Saturday, April 29, 2017
Anyway, Otto was still shaking his head saying, “Missing lectures again. How many times have I told you that will cost you on the exam?”
That startled me. “There’s going to be an exam? I thought I was simply here to listen to bunch of experts in their field. Admittedly, some were more long-winded than others, present company not included,” I added hastily. “Is there any way I can make up the points? Maybe, go on a field trip or something?”
A bright smile appeared on my mentor’s face. “What a lovely suggestion. In fact I had recently been hearing reports of strange creatures being spotted in a region just north of here.”
“Really? And did that region happen to coincide with any interesting mathematical computations you’d been working on recently?”
He gave me a disappointed look. “I’m a professor, I’m always doing some kind of mathematics. But to answer your question, yes they do. By the way, how are you with snowshoes? It’s going to be pretty deep where we’re going.”
This time it was my turn to smile indulgently at him. “Snowshoes? Pffft… who needs those? I can just do my Legolas impression and move across the top of the snow without breaking it.”
Which is true. I can make myself extremely light at will and can walk across a number of surfaces without breaking the surface.
Apparently, he’d forgotten this fact, but instead of looking too embarrassed he simply grinned evilly back at me. I had no idea what was going on in his head, but I just knew my bragging was going to come back to haunt me later.
Three days later…
“What do you see with your elf eyes, Nathan?”
See, I told you that wisecrack of mine would come back to haunt me.
Turning I stared down the mountain at him and replied, “A lot of snow, trees, and one wiseass.”
“You know, Aragorn told me Legolas said the same thing to him,” he smiled innocently.
I chuckled at that. Otto is one of those people you can’t stay mad at for very long if ever. At that moment, my ears picked up a susurration off to my left. I had gotten used to the sounds in the area over the last two days, which was why this whispering rustle caught my attention I slowly turned, scanning the terrain very carefully until my eyes detected one area among the trees where the light was much stronger than it should be, considering the sky above us was dark.
Pointing in the direction of the spot, I called down to my mentor, “It’s about two hundred yards to your left, and twenty yards up the hill.”
Nodding he started moving towards the spot I indicated with great speed, which was quite an accomplishment for anyone wearing snowshoes. But Otto is far more athletic than his appearance belies. At first glance one might think he’s in his later 50’s, short, and stocky. But he can move as silently as a cat, and as fast as a leopard when he wants to.
Even with my ability to run across the snow he beat me to the spot by a few seconds. Now the thing with Para-Earth portals is that in order to spot them you have to be at just the right angle. Otherwise, you could walk right past them and probably do several times a decade.
As we examined the opening, Otto made careful measurements, which I faithfully recorded for him. Then he prepared himself to step through. He always goes first, since out of the two of us I’m more vulnerable. The one time I didn’t wait, I wound up racing back to our reality with the worst sunburn you never wanted to see.
I watched anxiously as he disappeared through the opening and waited. They say the waiting is the hardest part. Even knowing how durable my friend is, I still get a little nervous. Luckily, my wait was not a long one. After a few moments, he reappeared sporting a pair of stylish sunglasses which told me all I needed to know.
“Let me guess, it’s very sunny over there.”
“Actually, I discovered that the future is so bright in that reality, I have to wear shades,” he quipped without missing a beat.
“Sounds too heady for me. I’ll stay right here and make sure nothing comes through that shouldn’t,” I told him.
“Good idea,” he nodded and then added, “And this time, please don’t let anything from this reality slip through the opening while you’re at it.”
Rolling my eyes I protested, “I only let that happen once. And it was just a bunny.”
“That’s what that kid said down in Australia, and look what happened there.”
“True,” I conceded and then added seriously, "Be careful, over there."
"You worry too much," he smiled, "But it is appreciated."
I watched him pass through the opening once more and then turned to take in my surroundings. Trees blanketed the area, but were not so thick as to keep any snow from hitting the ground. A thin layer of white gently covered decades of fallen pine needles. Glancing up, I could see the snow was much thicker on the branches.
Between that and the fact that the nights were much longer at this time of year, I had little to fear from any hint of sunlight that might peek through.
Now my ears picked up the usual sounds of nature, birds, a stream in the distance, and the occasional scurrying of an animal either underground or foraging some ways off. In short, it was very peaceful. The perfect place to crash out for a while.
So I gathered up some fallen branches and moss and made a little nest against a thick tree, so my pants would stay dry and sat down. Leaning up against the trunk I relaxed and settled in to wait for Otto’s return. It was all so nice, I couldn’t help letting my eyelids close and drift off for a while.
And before anyone asks, no, I didn’t wind up sinking into the ground for a dirt nap. Contrary to what many in my extended family think, I do not always go to ground to sleep. I’m perfectly capable of sleeping in a bed, on a couch, or a sleeping bag, whatever. However, sometimes it gets a little lonely so I actually sleep in the ground more often than I actually need to. While I’m in the soil I feel more attached to the world itself. I can see and feel the vibrations of nature at work, like the plants drawing their nourishment, the passing of an industrious mole or field mouse making its way through the Earth. I’ve even had some pass through my liquid-like state on occasion, which was actually rather ticklish, believe it or not.
Anyway, this time I stayed above ground. The cool fresh air lent itself to some very pleasant dreams. Because I never know who might be reading this entry (i. e. YOU Lisa), I won’t go into details. However, I will say I was enjoying the company of an enchanting young person when a weight settle in my lap. Immediately, I recognized this form had warmth which roused me from my slumber.
Having grown up in the 1850’s when horses were our main means of transportation, I can safely say I’m quite familiar with their general physique and shape. I’d spent many hours among those my parents kept for pulling our carriages, as well as for personal riding. And more than once I’d had one of my more favored mares place her head in my lap while I was sitting on the fence of their enclosure. So even without opening my eyes, I knew my visitor was of the equine persuasion. A gentle horsey snort confirmed my suspicions.
At this point I was still not fully awake, but it did occur to me that this encounter out in the wild was rather odd. Not that I minded. Animals in general seem to be attracted to me, perhaps it’s the way I smell that puts them at ease. In any case, I started stroking the side of its face to reassure the animal that I did not mind the intrusion. Still, I couldn't help wondering what was a horse doing out here in the woods? Just I moved my hand moved up to the animal’s long face and encountered an odd bony protuberance.
Immediately my eyes snapped open and I stared down at my visitor and saw a very long white horn sticking out of the animal’s forehead. It was a unicorn. A real live unicorn, and it was resting its head in my lap.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Perhaps 'Odd' isn't the right word for this entry, 'Most Unique' would probably be a better phrase to describe what happened this year. Things certainly didn't go as I'd planned, but at least Lisa is speaking to me again. She's given me the cold shoulder more than once over the years when I've broken one of my promises. Heck who am I kidding, she doesn't give you a simple cold shoulder. That girl can give you a look so cold it would make the iceberg that sank the Titanic turn green with envy.
In fact we were visiting a zoo once when she shot me one of those looks. We were standing next to the penguin exhibit, and I swear every bird in the enclosure closed ranks to keep warm like they do during an arctic storm. Heck, I even tried joining them but they kicked me out as if to say, "Forget it, Pal! You brought this on yourself and we're suffering for it, now go take your medicine."
Needless to say I made nice with Lisa as quickly as possible, while preventing a new global ice age in the process.
So what does all this have to do with Valentine's Day? Simple, I promised to spend it with her and... I didn't make it.
In my defense I had a perfectly good reason for being two days late. You see it all started about a week ago...
I was attending a symposium that was taking place in Tromso, Norway, where one of my old Alma Maters is located. I had attended the University of Tromso - Arctic University about seven years ago, thanks to Otto. He had told me about their Master's Program in Molecular Environmental Biology and thought it might help me gain some new insights to the symbiotic life form which shares and prolongs my existence.
He also pointed out that the timing of the classes coincided nicely with the seasonal Polar Nights in Norway, which meant I wouldn't have to compete with the sun very much. This suited me just fine of course, so of course I quickly enrolled.
Looking back I can easily say I enjoyed my time there. Not only were there some wonderful concerts, but also the location of Tromso offered some of the most spectacular views of the Northern Lights.
Anyway, after the third day of the symposium, I was ready to move on. I'd already listened to the speakers I was most interested in hearing from and didn't feel like hanging around the campus. So I made my way into the main city to explore the architecture and other sights Tromso had to offer. I had just made my way down by the water and was enjoying looking up at the Northern Lights when I heard a familiar jovial voice saying, "Ah, here you are. I see you decided to play hooky instead of attending my presentation.”
Turning I saw Otto walking up to me. He was shaking his head and making tsk-tsk noises. I could tell already by his manner that he had something on his mind, and it didn't take a genius to figure out what it was. Cleary he had learned of another possible Para-Earth incursion and he wanted me to come along to help make sure nothing came through that shouldn't and vice-versa.
And looking back at that last sentence I realize now that I just zinged myself but good. In my defense, our latest adventure has left me a little giddy but once you hear what happened you'll understand.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
First I'd like to thank everyone who took advantage of my "Hobbit Birthday" party. Over 30 copies of "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home" were snatched up. While I would've loved to have seen triple digits, I'm not going to complain. The book got into more readers hands and that is always a good thing in my opinion. Hopefully, this will lead to some more reviews. Sadly, Nathan and company have been stuck in the single digits as far as reviews go on Amazon, with absolutely none on Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords.
So I'm going to offer everyone who is interested the opportunity to get a free copy of the book (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, PDF, even paperback) in exchange for a fair and honest review. Reviews are important to bringing a book to a wider audience. We all know that whenever we think about purchasing a book or almost anything these days, we check online to see what kind of rating the item has.
Naturally, I'd love to see a lot of 4 and 5 star reviews, but I leave that up to the reviewers. I ask for honest and I mean it. If you found the book wasn't to your taste and you don't wish to leave a review, just let me know so I'm not left in limbo wondering what happened. The only thing I ask is that the reading and the review be done within 2 months of you getting the book. If by chance you volunteer and life gets in the way, again just let me know. Life happens to all of us including yours truly, so no worries. Just stay in touch is all I ask.
On another note...
I'm happy to announce that there will be an anthology involving Nathan and friends, which will be released this December. This volume will contain 'select' short stories from this blog. The reason for this is that I've been told by a number of people that they find it hard and boring scrolling through a bunch of old blog entries to find the short stories, even though they really want to read them. And since this blog is over two and a half years old, I know there's a lot of stuff to wade through.
However, the anthology will not just contain stories from here, we are including 4-5 brand new stories just for the collection, which will NOT be reproduced here. They will only be found within the pages of the anthology itself. The total number of tales to appear in this first anthology has yet to be decided so stay tuned for more details.
In other news, book 2 of the Vampyre Blogs is now officially under way.
At this time "The Vampyre Blogs - Family Ties" release date should be early October 2018 (which is why I'm releasing the anthology in the meantime, so as not to leave you all high and dry without anything new). The story will take place two weeks after the conclusion of the first novel and will open with Nathan's return, along with new trouble brewing.
The presence of Isabella will raise new questions and concerns for all who dwell under his roof, while an unscrupulous developer tries to influence the upcoming town council elections so he can get his hands on 1000+ acres of land Nathan's home stands on. Then there's Marisa's father. Are the cancer treatments he's receiving really helping or will Nathan have to undergo a procedure that could leave him more vulnerable than ever to an attack from an old foe he believed had been vanquished?
Stay tuned to this blog learn more. And for anyone who wishes to be a reviewer, please e-mail me at:
Please include your name, e-mail address, and what book format you want and I'll be in touch with you shortly.
Thank you all for your continued friendship and support. And rest assured the next entry to appear on this blog will be a brand new tale involving your favorite sci-fi vampyre and his friends.