Coincidental Circumstances (Part 5)

I needed to brainstorm this. Bad prologues were often saddled with too much exposition and background. If Miranda was getting a prologue, it was going to be kick ass. In the world of espionage, there is one bar to surpass.

Sometimes a high bar.

Sometimes a low bar.

It has been the standard for 50 years.

I had to beat a James Bond pre-credit sequence.

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I rubbed my hands together. Even on paper, the story had no punch. Any good writer knows there has to be a kick ass hook at the beginning. Miranda needed a motive. I glanced at the barista, an overweight girl with short hair with a frosty top. A back tattoo expanded onto her neck. She had added extra pumps of flavor in my macchiato so she was good in my book.

I swear, the bullseye never fails. I pointed at the barista and clapped in glee.

Miranda obviously needed a partner.






Coincidental Circumstances (Part 4)

For three days I toiled with the greatest case of writers block known to man. Maybe it was the girl in the red truck. Her hair. Her eyes. Her mysterious offer.

The killer robot was wreaking some serious plot issues. Where did it come from? What was its motive? Who was behind it? I first tried to replace it with a clown, but it seemed too similar to a recent hit movie, that was really a remake of another movie that was based on a book based on a common childhood nightmare. Scratch one. Imitation isn’t the best form of flattery; its a case of immovable writers block.

There was only one thing to do.

Desperate times called for desperate measures.

I had to go to another Starbucks. Not just any Starbucks though, I needed to hit this case really hard, right in the bullseye. That’s right. I was at the last stop.

I headed for a Starbucks within a Target. A literal riddle within a riddle.

This isn’t a place for any normal writer. This is only a place for the most bourgeois of writers. And it was a place with unlimited gum supply and selection of average people to watch.

My second idea was a straight cop-out. I’ll admit it. Creative writing doesn’t always spark ideas that make us feel like talented artists. I replaced the killer robot with a drone with hellfire missiles. It gave the story an espionage type feel. There were only like 37 movies in the last 5 years using drones. Where did the drones come from? I had no idea. I was already 5 sticks of gum in, and it made little sense why the drone would destroy the cops. I’m not a Tom Clancy ghost writer dammit. Government conspiracies are not my thing.

I went with it. I made up some tin foil Illuminati deep state conspiracy theory that went back to the founding of America. Yeah, there hasn’t been enough books on that. I didn’t want to quite pigeon hole the narrative into an established genre quite yet. I was free flowing. My keyboard needed to hear my lyrical rhymes.

But something still didn’t make sense.

What was Miranda’s backstory then? Where did the knife come from. Was she part of the Illuminati? Was she a double agent? How did she just so happen to be driving right by the tracks at the right time? Chills ran down my spine. Was her meeting with Zeek by happenstance or was it a covert operation? I needed to reach deeper, dig deeper, and travel to depths I’d never known.

I snapped my fingers and pointed at my macbook.

Maybe, just maybe, she needed a kick ass prologue.


Exploits of a Midnight Traveler (Part 38)


Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 7.05.37 PM.pngThen the silence ended. Somewhere in the distance an ocean crashed against rocks; salt carried on the air filled my mouth and birds swooped and dived above me crying like children to each other. The rose was lying on the ground at my feet, its petals already fading.

Touch the rose and you will be there

I was surrounded by miles and miles of gold that glinted in the sun as far as the horizon; corn or something like it, gently swaying in the warm/cold breeze. I should have been afraid but I wasn’t. Instead, for the first time since Lila had been taken from me and the whole crazy parade of people who weren’t people at all, killing and being killed, had thrown my life into chaos, I was calm.

There was no sign of Sinistrus though I sensed him in everything. Suddenly a voice I recognised as his spoke to me. Not a sound. A knowing. Sinistrus was speaking to me without words.

“Welcome, Caleb,” the knowing said for the second time.

“Welcome to where? Where is this?”

“A place of safety – for a while.”

“But where?”

“Another world. Very different from your own.”

“Not so different. The sky is blue.”

“If you say so. The sky is whatever you wish it to be. That is the power you possess. The power of the nanites. Growing stronger within you.”

“No they aren’t inside me, not anymore.”


“Okay. A few. Most of them have been removed.”


“So what about the brain cancer? What about…”

He interrupted me. “Everything you’ve been told, all you have ever believed about yourself, is a lie. Your whole life as you understand it is a fantastic invention to keep you from discovering who you really are until the moment comes when you are needed. You asked for peace, Caleb. I brought you here. To this peaceful world.”


“To allow you to fulfil your destiny.”

“And what is my destiny?”

“To save your species.”

“Save it from what?”

“From itself.”

“I’m lost, Sinistrus.”

He – whatever he was – whispered inside me. “Close your eyes. Close your eyes and dream, Caleb.”

I did as I was told. Gradually the ocean, the sea birds, the voice inside my head all faded and I was a boy again, on a beach with my parents. My father was talking to me, telling me things beyond my understanding. My mother stood behind him, smiling. Tears were running down her face. My father lifted me and started to walk. I buried myself against him, feeling his warmth. Perhaps I slept, but I woke on a bed with both my parents leaning over me. My mother fussed with my hair. “It’s alright, darling,” she said. “Daddy won’t hurt you.”

The images drifted and became smoke. Sinistrus returned. “You asked where you were, remember? I told you another world.”

“Where I would be safe.”

He sighed. “Just one more lie I’m afraid. You can never be safe. They will come after you. They are already coming. I can hear them tearing at the veil.”

“The veil?”

“The invisible wall that separates this world from your own.”

Other worlds. Veils. Clones. It was too much. I said, “But what do they want from me? Why am I so important to them? I would’ve been happy to spend my life with Lila.”

Sinistrus shook his head. ‘Lila was one of them.”

I reacted. “No! No! We were in love. Lila put the nanites in me.”

“Wrong again, Caleb. She didn’t put them in.”

“But her kisses…”

“She was trying to suck them out of you.”

He turned his red eye on me. “Listen,” he said. “There isn’t time to explain. They have broken through. I will tell you only what you must know. Nothing more. Your father was a great scientist and an even greater human being. He was the one who created the nanites using your blood. And they killed him for it.”

“My mother?”

“Your mother too.”

Sinistrus gave me a second to take in the murder of my parents.

“Your father was wise as well as brilliant. He foresaw his own death. But before they got to him, he planted – maybe I should say replanted since they were born of you – the nanites deep inside his son. Inside you.”

I stared at him unable to comprehend the fantastical things he was revealing.

“Nanites are the single most important creation in the history of mankind. Used well they can do anything. Anything. Think for a moment what that could mean. No more hunger. No more poverty or illness. No scarcity of any sort.”

He paused.

“No need for conflict. World peace. Can you imagine? A perfect life made possible.”


He guessed my question. “Not everyone wishes for peace. Hatred is a drug and there are those who are addicted. Dark forces that prefer the world as it is. Those people cannot be allowed to control the nanites. What they would do with them is beyond evil.”

He held up a hand and turned his head. “Can you hear them? Can you hear them, Caleb? The pretence to being human has been abandoned. When you see them again you will see them as they really are. Savage souls without disguise.”

Sinistrus led me towards the distant sound of the sea. “Are you ready?’ he said.

“Ready to do what?”

“Own the power in you. Or destroy it. There is no other choice.”

“How? Tell me what to do.”

“Assume the terrible responsibility given to you by your father. Become who you really are.”

I was close to tears. It was too much. I was going insane. “You talk in riddles, Sinistrus. Just say it. Say it out loud.”

“Be. Be … Caleb.”

The tears came; I couldn’t stop them and I didn’t want to.

“Be who? BE WHO?”

“The Master of the Nanites. The most powerful man in this or any world.”



Exploits of a Midnight Traveler (Part 33)

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 8.56.08 PM.pngI found myself walking past the voice of the unidentified female, and out the door.  “Oh you found the door, Good Caleb.”  Julie was back in my head somehow.  I had not felt her presence in some time, since we were electrocuted in fact. It made me intensely happy that she was back.

It wasn’t me smiling. It was the residual bio-nanites still in my system. Did they still have power? Once outside, I stood on the pavement, staring at the cold metal door. It did not open. No one followed me out. I had outlived my usefulness and they would be coming for me soon. Maybe.

Questions filled my mind, replacing the impotent rage that had propelled me outside.  Doctor Red said that our DNA, hers and mine, had been used to create the clones in their facility. She said killing them would be akin to killing our children. In the normal scheme of things, a child born naturally of two parents would be raised to adulthood over the course of 18 years, learning all both parents had to teach. How long did the clones have? Days? Weeks?

For the first time since Lila died, I felt free. The bio-nanites the Senator’s people wanted had been taken from me already, and I survived. Not-quite-Mercedes had taken me to this other underground lair where the clones were created, and I walked out, after learning a host of things that no rational human should know. I survived. Would they let me leave now? It was about time to find out.

There was a dark sedan just off to the side behind the facility. I walked over to the fenced in parking area and scaled the ten foot fence. Everything else I have been through this week has made scaling a fence facile in comparison. I jumped down once I got my left leg over the twisted links at the top, and bent my knees as I landed.

Giddy now, I chuckled, and looked up. The moon was full. Stifling an insane urge to howl, I reached over and grabbed the handle of the car on the driver’s side. It was unlocked. Of course it was, but that didn’t mean the keys would be there.

They weren’t. I used the lever on the driver’s side by the floor boards to open the trunk.  There were some tools in the trunk. A few hammers. Some screws. A blowtorch. Huh?  Before this weekend, the sight of the blowtorch would raise my eyebrows. Now, I didn’t think anything would shock me again. I was wrong.

“You thought you could just walk away from all this? Actually, yeah. I did walk away. I was still facing the trunk when I heard the voice, as well as the crunching of gravel on the ground.

People tend to make more noise when they’re trying to be quiet. There was an aerosol can of air in the trunk, next to the partially inflated spare in the center of the trunk.  That was going to do. Whipping around, I faced two of the same person.  The voice did not belong to either of them.


Coincidental Circumstances (Part 2)

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The purple haired girl with the nose-ring furrowed her brow. “Um … what?” I could see in her face that guys like me normally didn’t ask her for gum. Their loss. Time was of the essence because writing can be a fickle thing. One moment the story is with you, and the next moment, the eureka moment disappears.

“Please, I’m a writer, and gum helps me think.”

“You’re a writer?” she asked. “What have you written?”

“Nothing you’ve read.” I was unpublished at the time, so of course she hadn’t read anything yet. Silly girl. This was the whole point of sitting in Starbucks. I had to sit amongst the people and seek inspiration.

“How many books have you sold?” She took a sip from her coffee and awaited my answer as if she was actually interested.

“Technically, I’m unpublished.”

“So … zero?”

I chewed my gum, now out of the delicious flavor I so enjoyed and just slowly nodded embarrassingly. I looked at her purple hair and noticed a bright red streak on her right bang and watched her eyes to see if she was kidding but I could see the disdain in her pupils. “How does the gum help you?” She obviously didn’t know a damn thing about writing.

“It just does.”

“Stellar reason.”

“Listen, it was just a question.”

“Do I look like a gum factory to you?”

“You looked like a girl who enjoys gum.”

“What does that mean?”

“Please … don’t act like that. Who doesn’t like gum?”

“I like a lot of things way more than gum,” she said. “For a writer, you have some really lame pick-up lines.”

I couldn’t believe this. Really? A guy can’t ask a girl for gum anymore? I rubbed my temples and stood up. “Let me check the counter.” My investigation lasted thirty-four seconds. I guess coffee and gum doesn’t mix. Maybe it was like Disneyland in not wanting gum to be placed under the tables and on the floor. I grabbed another coffee and returned to my writer’s corner and saw the purple haired girl with the nose-ring was gone, but on the keyboard of my macbook was a single piece of gum.

It was the last one in the pack.