“Old Gods” by Shawny Jeann

Ninja Writer Reads: "Old Gods" by Shawny Jeann

(Editor’s note: Shawny has such a lyrical, beautiful voice. This story is raw and exciting and I know you’re going to love it. Fair warning: it’s not particularly safe, for work or anywhere else. Let’s show Shawny some Ninja love. Leave her feedback in the comments and share her story on Facebook and Twitter.)

“Old Gods”

By Shawny Jeann

With him, it is fever and it is ice. With him, I burn and he leaves me frozen in place at the same time.  We come together with the pace of glaciers and the force of oceans. It is everything I said I would never be and everything I wanted to become. I am helpless to be anything but his, while my body and my blood scream to take back even the smallest amount of what I have given up.

This is entirely my doing; he has never asked for nor taken anything from me. He has been a benevolent guide, the north star in the night sky, who let me turn in his orbit until he had become so intrinsic to my universe that I couldn’t remember when and where we started. The vastness that surrounds us lets in no light, no sound from beyond the world that he has made. With no path behind me, there is no path forward and out. There is only the path that he chooses for us, and I have become a willing apostle to his teachings. I will sit at his feet, or at his right hand, keep myself close to catch even the smallest truth from his lips.

He gives only as it suits him and I am grateful because when he gives I am blinded with the intensity of it. His fingers play my ribs like strings on a harp, pulling notes from my lungs that sing hymns of ancient pleasure. His breath on my neck as he stands behind me makes tiny hairs dance with the exaltation of angels whose king has finally come.

Our sacrifices are few, and at bedtime, more often than not I am left alone, a tangled mess of want in cold sheets. I can warm them on my own with little coaxing, clever fingers knowing how to tease small tremors from my thighs and quiet sighs from my lips. It is not enough, cannot ever fill the need that he has never named. The craving is a beast, trapped in a maze of desire with the only way free through him.

“What do you want?” he whispers into my mouth, as his long man’s fingers trace curves in search of what I will give him.

The weight of him on me, the heat of skin on skin has melted my thoughts and I cannot say the thing I want most. I arch and he presses against me, holding me in place, but I feel him, his humanity betrayed, hard and already leaking, and this time I know it is really happening. He will bless me tonight and I will be grateful for every moment.

“What do you want?” he says again.

His cheek rasps against my skin. His lips are on my nipple, sucking pleasure from pain and I would tell him what I want if I had not already given all my want to him.

I want what he wants, whatever he will give or take, demand or offer. I want to see his control shatter and crash, a ship on the rocks, contrasting so much with the way I have offered myself up, crumb by crumb, leaving me naked and open with no voice but the one that moans his name as he touches needy heat.

“What do you want?” he asks as fingers stroke through my desire.

My only possible answer is to roll my hips up and my head back, to show him where to touch when I have no way to tell him.

I feel breath on my skin, puffed out over his low laugh as he continues to forge his own trail. He takes his pleasure in mine and I lack the words to say that I am the same. Our pleasure is shared, although he seems so big, and I have made myself so small. We are the same animal, because he has made me that way. Carved me out and molded me against him until my edges are soft again.

“What do you want?” he asks as tongue and fingers invade at the same time, pushing into me, searching for my response to fire his own.

He rocks against me in the old dance, two partners spinning together and away, accompanied only by the music of our breath. He seeks entrance, but will not ask for it. He will wait until I am high and spent and then take it, because I gave him my silent permission so many ages before.

“What do you want?”

His fingers leave me, empty, slide forward, find the spot. His voice purrs encouragement in my ear, a commanding litany, as I roll into him, helpless against the pull of his tide. Like a moon, he circles without getting nearer. If I had voice I would weep at the need that trembles low in my belly as his fingers stray from their course to brush closer. The trembling spreads as the tension creeps forward. I bite my lip to keep silent as he continues to work my pleasure up to meet his. Muscles tighten, try to curl in on themselves, even while stretching to reach for his warmth and weight at the same time.

“What do you want?” he asks one more time, knowing in his voice.

He knows I am lost again, I have followed him down his path once more. I would tell him not to stop, but my teeth are fastened to his shoulder; they will leave a small mark to show my passing. When the trap springs inside me, even then I do not expect it, and the blaze that follows is a fire in the forest that consumes me. It leaves me stripped and bare for him to finally take and use as he wants, to build up again in his own image, which is all I have wanted from the very beginning.

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Shawny Jeann is a romance writer from Toronto Canada. She lives with her very patient husband and her very needy cat. She came to romance reading and writing in the usual way, through vampires, cowboys, and emotionally tormented Navy SEALS. Find her at her blog or on Twitter @shawnyjeann.

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“Static” by David Fox

Ninja Writer Reads: "Static" by David Fox

(Editor’s Note: I fell in love with the poetic rhythm of David’s story. I think you will, too. Let’s show this Ninja Writer some love and leave him comments and share the link to his story around the webs. –S.)

“Static”

By David Fox

Just before you die the blood stops pumping to your brain. The last few seconds are like static from an old radio.

The afternoon is getting on, now. The sunset receding a little into the background. Any respite at all, I suppose. My skin cools. Not searing like before. I can rest easier in my seat. The needles fade…

I have been trying in vain to find something good on the radio.

The first one was modern R&B. You know. They pull some random jailbait from the school cafeteria and tell her she’ll be famous if she moans over a cheap drum machine. Mum won’t have to work two jobs. She’s really going for it too. Probably figuring if she fit enough notes in one single banshee wail they’d throw in some food as a bonus. Live the dream, right?

Next. Talk radio, the worst. Angry, conservative loudhailer. Takes calls from middle-class housewives who fall in love with the dulcet tones of his voice. Reminds them of Daddy. Talking about society going down the drain, whatever happened to real role models, the liberal media are in control and oh, I know! I know! It’s awful! Venting their frustration to their surrogate radio Dad, carefully ashing their cigarettes into their expensive glassware ashtrays. All of them dying all the same.

Another station. It’s glitzy pop music. Razor blades pushing into my brain.

There. Found the tail end of a Neil Young song. That will do. Horrible reception, suddenly. All static. I turn the radio off with the last drop of strength in my left arm. A surge of pain reminds me moving it is a bad idea. Arm falls to my side, motionless. Numb. The needles come back.

A nice little street behind me. One or two cheery little bars. Must have been packed. No one was outside.

Crisps, steak, sour cream, limes, salt, tequila, beer. Pool. Weather-beaten faces. Laughing, eating, drinking, forgetting. Cigarettes, melting into ghosts. Maybe a real guitar and a good amp. Maybe a jukebox. I would kill to get back there. Tell a joke; knock down a shot or three. Recede into the furniture, blissful. The needles are almost gone.

Orange rays moving right past me, or right through me, into the shuttered windows of the street outside, breaking into little beams, illuminating the dust that had been hovering out of sight. Thin slices of dust and light. Tangible enough that small children would try and hold them.

Boy playing on the beach. Six, seven? Not sure. Beautiful. Completely oblivious. Rolled up overalls, grubby shirt, no shoes, sand up to the knees. Unruly mop of yellow hair. Running around, hyperactive, plastic shovel and bucket in tow. Asymmetrical sandcastle, too close to the water. No one else around.

He sees me.

I can barely move my legs.

He dawdles up the beach, to the car park, to the car.

Hi there, I say. I try to sound cheerful.

“Hi.”

Where are your parents?

He raises his finger vaguely towards one of the bars. Good job, kid. Jesus Christ. If I could lift a gun I’d shoot them where they stand, I swear.

They left you out here?

“I dunno.” A shrug. Does he care? He keeps looking straight at me.

I like your sandcastle.

“It’s a house.”

Oh, well then, I like your house.

He doesn’t reply.

You built it too close to the water. It’ll get washed away.

“The other sand is too dry.”

He’s got me there. I keep hoping he’ll stop looking at me. I keep hoping he’ll get bored and walk away. But…I don’t want him to leave.

“What happened?” he finally asks.

What do you mean?

The boy lowers his gaze from my eyes to my blood soaked left arm, still clutching my balled-up coat to the hole in my chest. By now the lower half of my t-shirt and my jeans are stained crimson.

“What happened to you?”

I was in – well it doesn’t matter now. It’s grown-up stuff.

“Do you need help?”

No. Please. Don’t tell anyone.

He shuffles awkwardly. “Are you OK?”

A weak smile. It’s fine. I’ll be fine.

The boy, seemingly confused, runs back to the water. Fuck. I don’t want it to end this way. Please God, not like this, scaring some little kid half to death.

A small eternity passes.

He pulls something from the sand and runs back to the car. All smiles and excitement. Hands cupped shut.

“Here,” he says. He opens his hands to show me a seashell. I have to laugh.

That for me?

He nods. I gingerly release my coat. No use now. I take the shell from his palm.

“I found lots. You can have this one.”

I rest the shell on my eye and grimace.

Yarrr! What do you think? Do I look like a pirate?

He laughs. I wrench my watch from my wrist with my teeth and hand it to him.

Here you go. Fair trade.

He looks surprised, even suspicious. He slides it around his tiny wrist. “It’s too big.”

Just keep it in your pocket for now. Your hands will get bigger.

He shoves it in his pocket. Gestures towards his sand house.

“Do you wanna help?”

Another weak smile. I think I’m gonna rest her for a bit, pal. I’ll just watch you.

He half-smiles and runs back towards his pet project for the day. With considerable effort I pull the lever of my seat and recline back as far as possible. Needles are gone. Cold feeling now. Spreading through me like a spilled glass of cold water.

Still got the seashell on my face. The kid down there, Dennis the Menace, still digging and laughing away. I close my eyes. I listen. Fading like a dying radio, I faintly hear the sound of waves crashing, lapping towards me, away from the sun, reaching for a boy and his house.

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David is a UK-based freelance writer who writes about anything and everything including movies, television, sport and politics. You can find his contact details, and work for various sites compiled on his website David Fox Writing or reach out to @davefox990 on Twitter.

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“Worse Than War” by Naomi Johnston

Ninja Writers Reads: "Worse Than War" by Naomi Johnston. Come read this clever, heartbreaking short story by Naomi Johnston.

(Editor’s note: When I read Naomi’s story, it took my breath away. It is so clever and so sad. I know you’re going to love it as much as I do. Let’s show her some love and share the link to her story far and wide! Also, comment below to give her some feedback.  –S.)

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To Whom it May Concern:

My name is Naomi Johnston, though I often use the pseudonym of Mara Allan. The reason? Pure, bitter irony. In the Bible, in the Book of Ruth, Naomi (meaning pleasantness) changed her name to Mara (meaning bitterness) after her husband and two sons passed away. When I decided, once and for all, that writing was for me, I knew that I had to reflect the core event that triggered it all.

That event is the story I have attached for your reading pleasure.

This story does not have a happy ending. The boy doesn’t get the girl. Life doesn’t go on, at least not willingly.

Despite how the story starts, it is all true. This isn’t a fictional story. It was my life. Read all the way until the end. You’ll understand then.

The start of my writing career would spring up from the ashes that this tale, but until many years after the end.

I now invite you into my life, when I still believed in faith, trust, and pixie dust. Enjoy, or don’t, so long as you pull something from the ashes, just as I did.

~Naomi Michaela Johnston

A.K.A.

Mara Faith Allan

PS: When you’re done, I suggest you read the first part again, though play a small game with the proper names. Omission, substitution, and rearrangement were all factors in creating those names. They aren’t random. Nothing ever is.

“Worse Than War”

by Naomi Johnston

They were losing the war.

The people of Danitta were falling one by one to the invaders from the land of Cercan.

At first, the Danittans held their own, even going so far as to drive the Cercanians back until victory was within their sight. Then, tragedy struck. The Danittans were ambushed by hiding Cercanians, cutting the army off from much-needed supplies before they were slaughtered like cattle.

After that, things only got worse, an ever-downward spiral of deterioration. The Cercanians went so far as to raze the land they conquered, leaving nothing but death and decay in their wake.

Yet, despite all the destruction, death, and mayhem, the capital of Danitta, at the very heart of the country, was full of hope, happiness, and peace.

They held numerous parties, festivals, and games, determined to celebrate until their last moments were up, before the Cercanians took over. The Danittans even managed to sneak a few high ranking members of the Nanomian government back and forth over the border to participate in such festivities.

Now, the people of Nanomia had barely survived a Cercanian attack a few years prior, so when they learned that their sister country had been attacked, the Nanomians did anything and everything they could to help. This included sneaking over tea for parties, food for soldiers, and toys for children.

The children were frightened, of course. Their homes were disappearing, the possibility of seeing another tomorrow was growing ever smaller, and they were no longer sure who was friendly and who wasn’t. Nevertheless, they didn’t show any signs of weakness. With brave hearts, the children played and laughed and squealed with joy.

It wasn’t something the Cercanians were expecting, eventually slowing down in their attack.

But they didn’t stop.

They didn’t stop until the whole of Danitta was dead.

Yet, just weeks before the death of the country was complete, the Danittan government handed over their most prized possession to the Nanomians, trusting them with its care. The Nanomians, stubborn in their ways, traded back an item that was similar, though not as great in importance. The Danittans, flattered, swore that they would carry it with them to the final grave.

None of them knew how soon that truly was.

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Amy shut her phone, tears sliding down her cheeks. The phone call had resounded deep within her, reminding her of the bullet that had barely missed her just three years ago.

Her thoughts drifted to the toddler down the hall, probably sucking on his thumb in his sleep like he always did, slowly but surely creating the dreaded buckteeth.

They then traversed downstairs, where her husband was probably asleep on the couch, a western movie playing softly on the TV in front of him.

Lastly, they went to the little girl in the room just next to hers, who was cuddling with her doll and dreaming of nothing but happy thoughts.

Amy didn’t want to share what she just learned, but she knew she must.

I gotta tell her.

She pushed herself off the bed, passing through the doorframe and into the dark hall. Matt’s door was shut at the end, but the girl’s room to the left was cracked like always. The doorknob was constantly jamming open, which suited their orange tabby just fine. It meant he could always be in at least one bedroom for the night.

Amy quickly went towards her son’s room, though only to turn the hallway light on before retracing her steps to her daughter’s room. Amy could hear her stirring, the light slowly dragging her back into reality.

With a ragged sigh, Amy pushed open the door.

“Naomi? Sweetie, are you awake?” Amy called out softly, praying that the girl stayed asleep. It would be so much better for her that way.

“Mommy?” came the groggy voice, and Amy saw two blue eyes peering back at her from under the covers on the other side of the room. “What’s wrong?”

Amy winced. Her trembling voice had obviously given her away. Gulping, she crossed the room swiftly at sat on the edge of the bed, laying one shaking hand on her daughter’s head.

“Naomi, Danielle passed away a few minutes ago.” Amy’s heart dropped out of her as she felt the girl stiffen before her, curling tighter around the doll.

Images of the two girls passed before Amy’s eyes. The tea parties, the playdates, the constant smiles on both their faces. Even though one was in a wheelchair. And completely bald.

She remembered just a few weeks ago that Naomi had asked to give Danielle a Madeline doll. Her reasoning was simple but powerful. It was the same reason Naomi had that doll herself.

“Now she has a doll with the same scar we do! Though Madeline got hers because of her appendix, not her kidney.” The girl had stated matter-of-factly.

But Danielle, sweet Danielle, had given Naomi a Danielle doll, to remember her by, so that Naomi would always have a piece of her.

Amy wished that Naomi had more than just a doll, that she had the whole person instead.

She curled around her daughter, holding her close as the girl wept for the one friend who understood her and what she had gone through.

Amy couldn’t help but think of the bitter irony of it all. When she was young, she had lost her friend Paige to cancer. Naomi, however, lost her best friend to the very same cancer that she had defeated just a few short years earlier.

Silent tears rolled down her cheek, splashing onto the wavy brown hair of her daughter, thanking the Lord above that she still had her, while also cursing him for taking away so much happiness.

And so they laid there, Mother, Daughter, Doll, locked in a silent embrace, crying until the sun rose over the gray town in northern Indiana.

(Editor’s Note: Remember the PS . . .)

 

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You can keep up with Naomi and read more of her work at Deviant Art.

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