Tuesday, June 29, 2010

CUP OF 80 ~ By Paul's Kid, Kate

~ By Paul's Kid, Kate

Full of LIFE
and robust 
and making you think
all the more,
all the more.

Warm and strong and when
sitting next to you, 
you always know what proximity like that does to possibilities you brew and perk and pour and stir and sip and think, a little more, a little more.

Look. Remember. Back there. There's a yellow legal pad with ideas all lined up to be activated and crossed off and turned into new ventures. There's a patio that calls your name and brings you on home and you're safe at home, no umpire needed. Kick back. Put your barefeet up on the rail. There are gardens to be viewed up by the big white fence rails at the edge of the acreage ~ heritage grapevines and tomato plants, peppers, strawberries on the sprawl, gladly seen gladiolas and zinnias soon on the scene. Tis all seasons for what's growing and throwing when golf balls or baseballs or pigskins fly. That's when a cup of coffee is more than a cup of coffee. That's when knowing how cheering on gets you by.

It's a gulp and a swallow and a thousand ways I think of my Dad, Paul Pilarcik, best man I know ... turning 80 this day, Yep. "Holy Mackerel Andy," he'd say, (unless he was calling you Mabel - he did that sometimes when he let his spirit go light past how his shoulders could've gone heavy, wondering how five lively kids would turn out or carrying supervisor details of a small empire of where 8'O'Clock coffee is ground ~ you know ~ at the end of the register, in your old local A&P store.), "Seems like only yesterday", his indomitable spirit would boom out . . . "You have a good one!"

Dad told me sensing the worth in another is what you saw and felt through their eyes and how their smile held on, really genuine. It's that genuine most of all that brings about thoughts of Paul. 

Well that, and a cup of coffee.
Happy *80* DAD!

You made my world happen and always showed strength and laughter and where bonds are formed and that people are the best folks to deal with in life. When you find good ones, invite 'em on over to your back patio for a good cup of coffee. I always will Dad, I always will.

Love you Dad,
~ You have a good one today.

~ Your Kate
  ( absolutely )

Sunday, June 27, 2010

THE PRINTS AND THE POPPER ~ ~ Epic*sode 14 ~ "A WRINKLE IN TIME" ~ By Absolutely*Kate and Harry B. Sanderford of Harbinger*33




"I read
 the news
 oh boy"

Saaaaay - 

Epic'sode 13 ~ Lucky For You?
Epic'sode 12 ~ Midnight Cowboy
Epic'sode 11 ~ The Shadow Knows
Epic'sode 10 ~ The Pissing Match
 Epic'sode 9 ~ Chain, Chain, Chain 
Epic'sode 8 ~ Too Cool!
Epic'sode 7 ~ Meet Virginia
Epic'sode 6 ~ I See the Light
Epic'sode 5 ~ Lucky Shot
Epic'sode 4 ~ Hi Jinks
Epic'sode 3 ~ Groping Against Grope
Epic'sode 2 ~ The Clot Thickens

and the original mystery of it all ~  Epic'sode 1 ~

 ~ ~ EPIC*SODE 14 ~ ~

~ By Absolutely*Kate
Harry B. Sanderford

"I read
 the news
 oh girl"



The headline in Sunday's HAZELTOWN HOLLER was the largest typefont-size Max Jenkins had ever been asked to set. His editor was insistent. His editor was adamant. His editor was being a pain in the ass but -- this was a front page holler in the HOLLER and Nancy in the production department liked his idea to drip red ink down between two of the columns. He was going to ooze from the OO's. It was a gonna be a real gripper this dripper, an alarming edition
leading off with - - - 


"What a lead off! Why there's a fresh wind blowing the cover off this cover-up! Penelope Payne is one uncanny investigative reporter. Indeed she is. How could it be otherwise? She'd never let the perfect become the enemy of the good. Wait, didn't I try to explain that to Lieutenant Stine -- that was an important clue for what he had to do . . . and all he had to do was save the BIJOU. That's all. Someone should've told Kate before it was too late about what was transpiring behind the scenes. Now it looks like it could be more than red velvet curtains coming down for her too. If only Harry would've listened to my plan, the noose in the news wouldn't be so taut now . . . and now, holy mackerel, now I have all these ethnicity readings to prepare for what is to be taught for the Yale European Summer Studies program so I must leave this Hazeltown Hospital, I must . . . but I wish I would've told Harry where I hid it. Sure as Lincoln, Roosevelt and Horace Mann that man would know what to do with it. That's a clue too. Nurse! Nurse! Can you send someone out for some back issues of The Economist, my discharge papers and will you please substitute a chocolate protein shake for this nutrition-forsaken jello concoction. What's that? More medication? No, no -- I have to talk to Harry about this alarming edition and his cue to the clue -- "


Paul Caracas, InterNoir's hot shot hire in Hazeltown had a clue or two where the Payne dame's claim to fame was inking its thinking from. His thoughts rustled back to last night at the Lucky Shot Bar & Billiards almost as many times as he rustled the jump pages of the HAZELTOWN HOLLER's Sunday edition. He'd been outsourced as the unnamed source too many times. Was it wile or guile that let her press pass prowess garner intel from inside his psyche, or did he save face with headquarters by claiming excess Kozel beer and the good stuff the astute barkeep Anthony astutely kept pouring out?


"Ooo! Ooo! Ms Payne sure meant what she said when she said to read her byline in the morning HOLLER! There is simply nothing hotter than the HOLLER when a sensation is hung out to dry. Well, can I pour you another cup of coffee while your uniform is getting dry Inspector Phillips? So kind and friendly of you to come by and bring this lovely brioche. How did you ever guess one of my favorites and that I'd certainly enjoy some company while Edgar was out of town covering the Baltimore Ravens training camp? Once again, I'm so very embarrassed for my coffee splash spill when I read the thrill of how clean that profound Ms Payne gives crime its rightful shame. It'll all come out in the wash. Oh, and your uniform will be dry now soon. Would you care to play Scrabble while we wait? -- "


Waiting was what Boss Gabardine was doing. For some heads to roll. For some spin to misdirect. For news where this news leaked. For  plugging the leak, and plugging it so's nobody didn't know nothing about it no more. For a fall guy to take the fall. It wouldn't be long now. No, not long at all -- 


All alleged drama in a theatre can come true. It can happen AT THE BIJOU. It did. Noted political philanthropist Avery Gould Gabardine named in corruption cover-up. Crime doesn't pay but it certainly buys the best lawyers. A crack legal team is convening counsel currently at the state capital. Missing hometown movie reviewer Frances Jeanette Cheezum's blood prints match the hunch and high agility in fingerprinting detection of BIJOU chief popcorn popper Eddie Cartwright to the B+positive type found in traces of several words scrawled on the BIJOU Ladies room wall. An unnamed source close to this reporter confirms the smear campaign to blur the bloody message. In addition for this edition, the aforementioned high-ranking not mentioned source holds firmly to the theory that Fast Frannie, the artist now known as Jeanette, was an unwilling but not unwitting accomplice in a frenzied frame-up gone foul by BIJOU projectionist Chester Hanks. Unfortunately the voltage went out instead for temporary replacement Sparky Denton in a misplaced hit. STRIKE ONE! 

Chester Hanks remains at large. With the Cheezum whereabouts still unknown, a sizable reward for any news relating to revelation and discovery has been offered by a source close to the lucrative publishing family who wishes to remain anonymous at this time.  

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The Hazeltown Holler surpassed daily circulation and printed an evening edition for the first time since Nixon was impeached. Chester Hanks nabbed the last one from a paper box outside of Murphy’s Mudcat, a beer joint and bait shop over in the town of Alice where he served his community service polishing a barstool with his back pockets. He ordered another can of Schlitz and smoothed the paper flat on the bar. He read no farther than the news about Sparky Denton and drained his beer in one long swallow. The fat cats that scavenged the ponds around Alice were not the only ones Chester had been angling for. He’d overheard a bit of information concerning Boss Gabardine and that film critic for the HOLLER. Being a man himself, he figured The Boss would rather his wife remained unaware of this particular information. He had also figured the Boss might want to hitch a new Ranger bass boat to the back of his truck. When it came to figuring, Chester’s calculating could be ponderous. Whereas another man might sum up it was time to cut his line, Chester Hook’em Hanks determined it was time to dangle bigger bait.

* C * L * I * F * F * H * A * N * G * E * R * !


Mosey on over to next Sunday's Matinee
for the next gut-gripping epic'sode!

" The Prints and The Popper "

 (c) 2010 ~ Dashing Duet Authors
  Absolutely*Kate and Harry B. Sanderford
Exclusive  ~ AT THE BIJOU

Friday, June 25, 2010

THE WILL'S THE WAY ~ #Fiction on the Flash

~ By Absolutely*Kate,
as gleaned from Detective Nelle Callahan

As we look back into our tale of two trenches trudging a tough night, the rain-washed streets are easing some pain-washed minds. So it seems, well, so it seems. It's not always as it seems, as they say. But it seems so here, on this street . . . on this night, doesn't it?


"Mean streets, Callahan? But aren't mean streets just yesterday's versions of chivalric forests? We all have to travel them. Immerse oneself in the destructive elements and become tougher, finer, more aware of what the world is handing out, dealing down. Sometimes the dealing's dirty. Sometimes it's aces up.  We travel them, the mean streets and bewildering forests to find where we're headed ourselves," reflectively sighed the tall man under a dampened fedora, pausing the tower of his shadow in what light flickered beneath an aging grey lamp post, to pull his deck, light his Lucky. His gaze took all the perimeters in. This was not a streetcorner of optimum desire. "Uh, it is Miss Callahan?"
"Interesting take there Mr Harry. You're a tough guy with a lotta learnin' under that soggy fedora. And yes. No miss on Miss. Proud of skirting some slippery slides down some pitfalls in matrimonial affairs. There are collisions that stop your heart and there are long lonesome highway crashes of the bad road variety. Why am I telling you this Buster? You're a guy who's been around, seen his way through forests and mean streets, and seems to be able to string together words with more than two syllables. There are days that's actually remarkable to come across in my line of work. Now, about this finding something you're looking for -- "

The 1949 dark DeSoto skidded in the puddle off the curb of the confab of the detective and her new client, a tall man itching, but quietly so, with something to tell, who preferred to be hailed by the moniker of Harry for the time being. No tellin' yet who he really was, how close he carried his story. No time to read those pages right now. An arm which meant business took a shot in the dark to stage a near miss near the Miss. No mistaking that miss. Warnings seldom are. Nelle stepped into the street, stooped low and plucked a slug from a 45 still spinning against the curb as the car spun speedy its getaway. No plates. She'd bet a berry it was a bent car on the lam. Looked like three goons with all the shoulders attached within.

"Friends of yours Callahan?"

"I've made a few along my way. Howzabout you? Anyone know of all the dick joints on all the streets in all the world you were gonna walk into mine tonight?"

"I was possibly pondering that point myself Nelle. I can call you Nelle now, right? We've just had our first share of lead squirt our way. In places like Bolivia that's as bonding as riffling romance. And, could this be our coffee shop?"

"Sure, sure, you got the right to call me Nelle, Wise Guy. Yep. This is it, Hill o'Beans. Best cup o'joe a dark rainy night can brew. You'll see. I like my coffee. Gives me pause to ruminate. You ruminate a lot instead of just bumping gums, don't you Harry?"
Albert DeFonse Magrudy heard the little silver bell tinkle yet again above the doorway where he brewed the best beans this town had ever sipped. Despite the drench of trenches creating new rivulets in his tired linoleum under the Hill o'Beans'  coat tree, he smiled up large when he realized it was Nelle. Never a dull encounter when Nelle was at the counter. This fellow with her though - some little tick at the back of his mind told him he'd seen him before. Couldn't place where. Couldn't place when. It'd come to him though. It always did. He ambled over, spiffing up the pale blue apron he favoured as the couple settled into their swivel stools.
"What's it all about Albie? World treating you jake?" As soon as she'd shot her customary greeting  to her customary coffee guy, Nelle winced at the stab even saying 'jake' still jabbed. The tall man who'd kept his damp fedora in place noticed. The coffee man with the twinkle to his eye and the jut to his chin noticed the notice.
"Same new same new Miss Nelle. Life be what you brew. And you?", with a glance to the fellow still giving him the once over under the soppy brim, "What's it for you Bub?"
"Cup o'your strongest and a piece of lemon pie. I like my pie when I take my time to talk to a delicious dame."

Nelle tugged a few tangles of damp tresses out of the back of her collar and mocked a Get-this-guy glance with ol' Albert. Swiveling into the now smug smile of the man still going by the moniker of Harry, she visibly relaxed into the familiar aromas of a fresh brew and an old strain -- Frankie Lane's Mule Train finishing up on the yellow Philco behind the battered counter. A good place to start in ~

"Why the smug smile? What d'you need me to find that a smart fellow like you can't find, that the cops can't find? Huh Harry?"

"Smile's cause I like your style. You don't flinch much. Knowing that comes in handy should I ever need a clear-thinker in a tight spot. You've known tight spots Callahan. You've come through."

"Fair enough. Now, what is it that you've lost or misplaced or cheesed in the wrong nook of the wrong cupboard?"

Strong black coffee in white porcelain mugs with a pungent piece of lemon pie on a chipped blue plate slid before the two main attractions at the battered cream counter. Only other customer was that guy in the back booth with the newspaper who'd come in just before these two. Albert slipped back to some sorting of spoons and rattling of forks while he took the jib jab jive of their conversation in. No grifter or button man was going to pull a flimflam on his niece, and that's what this slick bruno seemed. Unless he proved otherwise.

"I didn't lose it. I just can't find it."

"Is it there? Does it exist?"

"I wouldn't have come rapping on your door, Miss Goody Gumshoe and be gulping black coffee with you now -- HEY, THIS IS GOOD -- if I didn't know it was indeed there -- real, true, solid."

"You gonna tell me what it is so's I can find it all the better?" Nelle sipped, watching his eyes. There was something about his eyes. She'd never seen them stay in one place for too long.

"It's a will."

"Will? Duck soup Harry. Eggs in the coffee. No offense Albie. Easy solution to your convolution. You just need to find a lawyer's door for your rapping,  not a detective's."

"I did."

"Why d'you need me then Harry?"

"I went to his office. I found him behind his desk. A Mr Gerald Dunnigan, Esquire. With two holes plugged where his Esquire used to be his yap was closed. This mouthpiece just wasn't talkin' Callahan."

Across the Hill o'Beans Coffee Shoppe, way back in the corner booth, sports pages rustled more than just the news that Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Eddie Waitkus was shot in Chicago by deranged fan Ruth Ann Steinhagen.

The radio switched to a new tune, Evelyn Knight warbling "A Little Bird Told Me" . . . 

~  ~  ~  ~  ~
 Stay Tuned. 
There'll be more.
There's always more
brewing than a Hill o'Beans 
when trouble's on the scene
~  ~  ~  ~  ~

I'm Detective Nelle Callahan.
I've met some of you before and no doubt I'll run a lookover on some of youse when we meet up some dark rendezvous that spooks or sparks a soul. But for now I gotta case -- and a dead guy and something to find, as well as finding out why I should be finding it. I'll keep you posted ... You take care now. Don't take any wooden nickels, hear?

(c) 2010 ~ Author Absolutely*Kate
graced by HippyDream, KAGoldberg and Joel Emberson photos

Thursday, June 24, 2010


"Everything is connected."
                                                ~ Barry J. Northern,
                                                CHASING THE WIND

as fellow authors,
and companions aboard 

herald the finale ~
"Chasing the Wind"

Tis the stuff
was made for.

~ Jeanette Cheezum ~
~ Anthony Venutolo ~ 
~ Absolutely*Kate
~ Matthew Magda ~
for Barry's finale.

is connected."
~ Barry J. Northern,


An Ode to Chasing the Wind

Barry, Aloethar, and Walfrid
strolling/riding through the
winds/sands of time.
Are now near their oasis.

Only time will tell if it’s
Jewels or rocks, Liquid
or sawdust, or
Heaven or hell.

~ By Jeanette Cheezum
 Harbingering . . . Barry J. Northern's mystical desert finale


Based on the big cornfed barkeep galoot
from my BIJOU story ...  AN UNLIKELY PARTNER <

I made a bunch of loot helping out some Clyde in my bar back in Naked City. You see, his chick shot a few holes in him and I, protecting my joint, shot a few holes in her.

As a thanks, he threw me half of the take from their big fix on a crooked boxing match. I naturally accepted and thought it was the perfect opportunity to get out of Dodge and set up shop somewhere warm.

I turned to the want ads from my local daily rag and snatched up some cheap land smack dab in the middle of the desert.

But there's a sucker born every minute.

 I thought I was buying 40 acres and a mule in Vegas. I was ready to settle down with palm trees, drinks with umbrellas and a slinky dame on my arm feeding my olives and fanning me with feathers.

Instead, I wound up in this sand trap and this rundown bar filled with all sorts of Green Street hooligans. Apparently some guy Barry  knows them all and I'm gonna have to figure out a way to get him in here so he can calm them all down. Apparently, he's their leader.

I mean, there's only so many times I can un-tilt my pinball machine...

~ By Anthony Venutolo
 Harbingering . . . Barry J. Northern's mystical desert finale


 There may have seemed a desert between them as years went by, but across a crowded room on an unexpected Thursday evening, heat still shimmered the way a hovering glaze does above surfaces deemed too hot to touch. He was the one that got away. She knew that, and it bothered her in a place too hard to comfortably scratch beneath a green silk sheath. It bothered her that he'd been the only one to do the walk-out first, to grab his hat from its hook, whistle his happy tune and let the screen door screech a sound effect in the night they'd used to be fond of ~ well, when they were together, when they were the big One.

And here he was, just another badge in a sea of Desert Inn conference attendees until that quirk above his left eye let on that game was on. Comeback time. Her time. Not a chance of a clean getaway tonight. She led off with feigned indifference. When he glided testosterone towards her, shifted his weight, struck his stance, she let her eyes linger over his "HELLO MY NAME IS". That got to him - she caught the old twitch at the side of his now fizzled grin. Her fingertip threw a curve, rounded first base in a side trip up the corner of his mouth, tracing lips, slower than slow motion shows a desert classic cameo so you know you're not seeing a mirage. She was no mirage. She held her ground with level challenge until she became the most integral part of that grin. He gripped her elbow. She drawled, "Is it really you Alfredo? Why where have you been all these years?"

He always held charismatic on center stage or pitcher's mound and took full count of her grandstanding. Halfway through his snazzy monologue on farm teams to the majors, four seamers with spin, and velocity records broken like a heart with no trajectory, she stifled a yawn. He caught its strike coming just across the corner of his zone and elicited a slider pitch which still had heat, "You wanta blow this joint Sweetness? Put something up on the scoreboard?"

"Not hearing anything here I haven't before. Might as well."

"You're referring to me or the franchise conference?"

"What were you thinking Big Al? That you'd lost your touch to get under my skin?"

His thumb tendered a remembered tempo as it eroticized her wrist. They were in the cool night air now. Resorty deco. All the cabana props in place for tomorrow's desert classic sponsors'  shoot. His gaze burned a hole in the gauze of facade he saw until he sensed her edges raw. When he backed her up against a large plaster camel, she held her mirth tight but shook her strap loose -- one glitzy strap of green silk sliding askance along cleavage's way. He knew that trail. He liked that trail that way. He answered her askance, pulled her towards a maroon striped cabana.

"Wait -- scene change?" Green glitz on the unzip. One liquid move and she became the cool temptation an oasis holds in legendary promise and quench. He met her under water offer and she held him there. And she held him there. Her head lifted twice for air, but she held him there.

~ By Absolutely*Kate
 Harbingering  . . . Barry J. Northern's mystical desert finale


The infinite sands of time blanketed the desert like an eternal shifting beige sea. Though the sun daily caressed the sand it was the starry night that the desert loved. 

~ By Matthew Magda,
 Harbingering . . . Barry J. Northern's mystical desert finale


CHASING THE WIND - FINALE ~ PART 9 ~ Barry J Northern of Harbinger*33 presents a mysti-serial

Chasing the Wind
 ~ FINALE ~Part Nine ~ 
By ~ Barry J. Northern

"Chasing the Wind" from THE CHAOSWIND CHRONICLES, an original fantasy set in the mystical world of Cryl, a land struggling to contain the chaotic magical energies that were unleashed upon the world when the last god was murdered.

 The desert is a speck in the swirling worlds. There are more worlds than grains of sand in the desert. There are worlds within a grain of sand. The Goddess still weeps, mourning her murdered husband. Energy oscillates between waves and particles. Light is both. Conciousness is a feedback loop in a network of flashing cells. I exist.
With that last thought, Aloethar began to remember who he was. The flood of information still washed over him, but at least now he knew it did. He felt his limbs and body, felt a sense of place in space, and then looked down and saw his hands and arms. He was here, but his surroundings flickered between a thousand random images every moment. Except he knew the images were all there at once, and that it was his mind that flickered. Time is a product of conciousness. He fought hard to ignore the random knowledge, and concentrate on something, but he didn't know what. He understood how memory physically worked, long before he remembered his own recent past, but then more notions of the nature of time washed all that away. He fought to regain focus, and then remembered the bottle of black kohol. He wondered how long it had been since he drank it. Did it matter? The soul of Cyraxis courses through my veins. He knew that, knew it as absolute fact, but nothing more about the knowledge made sense. The Goddess chases the Wind.
     The Wind. Aloethar remembered the Storm. He tried to filter the blast of knowledge, to ignore anything that wasn't relevant to the Storm. Everything is connected. No, well, yes, but to admit that truth would get him nowhere. Then he realised that the message 'everything is connected' came to him after he had made the effort to ignore anything irrelevant. Could he filter the knowledge that way, by trying to ignore? Could he ask questions? He yelled out into the swirling chaos, and his voice echoed through eternity.
     “What is the Storm?” He knew that the Storm had been important, but nothing more.
     Men will wield his power. 
     What did that mean? “Whose power?”
     A child of the Source.
     Aloethar concentrated hard on the Storm. “What is the Storm?”
     His wife gives hers willingly to her children. She loves her children, and the world they created for them. The world is in balance, but the work is not yet done.
      He wasn't getting anywhere. He was still lost in the flood of knowledge, with no way out. He tried another question. “What work?”
     The Murdered God must be at peace, or the world will be torn apart, and The Children of the Goddess will be no more.
      Aloethar did not only hear words in his mind, but images, sounds, tastes, smells, and an infinite other subtle sensory inputs. These all flowed towards Aloethar. At first they had seemed chaotic, but he was beginning to sense patterns. Each time he heard the word children, he saw an image of the Theanders, the primitive cave-people that Pym had told him about. He remembered Pym, and hoped he was all right. Why wouldn't he be? Was there danger? Yes. There was something dangerous happening. Someone else was in danger too.
     Yes. Someone he loved. He felt that, more strongly than anything else. The feeling burnt like the sun, whiting out all other images for an instant, until the feeling subsided. “Whom do I love?”
     The Goddess loves her Children. The Goddess loved her husband.
     Aloethar decided to treat the seemingly random information as relevant. The Goddess loves her family. Why is that important? Family! He had family in danger. Then he remembered his sister, Sana'ah, and his neice, Ibna. They were in danger. The Storm? Yes, the Storm was heading towards them, but what was the Storm?
     Men will wield His Power. He must be at peace. Bind Him to the earth. Bind Him and save my Children.
     Pym had known about Binding. Why did he think of Pym? Pym had said something. What was it? That was it! Pym had been telling Aloethar of the theories he had heard, one was that the Chaoswind was the soul of a murdered god. In the presence of the Source of all knowledge, he knew this was true, and that the God's wife, the Goddess, had sacrificed herself to save the world when His soul had been released into it. The Four Mages, aided by the scholars of Tyntieri, had been attempting to bind this Chaoswind to objects like the Star Sapphires. They had recruited the Medebians to aid in the task. Aloethar himself had found a way to lock-down the Chaoswind in a potion. A potion that was now in his blood.
     The Thard is not dead.
     He knew that the energies in the Chaoswind, the Aspects, were  manifestations of the God's power. Each Aspect did a different thing. The red cords had not killed his clansmen, but moved them. The soldiers of his clan had been scattered throughout time, throughout Cryl, and perhaps beyond; lost among the countless worlds. They might not be dead, but they were lost to him. He would not let that happen to Sana'ah. Besides, there were many subtle Aspects that could kill. The potion bound all the Aspects of the Chaoswind, as did the Stones, but they were all used up. How could he stop the Storm?
     Men will wield His power.
     Could he use the power of the Chaoswind to make it stop itself? The Four Mages channelled the power of the Chaoswind to perform their magicks, but theirs was a special gift.
     They murdered the God.
     Though the truth shocked him, but he had to remain focused. “Can I wield the power of the Chaoswind?”
     The straight answer surprised Aloethar, but along with the confirmation, came the knowledge of how to do it. The Chaoswind was channelled not by logic, but by emotion. Which emotion would achieve the effect he desired?
     The goal of the enlightened.
     This answer was accompanied by a feeling of Peace. He held onto it. He knew what to do, but could he feel how to do it? He began to feel Hope, but let it pass through him, leaving only Peace. He knew it would work, and began to feel Happy, but let it pass, leaving only Peace. He began to Fear that he lacked the emotional control, but let that too pass through him. He focused on the Storm, and then found himself back on solid ground, next to the dead camel, and the still-prostrate Waldfrid. The Storm raged around him. Slowly, calmly, he looked up at the roiling energies and whirling arcs and twists of sand and wind, his face impassive. He focused on the Storm, held up his hand, and then spoke his Will.
     “Be still.”
     Peace radiated from him, and everything stopped. Sand hung motionless in the air. The cords of energy – the Aspects – froze in position. The howling wind became silence. He spoke again.
     “Rejoin the Source, lost one. One day you may be whole again, but let this part of You rejoin Her in the Infinite Knowledge where Time has no meaning. Flow through me and into the Source.”
     The energies surged towards Aloethar, but, beyond fear, he threw back his head, and cast his arms wide, as if enjoying the first gentle breeze after a long, hot summer. He grew warm, and his skin tingled. He smelt cinnamon and aloethar vapour. He opened his eyes and saw the Storm entire, flowing into him, colour upon colour, Aspect upon Aspect, until all were joined and bound to the Source: the ultimate Binding, from which the soul of the Murdered God had first emerged. The wind disappeared, and the sand fell to the floor as if in a dream. Then the lights were gone, and only the desert remained, yet Aloethar still touched the Source, and felt the power there.
     The beast's heart still beats. A gift to a brave servant.
     Aloethar reached down and placed his hands on the camel's side. A green glow washed over the animal's surface, like a camel-shaped bubble, swirling with oily colours. Then the energy flowed out of the camel and back to the Source. The camel groaned and opened its long lashes, then snorted and clumsily got to its feet. Aloethar, heard another groan behind him, and then turned to see Waldfrid sitting up and rubbing his great shaggy head. He looked up at Aloethar, and his weary eyes became suddenly bright. “Your eyes! Black as oil!”
     Aloethar smiled, and reached out to help Waldfrid to his feet.
     “I am spent. Take me home.”
     Waldfrid hefted Aloethar onto the camel's back, and before the merchant had even turned the recalcitrant animal around, he began to nod off, and before long the animal's steady, lolloping stride sent him off into a peaceful slumber.

     Aloethar sat up in bed and rubbed his eyes. He looked around at the familiar interior of his own small tent, his things placed neatly all around him. Too neatly. The place looked tidier than it ever had. His sister would have said it had the woman's touch. His sister! He tried to stand but was rewarded with a sharp pain behind his eyes. He felt nauseated, his mouth suddenly dry, but found a jug of clear water next to his bed, and, allowing himself only to take small sips, soon regained a comfortable equilibrium. He could tell from the way the light shone through the slit-like gaps underneath the tent, and through the small holes in the thick fabric, that it was high noon outside, and this was painfully confirmed when the tent-flap was suddenly thrust back, blinding him. He shielded his eyes, and squinted a question. “Sana'ah?”
     A soft, deep laugh. “She is well, Aloethar. She will be here soon.” The voice of an old man.
     The old man let go of the tent-flap, and Aloethar's eyes readjusted. The man had to stoop to stand near the entrance, where the angle of the tent left less room. His wild grey hair was most unsuccessfully kept away from his face by a thin golden circlet. He wore long clothes that Aloethar had never seen the like of before. They were thick, like the tent fabric, and looked quite unsuitable for the hot desert, as did the man's long white beard, but there wasn't a single bead of sweat on the man's smiling face. “Who are you?”
     The man came to the side of Aloethar's bed and sat down on the floor next to him. “My name is Balcaoran. The Child Mage.”
     “One of the Four?”
     He chuckled. “Oh yes.”
     “But I thought you were really a child.”
     “I was once,” his eyes twinkled, “and I will be again,” he continued enigmatically. “But enough of that. I am here to thank you for Binding the Chaostorm. Your Derlander friends, Pym and Waldfrid, have kindly shown me your still, and the potion you made with it. Poor Waldfrid tried to explain what happened to him when he drank the potion, but I'm afraid he can't remember. I assume it's the same in your case.”
     Aloethar cast his mind back to recall his last memory, but could only remember collapsing in the face of the Storm, with the Stones winking at him like stars through the sand. “The Stones!”
     “We have them. Please, be calm. You are still fragile. It's a wonder to me how you survived at all. This potion of yours has a tremendous capacity for Binding, but I am more interested in its applications. Waldfrid mentioned the Source. Does that mean anything to you?”
     Something stirred in Aloethar's memory. “Yes,” he said vaguely, “but I don't remember anything more.”
     “Well there certainly have been some long term effects.”
     “There have?”
     “Why yes. I'm given to understand that you have never left the desert, that you speak only your clan's tongue.”
     “That's right. As do you, very well for a foreigner.”
     “Oh, no, you are mistaken.” Balcaoran smiled. “We have been speaking in High Tyntieri since I came in.”
     The conversation lasted a little longer, mostly Balcaoran asking questions, and Aloethar struggling to remember anything. There was one thing on which Aloethar was certain though. When Balcaoran asked if he thought his clansmen, the soldiers and the clan Thard, had truly been killed by the Storm, Aloethar was sure that they had not. Balcaoran pondered this for a moment, but asked nothing more. Then he promised he would visit again soon, when Aloethar felt better, and left. Aloethar lay back, contemplating sleep, but was soon interrupted by much less unsettling visitor. His sister and niece entered, and both smothered him with thankful kisses, and praised him endlessly. The Storm had been almost upon them, and Sana'ah's smiling joy turned to a look of hollow dread as she recounted to Aloethar that she had truly believed she and her daughter were going to die. They talked for a while longer, and then Aloethar yawned, a long, deep yawn.
     “You are tired, brother. I should not have kept you talking.” She rose to her feet and held her hand out for little Ibna.
     “It's all right, Sana'ah, really . . .” he yawned again.
     “We will visit soon. Won't we Ib?”
     The little girl smiled, and kissed Aloethar one last time. “Yes. Bye bye, Uncker Alwo.”
     Aloethar chuckled. “Bye bye, desert flower.” He laid back, but propped himself up again when Sana'ah paused at the tent-flap.
     “Father would be proud.”
     The tears twinkling in her eyes echoed his own.
     After that, Pym entered, in paroxysms of excitement, his every other word “Balcaoran.” He eventually calmed down enough to explain that Balcaoran wanted to journey with them to Llyneirias, the capital city of Tyntieri.
     “You still want me to come with you?”
     “You must!”
     “But you no longer need a guide. Do you even need to go? Can't you give your message to Balcaoran now?”
     “Oh, we've gone beyond that. He's asked me to be his assistant! Can you believe that? And he says that my first job is to convince you to come, and teach the scholars the brewer's art.”
     “I think he wants to know more than that.” Aloethar still couldn't shake the idea of the Source, and although Balcaoran had not asked, he was sure he, like Aloethar, wanted to know just where the rest of the Chaostorm had been Binded.
     “Balcaoran wants to know everything. Come on, Aloethar! You said you always wanted to see the seas! What an adventure it will be!”
     Aloethar smiled. It would be at that.

(c) 2009 ~ Author Barry J. Northern 
Pencil Sketch by ~  Artist Jon Taylor

C H A S I N G   T H E    W I N D
D O   C A T C H   T H E   W H O L E   M Y S T I C A L   S T O R Y
for the chaotic energy stirring
and the depth of the message imparted
~ Absolutely*Kate 
and the  fine staff of renown . . . wanting more fine adventures, more journeys to jostle the soul and bring us back more whole ... We'll miss Thursdays with Barry . . . unless . . .
Delve ever deep dear Reader where magic plays and wisdom stays ~ the mystical mind of Barry J. Northern, a talented conjurer of fantasies' fiction flash and flow ~ 
AUTHOR BARRY J NORTHERN is all Good Stuff! Fantasy, fable, fiction, fun and fine finesse when turning out churning energy's bet thoughts ~ ala the written word.  As you have enjoyed Chasing the Wind kindly  email Barry at barryjnorthern@googlemail.com and convince him to finish editing the first Chaoswind Chronicle Novel, "THE BIRTH OF MAGIC".  Barry, being the evolving bon vivant that he is ~ welcomes you  to pop on over to experience magic on the rise in words, sounds, sensations and enlightening glimmer at the mystical energizing site, 21st Century Writer Barry J. Northern.  

AH THEN . . . You can also then ~ bring some FEAR TO YOUR EARS ~ Listen in @ CAST MACABRE. (Something's always brewing!)

    Sensating Barry's energies? Contagious. They draw us in. 
It's time to drink the kohol.

       ~ Absolutely*Kate