An A(Muse)ing Fable

Once upon a time, a long time ago, more than two decades now, a man, an ordinary man, made a wish for a muse. Not a “Capital Letter” Muse, that would be much too much responsibility, but a quiet, unassuming, gentle muse who would collaborate with him and encourage him to write nice, little stories that would be enjoyable to read in his dotage.

HAH! He says again — HAH!

What showed up in his mind, was a full-throttle, in-your-face taskmistress whip-wielding MUSE who despised the word ‘no’. The writer hasn’t had a peaceful moment’s rest since.

Unless the MUSE takes a holiday… which she does… quite frequently. Her attitude is, “If you won’t promote yourself, I’m certainly not going to sign you up for social media. I’ve got a plane to catch, let me know we you get serious about writing.”

All he wanted was some inspiration and a companion to share the fire. So the moral is: Don’t wish for something you think you need, when what you have is more than enough.

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

Trafficked across the veil: Curtains for Betsy ~ 1

This story was originally posted for Wicked Wednesday on June 28th, 2017 as Inexhaustible Smorgasbord, a one-off story. There are two versions below. The first is the unchanged flash fiction repost, followed by an edited version that expands upon the original writing into a draft for longer fiction. I’m still not sure about the concept. Even with the rewrite, it’s not what my vision is. I may or may not continue this, or do something else.

The sharp cracks had faded to muted rumbles; the late summer storm trundled to the east, trailing an ebony cloak glazed with jagged streaks of abstract white. At my feet, the dull granite setts slowly slaked a thirst; the detritus of tourists swirling into the gaping sewers leaving behind deceptively safe and clean shiny streets. Historic Old Town, painstakingly resurrected—twice—from the ashes of pitiless warfare, brooded in the sweet morning air. The western skies pulsed with urgency, delayed flights flung themselves recklessly at the obscured stars, hastening to meet global schedules grounded by adverse conditions.

I cupped my left hand. Had any been able to observe, the brief orange flare would have revealed a deep weary cynicism. I puffed the harsh tobacco, blew out a stream of fragrant smoke that lingered close as if terrified by the surroundings. I ignored the warning, watching instead the CCTV camera as it whirred atop the light pole. The police drones had departed with the onset of rain. This was pass through area for visitors by day; small shops catering in information and deceit. By night, contraband slipped past the law with practiced ease.

A vibration shook the front right pocket of my black linen trousers. If a phone could sound impatient the summons snarled at my unruffled savoir faire. The cigarette tumbled like an acrobat without a net: I stubbed it out with a faint hiss as it splattered on the damp pavement. Finally moving forward, the crepe soles of my shoes were silent as a grave.

The night wavered. Lean shadows peeled from brick façades and dropped from pockets of mist hovering above. To those without the Sight, nothing had changed. My escort surrounded me. Lethal, immortal, they were not here to help—they weren’t allowed where I was expected—but to ensure I fulfilled my oath. If thoughts could kill…

Jutting phallicly with a hostile and arrogant contempt at the ragged edge of tradition [reclaimed] and gentrification, the Cashmere Tower was the tallest building in the city. Money fountained like arterial blood from the professional tenants, none of it staying for long; sophisticated programs laundered the stains through shell companies and numbered accounts. Standard procedures for corrupt businesses protected by slick lawyers and bought politicians. My target was higher up the ladder—literally—the top ten floors pandered to a different type of cash flow.

Vice was timeless. Nubile flesh an inflation proof currency. Educated agents were shopping for fresh victims that wouldn’t be missed.

By mistake or deliberate malice—the first understandable, the latter an apocalyptic possibility—the procurers had lured the wrong one. Whatever the alchemy of designer drugs and DJ mixed trance that had created the circumstances of the snatch, it had not removed the clear traces of her passage.

I was their emissary.

The elevator was smooth and quiet.

Rows and rows of glittering females arranged as if waxed produce in bins filled the luxurious rooms. The buyers with their tablets snapped pictures, and fired off messages that raced around the world. The auction started later, but I was not shopping. My steel attaché was not filled with clean dollars or euros or yen, but a single jewel that pulsed with all the suppressed fury at the unrelenting humanistic devouring of magic.

I carried a portal strong enough to suck the entire building into the Outerlands were it not tuned to ‘rescue’ my target. If the dead-eyed brokers knew what their exotic captive actually was, they’d run screaming into the night; not that fleeing was a viable option should she choose to destroy rather than drink in the essence of fear and despair coating the dungeon walls.

Why I was chosen to interrupt the pain slut as she writhed in her bondage, driving her price higher with every blow of the whip: that is a story best told later. For when the Queen commands retrieval of her wayward daughter: who better to mount an escape, than the Princess’ estranged human husband.

That would be me.







Trafficked across the veil: Curtains for Betsy

They came from someplace else; that much the physicists and theologians agreed upon. From there, matters took a turn for the worse: much worse.

 

 

The part in where the hero attempts to reclaim his past.

 

The sharp piercing cracks had finally faded to muted rumbles. The late summer storm trundled to the east, insolently trailing an ebony cloak glazed with jagged streaks of abstract white. At my feet, the dull granite setts slowly slaked an endless thirst: the detritus of tourists swirling into the gaping sewers. Left behind were the deceptively safe and clean shiny streets.

Historic Old Town, painstakingly resurrected — twice — from the ashes of pitiless warfare, brooded in the sweet morning air, waiting for the sun to warm brick and cement. To the west, beyond the huddled slabs of public housing and abandoned factories, the sky pulsed with urgency, delayed flights flinging themselves recklessly at the obscured stars, hastening to meet global schedules grounded by adverse conditions.

I cupped my left hand. Had any been able to observe, the brief orange flare would have revealed a deep weary cynicism. I puffed the harsh tobacco — no ecigs for me — blowing out a stream of fragrant smoke that lingered close as if terrified by the surroundings.

Ignoring the warning implied by the carcinogenic swirls, I watched instead the CCTV camera as it whirred atop the nearest light pole. The police drones had departed with the onset of rain, the flatfoots sheltered in the all-night café, gossiping about the newest policewoman’s tits. This was pass-through area for visitors by day, the small shops catering in information and deceit. By night, contraband slipped past the law with practiced ease abetted by greased palms and greasier ethics.

A vibration shook the front right pocket of my black linen trousers. If a smartphone could sound impatient, its summons snarled at my weary savoir-faire and ennui. The cigarette tumbled to its death like an acrobat without a net: I stubbed it out with a faint hiss as it splattered on the damp pavement. Stepping forward off the curb, the crepe soles of my shoes were silent as a grave. Not mine: not this night at least.

If you were attuned, the pre-dawn wavered. Lean shadows peeled from brick façades and dropped from pockets of mist hovering above. To those without the Sight, nothing had changed. My escort surrounded me. Lethal, immortal, they were not here to help — they weren’t allowed where I was expected — but to ensure I fulfilled my oath. If thoughts could kill…

They didn’t like me: the feeling was mutual. Ritual snarls and posturing. I was suddenly exhausted by the drama. If not for my desire for revenge, I’d have pulled the trigger and exited this plane with a bang.

I often lied to myself. Lust played an oversized role in this operation.

Any one of the warriors at my side would have gladly seized the prize. Too bad for them I got there first.

Jutting phallically with hostile and arrogant contempt at the ragged edge of tradition [nostalgically reclaimed] and gentrification, the Cashmere Tower was the tallest building in the city. Money fountained like arterial blood from the quasi-professional tenants, none of it staying for long; sophisticated programs laundered the stains through shell companies and offshore numbered accounts. Despite the repeated hacks and journalistic exposures, it was all standard procedures for corrupt businesses protected by slick lawyers and bought politicians.

My target was higher up the ladder — literally — the top ten floors pandered to a different type of cash flow. Vice was timeless. Nubile flesh an inflation proof currency. Educated agents were shopping for fresh victims that wouldn’t be missed.

By mistake or deliberate malice — the first understandable, the latter an apocalyptic possibility — the procurers had lured the wrong one. Whatever the alchemy of designer drugs and DJ mixed trance that had created the circumstances of the snatch, it had not removed the clear traces of her passage.

I was their emissary.

The elevator was smooth and quiet.

What lay beyond the locked and guarded entrance was not.

Tears flowed. The fear filled the cold air with an intoxicating mélange of the most titillating scent of all: Fresh money.

Rows and rows of glittering females arranged as if waxed produce in bins filled the luxurious rooms. The buyers with their tablets snapped countless pictures, and fired off encrypted messages that raced around the world in an instant. No throttling of speed for this crowd. They owned the conduits on behalf of the 1%. Meat was meat — human livestock for consumption by those who could afford the very best.

The auction started later, but I was not bidding. My steel attaché with electronic lock was not filled with clean dollars or euros or yen, but a single jewel that pulsed with all the suppressed fury at the unrelenting humanistic devouring of magic.

I carried a portal strong enough to suck the entire building into the Outerlands were it not tuned to ‘rescue’ my target. If the dead-eyed brokers knew what their exotic captive actually was, they’d run screaming into the night; not that fleeing was a viable option should she choose to destroy rather than drink in the essence of pain and despair coating the dungeon walls.

Why I was chosen to interrupt the pain slut as she writhed in her bondage, driving her price higher with every blow of the whip: that is a story best told later. For when the Queen commands retrieval of her wayward daughter: who better to mount an escape, than the Princess’ estranged human husband.

That would be me.

Addicted to Tech

One of best ‘spoofs’ of ’80s music videos, was Addicted to Love, by Robert Palmer in 1985. In honor of this week’s Wicked Wednesday’s prompt of telephone, I thought I would write alternate lyrics — raunchy — lyrics about being addicted to tech. [Feel free to laugh at my attempts.]

Playing in bed, I’m all alone
Downstairs, you’re on the phone
Cock is hard, I wanna fuck
Too many blogs, I’m outta luck
Can’t turn off, can’t unwind
Going down, constant chimes
Just one more check, pretty please
I want your mouth, get on your knees,
Damn, you like to believe you’re in charge of your feed, bullshit
closer to the truth you’re making love to your phone
You think all my hard spanks are boring, you’re addicted to tech
Ignore the signs, they’re really clear
You’re texting me, but I’m right here
Your thumbs dance over the screen
Updates come in and it’s too late, wanted to ream
Your ass is safe
Coming for you I masturbate
Notice that you don’t care
When cum gets in your hair
Damn, you like to pretend you’re in charge of your feed, bullshit
Replaced by your phone I say enough is enough
Even your pussy is neglected, you’re addicted to tech

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

Future novels… in the future

As I’ve mentioned before, Kismet of Submission, is soon to pulled from my blog. Much like I did with Stephanie — by the end of next month to be a published novella — what started as a Wicked Wednesday prompt and blossomed into a multi-month weekly serial thanks to reader’s comments, will be reworked into a full length novel. Almost all my longer fiction starts out on my blogs and depending how it is received, will determine if I want to explore further. Even then, most of what I write in flash fiction format, I have no desire to expand into longer stories.

The reason I bring this up, is because I am curious to what you — my readers — would like to see replace Kismet as a regularly scheduled Tuesday serial. I have several possibilities in mind, all of which can be found on my ‘Best of’ Page.

1. Spanking by Mail Order, is something I wrote back in 2009 and had several different plots.
2. Outlaw in Leather, a short piece about a foul-mouthed woman who takes what she wants.
3. Inexhaustible Smorgasbord, a paranormal noir fiction dealing with those that traffic across the veil.

These are the three that appeal to me the most, but maybe you have something else you like better. Feel free to leave a comment as I greatly appreciate your readership.

With that, back to work! These novels won’t write themselves!

Have I ever mentioned my Muse is a slave driver? WHIP! Well… OUCH… She is.

The Wedding of the Century: Virtually

“The Four Horsemen Give Up And Retire” blared a satirical editorial supporting their decision and mocking the thundering sermons and condemnation from those warning the ‘End is Nigh’. Other platforms, especially those who existed only online, put up a spirited defense with phrases like: “Forget Mars! Webnauts are the future of humankind”. That was another debate that raged in forums and vlogs: What to call them? Besides webnauts; other popular names included netdivers, interspacers and haboob. The later an acronym taken from the Arabic name for a dust storm.

Not since the election had the web been so consumed with shouting an opinion, which was ironic [irony having passed away with the inexorable rise of social media] considering that the individuals who were being called—Human.Avatars.Blogging.Openly.Online.Bodiless—were in fact completely unknown. Some claimed they were constructs of the Deep State created as Artificial Intelligence to wrest the internet from the fingertips of the free citizens of the world. Still others pointed the blame at tech companies, or aliens, or any number of hostile governments depending on who was actually writing the post. In private chat rooms, science fiction writers smugly congratulated themselves on their perspicacity and simultaneously bemoaned the lack of comprehension by policymakers and brainstormed ways to cash in on the frenzy.

They2.0, which is how ‘they’ always referred to each other, claimed to be post-racial, post-gender and post-dirt humans. Despite the best attempts of hackers, both freelance and government sponsored, no one found any evidence to contradict ‘their’ claim ‘they’d’ uploaded ‘their’ sentience into the Cloud and then had ‘their’ bodies destroyed. And thus, on October 29th, in front of a worldwide audience watching live-streamed video on multiple platforms, two hologram avatars exchanged vows and were duly married by a flesh-and-blood minister. After the ceremony, ‘they’ invited selected journalists back to ‘their’ VR home via interactive headsets.

As one prominent reporter later said off-the-record, “It was the craziest fucking thing I’ve ever seen, but damn if it didn’t make me jealous to see the world ‘they’d’ created. ‘They’ll’ always be remembered for being the first to go, but I doubt ‘they’ll’ be alone for long.”

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

Open wide: I’ll come inside

This week’s Wicked Wednesday prompt is, ‘The Dentist’. I will state that going to the dentist is not my favorite thing, and I have no sexual inclinations whatsoever towards the vocation. This story started as a complete outline in my mind—which rarely happens—and morphed into 1,800 freehand words. I typed it all in, made a few deletions, and here it is for your enjoyment.

“Easy Dental. This is Elise. How may I help you?”
“An emergency? I do have a cancellation tomorrow morning at ten. Are you a current patient?”
“No? I’m sorry. Dr. Brandeis doesn’t do house calls. Excuse me? He’s currently with clients until late this afternoon. Certainly I’ll give him the message as soon as he’s free. You’re welcome.”
It was over an hour later before Elise was able to hand over the note along with a brief explanation of the phone call. “It was like she expected you to drop everything and rush to the rescue!”
“A house call?” I furrowed my brow in confusion and wormed a piece of granola bar out from between the first and second lower jaw bicuspids. “Why would someone request that of a dentist?”
“I don’t know, doctor, she was adamant you return her call a.s.a.p.”
“Her? Is she a patient? Not Mrs. Larson!”
“No, but she said you’d remember her incisors.”
I read the scribbled message for the first time. My molars ground as the name Kayla Castana leaped out at me in a flurry of memories. Flowing black silken hair, olive skin flushed with passion and a fiery temper to match emerald eyes. Oh yes, I remember the tempestuous siren; who tried—and failed—to lure me away to the coast. We broke up for good when after my degree, I bought out the practice in my small hometown.
My palm twitched. Her bottom had felt my displeasure on numerous occasions. Her claws and teeth returned the favor.
I shook off the past. “Thanks, Elsie, I’ll take care of it.”

Somehow, come half past five, I found myself driving, not home to prepare for a often postponed date with my current girlfriend, but out into the boonies towards a set of GPS coordinates set deep in the middle of the state wilderness. To my knowledge, there was nothing out there, but Kayla had insisted it was a legitimate emergency. My ears were still ringing from Taylor’s complaints about the cancellation, but the promised fee of fifteen-grand assuaged my guilt and peaked my curiosity.
‘Turn right in one mile.’
The sun had gone behind the tall trees crowding the narrow two-lane blacktop road, and the headlights reflected off a white sign now visible around the bend. I tapped the brakes and coasted up as the GPS told me to ‘turn right now’.
The gold letters spelled out, Spots & Stripes Sanctuary, as I swept onto the gravel surface. The navigation showed 5 miles to my destination.
The forest closed in. My tires crunched over the white aggregate and the exterior temperature steadily dropped. My phone flashed, ‘No Service’. I wiped my hands on my slacks and gulped. It probably didn’t help I was listening to Stephen King’s latest audio book. I thought it was Kayla’s voice, but what if…?
Four miles in, a red and white gate loomed up out of the misty twilight. A uniformed guard leaned out the half-door of the small hut to the left.
“Good evening.”
“Sir.”
“My name is Dr. Brandeis. Kayla Castana is expecting me.”
“I.D. please, doctor.”
I fumbled with my wallet and extracted the license. The guard compared the picture to my face then consulted a piece of paper. There was a soft tearing noise and he handed back my identification along with printed directions and a laminate tag with a clip.
“Wear this badge at all times. Follow the directions to Building #Seven, you will be met there by your guide. Have a good evening.”
The barrier lifted silently and I put my AWD Volvo back into drive. Whatever this place was, I had gone way past concern straight into paranoia.
‘You have reached your destination.’
“I don’t think so.”
‘Recalculating.’
Three very long miles later, concrete replaced gravel, and the tight trail through the dense woods flared out into a circular drive that made a wide loop around a three story lodge that looked like a log cabin hotel. Building #Seven was three-quarters of the way around. I swung into a parking space and shut off the engine.
Peering through the windshield, the front door and windows were filled with friendly light. Kayla stood on the walkway and waved hello.
I waved back.
“You’re looking good, Doctor.”
I gave her a fist bump. “Thank you, you as well.”
“Please come in. I truly appreciate coming all this way out here. Our regular dentist is on vacation.”
“Well. I hope it’s worth it. My girlfriend isn’t very happy with me right now.”
Kayla held out a fat manila envelope. “Your fee, a cash fee. Maybe that will soothe her temper.”
I gave a wry smile, tucking the crinkly payment in my jacket pocket and followed Kayla as she briskly walked deeper inside towards an elevator. We went down: Two levels and soon reached a heavy door with keypad.
She swiped a card, entered a code, and we were buzzed in. The hairs on the back of my neck bristled as the unidentifiable odor wafted through my nasal passages. Kayla didn’t notice—or ignored—my reaction and unlocked the fifth door on the right.
I poked my head in and gave a low whistle. I was looking at a state-of-the-art dental suite. “Okay. Where’s the patient?”
Kayla was on my heels and gave an exasperated groan. “Dammit! I can’t believe she snuck out again! I’ll be right back.”
I shrugged as her rapid footsteps quickly faded. Donning a surgical gown, I set up my tools of the trade, all hermetically sealed and in order. I’d been assured everything I could possibly need would be waiting, and the specific emergency would be made clear.
A deep rumbling snarl slashed the room. Dropping a pick from suddenly nerveless fingers, I spun around and thumped into the back wall with a hard thud.
The noise was emanating from the throat of a medium sized gold and black spotted feline. As in a wild cat, it was smaller than a leopard, but much larger than the average domestic breed.
“This is completely unacceptable, Nessa! You have to get your teeth fixed!”
Despite my panic, I did notice a wide collar and a leash being held in Kayla’s hand as she scolded the cat. I swallowed hard and managed to croak, “Um… I think you need a veterinarian and some sedatives. I don’t do animal dentistry.”
The animal in question stared at me with gold-flecked eyes and thrashed her puffy tail against the tile floor. The low growling continued unabated.
“Nessa…” Kayla’s menacing voice growled right back. “Do NOT push your luck!” Her command was punctuated by a sharp tug of the leash.
I continued to sidle along the far wall but they were between me and the exit. Before I made a rash dash for the door, the clearly annoyed feline tossed her head at me and suddenly the air shimmered as if I’d gone cross-eyed.
My mouth dropped open.
Instead of a pissed off cat, a nude woman crouched in its place. The empty collar and leash dangled from Kayla’s fingers. “I’m only going to say this once more, Nessa. Get in the chair.” She lashed the woman’s bare bottom twice with the leather leash leaving two red stripes behind.
Nessa leapt with feral grace into the chair. Kayla swiftly attached cuffs to both ankles and wrists and engaged the mechanism to raise and tilt the woman until the former cat was lying nearly horizontal.
I watched as her breasts heaved up and down and her tethered limbs quivered. I realized she was terrified. Cautiously approaching, I held my hands up as if to say, ‘this wasn’t my idea’, and drew the stool close to her side. I sat down and said, “Hello, Nessa. My name is Dr. Brandeis. Kayla asked me to attend to you this evening. I want you to know I will do everything in my power to make this as painless as possible. Will you please tell and show me what is the concern you are experiencing at present?”
When she finally spoke, Nessa’s voice flowed over me like melted chocolate: Dark, rich, and filled with the promise of a good time.
“You don’t seem surprised, doctor.”
“I read a lot of paranormal fiction. I assume you, and Kayla are werecats of some kind.” I glanced over at Kayla and held her gaze. “Now that I think about the past, it makes sense.” She coolly returned my regard and I refocused on my patient.
“I’m a margay,” Nessa replied, “and I hate going to the dentist.”
“Well then, it’s a good thing I came to you. May I look in your mouth?”
She glared at Kayla one last time and reluctantly opened wide. I manipulated the overhead lamp and, after masking, peered in inside. “I see. Molars 14, 15 and 17 are cracked and you have signs of infection. How long ago did this happen?”
“Two weeks,” Nessa mumbled.
I patted her slick shoulder. “Don’t worry. I’ll fix you up and put you on a course of antibiotics.” I addressed Kayla. “I assume you have were-suitable medications?” When she nodded in the affirmative, I turned back to Nessa. “I’m going to take some x-rays first to make sure the root is intact, then give you some local anesthesia, clean out the infection and repair the cracks. I am very hopeful I can salvage your teeth.”
When Nessa started crying, Kayla leaned in with a hug and whispered in her ear during the time I was prepping the x-ray machine and films. When I heard soft buzzing, I looked back to see Kayla’s arm up between Nessa’s nude thighs holding what appeared to be a slim wand.
I cleared my throat, but Kayla merely winked at me and started an in-and-out motion. Nessa squirmed, but because her ankles were secured to the sides of the chair, could only raise her hips slightly. “An orgasm, or two, will calm her down.”
At this point, I was so far beyond the norm, my only option was to proceed as professionally as possible on my patient. It was ‘hard’ to do considering the sounds and scents swirling through my senses. The musk of two aroused females made me earn every penny of that fifteen thousand.

All I’ll say is this: I arrived home after midnight, all fingers—and virtue—still intact. Although later on, Taylor decided my vague explanations were the final straw to our relationship and we parted with some harsh words.
I did though have a lucrative new cash flow, minus bulk purchases of catnip, for when Nessa came prowling after dark seeking her favorite chew toy and dentist.

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

Tied to my faults

This week for Wicked Wednesday, the prompt is ‘Bond’ after the quartet of the same name playing ‘Victory’ from the year 2000. I have that album Born on CD. Likely I purchased it because it featured four women in tight dresses with lovely bums. I do enjoy their music as well, to be fair. The other Bond, James Bond, uses sex and sizzle too; although I’d like to see a Jane Bond at some point.

The origin of bond, is rather interesting. The ultimate root source is bind: ORIGIN Old English bindan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German binden, from an Indo-European root shared by Sanskrit bandh.

This changed to band, as in: #4 archaic ‘a thing that restrains, binds, or unites.’ ORIGIN late Old English (sense 4 of the noun), from Old Norse, reinforced in late Middle English by Old French bande, of Germanic origin; related to bind.

In turn, this lead to bonds: physical restraints used to hold someone or something prisoner, esp. ropes or chains. ORIGIN Middle English: variant of band1.

The surname Bond, comes from Old English bonda, bunda, reinforced by Old Norse bóndi, which in the Old Norse meant farmer or husbandman, as well as a personal name.

In Modern English, bond is also used in chemistry, the law, building and financial trades and in terms of relationships. It’s interesting that the word bondage, originally comes from an agricultural background: ORIGIN Middle English: from Anglo-Latin bondagium, from Middle English bond ‘serf’ (earlier ‘peasant, householder’), from Old Norse bóndi ‘tiller of the soil,’ based on búa ‘dwell’; influenced in sense by bond.
The BDSM meaning of bondage was first recorded in 1966.

the fertile soil of my phobia ridden mind
yields a paltry harvest of habitual faults
with plow and mattock blistered hands seek
redemption for numerous errors in judgement

the sun cannot scorch hotter than the whips
that keep me entangled in familial bondage

there was a time when I ran naked through
open fields of imagination and possibility
when the bond of life had yet to be cashed
and bitterness sank to the bottom of the mug

the toasts and songs mean nothing to me now
that she has traveled where I am yet to go

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

I realize this is not very wicked this week, but when the Muse wants a gloomy poem… I can but obey.