In support of good story – AXANAR

My Children will be the first to tell you that I am a full on Trekie. I watch it, I read about it, I know it’s history. I have read things about how the scripts were made and know things about the production of different episodes. I breed it into my kids. All of them know, for example, the proper response to, “Live Long and Prosper.” Most of them can even do the famous Vulcan hand sign by the time they are two or three.

With that in mind, you might understand why it is that I got upset about the most recent Star Trek Movie. I am not going to go into all of that here, if you want to read about it, you can see it here. STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS – A REVIEW and IT IS NOT THAT I HATE REBOOTS, I JUST WANT A NEW STORY However, the long and the short of it is that the Star Trek Universe is so huge, that there is no excuse for retelling an old story for one of the movies.

And before you get all up in arms and point to Trouble with Tribbles and Trials and Tribulations, that was a very special case where they were celebrating and anniversary, and it was a single episode in a series that ran for seven seasons.

But enough about that. What I really want to talk about is the future of the Star Trek Universe. I know there are rumors about giving Worf (Michael Dorn) his own series and I am excited to see where that goes. However right now there are a number of fan based projects going.

This one AXANAR is one of the most promising. Axanar_Logo_ret-small

The great part of this is that it takes a story that was only hinted at in the original series, and fills in the gaps, instead of retelling a story that is already out there. This story fills in the gaps, and that expands the Star Trek Universe making it a far richer place.

What Follows is the Prelude to Axanar. Think of it as a 21 minute episode that gives you the background so you understand what is happening in the feature length movie that is coming out at the end of this year. (2015)

This is a fan based film. This is a “for the love” production. They can’t ever make any money on this. That means that they do need your support to make this happen. Before you role your eyes and say, “Oh a fan film,” They have hired professional actors, set designers, CGI production and script writers. This thing is top notch and could easily stand next to any of the official regular episodes. So please consider donating to this so that they can make this film and hopefully more after it. I think after you watch it, you will agree with me that it is completely worth your time and maybe a little of your money.

So Grab your phaser and your tricorder and prepare for a little old school Trek, with some incredible story telling.

Now that you have watched it, again please consider giving in some way. If you can’t afford anything right now, just share it with other people who you know will like it, so that they can see and maybe donate. This is what Star Trek should be. http://www.startrekaxanar.com/

Shooting Stars: A Teenage Vampire Love Story from a Boy’s Perspective – A Review

Shooting Stars: A Teenage Vampire Love Story from a Boy's PerspectiveShooting Stars: A Teenage Vampire Love Story from a Boy’s Perspective by Philip Carroll
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Philip Carroll Does it again. In Shooting Stars he takes a genre that I don’t normally like or even read, and made me really enjoy this story. And now on with the review.

Being a teenager is hard, really hard. Add to that, moving to a new school, and joining a sports team. Jocks and Cliques that you don’t have a chance of understanding unless you have lived in a place all your life. And don’t get me started on the girls. Chuck has all of these problems and more when he moves to his new school from Washington State. He discovers that not only does he have to deal with all the normal problems of moving to a new school but he has accidentally stepped into the middle of a battle ground on a higher plain.

When his new girl friend Kelsey, turns out to be more than he excepted he finds him self in the middle of a battle that nothing he has ever experienced can prepare him for. He will need everything he has and more if he hopes to get out of this one live.

Part of me wonders if I like this book so much because I was Chuck growing up. I moved to a new school in high school, joined the Cross Country team, did well, and met the girl of my dreams only to have her turn out to be so much more than I thought she was. My girl friend (and now wife) didn’t end up having magical powers or anything but still she was special. But I think that it is more that Chuck’s story is one that a lot of teen aged guys can relate to.

In Shooting Stars : A Teenage Vampire Love Story from a Boy’s Perspective Mr. Carroll gives us an engaging story. More than that, he gives us real characters who you can relate to. They have hopes and dreams, and he drags you down, some times kicking and screaming, into their lives. At one point I found myself yelling at the book, “Oh no Chuck that is such a bad idea!” I really cared about these people, and when the book ended I was really sad that I could not continue to be friends with them.

Mr Carroll does not glorify the demonic forces that are vampires but instead exposes their true ugly nature, and the forces required to do battle with them. This to me was a huge deal, and for a teen aged romance involving vampires it was a breath of fresh air.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have known Philip Carroll for some time, I follow him on social media and I consider him a friend. I was given a Beta copy of an early version of this book and an advanced readers copy (ARC) of the book and enjoyed both immensely. While I probably would not have picked up this book normally because as I said I don’t normally read this genre, Philip has opened my eyes. If you have any doubt, I am going to buy copies for each of my teen aged boys so that they can read it.

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Flypaper Boy: Coming of Age – A Review

Flypaper Boy: Coming of AgeFlypaper Boy: Coming of Age by Philip Carroll

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Flypaper Boy thinks his super power is lame. I mean really, what can a superhero do when his super power is sticking to things until someone comes along with some nail polish remover to free him. That is until he is kidnapped by bad guys and is forced to become a super villain. What is a good guy to do, when he has to use his powers for the forces of evil?

Flypaper Boy: Coming of Age follows Jimmy Wheeler AKA Flypaper Boy on his first real adventure. This is a superhero book. I have said it before and I will say it again, I am really not that much of a super hero fan, but this book caught my attention and held it.

High school can be hard enough if you are different, harder still if you have to move to a new school. Through it all FlyPaper boy manages to keep his cool, remember his mission and stay true to his moral code.

Let’s be honest here, Jim Wheeler is a teenaged boy, and he is surrounded by teenaged girls. He is going to notice them. He is going have feelings for some of them. But all the while he manages keep a lid on his hormones and and stick to his moral code, not only for being a hero, but also for being a human. That is one of my favorite parts of the book. Multiple times he is presented with opportunities where he could have taken advantage of the situation, and yet he never does.

This book is not so much about being a super hero, probably why I liked it despite my normal aversion to comic book superheroes, and much more about being a kid in a tough situation, trying to find his way through who happens to have super powers.

Mr. Carroll did a wonderful job, grabbing my attention and keeping it. His characters have depth, they have flaws, and they have to live life the best way they know how. I really enjoyed this book, and I look forward to sharing it with my kids.

A Note for parents: If you are looking for a good book to start the school year with, this is a good one. It is certainly safe for middle grade readers though probably older ones will appreciate it more. If they are still in the eeew boys / girls are yucky stage they might want to wait another year or two. And the book is aimed more at boys than girls, though I think girls will like it too.

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Great Hites # 24

Originally posted Oct 23 2008

Great Hites # 24
A Journey Late in Life By: Robert Jahns
Last Day on the Job By: Jeff Hite
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A Journey Late in Life

By Robert Jahns

Mason Thompson was the town elder. No one alive knew exactly when he arrived from England. Tales had him arriving by tall sailing ship, by a great ocean steamer, even by a dirigible from pre-war Germany. 1890 land records showed that a Mr. Mason Thompson, then age 40, purchased property and settled in the town of Parker, Arizona. The private man once taught school. Many of his students went on to good universities. Few found fault with Mr. Thompson or his teaching methods. When he folded up his bifocals and retired from teaching, he spent many a day rocking peacefully on his front porch. He kept his home up well. He never married, remaining content to spend his time alone. On occasion, Mason would spirit away to his secret fishing hole.

Time moved forward to the year 1940. The townsmen wanted to treat Mr. Thompson upon his 90th birthday. Thompson was now feeble, carefully, slowly moving with a gait that suited his advanced years. The good townspeople planned a magnificent trip for their elder.

A short flight to New York was easy enough. He seemed quite pleased with the adventure. The elder slept well as a larger craft propelled the travelers on their way to England. They completed the journey by traveling by train from Heathrow Airport to London proper. He was to meet with people he had left behind so many years before.

“It’s him!” exclaimed the oldest lady in the mob. With axe handles and thatched ropes, the angry mob hauled away the old man. “Finally got you, you savage! There is no statute of limitations on murder! Killing all of those women – what were you thinking of, Jack?”

The elder breathed the salt air of the London docks and promptly threw up.

Last Day on the Job

By: Jeffrey Hite

“Last day on the job and what happens? I get a called to go down to the beach. Something big has washed up,” I said to my wife over the cell phone.
“I bet it is a party. I bet they are throwing you a party!”
“They are not that kind of folks dear. they don’t even like me all that much.”
“Hank, you never know, and even if it is not by tomorrow it will be someone else’s problem and you will be retired and spend the rest of your days with me.”
“Very true. Well I don’t know how long I will be. I love you.”
“Love you too dear. Give me a call on your way home,” Those were the last words that I heard for many years that made sense.
As I neared the beach I could see that a crowd had gathered. But I could not see what they were looking at. The Highway Patrolman that called me was standing a little ways off trying to get them to disperse but not having much luck.
“Hello, officer Parker, I am Hank Barnwell.” He held out his hand and we shook.
“Glad you could come. Your call screener said that it was your retirement day, but I think this is worth your time.”
“Alright, so what have we got?”
“Well, I had better show you. Come on down to the waters edge with me.” We walked to the edge of the water and I could see that there was indeed something very large, sticking up out of the surf.
“What is it?”
“Well sir, it looks like the nose of a submarine, but a very old one.”
“Very old to be sure. With a bow line like that is has to be a World War two boat. And look at those torpedo doors. And in such wonderful condition, how is that possible? Son you really should have called the Navy for some thing like this, I deal with animals, you know whales and other large sea creatures.”
“Yes, sir and that is why I called you. This is right out of Captain Nemo.”
“You mean Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, but what are you talking about?”
“Well just look.” He pulled me to one side so I could see the boat in profile. There attached the to rear end of the submarine was the largest Colossal squid I had ever seen. It enveloped the whole rear end. And more to the point it was a live.
“There is something else sir.” the Patrolman said snapping me back to the present.
“Yes?”
“Well the person who called me, said that when the submarine surfaced that a man came out of one of the hatches and started up the deck, then that thing let loose and pulled him back and killed him.”
“What? You mean people are in there?” He nodded his head. “In the sub?”
“That is what I have been told.”
“That seems highly improbable. That ship is over sixty years old.”
“I know that sir, but that is what I was told.”
“Where is the witness?” He led me over to a young girl of about twenty, sitting near his patrol car. She sat with tears streaming down her face staring out at the beached submarine.
“Diane, this is the man I told you I was going to call. Can you tell him what you saw.” She shook her head and started to sob. “You need to tell Mr. Barnwell here what you saw so that we can help those people.” She nodded then and sniffed several times before beginning.
“That boat, just came crashing out of the water. Then one of the holes opened up. I could hear men shouting, then one of them got out and ran across the boat and tried to jump into the water, he was not very fast, he looked old. But then that monster grabbed him. It picked him up and smashed him against the deck.”
“Thank you Diane. You just relax now,” I said. We walked a little ways away before I spoke again. “Did she say she had heard men shouting.”
“Yes, When she told me about it she said she had seen several sets of arms reaching out of the port.”
“Do you have a marine radio in your car?”
“Of course.”
“Good, you go get Diane away from the car. I don’t want to upset her any more than we already have.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I am not sure yet.” I waited until he had moved the girl away from the car and then started working the radio. I didn’t know what frequencies they used in world war two subs but, i figured it was worth a shot. I switched it to the universal guard frequency.
“Hello beached submarine, can you hear me?”
“We hear you.” Came back a very scratchy voice. “We do not have much power to transmit so please listen close. This is the U.S.S. May. We have found the lost city of Atlantis, but when we tried to return, we were told we could not. Ten days ago, myself and half of my crew were able to escape. MyXO and the other half stayed behind to buy us the time we needed to escape.” He paused and I waited wondering if they had run out of power. “Yesterday we were within site of land, but their guardian caught us. We have been trying to fight it off, but with no luck. We were finally able to beach ourselves here. You need to know that Atlantis is real, It’s people are nearly human like us, but they have incredible life spans.”
There was a terrible metal rending sound then.
“The creature is tearing the ship apart. It will try to kill us all to keep the secret.” The Transmission broke up then to the sounds of chaos both inside and out. I could see the creature moving then, and it was huge. Nearly the size of the sub herself. “Listen,” the voice came again trembling now. “Please say goodbye to our families… We are going to launch a torpedo that has letters from everyone inside.” The was a terrible scream of metal as one of the beast’s arms wrapped around the sail and began to rip it off. “Do not try to find Atlantis. They are a good people but they will kill to protect their secret.”
the Boat sunk below the waves being dragged by the creature.
“Captain, Captain.” I yelled into the microphone. But there was no response. A few seconds later a torpedo ran a ground, near the crowd of on lookers. They scattered thinking the thing might explode. Then a giant air bubble escaped to the surface. Several men tried to swim to shore, but the creature made short work of them. grabbing them and dragging them back under.
When it was over I waded out into the water, the smell of the salt air was over powering and I threw up.

******

Today three years later, I delivered the last of the letters to family members of the officers and crew of the U.S.S. May. Very few have believed my story, even fewer believed the letters that I had given them. This time, however, the captain’s widow believed me. She cried as she read the letter from her husband, and just like the night it happened I did too.

Great Hites # 23

Originally posted Oct 15 2008

 


Download GreatHites # 23 Audio

Welcome to Great Hites, With Jeffrey Hite. This is Alex I am sitting in for Jeff this week.

A Note from Jeff:

This has been a very busy week, I am running very late, and I have only my story so I have decided that since I do it for other people I would let Alex read this story.

So on with the story:

This weeks prompt came from Peter S. “The empty shell of a boat house.”

So sit back relax and make sure you know who your friends are.

The Boat house.

By: Jeffrey Hite

The boat house stood silently on the edge of the lake. It was a very simple structure, with nothing inside. It’s only reason for being was to shelter the fisherman’s boat, who had died long before Jonathan had risen to the throne of the kingdom.
This much he had learned from the men he had sent here last night to check it out. They had reported that there was no place to hide, no place to conceal a weapon, just an open room, with a small dock around the inner rim. His watchers had been there since before sun up and had seen no one leave or enter, and they had cleared the surroundings.
And Yet he was afraid. He could admit that, and he had good reason to be. Marcus the captain of his royal guard, and been taken hostage by these monsters. A man who was many times more capable of defending himself than he was. Even though they had grown up together, and Marcus had trained him. It had been his job to run the country, and he had fallen out of practice of defending himself. Something he was not proud of, but it was the facts of life. It was one fact that right now he wished could be altered.
Two nights before, he had received the letter. Come to the boat house alone, or you will not see Marcus again. Even through his elation that Marcus was alive, he had been afraid. Though at that point it was more of a nagging at the back of his mind afraid, now it was a full bodied terror that gripped him. It had been almost a year since Marcus had been captured and they had given up all hope that he was still alive. Especially since the killers had taken to not only murdering the victims but leaving little more than a bloody mess behind.
It was time now, he knew that he would have to go forward, that he would have to enter the boat house. Three of his men were to be on the roof of the boat house in case something happened. He could not see them from where he was standing but that might have been because of the slope of the roof, or the fading light. But they were among his best men, all trained by Marcus himself so he knew that he had little to worry about.
With tentative steps he walked to the door at the rear of the building and pushed it open. At first the room inside the boat house was too dark to see much, but he could tell that he was not alone.
“Come in your Highness. I have been expecting you.”
“Where are you?”
“You have nothing to fear from me. As I said in my note, I only wish to talk with you.”
“Who are you?”
“Oh come now, you would not want to spoil the surprise, like our friends here did.” As he said this three bodies dropped into the water. The king hurried to the edge to look in and saw the nearly unrecognizable forms of his guards who had been stationed on the roof. Had it not been for their uniforms he would not have known for sure.
“Why?”
“I told you to come alone!” The voice was angry now. “You had people prowling around here all day, you are lucky that it was only these three that paid the price for your arrogance, but I am sure you feel it was a worthy cause for them to die. You value the lives of your servants so.”
“What do you mean. I.”
“Oh come now you called off the search for your friend long ago. There was no body, there was nothing, and yet you called off the search, and he was your the man you called best friend. What can these men have meant to you.”
‘I care for all of my people.”
“Ahh I am sure you do. But maybe you can tell me how you do it.”
“What are you talking about.” For the first time the man speaking came out of the shadows, the light was to his back so Jonathan could not see his face.
“How you can be that insensitive. How you can feel nothing. Because, as my hero,” his tone was mocking now, “I figure you might have some advice to give.” He walked full into view now and Jonathan saw the wreck of a man that his friend had become.

Stone’s Cold

This post was originally published on June 2 2008
And I apologize ahead of time for my terrible accents.

Stone’s cold

The prompt for this comes from Moderoom Press:

Imagine a Castle in Scotland
With a terrible disease
the smell of saffron fills the air
a spinster is playing a Wagner
While the Insomniac holds a candle in the dark


Download and listen to Audio for Stone’s Cold.

Hear the Promo for Short Cummings Audio

“Carol, you have got to come see this.” I said staring at the screen in disbelief. I had been on this site for over an hour, and was still in shock about the whole thing.
“Did you find us a vacation rental?” She asked as she came in the room still in her bathrobe.
“Well.”
“Steven, you said you would find something for us so that we could do this trip with the kids and not be searching e-bay for, for whatever it is you search e-bay for.”
“I know but you have got to see this.”
“What…” Her voice told me I had only seconds.
“Look, I was looking for vacation rentals. some times people list them here. Not very often, but I thought I would include it.”
“Fine, what have you found. Was about to take a shower.”
“A castle, for sale! And look at the price.” She moved in closer so she could see.
“That has got to be some sort of a joke. There is no way that is real. It has got to be like some model in Scotland, Iowa or something.”
“I don’t think so. I have e-mailed the seller and, got the GPS coordinates, it is in Scotland, and I have done some research. It is a real castle, built in 1753,” I said gesturing to the new windows I brought up. “This place appears to be real.”
“But that can’t be the selling price.”
“That is what I asked the guy. He said that if we brought the check that he would have the dead of sale. Carol at that price if we brought it only as a vacation home then we would would still be making out.”
“I still can’t believe it. There has to be some sort of a catch.”
“The only thing that he said that I don’t get is that it was a cold castle, but he said it weird, he said, and I quote,” bringing up my e-mail, “You must be warned that the castle has a cold.”
“That is a little odd. Listen I am going to take my shower. Why don’t you call the bank and find out just what it would take to buy a home in Scotland. I am with you that at that price we would be fools to pass it up.”
“That is what I said.”

*****

Two weeks later the four of us sat in the back seat of a cab, on our way to the castle. Carol and I had worked around the clock. The owner wanted to sell immediately and we had not planned to go on vacation until summer. We had to deal with banks and the Scottish government and three of the minor officials of the local government. But, the kids schools had given us the hardest time, and in the end we told them that we were going to home-school. Then there was my job, but I convinced that my boss to let me have a month off and that when I came back I could edit from anywhere.
Despite it all we were all just about giddy with the idea of seeing this place for the first time. As we neared the place, all the brochure images of Scotland filled my head, the moors, the stone fences, the sheep, the tiny little farm roads, and cottages. It took me a moment to realize that I was not imagining it. there it all was right outside the window, and not for the first time I was glad that I didn’t rent a car. There was too much to see, and I didn’t want to miss any of it.
“If you look out out the window to the right you will get a view of Stone manor through these trees in a moment,” the cabie said, “We have to weave around a bit more, so couple more minutes till we get there.”
We all plastered our faces to the window and watched. It was like a dream. The trees broke and we saw the castle. It was just like the pictures had shown. There were two towers and a low wall all the way around it. The castle proper stood in the middle and looked like something out of a story book. I could not take my eyes off it.

*****

“Welcome to Stone Manner, I thank you for coming all the way out here,” The owner was a older man, with slightly thinning hair that was grey with some flecks of brown.
“It was our pleasure,” I said.
“Well let me show you around and then we can go down to the pub, I have arranged for the Mayor to be there to over see the sale.”
“Good we are dieing to see it.”
“This way.” He lead the way into the main hall. The first the we noticed was a powerful smell of saffron that permeated the whole place. It was a pleasant smell even if a bit over powering. “We have to keep the kettle boiling with saffron so keep the cold away,” he said as if reading my mind. “Otherwise you have to break out the chicken soup.” We all laughed but he shot us a dark look.”
“What do you mean,” I asked getting the first sinking feeling since the whole process had started.
“I told you, the castle has a cold. It has for over a hundred years, and we can’t seem to cure it.”
“You mean like it has a bad draft, have you replaced windows and things like that,” Carol ask?
“No, not it is cold, it has a cold. As in it is sick. Put your ears to the stone and you can hear the wheezing, and you don’t want to be around when it it gets bad.”
I put my ear to the nearby wall not knowing what I would hear, and sure enough it sounded like some one with a cold. “How does a castle get a cold?” I asked moving away for the wall.
“Don’t worry, you can’t catch it,” He said noticing the kids and Carol with the hand sanitizer. “Stone Manner was given this cold by a nasty old woman. She was my great aunt. She and my grandmother had vied for the love of my grandfather. She lost out,” he said with a little smile. “But not to be out done, she found a magic way to give their home a cold. It took most of her life, but right after she died the castle got sick.
“You mean she cursed the place,” Carol asked?
“You could say that. But it was not like you see in the movies. She was so jealous that she spend her whole life, brewing it up. The old spinster had to sit in her room night after night listening to Wagner on her Victrola and cooking of the odd herbs. Then day after day she would bring the foul smelling stuff in a tea pot and offer tea to my grandmother. She would refuse of course and it would get dumped in the the garden right out back. The old woman would sit up all night not able to sleep, candle in hand, staring out at the manor house. It was a slow process. But now It has a cold.”
“What do you do for it,” I asked and eying Carol. I was afraid she would want out, and I was still in love with the place.
“We don’t rightly know how to cure it. That is why we are selling it. I have not live here for a few years now. I live down in village, I just have come up here during the day to build the fire up and keep the kettles on. it too much of a pain on an old man, and I have no children of my own to take care of it.”
“Can you live here,” I asked?
“Sure you can. If you don’t mind the smell of the saffron and the wheezing sound when it gets cold. Some times you can hear it through the fireplaces. But enough about this let me show the rest of the place.” He said with a smile and walked out of the main hall.

Creative Commons License
Stone’s Cold by Jeffrey Hite is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at GreatHites.blogspot.com.

Old Kelly

This was Originally posted May 21 2008

This prompt comes from Mur Laferty’s “News From Poughkeepsie” series. http://murverse.com/2008/05/10/the-news-from-poughkeepsie-day-19/

Old Kelly had been in prison for so long that she didn’t even remember why she was there, but when the King summoned her from her dark cell, he reminded her.


Download and listen to Audio for Old Kelly.

This weeks reading is by Ann Hite.

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Old Kelly

Kelly looked out of the windows of tower room and saw the kingdom below her. She had not seen this view in over thirty years. That was the last time she had been allowed out of the basement cell.
The King was cruel to have locked her up all those years ago, but he was not an evil man, he had ordered that she have time nearly every day, to see the sun. Normally that was at sundown, and from the top step of the prison cell block. So at least she remembered what it looked like. The rest of the world though had faded in her memory. She was not even sure that it had been a king that had sent her to prison, it might have been some duke or something. But, they said it had been the king had summoned her to day. So she had to assume that it had been the king that had doomed her to thirty years in that hole. And for what. That she did not remember. She just remembered laughing at him, that day and for many many days after.
Today had been completely different. She had been woken before sunrise and taken, not by the normal older prison guards, but by two young men to this room. To this prison cell, for that was still what it was. Despite the niceties, the door was locked, and occasionally she could hear the voices of the guards outside the door. There she had watched the sunrise for the first time in many years.
Shortly after sunrise two maids had come in. They bathed her and dressed her. They had called a seamstress, but the clothes she had worn the day of her imprisonment still fit so she was sent away. The maids combed and brushed her black hair which was now down to her knees, they trimmed the end s off but left the greatest majority of the length. Then they braided it.
Several hours had passed, and now she stood alone trying to remember why it was that she was there, and wondering why it was she was being summoned before the king.
“Madam, you need to come with me now,” the voice of the young guard brought her back to the moment.
“Of course,” She said following obediently out of the room. He lead her down a long series of step and to a small room, with a set of large doors on the opposite wall. There they waited. The main doors finally opened but only a little hand waived them in.
“Today I will remind those of you who do not remember of a dear friend of mine.” The king said as she entered the room. She was still well to the back of the room and mostly concealed by a set of curtains. “She was a wonderful friend of mine when we were younger. Since the age of twelve, she was always by my side. There to help me and guide me in many ways. We had a great many things in common. All but one, and I will get to that in a moment. For I first want to tell you more about her.”
Kelly began to remember the king. He had been a young man when she had gone to prison. But no longer. His hair and is beard were silver, and his skin a pale sickly looking yellow. He had grown thin in all the years since.
“You will remember my kind ladies and gentlemen that she was a woman of unique gifts. She was extremely intelligent, and without a doubt she was beautiful. Of her beauty she was very proud. Too proud in fact, and this is where the differences between us become important. I am the king, and she was not even of royal blood.”
Kelly listened as he rambled on for some time about blood lines and, the importance of the rule of law. As he did the past began to come into focus for her. She remembered now the days that she had spent with him. The hours they had spent learning the laws of the kingdom, the horsemanship, and though it was deemed to be above a woman’s station, swordsmanship. They had also spend hours just by themselves, riding through the towns and villages of the country side. She had loved to see the changes in them… At that moment it all came back to her.
“I asked her to kick the mud off her boots and to change her life forever. I asked her to marry the king, but she refused. She actually said that her beauty was too great for some one like me.” He said gesturing toward himself with his ancient looking hands. “Bring out the mirror,” he bellowed.
To the side of the great hall another door was opened and four men entered with a very large mirror. “We will now see if she is still too beautiful to marry me. Of course I am now off the market so to speak,” This last remark was made with a sweep of his arm toward a woman that looked older than he. It was obvious that she had been beautiful at one time, her hair was still long and flowing but all white now.
When the mirror was positioned in the center of the room the guard leaned over and whispered in her ear. “This ain’t going to work out like this ol’ king thinks.”
“No I don’t believe it will.” Kelly replied, straightening her dress with her hands.
“I will now turn my back on her, as she turned her back on me thirty years ago, and let her see if her beauty is still enough to keep her happy.” He gestured toward her now and turned around to face the rear of the room. “Guard, bring my old friend Kelly in her now and let her see her reflection.”
From behind her the guard pushed gently.
“It is alright, I will go without a fight,” she said. Kelly walked proudly into the main hall and right up to the mirror. She turned slowly, so that everyone in the room could see her as well and only occasionally looked at the mirror herself, she knew what she would see.
The whispers that had started when she walked into the room and the members of the court has seen her, had now increased in volume so that she could hear many of them without trying. The mirror blocked her view of the king, and his view of her. So it startled her when he spoke from just behind it.
“Kelly, was it worth it?” He asked first in a quite voice and then again so that the whole room could hear. “Now your that youthful beauty has failed you, would it not have been better to spend that time with me, instead of wasting away in the cell below…”
“Your highness,” a random voice said from her side of the mirror.
“Move the mirror!” He shouted. It was moved away, and for the first time in thirty year he looked at her. His face turned ashen white and he dropped to the floor. Kelly stood for a moment longer admiring her appearance in the mirror before the guard pulled her away again. Thought she was much older than the king, by hundreds of years, it would take many hundreds more before, she started to look old, and once again she found the laugh that had send her to prison.

Creative Commons License
Old Kelly by Jeffrey Hite is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at greathites.blogspot.com.

Seeing Ghosts

Originally Published May 18th 2008

Well I have made it to week two.

This weeks prompt comes again from Mode Room Press. See their link to the side.

Imagine a man who has visions of ghosts
With a terminal illness
beyond the window is a Sylvan scene
the scoundrels line the wharves
while the insomniac holds a candle in the dark.


Download and listen to Audio for Seeing Ghosts

Seeing Ghosts.

Jacob has seen things all his life, but it was not until recently that he had known what they were. It was on his fifty second birthday that he was diagnosed with what he called terminal lung rot. As he walked out of the Doctor’s office he saw something pass in front of him, just for a moment, and then it was gone. He followed it with his eyes not wanting to see anything in the real word, and it formed a few feet off and stared at him.
It was a man in a striped suit of the kind that was popular a few years before. He carried a briefcase in his left hand and had a ancient looking cell phone in his right, that until he has spotted Jacob he had been talking into.
“Damn thing gets horrible reception in the city,” The man had said.
“They always do.” It was then that Jacob saw it. There was a hole in the mans suit… No not in his suit, right threw him.
“Just got the Diagnosis did you?” The man said noticing Jacob stare.
“What?”
“You just found out about the impending end right? Am I the first ghost you have seen?”
“Yes,” he answered not quite believing the conversation.
“Well you will see a few more of us. It always happens to people who are in tune to the universe. As soon as they know they are going to die things start to come into focus. But do try not to stare, I don’t mind but there are those that find it very rude.” He smiled at Jacob then and walked through the wall in to the office building.
That had been three months ago. It was hard not to stare at some of them, the ones that carried parts of their bodies around. The severed heads where the hardest. That was why he had to leave the city. Every where he turned there were more of them, men, women and children, all a with their particular method of death exposed to the world. He could not stand it any more. But the worst the absolute worst were the wharves. He made the mistake of going down there one evening to get some fish for dinner. There where the usual scoundrels until he looked closer and noticed that many of them had knife or bullet wounds. The sailors that had died at sea, skin green and fish eaten. The Slaves whose bodies had been dumped in heaps hanged or whipped to death, There were even a few men with bucket shaped concert around their feet. All of them seemed to know that he, unlike the rest of the population, could see them and so they spoke to him. He had to get out.
He had, had a hard time getting the financing, too many people already knew he was going to die and had nothing to leave behind. His real estate broker had even been able to see the dead as well, and they warned her about him. He thought at first this would be to his benefit having someone else that could understand his plight but she was as uncaring as the dead. In the end he was able to buy a house in upstate New York, out in the country away from most people. The scene outside his windows was beautiful, the farms and pasture land all around, but even here there was too much history. He did not see as many of the gruesome deaths, the killings or the maiming, but there were enough, the farm accidents and the older ones, from the fur traders and the native Americans before that. So long as he stayed in his home most of the time, he was ok, most of the time.
That was before the nearby farmer had come by. He was an older man, with a grey beard. Jacob was suspicious at first, but when he saw not obvious method of death, he let his guard down.
“Welcome to the area, my name is Brown, live down the road just a bit,” He said holding out a plate of cookies. “My wife baked some cookies.” Jacob reached his hand out tentatively and when his hand didn’t pass right them he was relieved.
“Thank you.”
“Sorry I have not come down sooner, but kind of a busy season. planting and all.”
“I understand,” He said relaxing quite a bit, he had not talked with some one in a while who was not a ghost.
“This land that your house is on used to belong to my father, but we sold off some of it a few years back and they split it up and built houses. At least it is not a subdivision.”
“I certainly understand that. I have seen enough of those.”
“Well listen I need to get back to work, but if you ever need any help around here, let me know. Oh and don’t tell my wife about the cookies, she don’t know I took’em and I ate about half of them on the way down here,” he said smiling mischievously. “The doctor says I have to stay off sweets but I don’t listen to them any more.” Jacob watched the man leave, walking down the driveway and across the field. He ate one of he cookies and truly enjoyed it. It had been on of the best human contacts he had made in a while, and for once he was not seeing a ghost.
“Brown works for me,” The voice behind him said. The plate fell to the floor and shattered as the spirit pushed his way through Jacob. “Surprised you didn’t see that he was one of us, but the plate and cookies probably threw you off.”
Standing before Jacob now was without a doubt death itself. He looked just as the stories had described him with one difference, the cowl was not totally covering his face and Jacob could see into it’s eyes.
“Don’t worry that you can see my face. Today is not your day, but it will be soon, so it is of no consequence. I use Brown to help me find people like you. People who can see the dead. I can use people like you. Think about it. have you ever seen another dead holding a solid object? I gave that to him. His weakness was the cookies… so I gave them to him. in turn he scouts for me. He finds the ones I can take early, the ones who will work for me and the ones who won’t.”
“What do people do for you?”
“What does death do? They kill for me of course. They take the walking dead like you and hurry them along and a few they refer to me, like you.”
“He kills people?”
“He can’t do that, not really, but he can interact with the living in ways that makes things happen.”
“Why?”
“Because he does not want to be stuck in hell… All the other dead you see live for ever with the pain of their deaths. They take their pain with them to the grave. Think about it Jacob, but not too long, you can’t decide once you are dead.” He disappeared then and he stood alone in his hallway, shattered plate on the floor.
That night he said in his bed, the candle by his bed, not able to sleep. He could hear all the voices of the dead in the area now, and he could feel death. He knew that death would never leave him now. Sleep would never come. He held the candle tightly in his hands trying to ward off the dark, and cried.

Creative Commons License
Seeing Ghosts by Jeffrey Hite is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at greathites.blogspot.com.

GreatHites 1 – Adam and Eve

Originally post on May 15 2008

This prompt comes from Mode Room Press. See the link in the PROMPTS section to the side

Describe Adam and Eve breaking up

With a handful of poultry feathers

Such love one has had at times like these

A gypsy wagon comes traveling by

While a virgin discovers love


Download and listen to Audio for Adam and Eve

Like Lilith before her Eve loved Adam. Then again there was no one else for her to love, with the exception of Lilith, and she was a demon now, past love of her own or being loved, except as one loves all of Gods creations. Now there were just the two of them and the animals, and there was love between them. Love that you can only know before you lose that virginity, the virginity if ignorance and bliss. There was nothing but love. This afternoon that had all changed.

Before this afternoon, there had been no knowledge of lust or desire, but now they knew both. There was no anger or jealousy either, but now they were there too. And Adam was gone. He had seen her with the serpent, she had offered him the apple, and they had seen each other for the first time. There was lust and passion, as there had never been before, and all the things that came with them. It had lasted hours, or was it days, it was hard to tell but when it was over, there was the knowledge that it was over. He had left to find food for them both.

She had found him an hour later with a bird in his right hand and some of it’s feathers in his left and, and realized that he was using the same passion to prepare their meal as he had used a hour ago, when he had made love to her, and she left him. She had wandered though the garden with no where else to go, the garden was everywhere and everywhere was the garden.

She came upon a track in the garden, where there should have been none, but as the garden was everything, she thought little of it, and decided to follow the track. The trees closed in around the track and made it impossible for her to leave, but as all the creatures of the garden were under the control of man, and she was, after all made from man, she knew she had nothing to fear.

Then she remembered the warning, “Eat not of the tree of knowledge of good and evil lest you shall die,” and she was afraid. In moments she heard a noise. It sounded like horses and of talking between her and Adam, but louder and as if there were more men and women. Then there were the sounds she did not recognize. She stood in terror for the first time in her life, there was no where for her to hide, she did not know how to hide, but she wanted to do it away.

Eve stared down the track in the direction of the noises and trembled, held in place by fear. Soon a group of horses connected by straps to a large object made of wood, that had round objects that it roll along on came into view. There were other horses that were ridden by men and women sat or hung on to the thing being drawn by the horses tethered to it. She knew at once, without knowing how, that this was a wagon and the people were gypsies. They wore brightly colored cloth covering their bodies and heads. The men stared at her. She could feel their eye roam over her naked body, with the same lust that Adam had had for her, but with none of the love that he had. These men just lusted for her body and not for her.

The women stared at her too, but their stares were ones of disapproval. They looked on Eve with shame and embarrassment. She saw in their eyes the need to cover herself. She did so with her hands at first, and when he realized this was of little good, she grabbed a fig leaf and pulled it close to her. They passed by her with only the noise made by the horses and the wagon breaking the silence. She ran then. Fear coursed through her, the fear of her nakedness, the fear of the gypsies, the fear of the animals and the fear of death from them all, and through it all she ran.

The track seemed to go on forever, but she didn’t stop, though she felt pain, that she had never felt before. She looked at her feet as they stepped on rocks that dug into them, and wondered at why they had never done this before. Then came the blinding paid of her head striking something heard and she fell over. Fear of death overwhelmed her, then. Though she did not understand what death was, she feared it, because God had warned against it.

It was the soft touch of Adams hands on her skin that convinced her to open her eyes and stop crying. When she did she saw only love in his eyes. Not the bawdy looks of the men on the horses, or the disapproving stares of the women on the wagon. She knew then that it was only at times like these that love can really be expressed.

She held Adam and cried until the tears would no longer come and his love for her was something she could feel. When they finally pulled apart she noticed that like her, he was covered in a leaf, and that there he been tears in his eyes as well.

“I looked for you Eve, but I could not find you. Then I followed this road. I saw a thing, people, on horses and a wagon. The men made me feel shame and the women stared at me almost like you but there was no love.”

“I saw the same thing, and then I ran and I ran until I hit something with my head.”

“I think you hit me,” he said rubbing the lump on his head that she now saw for the first time. They held each other then, until they heard God calling to them from down the road.

“I do not want him to stare at me like the Men on the horses.” Eve said

“Nor do I want him to look on me with their scorn. I think we should hide.” This time there was a place for them to do so, and they moved into the trees and hid until they could see God.

Eve noticed right away the way he looked. He no longer looked like herself and Adam, somehow he looked greater, more brilliant and in all ways untouchable by someone like her. They had touched him many times before. They often had walked hand in hand in hand through the garden, but now the idea of her hand in his seemed somehow beyond her reach.

Adam held her hand in his, and said “We must stay hidden. He must not know what we have done,” and she knew that he felt the same things that she was feeling.

Creative Commons License
Adam and Eve by Jeffrey Hite is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at greathites.blogspot.com.

A look into How the Portal is Made

If you have not already heard Michell Plested and I are at it again. We are soliciting submissions for a new anthology. This time we are looking for stories about Magical portals that take you to those places that are, well let’s just say that they are not on the top ten destinations you would pick for a vacation.

Today we wanted to share with you a quick example of what we are looking for, and give you people out there who might want to read the book, and idea of what you would be getting into.

You might think that the editors of a book called, A Method To the Madness: A Guide to The Super Evil, would themselves be pretty evil. Well believe it or not, we aren’t.

To prove the point we have decided that from time to time we will post snippets of stories that we may or may not be developing for this anthology. We are doing this for two reasons. First, for the readers, we want you to be interested, to know what you are getting when you buy this book. Second for the writers, we want to give you and idea of what we are looking for. Obviously this is only an example written by one of the authors, but it should give you some ideas.

Here is our first example. This has a working title of: The Other Wonderland

Wonderland is one of those places that could really go either way. There is of course the truly wonderful Wonderland, the one with friendly creatures, and food on every tree that you can just pick and take with you. Everything your heart could desire right at hand all the time. It is really a wonderful place to go. I should know, I have been there several times. There is also the not so wonderful Wonderland where the wonder is more of a, “I wonder what kind of sick twisted mind made up this place.” I had never been there, that was until today.

I should back up and explain a little bit. I am Colonel Jack Underwood, the portal seeker. It is my job to seek out and find portals for the rich and, well really the rich, and sometimes the people who have enough power, that they act like they are rich. Anyway, my job is to seek out the portals to these places so these people have a place to go when the troubles of too warm bree cheese and too cold champagne become too much for them to handle.

Normally I seek out places like Wonderland, the first type not the second, for them. Not Wonderland itself, of course. I keep that one just for me. I have to have some place to go when things start to get bad, or when I have had a trip to one of those places that one does not bother to talk about. They always want those idyllic settings with hot and cold running everything. And they are out there, have no doubt about that. They are not even that hard to find; the auras that the portals themselves give off tell you a lot about the worlds they lead to. Not everything mind you and sometimes they can fool you but normally you can get a good read that way.

That is what happened this time. Usually if a world gives off one of those feelings, I don’t even bother going in. I mean what is the point? I don’t get paid for taking them places they don’t want to go. But sometimes I get a real nut job, one that wants to take a gun in and blast everything in sight, or bring out a trophy that no one else has. That is dangerous business for me so I tend to stay away from it but, once in a while, the money is just too good to pass up so I keep a couple of those tucked away for times like those.

As I was saying, what happened this time was the biggest hazzard of my job. Everything looked great, the aura was good, the look and feel of the place felt right, everything was in place. So I armed myself up with the normal gear and set out to explore this new world. As soon as I set foot in the place I realized I was in for more than I bargained for. It was not the look of the place. Like I said, it looked like wonderland. There were no dangerous animals, that I could see at least.

I guess you could say that we are still pretty evil, for giving you such a little teaser but we are hopeful that you will like it and that it might get those creative juices flowing.

Best of luck to all of you, no matter what portal you have just come through.

Co-Editor,
Jeff Hite

For more information about the book, how to submit your own magic portal story or to keep up on all the news from Col. Jack Underwood please visit http://portalundermysink.wordpress.com/