Burn, Baby Burn

•Swan Queen story•

“Regina?” I hear a loud knocking on the door and I stifle a sob. Oh no, not now, not here…

“Regina, I know you’re in there.” The voice calls out, and I recognize it as Emma’s.

“Go away.” I whisper, choking on the lump in my throat. My nails dig into the flesh on my legs hard enough to draw blood, as I shake with my back against the door.

“No, Regina! I’m not going away; you can’t hide from me.” Emma’s voice gets progressively higher the louder she talks. The door knob rattles with her efforts to twist it open, and I can hear her breaths from through the wood.

My head comes to rest against the door as I close my eyes. I draw upon what little strength I have left to make my next words come out as acidicly as possible. “Did you ever stop to think, Miss Swan, that maybe I wasn’t hiding from you?” I say as clearly as I can, forcing my voice not to waver. Tears stream silently down my cheeks, and I’m sure that by now my makeup is a total mess.

“Mary Margaret and David have been wondering where you’ve been these past few days;” Emma says quietly, and I can hear her nails scratch against the doorframe. “I haven’t told them. Henry has been worried sick, Regina. I told him to have courage, and he’s trying to be brave, but……you’re his mom, for Christ sake! You don’t need to hide from him. Or us.” I choke down another sob at the mention of Henry’s name. The last part comes out in a whisper, and I can feel Emma’s magic seep through the cracks in the door.

I shake my head violently, thumping it against the door. “No! You don’t understand, I’m not hiding from you, any of you!” I yell, lashing out involuntarily with my magic. “I’m doing this to protect you. I’m…I’m a monster, Emma!” The anger fuelled spell creates a red blast they lights up the room, setting the walls and furniture on fire. No longer able to control the sobs or my tears, I shake uncontrollably against the door as the fire eats it’s way slowly through the room towards me.

The door shakes behind me and the knob rattles loudly. “Regina! Please, I’m right here, just let me in.” I shut my eyes and shake my head, even though I know she can’t see me. I can feel the heat of the flames as they devour their way towards me, and I curl up against the door. I don’t have the strentgh to banish the flames. “Emma…” I whisper, reaching out with a single hand to touch the magic still curling along the underside of the door.

“You don’t need to do this, I believe in you, we believe in you. You’re not alone anymore, we’re in this together. You don’t have to be afraid. Do you hear me Regina?” Her nails tap against the door to emphasize her point.

‘Yes, I hear you…’ I think hazily. I can feel the flames barely a foot away from me, and I open my eyes to stare into the heat. My tears boil away and the red mixed with orange shifts closer and closer. But Emma is so wrong. I will always be alone, no matter what anyone says. This is just how it works, for monsters like me; we must be destroyed. 'How beautiful. Burned away by my own magic. A fitting end, for a monster.’ My face can barely take the heat now, and I close my eyes once again and turn away from the oncoming flames.


“Regina? Regina!” Emma’s voice turns hysterical when she notices the red flickering light under the door. Paired with the incredible heat, she can make a pretty good guess as to what is happening. She places a tentative hand on the metal doorknob and hisses in pain. Shit, shit this isn’t good! What has that woman done now?

“Good bye, Emma. Tell Henry I’m sorry.” Emma hears the faintest whisper, before stepping back and lifting her hands in determination.

“Like hell I will, Regina. You can tell him yourself.” Forcing all her magic into her palms, Emma blasts her way through the door and into the burning room. “Oh no you don’t.” She mutters under her breath, stepping through the doorway.

Her eyes barely glance at the flames, before they fix onto Regina’s still form a few feet away. Instinct takes over, and she swirls her magic into her palms once more, waving one hand at the fire while grabbing onto Regina with the other. “This better fucking work…” She says, as she closes her eyes and focuses on her mental image of Storybrooke Hospital.

From her left hand comes a wave of water to demolish and drown the flames, and from her right a fog of sparkling white magic. It engulfs her and Regina, before transporting them both to the front lobby of the towns hospital.

“…Emma?…” Regina’s scratchy voice reaches Emma’s ears and the blonde huffs. Holding the smaller woman close, she looks down at the scorched skin and red eyelids shut tight.

“Yeah, Regina. It’s me. You’re gonna be okay. I’ve got you.”


“Morning Nick, glad to see you out and about!” a neighbor said as he passed me on the way to the market. I replied with a smile and a nod while keeping on my path to my humble cottage.

‘Nick,’ that’s the name the people around here gave me after I showed up on the edge of their, no, our town. My clothes were ripped, and I had cuts and scrapes running up and down my entire body like I had just been thrown free from a speeding train. I might as well have been because only a blow to the head from departing a train head-first would cause this rather unfortunate bout of amnesia .

These people welcomed me out of the goodness of their hearts and gave me food, clothing, a name, and shelter. While the commute from the market is fairly long, I don’t mind the walk. I only had to walk to the market every now and again.

The best part about this cottage is the basement. It serves as both a meditative space in which I attempt to remember those things lost to me and as a parlour in which to snack.

My neighbors are also extremely trusting, to a fault, but I won’t blame them for that. Something else I realized about myself is that I cannot stop from bringing them here and devouring their dreams and thoughts. The bread and meat I bring back from the market is entirely to sustain them. Of course I dope the food with a little ether beforehand, I can’t have anyone screaming for help while I’m gone.

I’m fairly certain no one else in the village finds sustenance quite like I do, and I originally thought they would have noticed people going missing, but again, they are very trusting. They honestly believe me when I shrug and tell them I haven’t seen the miller or the drunk who used to hang out near the tavern.

Secretly, I hope that their tasty thoughts will jog my lost ones out of the subconscious. So far, I haven’t had any luck.  It’s not a total loss, I like who I am now, who I have become, and I don’t think I would want to go back to whatever I was before I came to this delicious little town.

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Until Now

I’m just a girl, you know? Five foot three – some would say vertically challenged, I prefer closer to the wildflowers that grow in my backyard every spring – barely making a dent in the scale at 98 pounds, generic brown hair that I’ve ruined with blonde highlights or the occasional ‘ruby slippers’ red hair glaze and expected brown eyes. Completely and utterly ordinary. Until now.
I’ve become this walking enchantment of pain and smiles. Always slightly confused as to which one I want more. It’s a constant battle in my head between rain and peonies. Peonies are my favorite flower. But I like the way the rain sounds on the car windshield on the way home. Both are instantly comforting, also a little dangerous. I mean flowers have thorns and rain is deary and makes the tires occasionally glide across the pavement suddenly lacking control. I guess that just means everything comes with a price but that doesn’t mean you can’t ignore it and bask in the glory anyway. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I can relate to the car that slides off the road into another car and causes a handful of bloody injuries. The slight murmur of rain on the windshield is satisfying but unfortunately it came before the crash and now every time I hear it’s steady beat against the windows of my car, I remember each time that I’ve managed to crash into bushes and break the headlights to the point where they burst and their sparkle dissipates and glass is shattered everywhere. Clumsy me decided it’s a good idea to walk barefoot across it. But I can also relate to the petals of the peonies and how each one brings me a simple joy of brightness and positivity. Soft and simple. Relief. Until the thorns prick you. But apparently no thorn is enough to make me stay away from peonies or any other flower. Rain doesn’t scare me either. Neither do car crashes. Because I’ve been in a lot of them…figuratively at least. Both cases I’ve resulted into being a walking enchantment of pain and smiles. Which is pretty extraordinary if you ask me.
Pain changes people. I never, in a million years, thought that one day there would be people and things whose main goal is to corrupt me. But over the years, I’ve realized that extraordinary things happen to people when they endure pain. Something changes when life threatens the steady, natural pace of laughter and smiles. Physical, mental, emotional pain, whichever it is, it’s all the same. Each one threatens one’s ability to stand tall and broad with wide shoulders and a bold gaze. Pain will knock you off your feet excessively. There’s not much you can do about it. From what I know, there’s only two options. You can let it destroy you, limb by limb, dark thought by dark thought, pushing through each and every day not because you want to, but because you have to. I have come to the barren conclusion that at several points in my life, I had died but I still had to wake up every morning. There is another option though…use pain as your rocket fuel into the stars.
The second option has been my personal philosophy for quite some time now. I have accepted the fact that life has pushed me all the way down to rock bottom and the only way out with a pretty good survival rate, is up. Isolating myself in darkness would only get me six feet deep. I didn’t want to go deeper. I wanted to go towards the sun and the sky; towards the peonies in which need the rain to grow. I’ve learned that car crashes are inevitable because life’s pavement gets slippery from time to time but I can still walk away from them unscathed as long as I try. At the end of the day all the people whose goal was to corrupt me, I have decided to leave alone. Fight fire with fire, you only get a bigger fire. And while some people in your life are cigarette breaks and others are forest fires, no matter what the burn scar they leave on me, I’d rather be haunted by someone dead rather than someone alive. If you ignore the ones trying to harm you, they’ll eventually self destruct completely on their own.
I’m just a girl, you know? Five foot three – some would say vertically challenged, I prefer closer to the wildflowers that grow in my backyard every spring – barely making a dent in the scale at 98 pounds, generic brown hair that I’ve ruined with blonde highlights or the occasional ‘ruby slippers’ red hair glaze and expected brown eyes. Completely and utterly ordinary. Until now. (N.D.)
—  sshadowsofsunshine
shortstory!5sos the accident [michael]

“How is she?” The boy with bleached hair stood up so fast from the waiting room chair that it almost knocked over backwards. He had to pick up the ice pack which had fallen out of his hand, revealing the bruised spot on his cheek. He wasn’t exactly sure what had happen–he wasn’t an idiot, of course he knew that he’d driven the car into a tree, but he just didn’t know how.

How the moving vehicle spun out of control.

How he saw a blur of headlights.

Or how his beautiful best friend managed to come out of the accident barely breathing while he only had several bruises and a busted lip.

It’s funny how in the blink of an eye, a breath, or the movement of two hands on a steering wheel, or even a slick highway road can change a life.

Keep reading

what the world doesn’t know is that she only shows what she wants them to see.  the deepest, darkest pieces, hidden in the cracks and crevices of her mind, heart, and soul, are untouched and out of sight. this, of course, is intentional. those painful parts of her past are only given to the people who she deems important enough; and even then, they only get small portions. the whole story is a puzzle that only her mind can assemble; only she can know.  after all, it’s the only thing she has, so it’s guarded with her life.

she’ll die before anyone knows everything.


‘late night dreams 2′

by april

It was a bed for one. But, somehow, we ended up together on this bed. Arms wrapped around each other, two hearts beating that found solace in the quiet of the night.

“You smell really nice,” he murmured against my hair while my forehead was pressed against his chest. I shifted my position, looked up at him, and saw the wide-eyed boy with a charming boyish smile that somehow took away all the fear of what tomorrow will bring. I gave him a cheeky grin - his favorite - and gently caressed his cheek.

“Milk and honey.”

“I think this is my new favorite.”

He pulled me closer, removing any distance between the bodies of two people looking for comfort. “And you’re still my favorite human.” He kissed my forehead and closing my eyes, I whispered, “You are mine too.”

The night went on in its silent retreat while two hearts stay awake to chase the sun rise. This time, they both thought, we’ll make it through.

My short story “There’s Only One Way Out” will be available for purchase on Kindle starting Friday May 29, 2015, sometime in the morning (Western Hemisphere time). I will let you all know when that happens. Just wanted to give everyone a heads up. As for now you can access my author’s page via the following link:

J. M. Norman

This is, in actuality, one of the first stories I started back in the day, a long time ago it seems now. I finished it during grad school and made one revision to it after it was rejected by AGNI ( a literary magazine out of Boston). It has gone through the hoops and loops of trying to get published and has, as of now, four rejections under its belt. I don’t think it’s all that bad and in fact I like it a lot even though it can be confusing at times. Check it out if you’d like. If you do happen to read it in its entirety and have questions shoot one on by, would love to hear your thoughts. 

In the words of Mr. Keillor: “be well, do good work, and keep in touch.”


My six year old niece taught me the best way to kill a spider.  We were in my brother’s backyard playing in the grass when she yelped and pointed.  I went to stomp on the spider but she stepped in front of my boot and said to wait.  She knelt down and hovered over the spider like a curious, unimpressed god.  She slowly adjusted herself- froze when the spider twitched- then brought her pointed elbow down upon it, pinning it to the soil.  The spider’s legs reached out and curled in with little life.  She looked up at me, proud and grinning.  I made an approving expression and knelt beside her.  'This is the best part,’ she said, and plucked the legs off her catch one by one.  When eight limbs were pulled she shifted her weight and lifted her elbow and we saw the beautiful black widow panting, crying, and dying.  Its red hour glass slowly faded to black and its blue eyes slowly faded to black and the sky above us slowly faded to black and by the time Agnes had died we had named her, loved her, begged her for forgiveness, wrote her last words, and met her last wish.  Upon her final breath we threw her into a fire, but we kept her legs in a small corked vial.  As per her final wish, we labeled the vial “Eyelashes of a Woman to Remember”. 


In the Ruins of the First Kings.

Tumblr humans! Hello! I’ve been very busy with still unannounced comicbook work but, during every little bit of free time I had, I worked on this short story. This is not for any publication. This is just comics for comics’ sake and It’s the most refreshing thing I’ve done in a long time. It’s a love letter to nature,  to the tropics, to coral reefs, and to comics themselves. 

If you liked it at all, give it a share, or let me know what you thought. Help this little story get out into the world. 


You call me tonight and you ask me if there’s anyone new. 
I tell you that it’s complicated. I tell you about how the person I love, isn’t somebody I can physically touch. 
You tell me that maybe I’m wrong. That maybe there is someone much better for me, closer to me in the universe and I actually laugh out loud when you accuse me of falling in love too easily. 
You call me tonight and you start telling me about how much we were meant to be together when we both know that’s not the truth. 
I tell you that I’ve ran out of apologies for leaving you. I tell you that if we couldn’t make it work it was because there had always been someone much better for you out there. I remind you that you’ve already found her and you can’t stop telling me that I could have been better.
Again, that’s not the truth and we both know it. No matter how many times you say it, it could never be true.
That’s why I left. 
Because I could never be the kind of good you deserve. 
You can keep telling me that somewhere beneath all the horrible things about me, there is good but we both know that when you reach out to put your hands on it, you end up disappointed. It’s not there. It’s not there. I’m sorry.
—  It’s Not There// thewordsyouneverunderstood
I Stole These Words

I stole these words.

I took them from my parents, tricked them out of my friends, and pickpocketed them from strangers I passed in the streets.

Not a single one is mine; I am okay with that.

These words empower me beyond what I ever dreamed possible. And I stole every. last. one.

The best part of it all? Everyone else is okay with that.

My teachers gave them freely, my employers paid me to take them from them, and I only gave them the ones I stole from everyone else.

So here I sit. On my chair that I negotiated the price down using the words of my parents, with food in front of me that I acquired with a threat I stole from one of my less-than savory friends.

I thought I had all the words I would ever need until I met a man entertaining a group of children in the market.

He was using his words in a way I never dreamed possible.

His words were changing the world.

Fire erupted from his hands with a single command, and ice grew out of the ground with only a request.

I stood by and carefully took each word; chewing each one until I perfected his emphasis and tones.

Again, here I sit. The meat in front of me is still red and raw, the word I took from him did not conjure fire, nor did the other chill my drink.

I need to find this man again. My other words will make him tell me how his work.

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I myself have been kissed by many rude boys with small, damp lips, on their way to boys’ drill. I myself have humped girls under my mother’s house. But I swim in a shaft of light, upside down, and I can see myself clearly, through and through, from every angle. Perhaps I stand on the brink of a great discovery, and perhaps after I have made my great discovery I will be sent home in chains. Then again, perhaps my life is as predictable as an insect’s and I am in my pupa stage. How low can I sink, then?
—  Jamaica Kincaid, from “Wingless,” At the Bottom of the River

They’re hanging on heartstrings, hoping it will last through the summer.

But she’s falling,
Like he’s falling,
And love doesn’t seem as dangerous as everyone says.

“You have stars in your eyes,” she smiled, under a milky twilight of May. 

He tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear and said, “I think that’s just your reflection.”

—  A scribbler // Hanging on Heartstrings