Circle of Eights, Stories

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  • #78


      Back from the depths of his sleep, the dragon Naasir exhaled in a puff of smoke. He’d just woven a wonderful dream —for all dragons and creatures do dream of course, even if most humans doubt it.

      Yawning, Naasir stretched out his long slithery body. Fully stretched, his body was an impressive sight to behold. He was quite old by human standards, while in fact, he was still in his youth, and could very well stay as rambunctiously lively for many other long centuries.

      He had given the final touch to a new world he had been creating in his dream time for many nights now, and was rather proud of it —even if dragons knew no such thing as pride, his feeling at this very moment was very akin to being proud.

      He had filled this world with many wonders, dragons of course, and other creatures yet to be named. And magic was all pervasive in that world, and so slightly cloaked, that it could be used by many.
      It would be a great playground he thought, for he was not a possessive and dictatorial dragon. In fact, he could feel some others were about to step in, and tell and live the story of that world.

      Sighing in delight, like a sleepy cat of majestic dimensions, he cuddled again, about to sink deeply into the harp music playing in his mind, ready to dream and let that story be told again…

      Another Never Ending Story

      Malvina. That name had been thrown into a conversation Yann and Quintin had had together, during which Quintin had felt images come into his awareness. He had instantly liked that name.
      He was feeling the aura of a woman, long hair of a pale rosy color, with a noble bearing. That name had been around, and they had played with it to find more impressions.
      And they had felt it linked to breeding of dragons, in a sort of rookery.

      They’ve both felt her connected to Malika, an online friend of them, whose gentle touch and kindly influence, as well as her passion for dragons seemed to fit in quite interestingly.

      Then on an impulse, Quintin had begun to paint an image around it, letting his feeling guide his movements. He’d loved the peaceful environment he’d drawn, and even if he was not wont to share “unfinished” drawings, he immediately shared the initial sketches with Yann and Fiona.

      They both loved it, and Fiona even considered for a moment adopting one of the cute baby dragons to be born.
      “Buckberry” : that was the name Quintin felt for the baby dragon… But he did not see any character in that picture for Fiona. She would have to decide to step in, to get that baby dragon. What character would she be? A young impetuous rude adventuress, or an o(w)ld wizened witch? Perhaps a bit of both?

      These thoughts were now coming back to him.
      Ever since he had seen Yann’s pictures, those taken when he’d been in Old Albion, he had felt that something strange was manifesting.
      One of these intriguing coincidences: the picture of a cave that Yann has been visiting looked so strikingly similar to Malvina’s Rookery… And that playful kid in the cave was probably linked to Yann.

      So, now that the painting was finished, perhaps he could have people join in the fun. All that was required was imagination…

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    • #231

      HAHAHA! it is your first step now. Let me just remind you that you need not play MY game, the game is yours, ever.” said Georges.

      Dory was feeling a bit confused now. What was he talking about, what game? And first step to what? She couldn’t hold to the anger nor the irritation; all of that was feeling not real or not here, or not there for all she knew.

      “The direction you follow is your choice, and where I come from is not relevant to this conversation. You may say I come from yourself :) and indeed you called me and I wanted company. Do you want more coleslaw?”

      Without waiting for her answer he refilled her plate with the tasty food.

      All those smells,… she could feel so many different things, things that appeared not to be here. A movement caught her attention in her periphery. As she turned her gaze whatever was there had vanished. And this humming, it was like music, but not very clear… if she could just focus more on it, yes like that, she was feeling sooo calm and she began laughing.

      “Hahahah… haha. Did you drug the coleslaw?” She asked, trying to appear angry and unhappy, but all she could do was smile and laugh.

      The images around her were shape-shifting, there were many colors, some of them she didn’t know could be possible, the walls were melting of sort and becoming transparent, or just fluid maybe…

      “Well you see how it’s easy to relax. Let’s see where you want to go now my dear Rafaela”, he said winking.

      And everything turned into a great maelström but she felt secure and could feel his presence reassuring, and there were all those other faces and places, some felt very familiar, had she ever been there before?


      A few days after Sam and Becky’s conversation on the phone, they were having a rehearsal.

      Just at the moment when they felt stuck again, despite Sam’s moves, Al and Tina, a couple of friends came crashing into the small theater room, and were greeted by an icy cold silence. “Icy” is an exaggeration of course, said Tina, “it just meant I had to put a jacket on again today”.

      Sorry for being late! said Al a bit uneasy.
      — Oh you and your uneasiness! said Tina. And I’m sure we’re arriving at the perfect time.
      — Oh, well, I’m not sure of anything today, said Becky. I’m sick of being force-fed coleslaw, and rigging down holes for myself.

      A silence was on the scene.


      At the same time, somewhere on the deck of his ship, Bådul was remembered of the landscapes of his land. He had not really appreciated them before, but now, he was finding them dear to him. They were for the most part a mixture of sandy dunes, from which at times peaks of icy rocky mountains would stick out. Lately he had felt like one of these peaks sticking out of the sands. The sands were shifting.


      Somewhere in Malvina’s cave.

      Malvina had been polishing the last dry eggs that she had found and that would not hatch. One of them had some interesting perfect round shape, and a very transparent shell, and it gave her an idea.

      She asked Leörmn to come.


      Quintin’s bedroom.

      [1:01] The clock was saying. Quintin had just awoken from a dream about an elderly woman who was showing him some drawings. These were not actually drawings, but in fact, they were called by the lady “glassart”. It was made, she said, of coloured sands, and would be vitrified by some flame. Quintin in that dream had thought the designs rather crude, but had found the idea interesting, and with great potential.


      Leörmn came almost instantly, appearing in a puff of teal smoke.

      Oh, I see… he said, reading Malvina’s mind. And I think I have the perfect sands to go with it.


      — Why hasn’t that pirate, Badass…
      Badul, corected Al
      — Whatever, Becky pursued imperturbably, that pirate Baddock used traveling portals to go and look for the eggs? Why the seas? Sounds a bit complicated and with lots of dangers too.
      — Good question, answered Al. Well, don’t want to answer for everyone, but in my perception…
      — Oh, get lost with your “in my perception” thing, that’s becoming tiring… sighed Tina
      — OK. So, for me, they have forgotten much about magic in his land.
      — Makes sense… added Sam dreamily… In fact, I’m not sure after all that Badul is only after gold. I think he has found some old desert dragon egg in a cave lost in his country and hopes to revive it, with the help of the people who still know about magic.
      — Which would explain the quest… said Al
      — Yeah, and he would have hidden that to the rest of the crew, probably… said Tina


      Leörmn had now finished assembling the magical artifact.

      — That’s one of our most beautiful magical artifact I’d say, Malvina gleamed
      — Oh yes it is. And how would you call it?
      — Let’s see…


      sabulmantium !

      Everyone cracked up at the word that Al had just blurted out. They had decided to have some distraction to alleviate the stress on the play, and they had a fun improvisation game, saying stupid things that went through their minds.

      — Hey! Don’t laugh like that, it’s something very serious actually, said Al tongue-in-cheek. Let me see…
      — Hahahaha, the others continued
      — Well, it’s a divination device, or a sort of compass in a way. I see it as a globe made of glass, with coloured sands in it, and when you focus on it, the sands take all sorts of three dimensional shapes, and become alive…
      — Wow! Tina couldn’t help but say.


      Leörmn, as Malvina had been telling him (or vice versa), had put the sabulmantium in one of the tunnels, to a place where he knew Arona would find it, and probably put it to good use for her future adventures.


      Dory was secretly delighted Georges had drugged the coleslaw, despite appearing to be angry. She loved the way different things altered her perception, and even though she knew how to alter her perception without using a drug now, she also knew she was creating the drug and its effects, and that it didn’t much matter whether she did or she didn’t.

      (Becky wondered if that principle applied to pain relieving drugs too, and decided that indeed it must. She wondered though if she really really believed it enough to trust herself to create pain relief WITHOUT actually swallowing a little ball of physical matter)

      Dory was reluctant to admit it at first, but she’d also known all along that she’d created Georges appearing out of nowhere like that, and that she had in fact invited him. Sometimes it seemed easier to forget that and just grumble, which of course was acceptable too. Grumbling was fun sometimes, but it got awfully boring if she carried it on for too long.

      The coleslaw was delicious.

      Have some more, offered Geroges

      (Becky made a note to change Georges name to Geroges. It was no accident that she kept typing it like that, and she was beginning to think correcting it all the time was futile, and that she was somehow missing the clue)

      Dory munched the crunchy coleslaw.

      (Without a moments appreciation for her lovely strong full set of teeth, Becky noticed)

      Dory unexpectedly felt a moment of appreciation for her teeth. Wow, she thought, I never even think about that, but teeth are cool. She shuddered when she remembered an awful dentist dream she’d recently had.

      Dory looked up at Geroges and smiled.

      Got any chocolate?


        Becky noticed the round jars of coloured sand on the shelf as she went to look for some chocolate. She hadn’t known why at the time, but she’d followed the impulse to bring a little sand home with her from special places, usually scooped up quickly and a bit furtively in the clear plastic wrapper of a cigarette packet. They were all lined up in little round jars from a disused yogurt making machine in front of her unused cookbooks on the kitchen shelf.

        F LoveF Love

          Fiona :) ed as she read the latest updates on Quintin’s website.

          *** *** *** *** ***

          She felt the strong presence of her evil twin as she found herself compelled to play with some of the new features. :face-devil-grin:

          *** ***

          She hoped this would not make Quintin feel :( as really it had nothing to do with the story.

          Or did it :-/

          *** ***

          Of course he can always delete it if he wants, she thought happily :D or make some rules, to stop this sort of thing happening in the future. ;)

          *** ***


          F LoveF Love

            Arona hummed happily to herself. She felt so light without the cape and the tunnel was bathed in the gentle light of many glukenitches. Mandrake the cat followed along too, much to Arona’s delight, although she was a little hesitant to tell this to the grumpy cat

            Magic magic magic magic she hummed to herself

            Arona almost skipped along the tunnel, and, so wrapped up was she in thoughts of magic, that she tripped and fell heavily, hurting her left hand as she put it out to save herself

            Ouch, hells bells and warty wizards, she muttered, for it did hurt quite considerably… and then she had some scarey thoughts. She looked around and realised that really, the fact of the matter was, undeniably, that she was still lost in the darkish tunnel.

            What if I don’t believe in magic? and her happy mood plummeted.

            Oh fuch, she swore, and sat down on the cave floor. FUCH FUCH FUCH FUCH she shouted as loud as she possibly could, and in fact hurt her throat a little in the process and quite possibly the sensitive ears of many glukenitches.

            This blessed cave is doing my head in. I want to see the sunshine, or the rain, no matter, I don’t care what the weather is doing I JUST WANT TO BE OUT OF THIS CAVE.

            Ooops that was rather loud

            After coaxing Mandrake back, as he had retreated quite some distance at her outburst, she sat down and put her head in her hands and tried to think. Did she believe in magic? Well of course she had no choice. Life without magic was inconceivable to her.

            She felt a familiar tiredness sweep over her as she struggled to work it out. Perhaps I will just have a small sleep before I continue, and she curled up on the ground, wishing she had her heavy black cape to wrap around her.

            As she gave up the struggle and let sleep come she heard some soft words

            It’s easy Arona … magic is easy … it is the thread linking all to all


            A short while later she woke from her sleep, feeling refreshed and ready to continue.

            F LoveF Love

              Magic is easy peasy
              My hand is sore
              This poem is rubbish
              So I won’t say any more

              Well we must thank the Gods for small mercies said Mandrake, sighing heavily. Arona laughed. Her mood felt so light again, as though something had really, really, REALLY fallen into place for her.

              Up ahead the tunnel widened. Arona gave a small gasp as she saw what appeared to be a coatstand with a black cape standing in the middle of the path.

              My Cloak, she cried, astonished, and feeling sure that the crafty dragon was behind its unexpected appearance. Hmmm, what a mouldy old thing, she thought, as though seeing it for the first time.

              There was a note pinned to the cape:

              I build up castles. I tear down mountains. I make some men blind, I help others to see. What am I?

              Arona hesitated only for a moment. Sand! She said, delighted with herself.


              Sanso was beginning to feel an urge to move. Waiting under the door in the ceiling in the cave tunnel, just watching India Louise and Illi fade in and out of view, and waiting for Dory and the parrot to return was getting boring. He was a wanderer by nature, and so he wandered off along the tunnel. He didn’t stop to wonder which tunnel to choose when he came to a junction, he just went with whatever one he happened to choose. He didn’t really mind where he ended up, that was the thing. This philosophy had always seemed to work well for him, because he ALWAYS ended up somewhere interesting; somewhere where he couldn’t imagine not being, once he was there, as if it was always the ‘right’ place to be, and at the ‘right’ time to be there.

              The cave tunnel was becoming wider and less cramped. Sanso straightened his back and quickened his pace, and started to sing.

              Hello Dolly, oh helloooo Dolly, do de dooo de do do dodedodedooooo……. chuckling to himself and wondering where on earth did THAT come from….. Oh helloooooo Dolly……

              and walked right into a coatstand, of all things, getting splodged in the face with a rather smelly wet blue cape. The coatstand teetered and Sanso grabbed it to stop it falling over. There was a note pinned onto it:

              Watch my shifting, Tell the time; Shape me wet, and Lose me dry; Colour me pink and grey and gold, and Find the secrets that I hold, What am I?

              Sanso didn’t hesitate for a single moment. SAND!

              Sanso grinned with delight at guessing the riddle so quickly, and then laughed out loud. How clever am I, he said, I guessed the answer to my own riddle! Still chortling, Sanso gave the wet cape a fond pat and set off again.

              The tunnel was widening and eventually broadened into a cavern. Bright sparkling shafts of sunlight were beaming down from several holes in the cavern roof.

              Sanso blinked a few times and squinted until his eyes became accustomed to the light. The cavern was huge, and everywhere he looked were paintings and markings on the walls, even the places impossible to reach. Some were creatures, some were symbols, in black and red and yellow and orange.

              Sanso was entranced. He sank down to a sitting position, and then stretched out flat on his back, gazing at the markings on the walls. He stretched his arms out, filling his palms with sand and then letting it go, and trailing his fingers through the sand…sand…..

              Sand! I may have got the riddle, thought Sanso, but I didn’t get the POINT of the riddle being there in the first place!

              HHMM, I’m not so clever after all……

              F LoveF Love

                As soon as Arona said “sand” she noticed an object sitting at the base of the coatstand.

                Funny I did not see that at first.

                It was very beautiful, a glass globe, with coloured sand in it.

                Yet she found herself stepping back, hesitant, wondering if it was some sort of a trick the dragon might be playing on her.

                Someone else joined her in the tunnel, it was the older lady who had soothed her to sleep and told her to use her magic. Her energy felt very beautiful to Arona, it was gentle and yet powerful, and it also had the feeling of laughter.

                Hello Arona, how is your hand?

                Oh, my hand is fine thank you, said Arona, feeling the pain in her left hand throbbing.

                The lady smiled. And how is the magic going?

                Oh good .. I have learned it is easy and I just have to believe in it. She hesitated ….. mind you the truth is I am still wandering around in these dark tunnels….but I do feel much better about it.

                What were you thinking about when you fell and hurt your hand?

                I was thinking about magic, and then when I fell I had a terrible feeling of doubt as to whether there was such a thing.

                Your hand holds a clue for you Arona, the answer to a riddle.

                Oh could you just tell me? I have been answering riddles ever since I got here.


                  ‘I will tell you’, the voice was saying, ‘that the reason you are looking for is probably right under your nose’.

                  Sanso wondered who the voice in his head belonged to. He heard voices all the time, so many different ones, and he often didn’t know one from another.

                  ‘You might need to step back in order to let it come into focus’….

                  F LoveF Love

                    Fiona woke up smiling from her dream.

                    She had been in a new house, scrubbing the wooden floorboards, rearranging furniture. There was a nice garden, very green. Anyway all these ducks flew into the garden, well ducklings really, because they were cute and yellow, like cartoon ducks.

                    It had been drought conditions for so long that Fiona was concerned for them. So she filled a glass with water and threw it over them. She kept doing this, and the ducks were hopping happily around in the water. Then they all started clapping their wings together to thank her.

                    Fiona had been having lots of duck imagery lately. A funny thought crossed her mind as she thought of Rose, a friend of Dory’s who was into birds. Well she was a friend of all of them, but Fiona associated her with Dory, because Dory was always saying “Rose said this… or Rose said that”…

                    Quintin said ‘ducks and drakes’ was a game where you threw pebbles into the water or something. This cast a slight shadow over Fiona’s day thinking about it, because sadly her pebbles had still not arrived from Yann.

                    Anyway when they did get there, no way would she be throwing them away into the water. Not after this long a wait.

                    What was the time anyway? she wondered looking at her watch 1:11, cool time for some more housework.

                    F LoveF Love

                      So the lady whispered the answer to the riddle of the hand into Arona’s ear.

                      Oh brilliant, thank you so much, said Arona, hugging her. Her hand felt so much better already.


                      No longer fearful, Arona looked into the glass ball. The coloured sand was shifting. Shapes were forming. At first they appeared to be random and rather vague, just movements without any clear form. After a little while Arona went into a trance like state, and she could feel energy flowing through her body. She noticed that she was able to influence the movement of the sand with her thoughts.

                      She stared at the sand for so long that she felt the edges of herself to be blurry. She had strange thoughts that she was a grain of sand herself and that she was being influenced to influence the sand. It was all quite surreal actually, but fun too, so did it really matter?


                        William Percival Jobsworth, or “Bill” for short, was finding the old creaking manor as freaky as their owners.

                        The Wrick family was known around for being shrouded in mystery, and few people had actually been invited inside the manor, after its acquisition by Lord Wrick.

                        The manor itself was full of ghost stories, as every mansion worth its salt in that part of the country. But this one has been a wreck on which he would not have invested two pence of his money, after it had been abandoned for many decades after the sudden death of the previous owner, the Crazy Baron.

                        But Lord Wrick was an eccentric, and had bought the manor and restored it to its previous grandeur.

                        It had been thrice now that Bill had come to the manor to paint the family portraits. The first time he had also delivered that strange parcel, given to him by that strange lady. Looking straight into his eyes, she had also told him something that had lingered in his mind quite vividly.

                        « Suffering is not good for the soul, unless it teaches you to stop suffering. »

                        He couldn’t see exactly why it applied to him, but the lady had seemed so authoritative about that, that he had agreed and felt like thanking her.

                        The parcel had come a bit unexpected to the Lord, though he was quite artful in hiding his emotions, Bill could say. He had questioned him about the lady, but Bill had not dared to share with him the thing about the suffering. Actually the Lord looked in pretty good shape considering the age he was likely to be. He pretended to be a bit incapacitated, but Bill would have bet that if he had fallen from a window, he would have landed on his feet as a cat.

                        Speaking of which, their old cat with its worn-out blackish fur was a bit freaky too. Bill had felt at times he could hear it answer the Lord’s gibberish.

                        But all in all, that was easy money, and he thanked the opportunity to be able to do these paintings while the winter was coming.

                        Now was something else. He almost startled when he was opened the big entrance door, to be revealed an improbable shape, two or three heads taller than him. It took him a short while to recognize the smile of the children’s nurse, topped by a funny hat that made him laugh heartily, after the initial shock was dissipated.

                        Hahaha, sorry, that was unexpected… he managed to say to Jacqueline, who was not unaccustomed to these odd kinds of reactions.

                        Not to worry she said with a slight French accent. Monsieur and Madame Wrick have come back from their trip to Mogadishu, and you will be able to have their portraits done. They will stay here for a few weeks…

                        Linda and Peregrine Wrick were Cuthbert and India Louise proud (and a bit insouciant) parents, Lord Wrick had explained without much more details. Peregrine was the son of Lord Wrick’s only son, Sean Doran Wrick, but Bill had felt some restrain to ask about Sean Doran, as the Lord had seemed a bit umbrageous only speaking his name.

                        Oh… said Bill who did not expect them to come back so quickly.

                        Appendix: The Wrick family tree


                          Dory had a sudden urge to give George a great big hug.

                          Dash it all, he said, wiping a tear from his eye, you’ve got coleslaw all over my shirt.


                          Captain Bone was packing his trunk. The boat was leaving at noon from the quayside of the fishing village, and the captain was nearly ready to say goodbye to the Sharples family. He’s been happy staying with the Sharples and their unruly brood, but he was a man of the sea, and the salty breezes and rollings waves and promise of new adventures was beckoning.

                          The sea mist rolled over the cluster of cottages as it often did in the early mornings, mingling with the aroma of coffee and freshly toasted crumpets. Captain Bone remembered other morning mists from other shores, warm ones laced with cinnamon and cloves, and chilly ones pungent with fishy smells and squalking gulls…… bright sunny mornings with long golden shadows and the endless half light of arctic northern ones.

                          The captain closed his trunk without checking to see if he’d remembered everything. Whatever he needed on his journey, he knew he would find. Whatever he left behind, he knew the Sharples would keep safe until his return.


                          Manolo the vet helped the captain onto the boat.

                          ¡Hasta la vista, hombre! ¡Buen viaje! Long Tom Bone winked and smiled. As soon as he’d set foot on the boat, he sighed a huge sigh of relief, and all the aches and worries of living on dry land drifted away.

                          The Sharples family passed the tissues round. It was going to seem strange for awhile without the captain.


                          Huÿgens was not much of a cat person.

                          He liked his dogs because they were solid, loyal companions, and he could count on them to take care of his herd of langoats.

                          Langoats were a kind of three-eyed manic woolly and horned creatures, with a big sensing tongue, attracted to every new sound, or scent, or colour, or texture… well almost anything new that came before their eyes (when said eyes were not covered by thick layers of wool that is). And as their memory was short too, all kinds of things were always new to them.

                          That was why the dogs were extremely useful in channeling their movements; not that the langoats would have hurt themselves, because they were very able to provide for themselves, and jump from the top of a cliff without suffering much injuries. But they could very well loose all notion of their physicality and pop in and out of the fabric of time and space.

                          When they came back, because they always did magically come back, even after months of wandering, they would at times be reconfigured into another creature, and that would be pointless applying too much effort in trying to bring them back to their previous form, because it was said, in relation to their stubbornness that once a langoat, always a langoat

                          Huÿgens had already lost some, especially during the shearing season.

                          And he had found himself back once with a cumbersome hippoliphant, and a bouncy shulimeek instead of two langoats.

                          Anyway, langoats wool was a very precious asset, highly sought after, as it could very easily bind with magical spells. Most of the clothes made for royalties were actually made with langoat wool, and it was also said that some enchanters had used langoat wool to make magical tapestries that would shapeshift, and reveal things to their owners.

                          So losing a langoat was not small concern for Huÿgens, and he had to be careful during the shearing season to leave some mops of hair to cover the three eyes of the beasts, so as to curb their insatiable thirst for discoveries.

                          But these days, Huÿgens had been very concerned about his herding dog Fjutch. Fjutch was a fluffy black dog he had found when it was still a puppy. He had trained it to become the head of his pack of dogs, when he had noticed the old rheumatic Thöm was taking the puppy under its wing —because the old faithful dog was knowing that it would depart and would reconfigure into a new form, but would not allow that to happen, not before he could have found a reliable companionship for his beloved master Huÿgens.

                          The healing properties of the langoat milk seemed to had done wonders once again, and Fjutch dis-ease was probably just a false alarm, but it had reminded Huÿgens how much he appreciated his dogs, every one of them, every day he was with them.

                          As for the cats… Illi, that was her name, had decided to come back to the cave, and he was showing her the way to the place where he had found her. He had asked BelleDora to pack a few things for her. He could not give Illi the beverage she was referring to as “coffee”, as that plant was not found in their region, but in compensation, he gave her a gourd of langoat milk, because she seemed like she would probably need some.

                          When he left her near the hole, he had some tears in his eyes when Illi hugged Fjutch very tenderly, as if the dog was reminding her of something dear. Illi after a moment hesitation, where she was like speaking to herself and not knowing what to do, finally hugged Huÿgens too, thanking him for everything he had done.

                          And off she was… free and unfettered as a gripshawk


                          When Illi had finished arguing with Illi about having her hug the big man, while this was not manners of her kind, she sighed as she saw that the opening she had first thought was here (yeah, because I fell in there! she said), her senses where telling her that it was now closed…

                          How quaint said Illi for herself.
                          — Well, as a matter of fact, it reminds me of something, said Illi F. There was that delicious gentleman, John Lubbock who said “What we see depends mainly on what we look for” and somehow it seems perfect.
                          — I don’t know any Grubbeck, grumbled Illi, a bit irritated that the hole, which was there before, wouldn’t be here, now she needed it.
                          — Lubbock was such a nice person, said Illi dreamily… Perhaps I could just try to have a peek inside the cave, if you let me.
                          — What?! Do again your wizzy wooey thing and I’ll strangle you! Don’t know how I would do it, but I’ll do it!
                          — Oh, you are so sluggishly gloomy! That was just to help you…
                          — Mmm, sorry for that, I was a bit upset, said Illi. What could you do?
                          — Just focus on the inside, and carry us both inside… But actually you would have to leave your body here, and we’ll probably see other things that do not belong to this place, but heck! that should be fun, Illi F said grinning widely.

                          They were interrupted by some munching sounds and ruffling heavy breath.

                          — What the bejeezus is that?! hissed Illi the cat (who didn’t even know how she knew so funny sounding words as bejeezus)
                          — Can’t you see? That’s obviously a dragon eating some bushes… How strange… replied Illi F airily.
                          — A WHAT? I HATE DRAGONS!
                          — Ahahah, relax, I was just pulling your leg.
                          — That’s not funny.
                          — Well he has funny colours by the way. Pinkish purple I wouldn’t dare to wear in London streets.
                          — That’s REALLY NOT FUNNY!
                          — Why so? You can’t see it anyway…
                          — And what if he sees me? Dragons are vicious creatures.
                          — He’s too busy eating these funny berries, and will probably collapse of exhaustion once he’s full.
                          — A chance! A vegetarian dragon!
                          — OK. Shall we try to find an entrance in the cave with my method, or do we ask the dragon? He looks well-mannered by the way.
                          — Oh, by the eyeballs of the Mighty Shrimp, you tell me…
                          — No, you choose.
                          — No, you.
                          — You…
                          — Ooooh, bugger off…


                          “What are you doing?” said the little girl.

                          Getting no answer she asked it again.

                          “What are you doing?”

                          She approached the strange being that was so engrossed in its activity, or maybe it couldn’t hear her, she thought dreamily. She put her hand through the big (what color was that) beast.

                          She thought about that a little and tried to seize one of those big berries.

                          That worked, she could at least grasp one of those, not two, her hands were too small, but one was as big as that ball her father was so fond of playing with… she couldn’t remember what he called it. Well it mattered not, she could grasp one of them :D

                          It was a bit warmer than she would have thought. A bit mushy, and very soft. She had a very pleasant sensation caressing it, it was electric and watery and she laughed.

                          The beast stopped what it was doing. Did it hear her laugh? It began eating the berries again.

                          She stroked the berry and felt the funny laugh emerge from her chest. When it burst out the beast stopped again.

                          “Oh you can hear me laugh!” She said, unaware of her hand gently rubbing the surface of the berry.

                          “Grumpf!” did the beast.

                          Its eyes were beginning to change, from yellow to a kind of blue with some tiny stars in them. The girl giggled and was suddenly face to face with a little boy.

                          “What are you doing here” said the boy.

                          “These are my berries, you can’t eat them.”

                          She was a bit startled by his first words and she already had forgotten the weird beast.

                          “I just wanted to play, they are so soft and they make me laugh.”

                          She couldn’t help another giggle.

                          The boy still seemed wary of her and began to move.


                          New York, October, 4 th 2033

                          Albert had opened the newspaper, scanning distractedly through the various pages of text that would read aloud automatically when he was running his fingers through it. He was about to close it, when he noticed that article in the Life Focus section.

                          (click for article)


                          Dublin, October 5 th 2033

                          Sean Doran Wrick had received tons of phone calls, emails and voice mails of condolences since the past few weeks, but he had not found the strength to answer any of them. Especially those coming from his father.

                          That morning, he had received some letters that he would have left on top of the others, had he not recognized the round and cheerful calligraphy of Becky on one of them.

                          He had known Becky when they had traveled together in Syria, and had enjoyed so much the lively young woman that they had kept in touch during all those years.

                          He was pleased to read from her, and wanted to enjoy it fully.

                          So he took his time to put to bed Guinevere and Peregrine before. Guinevere was the eldest, very mature for her barely 11 year old. She took great care of her younger brother, who was more dreamy and foolish. Peregrine would turn 10 next March… but he was hardly as responsible as his sister when she was his age…

                          Dear Sean, Becky was writing

                          I would have liked to finally take the time to write to you in better conditions, but I could not delay any longer. I saw the obituary in the newspaper, and wanted you to know that I share your grief and loss, and extend much love and support to you and to your dear little ones.

                          I know you’re not the kind of person to be satisfied with banalities, so I will not dwell on this tragedy, and will remember the best moments we shared together.

                          I still continue my studies and practices on dramatherapy, and till now it has proved very beneficial, in many ways. I have learned so many things. It’s quite rewarding. We are a close-knit group of fools (or drôles as Al loves to say, as some of his ancestors come from the bayous!), and that is very much enjoyable when things that tragic come to one’s reality.

                          In case you feel like talking, don’t hesitate any moment, I’ll be here. Anytime.




                          Orkney Islands, October 4 th, 2057

                          This year again, Sean Doran had not answered his father’s calls.

                          This September 23 th was the twenty fourth anniversary of the disengagement of Lord Wrick’s daughter-in-law, and this was always a very somber period for the family.

                          Hopefully, the twins were here to enliven the old mansion, for as long as their parents, Lord Wrick’s grand-children, would be traveling. And of course, there had been the unexpected return of the books, which had been comforting too.

                          Nonetheless, Hilarion Wrick was sad, and Bill the painter was uneasy as to how he could not quite put right the portrait of the old dragon…

                          F LoveF Love

                            Fiona was feeling a bit weird.

                            She was wondering what was real. Was she real? Wow I am starting to sound like Dory she said and then laughed

                            Oh my goodness and now I am laughing out loud and talking to myself. Jarrod does that and they put him on medication for it.

                            And were her online friends real? I mean what evidence did she have. There were these pebbles of course Yarn said he was sending, but where were they?

                            The other day she had been talking to her friends via the internet, and she found herself telling this ridiculous bird story, which basically boiled down to “I saw a bird and a cracked egg shell”


                            Ooops better stop laughing out loud so much. But at the time of seeing the bird it had felt really significant, as though something of importance was being communicated to her.

                            And the online story they had all been writing — well was it all of them, or was it really just her writing it? — whatever, it was getting weirder and weirder and quite rude at times too actually. Or was it??? Was that her imagination again?

                            And lately she kept winking. Good grief, I never wink, what is all that about? What the does a wink mean anyway?

                            Fiona patted her dog George. He was so funny and uncomplicated. All he wanted to do was eat and play and have as much fun as possible… so cool. Actually that is all I want really too, she decided, and felt much better.


                            The boy was approaching in a manner he obviously wanted to be threatening, but the little girl was still giggling unafraid.

                            He took his most growling voice.

                            “Don’t you fear DRRRAAAGONSS?” he blew in her face.

                            “Hahaha. What’s Dregguns?” she said with difficulties as if it was her first attempt in pronouncing the thunderous name.

                            He took a deep breath as if to answer the question and stopped.

                            She was looking at him with such innocence and friendship in her eyes.

                            “You really don’t know what dragons are?”

                            He drew closer and his gaze changed. And he looked surprised as if he was eventually noticing something important.

                            “Oh hoho! I understand now why you seem such an unafraid little girl…”

                            “I’m not little, I’m five.” she said grumpily. But she laughed as readily after that :))

                            “It appears I’m in the middle of one of your dreams. What’s your name?”

                            “I’m Chiara.”

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