Hayden’s Dilemma – Teristaque Chronicles 7

HaydensDilemmaHello there friends, Romans, countrymen, and countrywomen (its not a guy/girl thing)! As you know, I had to take some time off to recover from a bad injury (I still got two more weeks to go before I can put weight on the leg. Then there is time learning how to walk again! Oh the joy!).

During the recovery time, I kept myself busy with some writing projects including the 7th story in my short story series the Teristaque Chronicles. Don’t worry. Robin Hood of Couches is still forthcoming, I just decided that in between the Kickstarter and now, I wanted to do a little more rewriting. But my plan is still July of this year, so stay tuned for that book because it’s the next on my list.

In the meantime, enjoy Hayden’s Dilemma over here. And as always, if you want to help out, the best way to help independent artists is by leaving reviews or telling a friend. For the Teristaque Chronicles, it’s easy to tell a friend because the first story is free.

Thank you all for your support!

PS: ORION is going to be on sale for 99 cents from 3/31/19-4/7/19! That book happens to be one of my personal favorites.

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Rumspringa

Rumspringa

A science fiction short story that will be a Spiral song.

My first memory was my wife’s suicide. The day was sunny and almost pleasant. The crisp air and the smell of the ocean dominated my senses. I was on the edge of a deep forest wild with growth. About fifty feet from the forest was a seaside cliff. There were jagged and ruthless rocks down below. The sea breathed in waves crashing below. My wife stood dressed in a flowing white wedding dress at the edge of the cliff looking at the rocks that looked as if they would grab her into the depths.

I was paralyzed at the forest edge. Every muscle wanted to scream out, but nothing could propel me forward. I didn’t know why I was here or why she stood at the edge transfixed by the abyss below. My memory was blank, but I still had feelings from my previous existence. All that I knew was that I cared for the woman about to jump. I wanted to stop her. There must have been something calling and tempting her to jump. The moment of paralytic fear passed, and I was able to run.

She slowly turned her head tilting at an awkward angle to face me, almost like she was a puppet on a string. My blood boiled tearing through a distance that seemed like a marathon’s length when in reality was only a couple more yards to go. She smiled a beautiful full smile. It was the kind of smile that would light up a room and strike people in their heart. She smiled as if she had nothing but pure joy to share with the world. Her smile tumbled with her as her body went limp and dropped off the edge. My fingers barely touched her flowing dressed as she went over the cliff. The smile faded into an expression of contentment as she disappeared into the rocky sea.

My momentum tossed me forward and over the edge. I skittered to a halt by gripping the jagged cliff side. My arms were the only thing keeping me from joining my wife in the deep. My feet dangled into a void. Part of me felt guilty for my willpower to live. I felt as if I should join her. My weight and angle was too much to pull myself back up the cliff. Just when I thought I would join her, several masculine tuxedoed arms dragged me away from the edge.

The men who pulled me up were all young, hearty, and looked like groomsmen. That’s when I noticed that I was wearing a tuxedo too. It was torn from my stumble and covered in dust. My nose bled and body ached. One of the men shoved a flask in my face. I took a sip and cringed from the burn of the drink. He nodded, and I drank more. I handed the flask back, and more wedding guests began popping out of the forest.

My wedding seemed to have been well attended, as there were many families and many people coming from the woods. I could not remember any of them. All I knew is that the person who had jumped was my wife. She was dead, and now I would have to break the news to the people I didn’t remember. I hoped one of the groomsmen who pulled me up from the cliff saw the event and would explain. I wanted nothing more than to be alone.

“Where’s Aida? Where’s my daughter?” A middle-aged woman in a blue mother of the bride dress asked. The groomsmen shrugged. She turned towards me for an explanation.

“She jumped off the cliff.” I said and started to cry. I couldn’t help myself. I loved that woman. The mother of bride loved her too. She grew feint and was caught by one of the groomsmen. She began to wail. More people began to pop out of the forest with dismayed expressions. The next week was a blur.

To continue reading get the full story here.

Rest Area of the Future

Rest Area of the Future

Story III in the Sperm Donor for a Cosmic Paradox series.

Anna Thompson wanted to see her son again. Each event that pushed her further from her son got progressively worse until she ended up bleeding out on a path in the woods. There was a bullet burrowed somewhere deep within her gut. She remembered a television show she watched in high school. The show claimed a gut wound was painful and would take hours to bleed out. The painful part was true for a while. However, the pain receded away to numbness. It was like her body had some sort of defense against pain or she lost so much blood, she couldn’t feel her body anymore. The thought of death wasn’t scary or frightening. She faced her own mortality the moment she time traveled to the past.

As a woman of the twenty first century, she never really thought about death. Medical science was really good. Scientists predicted her generation would live for a 150 years. There were always some optimists who claimed medical advancements would make people immortal through tissue and organ regeneration, or even just a robot body to house the consciousness after the flesh body gave out. None of these medical enhancements would be possible for her because of a bullet from the gun of The Gold Piece Bandit.

The Gold Piece Bandit was a local hero in his own mind of a town called Underwood, Iowa where she had made her home in the last seven years. He was a bully and rode with a gang. His gang stuck with train and bank robberies from outlying areas, so the town folks tolerated his presence, but they were a rowdy and crude gang. The Gold Piece Bandit would make a show of keeping his men respectable in the city limits, but he was a vile human being. Anna could sense it. Especially the way he looked at her, with a hungry and lecherous stare. Even though she was a waitress in a whore-free Inn, he could tell he wanted her, and she feared the day when he would come take her. When the day came that his lust overwhelmed his sense of being a “respectful” member of the town, she wouldn’t go down without a fight, so she prepared herself. However, no forethought prepared her for what happened.

Before the inescapable confrontation, she tried to avoid the gang as best she could until the day they got a new member. The new guy was different. He was pudgy and his skin was burnt like he had never seen the sun until recently. There was a difference between the skin of a person who sunburned over and over, and the skin of a person who stayed indoors and was burning for the first time. On closer inspection of the new member, Anna found out that he was wearing Gucci glasses. Gucci glasses meant that he was a fellow time traveler, and if there was another time traveler, then maybe she could get back home with her son.

Her biggest fear aside from her death was not being able to help her son. He was seven-years-old, living in what felt like a Western movie, and she would not be there for him. What began as a path home after being stranded in the past became a series of unfortunate events. The biggest unfortunate event of them all was the bullet in her gut and the abandonment of her son. She could feel herself slipping away. The irony was that she was so close to home. The horn of a semi broke through the traffic noise of the nearby freeway. Not too far away were cars traveling down the interstate. Blood poured from her gut, and her mind slowly faded out of consciousness.

To continue reading download the Kindle edition here.

Living Material Inside – Open Immediately

Unmanned drones began delivering packages to Sean’s door about three years before the murder recorded by the Hillsboro Police Department, June 23rd, 2019. Sean was more of a manger than an engineer and didn’t really know how the drones fit into the situation until it was too late. Sean was an early adopter of technology because he worked for one of the largest technology companies in the US. As soon as companies like Amazon and eBay had unmanned drones deliver packages, Sean signed up. Sean was sold on the technology when a package of pumpkin spice flavored k-cups was waiting on his door a half-an-hour after he ordered them. He didn’t realize at the time how k-cups would connect to the incident that would alter his life forever.

When the drones first hit the air, there was a lot of fear. Rumors spread on the internet about old ladies and pets being attacked by the drones. People feared that hackers would mobilize armies of drones or at the very least steal packages. Some of the more radical websites claimed that the government was using them to spy and wore protective clothing, including the tinfoil hat that an enterprising crazy should have patented in the pursuit of gobs of money. But the drones were better pilots than people. The difference between a drone and person was that people made mistakes. Designers and engineers tested and retested the drones, to ensure the mistakes were worked out their systems before they took flight.

Once the fear of new technology subsided, the drones became a fixture of the sky, and no one looked twice, except for Sean. About four months preceding the murder, Sean always looked up, every time he left the house. He would stay in the open air for as little time as possible. Sean often ran from his car to work. A casual observer of his behavior would conclude that he was paranoid, and should probably wear a tinfoil hat if it made him feel better. However, Sean was not loony; he was average.

The incident began about nine months preceding the incident in a warehouse located in Gresham, Oregon, just outside of Portland. The warehouse was a wonderland of electronic wizardry because it was entirely automated. Very few humans oversaw a warehouse the size of ten football fields with goods ready to be shipped all over the globe. The workers had all been replaced by drones.

On a typical day, an order would come through the internet to a brain that was almost artificially intelligent. It would send an army of drones to pick the order off the shelf, another army would pack the items, and the star of the show, the aerial shipping drone, would fly the package over Portland, to the sleepy town of Hillsboro and on to Sean’s doorstep. Because Sean made a lot of money as a manager, was recently divorced, and had kids who had already been through college, Sean ordered more stuff by drone than any human in the Oregon/Washington area. Rather than go to the grocery store when he was out of peanuts, he’d fly them in. If he wanted a movie to watch, he’d order the blu-ray online.

Every product would come in packages of one or two at a time and were dropped off on Sean’s doorstep. Because the warehouse was almost entirely automated, Sean could order at anytime. Drones didn’t make overtime, nor did they require vacation time, or even a forty-hour workweek. If Sean needed to have some milk in the wee hours of the night, a drone would be at his doorstep. He felt as if he was living the dream of his favorite childhood show, Star Trek. The aerial shipping drones and the automated warehouse was the closest thing to replicator a boy could dream, given the technology. An 3D printer could print an object made of a basic material, but a drone and a yearly service fee for free drone shipping could bring him anything he ever wanted. Sean was living in the future.

Sean’s future was about to unravel, and it all started with a rose.

You can finish the story here:

http://www.amazon.com/Living-Material-Inside-Open-Immediately-ebook/dp/B00JM24PI0/

Sperm Donor for a Cosmic Paradox – Sample

The DNA test was a mistake. An email appeared in my inbox one Wednesday morning. I was at work with nothing to do. Facebook status updates, The Huffington Post, and The Onion didn’t seem to change much after I hit the refresh button for the seventh time, so when the email about tracing my genetic ancestry hit my inbox, I clicked on the link. I almost never click on the link. My email was cluttered with offers, deals, and promotions and I deleted them. The offer was simple. I’d pay a company a flat rate. They would send me a kit to collect samples of my DNA and I would mail it off. They would run some tests, and report my genetic history down to the village where my distant relatives farmed the land to prepare for the harsh European winters.

The day the test was scheduled to arrive was in the thick of winter. A company representative wanted to schedule a time to speak with me about the results of the test. I told him to come by after work. The fee I paid for the test didn’t seem like it merited an in-person visit. I was also pretty sure they would just send me a package with the results. But I didn’t really question it because I really didn’t remember what the paperwork said. When I got home, there was a squat pudgy man with glasses sitting in a black car. He stumbled out of his car before I was halfway to my door. He exuded a nervous energy.

“Mr. Ruttle.” He shoved his hand in my face. His face was red from the freezing air, and I could see his breath form steam. I was holding a messenger bag in one hand and an empty lunch container in the other. After an awkward moment of shifting my items in my hands to accommodate a handshake, he launched into some scientific chatter that went over my head. He produced some documents with graphs I couldn’t identify.

“Slow down,” I said. “Come inside and we can talk.”

I let him into my small nine hundred square foot house. The living room consisted of two mismatched couches I found on the roadside with the words “free” taped to the side, a coffee table cluttered with empty beer bottles and fast food wrappers, and a Craigslist purchased entertainment center. The TV was the old square variety that weighed a ton. The game station was a first generation Xbox that I took with me from my parents’ house. I never upgraded because the games were insanely cheap for the old systems. Most used game stores tried hard to get rid of the old games. The clerks would save the choice ones for me. I swept the coffee table clear in one swoop, and all the trash crashed into a bag I set down to collect the trash.

“You want a beer?” I said as I dragged the trash bag into the tiny kitchen. My ex-girlfriend used to complain about the size of the kitchen, and she always fantasized about what life would be like with a larger kitchen. I assumed she got her larger kitchen because I hadn’t talked to her in a year. The fridge had beer, leftovers, and condiments. I pulled two bottles from the twelve-pack and popped the tops. I tossed the caps into a small pile that had accumulated on the countertop.

“No thank you,” the man said as I wandered back into the living room with the beers.

“More for me,” I said and set one on the coffee table and sipped from the other. “Now, let’s start with your name.”

“Oh,” the man seemed taken aback, “Doctor Leonard Schuasenburg but you may call me Len.”

“Call me Jed,” I informed him. My name was technically Earl James Ray Ruttle III but most people called me Jed. It was a nickname from high school that seemed to stick. The only person who refused to call me Jed was my mother and my ex-girlfriend. They insisted on James because my father was the Earl of the family. We had come from a long line of Iowa farmers until the corn conglomerates swept into the country buying up farms. My father used the money from the farm to buy out a hardware store in Des Moines. After my father died, my mom closed the store. Large chain stores killed the business years back but father refused to be run out of a second business. What money was left from the business bought my mom a tiny condo, and she worked part time as an educational assistant. My older brother was practicing law in Boston, and my older sister was off in some other country living in a hut and working for the Peace Corp. That left me to stay in Des Moines to look after my mom.

“Mr. Rut… Jed.” Leonard launched into an explanation. He pulled out the same confusing paperwork that he tried to shove in my face earlier. It didn’t make sense then and certainly didn’t make sense now. “The autosomal and mitochondrial test both…”

“Whoa! Whoa! Doc, in English.”

“I am speaking English.”

“Plain English.”

“You are your mother’s grandfather.”

Download the Kindle Edition here.