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W. J. Calabrese
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Phil Sarone is stuck in a job that he hates and a life that is going nowhere. One night on the commuter train, that all changes. Before the night is over, Phil will find himself in another dimension and in a whole universe of trouble.
Something told me that if I fell asleep it could be dangerous.
But the relentless rhythm of the wheels, throbbing like a metallic heartbeat, was entirely too much for me. I gave up trying to make sense of the words that my weary eyes had been chasing across the surface of the newspaper for the past half-hour. I folded the paper and stuffed it into the crack between the seat and the rusty wall of the railroad car. It joined the candy wrappers and empty peanut bags that were already nested there. My shoulders slumped. I yawned. My head nodded, jerked, and nodded again.
I forced my eyes open. If I fell asleep now I might miss my station. No "mightâ€ about it--I would miss it. This should have been a strong and logical argument for wakefulness but, when pitted against the hypnotic throb of train wheels and the mental torpor produced by ten hours of watching computer lights blink, logic lacks potency.
I began to think, but in my semi-conscious state it was more like brooding. Where was my life heading, anyway? Data processing was my chosen profession but had I really chosen it, or let it choose me? When was the last time I had made anything that vaguely resembled a career choice? The sad fact was that I didnâ€™t remember. Phil Sarone, boy failure--utterly rudderless at twenty-six.
I watched the conductor advance up the aisle of the almost empty car. He did not look at me or at the few other drowsy passengers the car held. He advanced on sailor's legs, as the car rocked beneath him on shock absorbers that had probably worn out a few months before the close of World War II. He was in downhill coast mode. All the tickets had been long ago collected and most of his passengers had already detrained. He glanced at his watch, no doubt anticipating the end of his tour. Not one of the usual conductors--probably working the milk run as a favor to the regular guy. Some favor! Welcome to the "Land of the Lost.â€
There had once been a radio show with a title like that. My father told me about it when I was small enough to be impressed. A kidâ€™s show. Something about the place where all the things that people lost went to wait to be found again. There were some kids who were always losing things and going there to find them. Somebody called Red Lantern (a fish, I think) guided the kids around down there. I wondered if lost ambitions went there, too, to the Land of the Lost. I decided that they must go some place. After all, there were so many of them.
What made me stick with the old four to midnight shift anyway, and the dead-end computer operator job that I didn't even care enough about to hate? What was the attraction--sitting in a broken-down chair in a deserted computer room while the rest of the world was out partying? Hanging tapes while the rest of the world was out hanging one on? Creeping home and falling into my bed just a few hours before the rest of the world was ready to climb out of theirs? Extreme bummer. But what was the alternative? Suits and ties? Looking busy all the time? Climbing the ladder? Playing the game? Yessir-- nosir--shine your shoes, sir?
I stared intently out the window, contemplating multiple mysteries and willing my eyes to stay open. No help out there. No answers and not much to see. Just the forsaken darkness of the morning's small hours in suburbia, pierced by the occasional streetlight, the odd illuminated parking lot, and the scattered window lights of lonely insomniacs. Lonely insomniacs. Well, at least I didn't usually have any trouble sleeping. One out of two ain't bad.
The Offering is Bill Calabreseâ€™s seventh published book since he retired seven years ago from the information services field. All seven have been published by Wings ePress. Bill promises to pick the pace in the next few years. He presently has five novels at various stages of completion. He vows to keep on writing until Somebody in Authority tells him to stop. In his spare time, he produces a regular column, titled "Just Faith, a Hunger for Justiceâ€, for the quarterly magazine From the Heart published by his church Sacred Heart of Southbury, Connecticut. He lives in Southbury with his wife, Roberta, and their Tortoiseshell cat, Scheherazade.
Like a story to chill, to tantalize, and to make you look over your shoulder at least twice during your reading of it? Then youâ€™ve come to the right place! William J Calabrese takes us back to those tales that chill, with the expertise of a connoisseur of Weird Tales.
So sit back, get comfortable, and be ready to be unnerved in the way we should be--when atmosphere and imagination packs enough of a wallop to leave you with goose bumps, and things that go bump in the night have you wondering exactly what is out there! -- Angela Verdenius, Heart of the Forsaken
This collection of smartly written vignettes slyly seduces the reader into other realms made believable by this crafty storyteller. Told with perfect timing and ironic humor, TALES FROM SOMEPLACE ELSE is not to be missed by those who enjoy intelligent and unique horror. -- Rayne Forrest, The Skies of Mahdis, When the Night Comes
Bill Calabrese introduces his readers to many strange and ghostly lives in this fantastic collection of eerie stories. From android runaways to apparitions with an appetite for love, Tales From Someplace Else grabs its readers and refuses to let them leave.-- Stephen Gambuti, Center Moon: Stone of Cordova
"I must say that The Amazing Adventures of Nicholas Noodle is fantastic! It is very adventurous and different from many other books that I have read. Some of the characters that Nicholas meets are odd but friendly and others are gruesome and mean. There were many cliff hanging moments where I was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. This book was really exciting and fun to read because there is a lot of action and adventure!â€ --John James Brindisi, Age 10, Middlebrook School, Trumbull CT
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 208
Paper Weight (lb): 9.0
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