Friday, June 29, 2012

Family Time

I was fortunante enough to visit the Grand Canyons, both the one in Arizona and the one on Kauai, HI.


I spent a week at Arizona's Grand Canyon with one of my brothers and his wonderful family. We had planned to wake up early during our stay to hike out and watch the sunrise. Unfortnatley, even on vacation none of us--not even my niece or nephew are early risers. Both my niece, Marisa and I, did do some hiking, and we took some of the best photos.

I will be sure to share some photos from Kauais Grand Canyon so you can see how amazingly different they are.

Nearly every summer my father takes a trip out to Tombstone, AZ  for the annual Vigilantes Days. He rides into town on his Harley Davidson along with several other bikers just for this event. I have not made it out to Tombstone, so I borrowed these photos from my sister-in-law Leticia. My brother has taken his family a few times and the kids love it.




I will have to make the time to make my way to Tombstone, at least once.



Monday, June 4, 2012

Mishap and Retribution preview...

At the Dawn of Time a curse against Man was made and only Death will satisfy it.  

The year is 2045 and twins Grasiella and Tatiana who are Cinerian, Fae and Human must choose a side and may find themselves on different sides of an ancient war.

With Tatiana trapped in the Fae realm and learning what life has been like, she has found herself bonding with the Fae. Grasiella seeking the whereabouts of her twin has come to a crossroads of her own.  

Separated and neither knowing the fate of the other, each make their way to an uncertain future. 

Death has swept across the Hawaiian Islands and the cost of peace may be too high.  


Chapter One

          Grasiella kept a safe distance between herself and Missy as she followed her through the thick jungle of the Big Island of Hawaii. Missy was keeping something from her; she could feel it and Grasiella had to know what it was. It was not an easy task to locate Missy or to follow her, Missy was fast and she seemed to fly from tree to tree. She suddenly vaulted onto the ground only to run like a gazelle around the trees and brush. Grasiella had never needed to work so hard at trying to stay concealed; she had experienced a close call the first time that Missy had come crashing to the earth from her high perch in the trees.
          Earlier in the day Missy had agreed to meet with Grasiella after receiving a gnome who had carried the message, Grasiella had needed to swipe a strand of hair from Missy without her realizing what she was doing; she had used the strand of hair for a tracking charm. It was the only way that Grasiella was able to keep up with Missy; if not for the charm she would have lost her miles back.
          Over the course of the last few weeks Grasiella’s skills at charms had improved, it was a skill she had never thought to use for anything other than her own amusement. Now she had no choice but to use her magic as a way of discovering the secrets that everyone on the islands seemed to be carrying around with them. Those secrets were pivotal to her and her twin sister Tatiana’s survival.  
          Missy came to a stop at the base of the Kohala Mountains her body tensed as she stood unmoving. Grasiella used the trunk of a tree to block herself from view and peeked out to watch carefully. It seemed as if the air had become still and the noises of the jungle had come to a halt as she anxiously waited to see what Missy would do next.
          Missy’s head rolled to the right, her right arm rose level with her shoulder until it suddenly shot skyward stretching up, her palm opened filling with the light from the sun. Ever so slowly her head rolled to the left and she repeated the movements on the left side of her body. Very slowly her arms began to drop until they rested at her sides and as they dropped a piece of the mountain shifted ever so slightly to the left. Missy kicked out with her left leg jumped into the air and landed on her hands in a handstand position her back to the Kohala Mountains. Her right leg bent backwards and very slowly she touched the mountain with her foot.
           Another piece of the mountain shifted aside this time it revealed an opening in the shape of a trillion. Missy pushed against the ground with her hands, swung back around until she was on her feet and strode into the mountain, sealing it shut behind her.
          Grasiella cautiously stepped out of her hiding place behind the trunk of the tree. She brushed aside a large branch from a fallen palm tree as she left the jungle; and eyed the mountain curiously. She took her time walking up to the mountainside and glanced around before placing her hands firmly on the rough rock, the rock was solid and seemed real enough, there was nothing magical about it.
          Taking a few steps back for room to work she repeated the movements she had seen Missy perform. It seemed like an age old ritual and as she performed the movements she felt a connection to the Earth.
           The mountain shifted as she danced and the trillion opening returned. Grasiella swung to her feet and stared at the opening. She hesitated to move not knowing what she would find on the other side, but she had to learn Missy’s secret. She took a step in and paused for a brief moment, taking a breath, it was sheer determination that made up her mind and she rushed inside.
           It was neither dark nor light, neither cold nor hot, holding her right arm out in front of her so that she wouldn’t walk into anything; she felt the coolness of the air hitting her skin which still felt sticky from the humidity which had been there only seconds ago. It almost seemed that two factions were at war with each other in the tight space around her. As a light brushed across her arm she noticed that her body looked nearly transparent. Looking down, she saw that she no longer had a solid form; but she didn’t feel any different nor did she feel afraid.
          As her eyes slowly began to adjust to the strange light that surrounded her, she found everything to be magnified ten times more than normal. Colors were more vibrant, textures had more depth and the sky above her was the loveliest shade of amethyst. She heard the sound of running water as if it were rushing towards her--if that were at all possible. She darted out of the open field, not wanting to be discovered by whatever was rushing her way and she hid in the tall stems of nearby Amaryllis flowers.
          Using her charm she tried to pick up on Missy’s trail again, but found that there was too much magic surrounding her and that it was creating a blockage, jamming the signal of her charm.
          Suddenly, she heard whispered voices that made her pause; it took her a moment before deciding to move closer, hoping they might lead her to Missy. Gently moving a branch of Amaryllis aside she saw two Faeries; a young man and a young woman. They sat close to each other, shoulder to shoulder with their backs to Grasiella. She breathed a sigh at her good fortune and was about to make herself known to them, but changed her mind as she heard the young woman speak again.
          “They said it is not safe to go to the islands anymore. They called us all back because of the danger.”  She plucked at the petals of an Amaryllis.          
          The young man, who had golden hair, took the remainder of the Amaryllis from her and tossed it away. He seemed agitated and stressed. “It is not the islands that are a danger to us, it’s the Leonids. They are trying to breach the barriers of Kohala. They need one of us so that they can claim entry, but as long as we stay here we will be safe.”
          A look of dread descended over the woman’s soft features. Her lavender hair dropped over the right side of her face. “Aria has been missing for days. There is fear that she was taken by the Leonids. What if that has happened?” She tore at another flower as her fears made her think the worst. “What if they make her show them the way here?” She moved closer to the young man for comfort and he wrapped his arm around her shoulder. “I’m afraid for us, everything is changing, and nothing is as it should be.”
          “Don’t think like that,” he wanted to reassure her, yet he feared the same as she did. “Aria could have gone into hiding. She has done so before.” He was sure that if he said it aloud he could convince them both that it was true; he gently wrapped his other arm around the young woman pulled her close, holding onto her tightly. She rested her head on his shoulder and he rested his on her head. They pressed close to each other.
          “She has disappeared before, many times, but never when things were like this.” She moved out of his embrace. “The only other time the Fae were called back to the safety of our world was during the time of the Cinerians, and when the Humans knew of us.” She took his hand and began to stroke the back of it. “We must go look for her. We must do something.” She tugged at his hand.
          The young man seemed to calm at her touch, but his words had a chilling effect on her, “If we leave the safety of Kohala we may never return.”
          Grasiella kept to her hiding place, and thought over what they had said. Could this be why Missy had come to Kohala? Her hair was suddenly yanked back fiercely and she landed on her back with a grunt which caught in her throat. Missy had found her, she was standing above her and she didn’t look very pleased, in fact she looked furious. “How did you get in here?” Missy demanded.
          The two young faeries on the other side of the Amaryllis jumped to their feet brushing the tall stems aside, they had sheer terror etched on their lovely faces.
          “How did you get in here?” Missy demanded once again, pulling her focus back to Grasiella.
          Grasiella pushed up to lean on her elbows, Missy squatted down only to knock her back down, Grasiella’s head smacked the earth and her hand shot up to her head to press against the sting. She glared up at Missy and asked, “Did you really need to do that?”  
          “Are you spying on everyone now, Grasiella?” Missy’s eyes were sharp and in the shape of a cat’s.
          What do you know about the Leonids?” Grasiella demanded.
          The young man pushed Missy aside, his fist clenched and his face was distorted as he looked down at Grasiella. “Are you a Leonids? Have you come here to kill us?”
          Grasiella was taken aback by his accusation. She didn’t have time to answer him as the young woman suddenly found her voice and began screeching that Grasiella was a Cinerian. “I heard about her from the stories,” her hands clenched at his shirt and she pulled at his clothing to force him to move away from Grasiella. “We have to leave, come with me--we have to get away from her.”
          The sudden noise of rushing water rose around them; they all looked for the source as they carefully listened. “What is making that sound?” Grasiella asked in wonderment.
          The woman jumped into the man’s arms for safety which made Grasiella believe that the sound wasn’t a normal occurrence. “What’s making that noise?” she asked again as she sat up for a better look.
          The noise of the water suddenly ceased, replaced with the sound of chirping, similar to that of a cricket, but louder, much louder. Missy had her hands on Grasiella’s shoulders in an instant and tried to push her back down and out of sight, but Grasiella pushed against Missy’s hold.  
          “Go … Get out of here now!” Missy shouted at them. They did not hesitate, but it was too late for escape.
          A bizarre looking creature invaded their tranquil space by stepping out of the tall stems of the Amaryllis flowers. It was small in stature incredibly dark, and incredibly fast. The creature lunged at the young man. Its target was his throat and it tore at it with menace. The woman screamed in fear falling to the ground reaching out for her man’s hand not knowing what else to do.
          Missy jumped on top of the creature pulling at its jaws trying to force it to lose its grip on the young Fae’s throat.
          Grasiella couldn’t just watch she had to do something. Closing her eyes she began one of the chants for an old family charm, she wanted to weaken the creature enough for them to gain the upper hand. The charm seemed to take effect as Missy was able to tear the creature’s mouth from the Faeries throat. The couple used that moment to escape and they didn’t look back.  
           Strange and bizarre images began to take shape within Grasiella’s mind, violent images. It felt like a sharp knife had cut into her, striking her over and over again, each strike was more intense than the one before. She could hear Missy’s voice shouting her name, it seemed far away, but she was unable to move or to respond to her.  
          Summoning everything she had, Grasiella screamed in anger as she broke free of the Leonids psychic hold. She reached for a rock that lay beside her and slashed at its throat. Blood flew from the gash and as the blood came into contact with the air it crystallized becoming red stones which cut into Grasiella’s face, each hit felt like a bite.
          The Leonids was dead at her feet.
          Missy checked the body to be sure. “It must have followed you in. You must not have closed the passage behind you.” Missy accused her. “What were you doing following me?”
          Grasiella had only seen how Missy had opened the door; she hadn’t seen how Missy had closed the door. She had assumed that the door would close on its own. “I didn’t know it wouldn’t close behind me.” It wasn’t the best answer, but it was the truth.
          “They must be following you. You must be of an interest to them now.” Missy said as she helped Grasiella to her feet. “Do you know what could have happened if more of them had followed you in?”
          Grasiella hadn’t wanted to mention that possibility. “It could be possible that more did.” The cuts on her stung and she tried to ignore them. She shivered slightly as realized what could have happened and what could still happen because she had followed Missy into Kohala.
          Missy pulled at the tie around her ponytail, her hair fell around her face nearly covering it. “That one was more than likely just a scout. It probably sent a message back to the pack telepathically. They already know what happened here.” Her sharp eyes seemed to snap at Grasiella. “They know that you killed one of their own.”
          “How do you know any of this?” Grasiella asked mystified.
          Missy had a few of her own questions and didn’t bother answering. “Why were you following me? What did you hope to find?”
          Grasiella felt guilty now. She thought now that maybe Missy had been called to Kohala for her own safety and she had just put them all at risk. “I wanted to know what you were hiding.”
          “What I’m hiding? Well it won’t matter soon …” she seemed to think about what she was going to say next and as she did so, she examined Grasiella’s wounds. She yanked at the stem of an Amaryllis and said a few words in Fae causing the flower to shimmer. She placed the leaves of the Amaryllis over the most serious of Grasiella’s wounds. “I am part of a society that has been researching the Leonids; it’s why I live mostly on the outside of Kohala.”
          Grasiella wasn’t sure what Missy was doing, but it seemed to be doing something. She was able to ignore the sting of her wounds as the pain began to ease. “What is this place?” Grasiella asked. “What is Kohala? Is this a Fae village?”
          “This is Kohala; it’s what you would call a metropolis.” She seemed hesitant, as if a part of her still wanted to keep Kohala secret. “You can’t stay here; your presence will make others uncomfortable.”
          “You’re acting different, almost like another person.” Grasiella remarked. Missy was usually more free spirited, gentler, but at the moment she was quite the opposite.
          Missy stifled her laughter before saying, “I am sorry, but I don’t have time to explain everything to you.” In a more serious tone she added, “We are in the middle of a war between the Leonids and the Perseids, either side winning would not bode well for any of us. That includes you and your twin.”
          “You said you were part of a society, what society and why didn’t you tell me this before when I went to you for help.” Grasiella demanded as she took several steps closer to Missy who had backed away dropping the stems of the Amaryllis.
          “The others in my society fear you; they side with Pele against you and your twin.”
          Grasiella crossed her arms in front of her. She wanted more answers. “What is the name of your society?”
          “I’m sorry yet again, but I cannot tell you.”
          The sound of other faeries approaching prompted Missy to urge Grasiella to leave. “They will not be kind to you; you must leave now. I can’t protect you from them.”
          “Why do they think Tatiana and I are against them? I thought after what my ancestor did to save one of you meant that we were one of the good guys.”
          Missy had to pull Grasiella’s shoulder to get her to move. “Their fear makes them forget. They fear all humans and will never willingly show themselves. Trust is a difficult thing to win back.” They reached the entrance and Missy quickly performed the movements needed to open the trillion.
          “Missy come with me, don’t stay here with them.” Grasiella pleaded.
          Missy forced Grasiella through the opening and said to her, “These are my people, they need me. You must do what you have to do with your own kind.”


Chapter Two

          The monorail had docked bringing Tatiana to the island of Kauai part of the Hawaiian Islands, in search of Kye who had gone missing. She left the station, which consisted of a series of underwater monorails that connected all of the islands; it made traveling between the islands easier and more eco friendly. 
          Tatiana made the way up the familiar hill to Kye’s home; situated on a mountainside. She reached the front door, a group of Mokihana berries grew nearby the stoop, Mokihana was the island flower of Kauai and used in making Lei’s.
          She knew that Kye had wanted some time to be alone, the death of Mnemosyne had hit him hard, he had killed Mnemosyne to save Tatiana, but Kye had said that he felt that a part of him had died along with her. She had tried to be understanding, but enough was enough, it was time he stopped punishing himself.
          It had been several days since Kye had seen anyone, even his cousin Kana’i had not seen nor heard from him. Instead of knocking she pushed the front door to his small adobe home open. “Kye?” she called out and received no response, not that she had expected one. The house was a mess, the few chairs Kye had in the room had been knocked over or broken and there were scorch marks burnt on the floor, ceiling and walls.
           In a panic she called out his name while she searched the other two rooms of the adobe house. Not finding him she ran back outside shouting his name, fear growing in her stomach at what she might find. The mark on her arm began to itch, the mark given to her by Mnemosyne when she had been cursed by her, cursed--with the mark of death. She had nearly died, but Kye had saved her, he had risked everything to save her. The mark had never disappeared, it had only faded slightly and she was sure it wasn’t going to go anywhere; that it would always be a reminder. A permanent reminder that she had nearly died and she did not want one moment of her life to be wasted. Tatiana ran into the jungles of Kauai pushing at the branches of a Ficus Triangularis, past the Candle Nut trees and stumbling over the thick roots of a Banyan tree.
          She used the trunk of the Banyan tree to help her up; ignoring the angry scratch on her right knee. As she looked across the maze of Candle Nut and Banyan trees she caught a glimpse of Kye. He was standing still at the edge of a jagged cliff, his arms spread out at his sides. It seemed that the winds from the cliff pushed against him, urging him to step back, but if he moved an inch he would surely fall over the cliff.  
          “Kye,” she shouted as she ran over to stop him from doing anything he would regret. He didn’t look back at her call, instead he leaned over the edge and his body slipped over disappearing from her sight.
          Tatiana raced towards him to save him from falling, but instead she fell over the side of the cliff along with him. She didn’t realize that she was no longer connected to the ground. Suddenly, she felt herself falling, tearing through the air with nothing to catch onto. The air raced through the long strands of her hair and she felt an incredible rush. Everything seemed to move so slowly, like time had forgotten them.
           In mid-air Kye turned towards her and he wrapped his arms tightly around her. He looked surprised to see her, but he said nothing and she said nothing; believing they were falling to their deaths. The worst part was the waiting, waiting for it to happen, for death to come.
          A light began to circle them as lightning began to form; Tatiana didn’t know what was worse being struck by lightning or falling to her death. She didn’t have to wonder about it long as the electric bolt struck them both and enveloped them. The lightning struck again, and Tatiana and Kye found themselves in front of his adobe home. Tatiana pushed herself away from him in anger and stumbled backward, finding a place beside the Mokihana berries. “What was that all about?” she asked as the adrenaline began to ease out of her body. 
          “Did you think I was jumping?” he asked; his tone almost accusatory. 
          “I don’t know,” She was being honest, her mind filled with question after question. “I know you’ve been depressed and I haven’t been able to reach you for days.” She flipped things around on him; demanding an answer, “What were you doing out on that ledge?”
          Kye knelt before her, he seemed almost afraid to touch her. “I’m not suicidal, I was just practicing. I’m learning how to harness the power of the lightning and use it for traveling.”
          She thought about his answer and it seemed to make sense, somewhat. “The scorch marks in your house?” she asked still not sure if he was telling her the truth or just telling her what she wanted to hear.
          He looked away from her and ran a hand through his dark hair in frustration. “I miscalculated the landing a few times.”
          Tatiana eyed him carefully, not quite willing to take him at his word, she knew what he had been through and after seeing the condition of his home she knew there was more to it then practicing his landing. After all it wasn’t so long ago that he had killed Mnemosyne and created a large crater over on the Big Island.
          “What are you doing here?” he asked.
          Tatiana was not quick to answer, as her mind was still rushing with questions to ask him. “I haven’t heard anything from you. I was worried.”
          He stood and walked into the adobe house where he began cleaning up the room. Kye picked up one of the wooden chairs that had been knocked over on its side and he readjusted it; he moved on to the next chair and did the same.
          Tatiana stood at the door watching as he knelt beside the broken table. “You learned how to travel through lightning.” She was beginning to believe his story; she was trying to understand what he had been doing on the island and why he was avoiding everyone--including her.
          The table had a broken leg and could be repaired with wood glue; he held the broken leg in his left hand and rose to his feet in search of the glue. “Only when I’m angry or if I’m near death.”
          She didn’t like what he had just shared and her voice rose. “Near death? That’s why you were jumping off the cliff?” Tatiana felt her stomach turn and leaned against the door jam for support. “Kye, what are you doing?”
          “What I have to.”
          She pushed away from the door jam and was near his side. “You’re not alone. You don’t have to risk so much.”
          Kye took her arm and ushered her out of his house, she was at the other side of the threshold when he faced her, a tint of amber reflected in his eyes. “You can’t come back here. You need to leave the islands.”
          “Why do you want me to leave?” She yanked her arm out of his hold.
          “Pele wants your sister dead. She will use you or kill you to accomplish her wish.”
          Tatiana knew what her twin Grasiella had done, that she had come between Pele and Kana’i. “I thought you didn’t care what your grandmother wanted. I thought you made your own decisions and went after what you wanted.”
          “This is what I want.” He used his body to move her further away from the doorway.
          “I’m not going anywhere, Kye.” Her voice rose again as the door began to close. Lightning began to form around her; it came extremely close to the Candle Nut trees that grew nearby.
          “I’m not giving you a choice.”
          His eyes seemed to be burning; she had never seen them this intense. “Kye, no … don’t do this …” her voice trailed off as she stepped away from him, her brown eyes began to waver as a tear slipped down her cheek. “What are you doing?”
          He said nothing as the lightning took form around her; it opened around her like a cocoon, inside it was midnight blue, electricity shot out from within reaching out to claim her.   
          “What are you going to do on your own?” she asked desperately.
          He took a step closer to her and looked into her eyes. He was determined. “Finish it. I would send Grasiella with you, but Kana’i will never let her go.”  He reached his hand out and pushed her into the cocoon. “I’m trying to keep you safe.”
          Tatiana could do nothing as the space closed in around her and everything became black. It seemed like only seconds as the blackness left and a cool light broke through. She didn’t know where she was. She landed on a patch of soft grass with Amaryllis growing nearby. Rolling onto her back she looked up into sky and found that it was the most unusual shade of Amethyst.

video

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Salem, MA

While we were in Boston we decided to take a day trip to Salem, its really easy to get to, just take the train. Round trip tickets were $10.50 per person. I knew nothing about Salem other then that this was where the witch trials took place. I was surprised to find it near a harbor and even more surprised to learn that Salem had a major shipping trade with the far East.

You should know that if you are going to Salem you want to get there early because all the places of interest close at 5PM.






























At the East Inda Marine Hall.


I was surprised to find such a quiet town, it could be that we were there during the week, it did however make it feel like we had the town to ourselves.


Its really easy to find everything, just follow the red painted line along the sidewalks and it will help keep you from getting lost. Just make sure you head back to Boston before the fog rolls in.



We did arrive in Salem a little late, which means that we were unable to see all of the museums, but the trip was worth it. Salem is a part of history and its a place that you should visit.









Friday, June 1, 2012

Boston

I recently spent some time in Boston, MA and discovered that I really like New England. Boston is as you know full of history, you can spend weeks trying to make sure you dont miss anything.



We did a few of the tours; a walking tour, a trolley tour and of course I had to experience one of the many ghost tours! We actually managed two. The first one was the Ghost and Graveyard Trolley Tour, which at first, I thought was going to be silly and maybe even an over priced amusement, but it turned out to be incredibly fun and well worth it. The tour guides are dressed in period costumes and all of them have a character that they are playing along with a background story. Our tour guide was Jonathan Percival Goodspeed, and he took us along Boston Commons and told us stories of ghost, murderers and mayhem. He ended the tour with the chilling story of the Boston Strangler.


Still feeling brave we signed up for a walking ghost tour; Haunted Boston, not realizing that it met in one of the burying grounds, yet we remained brave and set out with our tour guide Mat and about 15 other brave souls into the night guarded only with our cameras. Below is a picture from the burying ground and yes, you may see a lot of orbs, but its probably because it was a windy night and as the leaves were falling they were hit by the street lights casting a glow (at least that is my theory).


The best way to travel around Boston is on Trolley, there are many stops and you can hop on and off as you please. The tickets are good for two days and include a harbor cruise. Paul's house (Paul Revere) is near a trolley stop, I feel that I'm on a first name bases with Paul because we got lost trying to find his house and spent at least an hour looking for it. Yes, the trolley does stop near his house, but several blocks away as the streets are too narrow for the trolley to maneuver through. I think it would be helpful for someone to at least put up signs but we did find some really cute shops along the way and met some really nice people.


Luke Aaron changes out the window display everyday giving you something new to admire. I also found this
garden tucked away nearby.


We did make it to Paul's house and it was quite the sight, for $3.50 you can go in and see the house as how it might have been while he and his family lived in it. There were two docents one on each floor who knew so much about the house and you could tell that they loved the house and took pride in it.

Nearby we discovered a memorial garden to all who have lost their lives in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.


Another sight to see is the Old North Church, which once inside I thought the seating area looked a lot like office cubicles.


We stayed at the Omni Parker House, had breakfast at JFK's table and once I heard that Charles Dickens stayed at the hotel and that the mirror he used to stand in front of as he practiced his public speeches was displayed on one of the floors we went in search of it and I had to take a picture!


There is much to do in Boston and I will have to return not only to see the places that I missed but also because I really had such a great time in the city. In my next post I will share some of the sights from Salem which is only a short train ride away.