Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Breathless, I step through the portal to a new world. I'm not in 2013 anymore. I have certainly seen my share of Sci-fi movies, but this is INSANE! A magnified female voice booms. "Please follow the flashing blue lights. They will lead you to Ninja Captain Alex."

Is this for real? This is one WAY OUT dream. On the floor pad twinkles sapphire lights flashing NCA. "NCA? How odd." As I follow the lights down several corridors. It hits me ... harder than a bulldozer. No wonder Alex has no problem creating his books. They're real! This is no fictional story. He reminds me of the professor in Disney's Atlantis. Living in one century, but with all the high tech garb of another.

Why me? With all the bloggers in our world, how come Alex picks me? Several more doors open with a whoosh. The lights culminate into a peppermint swirl.

"Please step into the center," the female voice instructs. My heavy boot takes the final step. As my left foot joins the right, I tingle all over, instantly whirling into a vortex. My stomach rises to my throat and I come to a complete stop. I balance myself and view the skyscrapers of Downtown Chicago almost pressing against each pane of the craft's glass.

"Cadet Michael reporting to you, Sir," echoes through the massive cockpit.

Cadet Michael? Am I drafted? 

Alex's mischievous grin stretches ear to ear. Sitting in an overstuffed leather chair, he looks every bit the Ninja Captain, but without the mask. Hmmm. I must be one of maybe three people who has ever caught a glimpse of him. Imagine the envy of all the bloggers who would KILL for this opportunity. Don't worry, Alex. You're secret's safe with me.

"I'm not worried," he chuckles.

"How did y...."

"Be careful what you think around here." He laughs again. "Welcome Michael. I know you must have a million questions, but I'll get to those in a minute." He pats the twin chair next to his. "Take off you coat and join me."

I follow his request and sink into the sumptuous chair next to his. "You're a bit pale Michael, take this."

"A gummy bear? I thought you only ate hot tamales?"

"I do .... but this is to settle your stomach and calm you for the journey ahead. We have two very important destinations and very little time to complete our mission."

Our mission? What gives? I have been drafted! "Uh, Alex, are you sure about this? I'm not a Ninja warrior."

"You are in this army, pal." He steps over to a large panel with at least a thousand multi colored buttons. "I think blue .... You used to be a model, so I know fashion's important to you. I could care less, but I want you to be happy. You need to stand now and don't move."

"You're the boss." I pulled myself off the chair, no longer nauseas. Hey, the gummy bear worked. 

He presses a dozen or so various blue buttons. Beams of light lick at me from every direction.

"Your uniform will be ready in a few minutes."

I inhale a deep breath. "Okay, Alex. What gives? Frankly I'm shocked. Why me?"

"In all the blogosphere, no one has more heart and sincerity than you Michael. I can trust you. This mission is extremely dangerous and I know you'll have my back." He looks at me with eyes that could melt chocolate. "Are you in?"

A knot forms in my throat and I swallow hard to clear it. I square my shoulders. "Do you really need to ask?"

He shakes his head. "No. Just a formality." A high pitch ding, like two crystal glasses meeting interrupts us. "Your uniform's ready, cadet." He presses another blue bottom and out pops a vivid blue spandex and rubber type uniform and a pair of black knee high boots. He hands them to me. "Once you put these on, you're no longer Michael, you're Cadet Michael and I am Ninja Captain Alex."

I nod and examine the undersized garment. "Am I supposed to pour myself into that." He raised a dark brow. "Uh ... Sir."

"It'll stretch." He winked. "Now, get moving cadet. You can change while I fill you in." He returns to his chair and faces the city.

I've been through enough fashion shows to slip into the uniform by the time he pulls up the visuals on the big screen directly over head.

"Our first destination is here." He points to an obscure galaxy. "An archeologist friend of mine named David Alexander needs our help. His father's been abducted in this foreign world." He points again. "Prepare yourself. We'll be dealing with dark magic, thieves, men made of ice, and possibly dragons. We have to save them before it's to late."

"WHAT! Are you serious?" I step back away from the screen.

"Cadet ... Remember, you are a fantasy writer. You should be able to handle this."

I inhale half the air in the room and let it out slowly. "You're right, Captain. Do we have the arms to protect ourselves against these beings."

"I'm a Sci/Fi writer. I've got it covered. Strap yourself in cadet. Our journey awaits."

JEWEL OF SHAYLAR ... Book One of the Kingdom of Chandra.


TUNE IN tomorrow for the next exciting segment!

Monday, February 25, 2013


Another Monday ....

An usual storm rolls over the bright azure skies to a gun-metal gray. Winds kick to unregistered mph as thunder cracks. "Damn. Why does it ALWAYS happen? I'm always lulled into a false sense of security. Chicago weather is so frickin' unpredictable."

I continue my journey, skirting the lakefront. Ferocious winds rip through my face and my fingertips freeze and numb. As I reposition my scarf that unraveled and took flight, a flash sparked out of the corner of my eye.

My head snaps. "What the ...." With bulging eyes, my jaw drops and a massive shiny metal monster floats toward the shore. Fire kicks from the rear of the object, catapulting the vessel to eye level. My lids blink feverishly, not fully comprehending the situation.

A clear voice calls out "Hey, Michael. Need a lift?"

Thunderstruck, I see a flash of a smile. As my vision clears the face smiles again and a hand waves.

"It's me .... Come on board, I need your help."

I shake my head, and the letters etched into the side of the vessel register through my memory. "It can't be?" I muttered. I shout over the roaring jets, "ALEX?"

He nods, beaming brighter than the lights on the aircraft. "Let's go. We're needed elsewhere. I'll fill you in on all the details as we streak to our next destination."

A side door opens and a bridge floats towards me. "Yes, Ninja Captain Alex." The smile already carved into my face broadens. I leap onto the bridge and race inside  ...

The JOURNEY continues ...


Release date: September 13th, 2013

TUNE IN TOMORROW for the next exciting segment!

Friday, February 22, 2013


Happy Friday All,

Yay,  for the forthcoming weekend. I hope you all have something exciting planned. If not, curling up with a book, baking with the kids, or just soaking in a tub could do wonders for the soul.

Yesterday, the Chicago winds blew in Liz Fichera from Arizona. She landed in Glen Ellyn, IL., a suburb of Chi town, just a short forty minute train ride from downtown. Liz's first major publication, debut Y/A novel, HOOKED was featured at The Book Store.There ... I "hooked" up with (No... not THAT way),  blogger pal and author of THREE DAVES, Nicki Elson. She met me at the train station as the winds howled, threatening a snow storm any minute. We had a great chat and dinner at the local Irish pub.

Thankfully Liz's signing was only a short block away.... We entered into the charming bookstore overflowing with clambering fans. Liz was surrounded. We made eye contact, and worked our way through the crowd after warming up a bit. I had never met Liz before, but we have 'chatted' via email ofter throughout our few years friendship. Nicki, too, had a cyber friendship with her, but hadn't connected in a while.

When we finally inched to the front, Liz's expression pulled into a question mark. I could see the brain waves hard at work.... "Hey, Liz ... it's me... Michael." Then I glanced toward Nicki. "And Nicki."

Her face lit up. With arms open wide and a smile that could warm any Chicago winter, she welcomed us into a hug. The conversation buzzed for a few glorious moments .... She signed our copies and we certainly could have chatted all night, but other fans wanted to meet her and get their books signed too.
Nicki and I left for the register and Liz was surrounded again.

Nicki an I strolled around the bookstore and viewed other choice books. After an hour or so, the lines still hadn't let up. I wanted to chat a bit more with Liz before I caught the train back to the city. I waited for a lull and moved my way in. After a few more hugs and Liz's endless thanks, Nicki and I face the arctic winds....

I know I have said this before, BUT, I can not begin to tell you how WONDERFUL and EXCITING it is to meet a blogger pal. It feels like you've known each other for years! It was the highlight of my winter to see Nicki again and meet Liz. If you ever get the chance to meet a blogger pal... DO IT! I have been fortunate to meet several, but my list keeps growing!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone, AND if you haven't picked up Liz's book yet, make sure you do! I'll certainly be reading this weekend .....

Here's the blurb and reviews from HOOKED....

When Native American Fredricka ‘Fred’ Oday is invited to become the only girl on the school’s golf team, she can’t say no. This is an opportunity to shine, win a scholarship and go to university, something no one in her family has done.

But Fred’s presence on the team isn’t exactly welcome — especially not to rich golden boy Ryan Berenger, whose best friend was kicked off the team to make a spot for Fred.

But there’s no denying that things are happening between the girl with the killer swing and the boy with the killer smile...


Kirkus Reviews says, "Not just a Romeo and Juliet story, the book examines the conflicts of white versus Indian and rich versus poor, giving it far more heft than the average romance. Bravo." (Starred Review)

Publishers Weekly says, "Fichera shows strong storytelling chops as she weaves together plot lines involving class struggles, violence, bullying, and--of course--romance."

Available in bookstores everywhere!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Hi, All,

Today I am spicing up my blog with a intriguing interview with Lt. Noah Hutchins: a Navy Seal. He tells us about his life as a Seal and about the reporter who companied him in his active duty. This will be something to really sink your teeth into on this mid winter Hump Day. I hope you enjoy this new feature.

MD: "Welcome Lieutenant. I appreciate your time. I know how busy life is in the Military. My father was a Sergeant in the army."

Lt. N: "Thank you, Michael. I didn't know you were a military brat."

MD: "Yes, Sir." I salute.  "Now, how did you first decide to go into the military?"

Lt. N: "It was all I’d ever wanted to do, really.  I grew up watching Top Gun, and I thought those guys were awesome.  Then, one day when I was about eight or nine, I saw a PBS special on the Navy SEALs.  I loved the water.  I think I swam before I ever walked.  From then on, the SEALs weren’t an option.  They were a destination."

MD: "Fascinating. I did do some digging, and I wondered what were your first thoughts upon reading McKenzie McClendon’s article about you and your former partner in the New York Herald?"

Lt. N: "I sincerely doubt you want me to use that sort of language on your blog, here, Michael."

MD: I raise a brow. "Right.  Well, let’s go with this then: what made you go to talk to McKenzie herself rather than going to a rival newspaper or suing her for libel?"

Lt. N: "I’m not really the suing type, man.  I didn’t want to look like some whiny pansy-boy who got his feelings hurt.  I wanted things done.  I could’ve gone to a rival paper, sure, but McKenzie was obviously bold enough to say what she did.  She made me mad enough that I wanted to see if she could hock it to my face.  I hate passive-aggressiveness, so nothing pleased me more than the idea of setting the record straight while at the same time forcing her to put a face with the name she was so willing to hide behind a computer and blast."

MD: "I admire your ethics. So few people have them in our SUE-happy country. So, what was travelling with McKenzie like?"  

Lt. N: "Exhausting at times.  She has this weird habit of wanting to know where we’re going, when we’re going there, and what our plan is when we arrive.  I kept trying to tell her the details of the trip were on a need to know basis, but that didn’t stop the incessant questions.  I guess that’s what I get for travelling with a reporter.  At other times, having her along for the ride was both exhilarating and practical at the same time.  When you get past the whole “I’m nosier than an anteater on steroids” thing, the girl’s got spunk and smarts, and she’s fun to be around.  She’s cute, too, if you like that petite, ankle-biter type.  I was glad she tagged along, because having an extra set of hands was useful a couple of times.  Literally."

MD: "Yes, I can well understand that. Plus she does have a certain charm. Doesn't she? 

Lt. N: He nodded. "Yes, in a way."

MD: "In the article, it says you hadn’t spoken to your former partner in the SEALs for years.  Why then were you so convinced he hadn’t changed since you knew him and that he couldn’t possibly be responsible for the vice president’s assassination?"

Lt. N: "Cody was always such a laid back guy, and he was like a brother to me. He sure as hell hadn't become an assassin for hire. And it wasn't who he was to me that made me think so. It was the kind of guy I knew he was.  You don’t sleep next to a guy on a cliff ledge in a mountain range in enemy territory without knowing his stripes.  Cody believed in ethics and morals, and he was the kind of guy you’d trust to throw himself in front of a train if it meant no one else would get hit.  He wouldn’t so readily take away a nation’s leader—someone’s husband, father—for money, even if it was millions.  Money wasn’t a thing to him at all.  Before we were in the SEALs together, he used to work flipping burgers at a fast food joint just because it was the only job he could get that allowed him enough time to get home to spend with his terminally ill father, and I think every dime he made went straight to his old man’s hospital bills.  When he came back, as far as I know, he made a living tending bar and bussing tables.

MD: "You certainly convinced me. So why didn’t you two talk after you got back from Afghanistan, if he was such a great dude?"

Lt. N: "Wow.  Tough question.  We didn’t—well, we didn’t talk because we were both just ready to close that chapter of our lives, you know?  We lived on opposite sides of the country, and in our line of work, doing what we did, it’s better to not draw attention to yourselves or what you used to do, which hanging out together might do.  We kept in touch occasionally over e-mails, caught up by phone a couple times a year, but mostly, we would rather not see each other both for our mutual protection and because when we talked, it made us remember."

MD: "An honest, heartfelt answer. Thank you, Lieutenant for stopping by my blog." I salute him again.

Lt. N: You're welcome, Michael. Anytime.

Had you going for a while, didn't I? LOL. Lieutenant Noah Hutchins is the main character in author,  Colby Marshall's debut international thriller novel, CHAIN OF COMMAND.

Here's the blurb: 
"The first chapter will shock you--and the shocks keep right on coming. Colby Marshall has written a book that deserves to be called THRILLER."--R.L. Stine, New York Times bestselling author of Red RainThe Haunting Hour, and the Goosebumps series

I hope you will get a chance to drop by Colby's blog and wish her well. She plans to drop in and out all day if you have any questions for her. Here are all the links for everything. Have a great day everyone. 

Chain of command is currently available on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/c36b6ja

Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/abynbjz

Directly from publisher: www.stairwaypress.com/bookstore

Also available on KoBo, iBooks, Sony, and other major e-readers.

Check out the official book trailer for CHAIN OF COMMAND: http://tinyurl.com/auye6bb

Colby's website: www.colbymarshall.com   

Thursday, February 14, 2013


HAPPY Hearts and Flowers day everyone!

Well, it's another February 14th and Chicago is ablaze withe ruby red HEARTS and blood red ROSES EVERYWHERE. As you read this post, men ALL OVER THE COUNTRY are rushing through their local, Walmarts. Walgreens, Targets, Hallmarks, and Florists. (Funny, where are the ladies?) Millions of dollars are being spent. And ALL for this one day. A day to celebrate love. How Sweet.

Many of you, of course, are married and have families, but never-the-less, you will most likely do something special for you significant other. Lovely. But do you ever wonder about a former Valentine? Lurking, in the back of your minds, even for a split second, haven't you thought about THE ONE? Perhaps it was your first love. The one your heart still beats a bit faster for when you think of them. I know I do.

Not too many of us are still with our first loves. You wonder .... where are they now? Have they married? Do they have children? How nice would it be to see them again? Or, "I wish I had them in my clutches now to STRANGLE THEM FOR ..." LOL. Either way, your heart races.

I have even gone as far as Googling them or searching Facebook... FUNNY, I have had no luck. My two fiance's sort of disappeared off the face of the earth or they've changed their names to their husbands. Sad really. I didn't have the best closure with either of them. Well, the circumstances at the time were pretty explosive. WAY too much drama... LOL. And most of you know that I always like to focus on the positive. Let's just say, I hope they are happy. Life is full of choices and forks in the road.

So, what about you? Have you wondered about your LOST VALENTINE? Are they still in your life? Or, did they melt away with the Spring thaw. This topic makes for a very intriguing subject for writing, doesn't it? How interesting would it be to incorporate an LV into our stories. Something to think about. I know we all draw from our personal experience when we write, but this could be a wonderful situation for your MC. What's most, it doesn't have to be the gushy type of love. It could be raw, brutal, or gut wrenching... So why not dive into an emotional Valentine's seen in your WIP.

Please let me know in the comments about yours .... Have a very special day for all you sweethearts out there .... And if you are single at the moment, the love of our friends, family, and PETS, does comfort our souls until that special person does come along.

Monday, February 11, 2013


Hi, All,

I hope everyone had a WONDERFUL weekend. Chicago was 45 and raining yesterday.... Quite strange for February when the North East was pounded with over a foot of snow!

When I woke this morning misted snowflakes danced by my windows... That's CHICAGO....

Before I get to my themed post, a blogger friend, who we all know and love, seems to be having a rough day. If you get a chance please drop by Jen Daiker's @ Unedited and bring her a much needed smile and cyber hug. We all go through our gloomy Gus stages and sometimes a smile or comment from a friend is all we need. Thanks you guys....

I woke up this morning not knowing what to write about .... I read a few posts and commiserated with Jen about the "waiting" game and how it affects all of us writers. Then a thought came to me. SO many of us have ms's in dire need of resuscitation ... you know the one? Perhaps it's your first novel. Or, a current ms that seems to be going around in circles.

With me, it's my first. I had started the New year with bright eyes and high hopes and had managed to do a chapter a day once I FINALLY got into the rewrite. ROAD BLOCKS were set up for my first few chapters, and no matter how hard I dynamited the site, I couldn't break through. So what do you do? Take another street. Detour around your road block and continue ... and so I did. I am two thirds through the re-writes, but I still feel like the tread is lost on my tires. I KNOW you've all been there, and it's reassuring to me to know this. It's what gets me through the day.

So as my oat meal exploded in the micro wave this morning, and my first cup of coffee froze as I cleaned up the mess, I had to laugh. Baked goods surrounded me. Should I dare snatch up one of those amazing cranberry pecan scones I had baked last night and forgo the healthy oat meal? For the past month or so I have been baking like a mad man. It has been my answer to my mid winter blues. I thought back to last Thursday's freelance baking job for 144 frosted mini cupcakes. Chocolate and vanilla topped with THREE different colored cream cheese icings. What one has to do to supplement their income these days. LOL. My kitchen was in chaos; I had to squeeze out every drop of icing from the pastry bag, just barely making it and not having enough time to make more; and I had to deliver them downtown within the next fifteen minutes.

I rushed to dress. A moment later, I delicately placed wax paper over them for travel.... Thankfully I had a parking spot right in front of my building. I rushed down the stairs with the first tray.... IT was HEAVILY SLEETING. Great ... the weight of the drops dented my wax paper with bullet holes. Trays two and three were assaulted in the same way .... In the end it all worked out though.

What's this got to do with writing? Well I thought we could all use a new way to approach our writing slumps, so I penned out a recipe to put some life back into your writing.....

3 cups: FLOUR your ms with a Sense of humor.
                                         A writer needs this more that anything. Life and it's DRAMAS always get in                   the way, so why not take a page from it and spin a tale to show off YOUR sense of humor. Laugher, even in times of great tragedy is a much needed emotion.

3/4 cup: SUGAR your ms with sweet details.
                                         A writer needs to set the stage for their characters to ground them and add visuals for the reader.

1 1/2 cups: NUTS add CRUNCH and texture to your ms.
                                         A writer needs to create characters that have quirky and ODD personalties. This will make them memorable to the reader and add much needed dimension to your story.

                                         A writer needs to add color in all situations the mc is experiencing. Color adds movement, excitement, and visual appeal. So don't forget to COLOR your ms and weave a tapestry of beauty.

1/2 cup: DRIED FRUIT adds a bit of chewiness to your ms.
                                         A writer needs to know when to slow the pace for a reader especially between colorful and action-packed scenes.

5 TSPS: ALL SPICE for those INTIMATE encounters in your ms.
                                         A writer needs to add sexual tension between his characters. This spices up the scenes with basic human passion.

1 TBSP: SALT your ms with Tears.
                                         A writer should sprinkle them throughout the ms not drop them like a bomb to explode all over the place. Remember tears can be joyous or tragic. Why not have a bit of both.

And that, friends, is my recipe to breathe life back into your story. I hope you all have a very productive and exciting day. Thanks for stopping by and for dropping in on Jen.

I would also like to WELCOME all my new friends. I do so enjoy meeting new blogger friend~

Friday, February 8, 2013


Hi, Everyone,

First, I wish to THANK all of YOU! Your comments over the past few days have really meant so much to me. February is always a hard month, but this year has been easier because of all your kind words and support. It created an inner warmth that will certainly get me through the ongoing frigid days.

Blush pink roses were a favorite of my mom's; there is something so exquisite in the formation of the petals and the warmth that springs from them. I was very fortunate to find these blooms in the middle of February. I do believe God created them for this occasion and I wish to share them with you...

This particular bouquet's fragrance is as subtle as its curved from. Simplistic in its beauty, the blooms with forever bring the viewer's heart into the light of spring. May your weekend be as lovely as the joy each flower has given me and my mom, who I know is enjoying them too.

Thanks again everyone, because of you spring seems only a breath away ....

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Hi, All,

Well, as most of you know today is the first Wednesday of the month and it is time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group or The IWSG as it is affectionately called. It is a day for us writers to vent, support, or just plain speak our minds. The founder, Alex Cavanaugh created this group many, many months ago. And I am happy to say the group keeps enlisting more writers every month. If you would like to become a member feel free to drop by Alex's blogsite.

This month's IWSG happens to fall on a sad day for me. Fifteen years ago I lost my mom very unexpectedly. She went into the hospital a few weeks prior for a routine operation. Sadly she had never left. I had just moved to Florida from Las Vegas where my parents had retired. I gave it a try for three years and it was time for me to leave. I moved into a stunning two bedroom apartment on a crystal blue lake in Fort Lauderdale away from the cold, arid desert, forever landlocked. Mom was to fly down and leave the winter to recuperate in the sun. She loved the beach and my place was only a few miles away. But the scenic oversized lake, the haven for egrets, blue herons, ducks and dragonflies, would have been a welcome sight for her while sitting on the terrace smoking a cigarette with her morning coffee.

I had left the week of her operation. She had assured me to move and not to worry. My dad and brothers were there, so I felt fine leaving. As I had said before, this was strictly a ROUTINE operation. The operation  was successful, but for some odd reason the doctor couldn't regulate my mom's sugar diabetes. She wasn't a bad diabetic, only a small pill once a day. Apparently they had missed a kidney issue in the pre-testing stage.

Each day Dad called me with her ups and downs. At this point it wasn't terminal. Well, two weeks later she died. At the time I had my own health issues. That was the thirteenth month of my crippling arthritis. I was limping badly on crutches, and I didn't have the physical or emotional strength to handle this situation. Thankfully I spoke with my mom the day before she died. That night her spirit had visited me. It's true. She smiled and said goodbye. It was her time to go and she had said now it was my job to look after my dad and middle brother, who both NEEDED a lot of looking after ... I told her I didn't have the strength, that she couldn't leave yet. She smiled again. "You are the only one like me Michael, you haven't even begun to realize how strong you really are ... one step at a time ... even on your shaky legs." A tear slid down my face an she was gone.

Even in death, my mom kept her sense of humor. I knew before the phone rang, that she had gone. Then the family drama started... That is another story.

I wanted to honor my Mom today because of all the people I have ever met in my life she was NEVER insecure. She lived her life with style, passion, an iron fist, and a very kind heart. No matter what curve ball was thrown at her, she caught it and mashed it into pieces. Even after she was diagnosed with cancer many years prior, and was given only a year to live, she told the doctor, "There's no way I worked for thirty years and I'm not collecting my Social Security!" That was my Mom, always feisty and ready to fight head on. She lived almost fifteen years longer and did collect her SS. Funny, it wasn't the cancer that ended her life... it was a misdiagnosis. So PLEASE remember to get three or even four opinions before any surgery.

So, in my INSECURE moments, when I am having a rough time, I draw on my mom's strength. Even in death, her spirit is a force to be reckoned with.  So in honor of her and ALL you parents out there, I respect you because your job isn't easy. You persevere and keep you little ones on the right path. Remember that love will give you the strength you need because there is no force more powerful than love.

Have a wonderful day everyone and give your MOM a big hug today!

Monday, February 4, 2013


Hi, Everyone,

Today is a very special bloghop hosted by Nick Wilford. a fellow blogger who has been chosen to care for a very special child: his stepson Andrew who has cerebral palsy. Nick plans to create an anthology with these amazing stories to help pay for Andrew's special needs college. Nick explains the situation  and it is such a worthwhile cause. So please drop by his blog for the complete story.  The hop is for today and tomorrow, so there is still PLENTY of time! So feel free to hop along with us.

Many of my fellow bloggers chose to relay "their" unforgettable stories of how they persevered through overpowering obstacles and have SURVIVED. I have one of those stories as well, but chose to post something magical. Even the enchanted world has adversity to overcome. I hope you enjoy my bit of flash fiction...

Prancing hooves skate along the melting snow as streams of golden light dapples through the budding forest.

A twig snaps. The creature bolts into the woods and disappears behind an ancient oak tree.

A trembling head turns toward the intruder who broke the silence. Aqua blue eyes lock onto hers. Gingerly, she takes a step onto the path, brushing up against a blooming gardenia bush. 

The aroma of sweet perfume overpowers her senses. In one swift movement a blossom disappears.

The child’s laughter breaks the spell and once more she bolts into hiding.

“Don’t go,” the child calls out. “Please. I won’t hurt you.”

Frozen as if carved in ice, the creature stood, glistening from horned head to hoof. One step at a time, the child approaches, beaming at her.

“Don’t be afraid.” A delicate hand reaches out and strokes the soft underside of her neck. “I just want to be friends.”

Humans have never been kind to me, always hunting me with their bows and arrows. Should I trust this one? Although small, the child is still a human. 

Unlocking her stance, she nuzzles into the child’s hand. A calming sensation seeps into her body. 

“There now. That’s better isn’t it?” The child places a hand on each side of her elongated snout and gently lowers her head. “You can trust me.” The little girl kisses the unicorn. 

A friend at last.