Harry went to the window and watched his friend walk down the street. He wondered if he should be concerned. For some reason, he felt a bit of uneasiness; just couldn’t put his finger on the why or wherefore. Aw, hell, he reasoned, it ain't none of my business. Yet there was something eating at his mind, a voice telling him to go no further with this transaction. It was a gut feeling he couldn’t shake, a feeling that his friend and neighbor of over 30 years was not ‘quite right’. There was definitely something ‘off the scale’ about Euclid today. A vivid image entered his mind. A vision so unfathomable he had to let it go. Harry shivered as he moved to slowly close the store’s door, continuing to watch the retreating figure kicking stones along the road, unable to shake his feelings of dread.
Commentary from Author: I’ve often questioned if we really know anyone? You read of the kind neighbor who secretly has been molesting children for years or the nephew who committed suicide over snide, cruel remarks from classmates. Also, as in this instance, when we have doubts of another’s sanity, do we ignore our intuition or take action? Furthermore, do we outwardly betray what we wish others to see, yet hide parts of our personality deep within? Believe Euclid’s interaction with Harry Henry McFarland asks the reader to ponder this question.
Excerpt from Chapter 2 – Jimmy and Euclid
As Euclid whittled away, each clip of the knife hit the exact spot to bring about the desired results. He was lost in the art of the craft, forgetting for a moment the deep despair and anguish losing both his wife and his job had brought him this last year. For a while, life felt good to this kind and loving man, a man whose recent thoughts had been fraught with suicide, hopelessness, and overwhelming pain. These views he kept to himself, along with so much more: ideas that grew in the night, messages he couldn’t control or ignore, and deeds he felt compelled to carry out. At times, Euclid felt himself growing quite mad indeed.
Commentary from author: This excerpt portrays the doubts, anguish and hidden thoughts which Euclid hides within his soul. The fact Euclid is whittling, which brings him joy, shows how he is attempting to hide his inner demons.
Excerpt from Chapter 3 –Joshua Allen
What a day it had been! Crazy, exciting, and prosperous, it was the type of day that caused his blood to surge through his body, his heart to pound with exhilaration, and his senses to remain sharp and keen. He’d made a killing in the stock market, something not so easy to do with the economy in such a mess. Most thought him very lucky. He had to laugh at that one. It wasn’t luck. Only suckers believed in luck. You had to know what you wanted out of life and go after it no matter what the cost. He was living proof that anyone whose goal was money and wealth could have it.
As he drove, he reflected, not for the first time, that too many people get stuck in doing the right thing only to find themselves full of guilt or remorse over the lousy choices they made. They were all losers with a capital L. Goody-goodies who preached forgiveness, empathy, love and understanding. Just thinking about those pitiful morons brought a sour taste to his mouth. No, emotions such as those were not part of his makeup anymore. He’d learned a long time ago that all it got you was heartache, humiliation, and fear. No one would ever again be able to hurt him, physically or emotionally.
Commentary from author: I wished to show in this writing, on the surface, you immediately believe Joshua Allen to be a cold, self-centered, unfeeling individual, yet as your read further, you find there lies more beneath the surface. What happened to him in his life that brought such physical and emotional pain to change his character? Are we really a product of our environment and life circumstances?
Excerpt from Chapter 4 – Angela Frank
One vivid memory was of lying in her twin bed, amidst the down comforter and pillows. Suddenly she was transported upward, above the roof of the house, into the night sky, among the stars, and found herself hand in hand with the most beautiful being she had ever seen. Certain it was an angel, she had no fear and willingly flew up into the night, around the town, and into the universe of stars. Such a calm feeling of peace surrounded her; moreover, she felt total bliss and pure love. Eventually, she’d be back in her own bed, fall asleep and have the most pleasant dreams, filled with magical music, magnificent beings and the sensation of pure love. Voices played in her head, sending messages of hope, peace, and universal kindness.
The next morning she awoke, so excited to share this journey with her mother and father, yet when she told them of her adventure she was met with punishment and disbelief from both, along with a sharp slap across the face.
Commentary from author: Angels visiting a child? Imagination, heavenly gift or work of the devil? And if such an event is experienced by a child, should they be greeted with punishment when they relay their experience to a parent? What does this teach a child? To distrust? To lie? To hide?
Excerpt from Chapter 8 – Joshua’s Turn
Joshua walked into the bathroom and faced the square mirror above the large white wash basin, a bit alarmed to see the fear in his face. He reached into the cabinet and took out the toothpaste, opened the cap and squeezed the familiar white and red goo onto his toothbrush. The sweet smell of peppermint filled his nostrils as he brushed up and down and inside his mouth. “Uh! My God, what the hell is this stuff made of?" Rotting, infected pus-filled substances traveled down his throat, causing Joshua to gag as he made a vain attempt to spit out the horrid stuff. Sweat beads formed on his forehead. He steadied himself by grasping the edge of the sink, gagging involuntarily all the while until he found he could not overcome the waves of nausea. As he lowered his head closer to the sink he watched, petrified, as maggots, spiders, worms, and centipedes fell into the basin, slithering in the stinking liquid and gobs of foul-smelling partially digested chunks.
“Oh, my God,” were the last words he uttered before Joshua Allen sunk to his knees, gasping for breath on the cold tiled floor.
Commentary from author: In my mind, horror is most terrifying when portrayed via the most common, every day occurrences. In this chapter, I used the act of brushing your teeth to instill the fear factor. It also draws the reader in as they wish to know what happened to our dear cad, Joshua. Perhaps he has encountered something even his huge ego cannot control.
Excerpt from Chapter 12 – Home, Where the Hearth Is
After brushing her teeth, washing her face, and combing her long hair, Angela slipped into her lilac-colored nightgown, the one with tiny pearl and ribbon flowers cascading down the front, pulled back the blue and white checked bedspread, and crawled into bed. While she settled in beneath the covers, a voice whispered into her ear, “Angela, I am here by your side.” Angela groaned, partially in acknowledgment, partially in rejection, and wholeheartedly in exasperation, wondering why she had to be different. She wasn’t able to tune the voice out recently. No matter what she tried, ignoring it, dismissing it, her tactics failed. In fact, it seemed the more she resisted, the more often the voice would return.
“Who are you? “What do you want of me? Can’t you just let me be and leave me alone?” A soft voice answered, “I am goodness, I am innocence, I am virtue, I am love. I was there long ago, I am here with you always. Do not be fearful. Listen to my words, for they come with great promise, hope, care, and concern.”
For one brief instant, Angela glimpsed a figure cloaked in a silver, purple, and gold garment which flowed and danced in the air as if it was being blown about by a gentle wind. She could not make out facial features, yet she felt drawn to the being in some mystical, magical way. And then it was gone. She almost felt disappointment, but her fatigue took over and, laying her head on the soft down filled pillow, turning on her side, she closed her eyes and in seconds was fast asleep, dreaming the dreams of an innocent child. Wonderful dreams which came from a pure, uncontaminated soul. Dreams she would well remember. Dreams that would affect her future. Dreams of her ultimate destiny.
Commentary from author: Try as we may, are we able to dismiss what forms us? No matter how much we attempt to depress and stifle our experiences, will they return until accepted? And why after so many years is Angela unable to control the long forgotten psychic experiences?
From the author:
These are but a few glimpses into three characters found in The Turn of the Karmic Wheel. I honestly wrote the story to bring meaning and purpose to each individual’s life. In a world that at times feels unjust and unfair, I wished to tell a tale where my readers can understand their actions in life are important. As we go about our ordinary everyday lives, we touch others’ in ways we never realize and are, ultimately, accountable and responsible for our actions. Hope your deeds and acts in life bring goodness, grace and love to those you meet. I’m rooting for you!
Monica M. Brinkman
Author, Monica M Brinkman believes the world needs less greed and more humanitarianism.
Her novel, The Turn of the Karmic Wheel, reflects those beliefs. Look for the sequel, The Wheels Final Turn to be released early 2013. Her latest effort is a contributing author with her story, My Life As A Singing Telegram, as we take a walk down memory lane in 25 Years In the Rearview Mirror: 52 Authors Look Back.
Monica is a member of the Missouri Writers Guild, Vice-President of the Phelps County Historical Society, hosts the Thursday night It Matters Radio Show and is a columnist for A Touch of Karma on Authorsinfo.com
She resides in the Midwest with her husband Richard, two dogs and five cats.
To view or purchase ‘The Turn of the Karmic Wheel’
Visit her websites: A Touch of Karma
It Matters Radio @ It Matters
Weekly Column @ Authors Info A Touch of Karma