Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Kind of Afterword

Once upon a time, as all good stories start, I wanted to be a writer.


And so I am.

Thirteen stories and over 80,000 words later, you can read a sometimes exciting collection of interconnected characters and events that make up an overarching tale I called The Long Range.  I’m pleased with it as a first effort.  I can see the problems with the work as well as anyone, but I’m still proud of it.  It’s complete.

So, what’s next?  I’m glad you asked.

When I did my author chat at The Penny Dreadful back in May, there were some questions about comic books and how they were put together and about my own work.  In August, I’ll share a 24-page story that I did back in 2002 I think, called The Stone Man. (You can read a review by Steven Grant here and one by Tony Isabella here.)   I wrote and penciled the whole thing and my friend Ron Fontes inked twelve pages of it for me.  He definitely improved the work with his brushes and pens.  I’ll give you a page a day, Monday through Friday for the entire month. 

Then I’ll take September off, essentially, to prepare for another longform work called The Missing Fundamental which will bow in October.  This will be another year-long serialized work for you to enjoy or ignore as you see fit.  We’ll go back to the updating every Wednesday format.

By October, you’ll be able to purchase paper copies of both The Long Range and The Missing Fundamental, but they’ll both remain free on the website forever.

I’m also updating the blog/website to make it easier for you to read.  That should be done fairly soon, but will probably be a bit of slow going.  I had intentions of launching a completely new site, but this is better for me in terms of time spent.

Some thankyous are quite in order:

First and foremost thanks to you readers.  You have made my day more times than I can count with your comments and your visits.  I hope that you’ve been entertained.  I’ll keep trying.

My compatriots at The Penny Dreadful: you have been so supportive and generous with your time to let others know I was out there doing this.  I can’t thank you all enough for everything but most especially for letting me be part of your community.

The folks who have re-tweeted my silly little notices that a new chapter was up and ready for you to read.  I’m grateful to you for giving the space on your timelines to help out.  Jason Gusman was a great help in promoting the work early on.

Wendy Morrell, aka Quillfeather, was there almost from the beginning and awarded me some blogging prizes.  She always had time to drop in and say ‘hi’ and to let me know she liked the work. 

Thanks to everyone who I met during the Sunday Twitter #writechats.  Those conversations are always stimulating and enlightening.  You all definitely influenced my approach to the second half of The Long Range.

Finally, thank you to my family and most of all: my wife.  Without her support and understanding I wouldn’t be doing this.  She’s decided it’s much better to have me be a crazed storyteller living in her house than a morose introvert mumbling about strange monsters and alternate dimensions somewhere on the street.  She is the light of my life and the reason I work so hard to be better in every part of my life.

And that’s the end, everyone.  Thanks for coming; get home safe and I’ll see you soon enough with new stories. 

I’ll turn out the lights when I go.  I just want to sit here for a second.

Best,

Jason

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Writer's Notes 4

We’ve come to the end of the thirteen-month long run of short stories that comprise The Long Range.  Here are some notes on the final three stories.

April’s tale, HONEST WORK, is a Heinlein pastiche, a tribute to the grandmaster of SF.  The idea for a professional witness came from his Stranger in a Strange Land and setting it on a space station from The Cat Who Walks Through Walls.  R.A.H. was such a huge influence on me for such a long time that it’s inconceivable to me to not try and write like him, although that’s exactly what I’ve been conscious of not doing, especially while I was writing this story.  Heinlein made SF sexy and real.  I wrote this story while thinking of the things I’d learned from reading Ray Bradbury and then putting a little more of myself into it.  I think I achieved a little more of my ‘voice’ in this story and it has that going for it, though it’s probably not the most satisfying ending for anyone but me.  It does, however, set up Emily as the major villain of the piece, rather than Brahmen.  He’s the energy behind her, but it’s her that’s doing most of the work.

In SOUL STRIPPER (a nod to AC/DC, there) it was imperative that even though Bettie left Frank behind (again) that I didn’t wallow in that.  We’re all insecure enough that when our loved ones keep acting the same way over and over and over we start to think a lot of strange things. Frank, however, is so focused on his work that he doesn’t.  It’s not that he doesn’t care, he’s just more involved in finding answers.  Thus, he was the perfect person to take over Strangiato’s role as the Seeker.  When I wrote …LIKE THEY ARE, I knew Strangiato was going to die.  How he died was interesting and none of anyone’s business, at least not for now, but I will admit that I was surprised at who Bettie turned out to be.  I didn’t know that until Frank did, but it made sense and explained a lot about why Bettie behaved the way she did. 

I love the setting of The Well, and I hope that someday I’ll return to it to tell a more compelling story.

Finally, the last story to be written and the last story in the cycle, READER ended up being a lot longer than I originally intended.  We had to go back to the castle to find out what happened to Marion.  You remember the odd dreams in THE INSULATED MAN?  No?  Well, they set up the end.  Way back then, I knew Marion was coming back, the same way that I knew what was in the box at the end of TELLER.  To answer one question: No, Ray isn’t me.  Yes, TELLER was a wish/dream of mine, but Ray isn’t me as is evidenced by the end of READER.  The lush foliage they walk through to get to the floating house was inspired by Roger Dean’s great album covers, in case you were wondering.

READER was a story that really took on a life of its own.  It owes a great deal to the aforementioned Ray Bradbury and to the fact that during the entire run of The Long Range I had been reading a lot.  That’s probably the biggest thing that influenced the work.  Next week I’ll share what amounts to being an Afterword of thoughts about the entire project, why I started doing it and what’s coming up next.

Thank you to everyone who’s been reading and especially commenting.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this.  There’s more to come. 


Click here for A Kind of Afterword.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Reader 7






7




The monstrous claw snapped at empty air.  A booming roar followed them as they shot upward.

"Hang on," Marion said.  "This is the complicated part."

Ray looked up and saw the stone ceiling.  "Too fast! We're going too fast!"

"Quiet," Frank said putting his hand on Ray's shoulder.  "Trust her."  He held his breath.

A tingling feeling swept over Ray and he nearly collapsed from fright as the globe passed harmlessly through the top of the tower into a clear night sky.  Brad, Hodgkins and Frank all exhaled together.  Marion was still concentrating, guiding the globe as it navigated the wind currents.

Ray laughed and looked down.  "I don't believe it," he said. 

Below stretched a forest that surrounded the castle, which was a sprawling complex of buildings and fortifications that must have been the size of ten square city-blocks.  He recognized the little part of the castle that he'd entered a lifetime ago, when his wife had sent him in search of his dead grandparents.  The rest of the buildings were too much to take in.  He sat down, crossed his legs and covered his head with his hands.

"You okay?"  Brad knelt down. 

The globe continued its flight, circling the castle complex, slowing a little.  Marion was peering down, looking for something.

"Imagining something like this is one thing," Ray said.  "Reading about it is another, but living it, experiencing it is just too much.  I don't know what to think."

Brad smiled.

"You were an old, old man when I met you," Ray said.  "Now look at you.  You're what? Maybe thirty-five?  Hodgkins hasn't changed from the time I met him all those years ago.  I know there's magic here, that there's magic in the universe.  There has to be.  I've just never been this close to it, I guess."

"Well," Brad said, "magic and science aren't all that far apart.  They're really just different ways of describing things.

"And that's what humans do: describe things.  We compartmentalize, define, limit what we see.  We have to in order to understand," Brad said sitting down next to Ray, "but those things also limit what we can understand.  Once we take a pure concept and wrap it in words that make sense to us, anything that falls outside of that description is hard to believe."

"I don't get it," Ray said.  "I mean, I do, but I don't know what you're getting at."

"You'll have to wait to explain, dearest," Marion said.  "We're ready to go."  The globe began a slow descent

Brad, Ray, Frank and Hodgkins watched as they came down through the tops of trees into a clearing a hundred yards wide.  Gently, they bumped into the ground and the green light of the globe faded away.  Ray immediately sat down.  Frank turned, scanning the edge of the little dell, looking for something.  Hodgkins stood by, not watching as Marion and Brad embraced, kissing each other, whispering.

A flash of light and a sharp crack sounded across the soft grass from the far side of the clearing.  The acrid smell of brimstone wafted to them.  "He's here," Marion said looking over Brad's shoulder and pointing.  "There."

The man that stumbled out of the woods was unremarkable: he had wavy brown hair, a goatee and wore faded black and white striped chef's pants with a stained white tee shirt.  He coughed and saw the party ahead of him.  "Marion!"

She pulled away from Brad and opened her arms to hug him as the chef ran over to her.  "Oh my god," he said and held her tight.  "I thought never to see ye again!  How'd you get free?"

"Ray," Marion said and pointed.  "He came and found me."

"And Bea?  Strangiato?"

"Both dead," she said.

"Ah," he said.  "Still, you're here, you're alive."

"I'm Brad," her husband said, sticking out his hand.

"Yeah, shit," Jimmy said.  "Sorry, man."  They shook hands.  The two men locked eyes and sized each other up like two tomcats about to fight.  Brad relaxed his grip, gave Jimmy a slight nod and a vague smile.

"This is Jimmy Cavanaugh," Marion said and introduced the others. 

"I know Hodgkins," Jimmy said.  He squinted at Frank.  "And you're the new Seeker, eh?  Got some big shoes to fill, man."

"You're not the first to tell me that," Frank said, shaking Jimmy's hand.  The chef nodded.

"Ray," Jimmy said.  "Thanks for gettin' her out of there.  You don't know how much this means to the world, to the universe, really.  You're a hero to a lot of people."

"I'm just a writer," Ray said.  "I don't know what I did or why it was important."

Jimmy frowned, looked back at Marion.  "He for real?"

She shrugged. 

"You'll figure it out, then," Jimmy said.  "Being a writer and all."  He smiled and clapped his hands. 

"Well," he said.  "We're not out of the woods yet.  We still have to make it down Dean's pathway to the floating house."  He saw the look on Ray's face.  "Don't worry, man, it's not far and there's no danger between here and there.  Just a little walking is all.  We can't get there any other way."



|||



The landscape shifted as they wound along the wide path that appeared before them.  Everything seemed to be bent, but not unnaturally.  Vines wound around and over rocks and through trees; scrub bushes were scattered across the lush green as though thrown from a gardener's hand without care, some ferns mixed with lots of trees, evergreens and deciduous of both familiar and strangely alien varieties, for good measure.  There was a long-tailed bird with feathers of unearthly colors calling as they passed.  Jimmy was right, it wasn't far, maybe a mile and a half.

"It's all like an album cover," Ray said, looking upward.

"There," Jimmy said, pointing ahead of them.  "The floating house."

"Indeed," Frank said. 

Hodgkins nodded.  "I've heard of it, of course," he said, "but I've never seen it before.  It's lovely."

Brad held Marion with one hand across her shoulders.  She leaned in closer to him.  "It's beautiful," she said then kissed him on the cheek.

"I've dreamed of this place," Brad said. 

The house was tall, three stories, with high gabled windows on the top floor and a mostly flat roof peaked only enough to run off rainwater.  There were two skylights they could see and a long deck around the second level, with supports extending to the bottom of the first level.  Painted a kind of forest green, it hung in the air against all the laws of physics.  It was surrounded by flora that included a couple of shade trees and a waterfall that ended in a pool just below the bottom of the house.

"This is impossible," Ray said.  "It's like a magic version of a Frank Lloyd Wright house.  Not quite Falling Water, but..."

"Come on," Jimmy said.  "Let's get inside."  He started walking up the little rise.  When his left foot came up off the ground and was followed by his right, he stopped.  "Stay close to me.  If you reach out to your right, you can feel the rail that'll guide you up."

One after another, they all followed the chef up the invisible stairs, a strange ascension, until they walked through the front door of the floating house.

"Welcome," a voice said as the door shut behind Hodgkins, who was the last one in.  Ray turned to meet their host and went pale.

"Erika," he said.

"Hello, Ray."  She came across the parquet floor in bare feet, wearing a yellow sundress and looking like she did when Ray first met her. 

He stumbled backward and Frank caught him.  "I thought --- you were..."

"I've been here, waiting for you," she said.  "Your grandparents say hello."  Erika leaned in, kissed him on the cheek.  She stood back then, her hair a halo of sunlight from behind.  Her smile radiant and full, infectious, he couldn't help but smile back.

"Am I dead?"

A little laugh from her.  "No," she said.  "Not quite.  Will you come to the library with me?  The sitting room is through there, if the rest of you don't mind."  She held out her hand to the left and when they'd gone through to the sunken room, she put her right hand out for Ray.  He didn't hesitate, took it and they went into the library.

"There on the desk," she said.  "You have to decide by the time you're done reading it.  You don't get to ask any questions."

"What is it?"  Ray held her hand a little tighter, looked worried.

"A proposal from the powers that be.  I can't tell you anything else."  She sat down across from the desk and watched him walk over and pick up the envelope.



|||




Half an hour later, Erika and Ray, arm in arm, joined the others in the sitting room.

"You've decided to stay," Frank said.  Sunlight streamed through the bay window with a spectacular view of the lush valley filled with strange trees cut by a thin river winding across its floor.  It was a big room, full of heavy, overstuffed furniture.

Ray nodded.  “I raised my kids to live a meaningful life and they don’t need me any more and I get to write all the time.  Yeah, it seems a good deal to me.”

"You're staying with him?"  He looked intently at Erika.

"Yes."

Frank was impassive, weighing the news.  He turned to Marion and Brad.  "And you?"

"I'm going back," Marion said.  "Brahmen is still trying to dominate everything.  I can't stay here."

"I'm going with her," Brad said.  "I won't lose her again."

Frank shrugged, looked resigned.

"Hodgkins?"

The butler sat down.  "I don't know.  I can't go back."

The floating house was solid.  The view through the bay window in the sitting room was the only indication that it wasn't connected to the ground outside.  Jimmy came into the room with a small tray of sandwiches and set them on the sideboard.  He took a triangle and bit into it.

"If you like, you're welcome to come with me," Frank said.  “Honestly, I need some help t maintain the estate I’ve inherited.”

The shadows crept across the room as the sun swept along its path.  The silence grew.  The calls of exotic birds were barely audible from outside.  Marion sipped her wine, Brad drained his glass and set it gently on a side table.  His wife glared at him and he wiped up the little ring of water underneath it after he moved it to a coaster he took from the front drawer of the table.  She patted his hand.

Frank set his glass back on the tray that Hodgkins had put back on the sideboard.  "We all have our assignments," he said.  "I should be getting back to mine."

"Hold on," Ray said, walking over to Frank.  The writer was close to the Seeker and said in a low whisper, "Is this all real?  Am I going to wake up back home in my own bed in a few minutes?"

"Why are you asking me?"

"This all started with you and me in a bar, having a drink," Ray said.  "And --- well, I dream about Erika all the time since she died.  I just don't want this to be a dream."  He was concerned, looked over his shoulder at her, then Marion and Brad and Hodgkins. 

"It's real, Ray Briscoe," Frank said and clapped a hand on the writer's shoulder.  "I'll look forward to seeing you again."  They clasped hands and nodded at each other.  Frank turned and bowed to Marion.

"You know how to reach me," he said.  Frank gave Brad a little salute then took a step toward the hall. Hodgkins stood up.  "I'll see you all again, I'm sure."

The two left the room side by side and Ray heard Hodgkins speak.  "You're starting to sound like him."  There was a gentle closing sound as the front door shut.

"Sandwiches," Jimmy said.  "In case anyone's hungry."  Marion looked over the back of the settee at the chef and smiled.

"Thanks," she said.  "Not right now."  Jimmy shrugged.

Ray and Erika talked with Brad and Marion and Jimmy for hours.  The view through the bay window showed that the floating house turned gently.  When the full moon shone over the valley, the sandwiches had been eaten, a lot of wine and liquor had been drunk.

"There's a lady waitin' for me," Jimmy said.  "I should be going." 

"We have to go, too," Marion said.  "It's time to get back."  The women hugged everyone and the men shook hands with each other.  Jimmy, Marion and Brad left through the front door.

Ray looked around.  "This is what I get for staying on and doing this job?"  He took Erika in his arms and kissed her.  "I can live with this."

"We should go to bed," Erika said.  "You've got to start first thing in the morning."

"I don't know what I should write," Ray said as they walked up the wide stairs. 

"Start with when you and I met," Erika said, “and go from there.”


<<<<>>>>





_____________________

Thanks for reading!  I'm grateful to those who've been here since the beginning and have stuck around for a little over thirteen months to see this through to its conclusion.   Come back next Wednesday for writer's notes on the last three stories and the week after that for a kind of afterword about why I did this and how. Tell your friends won't you?  There's LOTS more to come!


Click here for my Notes.



©2010 By Jason Arnett.
Some Rights Reserved under a Creative Commons Attribution-
Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States 




You can buy the whole story, and any story from this website for 49¢ by clicking on the button below and I’ll send you a DRM-free PDF via email.










Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Reader 6





6



The library was completely dark now.  Ray, Frank, the butler Hodgkins and Marion all stood over the prone body of Brad Martin, Marion's aged husband.  Ray heard a small pop and there was light: a white globe about five inches in diameter, floating about six inches above Marion's hand.  The men recoiled and held out arms to shield their eyes from the sudden glare.  Once their eyes had adjusted, they could see about ten feet in any direction from the globe.

"Seeker," Marion said and held out the hand the globe was floating over.  "If you don't mind."

Frank put out his hand and when she took hers away the globe bobbed slightly in the air but stayed.  He and Ray watched Marion kneel down to Brad.  She spoke a whisper into his ear, then put her left hand on his chest, her right on his forehead. 

"What's she doing?"  Ray tried to be quiet but his voice seemed to blast across the silence.  He caught an angry glare from Frank, then, embarrassed, he saw Hodgkins looking around the room.  Ray wanted to ask what the butler saw, but closed his mouth instead.

Marion's eyes were closed, her lips moving, her fingers massaging Brad where they touched him.  His chest moved up and down, rhythmically, his legs twitched like a cat dreaming of chasing a bird.  She bowed her head over him, moved her left hand to his belly, her right to his ear and began to rock back and forth slowly. 

Ray looked around at the darkness, opening his eyes as wide as he could in an attempt to pierce the gloom surrounding them.  "Stop it," Frank said.  "You don't want to know what's out there, trust me."

"We have to get moving," Hodgkins said.  "We're running out of time here."  He looked down at Marion, bent over Brad, chanting audibly though still barely a whisper.  "Mrs. Martin --- Doctor, we have to get going."

She continued to chant, but shook her head 'no'.  Hodgkins leaned in to Frank.  "Seeker, we're out of time."

“I know,” Frank said in a hush.  "I'm not going to rush her, though, so we just have to wait.  First lesson I learned in this job is not rush the use of magic.  Whatever she's doing is important and we don't matter right now."

The butler showed some slight irritation but wiped it away as he drew his palm from forehead to chin, resuming his normal calm demeanor.  Ray, however, could see the fear growing behind Hodgkins' eyes. 

Marion's hands glowed blue, adding a surreal element to the light coming from the globe floating over Frank's hand.  Ray turned to look out into the darkness again and thought he saw a shadow move across his field of vision.  He leant forward to see a little better, then stood up straight.  The sound of creaking wood far off to his left made him look that direction.

"What's that?"

The slow creak turned into a bang, then another and soon one after another.

"The stacks," Hodgkins said.  "Someone's pushing the stacks down."

There was a creak of wood off in the other direction, followed by the rhythmic banging of enormous bookshelves crashing into one another like dominoes and getting closer.  Frank scanned the darkness.  "We're being surrounded, too," he said.

Marion chanted faster, a little more loudly, her head nodding up and down as she rocked back and forth over the body of her husband.

Ray saw more shadows moving in the murk.  Every direction he looked he saw something moving.  "What are they?"  He turned around completely.  "They're everywhere," he said.

"Doctor," Frank said.  "Time's up."

Marion opened her eyes and looked up at him.  "Yes," she said.  He hands lost their glow.  "I'll take the light if you and Raymond will carry Brad for a bit until he gets his strength back."  She stood up and held out her hand.

Frank handed over the light globe and the two men bent down over Brad.  "Look," Ray said.  He pointed.  "Look."

Brad was much younger, about the same age as Marion now, the wrinkles and lines on his face smoothed out, the liver spots on his hands faded, gone.  There was no pain apparent in his features, his clothes were noticeably tighter, his chest broader.  "If you don't mind," Marion said.  "You can admire the spell later on."

There was a howl, keening, menacing.  "Too close," Frank said.   "They're too close.  We're not going to make it."  He and Ray pulled Brad gently to a sitting position, then slung his arms over their shoulders and brought him to his feet.

"Urgh," Brad said, his weight full on the other two.  He threw up.  All three crouched down and Brad vomited again.  "God," he said, weak as a kitten.

Marion's arms were swaying over her head, her hands glowing again, this time with a green light that left no traces in the air.  A small light green disc appeared over her head and expanded until it became a dome that enveloped the entire party in a ten foot radius.  "Don't touch the sides," she said, a little out of breath.  "We're safe in here."

The light cast by the dome illuminated the creatures from the darkness as they approached.  "Teeth," was all Ray said as he and Frank got Brad to his feet.

"We have to walk through them," Marion said.  "They can't get through and the globe will travel with us.  Hodgkins, if you'll lead the way?"

"Of course," he said.  The butler took a tentative step then turned back to Marion.  "You said globe, yes?"

She nodded.  "We're being tracked from all sides," she said.  "We're protected."

"Excellent," Hodgkins said.  "Then we can get out a little faster."  He smiled a little, turned and began walking, slow, steady.

Marion was in the center, moving her hands subtly and the three men followed her.  There were all manner of dark things that tested the globe, slavering, roaring, then attacking the green light.  Ray walked with his eyes closed, Frank studied the creatures, recognizing a few.  "Bellnaps, nerash and durlets," he said.  "Lower demons."  One of the smaller ones leaped at the globe aiming at Frank's head.  He flinched even as the thing screamed in pain and fell back to be set upon by its cohorts.

"Still dangerous," Marion said.  "Though they shouldn't be here.  The castle is neutral territory."  The shelves lay one atop another, books spilled everywhere as they walked the central aisle.  Ray kept his eyes closed. Brad stirred a little, groaned.

"A sign that Brahmen's made a deal?"

"Or just doesn't care," Marion said.  They kept walking.

"We need to turn at the end of the aisle," Hodgkins said over his shoulder.  "Then we'll go up."  He waited for Marion to acknowledge the plan.

She looked worried.  "You're sure?"

"As can be," Hodgkins said.  "Given the situation."

Another of the creatures, this one the size of a saint bernard, leapt high and came down on the top of the dome.  At the same time, there was a rumble from underneath them and the floor where they'd been just a moment before collapsed.  Marion grunted and hunched her shoulders.  The creature on top slid back, hit the floor, rolled and fell through the gaping hole.

"Go," she said, teeth gritted.  "Get us out of here."  Her arms moved through the cardinal points of the compass and little shocks of green light left her palms to embed themselves in the globe. 

Hodgkins walked them to the end of the aisle.  "Left turn," he said and the party carefully turned so that none of them touched the insides of the globe that protected them. Teeth, limbs, claws, paws and hooves came in waves at the globe in a chaotic assault.  Ray closed his eyes as tight as he could and held on to Brad using him as much for support as the other way round.

Something from below attacked the globe, causing it to jump in the air and everyone fell to the floor, as did the demons outside the globe.   The light around them flickered until Marion, from her knees, recast the spell that protected them.  Frank saw that it took tremendous effort as he helped Brad up.

"It's not much farther," Hodgkins said.  "Can you hold out?"

"Yes," Marion said, annoyed.  "Just get us there."

"I can walk by myself now," Brad said.  He was unsteady, but looking much stronger than he had ten minutes before. "I'm okay."  He reached out to Marion.

"Don't," she said.  "You'll break the spell.  After.  Afterwards, okay?"

Ray opened his eyes to get up.  "Oh, god," he said.  "These are the things I see in my nightmares."

Frank looked around.  The demons were falling back.  "Hurry," he said.  "Something's going to happen."

Everyone on their own feet, they walked as fast as they could behind Hodgkins.  The globe pushed ahead of them and cleared too-slow or lingering demons backward out of their way.  The howls of rage, meant to intimidate, were louder.

"Here," Hodgkins said.  "We're here."  He pointed up.

Marion nodded.  "This is going to be weird," she said then turned to Ray, Brad and Frank.  "Brace yourselves."  She whirled her arms and hands around in complex, repeating patterns.

The globe began to rise and before their feet would have touched the green light at the bottom, something slipped under their feet and they lifted off the floor, too. 

"Whoa," Ray said.

"Yeah," Brad said.  They leaned into each other as the globe floated five, ten, thirty feet over the library's floor.  Demons filled the space where they'd been moments before then exploded upward in a shower of splinters and concrete and stone.  Ray saw a huge claw stabbing through the murk toward the bottom of the globe.



_____________________

Thanks for reading!  Come back next Wednesday Click here for the conclusion of Reader and of The Long Range in total. Tell your friends won't you?






©2010 By Jason Arnett.
Some Rights Reserved under a Creative Commons Attribution-
Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States 




You can buy the whole story, and any story from this website for 49¢ by clicking on the button below and I’ll send you a DRM-free PDF via email.