Place- swimming pool;
Thing- silver tea service;
“Tomas, be careful,” Maya whispered. Tomas, shushed his friend and edged closer to the basket.
“Be quiet. We don’t want to wake her,” Missy said, grabbing Maya’s paw. “Tomas is a salamander. He knows what he is doing.”
“You’re right,” Maya replied edging closer to the silver tea service that had been haphazardly tossed onto the table. The little mouse, twitched her whiskers as she held her breathe. Tomas was so close to the basket now. They would be able to feast for years off of the food that was in there. What did Missy call it? A cornucopia of treats.
“That’s what the two legs called it. Cornucopia. There is always food in it. It never ends. With winter coming we need to get some of it,” Missy, the chipmunk whispered. Both furry rodents perched on the tea service as Tomas disappeared over the edge.
“What if Big Meow shows up?” Maya squeaked.
“Tinker is keeping watch on the window sill. Nothing bad is going to— Uh oh!” Tinker’s wild chirping sounded just as Big Meow let out a yowl and pounced. Tomas appeared back over the edge of the basket with food in hand running towards his friends. Just then Big Meow turned and readied for another attack. Missy and Maya held onto one another and squeaked.
“Hold on!” Tomas shouted as Big Meow pounced. He slid onto the silver tea service making it tip forward and slide off the table. It bounced and launched the three friends and their food into the air. They held on for dear life as the tray slid them through the open door. Big Meow missed the frighten trio and rolled into the basket causing food to fall onto the floor. But she wasn’t down for long. Big Meow took off after them as they scurried further into the backyard. Tinker flew in to distract Big Meow and it worked. As Big Meow took a swipe at the bird, she missed and ended up in the swimming pool the two legs hadn’t covered up yet.
“We did it,” Maya squeaked as they beat a hasty escape to their hollowed out tree. They even managed to secure more of the fallen food for their winter’s rest. “Thank you, Tomas, we have our own cornucopia now!”
Archibald was a man from the Netherlands,
Who had an affinity for the dope brands
So he climbed on his Zebra,
Shook his leotard to tease yah,
And with a poof of fairy dust,
He popped 'round for pizza
Twilight in Galapagos
Inspiration, this Grant silently prayed for. A dozen hours stacked on top of one another in a ladder of time and yet he was still no closer to uncovering the mystery. Demure and elegant, Grace lay stretched out before him. Quiet and patient, she was enjoying his thorough exploration. He was respectful, meticulous and utterly mystified.
Grant could answer the who, what, where and when. She even told him why. Yet the how eluded him and science insists upon the how.
When questioned how Grace was able to turn a chrome lug nut into a platinum ring or a pile of index cards into a stack of 50s, she cocked her head to the side, smiled politely and uttered two words: “Child's Play”.
Grant returned to his work and in the quiet of his concentration, Grace shared; “I saw a man turn a tree into a giraffe once.” Silence reigned as he considered her words. Grace eased out of her chair while imparting the following: “Matthew 21:21. I'm not there yet. Today I believe, but one day, I'll know." Grant turned towards her, intent upon gaining clarity, but she was gone.
Surrounded by an ethereal aquamarine glow, in the birthplace of Darwin's evolution, Grant remembered the story of another who was similarly gifted and wondered if He was the man she referenced.
Stonehenge and Back
“Mmmmm,” Esmarelda intoned. Her voice had a subtle richness which showed through most beautifully in those instances where simple vocalization outweighed the need for words. Eyes closed, she faced east, allowing a silent breeze to animate soft, raven curls hanging like willow leaves at the curves of her cheeks. Pietro trotted back and forth through the open grass somewhere behind her, tasting the same breeze, though probably not enjoying it nearly as much. He could see she was deep in thought, which most likely did not bode so well for him. And also, he needed to pee. He waited, ambling aimlessly from giant stone to giant stone, all arranged in a great circle, where they had stood for dauntless centuries atop this grassy knoll, trying to decide which would make the best site to relieve himself. Esmarelda remained fixed, statuesque and radiant in the mid-morning sun, breathing deeply and evenly. Pietro knew what she said next would be of utmost importance.
“Good one, Fido,” she announced without warning. Pietro’s aura, which had been hovering at a mild deep green while he had been anticipating her mood, slid down into a brackish sort of ocean blue. Yep, this wasn’t going to be good at all. No need worrying about making it any worse, he thought and lifted one leg next to one of the grand stone pillars, selected at random. Esmarelda turned, her opened eyes falling on the scene of Pietro, glowing that dingy deep blue, wobbling precariously on three legs, a weak stream of yellow pee dribbling onto one of the weather worn, venerated columns of Stonehenge. His small round eyes, framed in their furry, furrowed brows, were an equal mix of guilt and blamelessness. He tried looking up at her a few times; it was difficult to do while simultaneously keeping his balance. The dribbling pee on the stone, like tea being poured inanely onto a sidewalk, was the only sound. Esmarelda’s slight frown deepened, forcing creases into the space between her eyebrows. Okay, so maybe it could get worse after all. Pietro’s aura descended the next couple notches into an almost dirty brown, similar to the short fur on his tail. Despite his obvious embarrassment, Esmarelda refused to look away.
“Really?” she asked accusingly. Pietro didn’t think anything he could say would help; he just focused on trying to get out all the pee, so he wouldn’t have to worry about it during the next jump. Esmarelda, politely, waited patiently for him to finish while, quite rudely, remained staring directly into his furry face the whole time. Pietro dropped his leg and attempted to regain some semblance of normal composure. His aura held at that dark, dirty bronze hue. A few abashed upwards flicks of his eyes sent the message that he was indeed done. Esmarelda cleared her throat softly.
“Any time you’re ready,” she began dryly, “can you let me know what we are doing in Great Britain? I showed you this:” she produced a tablet, its illuminated screen brightly displaying a photo of a giraffe, lazily milling about on some savanna somewhere. Pietro was acutely aware that the photo in no way resembled their current scenery here, in the chilled morning breezes wafting through the towers of Stonehenge. He sniffed idly; something familiar, a fragrant sweetness, danced along over the grass laden hilltop, buoyed upon the cool air. He couldn’t place it and it nagged gently at the edges of his attention.
Esmarelda looked about, her eyes alive with unspoken thoughts.
“Okay,” she sucked her teeth, “options…wait.” She shook her head. Something was troubling her, too, perhaps something just beyond the edges of her own attention, not unlike Pietro.
“Something…” she muttered through mashed lips. “There’s no time for this,” she sighed. Esmarelda knew that Renee had also accepted a token on the Seek Contract.
“Renee The Fae,” she mumbled absently. There was no telling how many others had also made the grade as bid holders on the contract, though it was rapidly seeming more and more likely that the cast of the net was probably much wider than she had originally expected. Which meant that competition would be fierce and time would be tight. No time for foul-ups, especially where Renee The Fae had a hand in things. There are competitors, there are adversaries and then there’s a nemesis but Renee The Fae was more like a full-on force of Nature. At her nicest, she was uninhibited, at her worst, she was all the contents of a razor blade factory swept up in a hurricane.
Pietro had wandered to the edges of the ancient stone circle, staring out into the idyllic countryside. Nothing seemed out of place but the soft, sweet fragrance kept making its way into his nostrils. It was a pleasing scent; he couldn’t figure out why it troubled him so insistently. But it did; quite so. Behind him, he could hear Esmarelda’s agitated shuffling, as though the battling frustrations and considerations of her acute mind were spilling over en masse right onto the dew-drizzled grass. He decided he shouldn’t tarry too long out of range, though he was much more at ease with the silent distance he had placed between them. He knew she had not yet unleashed her full admonishment for his monumental error. She was too busy with other thoughts. This certainly was no African savanna. How exactly had this happened?
Esmarelda’s mind must have been circling in toward the same focus, as she suddenly cast her widened eyes skyward and announced resolutely, “No. Causes.” Her thoughts of Renee The Fae had shifted her focus. She knew they needed to push ahead as quickly as possible, but first she needed to get an idea of what they were up against. She glanced over toward her canine companion where he stood, framed between two giant pillars of stone. He had his nose stuck out into the breeze, his tail hanging low behind him. His aura hadn’t changed from that dirty brown glow. It was true he wasn’t a perfect seekcharm, but by no means could he be considered a slouch. A misstep this far reaching was more or less out of the question. No, something else must be at work here. She deliberately opened her mental vista as widely as possible, allowing herself to be sensitive to all elements in her memories and thoughts, but like the despised song that won’t stop playing in the back of an unquiet mind, she could not shake the image of Renee, persisting more insistently among the swirling mass of all the others. She had an impulse to dismiss this as the artifact of her personal bias and keep sweeping the catalog of items filling her mind but it didn’t feel right. Spontaneously she decided to just accept the image of her nemesis, with all its disturbing emotional charge, and follow where it led.
Taking a moment to prepare herself, Esmarelda pulled in a deep breath, made herself quiet and imagined the feeling of a stone-like weight falling gently down through her body, coming to rest in her feet, a feeling of being firmly planted. She opened space in her attitude, like that of a sincerely curious person, questioning and free of expectation. Only then, did she carefully move again into the panoramic swarm that was her collection of thoughts, memories and considerations of possibility. It unfolded in her mind, an encompassing nimbus, busy and vibrant. Each element was brightly colored and well defined, happily awaiting her consideration. Except for one discomfiting spot where, right close to the front, Renee hovered, a little larger than life, as could be expected. Around her form spun a tangled array of blurred space, washing all elements within it in an uncertain light which stripped them of contrast and definition, dissolving their immediate beauty. They seemed sad in that space; helpless. This was the cloud of chaos Renee carried around pretty much everywhere she went, the lingering and potential effects of her formless decisions and malicious spontaneity. Esmarelda steadied herself against the sudden repugnance this scene aroused in her, taking care to remain mindful and open. Too much precious time could be lost if she were to let herself get dragged down suddenly in some emotional quagmire.
Through the thin veil and small window that connected her to her physical surroundings she could hear Pietro panting rapidly somewhere close by, like down by her legs. “Hold on, buddy,” she said, still needing to keep her concentration on the the troubling image of Renee before her. She allowed items in her view to move about in accordance with her need to discover the truth. All Truth Is Known, she knew. Discovery is the real skill in answering any question. Along with the items dancing, marching, sliding and tesselating in her mental view, Esmarelda could feel other things moving below the surface; emotional things, intuitive things. She was quickly resolving in favor of her earlier idea that Renee the Fae was somehow behind this huge error in their calculated trajectory. The verdant plains of Britain were certainly not the tawny savannas of central Africa. But what exactly had happened? She centered her attention on Renee and her worrisome miasma, and let it lead her along, sliding effortlessly back into the recent past. Within a breath, she was standing once again in the subdued amber glow of the antiques shop where they had begun their trip. She could smell the earthy scent of aged oaks and cedars, somewhere a little less intrusive, the tinge of tarnished brasses and silvers. And something else; far beneath the chorus of the other scents, almost imperceptible yet, insistent. A sweet fragrance, like berries ripening on shrubs. A wet, tickling sensation filtered into her consciousness, allowing her to realize that Pietro was now licking her fingertips and whining thinly but somewhat urgently. “I need you to hold on, Pete. Let me work this out,” she said soothingly. She retracted her attention back into the antiques shop. The fragrance was there, now all but impossible to ignore. Something else was amiss, as well. Out of place, maybe? Out of context? Out of context, that was it. Having asked, she suddenly noticed it: on the back wall, far out of normal sight among a flurry of bric-a-brac and seemingly neglected items, a straw broom, hanging plainly and slightly askew. A throwback to a bye-gone era, this was the grandmother of straw brooms, an actual bundle of wheat straw, bound together into a wispy floor brush. Though the design was admittedly ancient, the item itself seemed almost unused and was certainly no survivor of centuries of ownership and use. It fit all these old things in ideal, but had no place here physically among them. Esmarelda took a step towards it and, realizing she would need a complete picture of the events that had transpired here, sought to invite along her friend, companion and seek-charm, the other relevant element in this mystery.
She reached out her left hand, feeling for Pietro. The backs of her fingers brushed the familiar damp spot of his snout, a welcome and friendly sensation. She reached for his ears, rubbing his small, fuzzy head. “Come on, bud. Need your help,” she offered, picking him up. She cradled him in her arms like a little package. She wanted to lend him some comfort through the process; she knew this was going to be extremely uncomfortable for him. Seek-charms were physical travelers with a talent to render portals between two selected regions of space. They were intrinsically chthonic creatures; interior travel could be horribly unsettling for them. Some cases had occurred where the seek-charms had become irreparably confused and had even lost their ability to travel. Esmarelda patted the soft, short fur along his side, tussled his floppy ears. His miniature rib cage undulated rhythmically with each breath. She knew Pietro was aware of what was coming, but he trusted her; he could feel it through his weight, nestled stoically into the crooks of her arms. Let’s just make this as quick and painless as possible, Esmarelda thought. “Okay,” she said quickly, affirming her hold on little Pietro, “let’s go.”
Exercise: Write a paragraph and then re-write it with new wording
Sorcerer By Mr Adrian
The old sorcerer smiled kindly to the cluster of children eagerly awaiting his arrival in the courtyard. The young prince, however, was still skeptical of this old man possessing any arcane abilities at all. As soon as the elderly spellcaster sat on decisively on the stump of a recdently felled tree, the Prince stepped forward. "How do we know you can really use magic?" the boy asked impatiently, "anyone can just walk around and say they can, after all." "In that case," the sorcerer replied warmly, "perhaps a display of magic would be in order?" The prince gave a single nod, the same way his father would have done to a royal advisor. The sorcerer simply lifted one wrinkled hand to the sky, as if forming a perch. The prince stared at the timeworn hand, expectant, yet unimpressed. It was only a moment later, however, that his eyes widened as a rather large crow soared down from the sky seemingly from nowhere. With the light shift of its wings, it perched directly on the old man's hand. The other children cried out with delight as the prince stared mesmarized at the creature. Its eyes were deep spheres of stained glass the color of rich soil. Its wings were a smooth jet black and reflected the very sunglight around it, creating a dark glossyness that resembled polished obsidian. The prince smiled with wonder. "Another! Another spell!" he begged excitedly.
The timeworn Arcanist sneered at the entourage of curious children, who had been following him around the courtyard since his arrival. With them was the young Prince, whom didn't believe the old coot had any power whatsoever. The ___ took his seat on an ancient fossil of a tree stump as old as the he appeared to be, and moments later, the Prince stepped forward. "Well spill it," the Prince demanded, "can you really use magic or not?" At this, the old man leaned close to the boy and with a malevolent grin relpied, "Would you like to find out?" The Prince gave a slight nod, the way his father would dismiss a prisoner to be beheaded. The ___ lifted a single frail hand to the sky, as if insinuating something were to land on it. To the children's surprise a large crow swooped down from some location no one could see. The ashen avian preched on the outstretched hand, claws grappling to the deshiveled skin. The children gasped and jumped back while the Prince evaluated the nightmarish entity. It's wings were sleek and even the light that shone on them gave off an ominous tone, as if the bird glided on blades of Stygian Iron. Its eyes were the worst, the glazed color of swamp mud staring the Prince back into his own eyes with an intent of malice that could only ever be understood through eye contact. "Again," the prince proclaimed with a smirk, "let's see you do another spell."
Exercise: Write Bluegrass Verses based on the rhythm of the song "O Death" Song by Ralph Stanley
My mind does race in this chosen land
I cannot tell what’s in demand
Red states will do what orange commands
Only time will tell what is at hand.
Young Bill went down to the creek
Goin' to catch a fish to eat
with his pole and net in hand
the only thing he caught was a tin can
There was a mule, so stubborn still,
He coul’n’t be moved, not versus his will;
One day he set on the railroad track,
The one-thirty came, now he’ll never be back.