My Little Pony Fashion: All Together Now

I've been wanting to put all of my My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fashion posts into one place for a while, but I thought it would be a really long process. Then today I remember I could just do screen-prints. And voi-la! it was done in a jiffy.

If you want to see them in hi-def, you can check out the individual posts here: Twilight, Fluttershy, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Rarity.

(And P.S. I can't figure out how to make this picture display larger. If you know how, please comment and let me know.)


Happy Halloween with some snarling apples

Happy Halloween!

It was a strange, unrushed day today. My kids went to bed on time and now I am writing. What could be better? Our prompt for today was a "choose your own adventure," type of prompt. Four to choose from. I chose this one:
And you thought apples were so innocent and edible. Silly. I chose it because it was different than the one Leah chose, and because I thought I could use it to continue a story I started with my very first writing prompt. You can read it here.  I like how it turned out. What do you think?

Mittle tapped his foot.  He and Lany leaned against the trunk of the tree that the High Mother sent them to.
“What’s taking them so long,” Lany asked.
“I don’t know. They’re never in a hurry, but …” He looked up into the tree. He couldn’t see the top from where he stood.  The pinsprites would be higher than he could possibly climb, which is why he sent them up there. But if he climbed up a little, maybe he could see what was keeping them.
“Help me up,” he said, putting a hand on the lowest branch and lifting up his foot that was nearest Lany.
“Why do you get to go up? I’m a better climber.”
Mittle tried not to roll his eyes. Lany thought everything was a competition. Mittle wished he could just ask the tree to help him up, but he wasn’t supposed to tell Lany about that. Besides, this tree was refusing to talk to him. Not even a name or a “How d’you do?” Perhaps trees in this forest were wilder than the ones near his house. Maybe they couldn’t hear him as well.
“Because the pinsprites are afraid of you. If you go up there and scare them, it’ll take even longer to get ‘em down.”
Lany sighed. He was annoyed, but he began lacing his fingers together to form a foothold for Mittle. He put his foot in place and was pushed up high enough to swing a leg over the branch. From there, it was pretty easy climbing. It was a large, old tree with lots of branching stemming out from the trunk.
Mittle didn’t have to climb very far before he heard a strange hissing noise. He moved his head around trying to pinpoint where the sound was coming from.
There. In the branches above him were a handful of apples. Above them, the pinsprites hovered as a group, bobbing up and down. Each time one got close to an apple, the apple would open up, revealing a mouthful of sharp teeth, and snap at the poor sprites.
What in the world? Mittle had never seen anything like it. As he watched, one of the pinsprites broke away from the group and dove toward Mittle. Mittle yelled to it, “No, stop!” but it was too late. One of the apples snapped it up.
The rest of the pinsprites screamed, their high-pitched voices sounding like Mohma’s kettle when it was hot.
Angry now, Mittle climbed higher. “Don’t come down,” he told them, hoping for once they would listen to him. Finally he was high enough to reach the applet that had eaten the pinsprite. He reached up and grabbed it, pulling it from the tree.
A sharp pain shot through his hand. The apple had bitten him! Mittle threw it down, yelling for Lany to watch out.
“What’s going on up there?” Lany yelled back.
Mittle didn’t answer. He stuck his bleeding finger in his mouth and sucked on it instead.
What was going on? Mittle’s mind raced. This couldn’t be a new breed of tree—the apples were only on these branches.
Something the High Mother said popped into his head. “The darkness is creeping in, changing things, spreading malice and pain throughout Verden.”
Mittle looked down once more.  The tree trunk, the side away from where he and Lany had been waiting had a streak that crept up it like a dark vein. He followed it up the tree. It stopped on the branches that held the vicious apples.  He followed it down and found that it didn’t start at the tree. Mittle could see the dark vein arcing away from the tree through the underbrush.
Mittle’s stomach dropped. He knew High Mother had spoken the truth, but it had been so distant. Far away near the sea, or by the Kukinta Mountains. Not a day’s walk from his home.
Clenching his jaw, Mittle looked back up at the apples. The darkness would not win this battle.

Dappa and the Sea

This prompt was from yesterday, but I didn't have time to do it yesterday, so here I am now. Leah and Julie also wrote.

The blue of his eyes was my favorite part.
But I would enjoy visiting Dappa whether he had blue eyes or not.
He sat on a barrel, one leg tossed over the other, leaning on his hand. His knit cap pulled down over his grey hair was brown like the wharf he sat on. I smiled as I came over the hill and saw him sitting there, hand smooshing up the multitude of wrinkles lining his face. He was staring out to see like it was talking to him. Sometimes, I thought it did.
He didn't hear me until I was standing next to him. His wise blue eyes turned up at me when he realized I was there.
"Hi, Dappa."
"Ahh, my sweet Meira," he lilted, his accent so thick anyone who didn't know him wouldn't recognize his words. "Comin' on the boat?"
"Of, course, Dappa."
"Oh good. The sea is sleepy. Company is good." He stood up pulling his waterproof jacket tighter. He leaned and picked up his lunch, his heavy coat and scarf. His lunch would be ham and cheese on homemade bread with an apple. He had eaten the same thing every day for forty three years.
"What will we catch today, Dappa?" I ask as I climb in the boat with my own coat and lunch.
Dappa smiles his missing-tooth smile. "Perhaps some dab, perhaps some cod. Maybe a treasure for you to take home."
"Mum would like that." She asked me to bring some of our catch home for supper.
I unwrap the rope from the dock and Dappa pushes off with the oars. Soon we are far enough out in the bay that the dock is almost out of sight. The enormity of the ocean always awes me.
Dappa and I spend the rest of the morning mostly concentrating on casting the nets and pulling them in. He was right as always, the sea was sleepy—we didn't catch much.
When the sun was arcing back down toward the sea, Dappa decided to call it a day. I took the oars and started rowing toward home.
"No more fishing soon for you," he says.
I nod. I will be getting married soon and moving away from the sea. It is strange to me that my heart can be so light and so heavy at the same time.
"You will be missed."
"I will miss you, too, Dappa," I say.
When we arrive back at the dock, Dappa starts cleaning the fish, his knife strokes quick and sure. After a dozen or so, he pulls out a dab and holds it up between us. "Aha," he says. He slices the belly and pulls it open, sticking his fingers inside.
His bright blue eyes light up as he sticks his hand out toward me, palm up. Shining there in the evening sun is a gold ring. "A gift from the sea."
I gasp and take it seeing the beautiful swirls carved along it's side.
He shakes his head, taking the ring from me. Picking up my hand he slips it onto my ring finger. It fits perfectly.
He pats my hand, looking supremely happy. The sun-darkened skin feels leathery on my own. Then he stands and kisses my forehead and turns back toward the sea.


The city in the darkness

This is a continuation of the prompt I did yesterday. I'm copying Leah. She continued her story and I loved it, so I tried it too.

The light was dying even faster than usual. The grass fires sent up billows of smoke that turned the sun into a small bright dot, tinted by the ash. This would be to our advantage.
I  slowed Nieku and dismounted before he came to a complete stop. Holding the reigns tight so they wouldn’t jingle, I guided him into what was left of a merchant shop, a boulder having been thrown through the roof, one wall leaning over so far, we had to stoop to walk under it.
I quieted my breathing and spoke softly to Nieku to calm him. He would be still and quiet. This was how we survived.
Keja’s call pierced the silence once more. She would stay with whatever she had found until I came to her, continuing to call so I could locate her.
I gritted my teeth. I did not want whoever was following me to find her first. They may not go looking for her. But they may.
For nearly ten minutes, I waited, crouched and cramped in the building. No one came. I heard no footfalls, no chain mail jangling. Was it just a warning shot? Or were they waiting until I came back out. That would be foolish. Though Myndunes were not known for their common sense.
Leaving Nieku, I peered around the door frame. I still saw nothing.
The light was getting very low. If we did not go now, we would not be able to see to find Keja.
I slowly backed Nieku out, deciding to walk him. I would be able to see the ground better if I was closer to it. Speed would not be an advantage now.
Keja called again and I adjusted our course, ears tuned to any small sound.
Finding the hawk was more difficult than I anticipated. It sounded like Keja was near, but with the stone walls of wrecked buildings tumbling all around us, sounds could not always be trusted. Her call could be echoing  or bouncing off the stone any number of ways confusing my senses. We could be traveling in circles and I would never know. There was not enough light to tell anything apart and I dared not light a torch.
 Nieku stumbled, his hoof catching on something. Sighing, I stopped. There was a way I could find Keja, but I promised myself I would not use that power again. The moment I thought of it, the ache to use it pulled at my gut. I pushed the desire aside.
No. I would not do it. We could find her without giving in.
A screech cut through the air. She was on the other side of this square. I could barely make out the rustling of her white underfeathers.
Nieku and I moved quickly toward her, glad to have found her, glad I did not give in.
As we neared, I could tell that whatever she had found was small. It moved when it heard us.
A small voice rang out. “Hi!”
I nearly stumbled. A tuft of blond hair bobbed as the child stood up and toddled toward me. “Hi!” it said again, a smile spread across its face.
A child? No. A babe. This was not the help I had hoped for.
Deciding what to do, I raised my arm to call Keja, when another voice rang out.
“Don’t go any closer!”
My head snapped in the direction of the sound.
Just beyond the closest building, stood a boy holding a bow, an arrow knocked and aimed at my heart. 

The world is darker than I am.

Our prompt for today from the amazing Leah. You can read hers if you click on her name. If you like mine, you'll like hers even more. Check it out.

The world is darker than I am.
I never thought that possible.
Keja has just flown to check for life in the city below. I do not think she will find it. The battle here raged long and the people were proud. They would not have let themselves live to be slaves. Especially not to the Myndunes.
Thefarmers must have burnt their crops in anticipation of the incursion. I will have to travel far to find grass on which Nieku can graze. Hopefully I will be able to find water or we both may succumb to the death that is overtaking our world.
As Keja sails in and out of spires, occasionally swooping down for closer inspection, Nieku and I patrol the ridge, hoping for and dreading movement. From below, it would be welcome, from the blackened tree-line it would likely mean death.
A sharp hawk cry pierces the silence. Once. Twice. Three times.
Keja has found something.
I turn Nieku to descend into the valley and urge him to a trot. Reaching decimated outer wall, I stop. It will be difficult for Nieku to make his way through the rubble, but if Keja found a survivor, I will need him to carry them out. I could go through the main gate, but if the Myndunes left a unit behind to watch for stragglers, they would surely be watching the gates.
It only takes a moment to decide. It cannot be helped. I will have to go through the gates to bring Nieku and for some reason, I have hope that Keja has found something or someone worth bringing out of this desolation.
Keeping to the shadows as much as possible, I make my way to the once-grand arch that once held the city gate.
Nieku shudders underneath me as we make our way through the open space. He doesn’t like being out in the open any more than I do. We have been living in the shadows for far too long to be comfortable here. “Just a few more steps,” I reassure him, patting his neck.
He shakes his head and suddenly rears up, almost throwing me from the saddle.
An arrow narrowly misses my shoulder and bounces off the crumbling rock of the wall to my left.
Damn those Myndunes!
I whack Nieku with my heels, jolting him to a run. They would only be able to kill us if they could find us. And I didn’t plan on letting that happen.



Writing prompt for today, October 14: Write about an ink stain, real or imagined. My humble efforts:

Josiah’s hand was shaking. He put it into his coat pocket, not wanting Tamsin to see.
Efridah sat behind her desk, her crow at her shoulder, his feathers shining like oil in candlelight. Her features showed no hint of the blackness In her heart. Her high cheek-bones, full lips and wide green eyes had drawn scores of men and women into her dark circle for ten years, but Josiah had never been fooled. He knew she was one to stay away from the moment she stepped off the river boat that day.
If only Tamsin had known it, too.
“What do you want from me?” he asked.
The full lips pulled back to show perfect, white teeth. “Why Josiah, what would make you think I want something from you?” she drawled, her southern accent still strong after ten years.
Josiah pinched his lips together. He wasn’t going to play games. Instead he looked at Tamsin, so small and frail in that form.
“Oh. I see!” Efridah feigned surprise. “You’re interested in my new little friend, here.”  She stood and walked to the cage hanging from the ceiling in front of the window.  Her movement startled the crow, his feathers rustling a murmur as he hopped to her chair.
Opening the cage, Efridah put her hand in, palm up. Josiah could see a stain of blue on the tip of her writing finger. He had heard of signing deals with the devil. Was that to be his fate? Signing away his soul to save his sweetheart from endless servitude?
He watched as Tamsin jumped to Efridah’s palm.  When she was seated, Efridah took her hand out of the cage.
With her out of the cage, Josiah could see Tamsin’s beautiful features and his heart leapt. She was alive, and she wasn’t hurt from what he could see. But she was different somehow.  Of course, she was smaller. Much smaller.  But her dark skin was lighter—not paler, necessarily. Just lighter.  Like she was glowing with a faint blue haze. Her limbs were elongated, and her facial features were…what? Pointy.  That was the only word he could think of.  Her ears were pointy, too.
Josiah wanted to grab her and run, but he didn’t dare. Instead he stood very still and tried to keep his face placid, like Orchard Lake on a spring morning.
Efridah watched him for a moment, then brought her hand to her face. “Now isn’t she just so adorable? I do love getting a new pet.” She patted Tamsin’s head with her bejeweled forefinger and turned her gaze back to Josiah.
“I’ve only just acquired this little dear,” she said, her smile even wider somehow. She put Tamsin back in the cage and shut the door.  “If you’re going to…adopt…her so soon, it is going to cost you.”
She said it sweetly, but it shot a arrow of fear into Josiah’s heart.
“I know,” he said. And he did.

The bridge is controlled by me

The prompt for today is the picture below. Leah is amazing and is doing these even though she is on vacation.  Here is Deb's. It's fun and will make you want to read more of her stuff. Check it out.

I sit in my house in the middle of the lake.
The bridge is controlled by me.
I sit in my house in the middle of the lake.
The bridge is controlled by me.

Looking up, I have clocks on the wall. Hundreds of them. And I’m not sure how they all fit in here. This is not a large house. They tell time: my time, my kids’ time, publisher’s time, school’s time, my family’s time and more. I can never seem to keep them all ticking at the same pace.

Books are piled up on the desks and tables. They’re on the shelves and on the floor. Some of them are huge and thick, like Things I Didn’t Do, but Think I Should Have or How to Fail at Parenting. Some of them are small, some well-loved, some falling apart. I wish sometimes that Fearfully and Wonderfully Made was pocket size and I could have it with me if I ever left. Sometimes I think I should get rid of some of the clutter, but my motivation is sapped by my desire to sit and read.

Out the window, the lake is beautiful. The green trees and mountains reflected in its stillness. But I stay here. Even the bridge is treacherous, and I would rather be safe. There are things that lurk beneath the stillness of the water. Terrible and frightful things that no one wants to talk about. So I stay here.

Sometimes I wish someone would be brave and cross the bridge anyway. Bring a sword and slay the beasts so I could leave. I’m not sure anyone even knows I am here. But it would be nice to know there are brave knights or even not-so-brave ones with laser guns that would come and do a good deed.  It would be nice to be found and be taken out of the clutter and ticking.

But I've been here for a long time. Days and days and days. And perhaps no one is coming. Perhaps, I need to be brave. I think, maybe, I have to save myself. 



Writing prompt for today, October 6: Write a scene where the crumb on the table has particular significance.

Mercedes wrung her hands.  She didn’t know why she was here. And they made her sit in this chair. Without sanitizing it first.
“Mrs. Young, did you hear me?”
Mercedes looked up at the police officer sitting across the table. His face was nice enough, but his nose was crooked.  Undoubtedly broken sometime in the past. She hadn’t heard him.  She shook her head.
“Where were you last night at 9:45?”  He wiped his nose with his hand and Mercedes almost threw up.  Those hands had touched her arm. She shuddered.
“Mrs. Young!” The cop was getting angry, but she couldn’t seem to concentrate on his words.
She shook her head, trying to clear the image of millions of germs crawling up her arm. “I…I was at home, reading a book.”
“Was there anyone else there?”
“Do you know where your husband was?”
Mercedes looked down at the table.  She didn’t know where her husband had been. She was about to say this when she noticed a crumb on the table. It was on the officer’s side and it was white and powdery.
It could be powdered sugar. Cops eat donuts, right? It must be powdered sugar. But her mind wouldn’t let it go. What if it was anthrax? What if it was anthrax and the police officer breathed one of his angry germ-filled breaths and it flew over the table and she breathed it in? She would die.
She would die.
Mercedes’ breath came faster, she couldn’t seem to slow down her heart.
Suddenly the angry, germy cop was behind her, yanking her up.  She pushed him away, not wanting his germs to crawl up her arm again. She struggled and kicked and writhed, but it was no use. He ended up sitting on her handcuffing her hands behind her back.
As he hauled her out of the room, saying something about remaining silent, she could barely walk, barely think, for trying to get all the germs off. 


Silly Snails

It is late and I am feeling silly. I hope you enjoy my silly snail story. Leah's inspiring picture:

“Why hasn’t anyone inquired?”
“What do you mean, ‘why?’ It’s a used house!”
“People sell used houses all the time.”
“You are not a person, Carl, you are a snail.”
“So are you.”
“But I’m not trying to sell my old shell.”
“I am.”
“I know, Carl.”
Janet inched closer to a nearby bush. “Are you coming?”
“What if somebody comes by and sees the sign?”
“Then they will stop and look at it and you can shout at them.”
“Shout at them? You don’t think that would be bad manners? ‘Hey, you! That’s my house!’ They would run away for sure.  I had better stay here.”
If Janet could have shrugged, she would have, but she didn’t have shoulders. Or bones. So she just turned her head and went back to inching. “Suit yourself.”
“You’re going to leave without me?”
“We have to eat, Carl. There aren’t any leaves near your sign.”
“But that’s the point. Who would see it if there were a bunch of leaves around?”
Janet decided not to answer this question.
“What if I shined it a little bit?”
“With what?”
“My slime.”
“Then it would be slimy, not shiney.”
“Well what would you suggest?”
“Coming with me to eat.”
“I meant, ‘How would you shine the shell?”
“I wouldn’t.”
“You’re being grumpy, Janet. You should eat something. Your blood sugar is getting low.”
Janet stuck her eyes into the top of her head in annoyance. “I’m trying, dear.”
“Well I’m trying to sell a house.”
“Why don’t you wander around while you wait and try to sell the slime trail as art while you’re at it?”
Carl’s gaze jerked up to Janet, who was now half-way up a stem.
“Brilliant, dear.  You are so brilliant!”
Janet shook her head and took a bite of crunchy, green dinner, hoping no one would come by before it got dark.

You can read Leah's and Deb's, too. Please do. Because they are awesome.


Atop the World Lies a Castle Fair

At the top of the world
lies a castle fair--
parapets high and gilded stair.
Above the spray
of ocean tide,
the birds of love
and dragons glide
Watching o’er the castle great
with fiery breath
or green-branched plait.
Through the glass
all color-stained
the sun doth shine
long unrestrained.
The gentle queen
with babe in arms
sings lullabies
of fairies charms
of knights’ good deeds
and love unfeigned
of hopes and dreams
to be attained.
When the bright blue eyes
do droop and close,
she lay him down
and kiss his nose.
The fair young queen
then doth wander
halls and gardens
her fate to ponder.
The rooms are empty,
the throne is bare
no soul doth laugh
or labor there;
alone, so high,
atop the earth
the gilded halls,
her land a dearth.
What will the morrow bring?
It can’t be known.
But for today,
she is alone.



I'm behind on my writing prompts, so I combined a couple this time. The first is the Tolkien quote, "Not all who wander are lost." The rest of this quote is often missed and is awesome.  You can check it out here, if you want. The second prompt was the photo below. Enjoy! (I hope.) :)

I grabbed Grandpa’s hand when we neared the stream. Coming up,there was an easy spot to cross.
“Look Grandpa! Water. You think there are fish?”
“Nah, too small,” he told me.  We walked over to look in the trickle that came down from the mountain. “I remember when we would fish in the stream behind our house.  I was about your age then.  I would make a fishing pole out of a stick and some string, and tie a hook made out of a paper clip on there.”
I was only 5 and barely came to Grandpa’s waist. So I let Grandpa use my head to steady himself as we crossed the stream. I tried not to soak my Sunday shoes.  Momma would yell if I mucked ‘em up.
“We could always find worms in the garden, but boy would your great-grandma holler at us if she caught us digging in there!  Hoo! She was the best singer in the church choir. And if you made her angry she could use those pipes to flay you right open!” Grandpa chuckled.
I picked up some rocks that were cold from the water. The almost leafless trees were good targets.
Pfft. I missed and it went tumbling through the dry yellow grasses that were almost as tall as me.
When we cleared the trees, we were by the fence. Lots of new houses were being built on our block and this fence ran down the back of the lot of ‘em, cutting us off from the woods.  Momma thought it was safer. And  she thought it was great I wouldn’t be gettin’ so dirty. But I knew how to get ‘round. Besides, Grandpa loved comin’ out here.
Grandpa stopped by the fence, peeking his eye through a hole. He scratched the thin, white hair on top of his head. “What’re we doin’ here, Jimmy?” he asked. He didn’t know where we were, but I did. I could hit our house with one of those rocks, if I had one left.
“Nothin’. We’re just wandering.”
I peeked my eye through another hole.  It was the sky blue house that Maureen Roberts just moved into. I screwed up my features. If anyone had cooties, it was her.
“Let’s keep going.” I grabbed Grandpa’s hand again. “There’s a empty bird’s nest in that tree up there.” I pointed.
He smiled, confidence returning to his features. “Did you know I taught a bird to fly once?” he asked.
I did know. He told me about it every time we came here. But Grandpa was the only one who would tell me stories.
I smiled and told him, “Nope. How’d you do that?”


Places I don't go anymore

Places I Don’t Go Anymore: A List

My own pity parties. At least I try not to.
Miller white elephant parties.
Art in the Park.
D & K's house.
College classes.
Country dancing at the Armory.
Sunday lunch at Grandma’s house.
To visit cousins.
Six Flags Great America.
My old apartments.
Out on the town.
Movies. (Well, mostly.)
Exotic places with Lara Croft.
Alicia Wagner’s house.
The land of 8 hours of sleep.
The bathroom by myself.



Our inspiration today:

“I don’t know what I was thinking.” Miri dumped a basket of fries into the waiting oil.
Sam placed a tomato on top of the pattie in front of him. “You thought he was a nice guy.”
“Only for like five minutes.”
“He drove a motorcycle.”
Miri giggled.  “That certainly didn’t hurt his cause.”
Sam blew out a puff of air that went unnoticed by Miri. She was reading the order off the screen above her. He watched her as she grabbed a large cup and filled it with Coke. She was so bubbly and happy all the time. It was contagious. At least it made him want to be with her all the time.
After Zach she had been angry. The way she slammed food on the counter made him grin.
After Monty she had been annoyed. Every guy that had long brown hair that came in that week had his straw squeezed shut before it went into his drink. Sam had wanted to spit in their food, too.
After Roberto, she had cried. He had put his hand on her back and she cried into his shoulder on break. Her hair smelled like lavender and citrus.
This time he tried a slightly more obvious route, though thinking about it made his stomach turn in knots.
 When Miri went out to her car on break, he changed the sign that greeted customers as they walked in the door.
“We have thousands of happy customers. And one creepy guy named Rob that will get more than a hamburger if he comes in again. (You know who you are.)”

Leah finished hers already. It is awesomesauce. GO. Read. It.


Waterfall of Ache

Our prompt for today was a little different, so you're getting something a little different from me.
This music (not the picture) was supposed to inspire our writing. Thanks for trying something new Leah!

I watch as the water drops
together, apart;
it drips, drops
my heart,
pulling time,
a waterfall of ache.
It ripples the depths of the blue, deep pool
though still in the farther  reaches
like memories in a stagnant mind.
She was mine once.
As we met
in the sweet, dusky pith;
the trees our stanchions,
our guardians.
The water drips—
her memory,
all that is mine—

Deb's is a lot happier and more stomach flipping that mine. You should check it out.


In the Water

Our 10-minute prompt for today has already been finished by DebLeah, and Caitlyn (she didn't post hers to her blog). The prompt was this: Begin a story with "And they lived happily ever after.  The end." Here's mine:

Camryn jumped from the edge of the stream to one of the rocks that stuck up above the water. “And.”
She jumped to another. “They.”
Each time she said a word, she jumped to a new perch. “Lived. Happily. Ever. After. The…”
Before she could say, “End,” she slipped on a particularly mossy rock and slid into the chilly, wet, muck. When she came up spluttering, Ollie was clapping and giggling. Camryn pulled her long sandy hair off her face.  “Are you laughing at my story, or my…” she indicated her spot in the water, “…ending.”
Ollie grinned, but didn’t answer her question.  “How am I going to get across, Camryn? I don’t want to get wet, too.”
Camryn turned around to look at the far side of the stream in order to hide her face from Ollie.  She made up the story and was being silly to take his mind off of being lost in the woods. Now she was soaked and she didn’t know how to start a fire.
“I’ll walk on this side and you walk on that side until we find a safe place for you to cross, okay?”
Ollie nodded and waited for her to trudge through the last ten feet the opposite bank.
It didn’t take long for Ollie to speak again.  “Sing a song, Camryn. The one about the water sprite.”
Camryn sighed.  She didn’t want to sing.  She wanted to sit and rest and figure out how to get dry. Her clothes were heavy with water and the seam of her pants was rubbing uncomfortably.  But she opened her mouth anyway.

Come away dear, come away
while the babies coo and the grown ones meet
Come away to the water’s edge
And take my hand my dear my sweet.

Never before had that song bothered her, but as Camryn sang the last word of the verse, her stomach curled in knots. She stopped cold.
Looking over the stream to Ollie, he was happily skipping along the water’s edge, humming the tune to himself. Over the water, a mist seemed to be forming, and small lights danced along the tendrils.
Camryn shook her head. She was imagining things.
She took a few more steps, not wanting Ollie to get too far ahead of her. The mist seemed to be following him, too, though. As she stood and watched, it condensed, taking on the form of a lithe, wispy woman, her hands outstretched to Ollie.
The words of the song stung in Camryn’s mind as the echo of the notes came back to her. No.


Umber and the Snake

Umber was annoyed.
She was annoyed at the snake she was riding for taking such a circuitous route.
She was annoyed by the sound it made when it moved that kept her from hearing the chatter of the birds in the trees above.
She was annoyed it was almost dark and she didn’t know where was going to sleep.
But most of all, she was annoyed that she couldn’t just fly to the home of the fairy queen.
Umber pulled up on the reigns and said, “Shhhh.”  When the snake stopped, she looked around, brushing her thick blond hair out of her eyes.
They had been gliding across sand for a while now, and she could hear a stream trickling nearby. She took her feet out of the stirrups and dug her toes into the soft, brown powder.  She sighed. “We might as well stop here,” she told the snake, even though he couldn’t understand her. At least the sand would provide a soft place to sleep.
Pulling her pack off of her back, Umber found a spot under a fallen log that would provide some cover and protection from predators. The snake would keep watch as well.  At least that was what Tarn told her.
Umber dug out a spot in the sand to lay in and put her pack under her head. Tomorrow  I can fly again, she thought. When Tarn had first wrapped up the broken filament, that was how long he thought it would take to heal. I hope he was right.
Queen Imolene honored Umber by asking her there to share her knowledge of the pinsprites, but if she had to explain that she couldn’t fly to the entrance because she had broken her wing trying to corral a spiny thistle-maiden, her credibility would surely be put into question.
Umber closed her eyes and tried to quiet her mind. Nothing would be changed by worrying about it.
When the snake heard her breathing change, he curled up in front of her fallen branch and closed his eyes, too. He hoped it would be another uneventful night.

You can check out Leah's. Her snake's name is Josie.


Some perspective

This house, to me, looks like the house that the witch in Stardust builds to trap Yvaine (the fallen star). The witch wants to steal Yvaine’s life force to make herself young again. Yvaine is weary and the inn is the only place to rest for miles around. So she goes in, and as she is resting, the witch goes to kill her. Of course, she is saved before that happens and all is well.

The thing about the inn, and this house, is that they are both obviously dark and foreboding.  Who would go in there? I think. But as I think about my life, I realize that I have gone into this type of house before.

Think about it.  Have you ever wanted something so bad that you became blind to what it might mean in your life? Have you ever convinced yourself that  you need something so badly that everything else gets obscured?

I have. And when I finally got that thing I thought I needed, it ended up really hurting me.

So this house has reminded me that I need to be aware, to see the big picture. It’s so easy sometimes to live in the moment and forget that what you’re dealing with now is only temporary. If I can keep some perspective, I can step back from the inn and see it for what it really is, a dangerous detour. And I can see that if I go around it, I might not get the warm bath and soft bed that I want right now, but a little farther down the road, I can have a safe night’s sleep under the stars. And most of the time that's going to make me happier than I could have imagined while the inn was filling my view.


Empty Swing

Our writing prompt for today (the picture):

I watched as my brothers played in the dirt with their dump trucks and backhoes. There was barely an inch on either one of them that wasn’t covered in dust. Josiah had a stick poking out of his curly locks that wiggled every time he vroom-ed his truck down their homemade road.
I giggled. My brothers were always getting into things that would make mother sigh and throw them in the tub.
Jumping off the swing I had been sitting on, I climbed the steps to the back porch and went to find my mother.
“Momma, the boys are filthy again,” I said when I found her in the kitchen making dinner.
“I should go check on those boys.”
“What dear?” Daddy said from the living room where he was watching the evening news.
My mother rinsed her hands and dried them on the towel hanging from the oven door. “Nothing,” she told Daddy, then headed outside.
I followed her out.
“Josiah! Markus!” Momma shouted as soon as she saw the state the boys were in. “I told you we were going to have dinner soon and to not get dirty.”
The boys exchanged glances. They tried to keep their faces serious enough to appease Momma, but they weren’t very good at it.
“Inside! Now. You get cleaned up quick or you won’t get dinner.”
Josiah and Markus left their trucks and ran past Momma to the back door. Markus pretended his hands were airplanes. “Whoosh-vroooooom!” Markus yelled as he ran.
Momma shook her head, but couldn’t keep a smile off her lips.  “Little scoundrels,” she said.
Before she turned to go back inside, Momma turned to me, a frown on her lips again.  I wanted to take her hand and walk inside with her, but I couldn’t. I didn’t mean to, but I caused a lot of frowns these days.
“Sorry, Momma,” I told her.
“I love you, Cara,” Momma replied, then hurried back inside.
“I love you, too.”
I watched her close the door.
“Are you ready?” A voice beside me said.
I looked up to see Great-Grandma. It was usually her who came and got me. We had become good friends since I’d arrived, and she knew I liked visiting my family. I was glad I was here on the other side, but it was hard for Momma.
Grandma saw my frown and lifted my chin with her finger.
“It’ll get better,” she told me. “It won’t be but a moment before you all will be together again.”

Thanks for reading! You can find Leah's here, and Alison's here. They are so very touching. Go. Read. Enjoy. :)


Malum's Prison

Our free-write for the day was based on this picture (I actually stuck to the 10-minute time limit today. Craziness, I know.) Leah and Alison have already finished theirs.  You should check out their awesomeness.

You can’t stay here forever.
“I can stay here long enough.”
Long enough for what, you idiotic child? I am immortal. Keeping me from eating will not kill me.  It will only make me angry.
Merit didn’t answer. Speaking would have given away her fears. If this didn’t work, she would have to go back to being Malum’s servant.  No not servant.  Slave.
The thought made her grip the outside of the mirror she held  even tighter.  She refused to be a party to any more death. This mirror, Malum’s prison, the attempt by The Four to stop his evil rampage, had not had the intended effect.
The gilded frame was cool under her fingers, though her heartbeat was quick.  The smell of the grass all around her and the friendly grove that cut them off from passerby  wafted to her on a breeze.  She took a deep breath and familiar scents calmed her soul. I can do this. I can resist Malum’s powers until Callidan figures out my clues and comes for me.
After a few hours, Malum began chanting, tempting her to move in front of the mirror.  The power of his spell was strong, but she knew it.  She was used to it.  She could resist.  If she moved from behind the mirror, he could trap her with his eyes, pull her into him.  But if she stayed behind it, she would be safe.  For now.
 Malum was right.  This would make him angry and she had never seen him rage before.  She wasn’t sure what would happen when he put the full force of his anger behind his spells. Even without his rage, the misery he inflicted on others was a terrifying sight.
Please hurry, Callidan.  Please hurry.


Vanilla Shake

Our 10 minute free-write prompt for today was "Write a story about a girl named Shake." I wrote longer than 10 minutes.  Closer to 20. But I needed to get some angst out.  So here you go.

Melanie looked down at her hands. They were shaking. Bile rose in her throat and her eyes burned. She smacked the phone down on the receiver.  She was not going to cry here.
Standing up from the bar, she headed back to the dressing rooms, trying to avoid the few lecherous patrons that came here at one o’clock in the afternoon.
It wasn’t until she walked in front of him that she realized Rufus Fletcher was sitting behind a pillar, blocking him from her view.
“Hey, Darlin’,” he said, reaching for her arm.
She pulled it back. “Not now Rufus.”
“What are you so upset about, my sweet Vanilla Shake?” He reached out and grabbed her hips pulling her closer. She hated that nickname and she hated when men thought they owned her just because she put up with their raging hormones for the ridiculous amounts of money she earned here.
“I’m not yours, Rufus,” Melanie told him, removing his hands from her hips.  She turned to go, but he managed to get his hand around her arm this time.  His grip pinched her skin and ground against the bone in her arm.
“You’re mine if I pay you enough money,” he growled, then stuck a stack of ones in top of the black hotpants she was wearing.
She took the ones out and threw them at him. “I’m off the clock.”
She stormed away.  When she finally made it to the dressing room, she hurried to the back and pulled her knees up to her chest.  Resting her head on her knees she tried to take deep breaths to calm herself down.  It didn’t work.  The tears came anyway.
As the sobs wracked her body, she thought about the phone call from the man she thought had loved her, the one who would take her out of this terrible place and push her out of the rut her life had fallen into.
“I’m not coming tonight,” he said when she picked up.
“Why not? Did you get stuck writing reports again? I can come up there after I get off.”
“No, don’t come up here.”
“Mel,” he stopped. The way he said her name made her stomach drop. “Mel, I just can’t.”
“Can’t what, Josh?”
“I can’t do it. I know my parents love you, and my sisters. And you work so hard. You are amazing. But I want something more.”
“Wait. Are you breaking up with me over the phone?”
“Yeah, Melanie. I gotta go.  I wish you the best.”
“Wait.  Josh…”
And then he had hung up.  
He hung up on her. He wants something more? What the hell does that mean?
Melanie’s tears dried.
What a bastard, she thought, pushing the memories of the sweet things he had so often done for her out of her head.
She couldn’t believe she had trusted him.  She couldn’t believe she had trusted another man after what had happened to her every time she had fallen in love.
She wiped the tears off her face and looked in the mirror.
You don’t need a man, she told herself.  You will be just fine on your own. She smiled and tried to make it look happy in the mirror. You can do this.
She took a deep breath, once again pushing back tears. She didn't believe a word of it.  If Josh wasn't the one, if he really didn't love her, then she was done. No one would ever touch her heart again.  She wouldn't let them.
She walked out to the floor, cementing a smile on her lips, knowing everyone would believe her mask.
They always did.


In the Mittle

My wonderful writing group friends have starting doing a 10-minute daily writing prompt. Leah, the brains behind the prompts, and a few of the others (like Deb, and Alison) have already finished theirs.  The prompt for today was a picture found by the talented Ms. Caitlyn. (I put it down there for you to see.) Here's my free-write for today.

     A twinge of light touched the sky as Mittle put his hand to the moss-covered trunk.
     Hurry littles! he said to the army of glowing pinsprites bobbing down from the highest branches.
     Not a single one listened.
     Not that he expected them to. They never did listen. Especially when he was in a hurry.
     When each one was gathered in, he turned on his heel and leapt from the tree root he had convinced to prop him up.
     Thank you! he told it as he ran for home.  Mittle could almost hear the sigh as it eased itself back into the ground.
     When he reached the edge of the forest, he paused, squinting in the half-light. When he didn’t see any signs of movement, he crouched down to sneak past the kitchen window.  He didn’t think Mohma would be awake yet, but he wasn’t going to take any chances.
     When he reached the small flower bed under the window, he greeted Teyrna. Good morning, old one! Are you awake yet?
     No, came the grumbling reply.
     Mittle laughed. Have the birds been prattling again?
     Is that not what you’re doing, Smoft?
     Mittle tried not to giggle at the tree’s nickname for him.  Trees were not much for learning names, so he was called by his appearance. Small and soft. Smoft.
     I will be quiet, if you will lift me up to my window, wise Teyrna.
     Flatterer, she said, but soon a branch made its way down to him. At his window, he used his foot to push it open and dropped quietly onto his bed. He dropped his muddy shoes on the floor and carefully draped the satchel with the pinsprites over the log that was part of his headboard. Then he lay down, careful to not make noise enough to wake Bubs.
     Flyaway red hairs popped up over his bedspread followed by wide blue eyes. “Whuddya find?” Bubs practically yelled.
     Mittle thought his heart was going to leap out of his chest. “Bubs! Shhhhh!” he whispered at her. "Nothing. I didn’t find anything. Go back to sleep.”
     “But the sun is awake.”
     Mittle pursed his lips. Trying to think of an argument that would convince the three-year-old that being in bed would be a good thing.
     Bubs's brows creased in thought. “And you’re awake.” 
     Mittle sighed. It was going to be a long day.


What is it with Elsa?

I asked Miss M what she wanted to do for her birthday, and out of all the choices, she wanted to go to ToysRUs to see if we could find an Elsa doll.  If you don't have little girls, you may not know what a freakish phenomenon this show is, but EVERY little girl in America stinking LOVES Elsa from Disney's Frozen.  It's ridiculous. Silly even.  Every adult I talk to is like, "Why Elsa?  She's not even the nice one." I happen to think both girls are a little messed up and I blame terrible parenting via Disney's writing team, but that's another story altogether.  

Apparently Disney had no idea the movie (or character) was going to be popular because they have grossly under-supplied the demand.  You cannot find an Elsa doll ANYWHERE. I have been looking for at least a month for anything Elsa and have been completely unsuccessful. I found them on Amazon, but everything on there is around three times the retail price.  I don't care how much my kid wants a toy, I am not paying three times retail. 

The lady at ToysRUs told me that they get shipments on Fridays, so they occasionally will have Frozen toys before noon on Fridays.  Miss M's birthday was on Friday, so we headed over around 10:30.  They had one Elsa item.  It was a wig.  Woot. 

We went back out to the car and I called 6 different stores to see if they had anything Elsa and they all told me no.  One went so far to tell me that they had a shipping problem and wouldn't have more until the end of May.  I then called my mom to see if she could find anything online and I could drive to pick it up. I ended up driving over to Grandma and Grandpa Watts' house to look on the computer, too.  When I did, Amazon actually had an Elsa Barbie-size doll for only $16.99.  When I put it in my cart, there were 12 left.  At the same time, my mom found ONE Walmart in all of the Walmarts in Salt Lake and Utah county that had a single Elsa item in stock. It was a 6-pack of all the characters in the Polly-Pocket size for $25. I took maybe 5 minutes to decide which to get and by that time, ALL 12 of the dolls on Amazon were gone. I couldn't purchase the 6-pack from Walmart either, it told me they were sold out.  Luckily my mom had put it in her cart and was still able to purchase them or Miss M would have been without a present for her birthday.  It is craziness!