Friday, July 31, 2015

The Ticking

The Ticking
by, Melissa R. Mendelson

White walls dressed in color splayed across the room.  Large, glass windows drifted beneath soft, silky white curtains.  The furniture was all decked out in black leather, all except for the chestnut wood desk in the corner.  A ceiling fan whirled around and around, chasing the heat out, and the black floor glistened below like a hungry abyss awaiting another soul.

“Ms. Flores?”  She broke her stare from the floor to look up at the man sitting behind the chestnut wood desk.  “The number.”  He glanced at his watch.  “Have you chosen one?”

“Right.  The number.”  She gnawed on her lip.  “I’m not sure.”  She looked down at her hands in her lap.  “It’s a tough answer.”

“But you must answer it.”  The man sat back in his black leather seat, checking his watch.  “How’s the family?”

“What?”

“Your family.  Your father still with you?”

“Yes.”

“Mother?”

“No.”

“And you had one brother.”  Tears filled her eyes.  “I’m sorry.  Did he just go?”

“Yeah.”  She wiped her tears aside.  “Lucky number 21.”

“21.  Shame.  Such a young age.”  He glanced at his watch.

“Am I keeping you from something?”

“No.  Not really.”  He played with the pen on his desk.  “We are in a crunch here, and I don’t want my partner picking up where I left off.  I hate loose ends.”

“I see, and your boss?”  He grew pale.  “Is he in the office today?”

“No.  He’s around, collecting.”  The pen rolled off his desk.  He stared at it for a moment.  “Today’s my birthday.”

“Happy birthday, James.”  She smiled.  He didn’t.  “So, I am keeping you from something.”

“Terry, you know how this works.  This agreement cannot be broken.  If one person breaks it, the world goes back to how it once was.  Do you want to be responsible for that?”  She shook her head, sinking back in her seat.  “I need a number.  It’s a reasonable question.”

“It’s just…  I don’t know.  I’m not even married.  Yet.”

“Do you want to be?”  She nodded.  “You want kids?”  She nodded again.  “Then, make it happen before…”  He looked at his watch.  “Time’s up.  I need a number.”

“85.”

“Is that your final answer?”  She nodded.  “Then, I need the signature on this document here.”

“Will it hurt?”

“For a moment,” and he pricked her finger with his pen knife.  “85 is a good number.  You have time.”  He watched her sign the document with her finger.  “Here,” and he handed her a gauze pad and band-aid.  “Working today?”

“No.  Why do you keep checking your watch?”

“I was born around now.”

“Oh.  Oh.  I’m sorry, James.”

“You didn’t know.  Service?”

“Hmmmm?”

“What kind of service do you want?”

“My mother had a video, so I like that.  I’ll do the same.”  She turned away and moved back to her seat.

“And I think we’re done here, Ms. Flores.”  He stacked the documents together and then noticed that his pen was now by her feet.  In response, she knelt down to pick it up.  “Maybe, after this, we could…”

“James?”

His chair was empty.  The documents waited on top of his desk.  His phone rang.  Upon the third ring, another man entered the room and took his seat.  He gathered the documents, flipping through each page, and then without a word, he nodded to Ms. Flores and left the room.

“Good-bye, James,” and she placed the pen back on his desk.  “See you in fifty years.”  She gathered her things by her chair and closed the door behind her.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Lizardian

A gruesome murder off Harriman Road sends the small town of Crowley spiraling into suspicion and fear, but is it a wild animal that hunts them down?

http://channillo.com/series/lizardian/



This was an old Sci-Fi story that I wrote back in 1996 when I was in high school.  I've tossed out the original version, and I will be recreating it and uploading it weekly at Channillo.com.


The first chapter is now available.


Thursday, July 09, 2015

Saturday Delivery: The Beginning or The End

Saturday Delivery:  The Beginning or The End
by, Melissa R. Mendelson

“He told me what would come.  He told me what I would become.  With his knowledge, I can change things, but is this the beginning?  Or the end?”

“David?”

His mother gently pushed open his bedroom door.  She found him hunched over his desk by an open window.  Pages of notebook paper scattered around the wooden desk, filled with ink, notes.  The lamp shined a hot spotlight upon several textbooks, and the Math book slowly slid over another book.  “Hard at work,” she asked as she now stood behind him.

“Studying,” he replied.

“Have you given a thought about college yet?”

“No.  Not yet.”

“You should.  The future waits for no one,” and he smiled at that.  “I spoke to your father.”  His smile faded.  “You know that he doesn’t like doctors.”

“I know.”

“So, why are you asking him to see one, and why all of a sudden?”

“He needs to see a doctor,” David said.  “Trust me.  He needs to go.”

“Honey.”  She touched the back of his head.  “He’s fine.”  She didn’t like the look on his face.  “Unless you know something that I don’t.”  He looked away.  “Do you?”

“Mom, I love Dad.”

“I know that.”

“So, isn’t that enough for me to be concerned about his health?”

“What about my health?”

“You will have a long life.”  He paused, realizing that he said too much.  “I dreamt that you will have a long life, but Dad…”  His eyes teared up.

“He’s fine, David.”

“He’s not!  I’m sorry.”  She stepped back.  “Mom, trust me on this.”

“You dreamt this?”  He slowly nodded.  “Honey, it was just a dream.”  David turned away as his hands curled into fists.  “He’s fine.”

“Whatever,” David muttered.  “Maybe, I can’t change things.”  He stared out the window.  “Maybe, it is just a waste of time.”

“David, what’s the matter?”

“Mom, I need to study.  Finals are coming up soon.  Okay?”  He turned his back to her.

“Okay.”  She slowly stepped toward the bedroom door.  “Dinner’s in an hour.”

“Always is,” he responded.

He listened to her steps going down the stairs.  His eyes moved over to his clock resting on his dresser.  His father would be home in an hour, and then they would all eat dinner together like the family that they were.  But they would not be a family for much longer.

He pushed the Math textbook off of the other book.  He stared down at its pages.  The corners were folded, and the sections most important were underlined and highlighted.  He glanced at the notebook papers nearby.  “It doesn’t matter,” he said.  “It doesn’t matter,” and he threw the notebook papers and the book into the trash.  “Nothing matters.  The future waits for no one,” and he opened his Math textbook.

An hour later, his father returned home.  His usual routine was coming in, saying hello to anyone downstairs, coming up the stairs, and changing into more comfortable clothes, and going back downstairs for dinner.  This time, he didn’t.  He said his hello, and then silence, which was strange.  There was no sound, no steps coming up the stairs.  Nothing, which made David curious.  What was going on?

David snuck down the steps.  If something were going on, he did not want to disturb it.  He was halfway down the stairs when he heard talking.  It was his mother speaking to his father.  He leaned down, peering through the railing, and listening to what his mother was saying to him.  Maybe, he was wrong about not changing things.

“I think you should call the doctor,” she said.

“Where is this coming from?  You know that I hate doctors.  Is this coming from David?  I know the boy’s worried about me, but I’m fine.”

“Are you?”

“Yes, I’m fine.”

“Haven’t you noticed that your color has been off?”

“I’ve always been pale,” he replied.

“Your breathing is slow too.  Sometimes, it’s rapid, and you run out of breath a lot.”

“I am fine.  End of conversation.”

“I called the doctor for you.  You see him tomorrow.”

“No.”

“No?  Your stubbornness is going to kill you.”

“If I was sick, it would, but I’m not sick.  Look, I don’t know what got into David all of a sudden, but I’m okay.”

“He dreamt that you weren’t.”

“It’s a dream.  He’s not psychic.”

“What if it was one of those things.”

“What kind of thing?”

“A…  A premonition.”

“Oh, give me a break, Lil.  I’m fine.  The boy’s crazy.”

“Very nice,” she snapped.  “You know that you owe me, right?”

“Oh.  Not this again.”

“Yes.  You owe me.  I would’ve lost David, if you had not rushed me to the hospital that day.”

“So, what?  Years later, time to pay the bill?”

“Yes.”  They looked at each other.  “You’re going tomorrow.”

“Fine.  What time?”

“Nine a.m.”

“I have work.”

“Tell them that you’ll be late.”  She reached over and grabbed the phone off the table by the couch.  “You do it, or I will.”  He grabbed the phone from her, but he did not dial in his work number.  “Please, do this.  For me.  For David.”  He started to dial the number.  “Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me.  Like I said, the boy’s crazy.  Hey, Karl?  Karl, it’s me, Ben.  Yeah.  Listen, I have a doctor’s apt. tomorrow morning, so I’m going to be in late.  No, everything’s okay.  It’s just a checkup.  Karl, I’m fine.  I’ll see you later in the day.  Okay.  Bye.”  He disconnected the call and handed it back to his wife.

“That was Karl?”

“Who else would it be?  Hey, what are you doing?”  He watched her press redial on the phone.  “Are you kidding me?”

“Hi, Karl.  Sorry.  I must’ve hit redial on the phone.  Okay.  Thank you.  Bye.”

“Jesus, you don’t trust me?”

“When it comes to doctors?  No.”

“What’s for dinner?”

“Chicken and broccoli.”

“Good.  How about you get dinner going while I go up and change?”  He stormed away, and as he headed toward the stairs, David scurried away.  “David?”  He looked down at his father.  “You’ll see.”

“I’ll see what, Dad?”

“You’ll see that I am fine,” and he stormed up the stairs.  “I’ve never been late to my job in almost thirty years.”  He moved past David.  “What a waste of time,” and he disappeared into his bedroom.

David returned to his room.  He closed his bedroom door, breathing a silent prayer of thanks.  He then looked over at his garbage can.  A moment later, he dove in, rescuing all his notes and that book.  He flipped through his notes until he found the page that he was looking for.  Then, he reached over and grabbed his phone off the dresser.

“Hello?”  David swallowed hard.  “How did you get this number?”

“I know what you are going to do,” David replied.

“You don’t know anything, kid,” the man on the other end said.  “If I were you, don’t call here again.”

“I know about Control,” David blurted, and his answer was silence.

“What did you just say,” the man finally asked.

“I know about Control,” David repeated.

“You can’t possibly know that.  No one but me knows about that.”

“Well, I do.”  Silence again.  “Hello?”

“What do you want, kid?”

“To help.”

“If you help me, they’ll call you a monster.”

“Maybe, but if I don’t, you’ll lose.”  The man laughed on the other end.  “Your brother will go first.”  The man’s laughter was cut short.  “I can help.”

“You’re just a kid.”

“My age should not be a factor in this, and time is running out.  Do you want my help or not?”

“Okay.  Okay.”

“Where do we meet?”

“Don’t worry about that, kid.  I’ll find you.  Tell me something, though.  Who’s feeding you this information?”  David glanced at his book.  “Someone’s got to be talking to you.”

“Would you believe me, if I told you that I was psychic?”

“No.”

“I got a message from the future.”  Silence.  “Hello?”

“I guess the future waits for no one then.  See you soon, kid,” and the line was disconnected.

“See you soon,” and David hung up the phone.

David leaned back in his desk chair.  His eyes roamed over the several torn and bloodied notebook pages.  He glanced at that book, which arrived on a Saturday morning.  It had just fallen out of the sky, and his neighbor rescued it, bringing it to him.  That man had no idea of what he had stumbled across or what he had done by giving this book to David.  And David’s eyes now returned to the last thing that he had written.

“Is this the beginning?  Or the end?”

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Saturday Delivery: Part II

Saturday Delivery: Part II
by, Melissa R. Mendelson

The space was cramped.  Metallic walls pressed tight.  Flashing silver red lights fired overhead.  The alarm was screaming, but the only sound heard was a racing heart.  They were coming.  There would be no warning.  There would be no call for surrender.  He was the most wanted, and he was caged.  And he would be destroyed.

“Did it work,” she breathed as she pressed against him.  “Will he get it?”

“I don’t know,” he replied.

“We should have gone through.  We could’ve escaped.”

“We would never have made it.  Only inorganic items could phase through the temporal portal.  We would be dead.”

“We are dead,” she replied.  “Did you know that we would be locked in here once the machine was activated?”

“I told you to run.”

“We lost so many, so many lives to do this one thing.  Was it really worth it?”

“The world has to change.”

“What if it doesn’t?”

“Then, it’s better that we are dead.”  He held her gaze as the walls narrowed around them.  “Will you kill me now?”  She looked surprised.  “You’ve waited this long, and you’ve killed those that wanted me dead.  Go ahead.  Raise your weapon.”

“I can’t.”  She looked away.  “It’s too late.  They’ll start firing soon.”

“Why did you wait?”

“I needed to know.  I needed to know that this would work, but the war is still going to happen.  You have your part to play.  There’s no changing that.”

“But I can play it differently.  There was one time, where everything could have gone another way.  I didn’t see it then.  I see it now, and when this machine was built, I knew that it was time.”

“But you’re just a kid then.”

“Doesn’t matter.  I’ll know what to do.”

“You put so much faith into yourself.  They might call you a monster, but we called you, our savior.  We would be gone, wiped out from existence, if not for you.  Control cannot take away our humanity, but you are playing a fierce gamble with fate.  What if you make things worse?  What if you killed all of us?”

“Then, so be it.”

“David.”  He looked at her.  “What if you succeed?”

“Why haven’t you killed me yet?”

“I asked you first.”

“If I succeed…  We wake up tomorrow.”

“There’s only one reason why you’re still breathing.”

“Your son?”  She nodded.  “Jess, I promise you.  You’ll see him again.”

“But what if Control still exists?  What if they still kill him?”

“Then, it’s fate.”

“Fate.”  She shook her head.  “Fate does not like to be played with.”  She reached into her pocket, feeling the small, razor sharp blade.  “Maybe, this was a mistake.  Maybe, I should have stopped you.  Maybe, we’ll wake up tomorrow but find ourselves in a worse prison than the one that we already live in.  What have you done, David?  What have you done?”

“You supported me.”  He grabbed hold of her, pulling her close.  “You manipulated me.  You wanted this as much as I did, and you knew the stakes.  You knew that this was a one-way trip, and it didn’t have to be that way for you.  But you stayed, and here we are.”

“I hear them.  I hear the guns clicking.”

“The alarm lights are gone.  The glass is now clear.”

“We’re locked in, aren’t we?  Will it hurt?”

“Yes.  I’m sorry.”

“No.  You’re not.”

“No.  I’m not, but if this works…”  She surprised him by taking his hand, forgetting the blade in her pocket.  “If this works, then none of this will matter.”

“I love you.”  Now, he was surprised.  “Such a hero, and such a fool.”

“Shut up.”  He leaned down and kissed her.  “I love you too,” he then whispered into her ear, and she kissed him back.

Black, electric rifles sizzled and snapped.  Blue fire ejected forth, penetrating the clear glass.  The two humans embraced ignited, turning into black ash.  A sudden breeze rustled the remains up and away, and as black visors lifted upward to watch their remains, there was a sudden white flash.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Saturday Delivery

Saturday Delivery
by, Melissa R. Mendelson

"Freedom of speech is circling the abyss of extinction. What we say is being censored today, but what if there comes a day, where speech is dictated? If you speak out of line, you will face hefty fees and possible jail time. Television shows and movies will have to stick to the required script. The power of music will be controlled, and the airwaves won't tell of rebellion or pain. We would find ourselves contained, voiceless, and marching forward into that damn abyss."

"Very good, James, but was it necessary to slip in the word, damn?"

Snickers raced through the crowded classroom. Feet scuffed across the floor. Hands tossed pens back and forth while a few held tight to their reports. Eyes darted left to right, hoping not to be called next, and chairs squeaked as its occupant sat back. And James sprinted toward the middle aisle and plopped down before his small desk.

Professor Terone glanced at the clock held behind bars. Its ticking rung inside his ears, and his gaze shifted to the sea of faces before him. Muffled voices wandered past the closed, wooden door, and a comment made him frown and shake his head. And he wondered what the world would be like in the hands of this generation. "Who wants to go next? We have time for one last person."

A sigh of relief rippled through the classroom. The ones not holding their reports sat back in ease with grins dangling from their faces. Everyone else remained tense, silently whispering not to be picked, but if nobody volunteered soon, he would choose someone to stand and approach the firing squad. And as he moved away from his desk, ready to select a student, a small hand lifted up into the air.

"I'll go."

"David? You actually did your assignment?" Another snicker rippled through the classroom. "I'm impressed." David stared at the report in his hands. "Okay. Come up, and read your report."

"It was eight a.m. on a Saturday morning, and there was a soft knock at the front door..."

"What is this? Story time?"

"Andrew, you can read first tomorrow." The students surrounding him broke out into laughter. "David, please continue."

"I opened the door to see my next door neighbor. He held a small package in his hands and said he found it on his lawn, but it was addressed to me. I thanked him for bringing it over and carried it to my room. It had strange wrapping, paper I've never seen before, and I slowly opened it. It was a book. A book about me." His eyes scanned the faces before him. "This book would not be printed for another twenty or so years, but it was my life's story. It read of my mistakes and my accomplishments, things that I never imagined possible, but why or how was this sent to me? What do I do with this knowledge?"

"That's a great story, David, but I don't see how that affects this Social Studies class."

"The topic of the report was our history and our future." The teacher nodded. "Let me continue." A few students laughed at his words. "What if you knew the life that you were going to live? What if you were going to change the future? What if you awoke one day to find yourself the most wanted person in this world, forever heinous for an act not yet committed? Would you use your history to change your future? Would you create a different life, avoiding the mistakes that you might have once made? Would your knowledge of what's to come be your greatest asset or a deadly tool in altering time?" He glanced at the teacher. "I'm done."

"You're talking about a paradox." A kid with thick glasses looked his way. "You can't alter the timelines without the risk of erasing one or both. Such knowledge especially in the wrong hands would throw the entire universe off."

"But what if you were going to do something wrong, something unforgiveable? Wouldn't you want to change that?"

"Maybe, David, but some things aren't meant to be changed." The teacher glanced at his watch. "Thank you for that interesting report."

"But what if you could kill Hitler, save Lennon, or warn of 9/11? Wouldn't you save lives?"

"But what would become of us?" One girl shook her head. "I think that history should be left alone. The more you disturb it, the more you alter your future, your life, and what happens to those, whose lives that you change? What if their time to die is altered, and someone, maybe many die instead? You can't play God."

"But if you could go back in time and change one thing, would you?"

A hush fell over those before him. Some shook their heads, but others slowly nodded in agreement. Eyes shined with wonder while others darkened with doubt, and curiosity tugged at their minds. And the ticking of the clock echoed throughout the room.

"Thank you, David." The teacher watched him return to his seat. "Okay. Those that did not read today or forgot their reports will go tomorrow." A moan rose up from the students before him. "Don't make me hold a pop quiz on chapter twelve," he warned.

A hard kick under his seat made David turn around and glare at the ogre sitting behind him. A slick comment tried to dig into his nerves, but he ignored it. And the large boy kicked his chair again, knocking his book bag over, and spilling its contents onto the floor, and David cursed under his breath. And a look of satisfaction shined across the bully's face

"Andrew," he hissed. "You can be such a bully."

The teacher hardly noticed what took place as he shuffled papers behind his desk. A few students looked his way, and others snickered and grinned. And nobody offered to help David gather the items that now decorated the floor beneath his chair, and he slowly bent down and began to move everything back into his book bag.

A small, blue book slid against the chair across from him. Shiny, black words decorated its cover. A name rose up into view, and the girl sitting in that seat bent down and picked up the book. And her eyes moved from it to David.

"David, was that story true?"

A loud buzzer bombarded the room. Students jumped out of their seat, and footsteps thundered out into the corridor. Loud voices and laughter swung through the air, but two people remained, silently staring at the other. And David snatched the book out of her hands.

"Was it true?" The teacher now looked at them. "David?"

"Don't worry about it." He moved away from her. "I won't affect your life." He glanced at the teacher, who stared curiously at him. "I know what to do."

The ticking of the clock bit deep into silence. Fear trickled down the walls of youth, and heavy, wooden doors closed on innocence. Time paused beside a locker, debating its next move, and strangers wandered by, blind to their fate. But as the sea of students parted, one remained, walking with purpose down the hall.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Online Publications

Bartleby Snopes Literary Magazine:

Doll House (Short Story): 2007

Essence (Short Story): 2010

When The Dust Settles (Short Story): 2011


Gadfly Online:

2011: Passenger; No Leaders Among Men

2012: We Are The Villains Of This Story; Letters Cast Away; Leaving Nowhere Behind; After Dark: My Favorite TV Shows; My First Taste of Road Rage; Bleeding Through Reality (Let The Fiction In); Rampage; Going Haywire

2013: Living According to Tolstoy; Welcome Back to Tango of the Road Rage Drivers; When I Tried To Become A 9-1-1 Operator; Alarm Set; King of the Lonely Hill; Never in Stone; Saving Gifted Men and a Touch of Paranormal; (Alien) Baby Got Back; Glass Eyes; One Way Ticket; Friendship Rises Over The Dead Zone; Hail to the Three Kings, Baby; The Death of the State Employee; Heroes in Dark; Beyond The Spielberg Dream (My Love of Science-Fiction); A Brief Glimpse Over The Edge; Ghost in the Sands of White (For Walter White); Bye, Bye Mr. Burn Notice Spy; Simple Thoughts; Feeling Yourself Explode (My Take on Being Mad as Hell); Never Meant to Love

2014: Burning Down The Doll House; Over The Porch; Concrete Dreams; Front Page; Cruising Along Fate's Darkness; Where I Hit Record; The Trouble with Past Lives; NeedlePoint; Rhythm of Life; Checkmate; The NY State of Mind Does Not Brake For Enlightenment; You Killed Me Before; Guns Talk (A Parody of 'Little Talks' by Of Monsters and Men); Bleu Room with a Red Vase: Catching A Star At Jones Beach; Dialing The 4400 (A Parody of Adele's song, Set Fire To The Rain); 'Slip and Fall': A Review of Nick Santora's 2007 Thriller; Movies That Speak Volumes; Faded Shades of Rainbow; Remembering The Final Cut: Dedicated to Robin Williams; Don't Forget To Tip Your Cows; Lies (Parody of Sia's song, Chandelier); I Am A Clone; Here We Go Again (Another Tango Driver); Gold Beyond Blue; If Sam Axe Died; Unions; Fragments of Broken Youth; Extra, Extra; D.T.A.; Footprints in Sand; Alien Dream; Along The Rails; Cellar Dawn; Seeing Through The Facade; Blonde Android Shutdown

2015: Flirting with Revolution; Wanting to be a Cool Kid; The Silent War We Wage; Taking On The Universe; 24 Won't Come Back No More (Parody); Death Made a Pie; Spirits Among Us; Underground; Book Review: The Branches of Time; Gone Without a Trace; The Parachute Kids; The World is not Black and White; The Quiet Room; War Of My World; Remains of Peace; Carry On Winchester Sons (Parody of Kansas's 'Carry On Wayward Son'; Hanging Out in the Drive Thru (Parody of Train's Drive By Song); Book Review: Fifteen Digits; A Bitter Mockery; Blazing Eagle; Comic Book Heroes Gone Wild (Parody of Skid Row's "Youth Gone Wild"); Broken (Parody of Rihanna's "Diamonds"); The Waiting Room; What If Heaven Were Really Real?; The Tin Man's Heart


Mouse Tales Press:

Waiting (Short Story): 2011

Clay Pigeon (Short Story): 2012

Bittersweet Farewells (Short Story): 2013


Fiction 365:

Discussion (Short Story): 2011


Jolt Literary Journal:

One Mile Left to Go (Short Story): 2012


The Useless Degree Magazine:

Touch of Winter (Short Story): 2015


WildSound:

Poem: A Child's Dream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjE12-BCy0c

Porcelain Log Line: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/porcelain_by_melissa_r_mendelson.html

Glass Skies Over Home Log Line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE3usyyYlCE

The Unknown Rider (Winner of Twitter Short Story Contest):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCAMLsxZzRM

Waken Dream Log Line: http://wildsoundfestivalreview.com/2015/07/12/video-pitch-for-waken-dream-novel-by-melissa-r-mendelson/


Bystander Magazine:

Glimpse Over Darkness (Poetry): 2015


Antarctica Journal/Soul Fountain:

Poetry:

Shining Through The Echo (For Robin Williams)

Are We Real

Behind The Door

Here

Stone Slate

Dream Always


Art/Photography:

Farmland

Kayaker

Blue Surface

Silent Post

Who's Ready For Church

Fog Rolling In


Song Lyrics:

Remember

Shut

On White Wings I Fly