a.j. acey



A resounding crash – powerful enough to drown the raging gale – followed by the cold rattling of steel on steel; the unknown tick with each connection – the tick to tear her thoughts, to penetrate her conscious effort. That fucking tick. It itches.

She’s startled ‘round as her mind wanders with adrenaline – father? Who’s there? She’s lost in memory – a void so devoid – but something won’t begin. Not without the means to scratch.

She creeps forward. Can you see her now? Underneath the moon outside? She presses herself hard against the wall to avoid being seen by what she can’t know. The authoritative winds of the Anemoi so mighty – razor-edged blasts of invisible blades – push her, force her, claim her, judge her, command her forward.

She’s under the stained window – dust to dust undisturbed by violence. She reaches up to grab the latch.

Crack! Lightning. She falls hard and scrambles as an epileptic; she is in the ruthless land of gods, unforgiving gods – immortal mages from that dogmatic text – you know the one. Can’t you see it? She is abandoned. Irrelevant.

She cannot strike. She is a frozen fossil, staring, not blinking, she cannot blink. Tick.

She blinks.

She cannot breathe as if she cannot remember – a devoiden void. There’s panic in the steps – the new sounds of steps and stepping. Father? Who’s there?

Her voice is a shake and she thinks it isn’t hers. More steel but then a melancholic chuckle with thumping steps. Unknown steps. That tick. Tick.

The window does nothing to break the winds but they shatter the glass the winds – it is a window, after all, it owes the wind hence its name – shards can only pay the gods in turn to be redeemed of sins long forgotten; together they are only one pane but one is not enough. These gods want billions.

She sees that now, but can you?

And so she offers all she has – she has no choice. The tempests of a thousand fathoms grab her hold and take her – she’s naked and freezing. No cloth to cover – the gods have taken it. She’s cold and crying and wants to scratch. She’s itching but can’t scratch. Monsters, demons, hell’s wrath its fury, rain down upon her ripping her to shreds like stabs and claws and teeth and foul putrid death is coming it must be coming. Tick. Tick tick.

But all is well in an instant – the lights come on and daddy’s returned. So many tears. Cries and sins so long forgotten. Da! Da!

He says and asks these things to her: My angel! My love! Did you fall from bed? The storm outside is horrible, isn’t it? The wind forced open your window, huh? But where’s your blanket gone? Taken by the winds, I’d wager. You must’ve been so confused and cold and scared, huh? Don’t worry, baby. Daddy’s here.

He shuts the window tight, lifts up his two year old and tickles her. Tickle. Tickle tickle.

 A.J. Acey  is a self-proclaimed poet first and foremost, and is employed as a grad student at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. Currently, he labours toward completion of his genre-defining fantasy novel, Necrophobia: Echoes of Infinity.