Monday musings for May
Do you peek in the over as yummy treats are baking? Here’s a peek at some new bestsellers in preparation by your favorite bestselling authors.
Fractured States of America
Leona smiled to a herself as she carried her lukewarm ersatz coffee mixed with non-dairy milk-like substance and one spoonful of synthetic sugar in one hand across the hotel’s ugly yet clean breakfast room. In the other hand, she balanced a plate with a tub of American yogurt and a slice of quickly cooling toast.
The only unoccupied table was mercifully beside the window. Of course, she thought as she sat in the uncomfortable chair. It’s tippy.
She unfolded her Quinto on the table in front of the yogurt and tapped the flexible screen to scan the day’s headlines. As always, a new dispute between the United States and the wannabe breakaway New American Confederated Republics. She swiped on to the local news in Regina. The civic election campaign. Public health officials complaining about government cutbacks. A landowner asking for help cleaning up an abandoned oil well. Provincial news: delays in building the electric monorail. An op-ed piece again criticizing the decision to route it north of Alberta before heading south again into British Columbia.
She swiped on. The President of Alberta, Alfred Butz, with another diplomatic foray to attempt to end the U.S. blockade of their pipeline to Texas. Leona shook her head. Alberta was swimming in oil, but with the pipelines blocked north, east and west by Canada and to the south by the U.S., its economy continued to implode.
Should never have seceded, she thought.
A beep in her ears signalled the arrival of a text message. Annoyed, she tapped the screen to switch the view to Messages. Of course, it was from her boss. She glanced at the time: office hours had not started yet.
She spooned up the last of her yogurt and touched Read.
Tasking: You need 2 go 2 Kansas City & oddit Try-Dent Transpo. Leave immediately.
Once Upon A [Hidden] Time
[Stolen] Series Book 4
“One cannot love with the eyes alone.” I heard a man speaking in French, his voice echoing in my paradise. “Whatcrime, then, have my eyes committed, if their glance but followsmy desire?”
I whipped my head, finding a man standing at a few paces away, flashing me a mysterious smile that may have been borrowed from the pages of one of the poems he just quoted. He looked fit, his black hose and doublet adhering to his physique like a silk pelt. A silver chain embedded with garnets was draped across his chest. I realised he was quoting Chrétien de Troyes words, a French poet who had died a few years ago. From his accent, I was unable to figure out if he was an Englishman or a Frenchman, but his French was very fluent.
I tried to read his mind but failed to reach his soul. Either it was too dark inside him that my powers failed, or there was too much light in him that it turned me blind. But for the first time, my powers doused.
“What is their fault and what their sin?” His impenetrable aquiline gaze rested on mine. “Ought I to blame them, then?”
We were shielded by the evening light and that despondent silence that brings strangers together, and I felt daring enough to say anything that came to my head, even though it might be for the last time. I stood up from the rock, chin high and answered back from Troyes’ words. “Who, then, should be blamed?”
He gave me a kind smile, rounding me, entrapping me in my own paradise. “Surely myself, who have them in control,” he answered, continuing Troyes’ words. To my surprise, he knelt down, his gaze never leaving mine. His grey eyes had the same colour as mine, but with depth that could drown me. “My eye glances at nothing unless it gives my heart delight.” He unsheathed his sword. I took a step back, preparing myself for the danger, but he laid the sword at my feet, holding onto my stare.
“Who are you?” I composed myself.
Fantasy in progress
His eyes slid closed and he clamped his lids tight to block out the sunlight filtering through the high boughs. Colors and patterns swam in his darkened vision. He scrutinized them until he found the one he wanted, then fixated on it, forcing the silhouette to hold its shape.
The silhouette of a wolf.
Its paws beat unseen ground as it ran in place in his field of perception, as though it craved to flee from him as he had fled Marita’s weeping body as life left it. But no matter how hard it tried, he held it. The effort tightened the sinews in his neck and his back pressed against rough tree bark; he ignored it, focusing his attention on the tiny, wispy form as it changed colors, struggled against his hold, and finally transformed.
It jerked, the running paws coming to a sudden stop. The imaginary beast straightened, rising on its hind legs like a grizzly threatening to attack. A wave of relief washed through Zero, for this wasn’t an act of aggression, but the next step in his unbecoming.