I've only been here for, like, fifteen minutes and I'm already clinging onto someone.
"Uh... I think the freshman guide went that way."
"Shh, just let this happen..." The guy who I refuse to let go of looks like he's a junior or a senior. It really didn't take much for me to flock to him. He was talking to an older professor here that I recognized as T_E_Trueman; he spoke at the National Book Festival last year that I attended. The guy looked pretty awkward from what I could tell, forcing a nervous laugh here and there through graceless, "sounds cool's," "I'm interested's," and "I might try that's." I wouldn't have paid as much attention to him as I did if he didn't catch the attention of Professor Trueman, someone who I knew could pass on my books to insiders of this game of death called publishing. And I wanna make money. I wanna make money real bad.
"Who are you exactly?" The guy asks, casually shouldering me off of his arm. I pause for a second at the question before realizing that I never introduced myself and how I probably look like a creep. My cheeks burn against their will.
"Oh! Sorry 'bout that. I'm SelfTitled. I used to go by SelfTitledKND, but that's retarded." The guy smiles a little at that, laughing in a not-so-awkward way that makes me feel like dying of happiness now that I'm actually making friends.
"Cool," he says, holding out a hand for me to shake. "Name's jwelker76. Yeah, I have numbers on my name. Deal with it."
"I'm not complaining," I reply, giggling a little as I shake his hand. "Sorry for being a total freak five seconds ago, by the way. That kinda happens when I'm put in new situations."
jwelker76 shrugs in a very "I feel your pain" kind of way. "You are a freshman, right?"
"Yeah." He gives me a once-over that makes me feel some type of way. Then, "you look pretty young to be a college student."
"Uh, yeah..." Control yourself, girl. "I graduated early from high school cuz my school is complete shit. But, like, the epitome of shit. Like that one that you just can't flush down the toilet that might flood your house. That kind."
"It was. I had to flee from that coming flood as soon as possible. I can't swim."
"Are we speaking in metaphors still?"
"No. I literally cannot swim."
"Wow." A silence falls around us that gets stunted by my mental screaming of shitshitshitshitshit! at the fear that I fucked up. Curse me and my awkwardness! Luckily, some black-and-white looking chick runs over to us and tackles jwelker76 to the ground in something that looked like a hybrid mix of a hug and a choke-hold.
"JJ!" The girl exclaims, hugging/murdering him tighter, if possible. "You didn't come to the bar with us! I thought something happened! I was so worried!" Meanwhile, "JJ" is gasping out things that sounded like the seagull noises I make while freaking out over something.
"Uh... lady? You're kinda strangling him." The girl takes a second to register what I just said before gasping and letting go of jwelker76, looking tearful like she just flushed his goldfish or something.
"Oh my God, JJ, I'm so sorry! You're okay, right? Please say yes!" Welker sits up, taking in deep gulps of air for a minute, holding up a finger for us to calm ourselves. He nodded a minute or two later.
"Yeah. I'm good. Sorry. I was just showing this freshman around. Her name's SelfTitled-without-the-KND-because-that's-retarded." A can't help but to smile at that before waving at the monochrome girl.
"Hi. Sorry about stealing him away from you. Just needed some assistance." The girl laughs a little and nods, agreeing.
"Yeah. This place can be a little wild some time. I'm SoulHearts by the way. If you want, I can show you to the girl's dorms so you can get your housing papers and key card. I would let JJ take you, but he kinda has a date right now that he's supposed to be going to."
"I do?" He thinks about it for a second. "Oh, it's with, uh... Tyla, right?" SoulHearts shakes her head and then JJ looks delirious. "You're kidding. Okay, then it's ALifeWithArt." Another no. "Jessi?" Nope. "JRose?" Nein. He thinks about it some more, harder, and you can see how hard he's thinking. It's a head-scratching, eyes-clenching kind of contemplating. He then snaps his fingers in realization. "Oh yeah! saltandink! The banana girl!"
I choke on my spit at the last part. "Are you like a pimp or something?" jwelker76 shakes his head, but smirks and winks my way.
"I could be."
Insert seagull noises here.
jwelker76 and SoulHearts both look like they went deaf. I clear my throat and stop, face hot. "Sorry. Uh, SoulHearts! We should get going, yeah?"
"Oh, um, yeah... I'll see you later, JJ! Have fun! Make good choices! Use protection!"
"I'll try!" He grins at us and waves before walking away. SoulHearts takes my arm and starts leading me to the girl's dorms.
"So, you excited to start classes here at Prose?" She asks me. I nod.
"Yeah. I'm still super nervous though. I mean, I'm sixteen and I'm in college now with adults. It all sounds so crazy." SoulHearts smiles down at me in a very big sister sort of way that made my heart clench.
"Don't worry too much about it. When you get your schedule, just follow back with me and I'll help you out. If you're lucky, you'll get the really chill professors. Like sandflea68, dustygrein, JamesMByers, RubyPond or nceguy68. The the others are also nice, but more stricter when it comes to English and such. This is the only university in the country that's a pure language arts institution. And we're Ivy League. People like Broken_Toe, PaulDChambers, A, Harry_Situation, PhynneBelle, desmondwrite, T_E_Truman, and MarkOlmsted are gonna be expecting the best from you." I let that sink in, chewing the inside of my cheek.
"That doesn't sound too bad..." I nod some more. I've been nodding a lot lately. "Anyone I should go to or avoid?"
"Well... I wouldn't really say avoid, but we have some people here that seem like they wouldn't really be your cup of tea. For instance, there's Octavian. Nothing wrong with him. He's just totally fine and I will end you if you ever touch him or my JJ."
"There's also AndyBetz. He's a professor here, too, but I hope to god that you don't have him as a teacher. He has this thong thing going on and it's so gross."
"And EstherFlowers1 is a literal tiger. Then CreativeChaos is a lion. I kid you not. They just walk around here attacking people because, you know, why not?"
"...What the fuck did I get myself into."
"But, as for people you might like..." She takes one glance at my My Chemical Romance t-shirt and then the "NBHD" bands on my wrists. "I think Winterreign is into the stuff you like. So is OnyxCity, lonely, Hella and Bunny. You know. The goth and emo squad."
"Just kidding! They're actually super nice! They just have darker senses of humor sometimes."
"...I guess that's okay."
"Delilah49 is super nice if you just need someone to talk to or help showing you around. She helped me out quite a few times when I first started coming here. Then casteleijn is super into that punk stuff. Like, "ANARCHY BABY!" stuff. I do know for a fact that itsdemoray is into The Neighbourhood, so that's an easy conversation starter. Finally, justaperson is a younger student like you are. I bumped into her when arriving today. Maybe they set you two up as roommates?" I immediately brighten up at the news.
"Yeah, hopefully." We continue to talk to each other about insignificant things because that's all filler due to a lack of inspiration to write it. She helps me get my key card and then leads me up to my room. I smile at her before heading inside.
"Well," I say, "this is my stop. Thanks a lot for helping me out today. Sorry again for keeping jwelker76 away from you."
"Hey, it's not problem. I'm just glad you made it here okay. Just one more thing though." The bright smile on her face darkens like the black side of the moon. "If you so much as touch my JJ without my permission, you'll lose your hands. Got it?"
"OOOOKAAAYYYY NOWWWW IMMA JUST GO IN MAH ROOM NOW THX!" Practically running into the dorm and slamming the doors shut, I lean my back against the surface, eyes clenched shut, trying calming down from that near-death experience. "Christ, what a day..."
"Oh yeah, definitely." Eyes snapping open, I come face-to-face with the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. Only thing is that she's naked, still wet, and drying her hair with a towel, so she must have gotten out of the shower not too long ago. I can already feel my face swelling with blood. The woman beams at me and walked over, holding out a hand for me to shake, not even caring about how unbelievably hot she is. "Hi. My name's SamanthaFowler. I guess we're roommates, huh?"
Holy motherfucking Baby Jesus Christ with eagle wings. This school fucked me the hell up.
"Y-Yeah..." I force a smile and shake her hand, doing everything in my power to keep my eyes on her face only. "I-I'm SelfTitled... nice t-to meet you, Samantha..." She raises an eyebrow at my stuttering before sending a devious smirk my way.
"You can look if you want. I don't mind," she purrs.
"It's not like I'm the one doing the staring." She takes a second to eye me up and down, biting her lip. "Although, I could be."
Internal seagull noises.
"I-I sh-should go unpack my things now..." She pouts, but shakes her head with a breathy laugh and a smile, letting go of my hand and taking a few steps backward so I could have my space.
"Good idea. You have a long day tomorrow anyone. You should relax tonight now that you have the chance." Is it just me, or does everything she says sound like sex? It's probably just me. Fuck you, God, for making me a raging bisexual. She chuckles at the look on my face before turning around and heading back to the bathroom attached to our room. The good thing about Prose University is that the dorms are so big and the school is so rich that we don't have to share one, huge bathroom, but each dorm gets it's own. Much like a hotel. The bad news is that I'm sharing a room with a fucking Succubus. Before closing the door behind her, she turns around and winks at me. "You can join me in here if you want. I'd love to get to know you better."
It's gettin' real hot in here, but I've gotta keep on my clothes today. I do this weird thing with my neck that nods would be ashamed of it I associated it with them. She closes the door to the bathroom, leaving me and my gay thoughts alone. Jesus H. Christ. The best thing that I can do in this situation is either eat the gay away or sleep. Without much thought, I flop my face into the unmade mattress of the unoccupied bed and shut my eyes, falling asleep almost immediately.
Christ, what have I done.
The Prose Universe Part 7
Emperor Jim Lamb was an intelligent, careful, and patient man. Yesterday, complete strangers wearing even stranger clothing had shown up out of nowhere inside his palace. They didn’t seem like warriors or spies. "So how did they bypass all of his guards", he thought. Maybe there was a hole in the palace’s security that he was unaware of and the rebels knew it? Then again, if the rebels knew that there was a hole in his security and also knew that he was unaware of said hole, surely he would be dead right now. So they couldn’t be with the rebellion. To make matters even weirder, one of the strangers had spoken about traveling back through time. Were they talking nonsense or was time travel actually possible? Was it really possible that they were from the future? The Emperor wasn’t sure. If what they say is true, then his army could travel back in time to the day Fort Prose was taken over and crush the rebellion before it ever got started. This war would have never happened. He then decided that he needed to keep a close eye on these strangers. So instead of kicking them out, he let them spend the night in his palace and change into less strange attire. His guards watching their every move, without their knowledge of course.
The Emperor had seen the most beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes on. The strangers had called her Ms.Vyxyn. Emperor Lamb was single and the empire was in desperate need of an empress. She would fulfill the role wonderfully. Ms. Vyxyn was not only beautiful but young. After this war was over and he had won, the emperor would need heirs to his throne. She was capable of delivering many heirs. “Ms. Vyxyn, you will be mine.”, thought the Emperor imaging that gorgeous body all hot and sweaty under him.
At the crack of Dawn, Andy Betz, his fiancee Esther Flowers, Mnezz and Mtrubenfire had left General Chambers's campsite. General Jumotki would be attacking later today and they needed to be as close to entering Fort Prose as possible. General Chambers had also awakened his troops at the crack of dawn to prepare for the coming battle. If he could stop General Jumotki’s army, then the revolution would gain access to the Mills River, which leads to the open seas. The revolution would have expanded their supply lines, and cut off one of the many supply lines available to the empire. General Chambers was glad the strangers had arrived last night. He needed as many people as possible in the coming battle. He just hoped they knew how to fight. His troops had got them out of that ridiculous clothing and had them put on attire more suited for combat. This battle would be hard to win, but he was ready to fight.
In Search of Truth
F.B.I Headquarters May 2021 (Present Day)
F.B.I Director Cole Kenmore realized he was in the midst of the biggest political scandal in American history. People had died. Millions of Americans regularly protested in the streets. People wanted answers and they wanted them now. The House and Senate were already doing their own congressional investigations into the matter, but this scandal was now a criminal investigation. He knew he had to get to the bottom of this, President Hayes’s presidency was on the line. Good thing he already had a list of potential suspects and witnesses. His first witness was Representative James Graham (D). Director Kenmore walked into the holding room, where the F.B.I. interviews suspects and witnesses, and sat at the only table in the room. In the room was a very dark window that was designed to look like a mirror. On the other side of the window was several F.B.I. agents. Sitting across from Director Kenmore at the table was Rep. James Graham himself. Rep. James Graham looked nervous. “The sooner you start talking, the faster you go home.”, said Director Kenmore. “Fine. It all started in January of 2019…”, said Rep. James Graham.
Washington D.C, January 2019
It was thunder storming outside. Representative James Graham watched the heavy winds and the cold pouring rain from the safety of his office room window day dreaming about the positive difference he would make for the people in his district. His office in the Capitol was smaller than the one back at home in his district. James represented the thirty-second district of Texas. He was not only a Democrat but was one of the most liberal Democrats in the House. He was also one of the few openly gay politicians from the state of Texas. James was new to Congress. He won his seat for the first time back in November of 2018. James had beat his Republican opponent, John Brenton, by winning fifty-four percent of the vote. Members of the House weren’t sworn in until the third of January following an election. So James has only officially been a member of congress for about a week.
Suddenly, I heard a knock at the door and snapped out of my day dream. I turn around in my rolling chair, once again facing my small wooden desk. “Come in”, I said. “Hello, Mr. Graham”, said Sarah Brown. Sarah Brown was the secretary for my D.C. office. She had long brown hair and green eyes. She was thin and often wore bright colored dresses. “The speaker wishes to have a word with you. She would like to see you in about thirty minutes.”, Sarah said. “Thank you, Sarah. Tell the speaker I will be there shortly”, I said. “Will do Mr. Graham.”, said Sarah closing the door behind her. I was feeling nervous. It’s not every day the Speaker of the House wants to talk to you. The Speaker of the House was Representative Lisa Steinbeck. She was the first Republican woman to ever become speaker. The Republicans had won the House in the 2018 midterms, though the size of their majority was lowered. They also won the White House back in 2016 as well as the Senate. However, the Democrats had won back the Senate in the 2018 midterms. Why Speaker Steinbeck wanted to talk to me, a first term Democratic freshman remained a mystery. I made my way through the speaker’s office and opened the white wooden door.
Inside the room, there was a bunch little wooden desk scattered everywhere. In the back of the room was Secretary Peter Taylor’s desk. Peter was Speaker Steinbeck’s secretary. Next, to his desk was the office door of the Speaker of the House. It was the biggest office in congress. I approached Peter’s desk. “Hello, I’m here to see Speaker Steinbeck. I’m Rep. James Graham. She wanted to see me.”, I said. “Aw, yes. She will see you now”, said Peter before ushering me into the Speaker’s office. “Have a seat. Mr. Graham. I have been wanting to talk to you for quite some time” said the speaker. “Oh, you have”, I said nervously while taking my seat. “Yes, I have. I want you to switch parties, you’ll be more useful that way, but first I need to know something. You're new to Washington and I want to know if you are a type A politician or a type B politician.”, said the speaker. “First, I’m not switching parties. Second, what is a type A politician? What is a type B politician?”, I ask. “The first rule of politics is simple. Perception matters more than the truth. It is very easy for the American people to be misinformed on just about any topic. Misinformed people take their anger out on the wrong things. You can be a type A politician who naively fights over policy ideas with arguments based on facts and reason and go on to lose your seat in the next election. Or you can be a type B politician who votes against whatever the American people just so happen to be angry at that day and win re-election”, said the speaker. "I would consider myself a type A politician.”, I tell the speaker.
Speaker Steinbeck laughs at me. “Everyone always says that at first. Then they feel the wrath and anger of millions of misinformed people. After that, they become type B politicians. They always do. Well, the ones that get re-elected do anyway.”, said the speaker. “Well, I won’t become a type B politician and I believe the American people would want more type A politicians in Washington.”, I said. “The American people have no idea what they want. They vote out all the type A politicians out of Washington. Then later get angry about the fact that every politician is Washington is type B. They get mad that type B politicians don’t act like type A politicians. Type A politicians are authentic, they rarely lie, and they are consistent in their beliefs and ideals. Type B politicians are inconsistent, willingly to lie in the pursuit of power, and are inauthentic. All the things the American people claim they hate in politicians, yet who do they elect over and over again. Type B. What incentive do type B politicians have in acting like type A?”, the speaker asked. I was shocked. This was the Speaker of the House. This was the person third in line for the presidency. It then that I realized that Speaker Lisa Steinbeck had to go. People like her had to be kicked out of Washington. “Well, I going to change that ma’am speaker.”, I said angrily storming out of her office. As I left her office, I heard Speaker Steinbeck’s laughter. She was mocking me for saying such a thing.
After leaving Speaker Steinbeck’s office, I decided to go to the House Minority Leader William Golding. He was the most powerful Democrat in the House. If anyone could help bring down Speaker Steinbeck, surely he could. So I made my way to his office and recounted my visit with the speaker. “As hard as it may be to believe, she is right Mr. Graham. Also, I think you should consider switching parties.”, he said. I was even more shocked.”You think I should switch parties.”, I said. “Yes, you have only been here a week and have already proven yourself to be the most liberal member of congress. You should switch parties or at least move more to the right. You know, tamper down that liberal lion. You wouldn’t want people to see you as being too…liberal. You would be more useful that way.”, he said. I was speechless. Without saying a word, I left his office and went back to mine. I didn’t just need to bring down Speaker Steinbeck, I also needed to bring the minority leader down as well. I’m a brand new member of congress, how was I supposed to bring down two of the most powerful people in Washington?
F.B.I Headquarters May 2021 (Present Day)
While Director Kenmore was questioning Rep. James Graham, F. B. I. Deputy Director Sam Rider was in a similar room down the hall questioning E.J. Dionne Jr. “I don’t know why I’m here. I don’t know anything.”, said E.J Dionne Jr. “Well, you can start with the meeting you had with President Hayes in March of 2019.”, said Deputy Rider. “Fine”, said E. J. Dionne Jr.
Washington, D.C. March 2019
E.J. Dionne Jr. was currently waiting in the Oval Office waiting room. A few weeks earlier the U.S military had done a drone strike on what they thought was an abandoned warehouse filled with terrorist. The warehouse was located somewhere in Yemen. Exactly where in Yemen E.J. Dionne Jr. wasn’t sure, but what he did know was that there was no terrorist inside that abandoned warehouse. No, the only soul that had been in that warehouse was a U.S soldier. A U.S soldier that just so happened to be his son. The Pentagon blamed the incident on bad intelligence. When he first heard of his son’s death, he was sad beyond measure. It was only after he heard how his son died that he became angry. Some White House staffer had invited him to the White House. He guessed President Hayes wanted to apologize in person instead of over the phone, which was fine with him because he had questions that he wanted to be answered. A woman that he guessed was the President’s secretary walked to him. She was wearing a bright green dress, thin framed glasses and six-inch pump stilettos. She looked like was in her early thirties. “The President will see you now.”, she said with a New York accent.
E.J. walked into the Oval Office. President of The United States Chris Hayes was sitting behind his desk. He wearing a nicely tailored suit, white shirt, and red tie. The President got up to shake E.J. hand. “Hello, Mr. Dionne. Please have a seat.”, said the President. “Hello, Mr. President.”, I said sitting down without shaking his hand. President Hayes took a seat next to me. “Mr. Dionne, I want to apologize in person for the death of your son. I know my words could never bring him back. The incident should never have happened”, said President Hanes. “Is that apologize really coming from the goodness of your heart or was it because my son’s death embarrassed the Pentagon? Let me guess how this goes down. You apologize to me and then we take some photos. After that, the press will spends some time complementing your leadership and we all move on with our lives. Meanwhile, no one gets fired, especially the people who gave you the bad intelligence. I’m not here so you can apologize. You could have done this over the phone, but you couldn’t live with yourself. I’m here because you want my forgiveness. So I could soothe your concise. Well, I do not forgive you, Mr. President. I will not subdue your conscience. I will not make it easier for you to sleep at night.” I said.
President Hayes faced drop. There was a long pause and both men sat staring at each other. Then the president spoke. “There is an old saying that the founding fathers used to say, good and moral men may enter the office, but none shall leave it. Every day I have to make morally ambiguous decisions. Decisions where it isn’t clear what is right and what is wrong. Decisions where it isn’t clear if there is even a difference between the two. In politics, the truth is not what matters. What matters, is what people believe the truth to be. Hell, I‘m not even sure what the truth is and I’m the president. However, that doesn’t matter because what matters is the smoke and mirrors not what’s behind them. Look, the only thing I can be sure of is that I nor this nation can afford for me to be indecisive. We thought that warehouse was filled with terrorist and I did what I thought I needed to in order to protect this nation. You not forgiving me will never keep me up at night. What keeps me up at night is knowing that I will have to make similar decisions the next day and the day after that and so forth until I am no longer the president. I am sorry about the drone strike killing your son. I really am, but if you think I cared about your forgiveness you are wrong. Now get out of my office.” And with that E.J left without speaking another word.
F.B.I Headquarters May 2021 (Present Day)
“Is that really what happened?” said Deputy Rider. “ Yes, that is really what happened.”, said E.J, sounding annoyed. “What did you do after that?”, said Deputy Rider. “I wanted to make him hurt. The 2020 Presidential wasn’t too far away. What better way to make him hurt then ensure that he was a one term president. Obviously, that didn’t work out, but I tried anyway.”, E.J. said. “Did you seek help for this plan of yours?” said Deputy Rider. There was a short pause as if E.J. was wondering whether or not, to tell the truth. “Yes, I went to Senator Sunbeam.”, said E.J. “You went to see the Democratic senator from Florida that would later be murdered the night before the presidential election?”, said Deputy Rider. There was another pause. “Yes, yes I did”.
Title: In Search of Truth
Genre: Political Drama
Age Range: 18 to 80
Word Count: 2,288
Author's Name: Pen Name: Salinger Twain Real Name: J'sai Alexander
Why a good fit: This book would be a good fit because everyone is on a quest for the truth. Thus, everyone will be able to relate to the main character's quest.
The hook: This book turns reality on its head and will make the reader question what is and what isn't real. Is reality only what we perceive it to be or do we have to look beyond the smoke and mirrors? This book is also filled with political drama, that will leave many wondering if it happens in real life.
Synopsis: Journey with F.B.I. Director Cole Kenmore as he tries to solve the biggest political scandal in American History. People have been murdered, political careers have been ruined, millions of Americans are regularly protesting in the streets, and a presidency is in jeopardy. Who lives to see another day? Who gets arrested? The ending will shock you. Prepare to question yourself about what you think you know.
Target Audience: Adults of any age.
Bio Platform: I am a self-taught writer. I am currently seeking a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Texas Tech University.
Personality: I am very creative, especially in my writing. I love learning new things. I love to decorate and I am deeply into politics.
Likes/Hobbies: I like to write, cooking, listen to music, and watch the news.
Hometown: Rowlett, Texas
Bearing burden to a thousand young souls,
I see a road that stretches across miles
Each one is lost in their own worlds
While seeking answers in their lives.
As I pity these people, I stop to see an old man sitting under a tree,
He was a locksmith with so many locks that unfurl by a single key,
I walked up to him with my small lock whose key had been lost,
I had so many reasons to go to him and so many not.
My doors have always seemed to lock themselves when all I wanted was to explore inside
So that now I don't seek answers to these mysteries that got locked behind.
And when I started to take a turn back home I heard a whisper across the street,
I saw him standing behind me while staggering his feet,
"You must know every lock has a key"
I smirked a little "then why am I not able to see?"
I saw his eyes waver, stealing all my tainted glories for a moment,
"Not all doors lead to beautiful ends
Sometimes walking inside them leave you dumped and sore,
You didn't have the wrong key darling
Just the wrong door."
Jade Murder Without Remorse Excerpt Chapter 30
It was the end of the week on a Friday when I answered my telephone. Even before I picked up my phone, I felt that I could feel the sense of urgency to its demanding rings. I considered letting it continue to ring and leaving the office for the weekend, but in a job like mine, I knew that it could be an emergency with one of my psychiatric patients. I really wanted to go home to my cozy apartment and have a stiff drink since it had been a difficult week for me. I pictured and imagined the smell of the warm pot roast that my housekeeper had left in my oven. I hadn’t had time to eat any lunch and was ravenous.
“Hello,” I said into the mouthpiece, trying not to show my annoyed feelings. “This is Dr. Cohen.”
“Dr. Cohen, this is Jade. I just needed to hear your reassuring voice. I am feeling shaky and a little unhinged. The last couple of months have been challenging for me.”
I felt a tremor of concern course through my body upon hearing Jade’s voice. She seldom called me with good news. “Jade, is anything wrong? Where are you? Is your husband okay?” I really hated to ask these questions but believed that I needed to get to the bottom of Jade’s obvious emotional state. At the same time, I felt a little aroused as I waited for her tale to begin to unfold. Jade took the actions that were only ‘pie in the sky’ for me. My admiration for Jade began to increase as I saw her reach for her dreams once again. I could imagine such things but I did not have the guts to follow through. One day, I hoped to let my inhibitions go.
“Oh, Dr. Cohen, I am no longer in North Dakota and I am no longer with my husband.”
“Did you get a divorce or are you separated?” I asked hopefully, needing her to assure me that he was still in the land of the living. However, I knew that this was unlikely.
“My beloved husband, Jim, had a terrible accident. The bed of a truck came down suddenly and crushed him to death. Please don’t think it was my fault – it was an accident. The truck mechanism malfunctioned and slammed down on him. The insurance company admitted that the truck was defective and settled out of court,” Jade promised with muffled sobs. “I am so upset and will miss him so terribly.”
I really did not believe Jade entirely but she was so convincing. I knew that I must give her the benefit of the doubt. And she did sound very distressed and troubled. “Jade, are you all right? I am so sorry. I know that you really seemed to like this husband. Where are you? Would you like to come in to see me? Is there anything else bothering you that you want to talk about?” In my heart, I wanted Jade to be a normal person and I couldn’t help but care about her. She had been my patient for a long time and I felt a connection to her. Her downward erosion seemed to be pulling my values down to her levels and I couldn’t do anything about it. I also was beginning to become sexually aroused by the tales of her exploits, although I did not want to admit my shortcomings.
“I had to get away from North Dakota after the tragedy,” informed Jade. “I am in the sunshine in Miami Beach trying to get back to normal. I need this time to rest and recuperate and can’t get in to see you now. But there is something I need to discuss with you. Do you have a few minutes?”
“Of course, Jade,” I reassured her. “Is something bothering you other than the tragic death of your husband?”
“Dr. Cohen, I am still having feelings of paranoia. I am sure that some sinister person is watching me and wants to do me harm. He seems to be inside my mind, making me believe that he is responsible for the hardships and pain in my life. Is this a just a figment of my imagination or is this really happening to me? I try not to have these feelings but they are beginning to overcome me. They seem to persist day and night and I find it hard to go on with my life.”
“My plan is beginning to work,” I thought. “Soon Jade will be completely consumed by her paranoia. I think that she will eventually be unable to function and I won’t have to take any drastic actions. The course of her behavior needs to stop and I must become the master manipulating his puppet.” My slight body seemed to expand and become more powerful as I took charge of my patient.
“Jade,” I assured her, “if you think something is so, it is true in your mind. You must avoid the conduct that brings on your paranoia. It might be reaching the time that you need to take yourself away from the world to a place where you can be helped and medicated. Do you think that now is the time when you feel ready for this kind of solitude and peace from your thoughts?” I smiled as I thought of having Jade in my complete control where she would have no choice but to cater to my every whim. “Yes,” I thought, “an institution would be perfect for her and I could see her whenever I wanted.”
I listened as Jade’s mood completely changed from darkness to light.
“Dr. Cohen, I am fine,” she chirped with a lilt in her voice. “I was just feeling some doubts and needed to hear your voice. I feel much better now. Thanks for helping me and talking to me. I will keep in touch with you.” She had dismissed me summarily, as if my advice had no merit.
Hearing the phone disconnect, I held the phone in my hand, unable to put it down. I was overcome by a feeling of apprehension. I was angry that she did not listen to my advice. A chill convulsed my body but I knew that I could do no more. Maybe in the future, Jade would be more amenable to my suggestions. If not, I would have to do whatever I could to stop her. I really did not want to do what I feared would be necessary.
Title: Jade Murder Without Remorse
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Age Range: Adult from 18 to 80
Word Count this write: 1100 words Book Word Count 64987 words
Author Name: Pen Name: Sari Lantana Real Name: Claire Grebin
Why a good fit: This book would be a good fit because it is an exciting psychological thriller which would appeal to many readers. It has a very unique twist that no one will be able to foresee. It is very well researched and delves into psychological aberrations.
The hook: The subject of this book is a psychopathic murderer. The book delves into what caused her to be this way and is seen through a psychiatrist's eyes. Every murder draws the reader in but the conclusions reached will not be what is expected.
synopsis: Escape into the realm of the beautiful, psychopathic Jade who commands both love and hate as she charges forward in many twists and turns, engineering novel ways to kill her four husbands. Become immersed in the world of renowned psychiatrist, Dr. Cohen, who is conducting a research study on psychopaths, hoping to understand them and prevent them from treading on dangerous paths. The story of Jade is told as seen through the eyes of Dr. Cohen. But Dr. Cohen has a hidden, devious aspect as he finds himself becoming involved in a symbiotic relationship with Jade. Against his better judgment, he finds himself wishing that he had the courage to take a risk and explore the dark side as his patient does. Will he have the courage to step over the line? The suspense mounts to a conclusion that will be both shocking and unexpected. Ride this thrilling adventure into the uncharted future because the ending will prove challenging and out of the realm of imagination of even the most astute.
Target Audience: Adults of any age.
Bio Platform: I am a self-taught writer, college educated and have a background of owning and operating a dive boat charter business from Miami to the Bahamas where I saw many unusual situations and interesting characters which made me want to write my first book, Bahama Red, Intrigue on the High Seas, which is based loosely on my experiences. I now have a second book, Jade Murder Without Remorse, and am working on my third book, Half of Me is Missing, which will tie back to my book, Jade Murder Without Remorse. My books are published as e-books. I write on Prose daily and am number one on their popularity list so have many followers.
Personality: I am creative in most areas such as my writing and I also paint and sell my work. I love adventure and like to incorporate it into my books. I love to walk, do aerobics, go to the gym and I also like to socialize. I have a love for the sea and often include it in my work. I am lucky enough to live in a little seaside town which feeds my passion. I love to research my books so that the reader will become fascinated but not feel overwhelmed by pedantic facts. I love to fool the reader so the ending will be completely unexpected.
Likes/Hobbies: I write, paint, sew, enjoy friends, fish, like the beach, enjoy exercise, prolific reader.
Hometown: Flagler Beach, Florida
Chapter 2 - Stumbling into History (follows entry to S&S Challenge)
A Few Months Earlier
How could I know I was about to change the history of the twentieth century? How could so many people keep such a huge secret for decades, even into the twenty-first century?
I’ve always believed the crazier a story is, the more likely it is to be true. But this? Let me explain how I stumbled, and I mean stumbled, into history.
I’m Mark Stern. I started writing for The Philadelphia Inquirer right after college and was the golden boy at the Inky within a few years. Hell, I was mentioned as one of the Thirty Under Thirty to watch in Philadelphia. The general feeling was I was a buttoned-down, serious reporter who looked for the story behind the story. Most people, especially women, found me boring. This, no doubt, prompted Charlie, my boss, to pick me for the biggest interview of my life.
I was on my way to interview UN Secretary General-Elect Mbangu, which would put me into the big leagues of political reporting. I could develop contacts worldwide rather than just in Philly and Harrisburg. I had no idea how big a deal it would be or how little in my life would remain buttoned down. Like one of my favorite singers, Jackson Browne, once said, “I’m just a happy idiot, struggling for the legal tender.”
My newspaper’s office was a two-block walk to the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. In a city of parks, rivers and beautiful historical sites, my path to the classic station included an old office building, tacky parking lots and an overhead train trestle. The juxtaposition of the route with the magnificence of the building was not lost on me. People gave me strange looks as I passed, and I had to admit I looked a bit like a hobo juggling an overnight bag, laptop, digital recorder, and a news camera. In bygone years, I’d have an entire crew accompanying me, but with the way newspapers were cutting back, it was now normal to be a one-man production crew. In some ways, I’m grateful. I never would have been chosen to tell this story if I had other people with me.
After fumbling my way through the terminal, I boarded my train and flopped into my seat, grateful my circus act was over. I always found traveling on Amtrak trains relaxing, especially the over-sized seats. Even when all the seats were filled there wasn’t much noise. It was almost peaceful. I used the time to go over my questions. I must have changed them and the themes a dozen times in the first sixty minutes. It wasn’t until we passed Princeton Station that I had settled on which line of inquiry I would use. Who was I kidding? I wasn’t sure I’d get any of my questions out in an intelligent manner, since Mbangu was the rock star of political rock stars, and I was just a scrub reporter from Philly. I couldn’t believe I’d scored half-an-hour with Secretary General Mbangu. Fifteen minutes was the norm, and then, his time was reserved for reporters with household names. It never occurred to me that there could be an ulterior motive for this bounty of access.
The reality of meeting the Secretary General of the United Nations hit me after I disembarked, doing a reprise of my juggling act and riding the escalator up to street level at Penn Station. Time felt like it had slowed down, and I became acutely aware of everything and everyone. It was almost as if I knew on an instinctual level something life-changing was about to happen.
I wove my way up the staircase from the platform into the main terminal. Knowing that I had a schedule to keep, I plowed through the throngs of people to the escalator to the street and strode to the curb to hail a cab, puffing my chest out and standing straighter than normal. As usual, lots of cabs passed before one stopped, but there was no way I going to take the subway that day. I wanted to get there in one piece with all my equipment intact and not having been peed on.
“Where to, sir?” the cabbie said with a thick African accent when I piled into the back seat of the car.
“UN Millennium Hotel, please.”
“Security is incredibly tight over there today. Might be better to wait.” He gave me a politely concerned look in the rear-view mirror.
“I don’t have a choice. I have an interview there.”
“For a job?”
“No, with the new Secretary General of the UN,” I said. I couldn’t contain my pride, and my chest puffed out like one of those birds of paradise on National Geographic.
The cabbie kept driving but turned his head to look at me. He managed not to kill us, but I swallowed the lump in my throat, wondering if he had cabbie ESP that somehow kept him in our lane. “You are mighty young to be speaking with The Great Man.”
I fished my notepad out of a pocket along with a pen. “I’m older than I look. What do you know about Secretary Mbangu?”
“My home country is very near his. When they had great success, he shared it with our people.”
“Why did you leave?”
“The war. It was many years before his marvelous success, but because of Mbangu, my wife and children could join me in America. I owe him everything. I will get you as close as possible.” His expression took on the resolution of a soldier, and he looked back at the road. I jotted down what he’d said, thinking it would make a good addition to my article.
My new friend was true to his word. I wasn’t entirely sure a couple of the alleys we took were wide enough for the cab – or legal – but he found a way to get me near the building. Definitely ESP.
The cabbie refused payment. When I put the money out again, he pushed it back towards me and looked hurt. I sighed. “I don’t want you to have to pay for my fare.”
“Please thank His Excellency for me. This is a great honor for me to pass him a message. It’s a day I will never forget. Thank you, sir.” A tear rolled down his cheek, though he was smiling so wide I was convinced his face might crack apart.
His reaction threw me off. Maybe Mbangu truly was a saint. The cabbie certainly thought so. My thoughts wandered to how I’d bring this encounter up to the Secretary General-Elect. I didn’t want to embarrass him, but I felt obliged to deliver the message. I told the cabbie I’d relay his gratitude and stepped out of the cab and onto the street chuckling to myself that I had to be careful or I’d become the part of the story.
I used my foot to open the cab’s door as I fumbled to collect all my gear and suitcase. I pushed much of it onto the curb. As I kicked the door to close it, I put the laptop case over my shoulder, strapped the camera around my neck, pulled the suitcase. and started walking.
As I turned the corner, I saw police barricades blocking off the street in front of the hotel in a veritable sea of blue. Cops nearly stood on top of each other. An angry-faced, middle-aged officer approached me as I pushed the barricade to the side. My ebullience faded, tempered with a healthy amount of concern. Was I going to make to my appointment in one piece?
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” the portly, balding cop barked.
I plastered a smile on my face, not sure how he’d react. “I’ve got an appointment to interview Secretary General Mbangu. Here’s my ID,” I said, handing him my press credentials.
“Let me call it in.” He gave me a suspicious look, his eyes narrow. He lifted his radio and spoke into it, turning away from me, though he watched me out of the corner of his eye.
It took forever for whoever was at the station to answer him. He glared at me and put a hand on his holstered gun as he waited. I thought he might be fucking with me, but better safe than shot.
When the answer finally came, he nodded and pointed toward the doors. “Go on around front. You will be searched when you enter.”
“Thanks.” A huge weight lifted off me, and I took a deep breath.
“Next time, ask before you try to go through a police barricade. The next cop you run into may shoot first and ask questions later. I just don’t want to have to fill out the damn paperwork.”
We both chuckled, and he patted me on the back as I walked into the hotel. Two more cops and two UN guards waited inside the door. They waved a metal-detector wand over me. Then, they searched my overnight bag, turned my computer on and checked everything I had on me. Finally, they put it all through a metal detector.
After I retrieved my stuff, one of the UN guards took me by the arm, led me to a private elevator, and pressed the only button. We rose and were totally silent. The door opened. I got out.
An elegantly-dressed black man met me at the elevator. “Mr. Stern, I am Jinare. His Excellency President Mbangu is looking forward to meeting you. Please follow me.”
“I’m very grateful that he’s willing to talk to me.” My heart pounded in my ribs as nervous energy washed over me.
We walked down the hallway until we came to a set of twelve-foot-high mahogany doors. Jinare opened one, and we entered a magnificent suite. White marble floors shone with recent polish, and dark wood paneling, matching the mahogany doors, covered the walls. Elegant furniture, artfully arranged into several seating areas, filled the room. Each area was a little different. One had overstuffed leather sofas, chairs and inlaid tables. The next had tasteful, antique cloth-covered furniture. It was elegant and understated. This is where President Mbangu sat on a large sofa. A peaceful aura surrounded him, and I’d never met anyone with a presence like his. He gave me an easy smile, full of confidence and gentle strength. His peace washed over me, and some of the knots in my stomach released. Despite the size of his presence, Mbangu himself was not a large man, maybe 5’10” and one hundred-sixty pounds. In the prime of middle age, he had a smile lines around his mouth and eyes that were soft but strong. A smattering of white touched his dark hair.
“Your Excellency, may I present Mr. Mark Stern,” Jinare said, bowing to President Mbangu.
Mbangu rose and walked towards me, offering me a hand. “Thank you, Jinare. Mr. Stern, it’s a great honor to meet you. I read your series about improving education in Philadelphia. They were excellent. I implemented some of your ideas in our country and I am pleased to say that they worked.”
I almost fainted and shook his hand. The soon-to-be Secretary General of the UN had read my work. I understood the cabbie’s reverence. Some people are just powerful, but Mbangu fit his moniker, The Great Man. “Thank you, Mr. Secretary General.”
“I am not yet Secretary General, but you are most welcome.” His eyes glittered with laughter.
Jinare turned to leave the room, and they shared a grin. Mbangu winked. I had the feeling they knew something I didn’t, but I wasn’t afraid. For some reason, I was more excited than terrified. “Come, let us sit.” President Mbangu gestured to one of the clusters of seats.
“Mr. President, the cabbie who drove me here asked me to thank you for helping create peace in his nation, which led to his wife and children being able to come to America.”
As we sat down, President Mbangu smiled, his expression almost shy. I could have sworn a tear came to his eyes as he listened. “Mr. Stern, that was very kind of you. I will always remember your kindness. How shall we start?”
I pulled out my notepad, turned on my recorder and took a breath, diving right in. “When did you first decide to get into politics?”
His smile widened and took on a nostalgic note. “My father left our family when I was a young boy. I watched how my mother took care of my brothers and me with so very little. She was a teacher and mother to all in our village. I saw our country and realized that they were all my brothers and sisters, and they had no one to care for them. I decided someone needed to take care of them, so I have.”
As I wrote notes, the door swung open. Before I could turn to look, I saw a huge, almost childlike smile on Mbangu’s face. He stood and walked over to the man who had entered. They were about the same age, though that’s where the similarity ended. The other man was bit taller, white, and had a regal air. He looked a bit like Cary Grant and the twinkle in his eyes lit up the room. They hugged.
“Mr. Stern, this is one of my oldest and dearest friends, Prince Claude of Luxenstein.”
Mbangu faced me and gestured to Prince Claude, his grin matching his friend’s.
“Any friend of Mbangu is a friend of mine,” Prince Claude said, grinning.
“Mr. Stern is here to interview me for the Philadelphia Inquirer.”
“May I stay?” the prince asked, looking in my direction with his brows arched and a hopeful expression on his face.
I shrugged. “That is up to President Mbangu.”
“Of course, you may stay, Claude. Join us.” Mbangu gestured to the seats and returned to the couch.
“This should be fun,” Claude strode over to where we sat and flopped carelessly into a chair, slouching a little.
I looked between the two men, struck by how different they were but at the same time, how very much alike. “May I ask Prince Claude a question, sir?”
“Absolutely. We are more than friends. We are brothers.”
“Why is that, Your Highness?”
“Mbangu and I met at Harvard,” Claude explained. “He took his studies far too seriously. I was way more interested in the local women. My father’s influence got me in, not my grades. We couldn’t be more different.”
“That may be why we got along so famously,” Mbangu said with a smile.
I scrawled notes across the page. “Have you stayed close throughout all these years?”
This caught them off guard. They looked puzzled and exchanged uncomfortable looks. Mbangu frowned at me. “That’s an interesting question. Why do you ask?”
“Well, I’m still young, but I’ve already lost contact with many of the college friends I thought would be in my life forever.”
“Ah. That makes sense.” Prince Claude’s shoulders relaxed a little, and a smile covered his face again.
The thirty-minute appointment turned into nearly a sixty-minute marathon, covering a range of topics from politics and the state of the world to Mbangu’s plans as Secretary General of the UN. Mbangu was completely open, and he spoke easily and passionately about his country and his plans.
Conversely, Prince Claude was a player, but he looked out for his friend. At times, they finished each other’s sentences. They laughed often and shared jokes and memories. It felt more like a family dinner than an interview. Looking back on it, I was lucky to have met them in the time and manner I did. It gave me an insight into two of the most powerful men in the world in ways I never would have received otherwise.
Mbangu was as generous as he was graceful. But I could sense that he and Prince Claude were holding back and not telling me everything. My reporter’s sixth sense, a less exotic version of the Spidey Sense, was tingling, but none of the prodding questions I asked breached that gap.
After an hour or so, Jinare opened the door, his expression polite and apologetic. “Your Excellency, it is time for your next meeting...”
“I am sorry Mr. Stern, but my schedule is so tight. I have very much enjoyed speaking with you. It has been a pleasure.”
“Mr. President, thank you so much for your openness and wonderful details. Prince Claude, thank you for all your help. You have both given me great insight.”
Prince Claude smiled. “Thank you for putting up with this old man.”
We all laughed, and I left. I still felt a strong sense something was going on, but had no clue what it was.
I was in heaven. This interview was the most exciting experience of my life. World leaders had treated me like an old friend and given me perfect material for my article. I just about floated home from the hotel and spent the afternoon and evening working on my article over takeout Chinese.
There’s no way I slept more than two hours that night. I had already begun writing the column in my head. Hopefully, I could finish it in the morning. Maybe I could convince Charlie into making this a three- or even a five-part story? There was so much more than either of us expected.
Mbangu’s swearing-in and inauguration speech was to happen at 6 p.m. the day after the interview, in front of the General Assembly. I wasn’t sure if I had enough time to polish my first draft by then. I could feel the words exploding inside me.
My alarm went off at 8 a.m., and I got out of bed and headed into the shower. The hotel had a continental breakfast downstairs with my name on it.
Within seconds of getting out of the shower, the phone in my hotel room rang. A voice on the other end said, “Prince Claude respectfully requests your presence. Can you kindly meet his car in front of the hotel?”
Taken aback, it took me a second to answer. “Certainly, I’ll be down in just a few minutes.” I hung up the phone and stared at it like it might bite me. Was he afraid of what I might write? Regardless, I had to go. I dressed quickly, grabbed my gear and left my room, heading into the elevator and mashing the down arrow.
I discovered a large man wearing an expensive suit waiting for me in the lobby. “Mr. Stern, please come with me to His Highness’s car.”
I followed him to a stretch Rolls Royce. Boy, did this ride stand out! The car glided away from the curb, heading uptown to stop in front of a magnificent brownstone. The home looked like the others around it. Nothing marked it as different or unusual, yet there was a perimeter of security that encompassed more than an entire square block. This didn’t smell like it belonged to a playboy prince from a second-tier country.
One of the security people opened the limo door and gestured to me. I picked up my computer, pads and camera and prepared to step out.
“Please leave everything in the car. It will be safe,” he said, shaking his head.
“But, how will I do my interview?”
“Everything you need will be provided for you by His Highness. Please go inside.”
I was dumbfounded. Why the cloak-and-dagger routine? They’d been so open with me yesterday. What had changed? Had I somehow offended them?
I took a deep breath, climbed out of the limo, and went inside. A sleekly-dressed butler ushered me into a classic European-style library. The prince sat behind his desk. The fun-loving, amused attitude had shifted into a cool, serious expression. I almost didn’t recognize him. “Please sit down, Mr. Stern.”
I swallowed hard and took my place across from him. “Your Highness, is everything okay? Did I do something wrong?”
The silence in the air between us deafened me. I was about ready to speak again when Prince Claude spoke, his eyes assessing as he watched my face. “Can we trust you?”
“Of course,” I hesitated. “But who is we?” Despite my worry, my mind started preparing to write an addendum to the column I’d been working on since yesterday.
“If we tell you a story –” the Prince started to say.
At that moment, President Mbangu entered the room through a hidden door, disguised in the wood paneling and bookcases. “If we tell you this, we must control all your notes until we are ready for you to make it public. Is that agreeable to you?” Mbangu asked.
“Uh, I guess so. But I confess, I’m more than a little confused. What story?” I asked.
“Mbangu and I have about sixty percent of the greatest story of the past fifty years. However, we don’t know everything. That’s where you come in.”
I didn’t know if I should run for my life or listen. Damn my reporter’s heart. I stayed. “Alright. Well… what’s the story?”
“Can we trust you?” Claude asked again.
Mbangu walked over to my chair and put his arm around my shoulders in a companionable manner. “Mr. Stern can be trusted.”
Bolstered by Mbangu’s faith in me, I nodded. “You have my word.”
“Do you trust us?” The Prince said, the mischievous sparkle he’d worn when we first met returning to his eyes.
“Of course, Your Highness,” I said.
“If I hadn’t lived the story we are about to tell, I wouldn’t believe it. It is how my old friend Prince Claude and I ended the Cold War without realizing it until the war was almost over,” Mbangu interjected.
“What?” My jaw dropped.
Mbangu looked me in the eyes. “For nearly three decades, we couldn’t tell anyone. But now that I am in the public eye, we are afraid it will come out on its own. We need to know the entire story before that happens; we must control how that information makes its way into the world. In the wrong hands, the information could ruin us.”
“We just want you to find and tell the truth, wherever it happens to take you,” Prince Claude said with a chuckle.
“I wouldn’t do anything less.” I couldn’t say no. Journalism was in my DNA, and there was no way I could let a story like this prance on by without leaping on it.
“We will give you the pieces we have and protect you as best we can,” Mbangu said, patting my back.
“First, you must quit your job. We’ll set you up an account in one of my country’s private banks,” Claude said, his tone businesslike. He poured three glasses of an amber-colored liquor. It smelled strong, and strong was just what I needed.
I reached for my glass, taking a sip of the scotch within. My head spun. Was I about to become an unholy melding of Bob Woodward, Inspector Clouseau and James Bond?
“Second, you must believe whatever we tell you, no matter how outrageous it may sound. I promise, you will find proof of our tale, but when we begin, you must simply trust us,” Mbangu repeated. His voice struck me as being worried and reassuring at the same time.
Prince Claude smiled. “By the way, before you go, it wasn’t seven super models naked in my plane two months before my wedding. It was nine. It was an off night.”
I nearly choked on the drink Prince Claude had just poured for me. The grin on Claude’s face told me he enjoyed my reaction.
Mbangu smiled as well. “I think he’s ready to know the truth.”
Jinare entered the room. Horror crossed his face when he saw me, and he stopped dead in his tracks. Claude smiled broadly. Mbangu walked over and stood with his trusted aide.
“He knows,” Jinare said, his voice flat.
Claude’s amusement showed in his huge smile and twinkling eye. “He was told. I’m not sure he believes us.”
Mbangu put a fatherly arm around my shoulder. “We’ve given him more than enough to think about. Now, it’s up to him.”
The Fifth Dimension
“If I placed the target in a faraway galaxy, do you think you could hit it?”
“That’s impossible mommy, I couldn’t hit that. I would have to practice a million years.”
“Well this project I’m working on, it’s a bit similar to that. We’re trying to aim very precisely, and the math for that is very complicated. Our spaceship has to be aimed perfectly, the man I’m working with, Dr. Keno, well, he thinks we can do it with the help of many teeny tiny robots with little boosters, so tiny you can’t even see them. They could push the ship using micro movements until they have the aim just right.”
She always remembered her little Sofi’s awestruck gaze suddenly turn into a face of worry and sadness.
“Mommy, you’re not leaving on that spaceship are you?”
“Of course not baby, you know I would never ever leave you. And anyways, even if we did build that ship, it would take many years to do it. But we would send someone else to explore, of course.”
“Good.” Sofi beamed as she grabbed the target and skipped out to the yard with her bow and suction cup arrows in hand.
It had been weeks since she had received the transmissions from Dr. Keno. Several hundred messages had been picked up by the QED (quantum entangled driven) radio all at once only a few minutes after the ship had departed:
-"Dr. Helsley, do you copy?”
-"Dr. Helsley, come in, are you receiving transmission?”
-"We hope you are alive and well Dr. Helsley, we assume you cannot send transmissions, but hope you are still able to receive ours.”
-"We will continue to update you and hope you are out there. Oh and happy birthday.”
-"World war has been declared; they’re taking most of our group for weapons research. I will try to transmit as often as I can.”
-"It’s been so long, but in my mind you are still out there, exploring the unknown.”
-"They are evacuating Earth. They are taking our team with them on board one of their lifeboat ships, we are fortunate to be scientists. But I’m not sure where we’ll all go. I won’t be able to transmit anymore. I have to go. My thoughts will be with you. If you're still out there, I hope you're in a better place. May you be well Marie, Godspeed.”
She soon realized that decades had passed on Earth in those first few minutes she had been on the spaceship, and all of those messages had been sent many years apart. Now, after weeks of being on the ship, she could only imagine how much time had dilated. She felt truly alone.
Shortly after departing, in the span of a few minutes, she had watched Earth shrink down to a tiny speck right in front of her. Then the same had happened to the entire solar system, then the Milky Way. But she was not farther away exactly, she was more like “bigger away”, if that could even be said, and her known universe was now like a particle to her, tiny and unseen, somewhere within her or around her.
Through her research at LIGO, Dr. Helsely had first detected the abnormal gravitational wave patterns about ten of her years ago. Her research had led to more collaborative research with Dr. Keno, a man known as the greatest mind of the generation, whose greatness had been compared to the likes of Einstein himself, and an expert in a handful of fields including artificial intelligence, femto-technology, quantum mechanics, and M-theory, and together they eventually came to discover the source of the strange patterns: a previously undetected dimension.
Most physicists at the time who followed M-theory had believed that all of the other theorized dimensions were folded up at the string scale within a Calibi-Yau manifold, in other words, too small for humans to interact with. Dr. Helsley and Dr. Keno’s research showed that their newly discovered dimension, though folded in an unknown way, coexisted with the other four known dimensions. Theoretically, they should be able to travel through this other spatial dimension. The reason why no one ever interacted with it (as far as anyone knew) was that in order to be properly oriented towards the “direction” of this special dimension, one would require angles of azimuth and elevation so precise that any deviation even ten hundred billion times smaller than the size of an atom would be enough to prevent any interaction with the dimension. Essentially, it would be easier to hit a target in another galaxy with a bow and arrow.
It was after this discovery that Dr. Keno had begun building his ship.
Dr. Helsley had been asleep. She didn't remember opening the door or stepping out, but somehow she was outside of the ship, the ship stationary behind her. Total darkness was around her. And right in front of her was a little girl.
how can it-
are you real?”
The little girl gazed at Dr. Helsley, her smile was calm yet it seemed to project a sense of knowing much greater than any little girl could have.
“Yes, and no. I am everything, so I am also Sofi, and I am also you. I am also nothing. You are interpreting me and, therefore you, as Sofi, because in your life and your experiences, Sofi was the purest interpretation of the universe, of you.”
“I-how-I went away, as far as I could possibly manage, out here God knows where, running away from my grief, from losing you, only to find myself looking at your face again. I’m not sure I understand. I’m not sure what is real, what isn’t anymore.”
Sofi giggled and it seemed to echo from everywhere at once.
“Well, funny you say this, for the answer is both. You traveled far and eventually reached this point, where everything is and isn’t real at the same time. The singularity. Where all that was, is, and all that will be, always was. Both the largest and smallest point, where size, time, information, and everything else folds over and converges. You already know this, for there is no here or now, here, and yet it is peculiar that in your material form still, in order to process things, your mind creates the illusion of chronology in the form of asking me questions and me giving you answers, when you are in reality having this conversation with yourself.”
Dr. Helsley was too numb to be confused about what she was hearing or to ask Sofi why and how she was speaking the way she was. She was numb from the many other unbelievable things she had seen. The blue-green creatures about her own size that somehow fluctuated in and out of existence the way only quantum particles should be able to. The “school” of planets, dozens of gargantuan, Saturn-sized orbs wandering together and changing direction in unison the way she’d seen fish do. The room of the purest white she had ever seen containing only a chair and a desk that was covered by hundreds of what looked liked leather-bound journals.
But mostly, she was numb from seeing her little girl’s face again.
And yet, somehow, she felt like she was suddenly beginning to understand everything that Sofi was saying.
“You’re saying I am at the singularity of the universe? Of everything? Can I stay here? What about- what if I keep going the way I’ve been going?”
Too many thoughts and questions were racing through her mind.
Sofi answered, but this time, the words seemed to emanate from within Dr. Helsley’s own mind.
“Past this point is where the dimension you have been traveling along folds back on itself. Size, time, entropy, and information will loop. You will emerge at the other end, as a tiny elementary particle, with no control of your course. After an eternity you will form into an atom that becomes part of a molecule that will, after many more eternities, become a cell that will eventually form into the egg inside of a womb, the womb which will be your mother’s. You will be born and be unaware of where you’ve been and where you come from. You will live your life the way you have lived it before. You will then, yourself, give birth and watch your own baby grow, and again you will watch her die. From that point onward, due to the chaotic nature of the quantum effects of strong emotion, your path is more uncertain. You may make the same choices or you may make different ones. You may end up here again. But, alternatively, you can prevent all of this by choosing not to go further, by choosing to stay and know everything, be everything, be nothing. Either way, whatever you choose will happen and has already happened.”
At some point in, at the beginning of existence, the universe had been faced with the same decision and had also chosen to forget everything, only to re-explore and gradually rediscover itself. That was what consciousness was. That was what a human was.
And this is what Dr. Helsley would do. She would rather rediscover herself and relive her pure love for Sofi, even if it meant seeing her die again. If given the choice each time, she would choose to do it more times than Sisyphus ever pushed a boulder.
“Sofi-or... universe, this leather-bound book is my journal. I've kept it since the day Sofi-you, passed. I leave it here- or not here- with you, maybe you can keep it someplace safe for me, in case I return.”
It was a silly thing to do, Dr. Helsley realized afterward, right before she crossed the threshold. After all, if she did return, she would know everything once more.
"I love you, baby, I'll see you again soon."
Hourglass: A Meeting of Minds
Picture me as tangent to the floor, or emerging from the crack in the opening of a door… a ray of Light that filters you to the core...
This corner spot we’re caught in is more than just a web. Though, indeed, I seem to have gotten tangled into the highlights of my own thread, looking around, groping about… Is there lack of an audience for what is about to be said? In these falling a-parts, it’s a heartbeat that I hear, not the ticking of a clock. Is it wrong to be such a Make-believer? Nothing-ness, more than any-Thing, remains dear—these gaps in between the space of Being—a real reminder of individual and collective contention and shame: an Emptiness without healing is the illusion of what we’re feeling.
Bowing in the wind is a burden that begs to be shared. Remembered for generations, like a Shaman acting out an Act over and over with full conceit, so that we too may be self-deceived. Willfully, by our own suspension of disbelief. Letter by letter, line after line, a graphing of tissue as if by design. A seemingly, self-indulgent sifting of time—while trampolining together in the back of our Mind. Yet such Character and muscle, plotting-along, at least to ourselves we seem to be building on!
What are these “meanings” searched for, so widely construed, tacked upon a myriad of references nobody knew, could ascertain, or God forbid assume?! A little bit of Heaven, an awful lot of Hell; this is precisely where I seem to have dropped or stuck my needle… in this haystack of idiotic things that have been done, written, and said. Dust relentlessly gathers over the frayed books and records of Libraries, virtual or visible; public and private; knowledge accumulating beyond understanding and reason. A whole closed woven gray tapestry of I-dolatry in our common human history. So open to contamination. Evolution? Revolution? Or just Pollution, really? A hodge-podge of phrases so very far from Conceptualization or crystallization. To imagine that one could possibly make some kind of Sense, rather than suffer with so much silent Incoherence!
Amidst all this internal chaos, a discernible longing for something… Something that characterizes itself as “Home.” Not a fanciful castle in the sand, nor mortar-n-stone, but an inside/outside Concreteness for an Abstract remembered but not quite… owned. Something to pass on… Was there not a down-payment, a mortgage, a loan? initialed with blood, cocooned for a moment, metamorphosing dynamically, eventually to be buried with bone? In duration a giving and receiving; then sitting by the fire just thinking, brows-knitting, fingers-weaving…
The form in the corner is taking a symmetrical shape… Like a dream catcher, I see us growing there, where we all have our fill of what is filtered from the Light and the Night—that fantastic spark. Idea! An intangible good that will crossover and elevate the sum—the perfect miracle—because from One nothing can be taken, and to Zero nothing can be added.
I’ve threaded the eye—we’re back to the beginning. It’s thoughts I’ll be leaving, neither orphaned, nor widowed, or dead, begging reflection on what’s said, or unsaid, free from entrapment or dread. Just to be. See how the journey goes, this Time around which we are spinning. Don’t see hands—duels/ seconds, minutia/ minutes, yours/ hours… relax. Unwind. This is our Now: the Eternal New Beginning.
A word, a twist of a phrase, allegory, metaphor, pure onomatopoeia… Caught up in the glare of these day dreamings you may be inclined to infer by vague intimation that this is the contemplation of a struggling writer pleading... To that end I suggest we would all be misconceived… unduly frustrated even. What realities could any of us be writing? No, no… it IS all in our head. Firmly convinced of this Fiction, I propose the story of a Reader instead. How can that be, since here I am—ink stained hand—not completely blind to faith and fact, seeing this “double-edged” tract? Your potence felt, but not yet visible. I will gladly explain. It'll take a little time, and Together we’ll have to turn the page…