29 March 2009

My Car Elazar: The 76th mile

As my car’s odometer ticked closer to the 100,000 mile mark I contemplated all the ways I could push it over. Trips down to the Grand Canyon over to Las Vegas and Death Valley, up into Glacier National Park and just across the border into Canada, even a quick trip home and to the beach were each planned and discarded as time wouldn’t allow for such trips, not to mention there wasn’t enough money to support them. No, the mark would have to be passed in a more humble manner. A trip to Craters of the Moon National Park was planned for Saturday. It would be good and fun trip to push the mileage past the threshold. We would make it a day long trip. I would go with my roommates and whoever else wanted to go. The snow was almost gone and the trip promised to be mostly uneventful, driving wise anyway. We would pass through the barren desert lands of Idaho; past the old signs announcing and warning of possible “bio hazardous waste” for those who would wonder off the path. Then we would continue past the open farm lands and through the nuclear charged town of Akron. The trip would stop at Pickle’s Place where we would once again participate in the delectable offering that would be provided. Then we would celebrate having tripped the 100,000 mile mark by hiking through the caves, or at least trying too. All the mistakes of old would be overcome and we would be sure to bring plenty of flashlights , snacks and water. It would be perfect.

It didn’t happen.

Saturday came and the evil scourge of homework consumed most everyone’s schedule for most of the morning. I ran to the store, the one on the far side of town. It was two miles. I needed cereal and soap. Soap for the body, soap for the dishes, soap for the clothes. I returned home. Few else were awake. I ate breakfast. The co-valiant roommate came over and pleaded to go back to IF, the “big city”, “THE place to be”, Idaho Falls. His laptop’s power cable wasn’t working and IF the nearest place to get it replaced. This was the third time we had made this trip for this reason in the past six months. No one else could spend the normally boundless time to take him so I agreed. The time was set and we would leave in two hours. My roommate Steve was to go with us too.

Before we made it to IF I made another trip to the store, this time for another neighbor. He needed food. It was the nearby store so it was only another mile. Finally we headed to IF. I noted how close I was to making the mark. There should be plenty of mileage to make it back to Rexburg without going over. There might still be a fun 100,000 trip yet. In IF we went to the shirt store to buy some shirts, a different story for another time. The cable store was just another couple of miles. We decide to have a well deserved lunch break from school, about three extra miles. Then it was time to go home. There was even enough extra mileage to go to the bonfire that night, it was Tonya’s birthday.

Sunday morning came with 76 miles left before the big mark. 76 miles was barely enough to make out to Camas and back. I drove early that Sunday morning watching the volcanic Idaho landscape slide past. The wind was blowing really hard. Twenty miles into the trip snow joined the wind and started to complicate the travel. I pulled to the side of the road to analyze the situation. Looking to the north I saw that the storm would only get worse. I returned home and got ready for church.

The church meetings themselves were good, though in between meeting I could see that the storm had followed me down from the north and was now pestering the small city of Rexburg. We had long ago determined that Rexburg was the headquarters of winter and thus it was the noble responsibility of every citizen to do what they could to expedite the coming of spring and end winter’s chilling rule. The storm, combined with the eagles and the snow, was a reminder that winter was not quite gone yet.

Despite the storm I ran home. No sense in being out in the freezing wind. My roommates followed me home but needed to return to the chapel for another meeting. Normally, I would be fine with them walking but knowing the horrendous conditions outside I couldn’t stand the thought so I offered a ride. The drive back from Camas had taken longer than I thought, 74 miles to be exact. The trip to the chapel put me a mile closer.

Once back home I started reading a book. It was rather enjoyable. My phone rang. The roommates were ready. I again bundled up and braved the cold to my car and drove back to the chapel. I look down and noted the new odometer number: 100000. I had hit the mark on my 76th mile for the day. They emerged out of the building and quickly piled into the car. With the windshield wipers trying to brush the snow away so I could see I headed back home smiling.

I thought back at the adventures and trips I have had with Elazar, all the things we had seen and been too. We have had a good few years together and plan to have many more. My pondering was interrupted by my neighbor down the hall who had been offered a ride by my roommates.

“Thank you,” he said, “you are a life saver.”

“You’re welcome,” I replied. “You know what is most amazing about this?”

“No, what?” he asked.

“Elazar just hit his 100,000 mile,” I said still smiling.

I love my car Elazar.

22 March 2009

Spring Agony

The stars were shining brightly on the moonless night. There was a warm breeze sifting through the green grass. He hesitated for a moment, he could wait for another night, in a week or two maybe. He shook his head causing the thought to fall to the ground beside his feet where he promptly stamped it out. He had promised it would be tonight and so, come heaven or hell, it would be tonight. He quietly retreated back into his house. The change was quick: the pants and underwear came off together in one quick push; the shirt was dragged across his chest then over his head.

He walked over to the closet. He put on new underwear and the black shorts with the bold white stripe on either side that came with them. He selected the tight yellow and black jersey, gently pulling it over his head and back down his chest until finally it fit snugly into place. The tightness felt good on his body, like a reassuring hug that tonight was the night. He slipped on a pair of black and white socks; they too hugged him, but only up to his ankle where they stopped leaving his legs exposed until the black shorts started. He left the room being sure to grab the small black box from his desk before going.

He sat down on the floor of the large open living room and retrieved his old gray shoes from against the wall and put them on while he stretched his legs one at a time. He noted how the shoes were still falling apart. He had done nothing to stop them, but half expect they would heal themselves. They didn’t. Not directly anyway. The right shoe still had the same tangent of fake leather pulling away his its loosened stitching that started on the first day he wore them. At least the damage wasn’t progressing. The wear points in the mesh however were a different story. They were slowly enlarging themselves as his toes rubbed against them.

He pulled the strings pushing his flesh and bone together. He winced in pain for a moment before releasing some of the pressure. His foot thanked him as it expanded into the newly available space. With the string still tight in his fingers he crossed the two ends, right over-under left, then looped them back left over-under right pulling two loops to complete the knot. He didn’t want to go, didn’t want to do this but he had promised. He ran his hands down his leg feeling the hair sift through his fingers and tickle his palm. He held his foot for an absent minded moment before letting go.

He looked at the black box in his hand. It was quiet and lifeless in his hand. He slid the small pink switch on the top until all the color disappeared. Then, in an instant, the whole front on the thin black box lit up as if it was trying to share its excitement for being alive with the world. He grumbled at it for a moment, it was always too happy for such things. The actions he was about to take would lead to the starvation of thousands of innocent lives, but the little black box only smiled as it cheerfully played music.

He slipped the small mood altering buds into his ears and let the hypnotic sound of the black box soak into his head. For this he both loved and hated the box. He still didn’t want to go. Not for all the pain that he would cause, all the suffering that would take place at his hands, not for any part of the whole experience. But, he promised and so he would. His checked his waist, there was no key. He walked back to the bedroom and retrieved his keys. He pushed his nail into the slit in the key ring separating it enough to push it over the other key ring. He spun the circle until it clicked, signaling it was free. He pushed the key between his skin and his elastic waist band. The key would be safe there.

The tune in his ears changed from the calm steady beat to one of pulsing action. His heart started pumping in time with it, he had to go. He had put this moment off long enough and the time had come. He left the bedroom then out of the house being sure to lock the door behind him, he wanted no surprises when he got back. The pulsing in his ears was growing stronger and stronger until he finally yielded. His legs started moving in time with the beat.

Left then right, left then right.

The black box was doing its job, the job it always did well. That was what he loved about it. The tune changed again, this time to one of steady progression. He felt like he could conquer the world even if at a slow but steady pace. The hills had started and the tune was the perfect encouragement to continue his climb.

Left then right, left then right.

The air was colder atop the hill than he thought it would be. There was a wind blowing too. The cool air was filling his lungs and he gasped for breath. His body wasn’t used to this level of abuse. The few token attempts to prepare for this moment had long been forgotten. Blood raced through his veins trying desperately to warm his skin before the cold air whipped away all the heat. The contrast between the hot and cold lit his body on fire and his naked skin was burning. The black box did its job and the tune changed again to a happier one that drowned out the masses of cells crying in agony and pain.

The race for his health at the expense of his own comfort had begun under the brightly shining stars on that moonless night.

20 March 2009

Spring is here!

Rexburg definetly got the memo that spring has arrived. It is such nice weather, and when I went running part of the the time I was running next to a little bunny.

17 March 2009

The Promise of Eli

Perhaps one of the most interesting animals in the entire zoo is Eli. He is not interesting because he is a rare exotic creature, which he is not. He is in fact a common donkey. No, he is interesting in the way he came to the zoo. Most animals at the zoo are either born here or are brought in by crate. Eli is the only animal to have arrived by falling out of the sky. No one is quite sure why he was in the sky or how he fell, just that he did. The old goose seems content to think that a stork was delivering Eli to his parents but got so tired of listening to him talk that he let go early and dropped the donkey in the zebra area at the zoo. While the zebras were at first quite impressed with Eli’s ability to talk they quickly found out that he really never stopped. Sometimes what he had to say was actually useful but more often it was rubbish about other animals, things that Eli really didn't know and often just made up.

Eli’s favorite animal to talk about was the old goose, the one who led the little goslings. He would spend hours without end teasing the old goose with such stories that the goose would chase him around and around until he got too tired to chase any more. It got so bad that the other animals would shoo Eli away if the old goose was around just so they wouldn't get caught in the middle of the chase.

One day Eli was being chased by the old goose for telling a story how the old goose had never set foot outside the zoo and made up all the things he told the goslings about the outside world. The two were running through Colletto’s pin when Eli noticed the goose wasn't chasing him anymore. He hardly had time to think about it when suddenly he found himself stopped. William had been watching him run and pounced on him as he ran past his hiding spot.

“Don’t eat me, don't eat me” Eli cried. “Donkeys are no good to eat.”

William looked at him curiously, “have you ever eaten a donkey?”

“Well no, but…”

“Then keep talking and I will tell you what they taste like.” Eli could tell that William was not at all happy. He could finally see why the goose had stopped chasing him. Colletto had stopped the goose as they ran through his pin. Colletto talked a little bit with the old goose before letting him go then he walked over the William who was still holding Eli to the ground.

“What is this nonsense you were spreading about the old goose?” Colletto asked.

Eli shifted on the ground casually trying to break free. He didn't want to tell William what he had been saying about the goose. You see, the story he had been telling the other animals was about how the old goose had drained the penguin pool last night and flooded the beach the night before. Neither story was true of course, but Eli wanted so bad to tell people something that he made the stories up.

“I've had enough,” said William. He and Colletto took Eli and headed to the open plains outside the zoo. Eli had never been to the open plains before, very few animals had. It was beyond the Baob Plains on the other side of the zoo wall. Eli was nervous and daren't ask where they were going. He tried to make small talk but William and Colletto would shush him every time he started to speak. Finally they stopped walking.
Eli was about to ask where they were but he quite forgot to. Instead of talking he just starred in front of himself. Two horns rose out of the grass. The horns were very, very far apart, and Eli began to think it must be attached to a huge animal. He was right. The wide horns sat squarely on a large head which was attached to a body that Eli had thought was a rock. Once the animal had risen Eli was shaking with fear. It was a bull, but with horn longer than any Eli had ever seen.

“William,” the bull said. He spoke slowly and with great purpose, quite the opposite of Eli and had quick rolling words.

“William, what brings you here to visit the Great Open Plains?”

“Harrison, it is good to see you,” William said nearly as slowly as the bull. The slowness of their speech was killing Eli. He wished he could fast forward through it. But he was glad that he paid attention to the incredibly slow conversation.

“My friend Eli needs your help, if you are willing,” William said. They all looked at Eli.

“I think I am all better now, really I do,” Eli said nervously. In all honesty he wasn't even sure what help he had needed but the thought of the giant Harrison helping him scared him so much that he was sure he could get over whatever it was that was wrong. “I know I have not been well, but I'm better now. Honest.” He looked to William, then Harrison and finally Colletto. None of them believed him.

Harrison spoke, “I see what you mean.” He paused for a moment. “I think we can help him learn a lesson or two.”

“Please, please, I will learn my lesson. I promise,” Eli said. He was now scared that William and Colletto would leave him alone with the longhorn bull and Eli would have no one to talk too.

Colletto smiled, and then looked to Harrison, “I think he is finally ready. Be gentle, and help him learn his lesson.”

Colletto and William started to walk away. Eli jumped to catch up with them but Harrison used one of his long horns to block Eli. Eli knew he had to stay and he almost began to cry as he watched William and Colletto walk out of sight.

“Don't worry,” Harrison spoke slowly, “your friends will come back in time.”

16 March 2009

William gets some new friends

I was bored the other day in my design class and started build a random mountain, making clouds and constellations. You know, the normal "I'm bored" stuff. I brought in William the Lion and some of his friends to make the scene more complete then I rolled the whole thing into an ad (advertising class was later that day) just for fun. Finally I decided that William needed some more friends and have recently finished expanding his friends out from the original four (William, T-Rex, King of Kong and the Peran Seamonster) to a total of 18 different animals. Some of the new additions include Iselcaan the Seamonster, the sea creature Yasmine (rounding out the trio of things most feared by lions who read too much), our beloved Eli the Donkey, Tycho the Bear, Remey and the Seamonkeys and the makestic Takara the white Wolf.

15 March 2009

Biology Test

There it is, looming of the horizon. The setting sun illuminates the nauseating yellow brick build. I keep my gaze fixed on the small glass door that will lead to my inevitable doom. Well, not directly to my doom. It will lead first through a maze meant to beat down my very last will before plummeting me into the sealed chamber where I am meant to suffocate until I finally pass out. I can already see the blinding light at the end of the tunnel. The light is so bright that I move my hand to shield my eyes. I find that I am not really dead, not yet; I am just blinded by the light reflecting off the grimacing glass door. Even the black tar paper that covers the stair tunnel seems to be sucking life out of my being. It knows that all too soon I will be inside its evil clutches.

I check the time before opening the door. I am early and I contemplate waiting the ten extra minutes before I had to be inside. Reason grips me as I reach out and grip the door handle. I know I that I need to go now or I’ll never go. I pull the heavy glass door open. It feels like rolling back the stone to my own tomb. Others have done this same thing and never came back. What was the secret of their failure, I asked myself. What was it that they had done wrong? Unfortunately their secrets have died with them.

I climb the tall stairs, counting each step, trying to distract myself from what I was about to do. I pull open the inner door, to my dismay there is no one inside. I proceed through the open door. Panic strikes me as my hand races to my face. I rub it across my cheek and down to my chin, the smooth skin tingling under my touch. I sigh in relief. Long gone are the days when I could just pay money for the indulgence of not shaving in the morning. I almost wish those days were back but then again--

“I can help you here,” the young man behind the counter says. I proceed through the open door and hand him my traitorous card. We had once been friends, that was before it betrayed me to this, its true master. He smiles as he runs the traitor through his machine.

“Biol-,” my voice cracks. I clear my throat and try again. “Biology 100 please.” He smiles before returning the traitor to me. I jump back as he lunges across the counter, opening his mouth to reveal missing teeth and an infestation of gum disease.

“Make sure your backpack is COMPLETELY UNDER THE DESK,” he says before laughing psychotically. I hug the wall as I inch past his desk. The woman at the next desk doesn’t lunge at me but instead locks her black eyes on mine as she hands me my papers.

“Y-o-u can use n-o-t-h-i-n-g on this test,” she says. Her gaze striking horror into my soul.

“Can-can I use a pencil?” I manage to ask. She sternly points to the door and rolls her eyes. I’ll take that to mean ‘yes’. I proceed through two more doors before arriving in the testing room. I take a deep breath. An unpleasant mixture of stale air and sweat invades my lungs. The door clicks behind me. I run to an empty seat not wanting to know what came in after me. I open my test and start marking reading the first question, “You know you are a redneck if ____”. I flip the test closed and reread the cover sheet. It states Biology 100 in large black letters.  I turn back to the first question and mark ‘C’ on my answer sheet. C is for “your dog and your wallet are both on chains.” I move to the next question.

BOOM! My desk vibrates as we both feel seismic waves rippling through us.

BOOOOM! The guard is approaching from behind. She purposely wore her biggest high heels so that she could send tremors of terror shooting through her victims.

BOOOOOOOM!! Her menacing black shadow is cast over my desk. I can barely read the words on my test but I try anyway hoping that if I look busy she will move on. She doesn’t. I can feel drop of sweat gathering on my brow before rolling slowly down past my cheeks to hang on my chin. Out of the corner of my eye I see her hand moving. I see a whirl of red as her hand contacts my answer sheet and test. Both are whisked away from me. I jerk my arms back in surprise. My hand lets go on my pencil sending it flying through the air for the CSI to find after I disappear. I look up at her as she shreds my test giving the evilest cackle I’ve ever heard. My heart stops beating. The air thickens so much I can’t breathe. I reach desperately for my test but her hands keep it just beyond my grasp.

I shake my head bringing the blurred question back into focus. I look around; the guard has passed me and continues her rounds. No one else seems to have heard her cackle, but then they would never admit it with her standing there. It’s safer that way. I go through the rest of the test as fast as I can while still hoping to get some of the questions right. C’s get degrees, I remind myself. “Done!” I almost shout as I pop up out of my seat. I force myself to calming walk to the exit. I turn to push the door closed. A sigh of relief escapes my lips as I walk away from the nauseating yellow building into the sunset

I know that I will have to return some day. Maybe the indulgences will be back by then.

09 March 2009

Tears of the Crying Rain (final)

“As the rain falls from the sky you can hear her crying. As she cries you can see her tears, not every drop but some are tears and those tears are me.” The girl smiled again. “I am what is left when the rain is given a divine calling.”

Nathan could tell that this didn’t satisfy Sarah’s curiosity. “Who are the people in here, are the agents of the Black Rider?” Nathan was trying to change the subject.

“They are not agents of the Black Rider,” Tears replied, “They have a much darker purpose. The Black Rider does not frequent here, and so they use it while she is gone. They carry the stink of the Stranger with them and their darkness.”

“Do they use the pool then?” Sarah questioned, calmer now than before.

“Of course, why else would they come here? It is not safe here you know, not for just meeting anyway.” Then she added almost off handedly, “there is a blank door here, I’m sure they like that too.”

There was a light laugh in the room, almost a giggle. Tears of the Crying Rain smiled and the light broke out into the tiny lights Sarah and Nathan had seen when they first entered the room. Her eyes were closed again, almost like she was peacefully sleeping.

“The poor children, they cannot ask me anymore questions,” the voice said. Then the light humming came back and faded away.

“The blank door must be in the main room where they had gathered,” Sarah whispered, “I wonder how they use it.”

“I wondered what caused the echo she came from,” Nathan said thinking out loud. He hadn’t really been listening to Sarah. “I mean, she said she was an echo, something has to cause the echo. Right?”

Sarah agreed, though she wasn’t sure what could have caused such an echo.

08 March 2009

Cutting through water

Her nostrils flare as the strong smell of chlorine hits her face. She pauses for a moment to let the air move past her then steps across the threshold. The door slowly closes behind her. She feels the rough concrete push against her soft feet urging her forward. She steps, flexing her ankle like a gymnast moving into position. She steps again scanning the large open room before choosing a spot. She picks it because of the barely recognizable number sixteen nestled between two number fifteens.

Her feet fit nicely over the one and the six further wearing the black tiles down. She looks to the left, the lifeguard is busy talking to a friend. She looks to the right and sees the bold black and red sign. “No Diving” it proclaims to all who happen to glance its way. She squints hers eyes and looks back to the lifeguard, the sole representation of authority and enforcement of the sign’s demands. A devious smile creeps across her lips. She avoids making eye contact with the lifeguard who has taken some notice of her. It is too late, he knows. The lifeguard stops his conversation and is focusing intently on her as if by the sheer force of his stare, backed by all his lifeguard super powers, her dive can be adverted. She takes this as a challenge.

She had been planning a quick and simple plunge but no longer. It is her powerful will against the mighty powers of the lifeguard. The smile leaves her face as she diverts all of her concentration on the dive. Normally she wouldn’t need much thought for such a simple dive, but this one was different. She is fighting the lifeguard, locked in a battle of wills, struggling to prove dominance and she is determined to win. She starts her countdown.

Ten. She presses her goggles firmly against her eye sockets. She can both hear and feel the suction of the goggles on her face.

Nine. She claps her hands together. The sound of flesh on flesh echoes from across the pool. She knows there is no going back now. She shifts her hands, carefully placing them atop each other. She wants to look at the lifeguard, but stops herself, knowing that any distraction after the countdown has begun can ruin her entire setup.

Eight. She raises her hands high above her head. It feels like every eye in the room is on her. The sound of frantic splashing surrounds her. People are trying to get out of her defiant way.

Seven. She inhales a deep breath and feels it swirling in her lungs, the chlorine giving a slight chemical burn to everything it touches.

Six. She slowly breathes out. This is it, she says to herself. She knows this will be amazing.

Five. She breathes in her final breath before the dive. She closes her eyes envisioning the perfect dive and the complete defeat of the lifeguard’s tyrannical rule of the pool.

Four.  Her knees bend almost instinctively. Then without thinking she is moving.

Three. Her motion is too great to stop. The powerful contracting of her knees has almost immediate resolved itself into a powerful release sending her surging forward. The smile creeps back across her face.

Two. As her fingers brush the water her body responds by straightening itself ensuring one of the most perfect and flawless dives she has ever made.

One. Her forehead touches the water causing her lungs to slowly expel the air that she had so carefully contained there. The steady stream of air keeps the invasive chlorine rich water out of delicate lungs. They are grateful for the care she has put into keeping them safe.

Her whole body is submerged beneath the glassy ripples of the pool. Her dive has propelled her nearly to the bottom. She flexes her legs to push herself the rest of the way there. Extending her hand she touches the perfectly preserved number sixteen written on the pool bottom. She has, in a moment, accomplished what few ever have and what few ever will. She has defied the almighty lifeguard authority, dived into the pool and touched the sacred sixteen all in one fluid motion. She pulls her feet into her chest and spins on the pool bottom. Like the launch into the pool the curling of her legs triggers their powerful release. The burst of motion pushes her to the surface just feet from where she had first entered the water. At the surface she rewards herself with a breath of fresh air. She doesn’t need to look at the lifeguard to know the distain on his face right now.

She feels the cool current flow across her hand as she reaches through the clear waters. Each extension of her hand splits the water, letting her glide like an angel. Her legs kick in rhythm to her arms moving her to the pool’s end. The other patrons are starting to get back into the pool now that the threat of a dive is over. She now slides through the water innocent of the accusing looks others are giving her.

One lap. Two laps. Three laps. Four laps. She stopped in the shallow end and pulled herself back onto the rough concrete. She smiles and looks at the lifeguard as she thinks about diving in again. She has already given the lifeguard one heart attack; he doesn’t deserve a second. Instead she winks at him then turns away leaving a trail of water drops in her wake. She doesn’t even know who he is, not that it matters much to her. She wants to at least give him a chance before he dies. She grabs the dressing room door handle, but stops before opening it. She turns, tiny water droplets falling from her hair as it swings through the air, and gives him one last look. He winks at her. She smiles and blushes then ducks into the dressing room.

07 March 2009

Tears of the Crying Rain (second)

“No, we are different. He is a seer,” the girl replied. “He sees more most cannot, even in the darkest of night his eyes can still capture the light.”

“And are you not a seer?” Sarah said a little impatiently.

“This some has much need of patience and learning,” the girl responded curtly. “I can see what was but can see no more what is and certainly not what will be.”

“What is the Watergate?” Nathan asked.

The girl smiled. “Ah, the Watergate. This is where I live. This is where I see. This is where I learn. This room anyway. Then came the Black Rider who built the halls around this room and gathered the Seeing pool.”

“Who is the Black Rider?” Nathan asked.

“The Black Rider is not known to me,” she responded, “only her works are plain for me to see.”

Sarah was going to make a remark about the girl’s inability to see anything clearly but she was distracted by some voices outside the door. Nathan and Sarah suddenly remembered where they were and what they had been doing before talking to the girl.

“Do not worry, you are safe in here,” the girl said. “I choose when to let them in and I am busy with you, for the moment.”

“And who, again, are you?” Sarah asked sounding a little annoyed.

“I already told you, I am…” the girl started.

“Yes, yes, you are the shadow of a rising sun,” Sarah interrupted. “Do you have a name?”

“A name, let me think for a minute,” the girl responded. After a minute she spoke again, “I am Tears of the Crying Rain.” Sarah and Nathan exchange puzzled looks.

06 March 2009

Tears of the Crying Rain (first)

(continued from Seer in the Pool)

The room was dark, very dark. Sarah and Nathan just stayed behind the door listening for footsteps. They heard some coming but they turned and headed down the hall and headed to the Seeing Pool.

Nathan turned around slowly. He gasped and froze. Sarah turned around and froze as well. The room that they were in was filled with hundreds of tiny faint lights. It took Nathan a minute to realize that the lights were all moving. But the light wasn’t what captured Nathan’s attention. In the middle of the room was a simple wood chair with a young girl sitting in it that seemed distantly familiar to Nathan. The girl seemed aware of the Sarah and Nathan being in the room but uncaring.

Nathan was mesmerized by the dancing lights. The lights slowly spun and moved around the room. The lights were starting to gather around the girl’s outstretched hands. They collapsed into a tight ball which she coupled her hand around. Her eyes flew open and both Nathan and Sarah were caught in the gaze of her shimmering grey eyes.

A humming filled the room, like a child playing a game. As it grew louder the humming changed to a teasing, almost lyrical taunting.

“The time has come for me to answer some.” It was a little girl’s voice. “These some have seen the dark seer but thirst for more.”

The girl started to speak, “What do you want?” she asked.

“Who are you?” Nathan asked.

“You ask this question often,” she responded. “I am the shadow of a rising moon after the sun has set. I am the echo left in an empty room.”

“That really helped,” Sarah whispered sarcastically. The girl shot a look at Sarah. “Are you a seer like the Dark Seer?” Sarah asked.

02 March 2009

Seer in the Pool (final)

“A Dark Seer to be exact,” the Seer corrected Nathan’s comment. “I can see things that others cannot. I see in the darkest of night to continue give a ray of hope in the piercing blackness.”  

“What do we call you?” Sarah asked. “I am known by many names, but Dark Seer is fine, I am probably the only one you will meet.” The Seer turned his attention back to Nathan. 

“How did you get into the Watergate? Are you okay?” the Seer sounded concerned now.

“We snuck in after a couple of robed figures,” Sarah volunteered. She obviously trusted the Seer more than Nathan.

“You need to leave soon, it isn’t safe.” The Seer was now speaking urgently. “They are gathered for a meeting and after that meeting they will come to the pool.”

Sarah went rigid and slowly turned her head to the grate. “Nathan, they’re coming.” Nathan heard it too, the sound of doors opening and a clanking of metal.

“Go. Go now!” the Seer commanded before disappearing back into the ripples. Sarah grabbed Nathan’s arm and the two headed back to the grate. They could hear some voices coming down the hallway straight ahead so they turned to the right. There were people coming up that hall too. They were trapped. Sarah turned to the door behind them. It was locked. She played with the lock for a moment. The lock clicked and the door opened. Sarah and Nathan quietly backed into the room and closed the door.

01 March 2009

Breakfast Cereal

You wince in reaction to the coldness of the wood laminate floor on your barefoot. It is always this cold and yet it always seems colder on the first step than it has ever been. You take another step and wince again. Though the shock of the first foot on the coldness prepared you for the second, nothing can ever really prepare you for the sensation of bare flesh on cold floors, especially first thing in the morning. You carefully pick your way over to the cupboard, pausing for a moment to remind yourself why you are not still in bed. Work, you tell yourself, you have things that need to be done and they won't get done unless you leave the warm comforts of your bed. You open the cupboard door, one solitary bowl greets you. Its tall dark sides beckon you to take it, fill it and enjoy your morning. You reach in and grab it, gently cradling the smooth textures in your palms. Both of you have been waiting all night for this. Okay, maybe you haven’t been waiting all night but you are certainly looking forward to it now.

You move over to the drawer that almost glides open by itself. You look at the cloth covering the drawer bottom, not at all disappointed by your choice of not one or two, but three different spoons, a level of selection you haven’t enjoyed for several days now. You reach for the middle spoon passing by the long, narrow handled spoon that looks like it may be painful enough to hold much less actually eat with. Besides the spoon is far too large for the delicate work that will be needed this morning. You feel the gentle curves of the thin spoon in your hand, not your favorite spoon but it will work just the same. A smirk comes across your face, how could the clear cylindrical handled spoon that lay to the far right of the drawer even hope to be taken seriously at this early hour and for such a delicate task as eating breakfast. You push the drawer closed with your hip, not even bothering to give it a second glance. The chosen thin curved spoon will do nicely.

The spoon and bowl are both gently laid on the counter. You hesitate for a moment, they felt so good to be in your hands and now you have parted company. Just for a minute, you tell yourself, it is a necessary separation. You turn and reach over to the small high cabinets over the fridge. The floor isn’t any warmer but your feet are now used to the cold treatment. You grab the red colored box and in a single swift motion you pivot back around to your bowl and spoon while flipping the cardboard tabs with your thumb. The bowl is crying out to be filled. Its cries are only silenced for a moment as you hastily pull the cloudy plastic bag straight, at least straight enough to pour. The box seems to know what needs to be done and tips itself towards the bowl release a stream of tan colored cereal with small multicolored pieces. Each piece has a shape but they are all moving too fast to notice. The box slowly tips back to an upright position signaling the end of the exchange.

A short stream of milk hits the cereal adding a glistening white to the dark colors of the bowl, the tan from the cereal and the plethora of colored pieces. You pour just a bit of milk, not as much as you normally would, but enough that the cereal is wet. The milk to cereal ratio is most important, more so than science could ever appreciate. With bowl and spoon in hand you sit down on the couch, sinking into the deep cushions to enjoy this delicious nutrition.  You slowly begin the delicate work of fishing out the hard tan pieces of cereal, being careful to not capture any of the multicolor marshmallows. You carefully maneuver your thin handled spoon, weaving patterns through the milk, moving in and out of the marshmallows that are eager to cling to the spoon and the crunchy pieces of the cereal. Like a tiny glacier winding through a mountain range your spoon gathers together cereal until it is too full to collect any more.

A glacier would have just dumped all the material forming a hill that would jut up out of the ground. You however are not a glacier and instead lift the spoon to your eagerly opening mouth. You close your eyes as your hand guides the cereal laden spoon inside your gaping maw. Instinctually you drag the smooth bottom of the spoon across your lower lip being careful to make sure any remaining marshmallows can safely drop back into the waiting bowl below. Your upper lip closes around the handle. The chosen spoon is forced to deposit its contents into your mouth as you slowly pull it through tightly pursed lips. With the spoon safely out of the way your mouth starts to work. Just as your lip knew to scrap the bottom of the spoon so your jaw knows what to do with the spoon gone. It begins the work of breaking down the hard cereal. This is not your favorite part of eating the cereal, but still you enjoy it if only for the pleasure you know will come later. Your tongue tells you the pieces are small enough, you swallow and eagerly begin the process again.

If any boss, teacher or friend ever needed proof of your dedication and relentless determination this is all they would need to see. You repeat the process over and over with unwavering concentration until finally there is no cereal left, just marshmallow. You smile as you tilt your head back and slurp in the perfect mixture of marshmallow and sugar rich milk. This is why you braved the cold floor.

Now honestly, which is better, the thousand word above or the picture below?