His world had been comprised of hastily constructed philosophies, which upon close examination, had failed him and promptly collapsed.
“Peanut butter,” he gasped moaning at the delicious taste of the product his mother had refused to feed him as a child.
“How can you have not tasted Peanut butter, Charlie? You’re thirty-nine years old and have been living on your own for twenty years. Didn’t it ever occur to you buy it, just once, to see what it tasted like?”
Charlie looked at Dana his mouth a gap,”This is mind blowing. All my life I thought Peanut butter would kill me. My mother convinced me my throat would swell, that I would die on the floor gasping for air if I ate it. But I’m fine. I’ve been eating it all day and it hasn’t made me sick or made me have trouble breathing. My mother was a liar!”
“She was just trying to protect you, Charlie. You did say she saw a kid die from being exposed to peanut butter when she was in school. It’s why they don’t allow it public schools. Your mom should have let you try a bit of Peanut butter first to see if your body reacted,” Dana remarked.
Charlie shook is head and sighed with pleasure. “I’m going to be eating Peanut butter for the rest of my days, for all those years I was robbed of it’s taste and smooth texture.”
Dana laughed,”Careful Charlie, there is a lot of calories in peanut butter. You don’t want to ruin your physique.”
“Who cares. I swear I’ll go to the gym if that happens.”
Three hours into the desert [Sandra felt the jeep’s] engine choke and buckle, rolling dark smoke into the pale blue sky.
“Are you kidding me?” Sandra asked her husband Jim. “We’re going to the Grand Canyon something people do all the time from Vegas and the damn Barbie jeep breaks down? Don’t they maintain these things, check that they’re working before they leave us in the open desert?”
Jim gazed at his wife his eyes half closed. The temperature was a sizzling 45 degrees Celsius and growing up in Toronto’s cold winters meant he didn’t handle the heat well. Sandra’s harping made Jim feel that much worse, sweating prufesly in the leather seat beside her.
“Jim, Jim? Are you even listening to me? How long is it going to take for them to send another jeep? Why is everyone else so mellow about this? It gets cold in the desert at night and what about the snakes and scorpions?”
Jim groaned out load and Sandra gave him a dirty look. “Sandy, its hot right now,” he mumbled. “We’ve no air conditioning and if it gets cold soon that would be great for everyone. I’m sure the tour company will find us soon. Our jeep’s Barbie pink as you say.”
“Oh and could you calmdown? You’re frightening the elderly couples,” he said whispering into Sandra’s ear as to not offend the two couples nearby.
Sandra gave Jim a weird look then continued yapping. The tour guides who had been on the radio the last hour with their company were now glaring at Sandra as they too sufferered in the heat and from her constant questions.
The older couples had it the worst, Jim thought. No one wanted any of them to undergo heat stroke since the temperature seemed to affect the four of them the most. Sandra’s constant complaining wasn’t helping the matter.
“Simmer down, lady,” one guide told Sandra,”This happens sometimes. Another jeep is a couple of hours away, if you can control yourself until then.”
Sandra didn’t care, she kept talking.
Jim was surprised when a lady in her seventies, named Meg, smacked Sandra’s face hard. So hard he could see the red outline of the woman’s hand on Sandra’s sweaty cheek. Sandra was so shocked she didn’t say another word except to ask for a bottle of water every couple of hours.
Megan winked at Jim and said: “Nothing like a good smack in the face. I think the heat was getting to your wife. She seems to be okay now that I smacked her and that she’s drinking water instead of talking.” Jim laughed bumping fists with feisty Meg.
“Okay?” Jim asked Sandra later.
“Yeah good now, just a little panic attack I think. The heat was getting to me.”
Jim laughed at this stroking Sandra’s back.
The evening sky in the desert turned from twilight into glittering black with giant stars. All eight people in the jeep sighed with pleasure as the blistering heat cooled and they were awed by the fantastic celestial bodies.
When another pink jeep arrived the next morning, no one complained about the heat or Sandra. Both problems had been eclipsed by the perfect temperature and the starry night viewed under them.
Thanks to NEKEEREJ of MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting this week’s photo challenge. For NaPoWriMo the prompt is ” to take one of your favorite poems and find a very specific, concrete noun in it. . . After you’ve chosen your word, put the original poem away and spend five minutes free-writing associations – other nouns, adjectives, etc. Then use your original word and the results of your free-writing as the building blocks for a new poem. The last letter of the A to Z Challenge is of course the letter Z for a GoodRead’s quote.
“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.” — Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Noun – “arbitrary blackness”
– “drops dead, “head,” imagined you”, come home, never did, lost love, war, hoping, never returned so he was lost in the war, she becomes this blackness, because he is gone, “Satan’s men” – the Nazi’s in Germany, exit, dreamed was with him in bed, dreams always, but she is mad, he exists no longer, never returned so never was?
Six-year-old James was excited. He was at a giant amusement park with a fascinating complex modular domes. He tried to rush past his parents but his Dad grasped James’ hand firmly.
They entered the first dome and there was a huge race track inside. James squeeled while driving with his Dad in a go-kart. The next dome had a mini-golf course. Half-way through the course James decided he was bored and that it was time for his adventure alone; he crept off when his Dad was putting.
He spent his day playing in a giant indoor playground and then went outside to where there were rides for kids to go on. He made friends with another boy named Paul whose parents thought James had permission to ride rides with them.
After a while James felt sick because he hadn’t eaten. He returned to the mini-golf course to wait for his Dad. He sat there for hours but he never saw his parents. He thought they had decided they didn’t want him.
Then he heard his Mom’s angry voice: “JamesWilliam, where have you been?” He hugged his Mom and cried into his Dad’s shoulder when he picked James up. It appeared his adventure alone was more than James had bargained for.
Phallon watched the fish swim in the pond his Grandpa had installed in his backyard. He enjoyed visiting his Grandpa each Saturday. Grandpa had put the pond in because young Phallon loved the fish so much as a toddler; ‘fishes’ had been his first word.
Now he sat with Grandpa who asked him about school and of course the girls in his school. Uncomfortable, Phallon wished Grandpa didn’t ask him about that.
Grandpa simply laughed,”Phallon, I’m only teasing you. It’s good you have friends who are girls and that there are girls you like. This Jennifer, have you asked her out?”
Phallon’s face turned red, “Yeah we’ve gone to a movie together and bowling. I want her to be my girlfriend but her parents say she’s too young to have a boyfriend.”
Grandpa nodded a smile on his face, “You’ll find the right one when you’re older. When I saw your Grandma the first time, my heart lept out of my chest. I wonder if I will ever meet that right girl of yours and see you marry her?”
Phallon felt uncomfortable again, “Why wouldn’t you be there Grandpa? You’re only eighty-one?”
Grandpa patted Phallon’s hand then squeezed it, “You know, my boy, I’ve been sick a long time. It’s a battle I’ve mostly conquered, but my strength is waning these days.When you get married someday, think of your old Grandpa, okay?” Phallon nodded feeling a lump in his throat.
Two-years later Grandpa succumbed. Phallon was sixteen and felt raw inside. He returned to the fish pond in Grandpa’s back yard. He noticed the fishes were floating and the reality of life made tears wet his cheeks. In the mess of the last two weeks including Grandpa’s funeral, no one had remembered to feed the fish.
Tallia anxiously glanced at Teegan who was asleep on her waiting area couch. She was sure Teegan would be angry at her for drugging his coffee, but Tallia didn’t feel she had a choice. Something was off about Teegan and the darkness surrounding him and Tallia didn’t want to make his potion rashly; there could be dire consequences.
She had found one ingredient which was odd, scrawled off to the side of the ingredients and directions for the potion for Teegan in her Aunt Willow’s tome. Apparently, the potion required a giant gold fish. Tallia wasn’t sure why Teegan’s potion would require the gold fish, but it was something she would have to leave the store to buy.
Teegan had told her if he drank his potion the darkness surrounding him, the shadow that caused a sensitive magically inclined person such as Tallia to hurt and feel pain, would leave for a long time. How long was a long time? And how old was Teegan really? To her he looked about thirty-five.
If he was as old as she thought he might be, she knew he might understand the sleeping drought in his coffee, knowing Tallia as a magic shop owner, had to be wary if Teegan’s potion involved dark magic. Tallia had no way of knowing how long he would be asleep from the drought. She had tried calling Jude, the owner of The Black Coven magic store numerous times on his cell.
Jude must be having a brisk business at his store because he or his assistant, never picked-up the store phone either. Jude was about eighty-years-old as best as she could guess. But his family magic shop dated back to the Middle Ages. He had to know something about Teegan and the potion.
Tallia checked on Teegan one more time, she hoped he’d be out another two hours at least. She needed to leave the store buy the giant goldfish as well as visit Jude. Something inside her told Tallia it was vital she gathered as much information she could get on Teegan and his potion before she set about making it.
She drove her Vespa to The Black Coven first. It was located in an ancient, rundown part of town dating back to the 1400’s. But those who needed to visit Jude’s magic shop, knew how to find it. As Tallia’s own magic shop had been with Aunt Willow, Jude’s place was also a hole in the wall.
The streets were narrow here and Tallia knew her Vespa would be more inconspicuous, as well as, she would be able to travel down narrow streets she couldn’t maneuver with her car. There was a bit of parking lot a block down from The Black Coven. Tallia parked, leaving her Vespa in a parking space.
She walked down to the ancient magic shop, opening the creaky old wooden door and removed her side-bag. She had placed her Aunt’s great tome in her bag. She turned the book to the correct page, listing ingredients and directions to make Teegan’s potion in the script Tallia did not recognize.
Then she called out, “Hello Jude, are you there? It’s Tallia, Willow’s niece. I’m sure you felt me coming. Was there a reason you didn’t pick up the phone? Or have you guys been extremely busy today?”
Tallia received no answer. She gazed around the dusty store, it appeared empty.”Um, Jude’s assistant, Aspen, are you here? We’ve never meant, but last time I talked to Jude, he’d said he hired you to take over from him?”
Again Tallia received no reply. She walked around the magic shop. The Black Coven was a mishmash of magical items all stored on old stone and wooden shelves in no particular order or thought to design.
Powerful and dangerous items were among those items which were standard, and pretty harmless magical items. She saw crystal balls, different statues, and a wall with ingredients for potions and spells kept in jars.
She was shocked to see certain items used only for dark sorcery. These items frightened Tallia. She could sense there blackness in her mind. They were much worse than the darkness which followed Teegan — at least she thought so.
Jude had always been grandfatherly to Tallia. She had meant him many times as grew-up. He often had coffee with her Great-Aunt and Aunt. She wondered why he wasn’t answering her. Tallia walked up to the counter where a 1950’s cash register sat in dust. There was a bell and Tallia dinged it a few times.
Eventually, a man about the same age as Teegan came out. He looked Tallia over and before she could say anything he held up his hand.
“We knew you were coming Tallia. It’s alright. Jude hasn’t been well lately and he’s in the hospital. For his age, he has done well until now. It’s why he hired me to handle things. I’m one of his great-grandsons, I’m. . .”
“You’re Aspen. I know, Jude told me about you last time I saw him a few months ago. He attended my shop’s re-opening. I run Fairy Dust.”
“Yes, Jude told me about you. You rang his cell, but he has trouble talking right now my Aunt told me. He had a stroke. I’m sorry I was busy when you called out in here. From what I can glean from you, you’re dealing with some sort of darkness from a client and you need some advice,” Aspen said.
Tallia nodded, “Poor Jude, that’s awful. I’m sorry for your family.” She put the tome in front of Aspen and waited as he read and reread the potion procedure and ingredients.
“These seem to be pretty normal ingredients, except for the large goldfish. But maybe the potion requires it’s life force? I’m not sure what to tell you Tallia. What’s Teegan like?”
Tallia couldn’t help but blush thinking about Teegan.”He’s demanding but seems to be understanding enough. I thought he was about your age, when he first came to my shop. I could feel the shadow emanating from him. It made me sick, especially when he came back the second time.”
“The second time?”
“Well I pretended I was sick the first day, even though he did give me a headache. I went home for the afternoon and I hoped he’d go somewhere else. But the next day he was back. He told me he was old. My Aunt and Great Aunt made him his potion before. He was able to stop me from feeling ill, from hurting me, by chanting a few words,” Tallia said.
“I’m not sure what I’m dealing with, will the potion truly make Teegan well? Will it make such evil leave him?”
Aspen was paying attention to Tallia’s words carefully. She noticed he was concentrating. He wasn’t bad looking himself. He had auburn hair and bright green eyes. He was tall but not as tall as Teegan. He was attractive but more in a nice guy way. Teegan was definitively what women would call a bad boy.
“Well,” Aspen said,”I think your Teegan is cursed. That’s why he needs the potion, quite badly I’m afraid. You really should hurry back and make it for him. We’ve an extra goldfish around here somewhere, we must.”
“Cursed, cursed by what or whom?”
“It’s hard to say Tallia. Jude would know more I think. Even so I believe Teegan is much older than Jude by hundreds of years. I’ve heard whispers of Teegan. He must have done something terrible in the past would be my guess. Something awful enough to warrant being cursed to live so long and to require a potion.”
Tallia sighed, letting out her breath.
“I have a feeling if he doesn’t get this tonic, he’ll be a resistant foe to deal with Tallia. There’s a reason he takes it. I doubt he wants to be who he is when he’s dark. He wants to be normal and this potion allows him to be.”
“You know all this?” Tallia questioned. “How did you know?”
Aspen smiled mysteriously, “There’s things I’ve heard Tallia. Also, I can read through you, what you felt around Teegan. I can feel his presence too, so could Jude; he’s a powerful guy. Go back and make his potion quickly. He’ll be awake soon.”
“But . . .”
“Tallia, such as you and many other magically inclined people, I have a sixth-sense. That’s how I know these things.You have one too, although less developed. It’s telling you to go back to Fairy Dust and hurry.”
Her blue eyes became huge and Tallia nodded mutely. Aspen handed Tallia a bag with the giant goldfish.”On the house,” he said with a grin. She wondered how they had this giant goldfish just lying around. It wasn’t a typical magical ingredient.
Tallia called back to Aspen lightly,”Stop by come check-out my store some time; have coffee.” He walked her to the door and Tallia stuffed the tome back in her side bag.
“I’d like that,” Aspen said grinning. He winked at Tallia as she left. She was deep in thought and was surprised to find herself getting onto her Vespa, placing the fish on the back of it.
She told herself to payattention and hurriedly drove back to Fairy Dust. Tallia too felt she needed to make Teegan his potion and fast. She prayed he wouldn’t be angry with her or worse. With such darkness within him, she didn’t want to be an object of Teegan’s wrath.
Day 13 Prompt: Flowing ” Where in your life do you need less struggle and more flow? Show us a time when you allowed yourself to go with the flow. Free write for ten minutes around one of the two sentences above or what flow/ing means to you.”
Thanks to Sascha Darlington for nominating me for this award. I think we both have only recently began following each other and I’m pretty obsessed with her short stories about Clare, Damien, and Dominic already. She writes them according to whatever the prompt is that day for each story. It’s a complicated love triangle for Clare.
Check-out this recent piece here. I garuntee you’ll want to go back and read up on what happened before.
THE RULES FOR THE BLOGGER RECOGNITION AWARD
For all the nominees for this award, here are the rules, if you choose to accept:
1. Write a post to show your award.
2. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
3. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
4.Thank whoever nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.
5. Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to them
WHY I STARTED BLOGGING:
Well I’ve explained before, but not sure where. I was sick in 2008 to 2009. After a brief psychotic episode I had a depressive episode. I never had a psychosis again but the depressive episode meant I developed difficulties reading and writing (cognitive skills were impaired). I had to build both skills back up.
I’m an English Major from back in 2007. I wrote well and wanted my talent back. I started the blog to improve my writing, editing, and reading skills and to write about my ongoing mental illness — depression with severe fatigue.
I have worked so much on my writing, especially writing more creatively. I took writing courses online from WordPress and from certain extension programs at several universities. I have done years of Flashfiction and started writing poetry about a year or two after first blogging. Poetry is something I’ve wrote since I was small. I started learning and practicing different forms of poetry (sonnets, Tankas, Cinquins, Laurenells etc.) and doing not only free verse (which comes fluidly for me) but metered and rhymed poetry on my blog.
In January last year I began focusing even more on fiction and poetry so I could submit my work to different literary websites, magazines, and do guest blog posts; I continue doing this. I finished the first draft of a novel which took years to get past chapter four and now I haven’t had time to work on the second draft of late past chapter seven.
I also occasionally blog nonfiction about movies, books, music, current events, beauty, fashion, or maybe a certain experience or memory. My blog has evolved a lot over almost five-years. My writing is much improved and I’m so grateful that as well as being able to write well, I read well too. I read books on writing, romance, adventure, fantasy, and the enjoyable books published by my Blogger friends along with reading many blogs whenever I’m able.
Blogs are fluid things and they become whatever you’re focusing on at a certain time or place in your life. That’s my opinion 😉.
MY ADVICE TO NEW BLOGGERS:
When you start blogging, pick a theme that looks professional (easy to read from and visually pleasing) and ensure you complete putting together your blog as much as you’re able including contact page, about you, and any social media links, so your content will be automatically shared to Twitter for instance. You can put links to other social networking sites on the sidebars of your blog such as a directly to your writer/blogger Facebook Page or Instagram page on your blog.
My most hated thing to do on a blog is to have to search all over for a ‘Follow Me’ button. Put that at the top of your page and the bottom. You want people to follow you even on a whim so make it easy for them to do this. Also, when you’ve started posting, make sure we can see your other posts which are relatable or recent on the bottom of your blog or side – somewhere. If I like a blog, I want to read more. Also, pop-ups are annoying and unneccesary.
As for writing, don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself and in your writing. Honesty and authenticity shows through and is attractive to readers who seek to relate. Edit well but remember you can always edit more after you post –happens to me all the time.
Cutting your word count and doing Flashfiction is a great way to learn how to edit well and make each sentence count. Do prompts and challenges and write everyday, even if you don’t post on your blog. Keep your anonymity if you like, but I have found with blogging, through writing more personal pieces, you can help many people through their challenges in life with your own.
Make it a habit to follow and read other bloggers. WordPress is an awesome community and it helps everyone and their writing to comment on their pieces and in return make friends and gain followers. You can even reblog posts you love or Press them as a new post, share them via social networking, email, or print them out. Allow your readers to have these options as well, when they read your blog.
Also, be kind in your comments. Concustructive criticism is helpful for many but it doesn’t always come across as positive. So be careful how and when you use it and with whom.