So you can read my books

Sunday, July 25, 2010


{"Every closed eye is not sleeping, and every open eye is not seeing."
- Bill Cosby}

Marlene tugged on my arm and led me and Mark Twain deeper into Meilori's, deeper into trouble, and hopefully, farther away from those Shadowlanders who wanted me dead or tortured.

She led us between clusters of tables, through the babble of plots and counter-plots. Jackel-headed beings argued with stork-headed ones. Triple snake-headed Nagas eyed us with weaving stares.

Three hooded women stiffened as we passed. Amidst their whispers, I heard the hissing of dozens of small snakes coming from inside their hoods. I smiled grimly.

The three Gorgon sisters. Oh, why the hell not? It would be just like my strange luck to die at the talons of a myth no one believed existed.

Growls came low from under their table. I glanced down. Anvil heads with double rows of sharp fangs. Hellhounds.

Better and better.

Long ago I had read of the graveyard spiral, the last test of every pilot for the airplanes of World War I.

In that last test, everything a student had learned would be held to the fire of death and life. If he had learned his lessons correctly, he would pull out of that dive.

If not, both pilot and teacher would die. Deep inside, I knew that this night was my graveyard spiral.

Every humanoid male we passed looked longingly at Marlene, and Mark Twain muttered, "Don't take this wrong, Roland. But you've got to admit Marlene is a veritable goddess. She could have anyone. What does she see in you?"

Marlene stiffened, then slowed her pace. "Rather it is what he sees in us -- and others."

She leaned towards him, touching my temple with one set of fingertips and Mark's with the other. "Come, see as his Lakota blood allows Roland to see."

We were passing a fat Renaissance flesh peddler haggling with a Chinese warlord. Marlene slowed her pace even more. Mark Twain stiffened and gave a low cry.

And I knew then that he saw as I saw ... as my mother had seen ... and as her grandmother had seen before her.

The corpulent body became dim, and inside it was a young, starved, dirty-faced boy, rubbing the back of a small hand against thin lips. And Mark and I heard the thoughts of the child that lived forever within him :

"Hungry. Always hungry. Never enough. Never. No one cares. No one. Everyone’s out to get me. Everyone. But I’ll get them first. Theirs will be the back to get the knife. Bastards. Bastards all."

The Chinese warlord’s body became dim, revealing the inflamed, bruised body of an even smaller boy, his face hard, his eyes dead.

"Killed my family, my villiage. Laugh, you dogs. Laugh. I escaped. Hunt you down, every last one of you. In their sleep, everyone dies so easy. I’ll get my own army, then, I’ll show you. Show you all!"

At the next table sat a once beautiful woman, dressed in the fashions of Marie Antoinette. Her lined face still held echoes of that haunting beauty. She sat toying with her hair, eyeing the perfumed man in front of her, his own eyes lingering on her fat purse.

Her body dimmed, and in in its center was a little girl, her dress nearly torn off.

"Mommy. Mommy, they killed you. Daddy, where are you? Where? You said you’d always be here. Always.

But t-they tore my dress, pulled it over my h-head, stuck their thing into me over and over and over. Oh, Daddy, where were you? Don’t you love me anymore?

No, of course, you don’t love me anymore. How could you love me? I’m dirty. Dirty!"

The dandy’s body had a ragged boy inside him :

"Why did you leave me at the inn, Pop? Why? Why do I keep on asking why? How come I’m so stupid? Only the weak ask why.

‘Sides I know why. ‘Cause you’re dirt, that’s why. Like Ma was dirt. L-Like I’m dirt.

Well, I’ll show you. I’ll show you all. I’ll claw, steal, and kill until I can buy and sell the world. The world!"

Two tables down, the Musketeer had recovered from Marlene’s blow and sat nursing another ale. His adult body faded, showing a fat boy, tears streaming down his face.

"Why? I never done nothing to them. I minds my own business. I keep to the shadows. Why do they keep beating me up? Why do they call me names? Why do they chase me? I ask, but I really know why.

‘Cause I’m weak that’s why. Worthless, fat, slow, stupid. Well, they’ll be sorry. They’ll all be sorry. From now on, I swear I’ll exercise and train until I can run through anyone who sneers at me. Anyone!

Then, I’ll be the one doing the sneering. Me, the toughest, meanest bastard in the whole damn world."

We passed the samurai from earlier. His body dimmed, showing a younger, hollow-eyed warrior standing over the body of a robed daimyo.

"Once I thought I knew what honor was. Once I had a master to be proud of. Once I was a deluded fool.

All I had were illusions, lies! I caught him betraying the empress -- for filthy money. Money! And a whore’s body.

Well, I killed his whore in front of him. Then, I killed him. And killed my illusions while I was at it.

Now, I am empty. Empty and alone. Alone in a world without meaning, without hope, without purpose. Why do I keep on living? Why?"

"Enough!," cried Mark Twain, tearing his temple from Marlene's fingertips. "I can bear no more."

He turned tortured eyes to me. "Is this how you truly see?"

I nodded. "Yes, but not all the time and not with everyone. I don't tell people. It would make them uncomfortable around me."

"Then, how did Marlene know?"

Her eyes sank deep into her pale face. "One night I - I brushed the hair from his eyes and touched his temple, seeing myself as he saw me."

Mark Twain rasped, "Then, I know why you act the way you do to perfect strangers."

Marlene's eyes grew haunted. "To Roland, no one is perfect."

I caught her eyes, reached out, and squeezed her right hand lightly. "And no one is a stranger."


  1. I am undone. Wow, what a haunting and tortured gift you have. I believe, Mr. Yeomans, that you have revealed yourself at last. It may not be a literal depiction, but I feel, deep in my gut, that this is how you, the real you, truly see people. It's why you were a counselor (and maybe why you're not now-I can't imagine that burden) and why you're still such a wonderful teacher. This is also what would make you the most loyal of friends. You can see the inner child...broken, bruised, afraid, abandoned, locked away... Now, the unwritten words are as riveting as the written ones. I sit in simple wonder, waiting...

  2. Great detail here. I love the anvil headed hell hounds and the snakes in the hoods.

  3. Very beautiful - you have such a way of describing detail :)

  4. Wow. What a beautiful and torturous gift.

    You referred to the little girl when you commented on my No Means No scene. You depicted the same thing in only a few sentences. Il Maestro.

    I did not know of the graveyard spiral. Is that for real?

    Once again, I am in awe.

    that rebel, Olivia

  5. Riveting as always, Roland. I love you descriptions: rubbing the back of a small hand against thin take me there immediately and with vivid results.

    Wonderful work.

  6. Word Crafter : To be a one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind is often ... heart-rending. Thanks for the kind words. You and your friend are still in my prayers.

    Aubrie : Wait til you see Samuel McCord's own Hellhound, PieceFull, in Wednesday's post. Tuesday brings us what Gypsy has been doing all this time : her face-off with the towering Sphinx of Thebes on the black sands of the world between worlds.

    WritingNut : Thanks for the compliment. Your poem on your blog shows you have a talent for touching the heart.

    Olivia : Yes, the Graveyard Spiral in WWI was an actual last test for flight training. If you check the photo close, you will see an echo of a little girl merging into the side of the woman's face.

    Raquel : Your praise means a lot to me. Thanks

  7. Very interesting piece. At points, you want to quit reading, yet you have to go on because the words pull you.

  8. Great premise, great description. Love how you brought the old myths in.

  9. I really liked the graveyard spiral metaphor. An exciting touch - like this needs more excitement. Very courageous of you to reveal yourself within this world. The setting and descriptions in this are so vidid; you have a natural talent for imagery. And for drawing emotions out of a reader.

    Well done My Friend.


  10. Wow. I took another look at the picture and see the beautiful child within the beautiful woman. You have a knack for finding the perfect visuals as well as painting them with your words. There is much richness to be found here, Roland, thank you for that.

    And Happy Full Moon.


  11. I'm absolutely in awe. I've read each one up to this and had to wait to comment because I just couldn't stop reading. Fantastic!

  12. Writing is wonderouse therapy my writer friend. We can show ourselves without it being ourselves which we present to the world.

    I understand seeing no strangers or perfect people while living day to day. Those with no problems are those you have not gotten a chance to know yet. We all have our inner demons. Just some of us feed them when they should be starved.