The old man’s adrenaline had reached an impossible high. Ord watched Suk pan it down again. This wasn’t like ’25. That woman had only gone catatonic, for a spell. This was something much worse. The pulse rate was faster than a humming bird’s and the respiration, shallow. The eyes opened, rolled up under the lids. The lips were going cyanotic. Oxygen. Ord placed the mask over the old man’s face, adjusted the feed. No change. The TS was now a blinding, continuous white. Whatever it was was killing him.
Nothing stood against the bare skyline: no tree, no roof, not even the stump of a shelter wall. High in the sky a dirty sun filtered down and lit the shiny floor. There came a soft sound from somewhere in the room. Startled, Ord looked away. Across the couch, among the clutter of I.V.’s and respirator, Suk was crying.
“Pitar—something bad is happening to us.” He pulled on his navy jumpsuit, clipped the belt shut. “Don’t be so melodramatic, Susann.” He turned to go. “Why,” she called after him, “are you going off like this?” “Later, Susann,” he said, and went downstairs. Bonus: names of main people and items in the book .
Quotation from “Peter Grimes” by Benjamin Britten Bonus item: Preamble Bonus item: Space Tektonics, Inc – Manfred Hengst’s orbiting space complex. Bonus item: Glossary of alien words and names.
Top Shelf launching Monday, Nov 4th with Chapter 1 of The Atheling. We have created the Top Shelf for the series to separate it from the main podcast library. Since the series contains sensitive material in places, we have placed an age gate on the shelf as an alert. I post this preamble which will always be available in the Top Shelf Bonus folder along with other items as they are added.
(2-tone print on parchment by Roberts not used in the printed book.) Readers ask: Does Bruto get his human form finally? My reply: The clue to that lies in Chapter 7. But does it matter? This marks the end of over three years of regular podcasts. All these books are for anyone, no age range set. Early October, I kick off the SF quartet which is for older readers and access will be duly limited. I thank all who have listened in and hope we meet again soon. Stay tuned!
Peter pictured Bruto in the big, empty mansion, dining alone in the Great Hall by the light of the golden tree candelabras. No talk, no sharing songs on the spinet. Now if Bruto sang, his voice would echo through the solitary spaces, with no one else to hear. Bonus item: Bella and Bruto talking together in the courtyard
“Bruto, it is wrong to force your will on people!” Bella cried. “And we’ll never give in!” She turned to Peter. “I’m beat. I’m going to sleep right here.” “Not me.” Peter remembered the first night they’d fled: the roars and the howling. “No way I’m going to close my eyes. No way … no way….” Note: the pig in ‘Tom, Tom the piper’s son’ is not a real pig but a pink sugar confection in the shape of one, popular in the time of the nursery rhyme. Bonus item 1: Chetwin sketch of greenhouse. Bonus item 2: Brutus in the open Bonus item 3: Brutus in courtyard.
As he peered down, the massive shape unfolded from its chair to stand beside it. Then, unaware of being watched, it moved out from the shadows towards the spinet and Peter froze. “What, what is it?” Bella called from the stairs. Bonus item 1: Bella at the spinet. Bonus item 2: What Peter saw. Bonus item 3: How Bella likely would have seen it.
Tomorrow night, (Peter) thought drowsily, slipping into sleep at last, what then? They surely wouldn’t even think of going back into that place—would they? He certainly would not. But you never knew with Bella. Bonus item 1: Bella in her finery. Bonus item 2: Shadow behind the chair
“… You will arrive at sundown and stay until the stroke of twelve.” “But Peter’s too—” There came a short, sharp grunting sound, and a distant door slammed. The echoes faded, leaving them in silence. bonus item 1: mansion front door, line drawing (Chetwin) bonus iitem 2: the great hall, pen & ink drawing (Roberts)
Nearing the gates, Peter looked up fearfully. The tops of the pillars were empty: the griffins were gone…. Never before had the sight of that little brick path and the small front door been so welcome. “Bella! Bella!” Peter ran, yelling, into the house. (Full page illustrations for the book created in pen and ink by Claire Roberts; small sketches by me.) Bonus item: chap.1 illustration
This final Jason chapter replaces the 1st edition version in the printed book and will comprise Sunday in the second edition. This coming Thursday I begin reading Beauty and the Beast, a retelling. The pen & ink illustrations by Claire Roberts (couple by me) will be included as bonus items with each chapter.
Tears came, warm tears, blinding him. He felt the woman’s touch, a soft caress. “Jason? Jason, love, what is it?” “I want my dad,” he sobbed.
Looking Jason’s way, the prince strode over. “Is not Rani the most delicious creature? Her face is as a million summer gardens, her skin is delicate as—” “Can Rani get us some curry, Firouz?”
Halfway along the horse’s polished neck, Jason found a small red button. He pressed it, and at once the horse began to buck and bounce like a dime store ride gone wild.
“Grippus, Grampus, hippo-campus! Who cares, let the ocean damp us!” Jason sang … and wished the night would last a long, long time….
“Let me get this: you sit out here for ten whole years. Then you build this thing and quit. Won’t the Trojans be suspicious?” Epeus stopped smiling. “If they are, we’re all dead men.”
“Ten years we’ve waited on Troy’s front doorstep. The city must be ours today==or never.” Captain Epeus
Soothsaying? Jason looked around the circle. What was that?… “Ask something,” Aesclepius murmured. “Quick.” “I—” Jason gazed around. Sons of kings and princes, destined to be heroes. He cleared his throat. “Will I be anything?”