3.24 The Wheels of Change

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Life, as we knew it, in Moonlight Falls was about to change forever.  The dominos were beginning to take shape and two star-crossed lovers, forced to meet deep within the woods at night, were about to set them all off.

A witch and a werewolf, key players from opposite sides of the battle, are forced to hide their love.  They are both fully aware of the consequences of what would happen if they were ever discovered, but a love as powerful as this is too strong to quit.

“Rest assured,” Camilla informed her lover as she transitioned back to her human form. “I took every precaution imaginable to ensure that I was not followed.”

“You know,” Thera teased, “There is no hurry to put your clothes back on.”

Any other night Camilla would be all too happy to fall for Thera’s flirty banter, but not tonight. Tonight Camilla has other things on her mind.  She quickly got dressed, and then got to talking.

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“We need to plan our escape,” Camilla said with all seriousness “I can talk to Ryker, he will understand but what about…”

“No,” Thera interrupted. “We have been over this before. I am not running away.”

“You know what would happen if your father or brother found out about us?  Your father is Grendel Saavendra, the Supreme Commander of Moonlight Falls.  And you are in love with a werewolf.  A female werewolf.  If it had to come down to it, Ryker would try and protect us but…”

“I have told you this before, Father doesn’t care about me. I am not the heir to his ‘throne’. And Alcander is too busy with his vampire whore to pay me any attention.”

“Thera, you are my love. My everything. I can’t imagine a world without you. I never thought that I could ever feel this way. After Mira’s spell I thought that I was destined for a life alone. But now that I have found you I won’t let you go!”

Thera kissed Camilla with all the love and passion she felt her heart to reassure her that everything was going to be okay. Even though Thera didn’t quite believe it herself.

“I love you more than the moon loves the stars. I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” Thera said after their embrace. “But I am glad that you mentioned Mira, because I have to tell you something about her.”

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“What about Mira?” Camilla questioned.

“You know that it is no secret that my brother is dead set in making her his wife. And, well, I overheard Alcander talking to his vampire paramour about his plan to finally get Mira to agree to marry him. Camilla, it’s bad. It’s really really really bad.”

Camilla’s hot blood ran cold at the severity of Thera’s warning. “What is his plan? No, tell me later. Right now all I want to know is how can we stop it?”

Thera knew that there was only one thing to do, “Rally the werewolves.”

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“That has been tried before, and failed.  And too many people died as a result.” Camilla was skeptical as she reminded Thera while, at the same time, remembering her own terrible history regarding the failed werewolf revolt.

Thera didn’t need to be reminded of what happened during the revolt. Everyone in town knows about the revolt and how the werewolves tried to fight against the Saavedra/Petrov Alliance, and failed. Many people on both sides if the battle died, including Ryker’s father (executed by Grendel himself).  And because of that, Alcander and Osiris are even more powerful than before. However, Thera has come up with a plan to stop her brother and the rest of the vampires from taking over the whole town.

She has analyzed this plan from every angle, studying every possible scenario the same way Bobby Fischer studies a chess board. And while this plan wasn’t foolproof; it was their best, and therefore only, option. Plus, Thera had a few hidden pieces up her sleeve.

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“This time we have two things going for us that we didn’t before.” Thera laid out her plan. “First, we know where the vampire nest is. Second, we can get the fairies to come to our side.”

“How and how??”

“I borrowed Mother’s invisibility cloak. The one that Alcander thinks was lost centuries ago. Well, I followed Reina after she left Alcander’s house and she lead me straight to where the vampires rest during the day.”

“But I thought that the whole ‘vampires sleep during the day’ was a myth.”

“It is. But during the day vampires are weak. Weaker then the average human. Which is why they go into hiding. And that is where and when the werewolves will need to strike.”

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“And what about the fairies?” Camilla was curious to hear the second part of Thera’s plan. “It was my understanding that the faerie folk where totally aligned with your father and the vampires.”

“Once again I was able to use the invisibility cloak to over hear people talking. Father was having a meeting with a few members of the royal faerie families. It turns out that more than a few fairies have gone missing. And they are understandably upset that father has turned a blind eye to this fact.”

“Do they suspect the vampires?”

“Well, it is no secret that fairy blood is sweeter than human blood. Which can be very tempting to a bunch of vampires who feel invincible with total power.”

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Camilla pondered all of the information that Thera had just laid out for her. It was a lot to take in, and Camilla needed a moment to process it all.

Thera’s plan was crazy. And reckless, and relied too heavily on heresy and not on indisputable facts.

But on the other hand, this plan might just be crazy enough to actually work.

“So, the first thing that we are going have to do is talk to Ryker.” Camilla said once she fully committed herself to Thera’s plan. “Tell him everything you have just told me, then he can call a meeting of the Alphas.”

“What if he doesn’t believe me? I’m the daughter and sister of the enemy.  I wouldn’t blame for not trusting me.”

“Ryker has a 6th Sense Ability for reading people. He can smell your intentions. So if you were to lie to him, he would know in an instant. But more than that, he will see that I love you and that will be good enough for him.”

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So, it was final. The plan to bring down Alcander and the vampires was set. And if everything went according to the plan, the turmoil for everyone, not just the Immundus, will finally come to an end.

“But if we fail,” Camilla thought out loud as she held Thera close, “there will be no place for us, any of us, to hide.”

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3.23 Something There That Wasn’t There Before Part 3

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I thought about what Camilla had said in the car, and what brought about my change in behavior. The root cause of my new attitude can be traced back to one source: Mira.

It was when I went over to Mira’s house to apologize, and I saw her in tears, that I started to care (even if it was just a tiny bit, and it didn’t last very long). Then it takes me getting beaten almost to death for me to fully realize how shitty I have been acting. Since then I have been trying to be better. And it all has to do with Mira.

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I genuinely enjoyed Mira reading Sense and Sensibility to me. Plus, I have no doubt that it aided in my quick recovery.  I was ready to hear more of Mira’s favorite stories. And since the weather has been so nice recently, we took the reading outside. Mira would lay out a blanket, pack a few snacks, and I would listen to her as she read To Kill a Mockingbird.

The story was good, of course. But that wasn’t the reason why I was enjoying myself so much. I enjoyed watching Mira as she read out loud. She would change her voice to fit the different characters. She would read faster or slower, depending upon the pace of the plot. Best of all, her rainbow eyes would shimmer in the fall sun as she read about Atticus and Scout facing down an angry mob.

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In turn she encouraged me to share my passion for music with her. I would play various pieces for Mira on her piano. On the last Snowflake Day she surprised me with a hand-made guitar that her father had created for me. It didn’t look like much, but it sounded great.  I still didn’t like playing at the café, or on front of anyone else. Just for Mira and sometimes her cats.

Honestly, it didn’t really matter to me what we did. I genuinely enjoyed Mira’s company. I was captivated when she would talk about her dreams of adventures in the great wide somewhere. I enjoyed Mira’s laugh, and I enjoyed being the one to make her laugh. I would do almost anything to hear that laugh, and to see those rainbow eyes sparkle.

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The warmer weather also meant that fall was upon us. Ryker had told the pack that the first full moon of the harvest season was a special one. (I’m pretty sure that he had told us this before in the years past, however I hadn’t really been paying attention until now.)  Ryker said that our “powers” would be at the highest level. I wasn’t sure what that meant for me, but at least this time I knew that I wouldn’t be puppy chow.  On top of all of all that, instead of our usual “Full Moon Party” in our usual spot deep in the woods, this year the pack is going to be mingling with the other supernaturals of Moonlight Falls in the town’s Annual Harvest Jubilee.

Now that I mention it, I am positive that Ryker has talked about it in the years past. I remember hearing about this before, and in the past I made it a point to avoid this supernatural social gathering like the plague. I want to think that is was because I felt as if I was above it all, but if I am being honest; the thought of mingling with the rest of the town scared the living daylights out of me.

But remember, this is a new Linc.

Imagine the surprised look on their faces when I told Ryker and Camilla that they would see me there this year. Riley and Owen were over the moon excited (no pun intended). I had even made plans to meet up with Mira at some point in the night.  I found myself growing more and more excited as the evening approached closer and closer. I didn’t know what to expect, and I was excited to find out.

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I had always enjoyed the Fall Festival in Twinbrook. My parents always said that it was their favorite of the seasonal activities, and I always had fun with my family. But that was so different than compared to this gathering of Moonlight Falls’ supernaturals.

All of Moonlight Falls was packed into every inch of the festival grounds, literally. Each type of supernatural was there doing whatever it is that they usually do during a full moon. Although everyone was there, they all stayed with their own type. The fairies stayed with the fairies on the east side of the grounds. The witches and warlocks took up the most space, while the were-animals were at the far end from where I came.
This reminded me of another difference.

Back in Twinbrook my parents acted like a couple of school kids as they bobbed for apples and made a mess of themselves at the pie eating contest. We would meet up with our cousins, and dare each other to brave the haunted house while the adults would get together and talk about whatever adults talked about.  I enjoyed picking out pumpkins with Autumn and Willow. Then taking them home to carve them as we talked about what we were going to be dressing up as. It was a fun family bonding time.

Yet here in Moonlight Falls the tension was super thick, thicker than the fog that hung in the air. It was almost as if there were invisible barriers around each supernatural grouping. And I didn’t want to see what would happen if someone from the wrong side crossed the boarder.

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I wandered the festival grounds making my way to where I was told to meet the pack, all the while remaining very cautious of the boarders (and making a special note to stay as far away from the vampires as possible). I was crossing the main courtyard when something caught my eyes. Well, to be more accurate, it was something that caught my ear.

It was Mira laughing as she maneuvered her flying broomstick along the obstacle course.

I stood there watching her for longer than I probably should have, when out of the blue I was tackled by two very rambunctious wolves.

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Even though they were in wolf form, I could easily recognize Riley and Owen. And even though I can’t communicate without talking the way Ryker is able to, I don’t need to. It doesn’t take ESP to see that these werewolf pups are excited to see me. They were jumping around, tails wagging so fast you would think that they would take off. I was really happy that I had decided to come out this year.

But just like a tiny balloon, my excitement burst in an instant.

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Without warning a bolt of energy pushed Owen back 50 feet, sending him sliding and yelping into the bushes. Then in another instant, the same thing happened to Riley. I looked around to see what was causing this, and it wasn’t hard to find where the negative energy had come from.

“That’ll teach those mangy mutts to stay with their own kind.” Alcander chuckled at the pain he had caused.

“Hey, Jackass” I growled in response.  “Why don’t you pick on someone your own size.”

“I would, if I could find someone as big and as bad ass as me. Right now all I see is a pathetic, flea ridden, douchebag.”

It was then that I heard Ryker and Astrid charging through the grounds. It wouldn’t be too long before they were upon us. Between the two, I wasn’t sure who could do the most damage. Astrid isn’t as big as Ryker, but she is the biggest protector of our pack you will ever meet.

In the meantime, while they charged towards us, I still had an opportunity to get a few attacks in. I crouched down ready to pounce, and Alcander readied himself. But before I attacked, a gentle hand on my shoulder stopped me.

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“Please, allow me,” Mira said soft enough for only me to hear, then motioned to Alcander, “you want to pick on someone your own size, well bring it on you over-sized Neanderthal!”

“Oh Mira,” Alcander spoke down to her like he was talking to a toddler “I don’t want to have to hurt you. Instead, why don’t you run along a fetch me a piece of apple pie. Let the real men handle things. Or, at least one man and a whatever beastly thing that is,”

Mira didn’t say another word, she let her magic do the talking as she sent a baseball sized fireball hurling towards Alcander.

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Alcander showed his boredom with an over exaggerated yawn, as he made Mira’s ball of fire dissolve in front of him. Acting as if it were no effort on his part, he sent a bright firework at her. Mira was able to jump out of the way, and at the same time send another fire ball (a bigger one than last time).

This went on for several rounds; back and forth. One fireball then one lightning firework, one after the other. I noticed that a crowd had quickly gathered around us. A large crowd, like the whole town had gathered, all rooting for Alcander except for me and the were-animals.

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I could tell that this fight was starting to take a toll on Alcander.  His overly acted boredom changed to real frustration and anger. And because of that his attacks weren’t coming as fast. On the other hand, Mira’s pace was only getting quicker.

Finally, she gave him the TKO Punch; one fireball, then another fireball, then a giant burst of light and energy that knocked Alcander on his ass.  With a loud splash, Alcander fell backwards into the reflecting pool, sending the lilies and algae flying all over.

“Remember this night Alcander Saavedra“ Mira said as she stood triumphantly over Alcander as he sat helpless covered in soggy moss and slime, “for tonight you have been out maneuvered, and out matched, by a girl!”

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Mira and I started walking back home as the sun was rising over the mountains. Not for her protection, but for my own. For the most part we walked in silence until I couldn’t take it any longer. There was something that had been bothering me for a very long time.

I had to know, “why do you put up with this? All of this? The nasty looks? Being treated like a second class citizen? Alcander’s never relenting pressure? Why even bother with this stupid town?”

In the dawn’s light Mira’s eyes shined even brighter, but I could see the tired sorrow behind them. Mira took a few moments to choose her words carefully then replied. “Moonlight Falls is my home. I can’t just leave my home.”

“But what about your dreams? You told me about wanting to have an adventure? What about that?”

“I have an amazing adventure every time that I read my favorite book.”

“That sounds fine and all, but it’s not the same and you know it.”

There was another pause as once again Mira thought about what to say next. “I can’t leave. Too many people count on me. People depend on me, and I won’t let them down. If I were to leave, then Alcander and Osiris win. And I will be damned if I let that arrogant Neanderthal win!”

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“Have a good rest of your day, Linc” Mira turned around to waved good bye to me before she went inside.

I had a strange feeling; it was almost like Deja vu. Like the first time Mira and I walked home together. She was even wearing the same yellow dress. And she smiled and that overly cheery smile. Yet something felt different.

There is something there that wasn’t there before.

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“Hell yeah, there’s something there that wasn’t there before,” Bert cheered after I told him about the Full Moon Festivities. “So, what is your next move Casanova? How about a picnic in the park? Oh, sweet l’amour.  I know, you should make her a romantic candlelight dinner, with romantic music. Leading to professions of love!”

“What?!?!? No, no, no, no, and no!!” I quickly corrected Bert’s very wrong assumptions. “There will be no romance, professions of love, l’amour, or anything else of the sort. What I meant is that there is friendship. Friendship is the something there that wasn’t there before. Nothing but plutonic friendship. That is all, nothing more!”

“Oh sure,” Bert was not understanding my message. “Nothing romantic there. Wink, wink.”

“Just stop.”

“Remember what you said about your curse?  The clause that the witch added?  About finding love?”

I was done with this foolish conversation. “I am not in love.  And even if I were, which I am not, love is not in the cards for a beast like me. That’s just how it is, and that will never change. This is Moonlight Falls, and things don’t change here. You, of all people, should know that better than anyone. The way things are now is the way that they will always be.”

Yet, little did I know how wrong I was.  For as Bert and I were talking the wheels of change were already in motion. And two star-crossed lovers, secretly meeting in the woods, would be the ones to set the whole thing off.

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3.23 Something There That Wasn’t There Before Part 2

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There is something very strange going on in Moonlight Falls. Something that I never would have expected, not in a million years. Something even more bizarre than Mira putting her head on my beastly shoulder. What could be so unfathomable you may ask? Well, here it is: I am actually starting to care about people!

I know; crazy right?!?! Notice how I didn’t even call them a bunch of stupid townies!

It started at Mira’s home, while she was helping me recover from my near death beating. She was in the middle of reading Sense and Sensibility to me, when Flint came by to check up to see how things were going.

“I’m glad to hear that the ointment that I made seems to be working.” Flint said to Mira. He was blatantly ignoring me, but after the way that I have been treating him, I don’t blame him at all. “if only there was a mixture that I could make to get Renatta fall in love with me.”

“Flint, you know that magic doesn’t work that way. You can’t make someone fall in love with you,” Mira was reassuring her best friend with a friendly smile. “not that you need it anyway. You know that Renatta is deeply in love with you. She just feels unworthy of you.”

Wait… Flint and Renatta are a thing? When did that happen? Where was I? Oh yeah, I was spaced out in my own world. I wonder what else I may have missed?!

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“If only there was some way that I could convince Renatta that to me she is perfect.” Flint seemed hopeless. Luckily, I had a plan.

I had an idea. After all, I was a bit of a ladies’ man in my former pre-beast life. “Anytime I wanted to get into a girl’s panti… I mean heart, I would serenade them with a song.” I suggested. “Some over the top romantic gesture works every time.”

“Isn’t that a bit cliché?” Flint asked skeptically. “Besides, I am not a singer.”

“No, I think that Linc is right,” Mira made her opinion heard, “Some things are cliché for a reason. A big romantic gesture is exactly what Renatta needs to help her see that she is not broken.”

“Besides,” I added, “You don’t have to be a good singer. Haven’t you seen the movie Say Anything? All you need is an extra large radio and the prefect romantic song that tells Renatta exactly how you feel about her.”

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But it wasn’t just Flint & Renatta’s love life that had me invested. Now that I am actually making an effort, I am starting to feel like a real member of Ryker’s werewolf pack. Ryker’s two sons have really taken to me, for some strange reason. I really have no idea why. Maybe it is because they are twins just like Autumn and I. Maybe they see me as the rescue pet dog that they have always wanted. Whatever the reason may be, every time that they see me, Riley & Owen run up to me and try and tackle me. During the full moon, they never leave my side. Even Ryker’s wife Astrid, and their new baby Everley, have taken a shine to me. I guess that is why Ryker insisted that I be invited to her aging up party.

I was so nervous about attending the party. The entire pack would be there, not to mention other members from other packs, plus Mira was invited as well.

“What do I even get a werewolf puppy, I mean toddler?” I asked Bert for his advise. “A new ball, or a squeaky toy? A rawhide chew stick?”

“You are over thinking this. Just get something from the heart,” Bert said as if it were that easy. “Besides, I took the liberty of highlighting a few things off of Astrid’s Simazon Wish List.”

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I arrived at the party super early, the only other guest that was at the Silas’ home was Camilla, who was busy blowing up the last of the party balloons.

“Linc, it is so good to see you.” Astrid said as she greeted me with a hug.

Despite my intense need to shy away from any physical contact, Astrid has insisted on greeting me with a warm hug every time that I see her. She is the only adult person, besides the occasional few times that Mira’s hand has accidentally touched mine, that I have let get close to me.

“Linc! Yay, you’re here!” Ryker’s sons shouted in unison as they came running up to me. Riley hung on my arm, while Owen showed off doing a handstand.

Seeing their excitement helped calm my nerves, and helped me relax. And they didn’t leave my side for the entire party. They kept telling me about school, their after school scouts club, and both were taking turns trying to show off for me. More than once I saw Astrid, Ryker, Camilla, and even Mira glance in my direction. All had the same look on their faces; a combination of surprise and admiration.

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The party was more fun than I had expected.  I enjoyed opening up to everybody and getting to know more about the my pack.  Riley and Owen were rambunctious, and remind me of George and I at that age.  Plus, Everley seemed to really like the gift I got her.  Not that it was any sort of competition  or anything like that.  I was happy that I had got with Bert’s suggestion and picked out a thoughtful gift from the heart.

“Thank you so very much for the toy piano.” Astrid gave me another hug as I was leaving the party. “Everley will love it.”

“My baby sister Willow had one that she seemed to have enjoyed.” I replied, not sure how to handle all of these hugs. So I asked, remembering my manners, “Are you sure I can’t stay and help clean up?”

“No, no, no,” Astrid insisted. “It is getting late, and I don’t want you out at night alone. It is not safe. Camilla is driving Mira home, and you can join them.”

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“Linc, I have to tell you something.” Camilla said as she drove up to my house after dropping Mira off. “When I first met you I thought that you were an obnoxious, arrogant, egotistical, little punk incapable of thinking about anyone but yourself. And for a long time, you were proving me right.”

Camilla wasn’t wrong. And I knew there was more that she wanted to say, so I just sat silently as she continued.

“But recently, something has changed in you.” Camilla said as her glowing eyes smiled at me. “I didn’t think someone so egotistical could ever be better. And I never thought that I would ever say this, yet here we are. Linc, I am proud of you. I am not sure what brought about this transformation, but I am glad that you have improved yourself.”

I too was amazed at myself for how I had opened myself up to these new friends. Yet, the biggest change came from Mira.

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OC Photo Challenge Part 4

 

Photo Challenge Pt3

Here we are once again with more of the OC Photo Challenge created by the super talented Louise.  The last set of photos were highly edited.  The cut out a sim and paste on a background type of edits.  These photos, on the other hand, are 100% in game shots with very little editing.

 

2.  Gender Swap:

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7.  In a Bathing Suit: (I went with a SciFi theme)

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12.  In a Fantasy Inspired Outfit: (here I went with an Amazon Huntress look)

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3.  With Glasses:

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That is all that I have for this round.  The ones with glasses are my favorite, so that is why I saved them for last.

Anyway, on a more serious note.  I know that the world is kind of a crazy place right now.  All over the world thousands of people are getting sick and dying.  The governor of Nevada has shut down all “non essential” business for 30 days which has put me in furlough with my job.  This pandemic is serious.  Take care of yourselves, and of each other.

 

3.23 Something There That Wasn’t There Before Part 1

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I attempted to blink my eyes open, then instantly regretted it. The bright light was blinding as the pounding migraine in my head intensified with every beat of my increasing heart rate. However, the intense pain that I was feeling didn’t compare with my worry.

What happened? How did I get here? Where am I? Where is Mira? Is she okay?

I tried to sit up, but the bandages around my chest made it hard to move. Plus, my arms were too weak and I violently shook as I tried to properly support myself. It was of no use, and I helplessly crashed back down on to the bed.

At least my worry subsided when I heard Mira’s voice coming from the other room, “I think that he is up now. I’ll call you back later.”

I was laying in the fetal position with my back to the door, but I knew that it was Mira entering the room when I smelled her perfume; a strange combination of flowers and old book.

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“How are you feeling, Linc?” Mira asked as she gently sat beside me.

I had so many questions running through my head. So many puzzle pieces that I needed help with. Yet, “Wha…how…whe…?” was all that I could muster.

Mira helped me sit up before she reached over to the nightstand to give me a sip of water. Then as she checked my bandages Mira explained everything. “I must confess that this has been my very first successful attempt of the Transportation Spell. The Transportation Spell has been alluding me for a long time, and a part of me thought that I never would be efficacious. Normally, I would not have tempted such a volatile spell with such uncertain results, but I feared that if I did not do something drastic they most certainly would have killed you.”

Mira offered me another sip of water then continued, “once I knew that we had made it back home, transported safely and successfully, I called Flint. He helped me get you to the bed, and he made an ointment to aide in your healing.”

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So, that explains how I got here, and where here actually is. It still doesn’t explain why; why, or what, was Mira doing in the middle of the woods all by herself? After checking and redressing my bandages Mira began to explain further, as if she were reading my mind.

Wait…can witches read minds?! Ohmygawd, I certainly hope not!

“As I am sure you already know, Grendel has made life a nightmare for any humans, or anyone with a human parent. One of the many new laws, enforced by Alcander, is that it is expressively forbidden to talk about any of the humans that have been excommunicated from Moonlight Falls. Grendel went so far as to have Osiris and his vampire goons exhume any humans that have been buried in the town graveyard. Furthermore, anyone, supernatural or not, who has died since has not been allowed to be buried there.”

I watched Mira as she spoke. I could tell that those rainbow eyes have seen so much pain. I found myself hanging on each and every word. Which for me is a brand new experience. I sat captivated as Mira continued.

“Momma passed away long ago, I was only a small toddler. And she was not buried in the Crumplebottom Mausoleum. Momma’s last wish was to have her ashes sprinkled under the tree where she first met Papa. And ever since then, that tree has been growing more than any other tree in that area.

That is why I was there today. I visit that tree almost every week, at least twice a week. And I always feel the need to go alone. In fact, I have never told anyone about this, not even Flint or Renatta. If Alcander or Grendel ever found out that a human’s ashes have intertwined with a part of the forest, they wouldn’t hesitate to burn it all to the ground.”

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I had no idea of any of this. And the fact that Mira felt comfortable enough to share with me something that she didn’t even tell her best friends; this was huge. But in some way I know exactly how she feels.

“I remember when my grandpa died.” I wanted to let Mira know that she s not alone in her suffering. After all, I once heard that if you share your pain, it hurts half as much. “I have never told anyone this before, but I would visit his grave everyday. I would talk to him, and I know that this sounds strange, but I could feel his presence there.”

“That isn’t strange at all.” Mira put her hand on mine, and for a split second I let it sit there. But then I remembered myself, and pulled my hand back. Either way, Mira continued un-phased, “Some of my first memories are of Momma reading to me. I remember sitting on her lap as she read to me in the rocking chair. So, more often than not, I like to take a book with me and read out loud. And I too can feel Momma’s presence there with me, listening to me read to her.”

“Wow, there is no way that I could do that. Grandpa Ryan and I would never miss a Twinbrook Gnome’s game, but I haven’t watched a game since he passed. It is just too hard. Not to mention, that is how he died; during a game while I was too focused on the game and not on my dying grandpa.”

Mira started to put her hand on mine once more, but stopped before she made contact. Instead she asked, “Twinbrook gnomes? I didn’t know that the gnomes migrated all the way to Twinbrook. Appaloosa Plains, maybe, but not all the way to Twinbrook.”

Although it hurt, I couldn’t help but chuckle at Mira’s misunderstanding. “No, the Twinbrook Gnomes is a football team. Grandpa Ryan’s favorite football team.”

Mira still looked confused, so I explained further, “football is a very popular sport. This is American football, which is different than what the rest of the world calls football. Ya know, it is also funny that Americans call it football, since most players don’t use their foot to move the ball. But anyway, the Twinbrook Gnomes were Grandpa Ryan’s favorite team and we had been watching games together since before I could remember.”

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Mira brought me some food, and even though I said that I wasn’t hungry, she insisted that I try and eat something.

“I never knew you were so close to your grandpa.” Mira was changing the subject, but left the food on the nightstand just in case I changed my mind.

“My twin sister and I were practically raised by our grandparents, “ I said. “Not that my parents are bad people, far from it. My sisters and I have never been left wanting anything. But as my sister and I were growing up, Mom and Dad were very focused on their careers. My mom is a doctor, which kept her busy all hours of the day. And even though my dad is a national hero, he has always acted like he has something to prove to everyone. That left Autumn and I in the care of Grandpa Ryan and Grandma Cindy.”

It’s funny. I used to love to talk about myself. I could talk all day about how phenomenally awesome I am. Yet, this feels different. Not superficial fluff. This is real; things that I have never told anyone before. For some unexplainable reason, I found it easy to talk to Mira.

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When Mira left to get me some more water, I took the opportunity to look around her room. Plumbob, this girl has a lot of books. There was also a small desk and a big black dresser standing next to it. On the corner of the bed sat a fat fluffy cat eyeballing me suspiciously. There were a few posters on the wall, nothing that I recognized. On her nightstand was a framed photo. I don’t even remember when the photo was taken, but I did recognize the wood and green carpeting from Mira’s living room. Flint and Renatta were posing and looking like they were having a good time.

Plumbob, I look miserable in that photo. Is that how I have been presenting myself to everyone?   I’ve been acting like a real tool, haven’t I?

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“You know,” I said to Mira once she returned with my water, “I am willing to give piano lessons another try. That is if you want to. And this time I promise to be a more patient teacher.”

Mira smiled a humoring smile and said, “I don’t know if that is a good idea.” but then added, as to not hurt my feelings, “but I really liked seeing how passionate you are about music. It is a new side of you that you never showed before. I wish I had something that I was just as passionate about.”

“Umm… look around Mira. I would say you are pretty passionate, no obsessed, with books. Have you really read all of these?”

“Yes, I have.” Mira said proudly as she looked around the room at all of the books. “Some more than once.”

“Do you have any favorites?”

“It depends on the kind of mood I am in. Sometimes I feel like a mystery, other times a sci-fi, or a biography. Or maybe a good romance.”

“You know, I listen to music the exact same way. Sometimes I feel like rock, and sometimes I feel like classical. There are even times when I feel like listening to jazz. What are you reading now?”

“Right now I am rereading Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin. Have you heard of it?”

I do remember having to read the book in high school. Although, I didn’t actually read the book. Truth is, I bribed some nerd to write the report for me while I couldn’t be bothered to even try and read the synopsis on Simpedia.

“No,” I replied, “I’ve never read the book before. Would you like to read it to me?”

At my request to read one of her books with me Mira’s rainbow eyes lit up. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized how much I truly missed seeing those eyes sparkle.

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Chapter 3.22 A Turning Point

 

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Warning:​ I know that you all are used to some pretty light stuff from me. Therefore, it is imperative that you take note of this warning. The following chapter contains thoughts of depression and suicide. There are also hints of sexual assault. If these are triggers for you, please do not read ahead. Please know that I take these topics very seriously, and I would never want to do anything that would offend anyone.

________________________________________________________________________________________

 

“This has got to stop.” Bert’s voice shook me out of my depression trance. “You have got to stop this destructive behavior!”

I have been mindlessly fixated on the mirror for so long. I have been sitting in place, yet I felt dizzy. I had no feeling in my paws or my hind legs. That was when I noticed that I was sitting on the ground, and no longer in my chair. But I can’t remember when that happened. How long have I been sitting on the floor?

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“When was the last time you had anything proper to eat? Why don’t you order yourself a pizza?” Bert recommended, “How about an extra large pizza with extra sausage and onions; just like you like it.”

My mouth was dry, and my lips were so chapped that they cracked when I tried to speak. Yet, I wasn’t hungry or thirsty.

“You have been up for almost 24 hours straight.” Bert reminded me, “aren’t you tired?”

It was strange. I was tired, but I didn’t want to sleep. I wouldn’t have been able fall asleep if I had tried anyway.

Bert kept lecturing, “You missed your full moon with Ryker and the pack.”

Has it been that long? Am I really that far deep into this depression that I missed the full moon and I didn’t even notice?

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Eating, sleeping, bathing; none of those things are important to me. Nothing matters to me anymore.

I want to go home. I want to see my family again. Fuck it all; I want to see my Grandpa Ryan again. I want to be with him.

I don’t want to live in misery. I just don’t want to live at all. What would be the point? Would anyone even care if I was gone? I should just put an end to all of this suffering.

But for some strange reason, Bert isn’t going to give up on me that easily. “You need to shower, You need to change your clothes, and for the love of all things plumbob, you need to get out of this house!”

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I didn’t want to leave the house. Bert knows that. We have been over this same argument repeatedly. Finally, we were able to come to some sort of a compromise. Bert had promised that he wouldn’t bother me anymore if I promised to get out of the house for at least one hour.

So here I am, freshly showered and wearing a clean set of clothes, wandering around Moonlight Falls until I can come home and resume my shame spiral of depression.

As I walked I made sure to avoid Mira’s home. Any home for that matter. Without realizing it, I found myself drifting towards the woods. Not too deep that I wouldn’t be able to find my way back. But just deep enough to where I can be alone.

Or so I thought.

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My keen sense of hearing picked up a very disturbing conversation not too far from where I had been meandering aimlessly.

“I said leave me alone!” I heard the sounds of panic and desperation. But not panic from just anyone.

Instinctively I ran towards the sounds of distress. Right towards the person I was wanting to avoid: Mira.

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As I ran I tried to tune in to what Mira and her attackers were saying.

“I am still stronger, and smarter than the three of you put together.” Mira tried to sound brave, but I could hear the fear in her voice.

“What ya gonna do about it?” Thug 1 threatened.

“Your pathetic Immundus magic is not going to help you now.” Thug 2 added to the threats.

“Why don’t you see what happens if you try anything?” Mira sounded less threatening than before. She was really starting to worry. “I said don’t come any closer!”

“There is only one thing an Immundus bitch like you is good for.” Thug 3 wasn’t fazed by Mira’s words.

That is when things turned violent. After that I heard Thug 1 cry out in pain and anger.

“You’re gonna pay for that, slut.” Thug 1 was even angrier than before.

I was running as fast as I could, but it wasn’t fast enough. I wasn’t anywhere near as strong and as agile as I was the night of my first full moon. My legs were so weak from not moving for so long, and my muscles burned. But I kept running. I knew I was getting close when I could smell these bullies; each of them stunk of arrogance, ignorance, rage, and hate.

“Grab her,” Thug 1 instructed the other guys. “Hold the bitch down.”

“Let go of me.” Mira screamed, her voice riddled with even more panic than before. “Get off of me.”

Just then I saw them in the clearing, and I didn’t like what I saw.

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I sprung into action. Literally.

I lunged at Thug 1, catching him completely off guard, and knocking him off of Mira. We tumbled for a few feet until a giant tree trunk stopped our momentum. Thug 1 was pinned between the tree and me, so I was easily able to overpower him.

I have never been an athletic guy. I have always considered myself a lover, and not a fighter. But at that moment I was a man beast possessed. I kept punching Thug 1 over and over. I couldn’t stop; I didn’t want to stop. And I have no doubt that I wouldn’t have stopped except that Thug 2 & Thug 3, finally realizing what was happening, had yanked me off of their companion.

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Thug 2 was trying to bend my arms back behind me, and as much as I fought against him, he was too strong for me. It didn’t help that Thug 3 had given me several hard punches that I’m pretty sure broke a couple of my ribs.

Despite that I did manage to twist my hand around and dig my claws into Thug 2’s arm. He cried out in pain as he let go of me. I was free to fight back against Thug 3, but I was too weak to properly throw an impactful punch. So, I kicked him in his family jewels.

I know that some might call that a low blow. But, the kind of low life scum that would cheer on his buddy as he tries to rape a helpless female deserves a fate worse than that!

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Thug 3 was down, but Thug 1 had gotten back up. I had just pulverized the living daylights out of this guy, but he looked like he had made a full recovery. He didn’t have a scratch on him. Meanwhile, I was struggling to stand up straight.

I didn’t realize that these damn supernaturals healed so fast.

This must also mean that Thug 2 must be completely fine as well. Speaking of Thug 2, where is that asshole? I had completely forgotten about him.

That is until I was hit in the back of the head by a blunt, and very heavy, object.

My memory starts to get fuzzy after that.

Slowly, everything kind of fades to black.

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OC Photo Challenge Part 3

 

Photo Challenge Pt2

Here I am back with another installment of the OC Photo Challenge.  In this set of edits we finally get to see Willow as a young adult.  So, let’s get started; shall we?

 

 

  1.  Regular Outfit:

Willow Everyday

 

8.  Formal Dress:

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9.  In Winter Clothes:

winter 2winter 1

 

14.  Goth Style:

Gothic 1Gothic 2

 

So, that is it for this round.  I hope you liked them, and let me know which ones are your favorites.  But I have one last photo for you.  I hope to have the next OUaL chapter out soon, and here is one picture to tease you with.

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Chapter 3.21 Time

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Time has no meaning for me anymore. Nothing has any meaning anymore. Nothing matters to me anymore. All I want to do is watch my family in the mirror. Be a part of their lives again. Be ​me ​ again. But just simply watching them isn’t enough for me anymore.

I want to hear my sisters laughing. I want to smell Grandma’s freshly baked cookies. I want to feel the Twinbrook sun on my face as I take Thor out on a ride. I want to play the guitar, or drums, or piano again. I want to be the old me again. The awesome me again. I want that more than anything. Sitting here, seeing my family live their lives without me, is just a painful reminder that what I want isn’t possible.

And that makes me angry. Frustrated. Bitter.

It is too much for me to take. But I can’t look away either. I can’t shut my eyes and turn them off. So I continue to sit here.

How long has it been? Who knows? Who cares?

Time has no meaning for me anymore.

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Author’s Note:

I am not ashamed to admit that I have had personal experience with depression, so I know how it feels. This disease literally cripples you to the point where even basic things like eating, showering, or getting out of bed are too trying to manage.

If you yourself, or maybe someone you know, struggles with this horrible disease, you need to know that you are not alone. There are people who love you, people who care about you. And I am one of those people. You are ​not alone​.

I have added a few links to the bottom that might be helpful to anyone who is struggling with depression, or thoughts of suicide. And if you ever feel like you need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I am always here.

US National Suicide Prevention Hotline:  1-800-273-8255

Resources to Help with Depression:  (this site has a ton of phone numbers and other sites to help)

https://www.everydayhealth.com/depression/guide/resources/

 

Chapter 3.20 Bert’s Magic

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What just happened? What ​just​ happened? What the PLUMBOB JUST HAPPENED?!?!?!?!

Did Mira seriously just put her head on my shoulder? Yes she did; I can faintly smell her perfume. The mixture of old books and peony is still lingering on my clothes. But, why would she do something so strange like that???

I tried to make sense of what had just taken place, but my brain could not compute. There is no scenario in any alternate universe in which Mira willingly puts her head on my beastly shoulder for comfort.

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Mira’s actions had caught me so off guard that I didn’t know what to do. At that moment I panicked, left her home without saying anything, sprinted back to my house, then ran straight into my room and slammed the door before Bert could say anything.

I needed to be alone to try to sort everything out. I thought about what set off this chain of events that lead to such unfathomable behavior. And there is only one explanation that I could come up with. Mira must have been delusional with grief.

Yeah, that’s it. Grief makes you do strange, out of character, things. She was so overcome with sorrow that she wasn’t thinking straight. Mira was so upset about everything that is going on in her life, mixed with whatever concoction they brew at the café, and that is what lead to her irrational behavior.

That is all, nothing more.

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I didn’t want to hear the snarky comments Bert would no doubtingly have said to me if I were to tell him the truth of what had actually taken place. Therefore, I lied and told him that Mira didn’t want to talk to me.

Whether he believed me or not, it was hard to tell. He asked me, “Well, you were gone for a while. Where did you go?” to which I responded, “I just went for a walk.”

I knew how Bert was going to react, and I already had my lies planned out ahead of time. I told him, “I took a walk to try to plan out my next move.”

“Well, then why did you run home so fast, and slam the door to your room?”

“I thought that I heard Alcander or one of his goons following me.”

After that Bert didn’t ask me any more questions, so I guess he was satisfied with my made up story.

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Weeks turned into months, and I still had not heard from Mira. Most likely she was too embarrassed by her actions and was not sure how to face me. Not that I blamed her or anything like that. In fact, I too was avoiding her like the plague. I still went out with Ryker and the pack, but I avoided any small talk from Camilla. Which left me with no one to talk to except Bert. Playing air guitar and singing with Bert isn’t as much fun as it was once before. It was during this time that my mind started to wander, and I thought about my family that I left behind in Twinbrook.

During this whole time I have been in Moonlight Falls, I had been able put them out of my mind. Every memory of my sisters, Mom and Dad, Grandma Cindy, even Thor were locked up in a small corner of my mind that I had no intention of visiting. And it is not because I didn’t care about them anymore.

In fact it was the opposite: I did it because I care about them. I put my family out of my thoughts for their own protection. I didn’t want any repercussions to fall onto any of the people I care about. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if what happened to me also happened to them. I have come to terms with the fact that this new beastly self is my penance for dating a psycho witch. And the more time that passes the more I have to accept that this is my fate now. But plumbob forbid if anything happens to my family.

Bert did his best to try and cheer me up by saying, “I am very proud of you. That shows great maturity on your part.”.

However, I don’t think that there is anything that will pull me out of this funk. Even when Bert also said that he had a surprise for me.

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“Think about one of your family members.” he told me. “Any one of them. It doesn’t matter.”

The first name that came to mind was Autumn.

Bert continued his instructions, “Okay, once you think of a name say, ‘mirror show me that person’s name’, and say that person’s name.”

I didn’t understand what Bert was getting at, but I played along and said, “Mirror, show me my twin sister Autumn.”

No sooner than I had finished my sentence, Bert’s face faded into a dark green fog. What was replaced in the reflection blew my mind. It was Autumn. Clear as day. Right in front of me. She was in her room, having a silly pillow fight with Willow.

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I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My sisters right in front of me. It was almost like I was back in Twinbrook with them. I couldn’t believe how much time had passed since I had seen them. Willow is now a teen, and Autumn is a young adult.

Plumbob, have I really been gone this long? Have I been this beast for so long that I didn’t even remember my own birthday had passed?

More importantly though, I was overcome with joy at seeing their laughing, happy faces. It felt good to see my sisters again. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but they were laughing and having a good time.

But quickly my joy was replaced with anger, that I immediately channeled toward Bert, when I realized, “you had this magic ability the whole time I have known you, and you wait until ​now ​ to share it with me. How could you?”

The sight of my sisters vanished, and Bert’s stupid ugly face returned.

Before he could say anything, I continued my verbal rampage. “You know how much I missed my family! How could you keep this from me?!?!?! And what about Alcander and his stupid vampire goons? I could see their every move, and prepare myself if they ever tried attacking me again!!!”

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Bert has a lot of explaining to do, which he began by saying, “First off, my magic doesn’t work that way. You are only able to see the people that you care about and that love you in return. So, spying on the vampires is not an option. And secondly, do you remember how hard it was for me to get you out of the house before? What do you think would have happened if I had shown you this magic when I first met you? You would have done nothing but spend your days and nights staring at me like you were binge watching Breaking Bad. I revealed my magic now, because I was hoping that it would show you how mature you have become, and how much you have grown as a person, I mean a beast. And finally, if you spend all of your time focusing on the past, and what you cannot be a part of, then you will miss what is in front of you now. Watching your family isn’t going to bring you any closer to them. All you will ever be is a casual observer. So close, yet still so far. And that will only lead to more anger and frustration.”

Bert didn’t bother trying to conceal his worried expression. He waited for me to make what he thought was the right decision. He wanted me to give up on seeing my family. He wanted my to forget about his magic ability and instead go back to playing air guitar with him.

I looked Bert square in his stupid pale face and demanded, “Mirror, show me my sister Autumn!”

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OUaL Special: Put on a Happy Face

This seems like a fitting time for another special look into the goings on in Moonlight Falls that Lincoln has no clue about. As you can tell by the title picture, this special will focus specifically on Mira. After the last chapter many of you commented on poor Mira’s state of mind, and many of you felt sorry for what she is going through. That gave me an idea. I want to show things from her perspective. What daily life is like for Mira. What it is like to be an Immundus in a town that loathes your very existence. This special will go into further detail of what/who is at the root cause of Mira’s suffering, and her struggle to constantly feel the need to put on a happy face.

This excerpt has been taken from Mira’s journal, and shows you first hand the struggles that she faces. It should be noted that the events of this journal entry take place after Linc gives Mira piano lessons and before he apologizes.

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Oh Journal,

How can I adequately describe the day’s events? Things are starting to become overwhelming, and when that happens words seem to escape me. I suppose that chronologically would be the most logical means of describing my day. So that is what I shall do. In turn, by doing this I am hoping that I may be able make some sense of all that has happened.

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I was woken up in the usual fashion: with Tolstoy’s boisterous meows signaling breakfast time.
The clowder was fed in the typical manner. First, Bronte, Hemingway, and Austen were given their wet food.  Secondly, Rowling, Fitzgerald, Shelley, and Tolkien were given dry food. After that, Twain, Dickens, Orwell, Christie, and Tolstoy were given a combination of both wet and dry food.
Finally, once I was satisfied that the heard was properly nourished, I went to find Papa.

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As per his usual routine as of late, Papa was found in the basement absentmindedly tinkering at his invention table.
“Oh, is it morning already,” is the same response that he gives every time he sees me bring the tray of scrambled eggs and toast. He then follows that by saying, “InventCon is only a few weeks away, and I must work though the night until I am ready.”.
This breaks my heart every time that I hear it, the same way that it did the first time Papa and I had this same discussion. The first time that I had to remind Papa that InventCon came and went months ago.
As you may recall Journal, the first time that I told him that InventCon had passed Papa became extremely irate with me. He proceeded to destroy the little scraps of metal that he had on his workbench, all the while calling me a nasty liar. Then, Papa stormed out of the basement and locked himself in his room for the rest of the day. But not before grounding me for a month (sometimes I think that he forgets that I am a young adult). The next day I found him back at his work bench with no recollection of the previous day’s conversation.
So instead of starting another fight this morning I smile, put on my happy face, and ask Papa what he happens to be working on today.
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It was during this point in the day, when I finally managed some time for myself to practice my magic. And Journal I am extremely vexed to inform you that the blasted Transportation Spell continues to allude me. I have had no choice but to resort to utilizing a magic wand.
Now Journal, I know what you are about to say. I have not needed a magical wand since my first year of magic class. Nonetheless, you have witnessed, first hand, the trials and tribulations I have faced while trying to conquer this spell. Every time I attempt the spell, it never fully transports the object.
I have moved an apple with no core, less than half of a pear, and only about a third of the bushel of bananas transported correctly. I was hopeful that the wand would help harness my power, yet so far, all of my efforts have been fruitless (no pun intended).
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I am reminded of what Mr. Aberdeen, my first year magic teacher, would always tell us, “Magic power comes from your emotions. Powerful emotions lead to powerful spells.”
Right now my emotions are a volatile concoction of frustration, anger, and exhaustion. Which does not equal to anything close to resembling a powerful spell.
I take a few deep breathes, smile, and put on my happy face. Then I try the spell once more. I had the apple glowing a bright shade of pink (which has never happened before). The spell was about to take, when I was interrupted by my cell phone.
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I sigh, because I know that my spare moment to practice my magic is over for the day, as I look to see who is calling me.
I was equal parts relieved and yet saddened by the fact that it was not Linc calling me.  Even after all this time, I still don’t know what to think about Linc Ryan. He is an enigma wrapped in a conundrum, tied up with a bow of mystery.
I could tell from the start that Linc was hiding things, keeping everything about his past and present life close to his chest. And I respected that. I never minded going over to his house every time that he asked me to. I could tell that he needed a friend, so I tried being that for him. And even though I could tell that he only payed attention to about half of what I said, every so often he would let his guard down. Even if it only ever came in small doses.
Remember Journal, when I told you about Snowflake Day? The way Linc reacted to the guitar that Papa made for him? No one else saw it, but for a split second Linc looked happy. He was humbled by my act of kindness, and I could tell that that simple guitar meant the world to him. His eyes lit up brighter than the tree as they met mine. But just as quickly as it had appeared, it was gone. An emotionless “thank you” was the only part of Linc’s response that Renatta and Flint saw.
They tell me that I am wasting my time. Maybe it is true. Maybe Linc really is a lost cause. But something inside is telling me not to give up on him. Call it a gut feeling, or magical premonition. Whatever it is, I am going to continue to be a friend to Linc.
It has been a long while since I spoke to Linc. Call me strange, but I am really starting to miss my friend. That is why I was saddened when I saw that it was not Linc calling me. Yet at the same time, I was relieved since my last interaction with Linc was not a pleasant one which resulted in us yelling at each other and me kicking him out of my home.

 

The caller was, in fact, my very dear friend Renatta. She was wondering if I would go to the store with her to which I replied, “sure, and while you are at it, why don’t you ask Flint if he wants to come with us as well?”
“Oh, goodness no!” Renatta cut me off. “What I need at the store is for Flint.”
Journal, it still boggles my mind as to why these two have not come to terms with the fact they are both madly in love with each other. It is obvious to everyone, well that is to say that these feels are obvious to everyone but themselves. It all comes down to the silly fact that Flint doesn’t feel that he is good enough for Renatta, and Renatta feels like she broken and therefore not worthy of Flint. Which to me is utterly absurd, but I am starting to digress.
Back to the topic at hand: I let Renatta know that I will be at her home in a few minutes. Before I headed out I went downstairs to check on Papa one last time, only to find him still tinkering away just as he had been this morning (the plate of eggs and toast still sitting on the side table uneaten).
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As we walked to Sam’s General Store, I called Sam to let him know that we will be stopping by for a few things. Renatta and I each give him our shopping list, so he can have everything ready and waiting for us out back behind his store.
Sneaking around to the back alley behind the general store is yet another painful reminder of how bad things have gotten in this town.
It all started right after Grendel took control by giving himself the title of Supreme Commander. The changes were subtle at first, so most of the people never saw it coming.
First came the whispers of judgment. The looks of disgust behind the backs of every human in Moonlight Falls. The hate was there, but not out in the open.
It is unclear as to exactly where or how the term Immundus came to be. Both Grendel and Alcander lay claim to creating the term’s new hateful meaning, however I believe this to be untrue since neither one is cleaver enough for such a thing.  Nonetheless, the hate filled whispers became hate filled shouts. Before long the bigotry became a secret no longer; it was out in the open. In fact, most of the time it was encouraged by the ones in power. It wasn’t until after the unsuccessful Werewolf Revolt that things went from bad to worse. And Journal, I fear that things may never be the same again.
But once again, I am starting to digress.
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As you know, Sam’s wife is blindly following the angry mob, while Sam is more empathetic. She would rather lose her store than let my type set one toe inside. So, Sam leaves our groceries out back behind the stack of crates.
Renatta and I put our money in the witch gnome, as per our prearranged agreement with Sam, and head back home. Then just as I was turning around to leave the alley, Renatta and I are met with, “What are you doing back here?”
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As I have mentioned before, the intolerance in Moonlight Falls is getting worse and worse by the day. Even so, most of the time I am able ignore it. I can smile, put on a happy face, and pretend the words don’t bother me. I won’t mention all of the different ways people have found to let me know how much my existence disgusts them. For if I put them to paper I give those evil words life, and I choose not to give the hate that kind of power. However, the only time it is too hard to just put on a happy face is when those words come from my cousins.
Beatrice, Belinda, Bianca, and I grew up together. We shared everything with each other. They are a few years older than I, and for as long as I can remember I have always looked up to them. We were closer than sisters. And now with hate in their eyes and hate in their hearts they call me the most horrible names imaginable.
“What are you doing here?” Belinda demanded. “Your Immundus is infecting the vegetables!”
Beatrice then added, “Yeah, you ugly Gold Digging Slut.”
My cousins’ dislike of me not only comes from my human mother, but it is also fueled by the fact that Alcander is dead set on making me his wife. Even though the very thought of that makes my skin crawl. He is not taking no for an answer, which makes each of my cousins more and more jealous with each passing day.
“Why don’t you do this world a favor and just kill yourself?” Bianca added her hateful comments. “And take that failed science experiment with you!”
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The hurtful speech would have continued, and I can only assume that it would have gotten violent like the last time, if it weren’t for Alcander.
Yes Journal, that is right. Alcander stepped in acting like my hero, rescuing me from my cousin’s attacks. In fact, I would not be surprised if he had been watching the whole time, waiting for his cue to come in and “save me”.
“As Chief Tenta Enforcer, I aught to have you all arrested.” Alcander mused. “So many beautiful women in one place aught to be against the law.”
Alcander’s words of empty flattery made me sick to my stomach. What’s worse though, was seeing my cousins’ demeanor chance from hate to lust in the blink of an eye. Their response to Alcander’s flirting was a silly mix of school girl giggles and seductive poses trying to highlight their “assets”.  Belinda went so far as to attempt, yet fail at, the Bend & Snap.
“Why hello there Alcander.” they flirted. “My oh my, your muscles are even bigger than the last time that I saw you.  And is that a new tattoo?”
As hard as they tried, Alcander didn’t give my cousins any more attention. He instead focused his attention on to me.
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Alcander sauntered past my cousins as if they weren’t even there and said, “Mira, your beauty is even more enchanting today than the last time that I had seen your face. Of course standing next to this ugly, horribly disfigured creature would make even the ugliest of dogs look like Helena Troy.”
This was not the first time that Alcander had used such derogatory language towards Renatta. I could feel her cower even further, while I on the other hand am not going to stand for it.
“You will NOT speak to my friend that way!” I demanded, and then I added. “And I believe that it is Helen of Troy whom you are referring to.”
“You know, when we are married you will have to stop trying to correct me in public.”
“For the millionth time, I will never marry you Alcander! And there is nothing that you could ever do that would ever make me change my mind!”
“Oh, you are so pretty when you are talking nonsense. You can’t fight the laws of nature. For you are a beautiful yet helpless gazelle, and I am a strong proud male lion, on the hunt for my prize.”
“I can’t even begin to properly tell you how ignorant you sound. We are not in the savannas of Africa. This is Moonlight Falls. Secondly, it is the female lions that do the majority of the hunting.”
“Hahahaha. Now you are just talking crazy! A female hunter. Have you heard anything so absurd?!”
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That right there was the last straw. I had had enough.
I stood my ground, but still put on a happy face, and said “It has become increasingly clear to me that you do not wish to engage in meaningful conversation. Furthermore, based on today’s exchange and conversations from the past, I doubt that your brain has the capability to do so. Therefore, I would like to end this conversation. Come Renatta, let us depart from this Neanderthal. Enjoy the rest of your day, Cousins.”
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I spent the rest of the day with Renatta at her home. She was still pretty shaken up over what had just taken place, so I prepared some herbal tea and tried to get her to relax.
“Did you see Alcander’s face when you told him about Helen of Troy?” Renatta joked which was a good sign that the tea’s calming properties were starting to take effect. “And I bet you he understood less than half of what you said. The again, Neanderthal is too big of a word for his tiny brain cells to comprehend.”
I was enjoying the time with my friend, that before I knew it, it was time for me to get home. It was getting late, and I still needed to fix Papa his dinner.
As I walked home I was all smiles. No need to plaster on a fake happy face, I was genuinely happy. However, my mood completely changed once I saw who was at my front door.
“Hello again, Mira.” Alcander was no longer flirty as he leaned against my front porch with his muddy boot propped up on the siding.
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I had hoped that I was done with Alcander for the day, and I was less than cordial when I demanded to know “what do you want now?”
“There is no more need to play coy with me.” Alcander said as me slowly moved closer to me.  “That science fair reject, or mangy lap dog, that follow you around are not here hiding behind you. So why don’t you just admit that you want me, so we can be married already?”
“I have told you countless times before, I am not going to marry you. No way. Why do you insist on making me your wife anyway? We have nothing in common, thank plumbob. You only want me to be your servant. Barefoot and pregnant, catering to your every demand.”
“Nonsense,” Alcander said in his signature condescending tone, “what do I care if you wear shoes or not?”
“I don’t even know how to respond to that.” I had to roll my eyes as I spoke.  “Your ignorance is beyond all comprehension.”
I wanted to go inside, cook Papa’s dinner, take a long hot bubble bath, and read a good book before bedtime.  However, Alcander had other ideas.
With his legendary quickness, Alcander had me by my throat as he backed me into my jellybean fern.
“Listen here you Immundus Bitch,” Alcander towered over me as he choked my neck. “It is only because of me that you and that senile father of yours have not been run out of town yet. And it is only through my protection that you are safe, for now.”
I was fighting to breathe, and quickly losing that battle. I was seeing stars, yet Alcander squeezed tighter as he spoke, “So instead of talking back to me, why don’t you get down on your hands and knees and thank me. One day you are going to need my protection, and I won’t be here to save you!”
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And that brings me here, sitting in my room wondering how much longer I can put on a happy face?
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