Just a little special news

I’m off for another expedition to the great outdoor.    I’ll be gone for a couple of days, but in the mean time, drop by The Inferno, and check out the novel excerpt I  posted.  It’s from Catherine Ryan Hyde’s new novel, Diary of a Witness, and When I Found You.  I know you all know who Catherine Ryan Hyde is, she's the author of  Pay It Forward.

So swing by and take a sneak peak at her new release’s.  One posted today, and one set to post tomorrow. 

I’ll be off renewing my inspiration in the woods and wilds.  Hopefully I can get Tirashar to start talking to me again so we can catch up with her adventures.  And for those of you who don’t know, I post daily on Side Notes.  Nothing special, just kind of a daily journal type of thing.  So if things are really slow, come check out my boring life, LOL.

Peaceful Autumn Wandering, or is it?


Image by Epona Schweer via Flickr

I have been somewhat lax with my posting here.  Tis only because I have been having so much fun with The Inferno.  We posted the results of our first writers challenge over the weekend.  Some excellent stories were submitted, some from regulars we all know and love.  Ponderer, Rogue, LouCeel, and many others who take part in The Artists challenge regularly.  Please swing by and check out our Writers Gallery for the challenge “Curiosity Killed The Cat”.  The following is a story I did for the challenge.

Be mindful what creatures cross your path in the shadows of a misty night.  For they may not be what they appear!   The mists distort,  changing the perceivable   vision, causing illusions or phantoms to be seen. 

An Autumn Saturdays sunset rested pleasantly on the horizon.  Such beauty and temperate atmosphere should always be enjoyed.  What better way to enthrall the senses than a quiet stroll along familiar roads.  At least that’s what I thought.  Little did I know there would be scarcely anything familiar and pleasant about this evenings events. 

I snatched my jacket from the hook near the door, grabbed my walking stick and set out.  Pausing at the gate to sooth the feelings of my faithful companion, Destiny, who wouldn’t be joining me this evening.  A decision I may regret for all eternity.   Destiny, a Sheppard of faithful obedience, was disheartened.   Exhibiting her concern and displeasure, in ways that were new and worrying to me.  She was bordering on the frantic, as if she could see what was about to happen.  I should have taken heed, and given in to her worries.

I started off on what I thought was going to be a short walk, exchanging greetings with neighbors as I went.  A wave and well wishes here and there, until I came to Matilda’s house.  An old Victorian, seemingly falling down in a slowly progressing dilapidation.  Matilda got up from her rickety chair on the sagging front porch.  A darkness in her eyes, deep, seemingly bottomless, was the feature I remember most.  She struggled to the porch rail, leaning hard against it with a faith in it’s stability I would have never had.  “Use caution in your wanderings Louis… Autumn evenings are seldom as peaceful as they seem.”  Matilda’s voice had an aged quality that added mystery to her statement.  Errant strands of  unkempt grey hair falling over her forehead as she hunched precariously against the rotting railing.  Creating an emphasis on the darkness in her eyes and framing her face in shadows.

I paused at her overgrown drive, with it’s faltering fence and dangerously slanted gate.  Holding up my knotted and knurled walking stick.  Simply an old Oak limb polished by years of handling and many miles.  “I’ll be careful Matilda.  I have my sturdy walking staff to defend against the forest critters.”

“Tis not critters you need be concerned with.  It’s the creatures, phantoms of the night, with evil in their thoughts that should be halting this evening stroll.”  There was a resonating hollowness to her statement that will haunt me ever more.  An image of her dressed in black, glaring into a fire darkened cauldron; filling my cognition.  The resounding laughter of a wicked old witch wafting to my ears with illusionary, I assumed, frightfulness.   Ones imagination can add warning if  they simply choose to listen.  Had I paid attention to that demented old woman, perhaps I would not feel compelled to share this tale with you.

Shrugging my shoulders, I politely waved, and continued along my evenings route.  Dismissing her warnings as the ramblings of an addled mind.  Conceivably, it’s the confused mind that sees the illusions of reality more precisely.  The distortion of sanity, seems to cloud ones vision, preventing the sights more difficult to believe.  Is not reality, so very often, unbelievable and truth veiled in fiction.

The sun had descended below the horizon as I approached the forest road, casting shadows of curiosity along my path.  A bloodshot sky was ablaze in the ferocious fire of an Autumn evening.  The narrow forest road with its trees forming an impenetrable canopy, appeared cave like and darkened.  Concern flitted across my consciousness as I thought once more of Matilda’s warnings.  Shaking off a cloud of  precarious feelings, I walked on, entering the darkness.

It was as if someone had lowered a heavy curtain, an eclipse complete and encompassing.  I paused just inside the entrance, staring into the blackest of shadows allowing my eyes to adjust.  An unwelcome cold, seemed to penetrate my very bones, making the hair on the back of my neck stand on end.   It seemed early in the season for such a frosty air.  After all, just moments before it was temperate and warm.  As my eyes slowly became accustomed to the gloom, it seemed to me everything was surrounded in a misty fog.  The familiar and fragrant scents I was used to, were missing.  There was a dank, musty, and perhaps even rotting odor in the air.  Wrinkling my nose and pulling the jacket closed, I continued my stroll.  It was only a short distance to the back road leading around the other side of my neighborhood,and I now wanted this hike to be over quickly.

As I walked, I saw an odd form run across the road in front of me.  Curiosity being my continual downfall, I followed to see what it was.  I could hear the mewling of a woman crying with such intensity and pain.   “Are you alright, do you need help?”  I called out in my naivety.   Trying to quickly catch up, I stumbled and fell, tripping over a limb that seemed to come from nowhere.  I could see what appeared to be a huddled woman.  The heaving of her shoulders from tearful sobbing emphasizing her posture.  My compassion drew me closer, allowing me to see the veiled beauty before me.

The sumptuous form of a purely exquisite female anatomy, partially hidden by a hooded half cloak with what appeared to be split tux tails.  Not quite concealing the shapely body, undoubtedly female, with buxom full breasts and shapely sculpted legs shrouded in fishnet stockings.  It may have been compassion that drew me in, but it was lustful desire that sealed my fate.  I reached out to touch this vision of wonder with crimson hair flowing out the sides and and corners of the hood.  She stood and slowly turned, showing me a face, void of expression, vague in form.  The only thing I truly remember is her eyes, slate grey and seemingly sightless!  Reacting in fear and repulsion, I backed away, quickly trying to distance myself from the horror in front of me.  She advanced, seemingly floating over the ground.  A huge scythe appearing in one hand, and a pale white skull, held captive in the other.  A slight prick at the side of my neck is all I felt, that is until the burning agony of her poison began its embalming path through my bloodstream.  

I now am indentured to her, fetching new souls, delivering the weak and curious.  Destined to travel this darkened mist filled forest.  I may be doomed to an eternity of servitude to Le’ Femme Death, but you still have a choice.   Beware the illusions created by  a deceptive reality.  Perhaps it’s best to push sanity aside and embrace the confusion of insanity.

“The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague.  Who shall say where the one ends and where the other begins.”

Edgar Allen Poe; The Premature Burial, 1844

The Gift












I had believed The Gift to be,

an ability granted by gods.

A talent, trade, or craft

seemingly unattainable yet 

precisely grafted in character.


Many gifts have been granted,

placed with pride and confidence.

Sculpting  individuals,

shaping  personage,

providing sufficiency.


Yet all along, hidden in sight!

The greatest gift of all…

a community  of  fellowship.

Kindred spirits, sharing willingly,

Unique gifts of ability, talent, vision.


Authors Note;  I submitted this for The Artists Challenge.  The theme, is “The Gift”.  I’m looking forward to the artwork to be displayed there.  I’m also really excited, because the site I’m hosting for them, The Inferno, is having it’s first gallery.  The Writers Challenge on Inferno, will be posted Sunday Morning starting at 12:01 AM, and continuing in succession of a post per minute or two until all are published.  They all are being shown under a unique tag that I will post as a link on the site.  We have some wonderful submissions for the Writers Challenge, and I think you’ll enjoy it.

Sometimes Words Are Not Enough

I found this on YouTube while checking out all the 9-11 tributes, and there are many.

Such A Sad Note To Start The Weekend


Summers end, this year, carries with it another more tragic end.  I spend long hours on line, reading all kinds of blogs.  There is one venue of blog I always find myself attracted to.  That is the Mil-Blog, or Military Blogs.  I’m particularly interested in reading those of the military men and women stationed overseas, in current conflict areas.  

I get to see the war through their eyes. Even with the operational security restraints placed on these young men and women, you can easily get a feel for the mood and spirit of our troops.  There are always new mil-blogs popping up, and others fading away with the ending of commitments or transfer to new duty stations. It saddens me to say that one such site, seemingly just started has seen it’s final post with the untimely death of it’s author.

Through Amber Lenses authored by Jordan Shay, an infantry fire team leader stationed in Iraq.  Jordan’s blog was  fairly new, and he was just finding his “stride” in writing.  He had only posted 16 times since May.  Jordan was on his third combat tour, and their unit was just getting settled into the new routine.  He had  just started writing some  posts about what their daily patrols entailed.  His last post, The Promised “Real” post,  was entertaining and enlightening at the same time.  Jordan talked about their efforts to interact with local Iraqi children, and befriend some Iraqi Military personnel.   One particular paragraph caught my attention.

It's scary to think the few minutes my squad spent outside the police station interacting with the local kids, showing that we're there to be friendly and help the Iraqis, and proving we're not afraid to wander the streets alone may set the tone in KBS for the rest of our deployment.
So poignant and insightful. 

There are a number of people leaving comments on this post.  One of the comments is from Jordan's girlfriend who confirms the reports of his death, and thanks those who have read the blog.  She stated that the blog was important to Jordan, and the fact that people were reading made things even better for him.  Another comment, simple, to the point, and ever so sorrowful to me
Thank you, Soldier.
God Bless you.
Tugged at my heart, and started a tear from eye.

As we go into the holiday weekend, please take a moment, and think of Jordan and pray for his family and loved ones.   A soldier, who served his country and fought alongside his buddies, protecting those of us back home.  A life taken too soon, one accented by compassion, pride, and courage.  A hero who wont be forgotten.

Where Have The Years Gone?


Image by stefano63fr via Flickr

I recently received a package from my eldest sister, Kel, who by the way is another year the elder just recently, LOL.  That sounds strange, but I think I’m going to leave it just like it is.  There’s a reason for the wordage, Kel dislike’s the term OLDEST.  She will always advance a year, two days before I gain another year.  So you see I can never catch up.   We could travel the same road, but there is no passing lane.   I know, I’m tortuously cruel, but what else is a little brother for, but to pester the “elder” sister.


Back to the subject at hand, sorry for the teasing distraction.  She included a letter, hand written in beautifully flowing script.  I just want to share the first paragraph with you.

“Well… considering how carefully observant the US Postal Service is of holidays, I doubt this will reach you before your birthday so “Happy Belated Birthday Rico”!

It was dated 08/30/90!!!  Well, it did arrive before my birthday Kel.  19 years later, LOL.  It’s interesting to read letters like this.  The things I was involved with back then, and her own intellectual aspirations, seem so distant to me now.  I was not even a year out of the service, and just finding my way into yet another form of public service.  She had sage advice for her little brother, recommending I keep an open mind and strive for decisions based on compassionate intelligence in my future profession.   She was right of course, as big sisters tend to be.  The letter really was fun to read, and brought back some fond memories of those days.


The package also contained a few books, obviously well read, and I’m sure loved.    We are a family of book lovers, we read, read, and read some more.  On Kel’s profile in the section where one is to list their favorite books, she says

“Whoo . . . this is a hard question . . . how can a person have a "favorite book?"  I'm more of a mind that there are so many books and so little time.”

One side of my mind wonders if there is a educational motive behind her selections, or if she just liked them so much she wanted me to enjoy them also.   Either way, I’m sure I’ll have fun reading them, lots of fantasy, a little Sci-Fy, and some romance.  One can never go wrong with reading material as a gift. 


Thank you for the books Kel… and the letter, (19 years late).   Happy belated birthday to you also.


Oh yeah,  the picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post.  I just liked the look  and feel of it.  There’s something enticing there, captured on film and shared with the rest of us. 


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