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TIME TRAVELLING — MARISSA — 04

Medieval Pilgrim - Free Photo
Medieval Pilgrim – Free Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 04 — Marissa’s Fate

 

In the Spring of her fifth year, her parents had left her in her uncle’s care and never returned from their journey, their bodies never found.  The mountain, sapped by rains, had fallen on top of the road they were traveling on and had covered them and two others from their party.  Those who had escaped with their lives had no memory of events of that night and nobody was going to dig under the mountain of dirt to try and recover bodies or valuables they had taken with them to offer their liege lord at the annual meeting…

She was orphaned and if she did not do her uncle’s bidding, she could forget of her lady status and find work to support herself.  A child was not good at hard work, aside work in the kitchens…  But doing as she was bid did not mean she agreed, or that she liked it.  Her aunt was not an especially bad woman, but compared with her own mother, this one was simply evil.

Her uncle liked her and they could have done well together, but his wife, her aunt, was a totally different matter.  She had made it clear from the very beginning, on the day after the news of her parents’ death had arrived brought by the few who had escaped the mud avalanche.  Marissa was good for only one thing – a good alliance through marriage.  Now, after six years, the aunt had found the BOY, to force the girl out of the castle through marriage.  Mayhap, Marissa thought, she could manage to find some secrets and thus compensate the betrothal event that seemed would change her fate so much!

Her grey place was wide and large, bigger than her Mam’s had been.  She could reach it from any place, but better without witnesses.  She had well learned from her Mam — never have witnesses or they could hold it over your head and bring all kind of mischief and misfortune.

She could walk through the grey, and if she thought about a place she wanted to be, next she came out of the grey exactly where she had wished.  How about wishing to be in the grey but close enough to the people in a room to hear them talking?  She did not know how it worked, but as soon as she tried, it was clear that she could go as close as she wanted to hear their voices through the wall of grey…  She had found she could do thus soon after her betrothal, by sheer chance…

Now that she had discovered she could advance in her grey space close enough to people to hear them, Marissa decided that it was a good idea to pass her time listening when she thought secrets were about to be discussed.  There was a slight danger of being found out, but her affinity to her grey space was very special indeed, as her Mam had explained to her — she was almost born there and such was the power of grey that she could ask for anything at all and, as long as she could imagine it, it would be given her.

A pity she did not spend more time listening to her uncle and aunt.   They were not nice.  Her uncle and her aunt were at each other’s throat every day, all day long.  And what they said meant they were murderers…  Even her parents’ death seemed to have been provoked by a small quantity of black powder exploded by one of her father’s men, one who did not escape his own evilness.

Marissa hoped that her mother had got out into the grey in time but she could not be sure, as she had not had any sign from her in all this time…  And all at once, through their death, she was a rich heiress.  On top of that, as her betrothed’s father had met his end in a most gruesome accident she was next to inherit after Peter…  It was an accident only for those who knew not the truth.  Her guardians had arranged for the accident to happen and for the BOY to be accused…not of a crime, but of grave negligence, and now he was hiding and nobody knew where he was.  All that was needed was for him to bed her and then to die as well, for the marriage contract to come full force, making her the sole heir of the old lord — his Father.

That convinced her to leave her uncle’s castle and find refuge in the grey — at least for a while, to gather her thoughts and decide what to do, (and of course — to spy some more).  From that moment on, she was seen only sporadically, mostly in the kitchen, where she visited in order to get more victuals, but not long enough to get spoken to…  Two years had passed, and there was talk of getting her a new betrothal.  True, she could take ownership of her missing husband-to-be properties, but it was not yet right.  The BOY was still alive, or so claimed her Aunt.

Marissa needed an ally and the only one she could think of, was Peter, the BOY.  Finding him was no problem, if she looked for him from her grey, but she needed to be strong enough to pass for a boy, for she had decided not to be at anybody’s hand again.  Her guardians were bad enough to last her for a whole lifetime.  She was already a consummate rider, but one could not take horses in all possible situations, so Marissa took to walking longer and longer distances and carrying bigger and bigger loads.  She needed suitable clothes and started taking from her mother’s old chest things that seemed made for her measure, so much did she resemble her mother, at least in stature, if not in any other way…

Soon she thought herself well prepared and set out to find the BOY.  He must be seventeen by now, and if the promises of old came true, he would be a good enough knight to serve her purposes.  She was not clear yet about those, but some kind of revenge for being made orphans by the same wicked people was her dearest wish.

 

TIME TRAVELLING — MARISSA — 03

lovershandssmall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painting of Medieval Hands, Kodak EasyShare M340

Chapter 03 — Marissa’s Betrothal

 

Whom should I kill tonight?  My stupid uncle or his bitchy wife?  Marissa could not make up her mind.  It was her favorite game to pass her time, trying to imagine life without those who did not love her…

If only her parents were still alive, she would not have had to kiss that pimply boy and let him hold her hand all through the betrothal ceremony.

At eleven, Marissa had better things to do than to get tied to the shy, self-conscious, stupid, stupid, stupid boy.  But her stupid Uncle and bitchy Aunt had decreed it was high time she stopped tree climbing and started being useful.

How could they do such a thing to her?  Peter, her newly betrothed, had a glaring pimple on the tip of his nose and all through the ceremony Marissa could think of only one thing — in the end the pimple was bound to touch her when he would try to kiss her, and then, it would burst open inundating the chapel with its disgusting contents…

But in the end, he did kiss her without accident, and just out of contrariness, she had bit him instead of letting it go without comment.  He had it coming, had he not?

One thing still puzzled her — what was making her so upset? the pimple by itself, the pimple refusing to burst, or the boy who did know how to kiss?  As she pounded the grey soil in her grey space pondering this weighty subject, she came too close to the real world and heard voices that seemed known to her.  One was her betrothed’s, the other his father’s.  And they were talking about her, or maybe more about the betrothal and indirectly about her.

“What do you think of your new in-laws?” asked the father’s voice.  “I wonder they did not cancel the contract when you came with those buboes on your face.”  The young voice laughed and answered, “Father, I’m sure they would love your properties with or without buboes.  They did the contract without asking to see me first.  Does that mean nothing to you?”

“Son, I wonder where you got your practical mind.  They definitely wanted an alliance with our family, and the waiting period they asked to allow Marissa to grow into her womanhood was well justified.  Talking about your bride, how do you think you two will do together?”

“When I bowed to your decision, Father, I did not think I would like her, but she is a little minx, and I’m sure if her guardians will not interfere we’ll deal well enough among ourselves.”

“I’m glad you think so, my Son.  You know I love you and would see you happy in your married life.  She’s only eleven and will grow to be a beauty like her mother, and hopefully not a shrew like her Aunt.  And now, wipe those buboes from your face, or you’ll make me go without the evening meal.”  Marissa laughed highly amused to know the pimples were fake.  She was too close to the two men, for one of them asked, “Did you hear that?” but she had run away through her grey and did not wait to hear any more of their comments.  Knowing they both liked her was enough.  Now she could be honest with herself and agree she did like Peter too.

A pity father and son were leaving on the morrow and she would not see them again until the wedding, in four years time.

***

Unknown to her, father and son continued their discussion, and it was about her!

“Did you hear that?” asked Peter.

“What do you mean, hear that?”

“Like somebody laughed in the distance…”

The father looked a bit puzzled and then smiled and said, “You should know that there is a legend about one of Marissa’s ancestors, a great-great-grandmother of her mother’s.  It seems people believed she could hear their thoughts and tried to burn her as a witch, but when the pyre was lighted, a huge cloud of smoke covered everybody around and when it dissipated, there was no body left in the fire, and some believed they heard her laughing in the distance.  If you start hearing laughter, pay attention to your new bride — she may be a witch without knowing.  Then, if you do not want to stay married, ’twill be a good reason for you to use to break the contract…”

“I hope you are not thinking seriously to cancel the contract.  I told you I like her.”

“Yes, but I start having doubts about her family.  They were very insistent that you should live with her family and that I should endow you with all our properties even before your wedding.  Too grasping for my liking.”

“Why should they insist?  They know there is no other son to take over your possessions were I not to return from one unfortunate skirmish.”

“Exactly — too grasping by far… Let us forget this and go enjoy your betrothal festivities.”

TIME TRAVELLING — MARISSA — 02

image001

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Grey — Photo by Paul Itkis

Chapter 02 — “Born” Anew

1300’s

When Anne was fifteen and her father gave her into marriage to the lord of the neighbouring estate, nobody could tell what kind of life she would lead from that day on.

Anne was desperately hiding in the grey place where she could run to hide and cry without being seen or heard.  After three years of childless marriage, when she understood that her husband would not shy from killing her in order to get himself a new wife and try again to produce an heir, she decided to play a desperate card and lie, pretending to be pregnant.

Her grey place was there for her anytime she was in trouble.  If she put her mind and soul to it, when in the grey she could find the things that would buy her some peace in the marriage.  Like when her father had passed on and there was no money left to her in his last will, because Father had remarried and begotten a son by his second wife; Anne had been threatened with a beating by her husband, as if she were at fault.  She had disappeared in her grey place and wished with all her heart for a pouch of gold to appease her husband, and a pouch full of gold was waiting for her there, like a miracle…

Now, at the end of her ninth month of faked pregnancy, she wished with all her heart for a new miracle, or her fate when returning to the colorful world outside would be certain death for lying to her husband about the child…  Through her crying, she heard a crying echo, an echo that grew to cover her own sobs.  A baby was crying not far from where she lay crushed by her unhappiness.  A new ray of hope bloomed in her heart.  The new miracle of a live, new born baby was too much to even hope for, but here she was, coalescing from the grey of the place.  A baby girl!  Oh joy!

She could not explain the miracle, though she could take advantage of it.  As soon as she made sure the baby was real , she shed the pillow that had been her proof of pregnancy, cut herself to smudge blood on the baby and on her clothes, then enveloped the tiny creature in her discarded maternity clothes and returned to the colorful world leaving baby’s pink coverings behind.

Soon, Anne was found lying on the ground, in the tilting yard, holding a tiny baby to her heart.  Her husband was angry but could not take his anger on her.  She was looking so beaten and suffering, now that she had been delivered of her baby…

He had not believed her, not in the beginning, when it could have been a lie to avoid lying with him, but her growing belly was proof enough, and now the baby, though a girl, was better than nothing.  He would let his useless wife live until the little girl could take care of herself, and then, just like her grandfather, would get rid of the mother and get a son by another wife.

In her chamber, cleaned and changed into new clothes, with a wet nurse to feed her new born baby, or better said, born anew baby, Anne spent the first month of her newfound motherhood pondering on a name for her little one.  She decided that to appease her husband she would let him name her after his dead mother, Lady Marissa.

 

The peace was short lived.  Anne knew her brother-by-law hated her, but not how much more he hated his older brother — her husband.  She continued to seek refuge in the grey, taking Marissa with her and teaching her little girl how to find things in the seeming nothingness into which she could so easily hide…  In a way, she felt that Marissa had a bigger affinity to the grey than ever she could hope to achieve.

Years passed and her marriage became visibly a mockery, as her husband, her lord and master, did not seek her bed anymore, but had many of the working women in the castle and the bailey to appease his needs.  And she was glad of the reprieve from marital obligations, but lived in continual fear of repercussions.

Strangely enough, her brother-by-law had taken a liking to little Marissa and even after a hasty marriage to the daughter of one of their retainers, very much under a heavy cloud of anger on everybody’s part, he continued to dote over his niece, so at least Anne did not need to fear for her daughter’s life.

When Marissa was in her fifth year of life, spring came with terrible rains and storms; all roads were washed out, making travelling nigh impossible.  But when the need arose to go to their liege lord for the annual visit with no excuses accepted, her parents could not beg out from this yearly obligation and they set on the journey leaving the girl home with her uncle and aunt.  It was a long drive and the cart was filled with pillows and furs to keep them comfortable and warm on the way, and of course the presents for the liege lord and his family, as custom required.

Anne had fallen asleep, tired of the interminable journey, when a noise like a mountain rolling down to smother them woke her up with a start.

The horses were puling wildly and trying to escape their traces, while her husband was furiously lashing them, as if that would change the cruel reality — the mountain was really rolling, taking them along for the ride.  Scared to death, Anne closed her eyes and wished with all her might to be safe in her grey place, and lo and behold — quiet replaced the terrible noise, the horses neighed and calmed in their turn, and her husband stopped cursing, stunned by the change.

They were in her grey place!  They were alive!  They could not go back!

Because nobody could explain what happened, she would be judged to be a witch and no matter that she had saved his life, her husband would take full advantage and make sure to get rid of her.  While he was still awe-struck of being alive, she wished herself into a place of peace and quiet for herself and interesting enough for him to let her survive.

And just like that, they were out of the grey and onto a field bordered by tall trees and far on the horizon they could see the tops of very tall buildings. A metal box on wheels, but without horses, was traveling the road towards them and she signalled it as if it was just another wagon…  Though covered in mud and looking far from their best, the man inside the box stopped the conveyance to ask if they needed help.  Anne smiled fetchingly and said she needed help, yes, so much help, please… as she descended from the cart and fell to the ground.

Her husband looked at her disgustedly and cared not that the unknown man took her in his arms saying, “I’ll take her to the hospital if you do not mind.  You will find her there, for I do not imagine you would prefer to abandon the cart and horses here.  The car will do the job much faster.  And by the way — I see you have some valuables in there — I suggest you cover and disguise them, if you do not want to be robbed before you reach the city.”

Thus, Anne got finally separated from her husband and promised herself to never get in touch with him again — enough was enough for a lifetime.  She also found out that her saviour was a magician with the local circus, though he went on tours quite frequently…  He was very solicitous and for his benefit, she had to make up a story about an accident which had left her without memory…  The Magician found her very much to his liking and after she was discharged from the hospital, he felt duty bound to care for her.  Soon he was far too entranced by her charms and by her disappearing talent, so that he asked her to share his life…

TIME TRAVELLING — MARISSA — 01

 

 

Chapter 01 — A Disappearing Act

 

Baby Marissa (photo by Ann Quinn)
Baby Marissa ( photo by Ann Quinn)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mother was 33 years old and had waited for ten long married years to finally conceive.  Together with her husband, The Magician, she was part of an exciting “Disappearing Act” with the local Circus team.  “Local” was a misnomer, as they were most of the time traveling from place to place.  Many other such teams had a similar act, but she and her husband were the only ones who did not make a mystery of it — anybody could check their paraphernalia, to make sure there were no secret traps or other means of tricking the spectators.  She was really disappearing and reappearing on cue and no one could find the secret to this incredible ACT.  That was the reason why they were in such high demand and it left little room for thinking about having a family bigger than two.

Now she was living a wonderful dream come true — when she had thought it was no longer an option, she had discovered she was pregnant.  The Disappearing Act had not suffered much.  Only the armoire in which she entered on the stage in order to perform it, had had to be enlarged to accommodate for her future daughter.

Now she proudly adjusted the head of her bed to be more comfortable when her baby girl would be delivered into her arms.  Feeding time was announced by tiny mewlings from tiny infants.

The nurse pushed the cart with the six pink and blue cocoons and started by placing a blue packet in the arms of the first of the mothers on her list.  Automatically, she picked the next bundle of joy on the cart and placed it in the next woman’s arms, intent on finishing the job in record time.  The poor mites sounded real hungry.

“Nurse,” said the woman holding a blue cocoon back to the nurse, “This is not my baby.  Mine is a girl.”

The nurse checked her list — the mother was right.  She was holding a blue cocoon though she was listed as mother of a girl.  Again, the nurse checked her list, then she checked the cart.  There were only three cocoons left out of six, but she had delivered only two.  One was missing.  She was sure she had had  six when she had started on this round, but it seemed that one had disappeared.  She ran back to the nurses’ station and announced that a baby was missing, then she ran back and placed the rest of the babies with their respective mothers, including the boy she had mistakenly placed with the wrong woman, then ran back again to check if anybody had found the missing bundle of pink joy…

The Police arrived and started by taking the nurse away for questioning.  The mothers in the ward all said they’d seen no one else aside from the nurse with her baby cart.

Security tapes were viewed and nobody could see anything but the nurse coming with the loaded cart, the six babies, and then, after some static interference, only five were left.  Even the interference could not be analysed more — just a moment’s shimmer in the video before the mysterious disappearance.

The parents were distraught, the father vocally furious, the mother crying desperately, facing total devastation.

The outside videos could not be interpreted either — too many people kept coming and going, crossing in front of moving or stationary cars, with nothing to point into a clear direction…

The nurse remained the only suspect, but they had to let her go in the end.

It became the event of the year — the baby of the most celebrated couple performing the Disappearing Act had disappeared, vanished without a sign…

 

Ttime did its duty — a year passed and almost everybody forgot about it except for the parents who, when the next miracle occurred, had the baby at home to insure no repeat could take place.

As for the nurse, she had to leave the hospital under a cloud of suspicion and had to change her specialty from pediatrics to orthopedics in order to survive.

Tips on how to write a story

 

If you wonder how some people can write stories, the answer is very simple — first you must want to do so.  Then, just looking around may give you ideas.

  • Sometimes, a fact of life brings to mind a story, or just a spark of a story.

If you have paper and pencil, or more modern, a latest model of phone cum computer, jot it down before other ideas push it out of your mind.  An active person can have a zillion of ideas a day, so it is easy to lose them.

It is interesting how once it is put down in writing, you will not forget it as easily.  Other sparks come and go, but if you continue to put them down in writing, in the end you may find out you have an outline for a real story.

  • Sometimes, you wake up from such a clear dream – thrilling or romantic or just plain bizarre…

Get it down in writing.  Dreams are notorious for getting lost, completely out of daylight memory. All you can remember is that it was funny, or threatening, or …I don’t know what…  But they are lost.  I tried to record my vivid dreams the moment I awake, but listening at my recordings after I was awake, I discovered that all I had was an unintelligible mumbling.  If you want to keep them, you have to record them in writing.  Then you can embroider on the initial dream…

  • Another time, you watch a program on TV and the spark jumps from the screen to your mind!
  • I am member in a group of writers and sometimes we need a prompt in order to produce a story.

The opening chapter of “Save Magic City” may remind you of “The Iron Giant” animation movie.  But the story is based on facts of life and politics.  And I love magic.  So, the resulting story is based on all these elements.

Now I have embarked on this “Time Travelling” new adventure.  I started with Marissa, a girl of 12 years of age, who is living in the Middle Ages and who discovers she can travel in time or space, as she needs.  She lives in the Middle Ages, but she meets all the characters from “Save Magic City” and they all become friends and traveling comrades…

If you have not yet read “Save Magic City”, you may order the e-book at iUnivers or any of their distributors.  Marissa’s story you’ll be able to read on my website blog.

Peanut Butter — Friend or Foe?

Free photo from Google search
Free photo from Google search

Peanut butter — a treat to die for!  We love it smooth or crunchy, with a fork or with a spoon…  So tasty, luscious, enticing…

I remember the time when the first mother demanded the proscription of peanut butter from the school where her allergic son was going, and the general outcry against the idea!

She won and now most schools operate under zero acceptance of peanut butter on the premises.  I think the posession of epipens is a must as well.  But we, the peanut butter eaters cannot care less… until tragedy strikes.

A friend of a friend of mine has a little girl, Ann, who goes to such a school.  She eats peanut butter sandwiches at home, but does not take them at school.

Ann has a best friend, Carly, in same school, same class with Ann, but her parents do not let Carly out for Halloween Trick or Treating.  So Ann decided to share her bounty with her friend.

Generosity might kill!

All parents try to imbue the children with sharing qualities.  Who among us can judge little Ann’s decision to share her Trick or Treat bounty with her best friend?

And so it came that next day after Halloween, Ann took several Reese’s cookies with her to school.  Her parents did not know, her teacher did not know…  At lunch bresk, tragedy struck!

Little Carly got so sick, paramedics were called, Carly was whisked to the hospital…

Everybody took a long sigh of relief when they found out little Carly was responding to medication and everything was under control.

Imagine how little Ann was feeling during this agitated episode…  She had just wanted to share…

Now she knows why Carly never went Trick or Treating.

Let us make sure all children know about the dangers of allergies and the do’s and don’t’s related to them Continue reading “Peanut Butter — Friend or Foe?”

About Tasers

Lethal weapon
Courtesy of Google search

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Last evening, while watching the news, I heard about the mysterious death of a tasered guy.

Mysterious my foot. Tasers are dangerous electrocuting weapons.

With my thanks to Wikipedia, here is a definition and description of tasers: “A Taser or conducted electrical weapon is an electroshock weapon sold by Taser International. It fires two small dart-like electrodes, which stay connected to the main unit by conductors, to deliver electric current to disrupt voluntary control of muscles causing “neuromuscular incapacitation”. Someone struck by a Taser experiences over-stimulation of sensory nerves and motor nerves, resulting in strong involuntary muscle contractions.”

Sounds politically correct — you are bad, you get punished!

The problem stsrts when the “electrocuted person” decides that enough is enough and curles up and dies!

Why did he/she die? no beating was involved, no fire arms were fired — however, the victim is as dead as dead can be!

Why?

Did you ever hear that your heart is a muscle? A muscle that beats non-stop for the duration of your life? Your entire life?

If you are young and think yourself invincible (been there, done that), think a moment about your heart.
It too needs rest — not total and abso;ute, like in death, but with a bit of consideretion from us, rest from extreme effort and substance abuse (and you could include here a multitude of things, like tobacco, alcohol, drugs (legal or not)), and let’s not forget JUNK food! All these are adding on the stress we submit our hearts to but we do not think of it as something of importance until we get an electroshock. Lightning may be a source, or stepping on a live wire in the rain, or being tasered!

Let’s go back to the definition part that says: “A Taser delivers electric current to disrupt voluntary control of muscles causing “neuromuscular incapacitation”. Someone struck by a Taser experiences over-stimulation of sensory nerves and motor nerves, resulting in strong involuntary muscle contractions.”

We do not know what is happening inside our bodies, but all our actions have repercussion. Bad food, drugs, alcohol, nicotine, etc. add up and start making small deposits of gunk on the walls of our arteries. I know — I have them and I’m paying for my youthful excesses. So I took a course of “self defense” — how to protect myself against sudden death caused by heart failure.

I know, you are too young to think about such dire things, but, nevertheless, an ounce of prevention….

At this course, a doctor cardiologist came to explain to us what happens inside our arteries. So you think I’m changing subject? Not at all — arteries carry blood with Oxigen to the heart. Heart needs to eat and breath in order to function. Like a person. Cut the Oxigen and the blood supply and the heart dies, and you with your heart as well.

So, all the gunk we put into our bodies is carried by blood to the heart. When too much gunk, it starts being deposited in the arteries walls forming solid plaque. Its role is to protect the arteries, or at least that was their original role. In time, arteries become rigid and blood presure goes up when we make an effort that requires more blood to be pumped in the same amount of time. An involuntary contraction of the heart muscle will pump enormous amounts of blood all at once and the arteries may burst under presure, like an old, cracked hose, and here you have “unknown reason of deatr” in young tasered people!

Aside from bursting an important blood vessel, there is another way to find the way to heaven through tasering.

There is the hardening of arteries, and there is a soft plaque that nobody bothers to mention or measure. It is inside the artery, deposited directly from the blood flow overcharged with substance garbage. Did I say it is unstable?

Do you think the good policeman asks for your bill of health before tasering you? You get it and the same muscular spasm (involuntary, remember?) disturbs the gunk that explodes from its precarious place and travels through your body till it is too big Continue reading “About Tasers”

The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality

the-kingdom

 

 

This novel was provoked by the cruel realities of today’s world

Only this week it was announced that GM will let go between 1 and 2 thousand workers from their model plant in Canada and move their production in the States. GM makes money, Canadian Government makes money, and the workers are left in the rain and wind without cover!

This and failed small farms are the realities prompting this story, for they are not only today’s happenings, they have been going on for years…

Albert is so rich that his rich fellows in school called him “rich bitch”, but he can do nothing to change the world. He is a dreamer and visualizes this kingdom based on human needs and intrinsic goodness. He puts his own wealth into the realization of his dream, but his money, though plenty, is not enough. He needs other investors and thus, nobility is chosen and developed based on the amount invested. He starts by inviting the richest of his old colleagues from high school and three of them accept. A duke and two earls. The duke invites an old friend from college and now they have a marquees as well. Of course, Albert is king, but he has to take care of contracts and last minute arrangements and is between worlds most of the time, leaving the care of the kingdom in his nobles’ care.

They each recruit their retainers based on a very long and complicated questionnaire, the gist of which would be “leave all insecurities behind and never regret it, for once admitted there is no way back.

Albert loves his idea of a Medieval kingdom, and it seems everybody in it does too, but he has a dear friend whom he wants to marry and make his queen, and to convince her to leave the Modern world behind, he builds for her a palace to tempt a saint. Unhappily the beautiful woman and the tempting palace bring the serpent in the garden of Eden and Albert himself is not capable to fight for them. He is the dreamer, not the warrior.

Enters Jack, the loner, the man without wealth and without obligations aside of some debt incurred in the process of building a theater that in the end burns down leaving him without an aim as well. By a quirk of fate, Jack was Albert’s only friend in school, and now Albert comes to Jack’s rescue. They both could ride, but Jack could fence as well and had a streak of contrariness that made him fight for what he considered to be right even against terrifying odds. That is what Albert needs in order to save his kingdom — a Champion.

Jack is seduced to enter the kingdom thinking that he could leave anytime he chooses, is knighted and leaves on a discovery journey, a quest if you would… and just before he leaves is made aware of the perils he might encounter on the Duke’s fief. The Duke? Is he his old school nemesis? Should he leave now?Too late. Jack is in love with the kingdom and with the future queen and can no more leave without feeling he is betraying his old friend Albert.

The saga begins and I will not tell it to you. You must read the book.

I only want to ask the author if he thought of a continuation of next generations. The kingdom is on a lease for 99 years. Will it end just like Hong-Kong did? Will it finally clash with the modern world? Canadian Government is not known for taking the right decisions, so there is plenty of room for new conflicts in the new generations…

For the moment we live inside Utopia, but what if loggers cut the woods surrounding the kingdom? What if they bring technology, medicine and pollution with them? What if oil is discovered in the very neighbouring valleys? What if modern army is brought to subdue the wild men living like “savages” in the middle of nowhere? So, let us hear about a sequel, and soon!

 

For More Information

The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality is available at: Amazon, My Book Orders,, Barnes & Noble, Kobo,and other retailers.

Death Coming up the Hill

Death Coming Up The Hill

is the title of a book by Chris Crowe, a professor of English at Brigham Young University, and it is a totally novel (new) novel (Book).  The story is written in 976 Haiku stanzas, where a Haiku stanza is comprised of three short verses of 5 – 7 – 5 syllables — seventeen in all.

The whole idea started from the hero’s age — 17, and the Vietnam war that lasted long enough to affect a huge number of US young men and their families.  17 became an obsession with the Author, and finding out that the total US soldiers fatalities for 1968 was the highest of all the years of the Vietnam war — 16,592 — and when this number proved divisible by 17 to a total of 976, he decided to write a syllable for each lost life, set up in Haiku stanzas of 17 syllables each.

The white verses do not have to rhyme, and are very easy to read, making the experience strange and stimulating, keeping the attention and interest to the very last verse.

What I’m trying to convey is that the verse format is an illusion needed for keeping track of syllables, to conform with the proposed total, as an homage to all fallen teens and young adults of the era, to their unsung heroism in the name of an ideal that after a very short while made no more sense to them above the need to remain alive…

Ashe, the young hero has to be part of a family war, close up and personal, where he decides to be the saviour and thus he ends up enrolling and leaving for the Vietnam war — with only one wish in his heart — to provide for his abandoned mother and his months only old sister.

I recommend reading this novel to people of all ages.  It is history as well as a fiction story, as each chapter represents another week passed in Ashe’s life, and a number, representing the number of fallen soldiers of the respective week (which is history).