Library of cultural knowledge
Orally transferred from generation to generation
Recycling both fact and fiction interwoven
Enveloping a people with their blanket of tradition
Library of cultural knowledge
Orally transferred from generation to generation
Recycling both fact and fiction interwoven
Enveloping a people with their blanket of tradition
The old house had been built in the mid 1800s and through the years its soul had slowly evaporated. First the paint had fled, running away from the blistering sun. The windows had wept their panes of glass away, leaving empty sockets staring into the overgrown backyard. Cold had seeped so far into the walls, that the chill was the only thing holding the place upright, and the air inside held the echo of the last person closing the door for that final time.
Yet Jacob couldn’t bring himself to tear the place down. His great great grandfather had built it, and so it was a part of the family. He just wished there was an old house home he could send this particular one to and only visit it on Christmas and its birthday. It would have made life so much easier. Instead the fencing people were coming tomorrow to install a fence to hide the eyesore. It was cheaper that way. Jacob turned back to his house, built on the property just a couple of years ago, and smiled. That will never happen to my house he thought as he stretched and walked back down the hill. My house will last forever.
Inspired by a friend of mine and how she thought she felt stalkerish writing in second person. I wondered if I could flip that thought. Thanks Katie!
You open my blog and peer within. You read a few of my shorter pieces of fiction and chuckle at some bit of wit that I managed to properly capture. You look at some of my longer works, those both finished and in process. You wonder about who I am. You try to figure out how the same person might write these two pieces of fiction that had such a different flavor and tone. That’s when you realize you have crossed that line, the one that goes from a casual visitor to a resident in my mind. How’s that feel?
Alice Abernathy had graduated top of her class from law school, and that was the low point of her career. That was why Adam had hired her. That and they had dated a while back, She had dumped him for a multitrillionaire playboy who thought he could get a prenup worth a damn past her. She now was so rich she owned a few small planetoids. Still, when Adam had called she had come running. The publicity from defending a murderer who happened to be the federation’s foremost xenobiologist and an A list celebrity of his own right was too good to pass up. She was even doing it pro bono. Well, kind of. She had first publishing rights, but Adam didn’t care about it. He still held holograph rights.
Alice was still beautiful enough to take his breath away, but right now Adam needed that awesome brain than that rock hard body located under that dark blue suit. “So what is the betting line?” asked Adam.
“You are dead by morning is two to one,” Alice said, no hint of a smile in her eyes at all.
“Now that would be swift miscarry of justice,” Adam said. “We still have to go through all the appeals.”
Alice pointed at the table. “You might not want to do that,” she said. “They are offering you a deal.”
“Okay, Adam said. “Lay it on me.”
“Exile to the newest penal world. There you will work on identification and classification. You will have some autonomy, but you would still be a prisoner,” Alice said.
Adam picked up one of the sheets of paper. It was written in the arcane legalese that only those who had pledged their being to the system were allowed to learn. He didn’t like that thought since that would mean the system got one step further than he did with Alice, and his ego wouldn’t accept that. “So that should take like ten years, fifteen tops.” Adam said. “What happens after that?”
“After that? There is no after that,” Alice said. “You settle in till that long dark goodnight.”
Alice would have been a poet if she didn’t love putting people in their place. “That’s bullshit,” Adam said. “A life sentence?”
Alice actually stomped her foot. He had gotten under her skin. She still had a flame for him. “Bullshit?” she asked. “You murdered fifty people on that colony.”
“Allegedly,” said Adam.
“No, not allegedly anymore. You were found guilty by a sitting jury. You are a murderer,” Alice said.
“They committed suicide,” countered Adam. “If they had listened to me they would all be alive and I would have won yet another Confederation Star of Science.”
“You told them to starve slowly while you took the only emergency spacecraft out of the system,” Alice said.
“And they stupidly decided to go hunting on a world I had already declared uncolonizable. The creatures were so poisonous and borderline sentient that unless you flattened most of the forests from orbit the settlers would be overrun. Staying in the settlement pod was their only chance. Yes, it would have been uncomfortable, but most people can stand a two month fast and recover with little or no lasting effects,” Adam said.
Alice looked at him that told him he was crossing a line, but he had been silent about this for so long. She never let him get on the stand to testify for himself. He could have shown that idiotic jury and judge that he had done what was needed. “The Federation needed to know before the next settlement ship put out. The teleport gate had collapsed so there was no other way than to get far enough to engage a wormhole.”
Alice crossed her arms and looked him in the eye. “You did it because you wanted to have the credit of your fiftieth world identified and classified. You knew that Pederson was about to file and you wanted to beat him to the punch.”
“Is that what you’re writing in your version of the story?” asked Adam.
Alice didn’t even blink. “The worst thing about it is you had room to take ten of them with you. Ten less people to share what little food was left.”
“Ten more idiots to live with,” Adam said. Alice looked down her nose at him in disgust. ”You know exactly what I mean Alice. Don’t lie to yourself, much less me. You would have pushed the bastards out the airlock as soon as you were in vacuum.”
“But I wasn’t there to do it,” Alice said. “I didn’t leave those people to die since help took over four months to get there.”
“It wasn’t my fault I had technical difficulties with the wormhole generator,” Adam said. “I’m not a dumb engineer. I’m a scientist.”
Alice poked her finger into his chest. “It was your fault. The jury has said so. Now I was able to get this deal for you and I suggest you take it.”
Adam turned away from Alice and walked towards the door he had come in. Once again he wanted to scream. Didn’t they see what a mistake they were making. He was worth not fifty of those settlers, but fifty thousand at least. If he wasn’t there when they arrived they would have died in mere days. He at least had given them a chance. Still, here he was. He needed more information. “What are the alternatives?” Adam asked.
“You will be sentenced to death by scattering teleportation,” Alice said matter of factly. “I have been told in no uncertain terms that this will be the end game for the state. No other offers, no other possibilities.”
Adam didn’t turn around. His thoughts scattering in the hurricane force winds whirling through his mind. “After everything I have done for the Federation?” he asked.
“Because of those things, and the strings I pulled you are getting one last chance to work,” Alice said. She walked up behind Adam, but didn’t not reach out to console him. For some reason that suited him for the moment.
“Look, I can get you your own accommodations, separate from the general population. You will still have a lab and a chance to do your magic one last time. Who knows what might happen,” Alice said.
Adam didn’t move a muscle, the winds finally settling in his head. He didn’t want to do anything to disturb their natural flow. He looked for patterns, just like he did in the biomes he studied.
“Look, the populace wants you gone. This deal was tough to get. I promise I’ll work on getting you back sometime,” Alice said.
Finally Adam saw the pattern and he shook his head in disbelief. He turned and looked Alice in the eye. “Tell them I’ll take it, but they are making a huge mistake,” Adam said. Alice looked relieved. “Oh, and just because I’m exiled doesn’t mean you get the holograph rights.”
Alice shook her head and moved to the door and pounded on it. She called out, “Henry, the bastard’s all yours.”
The room was dark except for the TV which was on an old version of Sabrina. Clarisse always thought that movie brought out the romantic side of Ken. Ken was quiet, having put down his Negroni a few minutes ago after he has told Clarisse he was getting so tired. She had made it special just for him using the most expensive gin she could find. Ken had asked her what tasted different and she had commented on the love she had added.
Now Clarisse held Ken in her arms as he drifted off. She brushed back the hair from his face. “I remember the day we met,” she said. “It was a beautiful summer day and we were at the beach. I invited you and Mark to have a burger since my brother Chuck had made a few too many and they weren’t going to make it home. You killed me with your ice blue eyes, your jet black hair, and that smile that never seemed to leave your face. I remember wishing I had worn the bikini instead of the one piece, but I didn’t know I was going to meet the man of my dreams. ”
Ken tried to mumble something, but Clarisse put her finger to his lips. “Shhh. It’s okay. You go to sleep.”
Ken seemed to struggle a bit more, but then settled back down. “That’s better,” Clarisse said. “You need to give in and rest. Just like the day we got married. Remember that? Of course you do. We agreed till death do us part. That is quite the commitment. I remember I was nervous about taking such a vow, but you told me how we were perfect for each other. You told me how you were the luckiest man in the world for getting to marry me. You said how you could never wanted to be with anyone else, ever. I had never loved you more than that moment. You made me feel like the luckiest woman in the world.”
Ken shifted again, but this time his mouth hung open and his breathing became slower. “That’s it,” Clarisse said. “Go ahead and rest.” Clarisse kissed Ken on his sweaty forehead. “I remember when you came home from that business trip to Toledo. I decided to surprise you by doing your laundry. I mean, I know how much you preferred to do it yourself. You didn’t want me to waste my time on something you actually enjoyed. But I thought with all the traveling you had been doing that I could ease your burden. You were my provider and I wanted to give something back. That’s why it was such a surprise to find Amanda’s little raunchy love letter in your suitcase, along with a pair of her panties. That wasn’t the Ken I knew and loved, was it Ken?”
Ken didn’t respond except to drool in Clarisse’s cleavage. Clarisse laid his head onto her lap. “And then you decided to come clean about the whole thing. How everything you told me was a lie. How you wanted to touch and kiss and screw Amanda and that you were leaving me to do it on a more regular basis. I reminded you that we said till death do us part. You told me that they were just words. Just words? What do you think now?” She slapped Ken across the face, but he didn’t respond. He kept breathing very slowly and drooling. Clarisse began to cry. “I believed in them then, and I believe in them now,” she said.
With that Clarisse picked up a knife from the tray next to her and stabbed Ken in the chest. She kept stabbing again and again, spraying blood everywhere. Soon Ken stopped breathing, but Clarisse continued until the knife fell out of her tired hand.
Clarisse then picked up the drink Ken had sipped from before becoming sleepy. She held it over Ken’s corpse. “Till death do us part,” she said. She chugged down the rest of the glass and kissed Ken’s blood spattered forehead and tried to get comfortable, waiting for the drugs to take her away. The Negroni left a bitter taste in her mouth, but that was fitting and somewhat comforting.
“I love you, Ken. I do.” were her last words said to nobody.
Marshal stormed into the house and slammed the door behind him. His mother’s voice called out from the kitchen. “How many times have I told you don’t slam the door! I don’t want to have to replace it again.”
Marshal dropped his book bag to the floor and it sounded like he had dropped a ton of bricks. Marshal said, “Sorry, it’s just that they made me angry!”
His mother came around the corner and gave him the parental glare. That helped put some of the anger in check. “Sorry mom,” he said.
“So what happened this time?” she asked as she let the glare up just a bit.
“I saw two cars get into an accident right in front of me and I couldn’t do a darn thing,” Marshal said. “There was another of the damn video traffic cameras.”
“I’m sorry dear,” his mother said giving up the rest of the glare. “But you know you have to protect who you are.”
Marshal added on a ‘and protect your friends and family’ to that as well. “Mom, why did you and dad have me?” he asked.
“Now honey, we are not going to go there,” his mother said. She disappeared around the corner.
Marshal hurried after her. “Oh no, I want to know. If I can’t be who I am then why am I here?” he asked.
His mother tried to turn back on the gaze, but Marshal was having none of that. “Look, you had to know I was going to be different,” he said.
“We didn’t know no such thing!” his mother responded. “Genetics are weird things. Our condition is recessive. You’ve taken biology. You know it was a one in four chance at best.”
“Now you’re a science teacher too?” asked Marshal. “Can you tell me about the Marianna Trench?”
“The Mariana Trench is the deepest part of the world’s oceans, located just to the east of the Mariana Islands,” said his mom. She then put her hand over her mouth. Marshal immediately was sorry he went that far. “So you decided to use me as Google?” she asked. “Go to your room!”
“Mom, you have a gift, just like me. You could go on Jeopardy and make a million,” said Marshal.
“You know perfectly well why not,” she said.
“Because the norms would try to kill us,” said Marshal.
“Because people fear something or someone different, especially if they have powers and abilities that everyday folk don’t.” His mom could see the hurt in Marshal’s eyes. “I’m sorry you have to pretend you are somebody you aren’t. For most people it means pretending they like their boss or that annoying kid that sits behind you. For you, it means no lifting cars and making sure the bully actually gets to think he beat you up. Look, life isn’t fair. I still use my powers, so do you. It’s just that we have to be careful.”
“But with all these cameras everywhere, how will we ever be able to help, and I mean really help. I know I could save lives,” Marshal said.
“People are so scared that they want complete control,” she said. “It means they would rather have limited success in defeating the bad guys then letting us help them along. Maybe someday we can come out of the dark, but not right now. “
“It still sucks,” said Marshal.
His mother gave her son a hug. “Agreed. Now please go pick up your things. Your father should be home any minute.”
There was a large puff of black smoke and Marshal’s father appeared before them. “Hi everyone, I’m home.” His dad noticed Marshal and his mom hugging. “Bad day?”
Marshal shook his head no. “Nope, just another normal day.”
Stephen looked at the computer screen and wanted to flip that damn blinking cursor the bird. He had been at this for eight hours, and still his computer mocked him. It told him he wasn’t good enough. It made it blatantly clear every time he began to type. Stephen was so frustrated he thought about giving up his dream of becoming and author and instead take up basket weaving or skydiving. Still, he returned to the page. If he could just get his word processor to stop underlining everything in red and green squigglies he knew he would be okay.
To my love,
I feel faint with my deep hunger for you. Your everything fills my senses when I am with you. The sounds of you entering my presence announce that the good times are about to start. You dress in that sheer red sheath that promises so much, but is always understated. My eyes water when I smell you deeply, your perfume makes my mouth water. My lips tingle, remembering your hot touch. I taste your spice, your heat, when I lick you from my fingers. I love you chicken wings, for now and forever.
Yours for true,
The ripples on the pond echoed the fluttering of my heart. I couldn’t believe it. What was I going to do with you gone? It seemed so simple just yesterday. You were standing in front of me right here, telling me you didn’t want me in your life anymore. I was so angry. I devoted every second to you, but all you ever wanted was more space. Really? Well now you have your space, and I’m coming to accept it. Still I wonder if I could have done anything differently, like should I have buried you farther from the pond?
This time my father refrained from letting go of the winch until he had the safety engaged. Soon I was back on my own two feet and under the barrage of my father’s hug. Did I happen to mention my father is an inventor and forges most of his own tools. Those blacksmith arms nearly crushed the life out of me he just saved a few minutes ago. Oh the parenting irony.
“Sonny, I am so glad you came,” he said as the last of the air left my lungs. “I was worried you didn’t get my message.” I tried to respond but I was having trouble deciding what to say before I passed out. “Are you okay?” he asked. Finally seeing that I was turning into a too tall Smurf, he let go. I would say that first breath of air was so sweet, but I as I had mentioned earlier I was on a roof with a working forge, and all I breathed in was the sooty coal fumes being belched. That brought back the idea of the parking lot of hell. Yep, family never lies.
“So what did you need, dad,” I said after the coughing fit brought on by my darkening lungs.
“I need you to take your mom this,” Dad said as he pulled out a pocket watch. The thing vibrated and almost glowed. I was afraid to touch it. He held it out to me. “I heard she needs a bit more protection lately. This thing has a few surprises if someone tried to do anything she doesn’t like.”
I took the watch and was amazed how it was ridiculously light and at the same time felt extremely heavy. “What does it do?” I asked, not really wanting to know, but I needed to know what it could do to me.
Dad took back the pocket watch and opened the face. The inside cover was painted with a scene out of the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas. I shivered involuntarily. The Nightmare Before Christmas is my mother’s favorite movie, probably since she loved to frighten you to death. I love my mother, but she can cause nightmares. Just ask my therapist. He was able to help me with those, unlike my conscience. His best advice, avoid my mother. Yeah, that just became much more difficult.
Dad didn’t notice my involuntary twitch. “It makes it almost impossible to track her, which might interfere with her cell phone coverage. It also acts as a small EMP device. When activated, it will short out all electronics within a small radius by pulling out the winding knob.”
Did I mention my dad was a genius inventor? Yeah, I figured that might have slipped my mind when I almost died. Half the time he made the Ian Fleming’s Q look like a country bumpkin. The other half the time Dad has bit off more than even he can chew. Either it doesn’t work, or works in ways that shouldn’t be known to man or God. This time, only God knows. Still I was on a need to know basis with the big guy, and since there wasn’t a deep bass voice giving me the details, I decided to go to the next closest expert. “What is a small radius?” I asked.
“I’m not sure,” he said. “I haven’t had the time to test it, but it should work. At least in theory. I would have done more work on it, but I was worried. Have you seen her lately?”
That is a tricky question. You see, if you had a rogue genius under thumb and ran a large organized crime organization, the world is would be your oyster. Dad realized this would be a problem and decided to end his life. Of course, he really couldn’t do that, so instead he left my mother and took up life here on top of a retirement apartment house. He figured my mom would never look for him here. Of course you do not get to be the head of a large crime organization by being stupid, so of course she knew exactly where he went to hide. My mom loves my dad so much that she didn’t want to hurt his pride. She let him have his little fantasy, and uses me as a go between. She gets to keep alive a small part of being human, and he gets to think of the sacrifice he is making to save the world. Isn’t love grand?
As for me seeing her, I try to minimize that contact as much as possible. Actually I try to avoid all Familial and familial contacts. Keeps my life simple. Still, family is family, even when it is Family. Now you wonder why I wax poetic? I have family issues, capital f or not. My therapist eats this stuff up!
So I can’t lie to my dad. “I haven’t seen her in a bit. Business keeps me insanely busy.” Okay, so maybe I can lie a bit. What can I say, I’m complicated.
“Well this will give you an excuse,” Dad said. “You will do this for me, right?”
“Of course,” I said. What else could I say?
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