Archive for Time Travelling Umbrella

#JuNoWriMo excerpt – 2

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on June 10, 2013 by drmagoo

Another glimpse into the developing story.

Simon had seen the Atlantic many times, growing up in New York, and traveling to his family’s summer home on Long Island, but the Pacific had always been a mythical thing, the ocean sailed by explorers on their way to strange lands and to visit new cultures. The salt air had been drawing them in since they’d gotten off the bus, and for a moment, they stood on the beach, looking out over the water. Simon had heard the stories of Lewis and Clark in school, and he couldn’t help but imagine what they must have thought, after traveling thousands of miles through absolute wilderness to encounter this vastness.

Just as they were beginning to wonder whether they should make camp for the night – the moon was barely a sliver, and it was not a good night for hiking over the rock-strewn beach – the umbrella gave a tug, almost jerking Simon over. It wanted them to keep going to the south, and quickly. Motioning quickly to his companions, he began hurrying southward along the beach, moving as rapidly as he safely could in the low light.

They reached the end of the beach after an hour or so, the southernmost tip of the beach capped by a long rock jetty, echoing with the sounds of waves pounding from the night-time breezes. A lone figure stood on the rocks, right arm outstretched toward the sky. In the dim light, it was difficult to tell for sure, but they couldn’t imagine it was anyone other than Walter. A dark shape moved through the air over his head, and his hand grasped whatever it was before his arm lowered. He held this new object in his hands, considering it for a bit, and slowly, Emily realized that she could see Walter more clearly. It wasn’t that her eyes were adjusting to the darkness – the object in his hands was glowing. When she realized it was an umbrella, she cried out, and the sound carried easily in the emptiness of the beach.

Walter turned and saw them on the beach behind him, holding his glowing talisman close to his chest. He didn’t move towards them, but Simon felt the umbrella tug him towards the jetty. He couldn’t resist the pull, and pulled the umbrella from its sheath to see it glowing as well. When he reached the rocks, he saw Walter’s umbrella begin to flicker, and then suddenly, he vanished. The umbrella in his hands was getting almost unbearably bright, and he turned to his companions, frozen in place a hundred years away from him on the beach. Then, without a single flicker, he vanished as well.



#JuNoWriMo excerpt – 1

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on June 4, 2013 by drmagoo

Just a glimpse into what I’ve been writing.

Simon felt his eyes tear up. To him, the death of so many people was a horror, to be sure, but he hadn’t known any of them – other than Marcus. He hadn’t lost his family, or friends. His whole life hadn’t become war. And yet, he understood loss. He had a family, and a life, back in 1878. Everything that had happened to him since he found the umbrella had been so exciting that he hadn’t thought a lot about them, but his father must have wondered if something had gone wrong when he didn’t show up at work. Had they grieved for him? Would he ever see them again, to let them know he was okay? And what was it like for all of the people of this time, each of whom had lost so much. He heard a noise to his right and saw Emily, weeping openly. This situation was beyond him, and he started to shake.

Only Pater seemed unaffected by the emotion of the moment. He was sharpening a knife, and his expression was unreadable. They sat there for what seemed a very long time, crying together, the only other sound the rasp of Pater’s knife against stone. When the initial burst of weeping settled, Pater spoke, in a voice that betrayed much more emotion than his face showed.

“I killed my own son, not long after this started. He was eight, and he’d caught the bug at school. I found out later one of his classmates had a mom who worked at a Genomatics facility, but it was much too late by then. I was much bigger and stronger than him normally, but it made him vicious. One night, he went to bed as my boy, and the next morning, he wasn’t. I woke up to him clawing at my face, and snarling. He’d killed his mom as she made breakfast in the kitchen, biting…

“Whoo. I haven’t thought about this in a very long time. I thought I had seen enough to protect myself, but I guess not. Anyway, we fought. I killed him, and left my house that morning. I haven’t even come close to going back to Houston since then. There was no point. Jenna, I have no idea what would change if this whole thing had never happened. And I don’t know why you love an old man like me, but after that day in Houston, if you’d asked me if I’d ever know a happy day again, I’d have sent you off to join my family, and I was wrong. I don’t fight for me anymore. I fight for you, and everyone here, but mostly you.

“Simon. Emily. I don’t understand this any better than you do. But if that umbrella has a way of changing it so that I never killed…Yeah, that’s worth thinking about.” He stuck his knife in its sheath and walked away from the camp. Jenna followed him, and the two of them slipped off behind a large pine tree just to the west.

Five Sentence Fiction – Words

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on April 10, 2013 by drmagoo


The scenarios for what would happen next were pretty clear – either more monsters would come, in which case Simon would be killed, other humans would come, in which case he’d be saved and the monster killed, or they’d both die here, probably very slowly, of starvation or exposure or disease. He hadn’t had much time to observe the monsters passively, without fear of immediately being eaten, and as he watched it struggle, mindlessly and futilely thrashing against its captivity, he was struck by an undeniable sense of wrong, of a pain emanating from the monster that had nothing to do with the stone blocks resting on its legs. It hadn’t asked to be as it was, and whatever had been done to strip it of its humanity was a violation of decency, of free will, of the way things should be, and Simon’s understanding of the task which lay before him became clearer.

Accepting for the first time the role he was still terrified of but knew was his, Simon began to talk, telling his story and cementing his promise to try, as best as he could, to save whoever he could. He didn’t think the monster would be able to understand him, but he hoped that someone, or something – maybe the umbrella – would, and that just speaking the words aloud would matter.

VisDare 13 – Atmospheric

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on April 2, 2013 by drmagoo


The fog that rolled in off the lake grew thicker throughout the day, and as the sun began sinking, Simon could no longer see anything within a few feet of the ground. He knew they’d come again tonight, and in greater numbers than before. Even though Walter had tried repeatedly to explain what had been done to create the monsters, the details of the science were over Simon’s head. What he remembered clearly, however, was Walter’s assertion that the monsters were both less than human and more than human. They’d never be able to function in groups for anything but feeding, but they were able to overcome complex obstacles, strong, fast, vicious, and utterly unresponsive to pleas for mercy.

He’d heard them feeding the last few nights, but few had come close enough to notice him. From his makeshift bunker, he’d been able to shoot those few that came his way, but he’d been immobile for too many days in a row. They had his scent, he was no longer able to see them and had lost his only advantage, and he was growing weaker. For the hundredth, and last, time that day, Simon looked down at his right leg and grimaced. The doctors in Emily’s time would have a hard time getting him to walk again, and he was very afraid that the step he’d taken into the trap was destined to be his last one.

Thinking of Emily made his eyes water. He hadn’t said goodbye, and he hadn’t even been able to see his children even once. He’d been here for six weeks, and while he’d learned much that would help them stop the monsters, all the knowledge in the world wouldn’t do any good if he died here, alone, torn apart by the creatures that killed billions of others.

Before the fog had come, Simon had spent the day talking to the umbrella, hoping to get whatever power which controlled it to act, to save him, but it remained inert. Darkness came, and as the fog enveloped him, he steeled himself for what he imagined would be his last stand. The night sounds were magnified in his mind, and every hoot of an owl or droplet of water sounded like a monster right next to him. But his terror never turned to panic. He’d seen too much to truly believe this was the end, no matter what the evidence said.

From the direction of the lake came a rustling noise, and then another, and then another. They’d be coming for him in a group tonight, and he twisted to face the sound as best as he could, gritting his teeth to keep from crying out as the trap pulled on his leg. The rustling grew louder, and he raised the rifle, hoping he was accurately perceiving their positions. His only hopes lay in miracles, from the umbrella, dumb luck in targeting without sight, or blind happenstance.

When he knew the sounds were in range, Simon squeezed the trigger and took his first shot. It hit something, for there was a scream. And the cry of a baby.

Make that the cries of two babies.

Flash! Friday #17

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on March 29, 2013 by drmagoo


Driven off the beach by the cold January wind, Simon and Emily moved inland, hoping to find some shelter from the icy spray. As they rounded the northeast corner of what had once been St. Andrews, Scotland, they came upon the ruins of the cathedral. It had fallen long before the rest of humanity, but some of the walls still stood stoutly enough to provide respite from the storm. The gravestones in the cemetery were worn smooth by the wind, except for the odd name here or date there.

Emily wrapped her arms around Simon, feeling his warmth radiating even through his overcoat. They were lost in time, one day witnesses to the end of humanity, the next surrounded by more faces than they could count, thousands and millions and billions of people unaware of how short a time they’d be around to worry about whatever it was that was consuming them that day. But standing here with the man she loved, in what was left of a building that had been painstakingly built, stone by stone, so long before she was born that it was hard to fathom, she felt a sense of peace which had been eluding her since they first saw the monsters. She felt home.

Thurs Threads – week 64

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on March 28, 2013 by drmagoo


Simon held the rifle gingerly, not wanting it to accidentally go off and kill someone. He’d fought against the idea of even carrying a weapon for a very long time, but he knew the others looked at him as their leader, and he couldn’t send them into dangerous places that he wasn’t able to go.

And he knew they’d be going into an awful lot of dangerous places. For a long time to come.

“The safety’s on, Simon – it won’t fire until you’re ready. And hold on tight – this baby’s got a kick. You want it to hurt whatever you’re aiming at, not you.” Pater had grown up in this time, and he was comfortable around guns in a way that Simon was saddened by. Pater had learned how to use a gun as a child not as a hobby, but because once he was big enough, it became his responsibility to protect his family.

“Once you’re set, you aim…like this.” Pater demonstrated the stance and raised his rifle. “The barrel will look like it’s aimed too high, but gravity will pull the bullet down. Ignore the barrel – use the sight. If the sight’s broken, guess and pray.”

Simon copied the stance, raised his rifle, and aimed. Once he centered the target in the crosshairs, he felt surprisingly calm. The target was no longer a chunk of wood; it was a monster, and it was coming for Emily. He fired, and knew without looking that he’d hit it dead-center.

Five Sentence Fiction – Conquer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on March 27, 2013 by drmagoo


Simon inched closer to the cliff’s edge, hoping that somehow, he would be able to see what was going on below without being seen himself. The sounds of the battle were horrific – snarls, wailing, screams of anguish cutting off suddenly, and blasts from myriad weapons, some which sounded like guns, and some which sounded like nothing he’d ever heard before. He didn’t know why the umbrella had brought him here, but he knew where here was – the last stand of humans against the monsters. There would be other battles, and years before there weren’t enough people anywhere in the world left to kill, but this was the key, and after this, the future he and Emily had gone to became inevitable. He hoped that he’d see something which he could bring back to the others and change the past and the future, or he’d merely be the last surviving witness to the conquering of humanity.