The Apprentice

The monochrome image shows the base of a tree with a hole, like a doorway, through its base...

Photo prompt: Sue Vincent

 

“It requires one step through.”

She squinted at the trunk. “I can see the other side.”

“So it would seem.”

She circled the tree and peeked through the opening. “It is as I said. I can see your legs.”

“I’m sure you believe you can.”

His calm voice infuriated her, but she knew that getting riled up will only lead to another long lesson in teaching her self-control.

She breathed.

He nodded.

She turned away from him and breathed again and then counted to ten for good measure. She could almost imagine him chuckling, though she knew he probably would not give her the satisfaction of seeing him react that way. Still, she could feel his amusement. It had been the hardest thing for her. His mild dismissing mockery. It was a constant reminder that she was a mere neophyte swimming furiously upstream in hope of getting even the smallest measure of trust, let alone recognition.

Why did he take her on when he had so little regard for her?

She circled the tree one more time. In part to move some of her agitation, but also to use the trunk as some shelter from her mentor’s scrutiny. She knew what her eyes told her: A hole in a tree, a gap she could toss a pebble through (not that she’d dare, now that he told her what it was), certainly of no size to fit a person.

She also knew that eyes can lie.

Still she resisted.

“Perhaps you aren’t ready.”

In spite of herself she felt her fingers clench. She hated when he did that. It made her feel like a child to be goaded.

Perhaps I am not, she retorted in her mind.

“Indeed, perhaps you’re not.”

Her eyes flew to meet his. She had suspected for some time that he could read her mind, and it felt like someone’s wandering hands rifling through her underwear drawer.

“I could read it in your eyes,” he noted, confirming rather than reassuring.

“What if I go through with it?” she sighed. She felt not so much resigned as she did defeated. He always got his way in the end. She could flail about and delay and prolong the path and belabor the process, but inevitably he got her to do things as he’d wanted. Half the time she thought his goal was to get her to where she would no longer resist him, while half the time she felt that the day she ceased rebelling would be the day he tell her that she’d failed completely.

Even now he did not answer till she asked again.

“You will see what there is for you to see.” He lifted his hand to indicate it was time for her to suspend all judgement, ignore her perceptions, and walk through the tree that he said was a portal.

“Is this the last test?” she fretted.

At that he chuckled. “It is never the last test …”

As she turned toward the tree she heard him add in a small voice that perhaps was made with mind, not larynx, “not for you, not for me.”

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto

 

Mr. Stormled’s Undoing

 

SPF 09-23-18 Fandango 2

Photo credit: Fandango

 

“How long does she have to be here?”

I’m sure Martin’s eyebrows would’ve reached the ceiling if they weren’t tied together in a unibrow.

“Mr. Stormled said, at least a month.”

Martin twisted one side of his mouth to bite the corner of his lip, and I knew there were many words he wanted to say and wasn’t. Afraid, perhaps. Many were. There was something about people – if they were people at all – who controlled such things.

Stewart Stormled didn’t frighten me, though. At least not more than most things did. I bent to straighten the small pillow.

“Making her comfortable?”

“Can’t hurt.”

“Dad won’t like this.”

Martin had a point, but Dad wasn’t in charge of this any more. He’d given up that right when he dabbled in what he shouldn’t and left us to clean his mess. Like always.

A moment trickled by.

“You think it’ll work?” For once, Martin’s voice was small.

I sighed and traced the handle of Mr. Stormled’s broken wicker chair. “Yeah. Or Mama will remain a branch forever. Julie says that’s what happened to Grandma … last time Dad tried to use magic.”

 

 

 

For the Sunday Photo Fiction challenge

Jujus

magic all around you

Photo: Samantha Mars

 

She dragged her book bag up the stairs.

Step, bang. Step, bang.

“It looks heavy,” I noted.

“Yeah,” she huffed and paused to frown in the direction of the patchwork of princesses on the backpack. I found myself wondering whether she was directing discontent at her idolized figures not using their royal powers to, at the very least, summon genie help to manage gravity.

“Want me to help carry the bag for you?” I offered.

She raised an eyebrow as if the mere thought of my definitely-not-princess hands handling her bag was beneath the Disney figures that dignified it.

The first-grader lugged the bag another step and stopped, perhaps to reconsider if there are times when commoners’ help is better than none at all. “Yeah,” she nodded.

I walked down to take the bag from her. The thing was heavy!

“What do you have in there?!” I asked. “Rocks?!”

“Aha,” she nodded sagely, skipped a few steps up ahead of me and swiveled her head to look back at me. “Come faster. I want to show you.”

I lifted the bag (and an eyebrow) in her direction and she giggled. “Sorry… Thanks.”

Once upstairs she indicated I was to clear space for whatever that was, then ceremoniously unzipped the top of her school bag and pulled out a succession of boulders. She placed each with care onto the desk. Several pounds of them.

I waited. The lot looked to me like run-of-the-mill New York stones: mostly dark gray schist dappled with a bit of quartz glint.

She leaned back in her chair and waited. Clearly a reaction was warranted.

“That’s a lot of rocks!” I managed.

“Not regular rocks,” she admonished. “These have magic.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah,” she proclaimed. “They have real magic. And gold, too. Inside.”

I tilted my head a bit to one side and nodded my interest.

She narrowed her eyes at me, weighing the merits of talking to grown ups about matters of magic and gold. “They can even make your wishes come true …”

“But … ” she regarded me before adding, a bit haughtily and perhaps to punish me for my lack of immediate awe, “you do have to believe in them, so they’ll only do the magic for me.”

 

 

For The Daily Post

Conjure Hope

Light IlyaRashap

Photo: Ilya Rashap

 

Conjure hope

From odd bits

Of despair.

Recall the magic

Of compassion

Summoned from thin air.

Remember how small light

Brightens

Everywhere.

 

 

For The Daily Post

Still Mystified

foggy paths

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

There is magic

In remaining

A bit

Stumped

By life.

Bewilderment may well

Reverberate

The strings of

Myth

Enough to generate

A perch for

Understanding.

 

 

For The Daily Post

A Sentry Till Spring

winter is closing in soon by Gunnar Gestur on Flickr

winter is closing in soon by Gunnar Gestur on Flickr

Find a moment of magic

where the air

meets the sky;

where the light

holds back darkness

and the sun

twirls a ribbon

to the frost

swimming by.

Find a moment of magic;

breathe a lungful

of peace.

Brace your heart

with warm knowing:

There will be light on

all winter

standing sentry

till spring.

Paths of Gold

Found on listofpictures.blogspot.com

path-in-autumn-reghin-romania Found on listofpictures.blogspot.com

There is gold

in the air

ruby wealth

underfoot.

There are showers

of ocher,

breathing fairies

and wonder,

sprinkling mist

on cool weather,

building paths of

true splendor.

There is magic

to tread through,

parting leaves

end of season,

mixed with dazzling hues

of the richness of nature

spilling forth

onto you.

Happy Flying!

tooth fairy
This is the sweetest story of an eight year old with a lost tooth and an obliging tooth fairy, but most of all, it is the story of a principal who understood, and did what he could.

And that, as we know, is a lovely whole lot!

Here is the story from Vancouver:

Principal Writes Letter to Tooth Fairy

A letter from a B.C. principal to the Tooth Fairy on behalf of an eight-year-old girl has gone viral after it was posted on the school’s Facebook page.

Avery Patchett is in Grade 3 at James Hill Elementary School in Langley and last week she lost her third tooth during class. Her teacher gave her a necklace to help her keep the tooth safe, but when she went outside at recess to play she tripped and fell, knocking the tooth into the dirt.

“When I was running up the stairs, maybe my tooth necklace was loose,” said Avery. She was upset that she had lost her tooth as she wanted to give it to the Tooth Fairy that night.

“When I tripped and lost it, I lost it forever,” she said. “I looked a couple of times and I still haven’t found it because the tooth looks like rocks.”

That is when her principal, Chris Wejr, stepped in to help.

Avery came to him crying about what had happened. “She was upset because she had lost her lost tooth and she was worried the Tooth Fairy wasn’t going to come,” said Wejr.

“I said ‘well, I’ve sent a letter to the Tooth Fairy before and it worked’ and I said ‘what do you think about us sitting down and writing up a formal letter with our logo on it and everything and giving that to the tooth fairy?’”

So they wrote a letter together and Avery took it home to give to the Tooth Fairy.

“She gave me five dollars,” she said.

tooth-fairy-letter

Wejr had previously helped a student at his former school through a similar experience and said it is important to help kids in this way and to share these stories. When he posted the letter on the school’s Facebook page, it immediately generated a huge response.

“It shows that people want to hear the positives,” he said. “There’s so many incredible caring moments that happen in schools every day and they don’t get shared, so we try to share the positive moments that happen at school once in a while.”

Avery’s mom Debbie said she did not expect this at all from her child’s principal. “I just thought, ‘wow, it’s a really nice gesture’,” she said.

“He took something really small and made this a memory for her that will last forever, and it is a small gesture, but it means everything,” she added. “We hear so many horrible stories every day, it’s nice to hear this story, this small little story, this little gesture.”

Wejr said the lesson here is that sometimes adults need to stop and make sure they show kids they care and help them in moments of distress.

“Sometimes the small things can really have a large impact if we just take the time,” he said.

© Shaw Media, 2014

 To see a video clip of the story, click here.