HOSL Chpt 2

 

Ben Turlok was standing on the edge of the Maple Vine Bridge just outside of the small town of Graveston. He clutched the latest rejection letter he had received in response to the manuscript he had sent out. Ben had spent the past three years fine tuning and composing it. He was finally pleased with it and viewed it as his ultimate life’s work.

He had all his friends and family read it and all reviews were positive. He was so sure someone would be interested in publishing it. He was as sure of that as he had ever been of anything, and for a man like Ben to put that much faith in something speaks volumes in and of itself. He was not a man who often gave into thoughts of fantasy and whimsy, but his devotion to his book was different. He saw it as a part of his soul.

He was able to stomach the first few rejections, but his faith never wavered. It strengthened in fact. He had quit his job at the mill in anticipation of his success. With every rejection he received he was that much more certain the next one would be an acceptance.

He looked down to the letter crumpled in his shaking fist. Tears were streaming down his cheek. He looked down to the river raging below. He could see the white foam on top of the water between his feet.

“I’m ready, God! I’m tired and I’m ready to fall. Just let me fall.” He cried out. There was no traffic along the old road. The sky was patchy above with large puffs of white clouds slowly floating along across the bright sun. Ben’s legs began to shake beneath him. His tears began to rain down feverishly and his thoughts ran back to his wife Audrey and his children, Tracey and Ben Jr. His heart began to ache. He loved them all so much, but he just didn’t have the strength to face any more disappointment. His life insurance would see them through the storm. He reasoned he was far more valuable dead than alive. With a large breath in, he steadied his legs and was ready to leap.

“Hi!” A sweet voice came from behind. Ben caught himself and nearly fell over the wrong way which would have been a disaster. If he fell and just injured himself, the doctor’s bills would surely bankrupt the family. He spun his head around with a fiery glare. He saw a pretty young woman standing not too far from him. She was dressed in a charcoal gray business suit. Her strawberry blonde hair was tied back in a ponytail. She stared up at Ben with a bright, innocent smile. “Now, what are you doing up there, silly?” She asked brightly.

“None of your business. Now I’d thank you to just move on and not tell anyone you saw me. For your own good.”

“I know you. I mean, I don’t know know you, but I’ve seen you around town. Don’t I look familiar?” She asked.

“I’m sorry, but no. I’ve been going through some things lately. Don’t take it personally.”

“That’s okay.” She said as she reached into her pocket and produced a small business card. She held it out to him. He bent down and took it slowly. He looked down and read it. He couldn’t help but notice the unique use of flowers and butterflies decorating the borders of the card. Between two small flowered vines, was the only type on the card.

‘Samantha Sugar- attorney at law’.

“A lawyer huh? Shouldn’t you be gearing up to sue someone after I jump?”

“I’m not that kind of lawyer. I usually handle estate planning.”

“Well, I’m afraid I’ve no use for you. Now, I guess you’ll be on your way.”

“Not until you get down from there.” Ben looked down at her and she looked back up at him with just as sweet a smile as ever but now there was a hint of aggressive stubbornness lurking behind her eyes.

“I’m Ben Turlock, by the way. Nice to meet you, Samantha.”

“Likewise, and please, just call me Sam. So, are you coming down or not?”

“Look, the only way I’m getting down from here is by jumping, so you might as well just be on your way. I just want to kill myself.” Ben’s brain kind of buzzed. He never said it out loud before. He hadn’t heard those words come from his mouth. Samantha looked up at Ben with a broken expression. It was almost as if she looked heartbroken. Ben looked back at her with curiosity. He had never seen the girl before but the news of him killing himself seemed to hurt her so much more than it should have.

“Why?” Samantha asked with an uneven voice.

“I’d rather not talk about it.”

“Certainly anything bad enough to kill yourself over should be worth talking about as well.”

Ben looked down to the river and then back to Samantha. He let out an audible breath and pivoted to Samantha. He bent down and handed his letter to her. She took it and read through it.

“Is this it?”

“Is that it? That’s the seventh one I’ve gotten in the last two months.”

“You’re a writer.”

“Not by trade. I just wrote something. I thought it was good, but I guess it just goes to show you what I know.”

“You can’t throw away everything because of this. What about your wife? Your children?”

“They’re better off. My life insurance will pay them more than my old job would have, if I still had it. I gave my soul to this thing and it’s nothing. My whole life is nothing! I’m done! I am just done!”

“What about your faith?”

“Faith in what?”

“In God.”

“God?”

“Yes. I know you believe.”

“Maybe once. I don’t know anymore. Things have just been getting worse. Where has he been?”

“Where have you been?” Samantha returned. Ben looked at her.

“So, that’s how it works? As long as I do what he wants, I get what I want?”

“Well, it’s not quite as black and white as that, but…”

“Look, I’m sorry, but you won’t be convincing anyone about anything today, Sam. Good bye.” Ben closed his eyes, turned away from Samantha and just leapt up over the rail. His eyes were shut tight as he fell over. He could feel the air as he dropped into nothing. He had run the moment over in his head again and again, but it was no preparation for the real sensation. It was as if he were weightless, almost floating through the air. He would have almost sworn he felt happy.

He suddenly felt a tight jerking behind him and his descent came to an abrupt halt. He opened his eyes and saw he was still above the river, but off the bridge, dangling. His shirt was pulled up against his neck. He looked up and saw Samantha leaning over the bridge with her arm outstretched downward. Her fist holding tightly to the back of his shirt, and a few small hairs on the back of his neck. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Samantha was such a small looking woman with thin, narrow arms yet she was holding Ben’s entire weight with little to no strain, or at least so it seemed.

“I know you feel abandoned and alone. We all feel that way sometimes, but think about the people you’re leaving behind. Things have gotten tough for you. I’m sorry for that, but you’re stronger than you think. If you check out now, you can’t change your mind tomorrow. Sometimes the difference between success and failure is simply holding on. Holding on during the tough times and having faith that what you want, will come.” Sam said. She pulled Ben back up to the bridge. As soon as she let go of his shirt, he fell to the ground flat on his ass. He looked up at Samantha, who was still smiling.

“It’s just gotten so bad for me. For everyone! This whole town has just been getting worse and worse. I just don’t know what to do anymore.” Ben said as tears began to pool under his eyes. Samantha placed her delicate hand on his shoulder and he looked up at her.

“I know. It’s been a tough time for Graveston and I’m sorry for that, but we’re all just doing the best we can. We can’t lose hope now. I think things are going to get better real soon.”

“You do?” Ben asked.

“I absolutely do. Do you agree with me?” Ben looked down. He had the appearance of a child lost in the middle of a department store. He looked back up at Sam and nodded. “Now, are you going to be trying that again?” Ben stared up at her blankly and slowly shook his head. “Good. Now, get home to your family and don’t tell them about this. I think we can both agree they’d be better off not knowing, wouldn’t you?”

Ben slowly began to nod his head to her. She gave him a little wink and spun around and began to walk down the road back towards town. He got up and watched as she strutted down the lonely road. It looked as if she were listening to some kind of music in her own head as she sauntered away.

He looked back over the bridge down to the river below. A quick thought to try jumping again danced across his head, but he dismissed it. He did feel happiness during his previous attempt, but he also had felt fear. A disturbing sense that he would miss something important. He looked down at the crumpled up rejection letter laying upon the ground. He bent down to pick it up but stopped himself. He could still make out the printing through the creases and folds. A cold breeze shot out and caught the letter, sending it flying up into the air. It flew up high over his head and swirled in the invisible force. Ben made no attempt to catch it, but instead allowed it to slowly float down to the river. He watched as it landed on the water. It was swept under and disappeared under the foam of the current. He slowly turned away and walked back to his pick-up truck which was parked a few yards back.

He was beginning to feel better about what had happened and was hoping to come upon Samantha on the road back to Graveston, so he could thank her properly or at least offer her a ride into town. He kept an eye out along the side of the road as he drove.

He soon found himself driving past the Red Moon Inn which was the first sign of entering Graveston. He stopped and looked back. He hadn’t seen sign of her as he drove and there was no way she could have gotten back ahead of him if she had been walking. He looked back again but nothing. He shrugged his shoulders and decided that she must have had her car parked out of sight for some reason. He figured he’d just keep an eye out for her around town. The odds were good that they would cross paths again before too long in a town the size of Graveston.

The House Of Stolen Light #freebookfriday

Another week gone by and another free book Friday. I have decided that I will post the first 5 chapters of the book I gave away the previous week, if only to give those who failed to get a copy a little taste of what they missed out on. This past week’s offering was a tale of mystery and mysticism in a small Northern California town. I wrote this one years ago and rediscovered it recently. I dusted it off and have since put it out for the world to read. As I went through the manuscript, I began to see how the story and characters nearly reflected current situations in the world today in concern with the economy and employment. I think it gives clear voice to my own personal struggles with unemployment, and maybe someone out there may see this as well. At any rate, enjoy.

Chapter 1

Carson was alone in the elevator. He could feel a slight, chilled jet of air coming down from above. He felt the lift of the car beneath his feet as it began rising through the shaft up to the twenty-fifth floor. As it approached the twentieth floor, it began to slow and his stomach began to lurch up. As the elevator eased itself to a stop, he had the same roller coaster feeling he got before the first big drop.

The doors opened slowly and he stepped out into the hall. It seemed endless, stretching out to infinity. Bright, white lights lined the walls and created a ghostly glow. He slid on his sunglasses and began to walk. The only sound he could hear was a dull thud with every step he took. He looked down at his watch. It wasn’t even noon, but it felt to him like it was the dead of night. As he passed by each door, he tried to listen for any sounds behind them but they were all silent, although he could hear the television in a few of them. He finally stopped at suite 2576. He slid his card key through the lock and opened the door. The cool air of his room shot out at him like a gust of new life. The unmistakable smell of nothing filled his senses. The beds had been made and all the little niceties had been returned to their original state as if by magic. Even the pens on the nightstand were positioned exactly as they had been when he first checked in at the beginning of the week. The pen caps were turned to face the north end of the room and the name of the hotel printed on the body of the pen was clearly visible.

He laid down on the bed and his head fell down upon the firm, freshly dressed pillow. He reached for the remote but as he was about to turn on the power, he suddenly was overtaken with his own fatigue. His eyes became heavy and the previous night’s events began to catch up with him. He dropped the controller and soon was adrift in his eyes.

The phone’s ringing shocked him back to life. He bolted up and soon got his bearings. He looked down to his watch and saw that nearly two and a half hours had passed. He was still tired beyond all reason, despite that.

“Hello?” Carson asked as he picked up the phone.

“Are you still asleep? Check out is in fifteen minutes!” Errol whined over the connection. Carson fell back upon the pillow.

“Don’t remind me.”

“I’m sorry, bud, but the real world beckons. The sad reality is vacations do end.”

“I know. Just one more day?”

“No. We were stretching it by staying the week.”

“I got lucky last night. I won almost a thousand dollars in Blackjack.”

“I drove and I need to get back to my life.”

“You don’t have a life! You’ve got an aquarium full of fish you got at Wal-Mart!”

“Hey! They are still quality pets. I need to get back to them. I don’t like leaving them to Trish’s mercy.”

“She’s taking great care of them. One more day.”

“No, I just would feel better if I was back with them. Besides, I have to be back at work Monday.”

“It’s Saturday! We could leave tomorrow morning.”

“No! I need at least a solid twenty four hours to decompress before I go back to work.”

Carson threw his head about in a fit as he realized he was fighting a losing battle. He had been surprised Errol hadn’t petitioned to leave earlier.

“Fine. I’ll meet you in the lobby.” Carson said through gritted teeth.

A few minutes later, Carson trudged down to the lobby. He carried only a small leather bag that contained a few shirts, his toothbrush and toothpaste and a few select thongs he had liberated from some exotic dancers earlier that week. He saw Errol standing amidst a sea of people. He stuck out quite plainly as he stood among his large, bulky suitcases wearing a rather gaudy Las Vegas t-shirt with his clunky camera slung over his neck. Carson walked over to him; half hoping he would just become invisible before anyone drew the connection between them.

“Ready?” Errol asked.

“Barely.” Carson adjusted his sunglasses. Errol grabbed his bags and began to lead the way to the exit. Carson followed along at least two full yards behind him. He was beginning to actually look forward to the trip home. It was dawning on him as they weaved and bobbed through wave after wave of people that he couldn’t spend the rest of his life in Vegas, as much as he wished he could. Reality was calling and it had to be heeded.

The crowd became less an obstacle when they reached the parking structure. Errol zeroed in on the car almost instantly. Carson stood by as he watched Errol carefully load his bags into the trunk. He had barely been able to fit them all in when they left and somehow it seemed as though the trunk had shrunk. There didn’t look to be enough room for even a rag much less Carson’s modest bag. Errol examined his configuration carefully and his brain began to pulsate.

“It’s okay,” Carson said, knowing full well how long it would take Errol to figure out a perfect arrangement. “I’ll just toss it in the back seat.” Errol agreed with a shrug and walked over to the driver’s side and opened up the car. Carson threw his bag into the empty back seat and then settled into the passenger side seat. Errol had his seatbelt adjusted and was sifting through his CD collection in the arm rest compartment between them. Carson would have suggested something to play but Errol only had classical and new age CDs. He needed to put himself in a Zen-like state when he drove long distances. He soon settled upon a disc and popped it in. He twisted the key in the ignition and the car hummed to life. Carson’s eyes had closed before they even hit the street outside. He could hear some piece of classical music that he thought any self-respecting college graduate would be able to identify by composer and year, along with Errol’s humming to accompany it.

Carson’s eyes opened. The music didn’t sound like it had changed, although he knew it was a different song. Errol had stopped humming though. Carson looked down to his watch. It was nearly six and it seemed they were driving through a large stretch of desert. He looked out the window at the passing scenery. Cacti and brush whizzing past his tired eyes in a blur before a perfect blue sky that stretched out as far as the eyes could see. He kept trying to get back to sleep but his eyes wouldn’t cooperate.

“You okay?” Errol asked. Carson sat up and looked over to him. His glasses were steadied on the tip of his nose as he looked intensely through the windshield to the horizon before them.

“Yeah. I’m fine.”

“You’re kind of quiet.”

“Sorry. Just tired.”

“Look, I understand why you aren’t exactly happy to be going back. It’s not easy I know. Unemployment never is.”

“It’s been a month. I’ve already burned through my severance pay. I don’t even know what I’m going to do about rent.”

“You said you won a thousand dollars.”

“I did, but I’ve got bills to pay. It won’t take the whole thousand, but it’s not going to leave much.”

“Well, you know if you need any money, I….” Errol began.

“No. I’m not borrowing any money. I learned a long time ago; never let money enter into a personal relationship.”

“It’s not a problem. I’ll give you the money. Don’t even worry about paying it back.”

“You say that now, but what about later? No. I can’t do it.”

“Fine, but if you change your mind…”

“I won’t. I’m no one’s charity case.” Carson said in a rare glint of self-righteousness. He slumped back over to his window. The scenery hadn’t changed much. Still miles of desert and lots of dried out dead plants. He looked down and saw the asphalt below.

“What is with you?” Carson sat back up and shot a hard glare at Errol that nearly bore a hole into his head.

“When we get back home, you go back to your job and your nice condo. I go back to unemployment and my crappy apartment complete with annoying roommate,” Carson barked. “Not much to look forward to.” Carson settled back into his slump.

“I’m sorry.” Errol’s tone was timid.

“No. I’m sorry. I’m being an ass and I’m sorry. I appreciate you taking me on this trip. I really do. I’m just not in a good state of mind right now.”

“It’s okay. I realize this isn’t a good time for you. I just thought this trip would kind of get your mind off everything.”

“It did. Going home is kind of ruining it though.”

Carson heard a small chuckle escape Errol’s lips.

“This is one of those bumps in life that turns into a good memory eventually.”

“You’re a good guy, Errol,” Carson said. “You’re full of shit, but you’re a good guy.”

Free Book Friday!!!

It’s Friday at last and what better way to kick off the weekend than with a free book? No better way, as a matter of fact. If you’re planning on relaxing this weekend, maybe a new book would be the ideal way to find your escape. This week, my #freebookfriday offering is entitled ‘The House Of Stolen Light’

http://www.amazon.com/House-Stolen-Light-Jason-Melby/dp/1478196963/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1395419813&sr=8-12&keywords=jason+k+melby

 

New Review!!!!!

The new review. Maybe this my entice some. NOTE: I did not write this review. It was posted by a new reader, and FYI, I got a new good review for the sequel. Just sayin’. So if you’re a fan of ‘Supernatural’ or ‘True Blood’, maybe this would be of interest to you. Book 4 is coming soon btw.

Demon Hunters: ASIN: B006LBQXKS

‘The hero is a bit of a slacker, but is a decent guy with a horrible upbringing filled with loss. He is also possessed by a demon. Well, he is partially possessed in the sense that he controls the demon and enjoys the benefits of strength and healing. His ancestors were cursed, and it takes Ivar, a mystic and researcher, to track down Jake Corba and fill him in on a little family history. Jake must face the past and deal with the present, thus an adventure begins. There are demons, angels, zombies, fae, and other creatures in this book. Oh yea, Heaven is misplaced for a spell, too. There are a couple jump points in the book, but the story all makes sense. Ivar is absent from the book for a bit (no cliffhanger or spoiler on this) and that part of the story was interesting as well. The book is pretty clean for you discerning types out there.’

Check the book out here : http://www.amazon.com/Demon-Hunters-Jason-K-Melby-ebook/dp/B006LBQXKS/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1384234000&sr=8-3&keywords=jason+k+melby