Friday Flash: As You Liked It ~or~ As You Like It, Part 2

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“Father, the seating arrangement simply must be changed.”

“Why, Rosalind! Whatever do you mean? The couples are all seated next to each other, as befits an Anniversary dinner-”

“But whose Anniversary, pray you? Nay, not just mine and Orlando’s, but others’ as well!”

“Yes, of course, my dear. Don’t you see? I seated Celia and Oliver across from you.”

“But what of Touchstone? And Audrey?”

“They’re to have an excellent feast in the adjoining room, just as lavish, I promise you.”

“In the adjoining room! You did not seem so hard a year ago…”

“Well, it simply isn’t proper to have commoners seated at the table with nobility.”

“What of the Forest Arden! There you were content to sit alongside the beasts of the forest, and indeed, have your daughter married in the same ceremony as a fool and his lady.”

“A wise man does not argue with a god, Rosalind, no matter WHAT his rank.”

“The god, Hymen, is a rather agreeable sort.”

“The god of marriage wished to marry you. I will not quibble with a god about his own business.”

“It seems uncivil, somehow, to separate the celebrations now that we are back.”

“Then we were, as you so kindly observed my dear, in the forest. Manners in town must needs differ from the forest, and indeed, differ widely from Court.”

“What will your friend, Jaques, have to say about that, I wonder?”

“No doubt he will soliloquize awhile, and then wander off to be melancholy.”

“He does love to do that sort of thing; does he not?”

“Yes, my dear, though I fear he may not wander far enough. He’s rather fond of our fool.”

“Of Touchstone? I had forgot, but mayhaps he shake Jacques from his melancholy.”

“Oh no, my dear! For his happiness is more a terror than his melancholy. God save me from his mirth.”

“Now, Father, you are not in earnest. I see the curl of your lip and the sparkle of your wit. But come now. What of Audrey and Touchstone? Shall we seat them near Celia and her Oliver?”

“That depends. Has Oliver the patience for it?”

“Dear father, he is, of course, a patient and kind man. How could he be otherwise, when sired by Sir Roland and brother to my dear Orlando?”

“That same brother, whose life he aimed to end, I recall.”

“A miracle, I grant you. No doubt, my dearest friend, Celia, tamed his rage with her beauty.”

“I should hope so, for her sake. He wooed in haste.”

Give thy thoughts no tongue. You do not suggest-”

“No, my dear. I know your friend to be honest, though I do not trust HIS mind. False face may hide what the false heart doth know.”

“Father!”

“So the seating arrangement stays the same.”

“I have not agreed to such a thing. What of Silvius and his Phoebe?”

“The shepard! I grant you, allowances are made for a licensed fool. It is the nature of his craft to be allowed liberties, but a shepard-”

“Married by the god, Hymen, in the same ceremony as your own daughter and her friends.”

“The god is hardly going to come to the anniversary feast, now, is he?”

“—!”

“Oh, my lord Hymen! Pardon this poor mortal. I did not observe your august presence. Of course, I shall seat them together.”

“Lord Hymen, my father and I are grateful for your interest in our humble feast. It doth-”

“Left in a flash, did he not, my dear?”

“That was laid on with a trowel.”

As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods.

“Too true, dear Father. They treat the world as their stage, and they are the stage managers.”

“So, my dear, I suppose you shall have your way. All the lovers shall be seated at one table, as they were wed in one ceremony.”

“What shall we feast upon? Indeed, for I mean to make merry.”

Cakes and ale, my dear! Venison, and all manner of meat. The sauces shall be rich, and our wit more so.”

“What of your brother, Frederick? Will he not dine with us?”

“He is most welcome, as always, in my house.”

“Did not my Uncle eschew meat when he vowed a monastic life?”

“He need not eat it. I shall, for my own part, eat a pound of flesh, for my salad days are well behind me.”

“But your melancholy friend, Jacques… Will he not object to the venison?”

“Mayhap my head will ache all evening, and YOU may deal with Jacques! All the world’s a stage, indeed!”

“But father, I thought him your dear friend!”

“A friend, my dear, but his philosophy is too much for my mind. Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.”

“Then it is a good thing Touchstone and his lady will be seated nearby. His merry wit may counter Jacques’ philosophy.”

“Rosalind, my dear, send for the apothecary. My head doth ache.”

#

 

*This is one of several flash drafts that I found while cleaning out my files, so I polished it up. For fun, I bolded the lines that I stole… er, borrowed from Shakespeare! I hope you enjoyed it!

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

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Friday Flash: Mirror

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MIRROR

Sebastian had heard family stories about the relic in the attic for years. However, he had always been a curious but sensible child and never believed the rumors of what lay beyond the locked door. Spirits and ghosts had no place in his imagination.

Nevertheless, the large standing object covered by the thin azure sheet had been gathering dust in a disused recess of the attic for centuries, according to family legend. The grandparents of his grandparents had feared the item hidden beneath the heavenly blue, yet feared to let it go; the consequences of its guardianship falling into careless hands might be too great.

In all likelihood, his elders had created the stories to keep meddlesome children from scavenging through old family heirlooms, though Sebastian discovered nothing else of interest except a few scraps of antique clothing and some worn furniture. The secret hidden beneath the sheet would be revealed as nothing more than an ordinary mirror from a garage sale. With luck though, it might be valuable as an antique.

He pulled the silk off in one smooth motion, coughing from the dust born on the air like dandelion seeds. The cloud dispersed, and he gazed at the image of the mirrored-attic. The same wooden walls, crossbeams, old trunks, and debris of generations reflected back in reverse. But the staring face was not his own. The features were similar, high cheekbones, large round eyes and full sensual lips, but there any resemblance ended. Its deep brown eyes stared back at him from within a pale, hairless face. It lifted thin, bare hands to cover its mouth before it ran, screaming from the room.

Sebastian himself stepped back, reeling from the shock, grabbing at his face, his head, his horns. He sighed in relief when he felt his tail swish around his shoulders. He was fine. Who was that then- some demonic version of himself trapped in a mirror world? He wondered if the beast was dangerous. Should he destroy the cursed mirror and rid himself of whatever lurked inside?

In the corner of the mirror, the blue cover was barely visible near the doorway of the looking-glass room. The creature returned to stand before him and Sebastian took a step back. Then, overcome with pity for the poor, bald thing trapped on the other side, Sebastian placed a lone claw upon the glass. The monster’s eyes widened in terror, and it struck the translucent partition with something long and hard.

The mirror shattered.

Sebastian’s last thoughts cut as deeply as the shards of falling crystal. He felt himself break into a thousand pieces.

#

The man’s sigh filled the room.

Grabbing a broom, he hastily swept the fragments of broken glass onto the discarded sheet, then wrapped them tightly in their sky-colored shroud and entombed them in the waste bin. He shoved the bin away with his foot, once more sending clouds of dust into the attic’s stale air. Turning his back on all, he hastily closed the door and locked it behind him.

Later he could tell himself it had only been a dream.

 

*image courtesy of The Library of Congress via Flickr: The Commons. No known copyright restrictions.

**I hope you enjoyed this. I rediscovered this draft from several years ago when I cleaned out some old files, so I polished it up for #FridayFlash. Feedback and polite criticism is always welcome and appreciated. Thank you for your time!

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Friday Flash: 53

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Ronald spent most of his life trapped in the business world, placing a small noose around his neck each day and laboring under the lash of his inferiors. That was until the knowledge of his impending death liberated him from his humdrum existence. The revelation was unexplainable, but he knew it to be true.

 

Most people wouldn’t have considered the balding, pot-bellied, middle-aged man to be much of a threat. Until he’d glimpsed his inevitable doom, he wouldn’t have considered himself much of anything. He had no family, no children, no prospects except his looming fortieth birthday.

 

However, the gift of his single premonition changed everything. Once he’d glimpsed the end of his life’s path, he was as upset as anyone else would be. Childhood dreams that he hadn’t thought of in years suddenly seemed incredibly precious and unattainable. He only had thirteen years left.

 

When the ticking of the clock sounds like the footsteps of doom, thirteen years is all too brief. After a lifetime of mediocrity, he thought himself incapable of breaking his self imposed mold. He lacked the funds to travel the world. He lacked the charisma and intellect needed to charm his way to the top of the business world. How could he ever live in Hawaii at the tip of a volcano? He would never even live past fifty-three.

 

Yet, didn’t age also hold promise? His time was limited, but it was also a CERTAINTY. Just as nothing could prevent his death, nothing could hasten it. He was indestructible. He wasn’t a risk taker by nature, but for the next thirteen years death held no sway over him. Rather than a death sentence, it was an emancipation.

 

With this in mind, he realized the one childhood dream within his reach. He became a superhero. With iron-on numbers, blank t-shirts, and surprisingly comfortable tights, he created a costume to wear beneath his work clothes. He started wearing more comfortable shoes to work and carrying a few ‘accessories’ in his briefcase. With his new persona hidden neatly beneath his worn suit, he could transform in an instant into the dreaded Number 53, the Middle-Aged Marvel, defender of the innocent, bane of evildoers.

 

He used his invulnerability for the first time during his morning commute. He’d noticed a woman being followed into an alley by a shady looking character. The man pulled something out of his pocket as he followed the nervous looking woman. No one else seemed to notice.

 

Ronald looked around. Not a phone booth to be had. Damn cell phones! He’d just have to do with his mask.  He walked into the alley and slipped it on quickly. He could hear voices.

 

“I told you, Dan, that’s all I have! I can’t give you anything else. Now, it’s over. Please let me go.”

 

“Listen, doll, I think you’ve got something else I want, and I intend to get it.”

 

‘Doll?’ Didn’t that slang go out with speakeasies and guys named ‘Bub?’  Ronald thought.

 

He heard the woman gasp. “Get your hands off me!” A sharp slap echoed in the alley.

 

By now Ronald, shrouded in darkness, stood behind the thug. He feigned bravado. Stepping forward, he boomed in the deepest voice he could muster, “YOU HEARD THE LADY. LET HER GO.”

 

The man pushed the woman to the ground and turned, his incredulity writ large. The woman sat, sobbing quietly behind him. “Who the hell are you?” His jaw dropped as he took in Ronald’s mask, business suit, balding pate, and unimpressive physique.

 

“I’m ’53!'” said Ronald.  He thrust out his chest and pulled open his button down shirt to reveal the iron-on letters beneath. Damn, there go my buttons, he thought, as he heard them plop onto the wet ground. He’d really need to think up a better way to undress in these situations. Buttons weren’t cost effective.

 

The man looked him up and down, then started laughing. “I didn’t ask your age, moron! What are you going to do to stop me?”  He pointed a gun at at Ronald’s chest and snickered. “Looks to me like your days are numbered.”

 

Ronald dove at the man’s feet just as he pulled the trigger. The recoil and Ron threw him off balance, the bullet aimed high, ricocheted off the wall, catching the man in the shoulder. With a cry, he fell heavily, cracking his head on the pavement. He was out cold.

 

“My days ARE numbered,” said Ronald proudly. He turned and offered his hand to the woman. She’d stopped crying, took his hand, and let him pull her to her feet. Despite her tear-stained face and swollen eyes, she was rather pretty.

 

“Just so you know, Miss,” he added. “I’m not fifty-three years old. It’s just my alias.”

 

She smiled at him, and for the first time in his life he felt truly alive.

 

THE END.

 

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com
**Going through some old files, I rediscovered this flash that I’d stashed away and never published. Enjoy! Polite feedback is always welcome and appreciated.

 

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Friday Flash: Mangrove

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Mangrove

 

 

Her roots reached down through the water into the dark, soft mud. It felt good to stretch and feel the coolness of the earth in the clinging tendrils that shot from her body. Though she enjoyed the company of the water’s other animals – the long, lean birds that would search for food between her roots, the shelled creatures that used her for shelter – more than all, she loved the sleek rocky lizard that preyed on smaller living things. Perhaps it was his cratered body that appealed to her, a rock that waited with large golden eyes. She was earth, and he was stone.

“He’ll never return your love,” said the soft creature with the hard shell. “He can only have happiness with his own kind.” But the tree stretched her roots farther yet into the flowing water, offering more in the hopes of greater return. But the craggy beast visited, neither more nor less, as he searched the cool water for his next meal or mate. Sometimes he waited in the shadow of her branches.

Her sisters crowded together along the shoreline, their roots mingling as they whispered to each other. They pulled away from her, though they themselves harbored similar creatures within their sheltered roots. None of them loved though, like she loved the dark brooding predator. His bellows sent shivers through her as her roots vibrated in the water.

Soon the lonely call of a water bird disturbed the stillness, and she remembered her loneliness. His company did not alleviate her solitude; it amplified it. It accentuated her inability to connect to him and to others of her kind. Her sisters presence did not console her.

The moon shone through her branches, dying them silver with its touch as she cast dark shadows on the water. The lizard took shelter in her presence, and she realized that the moonlight had changed him too. It changed the water, her sister trees, even the distant hills. How could she have been so blind?

Penetrated and penetrating, she breathed the air that blew through her branches and transformed it into oxygen, giving life to many creatures – including herself. The wind slowed as it rustled her leaves, carrying the sound far away into the evening stillness. All occurred beneath the lovely sky of this world, the celestial orb spinning slowly through space and time, giving shape to the universe.

How could she be alone? She was one with them all, as the drop was one with the river.

She stretched her roots down through the water into the dark, soft mud.

 

 

 

*image courtesy of tonynetone via Flickr. Creative Commons license.

 

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Filed under experimental, Fairy Tales, Flash Fiction

Friday Flash: Runaway

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Sal knew his time was running out, a runaway train heading straight for him but he had nowhere else to go.

“So… will you?” he pleaded, kneeling before the woman of his dreams, heart- quite literally- in his hands. Ever since they had met at the runaway shelter, they had spent every waking moment together.

Lucy gazed, not at the engagement ring with the heart-shaped diamond, but rather at the train hurtling toward them both, its lights illuminating her would-be fiancé like a spotlight.

“What, are you crazy?” she hissed, pulling at her boyfriend’s arms, leaning back with all her weight. “Get off the tracks! You’re going to get us both killed!”

“The only way I’m moving is if you agree to marry me.” He clutched the red velvet box tightly in his hand so as not to lose its precious contents.

The object of his desire stared at him in abject horror as she pulled and prodded him, but he budged not an inch. “Are you CRAZY?”

He smiled a beatific smile, stars in his eyes – or were they the reflections of that oncoming train? “The only thing I’m crazy about is you!” He had to shout above the din, the train’s motors thundered as the horn screamed for him to move.

Lucy, staring at either an uncertain future tethered to a madman or an early grave, chose option ‘C’ and ran away as fast as her feet would carry her, diving behind a nearby building to avoid the carnage of her lover’s fate.

She may not have been the nicest person, but she definitely knew enough to run AWAY from her problems and not headlong into them.

 

 

 

 

*originally written on 2015-01-29 at the six minute story site, inspired by their random prompt and modified slightly for punctuation and spelling. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0

**image courtesy of BigFoto.com

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Friday Flash: (poem) “Space”

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SPACE

Losing consciousness

My last breath

crystallizes on the

window

Life and air and warmth

inches from my face

but an eternity away

 
 
So close

My lungs freeze

as I float into infinity

The stars reach for me…

 
 
Supplies and air enough for one survivor.
 
 

What will you tell the rescue ship when asked

about my absence?

Will you survive the airlock

once they learn of your

betrayal?

 
 
My last sight –

your grim smile

as you darken

the pane

 
 
 

*image courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Centers photostream via Flickr with a Creative Commons license.

As always, polite feedback is always appreciated. I’m especially interested in any comments for this particular poem, because I was experimenting with this way of telling a story.

 

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Friday Flash: Smitty’s Problem

Smitty sat on the bench and wondered what he was going to do about his oh-so-embarrassing problem.

Girls noticed right away. Many wouldn’t say anything, of course; merely giggle and look down at the offending area. What could he say? What could he do to reduce his… well, to be delicate, his *dilemma*…

His male buddies were usually not so discrete. They’d make a face and comment, but when the problem failed to be resolved – not for hours, but months, and then YEARS,… well, he’d seen every doctor he could, but they all scratched their heads in puzzlement and sent him on to someone else. A never-ending line of physicians that saw no cure – nevermind his increasing discomfort! However, they did apparently see a paper they could publish in their near futures…

Smitty eventually found himself alone. And making new friends was impossible in this sort of situation. The problem was too obnoxious for polite company.

At least outdoors, in sandals, his feet could breathe and the fresh park air dispelled the noxious odor. A brief respite from his own company, and plenty of room for others to give him – and THEM – a wide berth.

 

*written at the sixminutestory site under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license.

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Books I Read in 2014

I know this is a few days late for a New Year post, but it’s the first weekend of the New Year, so I think I can get away with it. Anyway it’s my first post of the New Year! I stole… er, BORROWED the idea for this from a blog post by @JohnBooth, author of Collect All 21! Memoirs of a Star Wars Geek. I’ve actually read several posts about this sort of thing, but John’s was the most interesting and the one that sticks out in my mind.

 

Also, this past year was the first time I consistently was able to keep track of the books I read, because I was trying to win a free bookstore gift card from my friendly neighborhood library. I know that I’ve posted about books I’ve enjoyed before, but maybe something in my list might be of interest to you. I’m not sure what everyone counts as books, but I count pretty much everything – paperbacks, graphic novels, e-books, and audiobooks. Anyway, Happy New Year!

 

BOOKS I READ IN 2014

1. MIND NOISE by Helen Howell  A wonderful novella by my lovely Twitter pal and fellow #FridayFlash-er, Helen, about a gifted child in a perilous situation.

2. DHARMA OF STAR WARS by Matt Bortolin  I’m actually rereading this right now, so this also doubles also my first read of 2015. It’s a wonderful guide for the layperson who would like to learn about Buddhism in the context of the Star Wars movies. It’s quick and easy-to-understand, offering both an introduction to the philosophy and an interesting insight for the current practitioner.

3. THE WALKING DEAD: volume 1 DAYS GONE BYE (graphic novel) – by Kirkman and Moore    Does this really need an introduction? The obvious inspiration for the hit television series, the graphic novel differs enough to still be interesting to those already acquainted with the other storyline.

4. BETWEEN TWO THORNS by Emma Newman  A lovely fantasy by another #FridayFlash-er

5. LAST GOD STANDING by Michael Boatman  A very odd look at the Abrahamic God as a stand up comedian. It was very weird, and I both hated and loved it.

6. THE WALKING DEAD: RISE OF THE GOVERNOR by Kirkman and Bonansinga  This was actually a novel that I read as an e-book, rather than a graphic novel. I couldn’t put it down. It fulfilled the title’s promise to reveal the origin of the series’ most notorious villain, but I can’t say I actually enjoyed the book because it was so disturbing.

7. HOGFATHER by Terry Pratchett  For those unfamiliar with Pratchett’s work, he’s primarily known for his Discworld novels; these humorous fantasies do take place in the same universe and sometimes share the same characters, but each novel is a stand-alone. This particular book features the Disc World’s equivalent of Santa.

8. BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS by Kurt Vonnegut (audiobook) I checked this out of the library on the recommendation of another Twitter buddy of mine, Paul Weimer. The plot is really, really odd but comes together in an unexpected way. Though I’m generally not a big fan of Vonnegut’s writing, I did enjoy this one.

9. HOOT by Carl Hiaasan  (audiobook) This one I checked out for World Book Night, because it was the book selection I was given to hand out in my local community… as a paperback, not an audiobook. It’s a Middle-Grade novel about a Huck Finn-ish character that gets the new kid in town involved in environmental activism. It was a pretty fun story to listen to.

10. CINDER (The Lunar Chronicles: book 1)  by M. Meyer   This is a science fiction take on Cinderella. Poor Cinder is a cyborg in a society that looks down on them as less than human. I also reviewed this for Functional Nerds, but the biggest warning I can give you is that this series is so AWESOME you will be completely addicted to the world Meyer’s created and the characters in it. YOU MUST READ THIS.

11. THE ENCELADUS CRISIS by M.J. Martinez   I’m just going to link to reviews I’ve already done from here on out, but this book blends fantasy and science fiction.

12. TAINTED by A.E. Rought  BROKEN may have been a gripping science-fiction version of Frankenstein, but this sequel puts it to shame. Another MUST READ.

13. DOCTOR WHO: THE SILENT STARS GO BY (Doctor Who: 50th Anniversary)  For the 50th Anniversary, several novels and novellas were released (or rereleased) to highlight each of the incarnations of the good Doctor. This novel features Eleven, along with companions Amy and Rory, as they face off with yet another set of Doctor Who villains, namely the Ice Warriors.

14. WIZARD by Helen Howell   Another excellent fantasy that hasn’t quite been published yet, but when it is everyone should read it!

15. CINDERELLA: FROM FABLETOWN WITH LOVE by Chris Roberson and Shawn McManus (graphic novel)    This is really cool story about Cinderella as a spy whose cover is as a glamorous celebrity that owns a chain of shoe stores.

16. THE CHRONIC ARGONAUTS by H.G. Wells (graphic novel by Jason Quinn and Russ Leach…) A great story featuring time-travel! Surprised, right?

17. FLATLAND by Edwin A. Abbott  (e-book)  A classic novel that illustrates the concepts of higher and lower dimensions with an engaging story that’s part adventure, part philosophy, and part satire. There’s a reason this is a classic, folks!

18. HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY by Douglas Adams (audiobook)  This is my favorite book, one that I’ve read and reread many times over, and the audiobook is wonderful as well.

19. SCARLETT (The Lunar Chronicles: book 2)  by M. Meyer  The science-fiction, fairy tale saga of Cinder continues with this original take on Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf.

20. APOLOGY OF SOCRATES (audiobook) Again, does this really need a description?

21. THE GHOST TRAIN TO NEW ORLEANS by Mur Lafferty  This sequel to THE SHAMBLING GUIDE TO NEW YORK CITY is full of the same intrigue, creatures, and humor as its predecessor.

22. GOBLIN QUEST (Goblin series: book 1) by Jim C. Hines   I was late coming to this particular series, but it was worth the wait. Jig the Goblin is a reluctant, yet endearing, unlikely hero when a band of adventurers ventures into his goblin cave.

23. DOCTOR WHO: FUGITIVE (volume 1) (graphic novel) This was a great deal I obtained through Humble Bundle, a wonderfully illustrated graphic novel featuring Doctor number 10.

24. THE CROSSOVER by Larry Kollar  When I read this adorably nerdy novel by my Twitter buddy and fellow #FridayFlash-er, Larry, I loved it. Fantasy characters transported to our own mundane world, mixing with geeks and gamesters. What’s not to love?

25. THE RESTAURANT AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE by Douglas Adams (audiobook) See #18.

26. CRESS (The Lunar Chronicles: book 3)  by M. Meyer  Continuing to blend science fiction and fairytales, Meyer introduces the character of Cress, a hacker trapped on a satellite in this futuristic take on Rapunzel.

27. GOBLIN HERO (Goblin series: book 2) by Jim C. Hines  A funny sequel to Goblin Quest featuring poor Jig the Goblin and some of his fellows as they face off against an invading horde of…. fairies.

28. TITUS ANDRONICUS (Shakespeare audio)  This horror play makes the most chilling Stephen King novel look like child’s play.

29. THE ODYSSEY by Homer (Fagles translation)  I borrowed this for a class I was taking online, and what I liked most about this was the how this translation was so easy to understand. I thought I was already familiar with the Odyssey though the other adaptations I had read, but I was wrong. Another MUST READ for the mythology lover!

30. THEOGONY by Hesiod (e-book) A poem about the origins of the Greek gods.

31. 1984 by George Orwell (e-book) Another book in my top ten that I have reread many times.

32. DOCTOR WHO: AGENT PROVOCATEUR by Gary Russell and Nick Roche (graphic novel)   This novel features Doctor number 10 along with his companion, Martha.

33. THE WALKING DEAD: volume 2 (graphic novel) – by Kirkman, Adlard, and Rathburn    See item #3.

34. THE WALKING DEAD: volume 3 (graphic novel) – by Kirkman and Adlard   See item #33.

35. THE WALKING DEAD: volume 4 (graphic novel) – by Kirkman, Adlard, and Rathburn  See item #34.

36. THE WALKING DEAD: volume 5 (graphic novel) – by Kirkman, Adlard, and Rathburn  See item #35.

37. INTO THE ICEBOUND by Larry Kollar  Another book in the Accidental Sorcerers series, you don’t need to be familiar with the other novels to enjoy this story!

38. THE AGAMEMNON of Aeschylus     The first play of the Oresteid Trilogy!

39. THE GIRL WHO TWEETED WOLF (Hobson and Choi: Case 1) by Nick Bryan   I originally started reading this as weekly installments for #TuesdaySerial, but I quickly became enamored with Bryan’s writing style, world, and characters.

40. JERICHO: SEASON 3 (CIVIL WAR)  (graphic novel)  When the cult television series ended on a cliffhanger after only two seasons, the story continued on in graphic novel form. It’s awesome.

41. GAME OF THRONES by George R. R. Martin (audiobook)  An excellent story, heavy on the political intrigue and backstabbing, with a dash of fantasy thrown in. The audio was read well. A very addictive series.

42. BOUND SOULS by Eric J. Krause  A steamy, supernatural romance!

43. JERICHO: SEASON 4  (graphic novel)   See item #40.

44. DOCTOR WHO: TESSERACT (graphic novel) The Tenth Doctor and Martha go on another epic adventure!

45. DEATH WARMED OVER by Kevin J. Anderson  (e-book) When a zombie detective investigates his own murder, aided by his ghost girlfriend and a human lawyer, what can go wrong?

46. CODE BREAKERS by Colin F. Barnes (e-book)   I got this one on the cheap through BookBub (I think) and though it wasn’t my favorite book, it was interesting enough to almost be worth what I paid for it.

47. INTO THE FIRE, PART 1 WOLVES by C. Gockel (e-book)  Humorous and addictive, these novels follow the exploits of the Norse god, Loki, and his human companion throughout this world as well as several others. I raced through this series. The first book is free, but you have been warned: It IS addictive!

48. INTO THE FIRE, PART 2 MONSTERS by C. Gockel (e-book)  See item #47.

49. JONATHAN LIVINGSTON SEAGULL by Richard Bach (paperback)  A sweet novella about an outcast seagull who learns to transform himself and ultimately teaches others how to progress in their lives.

50. INTO THE FIRE, PART 3 CHAOS by C. Gockel (e-book)  See item #48.

51. INTO THE FIRE, PART 3.5 IN THE BALANCE by C. Gockel (e-book)  See item #50.

52. INTO THE FIRE, PART 4 FATE by C. Gockel (e-book)  See item #51.

53. INTO THE FIRE, PART 5 WARRIORS by C. Gockel (e-book)  See item #52.

54. STAR WARS, THE OLD REPUBLIC: REVAN (audiobook)  The voice work on this audiobook was great, though the story itself didn’t grab me in the same way as other Star Wars stories I’ve read. What’s interesting about the characters, however, is that it features several characters that use both the dark side and light side of the Force at different times in their lives.

55. BLINK by Larry Kollar  (e-book) I was privileged to be given a copy of this humorous superhero story, which is currently being released in installments on the author’s blog. It’s worth a read!

56. SHATTERED SHIELDS (e-book) edited by B. T. Schmidt and Jennifer Brozek  This anthology of military science-fiction and fantasy short stories features strong, realistic characters of both sexes in believable situations and interesting, sometimes heart wrenching, stories. My biggest complaint would be that I wanted each story to last longer.

57. THE RESTAURANT AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE by Douglas Adams (e-book)  Yes, I know I listened to the audiobook and I’ve also read this as an e-book before (2013). I have a problem, okay?

58. DOCTOR WHO: THE STONE ROSE by J. Rayner   This was one of the better Doctor Who novels I’ve read with the Tenth Doctor. Rose and the Doctor visit ancient Rome after Mickey discovers a statue of Rose in the British Museum. Unfortunately, Rose must learn to be careful what she wishes for.

59. DOCTOR WHO: ONLY HUMAN by Gareth Roberts (Doctor Who: 50th Anniversary)  The Ninth Doctor and his companions discover a Neanderthal in modern day Britain. While Captain Jack stays behind to instruct the poor creature on contemporary living, Rose accompanies the Doctor back to prehistoric times to solve the mystery of the Neanderthal’s temporal displacement, only to discover futuristic humans living in the past. I couldn’t stop reading this, and I could never have predicted the plot in a million years. Another MUST READ.

 

Unfortunately, I didn’t quite get to #60. I decided to go to a party that night instead. :)

If any of these selections interest you, you can either follow the links or google the titles. Except for comics I obtained through incredible Humble Bundle deals, I bought most through Comixology because I enjoy their Guided View Reading tech. It zooms in on panels so I can read my comics even on small screens like my cell phone. Audiobooks I mostly checked out through my local library or downloaded for free. I also got several deals on free or cheap e-books through BookBub. A lot of the series, as I stated within the list, I got hooked on through an initial free e-book, so buyer (or consumer of free stuff), beware!

I will try to get back on a semi-regular posting schedule again in the next few weeks. In the meantime, have a Happy New Year!

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POEM: Twas Four Nights Before Christmas

winter-bt2k

 

Twas four nights before Christmas

And all down the street

Carolers were singing

Despite frozen feet

The curtains were drawn

Inside windows with care

In the hope that street urchins

Would not come and stare

At each home’s occupants

In their striped underwear

 

Not to be deterred they came

Their voices so sweet

Carolers were singing

Despite residents’ retreats

Into their closets

Their bedrooms upstairs

In the hope that the children

Would no longer be there

Instead they sang on and

Rapped the windows downstairs

 

Twas four nights before Christmas

and all down the street

Children were walking

Despite frozen feet

They sang to closed doorways

They sang to closed drapes

In the hopes that Christmas cheer

Would not escape

the hearts of the inmates

In each darkened place

 

Twas four nights before Christmas

And all down the street

Traffic would have been blocked

By  small frozen feet

Despite numerous traffic laws

And multiple violations

One lone car honked back

In concurrent jubilation

 

Twas four nights before Christmas

A few houses, it’s true,

Opened doors to the children

With smiles painted blue

The doors were opened

To the small faces singing

Holiday greetings to all

Their voices were ringing

Christmas cheer in the air

They certainly were bringing

 

Twas four nights before Christmas

And some doorways opened

A few handed out cookies

And other small tokens

They stood in their bathrobes

Swathed in cotton and smiles

Despite the chill in the air

They stood there awhile

Silent Night and then Frosty

Warmed that chill air awhile

 

Twas four nights before Christmas

And all down the block

They would spread Christmas cheer

To all –  like it or not

Most doorways were closed,

Darkened, or empty,

But the ones that were opened

Had spirit aplenty

And joyful tidings to share

Warmed hearts and smiles plenty

 

So Seasons Greetings to all

No matter your inclination

Now go drink some warm cocoa

And for Heaven’s sake get inside and warm yourself by a fire before you catch your death of cold

 

* Image courtesy of BigFoto.com

 

** Of course, the rhythm was loosely based on that wonderful poem, “A Visit From St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore. However, this poem was inspired by a night’s carolling with my good friend, Stephanie, and her lovely daughter, Sammi, and their friends. Happy Holidays!

 

 

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Friday Flash: Knives

Knives

 

Knives.

 

KNIVES.

 

What was she going to use them on next?

 

The silver blades shimmered in the sunlight streaming through the kitchen window, capturing her image on their gleaming silver surfaces before she turned away to grab another freshly scrubbed potato from the colander in the shining, porcelain sink. Chop chop chop, went the blade, smooth up-and-down motions repeated again and again, reducing the vegetable before her into ever smaller and smaller bits.

 

She loved these new knives, worth every penny. It made her want to chop something else, to test their abilities, to watch the thin blades slice through produce, flesh, and other materials like butter.

 

She stabbed the knife she was using into the counter, but instead it sliced clean through.

 

Brilliant!

 

She ran into the bedroom, grabbed a pair of old boots and chopped away. Piece of cake!

 

Smiling grimly, she eyed the discarded Barbie doll in the corner.

 

Worth. Every. Penny.

 

20141219_ScalpedBarbieDoll180

*inspired by a prompt from the six minute story site. My #FridayFlash posting has been edited slightly from the original.

**The photo above is of a craft project I completed at the local Maker Space.

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