Saturday, April 29, 2017
Anyway, Otto was still shaking his head saying, “Missing lectures again. How many times have I told you that will cost you on the exam?”
That startled me. “There’s going to be an exam? I thought I was simply here to listen to bunch of experts in their field. Admittedly, some were more long-winded than others, present company not included,” I added hastily. “Is there any way I can make up the points? Maybe, go on a field trip or something?”
A bright smile appeared on my mentor’s face. “What a lovely suggestion. In fact I had recently been hearing reports of strange creatures being spotted in a region just north of here.”
“Really? And did that region happen to coincide with any interesting mathematical computations you’d been working on recently?”
He gave me a disappointed look. “I’m a professor, I’m always doing some kind of mathematics. But to answer your question, yes they do. By the way, how are you with snowshoes? It’s going to be pretty deep where we’re going.”
This time it was my turn to smile indulgently at him. “Snowshoes? Pffft… who needs those? I can just do my Legolas impression and move across the top of the snow without breaking it.”
Which is true. I can make myself extremely light at will and can walk across a number of surfaces without breaking the surface.
Apparently, he’d forgotten this fact, but instead of looking too embarrassed he simply grinned evilly back at me. I had no idea what was going on in his head, but I just knew my bragging was going to come back to haunt me later.
Three days later…
“What do you see with your elf eyes, Nathan?”
See, I told you that wisecrack of mine would come back to haunt me.
Turning I stared down the mountain at him and replied, “A lot of snow, trees, and one wiseass.”
“You know, Aragorn told me Legolas said the same thing to him,” he smiled innocently.
I chuckled at that. Otto is one of those people you can’t stay mad at for very long if ever. At that moment, my ears picked up a susurration off to my left. I had gotten used to the sounds in the area over the last two days, which was why this whispering rustle caught my attention I slowly turned, scanning the terrain very carefully until my eyes detected one area among the trees where the light was much stronger than it should be, considering the sky above us was dark.
Pointing in the direction of the spot, I called down to my mentor, “It’s about two hundred yards to your left, and twenty yards up the hill.”
Nodding he started moving towards the spot I indicated with great speed, which was quite an accomplishment for anyone wearing snowshoes. But Otto is far more athletic than his appearance belies. At first glance one might think he’s in his later 50’s, short, and stocky. But he can move as silently as a cat, and as fast as a leopard when he wants to.
Even with my ability to run across the snow he beat me to the spot by a few seconds. Now the thing with Para-Earth portals is that in order to spot them you have to be at just the right angle. Otherwise, you could walk right past them and probably do several times a decade.
As we examined the opening, Otto made careful measurements, which I faithfully recorded for him. Then he prepared himself to step through. He always goes first, since out of the two of us I’m more vulnerable. The one time I didn’t wait, I wound up racing back to our reality with the worst sunburn you never wanted to see.
I watched anxiously as he disappeared through the opening and waited. They say the waiting is the hardest part. Even knowing how durable my friend is, I still get a little nervous. Luckily, my wait was not a long one. After a few moments, he reappeared sporting a pair of stylish sunglasses which told me all I needed to know.
“Let me guess, it’s very sunny over there.”
“Actually, I discovered that the future is so bright in that reality, I have to wear shades,” he quipped without missing a beat.
“Sounds too heady for me. I’ll stay right here and make sure nothing comes through that shouldn’t,” I told him.
“Good idea,” he nodded and then added, “And this time, please don’t let anything from this reality slip through the opening while you’re at it.”
Rolling my eyes I protested, “I only let that happen once. And it was just a bunny.”
“That’s what that kid said down in Australia, and look what happened there.”
“True,” I conceded and then added seriously, "Be careful, over there."
"You worry too much," he smiled, "But it is appreciated."
I watched him pass through the opening once more and then turned to take in my surroundings. Trees blanketed the area, but were not so thick as to keep any snow from hitting the ground. A thin layer of white gently covered decades of fallen pine needles. Glancing up, I could see the snow was much thicker on the branches.
Between that and the fact that the nights were much longer at this time of year, I had little to fear from any hint of sunlight that might peek through.
Now my ears picked up the usual sounds of nature, birds, a stream in the distance, and the occasional scurrying of an animal either underground or foraging some ways off. In short, it was very peaceful. The perfect place to crash out for a while.
So I gathered up some fallen branches and moss and made a little nest against a thick tree, so my pants would stay dry and sat down. Leaning up against the trunk I relaxed and settled in to wait for Otto’s return. It was all so nice, I couldn’t help letting my eyelids close and drift off for a while.
And before anyone asks, no, I didn’t wind up sinking into the ground for a dirt nap. Contrary to what many in my extended family think, I do not always go to ground to sleep. I’m perfectly capable of sleeping in a bed, on a couch, or a sleeping bag, whatever. However, sometimes it gets a little lonely so I actually sleep in the ground more often than I actually need to. While I’m in the soil I feel more attached to the world itself. I can see and feel the vibrations of nature at work, like the plants drawing their nourishment, the passing of an industrious mole or field mouse making its way through the Earth. I’ve even had some pass through my liquid-like state on occasion, which was actually rather ticklish, believe it or not.
Anyway, this time I stayed above ground. The cool fresh air lent itself to some very pleasant dreams. Because I never know who might be reading this entry (i. e. YOU Lisa), I won’t go into details. However, I will say I was enjoying the company of an enchanting young person when a weight settle in my lap. Immediately, I recognized this form had warmth which roused me from my slumber.
Having grown up in the 1850’s when horses were our main means of transportation, I can safely say I’m quite familiar with their general physique and shape. I’d spent many hours among those my parents kept for pulling our carriages, as well as for personal riding. And more than once I’d had one of my more favored mares place her head in my lap while I was sitting on the fence of their enclosure. So even without opening my eyes, I knew my visitor was of the equine persuasion. A gentle horsey snort confirmed my suspicions.
At this point I was still not fully awake, but it did occur to me that this encounter out in the wild was rather odd. Not that I minded. Animals in general seem to be attracted to me, perhaps it’s the way I smell that puts them at ease. In any case, I started stroking the side of its face to reassure the animal that I did not mind the intrusion. Still, I couldn't help wondering what was a horse doing out here in the woods? Just I moved my hand moved up to the animal’s long face and encountered an odd bony protuberance.
Immediately my eyes snapped open and I stared down at my visitor and saw a very long white horn sticking out of the animal’s forehead. It was a unicorn. A real live unicorn, and it was resting its head in my lap.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Perhaps 'Odd' isn't the right word for this entry, 'Most Unique' would probably be a better phrase to describe what happened this year. Things certainly didn't go as I'd planned, but at least Lisa is speaking to me again. She's given me the cold shoulder more than once over the years when I've broken one of my promises. Heck who am I kidding, she doesn't give you a simple cold shoulder. That girl can give you a look so cold it would make the iceberg that sank the Titanic turn green with envy.
In fact we were visiting a zoo once when she shot me one of those looks. We were standing next to the penguin exhibit, and I swear every bird in the enclosure closed ranks to keep warm like they do during an arctic storm. Heck, I even tried joining them but they kicked me out as if to say, "Forget it, Pal! You brought this on yourself and we're suffering for it, now go take your medicine."
Needless to say I made nice with Lisa as quickly as possible, while preventing a new global ice age in the process.
So what does all this have to do with Valentine's Day? Simple, I promised to spend it with her and... I didn't make it.
In my defense I had a perfectly good reason for being two days late. You see it all started about a week ago...
I was attending a symposium that was taking place in Tromso, Norway, where one of my old Alma Maters is located. I had attended the University of Tromso - Arctic University about seven years ago, thanks to Otto. He had told me about their Master's Program in Molecular Environmental Biology and thought it might help me gain some new insights to the symbiotic life form which shares and prolongs my existence.
He also pointed out that the timing of the classes coincided nicely with the seasonal Polar Nights in Norway, which meant I wouldn't have to compete with the sun very much. This suited me just fine of course, so of course I quickly enrolled.
Looking back I can easily say I enjoyed my time there. Not only were there some wonderful concerts, but also the location of Tromso offered some of the most spectacular views of the Northern Lights.
Anyway, after the third day of the symposium, I was ready to move on. I'd already listened to the speakers I was most interested in hearing from and didn't feel like hanging around the campus. So I made my way into the main city to explore the architecture and other sights Tromso had to offer. I had just made my way down by the water and was enjoying looking up at the Northern Lights when I heard a familiar jovial voice saying, "Ah, here you are. I see you decided to play hooky instead of attending my presentation.”
Turning I saw Otto walking up to me. He was shaking his head and making tsk-tsk noises. I could tell already by his manner that he had something on his mind, and it didn't take a genius to figure out what it was. Cleary he had learned of another possible Para-Earth incursion and he wanted me to come along to help make sure nothing came through that shouldn't and vice-versa.
And looking back at that last sentence I realize now that I just zinged myself but good. In my defense, our latest adventure has left me a little giddy but once you hear what happened you'll understand.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Friday, January 16, 2015
I'm back in Alaska for the first time in over a decade and it feels great. Unlike a lot of people, I like the cold and snow. But even more importantly I like to be someplace where I can really unleash my powers and experience them to the fullest.
I'm not talking about attacking creatures and sucking blood mind you. I stick to my blood bags and I've got plenty of them on hand. But up here I can be up and about more often, at least for a few months of the year. The daylight hours are shorter up here, so I get to move around more and meet people. I can go places and not have to load up so much on the red stuff.
The stores are still open, people are out and about doing things like ice fishing, sledding, shopping, there's so much activity it allows me to feel like I'm not so cut off from daily life. But what I really love is the wide open spaces, especially at night.
When I first became what I am, I felt so lost at first. But it didn't last because I soon discovered the wonders of the night. Back then there weren't so many towns and cities so the night sky was more clear. There was less smoke and light pollution back then and a whole other reality was opened to me.
I can still remember the first time I emerged from the ground, having slept the daylight hours away in safety. As my face surfaced the sight that greeted me was beyond words...
I had never seen so many stars before. Then again I hadn't really had the opportunity to look up. As a child I was usually in bed long before the night sky fully took hold. And when I was a soldier, I'd been trained to keep my eyes on the ground for traps, or to watch my surroundings because you never knew where Johnny-Rebel might be lurking.
But I'm not a soldier these days. I can stare up into the night as much as I like. But unfortunately, sometimes the sky isn't as clear as back then. Which is why I come to Alaska.
You may wonder what exactly is the connection between the night sky and unleashing my powers. Well, when I say I 'unleash' my abilities, it's more a case of taking advantage of them. Oh, I've had my fun with them in other places, but here it's different. I have a different stage to work on with one of the most magical backdrops ever, the Aurora Borealis.
Imagine if you can having the ability to wander for hours on end, beneath such a wondrous sky. From dusk to dawn I can watch the most spectacular show and not have to worry about how I do it.
Some nights I'll shift my form to that of a black wolf and race across the tundra, sometimes alone other times not. On occasion I've met up with wolf packs who smelled I was more than a little different. But a gentle release of spores soon pacified their misgivings and then we're off together running and hunting as one.
It was on occasions like these where I'd allow my own hunting skills to come into play. If I saw the pack was going to lose a kill I'd unleash my own unnatural speed and bring our target to a halt so the others could join in. However it depended on what we were hunting. Females and offspring were a no-no. I'd even use my powers to lead the pack off to find food elsewhere.
But if we were up against a huge bull moose or a bison all bets were off. This may sound callous to some but one thing I've learned is nature has its cruel side. Feast or famine. Survive or die. Those packs needed food just like any other animals, and because they'd accepted me as one of their own I felt obligated to help them. Basically it was my way of saying 'Thank you for letting me be part of your, even if it was just one night.'
How many people ever got to say that?
I have many more stories and experiences to share about Alaska, but for now I'm ending this entry here. The Northern Lights are slowly appearing and I long for the wind on my face...