Friday, September 26, 2014

Library fines on fines on fines....

I've been quite the procrastinator.  Quite a few things have not been done.  (Yes, that includes making posts on my blog, smarty pants.  :P )  I went through a spell where I wasn't writing and I sure wasn't reading.  I kind of blame it on my new job.  But more on that later.  I am writing again!  On a regular basis even.  Go me!  But I haven't been reading much...

Please don't go all Simba's Pride 'You are not one of us' on me yet!

Schedule changes are hard.  Especially when it messes with your sleep.  I usually read when I'm in bed but lately I start to feel guilty about staying up anymore.  I'm kind of hard to get going in the morning.  But just before I got this job I got a stack of books.  Like six books.  That I haven't started.

I'm not even near done with the first one.

These books are late now.  Really late.  They put a hold on your account so that you have to be under so many dollars to check out anything else.  They raised this amount from $5 to a whopping $25.  Surely I could never reach such an unattainable and high price in fines.

I reached that unattainable and high price in fines.

Now this could EASILY turn into a rant about how the books should be 'totally free'!  Why should I pay for a book that I kept too long.  Three weeks and being able to renew it twice for a total of 6 more additional weeks is NOT enough!

But I could also look at it practically.

I have six books all of which are hardcover.  Let's say that I bought those books from my local bookstore.  Hardbacks could easily cost $15-$20 depending on the popularity of the book and other things of course.  Buying one of those books would almost be the entirety of my fines.  Let's say that they each cost $15.  That would be $90 for six, not including tax.

I'm not going to pay that much for books.  That's too much like college.

So please, library, take every little cent that I owe you.  You may have it as long as you keep giving me access to free books.

Thursday, May 1, 2014


It's May!  Meaning Camp Nano and the A to Z Challenge is over.

This was a harsh one.  I'll be honest.  I kept up for the first week or two and then I let myself get behind and I more or less gave up.  I told myself I would keep going but as each day passed and I got busier and busier even my optimistic self thought 'Huh.  Well, maybe next year...'

Final tally came to about 9000 of a 30000 word goal for Camp and 10 out of 26 letters for A to Z.

Not even quite halfway.

Do I wish that I had done better?  Of course.  But do I count it as a fail?  NOPE.  Not entirely.

Of course, if you didn't succeed to do something then you have failed to do it.  Kind of the only two options.  But when I look at things like NaNo and this A to Z Challenge I find that trying at all is a win in and of itself.  I have 9000 words on a pretty decent story thanks to Camp and I have a few more followers/blogs to follow thanks to A to Z.

I did learn a few things though.  First of all, I will probably not combine Camp and A to Z again!  Lol.  Writing and putting up complete chunks of a story might have been biting off more than I could chew.  So I'll probably do A to Z in April and Camp in their other month.  I will definitely do posts ahead of time (which was part of the problem this time because I felt like I'd be 'cheating' at NaNo if I wrote posts before April).  I didn't give myself nearly enough of the time I should have had to go to other blogs and comment and such so planning ahead will give me that.

All of that being said I will DEFINITELY be doing A to Z again and I'm really excited for it!  I had a secondary idea that I thought of using this year that I think would be really good for next year.  I better write it down so I remember it....  Lol.

So with this post we will return to our regularly irregular posting schedule!  Later!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Jayreel - Digging Up Magic #10

Nikki heard the guy sigh.  “I’m not here to start any fights…  You have her attention now.”  She heard a barstool scrape against the floor and could only assume that he was gone.

The one that she had her eyes on now met her stare.  “A true lover’s fate.”  He turned out of his chair and began to walk away.  “I’m sorry if I ruined your date.”

Nikki watched him go until she finally came to her senses and followed after him.  Though she hadn’t thought about what she was going to say before she caught up.  He was already pulling a chair out from a table that was luckily one of the furthest ones away from the bull.  Away from Ian and away from Jenna.

He sat down and looked at her as if he wasn’t surprised to see her, but was merely waiting for her to speak, receptionist at his desk.  When she didn’t, he did.

“I can help you with all that I’m able.”

This snapped her back to her distorted reality and she pulled out her own chair and sat.  “How do you know I need help?”

“By all means sit…”  He laughed.  “You’re the one who chased me to my table.  If not help, then what is it?”

Nikki opened and closed her mouth a few times like a suffocating fish.  Well, she already embarrassed herself so she might as well get to the rest of it.

“What happened yesterday.  That wasn’t…  It wasn’t normal.”

His look of smug amusement turned quickly to a serious intensity.  “So did you did feel it?”

“It was hard to miss.”

“And so you found it…”

Nikki tried to be careful to keep any sign of recognition off of her face.  How could he know about this?

“Beware the wrist that this band fits…”  He muttered almost to himself, his gaze studying her.

She crossed her arms over herself and tried not to squirm under his scrutiny.  “What are you going on about?”

“I think you know good and well.  Why don’t we find out?”

He waited for me to speak but I sat there like the perfect picture of stubbornness.  “You first.”

Now he laughed.  An actual laugh as if something humorous had just happened.  “You’re the one who needs answers, sweetheart.  Come back to me when you’re not quite so tart.”

Horrified, Nikki watched him get up from the table and she tried to think of something to do, to say, to make him stay here.  Insult him, make him angry enough to start talking.  Or she could just call a do over and start talking herself.  But before she could decide on either option he stepped closer to her and leaned down close to her face.

“Put it on.”


“Put.  It.  On.  You know why you’re here.  Put it on and things may become more clear.  It’s more than jewelry and not a toy.  It holds a power that most would enjoy.  If you need me you’ll find me, but only if you’re ready.”

He sat his empty glass down and strode off toward the front door.  He was a couple of tables away before Nikki called after him with the first thing that came to mind.

“But what’s your name?”

He turned and smiled kindly.  “They called me Jayreel back in my day, but I think that you can simple call me Jay.”  He turned his back on her again and was gone.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Inconceivable - Digging Up Magic #9

Nikki had to get back to that bar.  Maybe there was something about the man that was different.  She innocently gave Jenna a hug before they turned in for the night with Nikki’s bag, and the bracelet, right in between them.


Maybe if she could talk to the man again something would click.  So Saturday night she was ready when Rodney started the bus.  Jenna gave her a meaningful look but both she and Ian chose not to say anything.

They could tell that it was even more crowded than last night.  If it was like this now Nikki didn’t know if she could take it when they really started getting busy.  She just hoped she could still find the guy.

Jenna only rode the bull once before she sat down with her and Ian to eat.  Ian also seemed to want to walk on eggshells around her, always being the one to go get drinks or anything else.  Was it so obvious that whatever happened last night shook her up enough that even someone who was almost a stranger to her could tell?

Nikki could see nothing from where she was sitting.  She needed to walk around and see if he was here.  The only thing that was keeping her in her seat was the thought of what she would say if she did find him.  What did she want from him?  She couldn’t really explain it to him.

Excuse me, but I have this bracelet. Nikki thought to herself.  I think that it might be releasing some sort of energy that reacted to you the other day.  Would you mind holding on to it and seeing if you feel anything?

She couldn’t stand it anymore.  Crazy or not, she had to get answers and she wasn’t getting any here.

“I’ve got this round.”  Nikki got up before she could lose her nerve.

“You sure?”  Ian asked.

“Yeah, I’ll be right back.”  Jenna was already at another table and Nikki wanted to be gone before she ever knew she was leaving.  She was going to have to work on her poker face around these people.  No more hearts on her sleeve.

The bar was packed again.  She ended up just hanging out on the far side and found out why the crowd was so thin there.  The bartenders were so busy with those pushing to the front that they rarely thought to check over there.  She was perfectly content with waiting though.  Most people who came in would end up coming this way anyways so she had a greater chance of catching the guy.

Eventually, a chair cleared up next to her as disgruntled drinkers went to brave the crowd.  She sat down and waited.

And waited.

Why did she think that he would come back anyways?  Usually people don’t go to bars every night and at least not the same one if they did.  This was stupid.  She was being creepy.  She should let the idea, whatever it was, go.

She started to get up when a man, definitely not the one that she was looking for turned toward her in the chair next to her.  His eyes were glassy looking and he had a slightly crooked smile.

“So which version of ‘you come here often’ have you not heard yet tonight?”

He took Nikki so off guard that she actually laughed.  She decided to indulge him.  “That one.  Good job.  You get an A for straightforwardness.”

He fist pumped. “Yes.  I knew my obnoxiousness would get me somewhere some day.  So I ask again, what brings you here?”

“A school bus full of strangers.”

“Ah.”  He looked like he wanted to be impressed.  “I see.  An adventurous life you lead.”


“Any particular reason you chose to ride with a bus full of strangers here?”

She explained the metal detecting and a little about the group.

“Find anything yet?”

“Trash and pocket change.”

“Really?  No diamond rings or old lady’s necklace?”

Or a bracelet that I’m inexplicably attached to?


“What are you looking for up there anyways?”

“You know, you seem really interested in metal detecting.”

“Well, forgive me for showing interest in your hobbies.”

“It seems that your interests are not quite the same.”

They both turned to the man that spoke from behind Nikki.  The exact man that she had been looking for this whole time.

“And…”  The new stranger took a sloppy drink from his cup.  “Who asked you?”

He shrugged.  “A gift is a gift no matter from where it came.”

Nikki’s new bar buddy might have been looking to her to interrupt or tell him off for being rude but she couldn’t be sure.  Now that she found exactly who she was looking for she didn't want to take her eyes off of him.  The question was, now what?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Hints - Digging Up Magic #8

They had to all but drag Jenna away.  She had ridden the bull at least four times and had been chatting with a group of people of people near our table.  They managed to not be the last ones to get back to the bus.

Nikki tried to pay attention to the conversations going on but all the way back to the cabin she found herself spacing out and looking at nothing out the window.

“Hey,” Ian tightened the arm he had around her shoulder, giving her a little squeeze.  She jumped a little.  Had he been there this whole time?  “We’re here.”

She couldn’t sleep.  That jolt, or whatever it was that that man had made her feel, it was different.  More than the obvious though.  It wasn’t every day that you just bumped up against someone and felt like you touch an electric fence.  But more in the way that it didn’t actually hurt.  It was like an almost intense heat and a muscle tensing like a Charlie horse.

It was almost like the feeling she got when she touched the cuff that first time.

She rolled out of bed and grabbed her satchel on the way out of the room, being careful to be as silent as she could be.  She passed the bathroom and gently pushed the backdoor open to the patio.  She sat in the big rocking chair that was off to one side and, tucking her feet underneath her and her bag in her lap, let herself rock.  She took the cuff out and ran her fingers across it, back and forth.  She felt like she was on the verge of discovering something. Something about her interaction with that man told her something about this cuff.  Now if only she could figure out what.

The sound of the backdoor startled Nikki so much she nearly lost hold of the bracelet.  Getting spooked by the slightest noise was starting to get old to her.  She managed to stuff it back into her bag before the footsteps stopped beside her.

“You weren’t planning a late night adventure without your best friend, were you?”  Jenna sat beside her on the little side table that was next to the rocking chair and leaned her back against the wall.

Nikki snorted.  “Of course not.”

Jenna smiled and was silent for awhile.  “I heard you get up.  So I did what best friends do and waited five minutes than came in after you.  What happened tonight?”

“If you’re referring to tonight, then I don’t know since this technically morning and tonight hasn’t happened.”

“And if I were referring to last night, smarty pants?”

“Then I would still not know what you were talking about.”

“Don’t play dumb with me now.  I heard that glass drop.  I saw that was you and some guy and then we were running out of there like the place was on fire.  What happened?”

“Nothing.  Honest.  The guy just bumped in to me on accident, I dropped my glass, and he bought me a new one…”

Jenna watched her for another quite moment.  “You’ve seemed pretty distracted for a couple days now as a matter of fact…  Does this have anything to do with Ian?”

“Ian?”  Nikki was afraid before that if she looked Jenna in the eye that she would be able to tell that she was hiding something.  She looked directly at her now though.  “What would Ian have to do with anything?”

“Well, he isn’t bad to look at…”

“What?  No!  Jenna!  I haven’t even known the guy a week.”

“I’m just saying you hit it off pretty quick…”


“Don’t try to protest too much.  Ow!”

“Protest that.”  Nikki sat her satchel back on her lap and tried hard not to laugh.

Nikki could just barely see Jenna stick her tongue out at her and laugh.  Another moment passed.  “You know that whatever it is you can tell me, right?”

“I know.”  Nikki’s hands subconsciously went around her satchel.

When she didn’t say anymore Jenna didn’t press her.  And they sat in another comfortable moment of silence.

“You know,”  Jenna finally broke it.  “This would be a great place for you and Ian’s wedding- ow!”

Guessing Games - Digging Up Magic #7

She stuffed the bracelet into her duffel as soon as dinner was over.  Nikki was barely paying attention to the conversation at the table so she was thrown off when Jenna told her they were ready to go.

“Ready to go where?” She asked.

“With Rodney…?”  Jenna waited for Nikki to remember then continued when all she did was give Jenna a blank look.  “Into the city?  Oh come on, Nikki.  You said that you would go with us yesterday.  Don’t break your promise now.”

“No, I, uh, I’m not trying to do that.”  Though she might have if she thought she could have come up with a good enough reason.  Everyone was going and she could have used that time to figure more out about that bracelet.  On the other hand, she couldn’t really look forward to staying in a cabin in the middle of the woods by herself at night.  “I’ll be right back.  Tell them I’m coming.  Just let me grab my purse.”

Nikki went to her room after seeing that everyone was out in the bus and went quickly to her duffel under the bed.  She may not have had a choice but to leave the cuff behind while she went detecting but she wasn’t going to leave it in this empty old shack all night.  She dug it out from its hiding place under layers of her necessities in one of the side pockets.

She stayed up last night waiting for Sylvia and Jenna to go to sleep so that she sneak into the bathroom with it.  She wanted to get some more of the dirt off of it to be able to see the markings better.  Nikki didn’t want to do too much to it.  She was afraid of the damage that might be underneath since it was right next to the pond.  But the more that she cleaned the more surprised she was that she couldn’t find any sign of damage at all.  It wasn’t shiny by any means, but it showed no sign of the corrosion that she had expected.

She stuffed the bracelet into the bottom of her satchel bag and raced back out to the bus.


It was a quicker ride into town than Nikki thought it would be.  Rodney pulled the bus to the curb in front of what looked like it could be this town’s main square.  There were several shops clustered together and several restaurants as well but it didn’t look like they were too busy.  They must be about to close for the night.

“This is where I’ll leave you and this is where I’ll pick you right back up.”  Rodney said.  “There are a number of restaurants and bars that will stay open long after I come back to pick you all up.  Just keep to this strip here and you’ll find them soon enough.”

They all piled out of the bus and onto the walkway.  Sylvia gave them a wave and Rodney barely waited for the last person to get out before he drove off.  The group set off as one but then quickly separated as they found different shops to go into.  Nikki, Jenna, and Ian stayed together, browsing different specialty shops, until they found themselves at one of the late night bars that Rodney was talking about.

“The Crooked Bull?”  Ian said, reading the sign on the front, and looking really skeptical.

“Cool!” Jenna took off toward the front door.

Ian, not knowing the Jenna that Nikki knew, looked confused and yet amused somehow but Nikki just smiled, shrugged, and took off after her.

Nikki was already halfway to the bar by the time they got inside.  Nikki was surprised to find that the place was fairly packed.  Ian went to find a table and Nikki went to tell Jenna where they were.

“Behold.”  Ian said as the two of them came to the table with drinks.  “The infamous crooked bull.”

Over to one side of the bar, not too far from the tables, was a sad looking mechanical bull.  It must have still been working though because there were a couple people in a line next to it and one in the ring being helped up by one of the workers.

Nikki saw the glassy eyed look of surprise on Jenna’s face and immediately took the drink out of her hand just seconds before she ran off.  Nikki shook her head and Ian just laughed.  They ordered some food and talked for awhile waiting for her to take her turn and come back, but again, Nikki knew better.  She timed Jenna knowing that she would ask how she did and watched her get right back in line after she got out.

“She ever ride one of those before?”  Ian asked.

“Don’t think so.  I think someone in her family owns horses though.  She’s not bad, is she?”

“Not at all.”  He downed the last of his drink.  “You need another drink?”

“Sure.”  She raised a hand to stop him from getting up and stood up herself, grabbing his cup.  “I’ve got this one.”

“You had the last one.  No fair.”

“Life’s not fair.”

He scrunched up his face at her like a five year old when he’s mad and Nikki was still laughing when she got to the bar.  It was awhile before she could catch the bartender, they seemed to get busier the later that it got.  When she finally got their drinks, she had to fight through a small crowd.  Just when she thought that she had cleared everyone, a guy turned to quick for her to do anything and bumped her arm.  It shouldn’t have made her do any more than spill a little of her drink but instead a jolt went through her arm that made her hand reflexively lose its grip on the glass.  As the glass shattered on the floor they both said ‘ow!’

“What was that?!”  Nikki gasped.

“But how…?”  The man said, looking curious.

“I didn’t do it!  Whatever it was.  What are you carrying?  A tazer?”

This seemed to snap him out of whatever thought that he was having and he sprang into action.  “Please accept my apologies.”  A worker came by to clean up the pieces of glass.  “Sir, please get her two more of these.”

He put his hand on the waiter’s shoulder to get his attention.  Nikki involuntarily flinched even though it wasn’t her that he touched and the man did nothing.  The man must have noticed this because he took back his hand quickly.

“Something wrong?”  Ian was next to her now, a hand at her waist.  Nikki was vaguely aware of how much better she felt with him there.

“No…”  Nikki just wanted to get out of here.  Something about what just happened made her come to a realization and she didn’t want to be here when she finally processed it.  “He just bumped me.  It was an accident.”

She and the man shared a look and while he seemed like he wanted to say something, wanted to question her, she tried her hardest not to let anything show.

The waiter that cleaned the mess up came back then with her drinks.

“I’ll see that the drinks are paid for.”  The man said, breaking eye contact.

“You don’t have to…”

“It’s the least I can do for knocking yours on the floor.”

He nodded and left them, turning back toward the bar.  Nikki watched him but went willingly when Ian gently guided her away.

“Are you sure you’re ok?”  Ian’s voice shook her out of her thoughts.

“Yeah.  Yeah, I’m fine.   What time is it?”


“We should get going then.  Rodney will be back with the bus soon.”

Monday, April 7, 2014

Frazzled - Digging up Magic #6

            They spent the rest of the day searching for the last of their coins though they found them rather quickly.  Sylvia and Rodney didn’t want to send them out to anything new on their first day so they were able to end the workday early.

            The next day, however, would be a full day of work no matter how much they found.  They were each given an area to detect in and told which way and how far they had to walk to get there.  Nikki and Ian didn’t have too far to go.  They were sent downhill from the cabin to find a large pond where a creek ended.  Nikki took to the edge of the water while Ian stayed where it was flat about a yard away from her.

            “Afraid to get your feet wet?”  She teased as she stumbled down the bank.  It didn’t look like it had rained for awhile.  She was going to have a hard time walking along the slope.  At least the dirt was softer here.

            “Not at all.  I’m afraid of water snakes.”

            “Of what?” She snapped, but he was already walking away smiling.

            By lunch time they each had pulled in a decent amount of stuff, varying from coins to pull tabs.  As told, they turned in everything in to Rodney and Sylvia and set out again after lunch.

            “Whoever finds the oldest coin serves the other dinner?”  Nikki asked.

            “Deal.  I’m not going easy on you this time.”  Ian said.

            Nikki wasn’t getting too high of hopes since she only found three coins a half hour before dinner and two of them were within the last three years.  The most that she could hope for was a tie.

            She was digging something up when Ian called time.

            “Alright, I’ll make this the last one.”  Though she was thinking about leaving it.  Whatever it was it was deeper than she thought it was.  She was already at least six inches in and hasn’t found anything, yet when she waved the pinpointer around it beeped like crazy.  She was going to call it quits until her little spade finally hit something solid.

            “Need some help?”  Ian was putting away his things.

            “No, I’ve got it.”  Just as she said it the thing came loose.  A pop can, perhaps?  She rubbed some of the dirt off and a chunk crumbled from the middle leaving a curved ‘C’ shaped object.  It was still quite dirty but she could tell that there was some kind of design on it.  A braclet?  No, more like a cuff.

            “I wish I knew where this came from.” She muttered to herself.  A jolt went through her fingers and she dropped the cuff, shaking her hand.  It was like a static shock but worse.  Cautiously she picked it back up and turned it over and over in her hand.

            “Find something good?”

            “No,” she shoved it into her bag just before Ian climbed down the bank to join her.  “I mean, I don’t know.  I don’t think so.  Are you ready?”

            She didn’t wait for him to answer before she climbed the bank and headed back toward the cabin.


Nikki and Ian got back to the cabin just as the others were getting their food.  Nikki found Jenna and sat next to her while Ian sat across from them.

“Alright Nikki, empty your bag.”

“What?” Nikki felt bad for hiding the bracelet, she didn’t even know why she hid the bracelet, but he didn’t have to make a big deal about it like this.

“Don’t act like you forgot.  A deal is a deal.”  He dumped his bag.  “I think my oldest one was 1986.”

Nikki sighed and the tension immediately left her as she got up from the table.  “Well, you already have me beat.  Mine were all 2000’s.  I’ll get you a little bit of everything.”

“Ok, turn in your bag and go eat.”  Sylvia said from the kitchen and Rodney stood next to her.

Nikki froze and slowly turned back around.  She took her time as the rest of the group rushed to leave their bags and fill their plates.  She knelt down and almost picked up the bag but thought better of it as she reached in, found the cuff, and quickly tucked it into the pocket of her jacket.  She never thought that she would have been glad for cold days.

“Are you ok?”

She whipped around to find Ian there.  No one else had come back their way yet.

“Yeah, I’m fine.”  She stood up, stuffing her fists into her coat pocket and hoping that the extra bulge in her pocket couldn’t be seen.  “Where’s your plate?”

“A deal’s a deal, remember?”  He smirked.

“Right…”  Nikki moved away from him and to the kitchen to make two plates with only the vague paranoia that he was still watching her.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Extensive Survey - Digging up Magic #5

They had dinner relatively early last night and sat around talking for awhile until those who had signed up for night shift showers drifted off to their rooms and everyone else decided to turn in as well.

            After breakfast, right at nine, they were sent outside not too far from the cabin.  Each team had a designated area that Rodney and Sylvia had planted coins.  They were to find five each before they come back for lunch.

            “Ever do this before?”  Nikki asked Ian as she waved her detector back and forth.

            “Nope.”  He stopped his detector as it beeped and sat it down.  He kneeled on the floor and pulled out a little wand that Sylvia called a pinpointer and waved it until it beeped then gave a louder longer beep when he kept it there.  “Heard about it before and it seemed cool though.  You?”

            “Not really.  Most of what I do is like backwards metal detecting.  We already know generally where something is we just have to dig it up and find out what it is.”  She looked up at him and he looked awfully confused.  “I’m an archaeologist.”

            “Ah.”  He nodded and went back to digging.  “So this is kind of up your alley then.  Out in nature and digging holes.”

            “Yeah,  I used to blame the holes in the yard on the family pet.”

            “I somehow wouldn’t put that past you.” He snorted.

            “We haven’t known each other for a whole 24 hours yet and you already have me pegged.”  Nikki sat her detector down when it beeped a few yards away from Ian.  “You must really know how to read people.  What do you do?”

            “I have my ways.  And I do many things, not exactly just one…” She waited for him to elaborate but when he didn’t she didn’t press him.  “Aha.”  He stood up and brushed something off in his hands.  “Found coin number one.”

            Nikki went to look closer and saw the coin he was holding.  It looked like some old token, the kind that you would use at an arcade.  As he turned it over they saw one side was marked with an R and an S on the other.  Rodney and Sylvia.

            “First find.  Congrats.”  Nikki went back to the hole she was digging.

            “First one to find five serves the other one lunch?”

            “Ian, this is hardly a competition…”  She looked up and saw him shrug and kick dirt into the hole he made.  “But if it were, I’d win.  You’d better hurry up because as soon as I dig up this one were back on even ground.”

            He said nothing but kicked in a few more piles of dirt and tapped it down with his foot.  Then rushed to pick up detector and he was off again.  Nikki started digging a little faster.


            “Ian?  Would you be a dear and refill my cup?  I would also like more chips to finish off my sandwich and cookies for dessert.”

            Ian got up from the opposite side of the table, retrieved her plate, and piled chips and a few cookies on.  Then with a bow, he placed it back in front of her.

            “My lady.”  He curtsied with his shirt.

            “Such the gentleman.” Nikki laughed and several of the others joined her.

            “You know that I let you win, right?”

            “Well, if you did then this will teach you not to anymore, now won’t it.”  She rattled the ice cubes in her empty cup at him.  “My drink, please?”

            He took the cup and sauntered off while Nikki tried not to laugh more.  At least he was a good sport for the most part.  But she pushed the fun aside and decided to get down to some business.  Sylvia was seated conveniently to her left and she had some questions for her if Nikki wanted this to be a good survey.

            “So Sylvia, is this you and Rodney’s own cabin?”

            “Here we go…”  Nikki could hear Jenna sigh next to her.

            “Yes, it is.  Why do you ask?”  Sylvia said.

            “Well, because I’m an archaeologist and-“

            “And she’s about to ask you a long series of boring questions.”  Nikki swatted at Jenna and she stuck her tongue out.  Ian laughed as he sat Nikki’s drink down in front of her.

            “Oh, Rodney did you hear that.”  He nodded, not looking up from his plate.  Sylvia continued.  “I’m always glad to help a fellow hunter.  We may be looking for different things but we share the same work place.  Go on.”

            So Nikki did.  She asked several questions about how long they had been there, who they bought it from, if they said anything specific about the land, or have ever found something here that looked interesting.  Nikki was about to thank her and excuse herself to call the lab and give them the information when another question came up as an afterthought.

            “What are you guys looking for up here anyways?”

            Sylvia stopped her drink only halfway to her mouth and Rodney finally looked up.  “What makes you ask that?”  She sat her cup down and busied herself by eating a cookie.

            “I guess that I had just assumed…”  Nikki felt uncomfortable as if she had said something wrong but wasn’t sure what.  “I mean, you brought a group full of people to a specific location to help you metal detect it.”  She also remembered how they were sure to be clear that they wanted to see all of their finds, even the trash, before they determined what they could keep.  They did say that if they found something that was worth money, other than coins, that they would split the earnings with the finder.

            “Blackbeard’s buried treasure.”  It was Rodney who spoke.   There was a moment of silence that spread across the table and Nikki realized that everyone had been listening.  Rodney got up and headed toward the kitchen counter, shaking his head.  “That was a joke.”

            More silence.  Then Sylvia stifled a laugh into her hands and soon the whole table was laughing if only at the surprise that the stern, no-nonsense man that they had gotten to know for a day had just told a joke.

Directions - Digging up Magic #4

All of the guys were already sitting at the table with the exception of Rodney, who was standing off to the side with his arms crossed and wearing the same blank face as he was this morning.  Nikki didn’t know enough about him to think whether he was a good guy or not but she knew he definitely wasn’t trying to make the handful of people he didn’t know feel any better about their decision to drive with him into the woods.  Nikki quickly took her seat next to Jenna, in between two of the guys that they hadn’t met yet and across from Ian who smiled.

“Let’s begin.”  Rodney came closer to the table.  “You’ve seen your rooms.  The assignments are permanent and mandatory.  You want to get to know the other gender be considerate and do it somewhere else on your own time and not in this cabin.”

Nikki and Jenna discreetly shared a look.  Suddenly it was very awkward been the only girls on this trip.

“The bathroom is right behind me.”  He gestured vaguely over his right shoulder with one hand and she saw there was a clipboard in the other.  “There’s only one.  One toilet, one sink, one shower.  This,” he raised the clipboard.  “Is the shower schedule.  There are four shifts in the morning before breakfast at 8 a.m. and four after dinner at 9 p.m..  Thirty minutes each.  If you need longer than that, at least sign up to go last.  We’re adults.  I’m not going to come knocking at the door asking you to please come out.  Sign up and pass it on.”

He sat the clipboard down and slid it toward the guy to Jenna’s right.  He quickly jotted his name down and passed it over to her and Jenna did the same just as quick.  Nikki took it and wrote her name in the second to last spot right above Jenna’s.  If Jenna was anything it wasn’t a morning person but she knew that Nikki was.  As an unspoken agreement Jenna could have Nikki’s extra time and not be seen as taking up too much time from anyone else.

“As far as the work day goes,” Rodney continued.  “Our breakfast is from 8 to 9.  After that, we detect until 1.  We’ll have break from 1 to 3 which includes lunch and then we detect some more until it gets too dark to see.  There’s no bedtime because, once again, we are adults.  This schedule doesn’t change except on Fridays and Saturdays I make a run into a city 30 mins away.  It was…recommended…” Rodney gave a sideways glance at his wife who only smiled up at him from where she was seated next to him.  “That I offer you all a ride in to town as an extracurricular.  I will leave here at 8 pm sharp and I will leave there by no later than 12 am.  You may find somewhere to buy yourselves dinner in that time or you can eat leftovers when you get back.”

He started to go over what kind of equipment that they would be using but said that they would go over more of that tomorrow morning when they took them out for a practice run.  At this time, Rodney stepped back and let Sylvia take over.

“Now we want to cover as much ground as possible but we want to stay safe.”  Sylvia said.  “So what we’re going to do is match you off into pairs and we’ll switch every week just to make it fun!  Now I’ll pull out two names at a time from this basket here and that will be a pair and then again and so on until we all have partners.”

She picked up a small wicker bowl with her hand covering the top and gave it a little shake.  One by one everyone was paired off and Nikki was a little disappointed when her name wasn’t called after Jenna’s.  It felt like getting a group project in class and then not being paired with your best friend.  Funny how that kind of thing never leaves you.

“Nikki,” Sylvia said, and hearing her name shocked her out of her thoughts.  She raised her hand as the others had done.  “and… Ian.”

She looked at Ian and he smiled at her.  It looked like she would be getting to know their new friend a little better.  He wasn’t Jenna, but he still like he’d be ok.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Company - Digging up Magic #3

A day late!  Gah!!  Better late than never though.  'D' will be up later today as well.  Here we go!

            They ended their trip by pulling up a hill crowded on both sides by trees.  When they broke free of the woods there was a small cabin in a clearing.  Nikki leaned in to her window to try to get a better look.  It seemed decent enough.  It wasn’t a resort but she imagined that it could’ve been worse.

            Nikki, Jenna, and Ian were the last to get out and they stood together staring at what was going to be their new home for the month.

            “Yep,” Ian nodded.  “This is exactly where I would take a bus load of people who no one would notice was missing for a month.”

            “Seems like the place, doesn’t it?” Nikki smiled.

            “Oh come on guys,” Jenna was always the optimist.  “It’s not so bad.  There’s trees-“

            “To hide the bodies next to…”  Nikki added.

            “And even a fire pit!”

            “To burn the evidence!”  Ian chimed in.

            Jenna faced them and tried to look annoyed but was failing miserably.  Nikki always wondered how she could see the bright side of a dark room.

            By this time Sylvia had gathered everyone else around the bus again and called for attention.

            “Alright, grab your bags as we pull them out of the back and head toward the cabin.  Ladies will follow me to their room and Gentlemen to theirs with Rodney.  We’ll meet back in the kitchen once everyone is settled so that Rodney can lay down the law.”

            Ian gave them a look and they tried not to laugh.

            The kitchen was the first room that they stepped into when they walked through the front door.  It was connected to the dining room which was only a large table with ten chairs around it.  Their room wasn’t actually that bad.  If you were ok with feeling like you were at summer camp anyways.  On one side of the room were two bunk beds that met in one corner to make the shape of an ‘L’.  Right next to the door was small sofa that Nikki assumed had a pullout bed in it.  If the guy’s room was the same then they would fit but just barely with the five of them.  Nikki, Jenna, and Sylvia were going to be just fine since it was just the three of them.  Nikki hoped that three could still be company and not feel like a crowd.

            Thinking of the word company made her instinctively go for her phone.  She still hasn’t called in today and hasn’t been in the lab for two days.  The thought of something going wrong on her first trip away from the office made her sick.

            The call was picked up on the second ring.  “Archaeology Laboratories.  This is Jonathan Starvos speaking.  How can I help you?”

            Nikki took the phone away from her ear to look at the number.  “Dad?”

            Her father laughed and then spoke as if to her and to someone there with him.  “Uh oh.  Got caught by the boss.”

            She could hear her secretary’s laugh somewhere near her dad and she cursed his endless persuasive charm he seemed to be able to work on people.  “Dad, what are you doing at work?  That is the opposite of what retired people do.”  She sank into the couch as Jenna started piling things into a long dresser that took up most of the remaining wall.

            “Well, when you said that you were leaving for a month I couldn’t help but poke my head in.”

            “I have everything under control from here.”

            “I never said that you didn’t.  This is just your first time away from the business.”

            “I made sure everyone knew what to do while I was gone.”

            “I know, I’ve asked around.  I promise.  I’m meddling, I’m just answering phones. I started this place, you can’t expect me not to visit.”

            “I know….”  Nikki sighed.  “Well, how is everything going?”

            “Good.  The staff know exactly what they’re doing, like you told them.  Oh, Carl says that he heard from downtown.  They found some possible correlations and are going to do some more tests and research.”


            “Well, how’s the site look anyway?  Anything I can do for you while I’m here?  Some research on the area?”

            Nikki almost said no but she knew that was only her pride talking.  If she wanted to get as much out this trip as she could she would need someone with reliable internet and access to different resources that the lab had to get information.  She told her dad as much and all that see knew about where she was so that they could do some background checks to see what might have been here before and what areas she should be sure to check.

            “Ladies,” Sylvia poked her head into the room.  “We’re going to get started in the kitchen.”

            Jenna slid down from her top bunk and Nikki followed, getting up from the couch and tucking her phone back in her pocket after rushing more information and goodbyes to her dad.