Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The letter

Flickering light, sputtering wax.
With one last sputter, the candle went out.
"Not again."
Staring down into the darkness, the quill in my hand shook slightly as I considered continuing in the dark.
With a slow breath, I set down the quill. It wouldn't do for the letter to be ruined, especially not for so silly a reason as the lack of light.
I stood and kept one hand on the desk, and with slow steps worked my way to the shelf on the wall. Feeling on the left side, I found what felt like a candle. A few moments more of feeling yielded the tinderbox.
Returning to my seat, I positioned the new candle on the candlestick in the remains of the former candle. With the ease of experience, I managed to light the wick.
Rubbing my forehead, I scanned the last portion of the letter.

-unfortunately, we cannot accept your daughter's behavior, and so she will not be continuing in our program when it resumes after the holidays. In addition, we regret to inform you that the dragon she has dubbed "Blue Noise", has been confiscated and will not be returned: as per section 257.G of the Academy contra

Finishing the word contract, I added the minute details regarding the collection of Miss Elicia's belongings, then signed the letter. Removing the signet ring I wore, I heated a blue stick of wax in the candle flame. Once the wax was warm enough, I moved it to the right of my  signature and waited for a small pool of wax to accumulate. Setting aside the wax stick, I waited a moment before pressing my signet ring to the circle of wax.
After a few moments, I gently lifted the signet ring and put it back on. Two outstretched wings met to form a stylize V: my personal seal. Folding the paper, I sealed it with red wax and the seal of the academy: a dragon twisted around a whirlwind.
Setting the letter aside, I picked up the candle and left my desk. The Wintertop's would be displeased with their daughter's expulsion, but this time her reckless behavior had endangered not only herself and her dragon, but two other students and their dragons.
I wouldn't begin my new role as headmaster by ignoring potentially lethal disregard for the rules.
And unlike my predecessor, I wasn't going to become a puppet of the noble families.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Consequences of being stuck in a mirror

1. It would become lonely. Sure, people might use the mirror you're stuck in. But conversing with them might be difficult, since they'll likely run away after noticing you.
2. You would startle others. When someone looks in a mirror, they don't expect to see any face but their own.
3. It would be quiet. There isn't much noise within a mirror, and outside sounds that are able to enter a mirror are few. Silence would be your companion.
4. There might not be anywhere to sit. The inside of a mirror is not the same as its reflection, so don't count on being able to lounge on that plush armchair.
5. Time doesn't always flow the same way. What was mere seconds outside the mirror could be weeks within. Some mirrors are the opposite: what is a minute within is a year outside.
6. There isn't much to do. A lot of mirrors lack things like plants, books, and cell phone signals. In most, you have to entertain yourself by watching whatever room it reflects.
7. There might be monsters. Some, but not all, mirrors are home to strange monsters. You would probably make a lovely snack.
8. There isn't anything to eat. Mirror don't have fast food joints, or markets. On the bright side, you can usually get away without eating while within a mirror. Let's just hope you didn't come in hungry...
9. It can get really dark. Normally, the inside of a mirror is lit by whatever it reflects. So there will be times when it is dark.
10. It is cold. The regular temperature within a mirror is quite chilly, and it will be difficult to find fuel for a fire. Luckily, you can't catch a cold while in a mirror.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Nightmare

The nightmare tipped its head down, silver tongue flickering in and out as it drank.
Perched on a stone across the pond, I watched the equine. In the dim moonlight, its violet coat appeared dark blue, while piercing green eyes glowed with an inner fire that chilled my heart even from this distance.
This was foolish. Since childhood, I had been told tales of how they fed on our fears while we slept. I had even been told that they were the cause of bad dreams.
But I couldn't bring myself to stop these nightly excursions. Ever since I first saw the nightmare three nights ago as it ran through the campsite, I had followed it to this pond.
And each night, it had drank from the pond and then disappeared deeper into the forest.
Even now, I saw it lift its head. Two small tusks hung from its mouth like fangs, their silver tips shining faintly as water dripped from them.
The nightmare turned, and walked between the same pair of thin saplings as it had on the previous nights.
Standing, I hurried over to the other side of the pond. However, instead of attempting to follow the nightmare, I went to the spot where it had drank.
Kneeling, I looked at the water.
In the inky blackness, I saw a flicker of silver.
Glancing behind me, I scanned the trees for the nightmare.
I turned back to the pond. The flicker of silver was dimming.
If I didn't act now, then it would disappear like the nightmare.
Iciness filled my hand as I reached for the flicker of silver. It swirled around my fingers, a jellylike substance.
Grasping some, I pulled my hand out.
Cold radiated from the silver pool on my palm.
With barely a thought, I lifted my hand and tipped the gel into my mouth.
Frost bit my throat as I swallowed. Tingling, I stumbled to my feet as the cold spread.
Backing away from the pond, I ran.
Tremors racked my limbs, and I hadn't gotten very far before a spasm brought me to the ground.
Bursts of light filled my vision. A terrifying weakness spread from my feet up to encompass my entirety.
From all around, indecipherable whispers filled the forest.
The frigidity that had filled me transformed into a blistering heat, and I screamed.
Halfway through, the scream transformed into a horse's squeal.
As quickly as it had begun, it ended.
Now numb and exhausted, I tried to rise.
But my body was gone. Instead of an arm, I found a violet limb that ended in a cloven hoof.
"Welcome, nightmare." A voice whispered, and I looked up into a pair of piercing green eyes.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Uses for crayons

1. Shavings. If you shave different colored crayons, then you'll have a fun confetti to glue onto a picture.
2. Decorations. Just melt them into a mold, and you'll have some inexpensive figurines to place on those lower shelves that children can reach.
3. Stress relief. Upset? Just snap an old crayon in half.
4. Editing. Need to mark some changes to your paper, but can't find your highlighter? Just pull out a box of crayons.
5. Entertainment. Tired of twiddling thumbs? Simply set up two opposing crayon armies, and have your two favorite colors duel to see which side wins. Once you know who lost, you can knock the defeated army down.
6. Coloring. Crayons are quite fun to color with. Try them out with your paper on different surfaces!
7. Building materials. Simply cut notches at both ends of the crayon, then begin stacking them together to build a log cabin.
8. Decision maker. Can't decide between multiple things? Then try playing spin the crayon.
9. Amusement. If you need a laugh, then grab a handful of crayons and look at the color names. Now try to use all of the names in a sentence.
10. Lesson teacher. When children are coloring together, crayons can help them learn how to share.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

9:45 AM

9:45 AM.
Why was it always this exact time?
I wondered the room, avoiding the dog frozen in mid-leap. I suppose that it could be worse. At least at this point in the day, I was normally alone. It would be difficult to explain how I had gone from one area of the room to another to those who were not affected by the time blip.
Moving to the window, I stared out at the frozen scene. There was the mail carrier across the street. Little Jayne Millow was playing catch with her brother, the ball hanging just a foot away from her outstretched hand.
Scanning the familiar image, I tried to find any movement. The flicker of a bird's wing, or perhaps a sneeze.
Anything to show I wasn't alone.
But as always, nothing moved.
Sighing, I turned away from the window. I didn't bother to look at my watch as I walked out of the room. This anomaly usually lasted at least five minutes, but it wasn't constant. The longest I had been trapped in time was thirty minutes. I had stopped fretting over the time outside of time months ago.
Entering the kitchen, I sat at the table and picked up a glass. As I lifted it, I watched the liquid within remain a solid block.
That was one of the disadvantages of this. Nothing else seemed to be affected like I was. If I could just do something other then wander about during this, it wouldn't be so maddening.
Knock knock.
Jerking my head toward the window, I stared rigidly at the scene outside. It was strange how long it took for my mind to accept the boy's presence. As I fumbled to my feet, the boy grinned and waved. Reaching the window, I stared at the boy.
I recognized him now. Theo Dawson, the nine year old from a couple houses down.
Lifting my hand, I gave a slow wave.
Grin widening, he held up a paper.
Want to come outside tomorrow?
Immediately, I nodded. Though he was young, to have someone to wait with during this timeless moment was a comforting thought.
And just maybe, we might be able to figure out why this had started happening at the beginning of the year.

Friday, July 11, 2014

To encourage a child

1. Don't say they can't do something that is good. If a child decides she wants to write a novel, let her try to.
2. Make suggestions, then let them figure it out themselves. Children can be very intelligent, so you don't need to hold their hand through every step.
3. Help when they get stuck. If a child gets to a point where they cannot continue despite their best attempts to, then help them with the problem.
4. If they are interested in what you are doing, then answer their questions.
5. When they succeed, celebrate with them.
6. If they fail, help them to understand that this does not mean they need to give up.
7. When they feel down, help to bring a smile to their face.
8. When possible, enjoy a quiet moment with them.
9. Make sure they understand that you can help them whenever they ask for it.
10. Help them to gain confidence in themselves.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Memory catcher

How do you share a memory?
Oh, there are the simple answers that most of us use.
Pictures, stories, conversation.
But those don't always show what is really happening.
A picture is a single moment, frozen in time. Anything that happened outside the frame is eventually lost to time.
When written down, stories remain consistent. But they only tell you what the writer remembered, and what they felt. A story doesn't always tell you everything about the event, and the memory itself is tainted by the view of person writing it down.
Passing along a memory by word of mouth can be simple, but often the memory will become distorted by each subsequent telling.
So how is a memory to survive, yet remain complete?
Some would suggest using multiple methods in order to view the memory from different angles.
Others maintain that so long as a single portion of the memory survives, that is enough.
But for a memory catcher, mastering the ability to maintain a perfect memory is the first lesson one learns.
"You must remain focused." The instructor said as he strolled down the sidewalk. He pointed to a shrub, a flock of birds, then a line of ants on the ground. "No matter how insignificant it may appear, each detail must be formed precisely."
Ignoring the growing ache in my head, I turned a portion of my attention to the mistakes. The shrub became more rounded, each bird of the flock gained subtle differences, and the ants altered directions.
"That is better." The instructor gave a nod. He looked around for a moment longer, then disappeared.
Breathing in, I slowly allowed the memory to fade.
Blinking, I found myself back in the classroom. My instructor was seated across from me, and was already writing his report.
Glancing around the room, I saw some of the other memory catchers in training were coming out of their memory exercise. There were thirteen of us left from the original group of twenty.
By the end of the month, there would only be three.
Part of me longed to be one of the three. For they were the ones who would have the honor of remembering the town's history.
But there was another part of me that dreaded the thought of being given such responsibility. To dedicate my life to remembering, and to addressing any questions regarding our collected past.
"Come on, Lucille." Pulling myself away from my thoughts, I realized that my instructor had left. In his place was Bradson, who had become a good friend in the month since our group was gathered.
Standing, I followed him out of the classroom. As we headed to the cafeteria, I looked at him.
"So how did you do?"
"I had the crowded hall memory. My head hurts just thinking of all those faces." With a lopsided smile, he rubbed a his head. "What about you?"
I shrugged. "I had the morning stroll down a sidewalk. It took a while to recall the finer details correctly."
Bradson chuckled. "At least today wasn't the compiling exercise."
I shook my head. I still had some trouble taking memories from multiple people and constructing them into a single memory.
"If you don't become one of the three, what will you do?" I asked.
"I'll figure that out if it happens." Bradson answered, his smile growing a little wider. "But no matter what happens, at least I'll have some interesting memories to share."
I laughed. No matter where we ended up, memories were all that we would ever work with.
For such was the fate of a memory catcher.

Friday, July 4, 2014

To remember the past

1. So that you will be able understand who your family was.
2. Because there are many lessons to be learned from those who came before us.
3. It is filled with interesting things. All you need to do is look for them.
4. You can often find answers for problems by studying the past.
5. By knowing what has come before, you can better appreciate what you have been given.
6. That way you won't keep making the same mistakes.
7. Inspiration can be found for many projects.
8. So that you can help others to remember it.
9. There are many funny things that happened in the past. Why not have an old laugh?
10. Strength can be gained by remembering all that has already been done. After remembering your previous accomplishments, the current challenge may prove less of an obstacle then you originally believed.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Heroes wanted ad

Heroes wanted!
Treasure and glory await those who dare seek them.
Seeking warriors and magic users of all kinds.
Prior experience with adventuring not required.
Provisions to be provided
Five month journey to the lair of
Quernst the ravenous to begin tomorrow!
Dare you face the dreaded dragon of Ack?
Seek Goneth Quickly of Riverside road to apply!

● Treasure and glory may not be acquired during this adventure by all members of the company.
● Warrior specializing in anything other then a sword, ax, or bow may be rejected.
● Specialized magic users such as illusionists, enchanters, and bardic mages may be rejected.
● Those with prior experience may be selected over those without.
● Provisions will be provided by each individual for themselves.
● Journey may last longer then five months.
● Quernst the ravenous may not be the only creature found in the lair.
● Goneth Quickly and company are not responsible for the the loss of equipment,
magic, hair, limbs, life, pets, property, or left socks during the quest.