Five Minute Fiction

(I’ve placed this under five minute fiction, but there’s a lot of truth which cuts close the bone in this short burst.)

“Are you okay?”

It was a question I’d been asked half a dozen times so far today, and each time I’d repeated the same simple response.  “I’m okay.”

Except I probably wasn’t.  My mother and I had a complicated relationship, fraught with emotion and difficult at the best of times.  Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t abusive, or based in hatred.  It was a relationship based on love – but too much love.  The fact of the matter was that she’d loved me too much, obsessively – and she had her own mental health problems. The diagnosis I’d come up with that she was most probably a narcissistic sociopath – but she didn’t believe there was anything wrong with her.  With my own diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, a severe depressive disorder and numerous anxiety issues, we were almost destined to clash.

And we did, regularly, with fireworks and anger, and on my behalf,  a healthy dose of hatred.  She came close to driving me out of my mind, even though she didn’t intend to.  She just couldn’t bear to let me go.

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The cost of that obsession was high – instead of living out her twilight years with a strong, loving relationship with her  daughter, we ended up in a tempestuous, argumentative battle, which ebbed and flowed, but never improved.

And I’ll admit, I often wished her dead.  It’s not something I’m proud of, but it was a reliable indicator of how distressed she made me, because that love came with arguments; battles in which I would always be painted as the one ‘in the wrong’, with her a masterful twister of words, working on my weaknesses to bolster her arguments.  No matter what happened, that was her main ammunition – preying on my weaknesses to further her own agenda.

So yes, my answer to the question of whether or not I’m okay is to say ‘I’m fine’.

But the answer is so much more complicated than that.

Five Minute Fiction…

The cemetery was still, quiet. It seemed as I walked further into the grounds of the majestic, gothic church, its dominating presence overwhelmed the city beyond, forcing it into silence. No sound penetrated this far into the grounds, and the thick moss beneath my feet also muffled any footsteps.

I walked among the stones, reading the heartfelt epitaths to loved ones, the words which reduced so many lives to the bare bones of existence – date of birth, date of death. What had these people done in the gap between those dates? How had they lived, laughed, loved?

I stopped in front of the grave I sought, dropping the carryall containing my tools at my feet. I scanned the marble a second time, confirming the name, birth and death.

“Time to wake up,” I muttered.

Infected Waters by Alathia Paris Morgan

 

INFECTED WATERS:
A TITANIC DISASTER

by Alathia Paris Morgan
GENRE: Paranormal Historical Horror Fiction
Everyone knows the tale of the Titanic…a doomed voyage…here is what actually happened on April 14, 1912. Murder, chaos, and the undead threaten to sink the ship faster than any iceberg.
As a nurse, Nora Ryan was prepared for the common illnesses, but what she discovers instead is an infection modern medicine has yet to name.
Head steward, Jonathan Davis was not expecting to meet Nora and he certainly wasn’t expecting to fight a deadly infection alongside her. As the first victim of this strange illness dies and passengers are rapidly becoming infected; these two strangers must find a way to stop these undead creatures from taking over the ship.
The trip home from England to America becomes hectic for the Lambert family when they overhear startling rumors from their second class stateroom. People are dying, and the dead are taking anyone they can sink their teeth into with them. Will their family make it to their destination or will they be caught in the rising tide of infection that intends to leave no living being behind?
“What happened?” Jonathan pulled her closer to help keep them both on their feet.
“Our patient died. I need to let the captain know so he can decide what to do about the body.” Nora took a deep breath to steady herself and instead inhaled Jonathan’s cologne.
“I’ll get him for you. Go back and stay with the body until we can get there.” …..
“What do you suggest we do with his body?” Nora asked Captain Smith, hoping he had an idea.
Exchanging glances with Jonathan, he informed them, “I believe we should burn his body. There is no one to identify it, and if we wait until we land, the infection from him might move to some of the passengers. It’s a chance I’m not willing to take. Has anyone else been stricken?”
“Just one crewman, sir. He isn’t doing so well.” Jonathan affirmed.
“It doesn’t seem to be an airborne illness. Only through the exchange of blood or saliva,” Nora added, hoping to be helpful….
“Nurse, I want you to keep me informed about our crewman or any other things that seem suspicious to you. If this is what I’m afraid it is, it will still manage to affect everyone, no matter how cautious we are in preventing it.”
“I understand, and will let you know of the slightest change in our passengers.”
“That is all I ask. Thank you so much for your service.” Tipping his hat, the captain left to return to his duties.
Jonathan passed the captain as he returned with his two roommates, Timothy and Brad.
“Okay, boys. We are going to wrap the body up tightly in the sheet so people don’t know what’s going on.”
“Here’s the stretcher. He’s all ready for you.” Nora stood back as the three men transferred the body over.
“When you get downstairs, make sure you throw him into the fire, along with the wrappings. We don’t want anything to spread.” Jonathan instructed the men.
Hurrying to open the door for them, Nora stood to the side. “Do you need me to come with you for anything?”
“Nah. We got it, pretty nurse.”
“Nothing we can’t handle.” Brad grinned at her, almost dropping his end of the stretcher.
Jonathan led the way through the corridors and over to the crew staircase, staying ahead to redirect anyone in their path.
“Even dead, this guy is super heavy. Wonder what he ate for dinner?” Brad asked.
“A fat man from the feel of it,” Timothy answered, laughing.
“Shh. We are supposed to keep this quiet, gentlemen.”
“Sorry, boss,” they whispered apologetically.
The door to the engine rooms kept the amount of noise contained and partitioned away from the passengers.
Concerned with how heavy it was and where they should set it down, Brad and Timothy never saw the body sit straight up until a hand landed on Timothy’s thigh.
“Bloody hell.” Timothy screamed as the infected man’s mouth latched onto his leg, its teeth tearing out a chunk of flesh.

Alathia is known to those around her for having an a long time love affair/obsession with Dr.Pepper, she has asked to be buried with a can so that it never runs out in the after life. Always bossy, she uses her mothering instincts to help others and share awareness of abuse in child and domestic situations.

A B.S. in History and English gave wings to her vivid imagination in book form. A supportive and loving husband has given her the chance to make her dreams a reality. Their three daughters and three dogs keep her busy while writing is a great way for her to wind down and destress.
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Search for the Red Ghost by Sherry Alexander

 
SEARCH FOR THE RED GHOST

by

Sherry Alexander
Official genre of book: Action/Adventure Fiction (ages 10-14)

Thirteen-year-old Jake Thrasher’s mother is dead, and the only clues left by the beast that killed her are a few strands of red hair and a set of plate-sized tracks. When his Army Scout father refuses to hunt the animal down, Jake takes matters into his own hands and heads into a hostile desert. Wolves, snakes, grizzlies, renegade Apache, and the ever-present threat of death are waiting for him. Will Jake find his Red Ghost? Or, will he succumb to the inherent dangers? 

Jake started out into the darkness to follow her trail. He had an uneasy feeling that something was there—something barely beyond his sight—watching him and waiting for the right moment to strike. He knew lions stalked their quarry long before they attacked, knew they did it silently, and knew they killed by pouncing on an animal’s back, and biting its neck. He had seen it, had sat on a ridge with Pa, followed it winding through the rocks with his eyes, and heard the crunch of bones when it brought down a bull elk.
That was the first time Jake felt fear—honest to the bone, hands shaking, heart pounding, hair standing up on the back of the neck, fear. It was the same feeling he was having now.
Suddenly a series of deep, sharp snorts and squeals cut through the darkened space of air. There was no time to think. Jake sucked in a quick breath, gripped his rifle with both hands, and ran.
Jake saw the lion first, and it was huge—close to seven feet long with a thick tail about a third of the length of its body. It was crouched, butt up, and head down on a boulder above Storm, and ready to pounce.
Jake raised the rifle to his shoulder, and fingered the trigger. The lion studied him, and snarled. The yellowness of its eyes, the low guttering sound, was frightening, but somehow it was also beautiful—dangerously beautiful and for a second, Jake’s muscles tensed, and he froze. He looked at Storm.
The mare was wide-eyed wild, and in constant motion, bucking and kicking. She tried to rear, raised herself several feet, but the hobbles had slipped over her hooves, and she came down hard, and almost fell.
She wobbled and shook, and tried to steady herself.
Jake swallowed hard. He aimed at the lion and fired—Crack! The cat vaulted off the rock, and landed spread eagle on Storm’s back. Thick claws dug into the mare’s shoulders, and tore her flesh. She screamed and reared. His shot had missed.
He raised the rifle again, and pushed the butt into his shoulder. He aimed at the lion’s head, and fired. Almost at the same instant, Storm’s hind legs gave out, and she started to tumble backwards. Crack! The shot bounced off the rocks, and thundered down the dry wash.
The lion let out a low growl, raised its yellow eyes, and hissed at Jake.
He cocked the gun again and fired. Crack! He saw the lion’s body jerk. Storm was on her back now, and he couldn’t tell if the cat was wounded or dead. Rifle ready, he took a breath, and held it while Storm struggled to her feet. The lion dropped to the ground. Jake moved in closer. The tawny blood-stained lump of fur was motionless in the dirt. He thought it was dead, but he wasn’t taking any chances. He raised the rifle to his shoulder, took aim at the animal’s head, and fired—Crack!
Behind him, the mare started stumbling, and Jake whirled on his heels as she fell to her side. 

Three years ago, I came across a historic picture of a camel tied to a hitching post in front of an old Southwest Army Fort. I like to believe that I am an American history buff, but I had never heard of camels in the 1800s. I had to know more, so I started researching the where, when, and whys of the photo. That research led to my non-fiction book, The Great Camel Experiment of the Old West, and it led me to a legend.
After the Civil War, the military sold the camels, but a few were released into the deserts of New Mexico and Arizona. One of those camels was spotted off and on for decades. It harassed miners, cowboys, and lone riders. Then in 1883, it killed a woman drawing water from a creek. That incident led me to ask, “What if?”
What if no one knew what animal was responsible for the woman’s death? What if she had a son and he wanted revenge? And, what if the boy’s Army Scout father refused to hunt down the animal because Geronimo’s warriors were attacking ranches? The answers to these questions became Search for the Red Ghost, a tween action/adventure novel set in the desert of 1883 Arizona. 

Admittedly obsessed with American and Native American history, Sherry Alexander comes by it honestly. Her ancestors were pioneers who traveled west in hopes of making a new life, and she was fascinated by the stories of their lives on the frontier.
“As a kid, I wanted to be a pioneer, so reading books was the last thing on my mind. Instead, I lead my siblings and cousins on great adventures into the forests of Scappoose, Oregon, hunted and fished with my brother, and dreamed of forging new trails to an unknown land.”
Sherry is also not one to take a dare lightly. She started writing on a dare, and her first book, published in 1987, was the result of that dare. Recently retired, Sherry now spends her days writing children’s articles and books, homeschooling her 11 year old granddaughter—a job she says is the best part about being a grandmother, sharing her new found love of books with her family and friends, and enjoying life with her husband on their ten forested acres in Southwest Washington.
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Triangle of Hope by Michael Meyer

 
Genre: Contemporary fiction/literary fiction

Feel-good contemporary fiction. Change is in the air.
Who knew that a chance encounter would change their lives, and the lives around them, forever? Three unlikely allies come together to take a selfless, courageous stand, and their world will never again be the same.
Clint Westerly has it all; that is, until he makes a fateful decision that turns his life upside down.
Tanya Wilshire has sheer determination to fulfill her mother’s dying wish, although she seemingly has now lost the means to do so.
Seamus Harrington, eighty-four years of age, is determined to right an old wrong before it is too late, even though the odds are heavily stacked against him.
If you love feel-good reads with happy endings, then don’t miss TRIANGLE OF HOPE, where “Meyer was masterful in weaving the story lines of the three main characters into a conclusion which was exactly what the title suggests…a Triangle of Hope.” (Jon Colson)
“A book that will stay with you forever.” (Wanda Hartzenberg)
His impending death hung in the air like thick smog, smothering everything in its path, obscuring a parade of ups and downs, the unevenness of thrills and chills that defined his life’s existence. It was eerie and scary, but also rather comforting, much like being in a warm bed on a cold night, like shivering while being filled with excitement at what was going to happen next. The news could very easily have been broadcast to those of his past and present, but he had made certain that all the speakers had been turned to mute. He had made the firm decision to meet his destiny without any chance of intervention by anyone. He was all alone in this, his final act.