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Richard and Phil
This book is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, places and events in this novel are not real and wish to remain that way.
Text Copyright © May 2014
The Marcello Brothers, Richard & Phil - All Rights Reserved.
Cover Copyright © May 4, 2014 Phil Marcello
mother and savior
Lisa Marcello Grant
This is our second book, a collection of horror, supernatural and odd stories to tickle your imagination. Our first book, Unnatural Houses, allowed us to test the waters. We learned a lot and hope that what we learned will make your reading even more enjoyable.
Table of Contents
A Quantum Settlement
Making a Difference
A Dog’s View
Dreams Can Come True
The Perfect Village
The House upon a Hill
The Bottomless Wallet
By Phil Marcello
The last thing I remembered was the dull, rusted, evil grin of a delivery truck bearing down on me, then somebody screaming and a loud screeching sound. Then nothing. So I have no idea how I ended up here, all alone, sitting in a chair, in this solid white cube of a place in God-knows-where. At least I think I’m sitting in a chair. It’s hard to tell. I can’t move my head to look around and I can’t stand up or even move my arms. There are no restraints that I can see. But what is even more bizarre is that I can’t even move my fingers or toes. In fact, I can’t feel anything at all.
And then, suddenly, she appeared, directly in front of me. I think it was a she; all covered in a pure silky burka and matching veil that completely covered her face. Only her hands were visible with these four long, pale fingers that pointed outward directly at me. I think that she, or it, was also sitting down but I didn’t see a chair. Then she spoke to me.
“John Riley, you have been brought here because WE have a problem.”
My mouth never opened, my lips did not move, but somehow my thoughts came out as spoken words.
“Where am I and how did I get here? And who is we and who are you?”
The voice that answered was definitely female but it was hollow and devoid of emotion.
“So many questions and so little time. Who we are is of no significance. As to where you are, this is a settlement room. This is where we bring people to work out problems. As for how you got here, let me refresh your memory.”
It was like watching a transparent television screen that was suspended in space. There I was, standing at a cross walk of a busy intersection waiting for the traffic light to change. It was odd, seeing myself like that. Maybe this wasn’t the time or place, but I was impressed with what I saw. In my blue jeans and t-shirt, I looked like the tough, beefy, six-packed sixteen-year-old that I had worked so hard to become. But, now I wondered if all that hard work at the gym and running all those hundreds of miles was going to go to waste. As the film, or whatever it was, displaying my last minutes continued, an elderly feeble woman walked right past me and into the road, oblivious to the dangers of the oncoming traffic.
I had seen the truck approaching and, since it had a green light, I knew it planned to just barrel on through the intersection. In fact, it looked like it was speeding up to make sure that it passed through before the light started to change.
I saw myself reach out and grab for the fragile woman catching her by the upper arm. I must have frightened her because she tried to jerk away. I started to lose my grip and swung my other arm around to latch onto her. As I did, I lost my balance and fell forward into the road, directly into the path of the oncoming truck. Then the image disappeared. The reality of my predicament became obvious to me.
“So, I’m dead?”
“No, you’re not dead. Not yet. That’s why we’re here.”
“I don’t understand.”
The virtual screen re-appeared. “This is what was supposed to happen.”
That moment of destiny started to play once again but, this time, the old lady passed me by and I did nothing. I saw her in my peripheral vision. She wasn’t moving all that fast and yet I did nothing. The lady eased out into the road and walked into the path of the speeding truck. Then the view paused.
“You see, you were not supposed to interfere. Why did you do that?”
Why did I do it? It was obvious to me. “I didn’t want her to get hurt. You make it sound like I did something wrong. I saved her life.” But my concern and empathy fell on deaf ears if it, I mean she, had ears.
“Yes, but you were not supposed to. It was her time to die, not yours. Your actions might alter the future in a very significant way.”
That’s when another vision appeared. It was a large block of numbers in shiny, silver lettering that read 1999998763 and it was counting down. And then I saw movement. Her right arm actually rose up and pointed toward the numbers.
“Do you see that? We have less than two nanoseconds to fix this.”
None of this was making any sense to me. What was I missing? “Fix what?”
The clock ticked down to 19999986.
“You are not supposed to die, not now. There is something down the road, in the distant future, that you are expected to do. If you are dead then you cannot fulfill your destiny.”
Okay, now I had a clue, a small clue.
“So, what is it that I am supposed to do?”
Her hand finally returned to its resting place. “I can’t tell you that. I don’t even know.”
I had an old school thought, one of those philosophical questions that sooner or later enters everyone’s mind.
“But, if I am going to do something later in my life then my life, all life, must be pre-destined?”
This time it was her head that moved, side to side.
“No. If it was, we wouldn’t be here, now would we?”
Okay, so now I was back to not having a clue.
“So, how do you know that I’m going to do something? And why did you think that I wouldn’t help that old lady?”
She rose from her seat which I couldn’t see. Was it even really there? This, of course, made me try to get up but, nothing, no movement, no feeling, no nothing. She set out to answer my questions.
“Two very good questions. Let me explain the latter, first. All life, all future life, is a matter of probability, chaining, placement and outcome.”
I saw the clock tick down to 1999997.
“What? Chaining? Placement? I don’t understand.”
“We don’t have time for a full explanation. It could take eons. In this instance, it was highly probable that you would hesitate, be indecisive and do nothing. Of course, probability is no guarantee. Then there’s chaining. This is the accumulation of experiences that bring about your mindset that, for the most part, will dictate what you will decide to do in any given situation. Placement is a matter of putting you in the right place at the right time to fulfill your destiny. If you have the right mind set, the right education and skills, and the proper life experiences, then the outcome is predictable and probable. It’s how the system works.”
This was a lot for my teenage mind to process. And then I remembered my coach, my football coach, drawing a play on the white board, explaining the role each one of us had in that short segment in the game. It actually started to make sense: the planning, the timing and the execution with a probable outcome. And yet, there was an inherent risk that something unexpected could happen: a player could trip, turn the wrong way or get blinded by the sun. Something, anything, could go wrong and ruin it all. So, in my terms, in this play of destiny, I guess I zigged when I should have zagged. But still, I had one lingering question.
“Do you do this for everyone, every day, every second?”
“Of course not. On a day-to-day basis anything is possible. Of the trillions of lives since the beginning of the human race, almost all are insignificant in the grand scheme of things. But, a few are significant. There are events that are vital to push the human race forward.”
Just as I was beginning to get the picture, I had a defying thought. “But what if I don’t do what you need me to do? What if… what if Benjamin Franklin decided to go fishing instead of discovering electricity?”
“If he had not then someone else would have. There are parallel chains. There are many, many parallel chains and many, many people in them. Over time, people die off or choose a different road. As a major event draws near, the number of possibilities will usually dwindle down to a highly probable few.”
This news was both comforting and concerning. “So, if I die, then there is someone else who can do what I am supposed to do, right?”
“Maybe yes and maybe no. In this special event, your special event, the number of people, the number of parallel chains has diminished at an alarming rate. And you are the person to most likely succeed in this endeavor. I’m sure you didn’t notice but, we were actually redirecting some of the people around you, in an attempt to change the timing of what was about to happen. We even tried to have someone block you out, to get between you and Mrs. Mason, but our efforts failed. So we relied on the probability that you would not act, based on the level of concern you have for others. We were very surprised when you acted in the way that you did.”
Should I be offended at what she just said? Yes, I was.
“Hey, I care about other people.”
“Yes, you do. For your family, you show a lot of concern. And, as a friend, you are very loyal. But, toward strangers, you are lacking in empathy. Just the other day, when you saw that news footage of the rampaging floods in the Midwest, your first reaction was that you thought it would be cool to canoe down that stream. You completely ignored the damage to buildings and lives that was occurring.”
Check back soon. We have two new releases coming