From the Rejection Roster: Excerpt from “Sharing Destiny”

planet

Image: hongkiat.com

Fresh round of rejections came in yesterday and my SciFi short story “Sharing Destiny” was among them. I’ve submitted this story to various publishers a number of times and so far, no one has found it worthy of seeing the light of day. It actually began life as one of those song/lyrics challenges. It’s a love story with a strange twist. Here’s a scene near the tale’s climax. Let me know what you think.

She stared down at him. Isaac was sitting on the floor on his legs, face buried in his hands, weeping like a hysterical child, and over what? The fact that she would save the human race from extinction? He had engineered his betrayal of her, and of the Earth, for decades. It was all a lie. Every “I love you,” every night in bed together, their wedding vows; they were all lies.

He had almost destroyed her and the planet, but she still couldn’t begin to understand why.

“You cold-blooded bastard.”

He didn’t bother to correct her, to say that Saurians were warm-blooded like mammals, not like the reptiles people assumed they were. Then again, that’s probably not what she’d meant.

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From the Rejection Roster: Excerpt from “Ice”

ice

© National Geographic – projection of South America if all Earth’s ice had melted.

I’ve been doing a lot of marketing, progress updates, and reviews lately but not so much fiction writing on this blog. The reason is that I’m scrambling between writing the second draft of my first novel and writing and submitting short stories, hopefully faster than they are rejected.

Yes, I’m human, so having one of my tales not make the cut stings a bit, even though it’s totally anticipated and “normal.”

I still don’t like it.

So I decided to regularly (not sure how regularly yet) post a passage from one of my rejected missives that is temporarily out of play for your enjoyment and consideration. Naturally, the excerpt isn’t the story, but maybe it will be enough of a hint to tell you if anything is a bit “off” about it or if you can suggest improvements.

Therefore, without further ado, this short preview from my short story “Ice.”

“You mean to do this, then?” Afternoon of the next day, both the Captain and his First Mate stood on the dock listening to Eralia shout orders from the Star’s main deck, and watching longshoremen bring crates, barrels, and nets of supplies on palates and mule-drawn wagons, loading them aboard and down into the holds.

“In all of our days together, you’ve always followed where I’ve led. Why question me now?” Yong turned to Andrada who was still looking at the ship, the bustle of the crew, the same men and women doing the same work they’ve always done, but for the Mindanao native, it was as if this would be their last voyage.

“A man, a seasoned sailor, killed himself just because he knew we were coming to see him. It bothers me.”

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Film review of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” (2018)

jwfk

Promotional poster for the 2018 film “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.”

I’ve seen the original Jurassic World (2015) once, as well as all of the other “Jurassic” movies on various occasions, and when I saw the DVD for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) at my local public library, I couldn’t resist. I enjoyed Chris Pratt’s and Bryce Dallas Howard’s work in the first film, and was hoping they could “do magic” again. They didn’t disappoint.

In some ways, this movie pulled from the very first Jurassic Park (1993), particularly with Jeff Goldblum reprising his role as Ian Malcolm, and mentioning how Hammond (Richard Attenborough) started the whole project (twenty-five years ago, my how time flies), although the eccentric genius in this movie is a wheelchair bound Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell).

At the end of the previous film, people had to leave the island of Isla Nublar because all of the dinosaurs had escaped and were killing everyone. Now, amid a secret plot to use the surviving dinosaurs and their DNA for nefarious purposes, Claire Dearing (Howard) must convince Owen Grady (Pratt) to join a small team of experts in their attempt to evacuate the island of the animals, since its long dormant volcano has decided to inconveniently come back to life.

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The Girl Who Could Do Anything

clouds and sky

© Sue Vincent

“Come on, Grandpa. Over here.” Three-and-a-half year old Jillie ran ahead of sixty-three year old Robert, who was starting to feel the icy talons of fear clutch his heart as his migraine interfered with his control.

“Coming, Angel.” Wiping moisture off of his forehead and locks of long, graying hair, he knew the migraine would not let him tolerate trying to run, but he walked as fast as he could, blue jeans and boots catching in the cheat grass, sweat clinging to his checkered flannel shirt and denim jacket. If she should stray too far ahead while he couldn’t concentrate, there’s no telling what would happen.

The blond child, dressed for the winter weather in dark blue jeans, a snug, long-sleeved shirt, and her favorite turquoise jacket with Elsa and Anna on it, dashed forward toward a copse of trees. Sunlight was streaming through a partially cloudy sky, rendering the barren branches of the tall maples ahead in silhouette.

She and her older brother Tyler had stayed overnight at Robert and Maggie’s house, and while his wife and grandson were making pancakes for their breakfast, he had taken the always active, rambunctious toddler into the field out back to run off some energy. Unfortunately, the migraine struck suddenly, and as the light around him haloed and nausea swept through his gut, he knew it was too late to get her back home.

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Castaway on Piller Island

eggs

© MorgueFile 1416928925r3kcx

Nelson Lawrence Simon had been living the dream, sailing around the world in his 36 foot sloop until his rudder chain broke during a storm. The spare, which he thought he’d packed so carefully, had been exposed to four months of salt and moisture and had rusted.

Current washed him up on the north shore of an island, Piller, according to his charts. There was some sort of electrical interference that was jamming his radio, but he saw structures in the distance, so maybe someone lived here.

Simon was halfway up what looked to be an abandoned trail when he spotted the nest. He brought provisions with him, but it had been a long time since he had fresh eggs.

“Damn. Too late.” He watched as the first of the eggs broke open, but wasn’t prepared for the emergence of the occupant.

“What? I thought alligators laid eggs closer to water.”

As a shadow fell over him from behind, he realized it wasn’t an alligator. He turned and had just enough time to recognize a velociraptor from those “Jurassic” movies before he was messily devoured, well mostly. The rest of him would feed her hungry brood.

I wrote this for the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above to inspire the creation of a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 195.

I saw the eggs and was crestfallen, because I didn’t want to write about bird eggs. Then I decided to leverage my series of stories based on The Kaala Experiment, a time travel device that’s gone wrong and brought a whole bunch of dinosaurs forward to the present on an island in the South Pacific. Nelson Lawrence Simon never had a chance.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Roger’s link up still needs a lot of love, so please consider contributing a story. Thanks.

Strange History’s Prelude

seatac

A Delta flight comes in for a landing at Sea-Tac Airport which had record passenger growth in June. (Ellen M Banner/The Seattle Times)

The day Leon Spencer made bail, he followed the instructions of the lawyer who posted it for him and stopped off at his post office box. Sure enough, there was a cashier’s check for more money than he made in a year as a Marine Gunnery Sergeant. Those days were long gone and so, he thought, was his career until he read the email from Carson Everett. There wasn’t much that fazed him anymore, not after Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, but he could still be impressed.

“Fuckin’ eh.” The six-foot tall, African-American Marine turned merc, turned “security consultant,” stared at the check in his hand and the note that came with it, which repeated Everett’s instructions to take the first flight to Seatac.

He visited his crappy apartment for the last time to pack a few things, noticing the bales of useless papers, magazines, and other junk he’d be happy to part with. Leon took everything that still had worth to him (which wasn’t much), and beat it out to O’Hare, happy to give Chicago the middle finger.

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The Devil from the Fire

desert

Found at the Orogold Store Locator website

The horse came back alone.

Every morning at dawn, Mr. Sebastian Cooke saddled and mounted his stallion and rode the perimeter of the ranch. His father and grandfather before him had owned and worked this unlikely land, an island over a thousand nautical miles east of New Guinea. In the year of our Lord 1879, he was the third generation of Cookes to farm and ranch here, hiring the indigenous peoples for labor, who by the way proved to be excellent equestrians.

Every morning her husband rode out for precisely one and one-half hours, and was always back home in time for breakfast. Every morning except for today.

“We found King by the corral, Mrs. Esther.” Haych, the foreman, held the horse by his reins, as if presenting him to Esther Cooke as a gift. “Me, Kaiki, and some of the other boys are riding out to go look for him. My wife Lehiwa and her sister Riria will stay with you, Mrs.

“Thank you, Haych. You are a good man. I’m sure my husband is alright.” She could feel hot tears behind her eyes but did not want to cry in front of the help, though having lived here for a decade now, she felt more like they were family. Sebastian had grown up on the island, but she was a Londoner originally. Her family had lost its fortune, and Father had become taken with the idea of building a new life in Australia. Their ship had sustained damage in a storm and they had to make berth at Cooke’s Island for repairs. Esther had been just 18  when she fell in love with Sebastian, who was 15 years her senior.

She watched Haych and his kinsmen ride out, leaving King in the hands of the capable stable boys, and said a prayer for the safety of all.

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Footprint

footprint

© Yinglan

“My suit readout says it’s just over 88 degrees Celsius, Martin.”

“That’s about 177 degrees Fahrenheit, and people worry about climate change in the 21st century. Welcome to the Cretaceous, NaCumbea.”

Martin Fields and NaCumbea were time travelers working for a group of extra-dimensional entities and they used the provided temporal suits to correct timeline anomalies.

“Here’s where the footprint will be made, Martin.”

“The paleontologists who found it can’t match it with any known dinosaur species.”

“That’s because I’m not an indigenous lifeform.”

The pair looked up to see a three meter tall figure step around a non-existent corner.

“Time traveler?” Martin hazarded a guess.

“Extraterrestrial with time scanning capacities. I will leave my footprint as a clue.”

“Clue to what?” Though more experienced than Martin, the alien still frightened NaCumbea.

“The extinction of your dinosaurs was engineered so your species could rise.”

“You sent an asteroid to collide with Earth?”

“Yes, and we seeded your world with…you”

“Why?”

“You’ll find out when your species makes first contact with mine in your time frame of 2019.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of February 6, 2018 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 174.

The image reminded me of a fossilized dinosaur footprint but not of any dino that I’ve ever heard of. More like an alien footprint.

So I sent my two time travelers, Martin Fields and NaCumbea, last seen in the short story I’m Leaving You For 1966, Dear, to investigate (why invent new time travelers when you already have a couple on tap?). I decided to make aliens responsible not only for the dinosaur extinction event of 65 million years ago, but also for seeding the biosphere with the basic template for modern human beings (I’m sure this idea must have been used before).

In order to understand what Martin and NaCumbea would experience, I looked up the climate for that period in the article The Beastly Climate which details climatic changes in Australia (where my adventure takes place) from 145.6 million years ago to about 20,000 years in the past. I also looked at Happenings During the Cenozoic (65 Million Years Ago to Present) and What is the Average Global Temperature Now? to get a comparison between what the climate was like 65 million years in the past to the present.

As it turns out, it’s a good thing the temporal suits can be set to isolate the wearer from the local environment since it seems the dinos liked it hot.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

Sharing Destiny

saurian

Found at Cracked.com

“I think it’s so sweet…how you let your friends encourage you to try and talk to me…”

September 1971

“Go on, Halley. Go over and talk to him.”

“Shut up, Judy. He’ll hear.”

Oh, what are you afraid of?”

“I told you, Diane. I’ll talk to him when I feel like it.”

They didn’t know Isaac could actually can hear them. They thought he was just talking to John and Robert during lunch period and that he couldn’t tell what was happening just a few feet away.

He thought to himself, “God, I hate high school. I wish this wasn’t necessary.”

“Fine, Halley. If you’re too chicken, I’ll go over and tell him you want him to ask you out.”

“No! Wait, Diane.” As her girlfriend started to walk forward (a bluff probably), Halley grabbed her arm and pulled her back.

“Anyway, see you later, guys.”

“Stay cool, Isaac.” Robert made a salute with his fist.

“Later, brother.” John just nodded. They both saw Halley finally start walking toward him and knew he’d need his space.

“Um…hi.”

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