The Ax


Of Sand & Silk is officially getting the ax right now - chopping away to get the novel down to the 85,000 range.  

Thought I would share a bit of another story I am working on while I spend most of my writing time now with a sharpie that eats away text.

This is a snip-it from my story currently titled 'Fear'.  See the synopsis under the "works" tab in the navigation bar.





He bought the house after retiring from the firm.  Gave them thirty-seven years of his life and handed over a nice portfolio.  They wanted him to stay, “People don’t retire at sixty-five anymore Trevor,” Mark said as he sipped his coffee behind his huge mahogany desk.  “You’ve built a great client list, ride your book out a few more years.”

Sure, he liked what he saw when he looked back over his tenure.  Corner office on the tenth floor and commas in the bank account, but he had always worked towards leaving.  Retirement was the goal.  This house was the goal.

Three bedroom two bath on forty-five acres filled with native birch, pine and blue spruce in western Colorado.   The deep brown of the gravel driveway is what did it for him.  He knew she had to be his after making the five minute walk from the mailbox to the front door, and the house itself was just the cherry on top.  Mid-century modern one story with horizontal windows running along the hallways and high ceilings in the living room; wide brick fireplace; custom built bench in the kitchen nook and updated granite counter tops.  She had been waiting for him, he knew it, there at the end of Chelsea drive, she had been waiting.

He had a library of books anxious to have their pages turned and boxes of cigars ready to burn, even had the spot picked out on the back porch where his rocker would sit, the perfect spot.  He yearned to sit in that rocker and look to the mountains and be retired.  To be still and not worry about how the market was doing, to not anticipate a client’s call, make meetings or attend conferences.  Almost giddy excitement ran up his legs at the thought of never having to tie a double-windsor around his neck again.  But after saying farewell to colleges and clients, changing addresses and getting settled into the new place, he learned there was something else waiting at Chelsea.  Something rooted in the things he no longer wants to know.

The first few months were heaven, the bliss of freedom he had worked long days and deep nights for.  He awoke when he pleased, showered and had a cup of coffee while he considered making breakfast or not.  He’d do whatever chores needed tending to and be sure to make it to the porch by noon, book on his lap and cigar in hand.  He would read and rock and smoke as careless as a horsefly in May.   By five he would fry up some pot-stickers or throw a hamburger in the skillet and pour a glass of neat Irish whiskey.  After dinner he would take the snifter of whiskey to the rocker and read until fatigue or dusk pushed him back inside.  Chelsea and Trevor fell into a harmony together, and it was the sweet routine that cared nothing for tomorrow.  He felt he could grow old with her, die within her quiet walls as a happy man. 

But winter set into western Colorado, and with the snow and barren trees came something that threw a sabot into their harmonious everyday.  And it has been with Trevor since then.

He first saw it on an evening in late November of 2012.  While finishing the nonalogy by Robin Hobb given to him by his brother before he passed, (Luke always loved a good fantasy series) he looked up from the book to let his eyes relax a bit.  Staring out at the scenery he’d grown to love and expect while rocking back and forth with his legs crossed and resting atop the painted wood railing of the back porch, he saw something.  It was like the silver lining of a cloud hanging at the crest of the woods, just where the trees started to get thick and reclaim their portion of the land.  It was a blur his eyes wouldn’t forgive as being false, a tinge not quite right for the scenery.

So he focused on it.  He placed the bookmark into the crease of the pages and folded the book closed, and looked with suspicion into the backyard that raced behind Chelsea.  It seemed to undulate, to shift slightly amongst itself within the growing dusk in a manner he could not trace back to anything he had seen before.  He was not looking at some vermin within its own habitat, he knew, not a mash-up of leaves and limbs or mist pulled up by the wind from the fresh snow fall. 

There was something out there, something that shouldn’t have been.

After almost fifteen minutes he had convinced himself it was a spider’s web.  The strange sheen must have been coming from the lights of the porch or maybe the moon’s light running along the delicate silk.  He left it at that and returned to his story, but only got through two pages before having to look back up, unsatisfied.

There was a pulse.

It pulled his stare up from the pages like an unspoken but ever present voice whispered into his thoughts suddenly changing the evening, (little did he know) forever changing him.  And he stared through the trees at it, feeling vulnerable.  The deepening comfort of the land and the calm of Chelsea was fractured in that moment, his happy home had an intrusion; there was a threat.  The soft glow of the moon lost the soothing grasp it gave him as it cast out atop the snow, and it became ominous, suddenly cold.  The beautiful acreage he loved to walk and explore with nothing more than a walking stick and his thoughts now lay secretive and mysterious, as if there were things hiding within the darkness that watched him, things that did not want him to know he was being watched.

So he sat on the back porch in the rocking chair and stared at it between the trees, feeling all the ease of retirement slowly slipping away from his grasp. 

He stared at it, and it grew.  The shimmering ambience at its edges seemed to vibrate and burn brighter as he looked, and as his eyes tried to discern what they were taking in, he began to feel weak.  A small fatigue was setting in.  The muscles around his wrists and shoulders felt worn and strained, his calves and thighs burned as if he had been for a jog earlier in the day.  He pulled his stare from the woods and looked down at his legs, as if to question his body why it was responding the way it was. 

The weariness stopped, instantly.  He looked back up slowly to the trees and the pull of energy returned the moment his eyes focused on the silvery glow.  It was then he understood he was fueling it.

His curiosity for the unknown entity twenty-or-so yards in the backyard was a catalyst, his fear was being used.  He could feel it being leeched from his body; pulled from his thoughts and fed upon. 

Our deepest fear is not that we are a failure, but that we hold a power beyond our understanding, some unknown ability buried in those places in our heads we don’t know how to trigger.  And as Trevor sat on his back porch and looked at it, he felt that power. 

He looked to the empty glass of whiskey and considered his state as night set in around Chelsea.  It was empty, and he always pours a generous glass.

I’m tired and tipsy his thoughts told him. Call it a night.

So he did. 


Thanks for reading. 

Stay alive, 

-M.P. Callender