Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Happy Fall You Alll

I am looking forward to Fall. I love this picture and would also love to give credit to the artist, but all I can find listed for it is Unknown. This picture was the inspiration for my short story 
"Unicorn Dreams" which I plan to expand into a full length novel someday. I hope you enjoy it.

Unicorns Dreams
By: C. L. Collar

“But Father. We will soon be ushering in the 19th century. I have no desire for marriage.” Alicia determinedly stepped to the bookshelf and grabbed a book. “This is what I want to do,” she said waving the book at him. “I want to further my education and write wonderful magical stories for the rest of my life.” She raised a finely lined eyebrow as she set the book on his desk. I do not need a man for that.”
Jason Whitaker glanced at his irate daughter from his seat behind the large mahogany desk. Her platinum blond hair was tucked up into a neat bun encased in a stylish net. The purple gown she had chosen showed off her petite form and amazing violet-blue eyes. Eyes, now shinning with the intensity of her thoughts. How could anyone so beautiful be so exasperating? Sighing he removed his spectacles and rose. 
“You are sixteen, Alicia. Your future with a prominent young man is what you should be thinking about.” He tossed Alicia’s neatly written manuscript onto his desk. “It is time to put this silly writing nonsense out of your head and grow up. The Whitaker’s hold a high place in English society.” He pointed a thick finger at his daughter. “And you, my dear, will marry a man from a well-established family. It is your duty. Now I have work to do and you have a suitor to prepare for.” He sat back down and replaced his spectacles, putting an abrupt end to the discussion.
And with that Alicia’s dreams were smashed into the ground. Her protest brought her nothing but a blunt dismissal. Blinking back the tears that threatened to fall, she squared her shoulders and exited the study.  She made her way to the garden entrance holding her head high and smiling at the servants as they passed. Finally reaching the door she slipped out and ran as fast as she could to the back of the garden, and deep into the forest. A startled rabbit ran between her feet nearly tripping her causing her to slow her pace.
“I am so sorry Mr. Rabbit. I did not see you there. Please do not run away.” She said out loud, but the rabbit was nowhere in sight.
Alicia caught her breath and settled into a slow thoughtful walk. Leaves filled the sky bursting with the vibrant colors of fall. She breathed in the crisp autumn air. The scent of rich luscious apples and sweet peaches delicately teased her nostrils. Oh yes, she thought, this was the perfect way to start off a glorious new season. Not trapped in a pallor forcing polite talk about the weather over tea and cakes.
She slowly walked in the direction of the scent taking her time to enjoy the forest in its newly acquired wardrobe. Finally, she reached her secret orchard. Alicia couldn’t believe no one else in the manor knew of its existence. Of course, she would never have found it herself if it hadn’t been for her newfound adventurous nature. It all started with finding that wonderful book in the attic, Alice In Wonderland.
Alicia opened that book and sat transfixed following Alice on her exciting whimsical journey. She was left yearning for an adventure of her own. The very next day she donned her simplest frock, plated her long hair into a braid, and slipped out of the manor. Sighting a deer she followed it deep into the woods and into her own secret wonderland. That was four years ago when she was just a child. Now she was a full-grown woman of sixteen years and soon to start her debutant balls.
Alicia sighed. She had no desire for balls or boys. Her true passion was writing beautiful, magical books. She had even written a few short stories in secrecy while sitting in her magical place. Stories like the one she had just shown her father. Stories that according to him, were nothing but a child’s silly act of play. She kicked a rock sending it rolling down the path and causing dust to fly into the breeze. Oh no, she thought as the dust settled on her gown.
She was so upset she hadn’t bothered to change. Alicia stopped to examine the beautiful dress. Thankfully there were no tears in the delicate fabric. She was to have tea with one of her suitors this afternoon. William had been a friend of hers since childhood, but she definitely did not want to think of him as a husband.
“I guess those boys would be called men now,” she mused out loud as she brushed the dust away. “But I still see them as naughty little boys, pulling my braids and constantly teasing. I would not give any one of them the satisfaction of calling him a man.
She eyed the lovely red apples at the top of the tree. “Why is everything I desire most always out of my reach?” she asked.
“That is because you don’t want it bad enough.” The feminine reply floated through the air.
Alicia sucked in her breath and looked around. Her violet-blue eyes scanned the orchard, she saw no one. My imagination must be running away with me. Just silly nonsense inside my head, she thought.
“Yes, I am inside your head, but the thoughts are mine not yours and they are anything but silly.”
Alicia scanned the forest again. Nothing. Turning back to the tree she remembered Alice’s adventure and decided to have some fun. “Miss Tree are you talking to me?” she asked tilting her head.
“No. I am not a tree. Now take a step back and listen. Pick the apple you want the most and concentrate on the branch. Make it bend to your will.”
“That is just silly. I cannot bend a branch with a thought.”
“I am a very patient being, Alicia, I can wait as long as you want, but know this, you will not be allowed to leave my orchard until you try.”
“What do you mean? Who are you and why would you hold me here?” Alicia swirled around searching for the voice’s source.
“I am the owner of this orchard and right now your teacher, so you can do as I say, or just stay. It matters not to me.”
“That is absurd. You truly think you can hold me here? I think not.” Alicia turned and with a defiant look headed back toward her home. As she passed the final tree its soft vines twisted around her waist. The tree picked her up and placed her gently back inside. Panicking she ran to the other edge. This time the trees bent to block her path using their branches to shoo her back in front of the apple tree.
“What kind of prank is this? Let me go.” Alicia clenched her fists.
“When you try.”
Alicia sat down on a rock and took a deep breath to steady herself. “Will you at least come out and let me see your face?” she asked.
“When you do as you are told, then my form you will behold.”
“Truly?” Alicia asked, eyebrow raised.
“Well, I guess it will not hurt to try.” Alicia shrugged her shoulders, ”But I know it will not work.”
“You are absolutely right. If you don’t want to think positive about it then it will not work. Whichever way is fine with me. But my form you will not see, until you do this for me.”
“Oh bother! You are quite rude you know. You do not know me at all and now for some odd reason you think that you can boss me about.” Alicia jumped up and glared at the tree.
“ I have known you, child, since you first stepped into my orchard and I am not rude or bossy. I am giving you an option and an opportunity. Take it or leave it. It is your choice.”
“I am not a child,” Alicia squared her shoulders, “and I do not think being trapped in this orchard forever is any sort of opportunity.”
“Silly girl.” A musical laugh filled the air. ”The opportunity is to learn how to get what you desire most. So why not give it a try?”
“Why didn’t you say so in the beginning?” asked Alicia tucking a stray strand of hair behind her ear. “There was no reason for you to be so vague.”
“Vague? I think not. If you would have listened you would have heard the meanings of my every word.”
“All this talk in rhyme. It will surely drive me crazy if I am not there already. Fine I will try and I will try to do it with a positive manner.”
Alicia gazed way up into the tree and focused her thoughts on a beautiful, rich red apple. Her eyes followed the curve of the tree branch. With all of her concentration, she forced her thought into the branch. Bend branch. She bellowed with her mind at the tree. Give me what I want. Bend and do my bidding. Do it now.
The branch swayed in the breeze as if mocking Alicia’s demand.
“Talk about rude. A little bit of gentleness might go along way. That is all that I will say.”
“Again with the rhyme? Surely you will taunt me with it until I do your biding.”
“Try again,” were the only words sent back to her mind.
Alicia blew her bangs out of her eyes and focused again on the tree. She spotted the apple and slowly worked her way down the branch. I would really like to taste one of your beautiful red apples. Please bend and place it in my hand.
The tree shook. Alicia watched with anticipation. The tree continued to shake, but no branch bent and no apple fell. Finally a small giggle escaped from the trunk.
Alicia jumped back startled at the sound. Soon her fear turned into anger as she realized that the tree was laughing at her.
“You said you were not a tree! You lied to me and now you have made me look the fool. I am leaving.” Fist clenched, Alicia turned to leave the forest.
“I did not lie. I’m not a tree, bend the branch and you will see.”
Alicia turned back toward the apple tree. “I tried! It did not work.”
“Try Again. Think about what you really want, Alicia, and why you want it. Use your senses and your mind, then your treasure you will find.”
Alicia again looked at the apple of her eye. As she focused this time, she thought about the fruit she desired. She let her mouth taste the sweetness; her eyes take in the rich red color and her nose smell the delicate fragrance. Her mouth began to water with anticipation of what was to come. Come to me. Bend and let me have a taste of your fruit so sweet.
 The tree branch slowly arched downward. Alicia watched the fruit’s leisurely descent with delight. The other branches gracefully gave way as the luscious fruit slipped into her hand. Grabbing the apple, Alicia held it out in front of her amazed at the feat she had just accomplished.
“I did it! Did you see that? I did it! I made the tree branch bend with a simple thought. I cannot believe it.” She swirled around then sat down on a log and began eagerly munching on the tasty morsel.
“Now that wasn’t so hard was it?”
Alicia stopped munching. Mouth and eyes wide open she sat transfixed by the sight before her. Floating through the air a flowing main and tail appeared. Next came a glittering iridescent spiral horn with a deep purple base and gorgeous amethyst eyes. Finally the body filled in and before her stood a glorious white unicorn.
“The Cheshire cat is not the only one who knows how to make a memorable appearance, or I guess in his case it would be disappearance.” The musical laugh again filled the orchard. “Now, close your mouth. You look quite silly.”
“But…but… you are a unicorn. But you cannot be a unicorn. There is no such thing.” Alicia laid the apple on the log suddenly not sure of anything. Slowly getting to her feet she again surveyed her surroundings. “First the trees block my exit. Next I hear a tree laughing at me then it bends it’s branch and gives me my apple. Now a unicorn is talking to me. This cannot be. I know. I have fallen and bumped my head. That is it. You are a figment of my imagination but oh how I wish you were real.”
“Okay. I will play. What would you do if I were real?”
“I do not know? I have never really had the thought before. I guess I would want to know why you would hide. Why you would not want anyone to know of your existence?”
The unicorn tossed her glorious mane. “I do not hide from anyone. Humans choose not to see me because they choose not to believe. Not very many people believe in magic anymore, but you, dear one, do way down deep inside of you. That is why you heard the tree and that is why you can see me. Now that we have established the fact that I am real, what will you do?”
“I did not say that I believe you are real. Remember, I am unconscious and you are a figment of my imagination.”
The unicorn swished her lavish tail. “Well, if this is truly your belief, then I have a question for you.”
“And what might that be?”
“How would you like to accompany me on an adventure into my world of magic. It will be both exciting and fun. When you wake up we will be done.”
Alicia’s eyes lit with excitement. “Oh yes. By all means yes. And there will be no harm done since I would just be sleeping anyway. When do we start?”
“Right now, but first stand in front of me and open up your hands.”
“Why?” Alicia’s eyebrow rose again.
With another swish of her tail the unicorn said. “Why not? ‘Tis but a dream.”
“Why yes. That is surely true.” Alicia stood in front of the beautiful beast and held out her hands.
“They call me Wishteria. I am pleased to welcome you as my pupil. Semper simul, forever together. I seal our fate.”
Wishteria pointed her shimmering horn at Alicia’s hands. A sparkle of silver stars fell onto her palms then dissipated into the air. Alicia eyes rounded in amassment as on each palm a perfect replica of Wishteria formed.
“What does this mean? What have you done?”
“I have made us as one.”
“But why? No, no! You must take it back. It will be the death of me if my father sees this.”
“Remember ‘tis but a dream, nothing will mean a thing.”
Alicia stared at her hands as the beautiful pictures vanished before her eyes. She picked up her apple and sat back down on the log. “I do not know if I can trust you,” she said eyeing Wishteria. “I think you are playing in my head.”
     “Maybe so, maybe not, but I will bring you what you have sought. Unicorn dreams to take you away, to countless adventures in the land of Fey.”
  “Like Alice?”
     “Much better than that silly book, for our adventures will bring out the true magical soul that lives deep down inside of you. ”
     “Good, now follow me. We begin our journey in the heart of the land of the dragons.”
Alicia jumped up from her log. “Dragons are real too?”
      “Very real and very powerful.”
     “Truly.” Wishteria nodded and turned to leave.
     “Amazing! Alicia grabbed another apple from the tree. “I have one more question before we begin.”
     Wishteria looked back at Alicia. “Yes?”
Are you going to talk in rhyme, all of the time?”

     “Are you?” Wishteria smiled, and with a swish of her tail she turned and headed down the path.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September is National Suicide Prevention Month

Out of the Blue
 By C. L. Collar

        The dismal blue light slowly crept with icy fingers across the room. I peeked tentatively out from underneath the safety of my blanket. I preferred the darkness. I preferred to be left alone. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I didn’t want to eat anything and I really didn’t want to feel anything at all.
            “Go away,” I say. “Leave me alone. I don’t want any company! I don’t want anything! Just leave me alone!”
I jerk the blanket back over my head as fresh tears spilled down my face. This is my safe place. Here I can sleep, dream away my pain and wander back to the happy times. I want to stay here.
The blue fog quietly slips under the cover causing a muted light in my shelter.
“I said I want to be alone! Who are you and what do you want?” I yell.
“I have come because you called for me. You pleaded for my aid. You wanted me to be with you in your time of pain. When I am requested I cannot resist. I must appear. My name is Despair.”
“You are mistaken. I did not ask you to come. I did not ask anyone to come! I just want to be left alone!”
“You asked me with every tear you dropped, with every unkind word you said, with every day you hid in your shelter and I might add it is a very nice shelter. We can stay in here and be safe from the outside world forever. We don’t need them. We have each other.”
“I, I guess you can stay then, if you’re not going to try to make me feel better. I don’t want to feel better. I don’t want to feel anything at all.”
“I know. That is why I am here. I will keep the others away. Now rest.”
I drift away …
I am walking in a lovely field of spring grass. The fresh smell of sage filters into my lungs teasing a thought into my muddled mind, sage, cleansing, new beginnings, and wisdom. A smile tugs at my lips, but no I do not want to smile!  I banish the thought and go back to the dark place and the blue light.
A delicate warm glow, filters through the dark accompanied by the scent of jasmine, jasmine and frankincense. Again, feelings slowly drift back into my body, calm, sweet songs of joy on angel’s voices. I turn toward the light.
“Don’t go!” Despair shouts. “It’s a trick! They are trying to get in!” his voice calms. “Come back to me. I will keep them away.”
I begin to see a form in the light. I gasp. It is child, a young girl. She is sitting in a cedar rocking chair. Lavender flowers are spread on her hearth as she hums a peaceful memory, one of my memories. Cedar drives out negative energy; brings in good influences. Lavender restores balance, creates a peaceful atmosphere and attracts loving energy. What is she doing here?
I cautiously approach the child. She has a needle strung with glimmering silver thread. Meticulously she places tiny stitches into the red glow in her lap.
            “Child, why are you here?” I ask.
            “I have been sent to you by someone who holds you dear.”
            “I don’t understand,” I say as I shake my head. “Who are you and why are you here? What are you doing in my shelter?”
            “ I am mending something that has been deeply damaged. It is strong, but also delicate. It has a large tear that requires my special stitch. Later, my sister will come and check on my work and make it stronger, but for now I must apply my stitch.
It is the only way to start the healing process. You can join me while work.”
            Another cedar rocking chair appears, placed cozily by the fire.
            “Don’t sit with her!” I hear the voice of Despair in the distance. “Come back to me. She will only bring you pain and sorrow. I am the one you need, not her!”
            I turn toward his voice, seeing the faint blue light I choke back the tears that are just a trickle away. Yes, I must go back. I cannot face the pain, the sorrow. I have to hide!
As I turn to flee lavender drifts into my scenes driving my fears away.
            “Please sit and rest. I am almost done. You will want this when I am finished.”
            I move toward the chair. A soft cushion appears as dove feathers float onto the floor. Again she sings a memory, white feathers; a message from my angles. I sit. I rock. Jasmine, cedar, frankincense, lavender; caress my soul.  I glance back to where Despair waits for me. All I see is a insignificant speck of blue.
            “Let him go.” She says. “He is not important. He was sent to do you harm.”
            “I know. I know who he is and I know who sent him, but I still don’t know who you are.”
            The child looks up from her lap. She holds her sewing up to the light to examine her work.
“It is done.”
            I look at the object she has worked so diligently on. It is a glowing red heart and directly in the middle a large silver patch with perfect tiny stitches holding it in place.
She hands it to me.
            “This belongs to you. My name is Hope. I have begun the healing and my sister, Love, will now come and strengthen my work. You must let her in for your heart to continue to heal. Your family, your friends, your angles and God all come with her. The healing process will need one more thing, my brother, Time. The patch is strong, but if not nurtured by my sister and brother it will not heal. I also want you to remember that I, Hope, will always be with you.”
            I wake to the beautiful sunshine filling my room. I smell jasmine and lavender. I turn to see a silver vase filled with the fragrant flowers. The scent of frankincense and sage mingles with it as a swirl of smoke from an incense burner drifts into the air. As I stir from under my shelter I see a cedar rocking chair beside my bed and in it my loving husband. He is holding my bible with a small white feather marking a page. I look at his his face, strained, even in his slumber. As his eyes slowly open I hear his beautiful loving voice.
            “Hi there. I’m glad you’re back,” he says reaching for my hand.
            “Thank you," I say taking his hand and giving it a gentle squeeze. "Thank you for being here for me."