Bump onna roof: Dragon

I couldn’t let the dragon stay, even though all my friends were safe now. Safer. A dragon inna area was bad news. So Cooper’n’me loaded up with stuff an’ went back. We kept eyein’ the sky, in case it was flyin’ over. But we found it still sittin’ onna roof where we’d left it. So we snuck back inna house, hopin’ for some cover while we figured out how to make a dragon go away.


Cooper sat down an’ opened the Monster Cryptology book from Pip. It had a bit bout dragons, so we were lookin’ for ideas (like maybe they didn’t like mistletoe or somethin’).


While he read, I checked my weapons. My sword was sharp, but the dragon was up so high, it probably wouldn’t be much help. Bow an’ arrows would be loads more useful. They were sharp too. Good.


But I wasn’t sure if I could shoot it high enough. I mean, houses are awful tall. Maybe I could climb onna roof, though. I wished I hadda big net or chain or somethin’, someway I could keep it grounded.

While I was thinkin’ bout roofs, Cooper sighed.


“I am not sure whether your weapons will suffice to defeat a dragon. This book seems to suggest that the only weapons that will defeat dragons are magical in nature.”

”Magic?” I echoed. “ I don’t got none. Where do you get a magic weapon?”

He looked down atta book an’ ran a finger along the page. “ You might find one while on a quest to a magic location. Fairies have some. A strong magician can make one, or might have one in his collection. They sound rare.”

I sighed too. “So we don’t gotta chance?”

“Well…perhaps not to kill it. But your weapons should be enough to engage it and perhaps to drive it away for a time.”

Long enough, maybe, to figure out a real fix. That’d have to be good enough for now.

But it also meant I needed to get closer. Lots closer. Rooftop closer. The windows didn’t open big enough for climbin’ out. There wasn’t no attic. I was gonna hafta climb. But carefully. Vale’d taught  me a li’l bout climbin’ careful, an’ she’d given me some rope an’ harness an’ that thing you throw up with a rope attached. I forgot it’s name, but I could use it ok. It was easier to throw far cuz it was heavy-ish. Easier’n lobbin’ an arrow up onna roof, at least (weird, how it was hard to throw a light thing very far, but easier to throw somethin’ heavy…but not too heavy).

I fetched the stuff an’ had Cooper help me with alla buckles an’ things. He was right good at gettin’ ‘em tight so I wouldn’t slip. Once I was strapped in, I picked up alla weapons an’ hung ‘em on myself. Fingers crossed I didn’t drop nothin’. Then it was time for goin’ up!

Climbin’ a house sure is tough. There’s sorta handholds, if you count stuff like doortops an’ window ledges an’ all, but then there’s great big flat places too where the only way up was to grab onna rope, plant feet against the wall, an’ walk, hopin’ the rope was caught good on whatever was up top so I wasn’t gonna go fallin’ back down. Cooper was onna ground, watchin’, but I think, if somethin’ had given loose, alla good he woulda done was get hurt too.

Thankfully, the rope held.

After lotsa lotsa pullin’, I grabbed onna roof edge an’ pulled up.  An’ then…oh my gumdrops, but it was big!


It didn’t see me or hear me at first, which was good.  I dunno how it didn’t hear me.  I sure was breathin’ hard, an’ I’m pretty sure my heart was poundin’ loud enough to wake some dead things.  But it didn’t seem to notice me.  So I pulled one leg up over the roof edge an’ slipped the other up, tryin’ get my feet somewhere stable.  Roofs are an awful lot steeper’n’ they look from onna ground.  Gettin’ stable was hard!  I decided I wanna stay by the roof edge an’ use the bow.  Goin’ in with a sword swingin’ sure didn’t seem like a good idea from up here.

Then one of the metal clips used to attach onna rope slipped off.  It fell chunk against a shingle an’ dropped down down down to the ground, where dust puffed up round it. Gulp.  I didn’t wanna fall that far!

But that was nothin’ compared to what I saw when I looked up.



I went all fumble-fingered, tryin’ get my bow un-slung an’ an arrow outta the quiver.  I didn’t wanna look ‘way from the dragon, but I hadda look at the bow cuz the arrow kept slidin’ off.  Finally, I got it up tight an’ raised the bow an’ sighted down the arrow…


I dunno what happened.  That dragon couldn’t’ve been scared of my one li’l bow, or the arrow I had knocked in place.  I was close enough to hit it, sure, but chances were pretty good the arrow wouldn’t go past its scales.  An’ I was too shook up to aim for the eye or some other soft spot dragons got.

But maybe this dragon didn’t know that.  Maybe this dragon’d had run-ins with people before.  Strong people that had magic weapons an’ things. Or maybe it was young an’ scared.  Whatever happened afore, it took off when it saw me pointin’ my bow.  Let out a big, mighty roar, flapped its huge wings, an’ flew off over the forest. I hadda grab onna roof’s edge so I didn’t go slidin’ off from alla wind it made.

I watched it for a bit, makin’ sure I knew which way it was goin’, then I started climbin’ down.

Onna ground, Cooper helped me take stuff off an’ put it up.  Climbin’ a house was hard work.   I let him know that the dragon was alive still an’ it’d flown off deeper inna forest.  I was pretty sure we had somethin’ more to do bout it too.  We hadda follow the dragon.


Cooper took a deep deep breath, picked up the bow an’ quiver an’ book, an’ put on his  brave face.


“Okay then.  Let’s go track a dragon.”

My brother’s the best.



Bump onna roof…

There was a big BUMP (kinda a small BOOM) onna big white house roof while we were recreationing inside.  We all went, “What the gumdrops?”

The story continues…

I grabbed up my sword.  I wanted it nearby in case somethin’ bad was afoot.


Big bump/booms like that usually mean bad things.  Cooper grabbed up his shovel, too, cuz it’s got a wicked sharp edge (kinda like a saw).  I figured we all got our favorite sorts of weapons.  If a saw-shovel keeps my brother safe, then he’s welcome to it.  He stayed in with everybody else while I went out to check on things.

I stepped out.  I looked up.  GULP.


I went back inside, fast.  Dragon.  A real, live dragon was perched onna roof.  Oh gumdrops, this sword wasn’t gonna do any good…

My heart was thumpin’ hard.  I tried to remember what I knew. Most dragons wanna eat dollies for snacks.  Loads of ’em breathe fire, too, an’ a wood house mixed up with a dragon’s breath seemed like a bad idea.  My friends were inside.  Double bad.  Buncha dragons breathe acid or frost instead. When Pip an’ Amalynn an’ Smidge an’ Voir an’ alla we were in Arkansas, I met dragon parts, an’ baby dragons, an’ alla them were nice.   But they were babies.  Babies start off nice, with treats an’ all.  Without treats, tho, maybe alla big dragons would be mean. Some dragons are nice. Some dragons are mean. No dragons wear signs sayin’ which one they are.

I needed more information. I needed better weapons. I needed to get my friends out of danger.  Alla sudden, I hadda plan.

I went back upstairs.  I could hear thumpin’ onna roof from the dragon’s feet, an a draggin’ sound from where its tail kept rubbin’ over shingles.  When I came up inna room, everybody started babblin’ at me.  The thumping onna roof stopped, an’ I could just feel that dragon listenin’.  It was like ice down my neck. I put my finger over my lips, an’ everybody went real quiet.  They gathered close round me, an’ I let ’em know there was a dragon onna roof, and we hadda go.  It might be a good dragon, but I didn’t know, an’ I didn’t wanna try an’ find out with everybody here.

Nobody made much noise after that, which was good.  Cooper kept his shovel. I didn’t think it’d do much good against a dragon, but maybe he could scoop dirt over some fires.  Falcon went to Meikiko’s room to get her.  He coulnd’t find her at first.


But he called her name, real soft, an’ she leaped out from under the blankets, into his arms.  Poor thing.  She was so scared, she didn’t even ask about none of her dollies or toys or nothin’.


We all grouped up again an’ headed for the door.  I figured it’d be best if we got everyone back home before I tried doin’ research.  The Hittys joined us goin’ out the door. I was proud of ’em for keepin’ quiet, even tho they didn’t really know what alla fuss was about.  At least, I didn’t tell ’em, an’ I should’ve.  I hope Cooper or Lark did. We made up a line so we could watch each other.  Cooper went in front, with the shovel.  Then our friends inna middle.  I brought up the back so I could keep an eye on the dragon, in case it decided it wanted to follow us.

The dragon didn’t pay us any mind, which was good.  It just kept lookin’ out from its perch onna roof.  It was lookin’ forward, though, an’ we all went out the side.  Maybe that’s why it never saw us.  But I didn’t stop watchin’ it til we were far outta range.


Alla we got home safe.  I let the others know what happened.  Wren got all sortsa worried.  If a dragon was at the big white house, maybe it’d come to our main house too.  An’ it might.  We decided we were gonna keep everyone inside for a bit, even Riley an’ the goose.  I was gonna go back to the big white house with weapons an’ books so I could figure out more.  Cooper said he’d come with me.  Brave brother.  I was glad he said he would, cuz I was straight up scared.  Dragons are no laughin’ matter.

After makin’ the plans, I grabbed my bow, an’ Cooper brought the books an’ a big metal spear we had.


We both took deep breaths an’ set back out to the big white house.

… to be continued…



We’ve all kinda used the big house for stuff. Lark uses it as a place to write, cuz there’s a desk an’ it’s quiet. An’ Hittys been usin’ it as a place to sit an’ do Hitty things (don’t you ever wonder what Hittys do? Maybe somebody’s done a documentary or somethin’.)

Anyhow, none of us much used the whole house after Grammy Happy signed the deed over, but we figured it was time an’ we outta do more’n just store stuff there (Falcon’s been movin’ science stuff, an’ I gotta whole rack of swords tucked ‘way inna bedroom, an’ we moved in some games an’ stuff).

Cooper went sortin’ through some of his diggin’ up bones an’ rocks equipment. He was showin’ Me shovels an’ brushes an’ trowels, talkin’ bout how real paleontologists set up a site with rope grids an’ document what comes outta where in notebooks. I didn’t realize it was so complicated. I thought they’d just kinda…dig stuff up. Cooper says it helps sometimes with puttin’ skeletons back together after, cuz a dead thing’s bones are kinda like a puzzle.


I like puzzles. But Cooper says it’s like havin’ a great big puzzle without the picture onna lid to help go by. I bet that would be tough!

Falcon was mixin’ Up somethin’ sciencey while Lark watched. They were talkin’ bout moles, which seemed kinda weird. I didn’t see how li’l diggin’ creatures had anything to do with science experiments. Falcon was pourin’ different stuff inna beaker. Nothin’ blew up, though, so that was good.


Meikiko came too. But she wanted to play in her room. So we’d helped her pull in some huge dolly from the attic an’ set up some other toys. She says it’s really startin’ to feel like her own room!



So there we all were, havin’ a grand time, when outta nowhere there was a loud BOOM from up onna roof. We all looked at each other like, what the gumdrops?!


Whatever it was, it didn’t sound good. I grabbed up a sword.

to be continued…


Grammar Lessons With Lark: poetry

Lark caught me again. She wanted to teach me more grammar lessons. I like Lark, I do! But grammar’n’me… well, we ain’t best friends.


Riley was there. She tried to help. But there’s only so much a pup can do inna face of grammar. I told her I forgave her. She wouldn’t leave.



“Come, Kestrel.  Sit down.  We’re going to do something fun today.  Remember I said we’re going to write poems?”

Umm…poems are fun?  I looked at Riley.  She whined a li’l at me.  I wanted to be out, playin’ inna field.  But I took a deep breath.  I could poem.


Lark talked about how poems used words to show pictures an’ feelings.  There could be lots of description words (she called ’em “adjectives,” an’ I kinda sorta remember her talkin’ bout ’em last time we met).  There could be lotsa action words (verbs).  An’ there’d be things or people or ideas (nouns).

Some poems are really short, an’ some are really long.  She started speakin’ words outta the blue that didn’t make much sense.  Then I realized they were a poem she was givin’ as an example.  She started with a short one first.

            An old silent pond…
A frog jumps into the pond,
splash! Silence again.

It made me giggle.  I like frogs.  They’re cute an’ green.  I didn’t know you could write poems about frogs.  I thought they hadda be super long an’ serious an’ all emotional.  Wren would be good at poems.  But frog poem was written by a super famous, really old dude named Basho.  So maybe poems don’t gotta be mushy-squishy an’ stuff.

Then she gave one a bit longer, but not super long.

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox
and which
you were probably
for breakfast
Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold
Hmm.  I liked that one too.  Maybe I could do this poem thing!  Lark sharin’ poetry seemed like it might be a good idea!
But then Lark started sayin’ one that didn’t make no sense to me.  I guess it hadda lotta emotions an’ descriptions an’ things, but there was just too much.  I’ll share it, cuz I know I outta, so everybody else gets a good idea bout what poems really are, but I gotta say I dunno what it means.
Through the artist’s eyes,
we catch this breath of fire,
lifting water up to flight.
This dead weight sinks our histories
back into deep sleep, hidden away
to dream of repair.
Waking, we clutch at the real
weight of a movable flood, catching
streams that pour through metal
still cold to the touch. Time
takes little care over us. Current
flowing, its song sighs across weft,
warp, wrinkle, fold. It collars us
in its minutae.
Iron, pierced for steam’s escape!
Ease across what was once shift,
now skirt, scarf, shirt sleeve, sheet.
Warm what will soon cool.
Stiffen what will turn soft.
Smoothe our way, and drape us
in the dignity
of this new day.
I told her I didn’t know if I could do it after she said that one.  She suggested I outta stay with writin’ shorter poems at first.  She said what she shared with me were written by people that were good poets, ones you could find in books an’ all.  I shouldn’t worry bout tryin’ to write like them.  I outta write like myself, using things I saw an’ felt an’ though.  Then she went off to help the Hittys with cleanin’ an’ organizin’ cupboards.  I got left with a pencil an’ some paper.
It was tough.  I stared at the fireplace.  I stared at the bricks.  I stared at the cracks inna ceiling.  I thought bout fightin’ an’ monsters an’ swords an’ traps.  (I wanna try settin’ more traps for monsters, to lure them inna places where it’s gonna be easier to fight ’em instead of always fightin’ inna places where they’re comfortable.)
But that was gettin’ me sidetracked.  I hadda think poems.  Monsters didn’t make good poems.  I didn’t think they would.  Shiny wires an’ sharp swords.  An’…umm….
Nope.  I was stuck again.  This poeming thing was tough!
I tried different ways of thinkin’, hopin’ somethin’ would maybe gimme a different idea or I’d find how poet people think better.



Then I remembered Lark sayin’ somethin’ bout how I outta write what I know.  So I sat up again, thinkin’ bout what I know.  Riley was onna desk, so I played with her some, pettin’ her soft fur an’ givin’ her puppy kisses.  I didn’t wanna play too hard, cuz she’d get noisy, an’ for sure Lark would realize I wasn’t really poeming.  Then, alla sudden, somethin’ kinda popped inna my head.  I wrote it down quick, so it wouldn’t get away again.

Li’l bit after, Lark came back downstairs.  She said she’d written a short poem called a haiku, an’ asked if I wanna hear it.  I did.  I was hopin’ she wouldn’t think too hard bout why Riley was sittin’ onna desk.

She coughed a tiny bit, then said:

Bare winter branches
Stark against gray winter sky:
Crusted, frost-seared fields.

Wow!  That was nice an’ pretty.  It was like I was standin’ inna field, lookin’ at the trees.   Lark’s good at poeming!  I wasn’t so sure bout what I’d written, but I hadda share it.  At least she didn’t ask me to read it out loud.  She took the paper instead an’ read it quiet to herself.

When she was done, she just kinda stopped an’ looked at me.  Then she looked at Riley.  I was playin’ with my puppy again.


Then she laughed an’ said I did good.  She liked that it rhymed.  An’ that was it for our grammar lesson.  She did add that she was gonna hafta re-think how our lessons were goin’, cuz she wasn’t sure her teachin’ was havin’ the effect she wanna make.  I feel a li’l bad about that, cuz it sorta means I’m not a good student, but that’s ok.  Cooper says we all got subjects we like better’n’ others.  An’ it’s ok, so long as we try our best with things that are new.

Riley an’ me went out inna sun-soaked fields an’ ran around, chasin’ butterflies an’ playin’ in mud puddles til we were so hot, we hadda flop down in some shade an’ watch clouds floatin’ by.

Oh, yeah!  The poem!

Riley is small and sweet,
A perfect little ball of fun.
But Riley is not good to eat.
Riley is not a plum.

Hope maybe everybody else can try writin’ some poems too.  They’re kinda fun.  Sorta.



My friend Vale was talkin’ bout settin’ up a whole disguise for herself, which is pretty cool an’ really impressive, cuz she’s a cyborg, an’ her disguise is a computer thing, sorta like a hologram?  It looks totally real!  Then she was talkin’ bout bein’ a private investigator onna Caribbean island, an’ I gotta grand idea that maybe I’d be her partner.  But I’d need a disguise too!  So I got to playin’ inna closet, makin’ up different disguises.  I need help thinkin’ bout which one seems like a good idea, tho, cuz I don’t think I’m real good at some disguises, but others work pretty ok.

First disguise:  Beach girl


Vale said maybe a beach getup would be a good disguise.  An’ this isn’t much like beach stuff I wanna wear, but I look an awful lot like myself.  Dunno if it’s a good disguise, then.  But if you didn’t know who I was, maybe it’d be ok?

Next Disguise:  Girly Girl


This one’s a lot more not me.  It’s somethin’ Wren might wear.  It’s cute, I guess, an’ sorta very girly.  Vale said maybe I outta look for hats or somethin’ as disguises, so I tried puttin’ a bow on my head.  Oh, gumdrops.  Why do people wear bows?  Maybe I didn’t know how to put it on, though.  I thought about that after a bit:  I’d’ve been much better off if I’d asked Wren to help me with gettin’ stuff on.  (this outfit woulda been more complete if I’d put on pantyhose or tall socks an’ some shoes.  I didn’t do shoes for many outfits.  I know I’d need ’em, but I was gettin’ in an’ outta clothes so fast, I didn’t wanna bother with shoes much).

Next Disguise:  Camper


I started to realize, after tryin’ on a few disguises, that a really good disguise has a story with it.  So I tried comin’ up with stories (or characters) before I put on an outfit.  When I found these pants an’ shirt, I thought it’d make a good campin’ outfit.  Then I found this awesome backpack (it’s gotta be Cooper’s) an’ shovel (which IS Cooper’s).  The shovel made sense.  I could figure out how to work it.  But the backpack…  why does it have so many straps???  What do you do with ’em all??

I tried putting the pack on, hopin’ that maybe, once it was sort of in place, the straps would make sense, but…no…  I still couldn’t figure it out!  There were buckles an’ clips everywhere.  I’ll ask Cooper bout it later.  But the whole camper story seemed like a good idea.


Next Disguise:  Birdwatcher


There’s bird’s everywhere, right?  So maybe bein’ a birdwatcher would be a great disguise!  Though I do kinda just look like me…

Playin’ with the binoculars was fun, though.


By the way, as I was takin’ things off, I kept droppin’ them on the bed.  It started piling up pretty deep…  I was gonna have some work to clean up after. (we don’t have an apron, though, or I would’ve made a maid disguise too!!)

Next Disguise: Gypsy

Pip gave me this really pretty dress.  It makes me think of gypsies.  So, when I found a pretty scarf, I popped that on my head.  I actually think this disguise might be the best.  It covers up more hair, so it’s harder to tell it’s me.  An’ I really never wear dresses, so puttin’ one on an’ actin’ like some sorta gypsy person might be a good idea.  Only problem is, I dunno how gypsies act.  I think maybe they offer to tell your fortune? Or they play music an’ dance an’ stuff.

Next Disguise:  Tomboy


Thought this one was pretty good, too, cuz it’s got a hat, an’ it’s a wee bit harder to tell it’s me.  But the cloths are a lot like what I’d wear, an’ the hat’s mine anyway…  It was really the most comfy disguise.  I liked it a lot.  I liked the birdwatcher outfit too.

Next Disguise:  Kid


Ok.  Maybe this wasn’t a good disguise after all.  I mean, who disguises like themselves? Doesn’t that kinda make it all pointless?  I wished I had a baseball cap an’ a skateboard.  Then I’d be less like me, an’ more like a disguised kid!  The shoes were good, though.  I think they’re Falcon’s.  Hope he doesn’t mind.  Might be a bit before he gets ’em back.

Next Disguise:  Tourist


I borrowed Wren’s hat for this one.  It actually looks pretty good!  I might wear this one when I’m feelin’ like I outta get kinda dressed up, an’ I don’t got plans to go fight things or run through a field or nothin’.  The hat’s cute.  I’ll give it back, cuz I don’t wanna steal things offa Wren, but I hope she lets me borrow it sometime.

When I found Wren’s hat, I found something else, too.  It was really a disguise thing!  A wig.  A real wig!  People who are tryin’ look like someone else really do wear wigs.


I couldn’t figure out how to get it on, though.  I think it would’ve made a better disguise if I couldn’ve hidden my hair an’ made the wig look real.  I kept tuggin’ on it, an’ tuckin’ my braids back, an’ tryin’ to stuff my hair outta sight, but…well…I should’ve probably asked someone to help me with gettin’ dressed an’ stuff.  The wig was a good disguise idea, but I dunno quite how to make it work right.  I put it somewhere safe, tho.  It does a really good job of makin’ me not look like me.

Next disguise:  ???


I wasn’t quite sure what I was goin’ for here.  I was gettin’ pretty tired of tryin’ on clothes.  But there was this awesome cowboy hat, an’ it wanted to be tried on.  The whole thing, though…I dunno what I’d call the disguise.  Cowboy? Country girl?  None of that’s really right.

Most of the outfits hadda problem, too: nowhere to hide weapons.  I dunno if private investigators need swords, but I kinda like havin’ mine nearby.  I kept tryin’ stick it in different costumes.  I don’t think it worked too good as a prop, though…  It sure didn’t stay hidden, but at least I found some ways to carry it!


I’m gonna keep thinkin’ bout disguises.  It was fun makin’ up stories an’ characters an’ stuff.  I can’t wait to be a real private investigator!!


PS:  I didn’t wanna make Wren mad, so I cleaned everything up, too.  I even picked up the toys we had lyin’ round the room an’ put ’em all away.  Hope it makes Wren happy!

Grammar Lessons with Lark

Lark told me, when we were goin’ through Grammy Happy’s old house, that I outta talk with her some bout grammar an’ lessons an’ writin’ an’ stuff.  She likes writin’, tho, so I didn’t figure I was exactly bad at writin’ or nothin’.  But even Cooper said once (or maybe twice) that sometimes I didn’t write too good.  I wrote good stuff, but its…um… presentation wasn’t alla what it could be.

They hadda point.  I figured talkin’ to Lark at least couldn’t hurt.  It’d only help.

But grammar–good grammar–is tough.  It’s got lotsa rules an’ limits an’ don’t-dos an’ stuff.  There’s danglin’ participles an’ subject-verb agreements (whadda ya do if they disagree??  how bad’s that argument gonna be?!) an’ gerunds an’ verbs an’ nouns an’ comma splices an’ stuff.  Loads an’ loads of stuff.

I’m gonna give it a shot, but I ain’t makin’ no promises.

Lark spends loads of time at her writin’ desk over inna big house, with stuff like a typewriter an’ a computer an’ sometimes a notebook.  I went lookin’ for her there.


There she was, tappin’ onna typewriter keys.  Actually, she was sorta starin’ off at the wall.  I hadda clear my throat an’ cough a li’l bit to get her attention.  Hitty Lily an’ Lily Too were there, sittin’ quiet in their chairs.  They said that she does that a lot–sorta starin’ off at nothin’ or a cobweb or a crack inna wall.

But she was right happy to see me.

“Are you here for lessons?” she asked.

Maybe…  is it gonna be hard?


She said no, grammar wasn’t hard.  She told me to think of it sorta like practicin’ with a sword to get better at fightin’ monsters.  It feels kinda funny an’ clunky at first, but when you keep at it, things get easier an’ easier.  Sword doesn’t feel so heavy an’ your muscles aren’t quite so sore.

I said I’d try, but–swords an’ pens?  Really?

Lark started off sayin’ she really liked my blog.  Said it had good images an’ action an’ voice an’ stuff.  But she thought I outta work on stuff like not usin’ double negatives an’ rememberin’ to add my “G”s onna end of gerunds (wait…whatsa gerund??) an’ not forgettin’ to add the “d” on “and,” cuz ‘an’ is a participle, not a conjunction.

I just started blinkin’ fast.  This wasn’t nothin’ like sword fightin’ or even like sword practice.

I was about to bolt when she hopped up outta her chair an’ pushed me down instead.  Then I was trapped, an’ there was nowhere to run.  My heart was thuddin’ in my chest like there was a monster creepin’ up behind me.


She said this was my new trainin’ ground, then she leaned over an’ typed a address inna computer.  A page popped up alla bout grammar an’ writin’.  She said we’d look at partsa speech first, like nouns an’ verbs an’ stuff.  We weren’t gonna do tons each day, cuz nobody learns good if they try’n cram too much in they head atta time (an’ she said teachers weren’t good if they tried teachin’ too much at once, neither).

Nouns are persons, places, things, or ideas.

Verbs do actions.

Adjectives describe nouns.

(she said that wasn’t alla parts, but we were only gonna do those three today)

She talked bout ’em, gave me examples, had me read some bits an’ paragraphs bout each kinda thing.  Then I gotta take a test bout ’em!  I don’t like tests too much, but this wasn’t too bad.  It helped that, when I got stumped, I’d look up at Lark an’ we’d talk some more bout what was what.  An’ it was nice.  She didn’t make me feel dumb or nothin’, even when I didn’t know the answer.


I think verbs are my favorite.  They make things happen.  They got spunk, an’ courage, an’ heart.  Lark says they’re important cuz they make writing active an’ give it energy.  Without good verbs, you got a limp mess.  What’d she call it? Passive.  Kinda like a mouse inna corner.  I like mice all right, but I don’t wanna be a corner mouse.  I wanna be a field mouse instead, or a house  mouse stealin’ crumbs.

But you can’t write with just verbs.  You gotta have nouns to make the verbs matter.  They’re the things makin’ the verbs act, or bein’ acted upon (cool word, right? “upon”).  Lark says lotsa sentences start with a noun doin’ an action.  Noun-Verb.  You don’t gotta sentence without them both. Fly jump climb eat run go miss doesn’t make sense.  Somethin’s gotta be doin’ alla that actin’.  An’ that’s where nouns come in!

That makes sense.  Most people put ’em together without thinkin’, like apples an’ cheese or rice an’ beans.  But it’s good to know what you’re doin’ an why, instead of just doin’ it.  (Lark started talkin’ bout how the nouns an’ the verbs gotta agree with each other too, but she did’t say much bout that right now, cuz she could see it was gonna give me a headache)

Adjectives are, like, words that describe nouns.  They make the picture all pretty an’ specific an’ stuff.  I hadda look round the room an’ write down adjectives.  White walls. Old typewriter. Green eyes. Wooden Hitty. Rumpled rug.  Soft voice.  (There’s adjectives for alla senses, like smellin’ an’ tastin’ an’ hearin’, not just seein’.)

Then Lark told me I was doin’ good, an’ maybe next time we’d try writin’ a poem or somethin’.  A poem!  I ain’t never written a poem.  She says it’ll be fun.  I guess we’ll see.  I still think fightin’ a monster’s way easier.  But this is pretty cool, too.  I’m glad Lark’s helpin’ me some.



Grammy Happy’s House: Empty (Part 4)


Oh, those stairs…

Lark didn’t wanna go.  She really didn’t wanna go.  She said there were too many stairs, and they were too hard for small dollies (even though we’re kind of bigger dollies).  Small-ish dollies, then.  She sat down at the bottom an’ told me I outta go on without her.


But we’d been through the whole house together.  Didn’t feel right skippin’ it, didn’t feel right leavin’ her behind.  She just hadda come.  I begged her please, pretty please.  I’d get Bean to carry us up.  I just really wanted to finish the adventure together.


At least she got up.  I could see her thinkin’ some bout what she was gonna do.  She kept lookin’ sideways up the stairs.  Then she finally walked over, gave a big sigh, an’ said we outta go.  Yay, Lark!


Goin’ up inna third floor was strange.  It was like alla sound went dead, like your ears were numb, an’ nothin’ inna world could make sound again.  There was a dull weight pressing in an’ wrapping round your whole person.  An’ it was bright, so bright!  Once we were alla way up, I did hear something:  a bug, buzzin’ an’ smackin’ inna window over an’ over.  Bzzz… Whap.  Bzzz…  Whap.  Bzzzz…. Whap.

We sat onna rail an’ looked round the room first.


It was a big room, with windows on all sortsa sides, an’ doors leadin’ inna other places.  There was a big table inna middle, too.  There was a big table off to the side, too. An’ some lost bug, bzzz…whappin’ like it was gonna get him out somehow.


The room was makin’ sounds.  The floor creaked when you walked, but it creaked too when nobody was walkin’ on it.  There were thumps against the wall.  I didn’t think much bout it.  I mean, it’s an old house.  We were at the top of the very old house.  Old places talk to themselves a bit.  All the shimmyin’ an’ shakin’ from down low travels up their ribs an’ out their mouth, sorta like it does with people too, talkin’ with mouths.

We talked bout what we wanna do:  look out some windows, check out the closed doors, peek round for lost things?  The more I talked bout goin’ an’ doin’ an’ movin’, though, the more unsure Lark looked, kinda like she didn’t wanna be there at all.  I figured maybe she just needed to get movin’ some, an’ she’d start feelin’ more comfortable.  So I got her over to a big window.


It was pretty outside.  We started talkin’ bout flowers an’ spring an’ birds.  I said maybe we outta go check what the other windows showed.  We’d just gotten over when there was more bzzzz…whappin’, an’ this giant bee-like bug (but no fuzz!  A mean, angry, bee-like bug with no soft cuddly bee fuzz!) landed right at Lark’s feet.  She kinda sorta screamed.  It took off right quick an’ smacked the window again.  Then there was a moaning creaking sound from behind one door.  Lark was done.  She said we hadda go. Now. There were ghosts, an’ she didn’t wanna deal with no ghost.

I tried to reason with her.  It was pipes.  The house was old.  The bee-bug didn’t hurt us none.  Grammy Happy’s ghost friend, Alma, went with Grammy Happy.  She got invited to leave her house an’ travel west to a new one.  But Lark wouldn’t even look at me.


I thought bout all those closed doors.  I wanted to look in ’em, just to see what there was.  But Lark was well an’ truly sure there was a ghost inna house.  Inna room.  Waiting to pounce an’ do…whatever ghosty things ghosts wanna do.  It wasn’t fair to make her look behind alla doors, or even wait while I looked behind ’em.  I’d seen enough.


C’mon.  Let’s go.

She was better once we were outside.  There was a li’l drizzle, so we got smile-damp, but that was ok.  Birds were singin’ loud inna trees, an’ the ground was covered over in pretty white flowers.  Wren agreed we could make one more stop if it was outside, so we went to visit an old friend.


Grammy Happy hadda old apple tree.  Maybe crab apple.  Dunno that there’s much difference.  It was a nice old tree, an’ it’d make small apples every fall, an’ it made Grammy Happy happy.  Made lotsa squirrels happy too, an’ I know there were some cats that slept ‘neath its branches, dreamin’ of mice an’ milk.  Sometimes, inna rain, bunnies would go hide in its hollow-out trunk, keepin’ dry.  But the apple tree got old an’ tired, an’ it needed a rest.  So now there’s just a stump.  But I like to think apple-tree’s spirit is still there, waitin’ for a good seed to help it come back so it can make apples again.

After the apple stump, Lark said we outta go smell some flowers too, cuz they were so very pretty.  We stayed there, layin’ inna flowers, til the sky got dark with clouds, an’ we hadda run (cuz we weren’t gonna be smile damp no more. We’d be flat-out soaked!)


It was good, seein’ Grammy’s house again.  I hope it makes other people happy too.  It’s a good house, fulla stories an’ dreams an’ mysteries.