First Snow Fall

“The first snow of the season!” Lexicon Grant crowed, wading through the 6 inch accumulation with glee. “I am SO READY for this!”

“Watch out,” Thessy (short for Thesaurus) Grant warned the hapless Lucas mere seconds before a wad of wet  slid down his cheek. “Your girlfriend lives for winter and snow ball fights.”

“Thanks,” Luke grimaced and swiped at his face with a mittened paw, “I thought her competitiveness was mostly left on the courts.”

“Nope,” Thessy grinned and side stepped calmly, once again allowing a large snow ball to hit Lucas in the face. “She holds the record for most snow balls fired of in a single minute.”

“How many is…” SPLAT. Another one.

“23.”

“Grea…” BLAM!

“Maybe you should move.”

“She likes a moving target,” he grumbled. “Good thing she’s cute.”

“I heard that!” Lexi taunted, “Just wait until we teach you paint snowball laser tag.”

“I miss summer.”

ClickLock

The artificial light glinted off of broken ceramic jars and shiny green jellybeans as the gremlin cackled and stuffed his face with jellybeans in the corner, his bumpy head and fuzzy ears almost disappearing in the mound of candy.

In the room’s center, kneeling amid the rubble and chaos, the poor shop boy shivered and clutched a small wooden chest on which a broken lock testified to the earlier happenings of the day.

“BOY! I left you in charge for twenty minutes and the shop is ruined! What happened?” Uncle Sal came barreling in the dangling glass door, barely avoiding being hit as the precariously hinged pieces finished separating. “OH MY EYE! I TOLD YOU NOT TO TOUCH THAT THING! Why would you unlock the box??”

“I…I…” Jeremy could do nothing but babble and point to the thing in the corner, still gobbling up green jellybeans and glass together.

“Yes, he’s a Gremlin. Useless boy.” Uncle Sal kicked debris out of his way as he walked over to the offending area, “ClickLock!” He announced to the gremlin (At least that’s what it sounded like to Jeremy) “It is good to see you my old friend!”

“And I you,” The Gremlin (ClickLock?), said in perfect English, “Though I wish that this were not how we met again!”

“No, I suppose we won’t get much time to catch up,” Uncle Sal sighed and glared at Jeremy once again, “I’m sorry, I thought I had explained the importance of that box to my nephew, but he’s a dunderhead.”

“IT WASN’T ME!” Jeremy finally came to himself enough to tire of his uncle’s accusations. “There was a pair of oddly dressed men, one super tall and one very short, that came in here in capes and ball caps. The tall one spun around the room for a minute with a fish locator, pointed at the secret wall, and crowed like raven or something. Then the short one shot a laser at the wall, pulled the box through, popped the lid, and ran off with whatever was inside…then your little scaly friend there (ClickLock? I DON’T KNOW HIS NAME!) Came through and they had a firefight at the door. I don’t remember much after that, someone hit me with the box and I just sort of sat there until now.”

“That’s the most he’s moved in an hour,” ClickLock confided to Sal, “And he’s right, about the firefight at least. But now we have to go find those mooks who took our genie.”

“A GENIE?” Jeremy groaned, “I must be sleeping.”

“Nope,” Uncle Sal grinned, “You’re Driving!”

Don’t Look

“Why are you hyperventilating? Why is he hyperventilating?” Shary turned an accusing glare on Bill, her little brother Chris’s best friend.

“Whoa Nelly,” Bill held both hands up in surrender, “I just got here myself sis.”

“Likely story,” Shary kept on grumbling to herself and Bill ignored her happily, the two had developed this routine over two decades of begrudging friendship and neither paid much attention any more.

“Don’t look,” Chris suddenly gasped as he reached out to clutch the sweater clad arm of his older sister. “I should have never looked!”

“Looked where, Bolt?” Bill, the ‘nut’ to Chris’s ‘bolt’ held tightly to his friend’s hand and glancing around nervously. “Did you see something bad buddy? Should we call for help.”

“There is no help,” Chris rasped out, beginning to gasp and groan for air once more. “Nothing can be unseen. Don’t look! DON’T LOOK! Promise me Shar.”

“I can’t promise until I know where you looked,” Shary pointed out a little testily.

“The house,” Chris pointed shakily, though no one had needed to ask which house he meant. THE HOUSE had been abandoned since they were kids, the last people to live there having been Bill’s great aunt Gertrude and her caretaker. But the boys and Shary had played and explored there throughout the years, even spending a recent rain soaked afternoon tightly embroiled in one of the many storage rooms as they searched through old storage chests and giggled at Gertrude’s eccentric collections.

“What could you have possibly seen in there?” Shary scoffed, “We’ve been through that place a dozen times this year alone.”

“Can’t tell. Don’t look through the key hole!” Chris’s eyes rolled back into his head as he collapsed, ashen faced, to the damp grass of his sister’s freshly mown lawn.

Glancing between his fallen body and the decrepit, abandoned old mansion down the street, Shary and Bill reverted to their childhood selves almost immediately.

“Race you!” No telling which one said it as they both took off down the street…no telling who got there first or what, exactly, drove them both to the left side of that faded mauve exterior. There’s not even any way to tell who, or what, they may have seen through that old fashioned key hole in the door no one had ever noticed before. No way because, you see, no one has heard them speak since that moment.

Wait, I take that back, Shary is saying something now…

“Don’t look!”

The Storm

I am once again sorry for the Short Story Sunday delay…I do have excuses (as always!)…my daughter’s 2nd birthday was this weekend, my brother (best college friend) brought his girlfriend to meet us (First girl we’ve met in about a decade or so…they got engaged the day after they left here), I fed the church family lunch on Sunday in honor of Monkey’s birthday, and I’ve been trying to get the classroom organized after the first week of classes found me woefully unprepared and completely lacking in any organization that I thought I might have…however; none of these things are a good excuse. I will try harder this coming week to have the story up on the day I have promised to have it up!

In fact, I hope to be able to actually post blog posts throughout the week starting this week, with this post! (Well, with the last post but you know what I mean 😀 )

 

Ok, enough talk from me. I hope that you enjoy today’s edition of (Late) Short Story Sunday!

 

The Storm:

This heat is like a second skin that I can’t shake off. Even with the fan blowing canned air in my direction, the slick of burning salt doesn’t go away…I don’t know what is going to happen to me…

Annabelle wearily sat back and rubbed her eyes, only then realizing that the whooshing in her ears was from a torrential downpour parading through her open windows and streaking the green walls gray. Sighing heavily at her own forgetfulness, the authoress forced stiffened muscles from her comfy desk chair and went to close the 5 windows that made up her amazing ‘tower bay’ wall.

The view was amazing from her third story oasis, crashing waves on melting sand framed by sharp cuts of light in the sky. The perfect night for writing a thrilling mystery was unfolding around her…and all Anna wanted to do was anything else at all.

Her heroine was in trouble, deep trouble that wouldn’t end well for anyone involved at this point, and Anna had no idea how to bring her out of this unscathed..or at least alive to finish out the book. She had been sitting at the keyboard for hours, immersed in writing for only the first 30 minutes. The rest of her time had been caught in re-reading and tweaking whatever she came across as her subconscious crowded out anything but the most technical of thoughts. At this rate, the entire first half of the book would be revised and edited to perfection before the second half was ever drafted the first time.

Staring out the window despondently, Anna jumped and screamed when her phone pealed out the beginning to an old boy band song that she was embarrassed to still rock out to. Laughing at her own frightened reflection in the rain stained glass, the writer quick stepped over to see what her best friend wanted at this late hour…

“I caught you!” Genevive crowed ecstatically, cackling into the phone as soon as Anna answered. “You have been locked in your tower all day again, Haven’t You!?”

“Well, yeah, I have to…”

“I KNEW IT!” GEN shouted, “Why don’t you come down from there and live a little, huh? Seriously, life goes on, the book will get finished when it gets finished, and really, it is much harder to find a decent dinner companion than it is to write a novel. Am I right?”

“No,” Anna sighed and suppressed the urge to lecture her friend yet again. Gen wasn’t really that much of a ditz. She wasn’t even really that self-involved. What she was, though, was a an out going people person who was working at her dream job as a high powered middle-exec for some fashion company somewhere. Anna wasn’t even exactly sure what Genevive’s job was, but she worked great hours in even better clothes. People like Gen could never understand why people like Anna stayed inside and scribbled all day.

“I don’t know Gen,” Anna tuned back in to hear her friend begging for a night out. “Why don’t you call one of those numbers you’ve got hidden in the little purple book? Hmm? I have deadlines you know.”

“You need to eat and I know how you shop when you’re working,” Gen countered, honking the horn to prove that she had, indeed, just pulled up outside. Her little sporty two-door hybrid hadn’t even made a dent in the gloom surrounding Annabelle’s house.

“If I didn’t love you…” Anna began

“You’de kill me, I know,” Gen sighed along with her friend. “Now hurry up before they give our reservation to some group of college imbeciles!”

“You got a reservation? Nevermind,” Anna ran down the stairs, grabbed her good scarf and ratty umbrella, and raced through the rain, stopping with her hand on the door handle. It had just hit her, what had to happen next in her story. It was right there, layer out in technicolor brilliance like a certain golden toned stone walkway of yore.

Turning bright eyes toward her house, Anna was frightened once again by her dearest friend as Genevive rolled down the window, pointed at a notebook and pen set, and glared so ferociously that Anna quickly gave in. Sliding in to the seat, Anna snatched at the colored pens and novelty notebook as if it were a lifeline in the storm. And you know, perhaps it was….

Free Form Fun

Dragons and pumpkins make me happy. The woosh clank bang of swift fingers and sticky keys excites me. the freedom of words and the permanence of paper put together in an indelible way, like the unseen fingerprints on my heart suddenly becoming a tattoo. Some days I can’t possibly stand another second of the ripping, searing pain from the tat gun, most days I couldn’t survive without it right there, my personal colorful needle to the skin of my universe.

Words are an addiction, like ink, and like the fresh tattoo the stories I write are never far from my surface. Aliphonsore is always in the back of my mind, reminding me that his story is not finished and, like an addict, I respond by going back. But one more word is the best addiction to have. It costs nothing for me to write this little free prose page…unlike the tat of Al curled up in the trailing vines of a pumpkin that I wanted to get. That beauty would cost me more than I’m worth just now

The Legend of the Castillian Dragons:

In the year 1277, during the civil war for his throne, King Alfonso X of Castile located a secret room in his home. In this secret room was a staircase, at the bottom of the staircase a tunnel. The tunnel wound deep underground, the air cool and musty as secrets. The cool air and winding tunnel took him to a large, well-fortified, and long forgotten vault carrying the secret symbol of a monarch.

Recognizing that symbol as his grandfather’s emblem, Alfonso excitedly pulled an old and rusty key from deep in his robes. The worn and discolored rope that dangled from the key was warm against the king’s palm and seemed to tingle with an excitement to match his own as he wrestled the rusty skeleton key into the rustier lock. IT FIT! The tumblers moved with a quiet sigh, much more easily than he had anticipated. Suddenly a fear of the unknown began to creep up on him, the tingling from the doorknob intensifying to cause his entire body to shake.

What could possibly need to have been hidden in such a manner??

With a mighty groan from both the king and the door, the vault was revealed. Light emanated from the back corner of the room, something was glowing. That glow drew King Alfonso X through the doorway and, as if by magic, torches whooshed to life across the walls on either side of him. The two torches at the corners then each slowly moved down in an arc and touched the liquid that was waiting in the previously unseen troughs that lined the other walls of the room. Flames leapt up to reveal what had been kept hidden for so long; treasures from various histories crowded the tables and rugs, a throne with rusty streaks on the back rest leaned against a wardrobe filled to overflowing with tapestries that Alfonso could not remember having ever seen before. He didn’t spend much time on the wonders around him, however. The glowing statue in the far corner drew him in and left little room for other curiosities.

As he neared the corner Alfonso realized that this was not just a statue. No, this was masterpiece of massive interweaving parts. Two beings, two dragons, twined together as if attempting to protect one another from harm’s way. The orange tinged glow that had drawn the king near was coming from the more feminine of the statues, her features seeming to be blurred in a warm moist fog that was wrapping around the couple.

Entranced, Alfonso spent hours sitting in the old throne and staring at the statues as the mist and fog thickened and boiled across the floor toward him, only to disappear moments later and begin the journey all over again.

Alfonso would sneak away at every chance to visit this secret vault. Occasionally he would bring bits of plunder up to his wife and children, or as present to a political visitor, and pass them off as things he had stored from king’s who went before him.

Life, as is usual, continued on and Alfonso began to use the vault as an escape from pressures as his eldest son passed away and his new heir was left to fight for the legacy. During the Civil War that followed, Alfonso shared his secret with his favored son and the two devised plans and strategies while sitting in the cool of a hidden room. Their plans failed, however, and King Alfonso X of Castile and Leon passed away in the year 1284 leaving behind a soon-to-be-forgotten hidden vault, a key to pass down through his son’s line, and an heir that was not his chosen.

. “No mention of the vault or the stone dragons was seen or heard for over two hundred years.”

Then, Charles I became interested in a family heirloom that didn’t seem to be worth anything but was prized highly in his legacy. An old rusty skeleton key that had no door to open. 

Through his convoluted family tree, as all monarchy family trees are, Charles was passed down both the title of King of Castile and an old rusted key that’s known history was that it was said to have been handed down for hundreds of years. Eventually reaching a dead end as he researched the key’s heritage, Charles journeyed to the castle in Seville in search of answers.

Every door was tested, every room searched, and still no home for the key was found. After days of searching Charles became despondent, fearful that he would never learn the secrets the key held. Preparing to leave the castle and return to his usual home in Spain.

Dejectedly yanking his own clothing out of the wardrobe without waiting for his valet, Charles noticed an etching in the upper corner of the back wall. Tracing it gingerly, he realized that the panel moved! When slid open it revealed another panel, this time the room’s wall that was slightly ajar though spider web covered. Gingerly using his pocket square to wipe away the worst of it, Charles shoved open that panel as well. Quickly grabbing a candle and a spare from his room, the Holy Roman Emperor descended the revealed stairs and traveled the musty tunnel, several times almost turning back but prodding himself on with the thought of the key. The mystery had bugged him and he was KING not some frightened coward! King’s get answers.

At the end of the long and musty tunnel stood a door. Though forgotten and alone for centuries, the door had not wavered in its strength and the lock waited patiently for the next heir who would unite it with the key. Charles did just that.

With a mighty heave the door swung wide and, has had happened with his predecessors, when Charles walked into the vault torches and troughs lit to welcome him home. Ecstatic at his success and at the large piles of treasure awaiting him, Charles began to plunder the smaller goods, placing them into his pockets until the golden glow lured in to the corner of the dragons.

Dragons hold a major magic in all superstitious and legendary tales. They are the fire breathers, the knight eaters, and the treasure seekers. They are the wise, the warriors, and the wanted…and OH! Did King Charles the Wise WANT those wise warrior dragon! He yearned after them, he relished in the cool misty fog that slowly surrounded him in her glow. He wondered at the tinge of smoky scent that followed. He made his decision. Those would his plunder, the other treasures meant nothing if the dragon couple were not his. Charles had no way of knowing where they came from or how old they were, but he knew where they were going and that was enough for him.

Batting Around

I missed Short Story Sunday yesterday due to an extreme lack of story and extra not-feeling-good in both my daughter and I. We still don’t feel very well, but I did get a story started last night so I am plunging right ahead with it!

Batting Around

The world begins to roll on past me, pricks of pain shredding my skin. This dizzy insanity serves to once again remind me that I am made for a more sedentary lifestyle. This is not what I am meant for, this terrifying spin that leaves me spread thin and tangled on the floor. And does anyone ever ask if I’m ok? NO! They just roll me back up and throw me on top of the basket. Then it’s a perfunctory “bad kitty” and a tap on the nose for my persecutor. As if that will stop him from leaping over my brethren and tearing me apart as soon as the mistress has turned her back again.

I know I’m complaining about something that cannot be changed immediately, but several of my kin have been saved already. I watch them as the mistress chooses their bright hues and weaves them into her life…but I am just a muddy green and there is no need for my colors in her work, so I am left on the top of the stack, attacked daily by that mottled beast.

Wait! She has chosen me and loops my fragile body around her hook. She is making me into something special! I am a butterfly slowly emerging from my cocoon! What is this?? A CAT TOY?? NO! This can’t be right! PLEASE DON’T THROW ME BACK, I WAS GOOD YARN ONCE! A cat toy…I can’t believe my life.

(a beautiful hand spun green via:http://www.etsy.com/listing/120852730/sale-handspun-yarn-spring-awakening)

A Dragon Legend

“Grandmother,” Alexianne’s young voice floated across the large room on a yawn, “Will you tell us a story?”

Grandma Dragon, her head resting just inside the large “Family Den” that Sir Brandon Livingstone has built them, smiled softly at the her youngest grandchild, “Does everyone wish to have a story?”

Three dragon heads and seven human ones all lazily nodded their assent, each one in a daze of happily exhausted laziness.

So with her deep and soothing voice rounding out the words, in the way of grandmothers through the worlds and times, she began:

When the world of our ancestors was still very young, before the rift between the worlds of magic and mortal, the realms were filled with all types of fantastical creatures. You already know of the nymphs and naiads, fairies and, of course, the dragons (to name a few). But perhaps the sweetest and shyest of all mythological beasts were our own distant cousins, the Sea Dragons.

High on a misty mountain top, above a peaceful village, lived Harlan Sciathain (That is, Harlan of the Dark Wings). Now Harlan had lived on the mountain for as long as anyone could remember and was the village of Venscha’s friend and protector. He had never met another like him, not even his mother, for his egg had been a gift from Ayethni, this great dragon mother, whom the Creator had gifted with the care of such creatures.

One day, as Harlan sat keeping watch over the village below, a group of travelling peddlers came to town with their bright wagons and wares to sell. Among these travelers was a blind old storyteller and, as everyone likes a good story, each and every villager whether they were young old, rich, poor, or covered in scales gathered in the town meeting place to hear an adventure.

The bard did not disappoint, delivering a tale of great suspense and detailing the exploits of one family of dragons living to the east. As you can imagine, Harlan eagerly drank in every word. The following morning found him gone, having left his home to find a family.

To this day no one really knows what happened to Harlan of the Dark Wings during those travels. He never told a full accounting of any adventure he may have had along the way. What is known, however, is that after a voyage that lasted over a year in length, he returned to Venscha with a bride. Naphtala was a small and dainty dragon, the soft pink of her scales flushed like a sea shell, and the tinkle of her laughter like the lapping of gentle waves upon the shore, for she was a sea side dragon and had lived there with her family since birth.

 Soon after their return to Harlan’s village, Naphtala found herself expecting a child. The entire village began to prepare for a bouncing baby dragon, laying in extra supplies and making cute toys to be torn up upon the littlest protector’s arrival. In the course of the year, as is the way with our kind, the egg began to wiggle and wobble and squeak and so everyone gathered to await the newest member of the Sciathain family. What happened next, though, is so rare that no one could have predicted it. When the egg began to crack and pieces fell away to allow the new generation access to the world, three pairs of eyes were peering out at their parents.

Tumbling from the confines of their cramped egg first, Aithne rolled into view covered all over in scales the color of burning flames, earning her name immediately. Following soon after, though much more slowly than his sister, Glendower padded out into the world. Glen was covered in scales the color of softened sea glass, though that was not the first thing about him that people would notice. No, the first thing that people noticed about Glendower Sciathain was that he had a graceful neck, webbing between his claws, and he was growing what looked like leaves along his body.

Sometime within the chaos surrounding his brother’s arrival, Kenn quietly slid his way out the eggshell, his bright turquoise and deep green scales flashing in the sunlight. Kenn also sported webbed claws and a long, graceful neck, and he was growing what looked like seaweed along his scaling.

Though their parents and their village loved the triplets intensely, Naphtala fretted that something had gone wrong with her boys. While Aithne grew over the next few months, learning to duck, dodge, dive, and fly with ease, her brothers stayed smaller than average and found it more difficult to maneuver quickly. Finally, not understanding why two of her children looked so strange, and fearing for their health, Napthala convinced Harlan that they should once again desert their post as protectors in order to visit her family.

As they approached Naphtala’s family home, high on a cliff overlooking the vast ocean, the triplets caught their first view of the water. Following their mother’s joyous lead, the winglings swooped down the glide through the soft waters but only Naphtala and Aithne came back up to the air. Kenn and Glendower found that their webbed toes helped them maneuver in the water like they could never do in the air. Their odd ‘hair’ growths made perfect sense as they swam among the flora and fauna of the ocean floor, and though they could breathe quite well on land, the brothers had no problem under the waves.

Ecstatic in their newfound fun, the boys refused to leave the water, but followed their family to the shore below the Murdock family caverns. Seeing their grandchildren so easily swimming, Naphtala’s parents confessed to her that their family had come down from Seadans and Ocean Nymphs. Though it was a distant connection and no one had been called in generations, every so often a wingling would be born to live in the sea and protect its creatures.

Realizing that her sons were meant for a life in the water, Naphtala tearfully came to an understanding with her family. She and Harlan were needed in Venscha, and when the time was right Aithne would take over as the village protector, so the Murdocks would now be Kenn and Glen’s guardians. Promising to meet once a year at that exact shore, Naphtala and Harlan reluctantly kissed their sons goodbye and went on their way.

As the years passed on, Aithne, Glendower, and Kenn each found their own homes, their own mates, and had their own children, often spending all of their time in the deep waters far from shore. Such is the way of life. However, each year the ever growing family met on the shores of Murdoch cliff to celebrate the triumphs and mourn the losses of their time apart.

As happened to a lot of families, when the realms split apart some of the Sciathian and Murdock families were left wandering in the mortal oceans. Over the following years, Seadans and Sea Dragons thrived in Realta (the land of magics, whose name is translated Star) while finding it difficult to continue existing within the mortal realm. Eventually all but the smallest traces of the families were left here. Though you can still find a descendent or two, they are small and almost unrecognizable as proud members of the dragon family.

And that, children,” Grandmother Dragon paused to smile around the room, noting that only Alexianne and Joseph still had their eyes open, “Is how sea dragons came into existence. Now, close your eyes my little winglings, and dream of the ocean.”