Vol. 1, Branded Souls, Chapter 1 : The Dragon (Conclusion)

To read the beginning of Chapter 1, The Dragon, click here, (Part 1)

To read the previous section in chapter 1, The Dragon, click here. (Part 4)


 

…The will of the elements was a collective thing and the way he asked for their assistance could be described as democracy; all elements had their own, “free will“. In his meditation, he had to present a persuasive case with the world around him for protection or support. But it wasn’t a case of eloquence in speech it was a discipline of will. To enter this mode, he must slow down his thought and channel his thinking to the fractions of a second that make up that world. If he was too fatigued, or mentally indisposed his connection with the elements could fail and leave him exposed to a dire situation.

As he would make his case, he would garner the support from a few parts of the natural. They would unify to grant what request he asked. When these natural elements felt inclined, Hart would be granted and thus given the aforementioned ability of, for example, balancing himself atop a long stem of wheat, the most petite of flowers, a light zephyr or the wisps of clouds.

Hart breathed through his nostrils, filling his lungs, than exhaling a gust from his mouth that rippled though the air around him. Hart held a cache of rare and valuable tokens and baubles of the psyche for Nature was his greatest teacher and in this respect he was forever a humbled student.

Indeed, he claimed a godly mastery and it is true he did tower over men with what he possessed. “It’s easy enough for me.” He clicked his tongue and thought about those teenagers who would turn into bones and dust in a coffin, his lesson and their future was but the glimmer of dew in the morning before his first cup of coffee.

He smiled at what he was given but shook his head- inside Hart wished to expire like the rest. He didn’t want to feel any more pain, emotional, physical or likewise. He walked back down to where he was seated before but he noticed a glinting aluminum can that was left behind.

It was unnatural and it strained his concentration. He knelt down to pick it up, plucking it from the broken flowerbed then crushing it in his hands, he tossed it effortlessly into his open rucksack. By the freshly painted bench he sat. He pulled a pen from his breast pocket and a pad of yellow paper and thought about that setting so long ago. He began to recreate a setting made of prose:

“Lo, there is a country meadow where broad acreage holds in its clutches sweeping fields of golden barley. The wind, I do recall, is sweet and its hushed melody caresses the summer’s day. Mother Nature exhales a deep, contented sigh and the fields undulate under her breath; the coarse wisps of grain brush against one another. When I listen closely, I hear a rhythmic harmony.

I can hear her whispering, “I love you.”

Lo, the brook, how it babbles amongst her children, those smooth gray and red stones. Leaves are set adrift in these refreshing waters, too. They and I enjoy this gentle rocking that is the ebb and flow of life, of love. An infinite lazy stream follows a near endless border. Along its sandy banks, willows bend low, dipping themselves in this cool splendor. Then over yonder, where the brush does bathe, my feet do take me.

Lo, the butterfly, how it flits past to see what nectar the tiny bumblebee has discovered. A grasshopper sits, pausing in reflection on the petal of a noble violet. The smell of rich earth and fresh blossoms sensuously mingle. The aroma of daffodil and honeysuckle are most noticeable and seemingly cling together as friends do on a long stroll.

A sensation of ease and comfort greet those whom chance serenity here. The afternoon is quick to part though. I am left with a growing twilight, a melting sun and a color-seared sunset. At long last, the sun winks goodnight to head westward, past rolling hills, then further down into the valley on its ceaseless journey.

He chewed on the cap of his Bic. “This will do.” He thought.

Events of Foreign Sojourn, Collage

Events of Foreign Sojourn, Collage

If you liked this post, please consider donating, subscribing, following or just typing a few words on the comment section.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

 

Vol. 1, Branded Souls, Chapter 1: The Dragon (Pt. 4)

(Continued from part 3, read it here.)
(Read the chapter from the beginning, here.)

Marcus addressed Hart directly. He stood a few feet from him, He opened his mouth, “Look here mutha’fu….”

His words were cut short as a slice of apple whipped into his mouth and lodged itself. He began to gag then fell to his knees.

“Anyone know the Heimlich?” Hart asked the group in a cold sincerity. The group looked at each other incredulously and in disbelief.

Holy shit!” One shouted.

The other called out, “He’s choking, holmes!”

“You know, a great man died once from accepting food which he knew to be tainted. The idea was that it is more important to always accept what is given to you.” Hart was standing and pacing like a professor, giving some lecture to his students. Marcus was spluttering and turning purple on his knees- the other 3 were in a wide-eyed panic, flapping their arms and shouting at each other.

He’s gonna’ die, dude!” At that, the ones who expressed their concern at the beginning, fled in terror.

With his hands behind his back, Hart repeated the words of Buddha,

…Who gives, his virtues shall increase;

Who is self-curbed, no hatred bears;

Whoso is skilled in virtues, evil shuns…”

He paced between the stupefied teenagers who were trying to help their choking friend.

Hart said, “Ok, class dismissed,” he lifted Marcus to his feet. “Behold the miracle of science!” He shouted and raised his arms up.

He braced the kid then administered one deft back blow, as if he knew exactly where to exert pressure; it was somewhere between the shoulder blades but it was accurate and spot on. The apple slice dislodged itself and sailed through the air landing, thick with saliva, at the feet of the others.

A loud squelching noise could be heard coming from the pants of Marcus; fear and his extrication from death made him defecate. His body shook and tears welled up in his eyes. The others began gagging and cursing.

They reluctantly grabbed their humiliated, dazed and soiled friend who was slumped once more to the ground. Hoisting him up and throwing his arms over their shoulder, they hurried out of the park.

He knew beyond assumption that some combination of boredom, inexperience and unhappiness drove this hooliganism. “Truly and ultimately,” he thought, “…Why stoke these fires? Wouldn’t they just the same, find themselves unsatisfied at the end of it all?

He thought about the original motivation of that noisy troop and guessed it quite easily and surmised three things: the intrinsically fragile composition of popularity, how material gain makes foolish people want excessively and that vanity, public image or ego are grievous burdens. Hart removed himself from these vices as best as humanly possible. His was meditation and the peace of balance.

He had succeeded to make his life whole and fluid with his surroundings; those who passed tripped, stuttered and went fumbling as awkward mortals Prophetically, he scribbled on a notepad he removed from a pocket, “The flowers that bud with a surge of sugar and such vehemence in spring soon wither and give way to the mild browns and yellows of summer.

His hands went rummaging through his rucksack searching for something edible to satisfy his stomach while he idled on human truths provoked by the encounters of the day. “When all is said and done, after a volley of malicious remarks and after perhaps a physical altercation, no party is the better, right? Isn’t it true that violence only begets violence, Gandhi?”

He wasn’t quite convinced. His hand found what it was after. He had tossed the remainder of the apple into the bag after launching a piece of it as a projectile into the teenagers’ throat. “This chaffing tension,” he continued, “…Surely only serves to bolster an ego at the expense of the target but all things considered, what good does an overinflated ego do and what vampirism has occurred to swell such a thing?”

He heartily bit into the remainder of the apple, its juice dripped down his wrist and the acidity of the pulp made his mouth grin and tongue salivate the more.

Nothing, it’s all for naught.”

The previously mentioned Indian cultural icons inspired a natural progression in thinking. Hart considered the cheapness and baseness of all violence. Crunching and chewing away on this green fruit and moving his jaws stimulated his brain in some manual, mechanical way. He was still in the throes of pontification, “…That they give so much of themselves away in compromise… those who flare wildly also expose a soft underbelly.

He furrowed his brow in a sudden start of pity for all the shortcomings and ineptitude of his brothers and sisters. He had found himself among the wild fields, rolling hills, sweeping plains, forests, streams, rivers and the vast ocean. His questions were always answered and troubles always quelled when he looked to these marvels of the natural world. “The same nirvana could not be said to have reached most, Siddhartha” He was talking to ghosts that rose up from pages of philosophy he had memorized.

He thought about his true power, his unexposed side that was reserved for himself- his immortality and the profoundness of what he had learned form practice and discipline. He walked now to a roped-off section of the garden, hidden by tall, live oak trees. The grass was uncut and spotted with wild field flowers; it grew up to his knees.

At that moment, he decided to close his eyes. The sun was shining directly above him. He was asking favor of the air in a deep meditation to lift his body; he wished to use the petals of a flower as a pedestal.

He put one toe on a slender stalk then another till he balanced atop its colorful summit. (It was only two minute steps but in their exactness, almost infinite.) Hart defied gravity. His body for all purposes became not weightless like a floating feather or the seeds of dandelions in the breeze but supported by the elements around him.

Not a single drop of dew was disturbed. He balanced his entirety on a nary blade of grass and felt a breeze reserved for the heads of barley and wild long stems on his toes.

This skill came from countless lifetimes of experience; time and all that fill its precepts taught him a secret language that wasn’t available in any university: he pioneered the vastness of his mind and its emotion. These contemplations and reflections awarded him a mastery to manipulate the fabric of the natural world around him…

(To be continued)

Donate Button with Credit Cards

 

Middle East FS

Vol. 1, Branded Souls, Chapter 1: The Dragon (Pt. 4)

(Continued from part 3, read it here.)
(Read the chapter from the beginning, here.)

Marcus addressed Hart directly. He stood a few feet from him, He opened his mouth, “Look here mutha’fu….”

His words were cut short as a slice of apple whipped into his mouth and lodged itself. He began to gag then fell to his knees.

“Anyone know the Heimlich?” Hart asked the group in a cold sincerity. The group looked at each other incredulously and in disbelief.

Holy shit!” One shouted.

The other called out, “He’s choking, holmes!”

“You know, a great man died once from accepting food which he knew to be tainted. The idea was that it is more important to always accept what is given to you.” Hart was standing and pacing like a professor, giving some lecture to his students. Marcus was spluttering and turning purple on his knees- the other 3 were in a wide-eyed panic, flapping their arms and shouting at each other.

He’s gonna’ die, dude!” At that, the ones who expressed their concern at the beginning, fled in terror.

With his hands behind his back, Hart repeated the words of Buddha,

…Who gives, his virtues shall increase;

Who is self-curbed, no hatred bears;

Whoso is skilled in virtues, evil shuns…”

He paced between the stupefied teenagers who were trying to help their choking friend.

Hart said, “Ok, class dismissed,” he lifted Marcus to his feet. “Behold the miracle of science!” He shouted and raised his arms up.

He braced the kid then administered one deft back blow, as if he knew exactly where to exert pressure; it was somewhere between the shoulder blades but it was accurate and spot on. The apple slice dislodged itself and sailed through the air landing, thick with saliva, at the feet of the others.

A loud squelching noise could be heard coming from the pants of Marcus; fear and his extrication from death made him defecate. His body shook and tears welled up in his eyes. The others began gagging and cursing.

They reluctantly grabbed their humiliated, dazed and soiled friend who was slumped once more to the ground. Hoisting him up and throwing his arms over their shoulder, they hurried out of the park.

He knew beyond assumption that some combination of boredom, inexperience and unhappiness drove this hooliganism. “Truly and ultimately,” he thought, “…Why stoke these fires? Wouldn’t they just the same, find themselves unsatisfied at the end of it all?

He thought about the original motivation of that noisy troop and guessed it quite easily and surmised three things: the intrinsically fragile composition of popularity, how material gain makes foolish people want excessively and that vanity, public image or ego are grievous burdens. Hart removed himself from these vices as best as humanly possible. His was meditation and the peace of balance.

He had succeeded to make his life whole and fluid with his surroundings; those who passed tripped, stuttered and went fumbling as awkward mortals Prophetically, he scribbled on a notepad he removed from a pocket, “The flowers that bud with a surge of sugar and such vehemence in spring soon wither and give way to the mild browns and yellows of summer.

His hands went rummaging through his rucksack searching for something edible to satisfy his stomach while he idled on human truths provoked by the encounters of the day. “When all is said and done, after a volley of malicious remarks and after perhaps a physical altercation, no party is the better, right? Isn’t it true that violence only begets violence, Gandhi?”

He wasn’t quite convinced. His hand found what it was after. He had tossed the remainder of the apple into the bag after launching a piece of it as a projectile into the teenagers’ throat. “This chaffing tension,” he continued, “…Surely only serves to bolster an ego at the expense of the target but all things considered, what good does an overinflated ego do and what vampirism has occurred to swell such a thing?”

He heartily bit into the remainder of the apple, its juice dripped down his wrist and the acidity of the pulp made his mouth grin and tongue salivate the more.

Nothing, it’s all for naught.”

The previously mentioned Indian cultural icons inspired a natural progression in thinking. Hart considered the cheapness and baseness of all violence. Crunching and chewing away on this green fruit and moving his jaws stimulated his brain in some manual, mechanical way. He was still in the throes of pontification, “…That they give so much of themselves away in compromise… those who flare wildly also expose a soft underbelly.

He furrowed his brow in a sudden start of pity for all the shortcomings and ineptitude of his brothers and sisters. He had found himself among the wild fields, rolling hills, sweeping plains, forests, streams, rivers and the vast ocean. His questions were always answered and troubles always quelled when he looked to these marvels of the natural world. “The same nirvana could not be said to have reached most, Siddhartha” He was talking to ghosts that rose up from pages of philosophy he had memorized.

He thought about his true power, his unexposed side that was reserved for himself- his immortality and the profoundness of what he had learned form practice and discipline. He walked now to a roped-off section of the garden, hidden by tall, live oak trees. The grass was uncut and spotted with wild field flowers; it grew up to his knees.

At that moment, he decided to close his eyes. The sun was shining directly above him. He was asking favor of the air in a deep meditation to lift his body; he wished to use the petals of a flower as a pedestal.

He put one toe on a slender stalk then another till he balanced atop its colorful summit. (It was only two minute steps but in their exactness, almost infinite.) Hart defied gravity. His body for all purposes became not weightless like a floating feather or the seeds of dandelions in the breeze but supported by the elements around him.

Not a single drop of dew was disturbed. He balanced his entirety on a nary blade of grass and felt a breeze reserved for the heads of barley and wild long stems on his toes.

This skill came from countless lifetimes of experience; time and all that fill its precepts taught him a secret language that wasn’t available in any university: he pioneered the vastness of his mind and its emotion. These contemplations and reflections awarded him a mastery to manipulate the fabric of the natural world around him…

(To be continued)

Donate Button with Credit Cards

 

Middle East FS

Contact

For all queries related to the website, media, publishing or general you can reach me via email at:

aforeignsojourn@gmail.com


 

You may also reach me via this contact form:

Sincerely,

Joseph Foley, Proprietor.
Foreign Sojourn
Middle East FS

Contact

For all queries related to the website, media, publishing or general you can reach me via email at:

aforeignsojourn@gmail.com


 

You may also reach me via this contact form:

Sincerely,

Joseph Foley, Proprietor.
Foreign Sojourn
Middle East FS

Branded Souls Vol. 1: Face Lift- New Version Coming Soon!

Here’s a sneak peak of what’s new with, Branded Souls, the Awakening

  • Brand New Design
  • Content Edit

Branded Souls Cover PolishedTell me what you think!

Look forward to getting the final version out into the hands of the public!

Sincerely,

Joe Foley, proprietor of Foreign Sojourn

Joe Foley's Foreign Sojourn

[Untitled Western]- Chapter 1 (pt.1)

She whispered under her breath, “Where you been all night?” “…You stink like perfume, Hobbie.” She stated then finished her breath. Her eyes were glassy, auriferous and green. Her hair was smooth, wavy and full from being brushed and washed.

He caught her words in one ear and pulled the door closed behind him with a slam. He turned to her as he walked into his home. A loose board caught his boot heel and he stumbled forward. He couldn’t catch himself; instead, he threw himself onto the field green upholstered divan a few paces ahead. It lay backed against the wall. The wallpaper was a satin like design, with stripes and deep hues of red. “Just making sure the parlor…the patrons weren’t tearing up the place…you know, Margret. That’s where all the action is.” She looked at him as he adjusted his position and took off his hat. She stared into his eyes that were the color of crushed copper. “I mended these socks for ya.’” She looked away, blinked as if to disrupt a connection and then, her eyes fell to the socks in her hand.

“Here ya’ go, dear.” She tossed him the woolen pair. Hobbie put his hand up but they missed his clutch and it hit him harmlessly in the chest. “Dang it!” He muttered through grit teeth.

“Are you comin’ to bed anytime soon, or does duty pull you away from a goodnights rest once again?”

He tried to stand but couldn’t get to his feet. “Shit.

“Yeh, darlin’” “I’ll be right there…” She nodded briefly and blew out the tallow candle at the desk she was seated at. Her feet floated to the second floor of their house, making her way up the short flight of steps like a ghost passing through on the strides of wisps.

The cockcrow at the crack of dawn made Hobbie jump like a cat on a frying pan. He had rolled off the divan and onto the wooden planked floor during the course of the night. He thrust both hands on his holster and searched for his 38’s. His eyes were red and his chest heaved in and out as he jerked his head around. A familiar and disarming setting greeted him benignly. He relaxed his arms and rubbed his face. “Ok, pal- easy does it, you made it home last night.” His chin was stubbled with coarse auburn hair. A pair of freshly mended woolen socks lay on the ground. He sat down on the edge of the divan holding his head between his hands. “Christ almighty, there’s a damn train in my head.

The smell of bacon, roasting coffee and freshly burning pinewood from the oven coated the house in a morning reverie.

“Hobbie, hope that floor didn’t give you to much of a problem last night.” A soft and even voice floated in from the kitchen. Silence. “Have a seat and get some coffee in ya’, the town needs its sheriff fit for the day.”

He cleared his throat. “Yeh, Margret,” he called. “I’m gonna’ go out on the porch, could ya’ bring it out’ fer’ me?”

He stood and went to the toilet to wash his face. He tucked in his shirt, straightened his pants and holster, wet a comb and dragged it through his thick hair. He walked back out to the main room and picked his hat up from the divan and walked slowly, with straight legs to the porch.

Margret was already there, sipping coffee, using her two fine hands to grip the mug. She was seated at the little, rough-cut table on a stool. Her back leaned against the house. She looked out into the prairie and to the red bluffs that rose up from the arid landscape. The sun had just come up from the bluffs and cast a red and yellow towards them and the house, painting the scene angelic.

Hobbie looked towards the bluffs, too. He watched the rabbits dart from brush to brush in the morning cool. A kitty hawk screeched above looking for any lingering rodents or a fat lizard to sate its hunger.

Hobbie wrapped his hand around a fork and shoveled hot eggs and bacon into his mouth; bits of eggs stuck like snowflakes in his mustache. He pulled the coffee to his face and looked towards Margret. She hadn’t met his eyes this morning. He gulped the coffee and rested the mug on the table then rose. “You’re a good woman, Margret.” He leaned over the table and kissed her on the head. She didn’t move or blink or smile. She looked at him momentarily, for the first time that day then back towards the scrubland. She had noticed the socks were still on the floor by the divan.

He took a loaf of bread and cold meat wrapped in paper and wrapped in twine and placed it into his satchel. He saddled and mounted his red roan and met the morning with a breath full of bacon, steaming coffee. He wiped his face with a leather glove and held the rain with the other. The pony had strong legs; they were long and brown but red in sun. It’s veins and muscles flexed and shinned like a well-oiled machine dancing in motion. He galloped into town by a meandering path from the rear of his house. Margret watched him till he disappeared down the hill. She pulled a break-action 12-gauge from the rack in the bedroom and went to the yard. She loaded two brass-headed slugs into the chambers. Her eyes narrowed at a distance beyond the wooden fence. There was no physical target but her eyes focused and a linear point in front of her; it was just the emptiness of a blue, cloudless sky under the backdrop of a cracked and broken land, studded with yellows, browns and coarse greens.

Damn you, Hobbie! She screamed into the desert. She pulled the trigger of the weapon and ripped through the peace of the morning. The explosive crack made her shoulder give; it exhaled gray smoke. She broke the barrel and stuffed two more brass shells inside. She cried, “You no good piece of dirt!” She fired again. The butt of the gun dug into her shoulder, she ground her heels into the dirt. A cloud of dust whipped past her. She lowered the gun and brought it towards her side while wiping her forehead. Strands of onyx black had come undone from her kempt bun and matted itself to her brow. She brushed her blouse with her hand and turned towards the house. The shotgun glinted in the sun and her ruffled skirt blew in the breeze.

As his pony got to the main drag, there was little life to be seen on the dusty strip. The saloon of course was always open and the general store’s clerk, Jim Daugherty was pouring buckets of water on a puddle of vomit that loitered on the shop porch. The degenerate was still around who had issued the offence and just below the step is where he was laid up: “Oi, Hamish, git’ up.” The body did not rouse and the sun was beating down on his naked, ruddy face. Hobbie, dismounted from his saddle and walked forward with the reins clutched in his glove. He walked over and kicked the incapacitated man hard in the shoulder.

The man shook and gasped awake like a colt at birth. He yawned, “Ye’ loosy’ piece of shit, I’m up, I’m- stop bootherin’, me.” The casualty of a night’s debauchery rolled over onto his stomach, placed his hands in front of him and pushed himself up. He fell on to his backside, “Christ broother’, why’s it so bright?” What happen to the night?” He belched, then, gurgling, sick welled up into the man’s gullet. Jim yelled, “godammit, shove off Hamish, go back to somewhere and get away from my porch.” Hamish retched into the dirt then spit the rest of the dribbling mucus from his mouth.

“Ay, just tha’ time anywa’.” He said casually, wiping his mouth with a dirty palm. He braced himself on the wooden rail and lifted himself up. He swayed on his feet and staggered over to a trough of water for the animals. Leaning over to bring a draught to his cracked lips, his knees gave. He was bent too far forward and fell face first into the trough and slid, helplessly into its contents almost completely. His boots were raised up in the air. He spluttered, rolled over onto his back and pulled his head up. A chorus of laughter came from the apartments above. A young blonde girl in a tight bodice held her sides and laughed, the other prostitutes joined in.

Coughing Hamish answered, “Ay’ tis a good’ morning to y’all too!” He called out and doffed his water soaked hat cordially to the ladies on the balcony of the saloon. They were smoking and eating corn bread and fruit preserves.

“Hamish, you ass, git’ out that tub!” Hobbie called bringing Hamish out of his revery. The sheriff rolled his neck, rolled his shoulders and stamped his foot on the ground. The pony skittered but Hobbie held the rein tight. He secured the horse by tying a loose knot with the reins around the wooden rail. Hobbie grabbed Hamish from the trough with two hands; one on his belt and the other at his collar. Hamish was absently squirting water through his teeth, up into the air.

“Git!” He threw Hamish to the ground. “I said, go on, git’!” He kicked him hard in the buttock with the point of his steel-tipped leather boot.

Hamish bleated. Holding his butt cheek, he yowled like a pup that got his foot stepped on. “You’re an awful bastard!” Hamish called out, lopping down the street. He turned a corner then disappeared. Jim had just finished mopping and shook his head, “That brother of yers’ is gonna’ wake up dead one of these days, lord forbid, sheriff.”

“I know, Jim” He tipped his hat and looked around. The town was beginning to awaken at the commotion Hamish had stirred outside. A few Window shutters were opened and some men had stepped down on to the sheltered boardwalk to view the commotion. They smoked, wore bowler hats and chatted about nothing, or what the sheriff heard or cared for. “Fuggin’ bankers.” Hobbie spat and walked towards his little office down the block. He withdrew a canteen from his pocket and took a long emptying guzzle of fresh spring water. He wiped his lips and pulled once more to completely drain it. He tossed the canteen to the side of his desk and sat heavily in his chair.

He pulled his feet up onto the desk, took off his weather-beat straw hat and laid it down on the desk. He looked to the rack on the wall where hung a quality rancher hat. He never wore it. He took it as part of a bribe. That white Stetson on the wall, reminded Hobbie every day of his life of a crooked dollar and all the corruption in the world; It defiled the sanctity of his office, of his station but he made that pact. “This place is horseshit.” He pulled a little, sweet cigar from his desk drawer and lit it with a flint and spark. The blue smoke he exhaled, mingled with the breath of his own desperation. “I’ve wasted my life.”