Dragon: Stargazer

Shiny scales of a dark purple hue

Adorn the creature’s powerful body,

A fantastic display of folklore.

The dragon lifts his large head

And breathes an awesome fire.

Now he walks out of his lair

And into the cold night

To contemplate a clear sky

Of infinite constellations.

To him, the spectacle is in the stars.

The Prize is Inside

I open the Cracker Jack box

Only for the dinky prize.

My eyes open wide in wonder.

It’s another cheap sticker.

Wow, it’s just what I always wanted,

I genuinely think to myself.

The prize surprises me every time.

It doesn’t have to be perfect,

And I know it won’t be.

But the little things make me the happiest.

It’s not just the prize that excites me;

It’s that I have to use my imagination to enjoy it.

The Wolf Talks Back

Sophia was a wanderer. She loved wandering through the barn at her parents’ home to spend time with the barnyard animals, strolling through the garden in the backyard to smell the honeysuckle and walking into the forest when she felt like being truly alone. This was one of those sunny springtime days when she decided to head into the forest. After rising early in the morning and eating a breakfast of oatmeal and toast with blueberry jam, she pulled on her periwinkle hoodie and a pair of jeans and started out.

Since the forest was only a short way from home, it only took Sophia a few minutes to reach the pathway leading between the trees. Once there, she was pleasantly surprised by birdsong coming from somewhere above her head and a streak of bright sunshine in her eyes. She also spotted a couple of showshoe hares near a large rock and a red fox jogging past. Walking slowly to enjoy every moment, she decided to pick bloodroot, bearberry and flowering currant, which she put in the basket she was carrying. After a couple of hours, she took a break under a tree to eat lunch. Lunch consisted of a vegan tuna salad sandwich, olive oil potato chips and an almond milkshake made with fresh bananas and strawberries.

When she finished her meal, she decided to continue on her trek through the woods. But before she could start walking, she looked up from tying her bootlaces straight into the eyes of a gray wolf. Sophia’s first instinct was to run as fast as she could all the way back home, but fear paralyzed her to the spot. She desperately hoped the wolf would just go away but it surprised her further by opening its mouth to speak. It said darkly,”Hello there. I was wondering if you could tell me where you think you’re going?” Sophia opened and closed her mouth simply because no words would come out. No animals had ever in her life spoken to her with a voice strikingly similar to that of a human. After a few seconds of terror, she breathed out,”Who are you, sir, and why are you questioning me about my whereabouts?” “Why I’m Grayfoot, the oldest wolf in these parts, and I’m also the fiercest forest creature you’ll ever set eyes upon. If you could tell me where you happen to be going, I might be kind enough to leave you alone. Otherwise, I’m afraid you won’t want to find out what happens to those who wander into my forest.” Although Sophia was utterly disgusted by his lack of civility, she tried to talk past gritted teeth,”I’m only taking what I thought was a pleasant walk. Furthermore, I was under the assumption this forest belonged to all creatures, whether human or not. After all, you didn’t create it, and you’ll be long gone before it dies off.” Grayfoot growled quietly and barked a reply,”You would be wise to escape before it’s too late. But since you’re so brave, I think I’ll allow you the privilege of staying, for a short while. Grayfoot trotted a few yards away and glanced back for a split second. He began heading upwards into the trees then further into the thick underbrush.

Feeling a bit intimidated by the appearance of a wolf in her usual hiking ground, Sophia proceeded with caution for the rest of the day. By late afternoon, she was making the long trek back home. On the way, she saw a red-tailed hawk up in the trees, a porcupine making its way into the underbrush from a distance away and a raccoon climbing upwards towards the hollow in a tall tree with a thick trunk. When evening began to arrive, Sophia was glad to be out of any forest that had mysterious talking wolves living in it. She ran inside the house and let the door shut behind her. Then she made her way swiftly but quietly upstairs to her bedroom. The room was decorated in the similar style of a fairytale forest. She hung highly imaginative drawings, paintings, puppets and other creations she made with her own two hands on the walls. Greenery and flowers she’d picked from the forest adorned the room. Books of fiction such as Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, The Hobbit and other classics filled bookshelves to the brim. Her bedroom might have been small, but she more than made up for it with a healthy dose of character.

Sophia grabbed a book off the shelf and hopped underneath the pink bedspread of her fluffy bed. A few minutes of reading Snow-White and Rose-Red passed, then she drifted off into a deep sleep. She dreamed of a clearing in the dense forest, a pack of gray wolves and one wolf that talked back.

The Glory of Being a Clown

Fascinating clowns of all sizes and shapes

Fill the green- and pink-striped circus tent

Talking and giggling amongst themselves.

Some smiling, others with eternal frowns

Painted on their cartoon-like faces.

Now it’s time for the show.

Each one runs this way and that

In comical confusion and anticipation

As they hop into their tiny cars,

Red, green, purple and yellow,

Vehicles of hilarity and joy.

Now they drive around in circles

And honk their respective horns.

Doors open, they jump out,

Tangled up in knots like fools.

One trips over his own feet

While another squeezes his big red nose.

The finale is the toppling tower,

So they climb on each other’s backs

To create a pyramid of colorful clowns.

The topmost one raises his white-gloved hands

High in the air and waves energetically.

His glorious moment has arrived.

Bella Fairy

Ripping out the book’s pages didn’t seem to make the images in Gwendolyn’s mind disappear. She wanted to scream but that seemed crazy, so she burst into tears. Nothing was going her way, and it seemed like nothing ever would again. She placed the book on her bedside table and got up to head straight out the door. But something stopped her. There was an, “Ahem!” followed by, “Oh, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Bella Fairy, and I’ve come to help you with your problems.”

Gwendolyn turned slowly around and couldn’t believe her eyes. A magical being was making an appearance in her bedroom. Not just any magical being but a fairy godmother of sorts. She wasn’t very tall but she was absolutley beautiful. She had soft, curly brown hair, pale skin and a bright smile. She was simply adorable in a pretty pink dress that swept down to her ankles. Bella held a magic wand with a large pink star at the tip.

“How do you do?” asked Gwendolyn shyly. The fairy godmother said, “How do you do,” with a beam that brought warmth to the otherwise chilly room. She gracefully bowed like a lady should, and Gwendolyn returned the favor with similar delicacy. “I’ve come to grant you some wishes, so please be patient.” Bella moved her wand in a circle, and Gwendolyn seemed to visibly calm down. She walked back to her bed and sat down in her lavender floral pajamas she’d received as a gift last Christmas.

“Well, what would you like your first wish to be?” Bella Fairy was becoming agitated by the girl’s reluctance to speak in her presence. She was, after all, only a fairy godmother and not some infamous dragon or unicorn from childrens’ stories. Gwendolyn hesitated a bit before speaking. “I want the book I’m reading to have a happy ending. I’ve never been truly happy in my life, so I’ve always used books to escape. The problem is, this is the first book I’ve read that ends in sorrow. I’ve had a tough life and deserve to read better books. Please make this one turn out as perfect as I want it to be.

Bella waved her wand above Gwendolyn’s head in three small circles. The book began to lift into the air and turn slowly. Tiny stars began to appear in its midst, then it quickly fell to the floor. Gwendolyn ran to pick it up and flipped to the last page. As she browsed the ending, she was truly astonished. There was a happy ending, and it fit perfectly with how she thought it should end. This improved Gwendolyn’s mood so much she jumped off the bed and did a joyful twirl. She giggled and sat back on top of the bed.

Then the fairy godmother spun her wand around in front of Gwendolyn several times. Gwendolyn’s pajamas turned from ordinary attire into a splendid dress made of rainbow colors and bows. She curtsied in a low bow and smiled sweetly. “Thank you so much Bella. Now I’m a real princess and I feel just magnificent in this dress. Just one more thing. Can you help my dog Brandyline too?”

With a simple lift and spin of her wand, Bella turned the mutt into a pedigree. Whereas before no one knew what kind of dog Brandyline was (Gwendolyn rescued Brandyline from drowning in the worst downpour in the nearby forest on her way back from her explorations in the woods.), now it was completely obvious. “Oh, Brandyline, you’re a pedigree cocker spaniel and your brown coat is just darling!” exclaimed Gwendolyn. The girl lifted her dog in the air and twirled with wonder. “How could we ever thank you for everything you’ve done, Bella?”

“Nothing brings me more pleasure in this world than transforming the lives of others for the better, my dear. Your genuine happiness will never fade from my mind. May your days be filled with laughter, comfort and goodness.”

POOF! Bella Fairy disappeared. Gwendolyn and her pooch looked around in astonishment. “Now that was real magic,” Gwendolyn said excitedly. Brandyline just barked and wagged her tail happily.

A Lady Ghost for Tea

As I picked up my to-do list, I was reminded of something. “Aha!” I excaimed. Today’s the day I meet up with Natty. Every week Natty and I meet for a cup of tea and a treat. One week the sweet treat was apple scones with blackberry compote, while another day it was marmalade muffins. Today was my day to bake something, and I had decided on chocolate pound cake. So I put down my to-do list and headed to the kitchen.

“Natty’s going to love this,” I told myself excitedly. As I got to work on the pound cake, I accidentally glanced at myself in the cupboard reflection in front of me. “I look quite ghostly with this flour all over my face and hands,” I said shyly and giggled.

After the cake was done, with chocolate frosting and sprinkles, I began decorating the room for the tea party between Natty and I. My color choice for the table decor was a delicate pink. Pink teacups, pink tablecloth fringed with lace and a cute little pink teacup cake topper. “Perfect enough for anyone no matter who they might be,” I said as I admired my work. “Well, look at the time! Now all I need to do is wait for Natty to arrive. “

Natty did arrive, right through the staircase that is. As a matter of fact, I forgot to tell you that Natty was my best friend, and also a ghost. While your first instict might be to run from the supernatural, you might be surprised to find that not all ghosts intend to inspire fear in the people here on earth. After all, it’s important to be accepting of the differences of others, even if you’re a ghost.

And here she is. “Hello, my dear Hetty. I’m sorry if my arrival wasn’t on time.” Natty said breathlessly. When she was alive, Natty and I were the best of friends. As children, we spent all of our waking hours together. We’d wade in the creek searching endlessly for frogs to catch, bake delicious meals of cookies and cakes in our Easy Bake oven and trade the latest Barbie doll cards. Age never tore us apart as we continued to spend a lot of our time together throughout our entire lives. Before Natty died, we’d even get together for tea on a weekly basis, just like we do now.

Natty’s death wasn’t something I like to talk about, but if you’d like to know then here it is. Ever since childhood, she was an animal lover, and I should have noticed how her fondness for all creatures furry and not so furry would eventually be the death of her. When we were five years old, Natty saw a rabbit and ran madly after it. I saw her in the distance and went chasing after. When I got there, Natty was laying sideways on the ground crying. Then I saw the splinter in her finger and knew she’d tried to grab the bunny but got poked instead. As time passed, Natty involved herself in all sorts of dangerous incidents because of her love of animals. Finally, her kindness towards these simple beasts got the best of her.

Natty turned 69 years old so I had a birthday party. We had tea and scones, and I handed her the gift I bought her. She opened it up and saw that it was a brand new pink fashion coat. I’d spent exactly $259 on it at the department store and was initially flabbergasted at the price tag. But I thought about it and figured Natty was worth all of that and more. So I bought it and was mighty proud of my choice for her. It was everything I’d hoped for. “Absolutely beautiful.” she said with wonder and held it up for inspection. This was the last day of her life.

After she opened her present, we ate our lunch of tea and scones then headed outdoors to play croquet. As we played, Natty thought she saw a chipmunk peek its head out of one of the holes. So we both went over to look, and nothing was there. We thought it was strange and rejoined the game. Then something else happened. As Natty lifted up her arm to swing, she saw the chipmunk in a nearby hole. Instead of swinging, she ran as fast as she could and tried to chase the animal away to prevent it from being hurt by our game playing. She tripped and cried out, then fell to the ground. I ran swiftly to the scene and felt her pulse. “She’s dead.” I said sadly.

Luckily, that wasn’t the end of my best friend. She began visiting me every Tuesday for tea and treats. I needn’t have worried about her because I’ve learned that real love never dies. In fact, it lives on forever in one form or another. And so do ghosts…

Dragon Games

From the start, I noticed the dragon was as friendly as could ever be asked for. “Hello there!” he said with a display of crooked teeth and a carefree grin. He shook my small hand with his large paw, and I laughed without fear, knowing in my heart of hearts he was genuinely amiable.

The dragon’s name was Pinkley, and I’d met him before. In fact, on several occasions, because Pinkley was particularly forgetful and clumsy. Though, to his credit, he was very kind and lovable. You’d think his pink scales would make him less intimidating, but this was far from true. For instance, his height and fangs were enough to make any human run away and hide in a cave far, far away.

After we greeted each other, Pinkley stared at me with a bewildered look, and I felt immense pity. This always happened when we met, and it happened again this time. He stared for about ten seconds then asked me,”I’m sorry, do I know you?” I told him we’d met on several occasions, and he said awkwardly,”Oh…”. This was exactly why I always avoided bumping into him. When I usually see him, I try to hide behind a boulder or a bush, or tiptoe away before he notices me. His bad memory was a bit frustrating, but I still liked his personality.

Since I tended to enjoy seeing Pinkley around, and he treated me with more respect than most dragons did, I decided to stick around. He took notice of this and asked me if I’d like to play Dragon Checkers. I was genuinely excited to play because last time I’d participated in this game with him, I’d won. But once we began, I could see that Pinkley had been practicing. On his third move, he captured two of my forest green pieces with his fiery red one. When my turn came, I took one of his pieces and unfortunately that was all. Eventually, Pinkley won the game while I resolved to practice for next time. “Ha!” he roared and laughed while fire spewed from his mouth. Being beaten by Pinkley the forgetful dragon wasn’t an experience I’d ever want anyone to find out about.

The Bookstore Cats

I was a-walking past the bookstore,

And what did I see?

Three black cats in the window

Were staring at me.

So I opened the brown oak door

To the light tinkling of a bell

And said “Hello there!”

To the young girl upon the floor.

She was a-reading a childrens’ book.

So I peered a bit closer,

With large green eyes

Magnified by thick, blurry lenses.

She rudely slammed the book shut,

And ran straight to the back.

“Now I’m all alone

With these hideous cats

That stare endlessly at me,”

I thought as I wandered

Into Aisle Three.

Then the unthinkable happened:

Every cat ran towards me

And with yowls, hisses and claws,

The creatures Ferociously Jumped Upon My Back.

I started with a-fright

And knocked every book in Aisle Three

Down to the black and white checkered floor.

After this, I took flight straight out the door

And never visited that cat-infested bookstore

Again.

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