26 May, 2011

The School

One of my favourite short stories introduced to me by my english teacher Nancy Watt. The whole thing is  joke, you'll see.


The School

Well, we had all these children out planting trees, see, because we figured that...that was part of their education, to see how you know the root systems...and also the sense of responsibility, taking care of things, being individually responsible. You know what I mean. And the trees all died. They were orange trees. I don't know why they died, they just died. Something wrong with the soil possibly or maybe the stuff we got from the nursery wasn't the best. We complained about it. So we've got thirty kids there, each kid had his or her own little tree to plant, and we've got these thirty dead trees. All these kids looking at these little brown sticks. It was depressing.

It wouldn't have been so bad except that just a couple of weeks before the thing with the trees, the snakes all died. But I think that the snakes--well, the reason that the snakes kicked off was that...you remember, the boiler was shut off for four days because of the strike, and that was explicable. It was something you could explain to the kids because of the strike. I mean, none of their parents would let them cross the picket line and they knew there was a strike going on and what it meant. So when things got started up again and we found the snakes they weren't too disturbed.

With the herb gardens it was probably a case of overwatering, and at least now they know not to overwater. The children were very conscientious with the herb gardens and some of them probably...you know, slipped them a little extra water when we weren't looking. Or maybe...well, I don't like to think about sabotage, although it did occur to us. I mean, it was something that crossed our minds. We were thinking that way probably because before that the gerbils had died, and the white mice had died, and the salamander...well, now they know not to carry them around in plastic bags.

Of course we expected the tropical fish to die, that was no surprise. Those numbers, you look at them crooked and they're belly-up on the surface. But the lesson plan called for a tropical-fish input at that point, there was nothing we could do, it happens every year, you just have to hurry past it.

We weren't even supposed to have a puppy.

We weren't even supposed to have one, it was just a puppy the Murdoch girl found under a Gristede's truck one day and she was afraid the truck would run over it when the driver had finished making his delivery, so she stuck it in her knapsack and brought it to school with her. So we had this puppy. As soon as I saw the puppy I thought, Oh Christ, I bet it will live for about two weeks and then...And that's what it did. It wasn't supposed to be in the classroom at all, there's some kind of regulation about it, but you can't tell them they can't have a puppy when the puppy is already there, right in front of them, running around on the floor and yap yap yapping. They named it Edgar--that is, they named it after me. They had a lot of fun running after it and yelling "Here, Edgar! Nice Edgar!" Then they'd laugh like hell. They enjoyed the ambiguity. I enjoyed it myself. I don't mind being kidded. They made a little house for it in the supply closet and all that. I don't know what it died of. Distemper, I guess. It probably hadn't had any shots. I got it out of there before the kids got to school. I checked the supply closet each morning, routinely because I knew what was going to happen. I gave it to the custodian.

And then there was this Korean orphan that the class adopted through the Help the Children program, all the kids brought in a quarter a month, that was the idea. It was an unfortunate thing, the kid's name was Kim and maybe we adopted him too late or something. The cause of death was not stated in the letter we got, they suggested we adopt another child instead and sent us some interesting case histories, but we didn't have the heart. The class took it pretty hard, they began (I think, nobody ever said anything to me directly) to feel that maybe there was something wrong with the school. But I don't think there's anything wrong with the school, particularly, I've seen better and I've seen worse. It was just a run of bad luck. We had an extraordinary number of parents passing away, for instance. There were I think two heart attacks and two suicides, one drowning, and four killed together in a car accident. One stroke. And we had the usual heavy mortality rate among the grandparents, or maybe it was heavier this year, it seemed so. And finally the tragedy.

The tragedy occured when Matthew Wein and Tony Mavrogordo were playing over where they're excavating for the new federal office building. There were all these big wooden beams stacked, you know, at the edge of the excavation. There's a court case coming out of that, the parents are claiming that the beams were poorly stacked. I don't know what's true and what's not. It's been a strange year.

I forgot to mention Billy Brandt's father, who was knifed fatally when he grappled with a masked intruder in his home.

One day, we had a discussion in class. They asked me, where did they go? the trees, the salamander, the tropical fish, Edgar, the poppas and mommas, Matthew and Tony, where did they go? And I said, I don't know, I don't know. And they said, who knows? and I said, nobody knows. And they said, is death that which gives meaning to life? And I said, no, life is that which gives meaning to life. Then they said, but isn't death, considered such a fundamental datum, the means by which the taken-for-granted mundanity of the everyday may be transcended in the direction of--

I said, yes, maybe.

They said, we don't like it.

I said, that's sound.

They said, it's a bloody shame!

I said, it is.

They said, will you make love now with Helen (our teaching assistant) so that we can see how it is done? We know you like Helen.

I do like Helen but I said that I would not.

We've heard so much about it, they said, but we've never seen it.

I said I would be fired and that it was never, or almost never, done as a demonstration. Helen looked out of the window.

They said, please, please make love with Helen, we require an assertion of value, we are frightened.

I said that they shouldn't be frightened (although I am often frightened) and that there was value everywhere. Helen came and embraced me. I kissed her a few times on the brow. We held each other. The children were excited. Then there was a knock on the door. I opened the door, and the new gerbil walked in. The children cheered wildly.

23 May, 2011

Writing Challenge: UNMASKED - The Scrawl

"It takes a good writer to convey an emotion; it takes a great writer to convey that emotion without the freedom of continual pages."

The Challenge

With so many “community based challenges” for things ranging from making games, writing stories, to contributing in other creative outlets, I have decided that I need to be a part of it in my own way; to contribute to and initiate as many writing challenges as possible. It's just such a good idea.

There are so many reasons why people to participate in these. I have compiled a list of the top reasons people like participating in these challenges and this will hopefully spark some people to go out and get involved and make them want to participate.

Here are my top 5:

1.      To feel like part of a community

2.      To practice and make time for their craft

3.      To be challenged outside their usual box and comfort zone

4.      To learn from and interact with others with the same interests

5.      To have their work viewed by many in the industry for future opportunities

Here are the focal points of my writing challenge:

1.      It has to somehow include the community

2.      Will allow writers from all levels to participate with as much or as little time as they have

3.      Will revolve around 1 page to 1 thousand words (3 pages), can be more

4.      Content will change drastically each time: May range anywhere from a word, a genre, an end, beginning, or middle of a story, names, or in the view of a stereotypical person.

I wanted something that everyone can participate in. Sometimes the requirements can make people feel excluded if they don’t have the resources or time available to them. If you have 20 minutes of free time or 2 hours, I wanted everyone to feel like they can participate no matter their time constraints. This way they can focus on making a short entry that allows them to creatively take the content guides into their own hands to come up with something entirely their own.

The Name

The names are also tricky with things like this. You want something catchy, but relevant etc. I came up with a few but then settled on The Scrawl.

I love the word “scrawl” because it connotes the idea of writing concise or rough ideas which always end up being useful. Also this ties in with my idea of “Do it. Do it all. Do it now” which is my writing mantra (#3) I’ve used since I was a kid: Write it all out, don’t think about it, get all your ideas down and then go back and fix it. What you get originally is a raw unedited view of your writing style, without the fancy editing, rewrites or length allotment to bolster your initial idea.

Of course I would love if you did edit it, but I like the idea of using 1-3 pages (or 1000 words) because it doesn’t give you enough time to gradually create a plot line, action or ending. You have to bang it all out, get all your ideas out there, and make it work in a smaller scale.
If you're interested please RT and share this link to help spread the word. The first Scrawl to be announced soon.

20 May, 2011

My Viewers Are Perverts

I know that I did this once before but I thought I'd share it again. Just looked up my Google search keywords. Basically this means, the list below are the actual things someone types into Google before directly clicking onto a link for my site. Below are the newest examples from today:

The Rapture Playlist

Everyone likes ACDC, The Hip, Britney Spears (shut up liar I know you do), but have you ever wondered to yourself: “Geez Clover, there must be something out there besides really, really awesome popular anthems like ‘Shook me All Night Long’ and ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ (I'm not a hater, I fucking love these songs)!”

You’re in luck, asshole. I happen to have a ton of really awesome shit for your audio ear-pleasure that isn’t all playing on some cookie cutter Top 40 iTunes radio station. This is the kinda stuff you will love to have on your iPod while spending fiery eternity in hell, shoveling infinite mountains of burning corpses and being whipped by headless horsemen/women... At least you can rock out.

It’s a mix of genres, and a lot of it is less main stream but some of the songs are now getting more popular. These are a list of my favourite songs I’ve downloaded in the past year (some are old but I did not re-find them until recently):

Adele – Someone Like You

Adele – Turning Tables

Adele – Rolling in the Deep

Aggro Santos – Candy

Akon (Feat. MJ) – Hold My Hand

Black Eyed Peas (Feat. Jack Johnson) – Gone Going

Brandi Carlile – The Story

Brandon Flowers – Crossfire

Cher – You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me

Christina Aguilera – You Lost Me

Cutty Ranks – 20 Inch

Donkeyboy – Ambitions

Iggy Pop – The Passenger

Jennifer Hudson – I Remember Me

Jon Sebastian – I Get Wet (Andrew WK cover)

Kid Cudi – Erase Me

Lady Gaga – The Edge of Glory

Lady Gaga – Hair

Luba – Every Time I See Your Picture

Martin Solveig (Feat. Dragonette) – Hello

Love Inc. - You’re a Superstar

Matisse – Better Than Her

Mighty Mighty Bosstones – The Impression That I get

Mumford and Sons – Sigh No More

Mumford and Sons – The Cave

Mumford and Sons – Little Lion Man

Mumford and Sons  - Awake My Soul

Natalia Kills – Mirrors

Natasha Bedingfield – Strip Me

The New Pornographers – Moves

The Pixies – Where is My Mind

Radiohead – Idioteque

Ray LaMontagne – Old Before Your Time

Ray LaMontagne – Hannah

Ray LaMontagne – You Are The Best Thing

Robyn – Hang With Me

Snoop Dog – Sweat

Alex Gaudio – I'm in Love

Jeremy Fisher – Cigarette

Marc Cohn – One Safe Place

Daft Punk  - Digital Love

The Sounds – Ego

Mika – Grace Kelly

Empire of the Sun - Walking on A Dream

Keri Hilson – Turn My Swag On

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - Home

Eric Hutchenson - Rock and Roll

14 May, 2011

Things I Still Don't Understand

Things I still don’t understand as a 25 year old

I am on the cusp of my 25th birthday, and I can’t help but look back at my previous birthdays and reminisce of the sweet nostalgia of orange Crush soda, outrageously lavish trips downtown (in more recent years), and laser tag themed parties.

I remember when a birthday was to be celebrated and not feared, with each student in your class getting giddy as they talked about your birthday party and what kind of snacks would be in your loot bag. As you grew, the parties were more based around alcohol and impressing boys with your uncanny ability to hold down your 3 blueberry coolers until you could safety navigate to a bathroom and throw up.

In your 20’s and during university your birthday was normally a spectacle: you shopped for the perfect birthday outfit, spent a month’s budget on shoes, accessories, maybe a hotel, and made a facebook group about where you were going for it. You went out for dinner and predrank all evening, most of the time too sloshed to even go out but you went anyway where you fought against your gag reflex and called every girl who painted on a smaller dress than you a bitch. You wanted to take your picture with the girls you met in the bathroom, dancing with guys who you later found out were super creepy, and paid crazy prices for beer downtown Toronto while trying not to get grabbed by more than 10 men.

As you get older things start to change and the way you look at things change with it. With some girls (and guys), this comes later in life if at all, but the ones who are maturing will notice that once you hit a certain age you are suddenly well aware of, well, that age. You know the exact time in your life that super tight, super short mini denim cut-off skirt was worn (hopefully for the last time), and you understand that although it got tons of guys flock to you, you shouldn’t be wearing it now. 18 fine – 25 no. If you have to pull a dress down all night to make sure it covers your ass or your front bits, you shouldn’t be wearing it. It’s a sad, sad day to realize these things but when you do, you know it’s time to say good bye to your sheer white halter top that let your boobs defy physics, or any sort of garment where you can see your bra underneath it.

I have put together the Top 5 list of things that at 25 I still don’t understand. And something tells me I’ll probably never understand.

1.      I have lived in my house for 20 years. When you open the garage door from my house to the garage, there are two buttons for the last two garage doors. I still, to this day, get confused at which button opens up the last door, and which button opens the middle door. 90% of the time I press the wrong button and will have to close it and try the other one. Then the next day I’ll purposely press the opposite button and find out – oh wait – that was the same button.

2.      Tim Horton’s Roll up the Rim to Win. Every time someone explains the “ratios” and how it works I still don’t understand. The signage says “1 in 3 cups is a winner!”, apparently in math terms this means not every 3 cups bought, every 3 cups MADE. Which I still don’t understand.

3.      I get on the train in the morning at the second stop – no one is on the train. The whole car is empty aside from maybe 3 of us. You sit down beside me, directly beside me, when no one else is around. This can also be applied to: Parking spots, the bus, etc. There is a whole parking lot empty and you park beside me. Why do you do that? Note: These people are normally “loud talkers”, “eaters”, or “annoying coughers/sneezers”.

4.      When you sit somewhere you are entitled to that space. If you are not using all of that space, someone else normally takes it. IE: Just because you don’t take up the WHOLE seat on the train/bus/TTC, someone else puts their bag beside you/has their ass encroach past te seat boundary line into yours/feels the need to stretch their legs into your seat so they can put they feet under you chair etc. Just because I am not using it, doesn’t mean you are allowed to usurp the space I am entitled to. I like a buffer, sometimes I’ll purposely leave space so I won’t have to feel someone else’s thighs rub against mine like they are trying to start a fire. I left a space there so I WOULDN’T have to do that, not so you can spread your ass all over the space.

5.      When people walk why they can’t just walk in a straight line. At the mall, walking down the road, anywhere, people walk and then randomly it’s like they gravitate to whichever way you were walking to get around them. It’s like you’re trapped on the sidewalk with a drunk person, or a row of people that form an unbreakable metal link, like some kind of ionic bond that whatever you do you cant not penetrate the line up they have, or get around them without walking on the road. Needless to say these people are never aware other people are behind them, and will almost purposely meander to cut you off as you are walking straight. DO YOU NOT HAVE PERIPHERAL VISION, ASS?

13 May, 2011

Terribad Movie Posters

Ok so decided to make use of my tablet again but instead of doing comic I wanted to do funny, rudely drawn famous movie posters. So I started (in the order you see them) and as I went somehow I managed to spend more and more time on them, and I ended up starting with a hilariously bad movie poster then ended up somewhat alright. ...But that wasn't my original idea.

So as long as you know that they were supposed to be terribad drawings maybe the first few will make you laugh.To be honest I did not expect the last one to come out like that.

Also I think I should mention I drew of of them myself, no tracing, BUT I did have the original movie poster open as I was eyeballing. I could never draw without a reference.... Maybe next time if I continue with Terribad Movie Posters, next time I won't reference, I''ll just draw from memory, and then they will be very very terribad indeed.

You can click on them to make them their original size.

Evolutionary Hiccup

Has anyone ever wondered why we can't/refuse to be friends with someone who we are in indirect competition with? Ex: Two actresses as friends, two girls in general, two striving football players going for the same spot, etc.

We all do it. You may think you don't but you do. Two people who should by all rights be friends- same mutual friends, same interests, cool people- you end up resenting them for being successful OR more successful than you. You get the "Why them and not me?" mindset.

It's the reason why girls talk behind each others backs, why girls get a bad rap for being bad friends, why guys get into fights, why you don't get along with someone but you don't know why, why you secretly are jealous of someone else - Indirect competition creates resentment. It's true, we've all been there. You may be happy for the other person, but inside it's "why not me".


11 May, 2011

Legit iPad 2 Review Writen Version

So I made a YouTube video with the same material but I thought I'd put it in written form since I do a lot better job not embarassing myself that way.

Without further adieu:

iPad 2 review from someone who doesn’t own an iPad 2 (or the first one), but I feel like I'm qualified to review it because I used one once for 2 minutes
Here are the reasons everyone should drop what they’re doing right now and empty their wallet and soul for this iPad 2:

1.      Some people are haters because the Blackberry Playbook is coming out and people are saying it’s going to be better than the iPad because it has Flash, and Adobe doesn’t HATE them. Here’s what I think: who needs flash?! I prefer not looking at webpages made before 2005, they were the best kind. 80% of webpages use flash? I can use the loading time to do something like read War and Peace.

2.      At the lowest price point of $579 USD, you can get all 16 gbs of sweet, sweet wifi hard drive space. Hope you don’t like storing things!

3.      For $579 you can get a laptop with more than 12 times the hard drive space and features, but then how will other people know that you’re better than them if you don’t have an iPad 2?

4.      With no USB ports or SD reader, you’ll never have pesky friends to ask to borrow it to connect their camera or… anything else that was made after 1999

5.      Don’t forget about the removable battery! Wait.. what?

6.      Buying technology that has wifi only is a great way to give Steve Jobs a new gold mansion. You bought the one with 3G? Awesome, I love when 4G is out but the product you buy is only in 3G!

7.      People say that the iPad is like a big iPod. NO WAY, I have an ipod… It’s not NEARLY as big as the iPad, which makes it good for seeing things, that were slightly smaller than before on the iPod

8.      The iPad 2 can do basically everything a personal computer can do. Can it run games? Hell ya it can… Angry Birds! Can it

9.      iPad 2 uses a VGA camera on the front! That’s so awesome, my first phone 10 years ago also had a VGA camera!

10.  You don’t have to worry about spies breaking into your iPad 2 and hacking it for access to your retina display because it doesn’t have one! But my iPod does

08 May, 2011

A Normal Wish - A Short Story

Lukat Sharp was never deemed likeable by the other students. Every day he saw the yellow school bus pull up to his house, and he dreaded the day ahead, passing rows of students throwing things at him and laughing as he walked to find a seat. They called him names and stole his supplies; one time they set fire to his graduation cloak, telling him that he wasn’t smart enough to have even graduated, let alone accepted to one of the finest schools for their kind.
When Lukat’s mother met with her Syndicate every Monday, the women would all tsk and ask her if Lukat would still be able to take over his father’s business one day – if he would be able to handle it –  as everyone knows how much skill it takes to breed and raise dragons. Mrs. Sharp would assure the women that Lukat was a smart boy, and if he wanted to do something he would be able to do it. The women always sensed the hesitation in her voice. Lukat’s father tried countless times to teach him about the dragons; how they were bred, how to care for them in their shells, how to assert dominance so they would listen, but Lukat never wanted to focus. He would rather be outside with his staff, wandering the forest and collecting herbs, leaving his father as the sole caregiver of the dozens of species they had.

The truth was Lukat was never very good at remembering spells or lessons. His teachers would continue to pass him due to the fact his mother was a Maven; one of the most powerful spell casters in the country. And his father was a member of the Good Council, which oversaw the rise and maintenance of the Runic Militia. Lukat felt that his parent’s pushed him too much to follow in their footsteps, when all he wanted to do was go to regular school and be in a regular grade where no one would judge him on his inability to perform magic, know which dragons were poisonous, and which species of Nymph could drown you from the inside out.

He didn’t care about magic or the Runic Army, he just wanted to be normal like the other kids he saw on television; the ones who drove cars and didn’t teleport, dated human girls not Kitsune or Harpies, and who had a dog instead of a basilisk. He hated the fact he lived in a gated State where the Others - or Zoets - couldn’t come inside, making a life outside his own impossible.

Lukat graduated on his parent’s graces last July, and started at the Academy for the Numinous a month ago in September. He was in his Elemental Control class when he saw her. She was the most beautiful vision of perfection he had ever seen - her blonde hair rippled down her shoulders and arms in soft waves, and her green eyes glowed like nothing he’d ever seen before – he needed to know her. When the attendance sheet went around later that day he saw that her name was Tyrin, and his heart galloped in his chest whenever she looked his way. He would spend the whole class looking ahead but focusing on her in his periphery, watching her doodle or jot notes down. Most of the students in his class were noticeable classes; almost everyone could be distinguished from their abilities. There were a few Witches, a Wizard or two, Fairies and Trolls; you could see from the colour of the Homeroom binder what species everyone was. He was considered a Trainer, majority of DNA from his father’s kind, and his binder was Maroon. In the course of his life Lukat had seen every colour associated with about a hundred species; his mother was Mauve, Naga’s were Light Blue, Warlock’s got Olive, Bright Indigo was for Ogres, and dark Indigo was for Trolls. But when he glanced down at Tyrin’s binder and it was a bright Emerald, his heart froze – what could she possible be? He studied her face in stolen glances; she had no determining physical factors, no wings, she was average size – nothing to possibly categorize her.

When class ended Lukat ran to the library and gasping, asked the Librarian what the Emerald species was. His stomach dropped when she told him he should know better than to ask a question like that, it was forbidden to divulge or talk about class colours of students outside of their homeroom, as the school made an effort to keep some species information private for security reasons.

The next day Lukat decided to follow Tyrin to her Homeroom, to see who else had an Emerald class, and to see if he could figure out what she was. He crept behind her as she walked gracefully, stopping to pretend to tie his shoe or look at a bulletin board flyer when she turned around. He was a few paces behind her as she got to her door he didn’t recognize and slipped inside. He slowly walked by the room and peered in the little window. The room was a pale green; the walls were devoid of many common things found in most homerooms: Posters of their species, class-specific information, etc. The room had multiple desks and a plain wooden table where a teacher sat. The teacher - also devoid of any recognizable attributes – sat in a simple pink dress at the table, talking to Tyrin.

The next day at his locker, Lukat felt a tap on his shoulder; he turned around expecting to find a bully when he saw her. She was an absolute dream; a light blue sweater with a white skirt, her golden hair in a loose braid down the side of her head. His chest thundered as she asked him if he knew where a specific room was, explaining she had just moved with her parents and had started the semester a little late. Lukat took her all the way across the campus to another bare room, and even waited with her until her teacher arrived. He was 25 minutes late for his next class but he didn’t care, she was the most amazing thing he had ever seen. It was then Lukat decided he needed to impress Tyrin, and step up to do something amazing.

That night Lukat locked himself in his room and thought about his plan. Tyrin obviously was some sort of class deity, being the only one of her kind in the school, and this made Lukat want to do something to show her he was gifted in his class – even though he wasn’t. He would change, he had to, and it was going to start today.

Over the next few days Lukat popped in and out of the Dragon Roost, surveying the Dragons and trying to remember which ones did what. They were all in stalls, similar to horses, with some species in metal cages or plastic enclosures. Lukat thought to himself that these Dragon’s must do something special enough that they had to be kept in confinement and made a mental note. He wandered up the stable to the hatchery where he looked inside the glass. Rows of eggs lay in straw, some on pillows, and some in their own metal cages. The eggs were all different colours; yellowed cards stapled to the wood below had the species name scrawled in his father’s handwriting. More mental notes.

One night after dinner Lukat told his dad he wanted to learn more about the dragons, and he wanted to help him with the eggs. Mr. Sharp was overjoyed, and his mother was delighted. Every day before school his father would bring him into the stable and go over the types of dragon, their abilities, and what kind of egg it laid. They opened a door on the far side of the stable that lead to a nursery, where about a dozen dragons lay in separate stalls; some open, some caged, some with metal shackles on their necks chained to the ground.

After his father gave him a mini lesson, Lukat would go to school and chat with Tyrin – they were becoming fast friends and Lukat was worried that he was running out of time to impress her before some other males did. He was so preoccupied with coming up with a plan he never told her how he felt, for fear he wasn’t important enough yet, and would be rejected.

After school his father would take him back into the stables and have Lukat help him with the delivery of the eggs, letting him count the ones born and put them into the hatchery. One day an expecting red dragon laid a white egg with black spots, when his father saw this he frowned and told Lukat to destroy the egg. He explained that he was experimenting with hybrids, and he had taken DNA from two dragons that would not mate naturally and placed them in a surrogate body, that of the red dragon. He had been doing this for some time and the white eggs it normally laid were male, and the white egg with the black spots was female. Because of the two normally quarantined species he experimented with, females were dangerous let survive as they would take the position of Matriarch, which were impossible to domesticate. His father had been destroying the female eggs, as there was too great of a chance the Matriarch would start a mutiny and endanger the roost and their family, or god forbid escape.

Lukat took the egg to the edge of the river with instructions to throw it in, to let it sink to the bottom so the dragon would drown when it hatched, if it hatched at all. He held the warm egg in his hands, and he stood there, arms outstretched with the sound of his own breathing overshadowing the sound of the rushing water. As he stared at it, the wheels in his head started turning. He would break and domesticate the Matriarch, and everyone at school, the Council, Syndicate, and his family would praise him and he would finally become proven in his class enough to feel worthy of Tyrin’s attention. He ran into the forest and found the perfect clearing far enough away from the house no one would ever be that far to risk his plan. An old tree trunk lay strewn on the forest floor, hollow in the middle, half submerged in the soil. Lukat carefully placed the egg inside the hollow and built around it with fibres from plants, soil, leaves and small twigs to insulate it.

Over the course of the next few weeks, Lukat helped his father with the birthing and storage of the eggs, fudging the numbers so he could take more eggs unnoticed into the forest. His plan was to create his own Dragon fleet, with the Matriarch as his pet. He took a few dragon eggs from each breed when he could, carefully picking a few from each species and rolling the last of them inside the hollow tree trunk with his Matriarch, spending his time daydreaming of Tyrin instead of listening to his father’s lessons. He estimated he would have about a month’s worth of time before the eggs hatched, and he would spend the remaining time constructing some sort of metal shackle for the Matriarch.

Then one day Lukat returned to the forest to find the hollow log cracked down the middle, opened wide with remnants of shell scattered around the forest bed. His heart beat in his chest as he looked around to see about 7 multi coloured dragons the size of Great Danes. They were hopping around fallen logs and peering out at him from behind the foliage. He looked around to see a significantly larger dragon, silver in colour with bright orange eyes perched on the side of the split log. Her head cocked to one side as she studied him. He stood, wide-eyed and unsure in front of her. He wondered how long they’ve been hatched for or how fast they grew. He was nervous now, second guessing the ability to control them, not being there for their birth and establishing dominance especially with the Matriarch hatching first. He was unprepared to deal with them at this size, he only had one shackle. He decided at the very least to tie the Matriarch down, he could come back after and shackle the rest.

The Matriarch chirped and bent down inside the split log and was chewing something. Lukat stopped in his tracks and watched as her head emerged once again with her snout bloodied. He carefully sidestepped, letting the other dragons hop away from him, until he could see down the log. Inside was the carcass remains of a male stag. His heart thundered, as he was suddenly very aware a pack of dragons in their infancy took down a grown deer. The more this thought went through his mind the more he was determined to tie her down first. He sidestepped back the other way, drawing closer to her as she snapped pieces of the deer in her mouth, one eye on him as he moved towards her. She let him come up in front of him and look her in the eye. Lukat remembered something about dominating a dragon by challenging them, and at this point in time he wished he paid more attention.

She chirped again and looked at him standing in front of her. The chorus of chirping from the other dragons silenced, as they watched. This was it; if he was able to shackle her then the others would allow him to lead. He had the neck clamp open and held it with both hands, slowly going for her neck; his blood was hammering through his veins as he could feel her nostrils blow hot on his skin. In a flash he lunched forward steadily and clicked and slid the bolt in place, successfully having her by the neck. Relief washed over him, and she bent down to grab another mouthful, barely taking notice of this. Lukat had the other end of chain in his hand, headed over to a large tree where he could fasten her to for now. Luckily the chain was long enough from where she perched to the trunk, that Lukat could clamp the chain around the tree without tugging on it. She was successfully contained – for now. He would run back to the roost later this week to grab more shackles and to figure out a plan, but for now the other dragons wouldn’t leave their “nest” or their Matriarch, so he was safe for the time being.

Lukat attended school as usual that week, being with Tyrin, watching the other males fight for her attention. In the back of his mind he wasn’t worried; he has successfully shackled a Matriarch, and she let him. He would soon be able to tell her and everyone would know he wasn’t a loser anymore, he was worthy of his colour and class. After this, he would never have to showcase anymore magic, never have to prove himself again, and he would be free to live a normal life – maybe even move to a Zoetic area and live with Others. He would have shown Tyrin he was important, and she would be so impressed she wouldn’t care if he wanted to be normal. It was a great plan.

The next week Lukat snuck a few more chains from the roost and went into the forest, and when he got to the clearing he stood, horrified. On the ground lay half eaten dragon corpses, the forest floor was soaked in blood, tattered wings and body parts lay among the bushes and tree stumps. The Matriarch was sitting – still chained – on the log once again, staring casually at the massacre before her. Lukat glanced to his right and saw a blue dragon hiding just out of reach of the Matriarch’s chain, and a yellow dragon beside it; these were the last the Matriarch had not been able to reach. Lukat just realized that with the Matriarch chained, she wouldn’t be able to hunt for food – as she must have been the one who took down the stag – and the rest of the dragons relied on her for their meals. With her being chained, the only food source was the flock of dragons, which she killed off one by one.

Lukat didn’t know what to do. She had almost doubled in size over the last week, growing exponentially compared to the two dragons left. Her neck shackle was now pressing into her neck, now too small for her massive growth - he would have to change it to one of the ones he carried. He opened a new one and padded softly to where she sat, her head moving slightly to follow him. His hands shook as he extended his arms, gradually leaning into her to clasp a new one on her. He was almost there as his foot stepped on a small twig and the crack echoed through the trees. Her head snapped to face him, inches away from his nose, and she let out a piercing shriek. Lukat’s heart stopped as he dropped the shackle and stumbled backwards, aiming to run out of the chain’s reach. She leaped off the log and sprinted after him, letting out cries that resonated in his ears.

He rushed past the reach of the chain as he whipped around to see her get snapped backwards, back inside her reach and land on the floor with a sickening thud – a few hundred pounds landing at once. She got up and glared at him with her chain pulling as tight as possible as the metal was tested against this giant beast, the links straining as she leaned her weight towards him. She backed up and Lukat could tell she was trying to get her wings open, as normally the wings aren’t developed enough to open or support a dragon’s weight so early. Her wings shot open and spanned the length of a modern driveway, more than 4 times her body size. The wings started to pump, while Lukat stared in amazement as the Matriarch was lifted off of the ground, her wings like blades slicing twigs and branches off the trees in her path. The force of the wings made him fall back, as he sat in shock watching her straining the chain now flying above him. She screeched as the continual power of her wings started to crack the tree trunk where her chain was rooted, and Lukat watched as the tree moaned and cracked as the chain ripped right through the bark and she lunged at him. Lukat could feel nipping and biting as she toyed with him, while the slow timid footsteps of two more dragons came and stood over him watching, waiting for the word they could participate.

The game ended soon after that; the dragons were hungry. The snapped and tore at his flesh, spilling his blood, while his screams echoed like the snap of a simple twig. All that flashed through his mind was Tyrin and how she’d never know he did this for her, to impress her, to prove he could be just as great as whatever she was.

No one found the three dragons after that. Although every once in a while the door on Mr. Sharp’s roost would be open, and an egg or two would be missing. The school was told what happened, and while most of students didn’t care, one of them did. And every day after that she tried to escape the attention of very powerful and talented men; Knights, Shape shifters, Warlocks and others, while she walked to her bare green room, sat with her Emerald teacher, and dreamed about the day she would again meet someone who wanted to be normal, as she was.

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