Five: Episode Five is based off the following book excerpt from my science fiction supernatural thriller, The Contingency Generation.
Evie’s Garden Caller
(Year 2165 on Five, a realm where time counts but does not constrain)
Martha and I prune the last rose bush. I stoop to gather our tools but then stop when I see a figure enter the gate. It moves toward us on the gravel path. The increasing prismatic glow of the being causes me to shade my eyes. It is a Herald. I am certain of this when the atmosphere readjusts to reveal the trademark clothing, a tailored “tea-with-cream” colored linen suit on top of the standard issue white cufflink shirt.
I hear my name.
“Soul Evie.” The voice is kind.
“You have a lesson today. When you are ready, come to the dais by the sea.”
“What should I bring?” I know I speak from habits long past, but I forget this until I ask the question.
The Herald’s smile enlarges. “As it always is on Five your presence remains the only thing necessary. Everything else will be provided.”
I nod. “Yes, Herald.”
“There’s one more thing.”
The Herald reaches into his lapel pocket and pulls out an envelope, which he extends to me. Bracing for the transfer of heat, I take it. A jolt of warmth runs up my arm.
“This is your Birth Day. It is a special occasion. Two hundred seven years of life is important to celebrate.”
I am puzzled. I do not remember today as a special day, and I am certain I am not two hundred and seven years old.
When the Herald leaves, Martha moves to my side. Together we watch the atmosphere shimmer around the disappearing form. The air smells of Bergamot.
Martha sniffs. “Why do they always smell like that?”
“Does it bother you?”
“Not in the least. It reminds me of tea.” She giggles.
Like me, she must have tea on the brain, but I will not be able to linger at the table today. A waiting lesson never fails to intrigue me. I can sip tea any time.
I hand Martha the tool basket. “Do you mind putting away today?”
“Not in the least. You go get ready.”
She hugs me and whispers in my ear, “Happy Birth Day. But he’s wrong you know.”
“About my age?” I tear open the envelope. “Yes, he’s incorrect.” I pull out the card. It’s an invitation to a Grande Lesson which are only offered on an exclusive basis. My experience on Five up till now has only included basic lessons. I wonder why I am chosen.
Martha chatters on. “You’re really only one hundred fourteen years young. I guess he’s using Herald time, which they keep from birth. You arrived when you were ninety-three. I’ll always remember that because we both came to Five at the same time, although my journey to Five began a few months later than yours did.
Martha’s memory is better than mine. I’ve stopped counting the time before we arrived. It seems as if I’ve always been here.
“Oh my goodness.” Martha takes the invitation. “It’s a Grande Lesson. You’re required to wear your white robe.”
Her eyes sparkle. I know she is happy for me. I’m not as confident. What if I fail? I reclaim my card and head to the baths. What to wear or do on Five is never my problem. It’s my fear that hinders me. I keep this secret to myself and I am quite good at it. On Five, we have been told we are there until the new city is completed. Every day is designed to give us a balance of rest and productivity. I’m good at being useful, but times of rest are a mental struggle.
“Evie? You know you’re going to do great. You always do. Nothing is here to hurt us. Everything is for our good.”
Grateful for the words of encouragement, I give Martha a hug and take back the invitation.
“Thanks.” I play her words in my head as I head for the baths.
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.