The Encounter Blog interview with Etta Castle Teague
HL: This had to have derailed your dreams as a kid. Most little girls dream of having careers and families when they become adults. They want to be lawyers, teachers, doctors, mothers, ordinary things I suppose in comparison to what you do.
ECT: (Laughter) I’m a toymaker. I didn’t dream of being one. I wasn’t given a choice actually. Daddy betrayed the family business and so Mr. Albert gave me no options in the matter. Legacy I suppose or Mr. Albert’s insistence upon holding on to reality. You understand my meaning.
HL: I do, but let’s be clear, Toymaker is still not an ordinary career path, you know?
ECT: Good because I can’t stand ordinary. Ordinary is deceptive. That kind of consistency is almost as bad as being stagnate. Stagnant water can be deadly.
HL: You think the sequence is like stagnant water?
ECT: Your mouth said it. Look, the reality is it has not always been this way, humanity abiding by a sequence. Good or bad, it will always be this way…unless someone makes ripples in said sequence, stops the Ascension…stirs the stagnant water back to life. I have always wanted to be a difference maker. I wouldn’t have minded being an actress though either.
* * *
Officer Talitha Beard choked on her hotdog, coughing up the chunk of errant meat and bun. It was the first thing she’d managed to eat since Saturday’s ascension. Losing her brother had hit her between the ribs and all but ripped her heart out. He should’ve let her get his allergy medicine like she’d offered. She was a reject. The Lotus never bothered her.
She leaned forward and turned up the radio in her squad car, wiping her mouth with a wad of napkin. Had she heard correctly?
The two hosts 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.”
Few people had seen ascension pods as they grew even though everyone was aware of how they sucked the life from the ground they sprang up from. Talitha was one of the few. She wanted answers and thought she’d find them there after her father had ascended. She was met only with the cracked dead earth and dust where the pods that had taken him away grew, much like Talitha’s life. Everyone she loved was now gone.
Ralph, the other host, 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 host, Jake, spit out the number to the radio station before playing the latest track from a band Talitha had no interest in listening to.