Sometimes my imagination needs a little help to create a new monster or alien. Our own planet is a great source of ideas.
1 Saiga Antelope
This interesting looking combo of an elephant and a deer is a critically endangered species currently only found in Russia and Kazakhstan on the steppe. Since 2015 the remaining herds have been afflicted by a mysterious illness. Once infected, the entire herd dies.
2 Red-Lipped Batfish
It is found around the Galapagos Islands and is a poor swimmer. They use their pectoral fins to ‘walk’ on the ocean floor.
3 Pyura Chileasis – The Living Rock
Found around the subtidal coast of Chile and Peru. Living Rocks clump together in large groups. They feed by sucking seaweed. People do eat it. It is said to have a flavor similar to the sea urchin with a stronger iodine flavor and a bitter soapy taste. I think I’ll pass. Have any of you eaten it?
4 Sarcastic Fringehead
What a great name! These fish have no scales and are found on the Pacific Coast between San Francisco and Baja, California. They have huge mouths and are extremely aggressive. Watch them in action!
5 Lowland Streaked Tenrec
Found in the lowland rainforest of Madagascar, this animal has a long snout and limbs. It uses its quills for defense and to communicate. It is the only known mammal to use stridulation (rubbing body parts together) for generating sound, a method more often used by insects and snakes.
You can find a bonus 6th creature on Untethered Realms. Ooo!
Heart in a Box
- YA contemporary romance
- Inkspell Teen
- Catherine Stine
- An Amazon “Hot New Release” in Teen & Alternative Family
Each heartbeat leads Joss closer to a shocking truth that will change everything.
Joss Olstad wins the fight to switch from her private school to a public high to “find her pieces” she lost when the Indian artist father she never knew died. There, Joss struggles with a slutty friend, who flirts with her new love; Indian Culture Club girls who press her on her past, as well as her stoner mother’s lies back at home. Armed only with her handmade heart boxes that hold private messages, Joss’s search for identity leads her to a scary industrial section of Queens, and a shocking family secret that changes everything.
Thoughts on school veer off when I spot the box on my mother’s night table. The box. I know its black, lacquered form by heart. It’s the size of a large jewelry box. My father painted it with Bengali pink roses and a tangle of red cardinal vines. He must’ve used the tiniest brush, as if the objects inside were treasures—emeralds from Mumbai or silk doll clothes from Kancheepuram.
The box sits next to Mom’s organic remedies: tea-tree oil, Saint John’s Wort, aromatherapy ampules, zinc, monster-dose wheat grass capsules. She thinks these keep her functional. But I see how one accelerates her and the next slows her down, adding up to zero. The box is close enough she doesn’t even have to get out of bed in the morning. She can reach, with trembling fingers, light up and space out even before her first cup of black tea.
I crack open the box. Pre-rolled blunts sit like tainted royalty on a plush, purple pillow. Their sharp floral resin makes me sneeze.
Once when I was twelve, Mom offered me a doob after closing the store for the night. She claimed to be worried about how uptight I was getting. It was around the time when I was sprouting zits, boobs, hips and my period. Who wouldn’t be down in the dumps? Mom claimed that if I got stoned I might relax. “Cave women probably used it for cramps, before all these greedy pharmacists crawled on the earth, trying to sell Midol and Tylenol and—”
“Gee, thanks,” I snapped. “Are you serious? You want me to be a stoner too?”
“Darling, I want you to be less anxious, that’s all. I want you to be whoever you want to be,” Mom answered cryptically. “Look, weed is superior to all those anti-depressants shrinks prescribe to kids these days. It won’t poison your liver like Prozac. It’s organic.”
“Arsenic’s organic too,” I argued. Plus, some kids at my school would bounce off the walls without their so-called evil-shrink pills. But maybe I was too stiff.
Soon after, I opened the box, took one and lit up. After only two inhales, I felt trapped inside a thick glass room. Then, when I ventured down to the street for a soda, people seemed in a galaxy eons away. It scared me. I vowed not to try it again. How could my mother stand to feel so cut off? Or was it different for her?
Find out about that 6th incredible creature by visiting Untethered Realms!