With the sad passing of Maureen O'Hara, I broke out my Top list of Redheads from back in 2006. (Originally the list was 50, but upon publishing I immediately realized I made terrible omissions, and a supplemental list was necessary.)

Remember, all the jokes are nine years old! But don't focus on that, focus on the lovely Gingers, especially Maureen.

The 100th Word

[this was my first attempt at a 100 word scary story, based on the painting La Tentation de Sainte Antoine by David Teniers the Younger. What makes it (potentially) scary? The Title.]

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me….

Have a drink with us. The Lord would be pleased if you thirst.

Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed by thy….

You need to relax. Enjoy yourself a little! That fine girl down the lane might be just what you need.

Oh Lord, hear me! Demons surround me and I feel afflicted! I cannot hold them off!

What demons? There is none here but friends.

Okay. You win. I will go. What if her mother sees?

It was her idea. She was tired of raising a toddler.


[part of the 100-word story series, where stories have to be exactly 100 words.]

He sits, 
The only sound a faint rasp of his 
Shadow-laced breath. 
To look at him, he might appear asleep, 
Certainly docile, in no way threatening. 
Except, to look at him is to invite your own destruction, for 
No mortal has ever laid eyes upon his form and lived to tell the tale. 
He is the Enemy of Hope, and more precise I dare not be, 
For it is not only seeing him that draws his attention, 
But mere awareness. 
Even now, 
He feels your eyes 
Glide over these words; 
His breathing 
Quickens, and 
Searing Flame. 

When I Died

When I died, 
            there was a parade in my honor.

Just kidding: 
            there was no parade. 

When I died, 
            people were sad. 

Just kidding: 
            people were not sad. 

When I died, 
            there was no parade in my honor 

and people were not sad.

Just kidding: 
            I did not die. 

But now I know what happened when I did. 

Shimmering Sadness

Once upon a time her scent assaulted;


Now Sadness shimmers off her body in waves.

Her eyes see no sight to comfort,
Her lips speak no sound to heal.
Her skin seals her together,
Stopping the exsanguination of sorrow,
While her soul splits at the seams.

Sadness is not learned;
It is earned.

The Ballad Of Dusky Rose

You are an exquisite Dusky Rose, he said. 
Her nose and cheeks wrinkled in distaste. 
He looked taken aback, eyebrow raised. 
What's a Dusty Rose? It sounds kinda grimy. 
No, a Dusky Rose, he said, smile returning.
What's the difference? Tellmetellmetellme.

One is weathered and soiled, ravaged by weeds, 
T'other flowers as the sun recedes--
And the moon takes flight; 
The Dusky Rose gains her color at night, 
Its petals spread, it's nectar sweet, 
The fragrance is intoxicating heat.

I changed my mind; that sounds great!
Good, he said. Let's celebrate with Ambrosia. 
What's that?  Another exotic flower? 
Sort of. It's Nectar of the gods. 
She still didn't quite understand, 
But soon enough, it came to her. 

Roses Are....

Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
Rainbows are Pretty
And so...

Wait. I'm sorry. I can't do this.  
Violets are NOT Blue. Violets are Purple,
and lying in Poem is the 2nd worst form of lying* there is. 
We have to start over. 

Roses are Red
Violets are Purple
On my pancakes
I like ma...

Wait. Stop.  Please.  Again, I'm sorry, but we can't do this. 
Nothing rhymes with Purple. I did my homework.  
Also, Violets are really...Violet, you know?  I'm pretty sure 
that's where the word came from, though I'd have to look it up. 
Let's try this again. 

Roses are Red
Violets are Violet
The hole for your shoelaces
Is called an eyelet

Okay, I don't mean to poop on your party**
I don't mean to whiz on your wake
I don't mean to hurl on your hootenanny
Not trying to come between you and your clambake:
But this isn't working. 
First - that poem was Boring with a capital Algore. 
Second - Roses get to be content with the primal color "Red"
but Violets not only have to be Purple (a derivative of Red), 
they can't even be Purple, but have to be a specific kind of Purple. 
Look at it from the Violet's point of view:
It IS a Violet. Probably gets pretty tired of being described AS Violet;
In fact, why do Roses get to go first anyway?***
Stupid Roses, thinking they are better than anyone else. 
I say, let's let Violets go first!  
Don't like that? 
I'm getting tired of this whole damn thing. 
Let's finish this. 


* Worst form of lying - through Song (I HATE when that happens!)

** rejected fluid/gathering metaphors: shit on your shindig, fart on your feast, spooge on your splurge

*** okay, technically Rosebuds get to go first (and last, if you're Charles Foster Kane), but you know what I mean


The DragonStone

Long ago, before Men took to the silly notion of writing things down, words had Magic. There was power in the spoken word, a power we cannot today imagine.......

Stories were told by elders in the village, true stories that little boys and little girls (and not-so-little ones) would hear and learn and love....

One such story, not all of the story, just part of the such  story has survived...passed down from generation to generation for so long that the earth changed and formed and re-formed in the meantime....but the story remained the same.

I have been lucky enough to hear some of this story, and though it loses its Magic when I write it, enough will survive to float across the sea and into your heart and mind and soul.  It is the story of The DragonStone.

We are told of a World formed on the outside with dirt, and journeying inward are layers of rock, one after the other, harder and harder, until finally we reach a center filled with liquid fire.

This is wrong. It is Science, and it is reasonable and logical and makes sense, and it is Wrong.  That is not what the World is like at all.  Yes, there is "earth" when we dig down, and below that is crushed-together layers of rock. We have seen this, but we have gone no farther. We guess at the rest, but we do not know.  The ancients...they knew.

Beneath the earth and rock, There is a cavern. A cavern impossibly large and immense.  Its size would make you dizzy just to see it, yet fill you with a great awe and reverence and wonder.  This cavern is the Chamber of the Dragon.  In this Chamber the Dragon Sleeps. As you can guess, this is no ordinary dragon. This is not like what you have been told and have seen depicted.  The stories, the movies, the art....they do not understand.

THIS Dragon is unlike anything ever imagined. It is so vast, so huge, so Leviathan....a dream of a dream of a dream. It is so enormous that it spills out into other Reality. The reflection of its scales is that thing which we spy out of the corner of our eye but can never catch sight of when we quickly turn our heads. Its breathing is what shakes the Earth (you can guess about the volcanoes), and at night, the Dragon is that unseen presence we feel watching us while we dream.  How does the Dragon see us when the Dragon itself sleeps?  We will come back to that.

The Dragon is so large, that if it were to awaken, to stir, to rise from slumber and move its massive head, wings, tail, claws...if the Dragon were to open its mouth and reveal Teeth sharper than pain and a roar of unquenchable fire...if the Dragon were to do this, the Earth itself would tear apart.

Almost one half the weight of the World is taken up by this Dragon. Its size is so incredible that its presence seems impossible.  Did it grow there? Was the Earth formed around it?  No, the Dragon was placed there, long long ago, by forces that wished to keep it hidden from an even greater power. Why would they do this?

I know why.

Before there was a World, before there was Memory, before there was even Light, there was War. The War was of Stone and Ash.  The War was fought in Darkness.  Not "dark" as in "the shadow cast by light."  Remember now, there was no Light.  This was true Darkness, and no words, spoken or written or etched into your bones with acid would describe this Darkness, so I will not even try.

The War of Stone and Ash was fought for the 7 Ar'khaels, a word that does not translate into anything understandable today. (I do not hide the information from you, it is as far as your language will go.)  This war of Stone and Ash, this War for the 7 Ar'khaels, was contested fiercely, fought in the Darkness, the fate of Everything to Come resting on it.

One of these Ar'khaels fell into the possession of they who could See the Future.  They knew they had not the strength to keep the Ar'Khael, and they knew having it put them in great danger.

So, they who could See the Future hid the Ar'Khael, this talisman of the Coming Age.  They stole into the fabric of our Universe, and they hid this object of unimaginable power Inside our World.  Then, using all the Magics they could summon, using so much Force that the very act wiped them from existence--not just their being, but wiped them from Ever having existed--they took the Dragon from the Deep and they placed the Dragon inside our World, curled around that Ar'Khael, what they had taken to calling the DragonStone.

Was the Dragon meant to protect the DragonStone?  Maybe.  It well may be that the Dragon was put there to protect the DragonStone from those who would who would come after it.

However, there is a problem with this idea.  As much as it appeals to our sensibilities, as romantic as the idea is, a sleeping Dragon does not a great guard make.  (It is at this point that the story enters more of a speculative mode.)

The way I heard the tale, from they who told it to me, and I can only imagine passed down from they who told them, and them who told they, and so on, is that the Elders imagined that the Dragon was not there to "guard" the DragonStone, but rather, as a counter-stroke.  Putting the Dragon into a deep sleep, the Elders' thinking went, was simple prudence.  After all, a World with a giant sleeping Dragon in the center of it is dangerous enough.  A World with a giant AWAKE Dragon....who might well be another matter entirely.

The Elders had thoughts that the Dragon was put in the center of the World as a last-ditch counter-measure to keep the DragonStone from the Enemy.  If the DragonStone was discovered, if those who coveted it discovered and came for it, the World (the galaxy, the Universe, the entire fabric of Reality, etc.) was doomed anyway.  Having the Dragon there with the Ar'Khael ensured that discovery would awaken the Dragon and lead to no one having the DragonStone.

All of that is very possible.  Those who told me the story know more of it than I, and those who told them and so on presumably had even greater knowledge, all the way back to the Elders.


I have thought on this a great deal, and I think somewhere along the line not enough thought was given to Why the DragonStone was put here, in this Universe, in this Reality, and what that may mean.  Put another way, I cannot help but wonder what exactly the DragonStone IS.

I may never know.  In fact, if the Elders are right, I would never want to know, as knowing would mean it was the very last thing I ever would know!

But I have an idea.....

Let us go back to something I mentioned earlier.  That...."presence" we feel watching us when we Dream.  The Elders were in unanimous agreement that the Dragon sleeps.  This makes perfect sense since, last I checked, the World has not literally split in twain.

The question Then is, how would the Dragon See us Dream if the Dragon itself is sleeping?

The answer to this riddle lies in understanding a little more about the DragonStone.  It is at this juncture that I must prove bad faith to you, as your storyteller.  For you see, I have learned some things outside of this partial story.  As it became a passion, then obsession with me, I looked to any and all circles, and I believe I have discovered something.  I cannot tell you everything I learned and how I learned it (for oaths were sworn), but I will tell you what I have deduced.

I believe that the DragonStone's power is what keeps the Dragon sleeping all of this time.  After all, They who could See the Future are long gone, their Magics unable to help any more.  It must be the DragonStone, the Ar'Khael, that keeps the Dragon sleeping. What else would have so much power?

Further, I believe the DragonStone not only keeps the Dragon asleep, but it does so by making the Dragon Dream.  It makes sense, if you think about it.  Dragons are very hungry, but they are also very curious.  The only thing that could possibly keep a Dragon asleep that long would be Dreams.  Dreams that fascinate the Dragon, keep it ensarled in the Dream.

(You have figured it out now, haven't you?)

What, then, could the Dragon be dreaming of all this time?  Come on, now.  You know the answer.  Moreover, the moment you pieced it together, you knew it was true.  Knew it in your bones, didn't you?

The DragonStone's power is to give the Dragon dreams.  And the Dragon  We are the Dragon's Dreams.  We are what keep that impossibly large impossibly powerful creature in slumber.  We feel it watching it when we sleep, for in Dreams the fabric of our shared Reality is thinner, more tactile.

We are the Dragon's Dreams, and that, my friends, is the Legend of the DragonStone. 

Târgu Mureş, Marosvásárhely

[Hyperion's Note #1 - My friend Carnivus sends me stories from time to time, and this is his latest. He was good enough to allow me to share it with you.

Hyperion's Note #2 - As the story will soon make clear, there is no way to accurately show you the dragon. But I view dragon pictures like pizza - even when it's not completely right, it's still usually great. Thus I have taken the liberty of sprinkling some dragon pictures throughout the story.  These pictures are my doing, not Carny's, and technically are not related to the story, but don't hate; Dragons, baby!]

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