‘The orator’

On the hilltop they gathered
to hear his eloquent speech.
Smitten by a silvery tongue;
which only time can teach.

With command of the crowd
from very aged to the youth.
His stories were compelling
but not a word was the truth.

Through folktale and myth
he spun entertaining tales.
The people listened in awe;
a hammer needs it’s nails.

In the end they left inspired.
Hope burned in their hearts.
To lift them up was greater,
than the sum of it’s parts.

Posted in Children's Stories, Controversial topics, Different Perspectives, Fiction Stories, Humor, Inspirational, Mantras, Poetry, Thought provoking, Uncategorized, Whimsical | Leave a comment


It was always from the corner of my eyes that I saw them. Looming dark shadows no longer visible when I turned to view the area directly. At first I dismissed these unexplained occurrences as the byproduct of an overactive imagination but over time I became paranoid. I can be a bit of a hypochondriac and feared my peripheral vision was fading away. Begrudgingly, I visited an optometrist and shared my health concerns. After undergoing an expensive battery of tests, she assured me that my eyesight was ‘normal’.

Healthy-wise that was a huge relief but it didn’t dismiss the menacing forms I saw. To keep from freaking out, I tried to explain them away with science. Light passing through curtains can create strange optical effects. I knew all that but it didn’t make me feel any better. Curiously, my own reflection seemed to be absent whenever I witnessed the shadow play. That meant something but I had no idea what. I’d already eliminated the possibility of physical issues being the culprit. Understandably, I was determined to see exactly the same thing from the side of my eyes and straight forward. The lack of unity between those two vantage points really started to bother me. I didn’t want to accept there could be a psychological issue either.

Every time I saw the unexplained shadows, I’d jerk my head sideways rapidly to ‘catch’ it, but to no avail. It drove me crazy that there was never anything present to see. How could it be that my peripheral vision was playing tricks on me? I didn’t want to believe I was losing my eyesight, or my mind. At the time, I couldn’t grasp any other possibility.

What had been troubling enough as stationary ‘hallucinations’ changed to a highly animated temperament. The unexplained phantoms danced and swirled at the edge of my vision in defiance and unrepentant glee. That greatly escalated my level of alarm to witness such a spectacle. Especially when I couldn’t confirm any evidence of motion or activity nearby. It was as if the whimsy of these unholy spirits were only visible through the unfocused corner of my retina.

I had the distinct sensation I was being watched. When exactly sanity abdicated my mind and madness usurped it I can not say, but only I seemed to be privy to this ethereal bridge between two realms. These peripheral wraiths observed and taunted me relentlessly. We had an uncomfortable stalemate. I easily discerned their distinct forms with my rapidly developing, sideways focus. Once I accepted the haunting truth, I no longer wanted to uncover any more spectral mysteries. Sadly, it was impossible to ignore. I knew too much and it was tearing me apart.

People often ask me how I came to lose my eyesight. They are often shocked when I confess that it was I who permanently closed the ocular portal between the peripheral spirit realm and our own. If thy own eye offends thee, gouge it out.

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They say I came into this world ‘the wrong way’. Killing my own mother in the process and stealing happiness from my older siblings, my father, and ultimately from myself. That’s a very heavy trip to lay on a person’s shoulders. It’s not like I knew the proper way to be aligned within her womb. No baby would deliberately choose to bring their own mother pain, and yet at the moment of birth everyone does to some extent. My moment of arrival into this world unfortunately signaled the tragic end for her. That’s a terrible burden I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.

When I was young, I asked what happened to her. Well-meaning people tried to shield me from the truth. They answered that she ‘just went away and couldn’t come back’. Their vague, padded response had the opposite effect of what was intended to do. It hurt me deep inside to think she deliberately abandoned me. I concluded that for her to just ‘go away’, I must not have been very important. That emotional wound stuck with me throughout my formative years.

Those cold feelings of abandonment were replaced by a bottomless pit of guilt once I learned the ugly truth. Matricide. There’s no positive connotation of the word. Even when unintentional, it’s both damning and irreversible. The stigma of my mother dying which giving birth to me, followed me everywhere. I knew that it was on the tip of people’s malicious tongues. ‘Breach baby’. They thought horrible things about me, even when they were too polite to actually say so. From the moment I backed myself into this unforgiving world, my fate was sealed.

As a rebellious reaction to more traditional viewpoints, I began to cleave to ‘backward ways’ in all areas of life. I was consumed with unresolved anger and abandonment issues. I adopted an unproductive, defeatist mentality and engaged in just about every foolish form of vice there is, as a misguided ‘virtue’. Whenever possible, I campaigned against the status quo. Now I realize I did those pointless things to kill the festering pain consuming me inside. Those desperate behaviors were a subconscious effort to prop-up my past failings. I was trying to justify and forget a horrible event which I had absolutely no control over. Intellectually I realized that but the guilt continued to gnaw at me.

The lifelong stigma I carried around became a metaphor for cancer to my psyche. Deeper and deeper I shoveled myself into an emotional grave. It might be described as a miracle that I’m not dead a dozen times over from my many mistakes and reckless indifference. The darkness within permeated every aspect of my destructive life. Not surprisingly, my relationships with others were often short lived and shallow. Then, out of the blue a life changing event occurred. I became pregnant. The ‘father’ was little more than a sperm donor in my eyes but I decided that my unborn child deserved a better life than I had allowed myself to have.

With the added responsibility of another human being developing inside my body, I decided to make a conscious change to my mindset. I sought ways to rethink my jaded and flawed outlook on life; lest it subconsciously shape or negatively mold my developing baby. I didn’t want to taint my child with the same debilitating baggage I had carried for so long. I wanted him or her to embark on a prosperous and happy path. Free of the drama I had been immersed in like a self-pity cocoon. I’ve turned my ‘breached’ life around, just in time.

All things have a way of coming back around, unfortunately. The tendency to have a pregnancy in the breach position is genetic. My hips are almost the same as my mother’s had been. I too have a high risk, gestational situation. Luckily the prenatal care I’ve received so far has been vastly superior to what my mother had (because of better technology and medical advances). There are things the doctors can do now to better reposition the baby, or deliver it via Caesarean section, if the need arises. That would have been idyllic for my own birth but it just wasn’t to be. I know that now. The attending physician didn’t have the detection technology available at the time of my birth to warn him about the deadly complication. He was faced with a choice and elected to save my fragile life over hers. Now I realize that she would have wanted it that way too. A mother’s bond to her child is the strongest thing in the world.

At this moment I lie on the delivery table and impatiently wait for my baby’s arrival. The contractions have increased until they are just a few minutes apart. It won’t be long now. I’ve had the past 14 hours of labor pain to contemplate my life and the ‘backward’ mistakes I’ve made. I’m human. We all are. I’ve also reached a place where I can emotionally ‘forgive myself’ for my mother’s death. The psychological toll has been devastating but I can let it all go now. This is what is important.

I hope my child doesn’t repeat the same cycle of self-blame; should I not make it. I’ve come to realize that there’s nothing worse than carrying around a lifetime of undeserved guilt or feeling unwanted, as I did. Trust me little one, you are absolutely wanted and I fully intend to be there for you. Should I not survive, know that I love you and will always be by your side, in spirit. I made many mistakes in life but you were not one of them. I’m recording all these sentimental thoughts on my cell phone to be shared with you (at the proper time), should complications arise. Do not feel guilty or sad about how things turn out. I love you more than anyone could put into words.


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‘It was always gray to me’

A global blindness plague befell the Earth about six months ago. Areas with the highest concentration of sunlight were first affected. Only late in the epidemic did scientists start to make a connection with the sun. By the time the international medical community eliminated the possibility of it having a contagious origin, 60% of the world’s population had already lost the ability to see. Mass panic set in. There were hundreds of thousands of worldwide suicides and an even greater number of deadly accidents. The newly blind tried to stubbornly feel their way through life without allowing time to acclimate to their new condition.

In light of the real-world doomsday scenario, messianic death cults sprang up everywhere to take advantage of the fearful. Their parasitic intent was to deceive the pious and lead them down a path of destruction. Spurious miracle cures were sold to desperate people. None of it mattered in the end. Everyone would eventually go blind, including myself according to projections. In the short period between the first reported cases and the full-global onslaught of TVI (total vision impairment), a lackluster World Health Organization promotional campaign was announced to bring a sense of decorum to the frenzied madness. Bright, colorful signs were posted in prominent, public places to leave the viewer with a lasting ‘happy’ memory. With no hope of a cure to be discovered in time, they wanted to prepare humanity for a vision impaired world. The psychedelic colored signs were to help promote a level of acceptance and calm.

Of course there were already blind scientists across the world but that wasn’t going to be enough to work through a visual impairment plague. Their extremely high level of human functionality was due in part to still having others around who could see. They were still dependent on drivers, computer programmers, and sighted people from every walk of life. Mankind was facing a helplessness extinction.

Service animals could be trained to do certain things for humanity but the epidemic happened so fast that there wasn’t time to teach them. In a matter of months, 87% of the world was absolutely blind. Clever labeling of food bins and a handful of self driving vehicles could only aid the disabled so far. There still had to be people to transport crops to grocery stores, linemen to repair damaged power lines and doctors to examine patients. In essence, there were a thousand occupations which could not be serviced by unsighted persons. Civilization fully broke down as humanity spiraled toward a world without the essential sense of sight.

My own blindness came late in the plague. In that regard I was lucky to avoid the encompassing terror that gripped so many before me. Still having sight made me both a hero and hated, by the already afflicted. I was able to help so many people in emergency situations and assist the less fortunate but out of misplaced jealousy, I was also reviled for my functioning eyes! Toward the end, I assisted scientists who had already went blind. I read news accounts aloud to them from other agencies and helped with experiments. The hopelessness was so pervasive that even the learned professionals working on a cure had mostly given up.

As with all things, my turn came. I awoke with the same symptoms as I’d heard countless others speak of. Slowly my peripheral vision began to fade. Eventually even the objects directly in front of my eyes became hazy. Those colorful signs did little to instill calm in me. I’d witnessed the chaos that others had already experienced. It was soon to be my reality too. I did my best to label my possessions with a make-shift tactile labeling system invented by a foreign company. It was a simplified Braille-like system for those who didn’t have time to learn the real language.

I called the office of the scientists I had been assisting to relay that I wasn’t going to be able to help them anymore. They were disappointed but thankful for my prior assistance. At that point, an estimated 97% of the world’s population already had TVI. There was no reason to assume it wouldn’t continue on to 100%. I bemoaned to the doctor that I didn’t even have the benefit of fondly remembering the colorful WHO signs strategically displayed around the city because I am almost totally colorblind. All I would ever remember from the ‘happy’ signs were artistic swirls and different shades of gray. He grew silent for a moment so I bade him farewell.

Instead of hanging up, the doctor asked me to repeat what I had just said. Not realizing the point at first, I just parroted my last statement, verbatim. He thanked me for the curious gesture and then let me go. I didn’t understand the significance of his interest until a few days later when I was fully blind. He called me back when I was in the midst of painfully stumbling through life, like nearly everyone else on Earth. He wanted to let me know about a promising new theory he was working on.

Based on information he was able to gather from the remaining scientific reporting agencies across the world, the remaining population who still retained eyesight had one thing in common. Absolute color blindness. It was a breakthrough in identifying possible causes and treatments which came from my off-the-cuff remark! Despite my depression, it made me feel amazing. He tried to explain the details of how the TVI plague might have occurred and how it might be reversed but as a layman, it went over my head. Suffice it to say, there is hope that the remaining sighted people may keep their vision; and of synthesizing a possible reversal. I owe it all to the WHO inspirational signs. Despite it all looking gray to me, it will be a sight for sore eyes if I can ever see it again!

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Madame Raven reads my story: ‘Phoenix house’

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‘If the wind wasn’t blowing’

If the wind wasn’t blowing
I could hear myself think.
With pristine mental focus.
Its like cool water to drink.

From a stillness in the air
Comes presence of mind.
One turn deserves another.
Good deeds repaid in kind.

If the sky wasn’t spinning
I’d follow a kinder path.
On the road less traveled;
to forgive instead of wrath.

If rain clouds didn’t cry
I’d take you by the hand.
When forward isn’t clear
no life can’t be planned.

Posted in Children's Stories, Different Perspectives, Essays & Rants, Inspirational, Mantras, Poetry, Recollections, Thought provoking, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘Last entry’

The following is a transcript of the last diary entry of Amelia Denise Furrier. She was reported missing a few weeks ago by law enforcement who performed a wellness check on her remote residence. No trace of her has been found, thus far. The diary has been entered into court records as official evidence. Six months from this date (April 9th, 1907), her residence, land and all belongings will be forfeited to the county for unpaid taxes. Two weeks after the property seizure, it will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Ms. Furrier will then be presumed deceased by the state.

Benjamin J. Gale.

-county clerk


“Time can only heal so much. I write these disjointed words in hopes of a psychological catharsis but the fear and my looming dread continues on, unabated. Outside the window I see the rustic, open border to the North woods. Others witness a wholesome forest and home to many woodland animals but I see an unimaginable evil. Within the dense thicket of hardwoods and saplings lies a dark, terrifying secret which I can never escape. It’s always in the back of my mind.

Normally the clearing between my home and the woods is enough to keep it at bay but during periods of extended darkness, the barrier isn’t enough. The unspeakable thing that dwells in the heart of the wilderness, isn’t afraid of being seen beyond the tree line. It walks around freely and without concern. It was a frenzied storm like this a couple years ago which lured it out of the shadows for my first encounter with it. That chilling event permanently scarred me. Truth be told, I barely escaped with my life.

I find myself ritually peering out the window of my bedroom at the start of each brooding storm. I alone stand vigilant against another unwelcome intrusion. My trusty shotgun may be no match for the savage creature; but it offers some level of comfort, just the same. At the very least, two full barrels of molten buck shot will pierce its inhuman hide and send a fiery protest. I’d scarcely have a chance to reload if attacked again but it will know that I wouldn’t go without a fight.

As the whipping wind picks up and the thunder roars, it doesn’t matter that the morning hour has broken. No ray of sunlight will penetrate the consuming cloud cover overhead. After standing watch all night, my eyes have begun to droop. There is no other sentinel to relieve me and I dare not leave my post to make coffee. Every shadow at the edge of the woods could signal the return of this demonic nightmare. I scribble these lines of warning haphazardly by the dim flicker of candlelight. Even looking down at the page for an instant is terrifying. I risk losing sight of …(county clerk’s note: the rest of the sentence was illegible)

It is my hope that, should the forest menace return again to take my life, there will at least be a written record of my final tribulation. Please resist the urge to think I am stark raving mad or disoriented because of this rambling, sleepless missive. It isn’t my paranoia or mental disease that stalks the forest for human prey. Heed this warning and ignore the instinct to wander the North woods in search for me. If my double-barrel shotgun is found empty in this room, I am dead.

Amelia Furrier

12th of March, 1907”

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