Posted in Fiction

Lights of Fantasy (Part III)

I took a few careful steps backwards, not taking my eyes off the moving eyes gliding along in the water from one end of the pool to the other. Then I stopped, scrunched my eyes shut, and shook my head. When I opened them, the floating eyes in the pool were gone. I stood there for another moment scratching an itch on my elbow. She jumped at a noise behind her. It was her mother.

“Lily?”

“Mom, you scared me to death.”

“What’s wrong? You look pale.”

Given her mother’s reaction before when Lily pointed out the weirdness in the pool, she didn’t think her mother would believe her now. “It’s nothing. I think spent too much time in the pool today.”

Her mom checked her watch then looked at her daughter with a creased brow. “It’s only been 15 minutes. For you that’s no time at all.”

“What can I say?” replied Lily with a shoulder shrug. “For now I’m good.” She sped by her mother and into the house.

Later that night, Lily lay in bed reading when a small tap played out a rhythm on her door.

“Come in.”

The door opened, and her grandpa stepped into the room. “Hey, bug,” said her grandpa smiling.

Bug was her grandpa’s nickname for her since she was a toddler. “Grandpa!” shouted Lily, surprised. “When did you get here?”

“Oh, about 20 minutes ago. I couldn’t wait to see the new pool. It took some convincing your mom and dad to have it put in, but they finally caved.”

Lily’s mouth opened wide, not knowing how to respond at first. Then. “You? It was you?”

Her grandpa nodded his head.

“I wondered why mom and dad gave in so easily when I asked them. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

“Your welcome, bug. As a matter of fact, how do you like the special addition to it?”

Lily cocked her head and looked at him. “What special addition?” She had an idea but didn’t know if it was what she was thinking or not. After all, she didn’t want her grandpa looking at her funny like her mom did earlier.

Her grandpa turned off her bedside lamp, walked over to her second story window, opened it, and knelt down in front of it. He motioned her over. “Take a look.”

She sauntered over to the window and knelt down beside him, rested her arms on the window sill and gazed out in the direction of the pool. The tiny round glass lights twinkled up at her like stars in the night sky. She opened her mouth to respond, then closed it, then opened it, then closed it again. Not wanting to take her eyes off the twinkling lights her eyes sat glued to the spectacle as she gave her head a slight turn in her grandpa’s direction. “Ummm. How? I mean, are they glow in the dark?” Given her experience earlier in the day, she figured there had to be some oddness behind the twinkling of the lights now but didn’t want to go there just yet. “Or, they’re electric right?”

“No, my child. They aren’t any of those things,” said her grandpa.

There was a more serious tone to his voice she’d never heard before. “Then, what are they?”

(To Be Continued)

Posted in Fiction

Lights of Fantasy (Part II)

Tiny little glass bumps sat scattered everywhere. The lining of the pool was filled with them. Hmm. I wondered what they were. I thrust myself topside and popped my head above the water. Before I could say anything, my mom spoke.

“Lily, don’t you think you’d be more comfortable in a swimsuit?”

“Yeah, but wait, what are all the little round, clear bumps all over the lining down here?” I asked

“I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You put the pool in, and you don’t know what you had put in? Come here. Feel this,” I said, running my wet hand over the side of the pool.

My mom sauntered over and squatted at the pool’s edge. She reached her hand down and rubbed the lining on the inside of the pool.

“What am I supposed to be feeling?” asked my mom in a grim tone.

“What are you talking about? I told you. There are tiny clear bumps all over the side of the pool,” I said.

“No, sweetie. I didn’t feel anything.” My mom stood and turned toward the house. “Go change into your swimsuit,” she called back over her shoulder.

Ten minutes later I dove back into the pool. Like a bullet I shot from one end to the other along the bottom. As I passed over the clear tiny bumps, colors flowed from them. I stopped midway and watched, but when I stopped, the colors stopped flowing. Hmm. Maybe they respond to body heat. I dove beneath the surface once more and swam my way back to the bottom. When I got there, I passed my hand over the tiny bumps. Nothing happened.

Deciding not to let it bother me, I continued swimming a few more underwater laps. I opened my eyes before surfacing, and a light yellow greeted me. I stopped, floated in place, and blinked a few times. I ran out of breath, surfaced, took in some air, then plunked back beneath again. The yellow light was still there, covering the whole underwater environment.

I surfaced, pushed myself up and out of the pool, and stared back at the water. Clear. The only color from above the water was that of the blue lining squiggling from the movement of the water. I jumped in and sank once more then opened my eyes. Yellow light flowed throughout. I closed my eyes and gave my head a couple quick shakes. Upon opening my eyes, the yellow light remained. Ok, time to get out of the pool.

I swam to the stairs and climbed out. The warmth from the sunny pavement under my bare feet sent a comfortable sensation through me, as I clomped over to my towel. I brushed my towel over my long blond hair with a few vigorous swishes and patted my face then patted the rest of me dry. When I finished, I enclosed the towel around my shoulders and turned toward the house but stopped short.

The feeling of being watched and a slight movement from the corner of my eye along with curiosity turned my head in the direction of the pool. Two small eyes blinked back at me from under the water. There appeared to be no body under them, yet they moved from side to side in the pool.

(To Be Continued)

Posted in Fiction

Lights of Fantasy (Part I)

The pool went in on my birthday. My mom setup for me to spend a weekend away with my best friend and her family. When I returned home, the built-in swimming pool graced our backyard, and floating on top of the water was a huge red happy birthday bow.

Now, even though I was 13, my reaction to the pool was that of a kid much younger. I didn’t care. I loved to swim, and now I could stay home to do this instead of going to the Y everyday. So what did I do upon seeing this golden nugget known as our new swimming pool? I snatched my phone out of my pocket, tossed it to my mom, jumped in clothes and all, swam over to the bow, and sidled it to the side of the pool, grounding it.

But as I dove beneath the water and made my trek from one end to the other, something strange about the lining caught my attention.

(To Be Continued)

Posted in Fiction

The Golden Tree (Part VII)

Charlie continued staring in confused angst at the two different scenes. Weird though the two may have been, he had to get back to his own time, so he continued walking toward the modern scene in front of him. He stopped to wait for the cross walk light to turn green. When it did, he proceeded but was stopped by an invisible force field. Damn.

He pressed his hands against the force field, but it wouldn’t budge. A wave of heat made its way throughout his body as a frustrated anger welled up inside. He pressed on the force field once more. Harder this time. Then he banged on it. Nothing. Two passersby crossed the street in front of him. He waved and yelled at them, but they continued on, not seeing or hearing Charlie at all.

“Let me through!” Charlie yelled to no one in particular. His body fell through the force field the instant he shouted his order, causing him to trip and stumble to the pavement on the other side. “Finally.” He stood up and sauntered the few feet back to the force field he had just burst through. He gazed back through it to the ’50’s scene, placed his hand on the force field, and gave a gentle push. Resistance fought back. Awesome, he was finally back in his own time.

He turned and spied a diner across the street, so he headed in that direction. He whipped out his cell phone and dialed Ray’s number. It went directly to voicemail, so he left a message. He slunk the phone back into his rear pants pocket and entered the diner. The hostess guided him to a booth and handed him a menu.

“Something to drink?” asked the waitress.

“Coffee, please,” replied Charlie.

The waitress turned to walk away, but Charlie tapped her arm to stop her. “Excuse me. Um, what town am I in?”

“Ball Dune, Texas.”

“I know this is going to sound odd, but, what year is it?”

“2052,” said the waitress. “And no, it isn’t a weird question. We get folks like you around here all the time.”

Charlie’s mind went blank, not knowing what to say. He placed his hands on the table, as his heart raced, and his breathing labored. “You mean…you mean I didn’t get back to my time?” He didn’t know if the waitress knew what he was talking about or not. Although he figured she did the moment she said, ‘folks like you’.

The waitress clucked her tongue then said, “You should have touched the tree on the wall at Tulsie’s.”

Charlie’s horrified eyes bore through her as he realized he might never get home.

“Hey,” said the waitress with a calm resolve. “I was you at one time.”

“Th-then I’ll go back and touch the tree.”

“Nope. You can’t do that,” said the waitress, as she pointed out the window to the place across the street where the force field was.”

Charlie followed her finger. The spot where the force field should be was now home to a general store. He turned his gaze back up at the waitress. “How? What?”

“I used to be you at one time.”

***********

Ray and Charlotte Bleaker’s farm, 2022

Ray chuckled and high fived his wife, Charlotte, as Charlie’s face imprinted itself on a new leaf on the golden tree.

“They just don’t listen,” said Charlotte. “People need to learn not to touch things when they’re told not to.”

(THE END)

Posted in Writing

The Golden Tree (Part VI)

Charlie sighed and drooped his shoulders, his eyes fell on the mural of the tree. Damn, where to start looking. How he wished the tree on the wall was real. It would make this whole scenario much easier. Out of the corner of his eye, a tiny piece of something moved on the tree. A fly. He hated flies. Damn nasty things. Another one fidgeted out of the corner of his other eye. Then another and another. There had been no movement before, but now the whole tree was alive with flies.

Wait. He stood from the edge of the bed, held up his hand outstretched in front of him, and shuffled toward the mural. Upon closer inspection, the movement wasn’t flies at all. The leaves of the tree shuffled in an invisible and unfelt wind. He slow turned his head to face Tulsie. “This is it isn’t it?”

“My my, Mr. Charlie. You are a smart man after all. You’re the only human being to have ever figured out that this tree on the wall is the real thing. Why it embedded itself in this wall I’ll never know. It just showed up one day. After a while, it will move to somewhere else.”

Charlie opened his mouth to say something, but couldn’t find any words. This whole thing had to be a dream. He was in bed at home in the year 2022, and this was all a bad dream. It had to be. Finally he spoke. “Where did all the others go if they didn’t figure out this was the real golden tree?”

“They simply left in search for a tree growing from the ground.” She gave him a sad smile. “They came from different years. Some from the 1800’s and others from the early 1900’s. I don’t know if they ever got home. I know there is a way to get back to your own time, but I don’t know what it is.”

He stared at the tree once more, and a thought tickled his mind. Perhaps if he touched the same leaf it would take him home. But which one? Upon closer inspection, the construct of the tree appeared different. A glance at Tulsie caused him to do a double take. A smiling leer pasted across her face. Was she messing with his mind? He dropped his outstretched hand to his side and relaxed. Hmm. Touching something he wasn’t supposed to is what got him into this mess in the first place. No. He wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice.

He turned to Tulsie and said, “Thank you for your hospitality, ma’am.” I’ll be going now. He looked around the room one last time to ensure he had everything then left the room, descended the stairs, and walked out of the house. He had made it to the front sidewalk and was about to turn and walk down the street when he heard Tulsie calling him. He stopped and turned.

“Don’t you want to get home?” asked Tulsie.

“Yes. That’s why I’m leaving,” replied Charlie.

He continued walking down the street. When he had walked approximately three miles, he came to a main street. The cars driving in either direction in front of him as he stood at a corner were modern 2022 models. His brows scrunched together as he scratched his head. Looking behind him the cars were models from the 1950’s. “What the hell?”

(To Be Continued)

Posted in Fiction

The Golden Tree (Part V)

A mural of the golden tree spread across the wall. With absent minded ease, he rose from the edge of the bed and stepped over to the wall. His hand outstretched, he caressed the painting of the tree. Its golden leaves just as shiny here as in person. But, how can that be? It’s a painting.

A knock at the bedroom door shook him out of his thoughts, and he spun his head in the direction of the knock.

“Yes?” asked Charlie. “Come in.”

The door inched inward and a woman’s well groomed brunette head peeped around the edge. “You’re awake,” said the woman. “I’m Tulsie.”

“H-hello. I am Charlie. H-how long have I been asleep?”

“Two days. We were starting to wonder if you were going to wake up. The doctor came over to look at you.” She walked over to him and reached slight, delicate fingers up to his temple. “I must say, that bump looks much better.”

“It hurts like hell.”

Tulsie gasped and stepped back a couple steps, touching folded hands to her chest. “Must you speak that way?”

“What way?”

“That…that word.”

“What? Hell?”

“Yes. We don’t speak that kind of language in this house.”

“Oh,” replied Charlie taken back just a bit. “Where I come from it’s no big deal. But I do apologize if I offended you.” An uncomfortable minute passed as no one said anything. Then, indicating toward the painted golden tree on the wall, “Do you know about this tree?”

“What about it?” asked Tulsie.

“How is it you have a painting of it on your wall?”

“It’s just a tree.”

“No, it’s not. Who painted it?”

“My cousin. Raymond Bleaker Sr. So what?”

“This tree really exists. It grows on a farm of a friend of mine back in Oklahoma. Wait. Where am I anyway?”

“Who is your friend?”

“Ray Bleaker III.” A chill ran up and down his spine. What are the odds he wakes up wherever in the house of the cousin of his friend’s grandfather? “Ma’am? Please tell me where I am.”

“In my house.”

Charlie scrunched his lips and a heat rose in his cheeks. “I know that. Where is your house, besides on a street in a nice little town. Where is this place? What’s the town or city, or whatever?”

“You don’t have to be so rude in your speaking sir. A simple question and in a nice manner would suffice,” explained Tulsie.

Charlie pasted a fake smile across his cheeks, “Ma’am? What town and state am I in?”

“That’s much better. You are in a suburb of Dallas, Texas,” replied Tulsie. She sauntered over to mural of the golden tree and flipped her delicate fingers in its direction. “Ya know, this tree has been in my cousin’s family for generations. It’s original name was the Time Travel Tree.” Her gaze went from the tree mural to Charlie and morphed into a leer. “You are in 1956.”

Charlie ran his fingers through his dark hair, staggered to the bed and sat back down on the edge. “How do I get back to 2022? Wait, I need to find Rays farm. That’s where the tree is. He said it’s like 200 years old. I’ll just go back there and touch the tree.”

At that moment the same little boy he’d seen holding the ball in the front yard of the house, when he arrived two days ago, walked into the room holding the same red ball.

Tulsie walked over to the little boy and fumbled her fingers through the little boys hair. “This is my cousin’s boy, Raymond Jr.” Then she threw a pointed stare at Charlie. “And, no, you cannot find the tree at my cousin’s farm. It isn’t there.”

“But it’s there in 2022. Ray said it’s over 200 years old. Trees don’t get up and move.”

“Well, he’s right. It is 200 years old. But the tree moves itself every so many years. So you’ll have to find it. How you do that is up to you.”

“But I thought you said the tree has been in the family for generations.”

“That’s right. I did. You appear to be a smart man. Confused at the moment but smart nevertheless. Figure it out.”

(To Be Continued)

Posted in Fiction

The Golden Tree (Part IV)

Charlie woke with a start and sat straight up. A dim sliver of light worked its way through the slight parts in the dark curtains. He reached a hand to his left temple and the slight bump and winced as a shooting knife like pain coursed from one temple to the next.

“Damn, where am I?”

His attention floated around the room as dusk continued to take over through the window. He was alone. A chest of drawers stood opposite the the twin size bed beneath him. He felt around the soft feather comforter covering the lower half of his body. The light, airy plushness beckoned him to lay back down and fall back to sleep, but no. He had to stay awake. He had to get out of there, but where was he. This wasn’t his room.

Another twinge of pain stabbed his temples once again. “Ahg!” He threw back the rest of the comforter and swung his legs over the side of the bed opposite the window. His tennis shoes sat neatly on the side of the bed, so he reached down for them as a small hand poked out from under the bed, grabbed the right shoe and yanked it back.

Charlie scrambled to the floor and got down on his hands and knees. Peering under the bed, he saw nobody. He shot upright standing on his knees. His head swam and a nauseating wave clutched his gut causing him to dry heave. He squeezed his eyes shut once more and breathed deep wishing the sickening feeling to subside. As he did, he listened for movement in the room. Nothing. He opened his eyes slow and gingerly gazed around the room. No one was there. He eased himself back down to look under the bed. No one. As he eased his head back up, the side of his right cheek smacked into two shoes. His shoes.

“Ok. I’m having hallucinations. That or I’m still sleeping and dreaming I’m awake. Where did my missing shoe come from?” he said aloud. “Great, I’m talking to myself.”

He plunked his butt back on the edge of the bed and put his shoes on, then he eased himself upright and gasped at the sight on the wall.

(To Be Continued)

Posted in Fiction

The Golden Tree (Part III)

“Ya know? I’ve often wondered where people go when they touch this tree,” wondered Charlotte.

“You want to find out?” asked Ray with a smirk.

“Hell no. I might never come back.”


*******


Charlie landed on his butt with a skid across a bed of gravel. His hand scraping across the stones as he reached to stop himself. He came to a stop but remained where he was for a few minutes catching his breath. His heart hammered from the rush of adrenaline caused by the split second trip through…..what? Funny what split second timing can do to a body. He swiveled his head from side to side taking in his surroundings.

He sat in the middle of a gravel road in a residential area. Small single story homes stood side by side on both sides. A light blue house stood on his right with a yellow 1955 Chevy Bel-Air in the driveway, while a dark gray house stood on his left with a boy of about 8 or 9 standing in the yard; a red bouncy ball resting between his hands. Charlie threw up a slow, nervous wave and nodded his head. The little boy remained still, watching him. He rose to his feet and walked over the boy. As he reached the curb, he glanced down the street and stopped short. Most all the driveways had cars from the 1950’s.

With his attention remaining on the older model cars, he continued toward the little boy, forgetting there was a curb. He tripped up to the sidewalk as a result and landed on his front. His arms having flown forward, skidded along the pavement in front of him. His cheek landed hard and morphed into a twisted expression as the momentum drove him forward along the cement.

For the second time within minutes, he moved to stand up. The world around him spun, as he lifted his head from the sidewalk. His vision blurred and faded to black.

(To Be Continued)

Posted in Fiction

The Golden Tree (Part II)

“Huh, we should be so lucky,” Ray whispered back.

“Charlie,” said Charlotte. “Why do you want this tree so bad? You know how stupid an idea it is to uproot a tree hundreds of years old and replant it? Seriously now, it would kill it.”

“A clipping would be just as nice,” responded Charlie.

“That won’t work either,” Charlotte rolled her eyes.

Charlie swung to turn and stopped himself, as a leaf hanging from the tree caught his attention. His right foot slid toward the tree, then his left foot followed. He continued with this slide step until he was close enough to grasp onto a leaf. His head tilted to the right as he studied the leaf.

“Should we stop him, Ray?” whispered Charlotte to her husband.

Ray massaged his chin with his thumb and forefinger, “I don’t know if it would do any good. He’s done been pulled right to it. I say let him go. Maybe he’ll come back, maybe he won’t,” Ray whispered back.

The golden leaf sparkled and twinkled in Charlie’s eyes. A yearning dug deep within his heart. He must….. His hand reached up, clasped on to the leaf, then his body from his hand to his feet shot into the leaf in one blink.

Charlotte walked over to the leaf that took Charlie and studied it. A smile played across her face.

“Well? Is he there?” asked Ray.

“Oh yeah. Face and everything.”

(To Be Continued)

Posted in Fiction

The Golden Tree (Part I)

The morning sun kissed the earth through scant clouds peppering the sky. The result was an amber lit morning. Catching the sun’s rays was a tree that grew golden hued leaves. The ambiance created magical imaginings one could never escape.

Charlotte finished stirring her coffee and strolled out onto the front porch. She stopped at the railing and hoisted herself up to a half sitting position gazing out onto the prairie beyond the three walnut trees bordering her and her husband’s farm. Her favorite was the golden tree. Maybe it was the golden leaves, or maybe it’s the life it appears to breathe when the breeze hits it just right. The sound of a car driving up the driveway broke her thoughts.

“Ray!” called Charlotte to her husband.

“What? I’m busy. Can’t it wait?”

“No. It’s Charlie. That so called friend of yours.”

“I’ll be right out. And we aren’t friends. Not no more at least.”

A moment later, her husband Ray stepped onto the front porch, put his hands in his pockets, and propped himself against one of the posts holding up the overhang at the top of the steps. He watched as Charlie sauntered up to the steps and stopped.

“Charlie, you can’t have the tree. It’s over two hundred years old. How would you get it out of the ground?” asked Ray.

“A cutting then, a slice, anything will do,” begged Charlie.

“Get out of here,” ordered Charlotte.

“Sh! Damn, would let me handle this?” commanded Ray to his wife.

She rolled her eyes and continued watching the exchange.

Turning back to Charlie, Ray said. “Go one, scoot. Get off my property. You can’t have the tree in any way shape or form.”

Instead of turning to go, Charlie turned in the direction of the tree and walked over to it. He reached out with one hand to touch it but held back, saying nothing.

Charlotte moved, stood next to her husband, and whispered. “Maybe we should let him touch it. That would get rid of him.”

(To Be Continued)