With Power and Great Glory

sierra nevada

Sierra Nevada Mountains, Yosemite Valley – found at Roadtrippers

Iris Berry pulled up her other boot as she gazed at the breadth of the firmament above her in awe and terror. So far it was clean of Moskeren scouts, but she’d be a fool to believe she could elude them forever, even in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

She had hiked in from Dardanelle, now a ghost town, three days ago and was directly north of what used to be Yosemite National Park. Iris used to go there at least twice a year to hike and climb with Darren. She smiled at the memory and then frowned, pushing the thoughts of his extermination out of her mind. When the first wave of invaders hit, they vaporized most of the Bay Area along with every other major population center on Earth. Her husband of eighteen months was just one among billions.

The young woman extinguished her small camp fire, a risk she took hoping the Moskeren didn’t use infrared, and pulled on her backpack. Iris had been on a wilderness retreat with three other women from her church during the planetary incursion. They heard the news over the small radio they’d brought with them.

Helen died a day later as they were hiking out. Maybe it was suicide, but more likely she was so distraught, she wasn’t paying attention to the loose shale she was walking on and slipped over the cliff. There was no way to get to her body.

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The Difference Between a Goal and a Dream is a Deadline

scifi

Science Fiction wallpaper found at imgur

Earlier today, I wrote and published the short story A Black Matter for the King just for myself, but later, I adapted it slightly so it could be a response to the First Line Friday writing challenge hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie.

Although it’s gotten several “likes,” no one has ventured to comment. That happens sometimes, and I suppose it doesn’t have to mean anything, but this story does have an overtly Christian character. He has volunteered to fight in the Vietnam War, both because he’s already had friends drafted into the service who have been sent over and died, and because he believes that as a Marine, he has to fight in our wars to keep the people back home, especially his family, safe, and so our nation can remain free.

Now those are all ideas that have fallen out of favor lately (or not so lately). I did have another character in the tale comment on how the Vietnam War did nothing to protect our nation’s people or their freedom. However, it wasn’t so much the purpose of the war that’s at issue, but rather my male protagonist having a certain set of values and a code of honor to uphold.

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Emergence

hand from grave

From the video game “Plants vs. Zombies.”

“He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby becomes a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

The Fourth Chapter in the Undead Life of Sean Becker

The beast clawed its way up through the moist, cool soil. It couldn’t breathe, and while that added to its desperation, it did not dampen strength, will, or determination.

It was filthy as its hands broke through to the air and then heaved itself up from the grave. Mud, parts of roots, bits of gravel in its matted hair, under long, pointed fingernails, around the mouth and eyes, covering its pale, chilled skin.

Light! It shielded its eyes for a moment, but the faint illumination was glaring only because it had spent the past three days and nights in total darkness.

A room, a large room. Earthen floor, concrete walls. Electric lamps on stands at the far end near the door.

It licked the dirt from around its mouth. The taste was not unpleasant, but it did nothing to quench the insatiable, maddening hunger it felt deep in its gut.

Emptiness. All it felt was emptiness, ravenous hunger, unquenchable desire for…

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The Beginning of the Fall

BART

BART West Oakland Station – © Jeremiah Cox

The First Chapter in the Undead Life of Sean Becker

Running and out of breath, Sean Becker barely made it to the Embarcadero Station in time to get on the 6:13 train east. He was just another commuter ending another workday like the hundreds around him.  He couldn’t possibly imagine that tonight was the beginning of the end of everything he had ever known and the advent of an eternal nightmare.

He squeezed into the crowded car and found a pole to hang onto as the doors shut and the train started moving. It would take almost an hour to get to the Dublin/Pleasanton Station and another 20 to 30 minutes to drive home. At least he didn’t have to live as far away as Tracy or even further from the City just to afford a home.

The horrible Bay Bridge Toll Booth crash yesterday had made commuting on BART a total mess as people who normally drove were forced to take the rail system. He silently endured, reminding himself to be grateful to Jesus that he had a good job, and that they’d bought their home in Dublin when it was still affordable. God was good. He was good to give him a wonderful wife like Janet and three beautiful children to care for.

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The Religious Defector

silhouette-interview

Found at YouTube

“We appreciate you allowing us to interview you, Mr. Kwon.”

“Not at all, Ms. Singer. It is a pleasure to be here, to be able to tell my story.”

The middle-aged gentleman was dressed casually in a button down checkered shirt and jeans. He looked uncomfortable in the television studio but the reporter, Judith Singer, tried to put him at ease.

“Just tell us your experiences in your own words.” Her tone was soft, gentle really. She leaned forward slightly to indicate interest but not enough to block the television camera. Off to one side, she could see the wall mounted monitor that displayed what the audience was seeing. The dialogue was translated and projected as subtitles because he didn’t speak the same language as most of the audience.

“My country is officially atheist. Except for the show church in the nation’s capital that tourists visit, our religion is illegal, well, all religion actually, but especially any public Christian worship.

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You Can Never Go Home, Especially If You’re A Vampire

neighborhood

Image: University of Dayton

From the Unlife and Curse of Sean Becker

Can a vampire still love? I know that’s probably a hard question to answer. I feel the same way for my wife Janet as always. I feel the same love for my children as I did before I died. Perhaps that’s what’s driven me back home…to see them again.

I know it’s crazy. If I’m seen by my family or anyone I used to know, they’ll recognize me and I have no explanation for how I can be here, well, no sane explanation.

Can you imagine me saying, “It’s okay. It’s me, Sean Becker. Yes, I died, but you see, I was killed by a vampire, so guess what I woke up as three days after you buried me?”

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Prey and Prayers in the Night

alley

From the film “Red Fog” (2013)

From the Unlife and Curse of Sean Becker

Heaven help me, my name is Sean Becker and I’m a vampire. I figured I’d better write all this down. Maybe it’ll help someone else facing the life or non-life I have now. Maybe it’ll just help normal people understand that we’re not all monsters.

I’d been casing the Red Cross blood bank for days. I figured out their schedule. They ship blood out by all kinds of methods including car, bus, and plane depending on the need and the distance it has to go. Blood shipments are sent day and night. It was the night I was interested in.

But in the end, I couldn’t go through with it. Sure, stealing from a blood bank means I don’t have to attack anyone. It would be a victimless crime, right?

Wrong.

Blood being shipped somewhere means a hospital or other medical facility has requested it. If it didn’t arrive, it would mean I’d taken blood that was meant for someone else, someone who could die without it.

Attacking people for their blood is reprehensible, but I don’t kill for it. But I hate preying on the innocent.

So I’ll prey on the guilty.

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The Shadow Meeting

shadow

Image: Business Insider

From the Life and Curse of Sean Becker

“My name is Sean Becker and I’m a vampire. There, I said it out loud like I’m at some sort of Vampire’s Anonymous meeting. Satisfied?”

They met for the second time in a ground floor apartment in an abandoned tenement slated to be torn down. It was the first time he’d been to Pittsburgh, and from Sean’s point of view, the “pitts” part of this burgh fit perfectly.

Sean stared at the other and shuddered at the thought of the first time they met. This was the man, if you could call him that, who he hated more than anyone else on Earth. Sean wasn’t used to hating anyone. Before the change, he thought of himself as a pretty nice guy. Somewhere inside, he still was that guy, but the man who had tracked him down imposed something else on him, something horrible.

“I suppose you have a lot of questions.”

The other looked to be about fifty years old and spoke with a slight accent Sean couldn’t identify. He was totally bald, which in his case suited him. He dressed like what the kids call “Goth,” all in black, which also fit not only his appearance but his function.

“Starting with how you managed to find me. I thought I covered my tracks pretty well.” Sean had been running away from everything he’d ever known since he had died six months ago. Died that is, as far as his wife, kids, the rest of his family and friends all knew. Three days after death, in spite of being embalmed and buried, he rose again after sunset as one of the undead, a vampire.

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