A CURIOUS ENCOUNTER

August 9, 2008

(Below is a sidebar story I played around with the other day.  It give another view of Windfallow.  Enjoy)

Kat had been watching the warehouse for three weeks. It sat across a wide parking lot from her dad’s factory. Kat had wangled permission from him to fix up the loft and now had a place all her own. She used candles when the sun went down so it would look as though no one lived there. It was her secret place – a safe haven in which to contemplate her life after high school. But there was that warehouse.

She’d first noticed it one early evening, when she saw a red Porsche pull up outside the big doors. “What a car!” she thought as a tall, dark-haired man stepped out and knocked on the warehouse door. The doors opened a crack, then wide enough to let the Porsche glide through. She kept waiting for it to reappear but gave up at 10:00 and went to bed.

The next afternoon she saw it again – earlier this time, but the same sleek sports car and the same man disappeared into the building. “When did he leave?” she wondered absently, then drew back in alarm as the man reappeared and looked up at her window. Kat knew he could not see her as the sun was shining straight into the tall window obviously reflecting back into his face. Still, she stepped to the side and watched as the man shrugged and went back into the building.

So the watching began. Now she knew there were four people who used the warehouse and several vehicles; trucks mainly, that would come and go through the day and night. The place looked deserted; the lettering so old most of it was unreadable. Sanf.. somebody and sons was painted in fading black and red on the side facing her.

Now she knew when they were there and when they were not. And the questions began. Why did the trucks come in empty and leave with tarps covering their contents? Where were they getting the stuff they took out? She jumped as the phone rang.

“Hello? Oh, hi, Mom. I’m just reading. Well, I’ve been busy going over catalogs from those colleges you suggested. I’ll come over Saturday and stay for supper. That sound OK?… Yeah, I’ll see you then.”

Kat looked at the clipboard in her lap. Times and made-up names for who was in and out and when the building was empty. Did she dare sneak in and see what was going on? Was she just nosy? Of course she was. She was seventeen for Pete’s sake.

The slightly built redhead, clad in jeans and sneakers, made her way around the outside of the parking lot, keeping to the trees lining the street. Seeing no one about in the dim light of early morning, she walked quickly across the gravel drive and up to the side door of the warehouse. “Of course it’s locked, you idiot!” she breathed as she stretched on tiptoe to see in the window. It was too dark to see through the dusty pane, so she walked around the metal building to find other possibilities. She had made almost a complete circuit of the property before she found another door. This one was not only unlocked, it was open a few inches!

It took muscle to push the door wide enough to permit entrance. Kat peered into the gloom of the interior. There was nothing here! No pallets of products, no machinery, nothing but a bare concrete floor! “What on earth!” Kat ventured inside. Funny, she couldn’t make out the back of the building. It wasn’t that long, so why couldn’t she see what was ahead. Ears tingling from listening for intruders… “Intruders?!” She almost laughed out loud. SHE was the intruder! “Never mind, I want to see what’s back there!”

Kat walked quickly toward the back of the building. Now a definite blur was visible. What was it? Where did it come from? She took a deep breath and walked into the mist.

A sudden disorientation made her stumble. The building was gone. Dim light made seeing difficult. She was in a tunnel of some sort. Earthen walls were smooth and featureless. What was this? She turned to go back but there was only another wall of dirt. Slowly she perceived a glow further down the tunnel. As she walked forward the glow became a shaft of sunlight shining through a break in the tunnel. With relief Kat walked quickly out of the tunnel and into a wooded area. The sunlight was filtered by trees but still brilliant. As she stepped out from under the canopy, she was brought to a standstill by the scene before her.

Skies of blue-green vied with the grass and trees for attention. The quality of light made clear this was not Oklahoma! A flash caused her to turn quickly to see a bird with glistening red wings glide from branch to branch. Another flash, this one from a stone outcropping that blazed cerulean in the sunlight. Where was she?

Out of nowhere a figure appeared before her. “Welcome. Do you need help?”

The man – she supposed it was a man – it appeared to be a man – except for the soft brown wings that outlined his figure like parentheses – waited for her to answer.

“Who are you? Where am I?” Kat kept herself from screaming by sheer will power.

“I am Angari and you are in Windfallow. Did you come through the warehouse?”

“Yes. But how did I… Where did you…” Words failed her.

“Come. You can see me so I know you are not one of the mindless. Let us walk together and put distance between this place and ourselves.”

“But, I don’t dare go far from here. I must get home!” She turned to run back into the wood. “I can get back home, can’t I?”

“Of course, but don’t you want an explanation for your presence here?”

She jumped aside as a gazelle-like creature came toward her.

“Don’t be afraid, Kat, the animals here will not hurt you.”

Kat stopped. “How did you know my name? I didn’t tell you my name! You are reading my mind! Who are you?” She dodged behind a tree.

“Don’t be afraid. I won’t hurt you. Perhaps you should ask what I am. Would you like to know?”

“Well, of course!” Kat was still nervous but her curiosity got the best of her.

“Come, sit here on this log and we will get acquainted.” Angari indicated a mossy limb hanging low to the ground. “Now I will tell you where you are and how you came to be here.”

“Windfallow is a small planet, just around the corner from Earth, but a million miles away. She was created at the same time as Earth and fallowfolk and earthlings in that day could cross between the worlds through gates. But the humans became corrupted and sinful. They abused the privilege of communing with us and the gates were closed for the protection of all. Sometimes the gates become usable as this one did. An evil being learned how to open it and has been sending mindless ones from earth to steal our rocks.”

“Mindless? Rocks? I don’t understand.”

“Mindless is the name we give to those who do not have the Spirit of the Maker within them. The Mindless from Windfallow live in tunnels like the one into which you wandered. The rocks I referred to are gemstones which we use for building stones; like that one.” Angari pointed to an outcropping of what appeared to be green glass. “That, Kat, is an emerald. We know now that you do not have such rocks on earth, but people lust after them and that is what the mindless are stealing.”

“That’s a real emerald?!! That’s what the trucks are carrying!”

“Yes, we are dealing with the problem, but you came in the midst of that operation.”

“But, what are you? And why do you have wings?” Kat felt comfortable enough to ask but she said nothing about the strange clothing or the tumbled mass of yellow curls on his head, or his seven-foot height.

“I am an Alari. In your world I would be called an angel. I have been alive since the Creation.”

“Are the fallo…fallowfolk all like you?
“No. The fallowfolk look pretty much like you do. But you will find no one here who steals or lies or does any of the things the Maker has forbidden. Would you like to meet some of them?”

“That would be nice, but I have to get back before my folks miss me.”

“You need not fear being late. Time flows differently in Windfallow. No matter how long you are here, time will not have passed in your world.”

Kat looked hard at him. “This is not Oklahoma, is it.”

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THE WINDFALLOW CHRONICLES

February 16, 2008

The Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy site is sponsoring another blog tour beginning on Monday, Feb. 18.  Look in here for reviews and comments.  But, while you are here, look up the posts about The Windfallow Chronicles that are the main feature of this column.


RAGE OF ANGELS – EXCERPT # SIX

October 31, 2007

This block of text will actually be inserted near the end of the book. However, I wanted to remind myself of the end I was tending toward….
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Angari stood before the completed tower. Rising a thousand feet into the blue/green sky of Windfallow, it dazzled even the eternal eyes of the Alari. Gemstone left undressed, used just as it came from the quarries, rivaled Windfallow’s sun. Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald and Diamond reflected and refracted the light until a million rainbows fused into one and created a new horizon.
Angari stood before the tower. The marvelous tower. The tower he had designed and built with his own skill and Craftsmanship. His tower. The Tower of the Angels. No Great Bell hung here – “Though it should” he thought. No, rather a huge wind chime, suspended from the topmost spire, caught the breeze and the light together and sent echoes of music across the valley.
Suddenly he was not alone. Standing beside him, bathed in light unapproachable, was Michael. “What have you done, Angari?” The words came like icy flames to Angari’s mind.
“What have you done, Angari?”
The Alari fell to his knees, head bowed, hands turned palms up in reverence.
“RISE! DO NOT COMPOUND YOUR FOLLY BY WORSHIPPING ME!”

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I would welcome comments and discussion on this blog. This is the last of the excerpts until more of this book is completed.


RAGE OF ANGELS – EXCERPT # FIVE

October 30, 2007

Here I begin to craft the battle lines of the Rage of Angels.This is the enemy…
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Just beyond Angari’s comprehension there lurked in the Barrier Wood a being more dangerous to the Alari than anything he had met in the millennia he had been alive. Word had finally come to Lucifer, the great deceiver, the great dragon of Revelation, that an innocent world still existed. A shining light in the galaxy. A world not his. And protecting that world, an angel, an Alari he was called. Angari was his name. And Lucifer had it.
Now, he prowled the Barrier Wood. Abiding furiously until the day he brought the Alari under his control. Words would be his weapon. Words more subtle than those he used to drive those two from Eden. Always in the Alari’s thoughts as he rested in the shade of the Barrier Wood. As though they were his own; as though he alone had thought of them; the questions, the resentment for being made eternal.
“Your Maker has given you free will, Angari! Just as he gave it to Eve and Adam! Your downfall, Alari!” Had Angari been watching the Wood he would have seen it tremble as though a mighty wind had sent ripples over its surface.


RAGE OF ANGELS – EXCERPT # FOUR

October 29, 2007

Here we see Angari building a mighty tower of pure gemstone.This is the beginning of his struggle, though he has not yet realized his peril…
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Angari took a sighting along the spear of amethyst.Yes, it should go across the third row of chrysolite. Holding the twenty-foot long gemstone, the Alari flew to the top of the crystalline structure he was building. He fitted the piece into an intricate network of spires and shafts soaring into the Windfallow sky. No human would dare look directly at the structure for it was fashioned from raw gemstone straight from the quarries in Ravensrille. Sunlight blazed from a myriad of colors until the whole took on a white hot brilliance. No entrance gave access from the ground. The monolith was meant to be entered only from above. The Windfallow angel had been working on his wind tower for several months. Whenever he could be spared for a few days, or could time warp a few, he would come here to this uninhabited valley. Closed in by high hills and a loop of the Great River which circled Lower Windfallow, it was called Ramon’s Valley and had once been used as a makeshift holding pen. A handful of humans had tried to kidnap the King and Queen of Lower Windfallow many centuries past and, when caught, had been brought here until arrangements could be made to neutralize their influence. A huge wall of sapphire blocks still closed the valley’s opening and the fallowfolk simply left it and built elsewhere.
Angari had taken his idea from a set of wind chimes made by a long-ago queen for one of the human heroes. “I wonder what a huge set of those would sound like?” he’d thought. He chose Namon’s Valley in which to experiment because it was remote and he wanted solitude. That this might be a foreign thought to an Alari had not crossed his mind. Soon, an enormous set of chimes would be hung in the topmost area of the tower. Not only would every passing breeze create a crystal symphony, but the reflection of the sun on gemstone would create a huge, shimmering rainbow. “Perhaps a festival will be held here someday!” the thought came unbidden to the tall angel. He shrugged it aside and kept working.
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Do you have the concept yet that I am working toward? I would really appreciate your thoughts as this unfolds. There will only be two more excerpts.


RAGE OF ANGELS – EXCERPT # THREE

October 27, 2007

Coby decides to tell his second in command and her husband the reason for the journey…..
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Brasker’s second in command stepped into the office. “We’re nearing Quad Three, Captain.”
“Good. Sit down, Lee.” Coby poured a rich coffee brew for the two of them and leaned back. “What do you make of the reports we’ve gotten so far?”
Staff Sergeant Lee, short for Leola Crain, took one of the other chairs. “Well, Pegasus doesn’t seem to have taken anything from the systems it’s visiting. I’m not sure why we’re after her.” Lee took a sip of her coffee.“Are you, Sir?”

“Not yet. What got Star Fleet’s attention were the people backing her and the guy who’s piloting the ship. I worked with Kiota Chang on a ship that came close to these systems. He was kicked out of his command for a violent turn his nature took. He got worse as time passed and finally became really unstable.” Coby was busy putting two and two together, but he didn’t want to rush to judgment here. He leaned toward the slight, impeccably dressed woman in front of him. He had come to appreciate Lee’s insights and expertise and they had become friends. Her husband, Mac, also worked on this detail as navigator and the three often took meals together. Part of his appreciation of the couple was their deep faith. It was a rarity in this legalistic and secular era.
“Who is the backer?” Lee could see Coby was working on something in his head while talking to her.
“The Mega Corporation guy, Conor Bond.”
“Whoa, that’s serious money.”“And never given lightly. He’s got to expect a good return on his investment.”
Suddenly, there were three figures in the office. Coby sat up so suddenly his coffee spilled. “Angari! What are you doing here?”
Lee was also taken back. There, standing in their midst was a creature the like of which she had never seen. Tousled gold curls topped a figure straight out of a medieval tapestry, complete with green tights, a silvery, iridescent tunic and some kind of moccasins. But even that was overshadowed by a set of wings surely as long as the figure was tall. And it was tall – at least seven feet if an inch.
“You can see him, Lee?”
“Of course! What is he?”
“I am an Alari, Miss.”
Brasker was surprised at the slight note of pride in Angari’s voice.


RAGE OF ANGELS – EXCERPT # TWO

October 26, 2007

Kiota is on the hunt though he does not know its destination.Only the hint of a treasure planet brought about by a psychological evaluation, has lured him there…
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Now, Kiota was on the Star Rover, Pegasus, with a full crew and basic provisions for at least ten years.Regular stops at star bases were all that was needed to stock perishable items and Kiota had unlimited credit for that.It wasn’t easy hitching a ride on a warp drive space ship to cut down on the time differential, but a story about family lost on a new planet in Quad 3 did the trick and here he was.
Looking at the star clusters he mentally marked off those he had already checked out. He’d nearly lost the ship in # 11 as solar rip tides tossed it back out like a rubber ball. Numbers Six and Ten had also been checked – from a distance this time – and had also proven to be labeled correctly. He crossed them off his list and stood close to the map, trying to ‘see’ dangers and cover-ups. Number One was obvious; a star was in the process of going nova, no going there. That left four systems unexplored.Two were yellow, two red.He checked them with the Galactic records.The two yellow ones, twelve and fourteen, were listed as having organisms deadly to humans.Three and five, both ranked as red, were more interesting.Number Five had several planets; all wreathed in clouds rich in sulfur and formaldehyde; a deadly combination to humans.Three was listed as having solar rip tides.He looked closely at it. The planets looked stable enough and he saw no evidence of wobbly or distended orbits caused by riptides.