The Storyteller

“It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” is a saying for a reason.

There are countless people who find themselves nursing drinks before a socially acceptable time.

Even more are drowning their sorrows, grief, and anger long before the sun goes down.

It is within these people that good stories reside.

Many find it strange, what I do. Most don’t expect to find a young woman in a pub or a bar, sipping on a glass of rum, transitioning between drinking and staring out the window absentmindedly to typing away furiously at her laptop.

More often than not I sit alone, writing, drinking. In part because of the grief I run from, in part because I have the liberty to do so, in part because of the romanticized image of the tortured author.

I listen to those around me, those other tortured souls.

I see the young woman, her pure face covered in tears and disgust as she laments to the bartender on how her husband had been cheating on her for the full duration of their marriage.

I hear the two brothers solemnly discussing their third brother’s death, due to an overdose of heroin, and how their mother in full-time care does not remember that her son had passed weeks ago.

I speak to the excited musician, one who has played all over locally and who is starting a tour across the country after all of his struggles.

I observe as the alcoholic man drowns his regrets, shot after shot, mumbling bitterly as to how he never should have had kids, never moved to this god-forsaken city, never married that cheating whore that was sleeping with his boss in the worst job that he had ever had.

I write stories for each of them, taking the strife that I hear and evolving it, developing it, putting my own spin on it.

Some people have begun to realize what I am doing.

I have a favourite spot, you see. A small, run-down bar with too small of a variety of alcohol, a place that houses local artists from folk to metal. I’ve all but scratched my name into a singular stool at a table near the window that faces out at the bustling city streets, watching adults and kids alike run through the park just within view.

And so, I sit, and I write, and I drink, and I write some more.

The first time I had someone approach me with a request, I was shaken.

A young bearded man came and sat near me, observing me for a while. I thought nothing of it, assuming he was as lost in thought as I was.

When he spoke, his voice was softer than I expected and filled with sadness.

He asked if I would write him a story.

I sat for a moment, stunned. Why would anyone want that? Why would they want some random stranger to write them a story out of the blue?

Still, I opened up a blank Word document and turned to him, meeting his sad blue eyes.

I asked him what he would like me to write.

He told me he had just been evicted, with nowhere to go but home to a place that had never supported him, that had told him that his dreams of being a painter were too far-fetched, too outdated for the times that we lived in.

He told me to take that information, and to write him a story. He would continue to sit there and drink until it was done, he informed me, even if it took me days.

Without another word, I accepted the task.

I began to weave a tale of this starving artist, one that had been through both hardship and beauty with which he used to create his work. But he had never once heard praise. I wrote of his journey home, and the abuse and the pain that he would have to suffer there. Those who never believed him were vile creatures, forcing his self-esteem into oblivion. That is until light found him in the form of an old high school friend, a beautiful woman who was holding an art gallery event in order to raise money for the school they both attended. She asked if she could feature his work. It was that gallery that led this man to revive the art world, shaping the future of this medium in his ideal image.

As I watched the now drunken man read my piece, his eyes welled with tears, a sad smile forming.

He asked me to email this to him, and that he would treasure it.

When he left, I ordered another drink. I needed it after that exchange.

I never heard from him again.

Yet since that moment, I’ve had others come to me, asking me to write their stories, be it their past, their present, or their future.

I’ve written the stories of the lonely, of the abandoned. I’ve written of those who have been lost in life, and those who may never be found.

Sometimes I don’t even get their name, simply the parts of their story that they want me to tell, to transform.

I’ve become the local Storyteller, working herself away, pouring her soul into the souls of others.

And now here I sit, in my spot, in my bar, for once telling not the story of another, but the story of myself.

The Canary and the Cat

She had been admiring him for far too long. For as long as he had admired the piece, in fact.

When she had chosen to travel to the often empty art gallery that day, she hadn’t expected much to happen. It was simply an enjoyable way for her to spend her free time, admiring the individual brush strokes, the time and effort put into each and every piece in the exhibit.

And so when she reached one of her favourite rooms, housing her favourite piece, she was surprised to find a man already transfixed by it. She traversed the room, hoping for the stranger to be gone to give her adequate space to admire this piece for some time. Instead, the longer he stayed, and the longer she had to admire him from a distance.

Continue reading “The Canary and the Cat”

Traveler’s Tale Creation

In the beginning there was nothing.

There was no land, no sea, and no sky. There was no night, and no day. The world, its dimensions and its countries were nonexistent.

Then The Great Faatir came, disguised as an ordinary man, and set a foot down, thus creating the world beneath his feet. He felt the vibrations of the magic in all worlds, and manipulated them to create the air, the water, the earth, and the fire. He created animals and creatures to walk upon this new world. Looking at his own image, he created man, completing the fifth and final element; spirit.

Satisfied with his work, he left this land.

But another set foot upon this world. His brother Uqbah. He was unhappy with the life in this world, seeing mankind and it’s equals as weak and pitiful creatures that were unfit to live. He was the end of all of Faatir’s work, eliminating every last being.

When Faatir learned of his brother’s actions, he returned to his world and fought with him.

Brother against Brother. Life against Death. Creation against Destruction.

Both brothers tired, Uqbah was defeated.

Banished from the world, Uqbah returned to Hazarmaveth, a kingdom of his own creation.

Faatir, with his remaining strength, replenished his world back to its original state, and created five divine guardians to look after the world in his absence.

Aithne, the goddess of fire.

Coventina, the goddess of water.

Leewana, the goddess of wind.

Valterra, the goddess of earth.

And Gwennor, the goddess of spirit.

Completely drained, Faatir retired to the heavens, to never return to the world he created.

The Five Guardians split up, looking after their respective areas of the world. They lived as equals to man, residing in a temple of their own design.

But then, Uqbah returned.

He sought vengeance on this world and his brother, despite his still limited strength.

He used his little power to send desires to the man that resided in this world. He sent them thoughts of blood, war, and of death. Under Uqbah’s influence, they proclaimed war on the Guardians, and on each other.

The Guardians, quickly realizing Uqbah’s work, imprisoned him within his own kingdom.

Yet just like Faatir, the Guardians were weakened.

Legends say they imprisoned themselves, taking their own souls, capturing them within a crystal, to be awakened when their strengths would be replenished.

They left behind only the temples they once slept in, hearing our prayers from their prisons of stone.

People Are Strange Birds

People are strange little birds.

It’s how I view them at least.

Strange little birds with their ups and downs in life. So determined to spread their wings and fly. So determined to explore that blue expanse of the sky.

Me, I’d consider myself an owl, perhaps crossbred with some sort of raven. A nocturnal creature that is intelligent, yet with that sly cunning of a precious black-feathered creature.

I’ve met all sorts of birds in my life. The innocence and purity of pretty little doves, the parrots that lack a single shred of originality, and the sharp-eyed eagles that stand above the rest.

The connection between human personalities and specimen of birds has always been so clear to me. When meeting a person, the second I can get a feel for who they are, it is as though a great pair of wings sprout from their backs, each individual with a different coloured plumage.

Some would see them as angels. I see them as the graceful, overconfident swans, the blunt yet honest roosters, and the intelligent and animated penguins.

And now the visions are becoming reality, the fantasies are be coming physical.

Soon, those beautiful specimens will breeze free from this cavern, free from their cages.

The resourceful yet flighty sparrows, the successful white, inflexible albatross, and the poised yet nosy hummingbirds.

Soon, those beautiful angels, those avian-human recombinants, will have a chance to spread their wings and experience the air as they were always meant too.

The flashy and colourful peacocks, the aggressive yet solitary cassowaries, and the athletic, unfocused swifts.

My beautiful, colourful creations. Revel in your true forms. Soon, you will see…

Yes, people are strange little birds indeed.

The Red Phone

The man was lonely, as often introverts are when they reach their older years. He couldn’t physically do much anymore, and without many people his own age around, he never found much joy in facing the world.

In fact, he found most joy in being in the old garage.

It wasn’t the prettiest thing. The ground was nothing more than dirt, and there were boxes scattered everywhere. The workbench was cluttered and filthy…the only relatively pristine things within the area included an old, ragged blue armchair, a typewriter, and the still shiny, vibrant red phone.

It as a phone that had heard many conversations. From invitations to lunch, to pleasant chats, to dreary calls from relatives, to sorry information that someone dear had passed…Yes, the phone had heard a lot in its time in the garage.

And it was about to hear another.

Continue reading “The Red Phone”

Memories

Sitting on the balcony, looking over the edge, I couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty. I had lived here since I was a child, and still the endless expanse of cloud and sky with islands of stunning architecture scattered throughout left me mesmerized.

Mind you, I suppose any floating city would be considered mesmerizing.

Floating city…why should any city float? Why should they not be grounded along with the rest?

I turned to share this train of thought with him.

That was before I remembered that he wasn’t there.

No, he had left. He went to float while I remained grounded.

 

I could still remember the concoction of emotions that flooded me when he announced his disappearance. Disappointment, fear, loneliness, betrayal …yet no shock. Somehow, I knew that this boy I had known since we were both 6 years old was destined for greatness.

Somehow, I knew that I would get left behind.

 

I remember him leaving. Burning determination in his eyes was found mixed in with the shinning excitement of the brown disks. Wrapped in the fuzzy blue cloak I had fashioned for him the moment I heard of his impending disappearance.

There wasn’t a hint of regret in his eyes. No hint of sorrow.

 

I shouldn’t have wanted there to be one. But I did.

 

He doesn’t miss me at all. He wouldn’t. I know that now.

 

I had heard nothing from him. Nothing of him…no. It’s like I never existed in his life.

But he certainly still existed in mine.

 

As I practice my abilities, I hear his words of teasing and encouragement.

As I read, I feel his warmth beside me as we ponder in silence.

As I sleep, I feel the weight of loneliness on my chest, suffocating me.

 

And as I sit here, looking out over the edge of one of the floating islands of Dalaran, absentmindedly tracing the lidless eye that was seared into my forearm, I see nothing but him in my minds eye.

 

If he were dead, would I know?

No…No I’m sure I wouldn’t. After all, I’m forgotten. A ghost. No, a ghost is something.

I’m nothing.

Breathe

Breathe. Just breathe.

In and out.

You are going to be okay.

You are safe. You are fine. No one is going to take you.

It’s only dark, and late, and you’re alone and vulnerable, in a sketchy part on the outskirts of town, in a creaking old house.

            In fact, why should you be worried that an unrecognizable car just pulled up on your usually abandoned street, stopped directly outside of your house for a few minutes, and then drove off? What’s abnormal about that?

 

My heartrate is picking up, the thoughts continuing to swirl rapidly in your head.

 

Breathe in. Breathe out.

            You are going to be okay.

            You are freaking out for no reason.
You don’t need to contact anyone.

 

A creak sounded through the house, followed by a loud bang, and my heart raced faster as I shot to check the windows, instinctively unlocking my cell phone.

 

            Emma. I need Emma. I need to talk to her, she can calm me down.

           

No. No, you’re okay. There’s no one outside. No sign of the car.

 

I paced around the house for a moment before lying in bed, the lights off and the house silent, a faint, calming glow coming from the one street lamp outside.

My eyes started to drift shut, my heart started to slow down.

 

Breathe in, breathe out. You’re okay. Everything’s fine. You can sleep now-

 

A rustling sound occurred, followed by what sounded like the click of the deadbolt lock on the front door.

I shot up from bed with my phone in hand once again, checking the door and the windows with my heart pounding.

 

Nothing.

 

No car. No creepy stalker planning to tie you up and rape you. No one planning to shoot you and raid your home. No psychopath or sexual sadist at your door after stalking you for several days and learning our patterns and knowing that there’s no one in or around your home to protect you.

You watch too many crime shows and horror movies.

Breathe in, breathe out. You’re okay.

 

Still, my fingers are itching for my phone. I need Emma around. She’s stronger than me; she can protect me.

 

Breathe deeply. You’re okay.

 

I grab my favourite blanket and wrap it around my shoulders, deciding to fix myself a cup of tea. Chamomile, soothing and warm. It should send me right off.

The house creaked again, twice, like footsteps. I thought I heard a car engine. My heart pounds.

The kettle is now boiling.

 

 

I cracked, turning on my phone and selecting my messages.

“Hey. Are you awake? I’m freaking out.”

I set my phone down and began staring out the window, directly at the spot where the car had parked before. I wasn’t sure why it was bothering me so much, the car being parked there before. It was probably just someone who had to pull over to take a call or send a text.

Or a drunken maniac who was going to break in through the window-

 

Breathe. You’re okay. You just need to breathe.

 

The heater kicked on at the same time my phone went off, causing me to jump about a foot.

“Are you okay?” was the response.

“No. I’m pathetic. I don’t know why this is happening. A car stopped outside a few hours ago and it hasn’t come back but I’m really scared.”

“I’m coming over. Just wait.”

“You don’t have too. I’m really sorry.”

“Don’t be. It’s ok. I’ll be there soon.”

“Sorry.”

 

My mind was soothed for a moment, my pulse normal and my chest warm as I felt hints of fatigue creeping into my mind.

 

*Creak*

 

My heart pounds again.

Is this anxiety? I’m not sure. I’ve had nights like this before, nights where the sounds keep me up and I struggle to calm down and close my eyes. But it’s never been this intense before, never this irrational. It’s never kept me up past 2 am, never driven me to ask someone to keep me company. I could have always managed by myself.

And now I feel more pathetic than ever. A grown woman who can’t even handle a night alone. Who needs to call her girlfriend to protect her from a nonexistent threat.

Pathetic.

Still, you just need to breathe. She’ll be here soon. She’ll-

 

*KNOCK KNOCK*

 

My heart stopped for a moment, and once again I crept towards the window.

This time, I saw a car.

A familiar, homely, beautiful yellow car.

“Emma,” I breathed, running to the door.

The minute it opened I was wrapped in an embrace, the familiar scent of her shampoo washing over me as she held me tightly.

“Are you okay?” she questioned.

“I’m better now,” I said shakily, my voice thick with tears.

“Did the car come back?”

“N-No.” Breathe. “I don’t know why I’m so worked up about this. And I just made you drive incredibly late at night for a dumb reason and I’m so sorry-“

A peck of her lips cut me off before she pulled me back into a hug.

“It’s okay. You’re going to finish your tea, and then we’re going to go to bed, alright? You’re safe now. You’re okay. You just need to breathe. You’re okay.”

 

And I could finally breathe now. It was simple again, effortless. Emma was like air to me. My personal savior sent to whisk me away from the hell I was living in. Even if that hell was my own mind.

We were curled up together in my room now, legs entwined and our hands linked.

It was silent finally, the house no longer creaking, the darkness no longer drowning me.

 

I could finally breathe.

 

“This can’t keep happening,” I heard myself say quietly. “You can’t keep driving over every time I have an attack.”

“Yes I can,” she argued lightly, but you cut her off.

“No, Em, it’s not fair on you.”

“I love you, of course I can,” she countered.

It was silent.

 

Breathe.

 

“Listen…what if I…” her voice trailed off, before coming back stronger. “What if I moved in?”

My heart picked up once again, for different reasons.

 

Breathe.

 

“You…you want to…what?”

“Move in,” she repeated, more firmly. “With you, if you want. We could spend more time together…and I could protect you.”

I started to process this.

“I’d love that,” I say quietly, smiling brightly at her. My Savior. “I love you.”

She smiled down at me. “Love you too. Goodnight.”

“Night.”

Finally, I slept.
Finally, I breathed.