equivalent to the product of two and two; one more than three, or six less than ten


   door     Asked to draw a picture of tomorrow; I drew yesterday[1] instead.

[1] Subject: Female, 6 years of age.  Description: Drawing done in No.2 Pencil.  Period: Month following her brother’s funeral.


I have entered tomorrow, for yesterday has been closed against me and for the life of me, I cannot find the present.


For a moment I subsist on little Debbie snack cakes and a single glass of white milk.  This is okay, I guess, since it appears my parents wish to continue their self-imposed exile.  What can I say; they play Castro to my Cuba.

And all the while I’m swimming for Florida.

Maybe things will change after tomorrow… maybe my parents will build a life raft and tread the treacherous waters separating the three of us from one and the other.

Maybe I’ll live to see fourteen- then again maybe my brother will return from the dead and take me with him.


All so many maybes

‘Maybe’ might as well be a predator for all the good it does, waylaying the defenseless, ambushing the weak, wreaking havoc.  After all, there are an awful lot of maybes out there prowling the streets.  Pray you don’t meet one in a dark alley some night, when you’re all alone and defenseless, or better yet truly asleep.

Like I said, I’m an illuminator, last in my family line because my brother’s dead, so I’m bound to use descriptive words, phrases, images to convey what I am trying desperately to feel, but failing so miserably at revealing.  Need an example- here’s one:


The first thing I remember is waking up to the sound of her voice, that and existing in two very distinct places at once.

The first place would be my bedroom and bed, my wife beside me is almost frantic with worry that I have overslept and will be late for work.  Adding insult to injury the alarm clock beside our bed only verifies this, three simple numerals in red mutely proclaim that I have indeed overslept, and by a good forty-five minutes.

Like I said, this would be in the here and now, my first instance.

In the second instance, I’ve lost an entire night.  My last memory from ‘that other’ place would be of me standing in front of a large plate glass window, filmy curtains veil what lies beyond, and are now pushed aside to reveal a new day dawning, a globe of welcoming fire rising like a phoenix from the dark, dew laden ashes, of a landscape gone gray.  The very air seems alive somehow, with the whispered promises of a day yet to be, but is somehow upon us.  Standing beside me is my wife, beside her are our friends, the ones we booked this vacation with in the first place.

A funny thing about this second place, in it I have already arrived late in the day, yesterday it seems, and I’ve completely missed my scheduled check-in time.  My wife, having previously come down earlier with friends, has already checked in, unpacked her two and half suitcases of clothing, toiletries and other sundries, before joining the whole crew, it seemed, downstairs in the banquet hall for a community meal welcoming one and all.

The hotel we are staying in is a bone-white monstrosity sprawled across a great green hillside overlooking boundless fields of emerald green cut by ribbons of rolling blue.  In the distance, the hazy reminders of mountains, up thrusts from the whispery dry Santa Anna plains, windswept and everything but dew laden and green.

As I stated earlier, I seemed to have arrived late in the afternoon in what I assumed to be today but is really yesterday.  For you see, I have been traveling the dusty byways of this great and varied land, from the red sands of Phoenix to the ash-strewn hills of California, all in the name of business of course.

Arriving at the great Iron Gate surrounding the hotel, in its own way excluding one and all from the general madness of the unwanted and unneeded world, I had parked my car in the lot provided.

I would return for my luggage later.

At the moment I wanted to get across this dusty gravel parking lot as quickly as possible, for the comfort and coolness of the hotel yawning before me, a relief of air conditioning and soft white sheets- I may even want to enjoy a little late night lovemaking later.

Somewhere along the line my journey from car to hotel becomes strangely stretched, the accent from the hill I was parked upon, to front door, seems to stretch out extremely long.  By the time I arrive I am feeling lethargic, as if drained of life, as what should have taken mere minutes has taken hours indeed.

At long last, with the sun burrowing its head and shoulders into the western extremes, I arrive at the aforementioned entrance and cross into the threshold.

Ah, a/c at last.

With but a handful of meaningless words, an exchange of pleasantries with the hotel clerk, I am directed to my room, where upon my entrance into that space I discover that my wife has already vacated the premises and gone downstairs to the aforementioned banquet hall for dinner.  Hungry, to say the least, and still lethargic, I force my weary feet to tread even further into the depths of the hotel, on this, my final sojourn before sustenance.

With a ding the silver sliding walls before me part, only to reveal the stainless steel interior of an elevator which will soon take me down one level to the aforementioned banquet hall.  Where, upon my arrival, I will meet my wife, and with bleary eyes, drink her in like a man dying of thirst now at the extreme limits of his endurance and self, as if stumbling upon an oasis of shade for the very first time.

After a slight hum and a period of motion I am deposited upon said floor, the doors before me parting, almost yawning me into the great gathering place, a room anchored by red wall-to-wall carpeting, floral paper, and arching circular ceilings strewn with miniature chandeliers casting glittering yellow light.  As I enter the banquet hall, the low murmur of faceless patrons begins to surround me.  I scan the assembled crowds for any sign of my wife or our friends.  Spotting neither, and after heaving a great sigh, I decide that I should at least grab myself a plate, gather some sustenance and find shelter at a nearby table, before I perish from hunger.  It is only after I have made it thus far in both mental preparedness and worldly gathering up of the proper tools to feed myself, that I notice that many of the entrees and their accompaniments are already barren, only crusty remains in some, a few crumbs in others.

Like those around me I find patience to be a virtue and extol it to the very best of my ability, as teenagers dressed in white blouses and button-down shirts with ties over black slacks, rush amidst the din and racket and stream of refilling said table.  Once finished, I am able to resume my hunting and gathering.

With a full plate before me I begin the long and arduous search for my wife’s table, shouldering past the mass of scattered diners and their tables, disorganized groupings of chairs, past darkened rooms offering privacy for those in search of safety from prying eyes, a seclusion of sorts, until finally, after an exhaustive amount of time I locate her.

My wife greets me with a welcoming smile, her eyes aglow, but I can tell from the terseness of her lips how very much she appreciates me finally making my appearance.  Beside her reside our friends, the ones with whom we have planned this trip with.  They smile and throw out their hellos.  I reply and manage to grab a seat, set my plate down and lean over to brush my lips across my wife’s.

“Before you set down you had better get us your desserts,” she murmurs, as my ear slides past her lips.  Beyond her words lie the promise of further refreshment later, served hot and urgent with shared needs and desires.

At long last I am forced to withdraw with but a smile, and hastily excusing myself one last time, retreat once again into the long lines of revelers, only this time instead of seeking sustaining fare, I seek out the light delicacies of snacking afterwards.

Finally, after much searching and fanfare I find said table, procure a dessert for my wife, one for myself as well, and then proceed to thread my way back to our room and table, only to get turned around somehow and take a full thirty minutes, maybe more, before finding my way back to where I began.  Arriving I find my wife and our friends standing behind the table, a large plate glass window behind them proclaiming the first real rays of the coming dawn.  I set our desserts down and turn towards her.

Needless to say, once again I am thoroughly confused.

“Where have you been all this time?  Did you get lost?” She asks.

To which I have no real answer other than to shrug, “Why, did I fall asleep or something?”

My befuddled brain seems to be struggling with the dilemma before me, the one in which I distinctly remember going after dessert and returning, but never remember falling asleep in.

She replies that it is morning and that I have missed the entire night.

‘But how can this be’, I wonder?  ‘I’ve been nowhere other then in this place, wandering among these tables, seeking only your sustenance’.  And yet I can see by the worry in her eyes that she is correct, that indeed, it is no longer night but early morn.  I have, indeed, lost an entire evening, having no memory thereof… Ashamed, I turn my eyes from the naked glares of my wife and friends, all three too embarrassed to continue.

At the same time all this is happening my elbow is being grabbed and gently shaken.  As it turns out this is a good thing, as it releases me from the trance I seem to have fallen in, a mesmerizing disbelief and confusion of what exactly has been occurring.  As I turn towards the source of this interruption I set up and realize that the room has become dark once again and that my wife is still beside me trying desperately to wake me up and inform me that it is morning and that I needed to get up otherwise I am bound to be late.


It is here that I entertain the dilemma of questioning myself, as well as my motive for having this dream in the first place.  One, which of the places I now occupy is the real here and now, and second, has my wife been trying this entire time to wake me up from a dream I am having about a hotel while I am at home, or trying to wake me from a dream I am having at home about waking up in a hotel?

Thank god the answer to this question will have to wait till later- as for now the moment has passed, time has slipped and reality been restated.


The house around me, my parent’s house, remains quiet, it’s many and varied oceans and seas void of passenger ships or rafts.  As a whole the story I just related only serves to confuse the issue further, not answer the burning question of ‘why?’

As in ‘Why did my brother have to die?’

I also feel that it must signify something[1] more than what I can currently see.


Like I said, I am an illuminator.  The story above, the one about a wife and her husband, is one such example of how I paint, illuminate.  It does not distract from the truth, neither does it add to it.  It simply is.

Fact of the matter, my brother has died, has been killed, and I need to find those responsible[2], though I am sure, beyond the shadow of a shadow[3], that my Uncle is somehow responsible, the nekronator that he is.  The rest are simply drycraeft[4].


I am loathe to realize that tomorrow shines before me like a beacon burning on a hill, while in my mind’s eye the hill is strewn with broken glass and the slivered shards of promises unfulfilled, yearnings unfathomed and dreams unmet.


According to my parents there is no tomorrow, not even a hill… only yesterday’s memories and their unimaginable loss.  To my Grandparents however, especially my Grandmother, to hell with climbing the hill, I just needed to grow up and stop acting like such a baby-

What the hell, I’m only thirteen years old.

[1] If it were based on a dream I remember having the night of the funeral, then why?  If you ask me the whole thing resembles a figure eight anyway, turned on its side one hundred and eighty degrees, though I feel that  I couldn’t be dead wrong and further from the truth.

[2] There must be an answering.

[3] Usage note from Dictonary.com- ‘Doubt’ and ‘doubtful’ may be followed by a subordinate clause beginning with that, whether, or if: I doubt that (or whether or if) the story is true. It is doubtful that (or whether or if) the story is true. There is some doubt that (or whether or if) the story is true. In negative or interrogative sentences, that almost always introduces the subordinate clause: I do not doubt that the story is true. Is it doubtful that the story is true? Is there any doubt that the story I am about to tell you is true?  I have no doubt.

[4] I use the terms dry and drycraeft to refer to magicians and magic respectively.  What is precisely meant by the phrase is unclear at the moment.  I serve to illuminate, however.

Author: S.M.Muse

Bestselling author S.M Muse writes, fun, action-packed adventures full of everyday magic, and darker than Mid-night foes. His characters are clever, fearless, and resilient, but in real life, S.M. is afraid of spiders, things that go bump in the night, and roughing it in the great outdoors. Let’s face it. S.M. wouldn’t last ten minutes in one of his books. S.M Muse is best known for his Heir of Nostalgia fantasy series, and soon to be Urban Contemporary thriller, The Summer People. Visit him at http://www.heirofnostalgia@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: