My Decision

My mind is a jumble.
I don’t know who I am
where I should be
what purpose I have.
The world uncertain,
I stare at nothing
while seeing everything.
Do I throw caution to the wind,
live without care or worry
or shall I stay trapped
within my fears
too timid to see
who I really can be?
No one can help me
but me
for it is my decision
to be.

© Copyright 2020 Heidi Barnes

Gardening – Summer Project #2

Well, I’m not sure if the first one was an actual project. Seven yards of compost on all the gardens in April. Eight yards of dirt around the yard and filling in the round bed in May and a lot of Preen in those areas that I don’t want things growing. (Spring Project) While compost is usually a bi-yearly job for most, I haven’t put any down in a very long time, and you could tell. Now everything is growing wonderfully. I do think the two or three weeks of hot sunny weather we got om April helped a lot. We usually aren’t in the 80’sF that early. It also meant a wet cold spring. Well, actually the cold went until halfway through July. Nice and hot now though. We still have some areas where the grass is having issues, but we plan on reseeding in the fall.

For project number two, we decided to put a Pergola on the hot tub pad. When we moved in there was a hot tub under an eighty foot cedar tree. While I loved the hot tub I did not like the spiders or the mess, even with a lid, in the hot tub. It was also old, so after a few years it decided that it wasn’t going to work anymore. So it went bye bye not to be replaced. The tree was damaged in a huge storm and had to be cut down before it fell down. So since then the pad has been tiled, untiled, then black rubber squares that you piece together we bought a Costco. Something to make it not look like a giant square of cement.

What is great about this product is that it covers a multitude of issues. Like all the grout we were too lazy to chip off. It worked until we finally figured out what to do with the space. After a few years the black rubber comes off and we spend hours annoying the hell out of the neighbors and every animal within a mile radius by grinding all the grout off. (By we, I mean my husband. he he he) But now we have a clean slate. Time to put up the Pergola we bought off of Amazon.

This product is engineered. We wanted something like our deck where we did not have to worry about staining and rot.

Although under the posts there are wood 4×4’s that are bolted into the cement to hold it up.

Then you wrap those posts with wood so the sleeves you slide over these posts do not wobble.

After that it’s a puzzle you put together. As you can see we also re-tiled the floor with lite non-slip tile that has a wood look to it.

Then we added lights and furniture we already had for the space. Now all we need is the world to return to normal so we can have a party! *sigh*

On to the next project so we can keep some semblance of sanity as we try to survive the pandemic!

Stay safe!

Heidi

© 2020

Do You See Yourself?

I see you
standing among the trees,
aware of the pain
surrounding you.
Uncaring that you
are its cause.
What are you waiting for?
Are you waiting for me?
Do you think I could forget?
Forgive?
The wisest of us are wrong.
Time does not heal all wounds.
It just wears you down
until the burden of pain
is too heavy to carry any longer.
Until one day the anger
the hurt
seems to fade away,
until I see you.
Does this mean I forgive?
No….
Forgiveness is a privilege
you have not earned,
may never earn.
Does this mean I forget?
Only for my sake
my sanity
will I dwell no longer
on memories wrought by selfishness,
by betrayal.
You, however, must carry the burden,
shoulder the pain
of what you have done.
I see you,
but do you see yourself
or do you walk the forest
blind to what you did,
what you are
what you have become?
Look into the mirror
tell me honestly
can you forget,
Can you forgive yourself?
Or will you continue
uncaring
of the pain you cause?

Copyright © 2020 Heidi Barnes

Gardening – Spring Project

Spring sprung early this year, and with Covid 19 shutting everything down a lot if people were able to get ahead start in the yard work. I have posted a couple of projects. The seven yards of compost, the back corner with the shed that has filled in nicely.

Because seven yards of compost wasn’t enough, I ordered seven more yards of 3-way. (For those who don’t know what that is, it is a compost/top soil/sand mix.) Like the compost, when I ordered it it was sunny. When it arrived it was raining….. Sigh. So what I ordered this dirt for was to fill some holes in the grass that refused to grow and to also fill in an area of the garden that has slowly sunk down. Mostly due to weed pulling over the years and taking the dirt with them. Here is a picture of the before. It’s the path within the roundish bed. There are roots showing and the ground is rock hard. You can see where the rocks in the back are layered and holding in the dirt around the Rhody. It also goes down at the back of the patio.

Also, by a large stump we have the ground has sunk down about a foot.

You can see how much dirt I had already put in this area, and I wasn’t done. My husband also voiced his dislike of the rock boarder. To him it was too messy. To me it was a cheap natural fix for a problem. Every time I dug up a rock it went into the border. Ta da! Now I will admit when it comes to my garden that I have worked hard in for many years to make it look the way it does, I may be a little touchy when someone suggests a change. I know, for those who know me, what a surprise!

As it turns out he was right. (Don’t tell him I said that out loud.) It does look much better without the rocks.

We were going back and forth on what to put down for the path to help with the weeds – pavers, stepping stones, gravel – but the more we look at it the more we like the natural look. Yes, it will have weeds and maybe we will change our minds later, but for now I think it’s an opportunity to buy some more shade loving plants to soften up the edges. Such a hardship. 😉

Until next time,

Heidi

Oath Bound – Trials

Oath bound
Naivete spoken
With wisdom
Time lost
Soul broken
Eternity stretches
Never ending
Love given
Not taken
Anger lashes
Inside crumbles
Must forsake
Must forswear
Redemption pleading
Forgiveness denied

Copyright © 2020 Heidi Barnes

Just too Funny

I wanted to share something that happened last night because I’m still snickering over it. It was one of those moments when you are in say a library or a large meeting, and you try to keep your emotions inside because you don’t want to disturb the person next to you and you have an epic fail. One of those moments.

So last night, my husband and I had gone to bed and we were doing our nightly reading of different books. Currently I am reading J.R. Wards new The Black Dagger Brotherhood series book Sinner. J.R. Ward is one of my favorite writers. She holds no punches and neither do her characters. A couple I would love to reach in a slap sometimes …. coughcoughLassitercough … because of their antics or, as we all have from time to time, acts of stupidity. I cry and laugh with them. I have read all the books in this series, which are many, so know the characters well. Don’t panic! I will not give away any details or spoilers of what happened and who it happened too in this latest book. I just want to relate what happened to us while I was reading this one particular passage.

So we are laying there, quiet, each lost in our books. It hadn’t been very long when I started reading this one particular scene. As a writer, I know their are times when the words flow, what you see in your head write beautifully onto the paper. When that scene just clicks and it’s marvelous. Better yet, it’s when the reader can also see that clear picture in their head and laugh, cry or be angry at the same level you were when you wrote it. This particular scene was hysterical.

As I started reading it, I could picture that character so well. Know how he would react. See the scene with his expression and the villain’s expression as it played out. I tried. I really tried not to burst out laughing, but it kept coming out in small spats. My husband kept telling me to stop, that it was annoying, but I just couldn’t help myself. I offered to let him read it so he would know why I was laughing, but he grumpily declined. So silence ensued for about three seconds. Then we both starting laughing. Me because of what I was reading. Him because I was trying so hard to keep it in and failing. I was seriously in danger of having the giggles.

The next bout of silence lasted about 20 seconds. I finally was able to get myself somewhat under control, read past the line I had been stuck on to the next, when he burst out laughing. That was it. Giggles were on! I put my kindle down, tore off my glasses and completely lost it. And because giggles are contagious, so did he, and he didn’t even know why!

A few minutes later, and some coughing until I couldn’t breathe, I told him if he wouldn’t laugh then I wouldn’t. Finally, I was able to get past that scene with only a few little giggles and a couple of coughs.

I can probably blame some of it on the stress of the last month and a half, some of it on my husband, but mostly it was the author of the book I was reading and her wonderful writing. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

Stay safe!

Heidi

Copyright © 2020 Heidi Barnes

Love and Kindness in Leadership Class

In these crazy, uncertain times, it’s hard to remember that there is a light somewhere at the end of this tunnel we are all traveling. It may be hard to see, but it is there. Somewhere.

As a Para-educator, we have had to weave through legal contracts to see just how we can help our schools, our teachers, and our students. Along with that we’ve had to learn new technology, which for some of us is very hard. I’m lucky in the fact that I have played around with some of the new ways of online communication that the quarantine has forced most of us to learn.

In my particular district we are are finally in the swing of online learning. It’s been confusing wading through the rules and requirements that change everyday as the district and government struggle through the chaos COVID-19 has made of our lives. One of the things I have to do in order to help my students is work through the videos and assignments that the teacher’s post every week. Today was Intro to Leadership. A class mostly filled with freshman along with a scattering of sophomores and juniors.

I was in this particular class (I’m not going to tell you the teacher’s name as he has no idea I am writing this. Although I may give him the link so he can read it. We’ll see.) Anyways, I was in this particular class for the first semester and was sad when I was pulled to help out in another class. Even though I have been in a Intro to Leadership class with a different teacher, it was a fun and informative class. It’s always interesting hearing students answer some of the questions posed. Remember, most of the kids are ninth graders so their life experiences are not as vast as an adults. (Although, I have to admit, some of the things said were downright scary! *shudders* ;))

Now for the reason I am writing about this. At this point in the class they are talking about Love and Kindness, focusing on the different kinds of love and do we truly understand what love is. What it means and how we use that one little word that means so much. As I sat watching the video the teacher had posted explaining the assignment and giving his monologue that normally he would give in the classroom, I thought, why isn’t this guy a motivational speaker? He speaks from experience, from knowledge and, most of all, his heart.

I’ll admit, it isn’t that hard to make me cry. I didn’t used to be like this, but when you’ve had a loss that completely destroys the foundation you’ve built your life around, crumbling it into fine dust, it does not take much to shake the barely pieced together foundation that you’ve managed to rebuild. No matter how many years have passed. But, dang it, he managed to once again bring the tears to the surface. Not bad you made me sad or angry tears, but good pulling at my heartstrings make me think that there is still good in this world tears. (I am getting better at keeping them from making a mess.) Why did he bring those tears? Because he is very passionate about his class, the students and the part of Leadership he is teaching, love and kindness. I just wish we would see more of it in the world. Some of the things I have seen, heard, over the last four years…. Well, that is a soapbox I’m going to stay off of for now.

Love and kindness. A concept that, in some places, seems to have gone by the wayside. Kinda of wish I could post his video so you can see what I am saying. He really would be an excellent motivational speaker, and we could all stand to learn a little love and kindness.

Stay safe.

Heidi

Copyright © 2020 Heidi Barnes

Time on Our Hands

Morning everyone. I hope you are all staying safe and at home as much as possible. For those of you who are out working I thank you for putting yourselves out there to make sure the world keeps turning, albeit slowly, and we have food and supplies so we keep moving.

I have been keeping busy by editing and yard work. I thought I’d talk about the gardening because I have not done that much in the last couple of years.

This year I decided that I would finally put down compost on my garden beds. We also decided to bring in topsoil for those areas in the yard that need some help in growing grass or leveling. There are a few other things we’ve changed too. I’ll start with the back right corner of the yard.

This part of the garden has gone through many changes over the years. When we first moved in there was a play area and a few more trees. The only picture I was able to find of it was during one of our snow storms, but it gives you an idea what was back there when we moved in.

The boarder for this area was firewood. Not very safe or stable. So we had put in 4X4 pieces of lumber around the area to keep the pea-gravel in place. A few years later, when the kids had out grown it, we found that it was pretty rotten, so off it went to the dump.

Now what to do with it. Moving all that pea gravel was not high on my do to list so we decided to turn into a garden for my oldest. Through Grandma Frank, he had become very interested in growing his own vegetables. We put in a shed, water and fence to keep the critters out and four raised beds. All along the outside I planted a flowerbed to soften the edges. Unfortunately I could not find a picture of that phase of life, which lasted about five years. My son became too busy with school and work to be able to tend a garden. So we took down the fence and I put in large wine barrels to keep my few vegetables up off the ground in an attempt to keep the critters out. (Mainly slugs!) The first picture was taken when I decided that this was not going to work. Too much gravel and not enough pretty. The second is from the outside looking in when when everything is in bloom.

So I decided that the plants that surrounded the graveled area needed to be inside the gravel area. As I planted the plants I brought in soil to put in the hole as I placed each plant. As the years have gone by I have put a couple of layers of compost on top of the gravel to help. The one thing that stayed the same was the 4X4 boarder and the water, which I re-vamped to fit the new layout. I also added a few accessories.

Jump a few more years later and we decided that the wooden boarder was too choppy. That it needed to go to make for a softer edge, making it part of the yard instead of a separate entity. And here it is.

Aside from throwing down some Preen in hopes to keep the weeds to a minimum, the garden part in this area is done. There is still some gravel, but we are playing with the idea of putting down brick to finish it off. There is one item left over from the Garden Era. The rhubarb that is surrounded by brick because it originally was in a raised bed. I didn’t want to chance killing it by digging it up and replanting it.

So now, even though it is gorgeous outside, I am taking the day off from gardening and maybe working on some editing. Tomorrow I’ll be back out to finish the one bed that I did not have enough compost for, but has a wonderful array of weeds.

Have a great day and stay safe by staying at home.

Heidi

It’s been a while….

It’s been a while since I have posted on here. I hope everyone is keeping safe and healthy. It seems so surreal sometimes that the world has basically slowed down to a slow crawl. We stay in our house and life still goes on. Then we venture out because we need food or medication and see that life is not moving as it once did. That it has changed drastically in a short period of time.

Since the schools have shut down I have been busy with yard work, house work, editing and wondering what the next step for us para-educators in our district is. We keep receiving conflicting messages because honestly no one knows exactly. It’s not ever day we have a pandemic on our hands. Kind of new territory.

As of now we are healthy. Aside from seasonal allergies that is. My luck to not just keep sneezing, but I actually become sick if I don’t stay on top of my allergy meds. As it turned out, I was late in starting this year – who knew I needed to start taking them in February! Silly me! – and they took me down hard. The day before we went on out trip to Disney World I started becoming sick with cold like symptoms. Next day on the trip I could barely swallow because my throat was so swollen. A week of DayQuil and NyQuil later, sinus infection. Again, yeah me! Now I have a cough left that yields dirty looks from others because they think I may have something much more dangerous than allergies. *Sigh* But enough of that.

My yard is looking pretty good, if I must say so myself. Even have managed to order compost before everything shut down, so that has been keeping me busy between rain squalls. I have also been editing. Fixing some of those things that have been bugging me about my books. It’s been a slow process, but I have enjoyed writing again.

We do our best to support the restaurants by ordering out. It’s not quite the same as going out to eat, but it also feels good to help others in some capacity. I do need to go to Costco, but I have seen the lines and that kind of scares me. lol

Well, that is all I have for now. Back to editing. Stay safe.

The Festival – A Suzi Story

Chapter 1

There’s nothing Suzy loved more than riding through the sky in style. Finding the perfect vehicle, she picked a brightly colored fall leaf, dressed in the brightest reds, oranges, and yellows. Hopping on top of it, she tipped it up, catching the tail of the blowing wind, and away she flew.

Riding the waves of the wind currant she dipped up and down, side to side…her tickling laughter could be heard echoing through the blue sky as she steered her leaf to her favorite place, Heidi’s house! Wouldn’t her dear friend be happy to see her. Taking her mind off of where she was going, she suddenly came to an abrupt halt, spiraling to the ground and landing on her face with an indignant plop. Rolling on her back, she brushed the hair out of here face, and staring down at her was a very annoyed looking Heidi. She seemed to have a red mark on her forehead…hmmm…ooooh dear.

Grinning up at Heidi, Suzy stood up, and flapping her wings, flew up to Heidi’s face. “I can fix that ya know.” Taking out her wand, she drew back her hand to fix her landing mark that she’d left on her friend’s face.

Quickly taking a step back and putting her hand up to ward off any “fixing” Suzi was planning, Heidi quickly said, “No, no! That’s okay. I can do it myself.” Waving her hand over her sore forehead, the mark and pain disappear. Taking a deep breath as she muttered a prayer for patience, she smiled and asked, “What brings you here on this fine fall morning?”

Landing in Heidi’s outstretched hand Suzi replied, “Well…I’m on vacation from my mandatory fairy retraining, ya know, seeing as how I’ve had a few mishaps, and I was thinking about how nice it would be to see my bestie. So here I am!” Settling in Heidi’s palm, Suzi looked at her nails as if there was something interesting on them. “Ya know…I hear there’s a huge fall festival going on for elementals and witches. I thought maybe you’d like to go with me.” Looking up from her nails she excitedly continued. “There will be contests and stuff, and I can show you all I learned! What do you say? Wanna go?”

Frowning, Heidi thought about declining. The festival was something that the elders had conjured up in order to entice those who chose to keep to themselves, those who were powerful and had lived longer than most of the so called elders, out into the open in hopes to talk them into joining the counsel, or find out some of their secrets. Personally, she thought, as one of those powerful witches who kept to herself, it was more a way to find their weaknesses or force of to agree to the restrictions that they had put on the rest of the magical community in order to control them. “I don’t know. You know how I like my privacy, only allow a few special individuals into my home. It’s why I live deep in the forest, away from prying eyes. If I go to the festival, they may think they could come and visit me whenever they want.”

Suzi’s smile disappeared, only to be replaced by a deep frown. “But Heidi…I’m not allowed to go without a sponsor. And if I don’t go and prove I won’t screw things up, they will take away my magic.” A small tear fell down her cheek, and the tiny drop landed on Heidi’s skin. One dropped followed the other as the little fairy began to cry in earnest, head bent, and shoulders shuddering, as she cried her eyes out. Finally able to catch her breath, she raised her tear filled eyes, a dirt streaked face up to Heidi. ” Please….”

Making her decision, Heidi gently wiped the tears away as she smiled down at Suzi. “How can I resist those big blue eyes. We will go and…,” her smile turned into a grimace, “see if you can stay out of mischief. Give me a minute to change into something more presentable.”

Carrying Suzi into the house, Heidi set her down on the kitchen table while she went to change out of her gardening clothes into a dress and walking shoes. Grabbing her cloak and basket she stopped by the door and asked, “Are you ready?”

Barely being able to contain her excitement, Suzi quickly flew over to Heidi and landed on her shoulder. Not wanting to wait another minute, Suzi decided to use a new talent she acquired. Closing her eyes, she visualized where she wanted to go and seconds later they were on the outskirts of the festival’s giant field. The only problem being was Heidi was sitting on a high branch in an ancient old tree, barely keeping her balance when she realized where she had landed. Unfortunately, she was terrified of heights. Closing her eyes, she muttered several angry swear words, and proceeded to take some slow deep breaths. Opening one eye she peered around for a place to land, and once calm she levitated gently down to the forest floor. Once firmly on the ground she looked around for Suzi, intent on killing her once she found her.

“Suzi!” she called out with a voice edged in anger. “Where the hell are you?!” Hearing a timid voice calling out here name, she looked in the general direction the sound had come from and spotted Suzi…hanging on a thin branch, skirt caught in the tree. Wanting to laugh out loud, but not wanting to hurt the little fairy’s feelings, Heidi sent a bolt of lightening to the small branch, causing the branch to break and sending Suzi spiraling down to the ground. Heidi had her revenge on the irresponsible little brat.

“New trick I see,” Heidi commented sarcastically, as she absentmindedly brushed a few flecks of dirt off her skirt. “I’m guessing you didn’t stay long enough to learn how to land properly.”

Pick herself up off the ground for the second time today, Suzi brushed off her butt and looked up at Heidi. “Jeez…when did you get so mean?”

“There is a difference between mean and teaching a lesson, little one,” she replied patiently. “That,” she pointed up at the tree, “was a lesson. What did you learn from it?” she asked, eyebrow raised.

“I learned you are mean…,” Suzi muttered.

Clearing her throat Heidi asked, “Excuse me? I missed that.”

Thinking twice about responding in a rude manner, Suzi replied, “I said I learned I should be more thorough with my teleporting. Sorry.”

“And maybe pay more attention in your lessons. No come on,” Heidi smiled as she straightened her cloak. “Let’s go see what the festival has in store for well-intended pixie and a mistrustful ancient witch.”

“Follow me.” Flying in front of Heidi, Suzi led them to a table where three rather comical looking witches with sour expressions sat waiting. “We have to sign in here.” If looks could kill, Suzi would have been reduced to ashes. “What?” Suzi squealed. “It’s not that long a line.”

Trying hard to quell her desire to explode, Heidi raised her eyes to the heavens while tapping her foot, praying to the Goddess for patience. The one thing she hated almost as much as heights, was waiting in line. Suzi wisely kept silent.

When the others waiting in line saw who was behind them, they quickly moved out of the way, bowing and giving greetings as they did.

“Good morning, Mistress.”

“I’m sorry, I did not see you, Mistress. Please. Go ahead.”

“So good to see you, Mistress.”

Smiling politely, Heidi greeted each in return as she slowly walked to the table where there was a sheet of parchment. “Good morning, Agatha. So good to see you.”

Snorting, Agatha, who sat in the middle, her expression growing ever more sour even though she tried to smile, said sweetly. “Mistress Heidi. I did not expect to see you here, as you rarely travel outside your wood.” Glancing at Suzi who smiled brightly at the witch as she hovered just over Heidi’s shoulder, she added. “You seem to have an unwanted…guest.”

Glancing at Suzi, her smile softened. “Not unwanted.” Heidi turned back to the three in front of her who were eyeing Suzi as if she were something vile. Making a mental note to keep an eye on her little friend, for elementals were hunted by those who used dark magic for their magical little bodies, Heidi turned her now fierier eyes to the three…ladies in front of her. Smile still pasted on her face as she watched with some satisfaction as the women paled considerably, she replied just as sweetly, “I would be sorely put out if anything…untoward happened to Suzi.”

Those who were standing around them trying to act like they were not watching or listening took a healthy step back. The message was clear. The three witches at the table were on their own if they decided to cross the sorceress in front of them. The two on either side of Agatha tried to distance themselves without moving from their chairs. Scowling at the two imbeciles, Agatha turned her glare towards Heidi. While powerful in her own right, she was not suicidal. She also knew Heidi well enough to know the threat was not aimed at her, but those around them. “Keep your wand in your skirts, mistress,” she spat, keeping up the pretense that Heidi was not her favorite creature in this Goddess forsaken world. “While there are those who would rather be a stain on the ground, I am not stupid. Your little companion is safe from me.”

Her smile broadened, Heidi inclined her head in a show of respect and acknowledgement. “Thank you, Agatha. I knew you one of the more intelligent ones. Good day.” With a slightly dimmed smile at the other two, Heidi motioned for Suzi to follow and they entered the festival grounds.

“What was that all about?” Suzi whispered in Heidi’s ear when she perched on her shoulder.

“A warning,” Heidi answered pretending to look at the wares at the first booth they encountered. Where she did not need a new basket, she had to admire the craftsmanship.

“What kind of warning?” Suzi asked perplexed.

“One I will tend to later. Be Careful little one. We are not alone.”

“Well, of course we’re not alone!” Suzi groused looking at the hundreds of people milling around them. “There are people everywhere,” she exclaimed rising into the air and throwing up her arms in a gesture to take everyone in, and causing more than one person to turn their eyes towards them.

Closing her eyes, once again praying for that patience she seem to never have, Heidi slowly moved to the next booth. “And now they all know we are here, too.”

“Oh,” Suzi said quietly, drifting down until she once again sat on Heidi’s shoulder, realizing what she had inadvertently done. Hunching in on herself, she groaned, “Sorry.”

“It’s alright,” Heidi smiled, tilting her head to gently bump the pixie. Then, in Suzi’s mind, she whispered, Those who are looking for us knew we were here the moment we arrived. Out loud, Heidi began to talk to the pixie about more mundane things. What her stores needed, a pretty piece of material, the weather.

Hiding behind a group of birch trees, two trolls stood together watching the arrival of Mistress Heidi and her obnoxious pixie Suzi.

“We must go quickly to Master!” Grindle whispered .”He will want to know of the witch’s arrival.”

Turning to leave, his friend Thorn grabbed his arm go halt her progress. “No…wait! We need to find out more. Listen!”

The conversation between Heidi and Suzi drifted over to the troll’s big pointy ears as they took in every word. Crooking his finger, Grindle motioned for Thorn to follow. They steadily kept pace, staying hidden behind each tree they came upon. Knowing what would happen to them if they were caught by the witch.

There were every imaginable creature, and some unimaginable as they were thought extinct, at the fair. As Heidi took in her surroundings, noting those who paid them no attention and those who paid a little too much attention, she listened to Suzi as she chattered excitedly in her ear.

“I thought griffons were extinct!” Suzi cried darting towards the huge half lion half bird creature who was preening itself as it sat in one of the grassy clearings dotted around the fair.

With a flick of her wrist, Heidi jerked Suzi back just as the griffon snapped its beak at her.

“Careful now,” she warned. “While the griffon is a majestic creature who, unless provoked, would not hurt one who meant no harm,” she cooed as reached up to pet the creature’s head. Bowing, it closed its eyes as she rubbed between them, a gentle purr emanating from its chest. Glancing at Suzi while she scratched, she said, “You are merely a snack. You must be careful, little one.”

Glancing over at the forest, she stared directly where the two trolls stood gawking. Terror filled their eyes as they realized they had not been as careful as they thought. Quickly looking at each, they nodded in consent and ran in separate directions. Regardless of their short stubby legs they possessed great speed and appeared to have just disappeared in a rapid blur.

Too preoccupied with the large creature who was once again eyeing her as if she was something tasty, Suzi pulled at the hood of Heidi’s cloak.

“Maybe we should look at something else,” she gulped.

Giving the Griffin one last pat, a small satisfied smile on her face, Heidi nodded and they moved on. At the next stall was a young witch by the name of Elena who Heidi had allowed in her small circle of people she called friends. With the demeanor of a shy young woman, Elena was anything but. Shrewd and almost as distrustful of others as Heidi, she picked one of her healing balms in a small clay jar with a cork stopper and handed it to her.

“You are being watched, it seems,” Elena mused.

“So it seems,” Heidi answered looking at the bottle before putting it in her basket. Pretending to look over some of the dried herbs hanging from the stall post, she continued. “It has been long since I have been in town. Who do those two belong to?” 

Elena leaned forward, signaling for Heidi to do the same.” Rumor has it the trolls are working for a very powerful Warlock, a name I would rather not repeat. But I can tell you, you must stay away from him at all cost.” 

“And why would that be?” Heidi responded, raising an eyebrow.

Carefully looking around as if to make sure no one was listening Elena continued in a hushed voice ” He is evil incarnate. Some say he is the Devil himself. And among other things, he’s responsible for the death of many of the pixies and the fairies..so please take care of your little pet.”

Visibly wincing at Elena’s careless words, Heidi quickly corrects the girl’s assumption. “Suzi is not my pet, but I thank you for the warning. We will be careful.” Paying for the item, Heidi wandered off into the crowd, bracing herself for the outburst that was inevitable. 

The little pixies face was as red as the berries on the bushes scattered throughout the forest. Just as Suzi was about to release her rage, Heidi lifted one finger, and placed it to her lips, immediately silencing the tirade.

“The trees have ears little one, and they are listening.” 

“But Heidi she has no right…”

The look Heidi directed at the still angry pixie shut her outburst right down. Expelling a deep sigh, Suzi pointed to the woods beyond the fairgrounds. “We can find a spot to put up our tent in here.” And taking the lead she flew ahead of the ancient witch to find a resting spot for them both. 

After approving of the spot, that was a good distance away from the majority of the fair goers, Heidi gathered her magic, and with a few words and a flick  of her wand a simple tent appeared where the space once stood empty. 

“After you little one.”

Flying through the open flap Suzi gasped in surprise. The inside of the tent appeared twice as large as the outside would have you believe. The inside came equipped with all the comforts of home. Looking around in amazement, Suzi spotted a hollowed out tree stump with a thick  cushy pillow inside of it and red velvet curtains that covered the opening. “For me?”

A genuine smile stretched across Heidi’s face. “Yes dear one, for you”

Suzi could not contain her excitement as she flew around the tent, bouncing off the sides of the heavy canvas material, until she bounced into one of the lanterns that contained a burning candle. Just as the lantern came crashing to the ground, Heidi grabbed it and set it back on the table. Stopping mid-flight Suzi cleared her throat. “Um…I think I’ll go check out my bedroom.” and quickly darted behind the curtains. 

Sighing, Heidi walked over to the table and set her basket down on top before emptying its contents. Taking time to prepare a mid-day meal, she then sat down and took out the last content lying quietly on the bottom of the basket.

“What is that?” Suzi asked fluttering over to where her plate of nuts and fruits waited for her.

“A note that someone slipped into my basket when they thought I was not looking,” Heidi mused, opening it.

“What does it say?” Suzi asked before popping a juicy piece of peach into her mouth.

“It seems to be a warning of some kind,” Heidi frowned. 

Grabbing another piece of the delicious peach, Suzi fluttered over to perch on Heidi’s shoulder so she too could read the note. “Is it from that witch who called me your pet?” she growled.

“No,” Heidi answered absently.

“The nerve of some people,” Suzi snapped before shoving the piece of fruit into her mouth. “Me! A pet!” she continued as she chewed. “I should have turned her into a toad for such an insult. Or maybe a goat. What do you think?” 

As she talked juice dribbled down her chin landing on the front of Heidi’s dress. Glancing at the dots of juice that now stained the paper down to the mess that was staining her top, Heidi frowned. The pixie had every right to be angry. She just wished it was not with a mouth full of fruit.

Not waiting for Heidi to answer, Suzi continued her tirade as she lifted off of Heidi’s shoulder to land near her plate where she picked up a slice of grape.

“Maybe I will go and turn her into a mouse and feed her to the gryphon. Then we’ll see who is a pet and who is….”

Tuning her out, Heidi looked at the paper once again. There were four words scrawled across it. Four words that confirmed what she feared. That the festival was a trap. What she had not considered was, it was a trap set solely for her. The question was, who had laid it.

A cry of surprise followed by a crash brought Heidi out of her musings. Twisting towards the sound, she saw a flickering glow from one of the tents inner doorways. Muttered a curse, she quickly rose to put out what she was sure was a fire in the kitchen.

Fluttering to the floor, forgotten in her haste, the note softly landed on the rug, it’s words facing the tent’s canvas ceiling. 

You will be mine.

Copyright © 2020 Heidi Barnes & Suzanne Carey

We are not sure when each chapter will come out or how many there will be. We actually live across country from each other, as in on opposite sides of the continent, so our schedules are not exactly in sync, but we will do the best we can.