Friday, April 29, 2016

For a garden

1. Because then you have to spend some time outside every day.
2. So you can enjoy fruits and vegetables that you personally grew.
3. Because flowers can be pretty.
4. It will give the cat somewhere to hide from scary birds.
5. Because your dog already dug some holes for you. Wasn't that thoughtful?
6. It means your kids have a chance to play in the dirt and not get in trouble for it!
7. It can make the yard look nice.
8. Sitting by a garden can be relaxing.
9. Because it is a rewarding experiece to see a seed grow into a strong, healthy plant, and know that you had a hand in helping it grow.
10. Because it could make you happy.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Worth a Thousand

The photographer knew the value of his photos.
Sure, he hadn't yet sold a single one, but they were worth a thousand.
One thousand words.
For that is what he found on the back of every photo he took and then personally developed.
Sometimes the words were gibberish.
Sometimes they were dull.
But the best, the absolute best, were simply fantastic.
And he'd figured out that if he took a bunch of photos in one area at the same time, he could get more sets of words that were related to each other.
Pulling down a photo of fireworks, he eagerly turned it over.
There they were. Words. Wonderful words written in a curly handwriting that was not his own.

The battle was fierce, and I nearly gave in to the fear that this would be our last.
The Forger has a new ally, and we a traitorous lot to now defeat.
For the dragons have altered their allegiance.
Their sudden betrayal was nearly our demise. It would have been, if your foresight hadn't prepared for one of our allies betrayal.
And so we survived the day, with less fatalities than we otherwise would have had.
But now we suffer another enemy, and must vanquish it before the next battle.
For moral has been shattered, and our remaining allies question whether we have prepared a way to combat them as well.
What would you have me do? I cannot lie and say we have not. Yet to admit such a preparation could unravel some of our weaker alliances.
And we must move camp, or else fear a rain of dragon-fire while our army is weakened.
Yet therein lies another dilemma. For there are few places near which would provide cover from the dragons, and allow us to maintain our hold on some of the more vital keeps.
So do we risk the enemy weakening our camp, or do we sacrifice some of the keeps we've been protecting?
Neither sits well with me, but we've not enough men left to protect all of the keeps if we move to any position safe from dragon attack.
I've also sent another messenger to the griffins, and one to the nymphs. Now that we can no longer rely on the dragon's, perhaps one of those groups will finally join with us. I would prefer the griffins, if only because they are the most well-versed in the dragons' weaknesses.
Of course, they will mock us endlessly for having trusted their enemy. They'll caw that they knew all along that the dragons would betray us.
Perhaps they'd be right.
If they don't join us, then hopefully the nymphs will. We could use their supernatural healing abilities, and their Protective salve against fire.
I fear the dragons will leave us as nothing but ashes without it.
But I should make an end to such depressing reports.
We did win the day's battle, after all.
My latest report from the merfolk was promising. They are holding the eastern coast, and successfully captured an enemy supply ship. They found another of those strange illustrations that contain information on the back.
It was one of Ridgerider's reports.
We've yet to find the source of these illustrations, but we will not give up the hunt.
If we can stop them, then the enemy will have one less spy in our midst.
If all goes well, the entire network will be crippled.
For how can a report that Ridgerider had barely finished penning wind up on the opposite side of the country?
Who is this illustrator, and how can we stop him?

The photographer stopped reading, a strange feeling twisting in his gut. Replacing the photograph, he moved out of his darkroom and to the filing cabinet where he kept the photos with the really interesting words.
Sorting through them, he found the one he sought.
It was of a highway, with the lights from the cars creating streaks of color that blended with the evening's dying light.
Flipping it over, he skimmed the blocky scrawl until he reached the end.

Your loyal subject,

Commander Ridgerider of the Third Legion.

The photographer gripped the photograph, his mind racing. It wasn't possible that his pictures were somehow finding their way into another world. That would be impossible.
Impossible... like a thousand words magically appearing on the back of a photograph.
He gripped the photo tighter, shaking his head. It was impossible. It had to be.
Because if it wasn't, then what damage had his photographs caused–
“No, no.” The photographer said, cutting off his thought. “I didn't do anything wrong. I just took a few photos, and developed them myself. I'm not causing any harm.”
A crash sounded from his darkroom, and the photographer turned toward it.
Another crash, and the door jerked open.
A wild woman stepped out, a sword in one hand and a photograph in the other.
A photograph with a silvery chain hanging out of it.
“Ha! Illustrator!” The woman shouted, and the photographer took a step back. The woman lunged at him, and they both fell.
The photographer groaned beneath the woman's weight, then the world gave a violent twist around them, and his office was gone.
By the time his head had finished spinning, they were somewhere with dirt floors and the stench of smoke.
“How is it done, illustrator?” The woman's voice rang from somewhere above the photographer. He looked up at the woman, and caught sight of the torn photo in her hand.
The photo of fireworks, which held the words he'd been reading in his darkroom.
Words that this woman must of penned.
Words that spoke of betrayals, and of a hunt for spies.
Words that claimed he was a spy.
The photographer swallowed, and hoped that photograph hadn't been his last.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Bugs I like

1. Spiders.
2. Butterflies.
3. Worms.
4. Scorpions.
5. Ladybugs.
6. Fireflies.
7. Damselflies.
8. Dragonflies.
9. Caterpillars.
10. Moths. (Note: I think moths are kind of cool, but due to experiences I've had with them, I completely despise any moth that comes close to me.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Snake Oil

The salesman came to town in a cheerful yellow wagon.
His clothes were dusty, but otherwise in good condition. As his two horses slowed to a stop, the salesman jumped off of the driver's perch and moved to the side of his wagon.
After a little fiddling, a panel opened up and expanded into a neat little counter coming off of the wagon and supported by a couple of spindly legs.
Smiling, the salesman went to the back of his wagon. Unlocking the door, he opened it and brought out a box full of vials.
As he carefully set them on the counter, a group began to gather near his wagon as the townspeople to notice of the stranger.
Once the vials were positioned to his liking, the salesman turned back to his wagon and hung a banner on the conveniently positioned nails.
The gathered townspeople murmered to each other as they saw what was on the banner.

Come one and all, and receive this miraculous cure-all!
Proven to restore your health, this rare remedy will revitalize your life!
Available for one day only, you'll not want to miss out on this marvelous medicine!
So come on up and buy a vial of the exquisite elixer known as Snake Oil!

The townspeople looked at the salesman, smiling from behind the counter of vials.
Then they turned, and walked away.
The salesman's smile faltered for a moment, but then he shook his head and the smile returned.
The people would come, he was sure.
The ones who needed his help always did.
So the salesman waited.
And waited.
And waited some more.
The sun soared across the sky, and was soon replaced by a brilliant moon.
And still the salesman waited.
Throughout the night, he waited for a customer to come.
In the wee hours of the morning, the salesman gave a sigh. Taking the vials, he began packing them away.
As he placed the second to last vial in the box, a small cough caught his attention.
The salesman looked around, and found a little boy staring up at him.
"Does it really work?" The boy asked, sniffing as he ran a hand under his nose.
"Why, of course it works!" The salesman exclaimed, a wide grin appearing on his face. "My Snake Oil has been known heal any ailment."
The boy gave a cough and rubbed his nose again. "Folks say snake oil is nothing but colored water."
The salesman shook his head. "No, no, my Snake Oil is a hundred percent the oil from the rare southern sepent of the desolate desert. Not a single drop has been diluted!"
The little boy frowned, sniffling as he thought.
He looked at the salesman, then the the only remaining vial on the counter.
He coughed again, and once his coughs subsided, the boy looked back at the salesman.
"How much is it?"
The saleman studied the boy, his smile shifting slightly.
"Why, it doesn't cost much at all, my fine fellow. A measly three bits, and the vial is yours."
The boy looked down at his feet, obviously uncertain. The salesman waited, his smile never wavering.
Finally, the boy looked up, wiped his nose, and nodded.
The boy dug in his pocket, and pulled out three bits.
The salesman took them, and handed the boy the small vial.
"It was a pleasure doing business with you, my fine fellow. All you need to do is drink the entire vial, and whatever ailments you've suffered will vanish."
The boy shuffled away, and the the salesman finished packing away his merchandise.
As the sun barely glinted on the eastern edge of the sky, the yellow wagon rolled out of town, and the boy unstoppered the vial.
Taking a raspy breath, he tilted it back and drank down the contents.
They were foul tasting, but he swallowed every last drop.
And as he lowered the now empty vial, the boy found that his chest felt lighter, his each breath easier, and that his nose no longer ran uncontrollably.

Friday, April 15, 2016

For a tiny house

1. As a guest house. Do you often have your in-laws over, but don't want to have them in your house? A tiny house can provide them with an enjoyable space that will keep them coming back to visit!
2. As a vacation spot. Having a little place to go to whenever you have time off can be very nice.
3. So that you always have your home with you. Some tiny houses are small enough that you can tow them yourself. So if you always have an itch to be on the road, then this is the home for you!
4. As a work area. Have little kids over all the time, but have work stuff that you don't want them getting into? A tiny house can keep both the children and your work safe.
5.They can be affordable. A tiny house can sometimes be more affordable than a regular house, which can be nice for a first time homeowner.
6. They are often customizable. Need more storage? Full size appliances? Many tiny houses can be built to your specifications.
7. They take less time to build than a regular house.
8.They make you think about your possessions. Because tiny houses are small, it means that you have to think more about whether something is worth keeping, or even worth buying.
9. It gives you something to talk about. Whenever you need a conversation topic, you'll be able to talk about your tiny house.
10. They're normally well built. Because a lot of tiny houses are mobile, they are built to withstand the trials of travel.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Raging monsters

Monsters raged around the room. They leaped onto the dresser, and crashed into the bookshelf. No area was safe from their rampage.
The little boy shivered and gripped his blanket tighter. Surely the monsters couldn't get him in his bed.
The little monster pounced, and the boy let out a squeak as he tugged the blanket over his head. The little monster landed right on top of the blanket.
A moment passed, then there was a thump as the larger monster landed on the bed.
"Help!" The little boy cried, and felt the bed shift as the monsters moved closer to him.
The blanket was pulled away from his face, and something cold and wet touched his nose.
Suddenly, light filled the room, blinding the little boy.
As he blinked away spots, a black fur and brown eyes filled his view.
"Jimmy, we've already told you, no animals on the bed!" The little boy's mother said, her hand hovering over the light switch.
"They aren't animals, they're monsters!" The little boy named Jimmy protested. The black lab licked his nose again, and the annoyed cat took it as his chance to flee out of the room.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Caring for a sick child

1. Let them pick what to watch. Being able to watch (or at least listen to) their favorite movie can help to comfort the child.
2. Read to them. Having their favorite book read to them can help the child to start feeling a little better.
3. Feed them foods that will sit easily on their stomach, but that they like. While they are sick is not the time to be trying out new foods on your child.
4. Talk with them. Sometimes all your child needs is to hear your voice and to know that you are listening to their responses.
5. Provide them with the proper medicine. Having medicine that is both suitable for their illness and age can go a long way in helping your child to feel better.
6. Make sure they are comfortable. Sometimes it's hard for a sick child to get comfortable, but you can do a lot to help them to get feeling good.
7. Explain why they can't do those things they would normally be able to do. When a child is really sick, it can help them to feel a little better if they are told the reasons why they can't go play in the rain or go over to their friend's party.
8. Always have a bucket ready. Children can't always make it to the bathroom if they need to vomit, so it can help both them and you feel better if they have a container they can throw up into instead.
9. Let them know of your love for them. Some of the best medicine a child can receive is their parents' love.
10. Let them sleep. Being sick can be exhausting, so let your child rest.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Minor Dragons of Paradise: The Smoky Jewel

Cleaning out the stables is a disgusting job.
At least, it normally is.
But if the creatures contained in the stalls happen to be minor dragons of paradise, then the job can get strange.
Moving into the first stall, I ducked as something bright orange streaked through the air right where my head had been. The air was hazy with smoke of all colors. Orange, red, blue, even bubblegum pink. The smoke coiled into elaborate colors as the tiny dragons shot throughout the room.
Only the females were still, gazing upward from their perches beside the fountain with jeweled eyes narrowed.
Keeping low, I moved through the stall. Mating season was always an interesting time here. If I wasn't careful, I'd probably end up as lunch.
Setting down my bucket, I began scooping tiny jewels into it. That was the thing about mating season with the particular breed of minor dragon. The males expelled colorful smoke that matched their scales. As the layers of smoke mingled and were mixed with dust blown up from the ground, the smoke solidified into jewels.
The minor dragons didn't care if some human came and collected some, as long as I didn't interrupt their courtship rituals.
And so the males raced about spewing smoke, and the farm got a bonus every four to seven months.
Over all, a much better gig than mucking out a horse's stall.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Times to wear a hat

1. When it is raining. Because hats help to keep the rain out of your eyes.
2. In the summer. When it is hot outside, a hat can help keep you cool.
3. While on a hike.  Because keeping the sun out of your eyes can be extremely helpful when you need to find the right trail.
4. While exercising. Sweat doesn't stand a chance to your hat.
5. At a party. Because there is almost always a hat that fits the party's theme.
6. When it is cold. Because if you're wearing a hat, less heat can escape from your head.
7. When you're wearing a costume. What costume couldn't benefit from a hat?
8. When you're having a bad day. Be it a bad hair day or one where you're simply feeling under the weather, wearing a favorite hat can help you feel a little better.
9. When a friend needs a laugh. There are some funny-looking hats out there, and sometimes they are all you need to help someone else to have a better day.
10. When you need a boost of confidence. Because a great hat can make you feel like you can do anything.