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

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

Fallen One (04)

Stefan Keller – Pixabay

The lamp still burned, the barn glowing in medium light. The shadows in the corners remained, but they were smaller now, having lost ground to the lamp. Jared searched for the source of the sound, his nose just behind the cocked hammer of the Colt. But there was nothing he could see as he circled behind the motorcycle to get a better view. With his back pressed against the front wall, he inched his way closer to the barn’s doors. With his free hand, he reached upward, crawling along the dry wood slats, feeling for the lantern now above his head. He stopped when his fingertips made contact, the lantern just out of reach. Willing himself to stand up, he grasped the lantern and was about to pull it off the nail when the sound of a chilling voice invaded the space.

“I hope you do not mind.”

Releasing the lantern, Jared grabbed his gun with both hands, the barrel swinging left and right as he moved back behind the Triumph. “Who said that?” His finger pressed against the trigger, testing the resistance when he heard the soft crunch of a step. And then another.

“It is just that it is so wet outside,” the strange voice said, “and cold. I was seeking shelter.”

“I’m asking you again,” Jared said, shaking, resisting the urge to run. “Who are you?”

Another step was heard, and Jared started to pull on the trigger. “An answer, perhaps.”

“An answer?” he muttered to himself. “What are you talking about?”

“I promise I will not be a bother,” the voice said, taking another step, shifting Jared’s eyes to the right. But still, there was nothing he could see. “I will be gone first light, rain or shine.” Jared pulled the trigger a little more.

Hearing another step, Jared moved back into the corner, bumping into the shovel. “Don’t come any closer. I am pointing my gun at you, and this Colt will blow a mean-sized hole in you. So tell me, who are you?”

Another lantern hanging on a far support post lit up as if on cue, illuminating the area in front of him. There in the light stood a man, his wide-brimmed hat pulled down, shadowing his eyes and obscuring most of the features on his face. Rainwater that had collected on the brim rolled forward and dripped to the floor.

He was clothed in black, his long coat squared at the shoulders, reaching to his boots. He stood motionless, at least 8 feet from the lantern, well out of reach of his being able to light it. “How did you…” Jared started to ask, interrupted as the stranger took another.

“Please,” he cried, filled with terror, “I don’t want to have to shoot you, but I will.” The stranger took another step, and Jared, not believing this guy, pulled a little harder on the trigger. It was bound to go off anytime.

“There’s no need for that,” the stranger said. And when he did, Jared’s hands were empty. The Colt was gone. He looked down at the ground, but it wasn’t there. His gun had vanished.

“Behind you.”

“What?” Jared said, confused. But he turned around his eyes all over the walls and the floor. When they got to the sleeping bag, it was there, the hammer forward.

Fear was now fully in control of his mind and body as Jared turned back and looked at the stranger. The hat and coat were gone, not on the ground, just gone. “This doesn’t make any sense,” Jared whispered. The stranger’s face was now clearly visible. His face was striking, with deep-set eyes, sharp cheekbones, and a strong chin, slightly pointed. His blond hair shimmered in the lantern’s light, and for a moment, Jared imagined that it was the stranger who was giving off the light. But it couldn’t be, could it?

The stranger’s eyes met Jared’s, and he smiled. It was unnaturally comforting, somehow whisking away the fear and tension in Jared’s body. He suddenly felt at ease.

“My name is Landel.” He held out his hand and waited.

Jared glanced back at his gun, then turned back to the stranger and eased around the motorcycle. Jared took each step carefully and calculated, looking toward the barn doors as a way of escape if needed. The eyes remained fixed, the hand unwavering, and the more that Jared gazed upon him, the more confident he became.

The remaining distance between them closed quickly as Jared hurried over and took Landel’s hand. “Jared,” he said as they shook.

“Jared,” Landel repeated. “A strong name. An old name, reaching back to the beginning.”

“Excuse me?” Jared was confused. “What do you mean by back to the beginning?”

“I mean what I say,” Landel said.

“The beginning of what?” Jared asked.

Landel lifted his head and held it there for several moments before lowering his gaze. “The beginning of the world.”

Jared stood at the open door, the wall of rain falling at his feet. Visibility was low. The beams of a passing car failed to cut more than a few feet through the barrage. Sticking his head outside, he ran his fingers through his hair, pulling the mop back on his head, and squeegeeing out the excess with both hands as he stepped back inside.

“Better?” Landel asked.

“Yes,” Jared said, shaking his hands to dry them. “I needed that.” He walked over to his cot and pulled a clean teeshirt from the bag. Throwing it over his head, he dried his hair and wiped his face, his eyes returning to the stranger who had not moved. Draping the wet shirt over the motorcycle seat, he approached Landel.

“You’re serious?” He asked. But it was an unnecessary question. He already knew the answer.

“Always,” Landel said.

“The beginning…beginning?” He made looping circles with his hand as he spoke.

“Of course,” he said flatly.

Jared looked at him, exasperated with what he was hearing. “Okay then. Tell me how my name reaches back to the beginning.”

Landel nodded. “In the days before the flood, your name—”

“Woe,” Jared said, stepping closer with both hands in the air. “The flood?” He whipped around, hands on his hip, clearly frustrated. “What flood are you talking about? There hasn’t been a flood in this part of Kansas in several years.”

“What I speak of has nothing to do with Kansas,” Landel said, “other than that is where we are now standing. No, I am speaking of the great flood that God sent to judge the world. And I speak of Jared, the son of Mahalalel and the father of Enoch.”

“This isn’t making any sense.” Jared looked at the open door, his motorcycle, and back again at Landel. His mind was spinning; his head was spinning. He had to sit down. He flopped abruptly onto the barn floor and buried his head with his hands. He raised his hand; his finger pointed as if he were going to make a point. Instead, his hand fell back to his lap.

“So, you are unaware of Jared and those before the flood.”

Jared only nodded.

“And what do you know of Noah?”

Jared’s body stiffened. Suddenly this whole strange afternoon was turning a lot stranger. “Noah? As in Noah and the ark?” The silence returned at that moment, and it was only then that Jared realized that the rain had stopped.

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

Jared encounters a stranger. His name is Landel. Strange things are starting to happen, and stranger still is the direction the conversation is going.

I hope you enjoy.

Rollin

Fallen One (01)

Stefan Keller – Pixabay

Jared Cooper sat on the edge of his bed and didn’t move. His body was in a slump; his head held up by his hands pressed against his temples. His mind was in a dive.

The phone rang, but he made no move to pick it up. The most he was willing to do was look over at the nightstand and look at the clock. Based on the time, Jared had a good idea who was calling and left it to his answering machine. A spark of life appeared in his fingers, applying a little soothing massage therapy to his head.

“Hello, this is Jared. Please leave a message after the beep,” the machine played as Jared, the massaging not helping as much as he hoped, pushed himself up to his feet and shuffled into the kitchen. “Jared, man, this is Hank, wondering where you are.” Jared turned on the hot water and grabbed a clean towel from the cabinet. “Look, I know things have been rough, but” 

Jared took the towel and held it under the faucet. “Just come into work. We’ll figure things out. Okay? Bye.” Hank hung up; the answering machine finished recording the message and reset itself while Jared wrung out what he could from the towel. 

He flopped in his living room chair, put his head back, and draped the towel over his face. Hot had already faded to warm and would soon be cool, but it felt wonderful. As he laid there, he began a mental inventory of his apartment, and sadly, after a few minutes, Jared realized there was very little that he had any personal attachment with. Not much to show for his life, and he felt a twinge of regret. But it was short-lived, and a smile came over his face.

An hour later, his backpack was jammed full of essentials, including his Colt Cowboy and two boxes of ammunition. Next, the saddlebags on his motorcycle were packed with canned food, water, a few tools, batteries, along with his laptop and accessories for his phone. The last item was his mother’s Bible which took longer than anything else to pack away. He held it close, his fingers lithely traversing the worn leather cover. It was hard for him to let go, but he did so with the utmost care when he did.

The sleeping bag was the last to be secured, tieing it to the back seat bar. Inside the bag, an additional thin wool blanket was rolled. He brought it along because you never know when another blanket might come in handy. Finally, Jared sheathed the sleeping back with his poncho to keep it dry on the road.

Jared sat there, his boots on the asphalt, his hands busy unclipping the strap of his helmet, the ’69 Triumph Bonneville rumbling between his legs, as he stared at the little house on Pacific Ave. Freeing his head, he rested the helmet on the tank, one hand holding it in place while the other was combing through the entanglements of his hair.

Just looking at the place seemed to tug at him, threatening to drag him back into the darkness. His grandma was inside, that much he was certain. The Rambler wagon was parked under the awning of a chestnut tree, dinged and faded, leaning slightly to the right. Grandma never went anywhere without it. 

Movement in the window stole Jared’s attention. It was slow and blurry, obscured by the shadow cast by the chestnut and the oak trees and the window screens, but he knew it was her. He expected that her radio was on and she was about to sit down near the window to read her book. A short while later, he was able to see her much clearer, standing close to the window, a book in her hand. She pulled the curtains wider before sitting down in her chair.

She’s definitely a creature of habit. Jared reached behind him and pulled a bottle of water from the saddlebags. He quickly drank down half of it before screwing the lid back on and tucking it away. The day was hot and humid, the pits of his arms saturated in sweat. He wasn’t going to miss that, and as he took one final look at the house, he wasn’t sure that he would miss her either.

Jared pushed the helmet back on snuggly and buckled the strap. With a final glance at the house and the woman in her chair, he put the bike in gear and sped off. Traffic was typical for a small town, and he was quickly at 12th Street, with no sign of anyone, not even outside in their yards or driveways. He turned to the right, keeping a slow pace through the neighborhood, the road curving to the left and turning into Parker that would take him west and out of town. He gave a casual glance to the high school on his right, the lot empty for the summer, before looking ahead, not clear in his head where he was going.

As we begin the story of Fallen One, remember that what I am posting is a first draft. I encourage anyone to provide comments, make suggestions, and point out problems.

We are introduced to our main character, Jared Cooper. It is obvious from the story so far that he has a broken relationship with his grandmother. As he is about to leave town, he isn’t willing to say goodbye, though, he does stop by her house and sees her in the window.

Have a great day.

Rollin

Fallen One (Introduction)

Stefan Keller – Pixabay

Fallen One is a new book that will written and distributed online and for free. It will also evolve during its journey with inputs from you, the audience.

The genre of this story is Christian/Fantasy/Science Fiction/Fringe. If you wish to participate in the creation of Fallen One, please leave comments with the posts.

Posts will be uploaded on a weeky basis.

I look forward to taking this journey with you.

Rollin