Monday, July 28, 2014

New sci-fi romance serial: You Drop Stardust

The first ten episodes of the blueshifters is finished and will soon be available in ebook form for $0.99. For the next month I will be introducing a new serial to readers of the blog, a romantic science fiction serial called You Drop Stardust. If you've ever read the Griffin and Sabine series by Nick Bantock then you might like this new serial. This will be more of a flash serial and the story will unfold in the form of letters - or in this futuristic case, ship log posts and electronic messages.

I hope you have enjoyed the blueshifters, and part 2 of that serial will start in the winter. Also, take a look at my official publishing website, for more stories from me. So, stay tuned. . . .



While the others were off doing their own investigations, Trillion's own comings and goings about as mysterious to them as their new found powers, Dan and Mary decided to investigate his findings on the map.
Their investigation took them into the desolate and lonely North Industrial District, a place full of abandoned boxcars, long, low gray stone and metal buildings built before the 1930's, potholes, wide tracts of littered land and train tracks everywhere. In fact, half of it was basically a railyard. Feral cats and dogs sometimes haunted the place, and the occasional warren of wild rabbits.
With the exception of a few trailer trucks rolling in from the single main road into the yard it seemed quiet for miles on end.
"So, what are we looking for again?" Asked Mary fumbling with her phone.
"Something. . .something big. You know like what we may have located on the map, remember? A place emanating with a lot of power. Try to feel your way around here if you can. I know that sounds all woo-woo and everything but-"
"I know what you mean," she smiled.
'When are we going to meet with Trillion again?" She asked.
"I don't know. Soon, I hope." We still need guidance, he thought.
They spread out across on of the old unused traintracks half-buried under concrete. New working tracks had been layed down beside them. Mary seemed especially jumpy, hopping at every shadow and kicked up pebble.
"What?" Asked Dan.
"I just want to make sure no one is following us. Remember that dark red car I told you guys about? Sometimes I would catch the car following me down the street coming home from work."
"Oh yeah. Jack said he'd seen it before too."
"Well, I call who ever drives it The Watcher." Dan recalled his encounter with the hoodlums that threw him in the river. Were they all connected with this Watcher? Did they work together or for different, disparate parts of an organizational whole? No matter how, they all worked against humankind. Dan and Mary walked for some ways, sometimes investigating old train cars, abandoned truck trailers and such. Besides finding a few holes and vagrants sleeping in them, there was nothing else really they'd found.  But the district was very large, stretching all the way toward Swan Island to the Broadway Bridge. A train was approaching from far off, a freight train. They could hear the whistle wailing in the far distance.
"My legs are tired. I haven't done this much walking in years," said Mary after about an hour. The slipping whirl of the Max light rail train sounded just outside the industrial district to the right. From there were exits off to the highways.
"Let's rest a bit." Dan was getting tired as well. So far they had no luck. The dull roar of the light rail, cars going off the highway to the freeway and just the general noise was tiring and taxing on the sensitve mind. He went and sat on a large piece of log. Mary plopped down beside him, catching her breath. Between that and the noise coming from the road before them and the general noises of the rail yard, he'd nearly missed it. But something was coming to him. He could feel it like a low heart beat. At first Dan thought it was his imagination.
"Listen to yourself carefully. Do not dismiss a single feeling until you have examined it to the full and know it is mere minutiae." Came the voice of Trillion from a previous lesson. He closed his eyes and stroved to block out all mental noise. Then the layer of physcal noise receded until he could focus on the slow thrum. It was there, scattered seeming around this particular spot. Thud. Thud-thud. Thud. Thud-thud. It was low but it was there, and constant. He opened his eyes finally to see Mary with a look of pure concentration on her face and her hands to the ground as if feeling the power flowing from the ground. Now that's an intersting way to examine it. he thought appreciatively.
"You feel it too now?" he asked. she nodded. Then she took her hands from the ground and wiped them together to get rid of the dirt.
"You were right. If there's a power source like the one in the bookstore, it's here."
"I'd say it's coming from the west, so we need to walk west of here," he said. They got up and set off west and the farther they traveled the railyard, the stronger and louder the power source became to them. The highway noise was distant when they finally stopped. Dan could feel the power underneath them surging like the heartbeat of some mighty animal. They finally approached a long roll-like building before them. It was a non- desctript looking place with shaded windows, some of them boarded up and a parking lot full of gravel. It was a two-story building and on the outside it had a sign that said: Rocket Ready Corp.
"It's coming from there. I can feel it." Mary simply nodded. In the distance they heard the rattled groaning of a trailer truck heaving over old rails and coming down the gravel roads.
"We should hide!" She urged. They ducked behind the large blue garbage bin to the side of the building. Sure enough, the truck came careening up the driveway of the building. The engine shut off and someone climbed out. Dan could only hear the crunch of footsteps coming up the gravel and then up the steps into the building. He peeked out just in time to see the glass doors close slowly.
"Did you get a look and see who it was?" Mary asked.
"No, couldn't see them but the building's unlocked. If only we could get in without having to deal with the receptionist or help desk," he said.
"I could probably get us past that. I used to work, briefly, as a dispatcher for a railer transport company years ago."
"Yep. Can't promise we'll make it past the door but I'll give it a try."
"We're dressed a lot like transport drivers. I'll pretend we're coming in looking for work and that we'd heard about openings."
"Okay. Let's do it."
"By the way, what are we looking for once we get inside?"
"Anything that pings our senses to the power source. You can still feel it can't you? This is a sensing mission."
"Yeah. Like a heavy low buzzing that grows louder and more powerful with each step." she said. They moved from behind the bin after Dan checked over the scene to make sure no one was watching and they went up the steps and inide. Dan was the first to open the glass doors. Inside was the reception desk but no one was there. They heard movement and voices somewhere in a room down a hall, copiers going, a fax and other office sounds, but the front room was deserted. The lights were on and it did look as if the building was staffed with people, however.
"Come on before someone comes out!" he whispered. They tip-toed around the counter and off down the right side of the hall. When they got down to the end there was an exit door and then another door leading downstairs. Far down toward the other end of the building they heard shuffling and someone coming out of a room. Dan tried the door. It opened and they both went down the stairwell and into the basement.
"It's stronger down here," she said quietly. 
"Yeah," he whispered. He could feel it and she could too an inexhorable thundering on the mind. Power, a great source of power was here. In fact, he could feel it thrumming, beating in his bones and teeth like the deep drum of a great heart.
"I think we've found a lodestone, so to speak. I wonder how many exist," said Mary. They came to a door on the third level down the stairwell. This door felt warm to the touch. Dan slowly ran his hands over the surface, trying to understand what might lay on the other side. The door had a window of thick, dark glass.
"If we get caught we could end up in jail," she said.
"If we get caught we could end up worse. But this is the only way we'll find out anything. Ready?"
"Ready, no matter what," she said heaving a sigh. He touched the door handle. It was warm and he felt a buzzing sensation through his skin. He could detect no obvious lifesigns behind the door. He turned the knob. It opened to him and they were inside what looked like a boiler room. The door clicked shut behind them. Mary nearly jumped. Dan held her close and her face turned beet red.
"Sorry," she said. He smiled. They moved through the boiler room and rounded a corner and both of them felt a jolt like an electric shock. Around the corner was what looked like a large mass, or machines covered with diaphanous materials, curtain-like that swayed and moved slowly. Light under it pulsed rythmically. This object, whatever it was, was a great source of power.
"Is it a doorway or a hole in space and time?" Mary asked quietly.
"I have no idea. Wait here." Dan said and he crept forward, taking out his phone camera getting ready to take pictures. Mary brought out her iPhone to record what he was doing. Dan gingerly crept forward to the mass of light. At certain intervals it seemed to flicker and pulse louder than usual, then it would go back to its regular movement and slow pulsing. Suddenly, the door to the boiler room opened. A blinding realm of red light flashed before his mind's eye. Mary had a terrified look on her face.
"Run!" Dan hissed. "Hide!" The mass began pulsing violently with red and violet light and Dan lost his balance and fell in. Mary screamed right has deliberate footsteps turned the corner. She turned and made to scream again but then covered her mouth in shock, shaking her head in fright.
"Help! Help!" She finally shouted.
"A little late, don't you think, my dear? YOu have no business here and you've come to the wrong place for help." 

* * *Look for Part 2 of the blueshifters in the Fall of 2014!* * *

Friday, July 11, 2014


Little Old Shop

Jack looked over the card she'd given him once more. The directions were scrawled haphazardly on the back. On the front was simply a phone number and the letters S. C. T. He'd called the number several times and got no answer. How Mary ever managed to find the place was beyond him. She'd said that the directions were those she'd written herself after finding it by accident. Or it seemed like an accident, anyway. How she managed to get anyone else on the other line seemed an impossibility. But at least he had
an address.
Today he decided to ride his motorbike. Over the past weeks he'd found that his sixth sense, his ability to detect those who were different was changing, becoming stronger. His body developed an odd sensation of fire sparks exploding. At first it seemed simply like stress but he was learning to understand when it came and went - when he saw one of The Others -  and he was learning how to keep his responses under control from Trillion. He breathed deeply, calmly. As he passed by streams of traffic he did not find or encounter any of them on the ride there and for that he was thankful. He was still trying to get a handle on his own responses to things.
Turning up S.W. Ankeny street, he slowed to a leisurely pace, looking for the address. He found it sandwiched between two business houses. It was a tiny, rather old, shabby Victorian-style house. Very shabby in fact. He rode his bike up the side walk and parked it at a smart park meter, paid the meter and stood in front of the house. It was early afternoon and the business crowd was out to lunch. It was quite busy and noisy on the other blocks. This one was strangely quiet. He felt outward with his sense to see if he could detect anything odd or unusual. He could detect nothing out of the ordinary. He walked up the small high steps and peeked in. It looked dark inside. Turning the door knob slowly he opened the door and
stepped inside.
Inside the shop burnished scents of incense greeted him. And something else that he couldn't place. An essence of some sort. He slipped through the tiny foyer and onto a dingy looking shag carpet that announced the main room of the shop. It looked dim and Jack gazed at the containers, terrariums, gilded boxes and old cast iron cages. He saw the oddest things in these containers. Plants of colors he could not describe, old dolls that moved and danced to music after being wound up and other, more mundane antiques. Jack, normally would never have any interest in such things but found himself so caught up he didn't hear the figure at the counter around the corner. Gazing at a silver cube balanced on a point he watched in interest as it shifted and rotated its links like a Rubik's Cube. So much so, that when he slowly turned the corner the clearing of a throat made him jump. And he wasn't used to people making him jump and he didn't like it. There was a man standing at the front desk and counter. He was average height and build, on the thin side with brown hair and brown eyes. He smiled cheerily.
"Hello!" He said with a slight accent Jack couldn't place. "What can I help you with today? Are you looking for something special?"
"Actually, yeah." He was feeling a little nervous now that it came to it. "I have a friend who had a box. A, uh, red box. Says it can help you if you run into a lot of. . .problems in your life?" He asked expectantly. The man gazed at him with a question mark on his face. "You know, sort of like a magic box?" he said quietly, feeling stupid.
"Problems? Red box? magic?" The man laughed. "Sounds like a very special fabled object to me. One not normally given out."
"Yeah well, I was just following up on some info she gave me. That's all."
"Nope, sorry. I have a lot of cool things in here but magic boxes ain't one of them."
"So," Jack said, trying to sound casual and knowing he was failing. He didn't care. He was here wasn't he? That was enough. "How long have you been here?" At that the man smiled broadly, seemingly glad to talk about his business and his proud, dusty little establishment.
"For quite some time. Twenty years to be exact. It started with my father opening the shop in July, nineteen- eighty. Oh, take a look around. See if there's anything you like. Anyway. . ." Jack decided to do just that as the man chippered on about how his business was first got off the ground by his grandfather. Jack turned slightly to take a look at the antiques and object d'art around him, some quite fascinating. Jack was looking for red. Anything red that pinged his sixth sense. Nothing was coming up. In fact, he saw no red objects on this floor of the shop at all. He tried to feel for anything strange or off. He felt nothing as he slowly made his way past aisle after aisle and table after table. At first he passed by a music box that suddenly began playing, its top sprouting off the base and a ballerina twirled around furiously. At first the music sounded twanged and mauled, as if wound up to fast, then it slowed down. At the same time Jack thought he detected a sudden jump or buzzing in the air, and for less than a split second the whole world had its lights turned off. It was only a fraction of a moment and normally he would have thought it an odd but passing experience of the imagination. Not this time.
". . .by that time my grandfather, who helped him get the place off the ground passed away and then it came to him fully," said the shop owner. "Oh! What was that?" The man stumbled at the fraction of energy surge and behind the counter Jack saw he had a cane that he was propping himself up on. He tipped and fell over against the counter.
"You alright?" Asked jack.
"Yes, I think. That felt like a large blip that time. The lights went out and came back on. But never mind that. That happens from time to time here. It's a very old house and the electrical wiring is ancient. Makes it kinda finicky in this place."
"Yeah, I see what you mean. My grandma had a house like this. Same kinda problems. Plumbing was old too," Jack said. Something's here. I can feel it. he thought. Whether the owner himself was odd, Jack couldn't tell. He seemed and felt normal to jack's senses. And he saw no red on or about his person. No articles of clothing, no aura. In fact, he couldn't read anything off the man at all and that was a whole other kind of strange. But there was something else now that Jack's senses were able to examine the surroundings from inside. Something was off. That's it! It felt as if he had entered a hideout. A place was  cocooned away from the everyday world for a specific reason. Jack's stomach dropped. Something was hidden here. He couldn't tell if it was hidden from The Others or from regular people. Jack found a small china saucer and brought it up to the counter.
"Ah," the man said appreciatively. "Nice choice. For you mother?" he inquired.
Nosy aren't you? Jack just nodded and smiled and said nothing. The man rang it up, wrapped it in tissue paper than placed it carefully in a brown paper bag and handed his purchase to him.
"Hope to see you again. I don't get too much business these days. The recession and all."
"Yeah well, you might see me again. My mom loves knick-knacks," said Jack. Oh yeah, I just might come again, except not when you expect it.
. . .

Jack rode his bike back there again in the night. He parked the motor bike two blocks down this time and walked softly toward the little old house.The night was hot but the cool air coming in made it bearable. He glanced over his shoulder, expecting to see someone jump out at him, like red shoes, for instance. He'd caught a glimpse of a man yesterday with that red aura essence around him like a dirty halo in the super market. His senses were getting stronger. He'd felt ambivalent about it but it was one weapon he had against the bastards.
As he came closer to the house he slowed his pace. The windows were closed shut tightly and all the curtains drawn. However, he detected a dim light in a window on the left side of the house. Looking around to make sure he wasn't seen, he slipped in beside the house. He could certainly feel it now, where as before it was like a lukewarm whisper. There was a power source emanating from deep below this house. It was like a hum of energy that he could feel rather than hear. The night was silent except for the crickets and the occasional car rolling down the street.
He got close to one of the windows hoping for some glimpse of something he was not sure what he was looking for. A fleeting, terrifying thought occurred to him of the blackish red car that nearly ran him down a few months ago. Focus, man! He thought he detected a shadow passing through a room in the back of the house. Faintly he heard footsteps. He crept toward the back of the house and toward the back door. He wanted to find something else to report back and still wondered if the shop owner was lying to him. He crouched down, beginning to wonder what he was looking for. He didn't have long to wait. His senses detected a massive, burst of energy ,a disturbance that felt to him like an earthquake. It lasted maybe five seconds but it was enough to bowl him over to the ground. A sweat broke out and he gasped for air. Jack stayed put, locked to the ground, his heart hammering for what seemed like an eternity. The last embers of sunset had disappeared and it was starry night now. He looked up and heard the back door slowly opening. Though his bones felt heavy he lunged up on his feet with all his power and stumbled out of the backyard and down the street. He found his motorbike and rode off.
He would have no answer for anyone about whether the red box came from that place but something was hidden there, something big! And perhaps that old man really was a liar. Come to think of it, Jack couldn't quite remember what the man looked like. It was like his face disappeared from the memory like mists in the afternoon sun. No matter how hard he tried to recall what the man looked like, his features, nothing descriptive came to him. His senses pricked again at this thought. That was strange. He'd at least make a note of that once he got home.
But there was one thing he could remember about the place.
I wonder if I've found the mother portal? I have to tell the others what I've found!