That Last Summer
Red Truck Review Volume 3
That Last Summer was published on-line in Red Truck Review, a southern literary journal. It is a short story (fictionalized memoir) about a boating excursion that a friend and I took back in the early 70's. The trip actually took place, but I think their were four of us, and that water really is wide. I've been told that when you read the story, you can actually smell the crabs and shrimp cooking over the fire. Boys that age can get into some serious trouble--by accident--especially when girls are involved.
Shoot Him Daddy
Shoot Him Daddy is a dystopian short story of two lovely sisters with guns, moonshine, the mountains of North Carolina, and Jackers, cannibalistic humans controlled by microscopic aliens. The story is one of my favorites and is currently being rewritten as a full length novel. The story was originally published in 2016 by Metasagas Press in Futuristica Volume I.
Published in Swallowed by the Beast by Samie Sands
The young life of Thaddeus J. Styx takes a brutal and terrifying turn when his kidnapper delivers him to Wadi, an outlaw stronghold two light-years from home. Styx escapes his captor with the help of a small robotic dog, but soon learns his only chance for survival will be by gaining the favors of Sibylla, a beautiful woman who lives in the mysterious enclave known as The Emporium.
The Emporium is a musty, perpetually dark tavern filled with robots, ancient treasures, and, according to Styx, at least one of everything known to man, although to be accurate I should say Pangaean. Humans don’t actually get to visit The Emporium until it reaches Arcus, in Outpost Earth. The primary characters in The Emporium are Sibylla, Styx, Gopher, Candy, and Finch. If you’ve read the story, you know we don’t see too much of Finch, but that’s okay, I don’t like him much anyway. The Emporium is a novella of roughly 14,000 words, and was written specifically as an entry into the Writers of the Future Contest. The basis of the story is actually back-story of a subplot in my full-length novel, Outpost Earth. If you’re interested in learning more about a specific character shoot me an e-mail, (LHDavisWriter at Aol.com) and I’ll post the information on this site.
The Presence (unpublished)
By L.H. Davis
The house called to me well before we stepped from the pier onto the crushed shell path leading up to the kitchen. Her windows rattled in harmony with the drumming thunder, while the sullen rain consumed the remnant of the day. As a cool breeze tumbled through her open hallways, the house sighed, exhaling into the gray-green of late afternoon the aroma of hot coffee, sweetened with a mere hint--of The Presence.
Hidden behind thick pink azaleas, the gray wooden porch wandered endlessly, embracing all of the rooms on the ground floor. Around back, out of sight, the iron staircase spiraled upward to a higher plane where the bedrooms sat quietly, waiting for the evening to call. Here the porch resumed, once again encompassing the towering structure. The house was all but hidden by the umbrella of gnarled oaks that had lovingly shielded her all of her years, from the ravages of the sun and wind. Her view of the river, although less than before, continued to justify her being and permanence.
High above the salty green waters, which meandered for miles before reaching the Atlantic, the house kept a vigilant watch, as our shrimp boat ventured to and from the sea. Each day, all summer long, we would fill our hold from the teeming waters before running for home in advance of the storm's fury, which we knew would come. It always came.
As we hastily downed our lunches on deck, our eyes were drawn to the horizon with its small congregation of clouds. They gathered slowly at first, white and innocent, mingling and building one upon the other. And there, while the sun baked the morning away, they hovered and fed from the vast sparkling waters. But once the clouds were bloated and swollen, their innocence lost, they darkened and rolled, as they begged for the wind to heave their fertile bellies ashore.
I turned toward the wheelhouse after a whitecap breached the gunwale, but my heart sank as the captain cried, "One more pull, boys. We've still got time and plenty of ice. Trust me."
So as we turned back into the wind, we released the nets and lowered the booms, spreading wide the lacey hand of My Lady. Her engine bellowed against the strain of the rising sea, but the captain held his course straight and true, as the darkening sky closed in. The winches groaned as My Lady embraced a plentiful school, and the captain poured on more fuel. With her stack billowing diesel, thick and black, she plowed the towering waves. High and proud we rode, until a deafening blue light overwhelmed the graying sky.
"Haul 'em aboard and get 'em below," the captain yelled, as he turned the boat ashore.
Fangs of lightning ripped through the boiling sky, as we, mere mortals, urged our boat home with confessions, promises, and prayers. With our eyes turned skyward, we iced down our catch of sixteen-count pinks and then returned the lesser creatures to the sea. And as the first swollen drops of rain exploded on deck, My Lady leaned into the heavy weathered planks of the dock we called home.
"Told you I'd get your butts back in one piece," the captain said, as we headed up to the house. He had, and he did, although I sensed Mother Nature had overlooked our arrogance for the last time.
The Presence met us on the path where it always had, just beyond the wrought iron gate. Its essence was a scent, which wasn't bad, but I was never quite sure if it was pleasant, either. The Captain's house was no different than many others in town. It had that same smell people expected to find ambling around old homes, no more and no less. And as with most, its scent was stronger some days than others. When the kitchen was bustling with activity and the oven full of biscuits, the house would come alive, filled with the fragrance of heaven. But when the house was left on its own, quiet and idle, The Presence would prowl as a skittish cat, arriving unseen from places unknown. It would slink silently from room to room, treading where it might while reclaiming what was rightfully its own. Yet, the scent always comforted me, as if an old friend were saying, "Welcome back. I've missed you." In a great many ways it was, although something deep within me continued to resist its full embrace and urged me to be wary of the unknown. "Who, and how many, are a part of you now?"
The Captain's property had a rich history, and the house had always been a gathering place, one people never truly wanted to leave. The structure had been spared from the burning of homes during several prior wars, and I realize now The Presence had been the inspiration of those decisions. The Captain never claimed his house was haunted, none of us did. We all knew better than to speak what should not be spoken, because The Presence, with sufficient patience to endure eternity, would then linger for each of us. Down deep, however, I knew it was too late; The Presence had had my scent for years. And in this, knowing the sea would not claim all of me, I found peace on the day I died.
The Presence lingers in a variety of old homes, majestic and humble alike, but all have one thing in common: they've become saturated with passion, the residue of life. Each tender moment, or lifetime of pleasure, leaves behind a trace of its essence. A person in tune with the home can sense the lives and loves of those who have come before, and, if they do, the house will reach out and steal a tiny piece of their heart. Year after year these slivers of people's lives accumulate within the walls, and then, when the house has grown thick and heavy with these bits and pieces of old souls, they coalesce--into The Presence.
Visit these homes with awareness and care, for you too might sense the passions of the past. Once you feel them tugging at you through time, it's too late; a tiny portion of you is gone--not lost--stolen by The Presence. And once it has your scent you become a part of it, and The Presence then waits for you.