Saturday, 19 October 2013

Dark Wings (John J. Rust) on Sci-Fi Saturdays

Sci-Fi Saturday is here again and One Thousand Worlds has the pleasure of introducing Dark Wings by John J. Rust in One Thousand Words.

Dark Wings-

Ava Majestic is a young scientist who takes a job analyzing planets for possible habitation. PiskMothman and the Jersey Devil.  They are not myths.  They are blood-thirsty beings from another world, and they have invaded Earth.  

Delta Force Major Jim Rhyne, his sister Valerie and his cousins Chuck and Doug must fight to survive in occupied Kentucky.  When all hope seems lost, the four are saved by a group of mysterious soldiers.  Their leader Major Myra Kenaevya, know the reason why these creatures have come to Earth.  Together, they must launch a daring mission to save the lives of hundreds from a horrible fate.

About this author-

John J. Rust is a native of New Jersey currently living in Arizona, where he works as a radio sports reporter.  He has received an associate’s degree in television from Mercer County College and a B.A. in communications from the College of Mt. St. Vincent.  Along with his novel “Dark Wings,” Rust has also published several short stories, including “The Art of Fear” starring the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe in the anthology Halloween Dances with the Dead. 

     Whose brilliant idea was this?
     Jim Rhyne’s round face twisted in annoyance, his eyes flickering between his cousins.
     “You need to be realistic,” Doug Rhyne said to his younger brother Chuck, who sat on the other side of the campfire.  “Do you know how many people who play baseball actually make it the majors?  It has to be less than one percent.”
     The skin around Chuck’s nose crinkled.  “I’m sure people said the same thing to guys like Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard.  What if they’d listened to them?”
     “So now you’re comparing yourself to two of the best players in the game?”
     Jim groaned.  He knew another huge argument was coming.  It always happened whenever his cousins Doug and Chuck entered the same air space.  Before it simply annoyed him.
     Now it pissed him off.
     “That scout said I have good speed and he likes my plate discipline,” Chuck said.  “And making the all-conference team didn’t hurt any.”
     “You’re playing junior college ball.”  Doug leaned forward, the glow from the campfire washing over his smooth, chiseled features.  “What major league team will want a player who isn’t good enough to make a big-time college team?”
     “That’s bullshit.  Plenty of major leaguers played for junior colleges.”
     “Will you two knock it off?”  Jim’s sister, Valerie, glowered at them.  “We went on this camping trip to enjoy ourselves, not listen to you two have the same damn argument you’ve been having for the last two years.”
     “Well I’m sorry this is so inconvenient for you, Val.  But if it was you, wouldn’t you want to stop your brother from wasting his life.”
     “I’m not wasting my life.”  Chuck’s voice rose.
     “You want to make a living playing a game.  Even if you do get drafted by some major league team, they’ll stick you in the minors, you’ll bounce around from one little town to another barely making enough money to live on.  How long do you intend to do that?  Three, four, five years?  Those are years you could spend doing something more important.”
     “Like joining the Army?”
     “Yes.  Just like the rest of us.  Just like our father did, and Jim and Val’s father, and most of our family going back to the Civil War.”
     Jim rolled his eyes.  Please don’t do “The Speech.”  He’d heard it more times than he cared.  Doug would drone on about the importance of serving the country, of being part of a cause greater than yourself, of the honor and privilege of wearing the uniform of the United States Army.  Sure, he believed in all that.  But when Doug said those things, he sounded overbearing, and acted like anyone who didn’t serve in the military was somehow a lesser being, even if that person happened to be his brother.  Plus, Doug tended to gloss over the sacrifices one had to make when serving the country, and the toll it took on people.
     A beautiful, smiling face crowned by shoulder-length blond hair appeared in his mind’s eye.  His throat clenched.  Part of him wanted the image to go away.  Another part wanted it to stay there, forever.  If it went away, he risked forgetting about her.  But if it stayed, the pain would just dig into his heart.
     “It’s my damn life!”  Chuck’s shout brought Jim back to the here and now.  “Maybe I’ll make the big leagues, maybe I won’t.  But at least I’m gonna give it a try.”
     “And what happens when you don’t make it?” Doug demanded.
     “If I don’t make it, then at least I’ll know I tried my best.”
     “You tried your best.  That’s how a loser talks.”
     “I’m not a loser!”  Chuck scowled, looking like he wanted to leap over the campfire and tackle his brother.
     “Chuck, calm down!”  Val’s arm shot out toward Chuck, her hand up.  She then turned to Doug.  “Doug, that was uncalled for.”
     “You kiddin’?” Chuck blurted.  “That’s typical for him.  Big Brother always knows best, don’t you?”
     “Someone has to care about your future since you don’t.”
     Chuck opened his mouth to respond.
     “That’s it.”  Jim pushed himself to his feet.  “I need some fucking peace and quiet.”
     Jaw clenched, he spun on his heel and marched into the darkened woods.  He knocked a few branches out of his way, his anger building with each passing second.
     He soon came to a small clearing and stopped.  Hands on his hips, he drew slow, deep breaths, trying to calm himself. 
     Eventually, his cousins’ fight faded from his thoughts.  But other images replaced it.  Camping trips he’d been on with Hannah.  She’d been reluctant at first, but ultimately grew to love the great outdoors.  He remembered how happy she’d been the first time she made pine needle tea, the time they fed one another s’mores, jamming them into each other’s faces and laughing over it, or the nights they held one another in their sleeping bag.  He drew a staggered breath, recalling the feel of her body against his, how much he enjoyed it.
     How he would never experience it again.    
     He turned around.  A compact, feminine silhouette strode toward him. 
     “I thought you’d like to know Chuck and Doug didn’t kill one another,” Val said as she stopped a few feet from him.
     He grunted in acknowledgement and turned away.
     “But, the night is still young.”  Val kept her tone light-hearted.  “The way those two argue, it may still happen.
     Jim said nothing, just clenched his left fist.
     “Look at it this way.  If it does happen, we’ll finally get some peace and quiet.  Though I don’t want to be the one to tell Uncle Phil and Aunt -”

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