Thursday, March 31, 2005

Fiction by Eric S. Brown

In The Woods
Eric S. Brown
Copyright (c) 2005 by Eric S. Brown

“Roger that,” Mike answered through the comm. unit attached to his helmet. “We’re headed to base camp now.”

Ken shot Mike a wary look. Mike’s only response was a slight shrug of his shoulders as he lifted his M-16 and walked passed Ken and Tate, crashing into the brush of the forest as he lead the way. Ken followed after him with Tate bringing up the rear guard.

Ken was pissed about their lack of support. He knew the mission was strictly “Recon” but if they happened to run into whatever was out here that had caused all contact with the base in these woods, they would be on their own. It was no different than usual in their line of work but this time Ken felt differently about it.

There had been nearly three dozen marines stationed in the camp along with some sort of civilian expert and two C.I.A. operatives. Just what the hell the group had been doing out here to begin with wasn’t considered “need to know” for someone like himself. They had found eight of the marines so far scattered across the valley or at least what was left of them. The only words Ken could think of to describe the marines remains were “gooey spots on the ground”. The bodies, if they could truly be called that, looked as if they been through some kind of giant blender.

Up ahead, Mike came to a stop and held up his hand. After a second, he motioned Ken forward to join him. They stood at the edge of the camp proper. Mike’s face was green as he fought to keep his breakfast inside of him. The stench was terrible. The whole floor of the clearing, even the remnants of the tents the poor souls had been using, was covered with decaying entrails and bits of what once had been the men themselves. Ken gagged a bit himself then shook it off as he had been conditioned to by the years of countless wars and “police” actions he had served in.

“What the hell happened hear?” he heard Mike ask in a barely audible whisper. Mike suddenly went white and started hammering on his helmet’s comm. unit with his fist.

“What is it?” Ken asked.

“I’ve just lost Command. The channel just went dead.”

“F-‘em! That’s what they get for only sending three under equipped men with no backup to check this shit out. Let’s get the hell out of here before and tell them what we’ve found before you get them back and they give us some more dumb ass orders,” Ken urged.

“Uh, guys,” Tate said coming up behind them, “Who the F is that?”
Ken and Mike turned together to see a lone, blood-smeared man, totally naked, sitting in the center of the sea of human parts that passed for a camp. The man stood up, seemingly unconscious of his appearance, and began to walk towards their position at the edge of the camp.

“Oh shit,” Ken moaned. The last thing they needed was some crazy ass survivor to haul back through the woods to the pick up point with them. Then Ken noticed something wasn’t quite right around the man. As he drew closer to them, Ken stared at the green glow surrounding the man’s eyes but that wasn’t the only strange thing about him. Twigs appeared to be growing out his flesh and his hair wasn’t hair at all but rather weeds of some sort sprouting where his hair should have been.

“Are you alright?” Mike called out at him as he continued walking towards them. “It’s okay. We’re here to take you home.”

“I am home,” the man answered in a slow voice that seemed to linger in the air.

Mike glanced at Ken in desperation, hoping for a suggestion as to what they should do. Ken shook his head as if saying “no” and leveled his M-16 at the naked man. He opened fire on full auto. His bullets stuck the man like they were hitting a tree rather than a human. Bits of the man’s flesh chipped off like bark flying through the air as dark sap like substance oozed from the wounds but the man didn’t seem to notice. The glow around his eyes intensified as Ken screamed. Pain shot through the soldier’s chest as if something were growing inside of him. Ken dropped to his knees just before his body exploded and a mass of limbs and roots sprang out giving birth to a young tree on the spot where he’d fell.

“Oh God,” Mike yelled as shot thundered in the night once more as Tate charged the man, firing as he ran. Mike dropped his own weapon and took off running as fast as he could away from the camp. Unlike Ken and Tate, his rank had allowed him to be briefed to a degree about just what was going on out here in the North Carolina Mountains. The military or whoever was in charge of this operation had been trying to harness the Gaia spirit of the Earth itself to use as a weapon. It looked like they had succeeded only “Mother Nature” wasn’t a woman at all and he was pissed about being called into physical form.

Mike heard Tate screaming behind him as he continued in his flight just before wooden spikes shot out two large trees he was passing between and impaled him from both sides. “God forgive us for what we have awakened,” was Mike’s last thought as blood seeped up out of his mouth and his eyes fell closed.

Eric S. Brown has a new book coming out called Madmen's Dreams and his site is . (And, since he didn't give me an updated bio I can't really mention the name of the new edition to his family.) Good luck Eric with the book. We're rooting for you!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Fiction by Eric S Brown

Due to technical difficulties, the story by Eric S Brown will be appearing later on in the week.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

A Jump

Hubby and I now have Broadband instead of just regular DSL. I AM IN LOVE! The speed is a little faster and pages load so easily! Not only do we have Broadband now, we also have telephone service (we had it before but changed) through the cable company as well as cable television.

Since this is the Lenten season I said I was giving up television except on Thursdays and the weekend. Well, we just HAD to check out the cable because, well, we had to make sure it worked you know. It was Hubby's idea, and I seconded the motion peacefully. Maybe I should go to Confession for this.

I'm giddy, I tell you, GIDDY!

Monday, March 28, 2005

The Witch Wood Demon, Part 8

The Witch Wood Demon, Part 8
By H.A. Handy
Copyright (c) 2005 by H.A. Handy

No one moved for several long ticks of the grandfather clock. Angelica hadn't even noticed it was there before now. Caleb heaved a heavy sigh into the stillness of the house. Slowly, quietly, Edna returned to the kitchen where pots and pans were being moved around and the smell of wood smoke suddenly made Angelica's stomach growl and grumble. How long had it been since she had eaten anything solid? Joshua went back to bandaging her feet. No one spoke. The sizzle of bacon came from the kitchen and made Angelica's mouth water, and then a wave of nausea. It had been a long time since she had eaten.

"What did he mean 'there are always choices'?" Angelica asked softly. Joshua's shoulders shifted. He didn't look up at her.

"We make choices in life. Some choices are good. Some are bad. Every choice has a consequence." Angelica waited for the punch line but nothing followed.

"I know that already."

"And the Soul is immortal and very real. Each choice we make affects our Soul's place. Johnny made a choice and his Soul is trapped for eternity. Granny made a choice and she will probably make it. I don't like making choices sometimes, because I've seen the consequences, and most people don't look at who they are affecting when they make the majority of the decisions they make, their choices. A long time ago people made decisions with the entire family in mind. How would their decision, their choice, affect the family, their wife or husband, their children, their home, their aunts and uncles, etc.." He looked up at her then. His eyes were curious as they scanned her face openly. "And you have a big choice to make it seems."

"What is it?"

"I don't know. But Granny will tell us when it's time." Angelica's heart thudded hard at the "us" in Joshua's sentence. Something inside Angelica's heart wanted to run away from the "us" just as she had run away from the hills.

"You rest. I'll put some more wood on the fire for you and then go help Granny with the breakfast." Good to his word, Joshua added more wood and then headed into the kitchen. Soon there was a discussion of chickens and cattle and which came first the chicken or the egg. Caleb's breathing wasn't as steady as it had been earlier. Angelica was surprised she could even notice it.

Why had she taken onto herself the role of heroine for Caleb? She didn't know him. He was a total and complete stranger to her. Yet she had struggled and fought to keep him alive, to keep both of them moving forward through the snow.

The house, Edna, Joshua, the entire situation was surreal in so many ways. It should have been a story or a movie, not reality. It was real though, the pain in her feet said it was real. She believed pain.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Spring Wants to Spring Very Badly

Today I have not felt my best. I have a cold. It is nice and fresh with a beginning date of about this time yesterday. Called the health department and checked with a doctor, as I do sometimes at Hubby's urging of "Are you sure you're ok?" and found out there is a nice new virus going around that I probably have and that it (hopefully) won't last very long. This is the WORST weekend to have a cold because there is simply too much going on and I need to be on the "better" end of the spectrum. So, in an attempt to make myself feel better earlier today, I went outside and sat on the ramp and watched the dogs as they chased birds and came running back to me as if to say, "Did ya see?! Did ya see what I did?!?"

After several minutes of this, the girls decided they had had enough and came to lie down next to me on the ramp heaving happy sighs. Although I live in a medium-sized city, there is something country peaceful about our backyard. It was quite evident today as we sat out there. Clouds rolled by overhead giving little glimpses of blue sky, the air was warm, and birds were taking their baths in a pot-hole just on the other side of the back gate. A light breeze came up every so often that made the bamboo rustle and sway and several limbs on a neighbor's tree. The pussywillow at the back gate is bloomed beautifully this year.

The world wants to jump, not just ease, into Spring this year, but something seems to be holding it back. March is almost over and there is no full blown Spring as of yet. We haven't even hit 60*F on a constant basis at all this month. In fact, we've only had two, count them two days of 60*F period this month!

I'm wanting it to be Spring, and then Summer. I want to let out that part of me that doesn't feel awake until it is Spring and Summer. This has he potential of being the beginning of good months for me and I want them NOW. Remember Varuka, the snoddy little girl from Willie Wonka (the old movie) who always wanted everything and her dad usually got it for her or promised it to her so she'd shut up? Well, I want Spring. I want Spring NOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!

Did it work? Is it Spring yet? .... Darn it!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Yesterday, Sweet Yesterday

Yesterday one of my sisters was in town for some doctors appointments, so I was able to grab a Wheels van (vans with wheelchair lifts) and headed out to my utmost favorite place to go - Barnes and Noble.

I love Barnes and Noble, as most of you already know. I love the books, the people who work there, the people who go there, and, of course, the wonderful Starbucks that is nestled so sweetly amidst it all. Nothing could possibly be better for me on a day-to-myself outing than Barnes and Noble, and yesterday's foray was even more special because I was going to be able to visit with my sister B. It didn't matter how long the visit was going to last, as long as I was able to see her and judge how she is doing for myself, seeing her would be simply splendiferous.

Needless to say, her doctors appointments ran long so I had the entire day to myself there at lovely Barnes and Noble. I roamed aisle after aisle making mental notes of the next books I would like to read. Strolling (and it really isn't that difficult to stroll in a wheelchair, it's all in the attitude) into the music department I made several purchases and enjoyed every single little moment of being there. Once the music was safely tucked away, I headed back to the Starbucks cafe', pulled out the journal just for writing, and began working on a short story I've been promising myself I was going to work on for ages.

Once I had the journal open and re-reading the part of the story so far written, it dawned on me B and her husband N might actually want to see me using the beautiful pen set he got for me at Christmas. Again I delved into my bag and pulled out the pen set which I keep almost ceremoniously in its box. Selected the nice heavy ballpoint pen and began working on the short story.

As the words began to fill the pages something began to happen. Yes, I know, the story was unfolding, but something else was happening. I began to FEEL like a writer and to take pride in what was coming out of the tip of the pen and thus from that Northern Lights section of me that dreams up stories.

The weight of the pen added depth to the moment and caused me to take time and think, to look at the words as they fell and to love them even more.

Little by little, time slid by unnoticed. People came and went around me. Several times I glanced up from the paper, but not once did I let the pen slip from my hand. Remarkably there were only pauses in writing on the story, never "breaks" as is the norm with me.

My Hubby arrived and I was still writing. Shortly afterwards my sister arrived and the journal and pens went back into my bag. Through the entire little visit we had I was trying to figure out how to tell them how using the pen made me feel, how it seemed to free part of me, make me more conscious of who I am and what I do. Sadly, I was never able to do it.

Now, the day after, I know deep down I will be using my pen set more. In fact, I'm not certain I will use any other type of pen, except in a pinch to write. Every writer must find their niche, their tools, and their place in the beautiful Northern Lights section of creativity. Surprisingly, quite by accident, I think I've found mine.

How do you say "thank you" for such a wonderful gift as the pen set? Maybe I should just get published, and when I accept the award for writing, relate the events? I'm sure I'll think of something and bask in the glow of yesterday, sweet yesterday.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Making Sure

The judge denied Terri Schiavo's parents the right to reinsert the feeding/hydration tube. To be quite honest, this came as a huge surprise, nay, a shock to me. Judges are supposed to make certain the rights of individuals are not infringed upon and their human rights are upheld and protected. Aren't they? Or do they simply not want to get involved in this particular set of ethics?

I don't blame them really, if you look at it. I mean, we as humans ourselves should have the common decency to keep one of our own alive. If you truly look at this case it is not a "right to die" case because this woman isn't dying. She is alive. She responds to loved ones as best as she can. Withholding sustenance from her is an act of murder. If she was on a respirator/ventilator and her brain was damaged to the point to where she was brain dead and could not breathe on her own, then I can accept the hard decision of "pulling the plug" and letting her body release her soul. What is happening with Terri Schiavo then?

The entire ordeal seems to be hinging on her condition "improving" it appears. Her condition is not going to improve. She is one of those unfortunate individuals who has had her life forever changed, but she still has a chance at living the best life she can with some medical assistance of a feeding tube. She responds to loved ones, just as my father did, and this speaks volume's for her as a living human being.

Killing her speaks volumes as well. It says we, as a race of intelligent creatures, created in the likeness of God, don't care and should not care about someone who has fallen from a healthy individual. What should come next then? If a child is found to have Down's Syndrome they should be exterminated because they are not perfect? And what of individuals such as myself who must rely upon my husband to have a good quality of life, to sometimes help me dress, to put my socks on me because I can't, am I in line for being murdered because I require assistance? And what of Superman Reeves? Should he have just been permitted to suffocate because he could not breathe on his own? Immediately the argument can be made that he could speak and say for himself. But, if you look at it deeply, there isn't a difference. He had a guardian in his wife. What if his wife had decided in a moment of his unconsciousness it was time to kill him, to withhold the air he needed to live? Would that have been considered putting him out of his misery by other human beings or as murder?

For myself, as a disabled individual, I am going to file documents, very carefully I must add, as to who should make decisions for me if I become incapacitated. I want to make certain someone who loves me, and loves me dearly will come and check me out to help decide what should or should not be done. It will not only be my husband, but it will also be one of my sisters. This decision with Terri Schiavo has so decreased my belief that human beings, as a race are intelligent and kind. In fact, it is quite opposite - they are, on the whole, cruel and rather quick to judge someone a problem and desire to get rid of them.

In fact, I urge everyone to make your decisions and make a claim for your own safety before they start bumping people off quickly. Don't laugh. Really. Should something happen to you the doctors, the world, will not give you a chance at life. A life God should have say over and not humanity. After all, humanity's track record with good decisions has not been that great. Look to yourselves people, look to your loved ones, protect yourself and them.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Striking Home

There has been perhaps some progress with Terri Shiavo's case because the case is being reviewed. It feels like a little relief and I hope the feeding tube is re-inserted. Starving is such a horrible way to die. In my life I have been hungry, not the kind of hungry where I've missed a meal and it would be nice to eat, but I've been hungry without food for a few days and it isn't an experience I want to have again. It was actually painful and all I could think of was food for a while, then I was thinking of anything except my empty stomach. Fatigue sat in and it became impossible to think. When I did finally eat after such a long period, the food came back up because my stomach wasn't sure what to do with it I believe. So, I went back to eating again, but slower, more carefully. Each bite of food was absolute wonderment to my senses. Luckily for me, I had water to eat.

Why didn't I eat? That's a long and painful story that I may relate one day, just not now. I did have water during this time, which kept me alive. I've never wanted anyone to be without food since this experience, however. The thought of what Terri Schiavo may be going through has been very upset. True, she isn't able to talk, but she is a human being, and even though she may not be able to communicate in some traditional manner, she still feels. Her body still feels. How sad all of this is. How truly sad it is. I hope and pray the feeding and hydration tube is replaced.

This Sunday, the entire situation touched my priest. Father spoke out the respect which should be due to the living icons of God because we were made in God's image. After service I asked him to write a small piece for this Blog and he agreed if I would write a piece for the Church bulletin concerning the same topic, just from a disabled individual's point of view. I agreed to write it, but I almost am afraid to open up and let what I am really thinking and feeling flow out onto the paper concerning this topic. Careful editing is going to be required I suspect.

God bless you Terri Shiavo.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Joss Whedon and Wonder Woman?

I'm a little worried about this one you all. Joss Whedon did well with Buffy but he also didn't end it when it should have been ended, but that's my personal opinion. However, this is WONDER WOMAN we're talking about. Dare he touch the female figure so many of us grew up with, admired, loved, and fought each battle with her? True, her comics are lacking a little in the story line right now, but, please, tell me he can do a good job and not really smash her to pieces. Please.

Whedon is still trying to work out the details of his script, including the setting and how to make Wonder Woman palatable to movie-going audiences that generally don't dig female superheroes . . . .

It is phrases like this one that make me want to shudder in not-too-happy anticipation.

Some of the people he is looking at such as Eliza Dushku and Charisma Carpenter isn't bad, but, of the two, Eliza Dushku could kick more ass in my opinion. Charisma doesn't seem like she can get over the "dumb girl" routine, but she could fool me, fool us all. Right now I'm voting for Dushku.

Please, Joss Whedon, treat WONDER WOMAN with respect and love. She was all we girls had way back when and many of us still adore and love her.

Eliza Dushku, the new WONDER WOMAN?

Friday, March 18, 2005

So, Starving Someone To Death Is Permissible and Acceptable Now?

When my Daddy was alive, he had a feeding tube and hydration tube. He suffered from what the doctors called Alzheimer's Disease, but he didn't always show signs of Alzheimer's. There were a couple of times when the doctor would speak to my oldest sister, who was our Daddy's guardian, if she wanted the feeding tube removed. She would then come to the rest of us girls and ask what we wanted done. We all stood fast and said we didn't want the feeding tube removed.

This is why I didn't want it removed -

1. He could still feel.
Daddy had good days and bad days even though he was in his own world. Some days he didn't smile so much, other days you could tell he was in discomfort, but he couldn't tell us how. If a nurse handled him too hard he would wince and feel pain. He could still feel.

2. He tried to talk to us.
It wasn't often, but he did try to communicate.

3. He was a human being and my Daddy.
To remove the feeding tube would have been to kill him in slow degrees by starvation. No human being, no creature, deserves that. This is the man who taught me how to cast a fishing rod, how to drive, how to shoot, how to live up to the responsibilities of the person I wanted to be. What respect did I have for him to remove the feeding tube and let him punish and suffer to the point of death?

Now, here is this woman, married, who is a living breathing human being, and she is going to be killed by slow starvation. THIS IS WRONG! I'm not afraid to say it point blank. THIS IS WRONG!

A marriage is sacred and this man has not lived in marriage with this woman for untold amount of years. Marriage really does mean a lifetime. It's a shame this had to happen to his wife, but why can't he honor her. Why not get the divorce? He has been acting as if she is dead for years! Common decency should actually point this out to everyone involved. Yet, it seems "common decency" is a thing of the past and all anyone can see is their own freedom in situations such as this. What are his children going to do when he gets old and in the way? Put him out of their misery? This is a wonderful example for them isn't it? You just get rid of people when they are in the way, you don't love them and try to take care of them until their time has come to an end. Honor has nothing to do in this case, or in similar cases. It is just plain selfishness.

Starving someone to death, starving an animal to death, is just WRONG!

Brain-Damaged Woman's Feeding Tube Removed

By MITCH STACY, Associated Press Writer

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. - Doctors removed Terri Schiavo's feeding tube Friday despite an extraordinary, last-minute push by Republicans on Capitol Hill to use the subpoena powers of Congress to save the severely brain-damaged woman.
AP Photo
Slideshow: Terri Schiavo Right-to-Die Case

Congress Subpoenas Doctors To Keep Schiavo Alive(AP Video)

Schiavo's family issued a statement on their Web site confirming that the tube had been disconnected. It is expected that it will take one to two weeks for Schiavo to die, provided no one intercedes and gets the tube reinserted.

The removal came amid a flurry of maneuvering by Schiavo's parents, state lawmakers and Congress to keep her alive. Committees in the Republican-controlled Congress issued subpoenas for Schiavo, her husband, and her caregivers demanding that they appear at hearings in the coming weeks.

But the judge presiding over the case later refused a request from House attorneys to delay the removal, which he had previously ordered to take place at 1 p.m. EST.

"I have had no cogent reason why the (congressional) committee should intervene," Circuit Judge George Greer told attorneys in a conference call, adding that last-minute action by Congress does not invalidate years of court rulings.

The tube's removal signals that an end may be near in a decade-long family feud between Schiavo's husband and her devoutly Roman Catholic parents, Bob and Mary Schindler. The parents have been trying to oust Michael Schiavo as their daughter's guardian and keep in place the tube that has kept her alive for more than 15 years.

The tube has twice been removed in the past, but was re-inserted within days in both cases.

Michael Schiavo says his wife told him she would not want to be kept alive artificially. Her parents dispute that, saying she could get better and that their daughter has laughed, cried, smiled and responded to their voices. Court-appointed physicians testified her brain damage was so severe that there was no hope she would ever have any cognitive abilities.
Several right-to-die cases across the nation have been fought in the courts in recent years, but few, if any, have been this drawn-out and bitter.

The case has garnered attention around the world and served as a rallying cry for conservative Christian groups and anti-abortion activists, who flooded members of Congress and Florida legislators with messages seeking to keep Schiavo alive.

Outside Schiavo's hospice, about 30 people keeping vigil dropped to their knees in prayer when word spread of the judge's ruling calling for removal of the tube.

"What can wash away our sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus," they sang. Messages on protest signs included "Impeach," a reference to the judge, and "Execution — It's Not Just for the Guilty Anymore."

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, told reporters in Washington earlier Friday that removal of the tube amounted to "barbarism."

But Rep. Henry Waxman (news, bio, voting record) of California, senior Democrat on the Government Reform Committee, called the subpoenas a "flagrant abuse of power" and amounted to Congress dictating the medical care Terri Schiavo should receive.

"Congress is turning the Schiavo family's personal tragedy into a national political farce," Waxman said.

Schiavo suffered severe brain damage in 1990 when a chemical imbalance apparently brought on by an eating disorder caused her heart to stop beating for a few minutes. She can breathe on her own, but has relied on the feeding and hydration tube to keep her alive.

Both sides accused each other of being motivated by greed over a $1 million medical malpractice award from doctors who failed to diagnose the chemical imbalance.

The Schindlers also said that Michael Schiavo wants their daughter dead so he can marry his longtime girlfriend, with whom he has young children. They have begged him to divorce their daughter, and let them care for her.

The tangled case has encompassed at least 19 judges in at least six different courts.

In 2001, Schiavo went without food and water for two days before a judge ordered the tube reinserted when a new witness surfaced.

When the tube was removed in October 2003, her parents and two siblings frantically sought intervention from Gov Jeb. Bush to stop her slow starvation. The governor pushed through "Terri's Law," and six days later the tube was reinserted.

That set off a new round of legal battles which culminated in September 2004 with the Florida Supreme Court (news - web sites) ruling that Bush had overstepped his authority and declared the law unconstitutional.
The U.S. Supreme Court (news - web sites) has been unwilling to hear arguments in the case.

On Feb. 25, Greer gave Michael Schiavo permission to order the removal of the feeding tube at 1 p.m. Friday.

The family and lawmakers continued with their fight in recent weeks.
In Tallahassee, the Florida House on Thursday passed a bill to block the withholding of food and water from patients in a persistent vegetative state who did not leave specific instructions on their care. Hours later, however, the Senate defeated a different measure 21-16.

Blue Sky Thoughts

Today has been one of those odd days. One of those days where everything seems to fit into place and I can actually see it in some fashion or the other. Maybe it is because the sun is shining brightly, it is warm outside, and the air smells like Spring.

Because of all the warmth and sun I've gone outside with the dogs a couple of times (missed a couple of phone calls doing that) and have even made my way into the back yard itself for perusal of the ground and seeing where I would like to attempt to put some flowers and plants this year. I say "attempt" because I have never made it in either year I've planned it. This year, however, everything looks as if it is falling into place for me: I have the power wheelchair now, a good ramp that I can get into and out of the house in ease with, and there is space enough in the places I've always wanted to put some flowers where I can maneuver my wheelchair in a good modicum of peace and loads of safety. Now all that remains is to decide what I'm going to plant (not much this year - this is my "break in" year for seeing how to do things in the planting world again).

Feeling so close to Spring and Summer, my best seasons physically, and seeing just how close I am to actually planting things, has lifted my spirits in a way I truly cannot express. In a way it is sort of like getting a natural 20 on a much needed roll (at least some of you will understand it, for the rest of you, I will explain later). It all just feels so light to me and it has been a loooooonnnnggggg time since I've felt like this. Truly years and years. It feels, deep down, like something clicked into place inside my soul while I was actually outside in the yard. It wasn't out of place totally, just a little off-kilter and now it isn't. Now I can breathe and feel good and look forward to seasons without any regret. It is an odd sensation for me, yet one I feel so much right now I had to share.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Witch Wood Demon, Part 7

The Witch Wood Demon, Part 7
By H.A. Handy
Copyright (c) 2005 by H.A. Handy

Angelica worked her feet slowly into her boots, which were a little difficult without socks. Her feet were also quite tender. The thought of going out into the snow again wasn't as good as it possibly could have been. The memory of her long walk was still quite fresh. Boots on, shawl wrapped around her shoulders, Angelica stepped out the back door. It screaked in protest, but opened and closed with an abnormally loud bang. Joshua paused in his wood chopping to turn and look at her. He smiled.

Joshua was quite impressive in his red flannel shirt, workman's jacket, and jeans. The thick boots looked well-worn and well-used. His breath came out in little white puffs. Protecting his head was a very worn and tatty tobagan.

"Granny sent you out to help me?" he said as she neared. Angelica smiled back and nodded. "You realize she's trying to play match maker?" Angelica shook her head. "Well, she is. She's afraid she's going to die and leave me alone here and I won't have the common decency to make my own choice of a wife, or the solitary life for that matter." The ax flew through the air and thwacked into the block of wood, splitting it easily.

"Does that bother you? Her match-making?" The ax thwacked again and more wood split.

"No, not really." Joshua bent down and came up with several good chunks of wood which he unceremoniously began loading into her arms. He smiled at her again and Angelica felt her face begin to warm slightly. "Granny does seem to be getting better taste in her age, though." Joshua turned back to chopping wood. More wood was added and Angelica began tottering toward the house. Just as she was reaching the door, there was Joshua unloading the wood from her arms, his eyes bright and merry.

"If Granny saw me letting you carry all of this wood in, she, well, she wouldn't be happy."

"That's right," came a voice from just inside the kitchen door. "I raised you better than than, Josh."

"Yes ma'am, you sure did!" he said as he held the door open with his back and arm for Angelica and then followed her inside quite closely.

The warmth hit Angelica like a ton of bricks. Her feet suddenly screamed at her for making them walk on hard wood instead of the snow. They began tingling as warmth slowly filled them. She was off her feet and in Joshua's arms before she realized she had been going down. Wood lay scattered everywhere. Tears slipped from her eyes as her feet throbbed. Edna was near. She instructed Joshua to get Angelica's feet warm while she "whipped up some breakfast."

Joshua carried her as easily as if she were a child into the living room and placed her back into her chair by the fire. His face was filled with concern. As he untied her boots, red flesh puffed out.

"Where are your socks?!"

"I don't know." Even though Joshua was very gentle, removing her boots was a painful process. Once they were off, several places had begun bleeding.

"You won't lose any toes, but you need to be bandaged. Hold on and I'll get some and wrap your feet." Joshua was on his feet and gone and back before Angelica could get comfortable in her chair, the shawl still wrapped around her shoulders.

"You like this one don't you, Joshua!" Joshua froze. It was Johnny, the exact duplicate of his own voice just outside. They could see him moving in front of the large picture window in the living room/parlour. Johnny was on the porch. Angelica felt very afraid. It was like a hard lump of cold ice resting in the pit of her stomach. "So, do I," Johnny said. Joshua settled himself at Angelica's feet and carefully began bandaging her feet. "This one is special. You feel it. We can see it, me and Edna." Edna appeared at the kitchen doorway and was gazing at the glass. Her face was extremely pale.

"Yes, that's right. I can see it, Edna, dear." Johnny moved to the other side of the large window. "Did you know she saw me for my morning visit? We even had a nice chat." Joshua had paused in his bandaging and Edna was standing motionless. They were all listening. "What does that make her, Edna? Good? Evil?" Johnny placed both hands upon the glass of the window. "There are choices, Edna. There are always choices." A low chuckle came from the other side of the glass. He was still chuckling as he seemingly evaporated into nothing.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Rule Change Lets C.I.A. Freely Send Suspects Abroad to Jails

Ok, I'm getting a little nervous about all of these "changes" that are coming out of the political arena. Yes, terrorism is horrible and should be stopped, but shouldn't it be some sort of unity against it and not this? I mean, this means, according to my understanding of it, the CIA can go into any country and put anyone they like in jail. In my imagination I can see people being put in prison because they might know someone who knows someone in an attempt to bring whoever the CIA is after out of hiding. It just seems like bad policy to me. Read the story and tell me what you think. Is this as bad an idea as it feels it is?

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Witch Wood Demon, Part 6

The Witch Wood Demon, Part 6
By H.A. Handy
Copyright (c) 2005 by H.A. Handy

Angelica froze. The words had seemed to come from inside her head as well as outside. Slowly, like someone in a movie, Angelica felt her body turn toward what she hoped was the owner of the familiar voice.

Johnny stood there just inside the doorway from the forayer leaning against one side of it nonchalantly. This time he was dressed in tight jeans, a white tee and cowboy boots. His head was clean shaven and his eyes were resting on Edna in the bed.

"This is my time, see. It isn't morning, it isn't day, it isn't night. It is a between time." Johnny's boot heels clicked on the hard wood floor as he neared the bed. Something moved next to the bedside, it was like water moving in front of a window. Johnny nodded. "I know the rules. I can't come any closer. I can't touch her." Johnny stood there. Still as stone. His hands flexed and his shoulders tightened. Was it really taking strength to hold himself back from touching Edna? Angelica watched, transfixed.

A small dark spot began to form at the base of Johnny's skull. Soon it had begun to ooze, or so it looked, and then Johnny was on his knees, screaming in what sounded like agony as the dark ooze began covering him. From the place where the ooze had begun an eye opened. Wherever the ooze was, eyes began to open. The eyeballs began to burrow into Johnny's flesh, making little sucking noises as they apparently attached themselves. Angelica's empty stomach wanted to revolt, but there was simply nothing to revolt with. A wave of nausea swept over her as Johnny backed away from Edna's bed, making sure to keep his back out of Edna's sight. When he had successfully cleared the doorway, Angelica heard the scuff of boot and then thundering feet as Johnny was running away. The door slammed causing all of them to jump, except for Caleb. Edna rose slowly. Her eyes were searching out the doorway, out the window. Joshua was on his feet, fists clenched.

"It's all right, Josh. Why don't you get some more wood for the fire and warm the house, I'll see to Caleb." Joshua stretched his muscular frame and headed through the doorway she had seen him go through the night before. "Angelica, help Josh please." Edna swung her legs out of bed. Edna was surprised to see her still dressed in jeans and a thermal shirt. Edna caught her eye and smiled. "It's a lot warmer than changing for bed, especially since I didn't know how often I was going to have to be up with you two." Edna slid her socked feet into the worn boots and stood. "Go on now. Help Josh. Young girls don't need to see Caleb while I'm checking him over." For a moment Angelica thought of telling Edna she wasn't a young girl and then decided against it. "Shoo!" Edna said, half exasperated and half amused it seemed. Angelica couldn't help but smile to herself as she slipped through the doorway and find herself in the kitchen. Another door led outside. Through the pane of the glass in it, Angelica could see Josh's large form easily swinging the ax. The rhythm of wood being chopped reached Angelica's ears and consciousness as she grabbed a shawl by the door and almost stepped out into the snow with her bare feet. Should she go back and get her boots? Would Edna be upset?

"Here girl," Edna said from the door. Angelica turned in time to duck her boots which were flying toward her head. They hit the door frame with a healthy THUD THUD!

"Um, thank you."

"You're welcome." Edna was already back in the parlor. Her words were remnants only of her presence.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Helping Your Dog

Here is something to help your dog. Many who are dog owners may already know some of this information, but some may not. It is always good to have refreshers on things.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I know God promises not to give me more than I can handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much.

Mother Teresa

Monday, March 07, 2005

If a Cat Had a Diary Would It Be Like This?

Received this from my cousin in an email. I laughed good and hard, but it also made me think.

Cat Diary
CAT DIARY, 7 entriesDAY 752 - My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from ruining the occasional piece of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another houseplant.> > > >DAY 761 - Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around their feet while they were walking almost succeeded, must try this at the top of the stairs. In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair...must try this on their bed.> > > >DAY 762 - Slept all day so that I could annoy my captors with sleep depriving, incessant pleas for food at ungodly hours of the night.> > > >DAY 765 - Decapitated a mouse and brought them the headless body, in attempt to make them aware of what I am capable of, and to try to strike fear into their hearts. They only cooed and condescended about what a good little cat I was...Hmmm. Not working according to plan.> > > >DAY 768 - I am finally aware of how sadistic they are. For no good reason I was chosen for the water torture. This time however it included a burning foamy chemical called "shampoo." What sick minds could invent such a liquid. My only consolation is the piece of thumb still stuck between my teeth.> > > >DAY 771 - There was some sort of gathering of their accomplices. I was placed in solitary throughout the event. However, I could hear the noise and smell the foul odor of the glass tubes they call "beer." More importantly I overheard that my confinement was due to MY power of "allergies." Must learn what this is and how to use it to my advantage.> > > >DAY 774 - I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and maybe snitches. The dog is routinely released and seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a half-wit. The Bird on the other hand has got to be an informant. He has mastered their frightful tongue. (something akin to mole speak) and speaks with them regularly. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the metal room his safety is assured.But I can wait; it is only a matter of time.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Gigantic Lobster May Have Been 100 Years Old!

This is one whale of a lobster tale.

Click on the title to see the news article.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

The World Wide Web

Today I was talking with Cheyenne a bit about being on the web so to speak. I mean, I know The Kentucky Mountain Girl News isn't really important to a lot of people on an average. Some people are interested though because the hit counter keeps going up, which is WONDERFUL! However, The News is important to me and it is important I do as good a job as possible.

All I have ever wanted, all my life, is for people to read what I've written and it is so hard to get things accepted out there in The Publication World, but I'm working on it. I have yet to submit something Out There this year, but this year has started with a bang and looks as if it isn't going to slow down any time soon. This just means I cut things out I absolutely don't need to do and concentrate on the writing process as much as possible. Used to, this would depress me beyond belief. Not because it was work or was hard and I had to really schedule things in order to do what I need to do, but because of the uncertainty of sending off my work and having to wait for an answer as to whether or not it was accepted. I always geared myself to prepare for it being rejected.

Now, the thought of sending something off doesn't depress me. Why? Because of The Web. I mean, here I am, this little woman in her house, sitting in a wheelchair and writing things and submitting them to readers out there. I don't know who you are. (Although, it would be nice for some of you to at least sign the guest book.) Still, I know my words are being read by someone and it gives me a sense of responsibility I have not experienced before. In fact, I am very careful about what I publish on The News and try and take as much responsibility for what I say as possible.

This really didn't come home, be totally real, until I realized I had some articles I probably won't post for a while, if ever, because, although they are very interesting to me, they may affect someone out there very negatively. Being negative isn't the purpose of The News.

Cheyenne has a Blog of his own and I said today, "Keep writing. Keep putting things out there because, face it, you're on The World Wide Web and millions of people have the possibility of reading your work now."

"Don't tell me that," he said, "because if I start thinking about it I'll get nervous and take it down."

My response was, "Why? This should be YEAH! for you." And that's the way I really look at it.

Writing and having my words read by people, possibly making a difference, being outspoken, and entertaining with my words has been all I have ever wanted to do. Since The News is here I have a confidence I never knew I had before: If I can write for an audience I don't see, and they appear to like what I'm writing, then surely it is possible for me to submit stories and poems and damn the rejection slips, full steam ahead for me.

I guess the short of this thing is - thank you. Thank you for reading this little Blog and helping me get back the confidence I thought was lost to me forever.