Fire In the Gray

This week is unusual for a few reasons. 

One, I’m late with my fiction post. Okay, so that’s happened before, but never this late and never for this reason. I had a migraine. It was my first, and it was not fun. It was most likely a result of the combination of having been sick, allergies, and more than my fair share of stress.

Prior to Friday, I had an academic understanding of what a migraine is. Basically, a really, really bad headache. That descriptions falls far short. It’s hell. Anything that makes you feel like your life would be better if you didn’t have a head is bad.

I couldn’t tolerate looking at a computer screen on Friday, so I didn’t bother trying. Most of the day was spend sleeping, which was about the only thing that made me not want to seek out the Red Queen. Saturday and Sunday were better, though I didn’t feel completely myself just yet. Apparently migraines don’t go down without a fight. Even after the pain subsides, you feel exhausted and mentally fuzzy. Oh, what fun.

But on Saturday, for God only knows what reason, I decide to write about the experience. A poem, no less. I shit you not. It’s right below. I swear.

I don’t write a lot of poems these days, and I wasn’t at my sharpest on Saturday, so I can’t promise literary gold. (Hell, I never promise that. Anyone who does is almost certainly a hack.) But whether good or bad by the Pritchard scale, I can assure you this particular poem is authentic. I wrote it while the feeling was very fresh. Make of it what you will.

Here’s the prompt, once again from The Prediction:

100 words maximum, excluding the title, of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above (‘buckle’, ‘deficit’, and ‘purple’) in the genres of horror*, fantasy or science fiction.

fire in the gray

I buckled.
Overdrawn, my mental account showed a
the likes of which left me reeling.

The pain came.

Like waves breaking on an icy shore,
like stars colliding,
imploding into themselves.
Like all the years, their weight, their worry,
compressed into one throbbing
purple mass
pushing the boundaries of my skull.

The pain wanted out.

For my part
I would have set it free,
but my head and heart held it,
fire in the gray,
a fierce, smoldering blaze
overtaking all other thoughts.

How I burned,
stoked in a heat
wrought of my own lingering unease.

*I dare you to argue that a migraine isn’t horror. Go on. See what happens.