creativity

Tuesday Tales: Endless Doors Part 5

The Tuesday Tales feature continues with a new story this week. The previous story was Shadow of the Beast  To read the story, click on each link: Shadow of the Beast Part 1Shadow of the Beast Part 2Shadow of the Beast Part 3

This story is a a departure from fantasy for me and into a bit of science fiction where the science is more setting and the fiction is nuanced with it. Click this link to read Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Endless Doors

by P. H. Solomon

Part 5

The lights in the corridor synced with Jake’s ID and led him through the station’s maze. He passed people his age and older, some bustling and others with halting gaits but all on some duty. The uniforms varied in design and color that left him bewildered as to their functions. Each time Jake passed an intersection, he consulted his ID for directions as it blinked in the direction of his quarters. When he arrived, Jake pressed his card and hand over the sensor and the doors swished apart. He stepped over the runner into the room where dim lights glowed over a neatly made bed.

An automated voice spoke in soothing tones. “Greetings, Archangel. Request what you need and it shall be provided.”

Jake cleared his throat. “Ah, turn on the lights.”

The lights brightened at a gradual pace.

He moved to the closet and found several uniforms pressed and hung. Jake touched them in turn. He nodded at the sharpness of each set. “Good enough.” His old one was not present. Probably lost or discarded when the transport was unloaded.

“Please repeat the request.”

“Nothing.”

“Standing by.”

Jake inspected his quarters further but found nothing beyond his basic necessities. He sat on the bed and slapped his thighs with a sigh. “What to do now.”

“You have a message waiting.” A chime sounded. “Your requested stylist has arrived.”

Jake let a shuffling woman into his room. She motioned him to a chair in front of his mirror without introduction. “How do you want it?”

“Military style.”

The stylist’s wrinkles distorted with a smirk. “Didn’t take you for one of them with that mop. But you move like one. You new? Well, I’m Dot.”

“Please to meet you, Dot.”

She shrugged and set to work. Dot proceeded to monologue through the few minutes it took her to crop his hair. “I’ve got two years ’til I’m eligible for mods. I want new knees first but most of the other stylists think small–their hands.”

“Mods?”

“Yeah they give those out for good service awards. You got to be here five home-years to get one, then it’s something every year. They call it incentives. It’s really bribery against just acting retired.” She shrugged. “What do I care? They start fixing things and I feel better. It’s better than staring out the window and moping.” Dot continued by telling him gossip about people he didn’t know and probably wouldn’t meet.

Jake listened but his eyes drooped by the end of the haircut.

“There, done.” Dot snorted. “Bored you to sleep, did I?”

“No, really, it’s the trip.” And her–but no sense in being impolite.

She crossed her arms, cocked her head and pulled a half-smirk of disbelief. “Not just new but fresh off the ship?” At his nod, she leaned close. “Well, hon, just take your time. It’s not retirement but there’s no hurry here in forever-ville.”

Jake showed her out. “Thanks for the advice.”

Dot shrugged and hauled her equipment away in the corridor.

“Now, where was I?”

His automated friend answered, “You have a message waiting.”

He shrugged. “Show me the message.” Jake stood at the projection console.

A man’s face, lined with age but chiseled with an air of command, projected over the desk and spoke. “Officer’s meeting agenda-”

“Silence and scroll for reading.” The words scrolled in the projection in silence. New assignments rolled past. There was a welcome for Jake. He arched an eyebrow. They already knew he was there. Someone possessed military efficiency. An assignment rolled past. “What’s this?”

“You are viewing the officer’s meeting agenda. Assignment 221984 has just-”

“Go back to that assignment and hold.” Jake leaned forward. He squinted with his mouth open.

“Do you require a larger font?”

“Uh, no.” He swallowed. Three ships lost in an unexplored quadrant and another needed to fill the mission. A long-range sweep to rendezvous with The Jesús. “Mark this assignment for follow-up.”

The marker appeared in the projection.

Archangel Jake stood and paced the floor, his hands clasped behind his back. He tucked his chin as he walked. Something interesting already. Surely others would take it or claim seniority over him.

“Do you wish to exercise? There is a gym–”

“Dim the lights.” There was plenty of time before the meeting. He undressed and lay on the bed. Jake stared at the projection as it hung over the desk. He’d check the status when he woke.

Jake closed his eyes and shifted into a comfortable position. It was a good bed and adequate quarters. A memory hovered behind his closed eyelids of a trip taken during his months of preparation to leave home forever. He’d stood beneath a natural arch of rock and stared at the night sky, what was to become his new home and here he was. The stars flickered endlessly then, like fireflies, as he’d wondered what his future held. Jake remembered those moments, the unfamiliar uncertainty mingled with the approaching finality. He inhaled, then exhaled, and released memories of his old home now thirty years past and slept in new his new one.

Thanks for reading today. For more information about my writing, please see the page about my epic fantasy series, The Bow of Hart Saga, which includes two award-winning books.

About the Author

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The Bow of Destiny Commentary Pt. 1: The Beginning

the-bow-of-destiny-by-p-h-solomon1I thought it would be interesting to share some commentary about the beginning of The Bow of Destiny now that the book has been out for a while, sold well and the next book should be released in just a few months. The Bow of Destiny has a curious beginning for many people that’s at once perplexing, confusing and intriguing. This effect is done on purpose and I’ll share a bit about it now.

The Bow of Destiny is written using the technique of deep point-of-view where readers hopefully become deeply engaged with the perceptions of the point-of-view character. There are a few other aspects mixed into this, one being that there are little, to no, dialogue tags in the book – all the dialogue is contextual. Secondly, with the deep point-of-view, internalization is signaled – or tagged – with physical actions by the character. As such, the internal thoughts, mood and emotions of the character are not italicized since these are deep enough into the chracter-reader engagement to not be set apart in such a way. Lastly, when italics are used it is for a specific, ongoing experience for the POV character. In such cases, hallucinations, dreams, memories, visions and other such experiences of the character are italicized as a special indicator that something different is happening for the character. I also used a present tense instead of past tense to cue the reader that this is a present experience for the character. It’s important to note that the tense only has changed and not the character POV.

There are other details to consider in the opening of the book of which a reader should be aware. For instance, Athson is hunting small game when the story begins and he has a choice between his prey, a pheasant and a wild rabbit. This signifies that Athson will be presented with choices all along his upcoming journey in the series. Athson believes that he’s making the best choice for his shot with his bow and arrow – the easiest one. However, when presented with more information, he makes a split-second decision and changes his aim to the pheasant.

AthsonThis quick change from rabbit to bird amid varying wind conditions shows that Athson is an expert with the bow. He is also functioning under the belief that he makes good and wise decisions with the information he has. Thus the stage is set for him to begin making decisions which become increasingly difficult and challenging to him and the overall outcome. This one decision shows both what the character thinks about himself and his relationship to his world and that this belief will be challenged in ways he has not considered.

Athson is a challenging character for many reasons, some of which I’ll get into during some upcoming commentary about him in this opening set of scenes. However, Athson’s choice, mixed with the discussed aspects of writing this blog series, couple to allow the reader to experience Athson’s belief in himself for good or bad.

Next week, I’ll dig a little deeper into this opening scene and attempt to offer a bit more about Athson’s state of mind. I found this scene difficult, tricky and daring all at once so there are a lot of layers to what’s going in with Athson that set the stage for the whole story. Thanks for reading today. Please leave comments below and check back next week for another post about this topic.

To find out more about The Bow of Destiny, click over to where you can also find it in Kindle Unlimited and now Audible (Whispersync available):

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IMG_4154-EditAbout the Author

P. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. His first novel, The Bow of Destiny was named 2016 Book of the Year by Fantasia Reviews and is the first book of The Bow of Hart Saga. The sequel novel, An Arrow Against the Wind, was released in April of 2017 and was named Fantasia Reviews 2017 Book of the Year. The third book of the series, The White Arrow, was released October of 2017. P. H. Solomon also authored the award winning short story, The Black Bag, which won best published short story at SCWC 2012. P. H. is also a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

Tuesday Tales: Endless Doors Part 4

The Tuesday Tales feature continues with a new story this week. The previous story was Shadow of the Beast  To read the story, click on each link: Shadow of the Beast Part 1Shadow of the Beast Part 2Shadow of the Beast Part 3

This story is a a departure from fantasy for me and into a bit of science fiction where the science is more setting and the fiction is nuanced with it. Click this link to read Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Endless Doors

by P. H. Solomon

Part 4

Light cracked the darkness open like a shell. Jake ceased floating.

The soothing voice beckoned. “Archangel Lassiter, it is time.”

The cracks flashed wider. Jake gasped. “How long?” He shivered. He squinted and darkness departed.

“Please exit your container when you are able. Welcome aboard The Afterlife.

His coffin tilted as the lid slid open. Cool air embraced Jake. He fumbled for a grip to exit his long entombment. “How many years?”

Photo by Alessio Lin on Unsplash

Silence fed him no answer.

He stumbled out of confinement. Jake sunk on weak legs to the floor and trembled in the light shining through the doorway.

Strength returned to his limbs. The light beckoned him from the cool, dark chamber and the stasis container. Jake stepped into the light and followed its guidance once more. He passed multiple bulkheads like door-frames until he halted at pearl-colored doors that wouldn’t open.

“They’re locked until the interview is completed.”

Jake jumped at the voice.

To his right was a recess where a much older man sat at a desk. “Welcome to The Afterlife. I’m Pete. And you are Jake if the stasis barge’s records are correct.”

Jake arched one eyebrow and glanced at the pearl doors. “Really? That’s your name?”

Pete chuckled. “I suppose someone assigned me here as a joke.” He motioned Jake to a chair.

“Why is everything based on such clichés?” Jake sat across from Pete.

“Well, when the EES came into being there was no more need for mortuaries. The industry logically transformed into the service and brought their sensibilities along. May I see your card?” Pete held out his hand.

Jake frowned. Card? He’d left everything behind.

“It’s just in your pocket.”

“Oh, yes.” He handed it over.

Pete fed the ID into a slot on the desk and information was projected before him. “An Archangel, I see. From previous service.”

Jake cleared his throat. “Yes. Is everyone so thirsty when they arrive?”

“Uh, what? Oh, yes. It’s from the vitrifaction. You’ve been re-hydrated but you’ll need more fluids. First the oath, and then your prepared quarters with proper refreshments and clothing.” His eyes flicked to hair that fell into Jake’s eyes. “And a haircut. We’ll send a stylist if you prefer that to the auto-cutter provided.

“Uh, the stylist.” Better than closed spaces. He’d been in one long enough. Jake shivered.

Pete tapped in the request. “Good, then. Are you ready for the oath? Any questions?”

Jake grunted. “I”m ready.”

“Please stand. Archangel, do you now swear to serve humanity in the Earth Exploration Service until the end of your days, leaving behind all former attachments, ranks, privileges, property and reputation?” Pete motioned to Jake’s hand.

“Oh, yes.” He raised his hand. “I so swear.” Like there was another choice or anywhere to go. “How long was I in stasis?”

Pete offered the ID back. “Thirty years. Been here ten, myself.” The attendant pointed over Jake’s shoulder. “Through those doors your ID begins working. It will indicate the way to your quarters. Good luck to you, Archangel.”

He nodded, stood and stepped over the thin line where the motorized, pearl-colored doors ran on tracks. Jake left behind all that went with his name and accepted what came with his new title.

Thanks for reading today. For more information about my writing, please see the page about my epic fantasy series, The Bow of Hart Saga, which includes two award-winning books.

About the Author