Young Love

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Tom and Maddie were sitting on the grassy, overgrown slopes of Hampstead Heath, in the late afternoon sunshine, at the top of the hill near a ruined Kenwood House. They gazed past Parliament Hill Fields, at the sea lapping the shores of Camden, and beyond to the drowned City, its spires and domes, shards and gherkins, towering out of the silvery-grey water.

“It’s beautiful up here, isn’t it Maddie.” said Tom, lazily.

“Hmm. I wonder what it was like down there, before the – you know – the Flood.” she replied. “All those people, and “traffic”, all in the same place.”

“You hardly ever see a car now.” said Tom. “There’s no petrol.”

“Petrol?” she said, puzzled. “What’s that?”

“Oh. According to Hillsy, they used to pump it up out of the ground and burn it, explode it even, inside the engines – before they went electric or hydrogen, of course,” he explained, patiently, gently stroking Maddie’s leg. “That’s what caused all this, Global Warming, the Climate Change, and the Movement north.”

“How gross!” Maddie exclaimed, parting her legs a little wider.

Tom was getting a little distracted now. He tried to concentrate.

“You know, we were very lucky not to have those bloody transplants.” he said. “We have Free Will!”

“I suppose.” said Maddie, thoughtfully. “McGill and McGilly have taught me everything they know, especially about loving people, as Hodges and Hillsy have done for you. But I can’t help wondering.”

She lay back, lifting her numb bum off the ground, and pulled down her knickers. Tom lay beside her, gently stroking and exploring.

“What do you wonder about?” asked Tom, hoping she would refer to themselves.

“Well,” she said, hesitantly, pulling down the zip on his old, holey, torn jeans. “We don’t know very much. Especially about Art, and Music, and everything that people have done in the past.”

“I heard some music the other day!” contradicted Tom. “It was Jacqueline, on one of those little poddy things that Phil had found somewhere. It still had ear-buds. She’s incredibly sexy!”

“Well, so am I!” she giggled, fondling his erection.

Tom took out the pod and gave one of the ear-buds to Maddie. Side by side, they sat listening to the heavy beat. Tom heard the left side of Jacqueline and mostly drums and bass; Maddie swayed to the right side, mostly guitar and the ethereal voices backing Jacqueline’s deep contralto.

“OK. She can sing. She isn’t just into sex. But I am!”

Without further discourse, she knelt over him, pulled down his jeans, lifted up her skirt and sank onto him, relaxing in bliss.

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Leibster Award

liebster

No, I don’t know what it is either, or who started it off.

I would like to thank James Harrington for nominating me. He is a very creative writer and has published lots already, so I am humbled.

Now, for the rules:

– Answer the 11 interview questions
– In your post, link back to the person who awarded you.
– Choose 3 other bloggers to award, focusing on those with 200 followers or below.
– Link to those bloggers in your post, then go and leave them comments to share the good news!
– Be sure to ask them 11 original questions.

Here are my answers to his 11 questions:

1. Describe the best character you’ve ever written.
My best character (I’ll ignore Jack, for the time being) has to be Rachel Jones, “The Raven”. She is a very complex person, and made a great impression on me.

2. Dog or Cat?
I’ve had both, but my little black and white Springer is my current doggy companion.

3. Favorite mythical creature?
Pooh Bear

4. Favorite book?
Too many to choose from. Maybe “Black Hills” by Dan Simmons.

5. Favorite Movie?
“Metropolis” by Fritz Lang.

6. Best literary quote?
“Infinity goes up on trial” – Bob Dylan, in “Visions of Johanna”.

7. Favourite author?
Too many! Charles Frazier has a very poetic command of the language.

8. Rain or Shine?
Definitely Sunshine!

9. Place you want to visit?
Bali

10. Favorite place to hangout?
“Band-On-The Wall” when it was still smokey, and they played real jazz.

11. Person you are most inspired by?
My Missus.

Now here are my nominees for the award! If you have already been nominated for this award, or think it is intrusive, a waste of time, or a rather pointless excercise, don’t worry! At least, it taught me finally how to include links, cut and paste from other blogs, and copy images. You never know until you try. 😉

Belinda Crane

The Nerd Nebula

The Science Geek

Finally, here are my 11 questions for you to answer. If they are too difficult, boring or predictable, I apologize in advance.

1. Favourite fictional character?

2. Favourite animal?

3. Favorite mythical creature?

4. Favorite book?

5. Favorite Movie?

6. Most astounding fact?

7. Favorite author?

8. Rain or Shine?

9. Place you most want to visit?

10. Favorite place to hangout?

11. Person you are most inspired by?

The Raven

Many thanks to all my followers and anyone who downloaded the free Kindle version of “Oodles” from Amazon.

Having completed all of the instalments of “Oodles” on this blog, I have moved to a new blog at charlesdada.wordpress.com where I will publish weekly instalments of “The Raven”, a Spy Thriller/Romance.  I hope you will follow, enjoy and comment.

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Free At Last!

Tom and Maddie, PKD, and all the others are lost in time and space.  That’s possibly the last you will ever hear of them, or “Oodles”, unless you take this opportunity to download the complete Kindle novel from Amazon for free!  The offer will run from Tuesday to Saturday, the 2nd to 6th June, 2015.  I haven’t included links, as they are different for each country, but it’s easy enough to find.

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I would like to thank everyone who viewed my blog over the past 6 months, and especially those that liked it.  It is very encouraging for anyone starting out to receive any response.  I hope you will take the opportunity to obtain the complete version of “Oodles” for free and hopefully rate and review it on Amazon.

Next week I shall be starting a completely new project in a quite different genre:  a spy thriller come romantic fantasy, set in present day Moscow.  “The Raven” was written in January this year in the midst of unfolding events and before a certain tragic death took place on Moscow Bridge.

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Give it a try!  I hope you will find it enjoyable.

The Offer

The Founder collected Tom, Maddie, Don and Jacqueline from Don’s flat and they all continued their slow progress up to the penthouse suite. Everyone was very quiet and slightly in awe. They had confirmed that the Tower was surrounded by Enforcers. Looking through various windows, Hills and Hodges could see three rows of helmeted, armed, blue-armoured paramilitaries, with their dogs, circling around, in and out of the shrubbery. Spotlights played onto the building. There was no escape.

They all assembled in a large room that looked like a laboratory. The Founder glanced around, giving eye-contact to every individual and smiling.

“The Mission to Alpha-Centauri has failed!” he said, not as sadly as they would have expected. “But in the meantime, my scientists on Quartz Mountain have developed new technologies. The Earth is doomed; that is now clear. We have to start again somewhere else, but we can’t leave behind everything we have achieved. We have developed technologies that will allow us to go as ourselves, but our genes will be modified so that nothing is lost. DNA engineering and nano-chip manufacture has progressed to a degree that even I thought impossible a few years ago. We don’t need implants anymore. We can alter our DNA to include a collective consciousness, a tribal memory that can recall any known fact, experience, or achievement. But you would have the “Free Will” that you all are so desperate to cling onto. There will be no more commercialism; it won’t be needed. Are you with me?”

They shuffled from foot to foot, realising the plight they were in, but not quite trusting this manifestation of all their fears for the future. They didn’t know where this was leading anyway.

Tom and Maddie looked at each other, nodded, and stepped forwards. “We’ll come!” they said, in unison.

Hills and Hodges, McGill and McGilly were horrified. They gasped in disbelief, and with a certain guilty feeling at the back of their minds. “No, no! Don’t trust him!”

“What choice do we have? Besides, Maddie is pregnant!” said Tom. “Come with us. Be our Helpers. You too, Don and Jacqueline; we trust you!”

“I’d come, gladly,” replied Don. “But I’m afraid my time is up. I can feel the radiation sickness beginning to take hold. I fear I only have a few weeks left. Jacqui, you go with them!”

“I only have room for twelve of you. Choose carefully!” said The Founder. “I will tell the Enforcers to let the rest go, if you agree to this.”

They conferred amongst themselves. Despite the coercion, six youngsters were chosen, including Tom and Maddie.
Hodges, Hillsy and the McGills insisted on going, still not trusting the motives of The Founder. Phil and Jacqueline took the remaining places, as knowledgeable keepers of technology and culture.

Saying their sad goodbyes, they made their way up the spiral staircase in the corner of the room to the heli-pad on the roof. They climbed into the large, black helicopter, tears streaming from their eyes as they noticed a dark cloud on the horizon, obscuring the dawn. The Founder climbed in last of all, a quiet smile on his face.

The Rift Valley – Part II

Twelve hours later, they landed on a makeshift runway in Tanzania on the red, sandy soil, cleared of scrub. They grabbed two rucksacks and a tent-bag, jumped out of the tiny four-seater plane and ran over to the side of the strip. The plane took off again immediately, leaving them stranded, with not a soul around. “Man, it’s hot!” thought Indigo. “Almost as hot as she was last night!”

They set up camp amongst the barren, heat radiating rocks of the Olduvai Gorge. It was so hot, Jacqueline climbed into the low tent and began to take off all her clothes, so he pulled his hat low, took out the map, and looked about for a cave, the cave that The Founder had told him about. It was much too sticky for anything else at this time of day.

When he got back, in the late afternoon, she was asleep inside the tent, completely naked and lying on her back, her arms and legs akimbo, perspiration rolling down her breasts and tummy.

“Wakey, wakey!” he shouted, rudely planting a kiss on a tempting nipple. “We had better move camp up into the cave I’ve found. It will be dark soon, and very quickly. Then it will be too cold to stay out here!”

“I was having such a lovely dream!” she sighed. “About a man I once knew who didn’t stop for such domestic arrangements.”

“Later, my flower! Get dressed and move. It will be much more comfortable up there.”

After a very comfortable and at times rather hectic night, they awoke to prepare coffee and bacon in the mouth of the cave, the morning sun slanting in and lighting up the very back of the cave. Sloughing off their dazed bleariness, they began to explore.

They soon found evidence of ancient human habitation, probably small family groups. There were paintings of a journey on the walls of the cave; past or future, they could not tell. They pressed on further back into the dark recess.

They came to a low arch in the rock, pitch-black beyond.

“We had better be careful,” said Indigo. “This is always the point where something nasty happens!”

They cautiously edged through the narrow opening and, almost immediately, a round boulder rolled behind them, cutting them off from their camp, light, warmth and equipment. Fortunately, he had a torch in his shoulder-bag. They pressed on, hoping to find a way out. There were various hazards: snakes, bats, spiders, underground lakes. Ugh! He hated spiders! He kept his hat on at all times.

“Don’t be afraid, Indy! I’ve seen it all before!” said Jacqueline, nonchalantly.

Well, that’s progress he thought. At least they were on first-name terms now!

They reached a cavern, deep in the mountain, that could not have been seen by human eyes since the figures of the ancient huntsmen and animals were drawn on the walls, and the people left on their epic World journey, 70,000 years ago.

There was an altar in the middle of the cavern, and on the altar, to Indigo’s and Jacqueline’s startled surprise, a round, symmetrical shape lay beneath layers of red dust, untouched for thousands of years. Indigo brushed his fingertips over it, and a metallic gleam glistened in his torchlight.

The object was a small, shiny, titanium cylinder with rounded ends. It looked as though it could be unscrewed. Indigo gingerly lifted it from the slab of rock, but the ground immediately fell from beneath his feet and he threw the cylinder to the girl.

He rushed feet first down a shaft, bouncing off the rough rocky walls, into an underground river. It was cold, but flowing; there must be an exit. He shouted to Jacqueline, telling her to climb down, with the cylinder. Which she did, expertly, of course.

They waded in the direction of the stream’s flow, eventually seeing light ahead, and finally emerged into the dazzling sunlight again, under the very peak of Mount Lemakarot looming over their right shoulders. They splashed along the shallow, clear stream, which discharged into the dried-up Lake Magadi in front of them. The evaporation was almost immediate, and the mud was steaming.

They hunkered down at the side of the stream and Indigo unscrewed the lid of the cylinder. A roll of paper fell out. To his shock and disbelief, it was headed with the “Oodles” logo, dated with last week’s date, giving them directions to a safe spot where they could be picked up.

The Rift Valley – Part I

The “Al Andalus”  night-club in Tangier was dark, smoky and crowded. Coloured lights flashed and a heavy bass boomed from the dance floor. Indigo Brown sat, relaxed and casual, at a round table to one side, his tattooed arm over the back of a rickety chair, surveying the scene. The black ink hinted at mystery beneath his dark skin.

The party at the next table was rather rowdy, with swarthy looking men jumping up and down, waving their arms around heatedly. There was a girl with them, trying to look nonchalant in her tight-fitting, white silk dress. She was vaguely familiar and very good looking; blond waves rolling down to her shoulders, full red lips pouting, and beautiful eyes open wide, with fluttering lashes. It was hard to tell with all her clothes on. She glanced occasionally at Indigo, who pretended not to see her, though he felt a little over-dressed in his jeans, open-necked shirt, leather jacket and trade-mark felt hat pulled low over his eyes. He should at least have shaved.

He was tapped on the back by a tall figure in a white suit, with long flowing white hair, who sidled around and sat in the cane chair opposite. It was the contact he had arranged to meet here a few days ago. The deceptively youthful looking man smiled disarmingly, white teeth sparkling across his face between full lips, a trim silver-grey moustache and neat beard, which waggled slightly as he spoke.

“Noisy in here tonight, Mr Brown,” he said, laconically, and melodiously.

“It’s usually like this. You get used to it!” Indigo replied, leaning forward to hear better and gain some privacy. “What did you want to see me about? I trust it’s important, I’m in the middle of a very interesting dig in Rabat, before it disappears under the sea.”

“Oh, this is much more important and interesting.” said the bearded man, who Indigo now knew to be The Founder.

“But it is a special mission, for me privately. I don’t want this reported on the Web, or to the Oodles Corporation, but you will be paid ten times your normal fee.”

Indigo leant closer, very interested now.

“There is an artefact, some 70,000 years old, in the Rift Valley, near to the famous Olduvai Gorge, which I want you to retrieve. It’s not difficult; it should be in a cave, which I have marked on this map.” He pushed across a folded piece of paper, surreptitiously; he obviously didn’t want anyone on-line to get wind of this.

“You will be taken there by private plane, and when your mission is complete – if you complete it – it will be there to bring you back again. This is a special homing device,” he said passing across a small parcel, deftly sliding it under Indigo’s hand. “Don’t lose it, or you will die of exposure. And don’t broadcast your position at any time!”

Indigo raised one eyebrow, “Payment?”

“Half is already in your account. The rest will be paid when I have the artefact safely in my hands. Now I must leave you!” The Founder silently rose and disappeared as quickly as he had arrived.

Noticing a rise in noise levels at the next table, Indigo quickly stuffed the map and package in an inside pocket of his jacket and got up to leave as well. Everybody seemed to be getting up. A fight broke out between two Moroccans at his side. He noticed the girl; she was looking worried, if not actually scared. “Oh no!” he thought. “Here we go again!”

But before he could do anything, all hell broke loose and he was hit over the head with a bottle. He sank to the floor, dazed.

The next thing he knew was being carried over the shoulder of this apparently athletic young girl, out through a rear exit and along a narrow, filthy alleyway. She dumped him unceremoniously on the ground, his back leaning against the wall, and roughly jammed his hat on his head, bending down his ears.

“Careful! That’s my best hat!” he muttered, petulantly. “Say, would you like to come on a trip with me? I could use some muscle! I’m off to the Rift Valley, early tomorrow morning!”

“Well, I thought you’d never ask! I think my time here is done. Lead on Mr . . .”

“Brown. Indigo Brown. But my friends call me Indy! Hey! Didn’t I see you at Silvio’s party last week, screwing that guy covered in black plastic? Who was that?”

“Some big-shot,” replied the girl. “Reckons he owns some airline company and half the world! I think he said he was the fuckin’ finder, but I couldn’t hear him properly.”

“Oh, incognito, hey? And by the way, can I have my whip back, if you’re coming with me.”

“OK, Mr Brown, let’s see where you lead to!”

Obviously a girl hard to get to know, but up for anything, he thought. But first he would have to get those clothes off; they were not best suited to scrabbling about in a desert valley.

“Is your hotel near? Do you have some more suitable apparel and equipment? Are you prepared for a five day trek in the bush? What’s your name, anyway?”

“Yes, yes, yes!” she replied, exasperated. “Let’s just get a move on. They’ll be looking for us soon! Oh, and it’s Jacqueline . . . Jacqueline d’Arcy.”

– o –