Writers Workbook for the period between
December 2, 1997 to February 6, 1998



Chris Grey jangrey@ncn.net Wed Feb 4 19:18:51 PST 1998

Here is the next part of my novel:

As Todd was concentrating on a bug in the computer, I set the scanner on nuke-scan. "I found one, Todd."
"What?"
"A nuke. Headed straight for LA."
"Well, decode it then!"
"All right!" Obviously he was frustrated with the bug. I set the controls on decode and not noticing the flashing red light I said, "Hey, Todd, when do you think this war will end?"
"Never it seems, but can you keep your mind on the task at hand?"
"Yeah, yeah sure." I pondered his words a moment and then, "Wait a minute, something's wrong."
"What is it now?"
I couldn't say anything, as I was staring at my computer screen, accept, in a belittled voice, "Time travel?" Then suddenly, nothing.

* * * * *

"What the..."
"Felix, what's going on?"
"Shut everything off, except the main computer."
He shut down everything, hesitantly though, "What's going on?"
"Just stay calm. Somehow, when I went to decode the nuke, the computer went into time travel, and when it did, it skipped a step."
"So what now?"
"Well, we're trapped in some kind of void."
"So what do we do!?"
"Nothing."
"What do you mean, 'nothing'!?"
"As in, we can't do anything. All we can do is sit here and eventually implode."
"Shit, this is just like my dream."
"What?" not hearing what he said.
"This wouldn't have happened if it weren't for you!"
"Me!?"
"Well, you're the one who designed this thing."
"So who's the one who built it, huh?"
"Jack."
"My point exactly...wait, what's that?"
"It looks like some kind of spaceship."
I realized then taht none of this mattered at all, "Well, it's too late now to be arguing about this."
"Will it hurt?"
"What, Todd?"
"Imploding, I mean?"
"In theory, it doesn't."

That's all I'm going to put for now, I have up to the 3rd chapter, but please tell me what you think.


Joan rhodda@montana.com Sun Feb 1 14:16:30 PST 1998

Here's a scene from the middle of my fantasy novel. Please let me know what you think--good or bad, especially criticism! Just to set the scene, Cara is a human nurse trained in holistic medicine who has traveled into an alternate world which wakes a latent healing power in her--a power that is both terrifying and exciting. She constantly struggles with the power, feeling at once overwhelmed by it and yet yearning to use it. She has joined with Jarin, who is of that land. She senses there are things he knows about her power and destiny that she does not, which breeds distrust. Here's the scene:

For two more days they meandered through the land. Cara felt a growing awareness of it, as if the burgeoning power within her made her feel the turning of each leaf, the cycle of the seasons. She stopped fighting this; there could be no harm in it. The flame lit when she and Jarin joined grew brighter, stronger.

They swam in clear pools, lay together as sun dried their bodies, and rejoiced together at the wildlife they spied. On the evening of the second day, Cara found an injured ketwortle--one of the large gray birds who soared the sky, and who Jarin had told her rarely landed anywhere but in the peaks of the Druids.

It dragged itself along, one wing dangling behind. Blood soaked its pearly feathers. When it saw her, it stiffened its neck and opened its curved, tangerine-colored beak in a soundless hiss. Seeming to forget that it was injured, it sought to spread its wings and fly. The movement threw it on its side.

Cara had kept her distance, watching, until the bird fell. Its eyes spoke eloquently to her of pride and freedom, and respect had kept her at bay. But seeing it now, flopping in the dust, she ran to it.

The bird hissed and jabbed at her with its beak, even as it tried to right itself. Cara sat back on her haunches and wondered how to win the bird's trust, gazing into the trees as she pondered. She froze. Death stood among the trees, awaiting the ketwortle, and she stared into its eyes--a silver wolf. Only her presence had stayed the bird's execution.

But there was no evil in the wolf; that she could ascertain with her newfound and ever-growing awareness. An animal, it had an animal's instincts for survival. The ketwortle would have been its dinner.

Cara sat utterly still, looking into the black eyes of the wolf. No, she told it. I cannot let you have it, for it has spoken to me with its eyes, and this one is no common bird.

The flame within her flared, reflected in the wolf's eyes. He turned and padded away into the forest.

"Cara," Jarin called.

"Here," she answered. The hands she laid on the bird shook, more in reaction to the power than from fear of the wolf, for truly she had not felt her life to be in danger.

The bird seemed to understand, now, that she had saved it. It watched her as she gently felt along its wing. Jarin found her finishing her examination, and knelt with her beside the ketwortle.

"It will not fly again," he said.

"It was meant to fly, and fly it will."

As if something guided her hands, she laid them along the bird's wing. She raised her face to the sky, eyes squeezed shut, and it began--the slow unleashing of the thing that burned within her. Almost, she drew back her hands. But the eyes of the ketwortle flashed before her, full of the fire of flight. She opened her own eyes and met the bird's unblinking stare.

In that instant, she flew with the bird, felt the power of its wings beating the air, soaring over cool canyons and at last coming home to rest on gray rock. She shook so hard then that her hands came off the bird by themselves, and she fell backward onto Jarin.

Heart pounding, she watched the bird slowly right itself. It flapped its wings experimentally, traveling a few feet, then craned its head around once more to look at her. Cara held her breath, remembered the feel of the bird's freedom, saw it there in those hooded eyes. Then the great wings extended, and the ketwortle rose into the sky and was gone.

"Are you all right?"

Cara nodded. The shaking had abated, but she was still in awe of what had happened. "I healed him . . ."

"I saw. perhaps it was meant to be so."

"There was a wolf in the trees. But he went away."

"A wolf?" Jarin sat up straight. "You were in danger--"

"No." The word lay between them. He looked into the trees, searching.

"You had nothing save a sheathknife to defend yourself."

She shook her head. "I spoke to it, and it left." She looked into his eyes, seeking understanding, and saw it dawn there.

"It was not an evil thing; it was just . . . being a wolf. But I could not let it harm the ketwortle."

Jarin looked at her a long while, his face still. "The power grows strong in you. Soon you must do something about it, Cara. You must face it. I do not think you understand what the strength of that power could do were it to take you unaware."

Pulling away, Cara shook her head sharply. "You are right about one thing--I don't understand. And I'm not sure I want to, but . . ."

The moments with the ketwortle were strong in her just then as she remembered the grace of its rising into the wind. "Maybe there is no choice," she finished.

They made their way back to camp. Cara dreamed that night of soaring over the land. The beat of wings lifted her, and the blood of the earth ran in her veins. But in the cold, cold background, someone's mad laughter echoed.

#

Jarin woke Cara in the early morning hours when she cried out, and held her to him, whispering her name until she slept again. He stared into the black distance, grieving that their time alone with each other must end now.

I could spend eternity alone with her, and yet there is the land: part of me, and I, part of it. The Nightland's evil strengthens daily now, threatens us, threatens my Chyrae who is Mirastar, and still doubts her power. He looked down where she lay against his chest, hair fanned out over them both, and caressed her with his gaze. Would he not doubt also, barraged with alien facts, torn apart inside by a raging power that would not be denied? He understood only too well the terror that power engendered in her. He had glimpsed it in their joining, power so absolute that even he, with his race-memories and land bond, with his lifetime of dealing with the burden and joy of his own power--even he had trembled before it. And he feared, he very much feared, that she would be called upon to use it before she was ready.

Then there was the other thing, the thing he had sensed since the day she rescued him. Somehow that demon of the Nighland had marked her. The thought made his skin heat. He hadn't been able to determine just how, but he couldn't rid himself of the feeling that the beast with yellow eyes had done more than frighten her. It was very vague, and she had not said anything to him about it, so he couldn't very well question her, especially when he wasn't sure what had happened himself. All the more reason for her to come into control of the power.

And there it was. It always came back to the same thing. She must accept and use the power, not only for Valleyrill, but for herself. And he would be the one who must talk her into this, no matter how it frightened her.

He sighed, and Cara shifted against him, the latent power within her curling out to meet Jarin's senses. Three days. So little time to gain her trust. So little time to give her confidence and understanding of what she was. But the evil would not wait.

Cara did not know he sat holding her until daybreak. Did not see him take one of the messenger stones out and send it winging into the night toward Rhenhart. They would have need of a wizard.


Joan rhodda@montana.com Sun Feb 1 14:15:39 PST 1998

Here's a scene from the middle of my fantasy novel. Please let me know what you think--good or bad, especially criticism! Just to set the scene, Cara is a human nurse trained in holistic medicine who has traveled into an alternate world which wakes a latent healing power in her--a power that is both terrifying and exciting. She constantly struggles with the power, feeling at once overwhelmed by it and yet yearning to use it. She has joined with Jarin, who is of that land. She senses there are things he knows about her power and destiny that she does not, which breeds distrust. Here's the scene:

For two more days they meandered through the land. Cara felt a growing awareness of it, as if the burgeoning power within her made her feel the turning of each leaf, the cycle of the seasons. She stopped fighting this; there could be no harm in it. The flame lit when she and Jarin joined grew brighter, stronger.

They swam in clear pools, lay together as sun dried their bodies, and rejoiced together at the wildlife they spied. On the evening of the second day, Cara found an injured ketwortle--one of the large gray birds who soared the sky, and who Jarin had told her rarely landed anywhere but in the peaks of the Druids.

It dragged itself along, one wing dangling behind. Blood soaked its pearly feathers. When it saw her, it stiffened its neck and opened its curved, tangerine-colored beak in a soundless hiss. Seeming to forget that it was injured, it sought to spread its wings and fly. The movement threw it on its side.

Cara had kept her distance, watching, until the bird fell. Its eyes spoke eloquently to her of pride and freedom, and respect had kept her at bay. But seeing it now, flopping in the dust, she ran to it.

The bird hissed and jabbed at her with its beak, even as it tried to right itself. Cara sat back on her haunches and wondered how to win the bird's trust, gazing into the trees as she pondered. She froze. Death stood among the trees, awaiting the ketwortle, and she stared into its eyes--a silver wolf. Only her presence had stayed the bird's execution.

But there was no evil in the wolf; that she could ascertain with her newfound and ever-growing awareness. An animal, it had an animal's instincts for survival. The ketwortle would have been its dinner.

Cara sat utterly still, looking into the black eyes of the wolf. No, she told it. I cannot let you have it, for it has spoken to me with its eyes, and this one is no common bird.

The flame within her flared, reflected in the wolf's eyes. He turned and padded away into the forest.

"Cara," Jarin called.

"Here," she answered. The hands she laid on the bird shook, more in reaction to the power than from fear of the wolf, for truly she had not felt her life to be in danger.

The bird seemed to understand, now, that she had saved it. It watched her as she gently felt along its wing. Jarin found her finishing her examination, and knelt with her beside the ketwortle.

"It will not fly again," he said.

"It was meant to fly, and fly it will."

As if something guided her hands, she laid them along the bird's wing. She raised her face to the sky, eyes squeezed shut, and it began--the slow unleashing of the thing that burned within her. Almost, she drew back her hands. But the eyes of the ketwortle flashed before her, full of the fire of flight. She opened her own eyes and met the bird's unblinking stare.

In that instant, she flew with the bird, felt the power of its wings beating the air, soaring over cool canyons and at last coming home to rest on gray rock. She shook so hard then that her hands came off the bird by themselves, and she fell backward onto Jarin.

Heart pounding, she watched the bird slowly right itself. It flapped its wings experimentally, traveling a few feet, then craned its head around once more to look at her. Cara held her breath, remembered the feel of the bird's freedom, saw it there in those hooded eyes. Then the great wings extended, and the ketwortle rose into the sky and was gone.

"Are you all right?"

Cara nodded. The shaking had abated, but she was still in awe of what had happened. "I healed him . . ."

"I saw. perhaps it was meant to be so."

"There was a wolf in the trees. But he went away."

"A wolf?" Jarin sat up straight. "You were in danger--"

"No." The word lay between them. He looked into the trees, searching.

"You had nothing save a sheathknife to defend yourself."

She shook her head. "I spoke to it, and it left." She looked into his eyes, seeking understanding, and saw it dawn there.

"It was not an evil thing; it was just . . . being a wolf. But I could not let it harm the ketwortle."

Jarin looked at her a long while, his face still. "The power grows strong in you. Soon you must do something about it, Cara. You must face it. I do not think you understand what the strength of that power could do were it to take you unaware."

Pulling away, Cara shook her head sharply. "You are right about one thing--I don't understand. And I'm not sure I want to, but . . ."

The moments with the ketwortle were strong in her just then as she remembered the grace of its rising into the wind. "Maybe there is no choice," she finished.

They made their way back to camp. Cara dreamed that night of soaring over the land. The beat of wings lifted her, and the blood of the earth ran in her veins. But in the cold, cold background, someone's mad laughter echoed.

#

Jarin woke Cara in the early morning hours when she cried out, and held her to him, whispering her name until she slept again. He stared into the black distance, grieving that their time alone with each other must end now.

I could spend eternity alone with her, and yet there is the land: part of me, and I, part of it. The Nightland's evil strengthens daily now, threatens us, threatens my Chyrae who is Mirastar, and still doubts her power. He looked down where she lay against his chest, hair fanned out over them both, and caressed her with his gaze. Would he not doubt also, barraged with alien facts, torn apart inside by a raging power that would not be denied? He understood only too well the terror that power engendered in her. He had glimpsed it in their joining, power so absolute that even he, with his race-memories and land bond, with his lifetime of dealing with the burden and joy of his own power--even he had trembled before it. And he feared, he very much feared, that she would be called upon to use it before she was ready.

Then there was the other thing, the thing he had sensed since the day she rescued him. Somehow that demon of the Nighland had marked her. The thought made his skin heat. He hadn't been able to determine just how, but he couldn't rid himself of the feeling that the beast with yellow eyes had done more than frighten her. It was very vague, and she had not said anything to him about it, so he couldn't very well question her, especially when he wasn't sure what had happened himself. All the more reason for her to come into control of the power.

And there it was. It always came back to the same thing. She must accept and use the power, not only for Valleyrill, but for herself. And he would be the one who must talk her into this, no matter how it frightened her.

He sighed, and Cara shifted against him, the latent power within her curling out to meet Jarin's senses. Three days. So little time to gain her trust. So little time to give her confidence and understanding of what she was. But the evil would not wait.

Cara did not know he sat holding her until daybreak. Did not see him take one of the messenger stones out and send it winging into the night toward Rhenhart. They would have need of a wizard.


Chris Grey jangrey@ncn.net Sun Feb 1 07:16:16 PST 1998

Hello, I'm new to this site and to the art form of writing. I'm only 17, and I haven't taken any classes. With a friend of mine we decided to start writing a novel. I'm doing all the writing so far and he's doing some technical stuff for me. This is a sci-fi story about 2 genius brothers in the future. Please e-mail me and tell me what you think, and take into affect that this is the unedited version, this is the rough draft.

Chapter 1: The Final Scene

It's funny ... what you can remember in a helicopter, especially during war - "So, Todd, how far until our destination?"
"About 30 nautical miles."
"What's taking us so long?"
"If you remember, Felix, this chopper hasn't been fully tested yet."
"Hey, is that an insult? I made all the calculations myself!"
"Yeah, heh-heh, I know. Wait, we've got something on radar."
"What is it?"
"I don't know! It's 50 niles (nautical miles) away."
"Oh. Well, I'll ID them then. What are you so uptight about anyway?"
"I don't know. I just have this feeling that this is our last mission."
"Our last mission, huh?"
"I had a dream last night that something goes wrong, and then, nothing."
"What do you mean, nothing? What'd you wake up?"
"No, I didn't wake up, that's the funny thing. There was just nothing, like that movie we saw about the black hole."
I thought about that a second remembering the part where the guys get sucked in, and then they were in some type of void - "That UFO just happens to be a Russian VX spy plane. Let's blow it to pieces."


Goodweed of the North bflowers@northernway.net Sat Jan 24 15:38:31 PST 1998

Hi everyone;

Here is my query. This is the re-revised version. The revised was terrible. Tell me what you like and what needs to be changed. It's amazing, but I found the story easier to write. After the query, I'm placing a couple of my favorite poems for you enjoyment. Writing them was a pleasure. I hope reading them is a pleasure for you.


Query:

Title: "The Power of The Talisman"
From : Robert J. Flowers
Pseudonym: G.W. North

Address: 710 West Buchanan St.
Sault Ste. Marie, Mi.
Zip: 49783
Phone: (906) 635-5806
E-Mail Address: bflowers@northernway.net
Length of manuscript: 109,000 words

Dear :
I have produced an heroic fantasy novel, "The Power of the Talisman". The story takes the reader to a new world where mystical characters battle in the everlasting conflict between good and evil. Using primitive technology, magic, mental powers, and old fashioned strategy, differing cultures must unite to defeat a supremely evil villain. In short, my manuscript is an action-adventure fantasy where people and animals must overcome their predjudices and fears to defeat a powerful scorceress.
The tale follows the adventures of ten year old twins through a land where bears, wolves, mythical rocs, and dragons roam free. They are joined by a courier from the clan McCourser who leads them through a sereis of conflicts where they must battle for their lives against human and animal foes. Their goal is to transport a powerful tallisman to Telgar, King of Northron. The tallisman will be used by the kings wife, Dianne to battle against the equally powerful tallisman, Darkstar, wielded by Quella, the Tibron Scorceress. Along the way, the twins and their gaurdian meet and befreind the giant roc, Melna Tor Kara, who becomes an ally against the Tibron Scorceress. Trok the dragon lends her talents to the group as well, after her cave is destroyed by the Tibrons.
Quella is evil and sadistic, as well as power hungry. Through cunning, she deposes the king of the mountain city, Tibre, and puts into motion a plan to defeat the entire Northron Valley. With the help of an elixer reinforced army, she defeats Telgar and his army, inspite of the tallisman.
Only Dianne, the telepathic wife of Telgar, the twins, and the courier escape. They witnessed the very best fighters of the valley overrun by Quella's forces. Together with Trok and Melna Tor Kara, they must engage and defeat Quella before her power becomes unstoppable.
I've reworked my manuscript through numerous drafts and believe it is ready for publication. The first three chapters are included as per your submission guidelines. Please phone, write, or E-mail if you are interested in reading the whole manuscript and I will gladly forward it to you. One hundred and eight pages of the second novel are completed as well. This work is not presently being read by anyone. I thank you for your time and interest, and look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely: Robert J. Flowers

Poem 1:

Textures of Beauty



Textures of beauty, graceful pirouette
Timeless motion, painting, on the canvas of my mind
Gentle fingers of wind, a warm soft caress,
Rippling laughter from the sun, a gift to the blind
Water gushes from a wellspring, icy cold, crystal clear
Quenching the universal thirst, for all who will draw near

Textures of beauty, a mother's song to her child
Timeless notions, recorded, in the caverns of my mind
Reassuring strength, to calm a tempest wild
To soften harsh emotions, to never look behind
The melancholy sound, of foghorn in the night,
Brings sightless captains home, to warmth,
and the hearth's simple light

Textures of beauty, a proud, prancing colt
Timeless movement, etching, on the metal of my mind
Unbridled and free as the young must be
A creature of pride, his clouds, with silver, will they be lined
Green fields of grass, hey will they yield,
Seed and water bringing life, to rocky, barren fields

Textures of beauty, encompassing all
Timeless moments, catching on the corners of my mind
A flash of the creators hand, a tarnished brass bowl
With enduring tireless effort, can be made again to shine
To grow, to learn, to understand, mastery of self
What matters all the precious gold, wisdom is the greatest wealth


Poem 2:

PERSEVERE



Icy fingers of wind scratched the back of his frost-
covered mane, but still, he troted proudly on.
Pulling behind him a load, of whooping, yelling
children, riding through the frozen rain,
and still, he stepped proudly on.

Once a proud stallion, wild as the zephyrous winds of
chance,
running before the friendly warmth of sweet summer breezes,
these things he remembered
and he stepped proudly on.


His relentless pride,
a burning prod thrust against his hide,
no rest for the weary,
so still he stepped proudly on.

Old, old as the medieval ruins to which he travelled
with wooden legs and rubber tendons, one step at a time,
and he stepped proudly on.

Free rides for a dreary school of screaming brats,
who pelted his poor broken body with missiles of stone and wood,
and still he stepped proudly on.

Never a quitter, to forever persevere, he knew no other code,
so time marched through on, kicking and gouging at
his tormented life,
and still he stepped proudly on.

He knew, he knew.
No matter, life drove spurs against his side,
drove sharp, biting stones into his tender hooves,
still, he did his very best.
While the weak rested, he stepped proudly on.





His great heart, the heart of a champion,
slept on a cold, crisp, November night,
to awaken no more to the crack of his master's whip.
Rest, peaceful rest,
forever running through sweet clover
under clear blue skies,
his reward for persevering to the end,
for stepping proudly on.

Hope you liked it.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North


Goodweed of the North bflowers@northernway.net Sat Jan 24 15:38:19 PST 1998

Hi everyone;

Here is my query. This is the re-revised version. The revised was terrible. Tell me what you like and what needs to be changed. It's amazing, but I found the story easier to write. After the query, I'm placing a couple of my favorite poems for you enjoyment. Writing them was a pleasure. I hope reading them is a pleasure for you.


Query:

Title: "The Power of The Talisman"
From : Robert J. Flowers
Pseudonym: G.W. North

Address: 710 West Buchanan St.
Sault Ste. Marie, Mi.
Zip: 49783
Phone: (906) 635-5806
E-Mail Address: bflowers@northernway.net
Length of manuscript: 109,000 words

Dear :
I have produced an heroic fantasy novel, "The Power of the Talisman". The story takes the reader to a new world where mystical characters battle in the everlasting conflict between good and evil. Using primitive technology, magic, mental powers, and old fashioned strategy, differing cultures must unite to defeat a supremely evil villain. In short, my manuscript is an action-adventure fantasy where people and animals must overcome their predjudices and fears to defeat a powerful scorceress.
The tale follows the adventures of ten year old twins through a land where bears, wolves, mythical rocs, and dragons roam free. They


Sat Jan 24 15:38:05 PST 1998


Kirstin Ramey winged_magic@hotmail.com Sat Jan 24 10:31:16 PST 1998

Here is a poem I wrote. I haven't figured out a title yet so If you have any suggestions please tell me.

As time goes by
Like it always does;
I think of you
And how it was.

Your bright green eyes
That sparkle and shine;
Your short black hair
So unlike mine.

That suit you wore
To our first dance;
I'd ask you again
If you'd give me the chance.

And our firs kiss
On that perfect night;
It felt so real
And oh so right.

The time you tried
To sing that song;
So off tune
And truly wrong.

The picnic lunch
You loved so much;
With sweet apple pie
And your favorite punch.

But the times
I loved the most;
Were ridding the horses
Along the coast.

Now as I sit here
In my chair;
I watch you as you
Comb your hair.

I remember
The times we shared;
Don't you think
We were perfectly paired?

k.c. ramey 1/13/98


Naomi Caffee xerxes_othello@hotmail.com Sat Jan 24 08:51:05 PST 1998

*clears throat* No, I really didn't mean to submit that poem three times...and as you can see, it changed slightly each time. well, it's still in formation. But whoever read it all three times, I commend you for suffering my limited computer ability.


Toby B bcbuctsa@bluffton.edu Wed Jan 21 19:11:43 PST 1998

The end of six fingers. Please tell me what you think!


____________________________________________
Three feet away from the couch the cell phone went off.

"Shit!" The man by the window spun and fired wildly at Adrian. The wall exploded in plaster. Adrian fired the shotgun straight at him.

"Donít even think about moving!" Robert shouted at the assassin still on the couch. The other lay on the ground, a bloody chunk taken from his side, wheezing for a moment, then finally falling silent.

"Good shot."

Adrian nodded mutely, then swallowed.

"Jen?"

Sean stepped into the living room with the third assassin handcuffed and in tow.

"Sheís in the room still, I didnít know what had happened in here," he said. Robert handcuffed the assassin on the couch.

Adrian smiled.

"Thank you, Sean." Sean nodded.

"Careful there, your voice is catching." Sean grinned back, pushing his prisoner to the couch. "Weíll call the police now."

"I got it." Robert stepped up to the end table with the phone on it. He paused for a second, then fished something out of the drawer. It was a small bag. He shook it. "His and hers crack pipes, cute."

Sean looked over at Adrian.

"I know a good lawyer, and you have enough money now for a custody battle. Donít leave her with Charlene."

"No, I wonít." Adrian turned to Robert to tell him to hurry up. A silenced gun whispered out, Robert slumped to the carpet. WhoÖ Adrian dropped down with a heavy thump that took his breath. Sean ducked behind the couch with Adrian.

"You okay?" Adrian asked. Sean shook his head.

"Arm." Blood was beginning to seep down his shirt sleeve.

"Damn." Adrian knew it was Gavin. It hurt, but there was so much anger it didnít seem to matter.

"Sean, putting a tracker on my car, did you really think I wouldnít spot such a simple trick?" Sean closed his eyes. It was Gavin.
"And Adrian." Adrian looked over at Sean, he knew what Gavin was going to say next. "I have Jen here."

"Dad?"

"Jen!"

"Quiet! Adrian, whereís Arvin?"

"Who?"

"The six fingered man. Where is he?"

"How the hell should I know!"

"Damnit donít play games with me! Where is Arvin?"

Adrian didnít answer.

"Look Adrian, maybe you donít realize how serious this is. I have a gun to your daughterís head. Talk to me."

Adrian looked back at Sean. What do I do? Sean didnít comment, but gritted his teeth instead. He was in a lot of pain.

Adrian got to his feet. Gavin stood there, a gun to Jenís head. She looked confused and frightened, her eyes were puffy from crying.

"Gavin, I donít know who Arvin is, or why youíre doing this."

"Donít give me that bullshit!"

"What?"

"Six fingered prints damn you! Theyíre his. Put your gun down on the floor."

"Donít curse in front of her, sheís only twelve."

"Shut the fuck up! Drop the gun where I can see it." Adrian tossed the gun aside.

"If this is about the printsÖ"

"Damn right itís about the prints," Gavin yelled. "Itís also about what Piedmont said before he jumped off the roof. What did he tell you?"

Adrian stepped around the couch towards him.

"He didnít tell me anything you paranoidÖ" he almost cursed, but bit it back. "I told you everything, Gavin."

"I donít believe you," Gavin said. "I donít."

Adrian was only four feet away.

"After you asked me to forget the entire case I did, until you dragged Jen into this."

"Itís too late now." The gun wandered away from Jenís head.

"Yeah, I would say it is."

There was a pause, then Gavin suddenly aimed and fired over Adrianís shoulder at the couch. Adrian leaped forward and grabbed the barrel. Sean had provided a distraction. Jen ran behind the couch with Sean.

"Bastard," Gavin grunted. Adrian snapped. He knocked the gun aside, then kneed Gavin in the groin.

"I canít..." he broke Gavinís nose with the palm of his hand, then cracked his jaw. Gavin suffered from too long behind a desk, he couldnít fight anymore. Gavin fell to his knees on the carpet

"...believe..." Gavin tried to stand. Adrian kicked his ribs in.

"...you did this to me." Adrian kicked again, then punched him in the face. Gavin sighed and fell unconscious to the floor. Adrian realized that Sean was standing next to him.

"Are you going to be all right?" He asked.

Adrian fought for breath, then nodded.

"I called the police," Sean said, looking down at Gavin, "and an ambulance."

Jen ran to Adrian.

"Dad!"

"Jen." He hugged her for the first time in weeks. "Jen."

"Iím so glad you came." Adrian hugged her harder.

"So am I. So am I." Adrian squatted down next to her, thinking about Seanís lawyer, and the money he had in his account now. "Jen, honey, how about I never, ever, leave you again?"

Jen smiled and hugged him again.

"Please."

Adrian smiled and stroked his daughters hair. Everything was becoming right.


Hayden Grayell JLJPetersen@bipond.com Wed Jan 21 17:46:27 PST 1998

Strike not the wild red raving stoat
Nor cheat his teeth
where willows bend
against full arc of shadow
torn by rote-minded winds lilac columns for his house

Nor grab his throat
with fingers threaded in hard nailed grip
for teeth with edge raze slice
and scurry claws
carve his name and nature into your memory



Toby Buckell bcbuctsa@bluffton.edu Tue Jan 20 20:55:08 PST 1998

Another Six Finger post;

__________________________________________

It was Amber.

"Adrian, wake up." His face was wedged between the table and an arm. It was numb. How many hours had he slept away? Amber set a steaming mug next to him.

"Coffee. Sorry to let you sleep away like that, but Sean said you looked like you could use the rest."

"Thanks." The ever practical Sean had decided that Adrian was better off asleep and out of his way than up doing nothing but fretting and waiting. Adrian took a sip at the coffee and rubbed his scratchy eyes. He hated coffee, but didn't feel like turning down the generosity.

Sean stepped into the room.

"Ready?"

"Yeah."

"I found Gavin, I had someone tag his car. He's out doing rounds. Even better news though, on a wild suspicion I had someone check Charlene's apartment. Jen is there, but with three for-hire street assasins. I have someone waiting there for us, keeping an eye out."

They knew that Charlene was away.

"They're waiting for me, right?" Adrian asked.

"They'll call you over to pick Jen up, then kill you."

"Why haven't they just killed me outright."

"Home field advantage. Gavin knows you won't go down without a fight, and that you're good. This ambush is the best way of catching you unawares and in a bad position; Jen."

"Then let's go now, before Gavin has them call, before they're expecting me."

"I had a feeling you would say that." Sean tossed him the phone. Adrian put in his jeans. "As long as we get there before that rings we have a chance. It's still linked to your home-phone. Which car should we take?"

"Mine, I'd rather keep the six-fingered evidence close by, plus, there's construction on the way."

"Okay, let's do it."



It didn't take very long to reach the old house. Sean's friend was Robert, he was waiting for them in a cable-repair van at the end of the street.

"There're only three of them. An even match." He grinned and opened the back of the van to reveal a rack of weaponry.

"You're coming with us?" Adrian asked.

"Wouldn't miss it. A friend of Sean's is a friend of mine." He pulled a shotgun off the varnished rack. "Here, this'll give you some man stopping power."

"Thanks." Adrian hefted the unfamiliar weapon.

"After you." Robert indicated the house.

"I'll come through the rear," Sean said. "I remember the house well enough."



It was deja-vu for real, and it unsettled Adrian. The three steps up to the porch, skip the last one, it creaked. He looked over at the swing. Jen loved sitting on the swing and talking with him well into the night past her bedtime.

Robert arched his eyebrows.

Adrian slowly opened the door. Nothing happened. Robert moved in behind him, pausing for a second under a picture of Charlene and Jen.

"Where are they?" Adrian whispered.

"Probably the living room."

Adrian slowly inched around the corner towards the living room. The couch came into view, as well as the assasin sitting on it. Another stood looking out of the window. He pulled back around the corner.

"Two in the living room, the other might be gaurding Jen."

"If we take them silently we won't alert the other," Robert said.

"Sounds good."

Adrian slowly worked his way towards them on the left, Robert on the right, Adrian with the shotgun aimed at the man by the window, who still hadn't turned their way. Robert nodded, Adrian got ready, moved forward even closer.

Three feet away from the couch the cell phone went off


Rob robf1000@Juno.com Mon Jan 19 18:38:50 PST 1998

THE PIANO

The pictures on the piano
memorized my childhood.
Dust settled and comfortably covered
the images once developed.
Then an unexpected catalyst...
a blowing free of the cover,
the disguise, the cloak.
The freed and shining pictures on the piano
stabbed me, clawed me, almost killed me.
So the good with the bad,
I tied up with a bow.
I passed them on, no explanation.
I killed the images
by cloaking them with anonymity.
Now I hide my heart and knit the hurt.
I have killed the child within,
to kill the pain.
I will grow up and return no more.
The pictures and the piano sit with someone else,
not me.


Gary Souza Psouza@capecod.net Sun Jan 18 08:51:50 PST 1998

I am not big on poetry, but I see a good deal of it here so I feel I should make a small contribution. This is called

Upon Reflecting

Like weapons on some long forgotten field of war
Made tame and harmless by the winds and rains of years
Such are the recollections of my former fears
Old sorrows, and old victories
The same dull ringing in my ears


Naomi Caffee xerxes_othello@hotmail.com http://www.webwitch.com/tdforum/notebook.htmlwriters_workbook.html#signin Sat Jan 17 13:06:18 PST 1998

with this poem (a fragment of which I've posted for your aesthetic enjoyment) is an attempt to reconcile with my south dakota hometown. i'll be leaving soon, and felt I should attempt to forgive this place and the people in it.

"Too many years your grasses were my home,
for on your barren praries I became
the voice of hidden pride and endless shame.
I sing to thee, the land I call my own!
Your ghost will always sleep inside my bones."


Naomi Caffee xerxes_othello@hotmail.com http://www.webwitch.com/tdforum/notebook.htmlwriters_workbook.html#signin Sat Jan 17 13:05:15 PST 1998

with this poem (a fragment of which I've posted for your aesthetic enjoyment) is an attempt to reconcile with my south dakota hometown. i'll be leaving soon, and felt I should attempt to forgive this place and the people in it.

"Too many years your grasses were my home,
for on your barren praries I became
the voice of hidden pride and endless shame.
I sing to thee, the land I call my own!
Your ghost will always sleep inside my bones."


Naomi Caffee xerxes_othello@hotmail.com Sat Jan 17 12:45:06 PST 1998

this poem (this fragment, rather) is intended to forgive my hometown and its people of their shortcomings. i feel I should make my peace with this place befoe I leave it forever.


"And many years your grasses were my home
for on your fruitless praries I became
the voice of hidden pride and endless shame.
I sing to thee, the land I call my own!
Your ghost sleeps unawakened in my bones."


Naomi Caffee xerxes_othello@hotmail.com Sat Jan 17 12:42:50 PST 1998

this poem (this fragment, rather) is intended to forgive my hometown and its people of their shortcomings. i feel I should make my peace with this place befoe I leave it forever.


"And many years your grasses were my home
for on your fruitless praries I became
the voice of hidden pride and endless shame.
I sing to thee, the land I call my own!
Your ghost sleeps unawakened in my bones."


Sat Jan 17 12:37:40 PST 1998


Naomi Caffee xerxes_othello@hotmail.com Sat Jan 17 12:35:56 PST 1998

I will be leaving home (a tiny town on the face our dusty midwest), and still have some love/hate issues with my birthplace. I thought that, before I leave, I should forgive this place and these people of their shortcomings. The result is a poem, a fragment of which is here:

"The land untouched by hands of Time and Space
Whose searing sunlight bathed my childish face.

Too many years your grasses were my home
for on your fruitless praries I became
the voice of hidden pride and endless shame.
I sing to thee, the land I call my own!
Your haunting presence sleeps within my bones."


Fri Jan 16 20:03:02 PST 1998


Fri Jan 16 20:03:00 PST 1998


Nancy Jane Cook cookieone@brigadoon.com Fri Jan 16 09:23:32 PST 1998

Hello everyone, this is the first time I have entered here, and of course I am intrigued. Like most of you here, I too have written several stories, poems, novels childrens stories, you name it. Like a lot of you, I am not published, except for a couple of poems. I am a grandmother and sole caretaker of my handicapped grandson, so writing is a source of entertainment and company for me. I also love to read, just about anything I can get my hands on, and love most of all, mystery romance novels, does that give you a hint to my state of mind. I am yes, a grandmother, but I have a young heart, and try to stay young and active, at least in mind, if not in body. I would appreciate any info on internet publishing, who, and how, you can give me, and, or any info on publishing and what you think of posting your books here. Thanks Nancy


Hayden Grayell JLJPetersen@bipond.com Thu Jan 15 18:12:51 PST 1998

Woops!

...cont

To sleep the dream
in house of log
there snores the man
there prowls the dog

Each cur detests
the roughest hand
cringes the dog
when stands the man

but a yell, a bite
and bleed that can
where stands the dog
there lies the man.


Hayden Grayell JLJPetersen@bigpond.com Thu Jan 15 18:03:57 PST 1998

In quick of night
in dark of fog
where wills the man
there goes the dog.

In howl of moon
in sink of bog
where wills the man
there goes the dog.

In call of wild
'gainst grunt of hog
where wills the man
there goes the dog

To sleep the dream


Kay KKCURRY@CLASSIC.MSN.COM Wed Jan 14 19:18:12 PST 1998

This came out of a dream and a very suspect memory of a revival meeting in the little town I grew up in. Please comment.

The hitchhiker pulled the zipper on his leather jacket up and hunched his shoulders against the wind. "It was a dark and stormy night," Jason Ward thought, and smiled. Well, and so it was, or at least a dark and stormy evening, and a lonely stretch of two-lane, paralleling the new interstate that ran east-west just three miles to the north. Look for a bridge, then, and hope the rain held off awhile. A long while, considering how few rivers crossed this-middle-of-the-continent plain.

The bridge and the car showed up simultaneously, headlights from behind revealing the low balustrade. The hitch-hiker put his hand up, thumb out, without much hope or any worry. The car passed him, slowing, and pulled onto the shoulder. Lightning flared ahead, and thunder rolled, and the hitch-hiker smiled again, nature conspiring to bad-novel cliches, everyman's Gothic thriller. Even the car fit, new model, long, sleek, dark, and quiet-running. The hitch-hiker walked to the passenger door, swallowed his grin, and leaned to look inside.

Inside was this: one man in the driver's seat. Nothing else was visible, no briefcase or samples book, bag or bottle or can, no fuss, no muss. One driver. The hitch-hiker and the driver stared at each other for a moment, motionless, then the hitch-hiker began to draw back. In the same instant, the driver touched a button and the window began to roll down. Jason Ward hesitated, testing the warm, dry air that came from within the car. New-car smell, faint person-smell, no liquor, no bad breath, no cosmetics, dry, warm, and the lightning and the thunder came again, closer, and the first fat drops of rain came down. The hitch-hiker touched the door handle. The driver touched another button and the handle clicked. The hitch-hiker climbed in, settled his backpack on the floor, and fastened the safety harness.

They were back on the road and across the bridge before the driver spoke. "Not going into Wichita, sorry. Stopping at a little town this side. I can take you there, or let you off at a bigger town, just before. Whatever." He didn't look at his passenger as he spoke, and there wasn't much expression in the low baritone. The hitch-hiker studied him, as much as he could see in the low dashlights, the faint backwash of headlight. Good-looking, young but not as young as the hitch-hiker, longish dark hair, long eyelashes, impossible to tell the eye's color, no more expression on that face than in the voice.

"That's ok. Any place to stay in your town?"

"It's not my town." Some emotion there, unreadable. The driver went on, voice again bland and casual. "I don't know, actually. There used to be two motels."

"I was thinking more along the lines of a barn, or a garage I could hole up in."

That got him a glance, head turned slightly, no-color eyes flicking a gaze from head to toe. Jason Ward kept his smile inside, eyes steady on his Samaritan's face, easy enough task. He wondered what the other thought of what he saw, thin young man in jeans and leather and worn workboots, near-empty backpack between his knees, uncombed hair, two-day stubble. He wondered what the other thought of his smell, that had to be noticeable in this small enclosed space. He washed, when he could, had washed that morning in a sink in a public restroom in whatever west-Kansas town he'd been in, but leather had its own smell, and long-worn leather and long-worn clothes carried their own musk.

Whatever, the driver's face gave nothing away, no hint of pleasure or displeasure. He returned his regard to the road, and said, "There'll be that, I'm sure. Or a porch, or unlocked car, or something."

So. Like maybe he'd been there, done that. Didn't seem likely, to look at him now. Nice casual clothes, knit shirt with buttons at the throat, loose slacks of some light material, and the car was a beauty. Long time ago, if ever. Jason Ward returned his regard to the road and said, "That's fine. I'll go as far as you take me."

Silence, then, for a mile or so. The hitch-hiker wondered why the other hadn't given a name, and why he hadn't, for that matter. For something to say, he offered, "How bad is this storm going to get, do you know?"

"Bad." Raindrops were spattering on the windshield, now, still fat and individual, making little pushed-upward arcs of mud from the dust. "Tornado warnings for all of northern Oklahoma, south-central and south-eastern Kansas. Heavy rain, some possibility of hail."

A weather report, no less. The hitch-hiker mentally shrugged, he'd asked for it. Aware that hitching had its perils, he focused on the man's hands, easier to see than face in the faint light. "So. You going home for a visit?"

The hands did tighten, briefly. The voice that answered showed no stress, though, only mild annoyance. "I'm not really in favor of conversation while driving, sorry. Especially not in bad conditions." As if to emphasize the bad conditions, he turned on the windshield wipers. Mud smeared the glass, and visibility decreased precipitously.

Jason Ward reflected that he should have known that, the guy was driving through a tornado watch with the radio off, background noise wasn't something he wanted. Chagrinned, he made an excuse. "I thought maybe you wanted someone to help you stay awake."

It sounded lame, even to him, but the driver turned, full face for a moment, almost smiling. Truly handsome. "No. I picked you up because I knew how bad this storm's likely to get, and I'm about the only traffic along here, and I've got an unfortunately vivid imagination. But it was a kind thought, thanks."

"You're welcome."

Silence again, and the hitch-hiker began to relax. No danger signals, warmth, comfortable seat, a long hike, no wonder he was drowsy. He straightened, twisted, rolling his shoulders against the seat back. The driver glanced over, expressionless again, and said, "I'll stay awake, but you don't have to. Sleep if you want."

The hitch-hiker wanted. He gave it serious consideration, could find nothing against, relaxed into the leather upholstery, propped his shoulder against the door, and shut his eyes. Sometime before he actually sank into sleep, he was aware that the windshield wipers had shifted into a faster rhythm.

When he drifted up, the wipers were whacking faster still. There was another noise, hard to separate from wheel sound and storm sound, rain pounding the windshield and car body, engine sound muted, almost lost. A voice, low, quiet. Not intrusive. He'd been hearing it for a while, it seemed. Instinctively keeping his breath regular, eyes closed, he listened.

"Then he cured Aunt Bea, and that was real. She'd had polio as a kid, and it left her with a limp. She bent over, a little, and walked with a kind of hitching roll when she put her weight on the right leg. She hitched and rolled up that wide center aisle, and he put his hands on her head, on each side of her face, and leaned down, and whispered something, and kissed her on the forehead. When he let go, she straightened up, all the way up, and walked back down that wide center aisle. Straight. No limp. Eyes wide and face blank, looking inside. Not a sound in that whole big hall.

"Some others went up, and came back, that same look on every face. Then my mother took my hand. My own mother, who smoked a lot, and drank a little, and stood outside everything in that little town, took my hand and led me up that aisle."

The hitch-hiker was eavesdropping. He knew it, and knew he should stop, either go back to sleep or let the driver know he was awake, but he couldn't do either. He wanted to hear this, couldn't resist. The car rocked, wind-pummeled, wipers going fast, lightening making itself known even through closed lids, thunder thundering. The hitch-hiker let his eyelids relax, open just a slit. The way his head was tilted, he could see the driver without strain. The man was crying. Not sobbing, not choking, not even breathing unevenly, just crying, just water running down from inner eyes, along the sides of his nose, past mouth edges, to jawline and then off, falling like rain down onto shirt or whatever. Jason Ward wasn't about to move his head to follow that trajectory.

"Looking from the audience, you could tell he was handsome. Close up, he was more. Black, wavy hair with the shine of a crow's wing. Jaw so sharp you couldn't see how he could shave, but he did. Clean. Not a shadow of a shadow of beard, and it had to be black, that beard. Not a shade of difference in the color of his eyes from the iris, you couldn't tell....

"Afterwards, everyone said the same thing about those eyes. ĎLike he could look into me and see my soul. Like he saw my soul. Like he was seeing my soul.' Even from people who never left the back row in that big hall. ĎI felt like he was seeing my soul.'"

Jason Ward kept watching, curious and cautious. The driver was still crying, or at least, tears were still sliding down his face, but his breathing was steady, and his voice was calm. He didn't seem to know his eyes were leaking.

"Anyway, when nobody else went forward, he got back up on the little stage, and he preached. I didn't go to church much before, and never again after, but I'm powerfully sure that none of the local ministers, or the priest, ever put that message across.

The driver's voice changed. Direct quote, unmistakable, a different inflection, different rhythm, vowels more rounded, sonorous, unctuous..... Preacherly.

"What does a Christian do?" Was how he started, and then he told us.

"There's only one thing that a Christian has to do, and Christ told us that thing. You know it. It starts out ĎDo unto others...' Short and sweet. But not easy. Not easy.

"Examine your lives. Examine the lives of those Ďothers' around you. How would you like them to do unto you? If you were one of them, how would you like to be done unto? That's the hard part. You have to get into another's life, into another's situation, into another's skin, to have any least idea how to do unto that other."

Outside the car, thunder was nearly constant. The wipers were on high, throwing water off in streams, and still the windshield was only clear for moments after each swipe. The heavy car had slowed as the fury of the storm increased, and the driver turned the wheel back and forth continuously, small corrections for wind effects. Jason Ward wasn't afraid. Inside the car was steady warmth, shelter, a calm voice reciting a story. The hitch-hiker wondered, briefly, if he wasn't still asleep, and dreaming.

"So. Say you have a neighbor who drinks. How would he like you to treat him, do you think? Would he like you to laugh at him? Make nasty jokes with the neighbors? Despise him? Refuse to talk to him on the street? Would he like you to talk to him, tell him you are worried about him, about his health, about his driving, his ability to keep a job? Or would he like you to just leave him alone?

"Then, say he has a wife, and when he drinks, he hits her. How would she like you to treat her? How would you want to be treated, if you were the wife?"

"He got that right, too." the driver said in his own voice. "ĎIf you were.' I doubt there were more than a dozen in his audience wouldn't have said, ĎIf you was.' My mother was one. She was hell on grammar, and manners. I stood up when an adult came into the room, even if I'd known that person all my life, even if I called that person by first name. Anyway, what the preacher said next was,"

Back to the preacherly voice. "You're saying you don't know, you couldn't ever know. That's a lie. Don't do that, don't lie to yourself. That lie is the easy way out, and that lie freezes you in place, keeps you from actually doing anything. That word is the key word, have you ever considered that? ĎDo.' Not think, not feel, not talk, but DO!.

"You know what you should do. If you're a friend, or a neighbor, or a fellow church member, you know what to do. You go to that woman and say ĎLily, you don't have to put up with him hitting you. Next time, come to me. We'll go to the Sheriff, and he'll put a stop to it.'

"And if you're the Sheriff, you don't say, ĎWell, Lily, try not to rile him up next time,' and you don't say, ĎNot much I can do about it, Lily. Husband's the head of the family, says in the Bible.' If you say those things, you're not doing anything, and certainly not what you would want done, if there was someone regularly getting drunk and beating on you. It's a lie and you know it. What you do is you go to George and you say, "I can't stop you drinking, but I can put you in jail for hitting Lily. Hitting a person is a crime, it's called battery, and the next time you hit her or anyone else, you'll go to jail.'

"And then, if you're Lily, you follow through. You press charges, and you testify. And you're thinking, no, that's not what he wants me to do. Well, guess what! Christ didn't say, do what the other wants, he says do what you would want done if you were the other. And Lily, if you were a person who got drunk and hit your spouse, wouldn't you want your spouse to do something to stop you?

"And if you're George, and you claim to be a Christian, you don't wait for all that to happen. You quit now, because you sure as hell wouldn't want the other, your spouse, to be getting drunk and beating you. If she did, you'd want her to stop doing that. So you have to stop, at least stop beating her, and if you have to stop drinking, too, so be it. You do it. You DO it."

The driver checked the rear-view mirror, and the hitch-hiker let his eyes shut, gently, listening. The voice that spoke was the driver's, not the preacher's. "He kept going like that, for nearly three hours. And we listened, that whole big hall full of people, me and a large percentage of my own personal others. Nobody left before he was done talking and praying. Nobody. Because why? Because there was a Lily in our town, and her husband George did get drunk and beat on her, regularly. And the preacher went on like that, giving examples, naming names, and it was all true.

"Now I don't know about the others, but for myself, I was sweating with delight and fear, wanting to hear my name and dreading it. I didn't really expect to, though, because at that point, what I thought was my worst sin hadn't yet involved any others."

Quite voice, no inflection. The hitch-hiker opened his eyes again, a slit, and studied the driver, who kept talking, staring out the window at whatever of the road he could see through the rain smears on the windshield. "He never mentioned me, or my mother. But that evening, and the next two evenings, he mentioned a whole lot of people I knew, or knew about. I suspected, later, he'd been primed by the real ministers of the town, and the priest. That and a ferocious short-term memory for names is all it would take. Because the stories are all the same, of course. Everywhere."

The tears had stopped, or maybe never been there. The hitch-hiker couldn't open his eyes wide and really look at the driver, so maybe what he'd seen had been some sort of reflection from the water running and pushed across the windshield. He could see well enough to know when the driver again checked the rear-view mirror, and checked on him. Jason Ward held still, kept his breath steady, and waited, hoping for more of the story. It came.

"We were a real Christian community, after he left. Well, he'd told just about every sinner and sinned-upon and bystander precisely what to do. Amazing. Truly Christian, for exactly twenty-three days."

The storm was letting up, incrementally but obviously. The swath the wipers cleared stayed clear almost until the next path. The hissing roar of water against the car eased, lightening came less frequently, thunder separated itself from itself.

"I wasn't ever religious. Never really believed in sin, in all that stuff. My mother-" The story stopped, or seemed to, and the hitch-hiker nearly sank into sleep again. He surfaced when the voice started again. "That was what my mother put her mouth on, not who drank or cheated, but who went to church and drank or cheated. The deacon with a mistress in the next town. The trustee lawyer who charged the worth of an estate to settle it. Hypocrisy. So...."

He reached, the wipers slowed, the car sped up. "So I never felt like I had to confess, never told her, or anybody, what the preacher taught me, in the early mornings, out in the wheat, on a blanket, sweet green smell all around, stars as bright as they get. I'd guessed I was how I was, I was old enough, it was time. I never told."

The hitch-hiker had to remind himself to keep breathing, hold still, had to remind himself that he was asleep, deep asleep, and not hearing this.

"There was another boy, though. A year older. He was religious. He couldn't resist confessing. Twenty-three days after the preacher left, he told. And that was the end of Christianity in Cunningham, Kansas. Aunt Bea... I never did figure out what let her straighten up, lose the limp. Whatever it was, it only lasted those twenty-three days.

"The boy paid. They hounded him, beat him up, tore up his books, put shit in his locker, anything, everything. He lasted almost a year, then he hanged himself."

The hitch-hiker risked another look. Either the optical elusion was back, or the driver was crying again. The wipers swept the windshield clear, lightning strobed at longer intervals, it was harder to believe in the elusion.

"Object lesson, all in all. I kept my head down, ass down, nose clean, whatever cliche fits. I never told. Anybody. But I wondered, I did wonder....

"Why did she take me up there? She never set foot in a church, that I knew of, after she grew up and had a choice. Did she know? Did she hope he would cure me? Change me?

"If so, it didn't work. Exactly the opposite, in a way. He didn't cure me of being what I was, cured me of feeling shame, cured me of being afraid of being the way I was. Am.

"I went to college and never came back. Couldn't. Couldn't creep back into the closet, couldn't come back to get beaten up. Told myself I'd come back when I had someone to bring, someone to stand by me, watch my back.

"She visited me. In college, other places, never at my home, San Francisco. Never asked why I didn't come home or invite her to mine."

A gust of wind rocked the car, and the driver compensated, then leaned forward, scanning the key outside the window. Looking for tornadoes, the hitch-hiker thought. Another gust, lightening close, rain harder. The driver started talking again, about college, about moving to the coast, about his job there. Telling himself about himself. Jason Ward had been there, done that, and watched it in others. He had no idea why the driver was doing it now, but he recognized the impulse. He listened, but the wipers kept a rhythm, and the voice was low and steady, and he sank and rose, sank and rose, missing some, getting some. He got that the driver had friends, liked the work he did, voluntered at some charity, sometimes.

When he surfaced again, the storm had almost ceased, or they'd almost driven out of it. The driver sighed, and turned the wipers down, and moved that hand to his face, forefinger and thumb to the inner corners of his eyes, then put the hand back on the steering wheel. In the deeper silence left as the wind died, as the rain lightened, as the thunder receded behind him, the sounds of two people breathing, feeling of warmth and shelter within the car, became pronounced.

The driver's voice, when he finally spoke, was still low, still casual, still without evident emotion. "You're awake, right?"

Reluctantly, the hitch-hiker answered, truth. "Yeah." Not having to pretend any more, he opened his eyes, sat up, and openly watched the driver.

"When did you tune in?" Still casual, still calm, still expressionless.

The impulse to lie came and went. "When he healed Aunt Bea."

"Ah." A frown, look of pain, came and went. The driver leaned forward, slightly, although the wipers were efficiently keeping the windshield clear and the road ahead was visible for as far as the headlights shone. Defensive, the hitch-hiker recognized, and couldn't think of any thing to say, any move to make, that would convey reassurance.

It wasn't necessary. The driver leaned back, stretched, lifting his shoulders so that his arms could straighten. Without looking at his passenger, he said, "Storm's about over. I'll let you off, if you want. Or at the next town. It's a county seat, plenty of places to hole up."

Jason Ward considered the offer, considered the reason for the offer, carefully did not smile. "No. That's ok."

The driver turned his head, full turn, and looked at him for a good two beats of the wipers. The rain had almost stopped, and the wipers began to squeal. The driver turned back to his tasks, stopped the wipers, checked the rear-view mirror, and looked at his passenger again.

Jason Ward decided to take the risk, asked, "So. Going home for a visit?"

Face forward, muscles tight under eyes, beside mouth, the driver held silence. One breath, two, three, and then, softly, barely audible, "No. I'm going home for my mother's funeral. Settle the estate. Close the house, arrange to sell it. All that."

The hitch-hiker reminded himself that sometimes silence could be a gift. He faced the road, gave the driver silence, and privacy, and waited.

"I'll never know." The driver's voice finally held emotion, sound coming through a tight throat. "Did she know? Did she care? I wish I'd had the courage..."

Courage. Jason Ward considered the concept, considered his options. Outside, the storm faded, threat unfulfilled, no tornadoes, no hail. No huge trucks coming out of invisibility to crush them, no water-planing trips into a ditch or embankment, no highway patrol giving tickets for driving unsuitable to conditions, no disasters at all. Inside, two people breathing the same air. Jason Ward pulled that air into his lungs, deep, once, twice, and spoke.

"Take me with you."

"What?" Finally, an unmuted emotion, amazement.

"Take me with you. Take me to the funeral, take me back with you to San Francisco."

The driver pulled the car to a stop on the shoulder of the road. He reached, touched a button, and the interior of the car was lit. He turned slowly and looked directly at his passenger, eyes wide, face blank, looking inside. "You're headed the other way."

Jason Ward hid his smile. "Well," his voice came out husky, and he let it be. "It had to be New York or San Francisco, and that's the way the coin landed."

"Had to be...."

"Yeah. Being the way I am, and all."

Not a sound in that whole little space.

The driver's eyes looked outside, then, looked at the hitch-hiker, and apparently liked what they saw. The smile started in the eyes, widened the mouth, warm and welcoming.

Lightning flashed, and thunder rolled, and Jason Ward smiled and let it show. Looked like the story wasn't going to be a Gothic thriller, after, might just be a romance.


c.stapley cstapley@dmci.net Mon Jan 12 13:46:57 PST 1998

This is a poem I wrote some time ago, see what you think. I wrote it after visiting Brookgreen Gardens in S.Carolina. Lots of beautiful sculptures in a magnificent garden setting. I began to wonder what the statues were thinking...
The Marble Message by Colleen
Remember when on me a sky was leaking?
and brown, droopy daisies were peeking?
The curly ivy wound about my feet,
big,black, ugly birds used my elbow for a seat.
Remember when the snow blew crisp and cold,
cracking my frame and making me old?
Do you recall when I watched the toad in vain
when he sipped from my hand, a pool of rain?
I had to watch as children skipped by,
Oh, oh how I wished that I.....
Do you see my stone hair forever in place,
or the ridges for laugh lines carved in my face?
I have hands that can't touch, lips that can't kiss,
these are a few of the things I have missed.
My eyes never close to slumber in peace,
for tears I long,"come forth do not cease!"
Sweet babes held by mommas, in delight she sings,
I wish so to know the joy that she brings.
My moss covered legs are frozen here,
part of the earth in its' eternal sphere.
They say I posses both beauty and grace,
no more a rock than art in this place.
No pity I beg, for my station in life,
not forced to endure death,suffering or strife.
Some envy me, "your eternal," they say,
but over the ages marble crumbles away.
"If only it could speak," they whisper each day.
Listen closley and you will hear what I say.
I wish they had made me a fountain instead,
a cool cascade I would posses for a head.
This is not a plea from a cold, hunk of stone,
just a rememberance of a life spent alone.
Of a soul held captive in granite, marble and stone.


T. M. Spell TMSpell@aol.com Sun Jan 11 13:13:52 PST 1998

THIS YARD SALE CANCELED DUE TO AN ILLNESS IN THE FAMILY
by
T. M. Spell


The memory of the nursing home clung to me as I pulled into the drive of Mom's
house--not really Mom's now, but an item for sale to help pay for her stay in the Regency
Health Care Center. Such a comfortable, reassuring name. The hallways reek of ammonia
and the rooms smell of urine. I'd seen some old lady tied into a wheelchair in the dining
hall who talked to herself and laughed like a maniac when anyone looked at her. Some
other old lady kept telling the staff she wanted a candy bar.
Mrs. Heinstacher opened the garage door as I got out of my car. "I put the signs out
before I got here," I said. "I wanted to do it before it got dark. That way I won't have to
put them out at daylight tomorrow morning."
Mrs. Heinstacher nodded, but she still looked doubtful. "Are you sure you want to do
that, hon? They'll be here on your doorstep before daylight, knocking on the door, begging
to get in."
"I know. It's okay. The sooner I can get started tomorrow and sell all this stuff, the
sooner it'll be over."
"Yeah, this has been a tough time for you hasn't it?" Mrs. Heinstacher said. She
gestured with her big salt-and-pepper gray head at the garage full of yard sale items behind
us. "All of this is priced. Plus I went through and put a price on everything you left in the
rest of the house. You want to go through and take a look?"
"No, that's okay," I said. "I'm sure everything's fine. I'm going to spend the night here,
just to keep an eye on things."
"I guess I'll see you in the morning, then," Mrs. Heinstacher said, moving toward her
car, a dark sedan parked on the curb. She had to come back tomorrow to manage the sale,
for which she got a percentage of the proceeds.
I waved to her as she drove away, then turned and went into the garage, swung the
door shut behind me, and walked on through the back door at the other end of the garage
into the kitchen. Everything -- glasses, appliances, the table and chairs, an old diet scale --
all wore little white price tags. This was fifty cents, that was two dollars.
I walked through the house and upstairs to my old bedroom, where I turned on the
light. Mom had kept my stuffed animals after I got married and moved out. They had still
been there when I got divorced and moved back in. They sat on the bed now: Rabbit,
Unicorn, Orangutan, the whole collection. I swept them aside onto the floor so that I
could lie down on my bed--all but Lion, who I left facing the room on the pillow beside
me to stand guard. I cried then. About the For Sale sign on the front lawn, the yard sale
tomorrow, the nursing home, old age, dead and dying parents, growing up, lousy
husbands you couldn't count on; you name it, I laid there and cried about it until I fell
asleep.
The sound of Lion hitting the floor later that night woke me up. I turned, thinking I
must've knocked him off when I stole the pillow out from under him so I could put it over
my eyes. I didn't think about anything else until just before daylight, when I woke up,
looked at the clock on the wall (three dollars, the white tag declared) and dragged myself
out of bed to go to the bathroom and get ready for the yard sale. Before I went
downstairs, I straightened the bed and put the animals back on top of it. I noticed that
Lion seemed to have lost his price tag. And I couldn't find Rabbit for the life of me. I gave
up finally, figuring he must have rolled under the bed last night, and not really wanting to
go searching for him under there.
Mrs. Heinstacher knocked on the door at six a.m. I let her in and offered her a cup of
coffee. Mug, fifty cents. Coffee maker, five dollars.
"Bless you," she said, drinking from the mug. "This is just what I was dreaming of on
the way over."
I stood drinking from my own cup, trying to look and act agreeable. I felt anything but.
Halfway through her coffee, Mrs. Heinstacher looked around the room. "You don't
mind if I just give everything the once over before I start setting up the cash box and all in
the garage?"
I told her to go right ahead and do whatever she wished.
As she was stepping over boxes and stacks of magazines and clothes in the center of the
living room, the doorbell rang. Mrs. Heinstacher looked over at me and dismissed the
sound with a wave. "Let 'em wait," she said. "I want to make sure everything's priced.
Everyone always wants to know the price of something without a tag, and then when you
tell them, they don't want to buy it. It's a curiosity killed the cat sort of thing. They just
have to know because it doesn't have a tag."
"Oh, you know, a tag fell off one of the animals upstairs," I said. "If you have an extra,
I can go price him myself."
"Where is it, upstairs?" she asked. "No, that's okay, I'll go do it. I was going up there
anyway."
The doorbell rang again while Mrs. Heinstacher climbed the stairs. When she
disappeared into my room, there was a quiet, but insistent, knocking at the front door. I
decided to wait until seven o'clock to let them in. It would take at least that long for the
effect from the coffee to kick in.
"Mrs. Parish," I heard Mrs. Heinstacher call to me from the top of the stairs. I hate my
married name and I frowned as I looked up at her. "Where did the big kitty come from?"
she asked. "And what happened to all your other stuffed animals?"
I didn't ask Mrs. Heinstacher what she was talking about. I just put my cup down,
crossed the room and walked up the stairs. "The big kitty?" I said. "Where?"
"In your room," Mrs. Heinstacher said. "You know, the stuffed one. Did you bring that
with you last night?"
I opened the door to my room and looked in. Lion sat in the center of the bed, alone.
He was bigger than Lion should have been, maybe about the size of a small pony. But he
was Lion, alright.
"He's really nice," Mrs. Heinstacher said, going into the room around me. She walked
over to the bed and stroked Lion's mane.
"Mrs. Heinstacher," I said.
She turned toward me. "How much did you want for him?"
"Mrs.--" I fell silent as Lion opened his mouth and put Mrs. Heinstacher's arm in it.
Mrs. Heinstacher looked down at her arm and screamed. Lion opened his mouth again.
Lions have really wide jaws, you know. This time he managed to fit the top half of Mrs.
Heinstacher into his mouth.
I ran forward and grabbed Mrs. Heinstacher's ankles and pulled.
She had on an awful pair of those sensible shoes with the soles that look like they've been
carved out of a block of rubber, and as I pulled at her legs, trying to get her out of Lion's
mouth, I pulled her shoes off instead. I reeled back and fell on my butt, hard, throwing the
shoes up into the air. One of them hit the floor beside me. The other bounced off the top
of my head, but it was soft rubber and didn't hurt much.
I jumped up and grabbed at Mrs. Heinstacher's legs. She had on pantyhose, and I
managed to rip off first one leg of her hose and then the other. I just threw them aside as
they came off and this time I didn't fall down.
The doorbell rang.
"Let go, Lion!" I screamed, finally getting a grip on Mrs. Heinstacher's legs, and hoping
her skin didn't come off.
Lion had swallowed Mrs. Heinstacher up to the waist by now. I couldn't see any blood,
but she wasn't kicking.
"Alright!" I said. "Alright! I'm sorry! I won't sell the house! I won't sell you! I'll take
Mom out of the nursing home! I'll rob a bank if I have to, to support us and take care of
her, but I won't leave her in that place! I swear it, Lion! I swear it!"
Mrs. Heinstacher popped out of Lion's mouth, I fell down again, and she fell down on
top of me. I rolled her off and looked at Lion, whose mouth was still open. Bits and pieces
of fluff and stuffing spewed out of his mouth. Rabbit's eyeless head flew out at me. One of
Orangutan's arms. Unicorn's horn. The striped tie from Yuppie Opus. Red mop strings
from Rag Doll's head.
There was a quiet, but insistent, knock at the door.
Finally, I sat with regurgitated bits and pieces of all my stuffed animals scattered about
me, and Lion closed his mouth. He was small again. Just Lion again.
"I meant it," I said, crawling out of the room. I went downstairs and found some
notebook paper and a pen and scribbled: THIS YARD SALE CANCELED DUE TO AN
ILLNESS IN THE FAMILY.
The doorbell rang. I scavenged a piece of duct tape from a drawer in the kitchen, went
to the front door and opened it, to be greeted by the startled, eager faces of early morning
yard salers. I shook my head at them mutely, shrugged apologetically, and slapped the sign
on the door.
While I was starting a fire in the fireplace, using a book of matches from my purse, and
some of my old magazines for tinder, Mrs. Heinstacher wandered down the stairs, looked
around vaguely, and left, barefoot.
I placed the ragged remains of my stuffed animal collection on the fire, and then poised
Lion, still whole, on top of them. I watched his fur singe away, then his proud mane, and
finally the white cotton stuffings from his body turned black in the fire and became ash.
Only a fist-sized nubbin that had been his head remained.
"I will keep my promise," I said to the green glass buttons he had for eyes.
The eyes blinked, fell out of Lion's head, and rolled into the flames.


Gary Souza psouza@capecod.net Sat Jan 10 23:11:23 PST 1998

I can't believe it. This is the third try at this posting and I keep hitting some wrong key and the whole thing disappears. I'm getting gun shy now. Michele and Joan, I apologise for taking so long. You both were so attentive and generous with your help. I've been spending time on the rest of this work. ..........................

The young man wondered if he truly were in a jungle. He was apprehensive about the ground under his feet. Snakes were something he could not command to the background of his thoughts as easily as he would have liked. He could have pondered what kind of snake he might encounter and what numbers of them there were and what kinds would be dangerous but the only thing he knew about snakes was that he didn't want to see one anywhere near him.

There were other fearsome things to consider. He knew there were large apes in this jungle. And what of tigers?
He didn't remember anyone saying there were tigers but he didn't remember anyone saying there weren't any either.

The ground in this part of the jungle--if this was indeed a jungle--was spongy with a musty smelling underpad. The trees were uncommonly tall and formed a dense roof at their top that allowed only an eerie and diffuse light to the ground below. He had no way to judge the lateness of the day because there would be no slowly fading twighlight as there might be in the New England suburbia. He knew that it was late afternoon when he had entered. With all the direct sunlight being absorbed by the canopy of treetops the arrival of night would only be forewarned by a deepening of this gloom into total darkness. Exsidious and treacherous, the light would sneak away and mock him in his helplessness.

He had no doubt that he must return at once. Overcome by a sense of urgency he turned to retrace his way. His foot caught the edge of one the long butrees roots that spread from the huge trees. He stumbled forward and fought to keep from falling. A rush of adrenaline like he had never known made him shout a sound out deep into the forest. It was the lexical utterance of an ancient animal within him; an ancestor so detached in time it may have roamed the very ground on which he stood.


GAry Souza psouza@capecod.net Sat Jan 10 22:27:40 PST 1998

A bit overdue, but I am making good my threat to post a new first page. I needed to spend some time on pages 40, 60 and so on. So here is attempt #2. I hope Joan and Michele, my worthy critty-cues will be taking notice. If I can keep you ladies involved long enough I will have a first page that an agent couldn't ignore. I already did this halfway through and I hit a wrong key and the whole thing disappeared. Not fair.



Jack Beslanwitch jack@webwitch.com Fri Jan 9 00:44:58 PST 1998

OK, here is "Woman On A Pedestal"



J. Dishner thewriteone@azhha.org Thu Jan 8 17:31:15 PST 1998

Hi all! I just posted this on the P & W site in the 10-minute writing exercise conference and thought I would try posting it here and see what kind of comments I'd get. Thanks...


This time I was really suffering inside, and still he wasn't seeing. If people literally exploded like a volcano from built up anger, I would have erupted years ago! Today is our fifth anniversary, and he is off fishing as usual. Of course, he doesn't remember what day it is. He forgot my birthday last month, too. Hell, he forgot his own the month before. Why would he remember our anniversary?

I wish I knew why special days like this are unimportant to him; it would help to know the reason. Maybe then, I could understand and not feel so isolated from him, so unimportant to him, so unloved.

I remember the very first day we met. The funny thing is, it was my birthday. I was out celebrating with friends at the Desert Rat Cantina. I was a regular there. The Desert Rat was a small pub near my apartment in downtown Phoenix. It wasn't the safest neighborhood to be hanging out in alone at night, but I wasn't alone. He was, and I noticed him right away. I asked Jon, the bartender, who the guy was. Jon she he'd never been in before, and Jon would know--he owned the joint. I watched him slide into a booth near the front door and order a drink. I was so buy watching him my friends had to call out my name three times to get my attention.

"Sheryl, we're gonna toast you now. Would you like to participate, or would you rather go over there?" my friend Jenna asked, pointing in the direction I was starring.


J. Dishner thewriteone@azhha.org Thu Jan 8 17:30:42 PST 1998

Hi all! I just posted this on the P & W site in the 10-minute writing exercise conference and thought I would try posting it here and see what kind of comments I'd get. Thanks...


This time I was really suffering inside, and still he wasn't seeing. If people literally exploded like a volcano from built up anger, I would have erupted years ago! Today is our fifth anniversary, and he is off fishing as usual. Of course, he doesn't remember what day it is. He forgot my birthday last month, too. Hell, he forgot his own the month before. Why would he remember our anniversary?

I wish I knew why special days like this are unimportant to him; it would help to know the reason. Maybe then, I could understand and not feel so isolated from him, so unimportant to him, so unloved.

I remember the very first day we met. The funny thing is, it was my birthday. I was out celebrating with friends at the Desert Rat Cantina. I was a regular there. The Desert Rat was a small pub near my apartment in downtown Phoenix. It wasn't the safest neighborhood to be hanging out in alone at night, but I wasn't alone. He was, and I noticed him right away. I asked Jon, the bartender, who the guy was. Jon she he'd never been in before, and Jon would know--he owned the joint. I watched him slide into a booth near the front door and order a drink. I was so buy watching him my friends had to call out my name three times to get my attention.

"Sheryl, we're gonna toast you now. Would you like to participate, or would you rather go over there?" my friend Jenna asked, pointing in the direction I was starring.


L.M. Worden wordncnst@usa.net Thu Jan 8 14:06:48 PST 1998

Here is a little poem I wrote..... Feel free to comment on it, negative or positive. If anyone knows a viable market for this type of work, please email. Thanx! LW


MIRROR

Eyes, dark and solemn
Watching me from across the room
Intense, erotic, hypnotic,
Paralyzing my emotions for a moment
Until the dam erupts
Flooding me
Love, anger, hurt, and remorse
Fill me with the feelings
From within you
Perceptions same as mine
Mirror my same pain
My same love
My same agony
My same shame
Deep below the surface
A shimmer of hope, love
Breaks away,
Revealing to me
Someone long untouched
Finding their way outside the wall
Unearthing their soul
Opening their heart.
Molding that spirit
To the one that mirrors


- Laura Worden October 13, 1997


Kirstin Ramey winged_magic@hotmail.com Wed Jan 7 20:27:15 PST 1998

Here is a poem I wrote today at school for the fun of it:

A Typical School Day

To start out the day,
On computers I play.
Boy, do I wish I could stay.

Then off to math
On a hidden path,
With a test not to far away.

And in Japanese
I learn to say "Please,"
And write in a whole new way.

Biology's fun
But I'm on the run,
And I've got no time to stay.

English my favorite
But no time to savor it,
The day is just slipping away.

And finally World History
It is quite a mystery,
And that is the way of my day.

k.c. ramey 1-7-98


TB Wed Jan 7 16:56:25 PST 1998

Good grief, I paste it and everything looks fine, then it ends up down there like that! Sorry!
TB


Toby Buckell bcbuctsa@bluffton.edu Wed Jan 7 16:53:57 PST 1998

Hi again, it's been since before christmas that I posted a piece of six fingers. There's a story behind that, it usually doesn't take more than two weeks to finish a short like this, but I managed to finish this story, then lose the floppy I had the last half on. So I'm re-writing again. And I hate doing that as the second go always feels worse than the first, and is a lot harder.

Anyway, here we go, the third quarter of six fingers, please send critiques etc, and hopefully the fourth quarter will go up at the beggining of next week.
TB :)

____________________________________________________________
Six Fingers

It took three extra minutes to find Piedmont's rundown apartment building. He pulled on the old brown overcoat and made his way up the stairs to 339.
The door was slightly ajar and the yellow hazard-tape broken. Someone had beaten him here. Adrian pulled out his gun and slowly slipped through door.
"Hello," a voice whispered. Adrian half turned and was hit in the ribs. He gasped and dropped the gun.
"Son of..." The second hit sent him sprawling over something he couldn't see, a couch. He crouched behind it, waiting for his eyes to adjust.

It was dark as hell and his left side hurt. He could hear the sound of wood creaking as his invisible opponent shifted. The sound came vaguely from his left. The door let in a square of light, if someone tried to run out the door Adrian would have a clear shot at his silhouette. They were both stuck in the room.
Stalemate.
Adrian could hear a steady gasping rasp, then realized it was himself. The floorboards creaked again.
Definitely left.
He reached for his gun, then realized he had dropped it. It was on the floor somewhere between the couch and the light. He squinted at the light and saw its shady shape just at the limit of the light's edge.
His assailant hadn't made a run for it, so he hadn't seen the gun, and didn't know Adrian was defenseless.
The floorboards creaked.
Adrian tested a leg of the couch to see how heavy the whole thing was, took a deep breath, stood up, and threw it at his opponent in a single quick movement.
The couch connected solidly. Adrian followed the couch and tackled the dim form against the wall, knocking his drawn gun aside with the palm of his hand.
"Hello you!"
Adrian sucker-punched him, then cracked the back of his head with an elbow as he doubled up. The man slumped to the floor, unconscious.

Adrian turned on the lights to find sheets, which he ripped up and used to tie his mystery assailant up. The man was well built, five four, dark hair, gloves. Adrian had a sneaking suspicion. He pulled the gloves off.
The mystery assailant had a sixth finger, a useless bit that hung off the end of his two little-fingers.
Adrian slapped his cheek a couple times to help him come around.
"Welcome back! What's your name?"
"Fuck you. I'm not scared of the police."
"I'm not a cop." Adrian punched him in the face. It was a petty sort of revenge, but the feel of bone giving before his fist felt good.
"Shit, man." There was blood all over the man's face.
"Who sent you?"
"Man, nobody sent me, I was just up here looking to see what I could find."
"I don't believe that for a second." Adrian hit him straight in the face again.
"Ahhhh shit that hurt!" The man gasped.
"Who sent you damnit?" Adrian balled his fist for another punch.
"Nah, don't hit me again. It was a dude named VanConant."
"Gavin?"
"That's the one. Know him?"
Yeah. Adrian felt distant again. Gavin.

But why Gavin? Adrian had gagged the six fingered man and tossed him in the trunk of his car. That was the only evidence he had that Piedmont was an innocent man. And his only link to Jen.
The phone beeped.
"Hello?"
"Why the hell aren't you at home like we told you to be."
"There's no food in the fridge. I'm eating out."
There was a long pause on the other end.
"Are you that callous towards your daughter's life? We could have killed her when we called your home and didn't get you." The voice sounded stunned.
"She was my wife's idea, not mine. I only pay child support. What do you want?"
It hurt to say that.
"An agreement."
"Go ahead."
"You haven't called the police, a good call on your part. The agreement is that you never bring up any details of anything that Michael Piedmont ever confessed to you before he died." Died? Piedmont had been stable when he was carted out the alley. "If you do, we will kill your daughter."
"Okay, it's a deal."
"We will tell you where to find your daughter later."
The connection was terminated. Adrian called the hospital.
"A Michael Piedmont please?"
"I'm sorry, he died several hours after being admitted..."
"Did anyone come to visit him?"
"A police officer."
"VanConant?"
"Yes, please, sir, are you related to Mister..." Adrian cut the connection before she could finish. Why? Why would Gavin go through such lengths to cover something up.
Maybe Sean could help.

"Sean, I know this sounds crazy, but I know who kidnapped my daughter, but I don't why, and I need your help desperately."
"Slow down, where are you?"
"Fifteen minutes away, maybe."
"Come to my house then."

Fifteen minutes later Sean's wife Amber let Adrian in through the foyer and lead him to a table in the study. Sean was sipping coffee in front of his laptop.
"It's Gavin."
"Why?"
"I don't know. But I have a man in the trunk of my car that says its Gavin. I found him at Piedmont's hideout, and he matches the description Piedmont gave me of the murderer."
"Description?"
"Six fingers. The kidnappers also want me to hush up about Piedmont, and if you add everything together it just points that way. As much as I hate it. Do you know anything?"
"I do and I don't," Sean said. "Gavin has always been involved in information dealing, and in his position it isn't that hard to get sensitive information."
"Is that one of the reasons you left?"
"One of them."
"Why didn't you ever tell me?" Adrian asked.
"Why bother, you and Gavin were friends. It wouldn't be my place to tell you who to keep shop with, although now I wish I did. After your call, though, I found a vague rumor that Piedmont and the girl he lived with were trying to blackmail Gavin concerning his information peddling."
"What do we do know?"
"Where are the kidnappers expecting you to be when they call?"
"Home."
"We'll do two things then, put a patch through your phone to here, and also send out the word that we're looking for Gavin. Either of the two will give us a course of action. By the way, the six fingered man in your trunk, will he be okay?"
"He can breathe."
____________________________________________________________
TB


Michele michelefry@geocities.com Tue Jan 6 02:35:09 PST 1998

Kirstin :- liked your poem, even in my half asleep state I enjoyed reading it - it's got to be good if it can get through my sleep deprived brain ! The story was intriguing.

Hayden :- what was that all about ? My half asleep brain couldn't figure it out !

Michele.


Kirstin Ramey winged_magic@hotmail.com Mon Jan 5 05:46:37 PST 1998

Got bored; wrote a poem. Tell me what you think.
K.C.


Questions to the Lost


Do you hear
the wind roll by?
Do you see
the lightning bolt?
Can you feel
the freezing cold?
Can you find
your way back home?

Do you hear
the howling wolf?
Do you see
the bright full moon?
Can you feel
the pouring rain?
Can you find
the way you came?

Do you hear
the searcher's calls?
Do you see
the flashing lights?
Can you feel
the warmth they offer?
Can you find
a way to survive?

k.c. ramey 1/5/97


Tom Montgomery tmontgomery@home.com Sun Jan 4 20:57:00 PST 1998



Lazy Bones

Long hair in my brush

Too wide a mouth

Eyes too small

Way too tall.

An empty head

An empty heart

And a plate

Of chicken bones

On the bedside table.



Note: I never did this before and I'm just sort of interested to see if someone would comment on my writing - I don't know if I could call it poetry? The things I write like this are just my own response to places and people past,but I like to write them like they are poetry. If you have a comment would you please email it to me - I don't know if I will ever find my way back here again. Thanks, Tom


Hayden Grayell JLJPetersen@bigpond.com Sun Jan 4 15:53:59 PST 1998

These emotions I share with you are a practised ritual. They are nothing new to me, for, at a whim, I can be cold and distant--even to myself--or flamboyant when the fire of the moment seems to be fluttering in the breeze of future problems. I can pick up the candle of passion and waltz with it whenever I choose. Or snuff it out with one raised brow. Immortality allows me this boon.

Many see immortality as long moments of ennui and regret. They see immortals as carnivors who feast on the plankton of the aeons which float by. Not all of us feast on flesh of mortals. Ah, but then those who see us thus know not the delight and skill in playing emotions to the summit of all endeavours. Could a mere mortal mourn the birth of a child where rejoicing is in order? Could they see each friend lost in a burst of a few spare decades, and rejoice at the passage of such fire rather than beat their brows and weep for years? Mortals are such simple fuel, destined to live and die without ever delving deep into the storeroom of emotional rampage. But that is not reason to feast on them.

And in the end I see what they cannot see. For can they, these simpletons who see immortality as a passage way of closing doors and horded memories, ever be completely without emotion? Can they sit on the mountain and watch the world pass on, ever changing, while they remain the constant? And feel nothing?

I choose which emotions to use because I relish holding against myself that which all creatures hold, but can not control, the beast within the divine.

Only the religious or the mad come this close to perfection.


Kirstin Ramey winged_magic@hotmail.com Sun Jan 4 15:00:10 PST 1998

This is a short story I wrote with my mom when I was in 7th grade. It is a true story about one of her many interesting dogs. Tell me what you think.
K.C.


BASIL HEADCREST BRITANNIA

Basil as he was called by his owners was born in 1954. Good or bad his escapades will never be forgotten by the people whose lives he touched. Basil was a 50 pound English Bull Dog. He was built like a tank, low to the ground, powerful, very difficult to move when he did not want to move. He loved people, but he hated motorcycles. Basil and his family lived in the north end of Tacoma. The only motorcycles driven on the street near their house on a regular basis were ridden by police officers. They patrolled the area, it was their beat and Basil's turf, or so he thought.

No one ever figured out what made Basil hate motorcycles. When he heard one coming he took off running. Nothing could stop him. He ran right into the street and grabbed on to the front tire, braced himself, and refused to let go. The police officer could not go forward without running over the dog and they did not want to do that. They yelled and screamed at him, but he wouldn't let go. They finally resorted to hitting him with their clubs to get him to release the tire. One day he came home with a knot on his head that never went away.

You can imagine the officer's frustration. They didn't want to hurt the dog, but they couldn't get him to release to tire once he had his grip. Everyone in the area knew Basil. People were always watching when they tried to get him off their tires. What were they to do? Of course they talked to his owners who had no luck keeping him home. When he wanted to go he went, broken chains, collars, and fences were left in his wake.

The police had to take more drastic action. They started accelerating their engines when Basil grabbed their tires. They decided they were just going to have to run him over. Basil got even madder. He held the motor cycle tire while the back tire began to spin. Of course, the officer did not have the heart to run him over so Basil won again. A few wacks with the club and he finally let go.

As in all confrontations the day of reckoning comes. Basil versus the motorcycle police officer. The road was slightly damp. The intersection was clear. Basil could no longer stand the sound of that motorcycle; the police officer had been humiliated long enough. Basil ran out into the street, grabbed the tire, and braced himself. The officer gunned his engine, he had had it with that dog. What happened next surprised the officer and all of the people watching. Basil swung the motorcycle, police officer and all, around in the intersection. Into the oncoming traffic lane, then back into his own. The officer did not get hurt but the potential sure was there.

Basil soon left the north end of Tacoma to start life in the country. You see Basil won the battle but the police officer won the war.


T. M. Spell TMSpell@ao.com Fri Jan 2 20:15:40 PST 1998

Just a short note this time to apologize for the grotty typos in the fragment I posted. Please read "chemist and alchemist," for "chemis and alchemist," and "my date" (Roxanne) for "by date." Plus at least one line ended up with quotation marks at the beginning when no one was saying anything, and a couple of words got glued together. I was typing pretty rapidly, in a rush to get through and post before I had to dash out to a meeting. Hope the next try is less typoed.

Thanks.


T. M. Spell TMSpell@aol.com Fri Jan 2 15:24:19 PST 1998

Here's a fragment of an ongoing project. The main character is an immortal, but not a vampire, so there won't be any blood sucking in this one. Comments, of course, are welcome.

I liked Taggart Zakarian before he betrayed me. That fact should be clearly understood right now, because I do not make friends with mortals easily. Never, if I can help it. The bright, brief candle of their lives is too soon snuffed out and the darkness they leave behind, if you loved them, lingers forever.

With Taggart, I could not help it. Perhaps he reminded me too much of Merlinus, of whom I was also fond. A scientist fascinated by the occult -- everything from Celtic bog men to little green men -- he was doctor and wizard, chemis and alchemist, wise man and wise ass, seemingly without effort or contradiction, and certainly without apology. He also threw the most excellent house parties at his mid-town mansion. Formerly a turn-of-the-century grand hotel, it contained not only hundreds of rooms, but featured as well a ballroom replete with a splendidly frescoed dome-ceiling, Austrian crystal chandeliers glittering like white fire above guests' heads, massive, highly polished mahogany pillars standing silent sentry on either side of the room, and rococo mahogany doors as tall as a man if a man were twenty feet tall.

I arrived at the masked costume ball Taggart had thrown in celebration of the Celtic New Year -- better known in this age as Halloween -- at eight-thirty, only a half-hour late. A doorman dressed in black and orange Medieval pageboy garb handed me a door prize wrapped in like-colored foil. He just as dutifully handed by date an identical box.

"I believe you like presents," I said, promptly passing my package on to Roxanne. A small, dark, energetic woman, she had been my companion for perhaps five years by that evening.

"Ooh, thanks. Extra loot is always appreciated." She held up a box to either ear and shook one and then the other gently. Though obviously heavy in the hand, they didn't even make a whisper of sound.

"What was it last time?" I asked. "Fireworks?"

She nodded. "For the mini-Mardi gras. We got screaming serpents."

"Ah, yes." As we passed through the rotunda, I glanced up to find several masked faces peering down at us from the circular balcony. A trio of women, garbed in feathered owl-masks and low-cut 17th Century French ball gowns, caught sight of me dressed as Hamlet and Roxanne as Ophelia. They started chattering animatedly behind their fans about one or the other of us.

"Do you think I should wait?" Roxanne asked. "I mean to open these? I'm just dying to find out what's inside."

"You know what they say."

Roxanne eyed me suspiciously. "What?"

"Curiosity killed the cat," I said.

"I knew it. You're going to make me wait, aren't you?"

"But," I continued, "curiosity brought him back." From the blank look Roxanne gave me, I knew that the saying's meaning was lost on her.

"And?" she prompted.

I stopped at the marble flight of stairs that led to the ballroom proper. To our left and right were stairs leading to the rotunda. "Only that if you are dying to know what is in these boxes, we must do everything we can to save your life. So let's go up here for a bit and see what we have."

Her delight was obvious as I put my hand on her back and guided her up the stairs. We sat on a cushioned bench, one of several that were scattered at intervals along the wall. As she opened the door prizes, I studied the three French courtiers, who were still studying us.

"No wonder it's so heavy," Roxanne said. She pulled a heavy goblet out of the first box. "It's a champagne glass carved out of solid marble."

"I looked at it closely. "Black zebra onyx. It's a lovely piece."

"Yes, it's beautiful." She opened the second box and glanced inside. "And here's one to match. What a wonderful thing to give away as a door prize."

"Our friend is a generous man." I believed it at the time. "My dear, do you see those three women over there?"

Roxanne glanced past me. "You mean with the dresses cut down to their nipples?"

"Not quite that low," I said, "but, yes, those are the ones."

"I take it your going to go over and -- ?" Without meeting my eyes, she tucked a champagne glass back into its box as she spoke.

"Say hello. Yes." I began to move away, but she put her hand on my arm.

"Don't forget." She pointed at her own mask, a snow-white owl-face.

I gave her a nod, quickly removed the simple black satin mask that hid the upper half of my face, then walked over and introduced myself to the courtiers.

"Griffin Kindred?" one of the three echoed back at me. "Haven't we met before?"

"Perhaps," I admitted. "At another of Taggart's parties, maybe? If I could see your face, I'd know for sure. I'm certain your features are unforgettable."

With a pleased smile, she removed her flamingo-pink mask. "I'm Rhonda. Rhonda Gresham."

Over the centuries, I have become adept at hiding my desperation for the sight of one specific face; and my frustration when the eyes staring bact at me are not *her* eyes. I pretended to be duly impressed by the features of the lady before me. Truthfully she was pretty; but she was only another mortal, after all.

"No, not familiar," I said, taking Rhonda's hand and kissingit lightly. "But charming, I assure you."

Over the course of several minutes of conversation, I managed to persuade the other two to remove their masks as well, and determined beyond reasonable doubt that none was the woman I searched for. I returned to Roxanne's side and escorted her, at last, to the grand ballroom.

*Monster In My Pants* blared from hidden speakers, exciting the hundreds of people in the room into the ecstasies of writhing and twitching that is now called dancing. When I was young, we called it cavorting, and it was usually accompanied by alcoholic or pharmaceutical stimulants, and followed by hearty doses of sex. The things about human nature that remain constant are almost as fascinating as the things that change.

"This is wild," Roxanne shouted up at my ear.

"Indeed," I shouted back, taking in the sight of men dressed as everything from ancient Greek scholars to silverback mountain gorillas; women dressed as vampires, Klingons, and fantasy barbarian princesses. Hundreds of women. Any one of them could be *her*. And every one of them wore a mask. It was going to be a long night.

"You've got your work cut out for you," Roxanne said.

"More than cut out," I said, shaking my head. "An impossible task. I'm just going to have to go without my own mask and see what, if anything, happens."

"Good luck," she said. I don't know if she truly meant it, but I do believe she said it out of kindness.


Thu Jan 1 20:35:25 PST 1998

Gary...psouza@capecod.net

Someone kindly pointed out that I neglected to leave my email adress with my posting of the "bit about the jungle"
The adress is above. Please forgive.


Thu Jan 1 02:35:40 PST 1998

I'm going to drop my opening page in here to see if it rings any bells. Let me know if it's a snore or a teaser.

The young man wondered if he were truly in a jungle. He was apprehensive about the feel of the ground beneath his feet. Snakes were something he could not command to the background of this thoughts as easily as he would have liked. He could have pondered what kind of snakes he might encounter and what kinds were dangerous and what numbers of them there were but he knew it would be a useless and unnerving excercise, since the only thing he knew about snakes was that he didn't want to see one anywhere near him.

The ground in this part of the jungle--if this was indeed a jungle--was spongy with an unfamiliar, musty smelling biodegrading underpad. The trees were uncommonly tall and formed a dense roof at their collective top that allowed only a weary weak light to the ground below. A light that was so flat that no object was clearly defined. He had no way to judge the lateness of the day because there would be no ponderous sunset, no slowly fading twilight, no lingering nightfall as there might be in the New England suburbia. These stages of transition were all absorbed in the treetops in this place and the arrival of night was marked only by the gradations of this diluted gloom deepening into total darkness. Exsidious and treacherous, the light would sneak away and mock him in his helplessness.

To be caught in this place for even a single night was unthinkable. He knew that he must return at once. With his first step his foot caught the edge of a buttress root at just the point where it began to slip beneath the jungle floor--if it was indeed a jungle. The reactionary pedalling he did to keep from falling was a shock. Adrenaline brought immediacy to the apprehension he was feeling. An array of unfamiliar sensations arose from the depths of atavism and integrated with his consciousness A remnant of a networked set of faculties that had been the primary armor of an ancestry so distantly detached to an imponderable past, had given him, however briefly, the percepts of a crature belonging to a primordial world. He shouted a sound into the deep surrounding forest as he regained his stance; the lexical utterance of the ancient animal from whom he was evolved.


T. M. Spell TMSpell@aol.com Wed Dec 31 17:37:34 PST 1997

ELECTRONIC LIMBO

This is where dead batteries go
blown light bulbs
Christmas toys past
whose flash and buzz now bore
hacker's relic computer
remaindered software bootless and orphaned
AM radios
burnt out toasters
black & white TVs
old plugs dangling wistfully
socketless eternally
outdated cameras
with their shutters whirring
in half-remembered dreams of light.


J. Dishner thewriteone@azhha.org Tue Dec 30 15:42:13 PST 1997

As I sit here at my desk tonight
quietly pondering what to write.
I hear a noise, it startles me.
An idea comes...I'll write a mystery.
But wait! What happens if the hero dies?
A trilogy yet, with several spies.
Perhaps too many gadgets or harsh rivalry
could induce me to write a fantasy.
Oh, I cannot decide on voice, place or diction,
but then I remember there's still science fiction.
If all else fails, or if left up to chance,
the plot could thicken around lofty romance.
No matter in which genre I choose to write,
I am enthralled when I leave my desk tonight.

j. dishner 12/97


Hayden Grayell JLJPetersen@bigpond.com Mon Dec 29 16:14:34 PST 1997

Hi gang...thought I'd share the first chapter of Supplejack which I am working on at the moment. You'll see the kind of things I write. It maybe a bit long for this area but what the hey...


Chapter 1

Iíve always thought that people are like cutlery. After all you utilise those who are specialised, and rely on the others to fill in the odd tasks that donít require a finely engineered implement. The more I think about it the more it seems true, after all, some pieces of cutlery, like some people, are delicate, refined, almost sensual creations; others are nothing more than silver-plated levers unchanged since Neanderthal tribesmen feasted on the mastodon: mere utensils.
Knowing the etiquette of cutlery allows you to understand the people you use. Some individual pieces cut, some prod, some crush the shell to reveal the meat, others scoop out all the sweetness. That was the reason Grendel Corporation used me. They needed a utensil to pin down the roast so they could slice it apart. They chose me from amongst the washed up possibilities and relied on my specialisation to make Bell Corporation look elsewhere.
And even though I had always thought of people as pieces of cutlery, I was oblivious to what Grendel was doing. I was just trying to be myself; and it wasnít easy. Life was dirty dishes and empty rooms and the stale chatter of the PAN when I worked, a banquet of take-away and cold pizza and one too many drinks. I wasnít even aware of the metaphor. But while I became a banquet for Grendel, a feast for their consumption, they become my cutlery as well.
And if I was to choose one moment when it all began to crash around me, when the plates began to tumble from the table and the waiters stood around horror-struck, it would have to have been when SmartGuy first appeared.
He intruded on my life when I was working late at the plant one evening, catching up on strategic planning. The phone warbled and I answered it, expecting Shahn or Kran, but it was an old man who appeared in the room, his grey hair dishevelled and his working smock stained down the front with food. He looked like a bad portrait of Einstein. When he smiled he showed teeth etched and dyed with ancient Celtic symbols. The artist had used green dye and it gave Einstein an even nastier look.
"Jack Dayen," he said.
It wasnít a question and he obviously knew who I was. I didnít deny it. "Last time I looked, yeah."
He sucked on his teeth, smiled a little. "Got a bit of info for ya."
This late at night I didnít want a hawker. "Who the hell are you?"
He grinned greedily. "Not your Fairy God Mother, thatís who. You want the info, or what?"
The screen showed no link ID, no caller address, no time elapsed, no charge register. A call from nowhere. What had I to lose? I wondered. He might tell me how he got around the system. "If you must."
"Itíll cost you."
I sat back in the chair and tapped my fingers together in front of my face. "That, buddy, is the oldest line in the book, " I said to him. "I must have heard that line a million times, and each time they also offered a set of steak knives to go with it. Iím not in the market. If I was Iíd open up a chain of restaurants. At least Iíd have the cutlery."
"You havenít even heard what I have to say!"
"True. And I donít want to. Why donít you go somewhere else? Good-night." I fanned the switch and he whispered out of there on the tail end of static. I rose out of the chair, tried to ignore the feeling that someone else had been in the room and walked around the room reading the latest reports. My silent contemplation was short-lived however because my mobile began throbbing against my side. I didnít have to guess who it was so soon after I had cut the connection to the office phone. This guy was resourceful if nothing else. The phone was a ghost, an unlicensed attachment to the network; he shouldnít know it existed.
I tapped the chin mount and answered it, ready to give the guy a serve, but the screen showed a schematic rather than a face. It looked very familiar; cut crystal pathways and laser nodes. The connection was severed before I could read enough of it to see if it was one I had created myself, though its sequencing was very familiar. The phone rang and I fanned it active. He popped into the room, put his hands on his hips and smiled his green smile. "Interested?"
I sat down in the chair and tossed the reports aside. "In what?"
He scratched his chin. "A personal financial service, shall we say? Mind if I have a seat." He perched on the edge of the table before I could say yes.
I tried to ignore the closeness. "You said you have some information. Now youíre selling a financial service?"
He grinned, raised an eyebrow and rolled his jaw to one side. "Well, itís both. But letís call it a financial service anyway."
"If you must. All right buddy, I donít have to accept anything you say. Letís hear your terms."
"Cheap as all hell, Mr Dayen." He flashed a green smile. "Three million dollars up front, and two percent of all your wealth on close of deal."
How do you react to something like that? "What the hell for?"
Einstein shook his head, still smiling. He stood up and walked halfway across the room before turning to face me. He tucked his arms behind his back and looked down his nose at me. "Oh, thereís no hell in it, Mr Dayen. Itís completely free of hell, and itís simple as pie. I give you a personal service to take away and do what you want with. Air tight. All ends tied together."
Something was definitely screwy, and I wasnít having a bar of it. "Thanks, but no thanks buddy. Iíll call you when the colonel cooks his last chicken. Have a nice day." I fanned for closure .
The projector stayed active, even when I tried twice more. His grinning face watched each move and when I sat back in the chair, he gave a wave. A childís wave. Fingers turning over at the end.
"Donít I wield power, Mr Dayen?" he said, taking to the chair near the door. "Such a surprise, isnít it? I could have cut onto the screen any time I wanted over the past few weeks, and I can keep it open for eternity. If you want to cut me off youíll have to pull the plug; but it will be the worst thing you could do."
That was one thing I hate about holographics, the ease someone has in taking over your personal space. I could see the chair through his chest, but it was still an intrusion I didnít want. I looked up at the security camera in the corner of the room. It was aimed at the wall.
"Donít worry about that, either," he said, seeing the direction of my gaze. "Temporarily out of service. As are all the mikes in the room."
I didnít know whether to believe him, but I could always tell the team I was trying to draw information out of him if things turned nasty. "All right," I said. "Letís get down to business, then."
"Yes, letís." He smoothed out his moustache, tapped away at something on his lapĖmost probably a concealed flexiboard. "Now that this line is as secure as I can make it," he looked over his nose at me, "Iíll let you have it straight. A simple proposition: Iíll give you a completely new life. Iíll take everything youíve got and wipe it clean. All your affairs sorted out, all your money laundered, all your carefully constructed past dumped in the bin. Iíll give you a new family, a new job, a whole new sparkling life. What do you think?"
I sat and took it all in. Life was complicated enough without rearranging it the way he was suggesting. "Why would I want to do that, huh? Iíve got all these plans for a restaurant chain."
"Because it will fit in so nicely with your latest project." He rubbed his chin and waited for me to respond.
I looked at the camera again. Its lens was still and lifeless. "What project?"
He chuckled and nodded as if he was sharing a secret. "Mr Dayen! Letís not waste time. What I donít know, doesnít matter. You are thinking of leaving all this behind. All that money you have investedĖwhat are you doing with such a cache? Look, I will give you twenty-four hours to think it over. If you say yes, I will give you a new set of clothes, a new set of papers, a new set of bank accounts, everything. You walk out of one door, and through another. Iíll even throw in the info on how I got through Flintlockís Gatekeeper."
"For two million dollars?"
"Three million dollars, and two per cent of all the money I handle for you."
"And if I say no?"
He shrugged. "Iíll have to find another client, wonít I?" He disappeared like a phantom lost in the moonlight.


Gary Souza psouza@capecod.net Sun Dec 28 23:04:44 PST 1997

Rob Nugen,

I liked the excerpt from your Thunder Rabbit piece that you posted. I noted that you kept your window of passage very small making it consistent with the hurried pace of the general text. The action adds and builds well and keeps me curious about what I'm reading and what is going to happen.
It seems a good use of general science to create your events. The eclipse, etc. Good work.


Jerry Ryan lolatime@prodigy.com Mon Dec 22 05:00:27 PST 1997

It's not that I hate Christmas. Year after year, the period from Thanksgiving to New Years is chock full of emotional landmines. I stumble upon each of them. My wounded remains keep lurching forward toward January.If there is a God, this is a prayer. Please let my family survive another holiday.


ye zhang zhang.ye@mailexcite.com Thu Dec 18 18:59:44 PST 1997

I feel lonely and outdrifted. Am I special


Sun Dec 14 01:56:59 PST 1997


jaye lisarich@eisa.net.au Fri Dec 12 02:40:30 PST 1997

Hi Everyone :Just a note to ask if any of you have read my poem called "Mummy Says I Love you" . I was just wondering what you all thought of it please let me know ok .Ooh by the way the above e-mail address is the right one l put in the wrong address with my poem .It was a typo sorry .Well thanks bye All Jaye


jaye liarich@eisa.net.au Thu Dec 11 11:42:05 PST 1997

Mummy says I love you
Goodbye my babies
Your soft touch never felt
Your gentle cries never heard
I love you
Even though your lives never were
You are my babies
I saw you as the waltz in your daddy's eye
I begged for you all to listen to your mothers voice
And fight for the right to walk this earth
Alas it was not meant to be. I know you tried your darnest
One day we will walk together in gods garden
When I can at last put my arms around you and say
Your mummy loves you


jaye lisarich@eisa.net.au Thu Dec 11 04:02:19 PST 1997

Mummy Says l love you By Jaye Goodbye my babies Your soft touch never felt Your gentle cries never heard I love you Even though your lives never were You are my babies I saw you as the waltz in your daddies eye I begged you all to listen to your mothers voice And fight for theright to walk this earth Alas it was not meant to be,Iknow you tried your darnest One day we will walk together in gods garden When I can at last put my arms around you and say Your Mummy loves you


joan rhodda@montana.com Fri Dec 5 04:23:18 PST 1997

Hi all--I tried this post the other day and it wouldn't fly, so I'll try is again. I'm (obviously) not a poet, but sometimes feel moved to write some anyway. Here's a Christmas rhyme---please give me your criticisms.

One Christmas eve at half past ten
we sat and listened to the wind;
then, grabbing hat and gloves, we went
into the night that winter sent.

We trekked along the rutted road,
our scarves pulled tight against the cold,
until the moon burned high and bright
and showed the passage of the night.

We could have stopped but wandered still,
and traveled over break and hill.
At home the fire burned low . . . but still
we had to see beyond the hill.

Glove to glove we breathed the cold.
The sky hung black but speckled gold.
We wondered--were the stars so bright
those days of old, that clear cold night?
It seems a vague and distant thing--
the night that brought the newborn king.
But shepherds roam the deserts still
and traverse over break and hill;
and wise men yet search for the key
that unlocks our eternity.

The same stars shine down now as then
and when the winter wind howls in
we think of gifts from three wisemen
brought to a babe who lay asleep
amid the sighing of the sheep.

. . . We turned and traveled home again
before we reached the long road's end--
Home, where children sleeping lay
dreaming, dreaming Christmas day.

Outside the stars surround the earth
that housed the manger of His birth.
Once wisemen walked beneath a star
and trod a road that led them far,
just like the road we traveled on,
and found their King before the dawn.

jr 12/93


Rob Nugen thunderrabbit@cheerful.com http://www.thunderrabbit.com Wed Dec 3 12:39:10 PST 1997

This is one bit of a story that's on my webpage.

-----------------------------------------------------

Scout Seven raced around the monolith behind which Thunder Rabbit had just scampered. "You're not as fast as you think, Rabbit!" Scout yelled to his dearest friend.

"Oh yeah??" Thunder stepped on it, so to speak, and added an extra 30 feet between him and Scout. "*Now* who's fastest, you clunky alien??"

"That does it, Thunder!" Scout wasn't *quite* as physically adept as Thunder, but he could beat him in chess. "Bishop to Queen two! Check!"

Thunder bounded up the rocky hill to the smooth marble floor that had been laid thousands of years before. This surface was their holy ground, eternal, silent, yet somewhat more comforting than one might imagine a marble floor could be. Plus it offered a great view of their forest. The most unusual aspect of The Ground, as they called it, was that the arrangement of tiles made a chessboard, each cut precisely square, approximately four feet on a side. When they discovered it some 8 years ago, Thunder had taught Scout how to play chess, using themselves and various logs as the pieces. Now they played games continuously in their minds, sometimes acting out the more interesting games on The Ground.

Right now, however, Thunder was more interested in winning their obstacle course race. He had done 28 of 50 pushups before Scout had even made it up the hill. "Bishop to Queen two?" Suddenly his eyes widened. "Bishop to Queen two! Good move, Scout."

Scout had done 15 pushups by the time Thunder started the situps. "Hey Thunder?"

"I'm thinking!" he puffed.

"Thunder! Come look at the tile where you should have put your rook."

Scout had stopped his pushups and was examining the floor.

"You're serious." Thunder sat up.

"Yeah- come check this out. There's a crack between these two tiles."

Over the years, Thunder and Scout had played, wrestled, fought, danced, screamed, laughed, belched, camped, and done just about any other activity imaginable on The Ground, the makers of which they never knew. They did know, however, that there were no cracks between the tiles.

"A crack? What?!?"

"A crack..it's not very wide, but.." Scout looked around at the horizon. "Thunder? What time is it?"

"Lunchtime." Thunder suddenly noted the sky was much darker than it should be during lunch.

They looked toward the sun, which appeared quite normal. Thunder accidentally looked at the sun.

"Ow!" Thunder squeezed his eyes shut. "Hey- it's an eclipse."

"How do you know?"

"The spot I see when I close my eyes is a crecent shape."

"Cool."

Thunder jerked his head back toward the tile. "Did you hear that?"

"No, but I felt it." Scout had lept from the tile, which now sat imperceptively lower than its neighbors. "The tile moved."

"So did you," Thunder grinned.

As the sky grew darker, the forest animals tucked themselves into bed, and the tile stealthily whispered its way below the others. Scout and Thunder watched in stunned amazement.

"I *told* you there had to be something under this hill!" they exclaimed in unison.

The tile had lowered fully five inches before the umbral shadow raced across the plain toward them. The shadow captured the hill precisely when the hole opened, issuing a faintly salty breath of air.

"Holy moley, Thunder. These tiles are six inches thick!"

"Scout, the heavens have turned black, the world has moved beneath your feet, and you're measuring tile?"

"You're the one who had always wondered."

"Now I'm wondering how long a full eclipse lasts."

"On Earth, never more than 7 minutes, why?"

"Scout. The hole opened precisely as the umbra reached The Ground. and I bet it will close precisely as the umbra leaves. That gives us maybe 3 minutes until this tile is fully opened."

"I'm with you."

"So *obviously* that means we have like 30 seconds to decide if..."

"No, I'm *with* you," Scout interrupted. "I'm going in with you."

At the same moment, Scout and Thunder looked up from the hole into each other's eyes. Years of growing, living, learning, playing filled their minds as they recognized that within the next 3 minutes their lives may change forever.


Return to forwriters.com or Writers Notebook