“Apocalypse City: 42″ – by John Hoban

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“The Useful Life Clockworks Company” – Part 20 – by H. A. Busse

Artifacts from the Time Before stood with its door ajar. The buildings around it were dark with no signs of activity inside and definitely nothing outside. The street was empty and silent. Jack entered the shop and found much of the place in ruins. Broken glass lay scattered across the floor, the telephone device that he had admired lay on its side with the cord missing. With each step, glass crunched, and random old instruments and devices protested the additional damage, though Jack tried to proceed with care. “Shopkeeper, are you here?”
Noise from the back of the shop alerted Jack to another person’s presence. “Shopkeeper,” he continued.

“Back here Detective,” relief flooded Jack when he heard the shopkeeper’s voice.

He moved quickly to find Shopkeeper Reginald Detworth in the back attempting to clean up. “What happened here?”

“Ruffians from the clockworks came here,” the shopkeeper bent over to pick up more glass and dropped it into metal bucket. “They assumed I sold an employee some dangerous sort of publications.” He stared boldly at Jack. “Perhaps you are aware of their inquiry?”

 

“The Useful Life Clockworks Company” – Part 20 – by H. A. Busse.

“The Useful Life Clockworks Company” – Part 19 – by H. A. Busse

Jack opened his eyes to full darkness. Wincing he sat up, head throbbing. He tried to feel around for stability and then his hand clasped a foot resting along the floorboards. Moving with his arms first, he found the bed and pulled himself up to his knees and then his feet. Every inch of him ached. He had to find a candle or a lamp to light. Using the bed post to feel for the wall, Jack maneuvered around the room bumping into the night stand.

A moment later he had a lamp and lit it. His eyes darted towards the bed and the floor. Verity and Mrs. Lawyer Evelyn Brightmoor were gone. He scrambled over to the body of Mr. Tanner Lloyd Brightmoor. Jack tried to figure out if the man were still alive. He shook him and then examined his face and limbs. Blood congealed along the man’s arm. His shirt was stained with brittle bits of dried blood.

He had been knocked out for hours and the aches told Jack they did more to him and Mr. Brightmoor than simply knock them over the head. He tried to rouse the tanner once more and then he leaned close to the man’s face listening for breathing. He didn’t hear breath or see the rise and fall of his chest.

Tears pricked at the corners of Jack’s eyes. He was dead. The Brightmoor’s had tried to help them and now he was dead and Evelyn was gone. Jack pulled out the paper from which they began compiling a list of suspects and allies, clues from his investigation to see if something might assist him now.

“The Useful Life Clockworks Company” – Part 19 – by H. A. Busse.

The Gift and the Curse of Higher Education

Warning: I’m not much on blogging, but I’ll give it a try. Writing what I think and feel directly isn’t my strength with the written word.

Returning to school turned out to be one of the greatest gifts I’ve experienced in life.

School didn’t just provide facts, figures, and textual information for a variety of subjects, but a whole network of people pursuing some of the same goals. I was surprised to see that meeting so many people with the same or similar goals as I was not intimidating. Instead, I’ve found support, a network of people reaching for something in a business landscape that already promises hurdles in selective editors, huge publishing houses where a writer might as well be a gnat in a wind of gnats, self publication (some are great, some are terrible) and readers that can choose from millions of writers to read. And those writers are good, really good. It’s daunting that I’d dare, along with my peers to reach for a place among those that already paid their dues.

We dreamers are not alone.

I am 37 years old. I have many skills to pursue a number of jobs, but my passion is writing. My focus is fiction.

My home life is busy. Messy. Yep, the word stands alone as I look around at the stacks of papers and books, coffee cups, and pens. I have my two daughters that both distract, entertain, and teach. I am blessed. Their words are dialogue rich. Between my girls and my numerous nieces and nephews, I have an endless supply of child logic.

Since school, I’ve gotten involved in writing for a small press called Calamities Press, ran for political office (U. S. Senate MN), created a couple of writing groups, and served on Student Senate. I’ve been published. Yep, published, it’s small and local, but a start. Best of all, I learned new tools for writing that I never knew before and can incorporate them into my work. I’m writing stories that never would have come to me, except for the gift of school, more accurately the gift of my talented professors.

A university education isn’t for everyone. It’s expensive. Let me repeat that. It’s expensive. It’s bureaucratic with so many rules and regulations one wonders if they’re really a customer paying for a service or servant to the system called education. Tread with caution into higher education. My political involvement in recent years was inspired by my ire at horrible practices in education on the bureaucratic end. It’s costly and ineffective in a number of ways, but this isn’t really about that. This piece is about what I gained.

I gained a network of individuals that are like me, adventurers of words, those that dare to go into the unknown without guarantees. We have no safety net, well many of us don’t. I am lucky. I have other options and support, but my desire to write is greater. Hence, I am here treading the waters of learning in a formal expensive setting.

I am learning about the craft, poetic device, creative nonfiction, and gained a large toolkit that I shall always carry with me. I met some of the best writing professionals I am lucky enough to also call professor who gifted me with their experience and expertise. I have a group of students and peers in writing that I hope to always utilize as I go forward for support and talking craft long after we’ve earned our degrees. As students, we’ve heard it directly from the horses mouth or in this case the writer’s pen, word processor etc.

For these things, school is a gift, for the expense it is a curse, but one I have gladly taken on for the sake of my art.

I am not alone.