zeeth_kyrah: A glowing white and blue anthropomorphic horse stands before a pink and blue sky. (Default)
[personal profile] zeeth_kyrah
This is another poem featuring T'ema, the unicorn-woman walking a superheroic Earth (maybe Terramagne from [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith's Polychrome Heroics, but maybe not; I'm borrowing a bit of terminology anyway). EDIT - Ysabet has approved this as set in Terramagne.

I'm going to preface this with three warnings:

First, this is yet another seat-of-my-pants poem. Its quality may not be top notch, but it's something I have to get out. Also, lots of unrhymed lines with ragged meter; I'm just using the form to tell a story that won't come out in prose.

Second, this poem deals with torture (not shown) and some of its outcomes (visibly shown). Be mindful of your mindspace when reading it. One character is traumatized and homeless, which roughens a person over time (also T'ema has been living as a homeless woman as seen in previous poems). There is also a bit of strong language.

Third, this thing is really long. There may even be a second part to it. I don't know!

--

Beyond All Terror

T'ema was standing in line at the day shelter
Waiting for her tray of lunch.
In burst one of the regulars,
His energy vibrating like plutonium
Ready to burst into particles.
She kept her senses open.

When it happened, the trigger
Was as small as a dropped cigarette.
The man was screaming in a moment
And had to be held by friends
So his wild swings didn't break a jaw
Or his own hand.

T'ema quietly hummed a lullaby,
Directing the peaceful, loving power
Into a calming aura.
A minute later, the man had sagged
Into a sobbing mess,
Head in his arms.

When a moment presented itself,
The unicorn touched his arm.
He flinched, then looked at her.
She briefly dropped her illusion,
And he saw wonder.
He started back, but he was
Already against the wall.

"What the fuck! What are you? Are you real?"
His questions echoed in the small outdoor space
Where he'd taken refuge.
He started pulling away toward the side,
And T'ema let him, saying only,
"I know what pain is."

He stumbled on her words,
And sat on the ground abruptly.
She did not pursue, but crouched where she was,
Invisible tail curled around her feet.
"Are you really a unicorn?
She nodded.

The man giggled. "I'm seeing things now!"
His face showed terror, his laughter stress.
"All that and I never saw something like you!"
T'ema sighed, and leaned
Against the wall herself.
"Who hurt you," she asked.

The man grew angry, and
Threw himself off the ground.
"You shut up! You don't know me!"
T'ema nodded as he continued.
"You don't know me, you're one of them!"
She gave him a wry look, one ear turned back.

He ran back inside,
While T'ema finished her lunch in silence.
When his friends came to her minutes later,
She endured their stares
Unflinching, until one tried to
Touch her forehead.

She swatted the intrusive hand, saying,
"The curious must ask before touching."
The group backed off,
Two of them sitting nearby.
The director of the center came and said,
"He's asking for you. 'The woman with the gold skin and new coat.'"

T'ema rose. "I'll come."
The director said, "I'm Mark, the director.
What's your name?"
"Tayma," she said.
"That's a lovely name.
I hope you can help Bud, he's been through a lot."

In the quiet room, T'ema saw a round table,
And at one side sat Bud
With misery painted on his face.
Instead of sitting across from him,
She sat a quarter of the way around.
"You asked, I came."

Bud looked at her, closely.
T'ema couldn't tell if he'd pierced her illusion,
Being not truly familiar with
Human expression. She guessed he hadn't.
"Yes, I am not quite as I seem.
Are you?"

Bud nodded. "So I am sane.
Edison was sure I'd been taking Spice."
T'ema tilted her head. "Spice?"
"It's some sort of fake marijuana.
The stuff drives people crazy.
I drink, but I don't do that!"

T'ema nodded. "Alcohol is an anesthetic.
People seem to drink more when in pain."
Bud raised an imaginary can. "I'll drink to that.
Nothing but pain since they got me."
He paused. "Could I see you again? The real you?"

She dropped her disguise again,
This time leaving it off.
"How do you do that?"
"Magic. Its resonance covers my own,
Providing image and form as desired."
"Uhh, okay. Magic. I guess you're a cricket, right?"

T'ema leaned forward, ears pointing at Bud.
"Cricket?" she asked.
Bud nodded. "Super powers, but keeping hidden.
Me too. I don't let 'em off, ever."
He leaned close as well.
"I blow stuff up," he whispered.

"Why tell me?" T'ema wondered.
"Who'd believe a fricking unicorn?" asked Bud.
"My disguise fools cameras as well."
"There's stuff that detects powers.
That's an active power, they'd catch you quick."
She sighed. "I see."

Bud got serious. "Are you a cop?"
T'ema shook her head, "No."
"Good. Too many cops around here,
On the wrong payroll.
I'll kill myself if I have to go back!
Blow up my own heart!"

"What happened?"
This time T'ema got a response,
Bud's description of being tormented by
People too interested in his power
And not enough in his well-being,
Who forgot that explosions help getaways.

"I'm not a bad guy. So I ran and hid
Five states away. If they find me,
I'll have to kill 'em to get away.
That means a manhunt, and that means
I'll have to leave the country!
And Mexico is too foreign and Canada's too cold!"

T'ema chuckled at that. "So how can I help?"
Bud looked her over. "You said you know pain.
Can you help me with mine?"
She looked him over.
"Yes," said T'ema. "I can."
Bud looked relieved.

T'ema put her disguise back on,
Excused herself to get materials,
And went to talk to Mark.
She returned with a child's blanket,
A pair of scissors, needle and thread.
Bud looked askance.

"I'm going to sew you a gift.
This will take a day to make.
Then you will have something my people call
A whisper doll," she said.
Bud nodded. "What does it do? Whisper to you?"
T'ema grinned. "No, you whisper to it."

Bud narrowed his eyes.
"How's that going to help me?"
"It is simple: You don't trust others
To help with your pain.
Magic would be another anesthetic.
You need counseling and time."

"So the doll is supposed to counsel me?"
"No. The doll will listen. Nothing more."
"How will that help?"
"When you are afraid, when you are lonely,
When you have need, whisper to the doll about it.
Then ask for help feeling better."

"What happens next?"
"The doll will hear you, and so will your gods."
Bud laughed, startled, startling her.
"Gods! Fuck, lady, you think I worship him?
I like the shelter, I hate the church."
T'ema nodded, unsure.

"So what, god hears me and then what?
He didn't save me then!"
T'ema shrugged, ears twitching.
"Maybe one god will ignore you,
Maybe another will hear. Gods are not
Why this works. It works because
The doll contains love."

Bud shook his head.
"And this works for you?"
"It has worked for every person
I ever gave one to. Some very powerful."
T'ema smiled. "If you don't want it,
I will give it to another."
Bud smirked, but relented. "Fine."

T'ema worked on the doll through the day.
The next morning, she was ready.
Bud showed up, and she quietly gave him the doll
In the outdoor space of the shelter.
It was humanoid, with
Aspen-leaf ears and a short horn.

"What's this mark on its chest?"
"That is a symbol meaning love.
I give love to you with this."
"So are we going out?"
"No. Love is a call for me, not a marriage."

Bud nodded. "You're strange, but thanks."
He tucked the doll in his bag.
"Are you making another?"
T'ema nodded. "Dora saw me making it,
And wanted one. I should make one more,
And then I must move on."

"Leaving already?"
"I have been seen by others.
To stay longer is foolish, but
I made promises I will keep."
Bud nodded. "I understand."

Dora loved her whisper doll,
And began whispering to it right away.
T'ema smiled and hugged her.
Then she began on the third.
When the day shelter closed,
She hugged Bud. "Tomorrow I go."

"Where?"
"Where the power takes me."
Her new whisper doll, pink and baby blue,
Sat in the inner pocket of her own coat.
"I have too many secrets to keep."

--

As linked above, this is one of three parts. It is continued in these posts:
"Lies Its Memory"

Yay!

Date: 2015-02-09 10:47 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
I love the idea of a whisper doll. That's a beautiful magical artifact.

Also...

Date: 2015-02-09 11:04 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
You'll need to ask [personal profile] dialecticdreamer for the use of Edison. The Finns are her characters.

Re: Also...

Date: 2015-02-09 11:41 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
LOL okay. That name is so distinctive, though, if it's not the same character then you should probably pick something else. There are a few duplicates of common names, but with characters in very different situations. I try to minimize the overlap though.

For reference, the Finns are in Mercedes, California (where Merced is in our world) so if T'ema needs to move then going from there to the Midwest would make perfect sense.

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zeeth_kyrah: A glowing white and blue anthropomorphic horse stands before a pink and blue sky. (Default)
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