Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Featured Fiction

The Never Ending Saga of Dram Warrensfield
By H.A. Handy

Copyright (c) 2004 by Henrietta Asher Handy

David Raymond Warrensfield was 18 years old and a good person. He was a good son, a good student, a good Christian, and on his way to being a good man. Dram, as he was called by his little sister, and thus by many of his friends, didn’t let anything bad touch him if possible, especially the role playing games all of his friends seemed to be interested in. Even when he played video games he made certain to stay as focused in reality as possible, except for the zombie shooter. After all, there were limits the imagination should go to, and the zombie shooter was his guilty pleasure his parents didn’t need to know about, but, if they asked.... He sighed. If they asked him about his video game preferences he would just own up to them and take the consequences. Seeing disappointment in his mother’s eyes would be rough, but he couldn’t please them all the time sadly.

Dram pulled into a parking space at Woodland Park and got out of the old red Nova slowly. His red hair was already beginning to thin at the temples and his blue eyes needed glasses for reading. Hopefully he would look distinguished in his thirties and not nerdish and old. Since most of his time had been spent reading, his body reflected it in weaker limbs and a pale complexion. There were times, however, when he just wanted to get out into the sunshine – even then he carried a western with him or a biography to read, his glasses tucked safely in their case in his pocket.

It was hard to believe in just a just a couple of months he was going to be a freshman at the University of Kentucky with a major in robotic sciences and a minor in English. It was just a few weeks really since it was already July 7th. How proud his family would be. He would be able to prove for once and for all his genius in his two favorite areas. At this thought, Dram’s head rose a little higher and a self-satisfied smile appeared upon his face. Life was good.

Casually, slowly, Dram made his way beneath the large oak in the center of the park. Luckily there wasn’t anyone there already as he nestled himself between the large roots that had partially worked their way up from the soil. This was one of his most favorite places to be just to relax, to just...exist. It was also the perfect place to view most of the park itself.

To his left was a gathering of hippie-like people with girls in flowing multi-colored skirts and loose tops and no bras. They would regret not wearing a bra one day, Dram thought idly as he let his book fall open. The guys were all wearing worn out jeans and tee shirts with sayings on them, or old tye died shirts that had seen better days. Not too far from them was an Oriental family, looked to be Chinese, who had a blanket spread out for a picnic with Chinese food instead of friend chicken. Dram looked seeing people picnic who were not American – they were just simply fascinating.

Far to his right was the skate park and all kinds of kids skate boarding or doing tricks on those really cool bikes. Suddenly Dram felt very old - a couple of those kids out there on boards and bikes he had graduated high school with. They seemed to be having so much fun. Yeah, he thought, but they will play their lives away. I won’t. Mom & Dad have taught me better.

Of course there were various other people too with their dogs and their babies in strollers. Young lovers walking hand-in-hand and exchanging passionate kisses close by made him highly uncomfortable. They should know better than that. It was right he wasn’t allowed to date until he was 19 and on his own in the dorm. He could take better responsibility for himself then.

Dram leaned back against the rough bark of the tree and felt his shoulders relax. It had been a long time since he had permitted himself some time to relax. He had been pushing himself very hard to be prepared for as many advanced studies as he could get under his belt for his first semester. If everything went well he could relax his second semester a little, which would be cold and snowy for Lexington, Kentucky, or at least cold and wet.

A laugh like tinkling glass bells sounded close to Dram’s ear causing him to freeze. He was about to pray God’s angels to protect him against demons when a girl fell onto her back beside him, covered in golden fur by her dog. Her hair was dark brown and cut very short. Her eyes were hazel and almond shaped, but neither Japanese nor Chinese. She was slight of body, yet beautiful to behold, which made him blush slightly. Her laughter filled up the space around the tree with joy and made him hope despite himself she wouldn’t jump up and run away. He wasn’t exactly sure why, though.

The dog was large, a massive ball of golden fur. Its head was huge with large floppy ears. The large dark eyes it set upon the girl were filled with adoration and glee. A purple tongue lolled out of its mouth suddenly and attempted to lick the girl’s face, which sent her into peels of beautiful laughter. Dram watched the two of them in rapt wonder.

“Hello, he’s a handful, but I love him,” the girl said suddenly rolling out from under the canine and coming up into a sitting position beside Dram. She was small and lithe with alabaster skin. The ball of fur looked beneath him for a second and then spun to lie at her side upon his back for a quick rub of his stomach, which she gave two handed and heartily.

“He’s quite a beautiful animal,” Dram said politely.

“Animal? Why, he’s a ferocious beast he is!” the girl cried and the dog bounced up to continue bouncing until they were all a tumble. Dram couldn’t help but laugh at them at play, so carefree and honest. At last the girl crawled over to sit beside Dram again, feigning to be exhausted. “Go play, but where I can see you,” she said. As if he understood, the large brute ran close to another dog and began running with him, but never out of the girl’s site.

“Introductions: My name is Faun.” The girl extended her hand. It was warm to Dram’s own.


“Yeah, my family isn’t from around here and is a family tradition.”

“Oh, really? Where are you from?”

“And who are you?” Faun settled her hazel eyes upon Dram with such intensity he felt embarrassed, which he hated.

“I’m sorry, I’m David Raymond Warrensfield, or Dram.” With a start, Dram realized she was still holding his hand.

“Nice to meet you,” Faun said, buoyant and happy. When her hand withdrew from his Dram felt the sunlight dim just a little and the green of the grass dull ever so slightly.

“Isn’t this a beautiful place?” Faun leaned forward and wrapped her arms around her legs. She was absolutely gorgeous and she was talking to him! Dram wasn’t sure what he answered, but, whatever it was kept her there beside him and that, suddenly, was very important. “Ego and I have looked for a happy park like this ever since we moved here.”

“Ego, is that his name?” She nodded. “He is very beautiful.” Faun beamed at his praise. “How long have you been here?”

“Since spring,” she said happily. “Are you a native?”

“Of Lexington? Yes.” What a strange question to ask, Dram thought, but not so strange as to cause him to seek an excuse to leave.

“Faun! Hi!” cried a voice. Dram winced as he saw the hippie girls, no older than him, begin to drift toward them. Faun raised her hand in greeting.

“You know them?” Dram couldn’t hide the displeasure from his voice, or face.

“Of course, my dad teaches them at the university.” Faun was on her feet before they reached them. “And they’re not ‘hippies’ they’re alternative.” The derision in Faun’s voice was very thick, but the smile never left her face. Had he said something about hippies out loud?

“This is my friend, Dram,” Faun said, turning to Dram. “Dram, these are my friends Amber and Coral.” Always the gentleman, Dram rose to his feet and extended his hand. Amber embraced him first, and then Coral. To say he was “uncomfortable” was the understatement of the year. How would he ever explain this to his parents? He wasn’t supposed to go around hugging strange girls! He had NEVER gone around hugging strange girls before!

“Cool name,” Amber said, nodding happily.

“Yeah, way cool,” Coral echoed.

“Are you coming to the picnic?” Amber asked and gestured over toward the blanket that had grown to four suddenly.

“Yep, wouldn’t miss it. My dad is going to tell some stories. I love to hear him tell stories.”

“You’re welcome to come, Dram,” Amber said with a brilliant smile. Dram nodded, not giving an answer one way or another.

“What does your father teach?” Dram asked quietly, once the other two girls had slowly ambled off, their hips swaying provocatively.

“He teaches English history and English lit. For the summer session he is teaching oral story telling. I love it when he teaches those classes. He gets a kick out of them, and so does everyone else. Well, I’m heading over. I’m hungry. There will be vegetarian dishes and meat dishes if you’d like to come.”

“I had better head home. I haven’t asked permission.”

“Permission? Oh, I’m sorry; I thought you were eighteen or so.”

“I am, but I’m still very respectful of my parents,” Dram said defensively. Faun nodded slowly, eyeing him carefully.

“Can’t and get permission?” Dram shrugged. Amber and Coral waved and called.

“Well, see ya around, Dram Warrensfield. You’re still welcome, if you get permission.” With that, Faun Last-Name-Unknown trotted over to the blankets where up-standing kids, like him, were also gathering, some bringing covered dishes, others bringing a drink. He could make some brownie points with a potential professor if he stayed, and his parents would surely understand that. Wouldn’t they?

Dram pulled out his phone and called his parents. The answer was a prompt negative. He had already been out too long. “Besides, you don’t know those people, Dram, you could get into a lot of trouble without knowing it,” his mother had added.

Been out too long? Dram looked around him and saw early afternoon had given away to early evening. Traffic had picked up. Still, people were gathering on the blankets and more and more blankets and food were being spread out on the ground. With a heavy heart, Dram went back to his car and got inside. Faun turned back to the tree, and then spotted him in his car. She had such a sad look on her face. Could she actually like him?


Doris Warrensfield settled herself into her favorite chair with some knitting. Her hair was perfectly coifed after a day of gardening and housekeeping. If it were not 2004 you would swear she was a 1950s wife. Although she didn’t have an outside job, she made certain to put on her make-up every morning. As long as Dram had been alive he had never seen her without make-up or face cream at night, and never had he seen her wear the same outfit two days in a row.

His father John was already in his recliner to his mother’s left; his current reading project, a new biography of Edgar Allan Poe, open in his lap and his eye on something on television. Dram had stretched out on the couch. Outside the lace curtains something was happening in a park and he wanted to be there. It was something he could deny to himself no longer. He wanted to be there in the park with Faun and her friends listening to stories.

“So, was she pretty?” Chow plopped down beside Dram on the floor in front of the television. Chow was Dram’s brother, adopted from China before Dram was born. Both of them were eighteen, but quite different in many ways.

Chow was Chinese and elegant. He was a handsome ladies’ man with muscles and who played up the Oriental aspect of his heritage by taking kung fu and preparing the go into sports medicine when he went to college. Chow wasn’t as good on the grades Dram, so he was going to Eastern Kentucky University, in Richmond, just a few miles south. Chow had gotten into fights at school and had almost been expelled once for fighting and defending a girl. Defending the girl was cool, getting expelled wasn’t.

“Yeah, she was.”

“Pretty? What’s this about pretty?” Doris Warrensfield stopped knitting and gave her sons her full attention. It suddenly made Dram uncomfortable.

“Who’s pretty?” Angela waltzed into the room to settle herself in the loveseat to Doris’ right. Angela was 12 and African-American and Dram’s baby sister. She had been adopted from Africa; he thought Mozambique, but he wasn’t sure. Her skin was a rich mocha color and beautiful to behold.

“The girl Dram met today?”

“What girl?” their mother wanted to know.

“A girl?” Angela echoed, curling her legs up under her.

Why was it suddenly a big deal? And why did it suddenly make him feel good to have all of their attention on him over a girl?

“Mom, you are so dense sometimes,” Chow said with a laugh, and patted their mother’s foot. Dram envied Chow’s easy demeanor around the parents as Dram had. Angela almost had it, but not quite. Angela had to live up to the other half of the expectations of the family: they had to do a really good job with her since she was both black, and a girl.

“There was a girl at the park. Her father teaches at UK. He was having a story telling class. She invited me to come and join them.” Dram sat up with an inward smile seeing the stunned looks on his parents’ faces. Chow pretended to be looking for something under the couch in order to hide his grin, while Angela just snickered openly on the loveseat.

“D-dram?” his mother stammered, her eyes tearing. As usual, John Warrensfield was silent – his eyes speaking of the pride in him, though his face was set in stern lines.

“I think I’m going up early tonight. I want to read some more before the lights go out.” His mother’s eyes were like a laser in his back as Dram headed for, then up the stairs. It was a relief to finally close the door to his room.

“It’s not a lie,” he whispered to the coolness of his room. “I just changed my mind is all.” Dram’s hands were shaking when he sat down on the edge of his bed. He had practically told a lie to his parents! If he had been Catholic instead of Baptist he would have gone to Confession to get the huge lump off his chest.

There was a slight noise outside, then the doorknob turned and Chow slipped in. He was red with the effort of not laughing. He jumped onto Dram’s bed and hugged Dram for the first time in a long time.

“Tell me about her, man!” Chow kicked off his shoes and sat meditation style on the bed.

“I just lied to Mom and Dad,” Dram breathed, near tears.


“I said I wanted to read, but I don’t. I just ...”

“...wanted to get away for a while?” Chow finished for him. Dram nodded.

“Yeah,” Chow nodded in agreement.

“Did you get her number?”

“Get her number? You know we’re not allowed to call or date until we’re in school and not under Dad’s roof!” Angered flared so quickly in Dram he was shaking.

“Tell me about it, but there are ways of getting around that.” Dram’s mouth dropped open.

“What do you mean?”

“Don’t rat me out and I’ll tell you.” Slowly Dram nodded, feeling as if he was somehow making a pact with the devil through his very own brother.

“You go to a friend’s house and call her, or from Java House or other coffee house. If you use your cell phone mom and dad both know who you’ve called and they make certain of letting the girl know you aren’t supposed to date yet, when the girl has been dating since she was sixteen.” Chow ground his teeth and smashed one fist into the palm of his other hand. “Then, when you want to go out, you tell mom and dad you’re doing one thing and go out with her, just don’t let them catch you.” Dram made mental notes, already making plans.

“So, did you get her number?”

“No, but she’ll be back at the park and I’ll make sure and get her number then.”

“Cool. I’ve been seeing ... somebody... for a while. She’s going to a school down south and I’m going to EKU until I can transfer in my field.”

“Are you going to marry her?”

“Marriage is something I’m not ready to think about right now, bro, but I’m hoping it lasts, but there are a lot of pretty girls at EKU.” Chow stood and eased toward the door. “Hey, and don’t sweat telling mom and dad something to have some time to yourself. You deserve it. I don’t see how you’ve been able to be their robot for so long. It’s time you have a life now.” Chow slipped out the door. Dram heard Chow’s own door open and shut and the stereo come on softly. Then silence because Chow had put the headphones in the stereo.

Deceit was not an easy thing for Dram to consider. The Parents expected a lot from him.


Dram felt like a stalker as he settled down into the old oaks roots for the third day in a row. He brought a book with him but hadn’t read anything of it either day. He hadn’t seen the alternative people or Faun since he had been there. I am nothing if not tenacious, Dram said to himself, echoing words he had often heard his mother say about all of her children. He would keep coming to the park until he saw Faun again and get her number and he would ask her out. It was a simple fact – it was going to happen.


Dram jumped at the sound of the voice above his head. There was Faun looking happily surprised with the golden Ego on a brown leather leash at her side. Dram scrambled to his feet.

“I was hoping to see you again.” Wrong thing to say! said something in the back of Dram’s mind.

“You were?” Faun said with a smile. It was enough for Dram to...he could fly if she just would give him enough of those smiles. Dram found himself smiling back. “Did your parents give you permission” her voice trailed into an awkward silence. Dram knew he couldn’t tell her he wasn’t allowed to date because he could see the suspicion on her face already, and it was a horrible thing to see. It had never been such a horrible thought before. Not dating. Not calling someone.

“Never mind,” she said suddenly. “So you were looking for me?”

“Yes, I was. You left so quickly before; I didn’t get your number.” Good line? He hoped it was a good line. A line! Holy schmoly he was using a line!

“Ok. Do you have something to write it on?” Dram pulled out a small notebook and pen he had purchased for just the occasion and even placed some numbers of other friends and family in it so it wouldn’t look so new and unused. Faun was smiling as she wrote down her name, address and telephone number.

“I still live with my parents, but they’re pretty cool about telephone calls and things.” She was smiling up at him and it made him feel...good.

“So, are you coming or going?” Ok, that sounded good. Un-practiced.

“Going, Ego and I are heading home.” Dram nodded. They had started walking toward the parking lot. “Some friends and I are meeting at Mellow Mushroom for pizza later. Want to come?”

“What time?”

“Seven.” Dram did hurried calculations. He could say he was going to Hamburg Pavilion and Barnes and Noble Book Sellers and be home about ten o’clock and The Parents would be all right with that. The sun would really only have set about an hour earlier so they wouldn’t worry about him driving.

“Sure. Where is Mellow Mushroom exactly?”


Faun was one of the most confusing people Dram had ever met before in his life. She could play chess like a pro yet would wrestle with Ego at every opportunity. She dressed up in dresses and was as lady-like as her mother for church, but once they were in the car off came her shoes and she was tuning the radio to alternative stations.

It hadn’t taken long for Faun to become his friend, and then, miraculously, his girlfriend. She had skirted the rule of no one riding in his car when she had started going to their small Baptist church and in an outing had said happily she would ride with him and had been doing so every since. Dram’s parents had felt so uncomfortable with refusing fellow Christian girl a ride with Dram they simply couldn’t deny her, or him. Now The Parents just pretended the rule never all.

The Parents probably knew they were seeing each other, yet they pretended otherwise. Dram and Faun were harmless friends. Of course, Faun never came over to The Parents’ house. That just simply wasn’t acceptable until he was in school in the fall. For him, however, Dram was welcome in Faun’s house any time, which was another great shock to him.

The Tellingtale household was one far different from the Warrensfield’s. In the Tellingtale household imagination was expected and rewarded. It wasn’t something that was evil. At first Dram nearly stopped seeing Faun because of her love of works of fantasy. Fantasy, he had always been taught, was the work of the devil in disguise, leading little children into hell with cotton candy.

Amanda Tellingtale was a writer of fantasy and Richard Tellingtale was a writer and professor of English and oral history. They didn’t just talk about high ideals and contemplate them. They played baseball and went to movies together, and separately, then talked about the movies the saw. Faun’s older brother was already in college and studying art.

“How is he going to support himself when he gets out of school?” Dram had asked Faun once.

“Paint I suppose. Or work as a janitor. It doesn’t matter, as long as he paints and is happy,” was Faun’s response. It bothered Dram for a very long time. She didn’t mind her brother might end up being a janitor?

“It isn’t the degree that makes you happy, it’s what you learn from it and how you plan on living your life after getting it,” Faun’s father said when Dram asked him about it one day. “I trust my son to have a good head on his shoulders and will make mistakes along the way, but he won’t make mistakes that will let him starve.” The eldest Tellingtale child was named Keer.

“Where is he going to school at?”

The Old Country was all Dram was ever told.


August was had dawned and soon August 14th would soon appear and that would mean Dram would move into student housing on campus. That would mean he was no longer living under The Parents’ roof. That would mean he was a free man to date Faun openly. Somehow he expected The Parents already knew that.

Chow had already moved to Richmond and started a job and gotten an apartment before classes started. Dram envied him and respected him all the more for getting out like he did.

As soon as he was out of the house Dram was expected to take over the payments on his car as well as the car insurance, which meant he would have to get a good paying part time job that wouldn’t interfere in his school work. There were a lot of new responsibilities that were going to be placed on his shoulders soon, and he was looking forward to them. And, if everything worked out well, he would be asking Faun to marry him when he graduated and they would live happily ever after. It was all part of his plan.

All of these things were upper-most in his mind when he pulled into the driveway of the Tellingtale house. Faun ran outside to jump into his arms. She was wearing a flowing skirt and tight little top that accentuated her perfect figure. She was laughing hysterically almost.

“We’re going to get to go and see Keer and you’re going to get to go too!” she exclaimed, and then was out of his arms and tugging his at his hand. He couldn’t go. He hadn’t cleared it with his family. Somewhere in the back of his mind Dram was aware he had even said something that affect when he found himself in the living room of the Tellingtale house.

“Good, everyone is here. This may startle you Dram, so just hold on. We’ll explain later,” Amanda Tellingtale said as Richard Tellingtale stepped forward.

In the center of the palm of Richard Tellingtale’s hand a small blue globe began to form. “Neat, how are you doing that?” Dram asked. Everyone laughed. Dram smiled.

The globe grew to the size of a basketball. The living room and occupants were bathed in a light blue glow. Then the living room was replaced by bright sunlight and a brilliant field full of banners and bright colored tents.

Dram fell back on his ass hard.

The Tellingtale’s laughed.

“We’re Elves,” Faun said, sitting elegantly beside him on the grass. Her ears were now extended and pointed. She seemed more graceful than ever.

“How are you doing this?” Dram scrambled to his feet. The grass beneath his hands was soft. Real, perhaps too real. “It’s starting to freak me out.”

“We’re Elves,” Faun said, standing with him. “We have the ways of Magick.” They all laughed.

“What did you do? Slip something to me when you hugged me, kissed me?”

Faun backed away from him slowly, looking at him with sad, little girl lost eyes.

“I knew you were wild, but I didn’t think you did drugs.”

“This is very hard for you to adjust to just yet,” said Faun’s mother, edging toward him so gracefully she looked and acted like a dream; everything about her seemed to glow a brilliant blue white light. The woman was always beautiful before, but now she was...Beautiful.

“What’s happening?” Dram heard himself speaking very carefully, distinctly. Amanda Tellingtale was too beautiful to look upon, and Richard Tellingtale looked as if he had stepped from a movie he was so perfectly handsome and beautiful at the same time. “My parents are going to worry about me if I’m not home by ten.”

“You will be,” Faun re-assured gently. “Time doesn’t really work the way you think it does.” She was watching him warily now.

Cell phone! He had his cell phone! Dram reached to his hip and tore at his cell phone. It read it had a full battery, but no signal. How was this happening? It had to be a drug of some sort.

“You’re all evil!” Dram screamed, stumbling back from Faun and her family. “You’re just demons in disguise!” Immediately Dram fell to his knees and began to pray fervently for deliverance.

“Ahh, one of those I see,” said a voice above and behind him. “Didn’t you guess he would react like this, poppet?” The speaker was tall, square shouldered, with flowing blond hair with green streaks. His ears were pointed and protruding from beneath his hair. A single braid held his hair back from his face. A long, curved bow rested easily in his hand, and he had a quiver of arrows slung at his hip. He was dressed in brown leather and a green tunic. Faun slipped into this fellow’s arms.

“Oh, Keer!”

Dram’s mouth dropped even wider. Faun was crying. As the water spilled from her eyes they turned into crystals. Keer caught them before they fell to the ground.

“It’s very wrong to make an Elvin maiden cry, youngling.” Keer’s voice rumbled from within that massive chest.

“Demons! You’re all demons!” Dram scrambled away from the shadow of whatever was happening and headed toward the forest. Surely there would be a signal somewhere.


Dram woke, the book lying open in his lap. For a moment nothing made sense. He was in Woodland Park and the girl, Faun was sitting on blankets with her friends and family. She hadn’t even looked back at him.

A huge blond guy knelt down beside him to tie his running shoe. His hair was long and put back in a tail. He looked.... Dram started to struggle to his feet when Faun stood and wave.

“Kurt! Over here!” The guy looked up and lifted his hand in greeting. The guy nodded to Dram and headed toward the group of blankets.

Not everything is evil. Dram froze. The words were inside his head! God gave Imagination to man in order to help him play, but some consider it dark and forbidding because they can’t understand it. Thus, they squash it before it has a chance to fully blossom. It is up to you how to proceed...youngling.

Faun turned suddenly and waved at him, her smile hopeful. Dram found himself somehow on his feet. Confused. It would be dark soon. Hadn’t he already met Faun, dated her? Was it all a dream?

With a heavy heart, Dram headed back to his car. It wasn’t fair. It just wasn’t fair. He had done everything The Parents had told him. He had been the good son. Why didn’t they let up on him every once in a while? Was it because he wasn’t adopted?

Dram turned back toward the gathering of people on the blankets and wished desperately he could go up to them and feel comfortable enough to just talk to her, to them. The “alternative” crowd wasn’t the sort of people he should be hanging around if he was going to get ahead in the world. Still, a professor was over there. Wouldn’t that count for something with The Parents? He was smart, he could figure this out. All he had to do was draw up the right plan to see it through.

Dram watched longingly from the interior of his car at the group of people so distant now. They were so happy. Everyone stood and bowed their heads. Dram felt his heart leap. At least they were Christians.

And then they were gone.

Dram came out of his car slowly. Casually he strolled up to the blankets lying on the ground as if waiting for people to sit on them. The baskets of food, the collections of food and drink were gone.

Of course, there was a plausible, explainable explanation for all of this. He just had to sit down and think of it.

It probably had something to do with his freaky dream. What was it about again? Dram’s memory kept reaching for it and it kept evaporating like so much smoke. It had something to do with the professor and his daughter, but he wasn’t sure what.

Slowly Dram turned and walked away. He never saw the collection of crystals lying on the grass. Keer/Kurt stepped from the shadows once Dram’s car had safely left the parking lot and collected each crystalline tear. It had been Dram’s last chance at simple imagination and possible unfettered happiness, and he had walked away from it. Maybe, somewhere down the way, Lady Fate would give him another chance.

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