Mtv reality shows 2010s

MTV_RealityShows

2023.02.09 14:21 Unicorn_blood_ MTV_RealityShows

This community is to discuss about any reality tv show on MTV India.
[link]


2020.04.07 08:42 gameoverrman NostalgicAustralian

The community to discuss, reminisce and rediscover iconic movies, TV shows and music as 1990s, 2000s or 2010s Aussie kids.
[link]


2008.01.25 16:52 📺 Television Discussion and News

[link]


2023.06.01 04:27 BeardInTheNorth Why do some match/fleet racing competitions use foiling monohulls now, whereas as others still use catamarans? And where do trimarans fit in?

I've only just started following yacht racing and know next to nothing about foiling. While I've read lots of articles and have watched hours of YouTube videos by now, I'm still unclear on the relative pros and cons of monohulls vs multihulls in this sport, specifically as it pertains to match racing and fleet racing.
As I understand it, America's Cup previously used foiling catamarans (mostly AC72s and AC50s) throughout the 2010s but are now back to using foiling monohulls (AC75s) again for 2021. The only match race in which I recall seeing a planing trimaran compete in the 33rd America's Cup.
By comparison, the relatively nascent SailGP exclusively uses high-tech foiling catamarans for fleet races (F50s).
So, I guess my question is, why do some competitions favor monohulls whereas others favor multihulls? And for the latter, why do foiling catamarans dominate match and fleet racing, while planing trimarans tend to show up in round-the-world races? And do any competitions make heavy use of foiling trimarans over catamarans and monohulls?
submitted by BeardInTheNorth to sailing [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 04:26 SeaEquivalent9129 Melissa was a stripper & Theresa didn’t set her up

Melissa was a stripper & Theresa didn’t set her up
I’ve just read this interview which was done with a past producer (https://famewhorgas.wordpress.com) and it basically says that it was the producers who invited Angelo (the one who said Melissa used to work for a Gentleman’s Club) on to the show and they arranged for him to meet Theresa but it was planned so that Theresa would take the blame for setting it up and outing Melissa and that the footage and audio was heavily edited to ensure Theresa would get the blame. It also says that it is basic knowledge that Melissa was a stripper and that they done checks to make sure she was employed at the Gentleman’s club and that so was Angelo.
So for a long time people have hated Theresa for ‘lying’ about Melissa being a stripper, when I’m fact it is true, and have also hated her for ‘setting up’ the situation with Angelo, when in reality it was planned by the producers and she didn’t have much control over it.
I like Theresa and I think Melissa is very manipulative/conniving, I think she likes to put on an innocent act.
submitted by SeaEquivalent9129 to rhonj [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 04:18 Fuzzy_01 I am the best

Uh, hey there! So, like, I wanted to, you know, talk about this game I'm totally awesome at. It’s called Bloons TD Battles 2.0 And let me tell you, I'm the best, like, the absolute best. No one can even come close to my level of skill. It's, like, insane.
I mean, seriously, when I start playing this game, it's like the universe aligns itself just for me. I have this, like, sixth sense or something, you know? It's like I can predict every move, every strategy, before they even happen. It's, like, I have this secret connection with the game, and it obeys my every command.
People just can't handle my level of awesomeness. They try to challenge me, but it's, like, they're playing a completely different game. They're, like, clueless about what's really happening. I'm on a whole other level, my friend. A level that mere mortals can only dream of reaching.
And let me tell you, it's not just my skills that make me the best. I have this, like, incredible focus, you know? I can play for hours on end without even blinking. It's like I become one with the game, and nothing else matters. I transcend reality and enter this alternate dimension of pure gaming perfection.
I've mastered every aspect of this game, from the basic mechanics to the most complex strategies. I know all the secrets, all the hidden tricks, and all the funny tricks that give me an advantage. But hey, I'm not here to play fair. I'm here to dominate, to crush my opponents, and to show them who's boss.
So yeah, that's why I'm the best. I can't really explain it in words, you know? It's this magical combination of skill, intuition, and pure dedication. I'm just on a whole other level, and everyone else is, like, light years behind me. They can try to catch up, but they'll never succeed.
I guess you could say I was born to be the best at this game. It's like I have this natural talent that can't be replicated or matched. I'm a force to be reckoned with, a legend in the making. So, uh, sorry if I come across as, like, bragging or something. I'm just stating the facts here. I am the best. Period.
submitted by Fuzzy_01 to battles2 [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 04:18 Away-Kaleidoscope380 People who cant do anything alone

I have a friend who asks me every single day to hangout. Those of you who work corporate/office jobs now how limited our time is after work and as someone who likes to workout and get hobbies done, it makes my time on workdays very limited. My friend doesnt seem to understand and asks me everyday to hangout. If I say I’m gna go golf, he wants to tag along and note I have no problem with meeting up with friends if we enjoy the same hobbies and respect each others time. This friend however always shows up late then takes another 30-40min to smoke because he cant do anything sober. By the time we get started, I would have already been done had I gone solo. I’ve told him multiple times that I have a routine and schedule on my workdays and I’m really not willing to change it just to watch him smoke and “chill”. I quit smoking a few years ago and got my life turned around with a career and he hasnt.
I do consider myself a heavy introvert as I enjoy working out and doing my hobbies alone. Theres something therapeutic about it after a long work day and having time for myself. Having a friend cling on like this is getting extremely annoying as he cant do anything alone and because hes always bored, he wants to tag along with whatever I do. Like I said above, its fine if he wants to come but my time needs to be respected. My friends that I occasionally go with respect each others time and if we’re going to hit the range then we individually work on our golf game or if we go to the gym, we just get our work done and leave. He likes to socialize and just “chill” and tells me I’m too uptight with my time when in reality, I really only got 2-3 hours a day to do what I want.
Am I being unreasonable and is this normal for an adult to not be comfortable with doing things alone
submitted by Away-Kaleidoscope380 to introvert [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 04:14 Betty-Adams Flying Sparks Volume 1 - A Novel of a boy, a dragon, and an alien. Avaliable for preorder on Indiegogo Now.

Flying Sparks Volume 1 - A Novel of a boy, a dragon, and an alien. Avaliable for preorder on Indiegogo Now.

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


https://i.redd.it/vvxa5zxkfb3b1.gif

Chapter 2

“Hazardous? I’ll show that manipulative, misanthropic, anti-establishment cretin just what hazardous means if he thinks I’m going to fold on this!”
The sound of vigorous guitar riffs made a fitting accompaniment to the angry tirade despite originating on opposite sides of the communal area. Ama was glaring at a laptop that sat on a stained oak desk shoved against the large table near the kitchen. She tapped a fingernail on the wood as she read through the alert.
“And what violation of basic human dignity has her royal prudishness’s undies in a bunch?” Em demanded with an affected sneer without looking up from his guitar scales.
“Oh you’ll agree with this one tree-hugger,” Drake muttered from where he sat oiling his work boots.
“Yeah,” Donny piped up, “Finney is trying to kill a perfectly healthy fir.”
“What!” Em demanded, carefully placing his battered old acoustic guitar down in its case and darting over to look at the computer screen. “You mean apark tree?”
Despite her simmering frustration Ama allowed a small smile to flicker across her face as she continued to type.
“Get out of your pajamas and I’ll tell you,” Drake ordered pointing towards the bathroom door with a stained rag. “School starts in forty-five minutes and you still have breakfast and chores. That goes for you too Pip-squirt.”
“I hope you washed your hands before you touched our food,” Em said with a frown.
“Boot grease makes a great source of fatty acids.” Drake retorted. “Now go!”
The two smaller boys muttered in annoyance but stumbled off to follow orders.
“So what is up?” the youth asked as he bent his head back over the smooth leather of his boots.
“Mrs. Finney wants that tree down that’s blocking her perfect view of Crescent Lake.” Ama replied in a dry tone.
“One that’s clearly on park property?” Drake asked.
“Indeedy-do.” Ama replied giving the paper in front of her a glare.
“So how’s she justifying it?” Drake asked.
“As a safety hazard to her house.” Ama replied.
“And?”
The biologist groaned and rubbed her face.
“As far as I can tell the trunk is perfectly healthy. There is an old trash can lid grown into the trunk and a little discolored sap is leaking out there.”
“Frass?”
“Watch your language!” Donny interjected as he darted up to the table.
“Frass is not a bad word,” Drake stated. “Have you let the chickens out?”
“Yes, what does frass mean?” Donny asked as he started piling stir-fry onto his plate.
“Look it up.” Drake ordered him. “Emerald! Breakfast ends in ten minutes! Get your tukus down here!”
“It’s bad health to rush meals,” Em snapped out as he came down a narrow stairway with deliberate slowness.
“It’s even worse for your health to skip meals altogether,” Drake growled threateningly.
“Shut it and give me some eggs.” Em snapped back.
“Emerald Waters Undersun,” Drake hissed out through gritted teeth. “You are going to get your own eggs.”
The boy threw himself into a chair and glared at Drake with challenge in every line of his body.
“Emerald,” Ama said in a calm tone. “I think you should apologize to your cousin now.”
“Sorry I disturbed you Ama,” he offered without breaking eye contact with Drake.
“Not me, him,” Ama said.
“Sorry you had to hear that Donny.” Em said.
Ama heaved a sigh and closed her computer.
“Emerald,” Ama said.
“Do you want to eat or go hungry?” Drake demanded.
Ama glanced at him with a familiar uneasy look in her eyes and Drake fought down a wince.
“Now, Em.” she said in a patient tone.
“I’ll go hungry,” Em snapped, jumping up and stalking over to the couch.
Donny kept his eyes fixed on his plate. Ama heaved a sigh before turning back to her computer. Em wriggled on the couch for several minutes before skulking back to the table. Drake moved to intercept him but Ama stopped him with a look and he let Em serve himself. Drake cast irritated glances at the wall clock as the time crept more and more into school time.
Ama closed her computer and stood, then sighed, sat and opened it again.
“I need to pick out their report topics,” Ama muttered.
“I could do it,” Drake offered.
“You do quite enough,” Ama replied briskly, as she scanned the news. “Here you go. For Donny, malfunctions at the Lewis- McChord Air Force Base air show.” A frown creased her face. “Wow, this is pretty serious. It looks like the F-16 demonstration team nearly got killed.”
Drake whistled and leaned over her shoulder.
“Multiple system failures,” he read out loud. “I am pretty sure that isn’t supposed to happen.”
“Nope,” Ama agreed. “Here is a topic on big game management for Em.”
“Reports due by next week?” Drake asked as the old printer on the desk began to squeal and grumble as it powered up.
“Same as usual,” Ama confirmed.
Drake put the printouts on top of the homework pile and moved to wash up the breakfast dishes.
“I need to get to work early today so you two be good for Drake,” she called out placing a quick kiss on top of the smaller boys’ heads and giving Drake’s shoulder a friendly squeeze.
“Good luck with Mrs. Finney, and stay safe.” Drake called out as she went into her room.
The table was cleaned off and wiped down and the clink of forks gave way to the steady scratch of pencils on paper. They broke for a recess after religion and then lunch after history and math, and by the time the Grandfather clock in the corner struck two the younger boys twitching with energy. Drake made certain the internet was disconnected at the router, and chased Donny and Em out into the garden.
“And don’t come in until dark,” he ordered tossing two snack bags out after them.
Donny as usual snatched his food and disappeared into the small orachard. Low grumbles about troglodytes and the Amish wandered out into the high corn following Em and Drake shook his head in exasperation wondering, not for the first time how the dark haired princeling came from the same gene pool as his little brother. The kitchen being mostly ordered Drake was turning to put the last random dirty sock in the hamper when a gnarled hand clutching a cane head appeared in the corner of his eye, causing his heart to make a valiant attempt to bolt out of his throat.
“Abuelita!” he gasped forcing his hands down from the guard position. “Where did you come from?”
Smoldering black eyes ran searchingly over the tall youth. An impossibly long mane of streaked silver and black hair was barely contained in a thick braid. A sharply pointed nose perched over a small wrinkled mouth. A vibrant red horse-hair serape hung over her shoulders concealing everything except her brown and gnarled hands which currently clutched the old tree branch she used as a cane. Drake had been more than a little comforted by the fact that both Em and Donny had admitted to having the thought ‘witch’ every time time they saw her as well.
“From the hand of God by the bodies of my sainted mother and father,” she replied after a long, uncomfortable silence.
She always spoke in a low husky voice that suggested years of smoking, though Drake had never smelled even stale smoke on her.
“Right,” Drake blinked and grinned at the response; the one she always gave. “So you are here for their Spanish lesson? I have their grammar books ready and-”
The narrow end of the tree branch rapped against the concrete of the floor causing Drake to jump. Abuelita glared at him, locking his gaze and holding him in place with it for a moment.
“I am here for their lessons,” she finally stated, “and you are there for my payment.”
Drake thought longingly of the repair and maintenance manuals in the cab of the truck and the new tool he was itching to try, but he forced a grin on his face.
“Yes ma’am,” he said. “What can I get you today?”
Abuelita pulled out a bag of woven grass from under her serape causing the indistinct patterns on the cloth to shift and change.
“Take this,” she ordered him, “and collect me the cobalt blue berries that grow on a single stalk close to the ground. They must come from the mountain to the south east of here by the crystal brook.”
Drake nodded, and took the little bag, he didn’t quite manage to infused his gestures with enthusiasm he supposed. The old woman, probably wouldn’t have noted it anyway. She turned and moved towards the garden door without waiting for any other reply. However she called out over her shoulder as he turned to find his own way out of the rambling structure.
“Don’t dawdle little one. A storm brews in the distance.”
He tried not to roll his eyes at that, the weather forecast was clear and eighties for the next week according to the morning fire report Ama had printed. The youth only nodded and slipped around the corner. He circled the barn and pulled a set of loose tan pants and tunic out of the cubby. The soft worn leather almost perfectly matched the forest floor for color as did the moccasins he pulled on after them. His morning running clothes were modern stuff that wicked the sweat away from him and let him speed through the forest. These were his free day clothes. The ones that let him disappear into the forest and wander. Abuelita, for all of her demands, would tend Em and Donny until he returned no matter how late that was, and with the Park’s yearly budget talks still under way it was highly unlikely Ama would be home until long after the sun had set. Despite still hearing the call of the half restored truck he felt something lossening in him already. The soft cotton and smooth leather rested easily against his skin and Drake slipped into the forest.
Freedom; for the moment at least, blissful freedom. Pushing aside the guilt that accompanied the thought as well as any lingering worries about his charges the youth let his legs carry him through the trees. He shunned the man made paths, following the faint animal trails. This close to the barn they were as clear to him as if they were named city streets. Being animal trails, they invariably led him to water. Today he stopped at a trickling stream, took off his moccasins, and rolled up his pants legs. The youth turned and followed the thin flow of icy water upstream, letting it steal the heat from his body through his feet.
Some distance upstream, the stream widened and pooled under a boulder. There Drake paused and pulled an old black compass out of his pocket. Behind him he knew every trail and tree. Ahead was a broad swath of National Wilderness he would have to cross, or possibly Bureau of Land Management or even state managed forests where he more rarely wandered. It was hard to tell where the boundaries were from the ground. The clearing he wanted for the berries was solidly in BLM land and he still had quite a ways to go to get there. The stand of timber that stood between him and his goal was dense with young tree and branches that frequently formed impenetrable hedges he had to track around and he checked his compass regularly as he climbed in elevation. Even so the youth found he had wandered too far off his route and had to correct when he spotted the boundary fence. However he was in no hurry and he reached the clearing long before the sun told him it was time to turn around.
Sometime in the past some unknown force had carved a shallow trench across the side of one of the small mountains that that dotted the wilderness. It had puzzled Drake at first. The scour was at the wrong angle to be an old rock slide, and terminated in a near perfectly circular clearing at the lower end. Centuries old Douglas Firs abruptly gave way to a second ring only a few decades old. Those were in turn beginning to produce cones and a smattering of knee high saplings. The rest of the space was completely given over to wildflowers. No matter what season Drake visited it he found a riot of life.
There had been an early spring and many herbs that normally would have waited a month or more were already in full bloom in the mountain meadow. A white wave of foamflower washed in from the deep forest surrounding the clearing, sending up knee high stalks covered in the delicate white blooms. Late trillium hid close to the roots of the great firs, many having shed their white corollas and begun to put forth their bulbous seed heads. Fuzzy white baneberry blossoms nodded gently in the breeze. A riot of yellow and purple spread across the ground as vetch and buttercups and a host of clovers competed for space in the open sun. Great stalks of lupine as high as his head thrust up their purple and blue proudly from thick clusters of palm shaped leaves. Pink shooting stars and violet harebells crouched under the protection of the larger plants. Indian paintbrush lit the scene with flames of red and orange. Where a spring seeped into the meadow elephant’s head flared neon pink and corydalis bushes put forth blushing blooms. Pale green wild orchids stood along the wet spot and the swarms of bees danced from them to the glacier lilies.
Sometimes, as he bent over a tiny blossom and traced the intricate network of veins in the petals, drank in the scent, and felt the smooth surface of the leaves an otherworldly feeling would come over him. It was as if there was another world just out of range of his senses. If he could only really look, the thin illusion that was blocking him would slip away and reveal the real world underneath it.
Look Awiegwa,” his father would whisper, pointing at a deer mouse perched on a fallen log. “What does it see?”
Awiegwa would screw up his face and squint. Trying to find the answer to the question.
Awiegwa had often wondered how so many flowers had come to be in the relatively small area. He had identified dozens of species and there were more he had yet to determine. The clearing was always the first place to bloom and the last to go dormant. Many of the flowers seemed to utterly defy their usual blooming patterns. However, as time passed he had simply come to accept it. It was one of the small good things that brought back the memories of his father. If it didn’t quite follow the rules Ama had taught him, well an impossible clearing in the mountains wasn’t a place for rules.
The particular bloom that Abuelita had requested had taken full advantage of the early sun and had already put forth a few cobalt blue berries; easily spotted at the edge of the clearing in the delicate sea of white flowers.
However before he left the shade of the forest for the meadow the youth paused and closed his eyes. Bole wasn’t always here, but he was often enough that Awiegwa always checked for him. Carefully he reconstructed the clearing in his mind; marking every tree and boulder on the edge. Three years he had been coming here and each time it was easier to recreate the clearing. Breathing evenly he opened his eyes, letting the mental image merge with the actual. There was a brief moment of confusion as details like the play of light through branches and the trembling of small clusters of flowers fixed themselves but there was only one truly jarring note. Awiegwa didn’t let his eyes focus on the disparity; he never did anymore, but a warm smile spread across his features as he slipped silently into the meadow.
He was here. As the youth moved in a low crouch, gathering the first fruits of the Queen’s Cup, he let his peripheral vision linger on a particular snag. There was nothing obviously interesting about it, other than the fact that it had not been there the last time Awiegwa was here. He had named the wanderer Bole, because it most often appeared as a thick tree trunk; sometimes living, sometimes dead. Occasionally it would be a boulder or simply a mound in the dirt. Often it wasn’t in the clearing at all. If the youth moved forward and tried to closely examine it he could never find anything to suggest it was something other than a tree or rock.
He had thought about taking a sample occasionally, had taken his knife out to do just that more than once, but something always held him back. Bole was a part of this place. Dissecting him would be too much like attempting to dissect his sense of his father’s presence here. The youth had never told anyone about this place, not even Ama with who could get most things out of him easily enough. Down at the house, in town, when he was Drake; solid, reliable, first up in the morning, two grades ahead in school with a penchant for science Drake, a productive member of modern society with a promising future and his mother smiling at him. Here he could be Awiegwa. Here he could believe in the ancient medicines his father had dug out of dusty old tomes and brought to life from the forest litter. Every time Awiegwa left the clearing and headed back towards home reality would reassert itself. Bole would resolve back into a figment of his imagination, created from pride in a somewhat better than average memory and what the social workers had called an “intriguing imagination”. When he reached the house and become solidly Drake again flickers of embarrassment would begin eating at him for letting his senses trick him like that, but as long as the blooms nodded around him in this garden Bole could exist even on a Thursday.
The little woven grass bag filled up with the berries fairly quickly and Awiegwa soon stretched out of his crouch and let his gaze wander contentedly over the clearing. As it always did, the warm space was working its special magic. Worries about Em getting out of his schoolwork, of not paying enough attention to the quiet Donny, of letting Ama see his petty resentments: it had all melted away from his muscles, thoughts of college costs and abandoning his duties dissolved into an acute sense of the now. The leaves rustled softly in a barely-there breeze, the heavy scent of some unidentified blossom filled his lungs, a dozen shades of green framed the rainbow of flowers, and over and above it all the creaking of the firs as the wind played over them. It was at times like these that he felth he could almost see into heaven; that something wonderful that existed just beyond his senses, and all he had to do was reach out and claim it.
The youth took a deep breath and let himself fall backwards onto a handy rise in the forest floor. His path had taken him to the foot of the snag and he shifted slightly to align himself with the gnarled roots. One hand gripped a time smoothed root.
“Ama trusted me enough to go out of state,” he murmured. “That’s the first time she’s done that. Usually she has Abulita stay with us to fend off the Harsh, but she said it’s long past legal now.”
It was his imagination of course that made him think the root vibrated in his hand in response. Many a long hour he had spent in this clearing with the wanderer. He had poured out his frustrations and anguishes over life’s injustices, had shared his secrets as he grew, and had shouted his triumphs. Sometimes he felt closer to Bole than to any of his human friends. However, something that sounded like his mother’s voice warned him that there was something odd about this and that awareness was the main reason he had kept this place secret from Ama. Their mother hadn’t exactly liked stuff like that. She had never objected to his father’s digging up the old stories of her people. Making cross generational connections between elders, who more often than not lived isolated lives, and the next generation, was an admirable goal in of itself in her eyes; objectively a social good. Storytelling was only the natural course for these relationships to take, but subtle looks had warned even a very young Drake that it was best to cautious what he shared with his mother. At least of those things that couldn’t be placed on a microscope slide. So this was Awigewa’s place, and while his father’s spirit wanders the flowers with he had never felt his mother here.
He let his focus drift up, and up. Dark blue Lupine nodded over his head framing the faint crisscross of jet contrails that threw a light haze over an otherwise cloudless sky. His clothed grew deliciously hot from the spring sun. The ground too had eagerly accepted the energy and now it conducted the heat into the muscles of his back. Bole’s wood beneath him was warmer even than the surrounding ground and an idle thought traced across Awiegwa’s awareness; something about it being odd for the light colored wood and relatively dry wood to retain more heat than the darker soil surrounding it. His mind was filled with the impression of a goal. He had been meaning to do, something. Something fun, yes, exploring, he’d meant to see if whatever had dug that den by the second boulder was cubing this year. He would just get up and do that in a minute. His back was so warm and comfortable.

Flying Sparks”
Another foray into the lives of Drake McCarty, Ama Love, and the rest of their siblings as they discover that something alien is out in the forest around their home.
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flying-sparks-a-novel-of-dragon-bear-and-boy/coming_soon
#FlyingSparks #ScienceFiction #Scifi #Story #novel #book #DrakeMcCarty #AmaLove #Donny #Em #Bard #Bole #Aliens #Spaceships #Crystals #fireflies #NPS #NationalPark #Doctor #Sever #family #storm #writing #reading #drama #literature #author #BettyAdams #DyingEmbers #Dragons #ThingsThatGoBoomp #Indiegogo #CrowdFunding
submitted by Betty-Adams to ChristianAuthors [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 04:13 Betty-Adams Flying Sparks Volume 1 - A Novel of a boy, a dragon, and an alien. Avaliable for preorder on Indiegogo Now.

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


https://i.redd.it/vub83em8fb3b1.gif

Chapter 2

“Hazardous? I’ll show that manipulative, misanthropic, anti-establishment cretin just what hazardous means if he thinks I’m going to fold on this!”
The sound of vigorous guitar riffs made a fitting accompaniment to the angry tirade despite originating on opposite sides of the communal area. Ama was glaring at a laptop that sat on a stained oak desk shoved against the large table near the kitchen. She tapped a fingernail on the wood as she read through the alert.
“And what violation of basic human dignity has her royal prudishness’s undies in a bunch?” Em demanded with an affected sneer without looking up from his guitar scales.
“Oh you’ll agree with this one tree-hugger,” Drake muttered from where he sat oiling his work boots.
“Yeah,” Donny piped up, “Finney is trying to kill a perfectly healthy fir.”
“What!” Em demanded, carefully placing his battered old acoustic guitar down in its case and darting over to look at the computer screen. “You mean apark tree?”
Despite her simmering frustration Ama allowed a small smile to flicker across her face as she continued to type.
“Get out of your pajamas and I’ll tell you,” Drake ordered pointing towards the bathroom door with a stained rag. “School starts in forty-five minutes and you still have breakfast and chores. That goes for you too Pip-squirt.”
“I hope you washed your hands before you touched our food,” Em said with a frown.
“Boot grease makes a great source of fatty acids.” Drake retorted. “Now go!”
The two smaller boys muttered in annoyance but stumbled off to follow orders.
“So what is up?” the youth asked as he bent his head back over the smooth leather of his boots.
“Mrs. Finney wants that tree down that’s blocking her perfect view of Crescent Lake.” Ama replied in a dry tone.
“One that’s clearly on park property?” Drake asked.
“Indeedy-do.” Ama replied giving the paper in front of her a glare.
“So how’s she justifying it?” Drake asked.
“As a safety hazard to her house.” Ama replied.
“And?”
The biologist groaned and rubbed her face.
“As far as I can tell the trunk is perfectly healthy. There is an old trash can lid grown into the trunk and a little discolored sap is leaking out there.”
“Frass?”
“Watch your language!” Donny interjected as he darted up to the table.
“Frass is not a bad word,” Drake stated. “Have you let the chickens out?”
“Yes, what does frass mean?” Donny asked as he started piling stir-fry onto his plate.
“Look it up.” Drake ordered him. “Emerald! Breakfast ends in ten minutes! Get your tukus down here!”
“It’s bad health to rush meals,” Em snapped out as he came down a narrow stairway with deliberate slowness.
“It’s even worse for your health to skip meals altogether,” Drake growled threateningly.
“Shut it and give me some eggs.” Em snapped back.
“Emerald Waters Undersun,” Drake hissed out through gritted teeth. “You are going to get your own eggs.”
The boy threw himself into a chair and glared at Drake with challenge in every line of his body.
“Emerald,” Ama said in a calm tone. “I think you should apologize to your cousin now.”
“Sorry I disturbed you Ama,” he offered without breaking eye contact with Drake.
“Not me, him,” Ama said.
“Sorry you had to hear that Donny.” Em said.
Ama heaved a sigh and closed her computer.
“Emerald,” Ama said.
“Do you want to eat or go hungry?” Drake demanded.
Ama glanced at him with a familiar uneasy look in her eyes and Drake fought down a wince.
“Now, Em.” she said in a patient tone.
“I’ll go hungry,” Em snapped, jumping up and stalking over to the couch.
Donny kept his eyes fixed on his plate. Ama heaved a sigh before turning back to her computer. Em wriggled on the couch for several minutes before skulking back to the table. Drake moved to intercept him but Ama stopped him with a look and he let Em serve himself. Drake cast irritated glances at the wall clock as the time crept more and more into school time.
Ama closed her computer and stood, then sighed, sat and opened it again.
“I need to pick out their report topics,” Ama muttered.
“I could do it,” Drake offered.
“You do quite enough,” Ama replied briskly, as she scanned the news. “Here you go. For Donny, malfunctions at the Lewis- McChord Air Force Base air show.” A frown creased her face. “Wow, this is pretty serious. It looks like the F-16 demonstration team nearly got killed.”
Drake whistled and leaned over her shoulder.
“Multiple system failures,” he read out loud. “I am pretty sure that isn’t supposed to happen.”
“Nope,” Ama agreed. “Here is a topic on big game management for Em.”
“Reports due by next week?” Drake asked as the old printer on the desk began to squeal and grumble as it powered up.
“Same as usual,” Ama confirmed.
Drake put the printouts on top of the homework pile and moved to wash up the breakfast dishes.
“I need to get to work early today so you two be good for Drake,” she called out placing a quick kiss on top of the smaller boys’ heads and giving Drake’s shoulder a friendly squeeze.
“Good luck with Mrs. Finney, and stay safe.” Drake called out as she went into her room.
The table was cleaned off and wiped down and the clink of forks gave way to the steady scratch of pencils on paper. They broke for a recess after religion and then lunch after history and math, and by the time the Grandfather clock in the corner struck two the younger boys twitching with energy. Drake made certain the internet was disconnected at the router, and chased Donny and Em out into the garden.
“And don’t come in until dark,” he ordered tossing two snack bags out after them.
Donny as usual snatched his food and disappeared into the small orachard. Low grumbles about troglodytes and the Amish wandered out into the high corn following Em and Drake shook his head in exasperation wondering, not for the first time how the dark haired princeling came from the same gene pool as his little brother. The kitchen being mostly ordered Drake was turning to put the last random dirty sock in the hamper when a gnarled hand clutching a cane head appeared in the corner of his eye, causing his heart to make a valiant attempt to bolt out of his throat.
“Abuelita!” he gasped forcing his hands down from the guard position. “Where did you come from?”
Smoldering black eyes ran searchingly over the tall youth. An impossibly long mane of streaked silver and black hair was barely contained in a thick braid. A sharply pointed nose perched over a small wrinkled mouth. A vibrant red horse-hair serape hung over her shoulders concealing everything except her brown and gnarled hands which currently clutched the old tree branch she used as a cane. Drake had been more than a little comforted by the fact that both Em and Donny had admitted to having the thought ‘witch’ every time time they saw her as well.
“From the hand of God by the bodies of my sainted mother and father,” she replied after a long, uncomfortable silence.
She always spoke in a low husky voice that suggested years of smoking, though Drake had never smelled even stale smoke on her.
“Right,” Drake blinked and grinned at the response; the one she always gave. “So you are here for their Spanish lesson? I have their grammar books ready and-”
The narrow end of the tree branch rapped against the concrete of the floor causing Drake to jump. Abuelita glared at him, locking his gaze and holding him in place with it for a moment.
“I am here for their lessons,” she finally stated, “and you are there for my payment.”
Drake thought longingly of the repair and maintenance manuals in the cab of the truck and the new tool he was itching to try, but he forced a grin on his face.
“Yes ma’am,” he said. “What can I get you today?”
Abuelita pulled out a bag of woven grass from under her serape causing the indistinct patterns on the cloth to shift and change.
“Take this,” she ordered him, “and collect me the cobalt blue berries that grow on a single stalk close to the ground. They must come from the mountain to the south east of here by the crystal brook.”
Drake nodded, and took the little bag, he didn’t quite manage to infused his gestures with enthusiasm he supposed. The old woman, probably wouldn’t have noted it anyway. She turned and moved towards the garden door without waiting for any other reply. However she called out over her shoulder as he turned to find his own way out of the rambling structure.
“Don’t dawdle little one. A storm brews in the distance.”
He tried not to roll his eyes at that, the weather forecast was clear and eighties for the next week according to the morning fire report Ama had printed. The youth only nodded and slipped around the corner. He circled the barn and pulled a set of loose tan pants and tunic out of the cubby. The soft worn leather almost perfectly matched the forest floor for color as did the moccasins he pulled on after them. His morning running clothes were modern stuff that wicked the sweat away from him and let him speed through the forest. These were his free day clothes. The ones that let him disappear into the forest and wander. Abuelita, for all of her demands, would tend Em and Donny until he returned no matter how late that was, and with the Park’s yearly budget talks still under way it was highly unlikely Ama would be home until long after the sun had set. Despite still hearing the call of the half restored truck he felt something lossening in him already. The soft cotton and smooth leather rested easily against his skin and Drake slipped into the forest.
Freedom; for the moment at least, blissful freedom. Pushing aside the guilt that accompanied the thought as well as any lingering worries about his charges the youth let his legs carry him through the trees. He shunned the man made paths, following the faint animal trails. This close to the barn they were as clear to him as if they were named city streets. Being animal trails, they invariably led him to water. Today he stopped at a trickling stream, took off his moccasins, and rolled up his pants legs. The youth turned and followed the thin flow of icy water upstream, letting it steal the heat from his body through his feet.
Some distance upstream, the stream widened and pooled under a boulder. There Drake paused and pulled an old black compass out of his pocket. Behind him he knew every trail and tree. Ahead was a broad swath of National Wilderness he would have to cross, or possibly Bureau of Land Management or even state managed forests where he more rarely wandered. It was hard to tell where the boundaries were from the ground. The clearing he wanted for the berries was solidly in BLM land and he still had quite a ways to go to get there. The stand of timber that stood between him and his goal was dense with young tree and branches that frequently formed impenetrable hedges he had to track around and he checked his compass regularly as he climbed in elevation. Even so the youth found he had wandered too far off his route and had to correct when he spotted the boundary fence. However he was in no hurry and he reached the clearing long before the sun told him it was time to turn around.
Sometime in the past some unknown force had carved a shallow trench across the side of one of the small mountains that that dotted the wilderness. It had puzzled Drake at first. The scour was at the wrong angle to be an old rock slide, and terminated in a near perfectly circular clearing at the lower end. Centuries old Douglas Firs abruptly gave way to a second ring only a few decades old. Those were in turn beginning to produce cones and a smattering of knee high saplings. The rest of the space was completely given over to wildflowers. No matter what season Drake visited it he found a riot of life.
There had been an early spring and many herbs that normally would have waited a month or more were already in full bloom in the mountain meadow. A white wave of foamflower washed in from the deep forest surrounding the clearing, sending up knee high stalks covered in the delicate white blooms. Late trillium hid close to the roots of the great firs, many having shed their white corollas and begun to put forth their bulbous seed heads. Fuzzy white baneberry blossoms nodded gently in the breeze. A riot of yellow and purple spread across the ground as vetch and buttercups and a host of clovers competed for space in the open sun. Great stalks of lupine as high as his head thrust up their purple and blue proudly from thick clusters of palm shaped leaves. Pink shooting stars and violet harebells crouched under the protection of the larger plants. Indian paintbrush lit the scene with flames of red and orange. Where a spring seeped into the meadow elephant’s head flared neon pink and corydalis bushes put forth blushing blooms. Pale green wild orchids stood along the wet spot and the swarms of bees danced from them to the glacier lilies.
Sometimes, as he bent over a tiny blossom and traced the intricate network of veins in the petals, drank in the scent, and felt the smooth surface of the leaves an otherworldly feeling would come over him. It was as if there was another world just out of range of his senses. If he could only really look, the thin illusion that was blocking him would slip away and reveal the real world underneath it.
Look Awiegwa,” his father would whisper, pointing at a deer mouse perched on a fallen log. “What does it see?”
Awiegwa would screw up his face and squint. Trying to find the answer to the question.
Awiegwa had often wondered how so many flowers had come to be in the relatively small area. He had identified dozens of species and there were more he had yet to determine. The clearing was always the first place to bloom and the last to go dormant. Many of the flowers seemed to utterly defy their usual blooming patterns. However, as time passed he had simply come to accept it. It was one of the small good things that brought back the memories of his father. If it didn’t quite follow the rules Ama had taught him, well an impossible clearing in the mountains wasn’t a place for rules.
The particular bloom that Abuelita had requested had taken full advantage of the early sun and had already put forth a few cobalt blue berries; easily spotted at the edge of the clearing in the delicate sea of white flowers.
However before he left the shade of the forest for the meadow the youth paused and closed his eyes. Bole wasn’t always here, but he was often enough that Awiegwa always checked for him. Carefully he reconstructed the clearing in his mind; marking every tree and boulder on the edge. Three years he had been coming here and each time it was easier to recreate the clearing. Breathing evenly he opened his eyes, letting the mental image merge with the actual. There was a brief moment of confusion as details like the play of light through branches and the trembling of small clusters of flowers fixed themselves but there was only one truly jarring note. Awiegwa didn’t let his eyes focus on the disparity; he never did anymore, but a warm smile spread across his features as he slipped silently into the meadow.
He was here. As the youth moved in a low crouch, gathering the first fruits of the Queen’s Cup, he let his peripheral vision linger on a particular snag. There was nothing obviously interesting about it, other than the fact that it had not been there the last time Awiegwa was here. He had named the wanderer Bole, because it most often appeared as a thick tree trunk; sometimes living, sometimes dead. Occasionally it would be a boulder or simply a mound in the dirt. Often it wasn’t in the clearing at all. If the youth moved forward and tried to closely examine it he could never find anything to suggest it was something other than a tree or rock.
He had thought about taking a sample occasionally, had taken his knife out to do just that more than once, but something always held him back. Bole was a part of this place. Dissecting him would be too much like attempting to dissect his sense of his father’s presence here. The youth had never told anyone about this place, not even Ama with who could get most things out of him easily enough. Down at the house, in town, when he was Drake; solid, reliable, first up in the morning, two grades ahead in school with a penchant for science Drake, a productive member of modern society with a promising future and his mother smiling at him. Here he could be Awiegwa. Here he could believe in the ancient medicines his father had dug out of dusty old tomes and brought to life from the forest litter. Every time Awiegwa left the clearing and headed back towards home reality would reassert itself. Bole would resolve back into a figment of his imagination, created from pride in a somewhat better than average memory and what the social workers had called an “intriguing imagination”. When he reached the house and become solidly Drake again flickers of embarrassment would begin eating at him for letting his senses trick him like that, but as long as the blooms nodded around him in this garden Bole could exist even on a Thursday.
The little woven grass bag filled up with the berries fairly quickly and Awiegwa soon stretched out of his crouch and let his gaze wander contentedly over the clearing. As it always did, the warm space was working its special magic. Worries about Em getting out of his schoolwork, of not paying enough attention to the quiet Donny, of letting Ama see his petty resentments: it had all melted away from his muscles, thoughts of college costs and abandoning his duties dissolved into an acute sense of the now. The leaves rustled softly in a barely-there breeze, the heavy scent of some unidentified blossom filled his lungs, a dozen shades of green framed the rainbow of flowers, and over and above it all the creaking of the firs as the wind played over them. It was at times like these that he felth he could almost see into heaven; that something wonderful that existed just beyond his senses, and all he had to do was reach out and claim it.
The youth took a deep breath and let himself fall backwards onto a handy rise in the forest floor. His path had taken him to the foot of the snag and he shifted slightly to align himself with the gnarled roots. One hand gripped a time smoothed root.
“Ama trusted me enough to go out of state,” he murmured. “That’s the first time she’s done that. Usually she has Abulita stay with us to fend off the Harsh, but she said it’s long past legal now.”
It was his imagination of course that made him think the root vibrated in his hand in response. Many a long hour he had spent in this clearing with the wanderer. He had poured out his frustrations and anguishes over life’s injustices, had shared his secrets as he grew, and had shouted his triumphs. Sometimes he felt closer to Bole than to any of his human friends. However, something that sounded like his mother’s voice warned him that there was something odd about this and that awareness was the main reason he had kept this place secret from Ama. Their mother hadn’t exactly liked stuff like that. She had never objected to his father’s digging up the old stories of her people. Making cross generational connections between elders, who more often than not lived isolated lives, and the next generation, was an admirable goal in of itself in her eyes; objectively a social good. Storytelling was only the natural course for these relationships to take, but subtle looks had warned even a very young Drake that it was best to cautious what he shared with his mother. At least of those things that couldn’t be placed on a microscope slide. So this was Awigewa’s place, and while his father’s spirit wanders the flowers with he had never felt his mother here.
He let his focus drift up, and up. Dark blue Lupine nodded over his head framing the faint crisscross of jet contrails that threw a light haze over an otherwise cloudless sky. His clothed grew deliciously hot from the spring sun. The ground too had eagerly accepted the energy and now it conducted the heat into the muscles of his back. Bole’s wood beneath him was warmer even than the surrounding ground and an idle thought traced across Awiegwa’s awareness; something about it being odd for the light colored wood and relatively dry wood to retain more heat than the darker soil surrounding it. His mind was filled with the impression of a goal. He had been meaning to do, something. Something fun, yes, exploring, he’d meant to see if whatever had dug that den by the second boulder was cubing this year. He would just get up and do that in a minute. His back was so warm and comfortable.

https://i.redd.it/9sde27n9fb3b1.gif
Flying Sparks”
Another foray into the lives of Drake McCarty, Ama Love, and the rest of their siblings as they discover that something alien is out in the forest around their home.
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flying-sparks-a-novel-of-dragon-bear-and-boy/coming_soon
#FlyingSparks #ScienceFiction #Scifi #Story #novel #book #DrakeMcCarty #AmaLove #Donny #Em #Bard #Bole #Aliens #Spaceships #Crystals #fireflies #NPS #NationalPark #Doctor #Sever #family #storm #writing #reading #drama #literature #author #BettyAdams #DyingEmbers #Dragons #ThingsThatGoBoomp #Indiegogo #CrowdFunding
submitted by Betty-Adams to AspiringAuthors [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 04:13 Betty-Adams Flying Sparks Volume 1 - A Novel of a boy, a dragon, and an alien. Avaliable for preorder on Indiegogo Now.

Flying Sparks Pre Order Now Chapter 2 “Hazardous? I’ll show that manipulative, misanthropic, anti-establishment cretin just what hazardous means if he thinks I’m going to fold on this!” The sound of vigorous guitar riffs made a fitting accompaniment to the angry tirade despite originating on opposite sides of the communal area. Ama was glaring at a laptop that sat on a stained oak desk shoved against the large table near the kitchen. She tapped a fingernail on the wood as she read through the alert. “And what violation of basic human dignity has her royal prudishness’s undies in a bunch?” Em demanded with an affected sneer without looking up from his guitar scales. “Oh you’ll agree with this one tree-hugger,” Drake muttered from where he sat oiling his work boots. “Yeah,” Donny piped up, “Finney is trying to kill a perfectly healthy fir.” “What!” Em demanded, carefully placing his battered old acoustic guitar down in its case and darting over to look at the computer screen. “You mean apark tree?” Despite her simmering frustration Ama allowed a small smile to flicker across her face as she continued to type. “Get out of your pajamas and I’ll tell you,” Drake ordered pointing towards the bathroom door with a stained rag. “School starts in forty-five minutes and you still have breakfast and chores. That goes for you too Pip-squirt.” “I hope you washed your hands before you touched our food,” Em said with a frown. “Boot grease makes a great source of fatty acids.” Drake retorted. “Now go!” The two smaller boys muttered in annoyance but stumbled off to follow orders. “So what is up?” the youth asked as he bent his head back over the smooth leather of his boots. “Mrs. Finney wants that tree down that’s blocking her perfect view of Crescent Lake.” Ama replied in a dry tone. “One that’s clearly on park property?” Drake asked. “Indeedy-do.” Ama replied giving the paper in front of her a glare. “So how’s she justifying it?” Drake asked. “As a safety hazard to her house.” Ama replied. “And?” The biologist groaned and rubbed her face. “As far as I can tell the trunk is perfectly healthy. There is an old trash can lid grown into the trunk and a little discolored sap is leaking out there.” “Frass?” “Watch your language!” Donny interjected as he darted up to the table. “Frass is not a bad word,” Drake stated. “Have you let the chickens out?” “Yes, what does frass mean?” Donny asked as he started piling stir-fry onto his plate. “Look it up.” Drake ordered him. “Emerald! Breakfast ends in ten minutes! Get your tukus down here!” “It’s bad health to rush meals,” Em snapped out as he came down a narrow stairway with deliberate slowness. “It’s even worse for your health to skip meals altogether,” Drake growled threateningly. “Shut it and give me some eggs.” Em snapped back. “Emerald Waters Undersun,” Drake hissed out through gritted teeth. “You are going to get your own eggs.” The boy threw himself into a chair and glared at Drake with challenge in every line of his body. “Emerald,” Ama said in a calm tone. “I think you should apologize to your cousin now.” “Sorry I disturbed you Ama,” he offered without breaking eye contact with Drake. “Not me, him,” Ama said. “Sorry you had to hear that Donny.” Em said. Ama heaved a sigh and closed her computer. “Emerald,” Ama said. “Do you want to eat or go hungry?” Drake demanded. Ama glanced at him with a familiar uneasy look in her eyes and Drake fought down a wince. “Now, Em.” she said in a patient tone. “I’ll go hungry,” Em snapped, jumping up and stalking over to the couch. Donny kept his eyes fixed on his plate. Ama heaved a sigh before turning back to her computer. Em wriggled on the couch for several minutes before skulking back to the table. Drake moved to intercept him but Ama stopped him with a look and he let Em serve himself. Drake cast irritated glances at the wall clock as the time crept more and more into school time. Ama closed her computer and stood, then sighed, sat and opened it again. “I need to pick out their report topics,” Ama muttered. “I could do it,” Drake offered. “You do quite enough,” Ama replied briskly, as she scanned the news. “Here you go. For Donny, malfunctions at the Lewis- McChord Air Force Base air show.” A frown creased her face. “Wow, this is pretty serious. It looks like the F-16 demonstration team nearly got killed.” Drake whistled and leaned over her shoulder. “Multiple system failures,” he read out loud. “I am pretty sure that isn’t supposed to happen.” “Nope,” Ama agreed. “Here is a topic on big game management for Em.” “Reports due by next week?” Drake asked as the old printer on the desk began to squeal and grumble as it powered up. “Same as usual,” Ama confirmed. Drake put the printouts on top of the homework pile and moved to wash up the breakfast dishes. “I need to get to work early today so you two be good for Drake,” she called out placing a quick kiss on top of the smaller boys’ heads and giving Drake’s shoulder a friendly squeeze. “Good luck with Mrs. Finney, and stay safe.” Drake called out as she went into her room. The table was cleaned off and wiped down and the clink of forks gave way to the steady scratch of pencils on paper. They broke for a recess after religion and then lunch after history and math, and by the time the Grandfather clock in the corner struck two the younger boys twitching with energy. Drake made certain the internet was disconnected at the router, and chased Donny and Em out into the garden. “And don’t come in until dark,” he ordered tossing two snack bags out after them. Donny as usual snatched his food and disappeared into the small orachard. Low grumbles about troglodytes and the Amish wandered out into the high corn following Em and Drake shook his head in exasperation wondering, not for the first time how the dark haired princeling came from the same gene pool as his little brother. The kitchen being mostly ordered Drake was turning to put the last random dirty sock in the hamper when a gnarled hand clutching a cane head appeared in the corner of his eye, causing his heart to make a valiant attempt to bolt out of his throat. “Abuelita!” he gasped forcing his hands down from the guard position. “Where did you come from?” Smoldering black eyes ran searchingly over the tall youth. An impossibly long mane of streaked silver and black hair was barely contained in a thick braid. A sharply pointed nose perched over a small wrinkled mouth. A vibrant red horse-hair serape hung over her shoulders concealing everything except her brown and gnarled hands which currently clutched the old tree branch she used as a cane. Drake had been more than a little comforted by the fact that both Em and Donny had admitted to having the thought ‘witch’ every time time they saw her as well. “From the hand of God by the bodies of my sainted mother and father,” she replied after a long, uncomfortable silence. She always spoke in a low husky voice that suggested years of smoking, though Drake had never smelled even stale smoke on her. “Right,” Drake blinked and grinned at the response; the one she always gave. “So you are here for their Spanish lesson? I have their grammar books ready and-” The narrow end of the tree branch rapped against the concrete of the floor causing Drake to jump. Abuelita glared at him, locking his gaze and holding him in place with it for a moment. “I am here for their lessons,” she finally stated, “and you are there for my payment.” Drake thought longingly of the repair and maintenance manuals in the cab of the truck and the new tool he was itching to try, but he forced a grin on his face. “Yes ma’am,” he said. “What can I get you today?” Abuelita pulled out a bag of woven grass from under her serape causing the indistinct patterns on the cloth to shift and change. “Take this,” she ordered him, “and collect me the cobalt blue berries that grow on a single stalk close to the ground. They must come from the mountain to the south east of here by the crystal brook.” Drake nodded, and took the little bag, he didn’t quite manage to infused his gestures with enthusiasm he supposed. The old woman, probably wouldn’t have noted it anyway. She turned and moved towards the garden door without waiting for any other reply. However she called out over her shoulder as he turned to find his own way out of the rambling structure. “Don’t dawdle little one. A storm brews in the distance.” He tried not to roll his eyes at that, the weather forecast was clear and eighties for the next week according to the morning fire report Ama had printed. The youth only nodded and slipped around the corner. He circled the barn and pulled a set of loose tan pants and tunic out of the cubby. The soft worn leather almost perfectly matched the forest floor for color as did the moccasins he pulled on after them. His morning running clothes were modern stuff that wicked the sweat away from him and let him speed through the forest. These were his free day clothes. The ones that let him disappear into the forest and wander. Abuelita, for all of her demands, would tend Em and Donny until he returned no matter how late that was, and with the Park’s yearly budget talks still under way it was highly unlikely Ama would be home until long after the sun had set. Despite still hearing the call of the half restored truck he felt something lossening in him already. The soft cotton and smooth leather rested easily against his skin and Drake slipped into the forest. Freedom; for the moment at least, blissful freedom. Pushing aside the guilt that accompanied the thought as well as any lingering worries about his charges the youth let his legs carry him through the trees. He shunned the man made paths, following the faint animal trails. This close to the barn they were as clear to him as if they were named city streets. Being animal trails, they invariably led him to water. Today he stopped at a trickling stream, took off his moccasins, and rolled up his pants legs. The youth turned and followed the thin flow of icy water upstream, letting it steal the heat from his body through his feet. Some distance upstream, the stream widened and pooled under a boulder. There Drake paused and pulled an old black compass out of his pocket. Behind him he knew every trail and tree. Ahead was a broad swath of National Wilderness he would have to cross, or possibly Bureau of Land Management or even state managed forests where he more rarely wandered. It was hard to tell where the boundaries were from the ground. The clearing he wanted for the berries was solidly in BLM land and he still had quite a ways to go to get there. The stand of timber that stood between him and his goal was dense with young tree and branches that frequently formed impenetrable hedges he had to track around and he checked his compass regularly as he climbed in elevation. Even so the youth found he had wandered too far off his route and had to correct when he spotted the boundary fence. However he was in no hurry and he reached the clearing long before the sun told him it was time to turn around. Sometime in the past some unknown force had carved a shallow trench across the side of one of the small mountains that that dotted the wilderness. It had puzzled Drake at first. The scour was at the wrong angle to be an old rock slide, and terminated in a near perfectly circular clearing at the lower end. Centuries old Douglas Firs abruptly gave way to a second ring only a few decades old. Those were in turn beginning to produce cones and a smattering of knee high saplings. The rest of the space was completely given over to wildflowers. No matter what season Drake visited it he found a riot of life. There had been an early spring and many herbs that normally would have waited a month or more were already in full bloom in the mountain meadow. A white wave of foamflower washed in from the deep forest surrounding the clearing, sending up knee high stalks covered in the delicate white blooms. Late trillium hid close to the roots of the great firs, many having shed their white corollas and begun to put forth their bulbous seed heads. Fuzzy white baneberry blossoms nodded gently in the breeze. A riot of yellow and purple spread across the ground as vetch and buttercups and a host of clovers competed for space in the open sun. Great stalks of lupine as high as his head thrust up their purple and blue proudly from thick clusters of palm shaped leaves. Pink shooting stars and violet harebells crouched under the protection of the larger plants. Indian paintbrush lit the scene with flames of red and orange. Where a spring seeped into the meadow elephant’s head flared neon pink and corydalis bushes put forth blushing blooms. Pale green wild orchids stood along the wet spot and the swarms of bees danced from them to the glacier lilies. Sometimes, as he bent over a tiny blossom and traced the intricate network of veins in the petals, drank in the scent, and felt the smooth surface of the leaves an otherworldly feeling would come over him. It was as if there was another world just out of range of his senses. If he could only really look, the thin illusion that was blocking him would slip away and reveal the real world underneath it. “Look Awiegwa,” his father would whisper, pointing at a deer mouse perched on a fallen log. “What does it see?” Awiegwa would screw up his face and squint. Trying to find the answer to the question. Awiegwa had often wondered how so many flowers had come to be in the relatively small area. He had identified dozens of species and there were more he had yet to determine. The clearing was always the first place to bloom and the last to go dormant. Many of the flowers seemed to utterly defy their usual blooming patterns. However, as time passed he had simply come to accept it. It was one of the small good things that brought back the memories of his father. If it didn’t quite follow the rules Ama had taught him, well an impossible clearing in the mountains wasn’t a place for rules. The particular bloom that Abuelita had requested had taken full advantage of the early sun and had already put forth a few cobalt blue berries; easily spotted at the edge of the clearing in the delicate sea of white flowers. However before he left the shade of the forest for the meadow the youth paused and closed his eyes. Bole wasn’t always here, but he was often enough that Awiegwa always checked for him. Carefully he reconstructed the clearing in his mind; marking every tree and boulder on the edge. Three years he had been coming here and each time it was easier to recreate the clearing. Breathing evenly he opened his eyes, letting the mental image merge with the actual. There was a brief moment of confusion as details like the play of light through branches and the trembling of small clusters of flowers fixed themselves but there was only one truly jarring note. Awiegwa didn’t let his eyes focus on the disparity; he never did anymore, but a warm smile spread across his features as he slipped silently into the meadow. He was here. As the youth moved in a low crouch, gathering the first fruits of the Queen’s Cup, he let his peripheral vision linger on a particular snag. There was nothing obviously interesting about it, other than the fact that it had not been there the last time Awiegwa was here. He had named the wanderer Bole, because it most often appeared as a thick tree trunk; sometimes living, sometimes dead. Occasionally it would be a boulder or simply a mound in the dirt. Often it wasn’t in the clearing at all. If the youth moved forward and tried to closely examine it he could never find anything to suggest it was something other than a tree or rock. He had thought about taking a sample occasionally, had taken his knife out to do just that more than once, but something always held him back. Bole was a part of this place. Dissecting him would be too much like attempting to dissect his sense of his father’s presence here. The youth had never told anyone about this place, not even Ama with who could get most things out of him easily enough. Down at the house, in town, when he was Drake; solid, reliable, first up in the morning, two grades ahead in school with a penchant for science Drake, a productive member of modern society with a promising future and his mother smiling at him. Here he could be Awiegwa. Here he could believe in the ancient medicines his father had dug out of dusty old tomes and brought to life from the forest litter. Every time Awiegwa left the clearing and headed back towards home reality would reassert itself. Bole would resolve back into a figment of his imagination, created from pride in a somewhat better than average memory and what the social workers had called an “intriguing imagination”. When he reached the house and become solidly Drake again flickers of embarrassment would begin eating at him for letting his senses trick him like that, but as long as the blooms nodded around him in this garden Bole could exist even on a Thursday. The little woven grass bag filled up with the berries fairly quickly and Awiegwa soon stretched out of his crouch and let his gaze wander contentedly over the clearing. As it always did, the warm space was working its special magic. Worries about Em getting out of his schoolwork, of not paying enough attention to the quiet Donny, of letting Ama see his petty resentments: it had all melted away from his muscles, thoughts of college costs and abandoning his duties dissolved into an acute sense of the now. The leaves rustled softly in a barely-there breeze, the heavy scent of some unidentified blossom filled his lungs, a dozen shades of green framed the rainbow of flowers, and over and above it all the creaking of the firs as the wind played over them. It was at times like these that he felth he could almost see into heaven; that something wonderful that existed just beyond his senses, and all he had to do was reach out and claim it. The youth took a deep breath and let himself fall backwards onto a handy rise in the forest floor. His path had taken him to the foot of the snag and he shifted slightly to align himself with the gnarled roots. One hand gripped a time smoothed root. “Ama trusted me enough to go out of state,” he murmured. “That’s the first time she’s done that. Usually she has Abulita stay with us to fend off the Harsh, but she said it’s long past legal now.” It was his imagination of course that made him think the root vibrated in his hand in response. Many a long hour he had spent in this clearing with the wanderer. He had poured out his frustrations and anguishes over life’s injustices, had shared his secrets as he grew, and had shouted his triumphs. Sometimes he felt closer to Bole than to any of his human friends. However, something that sounded like his mother’s voice warned him that there was something odd about this and that awareness was the main reason he had kept this place secret from Ama. Their mother hadn’t exactly liked stuff like that. She had never objected to his father’s digging up the old stories of her people. Making cross generational connections between elders, who more often than not lived isolated lives, and the next generation, was an admirable goal in of itself in her eyes; objectively a social good. Storytelling was only the natural course for these relationships to take, but subtle looks had warned even a very young Drake that it was best to cautious what he shared with his mother. At least of those things that couldn’t be placed on a microscope slide. So this was Awigewa’s place, and while his father’s spirit wanders the flowers with he had never felt his mother here. He let his focus drift up, and up. Dark blue Lupine nodded over his head framing the faint crisscross of jet contrails that threw a light haze over an otherwise cloudless sky. His clothed grew deliciously hot from the spring sun. The ground too had eagerly accepted the energy and now it conducted the heat into the muscles of his back. Bole’s wood beneath him was warmer even than the surrounding ground and an idle thought traced across Awiegwa’s awareness; something about it being odd for the light colored wood and relatively dry wood to retain more heat than the darker soil surrounding it. His mind was filled with the impression of a goal. He had been meaning to do, something. Something fun, yes, exploring, he’d meant to see if whatever had dug that den by the second boulder was cubing this year. He would just get up and do that in a minute. His back was so warm and comfortable. “Flying Sparks” Another foray into the lives of Drake McCarty, Ama Love, and the rest of their siblings as they discover that something alien is out in the forest around their home. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flying-sparks-a-novel-of-dragon-bear-and-boy/coming_soon #FlyingSparks #ScienceFiction #Scifi #Story #novel #book #DrakeMcCarty #AmaLove #Donny #Em #Bard #Bole #Aliens #Spaceships #Crystals #fireflies #NPS #NationalPark #Doctor #Sever #family #storm #writing #reading #drama #literature #author #BettyAdams #DyingEmbers #Dragons #ThingsThatGoBoomp #Indiegogo #CrowdFunding
submitted by Betty-Adams to IndieAuthors [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 04:09 Kitfaid Proudest D&Dad

My 8YO daughter wanted to play D&D as I have been a DM for over 20 years, and she has seen me playing online with my 2 weekly groups, so I showed her and her 2 cousins the basics of the game, unfortunately her 2 cousins 9 and 12 just didn't find it interesting. Since she really wanted to play, and we don't have more cousins or friends her age outside of school, I decided to DM for her LMoP and just give her 3 NPCs to go along with her as her party.
She has a Halfling Evocation wizard, and her party is an Elven Moon Druid, a Half Elf Bard, and a Tiefling Warlock. I thought her the mechanics and the math behind it, and told her that it's pretty much a story that can be modified according to her descicions and chance, however we were just focusing on mechanics.
Today we were on our 4th session, exploring the Redbrand Hidout, and after defeating Glasstaff, we were on our way to rescue the carpenter's family when she asked the group if they wanted to hear a story, of course they answer yes. She related how she used to live in the coast, and a Tsunami flooded the whole area, her family drowned, however she survived because her magic allowed her to freeze some of the water, and that's how she learned her Ray of Frost. She then proceeded telling that after loosing her family she went to magic school, but they were very severe with her, and when she failed an exercise she wasn't fed or given water for the rest of the day.
I attempted to hide my tears and continue RPing as usual, but she noticed and apollogized since she thaught that I was sad due to the backstory. In reality I was sheding tears of joy, as she just created without any instructions, help, or prompt, her first tragic backstory, and I couldn't be more proud.

TLDR: My 8YO girl just created her first tragic backstory without any help or prompt, and I'm freaking proud.
submitted by Kitfaid to DnD [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 04:08 WeatherKey2095 New Friends

I’m very quiet in person unless I know you super well so I don’t have many friends but if you’d like to be friends send me a message!
My interests are; horror movies, reality shows, writing (all genres), music (most genres), ancient history, learning new things, cooking, cleaning (I love scrubdaddy products), haircare, makeup and skincare.
submitted by WeatherKey2095 to friendship [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 04:04 Betty-Adams "Flying Sparks" A novel of a boy, a dragon, and an alien. 100K words of science fiction adventure.

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


https://i.redd.it/7fvbpli8db3b1.gif

Chapter 2

“Hazardous? I’ll show that manipulative, misanthropic, anti-establishment cretin just what hazardous means if he thinks I’m going to fold on this!”
The sound of vigorous guitar riffs made a fitting accompaniment to the angry tirade despite originating on opposite sides of the communal area. Ama was glaring at a laptop that sat on a stained oak desk shoved against the large table near the kitchen. She tapped a fingernail on the wood as she read through the alert.
“And what violation of basic human dignity has her royal prudishness’s undies in a bunch?” Em demanded with an affected sneer without looking up from his guitar scales.
“Oh you’ll agree with this one tree-hugger,” Drake muttered from where he sat oiling his work boots.
“Yeah,” Donny piped up, “Finney is trying to kill a perfectly healthy fir.”
“What!” Em demanded, carefully placing his battered old acoustic guitar down in its case and darting over to look at the computer screen. “You mean apark tree?”
Despite her simmering frustration Ama allowed a small smile to flicker across her face as she continued to type.
“Get out of your pajamas and I’ll tell you,” Drake ordered pointing towards the bathroom door with a stained rag. “School starts in forty-five minutes and you still have breakfast and chores. That goes for you too Pip-squirt.”
“I hope you washed your hands before you touched our food,” Em said with a frown.
“Boot grease makes a great source of fatty acids.” Drake retorted. “Now go!”
The two smaller boys muttered in annoyance but stumbled off to follow orders.
“So what is up?” the youth asked as he bent his head back over the smooth leather of his boots.
“Mrs. Finney wants that tree down that’s blocking her perfect view of Crescent Lake.” Ama replied in a dry tone.
“One that’s clearly on park property?” Drake asked.
“Indeedy-do.” Ama replied giving the paper in front of her a glare.
“So how’s she justifying it?” Drake asked.
“As a safety hazard to her house.” Ama replied.
“And?”
The biologist groaned and rubbed her face.
“As far as I can tell the trunk is perfectly healthy. There is an old trash can lid grown into the trunk and a little discolored sap is leaking out there.”
“Frass?”
“Watch your language!” Donny interjected as he darted up to the table.
“Frass is not a bad word,” Drake stated. “Have you let the chickens out?”
“Yes, what does frass mean?” Donny asked as he started piling stir-fry onto his plate.
“Look it up.” Drake ordered him. “Emerald! Breakfast ends in ten minutes! Get your tukus down here!”
“It’s bad health to rush meals,” Em snapped out as he came down a narrow stairway with deliberate slowness.
“It’s even worse for your health to skip meals altogether,” Drake growled threateningly.
“Shut it and give me some eggs.” Em snapped back.
“Emerald Waters Undersun,” Drake hissed out through gritted teeth. “You are going to get your own eggs.”
The boy threw himself into a chair and glared at Drake with challenge in every line of his body.
“Emerald,” Ama said in a calm tone. “I think you should apologize to your cousin now.”
“Sorry I disturbed you Ama,” he offered without breaking eye contact with Drake.
“Not me, him,” Ama said.
“Sorry you had to hear that Donny.” Em said.
Ama heaved a sigh and closed her computer.
“Emerald,” Ama said.
“Do you want to eat or go hungry?” Drake demanded.
Ama glanced at him with a familiar uneasy look in her eyes and Drake fought down a wince.
“Now, Em.” she said in a patient tone.
“I’ll go hungry,” Em snapped, jumping up and stalking over to the couch.
Donny kept his eyes fixed on his plate. Ama heaved a sigh before turning back to her computer. Em wriggled on the couch for several minutes before skulking back to the table. Drake moved to intercept him but Ama stopped him with a look and he let Em serve himself. Drake cast irritated glances at the wall clock as the time crept more and more into school time.
Ama closed her computer and stood, then sighed, sat and opened it again.
“I need to pick out their report topics,” Ama muttered.
“I could do it,” Drake offered.
“You do quite enough,” Ama replied briskly, as she scanned the news. “Here you go. For Donny, malfunctions at the Lewis- McChord Air Force Base air show.” A frown creased her face. “Wow, this is pretty serious. It looks like the F-16 demonstration team nearly got killed.”
Drake whistled and leaned over her shoulder.
“Multiple system failures,” he read out loud. “I am pretty sure that isn’t supposed to happen.”
“Nope,” Ama agreed. “Here is a topic on big game management for Em.”
“Reports due by next week?” Drake asked as the old printer on the desk began to squeal and grumble as it powered up.
“Same as usual,” Ama confirmed.
Drake put the printouts on top of the homework pile and moved to wash up the breakfast dishes.
“I need to get to work early today so you two be good for Drake,” she called out placing a quick kiss on top of the smaller boys’ heads and giving Drake’s shoulder a friendly squeeze.
“Good luck with Mrs. Finney, and stay safe.” Drake called out as she went into her room.
The table was cleaned off and wiped down and the clink of forks gave way to the steady scratch of pencils on paper. They broke for a recess after religion and then lunch after history and math, and by the time the Grandfather clock in the corner struck two the younger boys twitching with energy. Drake made certain the internet was disconnected at the router, and chased Donny and Em out into the garden.
“And don’t come in until dark,” he ordered tossing two snack bags out after them.
Donny as usual snatched his food and disappeared into the small orachard. Low grumbles about troglodytes and the Amish wandered out into the high corn following Em and Drake shook his head in exasperation wondering, not for the first time how the dark haired princeling came from the same gene pool as his little brother. The kitchen being mostly ordered Drake was turning to put the last random dirty sock in the hamper when a gnarled hand clutching a cane head appeared in the corner of his eye, causing his heart to make a valiant attempt to bolt out of his throat.
“Abuelita!” he gasped forcing his hands down from the guard position. “Where did you come from?”
Smoldering black eyes ran searchingly over the tall youth. An impossibly long mane of streaked silver and black hair was barely contained in a thick braid. A sharply pointed nose perched over a small wrinkled mouth. A vibrant red horse-hair serape hung over her shoulders concealing everything except her brown and gnarled hands which currently clutched the old tree branch she used as a cane. Drake had been more than a little comforted by the fact that both Em and Donny had admitted to having the thought ‘witch’ every time time they saw her as well.
“From the hand of God by the bodies of my sainted mother and father,” she replied after a long, uncomfortable silence.
She always spoke in a low husky voice that suggested years of smoking, though Drake had never smelled even stale smoke on her.
“Right,” Drake blinked and grinned at the response; the one she always gave. “So you are here for their Spanish lesson? I have their grammar books ready and-”
The narrow end of the tree branch rapped against the concrete of the floor causing Drake to jump. Abuelita glared at him, locking his gaze and holding him in place with it for a moment.
“I am here for their lessons,” she finally stated, “and you are there for my payment.”
Drake thought longingly of the repair and maintenance manuals in the cab of the truck and the new tool he was itching to try, but he forced a grin on his face.
“Yes ma’am,” he said. “What can I get you today?”
Abuelita pulled out a bag of woven grass from under her serape causing the indistinct patterns on the cloth to shift and change.
“Take this,” she ordered him, “and collect me the cobalt blue berries that grow on a single stalk close to the ground. They must come from the mountain to the south east of here by the crystal brook.”
Drake nodded, and took the little bag, he didn’t quite manage to infused his gestures with enthusiasm he supposed. The old woman, probably wouldn’t have noted it anyway. She turned and moved towards the garden door without waiting for any other reply. However she called out over her shoulder as he turned to find his own way out of the rambling structure.
“Don’t dawdle little one. A storm brews in the distance.”
He tried not to roll his eyes at that, the weather forecast was clear and eighties for the next week according to the morning fire report Ama had printed. The youth only nodded and slipped around the corner. He circled the barn and pulled a set of loose tan pants and tunic out of the cubby. The soft worn leather almost perfectly matched the forest floor for color as did the moccasins he pulled on after them. His morning running clothes were modern stuff that wicked the sweat away from him and let him speed through the forest. These were his free day clothes. The ones that let him disappear into the forest and wander. Abuelita, for all of her demands, would tend Em and Donny until he returned no matter how late that was, and with the Park’s yearly budget talks still under way it was highly unlikely Ama would be home until long after the sun had set. Despite still hearing the call of the half restored truck he felt something lossening in him already. The soft cotton and smooth leather rested easily against his skin and Drake slipped into the forest.
Freedom; for the moment at least, blissful freedom. Pushing aside the guilt that accompanied the thought as well as any lingering worries about his charges the youth let his legs carry him through the trees. He shunned the man made paths, following the faint animal trails. This close to the barn they were as clear to him as if they were named city streets. Being animal trails, they invariably led him to water. Today he stopped at a trickling stream, took off his moccasins, and rolled up his pants legs. The youth turned and followed the thin flow of icy water upstream, letting it steal the heat from his body through his feet.
Some distance upstream, the stream widened and pooled under a boulder. There Drake paused and pulled an old black compass out of his pocket. Behind him he knew every trail and tree. Ahead was a broad swath of National Wilderness he would have to cross, or possibly Bureau of Land Management or even state managed forests where he more rarely wandered. It was hard to tell where the boundaries were from the ground. The clearing he wanted for the berries was solidly in BLM land and he still had quite a ways to go to get there. The stand of timber that stood between him and his goal was dense with young tree and branches that frequently formed impenetrable hedges he had to track around and he checked his compass regularly as he climbed in elevation. Even so the youth found he had wandered too far off his route and had to correct when he spotted the boundary fence. However he was in no hurry and he reached the clearing long before the sun told him it was time to turn around.
Sometime in the past some unknown force had carved a shallow trench across the side of one of the small mountains that that dotted the wilderness. It had puzzled Drake at first. The scour was at the wrong angle to be an old rock slide, and terminated in a near perfectly circular clearing at the lower end. Centuries old Douglas Firs abruptly gave way to a second ring only a few decades old. Those were in turn beginning to produce cones and a smattering of knee high saplings. The rest of the space was completely given over to wildflowers. No matter what season Drake visited it he found a riot of life.
There had been an early spring and many herbs that normally would have waited a month or more were already in full bloom in the mountain meadow. A white wave of foamflower washed in from the deep forest surrounding the clearing, sending up knee high stalks covered in the delicate white blooms. Late trillium hid close to the roots of the great firs, many having shed their white corollas and begun to put forth their bulbous seed heads. Fuzzy white baneberry blossoms nodded gently in the breeze. A riot of yellow and purple spread across the ground as vetch and buttercups and a host of clovers competed for space in the open sun. Great stalks of lupine as high as his head thrust up their purple and blue proudly from thick clusters of palm shaped leaves. Pink shooting stars and violet harebells crouched under the protection of the larger plants. Indian paintbrush lit the scene with flames of red and orange. Where a spring seeped into the meadow elephant’s head flared neon pink and corydalis bushes put forth blushing blooms. Pale green wild orchids stood along the wet spot and the swarms of bees danced from them to the glacier lilies.
Sometimes, as he bent over a tiny blossom and traced the intricate network of veins in the petals, drank in the scent, and felt the smooth surface of the leaves an otherworldly feeling would come over him. It was as if there was another world just out of range of his senses. If he could only really look, the thin illusion that was blocking him would slip away and reveal the real world underneath it.
Look Awiegwa,” his father would whisper, pointing at a deer mouse perched on a fallen log. “What does it see?”
Awiegwa would screw up his face and squint. Trying to find the answer to the question.
Awiegwa had often wondered how so many flowers had come to be in the relatively small area. He had identified dozens of species and there were more he had yet to determine. The clearing was always the first place to bloom and the last to go dormant. Many of the flowers seemed to utterly defy their usual blooming patterns. However, as time passed he had simply come to accept it. It was one of the small good things that brought back the memories of his father. If it didn’t quite follow the rules Ama had taught him, well an impossible clearing in the mountains wasn’t a place for rules.
The particular bloom that Abuelita had requested had taken full advantage of the early sun and had already put forth a few cobalt blue berries; easily spotted at the edge of the clearing in the delicate sea of white flowers.
However before he left the shade of the forest for the meadow the youth paused and closed his eyes. Bole wasn’t always here, but he was often enough that Awiegwa always checked for him. Carefully he reconstructed the clearing in his mind; marking every tree and boulder on the edge. Three years he had been coming here and each time it was easier to recreate the clearing. Breathing evenly he opened his eyes, letting the mental image merge with the actual. There was a brief moment of confusion as details like the play of light through branches and the trembling of small clusters of flowers fixed themselves but there was only one truly jarring note. Awiegwa didn’t let his eyes focus on the disparity; he never did anymore, but a warm smile spread across his features as he slipped silently into the meadow.
He was here. As the youth moved in a low crouch, gathering the first fruits of the Queen’s Cup, he let his peripheral vision linger on a particular snag. There was nothing obviously interesting about it, other than the fact that it had not been there the last time Awiegwa was here. He had named the wanderer Bole, because it most often appeared as a thick tree trunk; sometimes living, sometimes dead. Occasionally it would be a boulder or simply a mound in the dirt. Often it wasn’t in the clearing at all. If the youth moved forward and tried to closely examine it he could never find anything to suggest it was something other than a tree or rock.
He had thought about taking a sample occasionally, had taken his knife out to do just that more than once, but something always held him back. Bole was a part of this place. Dissecting him would be too much like attempting to dissect his sense of his father’s presence here. The youth had never told anyone about this place, not even Ama with who could get most things out of him easily enough. Down at the house, in town, when he was Drake; solid, reliable, first up in the morning, two grades ahead in school with a penchant for science Drake, a productive member of modern society with a promising future and his mother smiling at him. Here he could be Awiegwa. Here he could believe in the ancient medicines his father had dug out of dusty old tomes and brought to life from the forest litter. Every time Awiegwa left the clearing and headed back towards home reality would reassert itself. Bole would resolve back into a figment of his imagination, created from pride in a somewhat better than average memory and what the social workers had called an “intriguing imagination”. When he reached the house and become solidly Drake again flickers of embarrassment would begin eating at him for letting his senses trick him like that, but as long as the blooms nodded around him in this garden Bole could exist even on a Thursday.
The little woven grass bag filled up with the berries fairly quickly and Awiegwa soon stretched out of his crouch and let his gaze wander contentedly over the clearing. As it always did, the warm space was working its special magic. Worries about Em getting out of his schoolwork, of not paying enough attention to the quiet Donny, of letting Ama see his petty resentments: it had all melted away from his muscles, thoughts of college costs and abandoning his duties dissolved into an acute sense of the now. The leaves rustled softly in a barely-there breeze, the heavy scent of some unidentified blossom filled his lungs, a dozen shades of green framed the rainbow of flowers, and over and above it all the creaking of the firs as the wind played over them. It was at times like these that he felth he could almost see into heaven; that something wonderful that existed just beyond his senses, and all he had to do was reach out and claim it.
The youth took a deep breath and let himself fall backwards onto a handy rise in the forest floor. His path had taken him to the foot of the snag and he shifted slightly to align himself with the gnarled roots. One hand gripped a time smoothed root.
“Ama trusted me enough to go out of state,” he murmured. “That’s the first time she’s done that. Usually she has Abulita stay with us to fend off the Harsh, but she said it’s long past legal now.”
It was his imagination of course that made him think the root vibrated in his hand in response. Many a long hour he had spent in this clearing with the wanderer. He had poured out his frustrations and anguishes over life’s injustices, had shared his secrets as he grew, and had shouted his triumphs. Sometimes he felt closer to Bole than to any of his human friends. However, something that sounded like his mother’s voice warned him that there was something odd about this and that awareness was the main reason he had kept this place secret from Ama. Their mother hadn’t exactly liked stuff like that. She had never objected to his father’s digging up the old stories of her people. Making cross generational connections between elders, who more often than not lived isolated lives, and the next generation, was an admirable goal in of itself in her eyes; objectively a social good. Storytelling was only the natural course for these relationships to take, but subtle looks had warned even a very young Drake that it was best to cautious what he shared with his mother. At least of those things that couldn’t be placed on a microscope slide. So this was Awigewa’s place, and while his father’s spirit wanders the flowers with he had never felt his mother here.
He let his focus drift up, and up. Dark blue Lupine nodded over his head framing the faint crisscross of jet contrails that threw a light haze over an otherwise cloudless sky. His clothed grew deliciously hot from the spring sun. The ground too had eagerly accepted the energy and now it conducted the heat into the muscles of his back. Bole’s wood beneath him was warmer even than the surrounding ground and an idle thought traced across Awiegwa’s awareness; something about it being odd for the light colored wood and relatively dry wood to retain more heat than the darker soil surrounding it. His mind was filled with the impression of a goal. He had been meaning to do, something. Something fun, yes, exploring, he’d meant to see if whatever had dug that den by the second boulder was cubing this year. He would just get up and do that in a minute. His back was so warm and comfortable.

https://i.redd.it/t03pj0e9db3b1.gif
Flying Sparks”
Another foray into the lives of Drake McCarty, Ama Love, and the rest of their siblings as they discover that something alien is out in the forest around their home.
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flying-sparks-a-novel-of-dragon-bear-and-boy/coming_soon
#FlyingSparks #ScienceFiction #Scifi #Story #novel #book #DrakeMcCarty #AmaLove #Donny #Em #Bard #Bole #Aliens #Spaceships #Crystals #fireflies #NPS #NationalPark #Doctor #Sever #family #storm #writing #reading #drama #literature #author #BettyAdams #DyingEmbers #Dragons #ThingsThatGoBoomp #Indiegogo #CrowdFunding
submitted by Betty-Adams to sciencefiction [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 03:58 Betty-Adams "Flying Sparks" A novel of a boy, a dragon, and an alien. 100K words of science fiction adventure.

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


https://i.redd.it/bqo2debncb3b1.gif

Chapter 2

“Hazardous? I’ll show that manipulative, misanthropic, anti-establishment cretin just what hazardous means if he thinks I’m going to fold on this!”
The sound of vigorous guitar riffs made a fitting accompaniment to the angry tirade despite originating on opposite sides of the communal area. Ama was glaring at a laptop that sat on a stained oak desk shoved against the large table near the kitchen. She tapped a fingernail on the wood as she read through the alert.
“And what violation of basic human dignity has her royal prudishness’s undies in a bunch?” Em demanded with an affected sneer without looking up from his guitar scales.
“Oh you’ll agree with this one tree-hugger,” Drake muttered from where he sat oiling his work boots.
“Yeah,” Donny piped up, “Finney is trying to kill a perfectly healthy fir.”
“What!” Em demanded, carefully placing his battered old acoustic guitar down in its case and darting over to look at the computer screen. “You mean apark tree?”
Despite her simmering frustration Ama allowed a small smile to flicker across her face as she continued to type.
“Get out of your pajamas and I’ll tell you,” Drake ordered pointing towards the bathroom door with a stained rag. “School starts in forty-five minutes and you still have breakfast and chores. That goes for you too Pip-squirt.”
“I hope you washed your hands before you touched our food,” Em said with a frown.
“Boot grease makes a great source of fatty acids.” Drake retorted. “Now go!”
The two smaller boys muttered in annoyance but stumbled off to follow orders.
“So what is up?” the youth asked as he bent his head back over the smooth leather of his boots.
“Mrs. Finney wants that tree down that’s blocking her perfect view of Crescent Lake.” Ama replied in a dry tone.
“One that’s clearly on park property?” Drake asked.
“Indeedy-do.” Ama replied giving the paper in front of her a glare.
“So how’s she justifying it?” Drake asked.
“As a safety hazard to her house.” Ama replied.
“And?”
The biologist groaned and rubbed her face.
“As far as I can tell the trunk is perfectly healthy. There is an old trash can lid grown into the trunk and a little discolored sap is leaking out there.”
“Frass?”
“Watch your language!” Donny interjected as he darted up to the table.
“Frass is not a bad word,” Drake stated. “Have you let the chickens out?”
“Yes, what does frass mean?” Donny asked as he started piling stir-fry onto his plate.
“Look it up.” Drake ordered him. “Emerald! Breakfast ends in ten minutes! Get your tukus down here!”
“It’s bad health to rush meals,” Em snapped out as he came down a narrow stairway with deliberate slowness.
“It’s even worse for your health to skip meals altogether,” Drake growled threateningly.
“Shut it and give me some eggs.” Em snapped back.
“Emerald Waters Undersun,” Drake hissed out through gritted teeth. “You are going to get your own eggs.”
The boy threw himself into a chair and glared at Drake with challenge in every line of his body.
“Emerald,” Ama said in a calm tone. “I think you should apologize to your cousin now.”
“Sorry I disturbed you Ama,” he offered without breaking eye contact with Drake.
“Not me, him,” Ama said.
“Sorry you had to hear that Donny.” Em said.
Ama heaved a sigh and closed her computer.
“Emerald,” Ama said.
“Do you want to eat or go hungry?” Drake demanded.
Ama glanced at him with a familiar uneasy look in her eyes and Drake fought down a wince.
“Now, Em.” she said in a patient tone.
“I’ll go hungry,” Em snapped, jumping up and stalking over to the couch.
Donny kept his eyes fixed on his plate. Ama heaved a sigh before turning back to her computer. Em wriggled on the couch for several minutes before skulking back to the table. Drake moved to intercept him but Ama stopped him with a look and he let Em serve himself. Drake cast irritated glances at the wall clock as the time crept more and more into school time.
Ama closed her computer and stood, then sighed, sat and opened it again.
“I need to pick out their report topics,” Ama muttered.
“I could do it,” Drake offered.
“You do quite enough,” Ama replied briskly, as she scanned the news. “Here you go. For Donny, malfunctions at the Lewis- McChord Air Force Base air show.” A frown creased her face. “Wow, this is pretty serious. It looks like the F-16 demonstration team nearly got killed.”
Drake whistled and leaned over her shoulder.
“Multiple system failures,” he read out loud. “I am pretty sure that isn’t supposed to happen.”
“Nope,” Ama agreed. “Here is a topic on big game management for Em.”
“Reports due by next week?” Drake asked as the old printer on the desk began to squeal and grumble as it powered up.
“Same as usual,” Ama confirmed.
Drake put the printouts on top of the homework pile and moved to wash up the breakfast dishes.
“I need to get to work early today so you two be good for Drake,” she called out placing a quick kiss on top of the smaller boys’ heads and giving Drake’s shoulder a friendly squeeze.
“Good luck with Mrs. Finney, and stay safe.” Drake called out as she went into her room.
The table was cleaned off and wiped down and the clink of forks gave way to the steady scratch of pencils on paper. They broke for a recess after religion and then lunch after history and math, and by the time the Grandfather clock in the corner struck two the younger boys twitching with energy. Drake made certain the internet was disconnected at the router, and chased Donny and Em out into the garden.
“And don’t come in until dark,” he ordered tossing two snack bags out after them.
Donny as usual snatched his food and disappeared into the small orachard. Low grumbles about troglodytes and the Amish wandered out into the high corn following Em and Drake shook his head in exasperation wondering, not for the first time how the dark haired princeling came from the same gene pool as his little brother. The kitchen being mostly ordered Drake was turning to put the last random dirty sock in the hamper when a gnarled hand clutching a cane head appeared in the corner of his eye, causing his heart to make a valiant attempt to bolt out of his throat.
“Abuelita!” he gasped forcing his hands down from the guard position. “Where did you come from?”
Smoldering black eyes ran searchingly over the tall youth. An impossibly long mane of streaked silver and black hair was barely contained in a thick braid. A sharply pointed nose perched over a small wrinkled mouth. A vibrant red horse-hair serape hung over her shoulders concealing everything except her brown and gnarled hands which currently clutched the old tree branch she used as a cane. Drake had been more than a little comforted by the fact that both Em and Donny had admitted to having the thought ‘witch’ every time time they saw her as well.
“From the hand of God by the bodies of my sainted mother and father,” she replied after a long, uncomfortable silence.
She always spoke in a low husky voice that suggested years of smoking, though Drake had never smelled even stale smoke on her.
“Right,” Drake blinked and grinned at the response; the one she always gave. “So you are here for their Spanish lesson? I have their grammar books ready and-”
The narrow end of the tree branch rapped against the concrete of the floor causing Drake to jump. Abuelita glared at him, locking his gaze and holding him in place with it for a moment.
“I am here for their lessons,” she finally stated, “and you are there for my payment.”
Drake thought longingly of the repair and maintenance manuals in the cab of the truck and the new tool he was itching to try, but he forced a grin on his face.
“Yes ma’am,” he said. “What can I get you today?”
Abuelita pulled out a bag of woven grass from under her serape causing the indistinct patterns on the cloth to shift and change.
“Take this,” she ordered him, “and collect me the cobalt blue berries that grow on a single stalk close to the ground. They must come from the mountain to the south east of here by the crystal brook.”
Drake nodded, and took the little bag, he didn’t quite manage to infused his gestures with enthusiasm he supposed. The old woman, probably wouldn’t have noted it anyway. She turned and moved towards the garden door without waiting for any other reply. However she called out over her shoulder as he turned to find his own way out of the rambling structure.
“Don’t dawdle little one. A storm brews in the distance.”
He tried not to roll his eyes at that, the weather forecast was clear and eighties for the next week according to the morning fire report Ama had printed. The youth only nodded and slipped around the corner. He circled the barn and pulled a set of loose tan pants and tunic out of the cubby. The soft worn leather almost perfectly matched the forest floor for color as did the moccasins he pulled on after them. His morning running clothes were modern stuff that wicked the sweat away from him and let him speed through the forest. These were his free day clothes. The ones that let him disappear into the forest and wander. Abuelita, for all of her demands, would tend Em and Donny until he returned no matter how late that was, and with the Park’s yearly budget talks still under way it was highly unlikely Ama would be home until long after the sun had set. Despite still hearing the call of the half restored truck he felt something lossening in him already. The soft cotton and smooth leather rested easily against his skin and Drake slipped into the forest.
Freedom; for the moment at least, blissful freedom. Pushing aside the guilt that accompanied the thought as well as any lingering worries about his charges the youth let his legs carry him through the trees. He shunned the man made paths, following the faint animal trails. This close to the barn they were as clear to him as if they were named city streets. Being animal trails, they invariably led him to water. Today he stopped at a trickling stream, took off his moccasins, and rolled up his pants legs. The youth turned and followed the thin flow of icy water upstream, letting it steal the heat from his body through his feet.
Some distance upstream, the stream widened and pooled under a boulder. There Drake paused and pulled an old black compass out of his pocket. Behind him he knew every trail and tree. Ahead was a broad swath of National Wilderness he would have to cross, or possibly Bureau of Land Management or even state managed forests where he more rarely wandered. It was hard to tell where the boundaries were from the ground. The clearing he wanted for the berries was solidly in BLM land and he still had quite a ways to go to get there. The stand of timber that stood between him and his goal was dense with young tree and branches that frequently formed impenetrable hedges he had to track around and he checked his compass regularly as he climbed in elevation. Even so the youth found he had wandered too far off his route and had to correct when he spotted the boundary fence. However he was in no hurry and he reached the clearing long before the sun told him it was time to turn around.
Sometime in the past some unknown force had carved a shallow trench across the side of one of the small mountains that that dotted the wilderness. It had puzzled Drake at first. The scour was at the wrong angle to be an old rock slide, and terminated in a near perfectly circular clearing at the lower end. Centuries old Douglas Firs abruptly gave way to a second ring only a few decades old. Those were in turn beginning to produce cones and a smattering of knee high saplings. The rest of the space was completely given over to wildflowers. No matter what season Drake visited it he found a riot of life.
There had been an early spring and many herbs that normally would have waited a month or more were already in full bloom in the mountain meadow. A white wave of foamflower washed in from the deep forest surrounding the clearing, sending up knee high stalks covered in the delicate white blooms. Late trillium hid close to the roots of the great firs, many having shed their white corollas and begun to put forth their bulbous seed heads. Fuzzy white baneberry blossoms nodded gently in the breeze. A riot of yellow and purple spread across the ground as vetch and buttercups and a host of clovers competed for space in the open sun. Great stalks of lupine as high as his head thrust up their purple and blue proudly from thick clusters of palm shaped leaves. Pink shooting stars and violet harebells crouched under the protection of the larger plants. Indian paintbrush lit the scene with flames of red and orange. Where a spring seeped into the meadow elephant’s head flared neon pink and corydalis bushes put forth blushing blooms. Pale green wild orchids stood along the wet spot and the swarms of bees danced from them to the glacier lilies.
Sometimes, as he bent over a tiny blossom and traced the intricate network of veins in the petals, drank in the scent, and felt the smooth surface of the leaves an otherworldly feeling would come over him. It was as if there was another world just out of range of his senses. If he could only really look, the thin illusion that was blocking him would slip away and reveal the real world underneath it.
Look Awiegwa,” his father would whisper, pointing at a deer mouse perched on a fallen log. “What does it see?”
Awiegwa would screw up his face and squint. Trying to find the answer to the question.
Awiegwa had often wondered how so many flowers had come to be in the relatively small area. He had identified dozens of species and there were more he had yet to determine. The clearing was always the first place to bloom and the last to go dormant. Many of the flowers seemed to utterly defy their usual blooming patterns. However, as time passed he had simply come to accept it. It was one of the small good things that brought back the memories of his father. If it didn’t quite follow the rules Ama had taught him, well an impossible clearing in the mountains wasn’t a place for rules.
The particular bloom that Abuelita had requested had taken full advantage of the early sun and had already put forth a few cobalt blue berries; easily spotted at the edge of the clearing in the delicate sea of white flowers.
However before he left the shade of the forest for the meadow the youth paused and closed his eyes. Bole wasn’t always here, but he was often enough that Awiegwa always checked for him. Carefully he reconstructed the clearing in his mind; marking every tree and boulder on the edge. Three years he had been coming here and each time it was easier to recreate the clearing. Breathing evenly he opened his eyes, letting the mental image merge with the actual. There was a brief moment of confusion as details like the play of light through branches and the trembling of small clusters of flowers fixed themselves but there was only one truly jarring note. Awiegwa didn’t let his eyes focus on the disparity; he never did anymore, but a warm smile spread across his features as he slipped silently into the meadow.
He was here. As the youth moved in a low crouch, gathering the first fruits of the Queen’s Cup, he let his peripheral vision linger on a particular snag. There was nothing obviously interesting about it, other than the fact that it had not been there the last time Awiegwa was here. He had named the wanderer Bole, because it most often appeared as a thick tree trunk; sometimes living, sometimes dead. Occasionally it would be a boulder or simply a mound in the dirt. Often it wasn’t in the clearing at all. If the youth moved forward and tried to closely examine it he could never find anything to suggest it was something other than a tree or rock.
He had thought about taking a sample occasionally, had taken his knife out to do just that more than once, but something always held him back. Bole was a part of this place. Dissecting him would be too much like attempting to dissect his sense of his father’s presence here. The youth had never told anyone about this place, not even Ama with who could get most things out of him easily enough. Down at the house, in town, when he was Drake; solid, reliable, first up in the morning, two grades ahead in school with a penchant for science Drake, a productive member of modern society with a promising future and his mother smiling at him. Here he could be Awiegwa. Here he could believe in the ancient medicines his father had dug out of dusty old tomes and brought to life from the forest litter. Every time Awiegwa left the clearing and headed back towards home reality would reassert itself. Bole would resolve back into a figment of his imagination, created from pride in a somewhat better than average memory and what the social workers had called an “intriguing imagination”. When he reached the house and become solidly Drake again flickers of embarrassment would begin eating at him for letting his senses trick him like that, but as long as the blooms nodded around him in this garden Bole could exist even on a Thursday.
The little woven grass bag filled up with the berries fairly quickly and Awiegwa soon stretched out of his crouch and let his gaze wander contentedly over the clearing. As it always did, the warm space was working its special magic. Worries about Em getting out of his schoolwork, of not paying enough attention to the quiet Donny, of letting Ama see his petty resentments: it had all melted away from his muscles, thoughts of college costs and abandoning his duties dissolved into an acute sense of the now. The leaves rustled softly in a barely-there breeze, the heavy scent of some unidentified blossom filled his lungs, a dozen shades of green framed the rainbow of flowers, and over and above it all the creaking of the firs as the wind played over them. It was at times like these that he felth he could almost see into heaven; that something wonderful that existed just beyond his senses, and all he had to do was reach out and claim it.
The youth took a deep breath and let himself fall backwards onto a handy rise in the forest floor. His path had taken him to the foot of the snag and he shifted slightly to align himself with the gnarled roots. One hand gripped a time smoothed root.
“Ama trusted me enough to go out of state,” he murmured. “That’s the first time she’s done that. Usually she has Abulita stay with us to fend off the Harsh, but she said it’s long past legal now.”
It was his imagination of course that made him think the root vibrated in his hand in response. Many a long hour he had spent in this clearing with the wanderer. He had poured out his frustrations and anguishes over life’s injustices, had shared his secrets as he grew, and had shouted his triumphs. Sometimes he felt closer to Bole than to any of his human friends. However, something that sounded like his mother’s voice warned him that there was something odd about this and that awareness was the main reason he had kept this place secret from Ama. Their mother hadn’t exactly liked stuff like that. She had never objected to his father’s digging up the old stories of her people. Making cross generational connections between elders, who more often than not lived isolated lives, and the next generation, was an admirable goal in of itself in her eyes; objectively a social good. Storytelling was only the natural course for these relationships to take, but subtle looks had warned even a very young Drake that it was best to cautious what he shared with his mother. At least of those things that couldn’t be placed on a microscope slide. So this was Awigewa’s place, and while his father’s spirit wanders the flowers with he had never felt his mother here.
He let his focus drift up, and up. Dark blue Lupine nodded over his head framing the faint crisscross of jet contrails that threw a light haze over an otherwise cloudless sky. His clothed grew deliciously hot from the spring sun. The ground too had eagerly accepted the energy and now it conducted the heat into the muscles of his back. Bole’s wood beneath him was warmer even than the surrounding ground and an idle thought traced across Awiegwa’s awareness; something about it being odd for the light colored wood and relatively dry wood to retain more heat than the darker soil surrounding it. His mind was filled with the impression of a goal. He had been meaning to do, something. Something fun, yes, exploring, he’d meant to see if whatever had dug that den by the second boulder was cubing this year. He would just get up and do that in a minute. His back was so warm and comfortable.

https://i.redd.it/zafjty1qcb3b1.gif
Flying Sparks”
Another foray into the lives of Drake McCarty, Ama Love, and the rest of their siblings as they discover that something alien is out in the forest around their home.
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flying-sparks-a-novel-of-dragon-bear-and-boy/coming_soon
#FlyingSparks #ScienceFiction #Scifi #Story #novel #book #DrakeMcCarty #AmaLove #Donny #Em #Bard #Bole #Aliens #Spaceships #Crystals #fireflies #NPS #NationalPark #Doctor #Sever #family #storm #writing #reading #drama #literature #author #BettyAdams #DyingEmbers #Dragons #ThingsThatGoBoomp #Indiegogo #CrowdFunding
submitted by Betty-Adams to Indiegogo [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 03:56 Betty-Adams "Flying Sparks" A novel of a boy, a dragon, and an alien. 100K words of science fiction adventure.

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


https://i.redd.it/kd8youy5cb3b1.gif

Chapter 2

“Hazardous? I’ll show that manipulative, misanthropic, anti-establishment cretin just what hazardous means if he thinks I’m going to fold on this!”
The sound of vigorous guitar riffs made a fitting accompaniment to the angry tirade despite originating on opposite sides of the communal area. Ama was glaring at a laptop that sat on a stained oak desk shoved against the large table near the kitchen. She tapped a fingernail on the wood as she read through the alert.
“And what violation of basic human dignity has her royal prudishness’s undies in a bunch?” Em demanded with an affected sneer without looking up from his guitar scales.
“Oh you’ll agree with this one tree-hugger,” Drake muttered from where he sat oiling his work boots.
“Yeah,” Donny piped up, “Finney is trying to kill a perfectly healthy fir.”
“What!” Em demanded, carefully placing his battered old acoustic guitar down in its case and darting over to look at the computer screen. “You mean apark tree?”
Despite her simmering frustration Ama allowed a small smile to flicker across her face as she continued to type.
“Get out of your pajamas and I’ll tell you,” Drake ordered pointing towards the bathroom door with a stained rag. “School starts in forty-five minutes and you still have breakfast and chores. That goes for you too Pip-squirt.”
“I hope you washed your hands before you touched our food,” Em said with a frown.
“Boot grease makes a great source of fatty acids.” Drake retorted. “Now go!”
The two smaller boys muttered in annoyance but stumbled off to follow orders.
“So what is up?” the youth asked as he bent his head back over the smooth leather of his boots.
“Mrs. Finney wants that tree down that’s blocking her perfect view of Crescent Lake.” Ama replied in a dry tone.
“One that’s clearly on park property?” Drake asked.
“Indeedy-do.” Ama replied giving the paper in front of her a glare.
“So how’s she justifying it?” Drake asked.
“As a safety hazard to her house.” Ama replied.
“And?”
The biologist groaned and rubbed her face.
“As far as I can tell the trunk is perfectly healthy. There is an old trash can lid grown into the trunk and a little discolored sap is leaking out there.”
“Frass?”
“Watch your language!” Donny interjected as he darted up to the table.
“Frass is not a bad word,” Drake stated. “Have you let the chickens out?”
“Yes, what does frass mean?” Donny asked as he started piling stir-fry onto his plate.
“Look it up.” Drake ordered him. “Emerald! Breakfast ends in ten minutes! Get your tukus down here!”
“It’s bad health to rush meals,” Em snapped out as he came down a narrow stairway with deliberate slowness.
“It’s even worse for your health to skip meals altogether,” Drake growled threateningly.
“Shut it and give me some eggs.” Em snapped back.
“Emerald Waters Undersun,” Drake hissed out through gritted teeth. “You are going to get your own eggs.”
The boy threw himself into a chair and glared at Drake with challenge in every line of his body.
“Emerald,” Ama said in a calm tone. “I think you should apologize to your cousin now.”
“Sorry I disturbed you Ama,” he offered without breaking eye contact with Drake.
“Not me, him,” Ama said.
“Sorry you had to hear that Donny.” Em said.
Ama heaved a sigh and closed her computer.
“Emerald,” Ama said.
“Do you want to eat or go hungry?” Drake demanded.
Ama glanced at him with a familiar uneasy look in her eyes and Drake fought down a wince.
“Now, Em.” she said in a patient tone.
“I’ll go hungry,” Em snapped, jumping up and stalking over to the couch.
Donny kept his eyes fixed on his plate. Ama heaved a sigh before turning back to her computer. Em wriggled on the couch for several minutes before skulking back to the table. Drake moved to intercept him but Ama stopped him with a look and he let Em serve himself. Drake cast irritated glances at the wall clock as the time crept more and more into school time.
Ama closed her computer and stood, then sighed, sat and opened it again.
“I need to pick out their report topics,” Ama muttered.
“I could do it,” Drake offered.
“You do quite enough,” Ama replied briskly, as she scanned the news. “Here you go. For Donny, malfunctions at the Lewis- McChord Air Force Base air show.” A frown creased her face. “Wow, this is pretty serious. It looks like the F-16 demonstration team nearly got killed.”
Drake whistled and leaned over her shoulder.
“Multiple system failures,” he read out loud. “I am pretty sure that isn’t supposed to happen.”
“Nope,” Ama agreed. “Here is a topic on big game management for Em.”
“Reports due by next week?” Drake asked as the old printer on the desk began to squeal and grumble as it powered up.
“Same as usual,” Ama confirmed.
Drake put the printouts on top of the homework pile and moved to wash up the breakfast dishes.
“I need to get to work early today so you two be good for Drake,” she called out placing a quick kiss on top of the smaller boys’ heads and giving Drake’s shoulder a friendly squeeze.
“Good luck with Mrs. Finney, and stay safe.” Drake called out as she went into her room.
The table was cleaned off and wiped down and the clink of forks gave way to the steady scratch of pencils on paper. They broke for a recess after religion and then lunch after history and math, and by the time the Grandfather clock in the corner struck two the younger boys twitching with energy. Drake made certain the internet was disconnected at the router, and chased Donny and Em out into the garden.
“And don’t come in until dark,” he ordered tossing two snack bags out after them.
Donny as usual snatched his food and disappeared into the small orachard. Low grumbles about troglodytes and the Amish wandered out into the high corn following Em and Drake shook his head in exasperation wondering, not for the first time how the dark haired princeling came from the same gene pool as his little brother. The kitchen being mostly ordered Drake was turning to put the last random dirty sock in the hamper when a gnarled hand clutching a cane head appeared in the corner of his eye, causing his heart to make a valiant attempt to bolt out of his throat.
“Abuelita!” he gasped forcing his hands down from the guard position. “Where did you come from?”
Smoldering black eyes ran searchingly over the tall youth. An impossibly long mane of streaked silver and black hair was barely contained in a thick braid. A sharply pointed nose perched over a small wrinkled mouth. A vibrant red horse-hair serape hung over her shoulders concealing everything except her brown and gnarled hands which currently clutched the old tree branch she used as a cane. Drake had been more than a little comforted by the fact that both Em and Donny had admitted to having the thought ‘witch’ every time time they saw her as well.
“From the hand of God by the bodies of my sainted mother and father,” she replied after a long, uncomfortable silence.
She always spoke in a low husky voice that suggested years of smoking, though Drake had never smelled even stale smoke on her.
“Right,” Drake blinked and grinned at the response; the one she always gave. “So you are here for their Spanish lesson? I have their grammar books ready and-”
The narrow end of the tree branch rapped against the concrete of the floor causing Drake to jump. Abuelita glared at him, locking his gaze and holding him in place with it for a moment.
“I am here for their lessons,” she finally stated, “and you are there for my payment.”
Drake thought longingly of the repair and maintenance manuals in the cab of the truck and the new tool he was itching to try, but he forced a grin on his face.
“Yes ma’am,” he said. “What can I get you today?”
Abuelita pulled out a bag of woven grass from under her serape causing the indistinct patterns on the cloth to shift and change.
“Take this,” she ordered him, “and collect me the cobalt blue berries that grow on a single stalk close to the ground. They must come from the mountain to the south east of here by the crystal brook.”
Drake nodded, and took the little bag, he didn’t quite manage to infused his gestures with enthusiasm he supposed. The old woman, probably wouldn’t have noted it anyway. She turned and moved towards the garden door without waiting for any other reply. However she called out over her shoulder as he turned to find his own way out of the rambling structure.
“Don’t dawdle little one. A storm brews in the distance.”
He tried not to roll his eyes at that, the weather forecast was clear and eighties for the next week according to the morning fire report Ama had printed. The youth only nodded and slipped around the corner. He circled the barn and pulled a set of loose tan pants and tunic out of the cubby. The soft worn leather almost perfectly matched the forest floor for color as did the moccasins he pulled on after them. His morning running clothes were modern stuff that wicked the sweat away from him and let him speed through the forest. These were his free day clothes. The ones that let him disappear into the forest and wander. Abuelita, for all of her demands, would tend Em and Donny until he returned no matter how late that was, and with the Park’s yearly budget talks still under way it was highly unlikely Ama would be home until long after the sun had set. Despite still hearing the call of the half restored truck he felt something lossening in him already. The soft cotton and smooth leather rested easily against his skin and Drake slipped into the forest.
Freedom; for the moment at least, blissful freedom. Pushing aside the guilt that accompanied the thought as well as any lingering worries about his charges the youth let his legs carry him through the trees. He shunned the man made paths, following the faint animal trails. This close to the barn they were as clear to him as if they were named city streets. Being animal trails, they invariably led him to water. Today he stopped at a trickling stream, took off his moccasins, and rolled up his pants legs. The youth turned and followed the thin flow of icy water upstream, letting it steal the heat from his body through his feet.
Some distance upstream, the stream widened and pooled under a boulder. There Drake paused and pulled an old black compass out of his pocket. Behind him he knew every trail and tree. Ahead was a broad swath of National Wilderness he would have to cross, or possibly Bureau of Land Management or even state managed forests where he more rarely wandered. It was hard to tell where the boundaries were from the ground. The clearing he wanted for the berries was solidly in BLM land and he still had quite a ways to go to get there. The stand of timber that stood between him and his goal was dense with young tree and branches that frequently formed impenetrable hedges he had to track around and he checked his compass regularly as he climbed in elevation. Even so the youth found he had wandered too far off his route and had to correct when he spotted the boundary fence. However he was in no hurry and he reached the clearing long before the sun told him it was time to turn around.
Sometime in the past some unknown force had carved a shallow trench across the side of one of the small mountains that that dotted the wilderness. It had puzzled Drake at first. The scour was at the wrong angle to be an old rock slide, and terminated in a near perfectly circular clearing at the lower end. Centuries old Douglas Firs abruptly gave way to a second ring only a few decades old. Those were in turn beginning to produce cones and a smattering of knee high saplings. The rest of the space was completely given over to wildflowers. No matter what season Drake visited it he found a riot of life.
There had been an early spring and many herbs that normally would have waited a month or more were already in full bloom in the mountain meadow. A white wave of foamflower washed in from the deep forest surrounding the clearing, sending up knee high stalks covered in the delicate white blooms. Late trillium hid close to the roots of the great firs, many having shed their white corollas and begun to put forth their bulbous seed heads. Fuzzy white baneberry blossoms nodded gently in the breeze. A riot of yellow and purple spread across the ground as vetch and buttercups and a host of clovers competed for space in the open sun. Great stalks of lupine as high as his head thrust up their purple and blue proudly from thick clusters of palm shaped leaves. Pink shooting stars and violet harebells crouched under the protection of the larger plants. Indian paintbrush lit the scene with flames of red and orange. Where a spring seeped into the meadow elephant’s head flared neon pink and corydalis bushes put forth blushing blooms. Pale green wild orchids stood along the wet spot and the swarms of bees danced from them to the glacier lilies.
Sometimes, as he bent over a tiny blossom and traced the intricate network of veins in the petals, drank in the scent, and felt the smooth surface of the leaves an otherworldly feeling would come over him. It was as if there was another world just out of range of his senses. If he could only really look, the thin illusion that was blocking him would slip away and reveal the real world underneath it.
Look Awiegwa,” his father would whisper, pointing at a deer mouse perched on a fallen log. “What does it see?”
Awiegwa would screw up his face and squint. Trying to find the answer to the question.
Awiegwa had often wondered how so many flowers had come to be in the relatively small area. He had identified dozens of species and there were more he had yet to determine. The clearing was always the first place to bloom and the last to go dormant. Many of the flowers seemed to utterly defy their usual blooming patterns. However, as time passed he had simply come to accept it. It was one of the small good things that brought back the memories of his father. If it didn’t quite follow the rules Ama had taught him, well an impossible clearing in the mountains wasn’t a place for rules.
The particular bloom that Abuelita had requested had taken full advantage of the early sun and had already put forth a few cobalt blue berries; easily spotted at the edge of the clearing in the delicate sea of white flowers.
However before he left the shade of the forest for the meadow the youth paused and closed his eyes. Bole wasn’t always here, but he was often enough that Awiegwa always checked for him. Carefully he reconstructed the clearing in his mind; marking every tree and boulder on the edge. Three years he had been coming here and each time it was easier to recreate the clearing. Breathing evenly he opened his eyes, letting the mental image merge with the actual. There was a brief moment of confusion as details like the play of light through branches and the trembling of small clusters of flowers fixed themselves but there was only one truly jarring note. Awiegwa didn’t let his eyes focus on the disparity; he never did anymore, but a warm smile spread across his features as he slipped silently into the meadow.
He was here. As the youth moved in a low crouch, gathering the first fruits of the Queen’s Cup, he let his peripheral vision linger on a particular snag. There was nothing obviously interesting about it, other than the fact that it had not been there the last time Awiegwa was here. He had named the wanderer Bole, because it most often appeared as a thick tree trunk; sometimes living, sometimes dead. Occasionally it would be a boulder or simply a mound in the dirt. Often it wasn’t in the clearing at all. If the youth moved forward and tried to closely examine it he could never find anything to suggest it was something other than a tree or rock.
He had thought about taking a sample occasionally, had taken his knife out to do just that more than once, but something always held him back. Bole was a part of this place. Dissecting him would be too much like attempting to dissect his sense of his father’s presence here. The youth had never told anyone about this place, not even Ama with who could get most things out of him easily enough. Down at the house, in town, when he was Drake; solid, reliable, first up in the morning, two grades ahead in school with a penchant for science Drake, a productive member of modern society with a promising future and his mother smiling at him. Here he could be Awiegwa. Here he could believe in the ancient medicines his father had dug out of dusty old tomes and brought to life from the forest litter. Every time Awiegwa left the clearing and headed back towards home reality would reassert itself. Bole would resolve back into a figment of his imagination, created from pride in a somewhat better than average memory and what the social workers had called an “intriguing imagination”. When he reached the house and become solidly Drake again flickers of embarrassment would begin eating at him for letting his senses trick him like that, but as long as the blooms nodded around him in this garden Bole could exist even on a Thursday.
The little woven grass bag filled up with the berries fairly quickly and Awiegwa soon stretched out of his crouch and let his gaze wander contentedly over the clearing. As it always did, the warm space was working its special magic. Worries about Em getting out of his schoolwork, of not paying enough attention to the quiet Donny, of letting Ama see his petty resentments: it had all melted away from his muscles, thoughts of college costs and abandoning his duties dissolved into an acute sense of the now. The leaves rustled softly in a barely-there breeze, the heavy scent of some unidentified blossom filled his lungs, a dozen shades of green framed the rainbow of flowers, and over and above it all the creaking of the firs as the wind played over them. It was at times like these that he felth he could almost see into heaven; that something wonderful that existed just beyond his senses, and all he had to do was reach out and claim it.
The youth took a deep breath and let himself fall backwards onto a handy rise in the forest floor. His path had taken him to the foot of the snag and he shifted slightly to align himself with the gnarled roots. One hand gripped a time smoothed root.
“Ama trusted me enough to go out of state,” he murmured. “That’s the first time she’s done that. Usually she has Abulita stay with us to fend off the Harsh, but she said it’s long past legal now.”
It was his imagination of course that made him think the root vibrated in his hand in response. Many a long hour he had spent in this clearing with the wanderer. He had poured out his frustrations and anguishes over life’s injustices, had shared his secrets as he grew, and had shouted his triumphs. Sometimes he felt closer to Bole than to any of his human friends. However, something that sounded like his mother’s voice warned him that there was something odd about this and that awareness was the main reason he had kept this place secret from Ama. Their mother hadn’t exactly liked stuff like that. She had never objected to his father’s digging up the old stories of her people. Making cross generational connections between elders, who more often than not lived isolated lives, and the next generation, was an admirable goal in of itself in her eyes; objectively a social good. Storytelling was only the natural course for these relationships to take, but subtle looks had warned even a very young Drake that it was best to cautious what he shared with his mother. At least of those things that couldn’t be placed on a microscope slide. So this was Awigewa’s place, and while his father’s spirit wanders the flowers with he had never felt his mother here.
He let his focus drift up, and up. Dark blue Lupine nodded over his head framing the faint crisscross of jet contrails that threw a light haze over an otherwise cloudless sky. His clothed grew deliciously hot from the spring sun. The ground too had eagerly accepted the energy and now it conducted the heat into the muscles of his back. Bole’s wood beneath him was warmer even than the surrounding ground and an idle thought traced across Awiegwa’s awareness; something about it being odd for the light colored wood and relatively dry wood to retain more heat than the darker soil surrounding it. His mind was filled with the impression of a goal. He had been meaning to do, something. Something fun, yes, exploring, he’d meant to see if whatever had dug that den by the second boulder was cubing this year. He would just get up and do that in a minute. His back was so warm and comfortable.

https://i.redd.it/o9pile07cb3b1.gif
Flying Sparks”
Another foray into the lives of Drake McCarty, Ama Love, and the rest of their siblings as they discover that something alien is out in the forest around their home.
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flying-sparks-a-novel-of-dragon-bear-and-boy/coming_soon
#FlyingSparks #ScienceFiction #Scifi #Story #novel #book #DrakeMcCarty #AmaLove #Donny #Em #Bard #Bole #Aliens #Spaceships #Crystals #fireflies #NPS #NationalPark #Doctor #Sever #family #storm #writing #reading #drama #literature #author #BettyAdams #DyingEmbers #Dragons #ThingsThatGoBoomp #Indiegogo #CrowdFunding
submitted by Betty-Adams to Crowdfunding [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 03:50 Betty-Adams Flying Sparks Volume 1 - A Novel of a boy, a dragon, and an alien. Avaliable for preorder on Indiegogo Now.

Flying Sparks Volume 1 - A Novel of a boy, a dragon, and an alien. Avaliable for preorder on Indiegogo Now.

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


https://i.redd.it/929p907cbb3b1.gif

Chapter 2

“Hazardous? I’ll show that manipulative, misanthropic, anti-establishment cretin just what hazardous means if he thinks I’m going to fold on this!”
The sound of vigorous guitar riffs made a fitting accompaniment to the angry tirade despite originating on opposite sides of the communal area. Ama was glaring at a laptop that sat on a stained oak desk shoved against the large table near the kitchen. She tapped a fingernail on the wood as she read through the alert.
“And what violation of basic human dignity has her royal prudishness’s undies in a bunch?” Em demanded with an affected sneer without looking up from his guitar scales.
“Oh you’ll agree with this one tree-hugger,” Drake muttered from where he sat oiling his work boots.
“Yeah,” Donny piped up, “Finney is trying to kill a perfectly healthy fir.”
“What!” Em demanded, carefully placing his battered old acoustic guitar down in its case and darting over to look at the computer screen. “You mean apark tree?”
Despite her simmering frustration Ama allowed a small smile to flicker across her face as she continued to type.
“Get out of your pajamas and I’ll tell you,” Drake ordered pointing towards the bathroom door with a stained rag. “School starts in forty-five minutes and you still have breakfast and chores. That goes for you too Pip-squirt.”
“I hope you washed your hands before you touched our food,” Em said with a frown.
“Boot grease makes a great source of fatty acids.” Drake retorted. “Now go!”
The two smaller boys muttered in annoyance but stumbled off to follow orders.
“So what is up?” the youth asked as he bent his head back over the smooth leather of his boots.
“Mrs. Finney wants that tree down that’s blocking her perfect view of Crescent Lake.” Ama replied in a dry tone.
“One that’s clearly on park property?” Drake asked.
“Indeedy-do.” Ama replied giving the paper in front of her a glare.
“So how’s she justifying it?” Drake asked.
“As a safety hazard to her house.” Ama replied.
“And?”
The biologist groaned and rubbed her face.
“As far as I can tell the trunk is perfectly healthy. There is an old trash can lid grown into the trunk and a little discolored sap is leaking out there.”
“Frass?”
“Watch your language!” Donny interjected as he darted up to the table.
“Frass is not a bad word,” Drake stated. “Have you let the chickens out?”
“Yes, what does frass mean?” Donny asked as he started piling stir-fry onto his plate.
“Look it up.” Drake ordered him. “Emerald! Breakfast ends in ten minutes! Get your tukus down here!”
“It’s bad health to rush meals,” Em snapped out as he came down a narrow stairway with deliberate slowness.
“It’s even worse for your health to skip meals altogether,” Drake growled threateningly.
“Shut it and give me some eggs.” Em snapped back.
“Emerald Waters Undersun,” Drake hissed out through gritted teeth. “You are going to get your own eggs.”
The boy threw himself into a chair and glared at Drake with challenge in every line of his body.
“Emerald,” Ama said in a calm tone. “I think you should apologize to your cousin now.”
“Sorry I disturbed you Ama,” he offered without breaking eye contact with Drake.
“Not me, him,” Ama said.
“Sorry you had to hear that Donny.” Em said.
Ama heaved a sigh and closed her computer.
“Emerald,” Ama said.
“Do you want to eat or go hungry?” Drake demanded.
Ama glanced at him with a familiar uneasy look in her eyes and Drake fought down a wince.
“Now, Em.” she said in a patient tone.
“I’ll go hungry,” Em snapped, jumping up and stalking over to the couch.
Donny kept his eyes fixed on his plate. Ama heaved a sigh before turning back to her computer. Em wriggled on the couch for several minutes before skulking back to the table. Drake moved to intercept him but Ama stopped him with a look and he let Em serve himself. Drake cast irritated glances at the wall clock as the time crept more and more into school time.
Ama closed her computer and stood, then sighed, sat and opened it again.
“I need to pick out their report topics,” Ama muttered.
“I could do it,” Drake offered.
“You do quite enough,” Ama replied briskly, as she scanned the news. “Here you go. For Donny, malfunctions at the Lewis- McChord Air Force Base air show.” A frown creased her face. “Wow, this is pretty serious. It looks like the F-16 demonstration team nearly got killed.”
Drake whistled and leaned over her shoulder.
“Multiple system failures,” he read out loud. “I am pretty sure that isn’t supposed to happen.”
“Nope,” Ama agreed. “Here is a topic on big game management for Em.”
“Reports due by next week?” Drake asked as the old printer on the desk began to squeal and grumble as it powered up.
“Same as usual,” Ama confirmed.
Drake put the printouts on top of the homework pile and moved to wash up the breakfast dishes.
“I need to get to work early today so you two be good for Drake,” she called out placing a quick kiss on top of the smaller boys’ heads and giving Drake’s shoulder a friendly squeeze.
“Good luck with Mrs. Finney, and stay safe.” Drake called out as she went into her room.
The table was cleaned off and wiped down and the clink of forks gave way to the steady scratch of pencils on paper. They broke for a recess after religion and then lunch after history and math, and by the time the Grandfather clock in the corner struck two the younger boys twitching with energy. Drake made certain the internet was disconnected at the router, and chased Donny and Em out into the garden.
“And don’t come in until dark,” he ordered tossing two snack bags out after them.
Donny as usual snatched his food and disappeared into the small orachard. Low grumbles about troglodytes and the Amish wandered out into the high corn following Em and Drake shook his head in exasperation wondering, not for the first time how the dark haired princeling came from the same gene pool as his little brother. The kitchen being mostly ordered Drake was turning to put the last random dirty sock in the hamper when a gnarled hand clutching a cane head appeared in the corner of his eye, causing his heart to make a valiant attempt to bolt out of his throat.
“Abuelita!” he gasped forcing his hands down from the guard position. “Where did you come from?”
Smoldering black eyes ran searchingly over the tall youth. An impossibly long mane of streaked silver and black hair was barely contained in a thick braid. A sharply pointed nose perched over a small wrinkled mouth. A vibrant red horse-hair serape hung over her shoulders concealing everything except her brown and gnarled hands which currently clutched the old tree branch she used as a cane. Drake had been more than a little comforted by the fact that both Em and Donny had admitted to having the thought ‘witch’ every time time they saw her as well.
“From the hand of God by the bodies of my sainted mother and father,” she replied after a long, uncomfortable silence.
She always spoke in a low husky voice that suggested years of smoking, though Drake had never smelled even stale smoke on her.
“Right,” Drake blinked and grinned at the response; the one she always gave. “So you are here for their Spanish lesson? I have their grammar books ready and-”
The narrow end of the tree branch rapped against the concrete of the floor causing Drake to jump. Abuelita glared at him, locking his gaze and holding him in place with it for a moment.
“I am here for their lessons,” she finally stated, “and you are there for my payment.”
Drake thought longingly of the repair and maintenance manuals in the cab of the truck and the new tool he was itching to try, but he forced a grin on his face.
“Yes ma’am,” he said. “What can I get you today?”
Abuelita pulled out a bag of woven grass from under her serape causing the indistinct patterns on the cloth to shift and change.
“Take this,” she ordered him, “and collect me the cobalt blue berries that grow on a single stalk close to the ground. They must come from the mountain to the south east of here by the crystal brook.”
Drake nodded, and took the little bag, he didn’t quite manage to infused his gestures with enthusiasm he supposed. The old woman, probably wouldn’t have noted it anyway. She turned and moved towards the garden door without waiting for any other reply. However she called out over her shoulder as he turned to find his own way out of the rambling structure.
“Don’t dawdle little one. A storm brews in the distance.”
He tried not to roll his eyes at that, the weather forecast was clear and eighties for the next week according to the morning fire report Ama had printed. The youth only nodded and slipped around the corner. He circled the barn and pulled a set of loose tan pants and tunic out of the cubby. The soft worn leather almost perfectly matched the forest floor for color as did the moccasins he pulled on after them. His morning running clothes were modern stuff that wicked the sweat away from him and let him speed through the forest. These were his free day clothes. The ones that let him disappear into the forest and wander. Abuelita, for all of her demands, would tend Em and Donny until he returned no matter how late that was, and with the Park’s yearly budget talks still under way it was highly unlikely Ama would be home until long after the sun had set. Despite still hearing the call of the half restored truck he felt something lossening in him already. The soft cotton and smooth leather rested easily against his skin and Drake slipped into the forest.
Freedom; for the moment at least, blissful freedom. Pushing aside the guilt that accompanied the thought as well as any lingering worries about his charges the youth let his legs carry him through the trees. He shunned the man made paths, following the faint animal trails. This close to the barn they were as clear to him as if they were named city streets. Being animal trails, they invariably led him to water. Today he stopped at a trickling stream, took off his moccasins, and rolled up his pants legs. The youth turned and followed the thin flow of icy water upstream, letting it steal the heat from his body through his feet.
Some distance upstream, the stream widened and pooled under a boulder. There Drake paused and pulled an old black compass out of his pocket. Behind him he knew every trail and tree. Ahead was a broad swath of National Wilderness he would have to cross, or possibly Bureau of Land Management or even state managed forests where he more rarely wandered. It was hard to tell where the boundaries were from the ground. The clearing he wanted for the berries was solidly in BLM land and he still had quite a ways to go to get there. The stand of timber that stood between him and his goal was dense with young tree and branches that frequently formed impenetrable hedges he had to track around and he checked his compass regularly as he climbed in elevation. Even so the youth found he had wandered too far off his route and had to correct when he spotted the boundary fence. However he was in no hurry and he reached the clearing long before the sun told him it was time to turn around.
Sometime in the past some unknown force had carved a shallow trench across the side of one of the small mountains that that dotted the wilderness. It had puzzled Drake at first. The scour was at the wrong angle to be an old rock slide, and terminated in a near perfectly circular clearing at the lower end. Centuries old Douglas Firs abruptly gave way to a second ring only a few decades old. Those were in turn beginning to produce cones and a smattering of knee high saplings. The rest of the space was completely given over to wildflowers. No matter what season Drake visited it he found a riot of life.
There had been an early spring and many herbs that normally would have waited a month or more were already in full bloom in the mountain meadow. A white wave of foamflower washed in from the deep forest surrounding the clearing, sending up knee high stalks covered in the delicate white blooms. Late trillium hid close to the roots of the great firs, many having shed their white corollas and begun to put forth their bulbous seed heads. Fuzzy white baneberry blossoms nodded gently in the breeze. A riot of yellow and purple spread across the ground as vetch and buttercups and a host of clovers competed for space in the open sun. Great stalks of lupine as high as his head thrust up their purple and blue proudly from thick clusters of palm shaped leaves. Pink shooting stars and violet harebells crouched under the protection of the larger plants. Indian paintbrush lit the scene with flames of red and orange. Where a spring seeped into the meadow elephant’s head flared neon pink and corydalis bushes put forth blushing blooms. Pale green wild orchids stood along the wet spot and the swarms of bees danced from them to the glacier lilies.
Sometimes, as he bent over a tiny blossom and traced the intricate network of veins in the petals, drank in the scent, and felt the smooth surface of the leaves an otherworldly feeling would come over him. It was as if there was another world just out of range of his senses. If he could only really look, the thin illusion that was blocking him would slip away and reveal the real world underneath it.
Look Awiegwa,” his father would whisper, pointing at a deer mouse perched on a fallen log. “What does it see?”
Awiegwa would screw up his face and squint. Trying to find the answer to the question.
Awiegwa had often wondered how so many flowers had come to be in the relatively small area. He had identified dozens of species and there were more he had yet to determine. The clearing was always the first place to bloom and the last to go dormant. Many of the flowers seemed to utterly defy their usual blooming patterns. However, as time passed he had simply come to accept it. It was one of the small good things that brought back the memories of his father. If it didn’t quite follow the rules Ama had taught him, well an impossible clearing in the mountains wasn’t a place for rules.
The particular bloom that Abuelita had requested had taken full advantage of the early sun and had already put forth a few cobalt blue berries; easily spotted at the edge of the clearing in the delicate sea of white flowers.
However before he left the shade of the forest for the meadow the youth paused and closed his eyes. Bole wasn’t always here, but he was often enough that Awiegwa always checked for him. Carefully he reconstructed the clearing in his mind; marking every tree and boulder on the edge. Three years he had been coming here and each time it was easier to recreate the clearing. Breathing evenly he opened his eyes, letting the mental image merge with the actual. There was a brief moment of confusion as details like the play of light through branches and the trembling of small clusters of flowers fixed themselves but there was only one truly jarring note. Awiegwa didn’t let his eyes focus on the disparity; he never did anymore, but a warm smile spread across his features as he slipped silently into the meadow.
He was here. As the youth moved in a low crouch, gathering the first fruits of the Queen’s Cup, he let his peripheral vision linger on a particular snag. There was nothing obviously interesting about it, other than the fact that it had not been there the last time Awiegwa was here. He had named the wanderer Bole, because it most often appeared as a thick tree trunk; sometimes living, sometimes dead. Occasionally it would be a boulder or simply a mound in the dirt. Often it wasn’t in the clearing at all. If the youth moved forward and tried to closely examine it he could never find anything to suggest it was something other than a tree or rock.
He had thought about taking a sample occasionally, had taken his knife out to do just that more than once, but something always held him back. Bole was a part of this place. Dissecting him would be too much like attempting to dissect his sense of his father’s presence here. The youth had never told anyone about this place, not even Ama with who could get most things out of him easily enough. Down at the house, in town, when he was Drake; solid, reliable, first up in the morning, two grades ahead in school with a penchant for science Drake, a productive member of modern society with a promising future and his mother smiling at him. Here he could be Awiegwa. Here he could believe in the ancient medicines his father had dug out of dusty old tomes and brought to life from the forest litter. Every time Awiegwa left the clearing and headed back towards home reality would reassert itself. Bole would resolve back into a figment of his imagination, created from pride in a somewhat better than average memory and what the social workers had called an “intriguing imagination”. When he reached the house and become solidly Drake again flickers of embarrassment would begin eating at him for letting his senses trick him like that, but as long as the blooms nodded around him in this garden Bole could exist even on a Thursday.
The little woven grass bag filled up with the berries fairly quickly and Awiegwa soon stretched out of his crouch and let his gaze wander contentedly over the clearing. As it always did, the warm space was working its special magic. Worries about Em getting out of his schoolwork, of not paying enough attention to the quiet Donny, of letting Ama see his petty resentments: it had all melted away from his muscles, thoughts of college costs and abandoning his duties dissolved into an acute sense of the now. The leaves rustled softly in a barely-there breeze, the heavy scent of some unidentified blossom filled his lungs, a dozen shades of green framed the rainbow of flowers, and over and above it all the creaking of the firs as the wind played over them. It was at times like these that he felth he could almost see into heaven; that something wonderful that existed just beyond his senses, and all he had to do was reach out and claim it.
The youth took a deep breath and let himself fall backwards onto a handy rise in the forest floor. His path had taken him to the foot of the snag and he shifted slightly to align himself with the gnarled roots. One hand gripped a time smoothed root.
“Ama trusted me enough to go out of state,” he murmured. “That’s the first time she’s done that. Usually she has Abulita stay with us to fend off the Harsh, but she said it’s long past legal now.”
It was his imagination of course that made him think the root vibrated in his hand in response. Many a long hour he had spent in this clearing with the wanderer. He had poured out his frustrations and anguishes over life’s injustices, had shared his secrets as he grew, and had shouted his triumphs. Sometimes he felt closer to Bole than to any of his human friends. However, something that sounded like his mother’s voice warned him that there was something odd about this and that awareness was the main reason he had kept this place secret from Ama. Their mother hadn’t exactly liked stuff like that. She had never objected to his father’s digging up the old stories of her people. Making cross generational connections between elders, who more often than not lived isolated lives, and the next generation, was an admirable goal in of itself in her eyes; objectively a social good. Storytelling was only the natural course for these relationships to take, but subtle looks had warned even a very young Drake that it was best to cautious what he shared with his mother. At least of those things that couldn’t be placed on a microscope slide. So this was Awigewa’s place, and while his father’s spirit wanders the flowers with he had never felt his mother here.
He let his focus drift up, and up. Dark blue Lupine nodded over his head framing the faint crisscross of jet contrails that threw a light haze over an otherwise cloudless sky. His clothed grew deliciously hot from the spring sun. The ground too had eagerly accepted the energy and now it conducted the heat into the muscles of his back. Bole’s wood beneath him was warmer even than the surrounding ground and an idle thought traced across Awiegwa’s awareness; something about it being odd for the light colored wood and relatively dry wood to retain more heat than the darker soil surrounding it. His mind was filled with the impression of a goal. He had been meaning to do, something. Something fun, yes, exploring, he’d meant to see if whatever had dug that den by the second boulder was cubing this year. He would just get up and do that in a minute. His back was so warm and comfortable.

https://i.redd.it/2wbccz0dbb3b1.gif
Flying Sparks”
Another foray into the lives of Drake McCarty, Ama Love, and the rest of their siblings as they discover that something alien is out in the forest around their home.
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flying-sparks-a-novel-of-dragon-bear-and-boy/coming_soon
#FlyingSparks #ScienceFiction #Scifi #Story #novel #book #DrakeMcCarty #AmaLove #Donny #Em #Bard #Bole #Aliens #Spaceships #Crystals #fireflies #NPS #NationalPark #Doctor #Sever #family #storm #writing #reading #drama #literature #author #BettyAdams #DyingEmbers #Dragons #ThingsThatGoBoomp #Indiegogo #CrowdFunding
submitted by Betty-Adams to SciFiArt [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 03:50 Betty-Adams Flying Sparks Volume 1 - A Novel of a boy, a dragon, and an alien. Avaliable for preorder on Indiegogo Now.

Flying Sparks Volume 1 - A Novel of a boy, a dragon, and an alien. Avaliable for preorder on Indiegogo Now.

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


https://i.redd.it/q75ejmx6bb3b1.gif

Chapter 2

“Hazardous? I’ll show that manipulative, misanthropic, anti-establishment cretin just what hazardous means if he thinks I’m going to fold on this!”
The sound of vigorous guitar riffs made a fitting accompaniment to the angry tirade despite originating on opposite sides of the communal area. Ama was glaring at a laptop that sat on a stained oak desk shoved against the large table near the kitchen. She tapped a fingernail on the wood as she read through the alert.
“And what violation of basic human dignity has her royal prudishness’s undies in a bunch?” Em demanded with an affected sneer without looking up from his guitar scales.
“Oh you’ll agree with this one tree-hugger,” Drake muttered from where he sat oiling his work boots.
“Yeah,” Donny piped up, “Finney is trying to kill a perfectly healthy fir.”
“What!” Em demanded, carefully placing his battered old acoustic guitar down in its case and darting over to look at the computer screen. “You mean apark tree?”
Despite her simmering frustration Ama allowed a small smile to flicker across her face as she continued to type.
“Get out of your pajamas and I’ll tell you,” Drake ordered pointing towards the bathroom door with a stained rag. “School starts in forty-five minutes and you still have breakfast and chores. That goes for you too Pip-squirt.”
“I hope you washed your hands before you touched our food,” Em said with a frown.
“Boot grease makes a great source of fatty acids.” Drake retorted. “Now go!”
The two smaller boys muttered in annoyance but stumbled off to follow orders.
“So what is up?” the youth asked as he bent his head back over the smooth leather of his boots.
“Mrs. Finney wants that tree down that’s blocking her perfect view of Crescent Lake.” Ama replied in a dry tone.
“One that’s clearly on park property?” Drake asked.
“Indeedy-do.” Ama replied giving the paper in front of her a glare.
“So how’s she justifying it?” Drake asked.
“As a safety hazard to her house.” Ama replied.
“And?”
The biologist groaned and rubbed her face.
“As far as I can tell the trunk is perfectly healthy. There is an old trash can lid grown into the trunk and a little discolored sap is leaking out there.”
“Frass?”
“Watch your language!” Donny interjected as he darted up to the table.
“Frass is not a bad word,” Drake stated. “Have you let the chickens out?”
“Yes, what does frass mean?” Donny asked as he started piling stir-fry onto his plate.
“Look it up.” Drake ordered him. “Emerald! Breakfast ends in ten minutes! Get your tukus down here!”
“It’s bad health to rush meals,” Em snapped out as he came down a narrow stairway with deliberate slowness.
“It’s even worse for your health to skip meals altogether,” Drake growled threateningly.
“Shut it and give me some eggs.” Em snapped back.
“Emerald Waters Undersun,” Drake hissed out through gritted teeth. “You are going to get your own eggs.”
The boy threw himself into a chair and glared at Drake with challenge in every line of his body.
“Emerald,” Ama said in a calm tone. “I think you should apologize to your cousin now.”
“Sorry I disturbed you Ama,” he offered without breaking eye contact with Drake.
“Not me, him,” Ama said.
“Sorry you had to hear that Donny.” Em said.
Ama heaved a sigh and closed her computer.
“Emerald,” Ama said.
“Do you want to eat or go hungry?” Drake demanded.
Ama glanced at him with a familiar uneasy look in her eyes and Drake fought down a wince.
“Now, Em.” she said in a patient tone.
“I’ll go hungry,” Em snapped, jumping up and stalking over to the couch.
Donny kept his eyes fixed on his plate. Ama heaved a sigh before turning back to her computer. Em wriggled on the couch for several minutes before skulking back to the table. Drake moved to intercept him but Ama stopped him with a look and he let Em serve himself. Drake cast irritated glances at the wall clock as the time crept more and more into school time.
Ama closed her computer and stood, then sighed, sat and opened it again.
“I need to pick out their report topics,” Ama muttered.
“I could do it,” Drake offered.
“You do quite enough,” Ama replied briskly, as she scanned the news. “Here you go. For Donny, malfunctions at the Lewis- McChord Air Force Base air show.” A frown creased her face. “Wow, this is pretty serious. It looks like the F-16 demonstration team nearly got killed.”
Drake whistled and leaned over her shoulder.
“Multiple system failures,” he read out loud. “I am pretty sure that isn’t supposed to happen.”
“Nope,” Ama agreed. “Here is a topic on big game management for Em.”
“Reports due by next week?” Drake asked as the old printer on the desk began to squeal and grumble as it powered up.
“Same as usual,” Ama confirmed.
Drake put the printouts on top of the homework pile and moved to wash up the breakfast dishes.
“I need to get to work early today so you two be good for Drake,” she called out placing a quick kiss on top of the smaller boys’ heads and giving Drake’s shoulder a friendly squeeze.
“Good luck with Mrs. Finney, and stay safe.” Drake called out as she went into her room.
The table was cleaned off and wiped down and the clink of forks gave way to the steady scratch of pencils on paper. They broke for a recess after religion and then lunch after history and math, and by the time the Grandfather clock in the corner struck two the younger boys twitching with energy. Drake made certain the internet was disconnected at the router, and chased Donny and Em out into the garden.
“And don’t come in until dark,” he ordered tossing two snack bags out after them.
Donny as usual snatched his food and disappeared into the small orachard. Low grumbles about troglodytes and the Amish wandered out into the high corn following Em and Drake shook his head in exasperation wondering, not for the first time how the dark haired princeling came from the same gene pool as his little brother. The kitchen being mostly ordered Drake was turning to put the last random dirty sock in the hamper when a gnarled hand clutching a cane head appeared in the corner of his eye, causing his heart to make a valiant attempt to bolt out of his throat.
“Abuelita!” he gasped forcing his hands down from the guard position. “Where did you come from?”
Smoldering black eyes ran searchingly over the tall youth. An impossibly long mane of streaked silver and black hair was barely contained in a thick braid. A sharply pointed nose perched over a small wrinkled mouth. A vibrant red horse-hair serape hung over her shoulders concealing everything except her brown and gnarled hands which currently clutched the old tree branch she used as a cane. Drake had been more than a little comforted by the fact that both Em and Donny had admitted to having the thought ‘witch’ every time time they saw her as well.
“From the hand of God by the bodies of my sainted mother and father,” she replied after a long, uncomfortable silence.
She always spoke in a low husky voice that suggested years of smoking, though Drake had never smelled even stale smoke on her.
“Right,” Drake blinked and grinned at the response; the one she always gave. “So you are here for their Spanish lesson? I have their grammar books ready and-”
The narrow end of the tree branch rapped against the concrete of the floor causing Drake to jump. Abuelita glared at him, locking his gaze and holding him in place with it for a moment.
“I am here for their lessons,” she finally stated, “and you are there for my payment.”
Drake thought longingly of the repair and maintenance manuals in the cab of the truck and the new tool he was itching to try, but he forced a grin on his face.
“Yes ma’am,” he said. “What can I get you today?”
Abuelita pulled out a bag of woven grass from under her serape causing the indistinct patterns on the cloth to shift and change.
“Take this,” she ordered him, “and collect me the cobalt blue berries that grow on a single stalk close to the ground. They must come from the mountain to the south east of here by the crystal brook.”
Drake nodded, and took the little bag, he didn’t quite manage to infused his gestures with enthusiasm he supposed. The old woman, probably wouldn’t have noted it anyway. She turned and moved towards the garden door without waiting for any other reply. However she called out over her shoulder as he turned to find his own way out of the rambling structure.
“Don’t dawdle little one. A storm brews in the distance.”
He tried not to roll his eyes at that, the weather forecast was clear and eighties for the next week according to the morning fire report Ama had printed. The youth only nodded and slipped around the corner. He circled the barn and pulled a set of loose tan pants and tunic out of the cubby. The soft worn leather almost perfectly matched the forest floor for color as did the moccasins he pulled on after them. His morning running clothes were modern stuff that wicked the sweat away from him and let him speed through the forest. These were his free day clothes. The ones that let him disappear into the forest and wander. Abuelita, for all of her demands, would tend Em and Donny until he returned no matter how late that was, and with the Park’s yearly budget talks still under way it was highly unlikely Ama would be home until long after the sun had set. Despite still hearing the call of the half restored truck he felt something lossening in him already. The soft cotton and smooth leather rested easily against his skin and Drake slipped into the forest.
Freedom; for the moment at least, blissful freedom. Pushing aside the guilt that accompanied the thought as well as any lingering worries about his charges the youth let his legs carry him through the trees. He shunned the man made paths, following the faint animal trails. This close to the barn they were as clear to him as if they were named city streets. Being animal trails, they invariably led him to water. Today he stopped at a trickling stream, took off his moccasins, and rolled up his pants legs. The youth turned and followed the thin flow of icy water upstream, letting it steal the heat from his body through his feet.
Some distance upstream, the stream widened and pooled under a boulder. There Drake paused and pulled an old black compass out of his pocket. Behind him he knew every trail and tree. Ahead was a broad swath of National Wilderness he would have to cross, or possibly Bureau of Land Management or even state managed forests where he more rarely wandered. It was hard to tell where the boundaries were from the ground. The clearing he wanted for the berries was solidly in BLM land and he still had quite a ways to go to get there. The stand of timber that stood between him and his goal was dense with young tree and branches that frequently formed impenetrable hedges he had to track around and he checked his compass regularly as he climbed in elevation. Even so the youth found he had wandered too far off his route and had to correct when he spotted the boundary fence. However he was in no hurry and he reached the clearing long before the sun told him it was time to turn around.
Sometime in the past some unknown force had carved a shallow trench across the side of one of the small mountains that that dotted the wilderness. It had puzzled Drake at first. The scour was at the wrong angle to be an old rock slide, and terminated in a near perfectly circular clearing at the lower end. Centuries old Douglas Firs abruptly gave way to a second ring only a few decades old. Those were in turn beginning to produce cones and a smattering of knee high saplings. The rest of the space was completely given over to wildflowers. No matter what season Drake visited it he found a riot of life.
There had been an early spring and many herbs that normally would have waited a month or more were already in full bloom in the mountain meadow. A white wave of foamflower washed in from the deep forest surrounding the clearing, sending up knee high stalks covered in the delicate white blooms. Late trillium hid close to the roots of the great firs, many having shed their white corollas and begun to put forth their bulbous seed heads. Fuzzy white baneberry blossoms nodded gently in the breeze. A riot of yellow and purple spread across the ground as vetch and buttercups and a host of clovers competed for space in the open sun. Great stalks of lupine as high as his head thrust up their purple and blue proudly from thick clusters of palm shaped leaves. Pink shooting stars and violet harebells crouched under the protection of the larger plants. Indian paintbrush lit the scene with flames of red and orange. Where a spring seeped into the meadow elephant’s head flared neon pink and corydalis bushes put forth blushing blooms. Pale green wild orchids stood along the wet spot and the swarms of bees danced from them to the glacier lilies.
Sometimes, as he bent over a tiny blossom and traced the intricate network of veins in the petals, drank in the scent, and felt the smooth surface of the leaves an otherworldly feeling would come over him. It was as if there was another world just out of range of his senses. If he could only really look, the thin illusion that was blocking him would slip away and reveal the real world underneath it.
Look Awiegwa,” his father would whisper, pointing at a deer mouse perched on a fallen log. “What does it see?”
Awiegwa would screw up his face and squint. Trying to find the answer to the question.
Awiegwa had often wondered how so many flowers had come to be in the relatively small area. He had identified dozens of species and there were more he had yet to determine. The clearing was always the first place to bloom and the last to go dormant. Many of the flowers seemed to utterly defy their usual blooming patterns. However, as time passed he had simply come to accept it. It was one of the small good things that brought back the memories of his father. If it didn’t quite follow the rules Ama had taught him, well an impossible clearing in the mountains wasn’t a place for rules.
The particular bloom that Abuelita had requested had taken full advantage of the early sun and had already put forth a few cobalt blue berries; easily spotted at the edge of the clearing in the delicate sea of white flowers.
However before he left the shade of the forest for the meadow the youth paused and closed his eyes. Bole wasn’t always here, but he was often enough that Awiegwa always checked for him. Carefully he reconstructed the clearing in his mind; marking every tree and boulder on the edge. Three years he had been coming here and each time it was easier to recreate the clearing. Breathing evenly he opened his eyes, letting the mental image merge with the actual. There was a brief moment of confusion as details like the play of light through branches and the trembling of small clusters of flowers fixed themselves but there was only one truly jarring note. Awiegwa didn’t let his eyes focus on the disparity; he never did anymore, but a warm smile spread across his features as he slipped silently into the meadow.
He was here. As the youth moved in a low crouch, gathering the first fruits of the Queen’s Cup, he let his peripheral vision linger on a particular snag. There was nothing obviously interesting about it, other than the fact that it had not been there the last time Awiegwa was here. He had named the wanderer Bole, because it most often appeared as a thick tree trunk; sometimes living, sometimes dead. Occasionally it would be a boulder or simply a mound in the dirt. Often it wasn’t in the clearing at all. If the youth moved forward and tried to closely examine it he could never find anything to suggest it was something other than a tree or rock.
He had thought about taking a sample occasionally, had taken his knife out to do just that more than once, but something always held him back. Bole was a part of this place. Dissecting him would be too much like attempting to dissect his sense of his father’s presence here. The youth had never told anyone about this place, not even Ama with who could get most things out of him easily enough. Down at the house, in town, when he was Drake; solid, reliable, first up in the morning, two grades ahead in school with a penchant for science Drake, a productive member of modern society with a promising future and his mother smiling at him. Here he could be Awiegwa. Here he could believe in the ancient medicines his father had dug out of dusty old tomes and brought to life from the forest litter. Every time Awiegwa left the clearing and headed back towards home reality would reassert itself. Bole would resolve back into a figment of his imagination, created from pride in a somewhat better than average memory and what the social workers had called an “intriguing imagination”. When he reached the house and become solidly Drake again flickers of embarrassment would begin eating at him for letting his senses trick him like that, but as long as the blooms nodded around him in this garden Bole could exist even on a Thursday.
The little woven grass bag filled up with the berries fairly quickly and Awiegwa soon stretched out of his crouch and let his gaze wander contentedly over the clearing. As it always did, the warm space was working its special magic. Worries about Em getting out of his schoolwork, of not paying enough attention to the quiet Donny, of letting Ama see his petty resentments: it had all melted away from his muscles, thoughts of college costs and abandoning his duties dissolved into an acute sense of the now. The leaves rustled softly in a barely-there breeze, the heavy scent of some unidentified blossom filled his lungs, a dozen shades of green framed the rainbow of flowers, and over and above it all the creaking of the firs as the wind played over them. It was at times like these that he felth he could almost see into heaven; that something wonderful that existed just beyond his senses, and all he had to do was reach out and claim it.
The youth took a deep breath and let himself fall backwards onto a handy rise in the forest floor. His path had taken him to the foot of the snag and he shifted slightly to align himself with the gnarled roots. One hand gripped a time smoothed root.
“Ama trusted me enough to go out of state,” he murmured. “That’s the first time she’s done that. Usually she has Abulita stay with us to fend off the Harsh, but she said it’s long past legal now.”
It was his imagination of course that made him think the root vibrated in his hand in response. Many a long hour he had spent in this clearing with the wanderer. He had poured out his frustrations and anguishes over life’s injustices, had shared his secrets as he grew, and had shouted his triumphs. Sometimes he felt closer to Bole than to any of his human friends. However, something that sounded like his mother’s voice warned him that there was something odd about this and that awareness was the main reason he had kept this place secret from Ama. Their mother hadn’t exactly liked stuff like that. She had never objected to his father’s digging up the old stories of her people. Making cross generational connections between elders, who more often than not lived isolated lives, and the next generation, was an admirable goal in of itself in her eyes; objectively a social good. Storytelling was only the natural course for these relationships to take, but subtle looks had warned even a very young Drake that it was best to cautious what he shared with his mother. At least of those things that couldn’t be placed on a microscope slide. So this was Awigewa’s place, and while his father’s spirit wanders the flowers with he had never felt his mother here.
He let his focus drift up, and up. Dark blue Lupine nodded over his head framing the faint crisscross of jet contrails that threw a light haze over an otherwise cloudless sky. His clothed grew deliciously hot from the spring sun. The ground too had eagerly accepted the energy and now it conducted the heat into the muscles of his back. Bole’s wood beneath him was warmer even than the surrounding ground and an idle thought traced across Awiegwa’s awareness; something about it being odd for the light colored wood and relatively dry wood to retain more heat than the darker soil surrounding it. His mind was filled with the impression of a goal. He had been meaning to do, something. Something fun, yes, exploring, he’d meant to see if whatever had dug that den by the second boulder was cubing this year. He would just get up and do that in a minute. His back was so warm and comfortable.

https://i.redd.it/1w6jfrb8bb3b1.gif
Flying Sparks”
Another foray into the lives of Drake McCarty, Ama Love, and the rest of their siblings as they discover that something alien is out in the forest around their home.
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flying-sparks-a-novel-of-dragon-bear-and-boy/coming_soon
#FlyingSparks #ScienceFiction #Scifi #Story #novel #book #DrakeMcCarty #AmaLove #Donny #Em #Bard #Bole #Aliens #Spaceships #Crystals #fireflies #NPS #NationalPark #Doctor #Sever #family #storm #writing #reading #drama #literature #author #BettyAdams #DyingEmbers #Dragons #ThingsThatGoBoomp #Indiegogo #CrowdFunding
submitted by Betty-Adams to humansarespaceorcs [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 03:49 Betty-Adams Flying Sparks Volume 1 - A Novel of a boy, a dragon, and an alien. Avaliable for preorder on Indiegogo Now.

[Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now](https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flying-sparks-a-novel-of-dragon-bear-and-boy/coming_soon)Chapter 2
“Hazardous? I’ll show that manipulative, misanthropic, anti-establishment cretin just what hazardous means if he thinks I’m going to fold on this!” The sound of vigorous guitar riffs made a fitting accompaniment to the angry tirade despite originating on opposite sides of the communal area. Ama was glaring at a laptop that sat on a stained oak desk shoved against the large table near the kitchen. She tapped a fingernail on the wood as she read through the alert. “And what violation of basic human dignity has her royal prudishness’s undies in a bunch?” Em demanded with an affected sneer without looking up from his guitar scales. “Oh you’ll agree with this one tree-hugger,” Drake muttered from where he sat oiling his work boots. “Yeah,” Donny piped up, “Finney is trying to kill a perfectly healthy fir.” “What!” Em demanded, carefully placing his battered old acoustic guitar down in its case and darting over to look at the computer screen. “You mean apark tree?” Despite her simmering frustration Ama allowed a small smile to flicker across her face as she continued to type. “Get out of your pajamas and I’ll tell you,” Drake ordered pointing towards the bathroom door with a stained rag. “School starts in forty-five minutes and you still have breakfast and chores. That goes for you too Pip-squirt.” “I hope you washed your hands before you touched our food,” Em said with a frown. “Boot grease makes a great source of fatty acids.” Drake retorted. “Now go!” The two smaller boys muttered in annoyance but stumbled off to follow orders. “So what is up?” the youth asked as he bent his head back over the smooth leather of his boots. “Mrs. Finney wants that tree down that’s blocking her perfect view of Crescent Lake.” Ama replied in a dry tone. “One that’s clearly on park property?” Drake asked. “Indeedy-do.” Ama replied giving the paper in front of her a glare. “So how’s she justifying it?” Drake asked. “As a safety hazard to her house.” Ama replied. “And?” The biologist groaned and rubbed her face. “As far as I can tell the trunk is perfectly healthy. There is an old trash can lid grown into the trunk and a little discolored sap is leaking out there.” “Frass?” “Watch your language!” Donny interjected as he darted up to the table. “Frass is not a bad word,” Drake stated. “Have you let the chickens out?” “Yes, what does frass mean?” Donny asked as he started piling stir-fry onto his plate. “Look it up.” Drake ordered him. “Emerald! Breakfast ends in ten minutes! Get your tukus down here!” “It’s bad health to rush meals,” Em snapped out as he came down a narrow stairway with deliberate slowness. “It’s even worse for your health to skip meals altogether,” Drake growled threateningly. “Shut it and give me some eggs.” Em snapped back. “Emerald Waters Undersun,” Drake hissed out through gritted teeth. “You are going to get your own eggs.” The boy threw himself into a chair and glared at Drake with challenge in every line of his body. “Emerald,” Ama said in a calm tone. “I think you should apologize to your cousin now.” “Sorry I disturbed you Ama,” he offered without breaking eye contact with Drake. “Not me, him,” Ama said. “Sorry you had to hear that Donny.” Em said. Ama heaved a sigh and closed her computer. “Emerald,” Ama said. “Do you want to eat or go hungry?” Drake demanded. Ama glanced at him with a familiar uneasy look in her eyes and Drake fought down a wince. “Now, Em.” she said in a patient tone. “I’ll go hungry,” Em snapped, jumping up and stalking over to the couch. Donny kept his eyes fixed on his plate. Ama heaved a sigh before turning back to her computer. Em wriggled on the couch for several minutes before skulking back to the table. Drake moved to intercept him but Ama stopped him with a look and he let Em serve himself. Drake cast irritated glances at the wall clock as the time crept more and more into school time. Ama closed her computer and stood, then sighed, sat and opened it again. “I need to pick out their report topics,” Ama muttered. “I could do it,” Drake offered. “You do quite enough,” Ama replied briskly, as she scanned the news. “Here you go. For Donny, malfunctions at the Lewis- McChord Air Force Base air show.” A frown creased her face. “Wow, this is pretty serious. It looks like the F-16 demonstration team nearly got killed.” Drake whistled and leaned over her shoulder. “Multiple system failures,” he read out loud. “I am pretty sure that isn’t supposed to happen.” “Nope,” Ama agreed. “Here is a topic on big game management for Em.” “Reports due by next week?” Drake asked as the old printer on the desk began to squeal and grumble as it powered up. “Same as usual,” Ama confirmed. Drake put the printouts on top of the homework pile and moved to wash up the breakfast dishes. “I need to get to work early today so you two be good for Drake,” she called out placing a quick kiss on top of the smaller boys’ heads and giving Drake’s shoulder a friendly squeeze. “Good luck with Mrs. Finney, and stay safe.” Drake called out as she went into her room. The table was cleaned off and wiped down and the clink of forks gave way to the steady scratch of pencils on paper. They broke for a recess after religion and then lunch after history and math, and by the time the Grandfather clock in the corner struck two the younger boys twitching with energy. Drake made certain the internet was disconnected at the router, and chased Donny and Em out into the garden. “And don’t come in until dark,” he ordered tossing two snack bags out after them. Donny as usual snatched his food and disappeared into the small orachard. Low grumbles about troglodytes and the Amish wandered out into the high corn following Em and Drake shook his head in exasperation wondering, not for the first time how the dark haired princeling came from the same gene pool as his little brother. The kitchen being mostly ordered Drake was turning to put the last random dirty sock in the hamper when a gnarled hand clutching a cane head appeared in the corner of his eye, causing his heart to make a valiant attempt to bolt out of his throat. “Abuelita!” he gasped forcing his hands down from the guard position. “Where did you come from?” Smoldering black eyes ran searchingly over the tall youth. An impossibly long mane of streaked silver and black hair was barely contained in a thick braid. A sharply pointed nose perched over a small wrinkled mouth. A vibrant red horse-hair serape hung over her shoulders concealing everything except her brown and gnarled hands which currently clutched the old tree branch she used as a cane. Drake had been more than a little comforted by the fact that both Em and Donny had admitted to having the thought ‘witch’ every time time they saw her as well. “From the hand of God by the bodies of my sainted mother and father,” she replied after a long, uncomfortable silence. She always spoke in a low husky voice that suggested years of smoking, though Drake had never smelled even stale smoke on her. “Right,” Drake blinked and grinned at the response; the one she always gave. “So you are here for their Spanish lesson? I have their grammar books ready and-” The narrow end of the tree branch rapped against the concrete of the floor causing Drake to jump. Abuelita glared at him, locking his gaze and holding him in place with it for a moment. “I am here for their lessons,” she finally stated, “and you are there for my payment.” Drake thought longingly of the repair and maintenance manuals in the cab of the truck and the new tool he was itching to try, but he forced a grin on his face. “Yes ma’am,” he said. “What can I get you today?” Abuelita pulled out a bag of woven grass from under her serape causing the indistinct patterns on the cloth to shift and change. “Take this,” she ordered him, “and collect me the cobalt blue berries that grow on a single stalk close to the ground. They must come from the mountain to the south east of here by the crystal brook.” Drake nodded, and took the little bag, he didn’t quite manage to infused his gestures with enthusiasm he supposed. The old woman, probably wouldn’t have noted it anyway. She turned and moved towards the garden door without waiting for any other reply. However she called out over her shoulder as he turned to find his own way out of the rambling structure. “Don’t dawdle little one. A storm brews in the distance.” He tried not to roll his eyes at that, the weather forecast was clear and eighties for the next week according to the morning fire report Ama had printed. The youth only nodded and slipped around the corner. He circled the barn and pulled a set of loose tan pants and tunic out of the cubby. The soft worn leather almost perfectly matched the forest floor for color as did the moccasins he pulled on after them. His morning running clothes were modern stuff that wicked the sweat away from him and let him speed through the forest. These were his free day clothes. The ones that let him disappear into the forest and wander. Abuelita, for all of her demands, would tend Em and Donny until he returned no matter how late that was, and with the Park’s yearly budget talks still under way it was highly unlikely Ama would be home until long after the sun had set. Despite still hearing the call of the half restored truck he felt something lossening in him already. The soft cotton and smooth leather rested easily against his skin and Drake slipped into the forest. Freedom; for the moment at least, blissful freedom. Pushing aside the guilt that accompanied the thought as well as any lingering worries about his charges the youth let his legs carry him through the trees. He shunned the man made paths, following the faint animal trails. This close to the barn they were as clear to him as if they were named city streets. Being animal trails, they invariably led him to water. Today he stopped at a trickling stream, took off his moccasins, and rolled up his pants legs. The youth turned and followed the thin flow of icy water upstream, letting it steal the heat from his body through his feet. Some distance upstream, the stream widened and pooled under a boulder. There Drake paused and pulled an old black compass out of his pocket. Behind him he knew every trail and tree. Ahead was a broad swath of National Wilderness he would have to cross, or possibly Bureau of Land Management or even state managed forests where he more rarely wandered. It was hard to tell where the boundaries were from the ground. The clearing he wanted for the berries was solidly in BLM land and he still had quite a ways to go to get there. The stand of timber that stood between him and his goal was dense with young tree and branches that frequently formed impenetrable hedges he had to track around and he checked his compass regularly as he climbed in elevation. Even so the youth found he had wandered too far off his route and had to correct when he spotted the boundary fence. However he was in no hurry and he reached the clearing long before the sun told him it was time to turn around. Sometime in the past some unknown force had carved a shallow trench across the side of one of the small mountains that that dotted the wilderness. It had puzzled Drake at first. The scour was at the wrong angle to be an old rock slide, and terminated in a near perfectly circular clearing at the lower end. Centuries old Douglas Firs abruptly gave way to a second ring only a few decades old. Those were in turn beginning to produce cones and a smattering of knee high saplings. The rest of the space was completely given over to wildflowers. No matter what season Drake visited it he found a riot of life. There had been an early spring and many herbs that normally would have waited a month or more were already in full bloom in the mountain meadow. A white wave of foamflower washed in from the deep forest surrounding the clearing, sending up knee high stalks covered in the delicate white blooms. Late trillium hid close to the roots of the great firs, many having shed their white corollas and begun to put forth their bulbous seed heads. Fuzzy white baneberry blossoms nodded gently in the breeze. A riot of yellow and purple spread across the ground as vetch and buttercups and a host of clovers competed for space in the open sun. Great stalks of lupine as high as his head thrust up their purple and blue proudly from thick clusters of palm shaped leaves. Pink shooting stars and violet harebells crouched under the protection of the larger plants. Indian paintbrush lit the scene with flames of red and orange. Where a spring seeped into the meadow elephant’s head flared neon pink and corydalis bushes put forth blushing blooms. Pale green wild orchids stood along the wet spot and the swarms of bees danced from them to the glacier lilies. Sometimes, as he bent over a tiny blossom and traced the intricate network of veins in the petals, drank in the scent, and felt the smooth surface of the leaves an otherworldly feeling would come over him. It was as if there was another world just out of range of his senses. If he could only really look, the thin illusion that was blocking him would slip away and reveal the real world underneath it. “Look Awiegwa,” his father would whisper, pointing at a deer mouse perched on a fallen log. “What does it see?” Awiegwa would screw up his face and squint. Trying to find the answer to the question. Awiegwa had often wondered how so many flowers had come to be in the relatively small area. He had identified dozens of species and there were more he had yet to determine. The clearing was always the first place to bloom and the last to go dormant. Many of the flowers seemed to utterly defy their usual blooming patterns. However, as time passed he had simply come to accept it. It was one of the small good things that brought back the memories of his father. If it didn’t quite follow the rules Ama had taught him, well an impossible clearing in the mountains wasn’t a place for rules. The particular bloom that Abuelita had requested had taken full advantage of the early sun and had already put forth a few cobalt blue berries; easily spotted at the edge of the clearing in the delicate sea of white flowers. However before he left the shade of the forest for the meadow the youth paused and closed his eyes. Bole wasn’t always here, but he was often enough that Awiegwa always checked for him. Carefully he reconstructed the clearing in his mind; marking every tree and boulder on the edge. Three years he had been coming here and each time it was easier to recreate the clearing. Breathing evenly he opened his eyes, letting the mental image merge with the actual. There was a brief moment of confusion as details like the play of light through branches and the trembling of small clusters of flowers fixed themselves but there was only one truly jarring note. Awiegwa didn’t let his eyes focus on the disparity; he never did anymore, but a warm smile spread across his features as he slipped silently into the meadow. He was here. As the youth moved in a low crouch, gathering the first fruits of the Queen’s Cup, he let his peripheral vision linger on a particular snag. There was nothing obviously interesting about it, other than the fact that it had not been there the last time Awiegwa was here. He had named the wanderer Bole, because it most often appeared as a thick tree trunk; sometimes living, sometimes dead. Occasionally it would be a boulder or simply a mound in the dirt. Often it wasn’t in the clearing at all. If the youth moved forward and tried to closely examine it he could never find anything to suggest it was something other than a tree or rock. He had thought about taking a sample occasionally, had taken his knife out to do just that more than once, but something always held him back. Bole was a part of this place. Dissecting him would be too much like attempting to dissect his sense of his father’s presence here. The youth had never told anyone about this place, not even Ama with who could get most things out of him easily enough. Down at the house, in town, when he was Drake; solid, reliable, first up in the morning, two grades ahead in school with a penchant for science Drake, a productive member of modern society with a promising future and his mother smiling at him. Here he could be Awiegwa. Here he could believe in the ancient medicines his father had dug out of dusty old tomes and brought to life from the forest litter. Every time Awiegwa left the clearing and headed back towards home reality would reassert itself. Bole would resolve back into a figment of his imagination, created from pride in a somewhat better than average memory and what the social workers had called an “intriguing imagination”. When he reached the house and become solidly Drake again flickers of embarrassment would begin eating at him for letting his senses trick him like that, but as long as the blooms nodded around him in this garden Bole could exist even on a Thursday. The little woven grass bag filled up with the berries fairly quickly and Awiegwa soon stretched out of his crouch and let his gaze wander contentedly over the clearing. As it always did, the warm space was working its special magic. Worries about Em getting out of his schoolwork, of not paying enough attention to the quiet Donny, of letting Ama see his petty resentments: it had all melted away from his muscles, thoughts of college costs and abandoning his duties dissolved into an acute sense of the now. The leaves rustled softly in a barely-there breeze, the heavy scent of some unidentified blossom filled his lungs, a dozen shades of green framed the rainbow of flowers, and over and above it all the creaking of the firs as the wind played over them. It was at times like these that he felth he could almost see into heaven; that something wonderful that existed just beyond his senses, and all he had to do was reach out and claim it. The youth took a deep breath and let himself fall backwards onto a handy rise in the forest floor. His path had taken him to the foot of the snag and he shifted slightly to align himself with the gnarled roots. One hand gripped a time smoothed root. “Ama trusted me enough to go out of state,” he murmured. “That’s the first time she’s done that. Usually she has Abulita stay with us to fend off the Harsh, but she said it’s long past legal now.” It was his imagination of course that made him think the root vibrated in his hand in response. Many a long hour he had spent in this clearing with the wanderer. He had poured out his frustrations and anguishes over life’s injustices, had shared his secrets as he grew, and had shouted his triumphs. Sometimes he felt closer to Bole than to any of his human friends. However, something that sounded like his mother’s voice warned him that there was something odd about this and that awareness was the main reason he had kept this place secret from Ama. Their mother hadn’t exactly liked stuff like that. She had never objected to his father’s digging up the old stories of her people. Making cross generational connections between elders, who more often than not lived isolated lives, and the next generation, was an admirable goal in of itself in her eyes; objectively a social good. Storytelling was only the natural course for these relationships to take, but subtle looks had warned even a very young Drake that it was best to cautious what he shared with his mother. At least of those things that couldn’t be placed on a microscope slide. So this was Awigewa’s place, and while his father’s spirit wanders the flowers with he had never felt his mother here. He let his focus drift up, and up. Dark blue Lupine nodded over his head framing the faint crisscross of jet contrails that threw a light haze over an otherwise cloudless sky. His clothed grew deliciously hot from the spring sun. The ground too had eagerly accepted the energy and now it conducted the heat into the muscles of his back. Bole’s wood beneath him was warmer even than the surrounding ground and an idle thought traced across Awiegwa’s awareness; something about it being odd for the light colored wood and relatively dry wood to retain more heat than the darker soil surrounding it. His mind was filled with the impression of a goal. He had been meaning to do, something. Something fun, yes, exploring, he’d meant to see if whatever had dug that den by the second boulder was cubing this year. He would just get up and do that in a minute. His back was so warm and comfortable. “Flying Sparks” Another foray into the lives of Drake McCarty, Ama Love, and the rest of their siblings as they discover that something alien is out in the forest around their home. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flying-sparks-a-novel-of-dragon-bear-and-boy/coming_soon #FlyingSparks #ScienceFiction #Scifi #Story #novel #book #DrakeMcCarty #AmaLove #Donny #Em #Bard #Bole #Aliens #Spaceships #Crystals #fireflies #NPS #NationalPark #Doctor #Sever #family #storm #writing #reading #drama #literature #author #BettyAdams #DyingEmbers #Dragons #ThingsThatGoBoomp #Indiegogo #CrowdFunding
submitted by Betty-Adams to shortsfstories [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 03:48 Betty-Adams Flying Sparks Volume 1 - A Novel of a boy, a dragon, and an alien. Avaliable for preorder on Indiegogo Now.

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


https://i.redd.it/b2iofqdkab3b1.gif

Chapter 2

“Hazardous? I’ll show that manipulative, misanthropic, anti-establishment cretin just what hazardous means if he thinks I’m going to fold on this!”
The sound of vigorous guitar riffs made a fitting accompaniment to the angry tirade despite originating on opposite sides of the communal area. Ama was glaring at a laptop that sat on a stained oak desk shoved against the large table near the kitchen. She tapped a fingernail on the wood as she read through the alert.
“And what violation of basic human dignity has her royal prudishness’s undies in a bunch?” Em demanded with an affected sneer without looking up from his guitar scales.
“Oh you’ll agree with this one tree-hugger,” Drake muttered from where he sat oiling his work boots.
“Yeah,” Donny piped up, “Finney is trying to kill a perfectly healthy fir.”
“What!” Em demanded, carefully placing his battered old acoustic guitar down in its case and darting over to look at the computer screen. “You mean apark tree?”
Despite her simmering frustration Ama allowed a small smile to flicker across her face as she continued to type.
“Get out of your pajamas and I’ll tell you,” Drake ordered pointing towards the bathroom door with a stained rag. “School starts in forty-five minutes and you still have breakfast and chores. That goes for you too Pip-squirt.”
“I hope you washed your hands before you touched our food,” Em said with a frown.
“Boot grease makes a great source of fatty acids.” Drake retorted. “Now go!”
The two smaller boys muttered in annoyance but stumbled off to follow orders.
“So what is up?” the youth asked as he bent his head back over the smooth leather of his boots.
“Mrs. Finney wants that tree down that’s blocking her perfect view of Crescent Lake.” Ama replied in a dry tone.
“One that’s clearly on park property?” Drake asked.
“Indeedy-do.” Ama replied giving the paper in front of her a glare.
“So how’s she justifying it?” Drake asked.
“As a safety hazard to her house.” Ama replied.
“And?”
The biologist groaned and rubbed her face.
“As far as I can tell the trunk is perfectly healthy. There is an old trash can lid grown into the trunk and a little discolored sap is leaking out there.”
“Frass?”
“Watch your language!” Donny interjected as he darted up to the table.
“Frass is not a bad word,” Drake stated. “Have you let the chickens out?”
“Yes, what does frass mean?” Donny asked as he started piling stir-fry onto his plate.
“Look it up.” Drake ordered him. “Emerald! Breakfast ends in ten minutes! Get your tukus down here!”
“It’s bad health to rush meals,” Em snapped out as he came down a narrow stairway with deliberate slowness.
“It’s even worse for your health to skip meals altogether,” Drake growled threateningly.
“Shut it and give me some eggs.” Em snapped back.
“Emerald Waters Undersun,” Drake hissed out through gritted teeth. “You are going to get your own eggs.”
The boy threw himself into a chair and glared at Drake with challenge in every line of his body.
“Emerald,” Ama said in a calm tone. “I think you should apologize to your cousin now.”
“Sorry I disturbed you Ama,” he offered without breaking eye contact with Drake.
“Not me, him,” Ama said.
“Sorry you had to hear that Donny.” Em said.
Ama heaved a sigh and closed her computer.
“Emerald,” Ama said.
“Do you want to eat or go hungry?” Drake demanded.
Ama glanced at him with a familiar uneasy look in her eyes and Drake fought down a wince.
“Now, Em.” she said in a patient tone.
“I’ll go hungry,” Em snapped, jumping up and stalking over to the couch.
Donny kept his eyes fixed on his plate. Ama heaved a sigh before turning back to her computer. Em wriggled on the couch for several minutes before skulking back to the table. Drake moved to intercept him but Ama stopped him with a look and he let Em serve himself. Drake cast irritated glances at the wall clock as the time crept more and more into school time.
Ama closed her computer and stood, then sighed, sat and opened it again.
“I need to pick out their report topics,” Ama muttered.
“I could do it,” Drake offered.
“You do quite enough,” Ama replied briskly, as she scanned the news. “Here you go. For Donny, malfunctions at the Lewis- McChord Air Force Base air show.” A frown creased her face. “Wow, this is pretty serious. It looks like the F-16 demonstration team nearly got killed.”
Drake whistled and leaned over her shoulder.
“Multiple system failures,” he read out loud. “I am pretty sure that isn’t supposed to happen.”
“Nope,” Ama agreed. “Here is a topic on big game management for Em.”
“Reports due by next week?” Drake asked as the old printer on the desk began to squeal and grumble as it powered up.
“Same as usual,” Ama confirmed.
Drake put the printouts on top of the homework pile and moved to wash up the breakfast dishes.
“I need to get to work early today so you two be good for Drake,” she called out placing a quick kiss on top of the smaller boys’ heads and giving Drake’s shoulder a friendly squeeze.
“Good luck with Mrs. Finney, and stay safe.” Drake called out as she went into her room.
The table was cleaned off and wiped down and the clink of forks gave way to the steady scratch of pencils on paper. They broke for a recess after religion and then lunch after history and math, and by the time the Grandfather clock in the corner struck two the younger boys twitching with energy. Drake made certain the internet was disconnected at the router, and chased Donny and Em out into the garden.
“And don’t come in until dark,” he ordered tossing two snack bags out after them.
Donny as usual snatched his food and disappeared into the small orachard. Low grumbles about troglodytes and the Amish wandered out into the high corn following Em and Drake shook his head in exasperation wondering, not for the first time how the dark haired princeling came from the same gene pool as his little brother. The kitchen being mostly ordered Drake was turning to put the last random dirty sock in the hamper when a gnarled hand clutching a cane head appeared in the corner of his eye, causing his heart to make a valiant attempt to bolt out of his throat.
“Abuelita!” he gasped forcing his hands down from the guard position. “Where did you come from?”
Smoldering black eyes ran searchingly over the tall youth. An impossibly long mane of streaked silver and black hair was barely contained in a thick braid. A sharply pointed nose perched over a small wrinkled mouth. A vibrant red horse-hair serape hung over her shoulders concealing everything except her brown and gnarled hands which currently clutched the old tree branch she used as a cane. Drake had been more than a little comforted by the fact that both Em and Donny had admitted to having the thought ‘witch’ every time time they saw her as well.
“From the hand of God by the bodies of my sainted mother and father,” she replied after a long, uncomfortable silence.
She always spoke in a low husky voice that suggested years of smoking, though Drake had never smelled even stale smoke on her.
“Right,” Drake blinked and grinned at the response; the one she always gave. “So you are here for their Spanish lesson? I have their grammar books ready and-”
The narrow end of the tree branch rapped against the concrete of the floor causing Drake to jump. Abuelita glared at him, locking his gaze and holding him in place with it for a moment.
“I am here for their lessons,” she finally stated, “and you are there for my payment.”
Drake thought longingly of the repair and maintenance manuals in the cab of the truck and the new tool he was itching to try, but he forced a grin on his face.
“Yes ma’am,” he said. “What can I get you today?”
Abuelita pulled out a bag of woven grass from under her serape causing the indistinct patterns on the cloth to shift and change.
“Take this,” she ordered him, “and collect me the cobalt blue berries that grow on a single stalk close to the ground. They must come from the mountain to the south east of here by the crystal brook.”
Drake nodded, and took the little bag, he didn’t quite manage to infused his gestures with enthusiasm he supposed. The old woman, probably wouldn’t have noted it anyway. She turned and moved towards the garden door without waiting for any other reply. However she called out over her shoulder as he turned to find his own way out of the rambling structure.
“Don’t dawdle little one. A storm brews in the distance.”
He tried not to roll his eyes at that, the weather forecast was clear and eighties for the next week according to the morning fire report Ama had printed. The youth only nodded and slipped around the corner. He circled the barn and pulled a set of loose tan pants and tunic out of the cubby. The soft worn leather almost perfectly matched the forest floor for color as did the moccasins he pulled on after them. His morning running clothes were modern stuff that wicked the sweat away from him and let him speed through the forest. These were his free day clothes. The ones that let him disappear into the forest and wander. Abuelita, for all of her demands, would tend Em and Donny until he returned no matter how late that was, and with the Park’s yearly budget talks still under way it was highly unlikely Ama would be home until long after the sun had set. Despite still hearing the call of the half restored truck he felt something lossening in him already. The soft cotton and smooth leather rested easily against his skin and Drake slipped into the forest.
Freedom; for the moment at least, blissful freedom. Pushing aside the guilt that accompanied the thought as well as any lingering worries about his charges the youth let his legs carry him through the trees. He shunned the man made paths, following the faint animal trails. This close to the barn they were as clear to him as if they were named city streets. Being animal trails, they invariably led him to water. Today he stopped at a trickling stream, took off his moccasins, and rolled up his pants legs. The youth turned and followed the thin flow of icy water upstream, letting it steal the heat from his body through his feet.
Some distance upstream, the stream widened and pooled under a boulder. There Drake paused and pulled an old black compass out of his pocket. Behind him he knew every trail and tree. Ahead was a broad swath of National Wilderness he would have to cross, or possibly Bureau of Land Management or even state managed forests where he more rarely wandered. It was hard to tell where the boundaries were from the ground. The clearing he wanted for the berries was solidly in BLM land and he still had quite a ways to go to get there. The stand of timber that stood between him and his goal was dense with young tree and branches that frequently formed impenetrable hedges he had to track around and he checked his compass regularly as he climbed in elevation. Even so the youth found he had wandered too far off his route and had to correct when he spotted the boundary fence. However he was in no hurry and he reached the clearing long before the sun told him it was time to turn around.
Sometime in the past some unknown force had carved a shallow trench across the side of one of the small mountains that that dotted the wilderness. It had puzzled Drake at first. The scour was at the wrong angle to be an old rock slide, and terminated in a near perfectly circular clearing at the lower end. Centuries old Douglas Firs abruptly gave way to a second ring only a few decades old. Those were in turn beginning to produce cones and a smattering of knee high saplings. The rest of the space was completely given over to wildflowers. No matter what season Drake visited it he found a riot of life.
There had been an early spring and many herbs that normally would have waited a month or more were already in full bloom in the mountain meadow. A white wave of foamflower washed in from the deep forest surrounding the clearing, sending up knee high stalks covered in the delicate white blooms. Late trillium hid close to the roots of the great firs, many having shed their white corollas and begun to put forth their bulbous seed heads. Fuzzy white baneberry blossoms nodded gently in the breeze. A riot of yellow and purple spread across the ground as vetch and buttercups and a host of clovers competed for space in the open sun. Great stalks of lupine as high as his head thrust up their purple and blue proudly from thick clusters of palm shaped leaves. Pink shooting stars and violet harebells crouched under the protection of the larger plants. Indian paintbrush lit the scene with flames of red and orange. Where a spring seeped into the meadow elephant’s head flared neon pink and corydalis bushes put forth blushing blooms. Pale green wild orchids stood along the wet spot and the swarms of bees danced from them to the glacier lilies.
Sometimes, as he bent over a tiny blossom and traced the intricate network of veins in the petals, drank in the scent, and felt the smooth surface of the leaves an otherworldly feeling would come over him. It was as if there was another world just out of range of his senses. If he could only really look, the thin illusion that was blocking him would slip away and reveal the real world underneath it.
Look Awiegwa,” his father would whisper, pointing at a deer mouse perched on a fallen log. “What does it see?”
Awiegwa would screw up his face and squint. Trying to find the answer to the question.
Awiegwa had often wondered how so many flowers had come to be in the relatively small area. He had identified dozens of species and there were more he had yet to determine. The clearing was always the first place to bloom and the last to go dormant. Many of the flowers seemed to utterly defy their usual blooming patterns. However, as time passed he had simply come to accept it. It was one of the small good things that brought back the memories of his father. If it didn’t quite follow the rules Ama had taught him, well an impossible clearing in the mountains wasn’t a place for rules.
The particular bloom that Abuelita had requested had taken full advantage of the early sun and had already put forth a few cobalt blue berries; easily spotted at the edge of the clearing in the delicate sea of white flowers.
However before he left the shade of the forest for the meadow the youth paused and closed his eyes. Bole wasn’t always here, but he was often enough that Awiegwa always checked for him. Carefully he reconstructed the clearing in his mind; marking every tree and boulder on the edge. Three years he had been coming here and each time it was easier to recreate the clearing. Breathing evenly he opened his eyes, letting the mental image merge with the actual. There was a brief moment of confusion as details like the play of light through branches and the trembling of small clusters of flowers fixed themselves but there was only one truly jarring note. Awiegwa didn’t let his eyes focus on the disparity; he never did anymore, but a warm smile spread across his features as he slipped silently into the meadow.
He was here. As the youth moved in a low crouch, gathering the first fruits of the Queen’s Cup, he let his peripheral vision linger on a particular snag. There was nothing obviously interesting about it, other than the fact that it had not been there the last time Awiegwa was here. He had named the wanderer Bole, because it most often appeared as a thick tree trunk; sometimes living, sometimes dead. Occasionally it would be a boulder or simply a mound in the dirt. Often it wasn’t in the clearing at all. If the youth moved forward and tried to closely examine it he could never find anything to suggest it was something other than a tree or rock.
He had thought about taking a sample occasionally, had taken his knife out to do just that more than once, but something always held him back. Bole was a part of this place. Dissecting him would be too much like attempting to dissect his sense of his father’s presence here. The youth had never told anyone about this place, not even Ama with who could get most things out of him easily enough. Down at the house, in town, when he was Drake; solid, reliable, first up in the morning, two grades ahead in school with a penchant for science Drake, a productive member of modern society with a promising future and his mother smiling at him. Here he could be Awiegwa. Here he could believe in the ancient medicines his father had dug out of dusty old tomes and brought to life from the forest litter. Every time Awiegwa left the clearing and headed back towards home reality would reassert itself. Bole would resolve back into a figment of his imagination, created from pride in a somewhat better than average memory and what the social workers had called an “intriguing imagination”. When he reached the house and become solidly Drake again flickers of embarrassment would begin eating at him for letting his senses trick him like that, but as long as the blooms nodded around him in this garden Bole could exist even on a Thursday.
The little woven grass bag filled up with the berries fairly quickly and Awiegwa soon stretched out of his crouch and let his gaze wander contentedly over the clearing. As it always did, the warm space was working its special magic. Worries about Em getting out of his schoolwork, of not paying enough attention to the quiet Donny, of letting Ama see his petty resentments: it had all melted away from his muscles, thoughts of college costs and abandoning his duties dissolved into an acute sense of the now. The leaves rustled softly in a barely-there breeze, the heavy scent of some unidentified blossom filled his lungs, a dozen shades of green framed the rainbow of flowers, and over and above it all the creaking of the firs as the wind played over them. It was at times like these that he felth he could almost see into heaven; that something wonderful that existed just beyond his senses, and all he had to do was reach out and claim it.
The youth took a deep breath and let himself fall backwards onto a handy rise in the forest floor. His path had taken him to the foot of the snag and he shifted slightly to align himself with the gnarled roots. One hand gripped a time smoothed root.
“Ama trusted me enough to go out of state,” he murmured. “That’s the first time she’s done that. Usually she has Abulita stay with us to fend off the Harsh, but she said it’s long past legal now.”
It was his imagination of course that made him think the root vibrated in his hand in response. Many a long hour he had spent in this clearing with the wanderer. He had poured out his frustrations and anguishes over life’s injustices, had shared his secrets as he grew, and had shouted his triumphs. Sometimes he felt closer to Bole than to any of his human friends. However, something that sounded like his mother’s voice warned him that there was something odd about this and that awareness was the main reason he had kept this place secret from Ama. Their mother hadn’t exactly liked stuff like that. She had never objected to his father’s digging up the old stories of her people. Making cross generational connections between elders, who more often than not lived isolated lives, and the next generation, was an admirable goal in of itself in her eyes; objectively a social good. Storytelling was only the natural course for these relationships to take, but subtle looks had warned even a very young Drake that it was best to cautious what he shared with his mother. At least of those things that couldn’t be placed on a microscope slide. So this was Awigewa’s place, and while his father’s spirit wanders the flowers with he had never felt his mother here.
He let his focus drift up, and up. Dark blue Lupine nodded over his head framing the faint crisscross of jet contrails that threw a light haze over an otherwise cloudless sky. His clothed grew deliciously hot from the spring sun. The ground too had eagerly accepted the energy and now it conducted the heat into the muscles of his back. Bole’s wood beneath him was warmer even than the surrounding ground and an idle thought traced across Awiegwa’s awareness; something about it being odd for the light colored wood and relatively dry wood to retain more heat than the darker soil surrounding it. His mind was filled with the impression of a goal. He had been meaning to do, something. Something fun, yes, exploring, he’d meant to see if whatever had dug that den by the second boulder was cubing this year. He would just get up and do that in a minute. His back was so warm and comfortable.

https://i.redd.it/gpp5823mab3b1.gif
Flying Sparks”
Another foray into the lives of Drake McCarty, Ama Love, and the rest of their siblings as they discover that something alien is out in the forest around their home.
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flying-sparks-a-novel-of-dragon-bear-and-boy/coming_soon
#FlyingSparks #ScienceFiction #Scifi #Story #novel #book #DrakeMcCarty #AmaLove #Donny #Em #Bard #Bole #Aliens #Spaceships #Crystals #fireflies #NPS #NationalPark #Doctor #Sever #family #storm #writing #reading #drama #literature #author #BettyAdams #DyingEmbers #Dragons #ThingsThatGoBoomp #Indiegogo #CrowdFunding
submitted by Betty-Adams to selfpromo [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 03:48 Betty-Adams Flying Sparks Volume 1 - A Novel of a boy, a dragon, and an alien. Avaliable for preorder on Indiegogo Now.

Flying Sparks Volume 1 - A Novel of a boy, a dragon, and an alien. Avaliable for preorder on Indiegogo Now.

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


https://i.redd.it/iaeovwdnab3b1.gif

Chapter 2

“Hazardous? I’ll show that manipulative, misanthropic, anti-establishment cretin just what hazardous means if he thinks I’m going to fold on this!”
The sound of vigorous guitar riffs made a fitting accompaniment to the angry tirade despite originating on opposite sides of the communal area. Ama was glaring at a laptop that sat on a stained oak desk shoved against the large table near the kitchen. She tapped a fingernail on the wood as she read through the alert.
“And what violation of basic human dignity has her royal prudishness’s undies in a bunch?” Em demanded with an affected sneer without looking up from his guitar scales.
“Oh you’ll agree with this one tree-hugger,” Drake muttered from where he sat oiling his work boots.
“Yeah,” Donny piped up, “Finney is trying to kill a perfectly healthy fir.”
“What!” Em demanded, carefully placing his battered old acoustic guitar down in its case and darting over to look at the computer screen. “You mean apark tree?”
Despite her simmering frustration Ama allowed a small smile to flicker across her face as she continued to type.
“Get out of your pajamas and I’ll tell you,” Drake ordered pointing towards the bathroom door with a stained rag. “School starts in forty-five minutes and you still have breakfast and chores. That goes for you too Pip-squirt.”
“I hope you washed your hands before you touched our food,” Em said with a frown.
“Boot grease makes a great source of fatty acids.” Drake retorted. “Now go!”
The two smaller boys muttered in annoyance but stumbled off to follow orders.
“So what is up?” the youth asked as he bent his head back over the smooth leather of his boots.
“Mrs. Finney wants that tree down that’s blocking her perfect view of Crescent Lake.” Ama replied in a dry tone.
“One that’s clearly on park property?” Drake asked.
“Indeedy-do.” Ama replied giving the paper in front of her a glare.
“So how’s she justifying it?” Drake asked.
“As a safety hazard to her house.” Ama replied.
“And?”
The biologist groaned and rubbed her face.
“As far as I can tell the trunk is perfectly healthy. There is an old trash can lid grown into the trunk and a little discolored sap is leaking out there.”
“Frass?”
“Watch your language!” Donny interjected as he darted up to the table.
“Frass is not a bad word,” Drake stated. “Have you let the chickens out?”
“Yes, what does frass mean?” Donny asked as he started piling stir-fry onto his plate.
“Look it up.” Drake ordered him. “Emerald! Breakfast ends in ten minutes! Get your tukus down here!”
“It’s bad health to rush meals,” Em snapped out as he came down a narrow stairway with deliberate slowness.
“It’s even worse for your health to skip meals altogether,” Drake growled threateningly.
“Shut it and give me some eggs.” Em snapped back.
“Emerald Waters Undersun,” Drake hissed out through gritted teeth. “You are going to get your own eggs.”
The boy threw himself into a chair and glared at Drake with challenge in every line of his body.
“Emerald,” Ama said in a calm tone. “I think you should apologize to your cousin now.”
“Sorry I disturbed you Ama,” he offered without breaking eye contact with Drake.
“Not me, him,” Ama said.
“Sorry you had to hear that Donny.” Em said.
Ama heaved a sigh and closed her computer.
“Emerald,” Ama said.
“Do you want to eat or go hungry?” Drake demanded.
Ama glanced at him with a familiar uneasy look in her eyes and Drake fought down a wince.
“Now, Em.” she said in a patient tone.
“I’ll go hungry,” Em snapped, jumping up and stalking over to the couch.
Donny kept his eyes fixed on his plate. Ama heaved a sigh before turning back to her computer. Em wriggled on the couch for several minutes before skulking back to the table. Drake moved to intercept him but Ama stopped him with a look and he let Em serve himself. Drake cast irritated glances at the wall clock as the time crept more and more into school time.
Ama closed her computer and stood, then sighed, sat and opened it again.
“I need to pick out their report topics,” Ama muttered.
“I could do it,” Drake offered.
“You do quite enough,” Ama replied briskly, as she scanned the news. “Here you go. For Donny, malfunctions at the Lewis- McChord Air Force Base air show.” A frown creased her face. “Wow, this is pretty serious. It looks like the F-16 demonstration team nearly got killed.”
Drake whistled and leaned over her shoulder.
“Multiple system failures,” he read out loud. “I am pretty sure that isn’t supposed to happen.”
“Nope,” Ama agreed. “Here is a topic on big game management for Em.”
“Reports due by next week?” Drake asked as the old printer on the desk began to squeal and grumble as it powered up.
“Same as usual,” Ama confirmed.
Drake put the printouts on top of the homework pile and moved to wash up the breakfast dishes.
“I need to get to work early today so you two be good for Drake,” she called out placing a quick kiss on top of the smaller boys’ heads and giving Drake’s shoulder a friendly squeeze.
“Good luck with Mrs. Finney, and stay safe.” Drake called out as she went into her room.
The table was cleaned off and wiped down and the clink of forks gave way to the steady scratch of pencils on paper. They broke for a recess after religion and then lunch after history and math, and by the time the Grandfather clock in the corner struck two the younger boys twitching with energy. Drake made certain the internet was disconnected at the router, and chased Donny and Em out into the garden.
“And don’t come in until dark,” he ordered tossing two snack bags out after them.
Donny as usual snatched his food and disappeared into the small orachard. Low grumbles about troglodytes and the Amish wandered out into the high corn following Em and Drake shook his head in exasperation wondering, not for the first time how the dark haired princeling came from the same gene pool as his little brother. The kitchen being mostly ordered Drake was turning to put the last random dirty sock in the hamper when a gnarled hand clutching a cane head appeared in the corner of his eye, causing his heart to make a valiant attempt to bolt out of his throat.
“Abuelita!” he gasped forcing his hands down from the guard position. “Where did you come from?”
Smoldering black eyes ran searchingly over the tall youth. An impossibly long mane of streaked silver and black hair was barely contained in a thick braid. A sharply pointed nose perched over a small wrinkled mouth. A vibrant red horse-hair serape hung over her shoulders concealing everything except her brown and gnarled hands which currently clutched the old tree branch she used as a cane. Drake had been more than a little comforted by the fact that both Em and Donny had admitted to having the thought ‘witch’ every time time they saw her as well.
“From the hand of God by the bodies of my sainted mother and father,” she replied after a long, uncomfortable silence.
She always spoke in a low husky voice that suggested years of smoking, though Drake had never smelled even stale smoke on her.
“Right,” Drake blinked and grinned at the response; the one she always gave. “So you are here for their Spanish lesson? I have their grammar books ready and-”
The narrow end of the tree branch rapped against the concrete of the floor causing Drake to jump. Abuelita glared at him, locking his gaze and holding him in place with it for a moment.
“I am here for their lessons,” she finally stated, “and you are there for my payment.”
Drake thought longingly of the repair and maintenance manuals in the cab of the truck and the new tool he was itching to try, but he forced a grin on his face.
“Yes ma’am,” he said. “What can I get you today?”
Abuelita pulled out a bag of woven grass from under her serape causing the indistinct patterns on the cloth to shift and change.
“Take this,” she ordered him, “and collect me the cobalt blue berries that grow on a single stalk close to the ground. They must come from the mountain to the south east of here by the crystal brook.”
Drake nodded, and took the little bag, he didn’t quite manage to infused his gestures with enthusiasm he supposed. The old woman, probably wouldn’t have noted it anyway. She turned and moved towards the garden door without waiting for any other reply. However she called out over her shoulder as he turned to find his own way out of the rambling structure.
“Don’t dawdle little one. A storm brews in the distance.”
He tried not to roll his eyes at that, the weather forecast was clear and eighties for the next week according to the morning fire report Ama had printed. The youth only nodded and slipped around the corner. He circled the barn and pulled a set of loose tan pants and tunic out of the cubby. The soft worn leather almost perfectly matched the forest floor for color as did the moccasins he pulled on after them. His morning running clothes were modern stuff that wicked the sweat away from him and let him speed through the forest. These were his free day clothes. The ones that let him disappear into the forest and wander. Abuelita, for all of her demands, would tend Em and Donny until he returned no matter how late that was, and with the Park’s yearly budget talks still under way it was highly unlikely Ama would be home until long after the sun had set. Despite still hearing the call of the half restored truck he felt something lossening in him already. The soft cotton and smooth leather rested easily against his skin and Drake slipped into the forest.
Freedom; for the moment at least, blissful freedom. Pushing aside the guilt that accompanied the thought as well as any lingering worries about his charges the youth let his legs carry him through the trees. He shunned the man made paths, following the faint animal trails. This close to the barn they were as clear to him as if they were named city streets. Being animal trails, they invariably led him to water. Today he stopped at a trickling stream, took off his moccasins, and rolled up his pants legs. The youth turned and followed the thin flow of icy water upstream, letting it steal the heat from his body through his feet.
Some distance upstream, the stream widened and pooled under a boulder. There Drake paused and pulled an old black compass out of his pocket. Behind him he knew every trail and tree. Ahead was a broad swath of National Wilderness he would have to cross, or possibly Bureau of Land Management or even state managed forests where he more rarely wandered. It was hard to tell where the boundaries were from the ground. The clearing he wanted for the berries was solidly in BLM land and he still had quite a ways to go to get there. The stand of timber that stood between him and his goal was dense with young tree and branches that frequently formed impenetrable hedges he had to track around and he checked his compass regularly as he climbed in elevation. Even so the youth found he had wandered too far off his route and had to correct when he spotted the boundary fence. However he was in no hurry and he reached the clearing long before the sun told him it was time to turn around.
Sometime in the past some unknown force had carved a shallow trench across the side of one of the small mountains that that dotted the wilderness. It had puzzled Drake at first. The scour was at the wrong angle to be an old rock slide, and terminated in a near perfectly circular clearing at the lower end. Centuries old Douglas Firs abruptly gave way to a second ring only a few decades old. Those were in turn beginning to produce cones and a smattering of knee high saplings. The rest of the space was completely given over to wildflowers. No matter what season Drake visited it he found a riot of life.
There had been an early spring and many herbs that normally would have waited a month or more were already in full bloom in the mountain meadow. A white wave of foamflower washed in from the deep forest surrounding the clearing, sending up knee high stalks covered in the delicate white blooms. Late trillium hid close to the roots of the great firs, many having shed their white corollas and begun to put forth their bulbous seed heads. Fuzzy white baneberry blossoms nodded gently in the breeze. A riot of yellow and purple spread across the ground as vetch and buttercups and a host of clovers competed for space in the open sun. Great stalks of lupine as high as his head thrust up their purple and blue proudly from thick clusters of palm shaped leaves. Pink shooting stars and violet harebells crouched under the protection of the larger plants. Indian paintbrush lit the scene with flames of red and orange. Where a spring seeped into the meadow elephant’s head flared neon pink and corydalis bushes put forth blushing blooms. Pale green wild orchids stood along the wet spot and the swarms of bees danced from them to the glacier lilies.
Sometimes, as he bent over a tiny blossom and traced the intricate network of veins in the petals, drank in the scent, and felt the smooth surface of the leaves an otherworldly feeling would come over him. It was as if there was another world just out of range of his senses. If he could only really look, the thin illusion that was blocking him would slip away and reveal the real world underneath it.
Look Awiegwa,” his father would whisper, pointing at a deer mouse perched on a fallen log. “What does it see?”
Awiegwa would screw up his face and squint. Trying to find the answer to the question.
Awiegwa had often wondered how so many flowers had come to be in the relatively small area. He had identified dozens of species and there were more he had yet to determine. The clearing was always the first place to bloom and the last to go dormant. Many of the flowers seemed to utterly defy their usual blooming patterns. However, as time passed he had simply come to accept it. It was one of the small good things that brought back the memories of his father. If it didn’t quite follow the rules Ama had taught him, well an impossible clearing in the mountains wasn’t a place for rules.
The particular bloom that Abuelita had requested had taken full advantage of the early sun and had already put forth a few cobalt blue berries; easily spotted at the edge of the clearing in the delicate sea of white flowers.
However before he left the shade of the forest for the meadow the youth paused and closed his eyes. Bole wasn’t always here, but he was often enough that Awiegwa always checked for him. Carefully he reconstructed the clearing in his mind; marking every tree and boulder on the edge. Three years he had been coming here and each time it was easier to recreate the clearing. Breathing evenly he opened his eyes, letting the mental image merge with the actual. There was a brief moment of confusion as details like the play of light through branches and the trembling of small clusters of flowers fixed themselves but there was only one truly jarring note. Awiegwa didn’t let his eyes focus on the disparity; he never did anymore, but a warm smile spread across his features as he slipped silently into the meadow.
He was here. As the youth moved in a low crouch, gathering the first fruits of the Queen’s Cup, he let his peripheral vision linger on a particular snag. There was nothing obviously interesting about it, other than the fact that it had not been there the last time Awiegwa was here. He had named the wanderer Bole, because it most often appeared as a thick tree trunk; sometimes living, sometimes dead. Occasionally it would be a boulder or simply a mound in the dirt. Often it wasn’t in the clearing at all. If the youth moved forward and tried to closely examine it he could never find anything to suggest it was something other than a tree or rock.
He had thought about taking a sample occasionally, had taken his knife out to do just that more than once, but something always held him back. Bole was a part of this place. Dissecting him would be too much like attempting to dissect his sense of his father’s presence here. The youth had never told anyone about this place, not even Ama with who could get most things out of him easily enough. Down at the house, in town, when he was Drake; solid, reliable, first up in the morning, two grades ahead in school with a penchant for science Drake, a productive member of modern society with a promising future and his mother smiling at him. Here he could be Awiegwa. Here he could believe in the ancient medicines his father had dug out of dusty old tomes and brought to life from the forest litter. Every time Awiegwa left the clearing and headed back towards home reality would reassert itself. Bole would resolve back into a figment of his imagination, created from pride in a somewhat better than average memory and what the social workers had called an “intriguing imagination”. When he reached the house and become solidly Drake again flickers of embarrassment would begin eating at him for letting his senses trick him like that, but as long as the blooms nodded around him in this garden Bole could exist even on a Thursday.
The little woven grass bag filled up with the berries fairly quickly and Awiegwa soon stretched out of his crouch and let his gaze wander contentedly over the clearing. As it always did, the warm space was working its special magic. Worries about Em getting out of his schoolwork, of not paying enough attention to the quiet Donny, of letting Ama see his petty resentments: it had all melted away from his muscles, thoughts of college costs and abandoning his duties dissolved into an acute sense of the now. The leaves rustled softly in a barely-there breeze, the heavy scent of some unidentified blossom filled his lungs, a dozen shades of green framed the rainbow of flowers, and over and above it all the creaking of the firs as the wind played over them. It was at times like these that he felth he could almost see into heaven; that something wonderful that existed just beyond his senses, and all he had to do was reach out and claim it.
The youth took a deep breath and let himself fall backwards onto a handy rise in the forest floor. His path had taken him to the foot of the snag and he shifted slightly to align himself with the gnarled roots. One hand gripped a time smoothed root.
“Ama trusted me enough to go out of state,” he murmured. “That’s the first time she’s done that. Usually she has Abulita stay with us to fend off the Harsh, but she said it’s long past legal now.”
It was his imagination of course that made him think the root vibrated in his hand in response. Many a long hour he had spent in this clearing with the wanderer. He had poured out his frustrations and anguishes over life’s injustices, had shared his secrets as he grew, and had shouted his triumphs. Sometimes he felt closer to Bole than to any of his human friends. However, something that sounded like his mother’s voice warned him that there was something odd about this and that awareness was the main reason he had kept this place secret from Ama. Their mother hadn’t exactly liked stuff like that. She had never objected to his father’s digging up the old stories of her people. Making cross generational connections between elders, who more often than not lived isolated lives, and the next generation, was an admirable goal in of itself in her eyes; objectively a social good. Storytelling was only the natural course for these relationships to take, but subtle looks had warned even a very young Drake that it was best to cautious what he shared with his mother. At least of those things that couldn’t be placed on a microscope slide. So this was Awigewa’s place, and while his father’s spirit wanders the flowers with he had never felt his mother here.
He let his focus drift up, and up. Dark blue Lupine nodded over his head framing the faint crisscross of jet contrails that threw a light haze over an otherwise cloudless sky. His clothed grew deliciously hot from the spring sun. The ground too had eagerly accepted the energy and now it conducted the heat into the muscles of his back. Bole’s wood beneath him was warmer even than the surrounding ground and an idle thought traced across Awiegwa’s awareness; something about it being odd for the light colored wood and relatively dry wood to retain more heat than the darker soil surrounding it. His mind was filled with the impression of a goal. He had been meaning to do, something. Something fun, yes, exploring, he’d meant to see if whatever had dug that den by the second boulder was cubing this year. He would just get up and do that in a minute. His back was so warm and comfortable.

https://i.redd.it/2arwjmgoab3b1.gif
Flying Sparks”
Another foray into the lives of Drake McCarty, Ama Love, and the rest of their siblings as they discover that something alien is out in the forest around their home.
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flying-sparks-a-novel-of-dragon-bear-and-boy/coming_soon
#FlyingSparks #ScienceFiction #Scifi #Story #novel #book #DrakeMcCarty #AmaLove #Donny #Em #Bard #Bole #Aliens #Spaceships #Crystals #fireflies #NPS #NationalPark #Doctor #Sever #family #storm #writing #reading #drama #literature #author #BettyAdams #DyingEmbers #Dragons #ThingsThatGoBoomp #Indiegogo #CrowdFunding
submitted by Betty-Adams to Storytelling [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 03:48 Betty-Adams Flying Sparks Volume 1 - A Novel of a boy, a dragon, and an alien. Avaliable for preorder on Indiegogo Now.

Flying Sparks Volume 1 - A Novel of a boy, a dragon, and an alien. Avaliable for preorder on Indiegogo Now.

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


https://i.redd.it/j34i5zooab3b1.gif

Chapter 2

“Hazardous? I’ll show that manipulative, misanthropic, anti-establishment cretin just what hazardous means if he thinks I’m going to fold on this!”
The sound of vigorous guitar riffs made a fitting accompaniment to the angry tirade despite originating on opposite sides of the communal area. Ama was glaring at a laptop that sat on a stained oak desk shoved against the large table near the kitchen. She tapped a fingernail on the wood as she read through the alert.
“And what violation of basic human dignity has her royal prudishness’s undies in a bunch?” Em demanded with an affected sneer without looking up from his guitar scales.
“Oh you’ll agree with this one tree-hugger,” Drake muttered from where he sat oiling his work boots.
“Yeah,” Donny piped up, “Finney is trying to kill a perfectly healthy fir.”
“What!” Em demanded, carefully placing his battered old acoustic guitar down in its case and darting over to look at the computer screen. “You mean apark tree?”
Despite her simmering frustration Ama allowed a small smile to flicker across her face as she continued to type.
“Get out of your pajamas and I’ll tell you,” Drake ordered pointing towards the bathroom door with a stained rag. “School starts in forty-five minutes and you still have breakfast and chores. That goes for you too Pip-squirt.”
“I hope you washed your hands before you touched our food,” Em said with a frown.
“Boot grease makes a great source of fatty acids.” Drake retorted. “Now go!”
The two smaller boys muttered in annoyance but stumbled off to follow orders.
“So what is up?” the youth asked as he bent his head back over the smooth leather of his boots.
“Mrs. Finney wants that tree down that’s blocking her perfect view of Crescent Lake.” Ama replied in a dry tone.
“One that’s clearly on park property?” Drake asked.
“Indeedy-do.” Ama replied giving the paper in front of her a glare.
“So how’s she justifying it?” Drake asked.
“As a safety hazard to her house.” Ama replied.
“And?”
The biologist groaned and rubbed her face.
“As far as I can tell the trunk is perfectly healthy. There is an old trash can lid grown into the trunk and a little discolored sap is leaking out there.”
“Frass?”
“Watch your language!” Donny interjected as he darted up to the table.
“Frass is not a bad word,” Drake stated. “Have you let the chickens out?”
“Yes, what does frass mean?” Donny asked as he started piling stir-fry onto his plate.
“Look it up.” Drake ordered him. “Emerald! Breakfast ends in ten minutes! Get your tukus down here!”
“It’s bad health to rush meals,” Em snapped out as he came down a narrow stairway with deliberate slowness.
“It’s even worse for your health to skip meals altogether,” Drake growled threateningly.
“Shut it and give me some eggs.” Em snapped back.
“Emerald Waters Undersun,” Drake hissed out through gritted teeth. “You are going to get your own eggs.”
The boy threw himself into a chair and glared at Drake with challenge in every line of his body.
“Emerald,” Ama said in a calm tone. “I think you should apologize to your cousin now.”
“Sorry I disturbed you Ama,” he offered without breaking eye contact with Drake.
“Not me, him,” Ama said.
“Sorry you had to hear that Donny.” Em said.
Ama heaved a sigh and closed her computer.
“Emerald,” Ama said.
“Do you want to eat or go hungry?” Drake demanded.
Ama glanced at him with a familiar uneasy look in her eyes and Drake fought down a wince.
“Now, Em.” she said in a patient tone.
“I’ll go hungry,” Em snapped, jumping up and stalking over to the couch.
Donny kept his eyes fixed on his plate. Ama heaved a sigh before turning back to her computer. Em wriggled on the couch for several minutes before skulking back to the table. Drake moved to intercept him but Ama stopped him with a look and he let Em serve himself. Drake cast irritated glances at the wall clock as the time crept more and more into school time.
Ama closed her computer and stood, then sighed, sat and opened it again.
“I need to pick out their report topics,” Ama muttered.
“I could do it,” Drake offered.
“You do quite enough,” Ama replied briskly, as she scanned the news. “Here you go. For Donny, malfunctions at the Lewis- McChord Air Force Base air show.” A frown creased her face. “Wow, this is pretty serious. It looks like the F-16 demonstration team nearly got killed.”
Drake whistled and leaned over her shoulder.
“Multiple system failures,” he read out loud. “I am pretty sure that isn’t supposed to happen.”
“Nope,” Ama agreed. “Here is a topic on big game management for Em.”
“Reports due by next week?” Drake asked as the old printer on the desk began to squeal and grumble as it powered up.
“Same as usual,” Ama confirmed.
Drake put the printouts on top of the homework pile and moved to wash up the breakfast dishes.
“I need to get to work early today so you two be good for Drake,” she called out placing a quick kiss on top of the smaller boys’ heads and giving Drake’s shoulder a friendly squeeze.
“Good luck with Mrs. Finney, and stay safe.” Drake called out as she went into her room.
The table was cleaned off and wiped down and the clink of forks gave way to the steady scratch of pencils on paper. They broke for a recess after religion and then lunch after history and math, and by the time the Grandfather clock in the corner struck two the younger boys twitching with energy. Drake made certain the internet was disconnected at the router, and chased Donny and Em out into the garden.
“And don’t come in until dark,” he ordered tossing two snack bags out after them.
Donny as usual snatched his food and disappeared into the small orachard. Low grumbles about troglodytes and the Amish wandered out into the high corn following Em and Drake shook his head in exasperation wondering, not for the first time how the dark haired princeling came from the same gene pool as his little brother. The kitchen being mostly ordered Drake was turning to put the last random dirty sock in the hamper when a gnarled hand clutching a cane head appeared in the corner of his eye, causing his heart to make a valiant attempt to bolt out of his throat.
“Abuelita!” he gasped forcing his hands down from the guard position. “Where did you come from?”
Smoldering black eyes ran searchingly over the tall youth. An impossibly long mane of streaked silver and black hair was barely contained in a thick braid. A sharply pointed nose perched over a small wrinkled mouth. A vibrant red horse-hair serape hung over her shoulders concealing everything except her brown and gnarled hands which currently clutched the old tree branch she used as a cane. Drake had been more than a little comforted by the fact that both Em and Donny had admitted to having the thought ‘witch’ every time time they saw her as well.
“From the hand of God by the bodies of my sainted mother and father,” she replied after a long, uncomfortable silence.
She always spoke in a low husky voice that suggested years of smoking, though Drake had never smelled even stale smoke on her.
“Right,” Drake blinked and grinned at the response; the one she always gave. “So you are here for their Spanish lesson? I have their grammar books ready and-”
The narrow end of the tree branch rapped against the concrete of the floor causing Drake to jump. Abuelita glared at him, locking his gaze and holding him in place with it for a moment.
“I am here for their lessons,” she finally stated, “and you are there for my payment.”
Drake thought longingly of the repair and maintenance manuals in the cab of the truck and the new tool he was itching to try, but he forced a grin on his face.
“Yes ma’am,” he said. “What can I get you today?”
Abuelita pulled out a bag of woven grass from under her serape causing the indistinct patterns on the cloth to shift and change.
“Take this,” she ordered him, “and collect me the cobalt blue berries that grow on a single stalk close to the ground. They must come from the mountain to the south east of here by the crystal brook.”
Drake nodded, and took the little bag, he didn’t quite manage to infused his gestures with enthusiasm he supposed. The old woman, probably wouldn’t have noted it anyway. She turned and moved towards the garden door without waiting for any other reply. However she called out over her shoulder as he turned to find his own way out of the rambling structure.
“Don’t dawdle little one. A storm brews in the distance.”
He tried not to roll his eyes at that, the weather forecast was clear and eighties for the next week according to the morning fire report Ama had printed. The youth only nodded and slipped around the corner. He circled the barn and pulled a set of loose tan pants and tunic out of the cubby. The soft worn leather almost perfectly matched the forest floor for color as did the moccasins he pulled on after them. His morning running clothes were modern stuff that wicked the sweat away from him and let him speed through the forest. These were his free day clothes. The ones that let him disappear into the forest and wander. Abuelita, for all of her demands, would tend Em and Donny until he returned no matter how late that was, and with the Park’s yearly budget talks still under way it was highly unlikely Ama would be home until long after the sun had set. Despite still hearing the call of the half restored truck he felt something lossening in him already. The soft cotton and smooth leather rested easily against his skin and Drake slipped into the forest.
Freedom; for the moment at least, blissful freedom. Pushing aside the guilt that accompanied the thought as well as any lingering worries about his charges the youth let his legs carry him through the trees. He shunned the man made paths, following the faint animal trails. This close to the barn they were as clear to him as if they were named city streets. Being animal trails, they invariably led him to water. Today he stopped at a trickling stream, took off his moccasins, and rolled up his pants legs. The youth turned and followed the thin flow of icy water upstream, letting it steal the heat from his body through his feet.
Some distance upstream, the stream widened and pooled under a boulder. There Drake paused and pulled an old black compass out of his pocket. Behind him he knew every trail and tree. Ahead was a broad swath of National Wilderness he would have to cross, or possibly Bureau of Land Management or even state managed forests where he more rarely wandered. It was hard to tell where the boundaries were from the ground. The clearing he wanted for the berries was solidly in BLM land and he still had quite a ways to go to get there. The stand of timber that stood between him and his goal was dense with young tree and branches that frequently formed impenetrable hedges he had to track around and he checked his compass regularly as he climbed in elevation. Even so the youth found he had wandered too far off his route and had to correct when he spotted the boundary fence. However he was in no hurry and he reached the clearing long before the sun told him it was time to turn around.
Sometime in the past some unknown force had carved a shallow trench across the side of one of the small mountains that that dotted the wilderness. It had puzzled Drake at first. The scour was at the wrong angle to be an old rock slide, and terminated in a near perfectly circular clearing at the lower end. Centuries old Douglas Firs abruptly gave way to a second ring only a few decades old. Those were in turn beginning to produce cones and a smattering of knee high saplings. The rest of the space was completely given over to wildflowers. No matter what season Drake visited it he found a riot of life.
There had been an early spring and many herbs that normally would have waited a month or more were already in full bloom in the mountain meadow. A white wave of foamflower washed in from the deep forest surrounding the clearing, sending up knee high stalks covered in the delicate white blooms. Late trillium hid close to the roots of the great firs, many having shed their white corollas and begun to put forth their bulbous seed heads. Fuzzy white baneberry blossoms nodded gently in the breeze. A riot of yellow and purple spread across the ground as vetch and buttercups and a host of clovers competed for space in the open sun. Great stalks of lupine as high as his head thrust up their purple and blue proudly from thick clusters of palm shaped leaves. Pink shooting stars and violet harebells crouched under the protection of the larger plants. Indian paintbrush lit the scene with flames of red and orange. Where a spring seeped into the meadow elephant’s head flared neon pink and corydalis bushes put forth blushing blooms. Pale green wild orchids stood along the wet spot and the swarms of bees danced from them to the glacier lilies.
Sometimes, as he bent over a tiny blossom and traced the intricate network of veins in the petals, drank in the scent, and felt the smooth surface of the leaves an otherworldly feeling would come over him. It was as if there was another world just out of range of his senses. If he could only really look, the thin illusion that was blocking him would slip away and reveal the real world underneath it.
Look Awiegwa,” his father would whisper, pointing at a deer mouse perched on a fallen log. “What does it see?”
Awiegwa would screw up his face and squint. Trying to find the answer to the question.
Awiegwa had often wondered how so many flowers had come to be in the relatively small area. He had identified dozens of species and there were more he had yet to determine. The clearing was always the first place to bloom and the last to go dormant. Many of the flowers seemed to utterly defy their usual blooming patterns. However, as time passed he had simply come to accept it. It was one of the small good things that brought back the memories of his father. If it didn’t quite follow the rules Ama had taught him, well an impossible clearing in the mountains wasn’t a place for rules.
The particular bloom that Abuelita had requested had taken full advantage of the early sun and had already put forth a few cobalt blue berries; easily spotted at the edge of the clearing in the delicate sea of white flowers.
However before he left the shade of the forest for the meadow the youth paused and closed his eyes. Bole wasn’t always here, but he was often enough that Awiegwa always checked for him. Carefully he reconstructed the clearing in his mind; marking every tree and boulder on the edge. Three years he had been coming here and each time it was easier to recreate the clearing. Breathing evenly he opened his eyes, letting the mental image merge with the actual. There was a brief moment of confusion as details like the play of light through branches and the trembling of small clusters of flowers fixed themselves but there was only one truly jarring note. Awiegwa didn’t let his eyes focus on the disparity; he never did anymore, but a warm smile spread across his features as he slipped silently into the meadow.
He was here. As the youth moved in a low crouch, gathering the first fruits of the Queen’s Cup, he let his peripheral vision linger on a particular snag. There was nothing obviously interesting about it, other than the fact that it had not been there the last time Awiegwa was here. He had named the wanderer Bole, because it most often appeared as a thick tree trunk; sometimes living, sometimes dead. Occasionally it would be a boulder or simply a mound in the dirt. Often it wasn’t in the clearing at all. If the youth moved forward and tried to closely examine it he could never find anything to suggest it was something other than a tree or rock.
He had thought about taking a sample occasionally, had taken his knife out to do just that more than once, but something always held him back. Bole was a part of this place. Dissecting him would be too much like attempting to dissect his sense of his father’s presence here. The youth had never told anyone about this place, not even Ama with who could get most things out of him easily enough. Down at the house, in town, when he was Drake; solid, reliable, first up in the morning, two grades ahead in school with a penchant for science Drake, a productive member of modern society with a promising future and his mother smiling at him. Here he could be Awiegwa. Here he could believe in the ancient medicines his father had dug out of dusty old tomes and brought to life from the forest litter. Every time Awiegwa left the clearing and headed back towards home reality would reassert itself. Bole would resolve back into a figment of his imagination, created from pride in a somewhat better than average memory and what the social workers had called an “intriguing imagination”. When he reached the house and become solidly Drake again flickers of embarrassment would begin eating at him for letting his senses trick him like that, but as long as the blooms nodded around him in this garden Bole could exist even on a Thursday.
The little woven grass bag filled up with the berries fairly quickly and Awiegwa soon stretched out of his crouch and let his gaze wander contentedly over the clearing. As it always did, the warm space was working its special magic. Worries about Em getting out of his schoolwork, of not paying enough attention to the quiet Donny, of letting Ama see his petty resentments: it had all melted away from his muscles, thoughts of college costs and abandoning his duties dissolved into an acute sense of the now. The leaves rustled softly in a barely-there breeze, the heavy scent of some unidentified blossom filled his lungs, a dozen shades of green framed the rainbow of flowers, and over and above it all the creaking of the firs as the wind played over them. It was at times like these that he felth he could almost see into heaven; that something wonderful that existed just beyond his senses, and all he had to do was reach out and claim it.
The youth took a deep breath and let himself fall backwards onto a handy rise in the forest floor. His path had taken him to the foot of the snag and he shifted slightly to align himself with the gnarled roots. One hand gripped a time smoothed root.
“Ama trusted me enough to go out of state,” he murmured. “That’s the first time she’s done that. Usually she has Abulita stay with us to fend off the Harsh, but she said it’s long past legal now.”
It was his imagination of course that made him think the root vibrated in his hand in response. Many a long hour he had spent in this clearing with the wanderer. He had poured out his frustrations and anguishes over life’s injustices, had shared his secrets as he grew, and had shouted his triumphs. Sometimes he felt closer to Bole than to any of his human friends. However, something that sounded like his mother’s voice warned him that there was something odd about this and that awareness was the main reason he had kept this place secret from Ama. Their mother hadn’t exactly liked stuff like that. She had never objected to his father’s digging up the old stories of her people. Making cross generational connections between elders, who more often than not lived isolated lives, and the next generation, was an admirable goal in of itself in her eyes; objectively a social good. Storytelling was only the natural course for these relationships to take, but subtle looks had warned even a very young Drake that it was best to cautious what he shared with his mother. At least of those things that couldn’t be placed on a microscope slide. So this was Awigewa’s place, and while his father’s spirit wanders the flowers with he had never felt his mother here.
He let his focus drift up, and up. Dark blue Lupine nodded over his head framing the faint crisscross of jet contrails that threw a light haze over an otherwise cloudless sky. His clothed grew deliciously hot from the spring sun. The ground too had eagerly accepted the energy and now it conducted the heat into the muscles of his back. Bole’s wood beneath him was warmer even than the surrounding ground and an idle thought traced across Awiegwa’s awareness; something about it being odd for the light colored wood and relatively dry wood to retain more heat than the darker soil surrounding it. His mind was filled with the impression of a goal. He had been meaning to do, something. Something fun, yes, exploring, he’d meant to see if whatever had dug that den by the second boulder was cubing this year. He would just get up and do that in a minute. His back was so warm and comfortable.

https://i.redd.it/ky91twlpab3b1.gif
Flying Sparks”
Another foray into the lives of Drake McCarty, Ama Love, and the rest of their siblings as they discover that something alien is out in the forest around their home.
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flying-sparks-a-novel-of-dragon-bear-and-boy/coming_soon
#FlyingSparks #ScienceFiction #Scifi #Story #novel #book #DrakeMcCarty #AmaLove #Donny #Em #Bard #Bole #Aliens #Spaceships #Crystals #fireflies #NPS #NationalPark #Doctor #Sever #family #storm #writing #reading #drama #literature #author #BettyAdams #DyingEmbers #Dragons #ThingsThatGoBoomp #Indiegogo #CrowdFunding
submitted by Betty-Adams to ScienceFantasyAwesome [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 03:48 Betty-Adams Flying Sparks Volume 1 - A Novel of a boy, a dragon, and an alien. Avaliable for preorder on Indiegogo Now.

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


https://i.redd.it/6f86bj3rab3b1.gif

Chapter 2

“Hazardous? I’ll show that manipulative, misanthropic, anti-establishment cretin just what hazardous means if he thinks I’m going to fold on this!”
The sound of vigorous guitar riffs made a fitting accompaniment to the angry tirade despite originating on opposite sides of the communal area. Ama was glaring at a laptop that sat on a stained oak desk shoved against the large table near the kitchen. She tapped a fingernail on the wood as she read through the alert.
“And what violation of basic human dignity has her royal prudishness’s undies in a bunch?” Em demanded with an affected sneer without looking up from his guitar scales.
“Oh you’ll agree with this one tree-hugger,” Drake muttered from where he sat oiling his work boots.
“Yeah,” Donny piped up, “Finney is trying to kill a perfectly healthy fir.”
“What!” Em demanded, carefully placing his battered old acoustic guitar down in its case and darting over to look at the computer screen. “You mean apark tree?”
Despite her simmering frustration Ama allowed a small smile to flicker across her face as she continued to type.
“Get out of your pajamas and I’ll tell you,” Drake ordered pointing towards the bathroom door with a stained rag. “School starts in forty-five minutes and you still have breakfast and chores. That goes for you too Pip-squirt.”
“I hope you washed your hands before you touched our food,” Em said with a frown.
“Boot grease makes a great source of fatty acids.” Drake retorted. “Now go!”
The two smaller boys muttered in annoyance but stumbled off to follow orders.
“So what is up?” the youth asked as he bent his head back over the smooth leather of his boots.
“Mrs. Finney wants that tree down that’s blocking her perfect view of Crescent Lake.” Ama replied in a dry tone.
“One that’s clearly on park property?” Drake asked.
“Indeedy-do.” Ama replied giving the paper in front of her a glare.
“So how’s she justifying it?” Drake asked.
“As a safety hazard to her house.” Ama replied.
“And?”
The biologist groaned and rubbed her face.
“As far as I can tell the trunk is perfectly healthy. There is an old trash can lid grown into the trunk and a little discolored sap is leaking out there.”
“Frass?”
“Watch your language!” Donny interjected as he darted up to the table.
“Frass is not a bad word,” Drake stated. “Have you let the chickens out?”
“Yes, what does frass mean?” Donny asked as he started piling stir-fry onto his plate.
“Look it up.” Drake ordered him. “Emerald! Breakfast ends in ten minutes! Get your tukus down here!”
“It’s bad health to rush meals,” Em snapped out as he came down a narrow stairway with deliberate slowness.
“It’s even worse for your health to skip meals altogether,” Drake growled threateningly.
“Shut it and give me some eggs.” Em snapped back.
“Emerald Waters Undersun,” Drake hissed out through gritted teeth. “You are going to get your own eggs.”
The boy threw himself into a chair and glared at Drake with challenge in every line of his body.
“Emerald,” Ama said in a calm tone. “I think you should apologize to your cousin now.”
“Sorry I disturbed you Ama,” he offered without breaking eye contact with Drake.
“Not me, him,” Ama said.
“Sorry you had to hear that Donny.” Em said.
Ama heaved a sigh and closed her computer.
“Emerald,” Ama said.
“Do you want to eat or go hungry?” Drake demanded.
Ama glanced at him with a familiar uneasy look in her eyes and Drake fought down a wince.
“Now, Em.” she said in a patient tone.
“I’ll go hungry,” Em snapped, jumping up and stalking over to the couch.
Donny kept his eyes fixed on his plate. Ama heaved a sigh before turning back to her computer. Em wriggled on the couch for several minutes before skulking back to the table. Drake moved to intercept him but Ama stopped him with a look and he let Em serve himself. Drake cast irritated glances at the wall clock as the time crept more and more into school time.
Ama closed her computer and stood, then sighed, sat and opened it again.
“I need to pick out their report topics,” Ama muttered.
“I could do it,” Drake offered.
“You do quite enough,” Ama replied briskly, as she scanned the news. “Here you go. For Donny, malfunctions at the Lewis- McChord Air Force Base air show.” A frown creased her face. “Wow, this is pretty serious. It looks like the F-16 demonstration team nearly got killed.”
Drake whistled and leaned over her shoulder.
“Multiple system failures,” he read out loud. “I am pretty sure that isn’t supposed to happen.”
“Nope,” Ama agreed. “Here is a topic on big game management for Em.”
“Reports due by next week?” Drake asked as the old printer on the desk began to squeal and grumble as it powered up.
“Same as usual,” Ama confirmed.
Drake put the printouts on top of the homework pile and moved to wash up the breakfast dishes.
“I need to get to work early today so you two be good for Drake,” she called out placing a quick kiss on top of the smaller boys’ heads and giving Drake’s shoulder a friendly squeeze.
“Good luck with Mrs. Finney, and stay safe.” Drake called out as she went into her room.
The table was cleaned off and wiped down and the clink of forks gave way to the steady scratch of pencils on paper. They broke for a recess after religion and then lunch after history and math, and by the time the Grandfather clock in the corner struck two the younger boys twitching with energy. Drake made certain the internet was disconnected at the router, and chased Donny and Em out into the garden.
“And don’t come in until dark,” he ordered tossing two snack bags out after them.
Donny as usual snatched his food and disappeared into the small orachard. Low grumbles about troglodytes and the Amish wandered out into the high corn following Em and Drake shook his head in exasperation wondering, not for the first time how the dark haired princeling came from the same gene pool as his little brother. The kitchen being mostly ordered Drake was turning to put the last random dirty sock in the hamper when a gnarled hand clutching a cane head appeared in the corner of his eye, causing his heart to make a valiant attempt to bolt out of his throat.
“Abuelita!” he gasped forcing his hands down from the guard position. “Where did you come from?”
Smoldering black eyes ran searchingly over the tall youth. An impossibly long mane of streaked silver and black hair was barely contained in a thick braid. A sharply pointed nose perched over a small wrinkled mouth. A vibrant red horse-hair serape hung over her shoulders concealing everything except her brown and gnarled hands which currently clutched the old tree branch she used as a cane. Drake had been more than a little comforted by the fact that both Em and Donny had admitted to having the thought ‘witch’ every time time they saw her as well.
“From the hand of God by the bodies of my sainted mother and father,” she replied after a long, uncomfortable silence.
She always spoke in a low husky voice that suggested years of smoking, though Drake had never smelled even stale smoke on her.
“Right,” Drake blinked and grinned at the response; the one she always gave. “So you are here for their Spanish lesson? I have their grammar books ready and-”
The narrow end of the tree branch rapped against the concrete of the floor causing Drake to jump. Abuelita glared at him, locking his gaze and holding him in place with it for a moment.
“I am here for their lessons,” she finally stated, “and you are there for my payment.”
Drake thought longingly of the repair and maintenance manuals in the cab of the truck and the new tool he was itching to try, but he forced a grin on his face.
“Yes ma’am,” he said. “What can I get you today?”
Abuelita pulled out a bag of woven grass from under her serape causing the indistinct patterns on the cloth to shift and change.
“Take this,” she ordered him, “and collect me the cobalt blue berries that grow on a single stalk close to the ground. They must come from the mountain to the south east of here by the crystal brook.”
Drake nodded, and took the little bag, he didn’t quite manage to infused his gestures with enthusiasm he supposed. The old woman, probably wouldn’t have noted it anyway. She turned and moved towards the garden door without waiting for any other reply. However she called out over her shoulder as he turned to find his own way out of the rambling structure.
“Don’t dawdle little one. A storm brews in the distance.”
He tried not to roll his eyes at that, the weather forecast was clear and eighties for the next week according to the morning fire report Ama had printed. The youth only nodded and slipped around the corner. He circled the barn and pulled a set of loose tan pants and tunic out of the cubby. The soft worn leather almost perfectly matched the forest floor for color as did the moccasins he pulled on after them. His morning running clothes were modern stuff that wicked the sweat away from him and let him speed through the forest. These were his free day clothes. The ones that let him disappear into the forest and wander. Abuelita, for all of her demands, would tend Em and Donny until he returned no matter how late that was, and with the Park’s yearly budget talks still under way it was highly unlikely Ama would be home until long after the sun had set. Despite still hearing the call of the half restored truck he felt something lossening in him already. The soft cotton and smooth leather rested easily against his skin and Drake slipped into the forest.
Freedom; for the moment at least, blissful freedom. Pushing aside the guilt that accompanied the thought as well as any lingering worries about his charges the youth let his legs carry him through the trees. He shunned the man made paths, following the faint animal trails. This close to the barn they were as clear to him as if they were named city streets. Being animal trails, they invariably led him to water. Today he stopped at a trickling stream, took off his moccasins, and rolled up his pants legs. The youth turned and followed the thin flow of icy water upstream, letting it steal the heat from his body through his feet.
Some distance upstream, the stream widened and pooled under a boulder. There Drake paused and pulled an old black compass out of his pocket. Behind him he knew every trail and tree. Ahead was a broad swath of National Wilderness he would have to cross, or possibly Bureau of Land Management or even state managed forests where he more rarely wandered. It was hard to tell where the boundaries were from the ground. The clearing he wanted for the berries was solidly in BLM land and he still had quite a ways to go to get there. The stand of timber that stood between him and his goal was dense with young tree and branches that frequently formed impenetrable hedges he had to track around and he checked his compass regularly as he climbed in elevation. Even so the youth found he had wandered too far off his route and had to correct when he spotted the boundary fence. However he was in no hurry and he reached the clearing long before the sun told him it was time to turn around.
Sometime in the past some unknown force had carved a shallow trench across the side of one of the small mountains that that dotted the wilderness. It had puzzled Drake at first. The scour was at the wrong angle to be an old rock slide, and terminated in a near perfectly circular clearing at the lower end. Centuries old Douglas Firs abruptly gave way to a second ring only a few decades old. Those were in turn beginning to produce cones and a smattering of knee high saplings. The rest of the space was completely given over to wildflowers. No matter what season Drake visited it he found a riot of life.
There had been an early spring and many herbs that normally would have waited a month or more were already in full bloom in the mountain meadow. A white wave of foamflower washed in from the deep forest surrounding the clearing, sending up knee high stalks covered in the delicate white blooms. Late trillium hid close to the roots of the great firs, many having shed their white corollas and begun to put forth their bulbous seed heads. Fuzzy white baneberry blossoms nodded gently in the breeze. A riot of yellow and purple spread across the ground as vetch and buttercups and a host of clovers competed for space in the open sun. Great stalks of lupine as high as his head thrust up their purple and blue proudly from thick clusters of palm shaped leaves. Pink shooting stars and violet harebells crouched under the protection of the larger plants. Indian paintbrush lit the scene with flames of red and orange. Where a spring seeped into the meadow elephant’s head flared neon pink and corydalis bushes put forth blushing blooms. Pale green wild orchids stood along the wet spot and the swarms of bees danced from them to the glacier lilies.
Sometimes, as he bent over a tiny blossom and traced the intricate network of veins in the petals, drank in the scent, and felt the smooth surface of the leaves an otherworldly feeling would come over him. It was as if there was another world just out of range of his senses. If he could only really look, the thin illusion that was blocking him would slip away and reveal the real world underneath it.
Look Awiegwa,” his father would whisper, pointing at a deer mouse perched on a fallen log. “What does it see?”
Awiegwa would screw up his face and squint. Trying to find the answer to the question.
Awiegwa had often wondered how so many flowers had come to be in the relatively small area. He had identified dozens of species and there were more he had yet to determine. The clearing was always the first place to bloom and the last to go dormant. Many of the flowers seemed to utterly defy their usual blooming patterns. However, as time passed he had simply come to accept it. It was one of the small good things that brought back the memories of his father. If it didn’t quite follow the rules Ama had taught him, well an impossible clearing in the mountains wasn’t a place for rules.
The particular bloom that Abuelita had requested had taken full advantage of the early sun and had already put forth a few cobalt blue berries; easily spotted at the edge of the clearing in the delicate sea of white flowers.
However before he left the shade of the forest for the meadow the youth paused and closed his eyes. Bole wasn’t always here, but he was often enough that Awiegwa always checked for him. Carefully he reconstructed the clearing in his mind; marking every tree and boulder on the edge. Three years he had been coming here and each time it was easier to recreate the clearing. Breathing evenly he opened his eyes, letting the mental image merge with the actual. There was a brief moment of confusion as details like the play of light through branches and the trembling of small clusters of flowers fixed themselves but there was only one truly jarring note. Awiegwa didn’t let his eyes focus on the disparity; he never did anymore, but a warm smile spread across his features as he slipped silently into the meadow.
He was here. As the youth moved in a low crouch, gathering the first fruits of the Queen’s Cup, he let his peripheral vision linger on a particular snag. There was nothing obviously interesting about it, other than the fact that it had not been there the last time Awiegwa was here. He had named the wanderer Bole, because it most often appeared as a thick tree trunk; sometimes living, sometimes dead. Occasionally it would be a boulder or simply a mound in the dirt. Often it wasn’t in the clearing at all. If the youth moved forward and tried to closely examine it he could never find anything to suggest it was something other than a tree or rock.
He had thought about taking a sample occasionally, had taken his knife out to do just that more than once, but something always held him back. Bole was a part of this place. Dissecting him would be too much like attempting to dissect his sense of his father’s presence here. The youth had never told anyone about this place, not even Ama with who could get most things out of him easily enough. Down at the house, in town, when he was Drake; solid, reliable, first up in the morning, two grades ahead in school with a penchant for science Drake, a productive member of modern society with a promising future and his mother smiling at him. Here he could be Awiegwa. Here he could believe in the ancient medicines his father had dug out of dusty old tomes and brought to life from the forest litter. Every time Awiegwa left the clearing and headed back towards home reality would reassert itself. Bole would resolve back into a figment of his imagination, created from pride in a somewhat better than average memory and what the social workers had called an “intriguing imagination”. When he reached the house and become solidly Drake again flickers of embarrassment would begin eating at him for letting his senses trick him like that, but as long as the blooms nodded around him in this garden Bole could exist even on a Thursday.
The little woven grass bag filled up with the berries fairly quickly and Awiegwa soon stretched out of his crouch and let his gaze wander contentedly over the clearing. As it always did, the warm space was working its special magic. Worries about Em getting out of his schoolwork, of not paying enough attention to the quiet Donny, of letting Ama see his petty resentments: it had all melted away from his muscles, thoughts of college costs and abandoning his duties dissolved into an acute sense of the now. The leaves rustled softly in a barely-there breeze, the heavy scent of some unidentified blossom filled his lungs, a dozen shades of green framed the rainbow of flowers, and over and above it all the creaking of the firs as the wind played over them. It was at times like these that he felth he could almost see into heaven; that something wonderful that existed just beyond his senses, and all he had to do was reach out and claim it.
The youth took a deep breath and let himself fall backwards onto a handy rise in the forest floor. His path had taken him to the foot of the snag and he shifted slightly to align himself with the gnarled roots. One hand gripped a time smoothed root.
“Ama trusted me enough to go out of state,” he murmured. “That’s the first time she’s done that. Usually she has Abulita stay with us to fend off the Harsh, but she said it’s long past legal now.”
It was his imagination of course that made him think the root vibrated in his hand in response. Many a long hour he had spent in this clearing with the wanderer. He had poured out his frustrations and anguishes over life’s injustices, had shared his secrets as he grew, and had shouted his triumphs. Sometimes he felt closer to Bole than to any of his human friends. However, something that sounded like his mother’s voice warned him that there was something odd about this and that awareness was the main reason he had kept this place secret from Ama. Their mother hadn’t exactly liked stuff like that. She had never objected to his father’s digging up the old stories of her people. Making cross generational connections between elders, who more often than not lived isolated lives, and the next generation, was an admirable goal in of itself in her eyes; objectively a social good. Storytelling was only the natural course for these relationships to take, but subtle looks had warned even a very young Drake that it was best to cautious what he shared with his mother. At least of those things that couldn’t be placed on a microscope slide. So this was Awigewa’s place, and while his father’s spirit wanders the flowers with he had never felt his mother here.
He let his focus drift up, and up. Dark blue Lupine nodded over his head framing the faint crisscross of jet contrails that threw a light haze over an otherwise cloudless sky. His clothed grew deliciously hot from the spring sun. The ground too had eagerly accepted the energy and now it conducted the heat into the muscles of his back. Bole’s wood beneath him was warmer even than the surrounding ground and an idle thought traced across Awiegwa’s awareness; something about it being odd for the light colored wood and relatively dry wood to retain more heat than the darker soil surrounding it. His mind was filled with the impression of a goal. He had been meaning to do, something. Something fun, yes, exploring, he’d meant to see if whatever had dug that den by the second boulder was cubing this year. He would just get up and do that in a minute. His back was so warm and comfortable.

https://i.redd.it/9qd7tgqrab3b1.gif
Flying Sparks”
Another foray into the lives of Drake McCarty, Ama Love, and the rest of their siblings as they discover that something alien is out in the forest around their home.
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flying-sparks-a-novel-of-dragon-bear-and-boy/coming_soon
#FlyingSparks #ScienceFiction #Scifi #Story #novel #book #DrakeMcCarty #AmaLove #Donny #Em #Bard #Bole #Aliens #Spaceships #Crystals #fireflies #NPS #NationalPark #Doctor #Sever #family #storm #writing #reading #drama #literature #author #BettyAdams #DyingEmbers #Dragons #ThingsThatGoBoomp #Indiegogo #CrowdFunding
submitted by Betty-Adams to christianSFF [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 03:48 Betty-Adams Flying Sparks Volume 1 - A Novel of a boy, a dragon, and an alien. Avaliable for preorder on Indiegogo Now.

Flying Sparks Volume 1 - A Novel of a boy, a dragon, and an alien. Avaliable for preorder on Indiegogo Now.

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


https://i.redd.it/9ngz0mlsab3b1.gif

Chapter 2

“Hazardous? I’ll show that manipulative, misanthropic, anti-establishment cretin just what hazardous means if he thinks I’m going to fold on this!”
The sound of vigorous guitar riffs made a fitting accompaniment to the angry tirade despite originating on opposite sides of the communal area. Ama was glaring at a laptop that sat on a stained oak desk shoved against the large table near the kitchen. She tapped a fingernail on the wood as she read through the alert.
“And what violation of basic human dignity has her royal prudishness’s undies in a bunch?” Em demanded with an affected sneer without looking up from his guitar scales.
“Oh you’ll agree with this one tree-hugger,” Drake muttered from where he sat oiling his work boots.
“Yeah,” Donny piped up, “Finney is trying to kill a perfectly healthy fir.”
“What!” Em demanded, carefully placing his battered old acoustic guitar down in its case and darting over to look at the computer screen. “You mean apark tree?”
Despite her simmering frustration Ama allowed a small smile to flicker across her face as she continued to type.
“Get out of your pajamas and I’ll tell you,” Drake ordered pointing towards the bathroom door with a stained rag. “School starts in forty-five minutes and you still have breakfast and chores. That goes for you too Pip-squirt.”
“I hope you washed your hands before you touched our food,” Em said with a frown.
“Boot grease makes a great source of fatty acids.” Drake retorted. “Now go!”
The two smaller boys muttered in annoyance but stumbled off to follow orders.
“So what is up?” the youth asked as he bent his head back over the smooth leather of his boots.
“Mrs. Finney wants that tree down that’s blocking her perfect view of Crescent Lake.” Ama replied in a dry tone.
“One that’s clearly on park property?” Drake asked.
“Indeedy-do.” Ama replied giving the paper in front of her a glare.
“So how’s she justifying it?” Drake asked.
“As a safety hazard to her house.” Ama replied.
“And?”
The biologist groaned and rubbed her face.
“As far as I can tell the trunk is perfectly healthy. There is an old trash can lid grown into the trunk and a little discolored sap is leaking out there.”
“Frass?”
“Watch your language!” Donny interjected as he darted up to the table.
“Frass is not a bad word,” Drake stated. “Have you let the chickens out?”
“Yes, what does frass mean?” Donny asked as he started piling stir-fry onto his plate.
“Look it up.” Drake ordered him. “Emerald! Breakfast ends in ten minutes! Get your tukus down here!”
“It’s bad health to rush meals,” Em snapped out as he came down a narrow stairway with deliberate slowness.
“It’s even worse for your health to skip meals altogether,” Drake growled threateningly.
“Shut it and give me some eggs.” Em snapped back.
“Emerald Waters Undersun,” Drake hissed out through gritted teeth. “You are going to get your own eggs.”
The boy threw himself into a chair and glared at Drake with challenge in every line of his body.
“Emerald,” Ama said in a calm tone. “I think you should apologize to your cousin now.”
“Sorry I disturbed you Ama,” he offered without breaking eye contact with Drake.
“Not me, him,” Ama said.
“Sorry you had to hear that Donny.” Em said.
Ama heaved a sigh and closed her computer.
“Emerald,” Ama said.
“Do you want to eat or go hungry?” Drake demanded.
Ama glanced at him with a familiar uneasy look in her eyes and Drake fought down a wince.
“Now, Em.” she said in a patient tone.
“I’ll go hungry,” Em snapped, jumping up and stalking over to the couch.
Donny kept his eyes fixed on his plate. Ama heaved a sigh before turning back to her computer. Em wriggled on the couch for several minutes before skulking back to the table. Drake moved to intercept him but Ama stopped him with a look and he let Em serve himself. Drake cast irritated glances at the wall clock as the time crept more and more into school time.
Ama closed her computer and stood, then sighed, sat and opened it again.
“I need to pick out their report topics,” Ama muttered.
“I could do it,” Drake offered.
“You do quite enough,” Ama replied briskly, as she scanned the news. “Here you go. For Donny, malfunctions at the Lewis- McChord Air Force Base air show.” A frown creased her face. “Wow, this is pretty serious. It looks like the F-16 demonstration team nearly got killed.”
Drake whistled and leaned over her shoulder.
“Multiple system failures,” he read out loud. “I am pretty sure that isn’t supposed to happen.”
“Nope,” Ama agreed. “Here is a topic on big game management for Em.”
“Reports due by next week?” Drake asked as the old printer on the desk began to squeal and grumble as it powered up.
“Same as usual,” Ama confirmed.
Drake put the printouts on top of the homework pile and moved to wash up the breakfast dishes.
“I need to get to work early today so you two be good for Drake,” she called out placing a quick kiss on top of the smaller boys’ heads and giving Drake’s shoulder a friendly squeeze.
“Good luck with Mrs. Finney, and stay safe.” Drake called out as she went into her room.
The table was cleaned off and wiped down and the clink of forks gave way to the steady scratch of pencils on paper. They broke for a recess after religion and then lunch after history and math, and by the time the Grandfather clock in the corner struck two the younger boys twitching with energy. Drake made certain the internet was disconnected at the router, and chased Donny and Em out into the garden.
“And don’t come in until dark,” he ordered tossing two snack bags out after them.
Donny as usual snatched his food and disappeared into the small orachard. Low grumbles about troglodytes and the Amish wandered out into the high corn following Em and Drake shook his head in exasperation wondering, not for the first time how the dark haired princeling came from the same gene pool as his little brother. The kitchen being mostly ordered Drake was turning to put the last random dirty sock in the hamper when a gnarled hand clutching a cane head appeared in the corner of his eye, causing his heart to make a valiant attempt to bolt out of his throat.
“Abuelita!” he gasped forcing his hands down from the guard position. “Where did you come from?”
Smoldering black eyes ran searchingly over the tall youth. An impossibly long mane of streaked silver and black hair was barely contained in a thick braid. A sharply pointed nose perched over a small wrinkled mouth. A vibrant red horse-hair serape hung over her shoulders concealing everything except her brown and gnarled hands which currently clutched the old tree branch she used as a cane. Drake had been more than a little comforted by the fact that both Em and Donny had admitted to having the thought ‘witch’ every time time they saw her as well.
“From the hand of God by the bodies of my sainted mother and father,” she replied after a long, uncomfortable silence.
She always spoke in a low husky voice that suggested years of smoking, though Drake had never smelled even stale smoke on her.
“Right,” Drake blinked and grinned at the response; the one she always gave. “So you are here for their Spanish lesson? I have their grammar books ready and-”
The narrow end of the tree branch rapped against the concrete of the floor causing Drake to jump. Abuelita glared at him, locking his gaze and holding him in place with it for a moment.
“I am here for their lessons,” she finally stated, “and you are there for my payment.”
Drake thought longingly of the repair and maintenance manuals in the cab of the truck and the new tool he was itching to try, but he forced a grin on his face.
“Yes ma’am,” he said. “What can I get you today?”
Abuelita pulled out a bag of woven grass from under her serape causing the indistinct patterns on the cloth to shift and change.
“Take this,” she ordered him, “and collect me the cobalt blue berries that grow on a single stalk close to the ground. They must come from the mountain to the south east of here by the crystal brook.”
Drake nodded, and took the little bag, he didn’t quite manage to infused his gestures with enthusiasm he supposed. The old woman, probably wouldn’t have noted it anyway. She turned and moved towards the garden door without waiting for any other reply. However she called out over her shoulder as he turned to find his own way out of the rambling structure.
“Don’t dawdle little one. A storm brews in the distance.”
He tried not to roll his eyes at that, the weather forecast was clear and eighties for the next week according to the morning fire report Ama had printed. The youth only nodded and slipped around the corner. He circled the barn and pulled a set of loose tan pants and tunic out of the cubby. The soft worn leather almost perfectly matched the forest floor for color as did the moccasins he pulled on after them. His morning running clothes were modern stuff that wicked the sweat away from him and let him speed through the forest. These were his free day clothes. The ones that let him disappear into the forest and wander. Abuelita, for all of her demands, would tend Em and Donny until he returned no matter how late that was, and with the Park’s yearly budget talks still under way it was highly unlikely Ama would be home until long after the sun had set. Despite still hearing the call of the half restored truck he felt something lossening in him already. The soft cotton and smooth leather rested easily against his skin and Drake slipped into the forest.
Freedom; for the moment at least, blissful freedom. Pushing aside the guilt that accompanied the thought as well as any lingering worries about his charges the youth let his legs carry him through the trees. He shunned the man made paths, following the faint animal trails. This close to the barn they were as clear to him as if they were named city streets. Being animal trails, they invariably led him to water. Today he stopped at a trickling stream, took off his moccasins, and rolled up his pants legs. The youth turned and followed the thin flow of icy water upstream, letting it steal the heat from his body through his feet.
Some distance upstream, the stream widened and pooled under a boulder. There Drake paused and pulled an old black compass out of his pocket. Behind him he knew every trail and tree. Ahead was a broad swath of National Wilderness he would have to cross, or possibly Bureau of Land Management or even state managed forests where he more rarely wandered. It was hard to tell where the boundaries were from the ground. The clearing he wanted for the berries was solidly in BLM land and he still had quite a ways to go to get there. The stand of timber that stood between him and his goal was dense with young tree and branches that frequently formed impenetrable hedges he had to track around and he checked his compass regularly as he climbed in elevation. Even so the youth found he had wandered too far off his route and had to correct when he spotted the boundary fence. However he was in no hurry and he reached the clearing long before the sun told him it was time to turn around.
Sometime in the past some unknown force had carved a shallow trench across the side of one of the small mountains that that dotted the wilderness. It had puzzled Drake at first. The scour was at the wrong angle to be an old rock slide, and terminated in a near perfectly circular clearing at the lower end. Centuries old Douglas Firs abruptly gave way to a second ring only a few decades old. Those were in turn beginning to produce cones and a smattering of knee high saplings. The rest of the space was completely given over to wildflowers. No matter what season Drake visited it he found a riot of life.
There had been an early spring and many herbs that normally would have waited a month or more were already in full bloom in the mountain meadow. A white wave of foamflower washed in from the deep forest surrounding the clearing, sending up knee high stalks covered in the delicate white blooms. Late trillium hid close to the roots of the great firs, many having shed their white corollas and begun to put forth their bulbous seed heads. Fuzzy white baneberry blossoms nodded gently in the breeze. A riot of yellow and purple spread across the ground as vetch and buttercups and a host of clovers competed for space in the open sun. Great stalks of lupine as high as his head thrust up their purple and blue proudly from thick clusters of palm shaped leaves. Pink shooting stars and violet harebells crouched under the protection of the larger plants. Indian paintbrush lit the scene with flames of red and orange. Where a spring seeped into the meadow elephant’s head flared neon pink and corydalis bushes put forth blushing blooms. Pale green wild orchids stood along the wet spot and the swarms of bees danced from them to the glacier lilies.
Sometimes, as he bent over a tiny blossom and traced the intricate network of veins in the petals, drank in the scent, and felt the smooth surface of the leaves an otherworldly feeling would come over him. It was as if there was another world just out of range of his senses. If he could only really look, the thin illusion that was blocking him would slip away and reveal the real world underneath it.
Look Awiegwa,” his father would whisper, pointing at a deer mouse perched on a fallen log. “What does it see?”
Awiegwa would screw up his face and squint. Trying to find the answer to the question.
Awiegwa had often wondered how so many flowers had come to be in the relatively small area. He had identified dozens of species and there were more he had yet to determine. The clearing was always the first place to bloom and the last to go dormant. Many of the flowers seemed to utterly defy their usual blooming patterns. However, as time passed he had simply come to accept it. It was one of the small good things that brought back the memories of his father. If it didn’t quite follow the rules Ama had taught him, well an impossible clearing in the mountains wasn’t a place for rules.
The particular bloom that Abuelita had requested had taken full advantage of the early sun and had already put forth a few cobalt blue berries; easily spotted at the edge of the clearing in the delicate sea of white flowers.
However before he left the shade of the forest for the meadow the youth paused and closed his eyes. Bole wasn’t always here, but he was often enough that Awiegwa always checked for him. Carefully he reconstructed the clearing in his mind; marking every tree and boulder on the edge. Three years he had been coming here and each time it was easier to recreate the clearing. Breathing evenly he opened his eyes, letting the mental image merge with the actual. There was a brief moment of confusion as details like the play of light through branches and the trembling of small clusters of flowers fixed themselves but there was only one truly jarring note. Awiegwa didn’t let his eyes focus on the disparity; he never did anymore, but a warm smile spread across his features as he slipped silently into the meadow.
He was here. As the youth moved in a low crouch, gathering the first fruits of the Queen’s Cup, he let his peripheral vision linger on a particular snag. There was nothing obviously interesting about it, other than the fact that it had not been there the last time Awiegwa was here. He had named the wanderer Bole, because it most often appeared as a thick tree trunk; sometimes living, sometimes dead. Occasionally it would be a boulder or simply a mound in the dirt. Often it wasn’t in the clearing at all. If the youth moved forward and tried to closely examine it he could never find anything to suggest it was something other than a tree or rock.
He had thought about taking a sample occasionally, had taken his knife out to do just that more than once, but something always held him back. Bole was a part of this place. Dissecting him would be too much like attempting to dissect his sense of his father’s presence here. The youth had never told anyone about this place, not even Ama with who could get most things out of him easily enough. Down at the house, in town, when he was Drake; solid, reliable, first up in the morning, two grades ahead in school with a penchant for science Drake, a productive member of modern society with a promising future and his mother smiling at him. Here he could be Awiegwa. Here he could believe in the ancient medicines his father had dug out of dusty old tomes and brought to life from the forest litter. Every time Awiegwa left the clearing and headed back towards home reality would reassert itself. Bole would resolve back into a figment of his imagination, created from pride in a somewhat better than average memory and what the social workers had called an “intriguing imagination”. When he reached the house and become solidly Drake again flickers of embarrassment would begin eating at him for letting his senses trick him like that, but as long as the blooms nodded around him in this garden Bole could exist even on a Thursday.
The little woven grass bag filled up with the berries fairly quickly and Awiegwa soon stretched out of his crouch and let his gaze wander contentedly over the clearing. As it always did, the warm space was working its special magic. Worries about Em getting out of his schoolwork, of not paying enough attention to the quiet Donny, of letting Ama see his petty resentments: it had all melted away from his muscles, thoughts of college costs and abandoning his duties dissolved into an acute sense of the now. The leaves rustled softly in a barely-there breeze, the heavy scent of some unidentified blossom filled his lungs, a dozen shades of green framed the rainbow of flowers, and over and above it all the creaking of the firs as the wind played over them. It was at times like these that he felth he could almost see into heaven; that something wonderful that existed just beyond his senses, and all he had to do was reach out and claim it.
The youth took a deep breath and let himself fall backwards onto a handy rise in the forest floor. His path had taken him to the foot of the snag and he shifted slightly to align himself with the gnarled roots. One hand gripped a time smoothed root.
“Ama trusted me enough to go out of state,” he murmured. “That’s the first time she’s done that. Usually she has Abulita stay with us to fend off the Harsh, but she said it’s long past legal now.”
It was his imagination of course that made him think the root vibrated in his hand in response. Many a long hour he had spent in this clearing with the wanderer. He had poured out his frustrations and anguishes over life’s injustices, had shared his secrets as he grew, and had shouted his triumphs. Sometimes he felt closer to Bole than to any of his human friends. However, something that sounded like his mother’s voice warned him that there was something odd about this and that awareness was the main reason he had kept this place secret from Ama. Their mother hadn’t exactly liked stuff like that. She had never objected to his father’s digging up the old stories of her people. Making cross generational connections between elders, who more often than not lived isolated lives, and the next generation, was an admirable goal in of itself in her eyes; objectively a social good. Storytelling was only the natural course for these relationships to take, but subtle looks had warned even a very young Drake that it was best to cautious what he shared with his mother. At least of those things that couldn’t be placed on a microscope slide. So this was Awigewa’s place, and while his father’s spirit wanders the flowers with he had never felt his mother here.
He let his focus drift up, and up. Dark blue Lupine nodded over his head framing the faint crisscross of jet contrails that threw a light haze over an otherwise cloudless sky. His clothed grew deliciously hot from the spring sun. The ground too had eagerly accepted the energy and now it conducted the heat into the muscles of his back. Bole’s wood beneath him was warmer even than the surrounding ground and an idle thought traced across Awiegwa’s awareness; something about it being odd for the light colored wood and relatively dry wood to retain more heat than the darker soil surrounding it. His mind was filled with the impression of a goal. He had been meaning to do, something. Something fun, yes, exploring, he’d meant to see if whatever had dug that den by the second boulder was cubing this year. He would just get up and do that in a minute. His back was so warm and comfortable.

https://i.redd.it/6dmd8hatab3b1.gif
Flying Sparks”
Another foray into the lives of Drake McCarty, Ama Love, and the rest of their siblings as they discover that something alien is out in the forest around their home.
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flying-sparks-a-novel-of-dragon-bear-and-boy/coming_soon
#FlyingSparks #ScienceFiction #Scifi #Story #novel #book #DrakeMcCarty #AmaLove #Donny #Em #Bard #Bole #Aliens #Spaceships #Crystals #fireflies #NPS #NationalPark #Doctor #Sever #family #storm #writing #reading #drama #literature #author #BettyAdams #DyingEmbers #Dragons #ThingsThatGoBoomp #Indiegogo #CrowdFunding
submitted by Betty-Adams to SciFiAndFantasy [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 03:48 Betty-Adams Flying Sparks Volume 1 - A Novel of a boy, a dragon, and an alien. Avaliable for preorder on Indiegogo Now.

[Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now](https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flying-sparks-a-novel-of-dragon-bear-and-boy/coming_soon)
Chapter 2 “Hazardous? I’ll show that manipulative, misanthropic, anti-establishment cretin just what hazardous means if he thinks I’m going to fold on this!” The sound of vigorous guitar riffs made a fitting accompaniment to the angry tirade despite originating on opposite sides of the communal area. Ama was glaring at a laptop that sat on a stained oak desk shoved against the large table near the kitchen. She tapped a fingernail on the wood as she read through the alert. “And what violation of basic human dignity has her royal prudishness’s undies in a bunch?” Em demanded with an affected sneer without looking up from his guitar scales. “Oh you’ll agree with this one tree-hugger,” Drake muttered from where he sat oiling his work boots. “Yeah,” Donny piped up, “Finney is trying to kill a perfectly healthy fir.” “What!” Em demanded, carefully placing his battered old acoustic guitar down in its case and darting over to look at the computer screen. “You mean apark tree?” Despite her simmering frustration Ama allowed a small smile to flicker across her face as she continued to type. “Get out of your pajamas and I’ll tell you,” Drake ordered pointing towards the bathroom door with a stained rag. “School starts in forty-five minutes and you still have breakfast and chores. That goes for you too Pip-squirt.” “I hope you washed your hands before you touched our food,” Em said with a frown. “Boot grease makes a great source of fatty acids.” Drake retorted. “Now go!” The two smaller boys muttered in annoyance but stumbled off to follow orders. “So what is up?” the youth asked as he bent his head back over the smooth leather of his boots. “Mrs. Finney wants that tree down that’s blocking her perfect view of Crescent Lake.” Ama replied in a dry tone. “One that’s clearly on park property?” Drake asked. “Indeedy-do.” Ama replied giving the paper in front of her a glare. “So how’s she justifying it?” Drake asked. “As a safety hazard to her house.” Ama replied. “And?” The biologist groaned and rubbed her face. “As far as I can tell the trunk is perfectly healthy. There is an old trash can lid grown into the trunk and a little discolored sap is leaking out there.” “Frass?” “Watch your language!” Donny interjected as he darted up to the table. “Frass is not a bad word,” Drake stated. “Have you let the chickens out?” “Yes, what does frass mean?” Donny asked as he started piling stir-fry onto his plate. “Look it up.” Drake ordered him. “Emerald! Breakfast ends in ten minutes! Get your tukus down here!” “It’s bad health to rush meals,” Em snapped out as he came down a narrow stairway with deliberate slowness. “It’s even worse for your health to skip meals altogether,” Drake growled threateningly. “Shut it and give me some eggs.” Em snapped back. “Emerald Waters Undersun,” Drake hissed out through gritted teeth. “You are going to get your own eggs.” The boy threw himself into a chair and glared at Drake with challenge in every line of his body. “Emerald,” Ama said in a calm tone. “I think you should apologize to your cousin now.” “Sorry I disturbed you Ama,” he offered without breaking eye contact with Drake. “Not me, him,” Ama said. “Sorry you had to hear that Donny.” Em said. Ama heaved a sigh and closed her computer. “Emerald,” Ama said. “Do you want to eat or go hungry?” Drake demanded. Ama glanced at him with a familiar uneasy look in her eyes and Drake fought down a wince. “Now, Em.” she said in a patient tone. “I’ll go hungry,” Em snapped, jumping up and stalking over to the couch. Donny kept his eyes fixed on his plate. Ama heaved a sigh before turning back to her computer. Em wriggled on the couch for several minutes before skulking back to the table. Drake moved to intercept him but Ama stopped him with a look and he let Em serve himself. Drake cast irritated glances at the wall clock as the time crept more and more into school time. Ama closed her computer and stood, then sighed, sat and opened it again. “I need to pick out their report topics,” Ama muttered. “I could do it,” Drake offered. “You do quite enough,” Ama replied briskly, as she scanned the news. “Here you go. For Donny, malfunctions at the Lewis- McChord Air Force Base air show.” A frown creased her face. “Wow, this is pretty serious. It looks like the F-16 demonstration team nearly got killed.” Drake whistled and leaned over her shoulder. “Multiple system failures,” he read out loud. “I am pretty sure that isn’t supposed to happen.” “Nope,” Ama agreed. “Here is a topic on big game management for Em.” “Reports due by next week?” Drake asked as the old printer on the desk began to squeal and grumble as it powered up. “Same as usual,” Ama confirmed. Drake put the printouts on top of the homework pile and moved to wash up the breakfast dishes. “I need to get to work early today so you two be good for Drake,” she called out placing a quick kiss on top of the smaller boys’ heads and giving Drake’s shoulder a friendly squeeze. “Good luck with Mrs. Finney, and stay safe.” Drake called out as she went into her room. The table was cleaned off and wiped down and the clink of forks gave way to the steady scratch of pencils on paper. They broke for a recess after religion and then lunch after history and math, and by the time the Grandfather clock in the corner struck two the younger boys twitching with energy. Drake made certain the internet was disconnected at the router, and chased Donny and Em out into the garden. “And don’t come in until dark,” he ordered tossing two snack bags out after them. Donny as usual snatched his food and disappeared into the small orachard. Low grumbles about troglodytes and the Amish wandered out into the high corn following Em and Drake shook his head in exasperation wondering, not for the first time how the dark haired princeling came from the same gene pool as his little brother. The kitchen being mostly ordered Drake was turning to put the last random dirty sock in the hamper when a gnarled hand clutching a cane head appeared in the corner of his eye, causing his heart to make a valiant attempt to bolt out of his throat. “Abuelita!” he gasped forcing his hands down from the guard position. “Where did you come from?” Smoldering black eyes ran searchingly over the tall youth. An impossibly long mane of streaked silver and black hair was barely contained in a thick braid. A sharply pointed nose perched over a small wrinkled mouth. A vibrant red horse-hair serape hung over her shoulders concealing everything except her brown and gnarled hands which currently clutched the old tree branch she used as a cane. Drake had been more than a little comforted by the fact that both Em and Donny had admitted to having the thought ‘witch’ every time time they saw her as well. “From the hand of God by the bodies of my sainted mother and father,” she replied after a long, uncomfortable silence. She always spoke in a low husky voice that suggested years of smoking, though Drake had never smelled even stale smoke on her. “Right,” Drake blinked and grinned at the response; the one she always gave. “So you are here for their Spanish lesson? I have their grammar books ready and-” The narrow end of the tree branch rapped against the concrete of the floor causing Drake to jump. Abuelita glared at him, locking his gaze and holding him in place with it for a moment. “I am here for their lessons,” she finally stated, “and you are there for my payment.” Drake thought longingly of the repair and maintenance manuals in the cab of the truck and the new tool he was itching to try, but he forced a grin on his face. “Yes ma’am,” he said. “What can I get you today?” Abuelita pulled out a bag of woven grass from under her serape causing the indistinct patterns on the cloth to shift and change. “Take this,” she ordered him, “and collect me the cobalt blue berries that grow on a single stalk close to the ground. They must come from the mountain to the south east of here by the crystal brook.” Drake nodded, and took the little bag, he didn’t quite manage to infused his gestures with enthusiasm he supposed. The old woman, probably wouldn’t have noted it anyway. She turned and moved towards the garden door without waiting for any other reply. However she called out over her shoulder as he turned to find his own way out of the rambling structure. “Don’t dawdle little one. A storm brews in the distance.” He tried not to roll his eyes at that, the weather forecast was clear and eighties for the next week according to the morning fire report Ama had printed. The youth only nodded and slipped around the corner. He circled the barn and pulled a set of loose tan pants and tunic out of the cubby. The soft worn leather almost perfectly matched the forest floor for color as did the moccasins he pulled on after them. His morning running clothes were modern stuff that wicked the sweat away from him and let him speed through the forest. These were his free day clothes. The ones that let him disappear into the forest and wander. Abuelita, for all of her demands, would tend Em and Donny until he returned no matter how late that was, and with the Park’s yearly budget talks still under way it was highly unlikely Ama would be home until long after the sun had set. Despite still hearing the call of the half restored truck he felt something lossening in him already. The soft cotton and smooth leather rested easily against his skin and Drake slipped into the forest. Freedom; for the moment at least, blissful freedom. Pushing aside the guilt that accompanied the thought as well as any lingering worries about his charges the youth let his legs carry him through the trees. He shunned the man made paths, following the faint animal trails. This close to the barn they were as clear to him as if they were named city streets. Being animal trails, they invariably led him to water. Today he stopped at a trickling stream, took off his moccasins, and rolled up his pants legs. The youth turned and followed the thin flow of icy water upstream, letting it steal the heat from his body through his feet. Some distance upstream, the stream widened and pooled under a boulder. There Drake paused and pulled an old black compass out of his pocket. Behind him he knew every trail and tree. Ahead was a broad swath of National Wilderness he would have to cross, or possibly Bureau of Land Management or even state managed forests where he more rarely wandered. It was hard to tell where the boundaries were from the ground. The clearing he wanted for the berries was solidly in BLM land and he still had quite a ways to go to get there. The stand of timber that stood between him and his goal was dense with young tree and branches that frequently formed impenetrable hedges he had to track around and he checked his compass regularly as he climbed in elevation. Even so the youth found he had wandered too far off his route and had to correct when he spotted the boundary fence. However he was in no hurry and he reached the clearing long before the sun told him it was time to turn around. Sometime in the past some unknown force had carved a shallow trench across the side of one of the small mountains that that dotted the wilderness. It had puzzled Drake at first. The scour was at the wrong angle to be an old rock slide, and terminated in a near perfectly circular clearing at the lower end. Centuries old Douglas Firs abruptly gave way to a second ring only a few decades old. Those were in turn beginning to produce cones and a smattering of knee high saplings. The rest of the space was completely given over to wildflowers. No matter what season Drake visited it he found a riot of life. There had been an early spring and many herbs that normally would have waited a month or more were already in full bloom in the mountain meadow. A white wave of foamflower washed in from the deep forest surrounding the clearing, sending up knee high stalks covered in the delicate white blooms. Late trillium hid close to the roots of the great firs, many having shed their white corollas and begun to put forth their bulbous seed heads. Fuzzy white baneberry blossoms nodded gently in the breeze. A riot of yellow and purple spread across the ground as vetch and buttercups and a host of clovers competed for space in the open sun. Great stalks of lupine as high as his head thrust up their purple and blue proudly from thick clusters of palm shaped leaves. Pink shooting stars and violet harebells crouched under the protection of the larger plants. Indian paintbrush lit the scene with flames of red and orange. Where a spring seeped into the meadow elephant’s head flared neon pink and corydalis bushes put forth blushing blooms. Pale green wild orchids stood along the wet spot and the swarms of bees danced from them to the glacier lilies. Sometimes, as he bent over a tiny blossom and traced the intricate network of veins in the petals, drank in the scent, and felt the smooth surface of the leaves an otherworldly feeling would come over him. It was as if there was another world just out of range of his senses. If he could only really look, the thin illusion that was blocking him would slip away and reveal the real world underneath it. “Look Awiegwa,” his father would whisper, pointing at a deer mouse perched on a fallen log. “What does it see?” Awiegwa would screw up his face and squint. Trying to find the answer to the question. Awiegwa had often wondered how so many flowers had come to be in the relatively small area. He had identified dozens of species and there were more he had yet to determine. The clearing was always the first place to bloom and the last to go dormant. Many of the flowers seemed to utterly defy their usual blooming patterns. However, as time passed he had simply come to accept it. It was one of the small good things that brought back the memories of his father. If it didn’t quite follow the rules Ama had taught him, well an impossible clearing in the mountains wasn’t a place for rules. The particular bloom that Abuelita had requested had taken full advantage of the early sun and had already put forth a few cobalt blue berries; easily spotted at the edge of the clearing in the delicate sea of white flowers. However before he left the shade of the forest for the meadow the youth paused and closed his eyes. Bole wasn’t always here, but he was often enough that Awiegwa always checked for him. Carefully he reconstructed the clearing in his mind; marking every tree and boulder on the edge. Three years he had been coming here and each time it was easier to recreate the clearing. Breathing evenly he opened his eyes, letting the mental image merge with the actual. There was a brief moment of confusion as details like the play of light through branches and the trembling of small clusters of flowers fixed themselves but there was only one truly jarring note. Awiegwa didn’t let his eyes focus on the disparity; he never did anymore, but a warm smile spread across his features as he slipped silently into the meadow. He was here. As the youth moved in a low crouch, gathering the first fruits of the Queen’s Cup, he let his peripheral vision linger on a particular snag. There was nothing obviously interesting about it, other than the fact that it had not been there the last time Awiegwa was here. He had named the wanderer Bole, because it most often appeared as a thick tree trunk; sometimes living, sometimes dead. Occasionally it would be a boulder or simply a mound in the dirt. Often it wasn’t in the clearing at all. If the youth moved forward and tried to closely examine it he could never find anything to suggest it was something other than a tree or rock. He had thought about taking a sample occasionally, had taken his knife out to do just that more than once, but something always held him back. Bole was a part of this place. Dissecting him would be too much like attempting to dissect his sense of his father’s presence here. The youth had never told anyone about this place, not even Ama with who could get most things out of him easily enough. Down at the house, in town, when he was Drake; solid, reliable, first up in the morning, two grades ahead in school with a penchant for science Drake, a productive member of modern society with a promising future and his mother smiling at him. Here he could be Awiegwa. Here he could believe in the ancient medicines his father had dug out of dusty old tomes and brought to life from the forest litter. Every time Awiegwa left the clearing and headed back towards home reality would reassert itself. Bole would resolve back into a figment of his imagination, created from pride in a somewhat better than average memory and what the social workers had called an “intriguing imagination”. When he reached the house and become solidly Drake again flickers of embarrassment would begin eating at him for letting his senses trick him like that, but as long as the blooms nodded around him in this garden Bole could exist even on a Thursday. The little woven grass bag filled up with the berries fairly quickly and Awiegwa soon stretched out of his crouch and let his gaze wander contentedly over the clearing. As it always did, the warm space was working its special magic. Worries about Em getting out of his schoolwork, of not paying enough attention to the quiet Donny, of letting Ama see his petty resentments: it had all melted away from his muscles, thoughts of college costs and abandoning his duties dissolved into an acute sense of the now. The leaves rustled softly in a barely-there breeze, the heavy scent of some unidentified blossom filled his lungs, a dozen shades of green framed the rainbow of flowers, and over and above it all the creaking of the firs as the wind played over them. It was at times like these that he felth he could almost see into heaven; that something wonderful that existed just beyond his senses, and all he had to do was reach out and claim it. The youth took a deep breath and let himself fall backwards onto a handy rise in the forest floor. His path had taken him to the foot of the snag and he shifted slightly to align himself with the gnarled roots. One hand gripped a time smoothed root. “Ama trusted me enough to go out of state,” he murmured. “That’s the first time she’s done that. Usually she has Abulita stay with us to fend off the Harsh, but she said it’s long past legal now.” It was his imagination of course that made him think the root vibrated in his hand in response. Many a long hour he had spent in this clearing with the wanderer. He had poured out his frustrations and anguishes over life’s injustices, had shared his secrets as he grew, and had shouted his triumphs. Sometimes he felt closer to Bole than to any of his human friends. However, something that sounded like his mother’s voice warned him that there was something odd about this and that awareness was the main reason he had kept this place secret from Ama. Their mother hadn’t exactly liked stuff like that. She had never objected to his father’s digging up the old stories of her people. Making cross generational connections between elders, who more often than not lived isolated lives, and the next generation, was an admirable goal in of itself in her eyes; objectively a social good. Storytelling was only the natural course for these relationships to take, but subtle looks had warned even a very young Drake that it was best to cautious what he shared with his mother. At least of those things that couldn’t be placed on a microscope slide. So this was Awigewa’s place, and while his father’s spirit wanders the flowers with he had never felt his mother here. He let his focus drift up, and up. Dark blue Lupine nodded over his head framing the faint crisscross of jet contrails that threw a light haze over an otherwise cloudless sky. His clothed grew deliciously hot from the spring sun. The ground too had eagerly accepted the energy and now it conducted the heat into the muscles of his back. Bole’s wood beneath him was warmer even than the surrounding ground and an idle thought traced across Awiegwa’s awareness; something about it being odd for the light colored wood and relatively dry wood to retain more heat than the darker soil surrounding it. His mind was filled with the impression of a goal. He had been meaning to do, something. Something fun, yes, exploring, he’d meant to see if whatever had dug that den by the second boulder was cubing this year. He would just get up and do that in a minute. His back was so warm and comfortable. “Flying Sparks” Another foray into the lives of Drake McCarty, Ama Love, and the rest of their siblings as they discover that something alien is out in the forest around their home. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flying-sparks-a-novel-of-dragon-bear-and-boy/coming_soon #FlyingSparks #ScienceFiction #Scifi #Story #novel #book #DrakeMcCarty #AmaLove #Donny #Em #Bard #Bole #Aliens #Spaceships #Crystals #fireflies #NPS #NationalPark #Doctor #Sever #family #storm #writing #reading #drama #literature #author #BettyAdams #DyingEmbers #Dragons #ThingsThatGoBoomp #Indiegogo #CrowdFunding
submitted by Betty-Adams to sffstories [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 03:46 Betty-Adams "Flying Sparks" A Boy, A dragon, and an Alien.

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


https://preview.redd.it/0endy7rj9b3b1.png?width=1280&format=png&auto=webp&s=b1c519ebd08b21978d50d4e87fcf60c7b43de5bd

Chapter 2

“Hazardous? I’ll show that manipulative, misanthropic, anti-establishment cretin just what hazardous means if he thinks I’m going to fold on this!”
The sound of vigorous guitar riffs made a fitting accompaniment to the angry tirade despite originating on opposite sides of the communal area. Ama was glaring at a laptop that sat on a stained oak desk shoved against the large table near the kitchen. She tapped a fingernail on the wood as she read through the alert.
“And what violation of basic human dignity has her royal prudishness’s undies in a bunch?” Em demanded with an affected sneer without looking up from his guitar scales.
“Oh you’ll agree with this one tree-hugger,” Drake muttered from where he sat oiling his work boots.
“Yeah,” Donny piped up, “Finney is trying to kill a perfectly healthy fir.”
“What!” Em demanded, carefully placing his battered old acoustic guitar down in its case and darting over to look at the computer screen. “You mean apark tree?”
Despite her simmering frustration Ama allowed a small smile to flicker across her face as she continued to type.
“Get out of your pajamas and I’ll tell you,” Drake ordered pointing towards the bathroom door with a stained rag. “School starts in forty-five minutes and you still have breakfast and chores. That goes for you too Pip-squirt.”
“I hope you washed your hands before you touched our food,” Em said with a frown.
“Boot grease makes a great source of fatty acids.” Drake retorted. “Now go!”
The two smaller boys muttered in annoyance but stumbled off to follow orders.
“So what is up?” the youth asked as he bent his head back over the smooth leather of his boots.
“Mrs. Finney wants that tree down that’s blocking her perfect view of Crescent Lake.” Ama replied in a dry tone.
“One that’s clearly on park property?” Drake asked.
“Indeedy-do.” Ama replied giving the paper in front of her a glare.
“So how’s she justifying it?” Drake asked.
“As a safety hazard to her house.” Ama replied.
“And?”
The biologist groaned and rubbed her face.
“As far as I can tell the trunk is perfectly healthy. There is an old trash can lid grown into the trunk and a little discolored sap is leaking out there.”
“Frass?”
“Watch your language!” Donny interjected as he darted up to the table.
“Frass is not a bad word,” Drake stated. “Have you let the chickens out?”
“Yes, what does frass mean?” Donny asked as he started piling stir-fry onto his plate.
“Look it up.” Drake ordered him. “Emerald! Breakfast ends in ten minutes! Get your tukus down here!”
“It’s bad health to rush meals,” Em snapped out as he came down a narrow stairway with deliberate slowness.
“It’s even worse for your health to skip meals altogether,” Drake growled threateningly.
“Shut it and give me some eggs.” Em snapped back.
“Emerald Waters Undersun,” Drake hissed out through gritted teeth. “You are going to get your own eggs.”
The boy threw himself into a chair and glared at Drake with challenge in every line of his body.
“Emerald,” Ama said in a calm tone. “I think you should apologize to your cousin now.”
“Sorry I disturbed you Ama,” he offered without breaking eye contact with Drake.
“Not me, him,” Ama said.
“Sorry you had to hear that Donny.” Em said.
Ama heaved a sigh and closed her computer.
“Emerald,” Ama said.
“Do you want to eat or go hungry?” Drake demanded.
Ama glanced at him with a familiar uneasy look in her eyes and Drake fought down a wince.
“Now, Em.” she said in a patient tone.
“I’ll go hungry,” Em snapped, jumping up and stalking over to the couch.
Donny kept his eyes fixed on his plate. Ama heaved a sigh before turning back to her computer. Em wriggled on the couch for several minutes before skulking back to the table. Drake moved to intercept him but Ama stopped him with a look and he let Em serve himself. Drake cast irritated glances at the wall clock as the time crept more and more into school time.
Ama closed her computer and stood, then sighed, sat and opened it again.
“I need to pick out their report topics,” Ama muttered.
“I could do it,” Drake offered.
“You do quite enough,” Ama replied briskly, as she scanned the news. “Here you go. For Donny, malfunctions at the Lewis- McChord Air Force Base air show.” A frown creased her face. “Wow, this is pretty serious. It looks like the F-16 demonstration team nearly got killed.”
Drake whistled and leaned over her shoulder.
“Multiple system failures,” he read out loud. “I am pretty sure that isn’t supposed to happen.”
“Nope,” Ama agreed. “Here is a topic on big game management for Em.”
“Reports due by next week?” Drake asked as the old printer on the desk began to squeal and grumble as it powered up.
“Same as usual,” Ama confirmed.
Drake put the printouts on top of the homework pile and moved to wash up the breakfast dishes.
“I need to get to work early today so you two be good for Drake,” she called out placing a quick kiss on top of the smaller boys’ heads and giving Drake’s shoulder a friendly squeeze.
“Good luck with Mrs. Finney, and stay safe.” Drake called out as she went into her room.
The table was cleaned off and wiped down and the clink of forks gave way to the steady scratch of pencils on paper. They broke for a recess after religion and then lunch after history and math, and by the time the Grandfather clock in the corner struck two the younger boys twitching with energy. Drake made certain the internet was disconnected at the router, and chased Donny and Em out into the garden.
“And don’t come in until dark,” he ordered tossing two snack bags out after them.
Donny as usual snatched his food and disappeared into the small orachard. Low grumbles about troglodytes and the Amish wandered out into the high corn following Em and Drake shook his head in exasperation wondering, not for the first time how the dark haired princeling came from the same gene pool as his little brother. The kitchen being mostly ordered Drake was turning to put the last random dirty sock in the hamper when a gnarled hand clutching a cane head appeared in the corner of his eye, causing his heart to make a valiant attempt to bolt out of his throat.
“Abuelita!” he gasped forcing his hands down from the guard position. “Where did you come from?”
Smoldering black eyes ran searchingly over the tall youth. An impossibly long mane of streaked silver and black hair was barely contained in a thick braid. A sharply pointed nose perched over a small wrinkled mouth. A vibrant red horse-hair serape hung over her shoulders concealing everything except her brown and gnarled hands which currently clutched the old tree branch she used as a cane. Drake had been more than a little comforted by the fact that both Em and Donny had admitted to having the thought ‘witch’ every time time they saw her as well.
“From the hand of God by the bodies of my sainted mother and father,” she replied after a long, uncomfortable silence.
She always spoke in a low husky voice that suggested years of smoking, though Drake had never smelled even stale smoke on her.
“Right,” Drake blinked and grinned at the response; the one she always gave. “So you are here for their Spanish lesson? I have their grammar books ready and-”
The narrow end of the tree branch rapped against the concrete of the floor causing Drake to jump. Abuelita glared at him, locking his gaze and holding him in place with it for a moment.
“I am here for their lessons,” she finally stated, “and you are there for my payment.”
Drake thought longingly of the repair and maintenance manuals in the cab of the truck and the new tool he was itching to try, but he forced a grin on his face.
“Yes ma’am,” he said. “What can I get you today?”
Abuelita pulled out a bag of woven grass from under her serape causing the indistinct patterns on the cloth to shift and change.
“Take this,” she ordered him, “and collect me the cobalt blue berries that grow on a single stalk close to the ground. They must come from the mountain to the south east of here by the crystal brook.”
Drake nodded, and took the little bag, he didn’t quite manage to infused his gestures with enthusiasm he supposed. The old woman, probably wouldn’t have noted it anyway. She turned and moved towards the garden door without waiting for any other reply. However she called out over her shoulder as he turned to find his own way out of the rambling structure.
“Don’t dawdle little one. A storm brews in the distance.”
He tried not to roll his eyes at that, the weather forecast was clear and eighties for the next week according to the morning fire report Ama had printed. The youth only nodded and slipped around the corner. He circled the barn and pulled a set of loose tan pants and tunic out of the cubby. The soft worn leather almost perfectly matched the forest floor for color as did the moccasins he pulled on after them. His morning running clothes were modern stuff that wicked the sweat away from him and let him speed through the forest. These were his free day clothes. The ones that let him disappear into the forest and wander. Abuelita, for all of her demands, would tend Em and Donny until he returned no matter how late that was, and with the Park’s yearly budget talks still under way it was highly unlikely Ama would be home until long after the sun had set. Despite still hearing the call of the half restored truck he felt something lossening in him already. The soft cotton and smooth leather rested easily against his skin and Drake slipped into the forest.
Freedom; for the moment at least, blissful freedom. Pushing aside the guilt that accompanied the thought as well as any lingering worries about his charges the youth let his legs carry him through the trees. He shunned the man made paths, following the faint animal trails. This close to the barn they were as clear to him as if they were named city streets. Being animal trails, they invariably led him to water. Today he stopped at a trickling stream, took off his moccasins, and rolled up his pants legs. The youth turned and followed the thin flow of icy water upstream, letting it steal the heat from his body through his feet.
Some distance upstream, the stream widened and pooled under a boulder. There Drake paused and pulled an old black compass out of his pocket. Behind him he knew every trail and tree. Ahead was a broad swath of National Wilderness he would have to cross, or possibly Bureau of Land Management or even state managed forests where he more rarely wandered. It was hard to tell where the boundaries were from the ground. The clearing he wanted for the berries was solidly in BLM land and he still had quite a ways to go to get there. The stand of timber that stood between him and his goal was dense with young tree and branches that frequently formed impenetrable hedges he had to track around and he checked his compass regularly as he climbed in elevation. Even so the youth found he had wandered too far off his route and had to correct when he spotted the boundary fence. However he was in no hurry and he reached the clearing long before the sun told him it was time to turn around.
Sometime in the past some unknown force had carved a shallow trench across the side of one of the small mountains that that dotted the wilderness. It had puzzled Drake at first. The scour was at the wrong angle to be an old rock slide, and terminated in a near perfectly circular clearing at the lower end. Centuries old Douglas Firs abruptly gave way to a second ring only a few decades old. Those were in turn beginning to produce cones and a smattering of knee high saplings. The rest of the space was completely given over to wildflowers. No matter what season Drake visited it he found a riot of life.
There had been an early spring and many herbs that normally would have waited a month or more were already in full bloom in the mountain meadow. A white wave of foamflower washed in from the deep forest surrounding the clearing, sending up knee high stalks covered in the delicate white blooms. Late trillium hid close to the roots of the great firs, many having shed their white corollas and begun to put forth their bulbous seed heads. Fuzzy white baneberry blossoms nodded gently in the breeze. A riot of yellow and purple spread across the ground as vetch and buttercups and a host of clovers competed for space in the open sun. Great stalks of lupine as high as his head thrust up their purple and blue proudly from thick clusters of palm shaped leaves. Pink shooting stars and violet harebells crouched under the protection of the larger plants. Indian paintbrush lit the scene with flames of red and orange. Where a spring seeped into the meadow elephant’s head flared neon pink and corydalis bushes put forth blushing blooms. Pale green wild orchids stood along the wet spot and the swarms of bees danced from them to the glacier lilies.
Sometimes, as he bent over a tiny blossom and traced the intricate network of veins in the petals, drank in the scent, and felt the smooth surface of the leaves an otherworldly feeling would come over him. It was as if there was another world just out of range of his senses. If he could only really look, the thin illusion that was blocking him would slip away and reveal the real world underneath it.
Look Awiegwa,” his father would whisper, pointing at a deer mouse perched on a fallen log. “What does it see?”
Awiegwa would screw up his face and squint. Trying to find the answer to the question.
Awiegwa had often wondered how so many flowers had come to be in the relatively small area. He had identified dozens of species and there were more he had yet to determine. The clearing was always the first place to bloom and the last to go dormant. Many of the flowers seemed to utterly defy their usual blooming patterns. However, as time passed he had simply come to accept it. It was one of the small good things that brought back the memories of his father. If it didn’t quite follow the rules Ama had taught him, well an impossible clearing in the mountains wasn’t a place for rules.
The particular bloom that Abuelita had requested had taken full advantage of the early sun and had already put forth a few cobalt blue berries; easily spotted at the edge of the clearing in the delicate sea of white flowers.
However before he left the shade of the forest for the meadow the youth paused and closed his eyes. Bole wasn’t always here, but he was often enough that Awiegwa always checked for him. Carefully he reconstructed the clearing in his mind; marking every tree and boulder on the edge. Three years he had been coming here and each time it was easier to recreate the clearing. Breathing evenly he opened his eyes, letting the mental image merge with the actual. There was a brief moment of confusion as details like the play of light through branches and the trembling of small clusters of flowers fixed themselves but there was only one truly jarring note. Awiegwa didn’t let his eyes focus on the disparity; he never did anymore, but a warm smile spread across his features as he slipped silently into the meadow.
He was here. As the youth moved in a low crouch, gathering the first fruits of the Queen’s Cup, he let his peripheral vision linger on a particular snag. There was nothing obviously interesting about it, other than the fact that it had not been there the last time Awiegwa was here. He had named the wanderer Bole, because it most often appeared as a thick tree trunk; sometimes living, sometimes dead. Occasionally it would be a boulder or simply a mound in the dirt. Often it wasn’t in the clearing at all. If the youth moved forward and tried to closely examine it he could never find anything to suggest it was something other than a tree or rock.
He had thought about taking a sample occasionally, had taken his knife out to do just that more than once, but something always held him back. Bole was a part of this place. Dissecting him would be too much like attempting to dissect his sense of his father’s presence here. The youth had never told anyone about this place, not even Ama with who could get most things out of him easily enough. Down at the house, in town, when he was Drake; solid, reliable, first up in the morning, two grades ahead in school with a penchant for science Drake, a productive member of modern society with a promising future and his mother smiling at him. Here he could be Awiegwa. Here he could believe in the ancient medicines his father had dug out of dusty old tomes and brought to life from the forest litter. Every time Awiegwa left the clearing and headed back towards home reality would reassert itself. Bole would resolve back into a figment of his imagination, created from pride in a somewhat better than average memory and what the social workers had called an “intriguing imagination”. When he reached the house and become solidly Drake again flickers of embarrassment would begin eating at him for letting his senses trick him like that, but as long as the blooms nodded around him in this garden Bole could exist even on a Thursday.
The little woven grass bag filled up with the berries fairly quickly and Awiegwa soon stretched out of his crouch and let his gaze wander contentedly over the clearing. As it always did, the warm space was working its special magic. Worries about Em getting out of his schoolwork, of not paying enough attention to the quiet Donny, of letting Ama see his petty resentments: it had all melted away from his muscles, thoughts of college costs and abandoning his duties dissolved into an acute sense of the now. The leaves rustled softly in a barely-there breeze, the heavy scent of some unidentified blossom filled his lungs, a dozen shades of green framed the rainbow of flowers, and over and above it all the creaking of the firs as the wind played over them. It was at times like these that he felth he could almost see into heaven; that something wonderful that existed just beyond his senses, and all he had to do was reach out and claim it.
The youth took a deep breath and let himself fall backwards onto a handy rise in the forest floor. His path had taken him to the foot of the snag and he shifted slightly to align himself with the gnarled roots. One hand gripped a time smoothed root.
“Ama trusted me enough to go out of state,” he murmured. “That’s the first time she’s done that. Usually she has Abulita stay with us to fend off the Harsh, but she said it’s long past legal now.”
It was his imagination of course that made him think the root vibrated in his hand in response. Many a long hour he had spent in this clearing with the wanderer. He had poured out his frustrations and anguishes over life’s injustices, had shared his secrets as he grew, and had shouted his triumphs. Sometimes he felt closer to Bole than to any of his human friends. However, something that sounded like his mother’s voice warned him that there was something odd about this and that awareness was the main reason he had kept this place secret from Ama. Their mother hadn’t exactly liked stuff like that. She had never objected to his father’s digging up the old stories of her people. Making cross generational connections between elders, who more often than not lived isolated lives, and the next generation, was an admirable goal in of itself in her eyes; objectively a social good. Storytelling was only the natural course for these relationships to take, but subtle looks had warned even a very young Drake that it was best to cautious what he shared with his mother. At least of those things that couldn’t be placed on a microscope slide. So this was Awigewa’s place, and while his father’s spirit wanders the flowers with he had never felt his mother here.
He let his focus drift up, and up. Dark blue Lupine nodded over his head framing the faint crisscross of jet contrails that threw a light haze over an otherwise cloudless sky. His clothed grew deliciously hot from the spring sun. The ground too had eagerly accepted the energy and now it conducted the heat into the muscles of his back. Bole’s wood beneath him was warmer even than the surrounding ground and an idle thought traced across Awiegwa’s awareness; something about it being odd for the light colored wood and relatively dry wood to retain more heat than the darker soil surrounding it. His mind was filled with the impression of a goal. He had been meaning to do, something. Something fun, yes, exploring, he’d meant to see if whatever had dug that den by the second boulder was cubing this year. He would just get up and do that in a minute. His back was so warm and comfortable.

https://i.redd.it/u406k7ko9b3b1.gif
Flying Sparks”
Another foray into the lives of Drake McCarty, Ama Love, and the rest of their siblings as they discover that something alien is out in the forest around their home.
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flying-sparks-a-novel-of-dragon-bear-and-boy/coming_soon
#FlyingSparks #ScienceFiction #Scifi #Story #novel #book #DrakeMcCarty #AmaLove #Donny #Em #Bard #Bole #Aliens #Spaceships #Crystals #fireflies #NPS #NationalPark #Doctor #Sever #family #storm #writing #reading #drama #literature #author #BettyAdams #DyingEmbers #Dragons #ThingsThatGoBoomp #Indiegogo #CrowdFunding
submitted by Betty-Adams to fiction [link] [comments]