The now familiar beep of the monitors was relaxing to the man handcuffed to the bed. Jacob John Wesley, the ‘Ghost’ had been groggily coming in and out of consciousness for a few hours, feeling agonizing pain throughout his body until the next injection of pain killers.
He had been confused the first few times he had opened his eyes, not knowing where he was or how he got there. The chase and the resultant wreck finally started working its way though the haze that was his memory at the moment. The realization that he was in a hospital and that he had been apprehended had finally sunk in with the glimpse of the deputy guarding him outside his room.
Coming to grips with his current situation, an insight had occurred to him through the pain and the haze. Yes, he was caught, but he was still famous, people would want to know his thoughts, books would be written, movies made. The ‘Ghost’ was still here, and he was the ‘Ghost’.
A smile spread on his lips through the pain, true happiness seeming to be achieved in his life.
A nurse enters the room carrying a tray. Through half opened eyes he sees a shapely blond woman in a short white nurse’s uniform and tortoise shell glasses. She is turned away, filling a syringe from a bottle. He notices her tight ass in the white dress and wishes he could say something snide as she turns around and gives him a big smile.
“Time for your pain shot, Mr. Wesley” she said in a southern draw, her nametag revealing her name to be ‘Jasmine’. “This will fix you right up.”
‘Jasmine? It’s her!’ He thought to himself, ‘his mentor’. Thumping the needle to clear the air, she inserts it in the IV and slowly pushes the contents into the line, taking the empty hypodermic and laying it again on the tray across the room.
Coming back to the side of the bed, she smiles down on him now, informing him that “It shouldn’t be long now before the desired effects take hold.”
Still smiling, she leans down close to his face, suddenly talking close to his ear in the now familiar raspy whisper, “You should have listened to me, Mr. Wesley; you should have listened to me.”
Standing up again and still smiling, she turns to leave the room. “You all have a nice day now.”
Wesley is now confused, ‘what did she mean by that’ he wonders. The initial confusion is quickly replaced by a searing pain radiating from his arm, then traveling throughout his body. A scream formed in his throat as he tried to open his mouth to release it, but neither the scream nor the pain would exit his body.
It felt like his veins were burning with acid as his eyes now opened wide. There was a darkness creeping into his vision that seemed alive as it quickly moved around the room. While he helplessly watched its progress, the darkness moved closer and started to envelop him, like tentacles attaching to his soul. Before the last breath escapes his lungs, he is staring into the face of his fate; two red eye-like slits stare at him from inches away as screams of a thousand souls enter his head.
“Welcome,” the apparition says, the tentacles pulling the soul from his body as his screams join the others in eternal pain.
So, what if you finally got that book started you always wanted to write. You've scrunched up your nerve, laid out some characters; you’ve got the gist of your story in your head. You turn on the computer, bring up a nice fresh word document…and start writing.
The words start coming, maybe slowly at first, but they come. Before you know it, you’ve got ten pages!
You show them to your family, and anxiously await their response, knowing they will follow you in ecstasy at the words written on your paper.
That’s your dream word trying to peak its head into your real world. In the real world, you probably don’t show anybody, you’re just not quite ready to reveal yourself yet. You know at some point you will have to bring it up, before they think you’re into internet porn or something.
So you buckle down, writing words on the screen. You reread your story from the beginning. You smile, “some of this crap is pretty good!”
Now you are on a roll, and pretty soon you have thirty pages, then thirty chapters, then…you can’t get up one morning.
Something’s not right. You can’t put your finger on it yet…probably just the flu.
After a couple of days you feel like getting back to it and you start putting words on the screen again, another ten pages…damn! You’re rolling now!
You do get up the next day, but again there is something wrong.
You decide to go to a doctor, who sends you to a specialist, who him-haws around for a few weeks while sending you to get every test known to man. Meanwhile, your book sits on the computer…waiting.
You get to it every once in awhile, but you get less done, and it takes more effort.
You go back to the doc, who clinically gives you the news, lower then average survival, really rare, sorry…
You are devastated. You can’t do anything for days, then there is family stuff, procedures and more tests.
You slowly walk to the computer one day; it’s one of your good days you think as the cane clicks on the floor beside you. You are determined to finish your book, the great American Novel.
You peck around for awhile, then take a break, returning a week later to do some more, the next week, more.
You’re almost half way done, you are happy about that, as happy as you can be through the pain.
And then…you’re gone.
Her name was Lorna Lynne Kreimer, and she has the start of a great book…with no ending in sight. It was not to be for me to get to know Lorna, but I know her husband from work. One day we were discussing my foray into the writing word, and he told me her story. Asking if he found all of the files, if I would look at it, maybe it could be finished some way.
The book was good, kind of a paranormal/mystery mixed with murder. I read, excited to maybe be a part of this story, to help finish what Lorna started. I was excited, until I got to the end.
It stopped at the worst possible place. All of the beginning is laid out, all of the mysteries introduced, but not a clue how she wanted it to finish.
I emailed my friend Jack, asking him if there was anything else, an outline, anything? After checking all of his hard drives, he confirmed that there was nothing else. So the book could be anything I wanted it to be.
I had expected to have to build on her work, but not this much.
I am committed to finishing this…someday. But it will be awhile before I can. So I have done a couple of things: I have put the work as is on Smashwords for anyone to look at, and I have offered any writer the chance to help finish the book.
If anyone has an idea and wants to work on it, even part of it, just let me know. There is also editing needed on the original part of the book, mostly formatting, there were not even chapters when I started on it.
It’s a long shot that anyone will be interested I know. But I am committed to this story, to this lady that started her dream but couldn’t finish it in time.
I’ve called it ‘The Total December Experiment’, named for the file it was in on her computer
Anyone that contributes, including editing, will get equal billing on the finished product. It could be a relativity easy way for someone to add a work to their stable.
And I have to ask one more time, for Lorna….what if you started your book…
Opening my eyes, I am staring at the night stars through a small rip in the canvas over my head. Checking my watch, I am unsurprised at the time displayed there, 5:30 AM.
It had been over a year since I had experienced the once frequent dreams, the night before having been the first time. They had been instrumental in giving me clues leading to the solution of a case last year, The Ghost Murders, my last case. Now the visions had returned, the meaning as usual unclear, but the implications ominous to my mind nonetheless.
I drag myself off the blanket that is my bed, grabbing my small bag and a canteen; I head toward the latrine to get that out of the way before it gets busy. When I finish my business I take a small swig of water and brush my teeth, finishing with another swig to rinse. It will be the only time I can brush today due to the constant shortage of clean water, and I take a moment to enjoy the feeling of clean teeth.
It is growing light out so I head back to my tent and grab my journal. Breakfast is an hour away, and I wanted to sketch one of my finds of the previous day before the actual work of the day gets started. Traveling down a dusty rock-strewn path, I came to one of the Nazca mud brick tombs that we had been working on yesterday.
Most of our finds to this point had been mummified remains, but yesterday I had stumbled onto a partial burial. These were typically bundles of bones wrapped in colorful woven and embroidered textiles, the dry climate of the desert helping to almost perfectly preserve the cloth for hundreds of years.
This particular tomb had also included a head jar, which is what I was here to sketch. These were vessels sometimes used in place of the head, the real head having probably been removed for some ceremonial reason.
Head jars typically have a human head or skull painted on the exterior, along with trees and plants sprouting out of the orifices of the depiction. This was my first, and I wanted to record the intriguing image in my grandfather’s journal.
The book was getting full, what with his original drawings and notes, as well as my drawings and letters to my wife. I had promised to write her every day and I had been true to my word up to this point.
The sun had just crept over a rise in front of me and reflected off of the ring on my finger, blinding me for a second as the glint caught my eye. I stopped drawing and held my hand out in front of my face as I had done at least once a day since I had arrived.
My heart grew heavy momentarily as I looked upon the remnants of my marriage, my past life. My darling Betty had been shot in cold blood over a year ago now, the memory still painful to my mind every time I let myself think of it. The only satisfaction I received was the final bullet I put between the eyes of her murderer, an honor I would gladly exchange for one more conversation with my love.
I had months ago signed on for another year at the dig, finding the investigation of long dead peoples preferable to that of the recently murdered. I’m not sure I can ever go back, everything at home would remind me of my loss, the pain that pierces my heart daily even here.
A shadow falls over me, the outline of a man with a brimmed hat filling the hole I was standing in.
“Good morning Julien,” I say as I get back to my drawing.
“Good morning my friend,” Professor Julien Taylor exclaims with a smile.
He had only recently returned from the states, having taken a couple of months off to write and relax from the dig. I had remained during that time, watching over the dig with two local men while the others were away.
Diego and Amaro were both hard working natives, and we communicated well enough using a combination of some Spanish and Quechua I had picked up along the way. I had also taught them some English to help fill in the blanks in our communication, counting them now as friends, along with the man now standing before me.
Julien Taylor is the leader of our archeological dig. At 5’5” and 190 lbs. he was almost as wide as he was tall, how he keeps his girlish figure with the amount of work he does and in this heat is beyond me. At 78 years of age, he has more energy then most people I have known half his age.
“You always look so sad and withdrawn,” he remarks with a less enthusiastic smile now on his face. “You’re affecting the rest of the crew in a negative way I’m afraid.”
My turn to smile now “so I guess you want me to quit?”
Sitting down on a large rock, he answers “no my dear boy, I gather that wouldn’t help, but I do wish there was a way I could aid you with your pain”.
My mouth draws tight, regretting that my hurt would involve others. “I’m sorry Julien, for any problems that land on your shoulders due to my situation. If it ever gets too much, just let me know, I don’t want to be a problem.”
“Heavens no lad, you have a place here for as long as you need to be here, or until we run out of work. I believe I’ve mentioned before that you were born to this work my friend, it’s a damn shame you started so late in your life. I’m still not convinced however that this is where you need to be right now, I believe this is merely a convenient place for you to hide from the world.”
“Thanks for your concern professor,” I say as I get back to my drawing, “but I think this is exactly where I need to be right now.”
A thoughtful look crossed Julien’s face then, a worried one.
“Would you mind a little advice from an old man Gabriel?”
I stopped my drawing, thinking I probably didn’t want any of his parental guidance at the moment, but nodding my head anyway.
“Look around you; you are surrounded by a population that has been buried in this ground for hundreds of years. We carefully unearth their graves, study them, make sketches and take pictures, all in the name of science. We catalogue their belongings, assign numbers to them as identification, and sometimes give them nicknames.
When we are through with that process they get reburied or moved or displayed, and then we put the information in a book and put it on the shelf.”
“We pry into every facet of their lives that we can think of to look at. And yet, we really know nothing of them. Most of these people had loves and heartaches, friends and enemies, hopes and fears. There are a myriad of emotions and relationships that existed with these inhabitants that we will never be able to imagine, and certainly not know with any amount of certainty. And yet my dear boy, we can be certain beyond a doubt that they experienced these very emotions.”
Standing now, he takes his hat off, pulling a handkerchief out of his pocket and drying the brim before reinstalling the chupalla straw hat back on his head.
Not even 7:00 and already the heat was intolerable. The professor clasps his hands behind his back, pacing a few steps back and forth amongst the rocks, looking for the words to finish his paternal advice.
Stopping his pacing now, he looks down on me with wisdom and concern.
“What I am trying to communicate to you lad, is that we only inhabit this earth for a short while. We all make our mark on this world, some with great fanfare and some only by filling a hole in the ground.”
“You found a great love in a woman who longer exists on this world, and no one else on this planet can really know what that means to you. But you found real love my lad, and real love never ends, it continues on when this world is but a distant memory in one’s mind.”
“What you need to come to terms with Gabriel, is that until you are again reunited with your lovely angel, what kind of mark are you going to leave on this world from here on out?”
“Are you going to do something with the time you have left, or are you just going to fill a hole in the end. A thousand years from now, people who dig us up may not know or care what we did with our lives, but how we live our lives needs to matter while we are here…to us.”
“Do something important to you my son, make a difference while you can, don’t waste your life standing still.”
“You can stick around as long as you like, but it won’t bring her back to you by marking your time here Gabriel. Hiding from your world just gives you an excuse to avoid living.”
I feel a tear run down my cheek as Julien’s speech hits a nerve, and my heart. But what do I have to go back to in my world? An empty house? A job I’m not sure I have the stomach for anymore?
I hear Julien walking off, mumbling something under his breath. Following his progress, I notice a boy riding a burro up the path. Stopping in front of Julien, he hands the older man an envelope before turning his burro around and heading back towards town. The professor looks down at the letter, then turns back towards me and returns to the tomb.
“Telegram for you Gabriel,” he says with concern as he hands me the envelope.
I have a confused look as I take the yellow envelope, puzzled as to who would send me a telegram. I had been in sporadic touch with a few people during my time here, but that had all been accomplished using the mail system.
Opening the envelope, I unfold the paper and begin reading the short message. My blood runs cold as I finish reading the note, rereading it quickly once more to be absolutely sure that I read it correctly.
I let the paper fall out of my hand as the words sink in with finality, a cold finality that I had hoped to never again experience.
Julien looks upon my face with much concern, then reaching down he picks up the note and reads it himself. A look of anguish crosses his face as he steps closer, putting his hand on my shoulder and muttering “Gabriel my son, I am so sorry.”
I look over at my mentor, he again hands me the yellowed paper and I read the words numbly one more time.
GABRIEL CELTIC STOP (Name Withheld) MURDERED STOP NEED HELP STOP ALLEN
John Sanford’s ‘Invisible Prey’ is the 17th installment of his Lucas Davenport series…17th!
Wow, I can’t imagine, I’m only on my second book of my 1st series.
Anyway, you can’t write 17 books about the same character without doing something right. Mr. Sanford has again shown that he has the skills to get this accomplished. The synopsis of the story:
In the richest neighborhood of Minneapolis, two elderly women lie murdered in their home, killed with a pipe, the rooms tossed, only small items stolen. It is clearly the random work of someone looking for money to buy drugs. But as Davenport looks more closely, he begins to wonder whether the items are actually so small and the victims so random-if there might not be some invisible agenda at work here. Gradually, a pattern begins to emerge, and it leads him to . . . certainly nothing he ever expected. Which is too bad, because the killers-and, yes, there is more than one of them-the killers are expecting him. Brilliantly suspenseful, filled with rich characterization and exciting drama, Invisible Prey is further proof that Sanford is in a class of his own
As far as I can remember, this is my first reading in the Lucas Davenport series, but it will not be the last. The story of the series of murders that now plague the Twin Cities is well thought out and complete. The characters are believable, with what I think are just the right amount of deviant personality traits within Davenport’s own investigators to make it personable and enjoyable.
I of course wish I had started earlier in the series. Even though the main characters were introduced to the reader when they appeared, I would get lost with some of them as I read through, a common problem when one starts in the middle or the end of a series.
There are parts of every investigation, both fictional as well as real, that I like to call ‘The Long Boring Parts Between the Action’ when I am writing. These are the parts of an investigation when the investigator is reading through files or making notes while trying to find a hidden clue or a thread between different crimes. In Invisible Prey, these scenes were laid out efficiently and interestingly, and were not the “anchor around the neck” that some readers find them in other books. To me, this is a very good indication to me of successful writing in this genre, and not an easy piece of writing to pull off, believe me.
The action of the crimes and the subsequent investigation were well laid out, easily keeping your interest with the deviousness of the criminals and the tenacity of Lucas. Add in the sometimes almost slapstick antics and down-home outlook of the investigators and you end up with a real and thought provoking story.
As a new writer in this genre, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to anyone who loves crime/mystery novels.
Sometimes I feel like I’m a Hobbit, living in a hole in the ground, but I only recently learned about Flash Fiction. Imagine my surprise when I learned that it has roots going as far back as Aesop's Fables.
No one tells me anything!
My take on this type of writing, you tell the whole story in a few words, one short story, or what I would consider a chapter. Direct and to the point, no worries about what came before or after…well, maybe a little.
I like it!
Garden Summerland has grasped this concept and run with it. Her anthologyis a collection of twenty-two flash fiction stories of several different genres; light horror, romance, paranormal & crime, showcasing several of her previously published works, as well as several of her new stories.
If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be…PASSION!
This book keenly captures the emotions of the human experience. People are in anguish, some in love, and of course there is hatred. Others are just scared, while others, diabolical. Believe me, capturing and communicating these emotions believingly on paper is a gargantuan task, but Garden has done it with seeming ease.
This book is a roller coaster of emotions as you delve into the darker side of all of us, a side we don’t always want to acknowledge. You feel the hurt and anguish of an unfettered, yet unfulfilled love, the maddening demons that drive us to revenge, and the horror of the outcome.
You feel the prison of a deranged mind, suggesting to you things that you abhor, yet following through on command like a robot is unavoidable, feeding the obsession, a never ending cycle banging in your head. Passion and desire fill your senses, the touch of your lover at once demanding, yet gentle.
Plus, there are vampires… and angels!
I think it is good to veer out of you normal read once in awhile, out of your comfort zone. One gets stuck in a routine that I believe, as a writer, or a reader, can make you stale. ‘Flash Fiction Addiction’ certainly awakened my mind to the all encompassing, sometimes devastating, emotions that are in all of us.
Garden Summerland has uniquely captured the essence of these emotions in her first published volume. It is a must read for anyone that wants to explore the passion of the human soul.
Moans filled the room as they both felt the release of an orgasm simultaneously. After a few moments, Gabby crawled down off of Nate and laid on her belly beside him, the dew of lovemaking glistening on her back and ass. She felt wonderful…and out of breath.
She sensed Nate’s hand fall beside her onto the bed, then start caressing her back.
“Wow,” he said with a hoarse voice, “that was fantastic, you’re an animal!”
She smiled, reaching over with her hand, patting his face twice.
“You’re not so bad yourself,” she whispered as she rose up to kiss him on the lips before rolling over on her back.
Nate’s hand again found its way to her body, this time starting on her belly and ending up on her small breast, lovingly fondling her nipple.
“You’ve been off your game for the last couple of weeks, good to see you enjoy yourself for a change,” Nate mentioned as he rolled onto his side and moved his hand to the far breast.
“I had a good day,” Gabby moaned, putting her hand on his, “well, a productive day.”
Pulling his hand off her breast, she turned to face him.
“What I meant to say was, I’m sorry about that poor man that was murdered, but I feel like I made a difference today, and Gabe was amazing!”
“I’m getting a little concerned with your fascination with this Gabe fellow. I didn’t know you preferred older men.”
Smiling, she pushed his shoulder over and crawled up on his chest, looking him in the face. “Nothing like that studly,” she murmured into his lips. “He’s just a really interesting guy; you’ll see when you get to meet him.”
“Speaking of interesting,” Nate started, pulling away just a little, “I find it interesting that you go to South America for vacation for a week, and come back with him on the same plane?”
Gabby rolled off and got out of bed, wrapping a towel around herself, agitated. “I met him at the airport, I told you that,” she said over her shoulder as she walked out of the room.
“Hey wait! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean anything by it… where you going?”
Silence was followed a few moments later by “in the kitchen, sex makes me hungry.”
He heard the refrigerator door shut, and then Gabby re-entered the room, licking on a huge spoon loaded with ice-cream.
“Hey! Don’t bring that messy stuff into this bed, it’ll get on everything!”
“It’s my bed ace,” Gabby said, propping herself on the pillow at the head of the bed as she continued to lick the spoon greedily.
“Sides, a little ice cream never killed anybody.”
Finishing with the dessert, she looked down at the melted cream left in the spoon.
“Whatever shall I do with the leftover messy stuff now?”
Before Nate could answer, she scooted down and started dribbling the cream on his belly, and lower. He was becoming hard again, and she hadn’t done anything…yet.
Giggling at his moans, she leaned over and started slowly licking his belly, working her way down.
“Like I said,” she mumbled between licks, “a little ice cream never killed anybody.”