Flash Fiction Friday Story: An Easter Gift

Easter, Eggs, Randy Cockrell

Easter Eggs by Randy Cockrell

Moira gently dropped the last hard-boiled egg into the dye bath. This one was purple that she’d made from red onion-skin. The other dyes were made from fruits and vegetables also, turmeric for a bright yellow, beet for pink, Chili powder for orange and red cabbage for blue. It was something her grandmother had taught her when she was a little girl.

She again regretted she didn’t have any children to teach the art to. Her husband, Dan, and her had tried for years and finally given up. These eggs were for her niece, Pam and nephew, Scott, her brother, Rick’s kids. The eggs would go in the baskets she was making for them.

After the dyed eggs were put in the refrigerator she got her gardening gloves, bucket and trowel and went out to her front flower beds. Even with the ground still cold, she had to weed around her daffodils. The sun was warm on her back as she knelt in the grass at the bed’s edge. Moira paused to watch a robin search the lawn and stab the ground, pulling up a worm. It flew off, worm dangling from its beak.

While she weeded she thought about Easter dinner. It was at her house this year. The family’s traditional ham was already in the fridge for Sunday but she wanted to do something a little less traditional. Maybe a lamb roast, she thought. We never do lamb. And grilled asparagus instead of green beans. Moira briefly thought about making something other than mashed potatoes but rejected that idea. The entire family would riot if there were no mashed potatoes.

She enjoyed the bird mating calls coming from every tree in the neighborhood. It reminded her that she hadn’t had her monthly cycle in three months. That wasn’t unusual for her. She clapped her gloved hands together to get rid of the dirt and stood up. One of the neighbors began mowing her lawn, the smell of fresh cut grass wafted to her on the soft breeze. It was one of her favorite smells, right after fresh baked bread.

As Moira dumped the bucket of weeds into the trash she considered the pregnancy test kit she still had in the master bath. She’d stopped testing three years ago, her heart broken by the continuous series of negative results. Now, though, she thought, one last time? Nah, it’ll just be negative again. She went into the house and went on about her day.

Two days later, on Sunday, Moira had everything in the oven or on the stove cooking. Dan was in the kitchen, preparing the bar. She went up to her bedroom to take a shower and dress before her parents and brother and his family came over. She got a new bottle of shower gel out of the sink cabinet, the pregnancy test right next to it, and stopped. After a deep breath, she pulled it out and reread the directions. She couldn’t resist. After using the kit, she left it on her sink and took her shower.

Moira resisted the urge to check it when she toweled off. It’ll be negative again, she told herself. There’s no need to get your hopes up. After she wrapped her shoulder length brown hair in a towel and put her robe on she went to the sink and studied her reflection in the mirror. Gold-flecked blue eyes stared back at her. “Don’t get excited, Moira. It’ll be the same this time as all the times before.” With a deep breath, she looked down at the test stick. She blinked, then picked up the box to read the instructions again.

“Dan!” Moira picked up the stick and ran down the stairs to the kitchen. “Dan!”

He looked up from the counter where he was putting ice into an ice bucket. “Yeah, hon?”

She held out the stick.

His eyebrow arched. “I thought you weren’t going to do that anymore?”

Moira grinned. “Take a look.”

Dan looked at the stick then, eyes wide, back at her. “It’s…”

Her face crinkled with a huge smile. “Yes. It’s positive. I’m pregnant.”

 

The End

688 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

Serial: Lost Rainbows Chapter 6 – Becca Makes a Revelation

Lost Rainbows by Connie Cockrell

Lost Rainbows by Connie Cockrell

Chapter Six – Becca Makes a Revelation (Lost Rainbows – Serial)

By Connie Cockrell

Shamus O’Malley is on a quest to recover the Leprechaun Kingdom’s magic rainbows and gold before the rainbows are lost forever. To do so he must travel to the new world where he finds the evil wizard, David Bannon, intent on using the magic from the rainbows and the gold to conquer the Leprechaun Kingdom. He also finds an ally, Becca Bannon, the wizard’s niece. Can Becca and Shamus recover the rainbows and gold and defeat her wizard uncle?

This entry is part 6 of 16 in the series Lost Rainbows

Want to start this serial from the beginning? Click here for links to all available chapters.

Becca Makes a Revelation

She led him into the house. He was impressed. The floors were polished wood, fine paintings hung on the walls and stuffed furniture filled the rooms. The walls were painted in quiet, restful colors, pale yellow in the dining room, sage green in the parlor. They walked though the house to the kitchen where she opened a door. Stairs led down. “His lab is down in the basement.”

He followed her down. Becca walked him through a long hallway. There were doors on either side, all closed. She stopped at another door and set of stairs. “I’m not supposed to go into his lab without permission. But I want to prove to you we do not have your things.” She went down, Shamus right behind her, two flights of stairs. The stairs ended in a short hallway, with a door at the end. She opened the door and went in.

Shamus’s mouth hung open. It was all white tile on the walls with silver shelves and glass beakers and odd-shaped glassware. A long black-topped table was in the center of the room near the door. Becca walked him around the table. There were machines lining the walls, small lights on the front of them. Shamus could feel the power of them, though he didn’t know what the power was. At the end of the room, a sheet was draped over something tall.

“You see,” Becca said to him. “These are all Uncle’s things. Not yours.”

Shamus walked over to the sheet and pulled it down.

Becca rounded on him. “You mustn’t do that. Uncle will be angry.”

“I’ve seen this before, Miss Becca. I jumped through it in my world and landed here.”

Again her eyebrow rose. “Your world?”

“Yes, Ireland. I’m a leprechaun.” He gave her credit for not blurting out, “There’s no such thing.”

“My mother used to tell me stories when I was a baby, about fairies and leprechauns and the early gods of Ireland.” Her face was wistful. “They were nice stories.”

Did she, now? “What do you remember?”

“Leprechauns keep their gold at the ends of rainbows. They love music and can play many instruments and dance. Many were cobblers. That’s shoemakers, you know.”

He nodded. “It’s all true, Miss Becca. I saw the thief send our gold through a mirror just like this, then go through it himself. I followed but the mirror was closing. I landed outside your gate.”

Becca shook her head. “I don’t know. It doesn’t sound like my Uncle David. He’s quite kind. He took me in when my parents died. He told me he loved my mother but she loved Daddy first.”

Shamus was uncomfortable with this personal information. He just wanted to find the gold and get back to the sidhe. “What about all of those rooms in the basement above us. He could have stored the gold there.”

She frowned. “We could look, I suppose.”

They put the sheet back on the mirror and went back upstairs. They opened all of the doors on the left, then began opening the ones on the right. The door third from the end was locked. Becca looked at Shamus. “This doesn’t mean the gold is here.”

“Can you get the key?”

“The housekeeper hangs them on a hook over her desk.” Becca’s gray eyes became fearful. “Ms. Como doesn’t like me to go near her desk. She gets very cross when I misbehave.”

“You’re not misbehaving, Becca. You’re helping a traveler in need.”

She sighed. “That is true. Wait here.” She opened the door to the room they had just checked. “I’ll get the keys.”

Shamus nodded and went into the store room. Becca closed the door. He sank to the floor and leaned against the wall beside the door. The room stored art. Paintings were stacked one in front of the other on the floor to his left. At the back were sculptures. Some stood by themselves on the floor, others were on tables. He closed his eyes. It had been a long night and he was tired.

#

He started awake at the sound of the door opening. Before he could move, Becca was inside and closed the door.

“I’m sorry it took so long. Ms. Como was at her desk. I had to wait for her to leave.” She pulled the keys from her pocket and jingled them softly.

Shamus stood up and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. “I fell asleep. Did anyone follow you down here?”

She shook her head. “No, no one pays any attention to me.”

He stared at her. She seemed serious but he wondered how it was that the adults responsible for such a precocious child would ignore her. Shamus eased open the door and the two slipped out into the hall. He closed it and they hurried to the locked door. Becca searched through the keys. Ms. Como had each one labeled. “That makes it easy,” Shamus murmured.

“I think this is the one.” Becca held up a key. “It’s the only key that isn’t labeled.” She stuck it into the lock and turned it. The door opened and they slid inside. Becca turned on the light as Shamus closed the door. He turned quickly when she gasped.

In front of them were three dozen brass pots of gold. Becca blinked. “I didn’t believe you,” she told Shamus. “I’m sorry.”

He walked to the pots and stood there, staring. “That’s all right, Becca. It was a little hard to believe.” Shamus walked slowly around the gold but stopped at a table against the wall opposite the door. “Look at this.”

Becca hurried over as he picked up something colorful. “What is it?”

“It’s the rainbows that go with the pots.” He held up one – it hung limply from his hand. “It’s not as bright as it should be.” He examined it closer. “It’s fading.” Shamus thought through all of the lore surrounding the rainbows. He’d never heard of a rainbow fading. Then again, he’d never heard of them being stolen either. “We need to get these back to my land. I have no idea what will happen if the rainbows completely fade to gray.”

Becca turned and tried to pick up a pot. She strained a bit, then stopped. “It’s too heavy, Shamus. How will we move them?”

The sound of the sword leaving its scabbard made her turn to her companion. Her eyes went wide.

“Don’t be afraid. Our swords are also wands. I can move the pots with magic.” He held the sword out, pointed at the pots, but nothing happened. A look of fear crossed his face. “It’s not working. It’s as though the magic is gone.”

“We don’t have magic, Shamus.” Becca looked worried, too. “We use machines and science to do things.”

~~~~~

Lost Rainbows

To be continued…

Come back for more! Look for the next exciting installment each Wednesday.

 

You can read more of this story serially on this website for free or you can buy it and read it now at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

See more at: Wattpad.com or https://www.facebook.com/ConniesRandomThoughts

 

Thank you for reading. You can support the story by commenting or leaving a review. Buy my other books for more reading pleasure. If you’ve enjoyed this chapter, please spread the word, tell a friend or share the link to the story by using the share buttons to your right. The author is part of the Forward Motion Flash Fiction Friday Challenge and the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour.

© 2015 Connie Cockrell

Rainy Day Lasagna

Rainy day, Birdbath, Central Arizona, Connie Cockrell

Rainy day at the Birdbath in Central Arizona by Connie Cockrell

We had a long stretch of cold, rainy days at the end of February and early March here in central Arizona. Very unusual weather for us but the rain was very welcome. What better for a cold rainy day than to substitute my usual spaghetti Saturday night supper with lasagna?

See more at Chicklets in the Kitchen

Monday Blog Post: Things are Moving Fast

Peach, Tomato, Seedlings, Connie Cockrell

Peach (very top) and tomato seedlings by Connie Cockrell

We’re trimming up around the yard. Last week hubby trimmed some diseased branches from a tree in the back yard and took out a tree that was growing too close to another and leaning over the house. The fact that it was a juniper with a pollen pod on the end of each needle and spewing pollen all over the place was an added bonus. I have managed to get 4 of the 12 rosebushes trimmed and did another run of pulling mint out of my deepest square foot garden bed. Onion and parsley I planted last November are coming up. A bonus, a peach pit that had been composted, sprouted in another of my garden beds. I thought it was a weed at first until I realized the pit was still attached. It has transplanted nicely into a small container where I will try and keep it alive. A friend gave me a small container of mystery tomato seedlings, just getting their first set of new leaves. She had no idea which seedlings were which and at this stage they’re pretty hard to differentiate. However, I selected six seedlings at random spots in the container, hoping I get six different tomato plants. I’ve passed the seedlings on to another friend. There’s no sense in us buying seedlings when we have free ones available.

My book signing on March 21st at the Scoops Ice Cream store here in Payson was slightly disappointing. However, I did sell 3 books and garnered 3 sign-ups for my newsletter. My mom came with me and we had a chance for a nice chat.

The month has progressed quickly. I can’t believe it’s already the 23rd. I’ve prepped my scene cards for April’s Camp NaNo. I’m starting it with the 3rd book in my Brown Rain series. Then I’ll move on to cleaning up random stories I have started but not finished.

The Payson Book Festival planning is moving right along. You can see the information on www.PaysonBookFestival.org if you’d like. Kick-off pricing on author tables is now over. There’s still time to sign up for a table, though. You can share a table, too, to make your costs less. Fill out the Author Registration and get that in to us so we can reserve you a table. Author registration closes at the end of April so we can put the program together. You’re not an author? Then mark your calendar to come to Payson for July 25th to meet us. We’d love to chat with you.

I submitted my short story, After Math, for line editing. I’m looking forward to getting it out to emagazines.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

Lost Rainbows released January 25th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

Flash Fiction Friday Story: Chapter 1 from It’s a Question of College

Soccer, Randy Cockrell

Soccer Game by Randy Cockrell

I have a confession, I totally did not get a story done for today. *blushes* By way of apology, I give you the first chapter to It’s a Question of College. Some of you know that I’m writing a YA series called All About Bob. This series is a result of a writing exercise I did over a year ago. It’s still rough, I’ll be editing and rewriting after it’s finished. And if you can think of a better title, I’ll be happy to consider it.

This chapter is over 1600 words, so a little longer than normal. Enjoy.

Chapter 1 It’s a Question of College

Bob ran as fast as he could taking the front porch steps two at a time gasping for breath from the run up the hill where his parent’s run down two-story frame house stood. He’d stopped looking at the neighborhood years ago. Dead grass, mattresses with the stuffing coming out, crappy sofas and armchairs on sagging porches were so normal he didn’t even notice them anymore. He raised the rusty hinged top to the mailbox now only loosely nailed to the wall beside the front door. Shit, he thought as he peered inside. She’s already gotten the mail.

He left the top open when the hinges froze in place and opened the screen door, more holes than screen, to open the front door. The glass was duct-taped along three long cracks radiating from the edges from the last time his father slammed the door in one of his drunken rages. He’d stopped noticing that, too. He closed the door quietly. Maybe his mother was up in her room, sleeping off the afternoon binge. School books tucked under his arm, he stepped softly across the worn carpet to the kitchen.

His mother was in front of the stove, stirring what smelled like spaghetti sauce. He rolled his eyes in his head. Of course today she felt like staying a little sober, he could see the bottle of beer, condensation on the outside of it, sitting on the counter beside the stove. And she’s fixing dinner — of all days. He looked on the kitchen table, there was the mail. Just as he was going to fade back into the living room she turned and saw him.

“Bobbie, didn’t hear ya come in.” She reached for the beer and took a long pull, setting it back on the counter with a burb. “Opps,” she giggled. “Sorry.”

“Uh, yeah. Soccer practice is over.” He took a breath and walked into the kitchen. “You’re makin’ supper.” He did his best to look casual as he went to the table and dropped his books next to the mail. The top envelope was the light bill. He didn’t dare search the pile while she was watching.

“I felt like spaghetti tonight.”

He wasn’t surprised. It was about the only thing she ever made. “Great, Ma. Sounds good.” He went to the fridge and opened the door. Inside was two 18 packs of beer, the kind his father drank, three sticks of butter, half a loaf of bread and two colas. He took a cola and shut the fridge door. “I’ll do my homework while you cook.” He went back to the table, shoved up against the dirty white painted wall, and casually knocked the mail to the floor as he picked up his books. He put the books back on the table and crouched down to pick up the mail, being careful to pick up one at a time so he could skim the return addresses. It wasn’t in the pile. Bob stood and tapped them into a neat stack and put them back on the table.

“Sorry about that.” He got his books and went to his room. The days were getting shorter, he had to turn on the lamp on the rickety desk he’d found three blocks away a couple of years ago with a Free sign on it. The chair was from a yard sale. He traded the owner a yard mowing for it. The books fell on the desk with a thump, causing the whole thing to shake. Bob flopped in the chair a sigh escaping. That was close, he thought as he dug a pen out of his notebook. I thought for sure the report card was supposed to be out today. He did not want his parents to see that card.  He opened his math text and found the page with the homework problems. Math was his hardest subject so he tended to do that homework first.

An hour later he heard his mother shout from the kitchen, “Dinner!”

He had one more problem to do but decided to do it after supper. His stomach was growling. The two hour soccer practice after school burned the peanut butter sandwich he had for lunch away fast. He was halfway through the kitchen when he noticed his father sitting in the end seat at the table. Bob stopped. “Uh, Hi dad. Didn’t hear ya come in.”

“Nose always stuck in a book,” Ted Kowalski snorted. He drained his can of beer and slammed it on the table. “Get me another one, kid.”

Bob got the beer as his mother drained the spaghetti and put it next to his father’s plate. He took the empty and tossed it into the trash. When he was ten he’d learned about recycling in school. That night he’d picked up his father’s empty aluminum can and rinsed it out and set it on the drain board.

“What the hell ya doin’,” his father had screamed at him from the kitchen table.

Bob walked over to his father and explained. He knew his father, a sanitation worker, would understand. Ted reached out and cuffed Bob in the head leaving a red mark across the left side of his face. “Don’t be a smart ass. That recyclin’ is a bunch of shit. Just something to make my life miserable.”

Bob never tried it again, at least in the house. He got a glass of water from the sink and sat down at the other end of the table. His mother, Marcy, sat on the long side of the table, between them. She put the pan of pasta in the middle of the table. No bowl for her. That was one less thing to wash.

After Ted and Marcy dished up their food, Bob put some on his plate. His mother passed him the green can of parmesan cheese. There was only a teaspoon left in the can. Bob sighed to himself. Sighing aloud would only get him a slap. He wound the pasta onto his fork and took the bite. The pasta was overdone and mushy. “Good dinner, ma,” he said as he went for the next forkful. It was food and would fill his belly.

Marcy drank some beer, burped, and said, “Thanks, Bobbie.”

Bob had tuned out his father’s detailed description of his miserable day on the garbage truck, his thoughts were on the report card his mother had. He tried to think of a way to tell them he really wanted to go to college. His soccer coach thought it could be done. Bob didn’t want to work on a garbage truck like his old man. There had to be something better. They were half way through their plates of spaghetti when his mother pulled an envelope out of her sweatpants pocket. “This came in the mail today.” She put it next to Ted’s plate.

Her husband eyed the envelope. “What the hell is it? A bill?”

She grinned at her son. “It’s Bobbie’s report card.”

Bob’s stomach sank. He’d managed to keep them from seeing his report card all last year. Why the hell didn’t she stick to her routine!

His old man put his fork down and picked up the envelope. He pulled the two page computer printout from the envelope. “What the hell is this shit? When I was in school ya got an actual card.”

Marcy giggled, her thin graying dirty blond pony tail swinging behind her head. “It’s all computers now, Ted.”

“Bullshit,” he muttered as he peered at the small print. He flipped the page, read it, then slapped it on the table. “B’s and C’s. I always knew you was stupid.” Ted picked up his beer and drained it. “Get me another one, stupid.”

Bob picked up the empty, dropped it in the trash and got the new one, putting it beside his father’s plate. His stomach was churning the spaghetti as he sat back down. “I’m doing better this year than last.”

He father eyed him across the table. “I don’t remember any report cards from last year.”

Bob kept his face neutral. “No? They weren’t that great. Nothing to remember.” He picked up his fork and twirled spaghetti around with it.

Ted snorted. “I’ll bet.”

Bob choked the rest of his plate of food down. His father wouldn’t tolerate wasted food. Marcy picked up her empty plate and her husband’s. Ted got up and went to the living room after draining his can of beer and getting a fresh one.

“I think you’re doin’ good, Bobbie. Don’t pay him no mind, school was never his favorite.” She rinsed the plates and put them in the sink, grabbed a beer and went to watch TV with her husband.

Bob scraped the rest of what was on his plate into the trash. His father wouldn’t know. He never touched the trash. That was Bob’s job. He rinsed his plate and put it in the sink. Then he dug the left over spaghetti out of the pot and put it in a bowl and covered it with plastic wrap. He rinsed the pot. He left the dishes for his mother. She tried to have him wash them one night a few years ago and Ted exploded. That was women’s work. His son wouldn’t do women’s work. Bob shrugged. He’d prefer to do the dishes. At least then they wouldn’t be sitting there for two or three days.

He picked up  the forgotten report card, tucked it into his shirt and went to his room. His parents had already forgotten about it. Bob would forge their signature and take it to school in the morning.

Merry Go Round Blog Post for March

Me,Long Distance BackPacking on the AT/Long Trail, Vermont

Me,Long Distance BackPacking on the AT/Long Trail, Vermont

I have and have had a lot of hobbies in the past. I love to try new things, explore different aspects of my creative ability. Just after high school I took up oil painting. I liked it, but somehow it wasn’t for me.

Then I tried the flute. I hired a music teacher, bought an actual silver, not silver-plated, flute, and dropped it after a couple of years. Decades later, I’m still in love with that flute and have carried it around with me through several moves. I still have it, in a bin, on the top shelf of my closet. I’m just not ready to let go of it.

Other hobbies and handicrafts have come and gone. Crocheting for example. I crocheted a number of river pattern Afghans for myself and my brothers upon their weddings. I still have mine, in shades of brown and when I’m cold on a winter’s night, it keeps me cozy and warm.

There were other hobbies: spoon collecting from tourist spots, cheese making, soap making, leaf pressing, hiking, basket weaving, the list goes on.

How does all of this relate to writing? I’ve tried writing on and off for decades. I’d get just so far and halt, not knowing what to do next. It was another hobby, tried and forgotten, but not. I kept poking at it until in 2011 when I found the internet bonanza of writing: an on-line writing group, Forward Motion.

So what do those other hobbies have to do with it? They’re an exploration. They’re an experience that I can draw on when I’m writing about soap making or weaving or hiking or trekking along hard country for long distances. I know how to dehydrate food to keep it for long travel. I know how hard it is to make good music. I’m a mother, daughter, wife, sister, military person, all of these experiences help me when I’m trying to get into my character’s head.

So, you don’t want to risk climbing that mountain? Trying that new cooking course at the community college? Go for it. The experience will help you in ways you never expected.
The Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour is sponsored by the website Forward Motion (http://www.fmwriters.com). The tour is you, the reader, travelling the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. There are all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s always something new and different to enjoy. If you want to get to know the nearly twenty other writers check out the rest of the tour at http://merrygoroundtour.blogspot.com!  Up next: Jean Schara

Serial: Lost Rainbows Chapter 5 – They Find the Gold and the Rainbows

Lost Rainbows by Connie Cockrell

Lost Rainbows by Connie Cockrell

Chapter Five – They Find the Gold and the Rainbows (Lost Rainbows – Serial)

By Connie Cockrell

Shamus O’Malley is on a quest to recover the Leprechaun Kingdom’s magic rainbows and gold before the rainbows are lost forever. To do so he must travel to the new world where he finds the evil wizard, David Bannon, intent on using the magic from the rainbows and the gold to conquer the Leprechaun Kingdom. He also finds an ally, Becca Bannon, the wizard’s niece. Can Becca and Shamus recover the rainbows and gold and defeat her wizard uncle?

This entry is part 5 of 16 in the series Lost Rainbows

Want to start this serial from the beginning? Click here for links to all available chapters.

They Find the Gold and the Rainbows

She led him into the house. He was impressed. The floors were polished wood, fine paintings hung on the walls and stuffed furniture filled the rooms. The walls were painted in quiet, restful colors, pale yellow in the dining room, sage green in the parlor. They walked though the house to the kitchen where she opened a door. Stairs led down. “His lab is down in the basement.”

He followed her down. Becca walked him through a long hallway. There were doors on either side, all closed. She stopped at another door and set of stairs. “I’m not supposed to go into his lab without permission. But I want to prove to you we do not have your things.” She went down, Shamus right behind her, two flights of stairs. The stairs ended in a short hallway, with a door at the end. She opened the door and went in.

Shamus’s mouth hung open. It was all white tile on the walls with silver shelves and glass beakers and odd-shaped glassware. A long black-topped table was in the center of the room near the door. Becca walked him around the table. There were machines lining the walls, small lights on the front of them. Shamus could feel the power of them, though he didn’t know what the power was. At the end of the room, a sheet was draped over something tall.

“You see,” Becca said to him. “These are all Uncle’s things. Not yours.”

Shamus walked over to the sheet and pulled it down.

Becca rounded on him. “You mustn’t do that. Uncle will be angry.”

“I’ve seen this before, Miss Becca. I jumped through it in my world and landed here.”

Again her eyebrow rose. “Your world?”

“Yes, Ireland. I’m a leprechaun.” He gave her credit for not blurting out, “There’s no such thing.”

“My mother used to tell me stories when I was a baby, about fairies and leprechauns and the early gods of Ireland.” Her face was wistful. “They were nice stories.”

Did she, now? “What do you remember?”

“Leprechauns keep their gold at the ends of rainbows. They love music and can play many instruments and dance. Many were cobblers. That’s shoemakers, you know.”

He nodded. “It’s all true, Miss Becca. I saw the thief send our gold through a mirror just like this, then go through it himself. I followed but the mirror was closing. I landed outside your gate.”

Becca shook her head. “I don’t know. It doesn’t sound like my Uncle David. He’s quite kind. He took me in when my parents died. He told me he loved my mother but she loved Daddy first.”

Shamus was uncomfortable with this personal information. He just wanted to find the gold and get back to the sidhe. “What about all of those rooms in the basement above us. He could have stored the gold there.”

She frowned. “We could look, I suppose.”

They put the sheet back on the mirror and went back upstairs. They opened all of the doors on the left, then began opening the ones on the right. The door third from the end was locked. Becca looked at Shamus. “This doesn’t mean the gold is here.”

“Can you get the key?”

“The housekeeper hangs them on a hook over her desk.” Becca’s gray eyes became fearful. “Ms. Como doesn’t like me to go near her desk. She gets very cross when I misbehave.”

“You’re not misbehaving, Becca. You’re helping a traveler in need.”

She sighed. “That is true. Wait here.” She opened the door to the room they had just checked. “I’ll get the keys.”

Shamus nodded and went into the store room. Becca closed the door. He sank to the floor and leaned against the wall beside the door. The room stored art. Paintings were stacked one in front of the other on the floor to his left. At the back were sculptures. Some stood by themselves on the floor, others were on tables. He closed his eyes. It had been a long night and he was tired.

 

#

 

He started awake at the sound of the door opening. Before he could move, Becca was inside and closed the door.

“I’m sorry it took so long. Ms. Como was at her desk. I had to wait for her to leave.” She pulled the keys from her pocket and jingled them softly.

Shamus stood up and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. “I fell asleep. Did anyone follow you down here?”

She shook her head. “No, no one pays any attention to me.”

He stared at her. She seemed serious but he wondered how it was that the adults responsible for such a precocious child would ignore her. Shamus eased open the door and the two slipped out into the hall. He closed it and they hurried to the locked door. Becca searched through the keys. Ms. Como had each one labeled. “That makes it easy,” Shamus murmured.

“I think this is the one.” Becca held up a key. “It’s the only key that isn’t labeled.” She stuck it into the lock and turned it. The door opened and they slid inside. Becca turned on the light as Shamus closed the door. He turned quickly when she gasped.

In front of them were three dozen brass pots of gold. Becca blinked. “I didn’t believe you,” she told Shamus. “I’m sorry.”

He walked to the pots and stood there, staring. “That’s all right, Becca. It was a little hard to believe.” Shamus walked slowly around the gold but stopped at a table against the wall opposite the door. “Look at this.”

Becca hurried over as he picked up something colorful. “What is it?”

“It’s the rainbows that go with the pots.” He held up one – it hung limply from his hand. “It’s not as bright as it should be.” He examined it closer. “It’s fading.” Shamus thought through all of the lore surrounding the rainbows. He’d never heard of a rainbow fading. Then again, he’d never heard of them being stolen either. “We need to get these back to my land. I have no idea what will happen if the rainbows completely fade to gray.”

Becca turned and tried to pick up a pot. She strained a bit, then stopped. “It’s too heavy, Shamus. How will we move them?”

The sound of the sword leaving its scabbard made her turn to her companion. Her eyes went wide.

“Don’t be afraid. Our swords are also wands. I can move the pots with magic.” He held the sword out, pointed at the pots, but nothing happened. A look of fear crossed his face. “It’s not working. It’s as though the magic is gone.”

“We don’t have magic, Shamus.” Becca looked worried, too. “We use machines and science to do things.”

 

~~~~~

 

Lost Rainbows

To be continued…

Come back for more! Look for the next exciting installment each Wednesday.

 

You can read more of this story serially on this website for free or you can buy it and read it now at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

See more at: Wattpad.com or https://www.facebook.com/ConniesRandomThoughts

 

Thank you for reading. You can support the story by commenting or leaving a review. Buy my other books for more reading pleasure. If you’ve enjoyed this chapter, please spread the word, tell a friend or share the link to the story by using the share buttons to your right. The author is part of the Forward Motion Flash Fiction Friday Challenge and the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour.

© 2015 Connie Cockrell

Monday Blog Post: Spring is here

Daffodils, Connie Cockrell

Daffodils by Connie Cockrell

Above is a picture of some of my daffodils. The really early ones, the miniatures have been up for two weeks. The tall ones, with the orange centers, just started blooming. I have a few late bloomers in the beds as well so I’ll have daffodils well into April. I also began my gardening. Saturday I pruned the dead wood out of my blackberries. I have let them run amok all over the ground. I really should trellis them and prune them back. I suspect they’d produce better if I reined them in. I still have to trim my rosebushes, they still have dead blooms on them from last fall. I had really wonderful roses last year after pruning them back very hard.

My book signing for March 21st at the Scoops Ice Cream store here in Payson is just a handful of days away. If you’re in town on the 21st between 1 and 3pm, stop by to grab an ice cream and chat. You can find both of these events and the July Book Festival on the Where Will I Be? tab on this website. I’m featuring my latest book, Lost Rainbows, but I’ll have my other books there to buy as well.

The month has been so full of Fair planning and Festival planning that I haven’t written or edited as much as I should have. However, I wrote two flash fiction stories last week but only posted Sixty-Four. The other one became a long telling instead of showing and needs a lot of editing to become presentable.

The Payson Book Festival planning is moving right along. You can see the information on www.PaysonBookFestival.org if you’d like. Kick-off pricing on author tables is now over. There’s still time to sign up for a table, though. You can share a table, too, to make your costs less. Fill out the Author Registration and get that in to us so we can reserve you a table. Author registration closes at the end of April so we can put the program together. You’re not an author? Then mark your calendar to come to Payson for July 25th to meet us. We’d love to chat with you.

My short story, After Math, came back from my content editor. It has a few more comments but I haven’t had a chance to take a close look at it. I’m hoping to get that polished up and off to a magazine soon.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

Lost Rainbows released January 25th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

Flash Fiction Friday Story: Sixty-Four

Yard River by Randy Cockrell

Yard River by Randy Cockrell

From Chuck Wendig’s challenge, Pick one sentence out of ten. Bonus for using more than one. I used two: “Sixty-Four comes asking for bread.” And “The river stole the gods.” Here’s my offering.

Sixty-Four

“Sixty-Four comes asking for bread.” Cooper nodded at the shambling figure three doors away. He made another pass over the barrel stave he was planing.

Brewer, in Cooper’s shop to pick up an order of three barrels, snorted. “I don’t know why the Magistrate allows border scum to wander freely through town. They’re shifty. And what’s with numbers for names? It ain’t natural.” He glared at the man accepting a donation of an egg in his begging bowl.

“He seems all right to me. There’s a famine on, he’s just trying to keep body and soul together.” Cooper never minded giving Sixty-Four a half loaf of yesterday’s bread. “The gods say it’s better to be kind to the poor.”

Brewer sniffed. “Names are for work, always have been, always will be.” He handed over the silver for the barrels already loaded onto his donkey cart. Just as he picked up the reins, Sixty-Four appeared at the door of the shop.

Sixty-Four bowed. “Blessings upon you, Man.”

The beggar received a glare and Brewer moved on.

“Good Thrassin Day, Sixty-Four.”

“Blessings upon you, Cooper,” he stepped inside the wide doorway and bowed. “You slept well?”

“I did, Sixty-Four, and you?” He put the wood plane he was holding down and reached behind him. He handed the paper wrapped half loaf of bread to the beggar.

“Well enough, oh generous one.” He slipped the bread into an inner pocket of his robe. He made a salaam from forehead to lips to heart and bowed with a flourish. “It’s damp next to the river and I get no younger.”

“I hope it’s better tonight, Sixty-Four. Please, help yourself to water from the rain barrel. It’s better than the river water. I drink from it myself.”

Sixty-Four bowed once more. “May blessings fall on your god Thrassin for whom this day was named.” He went to the barrel and pulled a water bladder from under his robes.

“And what of your gods, Sixty-Four? Do you still worship?” Cooper resumed work on the new barrel stave. Long curls of planed wood wrapped up and over Cooper’s hand as he moved the plane in one long motion along the board.

The air in the bladder bubbled to the surface of the rain barrel. “I do, kind man. He is a powerful god and I pray daily at a little shrine I’ve built at my camp.”

Cooper doubted the god was powerful since Sixty-Four was living in a lean-to at the edge of the river, begging for his daily food but he held his tongue. “A man should pray to his god. I favor our goddess Floria.  I prayed to her hourly when my wife was sick for her to grant healing.” Cooper smiled at the memory. “I was afraid I was going to lose her too soon. That was ten years ago. I leave the goddess an offering every Florisday.”

The beggar lifted the now full bladder from the barrel and capped it. “Well done, then, Cooper. May the goddess protect you and your family.”

He bowed again and left the shop.

The next day found the rains beating down from the heavens and Sixty-Four didn’t come by. He must be trying to find shelter away from the river, Cooper thought. He whispered a quick prayer to Floria for the man’s safe-keeping. The next day word was spread throughout the town that the river was rising. The God’s-keep, the main temple to all of the gods, was under threat of being inundated. The priests demanded tithes and sacrifices from every family. Cooper sent a just finished barrel then went home and prayed at the family alter for salvation to come from their gods.

Sixty-Four came by the shop on day three of the rains. Cooper was digging mud from the street and piling it against his shop door. “Escape, Cooper. Take your family and escape. The river rises.”

Cooper stopped shoveling the mud to clasp both arms of the beggar. “Sixty-Four, you’re all right.”

“I’m fine, Cooper. But you must escape. My god is at war with your gods. You must leave before you perish.”

Rain dripped from the end of Cooper’s nose and chin, eyes wide. “Why would our gods be at war?”

“Your priests have abused my god long enough, Cooper. They are constantly attacking our borders, raiding and sacking our towns, and my god has had enough.”

“How do you know this? Who is your god?

“My god is just God. Though some would call him Justice, and some call him Healer. I was sent to see if any among you were worthy of saving. I have chosen you and others who have been kind. Now I give you warning. Leave this town. Travel to my land.”

He handed Cooper a copper disk, stamped with a symbol of a dove and olive branch. “Show this at the border. Take your tools but hurry. They will know you for a chosen one and let you pass.”

Cooper took the disk, turning it over and over in his hand. “Why?”

“You were always kind and generous, but your country, greedy and suspicious.” He turned to leave.

“Wait!” Cooper’s shovel dropped from his hand. “Who are you?”

The man salaamed to Cooper. “Sixty-Four, head priest for God.” He turned on his heel and hurried off.

Cooper lost sight of him in the rain. He gathered his family, his tools and a few precious belongings and set off for higher ground. He and his family reached the border three weeks later. In line at the gate, he found another family waiting to get across. “What happened in my town?” he asked the man.

“We barely escaped. The river rose halfway up the temple walls until they dissolved like salt.”  The man shook his head. “People and cattle were screaming in the water when the walls fell.” He wiped his eyes. “The river stole the gods.”

 

The End

961 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

Serial: Lost Rainbows Chapter 4 – Shamus Meets Becca

 

Lost Rainbows by Connie Cockrell

Lost Rainbows by Connie Cockrell

Chapter Four – Shamus Meets Becca (Lost Rainbows – Serial)

By Connie Cockrell

Shamus O’Malley is on a quest to recover the Leprechaun Kingdom’s magic rainbows and gold before the rainbows are lost forever. To do so he must travel to the new world where he finds the evil wizard, David Bannon, intent on using the magic from the rainbows and the gold to conquer the Leprechaun Kingdom. He also finds an ally, Becca Bannon, the wizard’s niece. Can Becca and Shamus recover the rainbows and gold and defeat her wizard uncle?

This entry is part 4 of 16 in the series Lost Rainbows

Want to start this serial from the beginning? Click here for links to all available chapters.

Shamus Meets Becca

It took an hour. The wall was well maintained. There were no bushes except at the gate and they were too thin to provide cover during the light of day. The wall itself was smooth-faced rock, too smooth for him to climb. The sun was about to rise. He had to hurry.

Hiding in the gate bushes, he pulled off his pack and took out a rope. He made a loop at one end and put his pack back on. Standing in front of the gate, he estimated it to be about twelve feet high. He was taking a chance. He could feel the iron radiating from where he stood. It would burn if he touched it with his bare hands. He tossed the loop up. It just missed catching on two of the iron spikes at the top. Taking the end, he made the loop bigger and tossed again. It missed. Third time’s the charm, he thought and tossed it again. It caught.

Wishing he had packed gloves, he scaled the gate, pulling himself up the rope and walking on the iron grill. There was nothing for it when he got to the top but to grab the gate to haul himself over, trying not to skewer himself on the gilt spear-heads on the top. Sure enough, as soon as he touched the fence, his palms and fingers began to blister. He dropped to the ground, the impact travelling in a wave of pain up through his ankles and knees. He fell over, hands tucked into his armpits, and rolled to the side of the driveway.

He lay his hands on the dew-covered grass to ease the pain as he rested his ankles and knees. Get up, he told himself. You still need to get that rope down. He took another moment and moved his burned hands to a new patch of grass. The cold dew helped.

Birds beginning their morning song in the nearby trees made him aware of the time. He struggled to his feet and carefully reached through the fence to grab his rope. A sharp tug undid the knot and it fell to the outside of the fence. He quickly gathered it in and raced for the nearest group of bushes. He dove in and instantly regretted it. Rosebushes, of course. A branch raked him across the forehead as another dug a furrow into his hand. His woolen pants and jacket held off the rest of the assault. He sucked the cut on the back of his hand as he studied the grounds. His path across the lawn was clear to see in the dew. Perhaps the guard, if there was one, wouldn’t be past until the dew was gone.

The sun was half a hand above the horizon when the gates began to open by themselves. That is a new sort of magic, he thought as a long black automobile drove past. His path through the dew was still visible but no one seemed to notice. The gate closed, again by itself. Shamus pulled a leather bottle of water and a half loaf of bread from his pack. While he watched, he ate and drank. It was getting warm. He wanted to pull off his jacket but needed it on for when he left the safety of the rosebushes.

After the sun had moved another hand above the horizon, Shamus crawled out of the bushes. He crouched there, out of sight of the residence, to take off the jacket and shove it into the pack. He raced to the next group of bushes, and the next, until he was at the back of the house. The sun was now well up. The rear grounds were manicured as well as the front but there was a large pool of water back here, an unnatural blue. It was paved on all sides and tables with chairs and umbrellas over them were scattered about the paving. The house was all gray stone, at least three stories here at the back, with white trim around the windows and doors. Roses in yellow and pink climbed up the wall of the house.

He rose to race to the back door he could see in the center of the house. Shamus hadn’t taken more than ten steps when he was surrounded by three large dogs. Heads chin-high to him, they all growled, showing white fangs. They had black, short fur with brown markings over their eyes and on other points of their bodies, and they looked as though they could eat him for breakfast. His mouth went dry.

“Belle, Henry, Fritz,” he heard a young voice call. “Heel!”

The dogs turned and raced toward the house. They stopped in front of a young human girl, and sat in a row.

“Good dogs!” she told them in a coo, petting them on their heads. “Good job.”

She walked around them and came toward him. The dogs got up and followed her, three abreast, like guards. She stopped four feet in front of him. “Who are you?”

Sweat from his fear and the hot sun ran down his temples and into his short-cropped beard. “Shamus O’Malley, miss, at your service.” He doffed his hat and bowed. The dogs growled at the sudden movement. He saw she was smiling at him when he stood back up.

“What are you doing here, Mr. O’Malley?”

He liked the look of her. She was tall for a human child, taller than he was, five foot three at a guess and perhaps twelve or thirteen years old.  Slender, with strawberry red hair and freckles across her nose, he thought she’d grow into quite a beauty. Her clear gray eyes drilled into him. Something about her seemed familiar. “I’m looking for a wizard.”

Her left eyebrow rose. “Interesting answer. Are you a thief?”

He put on his hat and straightened his shoulders. “I am looking for a thief. I followed him here.”

“We hardly need to steal.” She waved a long-boned arm back at the house.

“True, miss. But here is where the wizard came.”

The two of them stood there, staring at each other. She finally said, “My name is Becca. My uncle, David Bannon, is a scientist.”

Shamus had to dig back into his memory to the 1800’s. The humans of the time were all talking about science and scientists. This must be what came of that. “And, miss, what does a scientist do?”

Her eyebrow went up again. “You’re very small for a man. Do you not have scientists where you’re from?”

She asks good questions, he thought. Do I tell her I’m a leprechaun? Bannon is an Irish name, she may have heard stories. “Does your ma tell you stories of the Irish wee folk?”

Her face grew still. “My mother is dead. So is my father. Uncle David takes care of me.”

He felt like a fool. “I beg your pardon, young miss.” He bowed again.

Becca composed herself. “That’s okay. They died five years ago in a car accident. ”

“I apologize again, Miss Becca. But it’s very important that I find the wizard.”

Becca stared at him a long moment. “We have nothing of yours, I’m sure.” She turned to the dogs, threw out her arm to the right and commanded, “Kennel!” The dogs raced off around the end of the house.

Shamus breathed a little sigh of relief.

“Come,” Becca told him. “I’ll show you Uncle David’s lab. You’ll see we don’t have your things.”

Lost Rainbows

To be continued…

Come back for more! Look for the next exciting installment each Wednesday.

 

You can read more of this story serially on this website for free or you can buy it and read it now at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

See more at: Wattpad.com or on https://www.facebook.com/ConniesRandomThoughts

 Thank you for reading. You can support the story by commenting or leaving a review. Buy my other books for more reading pleasure. If you’ve enjoyed this chapter, please spread the word, tell a friend or share the link to the story by using the share buttons to your right. The author is part of the Forward Motion Flash Fiction Friday Challenge and the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour.

© 2015 Connie Cockrell