Saturday, July 24, 2010

Build an addition to my garage in which I can house the offices for Shapato Publishing.

Build an addition to my garage in which I can house the offices for Shapato Publishing.: "In 2008 I started Shapato Publishing as a home-based business. In 2008 SP published 2 titles; in 2009 we published 4 titles; in 2010 SP has already published 6 titls with at least 7 more to come before the end of the year. SP has published two popular anthologies about the Midwest by various authors, with another scheduled for later this year.

Shapato Publishing is not a subsidy publisher. We never charge our authors a fee for the work done to bring their books to print, and they are paid royalties on each book sold. I do the formatting, design, layout and editing without charging the authors for this additional work. I do outsource proofreading and some formatting.

As the business has grown, so has the space it takes up. We have boxes of books in our home office, in a room in the basement and in the garage; as well as 3 computers set up in various places.

My plan is to build an addition to the garage (with electric heat and air) in which to store inventory, and set up our office so everything is in one place.

Any amount to add to our building fund would be greatly appreciated, and would bring us a step closer to our goal of having and official Shapato Publishing site.

Jean Tennant"

I found Jean via the internet and thought I would try and help get more votes for her to hopefully help her win the contest! Please go to her site and vote today! thank you!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Still working on finding an Agent

We have been submitting to several agents and we are still getting rejections. No one has said, "Don't quit your day job." Everyone has been very nice. We have stories that are definately fiction. There are very few science fiction agents that I have so far, been able to find. Did I think this would be a fast process? no. Did I think this would be an easy process? No, I did not. Right now its just feeling like I have hit a brick wall. I don't seem to be moving forward in learning anything new or anything helpful to get published. I have done what I can. Granted I don't live in a big city like New York, Chicago or Los Angeles. I live in Iowa. But I keep thinking there has to be someone in Iowa who can possibly help with this. I just haven't found the person yet. I keep looking though. I talk to everyone about the book hoping that I will run into someone else who also knows someone or is working on getting published themselves. The road is tough, I will say that. There isn't a lot of feed back regarding your story or your quieries. Just keep trying. So I keep trying and keep searching the internet and looking for possible agent's who might want to represent us. Right now I do all the contacts due to my son being in school. He is still in highschool and as of yet hasn't turned 18. I just don't want him taken advantage of. So I figure instead of having two people working on something we know NOTHING about why not just have one of us for now. I show him what I have done and what I have found so I keep him in the loop. Someday if he wants to take over for this part I will gladly turn it over to him. But right now he seems happy to just create the stories and I work on the business end of it. Together we work on his stories and get them into story form. You know, when this all started he was worried about finishing the story and I was worried about getting an agent to represent us. Well, I told him we have nothing to fear, we will finish the story. I had no worries about that. He said we will find an Agent, he had no worries about it!So together we have been working on both ends of it. Well, I am off to start my day. Have a good day all.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Stormy Night

Stormy Night

The wind howled like a coyote on the mesas. There was no rain yet but the lightening was streaking across the sky in flashes of anger. You could smell the rain coming. The dampness was in the air.
The lone ranger rode slowly down through the gully’s. His strong features were heavily shadowed by facial hair that was still growing. His tall barrel chested form leaned into the wind causing the saddle leather to creak. His horse whinnied in complaint.
“All right girl.” He said in a deep rumbling voice that sounded like rolling distant thunder. “Let’s find a place to settle down for the night.” The lone ranger looked around suddenly, looking to see where that girl had gone. “Fang, FANG!” The ranger barked out into the wind. “Where did that cursed girl get to now?” The ranger thought to himself. Suddenly as if she materialized out of the night, she appeared by his side. “I am right here.” She said to him. “Why do you get to ride? My feet hurt too from all this walking.” Fang complained to him. “Find a cave for us, please. We need to find shelter quick.” he said tiredly. Feeling the changes speeding up the ranger clutched at his stomach to keep from retching. “Are you o.k. Jack?” Fang asked, suddenly concerned.
“I’m fine.” He growled out through clenched teeth. “Just go find a cave please.” he asked trying not to show the pain he was in. “I’m sorry, its just I keep smelling all these wonderful and new scents in the air and I want to see everything! My skin itches all over, especially on my hands and feet.” Fang was complaining and excited at the same time. Jack wondered how someone could be both of those and still be going through what they were going through. They should all be terrified. But right now they just wanted to get into some shelter before it really got bad outside.

Friday, April 9, 2010

second excerpt of Kai's Journey

He looked me over and told me that they would all meet me in front of the caves in an hours time. He told me that Clover would take me somewhere to get ready for what was to come.
"Bring your sword, you will need it." The leader said just before leaving the room.
The men all turned as one and left me alone again. Not sure what to do next I walked towards the door only to be met by Clover. She stood there smiling at me and turned to lead me to where I could clean up. When I was cleaned and ready to face the judges she led me to the entrance of the cave.
The council leaders were all there. Again the head Counselor spoke to me,
"Let us begin, What is your name?" he asked in a matter of fact tone.
"Kai, My name is Kai Allen Drake." As I said that I noticed a man standing next to the leader jotting down everything that was being said.
I looked at him curiously for a second before turning my attention back to the leader.
"Alright Kai, why don't we start with something easy, where are you from?" I thought a minute before answering. How do you answer that when you don't really know.
" Do you mean before or after the Zombies?" I asked him.
"Before." he said to me.
That part was easier . "I grew up in Kentown, Iowa. It was a small town that, for a kid, is the perfect place to grow up. "
"After the Zombies I was and have been everywhere. Moving from town to town and place to place. Never stopping more than a week in any one place."
The leader looked as if he were about to say something when he paused. Suddenly he turned his head as if listening to a sound that only he seemed to hear. As if on cue everyone turned their head to a sound that I could not hear.
" What the,,," Finally my ears heard the unmistakable sound of the Zombie's song. At least that is what I called it. The sound of them moaning and shuffling their feet never changed. It was the same no matter where I went. The sound was almost beautiful if not for the dead, human flesh craving monsters bent on total destruction. Suddenly everyone seemed to be moving at once.
Quickly I drew my sword ready to fight. Everyone raced to protect the leader. I joined in to form a circle that could not be penetrated as long as no one faltered. Suddenly it happened. everyone was fighting the best that they new how, when I noticed that all the zombies were coming towards me, trying their best to get at me and not really even bothering with anyone else. That is when it happened. The back half of the circle broke off to try and take the leader inside the caves when the zombies stumbled forward and surrounded him. The leader fought furiously with a dagger and a short sword. Without thinking I ran to protect him from the awful things I know that can happen once you have been bitten.
I swung my sword quickly slicing my way through to where the leader was. We stood back to back slaying as many as we could watching the others trying to fight their way through the circle of zombies that now surrounded us.
Suddenly she was there. She had a torch in each hand and was using them to move the zombies away. The one thing that zombies have a healthy fear or respect for, is fire. It comes from the deep fear that all humans have. The fire gave the rest of the council a chance to push them away from their leader. Suddenly the leader and I found ourselves inside the caves. When the zombies were finally driven away .
We came back out to help clean up. Tired and exhausted we cleaned up the area so they wouldn't be able to find their way back to us by using the smell of the dead and rotting bodies. Finally when everyone was back inside the caves and the door was shut the leader turned to me and said,
"We will finish your testing some other day. Right now we will bathe, eat and rest."
"Thank you," I said to him. Glad to for the rest.
Clover lead me to the baths. I had never seen a place like this ever. Not noticing it the first time. She led me to a giant open room full of hot spring pools. The aroma was heady with the smell of minerals and earth. The crystalline ceiling gave off a pale light that allowed you to see the room easily enough but soft enough to throw shadow in the right places too. Clover said,
"I will bring a towel for you and some soap so you can clean yourself. I will take away your dirty clothes and leave clean in their place." "Thank you," I said as I stepped behind a rock shelf that was indented into the wall so I could take my clothes off and laid them on it and quickly stepped into the pool nearest to it. Clover had discreetly turned her back to give me privacy.
When I slipped into the water it was, by far, the best feeling I had ever had. the minerals seemed to have a healing quality about them because it made my tired muscles relax and start feeling so much better. I instantly relaxed. The water felt so good and warm that I had to fight to stay awake long enough to bathe myself. Soon, Clover was back with my clothes, Again she turned to give my privacy as I climbed rather reluctantly out of the water to dress.
Clover handed him a towel without turning.
"Thank you." I said to her.
I dried off and put on the clothes that were provided. I asked her where I might get some food. "Follow me," she said.
Clover turned and led the way back out of the bathing caverns. We wound our way down further into the caverns. Tunnels led off this way and that. Soon I knew I was lost. We finally reached a room that was filled with tables and chairs. It wasn't as large as I might have thought. It was about the size of a medium sized diner. "We eat in shifts to give the cook a break. Some of us prefer to eat in our rooms at times too." Clover said when I looked about inquiringly.
We walked up to a table close to a set of doors that seemed to lead possibly into the kitchen where some amazing smells were coming from. Suddenly my stomach growled, loudly. Clover smiled as she too heard my stomach. Clover laughed softly as she said, "This way" and she walked through the doors. To my surprise we walked into the kitchen to see a rather large man who was the chef. "What can I fix for you folks today?" he asked. Clover smiled warmly at the man. "Hi Boris, the regular for me and,,,, " she let it hang as she turned to me expectantly. I looked around the kitchen hoping to see a menu or something that I might recognize that would give me a clue what the smell was that filled the kitchen.
"What are you cooking?" I asked. Boris laughed, his stomach shaking a deep, hearty laugh. "That, my friend, is a secret,, Why don't I dish you up some and you be the judge." Warily I agreed. We went back out to the table and took a seat. Clover was still smiling when we were seated. "What?" I asked. "You will see, but you won't be disappointed." she said. Soon he was coming back through the door with both hands loaded with trays of food. the first plate he set in front of Clover. Chicken Caesar Salad. "Out of all the scoundrels here you are the only one who eats this much rabbit food." he growled fondly. Then he took a plate that was covered with a lid. He set it in front of me. he lifted the lid with a flourish and said.. " Your dinner Sir. " "Zombie soup!"
I was afraid to look. Slowly I looked down at my plate. There on my plate was spaghetti and meat balls. The smell was heavenly. The first bite was even better. With a glitter in her eye, she spoke, "Boris here, loves to do that to the new ones." she smiled fondly at him. "Yes and it never gets old!" he laughed as he turned and went back into his kitchen. It didn't take me long to finish up my plate. I cautiously looked over at the other plate that was still covered on the table not far from me. I finally reached over and lifted the lid. Under there was two desert plates. One held a pie and the other looked grossly enough like a brain. Clover reached for the brain looking thing. "He always fixes me my favorite. Peach pudding. The pie I assumed was for me. I took a bite. It tasted of a flavor mix I hadn't had before. It was a peach apple pie. I could taste the peaches in it and the apples. It was the most amazing pie I had ever had the pleasure of eating.

Finally when I felt near bursting at the seams we got up to wander back to our rooms. "Don't we pay for our meals?" I asked her as we left the kitchen. "No, we don't pay for anything amongst ourselves. If someone needs something we go to the person who makes it and asks. In Boris's case, He wanted to cook for us so he uses that area to be his diner so to speak. If he needs anything he comes to us."
Soon we reached my room and I entered expecting to see the same sparse room I had left this morning. Now there was a cot and a chair here. The cot looked like heaven considering that last night I had slept on the floor. I walked over to the cot looking at it wondering where it came from. I turned to ask Clover but she had already gone. I stripped down to my britches and fell right to sleep. I was expecting a nice restful sleep. But this was different from the last dream.
I was sitting next to Clover in a tower with no roof. We were looking up at the night sky and there was no moon. We were looking at the stars shining brightly when she said something. I looked at her. What did she say? "The stars are shining brightly tonight. We should be able to see the meteor shower well, don‘t you think?" she asked me again. "Yes we should be able to see it very well." I said. As we waited for it to start I said off handedly, "Were you born as a werewolf or were you turned?" She jumped a little and asked, "How did you know, and how long have you known?" I looked at the stars a moment longer before I answered.
"It was little things here and there. The first day I went into your room and saw that your hair was the same color as the dogs. The tail that I had seen on you that day. Just random little things that had happened that I had put together. " She looked at me and said. "Oh is that all. Well as for being bitten, no. I was born this way. Those few who are born like this have soul mates. The ones they bite are their soul mate and live together. Not like physically connected but mentally. You would always know where the other is at all times. They can speak to you mentally. If you think it. They will hear it." she paused looking up at the sky. "Oh look, it's started." she said off handedly. And so it had.
It was beautiful. As the last one came from the other way it looked as if it was going to hit us both. Then it started to streak towards them. "I don't like the looks of this." I said warily to Clover. "Let's go" Clover said getting up. "Lets get back to camp." Clover said. We started down the stairs. I tried desperately to keep up. When I finally got to the bottom of the stairs Clover was gone. I looked up to see where the meteor was. It looked like it would hit any minute. I bolted toward the camp.
The blast hit and I woke up in a cold sweat. I looked around the room to see Clover sitting in the chair. She asked softly. "Are you alright? You seemed to be having a nightmare." Clover watched me with concern in her eyes. "Yeah, I'm fine. I could use another bath though." I said with a half smile. " I was headed to the baths myself when I stopped by to check on you. Clover said. "Oh, o.k. Is there some where I can get a clean pair of clothes?" I Said. "Follow me to get a bathrobe until your clothes are clean and dry," said Clover. "Thank you for your kindness." I Said. "It was my pleasure. Shall we go now or did you want to talk a little more." "I would really like to take a bath now please. Is there a more private bath for me to use?" I said wanting to take a bit more time and relax after that disturbing dream I had had.
They walked down one corridor after another. Turning past the baths he had used previously to go around to what seemed to be the back side of the baths. Here they came to a room that was smaller than the other and the lighting was lower too. "Shall we?" Clover asked him starting to take off her soft slippers that most seemed to wear in the caves. "We? You mean the both of us together?" I asked a little worried. I was worried she might see my scars. "Don't worry, it is dark enough in there that you will feel as if you are alone. Are you worried you will see me naked?" she said smiling at him. With his face beat red and down cast, He turned his back while she undressed and slipped into the warm inviting water. "O.k. its your turn." Clover said.
Quickly I slipped out of my still damp clothes and slipped into the water. I leaned back listening to the sounds in the room. The sound of water gently lapping at the sides of the pool was very soothing.
The minerals in the water seeped into every pore of my body. I could feel myself relax. I chuckled softly as I heard, who I assumed was Boris, walking through the hallway outside. He was going over his menu for the day talking out loud. "Probably doesn't even realize he is doing it." I said to Clover. "What?" Clover asked. "Boris going over his menu for tomorrow in his head and he is talking out loud." Clover laughed softly and the sound was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. Almost like the twitter of birds in the spring time.
Finally when I felt sufficiently cleaned, I climbed out of the pool. I turned when I heard Clover suddenly did a sudden sharp intake of breath. "Are you alright?" I asked. "Your back, what happened?" Clover asked. I felt her fingers trace the scars on my back. I hadn't even heard her move across to where I was. I couldn't see anything and yet she had seen the scars on my back. "How did you see them? It is so dark I can't see. How is it you can?" I asked turning towards her to clasp her hands in mine. I saw that her eyes were glowing softly. "I can see very well in the dark." Clover turned to get her robe. "We need to go. I need to get you back to the council." She said, a little embarrassed. "They need to finish the questioning."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Warehouse

The Warehouse

My name is Lilian Vlanski. I am a reporter for the Des Moines paper. I have been doing this gig for almost 4 years now. I am 5 foot 5 inches tall, with Shoulder length brown hair with green eyes. I left Russia with my family when I was still a young teenage girl. I was more than happy to put my past behind me there. I am 25 years old with no significant other.
I have been given a tip there is a warehouse on the south side of town where it has been reported that some homeless people have been disappearing.
My boss, Jim Harris had also told me that there were some strange things that had been seen in the area. So here I sit on a Saturday evening in my car outside the warehouse waiting for the guard to go around the building again. If I timed this right I should be able to get in before they come back around.
The guard turned right and disappeared around the side of the building. Quickly I got out of my car and shut the door quietly. I hurried to the door and picked the lock on the door. It was an old fashioned lock which is the easiest to pick. Something I picked up in a previous life. I slipped in the door and shut it quietly. The guard wasn't going to be around to this side of the building for another 4 minutes. I had timed how long it took him to make a complete circuit around the building.
I took out my flashlight and shone it around. Looking for something, not quite knowing what. I knew that some homeless people had disappeared around here but so far the place looked far too clean to be a hot spot for homeless people. usually they would go to places that were somewhat dirtier. The warehouse was a long and for the most part, empty. On the far end she could see a stack of boxes in the corner. I walked quietly towards them seeing how there was nothing else in the building to look at. I came to the first set of boxes that were 3 ft by 3 ft and stacked 3 boxes high and in a row 12 boxes long.
There was 3 rows of boxes in this corner. I shone the light down the first row and saw nothing. Not even a door or a carpet that a homeless person might use to sleep on. I looked down the row, puzzled. I walked over to the next row and again saw nothing down that row. Again there was no door or even a window here. I walked past the last row of boxes and found down the end of the row a door. Finally. I thought maybe I would find something. But this door only led out, or so I thought.
I quickly picked this lock also and opened the door into what I thought was the outside. It was a stairway. I quickly slipped through this door also and went down the stairs. she went down two flights of stairs and stopped right in front of an elevator. The elevator was on this level as if waiting for me. A sense of foreboding stole over me.
It was one of those freight elevators. "Well, You might as well see this through." I thought to myself. I stepped in and pulled down the gate and pushed the heavy leaver down. Slowly it descended into the depths of the unknown.
When it finally stopped I was looking into a lab. A lab filled with cages and aquariums with strange and unusual creatures. A dog, or at least it looked like a dog, was in the first cage closest to me. The dog looked at me and with deep sadness in his eyes as if saying, "Help me." The animal was shaped like a dog but had webbed feet on his front legs and hooves on his hind legs. When the dog's tongue lolled out it was over teeth that looked as if they belonged in a shark's mouth instead of a dog's.
I had almost forgotten that the camera hunging around my neck was there for more than just decoration. I snapped picture after picture. Animal after animal. Cage after heart wrenching cage. All stranger and more bizarre than the last. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. None of them looked dangerous or angry. They all just looked sad, hurt and lonely. Suddenly I heard the elevator returning to the upper level.
Quickly I ran to the back of the room to hide behind the tall cage holding a huge mountain of a gorilla. His muscles were huge and rippling. I looked into the saddest and wisest eyes I had ever seen.
I peaked around the corner trying to see who was stepping off of the elevator. An unassuming man stepped off the elevator. He walked towards the dog who now was growling at the man. The other animals were starting the make noise as he walked down the isle towards the desk half way down the isle. He set in his chair and started typing on his computer.
"I know you are in here. I have cameras everywhere. Are you a homeless person or what?" The next thing I knew the dog looking thing was behind me. he was looking at my calf like he was about to do something he didn't want to do. I mouthed the word, "no" to him. faster than I could even blink he had bit me. It wasn't as deep as I thought it would be and suddenly I didn't feel so good. I slowly edged my way towards the back of the room. When my back had touched the wall i slowly slumped to the floor. I felt strong arms lift me off the floor and settle me into an enclosure.
Later I woke up in a cage. The Dr. was looking in at me curiously. "What will you turn into?" he said as he straightened and walked away.
Suddenly I was scared. Scared of what I was seeing and what I was feeling. I looked at the animals again and saw to my horror that some of the animals indeed did have human characteristics. one even had a human patch of skin on his leg. I screamed, "No!!!!" and I threw myself around in the cage trying to get out. The other animals just looked at me. Finally I stopped panting not knowing what to do next. The dog came up to my cage and looked in at me. He walked to the isle and looked down at the dr. I heard the elevator gate shut and go back up. The dog came back with something in his mouth. "Hurry, before you start to change." He dropped the keys in my cage. Quickly I picked up the keys and unlocked the door. I stood up and looked around at all the other cage.
I started with cage closest to me and started opening doors. The other animals that could help opened other doors and helped higher up animals get down. We all made our way to the elevator. Quickly we moved everyone up to the elevator. "I don't know if we will all fit into the elevator at once.
The gorilla that I had seen right before I had been bitten stepped into the elevator and said in a deep rumbling voice, "I will take the first ones up." He said looking at me solemnly. "But where will we go? we can't go home. None of us can?" The dog said to the gorilla almost crying. "We will find a place." The gorilla said solemnly. Quickly we moved them up to the upper floor where the stair way was. soon we were all moving up the stair to the warehouse.
Quietly we opened the door and moved into the warehouse. I slipped to the front of the group moving toward the door to freedom. When we got to the door I listened and heard the guard walking past the door. I knew that he would be turning to go around the corner in just 25 seconds. he always stopped for just a couple of seconds to look around before stepping around the corner. I opened the door quickly and slipped out.
We moved quickly over to my van. Thankfully I had a full size cargo van. I used it as a cover. No one ever thought much of those types of vehicles when they had an electrician's name on the side of it. I moved over to the side of the van and opened the door. I got as many of them in as I could. This wasn't going to work. I couldn't leave the rest of them here. Quickly they all got back out of the van. "Hurry!" knowing that soon the guard would be finishing his lap around the building. I looked at the rest that weren't going to fit into the van.
We were beside a semi that was parked there for the night. I had seen the driver leave earlier with a pretty young lady in a car. She smiled knowing that it had been the driver's wife. They had been separated for a whole week. Lilian remembered seeing them last week at the gas station and had over heard them talking about going to see her mother that weekend.
Suddenly I had a very crazy idea. "Well there is no time like the present to learn. Quickly I moved to the back of the tractor trailer and checked to see if the trailer was locked. Thankfully it wasn't. An extra bonus. it was empty. "Quick, everyone inside!" I whispered hurriedly. Everyone fit except the gorilla and the dog. We ran to the front of the semi and felt under the front wheel well looking for, and found, the spare key for the truck. Quickly we climbed into the cab of the semi and I said a quick prayer as I put the key into the ignition. When I turned it, nothing happened. "Push the button." the dog said. I looked at the dog amazed. I looked over at the button next to the key. I pushed it. The truck roared to life. I sat there a moment getting my nerves under control. The dog proceeded to walk me through the steps on how to drive a semi. We left the warehouse and drove to where I lived on the north west side of Des Moines in a little house on the edge of town. When we got there we jumped down and ran around to open the door to let out the animals.
I had a large back yard and a barn on my property. Then we went around to the back of my house to go to the barn. The animals that were comfortable in there stayed there. The rest who didn't feel quite at home there wanted to stay in the house with me. We went to the back door and walked into my kitchen. I flipped on the light by the back door. The place was an old farm house and it showed in places. The old wall paper with the farm scenes from the 50's were still on the wall. The old stove that worked when it was in the mood stood over against the far wall. The kitchen sink was relatively new and somehow looked right at home among the other mismatched items around the kitchen.
I led the way past the kitchen into the living room and turned the corner into the downstairs bedroom. It was the spare room downstairs. Some of the animals like the Cat and the gorilla decided to sleep in there. The dog and the "parrot" who was currently riding on the dog's back walked into the living room to settle on the couch. I turned the lights off and walked up the stairs in the dark to my room at the top of the stairs. The dog had followed me up the stairs and settled on the foot of my bed. I looked at him and just sighed. I had to admit. He did help me drive a semi. I suddenly felt more tired than I had ever felt before. I lay down across the bed and fell into a deep slumber.
When I was next aware of anything the light was streaming in my window brightly. I threw my arm over my eyes to shield them and saw my arm was not my arm at all. It was all covered with scales the color of opal white. It had a pearly hue to it that gave it a bit of the look and color of human skin. "Oh My GOD!" I screamed. I scrambled from my bed so I could get to my mirror and look for myself. I was afraid to look. But also afraid not to look. The Dog barred my way to the mirror. "It will be too much for you to see right now. Later, you need to calm down and let us tell you what happened." I sat back down on the bed. I looked at my hands and fingers which now looked more like claws than fingernails. I looked at my arms, the transformation had reached up to my elbows. I wasn’t sure that I really wanted to see what I was turning into. "I can tell you that you are pure. The dr. said that he had only used one D.N.A with you not a mix like the rest of us." He said rather bitterly. "I know that you will transform slower than the rest of us did too. We all turned within a matter of hours. You are still, for the most part, human." "Why is it only on my arms and hands?" I asked the dog. "He looked at me with those sad eyes that seemed to bore into me. "You are changing in other places too." He walked over and nosed at my feet. I looked at my feet and legs. The scales covered my legs. My feet were covered with the same scales that my hands were. My mind rushed with images and fear of what I was turning into, would I still be human on the inside? What was I turning into? I looked at the Dog and asked, "Can I look in the mirror?" He looked at me solemnly, "Not yet, the shock would be too much. I also advise that you not look in any mirrors until it is done. Remember what you looked like before, You are still you. That will never change. " The Dog started to pace back and forth, "We were in cages so we didn't have to worry about seeing ourselves. What I suggest you do is to keep to your usual routine but no mirrors. Oh and no work. See if you can work from home or send in your work from home." He said to me. "Any thing else? That would change everything. How will I get groceries? how will I do my shopping?" I was thinking of the usual day to day chores that most of us take for granted. I certainly couldn't go out looking like this! I was going to have to become a recluse. Wild thoughts rushed through my head. Suddenly he was there. The Gorilla. He put his hands on either side of my face and said, "look at me, it will be all right." he said softly. Suddenly everything was still. He was right. My mind stopped racing. Some how I knew with my new friends everything would be alright. We need to find a way to get food and supplies for everyone. Suddenly I thought of Susan, "Susan will help me, she has been my friend ever since I had moved here!" I said going to my phone. When she picked up the phone she sounded like I had just woken her up. "Hello?" Susan said sleepily into the phone. "Susan, I need to see you as soon as you can please. Can you come over?" I said breathlessly into the phone. "Lilian, are you alright? You don't sound like yourself." she asked sounding suddenly worried. "No, no I am alright." I said to her crossing my fingers. "I will be over as soon as I can." Susan said before she hung up the phone. I searched through my drawers to find things I could wear that would cover up my changes. I found a shirt that came down past my wrists and also some light gloves that I used sometimes when I would work in the yard. I had on long sweats and socks to cover my feet. My face thankfully, at least that is what Dog said, had been spared so far. "She will be here soon, Why don't you all go out to the barn and stay there until I come and get you. That way Susan won't get scared."
When Susan got there I felt so relieved. "Hi Susan, thank you for coming over so quickly." I said to her after I greeted her at the door. We settled on the couch and I turned to face her. "Susan, I really need to talk to you and I need you to be calm. o.k.? I said to her holding her hands. "Sure, but to tell you the truth, you are starting to scare me." Susan said with furrowed brows. I took a deep breath and started. I told her how I had been on that stake out that had changed my life for ever. She never interrupted me, she just listened. When I came to the part about being injected with the serum that changed me. I pulled back my sleeve, showing her what was happening to me. I finally looked at her. She got up and came over to me and hugged me. That is when I cried. I wept for a life that I had lost in a blink of an eye. A life that the Dr. had ripped from me. Now I would have to start a new life. One hidden in shadows and covered up. Susan pulled back from me and looking me in the face she asked, "How far has it progressed?" She asked with out a hint of fear or accusation. I smiled at my best friend in the whole world.
We sat and talked for the rest of the afternoon, I gave her money and a list of things I would be needing soon. I also introduced her to all the new friends I had brought home from the lab.

Black Rose

The Black Rose

Her Dragon was the size of a large dog by now. He was pure white with rich deep brown eyes. They were walking down a well worn animal track with Rose in the lead. She could hear Dragon behind her sniffing the area for any danger and possibly supper. Both were aware of their surroundings and watching for any danger that might come at them from anywhere. The forest was quiet except for the occasional bird singing in the tree tops and the soft breeze rustling the leaves. Rose felt the warm sun on her face in the patches that managed to reach the forest floor. The air smelled of earth, fresh and calming. Rose had been feeling little twinges of late in her midsection and was feeling rather irritable too. Suddenly Dragon's nose caught the faint whiff of something. "Blood?" Rose heard Dragon's thoughts. Softly Rose said, "Where? where is it coming from?" Dragon did not answer. He just kept sniffing the air, searching. Finally Rose stopped and asked again a little louder than she had intended, "What is it?!" Dragon looked at her a little hurt and said, "I don't know, its really faint. I think its blood. It seems to be strongest near you." Rose looked at Dragon a little surprised and said, " I am not bleeding though. I have no cuts on me." Rose checked her arms and legs for any wounds or cuts. She checked her stomach and had Dragon check her back. Nothing. Satisfied they continued on their way until lunch time. Dragon ate his lunch with his usual enthusiasm. Rose for some reason wasn't that hungry. She picked at her bread. She couldn't explain it but she wasn't that hungry. Soon they were back on the animal trail heading towards the little town that Rose knew was still a day away. By the time they stopped for supper Dragon could really smell the blood. Rose decided she was going to the stream that she could hear not far from their camp. When Rose and Dragon reached the edge of the small spring they could see it trickling down through the stream bed away to the south. The spring was clean and large enough for them to both get in and swim around in it. The water was crystal clear and they could easily see the bottom and the few fish swimming in among the rocks. Dragon was the first to go into the water. "The water is warm! Like when it is heated over a fire!" Dragon said to her. Rose smiled at Dragon and told him, "This is probably a hot spring then. Warmed by the fires in the center of the earth." Rose remembered some of the teachings that the old man had taught her in her short time at the Flower Shoppe. While Dragon was busy swimming under the water on the other side of the small spring she shed he clothes and quickly slipped into the water. The water felt amazing. She instantly relaxed and felt her muscles relax. for the first time that day, Rose smiled. The water even felt good to her stomach that was still cramping. "Rose The blood is in the water! Rose it is coming from you. Look." Dragon said to her. Rose opened her eyes angry at being disturbed once again with the nonsense of blood coming from her. She opened her eyes to see that Dragon was in front of her but he wasn't looking at her face he was looking lower in the water. Rose followed his gaze and saw small ribbons of blood coming from her and floating on the current. Rose quickly climbed out of the water and saw to her horror that blood was coming from her. She checked her clothes to see if she could find where the wound might be. She found her underclothes and found the spots of blood. The blood was where her groin area was. It was at that moment that she realized what was happening. Rose had become a woman.

The Ancients

The Ancients

This Story stars long, long ago when the ancients were half man and half bird. This is about one ancient in particular. His name is Blaze. Blaze lived in a poor part in the large Kingdom ruled by a cruel and mean tyrant named Voren. Blaze had been left with a family when he was a small child. The family loved him and did the best they could for him. When blaze was 17 he had taken to exploring his world more and more when his chores were done. He explored the country side and the town that he lived in. Blaze came to a part of town he had never been to. Things were much nicer in this part of the kingdom. Blaze was unaware that it was against the law for a person of his stature to be in this part of town.
One day Blaze ran into a fighter who was indentured to a very wealthy family whose son wanted to be a fighter as well. The family was against the son, Nowe, fighting in the arena. Blaze ran into Nowe and the fighter running from the constable. Nowe offered to hide Blaze because he felt the law of keeping the Lower class out of this part of the kingdom, a foolish one. After the constable went on by still searching for blaze, Nowe made sure the coast was clear. “You can come out now.” Nowe said to Blaze. “Thank you very much for all your help. If there is anything I could do for you, just ask.” Blaze said to Nowe with a sly smile. “Well there is a favor I would like to ask of you.” Nowe said. “But my family mustn’t know. They would never approve.” Blaze looked at him questioningly. “What is it?” Nowe took a deep breath and said. “I want you to teach me to fight. But it must be away from prying eyes.” Blaze blushed and said with down cast eyes. “I don’t know how to fight.” Blaze looked at Nowe and the fighter. “Hasn’t your fighter taught you?” Nowe’s expression went blank. “As I said, my family is against my learning the ways of a fighter.” Bruno, who had been listening to the two young men, made a decision. After making sure that no one else was around he spoke. “May I speak Master Nowe?” Surprised, Nowe nodded. Bruno continued, “I would be honored to teach both of you the art of combat. By teaching both of you, you can also learn from each other.” Blaze and Nowe looked at each other in surprise. “I know of a place where we can practice and not be disturbed or observed.” Blaze said excitedly. After quickly describing where the place was they left each other.
The next afternoon Blaze, Nowe and Bruno met in the forest glen at the appointed time. Nowe looked around in wonder. “How did you ever find this place? I thought for sure we were lost!” Nowe asked Blaze. Blaze chucked, “Well, a couple of years ago I was hunting near by when I had shot my arrow into a deer. The deer ran off and I followed. This is where I found the deer. I noticed that it was almost impossible to see form the air and definitely impossible to see from the ground.” Bruno said “Good! lets get started. First you must warm up and get limber.” Blaze who stood 6’2” walked into the clearing to get started. he started by stretching his lean body from side to side with his arms raised over his head. His wings, which attached to his shoulder blades also were stretching. His long black hair was so straight that parts of it actually spiked out at odd angles from his head at times. Giving him a wild look. Blaze’s color was black and red. His ebony skin shone brightly in the sun. Blaze’s wings were red on top with black in the lower parts and the underside. Blaze looked over at Nowe to see what he was doing to loosen up. Nowe stood 6’ tall. His wings were white. Though shorter in stature he made up for it in muscle. His skin shone white in the afternoon sun. Nowe’s wings were thicker and longer than Blaze’s. The two were night and day in difference but of the same mind. They both wanted to learn to fight. Nowe and Blaze both worked on different stretches for another fifteen minutes before they went over to stand in front of their teacher. Bruno looked at his two young pupils and remembered two other young pupils from long ago and in another life. “Now, we begin.” Bruno said in all seriousness. “First I must teach you the basics. You must know how to stand and balance before you learn to defend yourself.” Nowe looked rather impatient as he said, “But what about fighting?” “you need to learn to crawl before you can walk” Bruno said calmly as he walked by and put Nowe on his butt with a simple flick of his hand. The rest of the afternoon was spent learning to stand and move from one position to the next. By the end of the evening both Blaze and Nowe were very tired but also very pleased to know they were finally learning to fight.
Blaze and Nowe were very apt students. Bruno was very surprised and pleased at how quickly both of them were picking up the knowledge. The weeks flew by surprisingly fast in a flurry of afternoons and evenings learning the art of combat.
After more than 2 months of training Nowe thought of a very good idea. To get the trunk of Bruno’s weapons to practice with. Unfortunately his parents the ones in possession of the trunk. Nowe talked with Blaze to try and come up with the best way to get it. Both boys thought about it for awhile trying to come up with a good plan. Bruno was not aware at this time of what the boys were plotting. The next day when the boys were under a tree talking rather animatedly, Bruno came over to ask them what they were discussing. The boys hesitated, wondering if they should tell their teacher. After a few moments consideration, Blaze nodded to Nowe and Nowe told Bruno that they were trying to come up with a plan to try and get the trunk so they could practice with real weapons. “I really do appreciate everything you are doing for us, but we want to learn with real weapons, not just sticks.” Blaze quickly told him. Hoping they had not offended Bruno. Bruno turned from the boys for a moment deep in thought. “I know of a way we can get the trunk.” Nowe brightened instantly. “Really? how?” he asked. “Never mind how, right now the important thing is your training and right now you two need practice!” Bruno gruffly told the two young men. “Yes Sir!” they both said in unison. “So what would you like to practice on this afternoon?” Bruno asked Blaze. “I would like to practice with the wooden swords.” Blaze said excitedly. Nowe said he wanted to learn more of the hand to hand combat. So Bruno divided their remaining time practicing both. Three days later Bruno showed up to practice with the trunk. Blaze spotted him first walking towards them from the edge of the forest. “You got it!” Blaze shouted excitedly. Nowe spun around in surprise and hurried over to Bruno. “How?” Was the only thing he could say. “I will explain, for you will know soon enough.” Bruno stated solemnly. “Over here under the tree.” After they were all seated Bruno began. “I went to your parents and informed them that I am to report to the front and will need my weapons to practice with before I leave in 2 weeks.” Both boys sat in stunned silence. No one said anything for a bit. The wind was softly ruffling their hair and feathers. The afternoon sun still shone warmly down on them. Birds were still happily singing in the air and the trees. Instead of time stopping at such a shocking news, it went on. It was as if nothing had happened. Bruno cleared his throat and started to let them know more about the war. “I don’t know how much you know about the war, but let me shed some truth on it. Most people would have you believe that the humans attacked us without any provocation.” here, Bruno Paused. “That is a lie.” Bruno said emphasizing every word. “The humans we thought were no more than animals. They were sub ancients. We thought nothing of using them for sport, our labor or what ever we needed. That is the way it was. Finally, when the humans had had enough they fought back. I make no excuses for either side. But, if we are to be in this war, you need to know the truth.” Nowe and Blaze were silent for a bit. Finally Nowe spoke. “And still you will fight?” Blaze looked at him and asked, “Why?” Bruno sighed. “Because I am chosen to . Now we will train.” Bruno could see the questions in both of the boys’ eyes. Bruno knew he could never tell them the reason he was to go to war. He was going instead of Nowe. Nowe’s parents had come to the servants and asked them what they should do. Nowe’s father had told them that they had received a summons for a member of the house hold to go to the war to fight. John, Nowe’s father, was in no shape to go to the front. His leg had been injured long ago in an old hunting accident. The only one left to go was Nowe. John said that someone must go. He looked at his servants. most of them young women and children really. The old gardener was too old and worn down to send. Bruno knew that it was a choice between him and Danny. Danny was only 14 but already a tall and sturdy young man. But still he was only a boy. Bruno could see he was struggling with his choice. Does he send his seasoned fighter who could win many battles. But then who would stay here and help defend the home? Or does he send Danny, who is young and willing to learn? Bruno stepped forward. “I will go.” Nowe’s mother, Betty, silently cried. Bruno remembered seeing the pain and gratefulness on John’s face. He couldn’t tell Nowe yet. For the next two weeks they learned about the weapons in the trunk. Bruno also taught them about ones they didn’t have. Over the next two weeks Nowe and Blaze discovered which weapons they were best with. Blaze found that he was exceptionally good with a weapon called the Tiger’s fury. It was a weapon that was strapped to his wrist and fore arm. There were 3 very long and curved blades on top. The blades over his fore arm curved up and away from his arm. The blades extended a foot and a half past his hand. They curved at the end under. The blades were sharp on both the top and bottom. Nowe’s weapon was a sword that looked as light as a feather but had the strength of unbreakable steel. The metal was of a natural pale blue the color of a summer sky. The sword was named Sky Wing. Nowe and Blaze were very adept with all the weapons but chose these two above all to use the most and to carry with them. Bruno watched the two young men practice all afternoon with a heavy heart Knowing that tonight was to be the last time they would all be together here with this freedom.