Flash Fiction Friday Story: 4th of July

Fireworks, 4th of July, Randy Cockrell

Fireworks by Randy Cockrell

“OK, people, listen up!”

We were in the cafeteria. The troopers all left off their conversations and turned to the front of the room. Unwashed, wearing rags, they broke my heart these young men and women were so brave. I swallowed the lump that wanted to form in my throat and sniffed back incipient tears of pride.

“We’re as ready as we’re going to get. Everything is coordinated all up and down the eastern seaboard. We strike tonight at 10pm.”

The troopers broke into cheers. They deserved a little celebration. I smiled and nodded and let them cheer. Many of my troopers were orphans, separated from parents when the aliens invaded. They’d been gathered up by what were left of the adult survivors and hidden, fed, clothed, educated as best we could in the twenty years since the invasion. Now we were ready to strike back.

I held up my hands. “Who knows what today is?”

“Wednesday!” Jay Gonzales was my comedian, always had a smart remark. The room erupted in laughter.

“Good one, Jay.” I looked around. “Anyone else?”

“July 4th.” Kim Deming was the cool one and one of my oldest. She was six when we found her hidden in the basement of a bombed out house, a piece of rebar in her hands ready to defend her 4-year-old sister. I understood. At the time I was fifteen and had only just been found myself.

“Correct. Significance?”

“It’s the holiday commemorating the founding of the United States. Our independence from another country’s rule.”

The room had quieted at her calm, steady answer. Her gray eyes burned with intensity. She was driven and the rest of the troopers respected her for it. “Right. And tonight, we do it again.”

“Freedom!” Kim leapt to her feet, fist raised.

“Freedom!” The rest of the troopers did the same. I joined in.

“Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!”

#

It took us five hours to get into place. The aliens didn’t spread out, they lived in enclaves, walled and secured. Their nasty crops grew around their city, circles of peace and prosperity in a land still littered with the blasted human cities and towns and farms they’d destroyed. Sure, they were slowly clearing the ruins, but only so their enclaves could expand. I’d watched over the years. Their cities grew like snails, ever circling outward. Clear the blasted areas, create farm land, inch the city out another circle. They were efficient, I’ll give them that.

Tonight the moon rise wasn’t until after midnight so it was dark. All the better for us. Camouflage was the toughest. They had heat detectors that helped kill off a good number of us before we figured out how to hide. The plan was simple. It had to be given our deprived state.

Weapons had been slowly gathered over the years. Assault rifles, ammunition, mortars, high explosives and in some cases, we even had nukes. That wasn’t my troop though. The enclave we were assigned was too small to require nukes. We did have a few HE weapons though that would blow holes in the walls. After that, we were going to have to go in and duke it out.

My hands were sweaty on my rifle. I was 35 and arthritis was kicking in. The medic said it was from living in the cold and damp all these years. Nothing could be done about it. I nodded and left the tiny clinic. As I waited for the signal I thought about what life would have been like if the aliens hadn’t come. I would have gone to college, I think, gotten married, had a kid or two. I swallowed. None of that was mine now. It was enough I had my troopers, fifty of them, as good as having my own.

We all waited in the damp as the minutes ticked with excruciating slowness. Waiting was always the hardest. A low whump and the ground rumbling told me it was time. Fifty miles away another group had just nuked the alien military garrison. An ugly purple glow blotted out the stars.

We charged forward from our hiding spots in the crop land. Kim had one of the HE weapons. She was in front of the gate and firing before the aliens could react. Almost before the smoke cleared and the debris stopped falling she and her squad were running into the breach. My troopers were screaming as the night sky erupted in flashes of gunfire and explosions. No wonder fireworks were used to celebrate when I was a kid. I pushed that thought aside as I led my squad into the enclave behind Kim’s.

It was brutal. The enemy had night patrols inside the enclave but they’d responded too late. My troopers went nest to nest and killed every alien they could find. After years of hiding, they knew all the right spots to look.

By daybreak the enclave was a ruin, alien bodies, adult and young, lying in the streets and buildings. We had planned for outside alien retaliation but it seemed our coordinated attack prevented that. I called my reserves in to help our wounded out of the town. Those still whole, I sent to gather up whatever tech and weapons they could carry. As we retreated back to our hiding places I had a team burn the enclave and those damn alien crops.

Now we had to wait. Aliens were planet wide. They weren’t going to like what we’d just accomplished. Too bad. We were all headed for the mid-west where we were planning to do the same thing all over again. With luck other humans would be encouraged and do the same. We just might get our planet back. Happy 4th of July!

The End

957 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Monday Blog Post: Spotlight on Selena Laurance’s New Book: Lush Reunion

Book, Release, a lush reunion, Selena Laurencea lush reunion by Selena Laurence

Every once in awhile I like to point out a friend’s new release. Today is release day for Best Selling Author, Selena Laurence’s newest book, Lush Reunion. I received this contemporary romance book as an ARC, a sample copy. The final book in the Lush series ties up the saga with a gigantic bow.

This story revolves around Colin, bass player for the band, Lush, and his long, lost high-school sweetheart, Marsha. The opening prologue sets the scene perfectly and introduces us to Marsha Lynn, Colin’s lost love. After that, the love, the hurt, and the pain ebb and flow in a way that Ms. Laurence has mastered. Sparks fly and tears flow in a fast paced book that I defy you to put down.

There were a number of twists and turns, that to be honest, I never saw coming. If you’re looking for your next beach read, this is the story for you. All of the characters were as real as the people in my own life. Grab this book as soon as you can.

On June 23rd I was happy to be interviewed by January Jones on her web radio broadcast. Talk4 Media,  Talk4Media.com , w4cy.com/radio-shows/january-jones-sharing-success-stories/  This is a first for me and I’m very excited about it. We talked about my books but also about the Payson Book Festival scheduled for July 25th. I was on the show at 5pm Eastern time and 2pm Arizona time. Here’s the list of who else was interviewed.

Connie Cockrell– Her books, The Gulliver Station Series, and more run the gamut from SciFi and Fantasy to Contemporary.

D’Elen McClain- Under her pen name, Holly S. Roberts, she is the USA Today Best-Selling author and writes “romance with wicked intentions.”

Then at 6pm Florida time and 3pm Arizona time, three more authors were interviewed.

Steven Andrew Cole– enjoys leading his readers down dark alleys, through crawl spaces and anywhere they dare not to venture with thrillers

Sherry Engler– reveals the unusual, quirky behaviors a LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) may display

Annemarie Eveland writes about challenges in life and the insights gained from them.

If you missed them go here to get the links.

It’s 26 days until the first ever Payson Book Festival. www.PaysonBookFestival.org. We’ve organized several radio interviews with festival authors. Check out the web site or our Facebook page (Payson Book Festival) or our Twitter feed at @PaysonBookFest for information about the next interview. At the Festival we’ll have authors speaking, authors signing their books, music, live radio broadcast, entertainment, workshops and food. Make plans now to come up to Rim Country and enjoy the festival.

Mystery at the Fair edits are in their final rounds. All that’s about left is to do the book formatting for both print and e-book. I’m still shooting for an early July release.

Squash, Melon, Garden, Connie Cockrell

Squash and Melon by Connie Cockrell

In the garden I have acquired zucchini and yellow squash and planted butternut squash and Swiss Chard. Saturday the butternut squash poked its first leaves up. The Swiss Chard still must be thinking about it. The plant next to the butternut squash is a self-seeding melon. It produces little, one-person cantaloupes. It seems to be doing very well, yay!

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

If you’re interested, click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website.

Lost Rainbows released January 25th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today! If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote their books. Thanks in advance.

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Flash Fiction Friday Story: Radio Waves

Amateur Radio, 2011, Field Day, Azgard2274

Amateur Radio 2011 Field Day by Azgard2274 via www.DeviantArt.com

Trapped in the radio. Not the actual device, but the ether, the sound, the waves that carry the message. Lois had been pinging around the world for the last twenty years. She wanted to reform but how?

After she’d been transformed, she tried talking to people. There were more radios then. She could talk to the listeners, overwhelming whatever signal they’d been listening to. All she managed to do was scare the crap out of them. They couldn’t talk back, most radios are receive only.

Ham radio was best. She could hold a conversation with a ham operator but they always thought it was a joke from some buddy. Joke or not, some operators talked with her about how to reform. Waves seemed to be the most likely theory. How to turn her radio wave form into the physical matter wave form? No one had an answer.

“How’d that happen?” was the first question they would ask.

“I was a web radio presenter, working out of my home. My producer worked out of his home four states away. I was in the middle of my show, interviewing an author about her just released book, and, I don’t know. I guess I was really into the conversation. At the end I went to click off but I couldn’t. I wasn’t there any longer.”

“You didn’t notice? You could still see, right?”

“I can still see. I can see you.” That always freaked them out. Every one of them would spin around in their chair and scan the room.

Once they calmed down, brushing the comment off as part of the joke, they’d ask, “Doesn’t your signal die out? Usual radio signals are fairly short range.”

“I guess not. Maybe because I was a human, not an actual radio wave.”

“Have you tried to turn into some other wave, like a microwave or a light wave?”

“I have. Microwave towers are everywhere. I’ve also tried becoming an electron because they are both particle and wave, but I just couldn’t do it.”

Then they go back to my question, “Just exactly did you become a radio wave. Was there a bomb or something?”

“No.” If I had a head I’d shake it. “I suppose I thought myself into this state, I was so involved in the interview.”

This is about the time the majority of operators would get bored with the conversation. They’d get up to go get a beer or go to bed and I would drift away. A rare few would stay and we would talk about how thoughts are things and trying to think myself back to my human form.

I wonder if I talked to a psychologist or physiatrist if they could help me. But in all these years I’ve never been able to reach one to talk to. So, here I drift with less and less human contact because technology and society have changed. There are fewer and fewer receivers or Ham operators. I have found a radio telescope. I’ve been studying its transmissions. It has occurred to me I could hitch a ride out to space. I could be an astronaut, of sorts. I’ve always wanted to be an astronaut.

Today is the day. I’m telling this story and sending out into the ether. Maybe a few Ham operators will hear it. The telescope is powering up, I can feel it hum as I balance myself at the apex of the transmitter.

Goodbye.

 

The End

576 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Chicklets in the Kitchen: Pasta Primavera

Pasta, Primavera, Ingredients

Pasta Primavera Ingredients

It’s summer and the Farmer’s Market is overflowing with fresh, beautiful vegetables. We’re fortunate enough in our area that we have local dairies as well, both fresh cow’s milk butter and cheeses and goat’s milk cheeses and delicacies. If you haven’t been to your Farmer’s Market yet this year, you’re missing out. Last Saturday I scored marvelous young Swiss Chard, just picked cherry tomatoes, and fresh goat cheese. I had a plan when I went, you see, to pick up just those luscious things for Saturday night dinner, Pasta Primavera.

Pasta Primavera is great for whatever vegetables you happen to pick up at the market or what’s growing in your garden. You can substitute whatever you have for what I used. Feel free to mix and match.

Read the rest at Chicklets in the Kitchen

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Monday Blog Post: Interview on a National Web Broadcast Radio Program Scheduled

January Jones

Tomorrow on June 23rd I’m scheduled to be interviewed by January Jones on her web radio broadcast. Talk4 Media,  Talk4Media.com , w4cy.com/radio-shows/january-jones-sharing-success-stories/  This is a first for me and I’m very excited about it. We’ll be talking about my books but also about the Payson Book Festival scheduled for July 25th. I will be on the show at 5pm Eastern time and 2pm Arizona time. Here’s the list.

Connie Cockrell– Her books, The Gulliver Station Series, and more run the gamut from SciFi and Fantasy to Contemporary.

D’Elen McClain- Under her pen name, Holly S. Roberts, she is the USA Today Best-Selling author and writes “romance with wicked intentions.”

Edward Miles- Using his experiences in the military and the National Forest Service several novels including, Sanctioned.

Then at 6pm Florida time and 3pm Arizona time, three more authors will be interviewed.

Steven Andrew Cole– enjoys leading his readers down dark alleys, through crawl spaces and anywhere they dare not to venture with thrillers

Sherry Engler– reveals the unusual, quirky behaviors a LEO (Law Enforcement Officer )may display

Annemarie Eveland writes about challenges in life and the insights gain from them.

How awesome is that! Please tune into the show and support all of these fine Arizona authors, me included!

It’s 34 days until the first ever Payson Book Festival. www.PaysonBookFestival.org. We’ve organized several radio interviews with festival authors. Check out the web site Media Tab or our Facebook page (Payson Book Festival) or our Twitter feed at @PaysonBookFest for information about the next interview. At the Festival we’ll have authors speaking, authors signing their books, music, live radio broadcast, entertainment, workshops and food. Make plans now to come up to  the cool pines of Arizona Rim Country and enjoy the festival. You can find additional things to do in the area on the Area Information tab. Stay the whole weekend. You’ll love it here.

I’ll be closing down www.conniesrandomthoughts.wordpress.com. You’ll notice at the top of the web page the notice. Please do transfer over to the website. I’d hate to lose you all.

Mystery at the Fair rewriting is finished. The manuscript is back with the editors for a final content check and final line edits. Don’t want any misspellings or grammar errors now do we? After that there will be the book formatting for both print and e-book. I’m still shooting for an early July release.

I planted another pepper, an Anahiem, as well as a Black Beauty zucchini and a Straight Neck yellow squash. The potatoes are already beginning to die back. I’ll be able to dig them up in a couple of weeks. The yellow onion sets I planted in a big planter are up and looking good. The blackberries are still very green and the blueberries are just about all picked. I have a half barrel with strawberries. The initial big spring fruiting is over. From now till frost, I’ll only get a couple of berries at a time. It’s kind of a sweet treat to pick them and eat them right there in the garden.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

If you’re interested, click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website.

Lost Rainbows released January 25th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today! If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote their books. Thanks in advance.

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Flash Fiction Friday Story: Betrayal Moon

Moon, Super Moon, Randy Cockrell

Moon Set by Randy Cockrell

Zoe Ohale cursed the day, seventeen years ago, her mother gave birth. She pulled her ratty sweater up over her mouth and nose to hide the breath that steamed in the night air and threatened to give her away. It also helped to block the reek of the garbage bin she hid behind. Not hearing any pursuit, she chanced a peek into the alley.

It couldn’t be this easy, could it? She lost the hunting party in the maze of backstreets and alleys of Baia Mare? The space-faring tourists who came only saw the nice parts of town and the sea shore the city used as a major marketing point. She spit into the alley, clearing the distaste from her mouth. Tourists. That’s what was wrong, everything for the tourists, nothing for the inhabitants.

Still hearing and seeing no chase, she pulled her frayed knit cap down over her ears and crept out from behind the dumpster. Staying close to the alley walls, she worked her way right, keeping to the shadows and opening her mouth to hear better.

A siren wailed in the distance. Some other poor jerk wasn’t as lucky as she was. She kept to the back streets. Someone turned her in; that much she knew. Her stomach growled; a reminder that her hoped for dinner money was lost when the cops swooped in on her sale. It was only luck that the taser point missed her by a hair. Her buyer, Andy Many Fingers, wasn’t as lucky. Last she saw him, he was jerking spastically on the cobblestones, his purse open and credits spilled on the street.

Damn, she could have used that money. In the street outside the building where she roomed, she hid in the doorway of the house two up from hers. No way she was going straight in. The place might be watched. She hunkered down, butt to heels, and wrapped her arms around her knees. Again, she pulled the sweater up over her face. Zoe looked up and down the street. Who knew I was meeting Andy?

Maybe it was Dallas. She traded for the roll of copper wire she had been selling with a broken watch made of titanium. The watch was useless and she had no buyers for titanium. Dallas was a hustler. She had to watch the dude every minute to make sure he wasn’t cheating her but Dallas didn’t seem like the sort to sell a girl out. He was in it for the long haul and betraying his buyers and sellers was poor business.

She quieted her breathing when a young couple passed by the house. They were arm in arm, heads together. Must be nice. Out walking in the cold instead of holed up inside where it was warm. Maybe they were too poor to worry about mugging. She focused on them until they were out of sight.

She rocked a little, to keep her blood moving. Who else knew I was trading? Nick Silento, perhaps? He was a shifty little runt. Always staring, always hovering on the edges. That was the kind of guy her father called a hyena, back before he was arrested. Always ready to run in and snatch the crumbs other people dropped.  But he was a nervous sort. Zoe didn’t think that Nick had the nerve for dealing with cops.

Kortni French, now, there was a fem who had the venom to do another person dirty. Kortni had it in for any girl who she thought was after her guy. Zoe didn’t know why. Sharif Savant was a joke. Sure he was a looker but aside from the fact his parents were still numbered in the middle-class, he had nothing going for him. He was dumb as a box of rocks and the clumsiest person Zoe had ever seen. She didn’t know why the guy hung around with the gutter rats but it was a cinch Kortni was after his money. Maybe it was Kortni. Zoe had made a joke in the group three days ago and Shariff laughed and laughed. Kortni wasn’t amused. Would the fem really turn her in because her boy toy laughed at a sad joke? Zoe clucked her tongue against her teeth. She might. She just might.

A patrol rolled silently down the street. The little electric cars held two cops and a host of surveillance equipment. She shut her eyes and wished for the car to keep going. Maybe they would ignore her heat signature in the doorway and keep moving.

Zoe waited another hour. Nothing moved on the street but the rats and the cats. Moonlight eased over her building and lit the damp street. She stood with care, letting the blood flow back into her legs. Pins and needles prickled but she ignored it until it went away. Still no movement. There were no tell-tale plumes of breath in the cold night air. She eased down the steps and into the street. Her head swiveled, left then right, no alarms, no sirens, it seemed safe.

She was halfway up the steps of her building when the floodlights pinned her mid-step. A voice blasted out of a speaker “Stop where you are!”

There was nothing to do but stop. She put her hands in the air. An entire SWAT team surrounded her, tasers humming. Zoe was grateful they didn’t all tase her at once. Someone grabbed her left arm, pulled it down behind her and did the same with the right. She could feel the zip tie pull her wrists together. Two cops grabbed an arm each and half-dragged her to the wagon. As she passed the cop in charge, she could see Nick twitching next to him, his hand out and credits being dropped into it.

She spit in his direction. He jumped and spilled the credits all over the street. She looked up, the second moon intersected with the main one. A betrayal moon, her dad called it. He was right.

The End

1000 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Merry Go Round Blog Tour: Beach Reads

Beach, Scene, Randy Cockrell

Beach Scene by Randy Cockrell

I’ll have to admit. My To Be Read (TBR) pile is full of adventure stories. I like adventure, always have. These are the easy Clive Cussler, James Patterson, stories that just take you from scene to scene, leaving you breathless at the end. Then there’s the pile of cozy mysteries by Nevada Barr. I haven’t started these yet but they’re as much research into the current cozy mystery scene as they are pleasure reading.

After that are the TBR’s I have on Goodreads, modern SciFi and Fantasy by Kevin Hearne and Chuck Wendig. And the women’s fiction, such as Hild by Nicola Griffith.

If you’re a reader, you know what it’s like. There are so many books out there. The few I’ve mentioned here are just a light dusting of all of the stories I want to read. Then we get to the delivery method.

If you’re actually travelling this summer, you want to take a Kindle or ereader of some sort. Then you can read those novels as fast as you want because you can have hundreds of them on call, ready to read when you finish the last book. If you’re like me and vacation isn’t until October, I still want to get my reading fix. So, I pull from the pile on my bed stand and dresser. Probably about 3 square feet at this point. Then, of course, the large number I have downloaded onto our ancient Kindle. So many SciFi and Fantasy stories are there, just waiting for me to read them.

So, what’s the point? Easy. I have a book ready, at all times. And in multiple genres. Are they all literary gems? No, not so much. But I read for pleasure as well as for education. It’s OK to read fun stuff. Stuff that makes your heart race. Stuff that makes you wonder about how the world could be different. Stuff that takes you back in time and lets you get a feel for what it was like to live in a different era with different mores and culture.

So let’s read. The adventures, the scifi, the romances, it’s all good. Really. Pick up a book!

 

The Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour is sponsored by the website Forward Motion (http://www.fmwriters.com). The tour is you, the reader, travelling the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. There are all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s always something new and different to enjoy. If you want to get to know the nearly twenty other writers check out the rest of the tour at http://merrygoroundtour.blogspot.com!  Up next: Jean Schara

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Monday Blog Post: Working, Working

Orange, Flowers, Hike, Arizona

Orange flowers from a recent hike.

It’s hot! Well, it is Arizona. Temperature today is 95 degrees. Hope the weather in your area is wonderful.

In the events calendar, I’m being interviewed by January Jones on her web radio broadcast. The Station is W4CY on Talk4 Media, Talk4Media.com , w4cy.com/radio-shows/january-jones-sharing-success-stories/ . The interview is June 22nd, 5pm Eastern and 2pm Arizona time. I’d love it if you could tune in.

It’s 40 days until the first ever Payson Book Festival. www.PaysonBookFestival.org. We’ll have authors speaking, authors signing their books, music, live radio broadcast, entertainment, workshops and food. Make plans now to come up to Rim Country and enjoy the festival.

I’ll be closing down www.conniesrandomthoughts.wordpress.com. You’ll notice at the top of the web page the notice. Please do transfer over to the website. I’d hate to lose you all.

Mystery at the Fair edits are in progress. Actually, it’s a re-write. I’m cutting chapters, re-writing and hopefully strengthening the story all for your enjoyment. I’m still shooting for an early July release.

In the garden I have my tomatoes and pepper plants. I still need to go and get some zucchini and yellow squash and maybe a couple other things. The heat is making the whole garden grow like crazy.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

If you’re interested, click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website.

Lost Rainbows released January 25th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today! If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote their books. Thanks in advance.

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Flash Fiction Friday Story: One Little Prayer

Stained-glass Rose Window by fmr0 via DeviantArt.com

Stained-glass Rose Window by fmr0 via DeviantArt.com

Seventy-eight year-old Karen Rogers sat hunched over on the steps of the Sharing Tomorrow building, the cold of the cracked and broken cement steps seeping up into her bones through the thin plas-cotton shift and coat she wore.

Plas-cotton, she thought with disgust. Everything made of plastic now. An image of herself as a six year-old dressed in a blue dress that matched her eyes, the light cotton material of the skirt floating around her as she twirled in a field of daisies, flashed through her mind. She snorted, drawing a rheumy stare from the old guy in line behind her. He’d sat down, too, on the step below her. Karen ignored him.

That was before the government mandated implants in everyone ten and older. She remembered her implant, on her tenth birthday. They put it behind her right ear. Those implants weren’t too bad. They could detect emotions more than thoughts. She forgot about it in the flurry of childhood school and summer vacations. It wasn’t until she hit high school, that she was made painfully aware of it.

The line moved and she had to change to the next step up.

April McGura, that was her name. Karen was in the cafeteria, looking for a place to sit when she tripped, her lunch and the tray it was on, flying down the aisle between the rows of tables. The table behind her erupted in laughter. Karen got up, knees skinned and red-faced and turned to see what she tripped on.

April, long, straight blonde hair pulled over one shoulder, brown-eyes laughing, still had her foot out in Karen’s path. “What a clutz,” the girl said. Her friends hooted. “What a clod.” “Grace in action.” “Loser.” “Been walking long?”

Karen could feel the rage building as her fists clenched. She was on the soccer team, she wasn’t a clutz. She took a step forward, that’s when the pain shot through her head, driving her to her knees. She could feel her stomach churn and without warning, vomited all over April McGura’s patent leather pumps. That’s when a teacher came and took her to the nurse’s office.

It was explained to her what happened and that she had to control herself better. What wasn’t explained was why April and her horde made the next three years of her life a living hell. They stole her clothing out of her locker while she was at soccer practice. They lay in wait behind hall corners to scare her or trip her or knock the books out of her hands. Over and over her rage at the attacks made the implant zap her. It was her last year in high school that she had some relief. April and her gang graduated the year before. Things went back to normal, or so Karen thought.

It turns out that bullies live in the adult world too. And the implants became more sensitive. Thoughts could be read, and punished. Soon it became so that any emotion other than love or lust, and sometimes those, too, would deliver the thinker a shock to the brain. Then thirty years ago, religion was declared forbidden. There would be no more Sunday services. The government turned all of the churches into government buildings or razed them to the ground.

Karen moved up to the landing. The line was moving along. She was glad, the late winter wind was cutting right through her. Like this building, she thought. It used to be the Methodist Church, not that there were many who would remember that now. She went here as a girl with her parents and grandparents. Now, it seemed, even if you let your mind go blank, you’d get a shock. She sighed. It didn’t matter.

She had been called, like the others in the line. There wasn’t enough food and housing to go around. It seemed that over the last sixty years productivity had been declining. Now, instead of taking care of the productivity, they just eliminated the elderly. It used to be people over ninety, then over eight-five, then eighty. Last year it dropped to seventy-eight. Her birthday had been in February. She was surprised she didn’t get a notice then.

She stepped into what had been the vestibule. A desk was there with a young woman and a scanner.

“Your name?”

“Karen Rogers.”

“Thank you, Miz Rogers.” The young woman held the scanner up behind Karen’s ear. It hummed gently and the woman pulled it down.

“I haven’t been buzzed in a week,” Karen said.

“Oh,” the young woman smiled. “They turned it off. There’s no point, really, is there?”

Karen shook her head. “I guess not.”

A nurse ushered Karen into where the sanctuary used to be. There was still the creamy white walls and the polished dark wood of the half paneling and the banisters and ceiling beams, but the pews had been replaced with gurneys.

The female nurse led her to the far right and up a row near the wall. The stained glass remained in the windows throwing patches of red, gold, blue and green on the people lying there. “Here you are, Miz Rogers. If you’ll put your purse, keys, phone and other valuables in this bag, then you can lie down and rest.”

Karen did as directed. What was she going to do, run?

A middle-aged technician came by with a light plas-cotton blanket and covered her up, then he prepped her arm as another tech wheeled a stand and a bag of fluid to her bedside. The first tech adjusted the bag and attached tubing. “Just a little pinch, Miz Rogers.” Then he inserted the needle in her right arm. “This won’t take long, Miz Rogers.”

She sighed. “That’s all right, son. I just have one little prayer.”

 

 

The End

967 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Monday Blog Post: Small Town Fun

Monster Mudder, Water Slide,  Randy Cockrell

Monster Mudder Water Slide by Randy Cockrell

Summer fun is in full swing in my little town. Friday was the first Friday of the month so some of the options for Friday night were a wine tasting at The Beverage Store and First Friday at the Down The Street art gallery where a person can look at and buy some of the wonderful selections of paintings, pottery, jewelry, and other art made by local artists. They offer a free glass of wine and various appetizers and this Friday, they also had the local drama club offer a one act play! Over at the Community Presbyterian Church, was a Jazz concert. Saturday was huge. See a picture from above from the Mogollon Monster Mountain days. There were ATV trail rides and the Monster Mudder. A wonderful 5K obstacle course race that had about 600 participants. Did I mention it rained for the first time in recorded weather keeping for Arizona on Friday and Saturday morning? Lots of muddy fun. Then there was the Farmers Market and in Pine, running all weekend, was the Craft Fair. I took my mom and she bought a cute little tea cup with a strainer basket that fits right inside and a cover to keep your tea hot while it steeps. Then Saturday evening was the concert in the park. This week it was a lovely group of a cappella singers with a doo wop focus. We were all singing along. So what happens in your town on the weekend? Lots of fun? Picnics? Concerts?

Over at www.conniesrandomthoughts.com I put up a button to advertise the upcoming Payson Book Festival. If you click on it, you’ll be taken to the www.PaysonBookFestival.org. Check out the Meet the Authors tab. We have SIXTY authors coming to the event. You’re sure to find a book or topic that interests you. We also are archiving the radio interviews of authors that will be at the Festival. Check out the Media tab, Interviews. There’s a new one every Friday until the Festival. The next one is my friend Susan Haught!

I’ll be closing down www.conniesrandomthoughts.wordpress.com. You’ll notice at the top of the web page the notice. Please do transfer over to the website. I’d hate to lose you all.

Mystery at the Fair came back from the editors and I’ve read through the comments. This was a content edit. That means the editor was looking for places in the story where I may need to ramp up the action, tighten the dialog, that sort of thing. I want this book out for the July Festival so I need to get cracking on the re-writes. I’ll keep you posted.

The unexpected rain last Friday and Saturday were a wonderful gift for us gardeners. I still need to get my tomatoes, peppers and such. That bush I pulled out? Yep, I went to the garden center and replaced it with lavender. I can hardly wait for it to bloom.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

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Lost Rainbows released January 25th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today! If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote their books. Thanks in advance.

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