Friday, February 10, 2017

What They Leave Behind. A Science-Fiction Short Story by K.L. Hallam

I just put this short story up on my Wattpad account and I figured what the heck why not share it here. Dear readers, I present  What They Leave Behind.   

Kylie is being blamed for Sadie's disappearance, and no one is buying his alien story. How will he prove his innocence? 
photo by K.L. Hallam  Lake Oscawana
I remember hearing a helicopter. The leaves soaked in sunshine made them translucent, but I couldn’t see anything. A clear summer day, and I was playing with friends near the Airforce base. Helicopters certainly weren’t unusual. 
The only time I left their sight was when I went under that tree for a little privacy. Helicopters, and sunlight, that was my only recollection. When I came out, one of my friends shouted, “What happened to your head?”
Sure enough, I reached until I found the wet, warm spot, and had a look. Blood! My head didn’t hurt. And I had no idea what happened. I didn’t remember being scared. I know now, the head bleeds profusely, but this happened when I was seven years old.

I walked with my friends to the base; my mom approached me, fast and frightened, asking what had happened.
“That’s probably when it started, Doctor Murphy, the missing time. Isn’t that what they say?”
“The abducted. They always mention missing time, and.”
I stopped. I wasn’t sure what they said. I might have heard Dillon say something, once. Dillon’s been trying to keep me sane through this.
“What about the other time, with Sadie?” he asked.
“That’s what we’re here for … ” I settled back into the chair. I knew he'd make me go through it again. I much preferred the times when I couldn’t remember anything. This wasn’t going to be fun.
“Sadie and I were walking, out on 9D. Pretty dark, you know. It was last Monday, just after the sunset. There are always lights, by the way, floating around, especially right before they come.”
I had to take a breath. I couldn’t control this wavering pain in my stomach, the wave machine, and my hands were shaking. I rubbed the sweat on my pants and re-crossed my legs, stiff from sitting here too long. I’d hate to lie down, never know if he wiped the couch.
“Just go slow,” he said.
Yes slow, the images always run in slow motion.
“The darkness was unreal. With the new moon, you could see the stars to infinity. We started walking toward the river, and first, our legs slowed, then our arms. I looked at her and everything on Sadie’s face vibrated, every line and wrinkle. And then the lines on the trees vibrated like maybe they were slowing down, too. Or their matter was breaking up? It’s hard to put into words. Dillon said that’s what happens.”
“And you and Sadie hadn’t been drinking? Or anything?”
He did that fatherly thing again, where his glasses dropped down his nose.
What if we did use drugs? We didn’t, but come on.  It’s a judgment call. He’s calling it.
I watched out his office window. His daughter was playing with dolls near the woods.
 “That’s when we saw it,” I said.
 “And when they took her?” He flexed his jowls as he took notes.
He loved this part and wanted me to say it again. I nodded. “They said they were watching, and that Sadie had a contract with them.”
“That’s what they told you?”
“Yes, not like we talked, but they did. They said her family had contract from years ago. Why don’t you ask them a few questions? Honestly, I think you really should.”
I couldn’t breathe again. I watched the little girl through the window. Dust particles floated through the beam of sunlight. I wanted to float away with the dust.
“Why do you suppose they didn’t take you?” he asks.
“Said they did, many times. Guess my number wasn’t up for this trip?” I laughed, sort of. But it wasn’t funny. My nerves were impossible to settle. They’re always watching. I screamed for them to release her.
“That was only a week ago … ”
“Yes. Well, Kylie, you’re still under investigation for Sadie’s disappearance. I believe you, somehow, I do. I’ve heard a case or two, similar to yours, and yes, there was missing time with those cases, but how to get the police to believe it, and a lawyer, not so easy.”
“Unless she comes back,” I said.
He looked at me; man, he can drop eyeglasses on a dime, and said, “Yes, if she comes back.”
“They hang around military bases, you know, like the one in Maine, where I lived as a kid.”
Doctor Murphy stood up. “The officers are here.” He put his clipboard down, and briefly checked on his daughter from the window. Then he went to greet the officers, waiting in the next room.
“Time’s up,” said officer Frank.
I was already standing, and he took my arms by force. I didn’t resist. Doctor Murphy winced.
They could hang me for this.
I told them everything I saw. How she split in two: one bubble and one transparent body. Her “earthly” body or whatever you call it, disappeared – poof, without a trace. I’m the only trace. Everything leads to me.
Doctor Murphy said he believed me, but I don’t buy it. I’m escorted, or more accurately, towed, to the police car. Head shoved under and in, like a deranged killer. Or someone they think is trying to get by on an insanity charge. 
Where’s the body? Just tell us where the body is. That’s what they’d asked. I stopped telling them what happened to her body.
Once, years ago, listening to the radio the music changed to a song that answered a question on my mind. It got my attention. The lights flickered and I knew they were there.  “How long have you been doing this?” I whispered.
The Cindy Lauper song, Time After Time played. The station was set to a rock-n-roll only broadcast.
“For years?” I asked in response to the song’s title. “What did you do to me when I was seven-years-old?”
You are here to help, this earthy role is not your own. You wanted it this way. It’s not good to know too much, or you won’t want to stay.
I felt lighter after that and it lasted a couple years. But when my dog was killed, I knew it could only be them. All the blood drained from his terrier body. Why my dog? Never an explanation just cruelty.
And they were sloppy, leaving a sticky residue. The bioluminescent fluid they leave behind like slugs. Even left traces of it on the radio dial after our “conversation”.
What if the police found bioluminescent residue near the river? Would that create enough doubt? They’d investigated during the day. Maybe they never saw it glow at night?
“I need to call my lawyer,” I said through the wire mesh.
“Yes, at the station.”
When we arrived they shut me into a holding tank. I waited for my parents to come with the lawyer. I was innocent. No one believed what really happened.
Why make me suffer you bully-aliens? You couldn’t stick around to take the heat? Gonna let the human go down for it?
The bunk was cold and without a blanket to keep warm I crossed my arms and started to cry. I was lost. Even Dillon couldn’t help.
A ball of light floated into the room. It bounced about and settled at the foot of the bunk.
“You’re crying,” it was Sadie’s voice.
“Sadie, is that you?”
“Yes, Kylie, I can see you.”
“Are you all right?”
“I’m perfect. But you … I had no idea.”
“What? That you could disappear without a trace and I wouldn’t look suspicious?”
“You’re going to be fine,” she said.
“What are they doing to you?”
“I’m fulfilling my agreement. My parents will come. And you, Kyle, have a family here. They’re waiting for your “timing”. The time must be right or the cross-pattern will hiccup, and mess-up all the timelines,” she said, her voice growing distant.
“I have a family?”
“Yes, two boys and a daughter. Your daughter plays with mine.”
I sat up on the hard cot and looked around. Was I hallucinating? The light orb grew larger and I saw Sadie through the sheen. Glowing, like an otherworldly God. She smiled.
“I have a family?”
“Yes, Kylie and your dog is here with them.”
I rubbed my eyes. Rubbed them until eyelashes fell off.
“When do I get to see them?” I asked, despite the impossibility.
“Are you ready to leave your parents in this world? They won’t remember until they die what happened to you.”
I nodded.
 “Come, Kylie, fall into the orb. I will bring you to them. It’s a little soon, but we decided we could not let you continue to suffer, for what you didn’t do.”
The light orb danced up and down and grew larger. Sadie stood there, bright as day, looking much the same only more beautiful and filled with a brighter light.
Footsteps came down the hall. I think I heard my mother’s voice. I would miss my family.”
“Come, Kylie. The conduit is closing.”
I stood up and leaped into the orb. The cell door opened. My father and the guard came in first and then my mother. They must have seen something because Mom put her hands over her mouth and the guard reached into the air and came away empty-handed. Their heads were now fixed on the ceiling.
I floated with Sadie in the orb. Dad yelled that the light was too bright and Momma began to cry. She screamed my name while clutching at the air.
I wanted to tell her I’d see her again.  

             The End

  ... To be continued on Wattpad if it gets enough votes!  


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

MG Book Review: Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge by Kristin L. Gray

Vilonia Beebe Takes ChargeVilonia Beebe Takes Charge by Kristin L. Gray
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an ARC for an honest review. 

Fourth-grader, Vilonia, Vi for short, started out in the world four times smaller than the largemouth bass hanging in her daddy’s shop. That was almost ten years ago.

Now that her mother has taken ill since Nana passed away, Vilonia must forge ahead. With a reputation for taking in destitute creatures, she spots a poster that might help her mother not feel depressed anymore.

"The most powerful antidepressant has 4 paws and a tail. 555-PETS."

And her favorite book, Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo, is her inspiration to begin The Great Pet Campaign.

Meanwhile, Momma hasn’t written a single obituary for the newspaper since Nana died. (Or Nana’s) She’ll be replaced if she doesn’t write something soon, and why Vilonia steps in to help. No one would know it was Vilonia writing the county obits.

But there’s no way her father will agree to a dog. Even with the pet fund, she’s saved. Her mother is in no condition to handle any extra work. Vilonia would just have to prove how responsible she really was and she needed to find the right dog to convince her dad.

When her brother finds out her secret, he and her BFF, Ava Claire, work together to help Vilonia and wind up in a little trouble.

There’s a lot of love in this story. Vilonia holds her family together while working to bring Ray Charles home. The premature shelter dog she fell in love with. She knows it will help her mother with her "Infinite Sadness". And it will help Vilonia. Once she proves how responsible she is.

An endearing story for any child, who has ever dreamt of bringing home a dog, and the adventures that prove what you’re willing to endure for what you love. Vilonia is fearless in her pursuit.

Expected publication: March 7th 2017 by Paula Wiseman Books.

View all my reviews

Thursday, January 26, 2017

MG Book Review: BRACED by Alyson Gerber

BracedBraced by Alyson Gerber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A repost from my review on the Kidliterati Blog.

“Sometimes it’s easier to pretend to be someone else, especially when who you really are makes you feel sad.”

Twelve-year-old Rachel Brooks learns she must wear a back brace for scoliosis as her mother did, or risk a complicated surgery, in this intimate and heartfelt story.

At school, Coach Howard has just placed her forward on the team, (she’s that good) and while Rachel loves soccer more than anything, the brace now controls her life. If she misses another practice for a last-minute doctor’s appointment, she won’t make the A team. If she can maneuver like she used to, wearing the brace.

Reluctant to tell BFFs at first, Frannie and Hazel, both on the soccer team, support her. Determined like no one’s business, Rachel works to strengthen her moves on the field, so she’s not cut from the team. But the kids at school are whispering and Rachel feels like a freak wearing the brace. Can she trust her friends?

Rachel finds power through asking for what she wants. She finds her voice to speak out when something bothers her. This empowers Rachel. It empowers the reader. I loved Rachel’s voice her emotions are real and raw. Although I’ve never worn a back brace, this book comforted me. Who hasn’t felt like an outsider? Or felt different than others?

The dynamic between Rachel and her mother, the emotion from their struggle wearing the brace, and their delicate relationship, felt very real and personal. Written from the author’s experience of scoliosis, she takes us on a journey with Rachel, who must face a new normal. A place where not giving up, and speaking out when something bothers you, rule.

Debut Author, March 28th, 2017 by Scholastic Press

“The first contemporary novel about a disorder that bends the lives of ten percent of all teenagers: scoliosis.”

View all my reviews

Monday, January 23, 2017

Women's March 2017 in New York City

More than one million people protested around the world last Saturday over Trump’s policies. In New York City alone, we had upwards of 400, 000 stand up to the Trump Regime. Have you seen the crowds! It’s a beautiful thing.

Hundreds of cities across our planet rose up against fascism, against hate, and stood up for Civil Rights, for Women’s rights, for Science, for the Arts, for Education, for LGBT, for POC, for clean water, and air we can actually breathe.

We stand together. STRONG.

After the deep anxiety and fear, marching in a crowd of like-minded people put some of those fears to rest. What an empowering experience. Unprecedented numbers!


There are MORE of US than you GOP, Republicans!             Love Wins!     

Enjoy the photos and rest assured WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER!

We Need GUN LAWS! 
Me, blowing the whistle. 

In front of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
The gathering at 9 AM. 

Spirit Leader morphed into an Information Agent.

Early morning crowds.

Looking North on Second Ave. 

The end of the line. At the Tower (of Sauron) 

We're Stronger Together … and you’d better watch out!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Inauguration Essays: History Will Be Written By The People.

Saturday I march.

I march for me. I march for my children. I march for those who cannot.

For women.
For the children
For those who have been victimized by the actions and words of PEOTUS.

This “election” was NOT normal. 

A predator-in-chief offers nothing for our country, aside for the example of how women should be treated.

How to start a war.

How to disrespect and insult disabled people.

How to hurt people of color.

How NOT to be a citizen of the people.

How to turn families against one another.

The People of the United States of America demand fairness and justice for ALL.

All races. All religion. All beliefs.

We want a PEOTUS who wasn’t bailed out of bankruptcy by Russia, and in turn become a pawn and a traitor to the American people.

A PEOTUS who doesn’t want to strip the United States of OUR democracy! It belongs to US.

Or strip us of our HEALTH CARE. 

What has this Administration NOT tried to TAKE AWAY from the American People, from our children?

A PEOTUS who doesn’t understand the simple equation that investing in our CHILDREN leads to a brighter, richer, more advanced future for EVERYONE, is not wise, or thinking of the future. Not a wise investor.

Or believe climate change isn’t happening. He doesn’t believe in FACTS … or Science. 

This administration only understands investment that directly lines their pockets. (By pillaging your Health Care, and Art Foundation, etc.)

From Trump’s failed and bailed out businesses – we can expect a bankrupt USA in months.  

That’s what he does.  That’s his example.    RISE UP! 
Michael Moore leading the march to TT in NYC on Jan. 19, 201
** See Scott Dworkin #TrumpLeaks on Twitter.  @funder 

The old days ...  

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