Sunday, July 31, 2016

A favor for a friend-a great Devotional book for everyone.

Something different from me today. Something I have meant to do for a few months but today I did it.

I want to share two books with you-both are devotionals which is what is different about this. Both were written by the same man, Larry Briney, who just today, July 31, celebrated 60 years as a Foursquare minister.

During one segment of those 60 years he worked for Valley Christian Center where he wrote a column for the bulletin for over 20 years. Both of these books are made up of many those messages. I read them for many of those years and I always looked forward to what Larry had to say. He's great, has good insight, good sense of humor, great illustrations.

In each of these two books are enough messages for every day of the year. They are worth the price and make good gifts.

Check them out at the link below and while you are there heck out his blog. He has some messages on it too. Great stuff there.

Right here 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Short science fiction: The Logcutter

So back to my Science Fiction. This time it's an old story that has been revised three times now. Twice during the 5+ plus years since I wrote it, when I learned something new about writing, and once just now. This last one was actually half a revision, there are probably still spots that need work, but it's one of my stories that are on my top level. In other words I like. :)
It's 3,800 words long and Science Fiction and deals with the emotions of a soldier years after the war ended. 

Hopefully next week I can finish that new one I keep saying I will do. But this week I ended up with two short ones dealing with a dust bunnies of doom theme and other writing work.
As I have stated in earlier posts I don't mind comments including real criticisms.

So without further adieu :

The Logcutter

By L. E. Doggett

The condensed beam of light shot out. It took only an instant for it to cut through three two foot wide log. The roughly ten by ten clear area where he did his cutting was quiet as it should be. Trees started another five feet after that but something could wiggle its way here. The scent of burnt wood tickled Cal Jones’ nose. Burnt dirt also, for the laser cut into the soil under the wood. That’s why he set up a tripod so it would be aimed downward at all times. 
The six inch long piece dropped with a dull thud. He would wait until it cooled to place it with the others. The air this morning showed that he better work faster to get his wood cut for the winter. Thanks to the insulation and building materials, it looked rough like rock, heating the prefab two bedroom green and grey house behind him didn’t take a lot of wood. However cold hamburgers and soup didn’t taste good. Cold cut sandwiches wouldn’t be bad, but not for all winter.  
The ex-solider shook his head. He still didn’t like to use such a beautiful weapon to cut logs. If he didn't though he wouldn't have anything to warm his farm house, or cook his food with when winter started. Fall, what passed for fall on this planets, chilled the air. The wind picked up for a moment and blew dust, pollen and ash into the air. He spat, followed by a sneeze. It also blew it into his mouth and nose. He never did like the flavor of ash-it reminded him of all the times he had breathed it in, and tasted it, during the war.
Cal sighed, it would be better to use the laser against some of the dangerous, large animals that roamed this forest. They roamed further deeper however, and he didn’t really want to use it on them. He had used it on animals, but he tried to avoid them when possible.  
The pile of lasered logs grew. His house had solar panels, but the sun didn’t shine for long in the winter months. If there was an emergency he could use his bicycle generator, even though that supplied only enough power for certain appliances: such as his radio and his TV, when he was in the mood for movies that is.
He liked pretty much any type of movie except for war movies. After five years of fighting a real one Cal didn’t feel ready to watch a make believe war. War movies reminded him too much of what he had done during the real war, and the friends he had lost. Cal’s nightmares were strong enough now, he didn't need anymore reminders.
He bent down to adjust the laser, moving its tripod, so it could cut another six inch slice off the log.
The laser and his boots were the only things Cal brought home from that Godforsaken war. He still felt surprise that the people who signed him out let him keep the rifle and the boots. 
If I went crazy I could do a lot of harm with that rifle. The military hadn’t needed the number they had for peace though. My buddies decided to each keep something and after an argument I ended up agreeing. Evidently those that processed us also agreed. After I signed the release papers they turned their backs, literally, as I walked out of the processing center carrying both the laser and my boots in a sack that didn't hide their shape. They didn’t like the way the government just booted us out and at the same time they were grateful we had kept the Juggernaut at bay.  
At least the money the government gave me was enough to buy two acres and a small house out here in the middle of nowhere. The house is well built, with good installation, and all the appliances are well made. 
I bought these acres way out here, because I didn't want to be around people. I knew I needed to be alone to heal and at the same time I didn't want to be bothered by people. I felt like the hard work needed to farm in this half jungle was what the doctor ordered.
He shook his head, there's probably over two hundred of us out here on these two acre farms, and I know of two other communities with the same numbers. So many men, and a few women, with bad memories and feelings.
He sat down on the log tired. Maybe he should move to town. Teddy and John are coping in the city. They say it’s hard, but they both found the love of a good woman, which they said helped.
A scream interrupted his thoughts. A loud growl followed a second scream. The screams came from a human throat and the growl didn’t. He stopped to listen, all of his senses on alert. 
He heard another scream, this one was joined by softer ones. 
Oh oh, children, which probably means a family; one who came here to enjoy nature. It sounds like they are being attacked by a Gorillain-and they traveled in packs. 
Without further thought, he unhooked his laser from the tripod and took off. From his battle experience he knew how far away the screams came from and what direction. As he ran through the tall grass he didn’t feel the knee high, whip like red seed stalks as he crashed through them. Before he knew his senses slid into war mood. His speed increased, the trees and anything else along his sides blew by in a blur. He caught a whiff of a dead animal, he normally won’t have notice, he could see better in the dark shade under the trees.
On the way he glanced at the power setting. A curse slipped out. He already knew the power level, but out of habit he double checked it. He should have recharged it instead of waiting until after he finished with the logs. On the run, he used his thumb to change the weapon’s setting to just below medium. That would make it harder to kill any of the beasts, but it wouldn’t be good if the charge ran out before he chased them away.
He hoped he didn’t have to kill them, but bile came up when he thought of the children in the animals’ claws. At least he didn’t have to worry about where he set his foot. His boots had survived the last two years of the war and three years of living here. It wouldn’t matter if he stepped on a sharp twig, a snake or a sting beetle. 
It took him only seconds to enter the trees, even though he slowed a little he still ran almost full out, weaving in and out of the trees. The low branches he avoided for even the very thin ones felt as strong as battle steal when he ran into them. Which explained why he used the laser to cut the wood from these trees. They burned for a long time, but took for ever to saw through.
Seconds later he smelled the musk of the Grollians, very strong which meant they were upset. When he neared the clearing from where the screams and growls come from, he heard soft thuds, followed by growls of pain and anger. The air had warmed, sweat tickled his forehead, under his arms and back. 
He thought that the noises sounded like the humans were trying to drive away the beasts by throwing rocks at them. Not a good idea, as they were about to learn, but at the same time there wasn't much else they could do. 
He hurried through the last of the trees, instinctively moving with the wind blowing his way instead of toward the beasts. Without thinking he moved silently as he learned to do during the war. 
Cal came upon the scene from one side. The Gorilians stood still on one side of the clearing, which gave him a sense of relief. No one had been killed yet. A glance on the other side made bile raise in his mouth. Five people stood there: a woman and man with three children of various ages. The two oldest were boys and the youngest looked like a five year old girl. Even from his postion Cal could see tears as they ran down her cheeks and hear her sobs. All three children stood behind the couple. Both adults were holding thick sticks, ready to swat the first beast to come near them. Both wore terrified expressions on their faces. 
From the way they glanced at each other they more then likely knew their best efforts probably wouldn't slow down the animals. At the same time they looked determined to do something to protect their children. He thought he could smell their fear; it reminded him of the war. That stink always melded with his thoughts of the battles he had been in.
A breeze blew by him and carried their and the humans’s scent. He studied the animals for a moment. He knew them by sight and study, but it still amazed him that they looked so much like a cross between an earth gorilla and an earth bear. These like most of their kind, even the females, were seven feet tall. From his position he could make out females in this bunch. The females were not as board as the males, and Cal could easily make out where their six mummery glands would appear, as they filled with milk right after they gave birth. Their presence made this a family group. 
He wondered why they were attacking the humans. They usually left humans alone, preferring larger prey. Maybe they couldn’t find their usually prey and thought the family would make a communal meal. Or maybe the family had come upon them and started screaming and throwing rocks. Whatever the reason, their standoff was about to end. One male moved toward the humans.
Without having to think about it, Cal leaned against a rough tree and raised his rifle to a firing position and pressed the trigger. A red beam shot out hitting the moving gorillian in the claw it was reaching toward the adults. 
The beam could have been invisible, but the heads of military development thought it was better if soldiers could see the beam. That would help them not run into it on the battle field. They might have been right, he grudgingly admitted, for he had seen soldiers blunder into the laser beams, as bright as they were. If they couldn’t see the beams there would have been more accidents of that type. 
The beast kept moving for two-seconds, as the beam burnt into its hand. It finally stopped and looked down at the claw, before letting out a howl of pain and rage. It pulled back the claw, but Cal managed to keep the laser on the hand with practiced ease. It finally burned all the way through the claw, as the beast screamed its fury. It turned from the family, glanced around, as it looked for the source of its pain. 
Cal switched targets, firing at another one, hitting it in the chest. It humphed in surprise before it screamed in pain with a deep throated growl, as the needle of light started to burn into its chest. The gorillian moved out of the beam, before it could burn all the way through its chest. From the blood and time Cal thought it might have cut halfway through the torso, but it looked like it missed everything fatal. 
A glance to his right told him that the first male he hit was headed his way. Moving with haste he backed into the trees. Without stopping he ran as quietly as possible against the wind. He came out of the trees closer to the band. This time he fired from the hip, another maneuver he had plenty of practice with. He hit another big male, keeping the beam on the creature long enough for it to burn all the way through its torso. Its yell lasted a long time and when it tried to move it fell. The wound didn't kill it immediately, but Cal thought it would eventually. 
He moved again when the one he had just shot started to move his way, probably after catching his scent. On the run, he let the beam score along the back of another male, who was headed for the family. It didn't go deep enough to do much damage, but the beast turned from the family, now headed his way. 
A glance told him that the family was edging toward the 
trees. A wide fallen tree lay behind them, that would slow them down. 
Cal made it to the other edge, turned, aimed and shot all in one movement. He hit one in the eye this time. He was able to keep it on it long enough to burn out the eye, but not long enough for the beam to reach its brain. The Gorillian whiplashed in pain, first moving its head up and back then falling to its knees.
Shaking his head, that wasn’t good, I wanted a fast kill. 
A shadow interrupted his thought. He pivoted out of the way of a claw swiping at him, then dropped to the ground to avoid the other claw. Rolling out of the way he thought that's it for the lower setting. If my shots are fast and precise I should be able to score death shots before the power is used up. 
Without even a glance he used his thumb to slide the setting to the second from the top. He rose up on one knee, raising the rifle up to an aiming position and fired, all in one movement. He hit one in its back. The beam cut in quickly, but the beast arched its back. The beam slide sideways burning a line across the back, but not staying in one place long enough to burn completely through. Keeping the beam on it Cal managed to finally hit its heart, destroying it in less then a second.  
Beetles scattered from where it dropped and a large carrion eater crowed its thanks to Cal. Tasting sweat on his lips Cal turned to the one whose eye he had burnt out, it still rested on its knees, in an all too human position. He moved to it behind it. When it started to turned toward him, he fired one quick shot at the base of its head. He smelled something new and realized that it wasn’t just humans that sometimes emptied their bowels when they died.
His stomach felt like it wanted to empty his last meal, as he turned; that felt too much like an execution. He watched two during the war and someone told him that the other side had killed one of his friends that way. In this case it was putting an animal out of its misery, but it still didn't feel right. 
As the gorillian fell, Cal ran to another position and fired 
at still another one. Before the beam could kill that one, he leaned backwards as a claw came out of nowhere again. This time his rifle went flying across the clearing. He observed a hole in that claw, and knew this one was the first gorillian he had shot. Somehow he missed it’s smell when it snuck up on him.
His hands stinging Cal dropped to the ground to avoid another swing meant to take his head off. He was surprised, but glad when the soft dirt under the trees, hard dirt can be just like rock. With a soft grunt he rolled to his back, fear grew while at the same time he would not let the thing win. He positioned a knife he had managed to pull on the way down. It was what used to be called a Bowie knife; long, thick and very sharp. He cursed himself for leaving his hand weapon back at the house. It may not be a military grade weapon, but it could still kill this Gorillian before it got him. A bullet in the chest, neck and head would do the job. But he didn't have it on him. 
The knife could do the job, if he was quick enough. He knew where the vital spots for a gorillian were. He picked up the habit of learning a potential enemy’s weaknesses during the war. It would be a fight with a real possibility he would end up dead. Or wounded bad enough to make him an easy target for one of the other members of the band. He couldn’t let the thing just kill him, or the family however.
Before he could move though something flew across his vision. He thought it hit the gorillian in the head. A second later another fist sized rock hit the beast. It ignored this rock, as it 
had ignored the first one. It also ignored the next three which hit it almost the same instant. Cal took a second to glance at the direction the rocks came from. He saw that the two older kids throwing the rocks. The father picked up a rock three times the size of the pervious ones and threw it as hard as he could. It hit the beast in the face, as it reared over Cal. Blood dripped from a gash left behind by the rock as it dropped almost hitting Cal. 
Roaring the beast turned toward the family. Cal readied the knife as another rock flew across the clearing. Slightly smaller then the one that left the gash it hit the beast as it roared again. By luck, or by planning, Cal didn't know, but it landed in the gorillian's mouth, sticking in the orifice. The beast let out a muffled roar, and shook its head, trying to dislodge the hard thing in its mouth. 
While it was occupied with the rock. Cal rolled out of its 
way, and on his hands and knees scuttled to where the laser lay. He could hear the other gorillians moving, so he raised up to a crouch, running the rest of the way in that position. He scooped up the rifle on the run, turning to face the animals, as he kept stepping backwards.
He again fired from the hip, scoring a hit on the gorillian, as it headed for the family. It screamed and pivoting before the beam could burn in far enough to kill it. The beam scored along the beast's side as it turned. Once it faced Cal, the beam started to burn into its stomach. He raised the beam burning a line upwards until he found its heart.  
Even before it started to fall, Cal aimed his weapon at another male heading his way. He kept the beam on its chest for 
the few seconds it took the beam to reach its heart. As it fell the rest of the band decided that they had enough damage. They ran off, using their hands, much like earthly gorillas, to increase their speed. 
Cal knew that one of them would die before too many days had passed. He better get home to radio a warning to anyone else that might come across that band in the next few days. 
He stood there a moment tasting blood from where he had bit his lip, but otherwise he seemed to be in one piece. Before he could move the family came over to thank him. They introduced themselves, and with tears in her eyes the mother hugged him. He smelled her sweat over a weakening perfume-deodorant. The father shook his hand expressing his thanks. The oldest boy shook his hand also, while the two youngest hugged his legs. 
Cal squatted down to let the two smaller children hug him, both stunk of dirt and he felt loose soil fall on his clothes, but he didn’t care. He thanked them for throwing the rocks and distracting the gorillian, while he was on the ground. They both shyly nodded a you're welcome.
Mr. Andrews asked him if he was ok. 
"I'm in one piece. Thanks for asking, I didn't take any serious injuries. This action wasn't any rougher then anything I experienced during the war."  
The father nodded, for he had heard stories about how bad some of the fighting had been during the war. They talked some more, as they walked to the family’s vehicle. With one last thank you, the family piled into it and drove off. As he watched them drive off, Cal smiled glad he was able to save them. He didn't want to think about them, especially the little girl, being torn apart and eaten. It hit him that the only reason he had been able to save the family, and that little girl was his training and more importantly his war experiences.
On the way back to his house, he realized how much he missed seeing children play. Once home, he sent out a general call to warn his neighbors about the wounded Gorillain. Then his stomach growled. He thought a shot of whisky would be good, but decided he didn’t need it after all. A quick meal of warmed up noodles and beef, though would be good. 
The next few days he thoughts of playing children stayed on his mind. In a sudden realization, it hit him, he hadn't been having very many nightmares since the rescue. He sat and thought about his experiences the pass few days. He used what he learned during the war to save the family. All that junk he had gone through had ended up for a good purpose. As he considered that, he remembered John and Teddy’s statements. The love of a good woman helped them to heal. 
Maybe it was time to move back to civilization. Not all at once though. He could sell this farm, he always was getting 
offers, and get a place in the town three hours from here. Only two to three thousand people lived there, a large portion of which were veterans like him. And just as importantly the population included single females.
He would miss this place. He liked working the land... maybe he would buy a farm next to the town. He would have to think about it, but by the way he felt he knew his mind was made up already. 

The End

For a break, a short, interesting mind picture

I was just discussing the Creation with someone about the need for light and heat before the sun etc. were made. 

An interesting mind picture formed as I finished my comments:

 God stood there, he wore a short white beard, large mustache that dropped over his upper lip. A half smile on his mouth. A railroad cap sat on his head and a delightful intense look in his eyes. He wore coveralls, like wood curves or mechanics wear sometimes. One hand was stretched out with the solar system, at least ours but maybe more, in the cup of that hand. Planets spun, and I could make out tiny blue and red planets and one covered with clouds. The planets spun around their sun(s). Blackness surrounded Him, but His spot could be clearly seen. 
  Spotlights shot out from his eyes lighting up the planets. His hand under the planets glowed with warmth. In his other hand he held a pair of tweezers much like those used by model ship makers. He inserted the point of the tweezers into the system to make last minute adjustments. His smile grew. 

More than likely that wasn't even close to what happened during creation except in the basic idea but still fun to think of. 

That's it for this post-said it was short. :) 

Two general fiction short tales

 I have been posting a lot of short stories lately but soon a post about my new book. Enjoy these stories and remember I don't mind comments and even a real criticism or two.

Again I post two flash stories from those 600 word tales I mentioned last week. So far these two are the shortest of the revised stories in that both are both under 900 words. This time there are both general fiction, even if the beginning of the first one might make people think horror. They are two completely different stories other than not being SF, fantasy, Urban Fantasy, steampunk etc, and being very short. 

Story One:
Mind Blob

I sat in the small chair they allowed me, next to my bed. No padding under my rear, on the arms or back, any occupant could chew on. He wouldn’t do that, just the thought dry stuffing filled with sweat and grim made his mouth go dry. However he had heard that some in here have done. I was dressed even though a bit warm in here. Voices and steps outside in the hallway drew my attention, but it wasn’t time yet. Then I will out of this room with its light blue and pink wallpaper.
That dream came again last night. I wish I knew where my subconscious came up with the idea: a dark blob, with uneven sides, with thicker sections here and there, and some missing spaces. Almost like a solid fog at night. It’s taller than I am and wider than my bed is long. It’s not a nightmare because I’m not afraid since it just sits there double my reach away. I have had that dream almost every night for the last three months. At first I was scared; woke up sweating, even though the air is cool, with a half yell, but it doesn’t do anything. I just watch it. Its shape changes a bit in every dream, but as I can figure out that’s just my subconscious adding a dimension to it. I think I know what the blacker areas are but not the empty spots. Areas of my life not effected by it? That would be good. I had to fight my reaction to it for eight months but it looks like I have it at bay. If it touches me, I get confused and usually freeze without knowing what to do next, sometimes I set out to do something that doesn’t need doing. 
A glance at the clock showed that I better get ready; my wife is coming, with our two kids, to pick me up and take me home. It will be nice to get away from the odors in here. They try to keep them down but vomit, piss and cleaning fluids are always in the background.  
It’s been a rough eight months, especially on Tammy. I’m glad she is still there. My recovery would be rougher without her.
I hear other patients walking up and down the hallway outside. I never did that, but I can see why some would. I had breakfast already, which I won’t miss. I hope we can go out to dinner tonight to celebrate, but Judy probably will want to stay home and get used to us being together again. That would be fine, maybe I can talk her into ordering pizza delivery. The food here is enough and eatable, but it’s not all that good.
After a few minutes I again make sure my few things are really packed and ready. Finally Doctor Jim comes to the door and tells me my wife is here. I shake his hand, thank him for his help. He tells me I helped myself and that he just directed me.
He takes me out to the lounge. There they are. I couldn’t help myself, I rush to Judy and hug her. Her body feels so good in my arms, her hands on my back are even better because of what they mean. I saw her only last week, but this is different. I hug my two kids. My eight year old daughter isn’t too sure about me.
I say, “I’m sorry for scaring you, I didn’t mean to. It didn’t have anything to do with you: I have a problem.”
She said, “I know mommy explained that you have a black blob in your head that makes you see things differently and confuses your thinking. It’s not your fault that it decided to hurt you.”
I blink at that, first in surprise, second because of tears. I look up at Judy, mouth “Thank you.”
But at the same time I realize that was my dream. Maybe she had mentioned her explanation to me and I had forgotten it, but my subconscious hadn’t. Or maybe I had spoken of it at one point. 
I stood, grabbed my small suitcase and we walk out to the car. Judy tensed, said, “You didn’t harm any of us, but you scared us. If you had harmed one of us, I wouldn’t be here.”
I nodded, “I understand and agree, if my blob ever made me hurt one of you, you should stay away. But now we know the signs of it moving my way and can deal with it before it touches me.”
She relaxed as if she hadn’t been sure of my response yet she still had to say it. She nodded, took my hand and, said, “Lets have pizza for dinner tonight at home.”
I smiled.
The end

Story Two

First Photograph

Deborah Chilled stared at the old, yellow Newspaper. It crinkled with age. This was one of the earlier editions of the Republican, now Fresno’s ex paper. It had been replaced by something else with a shorter name.
One could still make out the picture on the front page. She recalled the smell of the ink the day it came out-all of the papers in those days had that stink even two days after printing. This picture was the very first photograph to be ever printed in the Republican. It showed the Police Chief with a just caught bank robber. The Chief stood there in his blue uniform, you couldn’t tell the color in the picture, but she remembered the color and style, with a big smile. The robber had a frown. It was rumored that the Chief had had to threaten the guy with his billy club to make him stand there for as long as it took for the photographer to take the picture. However one couldn’t know when a rumor was true or not. In the picture you could make out the bank on one side of the Chief and a teller who happened to be standing in the door. She had known that teller. 
However more important to her was who stood on the other side. Two people. The woman’s side had been cut out but you could see her face well enough. The man’s face could be made out too. He had a huge smile on his face and Deborah could recall the sparkle in his eyes even to this day. Her expression showed doubt, but not because of what he had just asked, as some friends and relatives thought when the paper came out. She wore a new blue dress that day-he had wanted her to wear on their wedding day but she insisted on the traditional white gown. He had saved five copies of the paper. They still had this one.
After he had popped the question Jason had rushed them to be near the camera because he had heard that the photograph was to be taken. He wanted his big question to be recorded and printed in the paper. She had said yes almost immediately but then wasn’t sure why they were in that spot or why Jason had her turn to the sun and wait.
Deborah sat down, at seventy years old she couldn’t stand as long as she used to, such as on that day waiting for the photographer to get ready and to take the picture. It had taken seconds after he had set up everything, placed the hood over his head and snapped the button.
She figured it out as soon as she had seen that blinding flash. It had been so bright and unexpected that the Chief let out a curse word and had to publicly apologize later. The robber almost got away while everyone was blinded and the black smoke curled around in the air.
She slipped a kerchief out of her sleeve and whipped her eyes. No one would think an old woman in black as being silly for tears on this day. After all today was one year after Jason’s death. They had been married a full fifty years. She liked to think that no couple had been in love with each other as much as they had been the whole time. She knew that wasn’t true. Other couples had just as much love for each other.
It was easy to recall some of their arguments but easier to remember the day he saved her life at the cost of some bad injuries to himself, five years into their marriage. He never regretted the pain, or the fact that he almost died. She had though. Jason was not perfect, she knew that by experience, they had some bad fights the first couple of years but then they got used to each and the fights dropped dramtically. They didn’t disappeared though. And he could be stubborn at the most odd times. To the day he died he thought a woman’s place was in the home. They had some major disagreements over that. At the same time he hadn’t complained too loudly when she insisted in taking a couple of classes and too learn how to do new things. Now that she was so old she didn’t know if those classes would help her now. After all her fingers ached and she couldn’t bend over as well as she used to, nor move as quick. At the same time she was healthy and her mind still clear. Which meant that she would have to live without him from now on. 
She sighed. There were things she could do and she had some money—he had made sure about that—so she could work for charities or the church. She nodded, she would keep living as long as the Good Lord had her down here.

The end

Hope you enjoyed them

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Two Urban Fantasy Flash tales by Me

So Happy Fourth of July for those in the US. A great country to celebrate .

Anyway, I am afraid I do n't have the story I promised for this week. Last week I said I would write one for today's post. But with a strong desire to get my novel ready to go along with losing chapter 8 I didn't get it started. It's barely started. So here are two stories I wrote a while back. I am doing a series of 600 word stories based on a picture which changes every week. At 22 stories I will do an anthology of them. Except they won't be 600 words any longer once I revise them. One of these two are over 1,000 now and the other is close behind. One of the other stories is now over 3,000 words. So I may call the book "Long 600 word tales". They are SF, fantasy, Romance, general fiction, Urban fantasy, steampunk and a couple of odd ones.
A few of you may have read one or both in their 600 word stories but they are slightly different now.
Anyway. These two have the same Main Character, an older dude I still haven't named. I will have to do that. I hope to do two more stories about him to include with the 22. Obviously I did revise them-today in fact-but I will do that again because they still need a wee bit of help.

So enjoy:

Number One
"A Bother"

I strode up to the man inside the little booth, ordered some of the roasted nuts he sold. He worked at a kiosk inside a large mall. I can’t help myself I always get some of that brand when I come here. He handed me the bag of mixed nuts with a receipt, I don’t like to go to. I nodded, turned around. People walked by, or through the doors of the stores. Their scents followed them if they got too close. Some weren’t bad: perfume, aftershaves , etc., but some smelled of cigarettes, sweat or drugs. I shook my head.
The lights and skylights produced enough visibility to get a good look at everyone. Since I was born fifty plus years ago I find it hard to get used to some of the outrageous and skimpy clothes some of them have on. A few of the girls are even worse. The new craze with tattoos was wild too.
With a sigh I backed off, I needed to get away from that cell phone kiosk, ten feet away. If something distracted me enough I would let enough cellular vibrational mystical energy out to blow each of those tiny computers. That was the second reason I hate going to the mall. Electricity and what some call V-nergy does not mix. Which is why I always drive an older car. 
The first reason I have mentioned already. Those nuts can be expensive.
I needed to be here today though. There was a problem. I backed up intill my back hit the wall, hard and smooth at the same time, even though my light blue shirt. I now stood in a wall enclave where I could watch for it for that problem. The designer of this mall thought wall enclaves made the place look more attractive. I liked them because I could hide out in one for a few minutes. A tiny “don’t look in here” Trick, just on the opening, kept me from observation while I looked around. Someone determined could still find me but it wouldn’t be easy and most shoppers are distracted by other concerns. With age and experience I’ve learned to be skimpy with my store of V-nergy.
Two people, who walked too close to me, lost their cell connections and maybe their batteries; I sighed again. At least they didn’t flare up into a fire, this time. Another thing I needed to get used to with age. I hadn’t had to worry about personal electronics when my ability to manipulate those tiny vibrations that make up everything first showed itself.
Ten minutes later a sailor walked through the mall, I hadn’t seen him enter. Not all that unusual for a navy reserve base sat near here. It has been in continual use for generations. This fellow though wore the clothes of a sailor from the 1800s. They were muddy and wet in places. I nodded, it was him. My problem for the day. I could feel the bubble of something-not the usual cellular mystical energy-around him. I studied that bubble. I have a special sight, I can turn off and on, which allows me to see energy a normal person can’t see or sense. I titled my had back and forth to look at it from different angles. I could see lightning like arcs and a greenish tinged transparent field around him. Why Green? I don’t know, maybe God likes that color or it’s symbolic. Green for nature and this energy we use is produced by nature. Or maybe my subconscious is playing a game with me and green has some type of physiological symbology only my subconscious knows. Which makes it hard to guess what it means.
The person who called me had experimented with Time Travel Tricks. Which is very stupid. Not only was Time hard to adjust or manipulate, but it had a tendency to do strange things when you tried to manipulate it. Thomas said he only tried to set up a viewing window, so we could watch what happened in places and times we knew very little about. Something went wrong-I rolled my eyes-as it usually did. Another friend once spent five years repairing the damage done by someone attempting to go back in time to undo some event. We just didn’t understand-maybe we are incapable of understanding-how Time works. It had its own logic, power, and order. I thought if I twisted his Trick right it would send him back. It might hurt him with a backlash but not that badly.
I concentrated decided on a spot in that filed and sent the Trick and used my will to modify the matrix of the Trick. I let it go.
Ouch-that hurt me? Damn, it didn’t work right. Time does have its own rules. I tried to send in a web of lines to see if I could read the field deeper. The fingers of the web fell away. I drew it back in.
Why not? interrupted my own study of that when I spotted something in that bubble. My head tilted to one side as I thought. Somehow Thomas had produced a bubble of time energy-or maybe it produced itself when this guy came forward in time. A protection?
Or as I looked closer at one matrix, it did more. So what would happen if the bubble would burst? Another study-maybe it had meant to but Thomas’ interference stopped that. I reached into it with my energy, soften his Trick, pulled his energy to me than let the bubble pop. It did. The man disappeared, back to his own time I hoped. I turned to go thinking-hoping that Thomas and I had learned some wisdom from this. Or just an excuse to get the nuts.

The end

Number Two
"To relax or not"
I sighed. I had come to watch a football game; to relax, the scent from the pine trees growing around this small town and its small high school was suppose to help with that. Even the smoke from the fireplaces in each house, was natural. I was born over fifty years ago and I knew how to relax. For me a forest can help. This small community sat in the foothills of the Rockies. I liked it for as a user of the cellular vibrational mystical energy I didn’t have to hold it in as much here. There were very few modern convinces and those that were here were very well protected from that cellular vibrational mystical energy, You could see the larger mountains these hills led up to. I came here to visit an old friend who liked living here, with few outside people and neighbors with the same type of “condition” he had.
His son was playing in the high school game that had started over two hours ago. The sun was setting so the lights had just come on.The son was huge and wide, but he was one quarter Troll so it was expected. A nice guy though. That was why my friend lived in a small town in the hill country. Some of those here had their own particular physical characteristics. Like that tall fullback: his shape and slightly pointed ears for instantness. Some of the girls had long pointed noses. No one minded.

The game had just finished-we won, partial thanks to my friend’s son-late; the field lights had come on for the sun had all but disappeared over the mountains I mentioned. The cheerleaders and couches were all on the field waiting to come in. The gym, both teams used, was behind and was a large, grey brick building. They didn’t have money for anything fancy which is why they had just the field with lights, bleachers, football markings and goalposts. I didn’t mind that.

Smoke started to blow over the field. My head turned in the direction it had come from. There had been no fires around earlier but the grass and bush surrounding the school could burn very fast for it was dry from summer. The players and cheerleaders started to look confused. A couch or ref-it was getting hard to see-had turned to stop someone I couldn’t see.

From the exclamations of the parents and other fans, I knew I wasn’t the only one to experience the fading light. The lights on the posts didn’t do much to shine through the smoke.

I sneezed, grabbed my handkerchief. Oh oh, something I was allergic to. My nose dripped, my eyes watered. Only a couple of things would affect me that way. That is why I knew my time for relaxation had come to an abrupt end and thus my sigh.

A moment later I stood and hurried down the bleachers. They trembled under me and clanged with each step, as I stood at an angle, which meant I could only go so fast. Once off and on the grass, I ran down to the field, wiped my nose and upper lip again on the way. I hate it when my mustache gets filled with snot especially when I licked it-yecch. Now I needed to concentrate on my job. As a I hurried out on the field I ran to where the smoke came from. Players were complaining about the rotten egg odor. I could barely smell it now because of my closed nose but that was probably a blessing. The players, couches and cheerleaders were all confused about which direction to go. The visibility was very low down here. The smoke blocked the light like a very thick gauzy burlap bag lay everywhere. I drew in the energy I needed and sent a blast toward the goalposts that now looked reddish. My Trick rebounded; I tripped and almost went down in pain caused by the backlash of my Trick being demolished. Of course it wouldn’t be easy. Even as I debated what to do more heat and smoke came through. I could feel the extreme heat from half a field from it. It had become thick enough to taste the ozone and rotten eggs. 
I decided I needed help and to get the kids off the field. I ran back to where they were grouped. I shook the tall kid-hoped his eyesight came from his heritage-to get his attention. Everyone seemed gob smacked. He looked at me.

“Lead everyone to the bleachers” I pointed, “go now!”

He looked at the bleachers and I knew my guess had been right, he could see them. He yelled for everyone to follow him. I yelled encouragement for them to do it. That he could see where to go. I went to my friend’s son, led him to the right spot, told him he should run and hit that darkness with all he had, he would be a hero.
My surprise, he did. He hit the space between the goalposts three times. The first two didn’t do much but the last time he ran from further back. He had time to build speed. He smacked it hard enough to bounce. It flickered, I sent the Trick I had readied. Cracks appeared in the air, another smaller blast and it shattered. I used what V-nergy I had left and closed the pathway. That took effort and hurt for someone else had made the gateway. I knew what to do though so it closed. I panted and knew I would hurt in the morning but it had worked. The smoke would dissipate now. I would need to find who did it. I suspected it was one of those girls with the long noses. Someone practicing beyond what she knew, or trying of revenge, or maybe just to show off. The town elders would be able to find them and find a suitable punishment for the motivation. It could involve writing out in long hand, something like I will be more careful ten thousand times. 
However, first, I needed a rest and the BBQ they said was after the game. I am getting old for this. 

The end