Writers Wednesday – The Men with Blue Eyes: Chapter 4

Chapter 4:

Missed the first three Eps? Click on the links below:

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3


Byron brushed the lint from his uniform as he approached the home of his last client of the day. Walking up the steps of the beautiful home in the well-groomed neighborhood, he knocked on the door and looked down at his paperwork.

“Yes?” The door swung open and a woman smiled back at him.

“Good afternoon ma’am my name…”

Byron paused, mesmerized. The woman had the most beautiful blue eyes he’d ever seen. They had to be contact lens. He could look right through them. They were lovely against her milk chocolate skin. He cleared his throat. A woman had never had him so caught off guard.

“My name is Byron Fisher with Guaranteed Insurance Co. We have you listed here as requesting a return visit.” Byron held up a hand, “I know. I’m not the guy from last time but you were on my route so I thought I’d stop on by and see which plan most interest you”, he smiled.

“Oh yes”, said the woman.

She could see in more than one direction as she read Byron’s energy. Her eyes were cameras quickly processing her environment. They zoomed in on the car coming up the street, the lady walking her dog on the corner and the mailman who was late again. Even the candy wrapper in the cracks of the concrete.

Byron’s biography flashed against the screens that were her eyes. It told her he was single with no children and plenty of money to spend. He was also an orphan as a child and moved around a lot before enlisting in the military. After the army, Byron got into the Insurance business. Life never looked better. Well, almost never. The woman smiled. She saw his weakness too, his hurt.

He was in love once. Some lawyer woman he couldn’t have because she dated his friend. The woman’s eyes flashed. She was digging. The chief warned of digging. It required the use of too much energy but she had to know. So, she dug, and her eyes were claws that pierced his skin for secrets. It was safe. At least now. He couldn’t feel anything. At least not yet.

Byron wiped at his brow, frowning at the sudden wave of heat on his face.

The woman smiled, the flashing red dots on the screen of her eyes signaling the passion emanating from the man in front of her. He wanted her. This would be easy. She stopped digging before he fainted in broad daylight. The chief wouldn’t have that again.

“So very nice to meet you”, the woman said, “I am sure we can find something that I like. Please, come in.”

Byron smiled as he walked into the home of the beautiful blue-eyed woman. He couldn’t believe his luck. Some women were easy. Maybe he’ll get her to sign off on more than just papers. He smiled and her blue eyes flashed as she closed the door behind him.

***

“Aliens?”

“Look, laugh all you want. I’m not crazy.”

Erica composed herself, “I’m sorry girl. You sound like you believe it and if you believe I do too but…”

“Then you don’t believe me.” Tina got up from the sofa and walked over to the window of Erica’s downtown office. Downtown Chicago was one of the most beautiful places in the country.

Erica put her notepad to the side, “OK. Let’s entertain this for a moment. You gotta think about how this is going to sound. Your nephew died in a drug deal…”

“…it wasn’t a drug deal”, interrupted Tina turning around. It pissed her off that people were still saying that.

“Hold on, let me finish. Far as they know it, your nephew dies in a drug deal and everyone else flees the scene. You take leave from work to raise Keisha’s kids, your remaining nieces and nephew who by the way aren’t really your nieces and nephew…”

“Erica…”

“No, no, let me finish. You take them in after winning a custody battle with their Dad after he couldn’t prove stable residency and their drug addict mom gave you permission to have them. And now everyone involved in the case you tried, people Ronnie was involved with, have gone missing. Top this all off with your claim that Aliens killed Ronnie and abducted everyone at the Warehouse.”

Tina nodded. It did sound phony when you said it out loud. She sat back on the sofa, resting her head on the pillow behind her.

“I’m not saying I don’t believe you but you a lawyer girl. You of all people should know this ain’t gonna stick,” said Erica.

“So, what am I to do then? I can’t keep taking these pills. It’s driving me crazy.”

“Listen, you need these pills so you can do your job without seeing little blue men walking around.”

“That’s not funny E.”

“Seriously, here’s what I think. Here’s my professional opinion…”

Tina smirked, “Now you wanna be professional?”

“Don’t be in my office judging me”, laughed Erica, “I’m the one with the pen.”

Tina laughed.

“In my professional opinion, I think you should see if you can find a connection between those who were abducted and people who may be working with these Aliens or whatever. They gotta be working with somebody or they wouldn’t be able to do anything without being seen.”

Tina sat up, “They look like men though. That’s how they can move about without notice. It’s not like in the movies. The only way to tell is their eyes and sometimes not even then.”

“Still, they gotta be working with normal, everyday people too.  Find those people.”

Tina looked at Erica and bit her lip. It was a start.

“Meanwhile,” Erica stood and walked over to her desk and tore off a piece of paper. She walked back to the sofa and handed it to Tina, “get it together.”

Tina rolled her eyes and took the prescription, “I don’t need it.”

“Yes, you do. Even if it’s just in case.”

***

Tina thought deeply about Erica’s words on the drive home. She did have her wheels turning. Who could be involved in something like this? Az did say it was a cover-up. Reaching for the folders, Tina scanned the names again: Antonio, Brandon, Chareese, Sidney, the two officers, Emmanuel.

Hmm. Someone is missing.

Tina tapped her fingers against the steering wheel, thinking back to the days they used to hang out. Her close ties to everyone abducted did make her look to be involved so she had to be careful or she would lose the case for sure. Antonio, also known as Popeye and Brandon, also known as Tree, were best friends. Chareese, one of her best friends, dated Brandon and was pregnant with his baby and Sidney, the journalist, was also a close friend of hers. Not to mention she went to school with Ja’mella, the woman who accused the men of the rape. All of this had been kept on the low.

Tina searched her thoughts, remembering their card games and get-together. Though she knew them all personally, she wasn’t real tight with the men and the women had gone their separate ways until the case united them.

“Black.”

Tina gripped the steering wheel. Black was Antonio’s insurance agent friend known for his complexion. She had forgotten all about him. His real name is Byron something, but that name’s not in the files. That must mean he wasn’t taken. Finally, something good.

Tina turned the car around and silently prayed Black was at home.

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – All Good Stories by Linda G. Hill

Title: All Good Stories

Author: Linda G. Hill

Print Length: 62 pages

Publication Date: August 10, 2016

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

Language: English

ASIN: B01JQWMQAE

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Familiar with Linda through her blog, Life in Progress, I expected humor. What I didn’t expect was to finish the book in two hours laughing my butt off! Everyone knows how I love a good laugh and Linda did not disappoint. All Good Stories is a romantic comedy about friends Jupiter and Xavier and takes place, for the most part, at the bookstore where Xavier works. From the onset, we can tell there’s a bit more heart invested on Xavier’s part. The cute way Jupiter shortens his name, the way he dreams of being with her, and the added bonus of being her best friend.

However, Jupiter’s got a new novel. It wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t lead her to Bob the Blogger, a novelist and blogger obsessed with alliterations whose profile picture looks nothing like the real him. After a steamy three hours commenting back and forth with Jupiter, Bob has agreed to critique her novel, has written her three love poems with the added warning that he will NOT use the first letter of her best friends’ name (because he’s a Serial Alliterator and X just wouldn’t go well with his alliterations), and has given her his phone number.

Bob’s weirdness causes Xavier’s growing love and concern for Jupiter to thicken into a hilarious investigation. Plus, what’s Jupiter’s book about anyway?

Though funny, this book also has an underlying message that I enjoyed. You all know I love books with a purpose. The seriousness of meeting people online and of rushed relationships have been at the focal point of many of the books I’ve been reading lately. All Good Stories is definitely a good story and it is also well written.

I enjoyed the pacing of the read and that it did not slow down toward the end. It’s a short read but it didn’t need to drag on beyond what the author gave us. It’s like a literary treat if ever you’re waiting at the doctor’s office or airport and could use a good chuckle or two.

Ratings:
Plot Movement / Strength: 5/5
Entertainment Factor: 5/5
Characterization: 4/5
Authenticity / Believable: 4/5
Thought Provoking: 4/5
Overall Rating: 5 / 5 stars

All Good Stories is available  now!

AND we’d like to give special highlight

to Linda’s amazing Cover Artist Belinda Borradaile!

Check her out here!

Book Cover For Linda G HIll
Book Cover For Linda G HIll

Please also follow Linda on the web!

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For free short stories and poetry: https://lindaghillfiction.com

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Writing 101 Assignment #14: Recreate a Single Day

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Age: 10

I lay on the concrete and it felt like nothing underneath my skin. Not like a bed of rocks or warm gravel. It just felt like nothing and I didn’t want anyone to touch me. Now, if only I could get the message across to someone. Anyone. Guess I should go ahead and harness those telepathic powers. “Please don’t move me, please don’t move me, please don’t move me.” Now, I’ll just lie here and keep repeating myself. That’s it everyone, walk around. Nothing to see here. I was caught in conversation with my own thoughts that summer afternoon when someone scooped me into their arms and then suddenly I couldn’t breathe.

Hours Earlier
June, 1997 – Afternoon

The bell roared its final lyric from  the interior of Scott Joplin Elementary School and finally released us. “Thanks Auntie Roslyn!”

A whole dollar. It’s official; I am on to bigger and better things now. Turns out it really does pay to get good grades. Moving on up out the fourth grade. Time to bring all the toys outside to celebrate.

As night dawned and the street lights came on, Mama yelled that it was time for my sister and I to come home.  It was a beautiful day out and the ice cream truck took advantage as it sung down the street. I decided it was time to spend.

“But mama said to come in the house,” whined my twin sister.

“Just hold my toys till I come back”, I said annoyed. Why she can’t just go with the flow?

I wasn’t interested in Twin’s backtalk, just ice cream. Did she not see that I had just been a devil for Halloween? She better get it together. I mean sure, the pitchfork is made of plastic with a cute light bulb, but I know how to use it.

The ice cream truck sang its way down the street with its “Pop goes the weasel hymn”. And being as careful as I could with anxious feet I embarked on my journey. “Yea, this will only take a minute. Life is about taking risks little sister. I’ll be back before you know it.”

***********

So here I am, floating in the air and unable to breathe.

“Told yall not to move me. Grown-ups. They never listen.” I didn’t hear screams. I didn’t feel the impact. I don’t remember anything outside of rolling from the hood of the car and being picked up from the ground and put in the grass again. “There, that’s better. I can breathe now.”

There is no pain as I lay here surrounded by the neighborhood. I don’t know what everyone’s looking at. I scanned my surroundings in awe of the large crowd and realized my left hand was being squeezed by some woman. Her tears soaked her face and she pleaded her apologies over and over again. “Oh, so your the one who hit me. No worries, I forgive you. It’s really not all that bad. Not like I feel anything. Plus, you do know it’s really not your fault right? Yup, its mine. Just don’t tell Twin. You keep secrets right? You keep mine and I’ll keep yours. Oh come on, will you stop the crying already? It’s really not that bad. I don’t feel anything. Oh that’s right, you can’t hear me. No one can. I’m liking these powers. Nice. Next time mom says—

“She shouldn’t have been running across the street,” said a familiar voice in the crowd.

It was cousin Rachel. There, take a scowl. You better be careful lady. Who knows what I can do with my new super powers.

An Hour Later – The Hospital

So I’m sad to tell you that my super powers wore off. I still can’t speak but I’m starting to feel pain. According to the voices around me I’d broken my leg, or more precisely, my femur bone, the longest bone in your body, located in the thigh area. So now I’m staring at the ceiling waiting for the doctors to come back. Mom is on the other side of me and my entire right leg is wrapped in some kind of casing that feels like its getting heavier and heavier. “Oh boy, this is it. I’m dying. I’m officially dying.” My voice opened up and I started to cry. “What’s taking them so long? This is unbearable! What is this thing on my leg?! It’s so heavy. It has to be a cast. They must know my super powers are gone. Who would be so cruel as to wrap my broken leg in a cast! It feels like a big fat man was sitting on my leg. I know he’s around here somewhere, I just can’t see him. I don’t think I’ll have a leg left. It’s sinking deeper and deeper into the bed and the mattress is starting to fold over.

So the “doctors” finally came back and wheeled me into surgery. I wonder about the evil doctor who commanded his men to try and make my leg disappear. I’m sure he wanted to do away with me and I was being taken to a secret laboratory in which this would happen. Wait, he’s trying to give me something. It’s poison. I knew it! Wait, what’s happening? No, don’t put that in my ….”

Recovery

What a day. First I get attacked by the white car. Then I get kidnapped and drugged by men pretending to be doctors and now I’m sitting up in a hospital bed. Let me check to see if all of my body parts are here. Head. Check. Arms. Check. Face in tack. Check. Good, I can wiggle my toes. Check. Left leg is fine. Right—

“Ahhh!”

I started to cry again. Someone had stapled me back together. I instantly thought of my fourth grade teacher who stapled his thumb on occasion to let us know he was crazy enough not to mess with. “Was he in on this? I wouldn’t doubt it.” I wondered what kind of technology they were using. I’d better be careful not to touch the staples. It may activate some special gadget and suck me deep into the floor. Maybe I’ll just count them. One….two…three…ten…eighteen…twenty-four! Oh my, this must really be serious. I’m sure there’s a tracking device in there somewhere. And what did they do with my real leg?

I thought about telling mama about these evil men but I didn’t want to blow my cover. If she was protecting me they couldn’t know about it. I’m kind of tired now so we’ll have to talk about escape routes in the morning. Guess I’ll get some sleep since mom’s up. She can watch the door.

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Writing 101: Assignment #4 – A Story in a Single Image

Conquering Mountain

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They say mustard seeds can move mountains. So how did I end up on the opposite side of it? Its tough exterior mocked the clouds hanging in the sky, mimicking their shape. Deceiving them like it did me the day Claire walked out the door. She didn’t take my heart with her, just some toiletries she didn’t really need. You know typical girl stuff. I wonder if she was being sarcastic again. She’d rather hold onto an old toothbrush than an old me. Claire was tough like that; tall but delicate. She had the appearance of a lightweight but I knew I could never carry her. She was a rare stone, or a beautiful picture carved into concrete. The wind blew a cool breeze slightly. I silently prayed it would rain. At least then I’ll have an excuse for why reality crawled its way out of my throat. Besides, they say men are not supposed to cry. Claire always thought that was stupid logic. Maybe that’s because she was always around water, so water on cheeks wasn’t a big deal to her. I smiled weakly. I’d always been in love with her mind. No wonder I found myself here; on the edge of the dramatic Columbia River Gorge, a steeply pitched, creek-like river chasm where the hills roll over and over like new carpet, and the water spread its body over the land like fine silk. I gave Claire silk once. An anniversary present for our six months together. She said it was too soon. That I should stop taking so much time out of my vacation to visit her. How can love ever be too soon? That is something we always disagreed on. Anyway, enough about Claire. I read somewhere that they were closing this place down. No more tourists they said. I bet it was Claire. This trip was supposed to be my celebration for finally having the strength to not care about her anymore. She may have me now but dear Mountain Claire, I will reach you soon.

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Queen

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We are south of Senegal, maybe Guinea, maybe Ghana, or maybe as far east as the Congo. In any event, there is a woman and she’s smiling; putting her body and her hands to work to the multitasking of the rhythm of hips, rolling shoulders and the calming beat of the sounds that influence them. You must not however get distracted by her dancing as if of some stereotypical performance the Africans must put on, for her tribes have always been comprised of dancers and musicians. After a wedding, and even after battle, the men assemble their drums and the women their bodies to tap into a spiritual formation of triumphant celebration. So, the woman is dancing, and showcasing the bright red and blue colors against her skin; the dyed cloths her mothers have handmade from fresh berries. Her hair is braided in plaits; it is strength like strong rope. The woman is gorgeous and the men stare as her chocolate skin glistens in the sun, soft and smooth like silk. He nods, returning her smile. She blushes, rolling back and forth to the appreciation of his hands, slamming with authority against djembe drums, a rope-tuned skin-covered goblet drum, as if massaging against her skin. The year is 1619, and she has just turned seventeen. Waiting this day to which he would smile at her since childhood.

Abba looks her way, it is what she calls Papa Joe, forcing her to turn off seductive eyes and transform into his innocent little girl giggling away in mama’s arms. Placing her index finger on mama’s lips she hopes she has gained enough trust in her to keep silent for daddy must not ever find out about her secret love. If so he may begin to think she no longer belongs to him, for in her village it is custom that when a woman found a man her father gives up his reign, and it now belongs to her husband. And this she can’t bring herself to fathom, that one of those fine strong men will take her away from King Joe. The one who have always protected her and was known for treating mama like a queen, yet it is what she wishes for, to be queen. For a chance to wear golden nose rings and flaring dresses— yes, to be queen is what she wants. The sounds of the village men still heard in the background of her thoughts; slamming strong hands into drums in time for her body to move in that way.

The night has come, and Papa prepares the tent for sleep, driving the stakes into the ground. The roof is thatched with reeds, the walls and floors covered with mats. She lays awake, this woman. No, better yet this princess. Her eyes wander from the plantain from which her bed is made, to the mats three feet below her. Her eyes cannot stop to think of morning when the village men will approach each tent in that they may search out their future wife. This was done every year to service the anxious seventeen year olds, young women who’d prepared for this day since infancy. Seventeen because the number seven is symbolic of perfection, and it is their belief that seventeen years represented the completeness of their womanhood, perfectly fit to become someone’s wife. For this reason alone she cannot sleep, there is just too much excitement! She would never be seen as a child again, for on this day she would officially become a woman. A man would soon leave his father and mother to cling onto her. And she would serve her husband like mama does Papa Joe and her children she would raise to be the most upright of all her country. If only upon the awakening of the sun it will rest on the heart of him, to choose her.

Yet the night is not complete. Mama screams, obliterating her thoughts into pieces of confusion as storms of men with pale faces invade the village. She cannot catch herself before falling, ropes that smell like death have embraced her space and blood creeps in from outside the tent; and then there was darkness. Pitch black darkness as if the moon, that usually sent pieces of light tapping against each tent, had suddenly run away from the men with pale faces and yellow teeth. Baby girl had never seen them before. They could have been men or they could have been monsters, she didn’t know, and had nothing else to do but wait. This woman or better yet, this princess. This semi-woman waiting in the darkness to become queen.

Audio Books: Yay or Nay?

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I experiment with recording myself reading my own stories sometimes, (mostly for promotion of a new book) but I admit, I’ve never actually listened to a book. Seems kind of awkward for a book worm like me; I’d much rather read it. I have this image in my head that I may discover to be stereotypical in the future, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. You see in my mind, audio books (with the exception of poetry of course) are made up of mostly old people (no offense) who sit in rocking chairs narrating stories. But it’s not like the exciting person to person, face to face stories Grandma used to tell. Instead it’s long and drawn out. I don’t even know if there’s music involved, maybe. Makes me wonder: What components are necessary to make an audiobook something more desirable than reading the actual book? I do know that auditory learning, a learning style in which a person learns through listening, is one of the most effective teaching styles. Just look at music itself and how easily it is to learn something new just by adding a beat to it. From that end, I can see how audio books can help the auditory learner who depends on hearing and speaking as their main way of learning. I can also see how an audio book can come in handy for someone with an extremely busy schedule or for multitasking. I hear of some authors who offer an audio book version of their book in addition to the hard copies. With busy summers, I can see how this could be useful, even fun. But what if the story is super long and the reader’s voice is monotone! That’s scary. Listening to the book while reading it on the other hand, now that may prove an exciting experience I wouldn’t mind trying.

What are your thoughts? Would you offer an audio version of your book if given the chance?  Are you for plugging in or turning pages? Yay or Nay?

Dear Writers, A Quote Worth Remembering

“By writing and publishing your book, you have the potential to touch many readers. The possibilities are endless of how your story can positively affect others, whether it’s an entire town or just one person. It’s through stories that we connect to others. So keep writing, you never know how your message could change someone’s life.” – Nicola Gibbs

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