||Games People Play
It happened so fast. One minute she was swimming, the next the current was dragging her to the bottom. Seawater flooded her mouth. She fought, thrashed to the surface and tried to shout; a hoarse whisper was all that came. Her head went under and stayed under. Her lungs were on fire. With no warning it released her and she saw blue sky. Jennifer gulped shallow ragged breaths, shocked and scared, and started towards her family. She would never leave them again. But the decision was no longer hers. The force drew her back into a world without light or oxygen and this time it didn’t let go. Her arm broke free in a desperate attempt to escape. Tongues of spray pulled it down and Jennifer knew she was goingto drown. She’d dreamed of watching her daughter grow into a woman. That would never be. And Mark, poor Mark. How unfair to leave him. Her body rolled beneath the waves. She stopped struggling, closed her eyes and disappeared from sight. Seconds passed before Mark realised something wasn’t right. ‘Where’s mummy? Where’s your mummy?’ The baby sucked her thumb. ‘Where is she, Lily?’ At first he couldn’t move. Cold fear consumed him. A hundred yards away a group of boys played football; apart from them the beach was deserted. He yelled. They didn’t hear him. He threw the push-chair to the sand, yanked it open and sat Lily in it. His hands were shaking. The damned straps wouldn’t fasten. He spoke to himself. ‘Please god, no. Please god, no’ and raced into the sea. The water was freezing. What the hell had Jen been thinking? This was Scotland, for Christ sake. He swam to where he’d last seen her and went under. Mark was a good swimmer but it was dark. His frantic fingers searched until the pressure in his chest forced him to the surface. He took in as much air as he could and went back. Something bumped against him; he grabbed hold and dragged it up. Two boys ran into the water to help: the footballers. They hauled her body the last few yards and Mark fell to his knees. Jennifer wasn’t breathing. People appeared on the beach, silent witnesses to the nightmare the day had become. Where had they been when he needed them? He shouted, half in anger half in desperation. ‘Somebody call an ambulance!’ The crowd kept a respectful distance, believing what he believed, that he’d lost her. Jennifer’s face was white. Mark covered her mouth with his and breathed into her. His hands pressed against her chest demanding she come back to him. One of the boys took over with no better luck. Mark tried again, refusing to let her go. He pumped her heart, whimpering like a child, sobbing for himself as well as his wife. Jennifer’s eyes fluttered; she retched and vomited water. Mark turned her on her side and rubbed her back, whispering reassurance, blinded by tears, aware his prayers had been answered. A siren sounded in the distance. It was going to be all right. She was safe. They would be together again. The three of them. He raised his head and saw ambulance-men racing towards him across the sand. Mark jumped to his feet. They must have drifted... except the boat was there. His voice rose from a cry to a scream. ‘Lily. Lily!’ He spoke to the group who had offered nothing. ‘I left a baby here, somebody must’ve seen her.’ They stared, no idea what he was talking about. A new terror seized him. He ran a few steps up and down the beach, lost and afraid. The bag lay where Jennifer dropped it. But no push-chair. No sign his daughter had ever been there. Lily was gone.
||German Shepherd - Loyal, Powerful & Noble
This book is a guide for those who own or are considering purchasing a German Shepherd. The German Shepherd is one of the most popular dogs in the world. It is loved by families, farmers, Police and SWAT teams, the DEA and Military Forces all across the world.
Most people care for their pet based on “tribal” knowledge handed down from family or friends. It is this book’s goal to educate and prepare you to care for your German Shepherd based on sound knowledge. This easy-to-read guide will alleviate the need for you to depend on “tribal” knowledge, inaccurate, and dated information. This book provides most of the information you will need to raise a German Shepherd pup or an existing mature dog you currently own for the life of your dog. It is my desire that you will return to this book as your reference source for information to raise your dog with care and excellence for years to come.
This book discusses the specific breeding efforts taken to create the attributes of this breed. We will discuss why this breed is particular about giving affection to others. We are going to guide you through its history, how it obtained its famous name, its care, training and more. You will not have to buy separate books on potty training or obedience training, history, etc. We have included all that for your right here.
German Shepherd - Loyal, Powerful & Noble, is the answer to your German Shepherd questions. We tried to include the latest information available on the breed and this is especially true in the diet section. The dry and wet dog foods may not the nutrition that you want to feed your dog nowadays. Find out why and the available alternatives in this book.
The author has published three other five star books on other breeds. You can be sure you will be satisfied with the content in German Shepherd: Loyal, Powerful & Noble.
||Gidget, Pebbles & Nicki
Gidget, Pebbles and Nicki are three beautiful female Yorkshire Terriers. People often call them Yorkies for short.
Gidget is our first Yorkie; we got her when she was only eight weeks old! Gidget is very sweet and gentle. She has a great personality, and she loves everyone. She especially loves children. She is beautiful and smart. We love her so much. Gidget is very playful; she loves to play with our shoes! I can't believe it but she even smiles! Gidget's mother, Ginger, smiles too and she also has a sweet personality! Gidget brings so much joy to our family. We decided we want another Yorkie!
My friend, Lisa, has a male Yorkie that is the smallest and cutest male Yorkie I have ever seen! His name is Tommy. We let Gidget and Tommy meet. Gidget and Tommy fall madly in love with each other. Gidget becomes pregnant but she isn't showing very much. Everyone that comes over to my house says they don't think that Gidget is even pregnant. I know that she is pregnant. I can feel the puppies moving around in her stomach. She is having morning sickness too. She isn't eating very much this week so I know she doesn't feel well. A couple of months pass. Gidget still doesn't look like she is pregnant and she is full term! I put my hand on her stomach and I can really feel the puppies moving around a lot now. I am watching Gidget closely, and waiting for the puppies to be born. I am very excited and I can't wait for her to have her puppies. I don't know what to expect; I have never been around an animal that was pregnant. This is all new to me. Sixty-four days have passed; it is time for Gidget to have her puppies!
I am home alone and I think Gidget is in labor! I ask other people what to expect and what to look for when she is in labor. They tell me that she will start acting strange and probably go hide somewhere. They say that she will start panting once her labor pains become stronger, and it is close to the time she will have her puppies. They also tell me that she may cry a little bit. They also say that she will probably roll over on her side.
Gidget starts acting strange. She runs into my son's room and disappears. I search for her in there. I find her behind all of his teddy bears! I take her to the area that I have prepared for her to have her puppies. I give her a little yellow duck toy that is her favorite. She puts the toy in her mouth and starts biting down on it. I think she is having labor pains! I start petting her and trying to keep her calm. She drops the toy out of her mouth and starts panting. Then she picks up the toy again and starts biting down on it. I keep watching and waiting for her to have her puppies! She cries a little bit off and on. I feel so bad for her. Hours go by and she hasn't had any puppies. Uh oh! I know something must be wrong. She should have had at least one puppy by now.
||Giggly Bear's Fun Trip in the Yellow Bus
I am riding in the yellow bus.
I’m having fun with my friend bears.
But safety will always come first.
I’ll buckle up to get to the funfair.
||Girl In A Golden Cage
The first scream felt like splinters being pushed under my nails. The sound echoed around the high ceilings of my room and blended with an eerie after-tone of glass droplets chiming. The vast chandelier hanging down the centre of the open staircase always had something to say about the comings and goings of those staying in its mansion. The second scream was more primal: one soul begging another for help. My own soul responded, but my body would not. I couldn’t have helped, or even stood up to investigate what sounded like a murder in my father’s hallway. I was about nine hours into a migraine which, for anyone who has never battled with one, is a place where you have nothing left to give.
The migraine had begun that morning in the taxi on the way to Heathrow Airport. Tiny dots of white light began to move in figures of eight at the edges of my vision. Hiding a lie from my mother, a woman whose profession it was to sift for truth, had taken its toll. I hadn’t anticipated how hard it would be. I’d managed fine with my secret for about eight months, but it was a lot easier with two hundred miles between us. This migraine was a protest at the stress of the last few days added to the anxiety that always cropped up before I went to stay in Milan with my father. I felt like a pet goldfish dropped into a lake for a couple of months each year before being fished out again. It wasn’t that the luxury of a real lake was anything to complain about, but what was familiar was my little glass tank with its variety of small plastic plants.
I pulled my sunglasses out of my handbag and took a deep breath. I’d be okay; we were almost there. The taxi was moving through the entrance into Heathrow. I tried to ignore the numbness creeping through my fingers on my right hand. Closing my eyes, I could hear my mum’s voice in my head saying, ‘Take a pill, now,’ irritation making her voice razor edged.
These days, my mum loved the drugs she’d fought so hard to veto. I’d been diagnosed with infant migraine when I was three years old. Mum had been relieved. She’d thought I had some kind of bone cancer because I would wake in acute pain most nights. I found sleep to be a portal into a land of pain where my bones were snapped and my stomach was booted by someone with enormous feet. Her response was to find a gentle, natural solution: piercing my tender pre-school skin with lots of sharp pins was gentle, as was the bitter bathwater of brown herbs fed to me in endless spoonfuls matched only in number by my tears. She tried just about anything to avoid the use of what she termed ‘the dreaded drug route’. Incidentally, we had now rechristened the phrase ‘the awesome drugs route’. None of the alternative practices made the slightest bit of difference. All that happened was my baby migraines grew into great strapping ones: migraines with auras!
The taxi stopped. The driver got out of the car to get my luggage. I pulled out my purse and slipped a small white pill into my mouth from the packet I kept in there. It was anyone’s guess whether it would work at this stage. Hitting it early was the key and I’d been too frantic this morning to pay attention to small symptoms. It could go either way: slope off like it never had any intention of attacking me or go psycho.
The driver stood at the car door with my pull-along case, waiting for me to get out. I tried, but my right arm had gone sulky and was flatly ignoring anything I was telling it to do. With the driver watching me, I felt self-conscious as I twisted my body so that my left hand could take hold of the handle. He could see I was having some difficulty and pulled the door wide for me.
In my head, I said, ‘Thank you,’ but it came out, ‘Zoofidd golltigger.’
The taxi driver looked at me, his eyebrows furrowing.
I smiled, rubbed my forehead, and tried again, ‘Skelden glooo.’
Then he gave me the look, the one I always get when this completely inexplicable language tips out of my mouth. It’s a combination of concern and incredulity. I could see the thoughts tick across his face: was I playing a prank on him? Did I not speak English? Or was I mentally challenged in some way? Auras are like added-value migraines. You get all the fun of the migraine with an appetiser of other symptoms that just freak-people-out.
Fortunately, I’d prepaid so I only had to give him a courteous nod, but saying goodbye was so natural I forgot I couldn’t speak.
‘Noot noot,’ I said as I left.
Noot noot? Embarrassment flooded my body as I walked away. I had to concentrate. The key to getting on this plane would be to not speak a word to anyone and to try not to behave more strangely than was absolutely necessary. Otherwise, I would end up sitting with St John Ambulance staff, unable to explain that I was not having a stroke.
||Gods of Strife
They live among us. We know they are there. No government can control them; no authority can stop them. Some are evil. Some are good. All are powerful. They inhabit our myths and fairy tales. But what if they were real, the witches, wizards, and fairy godmothers? What if they were called "adepts" and an ancient evil stalks them? An assassination attempt on the head of the American Meta Association guild sends adept Peter Branton looking for who wants him and his leader dead. Finding the beautiful, shape-shifting assassin leads him to his real enemy, an enemy that is much worse and much more dangerous: living gods of Atlantis. Branton must team with up with his would-be killer and a mysterious warrior to defeat the gods of strife that are intent on starting a war that could devastate all mankind.
It was nearing dark, and the servants were lighting the torches while Godwine played chess with the King. They sat in Canute's favorite room—perfect for entertaining the early arrivals of the Yuletide celebration. Already, Earl Eric of Northumbria was present, tasting some of the breads at the sideboard. Tovi was in his usual place behind the King speaking quietly with two other Danes, and a musician was in the corner, plucking on a harp.
The door opened and Godwine, whose back was to the newcomer, concluded who it was from Canute's grimace. The sleek voice of Eadric Streona confirmed his guess. "Good even’, your grace. I hope you are well." All other voices in the room stopped.
Canute moved a piece, nodding an answer.
Two servants followed Eadric into the room, carrying a batch of firewood. For a moment, the sound of wood being stacked filled the silence. Then the servants left the room, bowing.
"And yourself, my Lord Eric?"
The Northumbrian Earl moved closer to the King, bending over the chess-board. "Considering the rare quiet within my earldom, I am content. And yourself, Eadric?"
Godwine heard the newcomer striding back and forth behind him. His concentration broken, the Saxon quickly turned around, watching Eadric rub his arms as though he needed more warmth. Godwine turned back to the board, but not before he noticed Eadric's mouth twitch.
"I could be better." Eadric’s tone brought Canute's head up questioningly. Godwine straightened in his seat but Canute caught his eye, nodding at the board. Eadric took a stick and poked the fire.
Taking a closer look at the Earl, Godwine noticed that his hair was unbrushed, his fingernails were cracked, his clothing wrinkled. He began pacing again, adjusting his belt.
“How is that Christmas pie?” Canute asked Eric, holding out a hand for a taste. The Dane cut a piece for him, holding it out on the edge of his knife. Taking a long time to sample it, Canute leaned back, evidently enjoying the taste. He licked all five fingers and wiped his hand on his tunic, then reached for another chess piece. Eadric stopped pacing and faced Canute, his arms crossed over his chest.
"And what might be the problem?" The King's voice sounded appropriately concerned.
"My earldom is restive,” he started slowly. "The populace has not yet recovered, the revenues are poor, and the people are hungry."
"That is a pity."
"More the pity that the King does not concern himself with their troubles."
"I see," said Canute, interested. "And what of the exemption I gave them from this year's taxes?"
Closing his eyes, the other gestured as if it were nothing.
"Eadric, this is not what is bothering you."
Stopping, the Earl glared at the King, unable to hide his antipathy. He came to the table, leaned over it. Godwine could smell alcohol on his breath.
"All right. I believe that I deserve better than this. You have given me the most devastated, the poorest earldom in the kingdom. You exclude me from your council. You treat me like a stranger. After all I have done for you."
"And what is it that you have done for me?"
Eadric straightened up, crossing his arms again. He took a deep breath. "You know damned well.”
Intrigued, Canute gave Eadric his full attention. "I know damned well,” he repeated softly.
The tension between them was so strong it felt as though there were only two people in the room. Everyone knew Canute was at his most dangerous when he was totally quiet. But Eadric seemed beyond caring.
“Ask Edmund Ironside, if you could."
Godwine gasped aloud, more in amazement at the man's blatant admission of the deed than its actuality. Even Canute had paled. Getting slowly to his feet, he faced Eadric so fiercely that the other stepped back.
"Then you shall get everything you deserve. You killed your own lord! My sworn brother! Your own mouth has pronounced you a traitor; let the blood be on your head.
"Eric, dispatch this man, lest he live to betray me as well."
The Earl of Northumbria was not loth to obey. Pulling an axe from his belt, the man moved purposefully toward his enemy, narrowed eyes reflecting his satisfaction with Canute's command.
For a moment, Eadric froze, unbelieving. Then his instinct for survival gained sway, and he pushed the table over, making a dash for the door.
But Godwine blocked the way—Godwine, this nonentity, who had barely rated his acknowledgment. The Saxon was standing with legs apart and drawn sword, opposing his exit.
Preferring to die under the blade of an equal, Eadric whirled, pulling his sword. But he was already too late. Eric's axe head was making its deadly arc, and Eadric's blade came up uncertainly, not even delaying the impact of the edge as it cleanly severed his head from his body.
Canute had been watching from the fireplace. "Throw the wretch's carcass from the window, into the Thames."
Eric was glad to do so. He had hated the Earl, and saw this as a fitting end to a despicable career. Seizing one of the convulsing legs, he dragged the body across the floor, oblivious to the gushing blood. Stooping, he hoisted the corpse onto the sill and dumped it unceremoniously into the river.
Godwine stared at the disembodied face, as it gawked back at him. Then he grabbed the hair and came up behind Eric, flinging the head through the window and far out over the water.
As he listened for the inevitable splash, Godwine felt an eerie satisfaction; at least this once, he had done his part in wreaking revenge on the betrayer of Edmund Ironside, and possibly his own father way back in 1009.
Both bloodied Earls turned to Canute, who had observed the scene dispassionately. "Thank you. You have done me a great service."
Godwine controlled his trembling with an effort. "You drove him to it, didn't you?"
"You might say that. Although I was expecting his demands in a more rational form...and at a better time." He glanced at the horrified servants, who were huddled at the newly opened door. "Yes, come in, come in. As you can see, it is time we met the queen in the great hall and started our celebrations in earnest. Send for some water and buckets and take care of this mess.
"Oh, and come, my friends. Let me arrange for some clean tunics before you present yourselves."
||Going Home Again
Rachel took a sip of water and heard a tender voice. "At long last we finally meet." Water dribbled from the glass onto Rachel's chin. She wiped her chin with her hand and turned to see Cole. He looked the same the last time she saw him. Same short brown hair and dark brown eyes that could hypnotize anyone. He wore a gray suit, with a white button shirt and black tie, the first time Rachel had ever saw him in a suit. She couldn't believe Cole Ashton; her ex-boyfriend was standing in front of her. Feeling uncomfortable, she began to fidget; running her fingers through her hair. She didn't know what to say or do.
Finally Cole broke the silence. "Hey, Rach."
"Hello, Cole." Rachel took another sip of water.
"I'm sorry about your mom."
"She was a great woman." Cole picked up a cracker
"I've been hearing that a lot lately."
"It's true, she really was. I've always thought a lot of her. She was always nice to me, treated me like I was her son."
Rachel took a few more sips of water. It was no secret that her family adored, actually loved Cole. They always thought he was the perfect man for her. It broke their hearts more than it did hers when she and Cole broke up. But Cole remained a close friend of the family. Whenever Rachel called home, her mother would give her updates about Cole. Even though Rachel acted like she didn't care, she was curious about what went on in his life. "She treated everyone like they were family."
Snow flurries filled the grey sky. My arms trembled as I climbed under the rope, strung between Sadie’s saddle horn and Chico’s harness, and plopped into the saddle. It felt good to sit upon Sadie’s firm back. Stuffing my scuffed boots into the stirrups, I tapped my heels lightly to signal my desire to move. Sadie flicked snow from her tall ears and trotted ahead, holding her head high. I prayed the spring snow might melt fast enough for us to see the trail.
Hope faded as the snow fell steadily, first in small gusts of fluffy flakes and then turning into a swirling cloud of dense white. The snow looked dry, filled with air, unlike the sodden wet stuff from my English childhood. The mules’ hooves brushed the fluffy flakes into churning clouds as it thickened across hard ground.
How would I see the trail? “Trust the mules,” Bobby’s voice echoed inside my head, and I had little choice.
Completing another turn around a switchback, we reached a place where the trail split into a sharp fork, veering in two different directions. I pulled back on Sadie’s reins. She stood still while I fumbled through the saddlebag and unfolded Johnny’s map.
As snow covered the flimsy paper, my trembling finger followed the ink up the mountain through a series of zigzag patterns and stopped at a spot, marking a second trail deviating from the one I should follow.
I smiled. We must follow the trail to our left. I peered through the hazy sky, wondering where Lake Como, the next landmark on the map, might be located but knew it didn’t matter now. Before I could shove the valuable document back into my pouch, a gust of wind ripped the paper from my numb fingers. I whimpered, considered chasing the map, and slumped in dejection as it disappeared into the void.
||Gorinjas - The Beginning
“Let him go! No! stop! Pull him back in! Pull him back in!” yelled Jemma. She struggled but was firmly pinned against the rock face by Bollo. Jemma was up against the back wall of the walkway behind the waterfall. She watched helplessly as Todda and Jud held her best friend under the white torrent of water. Each of them was holding an arm and Gonga was spluttering and struggling to breathe, desperately trying to get out from under the force of the water. Todda and Jud were older and much stronger, so Gonga’s struggles were in vain. Bollo laughed even louder as Todda yelled, “Let’s see if we can wash this stain off once and for all!” referring to the white splash of hair in the centre of Gonga’s chest. He was the only gorilla in the entire band that had one, and was tormented mercilessly for it by Todda and his gang.
After school, Gonga met Jemma and they were enjoying a leisurely stroll past the three big boulders, under the old tree they affectionately knew as ‘Old Bow-Legs’ and up to the walkway behind the waterfall. It was easy to see why they nicknamed the tree because if you looked at it quickly out of the corner of your eye, it looked like a bow-legged old man. The walkway behind the waterfall was about halfway up the cliff, and enjoyed a good view over the pool and river at the bottom of the waterfall far below. As they were halfway through the walkway, the gang closed in – again! Todda had blocked the exit in front of them, while Jud and Bollo blocked the entrance behind them. As the three advanced on them, Todda yelled, “Time to wash you off, freak!” and grabbed him by the arms.
Now Gonga spluttered and gasped as the monumental force of the water knocked almost all the breath from his battered body. Gonga clung desperately to the ledge with his toes while Todda and Bollo stood laughing. Gonga was leaning back precariously, his chest, shoulders and face taking the full weight of the waterfall. Every time Gonga tried to pull himself back in, he was pushed backwards under the curtain of water again. Looking up, he could see the water falling down onto his chest like a relentless, white-water guillotine. He could vaguely hear yelling and laughter coming from the other side of the water curtain but was too scared to take much notice. Just as he thought he was about to die, he was yanked back through the heavy, stinging water and shoved up against the rock wall next to Jemma.
“Leave him alone, you cowards,” she screamed. Gonga’s legs felt like jelly, but Todda held him up, a vice-like grip around his throat.
“No boys. It looks like it’s permanent after all!” shouted Todda above the roar of the waterfall and punched Gonga on the white spot in his chest. Gonga slumped to the ground as Todda let him go.
Gonga ambled through the thick undergrowth down to a pool at the river’s edge. As soon as he arrived, he sat down and studied the water. He was the first to the water this morning, so he had to be extra careful. A few months ago a small gorilla had been caught by a crocodile, never to be seen again. Gonga sure didn’t want that to happen to him, so he scanned the water very carefully for any signs of movement. The adults had built a fence and placed it underwater at the back of the pool, but that was no guarantee of safety. He stood up and moved toward the water, but a movement in the trees above caught his attention and he stopped. He thought he had seen something grey coloured, and was just peering up when he glimpsed it again and a branch came crashing down into the pool. Just then, a huge crocodile jumped up out of the water, snapping its jaws loudly at the intrusion. The croc settled slowly back into the water, until only its eyes and snout were visible. It watched Gonga for a short while before turning around and heading to the back of the pool, where it swam straight out into the river and disappeared downstream.
Gonga waited until the pool was calm again, and thought about how lucky he was that the branch had startled the croc, checking his hands to see if they were still shaking. He threw a few pebbles into the brown, murky water, and said “the fence must be broken”, to no-one in particular. Once he was satisfied it was safe, he walked in up to his waist and, shivering slightly, started washing his face in the chilly water. “I wonder where my friends are?” Gonga thought to himself. “They’re normally here by now.”
Just then the water next to him exploded and he was absolutely drenched! Gonga jumped sideways and screamed loudly, thinking that the big croc had returned. He scrambled toward the side of the pool and looked back to see Todda in fits of laughter. Todda had swung out over the pool on a jungle vine, and bombed Gonga, landing in the water right next to him. Jud and Bollo were hiding behind a tree and howled with laughter at Gonga, who was still trying to wipe the water out of his eyes.
Todda and his two friends started pelting him with mud, saying to each other, “Aim for the white target, boys!” Just as Gonga was getting pelted, his friends came to his rescue. Splat! Splat! They peppered Todda and his gang with some of their own medicine. Thonk! Bollo howled as he was hit in the ear by a hard piece of mud.
“I didn’t know there was a stone in it! Honest!” said Jemma, but a sly little smile afterwards told Gonga and his friends otherwise. Jemma was always up to some sort of mischief!
“That’s enough!” shouted Mrs Brackengood, freezing everyone with her stern voice as she walked into a chaotic classroom. Everyone went silent, waiting to see what would happen next.
“Okay,” said Todda, casually throwing the hairpin over Jemma’s head, and out of the classroom.
Jemma’s eyes widened and, stepping on a log, launched herself high into the air to catch it, before it was lost forever. She caught the hairclip, but landed awkwardly on the side of a log. This sent her flying into the railing at the edge of the classroom. There seemed to be a split second where it held, but then the wooden posts shattered spectacularly, and Jemma dropped out of sight down the side of the cliff!
“No!” yelled Gonga, scrambling to the spot where Jemma had just disappeared. “Don’t go near the edge!” shouted Mrs Brackengood, but it was too late. Gonga was already flat on his belly, peering down the cliff face. He saw Jemma a little way down the cliff, her eyes wide with fear, clinging desperately to a narrow ledge with both hands. The broken railing made a nasty scraping noise, as it swung back and forth across the cliff face next to Jemma.
“Jemma, Are you okay?” yelled Gonga. Jemma nodded shakily as she clung to the ledge.
“Can you reach the railing?” called Gonga.
“No!” she grunted, breathing hard from her efforts. Gonga grabbed the broken railing and tried to swing it back and forth to reach Jemma. It was heavy and difficult to swing with just one hand. No matter how hard he tried, he was just not able to get it to swing close enough for Jemma to grab. The rest of the class was shouting encouragement, but it was just a vague background noise to Gonga and he was tiring out quickly. Just as he put all his effort into one last swing, he saw a grey arm appear from a crack in the rock face and give the railing an extra push in Jemma’s direction. Gonga was surprised, but only had time to think about it very briefly before the railing reached Jemma. She grabbed at it with one hand, the other still clinging desperately to the ledge. The wooden post snapped almost as soon as she grabbed it, sending the railing swinging wildly in the opposite direction. She scrambled and clung to the ledge again with both hands.
“Grab the leathervine part, Jem!” shouted Gonga. As the railing swung back toward Jemma, she grabbed one of the leathervines and wrapped it around her wrist. The railing jerked as its swing came to a sudden stop, almost pulling Jemma from her grip on the little ledge. She tested it to see if it would take her weight. There were loud cracking noises as the rest of the railing threatened to pull free from the cliff face.
Everyone in the classroom yelled, and Gonga shouted, “Help me! Grab the railing!”
Jemma looked at the mist-covered river below them and found that she couldn’t see the other bank. The mist enclosed their rope about halfway across the river.
She eyed this warily and said, “I’m chickening out. You go first!”
“Okay,” said Gonga with an adventurous twinkle in his eye. He climbed onto the vine, hanging upside down by his hands and feet. “Be careful!” said a nervous Jemma, but Gonga had already started across, their rope bouncing as he moved along. He was soon over the middle of the river and disappeared from Jemma’s view into the morning mist. All she could see was the bouncing of the rope. It gave a few big bounces and then went still for a while. Jemma’s heart almost stopped, but she heard no splash. The leathervine soon resumed its normal, gentle and rhythmic pattern of bounces. She waited anxiously for some signal to know that it was her turn. It was only once Gonga had disappeared into the mist that she thought about the fact that he didn’t have a safety rope in case he fell into the river.
Gonga’s heart was pounding as he moved hand over hand across the leathervine, despite his show of bravado in front of Jemma. Once he reached the middle of the river and was swallowed up by the mist, he found the vine even more wet and slippery. It was harder going now and he was straining to see through the mist. Suddenly a bird flew right past his face. It was such a shock that he instinctively put a hand up to protect his face and caused his other hand to slip off the wet vine. The vine bounced wildly up and down as he held on with his feet. He was hanging upside down over what he could only assume was the middle of the river, unable to see anything except for white mist. It had been great to see the mist over the river in the mornings, but now the mist was not so pretty anymore. Once the vine was still again, he slowly reached up and grabbed the vine with his hands again and started moving. He inched across through the mist, gripping the leathervine much harder than he probably needed to. He was relieved when he finally exited the mist, seeing that he was almost over land already. He sped up slightly and was soon in the branches of a large tree where he found the hook neatly lodged in the crook of two branches. Relieved, he sat there a short while, his chest heaving until he caught his breath.
Jemma waited anxiously on the other side of the river. There had been no splash and the leathervine had stopped moving now. She wondered if Gonga had reached the other side safely. Just then she heard a small splash. She couldn’t see anything except the ever-widening ripples where something had landed in the water below her.
||Gray (Awakening Book 1)
The moisture in the air condensed into droplets, then began to whirl. It danced for me, like the water wanted nothing more than to bring joy to me.
I stared. It was me. The water had answered my call. I had asked its help and it had answered me happily, like an old friend.
“I am the Gray One,” I whispered, my mind and body in perfect accord with the earth.
How could I have forgotten something so wonderful? Water, air and stones were my friends. I had missed their company.
||Growing Flames, Fury and Lavender
A soldier reminisces his time on the war front, his romantic relationship and the social foibles that beset the regions in the world.
In these poems, the soldier shares his experiences and feelings on the battlefront with his fiancee, Melissa. He describes other wars and conflicts that have transformed our modern world, such as World War II, the Vietnam, Gulf War, Iraq, Afghan wars, conflicts in Africa and other parts of the world. He then turns to the social problems affecting the marginalized in his country, America, lashing out at the injustices. In his 'final' letters to Melissa, the soldier expresses his romantic side matching her own feelings.