Well, that explained the whole cloud thing. They did not hit the ground as expected, but rather fell through it into a tunnel. She had a few cuts, but nothing to bad. After some argument, they decided to travel right.
Half an hour later, they walked into a cave. There were 13 tunnels branching off in different directions. Each one was different. One shone like gold, one glittered like diamonds, one had pillows, one had blue sparks bouncing off the walls, one was a library, another a gym. There was even one that looked like the sea, but the fish swam in air instead of water. One was a hypnotic spiral. One was lined with barbed wire, another was a forest. The last one looked normal except for a slight blue pulsing light. There was a note in the middle of the cave. Now it is time for the real test. Do not be tempted by glitter or gold.
The spiral may lead to riches untold. The pillows are hard, the barbed wire soft. If you look for a book you know the one to cross. But do not take the pulsing path for if you do, many trials and hardships now fall before you. She pressed her forehead and chin against the cold restraints as the specialist peered into her eye. You have some histoplasmosis. She was only four, not able to differentiate gradations of emotions, not able to articulate them until decades later. Before he left for work in Alaska, her father told her to take care of her mother.
With Mother working and her Grandmother recently deceased, she felt it fell to her to care for Mother, herself and Grandpa. She stood gathering courage to walk into the darkness of the damp dirt-floored basement to get a jar of pickles for lunch. She slowly descended the dusty wooden plank stairs, not knowing a spider had woven an intricate, exquisite web across the bottom step. She missed the step and fell through the gossamer web, hands outstretched on the on the damp, dark soil, her cheek flat against the ground.
It smelled stronger and wetter than the corn fields behind the house before spring planting. She felt as if she were suffocating, unable to get the soil off her hands or brush the dirt off her cheek. She scrambled up the stairs, tears clearing streaks in her face. Grandpa held her on his lap in his rocking chair as he bathed her face and hands with a soft cloth.
Later they went down the stairs together to retrieve the jar of pickles for lunch. The shotgun kicked hard on her shoulder and she could already feel the bruise she would have tomorrow, a purple badge to her ability to load and fire the 12 gauge in the space of time it took the man to go through the door. But that was something for tomorrow. Right now she had to take care of him. She hit him in the chest and the. Years of horror movies where the bad guy suddenly sits up and begins round two had taught her that. The reverberation had to be audible for several yards.
She always mourned the loss of the liquid brown eyes. Her yard has been a safe haven and each year, a doe or two would show up every day with her fawns. Now, though, this blast saved her life — or worse. Two months ago, she would have called the police, but not now. No one was going to come and take care of this.
She had to do it all by herself — like she has done everything for the past two months. Hours later, under cover of darkness, Cara dragged the body out the door. She had wrapped him in a sheet and tied it tightly with bright blue rope. Movies had led her to expect a large pool of blood, but it was no bigger than the puddle from when she over-watered the lemon tree. Since the rug was stained, though, she would get rid of that too. The rope, tied tightly with bowline knots, held as she lifted one end of the heavy body onto the wheelbarrow, then the other end. While still a muscle-wrenching task, taking the body up the hill to the woods was much easier with the wheelbarrow.
Safely deposited among the trees and covered over with brush, branches, and rocks, the man who no longer a problem. No one else showed up, and Cara knew she would sleep well tonight. Two months ago, she was a wife, a mother, and a teacher who spent her time reading and doing jigsaw puzzles.
Then the lights went out and stayed out. Her husband never came home and she learned to grow survival in the soil of her being. Collecting wood, gathering water, and protecting herself — just another day in this strange new world of hers. Sarah was eager with anticipation in spite of herself. She was at that age between child-like enthrallment and adolescence-fueled embarrassment with her family. Her father, Kyle, was doing the first tilling in their large market garden, the tractor moving slowly along as the rear-mounted tiller woke up fragrant, rich soil.
Sarah, her seven siblings, and her parents stood at the heads of their respective loam runways. The noon church bell rang up from the valley, and with the first chime the ten family members pitched full speed down the three-hundred-foot rows, their bare feet reveling in the soft, cool soil, their rhythmic strides adding a muffled backbeat to the music of the Earth.
On this particular day, Sarah thought that music sounded like banjos. She ran faster. She was confused by her conflicting emotions. These moments of family ritual brought joy and a sense of fresh-air freedom, but she was mortified to be seen in public with her parents. Her clothes were usually splattered with her latest project, and had holes in unfortunate places. She sang out loud in public, and talked to the canned goods in the grocery store. Still, they commanded respect for their remarkable talent to grow vegetables.
Rather than rotating families of vegetables to avoid disease and pests, her parents planted peas with parsnips, potatoes, and peppers. They planted their turnips with tomatoes, carrots with cauliflower and corn; their beans grew alongside beets, broccoli, and Brussels Spouts.
It defied any sense of logic Sarah could fathom. He talked about managing manure, micronutrients, and marvelous minerals. He cited copious compost combating clay concerns. Kyle told of tender tilling, loving life and loam, and much about marvelous, magnificent mycelium. At which point Katherine remarked that he was a fun guy with a keen sense of humus.
Her reverie broke.
She reached the end of her row as the last chime sounded and the terrible truth dawned on her. Sarah was the child of alliterate farmers. The gardener prepared the soil. Metal rectangles stood like heads atop black bones with three-toed feet confidently hugging the ground. A blanket of silence was receding like snow as he sowed the seeds, placing each on its own rectangle. As if by some invitation, plants appeared as the silence dissipated. The plants vibrated with energy. They chatted. Anticipation swelled.
Large plants came through back doors. They commanded the landscape stretching emerald shoots in all directions. The gardener pruned the encroachers, coaxing them to dig their roots deep, like anchors for the whole garden. Needle-like mid-tones of olive and avocado began to push through in seemingly random spots.
Delicate drops of apple green and ivory dotted the scene — lace in the woods on a spring day. This was pure freedom. The laughing breezes intensified. It was impossible to harness the excitement. Everyone was together again for another season of unpredictable beauty.
The artist surveyed the scene. He moved individuals; he transplanted sections. He trusted luscious groupings would make exquisite harmonies. His ears plainly saw the colors. Between his fingers, he twisted the slender, white tool that would deliver his instructions. The anticipation was palpable. The gardener was ready. He raised his hands, and the chaos stilled. As if by magic, he called for the lush greens.
They sounded like a safe embrace. He added soft blues, mellow and entangled. They made little difference on their own, but without them the panorama seemed boring. Together the blues and lavenders, violets and blackberries, lilacs and purples created complex harmonies. The gardener mixed in the lusty pinks and passionate magentas. Their songs danced in front, commanding attention. The gardener cued the divas. High above everyone, dancing on the thinnest piccolo legs, their shimmering whites and golds stole the show.
Their individual petals were iridescent arpeggios in the sun. Everyone sent forth beauty. As each one intoned his color, the spell intensified. Passersby were captured. The gardener swayed back and forth, delighted and overcome with what his ears were seeing. Then, covertly, each color began to retreat. The players were finished. The greens laid down their huge instruments on the soil. Diva legs cracked and twisted. Bright colors softened to tans and browns and mustards.
White and gold gowns were put back into cases and were carried away. Rain came like tears at the end of the season. The conductor tidied up the soil, picking up debris. He collected the white pages, cataloging them in folders and placing them in the grey, metal drawers for next season. All that remained were the black bones of the music stands. The conductor placed his white baton on the podium just as the first flakes of snow fell outside the concert hall.
Mama hurled the word like a stone. Huddled, half-naked, shivering before the shed, the girl dug fear electrified toes into damp grass. He and Cliff become temporary housemates when Sid burns down half of his house.
Scott Nolan (Author of Argyle Gargoyles; A Darkly Humorous Novel)
He smokes in a dark closet believing blind people don't smoke because they can't see the smoke. Cliff starts out angry and insecure. He's both obsessed and afraid of making eye contact with strangers as they walk by. Reluctant to change, he nonetheless makes enormous strides towards near-normalcy thanks to his friendship with Sid. By the end, Sid makes enormous strides towards something completely different. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Read an excerpt of this book! Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Overview Ever meet someone you knew long ago, when you realized you didn't really like them, only to find now they're not so bad?
Ever wonder how they got that way in the first place? Nobody has, that's why we have fiction. Product Details. Average Review. Write a Review.
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