Between Dreams and Boats
They dragged the boat onto shore at Nolo’s
direction, left it by boat house’s raft stack
‘fore hiking ‘cross the lightening meadow.
Dawn gilded the river as the mount’s track
wound in graveled ribbons around its girth.
The weight of Nolo’s unasked questions pressed
down on Sarn with e’ery step; his self worth
dwindled away in quiet that oppressed.
Ran stirred, slept in his arms without a care
held safe there, his stuffed bear clutched, blanket
wrapped and warm, no need to see where
Sarn carried him, content to sleep, racket
from their passage no bother to repose.
The child slept on in peace and trust, well disposed.
~ ~ ~
“…that is not dead which can eternal lie,
and with strange aeons even death may die.”
A man shouted as he ran past chased by
guards forcing their party to step aside.
More he said, something about a ‘Lovecraft’
but Sarn missed it, he arrested Nerule’s
fall one-handed with a magic he drafted
on the fly catching him like an ampule
and set him on the precipitous path.
Somehow he did all this without jostling
his son, who slept on, as he trod the path.
Sarn watched Nerule stagger on, sleep pulling
him down, wond’ring why Nolo didn’t carry
his son, Nerule wasn’t too big to carry.
~ ~ ~
“Don’t get involved,” Miren grunted; fishing
lures stuck out of his pockets, unused since
chance hadn’t afforded them time for fishing.
Because Sarn’s magic had gone awry; rinse,
repeat, the story of his life lately.
He chewed on guilt’s cigarette and its smoke
choked him with its acrid burn bitterly
deserved for his lack of control– that yoke
he could never wear for long, but needed.
Nerule tripped and Sarn caught him with magic.
Why didn’t Nolo carry his son? Needled
by this, he opened his mouth, but tragic
fate was interrupted by Inari,
who picked up her son, staggered, but walked free.
~ ~ ~
Nolo walked beside his wife who struggled
to carry their son; Nolo didn’t notice.
He listened to her account of bungled
plans but gravel’s crunch did Sarn an injustice
by interrupting their conversation.
“Stop scheming,”Miren tapped his crutch against
Sarn’s booted heel to catch his attention.
“I know what you’re thinking; just don’t.” Sarn tensed
magic’s sweet lure, its vicious flood of facts
that constantly streamed into his mind’s black
box had calculated and he must act–
‘fore Inari’s arms gave out or her back.
Magic threw a line to her, smoothed the crease
‘tween her brows drawn by strain, eased by decrease.
~ ~ ~
Sarn smiled as his magic took up the the load,
reduced Nerule, who, twice Ran’s age and weight,
now magically reduced to half the load.
Nolo still didn’t see his family’s state
or sense the spread of Sarn’s magic embrace
but Nerule’s sleepy wink and Inari’s
backwards glance said his aid had been embraced.
Perhaps he’d gone to an extreme or three,
but he didn’t think so as Mount Eredren’s
double leaf doors cracked open ‘tween granite
slabs that held up its edifice by men,
pike-holding, owl pendant wearing, gray knit
sweatered guards who’re all staring at a glass
jar and tinker ‘splaining what inside massed.
~ ~ ~
Of course his son chose that moment to wake.
Ran wanted to see the tufted cotton,
the folded paper birds and the string flakes.
All that fit within a glass jar gotten
in Renthalia, city of strange things.
The others went in, not even Miren
wanted to stick around to look at things.
Tinker had drawings to display of men
wearing boxes with an ant’s antennas
sticking out and those images one guard
bought and rolled up to give to his Anna.
Next a porcelain doll, her cigarette charred,
but still sticking out of her mouth appeared.
Sarn and his son left, feeling nightmares near.
~ ~ ~
Sarn reached the suite to find Nolo waiting.
His whole body shouted accusations.
Stay out of sight, out of trouble, that thing–
that magic–cage it–for the duration.
Condemnation, silent, hurled by dark eyes
that pierce, more than words, with disappointment.
One little thing Nolo had asked, said eyes
that saw a screw up hunched in atonement.
“I screwed up; I’m sorry,” and nothing more
’cause all he had was the truth: ugly, bald.
No excuses, just his back for whipping
if his master deemed it so or so-called
leniency in the guise of more working
hours, time away from the son, in his arms,
napping, whose bright smile never fails to charm.
~ ~ ~
Ran blinked tired eyes that reflected none
of the things Nolo’s eyes projected.
No screw up within his sight, just the one
person who mattered most and accepted
his smile with gratitude as Sarn kicked closed
the door to his borrowed room ending things.
Nolo didn’t call out or knock, he let close
the issue for now but he’d rehash things.
“Why you sad?” Ran traced Sarn’s frown as he lay
ready for the night to end, dreams to come.
“Why Nolo makes you sad?” Ran squirmed close, lay
his head on Sarn’s heart, but no answer’d come.
The green glow that wreathed Sarn’s sight bore shadows
cast by exhaustion; opened dream’s window…
~ ~ ~
Continued in The Rusted King and the Drum.
I’m sorry this one’s out of sequence. I got out of sequence last week and the ending for Beloved and the Trouble with Magical Security didn’t quite sync up with The Rusted King and the Drum. So I have corrected that. I wanted the Christmas sequence to be seamless–one continuous storyline–and now it is. Thank you for reading.
How funny is that today’s prompt by the Daily Post is Safety First? This sequence is all about safety!🙂