New Covers, Old Books

I promised a post with the new covers I decided on for my already-published collections. With the new collection coming out I wanted to re-brand these so they look like they belong together.

Feel free to comment–I’ll be making final tweaks and uploading the new covers within the next week or so. I’d love to get your feedback. Let me know what you think!

Here are the original and the new cover for Flashes of Magic.

And here are the original and new covers for New Skin.

 

Cover Poll–Flashes of Splashes

I am finally getting to the “almost done” stage of my new flash fiction collection, and I realize I haven’t mentioned it much here.

It’s mostly based on the stories I wrote in April for the AtoZ Challenge, but everything has been edited and cleaned up, and a few of those stories have been tossed out entirely. The title I finally landed on is Flashes of Splashes, referencing the water theme running throughout the book.

Here’s where I need your help… I’ve been messing with cover designs for about 3 weeks, and I almost can’t think anymore. So, here are 6 covers currently in the running (5 that I like, one I’m less thrilled with). Please indicate which ones you love and/or which ones you hate. What would make you pick up the book? What would make you avoid it entirely and why? Feel free to give your opinions in the comments, or shoot me a private message if you don’t want to leave one publicly. Image names are beneath the images. And I just realized I didn’t update the title style on the Dancer image, so consider the two different title/subtitle styles as options on any of these, if you wish.

To inspire you, I’ll post the final-ish versions of the re-covers for New Skin and Flashes of Magic in another post.

Dancer

Mermaid

Rain Girl

Umbrella Man

Umbrella Bricks

Umbrella Yellow

A to Z 2017–Z is for Zamboni

In just barely under the wire. This was a fun month and I even like most of the stories I got. Woot! I hope you enjoy this final installment in the 2017 A to Z Blogging Challenge.

Z is for Zamboni

Clean smooth ice is a thing of beauty. Nothing finer in all the world.

And there was no finer machine to properly groom a sheet of ice than a Zamboni Ice Resurfacer.

That’s what Frank knew. His daddy not only passed down the family trade of Professional Zamboni Ice Technician, he also named his only son after the man who invented the machine that bore his name—Frank J. Zamboni.

The world never knew a prouder Professional Zamboni Ice Technician than Frank Zamboni Ignazio.

Frank arrived well in advance of the day’s activities at the Smith Valley Ice Rink. There was no finer time to resurface ice than at the crack of dawn. No finer place than Smith Valley.

Well, maybe the Johnsonville Ice Arena. Calvin Bigalow did not deserve such a prestigious ice grooming position. The man didn’t understand the true beauty and importance of the job.

Frank shook off the thought. He didn’t need to get himself upset over things he couldn’t control. Today marked his 3rd year as the sole Ice Technician for Smith Valley, and he planned to celebrate with an extra lap around the rink and maybe a Slurpee later in the afternoon.

A few minutes before 5:30 AM, Frank let himself in through the back entrance of the rink. After switching on the overhead lighting he opened the storage room that held his beloved Zamboni.

After filling the ice making tank with clean water, he started the machine and headed toward the main ice.

Normally, he would have started an immediate counter-clockwise circuit of ice resurfacing. This morning, however, he found his way blocked. A small man in a red suit with a black vest and red bowler hat was standing on the ice in black and white wing-tipped shoes.

“Excuse me,” Frank said. “Sir? You can’t be in here. The rink doesn’t open until Nine. And you can’t be on the ice with street shoes. Only proper ice skates are allowed.”

“Son of fire,” the man in red intoned. “You have violated your calling.”

Frank huffed. The man wasn’t moving off his ice. “Sir? I really need you to step aside.”

The man didn’t move. “Frank Ignazio,” he said, “crystalline water maker. Your true identity lies elsewhere.”

Frank started to get irritated. Checking that his Zamboni was properly braked, he climbed down to confront the man directly. “Mr. Uh… do you have a name?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “You have to go. I have a job to do and you are in my way.”

“Frank Zamboni Ignazio.”

It finally dawned on Frank that this guy knew his name. “Do I know you?” he asked.

“You are the chosen. The son of fire.” The man’s voice seemed to resonate over the ice. “Come with me and meet your destiny.”

“My destiny? I’m living that already,” Frank said, his voice emphatic. “Since I was six-years-old I never wanted nothing but to drive this here rig and make the ice as smooth as glass. Now, step aside before I decide to call law enforcement.”

Frank swung his arm towards the man in a dismissive fashion. He was shocked and dismayed when the man in the red suit seemed to flare into flame before melting into the ice, leaving a deep, uneven hole in the rink’s otherwise uniform surface.

“Well, damn,” he said, staring at the hole. “Now I’m gonna have to patch that.” He shook his head. “You’d think those demons would learn to leave me alone by now. I can’t think of one single thing that would make me want to go somewhere as hot as they want to take me.”

Frank Zamboni Ignazio, the Son of Fire, climbed onto his Zamboni and set to grooming his ice.

 

Copyright Notice: Please note that I fully assert my right to be associated as the author of this story, and while it is complete, it may not be finished. This story may be subject to alteration at the author’s discretion. Please do not copy, quote, or post this story or excerpts anywhere in any format. You are, however, free to share the link with anyone who might be interested.

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A to Z 2017–W is for Well Water

W is for Well Water

It had always been William’s job. He was the one who got the water. It was Aurinda’s job, now. Two buckets after breakfast, two more after supper. Extra on wash days or anytime mama said.

She shuffled her feet as she walked, creating a cloud of dust that she could taste. Aurinda didn’t want to fetch the water, but somebody had to. It wouldn’t be William. Not anymore.

Since she was only nine, plus a girl, mama said she didn’t have to carry two buckets at once. That was good. She didn’t think she could even lift two buckets, leastwise not without spilling. One would be hard enough. She knew it would take longer to do one at a time. Didn’t matter. You do what you got to do.

As she walked toward the well in the town square, she hesitated. This was her first time here without her big brother, but you do what you got to do.

With her bucket hooked on the rope, she realized she couldn’t reach the crank to unwind it. She tugged down on the bucket and found the rope uncoiled easily, causing the crank handle to spin.

A splash told her she’d hit the water, but then a howling started up and made her scream. Was it coming from the well? It surely sound like it was. Tingles ran up her spine and she nearly felt like crying.

She realized what it must be, then, and fear turned to anger. “Jace McCall,” she shouted down the well. “You stop this instant. That ain’t a bit funny.”

“Aurinda May?” She spun at the voice. “Aurinda, who you shouting at?” Her eyes grew wide as Jace and his brother Thomas crossed the square from their father’s shop.

Her eyes fell back on the well and she backed away. If that wasn’t Jace…

“Auri? What’s the matter?”

The moan sounded again, louder and more distinct.

Thomas, who wouldn’t be nine until the end of summer, ran away shrieking. “It’s a ghost! A ghost down the well!” The shop door jangled as he hurried inside.

Jace moved more slowly, but also backed away from the well. “Auri, I think we need to go.”

“I told my mama I’d fetch the water,” she said. “I’m big enough. I gotta fetch the water.”

“But William….” His words trailed off as he stared at the well.

A thought suddenly occurred to Aurinda. She took a deep breath, straightened her back, and walked toward the watering place.

“No, Auri! Don’t” Jace sputtered as she climbed to the edge of the well wall and took hold of the crank. He moved toward her. She thought he’d try to pull her down. She was afraid he’d accidentally push her in.

“I gotta get the water!” she screamed, tears now pouring down her cheeks. The call from the well seemed quieter now. More distant.

Turning the crank was easier than she expected, especially from her perch on the wall. But for some reason she wasn’t surprised.

When the bucket was pulled all the way up, she secured the crank while Jace unhooked the pail for her. He placed it on the cobbles and stared at her.

“Why’d you do that, Auri? Scared me near to death.” He kicked at the stones beneath his feet. “I thought that was William—that he would pull you right down where he’d gone.”

Aurinda smiled then—first time since her brother fell down the well. “I think it really was him,” she said. “But he’d never hurt me, so I knew he must be here to help.” She picked up the bucket and started back toward her house. “Mama needs this water. You to what you got to do.”

 

 

Copyright Notice: Please note that I fully assert my right to be associated as the author of this story, and while it is complete, it may not be finished. This story may be subject to alteration at the author’s discretion. Please do not copy, quote, or post this story or excerpts anywhere in any format. You are, however, free to share the link with anyone who might be interested.

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A to Z 2017–V is for Vortex

April is both fun and busy around here. Not only is it the time of the annual A to Z Challenge, it is also the time for a regularly scheduled blog hop that I participate in. Today’s post is doing double duty! So when you’re done reading this story, consider checking out other stories in the StoryTime Blog Hop. Links are included below. I guarantee you’ll find something to love.

V is for Vortex

It isn’t fair, Darya thought. Her Aunt Ebba and Uncle Wade? They never understood, never believed in her dreams. And now? Now they were taking the word of that horrible shark, Ms. Talulah, over their own family.

So she left. Despite the storms brewing. Maybe because of them.

It was simple enough to slip out. Everyone seemed to be burrowing in as everything darkened around them. Nobody paid Darya any attention at all.

Isn’t that the way it always is? She thought. Nobody even notices me except to tell me what to do.

Without thought, Darya first headed back toward the clam bake where she’d been earlier. Perhaps her friends would still be there. Or maybe she’d get a reading from that old stranger— the one telling stories that made the little ones squeal. She noticed him giving fortunes to a few—some who might not have wanted anyone to see.

Her hopes for a sympathetic ear were dashed back at the community’s center. Everyone was gone. Everything had been packed up before the storm. And now, with the storm starting in earnest, she felt pulled and tugged by the swirling around her.

I need to get somewhere safe. I need…

Darya couldn’t finish her thought as, suddenly, she was spun around and sucked straight up off the sand by a powerful vortex.

Pitched and turned by the storm, she found herself tossed into the atmosphere.

In the clouds, she thought. Surely this is a dream.

As if to verify a dream state, she saw the old fortune-teller whirl past, flipping cards and tossing shells. Just her luck.

Then she saw nasty Ms. Talulah, her teeth gleaming through a false smile.

And her own family. Aunt Ebba’s worry was so clear it fairly pulsed across her skin.

It was a mistake. She knew already, she shouldn’t have left. And now she wondered if she’d ever make it home.

Darya wailed and started to weep until, abruptly, the storm stopped.

She looked up to find that she had been deposited, not back at her own home, but on a sandy beach. The ocean water was just out of reach beyond some rocks.

Maybe, if I try…

Before she could move, a gangly-looking surface-dweller approached.

“Hey guys, check it out! This octopus must have gotten thrown up on the beach by that water spout we saw.”

More humans surrounded her. She had no where to go.

“Poor thing,” one of them said. “We should help get her back to the ocean.”

“Yeah,” said the first, scooping her up with gentle hands. “There’s no place like home.”

(With my deepest apologies to Frank Baum and The Wizard of Oz.)

Copyright Notice: Please note that I fully assert my right to be associated as the author of this story, and while it is complete, it may not be finished. This story may be subject to alteration at the author’s discretion. Please do not copy, quote, or post this story or excerpts anywhere in any format. You are, however, free to share the link with anyone who might be interested.

Links

perpetualbloghop

I hope you’ll take the time to read the other stories in this Hop. These are some great writers and wonderful people. And if you like what you read, I hope you’ll consider joining their lists too. The world is a richer place when there are more stories to tell.
* * YOU ARE HERE * * V is for Vortex by Elizabeth McCleary
Deep Dive by Juneta Key
Bugs by Gina Fabio
Secret by J. Q. Rose
Journal of Anah by J Lenni Dorner
The Vineyard at Mar Mozambique by Karen Lynn
Stealing Space by Barbara Lund
The Day I was Clever by Katharina Gerlach
Never kid a kidder by Angela Wooldridge
The Color Of… by Chris Makowski
Nightmare by Erica Damon
Pick Up Lines by Bill Bush
The Scorpius Gate by Sandra Fikes

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A to Z 2017–R is for Run

R is for Run

Marcus looked up as the sun slipped behind dark clouds. “Uh oh. Guys, I gotta go. My mom will kill me if I get caught in the rain.”

After a brief round of, “see you later, man,” and one, “I’ll call you after dinner,” Marcus started home. He wasn’t too concerned. The forecast this morning said it shouldn’t start raining until after eight and it wasn’t even five yet. Still, the forecast wasn’t always right, and those clouds looked pretty bad.

As he walked up Juniper Lane, one block over from the park, he slowed just a little. I really couldn’t hurt anything to take a couple extra minutes just in case Mary Braxton was in front of her house. Right? He had plenty of time to get home.

He passed Mary’s house—the one on the corner with the red front door and dark green shutters—but didn’t see her. Well, it’s not like he’d planned it. Just hoped. Oh well.

But as he crossed Maple to the next block over, he heard his name.

“Hi, Marcus!” He turned to see her head poking over the top of her backyard fence.

He doubled back. “Hey, Mary!” He fought to keep a stupid grin off his face. She was definitely the prettiest girl in the seventh grade.

As he neared her house again her head dropped down and she came out the gate. “So,” she said, “what did you get on the social studies quiz? I only got 82. Forgot to study the bicameral houses stuff and got their powers mixed up. Oh, hey. Are you going to the dance next week? Jennifer asked me to spend the night that night afterwards, but I thought maybe we could all hang out together since you’re probably hanging with Dave and he’s kind of Jennifer’s boyfriend. I definitely caught them kissing after school the other day. Oh my god her mom would totally flip if she knew. Their family is super strict.”

As Mary rambled on, Marcus allowed the stupid grin to take over. She wanted to go to the dance with him! “Wow,” he said. “Yeah, Dave and I will probably hang…” Marcus cut off abruptly as thunder rumbled overhead. “Crap! I really have to go.” He started walking away, backwards. “Talk to you during lunch tomorrow?” He didn’t wait for an answer before he turned and started running toward home.

It was only two more blocks to his house, but he hadn’t realized how dark it had gotten while he was talking to Mary. This was definitely going to be a bad storm… and definitely bad for him if he didn’t get home quick.

The wind whipped the trees and he ran faster.

He turned up Elm Avenue just as the first fat raindrops fell from the sky. “Crap!” he yelled again as he made a beeline for his house… third one on the right with the green roof and grey trim.

It was already too late. The clouds opened up and soaked him to the skin almost instantly.

He pulled open the front door and stood dripping in the entry as his mother came around the corner holding a towel. “I told you not to get caught in the rain,” she said. “You know what happens.”

“I know,” he said as he dried his face and hair. “But believe me, I ran!”

She took the towel from his hands. “I can see that. Do you have any idea how long it takes to get your face back on.”

“Sorry,” he said, looking up from the towel in her hand.

 

 

Copyright Notice: Please note that I fully assert my right to be associated as the author of this story, and while it is complete, it may not be finished. This story may be subject to alteration at the author’s discretion. Please do not copy, quote, or post this story or excerpts anywhere in any format. You are, however, free to share the link with anyone who might be interested.

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A to Z 2017–P is for Pontoon

P is for Pontoon

“You can’t cross the river here. You have to take the pontoon!” An old man ran down the bank waving his arms. “It’s not safe, I tell you! Not safe!”

Jem looked up from where she was crouched at the water’s edge. “I’m not crossing,” she said. “Just looking at these fish. Their changing color pattern isn’t like anything I’ve ever seen. Do you know what they are?”

The old man stopped abruptly, the concern on his face giving way to fear for a moment before a clearly artificial smile took over. If Jem hadn’t been looking right at him she might have missed it. “Never you mind about those fish. Just go see the pontoon man. He’ll get you where you need to go. He’s right down by Milford Gate.” He gestured haphazardly. “Now you get going.”

Before Jem had the opportunity to repeat that she wasn’t planning to cross, the old man turned and hurried away even faster than he’d approached her.

Despite not having any travel plans, she figured it couldn’t hurt to talk to the pontoon man. At least he would probably know more about these unusual fish.

She figured it had been roughly half a sun-hand of walking when she saw the dock with a large, flat raft moored at it’s side. “Sun day,” she called aloud as she approached. “Sun day, pontoon man.”

A young man, more a boy really, stood from a low seat just off the dock. “And day of the sun to you as well, lady. Do you require passage?”

“Actually,” said Jem, “I was just curious. There are fish in the river unlike any I’ve seen. I thought maybe you could—“

He sat back down with a thud. “I’ll not talk about the Gillers,” he said. His head turned away from her as his eyes seemed to scan the waterline.

“But I—“

“You just move along, lady. I’ll not take you on this pontoon today. Not now.” He sounded resolute.

Certain she would get nothing more satisfactory from him, Jem turned back toward the town. Once the pontoon dock was out of view, she angled back toward the river, farther downstream this time. She’d not be put off by the fools in this town who wouldn’t even tell her about the fish.

“Acting disgusted that I’d even ask. As if I was the one being rude.” She shook her head, muttering to herself. “Wasn’t I only curious? Wasn’t I just interested in their silly fish? You’d think I’d asked how to unlock the bank, or the magistrate’s favorite color. They are the ones with no manners. Not me.”

Her diatribe tapered off as she reached the edge of the river once again. Deft fingers dipped into her waist pouch and removed a small coil of nearly invisible string and a tiny, shiny hook. She would simply catch one of the odd fish for herself and just take it with her. Jem was certain her father would be able to identify it.

She had no bait, but the fish were plentiful enough and she knew a coax that should put one on her hook in just moments.

Braced on a rock at the water’s edge, she dangled the hook just above the water’s surface before dropping it in.

Daughter of men. A voice bubbled around Jem. We accept your servitude. Welcome to the realm of the Gillers.

 

Copyright Notice: Please note that I fully assert my right to be associated as the author of this story, and while it is complete, it may not be finished. This story may be subject to alteration at the author’s discretion. Please do not copy, quote, or post this story or excerpts anywhere in any format. You are, however, free to share the link with anyone who might be interested.

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A to Z 2017–N is for Noria

I’ll admit it – this is not close to the best story I’ve written this month. It’s a takeoff on the incomplete A is for Aqueduct story, it continues to be incomplete, and it’s based on a device few actually know the name of. The Noria is a water wheel run by water power (as opposed to animal power), usually for the purpose of raising water to a higher level. Here’s a video showing one working. Cool tech, actually. But this is a fairly weak story in spite of that.

I guess they can’t all be home runs. Especially when there are all too few words relating to water starting with certain letters of the alphabet. sigh

Onward!

N is for Noria

As the wheel dipped and circled, water filled the attached earthen pots and emptied them into a stone channel. The water diverted from the river flowed into the aqueduct that watered the vineyard in the vale on the other side of the ridge.

“I don’t understand,” said Sineta. “It’s so little water compared to the river. I don’t understand why such a small thing is a problem.”

Zaida shook her head. “It is not the amount of water that is the problem. It is the taking. This wheel, this noria…” she scrunched her face, measuring her words before continuing. “My people, we are the water. We give life to the water and it gives life to us. This machine, it takes the life and we are less because of it.”

Sineta frowned, trying to understand. “But we have taken water from this river forever.”

“Not forever,” countered Zaida. “For a long time, yes. But not forever.”

“But why are your people suddenly angry? What have they done with my father?” Her voice broke as tears welled in her eyes.

“When you were taking the water a little at a time, it was different. But the Noria, it takes the water faster than we can compensate for. We are made weak because it takes more life than we can afford to lose.” The fairy turned from the wheel toward Sineta. “I was with my sister trying to stop it, but we have no direct control over the things of men. I was washed down this channel to your farm.” She dropped her eyes. “My sister was less fortunate.”

Sineta’s eyes opened wide as she struggled for words. “I wasn’t… I don’t… Was she killed?” The last came out as a whisper.

“Not killed, no. But her life magic, so much of it was scooped out of her.”

“Can she be healed?”

“She can be restored,” said the fairy. “But none has the strength to do so while the noria is disrupting our flow.”

“Then we have to stop it.” Sineta’s voice was firm, even as her face drooped. “Except I don’t know how. With my father gone…”

“It is settled, then.” Zaida clapped her tiny hands as a grin crossed her face. “I will help you recover your father. You will help me restore my sister.”

“And then maybe,” said Sineta, “we can find a way to get water to the vineyard that won’t hurt your people.”

Copyright Notice: Please note that I fully assert my right to be associated as the author of this story, and while it is complete, it may not be finished. This story may be subject to alteration at the author’s discretion. Please do not copy, quote, or post this story or excerpts anywhere in any format. You are, however, free to share the link with anyone who might be interested.

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A to Z 2017–L is for Life

 

L is for Life

Katrin giggled as she hurried into the house with her package. She’d ordered this almost three months ago. It  took forever to get here and she wanted to get it open as soon as possible.

“Whadya got, Kat?” Lance was two years older and the bane of her existence.

“None of your business, barf brain.” She tried to push past him to her room and failed. He was only two years older, but he was at least a foot taller and probably twice as wide. Perfect for high school football. Not great for little sisters. “You need to get out of my way or I’m telling mom.”

He laughed that particular laugh that always made her want to scream. “Right. Go ahead. What’s she going to do? Rush home from work so you can walk down the hall? Just tell me what you got. What’s the big deal anyway?”

Before she had time to think of an answer, Lance grabbed the box from Katrin’s hands and headed toward the kitchen.

“Give it back, jerk face! I really am going to tell mom! You’ll be grounded!”

“I’m already grounded.” His laugh sounded more like a snort. “Hey, this says it’s from Vivid Vitality! Did you order that thing from the magazine?” Katrin screamed as he started to tear open the box. “Does mom know?”

“Give it… give it back!” Near panic infused her shriek.

Lance stopped and stared at her. “Mom doesn’t know, does she? Maybe this time you’ll be the one whose grounded.”

Katrin refused to cry in front of her brother, but it felt almost impossible not to. “If… if I let you help will you promise not to tell? I used the rest of my Christmas money plus three weeks of allowance to get that.”

After a brief negotiation in which they both swore not to tell mom about the afternoon’s activities, Katrin and Lance both leaned over the old fishbowl from the goldfish that died last summer. Lance was ready to pour water from a pitcher as Katrin tore open the paper envelope that she’d found packed in rigid styrofoam inside the box.

She peeked inside and frowned. “It doesn’t look like much.”

“Yeah, well, Duke got some Sea Monkeys last year and they moved around pretty good once they came back to life. Until their dog drank them.” He shrugged. “Just dump them in and we’ll add the water.”

Katrin tipped the contents of the pouch into the large glass orb. Lance followed it with three full pitchers of water.

“How long is it supposed to take?” he asked, staring at the fishbowl.

“The package took two-and-a-half months to get here,” said Katrin. “Maybe it will take ten more weeks for it to… Oh!”

As they watched, the water in the fishbowl turned cloudy, then swirled with blue as if someone had dripped food coloring into it.

“Whoa! I don’t remember Duke’s Sea Monkeys doing that!” Lance took a subtle step backwards as the liquid in the bowl turned to something sort of resembling jello.

Katrin’s couldn’t keep the grin off her face. “It worked! It’s exactly like they said!”

“But what is it?”

Katrin poked a finger into the container and the blue goo shifted and seemed almost to look at her.

Lance shrieked, sounding surprisingly like his little sister as the blob started up her arm.

“They called it a Jellymander. Isn’t it cool? The ad said it’s from outer space. I think I’ll name it Jack. I can’t get it too wet though… it’ll keep growing the more water you… Lance?”

Katrin stopped rambling when her brother who was a foot taller than her and probably twice as wide passed out cold on the kitchen floor.

“Uh oh,” she said to Jack. “Mom is gonna kill me.”

The Jellymander bobbed in agreement.

Copyright Notice: Please note that I fully assert my right to be associated as the author of this story, and while it is complete, it may not be finished. This story may be subject to alteration at the author’s discretion. Please do not copy, quote, or post this story or excerpts anywhere in any format. You are, however, free to share the link with anyone who might be interested.

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A to Z 2017–H is for Hurricane

This is late, but it came together much faster than I expected. Of course, nobody will ever know, because I’m going to pre-date it so it looks like it posted Monday when it was supposed to. (Bwahaha… virtual time travel, y’all…)

The story didn’t go where I expected (that happens a lot!) but the ending made me smile. It’s good when your own writing can make you smile.

Enjoy!

H is for Hurricane

“And then it all came down around my ears, near enough. I swear I thought I was a dead man. Sure enough felt like I should be. But glory and damnation, God musta had other plans for me this side of eternity because here I still am. Alive as ever I was. It’s a miracle from the Almighty.”

Dan Cherry left his camera rolling, even as he rolled his eyes. It was utterly predictable. There would be a natural disaster and some Podunk yahoo would claim it was a miracle from heaven that they were still alive, rather than dumb luck and random chance. Meanwhile, some other Podunk yahoo would probably be hollering about how it was the Judgement of The Almighty that brought on the natural disaster in the first place.

You’d think these Podunk yahoos would get their stories straight. Everything was either an act of God or a matter of faith.

What ever happened to logic?

“Thank you, Mr. Chestnut.” Dan re-centered his viewfinder on Marian Neely, Channel 9 reporter. “Bob, there are so many like this family who have lost everything in this storm. Central Bank is accepting donations to help cover expenses for the emergency shelter set up here at the First Baptist Church gymnasium. Back to you.”

She held her pose with a suitably concerned facial expression for another moment before nodding to Dan. “We’re out. We won’t have another live until the 11 O’clock, although they want us to stay here and talk to more victims.” That would be no problem, there were over 800 people here. “Want to see if we can find some dinner?”

“You go,” Dan said. “I’m going to get more footage for the B Roll.”

Marian nodded. “Suit yourself. Meet by the door around 8?” She didn’t wait for an answer, just turned and left.

Dan decided to get more shots of the church itself. The evening sunset with the remnants of the hurricane still streaking the sky would make for a spectacular backdrop.

Outside the church, the sky was every bit as vibrant as Dan had hoped. “Oh yeah,” he said, knowing nobody would hear. “This is going to be great stuff.”

Though this was normally a busy neighborhood, most were following the recommendation to stay indoors. Debris of all kinds still littered the streets, and emergency officials were still searching through some neighborhoods where every house had been decimated.

“You seem like a nice enough man, Mr. Chestnut. But why would a god decide to save you, but allow so many more to lose so much.” Dan’s continued to scan the horizon with his camera as he talked to nobody. “Over 60 dead, last I heard. Doesn’t much sound like a god of mira— what the heck is that??”

Dan’s camera was aimed at a dark spot that grew larger by the second.

Before he knew what was happening, he was knocked to the ground by whatever it was as it hurtled out of the sky.

Dan opened his eyes and found that he was lying on a cot inside First Baptist’s gym. When he tried to sit up, the throbbing in his skull changed his mind.

“What happened? Was I hit by debris?”

“Thank God you’re alright,” Marian hugged him gently. “This woman,” she pointed at the next cot over, “Celina Smith is what hit you.”

“I fell right outta the sky! Thought I’d never get down after bein’ blown by that wind.” She smiled and showed the gaps in her teeth. “But, thank the Lawd, He had me right in His hand.”

Dan looked at Marian who shrugged. “I was rolling. Do we have that footage?”

Marian shook her head. “Your camera is kind of a mess. Channel 9 has another crew on the way.”

Celina Smith patted his arm. “I’m so sorry about your equipment, but I much appreciate you breaking my fall.”

“Did anyone see this?” asked Dan. “Do we have proof of what happened?”

“‘Fraid not, my friend.” Marian’s laugh was genuine. “You’ll have to take this one on faith.”

 

 

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