Wednesday, June 6, 2012


By Andrew Stockton

There are parts of forests
As there are parts of minds
In which it is foolish to tread.

The horseman, strangely attired, a traveller’s smell, not knowing this land reined his anxious horse to a standstill. Above, colour bled from the sky: it paled, though darkened overhead. On either side of him a sun and twin moons fell behind siege armies of goading trees. His face flickered with the realisation he had ridden too far out of his way. He was troubled: evening flowers’ perfumes no longer rose to him. He no longer heard birdsong.

Grey and glorious the onset of forest darkness. Cunning, those that watch him; and patient.

The day becomes a paralysed memory.

Three fingers play upon the pommel of his sword, then his decision made, his knee jerks at the horses flank and with the reluctance of a new season rider and steed move deeper into the dark obscuring trees.

In the night there are times when distant noises, sounding for all the world like the cries of damned souls, really are, for all the world, the cries of damned souls.

In the night there are times that the stars shine for others.

In the night there are times when the last hope has been lost because the last prayer has proved futile.

In the night Daemon and Wight, dark spirit and foul, Satanspawn and Hell’s Emanation seek sustenance on the flesh and the souls of the living. And having gorged, seek sport with their victims’ sanities.

Madness, sweet bird, swoop upon this, your scared and innocent child.

Here, timid divinity accepts that holiness is illusory.

Madness, sweet bird, swoop upon this, your scared and innocent child.

In the dawn the fear of the night is distilled into small droplets that, mingled with the dew, crouch unnoticed.

In the dawn the fear of the forest condenses into blackened forms that, mingled with the shadows, crouch unnoticed.

In the dawn the memory of fear is transformed into delicate visions that, mingled with the shimmering light, crouch unnoticed.

All fear is ultimately fear of not knowing.

And wearing the gentle and fawning disguise of a new day, all evil rests.

In this hiatus one lone horse emerges from the fingering forest’s edge.

Saddled and strange eyed, it wears a froth about its gaping mouth and a sheen of steaming sweat as if it had ridden over continents. In truth, it has ridden barely three leagues, though its soul has twice traversed the solemn and echoing chasm that separates the living and the dead.

It drops slowly to the ground, its effort great, its movement aspasm, forelegs first amidst fern and bracken and broken branch. The great chest, twice a warrior’s girth, shudders. Cold breath crackles as if icicle ribs shatter at every shudder. Then: still.

As the sun rises the fear of the forest encircle visions and the outline of the beast shimmers as the heat grows. By evening it has gone.

In this way, Day fetters the fear of Night, but patience is evil’s strength and virtue, waiting like the sky with its twin moons like countless eyes through the ages, waiting and watching and waiting and watching, proving

There are parts of minds
As there are parts of forests
In which it is foolish to tread.

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An avid reader and writer, I live in the Land of Song, Rugby and Rain (sadly not in that order) i.e. Wales, with my lovely wife and two fabulous daughters. Likes: writing, family life, soccer, listening to music. Dislikes: prejudice, bigotry, parsnips - oh yes, and lists!


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