Handgun image from freeart
Chapter 4: “We’re ready.” Steve was another member of the resistance, and like Landon, not only was his control collar inoperable, but he could use elemental magic. Steve looked human, a lot of the other soldiers didn’t, not quite, but the seventeen-year-old had never been aware of him back on Earth. Landon had been able to sense a lot of magic users by the time he was sixteen, but somehow, Steve had managed to elude him.
“When do we strike?” They were walking on the parade grounds. Landon’s limp was almost gone and Dr. Swanson, also a member of the rebellion, would have to declare him fit for duty in another few days. It was the same with Steve whose arm had been broken in a medieval combat simulation. He was slightly taller than Landon and a few years older, dark hair and eyes, medium complexion. He said his Mom was from Mexico and his Dad was from “someplace else,” which probably meant another dimension.
“Tomorrow at dawn. All of the magic users have been alerted. We’ll be the first wave, taking out the Master and the top echelon. Once we disable the control mechanisms, the rest will be easy. We must outnumber them a hundred to one.”
“Dawn.” Landon and Steve stopped at the flagpole and saluted. On the flag was a representation of the ancient Roman god Janus, the two-faced god who represented beginnings, gates, transitions, passages, and time. It was a curious symbol for a group of extra-dimensional players, who used intelligent life forms as pieces in their bloody war games. “What about the people in play? There will still be thousands in the different simulations.”
Replica collar from the original Star Trek series episode, “The Gamesters of Triskelion.” Found at the “Star Trek Prop Authority” website.
Chapter 3: “It’s a good thing the biotrace found him.”
Landon heard a familiar voice, a man’s voice. The Master? Where was Buddy?
“Yes sir. Another few minutes and his signal would have faded forever.”
It was Carmen Ramsey, Landon’s doctor; the one who treated his wounds after one of the Games, the Roman’s sword. Yes, he remembered.
“Without the collar, he was free of our influence, and in his case, the ability to use sorcery was restored. He is too valuable a contestant to lose. Besides, if he ever freed the dragon…” The Master abruptly stopped talking.
“Wait. He’s coming to.” Carmen put her hand on his forehead.
Kiyohira Arita was the only one in the lifeboat when he regained consciousness. What had happened? The eleven-year-old student had been on a ferry, the Shiun Maru. Yes, that was it. He was with his class on a school field trip crossing the Seto Inland Sea. The fog was so terrible. He and some of the other boys were on desk. He was trying to be brave, but he’d been freezing. Then he heard something, a horn of some kind. Then the world tore itself apart.
Now it was sunny and warm. Kiyohira had to take off his jacket because it was hot, like a summer day in the tropics though he knew it was only the beginning of May. Where was everybody? There must have been a crash, a collision. He looked in the water. No debris or wreckage. He looked further. Kiyohira knew she should be able to see land. They’d been in the middle of their transit so he shouldn’t be more than fifteen or twenty kilometers at most from the shore and even closer to one of the islands. They’d be impossible to miss on a day like this. Not a cloud in the sky.
But it was like he was in the middle of the ocean. He’d never been on the ocean before but he’d read books. Somehow he was put on a lifeboat after the collision and floated out to sea.
No, that was insane but how else could he have gotten here?
Mt.Tamalpais State Park, CA – Found at Trip Advisor
“Grandpas bring a little wisdom, happiness, warmth, and love to every life they touch” –Anonymous
Keisha could hear the two Spads veer off to either side just after the machine gun clatter stopped. Her eyes were squeezed shut and she’d bent forward in her chair as far as she could, covering her head with her arms.
She felt her body being pulled forward even more, which meant the Kestrel was going into a dive.
“Miss Davis, are you alright?” It was Isaiah! He was alive.
“I’m okay. How’s Josiah?” She opened her eyes and looked to her right but her view of the man and boy was obscured by clouds of mist.
“I’m fine except for being scared out of my wits.”
“We made it,” Granger shouted. “Get us down, Oscar. We’ve got to ditch the zeppelin’s superstructure.
“Duck soup, Boss.”
“Don’t give me that mush. It’s curtains for us if we don’t land this tub, and we’ll have to hit on all sixes to get the job done.”
© Sue Vincent
“No, I don’t want you to try to heal it. I want the imp weak and helpless.”
It had been several days since Dani and Paris found the tiny demon unconscious in a nearby wooded avenue. Thanks to Paris’s book and Dani’s tutoring, Mandy’s knowledge of how to use the local tree bark, roots, and other parts of medicinal plants was steadily growing, and the children felt well enough to resume their journey very soon.
“He’s hardly regained consciousness since you brought him back to camp. What if he dies?”
“Then it dies. It’s a demon. It, and thousands of others just like it, tried to kill us, and they did kill four dragons, or have you forgotten that?” The dragon rider was furious, not so much at Mandy, but at the loss of her four friends, as well as the horrible revelation that Shay had been taken by the demon horde. It added to the plague of the visions and dreams where she saw herself murdering the other teenager and her brothers and sisters.
“I’m just trying to help.” Mandy might have been afraid of Dani if she’d faced her anger when their relationship was new, but now she understood that the dragonrider was in pain, tormented by guilt at what she saw as her failures.
Goat Island (now Yerba Buena Island) in San Francisco Bay.
“A child’s eyes light up when they see their Grandpa.” –Catherine Pulsifer
“Where is she? Are she and Leah well? Don’t just sit there man!” Isaiah was as frantic as Keisha had ever seen him during the short time they’d known each other. At the first mention of his Mom’s name, Josiah rushed over to his Dad. The teenager from another universe stood and waited.
The lighthouse keeper was rapidly writing on a pad and then put the pencil down. “She’s ceased transmitting. A moment, Isaiah.” Joachim began tapping at the telegraph key. Grandpa had taught Keisha Morse Code when she was little since one of the projects they’d worked on was building a working signaling system, but Rosenstein’s finger was moving too fast for her to understand the message. Then he stopped and listened.
“Sorry. I think she was cut off in the middle of her transmission. She’s not answering now.”
Isaiah put his arm around his son and took a deep breath. “Can you read out what you got?”
Found at the bloodbankdragons YouTube channel
“What in the name of a bunch of deleted, censored, and just plain bad words happened to me?”
The scream came out of Landon’s room, but the nine-year-old was at school at the moment, so the only ones to hear him were the boy’s nearly three-year-old sister Dani, his Grandpa, and of course, Buddy the Ambrosial Dragon.
Well, that’s not quite true. Baby the Stuffed Giraffe and all the other living stuffed animals had been taking a mid-morning doze when they were startled awake by the caterwauling.
Dani had been riding her little, plastic car up and down the hallway, and was right next to Landon’s bedroom door when she heard the yelling. Fumbling with the doorknob, she managed to get it turned, and pushed the door in. Then, seeing the source of the commotion, she jumped up and down with delight and giggled. “Bunny rabbit!”
“Bunny rabbit, my bow tie! I’ve been turned into some kind of plush toy, and for heaven’s sake, where the blue buttons am I?”
Modeling of the submarine “Nautilus” from the 1954 film “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”
“You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.” –Abraham Lincoln
Nine-year-old Josiah Covington pushed hard against Keisha’s stomach as she was trying to shield him from a barrage of bullets. Her back was to the door and she expected to be dead in the next few seconds, but before she felt the anticipated pain of being shot, the boy’s other hand yanked hard on the elevator’s control lever, moving it from “Ground” to “Bottom.”
Then something hit her from behind, a staggering, off-balance Isaiah Covington, throwing her forward into the boy and causing all three to fall to the floor, as a staccato of pings and bangs hit the closing elevator doors.
Three of the glowing energy bullets pierced the car’s doors and hit the back wall just over their heads as they began their rapid descent.
“Hold on!” Isaiah’s warning was well-advised but ill-timed as none of them were in a position to grab onto the retraining bars above them. All they could do was flounder about on the floor, coughing in the fog of steam and aerosol lubricant released by the elevator’s rapid operation. Then an abrupt deceleration, which Keisha remembered from the last time she’d ridden in this death trap, and a sudden, jarring stop at the bottom of the shaft.
“No time to lose.” The elder Covington was up and off of the irritated, embarrassed fifteen-year-old girl, and out the door.
© Sue Vincent
The Beginning of the Saga of the Davidson Children
Five children abruptly found themselves at night in a dark forest being drenched during a thunderstorm. “Mandy! What happened? Where’s Mom and Dad?” Thirteen-year-old Amanda Davidson felt panic rise her chest. Where were her brothers and sisters? What happened to their parents? How did they get here?
“I don’t know Paris. Stick with Taylor. Can you see Jake and Zooey?”
“Zooey’s here with me, Mandy.” Paris was holding her younger sister’s hand.
“Jake’s right next to me.” Taylor pulled his brother closer to him.
Mandy was trembling from the cold and terror at suddenly being alone with her brothers and sisters and lost in the dark.
“Everyone stay close to me. Paris, get right behind me. Jake and Zooey, get behind Paris. Taylor, you get behind Zooey and make sure everyone sticks together.”
© Vadim Voitekhovitch – Found at Deviant Art
“Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.” –Alex Haley
Keisha guided, or so she thought, the ornately decorated airship “Graceful Delight” out of the gigantic hanger set upon a massive floating derrick just off of Alameda. However she was about to discover there’s a difference between reading and memorizing instructions, and real practical experience. She had never driven a car before, let alone piloted a fifteen-meter-long gondola suspended under a sixty-meter dirigible. When the propellers begin to drive the ship forward, they had spun up to a preset speed, dictating the Delight’s velocity, and whatever gas was inside the thin, metallic envelope above her head, was providing buoyancy and lift.
The Delight was accelerating upward and Keisha didn’t know how to stop it.
Frantically, she racked her memory for how to control the ship.
“Let’s see, these levers control engine speed, but how do I keep from going up?”