Hi all! Today is a migraine day and my eyes aren't working so good for looking at screens, meaning this will be a short post.
No story this week due to Hybrids wrapping up last week. I'll be slipping away from posting short stories for a bit, and instead starting to post a novella! Beginning on June 6, I'll be posting parts of Daion Echoes through Transglass both in my blog and over on my Wattpad.
I am ridiculously excited to be starting this novella on here. :D
Today, just a reminder that I have a bunch of Short Stories you can read and download for free, and novels and novellas for sale over in my Bookstore.
Hope you're staying safe and well this weekend!
This week provides the final chapter in Hybrids, which means the free downloads are now available! You can click here to jump straight to the story's page and grab an ebook of Hybrids, or you can click on Short Stories in the page menu above to navigate there. (Also checking out the other completed stories on your way!)
I didn't get any writing done this week. Anxiety and generally being busy ate up most of my available writing time, with re-reading some of my favorite books a very nice distraction away from any other hours I might have been productive. Regrets about it? Ha! No. I was a walking ball of anxiety all week due to a few major stressors popping up on Sunday and Monday and the wonderful escapism of reading is a balm to my frazzled brain cells.
Wouldn't it be great if anxiety monsters could actually be smacked down with logic weapons and buried under reality-based argument boulders so they can't escape? I suppose the down side of having anxiety monsters as physical things which can be attacked is that those of us fighting them would have to see what they look like. Then again, everyone in the "have you tried not being worried?" crowd would see the monsters, too... wonder how many of that crowd would still ask that question with physical beasties slinking around after friends and family members.
Time to shake off that thought before it takes root. I have enough stories trapped in my head without time to write them right now lol. Today is so far a good day. Fingers crossed for good luck I didn't jinx it by writing that... (Hurriedly knocks on wood to counter any jinxing that may occur.) I hope you stay safe and well this weekend!
Ray gave Fuggy one more hug and then got into the car waiting to drive the retired General to the airport he would leave by. Nate was still talking and laughing with Lex and a few of the other teens not far away, but that wasn’t a problem as Nate’s transportation hadn’t arrived yet. Jerry shook hands with Kaff and then Fuggy before Neah surprised him with a hug. Jerry returned the quick squeeze, grinning and shaking his head at how she was being sentimental. Neah stepped back and Jerry smiled at all three of the living experiments in front of him.
After blowing up the base, they’d been picked up by an air transport and taken to a military hospital to be treated for radiation sickness, thankfully without anyone getting ill from exposure. The carriers’ armor had shielded them from the worst of the fallout. Ray, Nate and Jerry had been brought with the teens into their new facility after treatments, and this base had much better security.
The debriefing took weeks of interviews and reports and paperwork… Jerry was sick of staring at the laptop he’d been given to work on by the time the Three Geezers (as the teens now called them) were cleared to leave.
The bombing was reported to the public as a military test. No civilians were killed accidentally so the incident barely made the news. Fuggy and Kaff were working with the team investigating where the mercenaries had come from and how they’d infiltrated the Arizona facility. Neah and Lex were on the team looking for the Professor. His blood had been found in one of the crashed vehicles furthest from the explosion’s epicenter, but his body hadn’t been recovered at the end of the trail away from the vehicle.
“You kids don’t forget to do your homework,” Jerry teased. All three of them rolled their eyes at the now familiar teasing. “It’s a ten o’clock bedtime, lights out by ten thirty. Eat your vegetables, and –”
“No dessert after nine o’clock,” they all said in unison. Their voices were as nasal and whiny as possible while they were laughing.
“We’ll see you around, Geezer,” Neah said. She was smiling as he got into the waiting car.
“I’d like that, but I doubt it,” Jerry replied. He closed the door and waved through the window. They all waved to him, watching as the car drove out of the parking bay. None of the Three Geezers were allowed to travel together.
The drive up to the surface was long and winding. The tunnel was brightly lit and the view of mountains once outside was beautiful. The driver handed Jerry an envelope holding his needed identification and the plane ticket for the flight home. Jerry had never heard of the town he was flying out of, but he’d been lots of places he’d never heard of before going to them.
“How long is the drive to the airport?” Jerry asked the driver.
“About an hour,” the man in a suit replied. Jerry sat back and settled in for the trip. The day was sunny and the view was beautiful. He stared out the window, not seeing anything. He was going home to his small apartment, where he lived alone. Being single his entire life hadn’t bothered him until right now. He’d already started missing the kids he’d lived with for the past two months.
The airport was tiny. Its control tower was so small it made the two eighteen-seat planes on the ground appear large. Jerry checked his single suitcase and went through security in less than half an hour. There was still over an hour until his flight boarded. He was debating a walk across the single gate’s sitting area to the coffee machine when Neah’s favorite song began playing beside him. Jerry was the only one sitting in this row of seats. His jacket pocket vibrated.
“What the hell…?” he said. He slapped at the pocket to confirm that it did, in fact, have a phone in it. But he hadn’t been issued a phone before leaving the base…? He took it out and stared at the bright pink case and black screen that only showed ‘answer’ and ‘decline’ options without showing a phone number. He tapped the answer button.
“Do you have any idea how hard it was to get that in your pocket without the security cameras seeing me? And how much it personally hurt me to use the last of my nail polish so the case looked nice?” Neah whispered before he could say anything. “Kaff and I were planning this for more than a week, and I’m going to be sad for this entire whole week coming up,” she added.
Jerry chuckled, shaking his head, and didn’t say anything.
“Talk to you soon, Geezer. And don’t worry, we’ll see you again,” she whispered. The call disconnected with a click.
“Screwball kids,” Jerry said. He was still chuckling when he dropped the phone back into his jacket pocket.
He looked out the window, smiling, and watched the small town ground crew’s antics and activities around the planes. After a moment, he tapped the phone in his pocket and chuckled again. The view out these windows really was spectacular, and he decided it would be better enjoyed with a nice coffee.
Hi! We made it through another week at our house.
According to my 8-year-old I continue to be The Worst Teacher Ever (not surprising, I have no training) because I'm not fun or interesting (again, I have no training). However, she is almost caught up to where she would have been for multiplying and dividing if she hadn't had such a rough February. My 5-year-old thinks I'm doing okay as a teacher, except I'm boring. I'm okay with both performance reviews. We have a weekly learning schedule we mostly stick to, they're getting their school work done, and they still like me enough to talk to me at dinner.
I stole a few hours for some editing and then some writing throughout the week. My head space is much better for it. And my goodness is this next story ever coming out to be adorable! I don't plan out anything before writing it, so I'm having a blast finding out what happens next whenever I have the chance to type out a bit more. The story doesn't seem like it should be as long as it's getting, but I guess I'll continue to write and see where it ends up at.
In other news, my husband and his brother have started up a laser cutting and engraving company. They were getting that set up and rolling this week, and as of Wednesday began cutting face shields. Western Engraving Solutions has been born! They're an Edmonton, Alberta, local company and can help with almost all cutting and engraving needs.
Hope the rest of your weekend sees you safe and well!
Now that he could steer with only one hand, Nate used the radio to talk to Ray and directed the retired General to drive beside him and block both lanes of the narrow highway. The base security cars couldn’t drive in the rough scrub beside the road, and the off-road vehicles couldn’t keep up with the carriers driving on smooth asphalt.
“Who back there knows your project information?” Jerry asked Neah while he was waiting for another transfer to connect. She only stared at him blankly. “The codes and clearance identifications proving you exist so the project can get funding and oversight. All the info about base command you’re not supposed to know but I bet at least one of you has memorized,” he explained. She blushed, her jaw clenched closed, and then she disappeared from view. Kaff appeared at the half door a moment later.
“What do you need?” Kaff asked.
Jerry held up a finger to stop Kaff from talking, and then repeated his personal information into the cell for the fifth time. “Not me,” Jerry said as he handed Kaff the phone. “Tell her everything she asks for, even if you only know partial information.”
Kaff stared at the phone for a second and then took it. “Hello?” he said.
Jerry listened to the short, one-sided conversation as Kaff stated and repeated all the codes he was asked for (Jerry grinning to himself that the kid knew everything completely, no partial codes), and then as Kaff provided a quick report of the past week. The teen handed the phone back to Jerry when he was done. Jerry finished his part of the conversation and then disconnected the call. As was protocol for the first call he’d made, he called the second phone number he kept memorized and dropped the cell on the dash once the new call connected.
“What now?” Neah asked. Kaff had gone back to his seat and she’d returned to sit by the half door.
Jerry ignored the question and picked up the radio mic. “How far are we from the nearest air force base as birds fly?” he asked Ray.
“Depending on flight path… maybe twenty minutes?” Ray replied after a slight pause.
Jerry pushed the button to reply and the phone on the dash emitted a loud tone before he could say anything. Neah stared at the phone and Nate only glanced at it, both of them not knowing what the tone meant. Ray’s carrier swerved a bit and Ray mouthed what the fuck?! to Jerry through the windows as he reacted to the sound he was very familiar with.
“I saw an old sign in the tunnel and made a lucky guess about the base defenses,” Jerry said into the radio mic when the tone ended. “Can these carriers go faster?” he asked Nate and Ray.
“We’re already going top speed. You can get out and push if you think it’ll help?” Nate said.
“We’ll get enough push in about a minute,” Jerry answered.
“Don’t you mean in about twenty minutes? I mean, that was an air strike you called in and needed our project info for?” Neah asked.
“No. I called in a hostile military occupation having taken full control of the facility where you guys had been living,” Jerry corrected. “That old sign in the tunnel was for nuclear safety instructions. I guessed that a facility secret enough to make you would have some kind of remotely activated defenses.”
“What does that mean?” Nate asked as he cringed away from the bullets bouncing between the carriers and striking the door and window beside him.
Jerry was interrupted before he could reply by the same tone coming out of the phone. He clicked on the radio mic so that Ray would also hear the countdown. The tone ended and the standard beeping started counting away the seconds.
“Do these carriers have ballistic defense?” Jerry asked.
Nate scanned the dash. “Yes,” he said. “And it looks like the good stuff that can take a direct missile strike.”
“Stop and deploy,” Jerry ordered.
“How?” Ray asked with panic creeping into his voice.
The carriers skidded to a stop and quickly turned around to face back the way they’d come. Jerry kept the radio’s mic keyed for talking and Nate called out detailed instructions of every movement he made to deploy and lock down the protections. They turned off the carriers once all the shielding was in place, sitting in complete darkness behind the covered windows. Jerry’s fingers tapped on the dash between beeps from the phone, filling any silences left around the hail of bullets hitting the armored exteriors.
“Brace!” Jerry yelled over the final loud tone from the phone.
The rain of bullets stopped. Outside the carriers, people raced to their small vehicles and sped away in the direction the carriers had been going: away from the base. In the dark, inside the carriers, Jerry tucked his head between his knees and the voice of his first commander rolled through his thoughts adding: and kiss your ass goodbye.
The silence was perfect for a full second and then the blast hit. The carriers rocked and shuddered, but the ballistic protections held against the shock wave and debris.
“Drive! Now!” Jerry yelled once the worst was over.
Nate fired the engine and yelled every motion into the radio mic for getting the carriers drive-ready while keeping the passenger compartments’ shielding in place. Radar screens, like those of an aircraft, provided a view outside to show the road, surrounding desert for a few hundred meters, and the smaller vehicles which had been tossed like toys. Nate slammed through the few upended vehicles still on the road as the cloud from the base exploding towered higher and bloomed out into a mushroom shape.
Today's Chutes and Ladders game marathon has been interrupted to provide you with this blog post. Please stand by for a message from your Author:
Hi! It's beautiful outside, I have a priority 1 request to come back for at least one more game of Chutes and Ladders, and typing is severely hampering my ability to hold my coffee mug. This week was a struggle to complete home learning activities because my oldest is very done with learning at home. I'm not a teacher, I have no training to be a teacher, but I'm trying hard to do my best as a mom, and as a teacher I'm working based on the examples of grade teachers I had whom I liked, respected, and remember fondly. (Looking at you Mr Gosse, Ms Turner, Ms Reese, Mr Jordan, and Mr Ingles.) Today I am very ready for the weekend.
That said, I'll stop here. Check out my Bookstore. Read a few of my Short Stories. Or just smile and enjoy the rest of your day. Hope your weekend is safe!
And now, back to your regularly scheduled weekend. :)
Karen’s code flashed red when she tried it. Mica jumped out of the back of the second carrier to try another code, and it also didn’t work. She and Carl took the carrier’s large toolbox to the nearest wall panel to see if there was anything they could do from there. Karen joined them as distant yells and revving engines echoed closer along the tunnel. The enemies they were running from were starting to catch up.
The three workers bypassed the keypads and ran back to the carriers, leaving the toolbox behind, as the ramp door started to drop open. Mercenaries waiting outside began shooting as soon as they could see inside. Nate revved the engine and accelerated forward before the door had dropped fully open. The front wheels slammed up, bouncing onto the ramp and tossing around everything and anyone not strapped in or belted down. Then the back wheels jarred up onto the ramp and the carrier was charging forward toward the troops shooting at them.
Nate aimed for the largest group of people. He remembered about the old building foundation near the speaker box and veered to the left at the last moment. The enemy soldiers had clustered around a steel pile, hoping to draw him into ramming it and damaging or high-centering the carrier. The steel pile scraped the passenger side armor as Nate swerved. Ray took a wider turn and passed the foundation piles on the driver’s side, coming back into line on the road behind Nate seconds later. Tire spikes popped out of the road ahead and Nate only accelerated toward them. The carriers bumped over the spikes as Nate and Ray steered toward the main road out of the base. Jerry jerked forward against his seatbelt and glared into the mirror to confirm both carriers were past the spikes without slowing. Nate chuckled at him from the driver’s seat.
“I checked when the kids were loading up. My department’s SWAT uses the same brand of solid tires,” Nate said.
“You said you were an undercover Detective?” Jerry asked.
“Only for the past five years,” Nate said with a grin. “But for all those years between military service and becoming a Detective, I was SWAT. I started in LA and then transferred to Vegas. You’re going to want to sit back and hold on again,” he added, nodding toward the changes in the middle of the road through the main gate beside security shack.
Jerry slammed back into his seat like he had a pull cord in his back. He grabbed the roll handles as Nate jerked the wheel. They skidded right, steering off the road and away from the main gate, as the steel barricades finished rising from the ground to block off the exit. Small, off-road vehicles from inside the underground base raced after them as both carriers bounced and bumped along, parallel with the fence. Nate used a moment of almost smooth driving to bang a fist on the half-door into the back of the carrier.
“Where’s the weak spot in the fence?” he asked as soon as the small door slid open and Neah’s face appeared.
“What?” Neah and Jerry asked together. Nate grabbed the steering wheel with both hands as things got bumpy again.
“You’re a bunch of seventeen year olds who’re trained in covert tactics. Where’s the spot you get through the fence? Is there another gate?” Nate demanded. He swerved around something that was either a rock or a smaller vehicle. It banged into the side of the carrier and bounced away as they sped off.
“There’s only the one gate, but the weak spot we use is half a mile ahead,” she admitted grudgingly. “You’ll see three posts where a repair was done badly. There’s a gap. These carriers might punch through.”
“Thank you,” Nate replied, his tone clipped as he concentrated on keeping the vehicle going straight as they hit a patch of loose sand.
“Isn’t the fence just chain link?” Jerry asked once they’d stopped sliding and Nate was in control again.
“No,” Nate and Neah answered together. In the mirror, Ray’s carrier swerved suddenly in the sand pit and punted a jeep sideways. The jeep went spinning out of control and crashed into another small vehicle.
“Does anyone back there have a phone?” Jerry asked. Neah held up a cell phone between Nate and Jerry a moment later. The case was bright pink with her name artfully scrawled across the back in black. Chipped corners and visible brush strokes proved the refinished look of the plain, military-issue case had been accomplished with nail polish.
The battery was low when he powered the phone on, but she’d kept it off so at least it worked after not being charged for three days. Jerry dialed the phone number from memory and started through the long list of transfers he knew he would get shuffled through.
“That’s the weak spot!” Neah called from the back. Nate cranked the wheel into hard left turn and aimed for the right side of where she’d told them to go. Lights flashed on the highway from the direction of the facility’s main gate behind them; the security vehicles from the base were already on their way.
Rather than shearing off like a chain link fence should, the wiring dug into the carrier’s armor and the two posts they’d run directly into only bent. The third post swayed from the hit, stretching toward them and pulling the wiring tight. Ray’s carrier slammed into the third post so close that his passenger side and Nate’s driver’s side mirrors were both ripped off. The third post twisted and then broke loose, accompanied by the fence wiring snapping and whipping like tension lines under the combined force of both carriers.
Nate whooped loudly as the two posts blocking their way folded over and scraped under carrier, freeing them from the facility perimeter to rumble and shake up onto the highway. Jerry cut off the sudden celebration with a slap to Nate’s arm. The person on the other end of the phone was asking Jerry to repeat the last thing he’d said before they would give him the next transfer.
A weekly blog updating on Saturdays with quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and that doles out my short stories and novellas in bite-sized parts for everyone to read for free!