Fallen One (09)

Stefan Keller – Pixabay

Detective Spaulding pushed back in his chair, his hands raised to his face, covering his eyes. He remained like that for several moments, pushing against the floor with his feet, rocking. “I knew this was coming,” he said, weeping in his voice. “It all had to come back one of these days.” He pressed against his eyes, wiping them as he did. When he dropped his hands, a different face emerged, one filled with anguish and fear.

“Tell me about my grandmother, Detective Spaulding.”

His head began to wobble, fresh tears appearing. “Detective Spaulding,” he spat, the dribble cascading down his chin. “Not anymore,” he languished. “Not after that case.” He pushed himself up, leaning forward on his knees. “Oh God, I need a drink. Where did my glass go?”

Jared sat back, a wisp of disgust on his face as he watched Spaulding search for and finally find his glass and fill it. The first swallow came hard and heavy. The others followed in hand clutching sips as Spaulding leaned back again, the rocking resumed. His face changed yet again, eyes blinking, as he recalled the memory that was never far away.

“It was on a Saturday,” he began, eyes now wide. “Saturday afternoon when I pulled up at your grandmother’s. The call came from one of the neighbors reporting they heard a terrible ruckus.” He chuckled, the liquor sloshing as he did. “That’s the exact word they said.” He began to fade.

“Go on.”

“I climbed the steps to the porch, looking around as I did. The curtains were closed, and I couldn’t tell if any lights were on. There was only one car in the driveway, which turned out to be hers. I put my ear to the door for a second, listening. Hearing nothing, I knocked and announced myself.” He inched his glass higher and kept it in a holding pattern as fear shoved the edges of his eyes wider apart.

“Then I heard something, barely above a whisper, at least from where I was standing outside. I wasn’t certain what was being said, but it was a woman; that much was certain. And I did hear one word. Help.” The glass broke its holding pattern and rose steadily to his lips, tilting, the golden liquid entering his thin, pale lips.

“I called out and tried the doorknob. It was unlocked, and so I slipped inside, my gun in hand. Once inside, her whimpering could be easily heard. I swept through the house, ending up in her bedroom in the back corner.” He pressed the glass to his cheek. “The door was partly open when I got there. I could see her plain as day in the far corner, sitting on the floor. She was covered in blood and crying.”

Now it was Jared who leaned forward, his mouth open. The exchange of air in his lungs was laborious and loud, at least as breathing could be. He sounded like an overheated dog panting.

“Kicking the door in, I was stunned by what I found,” Spaulding said, pointing in the air, “I saw your mother, her body in a crumpled and bloody heap.” The tears flowed freely now, his voice interrupted by nearly continuous sniffling and occasional throat clearing. He didn’t look at Jared, who by now had turned to stone and yet tremored where he sat, tears trickling down his rocky cheeks.

“As the door swung open, it stopped abruptly. I rounded the edge, clearing the room of threats with my gun leveled, and found what had blocked the door.” He sipped again, a glistening drop clinging to his lip as he pulled the glass away. “Your grandfather was laying there, his clothes shredded and bloodied, a pool of blood surrounding him.” Spaulding looked up at the spinning ceiling fan and took a deep breath. “I, uh—I don’t know if I should tell you too many of the details. It’s really—”

“I want to hear it all,” Jared said, the stone breaking away under his swelling emotions.

“You can’t imagine the blood,” he stammered, leaning forward, reaching for the bottle. His fingers shook as they approached, painting the label with his fingertips before taking the final push and grabbing it. The neck of the bottle repeatedly tapped against the edge of the glass, the liquor convulsing its way out. “It was everywhere.” His finger swept the room, and his eyes followed. “Limbs had been separated from bodies, strewn about the floor. One of your mother’s arms rested in your grandmother’s lap, and she held its hand.”

Jared got up and stepped away, turning his back on Spaulding. He was beginning to doubt his resolve to hear the whole truth.

“You want a drink?”

Jared waved his hand while Spaulding put the bottle back on the table. “You’re grandmother was, oh, I don’t know, calm? At least calmer than I would have been if I had seen my husband and daughter slaughtered like that.”

Jared turned his head part way.

“She was covered in both of their blood. She had no injuries. We found no evidence of another person being in that room, and yet—”

Jared turned around and walked back. “And yet what?”

The two men locked eyes. “I never once believed that your grandmother was responsible for the murders.”

“Then why?” Jared was shocked to hear the detective’s confession.

Spaulding’s tone darkened, his words starting to slur. He pointed at Jared, holding the glass in the same hand, the surface of liquor tossing and turning as he moved his hand. “Well, for one, everyone thought she was crazy.” He let loose a mirthless chuckle. “When they took your mother’s arm away, she started throwing a fit. And when they tried to calm her down, she started ranting about some demon killing her daughter and husband. She kept screaming it over and over again. And just when you thought she would never stop, she did. She smiled, her eyes kind of bugged out, and she started laughing. She began to describe this demon in the vaguest of terms—tall—strong—wicked—piercing eyes, that sort of thing.”

A demon. No wonder they thought she was crazy. “But you obviously didn’t think she was crazy.”

“Now, I didn’t exactly say that,” Spaulding said. “I just don’t think she was responsible.” He slammed the glass down the table and jumped to his feet, taking a moment to get his balance. “How anyone could look at the evidence and point the finger at her?” He waved both hands. “She weighs what, 90 pounds at the most? A 90-pound old woman tore off arms and a head, shredding their chests, abdomens, and legs down to the bone?” Now his head started turning. “There was no way in hell.”

“Then, why was she accused?”

The mirthless chuckle returned, with eyes that matched. “The truth was that there was no way of explaining what happened. Your grandmother, already acting crazy, was an easy target. Just lock her up and bury what really happened. It was deemed best for the town.” He fell down in his chair, the frame groaning in response. “But I couldn’t go along with it. So—here I am.” He grinned.

“Early retirement.”

“Kicked out and told to keep my mouth shut.”

Jared shoved his hands deep in his pockets, stretching his back as he did. As the shock began to subside, he began to tumble it all around in his mind. “A demon,” he said, his eyes glimmering in wonder.

“That’s what she said,” Spaulding said. “Say, by the way, what brought you by my place anyhow? It wasn’t Landel by chance, was it?”

This story of Fallen One, is a first draft. I encourage anyone to provide comments, make suggestions, and point out problems.

Jared continued talking with Detective Spaulding, and what he found out about the murders and his grandmother would change everything.

Comments welcome.

Have a great day.

Rollin

Fallen One (08)

Stefan Keller – Pixabay

It was late in the afternoon, and the neighborhood was strangely quiet. Jared walked the path from the street where he left his bike parked in haste. He ascended the three wooden steps leading to the porch even faster. He now stood on the edge of the porch, the front door to the house only a few feet in front of him, hidden behind the aged screen door. All the windows and blinds that he could see were closed, and those few feet to the door felt like a mile.

He held the crumpled note in his hand. Nothing had changed. He had read it several times now, but he felt compelled to look at it again. A name and an address were all that were there. It held the same address as the faded numbers on the house. The name he presumed was inside, hiding behind closed windows and doors or not hiding at all. Maybe the name was oblivious to his presence on the porch.

Maybe the name wasn’t even living there any longer. Maybe the name was dead.

Why was he so nervous? He had already asked himself that question a hundred times since he left the barn, and still, he hadn’t come up with a good reason. Standing in the presence of Landel, he was more than ready to face his past. And now?

Jared shoved the note in his pocket, his hands falling to his side. His fingers were quite animated as he stared at the screen door. It hung loosely, a little out of square. In its present condition, the screen door wouldn’t do much good. It was kind of the way he felt at the moment.

His vapid finger movements fell limp, giving way to the buildup of courage that had already started at a snail’s pace. A deep breath followed as he lifted his foot and stepped forward, a gust of wind blowing as he did. Now it was only half a mile to go.

With his other foot bringing up the rear, he took another look at the windows, his head jerking sideways, his progress abandoned as he stumbled back to the top step. The curtain was open for only a moment, and only by a few inches, but in that time and in those inches, he saw an eye. It must belong to the name. His fingers started dancing again until he heard the click of the lock and the squeak of the door. He backstepped to the middle tread, the wood groaning under his weight.

The eye reappeared through the screen door along with the rest of his face.

“You are on my porch, so I assume you want something.”

Jared looked down at his feet, off the porch, and on the step. It was an irritatingly small point. He let it go.

“Well?”

“I am looking for Detective Spaulding.”

Both eyes squinted, and a hand appeared, wiping his mouth. “Who the hell are you?”

Dancing fingers curled inward, gently at first. “Jared Cooper,” he said, his mouth suddenly dry. “My grandmother—”

“I know who she is.” The eyes looked this way and that. The door squeaked some more, and the screen door wobbled open. The flesh of Detective Spaulding’s face thrust forward. “Come inside.”

“Jared hesitated.”

“Now!” he barked before letting go of the screen.

Inside, Jared tread lightly, easing the door closed as he looked around the room. It had a certain lived-in look, that is, if you’re a former cop struggling with your past. He saw at least three ashtrays, placed in strategic locations, each of them at the heaping stage. The small table next to the recliner was home to ring stains and a heavy-bottomed glass tumbler holding an inch of amber liquid. The drink’s identity was a mystery to Jared as he looked at several open bottles of liquor on the coffee table and the one nearby on the floor.

His television was on but muted, an old game show in progress. A floor lamp was nearby, its shade removed, the exposed bulb nicotine stained. Clutters of newpapers, magazines, and dog hair filled in the rest of the scene.

He heard a noise in the kitchen. “Grab a seat,” Spaulding said, the sound of running water following.

Moving to the far end of the sofa, Jared chose the dog hair and sat down.

Former Detective Mike Spaulding walked around the corner, his face glistening from the encounter with water, his air slicked back. He almost looked like a new man. He walked into the living room, apologizing for nothing, and fell into his recliner. It received him with a leathery groan.

“You seem—nervous,” he said, offering nothing else. He crossed his fingers and raised his hands, hiding the lower part of his face behind them.

“You—you were the lead investigator in my mother’s murder?”

Spaulding’s eyes didn’t flinch. “And your grandfather’s as well,” he said, making a note of the young man’s omission.

“Uh, yeah,” Jared said, his eyes falling. “I didn’t know him that well.”

“Five years old,” the detective said, “or were you six?”

“It happened a week before my sixth birthday,” Jared said, the tension mounting. He gripped his knees. It didn’t help.

Spaulding dropped his hands and reached for his drink. “Yeah, well, I’m sorry for your losses.” He took a sip and set the glass down, carefully eying Jared as he did. “So, Mr. Cooper, what is it that you want from me?”

Jared’s fingers dug deep into his knees as he willed himself to look up and look Spaulding in the eyes. “I want to know what really happened.”

And with that response, it was Spaulding who now looked away and reached again for his glass. There was a pronounced tremor in his hand as he did. “What really happened,” he repeated, followed by a nervous chuckle. He lifted the glass off the table, where it hovered. He stared into the amber prism of the glass and held his gaze for some time before, in a moment of weakness, his fingers let slip the glass. It bounced on the table, the spray of liquor landing on his arm, leg, the table, and floor. But despite the calamity, he didn’t move. His empty hand was now holding nothing but air.

This story of Fallen One, is a first draft. I encourage anyone to provide comments, make suggestions, and point out problems.

Jared’s first meeting with Detective Spaulding is gripped in tension.

Comments welcome.

Have a great day.

Rollin

111 Words Day – In Everything Give Thanks

Peggy Marco at Pixabay

In everything, give thanks is the subject for today’s 111 words. We are told it is the will of God in Christ Jesus, and who am I to question that? To do so, may at times, seem difficult, even impossible. That’s particularly true in today’s highly charged and difficult social/political climate, and yet, that is what we are told to do.

We do not have to be pleased about the circumstances we find ourselves in to give thanks. For our thanks transcends the moment, no matter how difficult it is, and points to the one who deserves our thanks.

Thank you, Lord.

Fallen One (07)

Stefan Keller – Pixabay

“It was a young world, the number of the sun rising and falling still a manageable figure for anyone who cared about such things. Threads of its birth still lingered, branching out in any number of ways to remind those who paid attention to what once was and how quickly things had gone awry. It should also be a foreshadowing for those who are looking. But is it ever possible to learn from our past in order to avoid a similar future?

“The chapters have been written and are there for our perusal. But there is little interest anymore as to the past, and there is little interest in reading and certainly not in study. Not flashy enough, I suppose. Not relative enough is another possible argument. But whatever the reason, the failure to do so will be their undoing—your undoing. The world today is not so much different from the world back then. The same bright spots glisten in both eras. The same darkness hovers as well. Success and failures mirror from one age to the next. But there are some things dark and hidden, pushed away into recesses of dusty pages of our past, that have yet to reappear and make their mark on the day in which we live. These are sinister revelations that are fearfully difficult for the mind to comprehend. The horror of it pushes our thoughts away, saying stay away, stay away, and save yourself from knowing of the inevitable. But to do so prevents us from the opportunity to prepare for what is sure to come.

“Are you counted among those who would turn your back on the past, and in doing so ignore the future that runs toward you with gaping jaws of savage teeth? Do you count yourselves as one of the educated and the enlightened who are so blinded to the truth by the deception of your own upbringing and education? You, knowing the failings, the fallacies, and the folly of man, how can you then place your destiny in their hands? Society is broken. Politics is broken. Every system that a human being has ever put into place has finally reached that point on entropy’s curve—that critical stage where every future movement is one of decay and decline.

“That is where you stand now.”

That was where Jared stood as he listened.

It was, as Landel said, difficult to hear. A few times, he walked over to his motorcycle, his hands taking hold of the grips. The thought of escape dared him to get on, start the engine and take off for the horizon. Yet something held him back as he released the grips and stood back.

There was a ring of truth in what he was saying. He didn’t know how his family’s troubles fit into what he was saying, and he wasn’t certain he wanted to know. Exposure to the truth, if what Landel was saying was true, would change everything. He knew that even now, questioning his resolve, trembling where he stood.

He had, for some time, lived happily in the lie that revolved around his family. The lie that was placed at his grandmother’s feet, accepted by law enforcement, county, and state officials, had by now become second-hand knowledge. There had been no questioning of his grandmother’s guilt. She was crazy, after all.

Now—he didn’t know. And even that tiny bit of knowledge, that of his ignorance, frightened him more than he would have imagined. He looked over at Landel, standing on the far side of the barn, stripes of sunshine on his face and chest. He hadn’t moved. Jared wasn’t even sure if he blinked, unnerving in and of itself.

Leaving the motorcycle behind, Jared walked warily toward the stranger, his eyes on the dirt floor. With every step, he felt the urge to run, but curiosity had the better of him and pulled him onward. Soon he stood in front of the stranger. Jared tilted his head up and looked into Landel’s eyes. Jared’s eyes met no twinkle or wink; they did not see a glimmer or a twitch. But what Jared did see was deep and rich, filled with wonder. It was a moment in their relationship where a special bond was made, not one born from love or friendship but brought to life by fearful awe.

“Are you ready?” Landel asked.

Jared’s answer began with a nervous nod. It finished with his words. “I want to know everything.”

This story of Fallen One, is a first draft. I encourage anyone to provide comments, make suggestions, and point out problems.

The need to hear the truth has started to outweigh the fear of hearing it for Jared.

I hope you are enjoying the story.

Have a wonderful day.

Rollin

Growing As A Writer

Mohamed Hassan – Pixabay

Writing is fun, right?

In truth it is.

What’s hard is everything else that goes along with it and the fatigue and frustration that tag along like unwanted urchins.

Even though these unwanted entanglements can at times bring us all down, they unwittingly do something else as well. For it is through these struggles that we learn, we improve, and we grow. I just hope the trail of written bodies behind me doesn’t become my lasting legacy, for the present and the future aspects of my writing are looking rather good.

So to all the writers out there who feel like dropping their heads on their laptops I say, carry on. Forget those things which are behind, and reach forth unto those things which are before. (Phil 3:13)

Fallen One (06)

Stefan Keller – Pixabay

The large oak, its low-hanging branches, and broad leaves was chosen as the place to sit. The ground was supple and cool to the touch, and the roots were deep, not on the surface and boney, making for a comfortable place to sit.

Jared stared off into the neglected field as Landel waited patiently, his manner of stoicism perfectly suited to the circumstance. Despite Jared’s knowledge of his Grandmother, nearly all of it coming second hand from family friends, the police, and the courts, it had over time become an unstitched patchwork of memories that needed time and careful handling to be put back together. They were memories much like the field and the barn beside where they were sitting, abandoned and gone to seed. So it was to be expected that when Jared began, the horses would be meandering out of the gate.

“I can’t remember when I last spoke to her,” Jared began, focusing on the cluster of dandelions between his legs. He brushed one of the hearty little flowers with his finger, its yellow petals bending to his will, before plucking the stem. He held it close, gently twisting the stem between his fingers, the flower spinning as he did. “She was locked up in the Osawatomie State Hospital for several years.” The flower spun faster. “They let her out a couple of years back, but I—” He shook his head as if trying to force the words out. “I never went to visit her.”

“And yet, after all that time, you stopped in the front of her house and watched her before leaving town,” Landel said evenly pitched and calm. 

Jared looked up at him. “How did you know about that?” It was an obvious question, or it should have been for most people. But Landel, in their short time together, had already proven himself to be anything but most people. Jared looked back down at the flower, saying nothing about his brief visit.

“I was five years old when my mother died.” His voice held a slight tremor, and the spinning continued. An insect swooped in, circling his head with a buzzing sound. He ducked his head, shooting his hand in the air as he did to swat it away. When the assault was over, his voice recovered angrily. “She was murdered! My grandfather too.”

He threw the carcass of the flower to the ground, lifted his head, and took a deep breath. “I was told that it was a particularly gruesome scene at the house.” Jared looked up, the effect of his remembering telling in his eyes which had reddened and become laden with tears. “When the police arrived on the scene, they found my grandmother covered in blood.” The first tear fell, and he absently wiped it with the back of his hand. “There was blood on the floor, on the furniture, on the walls—” His voice crescendoed, shaking badly before catching in his throat. His tears now ran freely as he ignored the dandelions and clawed into the dirt and rock with his fingers. “On the ceiling!” 

Finding a good one, Jared flung the rock as hard as he could, falling well short of the barn. He watched as the rock crash-landed, kicking up some dust and vanishing in the weeds. He wiped the remaining tears from his eyes using both hands as his face changed with the anger that arose. “Their limbs were separated, torn from their sockets, and their flesh was clawed and shredded as if by a wild beast.”

Jared shifted position and leaned back against the trunk of the oak. He let out a gasp as if a great burden had been thrown down off his back. He began to laugh. “And my grandmother?” He turned to Landel, who watched impassively and patted his arm. “Oh yes, she was covered in blood—their blood, crouched in the corner of the room without a single injury.” His laughter grew louder.

“And you want to hear the best part, hmm?” His eyes, now dry from the tears, had a wild look to them. “She claimed that it was a demon that killed my mother and her husband.” He shook his head violently. “Can you believe it? Wicked, big, and powerful—much more powerful than any normal man or woman.” 

Without a word, Landel stood up and began to walk into the field.

“Where are you going?” Jared asked, pushing himself to his feet. 

Landel walked steadily, with purpose, until he found himself in the middle or close proximity. He lifted his face to the sky as Jared ran to catch up, which he soon did, staring at this strange man whom he had only recently met.

“What’s going on, Landel? What aren’t you telling me?”

Jared was answered with a silence that had gone on long enough as far as he was concerned. Angrily, he grabbed Landel’s arm and attempted to turn the man toward him, but it was like trying to move a great rock. So Jared stepped around in front of him. “I know you know something, so tell me, please?”

Finally, Landel relented, lowering his gaze to the young man. The two just looked at each other for a few moments. “I believe I have the answer to what really happened to your mother and your grandfather.”

This story of Fallen One, is a first draft. I encourage anyone to provide comments, make suggestions, and point out problems.

The return to old memories has been difficult for Jared. But in the process, Jared may have discovered some new information from the strange man, Landel.

I hope you are enjoying the story.

Have a wonderful day.

Rollin

This One Will Keep You Up at Night

This “writing by the seat of your pants” novel I wrote is one of my favorite stories, introducing strong and interesting characters that persist in the next book, Virgin Birth, now underway.

It is a scary look at the world around us and our unfolding future.

Don’t be scared off. Just keep your flashlight handy and the blanket over your head and you will be all right.

NOW AVAILABLE IN PRINT!

Got Your Hands Full?

Roland Mey – Pixabay

I don’t know about you, but my days a pretty full. As I am finishing a new book, a plot problem really brought everything to a screeching halt, my head spinning. But as I work through that, and thankfully it is nearly fixed, I am still writing other projects, reviewing books, taking care of the house, spending time with my wife, and going to work.

WHEW!

Sometimes I just need to find a quiet place a read a good book purely for the enjoyment of it.

I bet you do to.

Take a look at my new book, 2520 The Last Day. A dark book for a dark day. Available today from Amazon and other online book outlets.

New Project in the Works

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love watching cold-war era monster movies and creature features. It doesn’t matter (too much) how hokey the puppets, costumes, and special effects were, these are a link to my past, my childhood, much more than King Arthur or Cowboys and Indians.

Beyond a doubt, my favorite is the 1954 classic, Them!. After all, who doesn’t like giant ants taking on the police, the army, and the city of Los Angeles? Coming in at a close second place is Twenty Million Miles to Earth. Oh, how I love that Venusian creature battling the elephant in Rome. Others include TarantulaCreature From the Black LagoonEarth Vs. The SpiderThe Black ScorpionThe Deadly Mantis, and It Came From Beneath the Sea, just to name a few.

I am a bit torn, wondering what some of these timeless classics would look like today, updated with all of the Wizbang computer technology available. I think they would look fantastic, but I am also afraid that something of the story would be lost in the process of creating amazing scenes and imagery. A certain amount of quaintness and nostalgia accompany these stories that just don’t fit in our day and age.

ANNOUNCEMENT!

Enjoying these stories so much, I am starting a series of novellas titled Havoc Tales.

The title comes from the lead character, Jack Havoc, who leads a specially chosen team in dealing with the frighteningly unimaginable. Writing is well underway, and I expect to have Volume 1 out in the next couple of months. The tales will be serial in nature, with certain themes and adversaries carrying through the storyline.

I hope you are as excited about reading these stories as I am writing them.

Keep watching, and I suggest you keep the lights on.

Until then, my books, Are We Monsters and 2520 The Last Day will keep you busy. Order your copies today.

Fallen One (05)

Once Landel started to speak, there was no stopping him. The chapters of time turned backward at an astonishing rate as he unfolded the story of the earth’s earliest days. Each word seemed to strike Jared in an unsuspecting way, evoking an emotional symphony playing the entire range from the twinkle of the piccolo to the thunder of the kettle drums. Jared was drawn into it, his mindset free, open to the fears and the wonders, barraging him side by side.

So drawn was Jared to the world that Landel described that any sense of where he was, whether in a barn or even in Kansas, was gone. He was lost in Oz, so much so that the storm had passed, and the night had dissolved into daybreak. All without him noticing.

And then, just like that, Landel stopped.

And when he did, it was shockingly abrupt, like stomping on the brakes to avoid a collision. Jared, roused from the new world, looked around, got his bearings, and felt the pain in his bum. He pushed himself to his feet, no small task after all that time, and hobbled to the barn doors. Pushing them wide, the smell of a new day, fresh on the heels of a cleansing rain, filled his nostrils as he breathed deeply.

The trees glistened in the morning light, their leaves burdened with the coating of rainwater. Branches swayed in gentle harmony with the welcomed breeze as Jared closed his eyes. Behind him, Jared heard footsteps crunching on dried leaves and fallen young branches. “Why have you come?” The steps ended close behind him.

When no answer came, Jared turned and stared in the face of Landel. Never had he seen a more perfect and beautiful man before, elegant and powerful, judging by his build. It was a face too perfect for this world, and after all that he had heard, Jared began to formulate some ideasideas that were almost too far out there for him to believe, and yet, how else could it be explained?

Jared stepped closer. “Please tell me, why are you here? What is it that you want with me?”

The beautiful face seemed cast in a stoic pose, like a bust of an ancient emperor, frustrating Jared, who clinched his fists and spun around, walking toward the road. The departure of the storm and new daylight brought a bevy of cars and farm trucks, zipping up and down the highway, but Jared gave them little notice. He was still tethered to Oz, the claws in his mind holding fast.

Jared took no notice in the old pickup truck, traveling from the east, its load of hay bales well beyond the safe limits, stacked high and wide, strapped down by rope and bungee cords. His eyes swept up and down the road, but his mind remained trapped in the days before judgment reigned upon the earth. He may have seen the truck, its top-heavy load, and its balding front tires, the one on the left nearly flat, but if he did, none of it registered.

He thought of the man who was his namesake, Jared, the father of Enoch. The man who in his days, by the account bearing his son’s name, lived to see the sinful encroachment of certain angels on the human race. He rubbed his eyes, stepping ever closer to the road, his hair tossed in the gale produced by a car full of screaming kids on their way to a party in the next town.

Jared didn’t know that the truck driver, a lifelong smoker, dropped the tip of his smoldering cigarette onto his lap, a mishap that began with dry sticky lips adhering to the filter. The little ball of ashened fire didn’t remain on his lap too long but rolled of his leg and down into the deep recesses of his crotch.

And no one saw the calamity of events that were lined up in perfect cadence, running toward disaster, including the death of a young man stuck in Oz. No one saw, and neither were they prepared for what was about to happen. None that is except for Landel.

The frantic truck driver pressed his feet against the floorboard, lifting him off the seat, his eyes off the road, his hand inadvertently turning the wheel in a dangerous direction. When the car filled with the kids blared its horn, the truck having crossed into its lane, the truck driver fearfully reacted, overcompensating with the wheel of the truck. Slinging the wheel in the other direction, the truck began to lose control, its balding tires offering little in the way of road-gripping resistance, the top-heavy load taking its toll.

As the kids and the smoker sideswiped each other, the kids went off into a ditch, with bumps, bruises, and scratches to go around, as well as a substantial amount of damage to their car. The truck, wobbling badly, the driver now spinning the wheel right and left, lost its bald footing, sliding sideways along the asphalt, leaving behind a trail of hay and truck parts.

It was the crash of the two vehicles that finally jolted Jared’s consciousness to the present, just in time for him to see the rapidly growing grill of the truck heading directly for him. In the second or two it took for him to process his situation, the truck was nearly on top of him, and it was quickly becoming doubtful that he would escape without injury or even worse.

But then, something amazing, something unimaginable and unexplainable, occurred. Jared was not conscious of it until it was over when he found himself standing near the barn with Landel at his side. The truck came to a halt directly in front of the road access to the barn, the driver shaken but alive as he stood upright through the passenger side window. Down the road, the kids tumbled out, frightened, angry, but okay. Unable to put it all together, Jared turned to Lamdel, his mouth gaping as he shrugged.

It was then that the stoicism broke, and Lamdel turned and looked at him.

“Tell me about your grandmother.”

This story of Fallen One, is a first draft. I encourage anyone to provide comments, make suggestions, and point out problems.

Jared spent the night listening to Landel giving him an ancient history lesson. But Jared grows frustrated, struggling with what he is hearing and wanting to know why Landel came to see him. In the midst of it all, he nearly loses his life but is delivered from the clutches of the encroaching danger. His deliverance only adds to the mystery.

I just returned from holiday in Oregon, traveling without my laptop, so I am a little behind in all my writing.

I hope you enjoy.

Rollin