Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ulysses the Cat by Jessica Otto

Ulysses the Cat
by Jessica Otto

Stretched in the sunlight
crowning Calypso’s shore,
the black cat dozed,
small blue crabs drown
in a capsized silver urn; cream filled
and slopping beside him.

Why long for plump
tuna steak and cheesecake
crumbs when Apollo
scratches behind my ears
and no storm cloud
threatens olive saplings
with shaking? That
rural stone hearth
plucked from the heart
of the hill my paws pounded
daily is miles away.

Waves lick gingerly
against the pebbly shore
the lambent royal blue of
Penelope’s summer dress.
He is still listless as
he is lifted up by
roughened driftwood hands
and tossed back into the sea.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tom Cat by Jean Airey


By Jean Airey

He shifted his body on the thick blanket that covered the bottom of the metal cage. This wasn’t his bed. His bed was thick and soft and his bones didn’t hurt when he lay on it. SHE had brought it to him, giving him treats to encourage him to get on it. Scattering catnip on it and scratching him behind one ear as she persuaded him that this would make a good bed. As if he’d needed that. He knew a good bed when he saw one, but SHE had been trained well. He opened his eyes and looked out to the room where other cats were running and playing and, yes, even sleeping over by the window in the sun. He was shut in and couldn’t go out there. He shifted again, turning his back to the cage door and looking at the small litter box in the back of the cage.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do with him,” Rachel Woodman said. “He’s just not eating, and he’s lost three pounds in the last month.”

The small white-haired woman peered into the cage. There wasn’t a lot to see, just the back of a large black cat, studiously ignoring them. “How long have you had him?”

Rachel sighed, “Two months now.”

“How is he with other cats?” Henrietta asked.

“Hates them.”

He could feel a tickle of air movement around his whiskers and turned his head slightly to look out the front of the cage. Yes, there it was, that paw reaching from the cage above down into his definitely belonged to that ditsy white cat. She was the one who thought he would like having his tail bitten. He’d snarled at her and she’d danced away laughing, laughing at him. If SHE had been here SHE would have picked the scrawny thing up and given her a good scolding. He’d tried to do the same thing, but THEY’d stopped him. How would that cat ever learn good manners that way.

“See that darling little Angora kitten? She was just trying to play with him and he tried to bite her. Hello, sweetie,” Rachel reached into the cage and took the white cat out. “She’s going to get adopted without any trouble.”

“How old did you say he was?” Henrietta asked.

“We’re not sure.” Rachel put the kitten down on the floor where it ran off to play with the other cats. “His owner was a retired school teacher from up north. She moved down here about a year ago. Bought a place in one of the older trailer parks. She kept to herself, as far as we can tell; no one heard her talking about a cat. She was going to her car when she collapsed and died of a heart attack. It was only when the police went into her house that they found the cat.”

“No relatives?”

“A niece up north. She arranged for all her aunt’s things to be sold. Wasn’t interested in the cat and didn’t know anything about him. The woman must have owned him since he was a kitten, the police said there were pictures of him from a baby on all through the house.” She sighed. “The vet estimates he’s about thirteen years old.”

Where was SHE. SHE had never left him for this long. SHE always came for him. SHE always talked to him when she took him somewhere to stay. SHE took him to places where there were big beds and big litter boxes and toys for him to play with. Even if he didn’t want to play with the toys, SHE always had toys for him. SHE did not treat him this way. He was going to ignore her when SHE came back. Yes, indeed, ignore her for a long time.

“There aren’t very many people who want to adopt an old cat, and, face it Rachel, he is an old, ornery cat.” Henrietta frowned at the cage. Spoiled rotten cat too, she thought, but it was all the woman had had.

“I thought you might be able to find a foster home for him? I’m sure he’d be happier there. If he’d just start eating . . .”

Henrietta sighed again, “That’s a great idea, but our foster homes all have multiple animals of one kind or another. If he can’t get along with other cats, what would he do around dogs?”

He shifted again, exhaling a soft hiss of pain. There, moving on the other hip helped, but his back still ached. He almost missed Bailey. Yes, that old dog was good for keeping him warm. Knew his place too. When SHE had brought him to her home the huge shaggy mutt had come up to greet him, wagging his tail and wanting to lick him. He hadn’t allowed that, not until he was ready. It was all in the attitude, his mother had told him. She’d controlled three dogs that were much larger than Bailey, and he’d learned his lessons well. Bailey had been, well, helpful. Bailey had gone away too. Had SHE gone to get Bailey? He got up to look out of the cage. Maybe SHE would be coming in the door right now. He had to shake his head, the room looked fuzzy.

“Are you sure he doesn’t have an ear infection? He’s shaking his head.” Henrietta opened the cage door and took him out. He gave a startled yowl. She cuddled him to her chest and stroked his head, scratching and then looking into his ears. He started to purr.

That felt good. It wasn’t SHE, but this one knew how to treat a cat, even if she hadn’t asked before picking him up. And she was warm and soft. Now, if he just shifted a little. Much better.

“No infection. He seems to be friendly once you get your hands on him. I can feel his bones, though. He’s definitely underweight.”

“So can you take him?”

“Rachel, I’ve already agreed to take that one litter of kittens and those two Rottweilers.”

“We really need the cage space. If you don’t take him, I’m afraid, well, you know. You’re just so much bigger than we are and you’ve got more volunteers.”

Henrietta wanted to bop Rachel up side the head. Girl, she wanted to say, get yourself out in your community and raise some money, get some more volunteers, don’t keep counting on us to help you. The cat was nuzzling her neck now. Damn, he was a sweet boy. If she could do anything for him, it would be better than leaving him here. Did that mean Rachel’s threats were working again? She felt the rumbling of a deep purr against her chest.

“All right, I’ll take him.” Somehow she’d find someone who would want an old, ornery tomcat. And she would guarantee them that the quiet love of an older animal was just as wonderful as the antics of a kitten. “It’s OK, boy, you’re coming with me.”

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I'm Not A Pet Person! by Joe DiMino

I'm Not A Pet Person!
by Joe DiMino

I’ve never been a pet person—
Too on the move
For the Petting-groove;
Came along this
Stray kitten…
And soon
I was smitten:
Got a feeding bowl
Not one—but two—
One pink
And one blue ( not close enough yet
To be sure I knew);
Then I found out
And bought a blue cat-bed
(He prefers mine)—
Four kinds of fortified cat-food
To make certain
Healthily fed—he prefers
Canned tuna—not the cat kind,
But Bumble Bee in spring water;
So I named him Whatever:
He loves a little rub
Next to the tub;
Prefers animal programs
When I watch TV—
Has learned to press the remote—
(Please do not quote—any of this!)
For I have a sort of public
Persona as tough
And unyielding,
When it comes to business
Someone not to be crossed;
Have my ideas
Abruptly dismissed
And casually tossed….
Oops—got to go:
Dinner time now
For I hear a meow…

Monday, November 22, 2010

Two Poems by Richard Peake


When he’s not roaming
our grandsons’ Peach Fuzz
sleeps on family beds
guarding them.

He thinks sleeping people
need a watchful cat
to keep mice away
in dark night.

When we visit them
for a weekend stay
we feel a lump at our feet
guarding our bed.

We felt accepted
as family when Peach Fuzz
decides to sleep

Slow Learner

Long-haired, bedraggled, dirty, underfed,
he came to us a scruffy, half-grown cat.
After several days we gave him board and bed
and fixed a box in house to signal that
Sylvester had signed on as our house cat.
His name proclaimed the fact that he looked
just like Tweety-bird's cat in the cartoons.
He thrived and grew. Every bath he took
unwillingly turned his white paws whiter
and he became the cat's meow quite soon
throughout the neighborhood as he forsook
us-problem cat, too much the traveler-
to dally with his feline friends by night.
He often came back home with bloody bites
suggesting our Romeo should stay home.
Neutered, our pet was less inclined to roam.
He spent his evenings in convenient laps,
a fatter cat who often took long naps.
His expert hunting skills were still intact.
He learned to bring in mice and voles, not birds,
but when quite angry at traitorous acts
placing him on kennel fare (how absurd!)
he killed a pretty bird to tell us that
we had not played fair with our housecat.
He dropped it at the door to make his point
and put his birder master out of joint.
So desertions by family he rewarded
with violent acts to show what he resented.
Then he settled back to tabby status
innocently napping as if full of trust.
He posed on our toilet for photo play
untaught and unrehearsed, yet sad to say
he never learned to flush, but ran away.
I admit this blemish. Except for that
Sylvester became the perfect housecat.

A native Virginian, Richard Peake became a Texas resident after retiring from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. He published early poems in Impetus alongside John Ciardi and in The Georgia Review and many small journals. Collections of his poetry appeared in Wings Across… and Poems for Terence published by Vision Press, which also included poems of his in A Gathering at the Forks. He published Birds and Other Beasts in 2007. During 2008 and 2009 he won awards from Gulf Coast Poets and The Poetry Society of Texas and published in Sol Magazine and Shine Journal (one nominated for the Pushcart Prize). In 2010 he has published in Avocet, Asinine Poetry, Raven Images, Phantom Kangaroo, valenTRange and elsewhere.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Decatur, Alabama Hazard Cat Drawings. They came over tonight and donated in masses.

Mikie Hazard

Aaron McDaniel

Heather Graham

Kyle Creasy (did two!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Walking the Cat by Tasha Cotter

Walking the Cat
by Tasha Cotter

Every word an upturned ear.
Leaf blowers, trucks, all spark anxiety.
Even the occasional fly bemuses her.
First, all she cares to know is the perimeter.
To know the easy inches of her private indoor view.
She sniffs the known landing strip of doves
And listens for hidden danger.

But mostly, she sits in deep thought at my feet,
Smelling the breeze. I let the leash go loose
And we both try to know the essence of the thing.
The distance is alive and we stare
Past the split rail fence at a little white dog
Romping in a far off yard
Like a poet at play delivering words
To a patient page. I hear a voice
Shout encouragement from somewhere unseen
And the dog returns with the thrown object
Carefully placing it at his feet.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Purrsonal Story Brother It's Cold Out There by Madeleine McDonald

Madeleine McDonald

The cold weather has brought the cats indoors and we witness Blackie and Brownie, our two neutered toms, take the first steps in their annual round of reconciliation.

Make no mistake: their negotiations are as protracted, tortuous and delicate as anything management and labour ever dreamt up. Like exhausted armies, each side knows that the outcome is inevitable; yet each side insists on observing established protocol.

Not that our cats could be called enemies, far from it. They are litter brothers who have never been separated. A regime of no favouritism has never stopped them keeping a jealous eye on each other when it comes to treats, but they eat ordinary fare from the same dish, darting their heads under each other like kittens. One will allow the other to sit on my lap for a stroke, knowing that his turn will come, but as soon as the brush and comb come out, up they both jump and jostle for position.

By now they are portly, middle-aged gentlemen. There are still mad moments in spring when they sense the sap rising outdoors and skitter all over the carpet. Only in spring do they issue the distinctive ululating challenge that leads to chases up and down the stairs.

Come the summer, they settle down and are content to ignore each other. In human terms they remind me of nothing so much as an old married couple who decided long ago that divorce was not the answer and who have resigned themselves to rubbing along together under the same roof. In the case of cats, of course, it’s the same roof plus the same yard, and ours is large enough to give them plenty of opportunity to live their lives in parallel. They spend sedate afternoons sitting several yards apart on the lawn, or up on the wall observing the doings of their humans.

Cold weather brings them indoors again. With the wisdom of beasts, they know that it will get even colder. So negotiations begin, one step at a time, leaving ample room for retreat without loss of face. For several days we find them sitting a foot or so apart on window ledges, accepting each other's presence. A further week goes by in which we find them in each other's favourite place: Brownie lolls in Blackie's time-honoured winter position, on the dresser by the stove, his spine pressed against its warm metal casing. Blackie in turn jumps from floor to worktop to cupboard top, surveying the comings and goings in the kitchen from Brownie's vantage point. We suspect that the purpose of this manoeuvre is to impregnate themselves with each other's scent.

The endgame is played out on the back of the couch where they lie facing each other, noses three inches apart. Imperceptible shifts in position narrow the gap until, if they turn their heads to look at us, their whiskers clash. Then Brownie, the boss, disposes himself on the cushions, and a few minutes later permits Blackie to join him. After that, it becomes difficult to tell them apart. They form a single furry cushion, curled around each other, noses buried deep under the other’s flank, black fur shading into black tinged with brown.

It's a cold world out there and a truce has been called until spring.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kayzar the Cat by Amy Parsons

Kayzar the Cat
by Amy Parsons

Kayzar is a most unusual cat. His jet black fur has bright blue and deep purple and a blue tuft of fur on top of his head. His eyes are vivid amber and when he stares, he can send chills through a full grown man.

Now Kayzar lives in a forest and keeps pretty much to himself, but on occasion he will venture into the village that lays on the edge of the forest.

This always sets most of the villagers to unrest, as most believed that his presence meant that bad things were soon to follow.

However, this was a myth, but Kayzar enjoyed this as it meant he was generally left to himself, able to hunt and enjoy the brief change of scenery.

One particular morning that he decided to wander into the village, frost covering the ground and his every breath was visible, meaning that the villagers would be especially nervous, as this, to them, was a sign that something extremely evil was about to befoul someone.

Kayzar, however, was not an evil cat. In fact, he was quite the opposite and normally was the one to solve the issues the villagers faced, not that any of them were aware of this. He knew that there was something upsetting the balance of things, but as of yet had not discovered its true identity or purpose.

Kayzar walked as gracefully as any other cat would do, over the partially frozen grass and down a narrow cobbled street, one he favoured as it was usually full of pigeons that he could hunt without being disturbed. Only this time, there wasn’t a single bird in sight. At first, he was uncertain, wondering if he had gone down the right street, even though he had trod it several times before.

When he reached the far end and entered into the village, it was just as still and deserted. Although Kayzar enjoyed peace and quiet, this stillness seemed unnatural and unnerved him. He could tell that something was amiss.

He skulked along, checking down the side streets and alleyways, and even looking into the gardens, for any signs of life. No animal nor person was anywhere in sight.

He walked to one end of the village, still no sign of anyone or anything. He turned to venture towards the other end, but his way was blocked. He stopped dead in his tracks. There, halfway down the main street, was an unusually large black wolf with white markings around his right eye and across his back, sitting staring at him. The wolf was not alone. A tall man in a long, deep purple robe, leaning on a staff, was stood next to it. He had long white hair and a beard to match. They definitely hadn’t been there before he started to explore the village.

The sight made Kayzar uncomfortable, but he seemed to be rooted to the spot, eyes fixed on the unusual pair.

“Greetings Kayzar.” It was the wolf that spoke. “My name is Zoan, and this,” he nodded toward the man, “is Bo’aak,” the man shifted his weight slightly. “And yes, we know all about you.” Zoan grinned, flashing his huge, gleaming white teeth.

Kayzar thought for a moment, uncertain of what to say to this information. “I’m not sure what you think you know about me, but I am just an ordinary cat, albeit with some unusual markings and colourings.”

“Indeed. But that is not what the people of this village say. They believe that you are the cause of all the strange and evil goings on here.” Zoan smiled again, though this time it seemed more wicked than friendly.

“Oh, is that what they say?” Kayzar said, feigning ignorance to this fact. “However, what they are not aware of, is that I have been resolving their problems, putting out the fires, rescuing them from drowning and whatever else may happen to come their way. I wish I knew what was causing all the mayhem around here so that I might put a stop to it.” Kayzar’s tail twitched.

“Well, we have been summoned to destroy you,” Zoan said importantly.

Kayzar smiled at this, which seemed to annoy Zoan.

“Are you not afraid of dying?” he asked.

“I would be lying if I said I was not, however, I am not afraid of dying by your hand...” Kayzar paused for a moment, “because I know that this will not happen.” Kayzars smile broadened at the sight of Zoans bemusement. “I know full well that neither you, nor your silent friend,” Bo’aak was still yet to speak, though he would occasionally shift slightly, “are even capable of such a thing. At least, not towards me,” Kayzar added thoughtfully.

“Enough!” Zoan growled. “Enough talking. It is time for you to die!” Zoan launched himself at Kayzar, reaching the place where the cat had been within a few large bounds, teeth and claws bared, ready to inflict some serious damage, only the cat was no longer there.

Annoyed once again, Zoan spun around and faced Bo’aak, who gave a very minute nod in the direction of one of the houses. Zoan turned his gaze towards the spot that Bo’aak had nodded toward and saw the cat perched on top of a stone wall, smiling at the over-sized wolf.

Snarling, Zoan pounced at the cat again, but again, the cat was nowhere to be seen.

He appeared this time, almost in the exact spot he had started from.

Zoan was obviously getting frustrated with him.

Kayzar was finding all this rather amusing.

Watching as the great wolf spun around again, teeth bared, drool dripping from his snarling lips, he prepared to disappear again, when he noticed something. He saw Bo’aak bring his staff down hard onto the concrete, sending a small flare of green sparks out of the end. Kayzar was uncertain what the point of this was so, as Zoan came nearer once more, the cat twitched his ears and flicked the end of his tail, concentrating on where he wanted to be. Nothing happened. He tried again. Still nothing. He tried for a third time, but it was too late. The giant wolf descended upon him, teeth sinking into his sides.

Kayzar hissed and flailed uselessly for a moment, before being able to turn his body in such a way as to be able to sink his own teeth into Zoan’s leg. Zoan yelped and released his grip on the cat.

Kayzar could feel the his blood matting his fur.

Ignoring his pain, Kayzar now flung himself at the wolf, who had paused to lick his own wound.

Kayzar’s teeth latched onto the wolf’s ear, his claws scratched at his face.

Just then, an earth shattering roar deafened the two fighters, causing them both to stop, still attached to each other.

“What was that?” Zoan said through a mouthful of Kayzar’s fur.

“That, was a dragon,” said a deep voice.

Kayzar’s eyes widened, a dragon. That explained everything, now that he thought about it. It Had been Bo’aak who relayed the information, not the wolf.

“You are certain of this?” Zoan asked the wizard.

“Indeed.” He paused briefly, deep in thought.

“Yes, it all makes sense now; the burnings, the missing livestock as well as the odd villager. How could we have been so stupid not to have sussed it earlier. A dragon was the obvious answer, not this cat.”

Zoan had released his jaws from Kayzar who had also removed his claws from Zoan’s side.

“But what about the legend of the Gen’tu cat? A cat that has magic beyond anything most wizards can perform,” Zoan asked the wizard.

“True. And this cat has certainly shown that he can do this, however, I don’t believe that he has done any harm, now that I have seen how he behaves,” Bo’aak said thoughtfully. “If he was indeed a fire breather, he would have used that power against you.”

“Yes, but...”

“No buts, Zoan, this cat is not the problem. We must concentrate on the greater threat, the dragon.”

“Very well,” Zoan said in defeat. “What do we need to do?”

“We must work together.” He looked at the pair of blood soaked animals. “Kayzar, do you still have your talisman?”

“How do you know about my talisman?” Kayzar asked in surprise.

“I knew Tolin, your old master. I knew that he gave it to you before he died.”

Kayzar didn’t say anything else, he just sped off into the forest, not knowing exactly how the wizard had known Tolin, yet he had not met the wizard before and the wizard had not known that he had never done anything wrong. But then again, he knew that Tolin would not have spoken much about him, the old man had always been protective of what he could do. The talisman had, after all, just been a gift for him to remember the old man, or so he had thought.

Kayzar found the talisman in the tree he had been living in, took it in his teeth and sprinted back to the village.

When he reached the others, Bo’aak had just finished writing something in the dirt with his staff, Zoan sat to one side, a talisman now round his neck.

Kayzar sat next to Zoan, flicking the talisman into the air and caught it so that it went around his neck.

“What now?” Kayzar asked in a whisper.

“No idea, we will just have to wait and see what Bo’aak does, but know this, you must do whatever he asks of you as it will no doubt mean the difference between our defeat and our victory.” Kayzar nodded, still staring at the wizard intently, his sides still throbbing from the fight.

Bo’aak stopped and beckoned the two animals over. They got up as one and went over to him, Kayzar noticing a talisman around the wizards neck too.

“Excellent.” Bo’aak said, not sounding very convinced that they were actually going to achieve anything. “You must come and stand either side of me.” He instructed. Once they had done this, Bo’aak struck his staff on the ground yet again, this time however, a blue light emanated from the top of it and then surrounded the three. He struck his staff again and Kayzar noticed that all of the talismans were glowing red.

Kayzar felt a strange tingling sensation surging throughout his entire body, beginning at his nose and spreading to the tip of his tail. To go with this sensation, he also felt an odd warmth in the pit of his stomach and a burning in his eyes.

He saw that, as well as the talisman, the eyes of the other two were glowing red, as the talismans were, and assumed that this was the burning sensation he could feel in his eyes.

As he watched, Kayzar saw the dragon approaching the village, although still some distance away, there was no mistaking the vast shape of the beast.

Kayzar fixed his burning eyes on the massive creature, watching it drawing ever nearer, but as he watched, he realised that his entire body felt as though it was being stretched and the ground beneath him seemed to be getting further and further away.

Just then a voice entered his head. “This is a very strange feeling.” It was Zoan. “Bo’aak has spoken of this, but I have never experienced it before.”

“What is going on?” Kayzar asked, but before he got his answer, he heard Bo’aak’s voice enter his head as well.

“Do not be alarmed.”

Kayzar knew that the wizard was speaking to him.

“This is the most effective way I know of to defeat a dragon.”

Now, if you had witnessed this event yourself, you would be shocked into silence.

What Kayzar didn’t realise was that the three of them had some how merged into one being.

It’s head was that of a wolf, it’s huge body was sleek and slender like a cat. There was no visible trace of a human, however, there were wings like those of an eagle, along with eagle feathers. The markings on the beast were a mixture of Kayzar's blue and purple and Zoan's white.

The dragon soared over head. Kayzar thought that he would be able to stretch out and touch it.

“Focus.” Kayzar heard Bo’aak’s voice speak.

Kayzar felt a snarl rip through his throat and past his lips that didn’t come from him. ‘Zoan’ he thought.

As he watched, the dragon landed in front of them. Kayzar felt their own wings flapping awkwardly. “Do not try and move us, leave that to me,” Bo’aak instructed. “Try and let your minds go blank.”

This was harder than it sounded. Seeing your body move, but not actually being the one controlling it was indeed strange.

The dragon considered the strange creature before it, but it soon let out a large and powerful fireball.

Kayzar felt his feet leave the ground as their wings flapped again, this time raising them high into the air, narrowly avoiding the blast of flames.

This was indeed a strange sensation for Kayzar, flying.

Kayzar wasn’t sure how to react or what to do. They wobbled slightly as their wings flapped out of sync.

“Kayzar!” Bo’aak bellowed. “Don’t think. Don’t do anything. Leave it all to me!”

Kayzar sighed and tried to focus on nothing, allowing their flight to become more even.

They rose quickly, the dragon shrinking below them. It wasn’t long before the dragon had launched itself into the air. Bo’aak swerved their body, turning them to face it.

The dragon took no time in drawing level with them, but before it had time to react, Kayzar felt a burning sensation in the back of his throat and a fireball left their mouth. This, however, was a very different kind of flame, it had an energy around it that looked like lightning and it was purple.

It hit the dragon squarely in the chest and it started to fall back towards the earth.

They dove after it, Bo’aak knowing full well that the dragon wasn’t finished.

As Kayzar watched, he saw the dragon shake itself off and pull itself out of the dive, its wings brushing a few roof tops in the process.

Zoan growled again, but Kayzar seemed to be thinking the same thing; it was obvious to him that they were thinking more and more as one the longer they stayed in this form.

The great eagle wings folded behind them, increasing their speed.

Knowing exactly what needed to be done, without resisting and without Bo’aak’s instruction, Kayzar opened his mouth to allow another energy fireball to escape the beast’s throat.

This time when it collided with the dragon, it did not have enough time to recover before it hit the ground, creating a huge groove in the earth where it landed.

Bo’aak brought the beast to the ground with great ease, resting just inches from where the dragon lay.

Zoan moved them nearer to the crumpled form of the dragon in a few short strides.

The dragon was writhing around in pain, flailing its huge tail around, smashing the side of the nearest house.

“Now what?” Kayzar thought.

“Now, we have to kill it,” Bo’aak thought back.

They bounded the rest of the way toward the dragon, Zoan in control, until they were near enough for Kayzar to take control, making the beast pounce onto the dragon's chest. Whilst in mid air however, Bo’aak made them release a much larger and more powerful lightning-charged fireball.

This time the dragon took the full force in its face. It roared painfully before becoming motionless.

“Now to finish the task. We must remove its heart,” Bo’aak commanded.

The beast hesitated for a moment as neither Zoan or Kayzar were entirely sure how they were to achieve this, so Bo’aak took control once more, using the claws on one of the powerful front paws, tore a hole in the dragon’s chest and, clamping vice like jaws around the heart, pulled it from the body.

Blood soaked once more, Kayzar asked, “Is that it?”

“It is,” Came Bo’aak’s voice.

Next moment, Kayzar felt lighter and seemed to be shrinking. They were finally separating, becoming their own true forms.

Kayzar blinked. He found the separation just as disorientating as the initial joining. He was now quite alone with his own thoughts once again.

He looked around and saw Zoan a few feet in front of him, Bo’aak stood a little to his left, still clutching the dragon’s heart in his hand.

“Dragon hearts are good for medicines.” Bo’aak seemed to still be able to read Kayzar’s thoughts, as he had just wondered why the wizard still had it.

As they stood silently staring at each other, the villagers started to return.

Kayzar had forgotten all about them and wondered where they had all been hiding.

He never did find out as, when the villagers approached and saw the massive, lifeless form of the dragon, there were gasps and whisperings as to what had taken place.

Bo’aak was the one who told the villagers the story, though he made it sound as though Kayzar was the main hero of the day.

The people declared that Kayzar was not a threat to them and he was appointed protector of the village.

As the people crowded round to express their thanks and get a proper look at the heroes, a large purple cloud surrounded them and they heard a sound like the crack of a whip and Bo’aak and Zoan disappeared.

And so it was, Kayzar remained in the forest behind the village, but would enter it every now and again, the people giving him gifts, no longer running at the sight of him.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

budda by Scott C. Kaestner

by Scott C. Kaestner

(the cat)





he strides
beside me