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Archive for April, 2011

Read Horns on the Horizon

 

If you like thought provoking and scary stories, please read my demoniacal tale: Horns on the Horizon. And please leave a comment. It was published over a year ago, so now that my contract is done, I am letting it fly.

It is under the page of the same name on my wordpress blog site.

Happy Reading

Thank you

Mason

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Excerpt from Emissaries of Archeote

 

Terra Sublime

 The place in the sun was a bower on the edge of town, where lovers young and old would come to feel the heat of their original union. Carmel informed Ben about the traditional credence regarding the special place they visited:

“If ever there is love between two people, it remains here forever, even if the couple has broken up. In the unlikely chance of two such people coming here together, they would undoubtedly feel their mutual passion return to life, just like in the beginning, regardless of how much time has already passed. I’ve seen it happen before. And I have to say; it’s like witnessing a miracle. In fact, there is no other way to describe it. When you come here, you feel the force of the Creator, working in vital harmony with our lives.”

“There has to be something to it,” he replied, as their arms found each other and they kissed ever so gently, their lips like flames touching. To Carmel and Ben, the force of the love bower was nearly overwhelming, their embrace rapidly descending into holy rapture. They felt the drumbeat of the earth, in time with their pounding hearts, which threatened to leap from their bodies, and go dancing into the river of the Creator. They retreated, again and again, to the love huts on her family land, a playtime that continued for days, until they finally had to make a decision.

“I have to get home, eventually,” he finally blurted, after having avoided the conversation for days. “I would like it if you came with me.”

“Actually you better go alone. I think we all know the universal adage of love.”

“About setting them free?”

“Right,” she said. “If you love someone, set them free.”

“It goes both ways,” he argued. “Someone you love should not be left behind idly. Eventually, I have to get back to California, although not for another week. You can show me more places. I really expected this summer to be one of exploration. But I never thought it would be quite this wonderful. Now I feel like my life is with you.”

“I’m not much of a free range biker. I know you’ve seen me with some of the most nomadic people in America; however, I am a woman with a home.”

 “I like that about you. I plan to keep on coming back. And I want you to stay with me in California, for a little while at least, before we start missing each other.”

Carmel felt so relieved, she became almost rosy. “I need to spend some time with my friend, before she thinks I’m neglecting her.”

“Fine with me,” he said. “I’d like to show some of the boys a few things. I can’t believe we’ve spent the last week together, twenty-four seven.”

She replied, “I’ll see you in a few days.”

* * * *

 

Crow Woman went to the ranch periphery to see her friend Jess, who had been hoping to know what would come from her newfound love, and where she thought it was leading. When the two women came together, the events of friendship unfolded naturally, as they began talking about Ben Stormrider, his shiny motorcycle, and how he seemed free as the wind. Without doubt, all of his untamed character, although attractive, was a cause for worry. The fact was: neither of them could imagine him having his wings clipped, working a regular job, and getting fat, while Carmel raised his child.

“You have been careful,” Jess said. “Haven’t you?”

Carmel nodded shyly. “I have.”

Jess rubbed her friend’s shoulders. “You do wish to take our journey now, don’t you?”

“I do,” Carmel admitted truthfully, her eyes lighting up to show it.

An Apache woman’s desire to know the future is ubiquitous, and sure among the tribe. For Jess and Carmel, it couldn’t be denied; their bond of friendship was certainly one to hold onto for life. From the first time they met, it was obvious what magic they shared; together they could easily tap into the river of time, an ancient ability, which for them came naturally as any human function.

“I haven’t eaten in twelve hours,” Jess admitted. “I wasn’t sure if you would come. And with Ben here, it changes everything: you aren’t chaste.”

“It never made any difference before. When I was with Rod, and you were with Harland, we performed together just fine.”

Jess said, “But we weren’t in love, like you are now.”

“You are willing to try though, right? We’ll take it from where we left off—no food, just water.  And on the last day we’ll talk with the elders.”

“And a sweat.”

“With juniper branches,” Carmel added.

Jess began to stretch her limbs. “Then we should begin. I’ve already told my father we’re heading into the mountains for a couple of days.”

The two women headed south into the Gila National Forest for their path of cleansing.  It was a three mile warm-up journey through aspen groves and thickets of hemlock. They finally reached a confluence of streams, where they sat and absorbed the sound of water. It was the pivotal point of their cleansing. They swam into the blue pools, where the cool water helped to wash away their daily concerns. Afterward, they spent the night on a wide dolmen, their sleeping bags spread out because it was warm, and they didn’t need shelter.

“What are we hoping for?” Jess asked.

And to that Carmel replied, “To see what will become of our hopes and aspirations.”

“Will it disappoint you to know all of it could be a dream?”

Carmel reached into the stars. “I’m hoping the dream lasts forever.”

“Have you taken any chemicals today?”

“Not for at least a day. I smoked some pot with Ben. And ten days ago I took some mushrooms at a biker gathering.”

“Did you have a vision then?”

“No, I just laughed a lot.”

“What were you trying to find in all those rowdy circles? Was it Ben?”

“I never thought I’d meet someone like him. You know how I used to feel about Indian guys. To be truthful, I like hanging out with bikers every once in a while, because they’re all more laid back than anyone else I know. I feel safe among them.”

“Now that he is with you, do you want him to marry you?”

Carmel thought for a moment. “I think I would like that eventually. If he comes back, and I see he’s been true, it would be my hope.”

“So why be so bold as to look into what is to come? Why not wait and see what happens?”

“Because I want the preparations to be pure and meaningful, allowing me an easier time than what is expected, if the augury points negative.”

“Will you heed to the advice the Great Spirit gives?”

“Yes.”

“Have you had any visions since our last journey?”

“The black car I told you about when I came home. Its engine roared like thunder, and when it sped off, it set the fields ablaze. A conflagration ensued, threatening to engulf the world; and then we fell.”

“You and Ben experienced this vision together?”

“Yes.”

“Thank you for telling me,” Jess said. “You have to ask me now.”

Carmel began. “What are your aspirations?”

Jess answered, “I want to marry the man I haven’t met yet. I feel like I am better off chaste until I meet this man.”

“Do you thank the quest for this presage?”

“I do.”

“What more do you wish to see?”

“I would like to know what he looks like.”

“What have you seen so far?”

“Every time we travel, it always goes so fast. I find myself reaching for the man, seeing him walk off to wherever he goes. He wanders a lot. And all I’ve ever gotten to see is his back. The recognition is so acute. I feel like I could know him from behind.”

“Where are you when you are seeing him?”

“It looks like a galleria in Albuquerque, I think. It happens during Christmas time. I believe this, because when I’m there, I see snow in the windows.”

“What makes you so sure he is the one?”

“I can feel it when he comes into view. The scene repeats in my thoughts, over and over. I know love when I see him.”

“Is he what you always expected?”

“No!” Jess laughed. “I expected someone I could relate to on a similar level. I’m not saying I won’t relate to him.

“I’ve just never been with a guy who isn’t pure Caucasian. And the guy looks like he could be Asian or Aleutian by the way he dresses, wearing jeans and a brown suede jacket.”

“What is the quest to you? Is it the way to steal images from your own future, oneiric in all ways?”

“I believe it is a higher level of understanding. The ritual is leading me to find my soul mate. I believe life is different for those who do not partake in the miracles the land’s energy has to offer. If we didn’t do this, I might never have seen him, to know he exists, and to know what to look for. I am grateful to know my vision, and have all the trust in the world–of its purity.”

Carmel suspired, a long-winded breath, glad the first part was complete. Their frank talks continued. It was the state of togetherness becoming opaque. What came naturally was the most cathartic process. And as the moon fell, the sky became bright with stars that appeared to dangle from strings, like the rich welkin of ancient nights.

When morning came, the women were rested. They felt ready to climb Whitewater Baldy, the most prominent feature in the landscape, hanging overhead like a pallid ghost, calling for them to come and enter heaven. It was the most difficult part of the vision quest: Five straight miles of uphill travel, winding through the wide switchbacks and rocky traverses, suitable only for a full stomach; which wasn’t the case for Carmel and Jess.

By then they hadn’t eaten for two days. The hike up the mountain became most challenging toward the end, so they rested frequently.

 A cleft between two pilasters of granite conduit stones was the ritual ground. It was the end of the final steep climb. To make sure no one else was thinking of going up there, they sang the incus litany–the words and melody to ward off any onlookers. The esoteric rite of the feminine-seeing-stone was something that could only be witnessed by the Elders Council.

The song of warding they used was one of several in use among the elder clan sentinel. Some were for going into wild, hostile country, specifically intended for the danger at hand, like Bear Song, or Cougar Song; and the most complex and secret, Man Song. Both women took turns invoking the thunder. Black clouds came out of nowhere, formed overhead almost instantly, and spat out lightning with each verse. The warding songs were meant to be sung loud and strident, to make the forces assured that the singer was true, and justly possessing medicine. They wouldn’t know for sure if any of it was necessary.

It just so happened, a climber had been in the area, who had come a long way through the Gila Wilderness. And yet, he could not linger. The incus magic did its job by dashing any hope he had of staying very long. Thunder blasted at his heels, and he would never know how he had been ushered out to make way for a very special event.

Sunshine and blue sky prevailed where they arrived on the Whitewater Baldy summit. At their feet, the clouds of protection wreathed around the mountain, like a land of pilose ground, as far as they could see: shiny white cotton balls spanning in every direction.

“Absolute perfection,” Carmel remarked. She referred to the conditions which Jess could nary enjoy, save for taking quick glances.

 At that point only rest could have pleased her. Hungry and fatigued, the women crawled up the final ascent–another hundred feet–and when they finally laid eyes on the natural prayer circle, the sight brought on much physical relief.

Inside the rock enclosure, they could be protected from any inclement weather, though it had never been anything but still on any of their journeys.

There was only one thing to do at that point—hold hands and wait.

The stone on which they sat offered comfort. Energy from deep in the mountain caressed them and kept them warm. The emanation was utterly tactile. However, with the physical world raging, the women had to spend hours relaxing, before the fatigue could work in their favor, and they could understand the voice of the earth.

“Don’t let me go,” Jess said, as the dark whirlwinds began to swallow her whole.

“I’m with you,” Carmel replied. And then she too felt the questing energy, the mountain stones revolving around her as she fell. “Oh wait, this is too fast.”

“I’m falling …”

“So am I …”

* * * *

 

Jess woke up first, panting with excitement. “I saw my son!” she exclaimed, the first words before she fully opened her eyes.

       Carmel lay unconscious beside her. The pattern of events was obvious. They had been holding hands and then collapsed beside one another, thrown deep into the channeled path.

     “Carmel,” she said. Then she remembered: waking someone in the midst of a vision could be detrimental. So she kept quiet, even though the news was too exciting not to share.

She got down on her hands and knees and crawled to the edge of the prayer circle. From there, she gazed over the Gila Wilderness. The day was beautiful. She lay on her side, and thought about the incredible vision of childbirth and a future of marriage and undying love.

Her urge was to wake Carmel, rush with her back to Terra Sublime, and tell her father the news. Then she remembered how no one outside of the Elders Council could know the details of her future visions. Since her father wasn’t one of the Blue Willow sentinels of the Spirit Lake Elders, he could never know about a vision until it became realized. When events passed, she could say: I saw this particular thing in a vision.  However, no unrealized event could be shared with the outside world.

As the rules played out in her thoughts, she found she could only wait, and wait for however long it would take for Carmel to wake up. And she waited a long time.

By early afternoon, the sun reached into their rock circle. And still Carmel lay completely still. Jess checked her pulse occasionally, and felt her chest, to be sure it still moved with her breath. Fearing a coma of sorts might have overtaken her, Jess began to formulate her next moves; but she had trouble deciding whether to stay and wait, or go back to the village to get help.

Think Jess. What is the right way to handle this? What’s happening to her? Her inner voice then replied: She’s stuck in there.

Jess sat cross-legged, in a meditative position, so she could concentrate on the river of time.

It didn’t take long for her to reach back inside. She saw herself as a great horned owl, fluttering along in a stream of feathers. The clarion call of her concerned voice cried out, “Carmel! … Carmel! … Carmel!!!” While all the while she could sense the effulgent marker–her physical self–holding her fast like a kite string. Jess, the great horned owl, searched up and down the land of time stasis, with no luck, and eventually realized that Carmel was nowhere to be found, and could only be in the place she feared—the shady lowland off the edge of the vision plateau, where only the dead are drawn.

“My sister, where are you? Are you asleep in the underworld too?”

Jess cautiously wheeled in flight, approaching the dark border she was told never to cross. It led to a place of violent tempests, and battering seas, where a soul could be led astray by the never-ending enticements–worlds of illusory delight, and perpetual adventures, beyond the eyes of the Creator.

Deep halls of oblivion were things she wished to avoid, as she flew across the smoky border, into complete blindness, while calling out her friend’s name. There were no markings or any points of reference to provide aegis. Only the echoes of her voice gave hints of the wide valley.

She hoped to find her quickly, and leave the wasteland behind. When darkness finally gave way to some form of light, she gasped in horror at the bizarre world she found.

An endless series of gaping vortices lined the horizon, like vertically tipped hurricanes, each blaring out their unique song of attraction. They each tried desperately to draw in any souls they could find.

It was like entering combat for her. She flew low along the corridor of a canyon, keeping watch around every corner, never knowing what dangers may wait.

Everywhere she looked, the emissaries of dead worlds crawled about in hunger, looking for something, though Jess had no clue what it could be. She only hoped it wasn’t her they wanted.

Ashes made up the ground in the land between horrors, where skeletons rose from their sleep to witness the hapless owl.

As Jess grew bolder, she began to call out to the crawling specters, asking if they had seen her friend. Some of them mumbled incoherent replies. She ignored them whenever she could. Until eventually one of them answered in adequate speech, and described Carmel perfectly.

“She’s the woman of the crow,” a corpse replied, having remembered seeing the child of light who came earlier.

Jess wheeled about and landed gently on the ashen floor. She then approached the crablike thing who answered her request.

“She went deeper,” the helpful corpse went on, “into the realm of stillness,” and then pointed with a fingerless hand to an aperture at the base of a spiny hill. “Leave a trail behind when you enter there, child.”

Jess thanked her hideous new friend, and then flew off. She trusted the creature who gave her directions. Its mentioning of the crow motif had convinced her, so she didn’t hesitate to enter the deep woods leading to the bristly cave entrance.

As she carried on, she continued to shake the bright feathers from her underside, like she was told, leaving a trail to follow back.

“Jess!” Carmel shouted, when she felt the close proximity of her sister’s voice. “You’ve come for me.”

“I can’t see you,” Jess replied. “Tell me where you are.”

“I’m right here.”

“Keep talking, so I can follow your voice.”

And it continued like that, until at last they found each other.

“Where are we Crow Woman? This land frightens me.”

“I’m afraid this is my future!”

“No…it’s not,” Jess retorted. “This is a real place.”

“How long have I been gone?” Carmel asked.

“Long enough,” Jess said. “I need to get us out now.”

Jess extended her bird wing, which Crow Woman took with her own, and then they flew together, following the path of glowing feathers.

When they emerged through the dark borderland, their progress was halted by a massive conflagration, under which a whole town burned uncontrollably. Crow and Owl gradually recognized the place—it was Terra Sublime. Three men stood watching alongside them. They seemed horribly pleased with their handiwork. Both women could see it by the look in the men’s faces.

“No!” Crow Woman shouted. “It won’t happen!”

One of the men, a demonic being in all respects, turned to her, and gazed into her eyes. He nodded slowly, injecting into her thoughts gloom and doom, and the assurance that there would be no way to stop his plans for destruction.

Jess shouted, “Get the hell away from us!” as she circled around in anguish, repulsed by all of the devilish faces around her.

“I’m in need of your help again,” Carmel said. “I’m frozen.”

“We have to move!” Jess replied. “These men are closing in!” Then she took her sister by the wing, and led her away from the monstrous world.

* * * *

 

Both women woke simultaneously. At first, neither of them remembered the events as they struggled with their hunger. “I have so much to tell you,” Jess said, “about my earlier vision.”

“I can’t … I can’t even move.” And it was true. Carmel felt paralyzed. “What happened? – I can’t recall what I saw in there.”

A few minutes later, it all came rushing back.

“You were floating in blackness,” Jess said.

Carmel’s face lit up. “Of course, you came in to get me. I was so relieved. Oh God, it was stifling, the way time and everything else became still. I thought I might have stayed too long, or had gotten lost. You understand; there was no way to know.”

“I do. I was there with you – remember?”

“But you had so much strength and control. I could hardly move. There were creatures in there, holding me.”

Jess asked, “Do you remember our vision?”

“God, it feels like looking back over ages,” Carmel said.

“And it was only minutes ago.”

Carmel furrowed her brow as she concentrated. “I’m starting to remember. Yes, it was the three emissaries.”

“Emissaries from where?”

“It was what I told you about: the sign, and the men from Archeoté. I feel it now, having seen them in their world. It’s a place of primacy, where the denizens live by an evil meritocracy: Whoever brings the most souls, wins the right to stand with their chief.

“To populate their world, they use underhanded methods, tricking souls to enter where they can never get back out.”

“Are you sure that’s where they come from?” Jess asked.

“When Ben saw them, the second time, he said the car had three men inside. When he and I saw the black car on the road, a sign was revealed, bearing a word from the ancient language–Archeoté is what it read.”

Jess covered her mouth and replied, “Oh my God!” while at once realizing how powerful and widespread the foreboding vision really was. It became clear to her, something big was happening, and she had yet to understand the true implications.

“That’s my future,” Carmel said. “And it contains only horror.”

When the women could relax, Jess took out the emergency provisions, and handed Carmel a granola bar. They both ate slowly as the afternoon sun burned.

After the shock faded, Jess told her sister about the vision of her son.

Evening arrived in Terra Sublime. Jess and Carmel could see it as they walked home: a smattering of lights inlaid within a dark landscape. Where they stood, it was another five miles before they could rest. And even longer into the night, they would be up talking to the elders, who awaited them eagerly, and had it in mind to have peace council after they received the information.

Waiting for it all, Carmel knew she had a long night ahead.

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Welcome to Mason’s blog. I will post previously published stories here, after the contracts dry up.

My fiction is designed to evoke images and chills. Sometimes you have to read closely to get the massive wave of intrigue that lies within. In the Tripping Dead, the mystery lies in the tellers words. Was he really the killer of both groups? Is it possible? In his mind of madness you will find the answer.

I have also included an exerpt from Emissaries of Archeote-the story of an ancient Native prophecy coming to fruition. There is a group of terrorists storming their way across the surface of the earth, and their plan includes more than just physical destruction. Part of their plan is the dark transformation of the entire human race.

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