Good morning, and welcome to the Thursday, September 11th 2014 edition of : “Can we move the needle?” In the week leading up to its release, I’m “teasing” the first chapters of the third installment of my serial novel, Seasons of Truth, and you’re among the lucky multitudes that get to read it before anyone else.
If you’re reading this, you obviously like alternative history and supernatural horror. What? You’re only here out of a sense of loyalty and your fast-twitch reflexes? No matter. You can catch up on the previous installments of Seasons of Truth (Winter and Spring) today, and still have time to eagerly await next week’s release with the rest of us.
If you’re wondering about the picture above, it’s not vanity that moved me to choose it, but nostalgia. Scant minutes before I took that picture (they were’t called selfies in 2009), I mailed off a version of this book to a Major New York Publisher ™, based on a scotch-fueled conversation with a pretty hoopy frood editor who said “I love Dark Fantasy.” Not only is it an awesome picture of my noble brow(s), but to me it marks the beginning of my credentials as a Professional Author ™.
“IT WAS DARK, I DIDN’T SEE MUCH, BUT I SAW THAT MONK. I ain’t never forgetting that!
“He was dressed like you. He even looked like you, a little. Our part of Paris, we don’t get lots of traffic from University folk. He was always coming by, walking and looking at things. Moving like he belonged there, but just didn’t fit right. Like he wasn’t part of things, but almost was.
“No, I don’t know his name. He never stopped to talk with anyone, all the weeks he was here. Always looking so sad. That ain’t normal for folks like you, right?
“Oh, I didn’t know that. But it was more than just sad that evening. It was…dreamy, sort of. Like he was listening to something none of us could hear.
“We was all closing down our stalls. It was a good day, lots of students wanting flowers for the festival. I had some coins—too many I guess, and someone noticed. A man grabbed my arm, took my bag of coins. Another one put his hand over my mouth. It smelled like bad fish.
“How did I feel? Worried, scared. I know what happens to women ain’t got no protectors. All I can think is maybe they’ll go quick, maybe no child comes from it. Maybe they won’t kill me after.
“How many? I think there were three, maybe four men. I couldn’t see so clear, they dragged me into the shadows. Maybe I saw one of them…yes, yes! He was dark, like his skin was burned. How did you know?
“Everything was frozen in place like one of them paintings hung on a wall in some fancy room. I felt cold, like maybe I was frozen too. The other stallholders was just staring, standing still. There weren’t really nothing they could do, so I ain’t angry or nothing.
“Thank you, that means a lot to me. You’re a kind man.
“And that’s when I saw him. None of us was moving, just him and the men. He was moving fast, fast like a horse, running around the corner kinda blurry-like. The hands let go and I fell on the ground. I couldn’t move or turn my head, but I could still hear things. There was shouting, lots of it. I didn’t understand the words.
“I think he got one of their knives, then drove the others away. I never knew you men of God was strong like that.
“No, I don’t think he was hurt. I never heard his voice before, so I guess he could have been one of them yelling behind me. I just don’t think he was. If someone was getting hurt, they deserved it more than he did.
“Does it make me a bad person? That I’m glad he was hurting them, punishing them for what they did, or was going to do?
“Yes, you’re right. It’s all right to be happy. Thanks for saying that.
“No, I ain’t thirsty at all. It’s not so bad, talking to you like this. I feel better than I have since…well, you know.
“The fight. Yes, that’s it. Like I said, I really didn’t see all that much. The light was fading. Just like I was hoping for, it was over quick.
“After they was gone, after it ended, things was moving again. I felt something wet on my neck. When I could move my arm, I touched it and felt the blood. It wasn’t my blood, but I saw one of them on the ground, with lots of blood all around him. Your friend put my coins back in the bag and tucked it inside my dress.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you knew him. You are a lot alike.
“He lifted me up and laid me back against the cart. His hands was kind, gentle. Like my mother’s, when I was a little girl. Helping me when I fell.
“Yes, it was exactly like that. He touched my arm here, and here. He put his head on my chest, and placed a hand on my head.
“I think he weren’t hurt at all himself. There was some blood on him too, but he was moving fine. Not as fast as before, but in better shape than the other one.
“When the others came crowding around me, he just slipped away. Except for me, and the blood, and the man on the ground, it was like nothing had happened.
“No, I didn’t see where he went, but if you find him, you thank him for me. I owe him my life, and more.
“That’s it, I think. That’s all that happened. I hope I helped you. I like talking with you.
“Yes, thank you. You go with God too.”
Questions? comments? If you liked what you just read, you can preorder the book today at Amazon.com and Smashwords. Don’t be shy about telling your friends on social media sites, and since you’re already in a giving mood,