Thursday, June 30, 2005

Just Ran Across This And Thought I Would Share

We cannot hold a torch to light another person's path without brightening our own.

Ben Sweetland

Doctors May Have Aided Tortures?

Please, give me a break!

The Brightest of Us All?

From: Darwin Awards Darwin Awards ......2005

Yes, it's that magical time of the year againwhen the Darwin Awards are bestowed, honoring the least evolved amongus.
Here then, are the glorious winners:

I feel so guilty for laughing at this one, but it just is, you know?

1. When his 38-caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California, would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked.....

And now, the honorable mentions:

2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat-cutting machine and, after a little hopping around, submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company expecting negligence sent out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine and lost a finger. The chef's claim was approved.

3. A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.

4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn't discovered for 3 days.

5. An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious head wounds received from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was hit.

6. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer...$15. (If someone points a gun at you and gives you money, is a crime committed?)

7. Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he'd just throw a cinderblock through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinderblock and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinderblock bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious. The liquor store window was made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape.

8. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, "Yes,officer, that's her. That's the lady I stole the purse from."

9. The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at 5 a.m., flashed a gun, and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast. The man, frustrated,walked away.


10. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his siphon hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges,saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever had.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Butterfly Within, a Poem

The Butterfly Within
By H. Asher Handy
Copyright 2005 by H. Asher Handy

the butterfly trapped within
a cocoon of warped flesh and bone
finally struggles to break free

frightened to remain hidden, feeling
the need to become what it was meant to be
hearing the voices of encouragement and peace

how will it all end?

how will it all begin?

in order to break free
the cocoon's weaknesses
must be found, then changed
to purest strength

the butterfly is trapped within
but the cocoon is the clay
waiting to be molded
filled with the ultimate essence of
the butterfly

God created all things to be perfect -
it is up to us to remain so

Finally to be free

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Is This True???

Growth in wisdom may be exactly measured by decrease in bitterness.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Is this true? If we have wisdom is there a decrease in bitterness? Sometimes when I've learned things I've felt more for the knowledge I've learned, such as how the outside world and people usually view the beautiful mountains and their people. Many people still look at the Appalachians and their people as hicks and stupid, when, in reality, the per capata for high IQs are in this particular area. And what of how big business really views the natural resources around us and would much rather prefer getting to the oil than protecting the flora and fauna of an area? This knowledge makes me bitter towards them. So, does knowledge REALLY decrease bitterness?

Monday, June 27, 2005

A Painted Woman I Am

When I was growing up in the hills, if someone was called "a painted woman" they were little more (or less) than a hooker. We knew that by the gaudy make-up the person wore, which was usually very blue eyeshadow laid on quite heavily and bright red lipstick, the tacky color of red that looks like wet wax on the lips, whether or not it looked good or not. Even if the woman had on wonderful perfume, it always seemed to smell cheap on her because, I think, that's what it was supposed to smell like.

I have known this person growing up and she didn't make it to my adult hood, most of them never really do. It is sad really, because now I can look back and see a person who was struggling to make it in the world and fit in, just as they were, instead of trying to be a cheap "painted woman", because most of them aren't (although some of them are).

This was on my mind as I was lying on the bed letting the henna dry on my body. B had put all kinds of cool designs on me. It is an awesome experience. When henna dries it leaves behind a dye on the skin which you can make designs out of. It is a big Indian art form, and well, it is very sexy and quite feminine in the experience of having it applied to you.

So, as I was lying there, just relaxing, dozing, and feeling pampered and loved, I thought I'm a real painted woman right now! Of course, I then dissolved into mighty fits of silent giggles, because this was something I didn't want to have to try and explain to B just yet. I'm glad I don't think of myself the other way. Some women back home think of having make-up on makes you "a painted woman" and this makes me sad. Maybe they should try having henna put on their naked bodies and enjoying it for the pure fun of it!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Three Points For Happiness, Just A Little Early

Yes, it is late, or early depending upon how you look at it. I am going to be ever so grumpy upon waking up to get to the gym tomorrow! Still, I wanted to make sure there was a post up for Saturday (now today) since I am not at all certain I'll get to do anything major. Hopefully, though, I will have a wonderful report to post about the gym and the new trainer. B will inadvertently be getting a work out as well, so, it should be an interesting thing. So, I leave you with these words -

Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.

Jose Addison

Friday, June 24, 2005

Mary Poole's Idea

He who laughs, lasts.

Mary Poole

If anyone has any information about who Mary Pettibone Poole is or did, please send me the information. I am having a terrible time trying to find out anything about her other than she has give us lots of quotes and a book title A Glass Eye at a Keyhole This has me extremely curious. She is obviously well-known, so why haven't I read something by her? Please, share any information you have.


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Proof of Strength

Currently I am going through a phase I like to call "Getting Into Shape Or Else." There is a serious feeling for me that if I don't get in shape now while I can, there might not come another chance for me to do so. It just feels right - now is the time to become the person, physically as well as writerly, I've always wanted to become. So, for the past week B and I have trekked to the gym to work out. B doesn't work out all that much it seems, but he helps me work out without a problem. We are even talking with a trainer, and when we can get the money up, we're getting this one guy to help me train because he is positive, strong, and I sort of trust him. I have determined to get in shape and now I am going to do my best.

Yesterday I was brave and got on a machine I've been afraid of for centuries it feels like - the leg curl machine. For those of you unfamiliar with this, let me describe it for your amusement. It is a bench that is wider at the base than what would be considered its "top" and in the center, or just a little lower, it is raised, like a cat does when it stretches. You lay on your stomach on this machine and weights are put on your legs for you to lift. I have been terrified of this machine for ages because I couldn't figure out how I would get onto it.

Much to my surprise, getting onto it wasn't as bad an ordeal as I had imagined it would be. In fact, it was much easier. I lifted very little weight, but did three sets of 12 reps which I was impressed with. When all was done and I was sweating, it was time to get up. Terror hit. Up. Down hadn't been that much of a problem. When you think of it, "down" is never really that hard a problem. You can walk "down" a river bank much easier, on the whole, than you can back up the thing, and falling "down" was never that hard, but getting back up, well that takes a while for me, or not at all.

OK, the damage was done and I had to get up off the machine. B was being more supportive than he has ever been, and was right there beside me the entire time with my crutches in easy reach.

I backed off the machine, pressed up, and felt my lower back tighten and then, Wow! I was standing up! I had done it without worry, without struggle and I felt good! Of course I quickly reached for my crutches because the floor seemed to be calling my body and the crutches keeps he floor at bay, if you get my meaning. But, I'd done it! Not B helping me up, but ME, I'd done it on my own! Do you know what this means? It means I am really getting stronger!

I was so enthused I even got on the scales to see how much I weigh. I'm not going to spread what the number is, not until it is a lower figure, and will only share it with B and the trainer. So, there is much to work toward.

You want to know the really surprising thing?

I think I'm going to do it this time!

The Night Listener, A Review

I've just finished reading Armistead Maupin's The Night Listener and found myself disturbed by the open, common view of a homosexual man and relationship in the background of a story that continued to keep me reading and keep me interested from page 1 to the very last page. The twists and turns of the plot or plots made me re-read several pages once the book was finished and I had the leisure to go back and say, "Oh, so that's where that happened! Nicely placed!"

I have been a fan of Tales of the City and was truly looking forward to reading this book. I am not a prude, but there were areas Maupin took me I was unprepared for. Then, as the analysis of the relationship between the main character and his partner began, I found myself looking at other people I know and going, "I can see that in them." It suddenly didn't matter the gender of the couples or the hetero-homo-sexual basis of the couple. This is good fiction and good reading.

It is a good 342 pages in hardback.

Maupin weaves words expertly and gives the reader images both poignant and wonderful. He causes his readers to think, which isn't a bad thing at all.

As with all of Maupin's works, I won't dive into another Maupin novel for a while. I will mull and chew this one over subconsciously and fill my mind with some fluff for a while.

If you want a good book for the summer, I highly suggest The Night Listener. It even brings a tear to the eye as well as chuckles from the belly.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Tick Tock Goes the Clock and My Eyelids Droopy Down

Today has been a remarkably good day. I woke up a little sore, but after just relaxing a little more, the soreness eased away and I was able to go work out. Then I was able to meet with Sister2 and her husband for a short, but lovely, visit. Then I was left alone at Barnes and Noble by B while he ran a few errands. Of course, being alone for a few hours in a bookstore does encourage one to read and look at different books, so there is little reason to report that I read more of The Night Listener by Maupin. Little by little it is winning me over and I am really filled with all of the possibilities the current place in the story has - Is Pete real or not?! - and the words Maupin uses and the tale he weaves is unbelievably believable.

I am excessively tired, but I do have more notes to post, a poem to let you all read, and, of course, some insights into myself and working-out I have found quite surprising. However, all of that is going to have to wait until in the morning.

Night all.

I Have Often Heard This Said, But Not Quite Like This

Depend on the rabbit's foot if you will, but remember it didn't work for the rabbit.

R.E. Shay

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Heartfelt Change

There are moments in life when you know things are changing. You can feel it, experience it in a distant manner, but you know it's happening. This is happening for me right now. Things are changing and it can be good. It can also be bad. Still, I am being optimistic - this is a good change.

What is changing?


I am becoming the person I've always thought I could be. It is a little frightening of course, changing the person you were with all of those faults and trying to make them change and different. Sometimes it looks like an impossible task, and then, when you least expect it, you see how you have changed and are changing and it is an amazing thing.

One area of my life that has changed has to do with my writing, of course. I am working at it seriously and feeling a pleasure in it I haven't felt for a long time. It is hard work and I end up tired at the end of every successful day of writing as if I have indeed accomplished something. It doesn't seem to matter if someone is going to read what I've written or not. It doesn't matter how many times the piece is rejected - in my heart of hearts I know this is a good piece and the time and effort I have placed in it so far, and all of the time and effort I will continue to put into it until it is finished, is definitely not something that is wasted.

There is a pleasure also in this Blog I didn't fully appreciate until recently when the novel started taking off with all of its successfulness in words. This little Blog has helped to give back my confidence I used to have, because you out there are reading it. It doesn't matter if anyone comments, I know someone is looking at The News and hopefully enjoying what is present. That is absolutely beyond wonderful!

So, thank you all for being out there and reading along with this silliness of mine as well as the seriousness of it.


So far the word count for the novel is 7,684 words and still growing. Why this seems so important to me is a mystery. I don't have an idea as to how long this work will be, should be, or could be, but I'm looking for a 200+ page book and estimating that should probably be about 50,000 words, or more. So, everything is working quite well in getting it to advance.

Today I have not had an opportunity to work on it, but I have had a great chance to get some research done in between looking things up for B in his job search (he has a job interview at 3PM today, so we have our fingers crossed). Now, just as I am preparing to sit down and do some major writing for the day, I am feeling pumped, alive, and ready to experiment with words, ideas and the story itself!

By the time I am finished for the day I am expecting to be as tired as a worn out pup who has played all day, and quite ready for sleep and bed just like I was last night.

If all goes well, tomorrow you will have a new word count, and it will be larger than what it is now!


Today I was thinking about all of the friends I truly have around me. I mean, I have some really good friends out there. Some friends I haven't been able to talk to for a while, but, because it is nice and warm, I am able to talk to them because they have health problems as well, and it feels wonderful to touch base with them. I feel as if I have renewed something very important for me, and to me.

Blissfully Tired

I know I should have posted this earlier, but I have been trying to catch up on the writing pretty much all day. B wanted to do other things than let me write, such as go to the gym, but we both ended up having a good time there. I am actually beginning to look forward to going to the gym. Still, I have managed to get some work done on the novel and can say, with some relief, Chapter Three is now completed.

It isn't perfect. Chapter Three that is. It isn't what I want, but I just can't keep going back over it and working on it until I'm satisfied with it. If I do that then I'm not going to go on and actually begin the next chapter. Still, Chapter Three is close to what I want, so I have let it be where it is with firm convictions and plans on making it perfect when the book is completed for the first draft. Not everything can be perfect the first time 'round, but it can be dang close.

Also, if all goes well, there will be a book review up from yours truly before the week is out. For some reason the writing process has brought out that ravenous hunger for the written word. It feels good, too. It feels as if I'm working as a writer is supposed to work.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Some Interesting Words from Sandra Carey

Never mistake knowledge for wisdom. One helps you make a living, the other helps you make a life.

-- Sandra Carey

Sunday, June 19, 2005

A New Day

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Novel Update


I must admit I haven't written anything on the novel in the past day-and-a-half. Not because of not wanting to, but because typing has been somewhat painful due to an injury at the gym trying to get my hands stronger.

I am in Chapter Three after making the previous Chapter Three into Chapter Two and Chapter Two into Chapter One, and Chapter One into the Prologue. For some reason this chapter is giving me fits and pains. I have finally figured out what I need to do with it, however, so, as soon as can type relatively quickly and well, I will be hitting it again and at least finishing Chapter Three.

This time 'round the chapters actually have titles. I don't usually write titles, but since I don't usually write this sort of stuff it doesn't really surprise me how much stuff has been popping up and things changing. It is a grand adventure I'm on with my brain, and I am sincerely enjoying it! (I just hope major mood swings and depression don't hit now. I am out of my medication and we simply don't have enough money to purchase the refill. Medicines are SO expensive any more!)

I may break down next week and give you a glimpse of at least one chapter. Then again I may not. I don't usually do that either!

Friday, June 17, 2005


Yesterday I was out-and-about. My second oldest sister and her husband were up in Lexington and each time they are up here we try and get together. Since our parents are no longer living, we are finding it harder and harder to get together because our separate lives keep building up and keeping us "separate" in more than just physical means in some ways, but not emotionally. It seems emotionally we are growing together than further apart, and it would really be nice to see each other more. Instead of being daughters and children, we appear to be developing even deeper bonds as "sisters" which I find absolutely amazing.

Sister2 has always been the sister I have most wanted to be like. She has a Rank One in English and Teaching and writes wonderfully, beautiful poetry. She has always encouraged me and never pulled any punches with me. When I was younger, her not pulling punches made me sad, angry, annoyed, all the things a young person would feel, but I listened to her, even when I didn't want to. I've always felt a need for her to approve of my writing more than any other person, and I have it, which brings me to my next point.

I have her approval of my writing, of how well I put words together and describe descriptions, and suddenly I realized - I have to live up to that now. There is this place in my head that says I should feel a tremendous weight on my shoulders because she approves, but, in reality, I have a freedom I never expected. I have the most loved peer of my life approving of me and what I do. If she approves, why should I care about what anyone else thinks, because, believe me, if things aren't right she tells me. I trust her to do that. But when Sister2 tells me things about my writing, she does it in a way in which I learn. This is part of her talent as a person. And, I am blessed by having her also be my sister and my best friend.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Sir Thomas Browne

Think it more satisfactory to live richly than die rich.

Sir Thomas Browne

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

This Makes Me Nervous

OK, an outsider is going to help the FBI choose its head. Doesn't that sound a little disturbing to anyone else? It made me think of Nazi Germany actually. Then again, sometimes I'm a little paranoid like that. With everything that is happening in the world, I really believe we need to protect all of our freedoms. This could be a necessary thing. Still, it makes me nervous.

Man With Bloody Chain Saw Enters U.S. Unchallenged?

OK, this is a bit much. I actually thought this was an urban legend until B sent me this!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

A Psychological Observation

I noticed something today: When I am writing, really writing, I take better care of myself. It almost feels as if I subconsciously understand, or feel, I am doing something important and it makes me feel good. It makes me feel good I am writing. It makes me feel good about myself. I had never noticed that before. Does this make me truly weird? I'm sure people far more into pscyhology can look at this and say, "Oh, that's because you have this and this going on in your psyche." For myself, I am just glad I noticed it because it confirms deep down I am doing what I was meant to do - write and tell stories.

Otherwise on the writing front, I am seriously considering getting myself a journal to keep down notes and changes I'm making in the novel/story as well as the hours I put into it just so I can see everything that transpires. Perhaps, if it is published, it will help me with my taxes in the up-coming year. I tried a working journal once before, but that was a long time ago and I was a child. Could this be a viable thing to do? I'm thinking....

Today B (new name for Hubby) was working on the computer a little and so I just grabbed my notebook and began jotting down things that needed to happen for the story. It made me feel as if I was actually doing well on the process and am just going to transcribe what I have now onto the computer just as soon as possible. I need to do a little more research, hopefully today, and then I will delve back into writing just as soon as I can, which may be in just a few minutes or tomorrow. I'm thinking....

Monday, June 13, 2005


I've noticed something about myself since I've begun the current creative project - I'm happy.

I mean, I'm happy down into the deepest part of my core. I have a reason for getting up in the mornings and for going to bed tired at night.

My head is filled to over-flowing with words and phrases and ideas, yet it hasn't felt more clear in years, forget months!

Everything feels fresh and new, even though very little has indeed changed in my life.

Nothing has changed except the fact I am writing again; writing with a ferocity and joy I had almost forgotten.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Stand Up And Be Counted!

True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else.
-- Clarence Darrow

Saturday, June 11, 2005


There was a point once when writing was simply what I lived for. It was the outlet for all of the creativity I had inside and it got me away from where I was. It let me experience love, danger, excitement and heroism in its purist most entertaining forms. Today, I felt that excitement and love again! Chapter two is now finished!


I hate to say it, but "An Adventure" may be dead, as in, no more continuances of the story. The current work has taken over. Yesterday I did research for the new story and it felt wonderful! The things I discovered about my own city were absolutely great! It really surprised me how things change when you look at things differently, even the ordinary things we take for granted.

Still, I hate leaving "An Adventure" undone here on The News. I'm sorry about that. If this piece wasn't so involving I would have time to split creative energy between the two, but, right now I just don't.

On that note, I can say there will be more writerly stuff popping up on The News through this creation, as well as who-knows-what. As always, The News is open to submission and if you're tired of my rambles, why not send me some of your own?

Friday, June 10, 2005

One of Those Moments

There comes a point in writing, for me any way, when three things seem to be happening simultaneously:
1) The words seem to appear on the screen as if by magic and it's as if you're reading what it popping up on the screen instead of writing it.
2) The imagination is fluid and active, of which you are aware of consciously and subconsciously.
3) Everything is coming together to where you "see" and almost experience what is happening and your hands move over the keyboard as if you are playing an instrument.

Is this what composers go through? Hearing the melody and trying very hard to capture it all for merely instruments?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

And We Go Rolling Merrily Along

Today, when I was working on The Wager-story, I felt the scenes beginning to open up and the people becoming more realistic. The main character is giving me a few fits. He is not forth-coming with information prior to the moment it is written.

Since I have begun to Seriously write again, the words are flowing fast and hard in so many different directions! The absence of a printer is beginning to drive me into the "worry" mode, but I've decided to not let it be a problem: I am going to transfer the files I need to have printed off onto a CD and take this to Kinko's and have Kinko's print off what I need. It is going to be a little difficult and somewhat more expensive than just having a printer at my beck and call, but the stories and poems will get printed off and I can get the stories out that need to be out by their deadlines.

There is something I have written I am seriously considering submitting to the Church bulletin for printing in the next month's newsletter. This is one of the things I need printed off.

Suddenly I am juggling deadlines, writing, and needing a printer to actually get things printed off for submission and sharing, plus being a housewife with all of those particular duties involved.

I feel like a real human being!

Some Words From Albert Einstein

There are two ways to look at life. One is as though nothing is a miracle; the other is as though everything is.

-- Albert Einstein

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


It is never too late to be what you might have been.

-- George Eliot

There is more I would like to write about this statement, but, for now, I am glad merely to put it forth for your ruminations.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Val Kilmer On Stage In UK

Can you believe it? Val Kilmer is still doing something! It was quite a shock.

Is it just me, or does he look odd in this photo? And, if this is his co-star, she doesn't look very happy with him does she.

Coming 'Round

Things are beginning to be on a roll 'round here recently in the creative department. The story for the wager Hubby and I made has turned into my solace and my salvation for having a husband and not liking him at the current moment. Oh, I still love him, to be sure, I just . . . don't like him all that much at the current moment. Will it pass? I can only hope.

With all of this drama roiling and boiling in the house - don't want to go into too much detail here - working on the novel and bringing the character of William to life has filled me with a pleasure I find nostalgic and at the same time something I've missed.

I have genuinely missed turning my talent, energy, and determination toward a story and its completion. Hubby is sometimes convinced I "run away" into the story, to writing, to escape my problems, and he is partially correct because I tend to do most of my writing in moods of greatest happiness or greatest darkness. Most writers do I think. Yet it goes so much more deeper into the psyche than merely running away from a problem, or problems: it is something I'm called to do and I have been ignoring that call for the past little while. I mean, I haven't been seriously serious in the writing process as I should have been.

Recently Hubby said I was not having anything published because I didn't want to succeed. Maybe part of me really doesn't want to be published because that would mean people would expect to read more of my work and I would have to take it all quite seriously, quite professionally.

(See, I have thought about things.)

Now, through all of the Nasty which is happening, I see where I belong more clearly than I've seen it in a while.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

An Adventure, Part 2

Being of the Kilk Clan meant they stayed in the lush forests of Avinar year round. The spring and summer were filled with warmth, and autumn didn't get cold until just before Harvest Festival. After Harvest Festival, however, the cold winds whipped down from Ice Peak and brought the snows with it. Tym shivered at the memory of the recent winter months, then smiled up into the sky. It was over. Winter wouldn't be peeking its head around the corner any time soon and he could look forward to warm days and nights to his soul's content, until winter, of course.

Something moved in the bush to Tym's left. Oh no! It's Mara! She's found me! was his first thought. Mara was his older sister and was in charge of the younger ones, even though Tym was a man now as far as the any of the elders were concerned. He towered over Mara just like their father did, but there was something frightening about Mara. She didn't often snap and snarl, but when she did there was a reason behind it and you'd better listen. It didn't help matters that she was a far better hunter than most men and had a quiet way with animals all admired. What no one knew, except for perhaps him, was that Mara would have preferred to live in the forests alone with her animals than with people. It wasn't that people were bad or evil to her, she just didn't always understand them.

Sure enough, Mara stepped from the bush, her bow in hand and a full quiver of arrows on her back. Her long flaxen hair hung well below her waist, even in the braid she currently had it in. There was no denying she was a girl even though she wore the hunting breeches of the men and a halter she had made herself.

Mara smiled at him and came to lie beside him.

"You know, Tym, sometimes you have the best ideas," she said, closing her eyes and basking in the warmth of the sun. Tym relaxed and smiled as he secured his place back upon the grass.

"I thought you were hunting?"

"I thought we were hunting?" Mara said with a happy lilt in her voice.

"Um, yeah."

"I just didn't feel like it today. This is the first day we've been able to get into the deep forest and I . . . I just wanted to enjoy it."

"Me, too."

Tym watched the very tops of the trees wave in the slight breeze that was blowing. Mara was his older sister by four years, but she was also his best friend in many ways. It felt good to just lie there and not worry about hunting or anything else. It was a perfect day after all.

A horn sounded in the distance. Mara sat bolt upright. Tym followed a little slower.

"The village needs help!" Mara was on her feet and heading back into the forest before Tym could make it to his feet. Suddenly his heart was pounding in his chest. Raiders? They hadn't been attacked since Tym had been alive!

As he followed after Mara, Tym Warden couldn't know his life had just changed forever.