Category Archives: Short Story

Message from Tara

[as transcribed by Sha’Tara]

{For the blog reader: the following I call a “letter from the future” as I received it from my future alter ego some time back. I had to think about it before I offered it for public reading – and had to remove some of the more personal aspects of the “letter”. I offer this missive from future “Tara” in 3 installments.      This is part 1} 

Introduction: Well, here goes and I hope I can write this to express what it meant to me when I received it.  This is not a story but an actual message from “me” – as Tara from approximately a thousand years into my future.  This is not “science fiction’; it’s what my future; earth’s probable future, looks like a thousand years from today.

The information I am sharing here was downloaded to my mind in thought-forms which I had to translate, like opening a zipped file to be manually reconfigured. I had to trust my memory to record what I was being told in a way that could make sense to anyone else reading this in this particular time. I realize that not all of what is in this “message in a bottle” from the future is acceptable to the antiquated mindset that rules this day and age but I’m willing to take a chance on the feedback.

I’ve often wondered how it would affect the run-of-the-mill human mind if it was ever brought face-to-face with a probable, or very likely, future. If it could be convinced that such a future is in fact an inescapable reality if nothing of what is currently determining that future is substantially changed.

This tiny increment of a future I am sharing with you is the most likely unless the direction indicated by our historical past, and our inconvenient present as we are shaping it, isn’t seriously nudged to one side or the other. Simply put, continue with “this” recipe and “that” is what you will bring out of the oven.

Message from Tara – greeting and authentication:

Hello to you. This communication is being pulsed from approximately 1000 years in your future. My name is Tara and my code name is “Tess” – from our initials, as I have continued to use the title “Earth Star” in our name.  Therefore Tara Earth Star – TES or “Tess”.  That is the name my function uses (explained later).

I have attached a code to this message to authenticate it to be me as future you by the feelings (felt as a tingling) which it will cause in your head. You will hear yourself say, “I know this.”  That’s how we authenticate time communications here. It’s like a spoor, or scent. You just know. If it doesn’t carry the code your acceptance implant blanks out the message – no, not yours, mine.  Sorry if I confuse you at the beginning: you don’t have any implants as yet. I remember well that we, that is you, had the wisdom to cancel out the brainwashing soul implant in your current time. That move has served us well in coming incarnations.

I am “you” or “us” and you can think of me as yourself in a future a thousand years from your now time. It is my hope this message will be received by you in the spirit it is being sent: as encouragement for you at a critical point in life choices and also as a glimpse into who we are, how we live and how we see ourselves as Earthians to the rest of the worlds we have come to know; perhaps more importantly, how we got from your time, to what I am about to reveal to you.

Since you will be unable to reply to this message, I will attempt to anticipate some of your questions and answer them in a way that should make sense to you. I know that after you decipher this you will have at least two obvious questions.

One, are we happy?

Two, in leaving the old ways, have we lost too much in relation to what we have gained?

I will leave these here for now and go on with my message. Perhaps the questions will answer themselves, and if not, I will attempt an explanation at the end.

Residency: I reside in the supracity of Angeles, Independent Territory California (ITC for short). You will recognize this as the city of Los Angeles, California, United States of America of your day. There are no longer political units you know as nations.  We use “region” or “territory” to describe our primary residency, but mostly we are known by the megalopolis we reside in. Angeles is the only city in the territory. This is where people live. Those who do not live in the city are in small enclaves of specialists and bio-engineers with their phalanx of helpers working with the environment – on soil, water, plants, animals as well as weather control.

No one just “lives” out there, whether on land or on water, who is not performing a function deemed necessary to the polis – the sum-total of all of us (exceptions noted and explained later). Their other, more critical function, is to repair the damage done to the earth by previous generations.

I am going to tell you about me by touching on parts of my day-to-day life, and supply whatever information needed so you will understand a bit of how we live; what we are up to. Many things I can’t explain – have no idea how they work, only that they do – amazingly and unbelievably well – and many of our technological abilities we simply cannot, and will not, share with the past. Your world would destroy itself completely if it were permitted to access and back-engineer many of our technology. I know only too well you do not possess the evolutionary or experiential maturity required to function on our intellectual and technological level.

I remember your time, not only as past lives memories but from scanning the data memory records of our many passages on this world.  There is a gap during the Great Death where we were on one of the stacked worlds doing what we’ve always done best –  and it worked.  We now have gender parity without need for legal enforcement. The misogynist patriarchy is dead and gone. We made it – we’ve got the world we dreamed of, well, almost.

After all, you’ll remember how you insisted that perfection was unattainable in the created order. You were right. So we no longer strive for things like perfection or freedom or love. We know they exist as absolutes and we know that the totality of a good thing destroys it. We strive for balance. However we are not “moderates” – far from it. We are full of passion but ours is of a new kind – almost frightening even to us.

We are much more understanding and accepting now and these are truly exciting times to live in.

Personal: I live on the 35th floor of a downtown apartment square.  You’d like it, it’s bright, clean, basic simplicity. I live alone – friends or visitors are not permitted here. Music awakens me at 6:00 AM. (We still use that same day time) and I’m prodded to get up and do my basic exercises. I speak to the agency (what you’d call an employer) or rather the agency speaks to me, while this is going on.  We don’t use phones – the apartment talks to you, wherever you are in it.

A built-in medi-scanner scans my body for any signs of stress, lack of rest, detects and makes notes for repairs needed for any minor imperfections found. Minor repairs and enhancement upgrades are done in situ by “the machine” – a sophisticated but unobtrusive auto-surgeon installed and programmed by the agency. The medi-scanner provides me information for changes I must make to diet, times spent exercising, studying, functioning (what you call work), morphing issues (explained later) and rest. I shower, then make my own breakfast. Not that I need to do this normally, but my city-defined function requires I practice this obsolete skill – more of an art actually. I enjoy it! (More on that later.)

My basic function as a corporeal entity:  I’m part of what you would call an escort service – though my function bears no resemblance to what would come to your mind.  By choice, I’m a provider. Such a function is now extremely important in a world that is less intimately earth-natural, though more challenging as we probe ever deeper into possibilities of corporeally reaching worlds beyond our solar system. To gain the greater it is necessary to sacrifice the lesser – but know that any sacrifice is from choice. We are evolving at a much faster rate than in your day. We welcome, we long for, the future; we do not fear it for it is drawing us.

In our heady plunge towards galactic and possible inter-galactic travel many old ways had to be abandoned. They were never practical anyway. Monogamous relationships, the nuclear family, these no longer exist.  Utterly impractical and full of old feelings that could easily drag us back into your dark ages through atavism. Adults with corporeal functions can have children – are encouraged to do so – and a child can have any number of parents, of either gender, depending on what “function” is desired of the child. Minds and bodies as well as personal genealogical history are probed, the results given to the prospective parents and details are sorted out.  From the results, a living mind is engendered and trained. When it reaches the age of self-sufficiency it is (usually, not always) given a body grown for its purpose.

The body may be perfectly human in shape, or not, again, depending on what the grown child has chosen as a function which could be other than what the parents initially chose. Those who choose non-human shapes are usually referred to as “neo-morphs.”  They would look very strange to you but are not thought of as being strange here.  After all, to us what matters is the mind.  In mind we are all human, or strive to be. A typical neo-morph could be a tiny human with several arms and elongated fingers or toes to move among computer terminals and service them, or install upgrades. It would be designed to be unaffected by electrical charges, yet it would be human, not android or cyborg, although these, as the neo-morphs, are a necessary and accepted part of our society and hold the same rights as any typical human.

The cooking thing – and other old-fashioned performances: Some agency clients practice old-fashioned tastes and expect their hired provider to cook.  Home cooking however quaint and decidedly wasteful is part of the pleasure I give to men who have no female partners by choice or necessity.  Sex isn’t the ultimate experience that people still seek from it in your time.  Now it’s the transient overall pleasure of present, corporeal femaleness that males, and also many females, seek.  Sometimes even children are supplied to create the illusion of a family.  These are not original beings, of course, but “partials” (morphed) supplied by an original in search of new experiences.  Then I become a “mom” to the child as well as “wife” to the man.  I enjoy that role but it’s a dangerous game. My feelings get aroused and mixed up. Amazing how quickly one can become attached to a human child or to a particular man! After say, a week (usually that is the extent of the “gig” as you’d call it – beyond that it gets prohibitively expensive for the client and emotionally draining for the provider) I need deep cleansing to release residual emotions. Deep cleansing is done at the agency and can take as long as twenty four hours to complete. It isn’t wasted time: it is turned into a time of study and exercise.

Please note here that I can only speak from a female perspective. The same role of providers are taken on by men. The agency probably has as many males “on call” as they do females. You could call it parity. The other thing to remember, it’s actually important for you to note this, is that some of us, like myself, have chosen our purpose for life. We are considered “permanents.” If I want to change my status, I have to earn the change or conversely I can do something unbelievably stupid to lose my position. For example, stealing something of value from a client, or resorting to cold, ignorant, abusive performance or refusing to comply to a demand that is clearly stipulated in the contract between client and agency.

There are many providers who choose to do this part-time, usually otherwise too occupied to engage even temp personal relationships, or who return from orbit on extended furloughs. There is choice; there is flexibility, yet there is control to prevent chaos.  All providers, permanents or temps, are registered with an agency, for convenience in making contacts and protection.

I am in demand because there aren’t as many “available” females as in your day.  Many who would normally be female choose to transgender to ease the problems of loneliness in off-world exchanges on alien ships or long-term orbiting station maintenance.  We have become waste-conscious and practical to a fault. Androgyny is common and trend is for hermaphrodite bodies now. Personally I chose a normal-bodied humanoid heterosexual female. I chose (past tense here) that form with the specific intent of using it to provide physical pleasure to equally “normal” heterosexual humanoid males who still have the same basic needs for full contact with females as they do in your day.  That male attribute, so twisted and denigrated in your day is now considered a great boon! My choice however is often overridden by the agency if a female wishes to have me for company.

I certainly do enjoy my function in society. I know I get at least as much from these energy sharing as do the clients. It may surprise you to know that often the sharing expected by men is of an intellectual and mental nature – problems that elude solutions are brought into the gentle intimacy of the temp relationship and I look at it from an individual female’s point of view – and feelings. There are episodes when “sex” does not come into play as we can become absorbed working with mind-images.

Socially, as females we are no longer underpaid corporate slaves or indentured “wives” tied to monogamous (monotonous!) relationships. We think of them as terribly unsatisfactory, oppressive and limiting, particularly for the women of your times and before. Women no longer bear children except in certain preserves or enclaves which are like your “native” reserves or wildlife zoos.  For example, there remain socially insignificant reactionary religious communities that are frozen in the old ways prevalent at the time of the Death. These are permitted to exist outside the City but not allowed to exceed a quota of procreation. Their activities are strictly monitored. We don’t care what they believe, or believe in but we certainly do care what they do. At this time the discussion is whether to sterilize them since their way of life is not only obsolete but no longer in accord with the aims of the City regarding earth.

There are isolated islands in the oceans where people live natural lives, growing their food right off the land and building shelters from raw natural materials.  These perpetuate humanoid mammalian behaviour for seed pools should something terrible happen (not as likely now) and for anthropological studies conducted from and by other *ISSA worlds.

In all of these “preserves” we have established safe stations where anyone who is abused or wishes to leave can escape to.  Once the safe station is entered, it locks and rises about one K and hovers until the occupant is removed by a shuttle.  The station then returns to stand-by on the ground.  We do not have permanent police on the preserves or islands; we only monitor, but any resident of such places who steps outside delineated boundaries is taken into custody and brought to a city’s evaluator to determine the cause and seriousness of the infraction and what is to be done. Serious infraction results in violators relegated to city memory; lesser ones may result in some limited mind purging and permission given to return to the preserve, particularly if they have attachments to a biological family.

Even though we have quantum technology and some limited faster-than-light transportation, many off-worlders still frown on us and limit our access to space beyond our solar system – they fear us.  So they study us, in great depth and with circumspection.  And so they should – always that danger of recidivism or atavism lurking on this world.  The history of earth as recorded on some worlds and seen through their eyes makes one cringe.  We have a joke about those who come here to study us: “Don’t worry, they won’t take you for a pet.  They know our bite is poisonous.”

For what it’s worth to you, let me assure you that as a species we have left a less than enviable track record for other ISSA beings to study. For many galactic ISSA species we remain persona non grata; dangerous, untrustworthy, murderous. Let me repeat it for you: we certainly did everything in our power, through our murderous and intransigent ways, to earn the fear and distrust of our galactic neighbours: not something to be proud of. It is of record that our termination as a sentient species was discussed and considered several times. Remind anyone with ears to hear of this for it is a reality of your times!

Back to my day: As I said, my apartment is clean, bright and basic. Every item here belongs to the agency.  Every piece of clothing or jewelry (if any is asked of me to wear in public) is categorized and identifiable by scan code from an implant. All my needs are met as they arise. Mere wants for physical objects are discouraged. If, without pre-authorization I bring home an item of no specific or immediate use, it is removed (you’d call it vaporized, it disappears) – recycled. Nothing of what I have belongs to me, not even my body. So you learn to not waste valuable energy uselessly, not to become dependent on gadgetry or even relationships that you own or that have the potential to own you.

They even scan your thoughts – not to keep you from thinking, but to the contrary – to evaluate and demonstrate how much “space” you are wasting in your memory and how you can improve it by not filling in the blanks with useless thought-junk. Yes, thoughts are energy and negative thoughts or lazy thoughts, are entropic. We can no longer afford that path.

Thinking progressively is what matters, not what you think about. New ways to improve your own performance greatly encouraged. Interaction with city facilitating, planning and design expected (the only kind of government we now have) and your input is logged into a special file within a mega department for the improvement of corporeal residencies and overall function.  Working out ways of making yourself more appealing, more understanding, more aware of your client’s needs and desires, this is good too.

You are expected to contribute meaningfully any talent you have to education, the arts, facilitating (governing) and general engineering. Your involvement determines your suitability when applying for your next performance level. It is also expected that I, as a provider, visit those non-corporeal mind-beings “stored” or held in City data for serious infractions. Such visits allow the incarcerated to be in proximity to a corporeal provider from whom they can derive a certain amount of vicarious pleasure and with whom they can share information.  Thus you provide up-to-date information for them to work with – think of it like bringing books or newspapers in a prison – and they feel less like *prisoners. If you are wondering what percentage of the mind population exists in storage, it is less than one percent and dwindling as atavism and recidivism is on the decline. I am hoping that with time, say a couple hundred years(?) we can do away with City data storage altogether.

I must point out here, or make it clear, that discorporate minds not in City data are free to go about wherever without any restrictions on their movements. Do we have a “mind police” should one of these is reported to have gone rogue? Yes, we do. Unfortunately, they are still needed and busy.

The other question you probably have is, how can you separate “minds” from “corporate entities”? With alien help we were taught how to separate minds from bodies. Much of it has to do with a new type of deep meditation. For rule-breakers who must lose their bodies, brainwashing and drugs are used to create the separation since it would never be done voluntarily.

Even our most die-hard materialists had to finally admit that a “mind” is not part of a physical body but is that which uses the body for its own purposes and ends. Thus we learned, when interacting with others, to address their minds, not their bodies. I do not own my body, it belongs to the agency, first of all, then to the City and by extension, to the world I live on.

What I am is a mind. My mind is me, always will be me, a recognizable individual with or without a body, living eternally unless for whatever reason, I choose annihilation in which case that which is ‘me’ and ‘I’ would no longer exist at all.

Why should we object to being minds without bodies? After all, we have been without bodies uncountable numbers of times between incarnations. We existed as individuals in non-physical astral realms and none the worst for it. It’s just that with bodies we can experience sensations and that is huge!

Are you wondering “who” it is does the monitoring, judging, expecting?  Well, we do – as a thought unit. We have become quite a body, and like a body, where we itch, we scratch. Sorry – bad joke.  Just call it species empathy. We inform ourselves, we feel, we experience, ergo, we know. Knowledge after all, is simply made up of two things: information and experience brought together. That tells you why minds so eagerly seek to join with a body: for sensual experiences.

End Part 1 of 3


The Gyre Sniffer

a short story by Sha’Tara
(inspired, in part, by the article, “Gyres” by Bucky McMahon
View story at

There are twelve of us aboard the “Gyre Sniffer” as we call our sloop. She isn’t pretty, but can take gale-force winds as if they be but a breeze. All her gear is top of the line. Our crew is the best of the best of the best as they so proudly say in the military.

Our job? Well, more of a lark, really, because we were all very well off and could spend money liberally, was to find the sea’s most horrific, deadly, large, stinky, poisonous floating garbage island. We had heard that it was guarded by a giant sea monster evolved from the materials it had found inside the floating plastic garbage.

We hadn’t had much results with satellite feeds or “Googling” our target and we didn’t care. Actually, we didn’t want to rely on advanced tech for this, we wanted it to be a sort of Moby Dick adventure. We were first of all, going to have as much fun as possible, even when we came face to face with the plastic sea monster and prepared to kill it.

It was Selina, the Portuguese girl, who was the first to throw her tablet and cell phone overboard. We remonstrated her about this, of course, but her reasoning was impeccable: they’re kin to what we’re searching for, follow them! We’d had a few drinks, the joints had been passed around and under the circumstances we thought she made total sense. That’s how serious we were.

We had managed a pretty good gender mix, five women, seven guys, everybody from late teens to mid thirties range and all of us totally freed from any sex taboos. When the sun shone we went about naked and enjoyed ourselves whenever in the mood, wherever we happened to be lying or standing, by reading and studying – yeah, right!

We ploughed on, using solar power to run our freezers, fridges, computers and minimal guidance systems, enough to avoid colliding with any cargo vessels we may encounter which to this point was none. We would get excited when we saw flotsam and made for it. But like Selina’s tablet and cell phone, they were on the way, not there yet. Since following was too slow, we calculated the flotsam’s direction and pushed on.

When high, a couple would jump in the sea for a dive and swim and more sex. Sharks? We figured in such an empty world they had better hunting nearer beaches. Yeah, we’d all seen “Jaws” – we even had a copy on a disk drive aboard. That’s how serious we were.

We weren’t so much interested in killing a monster. We certainly didn’t see ourselves as heroes. We were, to tell the truth, just a tiny segment of the earth’s richest “kids” utterly bored with our lives. We had met here and there, at parties, ski resorts, spas, even in board rooms, make that bored rooms, and in semi-drunken, stoned talk, had put this thing together. We ‘coagulated’ together as we discovered our mutual skills and sexual attraction.

We bought the sloop, had her completely overhauled, came up with the Moby Dick idea, geared ourselves up and met one foggy, dreary morning at some dead-beat marina along the Florida coast. We sailed, I mean that literally. We had thrown out the diesel engine and back-up gas engine also. We were going to sail, come hell or high water. If it meant it would be a one-way trip, so be it because nothing is worse than depression borne of absolute boredom.

Though we had this vague goal of finding a garbage patch and, mythologically speaking, finding a plastic sea monster circling and guarding it, the main point was to become the residents of an ark, the last and only remnants of humanity. So, we would enjoy ourselves, pleasure ourselves, to the hilt and to the dregs.

We ploughed on. The seas rose and fell as did our sloop. We got used to the sussuration of the sea against the hull and the music of the wind in the rigging. We got browner, tougher, smarter and quieter as the weeks passed. We began to see one-another, not just as fun partners or sex objects or casual acquaintances but as individuals; as people, as brains and minds with gorgeous bodies not just made for sex, but to admire and to remember, even in our dreams.

I dreamt of our elected captain, Sir Oliver Hampwell the Third, or “Cap’n” who was twelve years my senior.

As I thought about Cap’n I felt years slipping from my heart. I was getting younger and increasingly introspective. I found so much emptiness in my heart, I had to dig in our stores to find the classics Eugene and Mira had insisted on packing (though they had yet to pull out a single one.) I chose Moby Dick simply because I’d studied it in college but never actually read it. Certainly not to grasp the deep philosophy underlying the story. I read. I actually read. When approached by Darwin who’d been swimming and looked like he really had a ‘need’ I actually turned him down, me! “Not now, Darwin, I’m busy. Later maybe?”

“H’m… sure. I’ll find somebody else, no probs!”

That’s how it was with us. No one would ever insist on getting their way, they’d just find another way, someone else. I was ‘in love’ with all our guys actually, it’s just that I was discovering I developed ‘my moments’ when I had to belong to myself. It was nice to be desired, of course, but even more so to be understood and left alone in those times. I think one could say I was re-birthing myself, re-creating myself. Actually it would be more accurate to say that I was giving myself a life: I’d never really had one before.

We ploughed on. Less and less we listened to satellite radio feeds. There was so much traffic, so much noise, it jarred with our ocean-filled ears. We got more serious about life, more introspective, more eager to share and understand; to listen to another’s story. I would say, “Jesper?” and not “Hey you!” I wasn’t the only one changing, we were all going through it.

We became philosophical. Imagine that, us, the spoiled brats of a planetary elite, seeking the meaning of life.

“When we return to the real world, it’s going to be so different,” said the diminutive Suki. I wonder what I’ll do…”

“Maybe we won’t return. Maybe Suki, this is the real world and we all came out of an illusion. Maybe this ship will sink into the waves and we will become part of something so big we can’t even imagine it,” said Clive, our fabulous cook with the body of an Adonis. I didn’t want to see Clive drown, what a loss, it seemed to me then.

“We won’t sink, we’re past that now. We will sail, we will grow, we will learn more and more. We will all change, evolve. Best of all, we will seek and gain understanding. We will see signs and events in the sea and the sky no one ever saw before and that will make us both, certifiably crazy, and the wisest of people. We can never return to our old lives, you realize? Our past is non-existent. We can only go forward.” So spoke Cap’n, the wisest among us.

We ploughed on, the seas parting freely for the sloop’s proud prow. One sunny morning, with the spray shooting up, I walked up, naked, to the jib’boom to lie on it like a goddess figurehead pointing the ship in the direction of good luck, and a safe harbour. I made it, eyes full of salt spray and I saw the gyre-created island to starboard. I cried out, “Island to starboard!” and slowly worked my way back to a safe deck then joined in the work of rigging our change of direction.

We circled the plastic island for days, smelling the horror of it when downwind. We were indeed horrified. We thought there could never be a man-made disaster worst than this.

Then we heard the news as we were attempting to communicate our find to the “real” world: The US had just dropped nukes on North Korea and both Chinese and Russian nukes had annihilated the US surface navy and taken out most major cities of continental US and Europe. In automatic response, US and European nukes were heading for Russia and China.

Our monster had struck before we could confront it and it mocked us as it sang to us of the end of the world.

Jeanine Winslow

[short story  by Sha’Tara]

Devon avenue is an old street with old trees, old houses and old people. This is where Jeanine Winslow lives, with her old cat. She is a widow now, her old husband died about two years ago, but no one remembers that except Jeanine and the Revenue Service. Jeanine’s house and home is one of the most decrepit small bungalow type houses on the street.

Today is a grey day. It’s raining, a cold, miserable rain that hits the skin as frozen needles. Jeanine’s arthritis is bad today, that being one reason she has been unable to go to the corner store. The other reason, of course, is that as usual the month outlasted the pension and there is not one red cent left in the house. The cat is the fortunate one, he can go outside and hunt mice. There are lots of nice fat mice in his neighbourhood. Yes, it’s his neighbourhood, he’s a cat.

There’s a steady tinkling sound in the small dining room, just behind where Jeanine is now standing and contemplating her situation.  There’s an old, rusty water can on the floor to catch a steady drip from the ceiling, a drip that keeps wandering as the drywall gradually sags lower from the water coming through the old worn out asphalt shingle roof.

A knock on the door takes Jeanine out of her circular thinking about a situation she has no control over. Wiping her tears, she goes and answers the door. On the rickety old porch, long without a roof, two very well dressed young men with briefcases smile at her. She smiles back and politely invites them in. They come in and begin their spiel.

They’re from the local “Tabernacle” they say, and they are collecting funds to finish the inside of their church, and inviting their neighbours to participate in the services.

The tinkling continues as Jeanine, sitting nervously on a small stool, the only two chairs taken by the young men, listens politely. One of the young men stares at the drip in the can, then follows it to the sagging ceiling. It impresses itself on his mind as his father is the owner of a local lumber yard and he’s done some construction himself. He understands this lady’s problem but says nothing, letting his partner do the talking.

Finally the spiel is over. They stand, realizing that this woman was certainly not made of money and perhaps they’d have better luck on another street. They make to leave when suddenly Jeanine finds her courage and her tongue to say something to these nice young men. She does not berate them or call down their religion, or their God. Far from that. Jeanine is a very kind lady. But there is something she needs to do.

She grabs the coat sleeve of one young man and say, “Please, don’t go yet. There is something here I need to show you. Please follow me?”

They follow as she leads them deeper into the old house, through a short, dark corridor. She opens the door to a tiny bedroom and in the bed, two small children, obviously a boy and girl and obviously siblings, sleep, the little girl sucking her thumb, the little boy having his arm over her in a protective way.

“I found them downtown five days ago, she says. They were crying and hungry, abandoned as so many are. What could I do but take them home, feed them, wash them and provide them with a bit of warmth and the comfort of a few sheets and blankets? I have nothing to dress them in and their own clothes were nothing but dirty rags. Now… I have nothing left to feed them. I just wanted you to know that it is not because I’m stingy that I didn’t give you anything, it’s that I don’t have anything… nothing. I’m sorry.”

The two very nice young men looked at each other and something flashed between them, some thoughts that found agreement. The oldest of the two, the one who had done the presentation, spoke then.

“We’re sorry too, very sorry. Look, here’s forty dollars that I have on me. Take that for now, and I promise we will be back.”

The younger searched his own pockets and came up with another fifteen dollars and some change. He also handed that over.

With a trembling hand, Jeanine took the money and the look on her face showed all the gratitude that words could never express. The young men left and Jeanine, knowing the children could be trusted to stay in the bed, got dressed for the cold and wet, painfully put her winter boots on and went shopping, slowly dragging her old two wheeled cart and counting her steps as was her habit.

Two days later, early morning, the storm having passed and the pale winter sun having made his appearance in a bright blue sky, a construction truck loaded with roofing materials and several cars pulled up along Devon avenue, close to Jeanine Winslow’s cottage. One man walked up to Jeanine’s front door while the rest, a crew of some seven men and three women, began to unload the truck and wheelbarrow the materials to the house. Ladders came next.

The “foreman” whose name is Jason Farnham and none other than the owner of the lumber yard, had gone to speak to Jeanine and got her shocked OK, for the work to proceed forthwith. The old roof was quickly peeled off and the happy pounding of air nailers and commands hurled back and forth filled the yard. Two women, one a strong teenager, the other, middle aged, went into the house and after moving the meagre furniture and spreading a tarp, pulled down the damp drywall. While finishing they explained to Jeanine,

“We’re sorry about the rush but the drywallers are only available tomorrow. They’ll start at 10:00 AM sharp and they’ll be done the hanging by noon. We’ll be back to finish the taping and mudding tomorrow afternoon. Any mess, we will clean up and we’ll paint next week. Is all this OK with you, Mrs. Winslow?”

“I… Yes, of course, yes…” She sat, small and quiet, with her big tomcat in her lap, her face in her hands. She didn’t know what to make of all that was happening. She thought, maybe she should just let it happen. And that’s what she did: let it happen. She went to the children’s bedroom and sat on the edge of the bed where they were occupied drawing and colouring. They looked up at her and smiled and her heart nearly burst with joy.

The small, basic roof was completed in record time and while the roof crew was cleaning up and running the magnet along the walls for stray nails, the foreman went back in the house, expressed his satisfaction on the removal of the old damp drywall then addressed Jeanine.

“Mrs. Winslow, I must apologize for our brisk performance but we just wanted to get this done in the shortest time while the sun was shining. We didn’t want to leave you as your situation was described to us so we put our emergency crew together, gathered the materials and soon I promise, your life will be back to normal, minus the roof worry. We will also put a new roof on your front porch. That, and new steps, comes later this week. I would have called you, and certainly we should have sent someone to warn you, but you don’t have a phone and we didn’t think there was any option either for you, or us so we decided to act instead of debate. My son Steve, whom you’ve met, was very persuasive and quite insistent.

“We will need to talk about the two children you are harbouring. The situation will have to be, shall we say, legalized? We have a couple of very compassionate people who we rely on to discuss these situations. Would you agree to meeting with them?”

“Yes I very much would. I know I can’t keep them but I need to know they will be sent to a good home. They really are wonderful kids, you know? I wish I could have them meet all of you but I’ve got them wrapped up in old clothes of mine and my husband. I haven’t been able to go shopping for children’s clothes, I’m sorry.”

“Did you get that, Leona? The kids need clothing. Could you leave the clean up to the rest of the crew and go get some children’s clothes from our good will box? If you can’t find anything there, please go and buy em.”

“OK, sure Jason. Be back shortly.”

“Leona’s my wife, we’re a team! I’ve got to go, Mrs. Winslow but there’s a couple of things to settle yet. First, here’s a check for $500 to help you get through this time. Second, and most importantly, everything we did, or will do, for you, is our choice. You owe us nothing and we certainly do not expect you to join or attend our church or any such thing. You will not be embarrassed by having to give any testimony. When we’re finished, we’re finished. Certainly, should you need further help you are welcome to get in touch with us – use the lumber yard – but that’s it. We are very happy to have the means to help you and others like yourself. Is that all OK with you then?”

“Yes Mr. Farnham. Yes it is. Thank you.”




The Garbage Man – Part III

Continuing with the story, “The Garbage Man”.  What was to be a short story has taken off on me and is well on its way to becoming another fantasy novel.  No idea where it is going either.  I hope you do enjoy it.  The title will eventually change and Lotharic, you will discover, will return to his earlier name, Edgar, not only by popular request but because Beanna prefers it.  Oh, and the name, Allay is pronounced “Ally.”  And typos may be lurking where least expected… Otherwise, let’s see what dreams may come.

CONTENTS DELETED.  If you need this section for reference, please contact me via email:

{start of part III}

“I feel so terribly cold…”

Lotharic brought Beanna out of the transition trance and explained: “I took you between worlds and it was your body that felt the cold of abandonment. We cannot travel thus physically. Whenever we enter the astral worlds we must leave our physical bodies behind.”

“Put the sword away, Beanna. What happened here, none of it was your fault, or even your doing. I manipulated your thoughts and feelings to expose your darkest side. It was necessary. Now, together, we will work on bringing out the compassionate, caring, loving Allaya. We will transform you. But again, let me emphasize: you needed to see for yourself; to experience, the depth of evil you are capable of as a human being. What you saw and did today is true for your entire race, or species. It is who and what you are. Some of you, particularly women and children hide it well from themselves, but the “good” among you are the exceptions and your goodness is always artificially produced. You are not naturally good, but rather always bend towards evil. Soon you will understand and fully accept that. The Allay and Allaya knew this fact about Earthians before they agreed to come here. We thought we understood the risks of course.”

{End of Part III – 180113}


The Garbage Man – PART II

(Continuing then, with the story of the Garbage Man.)

CONTENTS DELETED.  If you need this section for reference, contact me via email:

A half mile and two rolling hills later Beanna and Edgar sighted the town. It wasn’t terribly fortified, having a combination of a low rock wall with an opening for the road, some part of the outer perimeter protected by a sluggish river and the rest a simple wooden palisade. At the gate stood two watchmen awaiting the arrival of this unknown pair.

I don’t have any healing skills!”

You do now, and you will soon realize how powerful those are at disrupting disease and death.”

{end of part II}



The Garbage Man

[a short story, by Sha’Tara]

CONTENTS DELETED – contact me via email:  if you need this post back for reference, thanks.

Rolling, dried, sun-burnt hills seemed to stretch forever out to a hazy horizon beyond the snaking rutted roadway. Under the high, light grey cloud cover, and except for the road, nothing could be seen indicating the presence of man. Here and there a few tall skeletal trees raised their heads beyond a hill. Gorse and heather provided the only cover for man or beast. You might say it was a bleak landscape.










Lisa and Tom, a short story

by   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara

The healer’s hut appeared at the edge of the woods where it had stood since she built it when still a young woman. She had walked steadfast with her guides, despite seeing her mother beaten, dragged away in chains, condemned to burn at the stake by the vicar and the entire congregation. She had never forgotten both, the terror and horror of those times when a new priest had been appointed, a “witch hunter” who declared open warfare on all the women whom he fancied were opposing him whenever they performed any kind of healing on a member of his congregation. Lisa spent much time then in the wooden jail that had no heat, one small hole to look out of, a slot under a door that was always nailed shut, to pass sustenance if and when those in charge of the “house” remembered, or cared. Thanks to superstition, Lisa was never molested by the men who periodically broke down the door of the dungeon and dragged her out for more “questioning” and serious threats. Thinking that her life was forfeit in any case, Lisa did not respond to the questioning, the intimidation and the whippings. All they heard were moans and sometimes cries.

Then, it all changed. There was a King again and the rebels were defeated and mostly slaughtered. The vicar was publicly hanged when it was discovered he did not hold a proper license. All the healers were set free to fend for themselves at that time. So Lisa went back where she had been raised. Her mother’s house had been ransacked, then burned down. With the help of a neighbour who limped badly from a war injury and needed her services, she built herself a comfortable hut. When it was done to her satisfaction, just before she moved anything in from the near-by tent the neighbour had loaned her, she knelt reverently and remembered her mother’s love an dedication in a long prayer of thanksgiving. Then, in the presence of her guides and the friendly neighbour as her sole human witness, she vowed to give her life to service of the village, yes, the same people who ten years earlier had tortured her mother to death and kept her in a dungeon for close to ten years.

Lisa’s method to deal with the past was to plant lavender around the hut and the path leading to the meadow.

Old Cruickshanks, the friendly neighbour was long dead now. The old white-haired man walking so steadily and deliberately towards Lisa’s hut was none other than his eldest son, Tom. Tom had always “had a feeling” for Lisa, not surprisingly for in her youth she was a lovely girl, something that aroused even more jealousy among the females of the village. But of course, Tom’s love was not just for her beauty; he loved her. He knew, of course, of her vow, and had talked much about it at the beginning of her new life at the edge of the woods. Many a time he’d had opportunity after he drove her via the farm’s surrey, into the village, now more of a town, so she could minister in whatever capacity.

Youth is callous, and demanding. Tom did not want to be, but he had needs. Lisa was well acquainted with those needs even though she remained steadfastly a virgin.

“We could be married, Lisa, there is nothing in God’s law or the King’s law that prevails against it, only your choice. Is that not so?”

She would pull away from him a bit then, bringing her hands demurely to her lap, picking at a button on her light blue coat. “I’m sorry to hurt you Tom. You are a kind, decent, caring man which any woman would be honoured to have, but you see, marriage is not for me. I am truly sorry, but I cannot, ever, break my vow. My gift is dependent upon the vow of chastity, you must understand. I’m not being difficult, and I am very aware that I owe you so much for all that you have done for me over the years, but I can only reciprocate with as much care and kindness as I know how. I have no such love for you, Tom as you have for me. When I made my vow, lo those many years past, the desire for connubial bliss and a family of my own was taken from me. When you look upon me as a woman, you are looking at nothing more than a shell. Do not be distracted by this…” and she pointed to herself as they trotted along. Tom hid his tears as best he could, not wanting to add more injury to a pain-filled episode.

So it went through the years. Tom stopped importuning Lisa and made a vow of his own: he too would never marry. The farm would go to his nephew with a legal stipulation that his brother and his wife could live out their days on the farm, if they so chose. Tom was surprised how his choice gradually made his heart so much lighter. The years passed by fast then. He and Lisa grew older and white haired, and anyone not familiar with their story would have naturally assumed they were brother and sister, so much alike they were in being soft spoken and kind to all.

“I am getting older, Tom, and my young days were not easy. This body is hampered greatly by what was done to it. Then there’s the dampness too. But mostly, mostly, my friend, I am very tired these days. There is a powerful pull in my heart, whether from God or some other beings whom I once called my guides, but I am being called home, Tom. I needed to tell you so you would not be devastated when it happens.”

She had stopped talking that day and had turned to look over the small meadow to the north. Then she had turned her face to the cloudy skies and he saw there the deep grey distant look in her eyes. He knew she was seeing something he could never see. Something that was hers alone. Then she had started crying. That was such a rare event in Lisa’s life he was taken completely unawares, not knowing what to do. He did not want to violate any boundary between them by touching her or holding her, but he wanted her to know he was trying to share her sorrow. Then suddenly he just knew. “I understand” was all he said, or needed to say, and the tears stopped as suddenly as they had come. Lisa smiled.

As he neared the hut, now a bit more of a cottage, he smelled the crushed lavender. He stopped at the door, waited a couple of minutes, then turned around back to the farm for the wagon and a shovel.