Shh! He’s sleeping!
Elliot couldn’t see anything, but as soon as they left the house, Sofós had hurried them along saying that the demon was weakened but that it wouldn’t be far behind them. He felt silly, like he was acting in a movie where the monster would be added in later, but at this point he didn’t have it in him to chance this all being a hoax. A part of him still thought that Charlie might be crazy, but if that was the case then he would be crazy too now that he was talking to owls.
As they made their way up the mountain path toward their grandfather’s cabin, Elliot felt a chill run up his spine and Charlie suddenly stopped. Before she could ask what was wrong, the sunlight was filtered out of sight by the tree tops and Elliot felt something unnerving.
“Wh-what’s going on?”
“We’ve angered the demon.” Sofós spoke low, but even. “It will try to use your negative feelings for power so try to stay calm.”
Elliot followed closely as Charlie began to move again, carefully, constantly looking up. He got the feeling she was seeing something he wasn’t. “Is this whole spirit thing the reason why there aren’t any animals around here?” he asked as the cabin came into view. He could see Charlie’s cautious glances as soon as they slowed into a walk.
“There was once a tree spirit here that would watch over the mountain.” Sofós spoke from his nest in Charlie’s arms. “It’s long since been cut down, but the ground here is still sacred and attracts many harmless spirits. It is painful for demons to be on sacred ground. That’s why Isaac built his home here.”
The siblings gave each other a look as the tree trunk in the floor of the cabin began to make sense, and Sofós flapped his wings a bit to usher them along. The silence was thick, but Elliot felt himself calming down at the sight of their makeshift safe house. He had no choice at this point but to believe Sofós and the owl seemed pretty sure that the demon wouldn’t follow them inside. They were safe, he thought. Until a crackling boom ripped through the trunks of the trees before them sending them crashing to the ground.
All at once the three of them were sent flying and it was clear that the demon had no intention of letting them reach their destination.
“We had a deal, human.” The woman’s voice echoed in the trees and Elliot felt his heart pick up when he heard it. He heard the demon. How was that possible?
“Elliot?” Charlie sounded a bit panicked. “Elliot, what’s wrong?” She lifted herself up onto her elbows and watched as her brother trembled, wide eyes glazed over with something she didn’t recognize. Something supernatural.
“The demon is taking advantage of his fear.” Sofós was at her side in seconds, feather’s ruffled from the fall, agitated amber eyes on the shaking boy. “We don’t have time for this, Charlotte. We have to get the ocarina.”
Charlie held herself up on her elbows and stared incredulously at the owl. “Are you seriously asking me to leave my little brother in the hands of a demon?!” She shook her head and picked herself up. “That’s not happening.” Charlie made a break for Elliot, but Sofós blocked her path, hovering in front of her with a scolding look in his eyes.
“I’m not asking you to abandon him,” he corrected, eyes softening. “I’m telling you how to save him.”
Charlie looked helplessly between them as Elliot stood, eyes lidded in a menacing way. As she stared into them she was brought back to that moment when her face was inches away from porcelain and shadows were all around her. She shut her eyes tightly before taking Sofós back into her arms.
“He’ll be alright,” he told her as she turned toward the cabin.
Charlie ran through the trees, around the broken trunks and frayed stumps, Elliot close behind. She could hear the woman calling out to her, her heart sinking at the sound of her brother’s voice drowning out behind it. Her mind was reeling with all of the possible outcomes of this stupid game she’d started and so many of them ended with something bad happening to Elliot.
“This isn’t a gift, Mr. Sofós,” she called out. “This stupid power is going to get me and my brother killed!” Charlie ran as fast as she could into the cabin, dropping Sofós to shut the door behind her and push the closest cabinet in front of it. She leaned against it, feeling the banging from the other side, surely caused by her brother’s hands. The truth was that she felt guilty. Even though she knew they cared about each other, it still felt like she’d never made up with him. It felt like they were fighting. It would always feel like that until he called her Charlie again.
“Stop that, Charlotte.” Sofós perched himself atop the cabinet she’d chosen as her barricade. “You won’t save anyone whining like a child. If you really want to save Elliot, then play that ocarina.” The end of his crooked beak turned up lightly in a way that looked like a reassuring grin. “I will do the rest.”
Sofós’s presence was more comforting than she thought it would be. Even her name, that he undoubtedly picked up from Elliot, didn’t annoy her like it usually did. So Charlie steeled herself, taking one deep breath and nodding and Sofós immediately set off toward a closet door that she had completely missed in the dead of the night with nothing but a cellphone flashlight. Charlie dug through the mess of dust and boxes of strange charms and books with an almost frantic speed.
“Seriously, why do people read this much?” she complained.
Sofós urged her to quit talking, hurrying her along as the slamming at the door became louder and more forceful. Charlie felt the sweat on her brow, looking back for a moment when the door began to give way and the cabinet feet made an uncomfortable scratching sound against the floor. Sofós wasted no time shoving a large box off of an ornate looking chest, the loud crash startling Charlie’s attention back to the closet. She gave Sofós a questioning look, waiting for his small nod before opening the chest to find a silvery, white egg a bit bigger than a grapefruit.
It was surreal, all covered in pearl white scales. Like a dragon egg, Charlie thought. It wasn’t what she was expecting at all. Taking it into her hands, she turned it over to see the finger holes and reflexively put it to her lips. She inhaled, silence filling the space around her as if it was compelling her to play by blocking out everything else.
“Move, Charlotte!” Sofós yelled as the cabinet flew into the wall and the front door came crashing to the floor.
Elliot stood ominously still in the doorway, bright red scrapes on his hands. A shadow loomed over him and Charlie felt it paralyzing her. He took a step closer before his body stopped, struggling as if there was a wall in front of him. Charlie and Sofós exchanged a quick glance before a shining light knocked Elliot out of the room.
“What’s wrong with him?” Charlie stood, worry all over her face.
“The demon must be having trouble staying in his body near the stump…” Sofós contemplated aloud, his tone trailed off as if he was formulating a plan.
“What are you thinking?”
“I’m thinking we should put the odds back in our favor.” Sofós met her eyes, solid assurance rubbing off on her. “Once you play I’ll be able to grow into a stronger form, but it won’t last long. I need you to get that demon out of Elliot before that happens.”
“How do I do that?”
The two discussed their plan while Elliot’s body picked itself up off the ground. He was hurt, he knew that, but everything else was fuzzy. It was dark and he was moving without meaning to. In the haze of his mind he could hear Charlie’s voice calling out to him, telling him to calm down and that it would be alright. She sounded scared.
Elliot watched her in front of him as if they were close and miles apart at the same time. How could she know it was going to be alright? How much more did she know than him about anything? He could feel his body moving as they circled each other but his mind was elsewhere. It was in their childhood when Charlie’s stories were real to him and he believed in ghosts and dragons and he wondered when that had changed. He realized then that it wasn’t fear he was feeling. It was shame.
“Elliot!” Charlie called out again. “I know you’re in there and I promise you I’m going to fix everything!”
He wanted to tell her that there was nothing to fix, but he couldn’t speak. Instead he felt his body lunging forward with more strength than he knew he had. He felt the murderous intent and struggled to stop it but there was nothing he could do. Then he noticed Charlie moving toward him, determination beaming from her whiskey colored eyes and he panicked.
“Wait, Charlie!!” he called out, but it was too late. Their bodies collided and Elliot got more than just the wind knocked out of his lungs. It was like he was passing through a cheese grater, his back against some kind of wall and Charlie at his front, pushing him through. Those three seconds seemed to last an hour until everything went dark.
Charlie watched her brother’s body go limp as that wall of light forced the shadow from him and they landed inside the cabin. She paused for a moment to look at him, hoping he would be okay and fearing the worst. Her hand moved reflexively toward him until the light that gently caressed his face was blocked out by a looming shadow. She tensed, flinching harshly at the loud and strangled cry of the demon from outside the cabin.
“Hurry, Charlotte!” Sofós shouted, his tiny wings flapping furiously as he carried the ocarina to her in his talons.
Charlie grabbed hold of it, her heart pounding in her chest, and looked helplessly at the owl. “I don’t know what to play!”
“It’s magic, Charlotte. You just have to let it work,” he assured her. His voice, like his presence, was unflinching and sturdy, and Charlie felt herself taking a deep breath as he continued. “You can do this. You’re a musician.”
She closed her eyes and put the egg to her lips, taking in a breath that seemed to block out all of the noise. The screaming of the beast, struggling to break through the holy wood to eat her whole. The loud guilt that plagued her mind as Elliot lay motionless on the floor. It all drowned out until all she could hear was her heartbeat slowing into a metronome. Then she let out a breath, trained and vibrating into the instrument as a low, beautiful tone filled the air with a bright shining light. She felt the feeling she always felt, like her soul was somehow reaching out through the music she played, but it was different this time. It wasn’t scattered into all corners or the room for anyone to grab and use as they would. It was special, channeling toward a beacon.
In that moment she felt a connection to something she couldn’t place, like she remembered where to find something she’d lost long ago. But it was short lived and before she knew it, the song was over and the light was gone and the owl was nowhere to be found. Instead something else stood before her, staring at her with large honey colored eyes that mirrored her own. Its gaze was fierce and its teeth were as sharp and black as its claws. White, black-tipped feathers coated the creature’s wings as they spread, ready to fly. She knew what this was.
“A dragon?” Charlie breathed in awe, but it was short lived as the banging and struggling of the demon began to bring some of the roof down. She scrambled for Elliot’s body, dragging him away from the falling wood and looked up at the looming creature through the opening in the ceiling. It was gargantuan now, and when she looked back at Sofós’s new form something struck her hard. “Why are you so tiny?!!” she shouted.
Sofós glared clearly as unsatisfied, if not more, with his new form. “Don’t blame this on me!! It’s because you’ve clearly never played an ocarina before, you hack!!” He flapped his wings aggressively, pointing his new horns at her, and Charlie had half a mind to throw the stupid ocarina right at his adorable face.
There was no time for her to respond as a good portion of the roof came down and Charlie could no longer see Sofós or the stump. Her eyes darted around the rubble for only seconds before the demon spoke in a deep echoing voice. The mask was gone but there was something personal about the shadow that crowded the open space in the ceiling, reaching out to her. Charlie held onto Elliot, pulling his unconscious body into her arms and shutting her eyes. She waited for the creature to end them both, but all she felt was a plank of wood land solidly against her back.
“Ow!” Charlie yelped as more wooden planks landed beside her, one nearly smacking Elliot in the face as she jerked him away.
“How dare you!” Sofós shouted as he burst from the debris of the fallen ceiling and into the air toward the shadow. “Even this form is quite enough to destroy a lowly creature like you!”
Charlie watched as the small, feathered dragon whipped through the air, jabbing at the shadow. Every hit that made contact left a gaping hole in the shadow, a light coursing through its body like ripples through water until it was nothing but the woman in the mask. She fell from the sky, Sofós landing beside her as she cowered. Her black hands shielded the porcelain mask, cracked down the middle, a piece missing from the bottom. Just enough of the smiling face had been broken so that Charlie could see the fear of the woman’s quivering lip.
“Please,” she whispered.
“Demons should know better than to beg for mercy,” Sofós said coldly. Then, before Charlie could say anything, he charged the creature. All at once the shadow dissipated and all that was left was a broken porcelain mask until that too crumbled into dust.
There was a silence in the clearing as the sky turned orange and the sun began to crawl behind the mountains. Charlie watched as the baby dragon’s large feathers melted away into sparkling light until there was nothing left but that fat, old, white, owl. As the creature shook, his feathers ruffling and settling back into place, Charlie held Elliot carefully in her arms, keeping track of each breath.
“That was cruel, Mr. Sofós,” She said from what used to be the doorway, no trace of regret in her voice.
“So is the world, Charlotte,” he replied, waddling back over to her. “But you already know that, don’t you?”
Charlie thought about her answer but, as usual, words didn’t come to mind. She wondered for a moment if she could answer questions with music instead and if anyone would get it. Then, all at once, her attention was on Elliot as he squirmed and scrunched up his face before opening his groggy eyes.
“What happened?” he asked, voice hoarse.
“Mr. Sofós saved the day,” she answered, smiling as the old owl puffed out his feathers in pride. “He’s a dragon!” Charlie said, amazed, and Elliot saw a little girl in her that he’d nearly forgotten about. Her eyes sparkled and he was brought back to their childhood, feeling the way he used to when she told him her crazy stories.
“A dragon?” he laughed softly. “That’s really cool, Charlie.” And that small phrase held so much more than just amusement and a nickname. It held an apology and all of the words that Charlie was never able to think of or ask for. All of the things she would’ve put into a song if she hadn’t been trying so hard for so long not to play.
There was no way to respond to all of that, so she didn’t. Instead she helped her brother onto his feet and pulled Sofós into her arms. She felt content for the first time in a long while as they looked back at the cabin they’d all but destroyed.
“What are you going to do now?” Elliot asked, hazel eyes trained on the mess, willing himself not to go over there and try to clean some of it up. “Are you going to play music again?”
“Your music will still attract spirits,” Sofós reminded. “Nothing that happened here will change that.”
“But I have you now, Mr. Sofós.” She smiled. “And I have a feeling you can handle anything.”
The owl puffed out his feathers with pride. “I suppose.”
“What about grandpa?” Elliot turned to the bird and Sofós looked contemplative.
“I have no way of knowing if Isaac is alive.”
“Maybe. But I’d still like to know what happened to him,” Charlie said, taking one last glance at the cabin before she turned toward the mountain path to go home. She stopped when she realized Elliot wasn’t moving. “What’s up? Are you okay?”
“Yeah. I’m fine, it’s just… remember those books I took from the cabin before?” Elliot looked a bit guilty, but it was clear from Charlie’s silence that she hadn’t even noticed. “Well, I may have found a clue to why he left.”
Charlie and Sofós exchanged glances, watching Elliot with wonder before she began to laugh. The boys watched her for a moment like she was crazy until she spoke again. “You’re not going to go back to a normal life now that you’ve seen all this, are you?”
“How could anyone?!” he defended, putting his hand up in that damselish way that Charlie was sure he wasn’t aware of.
“Alright,” she said, turning back toward the path and gesturing for him to follow, “but first I want to take a long nap.”
This will be a purely informative post. So! First thing’s first. I’m sorry to say that I’ll be going on a little hiatus from both Lucy’s Tail and My Ghost & My Monster. I’m only annoyed about this because I just got off of a short hiatus from G&M, but I’m really passionate about this story and I’d rather it be the way I want it instead of rushed because I have too much stuff to do. That being said, since this is to give me a breather, I don’t have a date the hiatus will be over. But I promise it won’t be more than a few months and I will definitely come back before the year is over.
Now for other projects I promised this summer.
The last time I posted about Kleronomos, I said that it would be released this summer. Well, a lot had happened since then and I’ve changed my mind about how I want to go about this story. However, it IS finished and I DID make a promise so I WILL be putting it up piece by piece for you guys to read. Starting July 23rd I’ll be posting it to read for free here on my website, on Fiction Press, and on Wattpad. I want people to read it and since I’ll be writing more of these books I figure I’ll simply publish it along with the sequel which will not be free. In the meantime…
Energy! 24/6, Book 2 was scheduled to start soon, but seeing as though I’ll be serializing Kleronomos instead, that will have to be postponed a little longer. This might be disappointing to those of you who have been following, but I don’t plan on serializing “Love, Karin” until January of 2017. Sorry, guys, but I have too much going on right now to write it. But I do have it planned out and I promise it’ll be interesting when it does come out! :)
Last of all, but certainly not least!
It’s back! For now, I don’t have any new images, but I’m happy to let you all know that SongBird will be published in print! I will be releasing more info as the publishing process progresses, but for now this is all I have. So because of this new development and because I have a new job and new studies to focus on, I won’t have time to post as much as I used to. Sad as that makes me, I am really excited about the direction my life is heading right now so hopefully I’ll be able to share more projects soon! As usual, thanks for sticking with me. :D I love you guys.
In Kleronomos, the protagonist, Charlie, must play the ocarina in order to lend power to a magic owl. “The Song of Change” is the ocarina tune that changes him into a dragon. “It’s Time for a Change” would be the background music that plays during the fight that would inevitably occur directly after said transformation.
I was lucky enough to meet up with a friend and talented pianist, Maxim, over a failed group project. But it works out because he’ll be working with me to create some music for Kleronomos!
For those of you who missed the post, Kleronomos is a short book series that will begin serialization this summer. Leading up to that several songs will be released along with promotional art.
Charlie was a music prodigy until she realized that her music attracted strange and terrifying creatures. After she successfully cuts both music and the supernatural out of her life she accidentally speaks to a demon who curses her to stay awake for five days. If she falls asleep the demon will eat her. In an effort to break the curse, Charlie finds an old owl who turns into a dragon when she plays the ocarina.
“Song of Change” is played on a 4-hole Ocarina and is composed by Dighm Liting.
“It’s Time for a change” is played on the piano and is composed by The Weirdo Maxim.
Age: ?? Species: Black Tip Feathered Wyvern
Talent: Flight, Can speak all Languages and recall ancient knowledge, Can purify evil spirits
Likes: To share his wisdom, Hard-working people, Reading
Dislikes: Lazy people, Ridiculous or uncouth situations and topics, Stupidity
Mr. Sofós is an ancient dragon, though many confuse him with a griffin due to his unusual appearance. He claims to have been a servant of Charlie’s (the heroine) grandfather, but when he disappeared Mr. Sofós lost most of his power and became trapped in the body of an owl-like creature.
As a diákonos (servant), Mr. Sofós needs a kýrios (master) in order to function properly. In order to regain his strength he must feed off of the energy provided by the music Charlie plays. She then becomes his kýrios and can change Mr. Sofós into a dragon when needed as well as heal him, and temporarily give him special abilities.
Often called “Professor” by Charlie, Mr. Sofós strives to teach the young girl all he can about the mystical world before her. He doesn’t sympathize well with the girl’s lazy and sometimes even defeatist attitude nor does he quite understand her loneliness. He is not afraid to speak his mind and loves to offer his wisdom and advice. He can become quite agitated when argued with and has trouble admitting when he’s wrong since he believes he’s right more often than not. Well, he’s lived for a very long time so he probably is.