Reflections Finishes in Top Ten!

Reflections was voted a top ten finisher in the Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll for 2014 for Best Anthology. It has been a pleasure working with talented authors and friends: Maria Savva, Helle Gade, Darcia Helle, Jason McIntyre, Robert Helle, Martin David Porter, and J. Michael Radcliffe. Thank you everyone who voted for our book.

reflections

Reflections is available for Kindle and paperback on Amazon:
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Reflections-M…
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com./Reflections-Mi…

The Late Great Ben Ditmars

On my deathbed in 2584:

Holographic News Anchor: Ben Ditmars, having invented flying broomsticks, and pioneered quidditch for realsies in 2230, is about to die. Naturally, the deaths of all famous celebrities are streamed live on intergalactic holovision, formerly known as TMZ. Let’s capture his last words.

Ben: Hello, Holographic News Anchor.

Holographic News Anchor: Hello, Ben. How are you feeling?

Ben: I’m about to die, but it could be worse.

Holographic News Anchor: How’s that?

Ben: My soul could be split into eight pieces.

Holographic News Anchor: That would be a buzz kill- which is actually a form of brutal execution in the future. Do you have any regrets?

Ben: Regrets? No, none of my own.

Holographic News Anchor: But you have someone else’s?

Ben: Of course. I have collected many regrets from fictional characters. And I never got over the ending for Corpse Bride. He should have chosen the Corpse Bride.

Holographic News Anchor: I have access to the Wikipedia and refute your claim. Victor had a life to live, you see.

Ben: The Corpse Bride was quirky and hot. Screw being mortal.

Holographic News Anchor: Any other fictional regrets?

Ben: Yes, I think Snape should have been nicer to Harry.

Holographic News Anchor: But, Voldemort would have seen it in his mind!

Ben: That’s true, but when he was dying, he could have thrown in “my son” or “I love you.”

Holographic News Anchor: That is inconsistent with his character’s development!

Ben: You know a lot about culture in the early 2000s for a hologram in the present.

Holographic News Anchor: Don’t tell anyone, but (takes off a mask.) I’m J.K. Rowling. I’ve come to tell you how awesome you are. Also, how sorry I am for killing everyone.

Ben: I knew it! So you do regret killing Dobby, Hedwig, Sirius, Lupin, Tonks, and Fred?

J.K. Rowling: Yes, yes, the books. Everyone remembers the books and not my tyrannical reign as Queen of Scotland.

Ben: I didn’t know you were Queen of Scotland. Or there was one.

J.K. Rowling: That’s because I invented it and fled for Jupiter the next day. Let’s just say, I got in a bad place with some Highlanders, and thought 4,000,000 horcruxes might save me.

Ben: Highlanders are real too!?

J.K. Rowling: Yes, but don’t tell anyone.

Ben: I’m about to die and we’re on intergalactic holovision.

J.K. Rowling: I thought this through about as well as I did the time turners in Prisoner of Azkaban.

Ben: How will you make people forget it?

J.K. Rowling: I’ll just add something on Pottermore tomorrow and come out with a new movie. People love new movies.

(The heart monitor starts sounding erratically.)

Ben: Well, I guess this is the part where I blow up.

Buzz Lightyear: Not today!

(Buzz uses his laser.)

Ben: Now I can live another fifty thousand years!

Buzz Lightyear: Exactly, because lasers really do light up in the future! Unfortunately, I’m still not a flying toy.

Ben: Freaking science.

Buzz Lightyear: I know, right!?

Hedwig and the Owlery Pt. 6

Much like J.K. Rowling, the fourth book gave me some writer’s block. I guess I understand where she was coming from. This Wednesday however, Hedwig speaks with a dragon and maneuvers Harry through the Triwizard tournament . You can find the last episode here. And the first one here.

Hedwig and the Owlery

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Image Source: Flickr

Fawkes broke up with Hedwig before term ended. He told her several hurtful things that were not intended to be hurtful. “There are plenty more owls in the sky,” Fawkes said as he pecked her beak affectionately. “I need to stretch my wings, darling.”

The indignity was that anyone could break up with her. She was the most beautiful owl at Hogwarts. Unfortunately, she had dated the handsomest and only phoenix….

Hedwig tried to distract herself hunting over the summer. When this didn’t work, she observed the Dursley’s. If anything was representative of the futility of relationships or pair bonding the scrawny woman and her blimp husband were. They were nothing compared with the failures of the Weasley clan, however.

How did Mr. Weasley let his offspring slip the fat human candy? His tongue grew enormous before anything constructive was done. Wizards were incapable of watching their offspring, mused Hedwig. Her mother would have flogged her for such behavior. In fact, once she talked out of turn and had most of her feathers pecked off.

The events of the year unfolded and consumed her attention. She initially thought Harry might be safer without quidditch. The Triwizard tournament however was far from safe. Hedwig was enraged Harry could be put into a dangerous contest without her consent. She was his true guardian after all: not the transient canine with fleas named Sirius Black.

“You let him enter the contest!?” Hedwig screamed at Dumbledore. She had flown into his office upon hearing the news. Fawkes had woken but she didn’t care. His loyalty would soon be tested. “He’s a fourth year student. Merlin’s beard! I can’t protect him underwater.”

“The tasks are not life threatening and we have took all the necessary precautions.”

“Really? I’ve flown over the forest and seen your dragons. Tell me those are safe and I’ll kiss Buckbeak.”

Dumbledore, for once, did not have an answer for her. Perhaps he did not want to speak of any more preparations for the Triwizard tournament. It was not likely however she could tell Harry anything, given he never cared to learn owlish. But still she might find some other ways to fill him in.

She flew toward the forest and approached the fierce looking dragons. It was unclear which Harry might get, but she had a feeling it would not be the Common Welsh Green. “That boy has sour luck,” she thought seeing the Hungarian Horntail. Smoke fumed from its nostrils that soon turned to flame.

“Hello,” Hedwig said apprehensively. “You will likely be facing my human in the first task.”

“Am I now?” the dragon retorted.

“Yes. You are.”

“I suppose you’re here to ask for mercy.”

“I am.”

“Well you don’t need to. We aren’t trained to kill the humans. And we wouldn’t anyway. The idea is to scare them a little, you know? Make it look like a challenge.”

“That’s a relief,” Hedwig told her.

“Yeah, I bet it is. Everyone thinks dragons are so violent. We eat everything we see like mindless animals. No one mentions our contributions to science or culture.”

“Science and culture?” Hedwig hesitated.

“You think Dumbledore came up with the twelve uses for dragon blood? We practically told him. The most significant thing he did was learn to speak dragon.”

Harry lived as she maneuvered him through two more tasks. Dobby or Barty Crouch hadn’t really come up with gillyweed.  Nor had the maze been cleared for him by accident. She never trusted the false Moody but possessed a share interest in keeping Harry alive for the time being.

*

Months later

“How many humans smell like dogs?” Hedwig asked. Her friends were often amazed she could locate a wanted serial killer when the best wizards could not. Wizards were narrow minded, she concluded, and would not permit themselves to see obvious realities. Sirius Black only looked like a dog; he moved very much like a human. Hedwig could spot a human pretending to be a dog kilometers away. He walked much stiffer and more awkward than any others she had seen.

It was Dolores Umbridge she could not throw off. The woman had it in for her and was determined to find out her business. She was such a toad: and far from delicious at that. Hedwig would eat her, of course, but enjoy very little of the taste.

Filch did not help matters sneaking around. Why did he insist on being such a nosy squib? She could only give him the slip so many times before he caught up. But, as she was much quicker, it would not be easy.

It was an unpleasant day to begin with. Henry, a large screech owl, had brought a howler back to the owlery with him instead of taking it immediately to its owner. The result was noise and chaos in an already noisy and chaotic environment. It did not help matters when Harry came in and gave her a letter to send. Before she reached the boundaries of the castle something powerful had hit her. It must have been some curse, because she did not remember the event. Luckily, Harry found her. He wasn’t always good for nothing, she thought. In fact, he might be an okay pet… someday.

She soon had far greater concerns than noise or even Harry. Hedwig soon asked herself something she had never recalled any owl asking: can owls fall in love? Hedwig wasn’t sure until the day came.

***

You can find the next episode here.

Midnight Fog

Inspired by The World by Henry Vaughan

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Image Source: Flickr

I wrote a poem composed of
midnight fog and saw eternity
beneath the moonlight
of your text.

the Hunger Games are real
so why pretend the coffee
kept us dancing, calm and
bright, for endless hours?

© Ben Ditmars 2015

Robin Williams and Dolphins

I found an episode of In the Wild with Robin Williams about dolphins, where he swims and bonds with them. It is absolutely beautiful and I’d like to share the last part:

There’s Romeo, he’s a grandfather. And that’s Knuckles. But the dolphin I was to know best was Stubby: an older, darker male. He got his name from his chopped off dorsal fin….

Over the days we had several encounters but there was still one thing I wanted to do: find the wise old dolphin called stubby. I was really hoping he’d reappear. At the eleventh hour I got my wish….

After a while they peeled elegantly off the bow like blue angels and they just waited for us. And all the sudden there was Stubby inviting me to swim with him. I tried some tricks: sometimes he swam with me and sometimes I swam with him. Sometimes we just swam eye to eye, mutually curious. Being in the company of Stubby is a lot different than being in the company of the young teenage dolphins who seemed to be kind of laughing at me. It was like being the in the presence of someone wise; someone who’s seen years of life in the ocean: a lot of hard times and good times and survived it all. Another intelligence. I felt very peaceful: maybe he could detect my mood, ‘cause he seemed to be too. It’s getting late: you know that peaceful time just before twilight: the water was calm and it seemed like we were too. Maybe he was picking up my emotion, you know dolphins can see right through you with their sonar: maybe he was picking up my heartbeat. Maybe it was something else: I really would love to know. I’d love to figure out his language, understand what his clicking and whistling meant: make contact. But this is pretty nice: very close, very, very nice: the mutual observation.

– Robin Williams, 1994