Sue Ann was stocking a shelf at the drugstore where she worked part-time. With no one around to distract her, she was daydreaming about getting out of this town and job and doing something with her life. Maybe go to college. Take some writing classes. Maybe she could write more than her stupid poems.
From over the top of the shelf, she spotted the back of someone’s head. Something about this person was familiar to her.
A woman browsing. Glancing over at the front of the store often. Maybe a shoplifter. The woman was dressed casually, definitely not like a slob or a thief.
The woman looked up front again, revealing more of her profile.
Not that Sue Ann knew who she was exactly. Sue Ann had seen the woman with James Bloom before but she wasn’t sure of their relationship. Girlfriend? Assistant?
Lizzie sensed Sue Ann’s stare and turned to Sue Ann, who quickly and smoothly got back to work.
“Sue Ann,” she whispered to herself. “What is wrong with you?”
Sue Ann looked back up. Gordon was gone.
A hand grabbed her shoulder.
Sue Ann settled back down from the scare.
“Sorry, Sue Ann.”
Sue Ann didn’t really want to see Levon, now or ever. She tried her best to act civil toward him.
“Hey,” she said. “What’s going on?”
Levon looked around the store, making sure no one could hear them. “Mike didn’t make it home last night.”
Sue Ann knew she should’ve been shocked. She should’ve cared, but she couldn’t muster those feelings up. Not for Mike. Instead she put on an act. “Maybe he passed out in the woods or his car.”
“Roy and me went out there. His car’s gone.”
“Well, then he’s probably somewhere then.” She couldn’t come up with anything better to say because she didn’t care where he or his friends or really anyone in this town were. Last night was a breaking point of sorts. She wanted to be completely free of this town and its people. She wanted to more than an unremarkable-looking country girl. “If he comes around, I’ll call you.”
“Okay. Thanks.” He lingered as if there was more to say, but there wasn’t. “Bye.”
Sue Ann watched him go. Curiosity, not caring, began to set in.
What happened to Mike?
Copyright 2013 Erik Handy
James opened his eyes.
It was morning. He should have been getting up and start writing instead of staring at the ceiling.
He raised his hand up. He didn’t even fool himself into believing he could see it perfectly. Without his glasses, it was a blurry appendage, a monster. With glasses, he could see its features only because he remembered the shape and contour of each finger.
This experience humbled him. The uncertainty was unbearable, but he vowed to fake being okay. He also vowed to not do anything stupid while being alone out here, but he didn’t vow to think before acting.
Here he was. Alone. No longer angry. No longer sorry for himself. He wanted to have one last hurrah by himself before dealing with the sympathy of his friends and family.
Plus there was his book. Intended to be his final one, he wanted it to be just right, to say and do everything he was about; the definitive John Bloom story.
Something small and solid hit the bare floor of another room somewhere in the house. Hard. One hit. No follow-up echo.
James swung out of bed, nonchalant. Probably the house settling.
He went to the window. It already looked hot out.
Another drop sound.
From the same location.
James went into the room where he thought he heard the strange sound. He didn’t see anything on the floor.
James went down to the living room and listened.
He stepped down on the floorboards, testing to see if he could replicate the sound.
What was that noise? Was someone in the house playing tricks?
“Anybody there?” James said.
In response, the hard dropping sound occurred in every room at the same, but not exact time.
James rushed into ever room, finding nothing in each.
The silence that followed deafened. To James, his hearing became sharper, amid the ringing of the silence, he heard a tapping, like a clock or a metronome.
Tick tick tick tick.
From somewhere in the house.
Tick tick tick tick.
James went into the kitchen. He could still hear the ticking. But the kitchen wasn’t the source location.
He turned to the door that lead a few short steps down into the basement.
Tick tick from behind the door.
Down in the basement, James flipped on the lone bulb that despite itself does a decent job of adding light to the empty room James bought the house as a sort of getaway house, not as a storage facility so the basement is bare.
Save for a box in the corner, hidden amid a crumple of old sheets.
Where the ticking was coming from.
James lifted up the sheets and examined the sleek black box.
Factory-branded writing revealed the device was a digital receiver and transmitter. The green light above the word TRANSMIT flicked off with every tick. The green light above RECEIVE was a steady green. A stub of antenna stuck out at the back of the box. The red BATTERY light flickered.
James opened the battery compartment and removed the battery.
The ticking stopped.
If this was a receiver/transmitter, then did it receive that dropping sound and transmit them to . . . speakers hidden throughout the house?
If so, why?
James tore through the house, looking for the speakers.
It didn’t take him long to discover one just up into the chimney, duct-taped to the inside of the stack.
After his search, he laid out all eight on the coffee table. They were all the size of external computer speakers.
Who would do this? Sue Ann? Why?
Copyright 2013 Erik Handy
Avatar (2009, 162 minutes)
Avatar is visually stunning. Let’s leave the accolades at that.
The story is a collection of clichés. The acting is phoned in. The action, while entertaining, is not exciting. Avatar is an album of pretty pictures. Those seeking visual stimulation will like this movie. Those wanting a fun romp should look elsewhere.
And was I the only one rooting for the humans?
**1/2 out of ****
Doctor Who: Day Of The Doctor (2013, 76 minutes)
The best Doctor Who episode ever, Day Of The Doctor packs in an epic story replete with magnetic characters and charm in a short amount of time. It’s a testament to the power of television – that something great can be made for the small screen. Or big screen, dependning if one saw it in theaters (which I did).
I can’t go into details for risk of spoiling the many secrets of the special. Suffice to say, any fan of The Doctor will mark out throughout the show. I couldn’t stop smiling. Day Of The Doctor is a fun romp that sets a new benchmark for not only the series, but all other series. Good luck, Television.
***1/2 out of ****
Please help me make another one of my books, Demonica, free on Amazon. Here’s the info if you don’t know how:
1) Go the product page — http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FESKLAW
2) Go down to Product Details and click on Tell Us About a Lower Price.
3) Click Website (Online).
4) Paste this link into the URL field: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id715386028
5) Insert 0 into the Price field.
6) You can leave the Shipping Cost field blank and the Date of the price alone.
7) Repeat with this link: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/demonica-2
Thank you all very much!
I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!
Godzilla 1985 (1984 or 85 depending on what you want to believe, 87 minutes)
Way back in the 1980s, I fondly remember watching NBC Movies of the Week. And the ABC ones, too, particularly the James Bond ones. On one Friday night, I was treated to Godzilla 1985 and I thought it was fucking epic. Other Friday night movies I remember just as fondly are Conan The Barbarian and Battle Beyond The Stars, but Godzilla 1985 was in a class of its own.
At that time I had never seen anything like it. We didn’t have cable yet or even a VCR so my viewing options were limited to network television and movie theaters. This movie rocked. When my family got cable and a VCR, I explored other Godzilla movies, but none captured my imagination like Godzilla 1985. I mean, for a Godzilla movie to warrant a big prime time premiere . . . Wow. Of course, not I know networks would air anything they could get their hands on back then, but still, pretty cool.
How’s the movie now I’m all grown up?
The American scenes are just shoehorned in to appeal to Americans. It’s rather jarring.
The movie looks like it was made in the 1970s, which is a flaw of most Asian movies — always appearing like they’re ten years out of date.
Godzilla kicks some serious ass, but is taken down rather lacklusterly with a bird signal transmitter. Let’s pretend he just decides to give up and takes a nap in a volcano.
**3/4 out of ****