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Warm

When I open my eyes, I can see the ceiling. This is highly unusual, and means that I have fallen asleep with my contact lenses in. I should be concerned about this – not only is it unhealthy for your eyes, but it’s extremely uncomfortable – and my immediate reaction is to think that I should climb out of bed and take them out. This thought lasts no more than a few seconds, and is terminated by the sound of gentle snoring. To my right, a bleach-blonde mop of hair drapes across a neck that slopes into a strong shoulder before being hidden by bedclothes. His sleepy warmth radiates across the bed to me, the sound of his breathing is soothing but does not have the regularity of deep slumber. If I get out of bed, I will be disturbing his sleep twice over, and my racing mind, working this issue into a pearl, keeps me pinned in place.

Because I have resolved to spend the night wearing my contacts, and because I am certainly awake for the moment, I decide to stare out the window for a bit. Though I know the city stretches out into the horizon, a sea of lights sloping and rolling over the terrain, all I can see past his curtains is the deep navy blue of predawn. I wonder what time it is, but this thought quickly disappears into the white noise my racing mind is spitting out. As I listen to it worry about all the problems in my life as though they will all culminate in utter doom later this afternoon, my chest tightens, a black hole opens in my gut, I am rendered immobile between the sheets. For a long, silent stretch of time, not even the comfort of his bed can reach me; the anxiety makes me numb.

My boyfriend snores abruptly and, apparently having disturbed himself, shifts slightly without waking. Just enough movement to remind me that he is there, and I gingerly turn away from the window and pull myself close enough to him to rest my nose against that smooth valley of skin between his shoulder blades. Wrapped in his drab, masculine comforter and trying to absorb the heat of his sleep, I feel cocooned; he even smells like warm, and like sweet, and like the smell of his pheromones which I cannot quite put my finger on solidly enough to describe. There is nowhere else on the planet I would rather be at this moment, and if I cannot be safe from my own mind, I can at least be warm.

Kids

We are just two kids in dirty clothes. Twenty six years old and dog-paddling in the direction of what we hope is this “solid foundation” we’re supposed to have by now, the humid grey morning that has greeted us seems somehow appropriate to me. His bed and skin and smile are warm and inviting, my flesh and my lips and my heart are soft and welcoming, and these are the only sorts of things that matter when we enjoy each other’s company. Really, we are hiding. Cluttered bedrooms that smell of pot smoke are our sanctuaries and we stow away in them like children in blanket forts, avoiding as much of the world as we possibly can, but we can only hide there for so long at a time. Eventually the morning comes, like it has this morning, and he prepares for work. I will quietly smoke a cigarette with him and we will put on our clothes that have not been washed, because the washing machines cost money that we often don’t have, and we will emerge blinking in and exposed by the diffuse sunlight of a gloomy spring morning. He will go to work and I will go home, and this seems a very “responsible adult” thing to do. But when I get home, I will be greeted by a cluttered bedroom and a little jar of marijuana, and an entire day stretching before me with absolutely nothing to fill it which I will hide from.

We look like adults, and are supporting ourselves as society warrants. But this is all just something we do by choice, and we decide to do it every day. We wear the title of “adult” like a costume, we are playing the roles and wondering when the qualified actor will show up to take over. When nobody is looking, we’re just a couple of intimidated kids who can’t afford to wash their clothes.

Colorado Song (Somewhere in Between)

A - I started writing this song when my brother moved to Denver, but the melody never really got off the ground. Then, when you left, I tried again. I got to the chorus and I liked it, but I didn't love it, so I shelved it for a little while longer. It wasn't until last month that I was finally inspired to revisit it. The bridge pays tribute to my friend Kellee, ("every school day...") and to my brother James, ("when I hear them crows a'countin' on the radio...") but the book (and the rest of the song) are for you. I think of you and miss you every single day.  Love, B

Colorado Song (Somewhere in Between)

(Verse 1)
I think you're waving goodbye by now
I think I'm falling apart
I think I'd say I'm proud of you
but I can't get that far

(Chorus)

I don't know what you're looking for
in that endless rolling green
But I hope Colorado treats you well
and you keep me with you somewhere in between
Because wherever you go
I'm somewhere in between


(Verse 2)
I don't know where you'll end up now
I wish it were next to me
But you've got cars to drive and planes to take
And your restless heart is climbing rocky mountain dreams


(Chorus)
I don't know what you're looking for
in that endless rolling green
But I hope Colorado treats you well
and you keep me with you somewhere in between
Because wherever you go

I'm somewhere in between


(Bridge)
Every school day, every book and every memory
I can trace you through anything
And when I hear them crows a'countin' on the radio
Everything adds up to you and me

(Chorus)
I hope you find what you're looking for
In that endless rolling green
I know Colorado will treat you well
But please keep me with you somewhere in between
Because wherever you go I promise
Wherever you go I swear
Because wherever you go
I'm somewhere in between


 
It wasn't so much that I needed the help, but just that it made the most sense. Hunting, especially in this day and age, was a time consuming affair - you needed first to track down a suitable victim, and then watch them until the perfect time presented itself, find a secluded enough place to do the dirty work, and then there was the whole business of what to do with the body when you were done with it. If you also took into account the necessity of maintaining the charade of a human life, which was exhausting enough in itself, you ended up with a process that could take days, and for a hungry predator such as myself that was simply not sufficient. If you had someone doing the time-consuming stuff for you though, an efficient hunter could do it in a matter of hours - a far better use of a man's precious time, and infinitely safer. A hungry vampire was a danger to his cover, and i'd been here for too bloody long to start fucking it all up for myself over a few missed meals. This was why I'd commissioned K. 

The shadows swarmed into greet me as I entered K's alley, greedily sucking at my boots as if I had brought their meal with me. 

"They're hungry tonight," I said, as I heard K's quiet footfalls approached from the blackness. The shadows fell away from him like heavy mist as he stepped into the cold moonlight; he stopped and frowned at the full moon. The light it cast to tonight was as bright as I'd ever seen it - great for seeing one's prey, but awful for actual hunting. K squinted, visibly uncomfortable in the brightness. 

"Tonight won't be easy with moonlight like this. No wonder they're so hungry."

"I trust you compensated for that, K. I'm hungry too."

"Please, Marcus! It's like you don't trust me." He flashed a grin at me, teeth shining as he pulled the hood of his sweatshirt over his curls. 

"I don't," I said, smiling. "I'm smarter than that."

"And it's too bad, too. I could've robbed you blind by now otherwise." He laughed a little, sounding not unlike a strangling bird. I winced at the terrible noise but covered it with a good natured chuckle, accepting his teasing for what it was worth. I could barely tolerate his speaking voice, but his laugh was particularly hard on my sensitive ears. "Don't worry, I chose a nice fresh one for you." 

"Good, I'm starving. That old guy you got me last time hardly lasted me - I almost took out a couple kids at the market today." 

He didn't answer, leading on indignantly. K did not take criticism well, and usually I didn't have to give it, but it had been a particularly long weekend - I'd had to work an extra day a the office on Saturday and had had to skip our last hunt, and my hunger was wearing my patience thinner than usual. I had to remind myself that he was my ally here, and would leave me to starve if I pissed him off. I bit back further snippy remarks. 

K wove through the streets like a trained rat in a cage - he knew the path cold. Not that I doubted him. The dirty streets were K's territory, and nobody knew them better than he did. In his day he'd been the gopher of a very high powered general, and had needed to be able to get anywhere and everywhere in this massive city at his master's slightest whim. I had to admit he'd exploited his knowledge expertly; I knew at least a dozen people using K's many services for one thing or another. I took pride in knowing that at least my requests of him were straightforward and easy to accomplish - from some of the stories he'd told, this could not be said for most of his other commissions. Besides the relative ease, our particular arrangement was of special importance to K because he got something out of it - or rather those shadows of his did - which was incentive enough for him to always have me at the top of his priority list. This was not an easy thing to accomplish with him, so I always made sure I returned the favor, Saturday obviously notwithstanding. 

"Sorry I had to cancel on you this weekend, friend," I said, ducking under the rusted remains of a chain link fence as i struggled to keep up with him. "I couldn't get out of it. I tried, really I did."

"Whatever you say," he rasped from up ahead, his sandpaper voice barely audible to me. I jogged ahead a way in order to try to hear him better, but he had stopped and turned to face me, and I ended up uncomfortably close to the powerful little Seeker. I could not see his eyes, but his body was tense, and his sneer was accusing. "They've gotten to you, haven't they, Marcus? The humans. You've gotten in too deep and now you're soft on them. I can see it written all over your face. A hundred years ago you never would have let your cover take precedence over your real life, and now look at you: making excuses for a skipped meal like some bloody human businessman who's late for dinner. Frankly, I think it's pathetic," he spat sharply. K quickly regained his composure. "but it's none of my business what you do. If you want to keep playing Human it's fine by me, but you'll never be one of them, Marcus. They're stupid and panicky, weaker than they know. They'll always just be our prey, and you'd be best served to remember that." 

He spun on his heel and walked through a shadow, leaving me in shocked silence to collect myself. 

Two-Faced

There was something about her, enticingly mysterious and deeply disturbing all at once. He wasn’t entirely sure what it was. Perhaps it was the way that, between moments of brightness and Christmas-tree smiles, she seemed to lose focus and slip away inside her head. More than once, when all of her company was otherwise distracted or occupied with other conversation, he caught her staring at some point that seemed very far away, as if she were intently studying something horrible just beyond the wall. Her eyes – a vibrant hazel, like a sunny forest floor – would become cloudy and her face would slacken into something almost unrecognizable, and she became someone who looked very sad, entirely lost and even confused. But then something would catch her attention, and it was like her face would snap back into focus and her smile returned and the sun caught her eyes again and she would be herself, as if nothing had happened. He wondered if her friends even noticed – they didn’t seem to, or if they did, they were either used to it or they didn’t know how to broach the topic. Perhaps those moments where she went away within herself were just as scary to them as it was to him, and he didn’t even really know her. When she was back, though, she was something entirely different. Quirky, smiley and quick-witted, she brushed off her innate awkwardness with a cool air of acceptance and good humor that drew everybody close to her - she was a Jekyll and Hyde, inwardly two-faced. He was terrified by her, but could not help but feel intensely drawn to her. He wanted to know every demon she harbored.
The cursor blinked expectantly within the blank text box that glowed out at him from his computer screen. He counted how many times it flashed: nine, ten, eleven...

Miles sighed and rubbed his temples, trying to will away to heavy, full feeling in his head. It wasn't helping him write today's entry.

Today my head feels full, he wrote. but not of words and good, productive stuff that I could use to write this damn thing. It feels like someone filled my head with jell-o while I wasn't paying attention. Or that stuff that they put in blue ice packs. Or the stuff that they put inside my stress ball. Or the gel stuff inside the keyboard wrist support I'm slowly killing by picking it to death - it's too much fun to play with. But I wish it would get out of my head.

The vodka and beers last night probably didn't help, he thought, and considered putting that in there.

The trip to the bar last night probably made this worse he added, hesitantly. That probably makes me sound like an alchie-holick. I'm not, I swear. And anyway, I probably would have felt like this regardless of whether or not I got wasted last night (which I didn't. Much.)

Anyway, that's what today's blog entry is about. I know it's not very productive. I promised that I would only try to do productive blogging here... but I wrote THIS, I produced it if you will, which can only mean that I was productive in writing it. So.

My name is Miles, I'm the World's Worst Writer, and today my head is full of the stuff that they put inside my keyboard wrist support.


He slumped back against his chair and re-read the entry. It was awful - truly, awful. The cursor, blinking in the space after the last period, seemed somehow amused by what it had transcribed. But, rules were rules; once it was written, that was it, permanent, like concrete, written there forever and thus could not be deleted or destroyed. That was what he'd agreed upon.

Miles clicked the 'post' button, and made the horrendous entry public.

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compartmentalization

He was trapped at another open-mic.... god, he hated these things - not that he'd ever tell his friends that, because he genuinely liked their music and wanted to support them; he just absolutely detested the other talentless wannabes he had to sit through and he barely mustered the patience each week to suffer through the 'music' they warbled for minutes on end. But if he could show up every week just before they played their sets and then leave immediately after, he would. Unfortunately for him, that was not the way these events functioned - it was the nature of open-mics to be crap shoots. Even more unfortunately, he often lost; especially tonight. He'd been unwillingly roped into this one, guilted and bribed by a friend whose sad puppy eyes he couldn't seem to say no to, and now here he was, stone sober and on his 21st hour of consciousness, thinking helplessly of all the places he'd rather be and things he'd rather be drinking in the safety of his own home than listening to some hack drunkenly butcher an Eagles song. A drunk was slurring something at him about buffalo after which he proceeded to attempt to hug the waitress, who slapped him. The bar stool was uncomfortable. The speakers were so loud that sound reverberated in his skull. To make matters all the worse, his sleep deprivation was exaggerating. He felt like an insect under a glass, alone with his own baseless misery in a room full of people; he could interact with whomever he chose, but he remained untouchable.
She was a pretty, uncoordinated girl with deep, sad eyes. Dreamy and naively idealistic, she had a bewildering tendency to speak in concentric circles until someone told her that she could stop because they understood her point. She had a Mediterranean look about her, pale olive-toned skin and hair the color of burnt espresso, and she could have been beautiful – and she was if one considered all of her parts separately, but her self-confidence was shaky at best. She was overly conscious of the way her body, which was feminine and full, folded on itself in certain places, and this had a sort of wet-blanket effect on her overall impression. But she had a vivid imagination, full of colorful people and fabulous places, that she strove to express in any way she could manage to fully articulate. She very rarely succeeded, she admitted to him once, but that didn’t stop her from trying… well, sometimes anyway. He had to admire her tenacity, even though it made him sad to know that she seemed unable to realize that she wasn’t even coming close to fulfilling her potential.

Landscapes

[written in an airplane.]

From this height, it was uncanny how the landscape resembled human skin. A dry river ran like an ugly scar across the belly of South Dakota, or maybe Iowa, the wrinkled edges pulling flesh as it tried to heal. Small foothills, like little seedling mountains, densely pockmarked the expanse of green like an old burn; fields and tiny patches of farmland made her skintone grossly uneven. Now there were a series of small lakes, like remnants of battle wounds from a young girl's fight with debilitating acne. Fine lines, small country roads, were revealing her age.

Strange how when one thinks of a rolling landscape as a woman she would be ugly; but if one thinks of a woman as a great rolling landscape, she wounds incredibly beautiful and majestic.

I am small, but I am humbly exploring her.

the Woodstock fantasy

Every time he performed, in his mind he performed at Woodstock. He never told anyone that, not even his band who'd stuck by him through everything.

He hadn't even been born when Woodstock happened, in a farmer's field in the tumultuous summer of 1969, but his father had and even though his dad refused to tell him his experiences that weekend, he'd gotten every detail from his father's oldest friends. He'd heard as many albums and soundtracks and seen as much footage as he could get his hands on; he'd fantasized about playing guitar for those many thousands of dirty, peaceful, stoned faces since childhood. It had fueled his young passion, kindled it in his soul from a hobby into a full-blown obsession.

Now that he had the opportunity to play for large crowds, even festivals - as often as possible, and he almost never turned one down - that childhood fantasy was as dear to his heart as ever. In his mind, in his heart of hearts, every time he played on that stage, he imagined that he was getting a chance to play a part in a monumental, life-altering, timeless and enduring concert.

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