The Lake Titus Camp, Summer 2016

The Lake Titus, New York Camp. (Photo © F. P. Dorchak, August 14, 2016)

The Lake Titus, New York Camp. (Photo © F. P. Dorchak, August 14, 2016)

The Lake Titus Camp we stayed at is a few miles outside of Malone, New York, just toward and also outside of the Adirondack Park. There are many camps out on the lake, and we’ve seen them all from the lake (we had a tour of the lake and the camps several years back, when we stayed at another camp owned by the Carkeys, farther down the lake; a friend of my dad and stepmom gave us a boat ride guided tour). In fact, while staying at the Carkeys old camp, it was only accessible by boat—there was no road into it. So my wife and I took this little boat with an outboard on it and had to use it to get there every night—in the dark. It was so cool. And on the 4th of July during that trip the neatest experience happened: as we were boating out to the camp in total darkness (we had no light, but you could actually make your way in the darkness), we came upon all these people just sitting out in the water in their boats!

You read that right.

Welcome To Lake Titus! (© Photo F. P. Dorchak, August 15, 2016)

Welcome To Lake Titus! (© Photo F. P. Dorchak, August 15, 2016)

There were all these people just sitting out in the dark on the lake. We asked what was going on and were told that they were waiting for fireworks! Ha! How cool, we thought, so we stopped and hung out with everyone, also quietly chatting in the dark with these unknown faces all in a happy, joyful mood. It was the coolest thing! And when the fireworks went off, that was incredible…watching them from the lake! This will always remain as one of the neatest experiences of my life….

My Favorite Birds-On-A-Plate (© Photo F. P. Dorchak, August 14, 2016)

My Favorite Birds-On-A-Plate (© Photo F. P. Dorchak, August 14, 2016)

The camp we stayed at this time around is run by the Harwoods, and it was quite comfortable for the four of us. It has a living room, full kitchen and dining area, two bedrooms, and a bathroom with a shower in it. The living room has a pull-out sleeper couch. The view out the living-room’s windows is great! They also have a small grill out on the porch, and a fire pit in front, but we needed use of neither, since we were at my folks’ place. The camp is nestled on a steep slope of Lake Titus and has a small dock that holds a paddle boat and kayak. There is no “beach,” per se, but the water is shallow enough to get into by stepping on submerged rocks (be careful!), with a sandy bottom. The grade toward deeper water drops off quickly once you get out in. And there are fish! I don’t know what kind, but I saw all manner of them, from some three inches to what looked like (water refraction, you know) maybe six or so inches.

This trip to upstate New York was for my dad’s 80th birthday, and there wasn’t enough room for us all at my dad and stepmom’s place, so the camp was rented. My brother, Greg, his son, Alek, and my wife and I stayed here. Greg and Alek didn’t stay as long, left mid-week, but my wife and I stayed through to the next weekend. We went to my folk’s place and drove around during the day, but at night stayed here. After Greg and Alek left, in the early morning, while my wife still slept, I went down and hung out on the steps leading down to the dock and just…stared…out over the water…let my mind run wild…watched and listened to the two loons that were out there…drifting with the current and bobbing and swimming under the water to pop up somewhere else. Listened to their haunting wails, yodels, and tremolos….

Early Morning Sun. (Photo © F. P. Dorchak, August 20, 2016)

Early Morning Sun. (Photo © F. P. Dorchak, August 20, 2016)

Watched the rising sun sparkle off the still waters…

Looked out over the unknown dark depths and mountains for story inspiration…

This is the part of the country I remain heavily and spiritually tied to. Where I get recharged. I love upstate New York, the Adirondacks. Its mountains and waters and trees. I love the spirit of the land. Had I not gone the route I went in my career, I most certainly would have followed my dad’s path as a Forest Ranger. As a kid I was always in the 40 acres of woods up back behind our Lake Clear home roaming the land, climbing the trees. I loved it there.

Sigh.

Early Morning Kayak. (Photo © F. P. Dorchak, August 19, 2016)

Early Morning Kayak. (Photo © F. P. Dorchak, August 19, 2016)

Anyway…after Laura would awaken, she’d go swimming (she’s such a fish!) and I’d take out the kayak. It’s a little different than canoeing, but I love it! One day, there was a lot of mist out on the lake (it wasn’t the case every morning), and as I sat there mesmerized by it…I did watch it for a bit…it dawned on me: I have a kayak! I then made it my business to get out in that thing and cross the lake to meet up with the remaining mists before it all evaporated!

I became this Olympic kayaker, powering across Lake Titus….

And I caught up with it!

The mists danced and swirled off the waters, like wraiths evading the sun. There was this seagull on a rock as I came over…then it flew off the rock, low and across the water…it was so cool….

As I floated in among the mists I felt transported into a different world…one of eerie magical enchantment! It was stunningly beautiful and mystical! Absolutely haunting!

On my last kayak, I went down to the far end of the lake to check out the Carkey Camp. I also just wanted to head down that way because I like to go to out-of-the-way corners where not many tread, and on the way back I came across a loon! Knowing how feisty they can be, I kept my distance—maybe about 30 or so feet?—and slowly paddled past it. I was close enough to see its beady little red eyes. Sorry, no pictures, I didn’t bring the camera this time, just wanting to be in the moment without any technology. But, it was so cool!

154_9685On all my kayaks, I would go out into the middle of the lake and just…sit. Float with the current…both hands dunked into the cold, dark water, and think: It just doesn’t get any better than this!

When I was done kayaking, we’d switch and Laura would kayak and I would “mess around” in the water—I wouldn’t call what I did in the water “swimming,” per se, but I just love being in (or around) lake water. Upstate New York water. So, I’d swim out a little and back, dive under for a few strokes, and otherwise, well, just stand neck-deep in the stuff feeling all-kinds-of contented…again just staring out across the lake from a pond skater’s point of view…with a silly, complacent smile on that face of mine. Enjoying where I was…being totally in the moment. Toes squishing around in the dark lake muck below me…all kinds of fishies playing around at my feet. I’m not familiar enough with what’s in Titus, but here’s a site I found afterward.

Then, one particularly perfect morning as the sun was rising, as I looked down into the water just off the dock, I was utterly captivated by what I saw—hypnotic sun sparkles dancing off the water! They were so happy and joyful in their existence and they called out to me! These sparkles seemed to have a life of their own! This is one of my favorite videos I’ve ever taken, and yes, story idea already percolating! I simply stood there and stared into them…for I don’t know how long! Utterly mesmerized!

But…all things must come to an end…

On our last night there, Friday, the 19th, I tried taking some night shots, the moon so full and bright! No special camera, just using a couple little old, nonsmartphone cameras on various settings. I also tried to capture some of the fireworks going off across the lake, but wasn’t successful there. But…a couple of the night shots did work, you know, for being an nonprofessional. It was an incredible night!

We had an incredible stay…got to play in and on the water…had no real commitments…and just…relaxed. It was…incredible. My friend, Jan C. J. Jones, polished up one of my larger videos I’d taken (at my request) while “chasing the mists,” and turned it into a YouTube video, also adding some really cool music to cover up the scratchiness of whatever was going on when I took this video. Thanks, Jan! It turned out this was the last day I saw mists on the lake….

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Clouds!

Cloud Watching! (Photo © F. P. Dorchak, August 11, 2016)

Cloud Watching! (Photo © F. P. Dorchak, August 11, 2016)

I love clouds!

As a kid, I used to lie on the ground many a day and just stare up at them. Forever.

A couple of weeks ago, we went on a vacation to visit family in upstate New York, and on the flight out of Colorado, I looked out the window and saw these! They were incredible—pictures never do them adequate justice—and I just couldn’t pass them up! So, I took out my iPad and began snapping shots of the cloud banks we approached.

Also as I looked outside the Embraer-175, I also noticed how squeaky clean the aircraft was! In fact, it appeared near brand new. I loved how the sun glinted off the air frame and engine! But, upon closer inspection, I did see a bunch of splatter on the leading edge of the wing. Huh, thought I, what was splattered all over that leading edge? How high do insects fly? Well, a quick look into this as I wrote this post told me that the upper range can be about 6,000 feet, but most flies and bugs seem to hit their ceiling at about 2,500 or so (+/-) feet, depending on temperature.

Squeaky Clean! (Photo © F. P. Dorchak, August 11, 2016)

Squeaky Clean! (Photo © F. P. Dorchak, August 11, 2016)

Of course, I also looked to the wing to make sure there were no…you know…creatures playing around out there with our aircraft (the Twilight Zone’s “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”)….

Nope. Nothing there. (Photo © F. P. Dorchak, August 11, 2016)

Nope. Nothing there. (Photo © F. P. Dorchak, August 11, 2016)

When we do these trips, I do, what I call, “Eating Across America.” This simply involves chowing down on whatever comes my way as I graze throughout the day, and traveling across the country is no different! I eat about six times a day, “smaller” meals (“smaller” to me is not necessarily “small” to you…), and on an aircraft, the pickins can be a tad slim, so I take what I can get! Usually I pack food with me, but this time things got away from me and I came empty-handed. Anyway, my “ingestion” can, however, be quite intimidating to the untrained observer. I’m a professional [in my own mind], so don’t try this at home. But, even to me, sometimes the aftermath isn’t pretty….

Grazing Across America (Photo © F. P. Dorchak, August 11, 2016)

Grazing Across America (Photo © F. P. Dorchak, August 11, 2016)

So, here are the photos I took of the clouds we flew over! So beautiful and breathtaking!

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Jumper

To be honest, I’m not sure if Van Halen’s “Jump!” (ahhh…brings back fine, fine memories of the old Van Halen days…) or the origin of parkour was my inspiration for this next story or what, but it was written about the time of parkour’s development. But I’ve always been interested in “jumping,” and wish I’d been younger when I really remember hearing about all this nifty French obstacle course training. As you know, your bones don’t remain as supple into your 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond.

But my story takes it a little beyond the whole parkour thing, not to mention David Lee Roth.

In any event, I wish I could do this outside my dreams (where I have been known to really give it a go, and it is ever so much damned fun!). I did, however, have to add the last two paragraphs when I reread it.

This story has never been published.

Jump!

Jumper

© F. P. Dorchak, 1990

He got up and walked away.

No fanfare; no good-byes. He simply lifted himself up off the chair and left…the creaking of the chair (like his bones) still hanging in the air like some spent cigar aroma.

Bullshit,” Harold said, watching the man walk away and out the door. Turning to Bill, who had also sat there and listened to the old man’s story, he again uttered, “Pure, one-hundred per-cent, finely packed, bullshit!

Bill merely continued sitting there, speechless. The summer sun was going down fast, and any customers who had been to Preacher’s Corner General Store had long since left, but one additional person had come out, Bill Waverly’s daughter, Marianne. She placed herself at her dad’s feet, curling up and grasping her legs into her arms.

“What’s—”

“Marianne—”

“I was gonna say ‘bull crap‘, daddy.”

Bill gave his daughter one of those stern paternal looks, then let his daughter continue. Marianne had a wry grin on her face. She was prone to blurting out things despite what she nonchalantly claimed, and Bill decided it gave her the attention she wanted…saying the unexpected…whether a “curse” word or not…usually got it good and got it fast, and Marianne liked that.

“So what’d he say?” Marianne asked her father.

“Oh, nuthin’.”

“‘Nuthin‘?”  Harold said, exploding, almost offended, “he just spent the better part of the afternoon tellin’ us how he done jumped off’n everything in sight that had a roof attached to it, and you call it nuthin’!

“I know what he said, Harold….”

“C’mon, c’mon, c’mon! You said you’d tell me!” Marianne pressed.

Bill Waverly let out a long sigh as he examined his daughter’s preteen expression, then looked back at Harold, a good friend of many years. Harold Filmore and Bill Waverly knew each other since Bill was a kid. Now that Bill was grown up, he’d come help take up operation of Preacher’s Corner General Store after Harold’s wife, Millie, passed away. Harold had been old when Bill was young; now it was immaterial.

“Ah, why not, Bill. It’s not like it’s true or anything. Shit, go an’ tell her how he done jumped off the Empire State Building. Or how he’d hopped, skipped, and jumped all the way down the Grand Canyon—only to do it all the way back up!”

Marianne’s eyes lit up.

“Oh! Did he really?

“No. I mean, I don’t believe so—”

“You don’t believe so? Lord, fetch me my switch, Bill! You think he mighta been talking’ the truth, or sumthin’?”

“Well, beat all, Harold, there’s lots a things out there we know nuthin’ about. Who’s ta say he weren’t telling’ the truth?”

I am! You believe him when he talked a jumpin’ across those Sears Towers in Chicago?”

Bill shrugged his shoulders.

“Gol dern, William Waverly, you’re more skittery’n I thought!”

“Dad-dy! Please, tell me!”

“Okay, okay. But what I’m about to tell you is only one man’s word. This here fella claims to have jumped over, across, and down from just about anything that exists.”

“Really?” Marianne asked, pulling her knees up to her chin.

“Yep,” he said, continuing, casting a glance over to Harold who just began restuffing a dead pipe. “This here fella said he started doing it ever since he was a kid over in Australia.”

“Australia? Where’s that?”

“Down clear on the other side of the world, child, where all their seasons are backwards from ours. Anyway, he say he saw some—what did he call them, Harold?”

“Aborigines.”

Aborigines—they’re like the American Indians are to our country, but to Australia—he saw these Aborigines jumping off platforms with rope tied to their ankles. So, one day, he decided to give it a go, only the rope he tied to his ankle came loose—”

Marianne’s eyes bugged wide.

“Did he die?” she asked.

“No child, of course not, he was just here, wasn’t he?”

“Oh…yeah…”

“But that wasn’t the worst of it, really. It turns out he just…bounced.”

Harold grunted something which Bill chose to ignore.

“He just up and bounced right back up into the air…right up to the platform he’d jumped off from. From there, he began experimentin’ with different things…steadily going higher and higher. He’s said he’s done it all…jumped from anything he could get his feet on.

Wow…,” was all Marianne could say, staring off into the growing darkness.

Off in the distance, where none of the General Store group could see, a lone figure jumped from rooftop to rooftop in the evening twilight, sometimes doing flips in mid-air. If you listened real close, you could make out some faint whoopin’ and hollarin’….

Short Story Links

Links to all my posted short stories are here.

 

The North Country

The View Out Our Camp's Front Windows, Lake Titus, New York (© F. P. Dorchak)

The View Out Our Camp’s Front Windows, Lake Titus, New York (© F. P. Dorchak)

My wife and I just returned from a trip to “The North Country,” or upstate New York. It was my dad’s 80th birthday, so we timed our annual trip back east with his birthday. Since there were several of us showing up, there was not enough room at their place, so a “camp” was rented on Lake Titus, just a few minutes outside of Malone, NY. An upstate New York camp is not a tent or KOA, but is a rustic-or-better building used as a camp. Most are rough, but some, called “Great Camps,” have many amenities and are the size of hotels. It just depends on how much money and effort one wants to put into building these things. Here’s a link explaining the Great Camps and their architecture, but just scale it down a bit for the “everyday person’s camp,” and you’ll get the gist. Anyway, we had a place large enough for the four of us. And it was right off Lake Titus, with a dock and paddle boat and kayak. And thanks to Phil and Meredith, who own the camp! Such terrific people! We had a blast!

Our flights in and out went beautifully. We met my brother, Greg, and his son, Alek

The Lake Titus, New York Camp. (Photo © F. P. Dorchak, August 14, 2016)

The Lake Titus, New York Camp. (Photo © F. P. Dorchak, August 14, 2016)

(Greg also has a daughter, Niki, but she couldn’t make it), in Vermont and we all drove to my dad and stepmom’s place, in waaay upstate New York. We did all the touristy things and revisited the old stomping grounds were Greg and the rest of my siblings and I grew up. Stopped by the old middle school we’d attended and walked about its halls (it was open—and I even ran into an old classmate of mine there who now works there; he told me several of our class now works there!). Stopped by the school’s auditorium where both Greg and I had acted in plays (I had been the gangster in “The House on Whaleshead Rock“; this is all I could find on it, but I do still have the play’s script somewhere…). This is where Greg got his start as an actor (he’s also a screenwriter, producer, author, and has even done Stand-up comedy in Las Vegas, Nevada—I’ve seen him perform, he was great, even working a drunk in the front row…), so it was cool to show his son and take pictures of it, though we couldn’t find all the light switches to switch on all of the auditorium’s lights.

We visited the old Lake Clear House, where we all grew up.

Visited Ausable Chasm.

Made multiple trips to Donnelly’s Corners!

Visited our paternal grandparents’s graves.

Frank Dorchak, Jr., Malone Golf Club Birthday Party (Photo © F. P. Dorchak, August 13, 2016)

Frank Dorchak, Jr., Malone Golf Club Birthday Party (Photo © F. P. Dorchak, August 13, 2016)

And there was my dad’s 80th birthday party! It was held in the banquet hall of the restaurant of the Malone Golf Club. There were over 70 in attendance, representing all the areas of his life from childhood, the Navy, his Forest Ranger service, to his current efforts with Clear Path For Veterans, and more. My dad spoke, sang, and we all danced. Some came up to say a few words. I spoke. Then, when it came to his birthday cake, he insisted on on having all 80 candles on his cake. In his words: “I earned every damned candle! As he “blew” them out with a wave of cardboard or paper or whatever it was he was holding, the smoke filled the air above the cake, and Greg and I looked to each other. We both said, yeah, that’s gonna set off the fire alarms! Not two minutes later, yup, off went the alarms! After the fire department arrived, we took pictures of Dad shaking hands with the fireman who responded. We later sent an e-mail to the Malone Telegram and got an article in the Friday, August 19th, paper, the upper right corner of page A3! It’s quite large!

The rest of the trip involved hanging out with family, playing games, talking, standing and sitting around an outdoor fire pit at my folks’s place, and more. At the Lake Titus Camp, my wife and I swam and kayaked the lake. I’ll detail more of some of these and other aspects in some upcoming posts. But it was a glorious 10 days in the North Country, visiting family and reconnecting with an area of the world I love. I love the woods and waters of the Adirondacks and upstate New York and can’t get enough of them. Love visiting my Dad and stepmom, Wanda.

It was a great trip!

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The Way We Were

Nevermore. (Image by Gustave Doré [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Nevermore. (Image by Gustave Doré [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

A prose poem about looking back.

Memories.

Days gone past.

Remembering past movies, mindsets, and a sense of public decorum.

And, okay, a few ties to other works. I think I can get away with that last word….

But nothing is ever perfect. As we remember it. There are always dark shadows (pardon the veiled pun).

Change is what it is.

This poem has never been published. Probably should have stayed that way.

 

The Way We Were

© F. P. Dorchak, 2003

 

We would never die and never grow old

Polite to each other

Always young

NYC known for publishing, Greenwich Village, “The Big Apple”

HIV was no more than just three letters in the alphabet

Gas was under a dollar

Our dreams were on fire

We could change the world

Nothing could get in our way

Stephen King was It

Nevermore

 

Short Story Links

Links to all my posted short stories are here.

 

Freefallin’

Into the Clouds. (Image by Radikaltech; [CC BY-SA 3.0, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

Into the Clouds. (Image by Radikaltech; [CC BY-SA 3.0, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)

I’ve done three static-line skydives, never done the freefall, but still was intrigued with the possibilities detailed within this story. It still gives me the heebie-jeebies re-reading it. Yeah. My palms are still sweating….

This story originally appeared in Black Sheep #60, August-September 2004

 

Freefallin’

© F. P. Dorchak, 2004

“Crazy my ass,” Ronny Flynn hissed, as he hurtled his body out the Beech 18, at 20,000 feet. The day was gorgeous, with puffy, billowy cumulus clouds set against an intense, deep blue sky. Skipping the standard arch, Ronny set himself rigid as a board and angled his head downward, trying to escape the other jumpers as quickly as possible.

I’ll show them who’s crazy!

Ronny, arms tucked tight against his body and legs together, shot like a bullet for the ground. Just because his wife had perished in a skydiving accident on this date last year and that he swore he kept hearing her voice since then didn’t mean he was crazy. Just because he kept having dreams about her did not mean he was insane. Just because—several times—he’d remarked to others how he couldn’t always tell fantasy from reality…tell real life from a dream…did not mean he had to be locked up. Many times he’d swore he was dreaming, but was actually awake…or thought Angela was still alive, because—in his dreams—she was. It was other people who kept bringing him down, bursting his bubbles. People dreamed about their dear departed all the time and were never declared crazy. Why was he any different?

Oh, right…something about his friends meeting him in a restaurant while he kept insisting Angela was just visiting the Ladies Room and would be returning any time now….

Well, what did they know.

Why, they’d seen her auger in, is what; they all had.

Angela wasn’t in the Ladies Room and she wasn’t ever coming back, and he’d better seek help or they’d be forced to take more drastic measures.

No, he would not allow himself to be locked up. Would not.

But he kept insisting that he saw her everywhere…and that had led to the intervention…the psychiatrist. Those words—not from the doc, that wouldn’t have been professional—but he knew he was thinking them. Of course he was, or else he wouldn’t have had to come back. Again and again and

Crazy?

He’s show them!

Glancing to his altimeter, Ronny angled toward a bank of clouds. Sport rules declared skydivers had to be able to see their dropzone and had to avoid jumping through clouds.

But he tired of rules.

Ronny disappeared into the cloud.

Whether because he was lost in his thoughts…or the pleasantly vertigo-inducing complete whiteness enveloping him…Ronnie lost track of exactly when he was promptly smacked—hard—in the gut…and bounced off something that couldn’t—mustn’t be—solid.

Not once…but twice.

Ronny abruptly found himself sliding down the length of the inside of the cloud’s bright white, homogenous interior, his hands and arms up and out before him like he was still falling. He slid for what seemed an eternity before coming to

A stop.

Either out of the fear–response habit, or reflex, he jerked his ripcord. The parachute popped out of his rig, then gently fell into a pile on the cloud beside him. He watched as cloud fog calmly swirled around the deflated chute.

Ronny lay there on his stomach, arms outstretched before him, mouth open and eyes wide. His senses told him he’d stopped moving…but his mind, his inner equilibrium told him he had to still be falling.

Had to.

He was (again, looking to his altimeter) still at 15,000 feet, but was, indeed, no longer moving. He should be screaming earthward at 120 miles an hour. Should still hear the howl of the wind in his ears, feel it against his body. Should feel his face contorted by the pummeling airspeed. He flicked his altimeter several times, but nothing changed, and realized that though he was as if lying on his stomach, he was still able to reach beneath himself as if he weren’t. Frantic, Ronny shot his arms beside him, sending more puffs of cloud vapor dancing around him.

He yelled out.

Nervously shot up to a one–knee kneeling position.

Confused, he mentally tried to retrace his actions and mentally reach out to the exterior of the cloud—to what he knew existed out there, outside all of this blinding white that surrounded (and now, somehow, supported) him. His surroundings looked exactly like common ground fog, key word ground. Solidity was now where it should never be. He should still be hurtling earthward by force of gravity, dammit, not suspended in the stuff of dreams and insanity.

Crazy?

He again smacked his gloved hands down beside him, but they still did not pass through the vaporous moisture, hitting soft, enigmatic solidity. More swirls of cloud vapor puffed up around him.

“No–no–no–no–no. This can’t be….”

Ronny shot to both feet—cautiously crouched—hands out before him like a blind man.

Any moment, now, any moment and he would continue on his downward journey.

He glanced warily about him. Felt the sweat, cold and copious, begin to pour out of him like a squeezed sponge.

This was scary.

Jumping out of a plane with a parachute was nothing. His entire body trembled, and he took several furtive steps about his position, circling and staring down at the damned white “surface” he stood upon.

(not falling!)

“Oh, my God….”

Clumsily, he again spun around, got tangled in his deployed chute’s lines and looked to them. They didn’t dangle beneath him, but also appeared held up by whatever buoyed him. He checked his harness. All still good; nothing loose. He felt for his reserve chute; still there, of course, but, why wouldn’t it? The only thing missing from this equation was sanity. He slowly stood fully upright, lowered his arms, and again stomped about in a tight circle. Again, more puffs of vapor but still no falling. He was undeniably stopped dead in mid-air. It was all white, blinding white, and he could actually see the cloud particles drifting about before him. Feel their moisture kissing his face, even beginning to fog up his goggles—which he couldn’t quite bring himself to remove.

Tentatively, he stuck out his feet, one, then the other, and edged his way forward. Where, he had no idea, it was all white. All…eerily solid. Cushiony, but solid. He was expecting Rod Serling to step out before him any moment now, taking a puff on his cigarette as he introduced him to his world and welcome to it, with that sardonic smirk.

“This is stupid…this can’t be happening,” he said. “I have to be falling, have to still be in descent…this–this—it must be hypoxia, that’s all—”

But, he thought, if this is the case, thenthen, what if I don’t open my chute? What if I don’t see the ground coming, because it’s one looow cloudand I won’t break out til 500 feet? The automatic activation devicethe AAD’ll open my chute at 1300. I’ll be fine. But what about…what about….

All this.

How could any of this be even remotely possible? Even clouds didn’t go on forever…he simply had to keep walking until he found the end of it, then, what…jump?

But if he found himself where he presently was, what made him think he’d ever find an end to this freaky affair?

Ronny popped the harness’s D–rings to his main chute and released it, then sprinted into an all–out run. He closed his eyes, held his breath—and leapt.

And once again landed hard on his stomach, again knocking the air out of him.

Maybe I’m just too messed up, maybe they were all right and I am crazyand I’m actually still hurtling toward the ground right this second and just don’t realize it

Ronny stared into the swirling cloud.

“This can’t be…it’s all got to be a dream, that’s all it is—I’m dreaming again….”

 

Ronny was not much of one to scare easily, but taking off his rig to repack his chute—here—gave him the heebie–jeebies like nobody’s business. He pictured himself still falling out of the sky, hypoxic, and those on the ground observing his flailing body as he tried to remove himself from his rig. It sent shivers all through him, made his palms sweat, and his gut clench. What if—

But, he’d decided, what difference would it make? If he really was crazy and he really was still falling, then he’d never know it, would he? He didn’t know it, now, did he? Well, there you go. And if he wasn’t hurtling earthward and really was…here…then he’d better either repack it or forget about it, and since he was fifteen grand into the air (or somewhere) why not at least go through the motions—even if it all turned out to be some hypoxic mental aberration…or all in the dreamworld.

Ronny took off his rig, lay it on the fluffy white firmament that appeared to be solid, and went about the task of collecting and repacking his chute.

“Ronny?”

The voice came soft and sweet…like it always did.

“What do you want,” he asked, continuing to pack his chute without looking up.

“This really is real, you know. All of it.”

“Yeah, right. I’m just having another dream. A nightmare, and you’re part of it. All in my head. Can’t tell reality from fantasy anymore. Have a history of it, you know.”

He carefully placed the chute back into the pack, avoiding to look the voice in its face.

“But, I’m real, too. And I’m right here.”

Ronny chuckled. “Now, tell me, how can I really believe that? I can’t believe anything anymore. I mean, look at me! I’m putzing around inside a frigging cloud, for chrissakes, my cheeks should be flapping in the breeze!”

“But I’m right here. Look at me. See me.”

Ronny looked up. Saw her. Or at least a shadowy outline of her obscured by the cloud. She came closer.

“This doesn’t mean anything, you know,” Ronny lied. He felt the tears. Always the tears. “I dream of you every night. See you every night.”

“But this is different, honey, this isn’t a dream.”

Ronny chuckled, just about to expel a sarcastic comeback, when he froze as Angela emerged from the cloud vapor to stand directly before him. She was as he always saw her—only better. Ronny came to his feet. He could smell that hint of Red she always wore when she wasn’t going gonzo. And she had that little scar she earned from rock climbing on her left eyebrow, which he never seemed to notice during his dreams. And—by God—her freckles, her cute little freckles were even there, another thing overlooked in his dreams.

Angela took his hand. Squeezed it.

“See, silly, I’m real. I’m really here, not like in your dreams—though, to tell the truth, they did keep me alive. This time this isn’t a dream…it isn’t all in your head—I really am standing before you, and I really am real.”

“How—”

“I can’t explain it, honey, I only know I exist. Here, now. I don’t fight it and neither should you. Just give in to it—us—before whatever did this and put us together takes it away …okay?”

Those pleading eyes, that heart–wrenching voice….

Angela came in closer, bringing him to his feet and took both his hands into hers. She planted the softest, most loving kiss on his lips. He could smell her, dammit, smell her and feel her. And those sensations brought back all the longing and emotion that had been so severely cut off during that—that day….

Angela shook her head, placing a gentle hand to his. “Don’t think about that.”

“But…why?

“Honey…you know why…please, don’t make me talk about it. It doesn’t matter anymore. You’ve more than made up for it, now.”

“But, why did you have to kill yourself? We could have worked things out…gone back to therapy. If I’d known how badly it affected—”

Angela smiled quietly. “You know yourself better than anyone else. Would that have worked? Honestly? You’ve always philandered. Nothing made you stop—until that day. I was the closest thing that kept you even close to honest—and I cherished every moment of our time together—like I do, now. Please…all that’s over. You’re a new person, now. A better one.”

Ronny collapsed back to his knees, sobbing. Angela knelt down beside him and cradled him in her arms.

“I really don’t know what to tell you, honey. I’m also deeply sorry about what I did. If I had the chance to do things over, I’d do things differently. Two wrongs don’t make a right. But I loved you so much, so damned intensely that I didn’t want to live if I couldn’t have you totally, body and soul.

“Look, we’re here…now…please, let’s not waste this time by rehashing old wounds. I don’t know how else to impress this upon you. Look at me. Love me—now. Let’s no longer waste the time we now have together….”

 

Ronny and Angela walked hand in hand through the swirling cloud bank, Ronny, his rig now packed and slung carelessly over a shoulder.

“So, that’s all you’ve been doing since…?”

Angela nodded, guiltily. “Yes. I’ve been reliving our lives over and over; my death, over and over. Emotionally trying to will things differently. Like you are in your dreams. A couple times I found other threads…probabilities…in which I pulled that ripcord, but they still never turned out to change the past I had already created in that life. But your dreams…your emotion and love…keep pulling me back…to you. Sometimes your emotion is so strong I don’t even know where I am. It…clouds my mind, I guess you could say. And then…one moment—because there is no time where I am—I find myself here. You here.”

Ronny smiled, tears filling his eyes, his face red and hot. He squeezed her hand harder. Felt the warmth of her palms. “Good God, we humans create so many needless problems for ourselves, don’t we? I am so sorry for everything—everything—I’ve ever done. I am so sorry you’ve had to relive all those moments of ours—I don’t ever want to live without you again!”

“But you must. It isn’t your time yet. You have to continue on with your own life, with the past we’ve created, the both of us. When it is your time, I’ll be there, know this!”

“But, what about all this? If we can do this now, might it mean we’re meant to be together? That we can be together, again—forever?”

“But at what price? How long will it last? I feel…something strange…about everything…unfinished. Like I said, sometimes your emotion is so strong, I get confused about whether or not I’m really dead. You’re so strong and you don’t even realize it. But no emotion—none—can ever be maintained forever. Eventually, it tires, exhausts itself out, gets…diverted. Just like life everything dies. Sometimes I feel that maybe—maybe you should let me die—”

Angela choked off and stopped walking. Ronny stopped and turned to her, taking her sobbing form into his arms.

“How can something so real as this—even if so utterly unbelievable—not be true? Not be lasting? I can feel the hotness of your cheek, your tears, smell the sweetness of your breath. I may have been diverted before, but this…this is different. I refuse to believe that this cannot survive the moment. That we can’t make it survive forever. I refuse! I will not lose you again!

Ronny buried his face into her neck and hair, his gear falling into the mist at their feet. Just before he closed his eyes he had an instant’s surge of panic—that his rig had actually, finally, fallen through the cloud and he was left without it, holding onto his dead wife, three miles into the air with nothing more than his imagination.

But did he really care?

No.

If he couldn’t live with her why live at all? She had enough guts to at least do what she did—why couldn’t he?

He closed his eyes and let go…and all was right with the world. He once more held his loving, precious wife tightly in his arms. Felt their love for each other intertwine in ways he’d never felt before. If he truly had gone off the deep end, then he never wanted to know about it. Never wanted to wake up. Never wanted to leave this cloud—be it in his imagination …or reality.

Ronny sobbed uncontrollably into Angela’s shoulders.

 

“So…what do we do now?” he asked, as they both sat beside each other in the swirling vapors. “Do we know how long we’ve been here?”

“I don’t know, hon. I just know I’m happy to be with you, again. I love you so much. I was so lonely. So angry. Missed you like I’d never, ever missed you before, even though I know there’s this bright light out there waiting for me. I just can’t go to it, yet. I don’t know how long all this lasts, but I never want it to go away. I’d gladly wait an eternity, here, for you.”

“I’d rather die and be with you now then go back.”

Angela smiled.

“What? What’s this?” he asked, as he hit something in the vapor. “Oh, my God—my rig. How’d that get here? I left it way over—well, wherever.”

Angela looked to it. “You knooow…I always used to think you looked quite sexy in your gear.”

“You did?”

“You knew that. I told you all the time.”

Ronny smiled sweetly. “I’m just playing.”

“Hey, why don’t you put it on, again…one more time?”

“I don’t really care to.”

“Oh, come on…just once more. Then you can toss it over the side. Forever. You’ll never need it again, you know, if you stay here. Humor me. Goggles and all.”

“Could we, you know…if I do this?”

Angela, smiled coyly. “May-beee….”

Ronny found all his gear in a pile beside him. Something felt different about reaching for the equipment this time, but he did it anyway—for her.

He did it all for her, now. Everything.

He wished it hadn’t cost her her life for him to learn his lesson. He supposed if she wanted to see him one last time in his jumping rig he could certainly do that. After all, what else did they have to do…where else did they have to go?

Ronny put everything on, Angela assisting, and when he had one glove on, Angela stepped back, soaking in every last bit of him. Ronny, smiling, looked up just as he slid his hand into the last glove—but saw a suddenly sorrowful expression descend upon her face. She reached up a trembling hand to her quivering mouth.

What is it? Honey? What’s the mat—”

No sooner had he put the glove all the way on than he fell through the cloud—all the air, all his will to live knocked out of him like a sucker punch.

He plummeted away…away…from his wife….

NOOO….”

I love you, Ronny, forever….

 

Ronny hit quick and hard, landing with the wind at the airport’s dropzone. He (again) popped his D–rings and hurried toward the tarmac. Another plane was queuing up for another round of jumpers and he was going to be on it. The jumpers he’d jumped with were all around him, collecting their chutes, and also making their way toward the tarmac. No time had passed.

He’d landed with the same crew of jumpers with which he’d exited the plane.

Ronny was the furthest out of all of them and broke into a run, gruffly shouldering past those he used to include among his friends. Several heard him mutter about having to “get back up there.” Back to a cloud. To Angela. That’s when everyone tried to stop him, but Ronny wasn’t about to be stopped and swung out at the closest interlopers, knocking several to the ground. Then he all-out sprinted for the revving Beech that was making its turn onto the runway, with its new load of jumpers. Ronny reached the plane, leapt at the opening, and yanked out the jump instructor, who sat just inside the door. Wiping away tears, Ronny commanded the others to also get the hell out, then forced the surprised pilot to continue, his hook knife effectively placed against the woman’s throat. The crowd on the ground could only watch as the aircraft disappeared into the clouds….

* * *

Nothing came out of the sky, after that delivery, except for the Beech and pilot, and when the pilot landed she related the following:

Ronny had apologized for his actions, and said he wasn’t going to hurt her. He just wanted her to take him over to a particular cloud formation, that’s all, and quickly, before it dissipated. He was very specific about which cloud, the pilot added. He also kept mumbling Angela’s name…and how he was coming back so they could be together…forever. The pilot mentioned how she’d noticed that Ronny only wore half his rig—his emergency canopy—while his main chute’s compartment was empty. Once they got to the specific formation—Ronny calmed—appreciably—smiled…then leapt out of the Beech and disappeared into the cloud.

The pilot said his smile was the most peaceful, most serene (and unnerving) thing she’d ever seen on a man’s face.

She then circled around and under the cloud…but never found him.

“Did anyone see him land?” she asked. “Anyone?

All shook their heads.

“Hey!” someone shouted out on the tarmac. “Come quick—look at this! Hurry!

The crowd ran toward the field, looking skyward, when they saw it…tumbling, end over end—a parachute rig. No jumper in it…just an empty rig, falling dirtward. It had just appeared, suddenly out from underneath one of the fair–weather cumulus cloud formations that drifted lazily overhead….

Short Story Links

Links to all my posted short stories are here.

 

 

 

 

Plaything

Things That Go Bump In The Night (Image by By Alec Perkins from Hoboken, USA, 80 SAM_3196 [CC BY 2.0, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Things That Go Bump In The Night (Image by By Alec Perkins from Hoboken, USA, 80 SAM_3196 [CC BY 2.0, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)

I actually vaguely remember writing this. And its inspiration is the obvious: things that go bump in the night.

We’ve all heard the unexplained sounds that always assail us in the weird hours of the night. Was it the house settling, a stud contracting from the cold, nighttime air…or something else?

And what really lives in-between the walls of a house or apartment?

Do we really wanna know?

This has never been published.

 

Plaything

© F. P. Dorchak, 1987

 

Mrs. Agnes Helderman lay in her bed, thick comforters her only guard against the night. Alongside her, the Big Ben ticked quietly away into the two-thirty a.m. morning. A waxing moon shone through the blinds, winds tussling branches outside her window.

In her kitchen dishes sat in the sink, bits of oatmeal crusted in a pot, several cups filled with dirty water adjacent to it. A nightlight dully illuminated the hallway leading into the living room.

The furnace suddenly hummed to life, preparing to spew heated air out into Agnes’s cramped living quarters.

Agnes snoozed.

Until the noises again woke her up.

This was the second night in a row. It was quite distressing, especially when she needed her sleep. She wasn’t young anymore, and what with a weak heart to begin with (ever since the death of her husband, Edgar, her health had been rapidly failing), well suffice it to say she didn’t need this.

Her eyes popped open.

The clock tick-tocked.

Clutching her comforter closer, Agnes scanned the bed-room.

Nothing.

Listened…

Nothing.

Klink!

She reached for the lamp at bed-aside, knocking it against the wall, and nearly off the nightstand. Her light now on (all the better to hear with…), she strained her ears—

There…inside a living-room wall…something…thudded!

Rats.

Had to be rats, they do that sort of thing you know, she told herself.

Wide awake, now, she sat up in bed, listening for more noises…but, nothing came.

She didn’t fall back asleep until nearly four in the morning.

Agnes got up about six.

Exterminators, that’s what she needed.

Throwing on her robe, she cautiously entered the living-room, a wooden backscratcher her only defense. She stopped in the entrance-way.

Peered about its walls… nothing.

Fully entering the living room, she began knocking on the paper-thin walls, testing their integrity, though she didn’t know what she’d do if she found something within them anyway…or something knocked back.

She’d probably have a heart attack.

Get to be with Edgar that much sooner.

 

It was about two that afternoon when someone finally arrived. “We kill bugs” was painted on the van’s side, an upturned cockroach with an “x” for each eye, emblazoned at the end of the words.

“Well it’s about time you fella’s got here!” she scolded the two thirty-something’s.

“We’re sorry ma’am, we got here as fast as we could.”

Agnes went back to her television while they worked.

The exterminators attacked every nook and cranny they could get their tools into, spraying all sorts of wonderful poisons into and around her place.

“Fred, I don’t think there’s anything in these goddamn walls,” one exterminator said to his partner.

“I believe you, Lou,” said the partner. “I think she’s just losing it, know what I mean?” he said, making coo-coo motions with his finger beside an ear.

Finished with poisoning the apartment, the men told Agnes to have a nice day and packed up. Agnes, relieved, sat down with a triumphant smile upon her wrinkled face, “Got you, you little bastards,” she said with more than a little relish.

 

After her cup of warm tea, Agnes crawled into bed and pulled the comforters up and over her deteriorating body. She lay there with the light on, not quite wanting to sleep.

What if they hadn’t gotten them all…or whatever they were supposed to have gotten had gone out for the day?

Or was immune to the poisons they used?

Opening her nightstand, she took out a romance novel. It occupied her mind for the next hour or so, however sleep won out in the end, her book falling to the floor.

Tick-tock, tick-tock went the merry, merry little clock….

 

Then from the linen closet it came.

A rustling.

At first she didn’t hear it…dreaming about her wedding night, fifty years ago. But the rustling…again…transmogrified into an all-out THUMP!

Agnes jolted upright.

Her heart raced.

She listened.

THUMP!

…and again…

THUMP!

The noise traveled along the hallway walls…getting closer.

As if something was looking for something…but was coming from the inside of the wall rather than outside….

Agnes had had it.

She’s paid good money (from her fixed income!) for those two bug killers to do their job and do it properly—but, that was the problem with today’s world. No one cared about quality and doing things right the first time. Always in a hurry, even though they’d spent two hours at her place.

Yes, Agnes had had quite enough.

Mustering her resolve, she crawled out from underneath the blankets and went to her bedroom closet. She emerged with an old golf club that belonged to her Edgar. The 1 wood, but she didn’t know this. He’d always been quite handy with “the sticks,” as he’d called them.

Edgar.

Turning on her main bedroom light, she went after the hallway noise, turning lights on as she went. The noise persisted…jumping around from top to bottom, side to side…wall to wall….

But her resolve never wavered. She’d had it. She’d show it what-for.

Finally at the entrance way coat closet, the noise ceased. She flipped on the closet’s light with the end of the driver. Agnes scanned up and down the closet, poked around inside among the coats, but found nothing.

Angered by her fruitless search, she closed the closet door and braced a chair up against it.

Damn this was getting old.

 

The next morning, she called the same exterminators, complaining they didn’t know their job from a

(18-hole...)

in the ground. Threatened to take them to People’s Court. The head bug-killer said he’d be right over to check it out personally. He arrived an hour later.

“Mrs. Helderman? Tim Spanner. May I come in?”

Without saying a word, Agnes hobbled aside to let him in.

“You gonna fix it? Get rid of the whatever it is?” she asked, eying him. She coughed, pulling a tissue from her wrist’s sleeve, using it, then stuffing it back into her wrist’s sleeve. “And I ain’t paying a penny more.”

“Mrs. Helderman—”

“—don’t ‘Mrs. Helderman’ me,” she said, shaking a crooked finger at him, “I don’t need double-talk, I need results. Now are you going to kill this thing or not?”

Exasperated, the exterminator said, “Where were the noises coming from?”

Humphing, Agnes led him to the linen closet in question.

“It started in there,” she said, pointing the golf club she picked up from against the wall, “and ended up at the coat closet up front,” she said pointing to where they’d just come from.

“Thank you, Mrs. Helderman,” Spanner said, stepping past her for the closet. He opened the door and took out a flashlight, poking around inside and in between the folded and ironed linen. It smelled as if none of the linen hadn’t been used in years and looked as if they’d all contained permanent folds. Spanner started to feel sorry for the old lady. Thought about all the life she’d been through and the fact that her husband was dead (she’d mentioned three times over the phone…how if her deceased husband, Edgar, had still been around she wouldn’t have needed their services) leaving her all to herself.

Lonely.

“Find anything?” she asked. She got right up behind him and he could smell a really sour smell coming from her. “Anything?”

“No, Mrs. Helderman, nothing yet.”

He banged about the walls, checked the shelves and anything else that could have the possibility of making a sound…movement…anything. Nothing. For another hour or two, with Agnes in tow, they searched the entire collection of corners and dark places the apartment had to offer.

Not one trace of vermin.

Not one.

They had, however, found an old neckless Agnes had thought forever lost. Why hadn’t the first group found this, she wondered?

Because they hadn’t properly done their job, that’s why.

The bug man left. He was glad to be rid of her. Some people can really get on your nerves, and others can really get inside your skin. Mrs. Helderman was the latter.

And she smelled.

 

Before turning in, Agnes took one more look into the closet before closing it. After her tea, it was beddy-by time. Lights out.

And as usual…2:30 in the morning…the noises again did their thing. This time they were much closer…in the hot-water heater’s closet.

Agnes arose quietly this time…tried to sneak up on it. She got up to the door of the unit, put an ear to it…when the sounds stopped. She stood back up, grasping her club and reaching for her sore back. Mustn’t do that again.

Childlike laughter erupted from the water heater’s compartment!

Kids?

What and how would kids be in there—and at this time of the morning?

“Get out of here, you rascals!” she said, shouting at the hot-water heater’s closet door, “Get out and get back home where you belong!”

But the giggling continued…only to fade out a few minutes later.

Agnes went to a window and looked out into the night-time parking lot.

Had some hooligans actually gotten into her apartment?

And how had they done so?

That must be why no one had been able to find anything—kids…it’d been kids all along! Coming out to harass her!

Well, at least now she knew.

Rats of a different sort.

She’d get them for what they were doing….every last one of them….

 

The next day, Agnes kept a wary eye on every child that looked at her or her apartment…telling them to shoo and be-gone. Some of the much younger ones she’d actually made cry.

Served them all right. All of them!

A rat was a rat.

Agnes hadn’t always been such a bitter person, but ever since the death of Edgar she’d taken a big dislike to youth and life in general. She secretly wished she could join her husband.

Why had he left her?

They’d been married almost fifty wonderful years! How dare he leave her!

Growing old was scary and hard…and doing it alone….

She’d lost sight of the former person she once was. Fun loving, friendly…attractive. She used to catch the eye of many a man in her day….

But not now.

Now she was old, withered, alone…and bitter. Had a bad case of IBS.

Well into the night did Agnes keep her vigilance. Tonight was the night. She was going to catch them come hell or high water.

Well, she was going to…but sleep has this unnerving way of sneaking up on you.

Again her book fell to the floor.

Two-thirty.

And again the noise.

This time, it came from her very own bedroom closet.

Agnes lost no time in getting out of bed (damned back…she tweaked it again). She fumbled for her club, alongside her bed, but in her sleep must have knocked it over, because it wasn’t where it was supposed to be.

She’d moved just a little too fast in getting up and was already out of breath…and she couldn’t seem to get it under control, her heart rate increasing. She pushed away from the headboard and lay back down, comforter yanked back up around her neck, eyes bugging, struggling for a breath.

The panic rose in her chest and she was unable to stop it.

“Go-go away! Go away, I said!” she said, wheezing, “Leave me alone!

Her heart-felt like a brick in her chest. Felt like she was trying to breathe through a plastic bag.

What do you want?

The noise continued, now sounding more like rummaging than anything else. Child-like giggling filled the air, she could hear boxes and things tumbling about—

Golf balls came rolling out of her closet.

Agnes clutched her chest, panting.

Air felt like so much mud in her lungs.

More scrambling and giggling came from the darkness, bits and pieces of her things—her things!—came flying out of her closet.

Agnes bicycled her varicosed legs, trying to get away from whatever it was in there that was trying to get out…and knocked over a nightstand picture of her husband, shattering the glass.

Edgar..!

“G-go awaaay, I say!”

The child-like laughter continued getting closer with each giggle. She swore she saw something move in there—

The shadow now threw entire boxes out into the bedroom, laughing.

“Please, please…leave me alone! I-I c-can’t take this, please—”

From out of the closet bounded a creature the size of a large stuffed animal. I flew high through the air and onto Agnes…landing square on her chest. It stared down at her and looked a cross between a gremlin and a teddy bear, with big brown eyes. It’s head twisted back and forth, then it jumped up and down on her chest.

“Let’s play! Let’s play!” it squealed, “Let’s play! Let’s play!

Agnes had her heart attack.

Let’s play!

 

Short Story Links

Links to all my posted short stories are here.

 

Spiders

Everywhere You Go...There They Are (Image by By tom burke from Morgan Hill, CA, USA [Flickr] [CC BY 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

Everywhere You Go…There They Are (Image by By tom burke from Morgan Hill, CA, USA [Flickr] [CC BY 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

Here’s really short little ditty.

What is it about spiders that gives people the heebie-jeebies?

Yeah, their bodies.

It’s what they look like. Talk about judging a book by its cover!

They’re creepy.

And they hide in the smallest of places—

Well, everywhere.

And to think about how many of them exist and where they exist…well, that’s what brought about this prose poem, below. It’s not much, but I like it. Short, sweet, right to the point.

And you thought clowns were creepy!

This has never been published.

 

Spiders

© F. P. Dorchak, 1992

They’re everywhere

You can’t get rid of them

They’re in places you can’t imagine

And places you can

Spiders

 

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Beyond The Trope Interview – Denver Comic Con 2016

A Beyond The Trope Podcast. (Image by By Badseed [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

A Beyond The Trope Podcast. (Image by By Badseed [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)

When I attended Denver Comic Con 2016, I was thrice interviewed. The first posted interview was with Reel Nerds, and this one is with Beyond The Trope. In this interview I am grouped with C. R. Richards and Sue Duff. I’m the middle, or second interview.

Beyond The Trope Interview.

It runs 40:17.

Or…you can listen to just my interview below. It runs 11:35.

Early in my interview I say that I don’t write about “monsters”…which is sorta true: in my novels I don’t write about fantastical monsters…though I do write about the human kind. However…in my short stories, I have written about them! Sooo, sorry about the lie. It was Denver Comic Con. It was crazy.

Beyond the Trope on iTunes!

I have one more DCC 2016 interview, with Solikeyouknow.com (SLYKRadio). They will contact me when that podcast is available.

Thanks, Beyond The Trope! Had a blast!

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Casa

Sometimes You Really Can Return Home. (Image by By Chris Light [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Sometimes You Really Can…. (Image by By Chris Light [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)

Yet another (short) story I don’t remember ever having written, 16 years ago. The plight of the separated. War. Redemption. Perhaps it’s more of a “meditation” on the separation of two souls. The inspiration is obvious…and, in today’s world, all-too-common, unfortunately.

Why is it that there is the “evil that men do”? If there is more good in the world, why can’t we redirect our collective energies and rid the world of this “evil”?

That, I firmly believe, lies within each of us. We may think it lies with “other people”…but in reality, it lies within each of us not only to answer those questions, but to bring about the better world that we all give so much lip service to.

But this story is not about that. It’s about two souls…forced apart.

This story has never been published.

 

Casa

© F. P. Dorchak, 2000

 

There comes a time in everyone’s life when you must face the music.

To think back to your childhood…when you were basically not held accountable for much. Those were the fun times, happy times! Happy and carefree. Life was your amusement park.

You had no real responsibilities, aside from school and a few chores. If you had a bike, you were mobile and that meant freedom! The world was literally at your feet! And the challenges! Nothing went unchallenged. Everything was suspect, from your home to your school. You’d try to get away with as much as possible, testing the system. You’d steal that candy bar just to see if you could get away with it…stay out later and later on dates.

It was all part of being a kid.

The excitement of being a kid!

But then things begin to change about mid-way through high school.

Slowly but surely more responsibility was added to your life. No longer did things remain just mere “unaccountable challenges”…and if you became one of the few to go to war, you witnessed the atrocities of mankind. Things that seared your brain with an intense anger and hatred.

Sadness.

It was an anger at the cruelties and callousness of conflict. At how the Human Condition could inflict torture—mental and physical—upon another. You wondered how could such things be? How could—can—people be driven to perform such atrocities—horrible, unspeakable acts upon one and another.

How God could allow such things.

But it was and is real…and won’t ever go away.

The worst part is that it isn’t just confined to wars: it breeds…finding other ways to manifest…unleash itself. War (you find) just becomes a convenient excuse.

And while you’re in the middle of it all, you may find yourself thinking back to a particular girl you knew…before you left and everything went crazy. You think back to when you and her were an item.

Inseparable. In love.

You think back with a sadness that bites deep. You think back to when you told her not to worry…you’d be back.

She says, well what about all the others who’ve said the same? You look her in the eyes and tell her—with all seriousness—that you’re different.

Yes, you think back to that time…and how you began to doubt your own words. She was the one you really cared about.

You remember that when that night was over so was your relationship. No one said anything, but you both felt it. And it wasn’t that you would necessarily never come back…no that wasn’t it. It was the waiting…and what you might become….

She never wrote you and you never wrote her—well, maybe once. You did write her that one time just to let her know you were okay. But that was it. When there was no response, you knew why.

There was no animosity. It was just something that had to be.

And you did come back…all limbs and mentality intact. At least you think so. Maybe you are a little rougher around the edges—there was no part of your being that was not bruised from your “experiences,” “they” call them—but you were still you.

So you found your way to her place, that lone porch light still on the way you remember it. You knock at the door…her father answers. At first he’s glad to see you…but knows your real intent and you see his head slump forward just a little as he leaves to get her. You however, straighten yours up more.

You’re prepared.

You couldn’t have been more prepared.

You turn back to the street…your thousand-yard stare catches you off-guard…recall the fire fights…the carnage…the smell of death and destruction…but also the life you had before the war…before…before you’d changed….

Then a hand reaches out for you…and you turn.

You come face to face with her. You’re knees buckle. Something unhinges inside you.

Tears…pain…in both sets of eyes.

You weren’t the only one who’d changed.

You thought you’d forever lost her…and she you. Sure, she had her “experiences” (“they” call them) while you were gone…but she’d always held you closest…never really wanted to let you go. You can see it in her eyes. Feel it in the electricity between the both of you.

You were back…and so was she.

Back for you.

Short Story Links

Links to all my posted short stories are here.

 


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F. P. Dorchak


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