Source: New Comic Up!
Chapter 4. After the Report, The Charthouse
The uniformed police officers looked uncomfortable standing on the beach, surrounded by nude sunbathers that stood to watch at what the activity.
Professionalism had been given a major test as the officers called for an ambulance to transport the abused and arrested would-be rapist to the hospital. Pictures taken of Kaylee ‘s hands and her shin, where a bruise showed where she had smashed the culprit’s nose and cheekbone.
Wearing just her pants and shirt, no other injuries that she had claimed from the fight that she had taken to the assailant. She had almost killed him and her mood was nearly enough to carry it through. She would have beat on him more if he had arrived just a half-hour before he did, she would have given the detectives much more evidence to discover.
Evidence technicians took photographs of her and the sand, then left while the police interviewed her and her wingman, the man she had mentally named Note-Pad, who had come to her aid.
Detective Lynda Nesbitt, a twenty-year veteran of the force handed a business card to the victim-cum-victor in the crime while her male counterpart discovered a knife. The detective motioned to an Evidence Technician who photographed the discovered weapon, then picked up the knife in his gloved hands.
Detective Charley Galt placed the butcher knife in a manilla bag and tagged it with a sticker. To this, he wrote his name across the seal, then handed it to the evidence technician he called over.
“You may have stopped him from escalating to worse things. I suspect he’s involved with many of the attacks,” She said softly to Kaylee. “But we will let the evidence speak for itself.”
Detective Nesbitt, while she interviewed Kaylee, mentioned that there had been a rash of sexual assaults and the male being transported to the hospital had matched the description, down to the butcher knife used and that DNA would be collected and tested against the previous crimes.
Nearby, having pulled on swim trunks of his own, his interviews over and the sun red and low in the sky. The writer walked up to her, nodded and asked how she felt.
“This was an unusual day. I’m pleased you are unhurt.” He said with a chuckle. “That was a hell of a beating you gave him. Sitting naked on his chest and thumping on his melon is an image I won’t soon forget. There is a real story in that somewhere.”
He laughed softly.
“You are impressive.”
Note-Pad man chuckled, again.
“Would you let me buy you a drink?”
“No.” Kaylee laughed softly. “I don’t even know your name, you have seen me naked and now you ask me out for drinks? This is a bit awkward, don’t you think?”
“Uh, yeah. I suppose it is. Well. My name is Tom Harte.” His smiling green eyes sparkled like emeralds in the fading light of the day. “Well, anyway, I will head into town and I’ll have a few drinks the Chart House restaurant and bar for a while. When you’re finished here, I’ll buy you dinner if you like and you don’t need to sit with me.”
She laughed at this.
“I’m Kaylee Grant, nice recovery.” She nodded. “Still don’t hold your breath. But thank you.”
Watching him talk to the police detective briefly while she gathered up her possessions, putting them into the bag she had brought with her. His broad shoulders were more obvious from behind, his mild middle age spread had masked his nice build.
“Miss, may I take you anywhere?” The female detective was less influenced by standing around naked frisbee players on the beach than some of her male counterparts. “Do you have someone you can call?”
“No, I don’t need a ride. And I can call my sister, but I have no service here, I’ll need to walk to the showers.” Kaylee glanced at the phone display.
“You can borrow my phone, I have service here.” Detective Nesbitt said. She pulled an armored Android phone out of her pocket and handed it to the younger woman who impressed her with her focus and poise.
Kaylee thanked Detective Nesbitt then dialed her sister’s phone.
“Hi Melanie ?” At the sound of her sister’s voice Kaylee broke down in tears while she tried to explain what happened.
The Chart House, a four-star restaurant two-hundred paces from the high water mark from the beach. The bar was known for celebrity stop-ins and excellent food and drinks, both strong and virgin.
At the corner of the bar, where he took up more than his fair-share of room. He sat scribbling on an electronic notepad with a stylus.
Tom Harte, they called him Thunder Harte and the job he did often was writing. Fiction, a lot of fiction. Under the pen name of Sanne Footman, his stories were those of heart and love. He had gotten his start in romance novels with a touch of bodice-ripper styles and enjoyed that his stories were in demand.
The demographics taught that women were the largest group of readers and he flew in the face of tradition that men could not write romance novels.
But Tom was not one to follow convention, he never believed in the word, “Can’t”.
His passion now, was to manage to write stories for children and young adults. Often he also wrote about Steampunk stories under the name of Keegan O’Danu.
Now, there he had sat with his notepad out, writing down ideas that would be the next book.
His muse had gone silent for a few hours. Writing about sea shells, birds, on the beach earlier in the day. But none came to him in a coherent thoughts.
But this afternoon’s excitement where some beach patron, it had turned out, was a rapist. The attacker had picked on the single worst person, in the extreme, that he could have ever have chosen on the beach.
Unclothed, unarmed and cornered, she had pounded the knife wielding man into bloody submission. It was an impressive sight as he ran towards the sounds of the screaming of a girl to come to the woman’s aid.
Not that she needed it as it turned out. The screams he had heard were coming from the young man. The attacker was double her size, she was a petite woman, only a few inches over five-feet in height.
And still the assailant earned the pain of having his face broken along with his arm, breastbone and testicles.
And it was inspiring!
Tom Harte wrote, and wrote, and wrote. The woman had shocked him into writing swiftly. Between his satellite phone and the electronic notepad that he tapped on, he had filled in pages of notes from the words in his head.
Then a familiar voice sounded next to him.
“Is that drink still available?” Kaylee asked.
Startled, Harte turned around in his seat and there she was. Wearing a black dress and she had brushed her dark hair until it glistened in the light of the bar.
“Why, yes. What is your poison? “ He motioned to the bartender. “I believe you had said this was awkward? After the beach and all.”
“It is, but it has been that kind of day. I beat a bad guy into the sand, I vented out some frustrations.”
“You did that for sure!” he laughed.
“Now, I have you here. You know what I can do to you if I become angry. You haven’t seen angry until I’m angry.”
“What would you like to drink, hun?” The bartender, a thirtysomething woman who had a bright smile.
“Death in the Afternoon.” Kaylee answered. “Champagne and Absinthe, very cold.”
“Hemmingway’s drink.” Thomas laughed. “You are impressive.”
“Well, anyone who can tickle my soul after what I had just gone through, I figure I can impress even more and find a little about him.” She nodded. “Besides, after a day like this, I need to get a little high too.”
“Put your right thumb over the camera so I can image it and let me take your picture.” She said. “Not that there is no faith in your intentions, but you will be number one on the most wanted list if something happens.”
Thomas nodded and scanned his right thumb and sat still while Kaylee took his picture.
“You do look nice. You went home to change?” Thomas asked.
“Sort of. This was in my car. It’s all I have on, my underwear didn’t match, so when I changed in the women’s room, I just stuffed them in my purse.” Kaylee pointed to the other side of the bar.
Thomas nearly shot his drink out his nose at this.
“Speaking of awkward! You have a… Um… Thanks for being blunt.” He chuckled.
“It’s just this day. It has been rough day and I am in need of getting very drunk or stoned – or both.”
Kaylee opened her purse and pulled out a pill bottle and dropped two pills in her drink.
“Cheers. You are in charge now, when tomorrow comes and I wake up not liking what has happened, you will join the guy from the beach in the ER.” She swallowed down the intoxicating drink.
“What was that?” Thomas lifted an eyebrow in curiousity.
“Hypnotic, muscle relaxant. If you want to do something tonight, I won’t object too much. But let’s make it fun.”
That would not be the word Kaylee would use in the morning.
Chapter 3. Unwanted Visitor
Her drifted shut when the book hit her in the face for the third time.
Kaylee laughed at herself and remembered she needed to re-apply sunscreen, it had been nearly an hour since she had lain on the towel between the logs.
She was warm and sleep crept around the edges of her soul when the timer on her phone buzzed. She reached over to her bag and pulled out the bottle of spray sunscreen out to spray herself with another dose of sunblock when a man with his back to her, bumped into the end of the driftwood that served as her privacy screen.
“Oh! Excuse me.” He looked around. “Don’t mind me. I…”
He looked at her oddly, then pulled a long butcher knife from his towel.
“Shut up and be quiet.” He growled in a low voice. “Stay quiet and you won’t get hurt.”
Deep inside her, an ember of frustration sparked into a firestorm of rage. I’m in no mood for this!
She stood with uncontrolled fury in her eyes, a short-time before, she wanted to hurt someone. Now this pervert just volunteered and she was about to oblige the man who dared threaten her in blind overconfidence that was going to end in disaster for him.
“Go away!” Kaylee Simone Grant said loudly as she could, the note-writer turned his head and looked in their direction, stood and walked in their direction.
“Bitch! You will get on your…” Then interrupted by assault of the naked woman and screamed when she broke his wrist and took his knife away.
The force of her attack knocked the stout rapist backwards and grabbed the man’s wounded arm.
Her mass, perhaps half the attacker’s, pulled him down and off-balance, she swung her right leg over his arm. The pressure of her weight forced him to his knees face-down and he used his left hand t support himself.
“Bitch!” He had lost the fight and knew it. “Let go!”
“Do not call me…” A snap kick, Kaylee slammed her shin across assailant’s face, broke his nose and exploded the bone in his cheek. The lever that was his arm, bent backwards beyond it’s limits when she snapped it backwards over her thigh and screamed back at him. “A bitch!”
His screams of anguish was music to her ears as she continued to pummel the would-be rapist against the driftwood. His size might have been an advantage in the start of the battle – in his own eyes.
Now broken man knelt in the sand, frightened and blood flowed from his mouth and nose into the sand. Slowly, with a heroic effort, the rapist got to his feet. And she rewarded him with a fractured breastbone from a kick to the chest. As a threat, she neutralized him one last time when he fell backwards over a low part of the log for the last time.
Out of the corner of her eye, she could see the notebook man was ran towards the sounds of bloody screams. (Kaylee was not known as a quiet student when she worked out, this real-life combat was no different.)
A final stomp into the groin of the monster left the him in breathless pain as he writhed against the large, weather-smoothed driftwood that served as her privacy screen when she relaxed alone in the sun.
“Do you need help?” The slightly overweight note-taker was two-hundred pounds with muscular arms. He looked like he could take care of the rather broken assailant that lay in agony on the sand, if she had not gotten there first.
“Um, no thanks. I’d say this is over, but I need a phone that works to call the police. I have no service here.” She looked at her would-be knight.
“I have a sat-phone. You can use it, there’s also a c-phone in my bag but I don’t know the reception. I have used my satellite phone all day.” He said and walked back to his beach blanket.
Kaylee watched him walk away, his backside was like two halves of a tightly inflated volleyball and they were about the size of the palm of her hand, a nice view.
That’s cute. Thoughts danced in her head while her eyes bounced with each cheek as he walked away from her.
There are advantages for nude beaches. The thought made her smile. It satisfied her with the beat-down she gave the attacker who now lay on the sand holding his arm while his nose bleed freely. She kicked the predator once more for her own pleasure and turned away.
Note-pad walked the phone to her hand, the delivery was not as scenic as it was when he walked back with the phone, and disappointed her that he had wrapped up in a towel.
And she still stood there naked while she dialed the emergency number, and was suddenly cold.
While she spoke with the emergency operator, Note-Pad gave her an oversized beach towel from his bag to wrap up in and handed her a t-shirt to wear from her pile of clothes, then turned on the would-be rapist and threatened him to stay still or his next experience would be a painful experience that he would never forget. Then laughed at his own joke he did not intend to make.
It was an extremely twisted day, but she felt pleased with the outcome with the end results of it all.
I should beat someone once a day She laughed inwardly.
“Yood b’ke m’ fook’n node a’d arb!” The assailant said in a sticky voice, full of blood on his lips and hands. “Fook’n bid”
“You are lucky,” Note-Pad nodded. “I’d have buried you here.”
“Fug du’.” The broken knife weilder’s said as he retched from the blood that poured down his throat.
Kaylee had her back to Note-Pad and pulled on her pants. She draped the towel around her neck and let it hang it down to cover her breasts, embarrassed by the tent under her thin shirt.
“Thank you for your help,” She told Note-Pad. “I think, you need to stay here as a witness for the police.”
“No problem, he will need an ambulance trip I would wager. That nose is pretty mashed.”
They both looked at the broken man for a moment, then the sounds of beach patrol’s sirens drove to where they stood with the disabled and broken stalker.
Note-Pad ran out to the pickup truck with an illuminated light-bar and waved an orange and black towel.
Kaylee felt lighter. Her mood improved to one of satisfaction after that. It was Friday and she had an entire weekend to look forward to.
She was over her adrenaline rush when the men with badges walked up and all the stress of the day hit her at once.
Kaylee, the warrior-woman of justice and retribution of the beach began to cry.
Chapter 2. Sand Between The Toes
A long hike, at least it was mainly downhill. Three times, vehicles passed by with sirens. Police, fire and an ambulance traveled in a rush of different directions began to cause pain, she stopped and put her fingers in her ears until the emergency sirens were out of range.
The town was a tourist and college community. A large bay with a harbor carved out on the north end by a massive prehistoric waterfall, long since drowned in the ocean after the glaciers receded, served as a center for tourism.
After the long hike, she finally arrived at the beach and walked to the privacy rooms where outdoor showers allowed those salt and sand encrusted humans to clean themselves. She stepped through the middle door where the floor appeared less fouled with dirty feet and people who could not seem to hit the toilet.
Kaylee’s fingers ached as she put down her bag and pulled out her towel then set it aside and pulled out a hard-cover book, a novel by the author Sanne Footman, of a woman who was a photographer that traveled the world and worked undercover for news stories.
It was a cheesy, but well written, series of novellas. The author composed a lot of romantic scenes that where Kaylee’s guilty pleasure, she often had travel-the-world dreams. From one exotic location to another with boyfriends at each stop.
She Dug deeper into her bag and set out the contents, a frown crossed her lips.
She looked through the towels, unrolled and shook them out. No… in a towel up by mistake.
Damn! No swimsuit?
Then she remembered, she had gone to a pool party in the hills with some friends, she rinsed her suit and hung it on the towel rack by the shower. Then hung a towel over it.
The anger with herself crossed her face like clouds a thunderstorm. She picked up her gear and packed up the bag and stepped out into the sunlight and walked to the edge of the sand from the outdoor showers.
She looked north and south, the beach was sparsely populated with families and kids to the south.
Off to the north, only a few people were there. A posted sign in the distance, she could not read it from here, but knew what the paint on the metal panel said:
“Clothing optional beyond this point only.”
She nodded to herself, she was not a stranger to the nude beach. And she was in no mood for a hike to the apartment, but the choices were to continue or to go back to where she started this awful day and then, maybe, return.
No, it was time to shed some of the cares along with her clothes. If she needed to walk all the way back before she relaxed and recuperated, she would hurt someone. Perhaps some poor soul who would walk by and wish her to “Have a nice day.” The person would never understand the fury that would be unleashed.
“Nice day.” Indeed.
Dare ya… Just… Just dare ya! Hands clenched into rock hard clubs with the emotional storm that crossed her mind.
So, a walk on the beach? Time to peace out. The thought was pleasant.
She passed the sign as she walked towards the water. She let ten-minutes pass before she peeled off her pants and shoes.
She walked in just her shirt and underwear in the ankle-deep waves, she enjoyed the cool water of the Alaskan current of the Pacific, The water chill against her thighs while she waded a little deeper past a couple while they played with a frisbee and their dog.
The dog was much more dressed than couple. She laughed when the man tried to play keep-away from the dog who took a nip of the man’s bare organ.
The nude woman laughed out loud when she also saw the small Australian Shepherd play dirty to win the prized plastic disk.
“Good boy, Oz!” The woman laughed out loud again and took the toy from the excited dog while the man got to his feet while he laughed and complained about the devious dog.
Kaylee walked on and looked among the driftwood where couples sat and talked in the nude. Some read books, and some for all appearances, looked asleep.
Another couple cuddled on a blanket. The woman’s hands pushed the limits the law while she kissed with her male companion.
Kaylee found a quiet spot and slipped out of the rest of her clothes and spread the towel on the sand. A man about a hundred paces off was laid on his stomach wrote in a notepad. The sun glistened on beads of water on his back, he had just been in the water for a swim.
Otherwise, she was alone. The coastal-chill breeze made her skin pucker slightly as she sat on the blanket and opened her book. Out of sight from anyone thanks to the large logs of driftwood that made a private little patch of sand.
This was a perfect place on an otherwise messed-up and horrible day to lay naked on a beach with no one near. No bars on her phone so she turned it off.
She rubbed sunblock into her skin while she took fifteen minutes to prepare for recreational read and relax. She enjoyed the smell of the coconut perfume and the sensations of the heat, she would probably sleep, but had no desire for a sunburn.
She already received a sunburn last year, Melanie enjoyed her older sister’s discomfort while she applied medicated skin cream to the places that Kaylee could not. Sisters could laugh at each other for the burned places that rarely saw sunshine, and Kaylee had fallen asleep on her stomach.
The burn to the back of her legs and cheeks of her backside prevented the elder Grant to sit for a few days. Much to the delight of the taller but younger “kid-sister”.
Kaylee just did not want to ask Melanie to rub cream into her burned skin again, once was enough embarrassment for a lifetime.
The sun did feel good, she would deal with the tires, the professor and the broken shoelace soon enough.
For now? She was needed to get into the book of guilty pleasure and, maybe, fall asleep on the edge of the largest body of water in the world.
After a day gone haywire, she was alone and at peace. Kaylee Simone Grant would let this frantic-Friday dissolve into an unhappy memory and the disappointment, frustration and fury would soon be forgotten.
To be alone for a while and listen to the waves, birds and feel the sun was all she needed.
A fun recovery.
Rather: Hershey the dog did. Of all her stress did not come to pass, the neighbor had it correct that the distance to the beach (two, almost three miles away. maybe 4 km) alleviated a lot of agony and anxiety, Hershey the dog walked around and checked on people, but conversations kept going, TV was on, no one reacted, so checking in with humans, poking her nose into the face of Princess #2 and being petted by Princess #1. All was good in the world.
A long walk on the beach, ocean, thousands of people and dogs to sniff, see and taste (She licked one dog in the face, one baby had his (or her?) face cleaned.) Hershey was tired. So in all, distant fireworks did not draw undue anxiety out of her heart.
The only anxiety reaction we suffered all weekend was the Princess #2’s boyfriend. (More on him later). Hershey walked around, getting pets and a home-made version of doggy ice-cream. (Gelato, really I suppose.)
If you need a recipe on that, it is easy. a cup of peanut butter, 32 ounces of plain Greek yogurt (slightly less than 1-liter, or litre if you prefer.) tablespoon of local honey and a large banana. Blend for a minute (You may have to take a scraper to the inside of the blender to get the peanut butter to mix properly. I do. but I don’t have the best blender in the world by any stretch of the imagination and peanut butter (or peanut paste, if you prefer, I like mine chunky) then pour into small containers with a lid, freeze and then when you like, pop the top, hand the whole container to the dog and it will be a wonderful frozen treat for a few minutes.
Mind you, if you have any children wandering about and they discover this concoction? Dogs will be out of luck! This stuff is tasty! It is healthy, quick, and it is human quality food. Good for everyone and a great treat. No chemicals, no artificial this or that. Good stuff. I’ll consider that a rave, heh.
So now we have had a good weekend, but like all good — or bad– things. It comes to an end in about 2 hours. Back to the heat, misery and daily dust of life.
To idiots that shoot off large bottle rockets over the house (and terrify the chocolab who tries to be anywhere but there, top of my head is one spot that seems to be a favored place). I am tempted to go out with a blunt arrow and stand in the dark. Wait until the said idiots to the fuse to the bottle rocket and then I shoot the rocket and tip it over. No one will see the black arrow and life would get REAL exciting for a moment. or three. But as Princess #1 did say, there is no telling where it might go, including into someone’s open window of their house – or car. And a live firework bursting inside a car as it drives down the road is ALL bad. So I won’t.
Nice to dream of though.
Princess #2’s boyfriend.
Nice fellow, tries constantly to impress me, but it’s not working all the time. I do give him points for trying. I put him on BBQ duty the other night and he did a good job.
His only malfunction on this trip – He is a desert cat. From Oklahoma, his idea of a body of water is he can see all sides to it. The Pacific ocean is unnerving. He is desert, we are beach and ocean oriented family.
Waves bother him. We went to lunch on a wharf, the waves hitting the pilings underneath were bad. The cars driving over the wood of the wharf was bad, Seafood everywhere – well he likes shrimp, but is allergic to the food.
So he asked to go home. Princess #2 is not an overly warm-blooded person, but loves the beach, rolled her eyes some. But, he is her boyfriend and she took him on the 300 mile journey back. She thinks the Great Barrier Reef is cold water diving and did not swim much. She hung out on the boat. But..she was only ten years old at the time. (Princess #1? Pfft.. she would swim in the ocean if there was ice in close proximity, she goes in, never comes out.)
So now, we sit on the sofa, the clock ticking down to the end of this cool morning. Slightly overcast with the marine layer in (Another unnerving thing the boyfriend experienced. I likened it to the tides of the ocean, which was a mistake. another reason he headed back to the dry and heat)
The home journey awaits. Back to a noisy, dusty, miserable place where sirens sound hourly – or more often – and is generally just a stressful place to be living. I have two plants I need to replace, I forgot to bring them in out of the heat and they have been sitting without water for the last 96 hours. Rosemary is hardy, but not sure it can tolerate that. Basil? Well, dried basil is useful. As is rosemary.
And I promise, no black arrows into bottle rockets doing the final countdown.
Three-hundred miles, two dogs, a queen and a princess. The dogs have a habit of standing on the one human in the back seat, even though I had rolled down the opposite side window away from her. So, over a hundred pounds, eight legs and two drooling faces the poor human has to put up with while we hurtle down the highway at speeds that turn drool into a fine mist and I hear the young woman moan and mumble “Yuck!” “Ooog, blech! Ack!”.
Temperatures of 105F on the road, not a tree as far as the eye can see. Not even cows! Princess #1 declared it “the badlands” because of dead grass no higher than the palm of your hand. No trees that you could hit with the most powerful of rifles (Artillery or rockets would be cheating). Hershey began to have a meltdown, panting and whining. We finally got a stop when we crossed over the line from 105 that dropped to 65F in less than a half-hour.
Hershey finally released from the car? And had (Along with her adoptive sister Honey and Persephone) to do what dogs do after being cooped up for so long.
She urinated like a water-balloon at its limit.
The chocolab did not even stop walking, she left a wet line that a firefighting aircraft would have been proud of.
She could have filled a small child’s pool! lol. I guess that is why she was so anxious in the car. Lol.
We finally arrived in Santa Barbara and went for a walk, this is a town in need of a little dog water, per Hershey, Honey and Persephone. The last two are part camel, but they can also make enough water to cure the drought in two days.
I also found that a large fraction of the yards and businesses in Santa Barbara have rosemary growing wild in gardens, whole fences are covered with rosemary.
Sage! Sage I found in a dozen places. WOW! Tomorrow I am going to buy …I dunno what, my mind dances with the idea, but I can make a rosemary/garlic/sage chicken, grilled over open fire. and the sage and rosemary I might pick myself!
There are date-palms with bunches of dates in reach. I have never used dates in cooking and not sure how, but I bet I can make something, like a glaze for another protein? Or, over carrots?
If I can figure out where to harvest wild garlic that does not need me digging up public property or someone’s private garden, I might. But I think I might just buy that.
But we are tucked away, far away, from firecrackers and booms. The 4th I hope will be easy on a dog that holds no ill will on anyone.
Well, except for the occasional house fly that comes within reach.
Tomorrow, and maybe Sunday, we will take her to the ocean to play in the waves. Then hide before the sun goes down at the house and cook the Rosemary Sage Garlic chicken and fire-roasted asparagus and corn.
Mmm.. anyone wanna come to the West Coast tomorrow?
Some years ago, the movie “Home Alone” hit the theaters, a lone boy did have panic events, bad-guys and adapted to the situation.
Tonight, such Hollywood adventures and good endings are not possible. A date night with a stage play and dogs (Count them, TWO) are left home to defend the house and home.
Honey, the honey (or sand-tan) colored dog, is large, powerful and quite laid back. Sudden noises can get her to flinch, knocks on doors get her to bark. Thunder, firecrackers, fireworks, meh, not so much. The sudden large roll of thunder might get her to raise her head, but that is about all you get out of her.
The chocolate lab, on the other hand. Not so laid back. She hates the electronic bug zapper, firecrackers in the distance are just wrong.
Thunder? No. Just no.
Tonight, we head out to see a stage play of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”, take in a dinner and sit through the long (two intermissions!) production with a total of four actors.
A pleasant Saturday night comes to a close, on our arrival home, we find one of the french doors to the great-room all but destroyed. The door jam is pulled away from the wall, the molding around the doorway has been chewed down and torn. Wood. Torn.
Torn? Big danged splinters torn off, I could fit four fingers in the gap.
Paint is torn away from the wood as if a rough file had been run over it. Not fresh paint, either! This took some work.
What the heck? Who did this?
Looking at the big dog first, she was first suspect, by all the family, until I pointed out that the kind of damage on the door took time. A lot of time.
And fear. Something lit off a dog.
“Perhaps a knock at the door?”
No, not enough, they would bark and reset after a minute or two, this took time.
So now, the suspect is the smaller chocolate lab, who has a panic issue. We are coming to the 4th of July and explosives — which are not legal in the area — are a nightly event.
I think a deep panic set in, the cats aren’t talking, but they point little furry fingers at the dark brown one and whisper: “that bitch is crazy.”
Tomorrow, the door is on the list for repaires. I may have to take it down and begin to prepare it for paint.
No fun to come home to that kind of damage. But she stresses beyond reason when the pops are close- full fledged beyond sanity panic.
Some (four-legged) kids you can’t leave home without drugging them. I hate thinking that, or alternately, she cannot be left alone. She needs a human to stay with.
Over the 4th of July, we are taking off to a remote area that is 1. dog friendly and 2. having stayed before, they do not do fireworks, only down at the beach. We stay far away from the beach, hiding in an air-conditioned hotel room with thick walls, after we run her to the point of exhaustion on the beach and in the surf.
That is the plan of action, we will still suffer the tail end of the fireworks for another month to come. But the worst of it will be avoided.
How was your night?
Chapter 37. Return of Kolo
His fourth straight ace on the written tests, Eva also had begun to dance in the shadows of the library, making Summer laugh against her will.
The evening rides were more complex as Eva and Jona prepared for the upcoming spring race. Long rides, through the mountain canyons of the volcanic places in the world.
One morning, after they had studied in the library, Summer smiled and acted as if she wanted to ask something while they studied, debated and joked with each other while they studied human and dragon art history.
Finally, Summer asked the question that burned in her heart.
“Can I ride with you sometime?” She asked while looking down.
Jona and Eva exchanged looks and nodded.
“Yes! We’d be happy to do it.” Eva smiled. “I owe you a lot of rides for the help you have given us to put us back on the team.”
Summer laughed nervously.
The three of the friends walked down to the meadow, chatting as they walked. Summer Set told a joke with a pun in the twisted end. `
Laughing, they stopped by the cave of riders and fliers. Jona and Summer put on goggles and flight helmet. She laughed at herself when she looked in a mirror.
“You really wear these?”
“Yeah, we do. Imagine being hit in the face with a bug at the speeds that Eva uses when she flies around trees and such.”
“Oh.” She backed up a step when Jona clipped on his armor and leather vest.
“Not to worry, I always wear this, it is team colors and shows my awards.”
“I want to know what all these rivets are for.” She smiled and ran her fingers over the decorated, embossed metal studs.
“Training, Distance. Personal best” He went down the different leather panels and studs. “I don’t have any of the good ones of gold or gems. I have only raced house races, first-year students don’t race between schools. Only houses. So far, we have won as a team, lost a few individual competitions. Eva has not lost anything.” Jona smiled as he walked up to Summer and laced the leather strap under her chin. “Keep this snug. If it blows off, you won’t be able to look around.
They walked out of the rider’s ready room where Eva sat with her own helmet.
Even Jona laughed.
“Feeling cautious?” He said to the other half of his race team.
“Yes,” Eva said. “We have some rides that like to get physical flying around today. I’m not worried, but if we get a little bumpy, I want to be ready.”
“Um…” Summer looked alarmed. “Should I be worried?”
“No, we will stay slow and close.” Eva answered. “You will have a good time. Have you ever seen the ocean beach from above?”
“But that is so far!” Summer gasped, her eyes wide behind the goggles.
“Eva can make it to the beach and back in less time than it takes you to look up books and sit down for a read.” Jona grinned.
“Wow. Even my brother doesn’t go that fast, and he is a skimmer.” Summer boggled.
“Skimmer?” Jona asked.
“Skimmers are between swimmers and fliers.” Eva answered, Summer nodding. “They barely touch the water, leaping across and gliding on a cushion of air. It is a rare talent.”
“Climb up!” Jona showed Summer where she could hold on to Eva’s scales.
“Hold on to something tight!” Eva said, looking around.
A push-off and her wings extended, with two flaps they were airborne.
Summer squealed with glee that Jona first took as alarm.
Banking around the canyons slowly, Summer looked down and held on so tight, Jona saw her knuckles blanch.
Out over the canyon, the three friends flew, ride and rider with a guest.
Swiftly they descended from the high mountain range to the lowlands.
Summer gasped when Eva flew over a cliff and the white-capped waters of the breaking waves filled her view of white sand beaches as far as she could see.
Slow enough for a walk, Eva smiled and used the wind coming off the ocean for lift, barely twitching a wingtip.
The great wings of the dragon lifted them up while she took them back to the meadow. Snow showed below them and Summer turned to Jona, complaining her nose was getting cold when Eva settled and landed.
“Hello Jona.” A familiar voice sounded behind him when he helped Summer off Eva’s saddle.
Holding out a dark and sweetened confection, her favorite treat, the sparkling eyes that made Jona laugh like he was a child during the weeks of bonfire lit up his life.
Kolo had returned.
Clouds float overhead in the dark of the night
Alone, as the minutes pass
he has been here before.
drink in hand
a walk in the sand.
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