Misty’s Magical Shed 6

0

Posted by Jodi | Posted in Short Story Snippets | Posted on 20-01-2015

Finny crawled back in bed, holding the book closed against his chest.

Get me out of here so we can talk. Mrs. Sander’s gift shook with urgency.

Finny looked around, afraid the noise would bring Mama Jack back into the room. He burrowed deeper under the covers, then peaked out.  Nothing happened, so he opened the book’s cover.

The unicorn faced him with flaring nostrils. It nodded its head and snickered with a low soft rumble. Bright blue eyes blinked. That’s better. Now shall we begin? 

“Shall we begin what?”

A low angry growl came from somewhere near Finny’s feet. Raskee had retreated there, and was not about to let something like a book keep him from a good night’s sleep. He clawed at the blanket, trying to pull it away from the offender.

“Raskee. Stop,” Finny commanded with little hope the cat would pay any attention. “Raskee, come on up here.”

The cat moved in a low crouch up the bed, burrowing his way to Finny’s waiting hand.

The unicorn reared and landed on all fours. Powerful front hoofs pawed at the invisible ground where it stood. With a soft gentle snort, it nodded at Raskee. Come join us, it called.

To Finny’s surprise Raskee answered. Join you for what?

“What’s going on?” Surely he had to be dreaming. The cat couldn’t talk, but then again, neither could the picture of a unicorn inside a book’s cover.

Yes we can. Both responded in unison.

Now open to page one and let’s get started, Misty commanded.

Raskee clawed at the pages. The first chapter was titled, ‘What you need to know about Mama Jack.’

Finny turned the page to find an astronaut in a spacesuit floating on a tether attached to the International Space Station. He recognized it, because it had been in his special sciences class during the last half of the school year. But what does that have to do with Mama Jack? As soon as the question formed in his mind, a caption flashed beneath the picture. Josephine, Mama Jack, Johnson prepares to replace solar panels that will supply power for her experiments on communication to extraterrestrials. It is her belief we have been receiving information from as far away as three galaxies.

“What?” Finny sat up. Mama Jack was an astronaut? This made her much more intriguing. He liked that word ‘intriguing.’ Data from Star Trek used it. He closed the cover of the book and lay back, letting the soft feather pillow cradle his head.

“Well Raskee.” Finny stroked the cat’s soft fur. “Maybe this summer won’t be boring after all.” He fell asleep with the book in one hand and Raskee curled in the crook of his arm.

Choices for 2015

0

Posted by Jodi | Posted in Some spare thoughts from a writer | Posted on 08-01-2015

This last Sunday I was faced with a question about my writing. I was told I needed to rewrite my book, to make it more one thing or another. The question I need to ask myself is why do I write. I understand this is a dilemma for many writers. So why do I write?

I saw a post on Facebook and Twitter that said, I write because I have to. That pretty much sums it up as to why I write, but why do I write what I write. That is, why do I feel the need to write a mixture of Science Fiction and Romance and Fantasy?  Right now, I’m trying to write an historical fiction book, but it’s not where my heart lies. It’s true some writers  love to bury themselves in the past and wrap history around them, but this is not me, at least for my writing.

I want to spend my time is creating new worlds and running around playing  with all my new imaginary friends. Is it because they don’t look on me as weird, as so many have over the years? I must admit that playing in a world where I have control is enthralling. Could that be all there is to it? Anyone’s guess is as good as mine on this. However, I don’t believe that is totally true. My characters have more control than I do.

So whatever the reason or reasons, it’s something for me to resolve or at least understand a bit better in 2015. The main thing is that I am not going to change, at least my choices. If that prevents someone from reading my work, then I am truly sorry. but I need to be true to my characters and to myself.

Misty’s Magical Shed 5

0

Posted by Jodi | Posted in Short Story Snippets | Posted on 04-01-2015

Finny climbed out without prompting and slammed the truck door. In front of him a big white, two-story farm house dwarfed almost everything around it. The outline of an equally big barn blocked trees and other buildings on the far side of a wide open yard. It was a little bothersome that everything here felt so big. The long low moo of a cow called greeting and distracted him from the smallness inside. Wind rustled through the boughs that wove together overhead, chasing away the last fingers of sunlight. One final flash made Finny blink.

Mama Jack took his hand and pull him into the kitchen. “I have fresh bread and sliced tomatoes,” she said. “You’re way too thin. Or would you like my special sandwich?”

Even though he knew she was wrong about his weight, he didn’t feel like arguing. “Tomatoes?” He wrinkled his nose.

“Your daddy prefers the other kind better too. When she placed it in front of him Finny couldn’t resist. He really was hungry. Strange as it sounded he found that the sweet and gooey peanut butter tasted really good with a sour dill pickle. It was definitely something he’d have again, maybe with dad.

“Now Honey, hold still.” Mama Jack turned from the sink and carried a rag dripping warm water, to wipe his face.

He wanted to tell her he wasn’t a baby, but it was easier to let her treat him like one.

She scrubbed hard but finally it seemed that she was satisfied she’d gotten the last of the peanut butter from his cheeks. “Now come with me,.” She motioned for him to follow her up steep narrow stairs. At the top, she opened a door.

“Thanks, gr…uh… Mama Jack.” he stepped around her to find his bag leaning against the wall. How had that happened?

She kissed him on the forehead. “Get your pajamas on and I’ll read you a story.” She looked around. “Now what did I do with that book?” She seemed confused.  “Oh well maybe tomorrow night. You look tired enough to go right to sleep. Good night sweetie.”

When she left, Finny lay in the quiet, listening. In the distance frogs called out with throaty croaks. Somehow he knew they meant to comfort him, and they did.

The neigh of a horse that sounded from the corner of his room made him sit up, but he didn’t get out of bed. Mama Jack might come back and catch him. He’d rather have some time for Raskee and him to get used to being so far away from home first. He waited until he heard the door at the end of the hall close. Only then did he crawl from beneath the covers. The bag, with all his books, stood alone against the wall. On top, the bright red one tipped, ready to crash to the floor. He felt a tickle in his mind.

The cover flew open, and Misty made her presence known with another whinny. What are you waiting for? Stomping hoofs and a soft snort added urgency. Come on, pick me up. You have things to learn.   

Misty’s Magical Shed 4

0

Posted by Jodi | Posted in Short Story Snippets | Posted on 27-12-2014

Finny looked around. “Who?” When he looked back the unicorn was reared once more in its frozen pose. All was quiet.

“Come on now. I asked you to get ready.” Mama stood at the door. Raskee purred loudly in her arms. Long blond hair pulled up in its tight pony tail stretched down her back. If set free it would reach past her waist. “Where’s Raskee’s case? You’re not reading now are you?”

“Mrs. Sanders gave it to me.”

“That’s fine, but put it away.” She took the book and stroked the front cover. “Misty’s Magical Shed. That sounds interesting.” Her eyes sparkled with a secret. “You can pack it with your other books.” She picked up a bright yellow bag with a screen window, put Raskee inside and zipped it closed. A car motor rumbled outside. “There he is now.” Her voice was flat.

The front door opened. “Anybody home?” Dad called out his usual happy greeting. “Min? Finny? Where are you?” He came into the room. “Ready to go?”

“Hello.” Mama stood on tip toes to brush her lips against Dad’s cheek.

He pulled her close, lifting her into the air.

“Put me down.” Mama glanced at Finny.

“Fine.” Dad’s shoulders slumped as he let her slide to the floor. Then he turned away.

Raskee clawed at the container. Grateful Finny turned his attention away from his parents.  “Yes. You get to go too.” He unzipped the mesh just enough so the cat could stick his head out.

“Let me help you with that.” Dad grunted as he picked up the suitcase. “What do you have in here?”

“Books.” Finny scratched Raskee on the nose before he zipped the mesh closed again.

“Mama Jack will like that. She’s quite a reader herself.”

That was the last Dad said to Finny. Even at the airport, when Finny asked for a candy bar, Dad just shrugged and bought him a bag of peanuts. It did no good to whine, so Finny tucked them into his bag and followed Dad to the check-in gate. With Raskee in his travel container, and Finny on his way to his seat on the plane, Dad waved goodbye and left.

****

“Wait until everyone’s off the plane,” the flight attendant told Finny when they landed in Portland. “I’ll take you into the terminal.”

Finny did as he was told. He sat and looked out the window. On the tarmac, a lone figure looked up at him. Finny wondered if he was dreaming. It couldn’t be the man from the playground at school. Still, it really did look like him.

Are you ready?” The flight attendant tapped Finny’s shoulder.

“What? Oh. Yes.” Finny gathered his jacket and Raskee’s case. Before he made his way out of the plane, he looked out the window once more. The stranger was nowhere in sight. It must have been his imagination.

“Come on now.”

Finny followed her into the terminal.  At the gate he recognized his grandmother instantly. Curls piled high on her head rivaled his hair with their brightness. A brilliant red ribbon that matched the color of her lips added to the effect.

“I can’t believe you’re finally here.” His grandmother knelt before him. “Sweetie, you look just like your father did at your age.” She gave him a big squeeze, and took his hand. “Call me Mama Jack.”

He wasn’t very impressed, after all, he barely knew her. Calling her Mama Jack felt better than calling her grandma.

The trip to Mama Jack’s house felt longer than the plane trip that Finny knew had brought him clear across the United States. Rain tapped on the window like the heels of Mama Jack’s shoes had tapped on the airport floor. When they finally turned onto a gravel road, the crunch beneath the tires overpowered the drumming sound.

The pickup came to a stop. The engine quieted. “We’re here.”

Misty’s Magical Shed #3

0

Posted by Jodi | Posted in Short Story Snippets | Posted on 20-12-2014

A golden light flowed out, when the bag tipped over. When the book fell out with a slap on the floor, the front cover flew open. Finny jumped back startled by what he saw. Rearing, a white unicorn pawed at an empty page. It landed with a snort and turned magnificent midnight blue eyes on Finny.

“Franklin George Joidean?” The unicorn’s upper lip quivered. Nostrils flared.

“How?” The empty hallway resounded with Finny’s whisper.

Stretching on powerful haunches, the creature pawed the air. It snickered, but offered no further explanation. The book snapped closed, and bright golden writing that had been warm cooled.

“Are you still here?” Mr. Jansen, with effort, pushed a broom toward Finny. “You better get going. I saw Joe waiting outside.”

After one last sad look around, Finny picked up his pack. With the book returned inside, he pulled the strap onto his shoulder. Raskee followed close behind when Finny pushed through the outside door.

Joe Trapper, Finny’s best friend, sat on a bench waiting. Since the first day their parents had let them walk home from school, the two had made a pact to always wait for one another.

“What took you so long?” Joe closed the comic he’d been reading.

Without saying anything, Finny pulled out the book Mrs. Sanders had given him.

“Misty’s Magical Shed.” Joe took the book and opened the front cover. Again the unicorn reared.

With a snort it pawed first with its right hoof, then its left.

“What kind of horse is that? All those speckles on the rump, I’ve never seen one like that before,” Joe said.

“What speckles?” Finny looked at the front of the book. The unicorn was pure white with a blue sheen.

“Those spots.” Joe pointed. The unicorn faded. An appaloosa took its place.

Finny grabbed the book back and closed it. He tucked it into his backpack. Once more he was thinking about the summer ahead. Joe got to go off to camp. “I’m going home,” Finny said, even though his friend’s response bothered him.

“Wait for me,” Joe called, but Finny ignored him.

“Have a good summer, Finny,” Joe puffed. Unable to catch up, he gave in and turned down his driveway.

Raskee let out a low growl and tugged on Finny’s pant leg.

“I know,’ he said, but it would do no good to go after Joe now. Maybe when he came back, if he came back, Finny could mend things with his friend.

At the front door of his house Finny couldn’t bring himself to turn the knob and open the door. He stood listening to a soft wind that rustled through the leaves of the maple tree near his bedroom window. It whispered goodbye. Finally he took a deep breath, turned the knob, opened the door and went inside.

“Finny? Is that you?” Mama called from somewhere in the back. He knew she’d be working at her computer, concentrating on the charts and graphs she’d take to work tomorrow.

Studies of the oceans and their inhabitants always made Finny think of Mama. Her skin had a quality that glistened even in the dim light of her desk lamp, that made ber blond hair and blue eyes sparkle. If he didn’t know she worked hard all day, he would have bet she spent all her time in their swimming pool. But then that’s what his friends said about him too. “Yes,” he answered.

“Your father’ll be here anytime. You better go make sure you have everything.  Put Raskee in his carry case. He needs to get used to it before you take him on the plane.”

Finny reached out, but the cat eluded him. The book bounced from his bag onto the floor. The front cover fell open, exposing the unicorn. It pawed the air. You don’t know who she is, do you?