Posted in Fiction

The Dullest Day

Part One?



Teddie sat down in the sand, leaning up against the large boulders in the morning sun light. She watched the waves crash against the shore, pulling back shells and bottles and stones that clung to the wet sand. Mop, her family’s pet dragon, sighed and curled around Teddie.

“This is the dullest day in the world, Mop,” Teddie said. “Sometimes I wish something would happen. Like a battle, or a creature attack, or an earthquake. Anything would be better than sitting around doing nothing.”

Mop lifted his head and snorted. A few bright blue sparks shot out from his snout, landing on Teddie’s sweater.

Patting her sweater to put out the small burning parts, Teddie sighed. She stood up, accidentally pushing aside the dragon. Mop snorted again and grumbled. “Sorry,” Teddie whispered. She stretched, and wandered down to the water, collecting stones. When her hands filled up, she returned to the dragon, spilling the rocks into the sand. Teddie wandered up and down the shore, until she had a big enough pile.

Once the pile was large enough, Teddie returned to the ocean, collecting some of the bottles, filling each one with water. She came back to the boulder and got to work building small sand castles out of the sand, bottles and rocks. For the rest of the morning, she created a small city, using more and more resources she found at the beach. Shells decorated houses and towers, sea glass made great windows, and kelp mapped out the roads.

Mop watched from the top of the boulder, his head moving back and forth, following Teddie. His tail swished back and forth, growing excited as Teddie added more and more to her tiny city.

Around noon, Teddie left to collect more shells. Mop stayed behind, chasing after gulls and crabs, pouncing on them when he got the chance. She wandered closer to the tide pools. Teddie kneeled down, peering into the water. A few fish darted into the shadows, kicking up some loose sand at the bottom.

Teddie gasped, noticing something shining in the afternoon sunlight. She rolled up her sleeve and shoved her hand inside the freezing winter ocean. Brushing aside some sand, she pulled on the shiny thing. As she dried her hand off, Teddie inspected her treasure: an old glass bottle with a curled up parchment, and a small silver bracelet with a rainbow of stones. Grinning, she ran as fast as she could, waving the bottle in the air.

“Mop!” Teddie cried. “I think today just became more interesting!”

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Posted in Inktober 2018

Inktober Day 11: Cruel

Part 11: The Stranger

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He stepped into the inn, carrying a large blue suitcase. His stare was icy cold as he looked around the room at the other residents. The stranger wandered up to the front desk, and struck up a conversation with Charlie’s mom.

Mr. Robin, one of the inn residents, stared right back at the stranger. He leaned over to Charlie and whispered, “That looks like a man who’s up to no good. I just get chills when I look at him.”

Charlie nodded. “There’s something I don’t like about him.” She slumped down in her seat, only to notice her mom flagging her down. Sighing, Charlie stood up and trudged over to the front desk. “Yes, mama?”

Her mom handed her a key. “Will you take Mr. Betts to his room?”

“Fine.” Charlie clutched the key, and waved to the stranger. She made it a point to stay a couple feet in front of the man. He stared right through her, as if he knew her secret. A small shiver ran down her back. If he knew, then nothing about this was good.

As they climbed the steps, Mr. Betts asked her a ton of questions about the village and the wildlife. “Your mother told me you’re a Phoenix Scout,” he explained. “I hope you’d know a thing or two than anyone else, maybe seen something strange on your outings?”

Charlie froze just outside the room. “Here’s you’re room, mister,” she said quickly, unlocking room 151.

“Well, have you seen anything strange?”

She handed the stranger his key. “Someone found a new flower,” she lied. “But the rangers took care of it. Said it was dangerous.” Charlie pretended to smile. “Laundry room down the hall to the left. Meal times are on the room’s message board. Don’t ever be late to meals or you’ll never hear the end of it. Have a good stay!” She left Mr. Betts standing outside his room and ran as fast as she could back down stairs.

 

Posted in Inktober 2018

Inktober Day 10: Flowing

Part 10: Time to go home

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Moira gently set the dim flower into the basket she made, and handed it to Charlie. They stood on the bridge as the creek below them flowed. Charlie held the basket close to her, and smiled sadly. Carefully, she leaned over the old bridge and set the basket in the water, holding onto it before the current could take it away.

The flower burst into small yellow lights, before darkening once again. Charlie gave the basket a small push. The creek carried the basket as if a baby was hidden inside. Yellow lights decorated the creek water. Charlie waved goodbye, holding tightly onto the seed in her other hand.

“I promise I’ll take care of it,” Charlie whispered. She sniffed, and turned to Moira, hugging her tightly. “Will you help me?”

“Ya know I will,” Moira said.

Charlie looked up at the sky, letting go of Moira. The last few stars were flying across the sky, and the moonlight spilled onto the plains and trees surrounding the meadows. “We should probably get back to the festival,” she said. “Before someone notices we’re gone.”

Moira laughed, and grabbed her friend’s hand. Together, they ran out of the forest and back to the village, hoping to find some candy before the festival ended.

Posted in Inktober 2018

Inktober Day 8: Star

Part 8: Back to the Forest

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The stars began to paint the sky the second the sun left the sky. The girls raced across the small field to the forest opening. As they ran, Charlie took brief glances at the sky. Grinning, she looked at her best friend struggling to keep up. She laughed, and pushed on ahead as the stars continued to light up the purple sky.  Pausing by the rocks just outside the forest entrance, Charlie waited for Moira to catch up. As they rested, Charlie turned to her friend. “Moira, I think this is the best Starlights Festival ever.”

“Why?” Moira asked, looking up at the sky. “It feels just the same as last year!”

“It’s different! There’s adventure, you, and the best view from the entire village!” Charlie jumped onto the rock and pointed to the sky. “We should do this every year.”

“Sneak off into the forest to talk to magical flowers on Starlights day?”

Charlie laughed. “Sure, yeah. Or at least find a new adventure next year!” She hugged Moira and together, they entered the forest.

Posted in Inktober 2018

Inktober Day 7: Exhausted

Part 7: “You know what you gotta do”

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Moira flopped down on her bed and turned on her pink lights. “We’ve gone through every book we can find. The library wasn’t helpful, an’ neither was the internet.” She rolled over and stared at Charlie. “We can’t tell our parents, ’cause they’ll just call the rangers.”

Charlie sighed, picking at the carpet below her feet. She waited for Moira to say the obvious. The thing she was afraid of the most.

“Ya gotta talk to that flower,” Moira stated.

“I know!” Charlie yelled. She stopped picking at the carpet, pulled her knees up to her chest, and buried her head in her arms. “I know. I just liked hangin’ out with you again, and the flower is cool and all, but I’m scared.”

Moira laughed. “I’m not gonna ditch ya after this. We gotta get answers. So we gotta go back. I’ll go with you–”

“Tonight.” Charlie whispered. “We’ll go during the festival. No one will miss us, ’cause they’ll think we’re there.” She smiled at Moira. “We’ll get out answers tonight.”

 

Posted in Inktober 2018

Inktober Day 6: Drooling

Part Six: More Research

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The library was cozy. Moira and Charlie took the most comfy seats next to the fireplace as they stacked piles of books on flowers, magic, magical gardens, and more on the small table in between the chairs.

As she flipped through different books, Charlie wondered if all the research was worth it. She hadn’t been back in a couple weeks since the flower first spoke, and even then she could still hear it whispering in her thoughts. Sometimes the flower sounded afraid, but other times, it was quiet and hopeful. She could hear it now, as she read a page on magical trees and their spirits.

The fire crackled, and the warmth made Charlie sleepy. She nodded off with her thumb holding her place in Magic and Nature. As her eyes closed, she heard the flower whisper her name one more time.

“Charlie!” The voice sounded a lot closer.  “Charlie, wake up!” Moira’s voice broke through Charlie’s foggy dream. “The library’s closin’, c’mon!”

She bolted straight up, the heavy book falling to the floor with a loud thud. Wiping the drool off her face, Charlie turned to Moira. “How long was I asleep for?”

“A couple of hours. You were talking an’ mumblin’ ’bout the flower.” Moira frowned. “We gotta talk to it eventually, y’know?”

“I know,” Charlie said.

Posted in Inktober 2018

Inktober Day 5: Chicken

Part Five: That’s Impossible

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“Flowers ain’t supposed t’talk, Charlie,” Moira whispered from her tree. “An’ I know all sorts of magic flowers. But I ain’t never see a flower like that.”

The flower continued ranting. Every time Charlie heard her name, she shivered. She was still shaking from the first time it screamed her name.

“It wasn’t like this yesterday,” Charlie said. “But it’s been glowin’ brighter and brighter every day. That’s why I needed your help.”

Moira peeked around her tree.

The flower paused its ranting and shouted, “Young witch! Tell Charlie to come out!”

“Nope.” Moira ducked behind the tree. “Ya heard the flower,” she whispered, “get on out there.”

Charlie shook her head and pulled her legs tighter to her chest. “That’s just spooky, Moira. How does it know my name? C’mon, you’re the expert here!”

” ‘m not that far in my trainin’. Just go talk to it. Don’t be a chicken!”

Posted in Inktober 2018

Inktober Day 4: Spell

Part Four: “I need some magical help.”

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“Hi, Moira,” Charlie said nervously as she approached the counter. “I’m probably the last person you want to see right now–”

“If ya ain’t here to ‘pologize, then get out.” Moira turned away and started to dust the boxes of wands behind her.

Charlie sighed, and started to turn away. She wasn’t ready to apologize just yet. Not when she did anything wrong in the first place. But she needed her friend’s help. Charlie marched back up to the counter. “I have something even better than a dumb apology,” she said. “And I need your help. I need some kinda spell.”

“Then find another witch.”

“It’s gotta be you,” Charlie demanded. “It’s gotta be you because you’ve always wanted to make the biggest magical discovery of all time.”

Moira stopped dusting. That definitely got her attention. She set her dust rag down, and turned back to Charlie. She still looked angry, but bits of magic was tingling away from her fingers. Smiling, Moira jumped over the counter. “Show me.”

Posted in Inktober 2018

Inktober Day Three: Roasted

Part 3: “You’re gonna kill it?!”

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The small dome filled with smoke, hiding the flower’s final moments. The park ranger that was holding Charlie back finally let her go. She slid to the ground in front of the dome. Flames licked the top of the dome, releasing smoke into the stormy sky. Charlie snuffed her nose, and wiped away her tears.

The smoke cleared quickly, and the rangers cheered. They swooped in, collecting the dome and the ashes from the flower. Charlie watched in shock, unsure of what to think.

A ranger sat down next to her, and handed her a slip of paper. “Your troop leader said you found it last week. It’s the biggest we’ve seen, and the head scientist said it could get rid of all the others that popped up around the village.” He smiled and tapped the piece of paper. “Give that to your troop leader. It qualifies you for the Junior Park Ranger badge.”

Charlie took the paper and shoved it in her pocket. This was her fault, even though she tried to protect it. She could’ve saved it if the ranger hadn’t held her back. She stared at the spot where the flower used to be. “Why’d it have to be destroyed?”

“We didn’t know what that flower could do, kid.”

Charlie frowned. “So if we don’t understand something, we destroy it?”

The ranger was silent. He fidgeted with his radio for a while. “Lots of things we don’t understand about our world. You’ll learn more when you’re older.”

“I’m ten. I know enough,” Charlie whispered.

The ranger laughed. “You’ve got a lot to learn, kid.” He got to his feet, and joined the others as they climbed into their jeeps.

Charlie watched him leave and finally got to her feet. She took one last look at all the rangers, the flower destroyers, and sprinted into the forest. She didn’t care where she ended up, as long as it was far enough. Far away from the destruction, and far away from the unanswered question.

She ran until she tripped over a stray tree root and slipped on a patch of wet grass. Rolling down a small hill, she landed inside a small grove of trees with a patch of wild flowers growing where they could find spots of sunlight. There were normal pinks and reds and purple flowers, and the occasional semi rare orange poppy, but only one stood out the most. In the middle of the patch, where the sunlight would hit the most, was a single yellow flower, glowing slightly.

“No way,” Charlie whispered excitedly.