Friday, September 27, 2013

Food that tastes good when you add garlic

1. Macaroni and cheese.
2. Scones.
3. Fettuccine alfredo.
4. Broccoli au gratin rice.
5. Roasted potatoes.
6. Soup.
7. Chicken.
8. Cabbage... according to my sister.
9. Green beans.
10. Raviolis.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

An escape in the desert

The wind raged across the desert. Dust devils rose, growing larger as they spun across the sand. A youth lifted his hand to shield his face from the sun. "The storm is coming closer." He muttered, then turned to look at his companion. "Are you sure this is the way?"
His companion paused and tilted back her head. She closed her eyes and breathed in the hot, dry air. "It has to be." She replied after a moment. "Now come on, we can't afford to rest." The girl began walking. Glancing back at the dark clouds in the distance, the boy shuddered. "Tairos." The name came out as the faintest of whispers. The dark clouds of the storm lit with a sickening orange hue as its pace suddenly increased. Hurriedly, the boy followed after his companion.
The girl led the way. They darted left, right, even back the way they had come as the girl followed a trail invisible to the boy. All the while, the storm drew closer.
 "Where is it?" The boy had to shout as the wind roared around them. The girl looked left, right, then back to the left. Hands tightening into fists, the girl knelt and hit the ground. The boy's eyes darted from the girl to the storm. It was nearly upon them. They had run out of time.
"Terry!" The girl called, voice tinged with excitement. The boy turned at the sound of his name. Focusing on the girl, he saw that the sand under her hands was shifting. After a couple of minutes, a circular silver cover was revealed. "Help me lift it." The girl said as she grabbed hold of the handle in the center of the cover. Terry took hold of part of the handle. Straining, they were able to lift it off. As they dropped the cover in the sand, they were able to see what had been under it.
A gaping hole. No ladder to climb down, nothing but darkness.
"You're first." The girl said, giving Terry a gentle shove.
"But Rose-"
"No buts! I'm the eldest, and I say you go first." She interrupted, crossing her arms with a glare. "We don't have time to argue. It's safer than being caught in the storm."
Chin trembling, Terry walked to the edge of the hole. With a gulp, he jumped. Hitting the ground, he looked up at the hole. It was out of his reach. The chill darkness surrounded him as he called up. "Okay, your turn!"
Rose came into view. But she didn't jump down. "Come on, the drop isn't that far!" He said as he moved out of the way.
Rose shook her head. "I'm sorry."
Terry saw her kneel and touch the edge of the hole. Sand began to trickle down, and slowly the edge of the cover appeared. "No!" Terry shouted as he realized what she was doing.
"Only one of us needs to escape." Rose said, a tremble in her voice as she forced a smile. "Besides, we both know that Dad is more interested in capturing me. You'll be safe here. Just follow the bat."
Terry shook his head, hands clenched at his side. "You promised we'd escape together!"
"Find uncle Lutez. He can explain everything." Rose called down. Then the cover fell back into place, and Terry was left in the dark.

Friday, September 20, 2013

What I would not want 101 of...

1. Wet dogs.
2. Paper cuts.
3. Bottles of vinegar.
4. Sneezes in a row.
5. Double cheeseburgers.
6. Cats on my lap.
7. Unamusing knock-knock jokes.
8. Pinecones.
9. Alarm clocks going off at the exact same time.
10. Skunks crossing my path.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The embodiment of Hope


With siblings like these, you'd think that I would be a sadness as well.
But that is kind of difficult when you are the embodiment of Hope.
You see, each member of my family is an embodiment of negative emotion. My father is Grief, while my mother is Pain. The cycle has been going for generations, and no one knows how it started. Whenever one of us gets close to a normal person, they begin to feel whatever emotion we embody.
"Hope!" I jumped a little as my mother's voice pulled me out of my thoughts. Glancing around, I realized that the car was parked. "We're here." Mother said as she leaned against the open car door.
"Sorry," I mumbled as I climbed out. Glancing toward the restaurant, I saw my brothers hanging near a group of teenagers. As mother and I walked toward my brothers, the teenage girls seemed to wilt before my eyes. Frowning, I quickened my pace. Once I was close to the group of teenagers, I slowed. Picking out the girl who seemed most troubled, I offered her a shy smile.
"Excuse me," I began to catch her attention, "I couldn't help but notice your bracelet. Did you make it?"
The girl looked at the brightly colored braided bracelet that she worn, and her lips twitched. "No, a friend of mine did." She said slowly. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my brothers follow mother into the restaurant.
"That's really neat." I said, offering her a warm smile. "Those are a fun selection of colors. Do you know how your friend made it?"
Another of the girls returned my smile. "There are some instructions online. But you can make a simpler one using just a three strand braid technique."
I nodded my head. "I'll have to try it. Thanks."
With a wave farewell to the happier teenagers, I headed inside after my family.
After finding the table they were at, I sat down.
"Interfering again?" Sorrow asked dully, his perpetual frown deepening as he glanced at me.
"Cleaning up." I replied softly.
"If you actually fitted in, this wouldn't be a problem." Anguish whined as he rubbed his arm.
Despair slowly shook his head. "She can't." Studying me, he winced. "She's hopeless."
I held back a sigh and shook my head. As my twin, one would think that Despair would be on my side. But no, he was the one who belittled me the most.
"Leave your sister alone." Mother said firmly as her eyes scanned the menu. "She cannot be blamed for her condition."
Swallowing the lump in my throat, I excused myself. In the bathroom, I rubbed my eyes. I was the oddball in the family. That was never going to change. Just as I knew that being the embodiment of an emotion supposedly made you feel it more powerfully.
I found it hard to live up to my emotion.
"Pardon me." A quiet voice spoke from behind me. Turning, I saw that it was the girl who had told me where to find instructions for the bracelet.
"May I help you?" I asked.
She shook her head. "I don't think so, but I wanted to thank you for helping my friends." She walked to the sink beside me. As she washed her hands, her head tilted toward me. "Usually it is my job to help them. Its nice to finally meet the embodiment of Hope."
Eyes widening, I studied the girl. She was short, with straight, light brown hair and kind eyes. Meeting my stare, she offered a small smile.
"You aren't alone as a positive emotion. I'm Sympathy."

Friday, September 13, 2013

One hundred

1. 100% on a test is really cool.
2. Eating one hundred pieces of candy can be nauseating. Lying down while you digest would be a good idea.
3. Writing one hundred pages is worth a round of applause.
4. Living to be one hundred is awesome. Listen to these people, for they have a lot of knowledge to impart.
5. One hundred friends make for a fun party.
6. Reaching one hundred episodes is traditionally when a TV show would be considered for syndication.
7. Excluding the end zones, an American football field is 100 yards long.
8. In West Virginia, there is a town called Hundred. The first two settlers lived to be 109 and 106.
9. 100 degrees Celsius is the boiling temperature of water at sea level.
10. Today is the one hundredth Ten Reasons... post.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Stealing from a unicorn

You do not want to steal from a unicorn.
Sure, a unicorn seems peaceful enough at first. It may even let you get close enough to touch it. But should you take the object it guards: run.
That's what I'm doing.
Panting as I veered to the right behind a large pile of rocks, I resisted the urge to look behind me as the sound of hooves thundered past where I had just been. I kept a firm hold on my bag, wishing I had time to tie the broken straps together.
"All this for a ruby apple!" I gasped angrily, recalling the fae who had sent me here. If I hadn't gone and gotten myself indebted to him, there wouldn't be a crazy unicorn trying to impale me.
My gaze darted around, searching for somewhere to hide. But the desolate plain offered nothing  but scrawny brush and rocks.
"Find the lake of Lyfe-" I panted as I heard a bellow from the unicorn. "-steal the apple." Diving to the left, I heard a rip. Hitting the ground, I rolled and scrambled to my feet. Letting out a hiss as my right leg protested, I forced myself to continue.
If I stopped, I was dead.
I couldn't let a gash stop me.
Each direction looked the same. I had no idea whether I was running in circles. My pace was slower now, and continuing to decrease.
There was a flicker of movement ahead. Then I saw it again, and heard a series of whoops. Gathering a breath, I let out a pained squeal. Gasping for breath, I almost missed the rapid whoops that followed. A beast flickered into existence ahead of me.
The beast was canine; with yellowish-gray fur and a tawny mane that ran down its spine. The glimpse I caught of its eyes revealed that they were every color imaginable.
Running straight toward the beast, I hoped my idea worked.
I reached into my bag. Taking hold of the apple, I flung my bag behind me. The unicorn let out a shrill whinny. I flung myself out of the way. The unicorn barreled past, into the beast. Releasing a growl, the beast attacked the unicorn.
As the two creatures fought, I fled.
"This is the last time I come to the Crocotta Wilds." I panted once far enough away from the battle. My bag was gone, along with most of my supplies. Sitting on a rock, I looked at the ruby apple. From deep within the stone, a gentle light pulsed. Recalling one of the myths about the lake of Lyfe, I pressed the jewel against my gash. Biting back a cry as an icy shock filled my leg, I fought back the temptation to drop the apple.
Then, as quickly as it had appeared, the icy shock vanished.
Slowly lifting my hand, I looked at my leg.
The gash was gone.
"Huh. No wonder that waterlogged fae wants this." I said, studying the ruby apple. The internal light had gotten brighter. Removing my scarf, I tied the apple inside it, then retied the scarf to my arm. It wouldn't do to lose the treasure before I got back to Zeltsrio.
Looking around at the unchanging plain, I wondered if I would get back.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Animals that can travel through time

1. Flies. Have you ever tracked a fly as it flew, only to have it disappear? That is because flies are transdimensional creatures that flit through both time and space in the blink of an eye.
2. Cats. Why? Because a cat can do whatever it wants.
3. Bears. During hibernation, bears travel through the time-stream into the bodies of other creatures.
4. Crocodiles. Laying in wait within the timestream, crocodiles will snap up any inexperienced time travelers they come across.
5. Goldfish. Posing as a common pet, these fish are actually time agents sworn to protect the time-stream from those who would tamper with it.
6. Spiders. By weaving webs that can be scattered throughout the timestream, these arachnids can hunt for their favored prey: flies.
7. Cows. These cattle are magnets for temporal anomalies. Why else do you think that aliens like to study them?
8. Sea turtles. While swimming through the time-stream, these turtles will come to the aid of other travelers that have become lost in time.
9. Ants. The garbage collectors of the timestream, they feed on the mess left by other travelers.
10. Jellyfish. They float through the timestream without a care as to where they end up.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Richard and Rachel

Nemani was a peaceful place. Nestled in the foothills of the Woolfenden mountain range, this village was very small. Though there were times when the villagers quarreled, they rarely allowed outsiders to witness their disputes.
So who did the villagers consider to be an outsider? Anyone not born there.
Which made living in Nemani difficult for my brother and I. 
Setting my basket on the table, I wiped sweat off my forehead. "Richard, I'm back!" I called as I sat on a stool. I heard clattering from the other room.
"Rachel! What did you get?" My brother asked as he stumbled into the room. I shook my head as I noticed his disheveled clothes.
"A loaf of bread, a couple of eggs, and a skein of thread." I answered. Richard frowned as he straightened his shirt.
"Is that it?"
"I stayed for as long as I could without arousing suspicion. " I said as I pulled the bread from the basket. Taking my knife, I cut off a slice. Taking a bite from the slice, I handed the rest of the loaf to my brother as he sat down.
"Well, we can try something else." Richard said with a shrug. Taking a bite, he smiled. "Perhaps singing in the square?"
Tilting my head, I stared at my brother. " Your singing isn't very good anymore."
Richard chuckled. "But you still sound alright. Besides, how often do have you heard music here?"
Tapping my fingers against the table, I shook my head. "Never." In the week we had lived in Nemani, I couldn't recall having ever heard a single note of music.
Richard snapped his fingers. "Great! You'll sing, and I'll play my drum."

The next day, we went to the town square. With Richard pounding the beat on his small drum, I sang one ditty after another.
At first, only a one or two people stopped to listen. Then a few more came. By the time we stopped for a break, half the village had gathered.
"See!" Richard said with a grin as I sat next to him. "This was a great idea."
Wiping sweat from my forehead, I gave a nod. "You were right." Now we could study those who had gathered.
"Excuse me," I turned to see that the baker's oldest son standing near where we sat.
"Yes?" I asked, wondering how he had gotten so close without us noticing.
"There is a village meeting tonight. Since you are fairly new, I thought I would extend an invitation." The baker's son said, his blue eyes half closed as he studied me.
"Thanks for letting us know." Richard said as he tapped his fingers against his drum.
Eyes narrowing even further as he looked at Richard, the baker's son gave a nod. "It will begin shortly after sunset, here in the square." He said, then left.
After a few more minutes, I got up and began to sing again.

That night, Richard and I arrived at the square. Looking around, Richard frowned. "No one is here."
I looked up at the stars that were starting to appear. "Perhaps this is something they do to newcomers." I suggested as I tried not to frown as well.
Richard shook his head. "That does-" He cut off as yowls rose from all around us. I turned around, scanning  the surrounding buildings. From within the growing shadows, I caught movement.
"Richard," I said quietly. He gave a slight nod.
He had seen it too.
Shifting position, I stood back to back with my brother. The moment had finally arrived.
Growls rose as feline creatures slunk out of the shadows. Some were on two legs, while others were crouched on all four. They were smaller then I expected, and each had a different fur color.
Werecats. A common type of shapeshifter, but still dangerous in a large enough clowder. I quickly counted the ones I could see. "It looks like the entire village is here, brother."
I felt my brother shrug. "Not surprising, with how secluded it is. We must have stirred up quite the fuss by moving in."
I gave a nod, then looked around at the shapeshifters that had surrounded us. "So, are you going to turn me? Or are we suppose to be hunting practice?"
"That depends on your reasons for coming to our village." A firm, elderly voice replied. The felines shifted to allow an old woman to walk toward us.
"I don't think we've met, madam." Richard said as the woman came to a stop a few feet away from us. The woman smiled, revealing feline fangs.
"I am the matriarch of this village. Why have you come here?"
I tilted my head to look at Richard. He shifted slightly, then gave a small nod.
Looking back to the matriarch, I paused to take a breath before answering.
"We are looking for the shapeshifter who turned my brother."
The matriarch's eyes widened for a moment as she looked at Richard. "He does not have the scent of our kind." She said, her voice rumbling faintly as she spoke.
Richard looked at me, eyebrows furrowed.
I took a step away from him. "Go ahead."
My brother gave a quiet sigh, then closed his eyes. Immediately his flesh began to ripple, red fur sprouting from it as his bones shifted.
I looked away for a few minutes, then looked back to see that Richard had finished shapeshifting.
This time, he looked like a werefox. But as he took off his shoes, I saw that his feet had transformed into hooves.
"Last time I saw him shapeshift, Richard looked like a werecat with wings." I said, turning to look at the matriarch. "He was attacked a few months ago, but didn't see what had done it. When he first shapeshifted into a werewolf with snake scales, we realized that he had been turned by a shapeshifter. But each transformation since then has been something different." I looked at my brother, and gritted my teeth. "We're searching for the shapeshifter who did this, so Richard can learn if the transformations can be controlled."
The matriarch looked away from my brother. "I have never heard of such a beast. We are all werecats here, and have little interest in outsiders." The matriarch said, then lifted her hand.
The most of the werecats surrounding us broke formation; sauntering away into the night. Some merely sat down, or wandered about within hearing distance.
"We request that you take your search elsewhere by the day after tomorrow." The matriarch said, then turned and walked away.
I looked at my brother and crossed my arms. "We will find the one who did this to you."