Friday, July 17, 2015

The Legend

by Jennifer Ann Margaret Patino 

Brandon and Jamie shine their lights up into the treetops. The night air is sweltering and David swore he heard a sound up there.

Chicken shit, as usual,” Jamie sighs and let's her backpack fall to the ground. A dust cloud rises up around it. Brandon shudders thinking of the ghost story.

Well, whatever,” David crumples into a heap, backpack and all. The dust around him doubles the amount the pack created. “This is the place.” He shines his light upwards as if trying to reach his beam to the moon.

Brandon is chugging from his canteen and his eyes nod in agreement. He swirls some in his mouth and spits it out. “Better start a fire then.”

Jamie is already collecting kindling.

Later on, after dinner (Doritos, Mountain Dew and some baked potatoes with King Size Kit Kats for dessert) the three sit silently by their small fire and David is close to nodding off when Brandon pulls out a cigarette pack from his backpack.

Right on...” Jamie's squeal of delight is too much for an almost 15 year old.

I could only nick four,” Brandon says lighting one of the menthols. “We share.”

Aww, man...” David groans. “Jamie's lip gloss always makes them taste funny.”

Shut up, you tool,” Jamie blows her smoke over towards him and he just shakes his head.

When the cigarette is finished there is another fifteen minutes of silence from the trio. Somewhere, a night bird of some sort squawks. Crickets croon.

Then there is the sound of three gasps in unison. Joining the nocturnal symphony, at just the time the old ghost story they all knew said it would happen, is the sound of twinkling laughter.

You guys are screwing with me,” David whispers.

No-shh!” Brandon is standing now staring off into the direction of the light laughter. Jamie jumps to her feet fumbling with her flashlight. Her face looks paler in the moonlight. Brandon's hand steadies hers so her beam can stop making those extra shadows through the trees.

Story says we follow it,” Jamie's voice is monotone.

Come ON,” David whines. “That's enough proof for me.”

You said we were in this together!” cries Jamie.

Will you two shut the hell up?” Brandon is still staring into the trees.

His heart is pounding in his head but he still hears the laughter and it definitely is drifting away from their mini campsite.

If the other part is true about those were-witches or whatever being back there you guys can forget it-”

David, shut up,” Jamie shuts off her flashlight and points.

They all can see her. She's standing right in front of them. She's laughing and the sound of it is still drifting away, yet she's coming closer. Brandon's brain struggles to find a logical explanation but can't.

Stop right there!” he yells. It seems appropriate.

The woman in white stuns them by listening. She stops moving. She stops laughing. Her dark hair is covering her face just as the old legend described.

David panics then and starts to try to run but stumbles. He pants heavily and by the time he is back on his feet the lady has disappeared.

Where did she go?” Brandon sounds upset. “Damn. What do we do now?”

Check it out,” Jamie turns the flashlight back on and starts walking toward where the woman appeared just at the edge of a few trees out of the moonlight's path.

I'm staying right here,” David says as Brandon hands him a cigarette after lighting his own totally forgetting the sharing rule.

Jamie is shining her light into the forest. “Oh wow...come here, you guys...” she says and then starts banging her flashlight because it's dying. “Hurry! I'm losing light!” she calls to them.

Chicks,” David shakes his head and Brandon agrees with a sigh.

The boys make their way over and Brandon's flashlight starts to lose power. He bangs against it as Jamie did and then turns to David to see if he has his.
Oh, it's back there-”

Forget it,” Jamie says as they draw closer. “We know where the fire is, if I can see it, you can too.”

See what? Is it the ghost again?” Brandon squints to try to see what she's looking at so intently. It's almost as if she's in a trance.

I think you're both just crazy and we should definitely get out of here.”

Those were the last words of young David.

The woman in white appears again behind the three and breaks David's neck in one snap. Before Brandon can even try to make a run for it his neck is broken the same way.

Jamie turns her flashlight back on and shines the beam on their horrified expressions. She can hear the bristling of many white dresses behind her as the others make their way to the clearing. The woman in white stands before her smiling, her blackened eyes shining.

Very well, daughter. You did very well. Run along now. The rest of the ritual you will learn and experience as each new year passes until your Induction Ceremony. We can take it from here.”

Jamie doesn't argue. “See you next year, mother.”

The woman smiles and is joined by four other women in white all smiling at Jamie as well.

Jamie extinguishes the fire and picks up her backpack ready to make her trek out of the forest.

She glances back and the women are still staring at her waiting for her to leave.

She is halfway back to civilization and still hears the sound of howling and ripping flesh. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Post about Pain

It's probably never a good idea to write about pain. There can never be much accomplished in putting your daily dealings into words. Pain is not for the eye to see. For those who live with it, much of your time is spent trying to ignore it, trying to show others it's not there and managing it the best you can. Simple tasks are that much more exhausting when you're struggling against wincing. You don't want to show any signs of struggle. You want to be just like everyone else. Everyone else flows, dances even, through life while you waddle and wade. Their air seems to be refreshing, easy. Your air seems dark, cloudy, contaminated. You aren't contagious but you feel as if you are. You walk and you feel as if you are a marionette. Someone has strings attached to you and someone is moving you but you are choosing somehow to block out the parts that hurt so you feel unattached to yourself. Sometimes, you feel like you are made of twigs and the slightest wind or movement might cause you to bend or worse, snap in two and leave parts of you dangling. You think losing the limb couldn't compare. Yet, your limbs are no longer a real part of you anyway.

Sometimes, there are spaces in between your pain. Those spaces feel real and alive but you are still so far away from them. Sometimes there are icy pricks running up and down your arms and legs. Sometimes those pricks burn like fire.

There are times when smiling hurts even. Like it might be too hard to move those muscles because every ounce of energy is spent on other parts that hurt. You can't cut them off. You can numb them however you choose to. You can share it with others or you can keep it to yourself.

However you choose to handle it, it's yours and yours alone. No two pains are alike just as no two people are alike. And no two people with chronic pain are alike either.

There is joy to be found in the small moments. The days you can hold a book, take a short walk, do some chores, sleep, do things that don't cause you too much stress or movement. Those days are still filled with longing, however. Longing for what is beyond your own body. Maybe you felt “normal” once. Maybe it wasn't always like this. Those are the days you can't help but think of and also the days you no longer want to think of. Those thoughts might add more pain.

Emotional pain and physical pain are two different things as well and both at the same time (don't they always seem to bounce off of each other?) often seem intolerable to live with. Yet, here you are. You're doing it. You're still alive. You're making it.

Keep going. If you stop, you might miss out on that moment when it doesn't hurt so much. Or maybe those few hours, few days, maybe longer. The possibility of it should be enough.

It's enough for me. I'm a firm believer in “this too shall pass” because it's proven to be true no matter what's been going on in my life.

I may not like “being idle” persay but at least my brain still works (even if it works differently or what I often think may be different only to discover there are so many who think and feel the same way) and I can still read even when there's nothing to write about except things that hurt.

I'm ok with that.

There's no other choice really.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Night the Wind Knocked Back

by Jennifer Ann Margaret Patino

Lucy Powell wrapped her wool shawl around her shoulders tighter as a freezing blast from the north whipped around the porch where she stood.  She listened to the wind whistle through the trees, accompanied by the tinkling of the two wind chimes she kept up for decoration.  One was falling apart but still rang the comforting sound.

They reminded her of her Grandma.  She loved wind chimes, wind in general.  She would tell Lucy many a story of wind spirits and how the wind spoke to her.  How it carried the whispers of their ancestors on it.  How it swept the old away with it.  Wind was never anything to fear.  Not the way Lucy had been raised anyway.

Lucy closed her eyes to hone in on the breath of the Earth and felt its icy fingers through her hair.  She remembered her Grandmother saying good night to the wind.  And how, without fail, after shutting the door and locking it for the night she would always knock three times on the door of the house.  "It keeps the wind out," she'd smile.  Her eyes would shine mischievously, as if she kept a deep secret Lucy would never dare ask her to tell.

Lucy smiled too now at the fond memory of her Grandmother.  She made her way into her own house now. There was nothing loose about.  Nothing to make any rattling sounds or blow away for Lucy had taken care of that.  It was time to sleep to the tune of howling and clinking, sounds she could sleep to.  Silence was often too much for her.  Too lonely.  Too sad.  At least with the wind blowing, she felt alive.  She felt the Earth was alive as well.

Upon close of the door-she had to push a little harder to close it against the mighty air-she thought about what her Grandmother said.  "It keeps the wind out."

Lucy almost laughed to herself when she thought about actually knocking on her own door.  But without another thought she did.

Three solid raps on the oak wood all matching the same tone and timbre.  Feeling silly but satisfied, Lucy turned to head up the stairs to the loft bedroom where she would sleep.

The sound of three knocks on the front door were unmistakable.  Lucy froze, her breath catching somewhere near her heart which was thumping nearly out of her chest.  She wanted to believe she had imagined it.  Perhaps the echo of the memory of the sound of her knocks to the outside world were just resounding in her head.

Fear spoke louder than that though.  There was no way around it.  Lucy had indeed heard the knocks.  Now what to do about them were another thing.  No one would be up or near her house at this hour without her seeing or knowing.  The wind may have been loud but surely she would have seen someone so close to her house.  She had just closed the door and knocked.  No one could have been there that quickly.  And no one could not have made any sound on the wooden porch unless they were barefoot.  None of this made sense to Lucy's mind but somewhere in there, in the panic, she made the decision to unlock the door and fling it open.

There was nothing on Lucy's doorstep.  No sound but the usual sounds.  The wind continued to blow and was coming into the house now.  Lucy didn't feel relief.  She didn't feel afraid anymore either though.  She just moved her eyes to scan her front porch and yard and found nothing out of the ordinary.

With a sigh, she closed the door and locked it again.  Heading up the stairs, she told herself she had only imagined it.  Perhaps living alone for so long was finally taking a toll on her.

Lucy settled into bed and turned her lamp off listening to the wind dance outside all around her.  The trees swaying back and forth, the creaking sound of the fence and of course the jingling of the bells.

She dreamed of her Grandmother that night.  Her laugh blended in with the wailing outside.  That same secret in her blue-grey irises still there, even in a vision.  Lucy didn't need to ask what it was anymore.  Now she knew it and would never forget.  The wind would always be a reminder.  The bluster would moan always, even after we closed our eyes for good.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I wrote some flash fiction

Check it out :D

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Busy Bees

It feels like it anyway.

There's a lot going on...

but not really.

And it's all going by really fast.

But at the same time it's not.

Maybe that's just called "being 30".

In just a short time, I'll be 31.

I'm not upset about this.

It's weird though.

I kinda feel 19 again most days.

Like, hmm...what should I do?

What should I be doing?

Shouldn't I be doing something by now?

But...simple physical tasks are much harder for me than ever before and well I do a lot of somethings in a day if I account for how my body feels by the end of each day.

So it goes.

I saw Moonrise Kingdom finally and that's a great movie.  Wes Anderson...I just love him.

Went to Dollar General Market today with Jackson and his mom too.

I like that they call it a market.  And I like the green bags.

It was just the same old DG but with way more things and this store was nice.

Not like the semi ghetto one I used to work at.  (But I loved that job...I truly did.)

So, instead of driving myself crazy, feeling like I'm lazy or just feeling blech all the time I'm doing a lot of writing and also helping some friends with writing stuff too.

I'm writing a review of a book for someone (short book...since seriously it takes me forever just to finish a novel these days) and also doing an online course for 26 weeks.

So yeah, it's something.

And it amounts to me feeling like I can still do things even if they're small and well "don't amount to anything" to use a commonly heard phrase when I was 19.

Each day amounts to something.

It has to.

Or what are we even doing here?

So, anyways...I'm doing alright.

Just knowing I'm alright is enough for me because last year was pretty damn traumatic even though really awesome things happened as well.

Big and awesome things.


Jackson's working on art again too and that's good...I know what it's like to be blocked or feel you can't do something creative so I'm glad he broke through that.

I'm also glad we found a cool church to go to and there was a really cool rapper there last week.

He wasn't afraid to tell the truth about himself or what really happened (and happens) to him in life.

That was more than inspiring for me because I've been through so much and sometimes I'm just like "no, no one is ever going to believe any of this ever" and then when someone is right in front of you saying a bunch of well..."wow...that's a lot of crazy stuff that happened to you" type things and you know they're's just like wow.  :)  (yeah I really thought that sentence out let me tell you...)

Oh well.

My thoughts are random.  My blog post is random.

So it goes.

Kurt Vonnegut is awesome and you all should read at least one book by him.

I don't even care which one, honestly.

Ok, this is boring even me now.  :)

Happy Sunday everyone!

Enjoy it <3

Friday, March 7, 2014

Sometimes you just gotta blog

I'm happy.  :)

I'm very happy that my mom and my cousin's kidney transplant surgeries went well.

I am happy that they are going to recover swiftly and wonderfully.

I'm sure of this.  :)

I'm also happy because I really love wind.

I love hearing it.  I love seeing how it moves things around.

I love how it kicks up and just feels...well...powerful.  That's the best way to describe it.

Winds of change.

They happen a lot, eh?

Sometimes change changes us.

But it doesn't have to really.

If we "go with the wind" so to speak, don't we just kind of stay floating on it?

Better to sail on I say.

I have a new desktop computer and that makes me happy too.

I don't like to always be so reliant on things like technology but not having my own desktop for the past few months has been hard.

Of course I've been using my husband's laptop but there's just something (and I know I'm weird) not right about using another person's personal computer.

I know, I know..."what's mine is yours" and all that.  But no.  Not for this.

I don't mind anyone using my computer either of course.

But when it comes to trying to actually write and especially creatively on any computer that's not mine I just feel like I can't do it.

Like I'm sharing too much with a computer that's not mine haha

And that's strange too because most of my stuff gets posted publicly online anyway.

I don't know...I'm weird.


One question keeps going through my mind lately too.

On loop.  Repeat.  I try to run from it too.  But at the same time I feel pangs of loneliness and I just don't even know what to do about it at all.

How does a 30 year old disabled person make friends?

Especially someone as odd as I am.  Maybe I'm not that odd.  I'm sure I'm not more often than not.

But I feel misunderstood way too often lately.

I also feel like I don't belong anywhere really.

And I feel like I'm afraid of even trying to make friends or talk to people because seriously I don't even know how and lately, people are freaking me out a lot.  

I feel like "Where are my people?" or something.

I miss my family for sure.

I miss my old friends.

And I'm not really anti social even though not having contact with anyone other than Jackson really for the past couple of years has kinda made me feel like I'm awkward in social situations.  And also I feel like the shy and stuttering nine year old I used to be.  I don't know how to respond to things anymore because I'm so afraid of saying something wrong or offensive or misunderstood that I end up just totally not making sense at all.

It's hard for me too.

I like people.  I like talking to people.

No one really seems to like doing that at all anymore.

And it's not the same online.  It really isn't.

I like chatting still.  

But wow...maybe now that I'm 30 I'm just over it?  


Who knows?

Anyways, I'm happy though.

That's all that matters really.

I'm reading a book called "Birthing the Miraculous" by Heidi Baker and it's great.  

I've also been watching some pretty good movies lately too.  

Good days and not so good days still as per usual.

And the bad days (ya know...the REALLY bad days...) don't happen as often as they were back in the Valley.

Spring is coming.

I'm sure many are excited.  

I will sit and wait for fall then haha

Well, enough blabbering for now.

I don't even know what to do with myself when I'm this physically exhausted and in pain but my mind is still a bit awake.

I'm sure I'll find something.

Maybe I'll be able to work on this poem I started last week.

I hate forcing creativity and especially my poetry.

But I have been writing more lately and that is what makes me happiest.

Jackson is doing well.  

I'm sure he'll be doing a lot better once he finds more work.

I keep praying for him to.

And praying for everyone and everything else too.

I used to think praying wasn't good enough.

Now I realize it's often all I can do.

And that's a good enough purpose for me.

Have a great weekend everyone!