#AtoZ2016 : I Is For Illuminate

On Sunday night, just after sunset, I heard Timmy in his backyard screaming, “Illuminate!” Being ever curious, I decided to investigate. I started by peeking out of the window, and watching him. He was running around his backyard with a flashlight. Every so often he stopped, pointed the flashlight at something, screamed, “Illuminate!” and turned the flashlight on. Then, he turned it off, and repeated the whole process.

I watched him shine the flashlight on the swing-set. Then on the tool-shed. Then on the grill.

I decided to visit.

As I approached the fence between our yards, I called out, “Hi, Timmy!”

“Hi, Mr. William!” I heard him on the other side of the fence. “What cha doing outside?”

“I heard you, and was wondering what you’re doing.”

“Oh! Did I disturb you? Was I that loud? I’m sorry!”

“No, no, you didn’t disturb me. But I am curious.”

“About what I’m doing?”


He backed away from the fence so he could see the top of my head better, and I could peek over at him. “I’m pretending I a great wizard. Like Harry Potter.”


He waved the flashlight, and switched it on and off. “This is my magic wand. I point it at something in the dark. Something I want to see in the dark. Then I say the magic word, Illuminate! And my magic wand shows me that thing.”

“Oh. That sounds like fun.”

“It is! Wanna watch! I’ll show you.” He ran to the back gate of his yard, pointed his flashlight at it, and belted out, “Illuminate!” as he turned on the flashlight. He looked back at me. “See? It works!”

I watched Tommy for a bit as he illuminated everything in his backyard, then I wished him a good night, and went back inside.

And I wished I was able to find so much fun in such simple things in life, and wondered where and when I’d lost that ability to see the magic all around me, and the wonder of our world.

I wished I was more like Little Tommy.

It’s April 11th, the 9th day of the A to Z Challenge for 2016. Only 17 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.


#Finish_That_Thought Week 49 : The Apprentice

The wizard’s apprentice scratched his head, staring at the beetle in consternation. “Seriously? A Volkswagen Bug?” He circled it, peeking through the windows, and kicking the tires. “And tie-dyed?”

He looked at the words of the spell on the sheet of paper. He’d copied the words exactly from the spell book. He’d triple checked them. He’d memorized them. And somehow, he’d still produced the wrong result.

“You’re not a giant crystal seven-spotted Ladybug.” He ran his fingertips along the front bumper of the VW, “Not a car.”

He dejectedly looked at the ground. It was another test from his master. The 25th test in a row he’d failed. “This spell makes a beetle. You will learn it. And use it. And in one week, I will check your results.”

Well. At least he’d made a beetle. The wrong kind, but still. It was a beetle. He opened the driver’s door, and sat behind the wheel. The door closed with a weak thunk. “I didn’t know they had such skinny doors.”

He scanned the dashboard of the car. “Talk about the bare essentials. Geeze. Nothing much to these, was there.” He held down the clutch pedal, and tried turning it on, only to realize he didn’t know how to turn on a rear-engined Volkswagen Beetle. “Couldn’t you have been a new model?”

Well. There was nothing to do but wait for the wizard to arrive, and check his work. “I’ll never learn, will I?” He exited the car, sat on a stool, and stared at it. “Well. It could have been worse. You could have been a giant, live, Rhino Beetle, and poked holes in the walls, and run amok in the castle.”

It was the little details that kept him going. He remembered the time he’d made a butterfly. A simple spell, really. Except he made one that filled the room, and ate everything in sight. His teacher had to cast a series of spells to bring that problem down to size. He hadn’t been allowed to try another spell for six months after that.

He sighed, and waited.

When the wizard arrived, he came in smiling. “Nice Beetle.”


“I like the tie-dyed color on the hood the most.”

The apprentice stood, “It isn’t a crystal seven-spotted ladybug.”

“Ah.” The master smiled at his apprentice. “No. It’s the beetle you wanted most to see in your subconscious mind.”


The wizard chuckled. “And that ends this lesson, my apprentice. You have much to think of tonight. We’ll talk tomorrow.”

So it was, the apprentice spent the night staring at the Beetle, pondering the mysteries of his subconscious, and wondering what that had to do with wizardry.

447 Words

I wrote this for Week 49 of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.

#FinishThatThought 9 : Dessert

If I had know he would be there again, I would’ve brought my dragon. Instead, I found myself pondering the idea of reshaping a certain part of his anatomy with my boot heel, which was clearly not a polite thing to do to a wizard.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to hide a pair of six feet tall butterfly wings coming out of your back, and a pair of six-inch tall ears shaped like a Star Trek Vulcan’s, just to go out for apple pie and vanilla ice cream one night a month?

He’d been there last month. “Karen! So good to see you!” The man told endless stories of fixing things the humans screwed up every day. “I had to turn on the brakes in Tom’s car so he didn’t plow into the side of some lady’s mini-van, and boot her munchkins out the other side. I swear that idiot can’t drive!” He’d rambled on and on. “Frank went to the meeting yesterday, and left his presentation on his desk. I transferred it to his briefcase, so he would have it when he got there. He’s always doing things.”

I’d tried to concentrate on my pie and ice cream. It was Häagen-Dazs vanilla. I’d looked forward to it all month. A quiet evening, watching humans interact, while I relished mixing the flavors of two of their most amazing creations. Even with all my fairy magic, I couldn’t bake apples, let alone get the mix of cinnamon and sugar right. I’d tried. My apple pies came out more like scorched black frisbees.

And there he sat, at my table, drinking glasses of water, rambling on about how screwed up the humans were. “I cry every time I see them put another 500 sheets of paper in a printer. When I think of all the trees they’ve destroyed to print 50 copies of a report no one ever reads, I cry.”

Oh, I knew about that. You try caring for forests when the humans are chopping down trees left and right to make paper. Wizards. I’d tried to block him out, ignore him. I’d failed. He’d wrecked my peaceful evening. I’d had to fly to the oceanfront, and watch the sunrise to calm down.

And there he was, going to ruin my apple pie and ice cream again. I tried so hard to ignore him as he marched right up to my table. “Karen.” He didn’t sit down. “It has occurred to me, I owe you an apology.” He frowned. “I interrupted your desert last month.”

I just stared at him. He pulled his right hand from behind his back, and set a dish of apple pie and ice cream on my table. “I’m sorry.”

As he started to leave, I asked him to have a seat, and ordered apple pie and ice cream for him.

I wonder what will happen when I go out for dessert next month.

494 Words

I wrote this for week 9 of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought flash fiction challenge. It’s a fun challenge. Now, go read all the other entries in week 9.