Once Upon a Time – Chap. 43.1

Hello dear readers – two quick announcements on the housekeeping side of things before we jump into this week’s story snippet:

First, while I don’t foresee any upcoming breaks needed in the near future, there is one small change that will be starting next week and that is simply the post day. I’ve been posting on Sundays for a long while now but starting on June 6th, I’ll be moving the post day to Saturdays. This is mainly an attempt to make Sunday more the day of rest that its supposed to be. If you’re like me, most new blog entries are read a day or two after the author posted them so I think this will hardly make much difference for anyone (although a billion apologies if I’m wrong on that with any of you awesome readers).

Second, we are approaching the end of our story snippets since the Keepers and their henchmen (and birds and zombies) are making themselves unwanted guests outside Gwendoloena’s castle. Fighting and bubble mayhem must eventually give way some sort of resolution and all stories must have an end. As that inevitable turning point approaches, I’ve been thinking of what will take this tale’s place and my greatly unused animation schooling is poking me in the side. My husband and I are also discussing possibility of me getting a new computer that would be able to handle graphics beyond the outdated copy of PaintShopPro I currently use for all the illustrations sometime in June. Let me rephrase that. My husband is demanding I get a new computer in June because my current one was purchased back in 2003 and he’s tired of my yelling at it when it freezes up or decides to restart itself for updates that will have no effect on its no longer supported operating system. I suspect a computer that doesn’t have a decade under its belt just might be able to do a few simple animations without getting brain freeze and so that may be what the future holds in store for this blog.

Now having said all that, anyone who has been following this blog for any length of time knows that “approaching the end” hardly means we’ll be bidding Sylvia and her friends farewell immediately since our episodic blog posts give the storytelling more of a lazy river pace to “the end”. So, without further adieu…


Seth half charged and mostly stumbled toward the closest living thing near him as best he could. Everything living was tasty, everything living should be eaten. He had no clue why he suddenly found his natural monster instincts overriding willpower. He could only presume it must have something to do with the huge green bubble that enveloped him for just a moment, followed by a yellow one, before both bounced along on their merry way. Just a few feet away from his unlucky prey, he crossed paths with one of the pink bubbles and quickly realized two things: The person he had appointed as lunch was not a living thing at all but a vampire. Seth felt certain that if he still had half his wits about him, he might even remember the vampire’s name. But names and fangs didn’t matter because the second thing to suddenly dawn on him was that this vampire was the most wonderful creature in the world. Everything living was beautiful, everything living should be hugged. As he wrapped his one remaining arm around this new friend, it became apparent that the vampire was less than happy about the situation.

*      *      *

V held his breath as Seth for some reason ran over and tried to hug him. “Seth?” He tried to pull away but the hug only became tighter. “Let go of me.”

“But I love you.” The zombie rested a smelly head on his shoulder. “I love everyone and everything.”

“That’s nice.  But if you don’t stop hugging me, I’m going to tear off your other arm.” V immediately regretted trying to push the affectionate zombie away as it only resulted in a sensation akin to pushing into a rotten pumpkin. He looked helplessly at Gwendoloena but she appeared more focused on watching the bubbles that now bounced around the ground and seemed to make other people lose their senses as well. “My queen, do you know what the colors mean?”

“Indeed, I understand some of them after seeing how they’re affecting everyone.” She pointed at bubbles as they bounced around the battlefield. “Green is hunger, yellow is foolishness. The combination of those two made Seth more like his common zombie brethren. Judging from how those two henchmen on the Keepers’ side are fighting each other over that puddle of water, I would say red is hate and blue is thirst.” She turned to Albert with a fearful frown. “That matches the words we saw floating over the puzzle earlier. Purple could give wisdom but that means white may mean life and gray death. We need to keep everyone away from those latter two particularly, I’m not certain what the true effect may be.”

“Eh, my queen.” V’s voice squeaked itself out as he continued trying to pry himself free. “And pink.” Gwendoloena looked as though she were trying to stifle a laugh over his problem. “Pink is love for all living things.”

V finally found escape as Seth ran toward a bee hovering over two tiny wildflowers that had managed to defy the desert heat around them. He stood relieved and slightly dumbfounded, watching the zombie bend down to tell both the flowers and the bee how beautiful they were. “How do we help him? Just push him into another bubble?”

“Not any of the bubbles already rolling around, I believe he’s experiencing one of the better effects from most of those.” Gwendoloena stepped closer to the table and placed her hand over the stone puzzle while wiggling her fingers. “What he truly needs now,” she waited until a tiny, normal-looking bubble floated up from the puzzle, “is clarity.”


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