Here's a little something I did a while back on a prompt from a friend
Return to Glory
by J. Aurel Guay
I wake from glory. The stale air greets me with an indifference that makes me wonder why I would ever leave the soft warmth of my sheets. The alarm rings again, and I remember why I must leave my refuge. The Dreamscape is gone, now it is time to pay the dues.
I manage to struggle through my routine. A bland breakfast of toast and black coffee are my only comfort. My allotment of water is barely enough to wash the sleep from my eyes, but it will have to be enough. 1 hour down, seventeen to go until I can see her again.
Down on the street I join the silent throng making their way on the same journey. Every face looks the same. Every eye so empty that I cannot bear it, I wonder what would happen if everyone took their plugs out, what would happen to the world.
I place my own plug to my temple.
The soothing effect is immediate, and a sigh escapes my lips as those thoughts fade into an oblivious calm brought by suggestive brainwaves and accompanying music. Amidst the soothing melody that primes my mind for the work ahead, the instructions for the day flow passively from my ear into my brain.
I board the monorail that will take me within a short walk of my post. They have a lot for me to do today, not that I will notice. Time matters little when they feed you a constant stream of consciousness control. I don’t care though, it is all worth it for the red haired beauty that awaits me back in the Dreamscape.
My stop approaches. Sixteen hours until I can be in her sweet virtual embrace. I reach for my briefcase beside me on the floor. The rail lurches suddenly. I feel the hard knock of someone’s head against mine and my plug falls out.
The noise suddenly stops. Disoriented I look around, fellow passengers stand ready to exit, oblivious to me and to one another. Anxiety starts to set in. Without being plugged in I’m not sure what to do. I am missing my instructions, a gaping void is left open where the artificial peace once reigned.
There! My missing plug lies only a foot away on the floor. Reaching for it desperately I collide with a stranger likewise trying to get the device, this time we are both knocked to the floor. Looking up my own dark eyes meet impossibly blue ones, framed in auburn hair. For a moment I forget all about the plug, about the dreamscape, everything. She tucks her stray lock behind her ear and smiles at me. She takes the plug from the monorail floor and hands it too me, then reaches for the second plug I had not seen.
It seems that I should say something; ‘Sorry for bumping you’, ‘I hope your plug is OK.’ Anything. It has been so long since I’ve talked to another living person the words will not come. She smiles again and a burst of energy flows through my chest. Such a feeling as I have only felt in the Dreamscape.
She hesitates a moment, then fits her plug back into her temple. Her eyes still vivid as ever, change subtly to look through me in a faraway stare. I watch silently as she stands, straightens her grey pencil skirt and exits the monorail without another glance my way.
The chime sounds, I have only seconds before the door closes and I will have missed my stop. My plug is in and I’m exiting the monorail before I know what I am doing. The soothing peacefulness returns and I back to my routine. I am late, if I don’t move quickly they will cut my time in the Dreamscape, my time with Her.
My pace quickens as I move down the packed street. I pass a woman in a grey pencil skit. Her auburn hair and blue eyes seem somehow familiar, but I can’t place it through the thick melody and steady stream of sedating brainwaves. It doesn’t matter. I’ll be at my post soon, then just fifteen and a half more hours until I can return to glory.
Today I would like to spotlight one of my fellow authors in ‘Mechanized Masterpieces 2, an American Anthology’; J. R. Potter and his short story ‘Rise of the House of Usher’ based on Poe’s classic work ‘Fall of the House of Usher’.
A lover of graphic novels and the occult fiction of the late great John Bellairs, James gravitated towards the paranormal world from an early age. Watching the first episode of The X-Files with his older brother was a transformative experience, as well as an education in great storytelling and myth-making.
Since “growing up,” James has devoted his time to finding his voice through writing, publishing short fiction in The Portland Review, and winning two international short story competitions for science fiction and horror. When he’s not writing, he tours with his incredible wife Amy as “The Crooked Angels,” an Americana duo specializing in rocking your socks off.
Be sure and enter the RAFFLECOPTER contest to win some great prizes from Xchyler Publishing!
Today I would like to spotlight one of my fellow authors in ‘Mechanized Masterpieces 2, an American Anthology’; D. Lee Jortner and her short story ‘Payoff for Aire-Pirate Pete’.
D. Lee Jortner – “I grew up in the West and love and miss the mountains here in the midwest, so I was happy to place my story out where the sky is big and the mountains reach past the clouds.”
Playing with imaginary friends and writing and directing plays in the neighbor’s garage filled D. Lee Jortner’s childhood. Today she lets her imagination flow onto her keyboard as she writes mystery, fantasy and steampunk stories and novels. “Payoff for Air-Pirate Pete” is her first short story for Xchyler Publishing. She also enjoys her marketing role with the company and teaching English composition at Ivy Tech Community College in Valparaiso, Indiana. When not writing or working, Jortner is usually busy with her husband, children or grandchildren.
Be sure and enter the RAFFLECOPTER contest to win some great prizes from Xchyler Publishing!
I caught up with Miss Jortner to talk about her writing:
Please share how you came up with the concept for your story?
I always loved O.Henry. I remember my Dad reading Continue reading
Ride into the Wild West with ten steampunked expansions of classic American tales:
A Princess of Jasoom: An intrepid young researcher reaches for the stars from the Arizona desert, and finds love where she least expects it. – J. Aurel Guay
Winged Hope: The widow of a brilliant inventor fights insurmountable odds to see her husband’s dreams realized and save the life of her daughter. – Megan Collins Oliphant
The Van Tassel Legacy: A stranger arrives in Sleepy Hollow to unearth old conspiracies and bring the Van Brunts to justice. – Jay Barnson
Invested Charm: A mysterious woman doles out justice in Boston society, but who will catch her first: organized crime or the law? – M. Irish Gardner
‘A Charm invests a face…’ by Emily Dickinson
Payoff for Air Pirate Pete: A pair of train-robbing outlaws bite off more than they can chew when they kidnap the son of a railroad bigwig. – Diane Lee Jortner
The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry
Rise of the House of Usher: A mad scientist gains power over life and death at the cost of his family’s sanity, if not their very lives. – J. H. Potter
The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe
Nautilus Redux: Captain Nemo’s crew stumble upon an island castaway who claims to be Captain Ahab of the Pequod. Only Moby Dick knows the truth. – Scott E. Tarbet
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne and Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Mr. Thornton: Hounded by tragedy and betrayal, a gifted young blacksmith wanders from The Ohio to The Yukon searching for honor, loyalty, and justice. – Scott William Taylor; Call of the Wild, by Jack London —
West End: A heartbroken Theodore Laurence follows the siren song of steam to Jamaica, where love and law collide with explosive results. – Neve Talbot
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The release date for Mechanized Masterpieces II an American Anthology is fast approaching. My story just passed line editing and is now in the hands of the proof readers!
The official release date is February 28th, but Advance reader copies will be available near the end of January. Let me know if you want to support us by reading and reviewing this great anthology before the release date!
Coming February 2015
In the sequel to Mechanized Masterpieces an Amarican Anthology, the authors of Xchyler Publishing were challenged to add a steampunk flavor to their favorite works in American literature. The result is ten fantastic stories full of cogs, gears, and the love of classic literature. So what can you expect from this anthology? Here is a breakdown of the authors and their inspirations:
Jay Barnson; The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving --- Scott William Taylor; Jack London --- J. Aurel Guay; A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs --- M. Irish Gardner; Emily Dickinson --- Megan Collins Oliphant; Emily Dickinson --- J. H. Potter; Edgar Allen Poe --- Diane Lee Jortner; The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry --- Neve Talbot; Louisa May Alcott and Charlotte Bronte (Currer Bell) --- M. K. Wiseman; Hans Brinker by Mary Mapes Dodge --- Scott E. Tarbet; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne and Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Some of you may have read this before,but I want to announce the publishing of the followup to my short story, ‘The Death of Marcus Wells’ on my own blog. This piece of flash fiction is both the epilogue to my published short story and an excerpt of the novel I am working on titled ‘Jagerund’. Please enjoy!
It was late when Emily tiptoed into the room. Unlike most of the other rooms in the abandoned monastery, this one was well-lit. Several oil lamps surrounded the table on which the corpse laid and pushed back the darkness that seeped from the stone walls.
Marcus’ back was to her, his shaggy light coloured hair hung over his eyes as he bowed his head toward the table. So engrossed in his work was he that didn’t notice her enter. His forceps moved methodically, gently separating the human flesh from the parasite that had infiltrated the now deceased body.
She cleared her throat gently. Read more->