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Authors: Stewart Felkel

Encounters

BOOK: Encounters
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For Hannah for all of her support.

Encounters

By

Stewart
Felkel

PUBLISHED BY:

Stewart Felkel at Amazon

Copyright 2013
by Stewart Felkel

Encounters
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

This
eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to
Amazon
and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

All images used in this book were taken from
Public Domain Pictures
.

 

Encounters is
an anthology of eight short stories. Each individual story has been previously published on Amazon. They are collected here for the first time.

 

Offerings

 

Retired, and recently widowed, FBI agent Tommy McCain moves to a small town in Louisiana in search of a missing friend. What he finds is a community of characters who are sometimes quirky and sometimes sinister. Every small town has its secrets, but this town harbors a much darker secret that confounds Tommy and might have already consumed his friend.

 

Vampires: A PSA

 

Hollywood and the media portray vampires as sexy and misunderstood. Our ancestors knew them for what they really are, brutal predators with not an ounce of humanity. What would the world be like today if vampires were reborn into it now? Vampires: A PSA is a 1,000 word short story. It is perfect for a coffee break read.

 

A Night Under the Stars

 

A nameless drifter on an unknown quest. A brutal murder stalking his prey. When they clash one night the question becomes, who is the real killer?

 

Monsters

 

A sequel to A Night Under the Stars. Our drifter finds himself witnessing a brutal crime in a small Texas town. When a vicious biker gang, a nameless thing and a man with no compunctions clash who is the real monster?

 

Carrier

 

When the zombie invasion finally came Tim was caught unprepared. Bitten and left for dead he refuses to give in to defeat. Despite all odds he recovers from the disease that is ravaging the world. But what does a man alone, even a man apparently immune, do with a second chance at life in a post-apocalyptic world?

 

Hunting Trip

 

A man and his dog plan a hunting trip to what they think is a deserted island. What they find is a nightmare that could be hunting them.

 

Last One Leaves the Light Out

 

After years of searching the heavens an alien signal reaches Earth. But even if mankind can reach its source what mysteries lay in wait?

 

Storm Over San Juan

 

When I enlisted into the Rough Riders I never expected to die at San Juan Hill. I definitely never expected to be resurrected by a Hoodoo priest to fight an ancient evil storm goddess bent on destroying America. But here I am. Dead. But still fighting the good fight. Battling witches, storms, explosions and ancient gods. It’s a good thing I have a foul mouth and a sarcastic attitude to see me through. Hang on to your hat it's gonna be a wild ride.

 

Featuring eight gorgeous color pictures and an interactive table of contents Encounters ranges from dark fantasy to science fiction. Inside this book you will find resurrected soldiers, ancient gods, brutal killers and alien worlds.

 

Author’s
foreword:

Offerings was
my first attempt at writing and was heavily inspired by a quartet of old men who have had a huge impact on my life. Both of my grandfathers and two older gentlemen that I worked with while in college. Many of Tommy’s traits and quirks come from them. The love of reading. The radios. Too many other things to count. It is also steeped in my love of mythology. The version found in this anthology is not my originally published version. It has been completely revised and reworked. I hope that you enjoy this new version as much as I do. It is very near and dear to my heart.

 

Day One: Wednesday

It was 9:30am when he got his first view of the last house he would ever own. It was a small house, painted white with blue trim and the number 327 on the side. There was an oak tree in the front and several magnolias lounging in the back yard. The previous owner had obviously taken great pride in the landscape, as there were several beautiful flower beds. He parked the car under the carport and got out to examine his purchase. As he stepped out into the open air it felt like stepping into an oven. The heat was almost a palpable thing, heavy, humid and oppressive

"Now I know how those three Israelites felt", he mumbled to himself. "And it’s still early; it can only get hotter from here. Steven, why did you drag me down here?"

He dug the keys out of his pocket and walked to the door. Unlocking it he paused, hand on the knob, eyes locked on nothing. He was a tall, slim man in his late 60s. His hair was a dark grey, but still full and swept back. He was slightly stooped like a lot of tall men who wear their years more on their shoulders than on their faces. His features had a hint of a Slavic ancestor close to the roots of his family tree.

Seeming to come to, as if waking up, he turned the knob and went inside. The house was lit only by the morning light filtering through the blinds, but the air was cool. The movers had thoughtfully left the AC on. They had also arranged the furniture in the living room he saw and as he looked through the house he found that they had set up his bedroom as well. This was a very considerate gesture for an old man. He made a mental note to send them a letter of appreciation. Gazing around at the boxes he marveled that a man's life could be packed way in a few dozen boxes: a box for the bedroom, a box for the kitchen, a box for his time in the service, and a box for his life with Marion.

"Stop being such a maudlin old man, there are boxes to unpack and work to do", he grumbled. Sighing to himself he set to work.

***

It was close to 8:00 when he decided to stop for the evening. Since it was so late, and the kitchen was only half unpacked, he decided to go out to eat. He changed into a pair of slacks and polo, locked up, then started his car. He remembered seeing McDonalds on his way in so he headed that way.

When he reached the intersection where it sat he noticed that it was a four way stop with a single blinking light. Slowing to a halt he took time to look around to see a post office, a gas and grocery with the strange name of Tuesday Mourning’s, the McDonalds and across from it a bar named The Raven’s Nest. The battered neon sign had several letters not blinking but still informed the world that their beer was cold and the grill was hot. On a sudden impulse he pulled into the parking lot.

When got out of the car he was amazed that despite the sun having been down for several hours the heat still came crashing down on him. It was damp, hot, and still, making it hard to breathe. He immediately started to perspire and could feel his shirt cling to him. Wiping the back of his hand across his brow he walked towards entrance.

The front door was wooden with three interlocked triangles engraved into it. He was curious but was more interested in escaping the heat so he pushed the door open and walked inside. The room was dim and smoky but was cool at least. Three overhead fans gently stirred the air. In one corner on a slightly raised level were two pool tables, only one in use. A jukebox sat in another corner quietly playing country music. Several tables were scattered around the wall with the bar making a square in the center. The hardwood floor looked well swept even if it could stand to be waxed.

There were only a few patrons eating and drinking but as it was a week night he imagined that was normal.

There were two men who appeared to be in their late 30s on stools talking at the bar and a woman in one corner eating alone at a table. She looked to be in her 50s, silver haired but still attractive. Ambling over to the bar he took a seat on a stool and waited to have his order taken. A burly man, with salt and pepper hair and a beer belly came to take his order. He wore a dark green apron with a raven embroidered on it over his white button down shirt and had his sleeves rolled up to his elbows. The most striking part of his appearance however was the eye patch over where his right eye once sat.

"What can I get for you" he asked.

"I would love a burger and a beer, add bacon and cheese."

"Absolutely sir, one bacon cheese burger coming up.
What beer would you like?"


I’m not sure, surprise me. Something dark please.”


I have just the thing you need to try.”

He walked away but came right back with a bottle and placed it on the counter. The man took a small sip without even looking at the bottle. It was so good he took a longer pull before checking the label.

“Abita Turbodog, I’ve never heard of this before, but it’s delicious.”


It’s a brand that’s local to the state”, the bartender said smilingly. “Turbodog is their dark brew. Not near enough dark beer drinkers around here.”

To which the man replied, "I was stationed in Germany, which is the dark beer capital of the world. I never did learn to like it warm though.

The bartender chuckled while he wiped his hands on his apron.

"You're new here", observed the bartender.

"I moved in just today from Virginia. I bought a little house on Pecan St. My name is Thomas McCain but everyone just calls me Tommy.


Well Tommy, everyone calls me Odie", he said in reply. "It’s a pleasure to meet ya. Welcome to the village of New Damascus, La.”

"Thank you", said Tommy, "it seems like a nice place but is it always so hot?"

Odie chuckled, "usually so. Summer is long and runs into fall, winter is damp, but spring, however brief, is a great time to live here."

Tommy took his first sip of beer. "That is delicious. Man! Damn fine beer.”

He spun his barstool around to view the room. “Kinda slow tonight isn't it?"

"Eh. It's Wednesday. It's always slow in the middle of the week. Wednesday is still my favorite day of the week. So, what branch were you in, if you don't mind my
askin?"

"I was in the army in communications", responded Tommy. "I dealt with radios and electronics."

"And what brings you to our sleepy little village", Odie asked.

"I came here to enjoy my retirement years", Tommy answered.
“Have you always lived here?”

"All my life, my family has been here since the town was founded
”, Odie said with a half-smile. "This is a nice enough place but it’s not exactly a hot spot for retirees, what made you decide to move here?"

"I had a friend in the agency, the FBI that is, who worked a case with the local branch in this part of the state. He fell in love with this place so much that he swore that he would retire down here. He found a home here and just raved about how nice it was. We stayed in touch until one day he quit corresponding. I contacted the local authorities out of concern, but apparently he had gone missing. After my wife died I decided to move and start over here."

"You must be talking about poor Steven Honeycutt", Odie said somberly. "It was a shame when he went missing."

"Did you know him well" Tommy asked?

"He came in once or twice a week to eat. As a matter of fact he came in here the day he went missing. He was very excited about something but wouldn't say much other than that he was going to see Lee. Lee Roberts that is", Odie informed him.

"Who is this Mr. Roberts", Tommy asked? He leaned onto the bar as he asked.

"He's a pilot who runs a crop dusting service in town. He and Steven were friends until he went missing. I'm not sure why he was going to see him; you’d have to ask Lee"

Seeing that talk of his missing friend had cast a shadow over Tommy's good mood
Odie tactfully withdrew and returned with another beer.

"This one's on the house Agent McCain", he said.

"Just Tommy please", he responded. "It hasn't been Agent McCain in almost twenty years."

Odie
left him in peace only returning to bring him his food. Odie was right, it was delicious, but Tommy barely tasted it. He chewed in silence, taking slow sips of his beer as if toasting all the ghosts of his missing loved ones; his friends from the army, his wife, and his last friend missing for a year and a half. He finished his food and politely thanked Odie.

He drove home through the still night, to a dark house that matched his mood. He brushed his teeth, carefully made his bed, and then slipped beneath the sheets to dream of dark things in dark places. Eventually he fell past them into a deeper dreamless sleep and didn
’t remember them later.

Day Two: Thursday

The next morning he woke up with sunlight in his eyes. He rolled over to glance at the alarm. That was when he remembered where he was at and that he hadn't even plugged it in. He lay there for a minute, making a list of what needed to be done that day. Despite being well rested he felt lethargic and the urge to just lay there was strong. With a groan he forced himself out of bed to face the day.

He showered and dressed before moving into the kitchen to scavenge for a quick breakfast of granola bars and tap water. Looking in his pantry he decided to first visit Tuesday Mourning
’s to stock up, and then finish unpacking the kitchen.

Once again he stepped out into an early august morning that was already ripe with sticky heat. Cranking the car he wondered if it had even been worth it to shower beforehand. Traffic was far lighter than he was used to and it was only a five minute drive to the store.

“If I was ten years younger I’d buy a bicycle”, he thought to himself. “Who are you kidding”, was the reply, “even ten years ago you were over the hill. “He sighed heavily and drove on.

He quickly purchased his staples and headed back out. He had meant to ask the boy behind the counter about the store’s name but it slipped his mind. “No matter” he thought. “I’ll just ask next time.”

Most of the morning was more unpacking before he decided that a nap on the couch sounded nice. He went into the living room and dimmed the lights. As he lay down the surreal events of the day passed through his mind before he drifted away.

When he woke up he shambled into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee. He had found a Louisiana brand that he had decided to try on impulse. While he waited for it to brew he sat at the table and outlined the rest of the day. First, he planned to unpack the bedroom and then he thought that he
’d finish the evening at The Raven’s Nest for dinner and a drink. The hiss from the coffee pot told him that it was through percolating. He watched it finish dripping before pouring a cup and walking out of the kitchen, down the hall, and to the study. He took a slow sip enjoying the bold flavor of the brew.


At least some surprises are good here”, he mumbled to himself.

He spent the rest of the afternoon puttering in his bedroom.
Arranging the furniture just so. Sorting his pictures and trophies. He looked out the window to see the sun touching the horizon and heard his stomach grumble.

"I guess it's that time" he said out loud.

He slipped into some new clothes before heading out. He grabbed a book at random off the shelf along with his keys. Hearing his stomach grumble again he said "Hush. I'm going to feed you soon."

The Raven
’s Nest was busier than the previous night. When he pulled in his vehicle made a baker’s dozen and he had a quick superstitious shiver at the unlucky number. As he entered the building the off key sounds of small town karaoke washed over him. There was a young couple “performing” a duet version of a popular love song.

He ordered food at the counter and then turned to search for a table. Choosing one in the far corner he began to make his way there with, he was proud to note, only the tiniest trace of a shuffle. Along the way he passed the same silver haired beauty from the night before, once again alone at a table. Tonight she seemed to be engrossed in an Agatha Christy novel but he didn
’t notice the title. She looked up as he walked by her table and met his eyes with a quick smile before returning to her book.

He sat and got comfortable with his own book quickly becoming engrossed in it. So engrossed that he wasn
’t even aware of his food arriving. He simply looked up and was delighted to find it on the table in front of him. He eagerly devoured his food and was nursing his second beer while he read when a shadow fell across the table. Glancing up from the page he saw that the woman was standing by his table.

BOOK: Encounters
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