Is global warming really happening or is does it exist in the imagination of people who aren’t in touch with the cycle of changes in the Earth’s atmosphere? Thirty-two creative fiction writers developed short stories by working with the concept of global warming and mysterious crowns. Enter into a new world where something has ushered in very hot days. Four more chapters of fifty-three giant tales: Global Warming, Dangerous Days, Crowns, and Another World.
My short story, “West of Lucky” is included in this Anthology. In “West of Lucky” A young woman follows a suspicious man into the forest and she discovers that he is from another world. This short story is about superstition and how it can cause someone to manifest things that aren’t really there. Clearly, the main character clings to her superstition as a way of life, which prevents her from seeing what’s really happening around her. People do all sorts of crazy things in the name of religion and belief. I wanted to take her beliefs and show how quickly they can turn fantastical.
33 Authors include: Joyce Shaughnessy, Tom Russell, Andy McKell, Todd Folstad, Sylvia Stein, Arlene Lagos, Mike Boggia, Randall Lemon, Glenda Reynolds, J.R. O’Neill, H.M. Schuldt, Gene Hilgreen, Mirta Oliva, Alli Vaughan, Lynette White, Connie Flanagan, Neil Carrol Ellison, D C Mills, Rebecca Lacy, Karen Beck, Shelly Heskett Harris, Lynn Johnston, Mary Agrusa, Karen Hopkins, A.A. Abbott, Craig Teal, Shae Hamrick, Robert A. Strobel, Victor J.M. Christensen, Tim Girard, Elaine Faber, and Randy Dutton
He was a suspicious kind of man. Even the way his grey dull eyes narrowed, or the lines at the corner of his mouth turned up when he smiled, seemed suspect. From what I hear, he started a fire in the neighbor’s barn once. Another time, someone’s entire garden spoiled overnight. He was never caught though. But last night was the final straw. Last night, he messed with me.
Walking onto my porch to water the plants I found a dead sparrow. It didn’t just drop there either. You could tell by the way it lay, that it was positioned perfectly on top of the step. Anyone who’s anyone knows that sparrows carry the souls of the dead. Was he sending me a message?
Walking down the road he passed my door radiating a sinister smirk. What does Mr. West DO anyway? There’s nothing extended passed the end of our cul-de-sac but woods, so why did he always go that way?
The nosy woman that I am, I had to follow. I’m sure he wouldn’t notice anyway, nobody ever notices me. I’m fairly plain, very quiet and mostly keep to myself except for the occasional book club meeting. But I wanted to know. I have to know what he’s up to, what he’s planning. Maybe I could catch him red-handed; put him behind bars for good and be the neighborhood hero!
Slipping on my flats, I adjust my glasses and head through the house and out the back door, cause it’s bad luck to leave a house through a different door than the one used to come into it. Tiptoeing down the street, sure not to step on any cracks, I finally set foot onto the narrow dirt path smoothed out before me. There’s an odd chill in the air, which I didn’t notice at first, but now I find very strange being it the middle of July in Boston. Of course, we’re always partial to severe weather changes, but it’s actually…cold.
Walking further into the forest I listen intently to ensure I stay close. Suddenly he stops and I hide behind a pine tree, making the sign of the cross to protect me. He must not have seen me so I crouch really low and peek my eyes out from behind the tree and what I see causes my jaw to drop and a loud gasp to bellow out of my mouth. Mr. West is…frozen! Suddenly, he turns around and as our eyes lock, I lose my footing and crash to the ground.
“Sarah, are you okay?” he says, picking me up.
Again, I make the sign of the cross with my fingers.
“Don’t touch me Devil!” I scream.
“Please don’t be afraid, I won’t hurt you.”
“I come from Liburrtee, a planet outside your galaxy. I crashed here months ago and have been trying to fix my ship so I can get back home.”
He pulls back some branches revealing a small spacecraft.
“You can’t tell anyone. Everyone knows what happens to aliens on your planet!”
“Exactly! I can’t be experimented on, I just can’t Sarah!”
He seems genuinely terrified. Seeing Mr. West up close, he looks different, gentle.
“I won’t tell.”
Staring at me in awe, he breathes a sigh of relief.
Unaware of what to do I begin to walk back the way I came, only now in a state of confusion. Suddenly I stop, as I realize the ground beneath me is frozen solid. From behind me, Mr. West pulls a tree branch out from the ground and places it over the ice making a bridge.
“How did you do that?”
“Super strength is just another one of our talents.”
Walking across the bridge, I stop and turn around suddenly.
“Why did you come here in the first place?” I ask.
“On my planet I’m a scientist. My people are trying to cure Earth from global warming.”
In a daze I begin walking over the bridge again, feeling my legs moving in one direction as my thoughts drift in another.
“Well…goodbye,” I said.
“Please don’t say that!” he shouts.
“Don’t you know it’s bad luck if you say goodbye to a friend on a bridge? It means for certain that-
“That you’ll never see them again,” I finish.
Right then my heart began to beat rapidly as I turn on my heel and run as fast as I can right into Mr. West’s arms!
“Take me with you,” I said.
“I thought you’d never ask.”
As I look into his eyes and he mine, he kisses me gently until we are interrupted by an annoying sound nearby.
“Bzzz! Recreation time is over, please line up for your medication”
“We better hurry, it’s bad luck to be last.”
Short story contest challenge: July Heat
A superstition, A super hot day, the word Liberty, something involving global warming, a familiar house or setting that suddenly defies the laws of nature, perhaps an alien encounter. All within or around 750 words.