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Herald Saw Her Ending  

11 June, 2017—Saturday

Herald was lounging in the grand bay window that overlooked the flower garden when the end came calling. Curled up on the yellow seat cushions amongst a few magazines, he’d been surveying the backyard through drowsy eyes. He was a keen hunter once, ages ago in his youth. Still, olden as he’d grown, Herald could sometimes sense a warm-blooded body stirring someplace it oughtn’t be, or catch the glimpse of something flitting, and his heart would beat with familiar eagerness.

On this day, it was a peculiar scent drifting into the kitchen that perked his attention; he squinted in aversion, and noticed the glint of sunbeams bouncing off serrated steel. Herald maneuvered his arthritic body into a crouch, and stared wildly through the window screen. The woman he loved was outside in the garden barely three feet away from him, and she smelled like the earth she’d been digging. Down upon her hands and knees, she was overshadowed by someone Herald had not long forgotten.

He couldn’t comprehend what it was that he was watching; his woman and the caller struggled against one another for just a moment. Then the tang of her escaping blood filled Herald’s nostrils, provoking a rumble that emerged from the pit of his chest. His growling went unnoticed, and all was still in the garden for an immeasurable space of time. He remained in the window seat, round-eyed, and vibrating with tension. When at last the backyard   darkened, and the bats began to fly, the killer rose up from the rose bed, and kicked the face that had been made silent. Herald cussed through the window screen like a sentry willing to defend his castle. But when the sound of frenetic footfall entered the house, grey Herald fled from the window seat, and took refuge inside a kitchen cupboard—the one that stored his food.

Click, clack! Click, clack! Click, clack! Herald recognized the sound. Click, clack! Click, clack!

“I can never unknow you,” the intruder mocked.

Those hollow words were the last human noises that Herald would hear for two desolate days. And then, the screaming would begin.

© Kindra M. Austin

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I’ll never forget the sight of you, dead in the garden; I couldn’t look away from your body. The blood, and the bugs crawling all over you. The blackbirds eating you up. My only love, carrion. You were the one person on this earth who knew where I lived and breathed. What am I supposed to do without you?

Never have I ever believed in Heaven, but just now, I’m wishing Heaven were real, if only to know the memories of our life together don’t belong to me alone.

But does an unbound soul even keep memories? Silly to believe so, isn’t it?

I remember our first date—a picnic out at the gravel pits. It was my sixteenth birthday. You kissed me at sunset with sticky lips underneath the pink June sky—my first French kiss. Your tongue tasted like golden wine coolers and cheap menthol cigarettes. You kissed me, and it was the beginning of everything.

© Kindra M. Austin

My words are my lifeblood spilt, splattered across pages, and dispersed over the internet in hopes of making connections with hearts that beat in time with mine. I’m a cheerful malcontent—by that I mean I’m a fucking mess of optimism and white hot rebellion. I write about my aversion to organized religion and the corrupt state of American government, and the beauty of being a mother who has raised an independent-minded daughter. I also write poetry that mentions death, decomposition, and post mortem fluids leaking all over a kitchen floor. Six months ago, my mother died, and was found on her kitchen floor several days after she’d died. So yeah, I’m not in a rainbow place at the moment. A lot of people are sick of reading about my mother, but I don’t give a fuck. I write my heart out, whether anyone likes it or not, because it is my therapy.

There are a lot of people who are tired of reading my ‘sad’ posts. To those people, I say, “Follow the rest who left me if you can’t stand my truth.” I write my truth, above all else. I know what I’m all about, believe me—I’m not a fucking fad.

I will never conform to the rules. I’m not a writer because I seek commercial success. I’m a writer because I’m a fucking writer. I don’t conform to fads—in fact, people conform to me, and writers like me. But conformists always flee, eventually…

You’re the real deal, or you’re not.

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My face is lined with volumes you’ve never read; and yet my eyes speak to you? Trust me, they belie what lies beneath my wine cellar. Just ask him, the one who has actually pored over this flesh, and subsequently survived the fire expelled from these lungs. I was not fashioned for the pleasure of man; I am no honeycomb waiting to be tasted, and these eyes of mine are not the bedroom kind. Look harder if you must, but you’ll only leave perplexed. I am not a piece, but an entire book, epic, and you cannot fathom me.

© Kindra M. Austin

(image: Pinterest)

Today is Poems & Paragraphs’ 2nd birthday.

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Oh, my Glob! Thank you, David Bowie! You’re awesome, too. Almost as awesome as my readers, friends, and partners in crime. I’ve met some terrific talent and beautiful souls here on WordPress–people who I look forward to crossing paths with every day. Rather than celebrate the birth of P&P, I celebrate my community, and give my deepest thanks.

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I promise to continue writing my truths, and supporting the collectives I’m so fortunate to call friends and family. And I will never stop advocating for those who need to borrow my voice. I’m looking forward to another year of challenges and growth. It makes my heart smile knowing that I have all of you–I hope you know you have me, too. FOREVER.

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P.S. expect tantrums.

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I wrote a novel about death, and how the tragedy impacts the dynamics of a dysfunctional family; a year and half after my book was published, my mother bumped her head, and she was dead.

Dead. Just six days following the birth of her granddaughter, Morgan. Now, a photograph of newborn Morgan being closely held against her grandma’s chest is proudly displayed in the living room of my sister’s house–a photograph I had snapped with my mobile phone. I took two pictures of my mother and Morgan with my phone, and a few others using my mother’s flip-phone, so she’d be able to show off her beautiful new grand-baby to her co-workers. My mother was downright fucking proud to be a grandma for the fifth time! And she was looking forward to years and years and years of love.

My mother had so much love to give…

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

My mother died, and life has beaten me black and blue with her absence–a plastic bag filled with the pulverized bones of the woman who carried me inside of her body takes up space cleared specially…

Tara and I filled a few keepsake urns. As for the rest of our mother, we will take her places she loved to visit, and leave bits of her behind.

I still can’t believe I don’t have a mother. It’s coming up on three months. But I know when it’s coming up on three years, I will feel the same blackness. I’m not special in this. Everyone knows this level of loss–or they will, eventually.

The real reason for this post is to tell you all that my life has changed, and the change will affect my presence on WordPress. I am going to be taking care of my niece three days a week–11-5, Wednesday thru Friday. So, my activity will be significantly decreased. Family is everything to me. Family means more to me than even my writing, and reading the writing of those whom I hold in high esteem. I ask that you all be patient with me. I will not forget you, nor will I forget myself as a writer. I will certainly keep up with my happily chosen responsibilities with SD, Blood into Ink, and Whisper and the Roar.

Peace to you all,

K-Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I attended a funeral today for Mrs. K, a woman I’ve known and adored for twenty six years. I last saw her in November at the local grocery store, shortly after my mother had passed. Listening to Mrs. K’s eldest son eulogize her was fucking tough. Almost too much to bear. Nicole was sitting beside me though, and I managed to calm down—my girl has a soothing presence. We cried together at the end of a cushioned pew, and I silently scolded myself for forgetting to bring a box of tissues.

After the service, we had lunch. There were smiles and laughs, and I was determined to enjoy the rest of my day.

Then the goddamned cat happened.

A black, grey, and white fluffy tabby approached me, and Nicole as she was getting into her car to return to work. This poor baby had straw tangled in its fur; mucus coating its whiskers…like burnt yellow candle wax; mucus gluing its right eye closed; blood and mucus so thickly crusted on its nose that breathing was heavily labored; and the odor of rot emanated from its cold body. This cat was half fucking dead, I swear. And it approached us with such purpose—I know this little darling was asking for help.

Nicole phoned a nearby animal shelter, but they were already overcapacity. So, I put the cat in my car, and drove 35 miles to a larger shelter. The women who greeted me at the shelter were kind, and they spoke so sweetly to the tabby. And they walked away with the bundle. To the “euth” room.

Consider this my formal resignation.

I quit today.

I fucking quit.

 

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Upon completion of “Magpie in August,” my debut novel, I began submitting to the literary agents I had researched (authors who want to go for traditional publishing should always research literary agents and houses before sending query letters). Omitting all of the uninteresting details, I received four “close, but no cigar” responses, thirteen flat out passes, and additionally, a dozen or so no responses (it is not uncommon that an agent passes on a manuscript via no response).

So, doing the math, I only submitted to about 30 literary agents. I’ve heard of writers submitting to hundreds over a period of two or three years. That’s balls to the wall tenacity, folks—some hard core patience. Patience is not a virtue of mine. After I’d crossed out every agent that made up my list, I began submitting to small presses. Out of eleven, I received one request for my full manuscript.

Don’t tap the keg yet. This small press ended up closing shop. Thank fuck I hadn’t signed a contract with them. Imagine the shit storm…

Admittedly, in the beginning I was a fucking snob who never entertained the thought of settling for indie author status. But then, I discovered some incredible talent here on WordPress—writers who self-publish—and I was blown the fuck away by their craft. For real, in total awe of these people. So, I looked into self-publishing (authors who want to self-publish should always research the avenues, of which there are many, since self-publishing is BOOMING for tons of reasons that I see as obvious).

Two months after “Magpie in August” was released through Amazon, one of the literary agents I’d had a boner for sent me an email. She apologized for the late response, which had come a goddamned year after I’d queried her, and said that although she was interested in “Magpie,” she couldn’t represent me because I’d already self-published—but please do query her with any future manuscripts. I didn’t know whether to laugh, or cry.

I chose to suck it up, and keep on writing. I self-published a book of poems and prose recently, and I’m proud as fuck of the collection. I’m currently finishing up my second novel, which I fully intend to publish all by myself. I’m proud to be an indie author. And I am super fucking fortunate to have a partner in Allane, who takes such care and pride in designing my book covers.

Someday, I may shoot for traditional publishing again. But for now, I am beyond happy to have cover designs created by the designer I want, and to have the ultimate say regarding content editing. I never was one to follow the rules handed down by others anyway.

Peace out, my friends

K-Love