The Adventures of Gabriel Celtic

The Adventures of Gabriel Celtic

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Just Sharing Alexia Purdy's Amazing 5-Star Review of Murder! Too Close To Home

Gabriel Celtic, an amazing detective trying to solve a spree of horrendous murders that have taken over his town. Extremely dedicated to his cause, he and his partner Frank search for clues to apprehend a new serial killer whose madness is closer to home than anyone thinks. I enjoyed this murder mystery, it had so many twists and suspects I thought I would start biting my nails wondering what was going to happen next. The suspense kept my heart in heart attack mode with the violence and horror of it all!!! Great detective work, determination and some superpowers of his own made Gabriel Celtic an amazing hero. Very well written, intriguing and kept me turning the page. J.T. Lewis' story telling is fluidly smooth and entices you to enter a world that could easily be our own and fills you with the terror of how real it very well could be. Loved it!


http://www.amazon.com/review/RVYKZ8HYF0M9N/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_asr_Gv77D.1502EYJ

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Betty, Part of the back-story of Gabriel Celtic's Adventures

Betty

By
JT Lewis
Copyright 2012 JT Lewis


We met over the files of a drug bust. You see Betty was a cop, a sergeant actually. She had made the case for the bust to her Chief after doing extensive leg work, some of it on her own time. I was looking over the case for the prosecutor, but was having a hard time keeping my thoughts on the files. Besides being a knockout, she was smart and dedicated with an uncanny knowledge of the details pertaining to the workings of the busted drug ring.
After finally getting through the files on the case, we separated and went back to our respective jobs. Although I went back to the same office, with the same desk, the same files and the same cases, my life would never be the same.
Over the next year and a half, Betty and I saw each other frequently, doing the dance between being professional friends…and something else. What else it could be was quite limited it seemed, as she was married.
For my part, I made myself available to be on her radar every chance I got. If we needed a file from the department I would volunteer to go pick it up. If I saw her out at a restaurant on break I would suddenly feel hungry or in need of a coffee. She always greeted me with those blue eyes, eyes that shined with intelligence and friendliness. I didn’t classify myself as stalking her, but there could be an argument made that I was in effect doing just that.
But who has time for arguments.
For her part, she seemed to be making an effort to keep in touch with me also. Most calls to the prosecutor were directed to my extension even though any one of the other investigators would do just as well. Meetings would be scheduled over coffee at one of the local coffee houses; after all, did we really need to be in an office to discuss most of these routine cases?
***
I did get to spend some time with her however at a Christmas party she held, and was amazed yet again how comfortable I felt around her. As the party wound down she pulled me aside and asked if we could meet for coffee some time before Christmas. I readily agreed and we set a time and place two days later.
I had wanted to give her a Christmas present, but had not a clue as to what she needed or may want. While attending her party I noticed that her Christmas tree was predominantly covered with angels, so I determined to get her an angel unlike any she had ever seen.
Over the next two days I spent my off time running store to store doing my Christmas shopping. Throughout this time I kept my eyes open for any unique angel ornament or figurine that I might surprise her with, but found none that seemed to scream ‘I’m the one!’
Three hours before I was to meet her I still did not have the present that I thought she should have. As I thought about my predicament I began to wonder if I could make something that would do.
As a young man, I had worked with my dad as an electrician. Occasionally on breaks and during lunch, I would take scrap wire and twist it into interesting figures of animals, and even humorous renditions of some of my coworkers.
“Had it really come to this?” I thought to myself when I finally came to the conclusion to make her an ornament…out of scrap wire!
“Wow factor will really be working for you tonight,” I thought dejectedly, if only I had spent more time at the mall…
As I set about finding the wire and tools needed to make my gift, I was filled with the foreboding of someone that was looking down the hall as his last meal approached.
You know you want to eat it, even though in doing so, it spells your end.
 She would surely look upon this cheap gift as a frail afterthought on my part, a gift coming from someone that had given so little thought to her gift that all he could come up with was a wire angel.
As this thought rolled around in my head, I continued to work on my creation, determined to make it the best that I could. After all, she probably wasn’t expecting anything from me anyway as we were just casual friends. Finishing up my project, I determined that it wasn’t half bad, and had I had more time I may have been able to do a little better.
I found a gift box to put it in and went to get cleaned up for the meeting. On the trip to the coffee shop I cleared my mind of doubts (Rule #4) and tried to take a positive attitude about my little present. While I was certainly in the mode of trying to impress her, our relationship to this point was based on mutual friendship, and I was more then likely putting too much pressure on myself.
When I arrived 10 minutes early Betty was already there, eyes bright and a huge smile on her face. As we sat across from each other over our coffees, we fell right into our normal comfortable banter about just about everything.
God, she was wonderful to be with.
I had completely forgotten about my gift until it fell out of my coat pocket and hit the floor with just the slightest metallic ‘twang’.
As I picked it up and sheepishly handed it to her, I told her that it was just a little something that I had whipped up for her for Christmas. As she opened the package I was surprised that the palms of my hands were sweating, my throat was dry and I was light headed.
What was this all about? I had been shot at in the line of duty, and had apprehended and hand-cuffed men twice my size without having a reaction anywhere close to what I was now experiencing.
As I was mulling this over she got the box open and a huge smile crossed her face as she admired her gift.
“I love it!” she exclaimed as she inspected my little gift, explaining that she had really never had anyone build her anything before for a present. I could tell by the glow on her face that she was being truthful, and that she did really like my effort at a Christmas ornament. Leaning quickly over the table, she planted a kiss on my cheek.
Now I too felt a glow inside.
Slight concern seemed to pass over her face, telling me her gift wasn’t near as thoughtful. As she handed me a gift wrapped box I was overwhelmed, having given no thought to receiving a gift from her. I quickly opened the package, which revealed one of the most perfect gifts I would ever get.
Having been on more than a few crime scenes with her, I was forever looking for my flashlight, having either left it in the car or at the office. She had noticed and had found a little flashlight and holder that clipped to my leather shoulder holster.
It was the perfect gift, and I thanked her with a warm smile.
As we left our little party, we embraced in a hug, whispering Merry Christmas to each other in the process. As I drove home, I was both thrilled at the way we seemed to mesh with each other, as well as a little sad at my sudden realization that as “friends” this would be the extent of our relationship moving forward.
“Buck it up Gabriel,” I thought, as I reminded myself that this was a very good relationship, better then any I had ever had save for with Clair. If this is what I had to endure to keep a great friend like Betty, then that’s what I would do. Overall, I determined it had been a great Christmas.

Over the next several months we saw each other often, each of us seemingly working to make sure we could get together at least a couple of times a week. Sometimes she would spend most of this time airing her tales of her ongoing divorce story, while at other times we would talk of anything but. We became fast friends and enjoyed each others company immensely. 
About this time I had seen an ad for a traveling antique show coming to town the next Sunday. Knowing she loved antiques, I mentioned this to her and suggested that we go together. She agreed that it was a great idea but wanted to get there early so she didn’t miss any good deals. I agreed to pick her up at her apartment at 6:00 Sunday morning and to bring a thermos of coffee with me.

It was early October and Sunday morning dawned a bright but cool morning, the first real jacket day of the year. Betty met me at the car wearing a jacket, jeans and tiny little work boots (she had the smallest feat of any woman I knew).  She suggested we take her Jeep for our jaunt as it was perfect weather for it, and I agreed wholeheartedly (there is nothing sexier then a pretty girl in a Jeep). We drove to the fairgrounds, sipping on my hot and hearty brew as we walked around for a couple of hours investigating the various treasures displayed. We had a great time looking at antique glass and boxes which were her passion, and some old tools that interested me a bit. Betty found a couple of pieces of glass she liked and bought these for her collection.
After a time I realized that my stomach was growling and that I had not eaten yet that day. I asked if she had any interest in breakfast and she admitted that she was getting hungry also. I recommended Leo’s for the best breakfast in town; she had never been there but had always wanted to try it.
We got in the Jeep and drove to the restaurant, where we enjoyed a lovely meal of eggs and biscuits and gravy. We stayed for an hour filling up on free refills and talking about just about everything. Afterword we returned to the antique show and spent another couple of hours shopping for deals.
 It was starting to cloud up by the time we left, a small cause for concern since there was no top on the Jeep. Betty didn’t seem concerned in the least, asking if I would like to take a ride through a local state park. I readily agreed and we spent a long time driving the various roads throughout the park. She regaled me with stories of Sundays long ago when her dad would take the family for picnics and exploring the trails. From various other discussions I had had with Betty over the preceding months I knew that most of her early family life was anything but normal. Both of her parents had experienced problems with alcohol periodically, leading to job loss and some serious mental abuse of their kids. Her subsequent focusing on the one happy normal activity of her childhood was more then understandable, and more then a little sad.
Realizing I was getting hungry again, I suggested we pick up some sandwiches, to which she wholeheartedly agreed. We drove by Lenny’s and picked up a couple of Stromboli’s and headed back out. I asked her where she would like to eat and she just smiled and told me she had the perfect place in mind, if I could trust her to make the decision. I had enjoyed every minute of the day so far and could think of nothing I would like better, and told her so.
It took about a half an hour of traveling, leading to a one lane gravel drive with trees and brush scraping the side of the Jeep as we inched along. I was definitely intrigued and Betty had an ear-to-ear grin going on so I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. The gravel drive had disintegrated into a dirt cart path by this time and my interest in our destination increased with every yard we traversed. The brush finally gave way to an open hay field, and there was an old barn on the property with the grey weathered siding mostly intact.
She pulled up to the barn, shutting off the jeep and asking me what I thought of her farm. In all of our conversations, I didn’t think she had ever told me about owning a farm.
She said a girl should always have a few secrets. Her and her ex had bought it on land contract a few years ago, but he had long ago lost interest in it. Since he wouldn’t come with her, she very seldom came out, and they had agreed to give it up due to their divorce. She had decided this was the perfect opportunity to come see it one last time with me, since I was a captive audience.
Pulling a blanket out of the back of the Jeep, we took our food and walked to an idyllic spot under a big oak tree at the end of a meadow about a hundred yards from the barn. She spread out the blanket and we sat down to a wonderful lunch of Stromboli sandwiches and a bottle of wine that had mysteriously appeared out of the blanket. Minutes turned into hours but seemed like seconds as we whiled away the afternoon drinking wine out of paper cups and talking about everything; although I doubt I could relate to anyone exactly what we did talk about.
Throughout the afternoon the sky had continued to build its crescendo of dark grey and blue clouds in its unrelenting effort to grow itself into a hell of a storm. For our part we barely noticed as our conversations melded from one to another as in a symphony composed by collaborators on a deadline. Eventually we almost simultaneously became aware that something was happening; immediately stopping our conversation as we found ourselves looking up into the sky.
We were staring up into the tree as the lightning struck it full force; seeming to attach itself to the uppermost tip and work its way down to the trunk in slow motion. In what seemed to take minutes, the lightning danced down the tree while pieces of the bark were being blown off, the whole show culminating in a huge explosion of dirt and bits of wood as it finally went to ground.
Momentarily stunned by the show of light and sound, we came around as we were showered with the remnants of the explosion; immediately followed by a downpour of cold, wet rain. Quickly we grabbed up our stuff and took off on a dead run for the barn. We found ourselves yelling to be able to hear each other, our ears ringing from the explosive force of the lightning. My heart was beating a thousand beats a minute as we entered the barn laughing.
The next few moments were spent catching our breath and nervously laughing at how close we had come to death. When our breathing returned to normal, I took the blanket and wrapped it around Betty’s shoulders, the closeness of her tingling on my skin. Looking down at her, our eyes locked on each other, those beautiful pale blue eyes of my dreams.
She was shaking, “Are you still cold?” I asked, my eyes never leaving hers.
The rain pattering the metal roof surrounded us with sound as she quickly shook her head before reaching for the back of my neck with her hand and gently pulling my lips to hers.
Electricity crackled around us as a bolt of lighting struck the roof at that exact moment, surrounding us with flashes of blue as it made its way around the inside of the barn, dancing gaily along the beams before diving into the ground.
Looking back at Betty, she was smiling, whispering only “WOW!” as she pulled my lips back onto hers.
Thunder echoed around us as our souls joined as one, the electricity in the air and the close call of earlier feeding our passion for one another to a fevered pitch. Caressing each other passionately, we started exploring each other’s bodies with a fervor that up to that point in my life I never knew existed.
Building in crescendo as we try to satisfy the pent-up hunger for each other, our whole beings climax as a clap of thunder engulfs our noisy release of joy and emotion, rumbling the ground beneath us in apparent approval.
Long past being cold any longer, we lay naked on the blanket in each others arms, our souls also entwined, forever.











Friday, January 27, 2012

Quote of the day 1-27

The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart

Elisabeth Foley

 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Quote of the day 1-26

I am a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn't have the heart to let him down

Abraham Lincoln

 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Review of Justice For Emily by Sandy Wolters

A surprising mystery with a paranormal tie-in, this book surprised me. The sheriff's wife kills herself to the grief of the whole town, but there are those that think this explanation is just a little too convenient. One such is one of the sheriff's own deputies. Looking for help to prove his theory, he stumbles upon one of Phoenix PD's finest on vacation, who just happens to be a beautiful woman.

This starts the story rolling as they uncover one clue after another, sometimes with the help of the paranormal.

Although not a big fan of romance, I nonetheless found this book to have a very compelling story, with enough action to keep me reading, and wondering what would happen next!

Highly recommended! Five Stars!

Quote of the day 1-24

But man is not made for defeat," he said. A man can be destroyed but not defeated

Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Quote of the day 1-23

There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm

Willa Cather

 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Circles- The Second Installment of The Sci-Fy Series

Circles
Chapter 1
By
JT Lewis
Copyright 2012 by JT Lewis

Annie arrived at the address indicated the next day @ 9:30…at least she thought it was the right place.  The dilapidated old warehouse on the riverfront looked anything but high tech.
Actually, it looked abandoned!
Driving around the back of the building, she spotted a newer car nosed up to the back wall. Pulling in beside it, she shut down her old Toyota and waited, glancing at her watch…25 minutes to wait.
She was just about to hit the lock button for her doors when Niles stuck his head out of the door in front of her, smiling and waving her in with his free hand.
“You’re early!” he said excitedly when she exited the car, “that’s awesome!”
Holding the door for her, Niles stood aside as Annie entered a small vestibule with a single flickering fluorescent light inside.
“I wasn’t sure this was the right place,” Annie said quietly, still not sure if she would even now call it the right place.
“It’s quite deceiving,” Niles said as he punched in some numbers in a keypad, the electronic brruupptt indicating that the lock had been released. Holding the door for her once again, Niles stood by as Annie entered yet another room, this one slightly larger, with recessed lighting around the perimeter of the room.
Closing the first door behind him, Niles then walked across the room and entered yet another code in a keypad, then placed his finger on a blue glowing pad. A clank that reminded Annie of a bank safe sounded before the stainless steel doors slid open quietly.
“Welcome to our abode Annie,” Niles intoned as he invited her through the door with his hand. Stepping through the door, Annie was greeted by a small but brightly lit office with three desks interspersed throughout the room.
“Better?” Niles asked as he sidled up next to her, “seeing that we have a real office I mean, the start of one anyway.”
“Yes…I guess I was kind of wondering if any of what you told me was real. How long have you been in this …business?”
Niles smiled at her question, “As a company…not very long…three months or so, but Cat and I have been working with this theory for something like three years.”
“Wow,” Annie said out loud, “I had no idea you had been working on it so long.”
Annie looked around the office, trying to decide how much to believe what she was seeing in front of her. “You do all of this on these desktops?” she finally asked when she realized that what she saw on the desk were not even high-end computers.
Niles just smiled. “Ok, I know you have a lot of questions, but we need you to sign some things before we talk any farther.”
Leading her into a small conference room off the side of the area, she took the seat indicated by Niles as he went over to a side desk and picked up a stack of papers. Returning to the table, he sat down next to her, picking up the first document before continuing.
“This is the biggie, the Non-Disclosure Agreement, signing this says you agree to never reveal what you see here today, or anytime in the future. If you break this agreement, we have the right to sue you in court, it’s standard policy for any company with Trade Secrets that need to be kept…well secret.”
Annie read through the document and then signed it…she wasn’t sure who she would tell anyway….or for that matter…who cared. After that were a multitude of other forms to sign from the government and insurance companies. By the time she had completed all of the forms, a half-hour had passed.
“Ok!” Niles said as he stood up with the documents in his hand, “Now that that is done, it’s time to meet Cat.”
“And Cat is?” Annie asked.
“She is my partner…so to speak. You could say, she is the brains of the outfit.”
Turning on his heal, he moved across the floor toward yet another solid looking stainless steel door, indicating with his hand for her to follow. Arriving at yet another keypad, Annie watched in awe as Niles entered a long code before he placed his hand on a biometric screen and leaned his head forward into an eyepiece for a retinal scan.
A female voice intoned “Good Morning Niles,” while a clank sounded and the door slid open.
Indicating Annie should go in first, she timidly entered through the door into the semidarkness of the room beyond. A large half circle desk with four chairs greeted her, with eight flat screen monitors side by side across the front. Four high-end keyboards were placed one before every chair as pools of light spilled down over each station from unseen fixtures above.
“Wow,” was all that Annie could think to say.
“Impressive, isn’t it?” Niles interjected from behind. “This is the hub of it all, where all of the connections are made and analyzed.”
Remembering something, Annie looked around the darkened room, squinting to see into any corners.
“Where’s your partner…where’s Cat.”
“You’re looking at her,” Niles said excitedly as he walked past Annie toward the large desk. Reaching the side of the counter-like workstation, he turned and leaned comfortably against it, one elbow resting on the top and his hands clasped together at his chest.
“Meet Cat, or as she is known by our employers: CATA- the ‘Circle And Thread Analyzer’.”
“Your partner is…a computer?”
“Oh, she is much more than just a computer; she is a Super Computer…the largest of her kind. I’ve been assembling the components for three years to get to this point. Most of the processors are in the warehouse next door…also highly secured by the way.”
“Say hello to Annie, Cat.”
“Hello Annie Chang, I’m pleased to make your acquaintance!”
Niles could tell Annie was freaked out, “She won’t bite, say hello to her!”
Hesitantly, “Hello Cat…umm…how are you today?”
“Fine thank you.”
Annie’s head was spinning, not sure what to think. “Do you program her…with vocal commands?”
“Oh no,” Niles said, the smile still on his face, seeming to enjoy her discomfort. “At least not yet, her programming only makes use of the voice interface for greetings, maintenance warnings, things like that. All of the programming is still done the old fashioned way.”
Feeling uncomfortable talking in front of Cat, Annie asked Niles if they could go back to the office to talk. Seeming confused himself, Niles shrugged his shoulders and led Annie out of the dark room and across the office to the conference room. Indicating an empty chair, Niles took the seat across from her, comfortably leaning back into his chair.
“So are you impressed or what?”
“I am impressed,” Annie said as she took her seat, leaning forward seriously with her hands clasped. “The technology you have put together looks awesome; I can tell you have put your heart and soul into this project.”
A huge smile crossed Niles’ face, and Annie couldn’t help but notice his overly pale skin, a byproduct of living in dark rooms she supposed.
“As impressive as it is though…I don’t think I can work for you.”


 

    

Friday, January 20, 2012

Review of Undercover Lies by Stephen H King

Stephen H King's Undercover Lies was my introduction to the world of the ancient Gods and the cataclysmic events and wars that they seem to gravitate towards.

My first foray into the magical world of Mythological Fantasy, I found this short to be filled with excitement, magic, and mystery. The characters, although fantasy, come to life on the pages as you learn what makes a witch...or a god tick.

It is definitely awakened an interest for me for more Mythological stories in general, and Stephen's in particular.

An exciting read! I would definitively recommend for either the hard core fantasy reader, or someone like myself that wants to expand their interests!

JT Lewis

Review of Wicked Little Lies Vol. 2 by Tanya Contois

The continuation of Wicked Little Lies finds Jocelyn trying to adjust to her new situation, but finding herself thrust instead into one new unexpected situation after another.

Now she has a heretofore unknown man, popping into her dreams and telling her that he is her future husband!

These are just some of the twists and turns that make this story, and the series intriguing! Definitely worth reading!

New Review of "Wicked Little Lies" by Tanya Contois

This is not my normal read, I'm more of an action/adventure kind of guy. But I have to admit...I can't wait for the next installment if this intriguing story!

Jocelyn has been lied to her who life, and not "little" lies either....really big whoppers!

Not just who she is has been hidden from her, but what as well. Finding out the truth on her 18th birthday, she is immediately thrust into another life, having to start from scratch with everything from her friends to her school...even her parents are different.

Check it out! You'll be hooked!

JT Lewis

Quote of the day 1-20

You can gauge a man's worth by how likely you are to point him out to your kids

Gabriel Celtic

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Quote of the day 1-19

Great spirits always encounter violent opposition from mediocre minds

Albert Einstein

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Quote of the day 1-18

In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years

Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

Quote of the day 1-16

To change one's life: Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly. No exceptions

William James

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Preview of my new SCI-FY short story series- Circles


Circles
The Beginning
By
JT Lewis
Copyright 2012 by JT Lewis


The auditorium around her was silent…too silent.
Nervously sitting there, the dark-haired Asian girl contemplated her current situation, wondering if she should get up and leave.
Annie Chang didn’t like wasting time.
Having gotten up extra early to get ready for this interview, it now seemed like a colossal misuse of the day. The guard at the door of the building had looked at her ticket closely before leading her into the auditorium. Indicating her row, he had handed her ticket back to her, offering her a smile as he turned and walked back up the aisle. She walked down to the seat indicated on the ticket, noticing it to be the exact middle of the row as she sat down. That had been over a half-hour ago, and nobody else had as yet shown up.
She uncrossed and re-crossed her legs as her agitation continued to build. She knew there had to be better options than this…she just hadn’t found them yet.
Having graduated from the university three months ago, she had naively assumed she would be inundated with a multitude of high paying and mind reeling job offers, her biggest problem would be choosing which one to accept.
She had soon realized however that this was not to be the case. While she had indeed been offered multiple jobs, some of them even high paying, none of these offers came close to being…interesting.
She could rationalize that her unusual double major of psychology and computer science might make it hard to be pigeonholed into a position for many companies. She had grudgingly accepted that for now, knowing she could wait it out. It was however getting harder to rationalize this, especially considering she had to spend her nights delivering Pizza to make ends meet.
She couldn’t stand the smell of pizza anymore.
All of the waiting and sacrifice seemed to have been worth it yesterday however when a knock on her apartment door had revealed a courier with an envelope addressed to her only as:

Annie Chang MCS,BAPSY

The abbreviations of her college degrees after her name was a good sign, someone knew her background!
Inside, she had found a ticket, more or less like a movie ticket, only much nicer. It turned out that the ticket was an invitation to a job fair, to be held the next day. Further, it indicated that it had been issued ‘only to those with the unique potential needed for our upcoming project’.
Annie had been ecstatic!
Finally someone that recognized the unique skill set that she had worked so hard to develop . She had determined that she would go all-in for this interview, knowing in her heart she was the one they were looking for.
The thrill she had felt yesterday was now lost in frustration and building anger as she continued to wait in the auditorium. The fact that no one else had shown up further increased her angst, making her feel very gullible …was she the only one stupid enough to accept the invitation?
The tetetete of an old film projector starting up interrupted her thoughts as the lights dimmed in the room. An old black and white movie appeared on the screen in front of her, the picture jumpy and dirty looking.
Looking about to confirm she was still alone, she then moved her attention back to the screen where the title of the film now appeared. 

The Circle Theory
Presented by
Dr. Thaddeus Long, PHD

Annie sat up straighter, determined to follow through on what she now considered a farce. What the hell, she still had three hours before she had to start making deliveries.
“Welcome,” an older gentleman said as he appeared on screen, “I’m here today to try to explain to you in layman’s terms, my ‘Theory of Circles’ as it applies to our daily lives.”
Pointing his index finger at the camera, Dr. Long then made an exaggerated arch with his arm as he brought his hand to his face, pushing up his glasses before turning toward a chalkboard.
Drawing a circle on the board, he then pointed to it with the chalk as he turned back to the camera, saying, “This is you.”
“What the hell?” Annie said under her breath as she watched the old film flicker before her eyes. “Is this some kind of joke?”
Drawing another circle next to the first, he then repeated the exaggerated finger/glasses move before again turning back to the camera.
“This is your biological mother!”
Drawing a thick line between the two circles, he continued, “After you are conceived, you and your biological mother are connected by an umbilical cord…it’s your ‘thread of life’ so to speak.”
Finger/glasses again, “It is the strongest thread you will ever have, for you are totally dependant on her for everything at this point…your cells, your genes, even your nourishment.”
Taking up an eraser, he then slid it down the board, erasing the line between the circles. Pushing up his glasses again, this time with the eraser, he then added another circle, and drew a line from it to the first circle. Adding another less bold line from the mom circle back to the first, he then once again faced the camera.
Annie couldn’t help giggling when she noticed that the man on the screen now had a patch of chalk dust across his nose.
“After birth,  most of you will have a mother and a father,” the man on the screen continued as he pointed from one circle to another as he spoke. “Notice however that the ‘thread of life’ that existed with your biological mother has now been replaced with a lesser thread. You are no longer dependant on her for everything, and normally there are now other people involved in your life.”
Adding additional circles, he then drew lines from them to the first. “Your family ‘circle’ may increase with additional siblings, which would look like this.”
Drawing a large circle around all of the smaller circles, Dr. Long then walked over and stood behind a podium, the circles still visible beside him. Taking a wooden pointer up in his hand, he unceremoniously slapped it on the board.
“This is your “Circle of Life.”
Slapping the board again at a line, “And these are your threads, your connection to the other people in your circle.”
Setting the pointer down on the table, the man then looked straight into the camera seriously, the chalk still visible on his nose as he repeated his exaggerated finger/glasses move.
“Your “Circle of Life” will vary throughout your life as you develop relationships with other people. Some in your circle will be closer than others, an indication of how often you deal with them in your life. Others may be farther away, but have a stronger thread, indicating your emotional tie to them.”
“Your gas station attendant would be fairly close to you, since you see him every week. But your thread to him is weak, since there is no emotional bond to him except when you are filling your car.”
“Conversely, a brother that lives in Indonesia, would be far from the center of your circle. His thread however, could be very strong, if you are emotionally close to him.”
Moving his glasses up once more, he again looked seriously into the camera.
“Everyone has his own Circle of Life, and each one contains threads that tie that person to the others in their circle. Every time you meet someone, you join their circle, and they join yours. Additionally, no one ever leaves a circle once they have joined. A person that you may have met once twenty years ago, will still be in your circle, although the thread will be small and they will be far removed from the center of the circle.”
“You see,”  Dr. Long continued as he clasped his hands together with interlaced fingers, “this is the basis for my theory. Every single person you meet in this life affects your life in some small way. When they have joined your circle, they are yours for life.”
A satisfied looked crossed the man’s face as he took up the eraser and started wiping away his drawings while the audience watched, once again pushing up his glasses with the eraser in the process.
There was a noise off camera as someone whispered, getting the man’s attention. Confusion crossed his face before he seemed to realize that the film was still rolling. Making his way back to the podium, he once more folded his hands and looked into the camera, now with even more chalk smeared on his nose.
“Thank you for allowing me to explain ‘The Circle Theory’ to you.”
He stood there for a few seconds like he was going to say something else before his eyes wandered to the guy off camera and he nodded for the camera man to shut off this camera. He ended up repeating the nod three times before the film finally ended as the screen filled with white. Annie could hear the film slapping against the projector as the reel continued to turn for several seconds before someone turned the projector off. The light level in the auditorium again raised as the screen went dark.
That had to be one of the worst movies Annie had ever seen!
Although she thought the theory was interesting, it looked like it had been put together by amateurs. She could create a better movie in an afternoon in her living room with her laptop.
“So, what’d you think of our DR. Long?”
Annie turned her head at the sound of the voice, finding a tall lanky man with horned rimed glasses sauntering down the aisle to her right. Walking past her row, he continued up the next until he was in front of her, offering his hand.
“Niles Johnson, glad to meet your Annie…May I call you Annie?”
Realizing that she was still sitting, Annie jumped up quickly and offered her hand in return.
“Yes…Annie is fine Mr. Johnson.”
Niles, please. We’re very informal here.”
“Where is here exactly?” Annie questioned, cringing at her boldness.
“Good question!” Niles exclaimed, “Right now we are in a rented auditorium, our regular office is on the west side of town. We didn’t want to scare away anyone by the looks of our building until they had a chance to meet us.”
“Not too good of a turnout I’m afraid…no one else showed up.”
Niles made a show of looking around the room. “Everybody showed up that we invited. You Annie, were our only pick.”
Annie felt a flush of excitement run up her spine before rationality kicked in once more, she still had no idea what he even wanted of her.
“I’m not sure what you even do Niles, why did you bring me here, just to show me an old movie?”
Niles leaned back against the top of the seat behind him, crossing his ankles and arms comfortably as he looked at Annie with a smile.
“Another good question…what do we do. We do Circle Theory Annie, or as we call it now days, Circles.”
Annie was confused, “You mean like the movie? You draw circles on a chalkboard?”
This struck Niles as funny, and he had a good laugh for several moments before got down to an explanation.
“Dr. Long developed the Circle Theory in 1942, making the movie you just witnessed in 1946 after the war. He spent the rest of his life trying to find an application for his theory while those around him ridiculed him, dismissing him as a quack. He died in poverty in 1957, a broken man, never knowing what a magnificent breakthrough he had actually made.”
“It is an interesting theory,” Annie conceded, “interesting like pony’s are interesting…they’re cute and all, but who really wants to spend their life taking care of one when all you get out of it is crap.”
Niles found this even funnier than her earlier statement, having a good laugh at the statement.
“Annie, you’re killing me!” he said good-naturedly as he caught his breath. “We are much farther along than poor Dr. Long. We have computers now that make his theories very workable. We are almost to the point of actually seeing the threads, though not quite. We can however theorize where they are, where they are heading, and who they are attached to.
Annie’s jaw dropped as she tried to rationalize what Niles was telling her. “How can you…how can you see a theory, a few words muttered 70 years ago to express an emotional connection?”
“It’s hard to relay that information to you Annie, especially here. And of course, we have proprietary concerns until such time as you agree to come on board with the project.”
“I don’t know,” Annie was concerned, “It all just sounds too “out there” to be real. Who would care about it anyway?”
“The FBI, for one,” Niles stated matter-of-factly, “We have funding from the Federal Government, enough to take it to the next step.”
“What’s the next step?” Annie asked, her mind drawing a blank.
“Well, in their case, they want us to look into the possibility of using it to predict criminal activity. By looking at their “threads” with our system, we can see who criminals associate with.”
“I don’t know,” Annie was worried, “What if a murderer fills my tank with gas sometime…are they going to arrest me as a potential murderer too?”
“That’s a very weak thread Annie, we would be looking for strong threads.”
“I can see abuse written all over this Niles…I don’t know…”
“That’s why we need you, or someone like you. Someone that can analyze certain behaviors, and program the computer to recognize that behavior. You’re perfect for this!”
Digging into his shirt pocket, Niles dug out a card and handed it to Annie.”
“Don’t decide now, meet me at this address tomorrow at 10:00, and I’ll show you around…you can decide after that.”
Annie gave it some thought, “Ok… I am intrigued, I really am, I just…”
“Wait for tomorrow, that’s all I ask?”
Holding out her hand, she shook Nile’s with enthusiasm, agreeing to meet him the next morning.
Driving home minutes later, she mulled over what she had seen and heard.
Really interesting,” she thought to herself as she entered onto the interstate. “It certainly would make good use of my skills,” she continued, looking at the clock on the dash.
“Crap!” she exclaimed as she saw the time, kicking the motor’s RPM’S up just a little. She barely had enough time to get home and get ready for her delivery job.
“Crap!” she said with disgust at the thought of driving around all night with the car smelling of pizza.
That was enough to make her give in and take the job anyway, consequences be damned she thought as she kicked it up again until she was five miles-an-hour over the speed limit.
“The hell with this!”
   








Saturday, January 14, 2012

BOGO FREE!


Starting today, Saturday January 14th through Sunday, January 22, 2012, Trestle Press will be having a BUY ONE TITLE GET ONE TITLE FREE SALE !!
All of our titles are part of this sale, all of our authors will be participating in it, and all you have to do is when you purchase one of our stories send us the proof of purchase and we will be happy to send you the title of your choice that is of equal value.
You can email us in one of three ways; send the proof of purchase by email to one of the following:
-the authors of the titles you purchased and get your free titles directly from them.
-Trestle Press: trestlepress@gmail.com
-Giovanni Gelati:gelati.giovanni@gmail.com
We have a wealth of talented authors at Trestle Press and there are many great stories to discover and read. As the week goes on there will be a few surprises thrown into this sale, so please stay tuned to our website: www.trestlepresspublishing.com or your favorite authors’ websites or blogs.
Feel free to follow us at our website for all the upcoming news and events surrounding all of the Trestle Press authors as they create more Best-Selling novels, novellas, short stories and series for you to follow and enjoy.
We hope that you will join us and our authors as we make our journey and try to blaze a new trail in this wide open world of publishing. Without you all is for naught; for everything we do, we do for you the reader!
Have fun and happy reading!!      

Friday, January 13, 2012

Review of Eyes On Tomorrow by Alexandrea Weis

Twilight Zone meets Harry Elliot


I found this story to be highly intriguing! Harry Elliot is a man living in the future while completely ignoring the present. His job, his house, even the unseen love of a co-worker don't phase this man as he prepares for the future he knows he deserves.

When a strange little man enters his life with all the right answers, he can't help but to jump in with both feet (inside joke). From there, it is all down hill for Harry.

An excellent read, I highly recommend it!


JT Lewis

qUOTE OF THE DAY 1-13

Never be so focused on what you're looking for that you overlook the thing you actually find

Ann Patchett

 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Garum: Would You Eat This Stuff? by Stephen Hayes

Join me in welcoming today our guest, Stephen Hayes, with a guest post from his blog: The Chubby Chatterbox!

                                         



Since I was a kid I’ve been fascinated with Ancient Rome. Had I been that kid in the movie Airport I’d have answered yes when Peter Graves asked, “Do you like gladiator movies?” Sure the Romans had their problems, mostly a societal thirst for blood and a system of governance that makes our politics look like kindergarten squabbles, but Rome still managed to effectively rule a land area that today is poorly governed by no fewer than forty governments. And they did so with one law and one currency. But I want to discuss something more important than Rome’s lasting cultural legacy. I want to discuss fish sauce.

     At this point you might be thinking about shuffling off to another blog, but hang in here. We don’t have a recipe but garum seems to have been some sort of sauce made from the rotten entrails of fish and eels. Wait, don’t go yet. I promise this will get interesting. 

     What if I told you that ancient documents from 200 B.C.E. have been discovered placing a value on a shipload of this goop at the equivalent of eighty-five million dollars? You’d probably say that garum must have been one helluva fish sauce to be valued up there with gold and other precious commodities.

     We know that garum was the caviar of the ancient world. Just about every recipe to have survived from that time includes it as an ingredient, even desserts, and when the Emperor Augustus’ granddaughter Julia was exiled to a remote island she claimed that there was something she couldn’t live without. No, not her four copies of the Twilight

series; it was garum.

     So what was the big deal? Why are most of the wrecked Roman cargo ships on the

bottom of the Mediterranean Sea filled with amphora that once contained garum? We know the product was produced on the outskirts of towns and cities, but was this because of the fetid smell or was there another reason, as experts have recently suggested? Was the State controlling production? Were emperors hoarding the formula of a f*#king fish sauce?

     The Discovery Channel recently aired a program intent on shedding light on this mystery. The recipe for garum, like KFC’s seven secret herbs and spices, has not survived, but scientists decided to recreate the stuff. They guessed at the types of fish and eels used, macerated them in a bucket until they had a slimy concoction of fish and entrails, and then left the bucket in the sun for a long period of time. Romans let the concoction ferment for up to three months. Like you, I’m getting sick just thinking about it.

     But scientists are an intrepid folk and on the Discovery program a brave fellow came forward to sample the eye-watering, bile-inducing substance. He scooped some of the sludge with a piece of bread, popped it into his mouth and chewed. Once his urge to vomit passed, he noticed something interesting: the garum had practically no taste, but it didn’t take long for him to conclude that this was the best bread he’d EVER eaten. He started sampling garum with other foods; fruits, cheeses, meats, sweets. Each time he concluded that the garum had little to no taste while enhancing whatever it was added to.

     This phenomenon was confirmed by other scientists who’d gathered to watch their associate blow chow. Before long all of the scientists were tucking in and feasting. Soon another experience befell these men of science: they were all stoned out of their minds and infected with a ravenous case of the munchies. If this experiment were accurate, garum was also an hallucinogenic. Maybe young Romans put flower power bumper stickers on their chariots and rode out to the countryside to cast off their togas and cavort in a pagan celebration called Woodstockius. Perhaps Caligula had just powered down a batch when he decided to have his horse declared a consul of Rome. As for Nero; was he craving Fourth Meal so much that he set fire to Rome out of frustration when the nearest Taco Bell sold out of garum tacos?
     What I wouldn’t give for just a tiny taste. What effect might it have on me? I wonder: Hail Emperor Chubbius….




visit Stephen's blog @: http://thechubbychatterbox.blogspot.com/

Quote of the day 1-12

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has

Margaret Mead

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Quote of the day 1-11

I'm not afraid of death; I just don't want to be there when it happens

Woody Allen

 

 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Quote of the day 1-10

Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision

Peter Drucker

Monday, January 9, 2012

Quote of the day 1-9

Life is not a competition, it's a journey. And it's easier to take others along than to spend your energies blocking their path

Unknown A Hole

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pepper and Longstreet-The Missing Inheritance- Part 2- The Quest by JT Lewis

Pepper and Longstreet

The Missing Inheritance
Part 2: The Quest
By JT Lewis


Copyright 2012 by JT Lewis


Pepper showed up at Sara’s house bright and early the next morning, even though her puffy eyes attested to the fact that she had gotten little sleep the night before.
She was too excited to sleep.
Helping Sara find the coded message from her dead father yesterday, the day ahead promised to be even more exciting as they followed the clues Sara’s dad had set up years ago, clues that would lead to a final treasure.
Pepper knew the treasure was probably not something like gold or jewels, Sara had told her as much. But the mystery of it all had drawn Pepper to hunt, and her new friend Sara had almost insisted anyway.
“I’ll wait here, missy,” Pepper heard behind her before she entered the house. She had not known for sure if her ghostly partner had followed her to Sara’s, but had suspected he would be here early as he seemed to love a mystery as much as she did.
“Longstreet…will you ever learn that my name is Pepper?”
Jacob Longstreet’s face exhibited the expected confused look he always got when confronted with an unexpected fact of the modern world. Just as quickly though, his normally determined look reappeared as he did what he normally did when these things confronted him…he ignored them.
“I’ll be here when you need me,” he said as he disappeared with a swish or wind.
Shaking her head in wonderment, Pepper turned back toward the house and knocked on the door.
“Pepper!” Sara gushed as she opened the door, immediately wrapping her arms around Pepper in greeting. “I’m so glad you came early, my brother and I haven’t been able to sleep all night!”
Leading her into the kitchen, “Pepper, you know my brother Matthew don’t you?”
Pepper did indeed, her heart skipping a beat as she waved at Sara’s dark-haired brother. Matthew Lawson was a junior at her school, and all of the girls wanted to get to know him. Although he had always seemed nice, Pepper had never had the nerve to do anything more than say hi to him when he passed her in the hall.
“Hi Pepper,” he said with a warm smile, “nice to meet you.”
“We are both so happy that you found the message,” Sara said as she set some fruit and fresh baked muffins on the table, “and that you agreed to help us today.”
“My pleasure,” Pepper said as she sat down next to Matthew at the table, “you know I love a good mystery.”
“I hear you’re pretty good at it,” Matthew said with a smile, “it’s kind of a serious hobby, or business for you isn’t it? At least, I’ve heard that.”
“Yes it is,” Pepper said, blushing, “a business, but not for money…yet anyway.” Remembering the business cards, she pulled one out of her pocket and laid it on the table in front of Matthew.
“Wow, business cards too…impressive! Pepper and Longstreet…I like the name, who’s Longstreet?”
Although she knew this question would come up, she had yet to pull together a good explanation of her ghostly partner, leaving her stumbling over her words as she tried to explain.
“He’s ah…a guy…I met him, and he is really good at mysteries…but he doesn’t like attention…anyway, he very seldom shows up in the field.”
“Kinda a ghost huh?” Matthew said smiling as Pepper tried to control her blushing at how near he had come to the actual truth.
“Yes…sort of a ghost in that way,” Pepper added finally, hoping the subject was now closed.
“So, do you have any ideas on the first clue from the note last night?” Sara asked as she sat down at the table.
“Not really, not yet anyway, I have thought about it a few times, but since I don’t know what you have around here, I thought it best to wait until I arrived. Can I see the note again?”
Sara slid the note across the table, saying, “Matthew and I have been trying to decipher it all night, but it doesn’t make any sense.”
Pepper reread the clue on the sheet before her.

“You will find your next clue behind the coat that you never wear.”

“Do you have any old coats around that you don’t wear?”
“A few,” Sara answered dejectedly, “but we’ve been through all of them, even some of mom’s old coats, we found nothing in any of them.”
Pepper gave the clue some more thought before speaking again. “You know, he said ‘you will find’ in the note, but he knew that both of you would be together, and he doesn’t mention either of you by name. I don’t know if this makes any sense, but it seems like he is saying to look for a coat that you both own but don’t wear.”
Everyone around the table was perplexed, silently eating their breakfast as they thought about what Pepper had said.
“That makes sense,” Sara said, deep in thought, “at least about who owns the coat, but I still have no clue as to what it means.”
“Let’s walk around the house after breakfast,” Pepper added, trying to keep her hosts cheerful, “maybe something will pop out at us.”
Finishing the meal minutes later, Pepper asked to be taken to where the old coats were they had looked at previously. Since the clue had said behind the coat, she wondered aloud if there wouldn’t be a secret door or something in the back of the closet. Ten minutes later however, they had looked through all of the closets in the home, finding nothing.
“Ok, why don’t you just show me through the house, Pepper finally said, “we must be looking at this all wrong.”
Matthew begged off, saying he had to go to practice, so Sara and Pepper started off alone. One after another the rooms were gone through, one after another their search proved futile.
Pepper noticed that the house was full of watercolor paintings, they were in every room and hallway. The subject of the paintings varied from tranquil fields, family members, and even the family crest.
“Someone in your family is a painter it seems,” Pepper observed as she passed yet another painting of a barn and an old farm implement.
“Yes, that was my mom,” Sara answered sadly, “she loved to paint.”
“After she died a few years ago, my dad made frames for all of her paintings, placing them everywhere in the house so we would always have a reminder of her.”
“Ahem,” Pepper heard from behind her, turning and spotting Longstreet standing in front of one of the paintings down the hall.
“Come here a minute girly,” he said as he continued to look at the painting.
Thinking quickly, “Sara, would you mind leaving me alone for a minute, I need to look around and think.”
“Sure,” Sara said with a smile, “I’ll just go clean up breakfast in the kitchen.”
As she left, Pepper slowly walked down toward Longstreet, pretending to be thinking and looking as she walked.
“What is it?” Pepper whispered quietly as she approached her partner.
“What do you call this thing on the wall here,” he said as he continued to look at the painting.
Turning her head to look, “that’s their family crest…why?”
Finally turning his head to face her, “In my day, we called it a coat of arms.”
It took a few moments for it to sink in, but when it did Pepper said loudly, “Longstreet, you’re a genius!”
“What’d you say Pepper?” Sara called from the kitchen.
Embarrassed at her outburst, she nonetheless called back, “come here a minute, I think…we might have found something!”
Smiling at Longstreet, she whispered “Thanks Jacob!”
Tipping his hat, he disappeared with a whoosh.
“What is it?” Sara said as she approached down the hall.
Pointing at the painting, “Your coat of arms!”
It took Sara a few moments also, but then a big smile spread across her face as she reached up and lifted the painting off of its hook. Looking behind the frame, they found an easily removable back.
Taking the painting into the study, Sara laid it face down and turned the clasps to remove the back. Inside there was a neatly folded piece of paper which Sara removed gingerly, unfolding it slowly like it would fall apart if she mishandled it. Tears sprung to her eyes once more as she started reading the words on the paper.

Congratulations guys! I knew you could do it! Isn’t this fun?

Ok, first to the business at hand. You will find a key taped to the back of this picture, and it fits a safety deposit box at the bank. There you will find another life insurance policy, as well as my official will and other legal papers you will need.

And now for the fun part!

The medallions you will need, that cover your heart
A/cross the field from where I depart

Love you!
Dad

Sara handed Pepper the note as she went to find some tissues. Reading the clue over and over, she memorized the verse, but could not fathom the meaning.
“Any idea what the medallions are your dad is referring to?”
“Read it to me again please Pepper.”
“The medallions you will need, that cover your heart.”
“I have no idea,” Sara said as she covered her heart with her hand. She stood there looking confused as she held her hand to her chest before seeming to realize something with a start. Reaching into her shirt collar, she pulled on a chain that was draped around her neck, revealing a Chinese coin attached to it.
“The good luck piece! Dad gave Matthew and I each one of these years ago. He told us to never take them off, that someday we would come to see their importance.”
“I believe you just have Sara; that has to be the medallion he was talking about!”
Smiling at the coin as she gazed at it, Sara then clasped it to her chest with both hands.
“I can’t believe that he set up this treasure hunt all of those years ago…he was such a special man Pepper…I wish you could have met him.”
Pepper wished she had too, and said as much to Sara.
Sighing then, Sara looked up at Pepper, her eyes alight with excitement. “Let’s figure out the rest of the clue!”
They stood side by side at the desk, working through the wording of the note.
“A/cross the field from where I depart,” Pepper repeated the words out loud for the tenth time, still with no hint as to the meaning. Suddenly an idea crossed her mind, “Sara, where is your dad buried?”
“That small cemetery off of West Fork, our whole family is buried there…that’s mostly the only people buried there…why?”
“That’s a pretty small cemetery all right, pretty far out in the country too. Isn’t there still a part of it that is empty, a part that kind of reminds me of a field?”
Recognition lit up Sara’s face at that moment, “from where I depart!”
“A field across from where he departed! Pepper, that’s it! That has to be it!”
Pepper was smiling too, “It seems like a good lead…but we could be wrong Sara, don’t get your hopes up yet.”
“Too late Pepper,” Sara replied with a grin, “but I’m sure this is the place! I’m going to text Matthew and tell him to meet us there…this is so exciting! Let’s go!”
Literally running out the door, they were heading to Sara’s car when Pepper heard, “better take a shovel missy.”
Stopping dead in her tracks, Pepper turned to face Longstreet, a confused look now on her face.
“What?” she whispered through clenched teeth.
“I ain’t never seen anything go in or out of a cemetery that didn’t involve diggin of some sort,” he said with certainty.
“Of course…duh!” she mumbled to herself, aggravated at her lack of forethought.
“Hey Sara!” she called after her friend, “we had better take a shovel.”
“Oh yeah,” Sara said, embarrassed as she returned to the house to retrieve a shovel. “Unless it’s lying on the ground in plain sight, we probably will have to do some digging.”
“I’ll find Lady and meet you there,” Longstreet said as he walked toward the road. “Lady!…where’d ya go girl?”
Pepper sighed inwardly, Longstreet always forgot he was a ghost. Walking by him on the way to the car, Pepper talked to him quietly out of the side of her mouth.
“Lady’s gone…remember? Just ride with us in the car…you’re able to do that aren’t you?”
A confused look crossed Longstreet’s face as he once again tried to work through what Pepper had told him. Finally his determined look returned, “Forgot, I sure do miss that old gal.”
 Walking toward the car, he disappeared with a swishing sound before reaching it. Pepper didn’t look around, knowing he was invisible, not sure if he would be actually riding in the car with them or if he would just magically appear at the cemetery.
She realized suddenly that she had as much to learn from Longstreet about ghostly matters as he did from her about the modern world.
“This may take awhile,” she mumbled to herself as she entered the car.

***

Arriving at the cemetery, Sara opened the door and immediately started walking slowly toward her father’s grave as if in a trance. Plopping down on her knees in front of the grave she silently touched the face of the gravestone, gently tracing out her father and mothers’ names with her fingers.
Pepper had sensed that this was Sara’s way of coping with her parents’ death, so she had stayed back at the car for a few minutes, watching her friend from a distance. Finally Pepper went around the car to get the keys, opening the trunk and removing the shovel.
Walking up the hill to Sara’s location, she stood silently by as Sara continued looking at the stone.
“They were such great people,” Sara said evenly, seeming to sense Pepper behind her. “You would have really liked them.”
“I’m sure I would have,” Pepper replied, looking down the hill as she noticed the arrival of Matthew’s car.
“Matthew’s here.”
Sara also looked down the hill then, pushing herself up and turning to face her approaching brother.
“Hey guys!” Matthew said in greeting, “what have you found so far?”
Sara filled him in on the clues they had uncovered so far, handing him the letter with the last clue on it.
Looking it over, he read the last line out loud, “A/cross the field from where I depart.”
Looking around then, he studied the layout of the partially overgrown cemetery, taking in any objects that may lead them to the spot.
“The only thing in that part of the cemetery that I can remember is a very old stone with the family name on it. Dad showed it to me once, but it may be hidden by brush or weeds.”
“Let’s go look down there then,” Sara said quietly, suddenly overwhelmed.
Pepper noticed her friend’s sudden quietness, “Hey, we’ve found all of the clues up to this point, remember, your dad wanted you to find this, so he wouldn’t have made it impossible to discover…plus he wanted you to have fun with it!”
Sara looked at Pepper, realizing what she said was the truth. A smile reappeared on her face then, “You’re right Pepper…lets go find the next spot!”
The three of them walked down the hill, spreading out a little when they reached the overgrown part of the cemetery. Pepper was to the far right of the others, following an old fence line while poking through weeds and thorn bushes.
“Over here girly.”
Hearing Longstreet’s voice to her left, she nonetheless could not find him as she scanned the area. Suddenly his head poked out of an old Multiflora Rose bush, “In here.”
Making her way to the clump of thorns, she was taken aback by the size of the thorny mass. At least six feet tall, the clump had a circumference of at least ten feet.
“There’s a stone in there missy, dead center of that mass of thorns…I don’t envy you getting to it.”
It did indeed seem daunting.
Calling the others over, she told them she thought she had seen a stone inside the prickly bush. Looking around closely, Mathew said, “how in the world could you see anything in this…it’s a wall of thorns?”
Shrugging her shoulders and offering no further explanations, Matthew sighed and said, “I’ll be right back.”
Trudging back to his car, Pepper asked Sara where he was going.
“Probably to get some tools from his car, he works part-time at a nursery, so he always keeps a few things in his car.”
After a few minutes, Matthew returned carrying a saw and an ax. Throwing the saw into the grass, he took the ax and started whacking at the gnarled roots of the plant, alternating between the ax and the saw.
Ten minutes later, he let out a yell, “there is a stone in here, it’s the one with the family name on it!”
Crawling back out and looking at Pepper again, “You must have x-ray vision to have seen that through that mess!”
Pepper shrugged again, but everyone was now too excited to worry about how she found it.
“It’s been hidden for quite awhile judging by the size of this plant, I’m not sure this could be the one we’re looking for,” Matthew questioned as he stood up and brushed off his pants.
“The book that I found the original clue in was from 1999,” Pepper interjected, “he could have done this 13 years ago.”
“What’s it look like?” Sara asked her brother.
“It’s about two foot tall, with Lawson written across the front…I’m still not certain that this is it though.”
“Let me see the clue again,” Pepper asked Sara, who handed the paper over to her friend.
Rereading it, something struck her in the way it was written.

A/cross the field from where I depart.

“Matthew, what shape is the stone?” Pepper asked.
“It’s shaped like a cross….why?”
A smile spread across Pepper’s lips as she held out the paper to the others.
“See the way the first word is written…A/cross…I think he meant it to have dual meanings…across…and… A cross.”
The brother and sister smiled at the realization, “my dad would so do something like that,” Sara said with a huge grin.
Smiling, Matthew added, “He certainly would! You’re pretty sharp there kid!”
Reaching up, he mussed Pepper’s hair, adding, “You’re my good luck charm from here on out!”
Pepper blushed at the attention from the good-looking boy. Luckily, he was grabbing the shovel in preparation of digging and didn’t notice her embarrassment.
Crawling back into the massive bush, he got busy scraping the ground in front of the stone while the girls anxiously waited.
“Found something!” his muffled voice said as he started crawling back out of the hole. Exiting the hole, Matthew drug a plastic storage box out behind him. Setting the box on the ground in front of them, he started removing some dilapidated duct tape from around the lid of the box. Trying to lift the lid then, it wouldn’t budge. Looking at it closely, “Looks like he put a bead of Silicone around the top edge.”
Looking around him, he finally settled on the shovel, sticking the pointed nose of it into the crack of the lid and leveraging it up as the lid popped off of the plastic container.
They all put their heads over the now open storage box, seeing an oily looking cloth wrapped around something else in the box. Reaching in gingerly, Matthew lifted the package out and started to unwrap the cloth, revealing a finely carved wooden box with a domed lid.
“That’s beautiful,” Pepper exclaimed as she stared at the wooden container.
“I remember this!” Sara exclaimed as she carefully took the box from her brother. “I remember when he made this years ago, when I was a kid!”
“How do you open it?” Matthew questioned suddenly, “There is no clasp on it, and no hinges.”
They all looked closer at the box now, finding that indeed there was no clasp or hinges evident on the box, only two slots, one on each side of the lid, each slot made of metal that had been inlaid into the wood.
“You must have to have a key that will fit into those slots,” Pepper said, trying to talk through the puzzle.
“Or…” Sara suddenly exclaimed, “a medallion!”
Pulling her medallion out of her shirt and unclasping it from around her neck, she gently reached over and tried inserting it into the slot…it fit perfectly, a mechanical click indicating that something had released inside the box.
Excitedly, Matthew also pulled out his medallion and unclasped it before also pushing his into the opposite slot with another satisfying click.
Carefully reaching under the lip of the box and pulling up, the lid easily opening in Matthew’s hand.
Looking inside, they found a few things, all wrapped in plastic, including an envelope labeled ‘Sara & Matthew’.
Gently taking out the plastic bag and removing the envelope, Sara opened the envelope and opened the letter.

You did it! I knew you would!

I hope you had fun with my little preplanned adventure. I was hoping that it might help take a little of the sting out of my passing, and you did it together!

Do not bereave at my passing, for I am with you still, after all…To live in the hearts we leave behind…Is not to die.

Keep me and your mom in your hearts throughout your lives and we will always be there. We have prepared you to the best of our abilities for your life ahead, and I for one am very proud of both of you.

As for the treasure…well…it’s not much in the whole scheme of things. Inside the box you will find two gold coins, one for each of you. Your mom and I picked them out soon after Matthew was born. Each one is dated 100 years before your birth, and they are a reminder of the longevity of our love for each of you. Hopefully you will be able to keep them forever, but they are yours to do with as you wish. In a pinch, they should be worth quite a bit of money should you need it for an emergency down the road.

The other treasure, at least I hope you consider it a treasure, is in the form of a personal note to each of you. You may keep them to yourself, or share with others, it is your choice. But know this, these are heartfelt messages, and they are truly messages to you and the person you have become…or will become. Please take them to heart.

I thanked God every day of my life for you two, and I can only hope that you can come to find the same level of satisfaction and happiness in your lives.

I Love You!
Dad

Tears were flowing from everyone around the circle as Sara finished the note. Sara and Matthew found their coins and the notes addressed to them, both opting to read the notes later.
Walking back to the car, Sara put her arm around Pepper. “I don’t know how I can ever repay you Pepper, you have solved a puzzle that we may have never found without you…you gave us our father’s last words.”
“I’m glad I could do it,” Pepper said with heartfelt joy, “And I’m so glad I got to know you guys, it would have been a shame to go through life having not gotten to know you.”
“Especially the way I was in high school,” Sara added, “I have my work cut out for me making that right with everybody.”

***

Back at her house, Pepper was reflecting on Sara and Matthew’s case when her thoughts were interrupted.
“You done good girly.”
Looking up at her partner, she could only smile.
“You weren’t too shabby yourself Jacob, you found all of the missing pieces we needed…your kinda awesome truth be known.”
The confusion at being complimented quickly changed to determination as Longstreet said he was going to take a ride.
“Where is that darn horse anyway,” he said as he looked about the room.
Pepper just smiled, feeling more patient than usual, “Longstreet, about Lady…”