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(Yes, this will indeed be a boring little blog about Koro and mine's 1-year-anniversary. <3)
One year... WOW! Ya know, it's kinda one of those surreal moments where you want to scream it from the roof tops and yet deny it all at the same time. If that makes sense... lol. Part of me feels like Koro and I have been together longer, but then it seems like just yesterday we started dating. So much has changed in my life and our relationship has just flown it's path. We fight, we argue, but we love so much more. And I am so thankful for everyone on here for kinda sorta pushing us together. In the beginning, before even that, I remember when he was gone for like... 3 months or something and randomly came back and I thought to myself "Wow, I really missed this boy." and then, of course, everyone was telling him and me to date and I (the dumb butt I was) said no and that he was like a little brother. Then slowly it broke down and it became more. I still denied it and some people even told me not to date him and it prolonged things. Then, finally it got to the point where we stopped playing the "I know I like you, and you know you like me, but were never going to admit it" game (thanks to my sister.......) but it was still no dating because he didn't really believe in online relationships at the time.
Then pushy me arrived :P and I pushed him a little more each day lol. Then the day arrived one year ago and he finally asked to be my boyfriend and ya know what I said? Well... besides the obvious "YES!!!" I told him: "are you sure you wanna do this? You'll be stuck with me forever because I'm not letting you go." and he said "I'd planned on it". Lol. He probably called me a sketch afterward but I don't really remember.
The point is, I never honestly thought I could be in a relationship for a whole year and longer. I view myself sometimes in a... not so awesome light and because of that I find it hard to believe someone would willingly be with me so long, lmao. But Koro wanting and willingly is with me (he even lets me ramble on and on about gay smut books I read and laughs at me). Every day I feel loved. Every day I feel beautiful. Every day I feel that there is something extra to live for. Every day I feel accepted for who I truly am. Every day I learn to love more and more. And for that I am extremely blessed every single day of my life.
I love you all for everything you've done for us. You all are amazing. <3
I love you Koro. <3
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All of my life so far has been about becoming an astronomer. This career choice I picked back in fourth grade when I took Mr. Schrall's Astronomy class. I absolutely loved the subject. Now that I have graduated college for Physics and am heading on to graduate school, however, I am not so sure that this is the career choice I want to follow. The job market for an astronomer is next to zero. Was it just a subject that I've been passionate about, not a career choice? I've told everyone since then that I'm going to become one and yet, all I've done is finished four years at a University and looked at salary of an astronomer back in sixth grade (just two scant years after making my choice). When searching for a college, my father recommended that I go to PTI, a two-year techical school to get certified for being a programmer. Looking back, I'm wondering if that should have been my choice. Hopefully, by the end of this, a choice for the future will be made.
"Was it just a subject I've been passionate about, an interest?" This thought has crossed my mind for not the first time today. Why did I want to be an astronomer in the first place? Looking back now, I remember Mr. Schrall explaining how the possibilities are endless in space while showing a picture of the Horsehead Nebula. I remember thinking how beautiful the picture was and how he explained that images like those came from the Hubble Space Telescope. He said that in order to work daily with images like those that one would need to be an astronomer. I really took this information to heart and, in the years that followed, told myself that no matter what, I would be an astronomer. My idea of becoming one however, was simplistic at best.
When fifth and sixth grade came around (even seventh grade), I started to dig around with the idea of becoming an astronomer. I can't even remember what ranked as second. Nonetheless, in my research, I found that (back between 1999 and 2001) astronomers made just under what an air traffic controller made. The thousands of dollars had boggled my mind. I had checked my people skills and such with the survey they had us do in seventh grade. My ranking was good. I excelled in most of my math courses, especially when it came to long division, geometry, and trigonometry. Calculus was a little harder for me because it introduced concepts that I had very little understanding of, but my english courses were top notch every time. I also took electronics courses at the local Votech in Meadville. I loved the courses there too. I explained to the teacher, Mr. Burchill, that I was taking Electronics Tech as a hobby. I told him I planned to be an astronomer. The courses there were easy enough; I found friends in my fellow classmates. I also worked on people skills.
When it came to college, I had my heart set on one school it seemed: Clarion University Main Campus. I filled out the FAFSA and sent my application in a little later than most. I was worried about getting accepted. During this time of waiting for my application to be accepted or denied, my parents and I went to look at PTI, a two-year tech school. My contingency plan was to become a programmer and to work where I could. PTI would have placed me into a job immediately after schooling and offered refresher courses every six months free of charge. If one lost a job, the school would automatically place them in another. It seemed like a good deal. I remember my father making the suggestion to go to PTI and get the degree in programming and get a steady paying job. Once all that was accomplished, he told me, then I could go back to Clarion (using the programming job to pay for it) and gain my degree for Astrophysics. It sounded like a smart plan, but I was sure my heart was set on Clarion from the start. I filed out all of the paperwork for PTI, but when the acceptance letter came for Clarion, I politely turned down the offer for PTI and went straight into four years of Physics.
My grades at Clarion weren't really anything to write home about. I worked my butt off but at the same time I messed up a lot. I got 2 Ds in my Astronomy courses due to absences in my first year there. I passed Pre-calculus with a B-C, but failed Calc 1. Anything outside of Math, I was good at. I did okay with my physics courses until getting into my third year, I struggled often then. I was terrible at conceptual ideas and my Calc grades just weren't where they needed to be. I missed out on my Geology courses, preferring to take a Matlab/Mathematica course instead. I breezed by it no problem. I enjoyed writing the code. Granted, whenever I made a mistake (even within 10 lines of code) it was annoying to find and fix. Fourth year came and went: Electronics-a breeze, Seminar- annoying (I didn't know half of what we were talking about and was assumed to know so), and Physics - not so well (once again, concepts and such really hurt me).
Coming to the close of my fourth year at Clarion, I started to think really hard about going to graduate school for astronomy and about research opportunities. As my boyfriend and I had broke up, and I was now dating a guy (Cameron) from New Hampshire (NH), I thought it best to find a school in the NH area. There was only one college doing graduate programs for astronomy in NH: Dartmouth. It was two hours north of Keene State College where Cameron was doing his studies to be a Calculus teacher. One of my classmates informed me, however, that most graduate schools require at least one GRE. I had never heard of a GRE before and therefore was forced to take a year off in order to take the general and physics GRE's. While visiting Cameron, his mothr mentioned that Dartmouth was an Ivy League school. From what I understood, only the best students got in there.
During my year off, I went full-time at Sperry Farms Inc., the local egg -processing plant down the road. My pay was good and for a while, I forgot all about college. When fall rolled around, however, I was wanting to go back. I published my first book, The Mystic Charm, during this time as well. However, the quality of the book was not anywhere near that of J.R.R. Tolkien or even Dr. Seuss. I planned to rewrite it before the beginning of summer. Back to the astronomy stuff though, I haven't taken out the new telescope my grandparents have gotten me for Christmas and my mother currently tells me all of the space-related things going on. Just last night (04/13/13) the Aurora Borealis was visible in the night sky. I missed it. I didn't even know it was going on until she told me.
There are two main problems I'm having with deciding. One- I don't want my degree from Clarion to go to waste, but two- I don't want to go for my master's or Ph.D and be stuck without a job. I've also thought about getting a Bachelor's degree in programming and coupling it with my physics degree to program the big telescopes or being a technician for the equipment at NASA. I've not wanted to go into space. I mean maybe one day, but for now I want my feet planted firmly on the ground. I think that this would be Aerospace engineering though. I do like the idea of working out programs, but at the same time I'd be content from working at home. With the idea of Cameron and I having two kids running around while we are working, the idea of staying at home does seem to be the better option. The only problem is: what can I do to accomplish this? What job would allow me to be a stay-at-home working mother? I really don't like the idea of Camero providing everything for the house. It (to me) just doesn't seem right.
The question I keep asking myself is: do I really want to start fresh and what is it that I really want to do with the rest of my life? I already have family taken care of, but what do I want to do? The problem is: I've never been the type to make strong decisions. I still plan on taking the Physics GRE this Saturday, that much is certain. That way if I decide to go on to graduate school, I have my GRE's out of the way. I also plan to do the FAFSA, so even if I go back for a different BS degree, I have the funds to attempt it.
Another problem I keep facing is my loan payments. I should be able to defer them if I go back to school, but it will accrue interest and I will be stuck paying more. Right now (and all throughout summer) I am paying almost $300 a month. I will have to find a job when I go to Cameron's for the summer, but I need to figure out the fall. That is Madre's, Cameron's, and my biggest concern right now.
I suppose the first step is taking a look at what the job markets are in the New England (NE) area for the types of jobs I'm thinking of. I may have screwed up in the past, but it's time to learn and move on.
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Haven't written much in here, mainly because I've been having an off and on Livejournal account and occasionally writing on FurAffinity. Yeah, I'm on there too, though not the forum. I plan on writing some stuff for all you b*****ds to see, but this time around it's an update . notice . thing.
As of yesterday we received a notice from our landlords (we/our being my family and I). They want all the money they're owed (over 3K) and they want it now. So, we're expecting an eviction notice sometime soon. I can't find a job in this economy so we're pretty much boned. No idea what is going to happen there but suffice it to say it might impact my time here. If it does then I apologize sincerely, and I'll return when I can. For now I'm here, going to try and enjoy myself and spread the Derpiness as much as I can. I'll keep everybody updated on that one. Feel free to add me on an instant messenger, my contact info is listed on my profile.
ALL FEAR THE DERP DRAGON!!!
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Last week, I took a trip out to the Cleavland national forest, and found it a short but exciting camp out. We arrived at night, pitched tents, and fell asleep shortly after that. On Saturday, we had breakfast burritos, but the hash browns were soggy. Besides from that, the bacon, eggs, and cheese were good. After breakfast, we took a hike up a mountain that was 5 miles in total. Pics of the view are in the link later. We had sandwiches, which was probably the only good meal of the day. Ham, turkey, and cheese is really good on bread XD . I took a nap, and discovered that; while I was z'ing, the rest of the kids explored the "promise land". To explain, the campground was all cactus'y and such. When they explored, they found the group campsite with no cacti, green grass, and even a small stream. I really didn't mind what they found, I had a good sleep.
Dinner was a fun time. I burnt my pizza :D . Serious, I put it too low under the way too many coals. luckly, there was left-over turkey left so I ate that. We had a campfire, did some skits, and went to sleep. Sunday was a pack up and go, as the rain began to fall. Good camp out, all and all, but needs to be more focused on not buring food -_- .
Here are some picks. I'll organize into albums the next time I post. http://s512.photobucket.com/albums/t324/jman2467/?start=0
So, that was my week before. My birthday is tomorrow, so expect me busy. BYES! :P
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"You know I have found out a few things about you, Sam."
"You have a good sense of humour, always smiling but very cynical"
"Sounds pretty good to me."
"Yeah I think so."
A conversation I had with my driving instructor. Hearing that makes me feel pretty good considering how emotional I can be at times. I gained my sense of humour over the years due to comedy shows and logical/rational thinking. To the point my humour makes me cynical to a lot of things around me. I rarely take ads seriously (Thanks Gruen Transfer) and during movies I constantly comment on the scene, acting and plot devices like I was a movie critic (thanks MST3k). I am completely missing the whole point of watching these things and I kinda wish sometimes I would just take something for what it is and didn't form a cynical opinion of it. As for the smiling part, I generally smile when i drive. Because I'm either nervous, amused or stressed. I can't help to smile when driving with my driving instructor, it is also funny and flattering when I f*** up something, remain smiling but more or less calm.
"Have you gone to that job agency in Cleveland? Maybe they have some useful information for you."
*Face palms and breathes heavily*
"Honestly if you think that there was information down there for me to grab don't you think I could be trying to get back into their books? When I signed up I wasn't a high needs individual. I was the second lowest level because you and Dad are earning a lot. Including the fact we have a roof over our head and no mortgage I can't get anything from Centrelink therefore I don't need as much help from them (employment agency) to get a job. All they could ever do for me is set a time for me to come down and search/apply for jobs that I have probably already applied for at home."
"Oh fantastic. It is just like that other employment agency."
"Mm. Oh yeah."
A conversation I had with my mum a while back. During Christmas i was really lazy and it got on mum's nerves real bad (worried and stressed her out as well). We had 2 conversations and it was all sorted out. This one was some time after it and it was on much better terms. I am feeling for a completely new career. Or at least something else for me to learn or do. My Diploma has done me squat because the state government is a dick and got rid of so many IT jobs across QLD. Federal Gov has done alright to make new jobs, Opposition (who is in control of my State gov) just got rid a whole bunch. IT people sacked so what are they doing? Looking for work, naturally. Making it harder and impossible for a starter like me to get anywhere. F*ck you Campbell Newman. You may be doing some good but you aren't doing any good for me. Career expo is being run this weekend as my Mum pointed out. I am surprisingly looking forward to it. I want to do something productive, not sit around feeling depressed, hopeless and useless.
"You're very cynical, Sam."
"You just gotta give people the benefit of the doubt and not judge so quickly."
"I'm only human"
"Doesn't give you an excuse. I remember when you were so blissfully happy and innocent. Always jumping into everything. I miss that."
I judge people quickly because they (seem) are morons, need help or are wrong. Besides if I don't judge then someone will judge me first. I don't care if I am wrong. Sure I'd be a bit embarrassed and apologetic innerly but it makes me attach to people more. Oh and don't all Christians judge people? Durr hurr we proclaim that God is the only one allowed to judge us yet we do it hurr hurr we mustn't be Christians. Go to hell you f*cking haters. I don't give you the sh*ts about the hell you believe in. I'm human as the next bloke, princess, bimbo, goof, twat and prat out there. The last bit my Mum said effected me because I felt horrible. I ain't the little boy she knew and it made me wish I was for her. I like to be aware of my existence and understand sarcasm. It does make me wish there was this innocence that we all would have and would never leave. I remember a good friend of mine saying he wished he had it. The innocence to be just happy and not understand the bad things of life. I get that, but it wouldn't be the life for me.
So I finally arrived in France today! As some of you know I'm taking part in the British Language Assistants scheme and I'll be working at a French school for 7 months with the aim to teach them a bit about the English language (God help them.) I don't start work until Monday but thought I'd write a blog about my first impressions etc .
The area where I am living seems very pretty and rural. It does however have a handy train station to the nearest big city which has everything possible. It is different to places that i'm used to where all the shops and facilities are together; whereas over here they seem to be very spread out. This could mean that clothes shopping will become my new form of exercise.
I have met all the language teachers in the school and most seem friendly although I doubt I shall remember many names. It was a bit awkward since they were expecting a boy to turn up due to a problem processing my application on their end so I had people asking who I was then giving me a sideways look but at least I know why now!
I am living on site with a girl from Bolivia who also seems lovely so far, despite a small matter of claiming the largest room for herself as well as all the storage space in the entire house. (The wardrobes and chests of drawers are in the corridor outside the rooms) The apartment is very spacious and good value for money at only 50 euros per month, however there are some drawbacks which I must resolve.
Firstly I've been unable to make the heating here work so far and the giant windows (you'll see when i put up pics) are single glazed so I'm rather worried about winter if it's cold now!! Secondly there's no Wifi so I'm sharing a connection wire with my flatmate which is in the living room. I'm guessing this will prove to be a problem if I want to use Skype. Since the apartment is on the college site there is also a ban on any unapproved websites which includes facebook and twitter. While I may not admit to being a social media addict I do like to keep in touch easily with my friends and family by sharing updates and photos especially when abroad.
I already feel homesick and I don't care if i'm a wimp haha. I think this will die down when i find a way to get onto facebook and get my phone working again so that i can talk to people!
That's all for now folks!
Bonne Nuit! xx
After a long reflection I still have no idea what I am. People often ask me ' are you religious?' when I can give no explanation because I don't like to use the word ' Dragon with people, a name that is known and a name that doesn't need an explanation. I feel alot for the Scandinavian/Celtic faith but that is not precisely for one hundred percent. The Oriental faith also is equivalence but also it's not entirely correct. I would like to have a name, a group to which I may belong because in the end, the word ' dragonkin' also isn't quite my thing. The Dragon is my companion, my follower and myself, Humans are my antithesis, my uncertain ally and myself and that is a bit bizarre to follow.
I see an animal as equivalent to a human, I eat much meat but I would eat the flesh of a man if needed. I am grateful to humans, in addition, they have saved my life in my first year of the Dragon (1988- 1989) but there are too many, they are annoying and vortices me my freedom to live, survive and die in a dignified way. Or another way to explain, humanity is my father, the Dragon is my spiritual mother and partner. What makes this faith so weird is that there is no morality attached on this, in fact I am free to do what I want to the most extreme things because good and evil does not exist for my Lord but there is for my father who has saved my life as a human being with heavy penalties and morals If I don't listen to them. My Lord is not there in flech so my father (humans) has the power over me, in other words, chains around my wrist and legs. This lets me languishing in a corner but accept to do what they want. A kind of ' wait until the death follows in hell, where the death just will bring me as a part of nature just like the dragon. My mouth can't speak about the Dragon only my fingers that can write about it. I fall stil if I wanted to explain this to others because my Dragon actually don't want such a communication, but I'm still a man, and that clashes with each other so darn often. My mother and partner agree with each other that others are not important to someone like me, just live for yourself. I don't like to say this in public but I still show an incredible hatred towards beings (not only people) because I'm not always sure if this second chance is something that I wish to have. life with so many hidden hatred is not fun, it's exhausting and painful and no dead dragon or living human will save me from that.
I'm looking for a name for this unusual belief but unfortunately the dictionary isn't large enough to give names to something like this. I think that this is seen more as a psychological belief but that is certainly not the case I'm sure. I have seen and felt too much evidence to ignore this longer.
Oohh, look at this! A new toy to mess around with! Hehehe.
OK, don't expect much from this little blog. It is literally just going to be somewhere that im going to write up about playing games (mostly Monster Hunter) with Tressen and Shadowfaze.
As such, I probably wont update it that often. When I do update, I'll do it in one of two formats. Either like this, or I'll do it in the form of a story from the character POV or something. It depends how I feel at the time, and if im in the mood to be creative.
I may update this later on tonight, or maybe tomorrow, if I remember to do so! Until then:
Today went rather well. I cleaned my living room for my mom and had my ipod going. This morning I mediated what a great way to start your day. Lol that rhymes. I also Finished 4 poems I am so happy about. I also talked to my very good and close friend. Tomorrow if it warm up I might actually sit by my river again and see if any new poems ideas flow through. It feels good to be out doors during the spring or anytime. I love be out more then inside. If it wasn't for the cold weather and what ever danger there is outdoors I would Sleep outdoors. Sometimes the moon is by my window. Lately with burning sage or incense I been having really peaceful sleep.
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I have a lil confession to make.
I'll start at the beginning.
Like 4 months ago, i was in the middle of internship, and I was a 'happy' stoner, with a good future and a clear mind.
Then on a friday, don't remember the exact date, he asked me "are you ready for your first psychedelic adventure".
After having seen how innocent weed was (compared to how its portrait and to alcohol) I was very much curious how this would go: Truffels (very similar to mushrooms).
So, i agreed, being sooo nervous and somewhat frightened (not enough to scare me off though), and they came over, and we took the truffels, tasted good, like walnuts :3.
After taking them i felt... somewhat calm as well, "whats done is done" and its just a matter of time for kicking in and kicking out.
So me and my 2 friends went over to some other guys, then to the forest nearby, was very nice, and apart from being a bit exited and nervous, I felt rather normal after 1 hour.
After 1.5 hours or so, things slowly flowed in, things seemed... brighter, more interesting, and more dynamic.
Shortly after, we moved to a different spot near the lake inside the forest, and we decided to smoke a joint.
As soon as we were done, our minds were blown... like, i felt like i started to see the RGB colors in all the individual colors, much like when looking at an old TV from reeaaaly close.
Also, I have never laughed as much as that day and night, it was awesome that time, everything was funny, everything was cool, and we had some strange, and cool things happening.
all n all, great night with plenty of weed, got lost for a bit when trying to go back (was a dark forrest then so yeah...), but we found our way back.
That was the happy end... or so it seemed.
A few days after that night, i went home from my intern, and raced trough the rain on my bike, however, i have... how do you say that... well undeveloped bronchitis.
So as a response to that physical stress, my bronchi constricted like crazy, so i garbed my inhaler and did 2 doses in my frustration over work and the weather... usually do only 1.... baaad move.
So a bit later, friend came over, that also was with the truffling day, we smoked a... properly packed joint, feeling good, we went to my room, and... i just collapsed.
I was scared, on the verge of hyperventilating, and everything was... well... not spinning, but, transforming, like photoshop you know?
Laid down on my bed, friend trying to help to no avail, and... thats very strange, usually "going bad" on pod (which is actually not really a thing) solves itself with some sweet water (juice or something) and rest.
This time... nothing worked, i was screwed up and actually laid on my bed trying to keep myself calm, to sleep perhaps, for like 2 hours. Didn't feel that long though.
So my friend eventually had to go home and well... he was worried, my mom was told by him, and she wasn't worried, she knew about me and pod, she knew about me taking 2 doses.
She put me in front of the TV downstairs. Distraction. and said that in time I'd go away. She was right... about that incident.
The coming days I still was dealing with the aftershocks (of what i thought was the weed), visual transformation, paranoia, restlessness, headache, and as they call it (very applicably) De-realization.
Luckily, spring holidays was just a few days away, and i got off from work till then, i got better, and things seemed alright again...
After the holidays, it was back to school for Exams, i felt alright before then, and went in with good hopes... and a bit of paranoia...
The exams... were a complete hell, those "aftershocks" were most intense when reading or typing on a white screen... which is most common for text or code editors.
4 days... 4 days that I Literaly woke up, went there, did what i could, went back, ate, and went to bed at 8 PM, to wake up again at 7 AM, still dead tired.
Needless to say, i was broken at the end, but soooooooo happy that it was over.... except, internship went on on friday... s***...
There was some... miscommunication with my internship about both my spring holidays, AND the exams... so my boss was pissed off after i had to blow him off for the thursday.
He wrote a mail, and i didn't check my mail, so i went to work friday, normal (except for the spacy bullshit AGAIN >.<) though i remember my boss saying like "hmmp, didn't expect to see you...", and he referred to his mail he send me.
I partly on purpose decided i'd check in the weekend. and i forgot to do so... baaaaad move... (again).
I went to work on monday, and checked my mail, to find a... somewhat of a threat mail from my boss about my absence. I was furious... as stressed, and tired, and so, i felt like s*** that day.
Went to the doctor on tuesday, asked about this all, and she gave me pills that lowers my bloodpressure and should help me focus. It... helped only a bit.
The rest of the week, I was struggling to go on, and like a blessing from god, my boss would be absent next week. Thank god, as there was barely work, so i could just relax.. i thought.
Even when just playing games or stuff at work, I still felt like s*** with an unstable world, and a displeased stomach.
I at least made it far enough, to make all the hours i had to be there (of the entire internship) And to get my grade.
After that, i went to work on tuesday of the last week, and... i actually just bailed, why?, cause my boss was an asshole that did not listen or care that his intern was fucked up. (though i had done good so far)
I haven't returned since, and my internship was given... welll like a "B".
All was right... if i passed my exams, which i luckily did... barely.
like after a month of struggling during my summer holidays, I went to the doctor again and... she said my Aftershocks... we like those of people who took mushrooms in the past...
It were the truffels after all... thank god that i knew what it was, finally i knew the how and why of it. she said that these effects were not harmful, only potentially frighting. things went a lot better after that.
She wanted me to take a blood test, took it, needed to take another one.... ok?, so got the form and saw they tested me for hepatitis... ohhh s***....
Took the test, was apparently better than last time: Negative. Seemed my liver was in unusual distress at the first test.
I rested the rest of the holidays i had, and did like NOTHING at all.
Lamest vacation ever... but honestly it made a HUGE difference to me.
I'm now feeling a lot better, cant help but still be a teeny tiny bit paranoid sometimes (like now, typing this long story on a white screen).
But otherwise, i'm good, smoked a joint few days ago after all that time and it went good, meaning... perhaps things can go back to normal.
I'll definitely not smoke as much as i did though, And I'll never do any psychedelics ever again.
But... I have a hard time, regretting something that taught me so much, as the experience, is irreplaceable, even it may seem trivial.
Conclusion : don't try truffels or mushrooms, lest you're prepared for the potential horror during... or after the trip.
I'm gonna go watch some furry and go to bed, thanks for anyone that read this. needed to get this off my chest.
When Zeke woke up, he let his eyes stay closed for a few minutes, feeling that he was lying in a bed which meant that this was not part of the dream that he just had. I finished it, he thought quietly to himself, a sense of achievement flooding through him. Smiling slightly, he opened his eyes to see the ceiling programmed for all of the football team records, circled in their respective team colors were the Belgons and the Starsers team records, along with Luke's and his brother Jerry's records. Good old Luke, thought Zeke. He always loved football. Zeke sat up slowly, looking around. Starsers and Belgons posters were plastered everywhere on the maroon wallpaper. There was a dresser just off to his right and the closet door was slightly open off to his left. Next to the dresser was a black laundry basket. It was currently half full. The carpet was thick and colored a dark gray. There was a wooden chest at the end of the bed. The door to the hallway was across the foot of the bed and wide open. Downstairs he heard his friends talking about the chill they had all just felt.
Suddenly, his dream and SÃ©maj's request came back to him. He immediately got out of bed, but grabbed the dresser as he swayed. Why was he so light-headed all of a sudden. He mustâ€™ve gotten up too fast. His body swaying caused the floor to creak below him. He heard his friends stop their conversation and, almost instantly, appear out of thin air at the foot of the bed.
â€œZeke?â€ said Jade, sounding concerned. â€œAre you okay?â€
â€œYeah, I think so, Jade,â€ said Zeke with a small smile. He felt a little dizzy still but he didn't want to worry them by complaining. He wasnâ€™t that type of guy. Besides, he thought. I can rest later. I have to do what SÃ©maj asked me to do.
â€œSit down, Zeke,â€ said Kiro with a mother-like tone in her voice. â€œYou are looking really pale. We don't want you fainting again and getting knocked out for another hour.â€
Zeke did as she requested, surprised. â€œI was out for an hour?â€ he said, feeling better as soon as he sat down, some of the color coming back to his face. The others nodded.
â€œSo, Zeke,â€ said Lucky quietly, speaking for the first time. â€œWhat happened? One minute you're standing there talking with us about the pendants. Then, the next thing we know, our pendants shine brighter than I've ever seen them before. When we could open our eyes, we saw you laying on the ground, knocked out cold. We hauled you up here then went downstairs to talk for a while. All of a sudden we all feel a weird chill and then hear the floor creak up here to tell us you were awake.â€
â€œDragonlyer's Cave,â€ muttered Zeke softly under his breath.
<Don't forget to get everyone who has a dragon-star pendant to Dragoon Lake in two daysâ€™ time. Before the full moon, Zeke, find the portal at Dragonlyer's Cave,> said SÃ©maj's voice in his head. Startled, Zeke looked around but all he could see was Jade's, Kiro's, and Luke's faces looking at him expectantly. Well that was slightly odd, he thought to himself. I wonder why they didnâ€™t hear it too.
Kiro cleared her throat, getting Zeke out of his thoughts. Haltingly, he told them all that had happened leaving out the detail that SÃ©maj was Jimmy's twin and the part about the ghosts. â€œNow I have until Wednesday to get everyone to Dragonlyer's Cave and into Markan,â€ he concluded. â€œSÃ©maj will meet us at Dragoon Lake.â€
â€œAre you sure you just didn't dream all of this, Zeke?â€ said a deep voice from the doorway, making them all jump. Zeke looked over in the direction of the doorway to see Luke's twin, Jerry, standing there with a puzzled look on his face.
Jerry looked a lot like Luke. They both had green eyes, dark brown hair and the same friendly smile. They both loved football as well and trained hard for it. Jerry, however, was different than Luke in a couple of ways, even though they were twins. Jerry's muscles showed more than Zeke's, making him look more buffed, and he was slightly taller than his slightly older twin. Lucky, on the other hand, was skinnier even though his muscles showed, making him look more like a runner than a football player.
â€œI was coming up the stairs when I heard your voice, Zeke,â€ explained Jerry. â€œWhen I heard you mention the pendants, I listened in because I have one too.â€ He pulled a maroon dragon-star pendant out from underneath his shirt. It was strung on a black cord like Jade's, Kiro's, and Luke's.
Luke looked surprised. â€œWhere'd you get that, Jerry?â€ he asked. â€œI don't ever remember you having that before.â€
â€œI bought it at a card game shop in town. It was the last one. Dad told me where he had gotten yours. I liked it, so I went and got my own,â€ answered Jerry, not looking at Luke as he added to Zeke, â€œSo, are you sure that this was a vision and not just a dream, Zeke? I mean, I've been around Dragonlyer's Cave. The people who live closer to it tell everyone not to go in it. Itâ€™s kind of a taboo place around those parts and a source of dares for most kids: how far they can go and how long they can stay in. Strange things happen around that place.â€
â€œYes, Jerry. I am sure,â€ replied Zeke with a note of finality in his voice. He was thinking back to the ghosts. Come to think of it, Jerryâ€™s was among them. Who else? If only he could remember... The dream was slipping from him, like water through his fingers. â€œIt was like a vision. I seem to be more sensitive to these pendants than you guys are. Now, let me ask you something. Have you been having any weird dreams lately?â€
Jerry blinked, surprised. â€œI have,â€ he answered. â€œThereâ€™s one with a greenish light that calls to me. Why do you ask, and how do you know that?â€
Lucky nodded. â€œI've been having the same dream,â€ he said.
â€œAs have I,â€ added Kiro. â€œWhat's this all about, Zeke?â€ Jade nodded in agreement.
â€œSÃ©maj was trying to reach all of you,â€ he said. â€œThe only one who didn't have that dream was me. I've been having the dream about the tunnel, but every time I got close, someone would wake me up. I've been having it for about four years. That's was this was about today. I'm most likely the only one he got through to.â€
â€œFour years, Zeke, really?â€ said Kiro. Zeke nodded. â€œWell, I should say that you are sensitive, Zeke. You didnâ€™t even have your pendant back then did you?â€
Zeke started, rather surprised, because what she said was true. He didnâ€™t have the pendant then. Why was this all happening to him. Wait, they kept mentioning Keith Rhiner. Could it be that his great-grandfather was involved in all of this somehow? No, that couldnâ€™t be true. His great-grandfather... disappeared in his early forties. No one knew how or why or even where he had gone, but his great-grandmother Sharla seemed to think it was okay. That it was for the best. Zeke had asked about his great-grandfather when he was only seven. His parents had been trying to make up again, so they had dropped him off with his great-grandmother while they had went out for dinner and a movie. His great-grandmother was always fun to be around. His grandmother Nacia usually put him to work out in her garden or on the farm.
Sharla loved to tell Zeke stories about heroes and pirates and bandits and other such kid stuff. That night when he was seven, he had asked his great-grandma to tell him a story about his great-grandfather. Whether it was everything that had happened the past few months or some after-effects from his vision from his pendant, he didnâ€™t know. He was remembering that night as if it were last night.
It was a cold, stormy night as Sharla had tucked him into bed with his favorite stuffed animal, a cheopard he had named Synthero. She had looked at him, her silver hair dancing in the fake firelight that flickered from a part of the wall. â€œCan you hear the tree spirits dancing on the gusty winds?â€ Sharla had asked him. â€œIf you listen carefully you can hear the sound of the chief banging on his big drum.â€
Zeke had listened, his eyes wide, Synthero clutched to his chest, and sure enough he had heard the rum-tum-tum tim-tum-tum that sounded like the little drums from his great-grandmaâ€™s story. He had nodded vigorously. His great-grandmother had smiled. She was about ninety then, it had only been about forty years since her husband had disappeared, but the toll it had taken on her seemed like it had been much longer. She had lost all of her teeth, so she wore dentures, but her wrinkled face and brown eyes were warm and kindly. She almost always smelled like lilies blooming. Zeke always loved to think of his great-grandma like that: a lily blooming in the moonlight. He thought that was how his great-grandfather saw her as all those years ago.
That was the night Zeke had decided to ask her about him. â€œHey, Grandma?â€ he had asked, his tone climbing upward at the end to hint at a question. â€œWhat was great-grandpa like? Did he get mad and leave like Dad threatens to do? Or is he off on some big adventure?â€
Sharla had blinked, obviously surprised at the question. â€œWhy would you think he was mad at me? Your great-grandfather is out there having the biggest adventure of his life,â€ she had replied with a twinkle in her eye. â€œWould you like to hear a story about him?â€ Zeke had nodded. â€œI have a tale about when he first came here.â€
â€œDid he come in a ship?â€ Zeke had asked. â€œLike a pirate or an astronaut or an explorer?â€
â€œNo,â€ Sharla had said, her voice tinged with laughter. â€œHe came through a doorway from another planet that is linked with ours.â€
â€œReally?â€ the little boyâ€™s voice was full of excitement as he held his toy closer. â€œWhat was its name?â€
â€œAre you going to let me tell the story?â€ she had said. He had nodded. â€œOne more thing,â€ she had added, her voice taking on a stern tone that she rarely had to use with him. It had surprised him more than anything, but Zeke had listened more closely to the words that followed. â€œYou must promise never to tell anyone this story or any other adventures I tell you about your great-grandfather, okay? These stories are more important than you may realize now, but you will in time. Promise me you wonâ€™t tell anyone.â€
Zeke had nodded, put an â€œXâ€ over his heart with his pointer finger then put up three fingers like a Cub Scout salute (three fingers up and held together) and answered, â€œCross my heart and hope to die; I will not tell anyone about these stories Grandma, I swear.â€ He even made Synthero swear too. â€œSee, Grandma? Even Synthero said he wonâ€™t tell either.â€
Suddenly, she was back to her old self. â€œLetâ€™s see, your great-grandpa Keith Rhiner came from a land called Markan, which lies out of reach from any boat or plane. He came through a magic portal thatâ€™s hidden not very far from here. No electronics will work on Markan or near the portal. Thatâ€™s what he told me. He brought with him eighteen necklaces. They were the prettiest things I ever saw,â€ she said. She had touched her hand to her heart then, as if remembering some far off memory. A few seconds later, she had snapped out of her reverie and continued. â€œEach one of these necklaces were unique, he said. Each had a different dragonâ€™s blood in them. He said they would save his world and ours if given to the right candidates. He told me that his world was in grave peril by a sickness and an evil black dragon.
After several months of being here, he said he would like to be with me. Within a year he confessed that he had instantly fallen in love with me the moment he saw me and that he wanted to stay with me.Time moves differently here than in Markan he told me. No matter how long we were together here, he would get back at the time he would be needed. We were wed and he told me about the pendants. Then we had your grandfather, Zeke.â€
Zeke had nodded. â€œWhat happened to him? Did he return home?â€
Sharla had smiled at him. â€œYes, he returned to Markan. He said he was needed again,â€ she had answered, a small tear forming in her eye. â€œI knew one day it would come, but that didnâ€™t make parting any easier.â€
â€œIs he having an adventure right now?â€ he had asked, so inquisitive as he held his cheopard close.
â€œI am sure he is, Zeke,â€ she had said. â€œMaybe one day you will too.â€
He had blinked in surprise, his eyes wide. â€œYou really think so?â€ When she had nodded, a grin lit up his face from ear to ear and he added, â€œIâ€™ll go to Markan and bring him back for you, Great-Grandma, I promise.â€
So intense were his eyes that Sharla had to chuckle. He was certain he would go and bring Keith back to her. Her eyes had twinkled as she answered, â€œIâ€™ll hold you to that promise, little man. Just come home safe too, you hear?â€
He answered her and swore just as he had when she told him to keep it a secret that he would. She had smiled and tucked him into bed. As she laid a good-night kiss on his forehead, he had asked what sort of adventure his great-grandfather was on then.
She had smiled and changed the programming on the walls to a jungle setting and wove her tale, her green pajamas blending in with the setting, gently lulling her little explorer to sleep.
But she had not seen his promise fulfilled. Sharla passed away at the age of ninety-seven in the hospital after a stroke. Just before she died, she gave fourteen year-old Zeke the gold dragon-star pendant which he currently wore. As she lay there in the white hospital bed, an IV in her arm, Zeke thought she had looked like an angel. Her white hair had shone like moonlight and somehow the doctors had allowed her to keep her perfume. She had asked for Zeke to come in alone. Meera told him to be brave for his great-grandma, so when the door opened, Zeke walked through with a smile and was instantly greeted with the smell of lilies.
â€œHi, Grandma,â€ he had said, trying to keep a smile on his face. He had seen that she looked like she was doing better and hoped she would make a full recovery. In his hand, he held a get-well card. It was about the size of a small poster and it had a picture of lilies blooming in the moonlight on the front that he had drawn. Inside, it had read: â€œGet well soon, Great-Grandma Sharla!â€ and it was signed by almost everyone at the school. Teachers, students, friends and family, all who knew Sharla was in the hospital had wrote their name or a little note. Sharla was well-known in the school. She had helped with the kindergarten as often as she was able. She held the highest purchases from the school fundraisers and donated everything she could. Everyone loved her. She even insisted they call her Great-Grandma Sharla. Zeke had read most of the notes out to her, pointing out a few particular names that he knew were personal friends of hers. Sharla was like her old self, smiling at some notes and names and laughing at others.
After what seemed like an hour of going through the get-well card, Sharla had him prop it up on the stand next to her. â€œI have something for you, Zeke,â€ she had said, smiling mysteriously as she always did on his birthday or on the gift exchange day.
He had blinked, surprised. â€œFor me? What is it?â€ he had asked.
She had answered, â€œClose your eyes and open your hand. No peeking.â€ She had caught him trying to glimpse at it from a sliver of his eyelids. He felt something cold slide onto his palm and a tingling sensation creep up his arm. Instantly whatever was cold in his hand became warm and he had heard her say, â€œOkay, Zeke, open your eyes.â€
Zeke did as he was told and there, in the palm of his hand, rested a pendant on a silver chain. It looked like a silver dragon claw. It was clutching a golden marble about an inch across. As he looked at the marble, the insides seemed to be swirling and pulsing with a strange light.
â€œHere, Zeke,â€ she had said. â€œI think your great-grandfather would have wanted you to have it. Always keep it on you whenever you can.â€
Zeke had smiled, awed by the gift. â€œThank-you. I will always treasure it,â€ he had answered.
She had yawned then. â€œI need my rest, my dear boy. Go back to your parents now and I will see you the next time you are here.â€
He had nodded and kissed his great-grandmaâ€™s forehead, but she was already asleep. She had looked peaceful, as if all the weight had left her shoulders. He knew she was flying with his great-grandfather again. She had told him stories about that too: flying on the wings of a dragon up into the clouds where humans were barely beginning to reach. Planes and jets flew, but the feeling of having your own wings, the wind in your hair, being able to look down and see the world, she told him, his great-grandpa said there was nothing else like it. Zeke had tucked her in carefully and left the room, not knowing that she wouldnâ€™t wake from her slumber again.
Suddenly, a snap of fingers in front of his face literally snapped Zeke from his memories. â€œZeke? Come in, Zeke,â€ Jade was saying.
â€œWhat? Sorry,â€ he answered. â€œI was just thinking. What were you saying?â€
â€œI was saying, fainting at the first sight of the four of them together, what are you going to do when there are more?â€ answered Kiro before Jade could respond.
Zeke shrugged. â€œI think this was a one-time thing,â€ he said. â€œSÃ©maj really needed to get through to somebody and I guess the barrier was weak at that point. I should be fine.â€
Jade cut in and asked Jerry, â€œWho else do you know that has a pendant?â€
â€œMiron, Cole, Marco, and Dave,â€ he answered. â€œThey showed me theirs when I showed them mine. Apparently, they got theirs and left about half an hour before I did.â€
â€œI think Sitka, Ivan, and Genryu have them,â€ said Zeke to Luke and Kiro. â€œSitka gave me a funny look that day I talked to Jade about it. I think Jimmy and Zach have them as well.â€ He wasn't telling them the whole truth, but he knew that they had to hurry and as long as they were convinced, then that was all he needed. He didn't want to have to explain the ghosts as well. â€œOkay,â€ he added, not letting them ponder on it for too long. He sounded like the leader of a search party. He had to stop getting involved in all of these leadership positions. â€œWe need everyone who has a dragon-star pendant to get to Dragonlyer's Cave on Wednesday. If you guys see the people we just named, ask them if they could come play paintball with us on that day around five P.M., okay? Also ask them if they know anyone else who has a dragon-star pendant. I don't want anybody left out.â€ They all nodded.
â€œWhat about you, Zeke?â€ asked Kiro suspiciously. â€œYou seemed to have left yourself out.â€
â€œI'm going to take another look through your book, Kiro,â€ he said. â€œMaybe there is something in there to explain why this is affecting me so much and what else we can do to prepare. I also just thought of something that I need to check on.â€
The others nodded although Kiro seemed unconvinced. â€œWell then,â€ she said. â€œI guess we'd better get moving. Wednesday is only two days away.â€
Zeke got up slowly and found that it was easy enough to stand without swaying around. He felt a lot better. â€œAlright then, I'll see you guys at five on Wednesday,â€ he said. When they nodded, he half-turned on the spot and vanished into thin air.
â€œWell,â€ said Jade after Zeke had gone. â€œAt least it looks like he recovered quickly.â€
Luke and Jerry nodded. Kiro however remained silent and looking after the way Zeke had gone, thinking privately, There's something he's not telling us.
â€œAre you okay, Kiro?â€ said Jerry. â€œYou are awfully quiet, even for you.â€
Kiro looked at Luke, Jerry, and Jade, who were all looking at her and blinked. â€œI'm fine, guys,â€ she said with a smile. â€œI was just thinking thatâ€™s all.â€
Jade nodded. â€œWell, I might as well go home,â€ she said. â€œI have some stuff to do if we are going to Dragonlyer's Cave on Wednesday. Hey, Kiro, why don't you come over tomorrow and we can talk for a bit? I have some things I need to talk to you about.â€
Kiro blinked, surprised, because Jade didn't usually invite her over. In fact, no one usually invited her over. The only reason her and Luke had been hanging out recently was because of the pendants. â€œSure, Jade,â€ she answered slowly, still surprised, â€œhow about we meet at three?â€ What could Jade want? Could she be having the same doubts as Kiro was about Zeke?
Jade nodded then waved good-bye to everyone and left in the same manner Zeke had. Kiro sat there thinking until a tap on her shoulder made her come back from her thoughts. Jerry and Luke were looking at her. â€œYeah?â€ she said.
â€œYou look a little preoccupied, Kiro. Is something on your mind?â€ asked Jerry. â€œLuke asked you a question twice.â€
â€œNo, I'm fine, guys,â€ she answered, a little untruthfully. â€œWhat did you ask me, Luke?â€
â€œI forgot,â€ he said slowly. â€œIf I remember it, I will let you know when I see you next.â€
Kiro nodded then said, â€œI should probably be getting back to my parents' house. We all know my dad doesn't like it when I go over to boys' houses for long.â€
Jerry nodded as Luke sighed softly. Kiro waved to Jerry as Luke led her out. When they had reached Kiro's bike, Luke looked at her. â€œKiro, what's really wrong?â€ he asked. â€œYou've been acting really strange since Zeke woke up.â€
â€œIt's nothing, Lucky,â€ she answered. â€œI'll be okay. I'll see you on Wednesday.â€
Luke sighed softly again, giving in because he knew how stubborn Kiro could be. â€œGoodbye, Kiro. Please be okay,â€ he said, waving as she hopped on her bike and rode out of sight on the three mile ride back to her house.
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