The Moment

•November 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I don’t remember the exact moment or day I fell in love with Kayne. Maybe it was our first kiss. Or maybe it was under the desert when I saw him fighting for our lives.

When the fighting was done, he pulled me into his arms. His heart beating in his words, he whispered, “You’re okay?” I think that might have been it—the moment I fell in love with him.

Later, out in the desert, in the quiet night, I said, “You could have died.” He took me in his arms, held me close, looked down into my eyes. “Nothing will ever get past me,” he said. “You’re my Pack.” Then he pressed his lips to mine and I wrapped my arms around him and hoped the moment would last forever.

Now, when he lays his hands on mine and holds me back, or gently pulls me aside so he can go before me on the dangerous path we’re on, my heart jumps; I taste his lips on mine, and I remember that I’m his Pack and he’s my Wulf.

h. Raven

Raven’s Bookshelf

Banished From Sleep

•October 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Banished from sleep for decades now, I’m still plagued by a dream. It used to come every full moon.

In the dream, I stood atop a great mountain, a battlefield, carpeted with broken bodies. I went from soldier to soldier, pressing a golden elixir to their lips. Even those who looked broken and dead raised their heads, drank. The moon was always full, shining a pitiless silver light on my shoulders.

First the elixir turned their lips gold, then their faces turned silver in the moonlight, full of hope. But then the dream turns on me. I draw back in horror. The thing that was once my soldier rises, pushing himself up with stiff limbs, and, on legs like wooden scissors, arms outs, fingers bent into claws, he comes for me.

From all around, I hear low animal growls of other men rising, until I am surrounded by them, close enough to smell their rotting flesh.

When the dream rises in my thoughts, when those dead soldiers, rotten and snarling creep into my thoughts, I go down and visit my boys. I walk among them, watch them sleep, see them safe, untouched by the horrors of this world.

h. Raven

Raven’s Bookshelf

Silent Word

•October 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

We go the long ways because we are hiding. My brothers never speak his name, but I know who we are hiding from. The smells of this world are better at night. The machines—steel, metal, rubber—they make less stink when the sun has left the sky.

This is a strange world. There is rain. There are clouds. I have seen storms. I have seen humans riding on machines with only two wheels. I ask why they do not fall over. My brothers laugh, and give me the smallest share of meat from the hunt. Secretly, I think they don’t know the riddle of the two wheeled machines.

Tonight when we rested in our hiding cave, I saw an impossible thing. A machine flew through the sky, between the stars. Wulfs have good seeing, even at night. This was shaped like a bird, but it gleamed in starlight; metal.

Who are these humans that can build such machines? Why are we betraying the Pack to rise against creatures who cannot walk on four legs, and grow old quickly, but who build machines that fly?

I do not ask these things. My brothers would laugh, or cuff my ears. I am the smallest, but I know a word, a silent word that all of us are too afraid to speak: traitor.

h. Raven

Raven’s Bookshelf

The Wulf and his Pack

•October 5, 2010 • 1 Comment

For me, the night was always a time to look forward to. No combat training; no scrolls to read; no Guardians. For just a few hours, I could be me, Kayne; not Kayne, brother to the Alpha Wulf of our Pack, warrior in training. It was a time to hunt, run through shadows in moonlight, chase down good scents.

Now that I have Rafe, it’s different. Even with all that’s happened, when the night comes, Vaughn lets us go for walks with only Tynan for protection. I tried to argue that I could guard Rafe alone. No one defies or questions my brother in public. We were alone when I asked. Rafe was sleeping. My brother looked at me across the fire pit and said quietly, “You’re the Wulf. He’s your Pack. What if you’re wrong?”

After that, I stopped asking. Now, when I look out into the dark, it’s not the same anymore. The night—even full of the scent of prey—is dangerous. Vaughn is right. I’m the Wulf and Rafe is my Pack. This is all so new. I love Rafe enough to die for him, but what if that isn’t enough?

h. Raven

Raven’s Bookshelf

The Thirteen

•September 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment

We all have our price. The weak believe that they shall never sell themselves for anything so minor as worldly gain.

This is an old, outdated way of thinking. The new world I am building, a world where the conquered will bow before their conquerors, will demolish such antiquated ideas as virtue, honor, compassion. These are the tools of the weak, the unfortunate.

I shall build a world where any Dead Heart willing to serve my empire shall be given a key to such treasure, it lies beyond the imaginings of this world. I am now choosing the Thirteen, whose superhuman strength, born of an un-beating heart, will stand as the Thirteen Pillars of the new Empire, my Empire.

The Thirteen will not crush opposition, for that would show another weakness: mercy. They will annihilate any who stand against me, and be loyal to me for all time.

h. Raven

Raven’s Bookshelf

The Only Question . . .

•September 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Out there in the dark, in the desert, I’d gone as far as I could go with Kayne. He never said he wanted more, but I kept thinking about Jazrel. He and Kayne were both Wulfs, and Kayne was like a prince in his world, and probably no one had ever said no to him. If he asked me, I didn’t know what I would say.

But then he took me in his arms and kissed me, and I stopped thinking about anything except how strong his arms felt around me and how good his lips felt on mine and the only question I had was—could this go on forever?

It would have if Kayne hadn’t let me go. I didn’t say anything. Didn’t say how much I wanted him, how desperately I needed him to tell me he’d hold me forever, if that was what I wanted.

Vaughn came back, and we got moving. Sometime in the night, my head on Kayne’s hard chest, I drifted toward sleep. Just before I was gone all the way, Kayne caressed my face, whispered, “to the last.”

It was so quiet, I could have dreamed it. But I didn’t.

h. Raven

Raven’s Bookshelf

Letters From the Dead

•September 14, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I sat by many bedsides and took letters from those who could not hold pen to paper. These futile messages of hope were the best I could do in the face of the enemy that raged among the men.

Later, deep in the night, amidst the groans and cries of the dying, by the light of a single lantern, I wrote my own letters, published my own hopes, all the while, knowing the unspeakable truth.

They were letters from the dead. All outgoing mail had been stopped weeks before. If the words of the dying reached the ears of the living, it was all too easy to imagine panicked mothers, desperate fathers, inconsolable wives, descending on a place where Death reigned, eager to save those they loved.

To this day, I remember the long nights I spent, a living ghost among the dying, hunched over my notepad, the lantern’s yellow light gleaming off my glasses, writing letters to a woman I would never see again in this life.

h. Raven


Raven’s Bookshelf