WHEN FLOWERS BECOME BUTTERFLIES

April 16, 2019

when flowers become butterflies

and butterflies become flowers

we will walk in dreams

of enchanted bowers

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THE ENCHANTED BARRIER

April 10, 2019

When the itinerant peddler chanced to encounter an enchanted barrier of lavender blooms deep in the forest, he proceeded cautiously, but not cautiously enough. No trace of him remained.

The peddler’s wife, alarmed when her good husband failed to return home, searched the woods for days. At last, she stumbled into the presence of the enchanted lavender barrier. More cautious than her good husband, she paused and sat down to think.

“If, strange and beautiful barrier, you are enchanted as I believe you are, you will grant me one wish,” said the peddler’s wife.

“You are observant and thoughtful,” said the barrier. “State your desire.”

“Return to me my husband fully as merry as always he was,” said Gerda, the wife.

No sooner said than done. The barrier disappeared. The good husband stood baffled, but merry. The pair returned home and lived happily ever after.

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THE SECRET BLOOM

March 18, 2019

The village blacksmith and his good wife raised three daughters. At the time of this story, they were 14, 12, and 10 years old. They found time one morning to gossip by the well before returning to the boring tasks assigned to them.

“The queen has a secret bloom,” said Egborn, 10 years old.

“So?” sneered Ogbood, 12 years old.

“Eg is right. Whomsoever finds it will be drenched with gold,” said Ugbin, 14 years old.

“I will find it,” said Egborn.

Her sisters snorted.

“Don’t make me fetch my switch! Get back to work!” shrieked the blacksmith’s good wife, their mother.

The sisters hurried to their boring tasks. When exhaustion set out to fell them long after dark, Egborn fought sleep and listened for the snores of her sisters. In no time at all, the sisters were limp lumps, mouths agape. Egborn crept into the night, climbed the pear tree to the top of the castle garden wall and tumbled over it, landing quietly below in a neatly trimmed hedge. There she fell asleep. Lo, a scant few hours later, she was awakened by singing. She peered from the hedge and saw the queen standing by a glow of green and red.

“None shall find my secret bloom, the product of my magic loom, dum de dum de dum de doom,” sang the queen while caressing a flower hidden in the heart of a bush.

“I found it!” cried Egborn, springing from the hedge.

“Oh, goody!” said the queen. “Now is the curse lifted. Hurrah!”

So saying, the queen transformed into a glowing green bird and flew off ever shouting, “Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!”

Egborn looked down and found that she was now splendidly garbed, a queen, and drenched in gold. In later years, she grew to envy the escape of the glowing green bird.

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INTRODUCING THE VILLAIN

March 15, 2019

Middle grade work-in-progress, Ember, introduces its villain:

Jeth is smooth. Smooth and round. Covered with a fine white fur of grass, it circles the world of Boad. It is a moon. A silent grassy moon. Minutes before Ember awoke and moved from Sadlar to The Rainbow Giants, a hungry secret appeared deep down in the center of Jeth, the silent moon. The hollow center. A hungry secret. The hollow center glowed red. A creature sat planning in the red glowing hollow. The Beast with Five Eyes planned while blinking each of its five bright shining eyes in turn. Blink. Eyes.

fiery savage red eye

heartless golden eye

evil green eye

turbulent stormy gray eye

icy cold white eye

The Beast was a strange gigantic red toad with a crest of black spines running from above its center icy cold white eye back over its lumped head to end between the evil green eye and the heartless golden eye. Toad with a tail it was. A long lashing tail ending in two short sharp poison barbs. Tail. Barbs. Poison. The Beast wandered galaxies. The Beast consumed worlds. The gigantic red toad hungered. Mog, World Eater. Gigantic red toad. Beast with Five Eyes.

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EMBER

February 22, 2019

A new story has found a beginning. I am hard at work searching for a middle and an end. Meanwhile, here is the beginning that the new story has found.

Ember

Introduction

Now I am old. The few years I spent as the Earthling girl Reeb to begin my journey fade from memory. My life here as Plumly with sky blue skin in Cloud Castle City on the world of Boad surrounds me. Craggers and hollowites bustle about. The City flies here and there on my whim. Enough of that. I feel a need to tell one more story of my beloved adopted world and to send it as a gift to you people of Earth. It is a simple tale about everything. It began some time ago near Sadlar’s Garden in Clover on the banks of the Greenwilla River. There Ember appeared.

Plumly

Royal Chronicler of Boad, All Fidd and Leee Combined

Chapter 1

Strange Visitor

Protected by hills of Clover, Sadlar’s Garden grows on the banks of the Greenwilla River.

green the hills

green the river

a cornucopia of colors the garden

rainbows

Sadlar, oh so very huge, oh so very old, immortal, shaggy, a pair of tusks thrusting up from the lower jaw, 8 short horns gathered in concert on top of the head, great round yellow goggle eyes, tapped a talon on a tusk, gazed at the river, and said, “Sad.”

“sad” meaning “do i see what i see?”

“sad” meaning “i see something strange.”

It floated shoreward. The strange thing. It gathered to shape. Sadlar stared. It stood. Clad in ash gray flitters, it nodded at Sadlar. Black its tangle of hair. Sadlar saw the face and hands pulse, changing color in slow rhythm.

yellow

orange

red

purple

blue

green

The eyes ever glowed a soft orange. Like an ember.

“Sad sadness Sadlar,” said Sadlar.

“sad sadness sadlar” meaning “i am sadlar. welcome to my garden.”

“I am Ember,” said the strange visitor.

Ember smiled. Pulse the colors.

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THE DREAM

January 23, 2019

Mudcakes drown in gray slurry stretching flat to the horizon. Bleak silence. Motionless. Two figures kneel.

‘Across there,’ says one. ‘It was in the dream. I do not know what it was. It hurt my eyes. I am too old. You go. I will wait for your return.’

‘Yes, Grandmother. I will find it. I will come back,’ says the young girl dressed in gray tatters.

The granddaughter rises, steps out and sinks knee deep into the muck. She grinds forward, straining, teeth clenched. Through the night she advances. Drops of sweat drip from her nose and leak from the furrows of her brow. She will not yield to exhaustion.

Day. Success. She drags herself from the slurry onto a shore of gray pebbles. Mist. In the gloom, she confronts the shadow barrier. A hedge. Gray, the color of her world. Gray, all that she has known. She pauses. The mist wisps away. Sun bright. She thrills. A shiver. Something beyond. She reaches out and thrusts aside twining branches of the hedge. She sees. She gasps. She weeps.

Red is beauty in a nest of green.

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SNAGGLETUSKS

January 12, 2019

The new queen moved through her gathered horde of subjects in stately dignity flanked by her green bladed bodyguards. Individual blossoms shoved and jostled to gain position for a better view.

‘They say she has snaggletusks. Can you see? Does she have snaggletusks?’ asked a young bloom hopelessly blocked somewhere on the outerest edge of the crowd.

‘Do not be ridiculous,’ snorted a neighboring senior blossom. ‘Her beauty is unsurpassed. Everyone knows that. Snaggletusks, indeed.’

‘But can you see? Can you see?’ insisted the young bloom.

Another nearby lavender fellow spoke up, saying, ‘I can see the very tiptop of her head. My view is otherwise blocked by her guard.’

‘That is so,’ agreed others, nodding.

The new queen swept on and disappeared behind the doors of the great castle. The crowd dispersed, for the most part mumbling contentment. The young bloom, however, muttered to herself, ‘I bet she has snaggletusks.’

In the castle, the queen was ravenous. She eyed the great mound of food brought and set before her. She smiled, unsheathing her snaggletusks.

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THE SOLSTICE SNOWFLAKE

December 22, 2018

The snowflakes gathered in the cloud to hear the final decision. Which one would win the honor to fall first on winter solstice? The chatting din subdued when the Grand Snowflake took position one small span beyond and above the eager crowd.

‘Flakes of beauty, welcome,’ said the Grand Snowflake. ‘Each one of you, no doubt, has dreamed of falling first on winter solstice, leading the descent. I will not keep you waiting. The choice is …’

The Grand Snowflake, despite its pledge, kept them waiting for a tortured moment longer.

‘…Penny!’

Gasps of disbelief swept through the cloud. Snowflakes rotated slowly, nodding displeasure. A small snowflake, embarrassed, not as attractive as some, more attractive than others, floated up from the assembly’s far edge.

‘Me?’ squeaked Penny.

‘You!’ firmly stated the Grand Snowflake.

Penny fought off a melting blush and fell, proudly leading the graceful descent.

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THE SUN WRAITH

November 21, 2018

Once in a land where desert dunes writhed under the lash of sun-hot wind gusts a grandmother and granddaughter sat in the coolness of their burrow listening to the angry roar. The grandmother leaned forward to speak above the din into the granddaughter’s ear.

‘Now is the time,’ she said. ‘You must find the oasis, pluck two yellows, one red, and consume them. Then will the sun wraith appear. Dare look her in the eye and request our desert to bloom while holding out to her on the palm of your hand this stone.’

Between the grandmother’s thumb and forefinger, an orange stone gleamed. The granddaughter took it and tucked it away in the pouch tied to her waist.

‘I will go now,’ she said, and wrapped in her blue cloak, she went without a single glance back.

Seven days later, the grandmother woke to silence. She crept from the burrow. All around, the desert bloomed. A stream ran by. Trees leafy green sheltered singing birds. The grandmother wept in sorrow and joy.

In the oasis, the sun wraith basked, admiring the new addition to her garden of delights. The orange bush gleamed, and its berries, two yellow, one red, and one blue, hung together in a cluster.

 

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BETTY

October 31, 2018

Betty longed to lead the cackle. She practiced in secret every day. Would Halloween ever arrive? The wait seemed endless. Betty’s mother urged her to practice patience. The suggestion merely deepened Betty’s frown and fed her tendency to mutter.

“Is it yet?” asked Betty every day until her mother at last could say,”Oh finally, praise to all broomsticks, YES!”

“Who will lead the cackle?” Betty dared to ask.

“It was unanimous,” said her mother.

“Who?” said Betty.

“YOU!” shrieked her mother.

Betty nearly fainted, but didn’t. Instead, she leapt to her broom and tore from the cottage.

At the entrance to night, the gold and pink blooms beckoned under the fat moon. Betty soared, cackling madly. The others followed in droves, nodding approval.

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