Five: Episode Twenty is based off the following book excerpt from my science fiction supernatural thriller, The Contingency Generation.
Book of Wisdom
I sign the agreement using the pen I take from the herald’s gnarled hand. Maybe with the Book of Wisdom in front of me, I’ll be able to compose the perfect message.
My confidence tumbles before the sensible question.
How can you convincingly tell what needs to be told in only five short messages? It’s not enough.
“Soul Evie, writings alone are never enough.” Logos’ raspy voice agrees with my doubting thoughts.
I nod in agreement.
His insight startles but also gives confirmation. Heaviness settles into my spirit. The dip in the ocean awakened my memory, and now I’m afraid. I’d forgotten all that was at stake. With only four chances left, I must pick wisely.
“Wait here.” Logos gestures to a tattered leather arm chair. After I sit, he shuffles back behind the counter and then disappears into the vault.
Logos is unlike any other herald I’ve encountered on Five. Although there are many, only a few have interacted with me personally.
When I first arrived, a Welcome Herald revived me. He wore nothing to distinguish him from the rest of us except for the dagger in his belt. Then on my birthday, a Message Herald dressed in a linen suit brought an invitation to me in the garden.
Thomas, an Arch Herald, whose ground length robe barely covers his metal boots, supervises my writing occasions on the beach.
In contrast to all these magnificent heralds, there is Logos, a small stooped being with drooping skin and sunken eyes that peer through spectacles.
The odd thing about Logos is that his features indicate aging, which is an unusual appearance for those living on Five. None of us know why this is true about life on Five.
For instance, even though I’ve existed for two hundred and seven years, I feel wonderful most of the time. I’ve spent my last one hundred fourteen years living on Five, so I suspect I don’t remember feeling any other way.
My memory of life on earth returned after I dipped in the ocean to write. Some of it has grown fuzzy. The herald said it would recede like the tide, but still, like empty shells on the beach, my emotions have remained, fear being the worst.
My feelings of dread grow stronger, in spite of living in a place where everything is arranged for my good and pain and decay are obsolete.
The last two days have been unbearable. I’ve been too sick to go back. My stomach is in knots, and I can’t eat. I choke every time I try to swallow food. Thomas says my cure is in the book. He sent me here to the Word Keeper’s vault to find it.
No sound comes from the vault. I lean over the counter to try to see around the door, but the angle is not right. I could scoot under the marble top, but it would be undignified.
Instead, I choose to wait. Waiting is the first and most powerful lesson we learn on Five.
Suddenly the vault door slams shut. No wind or person is the cause.
I leave pride behind and crawl under the counter. When I pull on the vault handle, it does not release. Then I push, leaning into it with all my strength.
Knock and it will be opened unto you. The whispered thought is familiar.
This blog post is an excerpt from my supernatural thriller, Five, presented in rough draft version. The posts will appear weekly as my story development progresses. The story snippets will likely be full of typos, garbage, and confusion. I’m sure to regret allowing readers a sneak peak of the chaos involved in this process of making a finished book.
Someday, if I still have an audience, my book(s) and screenplays will be polished and for sale. Until then, my story snippets are free, but payment by “subscribing” with your email would be a nice gesture. For doing this you might get a discount on my purchasable work should that day ever arrive. All you get now is a notice via email of a new story episode that I have ready to read on my “blog.” I don’t sell my email list or do anything else with it.
Why am I doing this stupid and terrible thing—letting readers see my “off the cuff” story writing?
Book industry experts say that in today’s world of book marketing, an unknown author must build their own sales platform. I’m supposed to advance my platform by collecting readers, and for now, by blogging. Since I can’t imagine blogging about what I had for breakfast or the things my cat does, then instead, I’m blogging fiction excerpts of my work(s) in progress.
Thanks for slogging along. Maybe we’ll meet on a bookshelf someday.