Dreaming Avalon: Prologue & Link

[ “Dreaming Avalon” is now available for free on WattPad here.

It is based around a neat idea I had for a story inspired by the current environmental crisis we were dealing with back in 2010, and developed into a bit of a space saga. It builds at a bit of a slow pace and intertwines a bit of spiritual ideas in with the idea of a new world waiting.

I still very much like the idea of the Arcanis ship, the LSG, and the world of Avalon. I may eventually revisit the story and see if it develops into something more… until then enjoy this introduction! If it intrigues you definitely go check out the remainder of it on WattPad. ]

In the beginning…

The Arcanis was the cumulative work of 14 years to develop the most energy efficient and longest sustaining space travel since man first headed into the stars. It was a massive ship, bigger then any space going ship ever created. It took years to develop and was finally complete in November of 2018, filled with the most state of the art technology of the time. The most massive project since the giant hydrogen collider was created. It was to be the most advanced creation the modern world would ever achieve. The scientific community marvelled at its new wonder. Silently the world waited.

Inside was a wide array of scientific equipment, wires, specialized fuel cells – and the LSG. A living space garden, combined with an advanced sustained ecology lab. The computer systems alone were so advanced that they had to be guarded at all times, for fear of tampering or spies.

It seemed strange that this monstrous creation which caused such uproar was meant, not for handfuls of the worlds most intelligent scientists, but for 8 sleeping children barely old enough to fill out their jumpsuits. Children, who spent 5 of their 12 years in intensive training for this day. The launch of the Arcanis on its 8 year voyage into space to find L562.

This little planet somewhere past Pluto and Eris had been spotted for years. However it took years for the satellite Oryan to send the incredible resonance images back from its computer systems to the main computers on earth. Not only was L562 a mysterious beautifully similar planet to earth but it also seemed to support life. The vibrant colour photography of the alien world beamed back pictures so close to our own planet from space that at first even our own scientists thought it was a hoax. After all, a self sustaining planet so close to our own was almost thought unachievable. A brilliant beacon of hope in a dim lifeless world of space.

It was a beautiful atmospheric rock complete with ice, snow, mountain caps and remnants of lots of frozen oceans. Although it was obvious from the images that most of this planet was still frozen in massive amounts of ice; where there is water there is life.

The temptation of this inaccessible proof that our existence was not random had become the jewel of every scientist’s dreams. It became a feverish technological race to create Arcanis and to move everything into place for this fictitious dream to become our reality. Our future.

Years could have waited, come and gone, with this tantalizing information kept silent from the populace until the governments and scientific community was ready to share it. But now, it was becoming more then just a curious idea. Now it was becoming a necessity to discover other resources. In fact, less a necessity then pure survival of the human race.

The world’s water supply was slowly diminishing. After the giant oil spill of 2010, Earth’s oceans never fully recovered. It was the whales that first harrowed our end. When the first dead whales started to beach themselves on the shores we knew this had been more then just the political disaster as was reported. This was a global earth shattering problem that everyone had hoped would simply be ignored.

Finally all the human pollution of Earth caught up with the human race – and it was finally starting to mount a significant attack.

Eventually it affected rivers, creeks, and even streams. Our water was contaminated.

Although drinking sources could be cleaned the process of filtering took the quantity of our reserves lower and lower. People were dying. Not just on a minor scale but a massive threat that could eliminate the human populace just as the animals were.

Humans would become extinct if nothing happened. Following in the trends of the great whales were the sharks, the fish and the coral living reefs. Already the forests were dying, the rain was killing birds and mutating cattle. Meat was becoming toxic to eat. The ecosystem was broken and the food chain was now in chaos.

If this new world had usable clean ice as it seemed to indicate in abundance; this was the hope the world was looking for. A new world, a new clean surface to start again. And when the news reports finally broke open and explained about the Arcanis project – the world rejoiced, even when their information was slightly distorted. Because one never tells the entire story.

This wasn’t to bring back clean water. This wasn’t to somehow save the planet. This was to create a world accessible only to those deemed worthy and to leave the others behind. It was the first encampment to what would be the new world order on L562.

It was a mission of salvation for the greedy.

A lifeboat only meant to save the elite on a dying world.

Hailed as our last chance for life – this craft already shrouded in lies, betrayal, and last options took to the stars with it’s 8 children, the seeds of a new world, sleeping in stasis for the long journey.

The world held its collective breath. For a while everyone worldwide saw the brilliant images of the Arcanis, the sleek triangular ship, blasting off in triumph. However 8 years is a very long time for a journey to take, especially on a world that has its own problems.
Quietly the news reports and announcements about the journeys progress had been buried under the news reports of disasters and deaths happening all around them within the first year.

Dying cattle and the eliminations of farms followed in the second year. Soon only one solution remained – blood was still clean. And the massacres started. People were killing their own animals so their thirst could be quenched by something liquid. Murder was on the rise; and cannibalism was becoming far more common.

Soon blood born diseases were given the freedom they needed to survive and epidemics started strangling the small hold people had on a failing idea. The human body was not meant to survive without water. You could fool it, you could cheat it – but eventually biology would win.

Life was not salvageable. The world was in chaos. Nature was cleansing mankind from it’s soiled ground.

There were no news reports when the second ship, the sister to the Arcanis was released into the atmosphere. A desperate attempt by desperate people for a dream that the Arcanis offered. It was the ship carrying the stasis elite. Those with enough deep pockets to be sent out to find what new world the Arcanis was supposed to settle for them.
It would be the last attempt man would ever make.

6 ½ years into the 8 year voyage of the Arcanis the radios on earth finally went silent. One could only assume that it was then that the final silence triumphed the end of the earthbound human race. Their soiled legacy to be buried and corroded in the violent aftermath of their own destruction.

 

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Short Story: Movie Night

[ A short vampire tale for all of you to enjoy! This was originally posted on my FictionPress account, but I’m slowly phasing that account out in favor of the awesomeness of WordPress and Wattpad! ]

She ran fast and hard as her chest heaved and her throat hurt. She was glancing over her shoulders frantically and stumbling deeper into the maze of alley corridors.

She could hear behind her noises weaving and turning here and there. There was someone – or something, chasing her at great speed in a manner almost mocking her with loud agile steps. With a rustle, a chuckle. She was being hunted.

Never a glance, never a flash. Instead only shadows and noise followed her deeper and deeper into the urban maze. She didn’t have to see them to know they were there, the signs were all around her. An echoing clunking noise of his feet, a slight laugh and deep breathing. The odd shadow on the wall or scurry of a rat ducking for cover.

If she had time to think she might have wished she had worn her running shoes, rather then the Birkenstock sandals which seemed to slap at her feet uselessly. At least perhaps with shoes she could use the traction to run even faster.

It seemed a foolish idea to begin with, seeing the movie in this part of town. Woven with back alleys and shops she didn’t know – darkened by the night and casting eerie shadows. And making the decision to walk home by herself.

She had seen the viewing which ended half past midnight. It was now just past one in the morning. Still dark enough to hide in these city streets. Dark enough for anything to happen.

A cat startled by her awkward run screeched at her causing her to let out a small shout of her own before she stopped and caught her breath facing three walls and no where out. All was silent for the moment.

It was a long few minutes as she breathed in and doubled over while letting her lungs catch her breath shakily. Her ears were perked, listening and waiting. But for a few moments she heard nothing. It would seem that with all the running, and all the commotion perhaps there was not anyone chasing her. Maybe it all had been in her head. An overactive imagination, nothing more.

It was a long few moments. A very long hesitation as she straightened herself up. The movie she had seen was the latest vampire movie. Some suave male heir who used this money and wealth to seduce woman during the day – only to hunt them down later in the middle of the night.

It featured bloody scenes as he beat them before having his way with them and finally feeding on their blood before they died. Her nerves were on edge. All the blood and gore, all the senseless violence, and all the dramatic bloodstained moments made every hair on her body tingle. Her nerves were raw, her knees weak.

She seemed to laugh a bit over the silliness of her fear. What did she really think he was somehow going to follow her out of the movie screen? Come for her too like he did the other women? Perhaps have his violent bloody way with her?

She eased her nerves, laughed again at herself and checked to make sure her jacket still held her wallet and keys. When her fingers passed by the key to her industrial loft she stroked it, jingling the keys absently as if trying to comfort herself. Her eyes scanned the shadows and she giggled more openly.

Just then a dark form of shadow slipped from the wall and revealed itself in the form of a man. She wasn’t sure how long he stood there waiting and watching her, biding his time and looking over every inch of her body. On his lips played a nasty grin.

He was dressed in studded black leather and spiked red tipped hair. Half gleaming in the light were silver skulls along the leather trim. He chuckled and laughed in a harsh heady way as he strolled from the shadows protection into the weak light of the dark alley.

His cheeks were flushed from the chase. In his hand something else silver glinted in the full moonlight from above them. It looked like a knife.

“Hello Doll, where are you off to?” As he approached and light crossed his face, even more details came into clear view. His eyes were colored yellow, his grin hinted at a flash of pointed teeth. Not just teeth, but Fangs.

She backed up towards the wall, stumbling a foot against the metal of a garbage bin. He followed her awkward steps deeper into the secluded trap. He was practically aching to get her now and she was making it so amazingly easy.

“Cat got your tongue? Don’t feel up for chatting? Well that’s okay. I know how we can have a lot more fun.” He rubbed his thick thumb against the handle of his switch blade. Looked her body over with a long husky growl.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” Her voice was soft, careful. She moved a bit more towards the corner of the walls. He didn’t mind, it would only make her easier to pin. In fact she seemed to be sealing her own fate.

Already thoughts rushed his mind of exactly what he wanted to do to her. It made him lick his lips in anticipation. He made sure she could see his thick tongue drift over one of his fangs.

“No? Come on, you’re going to like it. I’m going to fulfill all your little fantasies. I know your type.” He stepped closer now boxing her in like the final move in a game of chess.

In truth, he was far more interested in his own fantasies then hers. His cheeks flushed more with the thrill, and he felt the blood rush with adrenaline in his veins. She caught now a whiff of something strong. Whiskey she thought.

Whiskey, violence, and lust.

“Oh? You know my type?” He reached out and rested a hand over her right shoulder. The smell was thicker now. It rolled off his breathing. She turned her head away, breathed in. Pressed herself back some against the wall.

It gave him a beautiful view of her chest as she stiffened and arched her back.

Again his eyes trailed over her, looking over the tight fitting ripped t-shirt. Featuring skulls, hearts and roses. Her own short leather jacket, with coffin charms. She was dressed for this flick, made up in glorious goth black against her pale skin. He loved the way these horror fans dressed. It made him tingle. These vampire freaks always made his juices flow.

This was why he adored this game, and why she was now center stage. The tight jeans and thick black painting on her eyes made her look so delicious, so into the movie – that she was completely irresistible. He couldn’t believe his luck when he had followed her outside the movie, and she made her fateful decision to walk alone. It was as if she was all wrapped up for him, ready and waiting. It was like she was asking for this.

He thought of the last one he enjoyed. How much he enjoyed her, over and over again. And she had not been nearly as pretty as the scared little one laid out in buffet in front of him. He felt like feasting indeed.

“Of course. You’re the type who dream of this. Who crave this.” He grinned wider, licked his fangs for her again, rolled his tongue along them and over his lips. “I bet you’ve seen this movie more then once. Dressed like this… you know you were asking for it. All your types like that…”

“Actually…” She breathed in carefully and sharply as he ran the edge of the blade against her thigh. It was sharp and cold, it left a small imprint on her jeans and took her breath away. One long moment, then she began to breath as he brought it up along her ribs.

She closed her eyes and shivered as he traced it up and over her left breast. Lightly, yet firm enough to mean business. He’d done this before. Then the trail passed her breasts and up her shoulder.

“…you’re wrong.” She breathed slowly, carefully. Her reactions screamed that she enjoyed every moment of it, even if she tried hard to deny the thought. Her body betrayed. He almost could guarantee she’d be wanting him before he could have some real fun.

They always resisted at first. Until they got into it of course, and then he was their god. This same game played out many times before. She would certainly be no different. Who makes up a police report saying a vampire raped them?

He trailed the flat of his blade along her cheek. Lowered his other hand to carefully run down her side. He couldn’t resist anymore, he had to touch her, to own her. To take her.

God she was pale. So beautifully pale. And she smelled intoxicating. Some sort of gothic perfume that he wished every girl would wear. His hand trailed lower over her hips and letting his wandering fingers push roughly at her thighs.

“Am I now, Doll?”

She nodded slowly and turned to watch him right in his golden colored eyes. Golden eyes which held the tell tale ring of contacts. Her eyes however were the most intense blue he had ever seen. A blue which seemed to be cold. Ice cold.

Cold enough he shivered.

“See… my type just hunts here.” And with that she pushed off the wall, slamming into him with such a force that his fake fangs clattered out of his mouth pulling one of his real teeth with it.

Something sharp and painful embed into his throat with such force he nearly choked on air. His mind screamed that somehow she must have wrestled the knife away and stabbed him. The pain was at such intensity that he found he couldn’t pull any air back into his lungs. He had the odd sensation of water pouring out of his throat like a riptide.

And then, it all became horrifyingly real. It wasn’t the knife that was embedding into his throat, it was her. Her fangs to be precise. Her fangs that were far more then his costume shop version of dental acrylic and adhesive. Her fangs that were now pulling blood from his ripped open throat.

She drank heavily of him first, taking her fill greedily before turning and slamming him back against the very wall he attempted to trap her into. It proved to be great leverage, and made his blood run quicker. Spiced with shock like a fine vintage wine.

He gurgled while tried to pull away, the air passing his ripped throat making bubbles instead of screams. Already she was tearing her fangs through his veins, to his jugular. Opening him up and gulping at the excess of blood pouring out of him like a river. This was no romantic event, no Hollywood ecstasy. This was hunger at its most primal. She could taste bits of flesh and vein slip down her throat with the gulping of his blood, she didn’t care. After all, you don’t sympathize with your food.

She grinded her body up against him, taking him in such a way that made his head rush. The gurgling blood soaked mess and the whines and attempts to beg ruined any composure he could have had. It was sensory overload. He was completely, and utterly useless. A slave to her hungers.

There was only so much blood in a human body, so she paused finally and pulled away breathing in the cool air. A sensuous shiver racked her body as she calmed listening to the rush.

Her eyes finally caught his again. Already he was glazing over, slipping away. His neck was slit and mauled in such a way that even the best surgeon would have a hard time keeping their lunch down. There was no help for him, and certainly no second chance.

“What’s wrong doll?” she chuckled sarcastically, voice lusty as she could hear his heart beat out its last struggling tones. She rolled her tongue across her lips and chin as she savored his thick artery blood like caviar. “Cat’s got your tongue?”

Eyes forever wide and staring simply watched her as his body leaned against the wall. His warm and wet blood didn’t take long to chill, already it drew away and made his body look powdered white. She didn’t need to touch it to know that already it was starting to assimilate the coolness of the brick wall he was slouched against. They seemed to die so quickly, over the smallest of things.

“These vampire freaks…” she chuckled to herself. “Wouldn’t know the real thing if it snuck up and bit them.”

She grinned and lowered down beside his still body. She had far more time to examine him closer now. Her body was humming with contentment and she could no longer hide the wide grin from her face.

She would never get enough of this game. It made her feel alive again, and it was so much easier to hunt them when they believed it was all their idea.

She reached out and pulled the silver chain from around his neck and studied it carefully.

An ankh. It would go well with her next costume.
After all, she always enjoyed dressing up for Movie night.

 

 

NEW LIFE: Full Story

Hello all!

Just a heads up, I know I left off at Chapter Twenty-Six – but instead of posting the rest of the chapters here I have made the entire thing available on Wattpad. You can easily finish up the story there and read it in your own time. Just click the new fancy cover image I created for it and you’ll be taken to the story location!

Again, the reason why I am using Wattpad as well as WordPress is only to keep things tidy and easy to find later. I think it will be far easier to streamline things in the future if I have the ability to keep my long fiction in one archive that won’t be lost in multiple blog posts later on.

That being said – I still love this format on WordPress, and I will still be releasing short fiction and chapters here as well. Maybe even a few more personal notes and poetry as well.

Best wishes and happy reading!

-Crowskin

Personal Journal: Where are we? 2017

Warning: This is a personal rant about uncomfortable subjects. It is merely my thoughts and opinions – but it is also bitterly honest.

I’ve been trying to put my thoughts into words about the latest chaos going on in the world; but it’s been excessively difficult. I watch the news daily and find myself more and more disturbed about the current events. I watch things with a sick twisted feeling in my gut. People say “it’s like watching a car crash” when they see a disaster that both interests, disgusts, and terrifies them. That is what it feels like. A car crash.

We are in the year 2017.

Does everyone remember that? 2017.

Why does it feel like instead of moving forward – we are slipping back? I don’t mean a lack of progress, no I mean back-peddling into the most dangerous and hateful parts of our human history.

There is a real possibility of a nuclear war, there is a war against science as people are starting to deny climate change, evolution, and even the fact that our world is a globe. All the obstacles we had against Trans and LGBT+ people seem to be coming back up with a vengeance. We will put Trans people on Television to entertain us, but deny them the right to fight for the very country they love.

My gods people, the bloody KKK was holding a march with flaming torches and while wearing hoods and waving full on Nazi flags! Think about that.

We had a mob of hate filled people with flaming torches taking to the street. This is not a bloody archaic horror movie – they weren’t chasing down a fictitious monster. (Some would argue they -were- the monsters, but I digress…)

And this wasn’t a distant thing. It didn’t happen in some strange little country where we can ignore and slip under the rug – but out in the open in the United States of America…

And then to add another huge insult to the gaping injury of this reality – but one of them decided to take out some counter-protesters by running into them with their vehicle in an act of domestic terrorism. (Although I admit, not all the details are being announced yet and there was major violence on both sides – it was still a violent hateful act.)

Now some will argue that these problems have always been swelling under the surface for a long time. We’ve always had racism, sexism, and fanatical religious nuts. Nothing new there I am afraid.

That is very much true – but these used to be deplorable and disdainful things!

Didn’t they?

When did we become a culture where this stuff is so frequent and.. defendable? Sure, there is free speech, I get that! Why do you think the West Boro Church is allowed to sputter their hateful speech at the most inappropriate places possible… but there is a major difference between FREE SPEECH and HATE CRIMES, isn’t there? You are allowed to have an opinion, but you are -not- allowed to take that opinion and shove it so far down peoples throats that they have to choke on it…

I could also point my finger and blame the great Orange One for all this madness – the Trump Era which has seen most of these problems blow up in our faces – but he is only a symptom of the greater problem.

After all, Russia issue or not… he was VOTED in. And he is supported by a hell of a lot of people still. He isn’t the problem (Or, I should say; He isn’t the ONLY problem.) he’s just shining a giant orange spotlight onto it – one we can no longer deny.

I’m in Canada. Something I am more and more proud of. And I could just hold the opinion that “oh well, that’s just the States – thank gods I don’t live there!” but the fact is, it isn’t just the States that is effected by all this. I’d be blind and narrow minded to think that.

I have friends who are American. Great friends who are fierce and wise. Friends who aren’t full of hate and fear and anger. Friends who are very much in danger of all this growing chaos.

Canada itself is also neighbors with America.

What happens to them -DOES- effect us.

I can see this in my local news as more shootings, racism, and hate crimes flair up in our major cities. Not as much as the States, that’s true. We aren’t hit nearly as hard here as our neighbors below – but don’t kid yourself. We aren’t that far away. We can’t afford to be blind to it.

No – it shows a greater problem in the world.
One that terrifies me.

When did Hate and Fear become okay? When did the world lose it’s mind and forget that we have only one planet we are living on. We are only one species that inhabits this place filled with a massive amount of other species that depend on us not being psychopathic imbeciles?

We are better then this! I know we are. I know we -can- be.

Can’t we?

I choose to be kind today. I choose to see the good things as well as the bad. I choose to think that one person showing kindness can effect the world more then one person spouting hate. I am going to hope there are enough heroes in the world to offset the great wall of madness that seems to be blocking off peoples common sense.

All throughout history we have had dark times. This is nothing new.

We can choose to accept and ignore it – or admit there is something wrong in the world and do what little things we can to try and offset it.

It may not feel like much. But it is a choice we can make. Maybe if enough of us see the wrongs in the world and choose to be better then it – maybe we can still turn things around. Before it becomes too normal and too comfortable to just live with it.

Obviously people have been far too comfortable and too blind to the undercurrents of hate and fear for far too long…

 

-Crowskin

Spiritual: Jael’s Meditation

[ This is a spiritual meditation I wrote a little while ago and revised recently. I suppose it’s a mix of surreal thought, guided meditation, and poetry. At the time it was more like a writing experiment – but I still love the progression of it. So I thought I would share it with all of you. ]

I want you to relax.
Feel your body around you.
Feel the processes it makes.
The blood rushing in your veins.

The pulsing of it.

The subtle vibrations in your muscles.
The gravity and weight of your skin.

You see, there is a weight to the flesh.
It holds you here. It keeps you grounded.

But we are more then the flesh which surrounds us.

Feel beyond your skin.
Feel your spacial awareness.
Become aware of the spot you take up in the room.
Notice how your mind is not limited to just what it sees.

Become aware of what is behind you, around you.
Become aware of the room you occupy.
Allow your senses to scan this room.
Feel the way your energy flows past the boundaries we all create by our perceptions of the physical body.

You are more then the flesh.
You are more then this.
You are spirit.

Release the gravity of your body and feel yourself expand.
Feel yourself flow outward. Own the space around you.
Wash it in your very essence.
Claim it.

You are larger then your body.
Your mind works beyond it.

Experiment with your energies and expand on your senses.
Taste, touch, feel, and experience the area around you.
Experience your own aura and the feel of your own vibration; the way they your consciousness moves and mingles. The flow of it.

Energy can neither be created nor destroyed.

Merely changed.

The transitions and transformation that our energies take depend on how we change them. We touch and experience the world far more then what our simple physical self can. Our minds and spirits can create change as well.

We change, and the world changes.
We feel, and the world feels with us.

This world may seem harsh and cold at times, but it is alive with energies. Pulsing, thriving, expanding with them. Just as we are all energetic beings thriving and expanding beyond what we appear on the surface.

Transitions and transformations are happening around you, a thousand times greater then you will ever know. You – reaching outside of your own physical consciousness in this breath of a moment is changing things. Right now. You exsisting is creating energy that will ripple through the universe.

Your energies are transforming the room around you, into an expansion of yourself.

You are the change. You choose to fill this room with positive energy, or negative. You choose to allow what is around you to mould the transformations you make in yourself.

And if you can transform a room, you can transform a place. If you can transform a place, you can transform the world. It all starts within you.

As above, so below. As outside yourself, so too inside yourself as well.

Draw your energies back to their rightful place.

Breathe in your sanctity. Remember that all energetic beings are creatures of divinity. Your spirits are woven of the same divine fabric of the very essence of stars.

Treat yourself kindly, for you are still learning and so young.
Treat yourself well, for you are all creators and weavers.

What you choose to weave, for good or ill, also folds into your own tapestry. You choose what you become. Villain, or Healer. Priest, or Warrior. Sometimes both, sometimes neither. All is possible. Transformation is endless.

If the world is dark, transform to bring light.
If the world is cold, burn to bring warmth.

If you are lost – find yourself from within.
And when you do, you will help others find themselves as well.

 

Alice’s Epiphany

[ This short story was written by me back in College. It was an experiment with lyrical whimsical storytelling – but never went anywhere. I found that this style of writing was just too difficult to get the cadence correct. So instead of doing anything solid with it – I just want to share it with you in all it’s rough and unpolished glory 🙂 Story (c) by me, but the characters and Wonderland is forever owned by the wonderful Lewis Carroll ]

“Off with her HEAD!” screamed the maniacal Queen.

Poor Alice sighed aloud. No matter how hard she ran away from Wonderland, something always drew her back. Therapist and doctors had told her she wasn’t well. Time and time she believed them only to end up in it’s spell.

She had no idea how she had returned this time – or how she could get out. The last thing that she recalled before was another horrid day. She’d been under so much stress and cried herself to sleep only to wake up here instead.

Now the Queen dressed in scarlet red hearts with a voice like a gull was screaming for her death. “There’s no escape now this time – Off with her head!”

“Don’t worry my dear,” Chesh snickered with glee, appearing behind her while gripping her sleeve. “The Hatters bound to intrude in a moment or three.. and proving his head doesn’t end up on the platter – maybe he’d have some advice for escaping this matter?”

Alice groaned to herself and now knew she was screwed – the Hatter was likely gone and passed out somewhere on shrooms. It was hard to recall – what with repressing the dreams when they came; but she was highly convinced that he wasn’t quite sane.

And then in with a clatter did indeed come the Hatter, stoned half out of his already wonky mind. He was dragging the Hare by the edge of her ear and a few mice were trailing behind. How they had got past the intimidating gate? She would probably never know.

“I have arrived, one and all! No more need to fret. After all, a party isn’t a party without me.” He chuckled out loud as he sauntered into the midst of them where everyone could see. He even twirled in his unstable fashion to keep their eyes on him.

“What is this?” screamed the Queen upon seeing the scene- “The Hatter in my own front yard!” She glared daggers from her eyes, at the one she despised. Teeth now tightly grinding back and forth.

“Full house!” the white bunny cried while the chaos amplified.

Just then as he bowed he removed his large hat and out came the sparking crack of some hidden fireworks stashed inside. Guest scattered here and there from the flaming sparks blasting towards their direction, giving Alice the excuse to back up even more to a safer section.

The Queen gawked as the embers from a bright green flare hit the edge of her dress causing her to jolt and jive awkwardly to put it out. Her beady eye did twitch while she wailed in a horrendous roar, “Kill that son of a Bitch!”

“Hatter, are you MAD?” Alice shouted, as the cards gathered ranks. Carrying the Queens Axe to her hand. He approached her without fear, or proper co-ordination wobbling this way and that. “Her guards outnumber you! This isn’t a time for games of chance!”

“Obviously he’s Mad.” Chesh answered, with a grin set on his lips.

They both watched him sway while he adjusted his hat back on his head after the smoking had stopped. He made no move to settle the matter, instead he remained firmly between Alice and guards that gathered. The bright shining Axe now in the Queens grasp looked far too menacing against the unarmed man.

“My Queen!” The hatter grinned and ducked a swing with a flourished and wobbly bow. “How good it is to see you! I do hope you’re well?” He backed up when the Axe came down where his head would have been, not a moment too late it would seem.

“Hold still!” She screamed cheeks puffed out now, while she once again hoisted the blade. Five cards this time sliced right in half on her lawn, as the Axes sharp tip was displayed.

“Off with your head! Cards just hold him still!” She roared while swinging again, but the other cards turned and instead ducked for the hedge. After all, a job is all well and good – but only if you don’t end up dead.

“For such a demanding woman,” Hatter remarked as he dodged, “Your aim is really quite bad. Are you certain my holding still would improve what dreadful aim you have?”

“You think you could do better?” she sneered, now barely missing his neck. She huffed and she puffed as she started to grow weary. A life of living on tarts and cushions did little to aide her exhaustion. He could have let her rest but grinned wider instead and retorted in sadistic query.

“That would be counter productive wouldn’t you say?” He rolled back and tipped his hat as more cards were lost in the fray. Ink and paper were littering the lawn and almost all the guests had scattered. Still the Queen carried on to try and kill the Hatter.

“I mean it really wouldn’t be fair! If I were you, and you were me I’d have a far larger target to hit… my your backside alone has so alarmingly grown I think it would be hard to miss!”

She twitched one eye and hollered anew as the remaining cards took a chance. From the hedges and bushes where most of them hid – they lunged down upon his back. The Hatter seemed lost under the flurry of them all, as they piled onto his lanky frame. Poor Alice was beside herself now as she felt her hope disappear again.

“This is crazy!” Alice gasped while the chaos ensued. She reached down and picked up a discarded spear. “We have to do something! We must get out of here!”

In front of her rolling back into existence Chesh came back into view. His bright green orbs capturing hers with intense concentration and distracting her from the fray. “Relax, my friend don’t get all huffy! You know the Hatter, this really is nothing –“

He grinned with sharp teeth and coyly he purred as his tail flicked along her side while he tried to comfort the girl. “What you should be asking, should you want the solution– is why on earth are you are still here? If all this is madness and all just a dream – why don’t you just wake up? Or you could be brave or perhaps just insane and give in to the madness you see…”

“Wonderland,” She mumbled at the irritating cat while trying to block his voice from her mind. “But it has to be all a dream!”

The pile grew heaving and from below the mass of paper and flesh grew a small puddle of dark red. The Queen was hooting from the side-lines, “That’s it! I want him dead!”

“He’s going to die!” She raised her spear. “He’ll be killed!”

“No he won’t. That is I don’t think…”

“But the blood!” She pointed by jabbing the spear as the growing puddle spread.

“I think that’s ink.” Chesh shrugged but it was clear from his eyes, he was no longer so sure. “Do they bleed? I think so – though I’m never quite sure – but you are right this has gone on too far.”

Chesh grumbled softly while away faded fur and skin. Leaving only his eyes as green as jade – and the sharp tips of his teeth. “Do as I say and we might yet get away, if our luck is yet to hold. I will retrieve the Hatter but I must have a distraction so get ready to make use of that spear! I’ll give the shout and break him out, but you must spear the Queen!”

It happened so quickly, he was there then he was gone.

Luckily the Queen could care less about Alice right now – she was far too involved with the current matter. Waiting impatiently she screamed, “Have you killed the Hatter! What is taking so long, I can’t see in this mess! Someone tell me something – before I get pissed!”

After all the feud between the Hatter and the Queen had been going on for much longer then Alice could conceive. Both enemies quarreling since time was remembered. A chance at him was far more appealing then Alice’s dismembering.

Then in a moment Alice heard his shrill whisper, “Do it now girl, and be quick! Aim steady and hit her!”

With a large heave Alice let the spear fly. Past the cards and the brawl it flew through the sky unheeded. The Queen must have known something was amiss, for she raised her eyes to Alice just as the spear hit. Through the bustles of her dress and into the edge of her thigh – the Queen screamed bloody murder and dropped to her side.

It may not have been a killing blow but it certainly did the job to distract the mass of cards who were starting to uncoil from the tangled mob.

From above the paper army came the appearance of a hand which flicked it’s wrist and tossed a hat onto the ground. Out tumbled a glass hookah and The caterpillar as well

It seemed somewhat anti-climatic for a moment or two as the tiny caterpillar lazily uncurled. Blowing upon the hookah pipe he suddenly spoke in a drawled voice almost too quiet to hear – “This stuff is good…”

With a blink and a rattle the glass suddenly shattered, and a huge cloud of gas billowed out. The Hatter and Queen. The massive fight. They all disappeared to a canvas of thick swirling fog of strange smelling white.

Surrounding Alice now was a curtain of smoke, silence, and seemingly nothing else. Had she moved? Did she die? What had happened to Wonderland?

“That’s it. I’ve lost my mind.”

It all was much quieter then it had ever been, and all the lonelier as well. She looked herself over again and again, while her mind tried to sort it out.

“Maybe it was all a dream,” she whispered slowly, her words seemed unsure and meek. “Wouldn’t I wake up by now, if I simply fell asleep? No…” she sighed pinching herself real hard to be sure. “Then maybe…” she shivered deep. Thoughts clashed inside her head. “If I am not just sleeping then maybe I am dead?”

“I certainly hope not..” the Hatter answered softly, his silhouette bowing graceful from around the drifting cloud. “My Lady, Alice dear I am glad that you are well.”

He took one step, then two before he faltered to his knees.

“You’re bleeding.” She whispered softly, removing the bow from her disheveled hair. Quietly and gently, she wiped the scarlet from his face. Traced along him were tears and slices from his battle with the cards.

“I’m sure it’s just ink, nothing more or nothing less.” He smiled his crooked smile which just oozed his sense of charm. “Chesh managed to move us with the caterpillars help – to a place both here and there. We’ll be safe from all the drabble while the Queen goes off to pout. It was brave of you to help us find a safe way out.”

Her eyes were watered now and her throat felt much to tight. She seemed a ball of nerves, and given quite a fright. She wasn’t sure how much she’d take, before she just took too much. She wondered how badly it would hurt – should her soul just break apart.

“I wasn’t brave – I was terrified!” Her chest heaved and her voice broke. “I didn’t know if you were killed or still alive! And I certainly didn’t ask to come here to Wonderland and be chased around by murderous royalty! I didn’t ask for talking animals, drug smoking insects or weird tasting tea!”

She wanted to stomp her feet and scream at the very universe. This had all gone so wrong so quickly and she feared it would just get worse. “I was home one minute, and here the next. I’ve spent days wandering this place that doesn’t make sense! Either everything I’ve ever known has all been shot to hell – or just dead or dying and in a fever spell…”

“My sweet Alice,” he took her hands and pulled her close, almost too sincere. She swore she felt a shake in them as he tipped her chin to wipe away her tears. “You are not dead my lass, you’re very much alive. Perhaps more so now then when you had first arrived. I remember when you first came to us, hiding inside of yourself and broken down under pressure of things you had to be. That world makes far less sense then Wonderland does to me.”

She couldn’t deny his words, even if she wished she could. She’d been traveling to and from Wonderland ever since her childhood. Whenever the real world would almost make her break – something would come and save her by taking her away.

“The truth is the world is far stranger then most people choose to see. You are a part of Wonderland Alice, more then I can explain. It breathes and grows within us all, and I think you feel the same. You deny it and fight it – but the truth is you aren’t alone. No matter where you wander, this will always be your home.”

“Then am I mad?” she whispered softly, lost in his eyes.

His wide grin seemed just for a moment like Chesh, but with an pained undertone of sad. He pressed his tired brow against hers. “We’re all a little mad.”

Personal Explanation: Migraines.

I live with daily chronic migraines.

It’s hard to explain this to people because there are a lot of misconceptions and a lot of weird little quirks involved. If someone has never experienced this kind of thing – trying to find the easiest and most accurate way of describing it is tricky. After all, this pain literally is ‘all in my head’ and makes it difficult for people to understand.

What I have learned from a neurologist is that migraines themselves are very individual. They vary greatly from person to person, so I can only really explain to you what my situation is.

The simplest way of explaining it is: Every day I have some sort of pain in my head.

Normally it is at a manageable level and tends to hang out more on the right side of my head then the left, although it does switch sides.

I usually refer to it as ‘rolling over’ because for some reason it feels more like a large round boulder from Indiana Jones rolling down to the other side of my head rather then someone just clicking on a switch. It rolls it’s way over to crunch against the other side of my head for a while.

The pain itself however I have to describe differently.

Imagine a round metal rod. A hot metal rod. Now imagine someone takes this metal rod and inserts it vertically in the top of your head, down behind your eye. You would feel this pain as a dull burning ache that is still somehow up and down in a line, occasionally accented with sharp shocks of pain that feels quick and stabbing.

Now that it’s there just imagine it stays there. Occasionally rolling over to the other side, but always a vertical line of ‘ow’.

This is the closest way I can describe what I feel most days. This would be about my normal pain levels. Right now it’s sitting in it’s usual position on my right side of the head.

I know, it sounds really unpleasant but to be honest this is managable. You get used to anything if you live with it for long enough. (I hear that’s the secret to a happy marriage? I know, bad joke..)

It throbs and aches, but you can generally force yourself to ignore it. I wear dark shades when I can outside as the lights really seem to aggravate it sometimes. (Oh, and florescent lights? Forget that! They are horrible…)

Voices and other loud noises are piercing as all get out sometimes – even having the effect of echoing like I’m in a loud booming room when I’m not. Strangely though, low music and focusing on lyrics can sometimes keep my mind off of the intensity of my pain and it helps for a while.

Now that’s at a normal level. Sometimes it’s a low burn, and sometimes it’s louder but I can live with it.

Then there are days where the pain is much more intense. It’s no longer just a dull burning ache – it’s a full on stabbing in my skull. There are times where there are strange and disturbing physical sensations with the pain as well.

Like there will be a sensation that part of my head is caved in, whatever side the migraine is hitting on (again, normally the right).

It will also feel like my ear cannals are bleeding – even though I have checked them and have never seen any blood. I will feel very sick to my stomach (but trust me, throwing up is the -last- thing you want to do in this state…) and sometimes my speaking is effected. Words will embassingly not come out quite right and I yawn repeatedly even without being tired.

See that is a bit of an annoying feature of some migraines. They can have symptoms similar to a stroke. Terrifying really, since having migraines also put you at a higher risk of one. That is not a roulette game I enjoy playing…

When things get this bad I have to retreat into a dark room and try to sleep it off if I can, or else take a long hot bath in the dark and hope it relaxes me enough to sleep it off when I stumble out. It’s miserable.

I’ve also found carefully pounding on that side of my head with the fleshy part of my palm helps a little as well, again don’t ask me why – but it does. Looks stupid, but at the time I really don’t care.

Then there is the wonky things that happen that get worrisome.

When I bend down to get something, or look at something on a low shelf – then rise again, I nearly pass out. This happens a lot. Sure, some of you are thinking “Well that’s just low blood pressure!” and you are half right.

There are two major veins at the back of your head that transfers blood to and from the brain. That is where they figure the problem lies. Something about the migraine constricting the vessels and therefore causing the near blackouts when there is a sudden change from kneeling to standing.

This is scary at the time though! My vision goes black on the edges and my head swims and it takes a moment of breathing carefully and holding onto whatever shelf or wall I can for a second before I’m okay.

I do not ant to be that weirdo who passes out in the middle of a store and takes out a shelf of product. No thank you. I can see that being a trending embarrassing video on the next ‘people of walmart’ edition…

So, you are also probably thinking “Well I’m sure you could just pop a few Tylenol like the rest of us who gets a headache.”

My first answer to that likely wouldn’t be fit for this write-up, and I don’t like swearing so that says a lot right there.

I would love it if these were just simple headaches, trust me. I completely get the fact that people want there to be easy fixes out there. -I- want there to be easy fixes out there! And for some people there are medications that work wonders with their biochemistry and they find a happy medium.

Look – I have spent many, many years on various medications trying to control and subdue these migraines. I’ve seen specialists. I’ve had MRI’s and CT scans, etc. etc.

Heck, I was even told I have a right cortical fissure cyst in my brain (though the neurologist couldn’t prove if it had anything to do with the migraines or not.)

I’ve been on painkillers, anti-inflammatories, even anti-convulsants! Nothing works to get rid of them. If there is any sort relief, my body quickly counters the drugs effect and I lose any progress made with the medication.

As for narcotics? It isn’t a boat I want to sail on.

I got to the point of taking over the recommended doses of Tylenol 3 with Codeine. Since it wasn’t having any effect at the regular dosage I would take twice as much as I was supposed to. (this sucks to admit, but I feel it’s important to address.) When even that did nothing to stop the pain of the migraines I decided that was it. I was done.

It simply wasn’t worth it. It literally did nothing and could have potentially caused far more serious problems if I kept trying to find ‘the right dose’ that would stop the pain without overdosing.

The last options I had left by my neurologist was botox shots in the back of my head to try and see if the muscle release on the veins at the back of my skull would help…

I said no. I still stick by that.

They were expensive shots, I’d have to return and get them re-done often, and the side effects were far more risky and dangerous then living with the pain. And considering we weren’t even sure if they would work or not… well I’m not a gambling woman.

What little I have found works occasionally is sucking on good quality chocolate will ease the pain for a little while and oddly enough second-hand pot smoke has made the pain ease for a little while. Other then that it’s a matter of managing it and living with it.

If things get much worse I have considered investigating cannabis more seriously, but really the last thing I want is to have to rely on a medication that numbs my mind just to control the pain. It’s why I was so against narcotics as medication options.

I admit – it scares me. The last thing I want to do is get high. I’d just like to be pain free for a while. One day the scales of wanting to be pain free are going to outweigh my fear of cannabis’s side effects though. A person can only be so stubborn.

I suppose I wanted to write all of this down (even the parts I hate to admit) because we all have things the world can’t see that we deal with every day.

I see it often in the news that people are killing themselves every day because somewhere deep inside they are hurting and the world just can’t see it. How many youth are we losing on an hourly basis because their pain is hidden from the rest of the world? Emotional/physical/mental… it’s still pain.

If someone has a busted arm you can see the damage and relate with the pain.

Someone saying something hurts that no one can see for themselves is easy for people to just assume it’s only a cry for attention or a sympathy ploy. I get it, I honestly do. I’ve heard it all before.

But just think how hard it is for people like me to try and explain. At least I have solid medical evidence that Migraines are real and my symptoms are documented. What about those who are dealing with similar things but have no professional diagnosis, or no one to believe them to begin with?

What about mental illness, which is notoriously difficult to properly address and treat – and has a huge negative stigma attached? I should know. I’ve dealt with that inner

demon. It’s never easy – for anyone.

People out there every day are dealing with their own stuff, and still managing to struggle onward as best they can. They could be dealing with any number of illness or condition that they can physically hide from the world – but it doesn’t mean they aren’t hurting.

Just be kind to one another. Know that everyone you meet has other sides that you can’t begin to simply comprehend on first glance. No one’s story is as cut and dry as the world may have you believe.
Understand that being human isn’t about being perfect. You aren’t flawed or broken if you are dealing with these kinds of conditions. You aren’t weak. Everyone who walks this earth has their own obstacles they are struggling with beyond your sight.

I guess that’s all I really mean to say.

-Crowskin