Friday, February 28, 2014

Not Legal

Okay, so apparently I'm illegal.

I just found out before my last basketball game that my jersey number is not legit.

Since we're the first Junior Varsity the school has had since the old school burned down, we got new uniforms at the beginning of this year. So we each got to choose the number we wanted. I chose the number seven, as that is my lucky number.

I didn't know there was a rule about this stuff, but there is. A player's number can be no more than two digits, and each digit has to be less than five. Each digit has to be less than five so that the referee can make the number with one hand when he's calling fouls. And seven, as you hopefully know, cannot be made with one hand.

So according to the rules of basketball, I'm illegal. According to basketball, my number is twenty-five. So I've been a pain all year for the people who keep the books during games, because the signal the ref makes with his hands is twenty-five in referee-language.

Nobody said anything about it until Monday, which was our last home game. Only one referee pointed it out all season.

I get to keep my jersey since they can't reuse it for next year's team.

Anyway, any ideas as to what I can do with it? It's not really appropriate to wear around-- although I probably will at sometime this summer anyways-- because of the armholes of the sleeveless jersey are so long, and it's kind of revealing. And it's not very flattering, either, if you know what I mean. :)


Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Best Kind of Surprise

The little things in life are the best.
Just when I was falling back into the normal routines of life after the excitement of the holidays, this interesting package came in the mail. I don't get packages much (except for when Seriah and I are mailing Tsarmina back and forth), so this was out of the ordinary.
Pretty package!
This was inside of it:
I unwrapped it to find this:
This card came with it:
It's from my Aunt Trish in Kentucky.
"You are really growing up. Every young lady needs a little 'bling'! Hope you enjoy the bracelet. Love & Prayers,

This was a really sweet surprise. Thank you so much! It made my day.
Oh, and Tsarmina also just came in the mail from Seriah, so be sure to check that blog for more posts!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Long Day

7:30: Alarm goes off. I ignore it and go back to sleep.

8:02: Mom wakes me up. I roll myself out of bed and get dressed. (The same thing I wore Monday. And the day before that.)

8:10: Breakfast.

8:15-9:30: Mess around and pretend to do school until it's time to leave for band.

9:35: Sign in at the principal's office.

9:42-10:23: Band class. We practice "Fantasy on an Irish Clogging Tune." Only the drummers keep losing their place in the music and half the band members aren't even there.

10:25: Every year since 1931, eighth graders in West Virginia take a test called the Golden Horseshoe. It's a test to see how much you know about West Virginia.

When the tests are graded, two top-scoring eighth grade students-- one girl and one boy-- are chosen from each county. The chosen attend a ceremony in Charleston where they are given this award:

West Virginia Golden Horseshoe Award - 1982
And they are dubbed a "lady" or a "knight" of the Golden Horseshoe Society. (With an actual sword!)
Okay, I'll be honest: I reallyreallyreallyreallyreallyreallyreallyREALLY want to win that award!

Apparently, the first leg of the test was Monday. Only no one told me!!! So I missed it. I was ready to shoot someone. If that little mix-up had ruined my chances....

But my band teacher called the board office and they said it was alright if I took it now. So, for two hours, I was in that tiny prison-like cell attached to the school library that they call the counselor's office, scribbling away. I felt like the apostle Paul must have, isolated from the world and writing away to pass the time.

It was so cold in that office, I thought my fingers would freeze to the pen. Even though I was sitting at a school employee's desk, I couldn't find a pencil sharpener or tissues or anything, and I was afraid if I looked around too much, people out in the library would think I was cheating.

Longest. Two Hours. Of. My. Life.

12:15: I give my essay to the Social Studies teacher. She asks me how I think I did. I shrug and laugh like, "haha, that's cute, you think I actually knew what I was doing."

12:17: I call my mom to come pick me up. I wait. I watch my friends on their way to class through the blinds on the office door. It's a weird feeling, spying on them.

12:23: I sign out and my mom picks me up.

12:30: Lunch, consisting of leftover food from my sister's Valentines Day party the day before.

12:45-2:30: My mind is too exhausted from that essay. I will makeup today's school tomorrow, I tell myself. (Ha. HA.)

2:31-2:45: Get ready for practice. Wait for mom to finish Joshua's school so she can drive me.

3:00: I am dropped off at the school again. I dash to the locker room and change into my shorts. The principal dismisses school one grade at a time, only she forgets to turn off the intercom system between each grade. So I (and the whole school, if they were actually listening, which I doubt) overhear her entire conversation with the secretary.

3:05: The other girls come in. I wait for them to change because I do not want to go out to the gym-- where the boys are acting like idiots after being cooped up for eight hours-- alone.

3:10: Layups and foul shots while talking and laughing until our sides hurt. The boys are everywhere at once-- jumping off the bleachers, running through the hallways, crawling along the stage curtains just close enough to make them ripple, on top of the folded up cafeteria tables, going in and out of doors, messing around in the locker rooms, and hiding behind the sound system or flags-- all the while yelling, chasing, laughing, and tackling.

3:40: Full-court layups.

3:50: One of the coaches launches into a lecture about how we need to play during the out-of-county tournament games.

4:00: Timed sprints up and down the court. The boys watch us from the bleachers and laugh.

4:05: Boys' team practice begins. It's our turn to laugh and laugh and laugh while they huff and puff up and down the court as their punishment for being rowdy during our practice.

4:07: High school buses come. I clamber on with the high school students.

4:10: We drop off one girl. The bus driver, (who is the grandmother of one of my friends) starts to turn the bus around. It slides off into a snow bank.

4:11: The tires just spin and make a grinding noise. Uh-oh.

4:12: Bus driver sighs and digs out a few sets of chains. "Want me to help?" asks one of the high school boys. She shakes her head. "Nope, not allowed. But thanks." She goes out to put chains on the tires (to help give more traction in slippery places, if you were wondering).

4:13: "I really gotta pee!" yells one boy. We tell him to shut up. (And pray fervently that he doesn't carry out his threat to do it out the window.)

4:17: Bus driver returns. Uses bus radio to call her son, who is also a bus driver. "Jeff, I'm stuck up here behind Cathedral. If you could come up here and at least take my kids, that'd be great." She goes back out.

4:20: "Why were these chains not on the tires an hour ago?" complains the other high school boy. I am tempted to hurl something at his head, but refrain from doing so.

4:23: Other bus driver pulls up. Helps put remaining chains on tires. Attaches another chain to our bus and ties the other end to the front of his.

4:30: The two boys on the bus are told that if they want to help, go to the back of the bus and report what's happening while Jeff attempts to yank us out.

4:31: "The chain's snapped!" "Great. That's a brand new set of chains!"

4:40: Several tries later, the bus is back on the road and heading for home.

4:45: "Oh, look, you're mom's waitin' for ya," says the bus driver as I am dropped off. Sure enough, my family's car is sitting at the end of the road.

4:56: After racing into town to get to the library by 5:00, I return some books. I go back to the car.

4:59: I forgot to pick up the books that were on hold, so I go back in.

5:15: Jazzercise workout.

6:45: Dinner at home.

7:30: Check email. Shower.

8:58: I get on Pinterest and scroll through the new pins while waiting for my hair masque to set in.

9:09: Rinse the hair masque out.

9:30: Log out of Pinterest. Braid my hair.

9:45: Log back into Pinterest on the iPod under the covers.

10:00: I should probably go to sleep now....

10:30: Come on, girl, turn the iPod off....

10:50: Seriously....


11:01: Listen to "Boondocks." Shut off iPod.

12:00: I finally go to sleep.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Wayfarin' Stranger

A travelling stranger has been spending a few days at our house:
This is Starr.
I know not where this cat came from, nor where it was headed, nor why it hasn't left yet; I don't even know if it's a boy or a girl. 
But I do know it has a serious addiction to Whiska's cat treats.
Should I come closer? Or should I hide from you?
Nah. I think I'll hide from you.
*Poof* *Turns on heel and darts into the shadows*

A little before I left for the Tournament game, I caught Starr red-handed at stealing the dog's food. It didn't even pay the dog any mind-- just swatted her with a snowy paw and kept munching.

My mom attempted to chase it away with a broom. (It looked like one of those scenes from an old movie where the cook shoos an animal out of the hotel kitchen with a broom. Hilarious-- I wish I'd caught it on camera, hehehe.) But instead of running away, it dashed through the cat door and hid in the garage.

I went out with a cat carrier and a bag of Whiska's tuna-flavored treats and left a trail from the attic steps to the carrier. The old Hansel-and-Gretel trick worked, and I slammed the cage door shut on the scrawny creature. It stayed in that carrier until we left for the game, when we let it loose in the pasture because it would have been pretty inhumane to keep it locked up in the carrier until ten o'clock. Besides, we figured it was one of the neighbors' many barn cats.

Starr didn't run away like I thought it would. It returned and spent the first night on our porch under a toy wheelbarrow.

The next morning, it was lying on its back in the sunshine by the porch door like it belonged there.

It played with the dog like they had been friends for years-- until Starr decided he wanted a piece of the dog's rawhide bone. Then things weren't quite so friendly.

I fed it. It sat on my lap and purred like I was its owner. It claimed a corner of the garage attic and now refuses to come out. When I approach, it backs away-- unless I leave a trail of cat treats again. Then Starr will come close enough for me to stroke it, but if I touch it for more than a moment or move suddenly, it darts back into the boxes and I can't get it out. And I have to start the process all over.

But I'm running out of treats.

It's been here almost a week now. One thing is clear: Starr has no intention of leaving.

So at least until the foot of snow melts so that Starr can actually walk, I now own three cats.

Dandelion: A Valentine's Day Story

Not the best love story I've ever written, but here it is:

Love the mason jar with dandelions! {Cheryl Joy Miner Photography}

He waited for her outside her school, with a wilted dandelion in his small, sweaty palm. It wasn’t an ordinary dandelion-- it was perfectly shaped and golden except for one bright orange petal. He had been so excited to find it, and now he was going to give it to Kilmeny.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Seven Things on Thursday-- The Valentine's Day Edition

1. I love these Blimey Cow videos. Especially this one:
Which side are you on this year?

2. Valentine's Day-- sigh. You either love it or hate it, it's true. This year I just want it to be over already. There's this one guy that's been my friend since I was five that I've been avoiding this entire week because I overheard him telling one of his friends that he was gonna ask me out... he is a really great friends, but I'd have had to say no, so I've been steering clear of him. It's going to be very awkward for a while if I don't manage to avoid that question.

Yeah, I'll be glad when I no longer have to worry about it.

3. Speaking of love:
ATTENTION ALL SWIFTIES: If you feel the same, pin this, tweet this &/or post this on your Facebook! #StandUp4Taylor
ATTENTION ALL SWIFTIES: If you feel the same, pin this, tweet this &/or post this on your Facebook

4. I also have to come up with Valentines for my friends. Any ideas, anyone? All the ones I can find are pretty cheesy....

5. The number of pets in my house has doubled in the past three weeks. (I'll post more on that later.) So now I definitely won't be alone on Valentine's Day!

6. My friends and I have been joking how we're all going to spend that special day: on the couch in pajamas, watching a marathon of romance movies, with a tub of vanilla ice cream, crying because none of us have a date.

No, seriously, that's not what I'll be doing!

7. What I will be doing is posting a story for Valentine's Day tomorrow. So be sure to check!

Monday, February 10, 2014

My Tournament Playlist

Second post of the day, yes, I know. :P
Tonight starts the first round of the Preston County basketball tournaments. Right now, my team is the third-best in the league-- tonight, that rank will be tested. Tonight, we will fight to defend our school's name and honor. Tonight, we will avenge ourselves for what that team did to us the last time we played them. Tonight. We. Will. Win.
So here's what I've been listening to to keep my spirits positive all day. I call this my Champion's Playlist:
Fall Out Boy-- Know What You Did in the Dark
Taylor Swift-- Change

Taylor Swift-- Long Live:

Taylor Swift-- Sweeter Than Fiction

I'll be blogging again tomorrow to let you know how the game went!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Blogging Prompt: 50 Questions

Shamelessly stealing this from my friend/pen pal at The secret ghost caller. :^)

1. What are you wearing?
Old, unwashed jeans; a navy sweater that says "trust your heart"; frizzy hair because I slept with a braid last night; bare feet.

2. Ever been in love?
Yes. With Taylor Swift music, with L. M. Montgomery's books, with a beautiful photo I saw-- oh, you mean boys? Yes, I've been there, too. Unless my dad is reading this post-- in which case, no, Daddy, I've never been in love!

3. Ever had a terrible breakup?
No. But I'd like to-- I've always wanted to slash someone's tires and trash their car. :P

4. How tall are you?
Five foot seven inches. (And possibly a half-inch on top of that cause I think I've grown)

5. How much do you weigh?
About 140. I work out a lot, but ruin it by eating tons of meat and bread. Seriously, I'd rather eat meat and bread than chocolate.

6. Any tattoos?
No. No permanent ones, anyway. Sometimes I write on myself-- does that count?

7. Any piercings?

8. OTP?
Not sure what OTP is; too tired to look it up.

9. Favorite show?
Good Luck Charlie. Admit it, you sometimes still watch Disney, too.

10. Favorite bands?
The Band Perry, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town.

11. Something you miss?
Public school. Homeschooling is okay, but it's just not for me.

12. Favorite song?
Today it's "Long Live." I'm listening to it right now.

13. How old are you?
Fourteen years, thirty-two days, three hours, fifty-four minutes.

14. Zodiac sign?

15. Quality you look for in a partner?
"Quality" as in, like, singular? No. I'm just going all-out on this one: humor, contrariness, not afraid to prank people and do other stupid stuff with me, a love for books, preferably taller than me. Yes, I'm very choosy.

16. Favorite quote?

"A Place in This World"

17. Favorite actor?
Um, I don't know... Taylor Swift has been in some movies, right? Okay then, Taylor Swift. :^)

18. Favorite color?
Well, it used  to be red. Then this guy I hate had to go and say that his all-time favorite color was red, so I naturally had to change mine. So now I like blue. And camouflage is always good....

19. Do you like loud or soft music?
It depends on my mood, but for the most part, I like my music loud.

20. Where do you go when you're sad?
The garage attic. Or the basement to Pin my heart out on Pinterest.

21: How long does it take you to shower?
Anywhere from five minutes to twenty. It depends on where I'm going the next day and who I'm seeing. ;^)
22: How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
Anywhere from two minutes to thirty. It depends on how late I've overslept, whether or now I remembered to braid my monstrous head of hair before bed last night, where I'm going, and who I'm going to see that day.
23: Ever been in a physical fight?
Heck, yes! That boy will never tease me again. :^)
24: Turn on?
Humor, or a cheesy pickup line. Or if I catch him listening to country music. (Gotta love those redneck boys.)
25: Turn off?
Displays of bad character or bad taste in music.
26: The reason I joined YouTube/blogging?
To start "building my platform"-- to get out there and show the world that I can write. And also to show the world that not all girls wear high heels and follow fashion blogs.
27: Fears?
Falling. And failing.
28: Last thing that made you cry?
Thinking about where all my friends and I will be thirty years from now.
29: Last time you said you loved someone?
30: Meaning behind your YouTube/Blogging Name?
Well, it's my name. I would just be "Rebecca" but I'm "Rebecca Jane" because that's what most of my relatives call me. They never say just "Rebecca." They either say "honey" or "baby" or "darlin'" or some such pet name, or they say "Rebecca Jane." I love it-- my name, I mean. There's history behind it; my parents didn't pick it just because they liked the sound. It actually has meaning.
31: Last book you read? 
Gone by Michael Grant.
32: The book you're currently reading?
 Peter Pan.
33: Last show you watched?
Gilligan's Island with my brothers and sister.
34: Last person you talked to?
My mom.
35: The relationship between you and the person you last texted?
Well, considering the fact that the only person I've ever texted is my basketball coach via my mom's phone, I'm not really sure how to answer that one.
36: Favorite food?
Jerky. And steak. And Slim Jims. And Pepperoni. And meatballs... I could never turn vegetarian, okay?
37: Place you want to visit?
Prince Edward Island.
38: Last place you were?
The Rowlesburg School, my team's rival, for a game that we lost by two points. AARGH!
39: Do you have a crush?
Yes. I've liked the same boy since I was five years old-- pathetic, yes, but I don't care.
40: Last time you kissed someone?
My little cousins at Christmas.
41: Last time you were insulted?
Twenty minutes ago.
42: Favorite flavor of sweet?
43: What instruments do you play?
Flute. I can bang out a few tunes on piano, too.
44: Favorite piece of jewelry?
My cat charm necklace I got for Christmas from my parents.
45: Last sport you played?
46: Last song you sang?
"Homeboy" by Eric Church and "Who I've Always Been" by Taylor Swift.

Who I've Always Been:
(There's  a pretty long intro to this video, but that's so they didn't have to pitch-shift it.)

47: Favorite chat up line?
What's a chat up line?
48: Have you ever used it?
See 47.
49: Last time you hung out with anyone?
Wednesday, February 5th.

50: Who should answer these questions next?
Anyone who has a blog and writes creative things.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Should I?

Hello, my awesome readers!

I'm super-happy. I finally got my flute back from the shop after MONTHS of waiting! Well, okay, it's been a month and a half. I gave it to my band teacher to be fixed after the Christmas concert, which was December 17th. I'm so happy to be able to practice my flute again! I'd almost forgotten how.

What with the new semester, the schedule has been changed around. Band is now every day, and it's only seventh and eighth grade instead of "Advanced" and "Beginning." (This is not a good arrangement, school board!!! But there's nothing I or anyone else can do about it.)

So since I'm going to be at the school every day now, I was thinking of picking up a second instrument. I'm not 100% sure what instrument, but right now I think the only available instruments are baritone, tuba, and trombone.

But I've always wanted to try trombone-- it looks like such a cool instrument, and they say it's really hard to learn. But I like challenging things. That's why I play the flute!

I've been considering this for a while. A second instrument will mean twice as much practice time. It will probably be hard, switching from woodwind to brass. I will probably be called a copycat, or something similar, because two of my friends recently started trombone. (But that's not the reason I want to pick up a second instrument; really, I've been considering this for about a year now.)

So should I? Tell me what you think!

-- The Silver Flutist. (Soon to be the Golden Trombonist?)


Thursday, February 6, 2014

List of Blogs by Teenage Girls

Before I started this blog, I went around the web searching for blogs by teenage girls. Do you know what I found?

Just about nothing.
Most of the blogs that I found had either been abandoned or deleted or moved to a different address or the writers of these blogs were no longer teenagers. Or they were entirely devoted to fashion and makeup. (Ugh.)

So, after following a lot of rabbit trails, these are some of the ones that I found:

A Classy State of Grace
Blog of a teenage girl (:
Just This Teenager
Kinga's Photography
Life of an ordinary teenage girl!
Molly Louise Blogs
Parchment, Pens, and Imaginary Friends
Rainbow of Words
Secretly Alice
Sunsets and Sundays
Tacos, Dolphins, and Friends
The Magic Violinist
The Secret Ghost Caller
Tsarmina's Travels

And, of course, my blog. ;^)

You can find more here: About Everything and Nothing (But like I said, a lot of the ones on this list have been deleted.)

Oh, and another great way to find blogs is to go to these blogs I listed and then look in the comments section. Usually other bloggers post comments there, and if you click on their user profiles you can see their blogs and the blogs that they follow.

Tell me in the comments if some of the links don't work so I can fix it.

-- Rebecca

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Did this in a hurry:


Tuesday, February 4, 2014


If you can read the title of that post, you are a very talented person. :^)

So a while back, I was at my friend Sidney's house and we were sitting up in her room. She was showing me some of her drawings while I was reading through the stack of old letters I've written to her over the years.

There were a few sheets of loose-leaf notepaper lying by her typewriter, filled out in her neat handwriting.

"Oh, that's a story I wrote in Mrs. Propst's class," she said when I asked about it. She let me read it. I considered her story, and then the teacher's corrections on the side in red ink. There was some good material here!

"Would you mind if I rewrote it?" I asked. "Just for practice, I mean."

"Sure, I don't care."

So I did. Here is what I wrote. The plot and character names are entirely Sidney's, though. Sorry if it's a bit choppy in places-- I cut it down to three-thousand words during my practice, so I took out all the unnecessary words. ("unnecessary words" included some of the sarcastic humor, which I love writing! I was very sad to cut that out.)

    Most parents don’t believe in fairy tales. They just tell them to their children as part of a bedtime ritual. But little do they know the faith in magic they are instilling in their child’s mind.
    For every child who believes, there is a portal waiting for him or her to discover. A magical portal, that will take the child to her own realm where her imagination rules. Some never find their portals in their lifetime; some find it and, when they have returned, are known as poets, writers, and artists.
    But one day, by accident, it was not Alexee who discovered a portal. It was her parents.

    On a typical day, Ryan and Amanda Silver would wake up in their big house and have a nice family breakfast together. They would drop off their daughter at elementary school, and then go to the busy jobs that they had to work to pay off their big house and fancy car and swimming pool. They would come home and watch TV, and play with their daughter and golden retriever in the backyard. Then Amanda and Ryan would have dinner and tuck their little girl into bed.
They were typical Americans, enslaved in their own greed and all the while thinking they were their own masters.
    But on this night, November the fifth, something was different. Alexee had just heard a new fairy tale and her imagination was surged with power. Sensing this power, her portal decided to show itself.
    Unfortunately, she used her imagination so much that she became exhausted and fell asleep soon after dinner. Her parents accounted this as “sugar-shock,” as she had just had seven bowls of ice cream. (You may be asking yourself, “What kind of parent would let their kid eat seven bowls of ice cream?” but that’s not the point of this story. Amanda and Ryan just did, and you need to accept that. Now forget about the ice cream and read on.)
    So Ryan carried the unconscious child up the stairs with Amanda following close behind. As they laid Alexee tenderly on her little bed, Alexee’s mind wandered into dreamworld and her portal was given the cue to open. As Amanda and Ryan stood over their daughter, thinking what a perfect family they had, a glow burst from the closet, kicking the door open and blinding the love-struck parents.
    As the magical power of belief lit up Ryan’s green eyes, he reached for Amanda and they stepped, hand in hand, into their daughter’s dream world.
    There was a path paved with golden bricks (Alexee had been reading “The Wizard of Oz). A pumpkin carriage drawn by two huge mice barreled past (She’d been thinking of Cinderella before she fell asleep). A lollipop forest was to the left (Alexee had played Candyland at school that day). And a prince who looked remarkably like one of Alexee’s schoolmates galloped across the turf on a white steed. Ryan watched him pass in wonder.
    “Our little girl’s in love,” he murmured. He turned to his wife. “Do you remember when we were--”
    “Hey!” a grumpy voice interrupted. “Can’t you read?”  The couple looked down to see a dwarf stomping his pointy-toed boot. When Ryan and Amanda simply stared, he took the same boot and drove it into Ryan’s ankle. The tall man grabbed his leg and started hopping around in pain.
    “Ooh, ooh, wha--- huh? WHY would you do that?!” The dwarf pointed at a sign. It read, in fancy letters,

        Childhood Home of Her Majesty Snow White
            Please Respect Their Privacy
Stay off the grass. Today this rule will be enforced by:

    “Stay off the grass. And no loitering! Be gone, or I’ll bring out the dog!”
    “What!” Ryan shouted. “Ha! And I suppose your dog is five inches high and has a tiny little hat to match yours and--” The dwarf put two fingers between his teeth and whistled. A huge creature with three heads that could vaguely be recognized as dogs hurled itself from behind the cottage.
    “Cerberus, attack!” Huge, black, snarling, and foaming at the mouth, the beast lunged. Ryan and Amanda made a mad dash for it. Their feet pounded the ground, but Cerberus’s pounded faster. Their hearts were in their mouths as they felt the hot breath of one of the dogs on the back of their necks.
    “Halt!” A girl appeared in front of them, brandishing a sword of flashing fire. Flames licked her hands, but she did not burn. Ryan and Amanda stopped dead in their tracks. So did Cerberus.
    “Grumpy!” she thundered. “How many times have I warned you about your pet? He’s not a puppy anymore, you know!” Grumpy dug his pointed toe into the ground.
    “Aw, but I was just havin’ a little fun, Crystal.” He jutted his chin out. “And them two was on the grass! You know, that’s punishable by--”
    “I know, Grump,” said Crystal. “Now call off your dog. And for Pete’s sake, buy a shock collar! Or three,” She eyed Cerberus’s several heads, all staring wide-eyed at her.
    “But they was on the Queen’s grass!”
    “Perhaps they didn’t see the sign, Grumpy,” she said coolly. She turned to the dazed couple. “Did you?” They shook their heads. “See there, Grumpy. Now go pester someone else.” The dwarf muttered something about soft-hearted law-keepers and trudged away, whistling for Cerberus.
    “I’m sorry for that,” said the girl. She looked to be about college-age. “How did you come into my world? Only children can awaken the portals.” Something about the girl’s eyes made Ryan feel as though he ought to be ashamed of himself.
“The portal-thingy was in our daughter’s closet, and we just--”
    “Alexee? Your daughter is Alexee? Yes, I see it now. She has your chin.”
    “Yes,” said Ryan. “Anyway, we walked through, and we ended up standing on that grass and that thing chased us-- and what’s so special about that grass, anyway?”
    “Nothing,” said Crystal wryly. “It’s just, my mother, Snow White, grew up there. And her being a celebrity and all now-- well, the dwarves got all puffed up about it and had Mum gave them permission to rent it out for about a fortune a night. Now they’ve got it into their heads that the grass has some healing power because their Queen walked on it, and they’re growing it out to make healing potions. They sell it for a fortune. It’s all Grumpy’s idea.”
    Amanda took a good look at Crystal. She had a pretty face with good, sharp features. She had the most beautiful, otherworldly blue eyes with long lashes. Her hair was a cloud of blonde silk around her head, underneath a halo. Could she be an angel? But two red horns held up the halo. She wore a white robe of satin tied with a golden rope.
    “Come, children,” she said, turning to walk on the yellow brick road.
    “Children?” asked Ryan.
    “Yes, children. I am one hundred and eight years old.” Amanda looked at her in astonishment.
    “What kind of anti-aging cream do you use?”
    “Magic,” said Crystal drily. “Now, come on. If you’d like to see the rest of my world, follow me. Otherwise you can go back to your wasteland.”
    “America is not a wasteland!” objected Ryan. Crystal shrugged, and started walking. Ryan looked at his wife, and they followed her. (You may be thinking, now why would two perfectly sensible adults follow a crazy girl who carries a stick of fire and claims to be ancient? But again, this is a fairy tale, so just go with it.)
    “We’ll stop here for the night,” declared Crystal. They were deep in a forest-- not the one made of candy, but a real forest. Shadows flickered around them on the mossy trees. Vines with lace-like leaves dangled from the canopy above, holding tantalizing fruits. Ryan eyed one and saliva filled his mouth. It was a lovely round peach-like  fruit, with dew-drops clinging to its orange skin. It gleamed in the dusky shadows like a star.
    “Don’t eat that,” said Crystal. Ryan snapped his head back.
    “What? Why not?”
    “Poison,” said the girl simply. Ryan stepped back quickly, as though the plant had slapped him.
    While Ryan had been drooling over the fruit, Amanda and Crystal had made a pile of ferns by the side of the path.
    “Sleep now,” Crystal commanded. Ryan lay down next to his wife. The feathery soft ferns brushed his face as he curled into the warmth of her body.
    “G’night,” he muttered, closing his eyes.
    “Good night,” whispered Crystal, sitting on a boulder nearby. She watched the couple sleep for a while, then she continued on the golden road.

    “I’m going to look for food,” said Amanda the next morning, nudging her husband’s shoulder. “Maybe there’s a Sheetz around here that sells lattes or something.”
“Mmffkay,” muttered Ryan. She got up and was gone.
    Ryan lay there for a bit, groping at fleeting sleep. But the buzzing of cicadas and rhythm of different birds squawking kept him awake. He was suddenly aware of Crystal standing over him.
    “Good morning,”
    “Good morning.” Crystal sat down on a boulder. Ryan followed and settled down beside her.
    “Where is your wife?”
    “She went to look for food.” he said. “Did you pass her on your way back here?”
    “No, but as long as she stays on the yellow brick road, she’ll be safe. The creatures aren’t allowed to cross onto it.” Ryan wasn’t listening. He was gazing into Crystal’s eyes. Now, being a magical being, Crystal’s eyes were really something. They were as beautiful as a crystalline pool, but wild and untamed and dangerous at the same time. And they seemed so innocent, but also gave the impression that their owner knew everything.
    “What are you doing?” she asked bluntly.
    “You have the most beautiful blue eyes I’ve ever seen,” he said quietly, softly, almost in a whisper. He heard her breath catch as he said this, and if Amanda had not returned at that moment, who knew what would have happened?
    “A nice old lady gave me these,” she said pleasantly, swinging a basket of gleaming red apples. Crystal rolled her eyes.
    “Did the old lady have a mole on her cheek, only one eyebrow, a roman nose, and a long navy robe of velvet?” Amanda looked surprised.
    “Well, yes.” she said.
    “When will she ever give up!?” Crystal got up, snatched the basket from Amanda, and threw it down.
    Impetus ignis!” She shot her fist up into the air, then brought it down. The basket caught fire and burned down to ash in seconds.
    “Why did you do that?” Amanda asked innocently.
    “That was my step-grandmother. She’s got a tree in her backyard full of poisonous apples. Just one bite can be fatal. Ever since my mother became queen, she’s been walking around and handing out poisonous apples to people. It’s her way of getting revenge for the fact that Mum was always more beautiful.”
    “Oh,” said Amanda. “What happened to her missing eyebrow?”
    “Mum and Dad put a spell on her to permanently remove it so we could tell her from ordinary peddlers,” Crystal explained. “Everyone in the kingdom knows to stay from Granny-One-Brow, so only tourists get poisoned for the most part. So no more taking gifts from strangers, okay?”
    The three ate warm, buttered rolls that Crystal provided, then continued their walk.
    “Exactly where are we going?” asked Ryan.
    “To my castle,” And that was all she would say. They arrived at a huge palace, completely carved of marble. Veins of rose, salmon, violet, blue, and green swirled through the white stone. A huge garden spread out from its base, with the yellow brick road running right through it to the huge double doors. Carriages and horses were parked everywhere in sight, a huge sea of transportation.
    “What’s going on here?” asked Ryan.
    “My nincompoop brother is throwing a ball to find a bride. He likes some girl, but she left him high and dry with nothing but her shoe. The idiot doesn’t even know her name. So he swore to find her and every ‘eligible maiden’ is supposed to come tonight to see if the shoe fits.”
    “Oh,” said Amanda. “That story seems vaguely familiar,” She and Ryan shared an amused smile.
    Crystal found them formal attire in a wardrobe in a tower room of the castle. Amanda stepped inside and searched for a match to the silver shoe she held in her hand.
    “Careful,” said Crystal. “If you go past the fur coats in the back, you might end up in a snowy forest with a faun and a lamppost.”
    “I’ll be careful,” said Amanda, and found her other shoe.
    At the ball, there were women and girls of every age hoping to charm the prince. Huge skirts dripping lace and jewels twirled around Ryan and Amanda as they enjoyed a slow dance.
    “Look!” breathed Amanda. They watched as a young girl approached the prince. She wore a flowing gown of scarlet trimmed with gold. Her hair was long and loose, and on her foot was one glass slipper, a deep crimson color set with rubies. The prince held a matching one.
    It was Alexee! Their little daughter went up to the throne where a prince of about eight stood, holding the other slipper. His deep brown eyes lit up with gold sparks when he saw Alexee.
    “My princess!” He knelt down and slid the slipper onto her foot. He laughed with pleasure when it fit. “Let all the kingdom know, the new queen has been found!” He turned to the girl. “And what is your name, love?”
    “Alexee,” she said excitedly, her words a rush.
    “Princess Alexee, may I have this dance?” He offered a hand.
    “Yes!” she yelped. “I mean, yes, Prince Zachary.” she finished coolly. Ryan and Amanda watched their daughter dance with the prince.
    “She’s growing up, Ryan,” murmured Amanda.
    “She has her mother’s eyes to charm the prince with,” said Ryan. Amanda giggled. But Ryan’s words echoed in his own mind.
“Her mother’s eyes.” Amanda’s doe-brown eyes were nothing like Crystal’s. Where was she, anyway? He searched the crowd for her-- there! Up on the balcony, watching the ball with an amused smile. When she noticed Ryan, she waved politely, then turned her attention back to the ball. Ryan dropped Amanda’s hands mid-twirl. He started to the staircase, then noticed an elevator and went to it. (Don’t even think about saying, “Now what is an elevator doing in a fairy tale?”!)
    “Ryan!” she called after him. “Ryan, come back!” Disappointment in her voice quickly turned to anger. She rushed to the elevator door, but it closed.
    “Crystal!” he exclaimed, running up to her. She stood looking over the balcony, the shot-silk dress she was wearing rippling as she turned her head. A wreath of silvery flowers rested on her head, hiding the red horns. “Crystal!” he said again.
    “Yes? Is something wrong?”
    “No,” answered Ryan. “Everything’s just perfect.” He took hold of her wrists and pulled her toward him, kissing her perfect pink lips. Crystal pushed him away, sputtering.
    “Why would you do that?” she gasped. (Now Amanda had watched all this from the ballroom floor, and a fire of rage was kindled inside her. Snatching a sword from a suit of armor, she charged up the stairs toward her husband.)
    “Because you’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. And your eyes--”
    “Never mind my eyes!”
    “But I love you,” he said sincerely.
    “But you’re married!” snapped Crystal. “What would Amanda think?” She was utterly confused. She knew that Ryan and Amanda loved each other deeply. What was making Ryan do this?
    “I could easily get a divorce,” protested Ryan. Crystal drew in a breath sharply.
    “You just don’t do that in my world,” she said. “If I wanted my kingdom to become like your world, I would allow husbands to cheat on their wives and let criminals and rebels do whatever they want!”
    “But--” Amanda pounded up the last few stairs. She brandished the sword above her head dangerously.
    “Ryan Silver, how dare you?” She shrieked. “You’re going to pay.” With an unearthly sound, she lunged at her husband.
    Ryan dodged, the blade barely missing his shoulder.
    “Amanda, calm down!” beseeched Crystal. “Put the sword down before someone gets hurt!”
    “I want people to get hurt!” yelled Amanda. She charged towards Ryan again. She kicked Crystal in the shin, causing her to fall. “Bet you didn’t see that one coming, your majesty!” Crystal thought hard, trying to figure out how to get her sword and protect Ryan from his wife at the same time. Without her blade, she was powerless.
    “You think you can cheat on me?” Amanda demanded of Ryan. He couldn’t answer. She wheeled around to face Crystal. “You think you can steal my husband?”
    “No! That’s not it at all!” A lightbulb went off somewhere. “Wait-- that’s right! I was trying to steal your husband. He’s so cute, I just had to have him.” Amanda roared in anger and charged after Crystal, who started running towards her room. Crystal got there three seconds before Amanda did, and in that time she opened a portal. Amanda fell through first, her sword clattering to the floor beside Crystal, and Ryan followed close behind.
    “I’m sorry, but you don’t belong in my world,” said Crystal sadly. “Goodbye,” That was the last Ryan ever saw of those beautiful blue eyes.
    The Silvers found themselves sprawled on the floor of their daughter’s bedroom. They eyed each other for a moment, then ran to the closet door and threw it open.
    “What just happened?”
    “I have no idea,”
    “Well, I’ve got to head in early tomorrow, Amanda. Let’s go to bed.” And, hand in hand, they entered their bedroom together, all offenses forgiven.
    And from then on, when they told Alexee fairy tales, they believed them, too.