Friday, August 31, 2012

Letting Go

Our little flash fiction project is over. I started late, but accomplished all thirty prompts. I started out just writing random ideas, but as the month progressed I focused more and more on the characters from my WIP. That's Work In Progress for those not up on the lingo. I only showed four of the characters from my WIP, and those who read even casually might be able to identify who these characters were based on. My niece figured one of them out without reading a single post. I just mentioned some of the character's traits and she knew who it was. Smart kid. Maybe I'll stick her in the book too.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


"Thank you all for coming! I don't think I've ever had a better birthday! Not just because all of you are here, but because all of you feel compelled to be here. Yes, I really said that. I know, it sounds egotistical. And, why shouldn't it? I have worked hard to ensure my assension to this position. I put up with so much when humans came to our planet. I tried to warn the leaders about them, but now I'm the leader. I've won. No more uncontrolled birth rates for the humans. No more supporting and teaching these humans our technology. In fact, we may even get as far as no more humans. It's been a long time coming, but luckily for me I live much longer than humans can even keep one of their 'civilizations' intact. Well, I may have had something to do with that too. Ah, thank you for the laughter. Yes, we shall gain our power and our planet back. I intend..."
Anthony collapsed. First, there was silence, then panic. Ara looked at AJ, eyebrows raised. A small head shake confirmed it wasn't him. Quickly she looked at the the crowd, searching for tells. None. Who had done it?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


"I do not want to be here."
"Yes, dear. You've mentioned that. But, we have to keep up appearances if we want to find out what Anthony is up to."
"Everyone here is so fake! It's one big masquerade. There are those who are only trying to kiss up to Anthony so they can be promoted. There are those who are only here so they won't be questioned tomorrow about their whereabouts, there are those who only here to undermine or sabotage him, and then there is us. What are we going to learn from all this insincerity?"
"AJ, he's my brother. I have to be here. You are my husband, so you have to be here. And, you never know what we might learn. People, even shifters, relax their guards a bit at parties."

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


I despise frogs. I have an aversion to all varieties of amphibians, particularly frogs and toads. My phobia of snakes is respected by most people, and the intense fear of spiders is not mocked too much. Probably because many people have similar feelings, just not as overpowering. Fear of frogs, however, does not get the respect it deserves.
At age 5, my father picked up and showed me a frog from our front yard. I tried to be brave, right up until it peed on him. My mom laughed and told him he would get warts. A week later I got the warts, not dad. Fifteen years after that I read a study saying warts were 90% psychological. A week later my warts were gone.
My son and daughter like to catch frogs by the Erie Canal. "Mom's Rule" is that they must stay outside and hands must be washed immediately after. The giggles and shushing should have alerted me, but even with some forewarning the frog on my shoulder was debilitating in the amount of fright it caused. I could not move, breath, scream, or even Ground Them For Life!
Half an hour later I could still feel the weight on my skin.

Monday, August 27, 2012


"If history has taught us anything..."
Blah, blah, blah. Humans and their "history." Their few thousand years were nothing to him. And humans, if they were to be of any worth at all, needed to learn their place in HIS history.
Anthony looked around, hoping to catch a glimps of Ara. He knew he shouldn't be here today, but it was the only place he was sure he could see his sister without her completely blowing up, and, perhaps, trying to blow him up.
There she was. She had just come on stage with the candidates. She looked beautiful, as usual, and Anthony knew if she would just extend her reach a little more she could be the candidate rather than support staff.
Now, if she would just look at him.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


"I feel like I'm seeing your home for the first time."
"You are, Duchess. You haven't been to visit us in several hundred years."
"No, I don't mean this house. I mean your HOME. Every house, shack, apartment, cave, hut, boat, inn, or dwelling of any kind can be lived in. You and Ara have a home because of the way it feels."
"Fair enough. How does ours feel different? What are you seeing?"
"I see that it has been child-proofed. It's just little things, and a visitor wouldn't notice unless looking for that specifically, but, I've moved in. I've got this height issue now since being turned into a cat, and if I want to look at something, it's usually up higher than expected. So, unless you are trying to keep me away from your things, I can see evidence of a secret."
AJ's color drained from his face. He opened and closed his mouth, only managing a brief, "eeh-urge," before closing his eyes and yelling, "Ara!"


"Where is she?"
"You've asked me that four times now. I'll point her out when she gets here. Enjoy the day! How often do we get time off? I feel like its been nothing but work, work, work since the humans came to this planet."
"What does she look like?"
"AJ! Calm down man! You act like you've never met a girl before."
"Sorry Anthony. I just have this feeling..." He stopped. At the top of the stair was a girl. The girl. She was framed by the archway leading inland and was, without a doubt, the most beautiful creature AJ had ever seen.
Her eyes were not the first thing AJ noticed. It wasn't until Anthony introduced them that he was able to really see them. They were turquoise blue, but it was more than just the color. The ocean around their island was blue and seemingly fathomless, but her eyes were bluer and deeper and AJ knew he would get lost in them faster than any ocean.

Friday, August 24, 2012

In the Woods

AJ took in his surroundings with a practiced eye. This clearing, this view were familiar, but he never took his safety for granted. Too many of Anthony's underlings knew where it was, and with so much competition to prove themselves and move up the ranks, an attack on even someone as powerful as he was not out of the realm of possibilities.
The wind bent the grasses, bowing them toward the west. A woodpecker's staccato search for insects vibrated through the air. Leaves whispered to each other. The undergrowth dampened any harshness, making the afternoon in the woods seem peaceful. Assuring himself he was alone, AJ started forward into the clearing, carefully picking his way around bunches of daisies.
A crackle of dead leaves. A sudden report from a breaking branch. AJ flattened himself to the ground. Not alone.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


When Duchess and AJ came into the house Ara was in her favorite room, the kitchen. AJ had been very serious when he reminded Duchess of how good Ara's cooking was. The reason it was beyond compare was because of how passionate Ara was about cooking, especially for those she loved.  
Ara turned, and seeing Duchess sitting gracefully on AJ's arm, put down the spoon she was stirring with and moved to them. She put her arms around Duchess carefully, so she could hug her without knocking her off her arm-perch. 
"Oh, Duchess, honey! I'm so sorry! What can I get you? Did AJ remember to feed you?"
"Thank you Ara. I'm as fine as can be expected. AJ did have a lot on his mind, but he managed to remember the food, though it isn't often that AJ forgets if there is food involved!"

On Holiday

"The last time we were here There was a war."
"Yes. I think the difference is obvious."
Ara laughed. "Did you honestly just say that? I use sarcasm, not you. Duchess uses sarcasm. You're forthright, honest, and, well, shall I go on?"
AJ laughed back. "I will admit that you are the master of sarcasm. I'm just relaxing. It hasn't happened for a while. What with Duchess, contending with Anthony, and keeping Rune a secret, I've been under a lot of stress. This holiday has really helped. I'm not sure I want to go back."
"Then we won't. It can be someone else's turn to fight for a while."
"We can't do that. We wouldn't do that. Besides, we still have Rune. Would you really turn her over to anyone else?"
"My daughter is mine to train. It's almost time, isn't it? I can tell"
"Yes. I can feel it too. We have to bring her back."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


The night shrugged past AJ as he sagged in the doorway, invading the empty house and insuring no comfort for him, even in this protected sanctuary. Without Ara as a life-force, filling everything she touched with spirit, the building sagged with indifference.
AJ lit a lamp, moved to the kitchen, where he stopped. Here, Ara had been most powerful. Here he could still feel vestiges of her magic. AJ smiled finally, breathing in those fragments of happiness. He allowed himself five whole minutes of peace before he blew out the lamp and invited the night to cover all traces of Ara. He wouldn't stay much longer either. Without her, only the forest held his heart.


"I'm planning to win."
"Yes, I expected you would."
"You won't try to stop me?"
"I have to try."
"But, why AJ?"
"Because, Duchess, I'm an elder. I follow rules. Especially rules I helped write."
"It's a stupid rule."
"It keeps humans safe. Our purpose would be moot if safety isn't built in during interactions. Would you go all the way to kill in this game of yours?"
"No, of course not. But they can't say the same. I say we should level the playing field."
"To do that we would have to also give humans razor teeth and claws, body armor beyond leather and steel, and wits that enhance a brain beyond the physical boundaries of the skull. In other words, you could kill them just leveling the playing field."
"You're twisting my words. I just mean... well, you know what I mean!"
"Duchess, you can't win because humans don't come back."
"It's a stupid rule."
"Stop playing the game."

Sunday, August 19, 2012


This post is a continuation of a challenge I've joined for August. Each day there is a picture and a prompt. I write 50-100 word response. Feel free to comment as I love the feedback!

Our dog is terrified of fireworks. In the past I have had dogs who were frightened of them, but this goes way beyond fright. She paces, whining, then runs to hide in the bathroom with every poppety-pop. She digs at the floor or crawls under my legs, but isn't content to stop there and begins the pacing cycle all over again. Thunderstorms are worse, maybe because they last longer. She starts the pacing and whining up to an hour before I even know a storm is coming. She dug a hole in our carpet one night, trying to hide from a thunderstorm while I slept through it. Her saddest terror was the day I popped my bubblegum. She avoided me the rest of the day. She's a shelter dog, so I have to wonder what happened before we loved her.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Wild At Heart

Some shifters never changed, or shifted. They enjoyed their human shapes too much. Others were exactly the opposite and rarely, if ever changed from their animal choice. AJ was somewhere in-between. He loved interacting with and helping humans, but he definitely had a wild side. Occasionally someone would catch him scratching his back against a door frame and ask jokingly if he was a bear. "Well, yes!" But, no one was serious. Except AJ.


I have a graveyard beyond my back fence. The residents of this graveyard have made a wild space in the midst of a wilder urban jungle. The murder of fat crows numbers in the hundreds, while the fat raccoons waddle between the headstones. The fat skunk's warning purfumes the air at least once daily and more often if the dogs are out at night. Fat squirrels fly from tree to tree, from branch to twig. Only the fluffiness of their tails distinguishes them from rats in my eyes. They've eaten through the locked plastic lid of our garbage can just to get the McDonald's french-fries. At first I thought the abundant insect life of a graveyard was why all the creatures are fat, but really, it's the squirrels fault.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Different World

Between was nowhere and everywhere. It was now and always. The Between Place was only available to shifters, and then only to very mature shifters. The ability to move between places and times was an incredibly intoxicating power and it took more personal power than any young or new shifter had accumulated yet. It was hard for immature shifters to understand how to move through the Between Place. They could not understand fully that they simply did not move from places or times, but that they had to stop Between first.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Anyone who came in the room could see that Ara loved books. They were everywhere, seemingly on every subject. Several seating options, a couch, a recliner, and an overstuffed club chair allowed for a variety of relaxation levels while reading. Ara was there now, curled on the couch, leaning on the arm with her legs tucked underneath as Duchess came padding in.
"Hey, yourself."
"I don't want to interrupt..."
"It's fine. I'm just at a chapter break."
"I wanted to talk to you about The Between Place."
A small, almost imperceptible twitch.
"I saw your portal holder. Why is it locked and placed up so high?"
Ara knew she should have moved that when Duchess moved in. She thought her personal library, nestled among her books would be safe.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


AJ and Ara had a child once. Before the dark time, before Anthony grew greedy, but after Duchess had left them. She would have loved this child, and more than once AJ found himself wondering if the child could have kept Duchess from the corruption. Ara assured him that no, Duchess was on her path before they planned the birth. It was the idea Ara had to surprise the family that had ultimately kept them all safe. When Anthony staged his coup, Ara stayed in hiding. Their child had not been taken from them out of fear of the prophecy. Anthony could re-educate as many children as he wanted. There would always be a few that were saved, and a few were all it would take to dethrone Anthony for a final time. AJ hoped he and Ara's secret was part of that.

Monday, August 13, 2012


AJ loved his forest. It really was his, but he didn't own it in the conventional sense of the word. It was his because he knew every tree by name. Two thousand years old himself, he had watched them grow from volunteer seedlings to mighty elders. He had watched nature uncover again the bedrock she had buried for millennia. Ancient Precambrian rock made him feel young. Warblers sang to him by day and loons at eventide. Streams to the newly named mighty Hudson and St. Lawrence were clean enough to see trout and bass clearly. Recently, tourists and hardy natives provided company when needed, while Sargent's "forever kept as wild forest land" gave him peace. AJ loved his forest.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Dorine knew that the celebration was in her honor. People were coming from out of state, perhaps a few from the north country. A large tent covered the cleanest part of the yard, upwind of the barn but not too far up the hill. People always worried about how difficult traversing spaces might be for her. Certainly she had new limitations, but not as daunting as careful souls expected them to be. Others would be celebrating her freedom tonight. They celebrated to show support. Dorine would celebrate with them, but not because of freedom. She would celebrate their enslavement that she had engineered by simply looking frail.


"Gwama, Gwama! I need dis canny!"
"You don't NEED the candy. You want the candy."
"But Gwama, I want it too!" Sweetheart, you only want it, not both. It's not a need. "I need dis canny. I need you to get it fo me. Pweeeeease?"
My dillemna is increasing with each moment. Teaching a two year old need vs. want is not working. I NEED to be a good grandma. But does the good grandma say "no" and face the 30 minuts of tears? Or does the good grandma buy the candy, keeping me in good graces so I can teach other lessons later. I'm pretty sure I need some candy too. It might help me think!


I always have a book. It can become an expensive habit, but as with most addictions I am unwilling to give it up. Now, it is my own budget I'm blowing. It doesn't feel like too long ago, my mother came home, thrilled with her garage sale find. $5.00 bought a box of 100 books! An entire summer covered with no long drives to the library, only to have to go again later the same week. How was this magical summer? I read them all, never telling my mother that the romances she had so astutely obtained were bodice ripping, chests heaving, inappropriate for a tween, Harlequins.

Friday, August 10, 2012


"What is frustrating to me is her inability to pay attention!"
This is the beginning of a familiar diatribe my sister subjects me to weekly.
"I mean, how much brain power does it take to remember simple directions to things that don't change?"
Speaking of things not changing..."You know Danielle, I wonder if the reason..."
"I put up with so much! You are so lucky to not have a sister-in-law like her."
Yes, Danielle. Its just unbelievable how lucky I am to have you.


Today I was a success. Today my daughter learned to make pizza. It's a simple dish, really, just bread, sauce, cheese, and a few accoutrements. Why, after twenty-one years does making pizza feel like a success? At twenty-six weeks the doctors said, she won't survive, but neither will you if she isn't born. She made them liars. She is a success. Every day for her is a success, and today she learned to make pizza. I don't do much in these daily struggles, but because she succeeds I feel the same.


I'm too busy to look up when Dorine calls my name. I'm too busy formulating my answer to listen properly to her question. I'm too busy dialing the ambulance to hold her hand. I'm too busy with admissions papers to check her wishes. I'm too busy calling relatives to talk to her myself. I'm too busy hating the hospital cafeteria to notice what she doesn't eat. I'm too busy organizing sleeping arrangements to see if she slept well. I'm too busy to say good-bye just so she won't go. Too busy, too late.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


"Don't stop believing, hold on to that feeling!" Any journey, physical or mental starts with a single step. Journeys are not as much about the destination as we think. I journey on a rocky path in life. Stones cause me to stumble and foliage reaches out to hold me back. I've been told I chose this path, and I know it is true. Only I could have conceived such convoluted ways to learn life's lessons. I know where my journey ends but not when. I know why I am on this journey but not the how of every situation. I just have to "keep on believing!"


If I breath in the pink and lavender colors around me they will fill up the space that might have had charcoal, bile, and black. Breath the dark colors out. Let the light colors in. Enclose yourself inside and out with yellows, pinks, lavenders, and baby blue. Do you know what happens when these colors are nutured? I do. When everything is right my world is filled with gold, deep purple, royal purple, burgundy, red, and royal blue. My very own coat of many colors that only I can see.

A Furry Friend

Cleopatra, queen of all she surveys, has never forgotten Egypt and the glory.
Duchess is bossier than her title. She forgets she came in third.
Marie Antoinette was such a tease. Her unfortunate demise can be blamed on that.
Baste lounges without a care. She likes the moving air from the fan during this heat. Astarte seeks the highest ground of them all. Sometimes only the top of the refrigerator will do.
Mau wants what he wants. No one should take hip catnip mouse away without fear for life and limb.
Sinh patters gracefully on pure white paws, ready and willing to trip unwary stairclimbers.
Hurakan thunders through the house when seeking attention, but stalks as quietly and gracefully as the rest. Mice beware.


I stand, looking relaxed, up against the doorframe. Toby has not seen me yet, or at least, not acknowledged me yet, but I want him to know he has not disturbed me with his summons. I breath deeply, counting to five as my tai chi instructor has taught me. Exhale, feeling the negative exit. Finally, Toby asks me to take a seat. "You know why you are here, I expect." he says. I think I'll make him work for it. "No. I was working on some grades. I need to finish them. What's up?" Toby squirms. He isn't relaxed and that makes keeping my nonchalance easy. Toby opens a drawer, looks through some papers, closes it, opens another, and takes out my check. It is my severance pay. Toby can't relax because he swore to me just last week that I wasn't getting fired. I'm relaxed because I already have a new job starting Monday. I didn't believe him and now I can breath.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Thinking is the process by which we attempt to use brain function to understand the world around us. I've been thinking that life keeps giving me lessons to learn. They all seem to be the same lesson, over and over. My thoughts on this are 1) I didn't learn it the first time. Or the second, third, fourth... I also think that I may be missing the point. These lessons feel the same, but perhaps I need to find something new in each of them. Except age. Obviously my age has changed, so it's harder to deal with physical challenges, but mental trials are worse, no matter the age. I think I will think some more on this subject.


For BlogFlash2012: 30 days, 30 prompts, 30 posts Day 7 Sunsets For some people sunsets are endings. They end perfect days with cool breezes and happy thoughts. They end days that were almost impossible to get through, but whatever the trial, perseverance seems to have succeeded. They end days that are wasted in worry, or hate. They end days of love and devotion. I think sunsets may be more of a beginning. Not just the beginning of the night hours and the numerous debaucheries available, but the beginning of the end. Every night we die a little death. Our bodies drift off to that Neverland we call sleep, but it is only inches from the true sleep, where none awake. We dream impossible dreams, smiling to ourselves in the light of day, when if we really looked would be grins of sheer terror. What do we wish for seconds before we die? Look to your dreams.