War of the Worlds, The Invasion continues. A sample of something I write a while back. Fun stuff with an odd bent to it.
In the year of our Lord
Eighteen Hundred and Ninety One
This August Thirty First
The Globe Theater
The Queen's Room
"To be or not to be...that is the question." My lead actor spoke upon our stage. I watched from the second level gallery, making sure his pitch and diction were strong and clear enough. He looked up at me and I gestured for him to continue, but my mind was elsewhere. So much has happened since I last put anything down in my journal.
I'm not sure where to begin.
When last I wrote I mentioned I had sent my favorite pigeon to bring a message to my friends in Paris. I needed to know if they were alright first, and then if there were problems, what I could do to help. I had the ear of our Queen, and was not loath to wax it with soothing words on their behalf if need be. She was a stern queen, but a fair one. She loathed men who were weak and full of folly, but she loved men who were brave and daring, such as Jules and Wells.
Wells had been on her list of men she was considering knighting for his pretigious output of fictional journeys and adventures. She likened him to her other favorite, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, whom I have not yet had the chance to acquaint myself with personally, as we do keep our lives in pretty much different worlds these days. I have passed him in the palace from time to time and we have chatted briefly, but that is not the kind of conversation that leads to a deep friendship, but rather a shallow courteous one.
I tend to the opposite. I like to know those I am around in all the ways possible. I suppose that is because I am a writer, an observer of life and as such my mind demands more details than most who go day to day on their life journeys.
As I was seated observing my actor deliver his soliloqy, Sarah returned. She always knew where I was and I always kept a treat for her. Perhaps that motivated her more than anything else, I can not be sure of what goes on in a pigeon's mind, other than utter kindness.
She landed on the railing beside me and cocked an eye on me, then nodded to her right foot where a note was attached. I gave her a treat, and hurriedly untied the message to read it. I was distressed while doing it, because my actor had just blown the next two lines and said, "whether it is bolder to go outside and face the storm than..." Furious at the disruption of my beautiful poetry, I almost chased Sarah away, but I kept my temper in check for both her and the actor.
He was having a rough time at home as I understood it. Something about a romance with another man that wasn't going well. I felt for him, for relationships were difficult with the opposite sex, let alone the same. It is the nature of relationships that they have difficulties. If you are looking for a peaceful and tranquil ride throughout your life, then do not seek a relationship, as they are not always tranquil or peaceful, they are human. And humans feel and sometimes too deeply. And sometimes too shallowly. The choices we all must live with.
I motioned to the actor to do it again and as he did I swiftly unraveled the note and read it.
"Dear Will, it is with the utmost sense of urgency that I request you speak with the brotherhood. Paris is in distress such as no man could ever have suspected to happen. Our beloved Eiffel Tower is now a broken toy, and much of our fair city has been burned and leveled to the ground. I fear that my dear friend Wells is taking this much harder than I, and I can barely look at myself in our mirror now, knowing we might have unwittingly set off the monstrous destruction we now survey about us."
It was a long note. I looked up and the actor was looking at me, an expression of what next. I glanced at my Stage Manager who stood right stage watching and motioned for him to cue the man. He did so and the actor got back in character again and continued.
I returned to the note, my hands trembling, for I feared the rest of the news that surely must be there.
"A strange device from another world has descended into our fair city and it immediately began destroying anything and anyone in its path. I fear it is but the advance guard for something far worse."
I looked up and muttered to myself. "Worse than destroying Paris?"
I shuddered in horror.
I read on.
"Contact the brotherhood, let them know we have a greater peril now than the war between our nations. That a War of the Worlds has begun.
"I shall endeavor to contact you again in two days if able. For now my friends and I must help as many as possible to survive this catastrophe.
"Your friend, Jules."
I looked up again, tears misting my eyes. It was that bad. The Captain's words rang in my ears again in remembrance and I knew at that moment that the play was not the thing in this case, and that the Great Wheel now turning was being spun by hands not meant to be guided by our Creator, but by something far darker.
Pardon me if I seem somewhat melodramatic, but that is my nature as an actor and writer, but as a human being I can only shudder in horror at the thought, "A War of the Worlds has begun."
And it was at that moment that a great shout arose from outside the theater, as if a great crowd were crying out in horror.
Lurker in the Locker Room
"A Samuel Light Junior Story"
By John Pirillo
"It hid in the depths of the shadows, its eager eyes haunted by what it had become. It was hungry. Hungry for what it had never dared to taste before. Its hunger was not satisfied by mortal food anymore, but by something much darker in substance."
Jimbo stood in front of a campfire, his hulking form looming over the Cub Scouts arrayed in a circle about the fire. The nearest child's eyes were as wide as moons as Jimbo spoke, and if one were close enough, they would see that he peed his pants. And he wasn't the only one. Jimbo was nothing if not a great story teller.
"What happened next, Scout Master?" A Cub to his right asked, his eyes pleading for the rest of the story, even as he strove to keep his body from shaking from fear.
In the forest they were in the middle of some bushes shook. The Cubs ignored it at first, and then a pair of glowing red eyes appeared in the shadows of one of the largest trees and a growling sound. The Cubs jumped to their feet, ready to take flight.
"Whoa! Whoa, little fellows. It's only my friend and buddy, Sammie trying to put a little terror into your hearts."
At that precise moment as he finished his soothing words and the Cubs started sitting down again, Sammie walked into the light. "Hey Jimbo, where's the flashlight you left for me?"
The Cubs all jumped back up, and screaming ran off into the woods.
"Now why'd you have to go and do that for?" Jimbo asked, perplexed at how Samuel had gotten from the trees to there so fast.
"Scare the kids before I finished my story, that's what?"
Samuel gave him a blank stare.
Jimbo looked back over to the trees and the glowing red eyes were still there and then the growling grew louder. "Oh Holy Mother!" Jimbo cried out, and then ran after the kids.
Samuel watched his friend run off, then sat down next to the fire and began to whistle as if nothing unusual had happened. The eyes continued to glow, but the growling had stopped. Samuel pulled out a remote control and flicked off the simple machine he had set up earlier in the day, and then reached for the nearest hot dog strung on a limb across the campfire. He tossed it from hand to hand until it cooled off, and then began eating it.
Samuel and the other kids all watched the clock as Mister Marvel, his real name, finished telling them their homework for the night, and then the bell rang and everyone scrambled for the door. Samuel stayed back. He went to Mister Marvel, who deftly dodged a rushing kid who almost struck him from behind.
"That device you gave me for the weekend worked like a charm."
"You're welcome, Sam. Did they all run?" He asked with a smirk.
"Every one of them, including Jimbo."
Mister Marvel laughed. "Glad I could accommodate you, your friend's been disrupting classes for years now."
"Revenge is sweet." Samuel said with a grin.
"Indeed it is. Indeed it is." But when Mister Marvel said it, Samuel didn't get the feeling he really meant it, but gave it no second thought. Adults were weird anyway.
They both felt, rather than saw a movement from the corner of their eyes, but when they turned to look, no one was there.
"See you later, Mister Marvel."
"You got it."
Samuel exited the room and threaded his way between the rows of students talking and looking at their cells as they did, or high fiving, fist bumping or whatever exotic moves they had come up with for that week or year. A couple who sat next to him, gave him strange looks as he passed them and began talking in low voices to each other, while glancing at him.
He had gone along with the weekend fright, but thought most of it childish. The only reason why he had gone along with the scare tactics that weekend had been to get Jimbo's attention. His friend was getting too cocky. And that worried him. They had been through so much now that he worried Jimbo was going to take that kind of life as normal and lose his edge. He couldn't afford to. Not and stay alive if he was going to be with Samuel.
A locker slammed with a bang behind him and he turned around. Jimbo stood there, a strange look on his face for a moment, which he quickly dissolved into a smile. "P.E. Time."
He and Samuel hurried down the corridors, until they reached the quad, and then the front gate of the gymnasium. They were practicing basketball along with the other class members. Some for the team they hoped to get on and some just because there was nothing else to do.
The hour went pretty fast and after running defense for each other most of the time, and tossing a few hoops to the dismay of their team mates, they went back into the locker room and began undressing for their showers.
"Sammie, you'd never lie to me, would you?" Jimbo suddenly said, a look of concern on his face.
"No reason to."
Jimbo leaned closer and in a conspiratorial voice whispered. "There's a lurker in the locker room."
Samuel started to look and Jimbo caught him with a light blow on his knee. "Don't look, give you away."
Samuel gave Jimbo a closer look. Jimbo looked frightened, even more so than the other night. What was going on?
"You see something?"
Samuel shook his head.
"If you do, whatever you do, don't tell anyone."
Samuel began to get annoyed. "Is this some kind of trick?"
"Look, Sammie, we're best friends, we'd never stoop to anything as stupid as that, would we?" He asked in his thick Texan accent.
Samuel felt a twinge of guilt. He had done something as stupid as that.
"Look, I've been doing some research and remember Mister Fielding?"
"The teacher that killed all those kids?"
"Yeah. That one."
"What about him?"
"Someone saw him in the locker room last night."
"Not possible. He's dead." Samuel said, and then did a double take. "You're serious!"
Samuel began a sly surveillance of the locker room. "I don't see any ghosts."
"Not this one. He only comes out at night."
Samuel sighed. "Jimbo, no way you're getting me to come back here tonight. No way in heaven...or hell!" He added for emphasis.
Samuel and Jimbo watched the Night Watchman checking doors, and then they slipped from behind the bleachers and made a dash for the locker room. Their Nikes squeaked loudly as they ran, but not loud enough to alarm the Night Watchman. Mister Reed was deaf in one ear and they were running on that side of him, as he made his way across the dark gym floor, the stark beam of his flash lancing ahead of h im.
They made it into the locker room and carefully shut the door.
"I'll keep watch." Jimbo whispered by the door. "You see if you can, you know...see..."
Samuel shook his head. His Mom was going to kill him if she found out he hadn't gone over to Jimbo's as he had phoned to her. There would be hell to pay.
He brushed his mop of hair back out of his eyes and peered about the locker room. Nothing more than deep shadows and even steeper darkness. His eyes were more attuned to the dark than others. He had a special vision that allowed him to see in the dark, when others couldn't. But not only that, he could see things. Jimbo called them ghosts. Most ignorant people did. But they weren't ghosts, they were people who had died and lost their way.
Samuel did his best to help them when he could. Sometimes they didn't want to be helped; they were stubborn and incorrigible, like hardened criminals. Once he had seen one plucked right out of the body of an innocent person and hauled off into a searing bright light. Not to hell. There was no hell, but he knew that soul was going to have to go somewhere and make up for the wrong he had been doing to that child.
"See anything?" Jimbo whispered.
"Keep alert. I was told it appears about nine o'clock every night. Time it was executed."
"Yeah. So's flying saucers and auras and little men who can walk through walls and climb up your nostrils, but we've seen them. Or least you have."
"Look, Sammie, if you want to chicken out."
Samuel turned around. His eyes flashed with anger. "I'm no..."
"Chicken." Jimbo taunted him, and then made clucking sounds.
Samuel wanted to punch his friend at that moment, but he wasn't the sort to do that kind of thing. Wasn't in his blood. Jimbo had no such problem. He had seen him take on three kids a foot taller than him and three grades older with one hand and win.
"Next time you say that I'm going to throw my dirty gym shorts at you."
"Mercy!" Jimbo cried out.
Samuel grinned and turned back the way he had been looking, and just as he did, something moved in the distance. At the right upper corner of the lockers. It was dark and streamlined, moving like smoke.
"Jimbo." He hissed.
Jimbo ran over and crouched beside him. "See it?"
"Something. Look!" He pointed.
Jimbo looked, but he didn't see anything.
Then they heard something breathing heavily and it was moving down the other side of the lockers towards them.
"Holy Mother!" Jimbo cried out, starting to sweat.
Then it stopped at the exit from the lockers and turned to look at them with bright, burning red eyes.
A groan came from it.
"I can't see any aura." Samuel squeaked. "It's not human."
"Is it dead?"
Then the thing, whatever it was, rushed them.
Both Samuel and Jimbo dashed out the locker room door and into the gym, then outside, screaming at the top of their lungs.
The lights came on in the locker room and Samuel's Mom and Mister Marvel stood there where the thing had been, a long gossamer cloth lowered between them, with a pair of led lights attached to it.
They both broke into laughter. "That should solve both their problems." Mister Marvel said.
"I hope so. My son can be a bit cocky sometimes."
"But I think Jim is going to be a mite angry at me in the morning when I talk to the two of them with you."
"Better they should hear the truth. They need it."
Mister Marvel nodded, and then began to dissolve into the air.
"Thanks for the opportunity to work off some karma with them kids."
"You're welcome." She said, then picked up the other side of the cloth and exited the locker room, wondering how she was going to explain to Samuel how he had been listening to a ghost teacher all these weeks. She laughed. Ghost person.
Death and Dying, Guns and Roses
By John Pirillo
It's funny how I remember some of my earlier years. My girl friends all talk about their proms, their hair dos, their new cell phones, even sometimes about their Instagram pages and Twits, but rarely do they ever talk about the things that really impact us to the very cellular level of our souls. Death.
It's a rose with thorn that no one wants to prick their finger on.
I was forced to face it early on. My parents were driving to Oklahoma in our old car, which was steaming a bit from the long drive we had put in already and we had to slow down because there was an accident ahead of us. It took us about an hour to get past, but I will always remember my father stopping the car and pulling to the side to help.
A car had flipped over and the driver was pinned beneath a wheel. Their head was under it. How they could have remained alive under those conditions I'll never know. I would hate to imagine the pain and terror they must have been experiencing. To be trapped like that and so helpless.
Hundreds of people had driven past. The Highway Patrol was nowhere in sight yet, maybe stuck at another accident. I didn't know then. I don't know now.
Father told me to stay inside. So I did.
Mother gave me reassurances, but I could tell something was not right about the driver under the wheel. Their colors were all wrong. They used to be bright and sparkly pink, but now they were tinged with blackness throughout, and the darkness was spreading.
"She's going to die, Mama." I told her.
She shook her head.
"No one really dies, honey."
"I know, that's what the Preacher says. But I overhear him sometimes talking to himself about how he's getting old and he doesn't want to die. Why does he say that when he knows God will protect him and guide him?"
She gave me that motherly look and pressed her hands to both my cheeks. "Honey, just because you serve God, and love God, doesn't always mean you understand God and all that He does."
"But why wouldn't he help a man of God?" I insisted, frustrated with her answer.
"Maybe he is. If he didn't think about it, how could he prepare for that moment we all must face? Young or old?"
I paused in my thoughts a long time, pondering that. This is quite remarkable for the seven year old child I was at the time. I don't think even teenagers would give it that much thought. As a matter of fact I know they don't, because in my 8th grade class, Mr. Bronze asked all the students what they would want to be remembered for when they died.
Nine out of ten of them laughed.
The ones who answered said things like my car, my pet, and my hair do. This had brought a lot of laughter from the class, but frustrated Mr. Bronze, because it wasn't what he had hoped to provoke with his question.
The fool that I was, I stood up and raised my hand.
Surprised, he turned to look at me, just as all the other students had.
"Mister Bronze, I don't believe in death. Mommy tells me it's just a transition and I believe her."
He gave me a thoughtful look.
"Just why it is that she believes that, Lovelight?"
Lovelight's my nickname, but Cynthia's my real name. I've gotten so used to people calling me Lovelight now, that I don't even use Cynthia anymore. I suppose I will when I get married. (If I ever get married. I don't think that far ahead.)
I tried to remember Mom's words exactly, which was hard with Jacob up front making faces at me behind Mister Bronze's back.
"Stop that Jacob! Or I'll paint a second nose on your forehead." Mister Bronze warned. him.
The class burst into laughter and Jacob slumped down in his chair, trying to become invisible, which was probably not a bad idea for him as he was way too much visible most of the time. My Mom called it needs for negative attention and he sure fit that bill like a square peg does a square hole.
I waited until the class stopped laughing, and then answered. "Because we are all a part of God."
"That's true." He said.
"And no part of God can ever really die."
"That's also true."
One of the girls, Nancy Riger stood up, her face all red with anger. "That's wicked, Mister Bronze. My preacher would spank you if he heard that!"
Mister Bronze did a very unique thing. He didn't scald her; instead her looked at her and gave her a very sad look. "I bet you didn't know I went to seminary school to become a preacher."
She blanched, fearing what his next words might be.
"Uh...yes. I mean no I didn't."
"There wasn't a student there beside me that didn't believe that there had to be something more than just heaven and hell to our deaths."
After that he shut up and brought up the science book we had been studying. "Class, turn to page sixty four, the human DNA. Who can tell me how our DNA affects our longevity?"
My thoughts slipped back to the car accident again.
I don't know why, but for some reason, I was compelled to exit our family car and run to my Father's side. He was trying to lift the car off the head of the dying woman.
Yes. I didn't know she was dying outwardly, but I could see it in her colors. They were turned all dark, and fading.
"Father!" I told him.
He looked at me. I shook my head.
He looked at the woman, and knew what I was seeing.
He gently let go and backed off. I dropped to a knee and put my hands over her chest, just above her heart. Her eyes fluttered open and I could tell she was already dreaming of her passage to the next world of peace beyond our troubled world.
"Who are you?" She asked weakly.
I smiled at her. "A friend."
She smiled faintly. "I've never had a friend."
I could have wept. My entire being was wracked with sadness and tears at that moment. I held back my tears and gave her the best and brightest smile I had. "You have the best friend of all and He's waiting for you."
After I said that I felt this gentle breeze behind me. I turned to look and a tunnel of whirling white energies was opening up and the woman beneath the wheel was no longer beneath the car, but at the entrance to the light. It opened up wider and she stepped into a wide, glowing tunnel at the end of which was a man most talk about, but few truly believe in. He came forward to take her hands and guide her.
She hesitated a moment, and turned her head to look back at me.
I brushed the tears from my face and nodded.
She nodded back, and then gave me the most beautiful smile I've ever seen in my life.
The man looked at me as well and I will never forget his face. It was the face I saw in the movies every Easter. He smiled and the love he poured into that smile melted my heart.
"Lovelight!" My Father said. "Let her go!"
I was jerked from my vision back to the accident scene.
The woman no longer breathed beneath my palms. I removed them, and then slowly stood up. My Father pulled me away and crushed me against him. "It's all right, she's with God now."
"I know." I replied without speaking.
He didn't hear me, but when I looked to our car, Mom nodded her head and wiped at the tears in her eyes. I know from that day to this that she saw everything I did, even though she never spoke a word about it.
So you see, I may be growing older, but I don't fear death and dying, or guns and roses. Because we are not made of earth, but of light and hope, stars and dreams and one day we will all step back into the Light that our best friend has made to receive us once more into his home.