Emergence Ascended · Emergence Collective · Horror · magic · paranormal · science fiction · writing

Workshoppin a scene

I am at a pivot point in the plot of Emergence Ascended. I thought I would workshop the scene and share it with you. There is no context yet. My goal is to catch the reader off, guard. If I decide not to include it in the novel, I just might keep it in my backpocket of flash fiction ideas. Let me know what you think (as always, my shoot from the hip, flash fiction ideas are NOT polished, so bare that in mind)

Content may be too graphic for sensitive readers (Im not sure anymore, I am so jaded I don’t know what is offensive)

The golf ball-sized chrome sphere appeared in the middle of the pine and seventh avenue intersection. It hovered silently and unwavering as a tractor-green waste management truck collided with it, punching a perfect hole through the length of the truck. Out of control, the dump truck plowed into the traffic ahead, tossing a few small cars aside as it ground to a halt. Another perfectly round hole pierced through the vehicle following the truck, and it, in turn, smashed violently into the garbage truck. In a desperate attempt to avoid the collision in front, the third vehicle braked hard and turned sharply. It slid sideways, the momentum carrying the car into the sphere, forcing the globe through the temple of the driver’s head like a hole punch. The sphere sat steady unmarred, with a mirror finish that made it appear innocent despite the carnage surrounding it.

                Shocked at the scene, the onlookers quickly noticed the strange imperturbable object that had caused so much damage and bloodshed. One of the witnesses sprang into action in the seconds that followed the collisions. He rushed to the man with the perfect circle of gore just beginning to ooze out of his head, deciding in horror that there was no help, and looked into the back seat for any passengers that may need assistance. The body slumped over, its former owner no longer in control, and fell into the sphere still hovering inside the car.

                There was no resistance as the body slid over the spere, causing a surgical swath nearly cutting the man’s head off as it passed. Stunned at the scene, the hero moved his hand to cover his mouth. His fingers were trimmed off neatly and cleanly as they brushed the sphere causing the would-be hero to cry out and vomit on the driver.

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about me · Author · blogging · poetry

Monday quick post

It’s Monday again, and back to the work routine. Just a quick post today. Sadly no writing or recording progress for two reasons. The first is that I have had a cold (not Covid!) over the weekend, which kind of puts a damper on creative thinking; recording audio with a cold is a waste of time unless you want to hear me sneeze and sniffle. Second, it was my son’s 16th birthday, so we had a busy weekend for that.

I will leave you with a fun poem I wrote, Enjoy!

Author · Emergence Ascended · Emergence Collective · readers · writing

Painted into a corner

What nut job would paint hardwood anyway?

I had a productive weekend creatively. Chapter 4 of Emergence collective is recorded, and I got Chapter 24 of Emergence Ascended sort of almost finished, maybe. Yeah, I am a little undecided since it seems that I painted myself into a narrative corner plot-wise. I am stuck with a decision that will steer the story on two different paths. The two storylines converge in this chapter.

One of the issues and how I managed to do it is I am a seat-of-the-pants kind of writer where I do not outline the entire story. I have a plan about how I want it to end, and I wander with the story as I navigate my way to the ending. By wander, I mean that as I am writing a scene, even I do not know what is going to happen next. Sometimes I have epiphanies and inspirations that feel right but create other issues that I have to reconcile with the overall storyline. Like I did Saturday, On the one hand, I am very happy with my latest bout of inspiration (It makes sense for those characters), but it has created a timing issue with the plot and a sticky situation that I have to think about and finesse my way out of.

Yes, I know I am being vague about it, but I am hoping that you might be curious enough to grab yourself a copy once it is finished. Anyway, I will ponder this for a bit, and maybe I will come up with an elegant solution. On the optimistic side of the coin, I do enjoy a challenge; without them, we only stagnate and do not grow.

Thanks for reading!

about me · blogging · writing

Obligatory New Year post!

I’m back! It’s a new year, and I suppose I will jump on the bandwagon for the year-end/new year transitional post. As far as the blog goes, it is less than a year at this point, but it was successful for a lot of personal reasons. Though the daily stats may not look at all successful, for me it’s not about the numbers of anonymous readers, but the few people that I have met through this blog has made it feel quite successful.

Those stats, on the surface, look amazing, but the truth is that I got suckered into one of those click-through sites. So the amazing number are really a verisimilitude of success. As I was saying, numbers are just numbers. I have met some amazing people from all over the world through my blog and WordPress. I have learned a lot this year about the community of creatives and intellectuals alike.

So do I have new years goals for my blog? My only real goal is to keep at it and try to keep a reliable schedule. I am looking forward to adding a lot more short stories and other writing. Hopefully, I will sell a book or two. I also look forward to meeting more people and get to know the ones I have already met, more. I am always happy to have conversations about just about anything, so if you don’t feel like commenting publically, you can send a message to hello@hand-printsofdarkness.com Thanks for stopping by! Happy Newyear!

about me · Author · Emergence Ascended · Emergence Collective · writing

Quantum Mechanics… If you’re not confused by it, you don’t understand it.

A deep goal of theoretical physics is to unify the fundamental forces of nature, gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces into the theory of everything (TOE).

The Theory of Everything, namely M-theory, string theory, and quantum field theory (and interactions with geometry and topology) is a tasty cosmic stew that to me are topics that are too tempting to not be used as a backbone or structure in the subtext of my story.  String theory specifically has been calling my name for a number of years now, and despite the controversial nature of the theory I am on “Team String”. Lucky for me I don’t have to back anything up that is to say with a “Ph.D.” or citations to peer-reviewed articles, because, hey I write Fiction! One of the issues I have with science fiction (more to the point the uber-nerd readers) is a suspension of disbelief gets lost in the mire of “I know more than the author of the story I am picking apart” (Come on I am not writing a dissertation, just a fun story, just go with it). That little thing has cautioned me to do my research, lest I get flamed somewhere on the internet. But it also gets in the way of artistic license…. Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah String theory.  Essentially it is the idea of vibrational frequencies (the strings) that make up all matter and energy in the universe. Man, that is good stuff. How could one not use that in a science fiction book? It’s the ultimate tool to describe why the magic in my stories has a connection to reality.

I know that this may not entice anyone to read my next book, but hopefully, if you read “Emergence Collective” with this in the back of your mind it might make it a little more interesting. (and not to mention prepare you for the next one) I have written in previous blog posts that I create a rule set for each story, that helps maintain the continuity, of a concept or even the behavior of the characters. The theory of everything, M theory, quantum field theory, and String theory is my basic rule sets for my WIP. Don’t worry, you really do not have to understand any of it to enjoy my stories which are pure and utter fantasy. If you are the uber-nerd, I will go toe to toe about why my rule sets do or don’t work. I would enjoy that conversation.

Audible · Emergence Ascended · voice acting

In-Audible an update-ish

Here we are. Same place as last time. It seems that this project has weak legs. Today is (presumably) Recording “Emergence collective” day yet again. The narrator still assures me that there will be ” a few chapters recorded,” but as of yet, despite the good intentions and enthusiasm, I am still waiting for said promised chapters. I feel that I am pretty mellow with my expectations; this is a vanity project, after all, and there is no real deadline, but I would love to actually begin the project. Today is my end-of-the-rope day. Sadly, I wanted to give the guy his break into the world of voice acting and narration, but honestly, I have to accept the reality that he simply doesn’t have the time to do it.

I personally hate the sound of my own voice, but sometimes one must take complete control if you want something done. If today results in no audio recorded I am going to have to start recording on my own. There is advantage to that. I know my characters, I know the story, so I am really the best one for the job as far as that goes.

I did get some good writing on the Sequel to Emergence collective, “Emergence Ascended”. There are some big scenes that I have planned for the story, and I wrote one that I have been wanting to get to for a while now. Hopefully, I pulled it off in the way that I wanted. Thanks for reading! feel free to leave a comment, ask a question or just say hi!

Alone · Horror · writing

“Alone” Part 1 of 4

In the spirit of Spooky season Please enjoy…..

Here ya go! I decided to release the entire short story “Alone”, just for you! This was my first real attempt at writing a complete story. I got the idea from a weird hypnogogic dream. The image of Luis and Randolph kinda popped in my head. I had to write the narrative. The original story is lost to the ether, what is here is a second version of it that I trimmed from the original to meet the requirements of a short story contest. The first version was probably around 10k words, but the requirements were less than 7k (if I recall correct). Anyway I trimmed it down , cutting away some of what, at the time, seemed like fluff., but in retrospect, that “fluff” tightened the narrative. I won first place in the contest, despite the trimming down so I suppose I left enough meat on the bones to make it work.

Caution, graphic violence ahead. if you are squeamish you might want to pass on this one.

Alone part 1 of 4

He stopped working just for a moment, straining to hear the unnatural sound which only offered itself when his pitchfork was doing its duty. Momma?  The sound was familiar. Again the sound pushed forward to the edges of his hearing, “Momma!” The screams sent shocking waves of fire through his veins, forcing adrenaline-laced blood to his legs. His sprint slowed to a jog as blood in the dooryard caught his attention, and the screams grew louder, more frantic. His eyes traced the thick sticky trail of blood from the garden to the front door of the colonial-style farmhouse.  

“Jimmy! Get in here and fetch me some linens! Then go run to the Doc! Hurry!” His father yelled.  

The twelve-year-old boy bolted through the half-open door, sidestepping the pools of blood that were large enough to catch full reflections of his father. He raced to the linen closet; his throat nearly closed as the painful screams echoed through the hall. He grabbed a stack of linens with shaky hands and brought them to his father.   

His father took the linens with confused and frustrated movements. Worry lines etched his pale, nearly white face as the man struggled with his inability to provide the smallest amount of relief for his wife’s agonizing labor. His voice cracked and broken, barked a frantic reminder,  
“Run, boy! Go!”  
  Jimmy sprinted headlong into the cornfield. Flowing tears carved muddy lines across his dusty cheeks. His feet kept the hurried pace long after he was out of earshot of his mother’s screams, those awful heartrending screams.  
  

A shiny new Plymouth coupe barreled up the long drive with Dr. Hathaway at the wheel, Mrs. Ingram, the town’s midwife, next to him and Jimmy in the dickie seat.  Jimmy did not wait for the car to come to a complete stop and jumped out of the dickie. Dr. Hathaway and Mrs. Ingram soon followed him into the house.   

The midwife cleared away the blood-drenched linens while Doc assessed Jimmy’s mother. Dr. Hathaway looked at Jimmy’s father, his face wrinkled with tension and sorrow. “I’m sorry, George, she’s not doing so well. Her breathing is very shallow, and the baby is in distress.”  
 ”Oh, Momma!” Jimmy sobbed.  
 Doc opened his medical bag and began pulling out his tools. He probed the woman’s chest with the stethoscope, then his face went sullen, “You should take Jimmy out. This… this is going to be….” He took a deep breath. “Um, he shouldn’t see this.”   

Dr. Hathaway’s grim face told George the rest of the story. George took Jimmy by the arm and gently led him to the porch. The boy sniffed and wiped his nose with his sleeve, smearing snot across his face.  
 ”Poppa? Momma’s gonna be okay, ain’t she?” Then another sniffle and wipe before slumping down against the side of the house. He was losing his battle with his own emotions; George’s voice croaked, “I don’t know, son, I just don’t know.” He sat down next to Jimmy, put his arm around him, and they both cried quietly for some time.   

Through the solid door to the farmhouse, they heard Dr. Hathaway urge Mrs. Ingram to help. ”Come here! Give me a hand. I can’t do this alone.” Both of his arms were elbow deep into the cesarean slit that opened a hole in the womb. He gently pulled out most of a tiny little body, but it looked as it was snagged, and he could not finish the extraction. “Reach in, quickly! Get the other one.” He whispered a gruff order of urgency.   

The midwife reached to the gaping split, looking away from the visceral and writhing form. She felt the familiar shape of arms, legs, and a torso, then drew out the other infant. She gasped as they awkwardly dealt with the twins. “Oh my God,” she blurted and then tried to retract her astonishment by turning her head away.  
 Alarmed by the sudden whispering and gasping, George and Jimmy jumped to their feet. George put his hand on Jimmy’s shoulder to hold him back. “No! You stay here. I’ll check and see what’s goin’ on!”  
 ”But Poppa!”  
 ”No boy, ain’t no place fer ya. I’ll come and git ya when it’s time. Just sit here fer now.”  
 George took a few steps avoiding the dried brown stains on the porch, and opened the door. Doc and Mrs. Ingram looked surprised when he walked in. They looked guilty as if they were the ones responsible for the state of the twins. His jaw dropped, and he moved a few cautious steps forward. Horrified, he looked at the infants. Confusion chiseled into his features as he shook his head, defiant that this was really happening.  
 The twins writhed and gurgled as they were cleaned. Individually they were normal, though one twin was larger than the other, and both were fine. Fingers and toes in the right places. Arms and legs are suitable sizes. All was correct, except for their heads. Their faces were normal, or at least not deformed. They were attached just above the ears; the skulls collided together in a mishap of nature that marked them permanently as freaks. The shape was all wrong, too, as if their heads were welded together then pulled slightly apart like taffy, each face looking forward.  

  
 They were wrapped now, looking like a mummified wishbone, cooing as infants do, natural, soothing. George now understood the reaction of the midwife. He felt it too but choked down his aversion to not alarm his son standing behind him, despite his father’s stern words. Satisfied with the swaddling, the midwife looked to the father with misty eyes, full of shame and sorrow for the man.  
 ”Do you have names for these the boys?” she asked while adjusting the awkward bundle. George’s eyes widened as if he was reacting to a cruel joke. “No. No names.” He turned to look at his son. Jimmy, so strong and handsome, reliable… normal. His son… His only son. His face hardened as he clenched his fists.  

“Take them. Adoption, whatever.” He glanced at his wife’s lifeless body, covered in a shroud of bloodstained linens. “Take them! Those things, take them away from me!” He turned his back, not wanting to look at the abominations any longer. Jimmy looked on and then took his father’s hand in agreement.  
 ”But George, there is nowhere to take them. They’re alone and helpless. They need you.” Mrs. Ingram pleaded with him.   

“No. They need a mother, who they killed. They need someone that will be able to deal with them.”  
   

In the months following their birth, Mrs. Ingram did what she could for them. Did what she had to do. Kept them alive. She tried to care and feel the maternal impulse that she would have felt for any other child and had felt for others. All she could feel was shameful revulsion. She knew what she should feel; she knew that it was not their fault. That was the root of her shame, and that also brought on its own indignant self-loathing.  
 She noticed the handbills during her daily trip to the market. At first, one or two, here and there, and the closer she got to town, they seemed to be everywhere. Bright red and yellow bill posters of “The Great Cirque De Lune Rouge” plastered on makeshift billboards, announcing its arrival in two weeks. It didn’t take a thought. Her decision was made at the first glimpse of the advertisement. Only two weeks, and she would be rid of them.  

Continue to part 2

Audible · Emergence Collective · writing

Audible Update

Here is another Audible update. If you have been keeping score, they are averaging every 2 weeks or so (but don’t put any money on that bet because of the human factor. (me, I’m the human and I am not super consistent) it is every 2 weeks or so because every other friday is D&D session and the DM is the voice actor) I leave him alone and not really discuss the progress much between sessions mostly because If I don’t regulate my excitement I will drive him crazy asking if he has any progress.

So, no progress. Life has a way of mocking me. He is enthusiastic and talented but like most of us has a day job and a private life that takes priority over vanity projects. However as mocking as life is, it is also cruel and indiscriminate in its curve balls that it throws you. This one is that a close friend of his recently passed away, and some health issues are still hanging about. I guess I will keep waiting. But as soon as I got something I will definitely post it! Thanks for visiting!

Horror · Uncategorized · writing

Itch

Had to get this out, even though its not my WIP. But after a nice camping trip, this story came to mind.

CAUTION Graphic content ahead, you have been warned

Itch Part 1.

                Bruno drove down the unpaved road probably faster than he should have been. The tires splashed water from deep potholes far off the road into the swamp of the Florida Everglades. The service truck wobbled dangerously close to toppling over after he avoided a particularly treacherous-looking puddle as he careened onto the home’s driveway that was last on his list for the day.

                He skidded to an abrupt stop and shut off the engine. He put on the tattered ball cap with the logo of “Billy Bobs Air conditioning and plumbing”  and picked up a clipboard with the same logo, then climbed out of the truck. A blast of hot sticky, humid air washed over him as he stepped out and walked the twenty or so feet to the front door.

                The door opened before he could reach the entrance to knock, and an even warmer blast of air hit him from inside the house. Yup, definitely the right place, He thought. The door opened wider, and a tall thin woman with long dark hair stepped into view. “Miss, Bradly?” he asked as he looked down at the clipboard to verify her name and address. He could see her bare feet as he looked at the board, and his eyes followed them up her toned legs until his view was cut off by a thin bathrobe.

                “Oh, thank god! I thought you would never get here.” She exclaimed in a way of answering him. “It’s right out back.” She said, pointing to the house.

                She led the way around the side of her house to the broken air conditioner he was there to repair. Her bathrobe clung to her body, accentuating the curve of her hips. Damn, sometimes I really love my job, Bruno thought as he watched her hips sway as she walked.

                “Well, here it is, piece of shit that it is.” She said, motioning to the silent air conditioner.

“Uh huh, yup, these models are finicky; probably why they discontinued them about 5 years ago,” He said knowingly. “she’s not in bad condition overall, just needs a boost of coolant, more than likely.” He went on as he unscrewed a panel from the side.  

                I’ll be inside, sweating my balls off; just holler if ya need anything,” she said as she turned back to go inside. Bruno glanced again at her shapely hips as she walked away. Shook his head from side to side as if he couldn’t; believe his luck with such an attractive client.

                Bruno was feeling pretty good about himself. He managed to keep his eyes off her, for the most part, only a quick glance. He could indulge just a little and still not break his promise to himself.

He had been doing great. He hadn’t missed a single session with his therapist and has kept up on his journal. You know, really putting in the work, and he felt that he was passing this test. He voluntarily started going to a therapist; he knew that his sexual addiction was getting worse and he thought that he would be proactive. Don’t want to be one of those guys that eventually do something stupid and get thrown in prison, was his thought.

                A slight stinging sensation snapped him out of his thoughts as he saw a massive mosquito still swelling with blood as it sucked at his hand. He slapped hard, spurting blood from the engorged bug. God damn, that has to be the biggest damn skeeter I’ve ever seen. He thought, wiping blood onto his coveralls.

                He returned to his truck and brought back a coolant tank to refill the air conditioner and finish off the day. He wrapped up the last of the repairs, thankful it was an easy fix, and went to the front door. It was too hot, too sticky, and a cold beer was calling his name. His last call for the day, She is a beauty almost done; he could just about taste the beer. The door was ajar and he could only see a sliver of light coming from the window as he knocked with the corner of his clipboard. “All finished up,” he shouted through the crack as the sound of the air conditioner hummed to life in the distance.

                “Come on in.”She shouted back from what he assumed was her kitchen. He absentmindedly scratched at the swelling mosquito bite on his hand as he pushed through the door and stepped in. Miss Bradly walked from the kitchen holding 2 glasses of ice cold water, the condensation dripping from the glass in the heat. “You should start to feel it anytime now.” He said, motioning his head toward the air vent in the ceiling. She handed him the glass of water and noticed the mosquito bite on his hand. “Oh, looks like they got ya.” She said as he took a sip.

                 “Uh yeah, biggest bugger I’ve ever seen.”

“Let me get you some hydrocortisone for that. It’s gonna itch like crazy in a few minutes if you don’t get it on quick.” She said helpfully.

                “Oh, why, thank you.” He replied, genuinely grateful, and took another sip of water as she walked down the hallway to the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. The bathroom light showed through her thin bathrobe, silhouetting her naked body underneath. He gave in and indulged another avarice look at her body as she walked, feeling himself stiffen and his heart quicken at the sight. He quickly looked away as she turned around and came back with a tube of medication. She handed it to him with a smile and said, “I go through a lot of this stuff around here, but it’s been pretty bad this year with all the heat; I swear, they just keep getting bigger and bigger.”

                He squeezed a dollop of the white paste and rubbed it on the increasingly itchy bite, feeling it quell it almost immediately. “Oh yeah, that’s the stuff.” He said in relief.

“You wouldn’t mind, would you?” She said, motioning to her back; I got a bit right in the middle of my shoulder blades; I swear they know exactly where I can’t reach, don’t ya know?” She turned away from him and let the robe slide off her shoulder to reveal her back. A nasty mosquito bite the size of a silver dollar was dead center of her shoulder blades.

                Bruno was stunned for a moment, not sure what he should do. His first thought was that this was wildly inappropriate, and if HR caught wind of it, he would possibly get fired for the liability alone. His second thought was, almost jokingly as inappropriate,  Dear penthouse forum… I can’t believe it happened to me… He smiled at himself for that.He squeezed a large glob on his hand and gently put it on the bite. She inhaled sharply, and he felt her skin turn gooseflesh for a second.

                “Oh, that’s cold..” she exclaimed through gritted teeth as he rubbed the cream. Bruno reached up with the full intention of grabbing her shoulder to use as leverage to help him rub the cream. As he awkwardly reached, his hand brushed the side of her breast. His heart beat in his chest so hard it almost hurt as his vision blurred and his penis stiffened immediately. Bruno lost himself. All of a sudden, he felt as if in a dream, a haze or fog he could barely see past. As he watched, seemingly from out of body, a fat sweaty man in blue coveralls and a blue ball cap tore away her bathrobe and shoved her to the ground.

                He wasn’t sure how long it had been. He found himself lying on the ground. The room was dark but cool as the air conditioner hummed along. His hands were sticky, and his head hurt from a gash above his thick brow. He put his hands on the ground to heave himself off the ground. A sharp pain shot up through his hand as a shard of something sliced into it as he pushed himself up. “Ahh!” he screamed and sucked air between his teeth as more fresh blood dripped from his palm. Standing now, he looked around see broken ceramic pieced from a destroyed lamp  Must be why my head hurts.

                As he scanned around, he noticed a dark shape in front of the sofa. His heart lurched in his chest as he recognized her body. He felt the thrill, tantalizing and electric as the memory of his fingers brushing her breast, then the urgency. It wasn’t me,  it wasn’t me! I did the work, everything, I worked so hard, so this wouldn’t happen. He looked back at her crumpled body by the sofa. He could see better now; his eyes adjusted to the dark. There was so much blood everywhere. He could see smears of it all over the wood floor, handprints, and footprints. He could almost make out the scene in his mind just by looking at it. The end table by the sofa and its missing lamp, but why was there so much blood? He gingerly touched the gash above his eye; it hurt but was no longer bleeding. He looked closer at her and saw an enormous amount of blood on her back, her buttocks, and legs. He noticed bits and pieces of the ceramic peppered all over her in red splotches. The scene didn’t make sense to him until he saw a heavy glass ashtray cracked in half lying next to her hand.

                Bruno scratched the mosquito bite on his hand, which strangely brought him back to his senses. His eyes darted around the room as panic overtook him. They’re gonna know! Oh god, it’s so obvious! He frantically patted his pockets, searching for his keys; finding them in his front pocket, he bolted for the door and burst out into the night. He ran for his truck and jumped in, starting it before he had even pulled the door closed. He floored the pedal down, sending gravel to shower the house, and drove off in a manic daze.