A Midnight Quest
Undreal hid from day’s flaxen rays that streamed
gold filaments through the forest’s leaf-roof.
Its touch burned her in her burrow; tears streamed
down her shadowed face and kissed the babe, proof
in her arms that she was no demon maid.
Fumbling fingers located her tarot
deck; she drew them out, shuffled them afraid
to find out if fate would throw future woe
her way. Cold cards slide against her palm–draw
one and risk it or put it back unseen?
She’d hours to fill before night broke the thaw
and cold descended deep, without star’s gleam.
Moon dark nights are best for hunting mortals;
‘cept the Undeem hunt her from their portals.
~ ~ ~
Renegade–a state she’d attained through mercy,
a crime among the Undeem, and this child
aided anchored her to controversy,
to this plane, made vulnerable a wild
thing unused to responsibility.
She cowered from sun’s fire and drew a card;
the Empress stared back at her, the guilty
one; her finger traced the cerise gown; card’s
faded from long ownership, which muted
the colors, but not its heavy portent.
Motherhood, mother earth–meanings rooted
in the continuance of this farce, meant
to end her and the child when the fight came.
No way could she fight a horde that became.
~ ~ ~
Day disappeared into hushed misery.
Night fell and the Undeem’s trackers sifted
scents carried by wind, seeking not faery
blood but mortal child; hunting calls drifted;
they made no secret of their search; no need
for stealth when they’d thousands and she’s alone.
From her mossy bed, she rose, swayed, she’d feed
but later, now for the running; night’s thrown
her no bone by hiding moon’s light, making
it easier for the Undeem to hunt.
They see best in deepest darkness, needing
no light at all, nor does she, streaking front
and center, hiding won’t help, running might,
anything to postpone a losing fight.
~ ~ ~
Holding the babe tight, she runs, becoming
a breath of wind rustling the leaves; not fast
enough, they’re gaining; their horns are calling
their beasts to the chase. Trees stand as the last
barrier–those magic’d, mute witnesses,
they don’t help her; their bark eyes look away
as yipping hordes, ripple from their synthesis,
sent by their mistress, the empress, whose way
is never thwarted, the bitch goddess, night’s
ruler and the Undeem’s too; surrounded
Undreal’s turning, keeping her charge from sight.
Shapes morph out of the formless cloth of dead
of night; they rush her, hit her with their spells–
incantations she’s able to repel.
~ ~ ~
Realizing their error, they tag team, throw
punches she dodges but they’re too many;
grasping hands catch her, allowing more blows
to land ’till she’s curled about the baby,
protecting its carnation cheeks, its pale
skin and its little limbs from harm; intact,
he’ll stay for how long, she can’t say; she’s failed.
They’re going back to the Undeem’s lands, a fact
that makes her sick with dread; action ceases,
they have fixed her with invisible bonds.
She can’t escape or move ‘cept in pieces.
Carry her back and the child too; still fond
she is of this one who caused her to break
free and her unlife, in her hands, she shakes.
~ ~ ~
Swift the horde moves flowing over hill, dale
and valley, streaming between trees, fleeing
coming dawn, whose singing her swan song; pale
sparks it sends up to light the clouds reeling
from night’s departure, not quick ’nuff to save
her and that makes her laugh; delirium’s
setting in since she hasn’t fed; no life caved
to hunger; insanity’s atrium
beckoned but a wail recalled her senses.
She had lived a mortal’s life for two days
with fierce determination; defenses
‘gainst a hunger, the babe could’ve sated, stayed.
She’d cared for the child, tucked deep in shadow,
and she’d felt peace root in her heart and grow.
~ ~ ~
The Quest continues tomorrow…
If you liked this, you’ll love:
It’s an enthralling tale told in verse with a quest that centers on finding the heart of this winter season.
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~ ~ ~
A Midnight’s Quest incorporated the following prompts: The Sunday Whirl #235, Color Your World: Carnation, Cerise; the Sunday Whirligig #43, Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s Writing Prompt 143 – The Empress, which supplied the lead image for this post. Also, Poetry 101 | Rehab | Evening