Monday, August 27, 2012


It is almost noon as I enter the forest.  The cloudy day cast its own shadows around, making me think of fairy tales.  Ahead is Fantasy, harvesting items from her garden.  She is a quarter of her normal size, but still growing. 

"Hi Fantasy!" I raise my hand in greeting.

A smile lightens up her face, "Hi Michelle!  Have you a story for me?"

"Yes I do Fantasy, but first, how are you feeling these days?" I asked.

"I'm good, feeling better these days, and you?" She picked some peas.

"I'm doing well.  I've been pretty saturated with life in general, but I think I'll get through with it.  You've been helping me a lot Fantasy, and for that I'm so grateful.  I hope you like what I have for you." I sat on a log with my laptop open on the story.

"Thanks Michelle."

 Title:  Awakenings

    "Hi Nana." Cherine was a ball of sunshine as she bounced into the room.  I set down my knitting and enveloped her in my arms.  I inhaled the sweetness of her blond hair, and marveled at how like a golden meadow kissed with sunshine it looked and smelled.  I loved it when my grand daughter came to visit.  She always brightened my life.
    "Good morning Cherine." I smiled, "How are you today?"
    "I'm good!" She looked up into my eyes with her bright blue eyes, reminding me of the summer sky.  She had radiated magic ever since she was born.  Her parents didn't see it, but I did.  In my time, many people had magic, but in the generations that followed, the magic dwindled for some reason.  I remember having been disappointed when none of my children had magic, but when Cherine was born, I knew, just by the sparkles in her eyes, not to mention the intensity of their color, and other senses, that she would be the start of another generation of magic, but would it carry on, or would the magic fade even more?  Only time would tell, but it wouldn't be in my lifetime.
    "What are you thinking of Nana?" She asked.
    "Oh, I was just thinking of how everybody was like you and had magic." I sat her on my knee and gave her a squeeze.
    "Will you tell me a story?" She asked.
    "How about something better?" I asked.
    "What?" Cherine bounced on my knee.
    "Oooh, Cherine, you're getting too big to do that.  You're hurting Nana." I said, "You'll have to be more careful."
    "Oh! I'm sorry Nana!" She hugged me.
    "That's ok Cherine." I smiled as I returned the hug, "How would you like to bake today?"
    She got off my knee before expressing herself this time.  She jumped up and down, "Yippie!  I love baking!"
    I smiled, "I know you do Cherine.  How about you go see grandpa and get some apples for me, ok?  Then we'll figure out what to bake when you get back." I smiled.
    "Ok!" She laughed as she ran out of the room, taking the extra sunshine with her.  I sighed.  I had a good life, and I was for the most part content with my life, so why was the energy of this little girl affecting me like that?  I knew it was part of her magic, but every time she left the room, it seemed like my soul grieved.  But who was my soul grieving for?  Her or me?  I shrugged my shoulders and hauled myself out of my chair and shuffled to the kitchen.
   I reached inside the cupboards and brougt out flour, baking powder, and salt, standard ingrediants for a cake, as well as cinamon, brown sugar, as well as oats.  She could want to make a cobbler too.  No one knew what Cherine wanted to make or who to make it for.  She had known people needed something cheery before I did, and at one time that me disconcerted.  That was before her abilities increased with her age.  Cherine would have to go to boarding school, but convincing her parents would be another thing.  I thought of this latest thing just as my sunshine came back into the room.
    "Papa says he'll be here in a few minutes." She crunched on an apple as she walked.
    "Good Cherine." I smiled, "What would you like to bake today?"
    She tilted her head to the left, and placed her right forefinger on her chin, an expression I loved right from the beginning.  She did it every time she was thinking.
    "Um, how about some applesauce cake, and apple pie?" She smiled.
    My heart sank.  I was totally out of applesauce, so that meant making a batch of it before making the cake.  I must have frowned, because Cherine walked up to me and took my hand.
    "Are you ok Nana?"
    I laid my hand on her head, "Yes Cherine, I'm all right.  We'll have to make a batch of applesauce before making the cake, though."
    "If we do a big batch, we could take some to Mrs. Tomson and her little baby.  He would like some." She said.
    "How did you know they needed food?" I almost dropped the corer.
    "I heard you and Papa talking about it, but....I felt it." She touched her heart.  It was something she had never been able to express before.  "I don't know what it is, I just know."
    "Cherine, have you told your Mommy and Daddy about this before?" I sat on a nearby chair so I could look her in the eye.
    "No." Her curls bounced as she shook her head, "Mommy and Daddy won't believe me.
    "How do you know that?" I asked.
    "I heard you, Papa, Mommy and Daddy talking about it one day when I was in bed." Tears filled her eyes, "Nana, what's happening to me?  I'm not telling lies when I tell what's going on.  I want to help people."
    The child fell into my arms and started to sob.  I caressed her hair.  "Shhh Cherine.  It's all right to feel that way.  People in my generation did."
    She looked up into my eyes, her face wet with the dew of tears, "Really?"
    "Yes Cherine.  That's how come your Papa's apples are the best around, and how come I can sometimes heal people with just a touch."
    "Oh!  I remember that!  You healed my ankle once." She smiled.
    "That's right." I reached for a tissue and wiped her face.  "There now, feel better?"
    Cherine nodded as we heard the door bumping open, and we heard my husband's voice, "Can I get some little help here?"
    It was his way of asking for help from Cherine, and immediately she was back to her old bouncy self, for helping was her nature.  She bounded to the door where her grandfather was lugging in two giant pails full of apples.
    "What's goin' on?" He grunted.
    "I think Cherine's finally sensing there's something different about her." I said, "Nothing that a little cry couldn't fix."
    "Oh.  Well, we had better keep an eye on that.  Her parents need to know, and if they can't or won't pay for..."
    "Chit!  Little ones have big ears." I said, "She's not far away, you know."
    He grunted in response as he set the apples on the floor.  I put my hand on his shoulder.  "It's ok Rupert.  I know you were only trying to help, but she needs to be a child for a while.  Besides, that's how she found out that her parents don't believe."
    His breath was like a jet of steam, "I see.  Ok.  Well, we'll talk later.  I'll be in the orchard with the boys."

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wedge Pond

"Hi Fantasy.  How are you today?" I'm in the forest again.  It's raining, but that's ok.  I'm dressed for it, and I need to give Fantasy a story.  She is bigger now, almost full size.  Clearly, there was a lot of meat in the last story.

"Not bad." She replied.  "I'm not one for the rain because it keeps me from flying well, but we need the rain.  Got a story for me?"

"You betcha." I smiled.  She sits on a stump in front of me and I read.

 Wedge Pond

    "Where do you want to go today?" I asked the others.
    "I dunno." The shrug rippled around the room; everybody felt like relaxing just where they were.  I sighed, "Ok.  Just let me know when and if you want to go on a hike."
    An hour later, we were headed out to hike.  I wasn't a good hiker, but I had been put in charge of four teenagers who had special needs on a trip into the mountains.  We decided to picnic it, and found a good site near a pond.
    Each teenager had a special gift; most had one, but the odd one had two.  Greg could see auras, but I could sense there was another one budding and it had to deal with his electronic ability.  He was relaxing, taking in the feeling of the surroundings through his senses; he was curious about everything.  He looked tense.  I prayed everything was going all right at home.
    An hour later, we had lunch, and people seemed to be starting to relax.  Ariel was the eldest of the teens; she wouldn't be coming with us next year, so she was the most ambitious.  She put down her hotdog and glanced at each of us in turn.
    "Hey, do you guys want to just sit on your duff all day and do nothin'?  It's a beautiful day out there!" She said, "I want to get out there and hike, or do somethin'!  Maybe you're gonna be able to come here next year, but I'm not!"
    "We know Ariel." Mark speared another weener and put it on his bun, "You've told us about a zillion times."
    "So?' She asked, "What do you guys want to do?"
    "Why don't we dig out the maps after lunch and decide then?" I opened another bag of chips and poured it into a bowl.  "We can start out with whatever type of walk you like."
    "Yeah!" Ariel grinned and started wolfing down her food.
    "Ariel, slow down.  I don't want to have to treat you for choking." I chided gently.
    "Yeah, the rest of us want to enjoy our lunch, not get sick on it." Greg said.  Greg had always been a slow eater, but that was ok.  We all had our ways of doing things, and that was his way.  The others either grunted or nodded in agreement and lunch proceeded without event.
    Later, I brought out the maps, and there in the midst of birds, and nature, we debated on the place we could go.  We had decided that the trail that we were close to, Wedge Pond, would be the best  Then we could go on to a trail created by Alister Kaden - The Ankle Lake Trail.  Most people could walk it; only two couldn't because they were wheelchair bound.  They didn't mind though.  They told me that they could take a spin around the parking lot and then take pictures of the view.  I told them to keep in touch every once in a while; they all had smartphones, and an app called HeyTell, a walkie-talkie like app.
    The rest of us began the 1.5 kilometer loop, many of us with cameras in hand.  Even Greg had his own version, his digital recorder.  He wanted to record the sounds on the trail, if there were any.  We were in our element, enjoying the sights and sounds of the Rocky Mountains.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Beach

I arrive at the forest to find that the seasons have come more into balance.  Spring has come, and flowers have begun to bloom.  Fantasy is two inches tall now, and her colors aren't as transparent.  I hold out my hand to her and she sits on it. 

"Hi Fantasy.  Feeling better?" I ask.

She nods, Much.  I don't ever want to be sick again.

"I will try to always honor that my friend.  I have a story for you.  Hopefully someday I will be able to bring art back into our discussions." I reply.

This is art too. She replies.

"I know, but I mean pictures, and the discussion of pictures and the meanings of colors like I did a while back.  I think that would be a good thing." I reply.  "Now, I have a story for you.  Ready?"

She bounces up and down on my hand, smiling.  You bet.

"Here we go then.  The story is called The Beach, at least for now."

The Beach

                ”Look at that ant!” Abel’s eyes were close to the insect as it bore a seed toward its nest.  Abel had always been interested in ants, insects, and anything else that crawled or even slithered on the earth.  He was a typical boy.
                I smiled, remembering the day I became governess of the Bexby household.  I had been looking for employment one day when I noticed the advertisement.  “Wanted, a governess to look after three children from ages three to six.  I immediately answered the ad, with my resume and within a day was informed that I should come the next day for an interview.
                I did, and so I began my journey with these children that I began to feel that I shared with Mrs.  Bexby.  There were three children, and at the time, she was very pregnant with what turned out to be twins. 
                My thoughts shifted back to the present as I chided myself.  This isn’t the time to be reminiscing Maka.  These children need you.  If it weren’t for their parents hiring you three years ago, you wouldn’t have the job.  Yadia only knows where you’d be.”
                I smiled at the child as he followed the aunt around.  He was the six year old when I arrived at the sprawling Bexby estate.  He had been a handful then, but with the help of schoolwork, I had been able to challenge him and focus his passions.  He loved bugs of all shapes and sizes, so I made sure that our lessons were outdoors as much as possible.
                ”Watch me Maya Maka, watch me!” Seven year old Daya was swimming out in the lake, and she decided to do a hand-stand.  She was good at everything, especially water sports.  I cheered and clapped along with her brothers and sisters.  Being that she was the eldest girl, she was the favourite of the family.  In the three years that I had worked there, I couldn’t figure out why, but it was something that only niggled at the edges of my thoughts, so I only thought about it at night when I put my observations in my journal. 
                Suddenly her feet dropped out of sight and she didn’t come up again.  Daya was drowning!  I bolted off the chair where I had been sitting and raced to the water until a child’s firm hand stopped me.
                His eyes seemed to be glassy, yet he was coherent, “Stay back.  She is my protection.”
                ”But…” I stepped toward the water.  He blocked me.
                ”NO.” He had never been this way before. 
                ”All right.” He sprinted off into the water, but I continued to walk in.  Why am I not being permitted to do my job!  And  by a mere slip of a boy!  That is strange behaviour too!  I watched as Abel swam strongly to where his sister disappeared.  I watched, biting my nails in anticipation as he too vanished beneath the surface.  A minute or two later, he surfaced, bringing the girl with him.
                I met them where the water was up to my mid thigh, and between the two of us, we carried Daya to shore.  I observed the increase of musculature on the boy, and wondered not for the first time if this was a an old magical families.  There were a few around whose magic was inbred, not taught.  It seemed to be so from what I saw.  Abel wasn’t interested in developing his muscles, and he looked like he had been at the time.  We laid her on the shore, and I used a word of power to pump water from her lungs, or rather two words.
                ”Yadia broka.” immediately water started coming from her lungs; she coughed and sputtered.  I breathed a sigh of relief, for she had begun to turn blue.  She began to cry, and I hugged her to me, “It’s all right Daya.  You’re safe.”
                Daya clung to me as she cried out her feelings.  The others had gathered around, not knowing what to do.  “Put your things away in the boathouse.  We’re going inside,” I said.
                ”Aw, do we have to?” Saja asked.
                ”Yes Saja.  Your sister needs her bed,” I gazed at the sun, “and besides, the cook will have your snack ready.”
                ”Oh goody!” Kaya, the eldest of the twin girls began packing her things and putting them away.  She was the foodie of the family and always wanted to help out the cook, much to her parents’ chagrin. 
                I watched as the children picked up their toys.  I suggested to Abel that he help his siblings; he protested, but I told him that Daya was safe in my care.  Within minutes, we were on our way back to the nursery with Daya safe in my arms.  I couldn’t help wondering what type of magic was in Abel, and if it indeed was inbred.  It was almost as if he had been linked to another mind and been given someone else’s strength, but whose?

 Fantasy has fallen asleep, but I know the magic of the wood has taken the story into her.  I laid her in the hollow of a nearby tree that she has made into a temporary home for herself and kissed my finger, placing it on her forehead.  "Sleep well, my friend and muse."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I'm back,

I know it's been another long time, but obviously Fantasy has been nibbling at the story I gave her.  She has grown about a half an inch, and I am thankful for that.  Her colors are still pale, but I think I can revive her with my visits, and with some short stories.  This is going to be a blog for some of the short stories which will end up as chapters (or just background) for my novels. 

Fantasy zooms to my palm, and signs to me, "You're back!  I thought you were going to leave me forever this time!"

I sigh in response, "No Fantasy.  You're a part of me, just as I am a part of you; I couldn't leave you even if I tried.  You have brought a deeper understanding of the five girls in the Elementals series, and eventually I'll be sharing their backgrounds with you."

"I can hardly wait!" I am amazed at how I can understand her signing.  My knowledge is so rudimentary, that I would think that I would have trouble, but not so.  Second, she is only an inch tall.  I am legally blind.  How was I able to understand?  Maybe it's because she is a part of me.

"Hopefully it will be soon Fantasy.  I will at least try to come talk with you this week." I look around me.  Green is starting to come to the forest, the same as in Edmonton.  "I WILL nurse you back to health!"

She smiles.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Gone a Long Time

I have been gone a long time from the glade, and I know it.  I trudge forward into the winter glade with a heavy heart.  I had always hoped that Fantasy and I would be weathering the ups and downs of the writing life, but much has happened since I was last there.

I was shocked at what I found.  The glade was supposed to be a place of green all year round with off-shoots of seasons, which would shift from place to place and grow larger throughout the years as stories came and went.  But I haven't been a good steward.  Was Fantasy beneath this rubble?  I glanced around me; she was nowhere to be found. 

I brushed off a log and waited.  I figured that if I hadn't been there for almost a year to feed her stories, that she would at the very least be weak.  I waited for 10 minutes, then a half an hour.  Then I felt a fly buzzing around my head.  A fly?  That doesn't make sense.  Flies don't live in winter unless they're fruit flies.  I shooed it away, but it zoomed back just as quickly.  Then it started tickling me on the nose.

"Get away!" I waved it away.  It danced away, and then tickled my neck.  Then it landed on the paper I brought with the story.  It had a faint blue tinge.

It's blue!  I watched as it hovered over the top of the page.  Fantasy knew I had a visual impairment.  She would make herself seen, if that's who it was.  I had brought a small set of acrylics as well as some paper in case I wanted to continue sketching her.  I opened the tube of blue paint and put some on the palette.  I then changed to a new piece of paper.  She wrote her name just as it shows below; I knew it was her.  She had been reduced to a spec - I had arrived just in time.  I had a mystery from Kent for her to gnaw on until the next time.  Hopefully it would be enough.  I reached out my hand, set aside the painted pages and read the next story called "A Mystery."