The Power of Four – a meme

I am not familiar with what a meme is. So, when I got tagged in one by Penelope Price  I had to google the word. It is a bit exciting to be apart of this string being passed from one to the other and I did feel special to be included in it. So, Thank You Penelope Price and here goes.

Four Places I’ve Worked/Jobs I’ve Had:

1. Administrative Clerk 11 -Money Transfer

2. Script Writer – Advertising Department @ Radio Station

3. Librarian/Layout artist @ Newspaper

4. Marketing Executive @ Television Station

Four Places I’ve Lived:

1. Ruimveldt Georgetown Guyana (2 different lots in the same st)

2. North Ruimvledt Georgetown Guyana

3. Kitty Georgetown Guyana

Four Movies I Could Watch Again & Again:

1. Pretty Woman (a little obvious)

2. Khabi Khushi Khabi Gham (Bollywood flick)

3. Shawshank Redemption

4. Vivaah (Bollywood flick)

Four Television Shows I Watch:

1. Big Ban Theory

2. 90210

3. Two broke girls

4. Law and Order: SVU

Four Authors I Enjoy:

1. Shakepeare

2. Jane Austen

3. V.S. Naipaul

4. Nora Roberts

Four Places I Have Travelled To:

Never travelled out of my country, so all places are within Guyana:

1. Berbice

2. Bartica

3. Moruca – Region 1

4. Essequibo

Four Websites I Visit Daily:

1. Facebook

2. Google

3. Msn

4. Yahoo

Four of My Favorite Foods:

1. Choumein

2. Spanish rice

3. Chocolate cake

4. Stir fried vegetables

Four Places I’d Rather Be:

1. On a cruise around the world with my family

2. Somewhere remote, quiet, peaceful like a cabin by a lake/creek, so I can write write write

3. In bed with my hussy

4. In a classroom at college

Four people I want to tag

1. Siggy Buckley

2. Wendy Siefken

3. Cathy Brockman

4. Sehn Knight

Now you have been tagged so just copy and paste on your blog and fill in your own information.

And if you havent been tagged, you can still go ahead and do it and link back to my page.

 

Plot writing

I always found plot writing to be boring and a waste of time. I think this is one of the reasons I did my first novel during Nano. It was easy to just sit and write whatever came to me as it came to me. Now, do you think I have edited my nano novel? NO! Everytime I think of editing it, I think of the confusion inside the script, I think of the many things I have to change and I tell myself I will do it when my daughter is a bit older and I can have some time to myself to actually devote to it. Don’t get me wrong, I like my Nano plot, and yes I did have a plot in my mind, I just didnt have a proper structure.

For my WIP I started like Nano, I have a plot in my head and I was working with it. I took two breaks from the work because I lost faith in it. I didnt like how it was going, I couldnt see how I would create doubt in the reader’s mind for these characters, I didnt like how I was portraying the idea I had in my head and I certainly didnt like how it was flowing. Personally as an avid reader I saw myself giving up half way through this novel.

So, today I did scene plots. I sat down and wrote what each chapter will be about from the beginning to the end. And even though I had already written half of this thing, I now see half of what I wrote will have to be scrapped or rewritten to fit the new outline. I think now it will be easier to write knowing what I am writing and knowing exactly what each chapter is supposed to be about.

Now, I am venturing into another unknown terriroty; character sheets. I dont know why I detest these things so much, when they are basic and important to writing a good read. I read someone’s status, cant remember who, but some one of my writer friends, and it said something to this effect, “no one will put effort into reading your work, if you dont put effort into writing it.”

So I am trying to write like a real author, use the guidelines and tips and see what I can get out of it.

Now feel free to leave comment below, let me know how you write. Do you use scene plots and character sheets?

Authors helping Authors

Image

In the spirit of authors helping authors, this aspiring author will embark on promoting a different author as often as she could on her little blog.

I decided to make it random and thus I went to the Masterkoda introduction doc and closed my eyes and then I scrolled up and down before stopping at a random point and highlighting a part before opening my eyes. When I did open my eyes imagine my surprise when the name highlighted as my new friend Cathy Brockman.

So I am honoured to present:

Cathy Brockman

CathyBoyd

Cathy Brockman started writing to overcome depression and found it to be very therapeutic. Cathy is a author of many genres including paranormal, suspense, romance, comedy and erotica.

Cathy also writers children’s book under the pen name Cathy Boyd and has also published a story called “Luke’s Dragon” which was published by Saga Books and can be found on Amazon @

http://www.amazon.com/Lukes-Dragon-Lightning-Dreamworld-ebook/dp/B0079PD1Q4/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1333031220&sr=1-2

Cathy is also about to embark on a new adventure with four other writers from April 2, 2012, on a daily blog series featuring romance stories from four different genres by five different writers @ http://storytimewithcathyandherfriends.blogspot.com/?zx=1f3d7f2f0a6eb478

 

 

 

 

You can also find Cathy on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/cathy.brockman1

http://networkedblogs.com/vJWJo

So check out our featured author either by getting her book on Amazon.com, following her stories every friday on blogspot next month, adding her on facebook and keeping up todate on her ramblings and progress in her present work.

Chapter 1 – Work in Progress

I started this story with a bang and then lost momentum. However, I printed the manuscript and now I walk around with it in my handbag. Yesterday, during some idle time, I began editing and now I have finished the second draft of chapter 1. The title at present, which is not definite and can change, is: A Fatal Indiscretion.

Chapter 1

“What do you want from me?” cried Sherry, her eyes red as she leaned against the kitchen cupboard.

They had been fighting for the best part of the last hour, she felt like she had said one thing over and over again but Ryan kept pushing and pushing. It is like he wanted her to say she didn’t care; that she didn’t love him anymore. She wasn’t sure if she loved him anymore or if she was holding on to the love she once had for him; she knew one thing and that was that she had made up her mind about what she wanted and where she was going to be.

“I want what I have always wanted for you to just love me, ME!” screamed Ryan, hitting his chest with his fist.

They had been married for six years and were parents of a four year old, they had gone through so much together, fought so hard for this life they lived. Ryan couldn’t believe after all of that Sherry would risk it all. He watched her figure standing in front of him in one of her house dresses and resisted the urge to reach out and pull her in an embrace. He has loved her so much that he found her sexy even in this dinged and torn dress that hung on her body with no shape or without highlighting any of her curves. Her hair was in a little bun on her head and her face was tired. He knew she had been up most nights lately, ever since everything came to light a week ago. He knew she was deliberating and making her decision whether to stay with him or walk and he often lay right next to her, awake as well, afraid to ask what she was thinking, afraid to hear her decision. At least until today, this morning he had decided he had had enough and she needed to tell him what she wanted, and now her time had come. He didn’t know if he could live with a decision that meant she was going to leave and he tried not to think along that line. He didn’t know if he had the courage to let her go if she wanted to.

“If I didn’t love you I wouldn’t be here,” Sherry said as she wrapped her arms around her body for comfort.

Was she telling the truth? Was she being honest with this man she had sworn to love and cherish until death do them part? She never expected things to get this way, had someone told her six years ago they would be here, in their own house, with their own family, with him standing before her, waiting to hear if she was going to stay or go, she wouldn’t have believed it. Ryan was still as handsome today as he was when they met ten years ago. He still stood above her long, lean, and dark with big eyes and long lashes, pink thick lips which she remembered she couldn’t wait to kiss. His arms were still long and inviting her to curl into them and rest her head on his chest to listen to the rhythmic beating of his heart. He was still the man she fell in love with, still the man who fathered her child, still the man whose last name she carried, but something had changed in her, something that made her ponder on whether she should be here or she should go.

“You are not here for me, you are here for her and I know it, if it wasn’t for her you would’ve left,” the words came out of his mouth and only now had he chosen to accept it.

Their daughter Amarie; sweet little four year old Amari, had left a while ago with her dolly to play at grandma. Was it true? Was she still here just for her? Hadn’t she promised her when she first held her that she would give her a family? That she would fight heaven and hell to make sure Amarie grew up in a complete family, and not like her, torn and disappointed, because her father had chosen to live with another family instead of her and her mother. Hadn’t she sung lullabies to that little girl and prayed to God to keep them together for her sake? Hadn’t she asked God to help her raise her as a complete and happy individual, never wanting for love or affection? Was she really staying just for Amarie?

“That is not true,” Sherry said, “I am here for both of you, for us, for our family.”

“Don’t lie!” Ryan screamed as he lounged at her and grabbed her arms pressing his fingers into them. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she grimaced from the pain of his grip.

He felt an anger stir inside like a tornado twisting in his chest and gathering more and more fury with each breath he took. Ryan didn’t know how it possessed him to grab hold of her like that. In ten years he had never raised his hand on her, never as much as pinched her outside of horseplay and today he was grabbing her fiercely, and he didn’t want to lose. He wanted to blame the anger, and the pain for his actions, but he knew he was thinking straight, he knew he was processing this action and he knew that he wanted to hold her like this and he wanted to grab her in his arms and hold on to her tightly and never let her go. Ryan knew he was ready to do anything to keep Sherry in his life.

“I can’t believe after all we went through to have this family you would do this Sher, why Sher, why?” Ryan asked as he shook her body violently. She sobbed and leaned her head on his shoulders but he pushed her body away and sent her into the cupboards where she fell against them and slowly dropped to the floor. He turned his back, he couldn’t bear to see the betrayal in her eyes.

Just then a little shadow was seen coming from the back of the yard into the house and Ryan moved quickly to the glass door and stopped before Amarie and said, “Hey baby.”

“Hi daddy,” said the little four-year old.

Sherry heard her voice and quickly got up and turned to the sink where she tried to salvage her appearance.

“Daddy are you crying?” asked Amarie

“No, mommy was cutting up onions just now,” Ryan said, he had tried his best to keep whatever was going on between them from her.  He hugged her close to his chest as he bit back tears. “Daddy is going out for a while,” he said to her as he loosed his grip on her and walked out of the room. Sherry did not turn from the sink.

“Hi mommy,” Amarie said as she walked up to the sink

“Hi baby, did you have fun at grandma?” Sherry asked

“Yes mommy, I like that our backyards are connected and I can run over by grandma when I want,” Amarie said as she settled down on the ground where she had some toys she was playing with earlier.

She tucked herself behind the counter and continued with the mall she was going to build with her blocks. Sherry watched her playing and felt the tinge in her chest, she wished things were different. She tried to wish away the last six months and everything that had happened but she couldn’t. She didn’t know how things had gone so wrong so fast, but she did know that for that little girl who played before her, she would do anything.

“Mommy I am going to the washroom, please keep an eye on my mall,” Amarie said as she got up

“Amarie,” Sherry called to her as she was about to leave the kitchen, Amarie turned and smiled “I love you” sherry said to her, blowing her a kiss.

“Love you too mommy, I’m coming right, back don’t worry,” Amarie said as she disappeared around the corner.

 

Ten minutes later a stout woman made heavy steps as she walked from her house through her backyard and through the backyard of her daughter’s house, gasping for breath as she walked, her big thighs swishing and rubbing against each other and her feet pounding on the gravel path.

“Sher,” she called out as she neared the glass doors, “I heard Ryan’s car pull off a while ago, so . . .” she stopped midway of her sentence as she was now standing in the kitchen.

The kitchen floor tiles were red with Sherry’s blood and the cupboards and cabinets reflected droplets of blood that had spewed from the body. Sherry’s lifeless body bearing the sign of several stab pounds and her house dress soaked red with blood, lay against the cupboard where she had fallen and was left propped against, her head hanging on the side with one arm resting on the ground and the other hand left resting on the rim of the cupboard.

Sherry’s mother, Ingrid, ran to her daughter and yelled out her name, slapping her face over and over. When she got no response she reached for the kitchen phone and rang the police. With her hands, and feet covered in blood she searched for Amarie, calling out her name and running from room to room. Then Ingrid went back to the telephone and called Ryan’s number. She listened to the phone’s ringing tone as she looked around frantically. When the phone rang out and started beeping incessantly, Ingrid she hung up and tried again and again, on the third try she stood in the kitchen watching her daughter’s dead body propped against the cupboards, her two arms were now in front of her and her head still hung to the side. The tears stung Ingrid’s eyes first and then the feeling built up in her chest. She felt a sudden rush of emotions as the reality of the scene finally hit her and she started to scream. Loudly she wailed as she fell to the floor inches away from Sherry. She heard the sirens pulling up outside of her house and the footsteps making their way across the back yard but she couldn’t stop it. She had spent her entire life dedicated to this precious girl who sat dead in front of her and now she couldn’t imagine life without her.

“Mom, you are my bestest friend, you know that,” Ingrid heard Sherry’s voice saying as she closed her eyes and saw her daughter dressed in her wedding dress sitting in front of her mirror.

“Did I ever thank you for everything you did for me?’ Sherry had asked Ingrid.

“Nope, but I know you were grateful when you made me proud with everything you accomplished,” she had said to her before hugging her from behind, both of them watching at each other’s reflection in the mirror.

Ingrid opened her eyes as she saw the two men in uniform checking Sherry for a pulse.

“Mom I am going to have a baby,” she heard Sherry’s voice resounding in her head

“Oh my, I am so happy, my baby is going to have a baby,” she had said hugging her and squeezing her

“I hope I can be half the mother you were,” Sherry had said as she had hugged Ingrid tighter.

Ingrid cried and the tears rolled down her face as police officers entered Sherry’s house, one of them was speaking to her but she couldn’t hear what he was saying. She just saw him in front of her talking. Then his image became blurry and a blue green haze created itself before Ingrid’s eyes and she saw her Sherry’s image dancing with a baby in her arms, and laughing. Then Ingrid saw Sherry as a little girl dancing in their small one bedroom house, “Mom, come dance with me,” little Sherry said, “Mommmmm, please come dance with me,” Sherry urged again, waving and calling to her. The images danced before Ingrid as she sat there and watched them fussing over the dead body, she heard one of the officers say they were waiting on forensics and she felt as though she was in a dream, at some point everything went black and she lost consciousness.

 

When Homicide Detective Natasha Banks stepped on to a crime scene she was always composed and relaxed. Nothing surprised her; after all she was seven years old when her mother drowned her two month old sister in the bathtub to keep her from crying. Natasha didn’t think any crime scene of the already dead was going to have a greater impact on her than the first one she witnessed. However, when she crossed the nicely trimmed backyard of the Hales’ residence she didn’t phantom what awaited her beyond the glass door. She brushed off the disgusted looks on the attending ranks’ faces as the reaction of amateurs; and then, she stood in what she had to term her worst crime scene.

Blood was spewed everywhere in what was once a beautiful kitchen, had Natasha been the homey type she would have appreciated a kitchen as immaculately kept and beautifully designed as Sherry Hales’ own was. But tonight, the blood stained cupboards and blood filled tiles on the floor with the body of Sherry Hales propped against the cupboard with more than fifteen stab wounds and slashes about her body had made the kitchen macabre. Three knives were strewn about the floor, two broken and one dropped close to the body.

“This person is an animal,” Natasha said aloud, surprising herself.

Natasha never pronounced on criminals or victims that early in an investigation and she never expressed her personal feelings towards them either. It was something she trained herself to do the moment she knew she was joining the Homicide Department, a mostly male populated section of the police force. Natasha didn’t wear pants suits just because they were comfortable, she needed to be taken seriously as a detective and so she had set certain rules and guidelines for her conduct. But tonight she couldn’t adhere to them.

“Detective?” the voice interrupted Natasha’s thoughts as she turned and faced one of the uniformed police officers.

 “Over there on the patio chair is the victim’s mother, she just regained consciousness, she was the one who called 911 and the one who…well…the one whose steps you see in the blood. We found her sitting opposite the victim in a daze and then she lost consciousness, we believe she is the victim’s mother. She lives in the house directly behind this one” he pointed to the heavily built woman sitting with her head in her hands, “, we were able to gather those information from one of the neighbours since she was unconscious” he pointed to the people who had gathered behind the police tape.

Natasha waved him off and walked over to the woman, her body was stained with blood and she was staring at her hands as tears trickled down her face.

“Good night mam,” Natasha greeted her as she took a seat in front of her. The woman looked up with sad red eyes. Natasha admired the strength of a mother who actually cared. She could see that the woman in front of her wanted to break down but fought to be stronger than that, and Natasha saw the battle that took place inside, it was all in her eyes.

“Can you talk?” she asked the woman

“Yeaaaaa. . . “ Ingrid said as she trailed off into tears

“What can you tell me about what happened here?” Natasha tried to ask the question without seeming insensitive. She thought to herself that she probably should give this grieving mother some time to cope, but she knew she couldn’t do that. She needed to ask her questions when it was all still fresh in her mind, maybe she would recall something that would be critical to the case.

The woman stifled and wiped her eyes with her big blood stained hands before she began, “My daughter and her husband were having a discussion tonight concerning something important, so she sent her daughter to stay with me, but then little Amarie got fidgety and headed home. A little while after I heard a car door slam and a vehicle drive off so I suspected it was Ryan, my son-in-law, so I give him a few minutes to be around the corner or so and then I was coming over to find out….oh….to find out . . . oh God, I shouldn’t have waited….oh God, my baby girl” she broke into tears and Natasha leaned forward and held her – it was a professional habit.

When the woman had calmed down, Natasha asked, “So where is the little girl – Amarie?”

“I didn’t see her, I think she left with her father, oh God, do you think she saw when he did this?” Ingrid asked.

“He? Do you think your son in law did that?” Natasha asked.

“I don’t know what to think,” Ingrid answered.

“Were they having problems?” Natasha asked.

“Yes they were having many problems, she was going to leave him.”

Natasha looked back at the glass door and allowed the woman’s words to sink it, she now had her first suspect. She called a female officer over to take Ingrid to her house after informing her she would be over in a while to continue talking.

Natasha knew Ingrid needed to leave the scene, because the body would be rolled out in a bit, and it would be very emotional for her. Natasha walked back to the scene slowly trying to imagine what had happened. She saw a photograph on the wall with three people, the victim, a small child and a man. She walked up to it and looked into his eyes, was he a killer?

Natasha turned and watched at the scene as she envisioned what probably took place – they quarrelled, he begged her to stay, she said no she was leaving, he grabbed her and threw her against the cupboard, she slapped him, he got upset and slapped her back, she said it was over, he said he was never letting her go, the emotions and the anger built up, he reached for the knife and stabbed her in the chest one – two – three times, it broke, he took another one and stabbed her all over, the stabs fueling the anger, the anger driving the stabs, the other knife broke, now he is possessed he takes the other one and stabs her a couple times more before her frail helpless body falls to the ground. He panics, he doesn’t know what to do, he turns and sees his daughter heading to the door and he runs out, grabs her and is off. He is probably on his way to Cayenne by now. Ruthless!

Holi Celebration

It is Phagwah again in Guyana, the Hindu celebration of Holi takes place tomorrow March 8, 2012, in the beautiful land of many waters.

Will I be participating? Will I be in the street throwing coloured power on friends and family and running down the children with my water gun? Will I take my one year old daughter to enjoy the revelry and experience an event that adds to my colourful childhood?

The Answer is, “Of Course!”

Besides enjoying the rich heritage of my culture and reveling in the colourlful celebration of my religion, I also enjoy Phagwah for the camaraderie among my neighbours. Children and adults alike come out on to the streets and play Holi together, throwing all different colour powders on each other, spraying each other with colourful liquids and splashing water upon each other all in the spirit of Phagwah; a cultural celebration for my country, a religious partaking for my family and other Hindus.

The festival of Holi is meant to commemorate the beginning of spring; a celebration of colours.

Phagwah is meant to celebrate Prahalad killing his evil father and bringing an end to his tyranny.

 

Johnny Ray and the Rainy Day

 

 

There once was a little boy, whose name was Johnny Ray

Playtime in the backyard was his favourite time of day

He would run like the wind and jump up and down

And when it was time to come in, on his face he wore a frown

 

He liked to use his imagination

Turning his backyard into a train station

“Choo-Choo,” he’d go, trotting about the place

Happily he’d play with a big smile on his face

 

Then one day when it was time for Johnny to go play

As he pulled on his boots and tied his laces his way

He heard a horrid sound upon the rooftop

And from the window saw the falling raindrops

He watched as the drops went, “tip tap”

And knew that inside, he was trapped

 

With his little face and palms against the window pane

Little Johnny Ray longed to be outside again

He turned from the window and sat in the chair

And frowned at the thought that it wasn’t fair

His favourite thing was spoiled today

Because he couldn’t go outside to play

 

He passed Grams room and she saw him sulking

“Come here Little Johnny,” she called out to him

He walked into her room and sat on her bed

She peered at him, tilting her head

“What troubles my little peanut?” she inquired

He sighed and shrugged his shoulders, as though tired

Then he told her about the rain outside

And how bored he got when playing inside

 

Grams gave little Johnny a wide smile

And then hugged him close for a while

Then she had a fantastic notion

A way for Johnny to visit a train station

Johnny was interested but confused

How was Grams going to make his wish come through?

 

Grams was out of the room and back again

With a large colourful book shaped like a train

Johnny ‘s face still wore a puzzled look

As he wondered why Grams had brought a book

But when Grams showed him the cover

He saw pictures of trains all over

 

Grams smiled and said to Johnny

“Let’s read this book, since outside is rainy,”

Johnny was not sure if it was the same thing

Like running outside and pretending

But as Grams read about all the trains

And showed Johnny the pictures on the page

Johnny laughed and clapped his hands

As grams read about the trains named Glory and Stan

 

When Grams had finished reading the story

Off the bed, jumped little Johnny

“Choo Choo,” he said to Grams

“Look I am the train called Stan

I am mighty and strong and have an engine

I carry passengers from station to station”

 

Grams clapped and cheered Johnny on

As he pranced about her room singing a song

“Choo Choo the train goes,

Where it stops, nobody knows,

Johnny stopped and clapped his lands

Reading was like taking a journey to a whole new land

He felt as though he had been in the story

And had taken a ride with Stan and Glory

Reading is fun and a wonderful way

To enjoy inside on a rainy day

 

March is here

My goal this year was to try and write something short every month, January went well with Deadly Rush, which is published on Amazon Kindle.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0073L93HK

February was a bust, I started writing a story around a vicious killing of a woman. She was stabbed ruthlessly in her kitchen and her body discovered by her mother. The Lead detective, a woman, investigates and found that the dead woman was on the brink of a big change in her life; she had three men who were all in love with her; one kept it a secret; one, her husband, was fighting to keep her in his life; the third, a recent lover was ready to leave everything he worked for to be with her. What happened with each one is left to be told. I knew who I was making the killer, it was going to be a big surprise for the reader. I have written her death which would be told only by the killer. So what happened? I didnt feel it; it felt mediocre, my portrayals of these characters seemed vague and this lead detective kept trying to steal my script from me.

However, March is here and I should probably print what I have and do an edit, see what it gets me, or where it gets me, but I am being lazy. I am going to spend March working on a few short stories, more specifically, my collections: The Thin Line, Zerafina, Yarrow Days and one that just came to mind upon seeing a photo posted by a friend. So March is here and I welcome it with lots of hopes of finishing something this month.

The Double Rainbow

Zeraphina had travelled through three realms in search of what the Oracle called “the double smile.” The Oracle, an old wrinkled woman sitting stark naked on top of the mountain Zain, had been vague in her description of what Zeraphina was in search of, saying, “after a shower of tears, nature, in the realm of Kafiron, would give a double smile; it was how you would identify the lost realm.”

Zeraphina had travelled through the realm of the sand storm; a realm covered only by sand and haunted by strong winds; she had survived that realm by eating scorpions. Thereafter, with blistered lips and blood shot eyes, Zeraphina travelled to Dracas, the realm of the bloody river, where the red river flowed for miles and where Zeraphina had only spent a day. The last realm which Zeraphina came through was the realm of blue snow, where the trees and the brooks were covered with snow as blue as a Windflower.

Now, as pale as a corpse, Zeraphina entered the fourth realm in her journey, through the porthole provided by rubbing the magic lamp, Zeraphina fell on the ground. Her body relaxed as she removed the thick bear skin she had wrapped her body in to stay warm in the previous realm. She remembered fighting off the mighty grizzly; him rising on two feet above her as the mighty beast he was, and growling, the wind from his growl blowing her long black tresses. She remembered crouching in the warrior’s posture she had learned, and then plunging her body forward and pouncing on the animal like a little mouse and plunging her knife into its chest before it could fight her off. In surviving this journey, Zeraphina had learned to channel all her strength into grinding the knife into the heart of the beast as he fell backward, with her still on his chest. She had walked with the essential shearing tools to slit the animal’s chest open and strip him of his fur; his meat had been excess for her three weeks stay in that realm as she waited to see if nature would cry.

Now, Zeraphina lay among grass as her sense of smell was massaged by the sweet smells of the surrounding flowers. However, before Zeraphina could rest properly, she felt a sudden down pour of rain upon her face and she quickly jumped up and looked around. She noticed the most beautiful scenery she had seen in a long time. She was atop a hill or mountain surrounded by lush greenery decorated with the yellows of daffodils and the whites of gardenias like a perfectly arranged bouquet. The rain drops came down on the flowers and flowed off the petals like a water fall as the hill became damp with it.

Zeraphina looked around for a cave or a burrow in which to hide but couldn’t find it. It is then she realized that the hill was all that was in this realm. Panic was the first emotion that hit when Zeraphina realized that surviving in this realm, as beautiful as it was, was going to be impossible without food and shelter. But, as she begun to ponder on the possibility of making a meal from the flowers, the rain stopped and Zeraphina saw a marking emerge on the skyline. She stared in amusement as two rainbows were formed in front of her, reaching from side to side of the hill top; and like a bolt of lighting the realization hit her that this was what the Oracle told her about, this was the double smile after the shower of tears. Zeraphina’s eyes stung as emotions built up within, but she brushed them away for she wasn’t one to show such weakness, even if no one was around.

Zeraphina walked over to the rainbow and stopping directly below the double smile of the realm of Zafiron, she placed her hands above her head with the rusted lamp between her palms. A ray of light shone through the rainbows and illuminated the lamp, turning it gold, and then Zeraphina felt the ground move under her. Fear entered her eyes for she knew not what to expect and just as the ground opened, she showed her weakness in the form of a loud shriek as she felt herself fall. With hands flaying and feet kicking, Zeraphina fell miles below the earth until she felt her body enter a body of water and heard a loud splash. She quickly gathered her composure and swam to the top of the water and looked around wildly, a smile adorned her face when she realized that she had found the well of Zafiron.

Jungle Monkeys – The Outcast

It was a fun game to play; two opponents wrestling at the top of the jungle gym for the title of: King. Arms locked together, heads butting each other; they would push and push, each relying on their own strength to push the other off the top of the jungle gym. It was advised against by teachers, frowned upon by parents, and applauded by all the children in the school yard.

Sophina had been victorious for weeks on end. She was a heavily built ten year old, who was disliked and feared. Sophina had never intentionally bullied anyone, even though most children would volunteer their lunch money. Sophina would laugh and pat them hard on the shoulder, sending them catapulting in another direction. Sophina didn’t need anyone’s lunch money; her father owned a bank. Sophina played fair; she met her opponents in the game of ‘King of the land,’ and defeated them all.

One day, Zackery, the former King, figured out how to defeat Sophina. He stood on the ground and watched the big girl, face gleaming with pride as she had just defeated yet another opponent. Sophina often felt like Superman on top of the jungle gym, and every time she won, she would stand with her hands on her waist and imagine her cape flying in the wind behind her.

Zackery among the crowd and yelled, “You are no king of the land; you are more of a jungle monkey.”

Sophina shot a glance in the crowd as it parted like the red sea and Zackery was left standing alone. He didn’t expect this to happen, he wanted to defeat Sophina with the support of the crowd; after all she was so big and capable of grinding him into the ground in a single blow.

However, when Zackery saw that everyone was looking at him, he realized his reputation as the big bully had to be restored; so he said, “yea you heard me, you are a big ugly jungle monkey.”

Sophina stared at him in disbelief and hurt, a few of the other children had started to giggle and Sophina looked around at their faces. Her eyes had gotten red and she was very near to tears. Sophina didn’t like being teased, that is why she took great pride in the respect she got as King of the Land. But, before Sophina could react, all the children were chanting, “jungle monkey, jungle monkey, jungle monkey.” She watched their little faces as they chanted and moved their little bodies and hands in rhythm with their chanting. Sophina turned and ran down the jungle gym and to the back of the school where she crouched in tears. Sophina kept repeating to herself over and over; “I am no jungle monkey, I am not ugly, I can’t help being big.”

“Of course you can’t” said a soft voice.

Startled, Sophina jumped up and looked around but didn’t see anyone. Just then, a tug on her uniform skirt made her look down as she saw a petite girl with a head full of curls standing there.

“Hi” the girl said, “I am Madina, and you are right you are not ugly.”

Sophina stooped to the girl’s level and said, “Hi Madina, thanks, but I know you don’t mean that.”

“Yes I do, I don’t lie, I always tell the truth.” Madina said battling her eyes and tilting her head.

“How old are you?” Sophina asked, guessing Madina had to be about five or six years old.

“I am ten,” Madina said proudly.

“Ten? But you are so short and tiny,” Sophina added, turning up her nose as though it was a bad thing.

“I know, that is why I play at the back here during recess and lunch, no one wants to play with the short and tiny ten-year old.” Madina slouched against the school building as she said that.

“So you play at the back here alone?” asked Sophina.

“Yes I do, and it is fun,” she leaned and spoke into Sophina’s ears, “I am king of all this land.”

Sophina looked around at the large landscape, on one side there was the duck pond, a small shallow pond where water lilies grew and ducks swam. On the other side there was a small bump in the land like a little hill covered with well trimmed grass. Sophina smiled to herself, it was like a whole country at the back of the school.

“Can I play with you here?” asked Sophina.

“Of course you can, I will teach you many games we can play here. No one ever comes here because everyone wants to take part in ‘king of the land,’” she giggled as she spoke and then got up and ran about the yard with her arms outstretched like an airplane’s wings. Sophina walked to the edge of the building and peeped around. Zackery stood on top of the jungle gym proclaiming himself the king. Sophina looked behind her again at the empty lot and Madina running behind a duck and giggling to herself.

Then, Sophina walked from behind the building, climbed the jungle gym and with one push Zackery went tumbling off the monkey bars and on the ground.

“I am the big bad ugly jungle monkey that rules this land. Who dares challenge me?” Sophina said in a deep hoarse voice as she made faces at the crowd and finished the speech in her Superman stance. Everyone gasped and mumbled among themselves, until one boy ran up and said, “I will.”

With that, the challenge began and everyone was clapping and cheering on, some yelled, “Go jungle monkey, go!” and Sophina smiled to herself.

When Sophina had regained her place on top of the jungle gym, she looked at the side of the school and saw the little girl peering, and thought to herself: Madina can play alone if she wants to, but me, I am not built to be an outcast.

The Sand Castle

Being a mother is a phenomenal thing, and I refer to being a mother beyond the sleepless nights, and the harrowing childbirth pain. I refer, instead, to that little person who loves and adores you more than anything in the world. I remember my daughter between birth and sometime around age 4. I remember how her little face would light up when I entered a room; how she would jump into my arms and place wet kisses all over my face; how she would rest her little head on my chest and listen to my heart beat, while I kissed her curls.

 

When my little angel, Maria, was around age five I was nostalgic for her toddler days as I sat next to her on the beach. The waves made a whishing sound as they rolled in and out and I wished life’s worries were the same as the sand being washed out by the waves. I turned and admired the little curly hair girl sitting, legs sprawled, in her little polka dot dress and matching hat, as she dug her little plastic shovel into the sad. She bit on her top lip as she worked ardently filling the little buckets and patting the sand down before turning it over onto the beach.

 

I moved and stooped in front of her little creation already coming together in front of her. She looked up and smiled with me, a smile that melts my heart every time. I reached for the plastic fork and dug at the sand.

“What are you doing mommy?” she had asked tilting her head to the side.

“I am helping you sweetheart,” I answered smiling back at her.

“That’s okay mommy, Ruprunzel and I will do it,” she said, taking the fork from my hands. I watched at the long haired doll sitting next to her, Princess Rapunzel smiled with me, almost mocking me. I could hear her voice saying, “I have replaced you, no need for mommy anymore.”

 

I plopped down, disappointed, and asked my little Maria, “Honey can Mommy help? I can help you build a nice big sand castle, with windows and doors, and bridges. . .” she interrupted me and said, “Mommy, I don’t want a big sand castle, I want a little one, just enough to fit my dolly, so she could wait for her prince.”

I swallowed hard as I was taken aback, “Her . . . Her prince?” I stammered

“Yes, he will come and Ruprunzel will climb down through her window and ride away with him, just like in the movie.” Her curls bobbed on her head as she returned to her project. I dusted myself and sat back next to her.

 

Something tugged at my chest, a deep throbbing and depressing feeling. I thought I had at least ten years more before I would be replaced, before I had to listen to stories involving climbing  through windows and getting away with princes. I was wrong; children were growing smarter and more independent at younger ages. I wondered if I would be able to keep up, if I would be able to handle it when that day came.

 

A little hand touched my shoulder I turned and looked into Maria’s eyes gleaming with empathy, “Mommy are you sad that I won’t play with you?” she asked.

I blinked quickly before wondering, where in the world this child got this kind of intuition from.

“Mommy, you can play with us, I am sorry,” she said before placing her little arms around my neck and hugging me tight, “You are the best sand castle builder, mommy, come help us build one.” She hadn’t let loose, she spoke while still holding me tight, as though she was reassuring me that she hadn’t stopped needing me; like she never would stop needing me. A tear drop ran down my cheek as I grabbed her in my arms and tickled her little belly, trying to change the mood. She laughed hard and the feeling in my chest flooded me, running up all the way into my face and forming a smile that turned into laughter.

 

My little Maria had succeeded in reassuring me not only that she needed me, but that I was doing a good job, in not only teaching her to be independent, but she was going to become a smart, intuitive young woman I can be proud of.

 

Today, twenty years later, I walked into the kitchen to find my husband with his face in his palms. I knew what was bothering him; in twenty four hours he would be walking our Maria down the aisle and placing her hands into that of her future husband. I knew what he was feeling and the battle he was facing inside; our little girl was starting her own life, she will be leaning on someone else. I took a seat on the stool next to him and rubbed my hand on his back. He straightened up abruptly; he was a man after all, strong and independent, never wanting to show weakness or sorrow. He had protected us, provided for us and tried hard not to show us his sorrows and his inner battles. But, try as hard as he did he couldn’t hide it from me, after all we had been each other’s strength through the battle of parenthood, and the battle of life. I smiled with him and said, “Hun, let me tell you the story about a sand castle.”