Renegade Writers Guild

Published 8:52 am Thursday, March 9, 2017

“Starting Over and Alone”

By Marie Craig

When I was a little girl, I would accompany my mother to her church’s circle meetings. These were in the afternoons at the homes of the members of the circle. I’m sure each woman was tired from all the extra cleaning and decorating they’d done beforehand, and nervous about the refreshments they’d made trying to outdo each other. I remember being bored and uncomfortable in the chairs which were too large for me. Mrs. Jumper had a beautiful, totally useless chair that had a wooden back carved to look like a bunch of huge grapes that poked me in every backbone. I don’t remember any of the religious lessons, and the only food I remember was the trademark sandwiches of Mrs. Jumper. She was from South Carolina, and that had a lot of clout in Black Mountain. Her recipe involved mincing celery leaves and black walnuts, adding a little mayonnaise and making tiny sandwiches with no crusts.  A woman wouldn’t be caught dead serving crusts.

It was a time of frills and fluff. My mother was one of the few women who could drive so she drove a lot of miles going around picking up passengers to take to the circle meetings. I still have many of her thank you gifts to her from friends for providing transportation.

It would be fun to have a time machine and go back to one of those meetings. The meetings themselves didn’t give me inspiration, but I’ll never forget a chance comment I happened to hear as we were entering a home. One of the women had been recently widowed as her husband had suddenly died. Mrs. Wright asked her how she was doing.

The woman said, “I just don’t think I can bear this and keep going.”

Mrs. Wright, ever the optimist said, “Nonsense, ever since time began, women have lost their husbands and have picked themselves up and kept going and serving.”

I’ve benefitted twice from this advice which they probably didn’t even realize that I’d heard.

“Here There Be Dragons”

By N. R. Tucker

(Flash fiction from the Farseen Chronicles Series.

Events occur between books 3 and 4.)

“Do you think we’ll shift?” Delton asked.

Breton stretched his neck but didn’t open his eyes, “We’re supposed to be meditating. It helps control the shift.”

“But do you?”

“No clue,” Breton sighed and opened his eyes. His twin was impetuous and most definitely not given to reflection of any kind. “Everyone, even Lady Tempest, thinks we will, so probably. And if we don’t learn to center ourselves and focus on a specific form we could end up as slugs during the full moon.”

“No way, I’m going to be something cool. A gorkong, or maybe a dragon like Father.”

“Then you should meditate,” Ryan sat down with the twins. “There’s a male shifter that takes the form of a butterfly because he lost his concentration just as he felt the call of the full moon.”

“I’d never do that,” Delton snorted. “Butterfly, how girlie.”

“He’s anything but. However, he got distracted, and now he becomes a butterfly each full moon. Meditation will help you focus on your chosen form, to embrace it.” Ryan closed his eyes and led the twins in their meditation.

“Your instruction has been enlightening.” The twins bowed a few hours later.

Ryan grinned. That was as close as the fae got to a thank you.

“Pizza’s here,” Tempest called from the house.

The twins took off running. No one in the Farseen could make pizza taste right and adults thought it was foolish to open a way just for food. Silly adults.

A few weeks later, Lady Nolween stood on the balcony of their new residence, one neither she nor her husband had desired. A home that came with all the trappings of court life, including servants, formal repasts, and intrigues. Now that her husband was the Water Lord of the Western Realm, she found this balcony a pleasant place to reflect and compose her thoughts. The sound of water flowing had always soothed her. And it was the only location where she could be outside and not be seen by anyone who wasn’t in the family’s private chambers.

“What troubles you?” Layton put his arm around Nolween; thankful a dampening spell tempered the roar of the falls.

“The same thing that troubles you. I worry about Breton and Delton and hope they choose wisely.”

Layton snorted, “By the grace of the five realms they will choose more wisely than their father. A dragon makes an impressive statement but is rather cumbersome if you don’t want the entire court to know when you shift. I’m lucky I’m not moon called.”

“Lady Tempest and Ridge didn’t counsel you?”

“Not on the specifics. Father suggested that a bird for stealth might be a good choice. Mother ran down a list of pros and cons for various creatures but she didn’t make any suggestions. Now that I’m older it makes sense. If she had said ‘don’t shift into a gorkong’, I might have thought so hard about not shifting into it that it would be the very thing I shifted into.” Layton tilted his head and looked up at the sky. “It’s almost time.”

Layton went to stand by his youngest boys, “Concentrate on your chosen form. Do not let your attention wander. Do you feel that?” The urge to shift was intense, even to him, since all three moons were full this evening; but he would wait until the twins shifted, or didn’t before he flew.

Breton looked up at the moons and felt something shift inside. Not his stomach from all the food his father had forced on him at dinner, but a tingling, and suddenly he was a blue dragon. He looked over at Delton, who was now a red dragon. Since they were in their early teens, their dragon forms were small, whelp size. They wouldn’t reach full adult dragon size for over a hundred years.

The twins watched their father leap off the balcony and shift into his black dragon. He was a full adult dragon and while he could land on a couple of the gables of the residence, he could not shift into his form on this balcony.

Breton flapped his wings and jumped, hoping he would fly and not fall to his death. He stomach lurched when he dropped a few feet, but then the wind caught his wings and he flew. How glorious.

Delton jumped before he flapped his wings. At first, it looked like he wouldn’t get enough lift but after falling about twenty feet, he soared. Heady with his first shift, Delton opened his mouth to laugh and smoke came out. Could he breathe fire? How did one go about the task of breathing fire? He concentrated and opened his mouth and coughed up smoke but nothing more. Fire would require work.

The Western Realm watched, from the residence and the surrounding homes, as their new water lord and his sons flew.

“My great-grandmother Potts”

By Linda Barnette

My great-grandmother, Minnie Catherine Hendrix Potts, lived from 1875-1953 on a farm off of Highway 801 just a couple of miles from Concord Methodist Church. She was very short, had dark hair and eyes, and a sweet smile that gave no hint of the hard life she lived in those days in the country with all of the responsibilities that women had. I saw her often during my childhood because dad took his parents to see his mother’s parents almost every Sunday afternoon. We could always count on her baked sweet potatoes as our mid-afternoon snack—no bought cookies or chips in those days at her home.  I knew that they were religious folks because they spoke often of their church and how much they enjoyed going to Sunday services.  They are buried at their church, Fork Baptist, and it was only within the past year I learned that Grandma Potts liked to write, and her great-granddaughter Crystal Barnes Parker sent me a copy of a hymn that Grandma Potts wrote in 1924.  I now understand that it was her faith that saw her through life and must have been the guiding principle by which she lived.  Her hymn, “Prepare to meet thy God” follows and is punctuated exactly as she had it:

Careless soul, why will you linger wandering from the fold of God

Hear you not the invitation, prepare to meet thy God.

Why so useless are you standing while the fleeing years go by

And your life is spent in folly, prepare to meet thy God.

Hear you not the earnest pleadings of your friends that wish you well

And perhaps before tomorrow prepare to meet thy God.

If you spurn the invitation then the spirit shall depart

Then you’ll see your sad condition unprepared to meet thy God.

Chorus:  Careless soul o heed the warning

For your life will soon be gone

O how sad to fail the judgment

Prepare to meet thy God.

Written Oct 1, 1924, by Minnie Potts