Footfalls on Creaking Floorboards – Part 5 #Horror #Halloween

Both Angela and Luther turned toward each other and then looked back at the stone arch. There was a passageway beyond that seemed to angle downward and was obscured by inky darkness. Angela walked towards the phenomena, when Luther held her back. “Wait! You don’t know what’s down there!”

“That’s exactly what I intend to find out,” Angela broke free from his grasp.

“I’m not even going to pretend to know what is going on here, but that thing wasn’t here a second ago. What if it disappears the moment you step inside?”

“There is only one way to find out.”

Angela walked towards the archway. She touched the stones with her hands. They were cool, nothing out of the ordinary for a basement in October. Heeding some of Luther’s caution, she decided to test the portal. She tossed a stone inside and heard the clatter of it down the passage. The next test involved poking one of the metal fence posts past the threshold. Nothing happened. After they exhausted all the other options, Angela had no choice but to go inside.

Before she went, she turned to Luther, “You don’t need to follow me. If it does disappear, tell Brenda that I love her, and my parents too.”

“Um… OK.” Luther said.

Before he could devise another reason why she shouldn’t go, she crossed the threshold. She turned towards Luther who was dumbly shaking in his boots. She stepped back out again and smiled, “See. It’s not trapping me in some other world.”

Angela turned back down the passageway. After some deliberation, Luther rushed forward to follow her. The passageway was a narrow stone tunnel with an arched ceiling. It seemed to have an infinite blackness beyond the reach of light generated by Angela’s phone. Luther kept making glances back to make sure the entrance to the basement was still there.

They walked for what seemed like hours, but in reality was only about thirty minutes when they finally saw light up ahead. The basement had disappeared into the darkness, so Luther pushed them forward towards the exit. When they finally got close to the end, they could see that there was definitely a room up ahead. By the time they could make out the details of the room, they were almost upon it.

They stepped out of a stone arch similar to the one they had entered. The room looked like the basement they had just left with the exception that everything looked new. The octopus furnace had gleaming metal like it was freshly installed. All the farming equipment looked new like it had yet to collect the rust from the ages. There was even fresh soil on some of it. The basement was clean and well organized, and there were no witch marks on the beam in the ceiling.

While Angela was exploring the surroundings, awed by the change the basement had gone through, Luther tugged her sleeve. “Look,” he said. She could hear the fear in his voice.

She turned toward the wall where the archway should have been. It was no longer there. It was a wall like any other part of the basement. She turned to Luther and saw that his gaze was not fixed on the wall, but rather the top of the stairs. He didn’t seem to notice the missing archway or else that would have surely sent him into a panic. Whatever was at the top of the stairs was making her uncomfortable as she could see him begin to shake.

Angela turned her gaze to the top of the stairs, and there was a little girl of no more than nine-years-old. She had blond ringlets and was wearing an early 1900’s dress. Both Luther and the girl screamed. Angela was so startled that she began to scream too. Their voices blended into a cacophony of terror that was punctuated by Luther passing out.

Author’s Note: I thought I’d be done with this story by Halloween, but it’s taken a life of its own and went in a way unexpected to even me. Please follow for more installments.

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.

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Customer Service Scientist

When I wrote Sperm Donor for a Cosmic Paradox, I intended for it to be a one off story. For every reader who wanted more from the story, I humbly thank you. I really wasn’t prepared for the question what happens next? So I gave my readers the obtuse answer, “I guess you’ll just have to wait for the next one.” After giving the obtuse answer more times than I care to count, I realized I more or less committed myself to seeing this story through to completion. So here is the next installment in the series. As for what happens after Customer Service Scientist, I guess you’ll have to wait for the next one.

Len’s decision to enter the field of genetics was a mistake quantifiable by the noose around his neck, his hands bound around his back, and a horse under his haunches. He’d seen the horse hangman death hundreds of times in movies and television, but the actual reality was quite different. The rope burned his neck and hands. The sun drained the spit from his mouth and scorched his pasty white skin. The horse let out a snort. Len only recently learned to ride a horse, and muscles he never knew existed ached just by being on the horse.

He was used to sitting at a desk. His shoulders were hunched, his eyesight was poor, and his hands had the beginning stages of carpal tunnel. Len’s aspirations as a geneticist didn’t really involve any sort of desk jockeying. He started college in the nineties at a California State school. During his freshman year, President Bill Clinton announced that they had officially decoded the human genome, and Len knew he wanted to be a part of it. He declared his major in the sciences and continued for a PHD with a focus on genetics. He pooped out and the school gave him a master’s degree for the time served.

PHDs would consider his mater’s a failure but his family considered it a triumph. As the son of a restaurant manager and a medical assistant, Len was the successful one. As a geneticist, he was at the bottom. Most people pictured scientists as people working in a lab, surrounded by high tech equipment. He had the same impression during his freshman year in college. Len pictured himself in a white lab coat, explaining to President Bill Clinton about the important work Len was doing. Genome sequencing by the time Len got involved was less laboratory and more computer sequencing. He would interpret graphs and numbers all day.

Len worked for a company that provided cheap genetic heredity tests by the thousands. Most of the lab work was done in India where even skilled labor was a bargain. Most of the results were interpreted by the doctors in India and Len really acted as drone to double check the work of a perfectly competent workforce. The tests only came across his desk when customers had a question and/or most likely a complaint about their results package in the mail. Customers felt better when a person with some official looking credentials from their own country of origin checked the work. Even though the Indian workforce was just as skilled, the company hired Len to make people feel better about their results.

That meant all of Len’s education and study dedicated to genetics, even though short of a PHD, was really just to be a customer service scientist. There was very little science involved. He looked at a test and explained the results. That was until he got the test. It was the only test to ever come across his desk that added any sort of excitement or interest to his work. Most genetic tests were pretty straightforward. Every person had a percentage breakdown of their ethnic origins and places where their ancestors came from. For the most part, his job was to officially tell someone the family lore about the Irish relative and the Cherokee decedent were actually incorrect because their genes didn’t lie about their English, German, and French ancestry. Despite Len’s fancy sounding master’s degree and the high level of accuracy of the test, people still didn’t believe him. He realized pretty early that he couldn’t argue with family lore even when family lore was wrong.

To continue reading click here for the Kindle edition.

2014 Just Might Change the World

I am going to change the direction of my blog. I’ll be honest when I’ll say that I started the blog because I envy Dave Barry’s job. Say what you will but I couldn’t think of a better job in the entire world than to write silly stuff every week. So back in 2010, I decided to write silly stuff every week. I figure I would treat it like my job even though I was not getting paid. And sometimes, it did feel like a job. I felt I had to post even though I wasn’t feeling funny. Aside from the December break from writing, I’ve been fairly faithful to the idea. For those of you who have been faithful to reading my silly stuff every week, I humbly thank you for your support and probably would have quit long ago if it wasn’t for regular traffic to my blog.

But I have to be honest with myself that my writing energies have been focused on my first love of science fiction and horror (my stories from high school were poor retellings of Ender’s Game, Aliens, and Terminator). I wrote a novel last year and one of the only reasons it’s not out on Kindle Direct Publishing is my wife’s advice to make a go at a publisher. But to satisfy my DIY writing addiction, I’ve been giving out short stories for free when I can on Amazon.

So I am going to widen the scope of this blog to more than just silly posts. For the fans of the silly posts, I promise you that I will still write them. They just will not be as frequent as they used too be. Most of my weekly writing energy is being consumed by the fiction so I may not blog every week. For those of you who have been keeping up with the fiction. Yes, I am planning to write more in the Sperm Donor for Cosmic Paradox universe. I really intended it to be a short story but it wanted to be more. And those of you who asked me for more, more is on the way. For those of you that just want to ask me a question, send me an email: