Tag Archives: monsters

Our Trick or Treaters Really DID Have Fangs.

Ah Halloween…the night when adorable little ones dressed as sometimes unidentifiable forms of creature cuteness come knocking at your door and beg for candy. Well, generally in the earlier part of the evening anyway – after about 9:00pm, you pretty much start getting teenagers carrying Walmart bags with no costume and it’s time to turn the porch light off.

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I am sadly not original and just free clip art that Julie found – but I’m scary cute!

That’s how it was in our old neighborhood when we lived in a cul de sac and were surrounded by a bunch of other decorated houses. Minivans would park in the middle of the street and  belch out hordes of trick or treaters. My husband and I even had a tier system set up – if you had an original/cool/homemade costume then you got the really good stuff like full-sized candy bars. If you put forth a minimal amount of effort to be creepy or otherwise memorable, you got something along the lines of a fun-size bar or little bag of Reeses. Walmart bag and no costume = maybe some smarties or that crappy taffy no one really likes just to ward off any potential egging.

When we moved to GA, we settled into a nice condo that has a wooded section behind it and is in the back part of the building, past a few rows of stairs. This provides the illusion of being somewhat secluded even though we have neighbors directly above us. I’ve always loved our additional hint of privacy and still feel we have one of the best spots in the complex – except for nights like Halloween. Living in a place where you can’t even see if the porch light is on until you’ve made an effort to go down the first section or two of stairs doesn’t seem to attract even the Walmart bag crowd. Add in the darkened woods just a few feet from the bottom of those stairs and I wouldn’t let any kids of mine go hunting for candy in our direction either. So sigh…no more cute trick or treaters come knocking at the door as we watch our traditional monster movies and feast upon junk food.

But ah, I’ve found the wooded section does have it own cute little ones. It’s not a mini van and they may not be dressed up like Disney characters or anything, but yes, still cute. [The below pics were taken tonight with my phone from the other side of the ghostly realm – er, glass screen door].

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Hello Mr. Racoon, are you here for tricks or treats?

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Nom nom – don’t eat it all before your bedtime Ms. Possum, you’ll get bad dreams!

So a little backstory. I started putting cat food out a while ago to coax an abandoned kitty into at least having an occasional home (ours). While I was successful in that endeavor, the cat food of course attracted other occasional…guests. And since I’m not one for wasting food, nights like this call for extra special treats – like the left over nachos and caramel apple I didn’t finish. The food doesn’t go in the trash and I at least get some form of trick or treater to come visit us.

Halloween WIN!

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Once Upon a Time – Final Snippet (A.K.A Everyone Gets Popsicles)

Dear wonderful and amazing readers – I had every intention of this final story snippet being posted on Saturday. Life, however, intervened as it is sometimes known to do. There were car repairs which ended up with my car going straight back into the shop (ya know, the cheapest and easiest way to solve this whole “check engine light” thing would be to just put some electrical tape over the light). There was the eye appointment that included getting a wee bit stronger prescription because apparently it wasn’t just my imagination that road signs and objects in general have become harder to see. And then there was the possum. Yes, an adorable momma possum ambled up to our front porch to eat some of the food I’d left out for a stray cat and she had an even more adorable BABY possum chilling out on her back while she ate dinner. Okay, finding myself watching the up close and personal version of National Geographic for 15 minutes isn’t exactly on the same scale as everything else that got packed into Saturday but you would have chosen watching that cuteness on parade over writing too, I know you would. That being said, apologies for the late post and I am very glad to finally be able to share it. Both this and the awesome possum encounter are easily two of the least expensive things to occur this weekend!

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Albert threw a single sack onto the back seat of his airship, the contents of which included several pens and a new, blank journal. His old journal, with all his scientific scribblings and recorded eurekas from experiments completed in years past, now rested in the hands of what he considered the best pair of apprentices he could have ever hoped for.

“You’re sure you want to leave this with me?” Simone seemed to ask the journal itself as she and Ian thumbed through its pages together. “All this work, everything you’ve ever done and discovered—

“Is now the beginning of your own work and discoveries.” Albert held out yet another journal to them. “And I’m sure the information in this one will make more sense to you than it ever did me anyhow.”

Ian took the journal, his eyes widening as he turned the cover to reveal its contents. “But this is the one that your father wrote in, isn’t it? Yeah, it is, here’s that illustration of a toaster, the light bulbs,” he turned a page and thwacked the next one with his finger, “even one of those old cameras where the picture spits out and develops after you take it. Why are you giving this to me, I’m no inventor or scientist.”

“But the young woman standing next to you is and I imagine you’re actually familiar with all the strange contraptions listed on those pages. And since the two of you are so smitten with each other,” he smiled at the blushing couple, “I can’t imagine a better combination of minds for ensuring the information in both journals continues being useful after I’m gone.”

“After you’re gone?” A confused and angry voice shouted at them from near the airship. “Uncle Albert, where are you going?”

Albert turned toward the ship to find Sylvia standing with arms crossed and a pout so large it looked as though her bottom lip might takeover the chin under it. Beside her stood Gwendoloena.

“Albert, dear friend,” Gwendoloena put a hand on the girl’s shoulder, “I know you weren’t going to leave without saying goodbye to one last person.”

“Of course not!” Albert sighed while nodding at the niece before him. “Just trying to wait until the very last minute though. That’s how it always is with difficult tasks and final farewells I suppose.”

Sylvia stepped toward him, planting both hands on her hips. “What do you mean final farewell?”

“Sylvia, you know I”—Albert started to kneel down and then decided against such an action that, in his current state, may prove itself irreversible—“you know I love you and everyone else in the family very much. And I am so very glad to have been given the chance to see you all now safe and sound from the havoc those two Keepers stirred up. But while that may be true, I didn’t actually live to see it. And what I am now,” he leaned against the table, “is not something that should still be walking and talking.”

“But we won, remember!” Sylvia shoved Gwendoloena’s hand away. “And she’s looking less like a monster now, so is everyone else in this castle. Maybe it just takes longer with you and Seth because you’re zombies, I don’t know, but that means the curse is over!”

Albert shook his head. “I’m afraid there’s one key difference shared by Seth and I versus the residents of this castle. That crooked apprentice of mine murdered me and poor Seth fell at the hands of a thief while he was traveling on the road. The sad truth of the matter is that we both died in fairly typical fashion whereas Gwendoloena and everyone under her charge were all still alive. That they became monsters was just a result of the curse on them and now that it’s over and done with, they’re simply changing back into the people they used to be. For me, that same curse is the reason someone who should have never stood back up in the first place is even talking to you now. And again, since the curse is over and done with,” he shrugged, “I’m changing back into what I used to be or rather, should be.”

“I don’t understand.” Sylvia’s pout drooped down further. “Changing back into what?”

“For lack of better word I’m well,” the zombie stretched his arms out and made a mock examination of the decaying hands and arms, “I’m dying I guess you might say. In just a short matter of time, maybe a few days, all the magical hoo-haw that made this body bounce back up will be gone and I’ll be quiet as a rock like I should have stayed.”

Sylvia gave the queen a side-glance. “No you won’t, Gwendoloena is right here and she can fix that, right Gwendoloena?” The glance became a glare as the queen shook her head. “Why not! You’re supposed to be a powerful magician and you even defeated the Keepers! That means you’re the most powerful one now, why won’t you!”

“Because little one,” Gwendoloena sighed and tucked a loose lock of hair behind Sylvia’s ear, “there are some things which shouldn’t be fixed because they are the way they should be, even when we don’t like it very much.” She nodded her chin toward Albert. “And this is what your uncle wants, to say goodbye while he can.”

“And then leave!” Sylvia whirled back to face him. “That’s what you want, to run off and hide like some sick cat!”

“I’m not running and hiding.” Albert waved a hand toward his airship. “I’m going on one last adventure. Seth, wherever he started off to this morning, is fairly much doing the same. And we both got a chance that few people, monster or otherwise, ever get when facing death and that is to actually say goodbye to the people we give half a hoot about.”

Sylvia stomped her foot. “What about mother? Did you tell her you were going to fly off in your airship and never come back?”

Albert nodded. “She was the very first one I spoke to about it.”

“And what did she have to say about it? I bet she gave you an earful of how stupid this whole thing is, didn’t she!”

“No, she said goodbye.” Albert shared a look with Gwendoloena as his niece’s anger faded away somewhat. “Sylvia, to be honest, you’re one of the very last people to know I’m leaving because I knew you would give me the biggest amount of grief about it. But there’s absolutely nothing to be sad or upset about because what more could I ask for?” Albert motioned toward Ian and Simone behind him. “My work will continue in the hands of these two wonderful people and,” he made a jerky motion with his other arm toward Sylvia, “I leaving knowing my family is safe.” He let the hand fall with a sigh. “The only remaining thing I wish is that I could have witnessed seeing you find a proper young man to marry but at least I know you’ll won’t be marrying Trevor and that’s almost as good in my book. In fact, he’s just about the only one I didn’t plan on saying goodbye to and if I never see that sorry lad again, I’ll die a very happy zombie.”

As if he’d called him by name, Trevor came bounding into the room with colorful elongated spheres attached to wooden tongue dispensers in either hand. “Look everyone, I made Popsicles!”

“Trevor, well done!” Gwendoloena took one of the spheres, a bright blue one, and held it out by its stick at arm’s length. “However, I don’t quite know what this is that you managed to make.”

“I do!” Ian ran over to claim the lime green colored one that Trevor offered him. “It’s sort of like ice cream, I used to eat these all the time when I was a kid!” He started to chomp into his but stopped mid-bite. “Wait, why do you have Popsicles here?”

“Because the author was late posting this last chapter!” cheered Deigen as he and V entered the room, both carrying colorful spheres on tongue dispensers of their own. “And the three of us all agreed last night that if the last snippet was late, we’d get to have Popsicles.” [Authors note: one of the things I’ve enjoyed while writing this story via blog has been letting the characters point a finger at me when needed. There may or may not be Popsicles in the final draft].

“Deigen and V,” Gwendoloena took on a scolding mother tone, “I’m fairly certain we don’t have Popsicles in this world and you know full well they have nothing to do with the story.”

Both former vampires, bearing normal complexions but still retaining about an inch worth of fangs at the moment, quietly munched on their Popsicles in response.

Gwendoloena sighed at them and let out a chuckle. “Well, I suppose we were having a bit too serious of an ending anyhow, perhaps it was time for a little intervention.” She bit into her Popsicle and nodded with surprised approval. “Hmm, this is quite good.”

“Here Albert, do you want one?” Trevor offered a white Popsicle to the zombie. “You can eat it on your trip to wherever you’re going!”

Albert raised a brow at the cold treat presented to him. “Is it brain-flavored by any chance?”

“Um no.” Trevor drew his hand back. “I think this one’s pineapple.”

“Trevor, I never liked pineapples while I was living and I don’t like you now but I appreciate the offer.” Albert turned and hobbled toward his airship. “Well, I’ve settled my final affairs best I could and said goodbye to everyone I wanted to and even someone I didn’t so guess it’s time for me to take off.” He hopped in the ship’s cockpit and flipped a few switches until the machine came to life. As the airship slowly began floating upward, the zombie waved one last goodbye to the living below. “So long Sylvia and friends, I’ll miss you all!” His tone remained upbeat even as he turned his head to address Trevor one last time. “Stay away from any romantic notions with my niece or I swear I’ll come back and eat you.”

“Yes sir!” Trevor gulped and sidestepped away from Sylvia until he was standing beside Deigen and V again. He joined the rest of the group in waving goodbye to the airship as it tilted ever so slightly to make room for it wings and flew out the window.

And so here our story ends with a zombie flying off into the sunset, final farewells made by some and new beginnings starting for others. But if you’re the type who has never been fond of the words “the end,” just remember how close another world might be. If you happen to ever spot a strange stone with markings you can’t decipher or find monsters raiding the fridge at night, that other world may be as close as your closet.

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Once Upon a Time – Chap. 51.7

Monster_Serena

Kirkaronus let the stone puzzle drop straight down to inspect his other hand, which exhibited the same transformation of his normal skin to a sickly green flesh. Though the table he stood over may have likely stopped the puzzle’s fall, Serena lunged forward and caught it in midair.

“You imbecile!” Her voice came out somehow as an actual growl, whether due to rage or her own still occurring transformation one couldn’t be sure. “You almost let this thing fall and likely shatter to pieces again!”

“But, but my hands.” Kirkaronus held them in front of her. “They’re green!”

“And so is my whole face by this point, stop whimpering like a child at me!” Serena proudly tilted her chin up, which was now not only green but also pointed and somewhat scaly. “It won’t matter one bit when we rule the whole world.”

Kirkaronus took a step back from her as what appeared to be miniature horns began sprouting from her forehead. “But that’s just it. I wanted to rule the world and be the most powerful magician ever known but I didn’t want to actually change into something else in the process.” He turned his palms toward himself and gulped as his nails grew longer while becoming black and thick. “I wanted to relax in a hammock all day and bark orders at our army of lowly minions but this is looking like I might actually start barking any minute now!”

“You’re sounding as useless as Wymer now.” Serena shoved his hands away and held up the stone puzzle. “It’s fine with me if you’re having second thoughts however, that means I’ll be the only one to rule the world then.”

“Um,” Gwendoloena made a subtle throat clearing noise as if apologizing for interrupting their back and fort banter, “not quite. You see, this change occurring isn’t only physical but you actually are becoming monsters. Just how frightening the end result will be depends on how truly greedy and vile you are as a person. But rest assured,” she shook her head at Serena’s increasingly monstrous appearance, “there may not enough of the person left by the transformation’s end to try to rule over anyone.”

“I don’t want to become a monster!” Kirkaronus leaned over the table toward her, his greenish and scaly lower lip quivering in fear. “Not a real one! I’m too handsome and important a person to become a mindless beast!”

Raynerus leaned in toward his sister. “Eh, I can’t be sure but do you think that ego heavy attitude is a actually step in the right direction?”

“It’s close enough I think.” Gwendoloena smiled warmly at Kirkaronus. “That top hat on Serena’s head knows the true condition of your hearts and is what has caused the stone puzzle to amplify not just magic, but your transformation into monsters as well.” She nodded at the bird feather still resting directly under him on the table. “But that feather there knows a few things as well and it can tell if your own motives have changed. Why don’t you go ahead and pick it up?”

“Don’t you dare!” Serena snarled at him. “It’s most likely a trick!”

Kirkaronus turned to say something to her but nearly jumped away at seeing Serena’s current state. Her skin now entirely consisted of green scales and even her hair had begun taking on a rigid form that caused the top hat to fall off. Her top teeth had collected themselves into one colossal tooth while the bottom ones became smaller jagged ones. The claws on her hands were longer than the actual fingers and her arms were apparently growing in size as her expensive silk dress began ripping in the sleeves. Kirkaronus snatched the feather up and jumped away from her in almost one single motion. “Think I’ll take my chances, thanks.”

Far from being a trick, the feather seemed to believe that Kirkaronus truly had enough of becoming a dreadful monster and wanted to forgo this whole take over the world business. Where the feather rested in his clenched fingers, the scales had already starting changing back into normal skin.

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Once Upon a Time – Chap. 49.4

Gwens_teapot

A moment later, the stranger who had yet to offer a name began making his flat, open box perform more mysterious wonders. Deigen, Seth, and V watched in awe as his fingers tapped little squares bearing letters on the box’s bottom half and which somehow transformed the words and pictures appearing on the box’s top half.

Deigen shook his head, not understanding half of what he witnessed before his own eyes. “Pardon, but what is it that you’re doing?”

“Going on the Internet.” The stranger stopped typing and waited for the top half of the box to finish changing again. “Sorry, looks like my connection’s a little slow. The best way to find this person you’re hunting for is most likely going to be with Google.”

“Ah I see.” V leaned in over the stranger’s shoulder. “So this Internet and this Google, they are your oracles here then?”

“Some people think so.” The stranger gave V an uneasy glance until the vampire leaned back to his standing position. “So, what’s this guy’s name?”

Deigen cleared his throat and took a deep breath before answering as though he were announcing the person’s arrival. “Raynerus, former ruler of the Kingdom of Fools and only son of Nalter from the Emerald Plains!”

The stranger started tapping his lettered squares again. “You know what, I’m going start with just the first name on that.” He waited while the top of the box changed again to show a list of words close to the name but not quite. “Um, are you sure it’s not Rayner or something?”

“Quite sure, he was our only leader in the Kingdom of Fools back before it went by that name.” V frowned. “Even your oracles can not find him here?”

“Well maybe my oracles just need a little more information.” The stranger posed his fingers over the squares again. “What’s his last name?”

Deigen matched V’s deepening frown, both of their fangs drooping down in disappointment. “What I just told you. He’s the only son of Nalter so he’s Raynerus, son of Nalter.”

“From the Emerald Plains,” quickly added V.

The stranger raised both hands up to bury his face in them. “But that’s not a last name,” sighed the muffled complaint. “Raynerus, son of Nalter from the Emerald Plains isn’t how we do things around here, at least not since the Middle Ages or whatever.” He dropped back down and turned his chair around the face the three monsters. “Take me for example, my name’s Aaron and my dad’s name is Jack Hogendieger, but I don’t go by Aaron, son of Jack.”

Deigen nodded at him. “Pleased to meet you, Aaron, son of Jack.”

“No, no, no.” Aaron pointed at himself. “I’m Aaron, Aaron Hogendieger.” As all three monsters mumbled their mouths in silent attempts to pronounce his last name, he sighed again. “Just call me Aaron.”

“That’s a great name, Aaron, and I’m Seth.” The zombie finally joined in the conversation again while using his only remaining hand to point toward himself and the two vampires. “And this is V and Deigen. Now that we’re all acquainted, let’s speed things along here because we really need to find this person and get back to where we came from.” He nodded at the thin, flat box. “Can your contraption there really help us?”

“I thought it could.” Aaron glanced back at his laptop. “But none of you seem to have a lot of helpful information to go on, your vampire pal just has a magic sword or something to find them, and wait,” he jerked his head back to Seth, “how did the three of you get here anyway? How are you going to get back?”

Seth reached into his pocket and held up the stone puzzle fragment. “With this.”

Aaron raised a brow. “With a rock?”

“It’s not just any rock,” said Deigen excitedly. “It’s merely a piece of, hey wait”—he looked from the fragment piece to Seth and back again—“I thought Gwendolena gave you the whole puzzle before we came here and just kept the fragment piece herself in chapter 47?”

“True,” Seth tossed the fragment up and down in his hand, “but remember when she and Ian spoke together in the beginning of chapter 49? She said she kept the larger portion of the puzzle and even showed it to him.”

V placed a hand on his comrade vampire’s shoulder. “Remember Deigen, this is a rough draft after all and the author’s bound to catch themselves making a small error or two from time to time.”

Deigen waved his hands at the stone fragment. “Small error! But we went from Seth having nearly the whole puzzle with us to”—he dropped the hands—“fine, moving on, Seth just has a fragment of the puzzle and that’s how we’re getting back.” He turned back to Aaron. “Anymore questions?”

“Well, just one.” Aaron shrugged. “Who’s this Raynerus, son of Nalter anyway? And what does he have to do with you three?”

“Ah.” V pulled out one of the other chairs at the kitchen table and sat down. “That explanation actually has a much earlier beginning.”

Meanwhile…

“This is my favorite teapot in the whole world,” said Gwendolena while pouring into dainty porcelain cups for her many guests gathered around the table. “Used to be my mother’s when I was just a little girl but, oh my, that was some time ago. Quite some time, give or take a few hundred years actually. I lived with my brother and parents on a little farm about a month’s travel from here. Badlands is what us locals called it. I suppose ‘stubborn collection of rocks and dirt that refuses to grow anything’ would have been a longer word for home than anyone needs to bother with. The Keepers who ruled that area called it Emerald Plains but,” she let out a chuckle, “anyone who’s ever ventured so far south knows that whole stretch of land is the complete opposite on both counts.”

The teapot she poured from, bearing two simple flowers on its front, looked far too tiny to have managed even the number of cups it already filled. The table everyone sat at was the castle’s main dining table and the guests gathered around it included two very uncomfortable looking Keepers who had finally come down the hill.

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Once Upon a Time – Chap. 49.2

V_fighting_garlic

Seth wished he could cover his ears over the stranger’s roar of terror but knew letting even one hand go of Wymer would only increase the room’s zombie population by one. Still, something needed to be done quickly before any more unneeded commotion came upon them. He turned his head to the two vampires beside him and found neither making matters any better. Deigen, who actually was able to cover his ears, did so while shouting promises of good intentions. V’s plan of action appeared much worse as he drew his sword and started waving it at the man.

“V, what are you doing?!” At first, Seth amazed himself at being able to make his hoarse zombie voice rise over the screams but then quickly realized that the screaming itself had ceased entirely. He looked back at the stranger to find him once again staring in a mesmerized manner at them, completely still aside from his eyes swaying back and forth in rhythm with V’s sword.

“V, what are you doing?” echoed Deigen as he uncovered his ears. “He’s just some concerned neighbor or family member of Ian’s, put that sword away!”

“But he might be the one we’re looking for.” V cautiously stepped forward a few steps while still waving the sword in front of him. “Gwendolena said the blade would glow when we found the right person.”

“But it’s not glowing so this poor lad we’ve just frightened half to death obviously isn’t them,” argued Deigen.

V took another step forward. “Maybe I just need to get closer.” He waved the sword again which only caused the stranger to stumble backward into a corner. “Or maybe I need to actually touch him with the blade.”

Seeing a vampire slowly creep toward him with a drawn sword did nothing to diminish the stranger’s fear. His course of action, however, was apparently the same as Ian’s when finding himself in a similar predicament. He hastily dashed to the closest counter between him and the monsters and grabbed a mesh wire basket filled with several whole cloves of garlic.

Again with the garlic.” Deigen shook his head as the stranger lifted his wire basket between himself and V like a smelly shield. “Why does everyone from Ian’s world keep putting garlic in our faces?”

“Maybe garlic has some sort of magical properties here that protects them from vampires.” Seth gulped. “Maybe that’s even how they succeeded in battling with the zombies like we saw in that painting in Ian’s room.”

“Seth, I’m not convinced this man has ever seen a battle nor a zombie.” V stepped back as the stranger shoved his wire basket toward him. “No, no,” he shook his head at the garlic, “I don’t want any.” He sighed as the man only mistook the step back as retreat and now gained enough courage to charge forward with his little wire basket. “And he’s definitely never seen a vampire.” V stood completely still this time and let the basket touch him. He nodded at the man. “Hello there, thanks for finally getting close.”

Before V could actually touch his blade to the stranger, however, the garlic in the wire basket became airborne and the room once again filled with screams. The stranger jumped back and hurled the cloves at V, who deflected them as best he could with his sword. Seeming to finally remember he possessed supernatural speed, the vampire risked getting clove attacked and leaned in to tap him on the head. Or rather attempted to tap. Seeming to have also forgotten that he was a vampire possessing supernatural strength, V managed to cease both the screaming and flying garlic as he completely knocked the stranger out.

“Well.” Seth looked over Wymer’s shoulder to watch the stranger slump down to an unconscious heap on the kitchen floor. “So far we’ve flooded a room, caused some sort of foaming elixir to explode all over the floor in here, and you very likely almost killed that man. Somehow I don’t think this mission is going quite as planned.”

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Once Upon a Time – Chap. 48.1

Ian_looking_over_wall

Still standing next to Simone on one of the castle’s balconies, Ian gawked at the joined bubbles below. The dirt-looking appearance of the door forming within their center shifted into a normal wooden one with a round brass handle. “That can’t be my,” he leaned over the ledge and craned his neck out to get a better look at the glowing yellow portion where the door resided, “but I think it is! And I remember that light, it has to be mine!”

“Remember it?” Simone shook her head as they both watched Gwendolena waving her hands toward the door while explaining something to Deigen, V, and Seth. “You’ve seen two giant bubbles mesh together and create some weird portal opening with a random door in the middle before?”

Ian’s mouth formed a nearly perfect “O” as Deigen, V, Seth, and a very zombified-looking Wymer all stepped up to the door and opened it to walk through. Though the bubbles and glowing oval portion remained unchanged by this new event, the door itself became shut again.

“Ian?” Simone nudged him with her elbow. “Say something. Where have you seen that light and door before?”

“My bedroom,” he gulped out. “I ended up here with you guys when my closet started glowing with that same light and I walked through it.” He shot a finger toward the bubbles. “That door in the middle is my closet door, which means that portal or whatever it is leads to,” he dropped his hand back down to grip the stonewall, “my home.”

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Once Upon a Time – Chap. 44.2

This post is slightly on the Sunday side of Saturday (another way of saying it’s just a wee bit late) and apologies to anyone who actually tried to read this on the intended posting day. Good news – this post and both the story snippet/artwork were done on my new computer! Hooray and let’s throw some confetti in the air for not having airplane takeoff noises every time I turn this one on. Bad news – there were a few things to work out today before being able to post, including getting reacquainted with Photoshop rather than using my ancient copy of Paint Shop Pro. It appears I still have much reacquainting to do before the next post but at least this one is finally ready!

Uncle Albert and Sylvia_colored

A moment later, Sylvia’s desire to see her enemy devoured gave way to another wish entirely – to cherish every beautiful thing around her. She leaped out of the pink bubble as it continued along its unseen path and skipped around the perilous battlefield. She stopped once to gaze up at the sky and ponder whether one of the clouds looked more like a heart or a fluffy bunny rabbit’s face. This action proved to nearly bring about her blissful doom when one of the Keepers’ zombies ambled nearby but V luckily intervened with a sword to its head. As the beautiful head rolled by her feet, Sylvia thanked the beautiful vampire with a hug and then proceeded to skip over to the beautiful lemonade stand. She squeezed a bewildered Trevor and spoke of what a handsome and kind-hearted gentleman he had always been, which only rendered the poor lad utterly incapable of pouring any more lemonade. Sylvia likely would have continued the rest of the battle this way if not for a reprimand from her uncle.

“Sylvia, get over here this instant young lady!” shouted Albert from the other end of the castle. “And stop skipping, walk like you still have a lick of sense!”

“Okay Uncle!” Sylvia sang her response out while skip-walking to the disgruntled zombie. She tried to hug him as soon as getting close enough to do so and Albert attempted to halt her with a wooden pole. In a rare moment of actually having her magic work as intended and still being under effects of the bubble, Sylvia waved her arms while singing a spell and turned the pole into a collection of lovely flowers.

Uncle Albert frowned at the bouquet now in his hand and threw it at her. “Drop those arms and back away. I love you dearly but you should never hug a zombie unless you aim to become one yourself. If you’re so intent on hugging things however,” he nodded over her shoulder, “that clear bubble is coming close enough that I think you can go hug that.”

While Sylvia skip-ran toward the clear bubble, Albert hobbled over to Deigen and kicked him in the shin. “Deigen, I believe we need to have word or two about the danger you just placed my niece in.”

The vampire held his hands up and took a few steps back. “That was far from my intention. She was ranting about myself and Seth not trying eat that Wymer fellow, I merely wanted her to gain a better attitude about things.”

Albert rolled his eyes at Sylvia trying to hug the clear bubble and falling inside. “I’d rather her attitude be that than tromping around all lovey dovey like she is now. She even hugged Trevor.” He gave him another kick. “Trevor of all people!”

Deigen looked down and shook his head solemnly. “I’m sorry.” No sooner had he looked back up, Sylvia emerged from the bubble with a much clearer head and started stomping back over to them. “Hello again, little miss.” he stretched his arms out to her. “Do I not get a hug as well?”

From the expression on Sylvia’s face, admiring the beauty in all things was far from her intentions now. She drew her foot back and gave the vampire a swift kick in his other leg before storming off.

“Are you and your family members finished turning my legs into a collection of bruises yet?” Deigen rubbed his assaulted limbs and took a few more steps away from Albert to get out of range from any more attacks.

“I can’t guarantee that.” Albert sighed as Sylvia picked up a sword that had been left by someone and began swinging it wildly. “But you definitely succeeded in her having a different attitude. Now I think you, Seth, and any of us other monsters will be the least of our enemy’s concerns.”

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Once Upon a Time – Chap. 44.1

Trevor's_lemonade_stand_colored

All record of past battles, both in historical accounts filling pages of dusty books and in the seemingly wild unproven tales that still passed around campfires, at least shared commonalities. There were a great number of casualties, a few losers on each opposing side, and even fewer winners. The Battle at the Castle of Fools (or whatever title future dusty books would later deem it) set itself apart from the usual laundry list of gore and tragedy even within the first half hour. Certainly the thousand or so birds still ominously circling overhead lent credit to this. But even besides this odd addition, any onlooker stumbling upon the fight would likely conclude that they witnessed a bizarre new game of sport rather than anything close to an actual battle or war.

The giant bubbles continued bouncing where they wished and caused fighting parties to stop and dodge out of their path before attacking each other again. The bubbles themselves had become as much a part of the action as any other participant due to both Gwendolena and the Keepers moving them around strategically against one another. When the Keepers magically roused up enough wind to force a yellow foolishness bubble toward the vampires, Gwendolena made a countermove with her clear bubble or one of the purple wisdom ones. When the Keepers tried to send a red bubble of hate toward Simone and Ian, Gwendolena pushed it away with a pink love bubble. Since the pair were already quite in love with one another, however, Gwendolena needed to correct her own intervention with the clear bubble to keep them from doing nothing but holding hands and staring into one another’s eyes. This battle differed from past ones in the number of casualties as well, for there happened to be none so far. Gwendolena’s side had managed to keep a step ahead of the Keepers in all attacks and the henchman quickly found becoming captured resulted more in being taken out of play rather than anything so dire as death.

“Don’t kill me, don’t kill me, don’t kill me!” squealed a young henchman dropping to the ground as the sword he just tried to dive into Deigen’s heart ended up in the vampire’s hands instead. “Please don’t kill me and I swear I’ll turn my loyalty to you!”

Deigen flopped his arms to the side and shrugged. “Okay, deal.”

The henchman half stood out of his fearful crouch. “Really? You’re not going to sink your fangs into me and turn me into a vampire?”

“No, I’d rather not and I’m fairly certain it doesn’t really work that way anyhow.” Deigen took a few steps away and thumbed behind him. “But if you’re thirsty, our queen Gwendolena made lemonade and you’re more than welcome to some of it. There would be cookies also but,” the vampire turned to his right and raised a brow at Sylvia while continuing, “I’m afraid the person who was supposed to help make them had other plans.”

While the henchman ran over to a lemonade table manned by Trevor (which was really the only job Gwendolena had felt would keep the lad enough away from any actual fighting to stay alive) Sylvia stormed over to Deigen.

“You’re chastising me for not baking stupid cookies when our enemy came knocking at the door?” She pointed at the lemonade-guzzling henchman. “And he’s supposed to be one of our enemies! Why didn’t you bite him or something?”

“Because biting people is a very unhygienic way to handle problems with people.” Deigen turned the henchman’s sword in his hand, admiring the craftsmanship. “Not to mention more than a little childish. And speaking of children, you were supposed to be watching over Meriall while baking those stupid cookies if I remember the queen’s instructions correctly. If you had,” he looked back up at her, “Seth and I wouldn’t have retrieved her from that Wymer fellow who helped rescue the dear.”

Sylvia rolled her eyes. “So what if he helped bring her over, he’s still on the enemy side. You’re a vampire and Seth’s a zombie, one of you should have eaten him.”

“You are a disturbingly narrow-minded young lady sometimes.” Deigen shook his head at her while leaning slightly to look at something over Sylvia’s shoulder. “But I believe I see something that may help make your suggestions of how to deal with our enemies a little less grim.”

Sylvia snorted. “Really and what would that be, the lemonade we made for all the traitors and cowards lining up at Trevor’s table?”

“Nope.” Deigen sidestepped to the right while pushing her to the left. “Something that might change your perspective.”

Before Sylvia could even begin to recover from the vampire’s unexpected shove, a giant pink bubble rolled over and enveloped her.

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Once Upon a Time – Chap. 42.4

And_away_we_go_coloredAs unexpected and inconvenient as floating in midair already happened to be, Sylvia quickly found this was only one of the new problems she’d just made for herself. Not only did she, Meriall, and the table gently bob up and down like a bunch of hot air balloons, but all three now drifted directly toward a window slightly below them. Though just large enough to have likely let them pass through, the window fortunately remained impassable thanks to a pair of rickety shutters that closed it off aside from the slight draft that continued drawing them in. On the other side, the voices of everyone else gathered outside could be heard as muffled shouts.

“What a charming welcoming party, Gwendoloena!” Serena called out. “A few dozen vampires sworn to protect the living, two zombies that act like they still are, and an ogre who looks like he’s spent his years as a farmer. Do you really think this hodgepodge collection of misfit monsters will be able to stop us?”

Gwendoloena’s light hearted tone as she yelled back gave no indication that she planned on letting a little bullying from megalomaniac villains ruin her day. “You forgot to include our more common friends gathered here, my dear. Oh, but I’m sure you at least remember Trevor since he left your side to join ours. I suppose our hodgepodge collection of misfit monsters must provide more preferable company. Nothing personal, I’m sure.”

“Hi Wymer, hi Michelo!” Trevor’s excited shrill grated on Sylvia’s ears even with the shutter’s meager protection. “Finnick, is that you? Why hello, great to see you again!”

Three men’s voices called back in unison. “Hi Trevor, how are you?”

“Who cares how he is!” Serena screamed. “He’s on their side now and that makes him your enemy!”

Sylvia rolled her eyes as the one slightly familiar voice, Wymer, responded in a pitiful whine. “But he said hello.”

A louder whine erupted from Meriall, who’d clearly had enough of just listing to voices throwing insults and greetings to one another. “Sylvia, this isn’t fun, I can’t see anything.”

“It isn’t supposed to be fun, Meriall, our side is going to start fighting theirs in a moment. And the Keepers out there want to rule over everyone so it’s basically a battle of good versus evil.”

“I know and I want to see it, not just listen!” The little girl sat on the edge of the table and opened the window’s shutters before Sylvia could swim her way through the air in time to stop her. As if riding on a ship whose sails suddenly caught a mighty gust of wind, the window belched them out. Meriall raised her arms up and squealed with delight while Sylvia barely grabbed a table leg in time to go along for the ride. Below them, Serena sounded as though she had still been in the middle of her reprimand but seeing two girls and a table floating over the impending battle field apparently caught everyone’s attention quickly.

Algar ran over to stand directly under the table, looking equal parts bewildered and worried. “Meriall!” The ogre raised his arms up to them as though he planned to catch them from the incredible height. “What are you doing up there!”

“I’m flying, Algar!” The little girl danced around on the table, making it seesaw up and down in the air. “It’s so wonderful! Sylvia insisted on doing this instead of baking and now I’m glad she did!”

“What is this supposed to be?” Serena sneered at the spectacle overhead. “A pathetic attempt at distraction?”

“Not at all.” Gwendoloena sighed and, even from the distance between them, Sylvia could tell the vampire looked straight at her. “This is simply the result of a certain someone disobeying my instructions.”

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Once Upon a Time – Chap. 40.1

TeaTime4Would you like another scone, Meriall?” Gwendoloena held up a silver platter filled to it edges with delectable triangles toward one of her newest guests. “The ones in the middle have cranberries in them.”

The little girl stood up in her chair and reached over to grab a second helping while still chewing down the last bite of her first. She garbled out two intelligible words through her stuffed cheeks.

Meriall, manners young lady!” snapped Algar in an incredulous whisper over her rudeness. “I’m quite certain your parents instilled in you enough sense not to speak with your mouth full.”

Meriall swallowed with a loud gulp. “Sorry. I was trying to say thank you.”

You’re welcome dear.” Gwendoloena smiled. “I’ll take your first attempt as sign of your approval. And what would tea time be without a mouth full of scones?”

This particular afternoon tea included quite an interesting gathering around the table. Gwendoloena sat at one end with Deigen and V at her left Being vampires, the trio’s preference to sit where the most sunlight flooded in from a large open window appeared out of place. At the other end sat, or to be more accurate, squatted, gargantuan Algar. Being an ogre, his consideration for good table manners seemed more unlikely than any possibility of him managing to sit in one of the chairs without crushing them. Albert and Seth joined in on conversation as they chose but stood far enough from the table and close enough to the window to keep their zombie stench from interfering with anyone’s appetite. Peppering either side of the table in the middle were Ian, Simone, Trevor, Meriall, and even Bastiick. The latter member of the nonmonsters continued speaking accolades for the Keepers whenever he opened his mouth but the spell itself remained more annoying than threatening. It was also another good reason to keep his mouth full of scones and tea.

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