Wednesday, October 30, 2013

When children attack!

The yard had been transformed into a cemetery. Tombstones of all sizes were sprawled across the lawn, while jack-o-lanterns led up to the porch. There, under the lax watch of a plastic zombie, stood a claw-footed table upon which there was a cauldron of candy. Sticking out of the cauldron was a note which simply read:

Please take one.

Word of this unguarded trove spread like wildfire.
Soon, ghouls, princesses, and everything in between arrived.
Parading up the walk, the mob released shrieks and howls as they swarmed the cauldron. Some heeded the request. But many grabbed great handfuls and thrust the spoils into their sacks and buckets.
"Onward!" Cried a small knight as he stabbed his wooden sword into the air. The costumed children surged through the yard and back into the street.
The watching parents shook their heads as they followed the children to the next house. "I don't know which is more exhausting: following the kid or manning the house..." One father commented as cries of trick or treat! rang through the air.
"Passing out the candy." A mother answered with a shudder as the children flowed back into the street. "I feel sorry for anyone who passes out regular sized bars."

Friday, October 25, 2013

Advice on eating candy

1. If it has a wrapper, take the wrapper off before consuming. Most wrappers are not made to be eaten.
2. If it is chocolate, do not leave it in your pocket on a hot day. If you do, your pocket will need to be cleaned and you will be left without a chocolate to eat.
3. If it is a big jawbreaker, you can break it into little pieces with a hammer. This makes it easier to share with others and easier to eat.
4. If it is a lollipop with something in the center, it will probably take more then three licks to reach that delicious center. And never ask an owl for help. You will lose your candy!
5. If the candy is a powder, don't eat it outside on a windy day!
6. If it is gum, don't stick it under a table or chair after you are done chewing it. That's gross!
7. If the candy is suppose to be soft and chewy, and it isn't, then you might want to find a different piece of candy to eat.
8. Candy does not equal a full meal.
9. Gel candy is not a good substitute for toothpaste.
10. Mixing different candies can be harmful to your taste buds. Disgusting flavors can be experienced if you mix the wrong kinds of candy.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Thorne and the cloak

How do I look?” Mallory asked as she held out her arms. Her hands were hidden by the long sleeves of her gray dress, but the tarnished silver comb in her left hand was visible. I looked at her blonde hair, which curtained her face as she bowed her head and released a quiet wail.
“Like a banshee.” I grumbled as I turned toward the window. Outside, I saw others in costume heading toward the town hall. Wolves, witches, and even a troll. All successful hunts that were sure to raise the social status of those people.
“Come on Thorne, you still have time to hunt something dangerous. You don't have to settle for a wolpertinger.” Mallory said gently. Frowning, I turned to face my friend.
“You know I don't have that kind of strength. I was lucky to kill that flying rabbit without getting bitten or stabbed with an antler!” I told her as I stood and walked over to the table. Picking up the headband that had the wolpertinger antlers, I put it on. Then I picked up the fake fangs and put them in my mouth. The wolpertinger's actual fangs hung around my neck on a cord. “Besides, there isn't time to hunt again before the meeting begins. I'm going to be reassigned.”
Mallory folded her arms and looked away from me. “There are things weaker then a wolpertinger. You might not have the lowest score.”
I put on my coat; which was covered with brown fur and had feathered wings sewn to the back.
“I'm the worst hunter in our group. The only way I don't get reassigned is if Wolfe and Orson failed their dragon hunt.”
Crossing her arms, Mallory gave me a look. “If you give up, then you don't deserve to be a hunter. Now come on, I know where a– ”
“–I don't want to slay monsters!” I groaned, then stiffened as I realized what I had said. Mallory eyes were crinkled with worry. One hand was over her mouth as she shook her head.
“You're not serious. You can't be serious.” Her voice was soft at first, then grew in both speed and volume. “Your father is a legendary hunter! You can be great!”
I shook my head. “I am not my father.”
The slayer of beasts, a protector of the gate. My father was everything I wasn't.
Strong. Handsome. Bloodthirsty.
But most important was his secret. The only secret my father kept from the town. A secret I had learned after having slain the the wolpertinger.
“You could try to be!” Mallory shouted, hands now in clenching the comb.
“Not anymore.” I shook my head, then turned toward the door and left the room.

My father was were he always was on Halloween: guarding the gate that protected our town from the monsters outside. As I walked slowly toward him, he tilted his head toward me without looking away from the gate.
“Father,” I replied as I stood next to him. Looking out the gate, I took a deep breath. “Give it to me.”
My father frowned. “Your mother made a similar request in her dying breath.”
Shifting stiffly, I stared at him. “I don't belong here. Not now.”
My father turned his head to meet my gaze. “You could.”
Swallowing, I lifted my chin. “Not now. Everyone else is gathering at the town hall. Give it to me, and I can slip away before anyone realizes what's happening.” Holding out my hands, I struggled to keep my voice even. “If I stay, someone will find out what I am. They'll learn what you did.”
For a long moment, my father was silent. My heart pounded loudly in the silence. Then at last, father walked to the gate and unlocked it. “Go down the path until you reach the tree with the twisted trunk. There is a large rock in a clearing near the tree. Move the rock and dig where it was.” He opened the gate, and I slipped out of town.
“Thank you.” I said, then turned to leave.
“I'll give you until midnight to find it.” My father said, causing me to pause. “If you have not found it by then, I will bring you back to town. Strom will guard you while I go burn it.”
Midnight was only an hour away.
I ran.

The forest was dangerous. Unarmed, I was an easy snack for any creature that came along. And there were many creatures out tonight. Howls and shrieks filled the air, along with the crack of limbs snapping off of trees. I felt eyes watching me, and hurried down the path as quickly and quietly as I could.
There were many trees with twisted trunks, but I passed them without stopping. There was only one tree that came to my mind to which my father could mean. An old tree, covered with knots and with a trunk so contorted I was surprised it was still standing.
It took a while to reach that tree, for it was far from the town. When the tree came into sight, I froze.
A woman stood at the base of the tree. Her hair was red and reached to her shoulders. Bark covered her body like armor, and she held a fallen branch as a staff.
“Evelyn's child has finally come.” The woman spoke softly as she studied me. Her amber eyes were cool and expressionless.
“How did you know my mother, dryad?” I asked as I began to walk slowly toward her. The dryad shook her head.
“Evelyn often came to visit me, but that was before your father stole her. Mili kept an eye on her while she lived in that town, then continued to watch you after her death.” The dryad smiled and looked down at a tabby sitting at her feet.
“Unfortunately, your mother couldn't understand Mili without her cloak. Because of this, Mili couldn't tell Evelyn where to find it.” The dryad shook her head. “Evelyn thought he had hidden it in town. But he hid it near my tree, not realizing I would take notice that he had buried my friend's cloak.”
I stopped as I reached the dryad. “Can you take me to it?”
The dryad sighed. “No, for it is yours to find on your own. I cannot interfere with this, though I miss my friend.”
Fighting back a frown, I offered the dryad a bow. “Thank you for speaking to me. I must continue my search.”
“Mili is not bound by the same laws as I. Follow her.” The dryad said, then leaned against the trunk of the twisted tree and melted into it. The tabby looked at me, then darted into the woods.
“Wait!” I called as I rushed after the cat. Trampling through thick brush, I fought to keep the cat in sight. After a few minutes, I stumbled out of a bush and found myself in a clearing. The cat was sitting on a rock.
A huge rock. “How am I suppose to move this?” I asked the cat. The rock was only a little smaller than myself. I wasn't as strong as my father. It would take hours to even begin moving it.
Hours I did not have.
I fell to my knees before the rock, and pounded my fists against it. “I was so close...” The words came as barely a whisper. I continued to pound on the rock for a few more moments, then stopped and bowed my head.
There was a rustling behind me. Throat tightening, I pressed my hands against the rock. “Go ahead and eat me.”
“Why would I want to do that, when you have what I've been looking for?” A deep, rough voice questioned. I turned to find a dwarf. He pointed at my head, then at my neck. “That is, if those be the antlers and fangs of a wolpertinger.”
Touching the cord around my neck, I nodded. The dwarf grinned.
“Finally! I've been searching for one of them beasts for days. Those things have a sixth sense that lets them detect dwarves, see. Makes it a pain to trap them.” The dwarf held out his hands. “What'll you take for them?”
I studied the dwarf, and noticed the shovel latched to his back. “There is something buried under this rock. If you can get it for me before midnight, I'll give you the antlers and fangs.”
The dwarf walked around the rock, wearily eyeing the tabby as he did. When he reached me, the dwarf nodded. “Should be simple enough, though I don't like rushing my work.”
I stood and looked down at the dwarf. “I'm sure I could find someone else interested in these if you don't think you can get what was buried.”
The dwarf frowned and got his shovel. “I'm no beardless lad, boy. I'll get it before midnight, just watch.”
As the dwarf dug, I anxiously counted the minutes. There was only seventeen minutes until midnight.
The tabby leaped off the rock and sauntered over to me. I knelt and stroked the cat, wondering what kind of creature it really was. A normal cat couldn't survive all of the creatures that lived here. Yet it looked like a normal cat. Whatever it actually was, this cat, Mili, had known my mother.
The dwarf dug, and time passed.
Thirteen minutes.
“Got it!” The dwarf's voice rose out of the tunnel he had dug. I scrambled over, pulling off the antler headband and the cord with the fangs. The dwarf popped out of the tunnel with a steel box.
“Here,” I told him as I offered the wolpertinger antlers and fangs. The dwarf took them, allowing me to grab the box from him. I pulled at the lid, then noticed the lock.
“No.” I tugged at the lock, but it did not budge.
“Pleasure doing business with you.” The dwarf called as he left the clearing.
I looked around for something I could use to break the lock. But there was nothing. Mili the cat stared at me, then leaped onto the lid of the box and leaned down to touch the lock with her nose.
The lock popped open.
“Thank you, Mili!” I said as she leaped off the box. Taking off the lock, I thrust open the lid.
White feathers greeted me. My fingers began to tingle as I stared at the feathers. Despite having been buried in a box for years, they gleamed in the moonlight. I reached out a hesitant hand, my breath quickening. A shock jolted through my fingers the moment they touched the feathers. Tightening my hand around them, I gently pulled it out of the box and stood. As it came out of the box, I realized that it was a long cloak of white swan feathers.
It was soft, far more beautiful than anything I had ever seen. The longer I held it, the more I longed to put it on. And somehow I knew that the moment I did, I would never want to take it off.
Hands trembling, I tried to think of a reason not to put it on.
What could possibly keep me from the freedom the cloak offered?
Mallory would want me to come back to town, but I knew what awaited me there. I would be reassigned to work within the town walls, never to step foot into the outside world again. Mallory might attempt to keep our friendship alive, but she would be drawn to the other hunters. For that was what she was.
A brilliant, powerful hunter.
My hands tightened around the cloak. If I went back to town, the cloak would haunt my every moment. It was a part of me I had never realized was missing.
Until now.
I swung the cloak around my shoulders.
A deep ache filled me, along with a piercing pain. I fell to the ground, my body changing as I fell. By the time I hit the ground, it was over.
“It's about time.” A voice rumbled, which as I lifted my head I realized had come from Mili.
“What am I?” I asked.
“You are one of the Cygnus. As was your mother.”

Friday, October 18, 2013

Uses for a book

1. A doorstop. If the book is has  enough pages, it can keep your door propped open.
2. A weight. Need to exercise? Just grab a book or two and work those arms!
3. Build a tower. Need to entertain a child? Make a game of stacking books. See how high your tower can be!
4. Create a safe. If you are willing to cut pages, a thick book can become a hidden place for your stuff.
5. A pillow. It may seem a bit hard, but sometimes a book makes a decent pillow when you are really tired.
6. A journal. Yes, you could just just keep a digital record, but having a physical record is worth space on the bookshelf.
7. Give as a gift. Books make wonderful gifts, and what type of book you give someone says a lot about both you and the person you give the book to.
8. Entertainment. Who would have guessed that you can have fun by reading a book?
9. A table. Hardcover books make great lap tables when you are out and about.
10. To build a fire. In an emergency, a book can be broken down in order to became fuel for a fire.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Verifera

The room was small, clinical. I stared at the floor, aware of the emptiness of the room. The only person left in the room with me was a girl whose name I couldn't remember, except for the fact the her last name was Zimmons. That meant she would be the last one called, not me
Taking a breath, I loosened my clenched hands. This would be my only chance restrain my verifera. I couldn't afford to consider the consequences of failure. Of what had happened to my brother.
"Gregory Wens." I looked up at the sound of my name. A woman waited beside the red door, her crisp white uniform that of a controller. I stood and walked toward her. We went through the red door, leaving Zimmons alone. Our walk was short as she directed me down the hall and into the arena's antechamber. There, the Guardian of Blood was waiting, along with the commander of the controllers.
"I offer a final opportunity to resign, mister Wens." The Guardian of Blood said, his voice quivering with age.
"I will go on." I told him, my gaze drawn to the enormous golden elk that stood behind the guardian. Its crimson eyes bore hungrily into me, offering a taste of what I was about to face. The Guardian of Blood bowed his head, then held out two objects.
"Then with this blade, call forth the beast of your blood." I took the obsidian knife, careful not to cut myself just yet. "Then once the beast strikes, claim it with silver." The silver orb he offered seemed insignificant. But once in my hand, it shifted into a slender rod. I didn't know what magic the controllers used on the silver, but I knew that without it, I would have no chance against my verifera.
"Now into the area." The commander of the controllers said, his face hardening as he looked at me. "Don't end up like your brother."
Swallowing, I nodded as the commander's draconic verifera released a hiss. The controller who had brought me in undid the bolt across the steel door that led into the arena and opened it. I walked through, hearing it slam shut behind me.
The arena was circular pit with high walls and thick bars across the top to protect the half a dozen controllers that were staring down at me. Sand crunched beneath my feet as I walked to the center of the arena. There, I looked down into the inky water of the verifera well.
Lifting the knife, I inhaled and cut my wrist. The wound was small and shallow, the pain manageable as I held my arm over the well. After a moment, my blood hit the water.
I took a step back as the water began to bubble. My heart pounded as the water began boiling, then spilled out onto the sand. But instead of being absorbed, the unnatural black water gathered together on the sand in front of me and began to take rapidly take form.
Then there was a burst of steam, and the water-creature was flesh. A lanky white coyote, its crimson eyes locked onto me. I felt a brief disappoint as I stared at the creature. My brother's blood had called forth a wyvern. It had killed him, but at least his verifera had been spectacular.
I would never become a controller with a coyote verifera.
Then it darted forward far faster then a natural coyote. It stuck me in the leg, then leaped at my arm. I struck out with the silver rod. The creature yelped as the silver melted out of my hand and wrapped around its neck: forming into a collar. After the silver stopped moving, the coyote sat at my feet.
"Congratulations, you have claimed your verifera." One of the controllers called down to me. I looked at the coyote's hungry eyes, and didn't feel so certain.

Friday, October 11, 2013

For writing a letter

1. In order to maintain contact with someone who does not live nearby.
2. So that you can explain why you left unexpectedly.
3. To help someone celebrate a special occasion.
4. As a way to share how you feel.
5. In order to keep someone informed on what is happening.
6. To apologize.
7. As an invitation.
8. So that you can share information.
9. As a way to ask a question.
10. To thank someone.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A daughter's letter

I know this is letter will only give you more questions then answers, but I must hope that you will understand and forgive me for leaving.
The border collie you gave me for my birthday is actually a thief named Jake. Jake is a being called a Psych. Apparently, those whispers I've been hearing since I was a child might have been his people all along. Jake told me about his world, and about some of the people he had to leave behind when forced into the form of a dog and dumped here. I know this seems silly, but I want to help him change back to his normal self. But that isn't the only reason I'm leaving. The other is that something called a Taint has apparently connected to me. Jake explained that a Taint will search for whoever they connect to for as long as it takes them, and then stay with that person and protect him or her until one of them dies.
A bit stalker-ish sounding, but I guess they are a bit like a familiar. Anyway, I don't want to leave Jake on his own, and I definitely don't want some golden eyed dude knocking on our door and telling me he's here to protect me.
So I'm leaving.
I promise that once this is all sorted out, I'll try and come back.
You never know, Jake and I might not even find these magic lynx that can tell us how to get to his world.
I love you, and hope you understand why I am doing this.

♥ Kathryn Scarlet

Friday, October 4, 2013

Oppertunities I have had

1. To watch someone skin a rattlesnake.
2. To see a calf born.
3. To help butcher a rooster.
4. To go to the Manti Pageant.
5. To rappel Australian style.
6. To go stream fishing.
7. To get a bowling pin as part of a birthday party.
8. To learn how to tat.
9. To cut and donate over ten inches of my hair.
10. To spend five days at Disneyland.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

In the interest of boredom

What does one do when they are bored?
Some would say nothing, because they can think of nothing interesting.
But if they would open their eyes, they would be surprised.
At all the interesting things that surround them.
Up in the sky, they could find bird flying, clouds constantly changing as they move, planes flying, stars glittering, or fireworks exploding.
On the ground, they could find beautiful flowers, insects crawling, cats sleeping, colorful rocks in a stream, or a sapling growing.
These are only a few of the things you can find on the ground or in the sky.
Yet still you claim to be bored?
Feel the heat of the air in the summer or the chill as you breathe on a wintry day. Listen to birds greet the morning. Then to the laughter of children as they play.
Open a book and be swept into adventure. Converse with a friend. Stare into the dark of night.
Look around. What do you see?
But there is a secret in the words "I'm bored."
I am.
There are so many things you that are.
Breathing, seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling.
Jumping, skipping, walking, running.
Laughing, singing, whispering, sobbing.
Why would you choose to be bored?
When there many, many other things you could be.
So next time you find yourself uninterested in your surroundings, stop.
And think.
It may be difficult at first, but you can find something to intrigue your mind.
Then you can say, "I'm interested."