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Tales of Corwin

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Free Fiction from Adam Brooks Webber

Free Fiction from Adam Brooks Webber
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Free Fiction from Adam Brooks Webber




Chapter Twenty-Two: Samhain Circle

Sandra began to move from person to person, advising them that it was time for the circle. Some did need to make practical adjustments to their costumes. Terri pulled a sweatshirt over her sexy but chilly Cat Woman outfit; Sarah took off her illuminated collar; Samantha removed her horned headdress. Mark didn’t have any costume adjustments to make, but he went out to the old orchard and lit the fire he had prepared. When she could see the light of it, Sandra led the others out to the space...


Chapter Twenty-One: Halloween Homecoming (Part Two)

“You look great, Samantha,” said Mark. “Joni, too—and she’s so excited! You know, you forget, when you don’t have kids, how big a deal Halloween is to them. It’s one of the biggest days of the year.” “You’ll be a good father, some day,” Samatha predicted. “Well, if that day ever comes, I’m coming to you for advice. Joni’s a great kid.” “Thanks.” She paused. “Is Sandra back?” “Yes,” Mark replied, “only about an hour ago. She had a shower, and she was just going to change into something when...


Chapter Twenty-One: Halloween Homecoming (Part One)

Halloween afternoon was unusually warm and fine, and Mark had prepared by laying a fire in the fire ring in the old orchard. Now he got out a rake, and cleared a wide space around the fire—just in case of barefoot dancing. But it would probably get too cold for that, when the sun went down. He had a lot on his mind. He’d invited everyone from the circle to a Halloween party, and everyone from the church as well—the latter with invitations that specified that the party would end at 11:00....


Chapter Twenty: On the Long Trail

Sandra was hiking a stretch of the Long Trail in northern Vermont, and she was alone. It was late in the season, and she hadn’t seen another soul all day. It had been a sunny day, and reasonably warm in the brief afternoon, but now the sun was going down, and the crisp air was already getting chilly. It was going to be a cold night, and she wanted to make camp. She had come this way once, long ago, and she was trying to remember the way. You crossed a creek; then there was the cellar hole...


Chapter Nineteen: An Urgent Portal (Part Two)

“John!” said Mark, softly. He stood up slowly, and spoke with barely a catch in his voice. “You know, I don’t think Jesus would be pleased with the thoughts that are in your heart tonight. Thou shalt not kill. Just put that gun down, why don’t you, and come over here and talk to me?” “I’ve got a better idea,” said Johnny. “Why don’t you just shut the fuck up? I can quote scripture better than you. ‘Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness...


Chapter Nineteen: An Urgent Portal (Part One)

That evening, at around seven, Sandra saw Mark walk in. She went to meet him near the entrance. He looked relaxed and refreshed, and she guessed that he’d had a run and a shower. On closer inspection, she noticed that he still hadn’t managed to get all the paint out of his hair. She led him to a booth she’d saved. “Let me get you something to drink?” “Thanks,” he said. “I’ll try that Sexual Chocolate again.” “Be right back.” She got him the beer, and one for herself, and a basket of...


Chapter Eighteen: Fire in the Night

The celebration at Sandra’s house went on until after midnight. But much later that night, when everyone had gone home, Sandra’s car was torched. Somehow, Sandra, along with everyone else on the street, managed to sleep through it. But early in the morning, before she was awake, someone knocked loudly and imperatively on the door. She put on her robe and hurried downstairs. Peeking through the front-door window, she could see no one on her front stairs. Then the knock came again, and she...


Chapter Seventeen: Pursuit (Part Two)

Back at Sandra’s house, most of the Circle had gathered to celebrate the victory at the city council meeting. Bottles of champagne had been opened—but Sandra wasn’t having any yet. Where was Mark? Stuck again on top of some building somewhere? Shot out of the sky? The doorbell rang, and Mark let himself in after it. Sandra took his face in both hands. “You okay?” Mark smiled—but there was clearly something wrong. “I’m all right,” he said. “I’m sorry—I should have called you.” “Well,...


Chapter Seventeen: Pursuit (Part One)

Mark put his head in his hands. Oh, Lord—now I’ve done it, he thought. What had come over him? What had become of the careful, good-humored, reasoned speech he had prepared? Suddenly, there was an urgent whisper in his ear: “Mark! Mark, I need you. Right now.” He looked up, and saw that Terri was beside him, one knee on the floor. “Terri? What is it? What’s wrong?” “Come with me.” He stood and helped her up, and they made their way to the back of the room, while another speaker was called...


Chapter Sixteen: Sandra’s Ordinance (Part Two)

When the party was over, there were plenty of volunteers for dishes and clean-up, and the house was returned to normal quite quickly. Mark was pleasantly surprised. He had intended to stay and help Sandra with the dishes, but instead he found himself leaving an already-tidy house behind and taking a walk with her. The September weather had turned cool, and they wore sweatshirts and walked along briskly. “I’m glad you were there tonight, Mark,” said Sandra. “I’d have invited you myself, of...


Chapter Sixteen: Sandra’s Ordinance (Part One)

The council room was brightly lit for the meeting of the City Council. A long table occupied the place of honor near the far wall, and the council members sat behind it, with the mayor in the middle. In front of the council table was a short table for members of the press, where two reporters sat. Beyond that was a podium with a microphone, also facing the council table. The rest of the room was arranged as a gallery for the public, but most of the public had chosen to skip this particular...


Chapter Fifteen: Diet of Worms

The next day, Wednesday, Mark was working in his study at the church when Mrs. Fludd rang him on the intercom line. “It’s Lois McCutcheon for you, on line one.” “Lois McCutcheon?” Mark didn’t recognize the name. “Should I know who that is?” “Lois from the Circle,” supplied Mrs. Fludd. “Oh, that Lois. Thank you, Flora.” He hung up on the intercom and picked up line one. “Hi, Lois, this is Mark.” “Hello, Mark. I’m calling to invite you to lunch. Are you free this Saturday?” He checked his...


Chapter Fourteen: Legal Troubles (Part Two)

The following week, Mark was sitting in his car in the parking lot of the Bible Church, steeling himself for what he had to do. He hated confrontation, but this just had to be done. It was probably hopeless, but it had to be done. He got out of the car and went into the church through the big double doors. To the left was the secretary’s office. “Hi,” he said. “I’m Pastor Mark Collins. Pastor Caputo is expecting me.” “Yes, sir,” said the secretary. “His office is just through there.” She...


Chapter Fourteen: Legal Troubles (Part One)

The memory of their shining day together had to sustain Mark for quite a while, because the very next day, his workload doubled. He had been making weekly visits to two different nonagenarians in the church—two ladies who had been on hospice care for so long that it seemed like they might just go on forever. Within days of each other, however, they both took turns for the worse, and suddenly Mark had his hands full: there were more visits to be made, and urgent middle-of-the-night calls,...


Chapter Thirteen: Date Day (Part Two)

The path Mark had chosen finally brought them out on the other side of the retreat center’s buildings. Sandra was amazed at the vista that opened before them. The front portion of the grounds, which they had seen as they drove through, had reminded her of a golf course in its manicured beauty. But from here, the property seemed not only as trim as a golf course, but as large as one, or larger. There were broad lawns and neat copses; there were ponds and gardens; there were benches and...


Chapter Thirteen: Date Day (Part One)

Sandra’s day off started when Mark came to pick her up. He didn’t just sit in the car and honk, but came up to the door. Always the gentleman, Sandra thought. The day was sunny and already hot, and she had a fine open feeling as she climbed into his car. Almost anything might happen, she felt. It was going to be a good day. Mark was still being mysterious about their destination. Using county roads, he drove them east and a little north, stopping after about half an hour at a diner. It was...


Chapter Twelve: Coming Out (Part Two)

After the service, back in the Fellowship Hall, their visitors were receiving many handshakes and hugs. Mark was proud of his congregation; nothing seemed to shake their determination to be welcoming to everybody. He heard the same suggestion from several quarters: that they should invite Sandra to lead a class, so they could learn something about her “church.” He doggedly referred to it as her “religious tradition” or her “faith tradition,” but most people seemed determined to call the Rose...


Chapter Twelve: Coming Out (Part One)

Sleeping in the chair was usually not a good idea for Mark, but it did have this benefit: the daylight there was strong, and it got him up at dawn. He had a run, a shower, and a bite of breakfast, dressed for church, and then took his written sermon outside to practice. He paced up and down in the back yard, preaching to the birds and the old apple trees, until he had it down—not word-for-word, maybe, but thought-for-thought. He didn’t tell the birds and the trees about Sandra—not yet. If he...


Chapter Eleven: Up On the Roof

Mark finished the first draft of his sermon, and checked the time: 10:30 already. Oh, well. He felt good about the writing, and that was the main thing. What he really wanted was a walk in the night air. He put on a denim jacket—not for warmth, but just to have pockets to put his hands in while he walked—and he headed down the street. The sky was clear, with bright stars but no moon; the air smelled fresh, and the sidewalk was already dry. Three blocks up Amber street, in the house on the...


Chapter Ten: A Storm Strikes

It was Saturday afternoon, and Mark was doing some writing at home, waiting for a storm that seemed to have been approaching all day. The air was hot, humid, and heavy. Occasional, remote thunder vibrated in the ground. Fitful breezes puffed and then fell flat. Mark was working on his sermon—a sign that perhaps things were returning to normal. Earlier in the week, everything had been in an uproar. On Wednesday, he and Sandra had both given statements to the police. A police officer, a...