28 February 2010
When the first moon rock was brought back, no one realized it would save humanity and yet destroy life. Howard found the cure by accident while visiting his brother in the astronomy lab.
“Put that down.” Gerald snapped.
The binoculars nearly slipped from Howard's fingers in surprise. He hastily them down and kept his hands behind him. A faint looked of concern flitted across Gerald's face.
“I'm sorry Howard.”
Worn tennis shoes shuffled on the floor as Howard tried to behave for his twenty-four-year-old brother.
Gerald waved towards a couch. “Wait over there. I'll be done soon.”
Weariness made Howard's footsteps uneven as he shuffled over to the couched and laid down. He rested his arm over his eyes. The nausea threatened to overwhelm him and he curled into a ball, hoping for it to pass quickly this time.
“Chemo was that bad today?”
Gerald leaned close and rested his hand on Howard's forehead. A cold rock was pressed into Howard's palm. He clutched it tightly and felt reassurance in the familiar oblong shape.
“Moon rock,” Howard smiled.Moving carefully, Gerald lifted Howard's head and rested it in his lap. He wiped the sweat from his forehead, wishing there was more he could do.
“Your currently half my age,” Gerald said, trying to cheer him up.
Howard only managed a weak laugh which turned into a coughing fit. Covering his mouth with his hand, the coughing fit continued for some time. When it finally stopped, Howard rubbed his forehead and then froze.
“The moon rock.”
Gerald, shook his head, confused.
With tears streaming down his face, Howard held up his empty hand and motioned to his throat. “I'm sorry.”
With no hesitation Gerald rushed Howard to the hospital.
“What is wrong with your son?”
Gerald tried to keep his temper as he explained to the fourth orderly.
“He's my younger brother. I'm taking care of him.”
“Where are his legal guardians."
“I'm his legal guardian. Our parents are dead.”
Silence. A nervous cough.
“How old is your brother?”
Gerald looked at the frail, bald figure lying in the bed.
“Howard is twelve.”
Further explanation included Howard's two year battle with cancer and the lack of any success. The more Gerald talked, the more he felt a headache building. He wiped his hands on his trousers and tried to stay positive.
“What is the reason you brought your brother in today?”
“He swallowed a moon rock.”
Disbelieving eyes stared back at him.
Anger finally got the better of Gerald.
“Yes. A moon rock which has been handled by every elementary school tour that has come to my lab the past five years. As a medical personnel I would have thought you realized the risk my brother has against any bacteria.”
“Your sarcasm isn't going to help the situation.”
“Neither will your ineptitude.”
“Gerald, please. Don't get mad.”
Howard's voice was strained and it cut Gerald to the core. Years ago Howard had laughed and played with other children his age. He had been the fastest runner of the group. Now Howard was often mistaken for someone years younger. Gerald clenched his jaw and sat down on the bed.
“I'll make sure everything is okay.”
“You still owe me a star.” Howard murmured before the anesthesia the orderly plugged into the iv kicked in.
Gerald sat by the bed for the next hour while doctors discussed in bored tones the severity of the situation. Their voices blended together and Gerald was relived when they decided to keep Howard under observation. After two long days the orderly gently pulled Gerald aside.
They had been playing playing a card game and as Gerald set his cards down he said, “No cheating.”
Howard crossed his heart and waited patiently, adjusting the tubes.
“There has been some development on your brother's condition.” She rubbed her neck. “Inthe last test his morning there was no sign of the cancer.”
Gerald frowned. It wasn't sinking in the orderly repeated.
“There is no cancer.”
His voice shook. “Howard is dying. The cancer has spread through his body. It's only a matter of time.”
“No. There is no trace.”
There was a chair nearby and Gerald stumbled over to it, sinking gratefully onto the hard surface.
“He's going to live,” he wiped the tears from his cheeks, “He's going to live.”
The orderly left him alone for a few minutes as Gerald thought. “The only explanation is the moon rock.” Gerald stood up from the chair and looked at the quarter moon shining through the window. “We can finally turn the tide of cancer. Nothing else matters.”
As Gerald explained to Howard his enthusiasm mounted. “Howard, you discovered a cure for cancer.”
The enthusiasm was met by a serious gaze. “But if people eat the moon, what will happen to the tides?”
24 February 2010
A couple of weeks ago in my art class one of the little boys, he is seven I think, brought some Legos with him. He sat next to me and was explaining all about the set his Legos came from. I admitted that the only Legos that were mine was the dragon set. His eyes grew wide and he drilled me which set they came from and what they looked like. Apparently they are no longer made. I promised him I would get them from my parents’ house and show him when I could.
I was really excited to go to art last week. I had the two dragons with me (one is green with black wings and the other is black with transparent red wings.) When he came to class I pulled them out triumphantly.
“Oh, those aren’t the blah blah blah dragons.”
I was crushed. He went on to talk about how the dragon he was expecting me to bring was larger and could fit lots of Lego men on its back. He wandered off to start painting. Meanwhile my art teacher, who is a little older than I am, was holding the dragons.
“These are so cool. Look at this.”
He laughed and handed them back to me. We decided kids don’t appreciate cool things.
As I was cleaning up for the day the little boy came over and asked to see the dragons again. I showed him, less enthusiastically and he asked if he could have one. I lied.
“No, my nieces like to play with them.” (Both nieces are under four. They shouldn’t really be playing with them. Duplos are better.)
“Your nieces like to play with them? But they’re girls.”
I was grumpy after that. Obviously I didn’t count as a girl. *sigh*
I'm glad that my art teacher thought they were cool and when my nieces are a little older I will make sure they learn the enjoyment of Legos, especially the dragons.
21 February 2010
When I was fourteen my mother handed me a sword and wished me luck. She had no other choice. There were tears in her eyes as she stood in the doorway of our apartment and watched me leave with my seventeen year old sister Grace. We were off to kill the dragon and save the world. Mother had planned four years for this. And she cried because she sent her daughters to die in the dragon's den.
“Hope. Pick your feet up.”
I glanced up at Grace acutely aware of the weight of my sword strapped to my back. The heat from the cement felt like it was melting the soles of my tennis shoes.
“Are we there yet? I want to go home.” I knew my voice sounded whiny but I was beyond caring.
I nearly ran into Grace when she stopped. I stepped back quickly and peered around her, confused. The large dragon skyscraper in front of us milled with people. Most of the people were around the same age we were although not many of them carried swords like we did. We fell into line and handed over weapons while we walked through the metal detectors. I blushed when the female security guard gently patted me down. Grace helped me reattach my sword and we walked down the sterile halls to the waiting room. I had heard of the building but had never imagined it would be so clean.
I sat close to Grace who was trying to act brave in front of everyone else. As we waited names were called and the room slowly emptied.
“Hope, are you alright?”
I nodded slowly but my stomached knotted in anticipation. I cried out when Grace's name was called and she had to pry herself from my hand. I wiped my eyes as she spoke softly. “Follow your name and you'll do fine. Remember, this is for everyone, especially mother.”
She squared her shoulders and walked out of the room. I was the last person left in the room and the silence was deafening. I waited for hours confused as to why my name hadn't been called. I told myself I should be glad our names had been called so late. That we had a last name at the end of the alphabet.
I wiped the stream of tears from my cheeks and got shakily to my feet. I left the room behind me as I walked into the large arena. The grandstands were filled with a cheering crowd. I looked around and noticed the grand box filled with the scaly blue aliens that had invaded our home four years ago. Dragons. Feeding off of the fear of children.
Hundreds of speakers around the arena vibrated as the commentator spoke. “For the last event this evening we have Hope.”
There was a dull chuckle as the audience took in the irony of my name. I fumbled with the straps around my shoulders and my sword fell to the ground. The crowd laughed maliciously as I pulled the too long sword out and advanced into the ring. I looked around nervously as a wrought iron gate opened across from me. A large lion ambled out of the door and gave me a lazy look. It gave a jerky movement as the exposed gears in its haunches skipped a cog. I looked up at the box and saw one of the dragons smirking as he played with remote control.
The gears that were visible had a tint of blue. Grace had done what she needed to, now it was my turn. My hands shook as griped the hilt of my sword tighter and charged. The crowd chuckled as I swung wildly. I was knocked to the side and the lion grabbed my sword in its mouth. I smiled as the metal teeth connected with the transceiver my mother had built into my sword. The radio connection from the lion to the remote caused a large explosion.
I covered my head with my arms as the building collapsed around me. The dragons had been defeated. Their death fell with their Colosseum. The reign of fear was over.
17 February 2010
I had a great time this weekend. I was able to attend all of the LTUE symposium. I went last year and it is what truly motivated me to pick up my writing again. This year I was re-motivated once again. That and I got a lot of books to read.
I was really impressed with all of the guest speakers. I will say that I liked Brandon Sanderson before this weekend but my impression of him has increased exponentially. I am also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I have often wondered what it would be like to be in the limelight. There was a panel on being Mormon and writing science fiction and fantasy. His view on it was so neat and I hope that if I ever have to step into the limelight I am able to present myself with such self-confidence and stay fast to my standards. He is a hero of mine.
The rest of the symposium was great as well. I learned a lot about what I was doing right in regards to my writing and what I need to improve. I recommend LTUE for anyone interested in writing or even interested in reading. I had a whole entourage with me this year, not all of them are writers but everyone enjoyed it. LTUE is simply awesome.
15 February 2010
The wizard Penderton slapped his forehead, reapplying the red mark often found there. His crystal ball showed the new polished armor of Prince Wilbur gleaming in the sunlight as the young man turned the map upside down in confusion.
“Drat that boy. Can't he do anything on his own?”
Penderton stared longingly at his stack of manuscripts and the plush armchair. He grumbled roughly, “If he doesn't get moving the next group is going to catch up,” as he snapped his fingers and the homey library melted into a grassy field.
Snatching up the nearest stick, Penderton walked briskly until Wilbur came into view. He switched from the practical pace to his perfected hobble as he approached the prince. Still engrossed in the wrong portion of the map, Penderton's raspy cough caught Wilbur's attention.
“Wizard? Where did you come from? Glad you're here old man.” Wilbur looked at Penderton confused, “What is that red mark on your forehead?”
Penderton cut him off with a wave and pointed shakily with his stick in the right direction. Wilbur nodded and asked the familiar question, “Can't you come?”
Penderton shook his head as he thought longingly of his chair and manuscripts back in the warm sanitary tower. He waited until Wilbur was out of sight before dropping the dirty stick and rubbing his hands on his robes trying to clean them. He gave happy chuckle as he snapped himself back to his tower knowing he had some more free time.
Penderton watched the prince in the crystal ball for only a moment before picking up the latest manuscript and settling into the chair.
Several hours later, an alarm sounded and Penderton ignored it just long enough to finish the page he was on. As he hauled himself out of the chair, he mentally cursed how well his business was doing and how it was cutting into his reading. He moved back to the crystal ball and slapped his forehead in agitation.
Wilbur was dancing around the dragon waving his sword wildly. Penderton pursed his lips surprised the prince didn't injure himself and watched the short battle. After the dragon's tail disappeared into the cave, Penderton moved to the table to write the letter that would be sent to Wilbur's parents.
He dipped his quill into the ink and completed the form quickly.
Your son/daughter _____________ has won/died.
We apologize for any concern you might have.
Thank you for your business.
(No refunds available.)
Wizard Penderton's School for Heroes.
New applicants welcomed.
Penderton stuffed it in an envelope, sealed it with wax, and put it in the mailbox so it could be delivered the next morning. Penderton was grateful he wouldn't have to divert the stable boy coming behind Wilbur to another monster. He checked on the other adventurers to make sure they weren't dead or lost. Penderton turned his warning siren to silence and decided to take the rest of the evening off.
10 February 2010
03 February 2010
Two weeks ago in my weekly church meeting we sang a song entitled "Have I Done Any Good?" The song is lovely with a message about helping the people around us.
"Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love."
However when I sing that song I am not reminded to help others. I am in fact reminded about the joys of sleep.
My older sister started high school while I was still in elementary. Every morning my family would try and have family prayer before we all went our different directions. Since my sister left with my dad right after the prayer to go to school, she was always the first child up and trying to get the rest of us moving so she would be on time.
My sister is a very good singer. She can also be a very loud singer. She came up with a song that she would use to convince us we really did want to get up in the morning if only to stop her.
"So wake up and do something more
than dream of your bed so warm.
Sleeping in is a pleasure,
a joy beyond measure.
A lesson in beauty sleep and love."
Having heard almost every school day for at least a year I can never quite seem to sing the hymn correctly.
My sister's singing was contagious and one of the rules that developed from our enthusiasm was that we weren't allowed to sing at the dinner table. I can't even remember why we would sing at the dinner table but that rule was often mentioned and the guilty party would then fall silent.