Ten Reasons

This was first post on Jun 13 2008 and It had the very first story by someone else.

Oh my goodness another week of bad accents from me.

We had a 50/50 split on the votes for this one and the challenge story. Thank you Joseph.

Download and listen to the Audio version of Ten Reasons

Prompt from http://www.creativewritingprompts.com/ prompt # 301

Come up with 10 good reasons why you should not write your life story.

Bad Things
By: Joseph Santos

There is man reasons that I should not write my life story. I cannot think of anyone who would want to read something as depressing as my life. But foremost, in knowing my life, you may come to know the end of yours. In saying that, you may not want to read further.

Since you’re here despite my warning, let’s not be strangers, you should know the name of the man who might bring him to your door. My name is Dillon Stevens, I have spent a long, hard 20 years in this world. I came into this world like most anyone, with some exceptions. My mother raised me on her own for as long as she could, eventually I ran away at 16. I am sure you have already began to pass judgment on me. If I were in your shoes I would too… what I would give to be in your shoes, I am tired of mine, they hurt.

My mother did the best she could for me. At times working many jobs just to make sure we had a place to live and food to eat, we even had enough to get a radio so I could catch my favorite shows. She always told me that I was special, as good mothers do. When she was around she gave me the love that all children in this world deserve. For that, I love my mother dearly. Not a day goes by where I am not lost in the thoughts of what could have been if things were normal.

My life began to change when I was 10 years old. I was going to school, like any other day. My mother was getting ready to leave for her shift at the dinner 4 miles down the road. She would walk, we couldn’t afford a car. As she was leaving she did as she always did. She stopped and said, “You be a good boy Dilly and do as you’re told. I won’t be home when you get home from school. Mary is sick today so Johnny is letting me pickup her shift.”

“Ok Mama. Have a good day.”

She kissed me and started walking down the road.

Twenty minutes later the bus arrived. There was a new bus driver, a kind-faced young woman of about 25 driving the bus. There was about 5 or 6 kids on the bus already. She pulled to a stop and opened the door. I walked to the door of the bus and stopped. She then asked, “Yuh comin to school son?”

I stopped, something wasn’t right, something wouldn’t let my feet go any further.

She said, “Well, you comin or ain’t ya? We gotta get a move on.”

That is when I saw him, for the first time I can remember. Sitting against the window in the back of the bus. It seemed as if time stopped, the color and happiness of the morning had been sucked away. Everything seemed dark, like the sun had taken a break and the moon stepped in while it was away. Then everything faded to complete darkness.

The next thing I remember is sitting on the front porch again, my mother hugging me tightly weaping. I pushed back and asked, “What’s wrong Mama? Get off me!”

Through the tears and hesitating breath she said, “I can’t believe your alive! I thought I lost you. Why didn’t you get on the school bus? They told me what happened just as I was gettin’ to the dinner. Johnny drove me straight to the river, we got there as they were pulling the…” her voice broke, I could feel her tears rain down on me as she held me tight. “They were pulling them out from the river one at a time. We waited, I couldn’t watch. Johnny told me you weren’t there. That they pulled everyone out and you weren’t there. Johnny drove me home an’ you where right where I left ya.”

She gripped me tight, as if she would lose me if she let go. Still not understanding what she told me, I pushed back and said, “Mama, get off me, I don’t know what you’re saying. Why are you crying, what’s wrong?”

She said, “I don’ know how to tell you this son, a boy your age shouldn’t have to hear such things. The bus driver musta made a bad turn and the bus rolled into the river. Everybody…” her voice struggled, “Everybody on the bus has gone to be with God now son.”

“There…there dead?” I replied.

“Yes Dilly, I…” she broke again.

It was like being in a bad dream. What happened? Why didn’t I get on the bus? Who was that in the back, no grownups besides the driver were ever on the bus. It looked like he was smiling at me.

From that day forward everything was different. We never once again mentioned the bus or what happened. Any time I would ask about that day my mother would be visibly disturbed and would rapidly tell me to give them my respect by not mentioning them and letting them be in peace.

In thinking that I had perished with the rest of the children on my bus, my mother lost a bit of herself. No longer was she the brightness that greeted each day. Now she was paranoid of everything. She decided it would best that I be kept home and not send me off to school. She would say, “When I was lil’ we never went to no school, Ma an’ Pa taught us everything we needed to know to get by in life an’ to get us ready for the next.”

It wasn’t what I wanted, but at that age it wasn’t going to be about what I wanted, Mama’s words were law.

Mom took up doing laundry for folks out of the house so we could still have a place to live. I would help her to make the time pass. It paid some bills, but it wasn’t enough to keep the electricity running or to pay for much food.

The next winter was brutally cold. The kind of cold that pierces through to the very marrow of your bones. No walls nor roof nor clothing was going to deny this cold entry. I was stricken with a fever, my mother tried for two days to break it with no luck. Fearing that my body could not take much more, she finally gave in and had to bring me to the hospital in town. She had to walk down to the dinner to get Johnny to drive us. I was admitted and within a day thanks to the wonders of modern medicine my fever broke.

The next morning I was released from the hospital. We were in the lobby, my mother was talking to the doctor, thanking him for all he did. As we turned to leave, I noticed someone standing in the corner. I looked over, it was him, the man that I had seen two years earlier sitting in the back of the school bus, standing there, smiling at me. No darkness this time. He had a look of intent, but smiling at me. It was a look my Mama told me I get when I was thinking of something bad to do. Startled and alarmed I turned toward my mother and almost in a shouting voice said, “Mama! I saw that man on the school bus the day it crashed! I thought everyone on the bus died!”

I turned back to point and there was only an empty corner. Concerned my mother got down to eye level with me and said, “Who did you see Dilly? What did he look like? You never said nothin’ bout no man Dillon.”

My mother rarely called me Dillon. It was reserved for two occasions, when I was either in trouble or if she really wanted my attention.

I said, “There was a man sitting in the back of the bus, I think he smiled at me. I don’t know why he was on there.”

“He was on the bus? Did anyone else see him?”

“I guess so, I don’t know, he was on there before my stop.”

“What did he look like? Did he say anything?”

“No, he was just there, smiling. He had dark hair and light eyes. He looked like he could have been family.”

What happened next was then frightening to me. She had a sudden look of panic. Frantically she grabbed me by the wrist and we ran to the front desk. My mother began pleading with the nurse to get every one out of the hospital, that people were going to die. She kept saying, “He’s here, ya have to leave now! Get them all out, please!”

The nurse said, “Ma’am, if you don’t leave now we will call the police. Please, we don’t want any trouble, there are sick people here, you have to leave.”

After this my mother grabbed me again and we hurried from the hospital. She would not look at me or answer any of my questions. Looking up I saw that she had tears streaming from her face, though in this cold they seemed to freeze instantly.

No sooner than we reached the sidewalk by the hospital that there was a thunderous explosion. Brick and glass seemed to be coming from everywhere. From inside what was remaining of the hospital came a sound that still haunts my dreams to this day. The cries of dozens of people pleading for help.

Though I could see no faces through the dust smoke and flame, it was all too obvious what was happening. They came to be healed only to be leaving there, but not on their feet.

My mother was sitting on the frozen ground with her head in her hands, she was bleeding from her face where a shard of glass grazed her, she was repeating herself over and over, “I tried to tell her, why didn’ she listen to me?”

The fire truck showed up, but only to be greeted by the sounds of collapsing ruble and crackling fire. The cries of those who were in torment within the ruins were all in silence now.

Later a fire fighter told me that it looked as if one of the boilers exploded setting off a chain reaction of other explosions nearly leveling the entire structure.

After that day, my mother never spoke again. The rescue worker told me this can happen when people witness something as traumatic as what we saw that cold day. He asked if there was anyone that I could call to stay with us a couple of days while my mother came to. I lied.

They took us home, after that day, it was my job to take care of things. My mother never spoke much less make eye contact with me. I miss what she used to be. Now it was almost like living with a stranger.

For two years I was now responsible for keeping a roof over our head. I took in clothes and cleaned them. I fed and cared for myself and my mother. No parent would ever ask that of their child, but she didn’t have to. When she was herself, she showed me a love that I now have in myself. I love her so I had to do what she would have done for me.

The spring of my twelfth year I awoke to a knock on the door. Answering in my pajamas I was now face to face with him. He stood there, calm, a slight smile. Hair slicked back, looking as if a new coat of Dapper Dan had just been applied. He reached out a hand as if to shake mine.

I pulled back, but unable to move my feet, unable to breath. I could not utter a word. Standing there, not wavered by my lack of courtesy, still bearing a smile. He spoke in a voice that did not belong with someone that looked like him. It was raspy and low, he said, “I am here for what is mine.”

He put his hand on my shoulder. I felt as if my life left me. I blacked out, awaking in a field of green. There was a soft breeze, I felt warm and happy, carefree.

I don’t know how long I was out for, but I awoke to find the sheriff there and an ambulance. There was a medic rolling a gurney with what looked someone sleeping with the sheet pulled over their face. The sheriff sat next to me and said, “Son, are you alright? What are you doing out here?” Shouting to the medic, “Hey, the boy is over here! He’s alive, but he don’t look so swell!”

I was about 20 feet from the front door of my house leaning against a tree. I could feel something warm rolling over my face, I touched it, it was bright red. I had never seen so much of my own blood before. I felt dizzy and nauseous, I vomited on the sheriff’s shoes.

He said, “Come on son, we need to get you looked at.”

“Where’s mama at?”

“I don’t know how to tell ya this son, but we don’t know where your Mama is. What happened here?”

“You don’t know where she is!? She was in the back room like always! Where is she!?”

“She isn’t there now, we don’t know where she went, from the looks of things she left.”

“How could she leave!? She couldn’t have left! And if she did, why didn’t she take me?”

“I’m sorry, but she ain’t here and it looks like she packed her bags and left right quick. You’re gonna have to calm down.”

“What happened? Who’s that the medic has?”

“Enough questions for right now. We will find out what happened, for now lets get that head of yours looked at.”

The medic sat me on the bumper of the wagon, checking my eyes and the cut on my head. He said, “You took one hell of a shot boy, but you’re ok.” He bandaged my head and cleaned the blood from my face.

I looked over my shoulder, the sheet had slipped away from the face of the person laying on it, it was him. I jumped to my feet and had ended up about 10 feet from the wagon, I shouted, “Thats him! Thats the man! What did he do to my Mama!?!”

The sheriff grabbed me as I went into a sobbing fit. He said, “Come on son, lets get you out of here while we sort this out.”

He put me in his car and we left as other deputies were showing up. Riding away I fell asleep laying on the back seat.

I awoke to a smell that had not passed my nostrils in what felt like an eternity. Breakfast. I was in a warm bed with soft sheets. The room was bright, it had to be about ten in the morning. The sun coming in fully through my window. My head was throbbing where the cut was.

Thoughts of the night previous coursed my head, adding to the throbbing sensation. Was my mother hurt? Why would she just leave me there on the ground bleeding? How could she leave, she couldn’t even dress herself? What am I going to do? I don’t have anyone.

I look around, to my right sitting in a chair, the sheriff. He said, “Didn’t think you were gonna wake up any time soon. My name is Emmit Hardy, I am the town sheriff. How are you feeling son?”

“My head hurts sir. Do you know what happened my Mama?”

“We haven’t found her yet, but my boys are still looking.”

“What happened to that man? Did he hurt my Mama?”

“It don’t look that way. We found him layed out in the front door way. Don’t look like anything happened to him, he just up and died. Enough about this right now, Mrs. Hardy made you some breakfast, we can talk more later.”

I ate like a animal who hadn’t seen food in a week. Mrs. Hardy sat there and smiled at me, giving an occasional look of concern over at Sheriff Hardy.

After I ate enough to fill a small army, we left and went to the sheriff’s office in the middle of town.

After sitting behind his desk and motioning for me to sit he said, “It looks like your Mama was running from someone. It looked like she packed all her clothes and left out the back quick like. Did your Mama have a automobile?”

“No sir, we couldn’t afford a car.”

“Do you know the man that we found at your house?”

“No sir, I don’t know him.” I didn’t want to tell him about seeing him before on the bus and at the hospital. I had a feeling that I would some how get in trouble for not telling anyone before.

“Hmm, well, did you see if that man had a car?”

“No sir, I didn’t see if he had a car.” How do you explain someone that just shows up when things are going to go horribly wrong?

“Well, I want you to be close till we figure out what happened. You are gonna stay with Mrs. Hardy and I for a few days. We still have our boys clothes from when they were your age.”

“Why can’t I go get my clothes?”

“My deputies are still looking your house over with a fine tooth comb, we better let them do their work and we can think about going back there later.”

I don’t know if he knew I would never be going back there, but it wouldn’t be until after I ran away that I would step foot into that house again.

Ten Reasons
By Jeff Hite

“Peter, you have got to be crazy,” Michael slammed his hand down on the table so hard the coffee cups shook. “The very idea scares me.”
“Michael, relax it was just an idea, and besides why not.” He picked up his cup and wiped the bottom off with his napkin, he repeated the operation with Michael’s cup and hailed the waitress to bring them more. “You have lead an interesting life, people might enjoy reading about it.”
“An interesting life, is that what you call it?”
“Yes, it has been,” and here he hesitated too long from Michael’s comfort, “Interesting.” He said finally. The waitress left more coffee and creamer on the table, but made it clear that there would be little more that she would do without them ordering something else. Fifteen percent of two seventy-five cent cups of coffee, was not worth the work she had already put in to them. “Ok so you don’t want to do that, lets see what we can come up with.”
“I can give you ten good reasons why I should not write my life story” he said stirring four packets of sugar into his coffee.
“Michael, You don’t have to…” But Michael interrupted him.
“Jane, Shara, Julie, the other Jane, Martha, Tina, Tamara, Heather, Veronica, and Sue.” As he said the names of the women he had dated, he ticked them off on his fingers.
“That is it? Your ten reasons are nine ex-girl friends and one current one? That is nothing Peter, lots of people have a string of ex’s epically in this day in age.” His twang was starting to bug Michael. It always did, ever since he had moved to the south he pretended that he talked like them.
“No, that is only reason number one.”
“Ok so tell me more. I bet you ain’t got nine more.”
“You’re on. Looser buys,” He said hailing the waitress and pointing to the Steak and Eggs on the menu.
“I’ll have one of those too,” Peter said with a smile. They waited in silence until she was gone.
“You know her brother,” Peter nodded, “he is in jail, and I put him there.”
“What? how, you ain’t no sheriff.”
“You don’t have to be. Three years ago, I caught him and a couple of his buddies holding up the seven eleven in Jamestown. They were pretty stupid about it. They didn’t even clear the store out before for they did it. There I was sitting behind the coffee machine using their WiFi, and in walk these two characters. So I turned on the web cam and turned it so it could see them, then ducked behind the counter. You remember that time I said I had jury duty?” Peter nodded and sipped his coffee, “Well I was actually a secret witness. What I didn’t know was
that her brother, is part of a huge gang that tends to bump off informants. That’s two.” He said with a smile across his face.
“Yeah two, you said you had ten. So cough up the other eight.” Their food came and they ate in silence for a couple of minutes.
“Right,” He said around a mouth full of steak. “Martha.”
“Now you can’t go using her twice.” Peter interrupted.
“Fine take her off the list. There are still eight other Ex girlfriends on it. Besides she is not really an Ex, she is dead.”
“What? I suppose after those last two you told me, you are going to tell me you killed her.”
“No,” He took a long drink from his coffee and then continued.
“She worked for the FBI or the DEA or ATF or one of those, she would never really be straight with me. She was the one who was assigned to protect me while I was testifying, they killed her three days after the trial was over.”
“I didn’t know I’m sorry,” Peter said, not looking up at him.
“Thanks, but It was a while ago. I still miss her and all, but… Anyway that is three.”
“Look we don’t have to keep doing this. You have some good reasons.” His fake accent had gone away and he was back to normal
mid-western muddle.
“No I promised you ten you get seven more. They are not all so bad.”
“Are you sure?” Peter asked.
“Yeah, you know mom’s favorite silk blouse?”
“The one she wore every chance she got?” Michael nodded, “Yeah I remember it.”
“You know why it was her favorite?”
“Probably because it was the only one she ever had. What ever happened to it?”
“I did.”
“You did?”
“Yup. I tried to wash it for her, and shredded the thing. It was an accident, but I could not tell her. It was from Aunt Margret Mallory.”
“The witch?”
“That is the one. She had cast a spell on it and when it got shredded it released mom from the spell. But if anyone ever found out that mom was not still under the spell, Aunt Margret Mallory would cast a much worse one on her.”
“What kind of spell was it?”
“You don’t want to know. Mom and Margret Mallory are still both alive. I want to keep it that way. That is four.”
“You don’t really believe all that stuff about her being a witch do you?”
“If I do or don’t it does not matter, She does and so does mom, and that is still number four.”
“You gents be having anything else?” The waitress spoke to them the first time since they had come in.
“Yes,” Peter Said, “my brother and I have a bet going on here. loser buys so since I don’t think he is going to win, I will be having a slice of that apple pie.” The twang was back.
“Same here.” Michael echoed this time imitating his brothers voice.
Peter shot him a look but only said, “You better get going brother. You owe me six more.”
“The Twilight Zone. Five. Six is…”
“Now wait a minute,” Peter broke in, “What about The twilight Zone.”
“Come on, I would not want to ever come to the end for the fear that it would be. I would just keep writing on this forever.”
“You are weird.”
“that can be number six.”
“What?” Now it it was Peters turn to get upset. “What do you mean?”
“I’m weird, that can be number six.”
“I Think that hardly counts, because you are different is why people would want to read about you. You have things that other people don’t. They don’t want to read about people just like themselves.”
“Yeah I head what you are saying but I am not different, I am weird, and people want to read about weird people only in stories, this would not be a story, it would be real life.”
“Alright I will give that one to you but no more freebies, from now on.”
“Fair,” and they shook hands over the table. “Alright then, number seven,” he said drawing out the last word and rubbing his chin.
“Your wallet is going to be lighter, Michael, I can tell.”
“I am just trying to decide which one to tell you first. I have it now. I hate the NASA Original seven.”
“What? Why?”
“They had those space suits that look like sliver duct tape stuck to them. With the hoses and their refrigeration units, and their perfect hair cuts. They were too perfect, hell John Glen is still too perfect, they remind the rest of us that we can never be like them. The are real life Super heroes and we can never be like them. I hate that.” He paused and took a bite of his pie.
“So why would you not want to write a book because of that?”
“Because as soon as people find out about that, they would hate me. Everyone loves those guys. It would be like killing Mickey Mouse or something, and they would never read another book from me. So now number eight, the kids.”
“And why not talk about the kids? You have you great kids, people would like to know about them.”
“Yes, my kids are wonderful if I do say so myself, but I don’t want the world to know about them, there are too many weirdos out there.”
“Ok Privacy is a good one. But you would not have to include them.”
“But then that would be like writing fiction, that would not be my life story, and if I was going to skip over that I might as well skip over everything else, and then I would be telling someone else’s story.”
“Alright, alright. Nine?” Peter said pushing his plate to the center of the table and leaned as far back in the booth as he could.
“Number nine is easy. I don’t want people a hundred years from now reading it and thinking they know who I am because they read a book about me. Or English teachers, with their high and mighty attitudes telling people I meant this or I meant that when really I meant nothing of the sort. They are always doing that. They always think they know so damn much.”
“Yeah why is that? They are always telling us what Shakespeare meant or, some other dead person, when there is no way that they could have known it.” Peter Signaled the waitress. “I think we are about done here if you would not mind bringing us the check, we should know who is going pay by the time you get back.” They waited until she was gone. “So it is down to the last one. And I am willing to bet you are out of reasons.”
“No, I have one more.” Michael smiled.
“So, don’t keep me waiting.” He said leaning up against the table.
“Peter, how old are you?”
“You know exactly how old I am, one year younger than you.”
“Yeah but how old is that.” The smile on his face grew broader.
“Well lets see I was born in thirty two, and it is two thousand and eight now, that makes me one thousand nine hundred and seventy six.” his face fell and he reached for his wallet.

Creative Commons License
Ten Reasons 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.

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Last Thursday

This was originally posted Jun 10th 2008

Download and listen to the Audio version of Last Thursday and when you do, hear the promo for Variant Frequencies

This prompt Comes from
The News From Poughkeepsie From Mur Lafferty


Scenes Thursdays:

(Some of this is true.)

I never take into account how much that can go wrong in the block I walk to pick up my child from the bus stop. I always try to remember to take with me: my dog, a weapon, a camera, and my phone. When I forget these things, I often see things like vultures fighting over the territory that surrounds a roadkill squirrel, feral, puffy, white dogs that got free after they killed their owners, or glimpses of the black bears that wander our area.

I’m just glad the school buses still run after the apocalypse. Cause protecting my kid on the walk home is about all I can handle.

“Last Thursday”

“What do you mean it happened last Thursday? I have a meeting this afternoon, and now you are telling me it is not going to happen?” Justin asked. He had rephrased the question three times now and had gotten the same response. It was obvious that Ruth was getting annoyed with him, but she was telling him was impossible.

“Justin, you are not listening to me. Last Thursday, the day that all the lights went out, that was pretty much the end of all the meetings” Ruth said putting her hands on his desk. “Look, the fact that this building is in tact is a fluke. The fact that you are still dressed for work is because you bumped your head when it happened and you have been sleeping for the last five days. You don’t have any meeting this afternoon, you don’t need to wait for IT to fix your computer, you don’t even need to check your phone for messages. It is over. The bombs went off all over the world. The best estimates are that fifty percent of the worlds population is dead already and another fifty percent of them will die in six months from radiation, disease and hunger. Justin, it is over.”

“Wait Bombs? You mean like the WMD’s?”

“Yes, now you are getting it.”

For the first time that he had real noticed her appearance. She was dirty, something that Ruth never would have been at the office. He looked around the office now, and saw that the few people that were there, were not doing the things that they normally did. Instead they were huddled in a corner talking, looking over strange bits of things that were scattered on someones desk.

“We survived a nuclear attack, that is what you are telling me?” He said finally.

“Yes. We are far enough out here that we were not hit, and there is not direct fallout coming to us. We even have power, but we don’t know how long that will last.”

“Why?”
“Because, there is no one to bring the fuel to the power station, when the coal they have is gone that is it. So they have been rationing it.”

Justin, instinctively reached for his cell phone and looked at it. There was signal to his surprise.

“That won’t work unless you are going to call someone right near here. Our tower was damaged but Josesph and Micheal were able to repair it, not that it has done us much good, without the whole system, and the satelite links all you can call is local.” John from IT said.

“Look Justin, we are all really happy that you are awake. We understand that you are confused but, we are trying to plan our next move, where to start getting food when the power goes out for good that sort of thing. So unless you have some pretty good ideas, your questions are going to have to wait” Ruth said.

“So you lied to me” Justin said with a smile.

“Huh?”

“You told me there was no meeting this afternoon.”

“Yeah, I guess I did.”
“So who is in charge, what is the topic, who is attending? Did any one bring doughnuts I am starved.”

“Justin!”

“What?”

“Listen, this isn’t like the old meetings.”

“Oh relax Ruth, without some normalcy we will all go nuts. Does anyone have a working PC? We can put some slides together” He said walking toward he group in the corner. No one replied. “Ok then, lets just get a chart so that we can draw things, I have lost most of my presenting skills with the advent of powerpoint, but I will do my best.”

They all stared at him as if he where crazy. And maybe he was, but he didn’t care. Without something to hang onto he was going to go totally over the edge, and that the moment this was the only thing he could think of.

“Joe, where is the meeting?”
“Right here.”

“Oh this will never do. Did you say the whole building was standing and safe?” He said turning to Ruth again. She nodded dumbly. “Good, tell everyone that we are going down to conference room two.”

“You can’t!” Susan from accounting said
“What? why?”

“The Children are sleeping in there.” She said.

“Oh alright, I had not thought about that being single myself. Alright, what room is available?”

“I think conference room four will work.” Said Peter. “Three has broken glass and one all the lights are out.”

“Ok four it is then. Ruth, go tell everyone who is going to be in the meeting we are going to meet in conference room four.”

“But…” she protested

“But nothing, just do it. Are there going to be any visitors?”

“Yeah we have some of the people from the town council, the ones that lived further out.”

“Ok then, we will need name tags. The last thing people want is for someone not to remember their names.” He stopped his dervish of activity for a moment and thought.
“John, what is the meeting going to cover?”

“Supplies and things like that, who has what, and how many people there are, and what we should do about it.” He replied

“Good, then what we need are some lists.” He thought for another second, “Ok John, I want you and Joe to get a list of everything we have here that might be useful, don’t leave anything out, you never know what we might need. right Down to mops and brooms.”

“We going to be sweeping the radiation up Justin,” Joe asked?

“No, but you never know what we might need.”

It turned out Justin was right. The meeting was very much like every other meeting they had all been to. there were those people that were there just to be some where, and those that had things to contribute, there were even those, who it seemed came just to be a disruption, and for them it was good that Justin had taken charge. When it was over they had lists of things to do, and people knew what they were going to be doing.

Within a week things seemed almost normal again, power was only used to keep the refrigerators running at the grocery stores, the lights on at the clinic and the gas stations running. People went to work every morning, albeit for most of them, not doing what they were used to. Things were starting to look at bit better. The supplies that we did have were being rationed and for the time being things looked ok. You had to carry more with you than you used to, just to walk to the school bus with your kids, but things were really getting back to normal.

That was before they started to go out on recon missions, and discovered that we were really alone.

Creative Commons License
Last Htursday 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.

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.

Also hear the News From Poughkeepsie Promo.

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.

A Real Father is Snot Afraid

Originally Posted May 20 2008

0217141935-01Sorry for the delay folks, I originally thought the audio was missing for this one, but I was able to recover it, so here you go.

As the intro says, prompts from various places. I wrote this one a while ago after having a conversation with an expectant parent, who was asking advice about things they needed to buy for their new baby.


Download and listen to Audio for A Real Father is Snot Afraid.

A Real Father is Snot Not Afraid.

Jimmy was lying kicking and screaming on the floor while his father knelt over him, with the child under him to hold him down. He pinned the child’s arms to the floor with one hand and with the other produced a blue plastic item that looked like a small very short turkey baster, from his pocket. At the sight of it the child screamed louder, and now tears streamed down his cheeks. Arthor, after some difficulty got the end of the turkey baster into the child’s nose squeezed and released. Then with the same amount of trouble he repeated this with the other nostril.

When it was all over he kissed the child on the forehead and said, “Come on now, Jimmy was that really all that bad?” Jimmy wiggled his way away from his father, kicking to get out from under him and in the process kicked him in the knee, in a way that seemed to be more than a little intentional, then ran off still whimpering.

Arthur stood up rubbing his knee. “I don’t know how you do it John, you have 8 of those and I only have one. He is more than I can handle some times.”

“We pick our battles, Arthur” I said.

“Yeah, but how?” He said as he made his way to the sink. Before I could answer he started to clean the item that I like to call the brain sucker. He ran the water until is was steaming then stuck the open end into the stream and worked the action several times. When this was done he shut the water off and squeezed the bulb a number of times to expel and remaining water.

“I mean Mary and I are some times so tired at the end of the day we can barely make it up the stairs.” as he spoke he got a paper towel from under the sink and dried the brain sucker off. Then he pulled out an alcohol pad and cleaned all the exposed surfaces.

“I know how you feel. There are days when we have each fallen asleep on the sofa after the kids are in bed.” Done with the alcohol pad he tossed it in the trash and carried the brain sucker to the dish washer and put it in.

To the obviously surprised look on my face at this Arthur said, “You don’t want anything like that floating around with your dishes so we get it all cleaned out first.”

“Oh”

“So what do you guys do?” he said as he opened a drawer next to the sink. In the drawer were four more of the little torture devices.

My youngest daughter ran up to me at that point. “Daddy, Marvin has a googie.” The was code for he needed to blow his nose. Marvin trailed behind her in with his unsteady walk. I picked him up.

“Alice says you have a googie is that true.” Marvin giggled. I grab his nose with my thumb in index finger and the mucus came out on to my fingers. I let go of his nose and Marvin giggled again.

“Daddy silly.” Marvin said as I put him down again and he toddled off. Arthur was almost white.

“Fathers are snot afraid.” I said rinsing my fingers under the sink.

Creative Commons License
A Real Father is Snot Afraid 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.

The Little Things

Sometimes you just need a little reminder of what is really important.

100_4956

For the last week I have been obsessing over a problem. It is something that is truly frustrating. Something that my reaction to only made worse. So I have been obsessing about it. I have been worrying and complaining and thinking about it all the time. It has stopped me from writing, it has stopped me from talking to other people for fear of making things worse, it has just stopped me in my tracks. This thing has been eating me from the inside out.

Then this morning I saw something. It was one of those somewhat inspirational posters that you occasionally see on social media. No, it didn’t really inspire me so you don’t need to post tons of them to my stream so that I will not get like this again. But it did have an affect. What it did reminded me of something else. Someone else.

A few months ago I went to the funeral of a young man from work. I won’t go into all the details, you can look at the post (linked above) if you want to learn more. I remember thinking that I didn’t know he had issues. I didn’t know. I hadn’t really asked. Now it is too late.

Anyway, this is not a downer post I promise. What I wanted to say here, is that I had been so obsessed with this problem I pretty much had lost perspective. I have done things like this before and It has always led me down a self destructive path. Not that level of destructive but destructive none the less. I end up losing friends, and hurting feelings. Closing myself off from other people. Yeah it is bad.

The thing is that this problem was not that big of a deal. Yes, it is a big deal. Yes, it is something that I (we, my wife and I) need to work on but it should not be the center. There are far more important things that we need to work on. Sometimes it just takes one of those reminders to snap you out of it.

Because I don’t think that this can be said enough I am going to say it again. We all have our own problems. We all have our own faults. There things about our personalities that are going to anger other people. So What! Stop focusing on the things that make us different and focus on the things that make us the same.

If you see someone who seems to be wrapped up in their problems, talk to them. Ask some questions. Maybe try to get them to focus on something else so that they don’t spiral out of control. And if you think that they might be in pain, for Pete’s sake ask the hard questions.

I remember reading something at one point. I can’t tell you were it was from but it does not really matter. Here it is paraphrased.

All of us have the big things in life. They are a struggle to deal with. Sometimes you trip and fall getting over them, but usually when you have made it past those things you are stronger. (Exhausted, banged up a bit maybe even scarred, but stronger.) So it is not the the big things you have to worry about. It is the small things, the things that no one else can see, the things that happen everyday. You don’t have to fight to get past them so you just push on. But like grains of sand on a beach or mud getting caked on your shoes, each little bit slows you down a little more. Each step gets harder. Each Step wears you down a little more until you are stopped in your tracks, and that little thing, that thing you just pushed past barely realizing it was there, is now the size of a mountain. More than that, there are a whole range of them lined up in front of you. Remember when you are talking to someone that they could be staring down an entire mountain range of things that you might still think of as nothings, but they will likely need your help to get over them.

So If I have ignored you, or hurt you, been short with you or just out right rude to you lately I am sorry. I will try to do better. Thank you for being so patient with me.

That is all I wanted to say.

Thanks,
-Jeff

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/

The Spray Cheese Legacy

The Spray Cheese Legacy

A Short Story (and a prediction of the future for our children)

Can-of-Cheese[1]
Dedicated to my wife and Children

“So what is bothering you?” His wife asked.
“I don’t know this whole big production for dinner just seems off some how.”
“Geeze, not that again. We have been married for three years now, you need to get over that.”
“Yeah I know, but it is hard.”
“What would you have us do instead? No don’t answer that.”
“But Honey that is what we always did. I mean it was a tradition.”
“Your family was crazy. That is all I have to say. Everyone around the world has a big dinner on Christmas. That is just what you do.”
“That is not what we did.”
“I know, and it was weird.”
“Well I think this is weird. You are all stressed out and have spent all day cooking, why do you have to make it such a big production?”
“Because that is what NORMAL people do.”
“Then I don’t want to be normal,” he said as he snatched a cracker from the tray.
“Hey, that is for dinner.”
“Yeah I know.”
He slipped into the kitchen and found what he was looking for. Turning the can upside down he pushed the nozzle and a stream of cheese spurted on his cracker.
“You are not eating that spray cheese again are you? You are going to ruin your appetite.” She hollered from the dining room.
“Of course not dear,” he said around a mouth full of cracker. Then after a deep sigh of contentment, he muttered to himself “It is not Christmas without spray cheese.”