Five: Episode Thirty-four is based off the following book excerpt from my science fiction supernatural thriller, The Contingency Generation.
The sword is at my neck. Razor sharp pain pierces my skin. I begin to choke. Anguished faces disappear into raging foam as water sweeps me over the edge of dark. I’m tossed about until I no longer know which direction is up. I will my arms and legs to propel me, but nothing happens. I grow increasingly tired and sink to the bottom hoping for the end of consciousness.
Strangely, it does not come.
Instead, aided by unseen hands, I shed my broken shell on the ocean floor with the ease of a child slipping off play clothes at bedtime.
Then, I rise, weightless and cold, through navy deeps that eventually lighten to cobalt and turquoise foam. Water turns to air, and I feel warm. My watery lullaby yields to the solid hum of earth, where a spectacular evening sun splits a canopy of dove-grey skies.
I lay beached on the crimson sand. Voiced syllables babble near me. Two heads appear over me. The faces belong to Kate and Thomas, the Arch herald.
“Soul Evie. Don’t be afraid. It is but a memory. Nothing here can harm you.” Thomas supports my head so I can sip from a cup Kate offers.
“Lemon verbena tea,” she whispers.
I finish half, and she places it beside her and then wipes her eyes.
I smile at her, or at least I think I smile. I feel disconnected.
“Do I have a face that smiles?” I ask with a voice that comes from me but sounds far away.
Kate laughs. “You do. But feeling it will take some time. Coming back through The Passing is strange.”
Did she go through this? I don’t remember. “Was I with you?”
“You were.” Kate says gently.
I look to Thomas for an explanation.
“Soul Evie, your fear was so great that you were given a memory lapse. When Kate came out of the water to write her fifth message, you were there.”
“You helped me write the words. You were wonderful.” Kate beams at me.
Thomas fills in. “After Kate recovered, your fear grew insurmountable. One day you came to me and asked for A Mercy because you wanted to continue. You were equally courageous and afraid, and because of this, your request was granted. A Scribe’s last dip in the ocean is the worst, because the soul reconnects to the memory of the circumstance where their life before Five ended.”
“The Passing.” Kate reminds.
I struggle to sit. “Or death.”
I use a word about a circumstance I’d long forgot but still somehow daily walked in fear of it’s meaning. Now, having dipped in the ocean and remembered, I clearly see it’s powerlessness. I’ve lived long past it’s range of harm. This was the unexplainable fear that haunted me on Five.
“Sadly, yes, death.” Thomas continues. “And not just any death but violent death at the hand of those who would extinguish the Word of Life. Perhaps you recall I spoke at the Grande Lesson about a common factor among those chosen to become Scribes.”
“Martyrdom. That’s what all Scribes have in common.” Kate jumps in ahead of Thomas, a behavior one hardly ever does when an Arch Herald is speaking.
Thomas gives no reprimand but instead pulls something out of his robe and holds it out to me. It’s my Book of Wisdom.
Joyfully I reach to touch it, and welcome strength pours into my hand and tingles all the way up to my arm and into my shoulder. Involuntarily, I yawn and feel as if I’ve been asleep a hundred years. I know the power is not from the book but the words it contains. The words of Author Perfecter live on the pages.
“I’m much better.” I say, protesting to the two dear ones who insist on carrying me away from the water’s edge to the two boulders at the base of the dais. There they prop me up, and Kate sits beside me to block the wind.
Thomas stands with his back toward us and holds out his arm. He raises his hand as if stopping an unseen foe. His voice booms above the noisy sea. “Take all the time you need, Soul Evie. The sun will not go down until you are through.”
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.