Grainy. Nothing really comes to mind when I envision this word. It’s a rather vague and boring word, to be honest. What exactly is it in reference to? Some cake batter with an odd texture? A television screen with poor picture quality? A blurry or out-of-focus photo?

A similar word that I much prefer is hazy. Hazy evokes all the best and brightest things about a humid, late summer day. People are busy doing important things: shopping for school supplies, taking last minute vacations, finishing promising internships. Or, maybe they are just drumming up the courage to admit to their summer crush how much they care about them.

Hazy is the type of day that you sit back and remember, many years later, as you sit on your porch staring out at the first snowfall. That hazy summer might not have yielded everything you hoped for, but at least you got to feel alive for a few moments.

Maybe your family argued for two hours straight, on the way to the beach. Maybe you didn’t enjoy that summer internship as much as you were expecting to. Maybe your summer crush has been ignoring you because she’s already entangled in her own romantic subterfuge.

Regardless of how that day really turned out, memory has a way of glossing over the bad things, and putting an emphasis on the good ones.

Even after a two hour argument in the car, the view from the beach pier was still incredible. That exhausting internship provided you with invaluable experience for the rest of your career. And you still remember both the deepness of your crush’s brown eyes, and the way the ferris wheel lights flickered on her face as she said that she was already seeing someone.

Daily Post: Grainy



“Hold on, let me try it again,” Paige said. She jiggled the huge bronze padlock on the wooden door. It still didn’t budge. “I thought this magic of yours was supposed to work!” she shouted.

“I need complete silence in order to achieve an appropriate level of concentration,” the magician muttered from the adjacent shadows.” Previously I was distracted by an errant breeze. Allow me to try again.” The magician readjusted his shabby purple coat, which was studded with embroidered silver stars. The rest of him was equally threadbare.

“Seriously, what century did you dig this guy up from?” Alistair whispered to Paige. For the past thirty minutes, Alistair had been standing beside Paige, decked head-to-toe in shiny armor, waiting to strike his sword at whatever monstrosities lurked beyond the door. The sun beat down heavily on the subterranean trench in which they were standing. “I just hope that the treasure in there will be worth the trouble.”

“Believe me, it will be,” Paige whispered back. “It will be enough to lift the ransom on our lady the Queen, which will return order to the realm, and likewise restore the honor of your knight’s guild.”

“Ahem, ahaw, ahoo–”

Paige and Alistair stared with unbridled fascination as the magician first contorted himself in all manner of strange positions, then proceeded to hold his breath until his face turned blue.

“Surely there must have been some other eligible wizard in the realm?” Alistair mused.

“Yes, but not on such short notice,” Paige insisted. Alistair slumped in his armor, sweat dripping down his face.

At that moment, the magician’s eyes flashed open, shining an unearthly yellow in hue. “AHA!” he shouted at the door, flinging his right hand in a throwing motion.


The padlock fell off, and the door swung open. Paige and Alistair froze. Mountains of emeralds, gold, rubies, and other precious stones fell at their feet. An endless pile of gold and jewels extended far back into the tunnel. The magician scurried over and began filling his hat and pockets with as much treasure as he could carry.

Sunlight only illuminated the tunnel for a few feet, at which point everything was draped in shadows. Alistair grabbed his sword, imagining that he’d heard a low rumble. Paige reached out a hand to reassure him.

“I think we’re safe. Here there be no dragons,” she said mockingly.

A gust of air and a flash of light was all the warning that they had. Just moments before Alistair pushed both of them to the ground, he caught a glimpse of two orange, glowing eyes. Waves of flames licked over Paige and Alistair as they clung to the Earth. Fortunately they’d remembered to put on their anti-fire talismans this morning.

The magician was not quite so lucky. He himself survived the physical onslaught, but the same could not be said for his clothing and hair. Everything on his upper half was completely singed off in an instant.

“Not again,” he said wearily, huddling against the tunnel as he clutched a handful of singed jewels.

The dragon roared, an earth-shattering bellow that made Alistair’s armor vibrate. Pound pound pound went its feet as it slithered through the tunnel and out into the trench, ignoring the three trespassers. The dragon breathed in a large gust of air, flapped its wings, and hurtled off into the sky’s blue expanse.

And just like that, Alistair and Paige had simultaneously saved and imperiled the kingdom.


Alternate Timelines

Tommy hadn’t intended to steal a top secret time machine from a powerful multinational conglomerate, yet somehow that’s just what he found himself doing on a sunny Tuesday morning in the fall of 2016.

He should’ve been at work that day. Instead, he’d opted to take the day off, and plan a surprise birthday party for Vivien, his girlfriend at the time. What transpired next was an unfortunate series of events that had set him on this eventual path.

But, let bygones be bygones. He was doing this for her, for their future–or at least for what might have been. Tommy adjusted himself in the time machine’s stiff black leather seat, drumming his fingers on a console as the CHRONOS engine warmed up. The CHRONOS engine (a piece of proprietary company technology) was the heart and soul of the time machine. Without it, the device was just another useless hunk of plastic, metal and microchips.

Without it, Tommy had no way of going back to the past and fixing things.

From his vantage point in the time machine, Tommy peered out a small view port and saw the surrounding platform, which was comprised of a haphazard collection of metal stairs and walkways. A klaxon sounded, and Tommy blinked as flashing red lights flooded the platform and the area around it.

Of course they’d found him. It was only a matter of time before they apprehended him and sent him to the Time Crime Tribunal. He would be given a minimum five-year sentence for “attempts to obstruct the right and continual flow of space/time.”

If they caught him, then so be it. Right now, nothing mattered more than getting Vivien back, correcting one small error that had transpired during the course of their relationship. Once the error was fixed, the Time Cops could do whatever they wanted with him.

“Time cycling complete,” a disembodied male voice said. Tommy sighed with relief. The CHRONOS machine was ready to run. He dashed off a string of commands on a keyboard, ending with his specified target date: 111015. He hit enter, and the CHRONOS engine purred to life. The time machine became suffused with a hazy green glow.

In a split second, several things happened.

First, a couple of guards stumbled down the stairs and began shooting stunwaves at the time machine viewport. The time machine was made of adamantium, so it easily deflected a series of stunblasts that were, in theory, powerful enough to knock out a grizzly bear.

Instinctively Tommy ducked, but not before catching a glimpse of Vivien perched behind the guards. She was still wearing the same dress and black leather jacket that she’d worn during their earlier confrontation.

She was still holding hands with Drake Vincenzi, Tommy’s archrival.

The guards stopped shooting. “Step out of the machine with your hands up,” they ordered.

The sight stabbed at Tommy like a knife blade, but he remained firm in his resolve. As the CHRONOS engine kicked into high gear, the scene in front of him began to immaterialize. The last sight that Tommy saw was Drake, smiling calmly as he aimed a much larger weapon at the time machine. Presently the viewpoint dissolved into the nebulous, starry haze of the Time Portal.

What should’ve been a gentle Time Transition was marred by the blast of Drake’s weapon. The time machine listed from side to side, making Tommy slightly nauseated. He doubled over, willing himself not to puke, his eyes straying to the date and time dials. They were spinning out of control–definitely not a good sign. The time machine took a belly roll, at which point Tommy took the opportunity to blackout.

When he came to, he saw that the machine had stopped, and was no longer spinning haphazardly through the Time Portal. He looked up at the view port, and was greeted by a wall of water.

His eyes strayed back to the time dial. The date read: 1110111015.

Oh no. That translated to: November 10th, in the year 111,015.

Tommy looked back at the wall of water. He could dimly make out shapes: was it aquatic sea life, or perhaps the ruins of a past civilization? What sort of life existed on the face of the planet, this far into the future?

Well, there was only one way to find out.

Alternate Timelines

Time is of the Essence

I would say that my most prized possession is time.

The most valuable thing in the world is this present moment, this opportunity to experience something new. Pay careful attention to this moment, whether it’s full of joy, sorrow, frustration, hope, or indifference. There is something precious in each passing second of time. Make the most of each opportunity, and don’t take people or things for granted.

Even if your life isn’t currently where you want it to be, it is still possible to find something beautiful in each moment. Whether it’s the mottled pattern on a fall leaf, a stranger holding the door for you, or an unexpected moment of praise from your supervisor, all of these things can serve as refreshment or inspiration, helping you to pass through hard times into a better phase of your life.

So, don’t waste time. Appreciate each little good thing, and get out there and live the life that you were meant to.

Daily Prompt: Pride and Joy

Time is of the Essence

Eternity in A Single Moment

Of all possible magic powers, I would like the ability to stop time. Sometimes you’re having the most wonderful moment or a really awesome day, and it would be nice to slow things down just a bit, to enjoy it all the more.

I would also like the ability to rewind time. Sometimes when you make a mistake, it would be nice to be able to go back in time and correct a few errors here and there.

This very magical power was explored in a recent graphic novel by Bryan Lee O’Malley. Seconds is the story of Katie, a restaurateur who stumbles upon a magical being who provides her with the ability to do-over key moments of her life.


As the graphic novel progresses, we learn that there is a dark side to having such a magical power. The more things that Katie tries to correct, the more she ends up losing control of her life. Her magical abilities spiral out of control, causing random changes in other unexpected areas of her life.

I suppose the moral of the story is that you can’t have it all. If you could go back in time and change your life, you might end up losing some of the most valuable things that you have in your life right now. So, maybe it’s a lesson in contentment, and in the perils of wish fulfillment.

But, back to magical powers. I think I’d like to go back to 1995 and correct a few errors on that one test I took that one time.

Daily Prompt: “Do you Believe in┬áMagic?.”


Curioser and Curioser

Somewhere far from here, tucked away in a sleepy New England seaport town, there is a wooden colonial home that has been fashioned into a modern restaurant. Attached to the outside wall–as if placed there by a careless giant–is a large metal kettle.

At first glance you might think, “What in the world is this doing here?” But after a few more glances and a cursory examination, it all starts to make sense. Of course there’s a giant kettle attached to the side of an aging wooden building. Of course.

Kettle on Side of HouseKettle on Side of House (2)

Weekly Photo Challenge: (Extra)ordinary

Curioser and Curioser