Archive for July, 2010
Flying with the Gods of Torque
Flash Fiction ( 281 words)
The sun gleamed off her dark golden hair. It reminded him of the color of ripe wheat in the fields back home where he practiced. Sweating and cursing inside his racing leathers, Jake waited impatiently for Kellie to be finished with the tweaks and get him back on the track. His competitors were thundering past eating up his two lap lead.
"What's the problem, this should have been a gas an go!" He snarled.
"Throttle link was stripped you ham handed ogre." Pulling herself up from the ground, she continued, "That should hold, but no more snapping it to the stops."
She reached across the bike and hit the starter switch, the throaty KLX140 roared to life, black smoke pouring out the exhaust pipe.
"Kellie? What'd you do to my baby?"
"Relax ya ninny. That's just unburnt fuel. I've tightened up the air-screw to lower your torque point, now get out there and fly boy."
With that she slapped his helmet back down on his head and stepped back.
Grinning maniacally, Jake swung a leg over the saddle, gripped the handlebars and roared out of the pit spraying gravel. Powering up the first slope, he held steady and flew high, clearing the second and touching down on the third, disappearing below the crest to power through the banked turn.
Kellie watched him fly. Her heart felt light as she watched him dance with the gods of torque, defying gravity and paying homage to the almighty horsepower. Grinning foolishly herself, she shook her head and muttered, "He's going to break that bike again before the day is through, but that's why we're such a good team.
Frozen In History
As he drove the ice pick deep into the caves vertical face, hanging from the slenderest of lines, Aaron thought back on how he ended up here on his honeymoon. His shy and retiring bride had turned out to be not quite so retiring as she would have everyone think.
Aaron had set up a relaxing tour of Greece and the surrounding islands, but as they were getting ready to depart, she had made some last minute changes to the tickets and apparently everything else. Not knowing this, he had gotten on the plane with her, expecting to head to the sunny islands. When he stepped off onto the frozen pavement of Iceland, and was met by a guy with a land-rover instead of the shuttle to the resort that he had booked, he started to realize something was wrong.
She had changed their plans without telling him. The were going on an ice-cave exploration trip.
"Hey!" A voice from below echoed up through the cavern, "keep it moving or we'll never get there."
Aaron, shaken out of his reverie, glanced down sheepishly and started his descent once more.
* * *
Selene looked up as Aaron dropped the last few feet to the floor of the cavern, "What happened up there? You seemed to be stuck half way down the wall."
"Just marveling at the nature of fate, the odds of chance, that kind of stuff." Aaron looked down at his feet, then turned to face the pack he had dropped. Pulling out the gear needed for a quick snack, he set about making tea for everyone.
Jordan, the short swarthy dark haired guide to this expedition cleared his throat. "Such delays are common in first time explorers," he explained to Selene, "the location will do that to a person of deep spirit. A sympathetic resonance will be struck between the explorer and the environment."
Selene looked quizzically at Jordan, then appraising at Aaron. She had never thought of him as having a deep spirit. His wiry athletic frame, topped with a shock of red-blond hair, did not lead one to think of him as deep. He was always flitting from point to point like a demented hummingbird after all..
Sighing to herself, she began pitching camp for the night as she considered the situation she found herself in. The change was exciting, the challenge of ice-cave exploration was much better than laying on a beach, but the emotional journey they had been on was one heck of a roller-coaster ride. As she struggled with the last of the tents, she thought to herself, at least if we make it through the honeymoon together the next couple of years shouldn't be too much trouble.
* * *
The trio had broken camp almost silently, nobody willing to disturb the sanctity of the silence in the cavern. The only constant sounds were those of dripping water, and somewhere far off was a waterfall thundering through the confining restraints of the cavern.
Jordan coughed apologetically to break the silence, then he asked, "Are we ok for continuing today, or
will you want to return to the surface now?"
"Is there any reason to go back up yet?" Selene's voice hovered between concern and excitement.
"No, not yet. There are no signs of problems. We will need to be careful when heading into the newly opened cavern that I told you about yesterday. The unknown will kill faster than anything else this far below the surface."
Aaron looked up from tying his boots, this whole trip had been one stretch after another. Selene hadn't told him anything about exploring uncharted caverns. To Selene's eyes, Aaron looked nervous, but didn't appear to be willing to back down in front of his new bride. She made a mental note to _reward him_ later on in camp tonight.
"So we're going to scout the new cavern today, then tomorrow morning we have to start making our way back up to be in time for the pick-up schedule, right?" Clarifying the time-frame, for both herself and Aaron, Selene tried to put a positive spin things.
Aaron perked right up at this. "Alright, so we go do some looking around, then it's a matter of getting back to civilization tomorrow. We're ready to go."
Jordan just shook his head, "Alright, let's move out."
* * *
Aaron, subdued by the sheer space they were entering, focused on the enticing way Selene was swinging her hips as she hiked along after Jordan.
Dropping the three hundred feet to the floor of the newly opened cavern hadn't been tricky at all, just a standard rope drop down the ledges. But now they had been walking for a couple of hours, and it felt for all the world like they were walking through a city made of ice. The stalagmites were oddly squared off, with straight sides and fluted tops. The paths between them were more often than not straight, coming together at right angles.
As they made their way towards one particularly large and imposing edifice,Aaron thought he saw something through the ice, a frozen fish or something.
Suddenly the whole front face of the structure of ice cracked sharply, sheets of ice flowing off the underlying rock. They were faced with the front stairs of what looked like a building made of cut stone. Emblazoned across the lintel above the arched doors was a foreign term.
Aaron had stopped, along with the other two, as the ice started moving. Stunned, he managed to find his voice, "The images I've been seeing through in ice, those carvings on the door, the artistic cut of the stones, could we have found...?"
Jordan, practical as always, made a questioning affirmative sound.
Aaron looked at Selene to finish his thoughts, and she didn't fail him.
"Aaron, I think we just stumbled on Atlantis."
He could feel the ground, hard and cold beneath his back. He was confused, wondering why he was on the ground at all. The last thing he could remember was being up on the roof, he was pulling sheet metal off to replace it, and the last sheet he had pulled up, right at the edge of the roof, was hiding a beehive in the trim. He grunted the sequence of events came back to him. He had pulled up the sheet metal and the upset bees had swarmed him, he remembered getting stung, face, hands, neck, twenty or thirty stings in all. He must have fallen off the roof, nothing felt broken, but his face felt puffy, his lips were swollen, he couldn't open his eyes. He realized he was having trouble breathing. The cool mountain air moving in a breeze across his face, he needed to open his mouth and draw it in deep to his lungs. He couldn't manage to get his breathing to work right, too shallow, not enough air deep enough.
His leg felt like it had been broken, but it was alright just a minute ago. No it didn't feel broken, only punctured like something had stabbed through it. He could feel his thoughts slowing down, it was getting harder and harder for him to think. But he had been stabbed. Who the hell had stabbed him he wondered. He could still feel where the stab wound was, funny he couldn't feel the cool mountain breeze on his legs, he should be able to.
Detached, he wondered if he was ever going to get the chance to get even with the sadist that was stabbing him while he was laying here incapacitated. He was starting to get angry now. His thoughts didn't seem to be as sluggish anymore, in fact his mind was racing almost as fast as his heart seemed to be going. A glimmer of light, he thought he might be able to open his eyes soon, and that insistent buzzing that had been blocking out sound to this point seemed to be lessening.
"Bill! Bill! Can you hear me, can you breath?" Sasha's voice seemed to come from miles away, but he could just make out what she was saying.
Bill tried to speak, to answer her, but all he managed was a croak. He could feel the swelling going down now, even his breathing was improving. But despite his best efforts, all he managed was an affirmative croak.
"Don't worry love, the ambulance is on it's way. You're lucky that Jim from next door saw you fall, and that he had his bee sting kit with him." Sasha's voice was clearer, now that the buzzing in Bill's ears was receding.
He absently noted the receding buzzing, now if only there were something they could do about the headache. It was like somebody had inflated his head to about four atmospheres and the pressure felt like it would bug his eyes out of their sockets.
Ah, there! He managed to open his eyes and sure enough he could see his Sasha kneeling with a worried expression on her face. He noticed the way her hair was drifting in the breeze, the gentle play of the sun and shadows across her brow. He tried to reach up a hand and brush back the hair from her face, to reassure her that he was fine, that everything was alright.
His arm didn't move. Or did it? He could feel his body pressed against the ground, but he saw his hand move up and brush her hair back. She had jumped when he touched her cheek, like something had startled her. She never used to do that when he reached out to her.
Bill was confused. The puzzlement must have shown on his face, Sasha tried to explain what was going on as best she could.
"Bill, it looks like you got stung by a swarm of bees, you fell from the roof, and you swelling up from the allergic reaction. Jim is allergic to bees so he knew what he was seeing when he found you. Knowing that there was very little time, Jim hit you with his Epi-Pen, trying to avert your reaction. I came out with a bee kit when I heard Jim yelling, and without asking Jim what he'd done, I hit you with our Epi-Pen." Sasha ran out of breath at that point, and stopped talking.
Jim spoke up, "Two shots of adrenalin shouldn't hurt you, but the ambulance is going to take you to the hospital just to make sure you're alright."
Bill managed a ghost of a grin at this. He tried again to reassure Sasha that it was all going to be alright, but all he manged to get out was a croak followed by a groan. He went to push himself up off the ground, asking for water for his throat, but he felt a tearing sensation as he went to move his arms. He stopped and settled back into the grass. Trying again to raise his arm and reach out to Sasha he realized that he could in fact feel the grass on his fingertips while he was seeing what looked like his own arm reaching out to touch Sasha's shoulder. Concentrating, he managed to pull his senses completely back into himself, where he was when he woke up. Now... If he could just manage it, yes, his real arm did move, and so did his ghost one. He had somehow developed a set of mental muscles. He'd read about such things in science fiction, being able to move things just by thinking about it.
He experimented. Could he reach out his imaginary hand and squeeze Sasha's hand, yes! She reacted to that. Bill grinned as he considered the possibilities.
Hi all. I was daydreaming the other day, and this story line somewhat came to me out of the clouds, literally.
There I was staring up at the clouds, thinking random thoughts (like meditation except that I am on my back staring straight up into the sky while the children gambol and caper around me in the yard.
I saw a cloud formation, somewhat like a fat horseshoe shape with a very bulgy middle (the front arc of the horseshoe) and then there was some wisps of cloud sort of closing in the open end of the horseshoe, and finally just beside the horseshoe shaped cloud was a thick black nimbus of a cloud (think donut shape, complete with hole in middle) just about touching, somewhat like two landmasses on either side of the straight’s of Gibraltar.
This called to me, go figure.
A legend to frame the story.
A legend there is, ’tis said of a man.
Born of woman, without a mother
He shall see, as no other.
A sense of there but yet unseen,
He leads us down a path of green.
Awakening in a shrouded land,
To guide us through the tarnished bight,
And through the dark that is not night
Below the serpents of the sea,
Unto the Sea of Serenity
So there you have it. that’s the whole framework of the story, but I’m thinking that it’s three or four twenty-thousand word stories long.
The first is escape for the brains and surviving value of society, they’re being persecuted through the revolt, and have to escape to the mythical fortress of solitude. (this is fairly straight-forward), As they go along, they gather the less selfish and corrupted of the population to the surviving asset base, and the whole thing looks like a travelling circus or an ancient caravan before they get half way there, at which point the main hero comes to the fore, with Cora the secondary hero as a reluctant second. Cora has been tagging along as the helper to those who are actually trying to do the leading and escaping. The Main hero is able to sense the copper deposits that are the basis of the ancient’s magic (electrical transmission) and can follow the buried lines, but has no idea that’s what he senses or feels, only that he’s different that others. The fortress of Solitude is wired for everything, so Hero can find it, but not with the whole of civilization behind him, so he takes the core leaders, and moves faster, with Cora’s help of course, (romantic involvement between the thieving little city girl and the strapping completely honest never told a lie country boy? could be fun, the conflict’s they’re thrown into meaning that each is uncomfortable with the needs of the situation as the situation demands, eventually they come to a resolution on the need for a grey zone in the universe. for the first book they are just at odds with each other, no romance is in either’s mind)
The second is to survive the environmental cataclysm, (Earthquakes leading to volcanic eruptions, cyclical, predictable, but the knowledge was hidden in the “fortress of solitude” so the coming of the cataclysm was forgotten, (it only comes around every twenty generations or so 1024 year cycle of the planet around the solar system, and the competing forces of the yellow primary and the red dwarf that circles the yellow primary (around Neptune’s orbit in our solar system to our earth as the main planet and the yellow sun as primary). The antagonist in this case is going to help lead the refugees to the secured bunkers that were detailed in the fortress’s archives.
In this second book, the city girl (Cora) is falling for a member of the guard unit, who unfortunately turns out to be one of the reluctant helpers, who is going to go back on the escape plan, trying to sabotage the whole situation. Needless to say, that get’s cleared up at the 90% mark, and the Hero is the one who pulls it all together in the end, against the odds, and against the inertia of the whole of the civilization. naturally Cora is seeing him in a new light, and will try to “catch his eye” but he’s kinda dense.
The third book is to escape from an increasingly problematic safe haven, (it’s falling apart around them) and to get to the sea of bliss, the mythical seat of civilization, and to start to rebuild what’s left of the whole civilization, it’s their god given duty to restore things to a working whole and put in place the securities for the next cataclysm so that society doesn’t crash down around them and all get lost next time this happens. Maybe setting up a ritual process of the safety measures, so that it’s not all lost next time around.
It’s the Hero’s turn to start falling, this time for one of the lesser nobility of the survivors, nothing serious, but since there’s no keys or actual nobility, and the girl he’s falling for is turning out to be key in the figuring out of what’s happening, she know’s he’s interested, and will play along, but she’s not really interested, Truth be told she’s more interested in Cora… but then that’s preference for you.
Anyhow, eventually this comes out and Hero let’s go of his hopes on her when she ends up martyring herself to save the rest of them since she can never be truly happy alone and to follow her heart and desire will brand her as one kind of heretic according to popular view, (one is needed to go back and drop the sequence (she dies at about 55-60% of the story). Then things move forward, and the usual pitfalls and issues come up to be overcome through the rest of the story, while the popular culture disintegrates around the fleeing people. the taboo on same sex union or coupling is dropped, the sanctity of marriage is preserved, children are cherished throughout the remaining society, and concept of need v.s. desire, the problems of position/priveledge/and power are ironed out completely. leadership is through random selection of a panel and aptitude assessments after that for the filling of leadership positions.
So there’s the rough outline. took me about half an hour to type it all out. *sigh*( wonder how long it’ll take to put it all in books.
I guess I might end up leaving this until the NaNoWriMo thing, that’d be a good time to put it all together.