Watching the Rain: Friday Flash Fiction Story

I wiped the fog from the kitchen window with the towel I’d been using to dry the dishes. Rain. What a surprise.

When they’d told us on Earth that the planet was rainy, it never really registered with me. I was from Seattle after all. I was used to rain. Anyway, that’s what I thought. I sighed and turned back to the kitchen. The psychologists made sure our prefabs were bright and cheery. All of the lights, in every building, were full spectrum so that we wouldn’t suffer from seasonal affective disorder. SAD they called it back on Earth. Here it wasn’t something just the occasional person got. Apparently quite a few of the original colonizing scientists went mad and killed each other. Can’t have that with the permanent colonists.

I finger-combed my son’s fine hair, same as his father’s, and gave him a smile. “Finish your breakfast, Eddie.” He nodded, mouth full of scrambled egg, as he kept his eyes on the cartoon on the monitor.

“Breakfast, Ed!”

“Right there!”

I dropped sliced bread into the toaster and poured a coffee for Ed. I was still amazed at how well the agriculturists could mimic real coffee from the yeast vats. There was some squawking about when we’d get real coffee, real dairy, so on and so on. You’d think they were deprived or something. All we ate on Earth was yeast food. Just because the scientists said we’d get real food someday. I rolled my eyes. Takes time to raise animals after all, and plants. Nothing Earth derived could survive the climate here. Time, I thought. Need lots of time.

Ed came into the kitchen. He kissed Eddie on the top of his head and gave me a kiss on the cheek as the toast popped up.

Eddie finished his egg by pushing it onto his spoon with a slice of toast. Then ate the toast.

Ed buttered his toast and slurped his coffee. “Great bread, honey. I love that you make it from scratch.”

I smiled. As a botanist, I had a part of a greenhouse. I was developing a strain of wheat that might work here.

Ed finished his toast. “Come on, buddy. Time for me to walk you to school.”

They both put on their rain gear and walked out the door with a wave to me. I watched from the cleaned window. They got halfway to the next pre-fab and collapsed. I pulled the curtain and cleaned up the kitchen. The bread went into the disposall.

I was at my computer when the knock came. I answered, letting the colony leader and the security officer into the foyer. “James, Alex, what’s going on?”

James looked uncomfortable.

“Uh, Anna.” Alex pulled his hood down. “There’s been a problem.”

I looked at each in turn. “Problem?”

“Yeah.” James took a deep breath. “Your husband and son were found out on the walk. Dead.”

I blinked at them. “Dead?”

“Yes.” Alex pulled his pad from an inside pocket. “Something about poisoning. The local plant alkaloids. Was Ed experimenting with anything here at home?”

“No. No. He kept everything in the labs. Some of the local plant life is toxic even to touch.”

The two men nodded. “Sorry for your loss, Anna.” James took my hand and patted it. They pulled up their hoods. “We’ll send Mary by.”

“Mary.” I nodded. “That would be good.”

“Sure.” They left.

I went back to the computer. That would be good. I was sick of Mary, too.

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Writing: Daily Blog Post

Moon and Clouds by Randy Cockrell

Hey!

Writing, or really, editing. I’m going through the Gulliver Station box set and correcting those pesky punctuation and grammar errors. Have also found a missing word or two.

On the other hand, I have a horror story due by December. I’ve been thinking about possible story plots after reading the book Writing Horror. One idea concerns the local saloon that’s said to be haunted. One of the several ghosts seen on the property is of a prostitute. I’m thinking some sort of body take-over of a modern woman who’s “compatible” with the now dead woman. The modern woman is aware of what’s going on but not in control. How would she get out of the control of the ghost? How’s that sound for an idea?

That’s it for today!

The Gulliver Station ebook box set released July 30th, 2018. You can buy it at Amazon today. You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy my Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

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Gulliver Box set, New Ice Cream Maker, Gardening: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

So, I have the Smashwords copy of the Gulliver Station Box set formatted and the table of contents linked. I’m going to go through it today to try and get rid of the punctuation and grammar errors I see in there so when I do the paperback version, it will be cleaner. I’ll update the Kindle copy as well. It’s a tedious process, folks, so please bear with me.

Ice Cream Maker

I mentioned a few of days ago that I was buying a new ice cream maker because I couldn’t find the motor and paddle for my old one. Well, the Cuisine Art maker came, and Saturday I made a new batch of vanilla paleo ice cream. I put it into the maker and it worked beautifully. Hubby tried it Saturday night and while he declared it wasn’t as creamy as regular ice cream, it was good. Better with the addition of fresh, cut-up peaches, of which we’re swimming. That’s a whole ‘nother story.

The garden is going strong. I have peaches. Lots and lots of peaches and they all ripen at once. So we give away a lot to friends. The a good many I’ll blanch, peel, and cut into slices to freeze. The freezing part is easy. Lay the slices out on a freezer paper lined baking sheet and put in the freezer. The next day, loosen them from the paper, put into a gallon freezer bag, and you’re done. Unless of course, like me, you have several more containers of fresh peaches in the fridge. Then it’s round two! The picture is of 2 containers already washed, and my gathering basket of just picked peaches, before they get their bath.

Giveaways:

The 2018 Authors/Bloggers Summer Giveaway is in progress at https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. There’s $80 as a Grand Prize Paypal Cash and 27 books and 27 prizes available to win.

The Smashwords’ site’s Summer/Winter Giveaway is over. I hope you had the chance to get many of my books for free or at a significant discount. Now you can find a list of all of my books at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/conniecockrell and in whatever ebook format works for you.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

The Gulliver Station ebook box set released July 30th, 2018. You can buy it at Amazon today. You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

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Gardening, Community Notices, Gulliver Box Set: Daily Blog Post

Hey!

I meant to post this yesterday but lacked a picture so was waiting for it to arrive from a friend. Then it was dinner, then tv, then bed. Forgot all about it. Anyway, here’s yesterday’s and today’s post.

You know I like my gardening. Above and below are two pics from the garden. Above are a basket full of peaches I picked this morning. There’s still this many and more on the tree. Below is a picture from the melon patch. That’s hubby’s thumb in the picture. The little melon beside the big one are the biggest in the patch. The rest are all tiny little buds yet. The one melon plant is taking up an entire 4X4 foot garden bed and creeping over the sides and across the yard. So glad I didn’t succumb to temptation and plant anything else in that bed.

One of the things that fills the writer’s well of creativity is normal life. We do occasionally venture out of our writing caves and get some daylight. And besides, I mean, really, is there anything more useful to a writer’s characterization of a protagonist or other character than to be aware of the reactions of the people around them? Of course not.

Concurrent with that is being aware of community events. These events provide the little details that can be used in a book to make the whole story come to life.

In that vein, I want to talk about two local events that are coming up that feed that need for my own writing.

 

One is the upcoming Northern Gila County Fair. (I based some of my book, Mystery at the Fair, on my volunteer time with this fair.) This year we’re trying out a talent show. If you’re in the area, come and try out. There are still several dates available to do that. Here’s the flyer. In the meantime, mark your calendar for September 5th – 7th, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, to come and see the fair.

Then, September 15th, is the Christopher Creek Car Show. I plan on being there in a vendor booth talking to readers and selling and signing books! (Sorry, no flyer available yet.)

That’s it for today!

The Gulliver Station ebook box set released July 30th, 2018. You can buy it at Amazon today. You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

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Gulliver Station Box Set, Brown Rain Series, Slave Elf: Daily Blog Post

 

Hey!

So I put the Gulliver Station Box set up on Amazon Kindle and it went live, Monday morning. Of course, in my efforts to reformat the set for Smashwords, I found some errors. So, I’m going to finish reformatting for Smashwords then copy the file over to the Amazon Kindle site, to correct that file. That means you can buy it now on Amazon Kindle if you don’t mind hyphenated words not being hyphenated and other esoteric errors like that, or wait. I’ll have that file corrected by the end of the week. Then I’ll be working on the paperback version, should you be interested in that.

Then, it’ll be time for the reformatting of the first 3 Brown Rain books. I did interesting formatting in book 4, Tested, that I’d not done before and I want to bring the first 3 books up to that standard. Plus add the new covers. So there’s that.

In the meantime, I’m doing my 1st pass edits on Slave Elf. Since I have a cover, I’m thinking of putting that book up on pre-sale. To decide, I need to estimate when the edits will be done and allow time for the interior formatting. There’s the Northern Gila County Fair in September for me to consider as that’s a week-long time commitment. Lot’s to think about there.

That’s it for today!

Tested released January 31st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

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Monsters in the Woods, Gulliver Station Box Set: Daily Blog Post

Hey!

I mentioned that my husband took a group of hikers out on a hike yesterday. When he got home he told me they’d heard a very weird, horrifying noise out in the woods. Here’s a video of what he recorded.  https://youtu.be/trJNvR_R-RY  What would you have done if you’d heard that noise?

 

On to other news. I’m just about done formatting the new Gulliver Station ebook box set. It’s been very tedious but you all may enjoy getting the entire series in one book, right? So it will be out soon. Above is the cover for it.

That’s it for today!

Tested released January 31st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

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Tested Has a Review!: Daily Blog Post

Hoo!

I submitted Tested for a review on Reader’s Favorite and a review has come back to me. A Five Star Review!!!!

You can read it here: https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/tested.

And you can share it, of course!  Now the only question is should I get the 5-Star stickers to go on the book?!?!

Also, here’s a picture of a Chihuahuan Earless Lizard.

There is apparently a mom, dad, and baby lizard occupying our front yard. They like to perch on the rock piles and do push ups.

That’s it for today!

Tested released January 31st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

 

 

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Four Doomsdays – Doomsday Two: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Monsoon River in my Back Yard

I watched from my backyard—luckily a high spot—as a storm cell, a super cell, formed to the south. The fifth one in as many months. Damn! I’d just repaired the roof. I went to the front yard and rang the bell I’d found after the first storm in a local antique shop.

Once, a life-time ago, my sister-in-law used a similar bell to call my niece, Nell, in from her explorations, for dinner. Why didn’t I just call the neighbors? The phones and internet went out with the first storm and were never restored.  Power went out the second storm. That did return but storm three killed it. Apparently forever.

I sighed. My neighbors and friends around town finally stopped claiming climate change was a hoax. Many of them, all over sixty, were dead. Like my husband who had been out looking for supplies, killed by one of the hoard of refugees swarming out of the big cities. Or like our friend, Rick, who was on the roof too long making last second repairs just before a storm hit. Dead. My neighbor to the left, the other side of the drainage ditch, was critically injured as super storm two drove a tree from the empty lot across the street through the front door of his house, right through his chest.

It was a struggle getting him to the hospital, debris littered every flooded road. When we got there injured crowded the emergency room and halls. There were too many injured and not enough staff or medicine. As a 20-year retiree from the Air Force, I could see the doc shake his head at the triage nurse. She made my neighbor as comfortable as they could but he was dead in half and hour. As the neighbor, I told his wife. She went pale. Then tears began to flow but she never made a sound. I sat with her all night, relieved by another neighbor in the morning. kShe died two weeks later. I’m not sure if it was grief or just that she’d run out of her diabetes medicine.

All of us worked together in our immediate neighborhood as best we could but at sixty-five I was the youngest. It was summer but none of us had real fireplaces or even wood stoves. We were cooking over campfires in our front yards with fallen branches and downed trees. There were certainly plenty of those. All of our houses had piped in gas. I’d gone down to the gas company after the first storm and asked how to turn off the gas. Once mine was off, I went to all of the neighbors and got them to turn theirs off. Three days later across town, a house blew, taking a block and a half of neighborhood with it.

Supplies were scarce as the highway up from the major city was blocked by landslides. Without power we were using hand tools to do just about anything. The local hardware stores were major hubs of exchange and advice. The newspaper was also a spot of major importance. They posted messages in their windows and amazingly, they had an antique press in the basement. Probably the only basement in town. They put out a paper a week with news from the state and federal government, what was left of them, information about deaths, where supplies could be located, and food. Food was very important.

My tiny vegetable garden had been ripped to shreds the first storm. The local community garden as well. People with food allergies, like me, were suffering. Many had died, just as those with severe injuries or major issues, like my neighbor’s diabetes. I had gotten some tips from an old-timer about snares. I’d gotten some rabbits. I’d hunt but my husband and I had never had gun. None of my neighbors did either. A small meat market had sprung up in front of the now defunct Walmart from local hunters selling their excess deer, elk, and javalina. Money was gone, it was worthless. Everything was by barter. Civilization as we’d once known it was gone.

How’d this happen? Simple. We’d ignored the climate scientists for too long. I’d demonstrated in front of our state capital for changes to environmental laws but the right in this state and others, was too strong. The arctic and Antarctic ice caps began melting at ever increasing rates. The Pacific current became warmer, as moisture from the melting ice caps not only flooded into the oceans but rose into the air. The heat and the moisture began making storms. Bigger and bigger storms. Then the tundra in Russia, Canada, Alaska and other northern places began to thaw releasing ancient carbon dioxide into the air. It has been a perfect storm, after storm, after storm.

It didn’t matter now, I thought as I went to check my backyard fence. The drainage ditch, twelve feet deep, flooded every super storm. My fence was washing out. There was nothing I could do about it. I worried about my house, at the edge of the ditch. Would this storm wash it out? Like the country and the world, I had to just survive.

The wind was picking up. As I watched the storm come in I realized, Mother Nature was doing what we wouldn’t do, fix the imbalance.

 

Thank You!

891 Words

 

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Four Doomsdays – Doom One: Flash Fiction Friday Post

meteor_by_brandonstricker-d6ai470 via DeviantArt.com

The social media feeds and the news outlets and the television and the radio had been blasting for weeks. Everybody had an opinion, but no one really knew anything. I know I’d been hearing about a nuclear attack since I was a child, hiding under our school desks, arms over our heads at the sound of the alarm.

I thought our leadership was nuts. The president, especially. Ranting one minute, friends with all the foreign leaders the next. The Congress was nearly as bad. It was all or nothing all the time. No one wanted to compromise. If a person tuned into foreign news broadcasts, they were calling us out of control.

I kept my head down and took care of my farm. What else was I going to do? I didn’t travel to a whole other planet to stand around whining. People needed to eat and I was good at farming, so I stuck to that.

This is, until the bombs fell. Well, not bombs, actually, just asteroids. I knew that they could be just as destructive, but, my brain, at least, never grasped it fully. Made sense, after all. Why contaminate the environment? The blast from the rocks hitting pretty much was the same as with nukes. Each one wiped out what it hit. Each one also threw so much dirt and dust into the air, the land was cut off from the sun. It got cold. The crops died in the fields. Survivors scavenged across the countryside like a cloud of locusts, stealing anything they could get their hands on.

Me and other farmers, we tried. Bert Spark lost his wife Ann when a mad pack of survivors attacked their farm. Ann was trying to keep them from stealing everything in the cupboards, she had kids to feed, too. But they overwhelmed her and took everything, including her life.

Bert was hurt trying to keep them from stealing the chickens. After that, we consolidated on my farm as it was the most defensible. Everyone brought their stock, any feed they had, food supplies, bedding, the whole lot. We were sleeping in every room of my house but the kitchen and the baths. It worked for a while. That is until the survivors banded together and raided police and army weapons caches.

We had shotguns, some hunting rifles, and were totally out-matched. They shot the livestock and took the carcasses. They surrounded us and wouldn’t let us leave the house. They had trucks and took all the animals they didn’t shoot. Then they raided the barns. There went all the small stock and the feed stores. We lost six farmers in all, four men and two women. I was surprised to see them all drive off without raiding the house. I guess they figured they didn’t need to. We were beat.

Winter came early and we struggled through that. We set traps and caught rabbits and game birds. There was a lot of thin soup. Spring was cold and wet, no good at all for growing crops with the seed we’d saved. We did forage but not much vegetation on this new world was good for humans to eat. We lost the oldest among us. I think she just gave up as we found her in her bed, dead. We lost a couple of the toddlers, too. They caught cold, then pneumonia, and there just wasn’t any medicine to give them. We had a nice spot on a hill, overlooking the farm, where they were all buried.

It never really did get to be summer. The dust in the air kept the planet from warming. The second winter was bad. We lost three more. I’m not sure if it was starvation or disease. Either one had the same outcome. When the calendar said it should be spring, we started getting messages from Earth. Surrender, the messages said, and there would be help coming.

We sent a message out surrendering. Hell, if someone would come and bring food, that was good enough for us. We kept a person on the monitors all the time. Some fool on the coast decided to put up a fight. Moron. That kept help from arriving. We still didn’t have enough warmth to plant. None of us thought we could make it another year.

Then a jet flew over the farm. Those of us outside just stood and stared, mouths open. Days later, military trucks came driving up the road. By the time they parked, we were all outside. Some young Captain got out and soldiers poured out of the back in full fighting gear. I sighed as they surrounded us. There was no point, really. We didn’t have enough strength left to fight them.

He read a long announcement about how we were conquered and were now citizens of Earth. A local planetary government would be established and we’d be taxed to pay for the war. We had to sign a surrender, then they gave us rations. I asked for seed and livestock for us all. We were ready to get back to farming. He said that would all be coming. LeAnn asked for more rations as we were starving. A couple of soldiers took a couple of cases from the last truck and handed them over. LeAnn started crying. The Captain signaled and the soldiers got back on the truck. We were reminded to keep listening to the broadcasts as he got into his seat. We all nodded and he and the convoy drove off.

I heard that there were pockets of resistance. No matter to me. When the seed and livestock arrived, everyone divided evenly and went back to their own farms. It was tough. The weather didn’t really get back to normal for three more years. It was tough to pay the taxes, but whatever. Life is just tough, isn’t it?

Words: 981

Next week, Doom Two

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Haunted: Flash Fiction Friday Post

screamer-by_eurai at https://www.deviantart.com/art/Screamer-29923535

https://www.deviantart.com/art/Screamer-29923535

“Where’d you get the parts?” Lieutenant Wong studied the inventory on his crystal.

“From a salvage company. They recovered the Del Rio from Hippolita Four.” MaintTech Dora Soledad checked her crystal. “Shame about the Del Rio.”

Wong nodded and clicked off his crystal. “Yeah. Three hundred and twenty-seven colonists and the whole crew, dead.” He sighed. “Okay. We’ll go with these. Start with the engine. That capacitor is way over due for replacement.”

Dora nodded. Wouldn’t be if the company cared about anything but the bottom line, she thought. Wong turned and left the maintenance shop. Dora went over to the shelf where the capacitors were stored. She looked over the parts. They all looked pretty good, so she picked one, grabbed her took kit, and headed for the engine room.

The Chief Engineer, Sue Goode, was sitting watch at her boards and greeted Dora when she arrived. “No kidding, there are parts?”

“Yeah.” Dora grinned. “I grabbed a whole list of parts as soon as I saw them come up on the sales boards. Used but in good condition.”

“Fantastic.” Sue grinned back. “About time.”

Dora put the part in, tested it, and was done in an hour. She gave Sue a wave as she left.

The next day she was at the noon mess with the third engineer, Dave Bookman. “It was creepy down in engineering last night.” He sighed. “I kept hearing things.”

“What kind of things?” Dora took a sip of her soup.

Dave shrugged. “It sounded like screaming.”

Dora’s eyebrow rose. “Screaming.”

“Yeah! I checked over that whole engine. Everything in the room. Couldn’t find anything wrong.” Dave shuddered. “Creepy.”

Dora nodded. “Sure.”

Two days later, she was walking along a passageway when she caught sight of something from the corner of her eye. When she turned to see it, it drifted away, like smoke, through the bulkhead. She shook her head. That wasn’t possible. Seeing things, she thought, and went on her way.

At the evening mess, it was all the talk. Just about everyone had seen or heard something. Just inside hearing range, or just about in sight, it was scaring everyone. “What could it be?” Dave asked her. “Are we all going nuts?”

“Everyone? All at once?” Dora shook her head. “I’m not buying it.”

“Well, something is happening.” He crossed his arms. “What’s the Captain going to do about it?”

Dora shrugged. “He can’t stop people from seeing things, Dave.”

Dave stood and picked up his tray. “I guess. But something is going on.”

Dora finished her meal after Dave left. Thinking about it. Finished, she went to see the Lieutenant. “Sir. Have you heard about the ghosts?”

He nodded. “Yeah. I’ve been hearing stuff myself.” He studied her. “You?”

“I’ve seen something, not sure what.”

“Okay. What do you have?”

“It seems to me the sightings started after I began using the parts from the Del Rio”

He rubbed his chin. “How do you figure?”

The sighting I had was in the hall where I’d replaced a fan blade the day before in the air handling system. Dave Bookman heard screaming the night I replaced the capacitor in the engine room. I’ve been listening to people talk about where they were when they had a sighting. It’s all places I’ve worked over the last three days.” She took a breath. “Where were you when you heard stuff?”

He thought a moment. “Outside the bridge, for one.”

“I replaced the switch plate to the door.”

“Let’s talk to the Captain.”

They met in the Captain’s ready room and explained Dora’s theory. “And how did it happen?” he asked.

“I heard the Del Rio crashed hard, Sir. Quite a psychic shock. Drove their, souls, I guess, right into the nearest thing.”

The Captain nodded. “Sounds like a lot of hooey to me.”

“What can we do about it?” Wong asked.

“Nothing. It’s a figment of people’s imaginations.”

“But Sir,” Dora started to speak. He cut her off.

“No. I’m not buying it. Dismissed.”

Dora spent the next week doing her best not to use any parts from the Del Rio but often, they were the only parts available. Apparitions hung clearly beside the shelves and racks in the Maintenance Office. She tried to talk to them, reassure them, but it didn’t seem they could hear her.

People were starting to look haggard, especially the people who were hearing screaming. Dave Bookman collapsed and had to be taken to the clinic where they sedated him.

The Captain showed up in the Maintenance Office, stopping short just inside the doorway. His eyes grew bigger as he looked around the crowded room. “How long?” He gestured at the ghosts.

“Four days.” Dora looked around. “I try to talk to them. But no response.”

He rubbed his cheek. “I’ll check with the doctor.”

Dora nodded as he left and went back to work.

The doc started in the Maintenance Office. “Captain said you’ve been talking to them.”

“Yeah. It doesn’t help, though.”

“Supportive counseling, it’s called.” He watched the ghosts as they drifted around the room. Better is what you’ve already done, in vivo exposure. They’ve been put back on a space ship. Eventually they’ll see that nothing bad is happening and they’ll get better. Probably disappear.” He turned to her. “They don’t bother you, interfere in any way, anything?”

“Nope. They just drift around. I walk around them, though. It seems rude to walk through them.”

The doc nodded. “Yeah. I can see that. Just keep talking to them. It’s about the best we can do.”

He gave the people who could hear screaming drugs to keep them calm and set others to talking to the parts that had been installed around the ship.

It took three months for the first of the ghosts to disappear. Last to go were the screamers, the shock of their death more acute with them. Dora was a little sad to see her ghosts go. They were good company.

Words: 1000

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