Five: Episode Sixty-Seven is based off the following book excerpt from my science fiction, supernatural, thriller, The Contingency Generation.
Out of the Shadows
We wait for Triump interns to let us pass. My deluxe model bracing chair, self-propelled with all terrain tires, navigates seamlessly. I’m grateful for my chariot and the benefit of the new design which leaves little room for operator error.
Since my return, my sight fluctuates wildly between complete blindness, or at best, being able to perceive color and shadowed perimeters. The only landscape I venture to cross is through the Abide on my way to my Recall sessions.
Medical staff says the sessions are necessary for my rehabilitation, but I doubt that any of them want me to return as a co-worker, let alone their leader. Most think my life is unstable, and my work in science is through.
In the area of work, I’m inclined to agree. Because of my disabilities and the news stories, I’ve become a spectacle. The official report from Global Safety explains how I survived two near fatal druggings. The amount of propofylozine found in my system should not have allowed me to live, but I did.
Newscasters blame anti-relocation sympathizers for the attack, but I know the truth. I became Fol’s target when I denied him my cooperation. He learned about Kate’s body and perhaps that I’d altered the resurrection drug formulas. When I try to explain all this to the authorities, no one listens. Everyone thinks I’ve gotten things mixed things up in my mind, because of the drugs and the fact that our partnership was rocky. I’m regarded as Fol’s crazy grieving widow, and the mention of crazy increases especially when I talk about Five.
I’m still not certain how Fol ended up dead or if he really is dead. I wish I could see his body, but even then, I know it’s only his shell. His DNA was confirmed, and now his body waits in a thermocylinder to be resurrected
When we arrive at the Alcove, the wind chimes greet us noisily underscoring the angry sorrow that jangles in my soul. I’ve lost everything I care about. How could I be such a fool?
The orderly locks my bracing chair to open the gate and then rolls me in and cheerfully announces, “Here she is.”
“I’m ready.” The responding voice is light and cheerful.
I feel my body compress from a standing to a sitting position when the orderly flips the transform switch. During the process, their exchange of pleasantries stings against the open wounds of my grieving heart.
Then the orderly leaves and the questions begin.
“What would you like to tell me today,” she says.
I remain silent. No amount of talk will change anything. So many decisions, and all to champion the truth, now seem misguided. If Five is real, then I should have stayed put. My physical troubles, added to the tangled world, make my life impossible. Perhaps all that happened is a cosmic lesson in truth, that truth is exactly what is in front of me and has been present all along.
“Let’s start with who you are.”
“That’s easy,” I say bitterly. “I’m a reject scientist with no power to see or walk properly and no designated kin to help me live again.”
“Is that true?” My therapist changes position in the fuzzy grey chair and waits for my answer.
I feel a soft breeze touch my cheek. It continues its course, rustling through a backdrop of billowing white stars behind her. The stars sway like dancers on a floor of grassy green. I’ve been told the shapes are lilies, and the green is their clustered stems, but I can’t see to know this for sure.
“It’s my reality,” I say, wishing it wasn’t. The glory of giving up everything for truth is not what I expected. Since my last desperate stance, my world grew smaller and only holds fuzzy details and the unprovable words of others. I’m reduced to rely on what I’m told.
Still, I can’t stop. I’m a scientist. I make mental notes. I observe and record any detail I can no matter how minor. It’s what comforts me. “You’re wearing wine today.”
“Yes I am. Is that important?” Her voice always sounds the same, polite and indifferent, and so do her questions.
“Every day you wear a different color. I can’t see details, but I can see overall colors,” I explain.
“Let’s try this again, Dr. Satan.”
“Satan is not my name.”
“SJ…… I know this is hard for you, but we believe if you can discuss your experiences then your sight will return and possibly your ability to walk. Your body systems were almost completely shut down from the drugging. You and your partner were the target of those who wishing to sabotage the resurrection trials….”
. . . . .
Excruciating pain fills my heart. My mouth flies open and I say, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” I have no idea where the words come from or what they mean, but the effect on Beast is extraordinary.
The brilliance disappears, and a dark twisted shadow leaps into the air from the chair where he sits. It separates from the torso and flies away howling and screeching. the torso trembles violently, and I press the alarm for help.
The therapist rushes in. “What happened?”
“I don’t know. We were talking and all of sudden he shrieked and started trembling.
“He’s convulsing. Can I get some help in here?” Her voice is loud and panicked
Orderlies rush in and Beast is taken out. Another one reformats my chair to a standing position, and guides me out through the corridor to my room.
Relieved, I sit by the window and place my hand on my heart to feel it beat. It’s steady and the pain has eased, but the occurrence reminds me of my last moments on Five.
When I committed to leave, Author placed his hand on my heart. It felt as if my chest was being ripped open. It lasted only a moment, but Author said he’d placed in me a gift that would help me with the truth. He said I would know its presence again when my heart hurt.
Is that it? Strange words? Where are they coming from?
Near me a child laughs. I turn to the noise, but I see nothing. Then a small figure in pink bounces in front of me.
“I was hiding, but so were you. I found you, because you smell like tea.” The girlish laughter comes again.
“You’re right. I’m here, but I can’t completely see you,” I say.
“I can’t see you at all. Mr. Chris brought me here.”
“Bow? Is that you?” My astonishment takes the form of tears.
A figure of a man appears in fuzzy form beside her. “I hope we aren’t intruding. We came to visit a student, and Bow insisted we stop and bring you her present.
“He’s Onesimo and he’s a thief. He stole a bike from a boy who’s six like me. We brought him some paper and colors, so he can be an artist like me and not steal.” She pauses, and I hear rustling, and then I feel a weight in my hand and the shape of a book.
Bow tugs it open. “This is for you. It’s the Stick Healer book. It’s so you can practice the stories and help people get better. Remember? B.O.W. like my initials only it means Book of Wisdom.” She guides my hand across the surface, smoothing the pages.
Emotion keeps me silent until I whisper, “Thank you Bow. Thank you so much.”
“She wanted you to have it,” Chris says.
“Yep. Cause you gotta get better and come be a teacher at the school. There’s lots of us, and we have a lot to learn.”
Chris laughs. “Dr. SJ has a job, here Bow.”
“Okay, but did you ever get your name back?” I feel Bow’s hands stroking my arm.
I laugh. “I sure did. It’s….”
This blog post is the final excerpt from my supernatural thriller, Five, presented in rough draft version. The posts appeared weekly as my story development progressed. The story snippets are likely to 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.