Thursday, August 13, 2020

The Prescient - Installment 3


dontravis.com blog post #402

I have no idea why, but readers from Hong Kong are lapping up this story. Welcome, friends.

Courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net
Tancready and the object of his desire, the beautiful Boris, have met over an ancient, ornate chessboard at the UNM duck pond and have discovered a mutual interest in photography. Tancready has lured Boris into a photo shoot on Sandia Mountain the next day. How can that happen? Aren't vampires creatures of the night?






*****

THE PRESCIENT

Returning to my home, I ate voracious amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, another source of energy, and then retired to my bedchamber. I slept soundly, but awoke after sundown, hungry and restless again.
I returned to the university and prowled the night until I found young Boris beneath the blinding lights of the campus tennis courts doing battle with the young woman who had accompanied him last night. They played at playing, obviously enjoying one another’s company, which sent me into a sudden fit of unbridled jealousy. My halo flared dangerously. Worse, his aura blazed in unconscious response. He sensed a presence…my presence.
In the grip of a deep melancholy, I withdrew and chanced upon a blond student retiring from the courts. Embroiling this hapless substitute in reds and yellows, I overpowered the youth quickly and pulled him into a darkened recess. After licking the sweat of recent exercise from his exposed belly, I quickly coaxed the seed from him. Barely in control of my senses because of hunger and lust and jaundiced envy, I entered the towhead and ravaged him brutally while watching the distant, manly grace of Boris Balint.
#
I roused myself the following morning with difficulty. Despite the excitement of my coming time with Boris, I was reluctant to expose myself to the dreadful sunburn and excruciating headaches an all-day excursion necessarily entailed. Nonetheless, it was necessary. The prospect depressed me so deeply that I was only able to function by concentrating on my approaching proximity to the delectable Boris. Briefly, I wondered why I did not simply overwhelm the boy and take what I wanted, as with the Hispanic and the towhead and countless others, but something within me cautioned against rashness. This prize was unique in both physical sensuality and an innate sensitivity to the unusual.
And that brought me face-to-face with a potential problem I had sought unsuccessfully to ignore. As I gathered the equipment and awaited the boy’s arrival, I considered the unease that was twin to my pleasure in his exciting presence. The youth was extraordinarily aware of me. For all the studied casualness of one of his age, his halo betrayed his true, perhaps unconscious feelings. There were, of course, individuals who were quite perceptive when it came to Eternals, although they would be rare in this part of the Western Hemisphere, given its lack of such lore. Dhampires, sons of Vampires, existed, of course, and were attuned to our rhythms. That would present no particular problem, but there was a sensitive of another sort, presenting another problem.
Was it possible Boris was a Prescient? Mortals with an uncanny sensitivity to Eternals, Prescients are sometimes dangerous since many are Betrayers, or worse, Slayers. Over the ages, I have known many Prescients, some of whom, the ignorant, fled in terror. Others, more enlightened, provided many hours of pleasant company. One, a delightful woman of lush body and bright mind was a constant companion in a long-ago lifetime. She occupied my mind and body as few have done over the centuries…a role I envisioned for Boris in this one. Those were my blood days, and Sara willingly presented her veins to me when my hunger became truly demanding … without ill effect, I might add. Even today, I speculate on her given name, Sara, the Gypsy version of the black goddess Kali.
A few Prescients have betrayed me into the hands of enraged, terrified mortals, who are the deadliest and most bloodthirsty of all creatures, and a small number have sought my doom. These I dealt with as brutally as Vlad dispatched his enemies.
Boris’s bloodlines allowed for this possibility, but his family had been in the New World for generations with no exposure to my kind. Yet, his aura clearly showed he was unusually receptive to my mere presence. That did not necessarily mean he knew the why or the what of his apprehension. Shrugging away my usual caution, I completed preparations for our outing, thereby laying bare the depth of my need. My hunger for the boy was both natural and unnatural; natural in craving his pyranic energy, his semen, and unnatural in a lust that was overwhelmingly sensual, a different thing altogether.
At the appointed hour, his white Jeep appeared before my closed gate, and I threw the lever to admit him. Carefully placing our equipment atop an old tent he carried in the back, I was pleased to note he drove an enclosed vehicle, which would ease my exposure to the sun. I had agreed to allow him to provide the conveyance, suspecting this would satisfy his masculine code of etiquette.
We elected to explore the Bosque, a unique hundred-mile swath of cottonwoods lining both sides of the Rio Grande, an ecological treasure sentenced to a slow death once a system of dams put an end to the annual flooding of the river that was required to nurture seedlings. The once mighty Rio Grande now trickled through a narrow channel that wandered willy-nilly in its wide, sandy bed.
Boris took to the Leica Minilux like a born photographer. It fit his hand and eye perfectly. He shot images of driftwood on white sand, river birds in flight, an ancient turtle sunning on a semi-submerged log, and even a reclusive red fox. He rolled up his pant legs to reveal strong calves lightly brushed with fine brown hair and waded the river, cavorting like a boy. His aura ran wild with joy and budding friendship. He grew so comfortable that he dared tease me about the abundance of clothing covering me from head to foot on this warm, autumn day. I explained it for what it was, the protection of sensitive skin against the brutal sun. He had no such constraints. He tore off his shirt, baring his broad, muscled chest to my famished gaze. I briefly lost control and sopped up his radiations, but recovered before any damage occurred.
My desirable young companion had a commitment that night, so we made arrangements to meet the following morning for a quick trip to the mountains before developing our film in my darkroom. Once he was gone, I applied ointments and unguents to my poor flesh and retired.
In the dark of night, I rose and prowled the alleyways behind the bars on East Central, locating a man whose aura showed no trace of disease. I took his cum while he swore and sang drunkenly until the shock of his extraordinary climax silenced him.
#
The lush conifer forest on the east side of Sandia Mountain, a ten-thousand-foot peak directly east of Albuquerque that the local Indians called Sleeping Turtle, was less harsh on my system, and the boy’s growing amity made the effort worthwhile. He was an odd combination of venturesome youth, childish juvenile, and mature man. His company delighted me even as it aggravated my lust. It was not merely his physical presence that kindled me, but his mind and spirit, as well. We discussed the great photographers. He was much taken with Ansel Adams and Ernest Haas but agreed that Dmitri Kessel’s powerful plates of the ornate Benedictine church at Zwiefalten, Germany placed him among the elite. With difficulty, I stopped short of boasting that I had served as a seminarian at that magnificent structure in another lifetime.
We stood for long intervals and listened to the forest speak while I fought a raging battle to control my impatience for him. Boris blundered upon a black bear rooting for acorns, disturbed grazing mule deer, and photographed a magnificent golden eagle. We ascended Sandia Crest, named for the watermelon pink hue the autumn sun gave its western face at sunset, to cast our eyes west over the broad Rio Grande Valley to Mt. Taylor, one of the Navajo’s four sacred peaks. At a turnout lower on the mountainside we gazed north to Santa Fe hidden in the foothills of the towering Sangre de Cristos…a beautiful name, Blood of Christ! With that thought, I hungrily observed the vein pulsing in the boy’s neck as he snapped a picture. I wanted him so badly that I achieved an erection, something I rarely do until it is required. Sexual energy escaped my control, lapping against him in mauve waves of desire.
He dropped the camera from his eye and faced me. From the sudden flare of warning red, I saw he was alarmed. His mood changed dramatically; Boris was more thoughtful and less gregarious on our return trip despite my attempt to keep a conversation going.
The boy was quite skilled in the darkroom. Devoting our attention to this task, we labored into the night. Prolonged proximity to his sculpted body taxed my control to the limit. Waiting for our prints to dry, I hovered near him and carelessly sent a wave of desire up his back, retreating when his aura flared. But the damage was done. Boris turned to me, his color heightened by the crimson of the developing lamp. He licked his lips.
“Y…you’re a homosexual, aren’t you?” The tone was wary.
“I have lain with men,” I answered rather pompously.
“That’s what you want with me, isn’t it?” he rasped; his energy flaring alarmingly. “You want in my pants!”
“That is crude, Boris.”
“Oh, hell! You do! You want to…do things to me. No way, Tancready! I don’t go for that stuff. I like my girl. We make love. Oh, man, I knew something wasn’t right about this. Shit!” he cursed, tearing off the protective apron I had given him for working with the darkroom chemicals. Without another word, he slammed out of the room. I caught up with him in the hallway.
“I gotta go now. Early class tomorrow,” he babbled.
“Your prints, Boris! Your photographs?”
“I don’t know,” he waved a hand in the air. “Maybe I’ll come get them later.”
The boy fled into the night. I sadly opened the gate by remote control as his vehicle raced down the long drive. The house was lonely and oppressive once he was gone. My black mood turned into rage. They made love, did they? He and that… that girl! A bottomless jealousy tinted the room an iridescent green, overpowering even my anger. Straightening things in the darkroom and pulling prints from the dryer, I considered removing my competition. It would be easy enough. I could sate my newly awakened blood lust, turning it into a deadly feast. By a narrow margin, reason prevailed over impetuosity. The female creature’s demise, especially in such a manner, would excite unwelcome attention, not only from Boris, but also from the authorities. Such a disastrous end to a magnificent, albeit a taxing day! Abruptly, I abandoned the house.

*****

So we now know what a Prescient is. But is Boris Balint one of them? If so, will he nurture or threaten Tancready? It might not matter, because Boris fled Tancready’s house upon learning the vampire had a lust for him. Upset, Tancready leaves his home after Boris fled. Where will he go? How will he get there? What will he do? Has his frustration made him dangerous?

Next week… more Tancready.

The following are buy links for my last BJ Vinson mystery The Voxlightner Scandal.


Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

My personal links: (Note the change in the Email address because I’m still getting remarks on the old dontravis21@gmail.com.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donald.travis.982
Twitter: @dontravis3

Buy links to Abaddon’s Locusts:


See you next Thursday.

Don

New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. Mountain time.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

The Prescient - Installment 2


dontravis.com blog post #401
  
Courtesy of Pikrepo.com

As a matter of interest, I went back and checked and this is actually the 459th post on this blog. I didn't bother counting for the first year, so am coming up short. 


Hope you enjoyed the beginning of Tancready’s story last week. Have you looked up the word “prescient” yet? Don’t worry, Tancready will tell you what one is. Could be a bane… or a boon.
Let’s get to the second installment.



  
*****

THE PRESCIENT

Born the seventh son of an Upir, a Russian Vampire Prince to a mother who was also an Eternal, I came squalling into this world with my head hidden by a caul. Thus was my fate sealed; I was given the kinetic challenge of all Vampires, inverted circadian rhythms and odd body cycles that bring temperature peaks and sleep hormones at unusual times, thus dictating that I was a night creature on a biochemical level. Even so, I can function in daylight, although with difficulty. Sunlight is painful, whether or not it reaches my skin. My eyes are ultra photosensitive, which gives me marvelous night vision, yet renders me myopic in normal light. Although shaded eyewear lessens that condition, I am most comfortable during sunlit hours in repose, not in some draconian coffin, but comfortably abed in a well-shrouded room.
Amassing huge amounts of wealth during an endless series of lives presented no difficult challenge; however, reclaiming it upon each new emergence was trickier. I was careful that adequate assets remained available to me regardless of where they were concealed at the time. Most of my many lifetimes were spent ranging from Russia to Europe, with long periods in the Hungarian Carpathians and Transylvania. The persistent, amorous pursuit of a Romanian strigoivii, a live witch who became a Vampire upon her death, hounded me out of the Old World and into the New. I had been in the Western Hemisphere for the past century and in this unassuming place called New Mexico for a fifth of that time. Why this place? Why not? Except for some of the more remote northern mountains where Penitentes held sway, Vampires, even pranics, were merely the stuff of novels and films.
Now, as I prepared for the ordeal of a daytime pursuit of the fair Boris, I examined one of my more exotic treasures, an ornate Arabic chess set, observing its intricate carvings with renewed pleasure. Then, moving through a secret dimension denied to ordinary mortals, I arrived instantly on the university campus in a sheltered spot near what is quaintly called the Duck Pond. Recovering my equilibrium, one of the effects of my unorthodox mode of transportation, I scanned the area near the near the path Boris Balint would shortly tread if the past was any true measure of the future.
Troubled by our near encounter last night, I puzzled over the possible reasons for my disquiet as I placed the inlaid board on a backless concrete bench shaded by an evergreen bower. Carefully arranging pawns and pieces, all fashioned of ivory, ebony, silver, gold, and Persian turquoise, I grew irritable over the unwelcome attention of passing students drawn by the marvelous old set. I discouraged most with subtle tendrils of hostility and put off the boldest with a display of cold curtness. Anticipation always brought out the unpleasant side of my nature...unless, of course, it is narrowly focused on a particular target. At last, a long, manly stride bore the beautiful Boris into view.
As he came within eyesight, his calm aura flickered. At fifty feet, I washed the boy in the aura of friendship and congeniality, seeking to smother the orange of his alarm. Gradually, his emanations subsided, and he slowed as he spotted my irresistible bait—the ancient set. Appearing reluctant, he nevertheless approached across the horribly bright green grass.
“That’s a gorgeous set. Unusual,” he observed in a voice that came up out of his belly like a mature man’s. His slate gray eyes examined my present persona, a slender, aristocratic man of approximately thirty, possessed of dark good looks.
“I acquired it years ago at a New York auction,” I lied smoothly. In truth, I took it as booty from a slain Moorish emir when Ferdinand and Isabella’s troops, of which I was one, sacked a castle in Leon. “You may examine it, if you wish,” I added graciously.
Instantly, he laid the camera he carried on the bench and slid his long legs astride the concrete slab. Rather than touching the board, he examined the positioning of the pieces and looked up at me with a question in his eyes. Regretting my need for the dark glasses that prevented me from directly engaging his beautiful orbs, I satisfied his curiosity.
“Capablanca versus Corzo, 1901, Havana. End game. Ninth match game.”
“Capablanca was just a kid, wasn’t he? A prodigy.”
“Twelve at the time. He won.”
Only then did Boris carefully cradle an exquisite ebony Knight trimmed in gold and silver in his strong, brown hand. Gypsy blood likely coursed with the Hungarian in those pulsing veins.
“Beautiful. How old is it?”
“It is likely Arabic, but possibly Persian, dating from circa 1100.”
“Geez, almost a thousand years old!” His husky voice was rich with awe.
“Do you play?”
“Love it!” he enthused. “But I’m not very good.”
“Black or white?” I asked by way of invitation. He hesitated only a moment before claiming the white.
The boy was an instinctive player, and with tutoring could become quite good. I beat him readily the first game, and then critiqued his handling of the pieces. His enthusiasm fired, we undertook another game while I nearly swooned from the effort of refraining from draining his energy. Eventually, onlookers gathered, and I sent my thirsting quests toward them, sopping up their energy while refracted sunlight bled away my own.
By the end of the third game, I was sweating and weakened, but by the effort of pure will, I held onto the self-possession needed to advance to the second phase of my plan. “You carry a camera, I see.” I pointed to the instrument between his exciting legs. “Canon Z155 thirty-five millimeter. Nice.”
“I’m sort of a shutterbug,” he said with a depreciating grin that sent blood rushing to my head.
“I have some equipment that might be of interest. I own some Leicas. A M7 Rangefinder, for example.”
“Wow! That’s worth a couple of grand.”
“And a Hasselblad 205. Also some Japanese equipment, but I prefer the German lenses.”
“Man, I’d give my eyeteeth for a Leica. I found a Minilux Point and Shoot for five hundred the other day, but my budget doesn’t stretch that far.”
“Perhaps you would like to go shooting some afternoon. I will be happy to allow you the use of some of my cameras.”
Uncertainty scrolled across his fine features. His aura flared in warning. He ran an agitated hand through his shaggy brown locks. He was fighting a furious battle without knowing or understanding it.
I quickly extended my arm. “My name is Tancready,” I announced, exuding all the magnetic charm I possessed, which was considerable. His hand closed around mine firmly. Washed in the yellows and golds of my will, he relented.
“Sure. I’d like that. My name’s Boris. Boris Balint.”
“Ah, Hungarian,” I noted.
“Way back, maybe,” he grinned engagingly. “Well, my great-grandfather, I guess. I probably know more about my mother’s people.”
“Spanish?” I ventured. “No, let me guess. Pyrenees Gypsies.”
He laughed. “Right. Mountain people all the way.” He began to look uncomfortable, so I reluctantly released his manly grip.
“Tomorrow is Saturday, and I am free,” I ventured.
“I guess I could,” he said hesitantly. “No classes. Can I try the Leica?”
“Of course. I have a Minilux such as you described that I will bring along.”
“Great!” he allowed his enthusiasm to surface, costing me my control. I drew energy from him before I could stop myself. He wilted visibly, but quickly drew on reserves. After we made arrangements, he walked away with vivid, warning blues among the more pacific hues of his halo. I watched him hungrily.
In years past, I was a bloody Vampire, although my donors were voluntary and survived my feeding without lasting harm. None, for example succumbed to that ridiculous old wives’ tale that the bite of a Vampire created a Vampire. Preposterous! Were it so, the preponderance of the global population would be Eternal after all this time, undoubtedly overwhelming the world’s resources and dooming us all … Eternal or not.
It took half a millennium, but I discovered another powerful source of pranic energy and rarely opened human veins thereafter. That source was semen, the distillation of the essence of a man…his cum. Since then, I prefer the company of men, young men, mature men, seniors. But the most powerful and intoxicating elixir is the seed of a youth in his sexual prime. And this I needed from Boris Balint. But there was also a strange, long dormant stirring deep within me that I recognized as a yearning for the taste of his rich, ruby blood. Only a Vampire can directly absorb the life energy of blood. After all, as the Bible correctly states, the blood is the life!
Harvesting a man’s semen for the maintenance of my life force exposed me to yet another danger. The human’s irrational terror of Vampires is matched only by his homophobic fear of deviants. The pursuit of a man’s seed resulted more than once in the hasty use of my other dimension to escape the wrath of closed minds.

*****

I sincerely hope there wasn’t too much black space in the foregoing, but hopefully, you persisted. Tancready has now made contact with the beautiful Boris. Determined two areas of common interest—chess and photography. Now can he reel in the young man, who seems unusually aware of the vampire… given his aura’s colors and tentacles. Could he be a prescient? Patience, an explanation is coming.

Next week… more Tancready.

The following are buy links for my last BJ Vinson mystery The Voxlightner Scandal.


Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

My personal links: (Note the change in the Email address because I’m still getting remarks on the old dontravis21@gmail.com.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donald.travis.982
Twitter: @dontravis3

Buy links to Abaddon’s Locusts:


See you next week.

Don

New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. Mountain time.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

THE PRESCIENT – Installment 1


dontravis.com blog post #400
  
Courtesy of Pxfuel.com
Thanks to everyone who congratulated me on the acceptance of The Cutie-Pie Murders for publication. Thanks to Dreamspinner Press for that bit of news.

This week, and for a couple following, I’ll again step out of my usual genre of writing. This is a short story about a vampire. Yes, you read right. A vampire. Not the Bela Lugosi portrayal, but still a bit spooky. In this first installment, you’ll meet Tancready—as he’s called himself for the last two hundred years. Prior to that, he bore other pseudonyms. Shall we start?


*****
THE PRESCIENT

From a park bench cloaked in the deep shadow of night, I observed the progress of the quasi-organized brawl these people called baseball, a neighborhood game of frequent bawdy disputes, usually resolved just short of mayhem. Despite the throbbing pain occasioned by bright, glaring pole lamps, only marginally eased by heavily smoked glasses, the raucous vigor and raw emotions of the rowdy participants were ambrosia, feeding my vortex, easing the gnawing of a voracious hunger and restoring my pranic energy sufficiently to dull the edge of my depression, a condition I often suffer.
Yet, even the massed force of those straining, sweating, cursing young men on the field would not sate my appetite—not completely. For that, I required an intimate confrontation with the tall, wiry young man with the broad Magyar brow generations of New World blood had not significantly altered. This youth, whose towering aura occasionally flickered in my direction, surpassed the collective beauty of all who cavorted on the field.
My name is Tancready, although that is not the appellation bestowed at my birth in 1047 Anno Domini. While not my first alias, Tancready is the one that has served for the last two hundred years. I am an Eternal, or if you prefer, a Vampire; not the idiotic caricature of fiction or the loathsome, bloody fiend of legend who stalks the unwary with deadly intent, but one of a miniscule elite who escape the usual constraints of humanity. I exercise an eccentric lifestyle and develop unorthodox relationships, such as that I seek from the most uncommonly beautiful human I have encountered since the Italian Renaissance, the youth I patiently stalk.
Over virtually a millennium, I have endured many lifetimes, embracing death often over the centuries, but true to my ilk, I endlessly return from the earth to assume another name, another persona. I endured Vlad the Impaler’s tortured reign and witnessed his assassination. I died at Hastings with the Conqueror’s army and attended Henry’s knights as they slew Thomas à Becket at Canterbury, fought with the Mongols on the Steppes when Temujin became Genghis Khan. I battled the Emperor in Russia and again at Waterloo. I died at the hands of German Nazis at Stalingrad. I have seen … lived … momentous history!
The game on the sports grounds ended in a pungent burst of sweaty enthusiasm as redolent as a potent Russian brew. The field began to clear, and the terrible lights slowly died, allowing my photosensitive eyesight to regain its sharpness. Body vibrating, nimbus soaring, the boy approached on the paved walkway, his corded arm riding the shoulders of a young lady. The easy, comfortable companionship between the two elicited an instant and unintended burst of energy from me. The boy’s rich luminescence, yellow with affection and friendship for the creature under his arm, suddenly flashed red as he crossed the path in front of my sheltered bench. Tentacles reached toward me uncertainly. I quickly reined in my raging jealousy and sent a more benign form of kinetic energy toward him, seeking to block his unconscious curiosity. I overdid it, as was frequently the case; he visibly staggered, but recovered and continued across the park, his aura drawn close against his body. His flesh, I knew, would be puckered in a case of ‘heebie-jeebies,’ in today’s pedestrian vernacular.
The boy was aware of me now, too much so at this point, although he had no real understanding of that fact. Nonetheless, I would need to proceed carefully. His name was Boris Balint, a good Hungarian patronymic miraculously not yet Anglicized into Valentine. Born in the northern New Mexico mountains twenty years past, he now attended classes at the university in Albuquerque. His passions were chess and photography. All this and more, I knew from clandestine midnight visits to the university records room. Chess, I decided, would be my gateway into his life.
As my quarry passed from sight, my energy level dropped precipitously. Edginess and irritability, frequent companions, returned until I focused on a distant figure on the field. My need honed to a keen edge, I moved toward the sleek young Hispanic responsible for securing the game equipment. Anticipating the touch of his smooth, dark flesh, I literally salivated. He was at that brief age when adolescent mestizos were as pretty as girls yet exuded the budding machismo of their elders. Delicious!
Although he had not yet seen me, the youth demonstrated a sharp alertness as he slowly turned from the equipment shed to nervously scan the darkened pathway. I flooded his slender form in tentacles of friendship yellow and purple desire, overpowering the fearful red of his suspicion. His resolve faltered, and enveloped in my powerful sexuality, the boy obediently trailed me into the deep shadows behind the equipment shed. Without physically touching him, I pulled him to a halt before me. He swallowed hard.
“What is your name, my beautiful young friend?”
“Car…Carlos.”
“Ah, Carlos. You bear a noble name.”
He flinched at my hand on his cheek. No sign of a beard. Beautiful. The boy stood hypnotized while I stripped him naked in the cool, high-desert air. My sensitive fingers traced the broad, bony shoulders, the curve of the thin chest. His heart raced at my touch. I inhaled the push of air from his diaphragm as I slid down the gently bowed belly. He awakened at my touch. Well-endowed for one so young and slight, the boy responded readily.
Young Carlos moaned, torn between fright and desire. I wrapped my physical arms around his waist and pulled him to me, allowing the salt of recent sweat, the aroma of strenuous exercise and sexual arousal to tease my nostrils pleasantly. His hands closed on my head; his hips twitched. He was lost, and I was greedy for his fresh young semen.
The youth’s thin frame jerked in the throes of an orgasm he would fruitlessly strive to match for the remainder of his days. Shuddering, this fledgling Carlos, this namesake of powerful kings and emperors, would have fallen had I not eased his weight to the ground. I contemplated arousing him again, but he was drained beyond quick recovery. Satisfied for the moment, I disappeared into the night, leaving the boy naked and spent. I smiled to myself. The boy’s seed, while sweet, had yet to reach the peak of potency. The lad was an immature eighteen; in a year or two, his sperm would ripen.

*****

Hope that was enough to rouse your interest. Let me know what you think of the start of Tancready’s story.

The following are buy links for my last BJ Vinson mystery The Voxlightner Scandal.


Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

My personal links: (Note the change in the Email address because I’m still getting remarks on the old dontravis21@gmail.com. PLEASE DON’T USE THAT ONE.)
                                                                                                    
Facebook: www.facebook.com/donald.travis.982
Twitter: @dontravis3

Buy links to Abaddon’s Locusts:


See you next week.

Don

New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. Mountain time.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

TREETOP INFERNO


dontravis.com blog post #399
  
Courtesy of Pikist
First, a bit of news. Dreamspinner Press notified me today that they are accepting my seventh BJ Vinson novel called The Cutie-Pie Murders.

Readership last week was mediocre, but the story got several comments on my private email. And yes, it was quite a change of pace for me. As is today’s offering.

*****
TREETOP INFERNO

          “Told you I didn’t want to come up here this weekend, anyway.” Lou’s chin trembled as she eyed the smoke rising just beyond the hill.
          “Don’t get your nylons twisted,” Fred said, a cigarette dangling from his lips. “You always like the mountains, and this cabin is one of the best.” He gave a dry cough. “Whoops, it just crested the top. Would you look at those flames?”
          Lou wailed and dropped her purse. “We’ve got to get out of here. Everyone else has already left the area.”
          Fred tore a little skin from his lip as he removed the butt and waved it across the small meadow. “It won’t cross the creek. We’re okay.”
          “Are you crazy? I can jump that creek… with my panties down around my ankles.” Her voice was muffled as she scurried around on the floor collecting the contents of the spilled bag.
          “That, I’d like to see.”
          “Figure of speech. Come on, Fred, we’ve got to get moving.”
          “Don’t go giving me orders, bitch. We’ll leave when I say so.”
          “Give me the keys to the Bronco, and I’ll leave. You can stay here and fry if you want.”
          Fred patted his pants pocket. “They’re right here, and that’s where they’re gonna stay. Think of it, we’ll be able to say we rode out a forest fire.”
          “Roasted out, is more like it. Seriously, Fred, let’s go! Please.”
          “You’re such a mama’s girl. Scared of your shadow. Look, if it doesn’t stop at the creek, it’ll have to cross the meadow. There’ll be plenty of time to get out.”
          Lou grabbed an old-fashioned hand fan from the table and waved it frantically in front of her face. “It’s getting hot, Fred.”
          “It’s been hot… and dry.”
          “No, I mean I can feel the heat from the fire. Please, let’s get in the car and go.”
          “In a minute. Fix me a glass of sweet tea. Get one for yourself. That’ll cool us off.”
          “Fred, I can’t breathe.”
          “Imagination. Just your imagination.
          Fred couldn’t believe the speed of the wildfire as it raced down the side of the hill. Rollins Mountain, the locals called it. Wasn’t big enough to be a mountain. Smoke roiling in front of the flames indicated the wind was in this direction, but most of the stuff—including fiery sparks were going straight up. He watched as a tongue of flame twisted around like a waterspout. Lou clutched his arm. Her tremors of fright irked him. “Where’s that tea?”
          “Get it yourself. All gone, anyway.” She squealed as the flames reached a small grassy patch of ground and raced to the far bank of Pullinan’s Creek. As Fred had predicted, the flames died in the damp earth.
          He pointed with his ever-present cigarette. “See. Stopped.”
          Wide-eyed, Lou pointed to the right. “What about there?”
          Fred’s chin dropped as he shifted his gaze. The relentless flames fought their way through the trees to the north, sounding like a freight train. It was true. Everyone said “like a freight train,” and that’s exactly what it sounded like. Entranced, he stared, unable to move as orange fingers reached across the creek and touched dried boughs faded to a tannish green, and two spruce ignited instantly.
          “Fred!” Lou shrieked. “Let’s go before it’s too late.” She released him and tore off the porch of the log cabin, heading for the brown Bronco parked in front. Startled out of his lethargy, Fred tossed aside the cigarette and bounded down the steps.
          Gas! He shoulda got gas in town before starting up the mountain. How much did he have? Fumes. The tank was full of fumes. Fumes exploded, didn’t they. Not the gas, it just burned, but the fumes…
          He reached the side of the vehicle and fumbled with the gas cap.
          “What are you doing?” Lou screamed. “Unlock the door. Let me in the car.”
          The cap came away in his hand as she screamed again. He turned to look behind him.
          The flames had reached the meadow and rolled across the grass like water rushing downhill. He barely had time to comprehend before they licked at his boots. Superheated air made breathing almost impossible. A shower of sparks fell like scorching rain.
          The blast threw him against the side of the porch. A sharp pain told him something was broken. An elbow, maybe. Through the haze, he looked at the car. Part of the rear panel was torn away.  The Bronco was useless.
           The meadow flames had worn themselves out, so he was able to hobble around the car to find Lou sprawled in the dirt, bawling loudly but seemingly unhurt. He grabbed her arm and hauled her to her feet.
          “We’ll make a run for it,” he panted, finding it difficult to draw a breath, even though the flames were racing to the north of them, hungrily devouring every tree in their path. The wildfire was a living thing. An army on the march. Breaching the enemy’s lines, finding pathways through poorly fueled spots and racing on inexorably.
          As he started down the dirt road, hauling a helpless Lou along with him, the stand of trees to the north exploded—much like the Bronco’s gas tank—sending tongues of flame racing to cut them off.
          Lou gave a high-pitched scream and pulled away from him, racing across the burned-out meadow. He swallowed his reprimand as he understood what she was doing. The creek water. Their savior!
          He lurched after her, limping from an injury he hadn’t noticed before. The fire moved to envelop them before they reached the creek, but Lou made it, flopping face-down in the creek, now almost black from ash and half-burned material.
          Fred fell into the water a moment later, but it wasn’t the relief he anticipated. The surface water was hot but got cooler in the depths. The problem was the little creek was only three to four feet deep. He flopped over on his back and gasped for air. It was hard to come by. He could hear the angry roar of the flames even with his ears submerged.
          “Lou!” he called.
          No answer.
          “Lou!” he yelled again. Then he concentrated on trying to breathe, something becoming difficult to do.


           The Thursday Morning Bluetown Weekly special edition reported on the Wild Pig Valley fire, claiming it was ninety percent contained after consuming almost 25,000 acres. The above-the-fold headline story revealed that dry lightning had been the source of the conflagration. While destruction had been widespread, Forest Service authorities had been able to give enough warning to avoid heavy casualties among the valley’s dozen or so inhabitants, mostly summer cabin owners. The article concluded with the following:

Two bodies were recovered from Pullinan’s Creek in front of a cabin owned by Gilbert Findlay. The two deceased, identified as Lewis Wilber and Fredricka Mossman, were well known to the area’s authorities for their habit of breaking into uninhabited cabins and living off food supply stocks for a few days before moving on. Identification of the victims was possible as they were not badly burned. They suffocated after taking refuge in the creek. Wildfires are notorious for stripping oxygen from the atmosphere.

Oddly, the male, Wilber, was dressed in women’s clothing, while the female, Mossman, was in men’s attire. Locals who have known the two for years expressed surprise and indicated they had no idea of the subterfuge.

*****

If anyone can figure out why I wrote this little story, I wish they’d explain it to me. I sat down to write this week’s blog, and when I got up, this was what was there. Hope you enjoyed it.

The following are buy links for my last BJ Vinson mystery The Voxlightner Scandal.


Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

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See you next week.

Don

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