I startled awake, sitting bolt upright in bed. I looked around. The clock read 4:45. I stayed as still as possible, listening. My husband was asleep by my side. The only sound was the gentle whoosh-whoosh of his CPAP machine. The door to our bedroom was open a crack, but I could hear no noise from the rest of the house. Yet something had woken me from a deep sleep, something like a thump-thump-thump.
I got out of bed as quietly as possible, so I wouldn’t disturb Miles. I donned my robe and reached under the bed for my slippers. Something furry touched my hand. I screeched.
Miles jumped up, tearing his CPAP mask from his face. “Wha’s wrong?”
Wide-eyed, I explained. “Something woke me. When I reached under the bed for my slippers, something furry touched my hand.”
“Your slippers aren’t furry, are they?”
“No. And they don’t move when I touch them, either.”
Miles took the flashlight from his nightstand, knelt down, and shined the light under the bed. He got up and glared at me.
“What? What’s under there?”
He continued glaring. “Honey, did you bring a rabbit in from the yard last night?”
“Did I what?” I’m quite certain my Arrogant One, at his very worst, had never hit a higher note with his screeching.
Rubbing his ear gingerly, Miles gave me an apologetic look. “I’ll take that as a no.”
Just then, someone knocked on the bedroom door.
“Who is it?”
A small, tremulous voice answered. “Cleric.”
I sighed. “What’s wrong?”
Slowly, Cleric pushed open the door and entered the room. Even in the dim light, I could see her cheeks aflame. “I am so sorry to disturb you, but one of the rabbits is missing.”
“One of the rabbits?” I cocked an eyebrow at Cleric. “One of what rabbits?”
“One of the rabbits I brought inside last night.” Her voice was so soft, I could hardly catch her words.
My husband must have had no trouble hearing her, though. He heaved a big sigh. “Dare we ask why you brought rabbits inside the house last night?”
“Well, Master Miles, it has been very warm the past few days, but last night, the temperature dropped very low. The man in the magic box, the box you call a television, predicted we might get as much as two inches of snow overnight. I checked on the rabbits that live in the backyard, and they looked very cold. So, I invited them to spend the night in the warmth of the house.”
Cleric spoke as if this was a very normal thing to do, and indeed, it is for her. She continued, “They were supposed to stay in the kitchen, but this morning I found them hopping all over the house. I have found all but one. The others are having their breakfast of apples, pears, and carrots in the kitchen while I look for the missing bunny.”
At the mention of carrots, the errant rabbit poked his head out from under the bed. He twitched his ears and wriggled his nose, then hopped over to Cleric and looked up at her expectantly. He thump-thump-thumped one of his hind legs.
“Oh, there you are! You naughty bunny! I should put you outside with no breakfast!” She picked up the bunny and rubbed her cheek in his fur. “But you know I will not. Come, now, let us allow Mistress Writer and Master Miles to return to their slumber.” She took the rabbit and left, turning at the door to wave goodnight.
Miles and I looked at each other and shrugged. Just another day in the life of a writer whose characters have fallen out of her young adult fantasy manuscript and into the real world.
My husband was serving breakfast. My characters were lined up to get some scrambled eggs and breakfast potatoes, biscuits and country gravy, and pastries. As everyone took seats around the kitchen table, I frowned. “Has anyone seen Dragon? She missed dinner last night, and now breakfast this morning. I’m concerned she may be ill.”
“Nay, tha beastie do na be ill.” My Old Dwarf spoke around a mouthful of food. “She jest be cold. She been snuggled-eed up by ’er fireplace since tha temperatures been droppin’ agin las’ afternoon.” He chuckled. “Ye be knowin’ how she be, complainin’ aboot the weather. She be right as rain as soon as it be warmin’ up and be stayin’ thet way.”
I nodded. I know that Dragon suffers from the cold even more than the rest of us. She was born in the heat of the desert, and spent most of her life there, at least three centuries, basking in the scorching sunlight. The Minnesota winters are hard on her, but she seems to suffer most in the spring, when temperatures fluctuate greatly between balmy and freezing.
As the day progressed, the early spring sun warmed the air considerably. Miles and I took advantage of the beautiful weather to do some clean-up in the yard. My Foreman, my Young Hero, and my Gypsy helped us clear the yard of fallen branches and other detritus left by the harsh winter winds and snow. Cleric and Sorceress made us all a picnic lunch and even my Arrogant One, my Bounty Hunter, and my Old Dwarf joined us in the gazebo for sandwiches and lemonade.
When we were finished with lunch, we all headed in to clean up. As we opened the door from the deck to the living room, we were hit with a wall of heat.
“What on earth . . .?” Miles gave me a puzzled look. “It feels like someone set the thermostat to maximum!”
He and I went to the hallway to check. The thermostat was set at 68 degrees Fahrenheit, but the temperature read 95.
I raced down the stairs to the conference room. There, Dragon was curled up in front of a blazing fire.
“Yo! What the heck are you trying to do?”
Dragon lazily opened one eye and gave me a toothy smile. “I am trying to get warm, obviously.”
“The fire goes. Now!” I crossed my arms over my chest and glared at Dragon. “You have this place so hot, the paint is going to start melting right off the walls!”
“Piffle.” She made no move to douse the fire.
My Old Dwarf entered the room. “Eh, Beastie! Ye be havin’ it as hot as a dwarven forge in here! Douse thet fire afore ye be roastin’ me in me very armor!”
When Dragon still made no move toward the fireplace, my Old Dwarf produced a bucket of water he had been holding behind his back and threw it on the fire.
As the flames sizzled and drowned, Dragon leaped to her feet and started chasing the dwarf, who sprinted toward the stairs. “Eh, ye be too slow ta be catchin’ me! Ye be gittin’ soft, all tha time sleepin’ in front o thet fire!”
“Soft? Soft? How is this for soft?” I heard the whoosh of fiery dragon breath, and a chortle from the dwarf.
“Eh, ye be havin’ ta be doin’ better’n thet, beastie!”
Just then, the smoke alarms started screeching. Miles came running into the conference room. “That crazy beast is going to burn this house down!”
“You get the alarm to stop, and I’ll deal with Dragon.”
Yup. Just another day in the life of . . . well, you know.
Breakfast was quiet this morning. My Old Dwarf was my only character who joined Miles and me at the table. The two of us watched, slack-jawed, as the rotund figure downed a stack of flapjacks with butter and syrup, a dozen scrambled eggs, two biscuits with sausage gravy, a half pound of bacon, three ham steaks, two dozen sausage links, an entire cheddar hash brown casserole, half a loaf of toasted sourdough bread, a dozen banana nut muffins, and two urns of coffee.
Miles leaned close and whispered in my ear. “Do you realize your pint-sized minion just ate the equivalent of two weeks’ grocery budget in less than 10 minutes?”
The grubby glutton in question swiped his hand through his beard, scattering crumbs everywhere. He belched several times, patted his belly, then looked at us expectantly. “Be there any DE-zert?”
Yup, just another day.
Miles and I were in the laundry room, taking the clothes from the washer and putting them in the dryer. I felt some water splashing on my arm.
“Not funny, honey.” I gave Miles a stern look.
“What’s not funny?” He looked mystified.
I made a face at him and turned back to the wash. I felt more water splashing on me. I rounded on Miles. “Stop splashing water on me!”
“I’m not . . .”
We both looked up as more water dripped from above.
“What the heck?”
We both ran up the stairs to the bathroom that sat right above the laundry room. There, Sorceress stood staring into the sink. The faucets were turned on, and water was overflowing the basin, flooding the room.
“What are you doing?” Screeching seemed to be my most used form of communication lately.
“Why, I am scrying, of course.” Sorceress gave us a look that plainly said Duh. Then she looked at the floor.
“Oh, no! Oh, I am so sorry! I was so engrossed in my scrying I did not notice the water had overflowed the basin.” She quickly turned off the faucets and grabbed some towels. Miles and I joined her efforts at drying up the flood.
“Why were you scrying in the bathroom sink?” I handed her another big bath towel. “What happened to your scrying bowl?”
Sorceress threw some wet towels into the bathtub and continued mopping up with the towel I had handed her. “I cannot find my scrying bowl. I believe I lent it to the Gypsy lad when he was learning how to scry, but he cannot find it either.”
Throwing the wet towels into the tub, Miles, Sorceress, and I all grabbed some more dry towels and continued mopping.
“With this terrible virus devastating your population, I was worried about some of our friends. I was attempting to scry on Colton and his mother, and on Marisol and her mother, to determine if they are well.”
“Are they?” I swapped out my towel again.
“Yes. I saw all of them clearly in the water. They all remain healthy. Next, I was going to try to scry on Christine and Talia from the Chris-Tal Clear Metaphysical Store, and on our neighbors, Mace and Gloria.”
I sighed as I tossed another sopping wet towel into the tub. “Why don’t I just call them on the telephone and see how they’re doing?”
Sorceress’ cheeks flamed. “Oh. Oh, yes, I suppose that would work.”
“Yes, I suppose it would.” I gave Sorceress an arch look as I handed her some more towels.
Just another . . . do I have to say it?
I looked up as my Young Hero strutted into the living room. I immediately noticed the smug look on his face.
He grinned at me. “Well, Mistress, as you know, being half-dwarf, I am shorter than most humans of a similar age. That has never troubled me. But it has always vexed me that I have none of the great muscle and bulk of my dwarven kin. So, I have been exercising.” He pushed up his sleeve and flexed his arm. “Look!”
I gaped at the boy’s arm. It was indeed impressive. My Young Hero sported the muscles of a champion bodybuilder. I whistled. “How long have you been exercising?”
“Not that long. Along with the exercise, I have been taking some health potions the elf gave me. They have really helped.” He struck a pose and showed off his muscles some more.
I frowned. “You took potions my Arrogant One gave you?”
The young lad nodded.
I arched my eyebrow and sighed. “Was that really smart?”
My Young Hero stopped showing off and furrowed his brow. “You do not believe he would have given me something unsafe, do you?”
“You know him as well as I do. What do you think?”
Just then, my Arrogant One entered the room, whistling nonchalantly. My Young Hero rounded on him. “What was in those potions you gave me?”
“Why? Did they not work?”
I stood and got between my two characters. “What was in them?” I glared at my Arrogant One.
“They were harmless enough. But if the lad not satisfied with the results, so be it.” He snapped his fingers and my Young Hero’s muscles deflated like leaky balloons.
“It was all just an illusion! Why you dirty, rotten . . .”
My Arrogant One didn’t stick around to hear the rest of my Young Hero’s invective. He took off like a rabbit, the lad right on his heels.
Yep, you guessed it. Just another day.
“Eh, lass, ye better be stoppin’ tha war.” My Old Dwarf took a big bite of a crisp, red apple, and continued speaking around the mouthful of food. “Yer Bounty Hunter, an’ yer Foreman an’ tha two laddies be aboot ta be kiltin’ each udder oot in tha back yard.”
I sighed and headed for the door.
“What’s going on?” I yelled at my characters as I stepped out onto the deck.
My Foreman, my Gypsy, and my Young Hero were holding their saddled mounts by the reins in the middle of the yard. Arrows were sticking out of the saddles. The three characters were yelling at the top of their voices at my Bounty Hunter, who was yelling back, just as loudly.
I ran down the steps.
“I asked what’s going on here!” I raised my voice, trying to be heard over the ongoing brouhaha.
“This is the first day in months the weather has allowed us to ride our horses and this lout is out here firing arrows at us.” My Foreman scowled.
“This is the first day in months the weather has allowed me to engage in some target practice. And I am not firing at them. They are intentionally riding into my line of fire. I have as much right as those three to use the yard.” My Bounty Hunter nocked another arrow in his bow and turned toward his target, which was set up in front of the garden shed.
“You have the right to use the yard, but not our paddock when we are already here riding!” My Gypsy grabbed the other man’s arm, causing the arrow to go wide, flying over the fence into the neighbor’s yard.
“Stop! Right now! All of you! You.” I pointed at my Bounty Hunter. “Front yard. There is more than enough room to set up your target in front of the garage doors. You can shoot from the end of the driveway. I know Dragon has extended the spell of concealment that far.”
I turned back to my other three characters. “Gypsy, use your magic to retrieve that arrow without being seen. And all of you – try to solve these problems without fighting, won’t you?”
Without waiting for an answer, I turned and went back inside.
An hour later, Miles came in the front door and up the stairs. I looked up as he came into the living room. He was holding an arrow.
“Your Bounty Hunter scored a bulls-eye . . . on my tire.”
Welcome to my world! I hope you have enjoyed observing some random events from a typical week in the household of Mistress Writer and Master Miles. Be sure to come back next week and see what is in store for my little band of displaced characters. I’ll leave the porch light on for you . . . if it hasn’t been broken by an arrow before then.