Christmas on The Orcus, non-poem style

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Christmas, Somewhere in the Galaxy.

The Magnatar class ship held in orbit around the “Super Earth” at forty-thousand meters above the ground.

Well above the traffic lanes for aircraft that flew from hither and yon. The crew of the large ship parked it with great care while the pirate King strode around his command center at the top of the ship.

The Orcus was a powerful ship that logged many hours in trips between planets for negotiations for trade and peaceful coexistence in the United Confederation of Pirates. A label put on the outlying colonies by the Empire. They were all self-governed and traded with each other with no control or supervision by the Momo Empire. No one could be happier than the colonists.

After negotiations, the crew was tired. They had stopped at a half-dozen planets, secured agreements with every one of them.

Delivered gifts of the one time of year that was held onto by the humans to bring out the best of each other.

Still, the bachelor King, Ruu’ta O’Danu. From a long line of scofflaws, scallywags, rogues and leaders stood with his arms crossed in thought.

One crewman, the weapons and flight space officer, his daughter was just born, it was her first Christmas for this family.

Another, her mother died in the last month (Against the Kings mandate that no one dies during this time.) but she stayed at her post. Even when the King performed his duties as Ruu’tan she acted stoic. But, the king noticed the trickle of tear from one eye that traced down Chief Sharan Nayaan’s cheek in quiet moments.

They were too far away for her to go home to bury her mother, weeks out at maximum speed.

Sigh The crew was beyond their limit. Each member of the dozen ship’s crew had needs to go home. Even if it was to make contact over the holidays.

He took a position on the bridge, behind his chair and had a thought.

“Chief, ship-wide communication to my station please.”

The surprise announcement. Everyone had a five-day pass. Two days before, the day of and then two days after the time on earth where everyone sang, and felt a little nicer.

King Ryan O’Danu saw everyone off, transporters operated full-time, three drop pods took the teams down to their hub points.

One lieutenant had a sky-surfer he had modified himself, and, to the laughter of the red-headed master of the ship, flew it off of the landing pad that he ordered deployed from the side of the ship.

From there, the crew all went to their homes.

Last on the ship, a Magnatar class heavy cruiser, was the leader of the planet himself.

King Ryan O’Danu, his line of leaders went back to an age of sail and wooden ships. The first pirate, family legend had it, was a child that was kidnapped by the government. The child became a king of the sea and started a family dynasty.

Today, the king was simply a man alone on board of a flying battleship. He strolled about the empty ship, the quiet undertone of electronics his only company.

Standing on the landing pad, he watched until Lieutenant Antares was no longer visible. When the King turned back to the ship, he noted a blemish on the hull. A meteor impact when they orbited the mining colony that suffered a storm of flying rocks when two ‘roids collided nearby. The teams that mined the raw materials needed their shields repaired and King O’Danu brought the royal ship in as a blocker until the colonists and ship’s engineers got the system up and running again.

It had been a busy time for the run-up to these days of family and reaffirmation of life and love. They had worked hard to renew contracts, deliver gifts and assure that peace would last for at least another month.

Now it was over, other than the pit on the side of his ship, painted to look like a Killer Whale of earth. The ship was a well known force, and it the pride of the master of the ship, never shot any of its weapons in anger.

He tapped on a palm-held display and a ladder built by the Rose Suchuk company rolled out on its own wheels.

An hour later, he finally finished. He’d leave the ladder out to climb again later and inspect the fit and finish of the repairs. (He was picky like that.)

“Computer, Celtic traditional drums.” He said when he made his way to the lounge of the ship. “Collapse ladder, but leave in airlock for further use. Seal Airlocks.”

He sat at the table in the lounge, drinking an eggnog with rum from Lats-Ute mining colony. Finger foods, from Gray Kitchens on his own planet.

He laughed. If the ships chief medical officer saw what he ate now, Lynn McCoy M.D. would issue a health report on him and make him do extra physical training.

His cup was empty, but the view was grand. King O’Danu shook his head, he was not about to give up his view and poured another jigger of rum, shrugged, then just filled the cup with the dark liquid.

An hour passed while he read novels of distant lands and other worlds when his eyes started to droop.

“Computer, nightwatch. Sensors on passive scan. Environmental shields only.” He sighed. “I might want to go out later for a view of the stars.”

The king thought about his telescope, he’d like to do some stargazing later.

It was important that the shields would keep a layer of warm, pressurized air around the ship for him to breathe if he used the pad outside.

Whooo… I’m buzzed. That was potent stuff. He rubbed his eyes, they felt dry. He had been up and going for twenty-hours straight today. In the last few weeks, he slept only three hours out of every twenty-four. They may live on a ship, but the force of his circadian rhythm still forced him to hibernate a few hours per day.

In the captain’s quarters, Ryan peeled off his carbon fiber body armor and crawled into the bed and pulled the dense, heavy blanket up to his head.

He liked a cool room with the a blanket.

His mind drifted, the ship was secure, he set the systems and he was safe. No one would dare approach a Magnatar class, fully armed battleship with evil on their minds.

Then.

The unthinkable!

Alarms sounded.

Ruu’tan and King of Garnet-4, then leader of the council of the Pirate Confederation. Ryan O’Danu lept out of bed like a cat spooked on Halloween.

Proximity alert Proximity alert Negative response on IFF

Lights were at full bright, which dazzled him for a moment. Ryan ran to his desk were basic control systems were active.

“Computer, display sensor contact.” He rubbed his eyes, but not out of fatigue.

On the display, the contact was small. Only enough room for, maybe, four people.

“Overlay readings with Orcus in relative center.”

A hundred-thousand feet lower but climbing rapidly. He thought.

No one is scheduled to come back for four more days.

The display glowed with a 3-D overlay.

“Magnify.”

Then he gasped.

The speed at this target tracked, it approached the ship, cannon and defensive systems came online.

Phased energy weapons locked on.

Crap!” King Ryan knew what the targets was. He had to shut this system off at the command center. The weapons command and control had not been transferred, only navigation. ran down the gangway and hung a hard right, skipping the lift, he climbed the emergency ladder next to it and flopped over onto the floor.

The main display showed with detail not available to him in his bedroom.

“Computer, display HD display on holograph map of 3-D space, overlay Orcus as relative center and give readout on altitude and direction.” He thought a moment. “Speed and mass.”

“Working. Speed is thousand meters per second, mass of two-thousand two hundred kilograms. Reading ten life signs. One biped humanoid, nine quadruped of the Rangifer tarandus.”

“Rangifer. What is common name of Rangifer whatever you said.”

“Rangifer Tarandus, common name reindeer.”

“Reindeer? Rein…” his eyes grew big. “Oh Jeeze!”

“Computer, disable defensive systems.” King O’Danu yelled. “Stand down shields, stow the guns.”

“Power down. Alert, target is tracking to landing pad.”

“Oh good.”

“Danger, there is an obstruction in on the pad.”

“I requested the ladder in the airlock.”

“Manual override engaged on brakes, ladder is stationary.”

Ryan slapped himself in the forehead and ran down the stairs, taking them two at a time. At the bottom of the stairs, he tripped over the automated janitor and ended up in a pile next to the door.

Outside, clatter and noise of a landing.

“Computer, send warning to contact, danger on…”

A voice sounded through the intercom.

“Ahoy in ..oh balls!” and the sound of a body hitting the deck.

King Ryan ran down the gangway, slipping on golden elf-dust and overshooting the doorway and ended up, for the second time, in a pile on the floor. This time near his quarters.

“Sorry, Nicholas! I was fixing a meteor hit and left it out for inspection later.”

“Yeah, you left a trap for me. I know!” The shaggy white mane shook as he laughed at the joke. “I have some deliveries to here. Special ones.”

“I don’t have anyplace good to put them, over in the lounge on the bar would work well enough.” Ryan said.

“What’s this? You don’t have a tree.”

“Trees on Garnet-4 are all protected, this is one barren rock, you know.”

“This planet is, but Sapphire isn’t, nor is Palindrome Prime.”

“Yeah, but with PP you can’t tell which way your going.”

“Ryan.” The old elf turned around. “I can take these all back and assign you a Cadet Elf. Her name is Moonbottom.”

“Eh… Moonbottom?”

“She sent a gift to the wrong person, supposed to send a puppy to one boy named Brighthill in the Carolinas of the US on earth. Instead, she sent the pet to a Miss Elisabum in London who had coal coming.”

“Coal? From you? She must have been quite bad.”

“No no.” He pulled out another gift from the bag he carried in. “She is very poor. A lump of coal could warm her for the season.”

“Must be some lump.”

“About a ton.”

“OH! Well, in that context, I can see that.”

“Now for your tree.”

“You do not have a tree in that…” He went slack-jawed and silent.

“An Immortal tree. Sequoia Sempervirens. It is rooted on the bottom, too. When you get this craft on the ground, plant this tree. It’ll grow. You also have a warehouse full of these to plant along the coastal areas as of now. You have perfect zones for it.”

“How did you get these trees? They are protected and endangered.” Ryan stroked the green, feathery growth that served as needles for the evergreen tree. “I didn’t think the government would allow them off world.”

“Yes, actually. They are spreading them everywhere. So you have a hundred-thousand seedlings, ready for planting.”

“Thank you, I will have people on it after Christmas. You are a saint.” Ryan paused and thought a moment. “How many gifts are you leaving?”

“You have quite the shopping list. Why do you ask?”

“Ooh, nothing. I am having alerts, the ship is compensating for the weight of your deer and sleigh.”

“Reindeer.” Nicholas corrected. “Oh, my back. I have another billion stops to do tonight.”

“How do you do that? You cannot even go a second per stop, that’d take you longer than thirty-years.”

“Thirty-one years, nine-months, one and a half weeks and one hour. Roughly.” Nicholas groaned again as he stood. “But we have the Einstein Time Exception Device. The rest of the universe slows to a crawl, while me and anyone nearby is sped up. Elf Bernard came up with using the formula eons ago.”

“Oh, one more thing.” He handed Ryan a box. “This is a special request. It keeps all the good wishes for you, nice and safe.”

He turned and the old man nearly fell to a knee again.

Yeah, he gets some medicinal drink. The King of Garnet-4 thought to himself.

“Nick, have a seat. I’ll make you something ot warm the cockles of your heart.”

Nick sat back in a chair with a sigh.

“I’m a little tired of milk and cookies tonight. I’d take a carrot.”

“Carrots are…” Ryan called from galley. “For the reindeer! And I have a whole bag for them.”

“As you wish.”

Ryan brought out a pitcher of hot water, a mix he had created a few days before of maple sugar, vanilla, butter and cinnamon, hot water and rum.

They talked far into the night, each comparing notes with the other.

“You might have been told you are autistic as a child, King O’Danu, but you have done such good things with other people. You have shown other people who there is no label that you cannot overcome. You should be proud of all the negotiations you have done.” The white beard shook as the eyes crinkled behind the glasses in rum-warmed humor. “That said, I have a lot of stops to do and I am going to have to do something special. I must go.”

King O’Danu picked up the heavy bag, it felt nearly empty, but if he shook it, it made a sound, as if boxes rubbed together.

“Don’t shake that.” Nick smiled. “At the rate you are going, you’ll have my job someday. You are a good man. Ruu’tan Ryan O’Danu, King of this planet.

Ryan walked with the older man out to the landing pad of the ship, where he climbed up into the ancient anachronism. The conveyance was a throwback of nearly five-centuries. But the antlered reindeer were muscular and, quite literally, glowing gold.

Adjusting his had, he slurred his words slightly.

“Good rum. Keep up the good work, Ryan. Merry Christmas.” He pulled at his beard for a moment and then said softly.

“Ho ho ho.” And Santa was gone.

Watching the old man disappear from sight. He felt an old familiar pain.

King O’Danu walked back into the ship and hit a button and the landing pad withdrew into the ship, and he heard an old familiar refrain.

“Merry Christmas to all, to all a good night.”

Ryan laughed as the airlocks were sealed.

“Good night to you, too, old man.” Ryan said to the 3-D map as it tracked the small target, accelerating up and away, already at the edge of sensor range at relativistic speeds. “Merry Christmas to you too.”

Ryan O’Danu, descendant of Keegan O’Danu, the first pirate of the family, turned off all the lights. And set the defense systems to alert status and went to bed. The rum had definitely gone to his head.

When he woke up in the morning, he would laugh as he got out of bed. He was so drunk, he dreamed that Santa came and visited. Which everyone knew was a figment of his booze addled imagination.

Which made the existence of a pile of gifts all the more difficult to explain in the morning.

Christmas on the Flying Pirate Ship “Orcus” 2015

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Christmas on the Flying Pirate Ship “Orcus” 2015

I had settled under my blankets,

cuddled warm in my bed.

Alone and quiet, rum gone to my head,

Crew sent given them all a four-day pass

I did not want them working this weekend

and be all grumpy and crass

When suddenly (made me jump like I was scared)

Lights came on,

and alarms loudly blared,

Cannon raised and tracked ahead

Shields came online

as I leaped out of bed

when the holo-map was no longer dim

A target was tracking.

Small as can be

I didn’t need the computer to ID him

and I knew at once that old elf had found me

I thought while I pulled on my boot

“OMYGAWD, all weapons will shoot!”

(I knew that if even close, they’d render Christmas moot)

away to the command center I did sprint

With a shoe in one hand I tripped over the sweeper

While I lay on the floor a voice was heard as it said

“On my friends, he’s above forty-thousand meter!”

“To the roof, to the pad, he has it out and I am glad!

Donner and Vixen, Comet and Blitzen!

Dasher to your namesake

On to the ship, give me no lip

Cupid and Rudy you have a duty

Get me there! Come on team

We have to finish this in sky it does seem.”

Suddenly realizing, I left the Rose Suchuck Ladder outside the hallsl

I raced down the stairs to rescue any falls

I knew it was trouble when I heard Santa yell

“Balls!”

I skidded to a halt in spilled magic glitter.

The reindeer snickered,

and all were atwitter.

I had an urge to run and flee

When I saw

Santa was down on one knee

he fussed and he cussed

Then rubbing his shin he went straight to his work

Entered through the lock and turned with a jerk

A tree he pulled out of his sack

Was a gift from some kid named Charley

Who used to live out back

Small it was,

all bent to the floor

then the Old Red Coated elf

pulled out a box and put it by the door

The tree stood a bit higher

I began to laugh

This Charley Brown tree was a liar

I recognized by the needles for leaves

This was an Immortal Tree according to scans

not just a tree

it is a

Sequoia Sempervirens

The next box that Santa pulled out and put at the stand

Was black with a red ribbon

about the size of my hand

The next was a beauty of glittering hue

More came out

Red

Green

and

Blue

The pile grew faster still (It was a lot)

I didn’t know I had this many friends

Who’da thought?

As the pile grew tall

the computer came on and a blinking light lit and I spied

That the ship complained

As it listed to one side

Before he was done

His back did ache

I went to the Orca’s galley

and began to make.

Rum I made, spiced and hot

This old boy was not getting out

without hitting the pot.

Two of us drank further into the night

Santa’s nose lit up

Even Rudolf’s was not as bright

With a hearty “HO Ho hO”

Now he was a really jolly old elf

then said he had to go.

Stopping with a moment

The white-beard turned back

Put down his bag

Opened his sack

To the King he handed

a magical thing

Looked like a box

With a heavy steel ring

I blinked one time

I wondered what this was for

What kind of crime?

What was the score?r

“It’s a treasure chest, it swells to hold

All the love from your friends I have been told”

The Old Elf laughed and left with his nose in full shine

A wee bit wobbly with a singing line.

“On Prancer, on Vixen, On Comet –don’t be stupid– Dasher and Dancer, Rudy And Chester! Donner and Blitzen get to Getzin!”

“Good night to Pirates anywhere they be!”

I stood and watched him fly away.

Most of all…

I wish Merry Christmas From me.

Dash McCallen MICP

Married by Mistake Chapter 40. This Girl Loves Her Sharp Dressed Man

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Chapter 40. This Girl Loves Her Sharp Dressed Man

Smiling, Kaylee climbed out of the pool and padded around on the concrete walk, the water glistened on her bare skin. She spread out a towel and Stretched in the sun at Tom’s side, while he soaked his feet in the pool.

Sitting next to his left, she touched his bandaged arm.

‟You got this damp. We will need to change it before you get dressed and we go out.” She observed. Her skin puckered in the breeze that blew over the open area on the roof of the penthouse.

She helped Tom to his feet and they walked down the stairs to the breakfast nook where the bag with bandages sat.

Slowly unwrapping the arm, exposing the ugly suture line, Kaylee smiled softly.

‟The color is better than when we got to the hospital. How does it feel.” She stroked his hand with her fingers.

*She is caregiver who is breathtakingly beautiful, shy as a hammer and cares for me, a partner who can’t swim with her.* He moved his fingers. “It doesn’t hurt at all, at the moment.”

‟It is not leaking at all right now. The bandages are still clean underneath.”

Tom looked away, he did not want to look at it since the doctor cut off the bandages, the bluish color at the hospital had alarmed and frightened the author of books. In his head, he got too close to losing the arm.

‟That’s good. Just make sure its clean and cover it up, I don’t want to look at it at all, it makes me a little… Well, a lot… worried.”

Kissing his fingers, she looked in his eyes.

‟You feel that?”

‟Yes. How could I not?”

‟Sensation for soft touch is normal.” She smiled. Then biting his thumb lightly. ‟Feel that.”

‟Oh, yeah.” He gasped and his eyes got big. ‟This is a tease?”

‟You’ll never know.” She slowly wrapped his arm with a roll bandage wearing a slight smile.

‟What do you mean? “I’ll never know”.”

Her creative muse of art and sensation awoke, she stood up, reached in the bag and took out a blood-red short-sleeve silk cocktail-dress and pulled it over her head, laughing at Tom’s eyes.

‟Like I said, you will never know.”

‟Do you have anything in that for me?” Tom grinned. “Is this part of the surprise?”

‟Well, now. She turned on her phone and ordered a black tuxedo. We have the obvious out-of-the-way. I had the tux set up for my call.” She took his hand and pulled him to his feet.

‟Follow me.” She took him by the hand, pulling Tom out of the kitchen chair.

‟Where are we…”

‟Shush and follow my lead, brat.”

‟Brat?”

‟Hush. Close your eyes.” She pulled him firmly. “We have something to fix before you get dressed. Follow.”

Playfully resisting, he followed her slowly across the suite, a pause as she picked up a bag tickled his imagination of what was about to happen.

Pushing him to a large, padded cushion, it took Tom a moment to realize he was sitting on a bed.

A big bed.

Tom bounced a bit, but no spring, it settled. Memory foam.

It was comfortable and somewhat firm. The bed felt large, king-sized.

A sound of a small ratchet echoed in his dark world, she had picked up something.

‟What…” He felt a metallic clamp on his right thumb.

‟Move to the head of the bed, lay down and let me lift your hands up over your head, so they are above your heart a little.”

Stretching out on the bed, he found a pillow, and she laughed lightly at his efforts. She knelt next to him and gently guided his wounded arm over his head.

The clicks of a ratchet sound and sensations of a clamp on his other thumb through the slats of the headboard alarmed him and he tugged at his arms.

He was trapped.

‟Kaylee ?” His eyes opened wide.

‟You will call me Mistress.”

Tom started to laugh and found that he had a most definite bound and helpless sensation, his hands held in place by the thumb-cuffs.

For the first time in his adult life, he was afraid of a woman in the bedroom.

Thomas Harte, writer of steam-pirate stories, survivor of near disasters and surgery gave a nervous giggle.

“Be gentle?” he whispered.

Kaylee gave the most wicked laugh she could muster.

For twenty-minutes while they waited for his tuxedo to arrive, she taught him the reason about why she was not an ex-wife.

Kaylee was pulling her dress back over her head when the doorbell rang and she left to answer it.

“Um. Thumbs?” Tom’s voice came out as a whine.

“Don’t go away.” Kaylee laughed when she left the room.

*Like I have a choice.* He tugged at the thumb-cuff. He could hear her talking with another woman at the door. *It sounds like she just gave my number to Erika.*

She returned to the bedroom with a black tuxedo, carefully hanging it on the bar in the closet.

“Now mister.” She turned to the helpless non-husband. “We dress you, cuz there isn’t any date I like better than have my men dressed in formal clothes. Tonight, you wear a stick-pin, cufflinks, and there are gloves, a hat and a cane at the door.”

“A hat?”
“Silk shirt, hat, cane, gloves. Mister, then you’ll be one sharp dressed man.” She waved two brand-new mirror-shined black dress shoes for him to wear.

When they finished getting him dressed to the nines, they stood in front of the doors of the elevator.

She could not take her eyes from him and was humming a tune.

When the doors closed behind them, she whispered-sang in his ear while holding his hand and stepped off the elevator car to the stares of the staff women at the lobby desk.

“Every girl is crazy about a sharp dressed man.” And kissed him on the earlobe. “I love you in your tux and black tie.”

*I love you, too.* Floated through his mind.

Married by Mistake Chapter 23. Realization

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Chapter 23. Realization

She sat in the window seat while Tom slept. It was a strange emotion. She felt empowered, Kaylee looked out the window while Tom slept. He was unaware of the conflict that had just happened between her and the publisher, she needed to tell him that his agent came in and she chased the woman and her broom out of the hospital.

Kaylee ’s heart raced with the adrenalin rush of the collision between her and the business woman who drove Tom to write while in bed and at all waking hours.

Between the machines that beeped and sterile smells, she realized that Tom would not come home from the hospital in time to sign the annulment, she would be married when she went home in the next two weeks.

*Maybe.* She shook her head. *Drat!*

*Why is it, it seems that the world wants me with Tom?* She bit her nails for a moment. Falling back on a bad habit. *In my dreams, I’ve always painted a life with Glenn, I imagined it with all the glitter and hues of happiness. A life of birds, forests, even nights were adventures. Now it is going to pieces faster than I can think, this past three weeks has been fun, but it has been a blur. I don’t know what else to do.*

She ran the memories through her head like a movie, looking for something that she had done right for a change.

All of the memories ended in a rough landing in a river, then Tom’s injury while he carried a large piece of glass out of the plane, alone like a foolish human male when service crews surrounded him after she left and went back to Ocean Bay. It became apparent that he was fortunate that people were there. If he had been alone?

*I could be his widow.* She blocked that out. *I don’t want to think about that.*

As soon as she found about his accident, she felt compelled to come be by his side, to answer questions and sign papers and protect him, this man who lived his life as a bachelor-hermit and would-be-hero.

She laughed even though she felt tears in hear heart. He was a hero.

All from that Friday. That one day that was the domino that caused other pieces to fall in a pattern that now made her focus on how she walked through her life.

Cut tires on her car, those could not be avoided and if it were not for Tom, her tires would still be flat. Then the attack on the beach later that same day.

*Then! OMG! That professor!* If ever she wanted to have a list of people she wanted to break, he was number one.

Kaylee longed for some peace and quiet.

*I just want to paint and have time to sculpt. This is a summer that tops all summers, even when I hitchhiked across Europe and lived in those hostels when I could afford it.*

That was a summer of adventure and excitement that she had sought out, this summer, all the adventure and craziness came at her.

Now, she sat in a hospital room with someone who was her husband with a serious injury, a man she did not know just a few weeks before.

And she was protective of him.

*Like a wife.*

That word again. Wife.

It haunted her, maybe even make her re-think her use of pharmaceuticals and mixing them all to party with people. Sometimes she did not know who she partied with.

She needed to finish college, that much was certain, two years left to go, plus grad school if dad would pay… At least part… of it.

Melanie , her sister and confidant would to go to school at the same time and their parents were always on the verge of not paying the bills. Tuition for school was expensive with the costs of two apartments, they groaned under the costs while running their businesses.

But as a wife, this would have consequences that she could not even dream of. Tom might help, he was that kind of person. But even if his hair was not gray, he was still older than she would normally date.

Covering her eyes in a flash of almost-laughing.

*Date? I’m was married to the man.*

He could even be a wife-beater like the tabloids said.

*No.* She shook her head. *If anything he is the most kind, gentle and generous person that ever tapped a keyboard. Tom is a man who someone could care about.*

He was someone who walked alone after the death of his family, some would say the his experiences broke him, but Tom healed with the writing children books and the novels of passion for the adults.

If anything Tom had, it was heart.

And a good one at that. Kaylee smiled softly to herself.

Slowly stroking his hand, Randy the Nurse came in and checked the pump next to Tom’s bed.

“Tom’s temperature has gone up a little, the Doctor has ordered an antibiotic in his IV pump.” Randy said it as if he it tickled him to do his job. “We got the pizza by the way, everyone did! It was amazing to see so many deliveries at the same time. Tom, thank you.”

Tom, heavily dosed a half-hour earlier mumbled then drifted away again into his narcotic dream world.

Randy leaned over to Kaylee .

“Would you like a slice of pizza? Mister Harte is sleeping, I’ll slip you some before he wakes up.”

“Pissa?” A mumbled voice from the bed. “I sshmeell peet- sa.”

“Shhh, Tom.” Kaylee whispered to his ear. “You need to rest.”

“Oh bull! Someone has pizza!” he was more awake now. “You are sneaky, I thought you were nice.”

“I have a permanent spot on Santa’s naughty list.”

Tom laughed, then moaned.

“Please, no jokes, it hurts when I laugh.”

Kaylee took her turn to laugh and left to get a slice of pizza.

“How long did it take to get here?” Tom asked Randy as the nurse tinkered around the room, setting up the IV pump on a strange-looking pole with wheels. Resembling a metal spider at the bottom with the eight-wheeled suspension that held up the chrome-plated T-topped pole.

“It took a little while, the pizza store called to verify that it was really you. A couple of hours after that, it took five delivery guys nearly an hour to bring it all in. They had to make ten trips!”

“More than 30 minutes, it’s free.” Tom tried to laugh, and groaned in pain again as he moved his wounded arm.

“I don’t think this counts.” Randy laughed as he went about his job.

“Can Tom have a slice of pizza?” Kaylee asked as she came back into the room.

“Yes, no problem about that, he has technically been eating since yesterday.” Randy nodded, a bit of marinara sauce on his upper lip, while he chewed. “Technically, I’m not supposed to eat outside of the back-room, but the Doctor insisted that we get this piggyback set up.”

“I’d buy him a pizza, too. Say, what is his office’s address?” Tom asked.

“They are closed by now, try it tomorrow if you like.” Randy said. “I”ll be back, I have to go to attend to another room.”

“Hey, naughty girl, would you give me a bite or three of that pizza slice?” Tom smiled, he was getting stronger, despite the drugs.

Not for the first time, as Kaylee chewed her pizza slice, Tom made her smile.

Naughty girl?

When the doctor released him, she would show him a new definition of naughty.

Writer’s Conference 2015

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An outstanding and educational weekend.  I got to meet and talk with several agents and publishers.  One, who I did not know was an agent, I kind of made a pitch to for my manuscript “Married by Mistake.

Well, I thought she was a writer and we were talking writer stuff.  Then the next day I sat in front of her with an “Official” pitch.

Um.  Already I have, and I know I have, anxiety when being around groups of people.  Not quite claustrophobia, I can crawl into small spaces and save a life (been there, done that.)

It’s a disdain for being so close I can smell keytones on a diabetic, or the cigarette someone smoked an hour ago is something that wears on my soul and anxiety builds.

That said, I sat in front of this writer– and it was the agent I met the day before and unofficially pitched my manuscript of MbM to.  She laughed in delight and handed me a card, asking me to send a sample.

Well, done and done!  But I forgot my contact information, name… small things. LOL. Yeah. This will work not at all.

We will see.

The magazine I submitted Flee rejected the manuscript, I  have resubmitted for another location. I also submitted it (trying to play on the cuteness of my smile and memory…)

So I have been keeping my head down and trying to write a winning letter of inquiry.  Something that is not sounding like it is coming from Sheldon Cooper and Ambassador Spock’s love child. That is to say, I already have a habit for 5 and 10 dollar words, no need to make people race for the dictionary.

Anyway.  4 for 4 pitches to the positive. Agents that want part of or all of a manuscript.

Plus a purchase of a book I highly recommend: “Dictionary of Publishing Terms” by Ingred Lundquist.  Not expensive and information in it is good to have at hand.

Buy it, study it. If you wish to be a writer, this is a good tool to have at hand.

I can be a tool, but this is a good tool.

Secondly: I met and spoke with Catriona McPhearson. It was awesome to talk with Dr. McPhearson, even if a bit of a linquistics challenge when I was in a very tight quarters of a keynote dinner. I had doubled up on anxiolytics, I should have trebled. But no.  Good way to vomit on agents at the dinner.

Not a way to win friends and influence agents to make a memory to accept a manuscript.

Another point.  Writers!  Poets! Send in your compositions to contests!  I have a list of said things that cover from West Coast US to Canada to the London, Paris, Amsterdam book festivals.

If you wish to have a listing of the contests in your area, I have a list. I won’t transcribe it here, it will fill this this page with a nauseating number of text and links.  Just send me a request and I’ll send you what might interest you for book contests.

The book-in-hand roadshow is a big thing to look for.

Local publishers, instructors.  Plus one writer who talkedintoneincrediblylongunbrokensentence and I could not get a question in edgewise. By the time she stopped talking and asked if anyone had questions?

I had forgotten. Blech…

I was trying to pay attention enough to what was being said, I should have wrote down the questions, but I would have missed ten-paragraphs of her lecture.

BUT!  I have now people interested and they know the name of Dash McCallen along with the names of some of the works.

Why do we wish to be writers?  This little group I hang with locally? I don’t know. Brain damage I suppose. I have this chorus of voices in my head that want to tell what they have to say.

I write the ones that scream the loudest.

You are now getting a series of “Valley of Fear” which is not yet evolved.  Is it horror? I don’t know . yet. The characters haven’t told me yet.

Dragon Master university has haunted my brain again of late.

And a new one has appeared in my head. If you like romance, let me know. I have had one agent tell me that male writers and romance do not go together.

“Really?” Hm. My first thought was to Cyrano de Bergerac. No matter if you are thinking of the play, or the real person, all men.  He didn’t say it would not sell, just that it was not a popular combination. Men do not write romance.

Hm.

That might be a stereotype I am willing to try and break. I already have urges to take the archetype bad-guy and turn them into some sort of good-guy.  Scary good-guy, but a white-hat wearing monster-crushing idea.

So now we are at the end of the Writer’s Conference.  the best I can say to writers, accomplished or aspiring, go to the conferences!  But, price them. Some I have seen are hideous in cost, and see if you can get a group to go with you. Reduce the costs.  Ours was $220, but with six writers, we reduced the cost to less than half per person and I learned a lot.  I am sure the others did, but I won’t speak on their behalf.  Each person brings away something different.

And I am currently surrounded by notes, and papers, handouts and business cards. (each one with something written on them.  Most of them private emails, phone numbers, or “Send me” requests.

Oh! And plus, editors were there.  I have one, she is quite adept and good.  But I learned that there are more skilled eyes with specialties after your first editor.

Do not use friends, family etc.  I had Papa Dash do mine, he is brutal and honest. But still, I had a professional take a look. And it seems, I should pursue a third.

Well, I’ll sign off now, I have used my lip-dribble enough to fill up your screen.

Again, if you are a writer and would like a list of companies or organizations that do contests, you can gain awards or funds to move your skills and motivate your soul along, shoot me a note. I’ll transcribe all you might want.

I will start writing again tomorrow. Keep on reading. 😀 I’ll Write On!

Saturday Morning: I hate spring

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Under the car

Oil to change

it will be warm today

Spring is Strange

Laying on the back

with the drain plug out

Misplaced the tool

Grumble

Spouse walks by

Ask for the wrench

She kicks the bottom of the foot

She thought I said “Wench”

Plug slimed with oil

twisting is a strain.

Then the sneeze!

Bounce forehead off engine

Occiput off cement

Two points of pain.

will eat some chocolate

Take a shower

go back to bed

Will try this day later.

love antihistamine

I hate spring.

You’re home!

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Dancing four legs

a wagging tail

“I missed you, you were gone forever!”

One must pass the sniff and taste test.

“Who have you been near, who did you pet?”

A demand of a scratch by the ears.

Forty-five kilos of love.

Sitting down

Now a giant yellow lap-lander.

leaning against the chest, throwing head back.

The claim of the body. Human! You are MINE!

Canine cackling

Who belongs to whom?

“Welcome home.”

The Tongue, the Chin and the Earlobe.

Hypnos the Cat commandis you
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Hate sleep.

Snatches of oblivion

The poet could fly

In dreams

The sound of a motorcycle

an airplane with a goggle wearing beagle at the controls

The Red-Baron closes,

You can hear his engine getting closer.

It purrs,

A well tuned machine.

A breeze at the ear, a close bullet!

The feeling of the rasp of …

A tongue?

The cat cleans the rim of the ear

Then uses it for a chin-rest

and purrs

while he naps,

using a human ear as a pillow

Moving the head

Pale-green eyes

A command “Go back to sleep”

Laughing inwardly,

Did I say “Hate sleep?”

This is not bad.

Good thing there are no allergies.

The new week (short poem)

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Morningtime,

Mondays should be a crime

Tuesday is Monday’s cruel sister.

Much like the sunburn’s blister.

Laying in bed not wanting to face the day

phone unplugged and shades drawn

wishing it would all go away.

Pillow over the head,

so silent and alone.

Loud that bladder screams.

Tile floor is cold.

This gets old.

Day has started.

Damn it all.

©2015 Dash McCallen all rights reserved

Moved Away

Room of Teen after move
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A room once echoed with laughter

bad dreams and calls for dad

Big bear the protector, always was there

Grew and learned to count

one, two, three

“Cute little girl! at your age your free!”

Sparkling blue eyes corrected the Maitre ‘D

“I am FOUR! Not free!”

Booster seat her favorite place

She found them anywhere she went 

She could sit in “Grownup” Space

Movies too! As she grew

Booster seats for you-know-who

Hair like burnished copper

(It gave her the name) 

runing with boys,

she grew so tall

Sister by her side

they played t-ball

Sat in their room

Voices of princesses 

Playing their part

Tea here with the prince

Nail polish

a new discovery

So fun you think?

In his chair daddy is sleeping

Let’s paint his toenails pink

a color worn with pride

The princess made sure

“Wear Sandals outside!”

Once shorter than the switch for the light

taller she grew

Seeming overnight. 

Taller than the mantel

(The year before she had to hop) 

still would crawl in bed, 

sleeping in between mom’n’pop

One day, the little girl 

no longer comes to cuddle

Too old now you see

That era now is a history

Moved to her own room

she paints on her own

Make it purple!

Ceiling fan is her own

a bed built by dad

strong as stone

Travels she goes on

With her sister 

that should amaze ya

They brought back some of the little island called

‘Straya

Picked up an Aussie twang

Still stuck with a West Coast slang

Australian flag adorned her door

Koalas 

name plates

and pirate too.

But what the heck

She put a sign up

“this room’s a wreck”

Dresses found

and braces worn

the grinning child

loved to be adorned

Halloween she come admire

Lady bugs and a costume found

She wore red and black for a year

Echos of her laughter

and her memories are here

this is the only home she known

now comes the fear.

Standing in her room

the door still with decor

but the room is empty

I watched her go

Stood on the walk,

until she got to the turn

then she was gone

the heart hurt 

the eyes did burn

Standing in the room

empty of toys

on the wall pictures of friends

both girls and boys.

Turned a circle

the walls echoed the noise.

A spooky heart stopping sound 

like the wolf in the wild

an odd sound you see

The howl long and plaintive 

for the missing child 

came from me. 

©2015 Dash McCallen

Pain of the Parent

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The princess arrived one fine day.

Sunrise colored her hair

In amazing ways

Sparkling Tahoe blue eyes

Her laughter and voice was twice her size.

Smallest in her class

But she frightened them en masse.

Eighteen winters have since gone by

She knows all

She has seen it through my eye

Little lost puppies, canis and human

she rides on missions to save them all

Short and four-legged or bipedal

and still not very tall

Pride of the Irish she would be

Mind like a straight razor

and sharp as a tack

Eighteen winters have gone past

She wishes to life with him

Her childhood is past

Listen to dad?

Hardly, you see.

She has smarts, she has listened

for a moment or three.

Explained with math

Budget required.

Mind is closed

This rhyme was not desired.

****

Packed up her dishes

Her clothes she did stow.

Tall father with crossed arms

Words told to the Princess

The move opposed

The move is unwise.

The worst part.

When one’s heart tells the brain

Naught but lies.

The child of sunrise

borrows dad’s car

She takes her dishes

“It’s not that far.”

She is an adult

Yes and true.

Silly rhyme again coming through

Tall like a willow,

smart as a whip

she moves to take on a life

refusing to hear

the wisdom of mom

or dad

To stand and watch her drive away

A fresh hell, nowhere to turn.

Words on deaf ears

Mind of a princess shut tighter

than a drum.

The Curse of the Parent

The eagle watches the hatchling fly

do all the eagle can do.

Say good-bye.

Good morning!

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Sleep hanging on,

like webs of a glorious place

dreams rent asunder

a palm wide tongue

a happy smile

the canine’s passion

“GET UP GETUP!”

love on four legs

you don’t move?

forty kilos of four-legged loving

jumps up and down

ignored

rasping tongue in the ear

face

neck,

a laughing face

bright brown eyes

“FEED ME!”

Ignored,

sleeping

a drool covered ball

bouncing on the head

“WAKE UP!”

sleep is gone.

Forty-kilos of laughing face won…

What a glorious morning to be a dog.

Journey Never Ends. The (almost) never rhyme.

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Clouds float overhead in the dark of the night

Alone, as the minutes pass

he has been here before.

Shoes off

drink in hand

a walk in the sand. 

Alone

The ring of fire is his path

among the rocks lovers chase

they wear rings 

shimmering in the moonlight

a swallow taken

Married by mistake?

a wish for luck

The beach is as long as their future

a glass raised in honor

A toast to beginnings

the old man walks on

to the end of his path

alone 

I drink alone

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A caress of senses

The dark grounds float in water.

Thoughts turn, in the quiet slanting sunlight.

Sitting alone outside on a bench.

The raven comes to look, turning its head with an obsidian eye.

Almost laugh, the demands of a bit of toast.

The feathered terrorist walks.

Wings out and threatens.

Cup down, bow up.

The arrow chunks into the ground in between

The Feathered Highwayman stops

He has met the Archer

Flight of wisdom.

Bow down

I drink alone.

 

©2015 Dash McCallen

Married by Accident Chapter 27. Kaikane

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Chapter 27. Kaikane

Less than a half-hour passed when the black limousine rolled around the corner.

Barbara could see the driver’s seat, the broad shoulders of Kaikane, the smile matched his build when he saw it was Barbara. A driver with enthusiasm for his clients.

Putting on his hat, as he got out, Kaikane looked professional and as pressed as if he came out of a dressing room.

‟Missus Barbara. Howzit? How’s Tom’s arm?” Kaikane had such a happy soul, that Barbara had to smile.

‟Oh, Kaikane, Tom is healing fast. The glass cut down through the bone, the doctors put on some hardware attached to his arm to help the bone heal.” Barbara looked down while she stepped up to the limousine while Kaikane held the door open.

Barbara put her hand out on the open door.

‟Kaikane, I want to ride up front with you.”

‟Missus Barbara, that’s not regular. All clients ride in the back.”

‟Kaikane, how long is the ride to the hospital?” She gave her best direct look at the Islander chauffeur. The effort nearly made her laugh. Kaikane was as friendly as Lettie and closer to her age.

‟Missus Barbara, it is all on the traffic, we will get there when we arrive, is all I can say.” In a philosophy that echoed his Hawai’ian spirit.

‟That’s alright, I would like to take the long way, if we can.” Barbara said.

“I would like to roll down the window and sit in front. Can we go around to west of the Golden Gate?” She asked.

‟’E’e,” His word sounded like he said ‟Aye” in his language. ‟For sure. T’wood ‘A‘ole pilikia Missus Barbara.”

Then he laughed softly as she got in the passenger seat without taking her eyes from him.

‟What does that mean?” The words bounced around in her brain and could not find a place to fit.

‟No problem.” Kaikane said as he closed the door.

Watching him as he walked around and then got into the driver’s seat. The limousine was not a large stretch, but it was roomy in the back. The front- not so much. It was cozy in her opinion. Just a standard seat. Somehow she had thought it might be more plush.

‟Kaikane, can I tell you something?”

‟’E’e. Of course Missus Barbara.”

‟First. Just call me Barbara, even Barb would work.”

‟I’m not sure I can do that, but I will try.” Kaikane was polite to a fault. A credit to Lettie’s training and his cultural heritage.

‟Fair enough.” Barbara smiled and then explained her entire month to the Hawaiian driver who made her feel comfortable with his smile and kind voice.

She found that he was a psych major at University of San Francisco, which was perfect for the dark-haired, smiling student.

‟Well, Missus…”She shot him a sideways look. ‟Ugh. Sorry, Barbara. My Kapuna Wahane said that the matters of the heart are the strength of a woman. Men of a certain age are best for fishing and building and making happy times.”

Kaikane laughed and Barbara swore he blushed.

They talked as he did a slow drive. He was six-months younger than she was, but he showed a wisdom that made her want to visit the islands of Hawaii.

Somewhere in his pidgin-surfer English and his wit, mixed with his grandmother- his Kapuna Wahane- Barbara knew that there was a path she could take in her life.

She just had to go home to Glenn and answer the question that her childhood sweetheart was going to ask.

Kaikane wheeled the limo around the point where the Golden Gate bridge’s foundation anchored it to the southern side. Connecting the orange-colored suspension bridge to the Marin Headlands where people lived and looked at San Francisco’s skyline out the windows of their homes.

“Kaikane, how long have you been on the mainland?” Barbara asked while looking out the window. “How does this area compare to your side of paradise?”

Kaikane laughed quietly as he paused at a stop-sign to let another car take its turn.

“I’ve been here for three years. A ways down the coast there is a place called Mavricks beach, has good surfing most of the time, but a few times of the year is world-class! I have competed all three years.”

“WOW! Have you won?”

“No.” Kaikane shrugged with a smile. “I can’t compete with some of the talent there. I have found I am afraid of Mavericks.”

“A surfer afraid to surf?” Barbara looked at him. “How does that work?”

“Some waves are higher than eight-story buildings, there have been two world-class pros that have died there.” Kaikane stopped smiling for the first time. “I can feel their mana that stays there. They have not gone on, they surf the waters there still.”

Barbara felt the need to paint. The things Kaikane kept talking about, mana, soul, spirit, breath was inspirational to her. For the first time, she knew that the Hawai’an was deeply spiritual.

In that moment, Barbara found that she had left mana in two places. Back home, where Glenn was and with Tom, where he lay in the hospital.

“Okay, Kaikane.” She said, coming out of her reverie of looking at the largest body of water in the world pass by as they drove south on Highway-1. “Take me back to the medical center. I’m ready to go back into that house of crazy people wearing white coats.”

“Yes Ma’am.” Kaikane smiled. “Sorry, Barbara.”

Turning left, Barbara saw the San Francisco zoo as they drove past.

“I will take Tom there when he gets discharged from the hospital.” She told Kaikane. “I have never been there, and I would bet it would be Tom’s first time as well.”

“That would be a good day. It is a large area, be prepared to spend a whole day there.” Kaikane said.

“Thank you for that warning. Note to self: comfortable shoes.”

She thought it might be fun to spend time with Tom at the zoo with a picnic of cheese and wine before she went back to her more mundane life.

After the hospital discharged him, she reminded herself, laughing.

Dark Heart, Pure Soul 21. A Life Left Behind

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21. A Life Left Behind

Over the next few months, Kane met with other clan leaders who said that the other island across the channel had more raw materials that could be traded for and they needed a metal worker to replace one that had moved south with a daughter of a king. Kane thought it a good move, they could go across the water and then be lost in the mill of people of the age.

Bronwyn wept as she packed. This time was leaving for good. They had tried it once on the mainland, but the violence was testing both their tempers, highwaymen appeared time and again, attempting to take what they had traded for.

Kane carefully bundled his tools together in fine, waxed linen and placed them on the chariot that he had built to transport when he heard a small, familiar voice behind him.

Uncle Kane, are you leaving?” It was Daigh, still carrying his favorite sculpted toy bird.

Yes. Bronwyn and I are moving closer to where they mine for metals. We can trade much more cheaply there and make our useful wares and pretty things to sell.”

Will you come back?” the eleven-year-old asked. His curly brown hair framing his sapphire-blue eyes.

Only if you be good. You will know I have been here on that one night, when you have waited all year for new toys. I’ll sneak in and leave you and your friends something.” Kane winked.

You ever break a promise.” The bright eyes of the young man who believed in the demon-in-hiding.

Have I yet failed you?” Kane kneeled to look in the boy’s eye on his level.

Daigh softly laughed and shook his head, cheeks blushing as Kane found him out in doubting the hero of the village. Kane was one to keep promises. If Kane said it, gave his word. It would be so. If he did not give his word, he would do his best, but in the words of Kane “No promises.” which meant that there was a chance that he would not be able to do what he had hoped to do.

Kane stood up, checked and tightened down a braided leather rope, immensely strong, Daigh once saw Kane use what he called a pulley to lift a log on to a chariot to move it into the village where he made a huge dugout canoe, for the bonfire that year, with the death of a nearby King, they placed the body into the hollowed out log and then floated out on the sea. An arrow was lit and shot into the oil-soaked pile of branches upon which the King’s body lay. A funeral to which there was no equal that day.

But now, Kane and Bronwyn, the creator of such tasty treats in the kitchens and on holidays would go with Kane and live a life in another part of the world.

One woman who had whispered to Daigh’s mother one evening when they thought that there was something wrong with Kane and Bronwyn.

They are not with children and are not getting old. It is strange I say.” She whispered one night.

They could be tricksters among us.” She was one that was always having babies, so Daigh did not understand how they had tricked her into having another one. But Daigh told Kane who had pulled on his ear with an amused look.

Well, the best trick is to teach you to keep your word. Never make a promise that you cannot keep or do not want to keep. If you give your word, you keep it even if you do not want to.”

Daigh and the other kids, Aed, Muirne, Cuinn all nodded. Always they kept their words to each other and told their parents the truth. Even if it would cost them some trouble, they knew that Kane would know, and then he would be mad at them.

THEN, he would be too busy to make new toys or mend old ones.

But today, he was leaving, many people would leave and some would return, others would move from other villages or change where they lived after gathering cattle at the end of the summer to bring the livestock in for protection of the cold and feed them. Calves were often born during these months and would often need feeding by hand. Older kids milked cows and goats, next year, it would be Daigh’s start to care for some of the beasts.

Okay,” Kane said as he finished the knot and all the items were tight in the covered wagon. “We are good if it rains, we will have a sleeping area if we get stuck and we can get to the trade goods easily.”

Daigh stood there for a long moment as Kane tied the ponies to the draw bar of the wagons. The leather harnesses were something that Kane had put together with Daigh’s help and suggestions.

Kane again knelt, closer to the level with the pre-teen boy.

This is what we have to do, Bronwyn and I. We came here the year after you were born. I have helped you learn things and you have learned well. You have a great mind, be a poet, tell the history of your people. Sing of the great things that will be. Kings will come, brave heroes. Even creatures that have come before people and now live in the forests and underground. I will be around,I will sneak in at harvest time.” Kane winked. “Think of me as a gnome or some other small spirit that will sneak around one night of the year and leave you something nice.”

Then Kane held up his index finger in admonishment.

“BUT! If you do not do your chores or do wrong to someone? I will leave you nothing, or worse, you will find a gift of twigs and rocks.”

With that, Daigh’s eyes got big.

I will not forget! You will see Uncle Kane! I will be the best poet that history will ever know. I will sing songs about you that the world will think you were a great Brehon.”

Thought I already was.” Kane said with a wink.

Bronwyn’s voice echoed slightly in the now-empty shop. She was ready to leave. All things that families were to take were so placed in order. Things remaining she had marked with strips of cloth in different colors that indicated different families.

Hello Daigh. Come to see us off?” Bronwyn’s copper-colored hair hung down around her shoulders like a waterfall. She bent down so she was as tall as the eleven year old. “Kane has favored you. You do make him proud when you grow up?”

Yes ma’am! He will hear about my stories and songs all over the world.” Daigh smiled. “I promise I will never stop telling stories about you and him.”

Daigh, you are a wonderful young man.” Bronwyn kissed him on the cheek.

A gasp, Daigh was without words as, first his ears, then his entire face turned red.

Bronwyn laughed softly and hugged him.

That is our little secret. You make me feel pretty.”

Time to go, Bronwyn, climb up.” Kane said.

Daigh was still blushing as their wagon trundled out the gates and disappeared. Feeling a little sad as he turned to walk away. His heart was hurting and, in a small way, lonely, until he remembered, they would be back in a few months at harvest time!

Daigh skipped back to the center of the village where the other kids were. His embarrassment forgotten as his attention span was that of any child.

End Of Book One? (who wants more?)