Justice in Winter (The Goddess of Wind and Rain)
Deep in the woods off a long, winding road, and finding no reasons for where she now lay
Was a broken young woman half buried in snow, just married, half clothed in torn rags and the gray
Of the season that later would prey on her heart and remain there until she had seen her last day.
Dismayed eyes spoke of betrayal and hurt and had frozen, uncertain of why she was slain
In a portrait of ice and without any warning, but morning would yield all the answers she’d need.
If only she’d known of the meeting of late she might not have died there under the tree.
But as is often the case, we see everything clearer in the mirror when everything’s done and behind us.
When life gets too warm and cozy it goes without notice until something tragic reminds us.
All the world around her now had bound her down to watch her shake,
Dying with the light of day but trying hard to stay awake.
Silent stillness made her numb and deaf and dumb to everything
Except the burn of frost on skin and Lady Winter’s icy sting.
No one there to even care or listen to her awful story,
Winter claimed her rigid frame and stole her breath in all its glory.
On the floor of nature’s house, a mouse without a chance in Hell,
Our heroine’s dying wish was for the world to know her story well.
And her story begins, as these stories often do, with a blue pair of eyes that weren’t hers and a kiss
From a beauty queen aimed at her husband one night when the sight of her made him feel physical bliss.
Standing in the corner with long, blonde hair, who would dare turn her down if she shot him a glance?
Rare is the man who throws water on the fire within when the liar within wants to dance.
So there in a smoky bar were all the seeds planted, and frantic had been the ensuing night’s crime.
His spouse was forgotten as soon as he entered her bedroom to take his life off of his mind.
Now, what does a beauty queen get from this game? It’s the same sad story since love was invented.
Was it maybe the ring that he wore on his hand that demanded her envy and what she intended?
Our heroine was cast away if ever there was less a reason;
If only for a little while she lost her love in that cold season.
While she waited patiently at home he had to do his thing;
One night out without his bride had made him curse his wedding ring.
He had to have that beauty queen who screamed with pleasure at the touch
Of vows misplaced and love disgraced—hidden faces carry such.
No sincere apology can keep the deed from being done.
No amount of second chances justifies the late night fun.
The beauty queen showed up in town after others had found out about what she did and had chased
Her off to another small part of the world where all of her pearls still seemed in good taste.
She never much cared for the ones on the prowl; those settled down were the ones she preferred.
It was they who would give the most sport but resort to submitting in the end with the rest of the herd.
Her eyes were the color of sexy except when she needed to hide them to cover her shame.
With hair and a body to match, she could latch on to any excuse that would help deflect blame.
At every chance given she turned up the heat with the sun soured sweetness of one who can’t wait
For all of the foreplay to pay for itself in any way likely to keep them out late.
Such a one had landed, reprimanded by the fates that followed
Town to town to hold her down and fill the voids in hearts she’d hollowed.
Still she carried on with theft and left the loveless by the way,
But no one let her know she had to go before she got away.
Least of all the men befriended after dark in late night hours;
Such a one had landed, stalking neighborhoods like one who scours
Like a fox in search of hens, bending wills with all her charms
And killing fills the empty space behind her face and in her arms.
Eric and Donna were still getting used to sharing a roost and preparing to live
Out the rest of their lives with each other and love one another with all that they knew how to give.
They’d only been married a couple of weeks; neither had reason to seek something else.
Their story was classic—one morning they met at their college of choice and both of them felt
From the start it was destined, a love preordained; nothing remained of the void that had captured
Their lives until then—much more than just friends and the journey since then had been nothing but rapture.
Ideas for the wedding had already formed by the time they had graduated; plans had been drawn
For the house they would share, the colors it would wear and the land they would buy and the size of the lawn.
When school was done, they moved up north into a decent, mid-sized town
Near a mountainous region of the country; there they settled down
And found a piece of ground that they could build on somewhat near the city
So that Eric wouldn’t have to drive too far to make his hard-earned living.
Thoughts of children came soon after; Donna factored in the cost
And what it meant to be a parent, and apparently she thought
That it was something they could do and viewed the future being bright.
So without tarry they got married; ever since she held him tight.
The first few weeks were the dream they had seen in their minds when they thought about how it would be;
Eric made a living and Donna kept giving her love to the man who had set her heart free.
His job was in the city—an easy eight to four and he swore that it couldn’t get better than this.
Once he was settled he thought it would do them some good to get out of the house for a bit.
Upon getting home he told Donna his thoughts, but she fought the idea, saying, “Some other time.
My mother’s expecting a call and the walls in the kitchen need painting, but I wouldn’t mind
If you took yourself out and got used to the town—drive around for awhile then tell what you see.
Come back with some sights and then maybe the next night I’ll go; you need a break much more than me.”
Eric waved goodbye and told his wife that he might be out late;
Without a destination he could easily drive across the state.
In his car he climbed and down the driveway he had started off
To see the city, leaving pretty Donna back to mind the loft.
Eric drove for hours, combing streets and hoping he could find
A place where he and Donna could relax and spend their idle time.
Soon a bar appeared, not far from all the busy city lights;
He’d step inside and then collide with fate that frozen Winter night.
When he got inside, the room looked too dim and he almost turned on a whim and went out.
But after a second of taking it in, the place sort of beckoned him in and his doubt
Was erased when he noticed how cozy the space was—nothing too loud and nothing too bright.
He climbed up the stairs to the story above and he thought of his love, for the place was just right.
In the corner he saw a girl drumming her fingers and lingering on with her head on her fist.
She seemed to be waiting for someone; she kept breathing deeply and checking the watch on her wrist.
Eric just watched as she stood up and slithered away from the table to sit at the bar.
She looked over at him and instantly lust overtook him and she said, “I know what you are.
I know what you desire; you’re a liar if you say you don’t.
You’re thinking I’m a stranger and a danger but I swear I won’t
Do something you don’t want me to; up front with you is all I’ll be.
I’ll save you from that prison you’ve created with that wedding ring.”
Eric saw her eyes were blue and of his head no trace remained.
His wife forgotten, Eric shockingly proclaimed, “I need your name.”
“Ashley,” said the stranger, “and if you don’t mind me saying so,
One who married young as you is sure to not have much control.
“You rushed into marriage and thought you were set, but I’ll bet you don’t realize just what you’ve been missing.
A girl such as yours is still only a whore whose delusional mind won’t reveal what she’s wishing.
The girl must be done with experiencing life; she wants to be somebody’s wife so she never
Again has to fail at our glamorous game—command her to wait and stay with me forever.
I know of a cabin up north we could have in an instant, and there we could spend a few weeks.
We’d hide from the cold and the truth would be told about what kind of woman you really do need.”
Something hypnotic had made him psychotic and Eric decided he wanted this girl.
The blue in her eyes was so mesmerizing; it promised desire and asked for the world.
Just before he spoke agreement, Ashley seemed to think again.
Knowing that she had him trapped, the beauty saw the chance to bend
Another will to grant her wish so she could do what she did best—
Take some loving, cause some losing, leave abusing to the rest.
“There’s one thing you have to do if you want me to take you home.
If you want me and all my love you have to help me kill your own.”
Eric thought it over with a mind he lost and couldn’t claim,
Thinking on her words and how they sounded so completely sane.
Eric and Ashley checked into a room where she filled his light head with advice about love
And why he rushed into marriage while Donna was carrying on back at home with her dishwashing gloves.
Morning came quickly and Donna woke early, certain her husband came home overnight.
But searching the house for a sign of him wasted her time, for Eric was nowhere in sight.
She got in her car and drove into the city, concerned about something she couldn’t divine
And at last found his car outside of the bar but no others were with it at such an odd time.
The parking lot empty, she practically ran to the door and began to fear something had come
That would tear her away from her husband; she prayed that the culprit would never destroy love so young.
At first relieved she found him there upstairs and that he’d been unharmed,
She looked again and saw his friend and felt there might be cause for alarm.
Walking to the table she was barely able to hide her fears;
When at last she spoke she had to blink away the welling tears.
She tapped her husband on the shoulder, trying to ignore the stare
That Ashley shot her way and told herself she shouldn’t even care
About what someone else would think; she wanted Eric back at home.
She told him nervously how hard it was to spend the night alone.
The light in his eyes was strange when he introduced Ashley, infused with a hypnotized glaze
And Donna was cordial enough, but repeated that morning had come and the two should part ways.
She led Eric out of the bar, afraid to look back at the girl who had shaken her so,
But Ashley had followed behind, stepping ever so lightly so Donna could never have known.
Greeted outside by a calm, heavy snow, it was Ashley who first took a murderous action.
The trash bag she took from inside was pulled over poor Donna and then she was yanked in a fraction
Of a second to the ground where she landed face first; what was worse than the pain was the fear and betrayal
She felt as they stuffed her down into the trunk of her own husband’s car and the fright was near fatal.
They drove her far outside the city, hours down old country roads
And through the mountains; what the destination was she couldn’t know.
At last the car was made to stop at God knew where; the afternoon
Cast shadows on the ground that promised that the day was ending soon.
Donna heard the trunk unlock; the door popped open and she kicked
With rage at her assailants, but the two were just a step too quick.
Ashley grabbed a leg and pulled her out while Eric stripped her coat
And held her arms behind her back while Ashley took her by the throat.
They dragged her off into the woods while she struggled, still puzzled as to why she was being abused.
They both let her scream ‘till her voice had gone out as they carried her on through the cold without shoes.
There was no one around within miles to see the cruel smiles that flashed as the two threw her down.
What followed was savage; they ravaged and beat on the girl ‘till she couldn’t get up from the ground.
They sat her weak body against a bare tree and prepared to leave, stranding her there in the woods.
Ashley bent over and gave her a kiss on the lips; she’d have fought it if only she could.
With a wink and a smile she turned and joined Eric, who didn’t say anything about what he’d done.
Donna watched hope get buried in snow as she saw the two fading with the cold, setting sun.
Eyes still wide with shock and horror, Donna waited there to die
And wondered why it happened, but the weather wouldn’t let her cry.
Blood was freezing, hands were shaking, raking at her frosted skin;
Donna knew she didn’t have a chance but hated giving in.
Breathing in grew harder as the icy world began to spin;
Hopeless anger overtook her as she thought of Ashley’s grin.
Everything inside her made her want to beat the cold and win,
But wanting finds no purchase in the court of Summer’s heartless twin.
Too battered and broken to manage survival, she finally let her eyes rest and laid still.
She gave up her hope and her wishes, embraced what was coming, and Winter moved in for the kill.
Her body gave ground as the sun settled down; it still took some time for the process to end.
Her last living thought was of Eric and how she had lost him and how unfair it had been.
Death was in store and her breath was no more as she fell to the gray she was destined to find.
A few moments later, the cold that had made her so lonely was something she didn’t much mind.
But something was wrong, for she still felt awake; she had taken for granted what fate had in store.
She opened her eyes and saw everything just as she left it—no changes, no less and no more.
Getting up was now so easy, Donna’s mind could find no answers
‘Till she turned around and found herself still frozen, broken, hampered.
All the world around her bound her down to watch her cry and shake;
She had tried with all her might to fight the cold and stay awake.
All the mercy left the soul that now could see its own dead frame
And she was now a goddess, looking out upon her new domain.
She was something wild, something heartless that could not be tamed
And there would be no quarter, for the Winter hurts us all the same.
The Goddess left her name with her frame by the tree and let all the new fury inside her find room.
She was made of the wind and the cold, pouring rain and she knew she’d use both ‘till her mind was consumed
With the havoc she’d cause—no reason to pause while her killers were out there enjoying the heat
Of a fire; the liars were hiding from ire they’d earned—they killed in the snow so they’d reap
The new storm that was coming to ruin their comfort; she moved with the speed of a hurricane gale
To the place where the two had fled after the deed had been done (a small cabin down a long, narrow trail).
She swept to the window and found the two cozy and dozing in front of a warm, happy fire.
The Goddess was angry all over again; the scene absolutely had reeked with desire.
The air grew colder, wind grew bolder, windows cracked from all the strain.
Doors flew open, leaving them exposed to gales and driving rain.
Cabinets clattered, all their peace was shattered as they felt the cold
That rushed inside to end one of the saddest stories ever told.
The lovers tried to close the doors and windows but they tried in vain;
Nothing helped, for they enraged the Goddess of the Wind and Rain.
Another few degrees were lost and they were getting frightened now
Because they knew, despite it all, that Justice found them out somehow.
Eric and Ashley decided to run; they were numb in the hands and the cabin was going
To fall in a minute. The wind was too strong and they wanted to leave before it really was snowing.
They fought their way out to the brutal outdoors in the night where the Goddess and weather were waiting
To make them both pay for their actions that day; she would make every step that they took well worth hating.
They knew they could feel someone watching, and knew just as well that they’d never feel comfort again.
They cried out apologies, only to lose them in throats that were parched and the roar of the wind.
At last they had reached the inside of the car and decided to drive just as far as they could,
But the only road out was a treacherous gauntlet of turns and steep drop-offs that ran by the woods.
Once the car had hit the road, the Goddess unleashed all her fury;
Wipers just weren’t fast enough to keep the road from being blurry.
Frozen rain had made the way impossible to drive through safely.
Still they drove, insistent that they stay the course and try escaping
‘Till they hit a patch of ice; they lost control and had to skid.
Eric tried to slow down and recover but he never did.
Ashley had to jump and hit the road and watched in utter fright
While Eric’s car slid off the road and disappeared from Ashley’s sight.
She heard the car crash, heard the glass crack and shatter, but other than that there was nary a sound;
She knew in an instant that Eric was dead and she wasted no time getting up from the ground.
She ran to the woods on feet that were numb; she was coming to learn how foreign she felt
In the merciless cold where the comfort is gone—she was coming to learn how sorry she felt.
She staggered through blackness and branches and rain, insane with the fear that the Goddess instilled,
Until something tripped her and made her fall down in the snow; the corpse of the girl she had killed.
She crawled to it quickly and begged for forgiveness, crying through eyes that just couldn’t make tears.
The frost covered figure just stayed where it was, giving no sign that her end wasn’t near.
The Goddess saw her kneel and made her feel the pain that she had felt;
She made it cold enough to freeze the girl exactly where she knelt.
All through life that beauty queen had thought of beauty as her savior;
Someone should have told the girl that Winter doesn’t grant us favors.
All through life she found a way to cast away another’s blame;
But there’s no point in casting blame since Winter hurts us all the same.
Still she’s frozen in the forest, bowing to the one she wronged;
The air will get no warmer there until the Goddess moves along.
“My first hope for the things that I write and the stories I tell is that they are, before anything else, different in subject matter and content than what people are used to,” says Dax. “I find myself almost incapable of writing about, or describing, a setting or situation twice, and the premium I put on my originality is a source of pride for me. How successful I actually am at breaking away from conventionality is up to the reader to decide, of course.
“My second hope for my work, no less important than the first, is that it invokes emotion of the sort that, ultimately, helps my readers have a better day. My approach to this end likely seems an odd one, as much of what my mind turns out is of a decidedly darker nature, at a glance. I like to think that this is because there is no rainbow without the rain, and so I’m right at home standing in it. My intent is to help other people stand in it as well, unafraid of the discomfort it can cause and with the knowledge that the rainbow will only seem brighter when it passes.
“Writing was the first thing I ever felt that I was good at, and the first thing that I remember ever WANTING to be good at. Ever since I was a pre-schooler, writing “books” on construction paper about my family’s household pets (complete with laughably innocent dialogue), I’ve been striving to find the formula that lets me expressively tell a story that gets people to feel something. With each story I write, I get better at it, which is to be expected, I suppose.
“I’m also a believer that, as an art, writing is largely too subjective a medium to classify as “good” or “bad.” There are exceptions, of course, but for the most part I think it simply is what it is, each story with its own relevance to its own frame of reference, and that’s just one of the things that makes this art beautiful.”
Thanks, Dax, for stopping by aliisaacstoryteller this week, I am honoured to feature you on my blog. I was blown away by your poem Formless Like Water for the first Of Words and Water charity anthology, and I still am. Your poetic style, and epic poems remind me of the Irish storytellers of old, and I love listening to you recite them.
I am looking to feature more indie authors on my Friday Fiction in the New Year, so if you would like to see your writing featured here, please do get in touch.