is a super awesome reading/writing website that I was recently introduced to.  Check it out.

On their blog, they provide a picture and a sentence (this time it is “We found the boat in the late afternoon”) and you have to write 350 words about them.  You can submit your work and then they pick the best one.

I decided to just write a short adventure using the characters from Inbewteen and use it as a writing exercise.  I way overshot the 350 word limit.

I would like to continue these inspired short stories, but I would like to emphasize how I may or may not chose to use them in my novel writing in the future.  I have made some final decisions on the book(s) I want to write, but some of the middle work isn’t done…I may chose to use one of these adventures…I may not…just saying…so one day when I’m rich and famous like Gene Roddenberry, geeks won’t have to fight over when I killed off some character in a short story, but they are kickin ass in Book Two.

So now, what you all have been waiting for:

The Sapphire of Secropia (tehe if you recognize the title!)

“We found the boat in the late afternoon…”

Howard and I did.  It being afternoon and all.  Alexsander was safely entombed in the light-tight hotel room.  Howard was my escort, but I didn’t necessarily feel safe alone with him versus alone alone; Alex had insisted.  A day time mission was decidedly prudent.  I could scout the area unimpeded by blood-thirsty vampires, find the hidden amulet and make it back by dinner.

Frank’s estate had been scattered across the globe and now vampires young and old were clamoring to find pieces; following cryptic clues left on bits of paper, corners of books, written behind paintings and on floors under rugs.  I still wasn’t sure what it would all lead to, but it was important to Alexsander, so I told him I’d help.

We had followed a trail that took us to Iceland to find an amulet enjeweled with the Sapphire of Secropia.  Why can’t we have normal weekend excursions?  So there Howard and I were, on an empty highway, staring across a barren field, at a boat.  Like the water just receded from beneath it.  The sun was setting, reflecting at an extreme angle off of the weathered yellow paint.  The hull was speckled with bleached barnacles; the wood beneath gnawed by nature.  It was that dinky tugboat that I was going to worm my way through.

Roosevelt, how do you get yourself into these situations?

“I’ll wait out here,” Howard said in his gruff, irritated voice.

“Thanks,” I responded sarcastically.  My trust in him was tenuous, and my belief that he’d save me was severely limited.  It might have been that time he almost ate me.  Or that time he let me be kidnapped.  Or how he thinks I am an unwelcome distraction
to his boss.

In any case, I crossed the uneven landscape, prepared to fend for myself.  It was cold, but the sun was vibrant; still I grabbed the flashlight out of my pocket and took off my coat.  The single man vessel groaned ominously in the breeze.  Verifying the
two pencils were still in my hair, my adopted weapon of choice, I grasped the starboard side and heaved myself in.

You may be saying to yourself, “Roosevelt, it’s daytime.  No vampires to stake.”  But let me tell you what: more than vampires drink blood and are killed by wooden stakes to the heart (or whatever you want to call what is hidden behind ribs and muscle).

So in I went, sifting through the debris and carrion of field mice.

“Is it in a box?  Is it with a fox?” I mused to myself.  It was true that I knew basically nothing of my treasure.  Necklace.  Sapphire.

I searched the main deck first, focused on dislodged floor boards and crooked nails.  I
timidly reached into several dark recesses, constantly praying my hand would emerge with all fingers intact.

I made my way to the stairs which led to the creepy ship’s presumably haunted inners.

Nothing around the door frame.

The first step creaked as I put my weight on it.  The second step splintered away from
its frame, causing my heart to leap and my voice to shriek.  I entered into the darkness.  My eyes had trouble adjusting since the gaps in the warped wood sent brilliant sunlight shooting through.  I tripped over an empty crate.  I hit my head on a low hanging beam.  Any body/spirit/undead hooligan would sure know I was here now.

What I didn’t expect was to feel the same sort of agitated frozen air that I felt around
vampires.  It was so still it buzzed.  It was magic.

“Hello?” I called out.

No answer.

I continued searching.

What I didn’t expect to find was another door buried under some boxes.  It was a trap door that led down.  The hinges were heavy and salted shut.  The loop handle rusted and sticky.

“Gross,” I breathed to myself, taking an unsettling handful and yanking until my fingers slipped and I fell back.

“Try turning and pushing.”

I screamed out loud, my heart stopped beating, and I instinctively grabbed a pencil from my hair.

The invasive and unexpected voice was that of Howard, calling from the top of the stairs.

“Put it away, Red.  I’m not here to hurt ya.”

“What do you want?” I sighed.

“With all the racket you’ve caused, you’ve scared away anyone comin’.  Figured I’d come in here and help.  So try turning the handle and pushing.  It’s an old vamp secret sos people couldn’t get to their resting places.   Not very common anymore.”

You learn something new every day.

I crossed back over to the trap door and twisted the loop, which gave under the pressure; pushed until the crusted hinges snapped.  The door lowered into another
circle of hell mystery.

“Keep a lookout.   I’m going down,” I ordered to Howard, who looked completely unwilling to trek in there.  Apparently goblins are not only unchivalrous and self-righteous, but also, complete scardy cats.  I mounted the ladder and descended.

What I didn’t expect to see were fireflies.  Not your regular fireflies that children catch in jars, but red.  Fiery red.  And tiny.

They swarmed and swirled, hovering and pulsing until I spoke aloud, “Show me the way, please.”

And they did.

The ground was soft and it reeked of mildew and wet earth.  The crawlspace was long and empty.  The specs of light lured me deeper and deeper until finally we arrived.  They clustered over a seemingly bare patch of dirt.

I put my hands to the ground, feeling the life and death between my fingers.  I dug in,
patiently and carefully moving soil to the side.  The further I got, the more frozen the ground became.  My nails clipped something hard.  My heart raced and I dug faster,
unearthing a chain.  It felt a mile long until it snapped back, the amulet trapped in the icy soil.  I took a pencil from my hair and wielded it like an ice pick, working gently and diligently to unearth my find.

The angels could have been singing when I raised the amulet from its burial plot.  Nothing particularly breath-taking: a gem the size of a nickel in an ornate, tarnished setting; dirt embedded in the crevices.  A small silver crucifix hung to the side, completely unaffected by time and decay.  The red specks of light reflected off of the
sapphire in an eerie manner, they frantically spun then blacked out in a foreboding sort of way.  I quickly pocketed the good luck charm and started to leave.

I climbed back into the belly of the boat only to be caught by the barrel of a gun.

“Hand it over,” my assailant commanded.

“I don’t have anything.”

“Your hands are dirty.”

“I fell.”

He was a short, spindly man.  He wasn’t human.  He wasn’t goblin or vampire either.  But he was serious.

“How did you get them to show you?’

“No one showed me anything.”

He cocked the gun.

“Look, there were some fireflies that buzzed around and then disappeared.  That’s all I know.”

“Those aren’t fireflies, stupid woman.  Those are the spirits that give the amulet
its protective powers.”  I felt a throbbing in my pocket.  “You saw them, that means
you have it.”

“Ok, so what if I do?” I stood my ground.

“I want it.”

“You’re some sort of non-human.  The amulet has power over you to protect me.”

“But not from my gun.”


As his boney finger wrapped itself around the  trigger and began to squeeze, I heard a dull thunk, and as though someone had just removed his spine, the man unraveled to the ground.  Howard stood behind him, a small rusted anchor in his hand.  Chips of skull, blood and brain matter hung from the edge.   He dropped the anchor and it rattled to the hollow floorboards.

“Took you long enough.”  Howard and I’s relationship doesn’t thrive on obvious appreciation.

“Got the goods?”


“Let’s get out of here.  He’s not dead.”

We got in the car and drove into the setting sun, back to Reykjavik, back to the hotel, and back to my Alexsander.  I felt the necklace vibrating in my pocket; it left me feeling uneasy that it was still sending its warnings.

I glanced over at Howard, whose eyes were darting, a single bead of sweat rolling down his wrinkled brow.


So I hope you enjoyed it!  Let me know what you think!  But be nice…I like constructive critism, but I don’t need you beign a dick to me, I get enough of that in life…Thanks.