Now that we’re well past the creepy theme of Halloween, and not quite to Christmas (I have a special story for then), I don’t really have a theme to guide my selection of Fractured Fragments. So – let’s start at the beginning.
When I first decided that I needed a creative outlet and selected writing speculative fiction (back around 2004), my first attempt was a revisit of a VERY short story I’d written for a college class on mythology back in the 80’s, combining fate with time-travel. I finished the rewrite ten years ago (why does that feel like a lifetime away?) Here’s the blurb for “Passed Life”:
Talk about an identity crisis! Ed thought he had a good handle on who he was – but a family death, adoption, phone calls from the past, and time travel can really mess with your sense of self.
And here’s the excerpt:
Lifetime Retirement Community was a two-hour drive away. An attendant directed Ed to a porch where he found a small, silver-haired woman dozing in a wicker chair, her glasses a-kilter. His shadow fell across her as he stepped up.
She stirred, adjusted her glasses, and then as her eyes focused on him she sat bolt upright, her face hardened into a scowl. “What are you doing here!”
“I’m Ed King. You knew my mother?”
She stared at him, then relaxed into her chair. “You look like your father…”
“You knew him?”
“No. Saw him one time, just before he abandoned your mother, with her in the third trimester. That was enough. Never did like him.”
Ed sat in a chair across from her.
“’Why do you stand up for him after the way he did you?’ I’d ask her. She’d just say he was a good man, and he had his reasons.”
“What were they?”
Her hands tightened on the arms of her chair. “Never came back. Never called. Not after you were born. Not when she became so ill afterward and asked me to help her adopt you out. Never even showed for her funeral!”
“Why did she die?”
“Because he broke that girl’s heart!”
An attendant stepped up onto the porch. “Everything alright, Ms. Williams?”
She looked away toward the woods at the edge of the lawn. “I can’t talk to you anymore.”
Ed looked at her, mindful of how the attendant watched him. He rose.
“Sorry, Ms. Williams. Maybe another time?”
Ed stepped down off the porch, walked around to his car, and felt the first drops as he opened the door and slid behind the wheel. It was raining steadily by the time he hit the highway. Lightning and thunder occasionally broke the monotonous cadence of his wipers.
What kind of man would leave his wife-to-be like that? Without a word? What was he like, if he could leave a woman that far along? Ed didn’t want to know.
He may not care to find out anything else about his father, but his mother was a different matter. She didn’t abandon him. She was dying, and made sure that he was taken care of.
He crossed into Camden in a downpour, grateful that he was almost home. His cell phone rang. He was just passing the office, so he pulled into the lot while he fumbled for the phone.
Static crackled. A man’s voice, faint, “Why did you bother Ms. Williams? You weren’t supposed to…”
“Who is this?”
The rasping was barely discernible over the storm. Maybe it would be quieter inside. Ed jumped out of the car, got the office door unlocked and slipped in, rain-soaked.
“What did you say?”
“You weren’t supposed to see her. What did she tell you?”
Less storm noise, but still a lot of static.
“Who are you?”
A flash and the power went out.
“Never mind that. You should be focused on what you and Steve are doing. Leave — alone.” The connection dropped.
Ed stood there, dripping, in the long dark between the lightning flashes outside. Whoever it was, he had already heard about Ed’s visit. And he knew about Steve, maybe even knew what they were working on. Ed felt weak all over and sick to his stomach. He stumbled along the short hallway, weakening as he went. He was hunched over by the time he got the door open. In the faint red glow of the battery-powered readout, Ed saw himself in the chamber, fumble with the amp, and then shift out.
“Passed Life” is available at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
It’s also included in the collection The First Three ‘Things I Could Get Out of My Mind’:
Read “Passed Life” and discover why it’s better to leave the past alone. Just saying…
William Mangieri’s writing – including his most recent release “Breathing is Overrated” (I may have mentioned that this was one of my three Honorable Mentions in the Writers of the Future contest) – can be found in many places, including:
• Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• His Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
• Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri
To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW), go to
• His site on WordPress: https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink
• His Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri