Monday, February 24, 2014

Lift off!

Well, I gotta say, as cold as this place looks, it really aint that cold. Moonshine and I are fine in our sleeping bags and Pablo sleeps under his blanket. He thinks sleeping bags is for suckers. Once, he told he us how he's a scared of sleeping bags cause his brothers forced him down in one and pinched the lid off. Said he got stuck in there forever and now, when he sleeps in a sleeping bag, he has sleeping bag nightmares. I can account for the truthfulness of this account as one night, I heard a mighty moaning. I looked up and saw Pablo trying to claw his way out of his sleeping bag. Pablo was a holerin so loud, he woke up Moonshine. Wakin up Moonshine is a bad idea. He aint never been in no war or anything like that, but he sure acts like he has. The two of them yelled at each other till Pablo finally woke up and peeled the sleepin bag off himself. I aint never seen him sleep in a bag since then. He wraps himself in his sombrerar and keeps the fire going all night. Anywho, like I was saying, it really aint that bad out here. Only when we first got here and now, I seem to have adapted. I suppose that happens in most places. When I go from Illinois on down to the Mississippi it always seems hot at first, but it calms down just right. Well, anyways, Nerd Chick compiled some more photos of us. She seems to like sending us gifts. I don't really mind though, as long as I don't stare at the screen too long. Check out the gift below and let me know what you think. This here is in the spirit of Olympics, so I suppose ya'll will like it.  

As many of you know, I've been composing my second chapter and I've recently compiled it. Nerd Chick has been a huge help too! So I'd like to say thanks to her! Thanks Nerd Chick! If ya'll want to read this here, go on and take a look below. If not, thanks for stopping by. Now go get the book:


The hollow tree trunk orients itself straight up and bobs in the water.
Much like an iceberg, the longer end of the log submerges beneath the waters surface, while the shorter end keeps Princess four feet above the water. The little girl pokes her head out of the log and holds onto the rim.  
“Ouch!” she cries out, after finally putting pressure on her injured foot. The throbbing wound sorely pumps warm blood down her pulsating foot. Unable to endure the constant burning ache, she tries to survey the source, but the darkness is blinding. She uses her finger to feel along her heel. When she presses on the base of it, she jerks from the agonizing wound.  
The circular cavern allows light in from only one point in the ceiling. Above the dark coral roof, a brightly lit afternoon sun shines a single beam of light through the creviced entry. When Princess bobs beneath it, it exposes the severity of her wound.  
Helpless and alone, her despair clenches her abdomen in one uncontrollable, intense muscle contraction that causes her to exhale a high-pitched squeak. 
Out of breath from the emotional wave that seizes her, she gasps loudly for air and screams until she’s out of breath. Her face flushes bright red as she fills her lungs to capacity, “Aaaahhhhh … aaaahhhh.” Tears pour down her cheeks. She clenches her wobbly fists and feels her trembling arms retract to her chest. 
Maaaaaa!” she shrills out in despair. Her pleas reverberate off the cavern’s glistening walls and tragically go unanswered. “Daaaaa!” she blares with a painful hoarse screech.  No comforter responds to her frantic cries.  
The empty cavern that conceals her from the griffin now introduces a far more menacing foe: the emerging threat of loneliness. At first the apparition presents itself to the wailing girl with patient silence, then the physical presence of a chill. She unknowingly responds to the unwelcome guest with clattering teeth, which rattle her jaw and wobble her cheeks. A deadly dance ensues with a predator that has no fang, no claw, and no appetite, only fatal patience.  
Instinctively, she puts her lame limb on top of her other foot and presses herself against the rim of the hollow tree trunk, an act that serendipitously stops the bleeding. 
Rising and lowering tides lull Princess into an eventual state of calm. The brine scent of the ocean reminds her of the coast from whence she came. The tortured child rocks side-to-side to the soothing symphony of condensing water droplets, which change pitch as they loose from the moist ceiling and report the cavern’s depth in the surrounding darkness.  
Princess wraps her rigid arms tightly around herself for comfort and warmth. She watches the blasting beam of sunlight distance itself, as she drifts into a dark tunnel. She waves goodbye to the amber light. Control slips from her fingers and she sighs, her chest heaves and her frail shoulders quake. Rather than resist, she lets go.   
The diminutive child tilts her pointy chin forward and captures heat from each frail puff of breath. Her damp burlap dress and distressed topaz eyes fade into the pulling darkness with each drag and tug of the swelling tide. Her pale face looms in the shadows, like the waning moon, until the pulling current vanishes her into the deep unknown. 
As the tides change with the passing time, Princess is painfully reminded that if she leans too far forward, she’ll dip face first into the freezing salty water. 
“Be still,” she whimpers. “Be so very still. 
Though Princess' immature mind is like a budding seed, it is the nature of all intelligence to glean facts that will improve one’s self-preservationOn such occasions, the mind starts signaling the body to safeguard itself by unraveling a distinct, vulnerable, mortal truth: death is never very far from life  
 “Our eyes, our hearts, and our wits.” Princess juvenilely repeats her mother’s last lesson. That’s what we have in common, Ma.”  
She opens her eyes and resents the harsh reality before her. With a heavy sigh, Princess dismisses the last flickering moments of her mortality and prepares to be reunited with her mother. 
The dance progresses, the cadence now determined by the dull thud of waves smashing against the hollow coral wall.  
Ahhhhh!” Princess screams when the vessel smashes against the hard wall. Her nerves pull tight, snapping her back into the fight for survival.  
“Our eyes, our hearts, and our wits,” she repeats, as she shifts her weight, trying to stabilize the log. 
A cool howling breeze blows through the cavern and nips at her cheeks. She feels herself going faster and faster, the wind and the darkness brush against her face. 
“Our eyes,” Princess presses her finger hard against her eye, encouraged by her mother’s last counsel. “Our heaahhhh!” she screams as the rushing current speeds her along the dark depth. “Wits!” she screams in terror, pushing both hands against her tightly shut eyelids. “Our wits, that’s what we have Ma, our wits!” 
Spared by a cruel twist, the rushing water suddenly ejects the child into the open ocean. Drifting a short distance off the coast, the bobbing log defies the unabated gray ocean the satisfaction of filling Princess’ little lungs.  
Princess huddles down against the amnesty of the only friend she has, the sturdy English oak. She keeps her eyes shut and expects to see the glowing white spirit of her mother at any dreadful moment.  
Princess buries her face in her hands and cries, “You’re wrong Ma. I’ve no courage. I’m a little coward!” 
Warmth from the late day sun tempts her to release her pressing hands, but fear locks them in place. After a considerable time, she surrenders to the inevitable reality of her senses. A seagull’s cawing finally emboldens her and she pries her fingers from her eyes. Timidly, Princess rises. Her frazzled, tangled hair crests the scratchy, splintered rim, followed by a set of jewel blue eyes.  
Princess looks out over the vast body of water and finds a distant coastline rising up from the rippling gray horizon. The sun begins to set behind faraway jagged peaks. She wipes the remaining tears from her pink cheeks. 
The large golden ball gradually descends behind gray cloud cover, changing the firmament from smoke ash to pink tufts. The rippling ocean transforms where the sun’s amber rays peek out and cascade across the tips of the sparkling golden waves. Slowly, the sun sets behind the shadowy mountains, exposing their abundant green vegetation.   
Off in the distant horizon, two dragon silhouettes fly into the setting sun. Brilliant yellow light glows in one final supreme display before the day is gone. One by one, tiny stars pop out of the dusky heavens. In the early evening they twinkle slightly and then they shine. Their numbers increase with the darkness and with it, offer a little hope. 
Trapped between two infinite planes, Princess helplessly gazes at the shoreline as the grumbling ache of hunger reminds her that she’s still alive. “Tummy hurts,” she mumbles with a frown. Her shoulders slump as she pokes at her little poochie stomach.  
Slowly, a full moon rises and illuminates the distant coastline as she drifts further away. Not all elements are evil; some are benevolent enough to offer one last glimpse of the world practically within Princess’ reach.  
In the deep dark water beneath the child a pair of large, glowing red eyes circle her makeshift craft. Drawn to the sweet aroma of blood, the creature cannot resist the prize inside the debris.  
Unaware of what lurks beneath, the child rests her chin on her right palm, raises two fingers, and waves goodbye to the fading distant land. Oddly, her hunger comes back much stronger than before.  
“Oh…,” she moans and slides her hands to her tummy. “I’m hungry.” 
A hard thump at the base of the log lifts the shelter out of the water. 
Startled, Princess claws at the sides of the log to maintain her balance. She looks all around, wipes tears from her eyes, and peers over the edge of the log into the rippling darkness below. Penetrating red eyes lock with hers. She moves to the right, the eyes follow. She moves to the left, again, the eyes follow. It seems that the life form mirrors her every move. Tiny lightning bolts cluster beneath the burning red eyes and travel towards the creature’s nose. The dazzling, bright-white energy crackles with flashes of blue, which pulsate and collect at the creature’s pug nose, then discharge over its head, across its enormous manta ray wings and travels back to its long, narrow tail. Startled, Princess ducks back into her safe hollow. Seconds slip by before her curiosity peaks and she pops her head back over the rim. She sees a ball of crackling energy trail off the manta ray’s radiant wire-like tail. The spherical energy continues to gyrate and sparkle like the stars, as it illuminates and sinks into the deep dark ocean. The pearly string of lights creates a path that anything could follow. 
Princess watches the beautiful display and feels subtle hints of excitement break through her blanketing bleakness, but she refuses the enticing emotions and takes cover in her refuge. As before, the manta ray repeats the thrilling brachial charge and drops another crackling ball, which follows the same path as the first.  
The giant manta ray presses its soft silk snout against the base of the log and flaps its powerful wings, propelling Princess forward. Bulbs of energy with hints of red, green, and yellow ignite a captivating trail.  
“Stop, you’re killing me! No … I don’t like you!”  
Princess uselessly swipes at the manta ray. Suddenly, the log comes to a halt within the pulling waves. Aghast, Princess looks over her shoulder to see what could be holding her in place. When she discovers a pale, slender human hand, a feeling of sheer joy rushes over her, as captivating as the manta ray’s mysterious energy. Her fragile mind falsely assumes it is her mother’s hand. Her heart pounds with anticipation as she scans with wide eyesup the graceful fingers to the wrist. A broad grin spreads across her face when she thinks of her mum. She tilts her head up and finds a slender, wet arm glistening in the moonlight. Princess’ bulging eyes dart up the arm and are mesmerized by a pale female torso partially covered in octagonal solid gold scales overlaid in a sparkling fashion. A thin gold rope wraps around the back of a willowy neck and connects the dazzling garment above delicate shoulders. Wet, golden hair spills down her back. Water droplets dangle from the stranger’s earlobes and sparkle in the moonlight.  
Hesitantly, Princess stares into the stranger’s alluring face. “Found or finding? the lovely woman asks in an Oceanid’s voice. 
A strange tone like a wind chime tickles Princess’ ears. “Uhm … I’m Princess,” responds the child, as she wipes her nose with her forearm. “Your voice…,” she muses, “tis like music!” 
The woman squints at her and Princess thinks her eyes are hazel, but at night, she can hardly tell.  
The stunning woman tilts her head to the side. Raulick summoned me to you.” She gestures to the large manta ray and clicks her tongue. 
The broad fish’s wings break the water’s plane; they rise into the air, and then lower, lifting its small, pointed face above the surface. The aquamarine fish pauses, then slaps its wings against the ocean’s face and disappears back into the blackened depths just behind Princess’ log.   
Startled, Princess snaps her head over her shoulder, narrowly missing the sight. The woman puts her hand on the child’s head and redirects her attention.  
Princess furrows her eyebrows, confused. 
“Would you like to go back to the shore?” asks the mermaid soothingly, with one eyebrow raised. Through her perfect smile her pearly white teeth gleam in the starlight. 
Princess nods with her eyes downcast, and her little lip protrudes as huge tears pool at the brim of her lids and trickle down her cheeks. Even in dire circumstances, she cannot restrain her bashfulness.  
“Very well, then,” the mermaid answers serenely. Seeing Princess completely helpless invokes a motherly instinct most mermaids long to feel; a bond that is especially strong with little girls.  
The mermaid places both hands behind the log and gently flips her tail. Carefully, she guides the child through the rippling currents.  
Swimming against a strong current she quickly pulls Princess toward a wide, shallow bay. The little girl watches the mermaid swim like a dolphin, submerging, then surfacing, with her pressing hands guiding the hefty log back to shore. With speeds that could never be matched by a human, the mermaid dashes across the bay. Occasionally, her flapping fin breaks the water’s surface and keeps Princess’ complete attention. Every time the little girl sees the wide tail flounder out of the water she gasps, then patiently waits to see it again with enthusiastic delight. When the log scrapes bottom, a half-mile away from shore, it tilts over and spills its sacred contents. The mermaid hurriedly swims aside the log and eagerly catches Princess. She flips over onto her back and fins her way to shore, cradling the child on her silver scaly lap. Princess little face tilts down, but her sad puppy eyes look up. The cold seawater makes her shiver. 
“Are you going to eat me?” Princess somberly asks, nestling into the mermaid’s arms. The child wiggles and squirms feeling the cold ocean water wet her legs and bum. She whimpers when the stinging salt water splashes against her wound.   
The mermaid taps the child’s nose. “You? Never. I eat what you eat,” she explains in an inviting angelic voice. 
Inside the safe grip of the mermaid’s arms, Princess immediately recognizes that her miniscule weight is nothing in comparison to the log. The mermaid jettisons the child to the shore with such immense speed, walls of water part around her slender shoulders. A thrusting wave beaches her on the rocky shore where a number of charcoal, ice-blue, and chalky, round stones litter the coast and grind together beneath her weight. There, the mermaid gently sets Princess down, the seawater lapping at the child’s bare ankles.  
Though Princess caught glimpses here and there of the mermaid’s tail, she wasn’t quite prepared for the full picture. “Oh my…,” Princess gasps when a foamy wave recedes, revealing the fishy woman’s lower torso. Shimmering silver shingles plastered tightly together begin at the woman’s waist and travel down to where her ankles should be. Her wide tail is oriented like a dolphin’s; however, the actual tail is structured like a fish’s caudal fin in shape and bony form. Strange, ribbon-like flesh hangs from both pointy sides of the tail.  
Princess yearns to touch the shimmering tail, as she does all things intriguing. She breathlessly reaches out to make contact. The whipping flipper slaps against the wet ground. Princess immediately retracts her hand, her entire body clenches and quakes from the fright. She looks at the mermaid, who seems to say, “Don’t touch.”  
Unsure of what to do, Princess bows.  
Tinksel, Ma’am,” cheeps the high-pitched girl.  
Tinksel?” responds the mermaid.  
“Ma says to say tinks.”  
The mermaid smiles brightly, realizing the little girl is actually saying thanks and bows her head in reply 
As Princess recovers from her greeting, her feet wobble on some loose rocks. The sea sprite grabs her arm and stabilizes her.  
“Careful,” the mermaid calmly commands.  
The little girl stumbles again, takes a few steps, and eventually finds solid ground on a patch of dark beach sand.  
The mermaid looks at Princess patiently and then asks, “How is it you are out here with no protectors?”  
Princess slips into a panic. Her knees buckle, her mouth opens, and her face shakes. The terror from her earlier trauma is awoken. The clawing, biting animal of fear wells up inside her.  
“They dieded  ahheh  ahh!” Princess’ eyes dilate and saliva dribbles down her gaping mouth. Her body goes limp, her knees buckle, and she begins to teeter.  
The half woman, half fish wraps her arms around the little girl and pulls her onto her lap, protectively warding off danger with her own form. 
Princess succumbs to her emotions and crumbles in a heap at this water nymph’s mercy. Seeing nothing, hearing nothing, she becomes lulled by the mermaids’ rocking arms.  
“There, there, child,” the mermaid says soothingly, running her cool hand over Princess’ frazzled hair. “You’re safe with me.” The mermaid moves to rub her hand in circles on Princess’ small back. “I am Setchra. There, there, all will be well.”  
The young girl drifts off to sleep, leaving Setchra to formulate a plan. Through her silver irises, she searches her surroundings. Her metallic vision pierces every shadow and reveals only contrasting shades of silver, exposing every detail.   
Time passes, unbeknownst to Princess. Finally, her little eyes crack open, ever so slightly. Her vision blurs from her tears, yet the world appears to be shimmering, glowing gold. The apparition tempts the young child, inviting her eyes to reassess the scene around her. With the mermaid leaning over her, Princess is veiled in her golden hair; the moonlight shimmers through the strands, lighting up Princess’ field of vision. Princess accepts the invitation and instinctively reaches up, tempted by a single strand of pretty, white pearls growing from the mermaid’s scalp and braided into her locks.  
Without restraint or forethought, she grabs the pearls, unintentionally tinkering with the gateway to a mermaid’s heart. Setchra fiercely guards the treasure growing within her locks, because the touch of a mermaid’s pearl forms intense, eternal relationships, pledging them to the individual who dared to touch. 
          Gasping at Princess’ touch, Poseidon’s daughter feels fiery warmth ignite inside her veins, instantly bonding her to Princess. Emotions flood in, creating a connection similar to a human mother’s, but far more potent. Though the little girl cannot know what takes place inside the merwoman's heart, Setchra allows her touch to graft into her soul. Had Princess been a mermaid, she would have been able to reciprocate the intense emotions. 
Merpeople lack the mortal warmth of humans, but when Princess was allowed to bond to Setchra, a fire as strong as the rising sun overtook the mermaid and cascaded down every scale, causing her tail to flutter in gentle flaps. These symbiotic bonds are experienced only by merpeople and unite bound to bonded in a circle of fire that literally warms their core for an eternity.  
That physical warmth is a manifestation of love shared through the connection of pearls. As the epitome of beauty, every merperson has one grand purpose: to fall in love, build love, enhance love, and progress love. They thrive on those powerful emotions, which is how pods are formed and underwater empires are built.  
Mmm … warm,” Setchra beams, with her eyes closed and plump red lips pursed together. Rolling waves rush and increase the warmth in her heart, causing Setchra’s pale, oval-shaped face to glow with pleasant delight. Her perfect, pointed nose tickles against Princess’ cool cheek, which causes Princess to giggle. Setchra releases her grasp on Princess and withdraws.  
Setchra’s silver vision begins to transform. As the bonds final transition takes effect, Setchra sees the crown of Princess’ head change from shimmering silver strands to rich walnut brown. The shifting color cascades down the child’s long hair. Her pale cheeks flush with fleshy tones and glow with a round hint of rose. Princess’ puny dark silver lips slowly turn pink. Setchra watches the little girl’s silver irises blink, and turn topaz when the lids open. The mermaid smiles at the beauty Princess becomes. If I had a daughter,” Setchra dotingly sighs, “I would want her to look exactly like you.”  
She glances out to the silvery horizon and then back at Princess. Within close proximity to the child, the mermaid sees color, but only feet away from Princess, her vision remains silver. 
“So … are you going to leave me here?” Princess interrupts Setchra’s glorious, overpowering emotional surge.  
Setchra again shakes her head and her radiant, long blonde locks curl around her petite face. Warmly, she smiles and her pupils catch the pale moonlight, eerily holding a luminous halo in the center of her silver irises.  
“You have pretty eyes!” Princess giggles, putting her hand on Setchra’s cheek, which magnifies the inferno inside the mermaid. “And pretty everything!” the little girl finishes.  
“I will ensure your safety,” Setchra whispers softly, gently tapping Princess on the nose. 
Unexpectedly, Setchra flips over, arches her back, and cracks her tail against the hard rocks with a violent rigor. Water droplets explode off of her iridescent scales and fly through the air as perfect spheres. The droplets then separate into beads and splash on the rocks. With several swift pops of her tail, Setchra’s scales seem to peel back.  
Princess, a nervous wreck, flinches with each cracking jolt. “You said you wouldn’t eat me!” she whimpers.  
At last, scales begin to dislodge and fall off. Where thin scales once were, human legs begin to appear.

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