Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category

A Writer’s New Day

Posted: November 26, 2014 by Cat Reyes in Stories
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Amelia stared at her computer screen, its dim glow illuminating her face as she struggled to find the words that would satisfy her. A cursor blinked lazily on the left side of the page, a beacon of temptation. But not just any words would do, they had to be the right words to convey the story she envisioned in its glaring detail.

For her, writing was as necessary as breathing. A pull of something that was constant in the back of her mind, begging her to write an extra word here or there, to make up the lines of a story half-remembered, or long forgotten. She lived to write and dreamed of ideas. Her characters danced pirouettes in her head; all whispering the sweet nothings of their stories in her mind’s ear.

Her skin crawled with the need to fill the blank page that mocked her, demanding her attention. Her coffee sat cooling on the desk next to the keyboard, every once in a while sending a vague draft of its warm odor to her nose, a reminder of its presence.

Fear began to well, joining with her need: the beginnings of panic. She had to write. But what to say? There were so many words; words that described an item differently to each person who saw it. Words echoed in her head, all evoking a line of thought until she thought she couldn’t handle any more. But still they came. The color of the monitor, the screen within, all yearning to have their words heard. Still, characters swam by her mind’s eye, desperately seeking her attention and more, her approval.

Music blared in Amelia’s ears, a loud cacophony, not meant to draw her attention but to define the mood in which she could write if she could find the words. A soft, elaborate waltz of notes invaded her ears, almost bringing tears to her eyes as she thought of knights fallen in battle, women waiting for their soldier’s return, and death itself in his endless search of companionship.

Death, like her, wanted perfection. That fundamental need to express the world in a way that all could understand and agree with. Death’s need was for the perfect companion, to share lost nights with, as he paced the earth in search of souls too old for their bodies. She needed the story that told what she felt, the words of her characters as they needed them described.

Finally, unable to find what she sought. She turned the monitor off with a harsh motion of her hand. Embittered tears trickle down her cheeks at the face of her failure.

A sip of coffee and the doorbell rings. So begins the new day.

Eyes

Posted: November 16, 2014 by Cat Reyes in Stories
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

“Sire.” A cool voice sounded from outside the glass that Tom was perched near. Tom nodded to his invisible accomplice then turned and glanced back at his people. Father stood in front of the mantle, lecturing Harry/Son, who was staring avidly at the fire in the fireplace. Mother sat in a rocker nearby, but was completely engrossed in her knitting. They would never notice his absence.

Tom faked a huge yawn, showing off his long canine teeth, and then leapt from his place on the sofa, before sauntering toward the door. Glancing at the humans, he frowned. Typical. All they cared about were the problems that Harry had gotten into. Harry had tortured a neighbor’s milk cow, by scaring the beast. If it hadn’t been for the fact that the cow won’t give milk, Tom wouldn’t have let the lecture go on so long. Now he figured that Harry probably wouldn’t do it again.

He opened his mouth and let a loud yowl erupt, telling his humans that he was ready to go outside for a while. Father glanced at Tom but didn’t stop his tirade over Harry. Mother jumped as if she had been started, then, finally, putting her knitting aside, approached the door and opened it. Tom meowed his thanks, and then strolled into the darkness beyond his home.

Once outside, the voice that had alerted him to the time, came from the flowerbeds.

“Sire.” The voice spoke, its tone amused and annoyed.

“Ok, Catamount, why am I being summoned at this time of night?” Tom asked, turning his already night-ready eyes to the shadows where a large black cat loomed.

“There is a human child left at the edge of the village, crying up a storm, but no humans have noticed it.” Catamount stated, shimmying out of a rose bush.

“That is why you summoned me tonight?” Tom asked, staring at his personal guard in surprise. “Why didn’t you wake up your humans?” Catamounts’ tail bristled slightly, and Tom remembered belatedly that Catamounts’ humans had abandoned him in the village when they moved.

“Sorry, chap.” Tom stated, embarrassed. “I forgot.”

“Yes, sire.” Catamount replied, clearly ruffled. “The child is different though.” He added by way of explanation, as if he wouldn’t have woken up his humans if they hadn’t abandoned him.

Tom nodded. “Alright, show me the child, and we can decide what to do.”

Tom knew that Catamount was suspicious and prone to believe old wife’s tales, but he was one of the biggest and strongest cats in the village. Tom had had to put up with Catamount prowling around him since he was a small kitten. His parents were the King and Queen of the village, and when his father died, Tom became King. His mother had always been concerned that Tom would be attacked by frequent feline visitors, and had begged his father to install a bodyguard.

Tom didn’t like the fact that Catamount’s humans had left him behind, but he also hadn’t looked forward to the task of finding a new bodyguard.

The village had many comings and goings in the last human year, families moving from other areas, other old families living for new lands. Tom hadn’t liked the change, which had never happened before. He was uncomfortable with the new humans, getting bad feelings from them, or their animals, which had a cruel look about them. His village was growing and no one had had the decency to consult him about it. He had specifically chosen to live with the Village Elders as soon as he realized his father’s upcoming death, just so that he could keep abreast of the news.

Catamount coughed, dragging Tom’s attention from his thoughts.

“Carry on.” Tom motioned his old friend forward with a slight wave of his paw. Catamount nodded and began to lead Tom through the village. After a few moments, Tom realized that they were heading for the crossroads, an area where wagons and carriages often tore about, sometimes killing the occasional animal.

Tom stopped. “Why are we going to the Crossroads?” He asked his protector.

“The child is on the far side of town.” Catamount replied glancing over his sleek shoulder.

“And how do you know about it?” Tom asked, concern bringing his ears forward. He listened intently to his friends reply.

“I was told by Fluff.” Catamount said shortly. Tom thought he heard an edge of anger or sadness in his friends tone.

Tom sat on his haunches considering. He didn’t like the fact that Catamount had spoken to Fluff, the local glutton. Frowning he realized that as far as he knew, Fluff hadn’t left his home since Tom was starting to learn to hunt. So how could Catamount have spoken to him?

Especially since Fluff lived on the other side of the Crossroads. “What am I supposed to do with the child? My humans are on this side of the Crossroads. I haven’t been on the far side in over six human years.”

“We thought that it might be best if you saw the child personally.” Catamount stated as if it was obvious. He had continued walking even though Tom had stopped.

Glancing around, Tom noticed that he was near the main street of the village; across the way from him was a bar whose occupants were in the full swing of another of their nightly celebrations. Horses were tethered up to the fences, looking terrified at the thought of their masters returning to claim them. Tom guessed that the carriages were housed in the stable.

Tom’s tail twitched as he spotted a mouse, but he sighed. First deal with the child, then he could grab himself a snack before returning to his home. Tom sighed, stood, and trotted after his companion.

“Ok. So how far past the Crossroads is the child?” Tom asked, still not liking the idea of the Crossroads. His uncle and two brothers had been killed at the Crossroads, and he didn’t fancy the thought of himself going the same way.

“Not long after we cross.” Catamount stated casually. He slowed his walk to let Tom catch up then matched step beside him.

Tom was caught up in his thoughts so didn’t realize when they finally approached the dreaded crossroads. The only thing that stopped him from walking right across and possibly being killed was Catamount tackling him.

“What?!” Tom demanded outraged.

“Don’t think and walk at the same time, you might miss the obvious.” Catamount told him gruffly, stepping off Tom. Two carriages chose that moment to rumble by. Tom was amazed that humans would still be out of bed after dark, but then remembered that the tavern was still open. Sighing he told himself to be more cautious in the future.

Suddenly, Catamount charged across the Crossroads, a sleek black streak in the night. At the other side, clearly out of breath he called back, “get ready… Now!” Tom hesitated staring at an approaching coach.

“For the love of Isis, Tom. Move when I tell you.” Catamount shouted at him, when the coach had passed. They waited silently as more carriages, coaches, and horses passed, until there was another break in the traffic, then Catamount called, and Tom launched himself into the road. Half terrified, he ran as if the devil himself was behind him. Out of nowhere came a speeding horse, its hooves striking the ground directly in front of Tom’s heedless charge. Tom froze, even as the beast swept past, and stared at it. A carriage wheel rolled over his tail and he screamed in pain, but the moment he was released he bolted to where Catamount stood.

“Good job.” Catamount stated, not looking at him. Tom frowned, licking his painful tail.

“Why humans create death traps is beyond me.” Tom told his guard. The other cat snorted.

“The child isn’t far from here.” Catamount told Tom, his voice seemed to be deeper than it had been. Tom glanced up at his friend, but Catamount wouldn’t look at him. Sighing, Tom got to his feet.

“Let’s hurry this up, Catamount.” Tom said, they began moving and quickly came to the place that the child was supposed to be.

Tom glanced around, not seeing anything. The sound of snuffling reached his ears and he glanced at Catamount. “It’s probably been crying this whole time and is finally falling asleep.” The black cat said, staring around, it kept its gaze from Tom, and Tom was starting to get a creepy feeling, as if something bad was going to happen. He had had the feeling once before. At the time he didn’t know what it meant, but shortly afterwards Harry had come home crying, his arm was broken.

That same feeling had started to plague Tom, and he couldn’t pinpoint why it would. His humans were all home and accounted for, his parents had been dead for the last three human years, and he was in the company of Catamount who wouldn’t let anything happen to him.

He shook his head, disgusted at himself for trying to find things to worry about. If his mother had been with him, she would have told him off for going out after dark, on the far side of the tracks, with or without Catamount. Tom glanced at Catamount, wondering if his friend had heard the tales of the Beast. Knowing Catamount though, Tom admitted, he did know about the stories, and believed them. But then why was Catamount out with Tom on the far side of the Crossroads looking for a human child? Tom shivered uncomfortably.

Catamount started toward the sound of the snuffling, and Tom fell in behind him, as he always did, trying to keep his wandering mind at bay. The black cat slinked stealthily into the trees that lay to the side of the road, and Tom, spooked by memories of the stories his mother had told him, had no choice but to follow his guard.

The snuffling sounds grew louder, until they were almost thunderous. Tom froze realizing something was definitely not right. Catamount didn’t seem to notice Tom, and soon vanished from sight.

After a few seconds, the snuffling was silenced. Tom realized belatedly that the forest was still. He knew that there should be sounds emanating from the various creatures of the forest, but he couldn’t hear anything. For a moment, he had the panicky feeling that he had lost his hearing.

Suddenly, his skin prickled, and his tail fluffed. Tom knew when his skin prickled that he was in danger. Quickly he started to back the way he had come, but realized just as quickly that he didn’t know which way he had come from.

Terrified he huddled close to the ground, hoping that his mottled fur would make him practically invisible to anything that would come upon him.

A loud snap came from Tom’s right, and he understood that the sound was a twig breaking. The night was silent again, but his muscles still hummed with tension.

He sensed movement and unintentionally turned to face it. A creature standing almost as tall as a man, but was definitely a cat stood next to him. A yowl caught in Tom’s throat as he stared at the creature. It was huge and black, bigger than any cat he had ever imagined. Its eyes were blood red and stared at him, knowing where he was.

Unable to stay under that terrible gaze, Tom bolted. He didn’t know where he was going, nor did he care, all he wanted was to be anywhere than in the forest at that moment. A movement straight in front of him caused him to falter then stumble. How had the Beast gotten in front of him, when it was behind him?

But no, it wasn’t the Beast, it was Catamount. Tom redoubled his efforts and within a few seconds stopped next to Catamount. “You will never believe what I just-.” Catamount turned his gaze on Tom, and to Tom’s horror, his eyes were as red as those of the Beast.

Alarmed, Tom bolted the way he had come, but remembering what was waiting him in that direction, he turned, and slammed into a large fluff ball of a cat. Fluff the glutton of a cat was out of his home. Fluff looked at Tom. His voice was cold when he spoke, “What’s wrong, sire?” He asked, his blood red eyes seeming to peer into Tom’s soul.

Tom turned to run, but only froze, paralyzed by fear as every single cat of the village prowled toward him, their eyes glowing bright red, their faces twisted into gross masks of what they once were. Then the Beast waded into them, striding toward Tom, his mouth opening wider with each step.

Tom’s shriek split the air.

He jumped backwards and fell off the sofa. His heart thundered in his ears, as he looked around the familiar scene of his home. Mother was still sitting with her knitting needles clutched in her hands, though her eyes were on Tom. Father was still telling off Harry. Tom breathed a sigh of relief knowing that he was safe.

Trying to look nonchalant, he leapt back onto the couch and stretched before he curled up on his perch. Glancing out the window, before he closed his eyes to go back to sleep, he froze.

There amidst the bushes that decorated the sides of the house were two sets of eyes, one larger than the other and both blood red.

I still remember just how she looked, the moment she entered the room. Fat snowflakes dusted her mahogany hair, matching her pale skin and marking a stark contrast with her black eyes. She didn’t see me at first, so I could afford the study of her rosy cheeks and laughing mouth. Her dark red coat had several splotched of packed snow, revealing an intense snow-ball fight which must have occurred right outside the door of the house.

Then she looked at me. It was as if I was shot through with electricity. Even my fingers went numb with the intensity. She looked as surprised as I felt. Neither of us seemed to be able to move for a moment. Her blond friend looked back and forth between us several times before shoving Tanya toward me.

She was like no one I had ever met before. We spent that whole night talking, laughing, drinking cocoa, and yes, a couple of snow-ball fights were thrown into the mix. I still remember the way her eyes lit up when she smiled, or talked about something she cared deeply for. I can still feel the way her fingertips pressed into my forearm as she told me her dreams with an intensity that made my heart shudder. We exchanged numbers before she left, with the knowledge that she would call the moment she got home.

She didn’t. I would like to think that if she could have, she would. Maybe we would have spent hours speaking on the phone, as we had in person. Maybe we would have met up again, over a cup of coffee. We did, after all, live in the same town, only a few blocks away from each other. It was a chance encounter, us both visiting family, and then friends. It was surprising that we had never met before, but no matter. She would never be able to make that call and I would never be able to call her.

That night, one of the engines on her plane froze. Just a few hours after we made plans, she was dead.

I still remember the way she looked that day, when she came in the door, dusted with  snowflakes.

The mushroom cloud that started it all

The mushroom cloud that started it all

Colin Sumpterfeld breathed deeply of the fresh, scented mountain air. He’d always loved the way the Rocky Mountains smelled in the late spring, when the snows had finally receded. He sat upon the stump, looking southeast toward the city. Secretly, he was happy he couldn’t actually see the city, though in the distance, the swath cut through the fir forest for the power lines was visible and he wondered idly how long it would take nature to reclaim the scarred land, if left to its own devices.

It would happen if it could happen, Colin knew. Already, signs of the old equipment bunker were overgrown and invisible to anyone who didn’t know where it was. Decades earlier, the army had built the bunker into the side of the mountain, ostensibly to hold emergency supplies in case of a natural disaster, such as the ever present threat of the super volcano many miles to the southwest, erupting. Colin knew where the bunker was, but he didn’t know how far the army had gotten in stocking it. He’d never been inside and the hatch that led down into the bunker was padlocked. The hatch and warning signs were now overgrown, but Colin didn’t particularly care anyway.

He took another deep breath and allowed his eyes to fall to the ground near the stump. He was, after all, here to look for wild mushrooms. That was only an excuse, but it would be nice if he could find a morel or two to take back home with him.

Colin jumped when he heard a voice say, “Hello!”

He whirled, nearly dropping his rifle, his eyes fixing on the woman who stood a dozen feet away. He took her in with little more than a glance; athletically slender, shoulder length brown hair, pretty face, dressed in khaki shorts and a short sleeved shirt, with a knapsack on her back and a walking stick in her hand.

“Ma’am, it isn’t wise to walk up on someone like that,” Colin grumbled, half angry at himself because he’d not heard her.

“Sorry,” she said cheerfully, giving him a bright smile. She glanced distastefully at the rifle Colin laid back across his lap. “So were you going to shoot me, or is that reserved for defenseless animals?”

Her tone was mild, but her words irritated Colin.

“Ma’am, the rifle is just in case. There are hungry grizzlies in these mountains that would love to munch on tender flesh,” Colin said.

He felt a moment of satisfaction, quickly followed by a twinge of guilt, as the woman looked around nervously. Bears rarely attacked people without reason, and not to have a quick snack.

“Is there something I can help you with, ma’am?” he said calmly, hoping to remove some of the fear his last comment had created.

The woman blushed and said, “My name isn’t ma’am, it is Julie. I…um…got turned around somehow. I was hiking with a group from college and we sort of got separated.”

“Well, I’ve not seen anyone out here, except for defenseless animals,” Colin said, immediately sorry for the needless barb. He sighed, adding, “Maybe you can backtrack to where they were. I’ll come with you if you’d like.”

Julie blushed again, deeper red than before.

“I don’t know if that will help. I got separated from them yesterday evening and I’ve been looking for them most of last night. I think that I may have made matters worse because none of this looks remotely familiar,” she said, waving an arm to include the whole area.

Colin opened his mouth to chastise her for leaving a place the moment she knew that she was lost. The words never left his mouth, as a brilliant flash occurred in the southeast and the rumble of thunder could be heard as a tell-tale mushroom shaped cloud rose up over where the city had been.

He knew that there was only one thing that could cause such a flash, rumble and enormous cloud, and he knew what the results would be if they remained exposed on a southward facing slope.

“Come on!” he yelled, jumping to his feet and running. He noticed that there was no hesitation in Julie as she fell into stride with him, a half pace behind. It impressed him that she followed, though she was clearly bewildered, and also that she was able to match his stride.

“What happened?” Julie yelled without breaking stride.

“Atomics!” Colin yelled back. As the implication struck her, Julies pace quickened and she passed him though she clearly had no idea where they were going.

Me: Welcome to today’s post. I decided to do something rather unique and interview a zombie. Don’t worry folks. The zombie is behind steel bars so there is no threat to your hostess. Anyway, let’s go ahead with the interview. Hello, Mr. Zombie… I’m sorry, I would rather not call you ‘Mr. Zombie’ through the whole interview. Do you have a name?

Zombie: Uugh

Me: Ok Ug. It is a pleasure to meet you. What do you think of today’s political climate?

Zombie: Uuuugh.

Me: I have to agree with you, Ug. Today’s politics are a bit tedious. Now, let’s get into some personal details. What is your favorite food?

Zombie: Uuuuuuugh.

Me: Ok. Whose idea was this to interview a zombie? And who came up with these questions? What is the zombie gonna say anyway? “Brains” doesn’t seem to be in his vocabulary.

Zombie: Uuuuuuuuuuugh.

Me: I have to agree with Ug. This is ridiculous. I hear you laughing back there, Steve. Was this some kind of joke?

CRASH!

Me: Oh man. The cage just fell apart. Get someone in here to deal with this!

Zombie: Ugh.

Me: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

The End.

werewolf photo: Werewolf WEREWOLF.jpg

Werewolf Attack Part Three

After his release last Saturday, Williams was found dead this morning by several gun shots to his head and chest, at the end of Gray Owl Drive outside the house of missing child Wesley Smith.

Witnesses claim that a huge animal was trying to get into the Smith residence late last night. Father Gregory Smith, pulled out his shotgun and shot the beast several times. According to the witnesses, when the beast fell, it reverted to a more human shape.

Police officers on the scene have no comment at this time. Gregory has been retained for questioning. He claims that his remaining child was the object of Williams’ attack. He also claims that Williams must have been a werewolf and vehemently swears he shot a beast, not a man.

Williams corpse was taken to the morgue for an autopsy.

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Some of My Short Stories

Posted: February 22, 2014 by Cat Reyes in Stories
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I spent most of my morning writing a paper, so my brain is bushed. Today, I thought I would give you guys my collection of short stories. I used to write for Helium.com (I don’t recommend it unless you use it for training your writing abilities) and now that they switched to their new platform, I have given up writing for them. But anyway, I had a ton of short stories on their site. Since I can’t post them here, I am going to link to them. So here ya go:
Not Running Away

One of my favorites: Winter Romance

He Promised

This one was created for Mythology class and was really awkward to write: How the Boogeyman was Created

This is an earlier (much earlier) start for my other novel: The Party

The Boyfriend

The Father – It’s named incorrectly on the site

The New Day

A story I wrote when I was twelve: How the Panther Lost its Roar

This, I think, is my best short story: The Baby

Just as a warning, I’m a terrible poet, but I figure what they hey, so here are two of my poems.

One of my first poems: Death

Another of my first poems: Breath of Death

Which stories are your favorites?

 

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The Fire

Posted: February 9, 2014 by Cat Reyes in Other Thoughts, Stories, Survival
Tags: , , ,

This was a paper I wrote for class a while back, too. I hope that maybe it will help someone who’s been there and gone through it.

The Fire

In 1996, there were over 400,000 house fires across the United States, resulting in more than 3,500 deaths, 18,000 injuries, and over four billion dollars in damages. That year, my house was among those ranks. I remember the scent of smoke and the dark haze that floated up to the ceiling, but more importantly, I remember the cause of the fire, and the fact that we lost everything but a few animals in it.

It was January. There was snow on the ground, arranged in clumps, but it wasn’t especially cold. We lived in a triplex, a house that had three separate living areas sitting side by side. Ours was the center abode and it was the only one that was in livable condition. The apartment on the left was missing the bathroom floor in its entirety. The apartment on the right had several holes in the floor. It wasn’t hard to get into either house if you crawled under the floor. The holes in the right apartment were easily large enough for a thin teen to pop through. My brother, myself, and our friends did so on a regular basis.

My room and my parents’ room lay against the divider between our house and the house on the right. The far wall in my parents’ room was the divider between their room and the living room in the right apartment. The fire started there, in the living room of the right apartment, but I was the first to notice it because my parents’ room was several steps lower than mine.

We had all gone to bed that night kind of early. I was sitting up reading because it wasn’t that late. The smell was what first attracted my attention. My family goes camping around once a year so I am familiar with what the various scents of smoke are. I knew that the sweet smell was the burning of wood. But it was mixed with other scents. The scent of burning paper and the bitter tang of plastic were also there.  Combined, it was wrong. I was out of my room within seconds to see that a faint shadow of smoke curled against the ceiling, creeping into the rest of the house.

I burst into my parents’ room, startling them both. “Smoke!” I shouted at them. My dad was instantly out of bed, pulling on his pants in the same moment. He shoved past me as he started shouting orders. “Get out of the house! Everyone, get out. Grab the animals!” His voice sounded as though it came from behind a wall, even though I was only about a foot away.

My mom bustled past, not bothering to grab pants to cover bare legs. She only wore her nightgown as she raced through the hall into the kitchen before turning to the back of the house where my brother was. By the time I hit the kitchen, my dad was coming back in the front door.

“The fire is next door!” He shouted, at the same moment, my mom came back into the kitchen. “I can’t wake Pol!”

“Get Chrys out of here!” My dad told my mom, striding past us to my brother’s room. My mom grabbed my hands and we made for the living room. Once there, I broke her grip and grabbed the bird cage, remembering my father’s words. Only later, I would learn that the birds were already dead. My mom saw what I was doing and threw the front door open wide and started calling the animals. It didn’t help that panic and smoke tore at our throats and nothing more than a few shrill shrieks got past our lips.

I did not hear much. Everything sounded muffled as if a blanket covered everything that would make sounds. The sounds that were made, besides being muffled, were distorted. Smoke curled and burned in my throat making my voice sound almost heavy.

This had only taken a few seconds, but already the smoke was covering everything, dimming our view. I could see, dimly the door that lead outside and ran through it, calling for my mom. She was already outside, waiting for me along with my dog, who was barking shrilly in fear. I turned back in time to see my father and my brother break through the smoke behind me. Pol was dragging one of the dogs along with him. My dad held his turtle, being the only thing he could find in the blinding smoke. Dad shoved me ahead of him and the three of us burst through the smoke into the chill night air. As the fire-trucks pulled up, a cat shot out of the house and tore into the bushes that lined our yard. It was the only cat who survived.

I remember standing there holding the bird cage and staring at the house as the fire began to lick my parents’ bedroom windows. I could feel the cold air around me, but I wasn’t cold. I knew I should have felt some kind of chill, some kind of emotion for that matter. But there was nothing. I was empty staring at the black smoke billowing out of the house from windows and eaves. The door we had emerged from had becoming a billowing cesspit of acrid smoke. The fire-trucks’ red lights would light the smoke in an ominous flash before letting it return to its dull black color the next second. To me, the smoke was obvious against the dark sky, but maybe that is just how I felt.

Several firemen came to pull us away from the fire, leading us through the gate, into the road. I could feel the icy chill of pavement against my bare feet, but it didn’t seem important. My throat and lungs burned, but the pain also wasn’t important. We watched as the firemen battled the fire, trying to save what they could. In the end, almost everything was gone. Out of all the animals we had, we lost three cats, the birds that I carried in the cage, and a dog.

Two days later, we were allowed to go back to the house to see if we could find anything. My brother and I skipped school to do so. I remember clutching the flashlight that I had been given as its beam of light swept over the charred remains of my bedroom. The smell was muted because of the cold and I didn’t smell the damage as I should have. The only sound that followed me into the bitter blackness of my room was the crunching of my shoes on the burned remains of my material world. I remember moving some stuff from a corner and seeing a glowing coal. It still lived after two days of cold weather and being drenched by a fireman’s hose.

Outside my room, I heard someone talking to my dad. Now I know it was a fire marshal, but at the time, I just heard voices. I heard the word arson, which, I learned when I went home, meant someone had started the fire, and later I would be told that the fire originated in the living room next to my parents’ room. The man told my dad that it was probably some homeless person trying to get warm during the cold night. But a couple weeks later, we would learn the truth.

One of my brother’s friends had turned on him for some reason or another, a few days before the fire. During a later argument, the guy told my brother that he started the fire. No charges were pressed against him, even with his admission. He denied it to the police and had a supposed alibi: His ill father claimed he was in his room all night. We knew how many times that he snuck out of his bedroom window to hang out with my brother, while his father thought he was in his room doing homework or such. But we had no proof that he did it that night, other than his admission to my brother. However, he was later caught for starting a fire in someone else’s house. Luckily for that family, they caught him in the act. Unfortunately for us, he was still not charged for starting the fire in our home.

It wasn’t until I was staring at the coal that I felt something. An aching sadness that seemed to both pull my gut lower and squeeze everything inside of me with an icy grip. I threw up because of it, right there. The acid taste almost crippling me in that darkened room of things that I once had. But out of the bile came another emotion. Anger. I was angry. More angry than I had ever been in my life. All of my things had been destroyed. The stuffed animals I had collected, my Barbie dolls, my clothes… my cat. Even worse, my family could have died.

I know that I can replace the things I lost, that material items aren’t important in the broad scheme of things, but I also know that no one should lose so much in one night. Nothing of mine or my parents’ was salvageable. A lot of my brother’s things were destroyed. Pictures, books, musical instruments, paintings, drawing, toys, clothing, stories written by myself or my father . . . All these things were burnt to ash or melted into indecipherable shapes twisting in agony… and worst was the animals. I didn’t understand about paintings and pictures, the significance that they meant on my life until I was much older and realized that they were a part of our memories. But the animals . . . To me and my family, animals are like people. They aren’t just toys or pets. They are our family. My cat had been a birthday present who, I intelligently named “Meow”, would stand and wait for me to come home every day. Meow was found behind the stove where she tried to hide. Two other cats had been with us for years and were found two feet from the door. The dog we lost had been in my life since before I could remember. I felt her loss the most, because to me, she was my sister. The dog was found hiding under my brother’s bed, apparently having followed my mother when she went to wake my brother.

We lost so much in that fire, but we also learned a lot about ourselves. We learned that even though we lost almost everything we owned, we still had each other. That together we would make it. It was at that time that I knew love would see people through even the worst of times. I knew that love is the most powerful emotion in the world, and where there is love; there is life and a way. I continue to live by that creed. We weren’t killed that night as my brother’s friend intended. We survived and rebuilt our lives.

Things have never been the same since that night. We live as if we will lose everything in a moment’s notice. We don’t trust others, either. I have a hard time making friends because of the fear that one day they will turn and destroy my family, maybe not as literally as my brother’s friend once attempted, but that thought still resides in the back of my mind. We know that life is precious and it has made us a stronger family. We have learned the value of people assisting those in need and we have tried to help others. In the end, sometimes that is the best that anyone could do for someone in a bad situation: Try to help them in any way that we can.

Go back to Other Thoughts

I wrote this for school a couple months ago and decided to post it here for all of you to enjoy!

Phoebe

Of all the people in my life, one person stands out the most. She was my best friend for twelve years, until she passed away in the Spring of 2004. Her name was Phoebus Shootafar, or as everyone else knew her, Phoebe. She was not a person in the usual sense, but, in fact, was a purebred Shetland Sheepdog.

No one knew that I would go home in a few days with a dog. One of her parents was my parents’ mythology professor at school. My mom and dad were invited by the professor for a lively luncheon at their place. Since my parents had no one else to watch my brother and myself, they brought us along with the usual strict orders to be polite and obey the rules. I never previously met the professor myself, and though I heard stories about him and knew of him as being fun and very into mythology, I knew that he was a grown up, which meant, in my mind, boring.

When we pulled into the road that led to their place, we were greeted by the professor, his wife, and their dog. I was instantly enraptured by Phoebe, though, sadly, at first, she was not interested in me other than as an intruder in her space. I could not take my eyes off of her, and she would not take hers from me. After all, she did not know who I was and I was probably there to steal her tennis balls.

Before too long, with the assistance of the professor’s wife, Phoebe forgot I was a threat. I transitioned from the person who was going to steal her tennis balls to the person who was throwing them for her to chase. We spent a good part of the day that way, me throwing the balls, her chasing them with her gold, brown and white fur flowing like liquid as she moved. Early on, I had noticed a small triangular cut on her tongue and queried the professor’s wife about it.

“Phoebe’s grandmother is a grand champion,” the professor’s wife told me. “Sometimes, the owners of champion dogs do something to the dog’s babies so that when they grow up, they can’t compete.” I did not really consider it at the time, but as I grew up, I would become more and more involved in animal rights because of that small cut on Phoebe’s tongue.

All too soon, it was time to go. My parents were calling me from the car, telling me we needed to go home to get dinner started. I could only stare at them, holding a slobbery green tennis ball in my hand. Then I burst into tears. I did not want to go. It took some cajoling and a few “no desert after dinner” threats to get me into the car.

Like many of the kids I knew, I had watched endless episodes of Lassie and knew I wanted a dog like her. Combined with the fun day I enjoyed with Phoebe, my heart was set. I wanted Phoebe and I would do anything to get her. So, I hatched a plan.

I started cleaning and I was a terrible housekeeper. I tried washing dishes, but after two plates and a cup ended up shattered on the floor, my mom took over that job. I was not allowed around the stove while dinner was cooking, but that did not stop me from trying, at least until after I burnt dinner that night. My next cleaning attempt occurred the next day when I tried to sweep. I did not realize that you were supposed to sweep everything the same direction, not just stir things up swinging the broom every way that it would go. I shattered a lamp in the attempt. At that point, my parents forbade me from even trying to help clean until I was much older. So, I took my efforts outside. My next step was the garden. I started working on pulling up weeds. I was doing a pretty good job, too, until my dad came out and yelled at me for pulling up several of the plants… ok most of the plants in the garden and leaving several, in my opinion, very pretty weeds.

My parents must have caught on to what I was doing because, when I got home from school a couple of days later, Phoebe was sitting on the porch her tail wagging and a tennis ball in her mouth. It turned out that the professor and his wife, while they loved Phoebe, could not take care of her since they spent most of their time teaching in town, over an hour away. The professor gave my parents Phoebe after hearing about my various attempts at cleaning, in the hopes that I would put my attention somewhere else.

From that day on, other than school, Phoebe and I were never separated. That summer, we were explorers making our way up Compost Mountain and fending off hungry carnivorous sheep. A couple of summers after that we were battling a dragon in the backyard that had cleverly disguised itself as a tree. The tree-dragon won, by the way. When I got my driver’s license, she went with me, riding in the passenger seat, her head stuck out the window. When I got married, she wore a headband and helped walk me down the aisle.

When she passed, I knew that I would never find anyone else like Phoebe.  She helped me get through bad breakups, chick flicks, and my numerous tirades over school, my parents, my brother, or my stories. She also served as my motivator, helping me with whatever I needed, be it a tree-dragon, or a long drive. She was always watching, always waiting with patient brown eyes that melted my heart. She loved me completely, never doubting, never holding back. She was my best friend.

Go back to Other Thoughts

werewolf photo: werewolf werewolf.jpg

Child Missing!

Local child, Wesley Smith aged 5 years, was reported missing early this morning by his mother, Danielle Smith. Local authorities released her after questioning and do not believe she was part of the child’s abduction.

Wesley is described as a Caucasian male, 3’3”, weighing around 40 pounds, with short red hair and blue eyes. Wesley vanished from his place of residence on Grey Owl Drive around 4:30 in the morning. Witnesses claimed to hear glass breaking and screams emanating from the house at around 4:15 in the morning. The 911 call was made five minutes later.

Anyone with information about Wesley’s whereabouts or abduction is urged to call the Park County Police.

Man Claiming to See Werewolf to be Heard in Court

Michael Williams, believed to be involved in the disappearances of two men is due to be seen in court for a preliminary hearing.

Williams claimed that he and fellow hunters, Sean Corbet and John Worth, entered the Targee National forest to hunt the creature they believed was responsible for the reports of animal mutilations. While the three men were in the forest, Williams alleges that they were attacked by a werewolf. Williams was the only known survivor from the incident. Police have scouted the area but were unable to reclaim the bodies of the missing men, nor were able to confirm Williams’ story.

Williams has refused the services of a court appointed attorney.

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