Come Alive (34.4.5)

come alive magma art-1.2

Three pieces of music today, a triptych of the soul. Nourishment, like a gentle rain. I Never Thought I’d Live To Be A HundredI Never Thought I’d Live To Be A Million, and finally, Watching and Waiting, which takes us right up to the edge.

.A short bit today.

Chapter 34.4.5

They made it through the line with plenty of time to spare; Dina’s eyes kept darting about like a cornered animals, and the closer they got to the boarding area the more they darted – yet by the time they stepped into the front row of the little boat she could hardly breathe…

“Dina?” Tracy asked. “Are you alright?”

Dina shook her head. “Something’s not right. Something is going to happen.”

“Grandma-ma? What do you mean?”

“Can’t you feel it?” Dina hissed. “Like a black place…gravity is pulling and stretching us…” she just managed to say as she began weeping. “Time blowing up all around us…slipping away…we’re slipping away…like the wind, the wind all around us…” she said as the little boat took off into the twilit bayou – with moss draped trees on one side and a restaurant full of happy revelers on the other…and they drifted along, on the threshold of forever, just before they fell into a maelstrom of dancing fireflies lost inside the wind…

“What the hell is going on?” Tracy cried. “There’s something going on alright, and something is most definitely not right…” she whispered as their little boat began falling away through windblown fireflies into complete darkness…

Then in an instant the sensation of speed, of an immense stretch of time passing in the blink of an eye, inflated as new, discordant feelings grew beyond gut-wrenching – but by that point Dina had been screaming for hours.


He was aware of them, of course. How the chill waters of the Pacific grew warm as they surrounded him. How, with his head just out of the water, their huge black faces seemed to tower over his own. Yet – he was just barely aware of their presence – as music seemed to be flooding through the fabric of the universe – pushing everything else aside. A strange piece, classical, almost a dirge, and as he bobbed on the waves he felt an endless sorrow unfolding around them all – this pod of orcas and himself.

Then…a new feeling, and this latest impression was unmistakable…that the music was coming from…his orca…this new friend of his.

The orca came close and leaned-in to meet Henry halfway, and instinctively Henry turned to meet his friend. He placed the side of his face on the orca’s, right beside the whale’s huge brown eye, and the music exploded – literally exploded into his mind.

Then the visions came. Of strangers. Of people he had never known. Yet. 

‘How do I know that?’ he asked the orca.

‘Listen. See with your heart.’

Then he saw Edith with two men, men he must’ve known once, or would know someday.

And then that music again…the dirge…surrounding him, filling his soul with despair.

Then another explosion of light.

A boy. The eyes of a child. Seeing the world again, through the eyes of a child…

Sitting between two women? ‘Why? Do I know them? Is that his mother? His grandmother? Who are these people?’

Then the orca pulled away, contact broken. Images like sand falling to the bottom of an hourglass, because his life was passing too quickly now, the last sands slipping through his fingers. 

He opened his eyes and looked around.

The orcas were gone. Nowhere to be seen.

But the boat was gone, too. Rupert. Pete. All of them. Everything gone.

Then…another orca. A female. Very old, almost ancient.

A grandmother. The real leader of the pod.

She came up to him and looked him in the eye.

Understanding. Empathy. 

No…that’s sympathy I see, isn’t it? 

“Why do you feel sorry for me?” he asked.

She leaned close, her meaning clear. He leaned into her.

“Come with me. It is time.”

“Time? What do you mean?”

“Your time. It is at an end. Come with me.”

She moved away and began to swim off, then he saw she was turning, circling him, waiting for him to join her, but only when he was ready. 

Henry Taggart went to her, he reached out to her, and when he had hold of her she started down into the darkness.

‘This is so easy,’ he thought as his mind gave up on the idea of taking another breath.

Pinpricks. Like starshine on his naked soul. Pinpricks and light. Cold light. Light wiping away the darkness. Then that vision again, of the boy with two women by his side.

And music. 

‘I know that music,’ Henry Taggart sighed. ‘How many times was I there? Yo-ho, yo-ho…’

He thought he felt Edith just before he felt Claire standing there inside the blinding light – and now she was like the wind, the wind with her arms all around him.

Come Alive is at an end, and I hope you have enjoyed the trip. In the not too distant future look for a coda, and look to The Eighty-Eighth Key for all your unanswered questions. This work © 2020-21 adrian leverkühn | abw | this was a work of fiction, pure and simple. All music herein quoted under the Creative Commons, including lines from Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me) © 1967 by the Walt Disney Music Co. Ltd., music by George Bruns, lyrics by Xavier Atencio.

One last piece, one last fragment of music to carry you on your way. Hope you enjoy.




Come Alive (34.4.4)

Come Alive Sirens art

Oh so close! I thought I could wrap the story up with this bit, but we’re not there yet. So sorry! Still, a little music might help see you on your way.

Chapter 34.4.4

He was holding onto the orca’s dorsal fin now, trying to streamline his body as they sliced through the sea, but seemingly within minutes they were in the debris field, surrounded by thrashing bodies and shredded tatters of sail. They surfaced next to a pale girl in a yellow jacket and Henry reached for her; too stunned to comprehend the sight of a man riding a killer whale, she grabbed his hand and they turned to the next closest human.

And then he noticed that his orca’s pod was with them, too. And that without being told a thing all the other orcas were swimming up to the humans in the sea and offering their dorsals. Too stunned to know what else to do, the drowning sailors clung to the whales while Henry’s orca appeared to orchestrate the pod’s movements, and when Rupert drove the Swan into the scene, everyone – in the sea and on the Swan – seemed to realize what was going on out there in this dark madness.

“Don’t just stand there, goddammit!” Henry screamed to the people on deck. “Get back to the swim platform and start getting people out of the water!”

There were eleven humans in all, but with their help it didn’t take all that long to get everyone safe and situated. Soon all the survivors of the doomed boat were below, drying off and being fed warm soup, while Henry returned to the cockpit. A friend of Ruperts along for the race, a retired emergency room physician, started IVs on the sickest, while Pete made contact with the Coast Guard and informed them that there there were eleven survivors aboard and everyone was accounted for. The Coast Guard advised that a cutter was outbound from Pearl Harbor to take the survivors from them, and to keep them updated with position fixes.

“You wanna tell me what the fuck just happened out there?” Rupert said as he handed Henry an oversized beach towel to wrap himself in.

“If I knew, Amigo, I’d be happy to tell you.”

“Henry? Has that whale been following us?”


“For how long?”

“Since we left The Empress, I think.”

“Henry…this is insane…”

“Like you’re telling me something I don’t already know, Rupert? Look, you tell me what the fuck’s going on, ‘cause really, man, I got no clue!”

“But Henry! You dove in like you knew exactly what you were doing!”

Henry looked down at the wheel, then he looked back into the sea, into the orca’s eyes. “It was you, wasn’t it?” he said quietly a moment later. “You were telling me what to do, weren’t you? Just like you were telling all the other members of your pod…”

“Henry? Do you know what you’re saying?”

But Henry wasn’t listening now. His eyes were locked on the orca’s – and Rupert thought it looked just like they were communing again – until Henry threw off his towel and dove back into the sea. 

Only now it didn’t take long before everyone on deck was standing at the rails, gaping in disbelief – and then all the sailors on the Swan gathered and watched a pod of killer whales surround their friend in the sea, at least until they saw what happened next. 


As he settled into the little boat-like ride, and now with Edith by his side and Mike just climbing in, the incessantly playing music kept rattling through Anton’s mind –

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.

We pillage and plunder, we rifle and loot.

Stand up me hearties, yo ho.

Sitting in the front row of the little boat, the ride launched them into a twilit bayou, with fireflies dancing among drooping Spanish moss off to their left and a restaurant to their right, and yet still the music played –

We kidnap and ravage and don’t give a hoot.

Stand up me hearties, yo ho.

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.

Then they were plunging down a darkened chute, water roaring all around them – until they were adrift once again, floating through another world…


Rolf looked at the envelope once again; it was tucked inside the front cover of the three-ringed binder Henry had left on his bunk, and it was marked “do not open until noon on 28 December” in handwriting that was clearly NOT Henry’s.

Only – now it was time.

“Granma-ma? Tracy? Could you come here please?” he called out, and when they had joined him he showed them the envelope, and read aloud the instructions as well, taking time to note that the handwriting on the envelope was not, as best he could remember, Henry’s.

“Well? Go ahead. Open it,” his grandmother sighed, now even more exasperated with Henry Taggart’s never-ending and nonsensical dramas…

Rolf pulled the envelope free of the binder and opened it.

There was a letter inside. Typed. And three passes – to Disneyland Paris – but Rolf handed these to Tracy while he started reading the letter aloud.

“Hi all,” the writer of this missive began, “sorry to drag you out of the boat on such a warm winter’s day, but I need you to head out to Disneyland now, and make sure you board the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at exactly six this evening. Thanks, Henry.”

“What?” Dina cried. “Are you kidding me, Rolf?”

But Rolf shook his head as he passed over the letter, and as she yanked the paper from his hand Tracy held up the three Annual Passes and read aloud “Disneyland Paris, Pass Begins on Date Indicated Below.” And there at the bottom of the ticket was the date: 28.12.24. She scanned the ticket for more clues and found the tickets had been purchased more than a month ago by one Taggart, H. at the concierge desk inside the Hotel Crillon, and right away she knew Henry was behind all this.

“It’s legit,” she said as she read off the last four digits of the credit card he’d used. “He bought the passes almost a month ago, too.”

“Alright,” Rolf said, “let’s get our coats and go.”

“You do so if you want, but I’ll not be joining you,” Dina hissed.

“There are three passes, Granma-ma. Henry wanted all of us to go or else he wouldn’t have…”

“And I don’t give a damn what Henry Taggart wants – or wanted! I’m done with all his endless games, and so I’ll be flying back to Bergen tonight.”

Tracy clinched her jaw and ground her teeth, and after both Dina and Rolf took note of the change that had come over her, Dina backed away a little.

“Actually,” Tracy growled, “you’re coming with us right now. Grab a coat if you like, but we’re leaving now; you can get back on your fucking broomstick and go wherever the hell you like after we get back…”


The orcas surrounded Henry, forming a perfect circle around him while he tread water in the space between them, in the center of this new circle…


 They were sitting in some kind of Captain Jack Sparrow themed restaurant, spooning little mouthfuls of fish soup while they looked at people floating by on this peculiarly French version of Pirates of the Caribbean. Rolf looked at his phone and saw they still had almost a half hour before they needed to board the ride, but already he was a little excited about the ride, because, he hated to admit, he’d always wanted to come here. Still, his mother had told him a gazillion times that they just didn’t have enough money for a trip like this.

Yet, now, here he was. But while he had some vague idea where his mother was, she was so inaccessible now as to be…what? Gone. Like Henry, perhaps? Now dead and gone? Because if she really was living fifteen million years in the future…

“I detest this music,” Dina groused. “Over and over…yo-ho, yo-ho, a pirates life for me. How nauseatingly American! Such mindless barbarism masquerading as hedonistic materialism!”

Tracy shook her head. “Gee. Ever here of just cutting loose and having a little fun with your grandson, Dina? Or is that simply beneath you?”

Yet Dina ignored the question and turned to Rolf. “What about you? Have you ever wanted to come here?”

“Only all my life!”

“What? Why on earth…?”

“Because, Granma-ma, this is a playground of the imagination, and I grew up with these movies. This place is very special to me…”

“And that,” Tracy added, “is why we’re here, Dina. But I can understand why you’d be upset that a total stranger knew more about your grandson than you do…”

“Do you know what is worse?” Rolf asked. “Listening to you two bickering at one another. God! Look around you! Let your mind run free for a while but please, please, let go of all this hate for just one stinking, miserable minute!”

Then Rolf threw back his chair and walked away.

“Nicely said,” Tracy muttered.

“I had no idea…” Dina sighed, wiping away a tear – but she caught herself and sat upright as she sucked in a deep breath. “For his sake, we must find a truce between us,” Dina added, her voice just barely above a whisper.

“Oh really? Why?”

“You are insufferable, you do know that, don’t you?”

“Listen close, Dina. I don’t know why you’re here, other than to get some work done on Rolf’s boats while we’re away…”

“Away? Away? What does this even mean, this away? First there is this vanishing priest, then all these mysteries surrounding my daughter and that other girl…”

“You can’t even say her name, can you? Henry loved her and yet you can’t even…”

But Dina broke out in laughter. “Oh, you poor fool! Haven’t you figured out yet that our dear Henry loved absolutely everyone? – but that when you love everyone, you in effect love no one at all?”

Tracy sat back and sighed, now more than angry. “You were with him, what? Five months, or was it six? And in that time, in all that vast amount of time,” she continued, her voice suddenly dripping with overwrought sarcasm, “you never once saw past your own worldview. Your own take on love. You never once, Dina, saw into Henry’s heart, saw just how much love was waiting in there, just waiting to reach out. Waiting – maybe even for you. For you to reach out and embrace what he had to offer?”

Dina nodded. “And what did he have to offer us, Tracy? Nothing more than an illusion, just like this place…all an illusion. Worse, really; his love was more like a delusion, a blind alley…a place that felt oh so comfortable until you discovered that his love was leading us nowhere…”

“Love is love, Dina. Love doesn’t take you places, it won’t lead you to bliss or nirvana. Love simply allows us to find what is locked away in our own hearts, and then, and maybe only then, can we share our gifts with others.”

“You speak the language of delusions, Tracy.”

“I speak the language of empathy, Dina. A language you know nothing about.”

“Maybe that’s why he was attracted to you.”

“God, I hope so.”

Rolf walked up to the table, his hands stuffed inside his coat pockets. “I have paid the bill. It is time. We must go get in the line to be there at the correct time.”

Dina growled then, her patience at an end. “That infernal music! Won’t someone please make it stop?!”

© 2020-21 adrian leverkühn | abw | this is a work of fiction, pure and simple; the next element will drop as soon as the muse cooperates. Bits of music quoted under the Creative Commons: Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me) © 1967 by the Walt Disney Music Co. Ltd., music by George Bruns, lyrics by Xavier Atencio. The original work can be heard here.

Come Alive (34.4.3)

Come Alive Sirens art

Okay, so if you missed it there was a major addition to the flow, and if you haven’t already, head back to the previous chapter (34.4.1 & 34.4.2) to get caught up. Again, sorry for the snafu.

And a little music to lead the way through this very short snippet.

Chapter 34.4.3

The wind tore into the Swan, pushing her bow to port despite Henry’s trying to keep her dead into the wind. Yet even as she fell off the wind he began to feel her rolling – and he saw that sudden, all-consuming panic in Rupert’s eyes. He ignored all fear now as he looked at the apparent wind speed gauge – which was pegged at 110 knots, the maximum the gauge could display, and his intuition said to turn back into the wind, yet he knew that as the boat rolled the rudder would become less and less effective, so he turned to port, hard to the left, and the Swan began to settle down on her lines again – and to pick up boat speed, too.

Fifteen seconds later the wind speed dropped to 30 knots, then to 25, and he pinched up as best he could, turning back to their baseline course – and into a very confused sea…

…the he saw the other boat, still about a half mile away…

Her keel had snapped off and she was sinking, her crew was flailing in the water surrounded by debris.

It was against race rules to use the engine for anything but battery charging, but right now the rules didn’t matter. He reached for the ignition switch and preheated the engine, then hit the starter.

“Henry!” Rupert cried. “What the hell are you doing!”

“Pete!” Henry called out, ignoring Rupert. “Get on the SSB and put out a Mayday, advise we are coming to the aid of a sinking vessel and that their are people in the water!”

“Got it, Hank.”

“Sheesh. Test pilots. Nothing seems to excite them,” Henry muttered. “Rupert, stand-by the Life-Slings and get somebody on the bow to point out people in the water.”


He waited for the engine to warm a little then pushed it to the redline, but even so he guesstimated it would take the Swan about 20 minutes to get to the debris field…and to all the people there.

“Rupert! Get the main up, one reef, and the high-clewed yankee…get that up too…!”

“Got it! Come on, people! Let’s MOVE!”

Henry saw the other boat’s hull slip under the waves and he checked his boat speed against the ten foot waves she was powering through, and he immediately realized it was gonna be a close thing…probably too close.

Then he saw a tall black dorsal fin slicing through the water, and then the eye of his friend looking up at him from the sea right beneath the cockpit.

“Rupert! Get back here and take the wheel!” Henry called out to the foredeck – just before he set the autopilot and jumped into the sea…


Edith met them in the lobby of the Grand Californian and they walked directly into the park from the hotel, then she took them over to the 33 Club for lunch – Monte Cristo sandwiches and mint juleps were the order of the day – and Mike was astonished by the change that had come over this fire-breathing hell-bitch. Unabashedly genteel and genuinely helpful now, she now apparently wanted nothing more than to see to it that Anton had the time of his life.

And Anton, for his part, was more than happy to go right along for the ride.

It hadn’t even been four months since he’d been piloting a Sukhoi over the North Sea, locked in mortal combat with an American F-15…and then, in an instant…his entire world had disappeared…vanishing inside the heartbeat of the last world war the earth would ever know.

Then he’d been drifting towards the sea, a little boat fleeing Rotterdam below his dangling feet, then a surreal rescue by Henry Taggart – and that whale of his.

And now here he was, inside one of the most exclusive reserves of the American über-wealthy, with a most attractive American female while enjoying food that had heretofore been something beyond his wildest imaginings. And because of Henry Taggart, he was himself now more than a little wealthy, too.

“What strange world,” Anton sighed as his mind roamed.

“Oh?” Edith said. “How so?”

“I think of Genry. How he save me with whale, how whale was friend. And now here with most amazing beautiful American girl, in place where grandchildren dream of come – of coming to. I am sad, but happy also. Sad for grandchildren. All the grandchildren who never know this place. Happy see this with own eyes so tell when see in heaven.”

“They call this the happiest place on earth,” Edith added. “Maybe there’s a reason for that happiness, Anton?”

Anton nodded. Mike, however, looked out over New Orleans Square and tried to imagine the cash flow.

“When was the last time you and Henry came here, Edith?” Mike asked.

She fell into the trap, she was quite helpless not to, really. “Henry and I? Oh, that was many, many years ago – so many I can’t remember when exactly,” she lied – but despite the evasion she thought back to the last time they’d sat up here in this very dining room, her emotions now, as then, framed by the very same elegant French hardwood paneling on the walls, and all the doors open to the same square below…to that afternoon when she had told him about all her little murders – and how he had run away from her then…and how he had never really stopped running from her, not once – and certainly not even now.

© 2021 adrian leverkühn | abw | this is a work of fiction, pure and simple; the next element will drop as soon as the muse cooperates.

Come Alive ( 34.4.1 & 34.4.2)

Come Alive Sirens art

Okay, a major issue yesterday, because it turns out I screwed the pooch big time. I posted 34.5 before 34.4 so now nothing makes sense, or at least less sense than is usual for me. Typical behavior for old farts, I nevertheless apologize. So, after the music selection below you’ll find yourself reading 34.4, but 34.5 is now incorporated into this snippet. Again, endless apologies, and I hope you understand. So, once again, a little music – for the storm in the story ahead. Going to draw this out a little, probably two more snippets after all is said and done…but gee, didn’t I say that last time?

Chapter 34.4.1

The big, blue Swan 65 was berthed in Victoria, British Columbia, at a small marina located deep inside the inner harbor a stone’s throw from The Empress Hotel, and Henry Taggart had just finished stowing supplies for three weeks down below. They’d probably only need ten days for the crossing to Maui, but better safe than sorry, right? At least his dad had always said that, and the idea still made perfect sense today.

This was the second time Rupert and Henry were taking the Swan on the Victoria to Maui Race, and they were taking this second effort more seriously than the first time they’d made the run. They’d placed tenth in class on that first effort and Rupert had been pissed – because there’d only been ten boats in their class, but now that he and Henry understood this would be their last race, period, they’d both decided to take the whole thing more seriously this time out.

So…it had been decided early on that they’d bring only one case of rum on this race, instead of the three cases they’d carried on the first race. Sacrifices had to be made, right? Racing while shit-faced tended to lead to predictable outcomes.

And this time Rupert had insisted on a proper crew, and besides Henry all were from Boeing. Test pilots, including a retired shuttle pilot, were making this trip, and as they’d been practicing together for several weeks now everyone was hopped up and ready to go. Visions of trophies danced in Rupert’s mind…

“What say we take a break and head up to the hotel for tea?” Rupert said as he came up the aft companionway.

“Tea?” Henry sighed. “We’re going to be locked up on a boat for ten days with a bunch of pilots – and you want to go get tea?”

Rupert shrugged. “Ain’t no decent hookers in this town far as I can tell,” he snarled, “and anyway, I ain’t real sure I’d like to get down with one of those hairy legged Canadian girls.”

“Oh, really? Well, after a week at sea, Rupert, those hairy legs are gonna start to look real good.”

Rupert shook his head and shivered. “Never!”

“Well, anyway, I’m glad we have those rooms up there. I’m going to get in that shower tonight and stand under the water for an hour – just so I don’t forget what it feels like.”

“Taggart…you’re a wuss.”

“Damn straight,” Henry said as he hopped down to the dock. Once Rupert was down they started the short walk up to the hotel and, as no shorts and t-shirts were allowed in the Lobby Lounge, where tea was being served this afternoon, they needed to hit the showers and change first. They paused at the crosswalk and waited for traffic, then made their way up to the main lobby.

“I’ll meet you back here,” Rupert said as they waited for an elevator.

“Right,” Henry replied. 

And so Henry went on to his room, not at all expecting to find Pinky already there and waiting impatiently for him.

“Well, this is a surprise,” he said as he walked into his room. “To what do I owe…”

“Henry! I am with child!”

“Excuse me?”

“I am with child. You are the father.”

“And you’re not funny. In fact…”

“I am not trying to be funny, Henry. I am with child.”

“But how is this even possible? I’m no geneticist, but the last time I checked the DNA from two distinct species couldn’t…” 

But then it hit him and Henry stopped talking; now he looked at Pinky once again, only like he was looking at her for the very first time. Five fingers, horizontally opposed thumb. Bilateral symmetry. Structural anatomy of her arms and legs – all identical to our own, from her toes to her nose, and so what was the chance her species had developed just like us – in some faraway galaxy?

So when he looked her now she turned and looked away, and for the first time now he knew, he really knew, that she was being well and truly evasive. ‘Human after all,’ he sighed.

“Do you want to tell me what’s going on?” he said.

She turned back to face him once again, only now she spoke softly. “We were from earth. The earth of your distant past.”

“Distant? Like…how distant?”

She shrugged. “That is not important.”

“Okay. So, what is important?”

“This child. This is important.”

“What can I do to help?”

“I do not know. My – superiors – are not at all pleased.”

“Well, I’m not too sure I’m all that happy about this myself.”

Which caused Pinky to fall to the bed – in tears.

“Ah, estrogen,” Henry sighed. “Can’t live with it…can’t live without it.”


“Oh…nothing, dear.”

“I don’t know what to do!”

“You…and about 42,000 other teenage girls.”


“Nothing. So tell me, what are your options?”

“I have none. I am to report to our laboratory for observation and monitoring of fetal development.”

“You won’t be able to visit me while this is going on?”

“I do not know.”

“How long will you…”

“I do not know.”

“Right.” He went to the bed and laid down next to her, then he caressed her face as he looked into her eyes. 

“Is this the love you spoke of, Henry? This thing I see in your eyes?”

“I don’t know? What do you see?”

“It is almost like sadness, but not quite. It is more like a willingness to share good things as well as bad. Is that it?”

“Maybe a part of it, but there’s more to it than that.”

“When this race is over, will you come visit me?”

“Of course.”

“I love what I see in your eyes right now, Henry Taggart.”

He smiled. A little smile at first, but soon it grew and grew…

“What is so funny, Henry?”

“Did you hear to what you just said? You said ‘I love what I see…’ Don’t you get it? You’re there, Pink. You’re feeling love!”

Her eyes went wide just before she sat up on the bed, then she winked out and was gone.

“Damn. Must’ve been something I said,” Henry said as he ambled into the bathroom. Then, as he scrambled out of his clothes, he looked at the shower and sighed.


Rolf was shaking with rage; Tracy helped the boy stand and brushed snow off his jacket, and when they turned to go back to Time Bandits she saw Dina standing under the cockpit dodger, scowling – as if the weight of all the world’s problems had suddenly landed squarely on her shoulders.

Yet Dina came to the rail and helped them back aboard, and she held Rolf’s hand as she led him to the cockpit. “What is it?” she asked when she saw the anger on her grandson’s face. “What has happened?”

“Nothing,” Tracy said.

“Oh, right,” Dina snarled. “Just like nothing happened when you got yourself shot in the shoulder! When are you going to start trusting me, Tracy! I loved him too, you know!”

“And you left him, Dina,” Tracy sighed. “You left him when he was at his most vulnerable.”

“So that’s it, is it? I am never to be trusted again? One mistake and…”

But then Rolf stood, his eyes clear, his mood resilient. “Granma-ma,” he began, “I need you to stay here, with the boat. Henry has left directions and contacts for all the work he thought might need to be completed before we can go to sea again, and it is most important that these things be done while we are away…”

“Away!” Dina cried. “You’re going away again?”

“As soon as Anton returns next week, yes, we will leave. I will be counting on you to get both boats ready to leave at a moments notice…”

“That’s preposterous!” Dina growled, her hands slashing about like a bouquet of rusty scalpels. “Where will you be? When will you return? How am I to function without knowing even the basics of where you are, or even who you are with…?”

“Granma-ma? If you want to see Britt again, or even Eva, you must trust me.”

“Trust you? My God, Rolf! You are just a boy!”

“And that,” Tracy whispered, her words trailing away on a snow-filled breeze, “is why we can’t trust you…”


With two minutes to go before the start, Henry held the Swan back a little, hoping to maneuver behind an ultra-lightweight design and slip into a better, or windward, position when the starting gun sounded. He checked the apparent wind angle and the apparent wind speed indicators as he tried to read eddies on the almost calm surface of the sea off Victoria, then he turned and looked over his right shoulder – and saw another boat now had the same idea and was going to slide in and push his Swan down towards the ultralight, at the same time blanketing his sails and stalling his start.  He pushed the Swan closer to the wind, hoping to stall the overtaking boat while maintaining his momentum towards the starting line, but he was beginning to doubt this updated Frers design had the upwind chops to hold his line in this light air.

Rupert had their lightest, biggest genoa up, and they was making almost 4 knots over the ground, but the overtaking boat was doing just a little better. Still, if he could push the other boat too far into the wind he might still just pull this off. He looked at the telltales up and down the gennie and sighed…

“Let her out a little, Dave,” Henry said to Dave Mason, a Boeing test pilot along for the ride.

“Got it.”

Henry watched their boat speed pick up two tenths of a knot before he fell off the wind a little, looking for the perfect ‘slot’ of airflow between the main and genoa, then he saw another eddy on the water and began to time his next turn into the wind.

“Okay Dave, get ready to bring her in again on three – two – one…now!”

Henry caught the header and the Swan’s speed jumped to five knots, then five point two, and the overtaking boat began to fall behind with only fifty yards – or less than fifteen-seconds – to go to the start. He looked at his countdown timer and then at the imaginary line between the committee boat and an inflatable marker buoy set out a hundred yards or so from the power boat, and he grinned. Rupert gave him a fist-pump as the cannon fired, as the Swan crossed the start – in the lead!

Now, one by one, boats started falling off as tacticians on each boat began maneuvering for the next tactical advantage, their job to exploit long range weather forecasts, not just the local winds and current. Knowing exactly where the North Pacific High was located would become the most important bit of information each skipper had as they neared the halfway point to Maui, but first they’d have to clear Race Rocks and then set a course for Tatoosh Island, all while each boats skipper kept close eyes on the other boats in their class.

Alston, their tactician, called up a new course and Henry turned to starboard 30 degrees; Dave let out the gennie while Karen Grimes, another Boeing test pilot, handled the main – both without being told to do so, always a good sign they were paying attention. The big gennie was pulling well in this light air so Rupert came back to the cockpit and settled down next to Henry.

“Man, I thought I was gonna stroke out when Pyewacket began squeezing us…” Rupert snarled.

“So that’s who that was,” Henry said. “Aggressive move. Too bad for them.”

“You did great, Henry. That was a bad-ass move. I bet Roy is cussing you out right about now.”

Henry smiled, if only because his dad would have been proud. If you lost tactical awareness in the start you were doomed, and as many skippers never recover from a botched start a lot of practical emphasis is placed on winning the race at the very beginning. Crew morale can rise or crash depending on the outcome at the starting line, so Henry had given his strategy a lot of thought. Now he wanted to beat as many boats as he could to Tatoosh, though the bigger boats had the decided advantage of greater boat speed. Still, there were only three boats bigger than the Swan, so Henry knew they had a shot a Class honors on corrected time.

The wind piped up a little and Henry looked at Rupert. 

“One point five knots and we’ll have to drop that light air sail. Better rig the twin-stay and get ready.”

Rupert nodded and went forward, then a shadow off to port caught his eye.

It was an orca – his orca – he saw, dancing down there beneath the sun dappled surface of the sea. Shadowing the Swan, playing with him out here under the dome of the sky.


“So,” Rupert said, “you’re really gonna do it? Sell out and sail away?”

It was 0200 and they were in the middle of their watch, and tonight, their third night at sea, the Swan was more than a third of the way to Maui.

Henry nodded. “Yeah. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, since dad died, anyway.”

“Yeah, I miss the old guy. Helluva sailor, too. He made a difference on our first race, ya know?”

“I miss him too,” Henry said, looking away for a while.

“The man did love his rum,” Rupert added.

“That he did. I think it kept him running.”

“So? What are you gonna do?”

“Not really sure yet. I ran across a bunch of books when I was packing up the house, books about cruising the canals in Sweden and the Netherlands, and I think he wanted to do that. I guess, what is that saying? He ran out the clock?”

“Don’t we all,” Rupert sighed. “No one complains about having too much time, do they?”

“Probably not.”

“You got anyone in mind to go with you?”

“No, not really, but I was halfway thinking I’d like to make the crossing by myself.”

“Oh,” Rupert said, but Henry could hear the disappointment in his friend’s voice.

“So what are you going to do?”

“Watch Madeline curl her hair, for all I know,” the retired general snarled. “Hell, I don’t know, Taggart. This whole retirement thing has me beat.”

“Why don’t you load up the Swan when we get to Maui and just keep on going. Go to Tahiti, New Zealand, stop when you get tired…”

“Or have to go home to sign the divorce papers.”

“There is that.”

“Interesting idea, but I can’t handle a tub like this by myself.”

“You won’t have any problem finding a couple of wahinis to make that trip with you. Not with a boat like this.” 

“You think?”

“I know.”

“My boy would shit a brick…”

“So invite him along. Get to know him. Might be the only chance you get, ya know?”

“I’d have to leave Boeing,” Rupert muttered, but Henry could already see the wheels turning. Add a little imagination and Rupert would be off on the adventure of a lifetime…

Pete Mitchell came halfway up the companionway steps and passed up some iced tea and tuna salad sandwiches before he came fully out into the cockpit.

“Thanks, Pete,” Rupert said. “I was getting hungry.”

“Me too,” Henry said as he snagged a sandwich and took a bite.

“Hank, there’s a band on the radar when I set the range out to 48…”

Henry nodded. “I thought I saw a little flicker a few minutes back. Little to the right of our current heading, right?”

“Yeah, but I think it’s headed our way.”

“Got a velocity vector?”

“Yeah, if my math is right it’ll be here in an hour, maybe fifty minutes.”

“Pete,” Rupert asked, “has your math ever been wrong?”

“I made a mistake once,” Pete replied, “back in 1973, I think.”

“Good sandwiches, Pete,” Henry groaned, though smiling calmly. “Better go below and wake everyone up. Better tell ‘em we’re gonna be in for a little shit-show.”

Rupert looked at Henry when he heard that, and right then and there he knew he couldn’t sail anywhere without Taggart. It was plain as day now, and just as simple as that. He caught a flicker of lightning on the horizon and as his stomach tightened he turned and looked at Henry Taggart.

He was standing behind the wheel now, and smiling like some kind of possessed fiend – like he was getting ready to spit in Satan’s eye – because to Rupert it seemed that Henry Taggart was finding the prospect of a big storm more than a little amusing.

Chapter 34.4.2

Sitting next to Edith for ten hours hadn’t been the worst thing he’d ever endured, but Anton thought the experience would make his top ten list of most uncomfortable times. First she wanted the window seat, then the aisle, and when their flight attendant brought champagne it was too warm. Their was too much salt on her salmon, her salad dressing too much vinegar and on and on it went.

Mike Lacy was sitting across the aisle from them so was spared most of her irritating display, but every now and then he leaned over and made eye contact with Anton. They’d share a brief nod – a kind of soggy commiseration, given the circumstances – before Mike would lean back again and try to refocus on the in-flight entertainment screen. ‘What a wicked wretch,’ he thought as he tried to ignore her nonstop screeching litany of misery, and more than once he thought everyone would have been better served if they’d just dumped her face down in a ditch somewhere out in the sticks.

She got up to go to the head about every half hour, too, and Mike handled these chores, following her up to the entry/cockpit alcove up front and making sure she didn’t try to bang on the cockpit door or otherwise try to create some kind of a stink with airline personnel. She’d glower at Mike as she came out of the little toilet compartment, then he’d follow her back to her seat and make sure she got buckled-in, again, then sit down and wait for the next trip.

So when the fasten seat belt lights chimed and the pilots announced their flight was on final approach into LAX, Mike was more than a little relieved. So was Anton. But Mike had just noticed a little quirk on their tickets, and though he had to assume Henry had done this on purpose, he was a little surprised. Henry had scheduled a five day layover for them. Five days in LA, and vouchers for a four-night stay at the Grand Californian at Disneyland, and when Mike leaned over and pointed this out to Anton, the Russian had gone ballistic – and just about out of his mind.

“Mountains of Space?” Anton shouted. “Really! Caribbean Pirates? Oh my God! Thanks you, Genry!”

“So,” Mike sighed, “I take it this means you want to go to Disneyland?”

“YES, I want wery much go Disneylands.”

“Well, shit,” Mike sighed – just under his breath, “this will be real fun.”

But Edith heard this exchange and leaned over to speak to Mike. “Would you two like me to join you? I’d be happy to show you around.”

And just like that…like someone had flipped a switch…Edith became the genteel hostess once again, but Mike simply couldn’t resist the impulse to see how far she’d take this latest ploy to get back to Time Bandits, and what her ultimate motive might be. Besides money, he sighed.

“Why certainly, Edith. That would be just lovely,” Mike said, smiling as sincerely as he dared.

“Wonderful,” she said as she clapped her hands excitedly, kind of like a five year old might.

“You go Disneyland with Genry many times. This right?” Anton asked.

“Many times, Anton. Many, many times.”

“My grandchildren dream to ride Caribbean Pirates, so this I must do.”

“And I’d love to go with you, Anton,” Edith cooed, now putting on her best prom queen aires.

‘And I’d love to go pick some lint out of my belly button,’ Mike sighed – as he leaned back and closed his eyes…


Rolf and Dina were sitting at the big table in the saloon, each reading through the dense notes that Henry had left each of them on their laptops. There were three-ring-binders too, crammed with warranty data and other vital papers necessary for an easy transfer of ownership to Rolf. Tracy sat at the chart table reading her notebook, and as these were Henry’s last words to her she was taking everything kind of hard.

Then, a ping from a timer in the galley and Dina’s cinnamon rolls were finally ready; she iced them then fixed coffee, carrying bowls of fresh melon to the table when everything was ready. And there sat little Clyde, beside Rolf now – as he always was since Christmas day, sitting close to Rolf while quietly taking everything in.

Yet the funny thing about this quiet attentiveness was that, if Rolf or Dina, or even Tracy had cared enough to look over this strange little pup, to look him over a little more closely than they had, perhaps one of them might have noticed the pinkish tinge deep within the pups eyes. 


“Pete?” Henry said to his tactician as he muscled the Swan over another eight foot growler. “I think I see a steaming light between us and that squall line. Pull up the radar and see if you can get a range and bearing for me, would you?”

“Got it, Hank.”

“Rupert,” Henry added, “where’d my binoculars run off to?”

“Oh, sorry, I’ll get ‘em.”

Once Henry had his Steiner’s up to his eyes he scanned the flickering horizon but quickly spotted the other sailboat’s mid-mast steaming light, the single light casting a feeble glow on the other boat’s spinnaker. He pushed a button and illuminated the binos internal compass and took a bearing, then waited for Pete…

“Intermittent contact at 243 degrees, range 3.2 miles, but it’s a sketchy contact at best, like they aren’t flying a radar reflector…”

Henry nodded. “Some idiots take ‘em down after the start to decrease windage. You got a distance to the leading edge of the squall line?”

“It’s indistinct, Hank, but call it 12 to 15 miles, so call it 20 minutes max until contact.”

“Okay. Rupert, rig the little storm trysail in the slot, and let’s get ready to douse the main, at least until we know how deep this cell is, but tie in a deep reef for now…”

“Right!” Rupert got his deck-apes forward and it took four of them to bring in the heavy air gennie, but they wrestled it down below while Rupert and another ape reefed the main. Then Rupert looked ahead and now he could just see the sailboat up ahead – and he saw they were still flying a huge tri-radial spinnaker, one designed for sailing on a close reach…but if that squall line hit them while flying such a huge sail, well, he wasn’t a pro at this whole sailing thing but he knew there would be some real trouble on that boat tonight. “Henry? See that spinnaker?” he yelled back to Taggart.

“Everyone must be asleep,” Henry replied, shaking his head. “Pete? Give ‘em a shout on VHF and see if anyone’s awake over there?” He looked at their own boat speed, falling rapidly now that the sails were changed, then he looked at their apparent wind speed – 24 to 28 knots while still on this close reach – but the seas were still modest – and he guessed wave heights were four to seven or eight feet – but that would change fast if this was a deep cell…

He flipped on the loud-hailer and hit five short blasts, then he looked through his Steiner’s to see if there was any reaction…

Nothing. At all…

He hit the horn again, and five short blasts of the sharp piercing sound split the night, but still he saw no reaction, so he altered course a little to starboard to close on the other sailboat…

Rupert came down into the aft cockpit, while the other deck apes huddled in the midships cockpit. “Okay, I checked everyone has got their harness on and everyone’s hooked-in…”

Henry nodded. “They must be on autopilot. That sail is luffing like crazy now, too, but if the wind hits while that fucker is up they’re gonna lose their mast when they roll…”

“Hank!” Pete yelled up from the chart table. “I got someone. Everyone’s racked-out below, some kind of dysentery, everyone’s sick as shit…”

“Tell ‘em to get their sails down – NOW,” Henry cried, “or they’re going to end up swimming the rest of the way to Maui!”

“Jesus, Henry…what the fuck…” Rupert began saying…

…just as lightning slammed into the sea a few hundred yards ahead of the other sailboat.

“Pete!” Henry said, still calmly. “Lightning ahead! Isolate the electronics – and do it right NOW!”

He could see two people on the other boat now, running forward to get the spinnaker down, one of them stopping suddenly before falling to the deck and getting sick, and then lightning slammed into the sea again – but this time between his Swan and the other boat…

“Oh fucking hell,” he moaned inwardly. There was nothing, nothing at all more terrifying than being on a sailboat at sea during a lightning storm, and that bolt had been close…

Then the thunder hit – a sharp splitting of the air within the scudding clouds just overhead, and everyone instinctively ducked…

And now Rupert looked at Henry, still amazed that his friend was showing no outward signs of fear – at all. Well, Henry was the de facto captain on this trip, and like any well trained pilot understands after one day of training, showing outward signs of panic just burns energy and keeps you from focusing on all the things that need attention…

“FUCK!” someone screamed, just after lightning slammed into the water a hundred yards off their starboard beam, and a couple of the deck apes ducked down the forward companionway and slammed the hatch shut behind them. Then – CRACK! – as another ripping wave of thunder tore through the scudding clouds…

“You know all that shit you were saying about sailing to Tahiti?” Rupert growled. “Well, fuck that shit, Amigo. Once this fucking tub gets to Maui I’m getting on an airplane and as far away from this goddamn death-trap as I can get! We’re in the middle of the goddamn ocean, Henry, riding on a fucking lightning rod!”

Henry grinned. “Yeah, ain’t life grand?”

“You mean…you’re enjoying this shit?”

Henry nodded. “We’re alive, Rupert, out here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on a sailboat. Would you really rather be sitting at a desk in an air conditioned office somewhere? Really?”

Rupert nodded. “I hear you, but…”

“Oh, fuck-a-doodle-do…” Henry sighed, now looking at a wall of white spume engulfing the sailboat ahead of them, still about a mile away, and still with their spinnaker flying.

As Rupert turned to see what had captured Taggart’s attention, he too saw the other boat swallowed up by the advancing storm. “Oh dear God in Heaven,” he mumbled. 

“About two minutes!” Henry called out to everyone left on deck. “Double check your harnesses and grab onto to something solid like a grab rail before this thing hits!” Henry looked at Rupert before he spoke next. “Come over here and clip onto the binnacle, get ready to help with the wheel in case something happens to me.”

“Something happens?” Rupert cried. “Like what?!”

“Get the main all the way down now!” Henry called out to the last two deck apes standing-by at the mast, and they wrestled the remaining sail down and got it lashed to the boom just as Henry turned the Swan almost directly into the wind.

Thirty seconds after the last deck ape jumped back down into the midship’s cockpit, the white squall hit.

© 2021 adrian leverkühn | abw | this is a work of fiction, pure and simple; the next element will drop as soon as the muse cooperates.

Come Alive (34.3)

come alive magma art-1.2

Come Alive is rapidly winding down now. Just this fragment and perhaps two more, maybe one if I can economize a bit.

Music? Two songs rattled around in my mind as I wrote about Henry last night. Obvious stuff, really. Try this one first, then this one.

Chapter 34.3

Henry looked out over the space station, for that was exactly what this colossal thing was, and he felt a little in awe of the sheer scale of everything he had seen. If, as Bob had told him, the station was 1500 kilometers long, he was looking at a ship that was close to a thousand miles long, and that just seemed outrageous to him. He and Pinky were in a tower near the docking platforms at one end of the station, and though the tower appeared to be hundreds of meters tall he couldn’t even begin to see the far end of the station. What was weird, however, was the spinning cylinder below.

The tower they were in was decoupled from the main body of the station and from up here the station was moving and they were standing still. Yet just a few minutes ago, while in the station and looking up at the tower, it had felt as if the station was standing still and the tower was rotating away from them. And now he and Pinky were up in the very same tower floating around in complete weightlessness – and while Henry thought the sensation was exhilarating he couldn’t get over the scale of everything up here. Had it been built here, or had Pinky and her people traveled here from…

“Man, what a blast! I could do this forever!” he said to Pinky as he somersaulted and ricocheted off a wall.

“I thought you might enjoy it up here,” she said, casually smiling at him. “This is a good place to escape the effects of our gravity, is it not?”

He caught something in the tone of her voice and reached for a handhold, but his momentum was simply too great and he bounced along the wall until he finally grabbed hold of a handhold and stopped. Then he looked at her, trying to get a read of the expression he saw on her face.

“You okay?” he asked when he came up blank.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, are you feeling alright?” The question seemed odd to her, at least to him it did – if he was reading her reaction correctly, so he pushed himself away from the wall and on a trajectory back to her.

Then the look on her face turned to one of growing alarm – as she made a quick calculation of his mass and velocity – yet she was wearing a belt that appeared to allow her to move about the space with ease. “What are you doing?” she asked as Henry approached – and as she maneuvered away from a colossal impact… 

“I wanted to talk without shouting,” he said as he sailed past her, suddenly aware that the next wall he might grab hold of was well over a hundred meters away. “Well…fuck-a-doodle-doo…” he sighed as he sailed past – as Pinky receded into the distance. “That was real fucking smart, Taggart.”

Yet Pinky sailed past him a moment later and met him at the far wall; when he arrived she helped him stop and grab a wall anchor. “You want to talk? To me?”

“Yes, I do.”


“I told you…”

“Ah, yes, you told me that you love me. Don’t you find such talk a little silly?”

“Silly? I haven’t heard that word in years.”

“Well then, how about impetuous?”

“Not to me. Is that what you felt? That I was being impetuous?”

“No, not really, but I have no frame of reference, Henry. We do not pair bond they way you do, and our associations are more – structured – than yours appear to be. When you tell me that you love me it is as though I understand the words, yet the importance is lost to me.”

“You don’t – love anyone?”

“Not in the way you are speaking of.”

“Well, in what way, then?”

Pinky shrugged. “I am more interested in why you felt it important to tell me this.”

“Because I do.”

“But we cannot pair bond. We cannot produce offspring. We cannot cohabitate.”

Henry laughed. “Pinky, you may not know it, but you’re describing the perfect marriage to me. Love, without all the messy complications…”

“Messy complications? Do you not mean responsibilities?”

Henry scowled and looked towards his feet. “Yeah. I guess I do.”

“So, do you feel any sense of responsibility to me…or is it for me?”

“Both maybe, but I’m not really talking about that kind of love…”

“Really? So, do you mean to say that there are different kinds of love?”

“Certainly. Like…you can love some friends and not others, or you can even love a car or a painting…”


“Oh, yeah, sure. Happens all the time.”

“So, in what way do you love me?” Pinky asked.

“You’re a friend, and I started to like you as soon as I got to spend some real time with you.”

“You don’t find me…unattractive?”

“No, not at all. You’re just different, but different isn’t a bad thing.”

“I have found myself wondering, since you first said you loved me, what it would be like to love someone.”

“I take it you mean you haven’t?” Henry said, a little sympathy creeping into his voice.

“No. Never.”

“No friends, then?”

“None,” she said – matter-of-factly.

“But…you’re an empath, right? I mean, you find it easy to feel what other people are feeling?”

“To a degree, yes, that is true.”

“Have you ever had sexual relations with anyone?”

“No, never,” she said again, and very matter-of factly – again, and yet completely without embarrassment.

“How do you reproduce?”

“You would call the process…artificial.”

“No shit. What a drag.”

“A drag?”

“Yeah. You know…a bummer.”

Pinky shrugged. “Sorry, you’ve lost me.”

Henry shrugged. “I guess, to me anyway, it feels like you’d be missing out on something important by not experiencing something so elemental as love.”

She nodded. “Perhaps because physical interactions are no longer of interest to us, or even what you would call a biological imperative. Also, have you ever considered just how much violence is associated with such acts?”

“Of course, but I think you’re missing a bigger point here.”

“And that is?” Pinky sighed.

“Why would love produce such a wild variety of calamitous reactions unless it was a pretty big deal…?”

She turned and looked at him, something like an alluring smile growing on her fine-featured face. “Henry Taggart?” she whispered.


“I have a vagina. Could you show me this thing?”

Henry’s eyes started the whole semaphore thing again, and when he realized what he was doing he wondered if he was sending out an S.O.S., but then he saw something in her eyes that hit him in just the right place. Something vaguely human, and something truly lovely.

He nodded, and she came to him.


The Old Man and the Young Boy stood on the quay, looking at Rolf as he walked over to the boarding gate.

“Can I help you?” Rolf asked.

“Is Henry here?” the Young Boy said.

“No,” Rolf sighed. “Did you know him well?”

“Has something happened to him?” the Old Man in the Cape said.

And while he really didn’t understand why, Rolf felt ill-at-ease with the expression on the Young Boy’s face – as if there was something almost malevolent in the way he was looking around the deck of the boat. “He passed away yesterday,” Rolf said, still not taking his eyes off the Young Boy. 

“Oh?” the Old Man replied. “I’m so sorry to hear that…”

Now, as Rolf looked at the boy, he felt an overwhelming impulse to flee – or to fight.

“…We had only recently met, and we had a ripping good conversation a few days ago…”

And just then the Young Boy turned and looked right into Rolf’s eyes, and the sensation of evil he felt became palpable…

“…and I was hoping to continue our talk,” the Old Man concluded.

Rolf shifted his gaze and realized Tracy was standing beside him now, and again, without quite understanding why, he felt more at-ease.

“I’ve seen you before, haven’t I?” Tracy said to the Young Boy.

And now the Young Boy’s eyes drifted to Tracy’s, and a soul crushing smile drifted across his face. “I think you know the answer to that question, Tracy,” the Young Boy hissed –

And again, without knowing why or even understanding the feelings flooding through his mind, Rolf launched himself from Time Bandit’s deck, and he realized his intent was to attack the Young Boy with all his might.

Yet before he could cross the space between them, the Young Boy simply disappeared and Rolf careened onto the snow covered grass.

The Old Man held up his Cane, then apparently had second thoughts before he too disappeared, and Tracy came to him, helped Rolf to his feet.

“Aren’t those the people that shot you?” Rolf asked.

“I’m not sure, Rolf. I think so, but the last thing I remember seeing was a police officer drawing his pistol and taking aim…”

“At me.”

Tracy nodded. “Yes. At you.”

“And you pushed me out of the way. The bullets hit you.”

She pulled the boy close and held him tight, running her fingers through his hair.

“We should leave now,” Rolf said, his voice trembling.

“I don’t think that will matter, Rolf. I think they’ll be able to find us no matter where we go.”

“So what do we do now?”

“We finish reading Henry’s notebooks, Rolf. All of them. Everything he knew is in those things, and everything he thought we’d need to take them on is in there, too.”

He turned and faced her. “You’re not sick, are you? I mean, you’re not going to leave me too, are you?”

“No, I’m not sick, Rolf, and we’re going to get through this. You and me, together.”

“And Anton…right?”

“Yes. And Anton will be with us, too.”

Rolf nodded and was still holding on tight…when Dina walked up and out of the companionway. She saw Tracy and her grandson standing together in the snow and she cursed the day Henry Taggart had drifted into her life.

© 2021 adrian leverkühn | abw | this is a work of fiction, pure and simple; the next element will drop as soon as the muse cooperates.

Gnews (7.17.21)


Oh, what a week. What a world we’re living in. Could it possibly be any more fun?

A little NightMusic, perhaps? Ooh yeah, baby…listen to the music.

Here in America (or is it Amerika these days?) revelations over the past couple of days and nights concerning our illustrious ex-president’s penchant for all things Hitler have come roaring back into the light of day, all of which begs a simple question. Hasn’t all this has been “out there” for years, decades even, and if so, please, what’s the big deal? So okay, yeah, Trump kept Mein Kampf on his bedside table, along with a book of Hitler’s Collected Speeches, because, you know, every aspiring dictator needs a little inspiration before hitting the sack. Again, so what? The pundit class seems to be falling all over itself concerning these revelations, with all its various practitioners rushing about in breathless angst while relating “how close we came to a coup!”

Really? Well, pardon my French, but WTF! That is SO ‘five years ago…’

Anyone with half a brain (and yes, I know, this almost entirely precludes anyone in California born after 1990) could see dozens of emerging parallels between Weimar and the Obama years on the one hand, and Trump’s ascendence as an echo of Hitler’s rise. So, yeah, Santayana’s Maxim applies and we were doomed to repeat our past from the get-go. Doomed by ignorance and a stultifying political malaise much worse than anything Jimmy Carter ever bemoaned, but let’s not digress that far. Not yet, anyway.

A brief sidebar here. Have you ever watched Jay Leno walking around the San Fernando Valley asking mallrats basic US Citizenship questions? Instructive, to say the least. Ask a college student which came first, the War in Vietnam or the Civil War? Fail. Hold up a map and ask a housewife to point out Europe? Fail. Watch a few of these and a general sense of helplessness falls over you, and soon the experience feels like watching a python devouring a small fawn…you don’t want to watch but you can’t turn away, either. Until its too late.

Bloom buddies

And so now, here we are. Neo-fascism ascendant everywhere. The western one third of North America is on fire, while water reservoirs are at record low levels and power grids have been stretched to the breaking point, and often beyond. Yet New England, and even New Jack City, appear to be drowning, victims of the same sort of record floods that have been plaguing the Southeast United States for almost a month. Oh, and please, just ignore that hurricane that rolled through one month early…

So all the Neo-fascist climate change deniers are having a tough time denying things these days, but that sure won’t stop them from trying. Just turn on Fox News and cringe for yourself. But see, the thing is, this whole “hot weather thing” is happening elsewhere. Like Lapland (that’s in northern Finland, Valley Girl, and not that new strip joint over on Sepulveda Blvd.), and even in Siberia, where hundreds of thousands of acres of coniferous forest and arctic permafrost are on fire. Or talk to people in southwest Germany about rain and flooding this weekend and you’ll probably learn a thing or two about climate change denialism. And gee, just for grins, did you see the one about the Gulf of Mexico being on fire? I mean, really, can it get more fun than that? Oceans on fire? Whoddathunkit?

Sure it can get more fun, because it seems we have an endless supply of populist neo-fascists out there just waiting in the wings to supply us with endless mirth and merriment. From Brexiteers in the UK to AfD lurkers in Germany, our MAGAesque brethren are lining up everywhere to provide us one and all with more good times than any of us can handle. A van-load of heavily armed pranksters headed to Boston for the 4th of July gets stopped – accidentally – by troopers and they scatter into the woods, while another group of merry marauders gets arrested before they can plant pipe bombs at Democratic Party Headquarters in California. The MAGA faithful have been sending death threats to anyone who hasn’t fallen in line and preached the Gospel According to Trump, so surely you aren’t surprised when…?

A lot of breathless reporting on the left assumes that right wing media pundits are simple grifters, but I’m not so sure. Voices on the right are a little too strident and, to me, anyway, acting like veritable models of singleminded purposefulness to be a chorus line of simpleminded hucksters. Something just feels a little too “off” right now. Like the left is being used and they aren’t even aware of it. Yet.

So, think about it – the name of the game is chess. You got to look not one or two moves ahead, but ten or twelve. You’ve got to be able to see beyond the horizon, and while an understanding of the past is certainly a necessary precondition to succeeding at this game, to win you really need to be able to ignore the past. To understand the lessons of the past, but to not let those lessons keep you from seeing what’s happening right under your nose.

So, what happens if Trump finds himself indicted and doing the perp walk into a federal pen out in Kansas? Trump, in an orange jumpsuit, if you will.

Sound good? Too good to be true?

Well, ever hear of the Horst Wessel Song? Or Hitler’s arrest and incarceration? How Hitler monetized and radicalized huge segments of the German population as a result of his conviction and incarceration? If you are inclined to see Trump’s arrest as the end of this affair, you just ain’t looking far enough ahead. You ain’t paying attention to the music in the background. You know, the line that goes “all for freedom and for pleasure,
nothing ever lasts forever…”

Ever since the French Revolution, every time liberals have gotten a little taste of power they’ve soon splintered, breaking up into factions that ultimately went to war with one another. They’ve lost sight of their objectives in the process, in the end dooming their efforts – and the cause they’ve claimed to best represent. Right now, today, a Democratic senator, Joe Manchin, is headed to a fundraiser given to him by his Republican opponents down in Texas. The reasons why are a lesson worth learning, because they illustrate the failure of liberal policymakers generally over the past 240 years, but the last time liberals stuck together and got the job done was in 1776, in Philadelphia. Without the bomb, maybe Truman would’ve lost his way, but who knows…?

And yet, amidst all this clatter I recently heard a voice. “Buildings don’t collapse like that! This is America!”

Stay tuned. More to come.

Bro love

Come Alive (34.2)

come alive magma art-1.2

A little music, perhaps? Beware of…?

Chapter 34.2

Rupert was deep into The Godfather, Part III, his eyes glued to Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone as he held onto Mary, his dying daughter – Michael’s silent howl of pure anguish a furious echo of all the infidelity and murder he has just celebrated inside Palermo’s Teatro Massimo. Maybe, Henry thought, Rupert was unaware of the converging arcs Coppola had presented in the final moments of his trilogy; if so…too bad. He watched the coda with an eye on Rupert’s reaction, with Michael sitting in a chair and passing away in utter loneliness, and again he wondered if Rupert made the connection – to Don Vito Corleone’s passing in the quiet loneliness of the garden in the backyard of his home. If so, Rupert gave no outward sign…he simply picked up the remote and turned the television off before the credits began rolling.

“You know, that’s the first time I’ve seen Part III,” Rupert said.


“Yeah. You know, the first one made sense to me. Even the second I could see, well, I don’t know, maybe what the writers were trying to get at. But not this one.”


“Well, yeah, I mean the point of the first story is to establish the hierarchy of the Family in Sicilian life, and how that structure spread to Little Italy…you know, after the whole Ellis Island thing. To me the point of the whole thing is when Michael tells Kay she’s being naive, you know? That the Family is just another form of government, I guess, with a system of justice all its own. What more is there to say, I guess? To me, Part II was almost unnecessary.”

Henry nodded. “Ever read Buddenbrooks?”


Henry shrugged. “Another novel about the decline of a family. A patrician merchant-banking family in Lübeck, Germany. A lot of stories like The Godfather and Buddenbrooks focus on the path of a family’s decline, usually as a metaphor of civilizational or cultural decay or collapse.”

“And you think that’s what’s going on in The Godfather?”

Henry nodded. “Yup.”

“What about your family, Henry? You never talk about them much…”

“Not a whole lot to say, Rupert. I’m the end of the line, which – as metaphors go – pretty much sums up this point in time…for me, at least.”

“No cousins, aunts or uncles or that kind of thing?”

“Oh, there might be someone in France, but if so they’re a complete unknown – at least as far as I know.”

“France? What’s the connection?”

“Oh, the usual, almost a cliché. My dad flew B-17s in the war. His aircraft got shot up pretty bad but he nursed it back to French airspace; he was the last to bail-out and resistance fighters picked him up and hid him for a while. He met my mom then and went back after the war and found her, and that was that.”

“Jesus, Henry! And you haven’t kept in touch with all that family?”

“My mom was an orphan, Rupert. The story she passed on, that she lived with, was that her dad was a physician and her mom a nurse. She had no trouble getting into med school, by the by. Guess that was in her DNA too,.”

“Too? What’s that supposed to mean?”

“She was dutiful, a good mom I guess you could say, but all I remember is she was never around when I needed her. Always at the hospital, nights, weekends. I have to struggle to remember her, ya know?”

“Your dad didn’t have family anywhere?”

“Nope. Only child, no known relatives, so I am what I am…the end of the line.”

Rupert sighed. “You know, I might as well be. My son is little more than a proverbial dilettante – like right out of the Old Testament, so I’m pretty much guaranteed there are no kids in my future. That’s the end of my line, too, I suppose?”

Henry shrugged. “You never can tell, Rupert. Anyway…you look like you’re feeling a little better today.”

“I am. A lot better, actually. Do you know what happened?”

“What happened? What do you mean?”

“Well, weren’t they having trouble coming up with some kind of treatment?”

Henry nodded. “Yeah, well, turns out they’ve been having trouble synthesizing certain types of proteins they needed to work out a treatment. Another scientist who’s been studying us told them where they could find a supply of the stuff…”

“Which is?” Rupert asked.


“No kidding?”

“Yup. Pinky and I went back to Friday Harbor and harvested some. Brought it back and here you are, feeling fit as a fiddle.”

“You…harvested some? Just what exactly does that mean…you harvested some…what?”

“It’s a liver protein found in their digestive system, in their bile, gall bladders, that kind of shit.”

“So, you mean you killed an orca?”

“No, no, not at all. Remember the one I swam with off the back of the Swan, that night we were anchored south of Friday Harbor, in North Bay?”

“You mean…you found the same whale?”

“Not exactly. Pinky asked him to meet us there.”

Rupert shook his head. “Shit, man, you gotta stop pullin’ my leg like…”

“Yeah? Well, anyway, she made me ask him, ya know, for permission to give it an injection, and that made him sick. One of the Blues with me, a guy called Bob, collected the specimens and we brought it back to their lab.”

“Wait one. You’re sayin’ you asked this whale for permission?”


“So…now you can talk to whales?”

“Not whales in general, but to this pod of orcas, yes.”

“Taggart…you’re so full of shit your eyes are turning brown.”

“Well guess what, Rupert…you’re alive right now. And here’s another news flash for you… without that whale’s help you’d be in an urn over your son’s fireplace.”

“You’re serious, aren’t you?”

Henry nodded. “Yup. As a heart attack.”

“You’ll pardon me if I don’t believe you?”

“No skin off my nose, Rupert. I know the score, I know what happened, because I was there, and I saw it go down. And you weren’t, which is fun, ’cause basically whale vomit saved our asses.”

Rupert turned away and thought about that for a few minutes, then he turned back to Henry. “So…this cure? It works – in general, I take it?”

“Yup, they’ve already started distributing this new protein via domestic water supplies in Siberia and northeast China. Pinky thinks within a few years the mutation will burn itself out.”

“So…end of problem?”

“Probably. But not for us.”

“The radiation exposure? Alpha particles?”

“Yup. There’s nothing Pinky and her team can do about that.”

Rupert sighed. “You said ‘probably?’ What the hell does that mean?”

“It means there are some bad apples out there, Rupert. Other – beings – that aren’t so benevolent where things like us are concerned.”

“You mean…beings other than Pinky’s people?”


“Henry, you’ll excuse the fuck out of me, but all this is getting a little…”

“Complicated, Rupert, is the word you’re looking for.”

“Not really, but it’ll do…for now.”


“If I make a big enough scene they won’t let me on the airplane,” Edith snarled – just after the Air France announcer made the final call for boarding the flight to LAX.

Mike looked at her, taking the measure of the moment, before he spoke. “You know, I don’t know you from Adam but I’m here right now because this is something Henry asked me to do. And guess what? Here you are claiming to be one of Henry’s closest friends yet you’ve been acting like anything but…so tell me? Just what am I supposed to make of someone like you?”

“Frankly, I don’t care what you make of me.”

“Okay. Fair enough. So, let me be equally clear. If you fuck this up, if you make a scene or make a run for it, let me tell you what I’m going to do…”

“Again,” Edith growled, “I don’t give a flying fuck what you do…”

“Oh? Okay, well, just for the sake of clarity then, here’s what’s going to happen. We’re going to get you in a taxi and head out into the countryside, and in a few weeks the police will find your body face down in a ditch somewhere out there. Got it? We clear enough for a flying fuck, maybe?”

Edith looked at this Captain Lacy for a moment, then she pulled out her boarding pass and walked to the gate.

Anton didn’t know what to think right about then, not after his own less than friendly encounter with Mike’s friends in the local intelligence services, so he walked along quietly and boarded the flight, not quite sure if this was the right thing to do, or not.… 

‘But anyway,’ he thought, ‘I’ve never been to America, and California has always like a kind of dream to me.’ Then he thought of Disneyland and smiled as he walked out the Jetway.


Pinky came in their room with several Blues and a Green. Henry thought she looked a little upset.

“Hey!” Henry said, with a little more enthusiasm than he felt. “It’s the Mod Squad! What’s up, guys?”

The Blue called Bob came closer and spoke first. “Protein synthesis is complicated but our distribution models are accurate, yet simulations indicate that we will simply slow progression of the mutagen…by perhaps two hundred years.”

“Okay. So…maybe we’ll teach the horse to sing by then.”

“What?” Bob cried, bug-eyed again. Pinky leaned over and whispered in Bob’s ear, and he nodded understanding. “Oh, really? Okay,” he said.

“Well, Bob, you look like you just took a bite out of a shit sandwich, so why don’t you tell us the good news now.”

Bob looked at Pinky – who simply shrugged – before he resumed. “We estimate the development of fatal tumors within two years.”

Rupert looked at Bob when he heard that: “Come again?”

“Three years,” Bob repeated. “You have a life expectancy of two years before onset, so a normative life span of, again, possibly three years. Our modeling indicates a 98 percent certainty for that figure, and a less than one percent chance of longer duration. I am sorry.”

Henry Taggart looked at Bob, then at Pinky, his eyes blinking like semaphores. “Well fuck me in the ass,” he said at last, perhaps a bit more merrily than he felt. “Ain’t you full of all kinds of good news this morning?”

“This is good news?” Bob asked. 

“Hell, yes, it’s good news!” Henry grinned. “That’s twenty, maybe thirty years I’m not going to have to deal with my fucking hemorrhoids – or buy Christmas cards, for that matter! Hallelujah Jesus!”

Rupert Collins was not, however, as amused, so he picked up the little black Sony remote and found his way back into The Godfather, Part I – and there he disappeared inside the snuggly warmth of the moral relativism it offered.


Rolf watched Anton and Mike escort Edith away from Time Bandits from behind the wheel, sitting in the cockpit while his grandmother cleared away the remains of the day down in the galley. Tracy had kept to herself most of the day, yet everyone had noticed how out of it she seemed. She’d lost Henry, and while that obviously had a lot to do with her growing funk there was more to it than that, and even Rolf could see that much – despite his youth.

The chartplotter started chirping, and because Henry’s phone was still synced to it Rolf wasn’t too surprised to see it was Henry’s phone ringing. Not knowing what else to do, he leaned over and answered the call…

 “Hello?” Rolf said, yet the first thing he heard was music playing in the background.

“Yes. Hello. Is Henry there?”

“No, he’s not. May I ask who’s calling, please?” 

“Is this Rolf?”

“Yes it is. And you are?”

“An old friend. Rupert Collins, over in America. I just wanted to wish Henry a Merry Christmas.”

“I see.”

“Tell me, Rolf, is he gone?”

“He passed last night, sir.”

“Yes. I think I knew that. Some kind of disturbance while I was asleep last night. Are you doing alright, young man?”

“Yessir. Fine.”

“Well okay. I’m sure you have a lot on your mind, but Henry and I became somewhat close over the last few years and I was just hoping to speak to him one more time.”

“I understand, sir.”

“There’s a lesson there, son. Don’t put the important things off, because time gets away from us in the end. We leave too many things undone, and important things left unsaid.”


“Well, goodbye Rolf. Take care.”

“Yessir. Goodbye to you as well.”

He broke the connection, but Rolf smiled when he finally recognized the music he’d heard playing in the background. Henry’s old friend had been watching The Godfather – and he thought that was a strange film to watch on Christmas Day. And it was then that he saw an Old Man in a Cape, along with a boy, walking up to the boat. The Old Man had a very strange looking cane, too…

© 2021 adrian leverkühn | abw | this is a work of fiction, pure and simple; the next element will drop as soon as the muse cooperates.

Come Alive (34.1)

come alive magma art-1.2

I’ll ask ahead for a little charity in case you run across too many typos; my eyesight is well and truly compromised right now and getting a paragraph down is often a perplexing challenge. Hopefully what is making it to the page makes some sort of sense, but I make no guarantees.

Just in case you follow along with the music, here’s a little to help chart these difficult waters. And if that doesn’t float your boat, try this one. Yes, yes, I know…long live discordant chromaticism…

Chapter 34

Taggart couldn’t sleep that night. Rupert was simply in too much distress and with the door to his anxiety closet now thrown wide open, Henry lay awake wondering when the same symptoms would come calling for him. Blues and Greens were coming and going at all hours now – ‘whatever the hell makes for an hour around this goddam ship!’ he thought as he turned away from Rupert’s sloughing skin and thrashing misery once again.

But at one point, just when about a half dozen Greens were leaning over Rupert and all of them looking quite concerned, the outcome appeared to be in some doubt. Tapes were wrapped around first Rupert’s wrists, then around his own, but while Henry seemed to improve a little, Rupert appeared to be out of control, caught up inside a very ugly terminal spiral.

Then Pinky arrived. With a companion Henry had never seen before.

Maybe a bit over a meter tall, this smooth skinned creature was riding in some kind of hover-chair as it came into their room, and when Pinky took this visitor straight to Rupert’s bed Henry tried not to stare at this newcomer.

Skinny was an understatement, Henry thought, but its hideously misshapen head was gigantic beyond words, its almond shaped eyes bulging from an otherwise featureless face. And while it was obvious Pinky was communicating with the being, they must’ve been doing so telepathically because the little newcomer remained silent and, indeed, almost motionless.

Then the little guy stood – with great effort – and used a syringe of some sort to draw blood from a vein in Rupert’s neck. When the syringe was full, the little guy injected the blood into a portable analyzer pf some sort, then he sat back in his hover-chair – again, with great effort – while the machine did it’s thing.

And that was when Pinky turned and came to Henry’s bedside.

“Who’s that?” Henry asked – nonchalantly.

Pinky shrugged. “If it has a name I am unaware what it might be, let alone how to pronounce it. His group has been studying humans for about seventy years, and it was decided we should ask them to help us understand what has happened to Rupert – and you.”

“What has happened? What does that mean?”

“This chain of events was not foreseen, Henry. Rupert should not be so ill.”

“Will I? Get so sick, I mean?”

Pinky nodded. “Yes, your team feels this is now inevitable.”

“Will I…die? Is Rupert going to die?”

Pinky turned and looked at Rupert, then at the other creature, before turning back to Henry. “Rupert is very near death, Henry. You will be too, perhaps within hours.”

“I thought you said this was a slow moving mutation…”

“It was.”

“You know…I’m not so sure I like the way that sounds.”

“Neither do I, Henry.”

“What does it mean? Regarding the existing infective mutation on earth?”

Pinky shook her head. “Unknown, but no other cases have been discovered yet, so this new pathogen may well be contained to you and Rupert.”

“Gee. Lucky us.”

“I do not understand your sarcasm, Henry. Truly.”

“Oh? Well, take my word for it, Pinky – it’s an acquired taste.”

“Acquired? A pun?”

Henry smiled. “A double entendre, I think you might say, mon chéri.”

“What is it with you and France?”

“My mother was French.”

“Oh? You’ve never told me about her, and I’ve always wondered why…”

Henry shrugged. 

“You are hiding something, aren’t you, Henry?”

“What would be the point of that, my love? You know what I’m going to think long before I do.”

But then Pinky turned to the Greens standing beside Rupert’s bed – they were clustered around the small white creature’s blood analyzer talking excitedly about the results amongst themselves before one of them came to her.

“We need this protein,” the Green said, holding up the display. “Do you recognize it?”

Pinky nodded. “Yes, of course,” she said to the geneticist before she turned back to Henry.

Only now she smiled warily before she spoke: “Henry? Do you feel like taking a little trip?”


Dina cut away the clothing around Tracy’s left shoulder and quickly found the first bullet wound, a through and through wound in the muscle just above her left clavicle, and as she’d lost a fair amount of blood already Dina pronounced the need to get her to the nearest hospital “in a fucking hurry!”

And that was all Mike needed to hear. He swooped down and picked Tracy up, then carried her right up the companionway steps, Anton and Dina following close behind…until Dina stopped in mid-stride and looked at Edith.

“Will you look after my grandson? We shouldn’t be gone long…”

“Of course I will,” Edith replied, smiling through her pain. “And thank you for looking after my daughter.”

Dina turned and followed Anton and Mike out to the taxi stand, and Edith turned her attentions to the boy and his new pup…

…only now there was something very strange going on between the two…

…Rolf had been staring into the pups eyes from time to time, but now she thought it seemed as if the boy was almost imprisoned deep within the pup’s gaze…

“Rolf?” she asked. But the boy did not respond; he didn’t even blink an eye. “Rolf? Can you hear me?”

Again, no response – so she reached out to break contact, to take the pup away –

Yet as she reached across the distance the pup turned and looked at her, and then she felt her hands fall to her side and an overwhelming sleepiness come over her…and she thought she saw the dog smiling as she drifted away…


Henry was seated in a hover-chair, waiting on a platform that vaguely resembled what he thought he might find at a railway station in the U.K. or France, only there were no tracks, at least none he could discern. Pinky and Blue were flanking him, a Green was handling the controls of his chair, and when he looked around he noticed – for the first time – that this ship was a kind of city and that one helluva a lot of people lived here. There were dozens of Them standing on both sides of the platform – Blues and Greens and a sprinkling of Reds, too – but not one other Pink, and he might have wondered why if not for the fact that everyone on the platform was staring right now, at – him.

Indeed, he felt a little like a bug under a magnifying glass. Very small, and definitely very fragile. And even though Pinky was there with him they hadn’t really known one another all that long, and being separated from Collins left him feeling suddenly more than a little naked and very alone.

But of course Pinky felt that and quietly she reached out to him. It was a feeling somewhat like comfort, he thought. Maybe the way an infant feels when picked up by its mother. A warm embrace, the certainty of belonging in just these arms, and he turned and looked into her eyes.

“How do you do that?” he asked as he stared into her pinkish-amber eyes.

“I feel your need, Henry,” she said as she spread her wings a little. “I don’t want you to be afraid.”

“Do you fly?” he asked, his eyes drawn to the spreading feathers of her outer wings. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you do it, you know?”

“Someday I will take you flying, Henry Taggart,” Pinky said rather matter of factly, yet his Blue quickly turned and stared at her for a moment – like he had been more than a little surprised by her words, and while Henry wasn’t sure he thought he felt wonder coming from within the creature.

“I’d like that,” he replied, and her smile made him feel alive, like within her easy countenance  – out here among the stars – he’d found a precious, secret place all his own. Then he felt an electric hum and he turned his attention to the ‘railway’ – and he could see something in the distance that just had to be a train of some sort – then all the varied dozens waiting on the platform stood back a little and seconds later a glass tube hissed to a stop in the station.

And then everyone simply stepped through the glass and found vacant seats, the Green maneuvering his chair, finding a place to park him before stepping aside to let Pinky –

– then a Blue sitting close to him saw Pinky and immediately stood and gave his seat to her, then he turned and walked away – leaving Henry to mull over Rupert’s thoughts about castes and hierarchies within this civilization…

…then their ‘train’ started moving…

But there was no discernible change he could feel, other than he could see they were moving now… They were in the lead car and he noticed there wasn’t an engineer or any kind of operator up front, only what looked like an infinite stretch of tracks disappearing in the farmland just ahead.

“How long is this ship?” he asked no one in particular, and his Blue must have thought Henry had been speaking to him so he leaned over.

“The ship?” his Blue asked in rough, heavily mangled English. “Do you mean how long in time, or as a measure of distance?”

“Distance,” Henry replied.

“About 1500 of your kilometers, I believe.”

“Shit…” Henry muttered.

“Excuse me, but are you saying you need to defecate now?”

“No. Sorry.”

“But is shit not a word for excrement?”

“It is, true enough, but it is also used to express emotions like wonder and anger.”

“Really? How odd.”

“You got that right. Say, you have a name?”

Pinky leaned over and spoke to his Blue, who nodded and smiled. “You may call me Bob, if that pleases you.”

“Works for me, Bob. By the way, my name is Henry,” Taggart said, holding out his right hand. “Nice to meet you.”

“Is it?” Bob asked. “Why?”

But Pinky ‘said’ something to Bob and he quickly held out his hand, now almost apologetically. “Yes, nice to meet you, as well,” Bob said, in suddenly pristine English.

“Good. So, 1500 kilometers, you said.”

“Yes, and approximately half of the circumference is made of a translucent material that lets in sunlight…”

“I noticed that, but as I have no way of telling time…”

Bob looked at Pinky, who just barely nodded. “Well, you see, our day is roughly thirty hours, so we felt it might upset your sense of time passing. We have your time keeping devices in storage, by the way.”

Henry smiled. “So, how fast does this train travel?”

“Train?” Bob asked.

“This…conveyance. At what speed are we moving?”

Bob shrugged, and as Henry watched his wings lurch he tried not to laugh. “I do not know.”

“Where are we going now?”

But Pinky broke in at this point. “We are going back to Earth,” she said. “We must find your friend.”

“My friend? Who’d you have in mind, Pinky?”

“You will know, but we must hurry.”


Mike came down the companionway first, leading Tracy by her uninjured arm, and he was struck by the odd pose Dina and the boy had assumed. Rigid, staring dead ahead, and with the little pup returning their intent gaze – yet almost as soon as Mike gained the cabin the pup seemed to release them, and both came to as if coming out of a light sleep.

Yet a roast goose was now on the table, dressed out with stuffing and adorned with sprigs of dried thyme. Anton’s borscht was in a covered bowl, waiting for his special ceremony, while almost all of their Christmas presents remained under the tree, just waiting to be enjoyed – but when Edith saw everything out on the table she almost fainted.

“What’s wrong?” Dina said, coming down right behind Tracy.

“I don’t know who put all this food out,” Edith cried, “but it sure wasn’t us!”

“Mom?” Tracy said, “What are you saying?”

“I’m saying that goddam dog put us out like a light and that someone else was down here, putting all this food out, getting everything ready for…”

“Borscht smell good,” Anton said, his deep voice grumbling with appreciative hunger. “What that in bowl? Round things?”

“Brussel sprouts,” Mike moaned before adding. “I hate those things.”

Tracy, still under the effects of a sedative, slipped onto the settee and slid over next to her mother, who now seemed quite put upon that someone had set the table – and done so quite meticulously – while she and Rolf had been out.

“Are you sure someone was down here?” Mike said as he started looking around for signs things had been disturbed.

“How the hell should I know?” Edith hissed. “Something like flipped a switch and I was – we were – out! How long have you all been gone, anyway?”

“About four hours,” Mike said, moving aside so Anton could help Tracy aft to Henry’s old cabin, yet no one said a word when he did, not even Rolf. Tracy had been Henry’s last girlfriend, so she could lay claim to the space – if she so wanted. Yet right now she too was simply out of it…

But a few minutes later Anton and Tracy came back to the salon and he helped her sit at the table while Mike started carving the goose, and even Tracy had to admit whoever had put this meal together had done so with real care to observe all the proprieties. Besides the goose – and Anton’s borscht – there was stuffing and a large bowl of buttery Brussels sprouts covered in what looked like walnuts and cherries, and there was a large oval dish loaded with portobellos stuffed with crabmeat drizzled with Hollandaise…a real sailors Christmas feast…then Rolf noticed an envelope under his plate, and he carefully pulled it free and began to look it over. 

And everyone else around the table looked at him as he opened the envelope.

He read through the letter, then apparently had to reread the letter again – before he looked around the table.

“Well?” Dina said.

“It’s from Henry,” Rolf began. “He wanted, he wants me to read something to you after we finish eating.”

“Nonsense!” Edith barked. “Read it to us now!”

But Rolf simply folded the letter and put it back into the envelope before he asked Anton to fix him a bowl of borscht, and the old aviator smiled at that.

“This special borscht,” Anton said as he started filling bowls. “In church, um, in orthodox church believe that soul of person leaves this, um, place, in steam from bowl soup, and us get last chance to farewell, um, to say farewell as steam rises to heaven. So important to wave, to fan steam over face, to over your faces, as says goodbye.”

And everyone did – except, of course, Edith. She scowled when she received her soup, then she took her spoon and stirred the heavy broth before she took a bite. Predictably, she wrinkled her nose and pushed the bowl away, then she leaned back and looked up at the ceiling.

“It is very good, Anton,” Dina said. “Classic ingredients, perfectly prepared,” she added, and Anton smiled graciously.

“Thanks you, Dina, and thanks to Genry for new life he make, for all help. He special so many way. No word expresses empty feeling now.”

Mike began preparing plates and passing them around the table, and while everyone ate they did so in silence, and it was as though everyone was eating with one eye cast to the onrushing wall of a dark summer’s thunderstorm. 

Edith, however, stared at her daughter with growing malice in her lingering eyes.


Even Henry could make out the landscape below. Coming in from the northwest, high over the west coast of Vancouver Island, then arcing across to Sidney as Pinky’s ship zeroed in on Friday Harbor…

“Can anyone see us?” Henry asked – and Pinky shrugged. “So, where are we headed?”

“To where you first met your friend, the orca.”

“The…what? That whale?”

“Yes. That whale. You are joined now, after that night. He will be waiting for you.”

‘And you’re out of your fucking mind,’ Taggart wanted to say, but by now he was getting to the point where he knew it was better to just sit back and enjoy the show, to let the world unwind the way the world was going to unwind – because he was – finally – beginning to realize there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it.

“You don’t say,” Henry decided to say, and that caused Pinky to turn and look at him again.

“I am not sure I understand that expression. I did say, yet you say I did not say.”

Henry pulled at an earlobe and scrunched his nose as he tried not to laugh. “Kind of an old saying, not sure where it comes from, but it means something like ‘Okay, I understand.’”

“Ah. You never fail to amaze me, Henry.”

“Yeah? Well, I love you too.”

“Like that. Why do you say something like that when you know and I know it simply is not true.  You do not love me. Correct?”

“No, that is incorrect. As a matter of fact, I do love you, and quite a lot, actually.”

This seemed to shake up Bob quite a lot, too, because he cast a quick sidelong glance Pinky’s way before settling in for a long stare at Taggart.

“Why do you say such a thing?” Pinky stated, clearly not amused.

“Because love is a feeling, Pinky, and when I’m with you this is what I feel.”

Bob turned away, appeared to try to solve a few quadratic equations in his head.

“Then I do not understand love,” Pinky said.

“Neither do I,” Henry added, “but I know it when I feel it.”

“Is love like…”

“It’s like friendship, Pinky, but stronger. It’s like caring for another person, and wanting to be with them – always.”

“You think of me as a person?”

“Uh, well, I’m not sure what else I could think, Pinky. Sometimes I’m a little in awe of you, but by and large I just think of you as a friend, but a friend I really enjoy being with.”

She turned and looked at him, her head canted to the right a little.

Bob closed his eyes, hoping she did not plan on vaporizing this impertinent human.

“Clearly I do not understand you, Henry Taggart,” she sighed.

But Henry just shrugged and grinned at her. “That’s okay. Hang around me long enough and you’ll catch on.”

“Catch on?”

“Learn. To understand.”


“Ah, indeed. Say, isn’t this North Bay?”

“Yes. This is where you met your friend the first time. He is waiting for you here.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because I asked him to, and he said he would.”

“No shit…?”

“Are you feeling constipated, Henry?”

“Chronically. But I’ll work it out.”

“Work it out?”

“Yes, like any good mathematician, I’ll work it out with a pencil.”

Bob went bug-eyed and slithered from the cockpit.

“Ah,” Pinky said. “This is a joke, correct?”


“So…when you say you love me, this too is a joke?”


She turned to the Red piloting the ship and rattled off something telepathically as the ship settled over the water. “There are a few airplanes in the area. We must hurry.”

“Okay…what’s the plan…?”


Rolf finished reading Henry’s letter to the people gathered around the table – his Christmas letter, as he called it – and Edith was the first to bust out in tears, holding onto her bandaged ribcage as she started to cry. Dina looked down at her hands crossed on her lap, then looked at Mike Lacy. She wasn’t exactly sure what she felt about the Navy captain, but there were times she had feared him and that bothered her, yet she also saw something else in him. Something that attracted her, and Henry had known that, he had seen it developing somewhere, somehow, and he addressed a part of his letter to her – and to Mike – challenging them to explore the possibilities. To Anton, Henry simply expressed that he regretted not knowing the Russian for longer than he had, and that he had felt real friendship for the aviator. 

Rolf’s part of the letter remained a private mystery, though when he finished reading Henry’s “public” musings he stood and handed out envelopes to everyone around the table. Edith tore hers open a found a single one dollar bill inside; Anton quietly opened his and found a check for two point five million dollars. Mike opened his and smiled a little, then pocketed the check. Dina and Tracy found seven figure amounts in their envelopes, but by that point Rolf had started handing out wrapped Christmas presents.

Edith’s one present contained a key and directions to a safety deposit box in Newport Beach; she slipped these into a pocket and smiled a little, lest she give away her mounting disappointment. Anton opened his first present and Tracy looked on knowingly; the Bulgari chronograph left him speechless and almost in tears. Mike opened a similar box and found an Omega Speedmaster “Moonwatch” inside – and he did burst out in tears. Dina and Tracy opened theirs and found modest Rolex Submariners inside, and Rolf opened a box and found one for himself as well.

Then came the “gag” presents – a parade of inside jokes that Henry had hoped might break the ice a little, maybe get his friends smiling again, and he was by-and-large spot on. At least until Rolf handed Edith one last envelope.

This contained a one-way ticket that evening back to Los Angeles, and both Mike and Anton were given explicit directions to get her to the airport and to personally put her on the flight. As the only way to do so was for Mike and Anton to board the aircraft with her, they each had round trip tickets on the same flight.

Completely demoralized, Edith went to her cabin in the forepeak and began packing her suitcase; a very subdued Tracy wasn’t sure what to think of her mother’s performance that afternoon – beyond seeing her mother as seriously damaged goods – at least as far as her past with Henry was concerned. Yet she had seen anew the corroded decisions of her mother’s teen years as recounted by Henry, and as she’d had no reason to doubt his veracity she believed his version of events. The portrait Henry had revealed over the past six weeks was not flattering, so much so that by the time her mother appeared on the scene Tracy wanted very little to do with her.

Mike and Anton knew Edith not in the least, yet their take on her was grounded in Henry’s explicit directions to them. If Henry didn’t trust her, neither would they. And Edith’s narcissism  simply didn’t stand a chance when put up against Anton’s and Mike’s resolute desire to meet Henry’s expectations. Maybe the checks in their pockets demanded no less, but in truth both felt nothing more or less than a real need to be true to their friend.

With a brand new Louis Vuitton suitcase in hand, Edith was escorted off Time Bandits; she hysterically demanded that Tracy come with her once again, and – once again – Tracy brushed aside her mother’s histrionics and simply bade her farewell. There really wasn’t anything left to say to her now, as her course was set now. Henry had reset all their courses that day, she realized, and now the greatest unknown imaginable lay ahead, if they had but the courage the moment required.

She knew Rolf well enough to know what he would do now, and even Anton. But Dina and this unknown Navy captain? What would they do?

There was real danger along the route Henry had charted for them, that much she knew. Her wounded shoulder was a potent enough reminder, she understood all too well right now, but would their resolve stand up to what Henry was asking of them?

She felt Dina’s stare and did her best to ignore her, but at length she turned her gaze and met the other physician’s eyes.

“Last night…where did you go? What happened there?”

But Tracy simply shrugged and shook her head before she spoke. “Whatever happens next, Dina, it has to be your choice.”

The weight of Tracy’s words hit her like a blow to the soul, and she seemed to wither under the weight of those words. “Tell me, if you can – did you see my daughter?”

Tracy did not flinch, nor did she look away. “What does your heart tell you, Dina?”

“That you were with her. That you were with both Eva and my daughter.”

“Then follow your heart,” Tracy said, smiling. “And…Merry Christmas, Dina…”

© 2021 adrian leverkühn | abw | this is a work of fiction, pure and simple; the next element will drop as soon as the muse cooperates.

Come Alive (33.3)

come alive magma art-1.2

Once again, I have to apologize for the time between posts; life has simply intervened once again. And with that in mind, today we jump back to Henry’s story for a brief glimpse of the way ahead, so the music for the day is a little different – a little too discordant, a little too dreamy, but perhaps the perfect soundscape to get lost inside as possibilities dawn.

Chapter 33.3

The being that Henry Taggart called Pinky walked out of the ship’s genetics facility and began the long trek back to the ship’s central command facility. This involved a fifteen minute walk to what might have passed for a railway station – in Taggart’s worldview, anyway – then her walk was followed by a half hour ride – in something similar to a train – to the far regions of the ship. She was worried now. Too many variables were being introduced, and outcomes were no longer certain.

She looked out the window by her seat, lost inside the moment. When she’d first come to earth only a handful of scientists had joined her. These new beings were of a type, she had realized initially, that needed little study. Self destructive and violent beyond reason, she had caught sight of another side of them and wanted to know more. They were at times somewhat reflective, prone to introspective bouts of self analysis, and some of them had begun reaching out. She couldn’t allow them to pass into oblivion without first coming to understand what had gone wrong with them.

Their first ship had been almost tiny, but it had been large enough to allow her team to explore the earth. When her superiors realized what was happening on this “Earth” – when the true dimensions of the problem came into sharp relief – a succession of larger ships had been dispatched until, finally, this ship and her immense crew had been detailed to assist the academic teams already at work on the surface.

Arthur C Clarke just about had the design of this ship dead to rights when he penned the Rama series of novels…at least that’s what Henry had said to Rupert Collins after their first journey out to L3 together. The ship had looked, on that first approach, like a huge cylinder, but Henry’d had no way to wrap his head around the true scale of the structure’s size, not even after they docked their Boeing built ARV at one of the dedicated ports.

They’d made their final approach to an area indicated on the ship’s main display, to one of the ‘flat’ ends of the cylinder – and only then did Taggart begin to realize how big this thing really was, and how fast it was rotating. There were 36 docking ports arrayed around the axis of rotation, and Henry had correctly assumed the structure was rotating to provide gravity – yet the entire docking structure, as well as the port indicated on his central display, wasn’t rotating – at all!

Rupert had looked at the display, then at the docking port, before nodding appreciatively. “No need to match rotation, or rotation speed, for that matter. Clever…but I’ll bet it was a bitch to get the engineering right.”

“Rupert? You got any idea how big this thing is?”

Collins had leaned forward, trying to see any two sides at once, and when he realized he simply couldn’t he began to feel a little queasy. “I don’t know, Henry. I can’t make out anything but an endless expanse of white steel down there, almost as far as I can see. I got no frame of reference…” 

“There’s the docking facility, Rupert. It’s tiny. Yet there’s room for 36 ships, ships the size of this thing…”

“But…this thing’s bigger than the Nimitz,” Collins muttered. “Hell, Henry, the end of that tin can could be fifty, maybe even sixty miles across…”

“Which makes the cylinder…?”

“Call it five hundred miles long, maybe more. Sweet mother of Jesus, Taggart! I wonder how long this thing has been parked out here?”

“Rupert…we ain’t in Kansas anymore, are we?”

“I reckon you got that one right, Henry Taggart.”

“Well, Hell, Rupert…there’s a first time for everything.”


After Dina finished taping Edith’s ribcage, she helped get her blouse back on and they walked up to the salon.

“I so sorry,” Anton said to Edith as she gasped her way onto the settee. 

Yet Edith just smiled. “Accidents do happen, Anton. It wasn’t your fault, so don’t think anymore about it.”

She was, he knew, letting him off easy, and a part of him wondered why. Still, he returned her smile and noted a new warmth in her eyes, a feeling he’d never noticed before. Was that for me, he asked the cold, dark place that remained of this oddly hollow Christmas morning. “I put on borscht now,” he resumed – now more cheerfully than he felt, moving warily back to the galley, returning to the certainty of his beets and onions and cabbage. 

Edith sat beside Rolf – and his new friend – and she marveled at how much like the other Clyde this new, very little pup looked – then she noticed Dina staring at the dog, too. ‘Now that’s an odd kind of faraway look,’ Edith thought as she looked at Dina. And was that curiosity she saw – or was her curiosity mixed with a good measure of fear? She’d noted the same skittish eyes outside of the chapel in Honfleur while they’d been standing in the falling snow – and now she couldn’t help wondering just what this woman had experienced with Henry over the summer, and why she appeared to be so upset by the arrival of this cute little pup. The pup was now sitting quietly on her grandson’s lap…gently licking the boy’s chin while staring up into the boy’s eyes…just like that was the most natural thing in the world for a little pup to do. But, she wondered, was this just any pup?


Their second trip out to L3 wasn’t as pleasant.

Both Collins and Taggart were beginning to feel the effects of the heavy radiation exposure they’d experienced on their flight from eastern Siberia in the Tunguska craft, and even though they’d only been back at the base in Washington for a few hours, they both felt impossibly ill – a heavy, prickly feeling – like his internal thermostat had been dialed up to ‘High.’ Then Pinky had appeared and completely popped their bubble…

A Blue and a Green were assigned to each of them, and a whole team of Reds in special suits manned the stricken ship and took it away – leaving several four star types fuming as they watched their new plaything disappear someplace beyond the far side of the sky. 

Henry had never seen one of their ships before, perhaps because he’d assumed all their ship’s would be just like the Boeing ARV he was used to flying…but the ship they were carried into was several times larger than anything he’d seen so far. And of course this new ship hovered just inches over the base’s runway, and made not the slightest sound doing so, but for some reason that didn’t surprise him, not in the least.

Just before moving into the main part of the ship, the Blue with Taggart helped him into some sort of decontamination chamber, then, after he dried himself off, the Green with him helped him onto a floating gurney…which was then inserted into something that looked a little like a hyperbaric chamber. Henry’s ears popped after the chamber was sealed, and then his eyes began to water like mad, but after he wiped them dry had noticed the Blue and the Green were still with him inside the chamber.

The Blue looked down at him and smiled. “We’re equalizing certain gases now so you may handle our internal atmosphere better,” the Blue said pleasantly, trying to help Henry feel somewhat less ill-at-ease.

“Pinky said something about radiation – from that ship?” Henry said, suddenly feeling unbelievably sick to his stomach, but then the Green leaned over and slipped a mask over Henry’s mouth and nose; after a few gasps of an unknown mixture of gases a deep feeling of ease settled over him, just before sleep came.

When he woke up sometime later the sticky, prickly-heat feeling was gone, and he was in a large room – with Rupert Collins in some sort of bed next to his – and Henry was struck by how terrestrial the room looked, right down to the huge Sony flat panel television on the wall.

Collins was deep into The Godfather, Part I, entranced as Michael Corleone sat at that small restaurant table with Captain McCluskey and Virgil Sollozzo, in a sort of stasis of his own as streetcars and subways rumbled by while he waited for just the right moment to shoot his family’s mortal enemies in the face…and Henry couldn’t help but question the how or the why this film had ended up playing on a television here, of all places. Was it a local favorite, he wondered, smiling at the thought? If so, what a perfect presentation of the human species at work – and at play! No wonder they were bugging out…! Collins turned away a few minutes later, when Sonny got himself obliterated at the toll booth, and the ensuing conversation was one Henry never forgot.

“They all look alike, ya know?” Rupert said.

“Who? Gangsters?”

“No. Them.”


“Yeah. It doesn’t matter if they’re a Pink or a Blue or whatever, their physical features are almost identical. The only differences I can see are to the coloring of their feathers, and their eye color. That’s it, Henry, but think of the implications.”

“Such as?”

“Well, for one thing they’re functionally differentiated by color, as best as I can tell, by color, and by color alone. Think about it, will you? It would be like if we decreed that all Blacks would be railway porters and only Whites could be doctors. See what I mean? No freedom of choice, so…no freedom.”

“I seem to recall we tried that once…”

“Yeah, exactly,” Collins sighed, “but if you think about it doesn’t that kind of make us more advanced?”

Henry smiled. “I guess it depends on your criteria for success, or how you define a good life.”

Collins frowned. “I don’t think so, Henry. The Blues are deferential to the Pinks, but the Greens defer to Blues. Reds seem to be on the lowest rung, or Hell, maybe the highest, because they always get the impossible jobs…”

“How have you figured all this stuff out, Rupert?”

“Well, for one thing you’ve been out for a long time…”

“What? How long?”

“No idea, Shipmate. No clock, no watch, and the ship’s rotation has got to be a helluva lot faster than earth’s so that ain’t no help at all.”

“You been out of bed? They let you walk around?”

“No way, man. I got out of the sack and tried to stand and it felt like I weighed about a ton and a half. Gravity must be higher here; it’s that or we’re sicker than shit.”

“That would explain those zero-G gurneys, wouldn’t it?” Henry said. “Have you asked anyone about some kind of caste system, anything like that?”

“Yeah. Asked my Blue. He told me to ask Pinky, who I haven’t seen since we were on the ground at the base in Washington.”

“She hasn’t been by? That’s surprising.”

“I wonder…is it, really? Pinks are the Empaths so they probably have a hard time keeping things from people like us, but Henry…if that’s the case and she’s avoiding us then they are definitely keeping some very important stuff from us.”

“How’d you get so paranoid, Rupert?”

Collins laughed at that – as he turned back to The Godfather. “Forty years, Henry. Forty years of going toe to toe with those goddamn Russians.”

Henry nodded as he looked at Michael Corleone and Apollonia Vitelli walking along a rocky path, the way ahead anything but clear, then he wondered if Pinky had ever seen Dr. Strangelove.


Dina was taking cinnamon rolls from the oven when she felt the boat rock just a little, but she recognized the motion. “Someone just came aboard,” she said to Anton as she looked at the companionway.

“Da. I feel too.” He stood and went to the steps and slid the hatch back, letting a blast of cold air into the boat as he did, then he smiled. “Captain Mike! Merry Christmas! Come down, soon we have borscht!”

“Is that what stinks?” Mike Lacy said as he started down the companionway. “Sheesh, you can smell that shit all the way out on the street…”

But then his eyes went to Rolf, and to the new pup sitting on the boy’s lap – and right then he knew. He just knew. When he turned to Dina she met his gaze defiantly, and he met the protective embrace of her barely perceptible shake of the head with a nod of his own. And he couldn’t help it. He turned away, away to hide his tears, away to plead for more time to get his emotions back in check. Away – to help the boy meet the needs of the day.

But first he turned to Dina, and he handed her a little pale blue box, accented by a single white ribbon. 

It was, she saw, from Tiffany’s, and she looked at Lacy for a moment before she took the gift, yet she did so with the grace of a gentle smile. She opened the box and found a sterling book mark fashioned rather like a totem pole, replete, she saw, with prancing orcas…and the design took her breath away. She held the piece to her heart and her eyes filled as she nodded her thanks to ‘Captain Mike,’ then she went to him and held on tight as gales of loss battered her again and again.

They had shared so many sleepless nights worrying about Taggart. Maybe it wasn’t enough, but he had developed feelings for Dina and he wanted her to know.

Then Lacy turned to Rolf. “So, I see someone brought you a pup?”

“Yes,” Rolf said, grinning, “it is Clyde again.”

Mike smiled, then he nodded. “Perfect,” he managed to say before he turned away again. 

Dina saved the day by handing him a plate loaded with cinnamon rolls. “Could you put those on the table please, Mike?”

“Sure, yeah. Did you just make these?”

She nodded, her eyes twinkling.

“Well then,” he sighed through a deep smile, “this is the best Christmas ever!”

She smiled and slid across the settee to sit next to her grandson, and Mike slid in next to Dina. “Where’s Tracy?” he asked.

Dina looked at Edith, wondered how she’d handle this – until Anton broke the ice: “She gone, but back soon.”

“What?” Edith cried. “Why didn’t you tell me, Anton! I’ve been worried sick!”

“She tell me no, Edith. Hope you forgive.”

“Where is she?” Edith asked, clearly now very agitated.

“I don’t know name of place, sorry. But she safe. No worry now, Edith. Tracy, she safe.”

And as if right on cue, the boat rocked as someone stepped on board, but a moment later Tracy came down the companionway steps – almost at a run…

Edith seemed to fall into a trance, almost in shock, as she looked at her daughter…

…who was wearing camouflaged BDUs and carrying a Glock pistol…

And when Tracy saw that everyone down here was safe she turned and pointed the Glock up the companionway – waiting for something, or someone, to come…

Then Anton noticed Tracy was bleeding – from at least one gunshot wound – and he was about to say something when he saw Tracy grow unsteady on her feet, and he stepped forward to catch her just as she began to stumble to the floor.

© 2021 adrian leverkühn | abw | this is a work of fiction, pure and simple; the next element will drop as soon as the muse cooperates.