Garden Peace

Red bench with blue arms and legs, sitting against a fence covered in climbing vines.

Willow stepped back and gazed around at the back garden. It was starting to come together. There were flowers and other ornamental plants around the edges, and climbing roses at the two corners of the fence. The arch over the path leading into the woods behind the house would soon hold morning glories. She forgot the specific variety, but the nice guy at the nursery had said it was a native to the area, so that’s what she’d gone with.

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Unexpected Date Night

Late sunset view across water to low mountains.

“Mama! Mama! Loh-en’s toys!” Melia’s high, piping voice soared above the general din of the marketplace.

“I know sweetie. We’ll stop by and visit with Loren after we do our shopping, okay? We just need a couple more things for dinner.” Serena did her best to keep the exasperation and fatigue out of her voice. Normally, market days with Melia were a fun outing, with lots of exploring, questions, and sneaking in educational bits (well, those were fun for Serena). Today, however, Serena was exhausted from too little sleep, worry over Jake who was two days overdue with no word, and the usual, ongoing stress provided by the university with its never-ending requests for forms, details, and justifications.

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Old book lying open.

Willow pulled the book out from the back of the old bookcase. The ongoing rainstorm meant she’d spent today inside instead of finishing up the work in the garden. The old library, with its treasure trove of books, had practically demanded she spend some time going through its shelves.

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What Now?

Face of a quokka

“So you’re home at last. About dang time.”

Gavin looked around for the source of the comment. He spotted a small, furry creature, about the size of a cat, sitting on the edge of a weathered pot holding a fake palm tree. His neighbor, Mrs. Colfax liked to fill the shared front walkway between their apartments with a variety of fake tropical plants. She claimed it made her feel like she was on vacation. As long as she kept bringing over cookies and cupcakes, Gavin wasn’t going to argue with her.

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White wolf lying behind a tree.

Willow stood at the edge of her garden, staring at the new arrival. Rocky stood behind her, clutching her leg. While he had promised that he and his clan would not allow any harm to come to Will while she lived in Hidden Shores, she really couldn’t blame him for hiding right now. Even with a clearly injured leg, the wolf standing where the back of the garden met the tree line was still very large and very scary.

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Ground Defense

thorn hedge

“Don’t forget to take notes of everything you do… what time you started, step one, step two… on down to what time you stopped. Or what time everything exploded. Whichever comes first.” Professor Jenkins leaned over Kyle’s shoulder as he made his way down the row of students hunched over lab tables. He paused and squinted at the test tube in Kyle’s hand. “Have you tried diluting it?”

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