Thursday, March 31, 2011

Aeolian wonders: singing sands

Did you know that there are singing sands on every continent of the world? Not something you think of, is it? The above picture is taken from the Algodones Sand Dunes in California. I don't know if the sands shown in the above picture can sing or not...I wasn't there. *sigh*

In all likelihood, these sands don't sing. The phenomenon is becoming less common with every atom of pollution. The songs sand can make are created by the vibrational patterns of certain shapes/types of sand rubbing against each other. Pollution can cause those tiny bits of sands to erode into shapes which cannot create music against each other. Yet another reason to carpool! There's also the actual physical damage we humans do to dune systems; driving over them, building on them, etc. Which is sad; I like the idea of sand being able to sing.

According to some interesting folks at, the sounds singing sands emit are definitively musical. For example, "The dunes at Mar de Dunas in Chile produce F, while those at Ghord Lahmar, Morocco are G sharp.  A low C (about two octaves below middle C) have been heard at Sand Mountain in Nevada, although sometimes it fluctuates to a low B and even C sharp." I wonder what influence these chords had on the peoples whose cultures grew around them--for instance, there are chords in the Arabic world which don't exist in, say, the Western world. Makes you wonder to what extent the natural world influence the creative sides of human culture. Usually we forcibly think of our interactions with nature the other way around, as if the dynamic relationship only goes one way.

 Personally, I've never heard sands sing in real life, but when I was a little girl, I would go with my grandpa down to the riverfront of a small, blah town in the middle of the middle of nowhere that always smelled like fresh baked bread.  There on the hills overlooking the thick river were these monster sand dunes, perfect for playing on, even if they turned my feet an awful hoof color. Lol. I would run for hours, topping one dune after another. At the tops of the dunes I could see for a good twenty miles to the north, east and west. Mostly the view was farmland but it was pretty incredible--or maybe I was a weird kid--who knows. I've always liked high, windy places. Anyway, the spots where the dunes connected were often tricky to get in and out of; if I shifted my feet wrong the sands would groan and moan like they were trying to eat my legs right off my body. That's the closest I've ever gotten to singing sands, a bunch of big fat groaning and moaning as I struggled to get my scrawny legs up a dune.

Incidentally, those dunes aren't there any more. There's a casino in their place.

There's an Annie Dillard quote that runs something like, "But we must ask why it is beautiful." I'm a big fan of Annie Dillard--she writes a great deal about sand in For The Time Being, now that I think about it. Am I just a geek that I really dig the idea of singing sand? Sure, probably. But I also think it's a testament to our humanity, kinda. Stories say that originally tribes and explorers thought the singing sands were voices of the departed, voices of lost souls, voices of ancestral guides, etc. Now we have our bypasses ("well, you've got to build bypasses!") and our smartphones and fabulous designer shoes, but singing sands? Not for much longer; there are apparently only 30 spots left in the world...

Alright, I'm done being preachy! Here's a clip from NOVA--the narration is kind of irksome, but the sands have a pretty clear sound to them.

Upcoming: Friday TCE prompt thirteen--a short story about a girl called "Little Joy."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

So I need to write more poetry...

This is a poem I wrote a while back. It's not great but it is decent ... I need to get on with it and write more poems. Until then, bon appetit!

Old Neighbor

Tonight the peep frogs resonate loud.

When they stop the uncomfortable
           quiet rings — it does something
           to your head.
                     You must hold
                     your breath.

Wait your whole life for them to start again.
           Then; know dementia;
           that pulsing shriek —
           because in those few
           you forget to fear their
           disharmonic control;
           forget the Alzheimer’s
           Vera came to know.

Time was, when you were little you’d shut
           windows just to keep from the
           scream of them.
                      Now it does no
                      good. Their shrill seeps
                      through the sill.

One sun-filled afternoon, through the back
           field (you aimed to visit Lacey-
           Anne at the Straudenraus’ house)
           you traipsed by the short-grass
           covered bank of what once
           held a pond.

It bursts now of peep frogs. The cry
           makes you run by, afraid of
           being afraid, afraid of not
           knowing how to hear
           your own mind.

When you get to Vera’s, Lacey Anne
           must have already left …
           Grandmother Vera looks lonely,
           lost at her own oak table.
                      She cannot find the woman
                      who introduced you and Johnny
                      Cash, took you every Friday
                      to VFW Hall Ham & Beans 
                      with your best friend,
                      her granddaughter.

She has a granddaughter? Why, but
           she’s only twenty-five; her
            husband’s out tilling the field!
                       You fit her daughter’s name –
                       have sat in her lap, of this
                       she is sure—
                                  and so she drawls
                                  “Mar-lene?” around
                                  in her mouth, a
                                  plastic straw she tries
                                  to pull certainty through.

All you can do, sitting there in the
          quiet of the big orangey-brown
          couch you’ve sat in at
          least once a week
          your whole life,
                     all you can do is dread
                     that vacuous hole of peep frogs
                     waiting to swallow you alive.

Never again will you sit there; Vera moved
          to a home while you slouched
          through high school.
                     Now she might be buried out there,
                     in the red-clay dust of the pasture
                     where those peep frogs thunder.

Never have gotten away from the terror
           thick in May and June.
                      The tragedy hums in the hills.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday Teaser 3

And so, literally at the stroke of my midnight, your newest Tuesday Teaser, an excerpt from my "purse book," because it's always a good idea to have some fantastic poetry on your person. Makes ya look smart. 

Since poetry reads differently than fiction, I did two stanzas instead of two lines. The piece (in English) is called "Duration,"  from Octavio Paz's Configurations. On the left is the Spanish original (sans accent marks which I cannot for the life of me remember how to make right now), and the right, the English translation.

"Duracion"                                               "Duration"

I.                                                             I.
Negro el cielo                                          Sky black
                      Amarilla la tierra                                 Yellow earth
El gallo desgarra la noche                         The rooster tears the night apart
El agua se levanta y pregunta la hora         The water wakes and asks what time it is
El viento se levanta y pregunta por ti         The wind wakes and asks for you
Pasa un caballo blanco                             A white horse goes by

II.                                                             II.
Como el bosque en su lecho de hojas       As the forest in its bed of leaves
Tu duermes en tu lecho de lluvia               You sleep in your bed of rain
Tu cantas en tu lecho de viento                 You sing in your bed of wind
Tu besas en tu lecho de chispas                You kiss in your bed of sparks

See?! Isn't that wonderful? Don't you just have to go read him now? I'm especially fond of "Blanco," it's just so intense, so well-wrought, with this incredible, incredible organic sense of structure and word craft and and so many layers of meaning and myth, and, and, just, oh, I could go on and on...!

I'm a Paz fan; can you tell?

Friday, March 25, 2011

So Close--TCE Prompt twelve

***I had a tough time with this prompt for some reason. The prompt is "Do you know how many times God has wanted to destroy the world? We must read the same newspaper."
I ended up going a completely different direction with this than where I thought I was going, lol. It's kind of a Debbie-Downer, with yet again strong language and a mature theme. ***

So Close
The last time I saw her I was sixteen; she was twenty-six.  I was a weird kid I think.  Spent more time studying philosophy with my one friend in the whole world than jacking off in bathrooms. She was a brainy type I guess.  The type of woman I now realize no man can get.  Back then, her hair was very long and very dark, and she dressed like every day was spring.  She’d looked at me — it was early summer — and the things that flashed across her face in the green light of those hurried moments as we all ran down the street, well, they were things I didn’t yet know how to name.  Her face in my memory, always beautiful and bright and keen, was full of everything terrible. Anger, disgust, fear, frustration … things I’d never seen her face hold. Not once in all my studies with her had anything we discussed made her have that look. 
“Why aren’t you helping, damnit?”  Her arms had been full of books. Other people in the street carried more practical things as they ran for the shelter; blankets, food, backpacks crammed full of spare socks and shoes.
“I’m sorry,” I had screamed over the wind.  It was all I could think of to say.  I’d ran along behind her as she tore through one house after another, trying to save their books, their photographs and art. I’d only looked for canned goods and sharp knives.  She’d been mad about that.  

The tornado, I remember, finally got so loud, so close, I could hardly hear what she was demanding I grab.  My ears had felt like they should be bleeding. When I could barely hear her screams,  I’d torn at her summer dress with my free hand — it was a cherry color, like her lips — and dragged her out of there, into the shallow ditch behind some stranger’s house at the edge of town. She’d flung herself on those remnants of people’s lives, desperate to save what she’d been trying to teach me.  And then I flung myself on her.
When the tornado had passed and we were still alive, she’d shoved me off. In the silence after the tornado, I remember seeing the ditch mud on her jaws and scratches on her cheeks, clods of dirt in her pretty hair. I think I’d reached to brush some of it out when she slapped my hand away, staring hard at my face the way she did when we began a new and difficult book. Then she’d stood, and gathered the things she’d saved, climbed the ditch, and walked away from me.

But that was a long time ago.

Every day I stop at the Maple Street Coffee Shop on my way to work. The proprietor's Magda, a dumpy and kind older woman who gives me free slices of pie every now and then.  It is fall; the dust from ground up leaves stir as I walk out the open side door of the coffee shop. I take a seat on one of the small patio tables and open the newspaper. I have about ten minutes for a quiet read and coffee before I'm off to serve martinis and scotch all afternoon and night.
“Coffee, black please.”
That’s all she said, but I knew just from those three words who she was.  I pressed my back flat to the iron of the chair and slowly looked over my left shoulder, trying to keep my head out of profile.  She stood at the register, unchanged, except if before she’d looked like spring, now she looked like summer. Her hair was still dark and maybe long, but it was up, showing the slender line of her neck which disappeared in a gold sun dress.  Over her shoulder a messenger bag was slung, no doubt filled with books.  She paid and turned towards the side door, carefully guiding her bag and skirt through the tables as she came closer. I turned slowly back to my paper before she lifted her face.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday Teaser 2

Here's today's exerpt for the Tuesday Teaser, lifted from the collected works of Flannery O'Connor:

"He didn't like flowers, but the geranium didn't look like a flower. It looked like the sick Grisby boy at home and it was the color of the drapes the old ladies had in the parlor and the paper bow on it looked like the one behind Lutish's unform she wore on Sunday's."  

So this quote is from "The Geranium," which is a *flipping, flipping*--or rather, the--short story in  colection of prose and short stories of the same title. Unlike last week's Tuesday Teaser, these two sentences as you can tell, are sequential. The lines I posted from The Good Earth were not, becase I didn't want it to be too much of a spoiler.

Happy reading, all!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Tuesday isn't a slut, it's a tease

*laughing at my own joke*

Welcome to The Glass Bubble's introduction of the Tuesday Teaser. Technically it's hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading, but I wouldn't know because I haven't stopped by there yet. I got too excited, and came back here to do my own.

I've seen this referenced on a number of writing blogs--I've been stalking the Internet looking for new writing forums and whatnot--and the concept is both fun and simple: Pick up whatever book you are reading, open it, and then use two sentences from anywhere on that page as your "teasers."  Name the book and author, that way people coming across your page who like the teaser will be able to get the book.

As you can tell, this must be done on Tuesday. So we're going to pretend that I have a time machine. Close your eyes. Are they closed? Good. Okay. Now the room around your computer and the room around my computer begin to shift and spin, and I grab for the gear shift (yes, a gear shift now exists to the right of my mouse) and push the shifter into "Engage" as I simultaneously configure the dashboard (because there's one of those now, too) to Tuesday, March 15, 2011.


Bam! We're there!

So here's the Tuesday Teaser:

"The girls, and this Wang Lung heard with stout anger, were sold, the prettiest first, for the price they could bring, but even the last one, who was pock-marked, was sold for a handful of pence to a soldier who was passing through to battle."  and "'Thus it is with gods who do evil to men!'"--The Good Earth, by Pearl Buck

[that's what I was reading last Tuesday, I believe.]

Now hold onto your computer chair because we're going back! Engage~Present!


Yes, so there's the Tuesday Teaser for last week. Stay tuned for next week's Tuesday Teaser.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Reading List Review--The Good Earth

"Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togethew today. Mawwiage, that bwessed awangement, that dweam wiffin a dweam..." --The Princess Bride.

Okay, so I'm almost finished with The Good Earth. I like it. Go read it, yes. Pretty much any book I review that doesn't begin with "THIS IS A PILE OF SHIT ON PAPER!" is likely to be a good read, since I tend to do classics. There are just too many, you see. Too many good books, and not enough time.

Anywhosers, it's the story of a man, Wang Lung, in China (damned if I should have taken that Chinese civ. class in college, because I have no idea in what era it is set and am too prideful to go look!--I've narrowed it down to the 1850's to the late 1920's; but that's it). Well, it's the story of Wang Lung, his family, community, and the ways of China at large, from what I can tell. And it's nice to read. The words are prettily constructed, and the thesis is clear, the characters real, the plot involving. I don't want to go too much into it, because I've read almost to the end and don't want this to be a spoiler review.

What I like most about really good reads is the way they get your mind going. Now this book, as you can tell from the title, is focused on the land--in some ways it reminds me of Gone With the Wind, but only marginally so, because of the way Wang Lung is so bound to the earth which nourishes him. So one would think this kind of thing is what my brain would be whirring on about.  And to some extent, it is; earth, class, philosophy...all these are explored thoroughly.

But really what gets my braing going in this are the two very different outlooks the poor and the rich have considering marriage. Who knows about the middle class; I've not yet tackled that. But yes.

In the book--and I think it's fair to say in real life, as well--the [sensible, good] poor approach marriage not as a social duty, or a godly duty, or anything so high and mighty. It is a means. To the poor, life = poverty, and joining with another adult of similar mind/etc. is a good way to share the burden. Two able bodies under one roof is better than one able body under one roof. Eventually, if each works toward the same end under that roof, then they will grow to respect each other, then perhaps even like each other, and then maybe, just maybe, love each other. But loving outright is for the rich, for the poor cannot afford to make a life decision--like saying "I do" to someone and then be stuck with that someone for an entire life--on a whim like love. Not to mention there's no real idle time for money for courting. And there's too much riding on it. Not to say the opposite doesn't happen, and frequently, but I'm talking about the marriages among the poor that last.

In the book--and again, I'd guess in real life--the [sensible, good] rich approach marriage sometimes as a social or godly duty, but mainly as a source of pleasure. To the rich, life = pleasure, and what better way to live than to fill one's life with beauty and grace and seemly things, like the love of a man or a woman. It has nothing to do with sharing the burden, usually. It is born of idleness. What do people do when they are idle? They live idlely, and take up only that which brings them pleasure, like jewelry for their lives, decorating themselves with the body of a man or woman lying beside them in the night. And marriage approached like this seems to work in the opposite direction of that of the poor's...first, it begins with love, passionate, abiding love. Then, perhaps, it fades to like. Then, perhaps, to a form of respect founded in sharing life. Then, even that fades. Then, one or both realizes who exactly they are stuck with, and so end up seeking pleasure elsewhere.

 I realize of course that in both cases I'm making huge generalizations about which I know absolutely nothing, being a lower middle class, unwed chameleon myself.  But that's the way I'm thinking while reading this book.

People are not means, and nor are people jewels. But of the two, I have to admit the way of the poor seems most sensible. Doesn't make it any easier or quicker to select a good mate, in fact, I'm sure it makes it quite a bit harder, as the truly poor can't afford a divorce....but it does make me wonder if we now put far too much emphasis on love in the marriage (the passionate, beginning kind) here in the modern, western world, and not enough on carefully selecting mates who will be useful to us, and to whom we ourselves can be useful.

I'd rather have an O'Lan than a Lotus any day of the week. Yes; a fine read. Although The Stranger is good as well, this is much more taste and style. Only a couple more chapters to go!

**Edit upon finishing book: loved it! [So mad at the sons.] Both sweeping and finely developed. Good choice.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

We Dare Not Linger--TCE prompt eleven

***I decided to leave the Atropos series for this one; the prompt is "If I keep your secret, what's in it for me." Rough draft; unsure about title still.***

We Dare Not Linger
The light poured golden from our headgear into the open space of the cave. The sump, a puddled footprint of some giant and ancient god, stretched before us in the chamber some fifty meters. With the lamps, its waters were both the cool blue of ice and the gold of the light and yet somehow still black.  The black of boundless darkness.  At the toe of the sump there splashed a cascade falling from a squeeze similar in size to the one through which we’d made our descent, about a hundred meters above, zipping down the height with our ropes and steel and gauges, touching the almost smooth inverted ceilings as we went. A nasty tight squeeze. The walls were slick with damp that marked our hands and bodies; there were no stalactites or mites here, only rock rippled and layered with the ages of the earth. Brown, ochre, red, cream, and then repeating — yet all the while, this blackness. But the damp smelled good and clean and right.
 Jim twisted to me from the heel of the sump, adjusting his flippers at the edge.  My headlamp shined on his face for a moment.  
“Bring that G7 camera over here, will you?”
I brought the cam to the water’s edge.  Allen, who was the youngest of the entire thirty-nine-person expedition and a complete waste of training, followed me as if I was about to drop it.  Asshole.  Then again, we did need to be careful.  Couldn’t afford another piece of equipment breaking.
“You know,” Allen said as I straightened, “according to the American Caving Accident committee, cave diving deaths averaged 44 per year until 2007.  This year there are only twelve dives scheduled at even half this depth on the whole planet.”  
Jim flicked his eyes up to Allen.  I couldn’t see his face well because of the drysuit and goggles, but I knew he was snarling. This was day seventeen of the expedition.  That’s how I knew he snarled.  Nine of of those days the way was dark but for our own light. By now, in this world where darkness eats that light instead of the other way around, we knew each other the way we knew the feel of rich earth and stubborn rock under our palms, the way we knew in the lightless crawls that down was down and up was still up. You’d think that would help everyone play nicely, knowing each other like that. It doesn’t.  But at least you don’t have to mess with mincing words.
“Shut the fuck up, Allen.”

Allen stood a bit back from us, kicking now and then at bits of rock, using the edge of his undershirt to free his hands from the dirt and clay. Why, I don't know. Probably missed the manicured look.
“I’m just sayin’,  you’re being a fuckin’ prig; going ahead with the dive after the probe broke.  You want to become a statistic? Come on, Jim; we don’t have any idea of what you’ll get into down there.”  Rich kid always talked like a jerk and managed to render anything sensible into something people just really didn’t need or want to hear.  
“He’s right, Allen.  Shut the fuck up.”  What a dick … it was his fault the ROV probe broke, anyway. Millions of dollars down a hole, literally. Dick. If he’d just tried to save the probe, Allen might have broken his leg and remained above instead of Juan, and Annie with him, unfortunately. But of course he hadn’t tried to save it and Juan had, and now Allen would look into the face of a darkness no other man had seen before, and not even really see it. Too privileged and too young.  He just couldn’t get it. Plus, he was clumsy. Dick.
 Jim began checking the diving gear we’d already gathered.  Allen stomped off, muttering about taking some rock samples, his longish post-college-boy hair flapping from under his headgear as he turned.   

Friday, March 11, 2011

Reading List Review--The Stranger

There's a movie quote which runs something like, "Why does existentialism have to be so damned depressing? Yes, life is meaningless, and yes, we are all going to die, but is that necessarily a sad thing?"  And while I do agree with some existential tenets, I also happen to agree with this [possibly butchered] quote. Existentialism does seem very damned depressing...when if there really is no meaning to life, you'd think that would make you wanna have some fun....But that's just me, and I digress.

 I think there is, on the other hand, something equally intriguing about being the type of person who is wonderfully grim and blase about the depressing facts of life in general. I confess I rather like absurdism, if only in stories; theories.

Enter The Stranger, by Camus, which I just read this afternoon.

Now, I am no philosopher, nor am I a literary critic of any sort. But I am a devourer of literature, and I like this kind of make-you-think writing. Yet several things struck me about this read.

As far as philosophy goes, you can tell that's what this book is about. It is not character driven. And, sadly, character-driven narratives seem to go much farther in reaching their audiences and in conveying their central theses. So the philosophy part, rather than subtly creeping into the book in little, softly worded monologues and tangential thoughts, is shoved up for the reader as if it were a feast. It's not as if you care for the main character; I don't even rightly remember his name. And I gather that is part of the point. You know; the whole I-am-nothing-you-are-nothing-who-needs-characters-anyway kind of thing.

But that doesn't necessarily mean it's an involving read. *shrug*  Ironically, it was a page turner.

Not sure I bought into it, but I enjoyed it. Just as I realize the shallow-seeming character--who I must admit, is surprisingly relate-able--was purposeful, I also understand that the two-act plot was purposeful as well.

I just can't think of the last time I read something so very clearly split nicely and neatly in half.  Very odd. Also, the best bits of writing--some truly beautiful, insightful phrasing, a real word craft--happen at the end of each sections. In my opinion, of course. I'd have to track down other two-act novels and have a go at them before deciding much about my liking or disliking the application here.

What I did not like was how the book depicted life as something which someone. So passive *imagine my lips curling in disgust*....bleh! Oh, woe is me, woe is me. Life is chasing me down, beating me up, being terrible, and there is nothing I can do about it because nothing matters anyway. Wahhn, whaann. Such utter drivel and nonsense! Gimme a story with people who have gumption, who make things in their life happen, rather than let life make things happen to them. Gimme Scarlet O'Hara as the protagonist of this book. Then again, no; that wouldn't'd have to be Ashlee, all maudlin and faithless in mankind. Scarlet's got too much fire and wouldn't let herself get caught in jail like this dud of a character... See? That's the problem. It's a catch 22 (let's see how many literary references I can work into one paragraph!!); what I detest about the book is its treatment, yet if the treatment were changed it would not be the same book.


So, yes. There you have it. Life be damned. Nahh, I don't quite follow that. I'm more of the there-is-certainly-meaning-in-life-because-there-is-no-meaning-and-yet-here-we-are type of gal. And that's a cheery thought.

Ten points if you name the movie I attempted to quote earlier

These Boots Were Made for Flyin’--TCE prompt ten

***This story, a continuance of adventures with an unlikely version of Atropos, is in response to The Chrysalis Experiment's week ten prompt, "stop reading these words befoer it's too late."  As always, enjoy!

These Boots Were Made for Flyin’
Mount Olympus — the real Mount Olympus — looked quite different than the last time Atropos had wandered its summit.
Where once the gold and crystal had risen in glorious spindles and keeps held aglow by eternal fires, there was now tarnished rubble, mold and ash, piled haphazardly on top a crumbling hill in the ether. The crumble and tarnished rubble was bad enough, but mold and ash? Infuriating.
Atropos stomped up the narrow pathway — once it had been an inset crystal path polished to so high a sheen and so slick a surface that daring mortals who even tried to walk upon it would slip right down, fall off the mountain and shoot earthward through the clouds below. They’d all laughed, back then. All the damn time, they laughed.  Well, she reminded herself, it was funny. But now it was covered in dirt that met its walled boundaries.
When she came to the columned throne room, she saw the only throne of the gods which had been preserved was Zeus’s.  The other thrones on the crystal dais were as ruinous as those in their corresponding temples far below, dotting the Mediterranean with rock and cinder. No sign of the gods, save Zeus, met her eyes. No servants or  palm fronds, no spirals of incense, or lain aside battle horns,  just…Zeus, on his throne, with his sandalled feet cast upon a scratched crystal end table littered with various debris. She softened her step, lest she catch him in one of his bad moods. 
But she needn’t worry. As she neared him, she realized he paid her no attention, his eyes focused solely on a glowing, rhythmically screaming box, hinged like that idiot Pandora’s, but thin and shallow on top and bottom.  The rhythm of the feminine screams grew familiar as she came closer.  Zeus’s hand was on his … lightning rod, she saw.

An Unfortunate Day--TCE prompt nine

***This story is in response to The Chrysalis Experiment's week nine prompt, "Why do you keep doing that? Of all the things to put in a bottle" ... so, enjoy!***

An Unfortunate Day Following a Visit to the New Magic Shoppe on Ninth

Surely that meant success. Around him the clouds grew closer, darker, the thunder now an almost constant roll. Brennus thrust his arms one final time into the air, palms splaying over the altar as the sands of a forgotten magic fell from them. The roll in the air gathered speed, gathered intensity, as did the lightning flashing across the deep black sky, until the roll of the thunder was no longer a roll but a loud, somehow guttural roar, as if the unnaturally dark heavens struggled to heave upon the earth something from their recondite source; a roar that spun and spun around him, whipping at his face with branches and leaves and flashes of light which he had willed, divined, demanded bring forth a--
Brennus fell to the ground.
* * *
The rustle of leaves, crunching footsteps…
When Brennus opened his eyes he saw he lay on the forest clearing, bits of the altar and forest bracken lying about him. He pushed himself up, looked around. The bottle! Where was the bottle?
The footsteps, to which he had previously paid no attention, stopped behind him. He felt the telltale prickle on his neck. It was the prickle of sorcery….the prickle of being watched.
“I keep telling your kind to give it up, I do.”
At this Brennus jumped up, hastily wiping the storm-damp debris as he turned to face…her.
An instant of joy surged through him.  The magic still settling through the air around her in lazy drifts, she stood. She was beautiful.  She was stunning.  And he, Brennus Lynch, had wrought her with the magical dusts of a bottle from lore of old.