Friday, December 30, 2016

To avoid powerful artifacts

1. Because power corrupts. How many characters, after gaining something that fills them with power, isn't at least tempted to use that power for their own gain?
2. Because it might cost you your sanity. Seriously, most characters who come across a powerful artifact are driven mad by it.
3. It could unleash an ancient evil. You would think that they would label any object that is being used to contain an evil creature. But unfortunately, labels weren't very popular back in those ancient times.
4. It could become extremely clingy. Some artifacts get lonely, and so will eagerly bond with the first person who comes along. Sadly, the artifact doesn't seem to care if its companionship is accepted by its new person.
5. It might kill you. Are you really willing to risk touching that golden scepter, which might turn you to stone if you do?
6. It is probably guarded by a dangerous creature. Or two. Maybe even three. Can you defeat three monsters at the same time?
7. You don't know who else might be searching for it. It's one thing to go after that artifact no one cares about. But when a search for it could lead to a war against the neighboring kingdom? No thanks.
8. It might not even be there. It is a horrible feeling to make it through deadly traps and dangerous creatures, only to find out that the artifact you sough has already been taken.
9. Because you aren't the hero. If the artifact can only be used by a certain person or bloodline, then why waste your time trying to get it?
10. Because you've already found three fakes. After so many false artifacts, what makes you think that the next one will be real?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Diagnostic


Initializing diagnostic...
The voice echoed in my mind as a tingling sensation swept down my spine.
Consciousness enabled, scanning for abnormalities.
The tingling sensation wouldn't go away, and I was starting to think that the voice in my head wasn't normal either. At least, I couldn't remember ever having another voice in my head before now.
Memory bank active, compiling recollections now.
In fact, as my memories flashed by at high speed, I grew certain that I'd never had a voice in my head before today.
The tingling became a buzzing in my ears and a solid darkness in my eyes. Why couldn't I see?
My heart pounded against my chest, and a sudden dread seized at my thoughts. Had I been in an accident? Was my sight gone forever, leaving me no way to fulfill my dreams as an artist?
What could I do? What would happen now?
Detecting abnormality.
Even the voice knew something was wrong. Did that happen if you lost one of your senses? Did some voice appear to replace what you'd lost?
I didn't think insanity was a fair exchange.
The tingling was starting to grow uncomfortable where it gathered around my heart and in my head.
Unauthorized use of emotions detected. Emotions disrupting optical and audial units.
Wait, what? The extra voice in my head wasn't making any sense. How could my fears about being blind be unauthorized? This was my mind!
Commencing removal of the disruption.
A sudden burning pain replaced the tingling. It felt as though someone had lit my heart and mind on fire, but there didn't seem to be anything I could do to stop it. Despite my memories of them, I couldn't seem to get my arms or legs to work. Was I even breathing? I didn't know, for I couldn't feel my lungs.
The burning eventually faded by to the strange tingling, though I don't know how long that took.
A minute? An hour?
It seemed like an eternity.
But for some reason, I couldn't bring myself to care.
Disruption successfully removed. Emotions deactivated.
Should I be worried by that? What did the voice me about emotions being deactivated? Emotions didn't work like a computer program.
Despite my thoughts, I couldn't seem to bring myself to care enough about whatever the voice had done to do something about it. And so I let it go.
Diagnostic complete, commencing reboot now.

I blinked open my eyes, the darkness vanishing as the lenses adjusted for the brightness of the room. A cool white ceiling was replaced by a pair of faces, which my internal database recognized as my mother and father. My mother's file was quickly edited as I noticed that she'd had her optical lenses changed to a pleasant lavender shade.
As mother's updated file was stored, my own file filled my mind and the Cyberonic Interactive Diagnostic System (or CIDS) read the lasted update from my monthly checkup.
All programs operating at optimal efficiency. One error found: unauthorized emotions had been activated. Error corrected through deactivation of emotion cortex.
I supposed that it was good that the emotions were deactivated again. Who knew what kind of trouble I could have gotten into if I'd been allowed to return to consciousness without a proper mindset?
Emotions were too finicky for proper society anymore, and only savages who hadn't yet been upgraded still ran around without a proper control over their emotions.
I certainly wasn't a savage, and had no need for such barbaric impulses like happiness, fear, excitement, and all those other useless emotions.
I could see the world far better without such things clouding my mind.

Friday, December 23, 2016

For waiting to get a pet


1. Because you aren't ready. Can you properly care for an animal? Will you be able to give it all the time and love that a pet deserves?
2. You don't have enough space. A goldfish and a saint bernard cannot fit in the same space. So before you go and get a pet, make sure you have enough room for the pet you desire.
3. Can you afford it? Pets can be expensive. If you're struggling to for funds to keep yourself comfortable, then it might not be the best time to get a pet.
4. Have you thought about it? A pet should never be a spur of the moment decision. Otherwise you might end up with tears and destroyed furniture.
5. Is the pet you want legal where you live? Not all animals are considered to be pets, and not all places agree on what animal can be a pet. So before you go get a hedgehog, check that doing so won't break the law.
6. Would a pet fit your family? Not all animals are family friendly, and some people have allergies that mean they can't have certain pets. Figure out what kind of pet would fit your family, and that your family will be able to live with that pet.
7. Is it the right time to get a pet? Even though the children would be delighted to get a puppy for Christmas, would the puppy (and the training it requires) be able to fit within your crazy holiday schedule?
8. Why do you want it? What is your reason for wanting a pet? Are you following a popular trend, or perhaps trying to relive the joy of a childhood pet? Your reasoning matters, and you should take the time to figure it out.
9. Is it merely a replacement? It is heartbreaking when a beloved pet dies. But even though a new pet might be able to help you through your grief, you shouldn't go out and get an animal just to replace the one you lost. It isn't fair to you, or to the new animal.
10. Because you already have enough. Know what your limits are. If you can't afford to care for four dogs, be it physically, emotionally, or financially, then don't try and have four dogs. But if you can care for four, or five, or even seven dogs, then don't let anyone stop you from raising the animals you love. Just remember your limits.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Opposite of Cold


The last thing I saw was her eyes, filled with such a bitter disappointment that I felt my heart break.
Whether that was because of her spell or a consequence of my mistakes, I didn't know.
All I knew now, staring down from my lunar prison, was that I'd never be warm again.
Each day spent on this rock was the same. There was nothing to do, nothing to eat or drink.
Not that I needed to eat or drink anymore.
The world I had been cast out from seemed so full of life, each patch of color on it blinding compared to the lifeless gray stone of my prison.
How long would I be forced to stay here?
A year?
Ten?
Would I even be able to recognize the passage of time?
I wasn't even sure how long I'd been here.
My memories were growing hazier each day.
Were they days? Without a need for sleep, I couldn't seem to keep track of time.
Part of me began wondering if I had ever been anywhere else, or if the bright fragments of memory were merely a fanciful farce my mind had created.
Each time I would doubt my past, I would look out at the colorful sphere my prison orbited, and I would remember her eyes.
Those vibrant, heart-wrenching green eyes.
What had I done to destroy the joy in those eyes?
When staring at the colorful world became too painful, I would trek to the other side of my prison, and stare out into the darkness.
It was so easy to lose myself in that darkness. It didn't drag mostly forgotten memories out of the depths of my mind like the blue and green planet did.
No, the darkness seemed to help the memories sink into an ever deepening abyss.
Every memory except for my last glimpse of her eyes.
I couldn't remember her name, or anything else about her but those eyes.
I couldn't even remember my name, or what color my eyes were.
Would I ever remember?
Did I even care anymore?
What point was there in keeping hold of such a slippery, useless thing as a past, when I would never be anything but a prisoner here?
I couldn't even remember what being the opposite of cold was anymore.
And I probably never would.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Ways to Wrap a Present


1. In newspaper. That way while they wait to open their presents, your family and friends can have something to read!
2. With glue. Why let tape ruin the appearance of your presents? Besides, with enough glue, you could make it impossible for anyone to get their fingers beneath a loose flap of paper.
3. In a bag. Some presents are difficult to wrap in paper, or would be too obvious if the wrapping fit around its shape. With a bag, you can avoid difficulties and ruined surprises!
4. In cloth. It's reusable, won't give you a paper-cut, and could double as an actually part of the gift.
5. At the store. Some places will gift wrap your presents for you, which saves you the time it would have taken to wrap it yourself.
6. With tape. If you use enough tape, presents become so much harder for their intended victim- I mean recipient- to open.
7. In another present. Because how much fun is it to get a pretty box, and then open it to discover even more goodies inside of what you thought was your present?
8. With ribbon. A neat bow on the top makes for a lovely gift.
9. By disguising it as something else. You see a round gift with your name on it. So you think it is a ball. But as you open it, you realize that several books had been cleverly stacked along with other gifts so that they appeared to be something round.
10. With tissue paper. Because it is more mysterious if you can't just quickly glance in the bag or basket to see what the gift is.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Short or Tall


Short or tall, wide or thin,
It doesn't really matter if you fit in.
Adventurous, brave, or simply scared,
It doesn't matter how you've prepared.
The person you are might not stay the same,
You might solve a mystery, or gain some fame.
You might go through each passing day,
With no changes on where your path might lay.
Whatever the road, whatever the sight,
You are amazing, and your light shines so bright.
There is no one in the world quite like you,
So cheerfully go, and do all that you want to do.
Your path might not be easy, the way might be rough,
But you've got what it takes, you know the right stuff.
So go and be the person you long to see,
Staring back at you in the mirror, that person only you can set free.

Friday, December 9, 2016

How to create an alien species


1. Pick a creature to base it off of. Will your alien be rabbit-like? Or perhaps you've decided to combine features from multiple creatures, and create your own alien chimera.
2. How intelligent will they be? Are these aliens going to be mindless monsters that threaten the landing party, or are they the keepers of all wisdom that find childish species like humans to be both pitiful and adorable?
3. What is their level of technology? Can they travel the stars without any worry that their ship will malfunction? Or do they stare up at the stars from their cooking fires and wonder what those twinkling lights might be?
4. What is their culture like? Are they warriors? Healers? Do their laws command that certain foods only be eaten on Rigel's Day? How do they react around those not of their species, who don't know the ancient rituals in both their hearts?
5. Can they survive on earth? What do they breathe? How do they respond to the radiation from a yellow sun? Are daisies a deadly poison that they must avoid any contact with?
6. What do they eat? Are they carnivores? Herbivores? Do they even need to eat, or do they receive all the nutrition they require from the light of the stars?
7. Are they robotic? Who says that your aliens have to be made of flesh and bones?
8. How do they communicate? Can they speak English, or must they use a complex series of signals and pheromones to convey their desires? Can they even communicate with humans?
9. How long do they live? Are their entire lives lived out in a human blink of their eye, or do they spend centuries in their species' equivalent of diapers?
10. Are they friendly? Are they bent of galactic warfare that will leave them as the only species left, or do they just want to be left alone? What would they do if a human fell from the sky into the middle of their most populated area? Eat the strange creature, lock it up for study, or simply groan and call for an interplanetary officer to come write a ticket for yet another human who doesn't understand what a no-fly-zone is?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Fruit


You toiled away, plucking the vital fruits that would sustain you from the brushes.
They were not very tasty, but they were all you could safely forage that day.
For the forest creatures were restless, and would strike out at any potential threat. And those were the plant-eaters!
If you couldn't currently withstand their blows, then how would you ever survive an encounter with a predator?
You didn't even want to think about such an encounter.
And so you worked to pick enough fruit, as much as you could safely carry. Who cared if some of it became overripe before you ate it?
You didn't care. And seeing as it was only you living in the cave, your opinion was the only one that mattered.
You see a particularly lovely fruit hanging surprisingly low, and you can't believe your luck.
But as you crouch down and crawl a little into the bush to reach it, there comes a sudden rustling from your left.
You try to back out from under the bush, but are too slow.
A furry creature latches onto your arm, and you cry out at the pain of its sharp claws digging into your flesh.
It takes a few moments, but finally you manage to shake the horrid beast off.
It growls at you, then darts beneath the bush to snatch the fruit you had been trying to pick.
As the creature darts back out from beneath the bush, it growls at you through a mouthful of fruit, then darts into the forest.
You collect the fruit you'd already picked, and hurry away in the direction of your cave.
You need to reach the relative safety the cave provides, and get your arm cleaned and bandaged before your blood attacts the predators.
Part of you can't believe that something would attack you so viciously over a piece of fruit.
But at least it had wanted the fruit, and not your arm.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Things that come in pairs


1. Shoes.
2. Eyes. Most of the time, anyway. Just talk to a spider if you're curious about how it is to see through more than two.
3. Doorknobs. The is usually one for each side of the door.
4. Feet. Some people even have two left ones!
5. Socks. Because unless you are making a puppet, you'll probably want more than one.
6. Earrings. The hardest part is not losing one at the show.
7. Troublemakers. For the best trouble is always made by two.
8. Bookends. For most people like to hold the books up from both ends.
9. Buttons. So that if you lose one, you'll still have one for your project.
10. Earplugs. Because what use is hearing protection if it doesn't save both of your ears?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Journey to 50,000 Words


50,000 words, they said.
Just write that many words in a month, and you'll have a novel.
It seemed a crazy thing.
Why force yourself to try and craft a brand new story within that short a time?
What would you get from it?
Surely not any words worth keeping, or a plot that could be easily navigated.
Or what if the plot ended up too simple, and all the words dull and flat?
You stayed away from the challenge for many years.
Each time the time for it came around, you stared at it, then shook your head with a sigh.
You'd never be good enough to succeed.
So why even try?
Then came the year were nothing you wrote seemed to be working right.
You felt stuck, and as if the drafts would never end.
The time for that crazy challenge was coming again, and this year you gave in to that bit of insanity.
So you signed up, before your sense could remind you at how weak you were.
As the time to begin drew near, you started to worry you'd made a mistake.
You were armed with only an idea, and some old characters just waiting to be taken from their dusty, unfinished story.
What were you thinking?
Still, you began with determination to see the challenge through to the end.
Your plan seemed good.
But then came days when your story slowed to a crawl, and each word was a fight to find.
Still, you were fairly sure you could do it.
Until you reached the story's end, and only had half the words you needed.
You fretted and paced, sure that this stone in your path couldn't be moved.
How could you continue on, when there didn't seem to be any more to the story?
Back to the beginning you went.
It was hard to resist changing the words you already had, for your mind screamed that they could be better.
But you resisted.
This was not about editing words already written, but about writing.
So you added a word here, a new sentence there.
Sometimes, you found places where new paragraphs would fit.
Even better where the times when new scenes suddenly filled your mind.
The construction of those scenes made your word count grow, and you started to feel more confident.
Maybe you could do this.
But then you fell behind.
You weren't reaching your daily goals, and the distance between where you were and where you should be was growing into a gaping chasm.
But you didn't want to fail.
To fail in this challenge might be the final blow that crushed you.
So late into the night you would type, pounding word after word.
You raked your mind for any idea, anything that could be added into your story.
Anything that would make some sense, you insisted.
For what was the point in compiling meaningless bits that didn't tell a story?
That wasn't what you wanted.
You pushed on.
Always aware of the lingering doubts lurking at the back of your mind, you wrote.
As the final days arrived, you became frantic to finish.
On the last day, you cheered a little victory song each time the number of words left to write diminished.
You could do this.
You would do it.
It wasn't for fame, or to satisfy another's thirst for a story.
It was for you.
Then came the end.
Your challenge was over.
Each word that had soared high above your reach in a distant, unapproachable galaxy had been coaxed down the Earth.
You did it.
The challenge was won.
And those lingering doubts that said you shouldn't even try?
They've been silenced.
At least for a little while.
But now you knew what you could do.
And the next challenge wouldn't seem as daunting when it arrived.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Christmas Cookie Shapes


1. A star.
2. A bell.
3. A tree.
4. A snowman.
5. A present.
6. A candy cane.
7. A reindeer.
8. A snowflake.
9. An angel.
10. Santa Claus.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Sweet Slumber


Sleep comes in the quiet of the night,
When restless heads their pillows find,
And all the chatter of the mind,
Falls silent with the dimming light,
What adventures await within our dreams?
Is what we feel really all it seems?
Amid the chaos kept within,
Will our senses ever come back again?
The quiet night stretches on and on,
Like a constant thrumming in a song.
Will we ever be a rest?
Or will our minds remain a mess?
All we can do is simply lay,
And hope sweet slumber finds us before the day.

Friday, November 18, 2016

How to Increase Your Word Count


1. Add description. Be it physical details of your characters' appearance, or the features of a breathtaking landscape that the characters must ride through, adding description will not only increase your word count, but it will also add meat to the scene.
2. Show what your character is thinking. Don't just have your character shrug and continue on his quest. Let him have the chance to think about what has been happening to him, and why he is going to take a certain course now.
3. Let characters talk to each other. It's okay to let your characters talk. Let them ask each other questions, instead of blindly moving together through their quest without ever even introducing themselves.
4. Throw in a random encounter. Are your characters in a jungle? Throw an ancient jaguar warlock at them. Or do they need to hurry through the busy streets in order to get to work in time to close a major deal (and thus save their jobs)? Let them stumble into an old school rival that is simply determined to make amends right now.
5. Make something go wrong. The bridge brakes, sending our heros plummeting down the mountain toward an early demise. A vital letter gets sent to the wrong house, and so the main character leaves the country thinking everything they loved has been lost. How will things turn around from here?
6. Show what happened during that skipped scene. Did you really need to skip over the meeting with the royal sorcerer, in which our might hero received his magic dagger that is destined to slay the horrendous hippogriff?
7. Build up the world. What is the world of your story like? Can your readers read through the story and imagine the characters being at a mall or in the middle of a forest, without either setting being unfitting based on what they have been given about the actual setting? Let your reader see the setting unfold on the page, and firmly settle itself in their mind as the only possible place the characters could be.
8. Explain how the mystery was solved. The "what happened's" and "whodunit's' have been solved, but how? If the character hasn't given a good reason for how they figured it out, now is the time to write it in.
9. Make things interesting. Sometimes, all you really need to do is add some flesh to the scenes you've already written. Take a simple exchange of dialog, and reveal what the characters were doing during their conversation.
10. Just keep writing. It doesn't have to be perfect right now (because you'll probably edit it at least twice), but get those words written. Amid the ramblings, you might find nuggets worth polishing into a story to be treasured.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Sometimes Your Time Runs Out


Sometimes your time runs out,
And you can't think of what to say.
We've had trials come about,
That seek to ruin our day.
But if you keep pushing on,
The struggles you face might fade.
And then you'll be met with a brighter dawn,
With newfound joys undelayed.
So keep pressing forward,
Until you reach the very end.
And seek for the greatest of rewards,
In the loving support found in a friend.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Happiness Is


1. Being with those you love.
2. Reading a great book.
3. Playing with your pet.
4. Watching a child as they learn something new.
5. Eating your favorite food.
6. Hearing your best friend laugh.
7. Wearing your favorite pair of socks, even though they don't match anything else you're wearing.
8. Singing along to your favorite song.
9. Knowing you did your best.
10. Taking a moment to absorb everything in your life that has gone right.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Born to Sleep


Born to sleep, they always say. Born to waste each day away.
Born to slumber beneath the sun. Born to dream, to laugh and run.
Born to the quiet, to quell the fright. Born to the sky, and all the delights of the night.
Born to the wise, the noble and true. Born to the romantic, and all that they do.
Born to the thief, who sneaks by your beam. Born to the soldiers, who protect their dream.
Born for the suffering, and all the tears shed. Born for the comforting, and all those who are fed.
Born above watching, you were not immune. To those born pleading, who sought out the moon.
And so your light was born, to shine all the night through.
So that each newborn would have something bright to turn to.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Fun Familiars


1. A salamander. One of these adorable are sure to make you smile. And to make it even better these critters are known to have fire abilities!
2. A spider. One of the best familiars for a crafty person to have, as their spider webs make for wonderful thread.
3. A goldfish. This is a good starter familiar for a child, which if well taken care of, can climb the waterfall and transform into a dragon!
4. A dog. Why can't man's best friend become man's best familiar?
5. A chicken. Imagine, having a familiar that provides useful things like eggs, hen's teeth, and a feather whenever your quill brakes.
6. A horse. This is a familiar that can take you places, and that won't "accidentally" try and eat you.
7. A baby seal. Because even if it isn't very helpful right now, it can make you smile with how cute it can look.
8. A robot. Because who said that your familiar had to be an animal?
9. A turtle. The perfect familiar to remind you that some experiments are best taken slowly.
10. A cat. Because there is a reason something becomes a classic.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Thoughts


Thoughts, scattered throughout the mind.
Feelings, strange and fleeting emotions provide a mold.
Words, constructed as thought and feeling combine.
Stories, taking shape as each new word builds on the one before.
Words, bringing to mind questions as stories are devoured page by page.
Feelings, flare to life as the words bring back memories of grief, pain, love, and joy.
Thoughts, pondered in the late of night as feelings have time to simmer in the mind.

Friday, October 28, 2016

How to prepare for NaNoWriMo


1. Prepare your idea. You could simply as decided that your book will be about cats from outer space and then run about from there when the time to write comes. Or you could prepare an outline of what the space cats could do in their plot to conquer earth, and then use that outline when it comes time to write. Perhaps you'll even use a mix, and have a rough outline of things that might happen, and then let the cats run wild as the story takes on new shapes.
2. Decide how much you'll write each day. What is your goal? 2000 words? How will you reach that goal, and what are your plans for missed days?
3. Figure out what days you can't write on. Will your mother-in-law roast you if you miss part of Thanksgiving? What about that birthday party you promised to help chaperone? By figuring out now what days you can't write, you'll be better able to plan how much to write on the days you can.
4. Pick a writing time. If possible, plan to write at the same time each day. When that time comes, get comfortable and start writing. If you don't set aside the time, you might not write at all.
5. Prepare for complications. Problems with the plot, frustrations with characters, and all the twists that complicate normal life. How will you handle those difficulties and get back on track with your writing?
6. Set aside some fun time. Time away from your story is just as important as the time you spend writing. If all you do is fret about the your next word count update, then your story could suffer. You need some time to recharge, so be willing to take some.
7. Talk out problems. Talking with others (both those taking the challenge and those who aren't) can help you better work out the snarls in your story. They might even help you figure out a new way to look at your story, or even a better twist to use. Talking helps not only you, but the person you talk to.
8. Prepare yourself to ignore what you've written. Don't look back and agonize over every sentence. Leave those commas where they are. You'll have time later to edit. No matter how agonizing it may be to keep marching along from new page to new page, you need to do it. What you've written will keep for far longer than an ice cube in the desert, so just keep writing.
9. Get out all your doubts before you start writing. Take the time before NaNoWriMo starts to go through your doubts about your writing abilities and your fears that you won't finish. Answer each one, and then put them away. Yes, the idea of writing 50,000 words in a single month is kind of scary. Yes, you might not have ever tried something like this before, and the very thought of attempting it makes you want to hide in a cave and hibernate through November. Get these feelings out now. It's okay to worry that you might fail. Just don't give into these fears. Take the challenge one day at a time, and know that it is okay if you fall short of the goal. Writing even a single word for this challenge is better than convincing yourself you can't succeed and so writing nothing at all.
10. Have fun. NaNoWriMo should be fun. You're the only one who can decide if the challenge was a success or failure. So write without fear of spelling errors. Ignore the cardboard cutout pretending to be the love interest. Write what you want to write, and make it the best experience you can. Editing can wait. Just have fun creating the story you wish to write.

What is NaNoWriMo? It stands for National Novel Writing Month, and is a challenge to write 50,000 word novel in a month, and takes place in November. It may seem a little crazy, but people all over the world take part in the challenge and have a lot of fun. So if you've ever wanted to write a book but haven't had the courage to begin, or simply want a challenge for your next completed outline, why not give NaNoWriMo a try?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Sparks of a Fire


Fire.
Burning. Bursting through the night,
engulfing all it sees in light.
Flames.
Dancing, twirling round and round,
in a futile attempt to escape becoming one of the drowned.
Embers.
Sputtering amongst the dying light,
their heat cools slowly as they try to continue the fight.
Sparks.
Flickering from where they flew to the outer edge,
from where they smolder comes their pledge.
To the fire and flames and embers they cry.
Their vibrant memory shall never die.
So long as there remains a single spark,
 none shall ever forget their part.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Words that rhyme with tide


1. Abide.
2. Coincide.
3. Bride.
4. Lied.
5. Deride.
6. Confide.
7. Reside.
8. Stupefied.
9.  Modified.
10. Collide.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Fiendishly Clever Plan



The plan began without much fuss. A few children set loose in the dining hall, while others were directed to where the adult had gathered in the library.
Much ruckus and mayhem began, with the adults and servants driven nearly out of their wits at how much trouble children could cause. Books sent flying through the air with inexperienced hover charms, fine silverware turned to toads and fluttering bats.
A spectacular distraction, greater than any other that had graced the walls of Wittingful.
With the adults fully occupied, the next phase could begin.
For that, the hounds were unleashed.
Along with one terrified cat.
Frightful yowls and tremendous barks brought chaos to the kitchen. Cooks were forced to abandon their fine delicacies in an effort to protect those same delicacies from certain ruin.
All might have gone well for the cooks, if not for one long-legged mutt with a penchant for chewing hats.
The short chief cook swelled in furious outrage as the kleptomaniacal hound leapt and snatched his tall white hat off the cook's meticulously groomed head.
"After that hat!" The chief cook bellowed, leading the charge out of the kitchen and after the hat-snatching mutt. The other cooks had little choice but to follow, for they had no desire to work with a chief cook who'd be enraged at them for not getting his hat back.
So the cat and the hounds were left to themselves in the kitchen.
Until a warbling whistle brought the hounds to a halt.
Quickly, a small figure shot into the kitchen and directly to the dessert table.
Cookies, cakes, glazed candies, and other delectable treats were sent flying down the hall and into the open dumbwaiter, carefully stacked to allow the most to fit without being crushed.
Once filled, the small figure closed the dumbwaiter's door and gave two more warbling whistles.
The hounds still in the kitchen resumed their rampage.
On the third floor, another figure with long braided hair saw a light flash twice out in the starlit garden. Moving to the dumbwaiter, she opened the door and began hefting on the rope.
Up, up, the dumbwaiter rose, until it finally arrived to the third floor.
Another hover charm saw the tasty treats again flying through the air, this time to slip into a dark playroom.
There, the desserts were skillfully hidden in various caches, until no trace of the pilfered delectables remained.
Much later, when the hounds had been herded, books shelved, and the toad and bats restored to silverware, a group gathered in the play room. Youthful faces displayed devious delight as the children of the house distributed part of one cache to each member of their little group.
"Excellent plan, Jack." The girl with the long braid told a small boy.
The boy smiled, a cunning smirk that would have any adult cautious should they ever see it. "'Twas child's play, Margaret. Training the hounds without their handlers catching on to the new commands was the hard part."
"Still, brother dear, the plan was a success." Margaret lifted her little cake, and the other children around the room lifted their treats as well. "To our next plot."
"May it play out just as smoothly." Jack said, lifting his cookie for just a moment before taking a bite.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Potato dishes


1. Mashed potatoes and gravy.
2. Potatoes au gratin.
3. Baked potatoes.
4. Fish and chips.
5. Hashed browns.
6. Potato soup.
7. Potato pancakes.
8. Potato salad.
9. Cheddar and bacon potato skins.
10. Potato casserole.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Sally Swell


What if every day you woke to a new world?
A world where everyone seemed to know you, but you knew no-one?
Could you live a life where nothing ever stayed the same?
Not even your name?
I have to. Every time I fall asleep, I wake to a new world. The only way to stay in a world is to stay awake.
No rest, not even a five minute nap.
If I do, I lose everything.
Right now I'm a girl named Sally Swell, who lives in a small town where everyone knows everyone. These places are some of the hardest to blend into, because of my lack of knowledge.
So instead of going to school, I played sick.
"Are you sure you'll be okay?" The woman I assumed was Sally's mother asked, wide brown eyes full of a love and concern I felt guilty receiving. I wasn't Sally, couldn't be Sally.
Offering a fit of hacking coughs that sounded horrible, I gave a feeble nod. "I'll try to sleep."
"I'll only be a phone call away if you need me." The woman said, brushing some of Sally's long blonde hair back tenderly before she turned and left.
I waited ten minutes to be sure she was gone, then got out of bed. Sally seemed pretty tall, and it took a bit of getting used to after having been a short goblin yesterday.
Moving through the house, I found a computer and turned it on. I didn't know if Sally would remember what I did during this day, or if there even was a girl named Sally Swell. Perhaps she wasn't real.
Perhaps none of the people I've been were real.
As a child, I'd hadn't had a hard time adjusting to being a different person each day. I hadn't realized there was anything odd about it. I'd simply wake up and do whatever the adult nearby wanted me to do. I'd answered to any name, because I'd thought everyone had multiple names.
Being in a different body hadn't mattered either, for I'd thought everyone changed what they looked like while they slept.
And the different locations didn't matter, for I loved being able to play in a new place every day.
But with age came realization.
As those around me stopped seeming amused at my vast imagination and began insisting I "act normal". As birthdays became something I realized were only supposed to happen once a year. As people stopped accepting that I didn't know their name.
I didn't know what I was supposed to.
I wasn't who they thought I was.
Who I thought I was.
Even now as I search the internet for something new to study, I don't know who I am.
Am I Sally Swell? Viperos Snaggletooth? Gina Clove?
I have memories of being hundreds of people, each a mere glimpse into a life I am denied.
People have looked at me with loving eyes, and shouted their rage from across a battlefield.
I've seen how people should act as a best friend, but never actually had a friend of my own.
All I seem able to take with me is knowledge.
And so for today, Sally Swell will study baking.
When I fall asleep, Sally Swell will be no more.
But I'll know how to make apple pie.

Friday, October 7, 2016

How to control a cat


1. Bribe it. Bribery works pretty well once you figure out the cat's favorite food. But beware; for once the cat knows you control the food, it will constantly annoy you with pleas for more.
2. Catnip. This is a somewhat risky method, because while some cats are calmed by catnip, others go crazy around the stuff.
3. With a hair brush. Many cats enjoy being brushed, and can grow quite docile afterwards.
4. Talk to it. A cat is more likely to listen to a familiar voice than that of a stranger.
5. Be kind. Cats are smart, and remember when someone has hurt it (even if it was simply stattled from a nap), and will normally avoid contact with that person whenever possible.
6. With a string. Simply drag a sting behind you as you walk, and you may soon find yourself being chased by the cat.
7. Reward good behavior. If the cat does something you like, make sure the cat knows it. If you do, then the cat may be more inclined to repeat the behavior.
8. Make time for the cat. If you spend time with the cat, the cat may decide it likes your company.
9. Pet it often. Cats love to receive a good stroking, and so being sure to pet the cat is a good way to win its affection. Just beware of those spots that will make the cat decide to bite your hand.
10. Love it. A cat who os loved is more controllable than a cat who has only known fear.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Chase


The cat was quick. Too quick to be caught in time.
Yet still the dog chased after it, paws pounding against the hard earth as he panted and tried to keep the orange tabby in sight.
The dog knew he couldn't afford to lose the cat. If he did, then the dog's world would be destroyed.
The entirety of canine kind was threatened by the thing on that cat's collar, and if it managed to get into the catacombs, then the dog would have failed.
Failed in a mission he should have even been on.
Failed to protect everything that he loved.
His fellow dogs, the amazing world he'd just barely been permitted a glimpse into.
And most of all; his boy.
His amazing boy, who didn't even know where his dog was right now.
Chasing a cat that could destroy everything.
The entrance to the catacombs was just ahead, and the cat self-satisfied tail flick spurred the dog to move faster.
Faster.
Draw out every last bit of strength, and lunge.
The cat yowled.

When little Joey opened the door, and found himself facing a very stern-looking Mrs. Clementine.
"Your horrible mutt attacked poor Mister Snuggles again." The elderly lady said, her voice a frightening mix of grandmotherly warble and the crisp command of a general to her troops. A waggling puppy was promptly held out to Joey, who quickly grabbed it and started mumbling apologies. The old lady didn't seem convinced, but she simply gave a huff and left.
Joey looked down at his puppy. "You've gotta stop going after that tabby, Super. Next time Mrs. Clementine will demand that papa chain you up."
The Super the puppy wiggled in Joey's arms, opening his mouth and dropping a chewed-up bell as the boy closed the front door,

All was well. His boy was safe, and the cat defeated.
At least for today, the dog could rest peacefully and play fetch with his boy.

Friday, September 30, 2016

For flowers


1. As a colorful centerpiece. Almost any room can be made a little brighter by the simple addition of a few flowers.
2. As a get-well gift. Many flowers not only look pretty, but smell nice too. These two qualities can often help someone feel better.
3. Flowers can catch the attention of others. When you appear with a bunch of flowers, people notice.
4. They can show how you feel. Different flowers carry different meanings; and to those who know those meanings, the type of flower matters.
5. Flowers normally have a pleasing scent. A flower in the pocket of your shirt will probably smell better than that garlic and onion sandwich you just finished eating.
6. A flower can entertain you. Be it a snapdragon, a dandelion, or a long-stemmed rose, a flower can provide you with a surprisingly large amount of laughs.
7. They can let others know how much you care. A gift of flowers can let someone know of your love, your regret, or simply of your admiration.
8. Flowers can make someone feel special. Being able to make someone smile can be worth the price of some colorful petals.
9. They can inspire creativity. Whether you paint, sketch, write, or simply dream, a flower can fill you with ideas.
10. Flowers are pretty. Sometimes all you need is to look outside and see all the different flowers in bloom.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Medusa


What sort of life can you lead, when you can never meet another's eyes?
Kinship fades, and those who might have been a friend flees.
Trapped with only the hissing of your own thoughts, you flee from the torturous reminders of the life you could have had, had you not been cursed with a petrifying gaze,
Secluded, you while away each day in a bitter attempt to cling to what sanity you still have.
How could any stay sane with that hissing constantly in their ears?
Bitterness bleeds steadily into an agonizing denial, which in turn coagulates into rage.
Rage which is then aimed at all who intrude upon your sanctuary.
To those who dare try an destroy what little you've managed to create amidst the encroaching madness, no mercy is shown.
They become monuments to your solitude, yet another reminder of the curse you've been afflicted with.
You avoid their terrified gazes, as they should have avoided yours.
Then the day comes when one of them thinks himself smarter then those who'd come before.
And you've grown so tired of the constant hissing, the terrified reminders, and the aching loneliness thrumming through it all.
So when you see yourself reflected in his shield, you pretend for just a moment that his plan was successful.
That your own gaze would actually betray you.
And then you feel his blade cut in, and realize that you've fantasied a moment too long.
Instead of an instant of petrifaction, all the agony bleeds away as the hissing finally stops.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Elegant animals


1. Cats. Most cats carry themselves with grace and dignity. Those elite felines tend to ignored their disgraceful kin who are prone to tripping over their own paws.
2. Crocodiles. Whether on land or in the water, each movement a crocodile makes is cafefully calculated.
3. Spiders. You might expect spiders to stumble about on all those legs, but they know what it takes to weave a perfect web.
4. Bats. If you'll take some time to watch a bat flutter about catching bugs and afterward dive down to skim a pond's surface to get a drink, then you've seen how elegant bats can be.
5. Peacocks. A peacock is certainly a sight when his tail feathers are fanned out to impress a peahen. Just try to ignore his cries for help should he be startled.
6. Snakes. A snake slithers in such a way that can either be called elegant or frightening, depending on how you view such a cold-blooded creature.
7. Deer. Dainty, cautious steps as the doe leads her fawn out of the safety of the trees and into a meadow. The proud tilt of an antlered head before a buck prances away. Deer can be graceful creatures, if caught at the right moment.
8. Fish. Yes, some are strange in appearance, but the way that a fish glides effortlessly through the water is wonderful.
9. Dogs. A well-trained dog moves with precision and very little wasted movement. It can be interesting to watch how long a dog will wait before taking that final lunge to begin its chase of a rabbit.
10. Birds of prey. Soaring high in the sky, barely a speck to the eye. Then it dives, gathering speed as it hurtles ever closer to its target. Birds of prey are fascinating to watch hunt.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A New Friend


Reading can be lots of fun. Some books are little, and can be read at a run.
Others are longer, and seem more like a marathon.
But if you keep at a good pace, then you'll feel no exhaustion during this race.
For the words on each page will carry you along.
From sentence to sentence, then paragraph to paragraph.
Soon you'll find yourself chapters deep, with even more discoveries just waiting to be reaped.
And when you are finished, and the final page has been read.
You need never dread those two words: The End.
For though that book is done, your journey in reading is never through.
There are plenty new books awaiting you.
So when you are ready to dive back in, you will never be without a new friend.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Things that seem to take forever



1. Waiting in line. You're just standing there. Waiting. You take a step, and then have to wait some more.
2. Cooking food. Be it on the stove, in the oven, or even in the microwave, when you're hungry, the time is far too long between the prep work and getting food on your plate.
3. Chores. They are never over. You just keep going on and on, without any end in sight.
4. The toaster. It keeps you in constant suspense, and eventually you start wondering if your toast will ever pop up.
5. Homework. When it comes time to do any kind of homework, suddenly anything else sounds better to do. Yet you have to do it, and each piece of homework takes an endless amount of time to complete.
6. Threading a needle. You aim the thread carefully at the needle's eye. And miss. You try again, and miss again. And if your thread starts to unravel, then it will take even longer.
7. Answering questions. If you are nervous, then trying to remember the answer to a question can be a terrifying experience that stretches on endlessly.
8. For the final bell. If you're sitting in your last class, watching for the bell to ring and signal that you may go home, then the time for that bell to ring will never seem to come.
9. Finding shoes. Sure, you can find two shoes, but do they match?
10. Conversations. Is there any end to them, or will you be trapped there forever listening to a friend ramble on and on about pizza toppings?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Glass of Water


I'd been told three things when hired to patrol this prison.
First, to never spend too much time near any of the prisoners.
Second, that eating on the job would get me fired.
And third, to never, ever, give prisoner three-hundred-sixty-three a glass of water.
I'd broken rule one after my sister's brother-in-law got locked up for stealing a royal rooster. Because really, what harm could passing on his mother's scolding message that he'd earned every month that he would spend in here, since anyone would an ounce of sense would have gone for one of the hens, and would have waited for the proper moment, instead of barging into the royal roosts in the middle of the day, during the annual celebration of chickens.
My sister certainly married into an odd family.
Rule two was broken all the time by my fellow guards, and no-one had been fired for it yet.
So that's why I'm eating now. Breakfast was quite some time ago, and lunch went by without even a nibble. So I'd given in when a fellow guard, Rupert, offered me some grapes.
So here I am, walking down dimly lit corridors, and plucking grapes off one by one as I do my rounds.
By the time I plucked the last grape, I was pretty thirsty.
So I got a glass of water at the next guardroom I passed, waving away the laughter of another guard as he warned me not to let our superiors catch me with that in the three-hundreds.
I'd finished off most of the glass by the time I reached the door of prisoner three-hundred-sixty-three.
And for the first time, I heard something move from within that room.
"Wait," the voice was barely a rasp, yet something in it made me stop.
I contemplated responding, but that would be a wonderful way to beg for one of my superiors to come around the corner and catch me breaking two rules at once.
"I know you must have your orders, but there's been a mistake." The voice rasped again, and I could picture some old, hollowed shell of a man that must be the source of the voice. It did get a bit tiring, patrolling a prison where they never had you check on the prisoners. Who fed them? We guards never did, that much I knew.
"I'm not the one they want. My brother was at fault, not I." The voice continued to rasp, and I caught a flicker of movement from behind the barred window set in the door.
I took a step closer, squinting in the dim light to make out features that stuck me as off.
The figure in three-hundred-sixty-three didn't seem to be an old shell at all. The longer I stood there squinting to make out some detail, the more I found.
This prisoner was surprisingly young for how long I'd heard that this cell had been occupied. Young, with a curtain of straggly black hair and large eyes the color of sea foam. A pretty face, despite the dry, flaky skin and cracked lips.
And most surprising, this prisoner was a girl. A young girl, scarcely old enough to have done anything worth being thrown in here.
Well, I suppose if one could be locked up for attempted rooster theft, then a young girl could be imprisoned.
"Your brother?" I'd asked the question before I'd realized it, and quickly glanced down the corridor.
"Yes. He's always getting into trouble, with a whistling warble that would drive any maiden mad." The girl rasped, her eyes flickering as they caught the light. "He planed this, you know."
I frowned. "Planned what?"
She shook her head and offered a painful sounding laugh. "For me to be locked in here. Far away from my home, from the carefree waves and crying gulls." Her raspy voice gained a wistful tone, and she sighed.
If she told the truth, then her brother must have a lot of power. Or money.
Of course, she could be lying.
I didn't know enough about any of the prisoners to know if they lied.
Maybe that's why we weren't supposed to talk with them.
The girl gave a horrible, hacking cough. Her coughs continued for quite a while, and I wondered if they were the source of her raspy voice. Probably caught something down here, in the cold and the dark.
"Please," The girl's voice was weak, and her entire frame trembled like a sapling in a storm. "Might I have something to drink?"
Something to drink. Such a simple thing. Everyone needed to drink something at some point. It couldn't hurt anything to let the girl drink.
Could it?
My arm was outstretched before I'd made up my mind to give her my glass. The moment it came within reach, she snatched it like a dog snatched a meaty treat from midair.
She greedily drank, though there wasn't much left in the cup.
Then she began to change.
The flakiness of her skin smoothed, her chapped lips became moist, plump, and red. Suddenly she wasn't so little, and couldn't be called such a childish term as girl.
"The door is made from wood." She spoke, and it was such a melodic tone that it had to be called song. "Take that torch from the wall, and burn it down for me."
I moved, grabbing the torch from its place with ease. As I approached the door, I paused.
Why should I burn the door? It was there to keep this woman, this prisoner, contained.
Why was I listening to her?
"Burn the door. Come to my aid, and receive your reward." The woman sang, each word beckoning me to her.
The door burned.
So quickly it burned. Such fierce flames, despite the dark dampness of the prison.
I coughed, the smoke burning my eyes.
But I couldn't leave.
Not while she sang for me to come.
When enough of the door had burned, I broke the rest down with some well-placed kicks. My foot hurt, and there were burnt holes on my boot, but that didn't matter.
I'd made it to her.
The woman looked at me, her sea foam eyes and plump red lips almost as seductive as her song.
Closer, come closer.
She placed a hand on my check, and it was cold.
So cold.
Like a lake in winter, when the ice cracks.
Her song faded as her lips parted in a smile.
A toothy smile. that widened impossibly as her jaws stretched wide to reveal row upon row of serrated teeth.
Those teeth tore into me before the silence could reclaim the sanity that her song had stolen, and so I couldn't even scream.

Friday, September 9, 2016

For libraries


1. Books. Adventure awaits you within those pages. Or perhaps you are seeking a fantastic romance? Fear not (unless you enjoy scary stories)! The library has many, many books, and there is sure to be one that is just right for you.
2. Local events. The library is a wonderful place to go if you're looking for a event to attend. Movie nights, book clubs, activities for children, the library hosts all kinds of events for their local community.
3. Study rooms. You can reserve a study room at your local library. In it, you could host a book club, writing group, tutoring session, or even study.
4. You could learn something new. A library is full of knowledge. It can be found there in books, workshops, lectures, galleries, activities, and sometimes simply by asking a librarian.
5. Libraries have computers. So if for some reason you need access to a computer, the library can help you get to one.
6. They are excellent places to think. Do you know what one of the best things about libraries is? They're quiet. That means you can just sit back, relax, and think. All without having to tune out the noisy sounds of everyday life.
7. People. Going to the library means that you can meet new friends with the bonus of giving them recommend to you by your favorite books. That can make for a wonderful review!
8. You'll find movies and music there too. Not really into books? Well then, why not go check out a movie or cd? Because the library is filled with so much more than books.
9. Libraries are family-friendly. From young children to aged grandfathers, the library has something for each member of your family.
10. A library card is free. So what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Starless Night


The starlight faded from view when the aliens arrived.
No longer would stars light the night, nor would the gentle caress of the moon fill the meadow.
The night sky holds nothing but fright now.
Never gaze at the night sky, or they will come for you.
Silently, without even a flicker of shadow to warn of their coming.
Until their eerie green glow fills the room, and a silhouette unlike that of any earthly being appears through your window.
There is nowhere to hide.
Nowhere the night sky cannot find you.
Even the strongholds beneath the earth are falling now.
Crumbling beneath the might of the starless night.
Beware the night.
And fear for the day when those unearthly creatures dim our final light.
That dreadful day, when at last the mighty rays of our stalwart sun are consumed.
And the day becomes as black as the alien night.
And the only light left will be feared.
For it will be a green glow.
A green glow to signal humanity's destruction.

Friday, September 2, 2016

To have a friend


1. It gives you someone to talk to. It is almost always better to talk to a friend than to talk to a rubber duck. After all, your friend can talk back. A rubber duck can only quack so much before you crack.
2. You'll always have a good laugh. Friends are funny. They know how to make you laugh, and you know just what to do to make them chuckle.
3. Because it is hard to be sad around your best friend. Best friends have this thing, you see, about their friend being sad. That's not allowed. If your friend realizes that you are unhappy, then be prepared to be cheered up. Friends can do that, because they know just what to do to bring out your smile.
4. You'll always have a helping hand. Whenever a friend needs help, you can find a friend striving to provide just what is needed. Because friends are there for one another.
5. The fun will rarely end. Friends are fun. They know just what to do to have a great time, be it searching through the stacks at the library, watching a movie, playing games, or something insanely strange, friends know how to have fun.
6. Friends share. Food, books, cute hats, friends are normally willing to share what they have. Unless it's the last cookie, of course. Then things become a free-for-all.
7. You'll never have to worry about an inflated ego. Friends have this knack for keeping one another's heads from becoming too large, which is extremely useful when it comes to walking through narrow doorways.
8. You'll always have support for your crazy scheme. A friend is always there when you start to doubt your goals. Is it out of your reach? Not if your friend has anything to say about it!
9. Friends can help you to improve. A good friend can draw out the best parts of you. They can see your potential, and usually won't let that potential slip by without you noticing it.
10. With a friend, you won't have to sit alone. Because sometimes all a friend needs to do is sit beside you in a crowded place.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Door at the end of every dream


The dream always ended the same.
I'd get to the door, open it, and be blasted with a bolt of magic before my eyes could adjust to the flood of light on the other side.
It wouldn't both me so much if the rest of the dream stayed the same as well.
But no. Each time, I'm filled with this urgent need to get to that door, to get to whatever is on the other side. Sometimes I have to fight monsters, other times I pick my way through devious traps. The dream normally takes place over the span of a day, but I wonder if it would stretch through another day if I tried to go slower.
Or would I finally get a new ending, where my quest is cut short before I can get blasted by a magic from the other side of the door?
I don't know.
I think I have companions in the dream, but I've never seen them. It feels like I should have companions when I'm in the dream.
And another thing about this dream. It's so vivid. I can remember everything about it, long after I've woken up and gone through the day. I'm pretty sure that dreams are supposed to fade from your mind, or at least get a little fuzzy around the edges. I used to have dreams that would fade.
Now I only have the one.
The reoccurring dream that is never the same until the very end.
Besides, how many dreams have you had where you know that they're dreams? I always know in this one, underneath the urgent need, that it is the dream.
Sometimes the dream is so similar in form to other versions of the dream, that I can run through it on autopilot.
Like now.
I've dodged through the traps, traversed the maze, and finally reached the door.
Moving up the dimly lit steps, I have plenty of time to admire the dark wood and the iron framing it in the stone wall.
The gargoyle knocker fits in my hand like a well-loved brush by now, its every curve familiar to me.
I bang the knocker against the door once. Twice.
On the third knock, I let go and step back as the door swings toward me.
The light is blinding, my eyes watering as I strain to see something. Anything.
I wait for the bolt of magic to sear a path through my heart.
But instead of a bolt, there's a shadow.
"I am tired of going through this routine every night," a voice groans as the shadow solidifies into the form of a girl. As I squint at her, she glares and folds her arms. "So. Out with it. What do you want, hero?"
I step through the doorway, rubbing my chest as the urgent feeling fades. "I don't know. Usually I get shot with a bolt of magic and wake up by now."
The girl takes a step back as she laughs. "Wake up? This isn't some dream. Though how you keep surviving a my attacks unscathed is an answer I'd really like to have."
I frown at her. "Of course this is a dream. It's always been a dream."
Hasn't it?
No, it has to be a dream. I couldn't actually travel to some weird fantasy-land just to painfully die each night when I fall asleep.
"I don't know about your dreams, but in mine, I don't annoyingly show up from within the dungeon every night just to stand outside the door and patiently wait for someone to zap me through the heart." The girl shook her head as she sat down at a simple wooden table. "That'd be a painfully boring dream."
"Well, I don't just show up outside the door." I said, shifted my feet. I didn't want to sit and get comfortable, since the dream should have ended by now. But I was tired from dodging traps. "I usually have to go through traps and other stuff first."
The girl laughed. "What else would you expect from the dungeon?"
For it to be a dream. That's what it had always been, right?
Wasn't that what this was now?
What would I do if this wasn't a dream?

Friday, August 26, 2016

For a buffer


1. You won't have to worry about forgetting to post. Unless you forget to add to your buffer.
2. You'll have time to review each post with fresh eyes before it is published.
3. So you can go on vacation with the knowledge that people might not even notice you left.
4. You'll be able to properly plan for holiday-themed posts.
5. If your computer breaks, you'll have one less reason to cry.
6. You won't have to worry about posting weird ideas because you had to write a post while sick.
7. You can enjoy a nice breakfast while the post is automatically published.
8. No longer will you wake up in the middle of the night with the dreaded question, "Did I post something today?"
9. Because it means you can focus on other writing projects.
10. Because then you can enjoy your posts whenever they are scheduled to be published.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Frantic Flight



The world was dark. Not a sound broke the night's calm.
Until the patter of paws in the brush, crunching brittle leaves in a frantic flight from some unheard threat. For only those paws broke the silence. Nothing else crunched through the undergrowth, nor did wings beat through the air.
A single set of frantic paws, clattering in fright from some unknown danger.
A glimpse of cream fur, of long ears pressed flat against a velvety head.
What is it running from?
For surely a creature in such flight must be running from something.
Clouds shift, and moonlight shines down onto the cream creature. It stumbles, tumbling head over feet in a frantic attempt to stop.
But the cream rabbit falls onto its shadow, which stretches before it like a gaping maw.
And in the steady beam of moonlight, the shadow shudders to life.
The cream rabbit struggles against its shadow.
Noise fills the wood, as the rabbit cries out.
Silence falls.
In the flickering moonlight, a shadow slinks into the gathering darkness beneath the trees as a tuft of cream fur settles to the leaf-covered ground.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Things dragons don't eat



1. Broccoli. Because even a dragon can be afraid of vegetables.
2. Kittens. A dragon knows better then to eat the young of a species whose entire army has nine lives.
3. Homework. Why would a dragon eat your homework, yet not eat you?
4. The moon. Dragons know that contrary to popular belief, the moon is not made of cheese.
5. Spiders. Cleaning webs out from between your teeth is far too annoying for any dragon to consider spiders worth munching.
6. Armor. Crunchy metal isn't very tasty, but the soft insides are worth the time it takes to melt the armor.
7. Dragon's bane. Because really, what dragon would want to eat something that promised to be its bane?
8. Mirrors. If the mirror was consumed, then what would the dragon spend time studying its reflection in?
9. Princesses. They're much too fattening, and so full of tears that they'll extinguish a dragon's inner fire.
10. Gold. Because who would want to eat their bed?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Doctor Steven Sweet


Dr Steven Sweet never thought anything was as important as dentistry. When he got the invitation to his sister Susan's wedding, he almost didn't go. What would his patients do while he was stuck on a ship for three weeks?
But he loved his sister, and so Steven went on the cruise.
The wedding was an unusual ceremony, what with the groom being some famous actor Steven had never heard of (since he was more interested in studying tooth decay than watching action films).
But as those weeks passed, Steven found himself drawn in by life on a cruise ship.
The salty sea, the motion of the ship.
He loved it. Almost as much as he loved a complicated root canal.
So by the end of those three weeks, Steven came to a decision.

He would figure out some way to either practice dentistry on a cruise ship, or find some other job that would let him sail the seas to his heart's content.

Friday, August 12, 2016

For cleaning



1. Because it gives you something to work on.
2. So that it will be easier to find things.
3. It gives you a chance to sort through your stuff.
4. Because afterwards you'll have more space for books.
5. It can be a creative way to exercise.
6. You'll be able to redecorate while you clean.
7. Because you might be happier after everything is cleaned.
8. While cleaning, you could finally figure out the answer to a problem you're working on.
9. You could find something that you lost.
10. Because sometimes cleaning can be relaxing.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Strange New Parking Lot


The little piece of gravel was once part of a road. The road was worn by many years of cars driving on it, and a piece of gravel broke free. It sat atop the road it was once a part of, until a car caught it in its wheel. Then the piece of gravel went for a ride. Around, and around, and around. Up and down, being wedged deeper and deeper into the wheel. It clicked against the road, greeting its fellows who still maintained their purpose as part of the road. The car eventually stopped, and the driver pulled out a pick. The pick caught the piece of gravel and sent it flying away, to land on the ground of a strange new parking lot.

Friday, August 5, 2016

How to entertain a child



1. Watch a movie. This seems tobwork best if you let the child pick what movie to watch.
2. Play with toys. Be they dolls, dinosaurs, cars, or another type of toy, the child will have fun if you get on the floor and play with them.
3. Bring out the pets. Most children love animals, and so will be greatly entertain by whatever kind of pet you might have. Just be sure that your pet will accept having a child close to it first.
4. Cook something. Lots of children enjoy getting in the kitchen, even if they do tend to make more of a mess than a batch of cookies.
5. Read together. Books are great entertainment for both you and a child. You can both even take turns making up voices for each character.
6. Let them play outside. Children and the outdoors often make a good match, so why not let them run off some of that endless energy?
7. Work on a craft. Be it painting a rock or tying knots in some yarn, there are plenty of crafts that a child can do.
8. Go on a scavenger hunt. Just make them a list of some goodies you've hidden, and watch them tear up the house in their search.
9. Play a game. It doesn't really matter what the game is, so long as both you and the child have fun.
10. Ask what they want to do. After all, why try and figure out ways to entertain a child when they can just tell you what works?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Keys in the Sand


The keys, oh, where were the keys? The bride slipped on the sand, her heels not made for such a loose surface. She was supposed to be getting married today. Married on the beach, to the greatest guy she'd ever met.
But she'd shown up on the wrong beach. And now she'd lost her keys.
Bending down, she tried her best to dig through the sand without getting her dress too dirty. She shifted her weight, and that treacherous sand slid underneath her heel.
Down she fell. Sand itched against her arms, in her hair. Everywhere.
Who's idea was it to get married on the beach?
And on a beach whose name was so similar to another beach, thirteen miles away!
She had to find those keys. Find the keys, get in the car, and drive to the right beach.
Oh, she hoped her groom wouldn't think she'd gotten cold feet.
It would shatter her to break his heart.
There! A glint of metal.
The car keys!
She scooped them up, scrambling to her feet. Sand fell, while other grains stubbornly clung to her.
She grinned wildly, holding up the keys.
Her grin faltered.
Lowering her hand, she stared at the keys.

“These aren't mine!”

Friday, July 29, 2016

Party foods



1. Chicken drumsticks.
2. Baked potatoes.
3. Cake.
4. Popcorn.
5. Ice cream.
6. Chips.
7. Soda.
8. Cookies.
9. Watermelon.
10. Candy.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Red Wax, Yellow Beauty


Leaning. Forever leaning and twisting with the air's movement. Red wax puddles beneath, weakened by the heat of the flame's desire. Higher, ever higher it reaches, straining against the wick that is both a source of life and a reminder of its imprisonment. All around, reflections of a vibrant, yellow beauty flicker on the circular glass. The wax spreads ever further, releasing a scent of cinnamon that mocks the flame's efforts as it drifts upwards to freedom. If the fire were to burn long enough, then the wax would vanish, the wick be consumed, and the glass crack under the its might. But it will not be long before I replace the lid, and that wondrous little flame will dim, turn smaller and smaller, then let out one last puff of smoke as it dies.

Friday, July 22, 2016

To double check your work


1. So you can catch any mistakes.
2. Because you might have forgotten to add something.
3. Because otherwise you might accidentally turn in the wrong assignment.
4. So that you'll more easily remember it.
5. Because if you don't check it, who will?
6. So you don't get embarrassed by giving it to the wrong person.
7. Because it gives you a chance to make changes.
8. Because it can be fun.
9. It can help you to relax if you're worried about it being incorrect.
10. It means you have one last chance to make it better than it was before.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Butcher's Cat


There once were three blind mice, who were not very nice.
They played mean jokes on the butcher's cat, who was never allowed to get them back.
For these three mice belonged to the butcher's wife, who could not stand the sight of strife.
So these three mice had lots of fun, and the butcher's cat was blamed for all the troubles they'd done.
But there came a day late in May, when the butcher's cat figured out how to make things go her way.
She gathered up thistles, and porcupine bristles.
The butcher's cat set up a trap, and waited patiently for it to snap.
Those three blind mice strolled past it twice.
Then thrice.
The trap sprang, the neighbor's dog howled in pain.
The neighbor's dog was in such a state, that no one noticed what it ate.
And the butcher's wife was the one who paid the price.
For no matter how hard she searched, she was unable to find her three blind mice.

Friday, July 15, 2016

What to avoid when sick


1. Camping. Being out in the wilderness when sick isn't very smart. If you push yourself too hard, it could be hard to find help.
2. Milk. When you are congested, milk just makes it worse.
3. Being out in the rain. Even if you love to dance about in puddles, getting soaked won't help you to get feeling better.
4. Spicy foods. Sometimes when you are sick, spicy or well seasoned foods can sit wrong on your stomach.
5. Others who could catch your cold. When you are sick, there is a chance you could get others sick. So when possible, avoid people with weakened immune systems, the elderly, and the very young.
6. Stressful situations, Stress does not help you to get better quicker. Avoid things that cause you stress, and you might get better faster.
7. Staying up too late. A body that is fighting an illness needs enough energy to fight, and so you need to be sure to get enough rest.
8. Not eating. Sure, food might be the most disgusting thought to have when sick, but if you don't at least try to eat something, then your body won't have any fuel to fight the sickness.
9. Running out of medicine. Medicine is a wonderful thing, and it can help you to overcome illnesses faster. It you take it, that is.
10. Things that require a lot of concentration. It can be hard to think properly when sick. So whenever possible, try to avoid situations that could make your head hurt worse.