.

Thank you for reading.

-Wanda

The Crime of a Life Sentence (excerpt)

Hello there!

Please enjoy this excerpt from my book-in-progress of original poetry, tentatively titled The Crime of a Life Sentence. As mentioned in my previous blog, the publication dates of this work as well as the sequel to Someday Always Comes – The Devil Plays Dice – have been pushed into 2017. I am expecting to publish this particular book April 2017.

The poems in this book have been written over many, many years and when I post an excerpt some will have the original copyright dates.

(Please find the link to my previous blog below this post – I’ve inserted one and there’s the link back under this post if my link doesn’t work.)

 

CRYING AT MIDDAY

Crying at midday
I cannot find the right words to say
What I feel is lost

Staring into space
I recall another time with grace
What I feel is lost

My heart breaks in two
Heart bounded by the tragedy of you
What I feel is lost

I strive to not see
Myself and you surrounded by defeat
What I feel is lost

Copyright 2015 Wanda S. Paryla

 

FALLTIDE

Mysterious sounds creeping
While ravens call weeping
And wait on bare branch swaying

Triangle-eyed, round pumpkins smile wide
Cats use shadows to hide
Orange light seeping out bright

And crackling fires warm the eve
While crisp, crackles the leaves
Fall’s arrived; Winter’s nearby

Copyright 2013 Wanda S. Paryla

 

 

The Devil Plays Dice – excerpt

 

The Devil Plays Dice – Excerpt (and other work)

Greetings! Thanks for reading.

This is a Chapter One excerpt of The Devil Plays Dice – the sequel to Someday Always Comes. This is totally raw and unedited, so beware of crazy wording, long winded-ness, and odd grammar.  😉

The targeted publication date for this sequel was originally September 2016, however, I am embarking on a mid-life career change and moving from Illinois to Texas this coming summer, 2016. So I’ve had to push back the target date to Spring 2017 simply due to editing and cover graphic processes and expenses. But I want my readers, blog visitors, and friends to know that I am writing and working to bring them the best work that I can.

I have my eye set on 2017 for the self-publication of The Devil Plays Dice as well as a book of original poetry currently titled The Crime of a Life Sentence. There is another project I have in the works but I’m not sure where on the wheel of the year that will fall, if in 2017 at all.

I’ll add  excerpts from other chapters, as well as poetry from The Crime of a Life Sentence, and I’ll add information as I go along over the next months and try to keep everyone up to date on the process.

Happy Reading! And thank you for your patience.

 

THE DEVIL PLAYS DICE

 

Our house was in total bedlam with cops and emergency personnel buzzing all around. Hypnotizing red, white and blue lights swirled around the neighborhood like disco balls possessed, ricocheting off buildings, cars, trees; the driveway. It was Spring Break, 2010, but for me it was more like Independence Day, as the strobe lights pierced the twilight like the rainbow colors of sky rockets on the Fourth of July.

 
It was déjà vu, and despite the iron fencing and the fact that our home was far from the street with a driveway two city blocks long separating the road from us, I knew the neighbors and the press had their faces smashed against the vertical bars of the front gates.

 
I’d experienced such bedazzlement before. But this time it was all slow motion to me and came with a much higher price: the newspapers, magazines, and TV news stations to name a few. For heaven’s sake, what were we going to do? The usually reclusive lifestyle my family and I enjoyed was now busted to pieces.

 
God, how I hoped there would be a lesson for the public in this one. Otherwise, my daughter was just a murderer. Plain and simple.

 
My husband, Seth, tried to talk to me but I couldn’t really understand what he said. I stood leaning up against one of the pillars of our front porch. I slid down it landing on the top stair, head in hands, crying like a fool. Emotionally and physically drained, I just didn’t know what else to do. I thought this wouldn’t happen to me ever again. That it couldn’t happen.

 
And then there was Detective Ron Rosales. Yes, you read right. Rosales. He was there too. He was always there. Remember all those things I’d said about cops in the past? Well, Rosales turned out to be different. He kept up with me over the years for the most part. Always checking in on how I was and keeping up with the births of my kids. He and his wife, Anna, visited us now and then, and we them. Getting together for barbecues and such. Anna came to all my baby showers. They didn’t come to our wedding, of course, since we got married so far away and Rosales had to work. Crime doesn’t stop for a trip to the Virgin Islands.

 
Of course, I called him Ron ever after. When my kids were tots, they’d lovingly call him, Detective Ronny. He rushed to Wilmette from Chicago when he heard through the fast-and-furious police grapevine what had occurred at my house. But, I’m not sure if his being there made me feel any better. It did a bit, legally, but not really emotionally. Nothing made it better, despite that he understood me. I never saw this mess coming.

 
The half hour or so before the Wilmette cops showed up were the worst minutes of my life. Now I know what you’re thinking. You read Someday Always Comes, didn’t you? You’re saying, hell no! Something can be worse than some of the episodes in that story?

 
When I finally looked up, my eyes fell on my twelve-year-old daughter, Audra. She was perched on a stone bench in our front yard, poised like a warrior queen, looking at me pitifully as I cried like an idiot. My aunt, Kathy –formerly known as Kiki, sat by her side holding her hand. My lifelong friend, Brianna, stood nearby with her arms folded biting her lower lip, trying to hold back her tears as she nervously turned this way and that way looking for answers she’d never find.

 
Poor Audra. It should’ve been me by my kid’s side, not Kathy. But, I just couldn’t do it. My Audra was way too proud to take my love and coddling. She seems made of stone, that girl. I swear it. I have no idea where she gets that from.

 

No. I could not take care of her. I felt responsible for the whole thing. Seth and me, both. Then there was Kathy and Brianna. They were there too. Nothing we could have done would have change anything. We couldn’t protect the babies. We tried but there was just no way. There’s no way you can do anything when desperate, criminally insane men have their automatic weapons turned on your kids.

 
All our kids were there. Not just mine, but Brianna’s and Kathy’s too. We had no idea where Audra and Diana were when those terrible men busted into our home to terrorize us. But then, an infinite time later, came Audra out of nowhere from below, like a wizard. Like, Rambo.

 
For the first time in many years, terrible menace visited me once again and this time I had no idea how things would turn out. And now that my kid shot a monster, I had serious reservations about Audra’s future as the authorities carried away the body of a dead man-beast from our formerly peaceful abode, all zipped up in a vinyl bag. Yes, it was worse than ever before.

 
What could we do? Despite there were so many of us adults, we were in no position to tackle two madmen with guns and put the kids’ lives in jeopardy, or risk the children seeing one of us killed. I wanted to shield the children. I would’ve died for any of them. Mine, Brianna’s, Kathy’s; even my son, Bret’s, best friend, Donald. Jesus, there was another woman’s child in my house. And his mom wasn’t there. Don’t you people understand that? Another woman who expected me and Seth to guarantee the safety of her son; a woman we’ve known since Bret started kindergarten ten years earlier.

 
There stood Donald, all wide eyed and breathing heavy. Both scared and shocked, but yet I’d look at him and see the wheels turning. He was trying as hard as the rest of us to figure a way out of the mess.

 
And there we all were. All of us with our hands in the air…Seth and me, Brianna, Kathy; dare I say, even my twenty-year old son, Brandon. And we were helpless as one of the crazy monsters waved a gun at my two year old daughter, Abby, threatening me with her life as she cried and sucked on her fingers.

 
Well, there was only one chance…and once the intruders were distracted, Audra shot one of them and killed him. In an instant, instinctively Seth, Brandon, Bret and Donald jumped on the remaining man and nearly beat him to a pulp, wrestling the gun away, as Brianna and Kathy grabbed and ushered the other children out of harm’s way. We always taught our kids to face trouble head on, and Audra did that, despite she had to shoot the prick in the back.

 
Audra did it. She committed murder to save the rest of us. See, I know deep down it’s not about adults versus children. It’s who’s in the position to do the job right, and are they sharp enough, smart enough, steady enough to do what needs to be done if presented with the opportunity to try to put an end to a frightening, potentially deadly situation. And my Audra was, as any of my intelligent children might have been. God knows, they’re all smarter than their mom.

 
Really though, we never know how things will turn out until after we take a chance. Sometimes we are forced to do things we would not normally do for the people we care about; for those who mean the most to us. Sometimes, a bigger tragedy can be stopped by a smaller one, like taking the life of one man, er…fiend, to save the lives of several innocents. We can’t know how things will turn out when we set out with an idea or goal in mind. No matter how safe or scared you feel, no matter how much you plan or don’t plan, care or don’t care…doesn’t matter…just throw any scenario out there. You never know what’s going to happen during the means to an end.

 
Unfortunately for most of us, knowledge comes after the roll of the dice. And we still keep playing.

 

Copyright 2015 Wanda S. Paryla

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Enjoy your Thanksgiving, friends.

Today, I’m not looking back. I’ve had a 50/50 year. Plenty of things to be thankful for, and some that upset or frightened me.

But there’s so much that I’m looking forward to in 2016 and even 2017. I feel blessed even just for the possibilities.

I’ve learned a few hard lessons this year. But what I’m giving thanks for today is that, during 2015, I’ve learned to look forward and not back. Living in the past does nothing for us.

And on the same note, living for others does nothing for us either. When every decision we make is centered on how the opposite choice — the choice we really want — might anger or hurt someone else, we’re living to please others. Or to keep the peace. It is not a smart thing to do.  It kills our spirit; causes anxiety and depression.

I’ve shucked that off. I have decided that I will not carry responsibilities that are not rightfully mine.

I cannot continue to be where I don’t want to be. And even though I do not like the geographical area in which I currently live, I’m not just talking about a place. I’m talking about a space. Sacred space in the head and heart.

My gift to myself is to let go. That’s my plan anyway. My agenda for 2016 is to move back to Texas and pursue a midlife career change teaching. That, my friends, scares the heck out of me. As some of you can probably attest, changing careers anytime after about 43 is excruciating,  especially since often you’re absolutely new to the field.

I had planned to self-publish something new in Fall 2016. However, with all this activity going on — my full-time job complete with nearly 3 hours of round trip travel per day, working overtime, completing a teacher certification course, making moving plans, now the holidays — that part if my agenda has been pushed back. I’m still writing, just not at a pace that will afford finishing any novel complete with a professional edit and cover by Fall 2016.

In my spare time, which is very limited now due to my teacher courses, I’m working on putting together a book of original poetry tentatively titled The Crime of a Life Sentence. The book is put together so that by publication, each chapter will represent a decade of my life to date. My hope was to definitely put that out October or November 2016. I’m still trying.

2017 holds a great deal of promise for self-publishing for me. If I don’t get my poetry book out in 2016, it’ll be ready for for 2017. Also in 2017, I’m expecting to FINALLY! publish The Devil Plays Dice — the sequel to Someday Always Comes, as well another project.

My moving back to Texas wasn’t planned over months.  One day in August, something aweful happened. My heart was broken. My feelings hurt. My anger spiked so high it would later land me at the physician’s office. And I’d had enough. I said, screw it. And after a couple of weeks of pondering and researching, I made a choice — right or wrong.

The hardest thing for me to work past was the idea that one person or another will get angry, hurt, or be sensitive to my choice in some other way and lash out at me, which usually  happens anyway. I’ve readied myself if the shit hits the fan, and I’m ready to hold fast when that wall of negativity comes at me. It’s okay. I’m attempting this prison break, folks, no matter what.

And while I’m looking forward, to my new path,  I want to thank my past for teaching me how to work in the present while looking ahead, and to stop living my life based on how someone else might, or will, feel about my choices because of how the choices might affect their life.

Happy Thanksgiving! Happy positive changes for us all.