Well, this first day of summer break is starting off exactly as expected: two kids who are already cranky with each other after an hour being awake, and I got no sleep. Sounds awful, right? Except for the fact that we have absolutely, positively, wonder-f'n-fully nowhere to go today! They can be cranky! I can be tired! We can all spend the day grounded in our rooms! Who cares!
This, this part right now, is the part of summer break that I was so excited for lol.
The funny similarity to my days back in Mr Jordan's high school English class is that I still can't, to this day, give myself the word of the day. Trying to do it myself actually gave me writer's block this past Christmas. This summer break, I'm ignoring my writer pride's demands that I come up with every original idea completely by myself and I've been asking friends and family to give me random words. (Or, in the case of my youngest, a random letter lol.) Not only has it made for fun conversations to tell people about the stories spinning out of their words, I'm having a great time writing up a ton of new content for blogging.
I can't wait to start sharing this stuff with you in September! Hope you have a great weekend!
A quick blurb because somehow the past couple of days got away from me. Now it's Friday and I don't know how that happened. As in, I don't know how it got to Friday already. Wasn't it just Tuesday? Maybe I can blame living far enough north in the world that right now the days are honestly running together due to only getting a couple hours of dark every night. That seems like a good excuse. ;)
There's only one more week of school left until I have both kids home for the summer. I'm looking forward to it almost as much as they are. Probably as much as I'm looking forward to having them both in the same school starting in September lol.
Happy Solstice! Hope you have a great summer! (Or a great winter, for all of you living in the south half of the world.)
3. Truth Erupting
Panic turned ugly and people were killed. Crushed. Then someone saw it happen, the first strike back at our attackers. The cloud rose like a blossom after the initial flash. Then another. Then another. A Russian pilot still wearing his flight gear screamed at the window for it to stop, pounding his fists into the not-quite-glass. Nobody down on the planet heard him.
When the small ships returned this time, they moved in a hurried way that we hadn’t seen yet. People were nearly thrown into the cells. The pilots of those ships yelled to each other, to the others who were near to the holding cells, in a language nobody in the cells could understand but out of faces we had all be taught to fear. We saw only captors when they looked at us. It wasn’t until later that we all learned the truth.
Panic came on stronger than ever before as the view out the windows spun away from our planet to show more great ships – dozens we could see, so possibly hundreds surrounding the whole globe – so many more than in the stolen satellite images we’d seen. All of them were also turning away from the planet. We had been stolen. Like the images.
Leaders came forward, natural ones instead of elected ones, who eventually exerted control over the panic of the caged people. They assigned duties and kept hands busy so that minds were less free to wander. They saved lives by finding linguists and medics, creating ways of survival and communication. Once we could speak to our captors and understand what had happened, and why, we were freed; unharmed except for the damage we had done to ourselves. Those who had taken us did not return us back to our planet. We couldn’t go back so they instead brought us to a new one and helped us build ourselves onto it.
Ours was destroyed.
Year 18A (eighteen years After)
The truth was a lot simpler than we could’ve imagined: a fatal fissure to the core of our planet was poised to open under the Pacific. Our technology couldn’t see it properly but it was there, buried under tons of water and rock. Hidden from us. They had seen it as they passed by, but that first ship had been too small to help in any way so the fissure had been noted as a priority and contact with the dominant life on the planet was planned. While they’d been attempting to speak with us, an armada of life boats had been assembled as quickly as they could build. They had come to save us from the end of our world.
Thanks to us and the tampering and destruction of the probes they’d sent, the magnitude of the fissure remained unmeasured in real time and only observable from what they could see from distant orbit. Our unrequired efforts to defend ourselves during the rescue evacuation had rocked the Earth and then ripped it open, but not before many of us – and stable populations of nearly all of the other species we knew – were able to be plucked up and placed in ships.
At the end, there was only a quiet explosion where the ocean poured in and the magma poured out and the seas quenched the core’s fire to a point the planet could never recover from. Toxic steam poisoned the atmosphere in clouds that blocked the sun, reflecting nearly all the heat from our nearest star and ending life on the surface. Our Earth – the first one – cooled to dead rock in only a decade.
Like in the movies, they had come and then the world ended. It wasn’t like that, though. Not looking back from After.
The second message: Your world does die. Fire inside come out. End with cold darkness. End with death. We help come. We will come.
Do you know what's really, really cool for me about having a kid in Grade 2 who is reading young adult novels? It's that I made my own Editor. I mean, not for my adult novels of course, but for my Story Shares writing? This kid is awesome. She's only checked the first chapter and I'm already impressed with the things she's finding. My Author Ego had to get shoved into a corner by my Writer Brain, but that happens with everything I have checked over by any Editor who gives me good feedback. (And I'm using "good" as in the feedback makes the story better, not as in praise.)
The benefit? Teen and adult learners get access to reading material which is interesting to learn from, fun to read, and full of relatable characters that will give them a much greater chance of achieving learning success.
I don't have access to anyone more qualified to edit my story than someone in the middle of the target Grade level. (Plus, she's my kid so she works for me for free.)
Oh, and Story Shares is a non-profit group that have made their on-line library available world-wide. Profits from book sales go directly into producing more books and learning resources. I'm a firm believer that reading should be available to everyone, and these guys help that happen.
Hope you have a great weekend!
2. Rising Threat
The third type of probe came on August twenty-second. Powerful people had just started to become comfortable again when it landed in Sydney. This one came with a message already included and ready to be played: Reo’s poem as read by Hinata. The Response 1 – as we named it – should have ignited a wave of good-will, but the message was heard only by a chosen few and they did not pass on its quiet intentions.
The message was followed by a second recording which was posted everywhere: a representative of the race we were talking to. In a very thick and very foreign accent, the representative repeated the final line of the poem through vocal cords that were never meant for our speech and nodded his head in imitation of Hinata’s nervous movements, of all the nervous movements that had been in the personal messages attached to the speeches. The representative didn’t realize that, out of context, the line was not friendly and the body language appeared twitchy. Untrustworthy.
“We will come” became the slogan for the end of the world.
Greater attempts were made to study the Response 1 than had been inflicted on the Contact 1. Two people were killed by electrocution as they tampered with technology they pretended to understand. The Response 1 retreated, damaged, carrying no message but the accidentally recorded images of the science teams retreating from the arcing equipment as the soldiers at ready shot it. Fear escalated.
September fourteenth. The Response 2 landed in Prague in the same park that the Scout had. The military sealed the area and the probe was never seen again. We were never told what it said, not then. We found out After.
Those of us who were still thinking took it as a lucky omen that the fourth type of probe arrived on November eleventh. It was tracked by satellite and then by ship to the international waters of the Central Pacific. When found, the frightened crew of an undisclosed submarine blew it to bits before the situation could escalate: the probe was emitting a frightening amount of frequencies, many jamming our current communication technologies. Nothing of the wreckage recovered could offer any clue as to the purpose of that probe – and the records from the submarine, like its home country, were never released. The threat of the jamming frequencies was aired. Often.
People waited, afraid, as the latest “long-ago predicted date” of our world’s demise came and fell away. On December twenty-eighth the media stole and aired the first satellite images. Panic washed in crashing waves covering entire continents. Terror came second. That was when the few governments who hadn’t toppled fell to the force of the fearful many being controlled by the might of the few who could still impose their wills on the mobs. Militaries were handed command and even the few were bent to fit under the martial laws being locked into place.
Year Zero (the year of The Event)
January eighth witnessed the world hold its breath.
The ships came in droves, spilling from the stolen satellite images onto live television. The crafts were massive and alien and pouring out smaller, pointed ones which looked like jets that had escaped from far beyond anything in our dreams of science fiction. Our jets fell before them in confused static, the pilots plucked from the cockpits like puppets on invisible strings. Our weapons did no damage we could see. People on the ground were collected in herds. Taken. Deposited in large holding cells and then the small ships would be gone again, gone back for more.
Hello! My next short story, Them, starts today! I think this will be the last one before I take a break for Summer holidays and return with some fresh ideas in September. The blog will keep running on Fridays... most Fridays lol. I'm going to steal away some time with my kids while they still like me and I'm terrible at planning so I don't know when the time will happen that I get to steal. :D
In fun news, there was another pitch party for PitMad on Twitter yesterday (June 6)! It was a great display of all the amazing books that will be coming out in the next few years. My schedule didn't let me participate at all, but this morning I did a quick search and WOW is all I can say for the cool stories Writers on Twitter are creating. Don't know about pitch parties? Check out the link above!
Hope you have a great weekend!
1. First Contact
Year 1B (one year Before)
It had been mid-May. The seventeenth. Some people had hailed it as the end, many as the beginning. We’d all seen the movies where our world or our Human race was threatened; Star Trek, Independence Day, The Day The Earth Stood Still, etc, etc...
This wasn’t any of those – even if people tried to make it out to be at the time.
A few governments toppled. Most just froze and let their militaries handle things the only way that scared people in groups know how to do: badly. A couple actually managed to hang on to what little order was left. After, most of us just moved on and adjusted. We are an adaptable race when we are forced to be.
The first craft had been small and landed in Europe. The dense civilian population had made it impossible to cover up (even though the EU tried really, really hard for those first few weeks). But the news was wildfire from the start and cover up efforts went basically ignored. The Scout – as we came to call the craft – simply sat in a park in downtown Prague and, as we later learned, listened to our radio and satellite broadcasts. After a few days, it left.
The second one came on June second, this time landing in Tokyo. It had a semblance of familiar looking technology and the world’s top scientists were able to determine that it was a communication device. There was no existing message, but there was a lot of recording equipment. We took pictures, popped open panels, took video footage... then we would approach with tools made to dig deeper and the panels would close of their own accord and our best and brightest would simply sit and stare at it, confounded as to why they couldn’t dissect it.
A then unknown poet wrote a short stanza of welcome and gave it to his sister, who was an assistant to one of the scientists. On June sixth, when nobody was looking, she pressed the Play/Record button and hurriedly read the poem. Kobayashi Reo and Hinata were recorded in the short history between The Scout and The End as having committed treason against Earth and were both shot dead by firing squad on June ninth. Fear. The Contact 1 – as we came to call it – had left on June sixth a couple of hours after the recording was made, carrying only the poem and some clear images of a nervous Hinata as she read it.
Seven more Contact type probes came on June twenty-eighth, landing all over the world. Fear turned to terror and the message of the friendly poem that was blamed for welcoming this invasion was ignored as governments set to sending back scripted speeches. Contact 2 to 8 all left after only a few days and people hunkered down in their homes and waited for what would happen next.
We found out After that nearly all the speeches had been tampered with by private messages tacked onto the recordings either at the beginning or the end. While many cowered, there were more of us who wanted to know, and to say hello. It was exciting for so many of us.
A blog with quick updates about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and where I can vent my short stories weekly for everyone to read for free!