Jon Paul The Wanderer
Jon Paul had always been a wandering man. He had what’s called “restless bones.” He made it a practice to walk for hours in the small southeast town of Toulon, where he lived. Once, when young Jon Paul was young, he met a man during one of his daily walks- a man that looked very strange to him.
He wore a tall, black stovepipe hat and had a long nose with small glasses perched at the end. He also had long black-and-white hair and a very shaggy, rough-looking beard. Jon Paul wondered how he could see to walk with those glasses set on his nose in such a precarious way. The man also wore bright-red pants and a blue shirt. He was colorful, to say the least. As Jon Paul approached him, he stared at the old man and asked, Where are you from, sir?” The tall man stopped and gazed at Jon Paul.
“Where am I from, you ask? I am from here and there and everywhere,” he said and laughed out loud.
Jon Paul did not find this very funny. He became frustrated and asked, “What kind of answer is that? It’s not funny.”
The tall man replied,” Little boy, I did not intend it to be.”
Jon Paul, being a curious boy, said, “Sir, I meant no disrespect. It’s just that you looked odd and I could tell you are not from here.”
At this, the tall man said, “Son, I have traveled the world and I’ve seen many exciting things, things that would make most people run and hide, but you are different; you have a natural curiosity about you.”
Jon Paul, feeling embarrassed, then said, “Well, thank you kind sir.”
Tanya J Peterson
“Daddy!” With a running leap, Dominic hurled himself at the man entering the backyard.
“Hey, who’s this?” Isaac struggled to catch both the little boy and his own balance. Dominic giggled gleefully.
“Daddy, it’s me! Dominic. Here, I axident’ly knocked off your glasses, but I catched them. I’ll put ’em back on so you can see me.” Sticky fingers clutching the lenses rather than the frame, Dominic shoved the glasses hard onto Isaac’s face. “There. Is that better? Can you see me now?”
“Maybe it’s time to switch to contacts, man. Might even give you half a chance against me on the tennis court.” Max slapped Isaac lightly on the back as he brushed past him and strode into the yard.
Isaac rolled his eyes at his best friend’s retreating back and adjusted his glasses with his free hand. “Yes, Tiger, it’s better now. Thank you.” Isaac whooshed his son into the air and studied him. “I can see you, and I can see that you’re already dressed. It’s only eight o’clock. What’s the hurry? Is it a special day or something?”
He swung Dominic back down toward him and held him close as he walked toward Max and the two women standing in the middle of the yard.
“Daddy! Did you forget? It’s my birthday today and I’m having a big party and me, you, and Max are gonna make an obstacle course so let’s get to it!” Dominic wriggled loose and jumped down to the ground.
Isaac laughed. “Of course I remember. I need some time to change and talk party stuff with Mommy. Can you play in your sandbox for a while? I won’t take long, I promise.”
He bit his lip to keep from laughing as he watched Dominic huff out a breath of air and cross his arms tightly over his chest, then pucker the muscles of his face together in the expression that Isaac always joked was his look of either deep concentration or serious constipation.
“Maybe. Can I use the hose?”
“It’s your birthday, right?” Dominic nodded vigorously. Isaac noted that Dominic’s arms remained folded across his chest. Clearly, his son meant business. Isaac couldn’t help it; he laughed. “Well, then of course we’ll let you use the hose.”
“Yes!” Dominic loosened his arms and pumped a fist in victory. Isaac watched him run off. An almost-overwhelming feeling of love swelled inside of him, beginning in his chest and radiating up to his head and down to his toes.
“Hey, Tiger?” He waited until Dominic turned in his direction. “Happy birthday.”
“Thanks, Daddy. I’m five today!” He raised a hand, all five fingers outstretched, into the air and in one graceful motion swooped down to pick up the hose.
Looking down at the IV drip in my wrinkled hands, I notice the veins are so thick that it frightens me. It looks as if at any moment they could rupture. I am afraid to even make a fist. How the needle even fit in there without exploding is a miracle to me. I was just laughing and playing cards in the kitchen with my father when I woke up to a beeping sound. I felt my body crash into this old frail figure. My skin is so incredibly thin, almost paper-like.
I have tubes in my nose feeding me oxygen. Upon yanking them out an alarm shrieks, startling me. A woman I hadn’t noticed in the room with me begins to cry. I try to stand, but my legs are so weak they hold me hostage.
I am a prisoner in my own body. Damn it! “Ouch!” There is a foreign object inside me, collecting urine. I have the sudden urge to pull that out as well, but I think otherwise.
Where the hell am I? Where is my father? And why on earth is this woman shouting?
Jason D Olson
(A Hawaiian protective spirit)
I walked down the waterfront street admiring all the trees, flowers, sights and smells but mostly enjoying the warm level ground. All the little things one misses while recuperating in the hospital after a tragic event. Everyone else walks right over and past all of these things without noticing any of the details. I’m sure I will again one day too, although I swore I never would. I spotted the sign for a pub just down the street that I have never been in and decided a cold beer would definitely hit the spot.
Hard to believe I found my way to this place after all I had been through. Like all other drugs, I guess I wanted to find that feeling again. That feeling of excitement I once felt as a child when I would walk along the occasionally rotten planks at the marina with my father. The smell of salt, sweat, and dead fish mixed together with dreams and yarns creating one thick bowl of chowder. We would dream of what we would do with each boat
Sometime in the late 1600s
a ‘ohe pu ‘u ki ‘eki ‘e ke ho ‘u ‘o ‘Ia e pi i
No cliff is so tall that it cannot be scaled.
Princess Leilani Kekoa stood barefoot at the edge of the rocky cliff, staring out at the blue ocean stretching endlessly around her. Strong winds whipped her long dark hair around her face. Far below, white-capped waves crashed up against the straight edge of the cliff. She closed her eyes for a moment and took a deep breath, letting the sun warm her skin. She smiled, opened her eyes and jumped.
Her heart pounded as she soared through the air, weightless for a moment. Then gravity pulled her down. She straightened her body and arched her back. With her arms at her sides, her toes pointed down, she held her breath. Her fall only lasted a few seconds and then she plunged into the cool ocean water.
Leilani let herself sink down to the ocean floor as she examined every detail of the incredible underwater world. Bright yellow butterfly fish darted off as she approached, and crabs scurried away on the colorful coral. And what a nice surprise! A giant honu, a sea turtle, swam lazily nearby. As soon as Leilani noticed it, the turtle turned and made its way toward her. The turtle looked to be as big as Leilani herself. Its shell was a light greenish color with radiating darker green markings. She froze as it approached. Was it her imagination or was the turtle smiling at her? She reached out and her heart skipped a beat as her fingers brushed against the turtle’s shell as it swam by her.
Leilani surfaced for air and wondered about her encounter with the honu. The sea turtle was her family aumakua—guardian spirit and protector. This had to be an omen. Excitement and anticipation built up within her. Something big was sure to happen soon.
The honu popped its head up out of the water several feet away. Princess and turtle studied each other. Then the honu dived back under and swam away.
Leilani laughed. She floated on her back, closed her eyes and pondered the possibilities.
A snapping sound from the nearby shore caused her to turn, looking for the source. But everything was just as it should be. Tall palm trees swayed gently in the breeze and a few nēnē birds pecked in the bushes for food. She was alone here.
She sighed. This place made her happy. Unfortunately, she couldn’t stay any longer. She had to make an appearance with her family at the big luau tonight. Of all her many obligations, she hated making public appearances the most. She hated being the center of attention, hated people scrutinizing her. She always had, ever since she had been a child. Now that she had become a woman, it was even worse. Her body had changed a lot over the last few years.
She had become curvier and she had breasts now, which only increased the attention she received. But her mother would be angry with her if she didn’t do what was expected, so she swam back toward the shore.
Twenty Years On
‘You know what I like about coming here, angel?’
Lynn smiled as her husband gave her a playful wink. ‘You’re going to say nothing ever changes.’
‘I was,’ Jeff shook his head. ‘How’d you know?’
The black Land Rover Discovery turned into the lane towards the back gates of the vast Benloch property. Both knew the couple’s shared observation was as false as it was true… On the face of things, remarkably little had changed in the twenty-three years since the songwriter and his muse first drove his old, rusty Ford Fairlane along this narrow track, too fast over the gravel and kicking up dust behind them.
Heavy electric gates lumbered away from the car, barely escaping a helping hand from the roo-bar as the car accelerated towards them.
‘Well, that has, for a start,’ the beauty countered. ‘Before, you would’ve tried to run me over instead.’
In the back of the car, Kierney dug her brother in the ribs. ‘Wake up. We’re here.’
For a moment not recognising where he was, Jet opened his eyes and groaned. He had flown in from the UK that very morning, having started his journey home from Cambridge University some thirty hours before.
It had been the lad’s first Christmas away from the family, permission for which he had negotiated carefully when he found out an exquisite Russian archaeology student was staying in college over the holidays. However, he had later confessed to his father that his plan had been an almost total waste of time and he regretted not coming home to Melbourne as planned. The girl had not turned out to be quite as exquisite as he hoped, leaving the young buck to beat a hasty retreat from her room first thing on Boxing Day morning.
The eighteen-year-old sportsman had received a sympathetic hearing from his dad, who then undoubtedly passed on the juicy snippets of information to his mother, judging by the knowing smile she had given him later in the day. Jet didn’t mind. He was very pleased to be back en famille, even if it did mean his kid sister was on hand to give him a hard time.
‘Grab this, please,’ Lynn asked her son, pointing to a large black suitcase.
The young man lifted the case out of the car as if it weighed next to nothing, his six-foot-four-inch frame beginning to fill out as he headed towards the end of his teens. He carried his own bag in the other hand and a folder of paperwork under one arm, stopping to kiss his grandmother in the doorway as he passed through into the house.
‘Are you tired?’ Marianna asked. ‘You mustn’t know what time it is, dear.’
‘What time is it, Grandma? Sorry? What did you say?’ the larrikin teased. ‘Nice to see you. Happy Old Year.’
Jeff clipped the top of his son’s head with the fingers of his right hand, and bent over to kiss his slowly-shrinking mother-in-law. ‘Ignore him,’ he told the elegant lady of the house. ‘He thinks he’s funny. We haven’t got the heart to tell him the truth.’
‘Good morning, Jeff,’ the gracious woman replied. ‘Twenty years. Can you believe it?’
‘Definitely not. Feels like forty.’
‘Papá!’ Kierney shrieked from behind him. ‘That’s so mean! You think you’re funny…’
The father turned round and gave his daughter a playful grin. ‘I mean I wish it were forty,’ he quipped.
Once inside and with everyone suitably greeted and kissed, the Diamond family disappeared straight upstairs to unpack for the New Year’s Eve celebrations. The air-conditioning system made sure the temperature in the big house was comfortable, and sparkles of sunlight glistened on the outdoor pool down below, enticing the couple as they looked over from the balcony.