ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the April 4, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from Siliconshaman and conversations with various readers.  It also fills the "surrender" square in my 2-1-17 Platonic card for the Valentines Bingo fest.  This poem belongs to the Berettaflies thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.  Once it's complete, "The Willingness to Surrender Ideas" ($411) will become available.

This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them.  The rate is $.50/line, so $5 will reveal 10 new lines, and so forth. There is a permanent donation button on my profile page, or you can contact me for other arrangements. You can also ask me about the number of lines per verse, if you want to fund a certain number of verses.
So far sponsors include: [livejournal.com profile] daisiesrockalot

684 lines, Buy It Now = $342
Amount donated = $20
Verses posted = 12 of 179

Amount remaining to fund fully = $322
Amount needed to fund next verse = $1.50
Amount needed to fund the verse after that = $1


WARNING: This poem contains controversial topics. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers.  Stylet turns himself in to Valor's Widow. This includes exposure to the elements, emotional shock, poor self-preservation, extreme self-blame, live berettaflies in a souped-up pet carrier, gentle handling of a supervillain, suspicion, hunger, impaired thought, reference to unintended genetic modification of puppies, Stylet crying, preliminary negotiations, surrendering proprietary information, and other angst.  If these are touchy topics for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.


The Inner Transition

[Week 4, Day 2]

Valor's Widow sat in the living room
of little lakeside cottage that she had
rented in Easy City, listening to the sound
of rain on boardwalk and wind in the rushes.

Balancing her tablet on her knee, she collated
today's notes on the berettaflies case.

Someone pounded on the door.

Wondering who would be out in
such a storm, Valor's Widow got up
and went to answer the door.

Stylet stood there, wearing a thin shirt
and a red-and-black backpack with
a plastic grocery bag over the top, but
no raincoat. Water ran in streams
from his shoulder-length hair to pool
on the smooth boards of the porch.

"Um, hi," he said. "I've come
to turn myself in." Then he sneezed.

"All right," Valor's Widow said as she
opened the door wider and beckoned him
inside. "Why come to me, though?
Why not go to the police?"

Stylet lifted his chin a fraction.
"I don't want to be tortured or killed,"
he said. "Everyone knows that you're fair.
I know nothing about the police."

Well, that  was alarming.
Valor's Widow wondered if Stylet
was thinking clearly, or if something had
shattered his sense of self-preservation
to point of making such limited stipulations.

"First, let's get you warm and dry," she said.
"Get some fresh clothes out of your backpack
and change into those. Then we can talk."

"I don't have any other clothes," Stylet said.
"Besides, it wasn't raining when I left.
I didn't expect to fall off the boardwalk
and land in the marsh, either."

No wonder he was muddy and
reeked of three-day-old fish.

* * *

Notes:

Valor's Widow -- Deirdre Braden has milk-pale skin and wavy auburn hair. Her eyes have changed from hazel to glas, sea-color lit with sorrow. She has a slender, delicate build. Superheroes and supervillains alike respect her and stand aside for her. They are coming to her more and more often for help resolving disputes or other problems. Deirdre lives in San Jose.
Origin: Deirdre was the wife of Captain Valor. When Haxxor planted a bomb in San Jose and took over Captain Valor's gizmotronic armor, Deidre activated a failsafe and destroyed the armor, killing both Captain Valor and Haxxor. The sacrifice changed her from an ordinary woman to a supernary hera.
Uniform: Deidre dresses all in black, in sober styles. Sometimes she wears a black veil too.
Qualities: Master (+6) Aura of Valor, Master (+6) Loyalty to Honor, Expert (+4) Love of Captain Valor, Expert (+4) Historian, Expert (+4) Leader, Expert (+4) Mediation, Good (+2) Compassionate, Good (+2) Contacts Among Soups, Good (+2) Forethought, Good (+2) Graceful
Poor (-2) Broken Heart
Motivation: To keep the peace and uphold the memory of Captain Valor.

Stylet (Silas Manson) -- He has pale skin and light gray eyes. His hair is straight, so dark auburn that it looks almost black, but the bottom few inches brighten to crimson. When he uses his superpowers, the red part lights up. He wears it at shoulder length. As a small boy, Silas enjoyed pulling the wings off of flies. As an adult, he often puts wings on instead, or modifies insects in other ways. He is a skilled gengineer, but he often puts it to malicious use. He thinks of himself as a bench artist, making live sculptures.
Origin: He has always liked playing with insects, is not picky about where he gets them, and is not careful about handling them. Most likely he got stung by something metagenic, or some combination of ordinary things added up to similar effects.
Uniform: Usually lab clothes, and street clothes when off duty.
Qualities: Master (+6) Pain Tolerance, Expert (+4) Supervillain Contacts, Good (+2) Attention to Detail, Good (+2) Fearless
Poor (-2) Safety Skills
Powers: Expert (+4) Super-gizmology: Gengineering, Good (+2) Toxin Resistance, Average (0) Radiance
Motivation: Bugs are fun.

* * *

"Surrender is the inner transition from resistance to acceptance, from no to yes."
-- Eckhart Tolle

See the rental cottages in Easy City; Valor's Widow has the white one, #9.  Here is the floor plan.  The living room has two linen chairs, a matching couch (not visible in this picture), and an old trunk used as a coffee table.  The dining room holds a wooden table, two chairs, and two benches plus a china cabinet. The cottage comes stocked with tableware for eight.  The kitchen has white cabinetry with a rustic sink.  The bathroom is decorated in pale blue and tan.  The master bedroom has a full-size bed with an antique ironwork frame facing two corner windows. The office-bedroom contains a wooden desk and rolling chair, a white easy chair, and a white loveseat that folds out into a twin bed.

When helping someone in a crisis, attend to physical needs first and then emotional ones.  Here is a list of questions and solutions for self-care that generalizes well to caring for someone else.  Know how to help a stranger or a friend in a crisis.


[To be continued ...]

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