Friday, August 9, 2019

#FridayFlash 73: The Check List

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Just one long to-do list after another.   Lizzie sighed and considered the multitude of things on her list for tomorrow.   It was the weekend, a time she once looked forward to, but now seemed to consist only of the chores she didn’t get done during the week.  Adulting was not turning out the way she’d once dreamed.  Nothing was really.

-      Laundry!   The situation is becoming desperate.  Clean underwear is not optional.
-      Tiny (remember, you’re his whole life.  Play ball, take him for a walk, something!)
-      Get groceries (all that’s left in the fridge is wilted lettuce.  You don’t want wilted lettuce for dinner)
-      Put gas in the car (or the groceries won’t make it home)
-      Exercise!  Those last 2 lbs aren’t going to lose themselves.
-      Bake cookies.  After all, you just exercised.  You’ve earned them.  Lemon ones. Pick up lemons when you get groceries.
-      Study.  Something. Anything.  Preferably something related to work you’d like to do. It’s the only way you’ll get out of the work you currently do.
-      Vacuum.  It’ll be a great way to avoid studying, and Tiny’s hair is all over the place.
-      Mow the lawn (maybe can count as exercise?). Unless it’s raining.
-      Weed the garden.  Seriously.  It’s starting to look impressively junglish.
-      Nap.  But set your alarm – you don’t have time to sleep all day (see above!)
-      Buy bday gift for nephew.  Something noisy and obnoxious.  Revenge is best served cold.
-      Mail wedding RSVP – it was due last week!  Bad guest.

She shook her head looking it over, knowing she was forgetting something but not sure what.  And not sure she could bring herself to care.  It had been a very long week.  With a smile, she added a few more things hoping to spur her memory:

-      Win the lottery (buy a ticket?)
-      Find soulmate
-      Plan dream vacation

With thoughts of her “one day” Africa trip in mind, and no idea what she’d forgotten from the list, Lizzie closed her app and dismissed all thoughts of tomorrow’s chores from her mind, pouring herself a glass of wine and settling in with a book she’d be moderately embarrassed to be caught reading but fully planned to enjoy every moment of.

The next morning she started with a long bath.  Just because she had a ton of things to do, didn’t mean she shouldn’t start the day out right!   Then with a sigh she reluctantly opened the list and started ordering things. Laundry first, it could run while she was doing other things.  Oh and she should probably do dishes at the same time.   Groceries would have to wait – once she went out, she knew her productivity would plummet.   Tiny could go for a short walk in the am and be sure it happened or a longer walk after everything else was done – but she might be too tired then.  Or both?   She looked to her great dane to judge his thoughts on the matter, but he was still sound asleep.   Afternoon it is.  

Exercise.  She should probably do that now.  But she just got out of the bath.   Not good timing to get sweaty again and then have to shower again.  She could exercise later.

Executive decision that lawn and garden were both getting bumped to Sunday.  She didn’t have anything on tomorrow anyways and this list was ridiculous.

Can’t bake cookies without getting groceries.  Studying is definitely an evening thing.   

So.  Laundry and dishes.  While they’re doing their thing, vacuum.  Then go out and buy all the things.  Put groceries and dishes away, put laundry in the dryer.   Bake the cookies.  While the cookies are baking, wrap the birthday present.  Rescue cookies from oven and taste test, put laundry away, and then the nap.  The wonderful nap.  Highlight of the day really.  

After the nap, a quick workout, then take Tiny on a walk to the mailbox to send the RSVP, maybe farther if things are good.   Study a little before dinner, and then freedom for the evening.  Maybe time for that dream trip planning (optional).

Feeling pleased with herself for having sorted a workable plan, Lizzie tackled the list with far more enthusiasm than she’d written it. She even picked up a scratch and win lottery ticket – couldn’t guarantee it’d win, but at least she could say she made a solid effort at that part of the list.

All was going well until while walking the usually impeccably well-trained Tiny through the park, he suddenly tugged on his leash and bounded away.  Lizzie was so stunned by the behaviour she dropped the leash; not that she could’ve done much about it – Tiny weighed as much as she did.  He stopped only a few feet away, head down on his front paws, peering under a bush.

She didn’t bother to call him, just went over to see what he’d found.  Telling him to leave it, she gave the strongest wait command she could and then bent over to see for herself.  The bush scratched her face as she lifted the bottom branches to see underneath.  And found a tiny black kitten, no bigger than her palm.  It stared back at her, didn’t seem scared – after Tiny, she surely seemed the better option.

She reached out and got swatted for her efforts.  Rolling her eyes, she tried again, catching the now angry kitten by the scruff of the neck.  She backed up out of the bush, bringing the kitten with her, only to find Tiny right beside her, eagerly nosing the kitten.  The dog had no maliciousness in him, only curiousity about the tiny fluff his person was holding.

Keeping the kitten close to her chest so it would neither claw her nor run away, she took both critters home, deciding she would keep an eye out for lost kitten signs, but suspecting she’d just inherited a new pet.

Tiny was fascinated.  Lizzie watched him carefully as she put the kitten down, he nuzzled her, so gently she didn’t even topple over, then followed protectively as she wobbled around the floor.

Watching the kitten explore her new home with her giant shadow, Lizzie scratched her lottery ticket.  $5.  Woohoo!  Enough for another lottery ticket.  She laughed and reached for her textbook.

Looking up after forcing herself through one chapter, Lizzie smiled to see that the kitten had curled up in the middle of Tiny’s massive bed for a nap, and Tiny lay on the floor, with his head on edge of the bed still watching the kitten.

And as Lizzie started to think about what her Africa dreams might look like, she realized even her completely unrealistic list items had been accomplished.  She HAD won the lottery – just not the prize she’d imagined.   And she HAD found a soul mate, from the looks of things, it just happened to be Tiny’s.

Pulling out her app, she started a new list for tomorrow.

-      Write more ambitious list.



 
Not my dog, not my kitten

Found pic after writing story, but have to admit it suits :)

Friday, January 25, 2019

OneWord: Controller

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I picked the controller up after my boyfriend left the room. I never understood the fascination, but I wiggled the joystick and pushed some buttons, watching the screen character react accordingly. Moderately amusing, but nothing fascinating. Until I hit the wrong buttons together. Or maybe it was the right ones? But either way, my comfortable position on the couch vanished, the world started to disintegrate, and the last sound I heard was the controller hitting the floor before I found myself in his game.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Friday Flash #72 -- Daughter of Nightmares and Smoke

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Once considered peaceful, the dragons came one night and scorched the villages.   For days nothing could be seen but smoke.  The people would try to rebuild, but every few months the dragons would return.  It was a time of terror.  Hunting parties were sent to get revenge; no one returned.  

And then one day, the skys were empty.  No longer did the occasional shadow drift over the village.  No more did children cower from the giant creatures from the sky.  Nobody knew why they attacked or where they went, but over time, that became unimportant. Things were quiet, and people rebuilt out of their grief.  And as the children who had seen their villages destroyed grew up and gave birth to children of their own, memories faded.  By the time their grandchildren had grandchildren, understanding of dragons had changed.  From peaceful and harmless, to horrifyingly vicious, to nothing more than a wisp of a myth. A story to scare young children into behaving.

But time is a tricky thing, and to the dragons, it moves differently.  Only one generation had passed since The Great Betrayal, and memory of it was clear.  After all, she did live with them.  Tall and graceful, Alesha laughed as she skipped between the caves, easily avoiding the dragon chasing her.  She whipped around a boulder, turning at the last second and ducking under the dragon who almost had her.  She poked his belly as he flew over top, “Gotcha Tren!” she laughed, his roar made the rock she was standing on shake, but didn’t phase her in the slightest.   They were siblings.  Friends.  And she had very definitely won.  Again.

It’s time to come home, the thought from their mother was as clear in her head as if it had been spoken.  Tren, having received the same message turned and headed toward her.  With a running leap, Alesha hopped on for the flight home.

She knew she was different, of course.  Small and fragile, but nimble and creative.  She couldn’t breathe fire, but she could build it.  She couldn’t fly, but she could access spaces the dragons would never be able to.  Her dragon family accepted things as they are, as they’ve always been, while Alesha questioned everything.  They complemented each other.  The smarter ones appreciated that and considered her family; the lesser ones treated her as little more than a pet.  A curiosity.  A spoil of war.

When they returned to the roost, Alesha and Tren were surprised to discover the elder dragons had gathered.  Tren aborted his landing and circled, hoping to avoid interrupting the council, but Tasque, the head of the council, noticed him and with a thought compelled him to join them.

Alesha slid off Tren as soon as he landed, preferring to face whatever was coming standing.  But while she stood calmly and confidently, her hand quivered gently where it rested against Tren’s shoulder.  

What’s going on? she asked.

The time has come for you to fulfil your destiny.  The voice in her mind was powerful, and not one who had ever deigned to speak to her before.   She met Tasque’s stare head on and held it for a moment.  She could feel a wave a pride wash over her – the dragon who had adopted her so long ago was pleased.

What do you need me to do?  Her heart beat faster and she had to consciously stop herself from fidgeting.  So long she had wondered why the dragons had adopted and raised her.  It was the one question nobody would ever answer.  

You remember, of course, The Great Betrayal?   How could she forget?   Her heart sank as she was reminded yet again of the time the dragons had attempted to aid humans, only to have five of their eggs stolen.   The dragons had found four – three of which had been destroyed; the fourth hatched and grew up to be Tren.  But the fifth egg, even after months of searching, remained hidden.  And with the humans getting closer to their nest, they had to call off the search and moved the entire flight to their current home.  But when they did that, they brought one thing that was not theirs.  They brought an infant girl.  Her.

We have located the last egg.   It will not hatch until it is returned to us, but we cannot retrieve it.  You and Tren will go together, get the egg, and bring it home.

Her eyes widened and she glanced at Tren.  She was going to go to the human’s world?   Before her thoughts could start spinning too quickly, her mother’s familiar voice interrupted.  

Alesha, you’ll need to remember all we’ve taught you about humans.  Tren will help you get there, but he must not be seen, so you will be on your own.  Several of their generations have passed since we adopted you – with us you’re still so young, but there you will age quickly.  We believe we’ve found which castle the egg is locked in, but that’s all we know.  You’ll need to find a way to get in, rescue the egg, and get out quickly.  You can navigate in the dark nearly as well as we can; most humans cannot – use that to your advantage.  You must speak of us to no one.  Dragons to them are creations of nightmares and smoke.  And you are our daughter.  Never forget it.

Do you understand? The leader’s voice interrupted.

I do.

Will you undertake this task asked of you by the dragon council?

I will.

Then it be done. We will watch for your return with each new moon.  May the stars guide your way.

Alesha bowed her head as she’d be taught, then gracefully vaulted on to Tren’s back so he could take them out of the council.  Tren tried to talk to her, but her thoughts were flowing too quickly for her to hear him.  She was going home.  A home she’d never known, true, but one where there were people like her.  And maybe, just maybe, once she’d rescued the egg, she could find a way to bridge the worlds.

The daughter of nightmares and smoke yes, but also of dreams and starlight.


Friday, September 21, 2018

Friday Flash #71: The Magic of the Night

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In the darkness of the night the trees rustled as the warm wind blew wildly.  

“Do you hear them?” I asked.

“Hear what?”

“The fey?”   

My boyfriend just rolled his eyes at me.  He had no time for magic and mystery, proud his feet were firmly planted in the cement of reality.   He couldn’t hear the whisper on the wind.   But I could – just beyond my comprehension.  I could sense it, but not quite make out the words.

Marc locked the recycle bin safely in the garage.  “You coming?”

“I think I’ll stay out a bit,” he rolled his eyes and went inside, tolerant of but not understanding my more whimsical side.

My gaze was drawn upward, captured by the brilliance of the harvest moon.  The clouds formed pictures as they passed in front of it.  I watched for a while, my imagination seeing images that weren’t really there.  A dragon. A cityscape.  A mother with her child.  

But then I realized it wasn’t my imagination, and I wasn’t seeing random images.  The coulds were forming letters as they drifted over the moon.   I squinted and furrowed my brow, struggling to see more clearly, but the letters dissipated leaving wisps of a cloud that faded from sight once they passed the beam of the moon’s light.

I closed my eyes and listened to the wind.  My hair whipped around my face, but I did nothing to contain it, enjoying the wildness of the night.  I felt my heartbeat slow; my breathing became deeper; I smiled, feeling utterly and completely relaxed.  

I opened my eyes and let them return to the moon, relaxed and soft I saw the letters form.  And in the darkness of the warm summer night, I read the message that would change my life.

And with a smile, I turned and entered the house.

Friday, June 29, 2018

FridayFlash #70: Vaalea's Story

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Stories are often told of princesses being rescued from dragons; as far as I know, I’m the only princess who had ever been rescued *by* a dragon. I was so young – I didn’t really understand all that had happened, or have any understanding of all that would happen. My sister, who I’d only just met, called the dragon, Drazul, and I climbed on. I was fearless and he was amazing. He spoke to me and made me laugh. And away we went.

It took forever to get there. Days? Weeks? I don’t know. It seemed like forever, but I was a child -- a year is a lifetime then.   He told me all about the special school I was going to; a school for people like me. We landed on top of a mountain. Slowly the mist cleared to reveal a castle, whose sides shimmered as though a mirage. Drazul directed me to head inside, and I was so excited – I’m sure I bounced.

There were other kids, and for the first time I could remember, I was allowed to play with them. My roommate, Adalyn, was the same age as me, but she seemed so much older. She was calm, always organized, “well put together” my mum would’ve said, and never got into trouble with the rest of us. But somehow, we still became friends.

We played, we learned, and we grew. Every once in a while, the dragons would bring us a new student. They would wander in; some were excited, but most were terrified. And thus we learned about the outside world, where magic was at best feared and at worst hunted. And so we stayed where we were safe, and we learned, and we practiced. And over time, we became strong.

But eventually, I grew up. And as I did, I wondered. I remembered so little of my life before I’d come. Why had my mother or my sister never come to visit? Drazul flew me here, surely he could’ve flown them. And I started to think that maybe it was up to me to go find them.

My first thought was to call Drazul and ask him to take me. He’d flown me here so many years ago, and stopped by at least a couple times a year since. We’d talk and play and sometimes he’d take me flying. But he never answered my questions of home, always just said I was better here. And eventually I stopped asking. Unfortunately though, I’d never learnt to call him; Drazul came when he wanted to and left on a whim – he never stuck around for long.

I slung my backpack over one shoulder, everything I valued inside. There were no rules against leaving – we could go at any time; the only rule was that once you left, you could never return. It was an easy life at the school. One where I knew everybody and was known. I could be myself and practice my magic, and perhaps one day even teach. It was a good life. But it wasn’t the life I was destined for, and somewhere, deep inside, I knew it.

I had said my goodbyes, but purposely not told anybody exactly when I would leave. It would be hard enough without a crowd. As I slid through the door, I felt a hand on my shoulder. Looking back over my shoulder, I saw Adalyn carrying her matching bag. “You didn’t think you’d be going without me, did you?” she asked.

---

Author's note -- this is the start of a sequel to Jezina's Story.   For more on the school mentioned, see my short story Returning.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

#FridayFlash #69: Don't try this at home

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This story was completely inspired by a YouTube video posted on my wall this week.   For your entertainment, it is included at the end.

As always, comments very welcome!

Enjoy :)
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I followed the instructions so carefully.  I mixed all the powders together, then gently misted the liquid, before finally packing the whole thing around the dragon egg.   Toy dragon that is -- one of the little figurines I had bought five-for-a-dollar at the dollar store.  It would make for a great bath bomb; my nieces would love it.  And of course I had to test one.  After all, I couldn't risk giving them away and having them not work.   If only I'd known...   But how could I?   I still don't really believe it.

Sure enough the bomb fizzled and quickly turned my bath black.  I wasn't sure I liked that aspect -- would pick a friendlier colour next time.   I felt around the tub for the tiny plastic egg, but when I found it, it had already opened.

Disappointed, I started feeling in the black water to find the little plastic toy.  And let when my hand landed on something scaly!   I flew out of the tub and grabbed a towel -- glaring at the water that another inhabitant had ruined for me.

As though expecting something to attack, I carefully reached over, then yanked the plug out and jumped back!   The drama was unnecessary as the black water calmly receded.   I thought maybe a lizard of some type?   But those don't tend to live here.

When the bath drained, a little creature about the size of my hand stood and angrily shook the bath water off.   He was a deep purple colour with wings that glistened.  He cocked his gecko-like head, seeming to study me as I was him.  The moment only lasted a few seconds before I had a very clear picture in my head of me picking him up and getting him out of the tub.

Not at all sure that was a good idea, I nonetheless followed the suggestion.  The creature gave what I'm convinced was a nod of thanks before walking out of the room, his wings folded carefully behind him and tail raised just slightly off the ground.

Panicked barking jolted me out of my shock and I raced to my dog Casey in time to see the tiny creature spread his disproportionately large wings and hiss.   Casey, my fierce protector, backed down instantly.   He could've squashed this creature in a heartbeat, but no, he lay down with a whimper, flicking his eyes from me to the creature.   Sorry Casey, wish I could help...

I opened the door to the yard, pleased when the creature wandered outside.   Relieved I waited an hour for him to leave.   Then two.  But every time I looked outside, he was still there, sunning himself on a rock and growing at an observable rate.   After only a few hours, he was bigger than my German shepherd.

When it came time for dinner, I wondered if I should feed him.   What would he eat?   Google wasn't able to suggest anything, and some instinct stopped me from posting pictures online.   As I went to peer in the fridge and see what options there might be, I saw the other bath bombs.

No way.

But looking from them to my creature, now the size of a Shetland pony, I had to accept that some how my five-for-a-dollar toy and homemade egg, had hatched an actual dragon.   And I had no idea what to do with him.

----

What started it all:

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

OneWord: Stunt

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I couldn't believe the stunt he'd just pulled.   He'd gone from nobody to king of the school in seconds -- and while it made the administration look bad, he'd done it in a way that hurt nobody and caused no harm.   He would be a legend.  If only he had stopped there...