THE VANISHING

May 1, 2018

As villages go, the village was small and sleepy. The villagers never ran. Indeed, they strolled from place to place, pausing often to converse with neighbors or to observe the bounty of nature. Benches in the fabulous rose garden were seldom unoccupied. As the village’s pride and joy, the rose garden thrived under the care of the Fenwick clan to way back in history for longer than even the village librarian could remember.

“Oh, long have they been in charge. Longer than long,” she said whenever queried by passing strangers as to the Fenwickian origin of the rose garden attendants.

One glorious morning in May, Beppo Piedmont, thatched roof maintenance engineer’s apprentice, while on his way to gather thatch, encountered Mavis Fenwick on the garden’s outskirts. She sat in the path, sobbing.

“Whatever is the trouble, Mavis?” inquired Beppo.

“Oh, it’s over. It’s over, over, over,” moaned Mavis, wringing her hands in twisty despair.

“What’s over?” said Beppo.

“It’s the last day,” wailed Mavis, and she turned her face to the sky.

And before Beppo, curiosity piqued, could pursue the matter further, the village, its occupants, and the rose garden vanished.

Mavis knew whereof she spoke.

 

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THE WEAK KING

April 21, 2018

The King of the flat land west of the hills was small and weak. He spoke so softly that the royal lip reader was more important than the prime minister or the Queen. Owing to the facts that neither the prime minister nor the Queen possessed patience enough to learn lip reading and they both hated the arrogant lip reader with a passion, the pair of them conspired often about what to do about the King’s lack of backbone and audibility.

“We’ve tried everything. Everything does not work, and so we will have to try something else,” said the Queen.

“Well said, Your Majesty,” replied the prime minister. “What do you suggest?”

“I suggest that you hie into the ravine of gloom, find a witch, bribe her, and return with whatever it is that you return with,” said the Queen.

The prime minister obeyed. When he returned, smiling weakly and clothes in tatters, he offered a small ruby to the Queen, saying, “This is a deep ruby blush. It activates when you place it on the King’s left eyelid when he is asleep.”

After the prime minister was carried off to recover somewhere else, the Queen hurried to the bedchamber where the King most often napped between naps. She placed the ruby on his left eyelid and stood back. The room was of a sudden drenched in gorgeous ruby gloom. The King awoke.

HELLO, SWEETHEART! GREAT WEATHER WE ARE HAVING, WHAT?” said the King, and he leaped from bed, punched the wall, and, laughing a high cackle, danced from the room.

And that is how the weak King became strong and loud, and how the Queen undertook a permanent solo world tour, and how the prime minister went to live quietly alone in a mud hut.

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CHARM

March 21, 2018

Pymascia, a young witch in search of a certain charm, looked down from her broom at the forest of garven trees. “Magenta root,” she muttered. Swerving left, she dove to darkness under the pale yellow garven canopy. Lightly landing, she stepped to the impressive trunk of the nearest garven tree. Wrinkled in swirls of magenta and black, the bark of the tree purred silent satisfaction.

“Yes,” said the witch. “I find ye as it was foretold.”

She fell to her knees and began to dig. Crumble dirt, easy to move, she tossed aside in clumps. She paused when she unearthed the root, the magenta root, the glowing magenta root.

“Yes,” said the witch.

She tore under the root with her talons in a frenzy. She leaped to her feet, thrusting her right fist toward the sky.

“I have it!” she cried.

Laughing a high shriek, away on her broom she soared. Forever after, all she had to do following a wild coven party was to raise the charm overhead and turn one full circle, thereby making her cottage spotlessly clean and neatly organized.

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APRIL, MAY, AND JUNE

March 3, 2018

Three sisters went to the moon.

Their names were April, May, and June.

They found no air or curtains there.

‘We won’t return any time soon,’

said April and May and especially June.

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PORCUPINES

February 20, 2018

Having no tarps to mend, four tarpmenders sat around a table playing cards. The door flashed open.

Little Alice stuck her head inside and said, “The porcupines are wearing pants. They invited me to join their dance.” She pulled her head back and slammed the door.

The tarpmenders looked at one another, shrugged, and returned to their game. Time passed. The door flashed open again.

“The porcupines are telling lies. They say the world is ruled by flies,” announced Little Alice. She pulled her head back and slammed the door.

The tarpmenders exchanged glances. One of them, Little Alice’s father, coughed an embarrassed sort of cough. They returned to their game. Time passed. The door flashed open.

“The porcupines have built a house big enough to house a mouse,” said Little Alice. The door slammed.

Little Alice’s father stood up and said, “My friends, I have to leave now. When the porcupines build the mouse house, that means they have given final fair warning.” He exited.

Little Alice and her father, hand in hand, led the porcupines home. Thanks to them, they would not be late for supper.

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KRA

February 9, 2018

Kra is a raven.

She lives in a cave.

Her dream is to rule the world.

Sometimes a notion

to find a potion

dances around in her head.

Maybe tomorrow

or the day after

she will gather the power

to make her dream true

and rule over you

in her underground tower.

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A FIRST SENTENCE

February 5, 2018

A cloudy sky greeted morning on the day time and weather went wild.

1st sentence, 1st of 4 books in The Lovey Saga, now under construction.

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A START

December 26, 2017

My new middle grade fairy tale novel has a beginning. It might be called BREDLA AND THE RED VELVET ROSE. It begins like this:

Angry. Bredla was angry. And when she was angry, Bredla complained.

“And do you know what else?” said Bredla, “I hate the colors around here. I should say I hate the no colors around here. There are gray rocks and white snow and black at night and black in the cavern. There is black when I close my eyes. And white blizzards with gray tatters. Even our fur is all black and white stripes. Very boring. That is all. Oh, some kind of blue in the ice, yes. Oh, you say the sky is blue, and the sun is yellow. Good for them. But can they shove the clouds and storms aside so I can see blue and yellow for myself? If they can, they have never done it in my lifetime. Well, I want to know even more than blue and yellow. Where is green? You say forests. There is no forest here. Where is red? Especially red. There is a red velvet rose, the raven said. I have never seen red. I do not know what velvet is. I have never seen a flower. I demand to see a flower.”

Bredla folded her arms and glowered. Her parents were helpless whenever Bredla folded her arms and glowered.

“But Bredla,” said her father, “when we came down from the sky, we promised to stay in the caves on top of this very fine mountain. Is that not correct, Harriet?”

“Yes,” said Bredla’s mother. “We really should stay in the caves, dear. They are your home. You were born here. Your father and I saw all the colors when we lived in the sky land. They are not so impressive when you get used to them. Flowers are none of our business. Ice and snow are enough for us. Where will you find such delicious rocks to eat as we have here?”

“I am going to see the red velvet rose,” said Bredla. She tightened the fold of her arms. She deepened the frown of her glower.

Bredla’s parents traded glances. The glances were glances of surrender.

“But how are you going to find this red rose?” asked Harriet, Bredla’s mother.

“Kra,” said Bredla.

“Kra? What is Kra?” said Bredla’s parents at the same time.

“Raven I met under the crag. She was on an errand for her witch. They are coming to get me tomorrow, but I am going now,” said Bredla.

“But what is a raven?” asked Harriet, Bredla’s mother.

“A black bird with a black beak and black wings and shiny black eyes. Kra belongs to the scarlet witch who lives under this mountain. Kra says that the scarlet witch will help me get to the place where the red velvet rose is growing. I will find the witch’s cave at the bottom of the mountain right now. I will soon see scarlet. Not red, though. Kra says scarlet is red with black in it. I do not know what that means, but I will find out. Good-bye.”

Bredla stomped out of the cave and into the permanent storm. Bredla’s parents were not worried. They were confused. Because they were snow giants, Bredla’s parents did not fear witches. They did not fear for Bredla’s safety. Bredla, too, had no fear of witches or anything else, for that matter. She stomped instead of walked. Bredla was a young, sturdy, confident snow giant.

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THE POTION

November 28, 2017

‘Describe the pain in your knee. Is it sharp? Dull? Does it throb?’ said the witch doctor.

‘Yes,’ said the witch. ‘It starts every Tuesday as a kind of long stabbing. Then it dulls on Wednesday and Thursday, throbs Friday, retreats until I think it’s gone on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Then Tuesday. Stab, stab, stab. I’ve tried every single potion I know and some I don’t know. I’m desperate. Can you do something? Anything?’

‘How is the knee feeling right now?’ asked the witch doctor.

‘It’s Friday,’ said the witch, left eye twitching.

‘Ah, yes. So it is. Throb then. It’s clear to me that you are suffering from invisible penguins,’ said the witch doctor.

The witch grimaced, revealing her favorite fang. She contemplated turning the witch doctor into an empty bucket and throwing him down the well. Taking a deep breath, she set aside the urge for the moment.

‘So. Invisible penguins. Can you do anything to help me?’ said the witch.

‘Oh, certainly,’ said the witch doctor. ‘You need to mix a potion of hen’s ears, two elbow hairs plucked from an ogre, 3 apple seeds divided and conquered, a thimble of rainbow mist, and a clutch of candleberry beads. Heat the potion in a medium cauldron and drink it with your eyes closed. The invisible penguins will beat the hastiest of retreats. I guarantee it.’

‘I have everything you said there except candleberry beads. What are they and where can I find them?’ said the witch.

‘Candleberry beads grow in clusters on the sanch trees found in Hidden Discovered Valley. The beads are purplish or bluish. Get some of both. No need to pay me until you’re free of pain and invisible penguins,’ said the witch doctor.

‘Paying without getting results was never in the cards. Empty buckets, on the other hand … Oh, never mind,’ said the witch, and off she flew directly to Hidden Discovered Valley, where she quickly found and gathered the candleberry beads.

Returned home, her knee throbbed as she limped about the cottage assembling the potion’s ingredients. She stirred the ugly sludge in the medium cauldron until it was warm. She closed her eyes and drank. Instantly, the throbbing in her knee ceased. She tried a few tentative knee bends. No pain. She hopped. No pain. She grimaced in pleasure, revealing her favorite fang.

‘The invisible penguins are gone,’ she murmured. ‘What shall I do to celebrate? Hmmm. I think I’ll change that witch doctor into an empty bucket and throw him down the well after all. I mean, why not?’

And so she did.

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THE BAD SKOON

November 14, 2017

‘If you don’t behave, I’ll send you to where the ferns grow, and there you’ll be eaten by the Bad Skoon.’

The witch’s daughter narrowed her eyes and presented to her mother a skeptical expression on her as of yet still smooth green face.

‘Oh, there’s no such thing. And if there is, what is it? And I don’t care because I’ve got my powers ready.’

The witch mother snorted an impressive snort from her long bumpy green nose.

‘Your pitiful powers will be no match for the Bad Skoon. It has a great round lump of a body and 8 long poison fern leaf legs. One touch and you freeze, only to slowly melt until nothing is left but your still seeing eyes, which the Bad Skoon then gobbles up with a terrible gnashing of its daggery teeth.’

The witch’s daughter thought this new information over.

‘Well, mother, I have decided to clean the cauldron after all.’

The witch mother nodded once.

‘I thought you might.’

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