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The Experiment – a short, mythological story

November contest

 

The Experiment

 

The colossal entity watched as the small beings struggled to finish their tower.

“They work diligently,” remarked his companion who was observing the ongoing construction with him.  “Will they be allowed to complete it?”

“No,” was the reply.  “I have been ordered to stop them.  They seek to challenge us; they even think that by remaining there together, they can successfully war against us.  But, they must disperse out into the world as commanded.  If permitted to finish this building, that will not occur.  They will stagnate at this level.”

“Perhaps if you were to demonstrate to them that they cannot win at such an action, and tell them they must scatter in order to grow–”

He shook one of his middle heads while turning the far left one to consider his companion.  “Demonstrations do not convince them for long, and they have been told; however, they have no understanding of the meaning of a stagnant society, and see no merit in separating.”

His companion contemplated this is silence for a moment, the three eyes in her farthest head on her right blinking at him thoughtfully, then she shrugged her many shoulders, her rows of iridescent wings shifting slightly, and said, “I suppose you are right.  Still, they are resourceful, and, occasionally one will listen.”  She chuckled with five of her throats.  “I thought surely they would all be washed away when our project head became angry and decided to terminate our handiwork.  I am glad he relented and allowed the building of the ark.  At least some survived.”

“Yes, it is also good that they are prolific, otherwise they would be too few to be viable.  But now, they must disband into separate groups for diversification, or this will still fail, and they will never become that for which we are striving.”

He surveyed the little bipeds scurrying up and down the path that spiraled up the side of the brick-built tower, urging their work animals on.  They were nearly finished.

He sighed with regret as he activated the neuron scrambler that would disrupt the language center in their brains, causing their one language to become many.  He would not have minded seeing the tower completed.  Though crude, it was quite an interesting artifact.

He was impressed that these creatures they had fashioned from microscopic organisms and cultivated over such a short span of time, had already been able to do this.  But, the tower had to go.  This action was imperative in order to enable them to advance and reach a certain level.

He switched on the teleporter and began shifting the tiny individuals to different areas of the small blue globe.

Then, he and his companion watched with satisfaction as the miniscule beings, who believed them to be gods, oriented themselves and began to band together in small groups.

The project head would be pleased.  The experiment to prove this a good method of bringing their necessary food to a nutritious fruition was back on track.

 

END

Intervention – a Valentine drabble

“I don’t know.”  He shook his head, dubiously.  “Are you sure we shouldn’t stay out of this?”

“It needs to stop,” she replied.

They watched the couple as they snarled and screamed, angrily going at each other with everything they could get their hands on.

“Ooo…that was nasty! Hurry!”

He nodded and loosed his arrows at the two, striking both.

The angel dropped her lightning and the demon dropped his fireballs as they ran and clasped each other in a tight embrace, cooing sweet words of eternal love.

“See, Cupid? Told you it would work!” exclaimed Venus.  “Love always does.”

End

Tatters – a drabble

I mourn as I try to hold the ragged fragments in my hands.  They bleed through my fingers, falling softly and settling into a small, sad heap.

My heart is heavy as I make careful attempts at rescue.  It is of no use.  Try as I might, I cannot make it whole again; my feeble efforts only cause further damage.

I voice my anguish to an empty room.  It was a great idea for a story, written on a napkin.  Why didn’t I empty the pockets of my jeans before I threw them in the wash?  Now it’s forever gone.

End

Don’t Wait, Write When You Can

Recently, I was asked by a young woman why I waited so long to begin writing, to which I replied, I didn’t wait.

I’ve always written.  When I was a small child, I wrote little stories – mostly based on fairy tales I’d read – and poems.  When I was a teen, I wrote, usually as an assignment from my English teacher, but sometimes because I just wanted to.  Also, as a lot of teens did (perhaps still do), I kept a diary from time to time.

Then, I fell in love and began marriage and motherhood when I was eighteen.  Not a good choice on my part, but, at the time, nobody could tell me it wasn’t.  Ten years and three children later, I was divorced.

In between taking care of my kids, my household, and sometimes working two jobs but always at least one, and all the overtime I could get (not to mention going to school at the community college!), there wasn’t much time for writing though I would often get ideas for a story and scribble them down on whatever was handy.  Then I’d put them in a drawer and somehow, over the years, I never got time to finish any.

Then, six years ago, I retired (yayyy!) and three years ago I found one of the few stories on which I’d actually managed to get several thousand words written.  I had transcribed it into Word, and saved and moved it every time I got a new computer.

Gone were the days I ran from one job to another, or stayed late at my fulltime one and dragged home so tired I’d fall asleep in the shower, or try to read a book only to wake up with it on my face (though I still managed to get in some reading – couldn’t have made it without that!).

As I read over that unfinished story, it occurred to me that I now had time to write, and a strange thing began to happen.  It started to seem as if the characters were speaking to me, telling me the story, urging me to write it down.  So, I did, and before I knew it, I found I’d written the first book in my Boucher’s World series, which now consists of a trilogy, a full-length, stand-alone novel, two novellas, two novelettes, and a short story.

I had written enough material for several stories in that particular universe, and even now, those characters call out to me, though I now have another series (the Juri Turner Spaceships and Magic series ) for which I’ve published book one and am halfway through book two, pulling at me for my attention.  I’ve written other stories (the Cady and Sam werewolf stories) with more to come.

I did wait to publish but that was mainly because I wasn’t writing to publish.  I was writing because I couldn’t not write (yeah, I know that ain’t grammatically correct as auto-correct just pointed out to me, but it’s true, so shut up, auto-correct!), but after a while I did sort of want someone other than family and friends to read my stories so as soon as I discovered I could publish as an independent author, and for practically nothing, I did (I’m now into that fixed-income thing, sooo…practically nothing, or free, is good).

The point is, and I repeat: I did not wait to write.  I guess you could say I kind of dodged between the raindrops and skated around potholes and wrote when I could.

If you want to write, if you have to write, then do it.  Any way you can.

And I hope to write until I’m dead.  And even afterward if I can swing it.

And God Said… (a short story)

 

extra image 37

And God said, “Let there be light!”

And Mrs. God said, “Wait!  Not yet!”

But it was too late.  The whole thing started glowing, shooting out beams in every direction.  It began bulging, and suddenly, the infinitesimal point ruptured, exploding with a big bang.

Mrs. God looked over at Her impulsive Husband with disgust.  “Now why did you do that?  I was trying to tell you to wait! It’s too soon, it wasn’t quite ready.”  She gazed at the nascent little universe expanding in front of Them.  She shook her head and sighed heavily.  “It’s going to have a tough time after such a premature start.”

God stared down at what He had wrought, thinking.  He drummed his fingers against His leg.  He was thinking very hard.  His Wife was right – as usual.

Finally, He said, “Well, I guess I have two choices here: I can either wipe it out and start over, or let it ride, see what happens.”  He glanced at His Wife sideways, trying to judge from Her expression which way She might want Him to go with this.

Admittedly, He had jumped the gun on this one.  He hadn’t meant to, it’s just that He’d been a bit distracted, and hadn’t been paying attention to the time.

He wasn’t getting anything from His Wife’s noncommittal face, so He turned back to look at the little growing universe, which by now had spread even further and had coalesced all sorts of galaxies with stars and planets, and was in the process of trying to fill itself up.  Which wasn’t happening because it kept spreading out in all directions, leaving more space in its wake.

Mrs. God was looking at the thing closely, when She noticed something.

“Isn’t something moving on one of those planets it’s formed in the middle?”

“Where?”

“There.  See the big star in the middle?  It’s got four planets, three big ones, and that one little one.  There’s something moving on the little one.”  She pointed it out to him.  “See?”

He peered at the planet and saw that She was right.  There was something moving there.

“Well, darned if You aren’t right again!  That’s definitely a living creature!” He sighed with frustration.  That shouldn’t have happened, yet.

The tiny universe was taking on a life of its own.  He looked out over His creation, taking in the stars and worlds that had formed and were still forming, noting how many had developed life.

After a few minutes, He noticed that one little yellow star that had arisen out near the edge of its galaxy, had accumulated eight or nine planets.  God looked closely at the third one out from the star, and saw it had spawned some familiar looking creatures.

With exasperation, He saw all manner of dinosaurs, some small, some large.

Tsk.  Dinosaurs never made anything of themselves.  He watched them for a while but soon began to lose interest.  As He’d thought they would, they just went around eating, sleeping, and procreating.  It was the only thing these types were ever interested in doing.

“What’s going on with that world, Dear?” asked Mrs. God, curious as to why Her Husband was staring so.

“Nothing much,” He sighed, with a shrug.  “Doesn’t look as if anything of interest will ever happen there.  It’s one of those worlds that will just spin until its star burns out in a few billion years.”

“Hmm,” said Mrs. God.

She knew He’d originally had great plans for this universe, and was disappointed that it had been birthed too soon.  She hated to see him so out of sorts, so She thought about it for a moment, and then got an idea.

She carefully scrutinized the miniscule planet, and saw something else there: some very small creatures that stole the eggs of the larger ones whenever they got the chance.  These little guys were different but they were never going to get anywhere with all those lumbering titans around.  At least not the way things were going for them now.

When God wasn’t looking, She stretched forth Her hand and flicked some space debris toward the planet where it hit with a crunch.  She smiled to Herself and sat back to see what Her Husband would do.

“What happened?” asked God when he turned back to look and saw the puffs of smoke on the little planet.  He studied it for a moment then realized something had rammed into it.

“Oh, looks like some meteors have taken out the dinosaurs.  Well, no loss.  They weren’t doing much of anything anyway.”  He shrugged, and turned to leave.

“Wait!” exclaimed Mrs. God, annoyed He was merely going to turn away. “Look.  Another creature has risen up, something different.  Aren’t You Interested in seeing what they’ll do?  They seem to be at least a little swifter in the mind than the dinosaurs; interested in a bit more than just the basics.”

He stared at the new creatures for a few seconds, debating with Himself on whether to just get it over with, finish the whole thing off right now and start over.

Mrs. God could see Him trying to make up His mind.  “Well, what are you going to do?”

He thought for another second, contemplating these new beings.  He looked around the little universe, shrugged and reached out to begin wiping the slate clean, but then, He saw one look up.  That was new, and it made Him smile, so He made his decision:  “I’ll just let it ride”.

End

Reflections

Well, a new year is here, and as I do every year at this time, I tend to get a little introspective.  I suppose everyone looks back over the past year remembering the good, the not-so-good, the neutral, making excuses for reneging on those resolutions made the year before, and goals met or unmet.  And I suppose that’s normal.

Among other things, I’ve been reflecting on my health.  One thing that has made me do this is the fact that on December eighteenth, my two-years-older-than-me brother died.  Yeah.  He was sixty-nine years old, and he died suddenly of a massive heart attack.  He’s already terribly missed.  This worked to put a real damper on the holidays.

Still, while it was a shock, I guess it shouldn’t have been totally unexpected since he was on blood thinners, which I understand he sometimes missed taking.  But, that’s life.  We are here for a while, then one day something comes along and takes us out.  It’s the natural order of things.

Makes me think, though.  My mother lived to be eighty-six before she died of liver cancer.  I had another brother to die in two thousand and two at the age of fifty-nine, of colon cancer, and after thinking about it, I realized a lot of my relatives die of either some sort of cancer, or of heart disease.  Another thing that’s making me think about health is that I managed to get the flu in spite of having gotten the shot back in October, so have been feeling pretty rotten.  Just points out that, sometimes, even when you do the right thing, it doesn’t work out.

So.  I had my first colonoscopy at the age of fifty, and because they always find polyps, and because my brother died of colon cancer, I have to get one every five years.  I am also a diabetic, which so far I’ve been able to control with diet and exercise, and I have high cholesterol, my blood pressure is creeping up, and lately I’ve been plagued with a “frozen shoulder” – which may not be fatal but is surely painful, especially the exercises my therapist has me doing, and let us not forget my shingles that keep recurring.  My eye doctor tells me I have cataracts – nothing has to be done about it, yet – and dry eye, for which I have drops.

I guess I have a lot of the creaks and complaints that come with aging, including the fact that my knees and fingers sometimes don’t work that well due to arthritis.  All things that indicate that I’m into the slide everyone does when going downhill.

Now, mostly, I can’t complain.  I have a lot to be thankful for.  Other than the aforementioned troubles, I’m otherwise healthy,  I have health insurance, a house in which to live, a car to drive (yeah, it’s ten years old but it runs!), clothes to wear, food to eat, and best of all, I have a family who loves me.  I just take whatever pill I need to take, or do the assigned exercises and try to eat as right as I can.

After all, nobody lives forever and this is a thought that doesn’t bother me.  It’s the way things are, and anyway, what would happen if the old didn’t move out the way for new people?  Think about the mess that would make.

But what all this says to me is that I need to type faster.  I have Word 2010 and a whole lot of stories still in my head. I want to get as many of them written down as I can before I go.

 

The Door Part 1: Down the Alley

Summer was good.  Late spring, okay.  So was early fall.  But winter was dying time for the homeless.

Sammy followed the two boys through the snow and stopped on the sidewalk peeking around the corner and down the alley they’d entered.  He watched as they stopped at an oddly shaped door, opened it and disappeared into the lighted interior.

He ran down the alley wanting to see.  The door was closing but what he glimpsed caused his mouth to drop open.

He raced back to the shallow doorway where his little sister, Maddie, huddled.

Perhaps they wouldn’t die after all.

 

The Door Part 2: Leaving

“Where we goin’?”

“It’s a su’prise.”

“We goin’ to th’ mall to git warm?”

“Uh-uh.  Told ya, it’s a su’prise.  Wait ‘n see.”

“’Kay, Sammy.”

He hurried his little sister into the alley halting in front of the strange, wooden door.  He twisted the knob and pushed.  A brilliant light swept into the alley.

“C’mon,” he said, smiling.

They stepped into a warm, sunlit landscape filled with wondrous things.  Maddie squealed with delight, eyes wide, as the door slowly swung shut on the frozen world behind.

Outside, only small footprints in the deep snow ending at a blank wall remained.

 

The Door Part 3: Otherland

A small, smiling elf greeted them as the door closed.  “Welcome, Sammy and Maddie!” it exclaimed.  “I’m Tony.”

“Where we at?” asked Sammy.

“A great place!  Always warm, plenty of food, lots of toys.  It’s called Otherland.  Look around, check it out!”

“How long kin we stay?”

“Forever, Maddie.”

It was wonderful.  All manners of delicious food grew on trees, incredible toys waited for them.

They were hungry so they ate first then played happily.  Until the fiery monster came.

Maddie screamed, Sammy grabbed her hand and raced back the way they’d come.

The door was gone.  Flames licked out.

 

The Door Part 4: The Monster

Fire washed over them.  Sammy held Maddie close, sorry he’d brought them here.

“Well, what are you waiting for?” came a voice from above them.

“Huh?” Amazed, Sammy realized they weren’t burned.

He looked at Maddie and saw she was clean and sparkling.  So was he.  He looked up at the white haired, red monster.

“Whut’d you do?” he asked, puzzled.

“Gave you a bath, what else? You were dirty. Didn’t Tony tell you?”

“No.”

“Darn that elf!  Well, come on, it’s time for bed.”

Taking them both by the hand, Santa lead the children off into their new life.

 

*Note: This was written as a drabble series.  Each part is exactly one hundred words long (not counting the titles).

First, let me say that it has been a while since I read a vampire story, but of course I’ve heard of, and read the synopses and samples of several popular such books, including the ones that were made into a series of movies.

To my pleasant surprise, this one is not like those.  It has a much different (and, in my opinion, much better) plot, and while I generally don’t care for prologs, the one for this book was really good.  It gives the prehistory that explains the circumstances in the story without over-telling, or getting too long and convoluted.

This is not your usual vampire story and I’d like to thank the author, and ebook Miner at Goodreads, for giving it to me for free in return for an honest review.

I’m not much for reading romance and this book does have that element, which is great for those who love romance with their paranormal.  This story, in fact, has a fair amount of elements common to paranormal/fantasy, but the author has managed to present them in such a manner that makes for quite a different and interesting read.

My only criticism is I felt the book would have benefited from at least one more edit as I noticed a few inconsistencies and errors, and some repetitions, that I think would have been caught with another one.

However, for the most part, it is pretty well written and the author seems to have a touch for this kind of tale.  This was an enjoyable read and a great beginning to the series.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has a liking for paranormal/vampire/fantasy.

Second Coming: It’s all just a game by Andrew Smith

 

This is a very well written mystery/ thriller/supernatural/horror story which also dips into metaphysics.  I know that’s a mouthful, but that’s how I see it.  Not to mention the very interesting historical component involving the Crusades.  This story has a lot of twists, and I’m going to be as general as possible as I don’t want to introduce any spoilers, but it’s definitely not for children or the faint of heart.   There is no fluff involved here.   This is deep and dark with lots of violent action, and a lot of the horror is not of the supernatural variety.

The book starts a little slow, in Jerusalem, with the very pregnant wife of the protagonist, Charles, stopping on a lark to see a fortune teller, or oracle, and immediately getting into a situation that went terribly wrong.  The plot builds up from there, and  I must admit that at first I thought it wasn’t going to be my kind of story or to my tastes at all because of the violence, or the political/religious aspects, and I’m not much into either of those.  If you feel that way, I would advise you to keep reading.  I did, and am extremely glad I did.

The author is so descriptive with his characters that in short order, the reader gets to know them well and they become real people with personalities that are likeable (or not, such as the priest Estevez).  One can get pissed at them for doing something thoughtless, such as Charles’ seeming obliviousness in certain areas of his life which, among other things, strains his relationship with his son, Marcus.

There are plots and subplots, and things are not all black or white; the reader gets a sense of people doing the things they do because they believe it’s their duty or is the right thing to do (even if they’re wrong).  These are not cardboard characters; even the bad guys have layers (though some are what I, or anybody else, would consider to be just plain bad).    We learn a great deal about the revenant, Izz al-Din, and to my shock, there came a point where I found myself actually sympathizing with him, and believe me, I can’t remember a time when I’ve done that before!  And, he’s a truly bad, bad guy.  Trust me: this bad guy’s story has a real twist, in more ways than one.   The author sure knows how to surprise you and how to use words to paint images so you actually see a particular scene, some of which get pretty graphic.

This is a full-length, standalone novel but did leave what can only be construed as some “loose ends”, so I’m sincerely hoping there’s a sequel in the works.  In the meantime, this book is a highly intriguing, thrilling and enjoyable read.

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