Conversation: I

“What’s worse,” he began, “to regret, or to carry on unknowingly?”

She thought about that for a time. “…Are those my only options?” she countered. “Failure or ignorance?”

“Yes.”

A pregnant pause. 

“Regret,” she eventually answered. “Regret is far worse.”

“And what makes you say that?”

His tone was light, mildly interested. She shrugged. “Well, I’ve felt regret, and it feels something terrible,” she said. “But ignorance? I’ve never felt that. Ignorance doesn’t have a feeling. And I’d rather be numb than miserable.”

Red

Don’t lie, it’s all right

There’s no need for truth tonight

I just want to keep painting this fragile fantasy

Let me

Let me

Don’t try, it’s all right

There’s no need for us to fight

I just want to float around in this snow globe fantasy

Let me

Let me

I’d break skies for you

Grab the heavens with my fingers, rip them open, tear the clouds

Bleed sunsets into your pretty head

Make you hear navy, taste violet, know red

I understand now

I understand

Only Power: Chapter 4

The recently tailored robes fit, but Hadrian felt a stranger in them.

He’d stared at his reflection for a long time after initially donning the white, examining the boy in the polished silver who was no longer a boy at all, but a man.

Men in Ostium were considered mature enough to vote at the age of fifteen, and to serve in nearly any position of power by the age of seventeen. At eighteen years old, Hadrian was expected to fulfill his role as Senator, and to perform as aptly as his father had.

But Hadrian was not his father.

That much was clear by his appearance alone. Hadrian had contemplated this at length when he’d first put on the official robes, the clothing which all Senators wore to distinguish themselves from the commoners. His were white with green stitching, and fastened above his heart was his family’s sigil—a gleaming, silver serpent coiled around itself.

It may have been the same fabric which had once been draped around his father’s shoulders, but Hadrian Horatius could not have looked more different than Manius Horatius.

Manius had been tall and olive-skinned, a handsome man with smooth, auburn hair, broad shoulders, and a confidence that radiated about him. He was personable and friendly, an excellent speaker. Even those who despised him could not deny that he was charismatic, and probably hated him all the more for it.

Hadrian had inherited none of these traits.

He was nearly as short as his mother, with a thin frame and Lucia’s porcelain skin. His black hair was riddled with cowlicks, causing it to stick up on unevenly and giving one the impression that he had permanently just stepped out of a windstorm.

And all of this, perhaps, could have been tolerable. Hadrian might not have been so concerned with his appearance if the abnormalities ceased there… but then there were his eyes.

One was brown, a normal and benign hue. The other was not.

Hadrian’s right eye was a mixture of mottled colors, golden-orange near the center and a vivid, emerald green along the perimeter. His mother always said they reminded her of sunflowers and clover fields, or marigolds thriving within their foliage.

This iris alone was the single feature Hadrian had inherited from his father.


Excerpt from a continuing story of mine, Only Power. 

Linger

Full-bodied,
Rich,
You’re an oak-aged, liquid velvet.
So robust, aromatic,
Très charmant.

You’re made to sip,
Slowly.

You linger on the tongue,
Supple, smoky, slightly sweet.
Your after-taste says:

Wait.
Notice.
Feel.
Appreciate me for the masterpiece that I am.

Then, in the space between an exhale a lifetime –

Drink from me again.

You linger on the tongue…

Suffocating

Your presence is of the suffocating variety.

I wish I could say that I mean that in a metaphorical, poetic way, but I don’t. You literally make it difficult to get air into my lungs. Across the room, a single stare, a soft laugh. One tiny smile, and I can’t breathe.

It’s almost funny. How pathetic I am, I mean. I could be on my knees with my hands bound, my head bowed beneath the guillotine, and I still would be better off speaking like that than knowing you are in the vicinity. I could address the masses in the nude on national television more easily than I can respond to your witty banter or knowing smirk.

And it is knowing, isn’t it? You know all too well that your presence turns me into a hot mess, and I bet you get off on that.

No, I know you get off on that.

Arrogant prick.

It shouldn’t be allowed, for such egotistical people to be so beautiful or so charming. You are the proof that if God does exist, he’s not a kind, loving God, but an asshole, because why else would he create someone as dangerous as you? Someone so efficiently destructive and persuasive, so unforgivably attractive and cunning? I bet you could make murder seem deeply romantic.

No, I know you could.

…I don’t agree with anything you believe in.

I don’t support a single thing you want to change in this world.

You’re a menace and a threat; you’re the most bigoted, irrational, infuriating person I have ever come across… and I have come across a lot of bigoted, irrational, infuriating people.

…But none who were suffocating.

Across the room, a single stare, a soft laugh. One tiny smile, and my breath is stolen as quickly as though the blade’s been dropped and cut clean through my neck –  your laughter, the executioner.

At least my murder will be deeply romantic.