SUCCESS PHILOSOPHIES WITH DR. CHUBACK EPISODE #7

Writers are human and humans require motivation. When we set a goal, the motivation to accomplish our desires is the force driving our actions. For many of us, finding the correct path to follow and maintaining that driving force can be difficult.

In our quest to assist writers in becoming the best you can be and remain motivated, we would like to introduce you to John Chuback, M.D. A cardiovascular surgeon, Dr. Chuback found his goals waylaid by his lack of motivation. In a series of interviews with Paul W. Reeves, host on Impact Radio USA, Dr. Chuback discusses “The 50 most powerful secrets for success in and out of the classroom.”

Please click on the link below to hear Episode #7 in this series, and start enhancing your journey toward success today!

DR. JOHN CHUBACK, a cardiovascular surgeon from New Jersey, joins us in this series to celebrate the release of his book, “The Straight A Handbook – The 50 Most Powerful Secrets For Ultimate Success In And Out Of The Classroom”.

Throughout this series, we will cover each of the 50 chapters in detail, each of which will guide you toward success in all that you do in life.

On this segment, Dr. Chuback and Paul discussed chapters 15 and 16.

Enjoy!

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Previous Episodes of “Success Philosophies With Dr. Chuback”

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Dr. John Chuback

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Dr. John Chuback was born and raised in Bergen County and graduated from the Dwight Englewood School. He earned his medical degree from New Jersey Medical School at UMDNJ, in Newark. Dr. Chuback then completed a five-year General Surgical Residency at Monmouth Medical Center (MMC). Dr. Chuback is the author of Make Your Own Damn CheeseKaboing, and The Straight A Handbook.

All books are available on Amazon. com. 

Impact Radio USA

Welcome to ​IMPACT RADIO USA, where we strive to  provide the best in news, talk, sports, and music 24 hours a day, 52 weeks per year. Our goal is to keep you as the most informed and entertained Internet Radio audience.

As we are continuing to add content on a daily basis, please feel free to click on the “LISTEN NOW” button at the top of the page to hear us 24 hours a day.While you are here, please check out all of our links to our shows, our podcast page, our blog, and learn how YOU can host your own show with us.  Thank you for listening to IMPACT RADIO USA!!!

https://www.impactradiousa.com/

Paul W. Reeves 

Paul W. Reeves is a longtime Detroit area author, radio talk show host, music educator, composer/arranger, and professional musician!

Listen to “Dr. Paul’s Family Talk” on Impact Radio USA and visit Paul’s websitehttps://paulwreeves.com for more information on his books and CDs.

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A Principal’s Family Principles by Paul W. Reeves Ed. D. is available on Amazon.com

Calliope Njo: Big Plans

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms.  Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support! 

Images are free-use images and do not require attribution. Image by Steve Bidmead of Pixabay.

Big Plans

Calliope Njo

Summer was here at last. No more masks and no more school. I wished I could get rid of Christine. No luck there though. Father would never bail me out of jail if I killed her, so yeah, I got stuck with her.

Dear Mother always told me that the bond between sisters must remain forever sacred. I would’ve been perfect with only me, but no, they wanted another child. I hated them for that decision. There was never a need for her.

I locked my door. Nothing was going to get between me and going to our private island. Great-Grandfather bought it as a gift for Great-Grandmother. A sort of getaway place during the holidays. There was always the option of flying somewhere but it was always our island.

Christine banged on the door. I ignored it and packed for the summer. There was nothing more appealing than spending time on our island. Enough of school. Enough of that stupid plague, pandemic thing. It was perfect studying at home. I locked myself in my room and did the work I was supposed to. Of course after that, I vid chatted with everyone.

The school board thought it would be best to have summer school. Of course, it was a nay vote. Who would agree to that? Summer was for fun and excitement while traveling and shopping.

Father went to Vietnam to negotiate a deal with a big company over there. Mother went to Manhattan to visit her sister. It seemed my precious cousin got sick with something. So it was only me. Christine didn’t count.

I woke up the morning of my big plans. Go there and invite everyone who was anyone to party all night long. No parents meant we could do whatever we wanted.

I grabbed my bag and opened my door. That turned out to be a big mistake. I wanted to swing my suitcase and knock her down so hard. That was when I heard Father in my head. Gee, thanks, dear ol’ Father.

“You know. You need to decompress. Let go of all of your stress. Then maybe you wouldn’t be so hostile. Studies have shown—”

I didn’t knock her down, only a slight nudge. OK, it was hard enough for her head to clunk on the floor. Big deal. There were plans to fulfill.

I pulled my suitcase after me and got in my car. A quick trip to our dock to get on our boat. I smiled when I turned the engine on. Paradise, here I come.

One hour and forty-five minutes later, I arrived. Took care of the boat and got my stuff before leaving, after that, only a matter of a brief hike up the hill. There was nothing as beautiful as the sight before me.

Two-story thirteen-hundred-square-foot house with white siding. If no one could picture the size, I always thought it was the perfect little house for the setting. Of course, nobody needed to know that.

While everyone was busy doing their own thing, I came here to prepare to party. I didn’t miss a thing. Built-in speakers so didn’t need a DJ.

Food of all kinds and I knew how to grill so that wasn’t a biggie. The drinks took skill to get, after all, nobody realized who I was so that took some doing. The guest bungalow was clean and prepared. I sent everyone an electronic invitation complete with instructions. With the party the very next day, there was time to relax and get some sun.

A little sunscreen, didn’t need the wrinkles or that sunburn, and my pink g-string and I made it out to the beach. If it weren’t for those damn birds who wanted nothing else than looking for food, then things would’ve been ultra perfect. As it was, things were eh.

When the air turned cool, I got up and went back to the house. A good long hot shower was what it took. Being all by my—

“Brielle, are you here? That wasn’t very nice. You know, I could have brain damage. You’re my older sister. You’re supposed to take care of me and nurture me when Mother isn’t around.” She stood in my doorway.

She didn’t die after all. Pity. Needed to try harder next time around. “You know, Christine. You are nothing but a waste of space. You take up too much precious air for my liking.” I stood in front of her and watched her eyes bulge open. “I could very easily do you in. So why haven’t I? The answer to that is simple.” I put my hand around her neck and felt the urge to squeeze. “You serve a purpose.” That and I’m too much of a coward to do anything. I lowered my hand. “So right now, you have one of two choices. You don’t choose, I’ll make the choice for you.” She ran away.

I shook my head. She thought she could reason with me so she could have fun along with me. Never going to happen.

She returned. I looked behind me. “Still haven’t learned.”

“Why is it you try so hard to be mean? How come? You’re not mean. I’ve seen you with your friends. To have friends you can’t be. It’s just not possible. Yet, you threaten me with everything. I don’t understand. That’s why I told you, you need to decompress. Sort of clear your thoughts and relax.”

“It won’t take anything for me to strangle you to death.”

“Of course it would. You would lose everything. If you really intended for me to die, you would have done it a long time ago. So let’s go have something to eat, then we can sit down and talk.”

“Christine, it was never my intention for you to be here. I don’t care if you live or die. I really don’t.” I came towards her but she didn’t move. She thought I lied. “You don’t leave…”

“And then what? Besides that, I know your secret. Things just come to you without any work involved. It could be from animals or people. It doesn’t matter. I know because I have the same thing as you. I accepted it. How come you can’t?”

Things got freaky from that point. Nobody was supposed to know. I didn’t even know but she did. How could that be? “I’m not some freak out of one of those side shows they used to have. I am the one who everybody looks to for fashion sense. Guys wait to find out if I’m available.”

“Nobody said you were from a freak show. I’m not a freak show. I’m only saying I know what you’re going through. I told Mother and Father about it. Father smiled at me and ruffled my hair. Mother kissed my forehead and told me I needed to go to the salon. You might get a different reaction.”

Oh, I wish those birds would go away. This was never their property. “Why would I announce to everyone what happens to me? You know how embarrassing that would be? I refuse to become society’s laughing stock.”

“Brielle, you are the most stubborn girl. You know that? How would you be the laughing stock if nobody knows about it? Hello. And you call me an empty-headed bird brain.” She straightened her arms and smirked.

“I would if I told Mother. Wouldn’t I? She would tell Marjorie, and from there, everybody in the neighborhood would know.”

“Like I said. And you call me an empty-headed bird brain. You counteract that by telling everybody Marjorie’s daughter didn’t make it into Fashion University. She flunked the entrance exam by a hemline.” She shook her head. “Just calm down and relax. The party or get together or whatever it is you’re planning may be a good idea. You can spend the rest of the time relaxing. Find yourself. You’ve got the entire summer. Well, from now until about mid-August anyway.”

“There was no way you would find out. I only told one person and that one person would never speak.”

“Do I need to make a list of who Michelle told?”

“You’re guessing.” I reached to slam the door in her face but she reached out and held it.

“She’s not exactly trustworthy. That’s how everybody knew of your secret crush. I even knew about it.” She put her hands on her waist. “Let’s get back to the subject at hand. OK? So it’s getting late. Get some sleep. We’ll continue tomorrow.” She reached out and closed the door.

Maybe if I bribe a judge he could let me off without prison time.

“You wouldn’t really want to do that.” She said that loud enough for me to hear it through the door.

I sat on my bed. My perfect weekend. Shot to hell. God, I hated life. Maybe all I needed was a good night’s sleep before the weekend-long party.

Nine o’clock was not a time to sleep. It was a time to talk and have fun. That was the reason I couldn’t fall asleep at all. It was a good thing I had the foresight not to let anyone arrive until noon.

Sure enough, my people didn’t arrive until twelve-thirty. I got the food going, Michelle poured the drinks, and everybody partied. Christine stayed inside to read. Why would anybody read if school was not in session?

A hint of disbelief lingered about Michelle, so I came up with a way to test her. David was there as somebody’s guest. Not mine, because I had no interest in him because he was short without any muscles. His only interest was computers.

I grabbed Michelle’s hand and pulled her over by the grill. “Do you see David over there?”

“You mean Mr. Nobody over there. Yeah. So?”

I smiled. “He may be a Mr. Nobody, but there’s something about him. Something I can’t explain.” The lengths I had to go through to prove something. Bleck.

She spit out her drink. “You like him? Tell me you’re using him for test purposes and I can walk away happy.”

I shook my head. “By the time school starts, I would have been with him and made his blood boil so hard.”

She gasped.

“Don’t say anything. This is between you and me for now.”

“Of course not. Ew.” She walked away.

If Christine was right, the entire party should know by the end of the night or at least him.

With food served, and everybody buzzed, I started guiding people to the guest house. Sleeping bags had been put out for everybody to sleep on. I walked away taking note of Michelle and David.

At about noon the next day, I walked outside to start picking up. Heaven forbid the birds should find it distasteful. A few of them found some leftovers to eat.

A few squirrels joined them in the feast. I shooed all the animals away before picking up everything.

“I was wondering if you were ever going to get out here,” Christine said.

I turned my head around. She was concerned. Not that I believed it.

With a garbage bag in my hand, all of the used cups, half-eaten food, and various other stuff got picked up. Christine tugged on the bag with thoughts of getting the trash. I scrunched my eyes together.

“You get the furniture. I get the trash and other stuff.” She smiled. “In the end, you’ll be the one hurting. Ha.”

Too tired to think anything about it, I took her suggestion and picked up everything else.

A few hours later, people started vacating the guest house, leaving to go home. David smiled at me. Then he made this weird face with his eyes scrunched together and pursed lips.

He walked towards me. “Hi. Uh. I’m David. You know that already. Uh. So…”

“Hi, David. Are you leaving?”

“Yeah. Uh. In a bit. Uhm. What I wanted to ask was if you wanted to go to the Comp Cafe this weekend?”

Did Michelle tell him? “Why would you be asking that? We have absolutely zero in common. You’re all of what? Five-four? Don’t play sports?”

“Yeah but, I thought you were supposed to like me. I was going to teach you some programming.”

“Maybe another time. Like when the Earth turns into a feather.” I walked away to find out if Michelle left yet or not.

She wasn’t there. All of the rooms were empty, which meant she left with someone while I wasn’t looking. That didn’t matter. I’ll have my revenge when I get back, and I won’t forget.

I stood in the middle of the living room with the knowledge that things changed. For the worse or the better I had no idea. I stood there because it was what I did. Thinking about everything that was said and done.

What I wanted was to change and go down to the beach. What I needed to do was to clean. I wanted to come here. I needed to take responsibility for it. Mid-August couldn’t get here soon enough.

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Please visit Calliope on her blog: https://calliopenjosstories.home.blog/

S.McC: The Chest 2

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms.  Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support! 

Images are free-use images and do not require attribution. Image by Steve Bidmead of Pixabay.

The Chest 2

S.McC

Marc got to his feet on wobbly legs and walked over toward the chest. The deep gashes that marred its wooden frame showed a metallic object within. He looked at the chest in disgust. This old thing wasn’t worth his life. And yet if he hadn’t have gotten it he’d be dead, anyway. The Core’s captain would make sure of that. 

“Sir, not to interrupt your musings with the chest, but what are we going to do now?” 

“We’ll just have to take the consequences, Hubert.” 

“I don’t like the thought of that,” the ship’s AI said. 

“Neither do I, but what choice do we have?”

The thought of bringing the Captain a broken chest filled him with dread. 

With a sigh, Marc muttered, “May as well see what’s in this.” 

His hand reached out to lift its lid. The splintered wood threatened to poke holes in his spacesuit. 

“I don’t think that’s a good idea, Sir.”

“If we know what’s in it, we might be able to replace it.” 

“For once you may be right.” 

Marc rolled his eyes. His hand lifted the broken lid, and the wood crumbled to dust in his hands. He coughed as the dust swirled around him. When it settled, Marc’s eyes landed on the small metallic box the size of a dinner plate that the chest had hidden. His hand brushed the dust off the top of the box and revealed a small rectangle mechanism on its surface.

“Was it supposed to do that?” 

Marc ignored the AI. A chest wouldn’t be hard to find. But the metal box drew him in. His grey eyes were glued to the slight scratches that looked like an ancient form of writing. His finger poked at the darker metal plate where they were, and he found it moved beneath him. 

He stared and turned the dial up and down, revealing more of the scratches that slotted into a hole in the frame on which they sat. 

“I wonder what these are for?” 

“I believe, Sir, that they are an ancient locking mechanism from the times of the great wars.” 

“From the great wars?”

Marc knew little about the wars, only that they were bloody and had lasted a generation of human lives. To him, it was unfathomable that something could have lasted so long.

Many planets had died and were uninhabited because of it. Much like Zothria. It was only by a strange miracle that the planet where he found the box had breathable air, for many in the great wars were uninhabitable.

He shook his head at the thoughts of wars. He had enough of them in his own lifetime where his own planet was concerned, and concentrated on the task at hand. 

His eyes roamed the rest of the box. It was a smooth silver metal, with no other cracks or obvious places that he could open it from. No ports or places where he could install Hubert’s computer to it.

He ran a hand over his face. Why couldn’t things be simple?

“There’s no way to know if whatever is inside is broken, Hubert.” 

“If it’s something from the old wars, we will know soon enough.” 

“What do you mean?” 

“Magic, Sir. The old people fought over it.” 

“But it’s gone from all worlds. There is no magic left in the galaxy.” 

“Maybe there is some left.” 

“What do you mean by that, Hubert?”

“I’m just saying some people may have buried their magic.”

“And you would know this, why?”

“They built me a long time ago, Sir.”

“Surely not that long ago?”

“Maybe…”

Now the AI was being mysterious, Marc thought. He shrugged. Hubert was old, and Marc hadn’t had the chance to go through all of his data yet. It was extensive. Far more than the Captain’s ship. But he had to be wrong about this. Didn’t he?

Marc heard Hubert’s camera zoom into the box. He tilted his head and stared at the metallic object. Magic? Real? Nah, it couldn’t be, Marc thought, and ran a black gloved hand through his sandy mohawk. 

He lifted the metallic object and shoved the box in one of the many shelves in the cargo hold of the ship. He turned toward the cockpit. They would need to get the chest first before they could take the object to their captain, otherwise they would be in big trouble.

“Take us to Verlon, Hubert,” Marc said as he walked along the corridor. 

A painting caught his eye. The folded blue and white chairs sat along a beach and he stared. If only things were as simple as back then. Where the voices of children and the rush of waves on the small white beaches brought happier memories back. He had played with his sister on them. The smell of salt in the air as they made sandcastles while his parents relaxed in chairs.

But they hadn’t been simple for a long time. Ever since they had taken him from his planet. He tore his gaze away from it, afraid of the flood of memories and how they would make him feel. He shoved the lump in his throat down and kept walking through the metal corridor. The sound of his boots on the grate clanked in his ears.

The cockpit door hissed open, and he slid into one of the three chairs. His gaze moved over the many screens. Hubert had plotted their map for Verlon, and he looked at the time it would take for him to get there and back to the captain’s ship.

“If we have no hiccups along the way, we should arrive back in the allocated time,” he muttered.

“About that, Sir.”

Marc sighed. “What is it, Hubert?”

“The Rams are tailing us.”

“How can they see through the stealth mode?”

“I don’t know, Sir. A new tech perhaps.”

“Perhaps. Pull them up on the monitor.”

Hubert pulled up two tiny red dots close to his own ship. Marc scrutinised them. Too close for comfort. Maybe half a day behind him, but by his speed and theirs, he guessed they would overtake him in a few hours. 

Marc tapped his fingers on the console and debated what to do. Maybe if he upped the amps of the stealth box, he would have a momentary burst to come in behind them before it gave out. It was a gamble, but he saw no other way out of the situation that he found himself in. With this thought in mind, he got up out of the chair. 

As he took his first step out of the cockpit, a wave of nausea took control of his body. His mind buzzed with a loud ringing, and he stumbled. His hand reached out to the wall to catch himself. Before his finger felt the cool surface of the metal wall, an explosion erupted around him. The force threw him off of his feet.

He fell to the ground. The taste of blood dripped down his throat, and he licked his busted lip. They’d caught up faster than he thought.

“Hubert! Evasive manoeuvres!” 

“But Sir, we are not under attack.” 

“We’re not?” 

Marc, confused, and feeling sicker than he had moments ago, pushed up on his arms from the floor. What had that explosion been, then? 

But before he got his feet under him, his vision blurred. Shadows danced across it. They pulled his soul and whispered strange words into his ears. The same scratch marks from the box throbbed across his sightless eyes before his vision dimmed and pulled him under. 

His head sank to the cold ground. The fight to stay awake left him.

“Sir, what should I do? Sir?” 

But Marc could no longer hear, and there was nothing he could do.

“Oh, no. It was Magic,” the AI said.

Marc’s head hit the floor, and darkness took him into its depths.

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Please visit S.McC on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/smcc.mcclelland.9

Lynn Miclea: Shimmer

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms.  Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support! 

Images are free-use images and do not require attribution. Image by Steve Bidmead of Pixabay.

Shimmer

Lynn Miclea

Ryan laughed and punched Scott affectionately on the arm as they trudged along the beach, their feet sinking into the soft sand. Getting away for the day and going to the beach was the best idea. And going with his best friend was even better. Now fifteen years old, they had been best friends since grade school, and they loved walking along the beach and talking about everything and nothing. Living in walking distance of the beach was the best thing.

Scott guffawed and pushed back at Ryan.

As they made their way down the sand toward the water’s edge, Ryan suddenly stopped and sucked in a breath.

Scott glanced over at his friend. “What?”

“Look.” Ryan pointed in front of them.

“Where? I don’t see …” Scott’s eyes grew large. “What the …”

Ryan glanced around. The rest of the beach was empty — there were no other people around. Just the one bizarre scene in front of them that he could not comprehend. He stared at four empty beach chairs — normal, blued-striped beach chairs. Beach chairs which had slowly risen about six inches into the air.

He smacked Scott. “Do you see that?”

Scott nodded, then quietly answered. “Yes, I see it. But how is that possible?”

“I don’t know.”

“Maybe it’s just an illusion.”

Ryan licked his dry lips. “If it is, it’s a hell of an illusion.”

As they watched, the chairs rose higher and now hovered about one foot off the ground. The space between the chairs seemed shimmery, as though a soft haze of light settled in the air where the chairs floated.

Scott bent down and picked something off the ground. “I want to try something,” he said quietly. He bounced a small rock in his hand a few times and then threw it into the shimmer between the chairs.

The rock disappeared with a soft fizzle. Ryan’s mouth fell open. “Did you see that? It disappeared.”

Scott nodded. “I know — it didn’t land anywhere or come out the other side, it just disappeared. It’s like some kind of vortex.”

Ryan gestured toward the sand and spoke with quiet intensity. “Throw another one.”

Scott found another small rock, picked it up, and bounced it in his hand a couple times. Then he threw it into the strange vortex.

Both boys gasped and jumped backward as a scaly claw reached out of the shimmer, caught the rock, and pulled back, quickly disappearing.

Ryan felt his throat close up. “What the …”

Scott grabbed Ryan’s arm. “We gotta get out of here.”

“But what was that?”

Scott’s voice shook. “I don’t know, and I don’t wanna know. We need to go.”

“Wait. Let me try.” Ryan looked around. Spotting a small, round stone, he picked it up and felt its weight, shaking it in his hand a few times. Taking a step forward, he lobbed the stone into the vortex.

A scaly claw reached out of the shimmer and grabbed the stone, but this time did not pull back. A gray scaly face materialized in the vortex, piercing black eyes staring at them. A sense of malevolence and evil permeated the area. The claw made a quick flicking movement, and the stone was thrown back at them, with such velocity that they heard it whiz past their heads and slam into a tree fifty yards away.

Yelping and whining, the two boys quickly turned and ran back across the beach to the trees and parking area, tripping over their feet and gasping for breath. As they reached the edge of the tree area, they turned and looked back over the beach.

The four blue-striped beach chairs abruptly fell back to the sand. Two small rocks appeared in the air and fell. A diffused glow glimmered in the air a few seconds and then vanished.

The beach now looked pristine, as though nothing had happened. Four blue-striped beach chairs sat in the sand, facing the water, appearing innocent and safe. A few seagulls glided by as though it were an ordinary day.

Scott turned to Ryan. “Did that just happen? You saw all that too, right?”

Ryan nodded. “Yes. Unless we both experienced some type of hallucination.”

“No. Look.” Scott pointed to one of the trees.

Ryan turned and leaned in to see better. A fresh sliver in the bark was clearly visible, and on the ground below it sat the smooth stone he had earlier tossed into the vortex and which had been swiftly thrown back. It was real.

A soft luminescence shimmered around the stone.

Scott and Ryan grabbed at each other, turned, and ran through the parking area and into the street. Sweating and breathing heavily, they walked toward their homes, not saying a word.

Finally arriving at Scott’s house, Ryan looked at him. “I have no idea what that was and I’m freaking out.”

Scott nodded, his face pale. “I don’t think I want to go back to the beach for a while.”

“Me neither. Maybe we can just walk down by the park next time.”

“Maybe. If my heart will ever slow down again.”

Ryan gave a small laugh. “Yep, you and me both.”

“And we don’t tell anyone what happened, right?”

Ryan shook his head. “No one would believe us anyway. We would just sound crazy. I wouldn’t believe it myself if someone told me any of this. So yeah, we can’t tell anyone.” He took a deep breath. “But one day I’d like to know what actually happened out there.”

Scott chuckled. “I don’t think I want to know. And I hope we never find out.”

“What? You really don’t want to know?”

Scott shook his head. “No. Because the only way to find out would be to have more substantial contact with … with … whatever that was. And I’m not sure any of us would survive that.”

Ryan let out a long breath. “Good point. You’re right. Let’s hope it was a freak of nature and it never comes back. And I agree. I don’t think I ever want to know what happened out there.”

After saying goodbye, Ryan turned and headed home. Almost at his house, he stopped and stamped his feet to remove the excess sand. As he turned up the driveway, something got his attention, and he glanced behind him and gasped.

Some of the sand, now on the sidewalk, shimmered with a soft glow.

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Copyright © 2021 Lynn Miclea. All Rights Reserved.

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Please visit Lynn’s blog and follow her at – https://lynnpuff.wordpress.com/

Please also visit Lynn’s website for more information on her books – https://www.lynnmiclea.com/

And visit her Amazon author page at – https://www.amazon.com/Lynn-Miclea/e/B00SIA8AW4

Lisa Criss Griffin: A Moment On The Beach

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms.  Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support! 

Images are free-use images and do not require attribution. Image by Steve Bidmead of Pixabay.

A Moment On The Beach

Lisa Criss Griffin

The warmth of sunshine slides across my face,
A salty wind whips the ends of my hair.
The roar of the waves rumbles and tumbles
Just beyond the reach of my blue striped chair.

Seabirds step lively as the water rushes in,
A plump jellyfish rolls up, lying near.
The tinkling of shells glide in on a swell,
While light, foamy bubbles pop by my ear.

For an instant, a shy, sleepy sand crab
Peeks above the edge of her safe, dark hole,
Watching tiny, translucent rainbow pearls
Float delicately by her beachfront home.

Cool, refreshing water slips to my feet,
Kissing my sandy toes with a wet caress.
Slowly it hesitates, then melts away,
Leaving me with the salty memory…
Of a delightful moment on the beach.

Copyright © 2021 Lisa Criss Griffin
All rights reserved

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Chester Harper: Transformation and Trouble 

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms.  Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support! 

Images are free-use images and do not require attribution. Image by Steve Bidmead of Pixabay.

Transformation and Trouble 

Chester Harper 

Jay padded into the kitchen to make the morning coffee as he pondered the strange dream still vivid in his mind. He, Columbine, Foxx, and Willow, his mother-in-law, were all at the beach sitting in fabric beach chairs. There was an uneasy tension in the air that Jay couldn’t quite figure out. Suddenly, Foxx transformed into a gull. Shock, surprise, and delight erupted within Jay’s heart. As he watched, Willow and Columbine transformed, then he followed suit. They flew, happily enjoying their freedom. He awoke with a feeling of joy and contentment. What did the dream mean? 

Jay felt Columbine’s arms wrap around him as she kissed him on his bare shoulder. “You know when Jasmine gets older, you are going to have to wear something around the house.”

“Jay no like clothes,” Jay replied, a glimmer in his eyes. 

“That works for Foxx, not you, Sweetheart.” Columbine smacked Jay on his bare butt. “The coffee is about ready. Did you sleep well?” 

“I slept like a baby.” Columbine stopped. “Why do people say that? Babies don’t sleep through the night. It makes no sense.” 

“It’s because they have no concerns or worries to keep them awake.” Jay kissed her forehead. 

“Oh. I never knew that. How did you sleep?” 

Jay poured coffee and spread cream cheese on bagels as he divulged his dream to his pretty auburn-haired wife. 

“I have no idea what that could mean. We need to talk to Mom. She’s better at this sort of thing.” 

Foxx walked into the kitchen, naked as his father, and crawled up into Jay’s lap. “Daddy naked like Foxx.” 

“Foxx, we need to go see Grandma. Eat and then get dressed while I get the babies ready.” 

Foxx and Jay responded as one. “We no like clothes.” 

“Go!” 

Foxx and Jay left the room laughing. Columbine looked at their retreating bare bottoms and just shook her head. 

***

Warming her hands on her second mug of coffee of the day, she watched her mother and father work together to put together fruit and zucchini bread on a plate. Adam was shirtless and Columbine wondered what it was with the men in this family and clothes. 

“Mom, I told you we ate before we came. You don’t need to fuss over us.” 

“You probably had a bagel and cream cheese. That is not a proper breakfast for a nursing mother or a growing boy.”

“Yes, Mother.” Columbine wondered if her mother had read her mind about breakfast. Her powers, like all society females, grew stronger as she aged. 

“And no, I’m not reading your mind. I’m your mother. I don’t need to read your mind.” 

“You’ve known everything I’ve been thinking so far.” Columbine chuckled. “Are you using your powers without knowing it?” 

“No, I just know you.” Willow and Adam placed the food on the table and sat down. “Foxx is watching the twins in the den. That should keep them all occupied. The twins are trying to crawl and Foxx is hovering like a mother hen.” Jay sat at the table with his in-laws and wife. 

Jay placed fruit and bread on his plate and poured coffee from the carafe. “Adam, your chest hair is almost as gray as that arrowhead you wear.” He took a bite of bread, rolled his eyes at the flavor, and washed it down with coffee. “No offense.” 

“None taken. Gray hair is a sign that you’re still alive.” Adam sipped his coffee. “What brings you by today? We love seeing you and the kids, but you seem preoccupied.” 

“Jay, tell them your dream. See if they can make sense of it.” 

Jay related his dream to them, amazed that it was still as vivid in his mind as when he dreamed it. They sat in silence for a few moments before Adam asked Willow, “What do you think, Honey?” 

“Well, I think it may be a sign of our future.” Willow sipped coffee and continued. “Foxx was the first to transform, then the rest of us transformed. You had feelings of joy and contentment when you woke up.” 

“Yes. Exactly. What do you think it means?” 

Willow gazed into her son-in-law’s eyes. “What do you think it means? It is your dream.” 

Jay stared into his coffee. “I’ve been thinking. Foxx’s transformation in the dream mirrors his transformation into a recessive male. His joy, our joy, must mean it is successful. I think it is a sign that we need to proceed.” 

“But the side effects…” 

Jay placed his larger hand over Columbine’s petite one. “Possible side effects. Not definite. Not even probable.” He patted her hand. “He’ll be ok. I promise.” 

“You’ve never led me wrong. We need to notify Dr. Blackoak.” 

***

Several weeks were spent trying to find a donor match for Foxx. Dr. Blackoak felt that a blood donor match would increase the chances of the DNA binding with Foxx’s stem cells. “Jay, if we can’t find a match…” 

“No. This has to work. We will find a match, even if we have to go to other settlements.” Columbine had not seen Jay this determined since their time in Memphis. A lump came into her throat as she thought of Auntie. Loud knocking prevented any further discussion. “Who in the world could that be? We have this place all to ourselves.” Jay punched in the code to open the hidden doorway.

“Newt, Sundew, come in. It has been too long. How are you?” Jay hugged and pounded Newt on the back. “Columbine, look who’s here from the outer reaches.” Newt and Sundew Forrest owned the farm on the far western edge of the society land. They were gatekeepers in the same manner as Jay and Columbine. They had very little family in the settlement and visited rarely. 

“We are well. It is good to see you, as well. How is your family?” 

“Very well. Would you like some coffee or tea?” Columbine sensed something amiss in the way Sundew kept looking around, not quite making eye contact. “How are Venus and Reed?”

“That is why we came. We wanted to speak with Adam or Jack. Are they around? This is the security office, right?” Now Newt was acting peculiar. 

Columbine took Sundew’s hands in her own. “Come have some coffee or tea and tell us what is bothering you. The security offices have moved, but I’ll call Daddy and Jack to come here.” 

***

They enjoyed their coffee while Newt and Sundew expressed concerns about their adopted children. 

“Venus’s nightmares were beginning to come less and less frequently. Reed never really had any nightmares. Now…now they are both having nightmares every night. Venus says Egret contacts her and says he is going to kill her and everyone she cares about. Reed has the same nightmare.” Sundew wrung her hands as a tear rolled down her cheek. “Reed cannot remember his family, and he never had any dealings with Egret.” 

“We are concerned that he’s causing the dreams.” Newt motioned in the direction of the facility that housed Egret’s stasis chamber. 

“How? Do you think… Could he?” Columbine turned to her father and brother. 

“I don’t know. This is more in your mother’s wheelhouse. Can you get her here?” While waiting for Willow to arrive, Newt and Sundew asked about the changes taking place in the main settlement. 

“Why were the security offices moved? This seems like a fine building.” Even though all of the settlement was built underground, they still referred to the individual areas as buildings. 

“During the Egret crisis we needed a larger facility with more meeting space that was closer to Headleader Buck’s living quarters. When the crisis was over, we never moved back here.” Adam’s face lit up as Willow walked into the room. “I’m sorry you were not informed of the move. I’m just glad Columbine and Jay were here today to hear you knocking.” 

“I began to wonder if I had the right tree when Jay opened the doorway.”

“I’m so happy we were here. I would hate to miss seeing you both. It’s been too long,” Columbine said as she offered more refreshments to all. 

Accepting more coffee, Sundew let her gaze peruse the various papers scattered over the tabletop. “What are you two researching here?” 

Jay and Columbine exchanged knowing glances. “We are looking for a match for our son, Foxx. A blood type and antigen match, if possible. It has to be a recessive male who is willing to donate blood for us to use to isolate the Esau gene. We want to bind the Esau gene to stem cells from Foxx and then infuse them into Foxx. The result should be Foxx becoming a recessive male.” Jay stopped talking as the couple looked at him quizzically. 

“Foxx wants to be a recessive male,” Willow provided. 

“We have undoubtedly been away too long.” Newt looked at Jay. “Who is Foxx?” 

“Foxx is our eldest son. We adopted him before we had the twins.” 

“You have three children?” Sundew shook her head. “We definitely need to visit more often.” 

The next hour was spent catching the Forrests up on events in the main settlement, including the circumstances leading to Foxx’s adoption. The couple also shared the reason for their visit with Willow. 

Willow reached out telepathically to see if she could sense anything unusual from Egret, aka Edgar Wildman. He occasionally radiated hostility towards the more sensitive folk in the settlement. Her emotionless face went pale and her eyes widened. “He is there. He tried to block me, but he was not expecting me to be strong enough to resist him and penetrate his block. His body is in stasis but his mind is very active.” Willow rose from her chair. “Adam, we need to call an emergency meeting. If he can reach Venus and Reed, I have no doubt he will try to contact an outsider. We cannot let that happen.” 

“Thank you, Willow, Adam, all of you.” Newt shook hands all around. “I feel better knowing you are going to look into stopping Egret.” 

“No, Newt. We will stop him. Again.” 

“Thank you, Jack.” 

“Is there anything we can do to repay you,” Sundew asked. 

“Do you know of any outlying recessive males that might be willing to be tested and then donate?” 

“I think I may, Columbine. My brother, Buckeye, may be willing. We were part of the Boggy Creek settlement, so our genetics is a little different. I’ll contact him. He is quite the hermit, but I think I can convince him.” 

“Thank you.” Columbine hugged Sundew. “You don’t know how much this means to me.” 

“We all want our children happy, don’t we?” Sundew broke the hug and she and Newt started their journey home. 

***

“Mom, this is hard. He looks like a specimen in a bottle.” Columbine’s voice hitched as she looked at Foxx in the embryonic chamber. 

“I had the same feeling when your father was being treated.” Willow’s voice was soft with emotion. “I fell in love while he was in that very chamber.” 

Very fine hair covered Foxx’s entire body. Buckeye had indeed been a match and the treatment progressed rapidly. Another forty-eight hours and he could be taken out of the chamber to complete his transformation without the aid of the chamber.

“I can just barely sense him in there, but he doesn’t seem afraid.” 

“Sweetheart, I know he is your son, but I can still sense a little more than you just due to my age. I’ve sensed fear, a time or two, but I have been able to reassure him while giving more sedation.” 

“I’m so glad you are his primary nurse, Mom.” Columbine hugged her tightly. “I can hardly wait for the day he comes out.” 

As they stood looking at Foxx, Columbine asked her mother, “Has there been any progress in stopping Egret from contacting Venus and Reed?” 

“As far as we can tell, he stopped when he was discovered. The council refuses to take action until he proves it is warranted. I can’t sense a block when I try to contact him and he refuses to communicate with me.” 

“I don’t trust him…even in stasis.” Columbine shuddered. 

“Nor do I, my dear, nor do I.” 

As the women left Foxx, his eyes opened and he sneered in a very uncharacteristic manner. His face went neutral and his eyes closed as his grandmother turned to look at him, concern showing on her face. 

Two days later: 

“Mommy, Daddy, I slept good.” 

Columbine hugged her son as he raised an arm and stared at it. “I’m a puppy!” The entire room laughed at his exclamation. His next statement silenced the entire company and sent ice through their veins. “Grandma, who is Edgar Wildman? Why was he talking to me here?” Foxx tapped his head. 

“Oh my God, no,” Columbine choked out as one of the nurses fainted.

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Paula Shablo: Empty Beaches (No Ferry Today Part 3)

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms.  Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support! 

Images are free-use images and do not require attribution. Image by Steve Bidmead of Pixabay.

Empty Beaches (No Ferry Today Part 3)

Paula Shablo

Monique started cleaning up the dishes and the grill after Margo left the cafe with Devin, Melvin and Junior. She had resisted the urge to run down to the beach and see them off. It felt to her as if doing so would reinforce the feeling that she’d said goodbye to them forever.

That was ridiculous, of course. It wasn’t that far across the reach, and even with Devin’s little outboard motor it wouldn’t be long before the skiff landed at the docks on the mainland.

Barnaby and Elvin took the twins, Paul and Pam, and went down to the beach. Lou Ann stayed to help Monique. Jessica gathered up dishes before leaving with Bill and Vivian to go through the little island village and check on the other residents.

Lou Ann looked up from the tabletop she was washing. “How long do you think they’ll be gone?” she asked, voicing the very question going through Monique’s mind. “I mean, it’s not that far, but…well, I don’t think they’ll just turn around and come back, do you?”

“Margo wants to go home and get her cat,” Monique replied, trying desperately to sound nonchalant. She wondered if the delicious lunch she’d just eaten was going to stay down. Her stomach was in turmoil; she was that tense. “Her boyfriend is away.”

“I don’t know why this is upsetting me. It’s probably nothing.” She went to the sink to rinse her washcloth. “It’s just…it’s so odd, looking out at the beach and seeing…sand.”

That was an odd way of putting it, but it was also true. Summer days were not generally empty beach days. Normally, the sand was covered with blankets and umbrellas and people of all ages.

Monique started washing the plates and silverware by hand. There’d been so few people it wasn’t worth loading up an industrial sized dishwasher. She couldn’t remember ever washing dishes by hand at The Beach Bar, even in the off-season. The locals were good customers in the winter, and on the coldest days you could still expect the flatlanders to ferry over for a drink and a few laughs in the evenings.

Technically, Monique was herself a flatlander—she’d lived on the island for a few years, but she wasn’t a native. “Has the ferry ever not come before, Lou Ann?”

“Not that I can remember.” Lou Ann pinched her lower lip, thinking. “Mama’s been here forever, of course. She might know; or Dad.” Lou Ann’s parents lived on the other side of the island. “I tried to call her, but my phone’s not working.”

“Try the landline.” Monique tapped her own forehead impatiently. “Why didn’t we think of that before?” Lou Ann went to the end of the bar and lifted the receiver to her ear. Her eyebrows shot up. “Dial tone!” she exclaimed. She punched numbers and waited. Then: “Dad? It’s me. Hey, has there ever been a time when the ferry didn’t show up here?”

There was a pause as she listened to her father talk. Apparently, he had a lot to say.

Monique listened half-heartedly to a one-sided conversation that consisted mostly of “Uh huh,” and “Really?” and “Hmm.” It might have been an interesting monologue, but all she could do was wonder if she might be able to call Margo on her cell from the landline when Lou Ann finished talking. She wasn’t hopeful.

***

Bill and Jessica slowed their pace for Vivian, not so much because she was tiny and therefore short of stride, but because she obviously didn’t see well, and they didn’t want her to bump into or trip over anything. Jessica tucked the older woman’s hand into the crook of her arm, unconsciously leading her in much the same way Melvin Samples had done for his wife the last few years. “Aren’t you sweet,” Vivian said, reaching across her body to pat Jessica’s arm. “It’s the cataracts. I’m scheduled to have them taken care of next month…”

“Oh, that will be wonderful for you,” Bill said, his rumbling baritone alive with enthusiasm. “My mother had hers done, and she sees everything now.”

“Well, that’s the plan,” Vivian agreed. “But…”

“But…?” Jessica prompted.

Vivian sighed. The trio mounted steps to knock on the first of many doors, doing their neighborly wellness checks. “I have a bad feeling about this…situation.”

An elderly woman answered the door. The three visitors tried not to display their relief and failed.

***

Barnaby and Elvin stood ankle deep in the calm waters of the beach, keeping an eye on the rambunctious twins.

Walking down from the bar, they’d noticed a row of beach chairs someone had left unattended. Elvin looked back at them now, squinting. “One good gust of wind, and those are goners,” he declared.

Barnaby shrugged. “Don’t know who they belong to,” he said. “Guess we can take them back to the bar with us in a while.”

“You think they were there all night?”

“I suppose.” Barnaby didn’t care. All he cared about was that Lou Ann and the twins were with him, safe. “It was a quiet night.”

“Yuh.” He shielded his eyes with both hands and peered across the reach. “Can’t see the mainland,” he remarked. “Is that fog?”

“Maybe.” Barnaby frowned. “I don’t see the skiff anymore, either. Do you?”

“Nope.”

They gave each other uneasy looks. It didn’t seem like there had been enough time for the skiff to have gotten as far as the fog bank they believed they were seeing.

“Is Dev’s outboard that fast?” Elvin asked.

“Maybe that fog is closer than it looks.” Barnaby bent and splashed water on Paul and Pam. They squealed with delight and splashed him back.

Elvin kept quiet. Barnaby didn’t talk much, and appeared to be deep in thought—playing with his kids was just his way of taking a moment for reflection. Knowing this did nothing to ease the fear Elvin felt building in the pit of his stomach. He looked back at the empty beach chairs and wondered who had left them there. It was unsettling to see them there, absent the sunscreen-smeared bodies and towels and drinks.

After a few minutes of play with the toddlers, Barnaby straightened up. He flexed his neck and back and then took a good long look across the water.

“Yeah, I reckon the fog is closer than it looks, Devin’s outboard is stronger than we think and they’ve been gone longer than we realize. I haven’t been timing them, have you?”

Elvin thought there were a lot of “maybes” implied in Barnaby’s musings, and they all amounted to nothing more than wishful thinking. But when you came right down to it—what else did they have? “No, I haven’t looked at my watch all morning,” he replied. He grinned, but it felt false on his face. “Cuz I left it home,” he added.

Barnaby let out a laugh that sounded as false as the smile on Elvin’s face felt to him. “Me, too, buddy.”

“They’re probably docking as we speak.”

“I hope so.”

Elvin sighed and looked out across the reach again. “How long do we wait before we officially get scared?”

“Officially?” Barnaby made a few lunging splashes with his kids, avoiding the question for a few moments. Finally, he looked back at his friend. “Dude, I am already scared—officially.”

“Yeah.”

***

Devin adjusted the rudder slightly, frowning at Melvin, who was leaning over the bow of the skiff. “Mel, sit back,” he ordered. “You wanna flip this bitch?”

Melvin glared back over his shoulder. “I ain’t that heavy,” he growled. “We should be able to see the docks through the fog by now!”

“It’s not fog.” Margo spoke so quietly it was difficult to hear her. Melvin sat back, as ordered, and looked at her. “Can’t you smell it?” she asked. “It’s smoke.”

“Ayuh,” Devin agreed. “I been trying to ignore that. Thanks a boatload, Margo.”

“Think nothing of it,” Margo replied flippantly. She sighed deeply, and it was impossible not to notice the shakiness of her breath. “What could cause that much smoke? Do you think it was a dock fire?”

“Mebbe.” Devin and Melvin exchanged meaningful looks. “But we’d have heard the sirens, even across the reach…”

“That’s a lot of smoke.” Melvin stretched himself over the bow again, much to Devin’s dismay. “I think I see something.”

“The dock?”

“No it’s—oh, shit!”

“What? What?”

The little skiff bumped something, turned slightly to the left and bumped something else. Margo leaned over the side and looked down into the water. She screamed.

Bodies floated all around them. 

To Be Continued….

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Please visit Paula on her website: https://paulashablo.com/

D. A. Ratliff: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

D. A. Ratliff

Photo from Pinterest. Image source unknown, credit to the orginal creator.

Location is vital in all facets of our lives. Comfort, convenience, commute, and community are essential considerations when selecting where we wish to reside. When writing, it makes sense to consider the impact of where we have our characters live.

Location can be more than the physical terrain in which we set a story, although some places can take a back seat to the plot. However, the setting is another tool in the author’s arsenal to add depth to the story. The choice of locale sets the period of the story, when and where it takes place. It affects how the characters behave, speak, and reflect on the society where they live. More importantly, when needed, the setting can become another character creating a mood and emotional tone.

A few inquiring minds have asked me what is so appealing to me about New Orleans and why I set so many of my stories either there or in Louisiana, where my upcoming novel, Crescent City Lies, is set. After all, I’m from South Carolina, a beautiful state with its own vibrant culture and uniqueness. It also has faults, as do all places, and those faults in a community can also add depth to your story.

When deciding on a setting for a story, the flavor of Louisiana draws me into its spell. Nothing like the sultry summer heat in the south, when life slows down, and the humidity rises. The spicy aromas and comforting palate of Cajun food and the smooth sounds of New Orleans jazz are alluring and set a mood that seems to touch my writer’s passion. Wicked antagonists, flawed heroes, and enticing strong women seem to belong in the bayou or the French Quarter.

In reality, I love the beach. Ribbons of sand lapped by waves, air tangy with salt, majestic pelicans soaring against a cornflower blue sky. My heart lies on the shore, rejuvenated by the sun’s heat. My soul rests in the bayou.

Image by D. A Ratliff

I am fortunate to live in an area that some people call paradise—if you consider heat, humidity, sun, and ocean paradise. I do! As the photo above shows, expansive sky, lush vegetation, a body of water, and a bench to enjoy the quiet beauty sets a mood just outside my door. Not to mention, there are ducks, sea birds, and two resident alligators to add to the ambiance.

I suppose we choose where we want our stories to unfold for a myriad of reasons. Genre certainly plays a role and can dictate the amount of world-building necessary to create the foundation you need. A cozy mystery often occurs in a small town, a detective murder mystery in a city setting, but let your creativity decide what works for your story. How descriptive you should be depends on how important the location is to your storyline. For instance, a city with the ambiance of a New Orleans, New York City, San Francisco, or San Antonio becomes a character within the story, adding depth and mood by using the uniqueness of the environment to enhance the plot. The same for small towns that can provide coziness and character to the story.

My thoughts always seem to be on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, the Battery in Charleston, or an Atlantic beach in Florida, all locations which spur my muse. Let those places you love inspire your muse and your stories.

Image by Oliver Weidmann from Pixabay

Please visit D. A. Ratliff on her blog: https://thecoastalquill.wordpress.com/

Lisa Criss Griffin: The Catch Of A Lifetime

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms.  Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support! 

Images are free-use images and do not require attribution. Image by Steve Bidmead of Pixabay.

The Catch Of A Lifetime

Lisa Criss Griffin

Sunlight sparkled across the clear, cobalt blue water, casting beams of light through the partially buried shipwreck just offshore of the barrier island. The barnacle encrusted ribs of the old wooden boat thrust upward in protest, and were visible above the ocean surface at low tide. Sea creatures of all sizes, varieties and colors congregated in mass, within and around the shelter the sunken vessel offered. Yes, it was a good day for hunting.

The Predator swam slowly, circling the artificial reef in interest. Her increasing hunger pangs encouraged her to make a decision. Without warning, she turned, thrusting her streamlined body forward and snatched an unfortunate fish in her jaws before gliding up and over the wreck. She chomped her meal a few times before swallowing, and vanished into deeper water.

The smell of a fresh kill traveled through the current, alerting other predators of the possibility of a meal. The sunken ship was a popular place. It was one of the few structures close to shore offering refuge to smaller fish from the dangers lurking out in the open sea. The locale was a favorite haunt of schools of whiting and spot. A sizable group of small silversides flashed in unison as they fed on the rich plankton flowing through the water. Little crabs and other crustaceans stealthily roamed the wooden planks, feeding themselves while scanning for danger with constantly moving, watchful eyes. 

A small octopus quickly changed colors, blending in with the dark, variegated wooden rib she was resting on. The cephalopod was now virtually invisible, perched on the top of the rib. As long as she didn’t move, predators would be unaware of her presence. It was a good thing. The dinner bell had rung. The predators were arriving.

A few bluefish made quick work of the unsuspecting school of silversides, who broke into several groups in terror, fleeing into the relative safety of the bowels of the ship. A variety of sharks snatched less agile whiting and spot, swimming away with their prey still wiggling in the clasp of their serrated jaws.

The Predator also returned. Her hunger not quite satiated, she surprised a mullet as she cruised around the side of the ship. She ate it in a couple of gulps, and continued her search for food. A plop in the water on the beach side of the wreck caught her attention. The smell of fresh blood aroused her senses, and she was curious. She shot over the ribs of the sunken ship, completely unaware of the still, camouflaged octopus only inches away from her body. A piece of fresh fish slowly drifted downward from the ocean surface towards the sand. A layer of silver scales flashed in the sunlight, triggering her attack.

The Predator opened her mouth, sucking in the falling piece of flesh before clamping down on it. A strange, tugging sensation pierced the side of her jaw as she turned back towards the shipwreck. She shook her head side to side, confused by the sudden drag on her ability to swim. She changed direction, heading out to sea.

It was a struggle to swim forward. Every inch of The Predator’s body rebelled against this sudden loss of propulsion. The tug in her jaw grew painful. Her eyes scanned the cobalt blue water surrounding her nervously. Her energetic thrashing was bound to catch the attention of other predators. A fear she had not felt since she was small, flooded her mind as ominous shapes began to materialize in the distant blue haze. She turned and fled towards the shore, surprised to find her propulsion restored. She swam quickly, darting and weaving as she turned in a different direction. Her pursuers sensed her panic and were closing in for the kill. 

The Predator felt the sinister tug in the side of her mouth as she unexpectedly found herself flailing against the unseen force once again. Something bumped against the lower tip of her forked tail. She felt a sharp nip as she tore herself free. Desperate, she shot to the surface of the ocean and propelled herself into the air. She had skyrocketed many times before, but it always had been in pursuit of her prey.

The sunlight glinted off her tiny scales, revealing the subtle greenish-blue coloring of her slender upper body, fading to a lovely silver across her belly. The Predator was an unusually large specimen of her kind. Her unexpected flight through the salty air was breathtaking. She crashed into the water and ran towards the shallows before leaping out of the water a second time to throw off any remaining pursuers. Her iridescent scales gleamed in the bright light as her streamlined body completed a magnificent arc above the breakers. 

Once she re-entered the water, she zigzagged through the waves. The Predator had shaken her pursuers, but now she was having trouble propelling herself back out to sea. Her frantic sprints and jumps, along with the strange inability to swim where she wanted to go, left her exhausted. She flipped her tail in futility several more times, only to find herself washing up on the beach. 

She lay helpless on the wet sand, staring at four seagulls hovering overhead. A land creature as long as she was, towered over her. Three smaller land creatures joined The Long One, making excited noises. The Long One pinned her to the sand and jiggled something out of her jaw. The next thing she knew, The Long One unceremoniously hauled her up by her tail into the air, struggling under her weight. She wiggled in protest and gasped.

The three small land creatures made some clicking sounds along with their excited noises. The Long One groaned and eased her back down into the edge of the water. A wave washed across her gills, reviving her slightly. She wondered what the chattering land creatures would do with her. She was getting weaker, and felt her life force beginning to fade.

To her surprise, the small land creatures grasped her gently and slowly slid her back into the water. The Long One held her steady as the oxygen in the water flowed blissfully through her gills. One of the small land creatures stroked her gently. The Predator could feel her energy returning. When she revived, she flicked her tail. The Long One let go of her. Her ability to swim unimpeded had returned! She gratefully made her way through the waves and disappeared underwater on her way out to sea.

~ ~ ~

“Wow, Dad! This has to be the best fishing trip ever! That fish was huge!”

“Yeah, it sure was, kids. That’s the biggest king mackerel I’ve ever seen in my entire life! It was unbelievable! Hey, tell me your favorite parts of this fishing experience. Justin, you go first.”

“It was totally awesome when that giant fish jumped way out of the water, not once, but twice…and right in front of us too! Oh, man, I wish we had a video of that!”

The family murmured in reverent agreement as they walked through the golden sand to their blue striped beach chairs. They flopped down in the chairs, tired but still excited about the huge fish.

“What about you, Jeremy? What was your favorite part?”

“Watching you trying to hold that humongous fish up, Dad. It was as long as you are tall! I got some great pictures of you struggling to hold it up. You should have seen the crazy expressions you were making!”

“Alright. Alright,” his father chuckled. “That giant mackerel was really heavy! I’m glad you guys have pictures to prove our big fish tale. You know, NOBODY would believe us without those pictures! And what about you, Jennifer? What was your favorite part of this fishing trip?”

“Well, ummm…I think…saving her and then letting her go. She was really big and beautiful. She fought so hard to live! It was the honorable thing to do, wasn’t it, Daddy?”

“Why, yes. Yes it was, honey. It was certainly an honorable way to treat…the catch of a lifetime.”

Copyright © 2021 Lisa Criss Griffin
All rights reserved

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SUCCESS PHILOSOPHIES WITH DR. CHUBACK EPISODE #6

Writers are human and humans require motivation. When we set a goal, the motivation to accomplish our desires is the force driving our actions. For many of us, finding the correct path to follow and maintaining that driving force can be difficult.

In our quest to assist writers in becoming the best you can be and remain motivated, we would like to introduce you to John Chuback, M.D. A cardiovascular surgeon, Dr. Chuback found his goals waylaid by his lack of motivation. In a series of interviews with Paul W. Reeves, host on Impact Radio USA, Dr. Chuback discusses “The 50 most powerful secrets for success in and out of the classroom.”

Please click on the link below to hear Episode #6 in this series, and start enhancing your journey toward success today!

DR. JOHN CHUBACK, a cardiovascular surgeon from New Jersey, joins us in this series to celebrate the release of his book, “The Straight A Handbook – The 50 Most Powerful Secrets For Ultimate Success In And Out Of The Classroom”.

Throughout this series, we will cover each of the 50 chapters in detail, each of which will guide you toward success in all that you do in life.

On this segment, Dr. Chuback and Paul discussed chapters 12, 13, and 14.

Enjoy!

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Previous Episodes of “Success Philosophies With Dr. Chuback”

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Dr. John Chuback

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Dr. John Chuback was born and raised in Bergen County and graduated from the Dwight Englewood School. He earned his medical degree from New Jersey Medical School at UMDNJ, in Newark. Dr. Chuback then completed a five-year General Surgical Residency at Monmouth Medical Center (MMC).Dr. Chuback is the author of Make Your Own Damn CheeseKaboing, and The Straight A Handbook.

All books are available on Amazon. com. 

Impact Radio USA

Welcome to ​IMPACT RADIO USA, where we strive to  provide the best in news, talk, sports, and music 24 hours a day, 52 weeks per year. Our goal is to keep you as the most informed and entertained Internet Radio audience.

As we are continuing to add content on a daily basis, please feel free to click on the “LISTEN NOW” button at the top of the page to hear us 24 hours a day.While you are here, please check out all of our links to our shows, our podcast page, our blog, and learn how YOU can host your own show with us.  Thank you for listening to IMPACT RADIO USA!!!

https://www.impactradiousa.com/

Paul W. Reeves 

Paul W. Reeves is a longtime Detroit area author, radio talk show host, music educator, composer/arranger, and professional musician!

Listen to “Dr. Paul’s Family Talk” on Impact Radio USA and visit Paul’s websitehttps://paulwreeves.com for more information on his books and CDs.

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A Principal’s Family Principles by Paul W. Reeves Ed. D. is available on Amazon.com