Oh how lucky are you all! I’ll be out of your hairs for a week! No more of my agitating commentary on Twitter, no more annoying retweets or lazy favorites – I’ll be gone for a week! Well six days to be precise.
Tomorrow I’m leaving for Hamburg, the first part of my trip, followed by Berlin and on the way back I plan to see one of the concentration camps because well… My grandfather served in the navy during WWII (on Allied side, mind you!), my grandmother – though half German – sheltered Jews while her sister nearly was deported to a camp for helping with resistance newspapers. And, as you may have guessed, I have a Jewish surname so there’s that a few generations back.
Either way, I’m hoping to have a good time, even though I’m sick. Yes, I’m still sick with the flu! Which is also why I’ve been sort of, kind of, quiet on Twitter. Honest, I’m coughing like a room full of nineteenth century Tuberculosis patients.
I hope to be able to take some pictures and stuff, that is before I get arrested and quarantined for bringing mutant Ebola into the country. So if I end up on the news, please call me a lawyer! I’ll be needing it.
So, after having said all that – I just wanted to let you know I’ll be gone short but I will be back to annoy you all once more! Take care my friends and as they say in Germany: Auf wiedersehen!
I know that in my previous post I said I would post this story over the weekend or earlier this week – I was however overcome by flu that is still tormenting me as we speak, I hope to be over it before I go on a short vacation next week to Berlin. Anyway, I finished the story and edited it, I made a quick graphic with it and – as a bonus – am adding some links with audio (click picture and YouTube video below!) that should really enrich the experience. Or I hope so, it helped me write this anyway!
So, without further ado, here it is – hope you will enjoy the audio and the story and leave a comment if you please. If you really like it, please retweet! I can use every bit of push I can get!
Sincerely – your sickly author,
And then I found this on top of it to make it all even creepier!
Now that you’re all set – here we go…
I write this to whomever has the misfortune of finding it,
My name is Bernardo Montés, I am a sailor and Conquistadore in service of the King of Castile. I am one of many you will never find, I beg of you not to become one like us, I write this in my dying hours.
We came here from the coast, having sailed South West from Hispaniola, to this cursed land. We met the natives, a simple people who do not wear proper clothes and worship no true, Christian God. We convinced them to show us the in-lands by offering them some of our commodities by which they were easily persuaded in great due to our Taino interpreters.
We sought after gold and silver and to conquer promising land in the name of our king but we found nothing of this kind. I do not know if the natives meant to set us up, but I know we stood alone when everything went wrong. The Taino have died by our side.
We set our course with the help of our Indian guides, whom can tell any tree from another and never get lost. We travelled across many rivers, the landscape changed from dry lands and hills to thick jungles that are damp and no sunlight touches the ground. As the temperature and humidity raised our guides grew more concerned. From what we understood from our interpreters they fear the other tribes here yet speak of them with admiration. Of golden cities and human sacrifice, but more than anything they fear the beasts that live here.
Tales of a spotted cat with teeth like daggers, of a giant snake that lives in the waters and a bird of terror. They fear this bird the most, they call it “the Blood Owl”, whose feathers are permanently stained red with the blood of their victims. Whose beak snaps like thunder and wings that not ride the wind but bring it. No man spotted by this beast has lived to tell. Only those in hiding, those who witnessed the carnage, come back with their stories before they lose their mind.
We laughed, how foolish of us to mock, I believe in doing so we have called this creature upon ourselves. No Spaniard fears the intentions of a bird, we would feast on it like chicken, should it have the nerve to show itself.
We ventured deeper into these ungodly lands, whose jungles never seem to end and the rains never stop, and began to realize there were truths to what they had told us. We saw the spotted cat, it growled as it gnawed through the neck of a wailing pig and disappeared into the trees.
Some of our men swore to have seen a snake wading through the river the size of a battle ship. I did not see this monster but could see the fear on the faces of these men, pale and contorted, like I have never seen on Sevillian sailors or soldiers from Navarre before.
With our long expedition came hunger and sickness, we had little luck hunting as the animals always saw us first. Only the indians could find us food, most of it not worthy of any man to eat. They eat from rotten roots, chew on leafs and even insects they will devour. But in despair we too ate them and many of us fell sick. We saved what little meat we caught, often from monkeys, to feed the sickest and hungriest. But for some it was already too late, friends now buried under the thick leafs, where they will never be able to be found again.
We ventured ever deeper and encountered some rivers with fish, caves to shelter, tall trees to hide from rain and even some animals to hunt, we had some hope. Hope to find food to eat that was not crusty and with slime, to drink water that had not stood for days in mud but flowed freshly.
But our guides grew more restless. When they thought we slept at night they spoke feverishly of the cries in the forests of which we thought nothing. The guides believed that the warning cries of the monkeys meant more than the logic of our commander, a Spanish nobleman.
Then one morning, the cowardly savages – all but two who we managed to catch – were gone. They had packed their meager belongings and left us in these woods. We could not believe that the promise of pure gold and the friendship of the Crown of Castille would not be enough for any man to drop his superstition. But these men did not flee superstition.
Our commander decided that going back was not an option, he believed that by now we were closer to our destination, the mystical city of El Dorado, than we were traveling back. Our Taino believed so too.
With only faith in our hearts we continued our journey into the endless fog, clouding our minds and taking our breaths away. But the promise of reward and so little other options makes a man strong.
We traveled on with our native prisoners, two young hunters, trying to lead us to the nearest river. Three days away. For now that was all the hope we had.
After just a day and a half a storm broke loose, a thunder that broke open the skies and showered us in rain so badly, it hurt the skin as the drops crashed down. We could not even start a fire to warm ourselves. Perhaps this was our final warning.
As night fell we dared not ask the young hunters about the reason why their fellow tribesmen had fled. We dared not ask about the cries we heard in the forests. They seemed to cautiously lead us around certain areas. But with the overflow of water, mud slides rushed from the hills down, making it difficult not to be surprised and swept away, this was becoming harder and we had fewer choices of passing. The nights bright as day in thunder. None had sleep.
When several of our men watched the sky, they claimed to see a monstrous bird sour, through the branches of the trees. We wove away their story, no bird flies in thunderstorm, but were in secret too scared to believe.
The gestures of a bird in flight said enough, or maybe one of our Taino interpreters said too much, to our prisoner guides. Again by dawn we were alone, they had somehow freed themselves from their shackles and ran. We were stuck between overflowing rivers, steep hills and mud slides in a green hell that never ended. One of the men went mad and tried to cut his throat. We stopped him but perhaps shouldn’t have, he would die a worse death soon.
Through a densely grown valley we ventured away from the hill tops, our bodies growing weaker with every step. Malnourished, sleepless and without hope.
The steep climb down forced us to travel in a long line, every man on his own with another barely in sight.
After several hours of travel we noticed that two men at the back of the line were missing, we feared that a mud slide had separated them from the group, the men before them believed they had last seen them within the hour. We believed it to be our duty to return for them, we could not leave them die, not within an hour’s reach.
The Taino helped us trace back our footsteps, we searched for an hour and called their names into the damp air, but not a word came back. We feared that they had strayed from the path never to be found again. There was no other choice but to leave with heavy hearts.
As we ventured back, a panic suddenly broke loose. One of the men had witnessed another in front of him being swept away but what he could only describe as a gust of wind. Even with just a few steps between the growth was thick as a wall and it was impossible to see clearly what it had been. As he told his story, a warm rain fell from the tree tops above, thick drops that did not run easily down the skin. I felt it but thought nothing as I listened intensity while we counted the men. Then I smelled it and realized this was not rain. It was blood.
Before I could say a word we heard a deafening screech, one drowning out even the thunder, freezing us all dead in our tracks. A shadow cast across the forest floor. My breath stopped as I could see the shape of a giant bird.
Within a moment, with souring speed, the creature flashed by between us. Without fear or hesitation, it grabbed our commander and sped back into the trees. We could hear it, his screams and wails and the cracking of his bones, but that was not the worst.
With a thud something fell from the trees, rolling down and coming to a halt. We ran for what it was, but inside we knew. It was our commander. His upper half – still alive.
Never have I seen a brave nobleman in such fear and pain. He could not speak, he only stared at us for a few moments as he began to pale. From his torso fell out his insides as if the contents of a ruptured bag. I held his hand as he whimpered and tried to whisper his last prayers. He never finished a sentence.
The men around me frantically began to load their guns and unsheathed their swords, again the screech followed by the deafening fire of guns into the air. Nothing but dead parrots and monkeys fell from the trees around us.
The thunder in the sky rolled by and as if with perfect timing the monstrosity dove in, I could see it coming through the branches that shook as if an elephant was trying to break through. But this was no elephant, this was a nightmare. Our group broke out in frantic screaming, I dropped myself next to the commander’s lifeless body.
It flashed by over my head, I could feel the pressure of its wings, see the blood on its claws and beak. It looked like an owl but bigger than a condor and vulture together, more terrifying and haunting than any other bird I had ever seen. Tall as a man, wide as an ox cart.
I watched in horror as another man fell prey, the creature crashed into him with such speed that he could only let go of a sigh as the razor-sharp claws stabbed into him like daggers. It swept him off his legs and made a steep ascend into the trees again. I held my ears as not to have to hear the poor soul scream in agony but forgot to close my eyes. A severed foot and leg fell before me.
I cried out in fear when someone grabbed my shoulder, it was one of the other men. We all ran as fast as our legs could carry us, no matter the branches and thorns that cut open our face, tripped our legs and kept us from seeing around – nothing was stopping us from fleeing. The Taino ran like the wind but were brave enough to wait for us to follow. If it had not been for them we would have not made it out. But in the end it mattered nothing.
We ran till we could no longer hear the screeching of the bird, the giant Blood Owl that was haunting us. Men broke down in ways no man should but it was nothing short of forgivable – nothing but our Almighty Lord could save us now. And so we prayed for hours. For our commander and the others we had lost. But above all we prayed like cowards, we prayed for ourselves the hardest.
And as night fell we sat in a giant group, pressed together like lost sheep. Trembling not of cold but of pure fear. Our weapons rattled eager to fire and slash at what was inevitably coming for us.
And by God’s grace I fell asleep, I closed my eyes and returned to my beloved Spain and the town I had grown up in. I fell asleep and for a moment forgot where I was, huddled between wet and scared men. In our foolishness we did not realize we were a beacon of scent, attracting anything nearby that was bold enough to make way.
I woke up from the screams, the pushing and the gunfire lighting up the sky and trees around us. I fear that in panic I may have stabbed another man swinging my sword into the air. But in the chaos that broke out it mattered little.
Soon the owl was grabbing fleeing men and soaring back into the trees, all we could do was fire into the tree lines where we had last seen it. But I realized this was of little success, the creature was too cunning to stay at one spot and be killed and too strong to fear our weapons up close. Truly this bird was from hell.
I have tried to be brave, truly, but as another man – or part of him – fell before me I could no longer be. With his dying breath he whispered to run and so I did. God forgive me, I did.
I don’t know how long or how far I ran, but I know the screaming stopped and not just because I was far away. There were none left to cry out. I left them to die.
After much effort a shallow cave near a waterfall came onto my path, not even the bats inside could keep me from hiding. This is where I write my letter from. It is cold and dark and the monster will find me. I have heard the clapping and rushing of its wings and seen its reflection over the water just before me – circling. It’s waiting.
Every time it screeches from its monstrous beak the bats in the cave squeal and tremble in fear, I have seen or heard no other forest animals. They know to be quiet. It wants me – only me.
I realize now that I have done myself no favors in fleeing, my friends had the fortune of dying together. I will die alone. But not a coward.
I have written this to the best of my ability in cold darkness on a piece of canvas. Heed my warning, my fellow Conquistadores, you will not find a city of gold but merely death on your side. Everything the natives told and warned us of is true. There is no escape, I am trapped here in this cursed cave and endless wilderness. No matter what I and my fellow explorers that fell before me have tried, we will have to face death.
I’ve prayed every day to the Holy Mother to bring me back safe or bring me the city of gold, but now I know that none of this will ever be. I sit here and realize that this is my final destination. I have been forsaken.
With that I end my letter. For the last time in my life I will say prayer before I will step from this cave with my last strengths but my sword raised high. I have no illusions of surviving, this is my last stand. May the Lord keep my soul and those of the men who died before me. I hope that whoever reads this will be more fortunate than me.
Marinero de Primera in service of the King of Castile, in search of El Dorado.
First, I’ve made my pick for the blog hop to continue – Caroline Rainbow (@CRainbow1) who’s blog you can visit right here.
This lovely mother of three, aspiring author and licensed builder of “improvised bed sheet and chair structures” had been out of her writing loop for just a little bit, something many of us have been guilty of from time-to-time, and I figured that maybe this would be a nice push in the back. The kind friends do when you’re standing at the edge of a cliff and they’ve faked your autograph and are now the only beneficiaries of your estate…
Anyway! Without further incriminating myself and before I get credit cards on her name – I of course wish her the best of luck with her edition of the blog hop and am curious to see what she will bring us!
Secondly, yes there is a secondly, I am working on some short stories and hoping to publish at least one over the weekend or later next week. To reveal a little hint:
So that’s all for now, be sure to stick around. We’ll be back right after these imaginary commercials!
Well – here we go! Thanks to my friend Jeanie Grey (@jeaniegrey) for nominating me as part of her blog hop – very curious to see what gets nominated next, but for now, I’ve got some question to answer. Follow me please!
What am I working on?
Ugh, what am I not working on?! I work on too many things at once and too little on one thing!
But in, all seriousness, I’m currently focused on two serious book projects – one I came up with last summer (2013) and another that sprung to me in December and has grabbed most of my time. I would say both of them are about 60% into their manuscript phase (read: Literary limbo).
Killhaven (my main project) – a detective set in the dystopic ruins of the East Coast. America as we know it has fallen and turned into the nightmare warned of by Eisenhower: A corrupt, fascist military-industrial complex rules what is left with iron fist. Europe has fallen to a Neo-Soviet regime and millions of European refugees have flocked to America in despair. They work the worst jobs as second rank citizens in the poverty struck and criminal city of Killhaven, where no one is happy and none dare make a difference.
It’s there that Pierce Carter, a hardened and bitter private eye, does his job of chasing corpses that float around the Killhaven waters. Like all the others he lives in an unwanted reality he can’t escape, until one day a case makes Pierce realize that the only beautiful thing in his life is no longer there before he knew it ever existed.
Together with a refugee, a whaler named Jonas, he begins a journey to solve the case that will forever change everything.
Awakeners – Is a sci-fi set on the massive spaceship Aurora Quest, on which its passengers and crews are in deep cryosleep until their journey is over. Or so they hoped.
For Willow, and her fellow crew, the nightmare truly begins when they wake up and find that an alien pathogen has invaded the ship and the biosystems that are connected to the still sleeping passengers. Soon they find themselves facing a new breed of life, the Awakeners.
Together with a platoon of Marines the crew of the Aurora Quest must try to battle off a seemingly unbeatable organism that is hellbent on surviving and expanding.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I suppose I’m sort of a genre hopper, which shows in my work because I don’t strictly abide to the definition of a certain genre – I try to blend them into colorful and complex stories. Likewise I try to build strong characters who each have their own identity. I’m not just trying to write a cool story – I’m trying to write an experience you want to live and characters you’d want to meet.
Why do I write what I do?
I’m pretty sure if I didn’t my chest would burst open and all the stories inside of me would spray all over the floor. And I hate mopping the floor so I’d rather write it out before that happens.
In all honesty, writing is what heals me inside and keeps me alive. If I stopped writing I’d probably wither like a plant in industrial strength hydrochloric acid. Which is not as good as it sounds.
I write them because, like I said, I can’t keep it in and I want to share with others the joy of creating a world of your own. And if I can put a small message in there that might speak to some readers, that’d make me a very happy man.
How does my writing process work?
That’s a great question! I’m not sure if I actually know – a story often begins with a random scene in my head that I begin expanding on. Usually I know the start, a point in the middle and the ending of my story then I just add boiling water, salt and pepper…
I also tend to build strong “moods” that help me feel the story, I usually have maps full of dozens of relevant pictures as well as YouTube-videos and Soundscapes that match a scene and bring it to live as I write it. Does that count? I think it counts. Screw it.
Well – here it is! I promised I would put up a short story this week and I’m keeping my promise!
I guess I could write a great and long introduction with lots of unnecessary crap OR I could just let you read it and let you be the judge.
Warning: Contains brutal and violent content. Enjoy. 😉
He has a phone – with a cord. I’m glad he has one. Some would say it’s old-fashioned. But I like it. Of course a cellular phone is a phone too but they’re so impersonal. There is only air between and no cord to connect you to the other. You’d have to shove it down someone’s throat before you get that same kind of connection. But that’d take so long. With a cord, it’s different, you can feel it. I can feel it right now.
I can feel the pulse of his heart beat through the cord. I pull it tighter around his neck. The cord makes a noise, it’s under great tension. That’s the great thing, they don’t snap, I do.
A sound escapes his throat, it sounds like a rubber chicken toy for dogs. It makes me smile. I like dogs. “Shhh. Shhh.” I whisper, “Let it go, Joseph. Let it go.” I can hear his nails scrape over the cheap Ikea carpet on the floor. He’s still struggling to live.
There’s pieces of potato chips, cigarette ashes and a few beer bottle caps strewn about. Left behind from the party, the fun neighborhood get together that I wasn’t invited to. Why? Because I quietly moved in just this morning? Because I haven’t said hello to the neighbors yet? Didn’t park my car on the driveway? Where’s the respect and empathy for the socially different like myself?
He doesn’t even know who I am. To him I’m just a guy that rang his doorbell and barged in. I wouldn’t even know his name either if it wasn’t for the sign at the door. I guess I can’t even be a hundred percent sure if he really is that Joseph. But he looks like one, he acts like one. That’s good enough for me. “You see. This could’ve been different. This could’ve been so different, Joseph.” I whisper, he’s making odd snorting noises but still conscious, “Imagine if you had invited me to your party. We could’ve talked. We could’ve drank. ‘Do you like Japanese rape porn? I do too!’, ‘Do you like Absinthe? It’s my favorite!’ Wouldn’t have that been fun? Joseph? Joseph, are you listening, Joseph?” He’s gone quiet and I let the cord loose a little, he gasps for air as if he’s completely back to his senses. I crash my knees into his back and pull him backwards even tighter than before. “If you had invited me to your stupid, fucking party – you would’ve gotten to know a whole different side of me! And you would’ve gone to bed thinking, ‘What a nice guy, there should be more guys like him’. And then you would’ve woken up tomorrow morning and started a new day. But no! You left me out! No more new days for you, Joseph! Everything ends tonight! We could’ve been friends, Joseph! Friends!” I growl and lean back, pulling him upwards and curving his back.
He lets out a last breath and goes limb. Just to be sure I hold tight a little longer, it’s no effort if you’re angry. I hear something crush in his throat, probably his Adams apple or windpipe.
I let go and stand up, the way the light falls into the house is quite enchanting. The light of the moon is blue inside. It’s so quiet and restful in the house, I could almost fall asleep.
I suppose I like what he’s done with the place but this is no house to have parties. Even though it’s spacious, Joseph has too many things. Pretty things though. Besides some Ikea furniture, as if no one would notice. “You don’t mind if I give myself a tour of the house, would you – Joseph?” I chuckle at myself. I never lose my sense of humor. I think Joseph would’ve appreciated that, had he gotten to know me.
I stroll into the kitchen, it’s a mess of empty bottles, half eaten plates of food and various wrappers. But I can see the potential. I can see what he was trying to do. Some sort of Italian style kitchen. A bit of Tuscany. Cute.
I open the fridge, an antique Smeg, classy. The light pops on and the machine hums. I hum along as I look through the contents. I see a plate of untouched Sushi, looks like generous Joseph went all out for his neighborhood soirée. “Perfect!” What better than some well deserved Sushi after an accomplishment?
As I reach for the platter, I notice the deep cuts in my hands, from pulling the cord so tightly. They don’t bleed, they never broke the skin. Rather they drained my hands of blood, I might be white but this white-white. White like Joseph will soon be, what a guy.
I set the plate down on the kitchen table, throwing some trash in a small, plastic bag. I don’t like to eat messy. I reach into the fridge and grab an ice cold Budd when I suddenly notice a bottle of champaign. “Oh, Joseph. How considerate a friend you could’ve been.” I mumble reading the label, “…Méthode Champenoise. Well maybe not that considerate. But at least you got a reasonable brand.” I open the chilled Freixenet Cordon Negro bottle with a pop, not a drip spilled. I smell the cork and bottle, the enchanting flavors twirl in my nose. As I go through kitchen cabinets I can’t find even a single, true, champaign glass. Just regular wine glasses. “Who drinks champaign from these? Now that’s a sin. Good thing I killed you.” I sit down and poor the champaign into disappointing, crystal wine glasses. It doesn’t even foam or bubble the right way. What a waste. Then again, here I am with Sushi and champaign after a personal victory.
I squeeze out a small, plastic fish filled with soy sauce onto the plate. I dunk my Sushi in it till just the right amount has been absorbed in the rice. I place the delicacy into my mouth and just gently, with my tongue, squeeze the soy sauce out and bite down. My pallets lavish in the fresh fish flavors. It gives me a real kick, good Sushi.
I don’t get a kick from killing, it’s simply an obligation, I owe it to myself to make right for the wrongs done to me. Some things need to be balanced out. It takes a man, a real man, to do what’s necessary. I’m that kind of man.
I take another big gulp of champaign, it goes so elegantly with sushi. Photos and magnets decorate the classy fridge, defiling it really. I walk over and look at some. Most are rather dull and uninteresting. It’s not hard to tell who these people are. An older couple that looks like him. Some men and women about the same age who look like him. How I wonder who they are. I could feel sorry for their loss but I’m not going to. He brought this onto himself.
I tear the photos up one by one and dip them in soy sauce before throwing them away. It’s all trash. Joseph and the people that care about him are human garbage. They deserve every shred of pain and indignity that comes to them.
I walk back into the living room to find Joseph still laying there. He’s certainly dead, he’s pissed his pants. I suppose a tour isn’t complete without including a quick visit to the bathroom. Justice served makes the bladder go anxious.
After I relieve myself, I stroll into his bedroom to find a pair of silk women’s underwear on the floor. I guess I’ll keep them as a trophy. I can only hope Joseph isn’t a cross dresser. But they don’t smell like a man.
I take a deep breath and prepare my departure. I walk to the back door and open it. His patio is all Tuscany too. Good God, some variety would be nice.
Someone put out a cigarette in a pot of tropical flowers. Joseph wouldn’t have liked that.
I walk back into the house and take some expensive looking watches and his wallet. It’ll look like a burglary gone awry now. Before I leave, I look around the door at him. “Goodbye, Joseph. I wish you had acted differently.”
I sneak out the front door and close it quietly. It’s deep in the AM’s, not a soul is awake at this ungodly hour anymore. I take a stroll across the street towards my new house, I haven’t even removed the “For Rent”-sign yet. I don’t think anyone saw me park my car, it’s not even in front of the house.
I suppose that tomorrow I will call the landlord, a sweet, little old lady and tell her I wish to cancel my rent. Surely, I can’t live in a neighborhood like this. Not after such a brutal murder.
She doesn’t even know when I was to move in, just gave me the keys, I told her I’d move in a week’s time. Guess I was early. And short. But it’s all for the best.
Besides, if I move somewhere new – I’ll hopefully get the opportunity to visit such another wonderful neighborhood soirée.
I’m working on a bit of a comeback, writing short stories and hitting up some old contacts. It’s been a while and I suppose that the best way to break back into things is a great story of sorts. But then less than a week ago something happened that affected the lives of thousands in my nation and many abroad. Without any reason or justification an airliner was shot from the sky over the Ukraine. I figured that, maybe, it would be nice for me to open with that instead of something that focuses on me.
Today, for the fourth day in a row, two massive airplanes – a Dutch C-130 Hercules and an Australian C-17 Globemaster – landed at Eindhoven Airport, filled with coffins. Temporary ones because none of those inside have been identified yet, to put it bluntlty – it’s mostly bits and pieces. Scattered remains of people who were going on vacation or a business trip, hoping for a good time and a safe return. Then, someone, pressed a button and fired off a missile at their Malaysia Airlines flight, a Boeing 777 designated MH-17 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, and everything ended.
They stood no chance, had no warning and very little time to realize what was happening – if any at all.
Worse perhaps is how no one at the scene seemed to care, they left them laying in the fields and went through their belongings – looting for personal gain. There was no respect, no mercy and no empathy for the deceased. Treated like garbage and the investigations, still, are being frustrated.
So, I figured, the least I can do is write a little something for those people. Maybe no one will read it, maybe no one will care, I certainly have no expectations of it making any changes to the bigger picture of a tragedy that ripped away 300 people. But I’m going to try and I hope someone appreciates it.
Welcome home dear countrymen, welcome back dear guests.
How much we would’ve done to greet you different, to bring you back your daily lives that will never be again.
The wind weeps through the flags along the airstrip, their ropes chime like bells, for each of your souls lost.
But here you are, in square boxes on the shoulders of quiet soldiers, whom carry you with dignity.
Like rain you fell, from the sky onto fields and roofs, like you were nothing but debris.
But in the hearts of our mere seventeen million, you fell with deafening noise, and thundered in our souls.
How much we’ve said and how much we’ve mourned, our loss is none compared to yours.
All we can give is a nation that cares for each of you, and your loved ones left behind, still nothing takes the pain away.
We promise, for all the disrespect you’ve received, we’ll treat you right.
We promise, for all the gain they tried to make, we’ll search for truth.
Sleep well dear passengers, you’ve earned your rest.
We will forever remember you in the number- seventeen.
Dedicated to the passengers and crew of Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17.
“Seasons in the Sun” – it’s not quite a title you’d expect for a vampire-related novel but then again the girls at Deadly Ever After always manage to surprise! So what is “Seasons in the Sun”? It’s the prequal to Young Adult novel “Because the Night” by the amazing Kristen Strassel, now if you haven’t read “Because the Night” yet you should – but lets get back to the former, shall we?
“Seasons in the Sun” has just begun it’s cover release and I’m one of the blessed bloggers to be allowed to join in on it! So without further ado – here it is:
For good measure – let us add the blurb:
Seasons in the Sun:
Summer has finally arrived, along with a boy who will forever change the life of fourteen-year-old Callie. After growing up hearing stories about Tristan Trevosier and his famous family, Callie finally meets him when he spends the summer on Martha’s Vineyard. Seventeen-year-old Tristan is a hurricane of destruction and rebellion, and he quickly blows a hole right into Callie’s sheltered life. Callie sees a side of Tristan that he doesn’t show anyone else. She’s determined to make everyone see what she sees in him.
Callie defies her parents by leaving the island with Tristan. But when his ugly habits rear their head, Callie realizes maybe she’s the one who’s wrong about him. He’s beyond her help. But it’s too late for her to walk away. This summer, she learns that love can be stronger than reason.
Huh? Huh? Sounds pretty good, right? I bet you want to read it already – but maybe you should start with the original where it all began: “Because the Night” (click!)
Oh and here’s the: Goodreads (click some more!)
So there you go, if you’re not excited yet – I blame you. I, of course, am delighted about Kristen’s progress and efforts – she and Julie will be reaching for the stars pretty damn soon. And once you’ve read their work, I’m sure you’ll agree.
P.S.: Kristen, could you please get me the number of the girl on the cover? Pretty please? PLEASE?!
So… About a week or so ago my Facebook quite convincingly proved itself worthy of the name “Failbook”.
I don’t usually watch the top right corner of my Facebook, often it’s merely invitations by people to play “Hubble Pup Slap Puzzle Game!” or something along the likes of it. That or it’s a picture of a girl inviting me to join “the most trustworthy Singles-website to meet women and have hot, anonymous #@$”. That’s all nice and well – but I really don’t want to see that!
But this particular time, as every once in a while, it displayed a little gift-icon: “Kristen Jett’s birthday – Saturday”. Sweet Jesus, it’s Captain Curly’s birthday today! And in my enthusiasm I hurled a bunch of PMs her way, proud I would probably be one of the first to congratulate her. (Since I live in the future – thanks to the Time Zone difference)
A kind and humored reply came back from Kristen: It was NEXT Saturday… Fail.
Because why would Facebook bother mentioning “next” Saturday when they might as well as say “Saturday” while it’s already Saturday? Thanks Facebook! That’s some logic right there!
So I pledged to return the next week, I don’t give up that easily and when I saw Jolene’s plan, being a big fan of both, jumped right aboard. So here it is Captain Curly! I have returned as part of an an armada of your friends – the prize is giving you a great birthday and we’re all in on it!
Someone was in the attic. That much was clear.
Hastily Anthony looked through the boxes in the bedroom closet, various things falling down as he violently trashed through. A dull metallic clunk, found it. His aluminum baseball bat. Once a gift, from his brother – autographed by one of the most promising rookies in the league, a collector’s item yet more often used as a tool.
More shuffling upstairs. The sound was hard to describe, like a bowling ball rolling, between floors and impossible to pin point the location.
Against the bedroom door stood his wife, pale with fear. The toddler in her arms.
“Still happy you don’t own a gun?” She said, even now she was capable of cynical commentary.
“Listen if you want me to go goddamn up there, you better not give me shit!” He hissed back, cold sweat pouring down his back.
“That’s the point Anthony! I don’t want you to fucking go up there! Just call the cops!” She said as the baby began crying again.
“‘Oh hello Officer, can you come to my house? I have a potential ghost in my attic!’ Yes, great plan – Amanda.”
Anthony pulled the small step ladder from the hallway, still sticky from wallpaper paste, clanging loudly as it bumped into the walls.
“What about a priest?! Can’t we call a priest?!” She pressed further.
“And what? Wait half a year for one to come by? Be told how we’re sinners and go to church every week? I’d rather take my chances with whatever’s up there. It’s probably a possum or a stray cat anyway.”
“A possum? A possum, Andy?! Was it also a possum who keeps opening the kitchen cabinets!?”
“Possums eat, they go into kitch-”
“It opens while I’m standing there, Andy! And I see no possum! It wasn’t a possum who wrote ‘DIE’ a thousand times on the wall either!”
“The die-scribbling could’ve been done by kids and painted over, it just showed because of wallpaper glue – alright? Stop being hysterical.”
Amanda’s face turned red and her eyes watery.
“Yeah? Who keeps whispering in your ear every night since we’ve been living here? Every night since we’ve been here. Seven nights in a row…”
“I get it! Stop!”
With a loud clunk Anthony set the ladder down and climbed up towards the closed attic cover. It vibrated as he came closer, intense goose bumps formed on his skin. Just faintly the sound of a deep voice. Like a man, dry heaving from his gut, morphing into the sound of an animal growl.
“Hand me the bat.” He said and gestured her. She sat the toddler down on the floor and handed him his weapon.
“You know that camera my dad gave us for our wedding two years ago?” She said.
“What’s with it?”
“It has night vision. You can look into the dark with it.”
“Sometimes I know just why I married you.” He smiled relieved.
Amanda ran off to grab the camera while the toddler crawled around.
“No! No! Not too close to the ladder, Levi!” He said as his son used it to stand up. Above him a sound like fingers scratching the attic’s wooden floor. “…Fuck.”
His son looked up at him and began to cry.
“Shhh! Shhh! Baby, it’s okay!” He tried to comfort his little man.
“Here!” Amanda called and handed him the camera. With a funny sounding digital bell it turned on and switched to night vision.
“Wow…” He said to himself as he looked at his wife and child through the camera – green skin and eyes shining like flash lights.
“I’m always careful.” He replied and took a deep breath before removing the cover. “Whatever you are, I’m coming up.”
Damp, warm and heavy. Everything covered in dust. Stained wood, soaked and molded isolation. Only the ventilation stood out.
“Alright… Whatever you are! Show yourself! I’m here now! Let’s do this!” He called, staring at the camera’s small screen. A small light dot appeared on it.
Quickly Anthony looked up, nothing. As he looked back down onto the camera it had disappeared there too.
“Maybe I’m just… What am I even doing up here?”
“Everything okay!?” She called from downstairs.
“I’m fine! I just think we… Maybe we…” He wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to say himself. “Maybe it’s the ventilation making noises. Let me go check!”
Carefully Andy stepped onto the beams, avoiding the weak plaster flooring, and shuffled towards the machine.
“How do you even work?” He said investigating the machine and its vent pipes. “Can you turn on the ventilation!”
“Okay!” She called back and walked off to the kitchen.
After a few moments the ventilation system switched on like a noisy, little vacuum cleaner. Sounding nothing like what he had heard before.
“Okay, so you’re not it.” He sighed when suddenly a growl resonated from the other side of the attic. “Shit!” He whimpered aiming his camera in the direction of the sound. Nothing. “You’re fucking with me! Aren’t you!?”
Slowly Andy reached for the baseball bat next to him on the plaster floor, unlikely to be any real help but enough of a placebo for him to rely on. A screw bounced across the attic as if materializing out of nowhere, catapulting around him.
“Fuck!” He yelled trying to screen off his face just in case, “Goddammit! Where are you, motherfucker!?”
Suddenly the growl resonated just behind him, loud and deep enough to reach into the core of his being. His nerves, his heart, his soul quivered in fear.
Just one step too much. With a loud crack the plaster floor gave way and everything flashed by. In a cloud of dust everything came to a hold, half on the step ladder and half on the floor.
“Are you okay!? Speak to me!” His wife yelled, holding him while the toddler screamed at the top of his lungs.
“I’m fine! I’m fine!” He said looking at the hole above him. Slowly the aluminum baseball rolled towards the hole and fell down. “Look out!” Just by an inch it missed his wife and child.
“Jesus, Andy!” She cried.
“What!? You think I did this!?” He said waving the camera around as if it were part of his hand.
“The camera, stupid! It’s recording!”
“It is!? …I didn’t set it to record, Amanda! I didn’t!”
Amanda helped him up from the floor and into the living room.
“How do I do this again?” She said fiddling with the camera.
“The small end goes into the camera, the big end into the HDMI port on the side of the TV.” He said, stretching his aching back.
“Got it…” She said and handed him the remote. “And press play…” She mumbled.
The footage turned on.
“Fuck!” The TV called in his voice, “You’re fucking with me! Aren’t you!?”
“…Yesss….” A distorted, hard to hear voice replied.
“Jesus Christ, rewind that part!” Andy said to her, turning up the volume.
“…Yesss…!” It now said more audible, the two looked at each other in disbelief.
“This can’t be real!” She began to cry.
The camera tilted as he reached for the bat on screen. A steel bolt shot into view, violently bouncing off of the floor.
“Fuck!” He cursed on film. “Goddammit! Where are you, motherfucker!?”
“…Behind you!” A demonic voice growled on tape. The toddler screamed in agony at the sound.
The camera shook wildly as he had lost his balance and the image crackled as he crashed a floor down.
“Are you okay!? Speak to me!” The TV continued.
“I’m fine! I’m fine!” Followed by his screaming “Look out!”
The camera was just in the right angle. As the baseball bat had fallen down it looked right into the hole in the attic floor above. A dark shadow and two bright, piercing eyes looked down at them on camera.
“Oh my God!” Amanda cried out at the sight, grabbing the baby and holding it close.
Anthony stared at the screen in shock.
“Time for a new, new house…”