David Sarachman - I Write Things

Stitches and Thread

      Stitches and Thread

       Her hand moves with the deftness of a surgeon (and perhaps at one time she might have been one) as the needle flashes–a thin white thread trailing behind it like smoke.

The woman is humming, a song that was already old when the world was young.

Glancing up, she catches her reflection in a mirror, surprised at it’s presence and a little uncertain when, (or if)  she had purchased it. Her hair is blue this time, and she smiles in the flickering light of the single bulb that hangs from the ceiling like a noose.

That’s a cheery thought she thinks–she hasn’t stopped stitching, her hands haven’t stopped moving. It was different from what she did before, but in the end, whether you are fashioning night lights, or sewing stuffed bears the dance is always the same.

She turns away from her reflection, and looks down at her current project. A bear–a teddy bear to be exact, (if being exact was something that you were prone to be).

The bear is of average size for one of it’s kind (whatever that meant) and, this one, is black and white,but she’s positive that it’s not a panda bear (which in her opinion is white and black…obviously.)

ThoKi2025 / Pixabay  white and black).

He has glassy yellow eyes, and his nose is pink.

She wrinkled her nose at it, and touched the it’s nose with her index finger.

“Boop,” she says, smiling.

The fur she used to make him had been found outside a fabric shop– cast-offs, of what surely had been intended for some piece of furniture (black and white furniture).

The stuffing though, that was special, because the stuffing had come from bits of torn cloth recovered from the cloak of Achilles, and also, because she had had it–a piece from the laurel that Hercules had worn on his brow as reward for slaying the  Nemean lion.

 Or was it the boar? She wonders.

Her memory is missing pieces, some are small and some larger. Occasionally she takes a step back from them and looks from above, like they are a jigsaw puzzle, assembled on a kitchen table. She can see where the pieces are missing but she doesn’t know what is missing, and she feels sad.

But I remember that damn eagle though she curses–her hand moving of it’s own accord to just below her chest. Her liver is fine, it just feels like it’s been chewed on.

She hears a chuckle, and is only mildly surprised to realize it’s coming from her own mouth.

“You’re getting senile old Titan,” she laughs with a fleeting touch of genuine happiness, her eyes catch her reflection in the mirror again. The face looking back at her is young, with smooth skin and red lips; she’s surprised at the softness in her voice.

“I’m a woman again,” she says, more for the sound then the statement. “I wonder why I chose woman?” She thinks aloud, chewing on the words and at the novel taste to them.

            Male or female, I guess it doesn’t really matter, although, I wonder if I am making up for something? Many years ago she had known a man named Jung, and a man named Freud. Perhaps they would be better suited to answering that question than she.

“Ugh, no more of those accursed ink blots,” she mutters as she returns to her stitching.

thisguyhere / Pixabay

Her hands dance over the mostly finished stuffed bear, and the needle flashes like lightning with each stroke.

She leans in, and she bites through the thread, it tastes like marshmallow for some reason.

Did Ariadne give me this? She wonders as she knots the thread–it’s finished. She tucks the needle into the cuff of her shirt, which looks red in this light but could also be orange under a different glow.

Reluctantly, she lowers the bear onto the worktable in front of her, there are thirteen other bears there as well, each different but each the same.

With eyes are shining in the flickering light and she takes a step back from her finished work and rubs her chin (an affectation from another life).

            “Now you need only two more things, and lucky for you they are mine to give.” She says to the black and white bear with yellow eyes.

“First,” she reaches into a box behind her, and there is a clattering noise (like when rummaging for cutlery in the dark). “You need a weapon,” and from the box she pulls out a spoon. She looks at it surprised, as if her choice had not been her own. She moves the spoon in her hand, spinning it between her fingers, which she notices are long and agile.

“Ah!” She exclaims, ‘I should have recognized this from the start.” She places the spoon in the bear’s paw. “This is the mace of Hercules, thought lost during the third Temenos war. It is a weapon of the just and brave and the Shadow Darkly shatter like old plaster at it’s touch.”

She smiles as the bear’s paw closes around the handle of the spoon.

“And now, gentle warrior, you need a name–one for which the Shadows Darkly will fear and flee back to the realm beyond the closet.”

She sifts through the piles of her memories, gathered at the foot of her thoughts like piles of old leaves.

“Ah,  yes,” she says finally, “Arctos,” and as she says this she looks at herself in the mirror, a lock of blue hair has fallen over her left eye. “You just named him Bear,” she snorts at her reflection and shakes her head.

“Well I guess that’s as good a name as any, and at least it’s descriptive.” She raises her index and middle finger, pressed together and moves them to her lips.

 She whispers a name–“Arctos.”

She touches the left foot of the bear with the same fingers; when she removes them, the name Arctos is stitched there in bright red thread.

The bear’s eyes glow momentarily and she picks it up to put with the other thirteen bears.

“Fourteen bears for fourteen children,” she rests her hands on her hips and smiles in weary satisfaction.

            “Bellerophon, Artemis, Heracles, Jason, Meleager, Athena, Perseus, Achilles, Theseus, Atlanta, Aeneas, Orpheus, Cadmus, and, now Arctos.”

She whispers, and as she says each name their eyes glow briefly.

nightowl / Pixabay

“I charge you all to choose a single child, one threatened by the Shadow Darkly, to use the weapons that I have gifted you, defend, protect and cherish.” Her hand touches the fuzzy stomach of each bear in turn as she delivers her charges.

There is a quiet growl that rumbles through the fabric of each bear–an acceptance of duty and a challenge to the monsters that lurk in closets.

She sits down, tired, the bears will be gone in the morning through an agency that is still unknown to her.

Each bear will chose a child, and will be for them a trusted friend, companion, shield and sword against the Shadow Darkly.

Prometheus cannot remember a time where he, or, she, did not fight against the darkness.

Throughout time she has worked behind the scenes, fashioning instruments, tools and weapons to help those that cannot help themselves.

She smiles at the bears lying on the table, armed and girded for the dark nights ahead. Furry little sentinels–a bright light in the dark.

“These are a lot harder to make than night lights,” she grunts. Her body is young, but she cannot escape the weight of years, and she feels every single one of them as she stands.

She is tired, and perhaps tonight, she will sleep. She glances down at Arctos, and her hand lowers to hover over his belly.

“Maybe, next time I will make one for myself,” she whispers  because they’re a defender she thinks, and not because they look so cuddly–she almost convinces herself. She raises her hand and runs her fingers through her hair.

“What is it with me and the colour blue?” She wonders aloud as she turns around and walks to the door.

“Be brave, be kind, be heroes,” she says to them as she leaves.

The light flickers and then sputters and then goes out.

A thing in the dark coils and twists–it makes a gleeful, awful noise, and it’s laughter is a wet sick thing.

In answer, from the table there is a rumble, as fourteen pairs of eyes begin to glow, and that rumble becomes a roar as fourteen weapons are raised,and then…and then in that dark, fourteen heroes stand.

            The darkness is about to learn what a thing it is to be afraid….

The Adventures of Sophie and Dragonboy: The Mystery of Candy Island

The Adventures of Sophie and Dragonboy

The Mystery of Candy Island

For Sophie— Imagination is the greatest thing in the whole world.

Love, Uncle David

 

 

These are the Adventures of Sophie and Dragonboy…

Once upon the Sea of Dreams, there was a ship called– “Imagination”, and on that ship was a little girl named Sophie, and her best friend Dragonboy– and together they have adventures.

 

“Rawr!” said Dragonboy, up high in the crow’s nest.

“What do you see?” asked Sophie as she sailed Imagination gently over the Sea of Dreams.

“Rawr!” replied Dragonboy as he pointed north.

“Really? An island?” She asked.

“Rawr!” Dragonboy said, and he pointed again.

“Oh alright then! Why didn’t you say so? All hands on deck! We’ve found an island!” Sophie cheered.

“Rawr!” said Dragonboy.

“You’re a good crew Dragonboy,” laughed Sophie.

The Imagination sailed over the waters as fast as a rabbit, and the water splashed against its sides, and the mermaids danced in its wake. They waved at Sophie who, while busy being a Captain took the time to wave back, because that was the polite thing to do.

Soon enough, the shape of an island came into view, and Sophie knew it was an Island on account it was island shaped.

“Prepare to weigh anchor!” Sophie called out.

“Rawr!” replied Dragonboy as he pulled on the lever that sent the heavy anchor into the sea with a ‘PLOP!’

Sophie adjusted her Captain’s hat to just the way she liked it, and then she skipped over to where Dragonboy waited by the tiny boat that they would take to go to the island.

“Rawr!” said Dragonboy.

“Oh, but you are such a silly Dragonboy!” Sophie exclaimed, “we have to take the small boat because the Imagination would get stuck on the sand if we sailed any closer, and what good is an Imagination that is stuck?” She climbed into the boat.

“Now come along, and let us go and explore this mysterious new island and see what there is to see.”

“Rawr.” said Dragonboy.

Sophie laughed, “you are too funny Dragonboy.” And she clapped her hands in glee as the boat lowered into the Sea of Dreams.

“Now you take that oar, and I shall take this one, and together we will row. Now put your back into it!” Sophie shouted as she started to row.

Dragonboy rowed too, but he did not seem too pleased with rowing.

“Why so glum?” Sophie asked.

“Rawr.” said Dragonboy glumly.

“Oh, well yes, I guess you could have just flown over but then there would be only me to row, and if you row with just one oar you tend to go in circles.” Sophie said.

“Rawr.” said Dragonboy.

“That’s okay, it’s normal for Dragonboys to think of only Dragonboy things. That leaves me to think about Captain things, and Captain things sometimes involve thinking about rowing.”

Dragonboy smiled and so Sophie smiled back at him, because they were best friends and that is what best friends do.

So Sophie and Dragonboy rowed to the island until they had rowed as far as they might row, and they landed on the beach, but it was no ordinary beach.

“This is no ordinary beach.” said Sophie.

“Rawr?” asked Dragonboy.

“Look! The sand is pink, and while I am a Captain that thinks of many Captain things, I cannot think why the sand would be pink?!” Sophie said.

Dragonboy leaned over the side of the boat and took a handful of pink sand in his hand–and quick as a wink he ate it.

“Dragonboy! Sand is not something that people should eat! You’ll get sandmouth and then you won’t be able to whistle at all!” Sophie looked inside the boat for some water to help Dragonboy get the sand out of his mouth so he wouldn’t get sandmouth.

When she turned back, Dragonboy was blowing the second biggest bubblegum bubble Sophie had ever seen.

“POP!” Went the bubble; making a horrible mess.

“What a horrible mess.” said Sophie. “Dragonboy, is that sand actually bubble gum?”

“Rawr” nodded Dragonboy.

Sophie reached over the side and took a handful for herself and took a bite.

“My word! It is bubblegum! And cherry too! My very most favourite!” Sophie smiled and blew a bubble.

“Rawr.” said Dragonboy.

“I know Dragonboy, how strange for a beach to be made of bubblegum sand like this?” She looked up and squinted her eyes. “And look,” she pointed. “Over there it looks like trees made of licorice, and those rocks could very well be gumdrops.”

“Rawr.” said Dragonboy.

“They’re your favourite? Well then how wonderful for you that we have come to such a place! Let us disembark, that is to say, let us leave our boat now and go exploring and perhaps have a very sweet adventure!” And with that Sophie jumped out of the boat onto the pink bubblegum sand.

Dragonboy followed her, and together they began to explore the beach until they came across a path that seemed to be made out hard candy.

“This path seems to be made out of hard candy.” Sophie exclaimed.

“Rawr.” said Dragonboy.

“I agree Dragonboy, we should be careful.” And with that she drew her trusty sword.

“Behold my trusty sword!” She said.

“Rawr.” said Dragonboy.

“Yes, you are very good at beholding Dragonboy– possibly the best.” Sophie said.

Dragonboy smiled, and Sophie smiled back because they were friends and that is what friends do.

“Let us now follow this path, because if this is a path, then there must be someone who made it– for paths are not a natural thing.” Sophie said.

Together the two of them, Sophie and Dragonboy, made there way up the path, and away from the beach. They wandered past licorice trees, and stopped so that Dragonboy could eat a gumdrop rock. They crossed over a stream of pink lemonade on a bridge made of marshmallow–that bounced as they stepped. Deeper and deeper into the island they walked until they heard a noise.

“I hear a noise,” Sophie whispered.

“Hellooooooo!” shouted a voice from the bushes.

“Rawr?” asked Dragonboy.

Sophie raised her sword, not because she was afraid, but because she just liked raising her sword.

“Hello?” Sophie called.

“Well hello there! I was wondering if you could help me?” said the voice in the bush.

“Rawr?” Asked Dragonboy.

“No Dragonboy, I don’t think that’s a talking bush, but someone trapped in the bush– we should help them.”

“Rawr,” nodded Dragonboy.

So Sophie and Dragonboy moved carefully towards the bush, for while they wanted to help, it always pays to approach a bush carefully.

Sophie started to point at the bush with her sword, but then changed her mind.

“This might need Dragonboy strength, Dragonboy.”

“Rawr!” Smiled Dragonboy, and he reached out with his hands and grabbed the bush and he pulled.

And he pulled, and pulled and pulled and pulled and if this had been a pulling contest then he would most certainly have won because on his last pull he pulled the bush out of the ground with a ‘POP!’

“Rawr” said Dragonboy, quite pleased with himself.

“Well done Dragonboy!” Sophie clapped. “And now let us see who it is we are helping.”

So Sophie and Dragonboy looked at where the bush had been and at the large blue ball that was there now.

“It’s a big blue ball.” said Sophie.

“Rawr.” said Dragonboy.

“You’re right Dragonboy, it DOES look like a big blueberry.” said Sophie.

“Excuse me.” said the big blueberry.

“A talking big blueberry! How wonderful!” laughed Sophie.

“Excuse me.” said the big blueberry. “But I am NOT a big blueberry.”

“Excuse me.” said Sophie. “But then what are you?”

“I am a Roundling.” the Roundling said.

“A Roundling?” asked Sophie.

“Rawr?” asked Dragonboy.

“Yes, a Roundling, and, also, a Roundling that you just saved, and so, along with being a Roundling, I am now a freed Roundling, and also a grateful Roundling.” Said the Roundling.

“Well you are very welcome Mr. Roundling.” Sophie said.

“Please, call me Blueberry.” Said Blueberry.

“But I thought you said you were a Roundling.” said Sophie.

“And that is true, I AM a Roundling AND my name is Blueberry.”

“Rawr.” Said Dragonboy.

“Me too Dragonboy, this is all so very topsy-turvy.”

“And who might you be?” asked Blueberry.

“Oh that is the easiest thing in the world to answer!” Laughed Sophie, “I am Sophie, Captain of the good ship Imagination and adventurer, and this is Dragonboy, my crew and also an adventurer.”

“Rawr,” said Dragonboy.

“Oh how silly of me! I forgot! Dragonboy, along with being a Dragonboy, my crew, and an adventurer, he is also my very bestest friend in the entire Sea of Dreams.” said Sophie smiling.

“Rawr.” Dragonboy smiled.

“Well it is my pleasure to meet you both Captain Sophie and you too Dragonboy and thank you once again for the timely rescue.”

“It was our pleasure to rescue you, as rescuing is a part of adventuring, which is what adventurers do, so it was really no trouble at all.” Sophie said.

“Rawr?” asked Dragonboy.

“That IS a good question Dragonboy.” Sophie said nodding. She looked at Blueberry. “So why were you trapped in that bush?”

“An excellent question indeed, but I am afraid to tell you.” said Blueberry.

“Do not be afraid Blueberry, for Dragonboy and I are expert adventurers, and we laugh at being afraid.” Sophie said.

“You are very brave then,” said Blueberry.

“Yes we are,” agreed Sophie.

“Rawr.” agreed Dragonboy.

“Very well then, since you are brave adventurers I will tell you.” Blueberry said.

“We would like for nothing more.” said Sophie.

“Then I shall tell you.” said Blueberry.

Sophie and Dragonboy waited as Blueberry rolled out of the hole and got comfortable on the candy floss grass.

“We call this island ‘Candy Island.’” said Blueberry.

“Because it is made of candy?” asked Sophie.

“Exactly!” Said Blueberry, “and it is on Candy Island, that my people, the Roundlings, do live–We have lived here a long time.”

“How long?” Asked Sophie.

“Very long,” said Blueberry.

“That’s a long time,” Sophie said.
“It is indeed, and in that very long time, we have lived in peace and farmed the candy, and mined the candy. Candy is our way of life here on Candy Island as you might have deduced.” said Blueberry.

“Rawr.” said Dragonboy.

“You’re right Dragonboy, that does make sense.” Sophie said.

“I’m glad you agree,” said Blueberry.

“So far, none of this is scary.” Sophie said.

“I am getting there,” said Blueberry.

“Oh good.” said Sophie.

“But all that changed the day the the Trall came.” Blueberry said.

“Trall? Don’t you mean troll?” Sophie asked.

“No a Trall, they are like trolls, except they eat only candy.” said Blueberry.

“Rawr,” said Dragonboy.

“Oh,” said Sophie.

“It’s true,” said Blueberry, “he showed up one morning, and started eating our licorice tree harvest!”

“Oh no!” Said Sophie.

“That’s not all!” Said Blueberry.

“Please go on then,” said Sophie.

“I shall!” Said Blueberry.

“Rawr!” Said Dragonboy.

“That’s a good point Dragonboy.” Sophie nodded.

“I am about to continue,” said Blueberry.

“And then what happened?” Sophie asked.

“That’s the worst part!” Blueberry said, “after he ate all the licorice tree harvest, he began to eat the gumdrop rocks, and then the candyfloss grass. And then he emptied the well of lemonade! We are ruined!”

“Calm down Blueberry,” Sophie said. “What happened then?”

“Then he was so full of candy he fell asleep right in the middle of town!” Blueberry said.

“Rawr,” said Dragonboy.

“I agree Dragonboy! I cannot sleep after eating candy before bed either.” Sophie agreed.

“Ruin!” Blueberry cried.

“Please do not worry Blueberry, tell us what happened then?” Sophie said.

“You mean after the part where we were ruined?” asked Blueberry.

“No,” Sophie said, “I mean what happened after the Trall fell asleep?”

“Well, I ran from the village, and got stuck in a bush.” Blueberry said.

“How long have you been stuck in that bush?” Sophie asked.

“Since you rescued me?” Blueberry asked.

“Yes,” Said Sophie.

“From the bush?” asked Blueberry.

“Yes,” Sophie sighed.

“A very long time,” said Blueberry.

“How long?” Asked Sophie.

“Rawr,” said Dragonboy.

“I agree Dragonboy, but we must let him finish because that is the polite thing to do.” Sophie said.

“Please go on,” Sophie said to Blueberry.

“Well, it has been at least an hour,” said Blueberry.

“An hour?” Sophie asked.

“I know! Almost forever!” cried Blueberry.

“Blueberry,” Sophie said.

“Yes,” said Blueberry.

“Is the Trall still asleep in your village?” Sophie asked.

“I do believe he is!” said Blueberry.

“I think that I would very much like to see this sleeping Trall, and, as we walk to your village, I will devise a plan.” Sophie said.

“Rawr,” added Dragonboy.

“Well of course with your help Dragonboy–Do not be silly!” replied Sophie.

Dragonboy smiled, and so did Sophie because they were friends–and that is what friends do.

“I shall lead you to my village,” Blueberry said.

“I should like nothing more!” Sophie clapped.

“Then that is what I shall do!” Exclaimed Blueberry.

“Well then lead on Blueberry!” Sophie said.

“Indeed I shall!” Said Blueberry, “but I think walking would be better than rolling.”

“Well I guess Dragonboy could carry you.” Sophie suggested.

“Rawr,” said Dragonboy– who seemed none too pleased with that idea.

“Oh not to worry friends!” Said Blueberry, and with that there was a ‘POP!’ And then another ‘POP’ and then ‘POP POP!’

“Blueberry!” said Sophie. “You have legs and arms now!”

“But of course!” Said Blueberry, “how else would I walk to the village?”

“Rawr,” said Dragonboy.

“That’s true,” said Sophie. “We thought you might roll, or perhaps bounce.”

“Oh you are so very funny!” Said Blueberry.

“Well I am known for my excellent sense of humour.” Said Sophie.

“Come along then!” said Blueberry and he began to walk along the hard candy path, and as he walked his feet made squishing noises like he was walking in wet shoes.

Squish Squish walked Blueberry.

The three friends walked along the hard candy path, and all the while, Blueberry would point out Gummi Flowers, or Cinnamon Reeds, and every so often, Sophie or Dragonboy would stoop, or lean or reach and pluck a piece of rock, or tree or weed, look at it to make sure it was candy and then eat it.

“You know Dragonboy,” Sophie said, “if we were not on Candy Island we would not be able to eat everything that we have been eating.”

“Rawr,” said Dragonboy, as he chewed happily on a gumdrop rock.

“You are so very clever Dragonboy!” Sophie said.

And so they continued to walk, and Blueberry continued to squish, until they reached a hill. And over the hill was a valley and in that valley was a village and in that village was the Trall.

Sophie, Dragonboy, and Blueberry stood on the top of the hill and looked down into the village.

“What is that?” Asked Sophie.

“Rawr?” Asked Dragonboy.

“That is the Trall,” said Blueberry.

“I did not think it would be so…” Sophie started.

“Rawr,” said Dragonboy.

“Exactly Dragonboy– Big.” said Sophie.

The Trall, even on his back was as big as the biggest house,with skin the colour of green moss and hair that stuck out from the top of his head like tall yellow grass. He wore a red shirt that was stained with candy and brown pants that needed to be patched and the only sound that could be heard from him was the deep rumbling of his snoring.

“So do you have a plan?” Asked Blueberry.

“I have the beginning of a plan,” said Sophie.

“The beginning?” Asked Blueberry, “how can the beginning of a plan help my village?”

“Well the beginning is always the best part friend Blueberry.” Sophie smiled, “middles are okay, and endings are sometimes sad, but they can also sometimes be happy. But beginnings are always the best part.”

“Rawr,” said Dragonboy.

Sophie nodded, “right you are Dragonboy! And while we have been talking, my beginning of a plan has found its middle, and from the top of that I can see the end of it. So very shortly, I will have a complete plan with a beginning, middle and end!”

“Rawr!” Said Dragonboy.

“I knew I could count on you Dragonboy–You’re a good crew.” Sophie said.

“What is the plan?” asked Blueberry, who sounded a little bit scared now.

“The plan is the simplest thing in the whole world Blueberry.” Sophie smiled.

“Rawr,” said Dragonboy.

“You are correct Dragonboy, it is the simplest thing on Candy Island.” Sophie added.

“Please tell me your plan?” Blueberry asked.

“I shall do exactly that Blueberry. But first I need you to gather your people, and with said Roundlings in tow I need you to gather and harvest as much candy as you can!” Sophie said.

“That is a lot of candy!” Blueberry said.

“I should hope so since we will need a lot!” said Sophie.

“But what of the plan?” Blueberry asked.

“You have already started it Blueberry.” Sophie said.

“I have?” Blueberry asked.

“Indeed you have,” Sophie smiled.

And so Blueberry went around his village and called on his fellow Roundlings to help. They sneaked around the village, careful not to wake the sleeping Trall– and they gathered logs and logs of licorice tree and bundles and bundles of cotton candy grass and piles and piles of gumdrop rocks until there was a pile of candy that was even taller than the Trall.

Sophie and Dragonboy walked into the village, and Sophie drew her wooden sword.

“Now watch the middle of the plan,” Sophie grinned.

‘Poke!’ Sophie poked the Trall in the belly. Not to hurt him mind you but to only wake him.

‘Poke!’ ‘Poke!’ Sophie poked him again.

“Tralls are indeed deep sleepers,” Sophie said.

“RAWR!” roared Dragonboy.

The Trall gave a final snort, and then his eyes winked open.

“Ha! Well done Dragonboy!” Sophie laughed.

The Trall sat up and rubbed the sleep from his eyes.

“IS IT LUNCH TIME ALREADY?” the Trall growled.

”You just missed it.” Sophie said rubbing her belly as she talked.

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN I MISSED IT? AND WHO ARE YOU?”

“Well to answer your second question first,” Sophie said. “I am Sophie, an adventurer and Captain of the ship Imagination. My crew who stands right beside me is Dragonboy, whose roar woke you from your nap.”

“Rawr,” waved Dragonboy.

“THAT IS ALL FINE BUT HOW DID I MISS LUNCH?” the Trall asked.

“Before I answer that don’t you think you should introduce yourself to us? It is only the polite thing to do.” Sophie said.

“OH ALL RIGHT, BUT TRALLS ARE NOT KNOWN FOR BEING POLITE.” the Trall said.

“It never hurts to be polite.” Sophie said. “Especially to people you don’t know.”

“FINE.. FINE. MY NAME IS TRALL.” Trall said.

“I thought you were a Trall?” Sophie asked.

“I AM A TRALL,” Trall said.

“And your name is also Trall?” Sophie asked.

“Rawr,” said Dragonboy.

“You’re right Dragonboy, this IS very confusing.” said Sophie.

“IT IS NOT CONFUSING IF YOU ARE A TRALL,” said Trall.

“Well you might be right,” said Sophie. “Nice to meet you Trall.”

“WHAT ABOUT LUNCH?” Asked Trall.

“Well we ate the pile of candy for lunch,” Sophie pointed at the pile the Roundlings had gathered. Blueberry hid on the other side of the pile and tried to be quiet.

“THAT IS A BIG PILE OF CANDY,” Trall said.

“Is it?” Asked Sophie, “it’s smaller than the one I had for lunch.”

“YOU ATE A BIGGER PILE OF CANDY FOR LUNCH?” Trall asked.

“I did indeed do that,” Sophie said. “I heard from our friend, that you had a small snack before you needed to take a nap.”

“IT WAS A BIG PILE OF CANDY!” Roared Trall.

“I am sure it was big compared to someone as small as you, Trall. But this pile of candy is only for big people like myself or Dragonboy.” Sophie smiled.

“Rawr!” Nodded Dragonboy.

“You’re still hungry Dragonboy? Well you should have TWO piles of candy for dinner then.” Sophie said.

“I CAN EAT ANY PILE OF CANDY!” Trall said.

“Fine, but I think your eyes are bigger than your tummy Trall.” Sophie said.

“NOTHING IS BIGGER THAN TRALL’S TUMMY!” said Trall.

“Then be my guest Trall, I just hope you don’t make yourself sick.” Sophie winked.

And with that Sophie took a step back from the giant pile of candy as Trall the Trall stood up and dove into the giant pile of candy.

*MUNCH MUNCH CHEW BURP!* could be heard from the pile.

“Is everything all right Trall?” Sophie asked, “do you need any help eating that candy?”

‘Rawr!” Said Dragonboy.

“That’s very generous of you Dragonboy,” Sophie said, “hello Trall? Dragonboy has offered to help eat the candy for you”

“NO,” said Trall. “TRALL….*BURP* CAN EAT ALL THE *MUNCH* CANDY!”

“Well if you say so,” said Sophie, as she sat down, and started plucking up candy floss grass, and popping it in her mouth.

Dragonboy sat down as well, and then promptly fell asleep.

So Sophie sat, and Dragonboy slept, and, Trall the Trall ate and ate and ate until the very big pile of candy became much less so until it was a very small pile of candy and then Trall stopped.

“Trall,” said Sophie, “you’ve stopped eating? Is anything wrong?”

“TRALL CANNOT EAT ANY MORE CANDY!” Trall groaned. “PILE OF CANDY IS BIGGER THAN TRALL’S VERY BIG TUMMY!”

“Well maybe you just need a nap, and then you can finish the rest of the candy.” Sophie said.

“NO MORE CANDY!” Trall said, “TRALL DOES NOT WANT TO SEE ANY MORE CANDY! EVER!”

“Rawr!” Said Dragonboy, who had just woken up and was rubbing his eyes.

“That’s right Dragonboy,” Sophie nodded. “Trall is going to have a hard time not seeing any more candy on Candy Island.”

“TRALL DOES NOT LIKE CANDY OR CANDY ISLAND. TRALL IS LEAVING, MAYBE LOOK FOR VEGETABLE ISLAND. TRALL THINKS HE SHOULD HAVE A SALAD NOW.” Trall said as he began to walk away.

“A very sensible idea Trall, Dragonboy and I always try to eat as many vegetables as we can because not only do they taste good, they are also good for you. If you find Vegetable Island please send us a letter.” Sophie said.

“TRALL WILL SEND SOPHIE A LETTER.” Trall said.

“Rawr,” said Dragonboy.

“And don’t forget Dragonboy,” Sophie added.

“TRALL WON’T FORGET,” Trall said before he disappeared around a hill.

“Rawr,” said Dragonboy.

“Well you’re welcome Dragonboy.” Sophie said.

“Hooray! You have saved us!” Shouted Blueberry, as he, and a dozen other Roundlings came out of hiding.

“It was nothing,” Sophie said. “We were happy to help, because helping is what adventurers do!”

“Rawr!” Agreed Dragonboy.

“Is there nothing we can do to reward your braveness?” Asked Blueberry.

“Well,” said Sophie, “maybe a little bit of candy for our voyage?”

“Rawr,” said Dragonboy.

“And, with extra gumdrop rocks if you please.” Added Sophie.

And so Captain Sophie, and her best friend Dragonboy sailed away from Candy Island on that bright sunny morning. With two bags of the sweetest candy and an extra Gumdrop rock just for Dragonboy. Sophie steered Imagination into the wind, and onward to another island on the Sea of Dreams, and ever onward towards a new adventure.

THE END

 

 

 

 

 

 

NIGHT LIGHTS

Night Lights

By David Sarachman

 

“Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself.”

                                      -Desiderius Erasmus

 

 

Her name (the name she goes by now) is Miranda; and, if you passed her on the street you probably wouldn’t notice her (not many do). If the word “Nondescript” had a face, it would be hers.

Later though, near the end of your day, when you’re alone,  when it’s quiet; you would remember a feeling of warmth–like a campfire or fireplace. A heat that would twine itself around you as she had passed by, when you closed your eyes you would see her eyes, burning like twin embers in the dark looking back at you.

You want to stay in this moment forever, but then the phone rings, you get a text—life has once again found away of intruding.. So, maybe you shake your head, and then laugh at yourself with your silly imagination! The image of those eyes, and the memory of that warmth melts away like snow in the spring. You forget the day when you passed that woman on the street and in mere hours your life is colder… more “normal” once again.

 

Sometimes though, someone, a person (maybe even you), for no reason, and yet, perhaps, because of every reason—someone like you decides to follow her as she walks. Something about this plain, nondescript woman stirs something deep within them, something that urges them to follow.

If that person is indeed you, you’d be able to see that she walked without any urgency to to her step,  because wherever it was that she was going she would get there in her own time.

If you keep watching, following, you might see her as she ripples her way through the pulsing crowds of people as they go about on their way to work, or maybe home–or, just somewhere, or nowhere.

Occasionally you’d see a flicker of movement, and then you might notice her hands, long fingered, tanned and lithe, kissed with a dozen little burns, that from here look like roses.

With these hands, she dances, and as she moves she begins to choose people. People unaware that they have become partners to a melody they cannot hear.

She moves unnoticed—like a feather in the wind, circling them as they make their way in their world. At the end of her dance she reaches out, and she touches them, it’s the lightest of touches for the briefest of moments; a dream has more weight.

If your eyes are very quick, you’d see these chosen ones smile, their eyes are now a little less dim,  their smiles come more easier, their steps a little bit lighter—their lives a little brighter.

 

She walks this route every morning, making sure to come in contact with six people this way every day on her way, but, sometimes she manages as many as ten (but never less than four). She has no “type” except, maybe, that the people she chooses all seem to be carrying a weight that only she can see, for she is familiar with chains—but she has never explained herself and no one has ever asked.

You continue to follow her (unsure now if you could stop, even if you wanted to) as she makes her way to the front doors of the Olympus Lighting Company, founded in 1930 by Charles Morgan. Mr. Morgan doesn’t own the company anymore (nor, in fact, is he alive), but his name remains, painted on the bottom of the sign.

Just beyond these front doors, like a shrine to some discarded god, there is painting of the man mounted on the wall. Torn, dusty and faded (much like Charles at the end of his life), the painting hangs like a tattered sail, seeming to flutter in the gasping and flickering light of the three incandescent bulbs that have been burning since the day the building first opened.

The painting remains, because like the late Mr. Charles Morgan, it’s presence has been forgotten.

 

Miranda makes her way through that hall, but, sometimes, depending on the day (or her mood), she stops, and spends some time with the painting.

You cannot see what she is doing, but, if, by some trick, you could see her face during these moments, you’d that she was smiling— it’s a sad wistful thing filled with knowing and broken promises. Miranda knew Charles when he was a young man all those many years ago. She had a different name then, and a different face—she has had hundreds of both.

 

She leaves the painting behind her and makes her way through a series of doors. Some of these doors are adorned with  signs (all different), and all of them are covered in a red paint that is now peeling and faded. On some of the doors there is the worn space of where a sign used to hang.

 

Long ago, the Olympus Lighting Company made hundreds of different kinds of lights made by hundreds of different people. Lights that shone like stars and chased away the dark. If you were alive thirty years ago, the chances are good that you lived your life under an Olympus light.

Make your Day from out of Night with Bright and Glowing OLYMPUS LIGHTS!

But not any more—these days the only things being made here are night lights and there is only one person making them.

13315715_1016112631757133_7730460563980408542_nThese night lights made here aren’t funny, or cute. They’re not shaped like talking cowboy toys or singing snow sorceress’s. Miranda makes only one kind of night light, and it’s a gaudy, blue thing with a horrid little smile. It’s a little bit terrifying, but Miranda thinks they’re beautiful.

 

To be honest, they’re not even a very bright light (at least to mortal eyes), and they probably wouldn’t sell very well (not that they’ve ever been for sale), but they are the last product of the Olympus Lighting Company and their intent was never meant to be bright—they were made to keep the monsters away.

 

Miranda is now standing at her place on the assembly line (as she has times beyond counting before), in front of her, arranged in a semicircle, is a row of parts—plastic, glass and hundreds of  tiny bits of metal arrayed before her. This is where she makes them—there is no one else.

 

Silently she begins to assemble the parts of things into a whole thing; there is a rhythm to her movements, as if she were playing a harp or conducting a symphony.

There are parts enough to make only a dozen this time. Perhaps tomorrow there will be enough parts for more— perhaps less. She never knows until she arrives and even then it’s not certain. She doesn’t know who delivers the parts, only that they will be there when she arrives, or they will not be; she has never questioned this.

The parts begin to dwindle, and a row of new night lights begins to grow.

 

Each light is small, blue and mis-shapeningly ugly (maybe they’re a clown? Or beast? She has never thought too hard on it). As conventional lighting go, they are rather sad looking, since (as previously stated)—they don’t give off much light.

If you’re a monster though (or have the heart of one), that light will burn you out of the memory of the world…forever.

 

She looks at the assembled row now, her eyes reddened, and fatigue flashing across her face. She looks at twelve lights she has made today; twelve tiny beacons— grotesque little lanterns. Not much to look at when they’re off, but chain them to the power of Zeus and they will keep you safe from the dark.

She begins, carefully and gently to pack them into a single box. She won’t have to ship them—for that is not her burden.

Somehow though, they will be collected, and these lights will find their way to those that need them most. Tonight, somewhere in this world (or another) twelve children will wake up to a muted flickering glow from an ugly little blue faced light plugged into their wall. They won’t know how they it got there, but in the end it won’t matter because within the glow the monsters cannot find them, and, for the first time in forever they will sleep without fear.

Miranda doesn’t know what time it is when she leaves the factory but it’s already dark. The street lights have already begun to flicker to life but Miranda knows they are a false light, and they do nothing to keep the monsters away. She chuckles (or maybe coughs) as she begins her long walk home.

 

She has spent a lifetime making these lights— thousands of lifetimes. From the very first one, with a light stolen from the gods of Olympus (and was punished for it!) to today. She’ll keep on making these night lights with that stolen fire for as long as she can, for as long as the fire lasts.

Her lights are the only thing that keep the monsters away.

 

She (once he) stole fire from the gods back when the Earth was a dark place and gave it to those fledgling creatures called humanity to keep the monsters away. The gods punished her for it— but she escaped that mountain AND that accursed eagle. She escaped, and ran, and hid.

 

She walks home, and as she does she remembers her first home (and her first face), in Greece, and she remembers her first name—Prometheus,  she chuckles, maybe next life she’ll be a man again…but perhaps not.

She doesn’t know if the gods have stopped hunting for her but, after all this time she no longer cares. She changes her names and her face every mortal lifetime more out of habit or boredom than of fear .

Maybe the gods HAVE stopped looking, maybe they’re dead (they’ve been so quiet)? The monsters aren’t dead though (there are always more monsters)—so she keeps making her lights.

As long as Prometheus has fire she will continue to make the lights.7e79c112d75d769f62f6ca9efbada084

Because, if she didn’t…the monsters would have found you.

Because you remember that night light…

This is why you followed…

Space Monsters By David Sarachman

Tau-Ceti System, Galactic Hegemony, 23562 GY

WikiImages / Pixabay

Ambassador Kroon stared at the holographic report that floated in front of him; the phosphor blue glow of a million points of calculated data reflected a thousand times across the surface of his multifaceted eyes.

He idly tapped

the tips of his phalanges on the cryssteel surface of his desk, because he found the sound of the clicking soothing­– a habit he had frustratingly acquired recently, much to the chagrin of his aide who stood, quietly, and patiently, behind him.

Kroon had been staring at the data for over three malons, but it had felt like longer– it was probably longer.

Kroon’s eyes flitted over the data, and the tempo of his rapping increased until it had reached a level where his aide was convinced that the desk was going to shatter (and of course he would get blamed for).

“We’re doomed!” Screeched Kroon as he exploded to his feet– flailing arms sending both his chair and his assistant flying.

The chair landed with a crash– he’s probably going to blame me for this. His assistant lamented as he flew through the air.

The ambassador spun around, all four of his arms in the air and a frantic look in his eyes. He paused mid panic to look at the knocked over chair, and, the knocked over assistant; he seemed confused at the presence of both.

“Doomed, Ambassador?” The assistant asked, dusting himself off as he stood.

“Yes! Doomed! Completely, and, utterly doomed!” Kroon wailed.

“That’s a pretty broad statement sir, perhaps you could, maybe, I don’t know–narrow down the doom?”

“I have reviewed the data,” Kroon said glumly.

“Ah…the data” said the aide.

“And I have arrived at a most unpleasant realization.”

“I had surmised that sir,” observed the aide.

“You have?” Kroon asked, his tone suggesting that he doubted his aide’s ability to surmise anything.

His aide nodded.

Kroon glared at his assistant, his antennae twitched in such a way that indicated that he didn’t trust his aide. His aide however, used to the paranoia of his employer merely shrugged and up righted the chair.

“Please ambassador, I am eager to hear of this doom.” He gestured towards the chair.

“It’s about the humans.” Kroon’s tone was almost petulant.

“So you said.”

“Did I?”

“Well, Ambassador, it was implied.”

“I implied the doom was with regards to the humans?”

The aide nodded again, “yes sir, however I have not deduced, whether it is, that the doom you scream of, or, sorry, speak of, is that the humans are doomed, or, that the humans bring doom?”

“It’s the latter,” Kroon said, “why would I care if the humans were doomed?”

“Of course sir–so the humans are the source of the doom.”

“So, you’ve read the report?”

The aide shook his head, “no sir, I have not.”

“And yet, you stand there surmising your way through sensitive data…”

“A benefit of working for you, sir,” the aide shrugged.

Kroon rubbed his antennae, “I remain unconvinced.”

“I shall aspire to convince you sir, and failing that, learn to live with the shame of failure, but, you were saying something about doom?”

“Yes…yes…the report points to calamity with the humans–wait, can we call them humans? Or, is Terrans the more correct term? Or do we call them Earthers? Damn those new sensitivity protocols!”

“You were saying ambassador,” the aide prodded.

“Yes, the humans,” the ambassador agreed.

“I suspected so sir.”

“How do you come to this suspicion?” Kroon eyed his aide suspiciously.

The aide cleared his throat, “well sir, if you had not realized a problem, I believe you would not have reacted the way you did.”

“I reacted?” Kroon seemed surprised.

“Positively sir, your earlier performance was not that of a being that had solved a problem, but that of a being that had realized that the problem is…”

“–yes?” Kroon asked.

“…problematic,” replied the aide.

Kroon slumped, and seemed not so much to sit down, as he poured himself into his chair–liquids sat down with less fluidity.

“It’s true,” Kroon sighed.

“So sir, do you have a solution?” The aide asked.

“The solution…ah yes…the solution. The solution is currently a statement, which seems innocent enough, however, if it is taken the wrong way by the humans and not in the spirit for which it was intended…”

“–and what was the intended spirit Ambassador?” asked the aide.

“That the humans are monsters, and will destroy us all.”

“That seems a bit harsh, perhaps sir, you should read the statement to me and, perhaps we can modify the message.” The aide offered.

“But, the doom?” Implored Kroon.

“We’ll try to keep the message of doom Ambassador, for that is the crux of the message is it not? We’ll just try to spin it in such a way so as not to offend anyone as per the new sensitivity protocols.”

Seemingly mollified, Kroon cleared his throat, “So it is the just and fair decision of the council of the Galactic Hegemony, that the inhabitants of the planet known as….” He spun around to look at his screen.  “…earth, be restricted to their own solar system in the hopes that they will not bring ruin, destruction and Armageddon to us all.” Kroon stared at his assistant.

“Does that sound too strong? That sounds strong to me. ” the ambassador suddenly now less confident– nervously fiddled with his antenna.

“Well it’s a little strong” replied his aide

“It’s just that we can’t really have a race of poison breathing pursuit predators wandering the Galaxy.”

“Poison breathing?”

“Carbon dioxide!

The aide shuddered “Carbon Dioxide? But that’s a banned substance.”

Kroon continued, “I know! And, these carbon-based lifeforms make it naturally! They’re walking weapons factory!” He shrilled as he started to pace, “Seven billion carbon dioxide expelling weapons platforms-we have to contain them before they kill us all!”

“They might not see that way.”

“Well we can’t really go to them and ask them to alter their basic biological makeup can we?” Kroon threw up his appendages, “wait…can we?”

The aide shook his head.

“No of course we can’t! We most likely cannot…probably can’t”

The aide glanced over at the hologram, “some might say we’re punishing the humans for something outside their control ”

“Do you want a population of poison breathing hunters, who by the way, only require seven hours sleep instead of fourteen– but can survive with much less. Do you want a population of sleepless humans hunting your loved ones? Because that’s what they’ll do with all that extra consciousness they have.”

“No of course not,” replied the aide.

“And you can shoot them in an appendage and they can survive! They’re unstoppable killing machines!” Kroon whispered.

“They might not be that bad…”

“And,” Kroon shook, “Do you know what they eat?” Kroon didn’t wait for an answer, “they eat organic material!”

“Yes but…” said the aide.

“Do you know what we’re made of?” Kroon glared at his aide.

“Umm…”

“Organic material! We are made of human food! We’re probably delicious!” Kroon looked at one of his arms and shuddered.

“Well.”

“And, they chew it! With these sharpened hardened deposits of calcium that they keep in their face orifice! Imagine it, you’re out and about, enjoying the day when BAM! Out of the bushes you get jumped by a human and they tear into you with those….” He spun around and shifted through the data hologram. “Teeth! By the stars they call them Teeth! Have you ever heard anything as horrible as that?”

“But sir…”

“And!” Kroon barreled on, “the same hole they use to eat with, they use to communicate with! They use their murder holes as their primary means of communication!”

“…sir.”

“And that’s not even the worse part!” Kroon screamed.

“There’s a worse part?” Asked the aide.

“They have a gestation period of around one solar cycle. One CYCLE!”

“Only one?” The aide gulped.

“ONE! And their females don’t die after giving birth! So, maybe, one day you stumble upon a nest of humans, and you think, well that’s nice, a pack of humans in the wild, nature is truly beautiful. The next thing you know, there’s a billion humans on your planet and they’re eating your face!

“That’s probably…”

“Eating your face with their teeth!”

“I am sure it’s not as bad…”

“No! No, no, this has to be done. We let these humans…” Kroon sneered, “off their planet, and the next thing you know, we’re on the verge of a galactic apocalypse, and do you know what they’ll say?”

“I really think…”

“They’ll say– well, we had a really nice universe until that ambassador Kroon let those humans into it, it’s a shame about all that apocalypse we’re having. And, then there will be an inquiry, and a tribunal, and then I can pretty much kiss my pension goodbye.”

“Sir I really think you’re blowing the situation out of proportion.”

“Of course you do, you won’t be the one they turn into a cautionary tale. Oohh don’t touch that, don’t be a Kroon!” He rested his forehead on his desk, antennae twitching.

“Well you’re going to have to let the humans know that their petition to join the Galactic Council has been…declined.”

“Well that’s a problem.” Kroon said, never raising his head.

“Why is that?”

“There isn’t a petition.”

“How can there not be a petition. They created an entire new department within the ambassadorial wing to accommodate the Human Petition, we have our jobs because of it.”

“About that…”

“About what?” The aide asked.

“The Human Petition.”

“Sir?”

“I made it up,” Kroon practically whimpered.

“You made what up Ambassador?”

“The whole thing, the request! The petition to join! All of it!” Kroon was wailing again.

“Why would you do that?”

“At the time, before I knew anything about the humans, before all this, I thought that humans were these mostly harmless, non-toxic furry things with long ears. I thought, how good it would be for my career if I, Kroon, helped guide a fledgling species into the Galactic Hegemony? I would have been celebrated! I would have been promoted…there would probably have been a parade.”

“But now…” the aide said.

“Now, the Galactic council is expecting me to present my findings on the humans! They’ll want to know if they should be considered. Which we can never do because two malons after we let the humans in, the entire universe will burn down and they’re going to be looking for the guy holding the match, and do you know who that’s going to be?!”

“You Ambassador?”

“Me!” Kroon cried.

“Well, couldn’t you retract the petition, couldn’t you tell the council the humans changed their minds?”

LoganArt / Pixabay

“I can’t do that! Because as soon as a petition is retracted it gets passed to another department, and they’re going to investigate why the humans changed their minds.”

“Ah,” said the aide.

“Exactly! They’ll find out, and then goodbye ambassadorial position, hello head of sanitation…and that’s if I’m lucky!”

“So you have to suggest that the council deny the request.” The aide offered.

“I can’t do anything else, since I, as I am sure you’d agree, have become fond of living in a galaxy that isn’t engulfed in flames.”

The aide nodded. “So what’s the problem then? Deny the humans and be done with that”

“Because I have to send them a refusal!”

“So… ummm…fake it.”

“I can’t! The refusal must be sent by galactic standard quantum courier, and their response must be catalogued.”

“So?”

“So, what if the humans, when the get the refusal, come and investigate? What then? What happens when the King Human flies in, breathes poison everywhere and then demands to know why they were refused entry?”

“Would they even care? I mean, surely Ambassador if they aren’t even aware they are being considered, maybe they’ll have a good laugh and then move on.”

Kroon stared at his assistant, “are you a fool? Of course they’ll care. I’m sure they’ll think that they applied but forgot. So, now we have a group of amnesiac killer humans all over the place and wanting to know why they were refused for an application that they can’t even remember sending.”

“Well, maybe if you phrase the refusal in a manner that makes it seem that the not joining the Hegemony is actually better for them…” the aide said.

“Of course! Make it seem that the Galactic Hegemony is a horrible place to be! I mean, it practically is already… We make it so horrible they’ll think they dodged a blaster shot!” Kroon cheered, “You’re a genius….er…”

“Steven, Ambassador…my name is Steven.”

“Ah, of course…really? Your names Steven? Well, anyway, well done Steven! When the dust from this ordeal settles I will remember you fondly in my memoirs.”

“Thank you Ambassador.”

Kroon turn back to his desk and cracked four sets of knuckles.

“Now…how do you spell hegemony in human again?”

I should have stuck with music and joined a band, Thought Steven as the Ambassador began to type.

 

 

Earth, SETI Observatory February 1 2016

Unsplash / Pixabay

 

Dr. Andrea McCormack is staring at her monitor. A thousand mathematical equations are reflecting across the lenses of her glasses. A pop-up flashes in the lower corner of her screen.

New message from Kroon

Idly, she clicks open and begins to read her email, she doesn’t recognize the sender or what a Kroon is…maybe German? But her mind is pudding from looking at star map data all day.

She glances over the message, “Hey Steve!” she calls out to her lab assistant who has been busy trying to look busy.

“Yes Dr. McCormack?” he responds hastily closing his Facebook page.

“Apparently we’ve been declined entry into something called hedge monkey.”

“Isn’t Hedge Monkey the name of that Nirvana cover band? They play at the Whale every Thursday, they aren’t very good,” he adds.

“Really? Well they’ve declined us entry, or something, it’s not really clear here. Just goes on and on about carbon dioxide. Ah well, I guess we’ll have to continue just being astrophysicists.”

“Damn,” Steve says as he turns back to his computer. “I always wanted to be in a band.”