Log in

No account? Create an account

musings of madness

it's a bumpy ride

Fox's DNA comes to be
Sunlight glinting through the lone window of her basement hideaway woke Fox from a dreamless sleep. Slowly stretching, then running her fingers through her clipped, auburn hair, her stomach growled, and she went searching for food. She was always hungry. Slapping together some cheese and dried meat from her meager stores, she busied herself brewing coffee while she absently chewed.

She could cadge a tastier breakfast at Sister Sarah's, but Fox didn't like to be seen there too often. High ballers wanted her head, and the children's mission could become a target to get her attention, though it was neutral territory. Someone, however, for enough coin and protection, might decide to take the risk.

Finishing with her simple meal she began dressing. She left her vest with its master thief's picks and other tools of her trade, hanging on its hook. She wasn't scouting a job, or rescuing anyone, planning only to spend the day gathering the latest information about the doings of Delphi settlement. Besides, her pantry desperately needed filling.

She'd visit the dump, trade, and fill her empty pockets, catching the local gossip while doing so. And, since the dump was one of the settlement's high points, she'd scope the city gates and streets from there.

It always paid off knowing what or who, the high ballers were bringing in. Which 'king' was beefing up security, or cheating another, and which slags had risen to enforcing for them.

Once her pockets were full, she'd replenish her supplies at the aptly named, Market Square. Always bustling and intriguing with goods coming from every community and city that had anything to trade after the wars, came through Delphi's gates and piers, making their way to the Square. You could purchase anything you fancied, if you were willing to pay its price.

Scooping up binoculars and her trusty MUT (Military Utility Tool), she grabbed her father's worn enforcer jacket and opened her door, automatically scanning for anything out of place.
Her street's buildings had been pulverized by the war's mortar and aerial assaults, but somehow half of her once four story apartment house had remained standing.

Fox, having claimed a sublevel set of rooms for herself, had a way of discouraging any other two legged residents from moving in. Still, she took precautions, and secured her home, climbing the broken steps to the street. Freeing her metal cart of its hiding place, she filled it with several cases of bottles cached for recycling, and proceeded on her journey.

Halfway there, the scents of nutmeg and cinnamon wafting from a hawker's wagon, brought memories from a day long ago. The day of bombs and fires. The beginning of destruction and death. The last day her family was all together.

She was in the kitchen and excited about Christmas. Her mother spent the day baking, and allowed seven year old Fox (Francine then, though her father called her Fox to her mother's dismay) to help and carefully stack cookies in tins to give as gifts for friends.

She remembered her mother's easy smile, and eyes the same green as hers, shining with laughter. How her hair, riotously framing her face wouldn't stay tamed, always managing to come free of it's bindings. Fox loved playing with her curls.

The kitchen's atmosphere abruptly changed with her father's return from work. Tension oozing through his voice while he whispered furiously with her mother; and her mother, quickly and methodically began filling their backpacks with changes of clothes, traveling food, and other necessities.

The weight of her backpack tugged at her shoulders, as her father carrying her, ran from the staccato of gunfire. Fires that lit up the night, and the explosion that threw them all. Her father shielding her with his body, and then nothing. When she awoke, her mother was missing, lost somewhere in the smoke, and she and her father running without her when the soldiers came.

Fox, heart hurting from the painful memory, cleared her head, while quickening her pace to the dump, The closer she came to her destination, the thicker the foot traffic. Scroungers and the downtrodden mostly in this area. Hoping to cash in enough glass, metal, and other 'trinkets' for sufficient coin to survive another day or two.

Some were resourceful and independent, but be too resourceful and you'd catch a baller's attention. Attention meant finding yourself pressed into slagging, or worse. Fox made it a point to befriend the clever ones, and if possible teach them how to defend themselves. Grateful for the assist, they became loyal friends, and her eyes and ears.

She made her trades while listening to the loose talk around the dump. Apparently a new caravan was coming in from Rodrigo's interests outside of Delphi. He was bringing in 'entertainment' to replace the ones he lost in the destruction of his new club. Destruction caused by Fox, in avenging her father's death at Rodrigo's hands three years ago.

Wanting to observe the caravan as it was in line for entry, Fox made her way to the top of the dump's hill overlooking the city. She fished her binoculars out of her pocket, and squinting through lenses, brought the incoming wagons into focus.

A group of five wagons, clearly marked with Rodrigo's brand was wending its way to the gates. Provocatively dressed women, carrying a colorful array of parasols, were strolling along with the wagons. Two, more soberly dressed, older women were accompanying them, and working to keep their charges in order. One of the women, wearing a blue scarf to keep her curly hair at bay, turned, facing the dump,

Only instinct saved the binoculars from falling as Fox forgot to breathe. Heart hammering, not daring to believe, she looked again. There wasn't any mistaking those eyes, and the easy smile she dreamed of for ten years,

Fox was staring at her mother.

*All concrit suggestions are welcome.
**Links to other tales of Fox and her world.

LJI Week 8
The Other Stories of Sam and Rosa:

First Vignette

Second Vignette

Act Three: Sam and Rosa - Happy Together!!

Leaning against the bar, Sam slowly swirled a snifter of brandy and feasted his eyes on his wife during her performance. Gorgeous, he thought, and her beauty's more refined. Instead of a flash fire that quickly burns out, she now smouldered and simmered.

Angles had been smoothed, and gave way to lush curves. Plus there was an underlying sensuality to the hypnotic sway of her hips, that made one quite aware she wasn't an innocent girl, but a woman full grown. Her voice, still vibrant and rich, as she effortlessly reached for the high notes.

If anyone told Sam fifteen years ago that he would be married to the woman he'd quietly mooned over since their working together as young chefs, he'd have laughed and dismissed the very notion. But here he was, owner of a four star restaurant, with nightclub attached that offered local talent, and three nights a week the Vocal Styling of, none other than!... Rosa Elena!! ...Now his wife.

He raised his glass before taking a sip, and thanked Lady Luck for bringing him such good fortune. His had been a contented existence before she returned to New York, but now? So much joy would be lost without her. Reciprocating his love was the gift of his lifetime, and it never entered his mind to ask for anything more.

Yet this extraordinary woman did give more, much more; Expanding his heart's ability to love by three. Two boys -Nick and Mel, and a girl- Alicia, to be exact. Laughter and chaos interrupted his once tranquil days, and he wouldn't change it for anything.

His thoughts drifted back to when she first told him she loved him fifteen years ago...


Unimaginably fragile, would describe Rosa when she returned to New York fifteen years ago. She had invited Sam to dinner one evening and as they were walking off the calories, Rosa suddenly broke into tears. Sam didn't pry or push, letting her cry it out. He offered her his handkerchief (a habit ingrained by his father), and tucking her into his chest, waited for the tears to subside.

Sam seethed at whoever had caused her pain, and vowed that night to remove the injured look from her eyes.

Sam had read a few articles in the gossip rags, but he knew they were full of half truths. He patiently waited for Rosa to tell her story. In the meantime, he planned to be there when she did.

Sam made sure her days were full. They frequented jazz clubs, and rode bikes along the waterfront. On a whim one day, Sam took her to Coney Island to play the carnival games, and eat cotton candy as they strolled along the boardwalk. Little by little, Rosa's furrowed brow smoothed, and the laughter tumbled naturally. Nevertheless, Sam patiently waited.

When Sam finally declared himself, he wanted her heart to be unfettered and free of whatever burden weighted her shoulders. He wanted Rosa to know she could confide in him, and to feel confident he would keep her secrets. Lifting her spirits was his only goal in these endeavors, and her smiles were Sam's reward.

He brought her to the Movie in Central Park, and spread the blanket under a tree and helped Rosa get seated. While they unpacked the picnic basket together, Rosa, suddenly shy, stopped, studied him, and hurriedly asked, "Sam, do you love me?" Her eyes were luminous with unshed tears as she faced him. ”Not as your friend, but as a woman."

Sam, shocked speechless for a moment, recovered his wits and tongue quickly.

"Since the first week we met, at Mr. Oturo's." He said, voice rough with the all the pent up longing he had for ten years. And once again, Sam had to tuck her into his chest and let her tears flow. This time, however, the tears ended with a long kiss.

When they finished, Rosa wiped her eyes and began to speak: "During my second European Tour, I met Paulo, a Greek businessman. Popular, in the 'popular person of the week' sort of way, I was flattered by his attention. Believe it or not, those years on the road I was kept so busy, I didn't have time for any romances, and I didn't have enough experience to know to leave men like Paulo alone." Rosa paused a moment and asked Sam for a refill, she drained the glass in two gulps, and passed it back.

"Another, please."

Sam only raised his eyebrow, and did as he was asked. "Good thing I brought two bottles," he teased gently.

"Liquid courage." Rosa explained. Settling back into Sam's arms, she continued. "Paulo was not a kind man. Darkly attractive, exciting, and malignant? Yes. Like forbidden fruit, he drew me in and dared me to believe he could be changed, and I, the only one who could do it. Contrite and tender for a few weeks, I'd begin to let my guard down, and then I'd say or do something he didn't like. First, he beat me with words, later came his fists.

"Naive and stupid are the only excuses I have for why I put up with the abuse for as long as I did." Again Rosa paused to refill her glass. Sam sat quietly to lend support, but if he ever had an opportunity to go to Greece....

"I found myself pregnant. Terrified to tell him, I ran away and did a short tour of the UK, and Germany. Just over four months pregnant, he found me, and convinced me to go to a late dinner with him. Out of courtesy, I agreed.

"I never made it to the restaurant. After polite hello's and pleasantries, Paulo turned steadily darker. His brutish hands squeezed the wheel, and twisted its leather cover as if it were my throat. He seemed to displace a lot of fury into that steering wheel. Until it just overflowed." Rosa sat up and searched Sam's eye's for a moment, her mouth opened and closed several times before she carried on.

"Suddenly he pulled to side of the road. His face had become this perverted mask of human flesh, a personification of evil itself.

I was so afraid, I didn't fight at first as he dragged me to the curb, and by the time I did it was too late to really protect myself. He proceeded to kick that tiny life from my womb. I woke in the hospital two days later. A good Samaritan saw me lying there and called the authorities. I left Europe three months later. The rest you know."

Rosa rubbed her damp palms down her jeans. She used Sam's handkerchief to dry her face, and proceeded to blow her tear- clogged nose.

Wanting to draw her away from the memory, Sam whispered in her ear, "How do you make handkerchiefs the best dance partners?" Sam chuckled at Rosa's confused look, and with out waiting for her to guess, went on... "You put a little boogie into them." and kissed her again when she giggled.

Rosa pulled back and cupped her hand on his cheek, and placed the other hand on his heart. "I love you Sam."

Sam captured both her hands with his, smiled at her, and earnestly replied, "It took you long enough."

*And they were married happily ever after...

LJI Wk 7
The old woman worked her way up the well worn tower steps to the rampart. Her footsteps were heavy, and a congested cough slowed her steps further as she leaned against the wall in spasm. Sundown was near and she wanted to view her lands, as they lay now, peaceful and unmolested.

Gold and crimson leaves on the trees spoke of the cold to come, while her people finished their day's work to tend to their hearth and homes. Ersila loved this hour. The way the light played upon her fields of golden wheat, or warmed the sheaves of green grass to release the earthy smell of growing things. How the sun's last rays toyed with the granite keep, first winking grey to blue, to violet, and finally an inky black.

She had sworn an oath to this land, to its people. A Queen's oath. Stewardship of it, her life's dedication, her duty. Same as every Queen before her.

Soon, the acrid smoke of pitch and mortar, mixed with the screams and stench of disemboweled and broken bodies, threatened to overtake the countryside. She closed her eyes a moment to dispel the image. War.

That time had not come... not yet...

Day after day she prayed for a miracle. A solution, something, anything, except turning her granddaughter over to a tyrant such as Uglais.

No, Melinda would be dead within a handful of years, if not sooner, if she did. Uglais had long wanted to possess Melinda, both for her beauty, but mostly for her fertile lands. She would be used as a brood mare, tossed away after the king's pursuit of an heir was satisfied, and the monies from her lands would finance his follies.

"Gentle lady be not alarmed, I am here." The voice intruded, whispered so softly, it felt as if it emanated from within her.

The wisp appeared from the shadows. Amorphous, and feminine in aspect, this being visited her many times over the years... her companion, Odine.

Where Odine, and the other companions came from, Ersila didn't know. It seemed they had always been attached to the land, and the mostly to the matriarchal side of her family. They rarely interacted with anyone else of the human world, unless warranted.

From remembrance, this particular companion had bonded itself to her. Impeccable with her timing, Odine's appearance should not have been the surprise it was. The shade always lent Ersila aid and service in times of trouble and indecision, or the simple act of solace in times of sorrow.

Odine had been asked to intercede with the companions, and see if they would join Ersila's army. Her heart dared a twinge of possibility, and where possibility lay, there was hope.

"Odine, forgive, I had broken faith that you would return! I apologize. Admonish me, say what you will, but please, may I have their answer?"

"The Earth itself lends a solution for the -dilemma- placed before you. The earth decided it will keep your grandaughter, and your people safe... for a sacrifice."

"Sac-sacrifice? I don't understand, what is meant by this? A sacrifice? Odine - there are certain lines I will not cross!" Protested Ersila, horrified.

"Be calm, my lady." Odine rushed to assure her. "Your people, and granddaughter will be safe. What is asked is you gift your right to the throne to Melinda. Perform the ceremony. Let her take the oath, and allow Melinda to become Queen."

"The Earth will rise to protect its Queen, Ersila. It will swallow Uglais, and his army, whole. They will not get through."

After deep consideration, Ersila, quietly inquired. "I have yet to speak with Melinda about the Monarch's Oath, do I have the Earth's permission to do so?"

"It is already being done by her companion, Reina, my Lady."

"I see." An underlying hurt, coated Ersila's answer.

"I had faith in your answer, Ersila. I pray I did not offend? The Oath must pass freely, between you." Came Odine's gentle reply.

Ersila shook her head, "No Odine, you didn't offend. I thank you for your intercession. My gratitude is boundless. I do have one request if you will, we can discuss it while we gather the priest."


Dawn found Ersila and Melinda with palms cut, and knuckles deep in the rich soil, an acorn planted between them. Ersila removed her hands and left Melinda's in place.

Melinda spoke the words of power, and the land awakened to her touch. A tender shoot grew between her fingers. A smile touched Melinda's eyes, and gleamed with delight that the earth accepted and recognized her, her grandmother shed a single tear of regret.

Shortly before sundown, Ersila once again wearily climbed the steps of the tower. This time her step was lighter, but she felt... drained. The events of the day had steadily tired her, and with a fierce hug, Ersila left her granddaughter to revel in her newfound magic.

The transference was almost complete. Melinda wouldn't have agreed, if she understood the full truth. Ersila rested on a crenellation, and quietly gazed at the sky and waited.

This time she wasn't surprised when Odine came,

And they walked into the night...

1st bye
And so must go my first bye. Too many doctors this week have left me brain fried and fricasseed! 😊✌🐭😜 Now shoo and write those entertaining, touching, and sometimes creepy stories I love to read!

Lji Wk 6 S12 Found at last!!
Princess Ilyana's Fae were losing the war. Shadow Fae and their wargs had broken through her mother's ranks, and were beginning to rampage through her people's forest. All around, Fae were screaming, trying to escape the carnage.

Snatching a basket, and infusing it with her magic, Ilyana fled to the river with her infant daughter. Hugging her child tightly, and whispering to her to never forget how fiercely she was loved, Ilyana tucked her babe into the makeshift vessel and set it afloat. Invisible, except to her loving eyes, she watched it drift into the river's swift current. There it would remain until landing in a place of safety - where people would care for her child. 

Tears coursing down her cheeks, Ilyana wiped them away, watching until she lost sight of her child. Standing to return to her people, she gasped as a sword pierced her from behind. Falling to her knees, Ilyana died knowing her daughter would be safe. 


Scouts, trying to locate the princesses and present them to their great- grandmother, the Queen Els'yan, had been searching for nigh on six years now; But time and time again, the girls eluded them, slipping from their grasp. 

The elder girl's gift of concealment was the strongest they'd encountered; Her complex weaving of it proof she knew how to manipulate and wield it. The younger child's gifts were fainter, softer, and still developing. They'd yet to learn of any other gifts the girls had, and probably wouldn't until catching up with them. 

Although the elder Fae, Pe'yan, could easily recognize the girl's magic's signature, problem was it didn't mark the aether until her releasing of the spell sent the backlash rushing across the ley-lines. She did not let go often, leading Pe' to think she knew someone or something was tracking her.

Lady luck, however, was shining upon them today. She knotted her drawing. Never careless, Pe'yan knew it meant no one taught her that tying magic off was akin to lighting a beacon.


"Maddi, please, we can't keep this pace up! We'll kill the horses. We have to find somewhere in that town up ahead to wait out this storm. It's going to get worse, and we've gone as far as we can for now." Trina said, pleading with her older sister. Silence greeted her entreaties, so Trina petulantly reined in her horse.

"I'm not going an inch further until you tell me what is going on? You never push them this hard, so why are you doing so now?" Trina, her golden eye's flashing daggers at her older sister's back, demanded.

Exasperated, with nerves rubbed raw, Maddi turning her horse around, faced her sister. "Because for the past fortnight I've been sensing other magic. I made a mistake somewhere, and now someone is sniffing at our heels, and Trina, they're close. I'm beginning to feel like a cornered wolf." Maddi exclaimed, and continuing on, she barked, "Is that a good enough reason for you?"

"Before reaching the town, after working to change our appearance, I'm going to tie off and release my tap into the Ley-lines, before it backlashes. Hopefully that will confuse whomever is tracking us." She paused a moment before continuing.

"These other magic wielders... I don't know why, but they have me frightened." Maddi finished with a shiver. 

Heart sinking, Trina now felt afraid herself. Stoicism was her sister's usual disposition, and if she was worried... "Well, killing the horses won't solve the problem." Trina muttered, hoping her voice didn't tremble.

"Neither will your acting the brat. Now come along, we need to be quit of this road." Maddi, having very little patience left, said, turning her horse back around.

Trina scrunching her face, stuck her tongue out at her sister's back.

"I saw that!" Maddi chided, and began chuckling when Trina marveled, "HOW do you DO that?"


Remounting his horse, Pe'yan signaled to his cousin Ba'jin, letting him know they were close. Rounding a bend in the road, they could smell the town's human stench ahead. Pe'yan sincerely hoped the sisters were stopping to find shelter and food. Winter's snows had started, and Fae or not, the girls were as susceptible to the weather as humans.


Snowflakes began falling in earnest by the time they reached an inn on the southern outskirts of the town. Maddi headed inside to secure a bed and supper for them, while Trina waited with the horses. 

Speaking with the innkeeper, Maddi offered to wait tables, and Trina, she volunteered for the kitchens. This way she knew her little sister would stay warm and fed. Cooks always took a liking to her sister. 

Hesitating to answer, and looking skeptical, the innkeeper began to say no, but a slight 'push' from Maddi and the the bargain was struck. 

Negotiations finished, and safe from the storm, the sisters led their horses into the stables. Rather than handing them over to any of the hands, they led their mounts to adjacent stalls at the rear of the stables and did the grooming themselves.

Feeding their mounts fresh hay and a handful of oats, the girls went about the removal of bridles, saddles, bags and blankets. Hooves lifted to check for stones and brushing them down came next, and lastly, Trina giving them both a precious sugar cube.

The chore of caring for the horses always reminded Maddi of her father, Petra, and how he had liked horses better than most people. This thought bringing a slight smile and ... her maundering was suddenly cut short as the hair on her neck rose. Grabbing Trina, she squatted, gesturing for her sister to be quiet. 

Using her horse as a shield, she peered above the stall. 

Entering the stables were two male Fae in well worn riding leathers. Both were carrying willow longbows and their quivers, full of arrows fletched with turkey feathers. Their horses showed signs of being hard ridden, but well kept.

Every nerve ending firing, Maddi knew they were the ones she had been sensing on their trail. What was she to do?


"This is the last inn in this town Pe' you don't believe they passed through, do you?" Queried Ba'jin, sliding off his saddle with a sigh of relief. "Unescorted Female Fae aren't a usual sight and no one seems to have caught a glimpse of them." Ba'jin remarked winking.

"Now think Ba'jin what is the first thing you would do, if you were Fae and didn't want anyone remembering you or noticing you're not human?" Pe' teased.

"Oh, I don't know, turn myself invisible and kiss whatever wench I wanted?" Ba'jin- always the clownish foil to his serious cousin- replied, waggling his eyes.

Pe'yan, stifling a laugh, slid off his horse, telling his cousin, "Ba'jin please, not the time for you to be joking. Try again."

"I'd disguise myself, same as they did." Ba'jin lazily answered.

"That's right, maybe there's hope for you yet, Ba'jin." And it was his cousin's turn to chuckle. Pe'yan raising his voice to fill the stable, sang out.

"They're hiding in plain sight. - Aren't you girls?" 

Silently, mouthing for Trina to burrow under the hay, Maddi quickly covered her sister with a concealment spell. Slowly releasing her glamour, and gathering whatever courage she could summon Maddi stood up, and walking out of the stall she faced her fellow Fae, readying a push if need be. 

Stunned speechless by how much she resembled his niece, Ilyana, it took Pe'yan a moment to recover before genuflecting; and with a voiced roughened by emotion declaring, "Your Majesty. I am forever in your service."

Wh...at?" feeling overwhelmed and not understanding, Maddi asked. Confused and not in control, she did what any girl would do.

Pe'yan caught her in his arms as she gracefully fainted.

***Link to previous story of Maddi and Trina.
Tags: ,

LJI 12 Wk4. Trigger warning - domestic abuse
"Tommy please, give me my children. Give me my babies. Don't do this, let me take them! Please. I'll go, I promise, just let me get them first. Please!" The woman begging, flailed at her husband dragging her by the arm out the door. But her husband was drunk, and snarling about no good, cheating wives;

There would not be any reasoning with him tonight.


If she could only learn to read Tommy's cues and watch her flippant mouth, fights like this wouldn't happen. "Then again." chuffed Karin, unable to lie to herself. Innately she understood that nothing would change, not until he killed her- or killed himself.

Escape becoming tantamount, before acceptance of the daily, drunken arguments, and subsequent beatings, settled deep in her bones; Or the frequent make up-rapes masquerading as love, drove her into a numb existence.

She needs to slough away the taint of her husband's inebriated touch, and shake his constant belittling from her brain. She didn't want her children raised in this atmosphere, or worse, learning this is 'normal' behavior. She dreams of them growing with love and laughter. That picture of love was what gave her the courage to try changing their lives.

Karin called her mother a few days ago asking if she could come back to New York with the babies. It was the first time they spoke in close to three years. Between many tears, and fits and starts, Karin told her mother everything. She and the children were taking the train to her parent's tomorrow. Her father would be at the station to pick them up.

Except Tommy found her train tickets.


Distressed wails from down the hall gave her the impetus to fight like a wildcat, all tooth and nail; But her husband's iron grip would not come loose. Reaching the doorway, Tommy ruthlessly threw her onto the porch. She landed hard, scraping her hands and knees. Well placed kicks to her ribs and kidneys lifted her, sending intense pain radiating along her side as she tried to crawl away. Another brutal swipe to her temple brought the darkness.


"Mrs. Gehl, Mrs. Gehl? Can you you hear me? You're in Plainsfield Hospital. Is there someone we can contact for you? Family, friend? Anyone?" Came a gently insistent voice. "N..no." Whispered Karin, the effort telescoping her world into the black once again.

Climbing back to the surface, the pain receded enough to restore her to the realm of the living. Lucidity returning with each painful breath, it took much of her strength to open her eyes. She tried moving her head to better see her surroundings and the searing pain almost knocked her under once more. "Won't be trying that for a while." She thought wryly.

However,the smell of disinfectant, underlined with the sickly odor of decay, and hearing the pings and pops of machinery, plus other sounds of the sick or injured, informed Karin she was in hospital.

"How long have I been here?" She wondered, floating back under, until an intrusive thought brought her back to awareness with a sob.

"Does Tommy still have the kids? Please God, no."


Three weeks, the doctors told Karin she'd been in a coma. Three weeks for the babies to be alone with their dangerous father. It took her another six months to relearn how to talk and walk. She'd lost eyesight in her left eye, and gained a metal plate where the surgeons repaired her skull from the fracture.

Her parents waited until the week before her discharge to tell her the desperate news of her children. How Tommy was suing her for divorce, and full custody of the babies, granting Karin no visitation. The grounds...adultery.

Tommy's workboots had come within inches of killing her, but they didn't. So he did the one thing that would kill her all the same.

He stole her children.

** This is a fictionalized version of what happened with my parents. My mother supposedly left when I was eighteen mos. and my brother was five months. I mentioned my mother's abandonment of us to my father during our reconciliation (Another story for another day), when I moved back in with him while I was going to dental school.

I remember him gathering his thoughts, and he calmly turned to me and stated. "I never said your mother didn't want you. I hid the two of you from her. Someday I'll tell you the whole sorry story. Believe me, Mouse, Peyton Place had nothing on us."

Unfortunately, my Pop died two weeks after my 21st. birthday. He never did tell me the full story.

Ironically, My mother was 21 when whatever happened went down. I only have her signature on a birth certificate, and a treasured babybook given to me on my 21st birthday to remember her by.

My hubs and I are too poor (We live in NJ, on my hubs $1700.oo monthly disability) and too ill to try to find her now. She would be between 74-76yrs old now. And yes, I still think about her.

LJI Week 3
"Start at the very beginning, it's a very fine place to start."

"Yeah, Thank you very much Julie Andrews, but Maria had servants, and Mary Poppins had magic." She thought a tad snidely.

Although to be fair, her childhood idol came to mind whenever she set her sights on a project, and deep cleaning her home was long overdo. Each room came equipped with its unique set of traps to ensnare you.

Her kitchen was a time suck of replacing recipe cards, and organizing the gadgets, geegaws and utensils. This room boasted the dreaded 'junk drawer of doom' where all loose nuts, nails, bread ties, screws, and that one washer that never seems to fit anything, go to die.

Wiping the pantry shelves came next, along with scrubbing appliances and cleaning out the refrigerator. Ugh, no. She'd wait until the kids were home to help tackle those. They could give her a hand in the scrub down. Always appreciative of their hard work, a promised trip for Chinese as a reward (and bribe), would guarantee co-operation with minimal grumbling.

Determined to tackle a different job, she headed up the stairs. Her family bathroom finally getting more than the 'lick and a promise' she kept settling for. It would be nice to see it clean for a few hours when all the scrubbing was done. Relaxing with a luxurious soak (without someone else's hair in the drain), would be her present to herself.

Continuing on to her son's room, she snagged his laundry basket from the corner of his room, and threw whatever scattered clothing didn't pass her smell test into it. The rest she hung up in the closet or folded and placed them back in their drawers.

Various games and their pieces or cards, were mixed together like tossed salad on his closet floor. Twenty minutes passed before she figured out what belonged where. She shook her head in exasperation, at the realization of how many of her cups and plates were in his bedroom, many growing science projects. They too, went into the basket, destined for the sink. She was going to have to set new goals for her son, and the dishware problem would be one.

While tidying his bed she discovered a box beneath it, filled with all sorts of ten-year old boy detritus. Cicada carcasses, a snake skin, marbles, and a hunk of pyrite he'd sworn wholeheartedly was gold. Her heart smiled at the memory of his earnest belief, and at how she couldn't be cruel to that sweet face and tell him the truth. Shaking off the remembrance, she finished arranging his books, dusted, vacuumed, and moved on to her daughter's chaos.

And chaos it was. It looked as if her daughter's Johnny The Homicidal Maniac comics, had squared off against the Dragonball-Z Manga in an ugly rumble. Meanwhile the R.L.Stine books (which her daughter had grown out of), along with her daughter's current obsession, The Harry Potter series, were strewn about the floor willy-nilly, like spectators who had quickly sprung away before they became entangled in the brawl. She straightened these up, stacked and sorted piles, and moved them to safer areas.

She changed linens, and resisted reading the notes she found tucked in both pillows. She firmly believed in giving her children some privacy and trust, and her daughter more than deserved it. She was such an enormous help to her, and patient with her special needs brother. She worried that too much responsibility had been foisted on her daughter's young shoulders, but being a single mother, there were many times she didn't have a choice.

Which is why when she came across the stack of marble notebooks that her daughter used as diaries - she rocked back on her heels, and bit her lip. Notes were one thing, but this left her honestly conflicted.

Who wouldn't want to know what their child thinks of them? Or gain insight, an edge, into their world? However, by reading these books' pages, she could needlessly, out of curiosity, open herself to possible having her perceptions of her daughter change, and not for the better. What if her daughter wasn't whom she thought? Did she want to know this?

In the end she left them alone and gathered the laundry, vacuumed, and shut the door, content in the knowledge that she loved her daughter, and wouldn't change a thing about her.

Until her 13year old daughter came home from school, took a gander at her freshly cleaned room, and screamed 'My identity's been stolen! Mom, how could you?'

She may have wanted a little change then.

*Based on a true story - all concrit welcome.

LJI 12 Native RedBird
The small girl in her buckskins was barely noticeable. She had fallen asleep under a huckleberry bush. Her buckets were full, as well as her stomach, and there were two hares in her deerskin pouch. The berries, and venison jerky she ate along with it, her excuse for needing the nap. A knife tucked into her waistband lent a measure of comfort and safety, along with the bow, and its quiver full of arrows sitting nestled between her shoulders.

As she slept, the veil between present and future came asunder. Her unconscious awareness rose from her sleeping body and continued until it reached the buffalo plains of the elders. Someone (it could of been her) chanted, while other voices sung the prayers for divination, and power flowed and ebbed through and around her.

Delicately wrapping Red Bird's spirit with a cushion of air, the Ancestors blew her through tunnels created in time. At reaching her destination, the Elders instructed her to wake, and gaze into the future.

"Red Bird look. Open your inner eye, and understand the danger that is coming to our world ." Red Bird's eyes sprung open.

She stood on the top of dunes, where beaches met a green sea far off on the other side of The People's vast lands. A westerly wind was blowing, and some distance out in the water, sat a great wooden craft. Death stood at its helm. And Death was not alone.

He and his companions came disguised as men, but they were unlike any men she'd ever known. Their canoe-like long boats landed along the shoreline, and Red Bird's gift of sight stripped their masks away. She gasped as she saw these vessels had come helmed by Pestilence and Famine, Sorrow and War.

She felt immediate fear for her people. She had to warn them. With her connection to the vision fading, Red Bird hurriedly asked the Elders. "Dearest Ancestors, how long do The People have before this future comes to pass?"

The Elders replied. "Before two handfuls of generations pass, you need to gather Our People; As many as will follow the buffalo to their northern breeding grounds. Go far beyond these Blackhills and valleys of Six Pillar Mountain. You will find rest by the "Waters of the Spirit" and there will be others to help you."

"Now awaken Red Bird, and tell your grandmother, Medicine Hat what you have seen."


Her hands trembled as she accepted the ceremonial totem from her grandmother's hand. Medicine Hat nodded and squeezed Red Bird's arm slightly in reassurance. Red Bird drew her shoulders straight, sucked in a breath, and with a strength of voice belying her eleven years, she began to speak.

This is an Op Ed from Dan Rather:
I tried very hard not to write of politics this first week in LJI, but now I think I should've. I've been off and on sobbing all day. Grieving for fellow victims, terrified for my LGBTQ friends, and especially family, is soul crushing. Anyhoo, without going on any longer (don't want to pull a Collins) here's Dan Rather's Op-ed:

So Collins misses her moment to be a hero, and the old bulls win again. Trump, McConnell, Grassley, Hatch, Graham—the whole lot of them-- win. Again. They are laughing, congratulating one another, and at least metaphorically are popping Champagne.

For most women and many men it’s a bitter, devastating loss. Which makes it all the sweeter for the old bulls, and for the forces of power, privilege and money everywhere. A sense that the nation’s climate of justice has taken another turn toward dark clouds rises. The age-old question for the country of whether we prioritize power, privilege and money over justice takes on renewed importance.

So I talk to the wife—the good, gentle wife—who is furious and deeply disappointed. Talk to my daughter—the lion-hearted eldest child—whose first words are, “Can we, will we survive this?” I answer, “Of course we can, and if we have the will and the spirit, we will not only, survive we will thrive. Eventually. But if, and only if, we are “get-up fighters.” Strong as she usually is, she doesn’t seem convinced.

So, I take a walk, to be alone with my thoughts and reminders to stay steady. Among the thoughts that emerge are these:

Cut through the clouds of the present, consider the long river of history, and one can see this as a breakthrough moment for women. To paraphrase the daughter who recently said in another context, "women have never had a better moment to be heard in politics, to make a difference.” That is, if they—and those of us men who support them—seize the moment (if they don’t miss the moment as Senator Collins has.)

What that requires is that women and the men who love them and hate what has happen adopt an attitude of “we can be beaten but never defeated.” Adopt it, cling to it and live it as a credo.

Be relentless. When things are bad, when the going is tough, just keep putting one foot in front of the other and carry forward. Also, maybe take as a goal what an old man once said to me: "keep trying, keep fighting, keep smiling every minute you’re alive; you’re going to be dead a long time.”

And recognize that you are not alone. Far from it. Look to your left and right, before you and behind you, at the millions who will support you on this journey for justice. Fill your lungs with the determined air of action. I find myself humming that old but powerful anthem of the Civil Rights Era. "We'll walk hand in hand!" "We are not afraid!" "We shall overcome!"

LJI The Fire Faerie's Tale
With a flick and a flurrying of wings, Teine awoke. Cracking open an eye, she quickly filled with fury as opening the other confirmed her colors' continuing absence. Oh, they were there, she could sense them, but her ability to touch, manipulate, or control her brand of fire magic had been set agonizingly out of Tiene's reach. Worse, she was blind to the glorious red, gold, and oranges of fire - her personal element.

Every day Teine spent smouldering against the witch who had cursed her, brought a higher risk of crisping innocent wings, or burning down the glens and forests. In trying to light hearth fires, she'd create bonfires; or if she lost her temper, every candle would come alight - in holders or not, causing chaos and mayhem.

The Council, growing increasingly afraid of Teine's losing herself completely, banned her to the Oceanside. The shores along the sea held a warren of caves, and making a comfortable home should be easy for her. Feeling deep compassion for their sister Faerie, they gifted Teine a lyre, the instrument she cherished most.

Every emotion wound its way into her playing, her nimble fingers coaxing forth melodies and memories, of Autumn leaves and sunsets. Her desperate yearning to touch and be whole with her abilities lay unanswered day after day, the witch's curse remained.

Centuries passing without a change to her affliction were having another effect on Teine, her wings were shriveling, and as they did, she fell perilously close to giving up. Yet, every sunset she'd still be found, playing her lyre to the sky she couldn't see, and strumming and plucking the harmonics of her natural element remaining the only thing worth living for.

One evening the sky fell alight with meteor showers stopping Teine's playing mid-note. Watching them streak across the sky, inspiration struck, and tapping into the last vestiges of hope for herself she began playing an homage to her element. Her runs and trills becoming arpeggios, and finally crescendoing into palettes of amber, bronze, scarlet and more. Teine's pouring of her life into song, touched all living beings around her. The hauntingly ethereal notes causing more than one eye to tear.

Suddenly feeling a wondrous magic only existing in her dreams, a magnificent Unicorn stepped from the ocean waves walking toward Teine. It touched her tear stained cheek with its horn, shattering the witch's curse, and causing her shriveled wings to unfurl.

Sobbing with overwhelming joy at being whole with her magic, Teine, transformed her tears into rubies, and using strands of her hair, she weaved a brilliant ruby chain. Reverently approaching her savior and draping her offering around the Unicorn's neck, she hoped it would be enough.

Knowing it never could be.

Thank you for reading! All concrit is welcome!