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Category Archives: Short Story

Only Time Will Tell

My name is Harold Kenneth Jacob, they boy with three first names. I guess my parents thought they were comedians. Ha! Most likely they were stoned. A few hours after I was born, they tossed me onto the ice-crusted steps of St. Jude’s Catholic Church with a note pinned to my thin blanket that stated my name and date of birth. In their good humor they tucked a joint into the corner of the frayed blanket.

Naturally, I spent most of my youth in an orphanage; it seemed no one wanted a kid with three first names that was squeezed out of a birth canal laced with toxic barbiturates. It hurt seeing other kids being accepted by smiling couples, being adopted by people who wanted them. After awhile I stopped making friends, preferring to spend more and more time cloaked in my own miserable world of neglect.

For ten years my days were filled with school, bible study, chores and reading. Books were my friends; I especially loved science and how things worked, but I read almost anything I could find if it was non-fiction.

Life for me took a sudden change on a bright sunny day in May. Lucky for me the government changed a few laws about who could be foster and adoptive parents.

I was sitting in my normal spot on the second step from the top of the stairs alternating my attention between watching the kids playing kickball and reading the human anatomy and medical plants.

Two ladies came out of the door followed closely by Sister Anne. She wore her normal frown as she waddled to catch up to the ladies. She led them down the stairs and began to point out the children playing in the field.

The shorter lady with the soft glowing complexion and short blonde hair turned to the other woman to say something when our eyes locked. I remember thinking that I’d never seen someone with eyes that green. Sister Anne turned and scowled at me. I quickly scrambled to my feet and dashed inside.

For the next few weeks Susan and Kim began to visit me on a regular basis. Then they began taking me on short trips; to the movies, a theme park, dinner and some parks. It was the happiest summer of my life! On my eleventh birthday they asked if I would like to be adopted by them. I cried so hard that I couldn’t answer them, I could only cling to them a cry tears of joy.

Several months later the courts approved the adoption papers and sealed the day as the happiest day of my life. The pure joy I felt that day of finally being part of a family, of having two loving parents that didn’t just have me because of a sexual mistake, but who “wanted” me for who I was, made me feel so special that I just kept looking at them all day and thinking: “My Two Moms! I am the luckiest kid in the world!”

That was in 2005. I am from the year 2013. More like I was from the year 2013. At nineteen years old I find myself chiseling, yes chiseling, this story onto the wall of a cave. Behind me are half a dozen people crouched around a fire I made for them. They are a curious bunch. I am not sure what they think of me as I am still learning their language.

I’m still not sure what happened, but the event took place almost four months ago. Three hours after purchasing a motorcycle. Neither mom cared much for my choice of transportation but it was the cheapest form of travel I could afford. I tried to explain to them that I wanted to do this on my own, that they had given me so much over the years that I needed to prove to them and to myself that I could be independent.

Anyway, I was barreling down a desolate country road, enjoying the feel of the wind on my face. I say barreling, but I was doing the speed limit, not wanting to pinch my wallet dry by receiving a speeding ticket.

Ahead of me I could see a blanket of mist. Morning fog is very common in the country. But this fog looked funny, even from a mile away I could see that it shimmered in the early light. As I approached the strange mist I throttled back, afraid that a car might not see me if one happened to emerged from the mist. The farms scented the air with their smell of freshly turned soil and cow manure, but I smelled another odor. Like that of ozone, it stung my sinuses.

I approached the mist at thirty miles an hour. It ate my front wheel, then sucked me in. The air suddenly turned icy cold and the sun winked out. Complete and utter darkness surrounded me. I sucked in a terrified gasp of air and began to cough. There was nothing to breathe! The air was gone. I remember choking.

Suddenly the ground vanished beneath me and I was falling. It seemed I fell forever. I slammed into something solid and the breath literally whooshed out of me.

When I woke, I found myself in a forest of enormous trees. My motorcycle lay twisted at the base of a mammoth-size tree. All around me I could hear animals going about their business in the woods. A LOT of animals, more than what I was used to hearing.

The road, farms, and cows were gone. Sitting up made me feel like I was spinning. With a groan I fell back and darkness.

The next time I woke I found myself surrounded by a very curious bunch of people. In less than a second I knew something extraordinary and frightening happened to me. Somehow I managed to drive into a vortex of time, which it seems, took me back to prehistoric times.

The band of people around me, they were very early Homo Sapiens!

After four months among them I have had plenty of time to speculate on many scenarios. Based on the environment and population, I have estimated that I traveled almost 100,000 years into the past. Since I am not sure if going back is possible, I need to carefully think of my position among these people in this time period. Every action I make will be like a ripple effect, changing some aspect of my future.

I could literally change the future of the entire race!

Perhaps that is why I am here? Maybe God selected me to be the person to help make the future better for all people. What better place to start than in the distant past?

Luckily, I have consumed a vast amount of knowledge about science and understand the basic principles of how many things are made and how they work.

I have decided to teach these people many things to make their lives a lot easier. I am going to make them a peaceful people. No wars, no prejudices, no discrimination. People that care about people. They will not learn to hide behind a book and claim to be one thing while they deliberately do the opposite and justify their cruelty it in the name of an eternal being.

No. These people will learn that it is okay to be different. Being different is what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. Being different is what makes us human, it keeps us humble. We are unique; no two alike, not even twins are the same. They will learn not to hate, as hate is really the result of something that you don’t like about yourself.

No more wars. No more nuclear bombs. No more senseless hate. We will finally be one with the universe and with ourselves. I am sure my thoughts are already reshaping the future. Only time will tell.

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Posted by on August 19, 2012 in Fantasy, Sci-fi, Short Story

 

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I Felt Like An Alien Today

I felt like an alien today! No, really, it’s true. You see I was driving to work when my car suddenly coughed, heaved, and died.

“What! No, come on.” I turned the ignition off and tried to restart it. Nothing. Not a sound. Unbelievable, the car had only three thousand miles on it. It was only four weeks old and still had its showroom shine.

Thank God for current technology as I had my cell phone in my hand a moment later, yammering at the dealership that I was stuck in the middle of nowhere sitting on the hood of my brand-new car when I should be sitting inside it!

The dealership sent a tow truck and forty minutes later I was at the dealership and the car was whisked into the shop. With nothing to do but wait, I jumped onto a bus and deposited my dollar. There was a small country dinner up the road that served the best breakfast in Central Florida.

The bus was packed. I moved along to the back and took a seat next to a fashionable looking woman. I was marveling to myself that the last time I was on a public bus was about thirty years ago.

With a smile I turned to my bus partner to share this with her, but she was texting someone and I didn’t want to be rude. The smile faded from my lips and I looked at my own iPhone. It was while studying my reflection in the black screen that I noticed how quiet the bus was.

Don’t get me wrong, the bus was a true 1990’s beast, roaring like a banshee as we barreled down the highway. The gears ground as the driver shifted, and great bellows of black exhaust ruined the driver’s day behind us. Outside the traffic and horns added their own morning music. It was the people.  They were quiet.

I turned to comment to the person sitting across the isle from me, be he was listening to something on his iPod and had his eyes closed. Looking around the bus, I noted that everyone was either listening to some type of iPod device, texting, or playing with some electronic device.

The bus ground to a noisy stop and I exited the bus. It pulled away leaving me encircled in black smoke. I entered the restaurant feeling a bit depressed and lonely. The host came by and led me to my booth.

The place was busy with waitresses dashing about and people either being seated or leaving. Yet, there remained a strange silence. Looking around I noticed the same problem. The majority of the people were playing with their gizmos and gadgets. I shook my head sadly, the tables and booths occupied by couples suffered from the same phenomenon.

Maybe the couples were texting each other? What a sad, sad world we are turning into. Don’t get me wrong.  I really do love my techno gadgets. Today was a prime example of how wonderful technology is. I broke down and was able to phone for help in a remote area, something I wasn’t able to do the last time I broke down in 1992.

You gotta love all the technology available to us. I believe it has helped us in so many ways, but it is also isolating us. Today I felt like an outsider, like an alien being visiting another planet or time period.

I am a person who is astute to the environment around me and notice subtle changes. I tend to think about new products as they hit the market and try to see how it may affect us in the future. I also believe that everything happens for a reason, and that we meet people for a reason. But how can you meet people if they are so absorbed in their devices?

I entered the return bus more depressed then when I began my breakfast excursion. This time I plopped down beside an elderly woman. I didn’t even bother trying to speak with the woman. Her voice startled me.

“Are you gonna whip out one of those thingamajigs like everyone else?”

“Nope.”

“I hate those things,” she admitted. “They’re like little monsters that eat away people’s brains. It sickens me to see my grandkids held captivated by their portable phones and games. I tell you.  Those kids are the laziest things.”

She pounded the end of her cane into the floor to emphasize her frustration. “Go out and play, I tell them. Play? They’d rather sit on their expanding rear, eat junk food and play video games or social networks with their friends! Social Network, why talk on the computer or phone when their friends live right next door?”

I nodded in understanding. “I agree. I was just thinking today that I feel like an alien. No one talks anymore, and when they do they have this need to stop and start texting someone.”

“It is sad,” she agreed. The bus stopped at the dealership and I got up. “It was nice meeting you, Mr. Alien.”

“And you.” I said smiling.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2011 in Short Story

 

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The Night She Snapped – Story

Her eyes were fully dilated. The pupils were so large, only the barest hint of pale blue could be seen, like space dust glowing on the fringes of a massive black hole. The flickering candle flame reflected in those huge dark pools, making her eyes look like those of an alien being. The reflective fire turned those eyes into something that could contain great power; power to destroy entire worlds, and to bring men to their knees in fear.

The corners of her mouth began to curl into the beginnings of a smile. She always had an active imagination. The smile collapsed into a frown. She tilted her head to the left, and her reflection mimicked the move. She never took her eyes off the mirror.

“Mirror, mirror on the wall,” she whispered.

From down the hall she could hear a hissing sound, like a ball of angry cobras spitting and biting each other. For a moment she couldn’t remember what the sound was, perhaps she swallowed too many pain pills.

Jack really worked her over good. Her entire body hurt, the pain radiating from deep within her bones. Already the pain was beginning to leak away as the pills worked their magic, but the emotional anguish? No, that pain stabbed at her heart. After sixty years of marriage how could he do this to her? How could he hurt her like this? She was a good faithful wife.  She was a model wife!

Or was she?

A memory crept in from the dark corner of her mind. Her reflection shed a tear as the old memory unfolded itself and crystalized. Sixty-three years ago to the day she stood tall and beautiful in the courtyard of Canopy Oaks High School. Her family had moved to Oakwood Forest, Florida over the summer and she had met few friends. She was so nervous, although she would never allow herself to show it.

Nancy and Kelly ran up to her. They were her neighbors and only friends. She guessed they were okay, kind of hick though. But what wasn’t hick in this small sleepy town? Miami felt a zillion miles away. Kelly was blowing an enormous bubble and Nancy was chewing away at her gum like the glum cow across the road from her house. “Hi, Ann. Are you ready for the first day?” Nancy said.

“Gosh, Ann. You plan on killing the boys dead or what? Think that skirt could get any shorter?” Kelly said, blowing another bubble.

Ann gave a tight smile. Kelly had about thirty pounds on her, when she stopped moving, it took the fat an extra minute to stop giggling around. “I plan on getting the hottest guy in this school by the end of the day. This,” she gestured to her outfit, “is my bait.” She knew she would turn heads. Her legs were well formed, slender hips, a small waist. Her breasts finely chiseled and had that uplift perfectness that only the young could achieve.

Her hair was long and golden, hanging in very loose curls down to the center of her back. Her skin was smooth as silk, and blemish free. Her eyes were like chips of sapphire, magnetic and compelling. She often lowered her eyelids, giving the appearance that she just woke from a timeless slumber. That sleepy-sexual look caused guys to get hot flashes and dream of what it would be like to stare into those eyes while in bed. But she could easily switch the look, and appeared colder than an ice sculpture.

“Good, luck. All the good guys are taken.” Nancy commented as they walked to the front doors.

As if summoned by the Gods, a boy dashed in front of them. His eyes were focused on something in the sky. A second later he clamped his large hands around a descending football. He sent the ball in a tight spiral to another boy across the yard. On the up stroke his shirt lifted high enough for Ann to see his tight flat stomach, lightly coated with a line of light brown hair. His eyes were a deep brown and his smile so radiant that Ann couldn’t help smiling in return.

“‘Morning ladies.” He said as he jogged past them.

“Who is that?” Ann gushed, unable to hide her interest. He had phenomenal rear suspension as well. What a bod.

“Jack McMillen. But forget it, he and Mary Beth are a couple.” Nancy said, “they’ve been an item for two years now.”

“You stand no chance, sister.” Kelly added. Ann stabbed her manicured nail at the bubble Kelly made. It popped, covering Kelly’s nose with sticky gum. Yuck.

“We’ll see about that,” Ann said, smiled and walked up the stone steps to the entrance doors. As fate would have it, Jack arrived just a split second before her. He held the door open and winked at her as she swept past, his turn to check out her rear.

Ann shook her head. The mirror came back into focus. She reached up and slid her fingers through her course gray hair. Pain laced every movement. Had her hair really been that soft and shiny? Her fingers crawled from her forehead to her face, tracing patterns of lines, dipping into valleys of wrinkles. Oh, how tight and radiant her skin had been! Amazing how the years could change you into an old, stooped, wrinkled shadow in what seemed like a mere instant of time.

Wiping away a stray tear, she picked up the brush, and began the tedious task of unknotting her frazzled hair. Jack had really worked her over. She looked and felt like a wreck.  It really wasn’t fair that people aged the way they did. You work all those years to enter a time that everyone calls the Golden Years. “Golden, my butt.” Ann grunted. “The only thing golden around here is my underpants, cause I can’t seem to hold my bladder anymore.” Regardless of the pain, she did smile. “I’d dearly love to kick the person in the shins who coined that phrase.”

What was it that Jack said to her that summer? The brush stopped in mid-stroke as she tried to find the memory. It was like stumbling around in a dark room with memories strewn all about. Some good ones, some bad ones, and just a few painful ones. The memory was elusive. She continued brushing her hair, thinking of the years. She had been a good wife. She made a mistake early in their marriage when her looks and career meant everything. She had gotten pregnant!

Just the thought of what bearing a child would do to her figure and career made her decision easy. One afternoon she hopped over to the clinic and disposed of the fetus. Did she feel guilt? Ann thought back, but try as she might she couldn’t remember what Ann the twenty-year-old felt.

She felt guilt now! Jack had always wanted a child and when she was ready and willing to give him one they discovered a tumor growing in her uterus. Ann wondered ever since if that was God’s way of telling her she made a mistake by taking away a life. But Jack was supportive and life went on.

Until now. Until Jack did what he did.

She put the brush down and slowly walked into the bedroom. Jack lay on the bed in his wedding tuxedo. She took her wedding dress off the hanger and slipped it on. Although yellowed with age, to her it was still beautiful, pure white and sparkling in her mind’s eye. She remembered their first dance and how radiant they were. That day! It was the happiest day of her life. During the first dance, safely encircled in his strong arms, she marveled at what started as a high school mission could end in a fairy tale.

She kissed Jack’s cold face and lay down beside him, clasping his hand. “It won’t be long now, my love.” Ann whispered.

Amazing that only an hour ago she was making a late lunch when she heard something fall in the bathroom. “Jack, are you all right, honey?” She yelled.

No reply. A wave of dread chilled her spine. She quickly hobbled to the bathroom. Jack’s heart was so bad she knew it was only a matter of time. She was sobbing even before she saw him laying dead in the tub.

Ann closed his eyes and clasped him tightly to her. It was Jack’s wish that she did not attempt resuscitation. Nor did he want a funeral, just a quick cremation. She and Jack were loners, they found everything they needed in each other and had very few friends. After all these years, she wasn’t sure if their friends were still alive. They had no children, no family. It would be very lonely without Jack.  He was her support, her life.

It took all of her effort to drag him into the bedroom. She’d fallen against the dresser once, taking the brunt of the fall on her arm. She may have knocked herself out because she woke laying on the floor and her arm a pulsing ball of burning pain. Not sure if she damaged it, and not caring if she did, Ann pulled and rolled Jack onto the bed.

After Ann finished dressing Jack, she closed all the windows and turned on the gas stove and lit candles in the living room while she got ready. The two hundred and fifty-gallon tank stood silently right outside their bedroom wall.

They always said they would rather die together so the other one wouldn’t have to suffer. “We’ll be together soon, Jack. You just make sure you wait for me.”

Ann did not have long to wait. Two minutes later the gas gently kissed the candle flame. The resulting explosion blew the house apart. Neighbors up and down the block leaped from their homes fearing an atomic bomb exploded nearby. Twenty minutes later the first fire engine arrived, but it was already too late to do anything.

The explosion was listed as an accident. The Last Will and Testament was handled by a local attorney. After cutting a hefty check for himself he wrote one other check and dropped it in the mail.

A week later a local Children’s Hospital received a generous donation in Jack and Ann’s name. The amount was so large, the hospital paid for a portrait of the couple to be made and placed it in the lobby.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2011 in Short Story, Thriller

 

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A Spiritual Wonder

Sometimes something happens in life that gets engraved in our minds and we have total recall of the event, right down to smells and thoughts. Amazing things have happened to people across the globe at all different ages. The event that has shaped me as person happened five months before I turned two. People have scoffed at me for this, but this story is true. Nevertheless, the memory is as clear 37 years later as it was on that snowy Christmas Eve.

I awoke to the sound of angry wind howling against the window above my brother’s bed.  Condensation ran in rivulets down the glass pane and pooled on the wooden sill. Drip, drip, drip. The water fell to the floor, each drop sounding louder than the last. Something was wrong. The air around me seemed charged with energy.

The thought of cuddling up next to mom compelled me to slip out of bed. My pajama-clad feet touched the hardwood floor like the sound of sandpaper brushing lightly against wood. Suddenly a strange feeling washed over me. My skin prickled into goose flesh, in the living-room, the grandfather clock began to chime, informing the sleeping occupants that midnight was at hand.

Drip, drip . . . dong, drip, dong . . . drip, drip . . . dong.

I crept to the door and caught a glimpse of the Christmas tree twinkling merrily in the corner of dark living-room. The twinkling lights startled me for a moment because I hadn’t noticed them from my bed where I had a better view. Briefly my eyes fell upon the many wrapped packages spilling away from the base of the tree, but they did not interest me as they would in the years to come.

Turning away, I looked down the hall, where my parents slept. The lighting was wrong. My parent’s room should have been cloaked in fearsome darkness like so many other nights. As I stood there, my parent’s room continued to brighten. The light was not yellow or golden, but pure white. A breeze swept past me, it was warm and fragrant. Seconds later the light seeped into the hallway toward me, and small brilliant white lights zipped away from my parent’s room. A large oil painting hung above my parent’s bed, which is where the light came from. It continued to grow brighter as I watched and a form began to take shape in its depths.

It grew in size and shape until it took on definite edges and could be identified as a man. With a blaze of light, he stepped out of the picture, his bare feet hovering inches above my slumbering parents. He did not look down. He looked only at me!

My heart beat steadily against my ribs, my blood roared past my ears. Would I get in trouble for being out of bed? Tiny white lights darted about me in a frenzy, many of them I inhaled and came flying out as I exhaled. They never stood still long enough for me to see what they were, and they moved with amazing speed.

The man gracefully stepped onto the carpet.

I fled to my room, diving under my blankets.

Drip . . . drip . . . dong

My room began to fill with the white light, and as it intensified I could see through the blankets. The simple covering held no power against this force.

A minute later the man came into my room and looked out the window. He shook his head sadly, instantly the energy in the room changed, I could feel sorrow gathering around me like pregnant rain clouds.

I his gaze, my breath hitched in my throat. The window turned into a movie screen! A two-story house dominated the picture, but behind it I could see a lush forest. A black dog raced across the lawn. Then a boy riding a red bicycle sped passed.

A shadow passed over the house and the scene changed. Now I could see the sky, black clouds were boiling across the heavens, red lightning flashed down, stabbing at everything that moved. Something about the darkness frightened me. I knew something hideous lurked in the stormy sky. I knew deep inside that the clouds would give birth to something evil, and that the evil wanted me. The feeling shook me to the core of my being, never in my entire life have I ever been as afraid as I was that night! Tears leaked from my eyes. Suddenly the storm passed, taking the darkness with it, all that remained was gloom; gray and dreary.

The man raised his hand, and the picture in the window winked out. Once again I saw a stormy winter night with snow and frost clinging to the window’s corners. Amazingly my tears died up instantly, and feelings of peace and love washed over my confused thoughts. I stared at the man in awe.

He smiled down at me and such overwhelming love swept through me that I thought I would burst open. Just the opposite of fear, I have never felt so much love and peace as I did then. He spoke to me, but his words fell on deaf ears. A barrier stood between us and although his lips moved, my ears did not pick up any sound.

After a time he stopped speaking and smiled at me. In that moment in time I was consumed by his love. His smile grew larger and he placed his hand gently upon my head, then turned and walked away. I slipped out of bed and peeked around the door jam, watching him as he walked back to my parents room.

He stepped onto invisible stairs and walked toward the picture. The light left the hallway, as he vanished into the picture. All at once I was standing in darkness with the Christmas lights twinkling behind me as if nothing happened.

Drip, drip, drip . . . dong.

___________________

This for me has been the hardest thing for me to write, and I sincerely hope that I have conveyed my thoughts properly in order to give you, the reader, a clear picture of what happened.

When I was five, I told my mother about what happened and she told me that she had a picture of Jesus above her bed. I did not know who Jesus was, nor did I know anything about God yet. Those teachings would start the following year for me. I asked mom where the picture was and she said she didn’t know what happened to it. The last she saw of the painting was when we were moving from Babylon, New York to the eastern part of Long Island.

I did know that time of the event as my parents have always allowed the Christmas Tree to burn all night on Christmas Eve and no other. Additionally, I do recall seeing the presents. My parents only put them out after my brother and I went to bed, and that was a tradition up until I was about ten.

Like the vision foretold in the window, something dreadful happened to me the summer I turned eight. When that season passed I was left withered and empty, walking around like a gloomy, gray spirit. It was a grueling year for me, but what helped pull me through was the memory of that Christmas Eve, because I knew in my heart that he was near me, that his light was around me.

There were other events in my life that are mysterious as well, including the second time I saw him. Those are other tales that I will tell, but the one thing that troubles me the most, the one thing that drives me crazy about the whole thing. What did he say to me? Why couldn’t I hear him? Or were the words meant only for my spirit? I wish I knew.

Has anyone had something similar happen? I’d really like to hear from you if you have.

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2011 in Short Story

 

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Escape – Story

Hover Craft 1 drifted over the continent emitting a soft hum. Dion sat beside the window waiting for dawn, he was sure the sight would be incredible from this height. Seeing the sunrise was the only thing he had been looking forward to. A minute later the huge fireball poked its blazing crest above the distant mountain tops. Dion gazed at the climbing orb in awe, shading his lavender eyes in an attempt to see the golden chariots that guided its ascent.

The light was blinding, “how was anyone supposed to see chariots?” he thought. “If,” he contemplated silently, “that is, If, the chariot legend is true.” His world was full of lies.

The windows tinted themselves, making the inner pane reflective. He could see his ghost-like image in the glass. His pure white hair fell in layered waves to the center of his shoulder blades, the common style for men. Women wore their hair twisted in a long elegant braid, hanging like a rope to their ankles. But where the others were stocky and short, Dion was tall and slim with well-developed muscles. At twenty-one he had yet to find a Mating Couple, very uncommon for one of his great age.

Nineteen other men and twenty women of the same age filled the craft. In the front sat an old man in flowing black robes. The man’s eyes were red, darker than blood and much darker than the color of the sun as it faded in the evening sky. The pupil was green, like spring grass. Although old, his face was youthful. His features could have been chiseled from marble, so perfectly molded, yet so cold and distant. He was Alion, the ‘father’ for their small clan of forty people.

“Aren’t you excited, Dion?” Quest asked in a hushed whisper, risking the ire of Alion.  Casual communication was forbidden during their Holy flight across the world. Never before had Earth’s Children been allowed inside one of the majestic ships; only the Alion were permitted to fly.

“I am . . . I guess.”

“You guess? Dion, we are the very first humans to establish life in the New Land!”

“People lived there before. We are not the first.”

She folded her arms across her chest, looking at him in contempt. “That was before the Sundering.”

Almost majestically Alion suddenly appeared beside them, his penetrating eyes nailing them with dull fury. “Did I not express how important it is for silence? Why do my children disobey me?”

“Oh Alion, it is my fault. I am overjoyed with anticipation. I tried expressing my excitement to Dion, but I fear that he doesn’t share the same feelings. I would ask the Great Alion to move my seat.”

“At ease my precious child, you may take a seat up front with Devon.” Quest lightly brushed her lips against his gloved hand. Alion’s red eyes swivelled in Dion’s direction, blazing with barely controlled anger. “Dion, please accompany me to my cabin.”

“Yes, Alion.”

Once in the cabin Dion was directed to sit on a pale yellow mat while Alion sat in his polished marble chair. “Why can’t you understand and accept the way of life?”

“I did not say anything wrong. Quest said we are the first to inhabit this new land, but we are not, people were there before the Sundering.” He spoke bitterly, he hated that everyone just accepted whatever Alion said without question.

“What do you know of the Sundering? You are a mere child, you never saw the Sundering, you are naive and arrogant! Does not every Alion know what happened? We are older than the Sundering.  We witnessed what those barbaric humans did to the world! Why do you continue to dwell on them?”

Alion’s agitation showed.  His eyes turned so red they seemed to bathe the room in a crimson light. He never felt fear in the presence of Alion before, but he did now. For an instant he saw two Alions’ trying to occupy the same body. The fainter image resembled Alion but with worms crawling all over a gray skinned body. Dion shuddered, his lunch heaving to his throat. A second later everything appeared normal.

“Will you not answer my question?”

Dion cleared his throat, swallowing the acidic bile with a grimace. “It is true that I was not there, but I—” He bit his words off, realizing he almost mentioned the book he found.

“But?”

“But from the legends we hear, I guess I sometimes feel memories stirring. Almost like I was there.”

“I see,” Alion murmured and leaned forward, never braking eye contact. “You were always different. So tall and fair, strutting around thinking you are better than I,” his words dripped with sarcasm. “I am your Father.  You will obey me—always!” His gloved fist flashed out, knocking Dion to the floor. Alion’s eyes seemed to grow threateningly large and powerful.

Mystified, Dion watched the red expand and fill Alion’s eyes, in the back of his mind something tingled and tugged. It wasn’t an unpleasant feeling, but frightening as he felt himself losing his sense of self. A spasm shook him, and he felt something leave his mind.

Alion flinched, his eyes looking normal in size but large in rage. “You are to move your belongings into the rear of the ship and you will stay there until I decide what to do with you!” Yellow saliva flew from his dry lips. Dion watched hypnotically as the saliva bubbled on the floor. “Now!”

The air outside the cabin smelled sweet in comparison to Alion’s room. Divine, Dion’s blood-sister, escorted him to the hold without a word and locked him in. He was shocked to see Trinity sitting in the furthest corner of the small room with her forehead pressed against the window. “Hi.”

Trinity was thirty. That was old for someone to still be seen in public, he doubted if he would see her again once they landed. Dion always wondered where they went. They did not die for there was never a burial. They just vanished in the night, never to be seen again.

“Are you in trouble again, Dion? I am surprised Alion lets you live.” Trinity said. She kissed him on each cheek. “You must have done something very unpleasant to be locked in here with me.”

“Why are you locked up?”

She laughed. “Why, why, why? Now I know why you are in Holding. I should have known.  You should watch yourself, Dion. At my ancient age I’ve seen people killed for questioning the Holy Ones. It makes me wonder at Alion’s motives for keeping you in the clan.” She placed her hands on his shoulder. “You’re tense. Come, let me help you relax.” She pulled him over by a small wooden bed. She unwrapped his robe and pushed him down on his stomach. Her fingers worked magically at his knotted muscles.

Dion rolled over breathing heavy. The small Hold smelled of the sweet odor of sex, their bodies glistened with perspiration. He stood, stretched, and walked over to the small sink. After bathing he dressed in his informal green robe. Children were encouraged to share their essence often.  It pleased the spirits.

“I see you still do not believe in S’Neila, you have many more spots than the last time I saw  you.” Trinity said as she pushed herself upright.

His face burned in shame. S’Neila, their goddess, blessed each child with a large white patch of discolored skin on their left shoulder. Dion had discolored skin scattered all over his body, a sign of his dishonor for not putting his faith in S’Neila. In fact, another white patch appeared on his arm since his run-in with Alion.

“You should submit yourself. It is why you have no Mate Couples.”

“I will never put my faith in a lie. S’Neila is not a goddess.  She is a demon!”

The color drained from her face. She glanced at the door, “you should not say such things. It is death to voice such an opinion.”

“You don’t understand!” He shouted, “no one does. We were brought up believing a lie.  The legends are untrue.”

She frowned, “you were not there.”

“I wasn’t but this was.” He cried pulling out a large yellowed book from his travel pack. “This is the truth, Trinity. This book talks about the world before, a world of free choice, a world that doesn’t acknowledge Alions’ or S’Neilas’ anywhere!”

Her brown eyes opened wide with shock, “where did you get it? How can you read it?”

Dion noted the change in her expression, “I see no disgust in your eyes. You look as if you believe me, and yet, I’ve seen no growing white on your naked body.”

Ignoring him for a moment she peeked out of the small square window in the door, then washed and dressed in a robe of rainbow colors. She slipped gracefully into the chair across from him. “I will tell you all I know, but only after you explain that book to me.”

He caressed the worn cover, not sure where to begin. “Mother used to send me into the forest to collect herbs for her garden. One day I wasn’t paying attention traveled further than ever before.”

“It didn’t seem like I had walked far, but when I looked around I couldn’t find anything familiar.” He chuckled, “I became quite lost. First I headed in one direction, then another, and suddenly the oak forest ended. All around me were dense feather trees.”

“I pushed my way forward, tripped over a root and fell onto a hard flat stone that extended in one solid sheet in front of me. Lining this odd rock was Pre-Sundered houses and stores.  I heard stories about some buildings surviving the storms, but not so close to home! It probably remained untouched because of the feather trees, their tightly knitted leaves made a complete canopy over the entire village.”

He stood and paced the room like a caged tiger. “I suddenly realized how late it was and  ran all the way home, wondering if I should tell someone, but in my heart I didn’t trust Alion. When I got to our clan, I met a group of people who were ready to search for me, you were also there, Trinity. Do you remember?”

She nodded, her brown eyes filled with wonder.

Dion stepped up to the small window with his hands clasped behind his back. The sky from this altitude looked empty and barren. “Alion scolded me for upsetting the clan, and locked me in Holding for a month to teach me a lesson. By the end of my confinement he advised me not to walk so far in the future. I did though.  Every day I traveled to the small town.”

He turned away from the window. “Two months later I found a library. Our minds are more advance than the Ancient Humans.  I quickly learned their languages. A new world opened up right before my eyes and I had only skimmed the top!”

Trinity took his hands and clasped them tightly, “didn’t you get frightened by what you were reading? I mean the Ancient Humans killed, murdered, rapped. Great Waters, what gore you must have seen.”

“That’s where you’re wrong. I learned a lot about the Pre-Sundered world. Here, let me read you a passage:

Since our earliest ancestors man has been a wanderer. Every century man has made journeys’ exploring new regions, finding new ideas and learning new cultures. In the late twentieth century most journey men retired for lack of unexplored regions. We turned to the heavens, searched the planets and distant solar systems, wishing we could travel to those far off places. Finally, in this year of 2033, man has left Earth to begin a new home on Mars. But this year marks not only our settling on a distant planet but also our first contact with extraterrestrial beings. These space faring aliens claim they are from a far distant solar system and have been wandering aimlessly in space in search of other intelligent life-forms. But what do they really want? Although the creatures are very human-like, their eyes are red and glow with an eerie light. They also speak perfect English but many the words they say backward, perhaps it is just a speech impediment.  But why do they want to live among us? At this point we can only guess about their motives.

“What a strange language.” Trinity breathed, “I can almost visualize what they are saying, and that one word ‘alien’ sounds so much like Alion. May I see the print?” He handed her the book, she quickly scanned through pages, stopping at those which had pictures imprinted on them. “Now I will fulfill my promise. I do not believe in S’Neila either. I haven’t for many years. Do not interrupt me, I will explain about the spots.”

She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “In my teen-years Faith had her first baby. We both fell asleep early that night, but around high-moon I jerked out of sleep. Immediately I looked in the cradle.  It was empty! Outside a twig snapped and I hurried to the window to catch a glimpse of S’Neila’s spirit.”

“Instead I saw several black shadows, sneaking away. Naturally I followed them.” She tightened her grip on his hands and she swallowed. Her breath rushed in and out of her lungs as if she just jogged a mile. “An hour later they disappeared in a cave. I followed cautiously, for I could hear them whispering in a strange language and wasn’t sure if I would accidently bump into them. They entered a room and closed the door but not all the way. By now every bone in my body quivered like a rattlesnake’s tail, I have never known such overwhelming fear. My instincts told me to run, but I forced away my fear and managed to approach the door.”

Trinity buried her face in her hands, “Inside was hundreds of Alion along with our Ancient Brothers and Sisters! My mother was there too, hanging from chains. Alion laughed at something, a hideous, grating laugh that frightened me—then they changed.” She paused, visibly shaken, and took a sip of his water.

Her hands trembled as she placed the wooden cup on the table. “One minute they looked like us, then suddenly they were horrible monsters coated with white worms. Their smell was overwhelming, like the reek near an active volcano. They grew snouts and a yellow puss dripped from their teeth. A few Alions didn’t even have eyes! Slimy slug-like things crawled in and out of their empty eye sockets. I almost screamed! For a moment I thought I had for a woman did scream!”
“Great Waters help me, I pushed the door open and saw my mother withering from the chains. She was pregnant! The Alion-monsters clapped and chanted. Mother’s stomach swelled, retracted, and swelled again. I couldn’t take my eyes off her.  I couldn’t look away, Dion!”

“Trinity,” he interrupted hesitantly. “You don’t have to go on. I believe you.”

“I don’t want your belief! I want you to know what they are.” She leaped to her feet and flicked her long hair over her shoulder like a whip. “Like yourself, I have held these feelings in for so long, dying to tell someone and knowing that if I did I would end up like . . . like those people. You were correct when you said they were demons, but you have no idea how accurate you are.”

“Okay,” He said softly, “go on.”

“The Alions picked up the tempo of their chilling chant. Mother screamed as her stomach exploded. Yellow ooze seeped from her mouth, it was like acid, it ate away portions of her face. The blood, there was so much of it. Still, I stared at her, praying that she was alive. Praying to S’Neila! Can you imagine?”

“Anyway, something began to move inside her, it pushed away the remaining tissue and flopped onto the floor with a wet slopping sound. Worms completely covered its skin. Someone cut my mother loose, and the baby Alion began to lap up her blood. I felt like vomiting but something held me rooted in place. I guess I was too terrified to move.”

“One Alion left the room and returned with three recently vanished sisters. They were screaming and crying—not that it did them much good. One Alion ripped off their cloths and forced the girls to lie on some type of table. It took only one Alion to hold one girl down. The other Alion strapped her down and started some type of machine. These long silver needles came down and pierced her stomach. The women shook violently, almost as if they were freezing. Only then did the Alion stop forcing their needles into her. After the women were done, they did the same to the men! It was too much for me. I ran all the way home fearing with every step that an Alion would grab me.”

“The next season a group of us went to the King’s Holy Waters to fish. I noticed Alion never went by the water, wouldn’t even touch it! He told us that S’Neila put a curse on the water and any that touched it would die. On the fifth day I was collecting rocks while the others fished, and I spotted an unusual one in the water. The white gem seemed so elegant. Without thinking I unwrapped my hand, white spots covered it, including my finger nails, and plucked up the stone. Pain flared in my fingers. My flesh began to bubble and ooze a clear fluid. I quickly wiped my hand off and saw that all the spots were gone. Not just faded, but gone. Completely!”

“Before we left, I collected a bucket full, no one asked me what was inside because they were used to me collecting rocks. At home I bathed in the water, taking extreme caution to leave only my birth marking. I have the water with me, would you like to get rid of the worms that poison your soul?”

Dion nodded, unable to believe that water made it go away. “I never heard of the King’s Holy Waters. Where is this place?”

“Alion forbid us to go there a few years later when someone accidently slipped and fell in, but by then I had several buckets of the water stashed away. Anyway, the water is found deep inside Slender-Peak Mountain.”

“Where is this water?”

Trinity smiled. Under the bed she withdrew a tightly woven basket, “I was going to carry this with me everywhere I went in the New Land. If Alion even attempted to capture me outside the clan I was going to pour the water on him and see what would happen.”

“Why didn’t you do it before, when you first found out about their dislike for it?”

“Because too many of them were around, but now I only have one to contend with. Take off your robe, Dion.”

He stripped, standing naked in the center of The Hold with his eyes closed. Trinity walked completely around him, looking at the hundreds of white patches. They were not the same size or shape, some were small, some large, and scattered about sporadically. One spot surrounded his left nipple, another spot peeked out from under his arm, the nape of his neck, around his pubic hair and down both legs. She tugged a heavy wooden chair over to him and climbed on top. “It’s going to burn, try not to scream.” She dumped the water over him.

He tossed his head back, his lips shrinking back from his teeth, but he did not scream, although the cords in his neck popped out and throbbed. He looked down at his arms, the white patches were foaming, hot burning pain raced through his nerve endings, racing to his brain with urgent orders to move, scream, to do something!

Suddenly another pail of water washed over him, a sensation of coolness followed closely by a tingling sensation. It felt as if he jumped from a fire into a mound of icy snow. Looking down he saw his skin, a creamy olive color without one spot. Behind him someone gasped.

The cell door slammed open, Trinity and Dion jumped back, startled. Divine walked in, eyes wide with wonder as she looked at her brother’s skin. “How?” She choked out, barely able to breathe. “I-I heard what you were saying and was going to tell Alion, but after that,” she pointed at Dion, “there is no way I cannot believe. Forgetting what we were taught is difficult, but if you are right-” She trailed off, battling conflicting emotions. “What are we to do? Is it true that our children and elders are nothing but food?”

“Yes, Divine. This I swear to you as a fellow sister. I saw them with my own eyes.”

“What are we to do?” She repeated.

“I have an idea.” Dion said, “what is the scheduled landing time?”

“About sun down.” Divine said.

“This is what we’ll do . . . ”

Alion’s cabin looked much different now, than when Dion saw it a few hours ago. Alion disrupted the illusion shortly after his ‘son’ went into holding. Red light illuminated the room, green fog lazily floated on the floor. He felt comfortable sitting in his polished marble chair, altering his appearance to look human drained his energy, and the form was uncomfortable to maintain. If one of his ‘children’ saw him now, they would probably die of shock. His nails were long black razors, pearlescent worms crawled, wiggled and slithered across his creamy gray skin. The parasite although gruesome to look at, kept him alive.

His true name was Pleistocene or Pleist for short. Right now he was the anxious to arrive to the New Land, once known as the United States. Once established he would begin creating more of his kind. Trinity would finally fulfill her destiny. It would be a pleasure to fill her fragile body with the seeds of his flesh. His kind did not have sexual intercourse as humans did, but they did need to inject a host with the eggs from the parasite that kept him alive. The sensations he felt watching the injection process could almost be classified in human terms as an orgasm.

But now he had Dion to contend with. Both Dion and Trinity were products of a rare mixture between the two species. Their DNA was unlike anyone else. It was a fluke of nature, an accident. Pleist was warned long ago to execute the couple because they poised a danger to all Alions, but he refused, hoping that this strange twist in the DNA strand would be the right combination to create female Alions, known as Onails. Unfortunately, Onails perished before Pleist’s people could flee from their dying planet.

If even one survived when they reached earth things would be different, they could have used the humans for food until the weaker species died out. As it was, it took the Alions a year to find a way to impregnate a human female and in time they could impregnate the males as well. Still, only male Alions were born.

Pleistocene’s father had made a discovery four years later, exactly when the human’s discovered the Alions’ plot for taking over the world. It came as no surprise that the humans declared war. It was expected. The human’s thirst for blood however, was not expected.

For all of their preparations, the Alion never knew just how barbaric and bloodthirsty humans could be. If the Alion research the human’s past, they would have known. But when they found the planet, the earthlings were in a rare time of peace. They were gentle creatures and easily manipulated.

Pleist’s father was the first Alion slaughtered, and with him died any hope of creating Onails. It still amazed Pleist that a specially distilled solution proved to give the humans a tremendous advantage over them. As paradox would have it, the water was found in the Himalayas, and in those same waters were fish, fish that contained the right amount of chemicals for Alion longevity.

During the war the council decided their only salvation would be to kidnap human children and raise them on their ships in outer space while twenty of their kin remained below to begin World War Three.

They divided the human children into two groups, half for breeding, and half to breed on their own. Alion stole new born babies just after birth in hopes of having the babies grow to accept them in their natural form. It didn’t work, no matter how the humans were raised, the Alions otherworldly appearance repulsed them.

The Alion’s had no choice but to remain in their altered physical appearance whenever around the humans. However, they discovered that by implanting the children with worms—the same parasites on the Alion body—acted on the human brain making it easier for the Alions to use their advanced mental powers on them. It worked wonderfully until the birth of Dion and Trinity.

A shrill scream suddenly shattered his thoughts. For some inexplicable reason the scream sent an icy ripple of fear down his knobby spine. Altering shape, he stepped out of the cabin. Divine was running up the aisle, tears glistening like diamonds on her cheeks.

“Alion! Oh, Alion!” She collapsed by his feet, panting.

“What is it child?” Dion and Trinity appeared at the other end of the ship. “What are you doing out!” Pleist thundered. “Are you disobeying your Father?”

“Yes!” Dion shouted back bring a gasp of surprise from his brothers’ and sisters’. “You are not our father.  You are a stinking beast! You are an Alien!” Another gasp issued, Pleist glanced around in shock. How could it be possible that they knew the word? Somehow they were recalling the meaning of a word that was not spoken in more than a thousand years. Pleist ordered the parasite on Dion’s body to poison the boy’s brain.

Nothing happened.

“It won’t work, Alien!” Dion whipped off his robe bringing startled intakes of breath. His skin was clean, untainted.

“No!” Fear of the human’s natural killing instinct distracted him, making it difficult to concentrate on his altered shape.

“Look at him, look at him closely and you will see his other side, he’s evil. Can you feel cold waves of ultimate evil roll off him? CAN YOU SEE HIM?”

They did. Suddenly they could all see his true shape, but the shock was too great, not prepared for. Discarding his altered form, Pleist summoned his mental powers, he would kill them all and be damned!

The surprise was his. He had unintentionally discarded Divine from his mind, a mistake. He felt the water bite into his skin, his back began to hiss and bubble, Trinity and Dion rushed down the isle with slopping buckets. He lashed out, beheading three people sitting beside him. The buckets upturned, and Pleistocene watched God’s Holy Water funnel out.

There was no time for his brain to react, the water sloshed over him, biting into his skin with millions of microscopic teeth. The parasites exploded, squirting acid blood onto his skin. The pain was incredible. His skin melted away. Black blood pumped out of the wounds. Pleist screamed, tumbled to the side and landed on the laps of the people unfortunate enough to be sitting there. They began to scream as well. The parasites continued to explode, splashing them, eating away their skin, muscle and bone.

Divine picked up a sharp wooden sword, a shudder rippled through her as she thought of what she was about to do. She brought the sword down on his neck. Black blood flew in all directions.  The remaining parasites exploded, drenching everyone in a three-foot radius. The seats melted away, the hull began to burn. Electrical cables concealed in the floor erupted in blue flames.

The Hover Craft shuddered as an eight-foot section of the frame fell away. Pleist, Divine and eight passengers fell to the ocean below.

Dion quickly activated the gliding wings, saving them from plummeting to the ocean.

“Will we make landfall?” Trinity asked.

“I don’t know.” Gracefully the ship drifted closer to the water, “by dusk we will be very close to land, I can see it. Go treat everyone with the Holy Water. We will enter this land clean, untainted, untarnished.”

Trinity returned minutes later. The ocean seemed to rise to meet the ship, Dion held her in his arms, looking at the bright yellow orb of the setting sun. “Will we make it?” She asked.

“Yes. We will. The book I read mentioned something about a God. Our ancestors said he was all powerful, that he helped create the world. I will think of him when we land, and when we all reach the shore, we will search for an ancient town. Someday we will return to the east and free our kin from the S’Neila, the Aliens. We will have children and teach them, especially not to trust those who come from the heavens.”

“I love you,” she breathed and held him tight.

Hover Craft 1 crashed two hundred yards from Long Island, drenching the children in crystalline waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Dion thought of birth water, they would enter the land untainted and start again—and make it right. By God they would make it right!

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2011 in Fantasy, Sci-fi, Short Story

 

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Trapped – Story

Jessica glanced at her depth gauge. Based on what Todd told her she should see a small cave at this depth. In her left hand she carried an underwater flashlight, but it wasn’t necessary to use yet. The noontime sun, even filtered by one hundred and twenty feet of water, provided plenty of light. Although visibility was great, there was little to no fish and no plant life. The scenery was depressing.

Before searching for the cave, Jessica checked her air supply. She was pleased to note that her main tank remained nearly full. Unlike her husband, she was not an air-hog. Although at this depth she would consume air faster, she could spend twenty minutes searching for the skeleton Todd supposedly found. She shook her head in frustration.  Something had to be done with her husband. He was not the same man she married.

A moment later Jessica found the cave, only it wasn’t a ‘cave’ in the traditional sense of the word. This narrow tunnel extended into the east side of Hawaii’s foundation, it was nothing more than a vacant lava tube. Although Kilauea was still an active volcano, Jessica did not fear any lava from the tube. She was concerned about entering the narrow hole. Cave diving was extremely dangerous in shallow dives.  It was insanity at this depth without a partner.

She could not imagine what possessed Todd to enter the cave in the first place. She paused before entering. What if all he saw was a hallucination? Todd was not an experienced diver, and should never have dived to this depth. It was likely he suffered from too much nitrogen bubbles in his blood and mistook a natural rock formation as a skeleton.

Todd had argued with her, claiming he saw a bullet hole in the skull and several gold coins littering the ground. Because he already did a deep dive, he could not accompany her without risking serious damage to his vital organs. She left him at the hotel after getting the coordinates. Wouldn’t it be something if he truly stumbled upon a buried treasure? She certainly didn’t need the money, but the thrill of such a find! What if the coins dated back to the 1800’s?

On her way to the boat she tried calling her brother on the phone. Each time the call went to voice mail. She felt a twinge of uneasiness. Something is wrong with Michael, she thought. In fact, she had felt edgy all day. Maybe he was on the boat and shut his phone off? He wasn’t on the boat, but Todd was. “I thought I left you at the hotel to relax.” She said.

Todd was full of nervous energy. “What, and miss a find like this? No way, plus I’d feel better being with you.”

“What about the kids? Are they below the deck?”

“No, Michael stopped by and I asked him to watch them. He was cool with it. I think he took them down to the pool.” Todd explained and went below the deck.

Jessica mentally shrugged and jabbed the power button on the flashlight, pointed the high-powered beam at the opening, and swam inside. Todd told her to swim into the tunnel for about a hundred feet, then it would open into a spacious cavern. He said there were no other adjoining  tunnels.

Her breathing was slow and steady, and sounded like the way Darth Vada breathed. After swimming for fifty feet she had to clear her ears. She swallowed repeatedly to clear them. A lot of people pinched their nose and blew lightly, but she always wound up inhaling water so she used clips to keep her nostrils closed. A glance at the depth gauge confirmed that she had descended another ten feet. This was craziness! Her dive now stood at 130 feet. She did a quick calculation, if all went well, she would just make it back. If something delayed her? She was risking decompression.

Jessica suddenly decided that when they arrived back in Florida she would file for a divorce. They made the trip to visit her brother, and to try and salvage their collapsing marriage. Jessica discovered that she could not forgive him for cheating on her, nor could she shrug off his surprise drug addiction. She worried about the kids.  A divorce would devastate them.

Jessica was glad her father convinced her to have a prenuptial agreement signed. She and Michael owned equal shares of Olympia Records, a multimillion dollar company they inherited when their father passed away. If she didn’t have that simple form, Todd would be entitled to a small fortune, regardless of his cheating. Sometimes the law wasn’t fair.

A few minutes later Jessica entered the cavern and caught her breath in shock. There was no skeleton in the cave. It was her twin brother floating before her! Michael was dressed in a full wetsuit and diving gear, minus the face mask and regulator. A rope was tied to both ankles and fastened to large lava rocks in order to keep him afloat. A sheet of laminated paper was strapped to his weight belt.

The implications hit her, taking her breath away the same way a punch in the gut did. Todd tricked her into a trap! Jessica spun around and swam back down the tunnel. Ahead she saw the opening of the tunnel.  She also saw a pair of human legs. She kicked harder. Small chunks of rock and sand were falling in front of the exit.

Kicking furiously, Jessica sped through the tunnel. Her tank clanging against the roof several times as the tunnel narrowed. Ten feet from the opening a large boulder dropped, sealing off the exit. Jessica was going to fast to stop, she crossed her arms in front of her and screamed in pain as the rough lava rock tore into her hands and arms. The regulator popped out of her mouth and she inhaled the salty water.

Choking, she quickly leaned to the right and saw the regulator. She shoved it into her mouth and purged the water out of her mouth. A few minutes later she regained control. She was bleeding but nothing seemed broken. She dropped the flashlight and pushed against the boulder, but the rock didn’t budge. She wedged herself in the tunnel and pushed the rock in vain. A glance at her air supply caused her heart to pound. She had less than ninety psi left in the main tank.

There had to be a way out! She swore she would get out of this alive, but that would not happen if she didn’t control herself. She closed her eyes and concentrated on slowing down her breathing. If she were to survive, she needed to conserve as much oxygen as possible. Once calm, she curled herself into a ball and began to turn herself around. The air tank scrapped across the tunnel and jammed. Jessica’s eyed widened in fear as she struggled to complete the turn. “Trapped!” Her mind shrieked. “No, I’m not going to die in this hole like a rat. I’m going to escape and make sure Todd suffers for what he did.”

Suddenly the tank was free and she was able to swim back into the cavern. She was down to forty psi by the time she reached Michael. She touched his face, Michael had always been her angel, he possessed everything that was honorable. They were two sides of the same coin. Two hearts beating together at conception, until now. Tears spilled from her eyes as she untied the note from his belt.

She was amazed Todd took the time to type up and letter and have it laminated so she could read it. Obviously he had this planned for a long time.

My dearest Jessica. I am sure you understand the situation you are in. You see, I know you are going to file for a divorce soon, I can see it in your eyes’ every-time you look at me. Unfortunately, I cannot allow that to happen.

I know you don’t have much time, so I will get right to it. Yeah, I guess I also want to gloat. You see, in order for me to collect anything from Olympia Records, both you and Michael needed to die. I was able to trick Michael into entering the cave the same way I tricked you. I will be going to the hotel now and will sneak into our room so I will be there when the kids wake. Then I will call the police and file a missing person’s. As far as everyone is concerned I never left the hotel today. The maid will verify that I was there, and room service will log my snack when I return.

The cops will tell me to relax. Tomorrow morning I will take the kids down for breakfast, then feed them a small sedative. Once asleep I will swim down and remove you and Michael from the cave, fill your vests with air, and let you float to the surface. Then I will sneak back and be there in time for the maid to clean our room. The kids and I will spend all day beside the pool, or in the room with the cops depending on how things play out.

Our children will inherit the record company, but since they are only six years old, I will receive their monthly payments. Do not worry my dear.  I do not plan on wasting a single cent on drugs or hookers. I plan on giving the kids a great life while I live like a king.

I really never loved you, Jessica. I only went with you for the money, so yes, I have had this planned since we first met. Sweet dreams bitch. Todd.

She remained calm although inside she was seething with rage. She shoved the note in her vest. Evidence for later, if there was a later.

Twenty psi remained. There was so much she wanted to think about but couldn’t, not if she wanted to survive. Jessica swam the length and height of the cavern but there were no exits. Just as she was about to give up the beam of her light illuminated slice of darkness behind a large rock outcrop.

In an instant she was investigating an opening concealed by the rock.  It looked large enough for her to use. Placing her feet on the wall she hugged the rock and push away with her legs. The rock moved! She tried again and the rock moved again.

She was in the middle on inhaling when her air ran out. A few seconds later she had her spare tank on, purged the regulator, and took a breath of air. She went back to work on the boulder. The rock was tearing her skin apart, her hands were bleeding freely and she thanked God there were no sharks around. Minutes later the bolder fell away revealing another tunnel.

Before entering she swam to Michael and touched his face. A single tear rolled down her cheek. She looked at his air gauge and was pleased to see his spare tank contained more than a hundred psi. She took off her used tank on strapped on his. She now had more than two hundred psi.

Would it be enough? She wondered. Not that she had another choice. She entered the tunnel. Within a few dozen feet it widened considerably. She estimated the vacant lava tube was at least ten feet in circumference. Her ears began to ache. Unable to clear them, she backtracked until they cleared. Concerned she looked at the depth gauge and saw that she had traveled thirty feet higher, the cause of the pain.

She was excited that the tunnel moved up, but needed to ascend slowly. If she went too fast, she could suffer the bends, or if she rushed to the surface her lungs would explode as they expanded due to lower pressure. The tunnel suddenly curved and went straight up as far as the flashlight beam could go.

Jessica Held onto the tunnel wall as she added more air to her vest. Her tank ran dry. Holding her breath, she continued to feed air into the vest. She could always release some if too much was added.

With her free hand she switched to Michael’s tank and purged the regulator. She inhaled deeply. The air was sweet. Instantly, her head felt lighter, and her thoughts shattered into fragments. Todd had filled Michael’s tank with sweet air! That was how he was able to kill Michael!

It all seemed so easy! Todd put sweet air into Michael’s tank. Michael probably ran out of air in the cave and switched over. Within seconds he lost consciousness. Brilliant in simplicity.

Jessica shoved herself away from the wall and began to float up the tunnel. She held her breath as she fought off the effects of the gas. She kicked her legs, legs that suddenly felt like lead weights.

“No!” Her mind wailed. But she had no choice, her brain took over and she inhaled the gas and sank into the cold depths of unconsciousness. The flashlight slipped from her lifeless hand and dangled from its safety rope as she slowly floated up the tunnel.

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2011 in Short Story, Thriller

 

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Regret – Story

The darkness is so complete it feels suffocating. Hot, slightly acidic air burns my throat with each gasp. Icy liquid flows gently around my ankles. I pant heavier than a marathon runner as he nears the finish line.

I lean forward and try to catch my breath. Soon my breathing returns to normal, but I begin to shiver. Whatever I am standing in is cold. Numbing. The wall at my back is also cold. I spread my hands across the surface of the wall. It is rough and moist with condensation. Pushing it accomplishes nothing and I conclude that it is a slab of rock.

I slide my hands up, the rock curves gently. Inching away from the wall I follow it up, but it goes too high for me to touch. Nevertheless I continue to edge backward and after several feet the rock gently kisses my fingertips, and I slide them down the wall and into the liquid. A quick taste confirms that it is icy water. For some reason I am in a man-made or natural tunnel formation.

How did I arrive in this place? The last thing I remember is feeling terrible pain and something scorching my throat and chest. I search for something else but nothing comes to mind and that frightens me. It seems my memories have been erased! A sudden thought urges me to lower my hand down to my genital area. I am male.

“But who am I?” My voice echoes away from me. It sounds like the tunnel goes on forever. Suddenly I hear something. Tilting my head to the side I listen intently, trying to decipher the sound. Whatever it is travels quickly. Before I can react, the sound bellows over me.

“AM I”

With a scream I throw my hands over my ears. My scream rushes away growing fainter with every beat of my heart. Then I hear another sound from behind me. I strain to hear it but it is upon me so swiftly.

“AHHHHH”

This time I clamp my mouth shut. For some reason my echo came back to me from the opposite direction. Not only that, it became explosively loud. The only way that could happen is if the tunnel formed a complete circle and as the sound hit a certain place it was catapulted forward. The only problem with this scenario is the echo should just keep going endlessly, but once it reached me it stopped.

Why?

“Hello!” My voice travels away from me. A minute later I hear it coming back. I wait till the last minute then run forward several feet. All remains quiet, peaceful.

I start walking slowly forward. “So if I continue to walk and speak the echo of my voice will never reach me because I am moving away from the point of origin.” I stop and listen.

Origin, origin . . .rigin. . . . . . .igin. . . . . . . . . .gin . . . . . . . . . . .in

I wait it out, naturally it comes back. Still I do not move. In fact I clasp my hands flush against my ears. The word ‘origin’ thunders above me. With my ears still covered I take another step backward and the word ‘of’ is repeated. Another step and ‘point’ thunders around me.

Strange. What does it mean?

I rummage through my pockets and find a lighter and some papers. I strike a flame, fortunately it illuminates several feet of the tunnel. The walls are black, dotted with clear crystal. The first piece of paper is a sales receipt for two dollars and seventy-nine cents. No store name is printed on it. The second paper was ripped off of a bigger sheet and has a phone number scribbled on it with red ink, 555-5843. On the reverse side is several lines of a letter or poem.

In my back pocket I pull out a nylon wallet and tear the Velcro strips apart. In the money slot I count three crisp one hundred dollar bills. I search the wallet’s small compartments and find a dollar worth of change and a picture. The photograph is of a heavyset man in a brown suit. His salt and pepper hair is cropped close to his head. An oxygen cup rests over his nose and mouth. I have no idea who the man is.

I tuck the photo back into its proper spot and slip the wallet in my pocket. Not finding anything about me or who I am disturbs me. I try thinking of my life, of who I am, but there is nothing. Not even a small memory tucked into a hidden corner. Yet, I can think in words and I know what the words mean. I know what grass is and how it smells, there is just no association to the grass and me.

I need to find a way out. Besides, the water is cold, my feet are going numb. The choice of direction is simple, I move forward. At least now I have some form of light.

Unfortunately I cannot burn the lighter constantly, both for fear of using its precious fluid and because it gets too hot to hold. I walk most of the time in darkness, with my left hand touching the wall for guidance. As I walk, I wonder what kind of person I am. I wonder what I look like and how others viewed me. My thoughts, though, always return to the man in the picture. Who is he to me?

Many hours pass. My earlier fear has diminished into gnawing worry. Suddenly my hand touches air. Startled, I stop, flicking the lighter to life. An opening appears before me. It is one step higher than the one I’m in, and it looks dry. I peek inside.

Another tunnel.

“Now what?” My voice echos in both tunnels simultaneously. I hold my ears, waiting for the thunder of my voice, but it never arrives. Instead a strange voice speaks from the cloak of darkness.

“Every path is made of many choices. Life is the same way. Some paths may lead into darkness, and others will lead into the light and still other’s will transverse both. Only you can know which path to choose by searching deep in your heart.”

My heart literally stops. “Who said that!”

All remains quiet. “Hello?”

The minutes tick by but the voice doesn’t return. Thinking of what the voice said, I close my eyes and take several deep breaths. With each exhale I feel my tension and fear leave me with sweet release. I search my heart and mind. I fear this new path, but feel compelled to enter it.

I step up into this new tunnel and relight the lighter. I can go either left or right. The right tunnel seems to raise gradually while the left dips down into black water. I choose the right path as it is dry.

The path is difficult to transverse by feel alone and I am forced into using the lighter more than I anticipated. Up ahead I see the flash of a red light, then darkness. A few seconds later the tunnel is bathed in red once again.

My pace quickens, after several minutes I come to a steep incline. The light continues to pulse above, except now there are red, blue and white flashes. I climb as fast as I can. Once at the top I look down on the other side. My breath hitches in my throat. I close my eyes, feeling suddenly weak. A memory explodes in my mind.

I remember driving to the recycle center in my neighborhood. For these garbage trips I use an old Ford F-250 pickup truck. The road I travel ends at a T-junction. A farmer is burning his old crop and the air is filled with gray, wispy smoke. It mixes with the light morning fog. Visibility drops to fifty feet.

I bring the truck to a stop and look both ways. The new road is quiet. I accelerate into the lane to make a left and immediately see a logging truck barreling toward me. There is no time for me to do anything except watch the grill of the truck fill my vision. Impact happens a second later! My body is engulfed in pain. My truck is lifted off the ground and thrown off the road. Something explodes and the air becomes hot. The truck tips over and begins to roll down the embankment.

A vision shoves itself to the forefront of my mind. I see my dog, Biscuit. Her young body is curled in the back of the cage. She lifts her head and whimpers. I know she sees me, and I am filled with profound remorse, as I was only planning on being gone for ten minutes, I did not leave her any food or water. Will someone rescue her in time?

The truck completes an entire roll, the roof crumbles and presses into my head. All I see is blackness.

Now, I approach the scene in a dream state.  The fire department is using the jaws-of-life to try and extract my body from the truck. Even if they get me out, there is no way they will save me.

A hand clasps my shoulder and I turn to see the man in the photo, my grandfather. “It’s time to go.” He says. Behind him a large dark tunnel materializes and I can see a bright white light at its end. “What’s wrong?” He asks.

“There is so much I haven’t done, people I haven’t been able to say goodbye to!” I cry. “What about my puppy?”

Grandpa smiles at me. “Biscuit will be fine and so will you.” He grabs my hand. “Come along and leave the regret behind. You have accomplished what you were destined to accomplish.  It’s time to move on. Besides, they have the best chocolate mocha coffee here.”

Despite my sorrow I smile and clasp his hand. Together we enter the tunnel.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2011 in Fantasy, Short Story

 

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