"My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplaces of existence." ― Sir Arthur Conan Doylen, Sherlock Holmes
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August 31, 2017

Fiction: Jane Eerie & The Boy Traveler - part 3

Jane Eerie & The Boy Traveler - part 3
>> Read Part 1, Part 2 <<

Jane Eerie & The Boy Traveler - part 3

The water was freezing. Jane wished she had answered the other advertisement about a caretaker to a cat. At least, a cat would not thought to open books or traverse around the world.

Jane blinked and opened her eyes. She took in a few breathes and then regretted it. There was something putrid in the air. She sat up and found herself in a muddy puddle probably from the water that she brought along when she and BJ fell into the icy pond.

Slants of sunlight filled the room. The ceiling was high much like Castle Howl except this place was not a castle. This place was filthy with peeling wallpapers, scattered old papers, strange objects covered in grime and dust. This was no place for anyone. She turned about the room and there was BJ sitting across from her.

"I misstepped. But do not worry, I know how to get us out of here." He coughed. He was wet and his face was flushed.

"You are not well." Jane went over and sat beside BJ. She rubbed at her clothes to get the water out.

"Yes, that happens a lot when you travel through water." BJ's voice was horsed.

"But how do you do this? How does it work? How could we be traveling like this?" Jane asked.

"I am not sure myself. It just happened. One day, I opened a book to an image of a lake and I wished to go to Japan so I can see the cherry blossoms and when I touched the book, I was sucked into. I fell into a lake when I try to climb a tree and then I was back home. I tried it several times with different books but it only seem to work with water."

"But how does it work?"

"Do you not believe in magic, Miss Jane? It is all magic." BJ smiled a tired smile.

How could Jane not believe when she had been going from place to place in matter of minutes? She shook her head. "I do not know. It all seem...unreal."

"That was my reaction too. I suppose if you have done it enough times, you will start to believe." BJ coughed into his sleeve.

"Where are we? Exactly?" Jane asked.

"My mind is a bit muddled but I think we are New York. My guess would be somewhere in 1980 or 1990." BJ wiped his nose with his sleeve. He was covered in sweat.

"What do you mean?" She looked around her again. The windows were covered in grime but she could make out bits of blue sky and shiny tall buildings disappeared upward and out of view. She had never seen such buildings before. "How is this possible? We cannot be hundreds of years in the future."

August 29, 2017

Fiction: Summer memories in three slices

I remember heat so severe that the world seemed to have melted and I along with it. Relief came in short bursts of drizzles and light winds. But they dissipated so quickly that they might as well never happened. I chased clouds in my head and drank cool liquids like sugar cane and guava juice.

One hot afternoon, which all afternoons were that summer, four of us gathered our savings and brought a vanilla cone. We held the cone tightly with much hunger - hands on top of hands on top of hands. We each took a small bite while the ice cream dripped onto our fingers and eventually stuck them together. We did not let go until all was gone. We licked our fingers with wistful tongues and wished for more. Then we quietly sat on the hot ground like starving deserts needing water.

I remember school days like daydreams. Classes started when the sun rise and ended when the sun set. Too many of us were tightly packed into a small room with two windows. Cloudy off-white walls, dingy desks and blackboards using chalks so old, that whatever was written was wiped away by the afternoon sunlight. Papers, pencils and books were scarce but that didn't matter as much as the lacking of lunches.

Both girls and boys wore the same bowl-shaped hair cut - short, crooked on the side and sometimes so uneven that the boy or girl would tilt his or her head as if trying to even it out. Most had dirt on their faces. Some wore shoes with holes in the toes. Some wore no shoes at all. We were mirror images of each other but we were young so it didn't matter how we look. We saw ourselves as moldable objects, ready to bend at any adult's request.

As the windows and the door were kept opened to allow air in, the heat came often with strong punches while the clouds rolled by and forgot to rain. We watched the shadows moved while hoping every now and then, some swift wind would sneak in and cool our heads just a little.

Our attention wasn't always on the teacher. A few of us were woken by a loud bang usually by the teacher striking a ruler or a book on the desk. No harsh words or strong hands were given as the teachers themselves were just as lazy-minded as us. They didn't want to be there either. Sometimes the teachers would run off talking about things we didn't understand but we daydreamed with them.

Still, we stayed even though the hours felt long. The air was tight. The heat was overwhelming. We became more languid as the days went by.

When the sun set, we dragged ourselves home for dinner in the semi-darkness and forgot everything that we've learned that day.

I remember a sky so blue that my vision wavered as if everything around me was a mirage. The sun was brilliant, it hurt to even look sideways at anything. There was a break once where the sky changed to grey and the grey stayed so long that I forgot it had ever been any other color. White sheets shadowed the wind as the clouds wandered above seemingly not wanting to leave and yet not wanting to rain either. Wash day came and went while the sun slept through the weeks. Then it came back and brought the heat. The clouds never showered and rain was a fairytale that was read at night. The sun continued to beat the ground and us. At night, we slept in the cool shadow of the moon holding a fan in one hand and a towel in the other. One to cool us and the other to wipe at the sweat. No lullabies came from the wind. Only silence and the ever aching heat.


I'm participating in the 10 Days of Heat Writing Challenge and today's theme is 'Best summer memory.' To visit other bloggers participating in the challenge, go here.

August 28, 2017

Fiction: Bent 2

I found this new writing exercise called 15 minute ficlets hosted by Amber at The Literary Phoenix in which a word is given and you have to write something for 15 minutes. This week's word is "sunrise." I decided to continue last week's story and I'll keep writing it until something else comes to me. Read Part 1 here.

15 minute ficlets
Fiction: Bent - Part 2

I barely settled in my dreams before I was woken by the a scent of newly cut trees. I opened my eyes to the brightness of the pale blue ceiling. The scent was gone.

The room was lit up with sunlight through the curtainless window. I stayed on the bed unable to think of getting up at all. This wasn't what I wanted. Not now. The night before, Ralf had sent me here to the guest quarter on the third floor. It had the smallest bed. My feet almost came to the edge but at least the bed was in good shape unlike the rest of the manor. I began to wonder if perhaps I was out of my mind for coming here.

After hours of convincing myself I should get up, I soon found out how broken the whole manor was. Every part of the manor was in some sort of disrepair. It was as if someone purposely destroyed everything just enough to keep me busy and not get anything done. All the doors, though secured to their hinges, were weak and a few had softened to the point where pieces of it broke off in my hand. All the windows had not been opened for a long time that they seemed sealed in. Rafe and I took to randomly go from room to room and opening windows but it took a whole day. Rafe opened most of them as I was too weak - his words though I didn't argue as my hands was aching madly.

I found out there were twenty bedrooms, ten water closets, one huge kitchen, two sitting rooms, three dinning room, three libraries and a basement. I would sent a letter to father and ask him about why he left but he would probably said he wanted a bigger place and I guessed ten more rooms equalled to a bigger place.

The room at the end of the south wing with the large hole created by a storm was the first thing that really needed attention. Rafe had hung a sheet to cover it. To think Rafe had not even try to repair it, was kind of strange as he seemed a rather strong old man. I asked him but he merely stated it was not his job to repair walls nor was it his job to repair much of anything around the manor. His was hired to watch the manor and nothing more. I thought Rafe was perhaps not paid enough to care. My father certainly didn't care how the manor was. It was my stepmother that wanted it fixed up for her vacation home or perhaps for one of her friends. I didn't know and I didn't care to ask.

Rafe didn't cook either. There were no cooks or maids or any servants. The furniture though in good shape was covered in dust. Rafe didn't seem to have dusted at all. I supposed I will have to hire a few people to restore the place.

Weeks went by. I wonder from room to room looking for things to repair and there were many. I made a list in my ledger though the list was growing rather long and filling up the pages. I thought it was better to tear the whole manor down and start anew but it was not my decision to make.

A short, wide man came to the door. He offered his services as a carpenter. His name was Herman Worth. Rafe recommended him. I hired Mr. Worth to fix up the south wing wall and whatever else was needed. His price was high but I figured Stepmother wouldn't care. But Mr. Worth was not to come for another month as he was still working on another place. He promised to come as quickly as he could.

Stepmother said I must send her reports on the manor's progress and in term, she will send the money I need. Immediately after my meeting with Mr. Worth, I sent her a letter stating what I need in order to repair the south wing wall. I had added I would also need servants for the time I was to be at Hallow Manor. Before, I was not thinking of the years I had to be here as I was in a hurry to leave home but now I wondered if perhaps I might have to be here for a couple of years.

A month later, instead of Mr. Worth showing up, a man named Mink came. Mink said Herman had a little accident and Mink was to take his place. Mink was Herman's apprentice and he knew his job. Mink was rugged-looking with wavy black hair that hung over his face and he was only slightly taller than me. He looked like he hadn't shaved much and the scent of him was quite overwhelming. He didn't smell bad, he just smelled like he was coated in new wood and something else I could not identify.

I wanted to turn Mink out but then I realized, I really needed him. Rafe wasn't going to help me fix the place and I didn't know a thing about carpentry. So I accepted Mink. Mink was to sleep in the guest quarter in the south wing in the room next to the one with the broken wall. He suggested it as he was to start on the wall right away. He thought he might as well be close to it.

A few mornings later, I heard hammering and I knew the noise will continue for a long while.

August 25, 2017

Books read lately

A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading. –William Styron
These are the books I finished reading so far this year with little notes on what I thought. Normally, I would say I only list books I would recommend reading but now I think every book has an audience and it's fair to talk about them even in the negative. These are my opinions and if you don't like them, forget them or read the book and judge for yourself.  Please note: There will be minor ramblings & no, I'm not paid to read these books or write these reviews.

01/ The island at the end of everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
It's a beautiful book but I think the subject of leprosy and butterflies might not appeal to people but it's more about family anyway. I must admit, I didn't really read the synopsis all that clearly when I decided to read the book as I was sucked in by the beautiful cover and I also loved Hargrave's previous book (The girl of ink & stars) but I still end up liking The island at the end of everything a lot. I don't love it but I think it's mostly because the ending was a bit short. There are two endings of sorts with the second taking places thirty years later which surprised me and also it is told with a new character which at first, I hated it but then I realized it's actually better this way. We are then re-living the whole story in a new light and it gives the ending a more of double joy kind of feeling.

Favorite Quote: "And now I see them clearly for what they are: the colours patterning each wing, the black bodies, some large, some small, and all of them shifting like breath across the clearing. Butterflies. Dozens, maybe hundreds of them, coasting on the air like a visible, fluttering wind."

02/ The Crow-Girl by Bodil Bredsdorff, translated from the Danish by Faith Ingwersen (The first of The Children of Crow Cove series)
After her grandmother dies, Crow-Girl left her home and set out to find a family, well, I'm not sure that was her intention but that's what happened. She meets people - cruel, abused, kind, lost. One of them is a boy named Doup and then a few more which I don't think I should name as the book is quite short. Despite being short and the story told in a direct, forward manner, it was an enjoyable read. I really like Crow-Girl and the way she draws people into her life - never pushing people to move one way or another. And she gets a name at the end of the story though I really did like how Crow-Girl's grandmother calls her 'my chick.' I also read the other three books in the series - Eidi, Tink, Alek - but they are just okay but I like Crow-Girl the best.

Favorite Quote: "Her eyes were dark blue, nearly black in the dim light. She had a large curved nose and dark, bristly hair that was very short in front where the fire had singed it."

03/ Witch Song by Amber Argyle (Book 1 of The Witch Song series)
Right away, I sort of hate the book because the protagonist's name is Brusenna but later when she left home to find her mother, she introduced herself as Senna as some sort of disguise which is just silly because who just shorten their name for a disguise? Senna's power is activated through singing which there are a lot of in the book. To me, singing is really a weak way to get your power working. It's very easy for anyone to gag her and she's done for which is illustrated right in the beginning of the book. But I like seeing heroines with a weakness because she would be too perfect if she doesn't have any. In fact, Senna is a bit of a cliche. She is a girl that is beautiful but doesn't quite know it, a girl that is powerful but doubting herself, a girl that is destined to overcome anything - the usual heroine story. I mean, I sort of know where the story is heading. There are some vivid side characters like the evil witch that kills witches like Senna and the evil witch's two male minions but nobody reallly stands out. Senna's love interest/bodyguard Joshen is a bit of a cliche too. Joshen is a honest good guy who just happens to be big, tall and good looking as expected like any love interest might be.

I think Witch Song is more of a find-yourself kind of book more than a supernatural/adventure book. Not to say there aren't adventures and dangers and such but I guess I expected more. There are some magic moments that I like but they were kind of brief and really, they are the only thing that keeps me reading to the end. Since it's a first book in a series, I guess this is more of a set up for something bigger but the ending is satisfying if not a bit lukewarm. I like Witch Song enough but not enough to read the sequels.

Favorite Quote: "Well, then, find another way. I'm not going to stand by and watch you sing yourself into old age."

04/ A Series of Unfortunate Events: The bad beginning, or Orphans! / The reptile room or, Murder! /The wide window or, Disappearance! by Lemony Snicket with illustrations by Brett Helquist
These first three books have almost the same storyline: the children gets sent to a relative/guardian and then something bad happens and the children starts again with a different relative/guardian, all very tragic. I like the moments when Violet, Klaus and even the baby, Sunny, comes up with answers to solve their miserable predicaments. The writing is a bit annoying sometimes because words keep getting explained/defined and sometimes there are ramblings but these books are short which I like. However, I dislike the way the adults keeps disbelieving the children, making it too frustrating a read. I mean, are the adults in that world so gullible that they need hard evidence to believe the children? And how many tragedies does it take to get the children to have a happy ending? 13, I suppose since there are 13 books in this series.

Cover Note: Sadly, they didn't publish the other 10 books with this design (see above) which I like a lot. Honestly, I thought about getting the hardcover box set for my collection but they all have these Netflix stickers on all 13 covers which to me, is a bit excessive and I really hate how the covers are ruined by stickers either printed or stuck on.

Favorite Quote: "Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire were intelligent children, and they were charming, and resourceful, and had pleasant facial features, but they were extremely unlucky, and most everything that happened to them was rife with misfortune, misery and despair. I'm sorry to tell you this, but that is how the story goes." - The bad beginning

05/ Charlie & The Chocolate Factory/Charlie & The Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl & illustrated by Quentin Blake
I really like Dahl's style of writing - somewhat serious but at the same time, kind of making fun of everything and everyone but it's just so much fun reading them. (Matilda is the first Dahl book I read and it's still my most favorite Dahl book.) I do think Charlie & The Chocolate Factory is a little lighter than Charlie & The Glass Elevator which seems a bit on the dark side especially when they brought up those strange worm aliens 'The Vermicious Knids.' I really don't like them. But I like Charlie's family and Mr. Wonka who apparently likes to pretend he didn't hear something when he didn't like them. I thought he is rather fun.

Cover Note: My editions are the Puffin hardcover editions which have purple/dark blue color text which matched the cover colors.

Favorite Quote: "Only once a year, on his birthday, did Charlie Bucket ever get to taste a bit of chocolate. The whole family saved up their money for that special occasion, and when the great day arrived, Charlie was always presented with one small chocolate bar to eat all by himself. And each time he received it, on those marvelous birthday mornings, he would place it carefully in a small wooden box that he owned, and treasure it as though it were a bar of solid gold; and for the next few days, he would allow himself only to look at it, but never to touch it. Then at last, when he could stand it no longer, he would peel back a tiny bit of the paper wrapping at one corner to expose a tiny bit of chocolate, and then he would take a tiny nibble - just enough to allow the lovely sweet taste to spread out slowly over his tongue. The next day, he would take another tiny nibble, and so on, and so on. And in this way, Charlie would make his ten-cent bar of birthday chocolate last him for more than a month."

06/ The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis
I want to love this book. But all I could really say is I half-like this book. So this is about a dragon that turned into a girl and it involves chocolate which is a good combination right? Dragons and chocolate? Good combination? I thought so but I was disappointed. I wish her dragon side was spoken of more often, all we are getting is her telling us how she is learning to be human with some side bits about her dragon days. I didn't like her name either - Aventurine - it sounds like 'adventure' and it's just too obvious. This is a decent read but I sort of hate how the story just got a bit too generalized about being human, about being a dragon, about basically the basic element about finding your true self. Younger readers might like this but adults would probably get a bit bore unless the talk of chocolates makes you extremely happy. But the cover is gorgeous!

Favorite Quote: "If I'd still been in my proper form, I would have snorted out gallons of smoke at the very idea of caring about what humans chose to put on their little bodies. As it was, I was horribly certain that the information was going to actually matter to me soon."

07/ Chime by Franny Billingsley
I would say Chime is a complex book that makes me hate it and then love it and then hate it and so on. Chime is classified as an young adult mystery with supernatural elements and to me, that sounds about right. The main character is Briony and the story is told in her point of view. Briony has a secret that is suppose to end her life which we get to know right away - she is a witch - but there are other secrets/revelations that could save her and that is what keeps me reading. I just wasn't sure if some of the events at the end really happened. They just seemed a bit foggy - like perhaps it happened in Briony's head instead of in the real world but I guess a re-read would probably clear that up. Since I read this on and off and having taking so much break in between reading the beginning and the end, I guess my mind was a little foggy as well. As for the supernatural elements, well, I don't really care for them but they are part of Briony's story and they have great significants at the end. I think Chime is one of those books that can't really be judge easily. It's well written and you do get to know Briony really well in all her honest, angst-filled, see-saw, unbalanced mind. It is definitely not a dull book and not your standard teen-angst book either. I would recommend this only if you're not afraid of some creepiness and some unsuitable contents.

Cover Note: The version I have is the green one (see above, right) though I would prefer the cover at left but it's not available in paperback. Honesty, the face on the green cover represents Briony perfectly but I really, really hate the way it is framed and the green. Seriously, just because the book has supernatural/paranormal elements doesn't mean it has to be green.

Favorite Quote: "Say something, Briony; say something! The Briony mask always had something tart or amusing to say, but the underneath Briony could think of nothing. The clock tut-tutted in the silence. How slowly it spoke, so slowly that between tick and tock came the sharp silvery plink of rain on glass."

Read any good books lately? Tell me about it in the comments.

August 24, 2017

Fiction: Fireworks, Stars and Dragons

On a cool night where moonlight fell between the clouds, Elric rushed out of his house, down a short path, took a left toward the road. He wanted to catch sights of the fireworks before it was too late. But instead of a clear path, there was a mountain blocking the way. He could neither go left nor right as there were trees blocking both sides. As this the only way to town Elric couldn't decide what to do next.

But upon inspecting the mountain closely, Elric found it was not a mountain at all but some type of large creature. He ran his hands over the surface. It was soft and smooth like his own skin but a little cold. His hand came upon an arrow and foolishly Elric pulled it out. He looked up but the creature didn't budge. The surface rippled once and the hole made by the arrow sealed itself closed leaving a smooth surface. Elric was amazed. He had never seen such things before.

A noise erupted above. Elric looked to the sky where there was the fireworks obscured by the creature and the trees. Elric moved left and then right, but he only caught a glimpse of sparks.

A large blue-green eye appeared in the smooth surface right in front of where Elric stood. Then the creature's skin turned a slight dark blue.

Elric took a few steps back. He blinked at the creature.

The eye blinked back. Then there were two eyes, two nostrils and a line curve beneath it. As it spread its wings, a mild wind came at Elric.

Elric thought about the things his papa had told him that might be useful. None came. Then Elric remembered his mama's words about strangers: If they appear kind, introduce yourself and if they appear unkind, run away. Elric stepped close to the creature, held out his hand and smiled. "I'm Elric. How do you do, Sir," Elric said loudly as he used to do when he was in school.

The creature shifted about before settling on the ground again with its chin resting on its crossed arms. A small flame escaped its left nostril. "It it Miss to you."

August 23, 2017

Scribble Picnic: "Fill in the blank"

'egg tales' closeup
'egg tales' unfinished
draft version of 'egg tales'
'egg tales' closeup 2
This week's Scribble Picnic is "Fill in the blank" and that blank is in the shape X.  The above is another a piece I have started a while back that I just kind of kept redrawing without much coloring. For more Scribble Picnic, go here.

August 22, 2017

Fiction: A camp fire tale

Ember watches the flames and tries to think why telling tales around a fire is so exhilarating. The girl with the red hair turns to him and smiles. It is Ember's turn. He wonders if anyone will believe what he is about to tell them.

A year after King Hunt's wife's death, he brought home a new, young wife. Snow had blond hair that was perfectely coiffed with icy gray eyes, silky skin, lips painted a very pale pink and a nose perfectly proportioned to her face. She came with her personal servant, a man named Cade. Cade was large and towered over everyone. He could not speak but he made grunting noises sometimes like a horse.

Young Rembe was introduced to Snow as his new stepmother. Though Snow was always calm and never shouted, Rembe thought she was rather rude and angry. But in King Hunt's eye, she was perfect. When Snow discharged all the female servants, King Hunt let her. When the male servants were not up to her standards, she discharged them as well. When she said Rembe was to replace those servants so that he may learn the hardship of his people, King Hunt agreed. When she wanted everyone to call her Queen Snow, including King Hunt and Rembe, he said fine. She was the queen after all. Soon Queen Snow took over the castle and the kingdom. King Hunt was still the king though he became more her servant each day.

Rembe grew to have rough hands and a tired body due to the endless tasks Queen Snow demanded. He was moved to the tower room so that her majesty's clothes may have their own room right next to hers. But these were nothing compared to what the peasants had to endure. Queen Snow decreed a new law stating all young maidens beautiful or handsome be moved to the mountain caves to work. No one knew what the work was but servants sometimes were seen carrying mysterious blue vials out of the caves. If young maidens refused to go, they would be hanged. To gave an example, Queen Snow kept their bodies hanging in the middle of town for everyone to see.

Rembe tried to talk to Queen Snow about the peasant girls but she just laughed and said such trivial things should not concern a prince. Rembe looked toward his father but he was never in Rembe's company. But King Hunt was strong Rembe thought. He must know something was wrong. Perhaps he will come to his senses and see Queen Snow as what she really is but the day never came. King Hunt died while cleaning the fireplace in Queen Snow's chamber. Rembe was not there but Queen Snow said King Hunt accidentally fell into the flames and caught fire quickly. She could not save him. But Rembe suspected Queen Snow was the one that killed his father but no one would dare say anything differently.

August 20, 2017

Fiction: Bent

I just found this new writing exercise called 15 minute ficlets hosted by Amber at The Literary Phoenix in which a word is given and you have to write something for 15 minutes. I'm combinating last week's word "Bestial" and this week's "Unexpected." Visit Amber here.

15 minute ficlets

Fiction: Bent

The beast opened its mouth and came toward me. I stood unable to move a muscle. But the beast merely stopped at my feet and sat down. It whined like a child needing a pat on its head. I wanted to laugh for scaring myself. I lifted my hand and was about to pat the dog when a light caught my eye.

Someone appeared with a lantern held low to the ground and keeping their face in the shadows. The lantern's light lit the uneven, stone paved pathway that led to the gate where I was standing. I should not have stepped inside the gates but I didn't want to wait. The cold breeze lingered around me.

The man seemed almost shy as he stood in front of me with his head bowed a little. He held the lantern high showing his face lined with many wrinkles and scars. "This here is Lionel." The man said and then he added, "My name is Ralf. I am the housekeeper. You must be Mistress Sarah Bright." His voice was light and worn as if he was tired of talking just after a few words. Ralf said no more after that. I nodded. "I am." I bended down and pat Lionel. His hair was a soft as feathers.

I was here as the new mistress of Hallow Manor though it was only in title as I was merely a caretaker for the place. Its rightful master was my father Count Blule but he was too busy counting his money and his many sons. I was his only daughter but I was not special. Not in his eyes, nor my stepmothers. To say how many stepmothers I have is to say how many people ruled me. At times I struggled to refuse their commands as I had never thought myself their daughter or servant. Father had his own money but my stepmothers' riches kept him in a healthy state living among the rich folks. Father said I must obeyed my stepmothers or else I would be turn out to the streets. Father did not care for me as parents should and that was why I sometimes loathed him.

It was only after I turned nine, I began to see why my family shunned me. I was a strange one. I was too bold, too inquisitive, too talkative, too unladylike. I was not born a beauty and I walked with a limp after being bitten by a neighbor's dog at three. Now at twenty-two, I was not married nor do I have any marriage prospects and in this sense, there were no other choices for me other than to work for my family. But I was happy for I had never thought a woman needed a husband to be happy. I was not educated like my brothers. They went to school while I sat at home learning to be a lady though I succeeded at none of the skills I was supposed to learn but I got to read a lot of books. I taught myself the things I needed to learn and yet, I had not learned the art of deceit or even lying.

My only talent or thereof considered as talent by others if they knew, was that, I could bend an animal or a beast's will to mine. This strange power came just after I turned eighteen. One of the house visitors brought a dog. His name was Walter. Walter was an odd looking creature with oodles of white curls. Walter did not behave well. But when Walter came upon me, he became docile. When I told him to sit, he sat. When I told him to run away from his owner, he did. That was not a very nice thing to do but his owner was such a haughty lady and she treated him very badly. Walter was found three days later in the cellar of one of our neighbors who had been feeding him. 

August 17, 2017

Fiction: Jane Eerie & The Boy Traveler - part 2

Jane Eerie & The Boy Traveler - part 2

>>> Read part 1 here <<<

Jane Eerie & The Boy Traveler - part 2

What else could she do? Jane closed her eyes and dove into the lake. She felt a tightening of her chest for a few moments but then it was gone. She opened her eyes to a bright blue sky. It was quiet with a slight wind blowing.

"Having fun, Miss Jane?" BJ was grinning down at her. He took a few steps back. Jane sat up. A shiver ran through her body. She rubbed at her arms but she felt like cold hands were wrapping ice around her. She stood up and looked about. There was really not much to see. Around her were mountains and trees covered in snow. She turned back and BJ was gone again. Jane searched around and spotted the depressions in the snow made by small feet. She followed them. "BJ!" she called out. "BJ!"

She ran for a bit but the snow on the ground thinned. A small bark came from behind her. She turned and there was a creature on all fours. It was nearly all black except for the gray-white streaks on top of its head. Jane was certain it was a wolf. She took a few steps back. The wolf came forward. She back away again but the wolf only stepped toward her. Its tongue was sticking out and Jane noticed the sharp fangs. She grabbed some snow off the ground and threw them at the wolf. "Go away!" she shouted. The wolf merely let the snow hit his front paws. He stood watching her.

Not only was Jane freezing, she was facing a wolf that might possibly eat her and she had not received her wages yet for a job that involved far too much traveling. She had thought she would be indoors quietly giving lessons, not out running around chasing after a boy.

August 16, 2017

Scribble Picnic: Flower Bed

'rose dream no.2' (not quite finished)
'rose dream no.2' closeup
This week's Scribble Picnic is Flower Bed.  This is actually a piece I have started a while back that I  didn't add color (and it's still not finished), so it's not quite 'flower bed' but there are flowers. (click on the images for a larger view) For more Scribble Picnic, go here.

August 15, 2017

Fiction: Beach life

Henry watches the horizon from his place, center from left, between the rows of pine trees that divided the beach from the sun huts. Out in the water, the waves shift back and forth rather lazily.

Henry grunts but barely a sound escapes from him. All the sunshine and the humans playing on the beach makes him a bit irritable as he had nothing better to do than to stare at the water or at the humans.

A beach ball lands in front of him. Henry glances up. A pair of children is running toward his direction. He flicks at the ball and it deflated. The children's faces drain of happy thoughts even as one of them picks up the ball. Henry laughs silently. Then his glance lands on a sand castle a few feet away. He twirls a finger and the castle collapses. Henry grins. Out in the water some human male thinks he could start his surfing lesson the easy way. Henry flicks his finger and the board flips over and the surfer falls into the water. Henry laughs but then a strange sadness fills his head. Perhaps he shouldn't have done that. But the human isn't hurt. None of them are.

A small cry makes Henry turn and there stood a little girl with short black ponytails and a lopsided smile with saliva drooling down the side of her mouth. She looks up at Henry with large blue eyes. Henry leans a little away from her glare but the little girl steps closer. She pokes a finger at his legs. He hardly feels it. He turns his face farther away.

The little girl's mother appears and tries to pull the girl away but the girl grabs onto Henry's hand. The mother could only see Henry in his tree form while the little girl still innocent, could see Henry as he really is. Henry tries to pull away. He turns his eyes toward the sky.

The father comes and carries the little girl away, all the while, the little girl shrieks like a hyena. Henry never thought he would hear such screams from such a small human. But the shrieking reminds Henry how much he misses being able to cover his ears with his hands and telling someone to shut their trap. As a fairy that grant wishes, he has had a pretty decent track and hardly ever strayed from his assignments. As a pretended human, he is seen as a mean-spirited man but Henry doesn't care what humans or anyone thinks of him but of course that also lands him in trouble with just about everyone.

It wasn't a while ago that Henry strayed just a little too much from his assignment. So what if he turned a couple of humans into toads? It wasn't like they didn't deserve it. Henry didn't like seeing the stepdaughter treated so badly, not when there is other reason for it. It wasn't like he did anything bad and he was going to change them back as soon as they repented. But the fairy counsel thought otherwise. Henry's punishment is to spend a decade in this sunshiny place but the worst part is, he has to complete his punishment in the form of a pine tree that he is sure he would never ever grow to like. But the days haven't been all bad and Henry got to enjoy some quiet solitude even if the happy humans irks him sometimes.

The sun begins to drop into the horizon and the sky grows dark. Henry leans back and closes his eyes. Another day passes and only 3,456 to go. Henry chuckles at the thought of turning back to his true form and back to his old life. Perhaps he might retire to a cold climate and enjoy fishing inside a cabin. Perhaps he will miss this beach life just a little. Or perhaps he will turn more humans into toads.


I'm participating in the 10 Days of Heat Writing Challenge and today's theme is 'Beach life.' To visit other bloggers participating in the challenge, go here.

August 14, 2017

Work in progress

'read at sea' work in progress - closup
'read at sea' work in progress - closup
I thought I share a new art work, well, an unfinished art work, as I posted a lot of writings lately and there will be more  as I'm doing a writing challenge.

I have a lot of work in progress pieces, (technically it's probably just under 100 but who's counting?) that somehow doesn't get finished but I thought I share a piece that might be finish, sort of. Yes, it's another mermaid reading. (The other is here & unfinished.)

This piece started because I wanted something for my bookmarks page (I have since left it with the book image) & I somehow went to work on it and it just became this new piece. The original or rather, the original original is actually part of another piece but it's not much different from 'draft 1' but without the books.
draft 1
draft 2
draft 3

outline view showing all the lines used to make the image
This piece is done in Adobe Illustrator. As you see from the outline image, how many lines it takes to make an image and also, how sloppy I can be in Illustrator. I think it take a lot of patiences to make the lines neat and sometimes I slack off because those sloppy lines aren't being seem but I think I should be a little neater somehow.

spot the difference - draft 3 (left),  final (right)
I'm thinking of creating a book of people & creatures reading because, well, no reason really, I just like the idea. I do wonder about making art and not doing something about them. I just hope it's not all a waste of time that's all. (FYI, it says 'Read' on her left arm.)

'read at sea' work in progress - click for a larger view

August 10, 2017

Fiction: Bear meets Lion

On a cloudy day, Bear glimpses a ship right above him. He knows he is not allowed to go near humans but he couldn't stop himself. Without hesitation, he heads straight toward the ship. As he surfaces, he thought about what he will say when he comes face to face with a human. But the first thing he sees is the underside of a net and then he is pulled onto the ship. Bear looks around him but sees only blurry faces and shadows.

Above, thunder clap and rain begin to pour. Clouds cover the sky and turn day into night. Wild wind chased everything astray. The ship begins to knock about. Bear knows this storm must be made by one of his people, perhaps his father Cod.

Water begins to fill the deck and humans begin to run back and forth. They ignore Bear. Except for a girl. Bear watches her as she walks awkwardly toward him. As the ship sways back and forth, the girl falls again and again but she continues to make her way toward Bear. Bear wonders why she is on board. There aren't any other children around, at least none that he could see.

Soon, she kneels down in front of Bear and begins to untangle the net around him. When she is finished, she drops the net on the floor and it soon gets swept away by the water. The girl sits and watches Bear. Bear isn't sure of what to do. He should leave. The ship will get destroyed by the storm. But the girl. Bear wants to know why she is there and why she freed him. Water floods the entire ship and it begins to descend.

Bear grabs the girl before the ship sinks deeper down. He pulls the girl up to the surface. The girl coughs and blinks and coughs and blinks. Bear studies her. If not for her legs, she doesn't look all that different from him.

Rain pours and the dark clouds have enveloped the sky making it hard to see anything. But then the sky turns a little lighter and Bear could see the water calming down. There is no signs of the ship. Except for the pouring rain, Bear could hear nothing else.

August 8, 2017

Fiction: Orange

Fiction: Orange

Ally Red have only one last thing to do to get into the Academy for the Gifted: turn her mousy-colored hair into a rich auburn. She takes a breath, smiles at the seven judges sitting in front of her and concentrates on her hair. But then she catches sight of the plate of oranges on the table and she wonders why they are there. Then she looks up at the judges and remembers to smile. But her eyes veer back toward the oranges.

Muffled gasps begin to spread among the judges. Ally looks up. The woman at the end on the right, holds a hand over her mouth and whispers something to the man beside her. He nods and then writes something on the papers in front of him.

Ally's skin begin to itch. Something is wrong. Terribly wrong. She knows it and yet she could not think of what it might be. She stays seated on the metal chair. It's suddenly far to hard for her soft body. She straightens her back and tries a smile.

The other judges are looking at her with wide eyes and a few with opened mouths. The woman at the end, turns to Ally, smiles, and say, "Thank you Miss Red. We will let you know. You may leave."

Ally doesn't have to wait for the results, she knows she has failed. She stands up and the chair falls backward. She bends to pick it up and strands of her hair falls in her purview. They are not red or brown but orange. She turns to the judges. Their eyes have not left her. She have an urge to jump out the windows behind the judges' chairs and straight into the sky. Instead, she places the chair back and walks unsteadily toward the exit. The guard smiles a bit as he opens the door. He shuts it behind her.

Plenty of faces glance up when Ally comes out. The O shapes of their mouths let her know they saw what the judges saw. But her skin itches terribly and it feels like she is on fire. She races down the hallway ignoring the gapping stares and heads toward the ladies room. She throws the door open and turns on the faucet and splashes cold water on her face. When she looks up, she shrieks. Then she looks behind her. There is on one else in the bathroom. She sighs but then glances at her reflection.

Like her hair, her skin has turned orange - the color of carrots and oranges and pumpkins and... She couldn't think any more. She suddenly hates all the fruits that are orange.

She splashes more water over her face and rubs at her cheeks and neck but the color remains but now she looks like a red-hot tomato. She laughs and wipes at her tears. She stares at herself uncertain what to do.

When she finally decides to come out, the hallway is empty. Only her best friend Hue Black is sitting there. He stands up with his hands in his pants pocket. He walks toward her. His gray eyes widens a bit but then returns to normal. "It's cool. I like it."

Ally just shrugs. "We should get going."

Hue and Ally turn and head toward the exit. "Accidental coloring - it happens to a lot of people," Hue said.

"But my skin..." This have never happened to her before. From birth she had been capable of changing all colors including other people's hair without any problems. Everyone born in Hope Blossoms were gifted and they all used their gift flawlessly or supposed to.

"Al, it's just a side effect. I hear the color fades after a couple of days. No sweat." Hue gives her a slight grin.

"That doesn't make me feel any better." But Ally does feel better. Hue always seem to cheer her up even when he says the simplest things.

"No? How about this?" He pulls out his hands from his pocket. He rolls up his left shirt sleeve and then his right. His once tan arms are now a lime green. "Hey, you should have seen my parents when I came out. They looked like they were going to explode. I was never more proud of myself as a Black family member." He sounds cheerful, like he always does.

Ally laughs lightly. "But you're always so good. How did this happen? You didn't fail on purpose did you?"

Hue's eyebrows bend together a little. "Of course not, you fool. I always did my best even when I wanted to fail and I didn't want to fail. It just happened." He gives her a lopsided grin. "Let's go get a burger and bask in our failures."

Ally nods and lets out a sigh. She loops her arm through Hue's and they walk out together.


I'm participating in the 10 Days of Heat Writing Challenge and today's theme is 'Orange.' To visit other bloggers participating in the 10 Days of Heat Writing Challenge, go here.

August 3, 2017

Fiction: Jane Eerie & The Boy Traveler - part 1

I'm participating in the 10 Days of Heat Writing Challenge and today's theme is 'Tokyo, Japan' and this will be a three part story:

Fiction: Jane Eerie & The Boy Traveler - part 1

On a snowy winter's night, Jane Eerie entered Castle Howl for the first time. She was there to be a live-in tutor for a young boy but there were things she did not expect.

In Count Howl's library, Jane was introduced to the boy by the housekeeper Mrs. Dish. The boy was sitting on the window sill with a large opened book on his lap.

"BJ, this is your new tutor Miss Jane Eerie." Mrs. Dish said with her hands crossed in front of her and looking down at the child.

"How do you do, BJ?" Jane held out a hand.

BJ did not look up. He turned a page in his book.

Mrs. Dish turned to Jane, "Miss Jane, BJ is your charge now. I have business to attend to." Jane nodded. Mrs. Dish walked out and closed the door behind her.

Jane took a few steps closer to the window sill. BJ dropped his book on the sill, gave her an angry frown and then stormed off toward the shelves of books.

Jane found BJ at the other end of the room. He picked out a book off the bottom shelf. The book had a blue spine and appeared quite worn. BJ placed the book on the floor and turned the pages almost to the center of the book. He looked up at Jane for a moment and then dove into the pages and disappeared.

Jane stared at the opened book. There was an image of a large pond. The water rippled as if it was real. Jane bended down and touch the water with a tip of her finger and pulled it out. Her finger dripped with water. She stood up, took a breath and dove in. BJ was her charge after all.

In the water, Jane held her breath and for a brief moment, she thought she might drown but then she blinked and she was on solid ground. There were cherry blossoms with the petals floating in the wind. It was rather warm with a bright blue sky. Everywhere she looked, there were the beautiful blossoms - pink, yellow, purple - Jane had never seen anything this beautiful. She walked down a curvy bridge while holding out her hand to catch some of the falling petals. Then she remembered she had to find BJ.

"BJ, where are you?"

"Up here!" A light voice shouted.

She lifted her head up and there was BJ up in a tree, grinning.

"Get down here now!"

"Yes, Miss Jane." He turned and climbed down swiftly as if he had done it many times before. He held some pink petals in his hand. He inhaled them and then threw the petals over his shoulders. "Do you not love the scent of this place?" He spread out his arms.

"Where are we?" Jane asked. "And how did we get here?"

"Tokyo. Do you not know? Are you not a teacher?" BJ sounded so grown up, Jane was surprised. But then she remembered where she was. She had read about Japan but she had never been. She had spent almost all her life at the charity school for orphans starting when she was six years old. She shook her head. "I have never been to Japan."

"Well, now you have." BJ gave her a large grin showing one missing teeth. But then his lips curved into a straight line. He ran a few feet from her and jumped into the petal-covered lake.

>> Read Part 2 here >>


To visit other bloggers participating in the 10 Days of Heat Writing Challenge, go here.

August 2, 2017

Scribble Picnic: Curtain

the book lover

closeup 1
closeup 2
closeup 3
This week's Scribble Picnic is Curtain. As you can tell, this piece is not finished. It's in the not-yet-finished-drawing stage which means, it probably won't get finished for months. Where is the curtain? It is the vines which I seem to draw a lot not just in this piece. Click on the closeups to see it clearer. For more Scribble Picnic, go here.

August 1, 2017

Fiction: Starry Summer Night

10 Days of Heat Writing Challenge
Starting today, I'm participanting in the 10 Days of Heat Writing Challenge hosted by PJ at 'A 'lil HooHaa'. You can write anything that comes to you according to the themes but I'm pretty much going to be writing fictions. Here are the themes in case you would like to join in:

August 1: On a hot summer’s night …
August 3: STORY 1: Tokyo, Japan
August 8: Orange
August 10: Diving into the deep end
August 15: Beach life
August 17: STORY 2: Anchorage, Alaska
August 22: Camp life
August 24: Fireworks
August 29: Best summer memory
August 31: STORY 3: New York, New York


Fiction: Starry Summer Night

On a hot summer’s night, a star fell toward earth. It hit the ground with the speed of light and as it rotated in the atmosphere, it turned into a girl of twelve. Unfortunately, she landed in the lake beside a run-down house. Inside the house, Sunny Winter popped her eyes opened at the sound of the splash. She sat up in bed and looked out the window. There was a bright yellow glow in the lake. She ran down the stairs and through the kitchen and out of the house.

Sunny studied the glowing object for a bit. When it didn't stir, Sunny walked into the lake. The cool water hardly reached her thighs. Sunny poked the part that was above water - a round curve that looked like someone's back. It was soft. She flung it backward and the object floated on its back. It was a girl. Sunny looked around but there was no one about as usual. Her father Henry was at work and the nearest neighbor was miles away. She whispered 'hello,' but the girl didn't stir. So Sunny did what any sensible person would do in her situation: She dragged the girl into her house. It wasn't easy as the girl was heavy and Sunny was small.

At first, Sunny thought the girl was dead as she heard no heartbeat when she pressed her ear to the girl's chest. But all of a sudden, the girl's eyes flickered open and she sat up. Her eyes were gray but turned almost white when the light hit them. Then she began to cough. Sunny patted the girl's back like she used to for her father when he had too much to drink.

Then the girl shivered and Sunny ran up to her room and retrieved one of her old dresses and a towel from the bathroom. When she returned, she found the girl licking the kitchen floor where Sunny had dropped pancake syrup that morning.

"No! Don't lick that. Here, dry yourself and put this dress on." Sunny held out the towel and the faded white dress with the pattern of a smiling sun.

It took several tries trying to put on the dress as the girl fidgeted. "Soft!" the girl said, smoothing her fingers across the fabric.

"I'm Sunny, what's your name?" Sunny smiled. The girl still glowed but not as much under the light of the kitchen.

The girl furrowed her golden eyebrows and then she touched Sunny's cheek and said, "Freckle!"

"Freckle? Is that your name?" Sunny laughed.

The girl, now called Freckle, nodded her head and repeated, "Freckle, that is my name."

Sunny wanted to ask Freckle why she glowed but with daylight coming, her father will be home soon. Sunny led Freckle up to her room and told her to stay inside her closet. Sunny was a bit regretful when she closed the closet door but then she heard the front door banged opened, she raced downstairs to cook breakfast for her father.

Sunny soon found out, Freckle wasn't much awake during the daytime. She explained that all stars sleep during the day and only at night would they wake.

At night, when Sunny didn't have chores or when her father wasn't home, she would take Freckle out to the closed beach. Sunny made Freckle wear a large scarf to cover her from head to toe when they walked to and from the beach. They mostly sit and watch the sky and the water. Freckle would tell Sunny all about being a star. And Sunny would listen with a smile on her face.
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All artwork & photography by lb (lissablue) unless otherwise stated. If you use one of my creations, please credit a link to this blog. thank you.