FLICKERINGS

What glimmers from YOUR treasure of artistry, eh?  Give us a peek!

 

Not the whole candle flame -- just Flickerings :-)

 

I'll start with the following . . .

***********************************************************************

 

-- 20 --

INVASION

 

 

BEFORE THEM, and all around them, space ignited.

            First one, then another, then upwards of a dozen silent, blinding detonations occurred in close proximity, without warning, and now blossomed with horrifying swiftness.

            “Red alert!  Evasive!  Shields to maximum!  NOW!” the captain yelled.  “Did we just trigger some kind of minefield, Chang?”

            “Cap’n Diller, I have no idea, sir!” the bewildered Scannerman cried as big engines moaned up the scale.  “They just appeared out of nowhere!  No detectable origin!”

            “Get us out of here, Rasmussen!” the captain rapped, a bit calmer, but not much so.

            “There is no ‘out’, Captain!” the pilot yelled back.  “They’re expanding rapidly – from all directions – converging on us!”

            “Sir, by the readings, there’s no known device that can produce this level of heat, light, and radiation,” Chang informed him.  “Completely off the charts.”

            “What the fuck are these things?” Diller demanded.  “Where’d they come from?”

            “It’s as if they came from another dimension, sir,” Chang said.  “Instruments detected nothing – then suddenly they were just there.”

            “Inter-dimensional bombing . . . that’s supposed to be impossible,” Diller murmured, deflating in his chair as a chilling realization struck him.  “We’re not gonna make it, are we?”

 

#

 

            “Does the term ‘overkill’ resonate with you on any level, Vorax?” the commander said icily, hissing and clicking in disgust.  “You said you had targeted a fleet.  Some fleet that was!”

            In the deep purple glow of the bridge, his companion countered, “Reflections happen.  This remains experimental technology.   What’s relevant is that we now know it works.”

            “Yes . . . I’ll grant you that.  We know it works.  Lord Braxis will be pleased.  Now, let us go find a genuine cluster of these slugs to broil, shall we?”

            “Indeed, Commander!  I will continue fine-tuning the detection probes.”

            “Do that.  I will instruct the others to proceed as planned.  Keep me informed of your progress in modulation, so I may relay that data.”

 

#

 

            “We’re at max drive, sir,” said Rasmussen.  “There’s an opening – but you’re right.  We’ll never get there.”

            Even as the Clock Of Life ticked down to Zero, Diller remained the highly-trained professional and, consequently, the pragmatic survivor.  He came to a decision.

            “Divert all drive power to the shroud.”

            “Sir?”

            “Now, Mister!”

            “Aye, sir, drive engines off line, all power to shielding.”

            “We can’t escape them, so we might as well harden our shell,” Diller explained.  “It’s the only chance we’ve got.  Time to impact?”

            “About thirteen seconds,” the pilot said, then sighed, almost in relief.  “Looks like we’re thoroughly fucked.”

            “Without even a kiss goodnight,” Chang added.  “What a bitch!”

            “Ras, launch a comm drone containing all we’ve recorded.  Maybe someone else can make sense of this.”

            “Sir, no drone’s gonna get through that!”

            “Do it anyway.”  The deadpan of both expression and tone said, That’s my final word, and my final command.

            “Roger that.  Drone’s away, Captain.  Seven seconds to impact.”

            Diller acknowledged, but beyond that could not think of anything to say that would be meaningful.  Their destruction seemed imminent.  So he kept still and watched as the high-intensity detonations converged upon them.  Unwilling to fear his own death, he stared them down with jaws clamped, anticipating perhaps a brief blast of intense heat, or some awful tingling sensation as his body disintegrated.

            “Ho-lee mother of . . . !” Chang suddenly exclaimed, leaning forward to magnify the scanner image.  “What the hell is that?”

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  • Yeah..it's hard to know...therefore give me modern medicine n alcohol...thats sbout the time i know but cant remember what i knew. oh well...
    • Trust me . . . those are temporary remedies, not cures.

       

      But I've been there and done that, "self-medicating" myself to stupor and near-oblivion, just to escape a reality that was miserable . . . but eventually I heard a loud declaration:  "If your life sucks -- CHANGE IT!"

       

      It wasn't long before I knew that my experience was mostly due to the decisions I'd made, and the things I'd feared the most which had eventually come to pass.  So I set out on a deliberate journey designed to dramatically change my experience to something I vastly preferred.

       

      It took desire, persistence, and Faith beyond Belief to KNOWING -- but I succeeded.  Not quite the way I envisioned, but that's irrelevant.  What matters is that I arrived at a place of PEACE, CONTENTMENT, and UNBRIDLED OPTIMISM that had previously eluded me . . .  and I'm STILL THERE!

       

      And loving every minute of it :-)

  • Hi-i!

    Thanks, Rascal, for creating this opportunity to share our work! I'm very proud of your participation, especially!

    I've mentioned on PI a family musical I've written called THE BLACKBERRY KIDS GO TREASURE HUNTING. Thinking about it sends me absolutely over the moon! Hahaha!

    What I haven't mentioned much is that I originally wrote it as a one act play without music. And I really like that version, also. So I thought I would share a portion of that one act play, PS.

    Enjoy! :D

    Sunshine & Blessings,

    Giovani
    Dress-up your iPhone, nice! ;O)



    Act I, Scene 1. TATIANA and BRIAN on raft.

    BRIAN: So what are you doing, Ms Hurwit?

    TATIANA: (playfully) Tatiana, Brian.

    BRIAN: Of course, Ms urwit.

    TATIANA: See, there's a weight at the end of the rope.

    BRIAN: Looks a bit like a shoe, Ms Hurwit.

    TATIANA: A heavy shoe, Brian. So I put a knot every three feet.

    BRIAN: Does that mean that the first knot is at four feet, Ms Hurwit?

    TATIANA: No, I included the shoe and only gave that part two feet of rope. And of course meanwhile...

    BRIAN: My favorite part.

    TATIANA: ...I'm making us a pot of blackbcerry sorbet.

    BRIAN: I'll be glad to take over while you explore the bottom of the pond.

    TATIANA: I'm not jumping in today. Today is just what we treasure hunters call exploratory work. You see, we move the shoe around and if it kicks anything, we know there's something at that depth.

    BRIAN: Couldn't it kick a fish?

    TATIANA: Brian, don't you think I can tell a fish from a sunken pirate ship?

    BRIAN: Of course, Ms Hurwit. I'm just a fifth grader.

    TATIANA: Well, you just know so much I keep forgetting. Wish you were in sixth grade with me.

    BRIAN: I'll try extra hard.

    TATIANA: Down goes the probe.

    BRIAN: Do you really think there's a pirate ship down there?

    TATIANA: Hold the pot still - there's got to be something down there. We're on a raft. Do you think we're the only people to ever have taken a boat out past the swamp?

    BRIAN: Wow. Spanish doubloons.

    TATIANA: Move the pot to the right. I don't feel anything under us. Look, you row and I'll handle the probe with one hand and the sorbet with the other.

    BRIAN: Nothing cooler than a cup of slushy sorbet when you're treasure hunting.

    TATIANA: Nothing cooler than a cup of blackberry sorbet.

    VOICE (PERKINS): Give way! Give way!

    BRIAN: Who's that? I don't see anyone.

    TATIANA: Sounds like that rich brat Perkins Kreggs.

    BRIAN: Why can't I see him?

    (Toy yacht zooms into view.)

    VOICE: Make room! Make room! I've got right of way.

    TATIANA: I don't believe it! He sends a mini remote control ship all the way over here and expects us to row out of the way!

    BRIAN: I don't mind, Ms Hurwit.

    TATIANA: Well, I do! Perky, you turn that ship around right now, hear me?

    VOICE: I'm the smaller ship, so I have right of way. It's the rules, Tatiana!

    TATIANA: So help me, I'll swim out there and give your toy ship just what it deserves, Perky.

    BRIAN: Perkins, I don't think you'd better keep bothering the Captain. We're very busy hunting for sunken ships.

    VOICE: Hunting for sunken ships? You mean you and Tatiana are busy garbage picking.

    BRIAN: I never looked at it that way.

    TATIANA: We are treasure hunting! We are not garbage picking! And even if we were, I'll have you know you could learn a whole lot from people who pick garbage.

    BRIAN: Sure, archeologists! That's how we know about King Tut.

    TATIANA: And that old lady with the big hair who tells your fortune by touching your old clothes.

    VOICE: Garbage pickers! Garbage pickers.

    BRIAN: I think that old lady's pretty smart. She makes all those things out of the clothes you give her: pillows, hats...

    VOICE: You're just dirty garbage pickers. Can't you see that?

    TATIANA: So get out of our swamp, Perky. If it's so dirty, you can just get out of here.

    (Toy yacht moves.)

    VOICE: Au revoir!

    BRIAN: What does that mean?

    TATIANA: It means he's too stupid to answer our questions.

    (Toy yacht bumps into raft. Stops dead.)

    VOICE: Bummer.

    TATIANA: Brian, give me the extra rope. Perky's boat is going to sink!

    VOICE: Don't lose your breath over it. It's time to get another ship, that's all.

    BRIAN: Here, I made it a lasso.

    TATIANA: Perfect!

    (Tatiana throws it at the ship.)

    TATIANA: It's hopeless. It's too short.

    (Tatiana takes off her shirt. Too late. The ship sinks.)

    VOICE: (shouting) So long, garbage pickers!

    TATIANA: Oh yeah? If you ever want to see your toy yacht, you're going to need a couple of garbage pickers! Have you thought about that?

    BRIAN: And we don't work for cheap, either! It'll cost you at least sixty cents per expedition. Plus expenses - you know, for the blackberry sorbet.

    VOICE: Sorry! I don't picke garbage cans, and I don't care what's at the bottom of the swamp. And even if I did - you're just stupid kids. You don't even get cable television.

    BRIAN: Why don't you leave us alone, Perky?

    VOICE: Who'll make me?

    BRIAN: Me and the Pondside Elementary School championship skipping stone in my left pocket. You're getting me sore!

    VOICE: All you stupid kids from the square are the same. Guess I'd better go before you start making monkey sounds and beating the water with a stick. Bye, garbage pickers!

    TATIANA: That was a smart lie, Brian.

    BRIAN: I wasn't lying, Ms Hurwit.

    TATIANA: Brian! I'll never figure you out.

    BRIAN: Thanks, Ms Hurwit.

    (Tatiana yanks at rope.)

    TATIANA: Brian! Brian! There's something at three yards, two feet, and a shoe!

    TATIANA and BRIAN: (together) Pirate ship!

    BRIAN: Oh, I hope the sorbet's gotten hard.

    TATIANA: We've got to mark this place.

    BRIAN: We could try to remember it.

    TATIANA: No. Never try to guess when you're treasure hunting.

    BRIAN: Here's a cup. Blackberry sorbet.

    TATIANA: Best in the world.

    BRIAN: What do we do next?

    TATIANA: If only we had a balloon. That's how professionals do it. They use floating things called buoys.

    BRIAN: If we cover the pot tight, maybe it'll float. It's very light.

    TATIANA: Eat! Eat that sorbet like you've never eaten before.

    BRIAN: Aye-Aye, Ms Hurwit!

    TATIANA: And, Brian, call me Tatiana.

    BRIAN: Why, thank you, Ms Hurwit.

    End of Scene 1.

  • An intro to a tale unrelated to the sci-fi saga, that takes place in contemporary though partially fictional) USA ...

     

    ***********************************************************************

     

    CHAPTER ONE

     

    THE BLOOD WAS dark and syrupy not yet dry.  It hadnt been there long.

     

    The hole in the fence was what had first caught his eye.  The trucking company’s lot was wide open, watched over by high-quality security cameras, so only someone up to mischief would cut through the fence, seeking to avoid detection.  Anyone else could just walk or cruise right in, having a choice of two different expansive driveways for 18-wheelers, and a third smaller one for cars.

    A big hole had been cut in the chain-link barrier separating the lot from the woods beyond, backed against which were four 53’ box trailers and a half-dozen stainless-steel tankers.  The blood had leaked out from under the closed doors of one of the vans.  The hole in the fence was directly behind it.

     

    Deputy Sheriff Scott Lund felt his metabolism rise as he searched about, a black matte Smith & Wesson .45 and flashlight brandished before him.  He’d turned off his cruiser’s headlights so as not to provide a stark silhouette and an easy target as he approached.  It was dark back here, the yard lights not quite reaching beyond the trailers to the fence.

     

    His sixth sense told him there was no one lurking nearby, and he generally trusted his instincts but he also felt there was something sinister about this scene.  With or without the hole in the fence, there shouldn’t be anything in a dry-box van leaking blood.

     

    Satisfied that no one would sneak up behind him, he holstered the pistol and tucked the flashlight under one arm.  He put on a pair of gloves, lest he leave his own fingerprints, then with flashlight in hand once more, he grasped the handle, cranked it over to the left, and pulled open the door.

     

    Horror jolted through him, and he let out an involuntary yelp as he lurched backward.  In the glare of his flashlight beam, standing upright and leering obscenely out from the end of the trailer’s deck, backed by the darkness of the interior, was a severed human head.

     

    "Aw, Christ!" he whispered hoarsely, forcing himself to study the hideous apparition.  He recognized the features, distorted though they were.  They belonged to a man he had known.  A man who had been his close friend, for a long time, since the fifth grade.

     

    "Joey!"

     

    His stomach churned, and he forced its contents to remain where they were as he scanned the inside of the otherwise empty trailer.  There was no sign of the rest of the body.  A light rain began to fall as he staggered away from there, back to his SUV.  He flipped on his emergency lights, then got on the radio and called it in.

     

    "You fuckin’ found what?" was the incredulous response.  He repeated the essentials, then added, "I knew the face right away.  It’s Joe Gianetto."

     

    "Aww, no!  Who’d wanna Fuck!  Okay, we’ll get this out right away.  Stand by."

     

    "Ten-four."

     

    He let the handset fall to the seat as he laid his head back, emotions and questions a-swirl through his psyche.  The ghastly image hovered before him in his mind’s eye, and his gut began to writhe once more.  This time he didn’t fight it.

     

    Flinging open the door, he hung himself out in the rain and tossed up what was left of his fried chicken dinner and several cups of coffee.

     

    Then he thought of Joey’s wife and kids, of whom he was very fond, and he cried.

     

     

     CHAPTER TWO

     

    The hunter stood quietly, having spotted sign of his quarry.

     

    The bobtail was a classic Peterbilt conventional with chrome wheels, fuel tanks, and twin four-inch stacks.  The cab itself was predominantly egg-yolk yellow, brightly lettered and decorated in medium dark blue with burnt-orange trim, sitting under lights in the large lot outside Rascal’s Roadhouse.  It glimmered in the gentle spring rain that currently fell.  From his vantage point, the tall, thin man in black frock coat, wide-brimmed hat, and shoulder-length hair like wet corn silk could easily make out the name OXBORO CARTAGE and the logo of a big blue ox with orange steam huffing from his nostrils, streaking down a highway pulling a box trailer.

     

    He recognized it at once, for he had seen it many, many times before.  Its name was "Crazy Train", its number was 431, and its owner was the man he had come a long way to see.

     

    The intro riff to INXS’s "Elegantly Wasted" began to play unexpectedly.  He was at once startled and annoyed as he retrieved his cell phone from an inside coat pocket, and saw the familiar number displayed.  Why is that idiot calling me?

     

    He flipped it open impatiently.  "What do you want?  I said I’d call you when I’m ready."

     

    "Leon.  What’s keepin’ ya?"

     

    The voice was a deep, soft rasp, like the sound of someone slowly dragging the teeth of a saw blade across the edge of a cardboard box.  Distinctive and, once heard, easily identified.

     

    It was also completely unexpected, and alarming.  Adrenalin pulsed, and tenuous blonde eyebrows shot up in surprise.  He’d been caught off guard.  He felt his heart rate accelerating.  It took effort to keep his own mid-ranged voice calm and deceptively mild as he spoke slowly and deliberately.  "Well . . . Luther Oxboro.  How did you manage this?"

     

    "I’ll give ya three guesses."

     

    A thin smile touched thin lips on a gaunt, chalk-white face.  "Oh, I won’t need three, since there’s only one possibility."  He drew a deep breath, thankful for the noise of several cars and a decelerating semi passing by on the road to give him reason to pause.  Then he went on breezily, "Tommy Ro obviously gave you his phone to use.  I guess he’s about as faithful as a married nymphomaniac whose husband is always too gone for too long, wouldn’t you say?"

     

    This was greeted with silence.  Another thin smile appeared.  "Ohh-h . . . sorry about that.  I didn’t mean to pick a scab."

     

    "I know what you meant."  The tone was even, betraying no emotion.

     

    "I suppose it was he who told you I’d been released."

     

    "Nope.  Blake passed you on the road just west of Mankato the other day as you were hoofin’ it this way.  The rest wasn’t hard to figure out."

     

    "And you’re wondering where I am now.  Not far.  Not far at all."

     

    "I know exactly where you are.  You look like something the feds fished outa Lake Minnetonka last summer.  So why are you just standing out there in the rain?"

     

    Leon felt a chill run up his spine.  Same old Luther.  Dead-pan delivery, making a solid and surprising point.  How the hell does he know?  Can he see me?

     

    Two pickups passed by heading the other way.  He turned his back to avoid the glare of their headlights, and kept his voice light with effort.  "What’s the matter, old man?  Worried I might melt before we can have our inevitable rendezvous?"

     

    "The only thing I’m worried about is innocent people getting caught in your crosshairs.  Stay out of Thunderhead.  I’ll meet you somewhere else.  You pick the place."

     

    "Oh, I’m afraid that won’t suffice, Luther.  I have business here.  And it’s not your business to tell me my business."

     

    "Listen, bozo.  If you’re comin’ for me, you come for me and leave the rest alone.  Anybody else gets hurt, I’m gonna make sure yer bony ass lands right back in Stillwater but not before I turn you into the Bride o’ fuckin’ Frankenstein.  You understand?"

     

    "Ahh, spoken like the noble creature you are," Leon mocked.  "Now you listen, you sawed-off little runt.  If no one bothers me, I won’t bother them.  If they step into my path, I will remove them.  It’s as simple as that."

     

    A gravelly chuckle.  Then, "No, Leon, you will avoid  them.  Or I just may just back out of here and let Blake have his way with you."

     

    Leon sneered into the phone.  "I’m not the least bit intimidated by you or that bouncing baby boy of yours."

     

    "You should be, stick-man.  You’re calling me a little runt?  I may be on the short side, but my balls weigh more than you do, fer Chrissake."

     

    "What did you hope to accomplish by this little play, anyhow?"

     

    "I accomplished it as soon as you answered the phone."  The voice was a bit more strident now.  "You shouldn’t have come back here, Leon.  You shoulda taken yer freedom and run with it."

     

    Leon sighed, feigning disappointment.  "Luther, Luther . . . how have we come to this?"

     

    "As if you had ta ask."

     

    "No matter now, though, is it?  I made you a promise and I intend to keep it."

     

    "Bring it.  I’m looking forward ta shoving a stick up yer ass and planting you in old man Aarsvold’s cornfield.  You’ll make a perfect scarecrow just as you are, no make-up required."

     

    Leon’s expression grew stony.  "You’re a funny man, Oxboro.  I’ll be seeing you soon.  Any day now."

     

    With that he thumbed off the phone and stuck it back in his coat pocket.  He turned then and stepped up to the large green sign with white lettering that announced, "Thunderhead Lake.  A Minnesota Star City.  Population 13,471."  He waited for another break in the traffic.  Then, flipping out a stiletto with a practiced motion, he scratched off the last digit and a bit more of the green paint to expose the shiny metal beneath, rendering it a zero.

     

    "Population 13,470" it now declared.

     

    With a satisfied sneer he put away the knife and turned again, long thin legs in a slow stride carrying him past the big travel plaza toward town.  He walked with the confident ease of one who "owns the place", as if he knew exactly where he was going and what he was doing, and had a perfectly legitimate reason for being there.  As he passed the well-lit parking lot, pale, blue-grey eyes gazed through the drizzle, fixed once more upon the truck belonging to the man he had come to see.

     

    The man he had come to kill.

     

    Then, once past the lights, he disappeared into the soggy night.

    ***********************************************************

     

    Hooked yet?  If not, I haven't done my job :-(

  • Hey, Pat!

    Good stuff! :D

    Nothing wrong with feeling out the hard stuff. As Abe would put it, it helps us get more specific about what we don't want so we really know what we do want. It helps us put more into our vortex.

    And it makes rockin' music, too! ;O)

    Enjoy the wedding, Pat. Have a good time, & may your nephew & his wife-to-be live a charmed life, together!

    Sunshine & Blessings,

    Giovani
    Dress-up your iPhone, nice! ;O)

    • Smiling . . . thanks a bunch :-)

       

      I saw your reply last night, and was going to pick on you because instead of "nephew" you'd said "brother" and "sister-in-law-to-be" but decided to keep still and see if you caught it yourself.

       

      And I see that you did.  I only mention it because it was funny :-)

       

      Gotta run.  Back in a few days . . .

       

      6368730657?profile=original

    • Yup, I had flubbed.

      BUSTED! :P

      Hahaha!

      Sunshine & Blessings, to you, Pat. :O)

      ~ Giovani

  • I'm gonna be away next weekend -- my nephew Mike is getting married to his long-time girlfriend, and I'm in the wedding ( though not sure what my "job" will be ) so to make up for the time off, I'm starting my work-week tomorrow ( Sunday ) so I can get finished up by Wednesday evening.  Then I'll take two vacation days for Thursday and Friday :-)

     

    Thus I won't have time to play again for a little while.  So I want to drop this on you -- one of those angst, anger, and argument song-poems I mentioned in Amanda's "Mojo" thread, that helped me allow myself to swim up from the dark depths in which I'd been wallowing and re-discover the Light:

     

    ISN'T IT HARD TO KNOW?

     

    Just when you think you've got it all figured out,

    something comes along to raise a brand new doubt.

    Just when you think things might be going your way,

    someone seems to come up with a new game to play.

     

    Yeah, life's what happens even as your making your plans,

    goes on and on, seems completely out of your hands,

     

    And isn't it hard to know?  What seed will you sow?

    When will your mind blow?  Where does the time go?

    What will you have to show?  How will your garden grow?

     

    Just when you think you've got her all figured out,

    She throws you a curve, makes you scream, makes you shout.

    Then when you think you know just how to please her,

    She pulls the rug, sends you crashing to your knees, yessir!

     

    Changes happen, even as you're holding hands,

    and before you know it, she is making other plans,

     

    And isn't it hard to take?  Why must your spirit ache?

    What's real, and what's fake?  What choice will you make?

    How often can a man's heart break?  Is your very life at stake?

     

    BRIDGE

     

    So tell me . . . how does your garden grow?  What seed did you sow?

    When did your mind blow?  Where did the time go?

    What do you have to show?  Tell me if you really know!

     

    Is it still hard to take?  Does your weary soul still ache?

    What's real, and what's fake?  What choice did you make?

    How often can a man's heart break?  Did you wake up too late?

     

    Yeah, isn't it hard to know?  Life is so full of mistakes.

    Wisdom seems to come and go, leaving us floundering in its wake.

    Isn't it hard to know?

  • Oh thank you so much Rascal. That's really sweet of you. You've made my day! Have a lovely and creative weekend! :-))

    • And you've made mine too!  PLEASE grace us with more of your artwork.

       

      You're very talented -- far beyond your own vast UNDER-estimations!

       

      I just want to grab you and rattle you and shake you and yell at you how GOOD you are -- but that would probably only frighten you, so I won't :-)

       

      Seriously, though -- STOP underestimating yourself!  I believe you have GREAT potential, and if you just keep creating the things you LOVE to create . . . YOU CAN'T GO WRONG!

       

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