Untouched means unlived,

but I hate the mess, the crowdedness,

rubbing the fingerprints off with my 

spit and sleeve,

and still I can see them in the sun,

reflecting on the computer screen,

and when I weigh myself I wonder how much extra I am carrying in

print smudges.

I want to touch only the shiny crystal moments, 

but my clumsy fingers grip too hard and crush them.

I brush the brokenness off of my hands,

shove them in my pocket

to hide my awkwardness,

and move on,

trying to love something less breakable,

something that will burnish these print smears off of me so I can shine.

Untouched means unlived,

so I want to live fully in the moment,

but I want to choose carefully,

selecting a moment that’s pristine

and clean.

I want to live like a star,

wished on,

loved for my shining,

but too far away to touch…

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Tourmaline Visions (20)

This is the end…beautiful friend.”

The thief ran until he thought his heart would burst

the path undulating and


in front of him. Several times he thought he couldn’t make it,

too far,

too bewildered,

too confused about which way to go,

and he slowed,

but the air was alive with sound and something,

or someone,

kept him moving in what he hoped was the right direction.

‘I will trust the forest, I will trust the forest…’

He arrived at the top of a hill and saw the warrior woman sitting cross legged in the grass.

The thief stumbled gracelessly over and unthinking,

dropped to one knee in front of her.

“I am here. Use me.”

She turned to look him full in the face and at the sight of her otherworldly violet eyes he gasped.

* * * *

At first the movement through the forest looked to be no more than wind in the tall grass,

leaves swaying on their branches, wildflowers bowing.

The urchins of the wood,

the Guardians,

moved like shadows,

like small silent creatures who fear the light and the hunting owl.

One of them carried a knurled wooden box,

bound with silver and brass and strange translucent scales

which flashed like summer lightning,

and the air was alive with sound.

The children felt the pull of the song and

and the surge of raven wing.

They also felt the feardark that heralded the arrival of Rapaz,

like a reopened wound, like a curse,

and they moved faster…

* * * *

One moment the hillside stood in pale sunshine and

the next shadows had dropped from the skies,

moving shades,

the air alive with sound.

The two people standing together moved as one down the curve of the hill

toward the ruins,

stumbling in the murk,

the unnatural dark.

The sound of tearing rock driving them to their knees

as the ground beneath them groaned and swelled, massive stones spearing up through the ground.

And then, in the midst of the chaos, suddenly,

Rapaz was there.

* * * *

The Thief and the Warrior crouched together in the stinging wind, shielding their faces. Rapaz stood between them and the ruins, a cruel smile on her face.

‘What was it you were singing?’ she rasped at the woman,

and the sound of her voice drove into their skulls like rusty nails.

‘Journeys end…?’ and she laughed raising her arms to the bruise colored sky, her hands blazing with energy.

‘And now it ends for all time’, she spat.

That was when the dragon landed.

* * * * 

Legends describe dragons as huge flying lizards, clumsy and with cumbersome tails.

This amuses the dragons.

They are more delicate and streamlined than that. Faster. Deadlier. Intelligent.

Rapaz and the dragon eyed each other and she screamed,

‘What are you playing at you miserable little wretches? There hasn’t been a real dragon in millennia, and your peasant magic is no match for mine. Did you really think it was your strength, your choice, that kept me penned here all these ages? Fools!’

The dragon tilted its head and said, ‘The years have made you waspish Rapaz. You know what true magic is and what it will allow.’

The witch howled and turned back towards the two cowering in the grass…but they were gone.

* * * *

As soon as the dragon landed the thief hissed, ‘Go, go NOW..’ and they pelted towards the ruins, the ring of ancient rock that the warrior could hear, humming and beckoning.

Almost at the edge, a sudden explosion rang and they both threw themselves to the ground. A fireball streaked past them and exploded, stopped by an invisible barrier. Blinded for a moment they stumbled apart. That was the opening Rapaz needed. She hurled another fireball at the dragon and flew cross the charred and shriveling grass to where the warrior and thief staggered.

‘You’ve lost handsome one, she hissed ‘You should have stayed with your petty schemes and card tricks. Now watch as it all vanishes.’ The witch pointed a clawed finger at the warrior woman and spoke a word. Power, in a tightly concentrated stream, slammed directly into her chest. She was thrown into the air but before she could collide with the ground the dragon was there, catching and lowering her with one glittering wing. Even from far away the thief could see the wounds still smoking and smell the reek of burned flesh.

He turned and dived for the ring of stones. He passed across the invisible barrier and instantly all was silent. A wave of dizziness drove him to his knees. When it passed, the spell was broken and the warrior woman stood there tall and determined. She raised the stone towards the sky and it blazed forth in all its power; green, violet, red, blue. The sky broke open….

He never remembered the moment the enchantment ended and he looked himself again. What he did remember was the dragon breaking apart into thousands of black thick pelted bees that swarmed into a huge cloud and blocked out the broken sky. What he did remember was a hideous anguished cry from Rapaz trailing off into the air as she disintegrated into a pile of rough black dust. What he did remember was the way the ground seemed to pulse under him and he seemed to want to say something very badly. But all thought escaped him and he followed his mind down into blankness..

When he woke his chest was stiff, bandaged with coarse fabric and green leaves. The urchin sat at his side.

‘Where is she?’ he asked without moving

The urchin smiled and pointed towards the calm blue sky. ‘She and the stone are there, back where stars belong. She was meant to be the guard and carrier only, but when the time came neither she or the stone wanted to be parted. So they are there, together.’

‘And Rapaz?’ he asked

‘She is there.‘ he said, tilting his head. A pile of grainy black ashes mounded in a heap, not too far from the ring of stones.

‘And there she will stay until the wind takes her.’

The thief looked at the urchin with pain in his eyes. ‘I didn’t know if the spell reversing ourselves would work. It is only a cheap magicians trick after all. But we had to try something.’

‘It worked,’ the urchin replied. ‘It gave her the moment she needed to break through the ring while Rapaz was concentrated on who she thought you were. It was a close thing but you did it.’

The thief swallowed and in a voice tight with unshed tears, ‘I didn’t say goodbye….’he trailed off.

‘No need to,’  the urchin said softly. ‘She’s not really gone, just moved. And you can visit her anytime you look up at the night sky.’

‘Now what happens?’ The man asked haltingly.

‘Now? Now life. Now living. You have battled the worst and won. You are changed of course. That is the nature of all life. To change and to continue.’

The man struggled to speak the worrying words. ‘But continue… with what?’

The little Guardian laughed, not unkindly. ‘That is the story not yet written. But it will be. Trust in that, in yourself and in the forest.’

And then he was gone.

The man stared at the sky for a long while. The slowly got to his feet.

‘A story needs to be written.’ he thought ‘And a story needs to be told.’

He strolled over and stood staring at the heap of black ash for a moment and then kicked it over, scattering the dust, feeling it grind underheel.

‘That’s thirsty work.’ he said cheerfully to the sky and started walking in the direction of the nearest town.



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Tourmaline Visions (19)


Her triumph was an angry towering presence,

invading every element,




even fire.

Her patience had finally bore 

diseased and pestilent fruit.

All those long, agonizingly slow centuries,

dwelling in the dirt that was humanity.

Laughing up her sleeve as the guardians kept careful watch.

She could sense their animosity

and their puzzlement as she minced about in human form tending a garden, 

while her unrelenting hatred of this defiled world

and all things in it

grew steadily

like a flame she carefully tended with sticks

sharpened to killing points and dipped in poison.

Riding in the ravens wake she laughed,

causing trees and plants to shrivel beneath her.

Sending her witches vision out before her

searching for that tourmaline shine,

listening for its song that no enchantments could disguise,

knowing well the place it moved toward,

yearned for

and there she would take her revenge

and rip the sky apart.

And this time,

there would be no magic deep enough to ever repair it…




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Tourmaline Visions (18)


The woman looked down at the ruins for a long time,

as the stone crooned its endless song.
‘The journeys end,’ she thought…
‘but not over.’
And she settled down in the rough grass to wait.
* * * *
The thief was on his feet and hobbling along the path
as fast as he could when the ravens came.
They passed overhead like a swift moving thundercloud,
and he felt, rather than heard, the cruel triumphant laughter filling the forest.
And he bent himself against the stinging of a rising wind and started to run.
* * * *
The urchin watched as the ravens blanketed the ruined cottage roof.
He pulled back deeper into the woods and filled his hands with earth
and started to sing quietly,
without words,
like the hum of a thousand beehives.
And his eyes glowed green and the clouds slowed in their stately sky skimming
and the forest listened…



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Tourmaline Visions (17)


 The raven took wing before knowing why,

he felt the call catch and tug as he

moved along and inside the barriers of air and earth.

The copper tang in the wind,

 ruffling through his feathers,

 a distinct change from the previous calls,

and the raven knew who it was, 

knew and must answer.

Yet there were preparations to make,

even on the wing.  

He pulled the memories deep into himself, 

and sent out his will 

to travel along the breezes,


The Ravens would come he knew,

they felt it too,

they heard the song,

felt the uneasy balance,

they would heed the call.

Even if it were the last.

The Ravens would come…



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Tourmaline Visions (16)


The thief shut his eyes tight and clutched his cape, pulling it tight across his chest.

The urchin looked at him calmly and beckoned with one 

sapling arm.

‘Come farther into the forest. We need to speak without the gaze of Rapaz on us.’

In a twinkling he was gone. 

The man, shaking all over, pushed himself up

and walked deeper into the trees, desperate to get away

desperate to stay. 

‘I know now how Orpheus felt…’ he said to himself

clutching for even a thread of his bravado.

He sank against the trunk of a huge tree

venerable and moss striped.

The urchin spoke from over his shoulder, making the man start.

‘Surely you knew that would not end well. You are a man of some magic, true, but only its trickery. Charms and glass jewels and deceptive hands. But none of it real. Hers is. Did you really think to match wits with her?’

Shaking his head the thief answered, ‘I never believed. I thought I could ask a few questions, thought it would be an adventure. I never thought she…it…’ he faltered

‘Would be that? the Guardian finished for him. 

He continued, ‘From you she has learned about the living stone, knows now that it exists, that it is moving in the world. There is only one place it will be called to. And she knows this as well.’

‘But,’ the thief objected, ‘I never told her anything. I don’t know anything except for old rumors, some old songs. Fairytales..’

The urchin snorted. ‘She pulled it from you as easily as drawing a breath. Now you must get to the stone and the Guard before she does. They must be warned, there is more at stake here than you could possibly imagine.’ 

The man considered this, turning it over in his mind, looking for something he could turn to his advantage, ‘But you said she can’t pass the stones.’ he said, straightening his clothes and patting his numerous pockets.

‘She shouldn’t have been able to… unless she had a key. What did you give her?’

The thief stared. ‘I?’ he asked in disbelief. ‘You saw what she did, I gave her nothing. I have no magical keys. The only ones I have are here’, he said drawing a ring of jingling metal from his coat. ‘See? Nothing powerful.’

The guardian of the forest gazed sadly at the man. ‘Rapaz has no need of your door or shed key. You are thinking too literally, too human. For what is a key after all, but merely a way to open? What did she take from you?’

The man examined all his pockets and hiding places. Breathing a sigh of relief he said, ‘There is nothing of any importance missing. Only a whistle. Not even a musical one, just for calling a raven.  And what harm could she do with that?’

‘A raven?’ the little being wailed. ‘What harm? Ravens are the keepers of thought and memory. They traverse across worlds, between the material and the spirit.They can take her anywhere she wants, they alone will know the way. You must go and go now. Hope dwindles with every moment.’

‘But how will I…’ the thief sputtered.

‘You will know, the urchin pulled and pushed the man determinedly with his wiry arms.

 ‘Trust in the forest. You will know…’



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Tourmaline Visions (15)


“The road goes ever on…”

She had read that in a book somewhere and

never thought much about it.

Until now.

Now all she could do was think,

while plodding steadily on.

How are we all tangled together in this strange story?

Why are we?

And how will it end?

The whispersong washed over her like molten honey,

like golden light.

‘Like the tears of the moon…’ it sang

Why, she puzzled, would the moon weep?

“M.O.O.N. spells moon”, she thought and laughed a little,

remembering the tale of another that found himself on a journey he didn’t understand.

The sword shone pewter and violet in the night sky,

the dirt and smudges polished away by her own hand.

The stone shone clear as the stars,

and she touched it with reverence,

and love,

full understanding eluding her,

like a silvery fish slipping through a carelessly mended net.

But thankful anyway,

for her part in this,

and for the tourmaline visions.

Knowing she would never be able to go back to her old,

pragmatic life again,

knowing that she was more now,

that she had moved beyond…

It was then she stopped

at the crest of the hill,

and saw the ancient stone remains below.

‘Journeys end…’ they sang together.




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