Charcoal – from Unconfined Delusions

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Personal log 04/04/2163

The pinging that brought us to this sector of the galaxy comes from a Spector-18 exploratory vessel, old, but still used in some quadrants. It’s unknown how long the ship has been adrift. No reference to its identification number has been found in our ship’s databases, but our records only go back a hundred years.

There are no obvious signs of distress, and the body of the vessel is intact.

The mooring cables are in place, and an exploratory survey of the exterior is scheduled for tomorrow.

Personal log 04/05/2163

We discovered a peculiar powdery substance on the exterior of the hull. Bobby took scrapings of the gray and black scale. Sample analysis indicates severe carbonation. Dating of the material eliminates the possibility of an Earth origin and the thickness of the scales indicates it formed after the craft became immobile. The engineers haven’t come up with a viable explanation for its development in deep space.

Personal log 04/06/2163

We have been observing the ship for two days per protocol and have not discovered any signs of life.  Motion detectors, heat imaging, audio recordings have all been negative.

Preparations have been made for the Lead Engineer’s Alpha-boarding in the morning.

Personal log 04/07/2163

Bobby entered alone through the aft portal to conduct the Alpha monitoring. He took all the required initial entry readings and samples. Standard operating procedures for boarding an abandoned craft were followed. Full-body protective gear was worn.

I monitored his live video feed. Nothing peculiar stuck out to me. No sign of the crew. They seemed to have literally vanished.

Analysis of the samples failed to raise any red flags. All parameters were within acceptable limits and Beta-boarding will be initiated in the morning.

At dinner tonight, Bobby complained about numbness in his fingertips which struck me as odd. It’s not like him to complain or express discomfort.

Personal log 04/08/2163

Beta-boarding teams consisted of: Team 1- myself, Bobby, and Raj; Team 2 – Shannon, Marco, and Sherman. Our team was responsible for reconnaissance and overall assessment. Team 2 was responsible for establishing the vessel’s operability.

Team 1 conducted a sweep of all three levels. Our primary mission was to determine why the Spector-18 was abandoned, and what had happened to the crew. We found no signs of distress, but we did find numerous piles of an ashy material, and a thin film of the carbon substance similar to the piles covered most surfaces. We collected samples of these materials and food supplies. We discovered some dry goods, but no liquids of any sort.

Team 2 was able to restore the craft’s life support systems. Computers are back online, but most of the memory files are corrupted and will be no help to determine why the ship was abandoned. I’ve ordered the crew to maintain protective precautions until further notice.

Bobby worked the morning, but after I noticed him flexing and shaking his hands I sent him back to our ship for a medical examination.

Personal log 04/09/2163

I sent two crews to conduct a thorough inspection of the lower decks today. They reported more of the gritty piles. Analysis of the substances shows it is composed of nearly pure carbon. The piles, the film on most of the surfaces, and the scale on the hull are all the same. Its origin is unknown, and I’ve put solving this mystery as highest priority.

Update on Bobby. He’s experiencing numbness in his toes and considerably decreased mobility in his fingers. Doc Peters hasn’t been able to figure out a cause yet. There are no symptoms other than the numbness and a slight fever.

Personal log 04/10/2163

Shannon and Marco both mentioned numbness in their fingers today. Bobby’s illness is spreading up his arms, and his toes and feet are also showing signs of atrophy. He claims he feels no pain even though his fingers are the color of shale. Doc says he’s drinking an unordinary amount of water.

It’s unclear if the Spector-18 is causing the symptoms, but it seems a likely.

Personal log 04/11/2163

Bobby’s condition severely degraded during the night.  His fingers and arms have turned black like charcoal, brittle and cracked, and they radiate heat. He accidentally knocked his hand against the counter and his pinky and ring finger broke off. He said there was no pain, but fear shone bright in his eyes. I’ve ordered him quarantined along with Shannon and Marco, but if this is an airborne infection, it may be too late to stop the spread. Shannon and Marco’s conditions have also deteriorated; however, Marco’s feet have decayed faster, and he can no longer stand for fear of them breaking.

I ordered recalibration of all our instruments and a secondary run of tests, full spectrum, but they revealed nothing. It’s too late to abandon our mission especially since we haven’t determined a cause of the contagion.

We used every instrument to test the air, but we must have missed something. I don’t know how else to explain it. Hell, I don’t know. Maybe we absorbed something subatomic.

I’ve sent messages out any neighboring ships, but I don’t expect an answer. This is what we signed up for. Daily downloads of ship’s activities are sent back to Earth every day, but the lag time in responses is twenty-seven days, and rescue could take years.

I don’t think we have that much time.

Starting to worry about our water supply.

Personal log 04/12/2163

The effects of the virus, or whatever it is, hit Raj, Sherman and four others who never stepped foot on the Spector-18. It’s an alarming development considering we took all decontamination precautions when traveling between ships.

Doc Peters is baffled. We’re in agreement the contagion is somehow caused by the carbon although there’s no evidence of the correlation. I haven’t mentioned our conclusion to the crew, but they’re not stupid. Easy enough to connect the dots.

Bobby’s in bad shape. Bobby and I go way back, back to the academy. It’s hard to watch him disintegrate. His body temperature has spiked to 112º, and it’s impossible to keep him hydrated. He drifts in and out of consciousness. His clothes smolder and spontaneously combust. Little patches ignite revealing black and cracked skin. He lies immobile, but chunks of him spall away from his limbs. I’m not sure if he’s aware, but he must be able to smell and see the smoke. I see no reason to bring it up.

Charcoal – Part 2 of 2 from Unconfined Delusions


Need more of Unconfined Delusions, Beyond the Threshold? Click this link:  https://tinyurl.com/y7qvxwz9

 A fan of my writing? Check out Sanity’s Threshold, Slivers of a Twisted Mind and click on this link: https://tinyurl.com/ydyxtmuc

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Sanity’s Threshold – Goodreads Reviews

ST promo

Sanity’s Threshold, Slivers of a Twisted Mind

“You could sit down and read all of these “stories” in one sitting, but you might want to spread them out in order to savor the weird deliciousness of each piece. Because each one is so short, flash fiction has to be written “tightly” with no extra wordiness or fluff. These stories will NOT disappoint. I highly recommend.”

“A twisted collection of brilliantly written horror stories. Quick read and definitely worth it! Guaranteed to send a chill down your spine!”

“Angela L. Lindseth’s twisted bits of flash fiction provide the whole “story” in a microcosm. In “Slivers of a Twisted Mind,” readers experience murder, mayhem, and heat, both real and emotional. It is an interesting and well-done collection of stories, each told in under 700 words. I recommend it.”

“Just a word of warning … don’t read when you’re home alone. Angela L. Lindseth is a master of psychological suspense.”

“Brilliant storylines. Authentic author.”

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Goodreads 2018 Choice Awards

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Only 2 more days to vote for Unconfined Delusions, Beyond the Threshold! I am nominated in the best fiction and best horror categories. Be sure to vote for both. Scroll to the bottom of the page and type in your nomination. My book cover will pop up. Thanks so much for your support!

Goodreads BEST FICTION Choice Awards 2018

Goodreads BEST HORROR Choice Awards 2018

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FIVE STAR REVIEWS!!

Check out these FIVE STAR reviews!

“Wow what a book! I didn’t want to put it down. All of these stories have a breakneck pace. I’m a huge fan of twisted and dark and this book didn’t disappoint. I have a feeling I can read it again and again and take away something new each time. It’s creepy, thought-provoking, heart-pounding fun. I loved every word. Forget happily ever after–bring on the Unconfined Delusions!”

“Ms. Lindseth continues to amaze me. I’m not a huge horror fan, but I will read her books. Her stories are realistic enough to put non horror fans right in the middle, then creep you out. Any fan of fiction will want this book.”

Get your copy of Unconfined Delusions, Slivers of a Twisted Mind.

UD promo2

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Unconfined Delusions Release Party

Unconfined Delusions on Amazon

~~~~~~~~~~~~ October 20th! ~~~~~~~~~~~~

Don’t miss out on all the  Unconfined Delusions Release Party activities over on Facebook. I have a bunch of games planned like Name That Horror Movie Poster, Horror Movie Trivia, and Stephen King: Match This Actor with That Movie.

The prize list is shaping up nicely.

  • Unconfined Delusions, Beyond the Threshold, signed paperback,
  • Sanity’s Threshold, Slivers of a Twisted Mind, signed paperback,
  • Weirdbook #37, featuring Angela L. Lindseth, signed paperback,
  • Anthology Askew Vol. 006, Askew Horizons, featuring Angela L. Lindseth
  • $25 value graphic/ promo items (Bookmark, business card, teaser, etc) courtesy of Elizabeth Stark,
  • Scath Oran, by Stacy Overby, ebook,
  • Season of Secrets, by Kerry E.B. Black courtesy of Rhetoric Askew Publishing, ebook,
  • Wolves of the Desert, by Tim Bateson, ebook,
  • Sanity’s Threshold, Slivers of a Twisted Mind, by Angela L. Lindseth, ebook, and
  • A handcrafted skull (or whatever) bracelet made by Angela L. Lindseth herself

WAYS TO WIN

  1.  Provide a screenshot of your purchase (5 points for ebook, 10 for paperback)
  2. Share my Amazon link (1 point for each social media site)
  3. Participate in the games (1 point for each game) You don’t have to be right, just play.
  4. Follow my blog on WordPress (1 point.) Don’t worry, you won’t get emails.

1st place winner will choose three prizes from the list. 2nd, 3rd, and so on will choose one prize until all prizes are spoken for. You don’t have to wait for the release. Start now and get a headstart!

 

 

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Unconfined Delusions available for pre-order!

Unconfined Delusions is ready for your trick or treat treasure! Join me and a lot of other fantastic writers at the Facebook Release Party

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Unconfined Delusions, Beyond the Threshold, Only $1.99 on Amazon

Unconfined Delusions is waiting to scare the bejesus out of you! You really can’t trick or treat without it! Here’s a couple samples:

The Basement

Voodoo Baby

UD promo2

 

Posted in book release, Dark Fiction, Flash Fiction, Ghost story, horror, My books, Published work, Unconfined Delusions | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Sanity’s Threshold on Amazon

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ONLY $0.99 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Need a Halloween read? Something to keep you awake at night?  Sanity’s Threshold, Slivers of a Twisted Mind is here for you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ONLY $0.99 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sathreshold-alnity’s Threshold is not for the faint of heart. It tiptoes along the extreme and delves into the paranormal, the horror, the dark, and the weird. It harnesses your imagination and leaves you questioning the slivers of your twisted mind.

This short fiction/short story collection is for the lovers of dark realism, suspense, and the scary. “Kids Come First” details a woman’s nurture for the alien creatures growing in her belly. “Supernova” speculates the demise of our planet. “Mind Rot” speaks of the disasters of chemical experimentation. Enjoy nearly thirty additional enthralling and stimulating pieces.
Flash fiction, dribbles, drabbles, and sudden fiction have been gaining popularity and requires concise story-telling and extreme brevity.


Follow these links for a couple of the pieces, but there are many more that will take you beyond the threshold.

Kids Come First

Supernova

Centerville (part 1 of 2)

Centerville (Part 2 of 2)

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Seeing Things, Part 2/2, from Unconfined Delusions, coming October 20

seeing thingsSeeing Things, Part 1, from Unconfined Delusions, coming October 20

“Everybody get back, now!” Wesley said. “I think we better let Mark cool off. Better yet, party’s over.”
“I’ll say when it’s over,” Mark screamed, spittle flying from his lips like a rabid dog. None of the partiers needed encouragement, peeling away two and three at a time. They piled into beat-up trucks, spewing gravel as they made their escape. Mark stood panting, fist clenched, watching them leave. He pointed a furious finger at Wesley. “You’re next,” he said quietly and stomped past him to his van. “Find your own ride home.”
Mark stepped aside to let him pass, giving him wide berth. He met Sarah’s gaze, obviously shaken by the encounter.
“Come on. You can ride with us,” she said.
Mark took her hand and sighed as he looked at her. “Wow, that was intense. Guess it’s just the two of us tomorrow night,” he said with a grin.
“Did you see it? When you touched him?” she whispered.
He nodded. “What the hell was that thing?”
Sarah could feel him shaking. “The bridge does it to everybody’s aura, even yours, but none of them are like that.”
Emily stumbled down the slope after them to the car, her skirt hiked a bit too high and her hair disheveled. Sarah could tell she had been drinking. As much as she liked her friend, Emily made bad decisions.
Sarah took her by the arm. “So did that change your mind about tomorrow night?”
“No, that was totally Jerad’s fault.” She yanked her arm away from Sarah, nearly falling down in the process. “You never did like him. What’s your problem?”
“He’s a bad person, Emily. Isn’t he, Wesley?”
“Yeah, a lot worse than I thought. I don’t think I’m going to be hanging with him anymore.”
“Well, I like him, and we’re going out tomorrow. I couldn’t care less what you think.”
The ride home was quiet and the next day even quieter. Sarah texted Emily a dozen times and even called her twice. Wesley picked Sarah up, and they drove by Emily’s house, but no one was home.
“I got a bad feeling about this,” Sarah said. “You think she’s already with Mark?”
“I don’t know. I couldn’t get ahold of him, either.”
They drove around town looking for them, cruised the west side, and stopped at all the hangouts to ask about them, but nobody had seen them. They went to every movie theater looking for Mark’s van but found nothing. As night settled in, Sarah finally voiced the fear that had been nagging at her.
“He took her to Sweet Water Bridge, Wes.”
“I’m afraid you’re right. Let’s get out there before it’s too late.”
“Too late for what?”
Wesley just shrugged.
Mark’s van was parked on the bridge, rocking back and forth, its lights splayed across the deck, disappearing into the eerie void.
“Hurry, Wesley!”
Wesley gunned his jeep, hit the last gear, and sped up the hill, the rear end fishtailing on the gravel. The rear door of the van flew open, and Emily tumbled out shrieking, her shirt ripped and her hands tied behind her back. Mark hopped out after her, holding a knife. He and his aura jerked Emily to her feet by her hair. Emily screamed again when she saw the jeep’s headlights.
“We have to get them off the bridge. He’s got too much power there.”
“How do you suggest we do that?”
“Tell him he’s a shitty quarterback.”
Wesley gave a short laugh. “Yeah, that ought to do it. Then what?”
“I’ll get Emily in the jeep and we get the hell out of here.”
“Not much of a plan, but it’ll have to do.” Wesley slammed on the brakes and the jeep skidded to a stop, spraying gravel. They both jumped out and approached the bridge.
“Stay back, or I’ll slice her neck.” Mark’s aura leered at them and flashed a black shadow-knife of its own.
“And then what, Mark, you going kill me, too?”
“Guess I’m going have to kill all three of you. You should’ve minded your own business.” Mark’s shadow grinned at them and licked its lips as Mark yanked Emily’s head back to mark her throat with his knife.
“No!” Wesley bulldozed Mark, knocking him to the ground. Emily scrambled away on her knees, sobbing.
Sarah took one last look at the bridge’s timber before touching it for the first time. Instantly she felt a surge of power sweep through her. She ran to Emily and helped her to her feet. “Get in the jeep!” Mark had wrestled Wesley to the ground. Wesley’s eyes screamed in terror. Sarah knew he could see the specter looming over him, helping to hold him down. He could see the onyx blade poised an inch above his throat. “Get off him!”
Sarah charged, her silver aura flashing. The dark aura shrieked as Mark stood up, forgetting Wesley for the moment. Mark side-stepped her attack but couldn’t elude Sarah’s silver angel who grabbed the dark ghoul and hurled it to the railing, dragging Mark with it. Wesley sprang to his feet, rushed at Mark and knocked him over the railing. Mark clung to the barrier with one hand, knife in the other, scrambling for a foothold on the slimy girders. His aura, still intent on its evil deed, clutched at Wesley’s sleeve.
“Help me, Wes. Help me.”
“He’s no good, Wes.” Sarah stepped back, watching Mark’s fingers slowly lose their grip.
“I have to help, Sarah, I can’t just let him fall.” Wesley leaned over the railing and grabbed Mark’s arm. Sarah heaved a heavy sigh and walked over to help him. She looked down at Mark and his writhing aura and took pity on them. She reached down just as Mark swung his knife at them, a sweeping stroke that would have severed her arm. She jumped back just as Wesley released his grip, and Mark plummeted into the swirling obscurity of the Sweet Water River.
***
Everyone in town knew her now. Emily made sure they heard the story, filling in the parts she didn’t understand with a lie that fit. Sarah still had her secret, a secret she shared only with Wesley. And she had him, the one person who understood her.
The whisper of his breath on her neck caused a shiver to flutter across her skin. She had been waiting so long; craving his embrace, dreaming about his touch, and hungry for his lips. He lifted her chin with a gentle finger and gazed at her with eyes that sent a song through her heart. His yellow aura flitted and danced around him enveloping her, mingling with her own. Finally, his lips brushed against hers.


 

Thanks so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed this story. If you would like to read more, check these out:

Lost Lake, Unconfined Delusions, coming Oct 20

Broken Heart

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Seeing Things, from Unconfined Delusions, coming October 20

seeing things

Sarah had a secret: she could see auras, halos of color, floating and enveloping everyone. She spun the knob on her locker as Emily skipped up wearing her usual low-cut top and too short skirt. She smiled at the pink cloud curling around Emily, like cotton candy and goodness. Most auras were light and airy, hardly visible to her, wisps and hazes of bright beautiful hues dancing about the owner’s heads and hearts. But some auras clung to their owners, dark and ominous clouds clinging to a shoulder, oozing from ears, or sliding from a mouth. Those scared her, and one in particular terrified her.
Mark was a senior, all-star jock, handsome, and evil to the core, but Sarah couldn’t tell anyone; no one would believe the Homecoming King was anything but a Prince Charming.
“OMG, he’s cute.” Emily swiveled her body, following Mark as he passed by, twirling her hair, her crush pathetically obvious.
“I guess,” Sarah said.
“You’re cray cray. I mean look at those guns and that butt.”
“I don’t know, there’s something about him, besides being a stuck up asshole.”
“I bet he’s not an asshole once you get to know him.”
“I doubt that very much.” Sarah had to admit the jerk had a nice body but that was the only thing likable about him. Today his aura was a dirty gray, swimming in his wake, but she had seen it black as crude oil, inky and malignant. It had been that way after they had lost the football game to the cross-town rival. It had been so plainly visible it surprised her no one else could see it.
“Well, Wesley hangs out with him.”
“Only because they both play football. Wesley is nothing like him.”
Sarah’s world revolved around Wesley. His buttery aura bubbled around him, shades of happiness, and honesty; and she loved him for it. More than anything Sarah wanted him to notice her. She ached for his attention, just the slightest acknowledgment; a nod, a wave, or, even better, a smile. But high school didn’t work that way. She was an outcast and everyone knew it. She hid her ability from everyone, even Emily, and people sensed her difference.
Sarah shared first and fourth period with Wesley but he had no idea she existed. She sat directly behind him in math class and even snuck a sniff of his hair one time as they were passing papers to the front. She walked into class admiring the yellow aura shimmered around him instead of looking where she was going. The class roared with laughter when she tripped over his outstretched legs and fell sprawling to the floor. Wesley jumped up to help her.
“Oh man, I’m so sorry….”
“Sarah.”
“Sarah, I’m sorry, that was totally my fault.” He kicked his laughing buddy in the shin. “Shut up.” He extended his hand to her.
She looked at the hand she longed to hold so many times and tentatively reached for it, afraid it wasn’t real. His fingers wrapped around hers, warm and strong, and he pulled her to her feet. He held it for a fraction of a second longer than he needed to, inspecting her, an odd look on his face. Then he smiled, the crooked smile she had waited so long for.
“Sarah,” he said again and released her hand.
She blushed and ducked her head as she felt for her desk and slid into her seat accompanied by the snickering of her classmates. Wesley took his seat in front of her and the teacher began the lecture unaware of the magic that had just occurred in Sarah’s life. The rest of the hour soared past her as the teacher’s voice droned on in the background, a jumble of words that bounced off her new bubble of joy.
Later in the lunchroom, Emily bounced up to their table in the corner. “Guess what?”
“What?” Obviously, Sarah’s news about her encounter with Wesley would have to wait.
“Mark asked me to the movies Saturday night!”
“I hope you said no.” This was bad, really bad.
“Of course not, you know I’ve been waiting for this, like, forever.”
“I don’t like him.”
“Yeah, I get that. What did he ever do to you?” Emily snapped her gum.
“Nothing.” Sarah mumbled her answer. What could she say without giving away her secret? She shoved her lunch tray aside and gave Emily a dirty look, her own news put on the back burner. Somehow she had to stop this date. No way was she going to let her best friend be alone with him.
The high school kids spent Friday nights at the Sweet River Bridge, a place anything but sweet to Sarah. She had gone there a couple times, at Emily’s insistence, and had sensed an unevenness in the atmosphere and had refused to walk across its dilapidated deck. The rusted iron girders threatened her from a distance, taunting her, and screaming their treachery. She had watched as her high school companions walked across its forbidding surface, unaware of its illness, nonchalantly tossing their beer bottles off the side, watching them bounce off the rocks below and shatter with accompanying shouts of victory.
Sarah watched with fascination and horror as each individual’s aura morphed when they stepped onto the bridge, each one intensified and exaggerated. But Mark’s scared her more than words could describe. The moment he touched the deck his aura became something new, something vibrant and alive. It clung to him like a shadow, governed by its master, but pulsating and breathing its own life, independent yet reliant. Sarah could distinguish its features nearly identical to Mark’s but sinister and malevolent, waiting on the fringes to do harm.
The bridge and its highway had been abandoned decades ago, rerouted to bypass the canyon completely. The old road was pitted with potholes and overgrown with weeds, but it still made a great place to drag race and shoot holes in abandoned speed limit signs. The bridge’s heavy steel columns sprouted blooms of rust around every bolt and dripped their red blood down the vertical faces. The old girders creaked and groaned when a car dared travel across it, threatening to collapse at any moment.
The river and the remote location made it a favorite hangout for the high school kids. Keggers and bonfires spontaneously erupted at least once a month. Skinny-dippers tiptoed among the boulders scattered along the banks and the bravest partiers leaped screaming from the bridge into the dark and swirling waters. The Sweet River had claimed more than its fair share of lives; its waters treacherous, especially during the spring runoff.
This Friday was no different than any other. Emily dragged Sarah along hoping she would see Mark, and Sarah let herself be persuaded. She had to keep an eye on Emily. This date was a sham. Sarah knew it in her heart. Emily wasn’t Mark’s type. He wouldn’t lower himself to date her. Sarah had seen the look of contempt on his face when he stared at her back, the curl of his lip, and the wrinkle of his nose. Mark’s aura turned black when he looked at Emily. He was up to something, something bad.
Mark arrived in his van as the sun was setting, Wesley riding shotgun. Sarah’s heart skipped a beat when Wesley waved until she realized he wasn’t waving at her. A couple girls behind her giggled as she dropped her hand, embarrassed. Mark drove past them and parked at the top of the hill next to the bridge. Emily hopped off the hood of the car and sauntered up the slope. Mark barely acknowledged her existence and shook her off when she tried to hug his arm.
The Sweet Water Bridge pulled at Mark’s aura, like a kite in the wind it tugged and stretched the shadow. As he approached the bridge, Sarah could see his aura take shape, the malevolence becoming more and more defined. The instant his foot touched the timbers, it came to life. The edges of the shadow lost its fuzziness and grew into something distinct and solid; the head forming its own features, similar to Mark’s but deformed and muted.
Sarah climbed onto a big boulder that overlooked the river, keeping an eye on Mark and Emily, waiting for her opportunity to sneak into his van. As usual, no one said hi or talked to her, but she had grown used to it, sort of. She watched the variety of auras fade in and out as her classmates fooled around on the bridge and, basically, acted like idiots.
“Mind if I sit here, Sarah?” Wesley’s deep voice, so close behind Sarah, made her jump. When he spoke her name it sounded like a fluffy cloud on a hot day, beautiful and soothing.
“Sure, it’s a free country,” Sarah said. “Smooth,” she thought, rolling her eyes at herself. She examined the flecks of mica in the granite surface unable to form words.
“Thanks.” He folded his lanky body and sat beside her on the enormous rock dislodged from the canyon wall millions of years ago. “Sorry about today, tripping you, I mean.”
“Wasn’t your fault, I wasn’t watching where I was going.” And too busy thinking about how his lips would taste.
“Sorry, anyway.” Wesley stretched out on rock and put his hands behind his head. “I love this canyon, but I really don’t like that bridge.”
She jerked her head in his direction. “What do you mean?”
She watched him study the structure with a furrowed brow. After a minute he shrugged. “Don’t know, just seems rickety, and kids die jumping off it.”
“I don’t like it either, not at all.” Sarah pondered his statement, rolling it around in her mind. “You don’t like walking on it, do you?”
“Nope.”
“Why not?”
Her mouth went dry as his steel-grey eyes bored their way into her soul. “I think you know.” He paused, choosing his words. “I’ve been watching you, Sarah. You… know things about people.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” The conversation was getting a bit too personal for her comfort. She started to get up, but he took her hand and pulled her back down to him.
“Yours is silver with white streaks.” She stared at him, speechless. He looked around her, outside of her, along her borders. “You can see them, too, can’t you?”
Sarah’s mouth dropped open. She couldn’t think of what to say. Could the boy she loved share her ability? It didn’t seem possible. She nodded shakily.
“What color is mine?” he asked.
“Yellow, like butter.” She shook her head bewildered. “But if this is true, how can you stand to hang out with him.” She jabbed her thumb at Mark who was hanging over the bridge’s railing spitting on people below him.
“Yeah, he’s an asshole. I like football, and he’s the quarterback. Besides, I need to keep an eye on him. I don’t know about you, but I can’t see them all the time, only when I touch someone. That’s why I acted so surprised when I helped you up after tripping you. I know how gifted silvers are, and I’ve watched your reactions to people. I just put two and two together.” He paused then laughed. “Wow, it feels great to get that out. I’ve been hiding it for so long, even from my parents, especially my parents. They thought I was crazy and for a while I did, too. Then I studied up on it.”
“I didn’t think you knew who I was.” Sarah ducked her head as she felt her face flush.
“I noticed you a long time ago. It just seemed like you wanted to be left alone.”
“I didn’t want you to leave me alone.” Sarah couldn’t believe her nerve. She felt her cheeks flame up again.
“Well, I won’t leave you alone anymore, if that’s alright with you.” Wesley squeezed her hand and smiled as he admired her aura.
“I need your help, Wesley. Mark asked Emily out on a date tomorrow night. He doesn’t even like her, and I’m scared for her. I wish you could see how the bridge changes him. It’s horrible.”
“I’ve caught glimpses of what the bridge can do.”
“He’s wicked, Wesley, the evilest of evils.”
Wesley nodded. “Hey, I have a great idea. You could you go to the movie with me tomorrow night. We can double-date and keep an eye on them.”
Sarah’s world filled with rainbows and kittens. “I would like that.”
Wesley continued to hold her hand as the sun sent its last rays bouncing off the canyon walls. With several beers in their bellies, the jocks were getting rowdy and their hollering had become an echo contest no one could win. Mark was being the usual hotshot bully, shoving his buddies, and picking fights. Sarah watched as one fight in particular heated up. Mark towered over Jerad, his running back, screaming at him, blaming him for a failed pass that had cost them the game. Sarah watched stunned and wide-eyed as Mark’s aura grew and flexed.
“You better get up there, Wesley, he’s losing it.”
Wesley jumped to his feet and dashed up the hill just as Mark charged his teammate, ramming him against the railing, trying to throw him over into the rushing Sweet Water. His aura pulsated; its arms wrapped their oily fists around Jerad’s throat, squeezing until they disappearing into the pale flesh.
“Knock it off, Mark,” Wesley yelled at him.
“Stay out of it, Wes, or you’ll be next. Losing the game was just as much your fault as it was his.” Wesley paused a moment unwilling to set foot on the bridge, then rushed his buddy, wrenching Mark away from Jared.
Wesley flinched and sprung away as if he had been bitten. He backed away, staring at Mark openmouthed, fear in his eyes. Mark’s aura turned its head and hissed at Wesley.

Seeing Things, Part 2/2, from Unconfined Delusions, coming October 20


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