Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Steam Hound (Toraun Part 7)

Have you ever had a moment in your life when you are so scared that you can’t move? When the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end; when you’re afraid to turn around, because you don’t want to see the thing that’s just about to grab you. You know that time when you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom or get a drink, and you’re not quite sure what it is, but you’re sure, no positive, you saw something in the dark. Now, picture that moment in your mind. Think real hard to conjure up that moment in your mind and let that fear coarse through your body. Let the hairs of your neck stand up on end and close your eyes. No silly not that long, because then you can’t read the rest of the story. Okay, never mind, don’t close your eyes at all just think about that moment. Now imagine that you’re out in the middle of a land that you’ve never been before and it’s dark. The mist has just come up over the ridge and is sliding gently down into the valley you’re standing in. The moon is full, but clouds cover it so it has a reddish hue to it. Then think of the low growl a dog makes. That real low grumble in the back of their throat that lets you know they mean business. Then it gives off a howl that chills you to the very bones and makes your knees knock together. You’re so scared at this point that you the only thing you really want to do or can do is to fall to the ground in a little ball and sob.

When the howl shrieked through the valley that’s exactly how Musaafir felt. Thankfully he had a little more bravery than you, because he didn’t fall to the ground, ball up like a little child, and start to sob. Or it could be that he had already made a bad first impression in front of Alex and a little voice (that’s mine) told him to stand strong and not cower. Still, he did start to shake and he struggled to not show the fear, besides the chattering of his teeth, of course.  “Get in here quick,” Alex hissed. She grabbed his arm and pulled him inside. “The hounds are out. They haven’t been out for a long time.” She started to pace back and forth with her first finger tapping her chin. She stopped and said, “Maybe.” She started then shook her head. “No, that can’t be it.”

“What? What is that thing?” Musaafir asked as he looked to the door.

Now, you would think that at this moment it would be a very bad place to interject a commercial, but I need to. It’s important to point out to all of you some amazing people. The first is an amazing up and coming author who has an incredible skill of building an atmosphere with words. Her name is Jennifer Schultz ( The second is my beautiful daughter!! She has always been one of my biggest supporters. She constantly makes comments and shares my stories with others. I really love her and think she is soooo amazing! Now before I start to cry we can go on with the story.

Alex tapped her chin exactly two more times then turned and looked at Musaafir straight in the eyes. “What did you do?” Alex smelt like sweet jasmine and it washed over Musaafir like a warm spring breeze. Musaafir couldn’t help but forget all his fears and the really real danger that stood only a couple of hundred yards away. (Now, you might say a couple of hundred yards really isn’t that close, but I think that it’s all about perspective and how fast an individual or in this case a steam hound can run).

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Name (Toraun Part 6)

Now, a name is a very important piece of who a person is. It’s how others identify a particular person and in some cultures signify that person’s personality and abilities. For example when my wife and I named our children we spent many days and even months thinking of an appropriate name for our children. We scavenged the history of our ancestors and thought how to instill a sense of importance in our children. We wanted them to be able to think of their names and what it meant to be called by a particular name. We chose to name our children after their grandparents and great grandparents so they could always remember their heritage.

In the case of young man, his name had great significance as well. Regrettably, unknown to him. You see, he had been raised by a distant great uncle, Fredrick Gulliver, who had no contact with young man’s parents other than one time at a family get together. While young man’s father, Jeremiah Sorentino, and Fredrick gambled a bet had been wagered that changed the course of young man’s life forever. Fredrick lost the bet.

Now one could debate for seconds or even minutes the outcome and if the change was good or bad, but really let’s not at this time.

Anyway, Jeremiah wagered the family house and Fredrick wagered raising young man. Now, before you go judging young man’s parents you must understand that the family farm really wasn’t all that significant in fact I wouldn’t call it a farm at all other than just to say that and Fredrick’s wealth and influence was vast. When I say vast I mean really vast like space is vast. Jeremiah saw the vastness of wealth as well and saw this as an opportunity for young man to have a much… much better life than he otherwise would have.
Anyway, due to the fact that young man had been very young at the time of the wager his parents never had the opportunity to speak to him the meaning behind his name. So, as young man stood on the steps of the most beautiful woman he had ever seen before he fumbled with giving his name, because he did not see the importance of his name and to be honest in that moment quite embarrassed of it.

Alex tapped her foot and squinted down at young man more intensely, hoping this would prompt him. When it seemed nothing would exit young man’s mouth she threw her arms in the air and turned on her heels. “Musaafir,” said Musaafir.
Alex stopped mid turn and turned back to look at Musaafir. “What was that?”
“Musaafir is my name. I have no idea what it means or why my parents gave it to me but that’s my name.”

Now I wonder at how many of you can figure out what Musaafir means and from what language it comes from. If you do find out comment below! Please just one little comment to reward a writer’s hard work. Please, please. I mean I’m on my knees begging right now…. Oh I mean I’m not desperate. Not me, not at all.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Possible Love Interest (Toraun Part 5)

Now, the knocker that young/old encountered on the first house he came to in the small village, looked nothing like the picture of yesterday’s post. That truly would have been a bad omen, and I think even old/young man would have gotten that one…maybe. No the silver knocker did not have any of those features at all. The gold, turkey…
 Well it is Thanksgiving. No not in Toraun, of course not there. You see Thanksgiving is a holiday in the United States. I know because I referenced Wikipidea, and it knows everything! By the way here are some fun facts about Thanksgiving Check them out they are fun.
…seemed peculiar to the young/old man, but after the above clarification it made perfect sense to him (not really). He reached for the knocker and just then the door opened. He jumped back in surprise completely caught off guard by what he saw. The woman in front of him stood about five feet-seven inches tall and had long, white hair that fell to her waist. Small pointy ears adorned with many gold earrings poked out from under her hair. Her eyes sparkled from the moon light behind young/old man and brought out the purple in them. Her high cheekbones and sharp chin made her face look as if it had been chiseled from marble. Her lips full and nose small. Intricately designed tattoos formed a sun in between her eyebrows and curved and twisted around her face and pulled her carved features out. Her head sat upon a perfectly formed body.  He stepped back again to get a fuller view of the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his life.
Possible love interest. Not sure because I really don’t think this through as I write, but who knows. Interesting….Hmm that would be interesting, because clearly he is older in one sense but in the other he is probably more the age of the woman. On one hand he could be already married in his old form, but if he was, would that really matter since the young form clearly isn’t. This really is a conundrum. What if he isn’t married as old self? Then that would make the moral issue better, but then think of this beautiful, young woman hanging on the arm of an old man. Now when I say old I mean he’s old! O well I guess we’ll figure it out together... that is if anyone ever reads this. I mean seriously one comment! By the way I really appreciate Christine Rains, and she has some truly amazing books check her site out and of course buy her books (hint comment and you get mentioned in the story. Try it out). Wow I really get off subject. It must be the holiday.
So, back to the story. (I think I’ll emphasis the young part for a bit. I mean wouldn’t you if you had just met the love of your life). Young man closed his mouth quickly and wiped the drool from his chin even quicker. “Hello,” the beauty said. Her voice drifted through the young man’s mind like honey making his knees quake and his heart beat faster. She tried a new tactic as she recognized that this young man had been utterly smitten by her. She put her finger to her chin and tapped it. Her eyes brightened and she said, “My name’s Alex.” When young man still did not respond she tapped her chin again. Her eyes no longer twinkled but glowered and she put her hands on her hips. You see she did not understand the power her beauty had on others, since she had lived in the small village all of her life and the village had not had a visitor for millennium. Her hands on her waist was a mistake, because it only extenuated her curvy hips. The young man’s mouth dropped open again. “Seriously, sir. You must be daft.”

This statement snapped the young man out of his daze as he realized he had made a serious blunder in his first impression tactics. Now, sure it would be important to show a casual interest in the opposite sex the first time you meet them and to even possibly notice a feature that you like about that person and comment on it as well. But, to openly gawk. Now that is just stupid. He closed his mouth then opened and closed it several times before he finally spoke, “Hi.” Now this hi came out relatively well considering the circumstances. It wasn’t a Fabio “hi” by any means but it definitely wasn’t a Sheldon “hi.” “My name’s ….” 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Knocker (Toraun Part4)

Young/Old man wiped the blood from his face and wondered at the strange bird that had just become jerky. He walked over to the bird and examined it. A tiny tendril of smoke lifted into the air from the main body of the bird and floated in an odd pattern toward the mountain. Old/young man squinted his eyes and pursed his lips as he watched the smoke float away. “How odd,” he said. He stuck his finger into his mouth and then held it in the air. “Just as I thought the smoke is floating into the wind.” He shrugged his shoulders and turned back to the bird. The few feathers that remained were made of metal and the beak as well. He picked up a stick and poked at the bird. “Now that’s odd,” he said as he revealed burnt flesh under the metal wings. “I’ve never seen such a thing.” He shrugged again, and pulled on one of the wings. It tore away from the main part of the bird easily. He smelt it, bent it, and even tasted it. The last bit brought a bitter taste to his mouth and he quickly spat several times onto the ground.
While tried to rid his mouth of the foul taste the air grew chilly as a cold wind swept up the small hill from the valley below. The old/young man rubbed his arms as he realized that it had gotten cold very fast and that he had best find some shelter soon. He gave the feather one last bewildered look then placed it gently into his pouch and looked around once again. Now that the sun had set, small lights appeared in the valley below, and he saw tiny huts nestled up against the base of the mountain.
Now the huts really weren’t all that small, they just looked that way due to the distance from which the young/old man saw them. If he had been closer he would have realized that they were quite large. In fact I wouldn’t call them tiny at all or even small for that matter, but I would think of them more as your average home built in the 20th century. Anyway as he got closer (you see he started toward them) he too realized that the huts were much larger than he had thought in the first place. And in order to hurry the story on we will dispense with the walk, and just skip to him arriving to the first house.
Old/young man stepped up to the first home, and knocked without reservation upon the solid, wood door. This of course hurt more than he thought it would because, let’s face it, solid wood doors are hard, and to hit them without hesitation is going to hurt a little. So he stopped hitting the door without reservation, and decided that the metal knocker would be a much better way to knock on the solid, wood door.
The knocker was not your ordinary knocker. Now you may wonder about knockers and the significance a knocker can play, but truthfully all you have to do is recall the story by Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, and then you can let your imagination think of how significant a knocker really can be. Seriously, if Scrooge had just taken the omen given by the knocker then the whole story would have been over before it began. He could have realized that he had better not go into the, obviously, haunted house, but b-line it to a nice little tavern and slept the night there. Or gone to his nephew’s house if he couldn’t spare to part with his precious money. I mean seriously.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Bird (Toraun Part3)

The shriek of the bird sounded like a freight train as the bird screeched toward the old…hmmm ….young… no that’s not right either.
Oh forget it here’s the info dump just so we don’t need to worry any longer about how to describe the old/young man. Wait that’s it! No info dump here.
The shriek of the bird sounded like a freight train as the bird screeched toward the old/young man. The old/young man dove for cover behind what appeared to be an innocent shrub, however he soon realized that it wasn’t that innocent at all. The needles jabbed deep into his precious, young skin and within nanoseconds tiny spots of red appeared all over his body. He squirmed and squealed, which of course only caused more injury to his already hurt pride and of course to his skin. It reminded him of his much older hands and the pain he felt when the rain came. After what seemed like an eternity he finally cleared himself from the bush only to hear the terrible shriek of the bird once again. The young/old (see how I switched it just so there’s no show of favoritism) man scanned the horizon for cover.
Toraun received its name from the first people who had settled the planet. They had come from a similar planet named Torown, but had disagreed with the name and had decided to settle their own planet so that they could call their planet the correct way of the true God, Toraun. However, to their utter astonishment they realized after arriving on the planet, and using up their only means of space travel to form their new city, that Toraun, that is the God Toraun, quite enjoyed the planet Torown, so he never followed after them. The naming ceremony, regrettably occurred before anyone took the time to realize this and so the new inhabitants of the planet Toraun were stuck on a planet named after a God that didn’t reside there. This of course didn’t deter another God from taking up stakes on the planet, and no he did not prescribe to the name of Toraun, but of Toranis. So once again the inhabitants of Toraun resided on a planet whose name did not match that of the God that presided over it. This of course disappointed the Toraunians, but they made the best of it and started to build yet another space ship.
Anyway, as the old/young man scanned the horizon for a place to hide from the shrieking bird, his breath caught in his throat. Giant trees speckled the landscape along with large shrubs. He scowled at the shrubs surrounding the trees. A giant mountain loomed off to the west where the sun had just begun its long descent behind it.  The top of the mountain sparkled as the rays of the sun reflected off its snowcapped peaks. A river gently made its way down the side of the mountain to a valley far below to end in a sparkling blue lake surrounded by green (not shrubs just in case that’s where your mind was heading) grass. The grass waved gently from the slight breeze that blew across the meadow to end with a whisper as it hit the base of the mountain.

The shriek came again, ripping the young/old man from his reverie. He dove behind a boulder and the bird swooped past. He pulled from his waist pack (no not a fanny pack, that’s so 80’s) a small gun and aimed for the bird. His breath caught again. How could he destroy such a lovely bird? It swooped around as it shrieked once again. Oh yeah that’s how. He aimed the gun level with the bird and squeezed the tiny trigger. A bright beam of yellow crackled toward the multicolored bird. Its flight forever ended in an instant as the beam struck. The bird fell and the old/young man stood triumphantly, with a broad smile across his face, not realizing that Toranis had sanctified the bird.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Hands (Toraun Part2)

His hands were the things that always shocked him the most. Before the change or transportation, the old man really didn't know which, his hands looked gnarled and broken. They barely responded to him when he told them to bend and move. The pain, whenever it rained, felt like tiny needles that pricked deep through his skin and found the ends of his nerves. The needles seemed to know just how to press the utmost amount of pain and anguish that kept him from his sleep at night. The wrinkled skin stretched like bubble gum only to return to its rightful place several minutes later.

Now, he smiled as he admired the young hands, the hands felt like he had the control to either hold the hand of an infant to the ability to crush a man’s fist. The skin no longer had the age spots, but looked like the color of molasses. The skin felt flexible and when he bent his fingers it just moved with them, like it should. He grinned like a young school boy getting his very first kiss as he watched his hands bend and flex effortlessly.

The screech that echoed through the trees, pierced the old, or I mean young…well…

This brings up an interesting point that I think needs a little explaining. The old man or young man…. Wait a second this is getting difficult to explain so let’s just assume that the old man before the light never really understood whether he went back in age after the flash or if he just possessed someone else’s body in another time and place. He always felt a sort of out of body experience after the flash, but he really couldn’t tell if that happened due to the extreme change in age or if it occurred because he truly did enter the body of another person. Anyway back to the screech…

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Lightning flashed, followed almost immediately by a loud clap of thunder. "Only a few more minutes before the rain starts," the old man muttered under his breath. He scratched his head as he looked behind him. "I need to do something about a seat." He said as a thin smile played on his face. The sight of the burning stool appeared in his mind. That had been a good day. He had purchased the stool when he first started the business, thinking that it would be the perfect stool, he had soon realized that it wasn't. But, never really having the time nor the money to get a new one, he kept it until last night. He regretted that he had to stand on the hard cement floor, but at least now he had a reason to look for a new one.

Lightning flashed again followed by another boom that rocked the small house. He looked at the roof of the old house and mumbled a curse. The rain always brought cursing from the old man. The thatched roof had more holes than roof, not really, this is just how it felt when the floor was covered with pots, pans and bowls to catch the water. He mumbled a few more profanities before he walked to the cupboard and pulled out the pans and bowls that would save the floor from the flood. The pitter patter sounds of rain started and quickened the old man's steps. Within a few minutes he finished the chore of protecting the floor. He looked at the worn floor and wondered why he even bothered.

He opened the old computer and caressed the keys lovingly. The computer had been given to him by his mother on his thirty-fifth birthday. He pressed the power button and it started whirring as it slowly booted up. He knew that the computer needed many parts replaced but after his mother's death he couldn't bear to let it go. The cursor blinked in the username field and he quickly typed in 'Dragonrider'. He pressed the tab key and the cursor jumped to the password field. He paused and thought of days of yesterday. The days that he traveled throughout the universe in search of the perfect adventure. With a sigh he typed in '@dv3ntur3j0urn@l' and pressed the enter key. The computer whirred and the screen flashed from white to blue. Several icons appeared on the screen but only one concerned him today. He touched the screen on the icon of a journal, and a holographic picture of the universe appeared in front of him. He zoomed in with his fore finger and thumb until the picture zoomed into a group of planets surrounding a bright yellow star. Several of the planets were outlined in red, a couple of yellow and a single green one. He pressed on the green planet. Toraun appeared in bold letters under the planet followed by a brief description. "I'm really getting much too old to be doing this." He pressed the initiate button and closed his eyes. His stomach churned, he felt blood rush to his head and then nothing. He opened his eyes and ran his hand though his long brown hair. He smiled and said, "At least it has its perks."

The Stool

The old man shifted uneasily on the old, wood stool. The stool had served him well, that is, as well as it could, considering it was old and hard. The man appreciated the support it had given him over the years, but today he yearned for a much softer stool. One made of the fine black forest wood that his friend had recently purchased. His friend's stool had a soft cloth top, stuffed with cotton, to add comfort. It's elegantly carved legs swooped to the floor providing the most excellent stability that one could expect from a stool. The old man rubbed his behind and bemoaned his fate at having to sit on such a hard stool.

At length he stood and tried to continue his work while standing. Shortly, this too made the old man uncomfortable and he teetered from one foot to the other. Oh, how he wished that he had a nice gel mat like his friend had. He had stood on it once. Of course he didn't give his friend the satisfaction of seeing him stand on it nor the broad smile that crossed the old man's face. No he didn't dare let his friend see the joy he had for the fine things that his friend had.

Not able to stoop any longer he sat once again on his stool only to stand quickly once again and kick the stool away from him. The stool clattered across the floor and ended its unfortunate journey in a heap next to the fireplace. The old man cursed the heavens for his fate as he crossed the room to the stool. He stared down at it as he once again bemoaned his fate and his life. He kicked out at the stool. Crack. The leg broke. He kicked again. Crack. Crack. Crack. All four legs broken he swiftly threw them into the fire and watched the blaze with a grin. "Now," he said as he rubbed his hands together, "You are worth something."

The fire howled as the old man watched the stool burn into the night. When it finally died down, he returned to his desk and angrily stood, wishing he had his friend's mat.