new, New Author

End of Year Rant

We have always reached out to help others when we can. I believe it is what we are supposed to do. I hear many people claiming to be this or that but when it comes to stepping up to the plate they never show up.  We took in Heather M. Quick when her mother was unable to provide proper care for her. It was an easy decision to care for an infant that needed much assistance. No regrets doing that ever.

We took in many young adults when they were stumped and unable to move forward.  Sometimes life tosses us curves we are unprepared for. It is not a matter of getting a handout but more of getting a helping hand up. When people get too comfortable and forget that we are not a permanent solution to their problem, then it becomes less of a helping hand and more of hand out.

People are predictable in that change rarely comes when folks are comfortable. We change the most when we are uncomfortable. When our cheese is moved away from us and we find ourselves in a struggle then we turn toward change and look for that comfort zone we are missing. Sometimes folks will accept the worst conditions before being pushed to move on with their life.

It has been difficult pointing out a need to become self-sufficient to some. Relying on other people to meet any of their needs is not the way to secure their future.  It is nice to have a helping hand, but t you have to be ready to take control and responsibility of your life. We have helped a lot of folks long our way down this path of life. Not all were easy to help and sometimes we questioned why we were being so generous. Honestly, I listen to my inner voice and follow the advice I get. When I follow that inner voice, I am less disappointed than when I ignore it.

As we wind down our household, another little folk showed up needing us. Annalynn is an adorable little girl with the brightest blue eyes. She brightens our house in a way that makes both of us young again.  She is more than welcome here. It is fun being a parent to an infant again. It amazes me how much patience I have found for raising her at my age. She is not perfect, she has woken up at four AM. She is far from quite though I find her noises, not an issue. It is life beginning again, finding its future in a crazy world full of more division than unity.  She is welcome to be here as long as she needs to be. I seriously believe Annalynn is our last project. I am retiring soon. My income is going to change a lot. It is not to be so easy to do what we have in the past.

The world needs a lot more tough love. It needs more of us to help each other than to wait in line for the government where we live to solve our issues. The government needs to be small, not so large it loses track of its mission. The government is to serve the people, not the people to serve it. Senators and Congressmen are vastly overpaid. The part-time positions they occupy were never supposed to be overblown with ridiculous privileges of today’s government.  I think the swamp does need to be drained in Washington but it needs to be drained by the people and we should not rely on the government to police itself.

new, New Author

Good bye Dave Ryan

How do you sum up the life of another person? Is it the sum of things did over their years? Is the amount of money in their bank accounts? Is it the number of friends that show up on the day they are buried? Or is it the sum of the loss created when the void takes their place when they depart? Is the sum between the dates with the dash?

It is likely that some or all of these apply to some folk’s point of view. Dave Ryan was not the president of the United States of America. But that does not make him a lesser man. I met Dave many years ago around 1987 at work when he worked in the tech control section next to me. He trained me on varies equipment and schooled me in a conservative view point. He was wise, direct when asked his opinion. He did not beat around the bush, he went straight to the truth and spoke it plain enough there was no mistake.

Dave was a family man, a father, a husband, his words surrounded them with love and hope always. I always felt he was a straight shooter, honest, and full of life. I envied him when he retired, wishing I had planned better and joined him. I enjoyed hearing about Dave in retirement living the good life.

But, we do not come with expiration dates to aid us in our planning. Our time creeps along slowly hiding in the closet, under the bed in the shadows. We might get signs along the way that we will not live forever, most of which we will ignore. Diabetes, heart issues, blood pressure, COPD, just to name a few. We do not realize it would seem, that we can’t go on forever.  Our biology doesn’t allow for that. We have a point when our task here are done, whether we agree or not.

What waits for us in death is an age-old question none of us know the answer too. We have to cling to our beliefs and faith to see us through. Dave is on the other side of that veil now. He is free of everything his body held him too. As the door to this place opened and closed, Dave continues on in a rebirth after death.

I feel I was lucky to know him, to pick him for knowledge and his humor. I will not forget him, he left his impression on me that shall be with me until I find my expiration date. Good luck Dave, you will be missed by many you left behind.

new, New Author

Felix – Change

I like to think that good can be found in all of us. We were born with it, and then along our path in life, bad things twisted us away from it. This is why I believe strongly, in second chances. Even a snake in the grass deserves a second chance. Until you prove to me that no change has occurred, I will believe in you and what you say. Change is hard work, it comes out of an effort to surrender old habits that have become second nature to us.  And to develop new habits that mold us toward what we prefer to be.

This effort is not without its failings. Like quitting smoking, you start, you fail and you start again.  That is a manageable habit to change. No one is going to put you in jail if you fail. Anger management is important when making major changes in directions you have followed for a long time.

Felix had spent twenty years in federal prison for a number of charges he gathered in one afternoon. He life surrounded drugs, violence, and assaulting a police officer twenty years ago. He met my nephew in jail and was trying to help him stay out of trouble.  Jay (not his real name) is not the smartest knife in the draw and he is impulsive. Jay does the best he can but he has trouble picking his way through the scum that often gets put in jail to serve long-term sentences.  He tries to barter when he has little or nothing to work with. Promises are made base on what he thinks he will have to work with instead of what he really has available. Felix solved this for Jay clearing his debt more than once. He was teaching Jay the ropes, steering him away from those who want to use him and do harm.

When Felix was getting out he needed a place to go to. A home plan.  I offered him to stay at my house while he got his life together. Felix stated clearly that he did not want to go back to his previous way of life. He could have gone back there and tried to start over, but he was afraid to go back to where he was placed in jail, afraid to get sucked into the same gang again. We agreed to lend a hand and help him get started.

Felix did not want to stay at my house at first. He stayed instead at a shelter for the homeless at night and at our house during the day when not at appointments or work. I work evenings when he was at the shelter and spent my days driving him to appointments and work as needed. The shelter had some weird rules that allowed him only to stay for two weeks. After that, he needed to take a three-day break before returning to them. Or he could move to a more permanent location where he would pray and spend his days learning the Christian way of life, according to their plans. I am not familiar with their direction on the faith. It seems many churches have different viewpoints on what God wants for us or how we are supposed to get there.  Felix felt pressured to make a choice quickly. He said no. I can’t say I blame him. It was a bit fishy to me. I again extended the offer for him to live at my house temporarily. He reluctantly accepted.

I never charged him for staying at my house. We took him around to get his medical insurance started so he could get his required medicines. We found him a job at Sonic. He had his own room and granted him full kitchen privileges.  Felix had not been around women for twenty years. I think he forgot how to court in any fashion at all. There was friction when he dealt with them. His boss at Sonic was a young girl. He had issues with taking orders from her.

At home, a young single girl he liked said no to his advances and he could not understand that she was not interested in him. I counseled him on both issues. Told him to stop rushing for something that was not there. He was having issues adjusting. We at the house gave him room to work it out. We were firm with him, but not harsh. One night while I was at work, Felix got upset over some issue and wanted to leave the house after the shelters were closed. My wife Shirley called me at work in a panic because it was very cold outside. She knew it was unwise to be out on a night like that.

He is a grown man thirty plus years old. He knew it was cold out and no one was pushing him out into the cold. He wanted to go. He said something about being afraid he was going to hurt someone if he did not leave. I calmed the wife down and we let him leave. If he was worried he might hurt someone, then it was indeed time for him to leave.

We have seen Felix around from time to time. We have not maintained contact with him.  We were of two different worlds, two different cultures as well. I wish him well, he did help Jay stay out of trouble and even taught him a few skills while under his wing.

He is the only person from Jail I have attempted to aid/help upon release. It wasn’t a mistake and I would do it again, but differently. Thankfully God looked out for all of us and no one was hurt during those stressful days. I just did what I felt I was supposed to do as a Child of God, and share the bounty the Lord gave me with the needy. It was not to be the last time we did this either.

new, New Author

Owen from Ohio

When we lived in Columbus Ohio on Main street, we met a man at our door one evening. He was clean, polite, and homeless. Owen did not want to intrude on our evening he explained. He was asking about can foods and if we had any to spare.  I thought about the many different stories of Jesus showing up in different forms asking for assistance from people looking forward to meeting him. I never hesitated asked him to have dinner with us. We had plenty of food on the table and assured him we were glad to have him at our table.

Owen was a dark-skinned man. I was never sure what he background was. I never asked him because it really did not matter. He was in need and our table was bountiful. My sons set him a plate and brought the spare chair to the table for him. We introduced each other around the table exchanged greetings and dug into dinner.

It felt good to help Owen. He had only asked for a few cans, but I could tell a hot meal was what he needed. When dinner was done, dessert and coffee finished Owen left with a box of can goods. Everyone felt good knowing we did what we could that day for someone we didn’t know and never met before. Owen would not say exactly where he lived, at first but it was okay we knew he was not living high on the hog.

Owen visited us several times over the next few weeks. We gave groceries, gloves,  hat, and some blankets. It was late October when we met him and as winter approached it was only getting colder. My son James gave Owen one of those outdoor work clothes that zipped from your neck to your ankle one day. We gave him a lantern and tried to give him a camping stove to cook on but he declined it. Own was thankful always and never asked for anything. We asked what he needed and assumed his lack for some things and provided what we could. We never expect anything and gave freely from our bounty.

2002 December 26th we had a house fire. A stranger stopped at our door and pounded on it until someone answered. He asked if our house always smoked like that. Then he vanished. Everyone made it out of the house even the goldfish. I got there and everyone was on the sidewalk safe and sound. It was heart-wrenching to watch the fireman shoveling stuff out of the third-floor window, but that was only junk I could buy again some other time. What was important was on the sidewalk safe.

Lucky for us we only suffered smoke and water damage.  We had to move anyway. The other side of the duplex was in bad shape. The fire had started on the third floor on that side of the building. Lucky for us our landlord owned more than one unit and we moved to another one on the other side of town. Owen helped us with our move loading the truck and unloading.  It was the last time I saw Owen. It was a great experience helping someone who appreciated everything we did for him.

Eversoul Book one The Secret, Fantasy Fiction Eversoul G.P.Dickerson, new, New Author, publishing

Release Date for Eversoul

I am a new author, starting a second career. I have dreamed of writing books since I was ten years old. I never got this far in my dream. Here I am though plucking along toward my goal. There is so much to learn, so much to do. I use to think writing a book was simple. It is anything but that. It is a lot of hard work. You really need to love what you do if you want to be an author.  I have the story Eversoul down now I am bringing greater focus to the story. I am cleaning up mistakes and clarifying the overall picture. So I can present the best reading experience. I am still collecting Beta readers who want to read a great fantasy story and get a free ebook when it is published.  Email me at

Eversoul Book one The Secret, Fantasy Fiction Eversoul G.P.Dickerson, new, New Author

Eversoul the Secret

New Authors tend to have some things in common. One is excitement. I removed the post of the first chapter the dream. It was posted before its time  (Pun intended).  Writing is contagious. Every page brings me surprises as my characters unfold before me. That excitement leads me to want to share what I have discovered and sometimes that leads to an early release of material that should not be read yet.  Eversoul is moving very nicely along its path toward completion.

I am on revision three, hitting all the grammar errors, looking closely at plot and the characters individual stories as I move through the story. I love this story and I won’t release it until it is as good as it gets. Speaking of which I am still taking on beta readers.

Email me at:

Eversoul Book one The Secret, Fantasy Fiction Eversoul G.P.Dickerson, new, New Author

Book one: Eversoul – the Secret

As a new author, I get excited easily and get ahead of myself. On revision three and the story is shaking loose what does and doesn’t work. The early post was the raw story. There are hundreds of mistakes of all sorts of nature. I was trying to present the plot of the story, some of the characters and a bit of the fanfare.  Not sure it was worth posting all of my early mistakes too? Like I said I am new at this. So here is a repost of Chapter one with the mistakes removed.


Chapter one – The Dream


Jack knew he should have died in these dreams a hundred times or more somehow, he always escaped. The dreams kept coming more and more often.  It was happening again, he was in a firestorm again where sparks and embers were as thick as fireflies after dark. They whizzed by, nipping and burning as they struck Jack everywhere.

He had the sensation of flipping and rolling along. In a void, fireflies buzzed past him. He had the sensation of floating along in some strange river of force. His head buzzed like he was drunk. His smell brought hints of bayberry, vanilla, and licorice. Each as distinct as a fingerprint drifted. Which way was forward? Whatever direction he was headed in, that was forward. More fireflies hit and stung him.


Blurred sounds at first without distinction rose and fell. Then screams and moans followed.  Deep bass commands, he did not understand, shouted over and over again. Words beating themselves upon the screams. More screams and voices filled his ears followed by sinister laughter, menacing laughter, shadowed by more pleas and screams. Those sounds he understood. Bloodcurdling sounds followed by sounds of bones snapping. He cringed at the thought of where he was heading. Another nightmare, he thought, a torture chamber perhaps.

Jack had other strange dreams, though none started like this one. Those dreams, all were in strange places with strange people he did not know. He just woke up there, in strange taverns, or farms, under a different sun. Always someone would find him and ask him strange questions.

The direction changed quickly like he was tossed down a shoot, spinning and tumbling, the sinister laughter faded away behind him. He picked up speed, the shoot was slick, cold and smooth providing no friction. Jack whizzed along faster. All went quite, devoid of sound.  Jack was left with white noise in his ears. That horrible static made it difficult to discern any real sound from the fray of din echoing in his own head. Slowly that too faded as a booming sound took its place rising in the distance. The rhythmic pounding of machines rising and falling. It grew louder as Jack moved ever nearer to it.

Each time Jack dreamed, he would be caught and questioned about the gift, the band of brigands and his name. They tortured him when he did not provide the answers they want. What band of brigands? Each time just as certain death was about to strike, somehow Jack was rescued and he woke in his bed.

The sound became decimating trying to split the world. Jack shook, the space around him shook. Lights blinked or was that synopsis in the brain firing the nerve in his eyes reacting to the sound. It boomed again, and waves rippled rolled over him sending him reeling. It boomed again much closer to Jack. Waves of bass rippled across him and he felt his heart and lungs reverberated with the incredible strength of the pile driver trying to split the world.

Dizzy Jack realized he was not moving. He stopped in this place of intense waves of sound so loud it shook him like he was under attack. Then it stopped. Someone poked at him.  A voice slurring its words asked, “What is this?”

Another voice that of a sweet woman spoke, “You again. You can’t keep coming this way they are going to catch you one time and your secret will be lost. Best we send him on his way to save High Earth. Quick everyone back to back to work before the master sees.”

He could not see, could not move, could not speak but he was there. He tried to move but could not find his feet or hands to help him get up. He felt wrapped in a cocoon-like an infant. Jack thought he was resting on a rock. He imagined he felt the hard, cold, stone but he really couldn’t feel anything.

“What are you thralls doing is not work, Stop lollygagging around and get to work. There will be no food for those who do not meet their quota today! Instead, they will get twenty lashes.”  A deep rough voice shouted. Whips cracked like firecrackers near-by.

Someone touched Jack’s cocoon. He could feel their presence. He was confused about his form he could not see or feel.

“This traveler always gets stuck here for some reason.”  A rough female voice spoke. She snapped her figure at Jack something changed he thought.

The ground shook slightly as a large beast approached Jack and the women. Its breath was like a coal stove, smoky and burnt smelling. “I said back to work. Didn’t you hear me thrall?”  He snapped a whip in the air near her.

“Yes, I heard you. I was just making water. It’s hard to work and urinated at the same time. Can I have a second please?”

He looked at her and smiled. “Vera, make it quick or I will report you.” His steps thunder as he walked away.

She squatted next to Jack. Her rags of a dress hid the source of ammonia as it rose from the stream of water.  She fumbled with her sandal trying a buy a few more seconds while she extended a hand slightly toward Jack with her palm facing him.

A feeling of great wellness flowed. His confusion faded and strength returned. A smell of lilac perfume floated on the air, light and almost not there, Jack thought.  Jack tried to speak. He desperately wanted to ask what was going on, who are these … people.  Jack felt he should know about this weird place. I have been through this before, she said. She said I always get stuck here. I don’t remember this place, these people. No matter how hard Jack tried he could not remember.

Softly a whisper spoke. “Go, Jack, you do not belong here. Go before they discover you.”

A glow of hope surrounded him and breathed fresh life into him. He felt safe, no longer afraid. Jack tried in vain to open his eyes to see where he was and those around him. He could not. Cocoon him preventing him from seeing anything. He tried to turn to his left and then to his right the cocoon held him fast and permitted no movement. He was frozen. His lips, his hands, his feet, and even his eyes refused to open. He could not even blink. He felt lifted by the wind.

“You should never return this way hero. I fear for you. Let this mark guide you safely on your journey.”

Something searing hot, burned through the cocoon deep into his hand. Jack wanted to scream out in pain, but couldn’t. A smell of burnt flesh and sage rose around him. He could not see but his sense of smell and hearing were keener than before. Then he started to move again.

No, Jack thought, don’t send me back! No, not again. Don’t send me back, don’t send me back! He screamed in his head. Then a whisper came to his ear.   “Remember Elvendale.” and he was thrust away, hurling again, tumbling onward to wherever fate held for him.

He thought of Elvendale and felt comfortable. I have been there before.  That word Elvendale he remembered hot sunny days. A large bed of white moon roses, and rolling green hills. His direction change and he turned. He felt himself accelerate. Like a leaf in a stream he moved and bumped off objects, he could not see. He was drawn toward Elvendale though he was unsure why, or what Elvendale was.

Warm thoughts surrounded Jack. Soothing feelings and Jacks nervous fears were held at bay. Elvendale he thought again. It sounds so pleasant and peaceful. Elvendale a beautiful place of songs. Crisp mountain air, birds, and a large waterfall all seemed like things associated with a name like Elvendale. He realized he knew the name. He knew things about Elvendale like its orchards of fruit, and fields of sunflowers. He knew about the fresh cool mountain air and the warmth of its people. Elvendale was a happy place calling him. He could not track time. Maybe hours passed but Jack was always moving and those pleasant images wrapped him.


Suddenly, Jack was blinded by the bright light and then blue, green flashed. He wasn’t weightless anymore. He was falling uncontrollably. His arms and legs flailed aimlessly trying to grab anything. There was warmth and there was light all around him. The trek was over when Jack struck the ground.


He laid dazed on the ground listening to the sound buzzing in his ears. Jack blink trying to clear his vision.  Jack’s eyes tried to focus. He closed his eyes and opened them again. No good, still blurred. Burry, dazed and confused he tried to separate the images. Tall streaks of green, patches of white and blue mixed with a bit of brown. No luck. Jack closed his eyes and held them shut while he started an extremity check.

First his legs and feet, then his arms and hands, last his back and buttocks. Nothing hurt enough to be broke. His left shoulder and right buttocks took most of the impact. They might be a little bruised but not more than that. Not any worse than when he fell off his horse while running in a full gallop across the field last summer. On his left hand was a fresh burn. The mark to guide him. Branded?

His ears were ringing or was it buzzing and felt kind of plugged so he tried to open his ear canal by opening his mouth as wide as he could to reset the pressure as if he had been mountain climbing. First, the right ear popped and the sound rushed in, and then the left ear followed and the sound of songbirds flowed to his ears. The sound of birds and the wind rustling leaves was all he got.

He tried his eyes again. Better, corn stalks scatter about around him clearly marked his impact. He squinted and tried to focus and refocusing a few times again looking up at the sky. The light stung his eyes.  Between sapphire blue skies dark puffs bellowed high in the afternoon sky. Flocks of birds were flying frantically away from him. What on earth just happened?

This time the dream dumped him in a cornfield. Usually, it was in the forest or near a mine where slaves were hauling the dirt out, maybe a tavern, or an Inn. This is entirely new. And that… ride what causes that? One minute I was in bed dreaming about fishing and the next I am hurling through…. whatever to here? And where is here? Jack tried to collect himself and clear his head. Never was he able to clearly understand this. Every time he tried to ask someone, they backed up from him and ran away. Then the hunters showed up looking for him. Something about a gift. Each time somehow Jack escaped and woke up at home where he fell asleep.

Who really cares? He had to be dreaming so none of this really mattered.  He just fell asleep and dreamt his way here so it could possibly be real. Though most of this certainly looked real, it was just a dream, right? He would probably wake up on the floor wrapped in his blankets with a knot on the side of his head. Then Mrs. Callahan would place ice on it in the morning.

Jack dug his way out of deep thought back to the reality facing him, dream or not. The air smelled like rich farm soil the dark loam kind. Jack sat up taking in a view from his far left to his far right. Corn as far as he could see in any direction. Golden corn four feet tall everywhere. He remembered the birds all flying away from him when he landed.

Slowly he looked behind him and saw dark purple clouds swirling in a great rotation moving towards him. Lightning flashed cracking loud before thunder boomed like massive pile drivers assaulting the field. Jack, quickly rose to his feet. The hair on his neck rose straight up. The static charge in the air building to that electrifying discharge again … lightning. The sky flashed and Jack began to count. One Mississippi two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four Mississippi, and the sky bellowed a deep rumble clearing its throat. He stood and swayed a little. Lightheaded from the fall he regained his balance. The air hung still. Nothing moved, except in the distance beneath those imposing clouds.

All the way to the horizon behind him the sky was purple and green mass of rotating clouds. The sky roared and thunder rolled across the plains to him and beyond. The wind picked up and the cornfield swayed pointing away from the storm as the lightning flashed. The swirling clouds left Jack thinking it might be a tornado, though he had never seen one before. That and the birds were a fair sign that Jack had better get moving. That thunderstorm was barreling down on him quickly. Jack again looked right and left in a full semicircle in front of him. I have to seek shelter he told himself.  There is no way to outrun that storm. There wasn’t a single building or hill that might provide cover. Just flat cornfield stretching out before him. Jack looked over his shoulder one last time at the storm and ran diagonally to his right away from it as fast as he could.

Corn smacked his face, arms, and legs but Jack kept moving. He slipped on corn leaves, fell and got up and ran some more. He could hear the crashing of objects the storm had picked up thrashing the ground.  Jack did not have to look back to know he was in deep trouble. It was like a giant grinder sucking up everything and grinding it into sand blasting particles.  The sky had turned dark purple above him, with a twist of strange green swirled in it. The air had the scent of licorice mixed with ample amounts of dirt in it. Jack would be sucked up into the storm if he did not find shelter. He started to panic at the thought of dying in a dream. Urban legends say if you die in a dream, you die for real. He didn’t want to leave the dream without any answers but he didn’t want to die either. Especially not like this.

From out of the corn stalks something grabbed Jack’s arm and screamed, “This way.” Jack did not resist. He made a fast right turn and fell into a ditch head over heels. He found the wind pulling at his feet and legs trying to suck him into that grinder, while someone was pulling both his arms forward. There was two of them pulling him toward a wooden iron-bound door. The wind screamed and

They all fell into a hole in the ground and spilled into a cave or something. The wind was trying to suck everything out into the sky. Lamps, bits of glass, plates, blankets or bolts of cloth, and a straw broom flew over his head and towards the door. A short man closed the door cutting off the wind. He grabbed a flat iron bar and dropped into the reinforced slots on the door. The door strained against the pull of the wind but did not give way. His companion, a woman was chasing a dust devil around the room taking everything it tried to toss about away from him until it spent its energy and collapsed into nothing.

The wind howled at the door as the storm raged on. The short man touched his arm, “Don’t worry we are safe in here.”

Jack nodded his head trying to believe what he just saw. He looked from the little man to the little woman and back. Everything airborne came crashing to the ground.  Jack’s mouth hung slightly open. He had seen the wind dance, holding hands with leaves or dust but nothing like this before. It had plates, pitchers, and bowls hovering and dancing about the room.

“Oh dear. He’s not from here or anywhere nearby, is he dear?” the little woman asked her mate.

“No Martha I don’t think so. If he was he wouldn’t look so perplexed. Look at him gawk at us.” The small man replied.

“Well, aren’t we being rude Jonathan. Where did our manners go? Sir, my name is Martha Morning Star, this is my husband Jonathan Morning Star. Welcome to our home. Would you be staying long or are you just passing through these parts?’ she asked.

Jack paused. He thought really hard. The last few times that he could recall no one asked such questions. They only wanted to know about the gift his mother left him. This woman was being so nice and polite. He was lost for words. Trying not to panic he stuttered as he looked about the room. “I… I… don’t know.”

Everything in the room was smaller than the normal size for a person like Jack. Small wide chairs, low ceilings, wide doors all told Jack he was not in his hometown anymore.  Jack looked again at the man and woman. No more than four feet tall they looked sort of like a midget but different. Carefully Jack tried to pick his words.

Jack gathered himself together. “Thank you, mam and kind Sir for aiding me back there. I did not see your wonderful home from the field, but I am thankful to be here. Is it all underground?” Jack asked.  Jonathan jumped to answer him.

“Why yes, it is all built underground. I built it myself with the aid of my neighbors.” He replied proudly of his handy work. I’ll give you a tour if you like.”

Jonathan certainly was a friendly farmer of sorts Jack thought. Martha leaned in looking for Jack to answer her question but waited patiently for it. She reminded Jack of Mrs. Callahan only much shorter.

“Thank you, ah… Jonathan. Maybe later. Ah… yea… how long will I be staying? If you don’t mind I will like to wait out the storm at least. Maybe in the morning. I need to get my bearings before I leave if that is alright? I am not sure exactly where I am, I think I got myself lost. Where are we again?” he asked.

“Of course, you must be tired after your travels and in need of rest,” Martha answered. “Just where did you come from?” She countered.

“Oh, you know you are right I have traveled far today and I am very tired. I am not sure if you know of my town. I am from Samsonville. That bang on my head has me confused. I am rightfully not sure of much it seems.  I might have lost my way.” He admitted. “Where am I now?” He asked again.

“Oh, my Johnathan, another one.” Martha looked at her husband with concern. Her smile drooped at the corners when she spoke.

“What do you mean another one Martha?” Jack asked.

“Another boy about your age, your build, your… color came through her last month on much the same way you did. We got to him and he was pretty mangled. Broken arm, lots of cuts and bruises. He could not remember his name. Strange, what is your name?” Martha asked again.

Jack thought for a moment and could only remember his first name. The bang on his head when he landed really did affect his memory. His last name was gone, erased or lost. He struggled for a moment and then smiled trying to relieve his hostess concern. “My name is Jack.”  Jack wanted to learn more about his hostess and his surrounding before he gave up much more information. He sensed Martha and Jonathan were holding onto more than they were willing to say.

It was Jonathan who broke the uneasy tension, “Martha why don’t you fix us some nice mint tea to wait out the storm, while I show Jack the rest of the house?”

“Of course, how rude of me. I’ll warm up the tea biscuits too.” Martha made her way to the larder humming a lullaby softly to herself.  One Two, buckle my shoe, three four, shut the door, five six put up sticks…. She was smiling while she worked.

Jonathan motioned for Jack to follow him into the next room. “This is our winter storeroom.” He pulled a door open and stairs presented themselves heading into the darkness. “Every home has to have its root cellar. Need this baby for storage and for those nasty storms. Watch your step on those stairs,” He warned. “We keep mostly roots down here, carrots, potatoes, beets, and stuff like that. It holds enough for me to trade with my neighbors for other things during the long winters. My Neighbor Reggie helped me flush this room out. First with shovels and then placing the beams and wood to reinforce the walls. The floor stones I got from Little Stoner. The blue slate has held up well and it was cheap.  When he reached the bottom of the stairs Jonathan step aside giving Jack full view of the room.” This is what I call a dry room. We keep the moisture down in here to slow spoilage.”

Jack looked over the room. Clean without a sign of dust. Barrels and boxes stacked neatly against the south wall. Sacks hung from the rafters with what smelled like onions and garlic.  In the center of the room, a globe of soft green light hung in the air two feet below the ceiling. Jack could not make out what held it there.  The temperature felt like mid-fifties to Jack, or slightly less.

“I only saw corn in the field above. Where do you get the root vegetables from?”

“Forty acres in the east is where we planted them this year. We try to rotate the crops for better soil management.”

“Good idea Johnathon. How do you plant such a big field.”

The boards were tightly fitted with no space between them, running the length of the room. The blue slate fitting together with almost no lines also. Jack did not know much about construction but this felt like it was very good craftsmanship.

“Nice,” Jack said. “You and your neighbors do very good work. Some of those stones look pretty heavy, you must have a lot of neighbors.” Jack chuckled.

“We have a cold storage room very similar to this one and a wonderful smoke room for curing meats and preserving them too. Of course, we have our sleep room and a water room too.” Jonathan boast.

“Really… a water room?” Jack asked.

“Yes, it was a wedding gift many years ago when we first got married. Count Redding commissioned Pat Lilly, a craftsman to build it for us. It’s great for a swim or a long hot bath.  Though I have never figured out why it works. But somehow it does.”

“Jonathan, tea is ready,” Martha called out from the sitting room.

“We don’t want to keep her waiting Jack,” Jonathan warned. “She works hard to make it all just right.” He motioned for Jack to follow him back up the stairs.

Martha was standing by the counter next to a hand water pump and sink. Jonathan looked up, stopped.

“What is your name again, Jack?” she asked.

Jack smiled, maybe out of nervousness or stress. “I don’t remember. I hit my head back there and I can’t remember. Is that important?” he asked looking first at Martha and then at Jonathan.

“No, not really, Jack,” Martha lied to him. We are just old fashion folk that like to be formal when we can.” She joked.  “You know we don’t get many guests out here. There is more corn than folks, and … we keep a register who came calling. Sometimes it’s nice to page through it and review while passing the time.” Martha smiled.

Jack felt the uneasy tension in the air.  The unspoken silence between Martha and Jonathan was unnatural. They were holding their tongues waiting for something to happen or be said. The looks they exchanged, the frowns, all added up to something. They reminded Jack of someone at the Hallow Fest back home. Jonathan and Martha looked at each other and then at Jack.

Jonathan motioned for Jack to enter the sitting room where hot tea was waiting for them on the low table, with fresh tea biscuits and jam. Two overstuffed chairs sat facing each other with the low table between. A soft light turned on as Jack and Jonathan neared the chairs. Motion lights Jack thought. How nice not to worry about finding the light when you enter. Martha staid in the larder near the hand pump and the sink.

“Jack, I don’t know you well, but I already consider you my friend. Friends tell each other things that they would not share with other folks. Like being lost, or afraid maybe. Why they might even have nicknames they might share or secrets about themselves or trade.  They might share wine recipes, or their mom’s secret ingredient when making some wonderful dish.”

Jack stopped fixing his tea, put the spoon down and listened. He knew there was a point to this wandering conversation. “Jonathan, what do you want?” Jack asked.

“So, what is your real name, JACK?” Jonathan insisted. Jonathan threw his own spoon down and stood up abruptly. Jonathan’s voice shifted from the friendly farmer to a menacing, almost raving lunatic. His eyes were no longer soft and understanding. They were bulging and demanding. Martha grabs a large knife from a butcher’s block on the counter and turned to Jack. She was smiling still but, her lips were drawn up, her teeth gleaming.

“Yes, what is your real name Jack?” she glared at him.

Jack stood up and backed into the small table. Tea spilled out of the cups across the tabletop. Martha’s voice took on a new high pitch. Jonathan was circling him to his right, and Martha was headed to his left. He back up trying to keep the two of them in front of him even though it boxed him into the sitting room.

“Hey, guys what’s wrong?” Jack asked, “I suddenly think you don’t trust me.”

“Oh,” Martha said “we trust you, just not these lying words rolling off your tongue young man. I can see who you are behind that shroud you wear. Just an innocent boy lost on your way to grandma’s house, right? No, you are the one they warned us about.  I saw it in your eyes, the way you talk, the hidden words behind your story. That accent on your tongue isn’t from here either, is it Jack?

Oh yea, you know your name Jack O’ Lantern bring of evil, darkness, and destruction of High Earth. The Retrievers are coming for you. When they get you, oh I hate to be you!” Martha laughed at him thrusting the knife out in front of herself. “They will suck the truth straight out of your pea size brain.”

Small emerald green spiders crawled out of the sink in the larder. Down the outside wood sink cabinet, they moved in a single line they lined up in front of Martha. They appeared to be made of some sort of crystal or glass maybe.

Jack had backed into the wrong corner. The door was to his left and Martha had him completely blocked off from it. Jonathan had him pinned on his right. Jack supposed he could cut straight up the middle and maybe still get to the door. They paused facing off against each other and contemplated their next move or waiting for … Retrievers?

The wall next to the wooden iron reinforced door burst outward, tossing lumber and earth onto everything in the room. Light beamed in from the field above, the air was still. Martha was tossed aside like a pebble in a spring flood. A spider-like creature as big as a bear leaped into the room and gazed over the three bodies in front of itself.

It was huge and taller than Jack and nearly as wide as it was tall. Long stiff black hair covered the head and lower abdominal section. Four arms – legs with the same stiff hair poked at the ground in front of it providing balance and giving it locomotion.  Four more arm-legs stretched out in front of it flailing the air. Small crystal like green spiders scampered all over its back and head like a possum’s babies might cling to their mother.  Its head turned right and left; noting where each person was in the room and stopped when it found Jack. Its mandibles clicked four times.

The storm outside had subsided. The sounds of its grinding had moved off. Bits of corn, dirt, and wood fell occasionally into the hole the spider made. He seemed unconcerned with the mess he made and moved forward.

Another spider burst through the wall next to where the first one came through tossing more lumber and earth into the room. It was like the first retriever, covered in stiff black hair but was slightly smaller. It too looked over the room and paused when it found Jack. Its mandibles ticked twice.

Suddenly the wall behind Jack trembled and then gave way to a third creature bursting through the lumber and tossing Jack back into the center of the room.  A cloud of dust filled the room leaving Jack and his host coughing. Martha stood up and pointed at Jack coughing constantly but managed to bark out, “He is the one I told you about. It’s him!’

Jonathan could not speak. The dust had got his lungs all coked up and he was turning red. Jack rose quickly to his feet and was quickly assessing if he had any options.  The first spider creature moved forward towards Martha clicking its mandibles frantically.

“Yes, it’s him. Do you think I am stupid?” Martha replied to the spider. “Leave what you promised and take him away. And next time use the door.” Martha said turning away from the spider.

In silent reply, the spider’s front arm made a half circle swing and took Martha’s head clean off. Its arm doubled as a large scythe. Blood squirted straight up, splattering the ceiling. The smell of copper filled the air. Her body stood perfectly still for a second before falling over in the direction of the swing. Her head rolled over to Jack’s feet and stopped staring up at him. Jonathan was still coughing and choking on the dust but his eyes suddenly bulged outward in shock as he took in the betrayal.

The spiders moved quickly forward towards Jonathan. There was nowhere to go and little resistance that Jack could offer. He zigzagged about looking for an opening he could exploit. Jonathan never stopped coughing and choking. His death was almost a mercy killing except for the part when they dismembered him. That almost gave Jack the opening he needed. Almost.

The lead spider caught him by his pants leg and hoisted him off his feet depriving Jack of any form of locomotion. Dangling upside down with his feet almost on the ceiling, Jack was sure his life was over. Pain shot through his left ankle and calve. The spider grasped Jack tighter while he tried to free himself. Jack’s heart began to pump rapidly pushing more adrenaline than he had ever felt before. The pain eased as his fight or flight motive took over and natural painkillers kicked in.

He flew into overdrive panicking, unable to find a way out. He began to thrash about trying to grab his new master, with no luck.   Jack desperately tried to discern what was going on. Why was he here? Where was this place? Who were those little people and what did these huge spiders want with him? Better yet who was he? Jack tried to fill in the blanks with something but nothing fit. He figured he would die not knowing anything of those answers in a few seconds.  The spider’s mandibles click four, five, six times and Jack understood the question. “Where is the gift?”

“What gift?” Jack asked.

Silently the spider turned about and began walking toward the hole in the wall it emerged from with Jack dangling in midair. He wildly thrashed about trying to get loose of that spider thing.  Panic took overall sense, and Jack passed out.


He woke covered in sweat. Before he processed where he was, the old panic took hold of him. Jack tried to leap away from the spider and instead fell out of bed on to the floor dragging his bedding with him. His head bounced off the floor. Confused Jack shook his now hurting head. He sat on the floor untangling himself looking about his room.  His heart was still pounding and he could still smell the coppery blood and the loam dust of the cornfield in his dream.

Mud was caked on his sheets, and on his sleeve. What? Jack stood up and his left ankle throbbed under his weight. He lifted his foot slightly taking the pressure off it. Jack realized he was not dressed in his night clothes. He drew the pant leg up and below it was a fresh bruise purple, green and black.  A small laceration cut through his bruise oozing blood. On his boots, between the laces, a single thick black hair eight inches long was stuck.  Maybe it wasn’t a dream after all? Dirt and long slender leaves with rough edges fell on Jack’s head. Corn?

Jack dragged himself to his bed and pulled out his dream journal and began scribbling down every detail he could remember. This was his twelfth dream like this. He was always being followed and asked about a gift. His mother’s gift they would say. This was the first time he was injured in his dreams. Jack surmised they were becoming more real.

Jack’s mother and father died a long time ago in a high-speed car wreck. Jack was at a sitter’s house while mom and dad had a night out for dinner and dancing. They ran off the road by a drunk and died in the crash when their car went through a guide rail and down a cliff. When no family came forward to claim Jack, the sitter, Mrs. Callahan took Jack in as a foster child on her small farm in the Catskill Mountains of Ulster County New York. Jack was raised there by Mrs. Callahan and her three hired hands Lander, Jacob, and Red. They had rough crusty hands, lined faces from working in the sun and a good work ethic. They were rough men who were all about work, with outlandish characters always cracking jokes. They taught Jack the value of hard work and doing it right the first time or not at all.

Jack finished scribing his account of the dream and put the book back under his bed. He changed his clothes quickly wrapped himself in the light blank and sheet. He wasted no time falling off to sleep knowing he was going to get only three hours of good sleep.



Jack woke early as always. Jack put some antibiotic ointment on the slight slash to promote rapid healing then wrapped his tender ankle in an ace bandage for support. Ready he moved into his normal daily chores of feeding the livestock, chickens, rabbits, pigs, horses and that cute Black Angus steer. The feedings were the easier part.  Cleaning the cages wasn’t too bad.  Then the mucking commenced, and for hours everybody left Jack alone. The job was the dirtiest, the smelliest but necessary task in the barn. The ammonia and poo made it unpleasant for most and unbearable for the rest. Jack just breathed through his mouth mostly and avoided the smell. It’s like holding your nose when you eat.

The rhythm of chores took over. Jack’s body worked separately from his mind. In robot fashion, he shoveled while his mind repeated everything of his dream over and over. Jack was looking for something not as obvious or straightforward as the strong details he easily grasped. There was something there, in plain sight, he missed and failed to realize its importance. The dreams were something hidden in the back of his mind that occurred over and over again but for how long?  Each dream left him with more details about what happened. Finally, Jack was building an image of what was happening to him.

His early dreams and those nights in the Hudson Valley Physic Ward taught Jack not to share everything that happened to him with adults.  They said he lacked proof of his claims. That he made it up for attention. Jack promised never would he return there again. They shoved all kinds of pills down his throat claiming they would cure him. They made him lethargic. They dulled his senses so bad Jack found his “I don’t care spot” and stayed there.  After his violence disappeared he was weaned from some of the drugs and eventually sent back to Mrs. Callahan. Mrs. Callahan warned Jack not to ever talk about what happens and to journal his dreams. She would talk to him about them if he wanted but no one else should know anything about them.

Jack tossed another heavy shovel full of muck onto the pile and thought more about all the strange things that have happened over the last year. The voices calling him home when he was deep in the fields. When he got home, no one claimed to be calling him. That feeling of being watched from the shadows and a few times he thought he saw something watching him.

Things in the barn moved from where they have sat for months, and the creaking noises in the house and the barn-like someone walking. How many of those where the building settling or the wind? How many were something else? Jack could not say it wasn’t just his overactive imagination until last night. Now he was sure something more was up. Something very strange was going on and he was the center of it. He began building a plan in his head to determine how to sort the real now and here from the slippage of that other place.

Another shovel of muck on the pile and the first stall was clean. Time for the hose and fresh hay Jack thought.  Jack continued his chores grateful for the solitude and the time to think alone   He groomed the mix breed horse and the pony in silence as he ran over the dream again and again. Something was eluding him. Something important slipped by. What was he missing?