October Storytime Bloghop

Storytime Blog Hop October 25th, 2017

Welcome to the October edition of Storytime Bloghop. Enjoy my story below, then follow the links to other stories of participating authors in the blog hop.  Leave us comments.  We love hearing from you!

 

Unwelcome Visitors

I crept slowly, up the stairway, careful not to make a sound. At the top I saw the bedroom door, closed. That meant the others had returned; their brief hiatus too good to be true.

I tensed in frustration, contemplating my options. I wanted to confront the horrifying creatures – if that were possible – and demand they leave. I approached the door, determined, yet fear overwhelmed me and I raced to the basement.

I stayed below all night, pacing mostly, hoping, hoping, hoping they didn’t find me. What was I going to do?

The next day I had two visitors – Arden and Hudd. I don’t know how, but they knew about my visitors. And they confirmed the intruders were of another dimension. Another “world”, they called it. I didn’t understand, but whatever.

Hudd, full of energy, drew me in. I liked him immediately, but then who wouldn’t. “We’re so glad to meet you before you contacted them.”

I hated to admit that it was simply my lack of courage that kept me from confronting the pair.

Arden was clearly the leader – focused, serious. He had an intensity that frightened me. Maybe that was intentional. “We can’t emphasize enough how dangerous your situation is.”

“D-Dangerous?”

Hudd noticed my fear. “We don’t mean to frighten you, but we’ve seen thousands of situations similar to yours. We can help.”

They shared stories of others in circumstances similar to mine and how they helped. Then they told me of some who refused their help.

I believed I could trust them. “Will you help me?”

“The only thing we can do is find you a safe place to live.”

I looked at them, disappointed.

“How long have they been here?” Arden asked.

“They were here for a week or so then left. They’ve only been back for two days, I think.”

As I toured them around the house they told me more stories – painting a picture of an extensive ghost world that spanned the globe. As intriguing as their tales were, and as believable as they made them sound, I refused to heed their warning. Looking back, there was nothing they could have said to persuade me. I was determined to stay, in spite of the dangers and my cowardice.

****

The haunting began that night. It was the most frightening evening of my life. In spite of my fear I determined to fight for my home. They seemed determined; this was all out war.

First came swaying drapes and small objects being moved – countered by leaving the lights on all night. Next was an audible attack with creaking floors, the television turning on in the middle of the night, and unexplained door bell ringing. This was followed by an unsuccessful séance.

When the hauntings continued unhindered, a medium was brought in, just as Arden and Hudd had explained.

Long, woven hair and a flawless complexion, the young medium took immediate control. I watched with intrigue and curiosity.

“The incense is a special blend, and combined with the specially made candles, will draw the ghost in. My work is unique yet almost always successful.”

Almost always? Although bossy and with an air of superiority, her voice was smooth and I could have listened to her speak all day.

“Don’t bother me, no matter what happens this evening. Things may get bizarre, but I will be in total control. Don’t trust your eyes. This is a job that will take place across dimensions.”

Haven’t we already been crossing dimensions in this little squabble?

“Now, I must have complete silence from here on out.”

She ordered the lights off, which seemed counter productive to me. But what did I know; this was my first experience with a ghost “expert”.

She lit candles, sat with her legs crossed, eyes closed, and head tiled back so her face was parallel to the ceiling. She gaped her mouth wide every few seconds and hummed strange sounds. I wanted to ask if she wasn’t afraid the ghost might fly right into her open mouth.

She carried on for quite a while. The lack of results only caused her to intensify her efforts. Her chanting became louder. Her swaying more exaggerated. Her breathing heavier. I started to worry about her health. How could someone keep this up and not pass out?

Fascinated by the proceedings I edged closer, careful not to draw attention to myself.

I should have realized at that moment I was in trouble. Or the next when the sweet smell from her incense pierce my senses. I mean, I didn’t have a nose. How could I smell anything? Yet at the time that never occurred to me. I thought I was in control, oblivious to the fact I was in the process of being taken captive.

“I can feel your presence!”

I startled back at her scream, but no more than a foot. I paid her no attention. Instead, I watched the couple, huddled tightly together on the floor. They both cried and trembled and refused to open their eyes.

I felt…how do I explain it? Tired. Somewhere, deep within me I knew this was the end. The draw to death was much too strong for me to resist. I relaxed and submitted my will to that of the medium. She could do with me what she wanted.

The awesome smell grew and I felt a warmth I had never experienced. I felt wonderful, like all of my anxiety had burned away by candlelight. I loved this couple and was certain they would take good care of my house.

Everything faded. The medium, the couple, and the candles all blurred. All I could see now was Arden and Hudd, hovering over me. My imagination must have taken over. Or did they come to say good-bye? They had warned me that trying to scare the couple out of the house risked my life.

I felt a rush of wind. I floated upward, through the ceiling, the roof – flew over houses and streets and traffic. At first the ride was thrilling, but as my senses strengthened I panicked.

Arden and Hudd lead the way. I had several other ghosts surrounding me, carrying me. I was helpless. We dove through a bus, through the ground, and into a dark cave before we came to a rest.

As I looked at my rescuers, reality sunk in. Arden and Hudd and their friends had saved my life.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my story!

If you enjoyed Unwelome Visitors, please sign up for my mailing list. My next book, Earth, is coming out in November.

Read more stories by selecting the links below. These are fellow writers and friends of mine from all over the world!

 

A Writer’s Morning, by Katharina Gerlach
Unverified, by Erica Damon
Tito’s to the Max, by Chris Makowski
The Boon, by Juneta Key
Recommended Reading, by Raven O’Fiernan
Sanctuary, by Elizabeth McCleary
Till Death Us, by Fanni Sütő
The Cloud, by Karen Lynn
Data Corruption, by Barbara Lund
Wish Granted, by Kami Bataya
The Witch of Wall Street, by J. Q. Rose
Grim Reapers on a Field Trip, by J Lenni Dorner

Posted in Blog Hop, Stories | 15 Comments

Hodgepodge of Poetry

Hodgepodge of Poetry by [Bush, Bill]

This book is a collection of all the poems I have written. At least those I still have copies of.

I haven’t written much poetry. Most of what you’ll find was done in waves – I wrote for a few months or year or two then didn’t write any more for years or decades more. I think it’s because I have a hard time connecting with my emotions, and poetry is all about expressing your emotions.

Some of my poems were written from the logical side of my brain. I enjoy expressing thoughts and trying to come up with rhymes. Many of my poems were written at times in my life where my emotions were so strong they seeped out in spite of myself. I wish I could connect with my emotions on that level more often, but that ability has mostly eluded me. I keep thinking that some day I will get there. Years creep by without success.

At the beginning of each poem I documented the date and reason I wrote the poem the best I could remember.

I have put these together for one reason – I wanted to make them available for my children – Sydney and Blake. I think the poems will provide insight into who am I. Oh, I don’t expect them to read the poems for many years. Probably not until long after I’m gone. That’s okay – the poems are accessible when they are ready for them.

For anyone else who chooses to read them:  I have a little of everything. Serious, funny, insightful, goofy. I’ve never claimed to be a poet. Never will. I do enjoy rhyming words on occasion to express a thought or feeling. Well, mostly a thought.

I don’t expect anyone to enjoy all of these. Honestly, I don’t enjoy them all. But I wrote them all and they each tell a little bit about me. So don’t expect to find more than a handful you like and want to read a second time.

Now that I have you hooked 🙂 – enjoy!

 

Hodgepodge of Poetry may be purchased here:

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I Wish I Was Happy

I wish I was happy.

In truth I don’t have a good reason to be unhappy.

I have two wonderful children who have done nothing but make me proud. I have a job that provides me financial security. I am in good health, have a hobby I am passionate about, and live in a wonderful community.

And yet, I am genuinely unhappy.

I wouldn’t define it simply as sadness. It’s more of a sense of anxiety.

I feel like I’m going through life surrounded by a large wall.

Admittedly, today is a day that ranks on the bottom of the happy scale. I have waves of emotion like this on occasion, sometimes lasting a day or a few weeks. The only time I have felt worse is when experiencing tragedy like my mom’s death or my divorce.

But even on good days I wouldn’t say that I feel happy.

I trudge through each day accomplishing what I’ve determined to get done, pushing myself through the burdensome emotions to chase my dreams – dreams which even in their fantastical images in my mind don’t make me happy, but drive me forward toward a sense of accomplishment and success, but never to satisfaction or pleasure.

I have good moments. Not ever day, but I occasionally have moments of laughter. A funny show will tickle me. My goofy son with his incredible sense of humor often says something to make me laugh. Going for a run helps remove the dark cloud and provides hope. Watching my son and daughter interact fills me with joy. Attending church or watching a sermon online inspires me.

But these wonderful feelings are temporary, scurrying away the first chance they get.

Maybe that’s the way life is supposed to be. I kind of think so.

Don’t worry – I’m not suicidal. Never have been.

I live life in my head and not my heart. Maybe that’s why I’ve never given serious thought to suicide. Maybe it’s also my happiness problem.

I have large, specific, long-term goals for my life. My goals drive me, focus me, and guide me. I don’t know if the urgency to accomplish my goals stems from a longing to be happy or a deep-seeded sense of purpose I hope to capture through success. Either way, chasing my goals means sacrificing personal time and pleasure. I gladly do it in pursuit of a perceived larger prize at the end.

I know, I’m daily sabotaging opportunities to be happy to chase after the allusive happiness I’ll never catch up to. Catch twenty-two. Fair point.

I’ll tell you, though, I’ve lived long enough to know chasing happiness is a futile, and at best temporary, pursuit. I’d rather invest my life than chase happiness for happiness’ sake.

I may have life all backwards.

Or I may understand what few are willing to accept – happiness is not the end goal.

 

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Aunt Kathy

My aunt is dying of cancer.

The doctors gave her one to two weeks. She’s losing strength and will die any day.

I saw her a month ago, in the hospital. Her spirit and fight remained strong.

At the time it was just another ICU stint for her, like all the other times she had spent a few days in the hospital.

Four years ago Kathy was diagnosed with stage four cancer. She was fifty-five years old. She fought it into remission enough to resume her teaching position. Unfortunately, the cancer continued to persist and her weakened body forced her to retire from a job she loved; from her life’s calling.

She’s been in and out of the hospital for various ailments, all cancer or cancer treatment related. Each time we feared it was the end, but each time Kathy rose to conquer her enemy. She did one final time a month ago.

That was her last, short-lived victory. She returned to the hospital a week ago, where the doctors pronounced the nearing end. She was moved to her son’s house yesterday, to live out what few days remained with her family.

She has accepted her fate and is ready for the end of this life. Her hope isn’t in a miraculous recovery but in meeting her Savior. And her sister. My mom passed away eight years ago. They will be reunited soon.

Kathy is only nine years older than me. We took family vacations together and I’ve spent thousands of miles in a car with her.

She lived with my mom, sister, and I for three years when I was a teenager and she was at her first teaching job. I helped her grade papers, watched her and her husband court before she got married and moved out.

The only high school activity of mine Mom ever missed was to be with Kathy when she gave birth to her firstborn. That was also the only birthday of mine she ever missed.

One of my fondest memories is of Kathy, my mom, and their sister Rhonda (there are eight siblings in all). They would sit on the living room floor, eat popcorn, peanut M&Ms, and drink Pepsi while writing stories together. They called themselves the Roth Writers (Roth was their maiden name) and mailed their stories to publishers and television scripts to the Osmonds. I don’t think I’ve ever seen three people have as much fun as they did.

This may be morbid, but her impending death makes me feel close to Mom. Any day now Kathy will be with her, which Makes Mom seem like she’s almost within reach. I suppose I am even a little jealous of Kathy. I long for the connection to my mom broken eight years ago. With Kathy, I’m so, so close.

I fought the urge today to drive to Kansas City to ask my aunt to tell Mom I said ‘hi’. I chose to let her children have these last days with her in peace without me barging in to demand Kathy be my personal messenger. I don’t know that it’s possible to send messages in that manner, but it might be. What I do know is that Kathy will give Mom a full report on her grandkids. That will make Mom smile. And that’s enough for me.

Although she’s dying much too young, my Aunt Kathy got a rare gift. She realized a year ago her time was short and she lived her final her year to it’s fullest and without regret. Seeing her fight against cancer and her approaching death I have recognized my Aunt Kathy is the strongest person I’ve ever known.

I hope one day my death touches someone’s life the way Kathy’s has touched mine.

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Book Locations

I’ve had numerous inquiries as to where my books can be purchased. I’ll try to keep this list current.

Halstead
Tortoise Gallery
MB Studio

Newton – Faith and Life Bookstore

McPherson – The Bookshelf

Online
Amazon

Read for Free
Halstead Public Library
Newton Public Library

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Our Drive Home from Colorado

It was fifty-four degrees and mostly sunny when Sydney and I arrived in Limon, Colorado on Sunday, April 30, returning to Kansas from a writer’s conference in Colorado Springs. I had just passed the convenient store (even though I strongly needed a pit stop) because Sydney had just laid her head to the side and closed her eyes.

I was confused when I saw the flashing sign that said I-70 was closed. As I pulled onto the shoulder of the off-ramp with a dozen other cars I woke Sydney because I needed a map and my flip phone wasn’t up to the task.

Assuming I-70 was closed due to the high winds we found another east/west road and proceeded south.

By the time we stopped at Eads, Colorado to eat we had learned that western Kansas had received up to eighteen inches of snow. Although we didn’t have any reason to doubt our source, it was hard to believe there were traveling issues when we continued to drive with mostly clear skies and an occasional snow drift.

During our stop we heard highway ninety-six was reopened. Um, okay, maybe there is more going on than we realize. Further south, highway fifty remained closed. It was time to turn east.

Yes, it had snowed in Colorado Springs the previous day. But the roads were fine and there was barely any snow remaining. So at this point we still didn’t grasp the severity of the snow that blanketed western Kansas and stood between us and home.

As the sun set behind us and we entered Kansas (yes, it was almost that dramatic at the state border) reality began to take shape. It seemed like we passed across an invisible barrier that kept the cold and snow inside the Wheat state’s borders.

At one point the temperature dropped ten degrees almost instantly. Our speed was slowed to a crawl and we saw cars and semis stranded in deep snow drifts in the ditches. We wondered what we had gotten ourselves into.

Flashing lights and ten-foot high snow banks were the only indication we had entered a town. We learned from the officer that the electricity of Leoti had been off for over ten hours, the motel was full, and he thought one of the churches was opening up to provide shelter for stranded travelers. Oh, and they were stopping vehicles because the road ahead was down to one lane. As we tried to get across the highway to the motel parking lot to wait the Camry got stuck. Five guys and a tow freed us. In spite of the officer’s warning, several vehicles that had been stuck behind us drove ahead toward Scott City. We decided the roads couldn’t get much worse than they were in Leoti so we followed.

We continued to see cars in the ditch as we slipped and slid and watched the car in front of us do the same. We called ahead and found out that both Scott City and Dighton had motels that were full and churches opening up for those in need.

At the convenient store in Scott City we asked other travelers (including the ones who had been sliding in front of us) if they knew how the road were ahead. The consensus was that the road east was improved over what lay behind so we gassed up and continued on.

The roads improved between Dighton and Ness City but a light drizzle began to hit the windshield. It was well past midnight so we decided to stop.

The motel wasn’t anything to write home about. Well, okay, maybe it was, but not in a good way. An empty pool in the middle of the lobby without barriers, a bathroom door that took both Sydney and I to open, and a room that had seen better days are certainly stories that can be shared.

After a few hours of sleep we loaded up (neither of us brave enough to shower) and finished our journey with clear skies and a dry road.
I dropped Sydney off at Sterling College by eleven and I arrived home by noon – a mere twelve hours and one long adventure later than expected.

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April Storytime Bloghop

Storytime Blog Hop January 25th, 2017

Welcome to another chapter in Storytime Blog Hop. We have new short speculative fiction tales from authors around the world.  My contribution below.  Follow the links to all the other stories and participating authors in the blog hop.  Leave us comments.  We love hearing from you!

Flipper’s Pick-Up Lines

“Are you sure about this?”

Flipper had used one of his best pick-up lines yesterday on his crush, Neva. He believed it went well – she had giggled and touched his arm – but Neva still liked Josh. Since Josh didn’t feel the same way about Neva, Allison talked him into telling Neva so she could stop thinking about him, which might give Flipper a chance. At first Josh didn’t want to talk to Neva, but Allison was persistent and he relented, mostly because Flipper was his best friend. She went with Josh for that conversation and now she was going with Flipper to help him talk to Neva.

“I know it went well last time but I’m still scared.” Flipper shook his arms nervously.

“Just be yourself,” Allison said.

“What if I don’t know what to say?” Flipper asked a little panicky.

“If you’re stuck just ask her a question. Everyone likes to talk about themselves. Here she comes.”

Neva smiled. “Hi Allison. Hi Flipper.”

“Hi Neva!” Allison elbowed Flipper when he didn’t respond.

“Um, um, did it hurt?”

“What?” Neva asked, confused.

“When you fell out of heaven?”

Neva giggled.

Allison elbowed Flipper again. What was he thinking? When neither of them said anything for several seconds, Allison asked, “Are you going to the game tomorrow night?”

Neva nodded. “I want to if my dad will let me.”

“Is your dad an alien?” Flipper chimed in.

There were a few moments of awkward silence.

Neva hesitantly said, “No. Why?”

Flipper quietly answered, “Because there’s nothing else like you on Earth.”

Neva giggled again and Allison swore she was blushing.

Flipper seemed to be gaining confidence. “Are you a magician?”

Neva smiled. She was hanging on Flipper’s every word. “No, why?”

“Because every time I look at you everyone else disappears.”

There was no doubt now, Neva’s cheeks were red. Her giggles turned into laughter.

“Were your parents thieves?”

Neva shook her head.

“They must be because someone stole the stars from the sky and put them in your eyes. Do you have a map?”

Neva was laughing too hard to answer, which didn’t slow Flipper down at all.

“I need one because I keep getting lost in your eyes.”

Allison couldn’t stand to watch any more. She loudly cleared her throat. “Flipper can I see you a minute.” She pulled on his arm and they walked several feet away from the hysterical Neva.

Allison whispered, “What are you doing?”

Flipper shrugged his shoulders. “You told me if I didn’t know what to say to ask her questions.”

“I meant ask her questions about her and what she’s interested in. I didn’t mean bombard her with lousy pick-up lines.”

“Hey!” Flipper protested. “These are some of my best lines.”

Allison sighed. “That’s all you’ve said to her.”

“I can’t help it. I open my mouth to ask a question and the only thing that comes out are pick-up lines.” Flipper grinned. “Well, she’s getting to know the real me.”

 

“I tell you what,” Allison continued to whisper so Neva couldn’t hear. “I’ll start the topics and you follow my lead.”

Flipper agreed.

They rejoined Neva.

Allison apologized. “Sorry about that. We were just talking about how we were looking forward to fall and the cooler weather.”

That was his cue. Flipper searched for what to say. “Yeah, it’s hot, Neva. You’re hot. I mean, you’re hotter than the bottom of my laptop.”

Neva giggled so Flipper continued. “Did the sun come out or did you just smile at me?”

Neva melted. “Ahh!”

Allison shook her head in disbelief. She tried to change the subject again. “Do you go to church?”

Neva nodded. “I go with my parents to Grace Community Church.”

Allison looked at him in anticipation. Flipper met her eyes. His eyes were watering. He realized he was holding his breath and exhaled deeply. Allison adamantly shook her head. She was going to kill him but he couldn’t resist. “Somebody better call God because he’s missing an angel.”

He slowly walked around Neva without taking his eyes off of her. When he completed the circle he said, “Where do you hide your wings?”

He was positive she snorted when she laughed. He could feel Allison’s ire, but he couldn’t stop. He didn’t know what else to say and his mouth just seemed to have taken over.

“What time do you have to be back to heaven?

Neva laughed even harder.

“When God made you he was showing off.”

Neva was laughing so hard her face was red and she wasn’t breathing. She removed her glasses and wiped her eyes.

“Your eyes are blue like the ocean. And baby, I’m lost at sea!”

“Oh, good grief,” he heard Allison mumble before she walked off.

 

After dinner that evening Flipper met Allison at Josh’s house to talk about his encounter with Neva.

“How did it go?” Josh eagerly asked.

“It was horrible to watch.”

“I tried to act normal, I really did! But every time I opened my mouth one of my pick-up lines came out. It seemed like once I started I couldn’t stop. That’s all I could remember.”

“It was that bad, huh?” Josh asked.

“Actually, she really thought it was cute,” Flipper said. “In fact, she was flattered that I liked her.”

“I hear a but coming,” Josh interjected.

“We agreed just to be friends.”

“I’m sorry,” Allison consoled. “Are you okay?”

Flipper smiled. “Actually, I’m relieved. It was a lot of pressure trying to impress Neva.”

Josh shook his head. “Gosh, you worked so hard to memorize all of those pick-up lines. I thought surely one of them would work.”

“Actually, one of them did.”

Josh scrunched his head and Allison wore a puzzled look. “What do you mean?” she asked.

“Before we agreed to be just friends,” Flipper explained. “She responded positively to my final pick-up line.”

“Which one was that?” Josh asked.

Flipper’s cheeks turned red. “Your lips look so lonely…Would they like to meet mine?”

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I hope you enjoyed!

If you enjoyed Flipper’s Pick-up Lines check out my newest books, Vetrix and Before Vetrix, for more adventures with Flipper, Allison, and Josh.

Read more stories by selecting the links below. These are fellow writers and friends of mine.

 

The Scorpius Gate by Sandra Fikes
V is for Vortex by Elizabeth McCleary
Deep Dive by Juneta Key
Bugs by Gina Fabio
Secret by J. Q. Rose
Journal of Anah by J Lenni Dorner
The Vineyard at Mar Mozambique by Karen Lynn
Stealing Space by Barbara Lund
The Day I was Clever by Katharina Gerlach
Never kid a kidder by Angela Wooldridge
The Color Of… by Chris Makowski
Nightmare by Erica Damon

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Upcoming Appearances

Here are my coming speaking engagements:

Thursday, April 27, 7:50-8:20 a.m. – Halstead Middle School assembly, grades 4-6

Saturday, May 6, 6-8 p.m. – Book signing with Bob Lutz, Sips Coffee, 225 Main St, Halstead, Ks

Saturday, May 27, all day, Yates Center Days – Will have a booth set up with books for sale by Blake and Bill Bush and by Phyllis Roth Lewis. Courthouse lawn, Yates Center, Ks

Monday, June 19, 7-8 P.M – Book signing with N. Jade Gray at Newton Public Library, 720 N Oak, Newton, Ks

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Front Page of the Newton Kansan!

My son Blake and I made the front page of the Newton Kansan in anticipation of our first book signing.

Thanks go to Patricia Middleton for writing a wonderful story!

Read the Story here

 

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Vetrix

Vetrix (Flipper Book 1) by [Bush, Bill, Bush, Blake]

Two alien species. One threat to Earth.
But who is the real threat and who can be trusted?

Twelve-year-old Flipper didn’t believe in aliens – until he was kidnapped by one.

When he wakes up one morning on the planet Vetrix he is trapped in the midst of an inter-planetary war. As Flipper struggles to survive and find a way back to Earth he discovers he may be a descendent of one of the warring species and that his intervening in the war may be his destiny, if destiny is decided by a computer program.

On Earth, Allison begins having dreams that turn out to be real experiences. When she watches a purple man disappear with her cousin, Flipper, no one believes her. Allison’s best friend Josh agrees to help and together the two sixth-graders begin their own investigation that leads them to the truth behind the Roswell Incident of 1947 and current alien activity on Earth.

As they try to gure out how to expose the secret colony of aliens and their plans to destroy the human race, Allison attempts to use her dreams to locate and rescue Flipper.

 

Vetrix may be purchased here:

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