Misty’s Magical Shed #3

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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?

Misty’s Magical Shed #2

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Posted by Jodi | Posted in Short Story Snippets | Posted on 13-12-2014

****

Meooow.

With all the other kids, Finny looked around, then ducked his head. How did that silly thing get out? On the outside ledge, Raskee butted his head against the glass.

“Franklin Joidean, is that your cat again?” Chalk tapped on the green board to join with the irritation in Mrs. Sanders’ voice.

“Yes Mrs. Sanders.” Finny looked up, uncomfortable at the use of his full name.

“Well. Don’t just sit there. Let him in.”

A chill swept into the classroom as Raskee jumped inside. Finny looked out. On the school track a lone figure moved with a slow jerking motion. That’s strange, he looks so familiar. Like Dad, but stooped and slower moving. Finny rubbed his bare left arm, just looking at him made the hairs itch.

“Franklin. Shut the window and sit down.” Mrs. Sanders tapped the chalk again.

Finny looked back. The track was empty. “Yes Mrs. Sanders.” He picked Raskee up and sat down at his desk.

“Way to go Franklin Joidean.” Jimmy Johnson snickered. He always put a mean twist on the end of Finny’s name.

“That’s enough James.” Mrs. Sanders turned to face the classroom. “Now listen everyone. Most of you will be in either Mr. Haroldson’s or Miss Kanxon’s class next year.” Mrs. Sanders smiled. “I hope you study as hard for them as you have for me.”

There was sadness in her voice that Finny didn’t understand. She brushed her face with the back of her hand. “Now gather all your things.” She turned back to the board to finish writing. If you do nothing else over the summer to learn, find a good book and read. It is the true way to experience the world. 

The school bell rang. Chairs legs scrapped harshly on the floor. Desktops slammed as everyone did as Mrs. Sanders said, then rushed for the door. Joyful voices flowed to waiting buses and cars. Finny couldn’t bring himself to leave with the others. After all, they were going to enjoy their summer.

He, on the other hand, had to get ready to travel across the country to his grandmother’s. When the classroom was empty, he walked up to his teacher.

“Mrs…” His voice shook like a little kid’s. He stretched to make himself taller and cleared his throat. Somehow it made him sound more grownup. “Mrs. Sanders?”

“Yes?” Soft brown eyes twinkled with their usual happiness. “You asked for reading material for the summer, didn’t you?”

“Well. No. But…” It was a good idea. He swallowed the spit that filled his mouth.

“Here I think you’ll enjoy this.” She seemed not to notice his discomfort. “I made a list.” She sat down at her desk.  “Once you get to your grandmother’s house, you should ask her to take you to the library. In the meantime…” She handed him a book with a red cover.

‘Misty’s Magical Shed’ blazed with a golden fury on the outside. It warmed in his hands when he took it.

“Thanks Mrs. Sanders.” When Finny picked Raskee up, the troublesome feline curled into a ball and settled comfortably against the book. His long black fur accentuated the bright cover. But when Finny put the book in his backpack and moved Raskee to his right arm, an angry growl let Finny know the cat was less than happy with his new location. Swinging the bag over his left shoulder, Finny ignored him and continued down the hallway. At the door he stopped for one last look at the school he had attended all his life. The way things were going, he wasn’t sure he’d be back for classes next year. His parents weren’t getting along. They might just leave him with Mama Jack forever.

He turned to leave, but a noise made him stop. Finny looked around. Nothing. Nobody in sight. When it sounded again, Finny realized it came from inside his backpack. The only thing different that usual in there was… No? It can’t be the book, he thought even though somehow he knew it was. Before he could make sure, the bag jumped and bucked. He stretched his arm down so it could fall to the floor. What was that sound? It couldn’t be a whinny, could it? He’d ridden a horse last summer at camp, so it sure sounded like it. With Raskee on the floor, he unzipped his backpack.

Misty’s Magical Shed #1

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Posted by Jodi | Posted in Short Story Snippets | Posted on 06-12-2014

Jacquelyn Joidean forced her breathing to quiet. Alone in the cupboard at the back of the classroom, she heard Henrietta Sanders finish the lesson plan for the last day of school. She should be back at her farm, taking care of the animals and preparing… Preparing for what? She shivered, despite the stuffy heat that wrapped around her. The book she held warmed in her hand. No, there was something much more important to do. She had to get ”Misty’s Magical Shed” to her grandson. Her mind wandered.

Franklin Joidean had no idea what his nickname Finny really referred to. That had been best. Now it was time to introduce him to the truth. But would that do any good? Did he have enough magic in him to understand? To see unicorns? Despite her impatience, Jacquelyn knew she would have to leave it to Harry, Henrietta, Jacquelyn corrected herself. Her long time friend didn’t like the nickname she’d used all through school, even though it had branded itself on her.

“You can come out now.” The door opened. “Mama Jack, it’s so good to see you.”

“It’s been too long Harry.” If Henrietta was going to use nicknames, then Jacquelyn was more than willing to join in. After all Mama Jack is how most everyone referred to Jacquelyn now anyway and she preferred to call her friend by her childhood nickname.

“Is that the book you want me to give him?” Harry took it into her hands and opened it. A pure white unicorn glowed with a blue sheen against a cream background, as it reared and pawed at empty air. “Ah. Misty,” said Harry.

“Glad to see you haven’t lost your magic.”

“What about Finny?”

The unicorn whinnied.

“We’ll find out when you give this to him.” Mama Jack closed the book’s red cover and handed it to Harry. “Now I better get back before someone sees me here.” She stepped into the closet. “His grandfather will be watching,” said Mama Jack, then shut the door. Dark swirled in. Time bent and straightened, then she was home. Soon Finny would join her. Would he be able to see Misty inside the book’s cover?  Would he have the magic they needed to save their worlds?

Mama Jack stepped out into the farmyard. She had to keep busy until he got here. Besides Misty’s shed needed cleaning.

 

Wrapping up NaNoWriMo

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Posted by Jodi | Posted in Some spare thoughts from a writer | Posted on 30-11-2014

Today is the last day of NaNoWriMo. Tomorrow I will go back to the edit of Book one in the Naldo series.

There is one more write-in today so I will work on a scene, and if I have time start with what will be the closing one. There much more work than that tod do, but I must finish with book one, “Not Too Late Forever” and flesh out the work I’ve already done for book two. I’m looking forward to the second book as much as I have enjoyed the first. “Naldo Calls” is really calling to me.

To my fellow writers, those who participated in NaNoWriMo and those who did not, thank you for letting me be part of your community. It’s an exciting group of people who share true passion for their craft.

Coming up the next post here, I am going to revisit the story I worked on for my second contribution for NaNoWriMo. It is the only one so far that I did not succeed in writing 50k words. It has however given me a terrific mid-grade fantasy to work with.

For now I will just bow out and return to my writing.

Thank you,

Jodi

Naldo Is My Home Too-NaNoWriMo excerpt

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Posted by Jodi | Posted in Novel excerpts | Posted on 22-11-2014

A blue sparkle of awareness, broke through the cold and pressure of the deep to touch Chandhyi. It wasn’t that of the keepers, those of her kind who took care of the soon-to-be’s. Warm and innocent this intelligence, and yes she felt he was intelligent, reached out for someone to belong with. Not me, she had been tutored to accept only those of her kind. This was someone of her birthworld. Naldo they called it.

It’s not your choice. My name is Handaln. 

That’s almost like mine. Chandhyi felt comfort in the difference.

It is yours. As am I and you are mine. The only difference is our individuality. We are joined now, so together we are one and more than one. And now you are C’Handyi.

Why does that feel so right? Before C’Handyi accepted her new name, she tried to stretch, to reach past the protective sack of her prebirth, but it was hard and unforgiving. Understanding touched her.

Not to worry. We are the same, but different.

Why was there so much friendship in the words? Comfort she could barely understand eased her anxiety and she relaxed. Needed sleep enveloped her as her new friend drew close. Within that sleep was a change. A protective shell built around them. It was not visible or even feelable by the others. That was a good thing, a very good thing for what came next.

What are you doing? Harsh words struck C’Handyi.

She tucked into a ball of still gooey liquid. Her insides and outside squished. If only there was someplace else she could be. But the confines of her current prison would not let her escape the protectors. Or at least they called themselves that. Mostly they were there to make sure that Plebians remained separate from the native inhabitants of what ever world was chosen for the collection of the embryos.

Then without warning or any notice the protection they offered was gone. Strange, C’Handyi didn’t miss them.

That is because we are one. The sweet voice reminded her. Now you need to get into someplace where you will be safe.

But I have my shell.

It is not enough. Here let me burrow a hole for you.

Bu… Before she could form her resistance, C’Handyi felt herself pulled away from the main gathering. Then darkness enveloped her. Pressure of soil and rocks pressed into her. It was like a cushion from all sides.

Then without warning everything turned hot and stifling. The liquid that had been gooey started to bubble. Heat so intense it could not be natural surrounded her. There was only one thing to do. That was to ask her friend to burrow deeper. Please. She sent out the thought.

No worries.

Deeper and deeper they burrowed, until the heat evened out. Then cooler and cooler the outer layer of her pre-birth once more stiffened. Chill crept in robbing her of conscience choice.