Gargoyle

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Delbert H. Rhodes

Perched on a mountaintop he waits. Soon, the time comes; he readies for the kill. The ways of human life abandoned long ago; now, he lives in the wild; now, he is wild.

Born to human parents, Jonathan Argo, by the age of two months, was noticeably different. Even as an infant he seemed different; a difference his parents neither cared to recognize nor to admit. Jonathan never received medical attention. His parents believed that the boy would grow out of it; well, he grew into it.

The wooded areas called to him; often, Jonathan ventured there. One day he simply vanished never to be seen again. Before leaving his home, the young child had already acquired a nickname; because of his vertical pupils, large head, claw-like hands, feet fortified with talons; and rather than pinky fingers, two opposing thumbs on each hand, and strange gait, the name “Gargoyle” was given by Jonathan’s Dad.

Gargoyle has lived in the wild for the past six years; he is now nine years old. His body continues to change; and he grows larger and stronger. Spread, his beautiful wings span thirty feet, the folding mechanisms neatly tuck them, Gargoyle ambulates without hindrance. Standing semi-erect the giant is nine feet tall. His stance is slightly bent, otherwise, he towers at ten and one half feet.

Whenever in attack mode, a fluffy silvery mane courses from his forid to the base of his skull. The remainder of Gargoyle’s body is hairless. The creature’s bony structure is a dense but hollow composition. Marrow like material fills the cavities, acting to counter balance weight yet applying density. The bones are stronger than any substance known to man. A miracle at three hundred pounds Gargoyle is invincible.

A marvel to mystery: the wonder is how humans produced such a creature. The question, one day, to be pondered by scientific minds. Gargoyle’s highly developed brain makes him immensely intelligent; his strategies and tactics register to higher degrees than the best of mankind’s Militaries. This beast is a devastating machine of war, a Prince of Power.

Human diseases have no affect and injuries heal instantaneously. Gargoyle has one weakness, sustained periods without——sorry, secret.

Previously, he fed on smaller creatures of the wild. Maturing, Gargoyle (now) seeks larger prey, and especially human prey. His teeth and jaw are designed for biting, holding and ripping; his fangs are long and razor-sharp; the jaw muscles large and powerful. Gargoyle rips through bone like a knife through butter. The grasping ripping curves of the appendages are masterful in creation.

The keenly sharp retractable claws and talons serve as highly effective and efficient weapons: consciously released by Gargoyle’s auto tactic targeting systems and scatter lock visual fields, prey is DBA: Dead Before Arrival. He simply thinks, targets, takes.

The musculature is lean smooth and streamlined; the biomechanics are superbly without flaw. A tiny tail with curve extends from the base of the spine, nothing of this creature is left to chance, in close quarter combat the tail acts as a small spear; but then, he has no rivals. Unequalled at the kill, this newborn is beautiful to behold.

Gargoyle is swift, agile and undetectable. As human eyes react to light, his skin reacts to darkness; hormonal coupling supplied by his blood configures a cloaking mechanism. With exception to reflective shine in his eyes, Gargoyle cannot be heard, he cannot be seen, he cannot be stopped. His senses are superior to every creature; already they revere him; in the wild this Mutant is Master.

The taste of blood is sweet. Perched atop a mountain: it ponders the kill, the time has come; tonight and forever, Gargoyle feeds on human kind, a kind not his.

Ten O’Clock

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Delbert H. Rhodes

Years later, the memories hang on but why? Yesterday is gone and suffrage is a benefit to no one; and yet no matter how she tries her ex’s memory haunts her, permits her little peace. An American woman whose Dutch parents emigrated Nederland to immigrate America, Story Vanderbloren was conceived in Amsterdam and born in Minnesota. Raised and cherished by a loving family, after high school she leaves to study Archeology; and it is soon after completing her P. H. D. that someone special enters her life.

At the age of twelve and while talking with Mommy, the girl asks about her first name and why she has it. “The tale of your conception, and delivery and love that you brought to us is a wonderfully, glorious story; and so, your Dad and I agreed that no other name could suit you.”

Tall, blond, blue, and curvy and intelligently beautiful, Story has traded French Fries for Fish and Chips. Her life, and new profession are better, much better and she prefers positive to negative distractions.

Time, and terms must meet the mind and hers struggles for clarity, to think clearly about things that matter most, that matter now.

London Towne is lovely and especially at night, the lights, the shoppes, Libraries, the Trem, the people and glory of the new world surrounding her. I digress: The “Trem” (silent e, long m: pronounced trm) is the local high-speed monorail, it is an excellent and wonderful ride.

Of the resources available in the city, its Libraries contain ancestral files, these halls of antiquity are some of the finest in the world, invaluable to her research.

Today Story walks the sidewalk in Belcher Street and then something wonderful meets her, rounding the corner to Tolstoy it occurs that the smells come from Le Patisserie, a shoppe two stores away. In America, “Le Patisserie” would be The Bakery. Entering, she sees not only beauty but something sweetly agonizing.

Unbelievably well organized, the cakes, pastries, cookies and other delicacies appear to await the photographer rather than customer. “I Love this place!” She visits no less than once weekly.

Oh, my, and Story simply adores her new life, except for one small thing…memories. If she could remove only a portion of them then everything would be happier. Although never easy she perseveres, surrender to the toils of yesterday is not optional.

“Sto-V,” the nickname given to her by her colleagues, is a Research Writer and she works diligently to uncover facts, truths to prove her premises. Sometimes she disproves them and this too is okay, a foot in the right direction. Disproof proves something, a person of critical thinking works either way, both are beneficial, worthy.

She loves it whenever waking to new questions. Life is strange, often placing answers before us that either incomprehensibly or, sensibly, we fail to recognize and may even refuse to acknowledge.

Yes, but since Story’s youth she has been a dreamer and the truth in dreams is less fuzzy than people make it; a superb analogy, she thinks, is the innocence of children which acts expansively, making anything, everything possible. As such, unlearning adult fears, permitting the mind to freely think, she believes, provides greater opportunities in life.

Opportunity: Story’s middle name.

As a researcher she is deeply busied by events of humankind, she has developed a premise that though not popular may one day prove man’s existence. No, not actually his place here but the reason he is here. Story believes that it has less to do with either the egg or the chicken and more to do with the bearer, the creator of them. She must somehow make sense of it. She will make sense of it.

This woman strongly feels reason to be both parent, and plan of humankind and whether Celestial, Natural, or, neither, she struggles to find the clues, the pathways leading to proof. Thirty four-years old and after five years of research, she uncovers only uncertainties; definitive evidence eludes her. Still, she persists and to the end would not falter. Either Story proves or disproves her theory, a dedicated Scientist, she tirelessly works long hours and so far, without rewards. “One day.”

Reason.

The word flutters about her head like a lacy butterfly with little care. Tomorrow a business meeting about Policy and then Story attends the Theater, she sits front row center stage. “Les Miserable,” her favorite play is in town and she simply must see it; “Front Row Center Stage, Exciting!”

In many ways, her life resembles the theme and as the tale unfolds, like a looking-glass much of Story’s life unveils. She realizes that this too must be dealt, it has to one day (all) end. How the end plays out is the question and one the woman, right now, cares to ignore. Somehow, and even this moment, Darren speaks to her and as much as she should not, she listens…

“I told you, it wasn’t like that,” Darren stammers, staring out the window.

“You are lying!” Story stabs the air with her finger, trying to see his eyes. “And witnesses tell me that you and your girlfriend were there at ten o’clock. They are credible, I trust them, they saw you and I believe them!”

“Ten o’clock?” He says, looking directly at her. “I don’t know about witnesses but ten o’clock has always been ‘my’ witness. I was not there, I love ‘you!'”

He just kept repeating it over and over again but what exactly did he mean, what does “it” mean? “Ten O’Clock?” Of the many things said that last night the time frame lingers in her mind, she is oblivious to its meaning and is without useable clues to make sense of it. Surely, if truly she wanted to she could find the evidence: the missing pieces to the puzzle; but, is the responsibility hers?

“As far as I am concerned, those words, like time on a clock, have freed me of abuse; and true, he neither hit, pushed nor physically injured me but daily reduced me mentally and emotionally. The scars, though invisible, are more devastating and destructive than any black eye or, broken jaw. I am ‘free!'”

Story loves her new life and refuses to surrender it; and admittedly, Darren and she should have ended years ago but love strangely partners with reason.

Reason, the term strongly affects her and she knows that it plays, in large parts, a very important role in her life. Darren at one time was her life and without him she sometimes feels lonely. Loneliness has a way of prevailing truth and like a catapult propels Story forward. Now, here in wonderful London Towne Happiness and She stroll hand in hand; a ringless marriage to her work and life.

Once more and as usual dreaming offers more pieces to the puzzle; and waking, Story smiles. She stretches as the feelings in her dream embrace her with clarity. Lazily, she slumps into the bathroom for a Lady’s Moment and then to the Kitchen for some Chocolate Tea, “Chocotea,” she calls it. Blended with Cocoa and any Tea of choice, she favors Green Tea, her concoction is refreshing, tasty and medicinally healthy. Cocoa is a good thing.

As her dream and the phrase “A Loving Plot” touch her, Story permits a childlike innocence to control her; for, “Puty,” her laptop, seems to ask that she pen the dream, now, before its memories leave her. “Ok, ‘Ok,’ I’m coming.” Careful not to spill her Chocotea, slowly, Story crosses to her desk. Moments later, done, she has written something new and powerful. A wonderful addition to her poem book.

Filled with feelings and honesty, the poem exemplifies the lady’s suffrage; and understandably, truly, she admonishes and  admires it. Actually, why would Story not love it, for, from her heart, and inside every verse is her freedom and her life.

…..

A Loving Plot

You think I love you
Please tell me why
Should I think of you
Better to cry

Challenge I must
The surging seas
The damning rock slides
Inside your knees

Scale I the towers
The tallest skies
Or smallest flowers
Your floral eyes

Want that I want you
Your tender kiss
A bee its honey
Want me you this

Sometimes I wonder
Why loved you, I
And then the thunder
Love’s alibi

Sweetly, you scorn
Oh, yes, I know
So dark your sunshine
A summer snow

Tarnished my teardrops
Torn is my soul
Autumn to Springtime
A Winter cold

Scripted, our tale
A loving plot
“To have to hold?”
I think, have not

…..

…Outside, darkness smothers the sky; inside and deliciously, Chocotea creams her, the woman smiles…

“Sunshine”

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Delbert H. Rhodes

Toby sits high in the saddle as he rides the range. The Triple T Ranch has been in his family for three generations and he absolutely loves it. All of it. His Dad, Matt, is aging but ropes as good as he ever did, Granddad, although retired, remains agile and strong. He keeps the books, oversees everything. Marlene, Toby’s wife, runs the home and family, that’s right, the entire McTiernen Clan. In some ways, this lady is the Boss’s Boss. She is a big help to Granddad, assisting with the books and all matters of Finance.

Yep, ranching is the second love of Toby’s life, he’s a true Cowboy, and his first love, his family. Learning the business from the ground up, one day, as does his Dad, Dane would run The Tripe T.

While surveying the North Forty, something spurs the Boss’s breeches. A beautiful Chestnut grazes in the far meadow. The horse seems to brighten the sky, its coat shines like sunshine. “Let’s go boy,” he moves in for a closer look.

The meadow, a part of his lands, Toby wonders where this animal comes from and who owns it; or possibly, the horse is wild, a rogue. Careful not to spook him, the Cowboy watches from a distance; wow, what a beauty, “I gotta get closer,” and so he dismounts and approaches on foot. Lifting its head, sniffing, the animal wants nothing to do with the intruder. It runs. “Ok, fella, tomorrow’s another day.”

Back at the ranch, dinner conversation is filled by the usual talk; except, Toby’s story is new. None of the men knows of the Stallion, he is new to the range. Chris mentions that a cowboy from the Bar X once spoke of a strange horse, “Yours matches the description.” “Let’s get a better look tomorrow,” says Chris. Bright and early, the dust flies as the men ride out to the meadow. No sign of the Stallion. The sun is high, it’s about noon, and the men wait, spit a lot and then finally, the horse strides into view.

Strategically placed, the boys circle the animal, no luck, the creature is smart, too smart. It rears, stepping and stomping on its hind legs, loudly protesting; the meadow becomes a grassland of turmoil. With glaring eyes and vocal roars, the animal refuses captivity, and then it does something that nobody has ever seen a horse do, backing off, the animal seems crazy, running the circle at high speeds, too fast for anyone to get a rope on it, fearlessly charging the group, the big horse leaps into the air. Stretching like a Phoenix rising from fire, the beast flies above the men, breaks free and then high tails it.

The men are left with blank faces, they cannot believe what just happened. “What do we do now, Boss?” “Well, “no use chasing him, we’ll see him again, later.” “Tomorrow’s another day.”

On the ride back to the ranch the men feel kinda silly, that one horse could outsmart these Cowboys, well, the whole thing is a little embarrassing. (Some say the rogue sprayed piss as it flew over them. We’ll never know, for sure.) It’s not the sorta thing to brag about. The boys can’t wait to get back at that devil, except the Boss has another idea.

This time Toby tackles the Stallion without help, without the men. This time he is ready for a fight and cunning is his only weapon. “That beast thinks he is better than I am, well, he’s wrong.” While guzzling from his canteen, the Cowboy hears hooves pounding the earth; Toby glances to his left side. Well, now, the Chestnut seems to have come home. Rearing, the proud horse displays confidence, ownership, it seems to stake its claim here. “You like this place, don’t you.” “I knew you would come back. You like the grass, and the sparkling water in the nearby stream.” -“My grass, my stream.”

The Boss fetches some water in a large basin, he also adds a healthy patch of grass, to go with it. “I’m gonna make friends with that animal, one way or another.” Not far away, the powerful beast eats without worry. Strange that it seems to own the meadow, even stranger, Toby admires this animal.

“You’re smart, and if I’m gonna win this one, I gotta outsmart you.” Giving lots of slack to the big boy, Toby quietly speaks from a short distance, about twenty yards. Close enough for now. With ears high, eyes wide, it pauses while gazing at him, heck, the darned thing seems to offer a challenge. It snorts once or twice and then looks away, and without turning its head, the power of its stare torments Toby. Then suddenly, casually, lowering his head, the horse resumes grazing. (“Yeah, I know you’re laughing at me.”)

Toby eases closer, but slowly the animal moves away, creating more distance between them. “Smart Ass.” The Cowboy realizes what he’s up against and refuses to let the Stallion win. After all, who is boss, here. “Come here, boy, I have something for you, don’t you want it?” The horse pauses, staring at Toby’s outstretched hand. Cautiously, stepping closer, the Chestnut quickly darts off.

“Ok, boy, I know, you don’t trust me.” Toby lays the clump of grass down and then steps away, far enough away, allowing the horse some room. The basin of water is laid another ten yards from the clump of grass. The Stallion waits, sniffs, snorts and then sniffs some more. Suddenly like a freight train, the horse rears, roars and then runs. “Where’re you going?” “Come back here, damned horse!”

After three weeks, still no luck, the Cowboy is about done. A rainy day and Toby rides out to the meadow, he hopes to see the Stallion. Luck is with him, the great horse grazes a stone throw away. Something isn’t right, its left hoof, the animal limps a little. For sure, a rock is caught between its pads. Calling out, “What’s the matter, boy?” “Something in your hoof?”

The Chestnut snorts, but seems to acknowledge what the Cowboy just said to it. Cautiously moving closer, Toby encourages the horse to trust him. “Let me take a look at that, maybe I can help you, boy.” Snorting, backing away, the horse obviously distrusts him, yet seems to stay just close enough. “Come on, now, I just want to help you, fella.”

For a while, Toby backs off, he simply waits, while staring at the Chestnut. Cocking its head, the injured animal whinnies and then lifts the affected hoof. Slightly applying weight to it the Stallion limps about but stays close by; the horse seems to ask for help even though it distrusts the man.

“Come here, boy, come on, now.” Moving closer, Toby stands only two feet away from the injured animal, it grunts, sniffs, snorts, but stays. Reaching out his hand, the Cowboy offers the Stallion a carrot. It stares and then extends its neck, sniffing, a slight grumble of uncertainty, slowly, the horse limps closer; then finally, it accepts the food. “That’s it… good boy.”

With a gentleness that maybe is uncommon to his hands, Toby strokes its snout, and as the Stallion softly whinnies, the stone is carefully removed, followed by a cool refreshing wash.

The Chestnut walks about testing its leg, sensing its hoof, then like lightning, the big horse sprints across the fields; but, doesn’t run away. Stopping, it stares over its shoulder at the Cowboy, then showing trust, the horse returns to him. Nuzzling closely, vocally, the animal thanks the man. “Ok, boy, I know, you’re welcome.” Suddenly, something wets Toby’s palm.

Tonight, a happy Cowboy shares a wonderful tale with his men, and somehow, from his stall in the barn, “Sunshine” hears it. With ears high, eyes big, the Chestnut repeatedly rocks its head, as though agreeing, supporting the Boss’s words. (Well bunch my breeches.)

Typically, the accounts in the North Forty are properly and eloquently documented; and unknown to his men, the Boss also pens a poem. Three weeks later, The Triple T receives mail by Pony Express. “A publishing house in Tucson put the poem on some fancy paper, and then put it inside a handsome picture frame.”

On a wall in Toby’s Den, Sunshine sheds a little more light:

The Stone

Eyes untrusting
Sensing the wind
Takes two steps closer
Then backwards again

Favoring one leg
Displaying a need
“Come on boy.”
He ponders my plead

Cautiously scanning
Ears standing tall
Artfully limping
Preventing a fall

Slowly advancing
Distrusting of me
A breathtaking beauty
Something to see

Finally there
A few feet away
Dare not speak loudly
He dares to stay

Near him I step
Nervous, he stood
Sniffing for bad air
Smelling the good

Verbally stroking
I gave him a name
Grunting and snorting
To me he came

Freeing the stone
The meadow he ran
Nuzzling closely,
A tear… in my hand

Copyright © 2003-2015 Delbert. H. Rhodes

She Fills Me

Delbert H. Rhodes

1235188-1440x900-[DesktopNexus.com]The morning sweetly touches her and he smiles. Yes, today marks the thirtieth year of their lives together; and although some roads were curvy and at times bumpy, they always led home. Grief, disappointments and dissatisfaction are mere memories and his affections for his wife are powerful. Sleeping, Dina’s beauty astounds her husband and he unconditionally loves her. A susurrating wind displaces the curtains, causing light to spray the room, shadows artistically line Dina’s face. Her delicate skin and classic features are simply breathtaking.

The years have neither erased her youth nor the tenderness in her cheeks, the teasing softness pursing her lips. Gently, Arty presses Dina’s mouth with his, sensuously, she surrenders, even in sleep her husband and she sweetly connect. Cheek to cheek, she swoons as her lover recites a phrase from her favorite poem, he found it about two years after they married. Dina loves it, and hearing it pleases her as much as reading it pleases him.

Leaning, Arty strains to retrieve a folder; ever careful to never wrinkle its contents. Resting the poem inside his lap, the happy “Prince” snuggles sleeping beauty; and then accompanied by the lute in his heart, a poetic serenade:

—————————————-

She Fills Me

A woman’s love soft and tender
To her passions I surrender
Watching her move I’m mystified
My heart and eyes open wide

With morning light she wakes me
In dark of night she shakes me
Because of her I’m surely blessed
For all to give I’d give the rest

Her fleeting glance I adore
A somber smile I hurt for more
Her eyes and lips mine to kiss
Without her soul lost is this

The very blood of my life
Flowing to every part
With all there is I love her so
She feeds my hungry heart

Everyday she fills me
Emotionally she thrills me

No sweeter wind to calm the storm
Inside her arms I’m safe and warm
To lose her love I’m lost you see
She is always there for me

—————————————–

“I love you, ‘so’ much.”

Copyright © 2007-2015 Delbert H. Rhodes

Tommy

Delbert H. Rhodes

Today, he reaches his tenth birthday, a special day for him, and everyone who knows and loves him. Yet his Mother, strangely, feels somewhat distant, she seems to be just a little left of center. Mr. Reland passed away one year ago but although she terribly misses her husband he is not what troubles her. Tommy is a wonderful child, her boy, and she loves him and he her, should it matter that he is not truly her son. Still, she has always sensed and possibly, even known that the boy is different from other children, additionally, and although academically he soars above the rest, her feelings permit her only uncertainties.

2-4-07-15Tommy arrived into the care of the Relands ten years ago, and under strange circumstances. Travelers who were looking for a place to sleep entered an old farmhouse. In one of the bedrooms and all alone, a baby lie sleeping in its crib. The child, alas, abandoned, appeared uninjured and healthy. A search for the parents ended in failure; Child Services And Family Care aided the infant.

To his great fortune, the find soon provided Tommy a home. The lad and his newly found family love each other, nevertheless, he really never quite fit the mold, so unlike other children, so different, and including his stepbrother, Kamron.

Nights while his brother sleeps, Tommy often lies awake staring at the stars. The heavens are beautiful but more than beauty their allure is incomprehensible to him. Then, one night the unimaginable happens, while transfixed by the celestials, the star gazer wonders of his home, his family.

Remarkably, a shiny coin, a penny, appears beside him on his bed. “Wow!” “But, where did you come from?” Unusually bright and warm to the touch, the coin is wonderful. Resting it inside his palm, the startled boy closely regards its inscriptions and graphics; and as much as the penny appears usual, it is not.

Within moments, Tommy begins to remember things, curiously, he recalls not only how the coin was created but its creators, a team of researchers, headed by his Father. “Somehow, this tiny penny holds,” the boy silently says, “the key to life and my life.”

After a short while, the true purpose of the coin is revealed: it is a Galactic Library, harnessing the histories of every world, every planet, solar system, galaxy and universe; it is a bridge to Tommy’s ancestry and the truth of his arrival to this distant star.

Although centuries older, today, a son celebrates his tenth birthday; in addition to which, his first responsibility is to his people, his family. As the party below takes shape, he calls to Mother. The two alone in the upstairs hallway, she notices that he hides something. “What is inside your hand?” “Mother,” he begins, “I want to ask you something.” Before answering, and somewhat bewildered, Mom, smiling, says, “Of course, honey, what?”

Almost gliding across the floor, Tommy opens his hand, “Tell me, Mother, what do you see?” Hesitating, thinking that her son is merely joking, Mrs. Reland remains speechless for a while. Then staring at the coin, she answers, although somewhat uneasily, “A penny, why?” Placing the coin inside Mother’s right hand and while staring deeply into her eyes, the look on her son’s face causes Mrs. Reland more discomfort.

Instructively: “Look again, Mother; less is the difference between more than plenty.” “Understanding the worth of this penny is to understand the worth of your people.” Returning him the penny, “My people?” “Tommy?!” “But, what exactly do you mean?” “Besides, you are just a little boy, what do you know?” Intently, “I am neither little nor a boy.” Mrs. Reland pensively regards her son; and as though a vision cloaks his face, her chest quickly rises, her breathing increases and her heart races.

Today, on her son’s tenth birthday, a Mother must wrest with an awesome realization and responsibility; she must somehow come to terms with an uncertainty that she has always known, and it not only changes ‘her’ life but life, itself.

Copyright (c) 2015 Delbert H. Rhodes