A Brilliant Dawn

sunrise

Sunrise at Stanford University

“I developed the Erebus field primarily for Porphyria suffers so they could have greater mobility during the day but I think it will work for you as well.”

Marishka looked around the lab. Dr. Dawn Soto had been an undergrad at Stanford in 1977 when she was Marishka’s dorm roommate. Now she was the head of the university’s Advanced BioTech Research Department. It was a strange feeling coming “home” after so many years.

Soto had been looking out the window toward the east. The horizon was already becoming lighter and sunrise would be in just a few minutes. Then she turned around. Even with the harness and goggles on, Marishka looked almost the same as the last time Dawn had seen her. She was still twenty years old and Soto was turning sixty-one in March. The scientist dyed her hair, an admitted vanity in an era of post-feminism, but she wasn’t really trying to conceal her age.

Her friend’s skin and hair coloring were lighter, which she explained happens sometimes to African-American people of her…kind. Yet her skin texture was smooth, her voice clear, and in so many other ways, she was a perpetually young woman, though as she described it, only somewhat “alive.”

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The Goddess Stones

pachamama

Depiction of the goddess Pachamama

Everyone thought Rich and Francesia were crazy to spend their honeymoon hiking in a remote part of the Andes in Bolivia, but to them it was a thrilling prospect, that is until they got lost. The travel agent in Cochabamba strongly urged them to hire a guide, but the two had hiked some of the most remote areas of the Earth and felt they were experienced enough to go it alone.

Besides, it was their honeymoon and well…they didn’t want the company.

It was night again. They had rationed their food but it was almost gone. Rich gave the last of his water to Francesia an hour ago.

“We’re going to die up here, aren’t we?”

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The Lion and the Dolphins

Bacchus

Found at Wikipedia.com

“See, I told you he’d come back to this shore, Markos. He’s obviously a wealthy young man, perhaps enjoying some solitude away from the family business.”

“True enough you were right, Tycho. Easy prey. We grab him, then his family pays whatever ransom we ask for his safe return.”

“Not that he’ll be in precisely the same condition as we found him. He is a pretty one, a very pretty one.”

Markos, Tycho, and half a dozen other pirates were watching from behind some rocks near the cove where they had landed their boat. The young noble idly wandered along the shore as if day dreaming. A dangerous pursuit in waters known to be sailed by pirates.

“Here he comes,” whispered Tycho. “Get ready to have at him.”

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Living One Night At A Time

dark web

Image: Digital Trends

From the Unlife and Curse of Sean Becker

I can’t believe that kid Artemus knew all about this. Of course, because he’s a vampire, he may be a lot older than he looks, so “kid” might not be accurate.

We spotted each other about the same time in a public library branch in Las Vegas. I was browsing the stacks while he was surfing the web on one of the library’s public access computers.

Spotted might not be the right word, since appearance isn’t a very good indicator of our kind. It was like there was something in the air, more like a vibration than a scent. The last time I had this feeling was when I was in the presence of Moshe Cohen, the vampire who had created me. I didn’t know what that feeling was at the time, but the second I locked eyes with Artemus, I knew. So did he.

I was shocked and just stood there staring, but he got up and walked right up to me.

“Hey, brother. Why don’t we step outside and have a chat.”

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Where Giving Leads

homeless

Image: Munir Atalla / NBC News

“What the recipient of alms does for the donor is greater than what the donor does for the recipient.”

Vayikra Rabbah 34:8

Less than a year ago, Eddie Scholl had been living on the streets. When he saw the old man in the torn olive green coat and rainbow stocking cap standing on the street corner on a freezing November morning, holding a sign saying “Anything helps”, he reached for his wallet.

His last five dollar bill. He could use it to buy breakfast. Instead, he gave it to the old grey beard.

“Bless you, brother. Bless you.”

“Glad to do it, friend. Take care.”

Eddie walked on with the old gent still calling after him, “Bless you, brother. May God bless you.”

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At Gunpoint

gunpoint

Image: International Business Times UK

“Admit it. You voted for Donald Trump. I know you did.”

These were the first words Colton heard as he woke up. Angelique was pointing a .45 caliber handgun at his face.

“Wait. What? What are you talking about?”

Angelique and Colton lived in a four bedroom flat on the second floor of a building in San Francisco’s Richmond District along with two other “flatmates.” The election was a week ago. It seemed like the City, Oakland, and several other Bay Area communities, along with major population centers across America, were burning figuratively and literally with hate and fear over a Donald Trump win and what everyone thought it would mean.

“God damn you, Colton, how could you? I thought we were friends.”

Colton’s head had cleared thanks to the sight of the firearm pointing at him from less than three feet away. “What the hell are you doing with that thing, Ang?”

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Rising of the Ancient

tomb

Image: tvtropes.org

Adam and Sarah Hartley cautiously began their descent into the tomb. The illumination from their flashlights revealed the ancient stone steps leading down into the darkness and into history. They also believed they were being led downward into the ultimate enlightenment.

The Hartleys were the world’s most famous married Biblical Archeology team. Well regarded by both other archeologists and Christian researchers, they were credited with several important finds between 2020 and 2045, including the true burial-place of the Apostle Mark. It was long supposed that his body was stolen from Alexandria in a barrel of pork and was put to rest in the city of Venice, but the Hartleys discovered a codex that revealed this to be a ruse. The following year, they located the remains of Mark in his original tomb on the outskirts of the modern Egyptian city of Alexandria.

Now, Adam and Sarah are in Egypt again, this time investigating what could be the most important find of their careers. If the scroll they had discovered and translated last year was right, it would be the most significant discovery of the last two-thousand years: the true final resting place of Jesus Christ.

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First Encounter

liquor

Image: theguardian.pe.ca

Ed left church just as the service ended and headed to the nearest liquor store. He didn’t wait until the ushers came along to release people row by row. He didn’t wait until the Pastor was ready at the door to shake hands with each parishioner as they left. He just left. He needed a drink.

Ed Tillman, 44 years old, divorced, behind in his child support, absentee Daddy to 16-year-old Tiffany and 12-year-old Johnny. Yeah, his life was messy, really messy. One of the other Postal Carriers he worked with said he needed to find God. His friend Mark told him God could be found in church.

Ed was desperate enough and dumb enough to believe him.

As Ed pulled into the parking lot of the strip mall off of Meridian Road, he was still trying to figure out if God ever went to that church.

Oh, the people were polite, they were descent, they all got along. They went to the same picnics, attended the same Wednesday night Bible studies, and some even went on vacations together.

They were all so nice and squeaky clean. Ed wasn’t anything close to that. If God requires that you put on a suit, shake hands and introduce yourself to the people around you in your pew, and sing a bunch of really boring songs, then maybe God didn’t want Ed to find Him.

Standing in front of the display of the different brands of Vodka, Ed opened his wallet and checked how much cash he had left. Just barely enough. He’d memorized the price of a cheap 750 millimeter bottle including sales tax.

“How’s it going, buddy.” The guy behind the counter must have been about Ed’s age, maybe a little older. Long, dirty blond hair, ragged beard, tattoos on both forearms disappearing under his shirt sleeves, definitely not squeaky clean.

“Not bad.” Ed looked around. “Business is slow.”

“Yeah, no shit. You’re my first customer.”

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404 Words is Accepting Short Stories for Publication Until September 1st!

booksSo I was on the writing subreddit and I found a link to something called 404 Words which all short story writers should start paying attention to, especially if you are looking to get published with the possibility of winning $200.00 USD.

You can find out who they are on their About Us page, but more importantly, click the next link to find out about their contest.

They are accepting fiction story submissions until September 1st (I know, not much time left). All accepted stories will be published on their site, and the author of the top submission wins $200.00.

The contest is international so anyone in the world can enter, however all stories must be submitted in English.

The other trick is all submissions must have a word count of no more than (you guessed it) 404 words including the title. Click the link I provided above for the rest of the details.

I just thought I’d throw this out there in case any authors visiting my blog have a short fiction story 404 words or less ready, or you can put one together very quickly (actually, they’ll accept up to 3 submissions per person).

Just spreading the love. I submitted one story already and I’ve got five more days to decide if I want to write one or two more.

Cheers, and if you submit a story or stories to them, good luck.