Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2018/12/12

I have always wondered why humans name their pets with human names. Mine named the cat Gloria, the dog Doug, and me, the bird, Samson. Yeah. Pretty silly, I know. A tiny guy like me named Samson.

The cat and dog don’t mind their names at all. I have to stifle a laugh, and a sarcastic comeback every time that bean dip calls me. “How are you this morning, Samson?”

“For a spy, stuck in a cage made out of cheap aluminum wire that puts up with eating old seeds all day, I’m doing well.” That’s what I want to answer. But, the human would freak out. See. They think they’re the only highly intelligent life on the planet.

As a spy, my job was to observe the behavior of a human in its natural habitat. Which probably makes no sense, given the humans don’t live in natural habitats. No, they make their own habitats. More like super giant ant colonies than natural habitats. At least ants are small. Humans? They’re like the dinosaurs. Big, and clumsy, and they take tons of power to run themselves.

The only birds left on the planet were like me. Spies. We spent a lot of time learning to hide from the humans, so they wouldn’t know we were here. We spy on them, study their behavior, and try to partially limit the damage they do to the planet. We expect to fail, but we’ve collected tons of DNA, plant seeds, insect, animal, amphibian, reptile, and fish eggs. We’ve got an emergency cache ready, in case the humans kill off everything.

Of course, we won’t rescue the humans, any more than we did the dinosaurs, and dozens of others.

I reported to the mothership every month. A brief report made using a low power ultra wide band transmitter that’s implanted in my right wing. Flip a switch, and all the data for the month goes out in a couple of heartbeats, and the transmitter shuts down.

Of course, I do get bored. It’s tough being a spy, and pretending to be trapped in a cage, held at the mercy of a human. Think about that. Stuck standing there, holding onto a wooden dowel, pretending to sleep all day, and hopping about the cage, acting excited every time the human comes home.

I much prefer the times the human is at work, or out shopping, or running around. I open up this little cage it thinks I’m safe within, and I stretch my wings a bit, and visit with the cat, and the dog. The cat purrs a lot, and meows. She likes it when I hop on her back, and use my little talons to scratch her in all the itchy spots.

The dog runs to the human’s piano, and barks until I fly over, and play a tune of some kind. A simple tune the dog can wag his tail to. He wags, and wags, and then plunks down, and smiles, and for him, everything is OK with the world.

I check the internet on the humans computer. Like too many humans, they don’t password protect it, or secure it. “It’s in my home. No one uses it but me. I’m good.”

I always check the local news, to add that to my reports. I also erase all traces of what I used it for. The human doesn’t know. Of course, I never shit on the computer. That would leave evidence. I always pretend to shit wherever and whenever I want when I’m in the cage, or when the human has me out. But when I’m working, no. I wait until I get back to the cage.

The piano is a good instrument. We birds like it. We’ve stolen the human plans for making them, and have produced pianos of our own. There are several at the base inside the moon. Someday, when my time as a spy is done, I hope to be able to go home, after a debriefing on the base. But, realistically, I know I may not live long enough to go home.

Earth is a dangerous place, what with all the humans on it. A being a spy? That’s almost always a death sentence. But, hope always survives, so I kept hoping.

Well. I have to behave like a proper pet bird now. The human just parked its car in the driveway.

Stupid humans. You watch. They’ll kill everything. You just wait. They will. I guarantee it.

749 words

Saw the picture for week 85 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge and an entire new universe opened up in my mind. This is the result. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.



Dreams : Camellias

I had a dream on Sunday.
One I brought to life
In my own unique way.

I dreamed I crossed
Both time and space,
To reach the place you live.
There, I knocked on your front door,
And when you answered,
I grabbed your hand,
And did not let it go.

“Come with me,” I said,
“There’s something you should know.”

I walked with you,
Through the ice and snow,
In the bitter cold.
To my magic car.

We got inside and drove,
Through time and space,
To a place I know of.
A place I always go.
When life threatens once more
To tear my heart apart,
And turn what’s left to stone.

To a garden
I walk through
To heal the wounds
Life leaves in my soul.

“Come with me,” I said,
“There’s something you should know.”

And I took you by the hand
And walked with you.
Into a magic land.

The Dogwood trees are budding.

The Dogwood trees are budding.

We watched the ducks swimming on Mirror Lake.

We watched the ducks swimming on Mirror Lake.


Then I showed you the Camellias at the garden.

Then I showed you the Camellias at the garden.


There are trees already in full bloom.

There are trees already in full bloom.


Birds are everywhere.

Birds are everywhere.

Even the Apricot tree is blooming.

Even the Apricot tree is blooming.


And it won't be long until the Magnolia trees begin to bloom.

And it won’t be long until the Magnolia trees begin to bloom.

Just ask the birds.

Just ask the birds.


And the Robins watch it all.

And the Robins watch it all.

Soon, the paper bushes will start blooming.

Soon, the paper bushes will start blooming.

And there are always Orchids in full bloom in the Tropical Greenhouse

And there are always Orchids in full bloom in the Tropical Greenhouse

IMG_7680IMG_7684As I drove you home,
Through time and space both.
I spoke the words
Of a song I know.

“Fear is only in our minds.
It’s taking over all the time.
Fear is only in our minds,
But it’s taking over all the time.”

I know you’ve heard the words,
A thousand times or more.
Things change.
They always do.
And the ice and snow,
And the bitter cold
Will fade away
In the days and weeks ahead.

The world will thaw.
And so will you.
If you decide
The ice and snow,
And bitter cold,
Are just another part of life,
That comes and goes.

The same way night fades away
With the sunrise

I walked you to your door,
In the ice and snow,
And the bitter cold.

And left you at your home.
With a memory
Of Camellias.
In the snow.

I leave this thought with you.

I leave this thought with you.


I went to the gardens
That I know so very well.
That I love so very much.
The gardens that help me
Heal my heart and soul.

And there,
I walked.

Just me.
And my music
Playing in my ears.

I took my time.
Stopped and looked
Any time I wanted.

Took the time
To feel the breeze.
To feel the sun
Shining down on me.

To listen to the leaves
On the trees.
The birds singing songs
Of so many kinds.

I watched the bees
Buzzing through the wildflowers.
Pollen packed upon their legs.
As they moved from one bloom
To another.

I watched squirrels
Climbing in the trees,
Running along the ground
As they searched
For the perfect feast.

There was a group
Of tiny birds.
They looked like finches
To me.

My hands
Would have dwarfed
Any one of them.

They ate petals
Off yellow flowers.
And watched me
Watching them.

I watched grasshoppers
Playing games.
Chasing each other
Through the bushes,
Grass and mulch.

I took the time to stare
At a black dragon-fly
With the golden stripes
Down both of it’s sides.

I’d only seen one like it
One other time.

I studied the details
In its wings.
The way they looked
Like fine wire frames
With a film stretched
Over them.

I walked through the butterflies
In the butterfly house.
I lost count
Of how many I saw there.

But then,
I didn’t really care.
I was just there
To enjoy the patterns
On their wings.

The grace with which they flew.

Then I walked once more
Among the trees.
Through the forest named

And I remembered.
And I saw.
And I felt.

I walked alone.

Just me.
That’s how it is for me.
I have no one to ask
On days like today.

I’d have loved to take her hand
And walk with her.
But she was at work.

Where I spent more than half
Of the life
I’ve been blessed with.


That which nearly
Destroyed me.

There are parts of me
I know are gone.
That’s all.
Just gone.
Like a missing hand.
Or foot.

Sometimes I can almost remember
What they felt.
Those missing parts of me.

I walked alone.

Wishing, as I have
Thousands of times before,
The people I once knew
Would make the time,
Would take the time
To walk through the flowers,
And the trees.

Knowing they never will.
Even on a vacation.
Or a day off.

I walked alone today,

Through the flowers
And the trees,
Of the gardens
I love so very much.

I’ll walk there
Many times
In the years ahead.

I have to.
You see.
I have to.

For on days like this
I know
The walks I take
Through the flowers
And the trees,

Define a fragile line for me.
Between the darkness
And the light.

Give a hope to me
I can’t hold on to
On my own.

In a world
I never made.

Where I walk alone.

#VisDare 11: Whorl

“You can talk to snails?” I asked.

“Yes. And so can you,” Alice smiled.

“What else is different here?”

She laughed. “You are.”

I heard birds singing overhead. She took my hand, “Close your eyes, I want to show you something.”

I closed my eyes, and heard her in my mind again, “What do you see?”

“A field, with a fence, and some trees. And a building of some kind,” I thought to myself, knowing she heard me. “But they’re strange. Like I’m seeing all directions at once.” The sky surrounded the land. There were even mountains in the distance. Everything was whorled around the center of the image.

“It’s what the birds see,” Alice gently squeezed my hand. “They see differently than us.”

I opened my eyes, “You called this place Phoenix.” She nodded her head. “What is it, really? And who are you, really?”

149 Words

This piece is the eighth in a continuing story I’m working through for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.

Fairies : For Rose (Part 7)

Dawn on the sixth day of Sword’s journey was absolutely beautiful. The sun slowly inched above the trees, turning the clouds and sky shades of pink, purple, and blue. Sword had slept well that night. The birds woke him up in time to see the sunrise. They could be very loud when they wanted to. Especially a screech-owl, standing next to your head. Sword’s ears were still ringing.He’d been angry at first, wondering why they would wake him so early. But as he watched the birds, he began to think they woke him for a reason. As if they knew there would be a beautiful sunrise. And they wanted him to see it. As if it was a gift. And the sunshine breaking through the darkness of the night, and bringing all the colors of the world to life once more was beautiful.

And he realized it was a gift. Sunshine. A beautiful day. This was a gift from the fairy child named Sunshine. Mystica’s first adopted daughter. She had the wild magic gift of weather. Sword smiled. Then he laughed. He felt great. His friends, Mystica and her daughters, were looking forward to his visit. And he was almost there.

Once the sun was up, Sword resumed his journey. Chasing the birds from tree to tree. It had become a game. Sword, chasing the birds, and the birds staying just out of reach. It was a marvelous way to pass the time on his journey. And in no time at all, Sword and his bird friends had covered miles. The birds were singing, and dancing. Sword was laughing, watching them dance. He’d never known birds could dance. He’d never paid attention before. But they were dancing. And Sword joined right in, hopping around, fluttering his wings, craning his neck, flapping his arms, and doing his best to imitate his avian friends.

The birds led him down from the trees, to a small clearing, filled with roses. Sword stopped there for a time. He looked at roses. Deep red velvet ones. Cream colored ones. White, pink, yellow. His favorite were the multicolored ones. With red fringes on yellow petals. Or white trails through red petals.

Sword sat down in the middle of the roses, on a well-worn path. And he closed his eyes. He knew. This was one of Rose’s gardens. He was getting close to the end of his journey. And he would soon see Rose.

The birds stayed there, among the roses, with him, as he heard a rustling noise. He looked to the West, and saw a shadow in the forest. A big shadow. He watched as that shadow slowly detached itself from the forest, and walked into the daylight of the roses. It was a wolf. A big one. It stayed on the trail through the roses. It stopped a safe distance from Sword. And it sat down.

The birds sang for a while. Then, they took flight, scattering in all directions. Leaving Sword alone with the wolf. The wolf just sat there. Watching Sword. “Am I supposed to follow you now?” The wolf nodded. Then stood up, turned and headed back the way it had come. After a couple of steps, the wolf stopped, looking back at Sword.

Sword got to his feet, and followed the wolf. In this place. In this forest. Near the lake. Sword began to realize things were different. Dragons weren’t dangerous. Wolves didn’t attack people. Predators and prey lived in peace. Side-by-side.

This was the land of Mystica and her daughters. He could feel it. It was a distinct feeling. A happy feeling. A safe feeling. A caring feeling. Where everyone was welcome. Every creature welcome.

The wolf led Sword down a well-worn trail. A trail walked by wolves, and others. A trail that blended into the woods. One that was hard to discern. But following the wolf, it became obvious to Sword. He knew he would never have found it on his own.

He’d been planning to head West, until he reached the river. And then, he’d explore the river to the north, hoping he was south of the lake.  After a couple of days, he’d turn south, and search for the lake to the south of where he’d found the river.

Now, he didn’t have to search. He could feel the wolf leading him to the lake.

Along the trail, Sword noticed more and more vines filled with green leaves, and flowers. White and pink flowers. And he began to feel music. He could close his eyes, and he could feel music gently caressing everything. The flowers, the trees, the ground, the wolf, and himself. He knew the music was Musica. And it was music that soothed all the aches and pains he had from his journey. He couldn’t help but smile.

The trail came to the river. Sword had never seen this part of the river before. But he knew it was the river leading to the lake. And he was happy he had the wolf guiding him. The wolf turned south. So did the trail.

The wolf stopped and took a long drink from the river. Sword did the same. The wolf waded into the river, diving under its surface, splashing around. Sword realized the wolf was taking a bath. So he waded into the river too. And splashed. He washed the dirt off himself. Washed the debris out of his hair. Got his shorts soaking wet, and mostly clean.

The wolf and Sword returned to the trail, where they stopped, and waited for the water to dry off of their bodies. “Thank you, kind wolf. You are wise to help me make myself more presentable for Mystica and her daughters.” Sword swore the wolf smiled.

When they’d dried off, they continued their journey to the south. Bushes filled with flowers filled in both sides of the river, they bushes were well cared for. Sword realized all he had to do to find the lake was find the roses of that garden. Find the trail. And follow it to the lake.

And suddenly, there it was. The lake. The trail just ended, and opened up to the lake. The wolf led Sword out into the clearing.

Rose was there. Waiting for him. She smiled at him, and gave him a big hug. Wrapping her arms around his neck. She never said a word. Neither did Sword. And when she finished hugging him, she took his hand, and led him into the clearing, where Mystica, Dream, Sunshine and Musica waited.

“Welcome to our home, Sword,” Mystica greeted him. “It’s so grand of you to visit.” She picked him up, like the little boy he really was, and gave him a hug before setting him down. “I must tell Oceana that you are here, and unscathed.”

That’s when Dream spoke. “OK. Mommy. We’ll take care of him.” And she smiled. And Sword, for the first time in his life, blushed. It was an interesting feeling, that burning sensation in his cheeks, and across his chest.

Mystica laughed, and so did her daughters. “I’m sure you will.”

And so ended Sword’s first journey to the lake. It was a journey he would make twice a year, every year, from then on. At first, Mystica’s daughters knew he was coming to spend time with all of them. But, over the years, it became obvious to all of them. Sword made his journey twice a year for Rose.

The two of them were like two halves of one whole.

He spent plenty of time with all of Mystica’s daughters. He loved them all. And they loved him. But he made that trip, twice each year.

For Rose.

Fairies : For Rose (Part 6)

Sword slept in on the fifth day of his journey. He didn’t mean to. But he was so exhausted he couldn’t help it. By the time he woke the day was half gone. When he woke up, he found he was surrounded by birds and squirrels.

One of the squirrels had a rose stem in its mouth. With a beautiful yellow rose bloom on it. The bloom had bright red edges on each petal. The squirrel walked up to Sword, and put the rose in his lap. Then he squeaked several times, and walked back where he’d come from. At that point, Mystica popped out of nowhere, and said, “It’s from Rose. She sent her friends to check on you.”


“Oh, don’t worry. I’m not really here. I’m just communicating. Figured I’d say good afternoon, and tell you what was going on.”

Sword smiled, and shook his head. “I’m just tired.” At which point his stomach growled, and he added, “And hungry.”

“Obviously,” Mystica smiled. And up walked several squirrels, making a small pile of nuts in front of Sword. “The squirrels told Rose they’d make sure you ate something.”

Sword looked at the nuts. Acorns. Walnuts. Pecans. Pine nuts. All kinds of nuts. He looked at the squirrels, “Thank you, my friends.”

“Well,” Mystica spoke, “I’ll be going now. You just follow the birds. They’ll guide you down the shortest path to get here. And they’ll make sure you find plenty to eat.”


“Yes,” Mystica smiled. “Rose asked them to.” And with that, the image of Mystica was gone.

Sword looked at the nuts, wondering how to open some them. It was like the squirrels could read his mind. One picked up two nuts, and cracked them together. Sword watched as the shells on the nuts cracked, and the squirrel was able to pull the nuts out.

“So. I’m having nuts for breakfast today,” he shook his head, and smiled. “Mom won’t ever believe this one.” And he sat there, with the squirrels, cracking nuts open and eating them. And every time he had problems opening up a nut, the squirrels would show him how. It was actually a lot of fun. And by the time the nuts were gone, he was laughing, and smiling, with a couple of squirrels in his lap, and one on each shoulder.

When he was ready to resume his journey, he said good-bye to his squirrel friends, shaking hands with each of them, and watching as they disappeared into the trees. He couldn’t help but smile. “It’s going to be a beautiful day.”

A couple of sparrows landed at his feet, and flapped their wings. Then they flew off toward the West, and a couple of red-winged blackbirds flew to his feet. They also flew toward the west. And Sword realized the birds were saying, “Follow us.”

So he did just that. Moving from tree to tree, following the birds. Always there were birds that flew from the tree he was in, to the next tree he should move to. Sparrows, red-winged blackbirds, robins, bluejays, and even a few cardinals. Sword watched them all. He’d never realized how pretty birds were. He’d never studied the grace they moved with. And he had so much fun following them, watching them, listening to them sing.

When he got thirsty, he stopped, and declared he needed water to drink. And the birds showed him where the closest water was. Sometimes, to his surprise, the water was in the leaves of the trees. Sometimes, in little puddles in small indentations where limbs branched off from the tree trunk. He found he didn’t have to go down to the ground to find a drink.

The birds also showed him where nuts, and berries were up in the trees. And they watched him as he ate. He watched the birds too, and was surprised by how much they ate. The birds ate all the time. It was like they were born to eat. He never knew birds ate so much. But when he thought about it a bit, it made sense. The way the birds were always moving. Always flying around. They had to use a lot of energy. They would get hungry. And so, they would eat. All the time.

And every time he stopped to eat or drink, the birds would sing songs to him. Sometimes, a cardinal would even land on one of his shoulders, and just sing up a storm. And the songs always felt happy, making Sword smile as he ate.

As the sun started to set, the birds led him to a bigger tree. And he was surprised to find a set of branches that had formed a little flat floor. No other word applied. And there was a pile of leaves that could act as a pillow for his head to rest on. And a big pile of nuts and berries for him to eat.

He knew the floor was Mystica’s work. She’d spoken to the trees, and used her white magic to give him a place to sleep.

That night, Sword slept very well indeed. Thanks to the birds and squirrels, he wasn’t nearly as hungry as he’d been when he woke up. And having a flat surface to sleep on, and a pillow. As tired as he was, how could he not like sleeping on those.

And as he slept that night, he swore he could hear flute music. Beautiful flute music. Playing a tune he’d never heard. One that made him feel safe. And welcome. And loved. One that reminded him of friends he hadn’t seen in months.

Sword slept with a smile on his face that night. And dreamed sitting by the edge of the lake, with Rose. Holding her hand. And he knew that on the 6th day of his journey, he’d reach the lake. And maybe make that dream come true.

Fairies : For Rose (Part 2)

Sword had never really had the chance to explore the land when the villagers had taken him captive, and Mystica had rescued him. So, he was intent on seeing what the land was like between his ocean home, and the lake.He took the clothing he normally wore. Short pants that allowed his legs to move freely. No shirt at all. No weapons for protection, he didn’t need them. He had a small bag of supplies, a couple of bags of water, and some dried fish and seaweed. It was enough food to last him several days. But he would need to find food and water both on his journey.

While he knew the dragons would be watching over him, and Mystical would be available of he needed her, it was his intention to make the journey on his own. He’d realized he missed Mystica, and her adopted daughters, Sunshine, Musica, Dream and Rose. Especially Rose. He didn’t know what it was about her that made him want to take a six-day journey just to spend a week with her and her sisters. But he didn’t really care that he didn’t know. All that mattered to him was seeing her again, and spending time with her, and her sisters.

Being around her just made him feel good. And every time he held her hand, well, he’d never felt anything like that before. And he wasn’t sure at all what it meant. But it sure felt good to him. So he was very excited to be able to visit Rose.

And Rose could fly. Could she ever. Little fairies aren’t suppose to be able to fly at all. But Rose could. She could fly better than he could. And she could fly almost as well as any full-grown fairy could. Sword thought he could watch her fly all day long.

Sword had never left the ocean on his own. Walking through the surf, onto the sand of the beach was a new experience for him. He found it surprising how the ocean waves sometimes knocked him over, and tried to pull him back out to sea. He tried to use his magic swords to anchor himself in place, but they didn’t really work. They couldn’t stop the waves. And they only held so well in the sand. But with a little practice, he learned to keep his balance, and when to step, and when to just stand still, and when to jump. It took him a little while, but he did make it to the beach.

As he walked across the beach, he felt the sand get hot under his feet. The sand never got hot under the water. But on the beach, where the sand was dry, the sun was bright, and it was hot, the sand got very hot indeed. And it made his feet hurt. That wasn’t fun at all. So he used his wings to fly short distances, and test the sand again.

As he crossed the beach, Sword saw ocean birds for the first time. Sea gulls, terns and pelicans. He watched the terns along the shore, running back and forth as the waves washed in, and out. Whole waves of them, racing toward the ocean, poking their beaks into the sand, as the waves washed out. Then, racing away as the waves came in.

He watched the seagulls as they stood on the sand. It was like they were resting. He also watched them as they flew over the waves. Sometimes they would dive into the water. He realized they were fishing.

The pelicans were the most amazing of the birds to him. They always seemed to fly in formation. One after the other. The way they flew so close to the water that their wings sometimes skimmed the surface.

Sword also learned about the vegetation along the shore. Sea oats and grasses. Wild flowers. And scruffy wiry bushes, and small trees. He noticed how the trees seemed to grow sideways, with short limbs toward the ocean, and longer limbs toward the land. They also seemed to grow taller as he went further inland.

As he moved further inland he saw rabbits, and more birds. Then, he saw some deer. He knew what they were. He’d seen them in pictures his mother had shown him. These were the first live ones he’d ever seen. And he found himself taking time to stop, and watch them from a distance. He found it really funny, the way the rabbits ate grass, their ears flopping, and their whiskers twitching, as stalks of green grew shorter and disappeared into their mouths. The way they moved about with such powerful hind legs, and such tiny front legs fascinated him. It was as if rabbits were built lopsided, and had learned to make the best of it.

The deer were just majestic. That’s the only word he could find to describe them. The way they walked. The way they ran. So very graceful. So fluid. He’d never seen anything like them. He watched them for quite a while.

After several hours, he came to some low hills, covered by a forest. His mother had told him of the woodlands that would become the Northern Forest. She’d also told him he should sleep high up in the trees. Out of reach of the wild animals that stayed on the ground. Things like wolves, and perhaps even bears. So, as he entered the woodlands, he used his wings to take to the trees. He used his wings sparingly to move from tree to tree, or to cover distances he could not cover just by jumping. And he walked along tree branches.

He stopped a few times to snack on the dried fish and seaweed in his provisions. And any time he found a stream, he had a drink of water from it.

As the sun began to set that night, Sword found a nice place to sleep in a tree, resting against the main trunk of the tree, and one of its major branches. He fell asleep that night, listening to crickets, frogs, and birds as they sang their songs. It was unlike anything he’d ever really heard. A wonderful music to his ears, that sang him to sleep.

And so ended the first day of his journey to visit Rose.