Category Archives: Stories and Story Excerpts

Short sampling of some my various stories I have either submitted to publishers or just written in the past for writing exercises or just plain fun.

My Progress ?


Booklight

 

Thought I would update everyone on the progress on my Book I plan on putting out this year as a collection of  Horror, Fantasy, and Science Fiction all in one.

Shooting for a Lucky 13 stories to go into the Book… Hey!  Maybe that phrase could be part of the Title of the Book. Nah,  it’s probably been over done…I will have to think on it…. 🙂

Check out my progress so far in my writing on the various titles going in the book.

BTW I still need artists for various small sketches to donate an original drawing or artwork based a story or two. Nothing big. just some original stuff would be nice to give it a little pizzazz!

OKAY see below my list of stories either done or in the work.  WISH me luck!

Go HERE for Synopsis of some of the stories below:

Finished Stories

  1. The Summoning *
  2. Witch Hunt *
  3. Bits and Pieces*
  4. Flight Through the Forest
  5. Demon in the Details*
  6. Time Stopped
  7. Roadkill (Novella)
  8. Fire Extinguished

Stories at about 90% Done**

  1. Power in Me

Stories about 25% Done***

  1. The Well
  2. Sinkhole
  3. To Take a Life

Stories at intro to 10%

  1. Alphabet Killer
  2. Thousand Years
  3. Year of the Crow
  4. The Circuit Board

 

TheReader

 

 

 

Need Volunteer Artists for my Story Collection


 

ArtSketch

Need some volunteer Sketch artists, to help provide some Original simple art work drawings to accompany my collection of stories in my book I will be launching in e-book and paperback form this year.

The only thing I can offer in compensation at this time is artwork credit of any art used in the book. Please let me know if you are intrigued  in participating  in this  little self-publishing project of mine. Sketch required from you would be no bigger than about approx.  3″ x 3″ area appropriate for use in mediums like the Kindle, Nook, and  Small Paperbacks.

See below,  TEN plus Stories to Draw from for the Artwork Submission ..:) .  Contact me via EMAIL at  philipwardlow@gmail.com

HOPE TO HEAR FROM YOU GUYS!

Flight through the Forest~ Marek is irreverent, a loner, a drunk more often than not,  but most of all he knows how to fight and doesn’t mind bragging about his skills if you were to ask him about them. So when he finds himself in a dark forest of a jungle far from home on a mission for the king running for his very  life,  he wonders idly if he should retire from his warrior ways. If he survives that is.

Demon in the DetailsThere is darkness in the world. At times it is blatant and unforgiving, at other times it’s subtle and veiled. Willie has been a party to that darkness; brought up in it, contributed to it even.  Now he will run brush up against an aspect of a darkness never experienced and it may change him forever. But in what way?

The Summoning~ This fun little story has humor, suspense, magic, witches,  a demon,  a nicely mowed lawn and oh yes, an elephant in a pink tutu…:)

The Well~ Josephine knew it to be just an old dried up old well. Nothing more, nothing less.  So why was she always filled with dread every early morning when she got up to use the outhouse nearby?  Why did she imagine sounds coming from it when there surly  were none? Why indeed.

Witch Hunt~  Halloween is a time for children to get lost in fantasy, roam the streets at night begging for candy and playing tricks on others. For Mitch it was a curse, one he could not escape, one he could not put off, for she would not allow it, she owed him heart and soul and there was nothing he could do about.

Time Stopped~ Time ticks and tocks….and he has the control of that clock…forwards and backwards time and time and again..yet he is always lost.  And she may die yet again….

Fire Extinguished~ Worlds upon worlds in this vast universe harbor much life …. either good or bad…civilized or uncivilized… once such race determines who they wish to keep and who they do not keep in the grand scheme of life.

Bits and Pieces~ We all harbor secrets, little demons or large ones that we let no one else see in us. Sometimes we don’t even let ourselves see all the bits and pieces that make us up. When a man’s car breaks down in the middle of no where at night on a dirt road he will find truth at last.

Power in Me~  Angela felt the strange stirrings from within building ,  energies compelling her to find a release. Parts of  it beckoned to her to draw upon it. To let it off its leash…to play….and she grinned wickedly at the thought while she cringed in parts of her mind from it at the same time.

Roadkill~ There are things which exist in this world that we never see; terrible things.  Things with a history older than man…more intelligent than man… things to make the heart race. Things avoid at all costs if possible. But it wasn’t Adrian’s day apparently, for he ran right into on the road.

The Line Up ~ The murders seemed indiscriminate with no clear connection. But in his gut, Detective Diego felt there was  one between them all.  But he couldn’t see it.  Now they had a witness to one of them and six women in a line up.  Now he might finally find some answers before the next murder took place tonight.

Sinkhole~ Just another day in search of  a job in the big city. Taking the Redline into Chicago, Tony had no idea his day would be anything but typical as the train car he rode  in suddenly  plunged some one-hundred plus feet into the darkness of the sinkhole below the city…

Any Takers? Need assistance on my Upcoming Collection of Stories


 

sculpturebook

I plan on Self-Publishing 10 to 13 stories in a Collection in Electronic Format such as on the Kindle and other forms of electronic media and also produce a limited number of my book in Paperback form with real paper and everything …  🙂

That’s where some of you may come in.  I am NEED of one of  two things from some of you talented people out there in the world.

Editing

First thing I am need of, are proofreaders and/or  readers/reviewers  of my stories to tighten up my grammar and my typos, and to possibly catch any blatant writing pitfalls I might fall into from time to time, and to tell give me real feedback on each story in regards to critiquing them constructively. I  will need a few people to help in this  to expedite the process so I can get my collection ready for publication in regards to good story content by mid year which is fast approaching.

ArtSketch

Second thing I am need of, are artists to provide me with small black and white sketches pertaining to each and every story.  I will then sprinkle those pieces of art throughout the pages of the book to  visually capture and entrance the eye and add a little bit of spice to the book 🙂

 

For both requests at needing your help,  I am sorry to say I cannot compensate any who might help me in my endeavor. I will most assuredly will give credit where credit is due with each picture used in the book. I will also as part of the forward cite all the help I have received on the stories in regards to the editorial process put forth by anyone who has helped guide me to get this book out to try and making it the best it can be.

So please feel to contact me directly at my  email address at  philipwardlow@gmail.com if you wish to help me with this endeavor and I would be forever in your debt…:)

I want this Book to be  something I can be proud of from the ground up and with your help I know I can make it happen. I have read many of your guys blogs and know you have much talent.

I am working diligently on finishing up a few of my stories and will be looking for help with the editing and review process as each are finished.

In regards to the Artwork needed, I will be writing a brief synopsis  of each story or a description soon to this blog of what may be actually wanted for an image.  I do want to give the artist free reign  at thinking of something appropriate to capture the eye and also the spirit of the story.  ( if the artist wishes upon request I can send them the entire story to read to really get a feel for what the piece of art might be)

So again, please feel free to contact me at philipwardlow@gmail.com if you are interested in helping me with my writing project… 🙂

Thanks again!

 

What Lurks in me….


Lurking

 

Do you wish to know what lurks and crawls in this brain of mine? Do you wish to know the avenues it takes , the good and the bad, the beautiful, the bloody, the bombastic, and the golden moments that drown?  Well welcome I say with a  devilish grin wearing my suit of pure white for we are all aspects of all the shades that color the world.

YOU are not exempt.  Perhaps in your readings of me and the stories you hear  you will see a little into yourself, filtering out all the crap that seems that so often gets in the way of the truth that is you.

So read on, to three  of my eclectic samples not quite finished  in my future collection of the macabre, to the fun, to the poignant, to the mysterious “what if” of it all… 🙂

 

I ASK YOU, MY READERS, MY FOLLOWERS, TO PICK ONE OF THE THREE STORIES FOR ME TO FINISH BASED ON THE EXCERPT OF EACH BELOW.

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#1 To Take a Life

 

Sebastian saw the woman sitting in her favorite spot yet again this early Saturday night. Always the same table, the one right at the edge of the dance floor and closest to the bar. She would start the night ordering drink after drink, usually a red wine sometimes a white and just stare ahead seemingly at nothing.

Hours would pass and the club would slowly fill with people and there she would be sitting. Alone. No man had ever approached her to ask her for a dance as she sat. Perhaps they were afraid to approach her, perhaps they thought she wanted to be left alone, perhaps they thought she was out of their league. Perhaps, the word, NO, was already written on her face before they ever would have approached to pose the question in the first place.

Sebastian knew secretly, if they had asked, she probably would have said yes to every one of them. But they never had. So she would sit andvampire watch them all dance from her place at the table. Watch, as the men and women moved on the floor to the seductive beat which pulsed and coursed through the club and bodies wanting to find release from the week’s drudgery called life. Sebastian knew their every whim, their every desire as he always did. They were an open book to him. All you had to do was listen.

This night however he only had ears for the woman who had come here every Saturday night for the last three weeks. Her name was Ms. Evelyn Greer , a pale face contrasted with short shoulder length dark auburn hair, green almond shaped eyes, and full red lips. If she were to ever break a smile he was sure it would have been stunning. A beauty of a woman, majestic in a certain way she held her self. But there was a dullness to her, muted was the word that came to mind, like a dimmer switch to a light turned way down low.

She was to be his tonight. She had marked been many nights ago. She was the one and she had only but to ask him to end her.

 

 

#2 From a Dark Place

 

Joseph carefully placed the five white candles he had just purchased into the big brown suitcase amidst the other items he had already collected. He hands went to close the suitcase but instead they caressed a black leather bound book which lay inside. His eyes went wide and his pupils dilated ever so slightly as he stared at it. He traced the raised symbol on its cover emblazoned in red with his index finger. His finger ran along the entire perimeter of the symbol at all its five points where the continuous line was traced. The symbol was five lines in the form of a star where each point touched the raised circle which surrounded it,  what a lovely symbol he mused. Could there be anything more perfect he wondered. A sly smile came to his lips because for all his studies he new the true power of that symbol while others only thought they knew. He had become an adept at the mysteries of it.

“Joseph!” a woman’s voice called to him in a wail from somewhere downstairs in the house.

“Joseph, what the hell are you doing? Spaghettis all done! Christ on a crutch, move your ass!” she yelled again. Joseph could almost picture the spit flying from her mouth as she yelled at him. Fucking fat cow. He would be glad when he was done with her. Joseph couldn’tpentagram remember choosing such a bitch of a woman for a wife but he must have, for she lived in his home and occasionally wanted to have sex because of that damn ring on her finger and his own. The weight of the ring seemed to increase more everyday. He wanted to stuff it down her damn throat. It was maddening. No more, no fucking more. Tomorrow, Joseph’s life was about to change.

“Joseph!” she wailed again.

Joseph slammed the suitcase shut, secured the latches and locked them by rotating the combination on each with his thumbs all at once.

“Coming Elizabeth!…..you bitch.” Joseph said the last to himself in a whisper as he tucked the suitcase deep up under his side of the bed and quickly got up to go downstairs for dinner. He would suffer through it with the heifer just for one more night. Spaghetti was his favorite he thought idly to himself.

 

#3 The Power In Me

 

Three ping pong balls revolved in midair, each one following the other in a tight circle as they flew.

“I shouldn’t be able to be doing this Carl!” she yelled at the bald little man, sitting across the table from her in the kitchen of her house. Carl was wearing a smug little grin on his face that annoyed the hell out of her. He was always full of himself, today more than usual. He knew something he wasn’t telling her. Shit! She was losing her concentration. One of the balls slipped out of its rotation and fell.

“True and not true,” he replied back glibly to her, as he deftly caught the fallen ball with his left hand inches before it hit the table.

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” she asked, her eyes staring ahead at the two remaining balls still rotating in front of her. She thought of a figure eight, and immediately the balls begin to swirl in that configuration. It was equally cool and frightening at the same time, she thought, but Carl didn’t have to know that.

“Angela, you have taken to this extremely well. It seems you are a natural. I have to give our co-workers credit. They were betting you would do well the first time right out the gate. Not many can pull off even one ball this quickly, let alone three. Guess I will have to pay up when I get back to the office.” Carl chuckled to himself, rolling the little white ball he had caught, back and forth between his hands on the dining room table still smiling at her smugly.

Angela took her eyes from the two remaining balls which spun and looked directly at Carl.

“You mean there are others who can do this? Out with it Carl, I’m sick of the games. You’ve been playing them too long, first with my husband now with me. Be straight for once, or for god sakes I’ll shove these balls down your goddamn throat.”

Carl’s smiled slipped a little her under dark stare. Carl involuntarily swallowed when he suddenly realized the balls were still continuing to spin in their figure eight pattern without her looking at them. Damn, she is good, he thought. But she didn’t have to know that; she was arrogant enough as it was. A lot like him more or less, he thought, but still soft.

“Well.” Angela said to him, more of a command than a question.

Carl ignored her tone. “You remember that project three years ago that kept Scott away so many hours at night?”

She remembered all too well, the late nights, and all the arguments that followed, telling her he couldn’t discuss his work with her because she didn’t have the clearance. It still rankled her a little still to this day. Angela only nodded as she looked at him as the balls continued to spin, so Clark continued.

“We had found something amazing. To be more exact it found us. One of the lab geeks directed to synthesize some of the proteins from a plant brought back from Brazil accidentally combined two cultures in the synthesis we were working on with the lot. The other plant was from an older expedition we had done years ago in the Congo in Africa. Scott himself had pulled it from the incubator a few days later. Lot forty-two.”

Angela noticed Carl’s eyes dilating as his hand gestures became more animated as he spoke. This disturbed her for some reason and she didn’t know why.

“Oh, the things Lot Forty-two revealed to us Angela!” Carl found it hard to contain himself as he talked.

“We didn’t know how much until we began the human trials. You did not know this, but Scott your husband, was one of the first volunteers. The committee had been paranoid of it getting out to the general public so everything was done in house; very hush, hush.”

“I am sorry to say this Angela, but he was a fool.” Carl said flatly to her from across the table.

Angela’s eyes suddenly flared from a dull to electric green.

An invisible force compressed against Carl’s chest, to send him flying and to go slamming into the wall behind him. Plaster crumbled around his head and tumbled off his nice black suit coat he wore.

Now I am going to have to go to the dry cleaners tomorrow, Carl thought idly….

Powerinme

 

 

 

 

The Crow Waits ~


crowwaits

The Crow Waits~

I see it on high sitting in a tree, a Crow amongst the sparse fall leaves
that yet hang to the branches, even though winter fast approaches,
no one told them it seems that they are dead and should already be on their way.

The crow with its pitted black eyes knows me it seems, for it calls my name
across the wind while I languish on the ground in my own blood which spills
from my body and forms around me like a macabre picture frame.

Funny thing, how the crow knows my name, a simple carrion bird waiting for
this warrior’s death so it can pick me clean and leave nothing but my bleached bones,
rusted armor, and a forgotten sword as my only legacy.

Long has the battle been gone from this place I now rest in, the victors have gutted me
like a fish on a stone and left me to the flies and the maggots to fester inside.

But yet shall I live, ever stubborn to die and only the Crow truly knows why.
I hear it laughing at me, calling me a fool for an adventure I sought full of folly
with only death to be met at its end.

It has seen many a fool I am sure and feasted contently before the sun has set.
But still I live! You will not have me fool or not!

So sit your perch and wait for you shall not have me this day or the next,
for even if I should pass these earthly bounds so shall my shade pick up
my blade and strike you down!

The sun has set and the night grows cold, the crow sits in his tree and
waits;  for it has seen many a warrior born and bred and knows full well their
strength, courage and the valor which fills their head, but it knows when dead is dead

by Philip Wardlow

 

 

 

 

Letting Go – A Very Short Story


 

 

building

 

 

Letting Go~

“I’m gonna let go, but I don’t know where I’m gonna fall to?” asked the dirty faced little boy who hung limply from a clothesline in the pitch blackness over a deserted alley some four stories high.

“That’s right Michael,” said the other much older boy who hung out the window with one hand in a tight knuckled grip on the window sill and the other on the clothesline from which Michael hung.

“You gotta drop straight down and let us see what you’re made of.  We’ve all had to do it, you won’t be the first,” the boy said, in a matter fact tone.

Michael looked up from where he hung at the older boy who had spoken to him, his face and body were hidden in the myriad of shadows the surrounding buildings cast upon him. It seemed to Michael that the shadows spoke to him, the voice didn’t belong to anyone at all just a disembodied entity wanting him to fall to his doom. Michael looked up higher to the stars overhead, his only source of light. He gazed at the nighttime sky, the dancing twinkling night.  He had never noticed the stars twinkle as much as he did this night. It made him ponder, it made him think. It made him come to a decision.

He took one last look, time to see what he was made of he thought. He gave the shadowy boy a nod and let go. Just like that.

He fell for an eternity. His long hair was pulled upward as he heard the rush of air flow past his ears.  The beat of his heart was the only other intrusion upon his senses as he fell. The stars above were lost in a deep blackness that couldn’t be pierced, like falling down a well at night.

Thump!

He had landed and he was alive. Somehow he was alive.  Michael got up and stood amidst the cheering, hooting and hollering of the other boys that had waited down below. Then he simply turned from them and walked away and never looked back. He did look up though at the twinkling stars.

The End

 

 

by Philip Wardlow 2015

Be Brave


“Be brave,” said Pooh to Piglet .poohPiglet
“But it’s not so easy to just be brave Pooh. There are so many scary things out there.”
“Oh, I know that friend, I know, so many things, but the world was meant to be a scary place for good reason,” Pooh said, smiling.
“Meant to be scary! That’s not very comforting Pooh, no not all,” Piglet whispered, frightened.
Pooh took Piglet’s hand, “Now, now don’t you worry, I am here and even when I’m not
here I am still here, ” said Pooh, touching Piglet’s chest over his heart.
“Oh!” Piglet exclaimed, surprised.
“I feel it to,” said Piglet
“Feel what?” Pooh asked, getting lost in thought as hungry Pooh bears sometimes do
“You there in my chest, it takes the place of that fear.” Piglet said.
“Well of course, why do you think I am so brave?” Pooh asked.
“Why Pooh, why?”
“Why? Because you are here, in here with me silly,” Pooh chuckled to himself.
“Oh,” Piglet said in wonder, smiling.
“My comfort from my fears will always be you, my bravery from the scary things in life
will be my friendship I found in you. That scary stuff brought us together and that’s
a good thing in the end.”
Pooh took Piglet’s hand and continued their walk down the dark forest path together.

 

By Philip Wardlow 2015

Cracks and Crevasses – A short little horror story


 

cracky

 

 

Her leaving was quite sudden.  Her warmth will be missed,  but  my love that I had known for these many years  turned out to be simply a bitch.

Now I sit in this house we once shared…its a big bold hold of a house, with cracks in the walls and crevices in the floor boards that lead to the in between spaces and nowhere.

I would have fixed them all, all those broken pieces left unattended over the years, but now what’s the use.  There really is no call to repair something that only brought me to despair.

Never good enough.  “A hole in the wall, ” was my only gift to her,  she had ever said.

Now gone.

Then they began to come.

Out of all the those holes and cracks they seeped.

The Monsters liked to crawl  from where they laid hidden and nip at me when I turned away.  They are an annoyance, their pestering, their little pains. I have gotten scratched on many a occasion,  a bite mark or two when ever deep asleep or not quite quick enough on my feet at night.

I felt them grinning there in the dark.  I couldn’t  see them in the cold dead spaces of the room as they hid but I knew there was  an upturned lip or a crinkling of the eyes. I felt them there drinking me in.

I tried not to think about  them as I drove to work,  or as I sat at my desk, or went to the bathroom or ate my lunch in the  breakroom. Sometimes, I even thought one or two had hidden in the trunk of my car and came to work with me.  For I felt their presence always….

Its was oppressive.

It hadn’t  always been like this. Once I had been free. No monster nipped, scratched or bit.  For they didn’t exist in my home.  Back then, there were no shadows to hide them. No cold spaces to give them comfort.

I am not sure how they found me. For I sure as hell didn’t let them in. I never asked them to come into my home.  I hate them. All of them and they hate me.

There are so many,   skinny ones, fat ones, ugly ones,  ugly skinny ones, ugly fat ones,  foul smelly ones, red eyed, green eyed, black eyed, no-eyed even. So, so many.

I keep them back.  Even though there are many, they are not very brave, not at all. They may grin from the dark but they cower. They are afraid of me in some  small way.  I have yet to figure out why.

I know they don’t like my boot when I give one or two of them a good kick.  Oh no, they don’t like the boot, not at all. Then I grin back at them and I sense them cowering more.

They are weak little Monsters and I have my big black steel toed boots to keep them at bay. I wear them all the time even in bed. Not in the shower though. That would be silly. I lock the bathroom door tight, remove my boots in a flourish, still laced but loose, enough to slip back on in a flash.

Naked, I jump in the shower, scrub scrub scrub, then out in a moment between a heartbeat  of their indecision to possibly break down the door.  I scramble for my towel, dry off and put on my clothes for the next day, slip into my boots and crawl into bed.

They are not as clever as me. Not by far you see.

Until I wake up and find my legs secured, and tied tightly  to the bed .

Hmmm…my arms won’t move… they seem to be tied at my sides as well. I am all snug, snug, snug

They all are there, perched on my footboard.  Waiting for me to wake up this whole time. They just stare at me, colored eyes shining and no eyes and lifeless and all.

Why do they wait?

Why don’t they  rent, why don’t they tear and rip and claw?

A taloned appendage slips off my  boots and with a clunk they both hit the bedroom floor.

Then the grins began. This time I can see them.  Some toothless, or black and decayed as death,

some mouths with lolling tongues licking lips which drip, milk white saliva which issue a delicate hiss

upon my sheets.

They creep as one …like a low rolling wave they come. Up my body, over my feet, calves and knees…blood seeps, staining the white bed red.

Thighs are on fire as they continue to eat and eat…

All I can do is look on…pain, oh the overwhelming pain, drowns me as the wave of teeth and claws and malice munches me, a wide awake nightmare…of my Monsters finally taking their due.

Darkness falls complete as my eyes are plucked and eaten…how is it that I still live?

My mad mind is all that remains intact.

Until they reach my brains for their final snack.

My mind settles….then drifts…the pain is gone and  I meander in a pool of blood red mist…

Images come,  blurred and dim,  a focus , a purpose coalesces ….

A man sleeps before me angry and mean, fear filled and hopeless as I sit looking through a lit crack into his room and give him a little grin.

 

by Philip Wardlow 2015

The Fourth World – Chapter 1 – an Excerpt


The following piece is an excerpt from my First full length Novel – “The Fourth World”  due to  be completed this year.   It is a Dark Urban Fantasy Teen Novel.  It’s  set in modern times surrounding three teens  all of whom are strangers to each other.  They will  come together whether they want to or not to just possibly save the world and learn something about themselves and their place in the world. This is chapter has been revised a few times but I am sure it will be revised again before its all done…:)

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 The Fourth World

by PhilipWardlow

Calvin had always believed in magic. He didn’t care what anyone else thought. They could doubt all they wanted. There was a hidden world which we could not see sitting right in front of our faces, most everyone was too busy, too blind, or too stupid to see it. Calvin saw it in the trees as the distant winds kissed the leaves which flew through its branches. He spied it dancing in the fire amidst the embers at night; little tiny sprites hopping from log to log amidst the flames playing a game of tag. He smelled it in a wild rose growing in a crowded field of jostling weeds flinging its pheromones to attract the butterflies to alight upon its silken petals. He heard it in the babbling brook as the water played upon the rocks behind his home whispering to the frogs as it traveled on downriver. He felt it in the rough stone he caressed in the palm of his hand; an ancient power from ages past unearthed from the deep bowels of the earth from the crumbling’s of a mighty stone titan long dead. It was everywhere if they only choose to see. The magic spoke to him because he chose to listen and he almost understood what it is was saying…

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Chapter 1 – Reality Sets In

 

Calvin tasted the blood that trickled down to his upper lip which flowed from his nose. It had a sweet metallic taste. He liked the taste of his own blood. Calvin wasn’t a weird person don’t get him wrong, he wasn’t into to that kind of stuff.  He just liked to sometimes pretend that he was Conan the Barbarian backed up against a wall, fighting an angry horde of ghoulish creatures hell bent on gutting him like a fish, and slowly eating his entrails as he watched. With sword in hand he would hack and slash, limbs would fly. He would be scratched all to hell and bleeding from a dozen different wounds and smiling insanely because this could be his last day alive so why not go out smiling like a true warrior would upon meeting his death well met in battle. Yeah, he liked to have his mind go to places like that rather than be anywhere than where he was right now. Continue reading The Fourth World – Chapter 1 – an Excerpt

Time Enough – A short story


Hourglass,_dying

Time Enough

By Philip Wardlow

I saw her and time stopped. Literally it stopped. Except me. I was the only thing still moving, still breathing, still conscience, still in the real now as I called it. At least I think I was anyways. That part has never been truly clear to me. Being real that is, because I felt apart, always apart, never a part of.

She was just crossing the street at 5th Avenue and Broad Street. You know the place. She was right on the corner where that wonderful bakery presided.

The smell at that corner was just heaven. Hmm…I noticed I could actually still smell the sweet aroma of cinnamon in the air even as time was stopped there on that corner. Must be the molecules suspended in the air entering my ol’factory of a nose that I had walked right into. I breathed in deeply the nostril massaging pleasant sweet smell of cinnamon again. Remember, it’s the little things. Always.

The smell made me wonder if time had stopped everywhere and not just on this street, or this city , or state, or country, or Earth, or solar system, but perhaps everywhere in the entire universe. Just for me.

Was I this special to be given this power – this gift – had it been given? But I digress. Back to the lovely smell of the bakery…no, no, no. I meant her, the women, just beginning to cross the street at 5th and Broad.

Her name was Angelica. And she was angelic, gloriously so, with long dark hair, full lips, bright green magical eyes. She walked with the grace of a ballet dancer on long legs in black high heels. And I was here to save her life.

How’s that you say?

I had just seen her end in a bloody mess with legs splayed at very acute and obtuse angles on this very street she was standing. In not more than five seconds (if time were to resume) an old grizzled taxi driver would be turning the corner down the street to end any future days she might have left. So I had taken upon myself and backed time up ten seconds because that was not about to happen on my watch. Not to such a lovely creature as her.

I have completely forgotten where my real life began relative to where other people’s lives are at, like this Angelica, as it relates to my own life.

I mean, is she older than me or I am older than her? I mean in the sense of the chronological order of events as they have unfolded thus far in this universe. You follow? Oh I’m sorry, I forgot to mention something vitally important.

You see, every time I stop time or go backwards in time and do something just a smidge different, then resume, I find things have shifted ever so slightly around me. Like a nudge or a ripple flowing out from the place of change. That ripple is a fickle thing, for you see it may get smaller and smaller until the last thing in the time line just weakens and dies out with no one the wiser but me.

But at times if the change is big enough, then a big ripple or nudge is produced.

To my dismay, that if it is truly a major nudge, a divergence happens out in time at a certain point. Meaning a new timeline occurs. A new possibility comes into being down many avenues that had never existed. Then I’m screwed. For you see I find I am unceremoniously pulled like a piece of taffy into that new existence and the other is gone forever.

To count, I have screwed myself over one-thousand three hundred fifty five times…sorry, make that one-thousand three hundred fifty six counting saving Angelica at this very moment. If I am truly being honest she is the reason for over eleven-hundred of those times. The rest happened because I was young and stupid. Now it’s just because I’m young and in love which is its own kind of stupid.

I have saved her life so many times in so many different ways it has created a major divergence each time. So I’m stuck in the new timeline with her and the rest of the universe I guess. Which is fine I like being stuck in that way. I couldn’t bear to be stuck in any time without her.

But damn it all to hell, either she’s the most un-luckiest girl in the world, or she’s just one of those people simply destined to die.

Do I believe in destiny? Fuck no.

I do believe something in the Universe is gunning for my sweet Angelica and I am going to find out who or what, even it kills me first, else my name is not –

Shift ~

The din and cacophony of the city came crashing into me like a thousand locusts knocking against my ears. I was always amazed at how quiet the world was when I forgot about it in that instance when it was stopped.

Time hates to be stopped… forward, backward, not a problem, but it’s very reluctant to stand still. Yes, it obliges me, but I can feel it fuming to start up as again as soon as I stop it. It’s a like a tea kettle on the stove coming to a slow boil. If I don’t start it up in time it always strains and strains and builds and builds and then boom. Time starting back up that way always gives me a headache. But I digress. I have something to do and I only have seven seconds do it in now.

“Excuse me Miss Ward.”  She ignored me of course like she always does in these circumstances and kept on walking to cross the street.

I then did the only thing I could think of in that moment. I pulled hard on the lapel of her rain coat and dragged her bodily back to the doorway of the bakery shop out of harm’s way.

“What the hell are you doing!?” she asked, looking at me frightfully, eyes like big green saucers, but at the same time balling up her fist ready to slug me. She was a good slugger. I think I have been hit at least a hundred or more times by her. I have gotten pretty good at avoiding her punches. Most of them anyways.

“I am attempting…” I was about to finish with “to save you”. But was interrupted by the taxi driver plowing through the intersection flinging the unluckys into the air with his one ton yellow deathmobile.

I caught a glimpse of the old man behind the wheel as he plowed through them all, slowing nary a bit. He looked right at me at me in that slice of a second. I swear he did. And he looked pissed, with his face all scrunched up like he had bitten into a lemon and I had taken his puppy away from him. Something tickled inside of me when our eyes connected. I swear I saw him mouth the words “you” before he sped on by and around the next corner leaving carnage in his wake.

Angelica collapsed in my arms after that. I pulled her into the bakery and had her lay back in one of the booths as the rest of people in the place streamed out to ogle or help with the accident.

Now was my best chance, I had to find that old man behind the wheel before time shifted and I was pulled again like taffy into the next divergence. He was part of this in some way. I could feel it. She was safe. Again. Time to go.

“You knew didn’t you?” She looked up at me as she laid there in the booth.

“Yes.” I said. I leaned in and kissed her on the forehead and she didn’t pull back from it. I turned from her to leave. Time was a wasting even for me.

“Wait. Where are you going? Who are you?”   Angelica looked to me for answers. Always she asked the same questions. Long ago I had stayed and had answered them and many others. But not anymore. Besides, she would forget me with the next shift as always. And that was too painful to bear again.

“Why your guardian angel of course.” I said, as I gave her a sly grin I knew she loved so well. I exited the bakery in a flourish and a wink as I stepped out of time.

Shift ~

The End (or to be continued)