Category Archives: Fiction

Realm of Dreams by publicdomainpictures.net

The Homecoming

Sarah regained consciousness on the other side of the portal. She was lying on the ground. It took a few minutes for the buzzing in her ears to stop and her vision to clear. She looked up to see the woman stranger looking down at her.

“Welcome to your new home,” the woman said smiling. “Let me help you up,” she said as she reached for Sarah’s hand.

Sarah held the offered hand and stood up shakily. Several other Olders stood around in groups looking dazed. Sarah noticed they were standing on an open plain. As she gazed up to the sky she saw it was azure blue and there were two moons. The sun was as bright as Earths and felt just as hot on her skin.

“What do you call this place?”, she asked.

“This is Ortus.”

“What is your name?”

” I am Nephele. We need to get you all moving. It is will be a long walk to get our city.”

“Why did we land here out in this barren land?”

” We found it was too disruptive for our citizens when Outworlders arrived in the city.”

Sarah and the other Olders walked along with their Ortusun guides. Sarah noticed she did not feel tired. It is probably all the adrenalin pulsing through my system she thought.

After what seemed like an hour she saw some tall structures in the distance. As they came closer she noticed the sleek outline of a towering building.

“This is the Central Ministry. You will be processed here,” said Nephele.

The Olders were led into the main entrance. They stood in a large hall looking up at the interior of this vast structure. Circular balconies reached up as far as they could see with several doors on each level. In the center was a large chamber with clear walls. Their guides took them to it and, after they were all inside, it began to rise rapidly up several levels. They exited onto a balcony high inside the building and were taken into a spacious hall.

“This is the intake center where you will receive your identification chips and have your health scan.  Once we have determined you are all healthy you will be assigned to your reorientation families.”

“What if some of us aren’t healthy?” a man asked.

“Our medical care can cure Earth illnesses and will have some rejuvenating effects as well.”

“What about the reorientation families?” asked Sarah.

“You will be sent to live with some of our citizens who have volunteered to help you adjust to our society. We see it as a learning opportunity for both the Olders and the Ortusuns. After the reorientation period you will be assigned to your permanent living spaces. You will be matched with a young citizen who shares your talents and you will mentor them. There will be a welcoming ceremony once you complete the reorientation and are ready to be matched. We call it The Homecoming. It will coincide with our Spring Festival.”

Time passed quickly for Sarah as she adjusted to this new world and culture. The Ortusuns did not work as Earth people did. All the work needed to keep the society functioning was performed by machines. They devoted their time to pursuing individual interests, travel, exploration, science, and the arts. It sounded like an ideal life but for the short lifespan of 30 years.

Sarah made friends with another Older that lived near her orientation home. James was an artist that lived in the same section of the city as Sarah. They discovered that they both enjoyed being out in nature and meeting other artists in the community. Sarah found it very easy to talk to James and their friendship developed quickly.

It was time for Spring Festival and The Homecoming. The Olders gathered on the plain where they had first arrived. The ceremony was to take place on the night of the first Full Moon of Coerulus, the largest moon.

A circle of statues enclosed the ceremonial site. They were crowned by flaming urns, and carved with strange animal faces whose eyes seem to glow from an internal fire.

In the center was an ornately decorated dais. The night sky was full of stars. Music was playing with a steady beat that Sarah felt pulsating through her core like the beat of a human heart. Nephele stood to address them.

Mozart_magic_flute painting of stage set by Karl Friedrick Schinkel via Wikimedia

“This is the night of our ancient Spring Festival when we celebrate fertility on our world. This year we are welcoming the Olders back to their place of origin. They bring us the promise of long life.”

Nephele addressed the Olders,” You are welcomed back to the home world of your ancestors, the place of your origin. You are bringing the gift of our genetic seed back to us.”

Some Ortusuns entered the circle and offered each of the Olders a goblet of ceremonial wine. Sarah found the drink pleasant tasting but soon felt the ground swaying, like a boat riding a swell. She looked around and to see James walking off with a young Ortusun woman. Sarah turned her gaze back to the young man who was standing in front of her.  She took his hand and they went out into the night.

It had been four months since The Homecoming and Sarah’s memory of that night was still clouded. As she entered her studio she felt an odd flutter in her belly. There was a knock on the door.

“Your student is here,” announced Alexia her android.

Sarah remembered she had scheduled a meeting with the young sculptor she had agreed to mentor. “Have the student come in here,” she replied.

Sarah could hear Alexia directing the student to the studio. She looked up as he entered the room. She realized she had seen this young man before. It was on the night of the Spring Festival. ” It’s you!” she said as the heat rose in her body.


This post is my contribution to the WEP August Challenge Reunions 

The WEP challenge is hosted by Denise Covey, Yolanda Renee, Nilanjana Bose, and Olga Godim.

WEP CHALLENGE FOR AUGUST, REUNIONS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured image ‘Realm of Dreams’ via publicdomainpictures.net, Ministry building is via Foundry on Pixabay.com, Statue is a Cham pedestal from Museum of Cham sculpture( image altered) via wikimedia, Image of ceremony is Painting of stage set for The Magic Flute by artist Karl Friedrich Schinkel (image cropped).

Word Count: 991

Full Critique

 

 

 

A Writing Journey

We are thrilled to have Deborah Drucker, the winner of the WEP June Challenge – BRIDGES – here to discuss her writing journey. Her winning piece is titledTHE FINAL TRANSITION.Congratulations, Deborah! Have I become a writer?I definitely did not always aspire to be or think of myself as a writer. I have spent most of my…

via #WEPFF WRITE…EDIT…PUBLISH… BRIDGES WINNER DEBORAH DRUCKER ON BECOMING A WRITER — Write…Edit…Publish — Monthly Blog Hop

 


Featured image ‘Jeune femme lisant dans un jardin’ by Henri Lebasque via Wikimedia

So Honored

I am very excited to win the WEP (Write..Edit..Publish) Bridges 2017 Writing Challenge Blog Hop with my short fiction post The Final Transition!

There are so many talented writers who participate in the WEP challenges and everyone is welcome to join in. The next challenge will be in August so come over and check it out.

 

Bastei Bridge by Thomas Wolf

The Final Transition-WEP June Challenge

The Final Transition Ceremony was planned for the first full moon of August. This was the law of the New Order. Anyone above the age of 55 was considered a detriment to society. It was thought The Olders no longer had anything to contribute and we unable to adapt to the new ways. The Olders gathered at the stadium that led to The Great Bridge. Those who crossed it were never seen in this world again. Sarah found herself thinking how quickly her time had passed. She was an artist and had created many unique pieces of sculpture. It was her 55th birthday and she was in her studio when the patrol came to get her.

“It is your time, they said, you must come with us.”

The Olders walked silently down the road that led to the bridge. They appeared resigned to their fate. Sarah walked with them but her feelings were not of resignation. What was the matter? She knew her transition time had come and what was expected of her. As she continued on silently she also knew she was not ready. As the group walked on she slipped out of line and down a small gully at the side of the road. She quickly hid behind a large boulder waiting for the procession to pass. She remained there, afraid to move for what must have been hours, until she drifted off into an exhausted sleep. When she woke up she realized she had to get moving or risk capture. She saw a small trail that wound up into the mountain and felt compelled to follow it, not sure where she was going but knowing she was running away from the end that was planned for her.

Sarah climbed higher and higher along the narrow winding mountain path. She was grateful for the full moon’s light that kept her from stumbling over rocks or veering too close to the edge.  When she glanced over the side, she saw the steep mountain side dropping away into darkness. Looking down made her light-headed and her legs wobble a bit, so she kept her eyes trained on the path ahead. She did not know how long she had been walking when it started to get light.

The trail forked, with a smaller branch curving off to the left into a craggy opening. She decided to explore it to see where it led. She needed to find a place to hide and rest. The opening led into a  passage. She could hear water running somewhere. As she walked toward the sound it became louder. The passage opened behind a wall of water. Sarah stepped through and found a small path along a ledge behind the falls. She picked her way carefully along the slippery ground until she came to a wide outcropping. The falls thundered down into a river gorge that ran under a bridge.

Multnomah_Falls_Bridge by Jake DeGroot

“No, it can’t be….. The Great Bridge?” Sarah said, her spirits falling rapidly like the water. Did I come all this way for nothing?, she thought to herself.

Sarah realized she could not remain where she was and she couldn’t go back either. So she climbed down the path at the side of the falls. She froze when she saw some people approaching. 

A woman approached first and spoke, “Don’t be afraid, you are not in any danger here.”

“I don’t believe you. I can see The Great Bridge,” Sarah spoke with voice rising.

“You are mistaken. We are helping The Olders to escape to our world.”

Sarah, feeling her apprehension growing, said, “What did you say? Escape to your world? Where do you come from and why do you want to help The Olders?”

“We come from another galaxy but our planet is similar to yours. Some of our ancient explorers discovered Earth.”

“Another galaxy, ancient explorers….,” Sarah mumbled not understanding.

“Let me explain,” replied the woman.

“We discovered your planet when life was just beginning and planted our seeds, our genetic material. We have continued to visit over the years to watch your development. Our societies have shared a similar value. We valued youth over age. Several years ago we were conducting experiments on prolonging youth. We developed an anti-aging vaccine. We thought it was successful until it went terribly wrong. It altered our genome so that our people die in early adulthood. When we lost our ability to age our culture lost its perspective and wisdom. We have learned that true wisdom is only gained with life experience. We share a genetic ancestry with you and hope we can repair our genome with part of yours. The Olders can contribute greatly to our society.”

As Sarah listened she found herself questioning the motives of the strangers. “You would not need to relocate all of the Olders to obtain their genome,”she said.

“The Olders would help persuade our people that we need to repair our genome so we can age. They would bring a living example of the gifts of ageing to our people and the perspective that is missing from our society. They could mentor our youth who have lost their parents and never experienced the benefit of grandparents,” the woman replied.

Sarah noticed a beam of light coming down behind the strangers. “What is that golden light?” she said.

“What you see is the gateway between our galaxies,” the woman replied.

Sarah was startled awake by the knocking on her front door. She must have fallen asleep in her studio. What a strange dream, she mumbled to herself as she opened the door.

“Your time has come,” the patrolman said. They escorted Sarah to the bus that would transport her and other Olders to the stadium for The Final Transition.

The Olders walked silently down the road to The Great Bridge. “I can see a bright light ahead, ” a woman shouted. ” It is the end of us, ” another woman cried out. Sarah smiled and said, “No, it is just the beginning.”


Featured image ‘Bastei Bridge in Saxon Switzerland by Thomas Wolf on Wikimedia. Image ‘Multnomah Falls’ by Jake DeGroot on Wikimedia.

Word count: 998

Full Critique

 

 

The Extraterrestrial Halloween Party

Every year the faculty and student body at Lighthouse Elementary, in Half Moon Bay, look forward to Halloween. The children and teachers spend the whole month in preparation. The classrooms are decorated in hopes of winning “The Best Halloween Spirit” contest. The month culminates with classroom parties and a costume parade.

The students weren’t the only ones planning a Halloween Party this year. The teachers at the school were to have one as well. Penelope Papadrakakis was determined to make it the best Halloween Party the teachers had ever had. As the new school principal she prided herself on her leadership and organizational skills. She would plan the party to perfection. No detail would be overlooked if she had anything to do with it. She had a sign up list not only for menu items but for the costumes as well. She did not want any duplicate dishes or characters. Miss P., as she was known by students and staff, was a tall woman with an imposing demeanor and booming voice. She had a commanding presence and was the focus of attention whenever she entered a room. Miss P. was a big Star Trek fan and decided this year’s party theme should be all about Star Trek. The teacher’s party was scheduled for the weekend before Halloween so that it did not interfere with all the preparations for the school activities. It was to be held at Miss P.’s house.  She had already decided to come as a Betazoid Princess based on the Star Trek character Lwaxanna Troi. She had a lot in common with Lwaxanna. She was looking for the right husband and had her eye on Mr. Dalal, the Vice Principal. It was a case of opposites attract.

Mr. Achanda Dalal, known as Mr. D., was a short, soft-spoken man who had a difficult time enforcing Ms. P.’s many rules with the students. Ms. P. thought Mr. D. would look just adorable if he came to the party as a Cardasian. She had ordered his costume at the same time she did her own. He did not have the heart to tell her he did not see himself as such an aggressive character.

All the staff and administration of Lighthouse Elementary were looking forward to the party. The menu list was full and everyone was busy with their costumes. They would all be surprised by what would transpire the night of the party.

Claude Clovis was a next door neighbor of Miss P. He was well-known in the community and with local law enforcement. Miss P. often said Claude was just a bit eccentric but harmless. Claude was a true believer in everything extraterrestrial. He faithfully listened to late night radio programs about extraterrestrial space ship sightings and abductions of humans by alien beings. He believed sci-fi films, and much of the popular science fiction TV shows, were based on true stories that the government was covering up. He was expecting an invasion of Half Moon Bay any day and was prepared to defend himself. He had his foil head-gear by his side at all times. The local sheriff’s office was used to getting a phone call from Claude at least twice a month to report strange lights in the sky or mysterious crop circles in nearby fields.

Claude was his ever vigilant self the night of Miss P.’s Halloween Party. He was just in the process of completing a reconnoiter of his backyard when he happened to glance over the fence into Miss P.’s yard. He felt it was his duty to keep watch over his neighbors. What Claude saw that night froze him in his tracks. Lined up in Miss P.’s backyard was a whole raiding party of aliens getting ready for a group selfie. As he stood there, with mouth gaping and eyes popping in his night goggles, Miss P.’s miniature chihuahua, dressed as a miniature Klingon, spotted him and made a low snarling noise while showing his little fangs. Claude let out an unearthly shriek and passed out cold on the spot. He woke up with several aliens looking down at him including a Vulcan, a Romulan, and a short sympathetic looking Cardasian. A very tall female who looked like Lwaxanna Troi, but sounded a lot like Miss Papadrakakis, was talking loudly into a cell phone about sending the paramedics. Claude blacked out again and next woke up in the Emergency Room babbling about an alien invasion. The Emergency Room staff decided to keep him overnight for observation. It took Claude several months to get over the shock of that night and he never completely believed Miss P.’s explanation that it was just the teachers dressed in costumes that night.

To avoid any future interruptions of her parties by Claude, Miss Papadrakakas decided she would have to include Claude on her guest list. The next year Claude attended the teacher’s Halloween Party but insisted on monitoring the skies for any suspicious lights. He told Miss P. that aliens could confuse the party goers as fellow extraterrestrials and try to infiltrate.  He was very suspicious of the chihuahua dressed as a Ferengi.

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This post is my contribution to the WEP Halloween Writer’s Challenge.  Featured Image of UFO by Photovision on Pixabay.com. Chihuahua photo by Anthony Kelly on Flickr.

Word Count: 865

Feedback: Welcome

 

 

 

The View

Spring is here but there is still some snow on the ground. I take a break after my morning walk and my feet rest on the drifts. At least the sun is out and the view is good. It used to be that I never had time to walk in the mornings because I had a job. Since I was involuntarily unemployed at the beginning of the year, I have a lot of time on my hands, and not a lot of money. It’s a good thing that this bench with a view is free. Looking out over the calm water soothes my spirit. I think I will check those job listings again. Maybe there is one that’s just the right fit for me.

This is Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by Priceless Joy. Image courtesy of Barbara Taylor.

Down Time

Waves

We often enjoyed a drive along the coast in the evening after a stressful day of work. Seeing the water and the beautiful natural coastline always lifted me. It did not fail me today as I drove North on PCH. This would have been our fortieth anniversary. Well it still was except Jim wasn’t here to share it with me. He missed it by one month. This time I will not turn around and drive back home. I will continue driving all the way to Mendocino. I have rented a cottage there for a month. It was to be our anniversary trip.

This is my contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields who also provided the ocean image. I am thinking of another anniversary. May 25 is the 39th anniversary of the release of Star Wars in the US. It was the year I got married and started my own adventure.

694px-Star_Wars_Logo_svg

May 25, 1977