Yesterday morning, I found water all across my cabinets and under the sink. It was like a mini-flood came rushing through my apartment while I was sleeping. I usually start the dishwasher in the evening because I don’t use the water saver function. It takes a few washes and a lot of hot water to get the dishes clean enough for me.
Apparently the water backed up in the pipe that allows air in–it was this little problem that flooded my kitchen and made me get down on my hands and knees to clean up under the sink. Every box I had under the sink was soaked with water. Since most the stuff under the sink was cleaning supplies and were already things like plastic, I was able to rescue most of it. I did take out two sacks of wet boxes. Frankly that amount of work especially when I am going down on my knees and back on my feet, or even bending over, is exhausting.
Since I am also getting over a health misadventure, it was even doubly exhausting. I kept telling myself that I couldn’t allow black mold to grow in this apartment. So I did it anyway and paid the price.
I spent the rest of the day reading and cuddling the doggy. I was a reader before I tried my hand at writing. Before I even wrote short stories and novels, I used to write poety. I have a couple of poetry books on Amazon, if you are interested. I was even published in the Acumen, a poetry journal that has featured such poets as Seamus Heaney. I still keep my hand in occasionally. But, politics got into poetry long before it got into stories and novels. Nowadays you have to have a Master’s Degree or better in English literature or Creative Writing to even get published in some of the prestigious journals. Plus you have to be supported by the NEA (National Endowment of the Arts) Arts) to make even a living at writing poetry. Since I do not want to starve in a garret for my art, I write it as a hobby only.
Even before poetry, I was a storyteller to my younger brothers and sisters. I would sit on the edge of the bed and tell “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” in many different voices. Sometimes I would make up stories about adventures before my brothers fell asleep. Sometimes I would adapt the stories of Robert Lewis Stevenson. My storytelling sessions would end with lullabies. I wonder if that is why my brothers think of me fondly.
So as a taste of my newest book and my storytelling skills, I am posting a small excerpt from Dragon Boy:
The Draugr’s eyes popped open. The darkness covered him like a blanket. The mage had tasted good, so good. At the first bite, the mage’s magic had poured into him and he awoke. He was the spy-master, but he was not.
The light that had seeped through the cracks in the door was gone. He sniffed, looking for the leather, metal, and bright souls that meant the guards were near. He wanted to rip them to pieces and eat every juicy bit. They wouldn’t still this craving though. He needed to eat another mage, well-steeped in magic, to keep himself awake.
He sniffed. A small sparrow was nestled in a tree outside the courtyard door. He smelled the sour sweat of Lord Barton as he slept in his chamber in the floor above. Guards in leather, carrying swords at their hips, stood at the entrance to the Lord’s rooms. A slight stench of magic came from there. To the Draugr, the magic was too little to sate his hunger.
Then he caught the scent of the dragon boy. It was so delicious. He remembered smelling him in the place where he had caught and killed the mage. Then he was more interested in killing his maker.
Now he was free. The thought of eating a fully magical creature tugged at him. His stomach growled. He fought the hunger. As the spy-master, he knew of other mages hidden in the population. They spent their time on the docks. But the compulsion to follow the dragon became more intense. His body had other ideas.
His mind fought, but his hunger became more insistent. His will power wasn’t enough to override his body. He ran and crashed through the main door of the castle. He heard the running feet of the guards. But he was already gone, running through the sleeping city. As he passed the burning street-lamps, a wind blew out the wicks, leaving darkness behind him. His mind gibbered to his body that someone, especially with swords, could follow him by the sudden darkness. He ran faster.
A gleam of eyes glared at him from atop a wall. The Draugr stopped and grabbed a cat. It screamed as he ripped it open. He buried his face in its intestines and ate. The blood dripped down his face as his legs pumped and he almost flew. The dragon’s scent led him to Delhaven’s main gate.
The gate was locked and the gate guard dozed in the shack next to it. The Draugur opened the shack’s door and ripped off the guard’s head before the guard could scream. The Draugr munched on the head for a moment. The keys to the gate were on the dead guard’s belt. He took them, dropping the head beside the body. After eating a mage, non-magic folk didn’t have enough nourishment.
He took a deep sniff as he opened the gate. Yes, that way. He could smell the dragon and fire magic. Oh yes, he knew he was a Draugr and ate human flesh. He had enough of a mind to be repelled at the idea. Still, if he wanted to live he would have to eat. The dragon would last for a long time and its magic would bring him back to life. He’d be a walking monster with a mind. If the muscles in his face worked, he would have smiled.
The forest outside the gates welcomed him. He didn’t get tired and he could walk forever. The dragon would have to sleep sometime.
Deep in the forest, sniffing the trail of the dragon and fire mage, the Draugr felt the first sun rays. He looked around for a place to hide. There were no caves, no under hangs, just trees and more trees. He covered his hands and face in mud and rolled in leaves. He wrapped his ragged coat around him to keep out the sun, then he slid down under a tree with his back against the trunk. The leaves and branches would protect him or they wouldn’t.
He fell asleep as the world lightened. The one spot of skin on his ear lobe bubbled, burned, and blackened. He slept on.