Late Night Fiction #6

Franky with a “Y”

For anyone just joining, this is an ongoing short story (that is slowly becoming long-er). It was written in my Creative Writing class a year ago, and I’m sharing (and editing) it now… just for fun.

Scenes One through Four can be found HERE, in case you’d like to read them. This scene won’t make a lot of sense if you don’t, but you could give it a whirl. We haven’t reached the end yet, but I can tell you for certain that we are now officially one scene closer!


SCENE FIVE

The smell of coffee roused Asher out of bed. He rustled around his office, and then hurried downstairs. Franky had made herself at home in the kitchen, and by the looks of things, she had been up for hours. She appeared showered and ready to go.

Asher grabbed a cup and waved it in the air, signaling her to follow him upstairs. Floor to ceiling windows, that were previously hidden behind massive blackout drapes, ran across the entire east wall. Wood french doors were open wide, exposing a wraparound balcony. Asher rarely went out there by himself. It was the kind of place that warranted a companion, he thought, and he felt giddy with glee to have Franky there this morning.

The air was crisp and breezy, and the Aspen trees—with their new spring growth—enveloped the surrounding area. Yellowish green leaves, like the wings of butterflies, danced and fluttered amid handsome white trunks. At the edge of the property, a dirt road separated the well-kept land from the virgin forest that was carpeted with evergreens. Layer upon layer climbed the mountain to its peak, where the trees shrunk to the size of dots, and lined the waterfall’s crest.

Franky propped her feet up on Asher’s chair, and he examined her tiny feet as he sipped his coffee. Chips of black paint, probably from months ago, were still sticking to the tips of her toes. She stared out in silence as she thought about Noah. There were so many times, after the accident, that she was certain she had seen his soul. His face would light up as the two made eye contact, or his lips would form a smile as he tried to communicate with sounds. 

It was so hard not knowing what was going on inside of his mind. She had obsessed over it for months. She wanted to bring Noah back, she knew she had discovered a way, and she refused to think about the risks and consequences that were involved. What frustrated her more than anything, however, was that the operation was a success. The chip she had implanted was able to retrieve and collect data, process it, and then store the information for future use. 

The heartbreak came when she realized that, although the artificial brain was even more intelligent than her own, Noah barely knew her. He showed no emotion whatsoever. Before she could work things out, all hell broke loose. Somehow the government had found out about Noah, and they wanted him bad.

“I need to go find Noah,” She said, imagining him out there in that forest all alone.  

“I’ll come with you.” Asher’s voice cracked—like a boy on his way to manhood. His mind had been wandering, and he was caught off guard by her words. He wasn’t physically prepared for a rescue mission of any sort, but there was no way that he’d let her leave alone. He was much too fond of her now, and he had to keep her near.


To Be Continued


I thought I would use one of my own images tonight. An old railroad track that appears to go nowhere… kind of like a story with no end. Ha-Ha! Honestly, most of this scene is totally new, written yesterday and tonight. I’ve scrapped the ending that I had, and I came up with a pretty good new one, so all I’ve got to do now… is write it.

I hope everyone is doing well! I’m keeping up with school and feeling really good about things.

Stay Positive, Safe, and Healthy!
—Janet

Late Night Fiction #5

The beginning of this short story, which spans across several posts, has now been pieced together on one page. Scenes One, Two and Three can be read HERE.

I’ll be adding the new scenes as well—once I’ve worked out any kinks—so by the time you read this the page may include this portion too. I realized why I like posting it in small increments like this. Well, for one because now I’m making major edits to the original, but the other reason—the bigger reason—is that each of these posts are the extent of my attention span when I’m reading.

That explains why it takes me so long to finish a book! Anyway, I hope you enjoy this one…


SCENE FOUR

Time stood still for Asher that evening. He didn’t notice the fiery red sky as the sun made its final descent into the horizon. He wasn’t even aware that it had vanished, and they were now sitting in darkness. His eyes remained fixed on Franky, his ears hanging on her every word. 

She told him about her younger brother Noah, and how the two of them had been inseparable until she went off to the University. They came from a family that was full of love, and her countenance beamed with joy when she told him stories about their childhood together. Their parents were killed in a tragic automobile accident not long after she left, and Noah had been with them. He survived the crash, but suffered tremendous brain damage. 

Franky was a brilliant student with a scholarship in computer science. Machine learning and artificial intelligence were her areas of expertise. Professor Hinkle, who was the head of the department, had taken her under his wing when he noticed her potential. She had experienced many successes with her experiments, and he assured her that her work far exceeded anything he had ever seen from a student.

They spent months discussing the possibilities of AI brain implants. The professor was much too cautious and conservative in his thinking though, and the two disagreed about many things. They just could not not see eye to eye, so Franky distanced herself from him. She built a makeshift lab in an abandoned wing of the university, and night after night she would work in secret. Finally, after weeks of very little sleep, she had made a significant discovery. She believed she had found the answer, something miraculous, and it wouldn’t just help Noah—it would bring hope, and new life to people everywhere.

“I made a horrible mistake.” Franky confessed. “I wasn’t thinking straight. I was tortured by grief. Noah was with me, but the brother that I knew and loved was gone. It was like watching him die, over and over again.” 

Her eyes welled with tears and one managed to escape. He watched it glisten as it slid down her cheek. She leaned back in the chair and stared upward. Asher followed her lead. The firmament resembled a black canvas, dotted with a billion radiant stars, and careful strokes of the artist’s brush had painted a delicate milky haze over them. Franky felt herself being swallowed up by a black hole, the infinite void that surrounded her in the moment.

Sitting there in the silence together, under the stars, Asher felt connected to her. They were kindred spirits, he thought. Each of them were so driven, but their hearts were filled with discontent. He tried to grasp his emotions as he stared into the black. He had never been romantically inclined, but he was drawn to her in the most indescribable way. Prepared to speak his mind, Asher looked over at Franky, only to find her sleeping. It was time to put her to bed.


To Be Continued

Good night everyone!


Photo by Bartosz Kwitkowski on Unsplash

Late Night Fiction #3

Chapter One Continued

Asher stood frozen as questions flooded his mind. Was he going mad? Was it a dream? He pinched himself hard and yelped. Shards of glass crunched under his feet as his body shifted. With his eyes still glued to the window, he sidestepped to the broom closet. Suddenly something moved outside. It looked like an animal of some kind, sprawled out in the yard beyond the front steps. Perhaps it was a deer, he thought, they came around often.

The animal struggled to rise and collapsed again. He grabbed his flashlight and crept out to investigate. Its deliberate breaths grew louder and more strained as he approached it. Illuminating its form with the light, he learned that it wasn’t a deer at all. It was a young woman! Asher plucked her up and rushed inside, placing her body on the couch, near the fire. As he let go of her small body, her eyes opened wide and she clutched his arm.

“Please don’t say anything,” she pleaded.

Before he could respond, her eyes closed and her body withered into the cushion. What did she mean by that, he wondered. Surely she was delirious! He covered her with blankets, and sat nearby to observe, watching her sleep until the sun rose.

In the morning, as the light came in, the woman stirred. She looked around, moaned lightly, and then faded back to sleep. Asher left a glass of water on the table beside her, and retreated to his office. He slumped down in his chair, heart racing, his forehead covered in sweat. He was painfully uncomfortable around women, and now he had one in his home! What was he going to say to her? The computer lit up and a reply from his sister appeared. “Thank God,” he mumbled. 

Asher,

I can’t believe you! How can you unplug from the world like you do? I’ve been trying to call you. Please look at the news! Whatever it was that you saw, it is real. You’re not imagining things. Everyone is searching for him. They don’t know who he is, or WHAT he is, but they believe he’s dangerous. He was seen near Denver, carrying a woman. I’m having trouble believing it myself Asher, but it’s true!

I pray that you read this email, and stay safe until he’s found! If you have your phone, please answer it! Or call me!

—Emma

The cabin was secluded deep in the Rocky Mountains, nearly two hundred miles from Denver. Was this thing a man, or some kind of wild animal? Bigfoot perhaps? Had he carried the young woman all that way? Asher reached for a bead of sweat on his forehead, just before it reached his eye, and read the email again. Suddenly the floorboard creaked, and a shadow blocked the hall light. He fumbled for the power button, and the screen went black.


To be Continued

We’re getting to the parts that I want to rewrite, so the upcoming scenes will be coming in slowly. I’m not liking the fact that it feels drawn out. We had a page minimum on the assignment, so that’s exactly what I did at the time—draw it out. Ha-Ha! Anyway, I don’t like it. I think a short story should be just that: short. With my attention span, I don’t have the patience for a slow moving plot.

Also, I don’t want to sound like an alarmist, but I felt pretty cruddy all day—and maybe feverish. I slept on and off for several hours, and am heading back there now. Let’s hope I sleep it off tonight!


Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Late Night Fiction #2

Franky with a “Y”

Continuing on with last night’s story

Chapter One: Scene Two

Months later, and miles away, Asher struggled to assemble his router. He was ready to break his silence. He needed to make contact with someone, anyone, but who could he trust? Who would even believe him? The lights blinked as the machine scanned and searched for a connection. He held his reading glasses in place and inspected the sticky note, pecking at the keyboard to log-in. Thousands of unread emails filled the screen and he scrolled down to locate his sister. She would understand. He hit compose and began.

Dearest Emma,

I’m sorry that it’s been so long. I’ve been at father’s hideaway for months now. I vowed to stay off the grid until my book was finished; I needed to remain focused! The chapters are coming along, but not as quickly as I had hoped. Writer’s block is a terrible thing. I was certain that my solitude here would resolve the matter. You know I’ve always written best in the quiet.

I am writing to you now because the strangest thing has happened and I feel that I must share it before even more time elapses. The weather was fierce this winter, but the snow has finally melted. The eve before last, I kindled a fire and curled up at the hearth, watching through the window as a curtain of white water cascaded silently over the jagged rocks and down the mountainside. 

From my secure position, the scene was mesmerizing, and quite tranquil. When I closed my eyes, however, there was an ominous sound. It was so perversely odd that my eyes opened wide in horror. I witnessed the most peculiar thing Emma. There was something out there. It’s stature was so very odd, and it leapt across the falls with ease; from one side to the other. Surely it was not a human.

I needed to share this with you, as the incident now has me questioning my own sanity. You know how vulnerable I am, and how dangerous isolation can be. It is my hope that you’ll write back, and assure me I’ve not gone mad! You’ve always known how to comfort me, and I look forward to your reply.

Give Elle a hug and kiss for me.

Asher sighed with relief as he hit send. What he’d seen out there had seemed so surreal, so imaginary. Once he’d written the words to Emma, everything felt more real, and less threatening. His nerves were calmed, and he was sure he could get some much needed rest. 

As he reached the stairwell, the front door rattled and shook, and several loud thuds caused the cabin walls to shake. Asher’s wine glass slid from his hands, shattering at his feet. Outside the picture window, a large figure paused on the road and stared back at the house. The two stood motionless as they made eye contact. The figure turned quickly and ran, hurdling over the pines, until it’s dark silhouette vanished in the thick of the forest.


To Be Continued.

Wow! Going back to this story is fun. In case it’s not obvious, the story is inspired by an old Shelley classic, with a new twist and a modern spin. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed Scene Two.

Spoiler alert: tomorrow we get to find out what the racket was outside.


Image by Predra6_Photos from Pixabay

Late Night Fiction

This is a wild experiment. I’ve been thinking about where I want to go with my writing, and it occurred to me that I could revisit a short story I wrote in my creative writing class about one year ago today. I’m NOT a writer of fiction, and don’t imagine myself going down that road, but you just never know. It just came to mind, and sounded like a fun thing to do. A nice change of focus.

Plus I was terribly unhappy with several parts, and the ending, so I’m hoping to edit the story as I sift through it. I’ll be sharing it in increments, and boldly welcome (and encourage) any critiquing. I’m not attached to the story in any way, shape, or form, and this is only an exercise. I do LOVE the idea behind the story, so I really do hope to create the perfect ending some day.

FRANKY WITH A “Y”

CHAPTER ONE

After nine months of preparation, she was ready; new life would enter the world. The laboratory was dimly lit, and was hidden in an abandoned wing of the university. Too much light would alert the others of her presence. 

She navigated his wheelchair carefully through the room, avoiding the tangles of wire that stretched across the floor. After lifting his frail body onto the gurney, she secured his limbs. A nearby thunderstorm announced its existence with a flash of light and a loud crack. Her small ivory hands stroked his blond hair as she kissed his forehead.

“I love you Noah,” she whispered.

His empty expression was briefly interrupted as an infant like coo came from his lips and they opened to form a smile. She slipped the mask over his mouth and he slept. She took great care to slice only the smallest section of tissue. The chip fit into place with absolute precision. Noah responded with a twitch; a simple reflex reaction. She stitched up the incision and leaned back. 

The storm was directly above them now, reminding her of a celebratory parade. Rain pounded down on the tin awning, like the sound of snare drums marching by. Thunder exploded in a crash of symbols, and the bass echoed through the room. The lights flickered and went black. Too tired to respond, she closed her eyes and fell asleep in the darkness.


Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

Mesmerized

sunset

Today is my experimental day.

I finished my WordPress course and started another condensed class: Web Development II. That being said, I’m trying out a little CSS to create a border and padding around my image.

What stinks is that I have no idea if it will work in the reader… I’m guessing that’s a big fat no, but I’m doing it anyway. It works on the blog itself, so that will just have to suffice if need be.

The photograph was taken last week when the sky was full of pinks, oranges and blues. It took a while to find the energy (and patience) to open Photoshop since the laptop gets worse every time I use it. If I didn’t know any better I’d swear that Microsoft installed a virus with one of my updates so I’d go out and buy a new one. They do that you know. Or so I’ve been told.

Anyway, I’ve also been testing out Pixlr X for free online photo editing. After some experimentation in there… I came up with the strange, unidentified flying lights for the sky. Since the colors in the sky seemed so surreal, I wanted to give it a fantasy feel.

Last but not least, I must confess. I stepped on the scale today. Never again will I vow to stop doing that. It only increased my temptation and shot my curiosity level through the roof. Needless to say, nothing has changed… but that’s OK.


Better to rest on plateau than to fall down mountain.
—My Own Proverb


A Song in my Soul

What I have in my heart and soul — must find a way out. That’s the reason for music. Ludwig van Beethoven

Today has been such a good day! It felt like there was a little celebration going on inside of my soul, and I wanted to burst out in song! Believe it or not, I actually wrote that before I found the Beethoven quote. How perfect is that?!

I mentioned before that I was done apologizing or explaining what went wrong with my images, but I have to be honest and say that this design wasn’t exactly what I envisioned. I love the rust tones though, so I decided that it was time to call it finished. It’s funny, sometimes when people ask me what my favorite color is, I wonder if they think it’s strange when I tell them rust, or brown. I just love those earthy shades!

I used some clouds and an old moon shot to start it out because today I was able to withdraw from my Biology class (which was killing me!), and I found the perfect replacement course that starts in two weeks; Astronomy.

Instead of peering through a microscope at bacteria, I’ll be gazing up at the moon and stars! My soul has been singing all day!

Life is beautiful… and God is so, so good!

The earth has music for those who will listen. Reginald Vincent Holmes

Urban Oasis

Big Leaf Designs

This summer I went on an interesting hike with my son and daughter-in-law. My plan was to stroll through Ferndell Nature Trail which is basically flat, covered by shade trees, and brimming with plants from all over the world. I guess you could call it an urban oasis.

I shot this Elephant Ear there, and finally got around to working on it. I didn’t get as many photographs as I would have liked because my cohorts had other plans (unbeknownst to me), and my leisurely stroll turned into a 2 mile round trip hike up the hill to the Griffith Park Observatory and back.

Anyway, tomorrow I have a Biology exam. I’m learning about cells and photosynthesis (yawn), so plant leaves kind of fit into the mix today. After a full day of studying, I really needed a breather—so… I decided to add a little magic to the image and make the giant leaves look a little less real. What can I say, it’s Hollywood!

Peace and Love!

I love Los Angeles. I love Hollywood. They’re beautiful. Everybody’s plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic. Andy Warhol

A Little Moonshine

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty. Maya Angelou

I used another cloud image taken the other day, and the moon I’ve used here was a shot taken in April—when we had the full pink moon.

On another note, I’m reading a book called Writing to Change the World, by Mary Pipher. It’s a pretty good read so far, and I’m hoping to use some of her suggestions on the blog in the future. Change is good!

Magic Lights

Whew! Too much caffeine today and I can’t sleep! I’ve been wanting to do something with the lights that we have in the back because they’re fairly transparent. I’m always seeing things through them; leaves, clouds—things like that.

My grandson worked perfect for it. It’s supposed to be magical—but I think it borders on nightmarish. Not intentionally, mind you. It actually works though, because he’s always in his own little world, tuning everyone out.

The good news is I’m finally tired…

…and Christmas is almost here!

Play is the highest form of research. Neville V. Scarfe