Thursday, July 18, 2013


I savored the sweet golden caress of the morning sun on my arms and face as I strolled away from the hut that was my home and into the broader expanse of the verdant valley before me.
      I was ambling aimlessly, intent only on the discovery of new places in this unfamiliar setting.  And yet -- I gave pause to that thought and turned around to face the wind, which was warm and ripe with the scent of water, and I was un-surprised when I suddenly knew that there was a large lake at the end of the valley -- and yet I knew this place, knew that the path I was wandering led to mysteries I'd encountered before; above all, I felt the slightest vibration of electricity in the air, the fertility and fullness of the earth beneath my bare feet, and it filled me with a raw, itching tension that booted my senses into overdrive and tingled through me like a premonition of adrenaline.  I breathed deeply, and drank it all in before turning on my way and rounding what I now knew to be the final bend in the path.
      I emerged from the scrubby copses and tall, brushy grasses I had been traveling through onto an open field, large in size.  To the far end, all the way down to my left, I could glimpse the gleaming of a metal structure, indistinguishable from this distance, that rested in the shade of tall cedars and pines.  Immediately in front of me, however, was a sight much more confusing and readily relevant.
     I stood before an expanse of ash, molded into a perfect circular shape, with a diameter of probably fifty yards wide.  At the center of this peculiarity sat a circle of toppled dolmens that were, oddly enough, ash-free.  And something sat in the epicenter of it all, though I couldn't make it out over the shape of the nearest slab.
      Cautiously, I stepped forward into the circle of ash and carried on towards the dolmens, chuckling nervously at myself as I released a breath I hadn't realized I was holding.  I rounded the last toppled column that had been blocking my view and stopped in my tracks when I was confronted with the enigmatic object.
      Whatever it was, it was completely indistinguishable, in the sense that it never held the same shape when I looked at it twice, and even then it would have been impossible to describe what shape it was that I beheld.  Despite that, I could clearly see something written on it in a foreign, flowing sort of alphabet.  I was able to read it, though I can't remember how, or even what it said, now that the moment is passed.  In any case, it told me the steps that should be taken to activate its powers.  I turned tail and scrambled home in a fever of excitement.
      I arrived at my tiny, thatched-roof house only to find that my beloved best friend, Peter, was already there, waiting for me at the table.  I saw it in his eyes before he even opened his mouth to speak -- he had been to the dolmens, too.
      "Ruby, I --" he started excitedly, but stopped as he saw me grinning wildly at him.
      "Are you, perchance, looking for a box of baking soda and a lemon?" I inquired, already knowing his answer.  Peter just caught hold of my contagious smile and flashed it back at me.  Without another word, I ran to the pantry and got the items before dashing out of the house with Peter in close pursuit.
      We were both breathless and giddy by the time we reached the field, but now it didn't seem so foreboding with the both of us there.  We walked right up to the fluid-form object without any qualms and grinned at one another once more.  What we were about to do was probably very dangerous, but the rewards of making it through would far outweigh any bodily harm that might come to us.
      I cut the lemon in half with shaking hands and dusted each half with the baking powder before handing Peter his portion.  Suddenly serious, he gazed intently at me, gripping the wrist of my hand that offered the lemon.
      "I'll go first, so I'll be forty-four, and you'll be forty-five, okay?  Follow the instruction just as they're written and everything will be alright.  I love you, child.  Be brave," he said before kissing my forehead.  I nodded with equal seriousness and determination as Peter took his half of the lemon and stepped away from me, into the center of the circle.  Closing his eyes and balling his right fist tightly, he licked the baking soda from the lemon.  There was a brief flash of blueish light, almost reminiscent of lightning, and then he was gone.
      My mouth was dry and tasted bitterly of iron, but I squared my shoulders and followed Peter's example.
     "Forty-five," I whispered as I closed my eyes and brought the lemon to my mouth.

I awoke in a brightly-lit, pearly-white hallway.  I was suspended in the air, floating as if unaffected by gravity, and I was unable to move, but that didn't alarm me.  This had all been described in the instruction manual.
      "Please state your name and subject number," a cool, feminine voice intoned emotionlessly.
      "Ruby, subject number forty-five," I replied, suppressing a surge of excitement.
      "Welcome, Ruby.  Please remain still while the compatibility testing is conducted," droned the feminine voice.  I closed my eyes and lost myself to the inner fortress of my mind as the testing began.

When next I awoke, I was alone in the field.  Clouds obscured the sky, and the air was heavy and moist with the promise of oncoming rain.  I shivered where I lay curled; I felt all too exposed, and I was worried about Peter.  Where had he gone?
      Slowly, I attempted to stand.  After an awkward stumble, I was able to pull myself upright.  I was pleased (and a little frightened) to feel a heavy weight settling in-between my shoulder blades.  I forced myself not to crane around to stare at my back, but instead mentally steeled myself before turning my focus on making the weight balance itself.
      I felt movement and heard a muffled "whoosh" as the weight did what I told it to.  I swallowed hard and looked over my right shoulder.
     Stretched out behind me were two enormous wings.  Tear sprung to my eyes as I beheld their magnificence.  They were round and owl-like, silent as I tentatively flapped them twice.  And they were strong.  They wanted to fly.  I felt the wanting of it singing through my bones and answered it with a savage whoop before taking off at a sprint and leaping into the sky.
      Joyous and free, I circled the field twice before alighting sure-footedly at the far end under the cedars.
      Which is where I found Peter.
      He lay very still in the cool shade, the only sign of life in him the shallow heaving of his rapid, panting breaths.  I recognized the feathers of his wings as those of a sparrowhawk, though they looked painfully twisted, as though he had fallen on them.
      I ran to him and crouched over his body, holding his head in my hands and begging him to wake up.  His eyes briefly fluttered open before rolling back into his head, signifying he had fallen into a dead faint.
      Frantically, I turned Peter over onto his belly and dragged him into the sunlight.  Without thinking of what I was doing, I grabbed the base of Peter's wings and willed all the health and vitality and comfortable heaviness of my wings to be transferred unto him.  I cried out in agony as I felt them wither and fade -- I cried out in an anguish of loss and sacrifice and fear.  I just saw Peter beginning to stir when I lost all consciousness.

Again, I woke in the field, covered in a chill sweat.  Peter was gone, and my skin prickled with anxiety.  I ached all over, but I picked myself up off the ground and shuffled home.
      I spent the rest of the day in bed, feeling sick and feverish, struggling to sleep.  I was plagued by thoughts of what I might have done to Peter.  What if my wings weren't compatible with his?  I could have killed him, or turned him into something caught halfway between bird and boy, seething and raging between the two, never to find peace in either of the worlds to which he was bound.
      Exhaustion eventually overcame me and I succumbed to a dark sleep, still paralyzed by my fears.
      I awoke to the sound of familiar voices speaking quietly overhead.  I didn't give any evidence that I'd regained consciousness, though, so as to give myself a chance to listen to the conversation.
     El, Kat, Elayne and my siblings discussed my condition in hushed tones.  With a shock, I learned that I'd been asleep for two and a half days.  My arms prickled again, and I dropped the pretense of sleep to sit up and run my hands along them.  Sharp needle-points of pain met my fingertips, and I quickly drew my hands away, only to discover that the quills of minuscule shoots of feathers were protruding through the skin of my upper arms.  I looked around at my friends and caretakers with a heart full of sadness and regret.  They solemnly bared their own arms to reveal feathers of their own in varying shades and hues.
      "I -- I'm so sorry.  I don't know what I've done," I choked out through a throat tight with tears.  My friends only smiled sadly and shook their heads before grabbing my wrist and leading me outside and to the field.  It was hot, and the sun beat down on our shoulders as we traversed the field to where the metal structure stood.
      It took a moment for me to process exactly what I was looking.  The metal structure was a large bench swing, and sitting in the middle of the bench was Peter, cross-legged and wingless.
      He laughed at my dumbfounded expression and gestured for me to sit down next to him.  He eased my worries with explanations I can't recall, telling me that the feathers were an aftershock of losing my wings and that they would soon molt away, and not to worry about it.
      All seven of us spent the remainder of the afternoon companionably enough, swinging, striving to reach the sun, souls damaged, but still singing in our hearts and hands, for summer had just begun....

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Rose and I had traveled to Carlsbad, in New Mexico to visit our grandparents.  Their house was very grand, built in the style of a rambling Chinese palace.  The walls were a pure white plaster, and all the accents were bright red.  The doorways were circular, and each room was lit by a single red lantern.
Rose and I had the whole eastern wing of the house to ourselves.  We each had our own rooms, and there was even a little kitchen off of a short hallway.  It was comfortable, but deserted all but for us; that unnerved us a bit, so we tended to keep company with each other throughout most hours of the day.
This afternoon, we were ready to venture from our rooms and look around a little bit; I had heard that an old friend of mine had taken up residence across the street, and I would have dearly liked to go see her.  So, taking our suitcases with us, Carmela and I ventured out the huge double-doors and into the courtyard of the eastern wing.
It was winter, and there was a thin blanket of snow over everything, but the desert plants of the courtyard didn't seem to mind.  In fact, they flourished.  The courtyard was surrounded by a high wall that was too smooth to climb (unless you were really skilled at parkour, I suppose), and the only path out was an elevated walkway lined with cherry trees in bloom.
The walkway was the only way to go.
As we neared the walkway, I noticed something strange about it.  The parts not covered in snow glistened and sparkled in the weak sunlight and appeared to possess a slightly pinkish hue.  The walkway was made entirely out of rose quartz!  In the damp conditions, it was slippery and treacherous, but thankfully there was a handrail.
The path was long and meandering, with a gentle slope downwards, and it reminded me of a gentle river.  A river of was quite beautiful to behold, especially with the addition of a light snow that had begun to fall from the heavens.
Finally, Rose and I made it to the central wing of the building.  The doors and the courtyard here were even more grand than those of the eastern wing.  I pulled open one of the doors and Rose and I walked through.
...Only to find that a wild party was underway.  The heavy scents of alcohol, sweat, cigarette smoke, weed and, strangely enough, garlic bread forced their way into my lungs, causing me to double over and cough for a few moments.  Rose, however, didn't seem to have a problem with it.  I eventually recovered and look up to see my grandfather sitting on a couch directly adjacent to us.  He smiled and waved, beckoning us closer.
Leaving our suitcases at the door, we walked over and joined him on the couch, which was upholstered in a rich, red, silky fabric that gave luxuriantly underneath me to an ample amount of cushion.  Only when we sat down did I realize how tired I was.  Gramps offered us a puff off the joint he was smoking from, but we politely declined.  He shrugged and launched straight into a story about one of his times exploring the Carlsbad Caverns, while Rose listened intently and I half-listening, half-dozed.
The dream faded as I fell entirely asleep, ensconced in the warm cushions and lulled by the sound of people singing nearby.

Friday, January 20, 2012


I walked into the dimly lit shop and waited for my eyes to adjust.  The outside of the store had always intrigued me -- it was a motif of the night sky, painted masterfully, and there was always good music and a wonderful chocolaty aroma emanating from the building's door.  I had been wanting to explore the shop for months.
Immediately to my left was the cashier's counter, which was piled high with records, cassette tapes and CDs; currently in the player was a Red Hot Chili Peppers album that I can't quite remember the name to.
Beyond the counter, the walls and floor were filled with shelves.  The central display bore shoes of all sorts; Converses, sparkly pumps, tennis shoes, flats, etc.  I was immediately drawn to a pair of black knee-high Converse boots with purple laces.  Before I could walk over to try them on, however, I was interrupted by another patron of the shop, who sidled up to me and asked in overly-casual tones, "So.  You new here?"
"Uh...yes?" I replied, not really sure what he was asking.
"Well, my name's Dave, and this is The Shop: Catering to all your needs, be they for fresh produce, high fashion, furniture or household appliances.  The Shop's got it all.  It also doubles as the gathering-place for all the neighborhood's coolest people.  Want a tour around?"
I decided I didn't like this Dave.  He was too loud, too forthcoming, and I didn't like the way he'd lightly grabbed my elbow halfway through his little speech.  I gently tugged my arm from his grasp and told him, "I think I'd like to have a little look around for myself, thanks."
"Have it your way," he shrugged, and moseyed off to the back of the shop, pulling a cell phone out of his pocket as he did so.
I now carried on unimpeded to the Converses.  When I picked them up, I realized that the tag said that they would be about four sizes too large for me, but I wanted to try them on anyways, just to make sure.  I sat down on the floor, removed my own shoes and proceeded to slowly (but surely) untangled the laces and unzip the zippers on the sides.  When I finally had the shoes on my feet, it turned out that they were only a couple sizes too large, but they would still slip off of my feet if I tried to walk around in them.  What a shame.
By the time I was standing up in my own shoes again, The Shop was filled with people.  They were all dressed in a vaguely Gothic way, and they stood in small groups and chatted quietly but amiably, sipping Dr. Peppers and snacking on assorted cheeses and grapes that had suddenly appeared on a platter in front of the shoe display.
A short girl with platinum-blonde hair and a nose piercing walked up to me and introduced herself as Sarah.  "Dave told us a newbie was here, so we came to see what you were all about."  She smiled cutely.  We chatted for a while (thought I can't remember about what) and then parted ways.  I walked slowly through the crowd until I arrived at the cashier's counter, which had been cleared of its load of music and was revealed to be a long, yellow bar, replete with swiveling bar stools.  A group of guys (not including Dave) had taken up all of the seats except for one and were laughing uproariously.
When they had quieted, I strode boldly forward and claimed the remaining bar stool, ordering a Dr. Pepper from the bartender/cashier.
"So, it's the newbie," said the guy sitting next to me.  He was the tall, overly-muscled football-playing type, but his smile was soft and his voice kind.
"Yeah, that's me, what's it to you?" I asked, refusing to be ruffled.
"What's it to me?" he repeated in disbelief.  "Why, I'm here to welcome an important new member of the tightest social group around, and you want to know what I care?"
"Everyone who walks in that door is special in some way, Green," chimed in the guy on my right, a dark-headed fellow with bright blue eyes and a lazy slouch.
"People come here for a reason," agreed the guy on my left.
I suppose that that was supposed to serve as some sort of an explanation, but it only left me more perplexed.  I talked a little while longer with the two guys, occasionally laughing, and then I moved on to other clusters of people.
As I passed in front of the shop window, I happened to see my father get off of the bus and walk down the sidewalk towards The Shop.  For some reason, I badly wanted his presence here.  I willed him to look up and meet my gaze.  He finally did, but just then Dave appeared at my side and started chattering into my ear.  The annoyance of this broke my concentrations and my dad walked on again as if he had never seen me.  I stared after him desperately, pleading silently with him not to leave me alone here, until he finally turned around and made a gesture that somehow asked, "You want me to come in?"  I nodded yes and beckoned to him.  Thirty seconds later, my whole family was standing in the shop, introducing themselves to Sarah.
After the introductions where done, Sarah asked my younger sister, Rose, and I if we wanted to come see something very interesting with her.  Rose and I said that we would.
Sarah led us through The Shop, past the produce and appliance sections, all the way to the very back.  The light was brighter and of a more friendly yellow color here.  We walked past windows that were draped over with old, emerald-green velvet curtains -- except that the curtains were on the other side of the glass.  A shiver of anticipation, premonition and excitement tingled up my spine.  Was she taking us to where I hoped she was taking us?
We eventually stopped in front of an ornate wooden archway, which was also covered by the green curtains.
"You'll have to go by yourselves from here," whispered Sarah.  "The master of the house doesn't like strangers.  But I'm sure you know your way around."  She smiled, wished us luck and left us.  Rose and I glanced at each other with wide eyes and softly pushed our way through the curtains.
The velvet was heavy and stifling, and it smelled oldly of dust and neglect.  Presently, we arrived in what was a posh parlour.  The walls were of a dark panelled oak and the floor was also carpeted with a thick green rug.  What little light that seeped into the room was weak, gray and dusty, filtered through the curtains.  Cracked leather armchairs were buried in dust; their ruddy red-brown color was masked by a fine mist of gray.  In the corner, however, stood a rocking chair that was as bright and colorful as if it was brand new.
Rose and I knew exactly where we were, though.  We raced from the room and into the library, but Rose accidentally knocked a port of flowers from a shelf.  This seemed to summon the young man who walked through a shadowed doorway to our left.  He scowled first at the upended vase and then at us.  He was dressed very dandily in a style that hasn't been seen since the late seventeen-hundreds.  "This is why I don't like strang --" he began, but stopped short, doing a double-take.  "Rose?  Green?..." he whispered, astonished.
"Mac!" we cried, running to hug him.
After our reunion, we spent the remainder of the day clambering over the red tile rooftops of Mac's grand estate, talking amiably about life and enjoying each other's presence.
The dream ended as we basked in the glow of a warm, golden summer sunset, look from the roof out over the rolling hills and being altogether thoroughly satisfied.


It was the last day of the camping trip and the four of us (Mel, Drew, Mandrake and I) were driving out of the park in the car.  Along the way, we passed the ranger station, which we noticed had had a museum wing installed since we had last seen it.  Mel, Drew and I decided to go in and check it out (guided tours were free that day), but Mandrake, who was uninterested, said he would take a bus back to the house and meet us there.  Thus, we parted ways.
The guided tour began, and the exhibits we saw were interesting; they told tales of how the park had been a logging and mining camp before it had been converted into a state preserve.  The museum was dimly lit and consisted of a series of spacious rooms whose walls were decorated with subtitled black-and-white pictures in large frames.
Halfway through the tour, however, a paunchy old man who smelt of onions and old sweat and was dressed in a green-and-red flannel shirt and faded blue jeans sidled up to me and slung his arm around my shoulders, whispering in my ear, "Hello, love.  How's about you follow me and we'll have ourselves a little bit of fun?"
I tensed, readying myself to grab his face and smash it upon my knee, but just as I was about to turn and do so, I felt him press something cold against the small of my back.
"Keep quiet about it and no-one gets hurt, eh?" he whispered.  I was filled with rage. I would gladly die rather than allow myself be violated by him.
With more ferocity than I had known I was capable of mustering, I turned and slammed the heel of my hand into his nose, knowing as I did so that I would break it and shove a splinter of bone up into his brain, killing him instantly; just what he deserved, the wretch.
However, simultaneously, he stabbed me just below the ribcage.  I passed out as I saw him slump lifeless to the ground I didn't feel the pain of the knife; I only felt a grim satisfaction.

I awoke what seemed seconds later in an ambulance that was speeding down a county road that was beautifully lined with maples adorned in their most splendid fall colors.  I still didn't feel any pain from the wound -- perhaps it was shock -- but I was overcome by a bottomless sadness.  I knew I wasn't going to survive.  I turned to my mother with tears in my eyes and whispered, "Tell them I loved them with all my heart.  Especially Mandrake.  Tell them..."
And then I lost consciousness again and knew that my life was over.


It was the evening of the big gig, and Rose and I were packing up our gear in preparation for the short drive over to the local thrift store, where we were playing for some sort of block-party event that was being held there.  Somehow, we managed to pack both guitars, amps and a huge amount of connective cords into the pull-behind bicycle trailer.
Then, we biked down quiet roads flooded with golden, late-afternoon summer sunlight.  We reached our destination just as the sun was setting.
We checked in with the shop-owners, the sound technicians and the stage crew before proceeding to set up, though by now I was beginning to realize that everything was not fine and dandy with Rose.  She looked a little pale and her brow was furrowed with worry.
"Green," she said to me, "I don't think we're ready to play this gig."
I immediately became frustrated.  After all, I had spent months teaching her to how to play the guitar, and now she just wanted to back out.
"I think we should go home," she continued.  "I forgot some of my stuff anyways..."
I knew that if Rose wasn't going to play, Rose wasn't going to play.  I might have been able to solo the gig, but that would leave Rose alone and unprotected, and I didn't want anything to happen to her...
Eventually, after apologizing profusely, we packed up again and biked carefully home in the dark.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I'd been in this area before: it was a chain of islands somewhere in the Caribbean, owned by a resort.  Further inland (for I was on the beach), I knew there was a huge, domed conservatory that connected with a bunch of treehouse cabins.  The last time I had been here, the owners of the conservatory-resort had trapped myself and the other customers inside the large glass dome so they could create an utopia world with us as their breeding-rabbits.  A friend and I managed to commandeer one of the official's aircraft, fly it off the island and report the resort's activities to the government.  Fortunately, ownership of the resort had changed hands since then.
Since my last visit, everything had shifted to the beach.  All the resort buildings were now there, and there were house-hotel-boats floating far out on the azure waves.  It seemed that this time, I was there on some sort of vacation with the kids from my highschool; in addition, my family was there, as well.
Naturally, I spent the days there exploring with three of my best friends: Kieran, Ian and Zayne.  We spent afternoons walking up and down the pure, white, powdery sand of the beaches, until we had circumnavigated the whole body of land and had seen the other islands continuing to the horizon in a curving chain on the eastern side.  We explored the forests filled with huge palm trees and strung across with vines, experiencing the strange and exotic flora and fauna of the land.  We swam in the ocean and slept long nights in a tent we had pitched on the beach.
Early one morning, however, during our daily swim, the four of us happened upon a tiny island that had seemingly never been there before.  We clambered ashore, our limbs filled with the simultaneous lightness and heaviness that comes from a good, long swim.  Upon the crest of the hill of sand, there was, startlingly, rooted a tree.  It wasn't startling merely because of its presence, but because it was not a palm tree, or any other tree I'd seen before; I don't even know how I would go about describing it.
Curious, we walked closer to examine it, thankful for the shade that its spreading boughs provided.  It was Kieran who discovered the second peculiarity of the tree.  He and I had climbed up the branches some way and were both sitting perched in a wide crook between branches, looking out over the waves to where the sun was now beginning to set on the horizon (I don't know how the time had passed so quickly) and listening to Ian and Zayne talk and laugh quietly below when something startled Kieran and he almost fell out of the tree.
"Ruby!" he hissed.  "Look at the branches, they're see-through!"
He was right.  In the golden light of the westering sun, the dark bark of the tree had turned shadowy, and I could see through it to the thick sap flowing within the tree and all the way beyond that and through to the other side.  It was undoubtedly the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, and Kieran and I stared in awe at each other for a moment before scrambling back down the tree to tell Ian and Zayne, who were facing away from the trunk.  As we did so, I could feel the tree thrumming, as if something within it had been woken up.
The moment we got down to the sand, I knew something amazing was about to happen -- the sand around the tree had turned to a dark gray color and the vibrating of the tree was becoming a low, sonorous hum.  Sure enough, when both of my feet were firmly on the ground, I heard a muffled "thwump" sound from the northern side of the tree.  Kieran and I ran around to investigate what it was; Ian and Zayne were already there.
A large chunk of sand had fallen in between the tree roots, exposing a small, dusty cavern that looked absolutely ancient, hundreds of years old.
Glittering within the ruin of the cavern was a huge milky-white crystal.
Zayne stooped and picked up the crystal, holding it up to the light to examine it.  "It's a transportation device," he said.  "There are instructions engraved on the top of it."  He scrutinized the runes that were carved on the flat stone top of the crystal for a time and then muttered something indistinguishable under his breath.  I nearly couldn't believe my eyes as he floated off the ground and through the branches of the tree before alighting softly on the ground in front of us.  "Here, you try it," he said, handing it to me.
I took the crystal hesitantly and was surprised to discover that it was incredibly light.  Zayne was right, there was a set of instructions scribed on the back, but they were in another language.  Upon further inspection, though, I found that there was a key, which looked like it had been carved much more recently.  I examined the code for a bit longer, and then I clicked my tongue and imitated the cooing of a dove while at the same time focusing all my willpower on activating the stone.  To my delight, my body began to feel as light as a feather and I knew I had the ability to use this stone for amazing things.  It was thrilling and empowering.
Kieran and Ian, however, were unable to tap into the crystal's powers, and Zayne claimed that he had no use for it, so the crystal was left in my care, which I wholly approved of.  I felt that there were secrets to unlock involving the crystal.
I parted from the guys, who were going to swim back to shore and bed down in the tent for the night.  I didn't feel at all restful; in fact, I was filled with that awareness and clarity that I feel whilst standing outdoors in the evening, gazing at the moon.  It was like a veil had been lifted from my whole body and suddenly all of my beautiful potential had leapt out at me in its full brilliance, and I could hear my thoughts perfectly, and they sounded like the voices of the stars in the heavens above, if only they had had voices.  So, I decided to use the crystal to fly over to the south-western side of the island, where my favorite beach was.
The sand there was piled into a high bluff overlooking the water, and the waves were always particularly tall and wild.  I took up a post on the peak of the dune and opened all my senses to the world around me.
I watched the celestial bodies circle in their cycles above me, and in so doing, I learned the secrets of the long-lost civilization that had found the crystal and discovered how to harness its powers. 
They had lived on this very chain of islands, and had found the strange translucent trees, just as Kieran, Zayne, Ian and I had, and they found that the trees only became visible and tangible during a certain time of the year, which led to the discovery that their sap, when the trees died, hardened within them to produce the crystals.  Each tribesperson wore a small chunk of the stone around their neck, and they were capable of great physical and mental feats.  But suddenly, one day something happened, some great and mysterious event occurred and the people of the islands disappeared, along with all the crystals, save one, which had been stowed in the roots of the tree that we had found today.

I stayed up all night, listening that strange some sixth sense that had opened up when I had first interacted with the crystal.  It was like I had become a beam of sunlight; I was filled with a warmth that kept me cozy when I fell asleep on the beach at sunrise, curled around the crystal.
The guys found me there early that next afternoon, and gently woke me up, asking if they could see the crystal again.  I blearily handed the crystal over, slowly standing up and brushing the sand from my clothing.
Zayne, standing across from me, nodded and frowned, looking at the stone.  "The runes have disappeared," he said, seemingly unsurprised, handing the crystal back to me.
"You'd better come back and start packing up soon; we're leaving this evening, remember?" Ian called over his shoulder to me as the three began to walk north up the beach to where the tent was.
I stared down at the crystal, dismayed.  After sleeping, I no longer felt that open awareness that I had the night before.  Somewhat desperately, I attempted to activate the crystal, and I couldn't.  That moment was so sad and so disappointing that I nearly burst into tears.  Then, with the resolve that it was the right thing to do and with the melancholy of a funeral dirge, I dug a hole in the sand and buried the crystal there before hiking back to the tent to help the guys pack up.

Thus, the dream ended.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


I had ridden my bike over to a Mexican restaurant in the northeast part of town, where some friends of mine were holding a birthday party for another friend before they headed back to the house for the remainder of the festivities.  Before I left the house, I reminded myself to take a shower, pick up my earrings from where I'd left them in the bathroom and put my keys (along with a few spare quarters) in my pocket, as these were the supplies I would need for the outing.  I ended up initially forgetting the keys and coins, but I did walk out of the house with them the second time around.
When I eventually arrived at the party, I found that they'd begun dinner without me, but that was just fine because I wasn't really hungry in the first place.  When I'd settled in with the guests, the squire of my dance team, Tabby, came over to sit next to me and asked if I would be attending practice the next day.  I told her that regretfully, no, I would not be, as I would have yet another birthday party to attend the next day.
Dinner progressed and eventually finished, and we walked through a light, enjoyable rain back to the house (which was only a few blocks away).  Upon our arrival, we all went to the roof where punch was being served.  Music was being lined up by a DJ for the coming dance party, which was to occur once the sun went down.
About halfway through the party, in what I would guess to be the late-afternoon (it was still cloudy, so I couldn't tell exactly where the sun was, nor was I paying too much attention), I saw a woman riding a bike down on the sidewalk.  Behind her, she towed a trailer with two girls seated comfortably in it.  The woman had extremely curly, sandy-blonde hair, and the more I gazed at it, the more I began to realize that I knew this woman.  Why, she was Mandrake's mother!
Without second thought, I climbed as hurriedly as I could through the window, raced downstairs, grabbed my bike and helmet (because Mom always warns me never to ride without one) and raced after the woman.  But by this time, she was already out of sight, and I had no idea where she might have gone.  Still, I pedalled quickly down the street, sure that I would be able to catch up with her eventually.
I soon entered another neighborhood that had appeared several times before in my dreamscape -- kind of an artsy place in the reclaimed-warehouse sort of way.  The sidewalk was still wet and as I zoomed along, my tires kicked up great puddles behind me.  At that point, I was completely happy.
However, only a few seconds later, a small dog raced, screeching and yapping at me, from the homely doorstep it was gaurding.  I accelerated past, thinking I'd leave it behind once it was convinced I was no longer infringing upon it's territory, but it miraculously managed to keep pace with me, chugging it's stubby legs as fast as they would go.  The little dog began snapping viciously  at my ankles, despite the fact that they were still pedalling the bike.  More and more dogs streamed from the front yards of houses and followed the example of the small dog until there were twelve or so of them on my tail.
I knew I had to find some way to escape them, or they would catch me and devour me.  So, at the next warehouse, I jumped off my bike and ran into the building, slamming the door behind me.
The place I found myself in was quite peculiar.  I was backstage of an amatuer auditions session for Shakespeare's "Macbeth."  A couple of snotty-looking kids turned my way and favored me with a "What the hell do you think you're doing here" sneer that I had thought could only be pulled of by TV-show high school preps.  These kids pulled it off with nastiness to spare.
I really wanted to leave, but I couldn't; the dogs were still waiting outside, I was quite sure of it.  I looked around for a quiet corner where I could sit and look as inconspicuous as a broom or a mop, but I couldn't find one.  the preps were called onto stage in short order though, so I was spared any more nasty stares.
Just when I had got to thinking that it might be safe to go outside again and reclaim my bike, a cute, blonde girl poked her head around the curtain, popped the pink bubblegum bubble that she had been blowing (it was quite and impressive one) with her teeth and said to me, "Oh, Green, there you are.  We've been waiting ages for you!"  At that, another girl with shoulder-length dark brown hair and freckles across the bridge of her nose stepped around the curtain.
"Yeah, come on, Green; we're going to be late for the dance-out!" she said, tugging at my sleeve.  She was so earnest and kind that I felt my dream-self must know her well and trust her, so I followed her and the blonde girl out the back stage door.  Thankfully, the dogs were no longer outside; they must have all returned to their houses.
Before we caught the bus from what had suddenly morphed from a warehouse into my high school, I stopped by the garden and grabbed my earrings from atop a gray rock; I'd been wearing them only a little while before, but they'd somehow appeared there and I knew I would need them with me.  Otherwise, Mom would be furious that I'd lost them.
After that, the two girls and I were on our way: we caught the bus and took it to the train station downtown, where the dance-out was taking place.  I wanted badly to join in with the dancing, but the girls dragged me on to the ladies' watercloset, where we had a serious discussion that I can't remember the details of.  After that, we caught one of the trains and ended up back at the high school.
The two girls and I parted ways -- they walked back into the building, waving over their shoulders, and I scrambled to get on my bike before the dogs found me again.  I knew if I tarried too long here and didn't build up enough speed before passing their domiciles, they'd have me in an instant.
I set off, not bothering to put on my helmet in my haste, and pedalled furiously away, this time riding down the middle of the traffic-devoid street.  I was no longer concerned with the woman on the bike I'd been chasing before; in fact, I'd forgotten all about her.  I made it safely back to the house where the party was still happening and rejoined the crowd on the roof, feeling oddly satisfied with my adventures for the day.