Breaking the Silence by Jesse C. Rice-Jones

Today’s excerpts are from Breaking the Silence by Jesse C. Rice-Jones

 

For the curious this book is an in-your-face expose’ of actual events and activities not generally discussed in a public forum. For those prepared to embrace the mysterious it offers glimpses into the unknowable. As regards inspiration, the text implies that the search for inspiration is an individual journey that can not be universalized.

Too soon circumstances taught me that an imaginary father, no matter how idealized the image, can never be enough. Yet, that same positive image I had cherished made it possible for me to finally accept and even to love my father in all his frailty, body and soul. I thank my mother for not tarnishing my conception of my absent father. And by some harsh perhaps twisted logic, I must also thank my father. His absence allowed me to walk on the wild side. Brutal as that path has been, I like where it has taken me. And yes, I am still walking. So come now, walk with me awhile…

My mother, my sister Naomi, and I attended my father’s memorial service. There were many others–friends, patrons, gallery owners, and fellow artists. They had brought paintings and sculptures of his they’d collected over the years, as well as many words of love, admiration, and amusing anecdotes. Finally, my father’s best friend at the end of his moving eulogy pointed to my sister and me saying, “Peter, to his great loss, neglected to acknowledge his best work.”  All eyes turned to us. For a moment we became part of the exhibition of collectables. Most people in that room hadn’t seen or heard from Peter for years; most had no idea that he had children and that two of them were in their midst. My sister wept. I took her hand and we went out into the freshness of the surrounding May gardens. A crow was waiting for us.

You can get Breaking the Silence from Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/421475

 

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

hugggggJesse C. Rice-Jones is a native of Vancouver, Canada. He grew up without a television. Instead he mastered tree climbing and read The Lord of the Rings, Sherlock Holmes, The Little Prince, The Hardy Boys, Robin Hood, and Eric the Viking, among others, by the age of twelve. He has worked in the film industry and coached basketball to youths. He is currently working as a personal trainer. He is passionate about Martial Arts, music, coaching, and writing.

find out more at https://www.facebook.com/#!/BreakingTheSilence.JesseRiceJones


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To Finish a Quilt by Grant Staley

Today’s excerpt is from the  novel To Finish a Quilt by Grant Staley 

 

To Finish a Quilt

‘Why did I deserve that abuse? What indecency did I have that made you turn away from me when I called?’

She [Eunice] had asked that very question tens of times almost every day for over two decades. She waited for God to speak to her, but she heard no reply so she searched within her memories for a cause. The same minor trespasses came to mind: a trivial curse when she bumped her knee on a pew, an unkind word to her grandmother, lying to her brother Tommy. Those were not real answers to her question so it was probably as her father had said in his last words to her. Somehow, she had failed God with the deep stains she wore.

That night when she was sixteen, she had been curled up on the bed wearing her long white nightgown with flowers embroidered around the neck, praying with all her might that her father might just go on to bed without another sloppy conversation. The periods of icy silence and cutting jabs between her mother and him had been bad enough, but by that point, talking with a drunk had become intolerable without disgust-soaked words filling her voice. Those prayers had been in vain.

The twenty-one year old echoes of her father bumping his way up the staircase filled her with a medley of hate, shame, and guilt. The sobbing and pain, the stench of alcohol, and the taste of blood inside her lip were still as real as that night when her pale eyes had felt about to burst from their orbits as if the pressure of her imprisoned screams were pushing them out. As always, she decided that desire was not on her bastard father’s mind that night. It was punishment.

More than punishment, her father was a first taste of what men really were. Her brother, who had deserted the family, and her husband, who like all men could not help himself around loose women, confirmed the message of that awful lesson even if they had never assaulted her physically. Her brother’s emotional abandonment had concluded with irreparable and devastating consequences. There was nothing that would rectify what he had done. Her husband’s throwing her over for an infant; however, was a grievance she would not permit. Something must change the course of his infatuation. She needed to prevail this time.

That damn baby was making more noise. Without more of a true-ringing answer to the question of why she had suffered so at the hands of men, she walked away from the bedroom, her head throbbing with every step and every cry of the baby.

Halfway down the hallway, she paused to take in the commanding panorama from high above the San Gabriel Valley. She loved this house, the prestigious address, and the outlook of the city that always gave her a sense of accomplishment. But, the baby’s cry broke the spell an instant later, causing her to sigh before she stole into her daughter’s room.

She walked through the full moon’s blue light that filled the nursery and looked down into the crib. The child kicked her chubby legs in gleeful anticipation, and her mouth arced into a pudgy heart that cooed her welcome. The child had begun to recognize her over a month ago, and she took that as a sign of intelligence. This child would be clever, probably not as smart as the son but crafty and, as a girl, able to manipulate her father.

Watching the child wriggle in its crib, she felt the night’s anger and disgust rise again. She hated this baby. She could right that wrong. It was all in her power. Jules would be sad for a while, but he would get over the loss. She would be there to help him through the pain. Babies die in their sleep all the time; she knew that to be true.

Julie started to fuss again and seemed about to let out a cry. Eunice bent over to caress the tiny, buttery face with the back of her hand. Solemnly she took the pillow from under the child’s head.

“Shhh, there there,” she whispered as she placed the pillow over the baby’s face and pressed it down along her ears.

There were sounds, painful ones that brought back her own vain pleas from long ago, but she could learn to live with those too. The infant’s legs started to dart frantically in every direction. Seconds dragged by as Eunice looked out the window.

How much longer could this take, she asked herself as the convulsions continued. She heard a click and decided it was the crib uttering a final creak.

“Mom?” she heard a second later and flinched.

Glancing out of the corner of her eye, she saw her son Gary slumped on the doorframe behind her. His red plaid pajamas hung from his lean five-year-old body.

Without hesitation, Eunice slid the pillow away, and the baby started to bawl. She spun in Gary’s direction and stomped her way close to him.

“Damn it Gary. See what you’ve done?  I almost had her down, but you’ve ruined that.”

The boy, recoiling away from her, said, “I was having a bad dream.”

“And what can I do about that?”

Gary brought a hand to his mouth and started to gnaw on his thumbnail. He turned back to his room.

“Nothing, I guess.”


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

Grant, originally from California, lives in the Auckland suburb of St. Heliers with his wife and their two dogs. He is an avid sailor, musician, cyclist, and writer.

 His first novel To Finish A Quilt is a story of a young woman’s unfathomable hurt, the way it influences others around her, and how two men central to her life reach resolution and peace. A second novel is in progress for release in late 2013. Learn more and how to purchase at www.grantstaley.com


Genesis by Mark Mackey

Today’s excerpt is from the novel Genesis by Mark Mackey

A young girl of ten, Elizabeth Axelmore, is forced to leave her planet, Tarnex-4, and family and go to earth following a space criminal invading it, hired by Danse Windman, who Elizabeth’s oldest sister Juliara, jilted time and again, and he’s looking for revenge, and wants the space criminal to bring Juliara to him.

There she is taken in by a family, the Duncan’s, Alison,  Deborah, Herbert, where she witnesses her the girl who becomes her best friend, Jordan Ellison, the daughter of US soldier Kimberly disappear without a trace, and befriends a boy, Matthew Briarson, who becomes her future boyfriend whose ghostly older sister, Tess Briarson, has one heck of an evil streak within her. Matthew later traps her in a box magically created to contained souls.

Elizabeth grows up to be seventeen.

Another one of her friends, Nicole Bakersfield get abducted.  She and a girl, Kristen Flemings, 17, roaring into town, fresh from Blue Winter Connecticut, and almost becoming the main coarse of her older sister turned zombie, Jennifer Flemings are forced to go rescue her from a secret underground military base.

There they discover that the mastermind behind the abductions is an extraterrestrial hating general, Mark Taylor, married to Kimberly, bent on destroying her due to his first wife being killed by an extraterrestrial, despite nearly dying at the hands of the general, she manages to survive, finds out that her family and her faithful witch nanny Wendeline Snowdiamond, survived the space criminal invading her planet and decides to return home, with the promise that she’ll soon make another visit to earth.

     The thoughts still fresh in ten year old Elizabeth Axelmore’s mind, the events of the past hour. Her seated in her quarters, painted a dark shade of pink, furnished with an immaculate white bed, a dark gray desk, both just right for Elizabeth’s size and shape. Her nanny, tall, regal Wendeline Snowdiamond, dressed from the neck down in a stunning, velvet dark blue gown, face framed by a thick mane of jet black hair, standing towering over her. Informing her in her familiar warm voice “you’re becoming one heck of a writer Elizabeth,” as she sat gathered behind the dark gray desk, putting words into a spiral bound notebook.

“It’s what I wanna do when I grow up Wendeline!” Elizabeth squealed in a high voice. “It’s my dream!”

“And it’s a good one to have Elizabeth,” Wendeline enthusiastically commented, offering up a warm smile.

The arrival of a unique auburn winged butterfly into the quarters brought Elizabeth to cease with her writing and stare at her with excited eyes.

“A butterfly!” Elizabeth blurted out, her eyes glistening with pure excitement.

Landing on top of her desk, it was only a second before it collapsed and died.

“Oh no, it died Wendeline!” Elizabeth yelled out. “I don’t want it to be dead!”

“Then don’t let it be Elizabeth,” Wendeline quietly commented.

“Wake up little butterfly!” Elizabeth brought forth with enthusiastic glee, restoring the insect back to life with a simple touch of her right index finger.

“I did it Wendeline!”

“Indeed you did, and you should be very proud of yourself,” Wendeline said in a congratulatory voice.

“Good-bye butterfly!” Elizabeth called out. Waving her right hand frantically up and down as it zoomed back out the octagon shaped window.

Elizabeth’s excitement was abruptly interrupted by her oldest sister Juliara come barging in. Wrapped in a sparkling blue overcoat, she immediately yelled out “space criminals had invaded the royal castle, along with her informing Wendeline to find some place to hide, and rushing Elizabeth out.

Where Elizabeth and Juliara ended up, hiding in a closet.

“Elizabeth,” Juliara said, squatting down before her youngest sister, “just in case something bad happens, I want to give you something important.”

And with that, Juliara removed a perfectly square purple object from the pocket of her sparkling blue overcoat, placing it in the palm of Elizabeth’s right hand, wrapping her fingers around it. “This is a history cube, it contains our recorded family history, as well as a few messages I’ve recorded for you,” Juliara informed her youngest sibling. “Now I want you to be brave for me Elizabeth.”

“I will be Juliara!” Elizabeth burst out in a shrill voice, not wasting a moment stuffing the history cube into her trusty backpack she always carried around with her. Unfortunately for the two of them, this fully emotional, tearjerker moment was cut short as the result of the room’s door being whipped open by one Victor Dracmore, a handful of his space criminal underlings standing behind him with her identical twin sister and brother Dawstone and Dawster as hostage. Victor yanking Juliara’s ruby red necklace off her and she kicking it out of his hand, where Elizabeth was able to catch it, point it at the space criminals, who had stupidly released Dawster and Dawstone, eager to join Victor in his fight against Juliara, allowing Elizabeth to point the ruby red diamond necklace and obliterate them. Juliara screaming out for her to run, the last thing Elizabeth seeing before tearing around a corner, filling her with one hundred degrees of horror, Victor murdering Juliara, Dawstone, and Dawster, and then giving chase after her.

“Leave me alone!” Elizabeth screamed out, her white Tarnexian gown, an inch too long, causing her to almost trip over her feet as she ran for her life.

Attempting to escape down a hallway with spotless white walls adorned with large purple velvet tapestries with authentic likenesses of Axelmore’s going back centuries sewn into them. A space criminal who less than five minutes ago, she saw her two older sisters, Juliara and Dawster, and older brother Dawstone lying dead at his black boot feet hot on her trail.

“Get the back here you little brat,” he roared out after her.

“No, leave me alone,” she shrieked.

“You don’t give me that necklace, you’re going to end up like your sisters and brothers, dead,” she heard him holler out.

Managing to arrive back into her quarters, Elizabeth darted under the bed, the same place countless times she mischievously hid from both Juliara and Wendeline, much to their sheer aggravation.

Elizabeth was quick to realize this wasn’t the best place to hide, as the space criminal dashed in, eager to get his hands on her and the ruby red diamond necklace in her possession.

“I know you’re in here you little brat and I’m not going to let you leave this room until you give me that necklace!”

Quick Elizabeth think there has to be something you can do to prevent him from getting his hands on Juliara’s necklace. And then it came to here, and just in time, for the space criminals black, scruffy booths were soon stationed before her bed.

“Gotcha,” he cried out. His shadowed face framed with long, stringy, dingy black hair as he peered in at her. Sliding a right hand underneath the bed, no doubt to try and get a grip on her, causing Elizabeth to move further under the bed to escape his reach.

The next thing Elizabeth knew, the lead space criminal was jumping back to his feet, yanking the bed up with a strength filling her with utter amazement. Just as she feared he would win out, get his undeserving hands on Juliara’s necklace, her natural ability of flight, inherit in all those with Tarnexian blood flowing in them, came into play and allowing Elizabeth safe passage high over his head and out of her quarters all together.

And into the throne room, where Elizabeth expected to find her parents King Kilex and Queen Randa, finding no sign of them. Indication they might be prisoners of the space criminals invading her home, soon to meet the fate as her siblings. Figuring it would only be a matter of moments before the lead space criminal would once again find her, Elizabeth fled.

Arriving at the royal castle’s outdoor docking bay and her silvery white Averson model spacecraft, Elizabeth realized with her family and probably soon Wendeline were all dead, and the space criminal hot on her trail, she had to depart with haste, racing up the landing platform.

“Where should I go? Elizabeth asked the sentient artificial intelligence installed within it.

“The best place for you to get lost on so he won’t find you Elizabeth is a planet called Earth,” the mature sounding male voice responded, sounding like it was suffering from one tremendous heck of a bad case of stuffed up nose.

“Thanks spaceship,” Elizabeth said, heading up a silvery white metallic landing platform and boarding.

You can buy Genesis on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Genesis-ebook/dp/B00596V4PK/

Maureen: A Vampire Tale by Mark Mackey

Today’s excerpt is from the Paranormal novel Maureen: A Vampire Tale by Mark Mackey

All eighteen year old Maureen Rogers wanted in her young life, to lead a happy, carefree existence with faithful boyfriend Peter Garrison, college. And then one night, she has it all taken away, delivered by an act of violence, one leaving Peter dead, and Maureen heading down this road. Little does she know, a predator on two legs, dead since before she was born has been watching this whole thing go down, gifting Maureen with the ability to obtain a measure of revenge for Peter and herself. Thus begins a fantastic adventure stretching from Maureen and Peter’s hometown or Black River, to the streets of New York, and back.

Biking. That’s how Sylvia Downford opted to spend mornings before hustling herself over to local public state Northstone College. With her morning’s plan already laid out before her, Sylvia wasted no time throwing on a light blue biking jacket and black biking pants conforming nicely against the thin, slenderness of her body frame. In addition, she connected a red and silver hard plastic helmet onto her head, a sandy brown ponytail snaking out from behind it, granting allowance for Sylvia to make an escape from the small studio apartment she called home.

Prompt arrival down in the basement with hurried steps, the pleasant smell of dried laundry strongly filling her nostrils, allowed Sylvia to unchain her blue ten-speed bike from the green rusting bike rack down in the basement with incredible haste. It, considered her blue pride and joy, inserted between a large row of the other tenants bikes.

Sylvia’s emergence into the outside world minutes later brought her out onto a still starry, comfortable night, not a hint of sun or blue morning sky peeking out anywhere. Of course this was how she liked it each and every morning with doing it.

Except for today of course, not with just last Saturday, Joyce Zelders, age 20, brutally murdered as she stumbled towards home from a college party in a drunken stupor. Not good old, could do no wrong Northstone of course, but the other college Black River Illinois offered, Dyerson women’s college.

Initially Sylvia felt uncomfortable travelling out at this hour, what with Joyce getting her life cut short not even a week ago, and possibly end up suffering the same fate. But then she realized, Joyce had been killed in the late evening, not in the morning. Of course there was still a strong chance she could get killed by whoever did in Joyce, but, perhaps due to bravery setting in, Sylvia decided to go forth biking any old way.

What was so strange about Joyce’s murder, the attacker had not left a single drop of blood in her body. Like whoever, whatever decided to commit this horrendous act, was after it and nothing more. All her personal belongings intact, the only mark on her body, or rather her right shoulder, the Black River Times reporting her murderer had left a pair of teeth bites as his or her calling card. This gave Sylvia the idea that, well, a vampire might have been the one to do Joyce in. But then she realized, just like the majority of the whole world, vampires preferred big city life filled with bustling life as opposed to dinky small towns such as Black River. Climbing on her bike, she began her early morning routine.

Tiredness grew within Sylvia after a long while of her racing at an alarming fast rate of speed down a long stretch of road. This caused her to bring herself screeching to a stop just outside old abandoned Forest Cemetery.

Leaning her bike up against a section of stone wall rising up five feet from the ground, Sylvia hurriedly opened her red and white thermos and started pouring water, still holding some degree of coldness down her throat.

And that was when her ears became filled with footsteps in the cemetery.

“Is someone there?” Sylvia called out in a concerned voice, bringing herself to stare out onto the ancient cemetery, first signs of blue finally starting to creep into the sky, but yet, all she got was a heavy dose of big, empty nothingness. It was as if whoever was there had come down with a sudden case of incredible disinterest answering her.

Curiosity gripping her, Sylvia moved forward a few feet, now feeling desire to discover the source of the noise. But arrival at the entrance, wheeling her bike right along with her, setting it off to the side, given it was shaped into a perfect semi-circle, the fate of Joyce once again infiltrated her mind. What if the person behind the footsteps was in fact the same sick, twisted individual who did her in? No that just couldn’t be possible, whoever killed her had drained Joyce of blood. Only someone utterly demented and deranged would take delight in committing that sort of hideousness. And there hadn’t been any news reports of any inmates locked up tight in the Fordman nut house located downstate managing an escape. With that in mind, Sylvia ventured forth, heading further into the cemetery.

“Hey, hello?” Sylvia called out in a nervous voice, hazel eyes darting about furiously, trying frantically to spot the perpetrator behind the footsteps she had just heard not even five minutes ago, but nothing. And then like a shot in the arm, once again they commenced. From the sound of them, coming from far off. Sylvia’s curiosity snagged so much so, possibly receiving the same treatment as Joyce had, was pushed to the back of her mind for the time being.

“Anyone, here?” Sylvia stammered out, moving at a steady pace past antiquarian tombstones, not hearing anymore of the footsteps. Moving even further into the cemetery, a couple possums scurrying around, taking the liberty of stopping and revealing their displeasure at her being there and hissing, a new idea projected itself into her mind. What if the culprit behind the footsteps was some infantile juvenile prankster, or idiot brained retard? Or worse, a gang of sex starved high school guys out of their minds with desperate eagerness to force a pretty twenty year old woman such as herself down onto the ground, where they would proceed to rape the living daylights out of her.

With Black River being a hairs breath away from hell town USA, AKA Burveton, the thought was once again pushed to the forefront of her mind, Joyce’s untimely demise. The decision hitting Sylvia the heck with it, discovering the source behind the footsteps wasn’t so important after all.

As she began closing back in on the entrance to the cemetery, the rampant sound of the footsteps once again started up. This time they sounded much closer, causing Sylvia to put fire in her steps. This didn’t put a cease to the footsteps, filling her full blast with the idea she needed to get the heck out of there and fast, less she wanted to become the second Joyce that week.

Just as Sylvia was filled with tremendous relief she was going to be cut a break and escape whatever force was behind them, jump on her bike and speed off to safety, the source behind the footsteps was finally revealed to her. Whatever the heck it was grabbed her powerfully from behind, forcing her to the ground, smashing her face into the grass, still a bit wet with early morning dew. A sharp sensation like a pair of needles were forced into her right shoulder blade, and then unconsciousness overtook Sylvia.

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

A lifelong resident of Chicago, Mark currently attends Columbia College Chicago as a senior, and has thus far, taken third place in the Indie Gathering short screenplay contest 2009, and fourth place in the Indie Gathering Feature screenplay contest. Maureen is his seventh book written, and first to be published.

You can buy Maureen: A Vampire Tale on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Maureen-A-Vampire-Tale-ebook/dp/B0054JI1RG/r

  • A Year of Short Stories

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