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Peanut butter…

He jumped off the yellow tree into a puddle of peanut butter and ran. Something scared him and he could just feel it go after him. Something dangerous and dark. At least he tried to run. He could feel his legs move but he couldn’t get away, he was stuck. Was it the peanut butter?
He looked down to check but he saw 4 cats licking his shoes. So it couldn’t be the peanut butter. But he couldn’t feel the danger anymore so he must have escaped it somehow.
He slowly walked towards the little shed behind the tall hedges. He was hungry and he just knew that there would be Doritos. Almost starving he reached the row of hedges that protected the shed with the life saving food but he wasn’t able to pass them, there were so many hedges and when he took a closer look he realized that it was a labyrinth. There had to be a way out but the entrance was gone, hedges everywhere. How do you escape a labyrinth? One that changes all the time. There was a trace of colorful dust on the ground and he decided to follow it never looking up. If he couldn’t make it through this maze he would probably die. The dust was the answer. It was bright and sparkly and changed colors. What could it be? Star dust? What was it doing here? He ran into a wall and hurt his head. A white cats was licking up the dust. “No, don’t do it. I need this.”, he shouted. The cat ignored him.
What was he supposed to do now? The hedges were massive brick walls now and it started raining. What was he supposed to do? Staying here was too dangerous so he continued his search for the shed. The shed would save him. A few meters ahead stood another tree. A giant and dark tree without leaves and this tree seemed to be responsible for the maze. Owls were sitting in the tree, one on each branch. They didn’t move, just observed, stared at him and saw his fears. What were they planning? Whatever it was, it couldn’t be good so it was time to get out of there. Again he tried to run but couldn’t. Running never worked, just because he stepped in the peanut butter earlier. He turned his back on the mysterious tree and saw the shed but it wasn’t the shed. There was no shed, it was bait. No life saving Doritos, no shelter. Just a hole in the ground. It started raining again but it wasn’t water, it was the glowing, glittering dust. It was everywhere. He looked up to see where it came from but there was nothing, no clouds, just the ceiling of the world.
“Jonathan.” a voice behind him called out to him. It was a familiar voice, a comforting voice.
He turned around. There was nobody.
“Jonathan.” Once again a voice behind him. He turned around again and saw a man. A man he knew so well. “Gary?”
Gary stood there in a beautiful field of flowers, dressed in white. Smiling his smile.
Jonathan walked towards him, happy to see him again. He couldn’t believe he was here. What was he doing here? They hugged each other tightly and then they kissed.
They were suddenly disrupted by the sound of an explosion, so loud it was deafening. Jonathan opened his eyes but Gary was gone, the flowers were gone. A swarm of terrifying dragons flew overhead. But they weren’t important right now, he had to get to class, he was late already. Not again. If he failed this class he would be expelled, what would his parents think? He was lucky, the school bus arrived and he jumped in, he would be on time, everything was going to be fine.
And then the alarm clock went off…

Guinea pigs…

She deserved this lunch break so much. It had been a busy morning with patients flooding the practice, a moody assistant and a printer that just quit working. Jennifer needed this break and she wanted to be left alone in her office for an hour, alone with her coffee and her Game of Thrones book. But just as she sat back to start reading someone knocked on the door. Of course.
She rolled her eyes. “Come in.”
The door opened and Sarah, her friend and co-owner of the practice, entered the room with a smile. “Hi.”, she said joyfully. “I have to tell you about last night.”
Jennifer remembered. Sarah had a blind date the night before and she had been so nervous all week. “Ahh, yes. Please tell me how it went.”
Sarah took a seat on the chair on the other side of Jennifer’s desk. “It was so weird.”, she began. “He was half an hour late and when he finally arrived at the bar he didn’t even say hello, no greeting at all. He just sat down and took a drink from my glass and yelled to the barkeeper to get him another drink. Then he wouldn’t stop talking about his guinea pigs. Then he asked me if I had enough money to pay his bill. Well, let’s just say I’ll stay away from blind dates in the future.” She laughed.
“I’m sure you will find the right guy. Or maybe he’ll find you.”, Jennifer reassured her. Her friend was a lovely woman with many great qualities but she was quite picky when it came to men.
Sarah sighed and picked up a small plushed teddy bear from Jennifer’s desk. He had a little heart on his belly. “Maybe someone who gives me cute teddy bears like this.”
“Maybe. Or maybe someone who will give you a huge unicorn.” Jennifer loved this little bear and smiled. “Jonathan gave this to me as a Valentine’s Day gift when we were 15 years old. It was cute, he was so awkward. It has always meant a lot to me that’s why I still have it.”
“You’re very lucky.”, Sarah told her. But Jennifer knew…

The missing lock…

The sky was clouded and a cool wind was blowing as Jennifer walked down the streets in her neighborhood. She just had to get out and take a walk after 2 days of writing. Her novel was coming along great but everyone needed a break now and then. She enjoyed the fresh salty air. She passed some houses, looked the front yards and porches. Some were very neat with trimmed lawns and flowers, nicely decorated, others were overgrown but charming. She saw bushes and trees and a huge flower pot that looked like it was a repurposed drum from a washing machine. Some people were really creative.
Jennifer turned left after the next house and walked along a narrow path between rows of maple trees. It lead her to the beach and she decided to take the beach route back home.
The sound of the waves and the seagulls was soothing, she was not in a hurry so she took it all in and walked slowly on the sand.
After a few minutes something in the sand caught her eye, something small and shiny. She reached down to check it out, it took her a few seconds to get it out of the sand completely. She inspected it and it looked like an old and rusty, and now sandy, bead chain necklace with a small key attached to it. Could it have been washed up on the shore? She cleaned it from the sand to take it back home. There was something about it that she found fascinating. Who did it belong to and what would the key open? As a writer it inspired her.
She would ask her husband about it, maybe he had an idea, maybe he recognized the kind of key. She remembered that he told her he wanted to try a new waffle recipe that he got from his father. The prospect of fresh waffles made her walk faster…

Unicorns of the sea…

The lab was quiet and Anne went over some calculations that Jonathan gave her. He and Glenn were sitting at a table and discussing the latest results of their experiments. They had reached another point in their project where they needed a few days to figure out some problems.
She approached their table with the papers in her hands, ready to talk about them. Both guess seemed to be discussing something very important so she didn’t want to disturb them and just sat down and listened.
“I don’t know, man. That’s not how I remember it.”, Jonathan said.
“I swear. I’m 100% sure. They’re bouncing.”
“Why should they bounce, it doesn’t make any sense anyway.”
Glenn cleared his throat.
Jonathan rolled his eyes. “Just don’t…-” But it was too late.
Glenn started singing loudly. “Gummiii Beeears, bouncing here and there and everywhere…”
“Alright! They’re bouncing. Whatever. I’ve always preferred the Care Bears anyway.”
Anne had to laugh. “You two are idiots.” Jonathan and Glenn liked to bring some fun into the lab which everyone appreciated.
Glenn looked at her and smiled. “We know.”
“And everybody knows that Winnie the Pooh was the best.”, Anne added.
“So what’s up?”, Jonathan asked her.
“Well, your calculations. I have a few questions about them like what the hell is that?” Anne was puzzled by what she had read. She was pretty smart herself but Jonathan was a genius and sometimes his equations and ideas were way above her pay grade. She knew him very well so she knew that he was always willing to explain every detail when someone asked. This time she had absolutely no idea what she was even looking at.
“We can go through everything later this afternoon.” Jonathan suggested.
“Alright, but bring some candy. It will probably take a while.”
A phone rang. It was Glenn’s. “Excuse me, that’s my wife. Gotta take it if I want to live.” He stood up and took a few steps back to talk to his wife in private. Anne watched him. He looked a little confused by what he was hearing.
“My wife wants me to buy her a coffee table book with pictures of narwhals.” He announced when he returned to the table. “God knows why.”
“Narwhals are the unicorns of the sea.”, Jonathan explained.
Anne knew Glenn’s wife, she could be pretty random sometimes. She took painting lessons just to know how to paint durians. A few weeks ago Glenn had complained about the masses of durian pantings in their house. Anne liked her…

A summer afternoon discovery…

Jonathan walked along the street in his hometown. He was on his way to the post office to pick up a package. It was a hot summer day and he already missed the air conditioning of his car. Not a lot of people were outside, most of them avoided leaving the cool indoors.
Summer was not Jonathan’s favorite season.
He passed some shops and restaurants that had always been there so he didn’t pay them much attention until suddenly something caught his eye.
He slowed down to take a look and he was confused. Until just a couple of days ago there used to be a barber shop but it wasn’t there anymore. Instead the sign now said “Fred’s antique books”. Jonathan go curious. He loved books and sometimes browsed books for hours so this looked very interesting. From what he could see through the window the store was full of books, old and new. He didn’t really have the time but he still wanted to check it out.
When he entered the store the first thing he noticed was the cook air. What a relief.
The store itself was rather dark and the smell of old books was in the air. He liked that.
He looked around and saw 3 other customers and a tall, skinny man with gray hair and glasses at the check out desk. Everything looked like it had been there for years but that wasn’t possible. Jonathan had a strange feeling, something wasn’t right.
He continued to look around and walked between the bookshelves. The titles of some of the books were pretty obscure. “How the frogs conquered the moon”, “The secret life of willow trees”. He had never heard of the titles or the authors before but that didn’t really have to mean anything. Nobody knew every title.
He reached the back wall of the store and saw an old astronomy book. He took it in his hands. It wasn’t antique, but few decades old. Some of the information would be outdated but it was interesting nonetheless. The dust jacket looked worn out and someone had made some notes inside the book. At first it didn’t look like much but Jonathan noticed that the notes didn’t make any sense and had nothing to do with astronomy.
“Hello.” The dark voice startled him and he looked up to see the man from the check out. Maybe he was the owner, Fred.
“Uhm, hello.”, Jonathan replied but he didn’t really know what to say. The man looked him right into the eyes which made him a little uncomfortable. The man’s eye were dark and he looked old but he couldn’t really tell how old he could be. His glasses looked almost antique. He was wearing a white shirt with short sleeves and dark green tie. On the back of his left hand was a small tattoo, Jonathan couldn’t quite make out what it was. It looked like some kind of animal.
Fred reach for the book in Jonathan’s hand and took it. It was the tattoo of an elephant, he could see it now.
“I’ve been waiting for you, Jonathan.”…

Meant to be…

“Tell me something about you that I don’t know.”, Jonathan asked.
He and Jennifer had just had a nice dinner at home and were cuddling up on the couch in the living room. It was dark and windy outside with snow clouds looming over town. Orion, one of their cats, an orange tabby, was sleeping on the other end of the couch.
“I think you already know everything about me. Well… let’s see…”
Jonathan had wrapped his arm around her and waited while she was thinking of something. He was tired, it had been a long day so he really appreciated the time he could spend with the woman he loved more than anything.
“Okay, this is probably gonna be a little embarrassing.”, she said after a few minutes.
“Don’t worry about it.”
“So when I was a teenager I used to write Star Trek fan fiction. I didn’t want my parents or my friends to know so I did it in secret.”
“That’s not embarrassing. Which Star Trek was it?”
“All of them. I wrote crossovers and time-travel, I used all the characters.”, she chuckled, “my favorite story was a long story about Tom Paris traveling through time, visiting all the Captains, saving the universe.”
“That sounds fun. I love stories like that. And man, Tom Paris, I had such a crush on him, he was hot.” Jonathan remembered how he watched Star Trek to escape reality a little. It was such a different world where everything was going to be okay in the end, it was comforting. Then he remembered something else.
“You know… I actually used to read Star Trek fan fiction.”, he admitted.
Jennifer was surprised. “Really? Why did we never talk about it?”
“I don’t know, I guess it just never came up? Oh, I even had a favorite author…what was the name? WarpCoreBreach47 or something. Their stories were really good, I wonder where they are now.”
Jennifer turned to look at him. “You’re kidding, oh my gosh, that was me.”
“No way!”
They laughed. They had knows each other since they were teenagers and that is something they never knew about each other. It was like they were just meant to be together…

Home…

Jennifer loved coming home. She loved the house and everything about it. It was warm and spacious and truly felt like home.
They had moved in a little less than 2 years ago after big make over. When they bought the house it was not in a very good condition but they fell in love with it, with the neighborhood, with that small town and the ocean. They basically had a beach in their backyard and how could they say no to that?
Before that they had lived in a small apartment in Portland, close to their work. It had a small bathroom, a bedroom, a kitchen and living area and that was it. It was not enough space for them. Not after so many years. It was their first apartment after they first came to Portland as students. But their lives had changed since then, they started working and settling down. Both of them loved to read so they had so many books that they didn’t know where to put them anymore. They had just needed more space not only for themselves but also for their cats. And sometimes they needed time for themselves. The loved each other but there were times when each of them needed some time and space. Especially Jonathan who was an introvert and a thinker and loved some quiet time.
Jennifer couldn’t say why they hadn’t moved out sooner but it was probably because they had been so busy and sometimes too comfortable to change something. But once they had decided to get a bigger place they were determined to find the perfect home which of course was not easy. They had tried everything, looked at apartments and houses and none of them made them feel at home. One of Jennifer’s patients was a real estate agent and had tried to help them find something, they had tried the internet and just drove around looking for houses for sale. They talked about lowering their expectations, about compromises, about their budget, even considered building a house. But still they hadn’t been able to find what they wanted.
Then one afternoon Jennifer, Jonathan and Anne drove up the coast to a little town called Winchester to try a new restaurant that someone had recommended and they got lost. Their GPS showed them the wrong way so they ended up in this quiet, beautiful neighborhood right by the ocean and then they saw it. It was an older house and it looked uninhabited and a little damaged and there was an old weathered sign that said “For sale”.
And that was it, they contacted the agent, made an appointment to see the house and it was perfect. It did need a lot of renovations, new wallpapers, now floors, new paint. But that wasn’t a problem.
And once they had moved in it was theirs, it was home…

Something else…

It’s been a hard day at work so Jennifer was glad to be back home. She and Anne were in the kitchen making coffee, both of them needed it today.
“The weekend can’t come soon enough”, Jennifer said and sighed.
“Yeah, and it’s only Tuesday.”, Anne reminded her of this unpleasant fact.
“I could use a nice long vacation someplace warm.” Their last vacation was years ago when they visited Jonathan’s parents in Vancouver. She loved the city but it wasn’t the Caribbean. She started daydreaming about white sand beaches and palm trees and swimming in the warm ocean. She decided to talk to her husband about it later.
“That sounds romantic, I’d just need a boyfriend.” Anne looked sad for a second.
“You’ll find someone.” Jennifer reassured her friend who didn’t have a lot of luck with men.
She heard Jonathan’s car in the garage. He was late today because he had to work overtime, he and Glenn had some problems with their project. He’d probably be tired, too.
When he entered through the door he didn’t look like it though. He actually looked excited.
He came into the kitchen.
“Hi honey, guess what?!”, he said.
Jennifer was confused. “I don’t know, did you win the Nobel Prize?”
“No. Better.”, he smiled and opened the fridge to take out a bottle of ginger ale.
“What’s better than the Nobel Prize?”, Anne wanted to know.
Jennifer got very curious, she didn’t often see him excited like this except when he made an interesting discovery or when he had taught the cat a new trick or when he got some cheesecake.
“Just spill it.”
“Alright. So today I bought a ticket to a Supernatural convention in Portland. Plus a ticket for a photo op with Jensen Ackles. Don’t be jealous.” He told them like it was the best thing he had ever done.
Jennifer laughed. His crush on Jensen Ackles was cute and she was actually happy for him.
“That’s amazing, honey. I’d actually love to come with so I could watch you fangirl over him.”
Jonathan grinned. “I knew it, that’s why I bought you a ticket, too.”
And with that he left the kitchen to go to the bathroom.
Jennifer smiled and shook her head. He managed to brighten her day again.
Anne laughed. “Man… he’s really something else.”
“I know,” Jennifer took a sip from her coffee, “that’s why I love him.”…

Snowmen…

It had started snowing very early in the morning and everything was covered in white. Jonathan stood outside the front door on the porch and just observed the cold and snowy world around him.
He took a sip from his cup of hot chocolate. He loved the freshly fallen snow. Everything was quiet, you could hardly hear a sound. There was no wind, just the falling snow, the streets were empty, most people stayed home, safe and warm.
Jonathan watched the snowflakes fall and hit the ground silently. It was peaceful and serene.
He remembered how he loved to play in the snow as a child back home in Canada. It was something that helped him after he returned from… well, from that horrible place. He didn’t want to think about THAT now.
He and his brother Thomas used to build families of snowmen, they gave them names and biographies and hoped they would stay but of course they didn’t. The snow melted and the years went by. Jonathan tried to recall when he had last built a snowman. It’s been years.
He heard some children laugh in the distance. It probably came from the huge park across the street. There were lots of trees, playgrounds, even some ponds, gazebos and miniature golf course. It was beautiful.
People went ice skating on the frozen ponds in winter and children had fun sledging. He imagined that’s what they did. Maybe they were even having a snowball fight or…building snowmen.
He saw a car drive very slowly down the street as the snow got stronger. As a driver this weather wasn’t fun but Jonathan didn’t have to go anywhere this weekend and he was sure the streets would be free by Monday.
He heard the door open behind him and turned around.
“Hey!” It was his brother Thomas. “Let’s go build a snowman!”…

Inspiration…

Jennifer stared at the blank document on her computer screen. The page did not seem to want to be filled with words, at least not today.
She was working on her new novel but made little progress. The deadline was still a few months away so she didn’t panic just yet. She sat back in the chair in her office in their house. It was was a nice cozy office with a couch, a soft carpet and pictures of landscapes that Jonathan took on their vacations. She loved the adjacent library though she wasn’t sure if it was big enough to be called that.
Jennifer grabbed one of the mint Oreo cookies, turned the chair around and looked out the window into the back yard. She could see the ocean from there. It was one of the main reasons they bought this house. Both of them loved the ocean, the waves, the sound and the smell. It was relaxing.
It didn’t help her write her novel though. Not in this moment. She missed Jonathan. He and Glenn went to attend a physics conference in Boston, he wouldn’t get back home until the next weekend which was still 4 days away. 4 long days, she thought and sighed.
Suddenly something grabbed her attention. Something she saw in the back yard. And then it hit her. She turned the chair back around and started typing.
“That’s it!”, she said to herself. The words started flowing…