Tag Archives: serialized story

Presence – Of Wind and Wings

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Photo by Sue Vincent

Note – this story fit’s in with my on-line novel, Of Wind and Wings.  I’m not sure where it fits, but it will find a place ;)

*

Ed hesitated at the doorway.  He had been told that he had free reign of the house, yet he still felt a little uncomfortable, as if he were intruding on Liza’s privacy.  No matter how often she had protested that he was welcome to make himself totally at home, he had confined himself mostly to the kitchen and his bedroom.

Elisa was sitting in a comfortable chair with her back to the door.  She hadn’t stirred and Ed wasn’t sure if she were aware that he was standing there.  He fanned himself briefly with the photo in his hand as he watched her in his indecision. He stopped and frowned at the photo.  It was as if that old bit of paper were trying to make its presence known, to remind Ed why he was there.

That did it.

Ed straightened his back and walked into the room and stopped, looking down at his hostess.

Liza put her book to the side and smiled up at him.

“Yes?”

“I was wondering if you knew where this was taken.” He held up the photo.  “It was mixed in with my great-uncle’s papers and I just found it as I was reading through the notes.”

Liza jumped back as soon as she took the photo.  She blanched and her eyes grew wide.

“Ah, so you do know it,” Ed said, trying to make light of her reaction.

Liza took a moment to regain composure, and then handed the faded photograph back to Ed with a smile.

“I’m sorry,” she said, “but I can’t help you.”

Ed studied the photo for a moment.  A row of standing stones lined a path through a field full of wild flowers.  It would seem to be a noteworthy location.

He shrugged.

“Oh well, I guess I’ll just take it in and have Mr. Brown look at it.  I’m sure he’d recognize it…”

“What? Who?” Liza seemed to be even more distressed than before.

“You know, the historian…”

“Of course I know who Mr. Brown is, I’m just asking why you mentioned that man, is all.”

“He does know the local geography as well as the history.  Or perhaps The Grubb could help.”

“Yeah, ask the Grubb.”

Liza picked up her book and began to read.  Obviously the conversation was over.

Back in his room Ed continued to study the photo, trying to take in every detail.  There was something there, just at the edge of his perception.  He felt stupid for not being able to see it.

Perhaps not something, but someone.

Ed closed his eyes, still seeing the path and stones, but now in full color and stretching to the edges of his peripheral vision and beyond.

He could feel their presence before he saw them.

The couple had passed this way thousands of years before.

No, it was a different couple, hundreds of years before, ancestors that Ed had read about in his great-uncles papers.

No, that wasn’t right.  He could see them now.  It was his great-uncle and Liza’s mother.  They were walking hand and hand, smiling at each other.

No, no that wasn’t right either.

It was Liza and Mr. Brown, only they were young, perhaps in their teens or early twenties.

But no, it wasn’t them, it was Ed himself.

Who was he with?

The woman was shadowy, yet he could feel her presence, as he had in his dreams and visions.

He opened his eyes.

Was this his imagination running wild on his great-uncle’s words combined with Liza’s reactions, or was he seeing images of the past.  He shivered.  And the future.

He looked down at the photo again.

No.  It was just an old keepsake, something his great-uncle had taken in one of his many trips to England.  As far as Ed knew, it wasn’t even in the area but could be on the other side of the country.

He soon went to bed and fell into a deep sleep. He didn’t dream about the photo or the stones, as far as he could tell, and yet through the entire night he felt the presence of those other people he had imagined.

***

This was written for Sue Vincent’s #writephoto challenge.  The photo prompt is at the top of the post and this week’s key word is “Presence“.

The story this week is based on my on-line novel, Of Wind and Wings

Out of Place – Chapter 3

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Note – in June I posted the first two chapters of this story (See Chapter 1.  See Chapter 2).  Chapter 2 was one of my least popular posts looking at number of likes and views since my first year of blogging in 2014.  I had already written Chapter 3 at that time, but decided to not post it since people seemed to not like the story.  Well, I’ll try again ;)  Here is the third chapter.

*

I took a sip of the dark beverage.

When I was a freshman, a friend’s girlfriend made me a drink that she called “hot cocoa”.  It was actually some cocoa powder, yerba mate, cinnamon and other spices in tepid water.  She said it was full of energy.  It was bitter but had odd notes that were just beyond description.

I took another sip.

This beverage was similar, though I liked it better.  More than that, it really did give me energy.  More than energy, it calmed my rebelling stomach erased all signs of alcohol. It cleared my head, but my mind continued to spin.

“So this place is a portal?” I asked.

“Maybe a multi-portal.  A confluence?  A hub? It isn’t just a simple passageway,” Threck said.

“Hundreds of worlds?”

Threck shrugged. “Hundreds, thousands, millions, who knows?”

“You say they are different worlds spread throughout the one Universe, some perhaps billions of light years from others, not different Universes?” Continue reading

Out of Place – Chapter 2

See Chapter 1

“Eric.”

The female voice calling my name was familiar.

“Eric.  Wake up.  Now!”

Was it Emma, the girl who sat near me in Econ?  She was pretty hot and I was sure she sometimes flirted with me as I talked to her before class.  She didn’t stick around after class long enough for me to find out.

“Eric, hurry.”

I opened my eyes.  It was very dark, but worse than that, I couldn’t focus.  Even the shadows were blurry.  I could barely make out the female figure leaning in close over me.

She had a hand open-palmed on my shoulder and gave me an occasional shove. Continue reading

Invitation #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

(Note: This is the second chapter of yet another serial…  The first chapter is here (Note2 – if you read the first version on my last story, Timeless, you may want to read the second take as there were a few changes))

Michael glanced over at the man next to him. The man had finally came up with “Alexander, but my friends call me Alex”, but nobody believed it, and nobody could imagine calling him “Alex”.

Michael still wasn’t sure why he had invited this stranger to stay with him.  The guy was just plain strange.  But he obviously had no place else to go.  And the police were still searching for some sign of who he was.

The police said that there were no records on Alexander Karios any place in any country.  Fingerprints came back as nothing. No military, criminal or missing person records seemed to fit.

The landscape became more wooded as they drove. Alexander spoke for the first time since they got in the car. “We’re leaving the moors?” Continue reading

When the Elephant Bumps the Mouse House – Chapter 7

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Pixabay image by Marianne Sopala

(Note – This is Chapter 7 (and final) of the story.  See chapter 1.)

The world rolled by just outside of the car’s window.  The sun had recently set and the western sky still glowed yellow, but the black of night was creeping in.  It wouldn’t take over, of course, since the suburban lights illuminated the entire sky.  There was still no simulation playing in the car and it was moving at a constant 100 kph.

Jesk didn’t notice. He just sat, staring forward with vacant eyes.

Strangely enough, he was not thinking about Thara nor about Adi.  His mind was on the young Jesk, the young Brey and their parents. He even was thinking about their dog, Rex. He rarely thought of them at all, and when he did it was just in passing, but for some reason Brey’s funeral had brought back the memories long forgotten.  The good times and bad. All of those shared moments.  All of the things they did, saw and talked about.

He thought of Brey teasing him mercilessly, but with love in her eyes.  He thought of Mom making peanut butter sandwiches.  When had he last eaten peanut butter? The day before the accident?  He thought of day to day activities, of TV and family trips, sitting around the table at dinner talking about school.  He remembered Brey having a date when she was a freshman in high school and how he had teased her, getting her back for all of those times she embarrassed him in front of his friends.  Rex was there for years, his constant companion. And, of course there was Dad.

Jesk frowned. Continue reading

When the Elephant Bumps the Mouse House – Chapter 6

Pixabay image by Marianne Sopala

(Note – This is Chapter 6 of the story.  See chapter 1.)

People. Crowds of people crammed into Ryk’s tiny house, smashed elbow to elbow together. And what a house it was, or perhaps it would be better to say “what a house it wasn’t”.  It had only the most basic furnishings and extremely limited automation. There were no robots, not one. No simulation equipment in any room. No environmental controls beyond “heat”. No scented breezes, just the smell of food and that sickening smell of people.  People. Sweating, coughing, sneezing, sniffling.  Breathing! To have to put up with the rot and decay known as death at the funeral was bad enough, but Jesk had to actually be with people, many of whom had the stupid assumption that they needed to hug him.  “You lost your sister, poor man.” He did his best to keep his anger in check, but he had been at a low simmer all afternoon.  Thara would pay for it when they got home.

Where was Thara?  They had been separated soon after they arrived.  He had been pulled aside to listen to some of Brey’s friends talk at him while Thara watched over Adi as she played with the snot-nosed kids of his loser sister’s idiot son.  A few other kids where there as well, all germ factories. It had been over two hours.  What had she said?  And to whom?

Jesk first noticed Adi.  She was on the floor, like a peasant, playing with several other kids.  They had toys that weren’t animated.  They had no electronics nor robotics of any type.  There were no simulations involved and there was nothing that was genetically engineered.  They were playing with dead, non-interactive things, as if it were the Middle Ages.  And she was actually smiling and laughing! Continue reading

When the Elephant Bumps the Mouse House – Chapter 5

Pixabay image by Marianne Sopala

(Note – This is Chapter 5 of the story.  See chapter 1.)

The room was crowded.  Too crowded. There were all types of people shuffling through, milling about and sitting in the rows of chairs. Most were wearing “nice” clothes, though it all looked cheap to Jesk.  He was sure his silk boxers cost more than the most expensive suit or dress in the room.  And it was warm, too warm for “winter”; people were sweating.  He heard a sneeze and some coughing. There was sniffling, the cold and flu season made worse by the sudden changes from freezing to sweating.  All he could think of was the germs.  Not that it would matter to Brey.

Jesk couldn’t help but to stare at his sister. Thara had made sure that, as family, they sat up front.  He didn’t want to look at any of the rabble in their cheap suits and snotty noses and there was not much else in the room to look at other than Brey. Continue reading

When the Elephant Bumps the Mouse House – Chapter 4

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Pixabay image by Marianne Sopala

(Note – This is Chapter 4 of the story.  See chapter 1.)

The waves lapped gently at the beach, though a little farther down the waves were bigger and came closer to crashing. Terns were skirting the wave tops, darting around, occasionally hovering for a moment, before diving for small minnows. A gull could be heard crying above the sound of the surf. The sun beat down, hot and heavy, but the salt-tanged breeze from the ocean was refreshing.

Jesk watched Thara as she helped Adi read her book.  He shook his head. It was a real, honest to goodness paper book. He didn’t know such things still existed.

“Susan, walked, on, the sand. She, saw, a….” Adi’s little face scrunched up in concentration.  “I don’t know this word.”

“Sound it out, Sweetie. What are the first two letters?” She had a smile, an odd one he hadn’t seen before.  It made wrinkles appear around her eyes.  He didn’t like that.

“’C’, ‘R’.”

“Good.  And what does that sound like?”  Actually, she looked like a mother, not a teenager.  He wanted a teenager as his bride, not a “mother”. Continue reading

When the Elephant Bumps the Mouse House – Chapter 3

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Pixabay image by Marianne Sopala

(Note – This is Chapter 3 of the story.  See chapter 1.  Note 2 – the viewpoints of Jesk are purposefully disturbing.)

The stars were bright and crystal clear. The majestic form of the Milky Way stood out forming the perfect backdrop for the towering peaks of the high mountains. The air was filled with summer nighttime sounds of the song of crickets. A loon call, lonely, like a spirit calling from a different world, echoed across the landscape. A cool, fragrant breeze blew in off of the mountains.

Jesk thought about getting under the warm covers, but he actually enjoyed the goosebumps that rose up on his body.  It was a feeling that pushed beyond his bland comfort zone where he spent 99.9% of his life, and yet it was safe and familiar.  He felt alive. He reached over and patted the bed beside him.

For a moment he wished Thara was there lying next to him in the bed, not for sex, but for shared warmth and companionship.

He quickly grew angry, first at himself, but since he could never be angry at himself for long, at Thara. What was she thinking, telling him what she was going to do and telling him, actually telling him, what he should do as well?

The goosebumps went away and he began to sweat in his angry heat. Continue reading

When the Elephant Bumps the Mouse House – Chapter 2

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Pixabay image by Marianne Sopala

(Chapter 1)

Tall pines stretched towards the sky. The forest was thick in all directions, receding into darkness. A table was in a clearing between several towering trees. Three people were at the table for dinner. The man lifted a knife.

The knife sliced through the steak as if it were butter.

“I had Robreto Tabis program the steak today.” Thara smiled.

Jesk frowned at the meat on his plate. “The celebrity chef?  Well, he did a terrible job.  It’s over cooked.” He pointed to the cut end of the meat with his knife. “It’s supposed to be pink for two and three quarters inches, this looks pink for no more than two and half! I can’t eat this garbage.”

Thara held her smile. “Please try it, Honey.  Robreto guarantees his work, but you have to eat it first.  And please don’t throw it out.  Steak is expensive.”

Jesk scrunched up his face and stared at his wife. “Expensive?  I thought I heard you try to justify a 35-million-dollar pet not a half an hour ago!” Continue reading