Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024


By Grainne Mar 11, 2009
Artwork by Carolina Eade
Artwork by Carolina Eade

By: A.B. Thomas

Well, good evening, hello!
Glad you like the pattern on the necklace that from under my shirt does show.
What’s that? Oh they are coloured teeth –
No not animal – oh, aye, there is a story that lies underneath…

T’was about after midnight on the eve of the first of May
That I shoved myself from the bar stool to home make my way

It had been a one year anniversary of a sort
I had lost my love and future child in an inexplicable fetal abort
I was told my heart, seven months along
Had to her stomach sent poison, but I insisted that they were wrong

The night wind bit and chilled
Every spot where my liquid amnesia had on me spilled
I walked alone down the street and to the forest path
As I wobbled along I began to warm as the thick wood blocked the winds wrath
The lack of airy knives left nothing for my senses to grasp
So with every step wisps of self-lament to memories locks unclasp

Not a sound I heard save for my own footfall
And the occasional deep sniff as I refused to let myself give into the bawl
The liquor diffused memories collected in puddles to seep back
Reminding me how my life had meant nothing until her light brought me from the black
Ten years of living in a thirty nine year run
The apex was going to be the birth of my first son

I stopped in my tracks, hung my head, clenched my fists tight –
With eyes closed I whispered to the great designer,
“Who gave you the right?
Who are you to presume to uncover?
To let me become one with another?
Tease me with prospect of being a father?
Then to rip and tear and to smother?”
I couldn’t stop my body’s shudder
I raised my eyes to the moonlit sky
And shouted, “I hate YOU! I hate YOU! I wish I had the power to make YOU die!”
With no apologizes it was no lie.
Then I dropped to my knees trying not to cry
As I beat my fists into the ground screaming “Why Why WHY!”

How long I knelt in the middle of the forested spot
After I could no long lift my arm I truthfully know naught.
It wasn’t until I heard several twigs off to my side snap
That I saw a thick low mist surrounded me like a thick damp pieces of carpet nap.
A clearing of a throat made my eyes turn for the origin of sound sought,
And to a figure that care not that had been by me caught.

There stood a bearded roundish man
Dressed in clothing of a deep dark tan
He only stood less than the height of my calf –
Well, not really much more than an inch over half
Over his shoulder length dirt hued hair he wore a soft tam,
His green eyes were aglow as if accented with minted jam
Was my world all a liquor infusion?
Could my mind given up and left me nothing but delusion?

“Oh lad,” the man said in a quiet tone so flat,
“You naught in a dream or some nonsense such as that.”
I blinked my eyes furiously to see if perhaps I was unfocused on perception,
But the man’s size was no optic deception.

“Who are you?” I asked in a voice so hollow

“I am what you mortals call a Brownie, do you follow?”

“go away, leave me be,” I whispered hoarsely
I suppose I should have spoken so coarsely –
He didn’t move or divert his stare

“Tis my home you’re in…not that you care,”
The man said with a voice gruff yet with a playful lilt
That years ago would have turned my mood from rock to thin grained silt

I gave a hapless snort, and whispered, “You’re right of course, I don’t belong…”
I shakily stood muttering, “I’ll be getting along.”

“You humans are pathetic with your selfishness,”
The Brownie snarled back, “I am beginning to opine that we need to aid you less.”

With soft laugh and hard smile I turned to the small fellow,
“Aid? Even God mocks me!” did I bellow
“Save your righteous fluff for one who deludes themselves with groundless dreams!”

The reaction was not what I did expect: “With you all is not what you may think it seems.”

“How so?” I spat back, “I had a heart, a soul, a reason –
Then the one that beheld it all was gone –that is Heaven’s greatest treason!”

“See here, my good man,
Do you think you’re joy was without plan?
Nay, nay, triple nay!
T’wix to me and my kin doth your aloneness belay”

I was agog,
To what ends was the Brownie using these twisted words to fog?
I was confused and I felt from my face the last of the blood drain
Is this happening? Was I or he or both insane?

The Brownie walked swiftly to my frozen position
“It’s time to conclude the terms of that decision.”
I didn’t understand but time was no friend –
The Brownie drove his fists into my knees, buckling them to unnatural bend.
I fell forward into the forest ground
To which his heavy foot crumbled my neck with a cracking sound.

I awoke not much later, undressed and lashed tightly to the forest floor;
The tree roots scraped my back and to the unseen Brownie, “WHY” I did roar.
There was a movement of bushes to the side – they parted their leaves.

The roundish man came through, “Why?”, he said, “I am a being who believes.”
He sauntered to where my feet were tethered together and stood
“I shall clear a few of your mis-notions for you if I could;
For I know thee well,
And to what used to be that beside you does my familiarity dwell.”

I felt something dry and harsh scraping against my fingers skin
I hazarded a look and know the depth of this Brownie’s sin;
Beside me lay the unclad husk that once held the soul of my heart –
Her shape now barely held together by dried cracked flesh ready to fall apart.

“It began back a little more than half a score;
An unseen lass languished over the thought of you opening your door.
Oh, she tried to get your attention with her wiles galore,
But you were blind, deaf and dumb to the gifts she presented –
One who wasn’t so full of unbound desire would have soon relented;
But not she!

All she desired was a smile, a nod, the vow, for you and her to be
And for night upon night she travelled to this very spot beckoning me
I denied her lustful paltry purpose five times thrice
But each night after she returned determined for a fix for her vice…”

The greenness of his eyes darkened I could see
As the Brownie scowled at the memory
He held his partially curled out level
Then opened it up and swung it back and forth twice angled like a bevel
Releasing to the air tiny particles that looked like a minimal mound
Now scattered over both me and the corpse round.

The golden sprinkles covered what once was my wife
And the darkened skin began to turn to a cream-hue as it was in life
It gave an inhaled scream,
As if waking from a terrible dream,
From the mouth spewed masses of maggots and dirt
As tendons and sinews began to fill out to make the form supple and pert
Save for the eyes did the corpse become whole-
Just black sockets for the body contained no soul

I felt my eyes bulge from the strain
Of attempt to contort from the body remade of My Heart self slain.
The stomach moved in and out with slow steady breath –
I wondered of the Brownie what could evil he was to openly challenge the finality of death

The Brownie must have been satisfied with his work
Because from his waist he pulled out then studied the edge of a four inch dirk
Without looking at me he then began again to speak,
“I finally gave in and granted her to which she had come to seek.”
The binds around my body cut as I turned and twisted anew
“I care little if your wish to ownership of the only women I did woo –
But why this, why sully what I feel to be true?
What kind of monster,” I said nodding over, “To this I owe this to?”

“The price for our services was her first born;
To this she had sworn –
But she did default after seeing your excitement
So she solely is to blame for this indictment.”

“She took her life and stole my payment in a gutless act
His eyes narrowed as he snarled, “but that doesn’t negate the pact.”
The last of the warmth that was in my body all but disappeared
As the Brownie’s fern green eyes turned to red as he bent between my legs and leered.

I screamed until I gurgled and choked on my own bubbling spit
As my scrotal sac with his blade did he split
then squeezed my testicles to spew out my sperm
into a bowl between my legs reinforced with a makeshift stoney berm

When he was satisfied with the amount he did extract
To the body of past joy did the attention of his blade attact.
The keen edge bit her from top of thigh across to top of thigh;
There was no blood – she nary slipped out scream or even sigh.
Two twigs he used to prop open the newly made gash;
As he set out to from her two fleshy tubes in a flash.
He pumped both, one in each hand –
As if milking something down further into her depths –
He looked over and gave me a wink,
Further making me into futileness sink
With a grunt and a nod he put back the slimed tubes roughly.

“Now she’s ready,” he said to himself gruffly,
Spreading the legs wide and shoving a rock under her pelvic bone
He picked up the bowl and used his fingers to open her up – his intent now was known!
I tried not to watch as the Brownie my Life Perfect did rape
Oh how I wished I could from this I could escape!

I thrashed wildly to break my binds,
Shouting curses of all kinds
As he held the bowl mid-high
And its thick contents slid syrup-like into her lie.

The embodiment of my Hope spasmed and contorted
As save for the last drop of my genetic core had been imported.

To which with a lithe hop
To her sunken eye sockets did he split the last drop.
The bowl he threw straight into the air
As his hands waved with grandiose flair.

The Brownie gave a maniacal laugh
And withdrew from the ether a gnarled oaken staff,
Held it high and intone three times aloud
“Come my elemental brethren and evoke what makes a man proud!”

Though it was a cloudless night
Lightning shot down through her body twelve fold,
Bound to the ground I could not escape, away I couldn’t have rolled,
Instead my skin bubbled and seared from its might
Veins popped through taunt, gurgling flesh;
My feral rage and horror came together in an animalistic mesh.

The electric heat blazed not only my body’s shell
But burnt away my bindings freeing me to face Hell.
I hastened to rise, to strengthen my footing, to face what monstrosity had been done
To find myself staring at not at a vile mockery but the One!

The smell of roasted suited flesh that had sickened me to the core
Was replaced by the sweet pomegranate aroma I had known not long ago;
The brown mirrors that had so long reflected my joy now looked tearily into mine –

And oh those lips that I remembered as sweet as strawberry wine!

The Brownie stepped back and with a lurid smile
Said, “See? Isn’t your trifling pain worth having her back – for a while?”
I looked from my Reason to the Brownie and back again

“Awhile? Why can’t she remain?”

“I have brought her body to its living condition solely to absolve her of her perdition.”

A moment, a hour, a month – I didn’t care about the time – Oh! Just to hold her!
I stepped forward then I knew it wasn’t her but something colder…
But those eyes…those lips…her scent…
How could it be her body without something of her soul lent?
I got my answer as she opened her jaw:
No pinkish warmth of a mouth but a black tongueless maw!

I recoiled, my eyes burned from the sweat that blurred my sight
The Brownie laughed and spat out, “Aw, did she give you a wee bit of a fright?
Tis not her but the eyes of your yet to be born son –
Who she was is long gone, that cannot be undone.
The life WE just created, you and I, needs to eat and sleep –
Before you is just the cradle to provide him those,
And you are to guard it in the months before his birth from potential foes”

“What would you have me do?” I asked in physical anguish and fright,
“Surely I cannot care for her and what is to come in plain sight!”
The Brownie looked at me with a glare so stern
And growled, “”That is not for me but you to discern –
I care only in the payment of your coupled result – the child.”

I lifted my bloodied hand from my crotch and pointed at him; I was riled,
“You defiled the purity of the life I had to cover an unpaid debt?”
He had befouled my Eden…my paradise of past content, for his want to be met?

“I shall see you when your scion’s head does crest her below,”
The Brownie said then faded into a thick bush row.

Alone again left was I,
Save for the thing that stood two feet by.
I gazed at the face that fore over three thousand morn to eagerly I awoke
That now caused bile to rise threatening my throat to choke.

What to do? What of this can I make?
Rationale sizzled in the embers of fantasy that familiar body did rake.

Not a moment had gone by for the past year
Where I was half convinced of being in a nightmare
That soon my eyes would open arms around her softness bare
And her sweet song of “aren’t we the frisky one this morn, dear.”

But it was not her that looked at me, it was my son,
Who once ready would I never see grow and run.

Was he even truly my seed?
Considering the nature of his conception deed?

As if listening to my inner thought
I heard a muffled voice half my Heart, half my own, emanated from unmoving lips
“Is not what I am what you sought?”
And reached for my cheek with its fingertips.

“Stop, cease, desist,” I shouted, I pleaded, I ordered
Didn’t it understand what hurt the thought of its touch bordered?
The hand retracted back to its side
And within my mind one more part of me that kept my Love’s memory died.

To my ears did the dual voice again my attention bring
As it rubbed its thumb along the area where in life felt the weight of a wedding ring,
“Father-husband I know not much of our life together other left over impressions
But I if it would please you I could let you have remembered consessions.”
I was bewildered by what the creature had meant
Until it trailed its fingers down passed its pelvis restored to full to accent the intent.
The voice did speak again, “I know this is what meant your need so I will not protest
As you lay atop nor will I think any anger upon you for your incest.”

In answer to the offer the ground did I fall back in surprise,
Twigs gouging through the skin of my gaping sac and to my face did my hands rise
And rocking back and forth did my laughter come quickly rising to a howl.
The creature merely tilted its head and gave me a scowl.

“For the past few minutes I’ve been in angst over whether my heart had been bought:
Should I be angry at the Love for the contrived sorrow her path to me had brought.
But now the truth of what is real and what has no worth in considering in the matter…”
Though wracked with pain I threw myself at it with the fury of a fast ball at a batter
And brought it harshly down unto a fallen log with a gnarl of spiny bark and splintered spikes
Which let the body fall while keeping its head akin to medieval pikes.

The head yowled and cursed,
But before the body gave up the claws slashing my back, sides and head was the worst.
For almost twenty minutes it took my pseudo Heart and son to stop their quivers
And I saw not blood but sap oozed down the murdering slivers.

I rolled from the once again corpse ten feet away and curled up on my side
And once again my laughter began as I looked at the quickly rotting head of ‘my bride’ –
It had almost won its roof and warmth with an unsuspecting me seeking its deceptive touch,
Until it took what shallow and inane the condition it thought that bound me to My Heart such.
The creature had shown its true form; that of an inhuman leech
For it did not recognize how deep My Love’s sleepy smile to my core did reach.

I took me long to rake the ground with my skinned fingers raw
But I couldn’t leave my memory out as proof of the sentence of unholy law.
Twice in a year did I bury my future dashed;
Twice within a year my will to be had been crashed –
I spent long atop my hand smooth grave
Wondering if ever the loss would ever stave.

It was just past dawn when I stumbled out of the vertical wooden bands
Barely conscious, holding my split scrotum with both numbed hands.
Naked with skin covered in a multitude of burning blisters
I barely made it to the parish and the three horrified sisters.

The weeks that passed as I recovered were ones of constant fear;
What if my deed of negation reached the Brownie’s ears?
I sank then flouted upon oceans of tears –
The man who I was once had all past due and was in arrears.
But it was soon after that I could walk without a wince
That fear turned into a hardened resolve and I haven’t looked back since.

…That was twenty years past –
The bauble I done is made up of those who have been caught in my net cast.
From the day I recovered I have each night gone out
Never deviating or having the justness being in doubt
For it wasn’t enough to get even with my fey folk tormentor
But his kin, his seed, and kept a piece of their demise close to my empty center

Oh I know that my anger is misplaced,
But I won’t stop until every one of those dream stealers lives are erased.
If it weren’t for them I never would have known my heart
And the loneliness I suffer every waking moment would have had no start.

I was born in the Alberta, Canada badlands the year the first man made footprints forever dirtied the moon and grew up in a small rural community where it would not be until I was sixteen that swimming pools were not just fancy city-folk talk for dug-outs. For most of my adult life I have been working construction though there was a period where I diverged from this and got all educated in early childhood education, special needs, and abnormal psychology in hopes of changing the cattle car mentality of the educational and social services systems from the inside. What I discovered was that there was an inordinate amount of lip service to see change but a lack of willingness to propagate the ideas into a functional reality. My grandmother had always called me an artiste, and in my off time I try to indulge my passion in writing, painting and drawing to the fullest of my minor capabilities when I am not back in the badlands getting hopelessly lost though I have been hiking in the area for over twenty years.

By Grainne

Related Post

2 thoughts on “Reparation”
  1. A.B., thank you for the little traipse into the badlands of evil woods spirits. That was quite a convoluting ballad. Now, you’ll have to be on the look out for vengeful sprites for giving away some of their secrets. I welcome you to the world of Subversify and its efforts to create change from the inside out. For those who fear becoming lost in this dense wilderness, we’ll try to leave some markers along the way.

  2. And I will come along and pick the markers up. It is everso unfair to the tale that would be told, to maketh a walk in the woods easier on the bold. They would in nowise be bold if they were following easily marked trails. Tsk, tsk!
    What I am greatful for and what folks should realize is that Brownies Sprites and other things of the woods rarely have anything but thier own intentions in mind. It’s not so much that they are nasty as that they just don’t work by our rules. Our rules don’t make much sense anyway.
    A good tale, beware of the Goode Neighbors is always the best practice and do not wish to hard for things that maybe should not be.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.