With Teeth by Francis Buck (TSA short fanfic)

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Francis Buck

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« on: November 11, 2018, 09:54:07 pm »
So I wrote a thing. I have more planned but probably won't ever get to it. Either way, here is the thing.

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w i t h
T E E T H



I can enchant the trees and rocks, and fill
The dumb brown lips of earth with mystery,
Make them reveal or hide the god.    I breathe
A deeper pity than all love, myself
Mother of all, but without hands to heal,
Too vast and vague—they know me not!    But yet
I am the heartbreak over fallen things,
The sudden gentleness that stays the blow;
And I am in the kiss that warriors give
Halting in battle, and in the tears that fall

–Ancient Celtic poem


   Her earliest memory is of the Green.
   She's not sure when that became the name for it, as the notion for her encompassed not just the color itself, along with every hue that cannot be called blue or yellow, but also some greater entity. There were countless, seemingly infinite facets of the memory when she explored it, yet ultimately each detail was but a sum of its parts. Everything was part of the Green, in the end. Or in the beginning. There is no difference between the two. 
   By virtue of some hidden utility in her intellect, she was capable of recalling this one memory with perfect clarity – like awakening from a slumber it was indistinguishable with death. The memory was was only a moment – not quite frozen in time so much as one that looped at some elusive interval. Dreamlike, but only for the shattering experience of becoming Aware. But the feeling, the passion...sensations more vivid than any moment in her waking life ever was.
   Home.
   The perception of vaulting heights and a cloistered, swaddling nest of life. The lukewarm embrace of neverending twilight, and even while the Sun burned steadfast above, its life-giving abundance could not fully break way through the floral aegis.
Fern leaves rustled gently all around, wide and heavy, dark with a gluttony for starlight. The looming redwood trees, altogether mighty as any god, stretched their innumerable arms far above, yet for all their ancient, long brewing power, could only graze the sunbeams. The true contest lay in the lower canopy – that shadowy cathedral of twisting branches, where creatures of all variety leaped and flew and slithered and swam their way toward whatever cryptic motivations drove them.
   Few flowers bloomed beneath the darkness of that sacred shade. They were devious creatures, ceaselessly humming with the miscreant plots and schemes they contrived together, each of their tiny and beautiful heads thinking their alien thoughts, whispering to each other in a nameless tongue, individually bereft of a soul yet nonetheless forming a kind of crude, larval sentience. 
   The girl had not yet learned to walk when this memory occurred and so beneath the her feet and hands and knees she felt the musky detritus, laid as a blanket over rich velvet soil that was black as the void. It was soft and moist and forgiving beneath her infantile weight, but even then she could sense the vast expanse of the all-hungering earth that yawned below; an invisible embrace so gargantuan that it tugged at the very heavens, warping the cosmos as an impregnable boulder displaces the water of a stream – indeed, even the river of time itself felt the stubborn attractor of the Ground-Almighty.
   That same ground was her cradle, and surrounding her were the downy furred, gently breathing cushions of her siblings. A fleshy uncalloused paw lay across her shoulder. A cool, wet nose flared against her side – her brothers and sisters. Her foster family, her forest family.
   Nothing of that recollection was so vivid as the untouchable safety she felt there. The clearness of the memory had always been a sort of mystery to her, long into the feral days of her childhood. Eventually things fell into place, as they often do with age. This memory of the Green was but the first time she had glimpsed existence with another eye.

                                                   
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    Imagine the girl: skyclad, so pale as to be alabaster were it not darkened by the elements. she sprints upon all fours with uncanny ease. The world around her is a verdant blur and shadowy-black, dashing through the underbrush of the Forest, crashing across a puddle from the light rainfall earlier in the dawn, the water not yet drank up by the unquenchable thirst of the woodland earth. Still fresh and clean, glass beads exploding in miniature from the splash of her calloused hands and feet – the former wide-palmed and long fingered, the latter abnormally flexible, as though a new joint had formed at each sole, so that her toes and heel become sharply adjacent with every step before one muscular leg kicks out and backward, the propulsive foot snapping loose in the air and instantly drawn forward, exchanging the exact motion with the other limbe. 
    Flora snaps in her wake, the stems of flowers and spidery ferns lashing bare white flesh with bands of reddish-pink until she is bright and brindle-skinned. Black hair snakes in a wild mane trailing almost to her ankles, so long it seems almost a tail that whips and ripples according to the rhythmic lunges of her quadrupedal gait. Loping like a wolf, leaping like an ape. She is fleet. She is flight. She is wind, breath, as though somehow the animus – the very Thing-in-Itself – could actually be incarnated.
   Most of all, the girl was, of course, Aware.
   Razor-fine senses cast out to the very precipice of her mortal limits. Absorbing the Forest as an extension of herself...a soul-that-is-a-body-that-is-a-heart-this-is-a-place, and as such becomes a totality – whole, if only for a solitary instant in eternity – and all the more Holy for the girl's utter ignorance of such.
     In the five years that she has dwelt within the heady bosom of the Forest, only thrice has the girl fell briefly into the gaze of the frightful Giants, strange and lumbering creatures in her own eye, yet in truth were naught but bold but hopelessly foolish Men who dare range into the Woods of Wycitta, legendary for being so hoary, so vastly dense with darkness and, aye, haunted.
     The girl never once suspects, much less recognizes, these trespassers as her kin.
     The first thought for all three souls upon glimpsing her eluding them was that they'd stumbled across some unknown breed of Sranc, revolting for being so mannish...only to recall that no Son-of-Nin'janjin ever flees away from the presence of Men. Ultimately, it was the profound quality of gracefulness possessed by whatever manner of thing they'd seen that most affected them, and then infected them, as though the very trees of the Forest assailed, a tale to scare children crashing into reality, shocking for the immediacy and irrevocability. The whole of Creation capsized, where what was once Law a moment earlier became obsolete, and now all new Laws were erected, ones that made all things hostile. It was the same for all three of the Transgressors; Wycitta transformed about them, it seemed, paradoxically becoming more alive even though terror, suffering, futility, and most of all death now seemed to hang like a tangible net of thin hempen-rope cast upon the wood. The trees became cyclopean and eldritch deities, outrageously wise and unflinchingly merciless, the bushes and flowers into tangling and ensnaring, the canopy above utterly black and featureless save for the hint of shifting light, branches binding and winding into each other with mighty creaks and groaned monstrously, a sound too wet, too animal, and yet all of the chaos and madness inducing movements where as one thing, a vast, lunatic soul, ceaselessly weaving their bloody black tendril branches around their hearts – from within their hearts, even!
     All three had fled the Woods of Wycitta riven with the mostly finely distilled horror any had ever known. Each thought they just nearly reached the treeline, freedom – light, how it had never before seemed so precious a thing, yet each was brought screaming to the ground by hooking fangs and vice grip jaws. Great, hulking wolves, known to the lonely nearby folk as the Wyrgi set upon the Men with the fervor of the starved, ripping thick chunks of muscle and sinew from their legs, yanking long strips of flesh from arms with only scraps for hands. Wyrgi was an ancient word, perhaps one borne in this region, pregnant with a dreadful connotation of bottomless hunger and terrible wrath. So did the Wyrgi feast as only the Wolves or Wycitta can feast, and who love no flesh more than that of hard, courageous Men – the only Men who came into such a foreboding place – and yet all the same were they reduced to sobbing and twitching rags of viscera. The infamously savage wolves served as the gatekeepers of that elder woodland, and while the townfolk knew this much by mere instinct, none suspected just how literal their duty was. The Wyrgi were unnaturally vicious and cunning, even cruel, taking sport in the evisceration of their prey, knowing where to take from a body to deny them a quick demise, at times even in the way of bored cats, or the most ruthlessly patient of Scylvendi reapers. The girl came up and joined them in their sport.
     She was raised by the wolves, you see.       


 
Wolfmother! Wolfmother! The World is blight
Wolfmother, o how tears cloud our sight

Come bow before thy soul most bright
Be wife to Virgin-King of Lights
Rise as Queen of Witches and the Wight!

Wolfmother stirs, eager to the fight
Wolfmother grins, hungry for spite
Wolfmother roars with Jaws that are Night
Oblivion awaits within her bite

But lo! the Queen-of-Witches comes, and then the Wilder-Sprite
With cloak of scars, thieving us our Fright
With teeth like stars, devours all Delight



     

SmilerLoki

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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2018, 11:22:50 pm »
I should say, the small poem at the end made my day.

Francis Buck

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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2018, 11:29:43 pm »
I should say, the small poem at the end made my day.

Much thanks, amigo! I'm always self-conscious of my own poetry, and rarely do I embark on such endeavors...;)

SmilerLoki

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« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2018, 11:34:54 pm »
Much thanks, amigo! I'm always self-conscious of my own poetry, and rarely do I embark on such endeavors...;)
Since mine sucks, I'm always surprised to see contemporary poetry that works.

BeardFisher-King

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« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2018, 06:16:51 pm »
Very difficult rhyme scheme to pull off successfully, FB!

aa aaa aaaa aaa

Nice work!
"The heart of any other, because it has a will, would remain forever mysterious."

-from "Snow Falling On Cedars", by David Guterson