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.

Red Light

Red Light

A red x appeared over my cage. The bright light stung my eyes which forced me to wake. The cold iron that I lay on had numbed my side. Considering I was covered in hair you would think that would be pretty hard to do. My cage was 5 feet by 5 feet. With a metal bottom and bars all around me. Nothing big enough to squeeze through. I had no bed or mattress to lay on. Just the cold hard metal floor. I was in a laboratory where so called scientists came in daily to poke and prod and test me. The walls were all stark white. Same with the floor and the ceiling. There were other cages in my area also containing “mixtures” of creatures like me. The scientists called themselves the “gene benders” they thought it was great fun to see what they could come up with next.
So far they had come up with an 8 year old rhino girl, named Sophie, who was 80% rhino and 20% human. That’s the mixture they loved to use. She didn’t like anyone messing with her so she didn’t generally let them. She would rage at anyone who came even close to her cage.
The next was a bat girl, named Bell, who was 13 years old who rarely ever talked to anyone. About the only one who seemed to get along with her the best was rhino girl named Sarah. They would go to a corner that was close to each other and seem to have private conversations.
Mole boy, whose name is Doug, who was also 13. Then there was a river otter girl named Mary, who was 16 years old like me. We were all in cages spread out on a floor so no one could reach the other. The metal cages had been bolted to the floor so we couldn’t move them either.
They had decided to mix me with 80% wolf and 20% human. I often thought of freedom, to be able to walk out that door as I had seen the scientists do so many times. I wondered what was beyond that door. For most of our lives we all lived here. None of us knew what the outside world was like. Would we be accepted, would we be feared? I saw how some of the scientists looked at rhino girl when she was angry. They feared her.
When they moved us to the other labs in the building they wouldn’t take us out of the cages. They just moved us, cage and all. In the other part of the lab they would do all sorts of testing and experimenting on us. Yesterday they took us all in one at a time and gave us another round of shots. The gene benders had been giving us these shots for the last 3 weeks. I over heard one of them say that this should be the last shot. “After this we should see some changes in their bodies. These poor dumb animals wont know what is happening though. I don’t foresee their I.Q.s getting any higher than maybe a 3 year olds but anyway.” The female with him just laughed. Little did they know how much we really knew. We had been able to understand their language for almost 3 years now. We never spoke to them. Not one word.
That night after all the gene benders had left I lay there listening to the sounds of the lab. Listening as the people who cleaned left the building one by one until finally we were alone again. Softy I whispered to Bell who looked as if she might be asleep. One never knew with her. “Bell, are you sleeping? What did they say about us?” I knew we needed to talk. We had to keep on top of what is going those scientists. The morale of everyone had been going down pretty badly lately. I had been hoping something would happen to break us out of this cycle. We had tried to get free so many times and nothing had ever come from any of it.
Bell whispered back, “They only said that this was the last batch of drugs they were going to be giving us. That there should be some changes now. I guess they upped the last dose to make sure there were changes this time.” I thought for a moment and then said to Sophie, “Sophie, are you alright? Did you hear anything?” I said hopefully maybe they had said more around her. “No. They don’t talk around me. They do their job and get me back in here quick.” She said softly to me. We sat there quietly when suddenly I heard it. A noise I hadn’t heard before at this time of night.
I could see lights shining around out in the hall through a small window in the door. We could hear voices in whispers asking, “which way? Where are the animals?” and someone else saying “Hurry! Here there are some in here!” Suddenly the door opened. We knew right away these people weren’t the gene benders. Some were different ages, men and women. No one was wearing one of the lab coats. “Shhhhh, quickly we need to move quickly the alarm will be bringing the cops any minute now! Hurry!” Suddenly they were in front of our cages. “How do these open?” A blonde girl was standing in front of my cage shining her flashlight on the wall beside my cage and on the cage itself. Finally she spotted the remote that was in its holder on the wall. Quickly she told the others to look for the remote and hit the button to release my cage. Again she hit the button and my door opened. Soon all of our doors were open and they were leaving quickly. Cautiously I stepped out of my cage. “Hurry! Now is our chance we wont get another. We have to leave now if we want to escape.” I said to the others.
Once we were in the hallway we hugged the wall to stay out of the way of all the other humans who were still running around without any real clue of what or where they were going. As we hit the slick hallways we those of us with claws started sliding everywhere. We couldn’t get any traction. It was very slow going. Finally Sarah said to us rather impatiently, “Use more pad and less paw on these floors.” When we settled down a bit and used our pads we did move faster towards the exit. The people didn’t notice us as we moved along the wall toward the door that lead to freedom. Finally I could see the outside. I could smell the outside, all new smells I had never had the chance to smell before. My senses were flooded with new sights and sounds too. I kept checking behind me to be sure we were not being separated. Legs and feet ran past as suddenly alarms and lights were suddenly blaring everywhere. The people who had set us free suddenly all seemed to be panicking. I could smell the fear on all of them. Quickly we moved closer to the door and out. Finally we were outside. I looked around to see which way we should go. I could see trees off to the left



The caravan rolled slowly down the heavily wooded road. The afternoon sun dappled the road through the leaves in the trees. Summer was just beginning, the warm days welcome after the cold days of winter. The horses were tired and ready for the day to end. They came around a curve when the lead driver noticed something lying in the road. He stopped and looked around to see if maybe it was a trap. They were in a time of peace right now, but one never could be too careful. Levi moved the horses forward slowly until he could make out what was lying in the road. It looked as if an old man had been robbed and left to die . "Dear Lord!" Levi jumped down off of his caravan and went up to the man lying on the ground. His clothes were torn and dirty but looked as though they were of good quality. He wore a traveling cloak with brown pants and shirt. His boots were fairly new too. "He is alive, Barely. " Levi mumbled under his breath. " Jewel! Quickly, make room for our new guest and go and get the Healer!" Jewel, Levi's daughter quickly turned down the sheet on the nearest bunk and jumped down from the back of the caravan, their home, to go and get the healer. Her father, Levi was the leader of their small caravan. There were only 6 wagons total. Jewel had seen other caravans that were much larger than their own. But she also noticed in a larger caravan, it was harder to know who everyone was. Jewel ran quickly to the last wagon and said, "Myra, Father needs you! There is an injured man in the road!" Myra quickly climbed down from her seat and went with Jewel to where the man lay. Myra quickly checked that there were no broken bones or internal injuries. "We can move him Levi." Myra said. Levi carefully picked up the man as if he were as light as a small child. Levi carefully carried him to his caravan and laid him on the bunk that Jewel had made ready for him. "Jewel Drive Myra's wagon. We will stop just up the road next to the river up ahead." Soon the caravan was moving again.
By the time the caravan reached their camping place for the night and had supper ready their new guest finally woke up. Levi smiled at his new guest. "Now what is a man of your advanced wisdom doing all the way out here?" Levi asked. "I am on a mission. I must reach Tower City. I am to tell a story there. The Story of our peace." The old man said. "My name is Levi Johnson . May I inquire as to what your name is?" Levi asked. " My name is James Paul. I am a story teller, Some of my stories are true and others are fantastic tales with a grain of truth to them. I have no money to pay my way for the rest of the trip. But I could tell you the story that I had been summoned to tell in Tower City." James said. "Ah, you know of our custom then. No one rides for free with the Gypsies." Levi said with a broad grin on his dark and handsome face. His dark hair was starting to get some grey in it. Levi wore a silk shirt with black pants and boots. "You tell the story tonight after we have had our evening meal, and if we think it is good enough it will pay for your passage. If not, We will leave you on the road. Fair enough?" Levi asked the James. "Fair enough. I think you will find this story very interesting though. It has to do with all of us and none of us." James said very mysteriously.
That night after the evening meal was finished they gathered around the fire for James to begin. "This all happened when I was 25 winters old. I was an eager squad captain. It was going to be my first day on the front lines. That is when I met her, The one who would change my life.
War is a messy thing. Gaia would know, her whole village was wiped out. And that is where it all started. The Centaurs had come during the night and raided their village. They killed the adults and were gathering the children to take to their compound where they made them their slaves. They burned their homes. In the confusion some of the children escaped. Gaia was one of them. The children who managed to escape the centaurs survived for a week on their own, barely. They found food where they could and stayed hidden from the occasional Centaur who would come and round up a stray child or two. Gaia was one of the last to be caught. She was distraught by the fact that her parents were murdered. But she had learned well from her parents. They had made plans for just this instance. They had taught her what things to eat and what she couldn't out on her own. Her clothes had become torn and dirty over that week until there wasn't anything left except her pants. What covered her was her own fur. Gaia was a wolf human. They were neither human or wolf but a bit of both. There had been wars for so long between the races. The humans, the Centaurs, Snow leopards and wolf people. The humans fought everyone, the Centaurs and the snow leopards fought against the humans and the wolf people were unfortunate enough to get caught in the middle of the fight. The humans would raid their villages and the Centaurs would raid their villages. Each trying to get power over the other.
A week after her village had been destroyed Gaia awoke to a smell. It was her own smell. She knew she needed to get bathed so the centaurs didn't find her. She went to the river to get cleaned up. It had been a dry spring and the river was really low. So she walked out towards the middle to get in deep enough to bathe in. She had left her pants on the shoreline thinking she would wash them after. Suddenly the bottom of the river was gone! she was swept down river before she even knew what to do. The middle of the river was very deep and Gaia had been foolish to go into it. the current in the middle of the river was very swift compared to the edge of the river. Gaia cried for help when she surfaced. Gaia felt herself going down for the last time. She knew she wouldn't come up again. Her strength was failing her. Suddenly a hand reached in the deep water and pulled her out. The Centaur slung her over his shoulder as she coughed and sputtered trying to catch her breath. He waded to the shore and gently put her down. "Are you alright?" He asked in a deep voice. The hair that covered him was a light creamy color. It made Gaia think of a fawn. "Yes, I think so." she said as she closed her eyes and passed out.
Almost in a dream like state she woke on the back of the centaur traveling in the herd once more she fell asleep. The next time she woke up there was a pleasant aroma in the air. The one who had saved her was stirring a stew. Gaia sat up and peered into the pot. When she looked in it she saw only vegetables. The Centaur said, " This is what you will be living on for the next few days." He smiled when he saw the look on her face and said, "Don't worry, it's good. Here, try some. I know its not meat, but it's still good." Cautiously she took the spoon from his hand and tried a small bite of the stew. To her surprise it was really good. The small amount of food reminded her that it had been since early morning since she had eaten and growled in protest now. The Centaur laughed at this while Gaia's face turned red. "It's o.k." The Centaur said as he dished up a large helping of stew for her.
A cold breeze blew by and that is when Gaia realized that she had no clothing on. Covering herself as best she could, she asked for her pants. The Centaur looked at her curiously and said, "Your what? I didn't realize you wore clothes. We Centaurs do not need clothes." She looked at him in shock and said, " No, we wear clothes. We wear shirts and pants." The Centaur thought a moment and said, "Well you could go to Ms. West, she is the tailor of our group. I will tell you though that she only makes shirts. But I suppose she could give it a try." The Centaur led her over to Ms. West and made the request for clothes. She gave Gaia a quizzical look and said, "alright."
Ms. West started taking measurements of her arms, height and around her middle. In the end she got a big rectangle like poncho that made a big shirt when she folded the sides up. She also got a sash to keep the sides closed. The poncho hung down to just past her knees. "Thank you." Gaia said shyly to Ms. West. "No problem." Ms. West said to her.
Gaia walked back to where the Centaur waited for her. "May I ask what your name is?" She asked the palomino colored Centaur. The Centaur looked at her quizzically and smiled, "My name is Jeremiah." He said to her. Gaia thought a moment and said, "It is an odd name for a Centaur."
Once they returned back to the stew Gaia got her food and ate it with gusto. When she finished she was so tired she curled up and went to sleep. When she awoke Jeremiah was carrying her. She could feel the strength in his arms as they flexed with each hoof beat. He was warm and smelled of fresh cut grass and earth with a bit of a musky smell. She felt safe and cared for. Something he hadn't felt since her parent's had disappeared. Jeremiah also noticed that Gaia was now awake and lifted her over his shoulder so she could sit on his back. The shirt worked well. It split right down the sides leaving her legs free. Riding awake was a lot different than when she was asleep. She kept moving at the wrong time in the wrong way and kept slipping this way and that. Finally Jeremiah instructed her on how to ride so she would stop slipping this way and that and hurting him in the process. After awhile she got the hang of it and finally got comfortable.
Shortly before lunch they had joined up with several other species of creatures, some of which Gaia did not recognize. There were other Centaurs and some that were almost hairless beings that looked a lot like her. Some looked like large white cats that walked like people.
When they stopped for lunch she jumped down only to find that her legs wouldn't hold her. She tumbled to the ground. Jeremiah asked if she was alright. "Yes." she said getting up quickly only to find her legs wouldn't hold her up. Her legs buckled again. Her legs and butt were sore. Rubbing her backside as she followed Jeremiah they walked past a group of human boys who started howling. After they had passed the boys Gaia asked Jeremiah,
"Why did those boys howl at me like that?" Jeremiah thought a moment and said only,
"They are only acting on what they have been told." Jeremiah could see the puzzled look was still on her face and so he said to her,
" Just stay away from them, o.k.?" Gaia was still a bit puzzled but said to him,
"o.k. Why are they so hairless? I see hair on their heads but they don't seem to have any hair anywhere else." Gaia had never seen a human before. Jeremiah smiled at her and said,
"They are human. They are sort of like you, but different. It is normal for them to have so little hair just as it is normal for you to have so much hair all over. Gaia thought over what he had said for a while. Gaia told Jeremiah that she would be back in a moment, she had to relieve herself. When she came out the tallest of the boys was walking up to her, smiling in a way that made her feel very uncomfortable.
"What do you want?" Gaia asked not at all sure she wanted to know.
"My friends and I want to get to know you better you silly little fuzz ball." The boy said to her looking at her in a way that made her very glad she now had her shirt on.
"Don't call me names, it isn't nice." Gaia said to him standing as tall as she could. Even then she didn't even come up to his shoulder.
"O.k fine I won't call you that. Tonight we should get together, you, me and the boys." The boy continued to smile at her in a way that made her feel very uncomfortable. "Besides, why would you want to hang out with that stupid old Centaur anyway." He said to her. Gaia grew very angry and said, "He is not stupid!" She turned on her heel and walked back to Jeremiah. She walked up to Jeremiah still fuming about the boy.
"Are you alright?" The Centaur asked. He had overheard the conversation that had taken place between the two. He had been ready to help her if she had needed it.
"I'm fine." Gaia said nothing more about it. She was still troubled though.
"I will have to stay clear of them I think," Gaia finally thought to herself.
"We will be traveling with this group for a bit. At least until tomorrow at noon when they will be turning east and we will be going on to the north.

That night they settled on a great plain with only one tree that she could see. There was a creek that ran close to it bubbling merrily over rocks and away through the plains. The night was cloudy making the prairie very dark with patches of moon light here and there. Gaia went to the creek by the tree to get water for in the morning. Knowing that Jeremiah would need it before they left to start the day. Jeremiah was busy with the fire fixing their evening meal. Gaia didn't pay too much attention to the other groups that they were still following. There area around the tree was quite empty and no one was around. Or so Gaia thought. She stepped carefully down to the creek to fill the bucket with water. Suddenly she felt them. She turned on her heel and saw the boys moving slowly towards her. They were spreading out to block her way back to campfires. They were smiling at her, she knew, because she could see their yellowish teeth. Real fear gripped her stomach and she tasted it in her mouth. It tasted metallic. She tried to edge along the creek and get away but they blocked her and jumped on her. Gaia tried fighting back but there were too many hands and fists and feet hitting her and holding her down. Kicking her and tearing at her clothing. Suddenly one of the boys, the eldest she thought, told the others to hold her still. Gaia could hear him taking off his belt and undoing his pants. She was lying close to the tree. Gaia started to whimper and say "no," when he struck her hard across the face and knocked her head into the tree. She blacked out. The boys suddenly heard a deep loud growl coming from up in the tree. All the boy's eyes turned as one towards the sound. Green eyes, like hot jade, stared back at them. Suddenly they eyes disappeared and they heard a soft thump behind them. They turned to see a pure white leopard man with black spots. Slowly he advanced on the boys. His teeth bared, and muscles tensed ready to fight. That's when the oldest told the others to get him. Everything happened so fast and yet seemed to be in slow motion. The boys surrounded the leo 9, as they were called by humans. They started swinging at him but touched nothing but air. He moved and ducked under all the fists moving fluidly as if through water. He hit with little effort but the effect was instantaneous. Each blow rendered the boys helpless on the ground. The oldest was still trying to position Gaia when he heard it go quiet behind him. He froze as if knowing what was coming next. Slowly he turned his head to find the leo 9. He turned to look into the face of rage and anger. His eyes glowed a bright green in the dark. The boy suddenly found himself slammed against the tree with the leo's hand around his throat. He felt the claws piercing his skin. He could feel the power in his arm and hand, knowing that if the leo wanted to he could kill him with a snap of his hand. Leo's arm shook with the power of his rage that burned through him like wild fire. Deep in his mind part of him was saying, "kill him!" He was being filled with a longing to finish the hunt, to kill. The primal part could smell the fear on him. The fear that was emanating from this one was a strong and heady scent that that seemed to urge him on. Suddenly Gaia moaned and the spell was broken. The sound alone was like a shower of cold water to him and his senses. Quickly Leo pulled his hand off the boys neck. The boy fell to his knees coughing from the lack of air. Leo stepped back and walked over to Gaia kneeling down and picked her up. He straightened her clothes so that she was covered again. Unconsciously she curled her fingers into his fur and curled towards him sensing subconsciously that she was safe now.
Leo carried her over to Jeremiah to have him check her over to make sure she was o.k.
"The child! Is she alright?" Jeremiah asked as Leo approached with her in his arms.
"She is unconscious. I don't know. Some boys attacked her." Leo said as he went to lay her gently on the ground in front of Jeremiah.
Gaia clung to him not wanting to let go even though she was still unconscious. Leo saw her face crease with fear. "Shhhh, its alright now, you are safe now." Leo said to her softly.
Her face relaxed and she let go. Jeremiah smiled and said to Leo,
"She seems to have taken a liking to you. She trusts you."
Leo backed away and asked. "Why is she clinging to me like that? She doesn't even know me."
Jeremiah just moved forward to examine her and make sure nothing was broken. All was quiet a for a few minutes while he carefully moved her arms and legs and felt her ribs and made sure that she wasn't injured more than a few bumps and bruises. Finally Jeremiah looked up and said to Leo. "She will be alright. Thankfully their bodies can take a lot." Leo looked at Jeremiah grimly.
The next day Gaia woke up laying on Jeremiah's back. Every inch of her body hurt. Muscles were bruised and strained from the fight the night before. Her head seemed to hurt the worst. Slowly the memory of the night before came back to her in bits and pieces. Slowly the memories came back up to the point when she was knocked out. Gaia put her arms around Jeremiah's waist and started to cry softly into his fur.


Fire Heart

The fire was raining down from the sky. At the last of the light of dusk a long low wail rose from the forest of ash. It was a dragon trying to save his rider as the life energy slowly ebbed from her body. "I am so cold" she whispered to Fire heart. Her body spasmed and curled closer to the dragon. "Hold on, i can save you. I just need my magic back." Fire heart cried to her. The battle they had just fought had drained him of most of his magic. As with all things he needed to rest to restore it. "It's too late for that." she said softly to him, with shaking hands she touched his strong chin with hard scales of deep green as if trying to take the memory with her to the afterlife. "Don't go after him alone, please." she said to him as her eyes closed and her grip softened. Sensing the sudden loss of life energy, Fire heart pooled his very little remaining magic into her. He felt her hand tighten a little. Her eyes opened slowly and she whispered, " promise me, promise me that you wont go after him alone." Slowly he nodded his head in agreement. Feeling his energy sustaining her, she found her sword and held it tight as she cut him off mentally and used the last of all she had to magically imbue her sword to pick his next rider. With a soft sigh she breathed no more. The air was rent with the sound of Fire heart mourning the loss of his beloved rider. Fire heart put all of his pain and sorrow into his song of loss. His song stirred the trees and sent up clouds of ash long into the night and into the early morning light of a new day.

By late morning his throat was raw and his voice was almost gone. Fire heart fell into a dreamless sleep. He slept curled around her body protecting it while he was in a deep dreamless sleep. He slept for two days and two nights. When the moon was full he woke to the sound of a soft thump, thump, thump. The sound was getting fainter as he listened. Slowly he opened his eyes to see what looked like a tree swaying in the wind. He looked again and could see that the tree was carrying his beloved rider away. He could see her hair swaying in the breeze as she was being carried away. He quickly looked where her body had been, surely this was only a dream. She was gone! Quickly he got up and went after the tree that he had seen. She would be easy to spot since all the other trees in the area had been stripped bare by the raining fire. The tree he saw had all of its leaves on it. Rage filled his body as he tried to get up to go after her. His body was spent though from the previous battle and then mourning the loss of his rider. Slowly he got to his feet and walked after the tree. He could see her just ahead of him. Fire heart could barely walk let alone run after the forest guardian of old. He followed a bit behind her trying to just keep up and put one foot in front of the other. The dead trees seemed to be moving closer together, making it harder to follow. With a mighty lunge he jumped clumsily into the air barely making it above the trees. Something landed on his back with a thump that made him loose his height and land clumsily in the branches of a weeping willow. Still exhausted from the battle and the loss he gave in as the tree wove a cradle for the dragon to sleep in. Just before he drifted off to sleep he whispered her name, " Calea, I'm sorry."
Eve, the tree girl, who had been clinging desperately to his neck spike on his back as the dragon had wobbled violently before landing in the tree, had summoned all of her nature magic to cause the tree to make the cradle for the dragon to sleep in. Slowly with the body of Calea still in her arms she climbed down gently to continue with her purpose. Eve was a tree Ent. It was the job of Ents to collect dragons and riders who had passed away. Ent's took the bodies to be buried in the mountain with no name. No one knows the way except for the Ents. The branches of the willow that now cradled the dragon eased her to the ground with her burden. Eve continued on to the mountain to place Calea inside. Calea was laid to rest with the other dragons and their riders in a beautiful crystalline mausoleum where they never change. They remain the same as when they passed. Eve finally finished arranging her so she looked as if she might have fallen asleep. Eve left the mountain to go back to the dragon and care for him. She stayed with him as he slept. After several more days, Eve was starting to worry about the dragon. "surely he should wake soon. He will need nourishment soon." She thought. Eve had the tree that the dragon slept in cause more branches to cover Fire heart even more so that anyone passing would only see a large willow tree. Eve left the dragon to speak to the elder Ents. Eve approached the oldest and wisest of the Ents and softly said, “Elder Willow?” Nothing. Eve spoke a little louder this time and said again, “Elder Willow?” Elder Willow was a small old tree whose branches were knarled and twisted with age. Suddenly she stirred from her restful slumber. “Yes Eve?” Elder Willow said in a soft and wispy voice. Eve drew closer and spoke, “I am sorry for bothering you Elder Willow but I have a dilemma. There is a dragon whose rider has passed away. I have taken the rider to the place of rest but the dragon is grieving so that I fear he will die if he does not wake soon and eat or drink.” The elder Willow sighed a deep sigh and said to Eve, “My child you are correct in thinking that the dragon could grieve himself into death. When a dragon looses his rider to death its like a part of them has died also. I think the dragon will wake soon and we must be there to offer food and drink when he awakens.” Eve, Elder Willow and several of the others gathered food and drink for the dragon and headed towards him when Elder Willow cried out, “wait!” Quickly all the Ent’s turned themselves back into trees. Eve called softly to Elder Willow, “Willow! help me! I cannot change!” Soon there were only trees where moments before the Ent’s had stood. A dark shadow flew over head above them. The Ents below could feel the evil and anger that the medium sized black dragon and its large human rider were emanating. They circled the area twice as if searching for something before moving on.
The Ents started moving again. This time with a watchful eye towards the sky and the area around them. When they reached the tree where the dragon still slumbered they began to rustle the leaves as they climbed the vines towards him. Slowly Eve undid her magic and lowered the sleeping dragon to the ground. He stared to awake with sleepy eyes that didn't want to open. As they slowly slid open to reveal blurry images. All he could see was the flutter of leaves and several he could hear animal sounds. Slowly his surroundings came into focus and only saw trees or what looked like trees. When he realized he was in the gardens of old. Slowly and shakily he got to his feet and dipped his head in a low dragon bow. The sounds stopped and he looked up to see Eve and other Ents gathered around him.
"My name is Eve, we mean you no harm. How did you come to be here?" Eve asked walking up to Fire heart. Fire heart looked at her sadly and told her his name and how he came to be there. "My rider, was there a pack with her? A sword also? I need those things so I can find my new rider. I made a promise." Fire heart said with a heavy heart. Willow came forward with a bundle in his arms and held them out for Eve to take. Eve picked up the satchel and the sword which still bore the blood of the previous fight. As soon as Eve touched the sword she felt it. She felt the pain of the loss of Fire heart. She felt his sadness and his breathing. She felt every part of his body and knew now where some of the wounds were. Fire heart looked at her and knew that he was looking at his new rider. He too felt everything that she had felt. They had bonded.



The mother dragon was dying. With the last of her strength, she clutched her egg, she flew to the one place she knew her egg would be safe. They were called the Dragon Monks. Their deity is a dragon. She knew that he would be by the west wall this time of day tending to the little flower garden there. It was behind some trees so she knew she could give him her precious egg and no one would see.
The sun had just set when she landed beside the wall exhausted. No one had seen or heard her. Quietly she walked closer to the wall and listened for Brother James. She knew that he came to the wall on the inside of the monastery everyday to tend to the flower garden.
She could feel the strength draining from her body. She knew death was only hours away. All dragons knew when their death was upon them. After a few moments she heard the sound of Brother James working the soil with his garden tool. With only her mind she spoke to him, "Brother James, I need your help." she said leaning heavily against the wall.
She heard his hurried footsteps as he went to a doorway not far from where his flower garden was. Soon he was beside her.
"Aldea, you are hurt! I will go get the others and we can help you!" Brother James said with alarm in his voice.
Aldea stopped him with her paw and said, "No, there is no time for that. You must take my egg. It must be protected. Take the egg inside and protect it. Hurry, the Dark Knight who hunts me is not far behind."
Aldea slipped the egg into Brother James's hands and quickly slipped away into the night. Brother James made to stop her but she was gone too quickly. He hurried inside the monastery and went to the main temple.
The Deity was a large statue made from white marble with rubies for eyes. It's hands were outstretched as if waiting to accept something. James put the egg in its hands and as soon as he did the mouth of the dragon opened and flames encircled the egg. James stumbled backward fearing he would be burned. The eyes seemed to be searching for any hidden dangers. James watched in amazement as the flames seemed to caress the egg but not burn it. The Abbot came in and said, "James what is going on here?" Surprise showing on his face. He watched in fascination at something he had never seen before. James hurried to where the Abbot stood, "Sir, Aldea was here, she left the egg with me. I didn't know what to do so I brought it here and this is what happened when I laid the egg in its paws." James was still watching the flames encircle the egg. The Abbot thought a moment before turning to James and saying, " We shall leave it here and go about our business. I think the egg will be safe where it is now. I want you to go about your business too. Don't tell anyone where the egg came from. If the rest don't know they can't tell." The Abbot made sure no one was left in the room and locked the door for the evening. Everyone went about their business as if nothing had happened. There were a few eyes that had strayed to the sight of the egg encircled in the flame of the dragon but otherwise no one acted if the egg was even there. The Monks continued with their daily lives as usual for the next several weeks. One afternoon during meditation, while the monks were praying, the fire stopped with a great whoosh. The monks looked up and saw that the flames had indeed stopped. The egg was green and black with just a touch of white here and there. The egg remained unmoved until the small hours of the next morning when the egg started to hatch by dawn's early light.

A new start,

Kai's Journey excerpt

Chapter 1

It was as far as I could go down the deserted road when I came to the town. I was dirty, exhausted and tired from my days travel. It was just like the rest of the towns and cities I had come across in my travels since this all started 10 years ago when the zombies were created. There were zombies walking around here and there in the town up ahead. But here where I now stood outside the town there had been a battle. Only this time it seemed different. It looked like some one or a group had fought back. There were some full of bullet holes and some all torn up. These were dead and they curiously weren't getting back up. It looked like there had been two different battles. The bullet holed zombies were off in one area. I know that sometimes the military people liked to use them for target practice. They would shoot them in the head to kill them and then prop them up and use them for targets. Or they would make it more sporting by "tempting" them with food and winging them until they grew tired of their sport and shot them in the head. Curiously though there were others that had been cut up and torn who were a little way off to the left. The torn up ones looked to be a fresher battle.
Off in the distance I could hear this odd yet beautiful sound. Quickly I moved toward the sound to see where the danger might lie. I stayed in the shadows to keep from being seen by the other Zombies that might be lurking around in the darkened buildings of the town. The closer I got to the sound the more dead Zombies I found. The sound was now around the corner of the building that looked as if it might have once been a grocery store.
I paused to draw my sword and to peer around the corner into the alley. Slowly I peered around the corner of the building to find the most beautiful white dog I had ever seen, surrounded by Zombies. The animal was so beautiful I rushed to it's aide not even thinking of the consequences. When it first spotted me it seemed to become more wary until I said
"Hold on, I came to help."
I charged at the back of the group of Zombies hacking the first ones head off and stabbing the second one in the back of the head. By the time the third one fell that's when they noticed me and turned toward me. The rest were still facing the dog. It was a desperate fight, I knew that any second the dog or I could be bitten by one of these things. I fought as hard and as fast as I could in hopes that the dog would be able to escape. That way this beautiful creature could live.
Finally I saw the last two fall. I turned to run but saw ten more come stumbling around the corner. That's when something hard hit me in the head and I lost consciousness.
A throbbing headache woke me from my forced slumber. I reached up to rub my head when I noticed that my wrist's were tied behind my back. I slowly opened my eyes to find myself in a cave like room.
Barren of any furniture or anything useful to cut the ropes that were currently binding my wrist's. I looked up on a shelf that was above my head and saw my sword. I got to my knees and slouched till my knuckles touched the ground. I then slipped the rope under my feet so I could have my hands in front of me. Quickly I got to my feet and claimed my sword and released my hands. A sound at the doorway made me turn to face any danger that might be coming in. That is when I saw it. A pure white wolf slowly walking into the room and sat just in front of the doorway. She watched me as I lowered my sword to show no threat. As if satisfied to see that I was free she turned to leave.
"Wait, don't go." I called to the wolf.
She looked back as if she understood what I had just said. She then turned and walked out of the room. I belted my sword and I followed her.
We walked down a hall that curved and into another short hall. I saw her slip into a doggie door. I grabbed the door to open it but found that it was locked. I knocked to see if someone would answer the door. When no answer came I leaned in closer to the door to listen for any sound at all. I was thinking that maybe I could crawl through the doggie door too when I heard a loud crash coming from inside the room. I yelled, "I am coming in!" and slipped into the room through the same way the wolf had gone.
The room was sparsely furnished with a bed, table and a couple of chairs. As I was standing up I caught the sight of someone or something moving out of sight. Fearing someone was being attacked I moved forward to where I saw the person disappear. The door shut as I came closer. I had noticed that all the doors were very heavy wooden doors. Even this door seemed to be very heavy.
"Curious". I said softly to myself. Softly I knocked on the door and asked if anyone inside was hurt. This time I got a reply.
"who are you and why did you come into my room?" It sounded like a woman.
"I'm sorry, I didn't know. It's just that I woke up in this place with my hands bound and my sword taken from me. I saw a beautiful white wolf in the doorway. After I had freed my hands the wolf left and I followed her here. Is the wolf in there with you?"
There was a pause as if she were looking around to see if the wolf was indeed in the room with her.
"No, its not in here with me." She finally replied.
"Can you come out here please, Its been so long since I have talked to another." I asked her hoping I hadn't frightened her.
"Would you give me my robe please, its in there on the bed." I walked over to the bed and picked up what looked to be the robe and took it to her.
I placed it next to the door and said.
"I'm putting it in front of the door and stepped across the room so she could retrieve it. Noticing a fire place and some wood stacked next to it I asked, "would you mind if I started a fire?"
"No, That would be fine. Thank you." she said.
I heard her step into the room as I stood up from the fireplace. I turned to see the most beautiful woman I have ever seen and she looked about my age. She had beautiful white hair flowing down her back. She was about 5'6" and graceful. Her eyes were the most incredible blue I had ever seen. They almost seemed to glow.
I had thought to ask her a question when I was making the fire. But when I saw her all thought left me. I knelt down to stoke the fire to get it going better. She came over to sit down next to me. She said,
"Well, I am here what do you want to talk about?" I thought a bit and then asked her,
"Why is your hair the same color as the wolf's that I saw?" She gave a coy smile. She replied calmly, "Its merely a coincidence." She said and walked towards her door,
"Now I think its time for you to go back to your room. Please don't go anywhere and do not leave your room again. You were not supposed to leave it in the first place. We have left you with your sword because these are dangerous times and you never know when you will need it. But for your sake please leave it on the ledge. At least until we know we can trust you . " Again she smiled that coy smile.
She told me to turn around. As she walked over to her dresser where she pulled open a squeaky cabinet door to get out her clothes. I heard the rustle of clothes hit the floor. I thought she might be done and started to turn when I saw her. I saw the back profile of a beautiful woman. Her hair fell down to the middle of her back. My eyes followed the flow of her hair down her back to her bare butt. That is when I saw it. I saw something different that I had never seen before. She had a miniature tail about 2 fingers wide and as long as 2 fingers. There were pure white hairs coming out of the end. I quickly turned back around so as to give her privacy. After a few more minutes she walked past me to unlock the door.
She led the way back down the hallway to my room.
"I will leave you here but I wanted to let you know what will happen tomorrow. Our leader will come to speak with you and ask you some questions. He will have some other tests for you too. The reason for the questions and test is to see if you can be trusted and are loyal. That is, if you would like to stay with us and travel with us." she said while she stood by the door way of my new room. I looked around my sparse room and noticed that there was no bed or even a chair to sit in.
"What will I sleep on tonight?" I asked her, hundreds of other questions swarming in my mind but knowing that they would have to wait.
"I will look into getting a bed brought to you but for tonight you will have to make do with the floor."
I laughed a dry laugh and told her, " One more night on the ground won't kill me. I have spent many a night on the ground."
When she left I placed my sheathed sword back on the ledge. I looked around and saw a shallow patch of dust that looked soft. As I lay down to sleep I thought about what she had asked.
“Do I want to stay with these people and travel with them?” I thought to myself.
I had traveled alone for so long.
“Well, I have been led here, I might as well see what becomes of it.” I mumbled to myself before drifting off to sleep. I fell into a terrible nightmare.
I was running through a forest when this loud boom and a fierce gale wind hit my back. I went flying through the air to land on the moist grass wet with the morning dew. I landed heavily on my back. Then this loud powerful roar sounded all around me. The roar was that of the king of beasts would make the cowards and weak run. Then it rose into the air, a blood red dragon! I got to my feet as fast as I could. I looked at the dragon as it looked at me. At once it started after me. I ran as fast as I could through the underbrush and past the trees. The underbrush was tearing at my clothes as I scrambled frantically to get away. I could hear a thump, thump, thump.
At first I thought it was my heart trying to burst from my chest. Then I felt it in my ears and then my bones. It was then I realized that the air was pulsating with the beat of the dragons wings trying to keep its massive body aloft in the air. There was a loud boom and a crunching and snapping of trees in front of me as I ran through a bush. I slid to a stop in time to behold a massive sapphire dragon with deep emerald eyes and black horns landing in front of me, unleashing a mighty roar.
Suddenly I sat up wringing with sweat frantically looking around the darkened cave searching for the dragons.
The head counselor was standing there in front of me. It took a moment to see that there were others in the room too, standing back against the wall. The counselor with salt and pepper hair spoke to me . "Are you ready?" Still dazed and confused I looked around again to get my bearings. Again the counselor spoke,
"Are you ready for the test's that Clover spoke of to you last night?"
I stood up fully awake now, the dream receding quickly to the back of my mind.
"Yes I am ready." I said to him.