The Multiverse: Proof In the Time of Politics

 

LPTrendsShortScaryFiction. Proof. By Tracy Saville

Escaping our reality might be a good thing about now. Here a short fiction story post-Halloween & Sandy to give you pause, to remind you that you live in a world where it is quite possible that what you think is real, isn’t. The Multiverse. Your reality could be but one of many.

We’ll get back to elevated ideas and people next week – enjoy this award-winning short by Tracy Saville. Published originally in the GNU Journal.

What if we lived in universal bubbles and ours collided with the bad guys?

Proof

By Tracy Saville, 2009.

Rachel, my wife, the only one who can make me want to punch her in the throat and take her clothes off in the same moment, and sometimes at the same time, was giving me that look, the one that says I’m drunk and incapable of admitting it.

The look was followed by a flick of her tongue against her upper lip that only I could notice, a promise – if I left now, I might get a little something later on. I could tell by their bleary faces, my brothers wouldn’t protest an early night. I was about to get my girl and go home. And that’s when it happened.

Up until then Rachel had been in the back, playing Nine Ball with Carter, my oldest bro – their game, not mine, and the mood was vibing, good as in everybody was employed; nobody was fighting or had shit storms brewing in their lives. My other bros, Lars and Kyle, were drowning their sorrows in Peron shots and looked about as pathetic as you can get.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved my brothers. Since our parents died, we were all each other had. We were quads, not identical, but close. We had different colored hair and eyes, and spoke with different slants to our southern accents. Most of the time, we got in each other’s food bowls about the damndest things. We couldn’t spend five minutes in the company of each other without somebody getting a black eye.

But that night, we were feeling happy to be hanging. I recall only telling Kyle to go fuck himself one time, and that was a record.

I was getting ready to roll off the barstool stuck to my ass, when I must have stood up too fast. I guess I teetered when I stepped back because I knocked my PeterBuilt hat on the ground and it rolled under my stool. I bent down; picked it up, hit the crown across my thigh to dust the vermin off the brim.

Now I know I didn’t hit my head and I know I didn’t black out. It was only a few seconds. Yet everything had changed. I felt a cold spike drive into my spine, and there was a certainty to the icy tingling that quickly spread to my extremities.

There was badness in the air.

We were in Frank’s, but we weren’t, which I can’t explain. You know how in a dream you’re aware you’re dreaming, but everything feels real. Different but same.

Same Formica table tops, same burl wood bar, same peanut shells on the same crappy linoleum floor I have personally puked on more times than I care to account for, and the same mustard yellow walls covered with velvet Elvis pictures hanging cockeyed next to black and white pictures of James Dean and Jane Mansfield.

Pitching my eyes around I spied the same pool tables, the same front door, and the same red crapper signs with the girl and boy stick figures hanging on stained doors, pointing in opposite directions.

Same, same, but all changed.

I knew it because the margarita machine was churning Jagermeister, a small detail that under normal circumstances wouldn’t have fazed me given my inebriated condition. Yet I was suddenly more sober than I’d been in my entire life, and I knew there was no way in hell the goo in that machine could turn from green, from Margaritas, to purple in three seconds.

I looked down at the only thing I felt I might be able to control, the few inches squarely in front of me. I counted eight shot glasses stacked in my usual pyramid, so yeah, I was officially tanked. But then I looked over at Kyle and Lars and knew the tequila couldn’t work this kind of mojo. These boys were my brothers, but they weren’t.

Kyle, whose long, black stringy hair was a kind of trademark, was sporting a red Marine buzz cut. Carter’s fake left leg, the one that replaced the one he lost in Iraq last year was missing, and I could tell because he was sitting in a chair with his pants hiked up past his boots and I could see the tattoo on the inside of his missing calf, the same tattoo I had, the same tattoo Kyle and Lars had. We got those tats in 2007 just before he deployed.

All of this was raising hair all over my body, but it was Lars who sent me from generously worried to scared right down to my worn Chuck Taylors.

When we were little, Lars was in the car with our parents when it went over the turnpike wall. His entire right cheek had been torn away and it took years of plastic surgery to craft a nice mottled quilt of scar tissue where his face ought to be. The guy who was wearing Lars’ face had perfect skin, forehead to chin, ear to ear. And the birthmark that used to be on his right neck, just below his ear, was now on the left.

When behind him I noticed the bar sign, which should have told me this was Frank’s joint, and it clearly read “Ruby’s”, I began to seriously question my sanity.

Then came the cluster fuck of oh shit. It was my wife Rachel, the mother of my two sons, the only woman I’ve ever slept with, the love of my fricking life. The same song that had been playing on the juke box before the world turned upside down was still playing, “Hit Me with Your Best Shot,” by Pat Benatar, because she liked the oldies, and my stunning wife was still grinding to the song, only she was about-ready-to-pop pregnant, smoking a cigarette, giving Carter a lap dance, and sucking on a beer.

My wife Rachel had her tubes tied four years ago after Sam was born, and she doesn’t smoke, or know how to lap dance.

In the time it took for the panic I was feeling in my legs to reach my throat and shut it down, Rachel turned my direction and gave me a look I not only didn’t recognize, but I will never forget. She looked right at me, and then through me. She had no idea who the hell I was.

The floor underneath my feet softened and every rational thought I may have had left inside my tequila-addled brain collapsed inside my head like a long string of dominos pieces sliding to a perfect, accordion finish. I thought of my sons at home with the babysitter. Were they still my sons? Were they even there?

I needed to get the hell out of that bar to find out. I needed to grab my wife and shake her until I woke up and it all went away. I needed to get a grip, but that didn’t happen.

Four goons waltzed in carrying guns that looked like Star Trek special editions. The center of each gun was pulsating, but not in a color or a kind of light I’d ever seen. And then they started shooting, not rounds, but lasers that exploded on contact, showering Frank’s/Ruby’s with burning, hot sparks. I dove behind the bar and climbed into the storage cabinet by the sink. On instinct I guess, which is weird because I should have run to Rachel.

Over the din of the space-like battle that had overtaken our little sanctuary something told me home would do no good and my Rachel wasn’t Rachel anymore.

At this point the smell of burning flesh and the screams from patrons faded away as I watched Sal the bartender disappear over the bar out into the battle and God knows what; at least he still looked like Sal, and that’s when the real carnage began.

It lasted two minutes; the longest two minutes of my life. All I could think about was the sound of Rachel’s screams and that I’d never see my boys again. She was dying out there and I was going to die hiding behind an inch of maple, in a ginned up nightmare that no one would ever believe.

There I waited, balled up, scared beyond reason when I heard the front windows shatter, my wife screaming for her life, and small explosions as our unexpected visitors lit their weapons into the water heater and lighting fixtures. Then I heard nothing. Not a whimper, not even a crunch of foot on broken glass.

Peering around the corner, I wiped the sweat from my eyes and tried to focus on the images before me. My labored breathing seemed to fill the room with desperation, but I was thankful for the noise. I realized I was the only one left standing.

Lars and the girl he’d been hitting on were gutted. Something had scooped out their stomachs, and their small and large intestines poured out on the ground like over-sized worms. Kyle was laid out in the corner. His right arm was missing. It didn’t occur to me look around for it, but then my eyes wandered to the back and I saw it, hanging off the edge of the juke box, dangling over Carter’s bloody body laid out like a recently carved lamb chop. Parts were torn from other parts and laying next to each other. His hands were grasping the dead body of a baby the perpetrators must have pulled from my wife’s belly. My Rachel was there, but her head was missing, and I fucking lost it.

The last thing I remember before coming to, here in my cell, was tasting linoleum, and seeing four sets of legs rush past me on their way out the door. After that, the lights went out. I swear I didn’t see their faces. I don’t know what happened. None of this makes any sense.

***

“Is that it?”

I reached behind my neck and gave it a squeeze for the tenth time in ten minutes. My brothers and my wife had been massacred, and all Mr. Bad Cop could do was grill me like I was the one who pulled the trigger.

“Tell me about the four foot soldiers. Why did you send them? Why not handle it yourself? I hear you like your carnage up front and personal.”

This guy was getting not just getting under my skin, but into my DNA.

“I told you, I don’t now who the killers were. They wore masks, hard ski masks, like Mike Myers. You know, like in Halloween.”

“Halloween? Is that some kind of weird cult?”

I considered this remark almost blasphemous; everyone knew Halloween films, and it was October so the reference should have resonated.

My new best friend, Detective Randall Smythe of the Twenty-First Precinct, chuckled, a guttural laugh, the kind narcissistic psychopaths offer to their next victims.

“Hallow’s Eve?” I asked, hearing my own voice drop into a kind of beseeching tone. “You know, everyone dresses up like ghouls and goes trick or treating?”

He threw a handful of photos across the desk in front of me in response, not impressed with what I took to be an assumption I was trying to delay the inevitable. I wanted to scream in his face this was the wrong world, the wrong day, the wrong nightmare and I wanted to go home.

“You don’t recognize your own brothers?”

I scanned the photographs.

“See here? There’s Danny, and there’s Blake. We like him. I think he’s the handsome one, don’t you? And there’s Lane. I suppose the fourth is a cousin. You have, what, fifty of those in town, or maybe it’s your new lover. Flavor of the month?”

What? I was a gay gangster?

“I’m telling you my name is Gavin Elders. I’m from Fargo, North Dakota and I live in Barkley. We got a little place out there last year. I have two kids, and I work for Thomson’s Bricks out on Route 40.”

The detective pushed back from the table and propped his elbows on his thighs. He hung his doughy head between his legs and looked up at me over and down his nose, as if I were the lunatic in the room.

“Mr. Six, you are not now, nor have you ever been married. You do not live in Barkley. You do not work as a bricklayer, and you do not now, nor have you ever been a father to anyone that we’re aware of. You were fixed in 2086. And you are, as everyone in the universe knows, a very gay man, who has never once tasted pussy – that we know of.”

I let this sink in.

Every bit of me was still back on the images of my murdered brothers and wife. But the word “universe” tugged at my receptors and pulled my focus there. I didn’t like the way he was looking at me or throwing gay insults my direction, but he said “universe” like it was it was a charted place. Most people would have said “everybody in town”, or “everybody in organized crime”. Not “universe”.

“If I were you,” said my new worst enemy, “I’d seriously consider cooperating this time.”

2086. 2086. Did he say I’d been neutered since 2086? I grabbed my balls. Felt the same.

“I told you, my name is Gavin Elder. I need to make a call to see if my children are alright.”

I could hear the panic in my voice overtake the grip I was trying to hold on to. But the cop was cool, like he was enjoying this. That’s when a new detective walked in. He sat down like he was the boss of the other one. They exchanged smiles. Great.

The new cop ran his fingers through hair that looked like it hadn’t been washed in six weeks. Not that I typically notice such things, but he had a smell about him, and I had to wonder if it was his dirty hair. It was abnormally dirty. And come to think about it, both of these guys were seriously grungy. Everything around me had a grey, washed out appeal. There was a rank smell to the air, too, and it wasn’t just in here in the interrogation room. It smelled like this outside and in the hallways when they dragged me in for booking. It smelled like old socks left in the dead carcass juice of a deer in the back of a truck.

His badge, Detective Ross it said, was worn, and smudged with some substance I didn’t need to verify. He had a bad comb-over and a half-chewed cigar stuffed in his mouth. Bits of it gathered in the corners. It was like meeting the cliché detective in one of my son’s graphic novels.

New Cop moved the cigar around in his mouth as he opened a file and shoved a mound of papers at me. I glanced down and saw a list of crimes, from armed robbery to assault to drug and human trafficking, off world. Off world?

Some of the pictures were of me and the other three guys I met in the other photographs that were my alleged real brothers. Ross completed the file for me by pulling a driver’s license out of his front breast pocket and throwing it at me like he’d pulled that maneuver a time or twelve. He followed that up with a hand mirror, which at first I thought was weird. But then, it all began to fit.

He said, “I’ll let you go home to your boys, but first you need to explain this.” And by ‘this’ I figured out he meant the reality of what was inside the file and that he wanted me to look in the mirror. I picked it up and slowly brought it to my face. It was me, but not me; my hair was Hollywood long with blond streaks. Five earrings, all huge diamond studs, ran along the cartilage of my right ear, and one in my right eyebrow. The real me had mousy black hair that stuck to my head. Staring back at me was the image of a playboy, a player, a handsome guy with a weathered sneer that looked like he might fuck with your grandmother for a ten-dollar bill. I was not that guy. I was plain Joe, normal Bob, and everyday Earl.

I always thought I had too many scars from picking my acne when I was a kid and dim eyes. I knew I was good looking in a sort of irregular, make-you-feel comfortable kind of way, but I wasn’t drop dead handsome like the guy glaring at me in the mirror. I almost puked.

Inside the file I found more joy. It was everything I could do to train my focus on those pages as the air around me began to seep from the room.

My crimes were legion. In real life, my life, the only crime I ever committed was getting popped for a DUI eight years ago, but that was wiped from my record. Here it said I was public enemy number one. I picked up my license. I was born in August, not September. And the last time I looked, it was 2012. The top sheet in the rap file had a date stamp. It said it was October 14, 2096.

The unchangeable nature and trueness of my predicament hit me in the chest like I imagine the heart attack my old man had did. It wasn’t good. I fell right over the edge into madness that all men must feel when they come face to face with the reality that absolutely nothing is as it should be, like the rules had changed and somebody forgot to send the memo.

It was enough that my wife was dead and my brothers were still in pieces on the floor of a bar in a town I used to know; this would have sent most men past the edge and into the abyss, but I’d just seen the enemy, and he was me.

I wondered if the stars fell out of the sky outside, because gravity had lost its place in line as a fundamental law of nature.

“This is not right.” I said, pointing at the ‘not me’ in the license and mug shot photo. I held up the mirror to my face again and pointed it at. “This, this is definitely not me. I don’t know what’s going on here. I don’t. I swear.”

Detective Ross didn’t blink. “You’re not going to cry are you?”

I wanted to punch him.

His minion leaned over and whispered in his ear. “Can I have a word?”

Ross didn’t seem happy, but the two excused themselves. I heard their voices over the intercom. Was it a trick, or a mistake? Let him go, I heard Ross say, he’ll lead us to the others. Maybe there’s something going on here we don’t see.

When they came back in Ross was on me. He crawled across the table and took my neck in his hands and started squeezing, shutting down my air supply. It was almost a relief not to smell the vile odor in that room, but it was short-lived. He loosened his grip, but stayed in my face.

“Listen, Six, your weak ass games won’t fly here. But we’re gonna do something I still can’t believe. I’m doing you a solid. I’m letting you go.” He pulled himself closer still, so close I could see the blackheads in his pores. “But I’ll be riding so far up your ass; we’ll have to get married before this is over.”

He paused, his face now an inch from my own. I wanted to gag his breath was so foul.

“And I think you should know those three guys in the bar and that girl you called your wife? They weren’t your brothers, or your wife.” He pulled out a piece of paper and shoved it down my shirt. “Wrong DNA, asshole.”

Ross let go like I was a mistake and shoved me back. I lost my footing and tipped backward, end over chair. I tried to stand up to shout at Ross he was insane, but he was on me again. He had me pinned back down arms to floor, face to mine, like he practiced the maneuver a million times.

“I don’t know what kind of game we’re playing now, but when I figure it out, I’m coming for you. I will bring you down, Six. I will or die trying.”

The he released me and tossed my license at my chest. “Have a nice day, Mr. Elder. Don’t forget your greatest hits.”

He tossed the file at my head. Paper scattered all around. And then he was gone.

***

Moments after processing out of the scariest fucking place I had ever been, I found the street, Harvard Street, outside the station doors, which is where the station used to be, from my – what – my world?

Up and down this street there were familiar signs of the street and town I’d known since I was a kid, but none of it made sense. I started walking. And the longer I walked, the deeper I felt the fissure of my reality widen until I could barely catch my breath. I turned a corner and found the bread store, but it wasn’t a bread store anymore. It was a gizmo shop for some kind of telephone system I didn’t understand.

I guess you stand in front of a laser and it passes over your pupils. It recognizes you and makes the call, because it can read your mind.

Another corner, a few miles away, and I found the school where my kids went to elementary. Only it isn’t a school for kids, it’s a training ground for soldiers, or some kind of security force, shooting and practicing kicking the shit out of each other behind glass, as a local spectacle I guess. Talk about your deterrents.

How long I walked after that I don’t know, but it started to rain. I headed north, toward the river, and I knew I was getting closer because I could smell the rotten eggs. Some things hadn’t changed.

Faster and harder I walked as it came down harder still, until it was coming down in buckets and the temperature dropped fifteen degrees. The temperature gauge on my keys was still working, which was odd, considering these keys went to things I couldn’t begin to imagine. The key ring said W instead of G – the details in this life compared to my last one were mind-boggling.

Overhead flashes of lightning sprang to life and the lightening began to intensify, the kind that bubbled up from nowhere in movies where the hero dies suddenly. The air mixed with golf ball size water drops and began to crackle all around. And I could feel a slight electrical charge as the water hit my skin. I was as good as cooked if I didn’t find someplace to get dry.

As if it could read my mind, a long, white limousine appeared out of nowhere. The back window rolled down and a woman wearing a white, fur-lined jacket with the hood propped back on her head, appeared. She was uncomfortably beautiful and stood out in the grey and black day like a beacon. I swear her skin was almost glowing.

I wondered why and took a step closer to see it better. Her skin was translucent and shimmering. I could see her veins underneath. She handed me her card.

“Lost, Mr. Elder?”

Recognition and hope shot through me. I guess I must have looked like it because she smiled and opened the door. I looked down at her card. It had an official looking gold seal, but it wasn’t a U.S. government seal. It was written in symbols.

“Get in. Too much time in this rain and your skin will burn.”

I didn’t need to hear that twice.

The door swung open and I sidled in. Everything in the car was black but her. She told the driver to find some address I didn’t recognize, but then again this mattered little. I didn’t recognize a fucking thing.

“You’ve already met my colleagues.” She motioned across the seat, and there were the four goons from the bar – my weird reality brothers. And my, what – cousin or lover? I was about to ask for clarification about that guy when glow girl interrupted my thoughts. I guessed because she could.

“Of course, you have questions.” She said and smiled a placating grin like she was bothered to be there, like the whole thing was beneath her. I didn’t know what these things were that bothered her, but I was going to find out.

“Your brothers here in this universe work for me, and they’re doing double duty for you. A bit disloyal, as you can imagine. I told them they were on a short leash. Should I kill them for you?”

“What the fuck is going on and where is my family!” I demanded. The words tumbled from my lips in hysterical dribble.

The stunningly, cold, beautiful woman smiled again. “I have your answers, but first, I need to know something.” The goons smirked like they had a secret. She began to move toward me. “Pull down your pants.” She said, like she was giving me directions to the bus stop.

I, of course, appreciated my pants right where they were. She sighed like she was bored and sat back, folding her arms like a spoiled child.

“I need to check your number.”

Number?

“I need to see if you’re the right one.”

The right one?

I must have said this out loud because the car stopped abruptly and she turned on me, a blaze of frustration behind her cold eyes. I could see she was pissed, but trying to maintain.

“Try to keep up, Mr. Elder. The year is 2096. You have been dead for forty-eight years. However, here on this Earth, in this multi-verse, you are a crime lord of the Ninth Seal, a very bad man who jumps bubbles and games the universes. We, the Interplanetary Peacekeepers, have been tracking you, the “you” that is William Six, aka baddest badass in a thousand multi-verses, for ten years. We learned when Six jumped into your world, he caused a rift and that rift is not just in your universe, but several actually, and today this rift deepened and stole your 2012 soul.”

She began to pull her gloves off, finger-by-finger, exposing elegant fingers, like a bird, with long luminous nails. They glistened like diamonds. It occurred to me they were and I hoped they were insured.

“So you see, Mr. Elder, you are you, on the inside, but you occupy the body of William Six, from this multi-verse. And these gentlemen were coming to rescue you so we could put you back, make things right before you figured out what was going on. It seems they were a little clumsy in their rescue attempt. I am sorry for the inconvenience.”

It didn’t take me a second to see where this was going.

“So, Six’s soul is in my body back in 2012?”

The gorgeous woman laughed.

“Yes, and five others of you are having this same conversation, or had this same conversation, in five other multi-verses. We actually have been tracking all five of you here, in this bubble, for the last twenty-four hours to get a fix on the other multiples. The Mr. Elder you would know, here in Multi-verse Nine Billion, is running around with Six inside him. Each of you has a number on your left buttock cheek. The real Mr. Elder in all five multi-verses, in every replicated scenario we know of, AKA William Six, will have a string of numbers in the five sequence, beginning with one.”

It occurred to me I hadn’t looked at my ass since the world went crazy.

“What if it’s not me?” This seemed like a reasonable question, considering the unreasonableness of the fact I was sitting in a limousine talking to a glowing girl in the ninth billion replica of my Earth, next to my multi-verse bros who fucked up my rescue attempt. My brothers always screwed things up.

She cocked her head like I was an idiot.

“Why Mr. Elder, you die, of course.”

No more funny.

I was beginning to feel like I was better off in the acid rain or in the hands of Detective Ross.

But apparently there wasn’t time to contemplate the choices I should have made because the glowing girl shoved a syringe in my neck. I could feel the cool leather of the seat against my cheek and see between my captor’s legs, which were now sitting open directly across from me. Lo and behold, glow girl wore no underwear. Her pubic hair was pink. This made me smile; a glowing girl, pink pubic hair, dead wife: the day was really winding down in a bad direction.

Then I passed out. I saw or felt nothing. My last last thought before the dark swallowed me whole was I hoped my number wasn’t up.

***

They say, and I forget who they were, but they say psychotic schizophrenics’’ minds break when they try too hard to protect the body from a memory or incident so bad, it can’t be entertained. When I awoke, I wondered if perhaps that was it; I’d had a psychotic break, and maybe I was in the hospital.

My arms were tethered to the bed with those leather straps you see in movies they use on crazy dudes that can’t be trusted, and I had three different lines running into my arms; two on the left and one in my right hand. But then I saw my blood moving through a series of interconnected tubes, which fed into the line in my right arm, and that the lines in my right hand and left were shooting a light blue liquid into me. I noticed where my blood went in it was red and when it came out it was blue. My heartbeat a steady beat on the monitor and across the room the glowing girl was there, now joined by a man I presume was my doctor. He seemed to be the boss, what with his white lab coat, and stern expression. He was glowing, too. I wondered if everyone did, or just the special space crazies.

The doctor turned away from his monitors and smiled like he had a secret. What was it with these people and their deadpan smiles?

“Ah, Mr. Elder. You’re awake. Yes, we all glow, because of the air. Our atmosphere here in this bubble is a slightly different mixture than the one you’re used to. This is why we’re sprucing up your blood as we speak. Can’t have your skin falling off, now can we?”

He spoke with a British accent. This was weird, but not as weird as the visual as my skin sliding off my bones and slithering to the floor, or the fact he could read minds. But then again, everyone here could but me.

I cut straight to the chase. “I guess I was the right one.”

“Indeed! And we’re very pleased. Central is very, very pleased.”

Everyone was very, very pleased, but me.

I began tugging at the intravenous lines attached to my hands and trying to grasp the clips of my leather restraints. But I didn’t get far; glow girl cold-cocked me. She was good at that.

“Mr. Elder if you leave now, you’ll die and you’ll never find your way home. If that doesn’t happen, if we don’t get you back to your 2012 body and bring William Six back here, your sons will never have been born in any universe and you will cease to have ever existed at all.”

She was a serious buzz kill.

I relaxed back into my pillows and the good doctor shot me up with something that made me feel like I was wearing warm chocolate pudding. This was a good thing because I was shaking and breaking down fast. I was trapped in the body of a man wanted by everyone in multiple universes, and the “me” – back home – had the soul of a murderer. He was probably diddling my Rachel right now.

My kids back home were fine, but here they’d never been born. My blood was being exchanged for some other kind of blood so I wouldn’t combust, and I was as close to hyperventilating as I’d ever been. It was then glow girl and the doctor, I never did get his name, began to tell me what my fate would be if I didn’t go along to get along. They added what mine had to do with theirs.

As the good doctor removed my restraints and began to disconnect all my feeding tubes, he told me a story. It was a story out of a Ray Bradbury novel.

My dumb fucking luck.

As I got dressed and followed my new friends to what they called a “launch chair”, I rolled my new reality over and over again in my mind.

The entire known universes were actually limitless universes contained inside bubbles, which occasionally bumped into each other and opened portals, creating wormholes. Generally this space bump changed everything from the atmosphere of universes altering global temperature to the outcomes of civilizations. These changes, or openings, were normal, all things considered.

When bubbles bumped, shit happened.

Climate change acceleration on Earth caused by human over-consumption of carbon was a product of a bubble bump. The simplicity of this truth was almost funny.

It freaked me out to learn that the number and kind of sentient beings were infinite, and presently being mapped by the highest level intellects among all the beings in the known charted multi-verses. Aliens were real, the kind that had spindly legs and huge eyes and no mouths.

The Interplanetary Peacekeepers were really intergalactic or multi-verse cops with knowledge and brainpower that would make the smartest smart guys on my Earth look like fourth graders. That’s why they glowed; lots of neurons.

William Six the First had mucked up the travel gateways they used to move between multi-verses to set up criminal enterprises, otherwise the smart cops never would have found out his game. That sounded like good news for me, that they were diligent in their jobs.

The leaders here were trying to keep the truth that there was a rift causing the intermingling of souls and bodies on the down low until they could find and document proof that is was happening.

Proof.

I guess they needed to prove they could fix the rift and switch back my soul and Six’s before they could get approval for the expansion funding. Bureaucratic mumbo jumbo was universal. Glow girl said it was election season.

I asked how long we had. They said one million Earth years.

My first thought was our last Presidential election season had lasted eighteen months and I thought that was a forever kind of Hell. My second thought was Rachel and the kids would be gone by then, a whole different level of a new kind of Hell.

We talked for more than an hour I guessed, and then we moved into a room where the “launch chair” was. It looked to me like a normal dentist’s chair.

“Please, make yourself comfortable.” Glow girl was so hospitable.

Something was bothering me.

“Am I the only soul breach?” Not that I cared, not really.

Glow girl grinned and pointed upward toward the ceiling. The tiles began to lift off and float away into the corner of the room, exposing a vast dark, glittering space. Every second or two an explosion, like the ones I’d seen on Discovery Channel when a star is born or dies, went off out there.

“The explosions happen every time a soul switch occurs. Repeating the rift moment, the precise millisecond in time when Six screwed you out of your life, is the only way to prove its possible to save at least half of the known universes in the multi-verse, or your soul. If we make the switch successfully and close the hole, no more breaches.”

Maybe I looked like I was struggling with this truth, because she screwed up her nose and planted both hands on her hips. “Let me put this in terms you can understand, Mr. Elder. If we fail, we can all kiss our galactic asses goodbye.”

She pulled a remote out of her white leather Matrix coat. She really was very cool.

“Comfy?”

The chair I sat in, the launch point to put me back, in the bar, where it all happened, was in fact very comfortable, cozy even.

“Mr. Elder, you see, it happened, but it didn’t, because it hadn’t happened yet, but it had, and it will again, and again and again. Make sense?”

I was about to say not so much when my two new glow friends dissipated into the ether as the chair wrapped its arms around me and I could feel my body losing particles. I closed my eyes, and wondered if the third time was a charm.

I only had two more to go.

***

Rachel, my wife, the only one who can make me want to punch her in the throat and take her clothes off in the same moment, and sometimes at the same time, was giving me that look, the one that says I’m drunk and….

-end

 

2012. Tracy Saville. All Rights Reserved.

For more from this writer visit her here. Tracy Saville.

A Chilling Tale for a Cold Night

LPTrendsStory. by Kathryn Mattingly. For the spook season lover in you.

This dark little piece was selected by TripleTree Publishing for a Ghosts At the Coast Anthology. The book was conceived by crazed writers who gathered at Siltcoos Lake on the Oregon Coast for a 3 day writing frenzy, in an old boat house full of it’s own ghosts… not to mention black widow spiders.

We would watch them scamper across the floor occasionally while reading our final stories by candlelight on the last night. Those deemed darkest, scariest or most twisted made it into the anthology, leaving us who were among the selected wondering if perhaps insanity had to be on your resume to make the final cut. Perhaps. Or maybe there is more truth in the dark corners of our reality than we would like to believe…

Morney

by Kathryn Mattingly

I’ve come to Italy to nurse my wounds, having lost another child and knowing it will be my last attempt to bear children. My doctor and friend, Grant, tells me that it takes more courage sometimes to give up and accept fate, than to try and change it. He’s lent me his late aunt’s house here in Rome near the Piazza Navonna, to help heal my frazzled nerves, which have made me painfully thin. Each morning after a sleepless night I carelessly tie my blonde hair in a ponytail, throw on my jeans and a sweater, and sit at this outdoor café in the Piazza.

I silently pray the late April sun will warm my numb heart as I sip on a cappuccino and think about the children I will never have. I cry behind my sunglasses and wipe away tears before they can escape down my cheeks. On my third day of this ritual that does not soothe my agony, a young gypsy appears out of nowhere. I think surely she is an angel, with eyes as dark and deep as God’s richest earth, and curls the color of mahogany bark. She peers up at me while holding an enormous white cat in her arms.

“Have you some change?” she asks.

Her English is decent and I find myself charmed by her confidence. The round eyes stare at me innocently. A little red tam on her head matches the plaid woolen skirt she wears. I think she looks more like a porcelain doll than a beggar, for her skin is pale and undernourished.

“I do have change,” I tell her, “but why don’t you sit with me a minute and talk?”

Her dark eyes look puzzled as she nervously pets the cat.

“I’ll buy you some milk, if you’ll just sit for a while,” I plead.

After a glance in each direction she sits down and the cat lets out a mournful meow. It jumps from her arms and crouches under the metal chair. The gypsy child doesn’t appear at all concerned that her cat will bolt. And it doesn’t. The feline begins to lick its paws contentedly.

“What’s your name?” I ask boldly.

“Morney,” the gypsy angel says.

“Is that Italian?” I inquire.

“No. My mama is American. Her mama was a Morney, until she married grandpapa. I think Mama misses them… her family in America.”

I ache for her soul that is wise beyond its years. “Is that why you speak English?” I ask.

“Yes, Papa does not speak it.”

A waiter appears and I order milk for my little friend. The waiter looks skeptical, with one brow arched. I look him straight in the eye, even though he can’t see my eyes behind the dark shades. He nods and leaves quietly.

“Well, it’s a beautiful name. Where did you get that big fluffy cat?” I sip the cappuccino, never taking my eyes from her thin, angelic face.

“She is fluffy, isn’t she?” Morney swells with pride for her enormous feline friend. “I find her one day, making screechy noises. Poor thing… so tiny, and starving.”

Not unlike this child before me, I think to myself, as she turns her head of tangled curls and points toward the cobbled street behind us.

“There, in the side street. That’s where she was. Papa let me keep her.” Morney looks at me, her eyes serious. “But now he says she is too big and eats too much and I must take Chintzy to the cat place.”

“The cat place?” I ask, amazed.

“Yes… in the ruins, where Caesar died. It’s not far from here.”

“Why do they call it the cat place?”

“Because there are many many cats. Maybe a hundred.” Morney reaches under her seat and pets Chintzy while the waiter places a glass of milk in front of the child and disappears, not a smile or a word crossing his lips. After one gulp, she stares at the saucer beneath my cup. I offer it to her and she pours the milk into it carefully, placing it in front of the beloved pet. Morney is kneeling beside the chair and I smile at her red knee socks and little loafers. Someone has mindfully kept this enticing lure for pity from becoming too shabby.

Every day she comes, holding her large white cat, all the while stretching her hands out from beneath the feline to receive coins. The rich tourists at the cafés along the Piazza ignore her and I marvel at how they can be so complacent. Who could resist giving change to this brave little struggling spirit, a mere ghost of a child, with dark shimmering eyes and messy curls beneath a red tam?

I find her scrappy courage contagious, and somehow the pain of my loss is less suffocating. After nearly two weeks of this daily ritual with the child and the cat and the milk, the gypsy angel comes on a warm sultry morning without Chintzy.

“Papa took her to the cat place,” she moans sadly. “He says she drank the little bit of milk we had for my sister Lydia.” The stoic child hardens her eyes rather than cry. “I will visit Chintzy, every day maybe.”

“I’m so sorry Morney,” I mutter, thinking how often have I heard these words myself, and not found them helpful.

“I hate begging!” Morney announces. “But if I do not beg… then Lydia will have no milk, even though the milk is made bad with the drugs.” Her tone is sharp with anger.

“Lydia has drugs in her milk?” I ask, bewildered.

“Yes, it is to make her sleep, so Mama and Papa can beg and she will not cry. I wish…” she confides in me, “…one day to have many coins, so many, I never will beg again. Then Lydia can have milk that is not drugged, and she can be like other babies, shopping with their mama’s.”

I nod, unsure of how to respond. “Perhaps one day, Morney, you will grow up and earn money in one of the shops where you see the mothers with their babies.”

“Perhaps,” she replies, and leaves hurriedly without touching her milk.

One day Morney brings her baby sister in a carriage that is tattered and worn, and asks me to care for her because her mother is too ill to beg and her father has not returned from the bars. Nervously I look about, and see not a soul taking any notice of this battered pram housing a dark-haired darling like her sister. Hesitantly and with many misgivings I concede and tell Morney I will watch Lydia while sipping my cappuccino. But she must return for her by midmorning. As my little gypsy friend runs off into the cobbled side street of the Piazza, I see a woman looking sickly and frail well beyond her years looming in the distance. I wonder if she is Morney and Lydia’s mother.

Amidst odd and perplexed looks of pedestrians strolling by and café waiters gawking at my table, I study the little one placed in my care. She never opens her eyes fringed with curled lashes. Lydia’s face is round and smooth like Morney’s, another cherub with mahogany hair, and I wonder if her eyes are as dark as her sister’s. When no one comes for her I reluctantly stroll the sleeping Lydia across the Piazza and ask about her family in the shops. In one store on the corner of the narrow cobbled street someone knows her parents. The shopkeeper tells me the father and mother have probably run off, because the father is wanted for killing a man in a bar brawl.

“Rapheal is a violent one, when he has been drinking.” The little man uses heavily accented English. “He and that woman Isabella are like shadows of the night, always working the back streets.”

The shopkeeper tells me he hopes they will pay for the crime, having shamelessly overdosed their young daughter, addicted to the drugs almost since birth. I anxiously peer down at Lydia, but she is waking up from her drug-induced sleep. I can’t help myself as I reach for her, to cradle the toddler in my arms. She is so light I wonder what there is of her beneath the shabby blanket.

The storekeeper stares painfully at the baby and tells me it will also die from the drugs in the milk, which are too strong. “Rapheal and his woman have less sense than most.” He shakes his head sadly. “They are so young, and the mother… she takes the drugs. But Rapheal… he is just a thief and a drunk.”

“What do you mean I ask?” looking at him puzzled and confused. “Is this not the child you feared was overdosed? See… she’s fine!”

“No. Not that one, not yet anyway. The other one, with the cat.”

Morney?” I whisper, staring helplessly into his bushy-browed eyes.

“Yes… that’s her name… Morney. She is dead a year this… this month I think.”

“But how can that be?” My mind races backward. I remember the pale woman in the shadows, the blank stares of the waiters and their non-recognition of my little gypsy friend, who has visited me every day for two weeks, begging coins while stealing my heart. I remember Grant telling me I have hallucinations because I am not well… the drugs, the tests, the pregnancies, the lost babies, the strain of it all. I must take a long vacation. And now this, discovering Morney has died well before she could have brought me her sister Lydia this morning.

I decide to leave Rome. I will reside in Milan. There is nothing to return to the States for. Unsuccessful pregnancies have taken their toll on my marriage. Before I go, I visit the cat place Morney spoke of. It is indeed a refuge of partially-restored ancient ruins, right in the middle of the city; one story beneath ground level. The whole area is overrun with cats of every size and shape. The felines vary widely from fat and sassy to haggard and frail. A big white cat sits like a queen among them and it is Chintzy. I am sure of it. Dusk is settling in and the lights play tricks, but I swear that in the shadows I see Morney, in her red tam and plaid skirt, waving at me. She is kneeling by the huge white cat, stroking its soft arched back with her free hand.

Racing down the cement steps with her sister still in my arms, I shout out… Morney …but only the cats respond, with wild guttural meows. Sitting down on a large stone in the ruins, there among the whining, growling cats, I cry into Lydia’s mahogany curls. We sit for hours in the darkness, huddled together for warmth, but Morney never reappears.

At home now in Milan not a day goes by I don’t think of the little ghost-child and her huge white feline. But thankfully, the voices and illusions within me have not come again. And I have a daughter who needs me, since her father was imprisoned for life, and her mother is dead of malnutrition… or perhaps a drug overdose. No one could be sure. But I am sure of one thing. It was Morney who brought me Lydia, an orphaned gypsy no more, but a child of my own at last.

You may visit the Kathryn Mattingly author page at Winter Goose Publishing where her literary fiction novel will be released May 2013. You may also visit her on Twitter and Facebook. Kathryn is a regular contributor to Leading Possibilities Magazine.

By The Light of The Moon

LPTrends Short Fiction: By The Light of The Moon.

by Kathryn Mattingly

I remember lookin’ at Tom sittin’ there lickin’ his paws contentedly and thought about when the monstrous black cat first graced me with his presence. He wasn’t really my pet. Tom wasn’t anybody’s pet. He simply became a fixture in the corners of your life as it suited him, before moving on. I knew this about Tom because one day he just showed up. I opened the squeaky screen door on a muggy July morning to retrieve a fat Sunday paper with the colored comics stickin’ out in a tempting anticipatory manner, and there he was, sprawled across my porch swing meowing crankily.

I asked him who he thought he was, layin’ there on my porch swing like that, but he only pushed his nose up into the thickly humid Illinois air and squinted his big yellow eyes at me. Tom was purring in a most flirtatious manner and was quite receptive to my sensual stroking of his sleek black fur. As if knowing I was a young widow without a soul to care for, he took full advantage of my pampering services.


I didn’t have to say here kitty twice when laying a dish of cream at his feet. After he’d licked the blue china bowl clean, he claimed the porch as his own for the morning. I felt obliged to give him left over catfish from Friday night dinner at noontime, with some more of the cream.

That was the last of it and there was none for my evening coffee, so I mozzied on over to the market later that afternoon where I picked up a few cans of cat food too, just in case Mr. Tom was still around when I returned.

He was. I all but charged him rent on the front porch after that. My flowery pillows on the white painted slats of the porch swing became covered in short black fur. Tom hollowed out a nest in the foliage by the railing, where sometimes he curled up in a ball and hid from the bothersome busyness of the day. Only in the dead of winter did he come inside to claim my rag rug in front of the toasty fire for long cozy naps. Weather permitting, when shadows of night fell to the ground like heavy dew, Tom was gone. Not to be seen again until well past dawn. As long as crickets were chirping in the thick grass out back, or a frog was heard ribbitting down by the river over yonder toward Lilac Lane, he was nowhere near.

One day a woman from Scarlet Drive came by selling raffle tickets door to door for her church. “Where’d you get that cat?” she’d asked.

“I didn’t get him. He got me. Just showed up one day and decided to stay for awhile,” I replied.

“I had me a Tom like that one.” She nodded toward the swing where Tom was perched like a king on the flowered pillows watching her. He did have a knowing look in his glowing gold eyes, and was switching and twitching his tail, which was not at all his usual bored demeanor for my guests.

“He went and run off on me one night after a full blown harvest moon so big and yellow you could sort your socks by it. Truth be known he ran off on me every night, but this time he didn’t come back,” she added, staring at him all the while.

“Tom’s been here going on a year now. When’d you lose your cat?” I asked, hoping the time didn’t match at all.

“Oh, it’s been about that long,” she offered up. “How’d you know his name was Tom?”

“Well, I didn’t. But he looks like any typical ole’ tomcat to me, so it fit.”

“Ain’t nothin typical about that cat,” she scolded. “Look at him, lying there like he owns the place. That’s one pristine pampered animal for an alley runner. Don’t look like he’s ever met his match in a feline scrape.”

“Yep, he’s a big healthy one for sure,” I agreed. “Did you get your Tom as a kitten?” I asked, wondering if my Tommy had ever been a kitten, he seemed so ageless.

“Nope. My Tom showed up looking for a free meal all growed and sassy, and took over my tiny fenced yard as if he ruled it, sleeping in the petunia beds whenever he wished.”

I sighed with relief when she left, and hadn’t bought a raffle ticket, hoping she wouldn’t come back. I’d grown rather fond of Tom and didn’t want to lose him to Scarlet Drive, whether he’d wandered over here from there or not. I decided that my Tommy most likely had a whole slew of homes he’d borrowed until boredom or more pressing feline matters summoned him.

I realized one day he would no longer grace my porch either, lickin’ cream off his chin with a long scratchy pink tongue, or batting flies after a good days napping, just prior to his running off to romp down by the river, slinking between thick reeds along the bank, catchin’ any number of interesting critters for amusement.

I heard once about cats dancin’ by the light of the moon. My Auntie Jane told me the story when I was just a child. She said as a little girl she followed her calico kitty one day down to the river. The harvest moon was full and bright, and she knew those riverbanks like the back of her hand, so she wasn’t scared at all. When she got to the clearing around the furthest bend it nearly took her breath away, all the cats there meowing long and low to the moon, rolling around in the grass like they was playin’.

And then my Auntie Jane says she must have fallen asleep, ‘cause she remembers hearing fiddle music all of a sudden. Coming from nowhere really, but so loud and sweet it made your soul ache. And before she knew it those silly cats were twisting and turning into lords and ladies, looking so fine in their silky gowns and satiny tuxes, tall and slender, every one of them pretty as a picture. They were elegant and all in tune, partnered up and swirling about.

Auntie Jane says she must have been dreamin’ there in the dewy grass, exhausted from chasing down her calico pet, ‘cause several of those handsome people were young adults she knew to be deader than doornails. One was Carly Canton, who had drowned that summer at sweet sixteen. Carly’d been a bit of a wild one, with long freckled legs and wavy red hair. As red as Calico’s brightest patches of fur, Auntie Jane had observed, which might have contributed to the dreamin’ and all, she admitted.

Poor Carly was caught by an undertow and everyone believed it was shameful what with her having been drinkin’ that cold frothy beer at her tender age. No excuse just ‘cause it were hotter than blazes, all the adults had said. Never, never drink and swim!

Auntie Jane especially remembered that summer when Carly died, ‘cause the calico cat appeared not two days later. She’d cheered everyone up a little, playing with the dozens and dozens of butterflies flitting about in the fields. Auntie Jane had begged please mama let me keep her until finally her mama had said alright then Jane, just quit a pesterin’ me!

“Billy Mosier was one of them lads in the stylish black tuxes, out there dancin’ like a jitterbug on a tree stump,” Auntie Jane had said. “He’d wrecked his suped up sports car at not quite nineteen that very same summer. Wrapped it clear around a big oak tree just outside of town. Billy was a looker, and all the girls mourned his death for quite a while. He had a way about him, what with that dark silky hair fallin’ over thick lashed eyes,” Auntie Jane admitted to me with a sigh. “He always dressed in black, from his wrangler jeans to his shiny leather jackets and polished boots. ‘Cept in summer. Then he drove the girls wild with his sleeveless T’s, showing all them muscles on his big strong arms.” Auntie Jane laughed when she told me that.

Can you imagine such a dream where all the young people, whose lives were cut short by an untimely death, turn into finicky felines and frolic about under the harvest moon? To think they became human again for one night of romping good fun down by the river! My Auntie Jane was a wonder with her tales of such silliness. She never lacked for imagination, and yet I believed she had her wits about her more so than those that would say otherwise.

Tom came crawlin’ back after the last harvest moon plum tuckered out enough to have been dancin’ all night for sure. Lookin like something the cat dragged in, I told him, but he only closed them bright yellow eyes to my smart-alecky tone. If I didn’t know any better, I’d believe the entire tale Auntie Jane told me, ‘cause that tomcat barely woke up long enough to eat for nearly a week. No more roamin’ the hot Indian summer nights after that either, just rolling on his back in the dewy grass out front, and batting an occasional firefly.

This particular summer my niece Lillian Landis graced Tom and me with her presence. Her mama done had it with Lillian, and I thought a cooling off period might not be such a bad thing. I offered to take the rebellious teen into my home for a spell. My sister, Rosie, was grateful to send her to me so she could make it through a day without tears and trauma. Sis knew I couldn’t keep that child from her evening escapades with all the other teens in town, but I did promise to make the lovely Lillian compromise between cautious conduct and careless carousing.

She was a lovely sight, that girl. Missy Lil had attributes to match her name, being a delicate child with smooth lilywhite skin, and a fragile sweetness about her despite the rebelliousness of late. One night I prepared to follow Lil out the door and down to the river, where I’d heard them naughty young folk were skinny-dipping and laughin’ up a storm on these hot muggy nights we’d had of late. The river backed up into one big pond by the cliffs and it was there I could see them all clearly in the light of the near full moon. They were lyin’ about real snuggly like and kissin’ between drinkin’ and smokin’, and jumpin’ into the water to cool off their sweaty skin. Probably more overheated from all that kissin’ than the suffocatin’ weather.

I decided right then and there that my niece would not be returning to the banks of the river where sin was runnin’ near amuck amongst our wild and willful youth. The only thing keeping me from draggin’ her sorry self home right then was the mere fact of rapid waters between us flowin’ steady and strong along the banks of my field and the cliffs of her rompin’ grounds. By the time I would forge my way to the other side, she would surely already be headin’ home.

Oh how I longed to see her lilywhite face by midnight, which was our agreed upon curfew, but she didn’t appear at that hour, or the next. Finally I called Rosie and the police. They showed up at dawn with Tom, who was dismayed to come home from his prowling about only to find a parcel of strangers on his coveted porch. At noon Rosie and I sat on the swing exhausted from worry. Tom was curled up tight nestled in the foliage beside the porch rail. Nothing was stirring but the bees on the honeysuckle.

A squad car pulled up and my heart near leapt into my throat as the officer approached us. Sure enough our Lillian had been found, her sweet little body all mangled like a crushed flower, fallen over the cliffs by the river. Lots of alcohol was found in her blood after tests determined she had stumbled to her death. Rosie was overtaken with grief and there was nothing I could do to help. My own sadness made me restless as a cat; pouncing on anyone who dared knock at my door for weeks after the funeral.

I had almost forgotten it was time for that bright harvest moon again, until it slowly began to rise one night, the sky all-aglow from its shimmering haze. Tom slinked off with a decidedly perky prance that evening, his sleek black fur nearly standing on end. For what I wondered? I thought about my Auntie Jane and her crazy story of the dancing cats turning into lords and ladies, takin’ on familiar faces of the young and foolish, whirling about in the light of that big yellow sphere, defying their tragic deaths. What nonsense it was, but still, it soothed my aching heart to think that just maybe my Miss Lil could be all footloose and fancy free like that for a full harvest moon, despite the fall that brought her future to a sudden halt.

I snuck down to the river that night, and was able to see every plump ripe blackberry on the bushes along the bank, that moon was so bright. It did take awhile to reach the shore, as I’d near forgotten what a hefty hike it was. Pantin’ up a storm I peeked through the reeds and wondered what them teens from town were doing on the other shore, by the pooled up water near the cliffs. I soon forgot about them entirely, as my eyes beheld a feline fantasy. Every cat imaginable was lying about, swishing their tales and licking their paws, as I lie in the cool grass and watch through my bed of reeds. Next I cannot be sure what happened. I suspect I fell asleep from weariness and dreamed the dreams of Auntie Jane long ago. For soon every cat began twisting and twitching about until their bodies slithered into fancy gowned gals and gussied up suitors.

I watched them dance eloquently and became mesmerized by soft melodies on a faraway fiddle. Shadows moved across a voluptuous harvest moon, and kept in motion with the haunting tunes. I dared to believe I saw our Miss Lillian, all titillating in green taffeta, her emerald eyes set off by the stunning gown. She danced with an alluring young stranger who could have been Billie Mosier, what with his dark tousled hair tumbling over thickly lashed eyes.

I awoke, at just past dawn, with the field before the flowing river clear and void of all movement, cat or ghost either one. Dazed, I stumbled home and slept til well past noon. When I slid open the squeaky screen door to glance about for Mr. Tom, he was nowhere to be seen, but I had to look twice upon the gently rocking swing, for its yellow flowered pillows held another feline now. A dainty white cat lay there all prettily perched upon her back haunches, whining a high-pitched meow at me. I near stared right through her glowing green eyes and then quickly went to fetch some cream.

A few weeks later Rosie came by, her first time out since dear Lillian’s death. She asked me who was playin’ queen, lookin’ all pampered there on the porch swing. I told my sister I had no idea where that Tom had run off to, or why the white tabby now fancied this her home. Rosie asked what was I gonna call the cat, for Tom would never do.

I came and stood beside my sis there at the door and gazed upon the sublime creature that had left her queenly swing every evening to carouse along the river.  I shrugged an indication of not having bothered with a name, and Rosie took it upon herself to call the fluffy feline Snowball. T’wasn’t a chance in hell the rebellious bundle of fur would allow for such a silly name. My choice was more fitting, although I was quite careful not to mention it around my dear sister, who packed up and moved to Florida in order to forget her pain.

My new feline friend and I have snuggled up every morning since then on the white slat swing, where I read the daily paper and my delicate Miss Lily drinks her cream. I’ve seen Tom on several occasions, hangin’ about when the shadows fall sideways and evening dew begins to gather. He sits off aways in the distance beyond the picket gate and waits for Lily to finish grooming her dainty little face with her sticky pink tongue. When finished, she bolts from the chair in a most graceful manner and is off with her tomcat, who has come a callin’ …to roam along the river in search of whatever it is that can only be seen by the light of the moon.

By The Light of The Moon has twice received recognition for excellence and is published in 2 different anthologies: WomanScapes by DLSIJ Press and Internationally Yours: Prize Winning Stories by Joyous Publishing. 

Other work by Kathryn Mattingly: The Stein Collection



How To Become A Sane Girl

Tracy Saville, Founder, Publisher, & Editor-In-Chief

Ah, the story of us. Here a next installment of My Story – a new feature at The Possibility Place. It is personal, so reader beware. But if you’re not willing to lay down your own er, the word I’m looking for is, soul/ass/reputation/skin/future on the grill, how can you expect others to follow?

Thank you for your stories and your voice. They’ll stream weekly here and soon in our new mobile app.

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My story is short, but sweet. I’ve had an extraordinary, painful, joyful life, and my story is just now truly unfolding. I once wrote a fictional essay (that is very much fiction but borrows greatly from the angst and emotion of what actually did happen in my life – remember I am a great weaver of tales). It involved waking up, finding the capacity to be the right kind of insane, and living into all that potential I was given. This is not an easy road. But you knew that. I have had many people to learn from who shared themselves with me over the years, their truth and pain, their regrets and insights. I have done my level best to absorb them all.

Here are two links below, the first you’ll find a great feature from a local site in my hometown that did a lovely profile on me as an artist writer in 2011, which I still kind of love. The second is my fictional award-winning story about becoming a sane girl. Again, the facts are not mine. Even if you ask; I’ll never tell.

I am me. I have not always been, but I am happy to have arrived. Even more so to have survived.

Tracy Saville
Founder of The Possibility Place

Thank you again for your stories and your voice. They’ll stream weekly here and soon in our new mobile app.

My Bio According to Sac365, whom I love:

How To Become A Sane Girl: My Story In Fiction

This picture below is my brother and me. I include it because he makes me smile really hard. And that is the essence of a moment I love.

Tracy Saville & Mike Willert, Bubba and Sissy, Brother & Sister Forever

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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