Dee by the Sea – Kristiana Reed

This piece is a continuation of Kristiana’s former piece “Dee”


Dee’s tea has been sat on the counter for fifteen minutes and I am yet to take my eyes off of it. It is surely now cold but I refuse to remake it. Five times I have called, to no avail. I boiled the kettle, let it whistle a little longer than usual. I made a racket with cutlery and dishes in an attempt to wake the sleeping lion upstairs. Nothing but the sound of my own discomfort.


I am pouring the tea into my stainless-steel sink when Dee appears, disheveled in the doorway. She is wearing a blue denim romper – a get up of chaffing ‘comfort’ – and a bird’s nest on her head.


“I thought we might go to the beach.” I state – saying ‘might’ to be polite but with no intention of having a conversation. Dee shrugs her shoulders and then begins to weep about how nowadays the sea and its existence only appears to her in dreams.


The beach is deserted. After all, it is seven am and in hindsight, perhaps I had been cruel waking Dee up so early; her tears not yet salty, still fresh like a baby’s. She is quiet in the majestic presence of the sea. Our breathing, gulls screeching and the waves calmly crashing transformed into a melody about life and the inevitability of death.


I wrap my arms around my shoulders, cradling my body in my hands. Dee slips off her shoes and leaves the lumpy sand behind to paddle along the shore. Her ankles glisten in the rising sun and surf. She looks as beautiful as I feel.


I visit the sea to find peace; a single dove looking to retrieve a misplaced olive leaf. There is something about how when the tide is out, it is already beginning to return. Every shoreline kiss, the opportunity to start again.


I hear a splash. Dee is stood waist deep in the sea, her romper discarded, blessing Neptune with her nudity. She is smiling, like I’ve never seen before and her hand is extended out toward me. I blush, my hand resting on the buttons of my dress.


“Come on, it’s seven am, no one will see… except the sea!” Dee giggles and it’s all she needs to say to me.


Kristiana Reed day dreams, people watches in coffee shops, teaches English and writes. She is a curator on Blood into Ink, a collective member of The Whisper and the Roar and blogs at My Screaming Twenties. She is 24 and is enjoying the journey which is finding her voice.

Reconciliation – Sarah Doughty


“My love, all I want and need is you.

It’s always been you.”


Maybe that’s what I can’t reconcile. What I want and what I need. You. You see, I want you to be by my side. I want you to love me, unequivocally, just as I love you. I want you to grow old with me, and fall more in love with me every day as I do for you. I want you with me, happy, content, and fulfilled. What I want is you. All of you. For always.


But at the same time, I need every one of those things. I need to know that true love exists. I need to know that lasting love is possible. I need to believe in soulmates — and that life isn’t always going to be so tough. I need to know that everything I endured to survive wasn’t in vain. That what I’ve done in my life has mattered. That what I’ve accomplished — that living my dreams, not spending my time chasing them — are worth remembering. That we are going to last. That we will be happy.


Maybe, my wants and needs are the same after all.

I suppose, that makes me a dreamer.

And I’m okay with that.


Sarah Doughty is the tingling wonder-voice behind Heartstring Eulogies. She’s also the author of The Silence Between Moonbeams, her poetry chapbook, and the acclaimed novels and novellas of the Earthen Witch Universe. Good news, they’re all offered for free, right here! To learn more about how awesome Sarah is, check out her website, stalk her on Goodreads, or both.




Praise for Pantheon by Eric Syrdal

“Pantheon” is a thrilling philosophical journey exploring the depth and meaning for one passing through a metaphorical world of inner demons and dragons, goddesses of the soul, of warrior and poet. A journey that crosses boundaries of time, space, and perception.  I am captured by the intimate revelations of this intuitive and sympathetic protagonist battling the dark ages of his subconscious moving instinctively forward into innerscape, relying upon and exalting the virtue goddesses that guide and deliver him from barbarity and trial by ordeal both physical and spiritually as he transports from one state of being to another, from one point of time to another”

Holly Rene Hunter
House of Heart

“The poetry is densely colourful, rich in imagery and sensuality, boldly imaginative and deeply sensitive to the human condition, while being written with clarity and emotional pull. I found myself sitting for three hours, empty coffee cups scattered around me, utterly absorbed in the storytelling and the crafting of language. Syrdal has created something very powerful, using elements of history, science fiction, worldly fantasy and unmistakable reality to bind these pieces together in a system of belief and fantastic-theology that appears utterly believable, utterly intoxicating.”

Lois E. Linkens

I won’t spoil the brilliant conclusion of this novel, suffice to say, if it is your desire to read something astoundingly original, from a writer who is not only a truly breathtaking author, deft with supernatural words and ideas, but a dreamer of worlds, who will blow any preconceived notions you have away and leave you shell shocked by the sheer power of his mind, then I cannot recommend Eric Syrdal and his novel Pantheon more highly. “I built this beach / and the stars / and the moon …. I turn back the wheels of heaven / and make time stop and rewind / over and over ….. Because I don’t know how to tell him / A machine had a wish.”

Candice Louisa Daquin, Author of Pinch the Lock
The Feathered Sleep

Sonata: Excerpt from Eric Syrdal’s Pantheon

She has seen evidence
of the beast
everywhere around her
Through the streets
of the city
it leaves its evidence
on the grey landscape

Scorch marks on the concrete
broken scales on the playgrounds
teeth shattered and discarded
in the gutter
shades of green and brown
but often clear like ice

She hears its wings
scraping on the sides
of their tenement
at night
While everyone but she
is sleeping

She’s heard its low growl
The heavy air of its presence
in the hallway
right outside her door

Pure of heart…

Her blood formed a natural
resistance to the beast

When the pressure of
the outside world bowed in
on her
The air would thicken enough
that she could hear its voice
speaking to her in rich whispers

But her life was solid and
secure behind the ramparts
she had spent the dearest
years of her existence building

And so…
she would go…
from gatehouse to field
from field to gatehouse
day in
day out
collecting her wages
from the lord of the land
Paying her tithe
to king and country

Feeding mouths which cannot feed themselves
saving the scraps for herself
Dining alone in the kitchen
When the rest of the world is in repose
fat and groggy on a full belly

Retiring herself to a lump-filled mattress
only when the hearts and breaths
of those around her
beat the slow rhythm of slumber

It is then,
In this time where dreams hang
just out of reach

That the dragon speaks

A thin crack
no bigger than a length of
brown hair
from her head
will let it filter in

The voice…
like salted butter
on warm bread
aged and beautiful
like a rich wine
from ancient Greece

What harm could be done?

let it inside
let it crawl around the floor
under the kitchen table
around the chair
sleep on the window sill

It steals a small, reptilian kiss
from her lips
like a playful suitor…

Watching TV at 3am
Away from home and the hearts that need her
In the moments between heartbeats

When the world takes its accusing eyes off of her

A flicker of a forked tongue
a trickle of fire
down the throat

Serpentuously sliding itself
around her heart
purring there
until morning

Leaving no trace

Gentlemanly stealing away
before dawn
taking with it, the guest key
sweetly provided
and leaving in its place
a lovely note of:

“fond wishes and thank you for a lovely evening”

Flowery signature
punctuated with a long stem rose

And so it comes to pass
that the dragon and the damsel
purchase a delicate peace
and defer payment to a
nondescript weekday of the far future

Pantheon is coming soon from Sudden Denouement Publishing

Eric Syrdal is a poet/author.  He’s an avid gamer and Sci-Fi enthusiast. He enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy literature and spends a great deal of his writing time focused in those genres.  He is a romantic, at heart. His work usually contains elements of the supernatural and fantastic along with potent female voices and archetypes.

He is from New Orleans, Louisiana, where he lives with wife and two children.  You can read more Eric’s writing at My Sword and ShieldWhisper and The Roar and can follow him on his Facebook Author Page

Writers of the imperfect maps- Iulia Halatz

The naiads have splurged with roses.

Swirls of scented air hover above their clearings.

Without petals and stars they cannot dwell

beneath the glass shine…

Day dreamers see their unfading beauty

in the sands of the fountains.

Their love is


built on a foundation

of unicorn-green grass…

Their skeleton

is composed of myrtle and oleander

and moss-covered lungs

heave along with waters driven

by tide…

Their flesh is irrational atoms

that laugh the blood

and rhythm of life

in the veins

that sing the helplessness blues.

White hymnal doors

flung open

on Midsummer’s Eve

at the harvest of ripe and lofty words

and lady’s bedstraw

they found

in the flicker of buried treasures.

Their words shield

the scent of a tuberose

and shelter

the spoils of the evening.

They sing in the wind

“Leave this war with me!”

It is never too late

nor too soon

to wager

on a tear.

These are no Great Songs of indifference

They are the Great Songs of out-of-time

and out-of-life

that light

this new dominion

which is the old…

29 petals of all the flowers

in the world

line up to write a map

draw sounds and borders

in as many secret alphabets

as breathing proof that

Language is not like the sun,

heating and scorching

but like the moon

keeping secrets

and the arcane magic of the night

throwing stars

in the lilacs’ claws

till dawn.

Words are lamps

they shimmer in the vilest of places.

They make dreams

out of particles and matter.

The words in the

29 secret alphabets

burn for all.


“Writing is an Iron Tale, must be tough and sincere to the core of human perception of pain as valor. I am the grumpy T-Rex who started writing out of pain, not because of a polished world. Writing out of love is painless and herbivore. As we sometimes taste blood, ours or others’. Nevertheless, some words are so expensive that we are better left with them unspoken or write them with the ink of a Ghost…” She is a teacher, small entrepreneur and cyclist.

The Sudden Denouement Publishing Store on TeeSpring

Sudden Denouement Publishing is celebrating the amazing book covers mad-talented graphic designer Mitch Green created for us with a special line of apparel and housewares now available at TeeSpring.  Now you can sport your favorite book cover design wherever you go!



Sharp- A Weyward Sisters Collaboration

I am playing with knives
sharpening them
against brown leather strap
admiring the way
hair splits cleanly
upon the well-honed edge
(Christine E. Ray)

Sounds like a violin–
fine strings ‘gainst steel bow
I play concerto
splitting hairs
(Kindra M. Austin)

I’m trimming those frayed ends
sharpening those
pointy convictions
giving them a sharp edge
a serrated opinion,
ready to pierce you
where it hurts you more
(Megha Sood)

Cold steel on skin,
I blossom,
stare down the line
take aim
at friend, foe and fortune
with my throwing knives;
multiply and divide,
split and survive.
(Kristiana Reed)

I like a razor
but xyraphi sings to me
of shreds, edges, ends
sweeter than any cutlery.
An x is an eraser,
that’s why I draw it long
to keep it clean and short
and shave me complication.
Oh, how I love a razor!
(Basilike Pappa)

There was a shadow crowd
And a circle of light. Sawdust stank
Beneath my feet like dirty salt hair
And the thud
Against the board
Came like the footsteps of God.
Ribbons of air and time and space
Gathered round my ankles,
Coils of blue light.
Looping and curling and purring,
They crooned my power,
Sharp to draw blood from stone.
(Lois E. Linkens)

the slice was white lightening
lacerating flesh from bone
in the moment of searing truth.
I slash and gnash
my teeth barbed and keen
well-oiled from the feast
of my rotting soul.
I chop at the edges
of yesterday’s sorrow
but the pain! I feel it not
only the blinding sting
of my wayward might
(Aurora Phoenix)

All the time in the world
Pressing down
Sharp as the obsidian
Black night
You relinquished me
To oblivion
Surviving on
Insidious pain
Of yesterday
Tapered to the edge
Of no tomorrow

I aim at dreams
knife them
as trophies on my wall.
I can always
take one down
quench the thirst
of a turbulent wound
tainted endearment
from the poisoned well
We dug and drained
under the wing of
One night.
I’m in love
with a stabbed dream.
(Iulia Halatz)

The blade cut into the night and flashed silver against the moonlight. And even though my ears heard no sounds but the thundering of my heart, I swore I could hear the sharp metal singing it’s high-pitched tune as it sliced through the air. It slipped through my skin like it was warm butter and at first I felt nothing. I wondered if maybe it was shock or disbelief. But then the pain started. Like someone injected gasoline into my bloodstream and lit a match. I watched as the thick, red liquid poured out of the fresh wound and begged for death. And as he stood over me, he licked my blood from his dagger and smiled down at me in a show of blood-stained teeth — right before everything went black.

When I awoke from the nightmare, I reminded myself that I was alive and the true face behind my fears liked it when I called him Daddy. The only comfort I found was knowing that death came for him first. Too bad he didn’t take the memories with him.
(Sarah Doughty)