Shine some light into another writer’s or blogger’s world today #writers #bloggers

Candice Coates:

Because I just wrote a post about the struggles of deciding to give your art your all, I couldn’t resist reblogging this. Great job Blonde Lucy!

Originally posted on Blondewritemore:

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Its really easy to cast some light into another writer’s or blogger’s world today and it doesn’t take much effort on your part.

Both writing and blogging can feel like dark and torturous journeys at times, things can get so bad youfind yourself feelinglike one of those hobbits making their way to Mordor in Lord of the Rings.

On Saturday I was in the depths of despair and gloom over my WIP. I felt alone and totally fed up. The light had well and truly gone out on my writing world. Then another blogger replied to a comment that I had made on their blog. It was such a nice and positive comment that it made me snap out of my doldrums. Such a simple act but it felt like they had shone some positive light into my dark little writing world. I picked myself up and carried on with…

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What We Want: A Quote

It’s not that we need or even want to be rich. It’s simply a matter of being in control of our resources, our opportunities, and our emotions.” ~ Bishop T.D Jakes “Reposition Yourself- Living Life Without Limits.”

One of the toughest things that I have encountered with taken the official step into allowing my art to be my bread winner, is having peace with the process that it requires in order to create something that I feel comfortable with sharing/selling. 

Often times, the emotional battle that comes with being an artist tends to be the very saw that cuts the legs right out from underneath us. One day we love what we have created, we are confident, and ready to share it with the world, while in the very next breath we are punching holes through it as if it is the most embarrassing mess we have ever made.

Deciding to let one’s art speak for itself is difficult. Having the confidence to keep producing even though it doesn’t seem at all that a harvest is in the near future, is very emotionally taxing.

But I have to hold on to the belief that it is all worth it.

As Bishop said, and I put it in my own words, this is not a matter of becoming rich, this is a matter of self sustainability, not being strangled or tugged between “need” and “want”, not being limited in opportunities because of limited resources, and not limiting one’s self because you have allowed your emotions to limit your production.

Many people on the outside do not understand this struggle. They don’t understand what goes into writing a novel or creating art. The idea of living off of art is more baffling to them than it is to us, and most people on the other side of the “creative fence” have no idea where they have misplaced their poker faces when you explain to them that you have turned in your 9 to 5 in order to pursue the craft of expanding our art.

It’s tough…but again it is worth it.

I just encourage anyone who has taken the leap to step out there and not just take a slice of the “pie” but to bake your own, to not give up. Seeds in the soil take time to grow, and lots of watering, even if the water is produced by our own tears.

As the Psalmist said:

Psalm 126:5-6 “5Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.

6He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed,
         Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.”

Just keep pressing on, and don’t give up. The race is not give to the swift but he who endures to the end. (Ecclesiastes 9:11)

Cheers!

I came for the soup.dpp widgets

 

Monday’s Muse: Writing Prompt July 6th

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OPENING LINE (S): The walls to their borders were strong, but not so much so that they couldn’t break through them.

RULES: Using the above line and the picture provided, (Or one of your own choosing) create a story (or even a poem) within 15 to 20 minutes. Once you have finished your super awesome masterpiece, add a link in the comments section of this  post to your story for others to read, as well as a link on your page back to this original post for others to follow along and write with as well. In your “tags” section, add the tag “Monday’s Muse.”

If you do not have a blog of your own send me an email to icameforthesoup@gmail.com and I will post your lovely words here on my blog.

(PLEASE KEEP ENTRIES THAT NEED TO BE POSTED ON THIS BLOG WITHIN A PG13 RANGE. THANK YOU)

My results will be posted on Thursday July 9th under the FICTION tab, then the WRITING PROMPTS AND EXERCISES, then MY WRITING PROMPT RESULTS.

Chapter 8: Ascension Graveyard

Chapter 8

The Journal of Etta Castle Teague

~Moments are like pebbles. They are small and most of them seem so insignificant. But if you take a pebble and slip it in your shoe, you limp and if you limp long enough you grow numb to the pain and just keep pressing forward like nothing was ever the matter.

Same with moments.

But if all those tiny little stones, those silly, ignored, meaningless pebbles are rolled together and hurled forward in a single instant with just the right momentum, they can create a massive shift; an avalanche that brings chaos and turns the entirety of existence into a stillness you never saw coming.

It’s that stillness that everyone fears; the look, the word, the nod, the touch, the kiss, whatever! that blanket of change no one prepared for, its that moment that changes the world forever.

It’s that moment you change.

*          *          *

Jørn ran his hand down his face as he sat in the darkness of his office. He was completely exhausted, but at the same time could not find a moment long enough to relax. There were too many gears in his mind cranking to allow him any rest.

He had been at the hospital well past his fourteen hour shift. It ended up being nineteen and a half hours to be exact. Part of him regretted doing so. It had been almost a complete day since he had spoken to Etta, and even though she had made him mad as hell he still wanted to move past this mountain that was growing between them. If he let things keep going the way they were, there would be no turning back, especially if Baldwin was lurking somewhere in the shadows.

On the other hand, Jørn was glad he had stayed on the extra hours. One of the emergency room NP’s had called in and Jørn volunteered to cover their shift before anyone asked. He was the only NP available anyway.

Staying had allowed him to be present when Mayor Vanessa Wong came into the ER close to eleven that evening with a badly fractured nose, and bruises on the back of her head. Jørn didn’t work on her case, but he did overhear Doctor Rachel Steves complaining about it.

Being struck with a spell of curiosity, Jørn eased himself into the conversation she was having with two of the nurses.

He let the conversation replay in his mind.

*          *          *

“Can you believe her?!” Doctor Rachel Steves tore open several packets of sugar, and dumped them into her steaming cup of coffee. “Her nose was fractured, the base of her skull bruised like someone had punched her repeatedly  in it, and yet when I am trying to get information from her as to how this happened, she reads me the riot act like I am overstepping boundaries?!”

Rachel snatched up her coffee. Some of the dark liquid splashed out burning her hand, and staining her scrubs. Setting the cup back on the counter, she cursed. “This is exactly what I need! It’s going to be a long shift.”

            Jørn eased forward, showed her the napkins in his hand, and began to wipe up the coffee. “Did you ever find out what happened to her?” He asked.

            Rachel dabbed at the coffee spot on her shirt. She frowned and shook her head. “Thanks and no. She refused to take an EEG.  The woman refused any real care at all.” She looked at Jørn, and then at the other two nurse who were in the break room with her. “The only thing she wanted done was her nose fixed, and some pain meds. She was completely unreasonable. There was no talking to her.”

            “Could have been a side affect of hitting her head, or the fact she is a complete vibora. I go for vibora.” Graciela Sanchez, the lead ER nurse, added. She couldn’t help speaking Spanglish whenever a patient rubbed her the wrong way. “In which case our dear mayor cannot help herself. It is her nature, which is why I didn’t vote for her. I voted for that other guy. What was his name?”

            “Taubmen?” Rachel placed a cap on her coffee, picking it up with much more care this time. She blew into the tiny lip hole before taking a careful sip.

            “Si! That infeliz. I mean choosing the lesser of two evils and all.”

            “Mmmhhhmmm. Or the mayor was assaulted. May not have been a seizure, or a bad attitude.” The other nurse added, steering the conversation back into the right direction before taking a bite out of her ham sandwich. “And she was too embarrassed to say something.”

            Jørn glanced at the woman’s lanyard. Meg Hash. He had seen her before, but he didn’t know her like he knew Rachel and Graciela.

            “Oh I got it!” Graciela snapped her finger. “Our mayor is into that BDSM stuff! It went too far tonight and she didn’t want to tell anybody. How embarrassing!”

            Rachel leaned back against the counter and snorted. “I thought that too. But then I remembered who I was dealing with, and went with plain old assault. With all the political stunts she has tried to pull I wouldn’t be surprised. Every one of her supporters loves to act like she is all straight laced, but come on.

“I even called in an officer who she didn’t hesitate to eat alive, and even threatened to have his badge taken away. All I was trying to do was to coax her into helping herself by telling us what had happened to her. Then to add insult to injury, Rick comes in out of nowhere—”Rick Henley was the Sergeant of the police force in Greenwich Pass. “—she obviously called him, because he looked like he had just tumbled out of bed himself. He makes all of us leave the area so he could speak with “madam mayor” in private. I was like what the hell?! This is an emergency room not a private conference center!”

Graciela lowered her voice. “You think Rick is the one that did it to her? Maybe he is her play partner or something. He is a sergeant. For all we know she is his madam.” She lifted her chin as if what she had just said was completely plausible.

The women all laughed, even Jørn couldn’t hold back a chuckle. Graciela couldn’t help but be funny even when she wasn’t trying to be. She made working the ER at night worth while. Even the patients loved her.

Rachel quickly pulled herself together. “No, no it’s not that,”

“Then what did he need to talk to her about in private? And please don’t pretend like you didn’t eavesdrop. I know I would have.” Meg chomped down on her sandwich again.

Graciela cocked an eyebrow. “How does your sweet Pastor Wesley feel about that, your temptation with eavesdropping?”

Meg blushed before shrugging her shoulders. “He knows I am a work in progress. Don’t be judge-y.” She poked out her tongue.

Rachel rubbed her chin,  blankly staring  forward. She had eavesdropped she just didn’t know if she should say anything about what she had overheard.

Graciela slapped her shoulder. “Andale, Doc! Spill it. You aren’t breaking any oath since she wasn’t filing a report with the police. They were having a private conversation that you just happened to hear.”

“But Rick is still the police sergeant.” Jørn added.

Meg waved him off. “Rick was in street clothes, night clothes actually. He was not here taking her statement. If that were the case he would have let the other cop handle that.”

Rachel still looked unsure. Jørn only stared at her. He wanted to hear what she had to say. He wasn’t a gossip by any stretch, but the mayor coming into the ER banged up with a broken nose, and refusing all of the proper medical attention just didn’t settle well in his stomach.

He waited for Rachel to speak, they all did. Finally she gave in, waving them all closer to her. Jørn felt like he was in high school the way his colleagues were behaving.

“What I heard was that the mayor wants Rick to make sure that there are heavy patrols out for the next week or two. She wants plain clothes cops securing her office and her home.”

“So she was assaulted then.” Jørn filled up his coffee cup a second time.

Rachel shook her head, her voice lowering even more. “No. That’s not it. She said something about civilian riots,”

“Riots?” Graciela leaned in closer.

“Yes.”

“In sleepy Greenwich Pass? This place hardly has a pulse,”

Rachel rolled her eyes. “She said they just needed to be prepared, that they needed to have tighter security for her office, and for the streets for the next few weeks, especially for this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That is all I heard.”

Meg cupped her mouth as if shocked by something. “Guys, what if what happened to the mayor has something to do with why church service was cancelled this afternoon? Doris put out a sign saying that we were to have service this coming Friday night.” Her eyes grew even larger. “Or Pastor Meeks is her play partner.” Meg winked.

Graciela snorted. “And what were you doing at Pastor Meek’s church? Pastor Wesley know you are feeding with another flock?” She giggled, hardly resisting the chance to pick on Meg and the pastor who was dating her.

“Pastor Meeks is married, ladies.” Jørn added.

“Wong isn’t. And rings haven’t stopped people from playing around before.”

Jørn’s jaw tightened. He glanced down at his wedding band, Baldwin and Etta jumping onto the forefront of his mind.

Graciela suddenly looked disappointed. “This is exactly why I didn’t vote for her. She has done something and everybody is about to find out, and when we do, we are going to be ticked. Somebody hit her for it. I don’t care what you say. And I bet she deserved it. It was probably Pastor Meeks, married or not, the drunk!”

Jørn shook his head. “Pastor Meeks has been sober for five years, Graciela. Don’t be like that.”

Graciela scoffed. “Yes, and I am from Japan and French is my first language. Meg, you are killing me! Give me a bite of that sandwich, already. It smells divine.”

“A small bite, Graciela. I shouldn’t even share with you after all your jokes about me in Pastor Wesley.”

Rachel’s pager began to buzz. “That’s me. I will see you all on the floor. But,” She pointed her finger, and looked all three of them in the eyes, one by one. “This doesn’t leave this room, okay? Last thing I need is for Vanessa Wong to come in here and have one of her big wig friends playing with my licenses. Gosh, I can’t stand that woman.”

*          *          *

Jørn clicked the switch on his desk lamp, his eyes narrowing as they adjusted to the suddne light. He pulled out a pen and a notepad from his desk drawer placing them in front of him. He continued to stare forward, drumming the pen against the pad until he finally settled into writing.

Enough of having his suspicions flapping around in his head, he needed to put them on paper. Maybe by seeing them, he could narrow things down.

  1. Who are the holders of the Seats of the Silence Council?

~Etta?

~Mayor Vanessa Wong

~Pastor Clive Meeks

Jørn already had his suspicions about his wife being on the Council, he still wasn’t completely certain, but Vanessa Wong, Clive Meeks? He didn’t know why he had not considered someone like Vanessa Wong to be one of the Council members in the first place. Had she not come in and acted so strange that night, he probably would have continued to overlook her.

He was only really suspicious of her after listening to Rachel talk about her not wanting to explain her injuries, threatening peoples jobs, and then calling Rick in. Even that could have been overlooked to some degree. Both Rick and Vanessa were single, middle aged people, maybe they did have something going on besides BDSM. Jørn was pretty certain neither of them were into that. He would be shocked to learn the converse.

It was the statement about plain clothes cops, and potential riots that nudged Jørn’s mind, and made Mayor Vanessa Wong look even more culpable. And then Meg throwing in the bit about church being cancelled until Friday, which cast his gaze to Meeks, and Wong needing security, especially on Friday and the rest of the weekend, it was all too bizarre.

Then there was the Lotus that had gone zipping past the windows at the front of the hospital. That was a little over two hours ago. All of these events were too close, and out of the ordinary to be called coincidence.

The Lotus passed by right when he was about to leave the hospital and head home, and he, acting as if he were superstitious and a black cat had crossed his path, turned on his heals and hid away in his office.

He did cut himself some slack, the thing had peppered holes through his nerves like buck shots to raw meat.

There should not have been any Lotus out, at least for the next few months. Ascensions took place no more than four times a year, and no less than two. It was a sequence. There had been one just the other day, and now the Lotus were on the hunt again.

No, something was off, and Wong had something to do with it. He kept writing.

  1. Why are the Lotus out again?

~Bad negotiations?

~Sudden Change in sequence

He scratched off his second thought. He may not have known who it was that the Council answered to, but he did know that They were all about maintaining sequences. There would be no ascensions if that were not the case. They, whoever they were, had worked overtime to indoctrinate the whole of the earth with the ideology of “sequence.”

`           3. What is being negotiated?

            ~Humans

That was the only logical answer. Humans were the only beings called up in the ascensions.

His pager went off. Dropping his pen he looked at the message. Maryam Pak Nejad was having heart palpitations.

“This can’t be good,” He quickly tore off the paper he was writing on, folded it into a tiny square, and tucked it into his wallet before going to see about Maryam.

There was a nurse in the room with Maryam by the time Jørn made it in. “What’s going on, Maryam?” He asked, not making eye contact with her, instead he looked at her stats on the computer screen.

The nurse answered. “We had a visitor, a Lotus came in through the window, pried it open. Liked to have scared Maryam to death! It nearly made my heart leap out of my chest.” The nurse was angry and frustrated, rightfully so. Jørn even noticed her brush away a tear.

He tightened his fist, squeezing away the sudden tremor that shook his hands again. He had waited in his office until he had stopped trembling before, and now it all seemed in vain.

Maryam pried her eyes open and immediately smiled once she saw him. She had been too busy concentrating on calming down to notice him when he entered. She hadn’t even heard him say her name.

A tear slid down the side of her face, but she quickly brushed it away, but with far  less fire than the nurse had. “Jørn, didn’t think I would get to see your handsome face so early in the morning.”

Jørn did a few more reads before answering. He painted on a smile just for her. “I was actually on my way out when I got the page.”

“And you stayed just for me? Such a sweetie.” She touched her forehead and leaned back into the pillows before looking him over. Her smile broadening. “Do you always wear scrubs?” She was clearly asking the questions as a way to distract herself from the Lotus intrusion.

Jørn glanced down at his outfit. “If I wore a tie and dress clothes, one of us would be over dressed, or underdressed, for the occasion of meeting, don’t you think?”

“You have a point there. So am I going to live?”

Jørn’s smile quickly faded and his eyes darkened. Heidi hadn’t survived her encounter with the Lotus. He cleared his throat hoping that would knock him back into the right mental state. It worked. “Your numbers are leveling out again, which is a good thing.”

“Gosh, that was intense.” Maryam shook her head and exhaled deeply, another tear falling.

“Heart palpitations can be scary when they hit with that kind of magnitude.”

Maryam shook her head. “Not talking about those, I am talking about being scanned.” She grimaced. “It is so…violating. I don’t even know if that is the right word to use.”

The nurse patted her arm. “Would you like something to help you sleep, sweetie? So you don’t have to think about it?”

Maryam giggled nervously. “No I would not like to be put to sleep so that I can have nightmares about what just happened. No thank you. I will manage. Jørn here says I am fine, I will take his word for it. Thank God that thing went horizontal after leaving here, and not vertical. Then I would not have been fine.” She blew out a breath through her lips. “I imagine ascending is glorious and all, but having to die a ripe, old age seems more appealing. To me anyway.”

The nurse nodded and exited the room. Jørn glanced out the window, but didn’t go near it. He stayed planted near Maryam’s bedside. He didn’t even notice that he had begun to tremble more fiercely until she touched his hand.

“Are you alright?”

He flinched and glanced down at his hand, her fingertips on his skin.

Maryam slowly pulled away. “You’re shaking.”

He jerked his head, coming out of his daze. “I am fine,”

She cocked an eyebrow. “You sure? From one health practitioner to another, I don’t know if that is the whole truth. Those aren’t chill shakes.”

Noticing his discomfort, she eased back a bit. “Granted, I only just met you yesterday, but I am not oblivious. It’s okay to be afraid. Goodness, I was scared out of my mind a second ago. I am still shaking. See.” She held her hand parallel to the floor. It trembled like Jørn’s. “Have you had that happen to you before?”

Jørn’s eyes were still glued to the space where her hand had been. He answered without really understanding why he had. He didn’t know Maryam. This was not a conversation he should have been having with a patient unless he was the one calming them. But for some reason he couldn’t keep himself from opening up, even a little. First it was the bond of alcoholic dependence, and now the tremor.

Maryam asking, right in the moment when he thought he would explode had come as surprise. Something about it made him desperate to speak, but he guarded his tongue. Etta never asked.

“The only do it once.” He said. “The first and last time it happened to me was a long time ago.” He glanced down at the puffy scar that ran from his right thumb joint across the back of his wrist. A Lotus gave that to him on the night he learned he was going to lose Heidi.

He pried his feet from their rooted place on Maryam’s linoleum floor and skirted her bed, heading for the door. He needed to get some air, or some sleep, or a combination of both. “If there is nothing else, I am going to head home. I have been here for nearly 20 hours.”

He didn’t bother looking at her. He was suddenly feeling a great deal more uncomfortable, almost as if he had stayed, he would tell her everything about himself, everything he wanted to tell his wife. It was too intimate.

“That’s fine. We all need our rest.”

“Alright, then you have a good morning, and I will see you soon.” He chanced a quick glance over his shoulder stopping only when she called his name.

“Jørn,” Maryam pushed herself further up in the bed, her countenance shifting from that of patient in need, to doctor offering help. “I don’t want to overstep my bounds, but if you need to talk, get some of that weight off of your chest, I can listen. Strictly professional offer, I will charge you and everything.” She smiled.

He dipped his head and waved, turning the corner outside of her room before he found himself taking her up on the offer.

*          *          *

Etta woke with a start, the sound of the front door opening and closing, made her sit up on alert. She had waited up for Jørn for most of the night before passing out on the couch. When he finally did get home the sun was already shinning through the window.

She stretched, and then grabbed her neck. The muscles had locked, and were protesting now with ever attempted turn of her head. She stumbled into standing position, and followed him into the bedroom. He had already slung off his clothes, and had jumped in the shower by the time she made it there.

Fifteen minutes passed before he came out again. She sat up off the comforters, having dozed off again. “Jørn, how does a 14 hour shift drift into nearly 24? I waited up for you,”

Sitting on the bed, he glanced at her, one brow arched.

“I waited up as long as I could, obviously. I am still in yesterdays clothes, and I was on the couch in case you missed it. I thought we agreed that you would call when you did overtime.”

He didn’t say anything.

“He is agitated.” Baldwin whispered as if Jørn could have heard him if he didn’t.

Etta frowned. “So am I.” She mouthed. She hadn’t even notice Baldwin’s return. She reached over and touched the bareness of Jørn’s back. “Jørn,”

Jørn quickly turned towards her. “You’re right, I should have called. I am sorry. Thank you for staying up.” He pecked her lips with his, and then scooted underneath the covers. “I just want to go to sleep now. It was a long day.”

Etta stared at him completely unprepared for his clipped response. “Right,” She pushed herself off the bed, and headed to the shower. She knew why he was late, knew why he was acting so bizarre. Besides the ascension pods growing on the Yard, she had seen the Lotus earlier that morning, clearly he had too.

Chapter 7: Ascension Graveyard

Chapter 7

The Journal of Etta Castle Teague

            ~ It has not always been this way. Good or bad, it will always be this way…unless someone makes ripples in the sequence, stops the Ascension…I have always wanted to be a difference maker.

*          *          *

Officer Talitha Beard choked on her hotdog. Coughing up the chunk of errant meat and bun, she leaned forward and turned up the radio in her squad car. Had she heard correctly?

The two disk jokeys on her favorite station argued back and forward. “Ralph, don’t be glib. There is evidence, real, live evidence, and I am not just talking about pictures, but video footage. It’s all over the web, man! Those ascension pods are real! They broke surface this very evening. No one is clever enough to create this, especially not so soon after an ascension. What this is, is  nature in action. I mean the dang things are still rooted.”

            Ralph chimed in. “But what about the sequence, huh? We just had an ascension, so why is the earth prepping for another one?”

            “Good question. Inquiring minds want to know the answer. What do you all think? Why are there fresh pods growing in our Yard, and do you have any growing in yours? Call in and give your opinion at,” The other disk jokey, Jake, spit out the number to the radio station before playing the latest track from a band Talitha had no interest in listening to.

Snapping off the radio she picked up her cell phone. It was well past 11 at night, but she needed to talk to someone. Wesley Ambrose was the only person she could think to call. He was the only person close to her that she had left. An attack of allergies and an innocent trip to the corner market for some Benadryl had earned her brother a quick scan of a Lotus, and his number being called for the last ascension.

Her fingers shook so violently from the angry rage that was building in her bones, that she could hardly send the call. She wasn’t the only one who felt like this. So many other ascension rejects found it hard not to resist the anger or sadness that came on the tails of a fleeing ascension. Maybe their feelings and expressions were not as impassioned as Talitha’s, but they all felt something—the need to do something, make what suddenly felt so wrong, right.

The phone rang several times before slipping into voicemail. Taming her voice and flicking away the tears that had assaulted her rust colored eyes, Talitha left a message. “Sorry for calling so late, Pastor Wesley, I just,” She clenched her jaw and scowled through more stinging tears. “I just heard something on the radio about, uh, about more ascension pods growing in the Yard. We just had a gosh darn ascension and,”

Her voice hitched. She needed to get it together. She still had several more hours on her shift, and the last thing she needed to do was to take her pain out on some kid who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. “And well, I am not okay. I need you to pray for me. Please? I am going to swing over to the Yard myself and see if what I just heard is true. I will call you tomorrow. Thanks Pastor.”

She ended the call, tossing her cell phone next to the hotdog she no longer had a desire to eat. Then she pulled out of the parking lot, and headed east towards Eaton Mall on the Junction.

*          *          *

Etta glanced at her watch. It was nearly midnight. She had been in the hidden room of the shop for twelve hours straight. She had two missed calls on her cell phone, and two voice messages. One was from Kyle. He had cashed out the register, cleaned the store, and had left for home three hours ago. He also mentioned that they were all out of the miniature Secret Keepers. They had experienced a ton of traffic in the store that day.

Etta did a fist pump. Purpose was one thing, turning a lovely profit while fulfilling a purpose was another. Both were wins. She had spent sometime placing little dark eyes, the tiniest embryos of Lotus seeds, in the sockets of the stuffed toys while Baldwin listened in on the council meeting with the T.O.W.E.S, and then relayed what he heard to her.

It was a world wide thing, what the T.O.W.E.S were doing. Council members from India, Spain, Great Britain, all over, had assembled in their little hiding places to hear the biding of the frequency that had become like a god to them even though none of them openly admitted it or even realized.

Within that time of eavesdropping, Etta had finished well over 300 tiny Secret Keepers, and she still had vats of embryos left. She needed to have a storewide clearance, especially now that the game was really on. Make more dolls, get the eyes out there. With this next move the Towes had planned, they had clearly declared war.

The Pulse, which is what the thing was calling itself, had made it very clear that before weeks end, there would be swift retribution for what had been done during the last ascension. Someone had sent out a frequency throughout the Net that had disrupted the last ascension sequence. The vibration within it had caused the Ascension pods to reverse the anesthetized state of those ascended. Everyone was awake during the process.  As a result they were all voided.

It was a complete waste. The Council members were being held responsible.

The Pulse had not only verbally chastised each and every member throughout the world for what had taken place in Greenwich Pass, but had sent out a pulse that had knocked them all to their knees, searing the flesh of their hearts.

It was vanity. Clearly the Pulse thought itself worthy of worship, it just had to force it.

The being was far larger than Etta had expected. It was indeed an awesome force of pressure and amps. She could feel it even through Baldwin’s transmission. It was ugly even without having a form to look upon, and reeked of death even though its scent was as Clive Meeks’ was that morning—heavy static electricity. Noting the death within its musk was strictly instinctive.

Etta and Baldwin quickly shifted their line of connection. They had to be careful with that. It wasn’t wise to play too close to the fire. They would both be consumed if they did not watch their steps. The Net was a precarious thing. Staying out of sight and unnoticed while traversing it was even more so.

At least they had a few more days to prepare things for this war. Five days to be exact. Pastor Meeks had cancelled Sunday afternoon worship service, and Doris had posted a sign out front of the mall and chapel stating that there would be a service held on Friday evening instead. Everyone was encouraged to be there as a community. Mr. Albert had mentioned that bit in the second message Etta had received.

For some reason she assumed the second call would have been from Jørn. He usually called her during his longer days, just to check in. He hadn’t today.

“Even though the Council has been instructed to reveal themselves to the public come Friday, I think we should stick to your plan and hold off on things until the actually day of the ascension.” Baldwin stated..

The introduction of the Council was a control move. The Pulse was stripping power from the council and taking it upon itself again. The Council members would be as lambs led to the slaughter once the community of Greenwich Pass, and those within a 200 mile radius caught wind of what was about to happen, if they didn’t already know. They would blame them and beg the Pulse for mercy.

Tomorrow, before the sun would crest the horizon, several people would have already been chosen for that coming Saturday’s ascension. Ascension’s being held back to back had never been done before, at least as far as they knew.

            Etta slung on her coat and grabbed her purse from the office. She nodded her head to Baldwin’s suggestion. “I agree. I figure we shall go to service on Friday. Listen to Meeks spew his acid from his desecrated pulpit, and then on Saturday morning, when all hell is breaking loose, we will go and pour kerosene on the flames, make ourselves known then.” She smiled at him. “Don’t you love drama? I know I do. Right at the moment humanity is supposed to be begging the Pulse for mercy they will be looking to you instead. Just wait and see.”

Etta felt the chilly shift in Baldwin and studied his expression as she turned out the lights in the store. She understood. Each day, every step closer to their goal, going over the risks and cost of what it was that they were embarking on, he grew more worried, uncertain.

She said, “You can’t have second thoughts, Baldwin. We have to do what has to be done. There are no rabbits here—”

“Only kangaroos. Etta, no matter how many times I have heard that, and how true it may be, this is still hard. There may be casualties on Saturday.”

She headed for the escalator. “I don’t doubt that. I am banking on it.”

“But you have made your peace with it?”

She narrowed her eyes as the escalator lowered her past the chapel. Clive Meeks was opening up the doors. He turned just as Etta was passing.

“Long night, sister Teague?” His mouth rose in what could have been mistaken as a sincere smile. His countenance, however, betrayed him. Though he hid it well, Etta could see his trembling. It was as if the fire and noise from the Pulse had been jarring his bones all day long. It had.

“For both of us, I see.” She gave a fake smile of her own. “Have a good night.”

She turned her head before he could say anything else, and waited until he had gone into the chapel, closing the doors securely behind himself before she said anything else. “I am at peace with reality, Baldwin. There are always casualties of war, and this is a war. To have false hope would be useless. People will get hurt before this is all over. Some may even die. That’s just how it is.”

She rubbed the smoothness of her keychain. It had come from a twin strand of a birthing Lotus. Jørn had the other twin. Etta’s was nearly half the size of his. Just next to it was the other Lotus piece that she had slipped into her pocket before leaving the hidden room. She had taken this piece weeks ago and was surprised that Baldwin had not noticed it.

Baldwin had obviously been too consumed with the prospect of what could happen in the coming days to pay attention to its low humming. Etta didn’t feel the need to mention it.

“We just have to keep our eyes open and our aim sure.” She continued, patting the area where his hand rested. Neither of them felt the touch of the other. “No matter what happens, trust the plan, Baldwin and trust me.” She offered him a smile only to find that he had slipped completely from sight.

He had been doing that a lot lately.

*          *          *

Clive ran his hand down the wooden back of one of the chapel pews before slamming his fist down upon it. What the hell had happened?! What was going to happen? He had played by Their rules. He and the others, Albert Castle and Vanessa Wong, had done everything possible to keep things running smoothly for the last five years.

Clive preached about the sequence almost every Sunday. He weaved the practice of the ascension into the bible stories even though he knew better. Albert Castle kept track of any voiced concerns given by the locals, especially the rejects who always had something negative to say about the ascension, and somehow managed to silence them, while Mayor Wong made sure the law was upheld.

There was never any cause for this kind of worldwide threat from Them. Clive still didn’t even understand how the sequence had been disrupted nor did he understand how he or anyone else on the Council could be blamed.

“There was a distinct signature, an under verse that played itself over and over again during and after the ascension. It is still playing! It is as your kind say, a calling card. Rebellion will not be tolerated!” The Pulse had answered Vanessa so harshly.

Vanessa still questioned. “But that cannot be, not from our end. We don’t have the wisdom nor the technology to access you, let alone rebel! We have complied with your will. You were the ones to make contact with us five years ago.  Maybe one of your kind has done this.”

            Vanessa was struck down for that one. She hit the ground so hard with her convulsions that her nose was fractured and bled. The Towes made her stay connected for a full five hours before allowing her to leave, and seek medical attention.

Clive still didn’t understand any of it. None of them did. He pulled out his cell phone and dialed Vanessa. It was skating past midnight now, but he didn’t care. Vanessa picked up on the second call, her voice groggy from the pain meds she was taking.

“How’s the head, Vanessa?” There was a hint of laughter in his voice. Council member or not, he had never really liked her. She was far too sure of herself. At least now something had knocked her down a few inches.

“No cause for concern from you, Clive. What do you want?” Vanessa was fully awake now and understandably irritated. She, like Clive, had already speculated the kind of chaos that would ensue in the coming days. Vanessa feared she didn’t have enough man power to contain it. The Pulse had made it clear they were on their own on that end.

The event boundaries of the Net would not be reset to cause anyone to forget what was about to happen, nor be soothed afterward. That was the way with the Net. Each twist in its pattern was its own specific event boundary; some designed to forget the scanning of Lotus, others designed to make humans forget the loss and pain caused by an ascension.

It was like a person running all the way upstairs to get something from their bedroom only to immediately forget what it was they planned to retrieve as soon as their feet crossed the threshold.

Event boundaries, They used the workings of the human mind, the memory compartmentalization, to achieve human conformity. It mostly worked.

Clive stared through the darkness at the big wooden cross on the wall. He sneered. “I just wanted to call and make sure that you had taken care of your end of things. The last thing I need is the whole of Greenwich Pass beating down my office door looking for some spiritual guidance and comfort. I am not in the mood to sit around and sing The Lord will make a way.” Clive wasn’t the only Pastor in Greenwich Pass, but everyone seemed to act like it, being too lazy to drive just outside of town to worship at True Grace Congregation. Clive wished they would.

“What does this have to do with me?”

“You’re the Mayor. Make sure you keep the land at peace. If folks aren’t worrying, then they won’t worry me.”

Vanessa gave a muffled laugh before suddenly regretting it as pain radiated through her nose. “Yes, well you are the Pastor, tend to your sheep. Feed the flock as the good book says. This is not a one man show. Hence why there are three Council members and not one. The sergeant has already been notified of pending disorder, so stop wetting your britches, Clive and go to bed. The week will pass, and this will pass.  The Pulse will remove the noose from our necks, and the sequence will continue as it always has. The end. Nite!” She ended the call.

Clive stared at his phone until the light of the screen went out. Then he shoved it back into his pant pocket. He was definitely beginning to feel like himself again, not like he had that morning. Reality had hit him in the chest the same way it had so many years ago in his youth.

He realized then that life was not what he had thought, and nor would it ever be again. He had started to drink not long after his abduction. He wanted to die after what had happened to him, after the way everyone had treated and mocked him. He could feel it in his bones, a replay of the bad treatment, the mocking, the pain. It was right on the tail of the rising sun.

He blew out a trembling breath and patted his coat pocket, pulling out a tiny flask that he kept for moments like these, moments that he wanted to die.

He drank it all down in a few heavy gulps.

*          *          *

Etta hadn’t managed to make it past the parking lot before temptation taunted her. The low vibration from the Yard called out to her, drawing her like a magnet. Seeing the pods, black and ominous, collecting dew as they sprouted from the earth, made her fingers itch for action. She couldn’t wait until the next ascension.

A raccoon darted across her path, and before she could tell herself to be still, she shot at it with the tiny, Lotus contraption she had been toying with for weeks. This wasn’t the first time she had used it. It wouldn’t be the last.

The raccoon seized in motion before tipping over onto its back, completely frozen, its dark beady eyes, staring blankly outward.

Etta nudged it with her foot before hitting it again with another silent shot from the object in her hand. Instantly, the raccoon gained motion, taking several stumbling steps before bolting away into the darkness of the woods.

“What are you doing out here?” Bright light slammed into Etta’s eyes, making her see stars.

She hadn’t even noticed the female cop approach, and now she couldn’t see her face, not beyond the splotches that danced in her vision or the beam of light that was fixed upon her face. Shielding her eyes she answered, praying the woman had not seen what she had just done. “I was just checking on that raccoon.” It sounded like a foolish answer, but it was mostly true.

The cop widened her stance. “At this late in the evening? Why are you out her anyway?”

Etta grimaced. Why wouldn’t she move the flash light out of her eyes? “I just left my shop. I was working late and I saw the pods.” She thumbed behind her. “When I came to see what was going on I saw the raccoon.”

“Do you usually fool around with wild animals?”

“Call me a bleeding heart,” She chuckled hoping to iron out the tension that was in the air. “The animal looked like it was having a seizure. I was curious. But it ran off so…” She smiled and shrugged her shoulders.

The cop snapped off her flashlight, her face still remained in a veil of black. “Its late, you should head home.”

“Aye, aye, officer.” She started to walk back towards the parking lot where her car awaited her, happy the woman hadn’t asked her anymore questions.

“One more thing,” She hollered at Etta’s back. Etta clenched her jaw but then painted on a smile, turning to face the woman. “I would suggest that you not approach wild animals that look like they are having seizures. It could be rabies.”

Etta nodded. “I will keep that in mind.” She quickened her pace and dipped out of sight before the officer could say another word.

Happy and Blessed: Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt Results

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The door whispered on its hinges as her fingers gently pushed it open, her stomach leaping as the light from the window washed over the scene inside the room. 

Tiptoeing as not to disturb the scene, Nyla eased forward. She pressed her eyes close, pushing away the tears that had misted over her vision. Cale, her young landlord, lay across her bed, his eyes racing back and forward behind closed lids, his lips framed with touches of a sandy blond beard, just slightly open.

He was sound asleep with Nyla’s baby boy snuggled against his chest, nestled within Cale’s large hands.

Nyla hadn’t been gone away that long, maybe an hour or two. She had to make the rush to the market before the sun dipped below the horizon. They were fresh out of flour and salt, and Nyla needed that in order to get supper ready.

That was part of her living agreement,she could stay on at Cale’s farm, as long as she kept the house clean, took care of the lighter chores in the morning, and kept hot meals on the table for when he came in from the fields.

It was a more than generous arrangement for Nyla and the baby. No one else was willing to give home to a woman and her fatherless child in exchange for a few small chores and meals. It was nothing short of a blessing for them even though she could tell it was very hard on Cale.

She had only been in the small town for a few short hours when the local gossip let it slip that Cale was a young widower who had lost his wife and son during child birth in the winter of the previous year. The way that Cale had looked at her and Asher with such pained eyes made it clear he was making a big sacrifice by not only opening up his home to a stranger, but opening up old wounds that had hardly had a chance to heal.

Asher was only three weeks old when they came to live on with Cale. Nyla’s Ma and Pa had put them both out without even looking back, told Nyla she and shamed the family for the last time and had done a fine job of it by her 20th year.

They let her stay at home until she was fit enough to move out, and become nothing more than a bad memory for them to think about every now and again. All of it had made Nyla so miserably sad that she couldn’t help but name her babe Asher; Happy and Blessed. Nyla was determined that no matter what, she and her boy were going to be happy and blessed.

Looking at him now, chubby six month old cheeks flushed with the warmth of sleep, and mouth parted open like Cale’s, made Nyla happy in a way she wasn’t quite sure she had the right to be.

Cale was not hers after all. He had made it clear his heart was not interested in opening, and for the first few months Nyla could do nothing short of agree. Yes, she had determined to be happy with Asher, but that happiness did not involve a man.

Now, she just didn’t know what to think.

That wasn’t completely true. She was thinking, and at that moment the one thing that occupied her mind was the curiosity of how soft Cale’s lips might be, and how they would taste should she still a kiss from them.

Throwing precaution to the wind, reasoning that he would never know even though she was certain she would blush beet red every time she looked at him afterward, Nyla leaned forward and gently kissed his lips.

She would have ended the kiss just as quickly as she had started it had Cale’s hand not gently cupped the back of her head and deepened it sweetly. He calmly let her go, sliding his hand down the inner part of her arm, his emerald green eyes gazing curiously and contentedly up at her.

Nyla touched her lips with her finger’s Cale laced his fingers with hers and smiled.

THE END.

Love is obviously back in the air here. But it took five minutes past the 20 minute mark to make its statement. As always, I had a great time writing this. It gave me warm fuzzies! 

Cheers!

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Chapter 6: Ascension Graveyard

Chapter 6

~The Journal of Etta Castle Teague

Baldwin and I were just kids back then, playing with fire right in front of a natural gas line. We had a plan…sort of.  The truth is we had no idea what it was that we were doing, we just took a loaded gun and fired in the dark. We were hot heads with schemes for a revolution. But that’s the thing about premature plans, they cost you more than you bargained for. What is that verse in the bible? Something like, “Only a fool builds without first counting the cost.” Baldwin and I are certainly reformed fools. Thank Jesus for that pearl of wisdom. I’d like to think we have paid our debt in full.        

*          *          *

(Several years ago)

“I told you it would work!” Baldwin grabbed Etta by the hand and ran with her into the woods. “I told you all it would take was a bit of blood and some vomit,” He turned back, sparing a glance at her face. There was a mixture of horror and delight in her dark eyes. Baldwin hoped it was because of the vomit and not him. “But I am sure any kind of waste would work.” That didn’t sound much better. He was doing a fine job of impressing her.

He had only known Etta for only a few weeks, and already he had allowed himself to embark on a task that he had feared doing since he was fifteen. Back then it was a complete accident. A group of bullies, a bloody fight, his blood to be exact, a gut emptied of its lunch, and the Lotus that had come to scan them whizzed out of control, and crashed somewhere in the woods, not far from the Ascension Yard.

Baldwin didn’t have the heart to follow the erratic trail of the Lotus back then, but the desire had been there. It clung to him like the sweat trapped between his and Etta’s clasped hands. Sometimes he dreamed about it, chasing down the spinning metal-like beast, finding it crashed and broken amid debris and stone. In his dreams, he, filled with righteous indignation and the courage of a thousand lions, would crush what was left of the crashed Lotus to bits. Then he would start a revolution. Everyone would follow him. Everyone would work together and bring down the Lotus for good. They would stop accepting the status quo.

He had  not long after he had been rejected for ascending.

It wasn’t until he moved some 500 miles east of home and found himself in the presents of Etta Castle that he suddenly felt like he could do anything, and now he had.

In the short amount of time that he had known her he had formed the only army he thought he needed. The brown eyed girl made him feel like he could fly.

Etta was only sixteen, much younger a girl than Baldwin would have ever considered before. His cousin Jørn had only fooled around with older women, and for some reason that was a point of admiration for Baldwin. He had no brothers, nor sisters. Baldwin had once had a sister had a sister, but the Lotus had gotten her. And even though there was a bizarre numbness where hurt over her loss had once been, there was no resignation. He couldn’t accept that there was a good reason for her being gone.

Now all he had was Jørn. He wanted to be like him; live like him in everyway, but Etta Castle…Her age was irrelevant. He just wanted her.

“It should be over this way,” He said, tightening his grip around her hand. Thunder roared over head and the deep grey of the sky threatened to break open, and shower them in a warm deluge.

Rain would be fitting for such a moment as this. Rain was like celebration, tears of joy. Baldwin and Etta had figured out how to bring down the Lotus. It was messy, but it worked.

They found it just shy of two hours later. It was shaking violently and nearly bouncing off the dusty ground. Upon further observation, they realized that it was trying to burrow into the earth. It never got the chance to do so. Baldwin, with the encouragement of his admiring audience, crushed the thing to bits. He had help, the Lotus had been in the process of opening itself up, exposing fleshy matter that vibrated and glowed like the light in storm clouds above.

 

Over the course of several months, Baldwin and Etta had somewhat perfected their craft of taking down the Lotus. They watched their patterns around the times that people were selected for ascending. The Lotus that did not go up after selecting a victim tended to arc over and outward until they were hidden in the midst of the tree line near the Yard.

This wasn’t a coincidence.

“They are burrowing themselves.” Etta watched them with sheer amazement. “Why do you think they do that?” She glanced at Baldwin from their hiding place. It seemed that the Lotus had lost complete interest in them once they had been rejected for ascending. It was as if they were invisible.

Baldwin scrolled something down in his notebook, his brow line pulled together. It had been a while since their first Lotus take down. They had captured and dissected three since then, exposing no organs or bones, only a veined, gel-like substance that was incredibly sensitive to sound vibrations once the fleshy matter was cut away. The metal-like exoskeleton was just as unique, its inner lining webbed and veined with stiff material similar to bone.

“I think,” He scratched the stubble of his cheek with his pinky nail, and stared quizzically into her eyes. Hair that had grown just past his chin, swayed as he shook his head. “I don’t know. What do you think?”

Baldwin had an idea, but he wanted to hear Etta’s. Something about the way her mind worked fueled his all the more. It wasn’t that he was boxed in by his way of thinking, but he certainly wasn’t as raw as Etta. She had never been linked to the Yard.

Etta pointed forward at a Lotus that had all but completely covered itself with earth. “I think they might actually be taking big poops.”

Baldwin scoffed and rolled his eyes. She was so crass. Etta had a bizarre way of throwing in jokes. She had to be joking.

“No, I am serious, Baldwin. They are releasing something. Maybe they can only scan so many rejects before they have to poop. If our vomit and blood sends them off to the fields, maybe it is to get rid of whatever it is that we have polluted them with. Our DNA sends them into a frenzy, well rejected DNA. This, whatever it is that they are doing, is like going to a vomitorium.”

Baldwin considered her thoughts. What she said did sound plausible. “You do know that the actual Roman vomitorium had nothing to do with vomiting food. It was a passage way designed to let large crowds exit the stadiums quickly.” There was laughter in his eyes. Yes, her mind delighted him. So did her lips. If they weren’t in the midst of research he would have kissed her right there.

Etta shrugged. “Same difference. Both are forms of expelling matter.”

He licked his lips, the expression on his stubbly face had suddenly turned serious. “Do you think maybe we should get a closer look? I mean they are all but buried. We can get a real answer. We have no clue what they do underground, at least not yet.”

There was a level of apprehension. There was no telling what was underneath the ground, what it was that the Lotus was actually doing.

Etta didn’t answer. Instead she stood up, grabbed the tiny shovel from her backpack, and took careful strides towards one of the Lotus. “Get the urine,” She said whispering over her shoulder. They kept a bottle of it for emergencies. Sometimes they drew their own blood to use, vomit was also acceptable, but urine was far easiest.

Baldwin watched her with wide eyes, frozen still by her fearlessness until she called for him again. He scrambled to his feet with the bottle in hand, poured the yellow liquid onto the closest Lotus, and watched it squirm the same way a slug squirms under the pour of salt.

Both Etta and Baldwin stumbled backward, nearly falling on top of each other. They had anticipated the thing shooting up in the air, at least to get out of the line of assault. It was clear that it was trying to, but something held it tethered. Eventually it settled back into its burrow, slightly off centered.

Swallowing down the fear that had gripped her throat like a noose, Etta eased closer to the Lotus.

Baldwin grabbed her arm. “Don’t get too close—”

“Shhh!” She pulled from his grasp, her brow knit together. “Why? Are you suddenly afraid? We have done this before.” She gave him a look.

“No we have not done this before. We don’t know what is underneath that thing!” He whispered sharply. The Lotus were still very dangerous even to those who had been rejected. If need be, they would draw blood even from a reject. Baldwin had the marks to prove that.

“There is only one way to find out.” Etta shifted the shovel in her hands.

“Etta,”

Baldwin,” She turned towards him, took him by the shoulder’s, shifting the shovel again as not to hit him. “No matter what happens, remember, there are no rabbits here, only kangaroos.” It was a strange saying, but he understood it. She had explained it to him before. “We have come too far. We have to keep going. It’s now or never.” She kissed his lips, and turned back towards the Lotus. It looked absolutely sick, in its open, fleshy state.

Blowing out a breath, Etta gently pulled back the dirt that surrounded the Lotus burrow. It was wet, forming a sticky thick mud, practically slime. A bizarre, earthy odor played around her nostrils, its fragrance slightly human, feminine. It made Etta’s stomach draw.

Shifting the Lotus with the point of her shovel, she tried to lift it from the ground. Several thousand tiny strands, thin as pony hair, dangled from its underbelly. Etta lifted upward, but the strands resisted, drawing themselves downward, pulling towards the earth again.

Stumbling, she dropped the shovel, her tennis shoes slipping in the brown goo. She gagged as warrm, thick fluid, like mucus, seeped into her socks. Catching her balance, she heard a swear word slip from her lips.

Blinking past watery eyes, Etta took several cleansing breaths, hoping to calm the nausea that was building in her stomach, threatening to erupt. She wasn’t usually squeamish, but the smell and the texture, coupled with the summer humidity that pressed against her was almosr too much to chew down.

She fanned Baldwin closer. “Whatever those are they go deep,” She clenched her teeth.

“They smell,” His nose scrunched.

Etta bit back a comment. He wasn’t the one with the fluid in his shoes. “Just grab the Lotus. It’s down. Hold it steady while I dig.” She gagged again, covered her mouth with the back of her hand before beginning to dig.

She thrust the shovel down into the dirt, and pushed away more of the mud. The deeper she dug, the warmer the fluid, the stronger the odor. The scent had shifted from human to animal; more earth mingled with the stink of a female dog menstruating in the summer heat.

Finally the strands pulled free from the earth and snapped loose from their burrow with such force that Baldwin landed on his back, completely winded, with the Lotus square in his chest. Winded or not, his grip held strong.

“Get it off of me!” He wheezed. “Get it OFF of me!” The strands from the Lotus underbelly began to search for a hiding place, coiling themselves around his arms and face, tangling in his hair. Several of the ends of the strands rolled across his cheekbones, pressing into his skin, searching for a way in. Baldwin’s grey-green eyes stared at them. They looked like red berry branches incased in ice. What were they?!

Baldwin grunted when Etta lifted the Lotus from his chest. Its dangling strands tugged at his hair, pulling out several clumps from his blond mane before finally letting him go.

“Get my bag!” Etta ordered, keeping the Lotus as far away from her chest as she possibly could. The thin strands had already begun to coil around her. Baldwin unzipped the backpack and shoved the Lotus inside. The tendrils and strands from its underbelly continued to wave in protest before finally descending into the darkness of the backpack.

Etta grabbed a cluster before they could all disappear inside. Her eyes narrowed, and then widened as she looked at it. “Oh my gosh,” She looked even closer at the round red ends. “Do you know what that looks like? That’s,” Her mind was racing a mile a minute. She fought to keep it from being muddled. “Those are tiny Lotus! They’re babies!” She stared into Baldwin’s eyes, and then back at the muddy dark hole that they had pulled it out of.

“They can’t be babies! Those things aren’t alive, they…” He didn’t know what they were.

“They are what?!” Etta shoved the tendrils into the bag, snatched the bottle of urine from the ground and poured what was left inside. The Lotus trembled before it went still again. “I’ll tell you what they are not.” She considered the feel of the mud, the earthy feminine odor, she hated to think it but what else could it be?

She said, “These things aren’t pooping, they are giving birth.”

The Sickle: Freewriting Short Story #Blogbattle Week 16

Blogbattle Tuesday is here again! The keyword for this week is “Spaghetti.” To read more entries, please click HERE

THE SICKLE

The way the spinal nerves poured from the wound he sliced in her back, reminded him of spaghetti noodles. He quickly scanned the strand he needed, and with his Sickle detached the nerve and placed it safely in transportation container.

The woman recoiled against the strange sensation that resonated throughout every cell in her body. This could have gone much easier, Clovis thought to himself. She could have been asleep, slept until she woke up in death, never being the wiser as to what had just happened to her.

But this one, she was a fighter. The wilder women generally were.

“Status, Clovis?” The voice from Empire echoed between Clovis’ ears.

Clovis grimaced, his eyes locking with those of the frightened woman, fear rising from her gaze like smoke. With a swift flick of his wrist, his Sickle cut through her neck, sending her beyond the veil of death. No blood poured forth from her wounds, only oil.

This was the work of the Sickle. Blood was too precious to be wasted in death. They needed the blood. The fate of the human race depended upon every drop.

Standing straighter he answered with a sigh. “Sample obtained. Subject removed from Hydra Colony. Agent ready for extraction.”

Pressing his eyes together against the swirling dust, Clovis scanned the horizon of the Hydra Colony. It was only a matter of moments, maybe hours, before several wild women, just like the one at his feet, would emerge from the dust.

The last thing Clovis wanted was to be there when they were born.

The Sickle  was already filled with one subjects blood. It would not be able to hold much more. Should the others be born or emerge from their hiding places while he was still there, they would attack. Clovis would have no choice but to kill them, all of them, and their blood would be shed, seeping into the ground.

He glanced down at the dust at his feet. The ground would not take the blood in silence. It would bare a different breed of subject should it drink of the liquid red that coursed through the veins of the women of Hydra.

Clovis shudder at the thought and repeated his response to Empire. Within seconds, the container holding the single strand of nerve endings was removed from Hydra Colony.

Clovis stood and waited, bracing himself for the jarring split and reformation of atoms that enabled him to go from one colony to another within seconds.

Thirty seconds past…then a minute. Nothing happened. Opening his eyes he clenched his jaw. Something was wrong. The dust at his feet began to sift and sway, sucking in the body of his test subject. The gestation process was already beginning.

Not good.

Swallowing down the tension that was tickling the back of his neck like a noose, Clovis made another attempt at Empire. “Agent ready for extraction.” His voice was hard. Silence met him on the other end before he received his response, his blood grew cold with every carefully stated word.

“Sample received. Sample viable. Agent retired. Extraction denied.”

A painful sound rippled between his ears, forcing him down to his knees. Grabbing at his head, the Sickle slipped from his grasp and landed hard in the dust. It was the sizzling sound of the dust swirling with the moan of the blood that dripped from Clovis’s noise that snapped him back into focus.

With desperate hands he snatched up the Sickle and scrambled to his feet. He gripped the Sickle with straining knuckles and brushed the blood away from his nose, soaking it up with the fabric of his uniform, careful not to spill another drop. There was no telling what the consequences would be from the earth devouring what had spilled from his nose already.

Clovis would certainly find that out later what would come of it, and he had Empire to thank for that. But for now, he had one thing on his mind and that was running for cover.

The re birthing process of his subject was just about finished and the sounds of other women hidden beyond the horizon had already begun to ring out around him.

THE END

I don’t know what I ate but clearly my meals have taken me in a different direction. The last couple of weeks had been all laced with love…this week we find ourselves dancing with Suspense. And poor Clovis. I know, you are probably thinking he is about to get what he deserves. Alas you can’t see into my imagination so you don’t know the whole story. 

What I see is that Clovis is or was apart of an effort to restore humanity. The Hydra colony was like the giant lab. Obviously Empire has what they want which means they have no need for Agents like Clovis…what will become of him? Honestly I think Clovis is made of much tougher stuff and the Empire ought to be afraid…very afraid. 

I hope you enjoyed reading!

Cheers!

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Comes With Words: A Poem

I am more than willing to talk

If you have ears to listen

Speak until the need to stop

And pray I have lent you wisdom

Glory is for above

But the truth is in need to be given

For aimless lives that move forward

Are surely not compatible with the driven

Take heed to what lies ahead

Pay attention to the cadence

The sounding of the drums of warring

If ignored will soundtrack your last glimpse

There is a time to play

But that timing comes to its ending

The purpose of our youth

Is revealed in adulthood’s pending

But it comes with the learning of words…

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Monday’s Muse: Writing Prompt June 29th

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OPENING LINE (S): The door whispered on its hinges as his/her fingers gently pushed it open, his/her stomach leaping as the light from the window washed over the scene inside the room.

RULES: Using the above line and the picture provided, (Or one of your own choosing) create a story (or even a poem) within 15 to 20 minutes. Once you have finished your super awesome masterpiece, add a link in the comments section of this  post to your story for others to read, as well as a link on your page back to this original post for others to follow along and write with as well. In your “tags” section, add the tag “Monday’s Muse.”

If you do not have a blog of your own send me an email to icameforthesoup@gmail.com and I will post your lovely words here on my blog.

(PLEASE KEEP ENTRIES THAT NEED TO BE POSTED ON THIS BLOG WITHIN A PG13 RANGE. THANK YOU)

My results will be posted on Thursday JULY 2nd under the FICTION tab, then the WRITING PROMPTS AND EXERCISES, then MY WRITING PROMPT RESULTS.

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