winter

winter

Friday, September 30, 2016

Standing Rock in the News.

Sara Jaffe writing on the website Bill Moyers and Co. gives a very succinct explanation why the matters occurring at Standing Rock are so important. She explains the perspective of the indigenous peoples and gives a glimpse into some of what they are facing in this situation. Her article Standing Firm at Standing Rock: Why the Struggle at Standing Rock is  Bigger than One Pipeline is eye opening if you're not even passingly familiar with what the indigenous peoples have dealt with in the USA.

Now, some would be upset with me for using a source that is not traditionally considered unbiased. I just have to ask one question. Can you find me a source that is traditionally considered unbiased that is reporting this? I've been looking and finding stuff out about what his happening at Standing Rock is difficult. If you look at what is presented on Facebook, you find tumult. Over the last week or so, there is this dichotomy of material. One group presents that the people at Standing Rock are possibly violent and a group of degenerates. Another group presents that the people at Standing Rock are desperately engaged in an attempt to halt more environmental devastation and a continued rejection of their status as a sovereign people.

Given what I know about the history surrounding the way the native people have been treated here in Nova Terra, I am more inclined to believe the second group than the former. When there are reports of private security firms setting dogs on the people at Standing Rock, I am not one to reject it. You see, there are videos being posted of the dogs attacking and videos of the people after the attacks have happened. They are being suppressed. Because it is inconvenient to say that this group of people are having their human rights casually disregarded. Who is it inconvenient to? The people who are trying to make this pipeline happen. The people who want to perpetuate the racial bias against and the subjugation of the indigenous people of the USA.

Why is there so little in the major media outlets about what is happening at Standing Rock? Because it presents as much of a threat to the welfare of the status quo as the growing awareness of insitutionalized violence against people who don't fit the WASP profile. There is an illusion being sold to us that what is happening at Standing Rock is not a major thing. It is being played down and outright ignored.

Things, however, can change. Standing Rock can be the tip of the proverbial spear that forces the nation (and other nations around the world) to honor their treaties with the indigenous peoples. It can be the beginning of the change that effects true racial justice within the USA. But for that to happen, all of the rest of us need to stand up and demand it. We can't just sit off to the side and tolerate the rank injustices happening while we drink pumpkin spice lattes and try to figure out the bitchiest way to describe the millenials.


If you want info about what's happening at Standing Rock or how you can help, follow these links:

News from the Standing Rock Souix Tribe (Official)

Advice from Greenpeace (I'm not a fan of Greenpeace. I actually rather loathe them, but they are a recognizable organization that many others support. My reasons for not supporting Greenpeace is their refusal to treat world heritage sites with respect. They are also questionable with respect to their use of violence. I can not find enough information to make up my mind if they qualify as eco-terrorists. My sharing this link is not an endorsement of them.)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Not fair.

How is it I have the energy to do stuff yesterday and I don't today? Is it really the fact that the day is cloudy? I don't know.

I just feel tired and sad. I feel like I'm making so many mistakes. I try to keep in mind that depression lies to me. That my anxiety lies to me.

But it is really hard to shut up the thing constantly hammering in your mind.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A question.

So, I'm looking around on Facebook and I see people posting these memes about how a person who has committed a crime previously are essentially worthless people. I see memes posted about how if you have ever been charged with something (including things as paltry as parking tickets or jaywalking apparently) that you deserve what ever violence is meted out to you by law enforcement (or people who present as some kind of law enforcement lite - ie private security firms with weapons). I see people talking about how violence on the part of protestors negate their complaint and 'never solves anything'. I see people posting stuff about how if a person has been accused of a crime, not even charged, that if it falls into a certain category they should be executed.

At the same time, however, I see the same people posting things about how we should reject the demands of others to limit our self expression. I see them posting stuff about how they would tool someone up for looking at their significant other in a fashion that they disapprove of (as in the poster, not their partner). I see them posting things about how they have the right to reform the government by force and they need to stockpile munitions in the event of that necessity. I see them posting things about how we need to get all the details about the violence that is done before passing any sort of judgement when the perpetrators are doing so under color of law. I see them posting things about how much they admire the civil rights activists from the 60s and that the activists of today are nothing like those people.

It makes me sick.

Do you support seeing the just application of the law of the land? If someone is accused of something, are they innocent until proven guilty? Is law enforcement to be held accountable for when they break the law themselves? Do people have the rights that are secured for them by the Constitution of the United States as citizens of the nation or not?

If you answered yes to all of the above, why in the name of anything holy or decent do you say that these people who are being killed by the police deserve it? We are protected against unreasonable force and unreasonable search and seizure. We are protected in our rights to free expression and to peaceably assemble and demand redress from the government for our grievances. There's a long list of other things here that we're protected on the basis of judicial precedent even.

Let us not forget the international laws that are supposed to protect us on the basis of simple human rights.

We are a nation of laws. We are not ruled by pedagogy and popularity contests. We are not ruled by a dynasty of monarchs, dictators, or similar figures. Our opinions and feelings on things come second to the rule of law. And when the rule of law is wrong, we are supposed to come together and make changes to it as a people, via a representative system.

Even then, our individual preferences are second to the needs of the people. Or at least, that is how it is supposed to work.

And yet, we have black and other minorities being gunned down in the street by law enforcement (and law enforcement wannabes) because the people with their finger on the trigger are scared. We have families that have lived in this nation for generations being harassed and told to 'go home' by others because they don't fit the white-christian-productive citizen trope. We have a towns and cities with water that is undrinkable because of rampant pollution and government failure to ensure the safety of this most vital of resources.

I am the one who is said that they're wrong because I look at all of this and say it is not right. I'm sorry, but being poor is not a crime. Being black, latino, gay, or of any other stripe of minority is not a crime. Being disabled is not a crime. Not understanding what law enforcement is saying to you is not a crime. My list of things that are not crimes could get very, very long. I think, however, you get the picture.

Stop punishing people for not fitting your stereotype. Stop saying that their problems don't matter because it doesn't disturb your comfortable bubble. Stop saying that these people some how deserve the on going, systematic atrocities being done to them by people who are supposed to be upholding the rule of law. Having a badge and a gun doesn't automatically make you a hero or judge, jury, and executioner.

I am not going to hold up the law enforcement officers as automatic heroes because they're law enforcement. Yes, they do incredibly hard work for the community. Yes, they function under a considerable amount of strain and are called on to make decisions that can cause life or death for others in the community. Because they are in that position, they should beheld to a higher standard. If you are in law enforcement, your rules of engagement should be no less demanding than those for the military. Indeed, I would argue that they should be more so because you are dealing with civilian lives at all times. Even the 'bad guy with a gun' is a civilian. Last time I checked, civilians rated higher than enemies on the list of people to keep alive since armed conflict began, especially when they are the civilians in YOUR OWN NATION.

So, to boil this all down to that single question:

If you are going to claim that you are a 'patriot' and a 'real American', why are you refusing to demand that all of these people have their Constitutional rights protected? Why are you silent and complacent with all of these egregious abuses happening all around?

The 'no true Scotsman' argument isn't going to fly here, folks. Just to let you know.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Update (or something).

Today, I finished the scarf that I was knitting for Cuddle Bear. It's the orange-navy blue colorway from Red Heart (I think they call it Team Spirit). This one is slightly longer than the other one that I made for Snuggle Bug. But, now the school color scarves for the boys are finished. I picked up two t-shirts for them earlier this week with blue tie-dye and the words 'Livonia Bulldogs' on it in orange. It was $15 dollars for the two shirts through Dollar General, easily half the price of getting the same shirts from the sports booster's flyer.

I also made a cap for the neighbor's 4 month old baby. He's like my boys, a big head for his age. She's got him wearing stuff for an 8 month old baby and has really been struggling to find him hats. So, I pulled out some of my baby yarn for the charity hats and made him one. I remember how frustrating it was to put the boys in hats when they were little. It was cute to watch her light up when I handed it to her this afternoon.

I spent my day going through the huge pile of papers on and around the desk. In the course of it all, I discovered that I have a stack of magazines about two inches thick that I need to put away. (They're my crochet magazines where I have gotten pattern ideas out of over the summer.) I also took care of paying the bills. I felt anxious doing it, but when I got done, I felt like a weight was taken off my shoulders.

The blue shawl that I am knitting for my niece Alexis is approximately half done. Not bad for working on it only a little bit over the last several months. I will confess, most of the work I had done before she asked me to make her something. I did pick up an additional ball of that colorway (Caron's Simply Soft Paints in Ocean). I presently have three balls of this colorway that I haven't been knitting off of. I am only going to need one to finish this shawl out. Then I am going to take the other two and make something for myself out of it. Because the colors in this are just too lovely to pass up.

I have made some inroads into my effort to get some spinning done over the last week. I still have a shopping bag full of the raspberry colored wool. I am trying to decide if I want to put it on a distaff again or not. I am leaning towards the distaff but trying to figure out how I am going to tie it on. Because what I did last time didn't work out that well, which was why I took it off the distaff. I have also spun about ten yards on the rainbow colored wool-alpaca-tencel blend on my little Turkish spindle. I am seriously thinking that I am going to spin the rest of the bat on one of my cobbled together Turkish spindles. It will have a different weight for it, but I will be able to make a larger ball on it. I don't think I can make the ball on this little spindle too much larger.

Also, I picked up an astronomy book yesterday. It dates to 1968 but that doesn't bother me. It will still help me get reacquainted with the night sky, with the help of Sky and Telescope magazine. I think all I will really need aside from this is a way to set myself up with good observing conditions (predominantly comfortable that will allow me to use my rinkydink Newtonian desk telescope). I kinda hope that I can get this figured out before the nights get too much longer, this way when observing time happens sort of early in the evening, I can take the boys out and show them stuff like Orion's nebula.

I also have been bashing away at CreateSpace in an attempt to resolve issues with getting book II of my series to market. You can read more about it on my other blog.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Fiction: Fairy Tale

The ground rose steadily to the north. As the path moved from the open ground under the cover of the bare, late autumn trees, the hiker shifted the pack on their shoulders. Leaves crunched beneath their feet upon the packed gravel. The sun slowly sank in the west, bringing rich colors and a chill to the evening. A sense of urgency pushed them to press onward.

Clouds were gathering and the air held the threat of cold rain. Still, the hiker did not pause to build a shelter. They merely flipped the hood of their coat up over their head and moved faster. When the first fat drops of water fell from the sky, the traveler was growing near the summit of the hill. Rain had turned into a steady pelting of icy cold water, mixing into something like sleet. A clearing was on the north side of the hill, just a few hundred yards below where the trees were regularly smited with with the wrath of the sky.

As the traveler moved into the clearing, they pulled a glowstick from in their right pocket. As they snapped the thing and shook it, there was a moment of worry that the chill of the evening was going to render the chemicals useless. The lurid green light that came almost immediately after they stopped shaking the sealed plastic tube should have reassured the one holding it. Instead, they remained agitated. The pack on their back felt heavy. The exhaustion from their quick march up the hill was catching up with them.

A fear pressed them onward. As they came to the end of the path, they found the standing stones. It was nothing like the fabled henge off in an English field. It was barely a ring, to be honest. Jagged stones of granite stood up like they had been cast to the ground by some giant. By the light of day, they seemed some queer combination of orange and pink with dark veins of feldspar through them. In the queer half light of the glowstick, they looked to be the color of the hiker's flesh, if not more lurid- in short, like the flesh of the zombies from the cheap paperback that was buried in the bottom of the heavy pack.

They stopped at the edge of the circle. Carefully, the swung the pack off their shoulder and set it on the ground outside of the circle. Holding the glowstick in their teeth, they opened the pack and began to dig through its contents. With a shaky hand, they pulled out a leather sack that bulged awkwardly but in an organic fashion. Soon a second sack was found. It was longer than the first and seemed heavier. The items in the sack clattered slightly as the hiker was setting them down.

The hiker's face paled at the noise. They looked from the bags they had carried up the hill to the ring they were beside with a fearful expression. With a swallow, they pushed the lump of terror back down their throat before pulling out a canteen and a crushed loaf of bread. The glowstick faded as they dropped the flap over the opening of the sack. They took the glowstick out of their teeth and held it awkwardly in their right hand, shaking it in a quick desperate motion.

The glowstick went dark the moment the tip of an end crossed over the perimeter of the circle. Alone in the darkness, caught in a rainstorm that was closer to hail than sleet, the hiker gave an unconscious whimper of fear. Within the circle, a light seemed to rise. It was like a faint mist, a trick of the eye against the dark. Slowly, the light grew brighter. The hiker tore their eyes away from the light and cast the loaf of bread into the circle. The cord of the canteen tangled on their wrist as it swung away from them.

The canteen abruptly stopped midswing, as though someone had taken hold of it. The hiker looked over. A man stood across the grassy demarcation of the circle's edge. The canteen had swung half into the circle and the man had taken hold of it. He looked at the hiker and then down at the two bags laying at their feet. "You return what is ours?" the man asked.

The hiker nodded, awkwardly attempting to untangle their wrist from the canteen's strap. The man pulled on the canteen, dragging the tangled wrist closer to the edge of the circle. "And the price?" he said. A chill washed down the hiker's spine that had nothing to do with the weather.

"I have nothing to give, my Lord," the hiker wailed, "I have given you all that I have."

The man in the circle tipped his head slightly to the left and regarded his unwitting prisoner. The traveler stooped and picked up the sacks at their feet. They held them out to the man, unable to still the anxious tremors that made the things within give a quiet noise, as though dry, fragile things were jostled together. "Take them," the hiker said. Hysteria had entered into their voice. The man before the frightened traveler smiled.

The tips of the fingers of the hand holding the bags had crossed over the grassy line marking the end of the path. When the man in the circle closed their own large hand over the wrist attached to that hand, the possessor's eyes went wide. A scream echoed in the dark as all light vanished and the hiker lurched forward.

Three days later, a search party found the pack and the glowstick laying at the trailhead. Within the ring of stones, a notable number of mushrooms were present. One of the members of the party from out of town commented on this. The head of the search team, an older man, said that it was due to the previous rain. They then went back down the trail, fanning the search to go through the cold wood.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Wrote this whilst listening to:

Trollabundin from Eivor

I can feel it humming  from The Flashbulb

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Realization.

Tomorrow I see my psychiatric nurse at the clinic. It just now struck me that I am tending towards a mixed episode. I am finding myself spoiling for a fight right now. I have a bad feeling that I may go into this session looking for a fight. I really don't want to do that. Because I'm worried that she is going to fuck with my file.

The whole business with the clinic has me feeling very unsafe. Which only adds to this urge to get into a fight.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Insects.

We're reaching that point in the year where insects start coming inside. Perhaps it is just me, but this seems rather early for that to be happening. I am trying not to start worrying about winter. At the same time, I find myself questioning how cold this winter will be and how much precipitation we are going to get.

Honestly, I deeply hope that we get enough that the water table comes back up to where it is supposed to be. Some people would be upset with the rain we're having tonight. I am glad for it. We really need it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

What have I done?

I feel guilty for spending my day shuffling papers and looking at stuff on the internet. I feel like I should have been sorting, folding, and putting away these piles of laundry. I feel like I should have been 'working' rather than 'goofing off.' Self care is so hard for me to do. Because the self care that requires me to respect my limitations is the hardest thing for me. And it is what I have been needing to do the most of late.

I still have sore feet. I spent a lot of time over the last week on them and my shoes are not so great. As a result, they hurt. My knees are uncomfortable, but the weather is shifting and I have arthritis so that is no big surprise. And all of that standing probably didn't do my knees any favors.

I did a bunch of 'official business' stuff today. I filled out the contract and mailed out the down payment and trial period rental fees for Cuddle-Bear's trumpet. I made a few phone calls to take care of some scheduling problems. I did some stuff budgeting. I got some of the massive pile of papers taken care of.

I cleaned out the freezer burned food from the freezer. I think I have taken care of everything that was in the refrigerator that needed to go. I even made sure I ate something healthy for lunch. I also put some of the clean kitchen stuff away. I still have quite a bit more to take care of, and a few loads to wash yet.

My brain still says that I haven't done enough. I have a document file sitting open that I have done nothing more than glance at a few times today. I'm tired, even though I slept all night. I'm crampy and uncomfortable due to my menses but I managed not to destroy clothing, so I guess it isn't all that bad. I wish that I didn't feel like everything I do is insufficient. I wish that I didn't feel like I am a failure because I'm not doing something like a business on the side or out working while the kids are at school. I wish I actually felt something like hope, or at least not so damn convinced that everything I do is worthless because I am the one doing it and (according to my illness) I am easily replaceable.

I'm tired of being sick like this. I looked at some old blog entries, back before the bipolar diagnosis happened. I feel like that person is in me and I'm just being lazy, which I why I am not as productive, active, or social.

I hate this.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Blood in the Water.

If you have been following the news, maybe you have heard or seen something about the business going on in North Dakota. There is a company that wants to build an oil pipeline through tribal lands and under at least one major river. The pipeline is touted by supporters as a safe way to transport light, sweet crude oil from ...

No. I had this plan to write up a post that gave details about this thing and explain both sides. Honestly, however, it wasn't what I wanted to say here.

People assume that this business about the pipeline is an isolated incident. There are a rather large group of people who are saying horrible things about the native peoples who are coming together to resist this. The insults range from 'buffalo jockey' to even more offensive things that I will not sully my blog with. The argument that this pipeline is a non-issue is equally offensive.

This is not just about the pipeline.

This is about cultural genocide that has been ongoing for generations. The native peoples of North America lost approximately 90% of their pre-colonial era population due to this business. They have been denied the right to live upon their lands, corralled into reservations that are too small to sustain them and kept in a state that could be described as ghettos, if anyone was bold enough to look at it directly. There was generations of children forcibly removed from their homes and 'reeducated' in schools where they were punished for speaking their native languages, engaging in their native cultural practices, and forced to take up the culture of their oppressors under the threat of physical, psychological, and legal punishment. And the people who put these poor kidnapped children through this barbarism have been upheld as taking care of the 'white man's burden' as though they were somehow helping these people.

This is about how the concept of 'manifest destiny' and how Christians have more rights to the land then the people who lived there for countless generations before do. This is as much of a battle as Wounded Knee and Little Bighorn. This is not just a case of private citizens having their rights plowed under. It is far more egregious than that. It is a continued effort to take the native peoples and marginalize them until they functionally are erased from the map. Who needs small pox blankets for germ warfare when you can poison their water supply with impunity?

Some people have said that violence against the people at Standing Rock is the answer. Unfortunately, they perpetuate the idea that the villains are the native peoples and their supporters. They are the victims here. Not the company that can afford to have a bit of spray paint washed off their bulldozers. Not the local law enforcement who confiscated the drinking water for the encampment under false pretenses with out any recrimination for doing so.

The native peoples are sovereign nations. They have been abused. They have been maligned and denigrated. And they are not going to remain silent anymore. All of you hoity toity people who want to claim that you are believers in Christ's lesson, you better put your money where your mouth is. Step up and help these people. Christ taught that you were to care for the people who were under subjugation and love them as if they were your Lord. Start walking your faith. Maybe you can make some inroads on paying off the blood debt you owe them for your part in their oppression.

For my part, as an Earth-loving heathen, I'm going to pray. As I am sure many of you will. I am also going to be writing letters to my government representatives. I'm going to be making a point of disseminating information for how to resist this kind of garbage that the people at Standing Rock have been suffering. And I am going to do what little I can for the betterment of the people where I am.

Because, like the people at Standing Rock, this land is in my bones. The water is in my blood. It is sacred. I will not be quiet as the sacred is profaned. I will not stand idle as people who are my kin in spirit and through various aspects of my multi-cultural lineage are abused.

And, as one of the men at Standing Rock noted, the last time the native people's came together like this, they stood against their oppressors. They won that battle handily. The battle may not be fought with rifles and arrows. But, they will win this one as well. I assure you. The very land favors them. And their kinsmen come from all points.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Fiction: Storming the Gates of Hell

He hit the ground and the world went dark. Eerie silence filled his ears. A curious sense of lightness filled him and he couldn't feel his body. He was fairly sure that he was dead. He found himself standing on a road.

A pile of weapons laid in the road. It was a staggering array. Ever the warrior, he knew the tools of his trade from most every era. He also knew that his most effective tool was himself. Thus, he left the guns, bombs, knives, and spears lay on the ground on that blood red path.

He walked down the road and saw a fork in it. One went to a path that angled upwards. The other moved over uneven ground, ever farther downward at an increasingly steep rate. He could hear cries of anguish at a distance from that downhill path. Offended wasn't exactly the right word, but he couldn't define his wrath at the people who had come from the rough world in deeper agony in death.

Thus, he turned his face towards the left hand path. The road was difficult. He was darkly amused by the perversity of this fact after all the years of his father telling him that the road to Hell was broad, smooth, and well trodden. He came around an outcropping of tumbled stone to find himself facing a massive wall.

An iron gate stood across the road. It did not stand open, as his father insisted it would when he came to it. He didn't care. He walked up to the gate and a figure emerged from the gatehouse. A human like form walked towards him. They towered over him, easily eight feet tall, if not nine. "Your place is not here, puny creature," the gatekeeper said.

The man looked up at the gatekeeper. He made a point of adjusting his footing to a more solid stance. "Move me," the man answered. The gatekeeper reached for him. The man grasped the gatekeeper's wrist and, with a grunt, threw the gatekeeper to the ground. The gatekeeper's eyes flickered with some emotion. The man didn't care if it was anger, humor, or annoyance. The gatekeeper rose to their feet and reached for the man again.

Again, the man grappled the gatekeeper and threw them down. The gatekeeper's mouth opened wide, revealing needle-like teeth as it made a sound that could be a laugh, if rending metal was laughter. The gatekeeper moved to knock the man off his feet and the man took hold of their arm. The man twisted it back into a hard lock, forcing the gatekeeper down to their knees.

The gatekeeper gave a cry that made the man's eyes water and his head feel like it was filled with a thousand angry wasps. Still, the man twisted the lock harder. The gatekeeper's cry grew louder, making the man's teeth ache. The man put the full force of his strength into twisting the gatekeeper's arm out of its socket. As he did so, figures came to the gate and watched.

The gatekeeper swore in some language the man did not know, one that was perhaps long forgotten or perhaps yet to be born. And then the gatekeeper's voice turned into a hoarse, raw scream of agony. The gatekeeper's shoulder deformed as the arm popped out of the socket and continued to move in unnatural ways. The gatekeeper wrenched itself away from him, wailing. As it did so, a noise like cords snapping came.

It was now that the man lifted his right foot. He put his boot hard on the gatekeeper's side and pushed. The gatekeeper's screams of pain did not manage to cover the awful, wet tearing noise as the arm separated from its shoulder. The gatekeeper crawled away from the man with a look of terror. Most men fell before them effortlessly. But this man not only withstood the gatekeeper's assaults but thrown them aside. And now, he had managed something not accomplished in over a millennia.

Somewhere within the damned halls of the citadel, Grendel shuddered. The wound of his right side began to weep fresh gore as pain wracked him. His mother looked over at the injury in horror. Another had come. Another had bested one of their number. She silently hoped that the gory icicle that had torn her life from her breast was not reforged, unsure where she may be banished to if she was slain again in this cold place.

The man standing at the gate raised the gatekeeper's bloody arm over his head. "Release the nonbelievers, the innocent, and unbaptized," he bellowed to the throng looking at him, "I will leave you in peace. Fail and I will release them." At his cries, many of the shades looked between themselves in confusion and awe. A disturbance came at the back of the crowd.

Grendel and his mother walked at the heels of their liege lord. The throng parted. Some moved away with reverence for the one who passed among them. Others did so with dread. Still, they stepped aside and according the man with slender build, dark hair, and fey beauty the honors due to him as ruler of that realm. When he came to the gate, he looked at the man who had come.

It was as though looking in a mirror. The warrior who upheld the arm he tore off of the gatekeeper aloft as a trophy and a warning looked identical to the one who ruled the cold halls. The prince of the domain turned. He said quietly, "Open the gate. Let him pass."

As the great iron gate opened, the arm burst into flame and became a torch. The victims of technical damnation timidly stepped towards their liberation. As they did so, Lucifer walked into Hell, bearing the illumination that was stolen away from them so long ago and the prince who had preceded him faded away like a shadow before that light.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Musical inspiration from Au4: Just Hang on Beautiful One (off of the album And Down Goes the Sky)

Yep, there is a homage to Beowulf. It's all I can come up with right now. Long, tiring day.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Flash Fiction: untitled

"Oh ye of so little faith," the voice said with a tone of disappointment.

She closed her eyes and struggled to breathe. Her head throbbed and had a measure of dizziness. She was fairly sure that the blow had given her a mild concussion. Waves of nausea came and went as the fighter worked to gather her strength. Her body hurt so much that it seemed to be nothing but a mass of pain.

Laying on the concrete, the fighter was tempted to just let herself sink into unconsciousness. Her opponent drew back a foot to kick her again. Acting on instinct, she rolled away as the foot came towards her head. She pushed up onto her hands and knees. The man before her moved to punch her in the head again.

She twisted, grabbing hold of his wrist and pulling him off his feet with the sudden force of her motion. As he hit the ground, she wrapped her legs around his chest. Her fists fell on his head with enough force to make the big man cry out in pain. He tried to knock her off of him but she continued to hold on and strike at his face. Somehow, he managed to maneuver himself so that she was pressed down to the ground beneath him.

His large hands gripped her around the throat. Her right hand struck his throat. As she closed her fist, her nails bit into his flesh and her fingers wrapped partially around his coratid artery. His eyes went wide a heartbeat before she pulled with all the strength she could muster. He almost screamed as she ripped his throat open. He collapsed as she pushed him aside, his hands flailing to stem the spray of bright red blood.

She made her way to her feet. Though she swayed, she began to walk towards the ladder out of the pit. Above her, stunned silence reigned. The voice that spoke to her on the edge of unconsciousness seemed to echo in the silence. "Stand," it said, though no one else could hear it. She stumbled and the world swam before her. Still, she pushed herself forward. She reached the ladder and gripped it hard with her blood slicked hand. People above her moved away from the ladder as the master of ceremonies walked to it.

He looked down at her. He was the image of genteel sophistication. His dove grey suit was spotless. An ice blue eye peered down at her, its mate lost in some conflict that the man never spoke of. His expression was one of approval. "Bring her up," he said to no one in particular before turning and walking away. Her knees were growing weak as her vision began to go grey. A person began climbing down. She watched them. Hands slipped under her arms and bore her up as the extent of her injuries caught up with her.

"You're the first one to survive," the person supporting her said as another lowered a backboard.

"I don't die," she said as unconsciousness claimed her.

~*~*~*~*~*~

I don't feel pleased with this. But whatever, I wrote something.