Tom turkeys strut their stuff near guys strutting their stuff near County Road 112 on Cinco de Mayo. Photo by Tommy Sands

The Day of the Troubadours
By Kitty Riley

A band of troubadours came into town
Traveling from far beyond
Their instruments with them all around
And stories to pass on. 

The day was hot and the sky was blue
Weary were they from the roads
I offered them shade and a drink to cool
And a place to rest their souls. 

We talked a while of many things
Of weather, books and time
But soon they had to tune their strings
And ready their words of rhyme. 

They sang from their hearts to those who listened
The night grew dark outside
The air cooled down, the stars they glistened
While the music played inside. 

But then came the hour to end the show
Their tales were told so fair
They left when the morning was all aglow
But their music still drifts in the air. 

Moon in a Glass
By Mackinnon Frisbie
Carbondale Community School

“She’s been having narcoleptic attacks. At random times she simply falls asleep. Just the other day, she raised her hand in class and when the teacher called on her she landed face down on her desk, lightly snoring.”

“And what is the source of this information? How did you receive it?” 

“Mrs. Laroux told us. She’s been Charlotte’s teacher since third grade, and Charlotte is in seventh. She cares for the girl and never lies.” Think again, Charlotte mentally contradicted. 

“Alright, but do you trust her?” the doctor prodded.

“What a question! After all we have just told you, you imagine us not to trust her?!” 

“Alright, alright. Calm down. What have you tried to stop the narcolepsy?” 

“Ha!” yelled Charlotte’s father. “More like, what haven’t we tried? Every trick on the internet, but those only work if you know what’s causing the narcolepsy and this is just plain random!” The doctor pretended not to notice the strain in his voice and inspected Charlotte’s face for an uncomfortably long time. “Well, she looks like a perfectly normal 13-year-old girl,” he commented. 

“Twelve,” Charlotte’s mother reminded him. “Twelve.”

“Ah, yes. My apologies, Charlotte. Although she looks normal, she needs to stay here for the rest of the week. Just in case of any unexpected developments. Could you please lie on your stomach, Charlotte?” 

Charlotte did as she was told and the doctor used one cold hand to push up her shirt. “What are these bumps on your shoulder blades?” He ran his other hand along them. “Probably just a deformation, like a double joint or detached earlobe.” But, it was all Charlotte could do to not cry out with agony, for when the doctor rubbed the bumps they grew tender and left her in great pain. 

Then the doctor moved the bright light from Charlotte’s path of vision and she saw the distraught faces of her parents. They looked quite unhappy with the arrangement. The doctor noticed this and spoke a few words to calm them. “It’s the only way to see if there’s a cure for her narcolepsy. Or at least find out what’s causing it.” 

With that, the doctor ended the conversation and any possible objections. “We understand,” her father finally agreed with the information with a melancholy sigh and her mother felt obliged to do the same. 

“Perfect!” was the last word Charlotte heard before the light began to blot out everything, like a fresh stain of ink on a thin sheet of fabric pulled taut. Then the light inverted and turned dark, with the sound of sleeping gas hissing from the nearest fiberglass tube and her parents leaving.

Charlotte awoke in complete darkness. It seemed no time had passed at all, but there was no existing proof and she felt strangely helpless. She started going over things in her head. It was probably night and there would be no one around. Suddenly, she heard a sound like a switch. She quickly scanned the room for movements and silhouettes of people. 

Then, instantly and with a feeling of being splashed with ice water, she realized there was not a single silhouette of anything. It was pure darkness. She was mortified to realize that her eyes were closed. She tried to open her eyes. Her body seemed to be in a paralyzed state, for she could not move anything — not even wiggle her pinky toe. 

After about a dozen tries, she accepted it and returned to her thoughts, hiding in them from the fear of loneliness. Then a stream of light broke through, the murky darkness seemed to clear, the stream widened and the crystal-clear light broke the deep endless dark. 

For a moment she was blinded, but in her paralyzed state there was not a thing she could use to protect herself from the luminescence. The light crescendoed and she was a second from shattering sanity, but then it dimmed. It dimmed to the soft soothing light that heals even the deepest of cuts. The feeling of helplessness snapped like elastic stretched too far. The paralyzation broke into pieces, but the edges slashed at her mind like steel sharpened to perfection. Then it stopped, and a rush of relief started to drown her. There was no air. She couldn’t breathe. 

Her frantic eyes snapped open and she took long hard gulps of cold wet air. After she had satisfied her thirst, she looked around straight into deep blue eyes — the color of velvet night.