Speculative fiction stories from C. L. Nichols In “Jump!” a lineman is transported to an alternate reality after a lightning strike, or is it only an hallucination? Someone awakens to find handwriting actually within his concrete bedroom floor in “The Silent Chatter.” A man’s wife is turned by a group of vampires; he follows and teams up with a female vampire to find them in “Till Death Do Us Part.” Other speculativve stories explore the unusual and bizarre environment of the slipstream. Added bonuses include selections from novels by C. L. Nichols for your enjoyment.
Targeted Age Group:: Everyone
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I am an avid reader. I have gone through many periods in my life where I concentrated on one main subject: Westerns, Zen, Counter-culture, Literary fiction & non-fiction, Post-apocalyptic fiction, etc. That potpourri of subjects has been stirred into a single vat that has become story idea mutations. SPECULATIVE ENCOUNTERS embodies that spirit. Each story is much different from the others.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I suppose my characters derive from my past. They may have been "real" people (or a blend of people), role models from my reading experiences, or just pulled from the ether. I am a "pantser" (though I would be willing to try the other extreme), so one word follows another, and I am never quite sure where that character walked in from.
Stinging rain pelted Tanner Sage and streamed down his vinyl raincoat, falling thirty feet to the ground below. The two-by-three bucket he clung to swayed on its long metal arm in the gusting wind. Lightning arced across the sky then thunder shook the night.
Tanner had worked many emergencies in his six years with Hadley Electric, but he still struggled to control his fear, high in the air during a big storm.
While straining forward against the steel cable to his safety harness, he opened the junction box. The powerful flashlight mounted in his helmet spotlit the transformer's innards, revealed a writhing mass of coils and wiring.
Already twenty minutes on the scene, he realized this was going to take some time to set right. Hundreds of homes were without electricity so he needed to restore power as quickly as possible, but Tanner knew to carefully think through each move before making it. Mistakes here could prove disastrous.
He wished to be already home in his recliner. Maybe a Miller Lite in one hand and the remote in the other, watching the radar go round and round on his big screen.
All by his lonesome, ever since the divorce. Single life sometimes left him bemused.
A ball of lightning surged around the bucket's metal rails, shearing his safety line in a shower of sparks. An explosion like a shotgun blast in his face deafened him. Paralyzing numbness coursed through his body and deadened his senses. He tipped backward then fell from the gondola. Was he flying?
As his back struck the ground, his breath exploded violently. Barely conscious, he faced the sky, frozen in shock.
Rain slapped his cheeks, puddled in his eyes. Smoke drifted from blackened fingertips.
Feeling returned, and intense pain rippled throughout his body. Violent cramps grabbed and squeezed, curling him into a fetal ball.
Tanner lay in a hollow filled with rainwater, jittering and cold and wet
The sun beamed brilliantly. His pain had left.
Tanner stood in a meadow looking down a grassy slope at a primitive cabin about fifty yards away. Tall spruces on each side, the cabin faced him. Heavier woods filled the background.
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