Thursday, November 3, 2011

YA Indie Carnival - Blast from the Past

This week the YA Indie Carnival sponsors are reminiscing...sharing some of our early work.  The oldest piece I have is a bedtime story written for my son several years ago.  It's never been important to me for others to like it because he absolutely loved it.  More importantly, he appreciated the effort I put into creating a magical story of his very own. 

Before I was fully awake, I felt a brush as light as a feather dusting my cheek.  The scent of the floral perfume wafting around me was as familiar as the aroma from the bacon I heard sizzling in the kitchen down the hall.  I stretched and hummed and envisioned Momma kissing me good morning…welcoming me to a glorious new day.  She’d always insisted we start each morning with love and happiness, knowing the rest of the day’s tenor would follow suit.
As soon as my lids lifted, the sun’s rays caused the heavenly dream to disappear into thin air.  I was quickly reminded – with gut-wrenching clarity – Momma had been dead for over three months.   The last few precious moments had been the only twinges of normalcy I’d felt since the day the heartless doctors told us ‘her treatments were failing’.  Without waiting for us to process their words or comprehend their meaning, they callously reminded us to ‘plan for her death’. Devastated, I’d done little more than exist since those life-altering syllables were uttered.  
Intending to tame the unruly hair tickling my cheek, I reached up and was met by the fluttering of wings. Living in the south and conditioned to tolerate our varmints, I imagined my fingers had grazed at a gigantic cockroach.  I, prepared to run screaming from my room, jumped up.  Instead of a filthy insect, I found my visitor to be one of the most beautiful butterflies – teasingly fluttering around me – I’d ever seen.
Her brilliant tattooed wings magically waved toward me.  I knew the tiny creature was waiting for my response, but I sat immovable for several seconds. When I finally shifted positions, she made no attempt at flitting away.  Amazingly, she was not in the least bit intimidated by me. 
“Are you trying to tell me something?”  I asked, feeling silly but unable to stop myself.  
Her black velvet wings – sprinkled with glorious shades of greens, blues, and platinum glitter – went berserk. I lifted my index finger, hoping the perch would be a welcomed place for her to light. 
With a few silent flaps, she landed, and I sensed the now familiar tickle.   This time, our contact opened my hearing in a whole new way.  I watched the joyous creature while she telepathically sang a message to me. ‘Good morning, Faith.  My name is Riodi.’
Positive someone was playing a terrible joke on me, I looked suspiciously around the room.
‘It’s okay. Speaking aloud is not necessary.  We can talk just like this.  No one has to know about it,’ she melodically said without moving her mouth.
‘How do you know my name?’ I asked only in my mind.
‘We have been sent to you by Elise,’ she said, carefully watching my reaction with her giant round eyes.   
“Elise?”  I, still looking around for the jokester, asked.
‘Yes.  Your mother, Elise. She’s sent us here to be ‘flies on your wall’. Nobody said the flies had to be ones who evolved from maggots,’ she said, snickering to herself.
“We?”  I asked.  Complete and utter shock kept me from speaking anything more than one-word sentences.
In response to my question, she released a deafening whistle similar to the two-fingered one my brother, Tommy, used when calling Skip, our border collie.  Seeing my painful grimace, she crooned, ‘Sorry. I should have taken flight before doing that.’
Seconds later, four new butterflies gracefully fluttered around my room.  All five undeniably beautiful. With their appearance, Riodi began the formal announcements.  Working in concert with her, the one being introduced landed on my arm, using it as their runway while giving me a wave of the wing.
'This is Papi,' Riodi said as the first, an enormous butterfly, sporting paper-thin purple and red wings, landed.  It was impossible to ignore the magnificence of the conspicuous black veins interwoven within each of his scale-covered wings.   Papi’s soft yellow thorax had a jet-black stripe extending from his massive eight-ball eyes down to his wispy tail.  He may have lacked Riodi’s elegance, but he made up for it with an almost palpable allegiance.
'Your mother loves you…so we love you.  The honor is ours, Faith,' he said in a voice as articulate as an announcers.  
As soon as his unconditional pledge was transmitted to my mind, the tails of all five Lepidoptera brilliantly lit up.  I was instantly reminded of the lightning bugs Tommy and I caught every summer…when Momma allowed us to play by the river after night fall.  With their glow, I was consumed with a hug-induced warmth.
Sensing my reaction, Riodi said, ‘Think of that as a present from your mother.  Her remote embrace.’  I almost cried when I thought of the lengths Momma had gone to send that message to me. 
‘This is Lyca,’ Riodi said just as the smallest butterfly – almost pigmy – landed right next to Papi.
On touchdown, Lyca batted her iridescent eyes Papi’s way and said, 'Good morning, Faith.'  Her infatuations with Papi reminded me of Tinkerbelle’s crush on Peter Pan.
While Lyca’s beauty was every bit as stunning as Riodi’s, the metallic copper speckled with bright pink showcased on her wings were as unique as her quiet personality.  Lyca’s velvety thorax was a brilliant fuchsia. Her every move was as graceful and planned as a ballerina in the middle of a ballet.
As soon as a butterfly – with wings the greens of cabbage leaves mixed with the yellow of a lemon’s peel – descended onto my arm, Riodi said, 'This is Piere.  Be very careful with him. His favorite pastime is sprinkling girls with Love Dust.'
Mischievous, he shook his head, causing a dash of a shimmering powder to cling to the hairs of my arm. A heartbeat later, an admiration for Piere – similar to Lyca’s for Papi – consumed me.  Thankfully, it only lasted seconds.
'If his Dust hits you like that, imagine how it impacts us, since we are so much smaller. Its effects are overwhelming and can last for days,' she said, squinting her eyes toward Piere’s sheepish grin.
With the tone of a boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar, Piere responded to Riodi’s accusations.  ‘Awe shucks, you know you love me, Riodi…with or without the Love Dust. Just admit it, and I’ll stop flirting with other girls,' he said, giving her a little wink.  Then, he turned toward me and said, 'Sorry for the Love Dust, Faith. It just falls when I shake my head. Really, it’s completely out of my control.’   With Piere’s infinitesimal move closer to Riodi, I saw his thorax was as soft as rabbit’s fur and white as a cotton ball.
His deliberate impishness caused a giggle to escape from deep inside of me and bubble to the surface.  I basked in the glory of the first show of happiness I’d felt in a very long time. 
Riodi rolled her eyes with Piere’s obvious lie and purposefully refused to give him any further attention.  ‘And finally, this is Lidae. She is a mother to all of us…even though we were all born within days of each other,’ Riodi sang.
Lidae, cautious, landed between me and the rest of the pack.  She thoroughly scoured my brain, making sure my intentions were sincere when it came to her family. With her actions, I knew beyond a shadow of doubt she would instantly sacrifice herself before seeing any of the other four hurting. Her absolute love of them was similar to the one Momma possessed for me.  Lidae respectfully bowed her head toward me as soon as I passed the rigors of her inspection. 
Afterwards, I studied Lidae.  To others, her colors would have been considered the most boring of the five.  Not to me.  I saw every single intricate detail and the way they were highlighted by various shades of matte brown, ranging from light to dark. Her wings were similar to a tortoise’s shell and their design as striking as any that I’d ever seen.  Lidae’s body was as bold as coffee and smooth as mink. With an earthy voice, she finally said, ‘Hello, Faith.’

I nodded.  It was apparent Lidae was the leader, but Riodi remained the unofficial spokesman for the group. ‘As I have said, we have been sent by your mother. She wanted us to remind you of her love for you.’
“Can I talk to my mother?” I asked, hoping she’d been given back to me.
All five heads shook from side-to-side.  ‘No’ their obvious response.
“Can you talk to my mother?” I, afraid of their answer, asked.
This time, every head bobbed up and down.
“Can one of you elaborate, please?”
Lyca flitted over to me and said, ‘We have been sent to stay with you and watch over you. We will stay until a rainbow appears.  The rainbow is a signal, a notice it’s time for us - one at a time - to embark upon a strenuous journey back to Elise. It’s the only way for her to know how you’re doing.’
The familiar blur of tears clouded my vision.  After everything I’d been through, I could barely believe Momma was almost within my reach…that I would be able to tell her all the things I’d regretted not saying since the day she died. 
Lidae said, ‘Your mother wants you to stop being upset, and for you to realize when you’re sad, she hurts.’
I sat stunned, wondering if I’d finally gone insane to the point where hallucinations were playing brutal jokes with my mind.  The exotic butterflies’ heads shook from side-to-side as if the movement had been choreographed.
Thankful for the tangible evidence proving Momma’s presence, I knelt down on the side of my bed and thanked God – the one I had been cursing for months – for this miraculous gift.  Through these amazing messengers, Momma would be at my side.  At least, temporarily.
Suddenly, it occurred to me that Momma had been right. This day had begun filled with love and happiness and would absolutely end on that same note.  Even better, there would be many more to follow.

1. Laura A. H. Elliott author of Winnemucca & 13 on Halloween, Book 1 in the Teen Halloween Series 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. Heather Self 4. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series
5. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga 6. Darby Karchut, author of GRIFFIN RISING
7. Lexus Luke 8. PJ Hoover, Author of SOLSTICE, Blogging at ROOTS IN MYTH
9. Cheri Schmidt, author of the Fateful Trilogy 10. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog
11. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed 12. Patti Larsen, The Hunted series and The Hayle Coven series
13. Courtney Cole, author of The Bloodstone Saga 14. Amy Maurer Jones, Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy
15. Dani Snell's Refracted Light Reviews 16. Fisher Amelie, author of The Understorey
17. M. Leighton, Blood Like Poison Series, Madly, The Reaping 18. Abbi Glines, author of Breathe and The Vincent Boys
19. Kimberly Kinrade, Bits of You & Pieces of Me, Forbidden Mind 20. Madeline Smoot, Missing, Summer Shorts, and The Girls
21. Cidney Swanson, author of Rippler 22. Nicole Williams, author of Eternal Eden, Falling Eden
23. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter