Five: Episode Fourteen is based off the following book excerpt from my science fiction supernatural thriller, The Contingency Generation.
Keep calm. A message in stone means nothing.
Instinct tells me I need to get away from the building in case there’s another aftershock. Fortunately, light from the broken window is enough for me to locate a headband in my satchel and wrap my bleeding hand. I place the plant and stone in the box, tucking down the flaps to brace the sides. I’m lucky to have found it. Cardboard boxes have been out of production for several years. Most deliveries arrive “dry” without packing or come in a person’s reusable lock box.
Balancing the weight, I cautiously step my way through the glass shards. The courtyard garden is enclosed. The only way out is through Kate’s place.
Inside, I hesitate to power off the lights. I know I should. Fire is a real danger of quake activity. I want to stay a while longer. This place is the only location I’ve ever felt connected to something bigger than I am. Kate was my family. Switch off the power and get out of here. The next shockwave could do you in.
I cut the power.
Outside under a moonless canopy, I head to my car. To calm myself, I mentally tick down a list of the positives. I begin with the fact that I’m unhurt except for the cut on my hand. Earthquakes have been growing in strength and occurrence. Some geologists predict a trend of accelerated unrest due to prior decades of oil drilling activity where wastewater was typically injected into deep disposal wells.
Then there is light glowing from the valley. That’s a good sign. Residences continue to be illuminated so the power grid must be intact. Ever since childhood, I’ve found comfort in the ability of light to power thru darkness. For Fol, it’s just the opposite. He says it is the vast darkness that displays power because it actually keeps the light contained. I know he’s angry that I walked out. I’m surprised he hasn’t called me. Maybe the system is down.
Finally, there’s the new message. “Love is.” Book of Wisdom 43.3.16
I don’t know which category to put it in. It makes me uneasy and curious at the same time. Part of me senses an irony. How odd to find a message about love when mine is on the rocks. I laugh at my own pun but then stop at the inexplicable. This message carved in stone was not completed by a hacker’s hand. This fact leaves me open to a mystery that I don’t yet comprehend. Steady. There’s a logical explanation for everything.
At my car, I have to swipe my wrist against the auto lock scan several times before the engine rumbles awake. Oddly, it’s the only dominant sound in the vicinity. No sirens sound alerts, and as far as I can see, the minimal traffic on the rail is moving well. The normalcy makes me wonder if something is terribly wrong.
In my car, I speak Fol’s security number and request his media pod. While I wait, I ask News Source for any emergency alert messages. There are none.
Fol doesn’t respond. I try to connect again, but a sudden banging on my window startles me. It’s Baphomet. I lower the glass.
“SJ, Fol wanted me to find you. He’s worried.”
“Is he okay? Did you feel it?”
“What are you talking about?”
“The earthquake of course” I glance around. “It doesn’t look like there’s much damage here, but it sure rocked the complex. I wonder where the where the epicenter is?”
“I didn’t feel anything.” Baphomet is serious.
Puzzled, I turn off the car and get out. “You’ve got to see Kate’s backyard. I’m telling you her window is shattered, and the quake fractured her planter.” I reach into the car, dig the stone out of my satchel, and hold it up. “It’s where I found this. It was in the dirt.”
Baphomet takes the stone and brushes across the surface to read the words.
“It’s another message from the Book of Wisdom.”
She inspects the entire rock. “Where did you say you found this?”
“Kate’s courtyard. I was digging out one of her plants when the tremors hit.”
Baphomet hands back the stone. “Show me.”
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.