Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Free parts

A girl in three parts,
Dancing freely, glimpsed
In three windows' reflections.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Brushfire, Brushstrokes

B r u s h s t r o k e s
Shrub
          spokes
Field            smokes
Fires            stoked
         Evoked
Eyes              looked
       Misspoke

      Mind woke

Rearview camera vision

Reflection below
Streetlight above
Bounced back up
Splashing raindrops,
Interrupting image,
Electric-looking
Firework spitting,
Sparking impossibly
On pavement's
Wet-glossy black
Asphalt slick face.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Holiday lights

an unbroken chain of holiday lights
stretches across the city.
not decorations:
the headlights of flocking shoppers.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Waves

The misty city's distant hill became a rolling sea,
each house a white-capped wave disturbance
on a dark background of trees.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Planes Make Rains

loudly passing
planes are crashing
into clouds,
silent-loud:
rain spills out,
eyes in doubt.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Return

Pain, the Pavlovian teacher,
Breeds aversion into us from the start.

Aversion, the avian escape:
Flies us for now, but shits on us later.

Like a flock of hungry birds,
We startle quickly; want makes us return.

Desire: our roost, our fire;
Our life-sized cage that binds and burns.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Gusting

A strong, gusting breeze,
Sure to pluck the colored leaves
From the drowsy, winter-bound trees
Before they freeze.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Lepidoptera

A butterfly lands on your arm.
It slowly opens and closes its wings,
Catching your attention as the sunlight glimmers
On the wings constructed from tiny, oily scales.

You want it to stay, but soon it flies away,
Leaving you behind in your own dismay.
You'd like to capture it in a jar,
But it would surely die if you held it captive for as long as you'd like.

Gripping it with your fingers would destroy the very thing you seek.
Following it would quickly become impossible,
As you are unable to fly, yourself--hence its appeal--
And what good would it do to follow it till its end?

Or perhaps you despise butterflies
And wish to crush it, smash it to smithereens,
But you'd be covered in its innards, left with a mess:
It would have its revenge from beyond the grave:
For all your hateful effort, you would not be rid of it.

Realizing the errant nature of these urges,
You let it flitter away, to whatever fate
awaits its buttery-winged life,
Content that while you won't know it well
And may never see it again,
It's best for the both of you to part freely
After your brief chance encounter.

And you realize that there will always be more butterflies.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Layering

From up here,
You think your feet could touch
The cottony cloud tops
Just below,

But actually
You can't reach,
And the closer you get
The less there is of substance.


Strips of cloud so thin and fragile:
The insubstantial filling
In an invisible and chaotic
layer cake
made of wind

Landing

The roar of a landing plane:
The distinct impression you've ridden in
On a thunderbolt.

The Sea

The sea of endless waves,
Like a sea of endless waves.

Amoebic Ocean

Lapping the sandy shore,
The waves of an ocean
Are like a vast amoeba,
Trying to engulf its prey
With infinite patience
And tiny repeated efforts;
And gradually succeeding.

Jodo Mission

Kiawe seeds in pods
Wind through waves and sand
Grains of consciousness in mind

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Bare

Bare sky,
Bare toes:
Wind through both.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fond

Fond touches
Walking couple
Happy arms:
Thru window screen
Genders unseen

Monday, August 18, 2014

Goldfish Moon

Our moon was a goldfish
Or at least its eye,
Oversized, in the middle
Of its misshapen halo body
Of wispy, silvery-colored gold.
Out it rose from behind a hill
Or a castle in the bowl of the sky.

Mirrors, Mirror

Two mirrors
Facing each other

Saw dim, distant
reflections
of themselves
In the other.

Both were right,
And both were wrong.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Light Pollution

A bright meteorite
Cuts through city lights
And the atmosphere
To reach my eyes

Monday, August 4, 2014

Vinegar Streets

Driving city streets
I smelled the scent of vinegar
With the windows down

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Curve

Your smile:
Picturing its upward curve
Delights

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Crow Calls, Randy Ravens

I'm curious: to crows
what kind of call
is comeliest of all?

Restated: to ravens,
are raucous, rasping
responses erotic?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Balloon

A punctured balloon
Leaking air:
Tired exhalation.

Mirror

Looking in the bathroom mirror,
Suprised to see:
Looks like I have it together,
Not how I feel.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Reach

A naked feeling
A card fallen to the ground
And no crutch to reach

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ziggurat

Cascading water
blankets the surface
of a conical brick ziggurat,
a single downward-outward sheet.

If you watch it too closely,
the bricks will lift up
and fly into the sky.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Of the gaps

Fighting the invisible demons of airflow:
They moan and howl in bitter protest
As I pull hard on the door
To close that very
Last
         little
Bit

Chopsticks

Getting hold of some people
Is so difficult:
It's like picking up
Very soft tofu
Using very thin chopsticks

Her Touch

The subtle softness
Of a skilled touch
Applied with grace,
Pressing not much
Along my face.
But she's a stylist,
It's just her work,
Nothing personal;
Still it makes her
Twice as beautiful.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bluish Sky

Empty bluish sky
Where the mountaintop should be,
As if photoshopped.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Cloud top

Another white cloud,
High as its nearby neighbors:
Top of Mount Rainier

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Bushes

Bushes by the roadside:
someone stops to see something
hidden within them.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Portal

I discovered a portal...


I approached it cautiously...


Curiosity got the better of me: I reached my hand in...


I felt something visceral, twisted...

 

The world flashed...


And when I awoke, disoriented, I was back in my car right where I'd parked, everything seemingly back to normal...


But something had followed me back.




Saturday, June 14, 2014

Woman

A woman,
The woman,
The woman I can and can't understand.

A woman,
This woman,
Would give so much just for her hand.

Ah, woman,
That woman,
She'll break me with hardly a glance.

Oh woman,
You woman,
Your appeal defies the pen in my hand.

No woman!
What woman?
She fell through my fingers like sand.

Hold

A chilly rooftop evening,
A hungry man tired to stand.
A beauty compels him wait on;
A wish to hold at least her hand.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Not so bad

This is the worst, I think.
Hands occupied driving,
I'm silently clapping
both halves
of my brain together
when the other car moves.

Mushroom Clouds

Sitting on a roof watching thunderheads grow like mushrooms
And blow away as storm-spores across the mountains that cascade
And range along the entire horizon as if they were a giant, rotting log,
Splintering to  pieces across the landscape, hemming in my city's Sound.

The wind is a constant and annoying relief, chilling the heat of the sun.
Each mushroom cap punctuating the lumpy-rugged mountain-log skyline
Is a storm for someone somewhere else to endure, or to enjoy if they're like me:

Sitting on a roof, enjoying thunderstorms regrettably only from a great distance.

migraine

migraine
eyes twitch
my brain
is taxed
dendrite
neuron
toxic
loaded
no sleep
dizzy
focus
softly
rattling
waking
ending
daytime
burden
sun is
painful
bitter
fruitless
attempts
seeking
relief
sickened
meeting
just grief
lost it
senses
clouded
judgment
hazy
thoughts all
rambled
tasered
crazy
hare brain
madly
schemeless
themeless
essence
captured

Friday, June 6, 2014

Becker

It's a thin line to walk between strength and pain
When your body is weak, your muscles misbuilt.
In exercise there's less of joy and less of gain;
But to dystrophy, lethargy adds atrophy and guilt.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Apples in June

Apples in June:
They must've traveled backward
In time a few months

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sliver

A nail clipping
Held up against the blue sky
Looks just like this moon.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Night Back Home

The vividness of the silent dark—
After light
After noise
After distraction—
Glimpsed as the door to the outside world slams itself shut.

The stillness of an empty place—
After traffic
After stress
After confusion—
Refuge for a tired mind when the day has screeched to a halt.

The coolness of a lonely bed—
Nobody
But yourself
Disturbing your sleep—
Distant dreams the one piece of satisfaction that won't come.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sharklike

If I can smile sharklike about a simple thought,
I'll sleep soundly, silently, stationary, still swimming,
A sea of ideas steadily streaming through the gills of my mind.

If I could be cartilaginous, flexible-boned,
I could squeeze, slip into my mind's undiscovered crevices,
Explore beyond the slim cracks between the slats of my understanding.

If I could sense the electricity of your heartbeat,
I could snatch up your whole heart swiftly like a hungry predator;
Instead, like a filter feeder, I suck in a million minute morsels.

The Thor's Prayer

O Thor who art in heaven, loud be thy name.
Thy lightning come, thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily dread, and thunder us deaf, until we have forgotten our deafness.
And lead us into Ragnarök, and deliver us from the world serpent.
For thine is the hammer, the thunder and the glory, amen.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Fluff

A sole sunlit speck
Descends in a gentle arc.
Can't tell what it is.


Cottonwood seed fluff
Won't melt the way snowflakes do:
Don't try to eat it!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Elegance

A plant with no rainfall
Holds its water dear.

Leaves fat like swollen fingers:
Water not, waste not, want not;
Save not, grow not, live not.

Flowers like tiny white sparks,
Sparse: enough and no more.

In an economy of beauty,
Meted out discretely,
Restraint inflames passion.

Cloud Cover

Clouds blown, smeared out like sand dunes:
Too dim to photograph, but bright in my mind,
Which feels as smeared out as the clouds look,

Disappointed as the dark sky would be if empty,
A vast, inky sea with no sandy-shored islands.
I feel the same placid let-down for the moon,

Which fails to show at the appointed hour
Merely because the sky dislikes being bare,
And shrouds the view from my lofty overlook.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Horizon

Evening horizon
Starts to glow red like embers,
Looking east: moonrise


Image

Monday, May 12, 2014

Wave Reflection

Shadows flashing
From sun and cloud.
Wide waves swelling
From the wind and motion,
Shimmering light
Reflected back;
Suddenly I notice
The world is now fluid,
Itself the glossed surface
Of a vast lake.

Feelings muted
From realization,
Self harsh-questioned
For inartful action;
Something deeper,
On the edge of sensing,
Dreadful to feel,
Indescribably bobs,
Draws me within,
Irresistibly pulled.

Submerged in the water,
Ceaselessly shifting is
Reflection of a truth
That can't be grasped.

One that, when cupped
A moment in the hands,
Loses all depth,
Becoming once
Clearly seen and useless,
Captured and lost,
Well-defined and
Vanishing forever,
Dripping between
Sieve-like fingers.

The sun breaks free,
The wind whips up,
Forming ripples,
Tiny-sparking:
The same pattern
Never repeats.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Bjorn Skol: How I Looked for Love



I drove madly up and down the streets looking for a woman I knew I would find against impossible odds. She had dazzled me, disoriented me, loved me, and left me in the space of about three seconds, and I just had to find out if there was more to it than that. Something cosmic and life-changing, even revolutionary and unchangeable? Whatever it was, I knew it was there, even if it couldn’t be. No matter how unlikely, I would find it.

My rational mind had many things to say about this: you’ll never find her, what will you actually say, you probably don’t have anything substantial in common anyway, of course you realize this is nonsense, right? But I’d effectively lost my mind. What that meant when it was intact as a backseat driver wasn’t abundantly clear, but I didn’t need the thing to guide me, anyway. That was the point.

Clearly I was able to function without it. She couldn’t have gone far, right?

My mind didn’t answer. Typical.

Of course it wasn’t far, she could only have gone so far. Cars were fast, but bikes were slow! It was obvious. But the lakeside corridor was easy to traverse by bike, being mostly flat. But I couldn’t be pressed to worry about such details.

“Will you even recognize her if you see her?” I’d been asked by some sane part of my brain.

“Of course,” I replied.

“So what does she look like,” it asked.

“Well, sunglasses…helmet…uh, brown hair. I think she was white. Pretty. Kind of offbeat, maybe with some tattoos? And wearing…something tannish or brown? With patterns? Maybe pants or shorts?”

“Ha. So you just need to find a woman on a sunny day in biker’s paradise in Seattle, a very white town, who has a helmet and sunglasses on.”

“Yeah. Well, it’s not that white….plus we’re not far from the areas that have the most black people in them.”

“And you’ve seen enough black folks down here for them to make a difference statistically?”

“Yeah, I think there were like a half dozen or so? Maybe they weren’t all black, but for the purpose of this search, it’s just general skin tone that matters.”

“You’re being awfully rational up there without me. But don’t get cocky; you’re missing the point.”

“You're being awfully annoyed for being my unemotional side. What's the point, then?”

“You’ll never find her.”

“Stop being so negative.”

“You know, just get my attention when you’ve failed here. I’ve got better things to do.”

“Like?”

“Like focusing on not letting you forget rules of the road. Watch out for that kid!”

“I saw the kid.”

“Anyway, later.”

“Bye.”

I kept on without him. It. Me. Whatever. Or at least, I was still questing and driven by emotion, and possibly caffeine in my veins and soreness in my eyes from too much sun exposure and not enough water. Anyway, I was doing my own thing without paying any attention whatsoever to what the rational part of my brain was up to quietly in the background. Self-preservation and other menial, trivial tasks. Nothing so important as looking for a cosmically-intended love.

Why hadn’t I tried to find her right away? Instead of going after her, I’d left the area and gotten all the way up the hill, away from the water, before I’d realized I had to go back and at least try to find her. Perhaps that was what had done this effort in before it began.

This, of course, was the reason for my failure. It was just like the airliner I’d lost earlier: there it was, flying eastward, when I glanced away; immediately afterward, I’d glanced back and it was gone, no way to have covered the space between it and the nearest clouds. Or so my eyes told me.

Clearly, something strange had happened when I looked away, but what it was I couldn’t say. What sort of thing could cause that? Maybe that’s what happened to that missing flight in Asia. Now it’s in some other time or reality with no hope of return. Someone had even said that.

I’d have to check the news to see about any local missing flights.

Back to the driving: I watched the streets and scoured faced of the people on either side of the road, especially those with bikes. At a crowded section with cafes and lots of people, I realized it really was like a needle in a haystack. The ghost of my minds voice told me, “see?”, but of course I was still out of my mind and after its brief check-in, I hadn’t heard back.

I saw a girl in a dress with a bike laying on the grass, but I didn’t think it was her. I thought she noticed me noticing her, and hopefully didn’t think I was trying to look up her dress because she was doing something to adjust it as I passed.

I was beginning to grow doubtful. Anyway, I was getting to explore and enjoy a beautiful area and seeing some sights, at least when I wasn’t busy dodging bikes.

My doubt crystallized when I realized that part of the road ahead was closed to cars.

“A place where cars can’t go!? This is madness! How will I find her?”

“Well I’d say something but—“

“Nope, not listening, not going to give up!”

“Well you’ve been at this for a good thirty minutes, you can’t keep it up and you can’t go down there.”

“Sure I can, it’s got to be fate that we’ll meet!”

“But you did meet. You said hello. Nothing else happened until you got this fate business in your head after the fact.”

“…that’s only a minor setback.”

“Well how do you know it’s fate, anyway?”

“I can feel it.”

“That emotion you’re feeling, I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

“Why not?”

“For starters, it’s the same feeling you get when you think about going somewhere to get a good sandwich.”

“No it’s not. It’s so much bigger than that.”

“Yes it is. Just as if it were a really big sandwich.”

“I really don’t believe you.”

“But you trust this feeling? Great. Do I need to explain to you how you can’t use a feeling to justify a feeling? You sound like some kind of religious zealot.”

“I do not.”

“Yes you do.”

“No I don’t.”

“This is asinine. You’re taking a position of faith that is based only upon itself. That’s circular logic. You’ve lost the argument.”

“…No I haven’t.”

“Sigh. Well never mind that then. How about the fact that every passing minute puts her position both further away and more uncertain? That doesn’t bother you?”

“Should it?”

“I—I’m not going to answer that. You really have lost it this time.”

“I’m sure some intuition will kick in and tell me which way to go to find her.”

“Sure.”

“I bet if I just keep going—“

“You’ll run out of gas before you accomplish anything? Why do you hate the earth?”

“I don’t—hey, stop changing the subject.”

“You’re the one who changed it away from how you can’t drive any further on this road.”

I was right. I’d already diverted through a shady forested area.

“Well, I can go around and meet up with this road afterwards.”

“Do you think she’s just going in a straight line? She’s going to go off the path sometime.”

“And that’s precisely when our paths will cross again!”

“You are utterly hopeless.”

“I think you are the hopeless one here, brain!”

I must have won because it shut up after that.

I tried following a few of the bike routes that led away from the water. She probably lived closer to where I lived, so maybe she’d already taken one of those in the same direction. But it was slower for bikers gong up these steep hills, so she couldn’t have gone far that way, and I saw nobody fitting her description. If she’d gone where I couldn’t drive, maybe it was fate that we’d meet another day.

Maybe that’s what I needed to learn here: when to stop trying to do something by trying and instead letting it happen. That idea became appealing, and certainly not because I was getting tired of driving around with no plan. Though I would never admit such a thing.

That must be it, then. The universe would probably dump her right in my lap—figuratively, that is—as soon as I relaxed and stopped trying to make something happen. That was how it got you: right when you stopped expecting it.

So I had to work on stopping that expectation while still believing in it. Tricky.

I didn’t give up though: I just retraced my route and took a detour to the grocery store. I did have to pee, so what would be a good place to take care of that and get some groceries. And lunch. I was really hungry, I began to notice.

Hey, maybe she shopped at the same store. Maybe she lived in the same neighborhood and I would meet her for real any day now. Maybe, if I just kept my eyes open, I could suddenly have a chance encounter that would begin the dream life I’d just been hoping for. Everything would be perfect.

You had to believe in these things, of course, even if the evidence for them had always been absent or actually negative. That was the wrong way to think about it. For this was The Truth I was seeking, governed by orderly rules of fate, and surely I would be due some great reward for putting forth the effort to believe, right?

A Hair (Not Mine)

A long hair appears
Entwined between my fingers.
Who is the owner?

A former lover,
Or one merely wished for?

Bridges

Between two freeways
You'd never expect to find
Such a still, calm place

Don't Blink

An offbeat, pretty girl
Cycles by,
Slows,
We say hi.
Does all love
Last a blink of an eye?

Dammed Poetry by a Fallen One (But it's Alright in the Moonlight)

Sometimes a fall to the ground
Is worth any pain or debasement
To look up and notice the moon
On a mostly cloudy night,
Emerging from behind its cover,
Shining clearly and brightly
While the clouds drift past
Peacefully in the silver moonlight.

(That's enough damned poetry,
I'm going to climb back up now.)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Humble Narrator

        I narrate my life
—feeling so effusive now—
       otherwise I'd burst

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Dawning Sounds

Like dawning awareness,
Sound returns to the world:
A shower already in progress;
A firm but gentle breeze
Screams through window screens,
Pleasant and cooling,
strong and soothing,
Wafting over my body,
Purging my feverish feelings
Like imagined sins blown away;
Washed not by water, but by wind,
In the bright and brilliant clean
Of a newborn tropical morning,
Bereft of sleep by tranquil birdsong.

Waves

Gentle, foamy waves
lap carefully against a shore
of ocean-blue sky

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Rising Night

Charred flesh: a smell
Sizzling city sounds
eyestrain surrounds
Orbits
Eyes and planets
Line of lights
That rise into night
The fastest
not so far beyond
The dimmest most distant
The nearest one
Slipping downward
As night dawns
on a clear day
By Jove
A martial night

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Foreign breakfast

chai from india
tofu from vietnamese
haiku from japan

On fruit grown from seed...

A seed is planted
Its fruit is unknown.
Only years may tell
What kind it will yield:
Sweet, juicy, bitter;
Robust or wilting
On the vine alone.

City Garden

A city garden:
Goat-made,
People-maintained,
Bird-bechirped,
Sun-driven.

Roach

A severed roach foot
At the edge of my dinner:
Turns out it's cabbage.

ferry

a ferry crosses,
smoke above showing the path
of the setting sun

Monday, February 3, 2014

Deleted

Like falling leaves
Or deleted subroutines
Thoughts just for you
Drop away from me




originally written 10/27/2013

When The Clouds Part, My Heart Wants

The sun is slowly moving
The clouds are swiftly blowing
The day is quickly going

My thoughts and mind are roving
My heartbeat isn't slowing
My wants I've trouble knowing

When life should be for loving
When interest is touching
When would I seek out nothing?

Egathel of the Nephilim

[This short story contains descriptions of graphic violence.]


He remembered when the earth was young. He could recall a time when the Nephilim roamed the earth, deathless and free, almost careless in their confidence.

That had been eons before they became cursed; before whatever it was that had caused their need for blood had changed them.

Not that they weren't a bloodthirsty enough lot in ancient times—they were, after all, surrounded by the savagery of ancient humans, in those days. Egathel himself believed that his own people would never have sullied themselves with so much violence, if they'd been left to their own devices. Perhaps the curse would not have fallen upon them, then.

But did not most thinking creatures view themselves with the same sort of biased hindsight? It mattered little, for such times and thoughts had long since passed.

This was not a lofty age of nobility, but a lowly one of parasitism: the powerful race of the Nephilim reduced to a breed of reclusive, humanoid mosquitoes. Leeches. Vampire bats. Yet they were more ferocious than any of those other blood-suckers; the parasite analogy served less well to illustrate their method of feeding than it did their current significance in the world: a barely-perceptible buzz in the night. A creature unable to thrive without lapping at the life force of another.

At this thought, Egathel had to remind himself that no animal was fundamentally different in that respect, though most were much less violent and more discriminating than his kind. He smiled a bare-toothed smile that would have chilled the blood of any who saw it, had there been anyone capable of seeing in the pitch darkness of his lair (and were it not the case that he would slaughter anything or anyone he encountered there).

Certainly his kind had power still, well beyond that of mere mortals, but what was it worth when they were addicted to death, cultureless and monstrous? What could you create when you had a constant craving—a thirst—to destroy and devour utterly the lives of all other beings, and nothing more than a gaping void where once there was a sense of pride and meaning?

He shuddered, recalling what he’d seen the change do to some of his companions. To call it insanity or depravity would have been euphemistic.

In many ways, there was some mercy in the utter loss of reason. It seemed to Egathel that he was trapped, tortured by memory; tortured by conscience and the knowledge that his was a broken people—and his a broken mind. For all he really knew, his comrades felt the same way beneath the apparent oblivion of intellect that was their ever-hungry façade.

To an onlooker, there was no reason in the creature that Egathel now was; his insight, though sharp, was beyond irrelevant. He knew that he could see his numerous defects, but also well knew he had no means to correct them. There was no reason to suspect his brethren were any different. 

There was only hunger, now. That was all that mattered.

And when he smelled it—human blood—three was nothing but frenzy. Oh, Egathel could remember everything that happened; relive in perfect, vivid detail what he did to each of his victims. Every bit of it was there in his memory, ready to be analyzed, agonized over, and paradoxically enjoyed. He wished he could stop himself from revisiting it, wished he could eliminate his flawless recall—just as he wished he did not take such perverse pleasure in his bloody actions—but he could not.

It was very little consolation that he still had a conscience. In actual fact, he was a monster. What happened in his mind made no difference whatever to those he had killed.

And yet he continued. Seemingly, he could not himself be killed. Immortality was his prison, he noted with an ironic appreciation for the terror of humans facing their deaths; something he’d become intimately familiar with.

If only human legends about supernatural creatures were true! Some alleged methods for killing vampires had worked on him, but only temporarily. It had been a surprise and a welcome respite, penance even, but never true release, never the end he sought.

Every time he would arise again after his body had healed; sometimes after years.

Beneath all of these rational thoughts and anguish about his existence, there was something else lurking in his mind. Deeper knowledge accumulated over the millennia, lapping like an ocean at the continent that was his true self, eroding it away, one grain of sand at a time.

How many trillions of moments would tick by before it succeeded in submerging him utterly?

Try to deny it as he might, deep in his heart where the poison had crept over the eons, he knew that what he did was not wrong. It was all too right. It was perfection; it was completeness; he knew this when he hunted, felt it in his every fiber.

The Nephilim had originally seen themselves as being above most other creatures and their petty struggles to survive and multiply, but there was ancient knowledge, wisdom as old as life itself that had begun to take over these attitudes, creeping further to the fore each time he fed.

Fed.

Truly, his people were completed by reincorporating this basic desire; they were baptized in blood, and it washed away the sin of their pretense, the stain of their arrogant presumption that they were somehow above the brutality of nature, above mortality.

This was the one fact that all life had always known— 

Feed. 

—Even the smallest creatures had to metabolize something else—

Feed.

—No creature on earth had ever turned up its nose to the idea of making some other creature a meal—

Feed!

—when it was truly hungry, except perhaps those physically incapable of it—

FEED.

—Like grass-eaters. Prey animals.

Prey.

It became too much for Egathel. The hunger had taken his last rational thoughts, subduing them to its own ends, forcing him to acknowledge the rightness of the violent impulse as he rose, his body responding to the need with a flood of exhilarating energy.

As was always the case, the rationalization was preceded by the urge.

Creeping at first from his lair, deep in the bowels of an ancient city buried beneath the pretended civility and abundant population of the modern age, soon he was running, leaping obstacles and bounding off of walls until he emerged, nearly flying, from a little-noticed hole in the side of a hill overlooking a disused factory. After he landed, stopping to sniff the night air, he froze; the moon was unexpectedly bright above him, exaggerating the pallor of his skin where his flowing, mangy, knotted cobweb hair was not draped over it.

Turning his head through an arc as he sniffed from left to right, he suddenly froze after making it halfway.

Human.

The hunt was on.

Into the city he charged at impossible speed, hair trailing behind him in this wind he made with his own remarkable power. Each footfall brought him closer to ecstasy; now past the factory, now through a vacant lot, over the chain link, chasing the invisible trail of a meal, senses keen and a cautious predator’s instinct apparent in the way he hugged the shadows and crept silently through the vegetation. No rational thoughts occupied the mind of this creature as it ran; it was pure being, pure experience; pure sense. The entire effort, though effortless, was a performance, an act as well practiced as the hunt was old.

There it was: a human male.

Saliva starting in anticipation, a slight tremor through the spine arced it into pounce-readiness as his torso was smoothly swept along by fluid limbs. Invisibly shadowed by trees and shrubs as the prey strobed impossibly slowly in and out of streetlights, spaced far apart in this edge of town.

The moments stretched out for eons as an unlimited patience stilled his hunger, as the distance closed at an infinitesimal rate; the difference and distance between prey and predator closing, though this relationship was known only to one of them.

Egathel was no longer Egathel; he was an ancient rite, an actor playing a role from time immemorial, which had spanned cultures and species, pervasive since shortly after life had begun, when the first predator emerged to feed.

Now he was positioning himself for his final run, and as that moment neared, his rage, his hunger, still restrained, strained against his instinctive self-control, the slow motion almost too agonizing for his frenzied mind to endure.

The dam of his control strained until it burst, releasing a torrent of violent motion and feeling that would engulf the hapless prey. Legs springing, a lunge and a twist in mid-air, claws ready to strike a disabling killer blow, he soared through the air like a raptor diving for a fish.

The splash upon impact was not water, but flesh and blood.

With a grasp quicker and more precise than that of a fishing eagle’s, the hunter was assured of success.

His prey was overcome before the human had realized precisely what was happening. The man had no time to scream; Egathel struck precisely, clawed nails raking a path that severed anything in his neck that might have allowed the man to react. Had he been intact enough to struggle, it would have been equally futile.

And then there was blood and sweet satisfaction.

Despite his decreasingly conflicted feelings about feeding, in more lucid moments he would recall with great clarity the sheer perfection of the moment prior to striking. The sense of inevitability that the blood meal was now his immediately prior to taking it was beyond compare. No ancient power or status held a candle to that singular feeling.

All was taken from the prey, the hunter draining it of the salty crimson nurturing stuff of life, that potent substance that was the only thing capable of satisfying the fathomless depths of thirst now known to the Nephilim.

First he let the victim’s continuing heartbeats force the blood out, siphoning life into Egathel; when this action eventually ceased, he held the body above himself, draining the blood from the open wound where he lapped at it with his abnormally long tongue.

As the human slowly died, the hunter watched its eyes blankly register the change from life to unlife, all the while uncomprehending.

After some minutes of this, watching the dead eyes, Egathel’s reason began to return. His meal complete, hunger subsiding, he discarded the body carelessly, not even watching its descent. Sinews, muscles, and bones were of no interest. Egathel’s attempts to explain this fact had thus far been unsuccessful, though it seemed that blood alone should not be enough to sustain him.

The empty corpse landed heavily with a sickening crack.

Never mind—it was enough for leeches, and there had always been aspects of Nephilim physiology that defied any naturalistic expectation. Why should this feeding behavior, this contagion, be any different?

Seemingly exhausted while paradoxically refreshed, he returned to his lair with none of the vigor with which he’d emerged from it, though he kept himself hidden from any prying eyes that may have been around and his steps were silent.

Dawn was approaching as he slipped once more underground, to sleep the sated sleep that always followed a meal; the one time when the hunger stopped tearing at the insides and the ancient mind knew true peace.

Vivid dreams of grandiose days long past began to play behind his nictitating Nephilim eyelids as he curled into a corner in his catacomb. In the first dream, Egathel and his kin had been victorious in battle and were feasting in celebration. They raised jewel-encrusted goblets of blood to honor each other; mad, snarling gibberish was spoken in place of a toast before they drained the blood, which gushed out of the cups in spurts as if issuing from a still-living thing.