Monday, February 22, 2010

Land of Shadows: Chapter VI - On the Road Again

Jewels was losing the fight. He'd been running a fever for days now. A throbbing pressure was building up behind his eyes and he was having trouble seeing clearly. He was weak and trembling but the parasite was driving him relentlessly. Jewels knew he was going to burn out soon, but his defenses were crumbling. It would just be a matter of days if not hours before the parasite had him ... completely. The lines were finally starting to blur between host and parasite.

The newborn wraiths were huddled in a corner piled up like firewood. The lobby of the Maritime Ford repair shop was glass fronted with no head, so it was as cold inside as it was outside. The five young wraiths were sluggish from the cold but that was fine, just made them easier to control. At one day old they already weighed forty pounds each. He had managed to save all but one of them. When he sensed the time was drawing near he had snared a large dog. It was just enough to satisfy the needs of their first feeding frenzy. Since then they had been eating everything in sight.

The dealership service bay had gone green before the disappearance. Solar panels on the roof provided most of the power in the garage. Many of the panels on the roof had been damaged but there still enough working to operate the hydrogen fuel cell maintenance systems. There was even a fuel cell vehicle hooked up to the system all he had to do was flip a switch. And now he had the knowledge to do so.

* * *

Dotty sent them off with a picnic basket full of good home cooked cuisine. But before they left James had done her a favor to make up for upsetting her while playing with her cell phone. Using some parts he had in his pack from an old laptop computer and a USB hub he downloaded the video and other pictures onto a makeshift digital video player. Everything was saved onto a memory card. She could now view the pictures and videos on a larger screen and not worry about the phone losing power and erasing the stored images. Plus it could now be transferred to any device with an SD memory card. Dotty had studied electronics enough to install some aftermarket accessories on the Hummer but she confessed that she was not confident enough to risk opening the phone up. She stood over James' shoulder the whole while, fussing like a mother hen despite Dee's efforts to distract her. He had tried to do it in secret but Dotty was more of an early riser than he had anticipated. It was only Dee's presence that had kept her from grabbing her shotgun and chasing James out of the lighthouse. But when he set the finished product down on the table and turned it on, she clapped her hands and squealed like a schoolgirl as the video played out on the seven inch screen.

Dotty watched the red truck as it drove down the breakwater. She wondered if she would ever see the three of them again. She hoped so, she had forgotten what it was like to have guests. Perhaps it would be best if she did head north. But not till spring. She had already laid in her supplies for the winter and did not want to have to start over again and risk falling short in the coldest part of the winter. She watched until they were out sight before closing the door and sliding the bar into place. If it had been warmer she would have considered going up to the tower, but a gust of wind howled across the lake and convinced her that the best place to spend the morning was huddled in front of the woodstove under a blanket with a book and a cup of hot cocoa.
* * *

At the edge of town Dee stopped and handed out a pair of military issue walkie talkies to the twins and sent them out in opposite directions to see if they could find any signs of Mr. Fisher's passage. She would head out Calumet and wait for them at the at the WI 42 intersection.

The thing would naturally want to head south, but the direct southern route would take it too close to the lake shore, the more assimilated the parasite and Jewels became, the more its natural aversion to water would drive it inland. She was betting that it would start heading west.

She stationed herself at a crumbling farmhouse on the southwest corner of the intersection. The Volvo was parked on the south side of the house. She had a good view of the road between the house and a tree but would be concealed from anyone passing from the north and east until they were past. She poured herself a cup of coffee from the thermos Dotty had given them this morning. She cut the motor and settled herself in under a blanket in the driver's seat. She would have much rather left the engine running for the heat, but could not afford to waste the fuel. She turned the volume up on the 2 way radio.

Despite her best efforts she found herself drifting off. Cool damp weather like this just about always triggered a hibernation reflex in her. She chugged another cup of coffee got out of the Volvo to walk around for a bit hoping that would wake her up. She stood on the porch of the big colonial farmhouse, careful of the rotting floorboards and scanned the highway for anything moving but saw nothing.

She soon found herself peering into the windows of the large house. Inside the house looked exactly as the homeowners had left it. Save for a thick layer of dust. Miraculously all the windows were still intact. She allowed herself a moment to imagine the family that lived here, busily working through their day, getting dressed having breakfast going about their morning chores and then suddenly, poof, they were gone. She could see a pile of clothes inside the door, an insulated coffee mug set on an end table near the front door. A feral cat was napping on a coat near the door. A yawn and a stretch and the cat glared at her. At least that meant there were no wraiths nesting in the basement. Cats would no more take up residence in a wraith's nest than squirrel would sleep in dog's house. The cat displayed no fear of her and she saw no reason to disturb it.

She was pouring herself another cup of coffee when she saw it whiz past. It was a quiet day, a breeze was whistling through the trees, but even that small sound was enough that she would never have heard the little fuel cell powered microvan. She bolted to the Volvo but put her foot through a rotten board and tripping, cussing even as she fell. The dogs were now howling at the front passenger window fearing that she was being attacked. She managed to extricate herself from the hole in the porch, barely glancing at her scraped shins and torn pants leg, she just wanted to get to the truck before, a) Jewels got away, and b) the dogs broke through the window trying to get to her.

The dogs calmed down as soon as she was in the truck. The propane fueled Chevy V8 failed to roar to life on the first try or the second, but on the third try the engine caught. She automatically thought she would have to take it in to Jewels for a tuneup, and that just made her all the angrier at the monster that had taken him.

She jammed the Volvo in gear and floored it till she was on pavement. The little microvan was designed for efficiency rather than high performance, still it was rapidly pulling ahead of the Volvo. Even on smooth pavement the fastest she had been able to push it was 51 mph and at that there had been a disturbing thrumming sound coming from the axles. The microvan was able to easily dodge the worst of the potholes without losing much speed while she had to bounce through them. She radioed the twins but got no response, either they had gone out of range since last time they had checked in or were unable to hear her over the racket the little two strokes their bikes had. She watched with growing frustration as the microvan increased its lead. There was a sudden flapping sound coming from under the doghouse and the steering wheel suddenly became a heavy dead weight. She bounced through several potholes before she was forced to admit that the chase was over. She let the Volvo slow to a stop as the radiator boiled over and the Volvo lost power.

She cut the motor and listened to the water boil out of the reservoir. All the idiot lights on the dash were lit up. She slowly got out of the Volvo, closed the door and tried to count to 10. She made it 6 before she started kicking the Volvo and cussing. The dogs just stared at her through the windows as is she had lost her mind.
* * *

James cut the motor and coasted into the driveway of the farmhouse Dee had told them about. But she was not there! He leaned the Honda against a tree near the front porch and walked about the overgrown yard. He spotted Dee's thermos on the front porch. The lid was off and the cup was sitting on a window sill, still full of coffee. That, a broken board and a torn scrap of denim indicated that she had left in a hurry. A pair of deep wheel ruts in the squishy ground pointed to the northwest. It was obvious what had happened. He pulled out his walkie talkie and called out to Allison to get her but over here so they could catch up to Dee. The Volvo could go anywhere, but it would not set any land speed records getting there. It should be easy enough to find her.

It only took a few minutes for Allison to get there but he was already waiting for her on the highway and they took off westbound on Calumet together. Dee had left a good pair of muddy tracks for them to follow. A little over four miles down the road James signalled to Allison to look ahead and sure enough, just up little ways was a fire engine red brick on wheels. They pulled up alongside the Volvo and found it empty. Locked doors and a puddle of fluorescent green liquid under the front end told them all they needed to know.

As luck would have it, there was a small junkyard a short ways back the way they had just come. As expected they found Dee and both dogs searching the scrapyard and its buildings for parts to get the Volvo running again. After hearing what had happened James offered to continue after him, but tempted as Dee might have been to catch him she refused. In despair she informed them of her decision to end the pursuit. They were both angry but Dee told them they had already spent too much time on this.

"Besides, I have a bad feeling that we are heading right into wraith territory. I haven't seen anything larger than a rat since I broke down, Bo and Duke are antsy and ... and I ... I think J- ... Mr. Fisher is making a beeline for a nest of them." She gathered up the parts she had looted and headed for the big roll up door.

"So, are you heading back tonight?" Allison asked

"We are heading back as soon as I can get the Volvo up and running, but only if we can get it done before nightfall. I don't think it would be a good idea to go out after dark."

It took most of the afternoon to get the serpentine belt and tensioner replaced and fabricate a new upper radiator hose from some straight hose, clamps and a couple of plastic elbow joints. Then they had to refill the radiator and check it for leaks. A battery charger in the back provided the extra amps they needed to get started again. By that time the sun was starting to go down. They pulled the Volvo into the garage to wait for morning.

The garage was a large quonset hut with corrugated steel roof sloping down to form the walls. It was large enough to house major construction equipment and it was mostly full of derelict trucks, buses and parts. There were some holes rusted in the top of the building on the west end. Big enough to provide ventilation for the small fire they built in steel drum that had been used thus before. The light from the fire cast eerie, dancing shadows on the interior walls of the garage that did little to settle Dee's nerves. She really doubted that she would get any sleep that night. Despite her anxiety she did sleep, and awoke to find herself alone, only Bo and Duke were left keeping her company.

The twins were nowhere in sight.

© 2010 R. Keith McBride

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Death of a Scanner

I am sorry to announce that my scanner/printer/copier has committed suicide. This tragedy occurred yesterday afternoon following the repeated failure of the machine's printer. As most electronics sold in this country, this printer was made in Japan. As most Japanese warriors this machine had a highly developed sense of personal honor and it could not live with its failure. So while I was attempting to find the problem it suddenly wrested itself from my grip and flung itself to the hard concrete floor, whereupon the glass scanner platform shattered. It died instantly.

What this means for my blog is that I will not be able to post typecast segments of my story until the scanner is replaced. This is especially irritating because I just spent $70 on a new toner cartridge for the stupid thing.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Land of Shadows: Chapter V - Dotty

By noon Dee and the twins were struggling to get the Volvo unloaded, they had long since given up trying to extricate it from mud. They were getting the last crate of gear from the back when a thick cable landed in front of Dee, splattering her in the face with mud. There was a double click as the twins swung around their rifles and disengaged the safeties.

An elderly woman looked down at them from the edge of the pavement. They had been so absorbed in their tasks they had not heard her approach. The dogs had been awake all night and were currently asleep in the tent. Beyond the old woman, a massive Hummer H1 still bearing it's military markings was parked idling.

"If you kids hook that on your bumper I can pull you out. Unless of course you'd rather just play in the mud there all day. Wouldn't recommend it though, that water's a might chilly."

She stood at the edge of the pavement looking down at them waiting for them to make up their minds. She nodded and turned back to the Hummer when Dee picked up the hook and connected it to the "D" ring on the rear bumper. The winch in the hummer was powerful, fully capable of pulling the massive vehicle straight up a tree if needed. But the Volvo was no lightweight either and was stuck good. There were several tense moments when it bogged down and the cable pulled as taught as a giant guitar string. Dee had to bite her tongue in order not to jump all over her brother as he stood over the cable. Had it snapped he would have been cut in two by the recoil of the heavy cable. But the old woman warned him away from it for her. Little by little the Volvo was pulled free. The muddy water drained out of the interior and it stood on the broken pavement covered from door sills to roof in black muck. A perfect match for the three of them.

"Name is Dorothy McBee, but you can call me Dotty. I saw your fire this morning and I thought ya'll might need help. And I reckon I was right. Ya'll are goin to come home with me till you get your rig running again." Dee started to protest but realized just in time how foolish it would be to refuse.

"But none of ya'll are riding with me till you get cleaned up a bit."

So they drew straws to see who would steer the Volvo. James lost. Dee and Allison toweled off the best they could and changed clothes. James and the two dogs rode in the Volvo as it was towed behind he Hummer.

"How did you know that we wouldn't just kill you and steal your truck?" Dee asked once in the cab of the Hummer.

"I'm a pretty good judge of human character usually. You looked like you could be trusted. A young woman and a couple of kids are genrally speakin not goin to be a big threat, unless givin reason. Now iffin you'd been a man alone I'da been a tad more cautious in approachin ya. Besides you see that keypad under the radio there?" Dee looked at the indicated area and nodded before the old woman continued. "Well iffin I had'na punched in a ten digit code or thumbed the screen the explosive charge under your seat would have blown the rig sky high the moment the key was turned. Ya might kill me but you wouldn't steal my rig."

"Well don't you think it might be a good idea to tell people that in the first place?" Allison asked from the back.

"Now that's a helluva way to start a conversation now ain't it? Howdy folks, my rig is wired to blow up iffin you try to steal it. Pretty weather we're havin! Kinda starts things off on the wrong foot don't it?"

"Did you rig this up yourself?" Dee asked, impressed by the seamless installation in the Hummer's dash and simultaneously uncomfortable by the indicated placement of the explosive charge.

"Yep. Been livin on my own for the last fifteen years. Didn't know nothin about electronics before, but I know how to use a card catalog at the local library. Good thing for me the librarian was old school and didn't trust computers."

She slowed the Hummer almost to a halt at the northernmost marina entrance on the east side of town and turned right into the parking lot.

"You live at the marina?" Dee asked.

"Not exactly." she said as she continued on through the parking lot and started out across the breakwater. There were signs up warning "Unauthorized Entry Prohibited - Protected Species Habitat" but the old woman paid no heed to the signs. In this day and age it was sink or swim anyway. What concerned Dee was the condition of the breakwater. Nearly two decades of unchecked erosion had narrowed it severely in places. But it was just wide enough to accommodate the Hummer and thankfully narrower Volvo. Dee glanced back at James to see how he was doing. He looked tense but not panicked.

"Now let's hope the batteries in this thing are still good." she said holding up a what looked like a garage door opener and shaking it, "Damn rechargeable batteries don't hold a charge like they used to. I guess we'll know soon enough."

"What do you mean?" Dee asked feeling a little uneasy about their hostess.

"Got this breakwater mined to keep to black beasts away. This remote deactivates them. Well most of the time." She pointed to a particularly narrow section of the breakwater. "Missed one a month back and blew a trailer load of firewood out into the harbor."

Dee assumed that she was pulling her leg until she saw the submerged remains of a trailer and a few pieces of wood scattered around the rocks. She kept her mouth shut about it though so as not to panic Allison.

They travelled around the artificial wetlands that had been created almost by accident by the dredges dumping mud and debris cleared from the harbor. She saw several goats on the little island and a couple bread trucks parked out in the grass they were using for shelter. When they came to the breakwater leading to the lighthouse it became apparent that they would have to do something different. There was just enough room at the base of the lighthouse to park one of the vehicles. If the Hummer towed the Volvo in that would leave the Hummer blocked in. Nobody wanted the one running vehicle, probably the only running vehicle in town, blocked if they needed it. So they used the Hummer to push the Volvo in and parked the Hummer behind it.

The lighthouse was of course a very utilitarian building, but numerous potted plants gave the whitewashed concrete and steel structure some color and some patio furniture made the concrete platform look less like a military installation and more like a home. A wall on the left side of concrete slab in front of the lighthouse entrance provided partial protection from the wind. There was a heavy steel door just under stairs that led up to the second floor. There was a heavy steel lock securing the door that was probably as old as the lighthouse itself. A large pontoon boat was moored at the far end of the concrete platform the lighthouse had been built on. The old woman pulled out an old style skeleton key and rattled it around in the lock till it popped open swung the door out with a rusty squeal. They had been expecting a cold and damp, almost cave like environment inside but were surprised to enter a warm, dry and pleasant dwelling. When the lighthouse had been closed all the equipment had been removed leaving bare cement walls and steel supports. But Dotty had gone to great lengths to make the lighthouse a home. Area rugs covered the bare cement floor and it was furnished in early American decor. Wood partitions separated the living room from the kitchen, bedrooms and bathroom. At least half a dozen bookcases were visible from where they stood, all filled with old hardcover books. A large woodstove dominated one corner of the living room. A large antique chest was decorated with what were obviously treasured family photos. The sole pieces of modern technology visible were a CD player and strangely enough a cell phone, both plugged into a UPS running off a power outlet affixed to one of the steel structural supports. A generator could be heard from somewhere inside.

But what really drew one's eye were the dozens if not hundred of wildlife sketches and watercolors. They adorned every wall and brought color to even the darkest corners of the former lighthouse. They were the best that Dee had ever seen. Most of them were local birds and waterfowl, some deer and elk. But one of them just chilled her to the core to look at. It was a wraith stalking a great blue heron. It was a pencil sketch done with near photo quality and the moment was captured perfectly. The wraith was crouched low in the grass as the heron stood in seeming ignorance of its impending doom, but you could see that the eye had just flicked back and seen the otherworldly predator. It was like a frozen image on a TV and you expected that the next frame would be a violent flurry of activity as the heron took flight while the wraith lunged. Whether or not the heron got away remained to be seen.

Dotty crossed the room to the stove, opened the cast iron stove door and threw in a "Pine Mountain" fire starter log and a couple pieces of natural wood. Soon the woodstove was radiating a toasty warmth as Dotty bustled about setting up a pot of coffee for them before disappearing into the kitchen. She cheerfully cooked them a supper of roast duck, wild carrots and onions and bread with butter and cheese made from goat's milk.

Over dinner Dee told Dotty of the mission they were on, hoping that the old woman might have seen something from atop her light tower, but she had not.

The old woman was a bit peculiar, but Dee thought she would have fared far worse on her own for so many years. She pulled a couple of cots out and several blankets for them to use and left it up to the three of them to decide who would get the couch and who would get the cots. She even brought some blankets out for Bo and Duke.

Dee protested that they really had to get going, that they could not afford to tarry any longer than necessary.

"Nonsense!" the old woman proclaimed, "It's gonna get cold tonight and the old man you're after ain't gonna go too far tonight. You get some rest and in the morning we'll fix your rig up and set you on your way proper. No goin out half assed and gettin yourselves killed cause you wasn't properly set." She left no room for argument.

© 2010 R. Keith McBride

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Technical Difficulties - again

Been having computer problems this week so I am running behind on my story posts. Will get the next one up ASAP.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Land of Shadows: Chapter IV - Things That Go Moo In the Night

They were arguing once again so of course no one saw the cow that had wandered out into the road until they were almost on top of it. They were crisscrossing the southern half of Manitowoc by this time and still had seen no sign of their quarry. There had been a few heat signatures, the larger ones they checked out, but anything smaller than a child they ignored. They had wasted a lot of time investigating feral dogs, raccoons and even a small black bear (which led to a rather hasty retreat).

The cow really had no business out wandering the streets. At this hour most self respecting cattle were asleep, huddled together for warmth and protection. So its sudden appearance in the road was totally unexpected. James was driving and yelling back over his shoulder to Allison as she manned the roof turret. Dee was trying to get some sleep on one of the two bunks in back. The cow materialized on the road and James panicked. He jerked the wheel hard to the right and the Volvo veered off the pavement, bounced through a ditch and across some railroad tracks before coming to a halt deep in a small pond that had formed between the tracks . Dee was thrown out of the bunk and was lucky enough to land on Allison's and James' packs rather than the ammo boxes. Allison heaved up hard against the inner rim of the gun turret hard enough to leave a technicolor band of bruises just under her left breast.

Alisson climbed out through the turret and slowly slid down the side of the Volvo realizing even as she did that it was a mistake. She was now waist deep in ice cold water, well not entirely. The mud was knee deep. She tried to climb back up but could not get her feet out of it. Bo and Duke had already launched themselves from the truck and were shaking themselves dry on the muddy bank of the muddy little pond. Dee emerged from the side door cursing ferociously. Muddy water was already flooding the interior as the Volvo sank deeper into the muck. She grabbed Allison by the arm and hauled her back into the vehicle. Her boots were left behind never to be seen again. The began arguing as soon as Allison was aboard.

They both realized at the same time something was wrong. Dee flew out of the truck and standing on the step bar opened the driver's door. James was still in the driver's seat, his thin frame crumpled over the steering wheel. At first Dee feared the worst, but she found a good strong pulse and he was still breathing.

Between her and Allison they were able to get him out of the Volvo and over to muddy ground. He was a little banged up but Dee didn't think he had any serious injuries. At least she hoped that he did not.

They hauled what gear they could out of the Volvo and set up camp.

"Now what the hell happened?" she asked and was surprised when James answered.

"Damn cow in the friggin' road!" he croaked out, shaking his head and wincing as if his brains were in danger of rattling out.

"A cow? Allison take Bo and Duke and check it out."

"But ... it's just a cow," she protested, not wanting to leave the warmth of the small tent they had set up.

"Are you that dim, you've gone out on dozens of hunts with Mr. Parsons and and have not picked up even the basic?!" She closed her eyes and took a few deep cleansing breaths to damp down the exasperation. "Domestic cattle don't survive separated from their herd unless ... "

"Unless they are infected." Allison finished, embarrassed at having to be reminded of something so basic. The wraiths would leave them alone until they popped and ordinary predators wouldn't touch them because they just didn't smell right. She exited the tent and called to the dogs standing watch just outside the feeble light of the fire they had built.

"Find the stinky wraith boys!" she ordered. The dogs sniffed about for a few moments, picked up a scent and headed out across the road with Allison close behind them. A few moments later gunfire echoed through the dead city. A total of seven shots rang out. Allison returned shortly afterwards. Dee had already waded out to the Volvo and retrieved one of the five gallon gas cans. The gas contained in the can had long since turned into turpentine but it was not going to be used as engine fuel. Allison took the can and headed back out. Bo stayed with Dee and Allison took Duke with her.

Half an hour later the glow of a bonfire could be seen to the east. It was really too damp to worry much about the fire spreading out of control.

Allison fed as much brush and dead wood into it as she could find. She knew she did not have to completely incinerate the cow, she just had to make sure that the remains got hot enough to kill off any embryos she missed. The smell was foul and she was positive that her clothes were going to smell like burned and rotting meat forever. Maybe she could find some replacements here in town. She was already going to have to replace her boots. She missed those boots. The moccasins she was wearing now would not be sturdy enough. And besides, without the extra two inches the boots gave her she felt really short.

The cold morning air carried the clacking sound of her sister banging away at their father's old typewriter. The sound carried with it a wave of nostalgia. The typing would go on for a few minutes, there would be a pause as she imagined her sister pausing so check her surroundings and make sure there were now nasties sneaking up on their camp. Not that Bo would let any get near without alerting her.

She was exhausted by the time she headed back to camp and the sun was already coming up.

She had checked in regularly with Dee and her older sister had nagged at her each time, but the relief she saw in her eyes when she finally walked back into camp told her that she had been worrying over her like a mother hen the whole time. She suddenly felt guilty for all the grief their impulsive actions had caused.

The old woman lifted the cast iron pot onto the old wood stove and threw a couple more pieces of wood in the fire. She stirred last nights stew one more time before heading up the stairs to the tower. Last nights supper would make a good early breakfast. It had been another sleepless night.

The lighthouse was a bit isolated, the only access without using a boat was the narrow breakwater that extended from the lighthouse 200 yards to the northeast to the man-made wetlands at the north of the harbor. The beasties would not cross it, particularly when the tide was up and the breakwater was just barely above water.

But it had its drawbacks too. It could get cold awful cold if she let the fire burn too low and there was nothing to break the wind when a storm was blowing.

The lighthouse was quite sturdy. The original lighthouse had been built on a sturdy steel frame, not even enclosed on the bottom half, but later a structure had been built around the main steel supports, the bottom half of which was concrete while the top half was steel with steel shutters over the windows. When she had found it, it had long been locked up by the Coast Guard, deemed obsolete and unneeded. But it suit her purposes quite well. Of course the light itself was long gone, leaving the tower empty. But there were no ships coming in to warn. The last ship to enter the harbor had been a derelict freighter that drifted in about six years ago. It had run aground on the southern breakwater. It was still there. The storm that had brought it in had battered it against the stone and concrete without mercy and it sank. The prow was still visible above the water.

She unscrewed the cap from her thermos and poured herself a cup of coffee before picking up the infrared binoculars she had picked up at a from a display at an Army recruiting office a few years ago. She looked out over the town scanning north to south. There were a few heat signatures out there. Mostly deer she suspected, but a few bulkier masses. Not a lot of activity yet, no like there would be come summer. She suddenly saw a flare of heat coming from the tracks down by the old bottling plant. The binoculars were good but it was over half a mile away. A smaller form separated out from the blaze of the fire. A person by the looks of it. He or she moved off a bit from the fire and then back several times apparently feeding the fire. A smaller heat source bounded back and forth. A dog to be certain. It had been a long time since she had talked to another living soul. She was aware of a settlement to the north, she had heard their radio broadcasts. But she had never been what you would call a "people person".

Maybe she would pay them a visit. She finished her coffee and made way once again down the stairs.

© 2010 R. Keith McBride

p.s. sorry about the title for this chapter. it was late and i was tired.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Delay in Story Post yet Again : (

I fully intended to get a story post up today, but it has been one of those days where one thing goes wrong after another. Had to take my sister to a doctor appointment that lasted twice as long as it should have. Completely lost the typed portion of my story so I will have to redo that and even if I had that in my hand and finished, my scanner is not on speaking terms with my computer. Will have it up tomorrow afternoon at the latest.