Texas Cousins Adventure: Here there be Dragons (Part 4)

Texas Cousins (Picture stolen from Liz)

Texas Cousins
(Picture stolen from Liz)

Spread out under the big Texas sky, seven cousins waited with bright eyes and perked up ears to see if they were safe or dragon dinner. Aunt Abby took her time settling in on Auntie Janet’s quilt. First, a drink of cool water, then she fixed Ellie’s hair, kissed Imogene, growled at Bruce, hugged Jules, seriously examined Joshua’s cars and trucks, tidied Constance’s braid, and at last, after spinning Jude through the air, sat down.

“Aunt Abby,” Jules said. “What about the eyes glowing in the dark.”

“Blue and green,” Imogene said.

“And Max,” said Ellie.

“I’m carrying him,” said Bruce holding out his hands cupped together.

“He’s so cute,” Constance said pretending to pet Max.

“Boys aren’t cute!” Joshua, Jude, and Bruce said all together.

“Well, we better start the story,” Aunt Abby said.

“Once upon a time…”


“Who dares to enter my chamber?” a deep, dark voice said.

“Well, it’s really more our chamber,” said another voice.

“Oh right, sorry,” said the deep dark voice sounding less deep and dark. It cleared its throat while the green eyes blinked away and then reappeared. “Who dares to enter our chamber?”

“Quick!” said Max. “Make animal noises. It’ll frighten them away.”

“No it will—” the dark voice started.

Quick as a whip, Constance started making a high-pitched, very demanding guinea pig squeak. It echoed through the cavern. Max shone just enough for all six of her cousins to turn and look at her. Joshua laughed and began barking like a dog. Jules meowed loudly like a very annoyed cat. Ellie trumpeted like an elephant. Imogene cawed like a crow. With each noise, Max glowed brighter and brighter. Bruce growled like a big lion and Jude mooed like a big angry bull.

“I’m not cawing like a crow,” Imogene said.

“Oh, you’re not?” Aunt Abby said.

“Yes, I am,” she said with a smile.

Aunt Abby shook her head.

“I sound like this,” Bruce said with a wild growl.

“Very good. You sound very big and brave.”

Everyone clamored to make their animal noise as big and brave as possible. It took several demonstrations.

The chamber vibrated with the sound of wildlife. Max’s blue glow shined. Suddenly, a scaled, smoking, green nose stuck right into the circle of light.


The cousins shrieked and huddled together.

“Must you really be so loud? The eggs are sleeping, you know,” said another nose, this one a sky blue, appearing in Max’s blue circle of light.

“Wait! Eggs!” Jules said.

“Do you have Alchemist and Oceana’s eggs?” Bruce said stepping forward and holding Max high.

The light from the glowworm reflected off the green and blue scales of the two dragons somewhat smaller than Alchemist and Oceana. Their wings were not quite as wide and their heads were rounder and less pointy.

“Who are you?” asked Constance.

“Us?” said the green dragon. “Why I’m Cosmos and this is Zephyr.”

“Do you have their eggs?” Jules demanded stomping one foot.

Jude rushed to Bruce’s side raising one eyebrow in an intimidating glare.

“We’re here to rescue them,” said Joshua.

“It’s not nice to take people’s eggs,” said Imogene.

“We’re not afraid of you,” said Ellie.

Cosmos and Zephyr stared down at the line of seven brave children, who despite being smaller than them, much smaller, still courageously tried to help the parents waiting outside the cavern.

“Why should you be afraid of us?” said Zephyr. “We wouldn’t hurt you.”

“You wouldn’t?” Jules said with a frown. “Then why’d you take the eggs? Aren’t you bad?”

The others nodded and growled in agreement.

“Bad? Us?” Cosmos said. “No. These are our cousins. Alchemist and Oceana are our uncle and aunt. We brought the eggs in here to protect them from the evil boy who was throwing rocks at them. When we stepped in here we got trapped.”

“Then why’d you use your scary voice?” Imogene asked.

“Because we didn’t know you were seven brave children. We were afraid you were that mean boy again.”

Someone in the deep part of the chamber where Max’s light couldn’t reach laughed. He laughed a big, evil laugh.

“Mwahahahahah! Mwahahahahah!”

The cousins hurried to the dragons huddling around their knees. Cosmos and Zephyr turned to face the laugh protecting the eggs behind them.

“Now I have all of you right where I want you,” said the laugher. He stepped into the light.

The cousins gasped. He was the biggest little boy they had ever seen. Twice as tall as Bruce with black hair and a snarling face.

“Give me the dragon eggs!”

“Never!” shouted Cosmos.

“They’re not yours.”

“They will be mine!”

Jules counted heads. “Bruce,” she whispered. “There are seven of us and only one of him.”

Bruce counted heads. He nodded. Very carefully he set Max on Cosmos’ shoulder. “Jude, count to three.”

“Jude can’t count yet,” Bruce whispered.

“In the story he’s a little older,” Aunt Abby whispered back.

“Am I older?” Bruce said.

“Older and a little taller.”

“Me too?” Jules said.

“Yes you, too.”

“One. Two. Three,” Jude said.

“Charge!” shouted Ellie.

Constance, Joshua, Jules, Ellie, Bruce, Jude, and Imogene rushed the big, bad boy. They knocked him over onto the floor, kicking and punching him.

“Animal noises,” Max said.

Growling, barking, mooing, squeaking, meowing, cawing, and trumpeting filled the chamber.

“I surrender. I surrender,” moaned the bad boy who didn’t seem so big anymore.

“Huzzah!” shouted Cosmos in triumph.

“Hip, hip, hooray!” said Zephyr.

“We did it!” said Bruce.

“Hurry, we need to take the eggs back to Oceana and Alchemist!” Jules said.

Cosmos and Zephyr took the bad boy by the arms. Jules and Constance grabbed up one black egg, while Imogene and Jude gathered up the other one. Bruce took Max back to light the way while Ellie and Joshua kept an eye out for any other bad children who might spring from the shadows. Max led them out by a different tunnel even the young dragons could pass through. They reached the cave entrance where they had to come through in cousin pairs instead of sibling pairs and stopped.

“How do we get out?” Ellie asked.

“Just asked the cave nicely to open,” said Max. “It’s always better to try being polite first before breaking things.”

“They weren’t polite to me,” grumbled the bad boy.

“Because you, sir, were already being bad,” Max said glaring at him. Turning to everyone else he said, “Now dear friends, I must remain here in the cave. The outside world with all its sunshine is no place for a glowworm. Come visit any time.”

Bruce set Max on a little ledge in the cave walls. Each of the girls kissed him on his cute little head.

“Off with you now,” he said gently.

“Mr. Cave sir,” Jules started. “Please open.”

“What if it’s a girl?” Constance whispered.

The Cave opened wide, wide enough for even Cosmos and Zephyr to get out.

“I guess it was a boy,” Joshua said with a smile.

Oceana and Alchemist rushed forward with shouts of joy. They took their eggs and resettled them in their nests before kissing and hugging their nephew and niece.

“You two,” Alchemist said staring down at the bad boy who looked even smaller out in the sunlight, “take this boy home to his parents, and tell them the trouble he’s in.”

Cosmos and Zephyr told the seven cousins from Texas good-bye and marched the bad boy off into the forest.

“Well children, it’s time I take you home to your own beds,” Alchemist said.

“We can never tell you how grateful we are for all you’ve done,” Oceana said. She kissed each of the cousins on the head, even the boys.

“Now! Home,” Alchemist said. He gathered the children on his back, and, with a few beats of his mighty wings, took to the sky.

The door to their room opened quietly. Outside Jules’ window the street light still shone in the warm night. The cousins all kissed Alchemist nose in farewell and climbed into their respective beds and sleeping bags.

“I’ll leave you each seven pieces of paper with a door drawn on them. If you ever need me and my help, all you must do is tap the door with your finger and say my name. I will come on swift wings.”

They all quietly hugged Alchemist again as they soberly accepted the drawings of vine-covered doors with dragon doorknobs.

“Sleep well,” Alchemist whispered and disappeared.

The seven Texas cousins stared up at the ceiling each silent, thinking, none of them sleeping.

Suddenly Ellie sat up with a wide grin. “That was awesome.”

Laughing, they all agreed.


“The end!” said Aunt Abby.

“That was awesome,” Bruce said. “We took down that bad boy.”

“Yes, we did!” said Jules emphatically.

“We got Oceana her eggs back,” Constance said.

“We’re heroes!” Joshua exclaimed leaping to his feet and swinging an invisible sword.

Jude and Imogene joined him in the pretend sword fight squealing and laughing.

“Tell us another one,” Ellie said.

Aunt Abby groaned. “Don’t you ever get tired of stories?”


The End


This is Jules and her Jaguar. Behind her is the picture of a dragon that I drew for her sparking this story.

This is Jules and her Jaguar. Behind her is the picture of a dragon that I drew for her sparking this story.

Constance and Joshua!

Constance and Joshua!

One of my favorite faces!

One of my favorite faces!

Jude, our littlest man!

Jude, our littlest man!

Bruce showing off some muscles!

Bruce showing off some muscles!

Imogene testing out her first lemon.

Imogene testing out her first lemon.

Texas Cousins Adventure: Here there be Dragons (Part 3)

Texas Cousins (Picture stolen from Liz)

Texas Cousins
(Picture stolen from Liz)

(Part 1)

(Part 2)

Sitting around the large dining room table, seven cousins and one aunt passed around chips, raisins, marshmallows, animal crackers, jelly beans, and even a few healthy carrot sticks and strawberries.

“Aunt Abby,” Bruce said. “Tell us the story.”

“Yes!” the other six cousins chorused.

“Now!?” gasped Aunt Abby with a twinkle in her eye.

“Now!” all seven screamed with their outside voices.

Aunt Abby laughed. “Okay, where were we . . .?

“In the Cave,” Jules whispered.

“Oh, right, in the cave.”


The seven cousins, hand in hand, and brave Ellie crept into the dark, dark cave.

“It’s very dark,” said Constance.

“Is it scary?” said Jules.

“I’m not scared,” said Bruce

“Me either,” said Joshua

“It’s not scary,” said Aunt Abby. “Just dark.

They stood just inside the very small door. How could they find the egg if they couldn’t see?

“Well now, well now, what have we ‘er?” a high-pitched voice rang out of the darkness.

“You sound funny, Aunt Abby,” Jules said.

“You sound like Kipper,” Constance said.

“Yes, it’s called a British accent,” Aunt Abby said.

The seven cousins huddled together.

“It’s just us,” Bruce said.

“Us. Who’s us?” said the voice.

“Us. Julie, Ellie, Constance, Joshua, Imogene, Jude and me,” said Bruce.

“My names not Jules,” Jules said. “Or Julie-bear, or Julie, or even Party Girl. My name’s Queen Party Girl.”

“Yes,” Aunt Abby said seriously, “but in this story it’s just Jules, or things get confusing.”

“Who are you?” the voice asked.

“I’m Bruce.”

“Who are you?” Imogene asked.

“Yeah?” said Ellie.

“Me? Why I’m Max, the glow worm.”

A soft blue light infused the cave. The cousins blinked and stepped back from the glowing little worm clinging to the wall. Far overhead, the roof was still lost in shadow.

“You’re very pretty, Mr. Max,” Jules said.

“He’s not pretty,” Constance said. “He’s cute!”

“Boys aren’t cute,” Bruce said.

“Or pretty,” Joshua added.

Jude threw in a growl for good measure.

“Now, now,” said Max. “I’m not offended. But I am curious. What are seven tikes like you doing in this dragon cave?”

“We’re helping Alchemist and Oceana find their egg,” said Jules.

“They lost it,” Constance said.

“It’s very sad,” said Ellie.

“Very,” said Imogene.

“Do you boys think it’s sad?” Max asked.

“It was a curse,” said Bruce.

“That’s something evil,” said Joshua.

“And bad,” added Jude with another growl.

“I see,” said Max. He glanced up at the ceiling for several seconds. “Right-o. I know what I’m gonna do. I’m going with you.”

“You are!” they all said together.

“Yes, but you’re going to have to be a lot quieter than that,” he said.

“Why?” Bruce said.

“Cause there are two dragons in the other room?”

“Are they bad dragons? Do they breathe fire?” Bruce said.

“Well, honestly, I’m not quite sure.”

“We should go look,” Joshua said.

“Yes!” Imogene said taking Jude’s hand. “Which way?”

“Well, one of you pick me up and I’ll guide you.”

Jules backed away, but Bruce hurried over to the glowing worm and held out his hands.

“Now, don’t squish me, lad. Just leave your hands open and I’ll tell you where to go.”

“I won’t squish you,” Bruce said.

“Good boy,” said Max. “Look over to your left. No, your other left. Do you see that tunnel?”

“Yes,” said Bruce.

“Go that way,” Max said.

With Bruce leading the way, the seven cousins hurried across the cave to towards the tunnel mouth.

“Stop!” yelled Max.

Bruce stopped. Jules stopped. Constance and Joshua tried to stop. Ellie, Imogene, and Jude didn’t stop. They ran right into Constance and Joshua. Constance and Joshua fell forward bumping into Jules. Jules screamed and accidently pushed Bruce right through the tunnel mouth. Suddenly! There was no floor. The fell down down down. Every one screamed and tumbled. Arms and legs flew this way and that. A shoe almost hit Bruce in the head. Several pink barrettes flew out of Jules hair. Ellie laughed shrilly and Imogene screamed with joy, her red hair streaming out behind her.

Woosh! Seven children and one glow worm landed in a pile of feathers. The feathers drifted up around them, floating in the air.

“Achoo!” Jude sneezed.

“Bless you,” said Imogene.

“Now where are we?” Jules asked.

“We’re in the hall of feathers—”

Max cut off with a little high-pitched shriek as Bruce fell through the feathers and into a small dark hole. The six other cousins found themselves too heavy for the bed of feathers. They fell through them giggling and laughing as the feathers tickled them and then down into the hole following Bruce and Max’s light.

Slipping and sliding, the cousins shot down the dark hole that had turned into a giant slide. It twisted around and around, went up up, down down, and around again. Flying out the end, they skid to a stop in a shallow but wide puddle of water.

“Let’s do that again!” Ellie said.

“No,” Jules said with a shudder. “Let’s not.”

“Puddle!” said Imogene and Jude together. They leapt to their feet and started splashing.

Constance, Joshua, and Jules joined in. Bruce held Max up high so he wouldn’t get wet, but then jumped so hard with both feet that he showered them in water.

“Goodness, goodness, I never,” Max sputtered.

“Who is splashing in my puddle?” A loud voice boomed in the small room.

All the cousins screamed and hugged each other. Max’s light went out. Two blue eyes and two green eyes glowed in the darkness.

“Well,” said Aunt Abby with a yawn and a stretch. “I think I need a nap.”

“No!!!” Imogene said. “You can’t nap now. What about us?”

“We’re in the dark with glowing eyes,” said Jude.

“Will they eat us?” said Bruce.

“Down in their tummies,” Aunt Abby said tickling him.

“Hurry, Aunt Abby,” Constance said. “Finish the story.”

“Okay, but first I need some hugs.”

Seven cousins gathered around her in one big family hug.

…to be continued…

Constance and Joshua!

Constance and Joshua!

One of my favorite faces!

One of my favorite faces!

Jude, our littlest man!

Jude, our littlest man!

Bruce showing off some muscles!

Bruce showing off some muscles!

Imogene testing out her first lemon.

Imogene testing out her first lemon.

This is Jules and her Jaguar. Behind her is the picture of a dragon that I drew for her sparking this story.

This is Jules and her Jaguar. Behind her is the picture of a dragon that I drew for her sparking this story.

A Texas Cousins Adventure: Here there be Dragons (Part 2)

Texas Cousins (Picture stolen from Liz)

Texas Cousins
(Picture stolen from Liz)

“Aunt Abby, Aunt Abby,” Jules ran up with a large water bottle. “Now you can finish the story!”

“Drink, drink,” said Ellie.

Constance, Joshua, Bruce, Jude, and Imogene gathered behind the two sisters encouraging Aunt Abby to hurry up with the drinking and get back to more important matters like saving the dragons.

“You know, I could really go for a snack,” Aunt Abby said.

“No,” whispered Constance. “We want to save the dragons.”

Aunt Abby laughed and gave her a big hug. “Okay, story now, snacks later.”

All the cousins cheered.

They settled in around Aunt Abby on Great-Auntie Janet’s quilt under the bright blue Texas sky filled with white puffy clouds.

“Once upon a time…”

Alchemist plummeted down down down. Some of the cousins screamed in delight and some in fear, but Alchemist didn’t let a single one of them fall off his back. Spinning in a tight cork-screw, he tucked in his wings and dropped through some large pine trees to the forest floor.

“Where are we? Jules asked.

“We’re in the forest,” Constance said waving her hand to indicate that the flat Texas yard had turned into a tree-filled forest.

Jules squinted. “Oh! I see it.”

“This is my forest,” Alchemist said. He spread his wings so the cousins could slide off his back down to the forest floor. Jules required a little cajoling, but Bruce and Joshua promised to catch her at the bottom, and she finally slid down too.

“Follow me,” Alchemist said.

The older cousins took the hands of the younger cousins and they all followed Alchemist through the tall swaying pines.

“It smells like Christmas,” Imogene said, smiling.

“We should sing a Christmas song,” Constance said.

“No,” said Bruce. “Don’t do that.”

“Yes,” said Joshua.

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,” Ellie started. Everyone, even Bruce, joined in. They sang loudly as they walked along through the Christmas smelling forest.

“I do hope you children are aware that it is June and Christmas is far away?” Alchemist said.

Before anyone could argue, Alchemist came to a stop. The forest had ended at the base of a large mountain topped with snow. A glimmering silver dragon passed back and forth, back and forth, at the mountains feet in front of a small hole.

“Oh Alchemist, you found them!” the dragon said with a smile.

“Of course I did, my dearest.”

“You’re a girl,” Ellie said.

“A girl dragon!” Jules hissed. “Is she a party girl?”

“Dragons aren’t party girls,” Joshua said, appalled at the idea.

“My dragon is,” Jules said.

“So is mine,” Constance said.

“Mine’s not,” said Ellie.

“Mine either,” said Bruce.

“Yours isn’t cause your dragon’s a boy,” Jules said wrapping her arms around her invisible dragon.

“Mine breaths FIRE!” Bruce said.

“Mine too,” said Jude, copying Jules and pretending to hug his dragon with little baby arms.

“Mine’s red,” said Imogene.

Everyone started yelling their favorite colors. It took Aunt Abby a few minutes to remind them of the story.

“Yes, I am a girl,” the silver dragon said nuzzling Ellie.

Ellie giggled.

“My name is Oceana. I’m Alchemist’s wife.”

“Why do you look sad,” Imogene said.

“Well,” Oceana turned her slim head to Imogene, “my egg is trapped in this mountain and I can’t get it out.”

“Oh, that is sad,” said Jules. She gave Oceana a hug around the neck.

“Why can’t you get your egg out?” Joshua said.

“It’s trapped inside. The hole is too little. Can you help us?”

“Yes!” everyone said at once.

“Come look,” Alchemist said. He led the cousins to a hole in the mountain. Seven rocks lined the hole each in different colors. “It’s guarded by a curse that we can’t break.”

“What’s a cures?” Jude asked holding Imogene’s hand as he studied the rocks around the hole.

“It’s something evil, and it’s keeping us from our egg.”

“Will it hurt?” asked Jules.

“I do not think it will. See, the hole can only be entered by seven children related by blood but not siblings.”

“Ellie’s my sister,” Jules said.

“Jude’s my brother,” said Bruce.

“Josh is my brother,” said Constance.

“Then you will have to enter by different pairs,” said Oceana. “Cousin pairs.”

The cousins studied one another. Jules took Constance’s hand. Imogene took Jude’s. Joshua and Bruce stood next to each other.

“What about Ellie?” Jules said. “She’s all alone.”

“Dear one,” Oceana said in her soft voice, “are you brave enough to walk through by yourself?”

Ellie grinned from ear to ear. “Jason’s my Daddy. Of course I’m brave enough!”

Settled into none sibling sets, and Ellie coming last, the cousins approached the hole in the mountain. Seven stones lined the hole, each one glowing a faint different color.

“What do we do now?” Bruce asked.

“Pink’s my favorite color,” Jules said touching the soft pink stone.

“Mine’s red!” Bruce said.

“Purple,” said Ellie.

“Green,” said Constance.

“Brown like a puppy,” said Joshua.

“Blue,” said Jude.

“Pumpkin,” said Imogene.

They each put their hand on one of the stones and the stones gleamed. The tiny hole opened enough to let the cousins from Texas walk through. Jules and Constance stepped through first. Jude and Imogene followed them. Bruce and Joshua came next with a glance back at Ellie. She turned and waved at the dragons before following her cousins into the mountain.

“Okay, break time,” Aunt Abby said.

The seven cousins gasped.

“You can’t stop there,” Joshua said.

“Do you need more water?” Constance asked.

“I’m brave,” said Ellie with a wide grin.

“I need a snack. Let’s go as Grammie for something to eat.”

“Then you’ll finish the story?” Bruce said.

“Promise,” said Aunt Abby.

To be continued…

(Part 1)

One of my favorite faces!

One of my favorite faces!

Jude, our littlest man!

Jude, our littlest man!

Bruce showing off some muscles!

Bruce showing off some muscles!

Imogene testing out her first lemon.

Imogene testing out her first lemon.

Jules and her Daddy, Jason!

Jules and her Daddy, Jason!

Constance and Joshua!

Constance and Joshua!