Nissan altima palm springs

📢 Pinecone Research is hiring a Take Remote Surveys, Work From Home, Get Paid!

2023.06.01 07:22 rrmdp 📢 Pinecone Research is hiring a Take Remote Surveys, Work From Home, Get Paid!

Company: Pinecone Research
Location: Palm Springs, Palm Beach County 📍
Salary: 37.08011K - 37.08011K 💰
Date Posted: May 31, 2023 📅
Apply & Description 👉 https://jobboardsearch.com/redirect?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=bot&utm_id=jobboarsearch&utm_term=www.adzuna.com&rurl=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuYWR6dW5hLmNvbS9sYW5kL2FkLzQxMjcwNzg5OTA/c2U9Q0duRzlqc0E3aEdzQlg2bVdHQ2JRQSZ1dG1fbWVkaXVtPWFwaSZ1dG1fc291cmNlPTYxYjQ1YTJkJnY9QUU1MDQxRDdGMjA4RjY5MEFFNUY5Q0FDNUE5N0IxQTZDOUE4MjAyNA==
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2023.06.01 07:21 Accomplished-Page209 What are some activities/places to see in Palm Springs?

Hello, I’m fairly new to the area and was wondering where good restaurants, parks, activities, attractions etc Palm Springs has to offer. Some nice weekend spots ? Thank you kindly in advance.
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2023.06.01 07:21 Youarethebigbang Massive Palm Springs compound named best vacation home rental by Vrbo

Massive Palm Springs compound named best vacation home rental by Vrbo submitted by Youarethebigbang to CoachellaValley [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 07:11 HaleMoku_Hokulani I still can't believe this happened to us and just had to share!

Dunno if this is allowed, but dang, my experience on Monday night was so damn bizarre I just had to post it here. You read about these things happening to other people on the internet, but never did I think I'd be in a similar situation.
So, after my bf and I had an awesome time at the Palm Springs Air Museum, we lounged around our pool then went to the Agua Caliente Casino to watch the game at their sports bar. After the game, we decided to treat ourselves and go to the Steakhouse - the upscale restaurant in the casino.
It was quiet, relaxed, a nice chill vibe. We had ordered and were enjoying our food. We hear a bit of noise behind us and turn to see the hostest leading a couple to the table near us. Between the couple was a fairly large, rambunctious dog. I dunno what kind of dog it was, but it was definitely some type of hearding breed. The guy could barely hold on to this dog - it was basically dragging him through the restaurant. The dog had a vest on, but it was clearly NOT a service animal in any shape or form.
The couple was seated and we continued with our meal. Suddenly we heard a loud ruckus and saw the dog just running absolutely wild through the restaurant. The couple had removed the dog’s leash and vest - the guy was running frantically after the dog, yelling at his partner ‘Get me the thing! Get me the damn thing!”
What damn thing? We couldn’t see what the woman was doing because we were in a booth that obstructed our view, but whatever she was doing wasn’t helping. The dog was still running amok, it sniffed an elderly woman’s legs and she grabbed her chest and started yelling - she was clearly terrified. A few parties who were just seated got up and left - including a group of 8.
The dog did a huge lap around the restaurant and ended up at our booth, where he sniffed at my boyfriends steak, then jumped onto his lap! I heard people gasp around us, but my bf kept his cool, grabbing the dogs collar and playfully rubbing its cheeks, laughing. “You’re a cute little trouble make aren’t you?” He kept saying while trying to hold on to the dog and keep him from the food.
The owner FINALLY came over and dragged the dog away, throwing a faint ‘Thank you’ and what sounded like an apology. He took the dog back to the table and put back on the collar and vest.
The restaurant was in chaos. The elder couple was also making a scene, with the waitstaff trying to console the lady. People were glaring at the couple, who tried to act like nothing happened.
The manager came over and firmly told them they had to leave.
The couple flat out refused. The guy claimed he called ahead and spoke to someone who said the restaurant was pet friendly and that he could bring his dog there - which we all know is absolutely BS. No restaurant in their right mind would allow a pet dog into the dining area, let alone an upscale steak restaurant! The manager again firmly told him he had to leave.
“Are you calling me a liar? You guys are the ones committing fraud!” He said some other very offensive things that I can’t remember exactly.
We were all just dumbfounded at the audacity of this guy.
The manager left, then two security guards came in. They firmly but politely asked the couple what the situation was. The guy flat-out lied, saying that the dog just got excited and people were making a big deal of it.
“Well, the manager informed us the dog was running loose, jumping on people…”
“Thats just not what happened” The guy said.
A few of us gasped. I made eye contact with one of the guards, furiously shaking my head, mouthing “He’s a liar!”
The guy again brought up that he had called ahead and had spoken to someone saying that the venue was pet friendly and that the dog was allowed.
“That’s only partially true” one of the guards said. “Only service animals are allowed in the restaurant.”
“He is a service animal” the guy said, pointing at the dog’s vest.
“Oh really?” Said the guard “What service was he trained to provide?”
“He’s my emotional support animal.”
People around us groaned. I took a closer look at the dog’s vest. It wasn’t even one of those fake Service Animal vests that people usually get off the internet. It was green, not red, and instead of Service Animal, it said I’M SPECIAL in big green letters.
“Emotional support animals are not service animals” Said the guard “We’re going to have to ask you to lea….”
“I CALLED AHEAD AND SOMEONE WHO WORKS HERE SAID IT WAS OK.” The guy practically yelled. I can’t remember exactly what he said after that, but he was basically rambling that the restaurant staff were liars, that he was going to sue, and that since they were seated that the restaurant had an obligation to serve them.
The guards again told them they had to leave. The couple refused to budge. The guards left.
Af this point everyone else in the restaurant were just angry, staring the couple down, gossiping loudly at how rotten they were. Those people had absolutely no shame, picking at their food pretending all was dandy.
Finally, someone else came over - either the head of security or someone from Legal (I partially overheard some of the waitstaff say they were getting legal involved)
The guy again calmly told the couple they had to leave, stating the reasons they had no legal grounds to stay and that the restaurant had every right to kick them out.
They again absolutely refused to leave, yelling again that they were told they could bring the dog in, that they had every right to stay, that the restaurant was wanting a lawsuit from them.
People were already getting fed up and were throwing snide comments at the couple.
“You guys are terrible.”
“You ruined our dinner.”
“Just leave already.”
We then heard a phone ringing on speaker. The head of security was speaking into it. I barely could hear what he was saying, but I clearly heard the words “trespassing” and “please send a patrol unit.”
I turned to my bf “Oooooh! Looks like we’re gonna see them taken away in handcuffs!”
The guy got the message and abruptly stood up, grabbing the dog’s leash.
“Fine, we’re leaving this Godawful, sh*****ty place.”
The woman however, refused to move. The guy was practically yelling at her. “Let’s go! We need to leave NOW”
I could barely hear her, but she just flat out refused to budge. Finally, the guy grabbed the dog and left her there in the booth.
We couldn’t control our laughter, snorting into our napkins. The manager and three more security guards came over to the table, telling the woman that she is about to be arrested for trespassing.
After a minute or so, the guy came back, dragging the dog back with him. He just screamed “LET’S GO NOW! WE’RE SUING THE S****T OUT OF THIS GODAWFUL PLACE. I’M SERIOUS! LET’S GO NOW.”
The woman finally got up, angrily swinging her Dior tote bag onto her arm. As they exited the venue, we all clapped and cheered. It was a relief to see them gone, but dang I was hoping to see them get arrested.
The manager came over to check up on my bf “Are you ok? Did the dog bite or lick you? It didn’t get to your food did it?”
We were both fine, and we had already almost finished our meal, but we were ready to leave as the mood and the remainder of our appetites were ruined. The manager was nice and gave us complimentary desserts and took a portion of our bill off for the inconvenience.
A few other guests came up to check on my bf since they all saw the dog jump on him. We tried to make light of the whole thing.
“Hey, we weren’t expecting dinner and a show, but we got it!” Said my bf. I commented that dogs, especially big ones, just loved him, and that’s probably why the dog jumped on his lap. “Nah, I think it was the steak!” he said, laughing.
I will say that the restaurant staff handled the chaos as best as they could. Everyone was kind, understanding and kept the mood light and upbeat, even with the extremely disruptive and negative couple there. We’d totally eat there again just for the service. The food was ok- not spectacular, but I suspect that whole incident literally left a bad taste in our mouths, so we can’t really judge the food accurately. We’re hoping next time we visit would be a better experience!
On the drive back, we just couldn’t believe that that actually just happened. “Did they do it on purpose so they could sue the casino?” I wondered “Theres no way people are just that damn stupid?!”
“The restaurant shouldn’t have let the dog in anyways” said my bf “But I get it, they don’t want to be sued for violating the ADA.”
“But still, isnt it better to ruin two people’s nights than the entire evening of everyone at the restaurant?” I said.
“Hey, the dog’s night was ruined too!” Said my bf “He didn’t get any steak!”
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2023.06.01 06:39 AC_Tropica Season 4 THROWBACK Thoughts

I’m currently watching season 4, I’m new to the season and just finally started branching off of New Jersey. I just have a few thoughts with Season 4.
First off, I really can’t STAND the mean girl energy coming from Brandi, Yolanda, Carlton, and even Lisa. Brandi especially coming after anyone that inconveniences her.
Especially when they all go to Palm Springs and Brandi is just SO RUDE to Joyce and no one else is seeing what’s wrong with calling her the wrong name minus Kyle and Kim. I’m screaming at my tv to tell them to YELL AT HER AND TELL HER OFF!! Yolanda is also just as ignorant when it comes to it all and so is Lisa trying to defend each other, and it just really feels like they’re all ganging up on Kyle.
Kim is Kim and she’s there and she gets her words in but I’m also like relax girl it’s not that big of a deal what you’re upset over.
Also Carlton creeps me out and she also just makes me angry, idk what it is about her but she just angers me.
Anyways I’m all over the place with the post as I’m angrily typing this. My friend told me Brandi gets better at the end of season 4 and is good during season 5 but DAMN, when she’s drunk I just wanna scream at her! I can’t stand the mean girl energy coming from Brandi, Yolanda, and Lisa!
This season was so long ago but when you watch it you feel it happened only last year! Thoughts on this season and the cast especially Carlton and Joyce?
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2023.06.01 05:42 SkylineCrash How much should an AC valve replacement + AC recharge go for? (2005 nissan altima)

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2023.06.01 05:02 Ill-University9756 2019 Altima Engine Malfunction Reduced Power

I got a 2019 Nissan Altima over the weekend and within days of getting it I got a message saying “Engine Malfunction Power Reduced Service Now.” I didn’t drive the car for a few hours and when I turned it back on the message was gone. Still gone the next day and drove it all day with no issues. Turn it on at night and the message is back. Anyone run into this?
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2023.06.01 05:02 Path_Plane 2013 Altima w/ 126k miles for 6.5k

2013 Altima w/ 126k miles for 6.5k
About to go test drive this later this week. Its at a small used car dealership. My only question is: is that price too good to be true? Is it too low for a 2013? My other cars have all been Toyota/honda/Lexus so this is new territory. Would appreciate any advice. Can others with the same model/year share what they paid for it? What issues should I look for? TIA!
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2023.06.01 04:14 Betty-Adams Flying Sparks Volume 1 - A Novel of a boy, a dragon, and an alien. Avaliable for preorder on Indiegogo Now.

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

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


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

Chapter 2

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

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


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

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


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

Chapter 2

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

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


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

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


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

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


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

Chapter 2

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

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


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

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


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

Chapter 2

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

https://i.redd.it/zafjty1qcb3b1.gif
Flying Sparks”
Another foray into the lives of Drake McCarty, Ama Love, and the rest of their siblings as they discover that something alien is out in the forest around their home.
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flying-sparks-a-novel-of-dragon-bear-and-boy/coming_soon
#FlyingSparks #ScienceFiction #Scifi #Story #novel #book #DrakeMcCarty #AmaLove #Donny #Em #Bard #Bole #Aliens #Spaceships #Crystals #fireflies #NPS #NationalPark #Doctor #Sever #family #storm #writing #reading #drama #literature #author #BettyAdams #DyingEmbers #Dragons #ThingsThatGoBoomp #Indiegogo #CrowdFunding
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2023.06.01 03:56 Betty-Adams "Flying Sparks" A novel of a boy, a dragon, and an alien. 100K words of science fiction adventure.

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


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

Chapter 2

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

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


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

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

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


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

Chapter 2

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

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


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

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

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


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

Chapter 2

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

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


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

[Flying Sparks

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


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

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


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

Chapter 2

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

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


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

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

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


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

Chapter 2

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

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


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

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

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


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

Chapter 2

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

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


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

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


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

Chapter 2

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

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


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

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

Flying Sparks

Pre Order Now


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

Chapter 2

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

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