Archive for the 'MBKS1' Category

23
Nov
12

It Is Said (MBKS1): Voices In The Forest

There were no starlights in this place. No moons. No other worlds in the night sky. The darkness in this forest was complete. 

Mathias had traveled the only road from town as far as he could.  He had stepped off the path and felt his way through what was now a dense patch of overgrown roots and bare prickly bushes, until he found the pond and the long flat rock. He had been sitting alone deep in the forest for what seemed like several hours. It took that much time for his eyes to adjust to the thick blanket of endless gloom that surrounded him

There was a barely perceptible source of light coming from somewhere, but Mathias couldn’t tell from where. He could just make out the leafless trees that populated this lifeless forest.  In the time that he sat, there was not one sound of life.  There were no creatures of the night. Mathias was sure there were no creatures of the day either. 

The tall trees were an angry tangled mass, and in the darkness, the thin, gnarly branches above seemed like fingers. Fingers on hands waiting to scratch and snatch at the unsuspecting. Trunks seemed to have faces. Eyes. Lips. Teeth. Fog from the cold night mist intertwined itself around these hollow faces adding sorrow to their already tortured features. 

This place was not Sandbox Harbor.

This place couldn’t possibly be the world in which his father and mother lived. All those people and all their children couldn’t be part of a community that was this grey and doom swept. In this eerie place, full of so much sadness, Mathias could understand why, in this village, these people and their children had either gone or were in hiding. 

Looming over all this, was the castle in the sky. Mathias couldn’t see it, but it was there. It was always there. He could feel it drawing him in, and it was succeeding. Mouse said no one ever goes to the castle, but Mathias was convinced it was there that he would find the rider, and the boy.

Mathias was still trying to wrap his mind around the moment Mouse was taken. The rider came out of nowhere. He was a blur. A deliberate, mean, calculated blur. He was a razor thin skeleton in black and red. He wore a long black cape with a hood to hide his face. Tall black boots. Black pants. A black blouse. A long red vest trimmed in black and black gloves trimmed in red. Mathias wasn’t sure he was ready to face the rider again or go to the dark castle, but he would if it meant saving the boy.

Suddenly this soundless world produced a chilling echo. The echo resounded throughout the dense black forest. 

“Someone help me!”

It was the cry of a child.

Mathias stood up on the long flat rock.

“Mouse,” he shouted, “is that you?”

Mathias waited.

Just when he thought his imagination had created the voice, he heard it again.

“Please help me!”

This was the voice of a young girl, and she was terrified.

Mathias jumped off the rock and tried desperately to find the child through the darkness, but he couldn’t see well enough to locate her. She was everywhere in the forest around him.  Running.  Crying.  Screaming. But he couldn’t see her. He couldn’t see her anywhere. 

“Run to my voice!” he cried out.

He could hear her coming closer.

She was so close.

He could feel her fear. 

“Someone help me, please!”

This voice was in front of him. It was coming right at him. Even in this darkness, Mathias understood there was no one there. This was just a voice. Then she passed right through him, and in that instant, he saw her.

A pretty, little girl dressed as a princess.

She was so scared. She looked so confused. Mathias could feel that she was heartbroken. Then she was gone, and the forest fell into a deafening silence.

But this time Mathias was not alone.

The pretty, little girl had left him with her fear as his companion. Tears began to well up inside of him. Her sense of desperation was so complete. Her feelings of hopelessness rang through his body. His heart hurt from her pain. 

Then Mathias heard hoof beats.

This sound he knew. This sound he remembered. This sound made him run. He scrambled and tripped.  He fell, but kept running. Low-lying branches snatched at him.  Prickly bushes scratched at him and still he ran.

Mathias snagged his foot on a tree root and crashed to the ground.  He could only lay there as the hoof beats came down upon him, and then passed over him.  Like the pretty, little princess, there was no rider.  Only the ghost of the rider. Only the echo of a memory.

The forest fell silent again.

Mathias picked himself up and gradually found his way back to the path. He resumed his journey away from the madness of the village, through the lunacy of the forest, and towards the sure insanity of the castle in the sky. At this moment, the mind of Mathias Bootmaker was twisted. He could no longer tell the real from the unreal. His mind and his body were weak. He needed to rest but there was no rest to be found.

As Mathias walked he searched for the puzzle pieces in his mind. Some were there. Some were not. He was beginning to not care. There were new ones. Dark ones. Strange ones. None of them fit together. None of it mattered anymore. Mathias was alone in a world he did not know. He was lonely in a place where isolation seemed a given, and he had lost a child that was lost himself.

Mathias counted each uncertain step he took. Each step was getting him closer to Mouse. The sand on the path was still dark, but it was beginning to shimmer. With each step he took, Mathias could see more of it. He could also see there was a turn in the path. There was a source of light up ahead of him. He started moving faster through the turn, but he remained cautious. There was a large boulder just off the path. Mathias stayed low and ran to it. It provided him cover to spy on the scene taking place just beyond him.

There was what appeared to be an inn or tavern at the side of the road. The light came from two brass lanterns hanging on long poles set on either side of the small path leading to its door. The door was open, and a man was standing beside a carriage that had stopped in front of the establishment. 

The small, burly man wore a long, filthy apron. His rolled up sleeves exposed his big muscular arms. He wore loose-fitting work pants, and his work boots were unlaced. The man ran his thick fingers through his unkempt red hair. He was desperately trying to improve his appearance for the occupant of the carriage. He wiped his hands, front and back, on the apron and gingerly reached out with his right hand, palm up.

A hand reached out in return from the carriage window. It was very much like a child’s hand, but aged. The occupant dropped seven silver coins, one by one, onto the innkeeper’s waiting palm. The burly man bowed. He then went to the back of the carriage and began to turn a heavily tarnished key set into the rear of the coach. A ratcheting sound could be heard with each turn. The man knocked twice on the roof, and the carriage lurched forward.

Mathias was fascinated by the conveyance. Its dainty size was more for a child than it was for an adult. It was obvious that it had once been a beautiful piece of craftsmanship that was no longer cared for. But the thing that was most curious about the carriage was that it had no driver and no horses. It had the classic shape of a covered horse drawn carriage, but it moved entirely under its own power. It was a very well designed, very sophisticated mechanical toy.

The large windup toy travelled to the end of the road where a jumble of trees and branches and roots blocked any further passage.  The plaything did not stop. It travelled right into the blockade. It seemed to melt right through it. The innkeeper stood and watched this happen. He didn’t seem at all surprised by the vehicle’s mystical exit. Once the carriage was gone, he counted each coin, one by one, one hand to the other.  Convinced he had not been cheated, he pocketed the bounty and with a noticeable limp, stepped back into the inn. 

Having no other choice, Mathias walked towards the small structure.  Its construction was sound, but its haphazard collection of construction materials gave it an unbalanced appearance. Woods of various sizes and shapes blended with stones of various weights and colors. Brick and mortar framed the door and windows, and large lumbering logs created a tall, imposing roof.

When Mathias arrived at the door, he found his only clue to the name of this establishment. A weathered rope was looped around a large rusted nail that had long ago been embedded into the center of the door. The rope was tied on either end to a fractured plank of wood. Carved and burned into the plank was the image of a house on one side and what Mathias believed to be a representation of the castle in the sky on the other. A series of lines connected the two structures, and at their center was a large X. 

The castle in the sky was his destination. The small house was the village he had come from. The lines were the road he was walking on, and the mark at its center was where he stood. Anyone traveling in either direction would find this spot the middle of their journey.

This place was the Inn Between.

Mathias tried peeking through the two large windows at the front of the inn. There was faint light coming from within, but the decorative etched glass provided no view. Not knowing what to expect, he slowly pushed the door open and took one step over the threshold.

NEW MBKS1

Amazon author Edward Medina is proud to introduce you to what was his bestselling debut, It Is Said (MBKS1), the first book in the Mathias Bootmaker and the Keepers of the Sandbox trilogy.

This dark fantasy adventure full of mysteries, riddles, and secrets is the story of Mathias Bootmaker, a young man searching for the better parts of himself. His search for what he’s lost begins an amazing journey through a world of extreme imagination. A world he helped to create, but a world he can’t remember anything about. It’s the story of his life, the birth of creativity, and the true power of the energy all around us.

The world of It Is Said (MBKS1) is a dream embedded within a nightmare. A maze inside a labyrinth. It reads like an adventure. It plays like a thriller. It’s designed to make you question every place you go and every character you meet. It’s designed to be a puzzle you must solve.

“It Is Said (MBKS1) is a book for readers who remember what stories can do when in the hands of author who knows a little magic.” – J. Fields Jr. author the Casino Shuffle series.

“If you haven’t tried It Is Said (MBKS1), boy, are you missing out. It’s exquisite. – Jamie DeBree author and blogger

It Is Said (MBKS1) debuted in the top ten on the Amazon bestseller lists for both Fantasy and Action Adventure. To date it has earned 22 Amazon and Goodreads ★★★★★ reviews from readers, reviewers, teachers, authors, and bloggers.

It Is Said (MBKS1) is available at amazon.com.

Alice Author Pic

Edward Medina is an Amazon KDP bestselling author of high fantasy, dark horror, and epic adventure books, short stories, and poems. To date his combined works have earned over one hundred and fifty Amazon and Goodreads five star reviews from readers, reviewers, bloggers, teachers and fellow authors.

He is a native New Yorker who over time has built a significant and multifaceted career. He has been a producer, director, and writer for both digital media and the New York Off and Off – Off Broadway stages. He also had the honor and the privilege to work for the late great Jim Henson creator of the Muppets.

Edward founded a successful independent production company dedicated to family entertainment and children’s causes. He also established a multimedia company in order to assist nonprofits achieve their own cause related goals. He went on to become a theme park designer. For fun he became a steam train engineer and has been since childhood a sometime magician.

Currently Edward is a critic and feature entertainment columnist covering Broadway, Off Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, Clubs and Cabarets for TheaterScene and The Fire Island Sun. He also maintains his love of theatrical production by continuing to create new works for both stage and screen. And his dream of building a fully realized world of fantasy on tropical shores is still very much alive and well.

If you’d like more detailed information on Edward’s work, visit his LinkedIn profile or his website. You can also explore his books, follow him on Twitter, like his page on Facebook, and subscribe to his blog on WordPress.

Edward Medina is proud to be a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, the Dramatists Guild, the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, and the Horror Writers Association.

10
Oct
12

It Is Said (MBKS1): The Castle In The Sky

The Castle in the Sky has a long history and many names. It has a past, a present and a future all at once. Designed by one man, drafted by a dozen, and executed by thousands, at its birth it was an idea so radical that some thought it would topple over on top of them.

Applying all their craftsmanship and the inventive designs of Elias Darke, the villagers labored to build what they first called the Castle on the Rock. They put their hopes and dreams into their work and imbued their construction with a special energy all its own. The castle compound consisted of three distinctively separate sections that all worked together to make a whole.

The Exchange was built for commerce and equity. It was the working machinery of their world. Trading and lending houses were put side by side with guilds and societies, and merchant and business concerns. It managed the goods of the people. It fueled the practical side of their hopes and dreams.

The Institute was a place of learning. Great minds would gather with young and old alike to teach in classrooms and lecture halls. Important debates and discussions were held there, volumes of knowledge and learning were stored there, all with the belief that an educated people would be a strong people. This was of cardinal importance to securing the well being of future generations.

The Towers housed the family, their staff, and those who cared for the castle and its grounds. The seven gabled mansion and its three towers were a glorious legacy from the ones who built it to the ones they chose to lead them. It was to be a safe haven from the pressures of ruling. It was meant to be their home.

The castle complete, the villagers gave their accomplishment its second name. They named it Darke Tower Castle after the man that inspired its creation, and because the villagers knew of Elias’s unbounded love of the void up above, they named the endless emptiness around their world the Darke Sky.

Since then the Castle in the Sky had seen many events that brought it to its current condition. The buildings and shops of the Exchange had long ago fallen into the sea. Instead of freeing minds, the Institute had become a prison to the very minds they tried to free. The Towers and the mansion buildings were still a haven and home, but now it was murder and mystery that resided there.

It was in the presence of this once magnificent but still imposing structure that Mathias and Ulysses had stopped. They had made their way through the blockade in silence. It was an exhausting endeavor. Once passed it, they made their way to the end of the path which stopped at the edge of a cliff.

They sat at the drop with their legs hanging over the edge.  Directly across from the two men were the rock tower and the castle. Below them was the inky blackness of the sea around this world. Remains of buildings and shops littered the gentle surf far beneath their feet. Large pieces of what once must have been a massive bridge leading to the tower was still trying to make its way there, but it was broken and drowning.

Their first attempt at a conversation was awkward and forced. Ulysses had told Mathias a bit about the castle and its history. But that wasn’t the tale he wanted to tell.

There were graver things on his mind.

“We wanted to prove to ourselves that we could do it and we did,” Ulysses began again. “It was our obligation to make it work and we failed.”

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a silver flask. He tugged at the cork that kept it sealed, took a drink and then passed it to Mathias.

“Have a drink,” he insisted. “You’ve earned it.”

Mathias sniffed at the mouth of the flask. The smell was fruit filled and inviting.

“It’s mulled wine distilled from branchberries,” Ulysses said with a hint of pride. “I make it myself.”

Thirst made Mathias adventurous.

The wine was sweetened and spiced well. The drink warmed his innards and almost immediately made his head spin. It was a strong wine. Ulysses chuckled as he took the flask back, took a quick swallow and passed it back to Mathias.

“Elias wanted a tower that would reach up into the void. He wanted a crystal flame lit from within. He wanted to project our presence out into the void,” he said loudly as the drink emboldened him. “He used the finest sand from the village shores to create the intricate glass shapes. Each one then projected a different magnification of brilliance to the outer reaches of the Darke Sky.”

Mathias was listening intently but he was looking at the silver flask in his hand. The engraving provided validity to the man he was drinking with.

 

 ‘to my faithful friend and fellow traveler’ e.d.

 

The innkeeper was the man he portrayed himself to be.

Ulysses was a firsthand witness to everything that had happened to this place. Here he was, sitting at the end of the broken road that once led to the amazing structure he and his fellow traveler had brought to life. He spoke lovingly of his friend as he stared into the open gash that now separated his world.

“At the celebration and dedication, Elias lit the crystal flame with a type of light we had never seen before,” Ulysses continued. “The mirrors he designed to reflect and further magnify the light began their circles turning within circles movement, and the signal of our existence began to pulse out and into the void.”

Mathias handed the flask back to the innkeeper. He took a long drink and passed it back.

“Have another drink stranger,” Ulysses said with a smile. “You’re going to need it.”

“How did Elias come to power?” Mathias asked before he took another smaller drink.

“We wanted only the best for our families so we selected the one among us who would always steer us in the right direction. He was the most skilled inventor, scientist and thinker in the village, but Elias’s greatest talent was his ability to inspire people to accomplish the extraordinary. He believed that if we could reach beyond ourselves then great things were possible.”

Finished with the flask, Mathias handed it to Ulysses. The innkeeper took yet another long drink.

This time Ulysses held onto the silver container.

“We chose Elias, and Eleanor came with him. She was our jewel. She cared for all the people in the present while he shaped our future.  She was there when we grieved, and encouraged us to celebrate whenever we succeeded. She reminded us that we were all related by blood, marriage or guild, and together we became the People.

“They were partners in all things heart, mind and soul. They loved each other with everything they had. Their love inspired us. They represented everything we wanted to be. They were the best of us, and we entrusted them to lead us into the future.

“Together they decided our first undertaking would be to build a gathering place where we could exchange ideas and knowledge, trade and barter, create commerce, and join together to celebrate the joys and accomplishments of making things better for everyone in the village and for all the generations that would follow.”

Ulysses looked at the flask in his hand.

He rocked his hand back and forth as he looked at his reflected image. Mathias knew he was looking for an image of his friend. Not finding one, the innkeeper ran his fingers across the inscription.

“As the castle rose, Elias quietly invented the Illuminator. He applied that light to the crystal flame. He then contained it within a glass sphere and brought light to the People. He lit the castle and the village. Illuminators were used to light our homes and our surroundings. We applied his work to everything in our lives and it changed us.”

Ulysses took the last swallow of his creation, corked the empty flask and returned the gift to his pocket.

“When Elias died, the Illuminators went out. That’s how we all knew something had happened. Without the man, without the light, the village slipped into the void again. None of us have dreamt since that night. Not since the light left us.”

The slightly drunk innkeeper stood up and stretched. He looked down at Mathias.

“We need to make our way to the shore,” Ulysses said as he started walking. “We’ve been in the same place for far too long.”

Mathias jumped to his feet and tried to catch up.

“We’ll use the path down. It was built as a way to access the shore in order to move supplies and materials down to the boats,” he explained.

Just a few paces from where they sat, there was a wide dirt packed pathway. It was cut into the cliff wall at various angles. Mathias could see that the pathway zigzagged its way down to the shore. The downward angle was sharp, but the walk was comfortable. Carts laden with materials could move easily and would be under control.

Efficiently designed by Lord Darke, Mathias was sure.

“Once completed Elias would spend hours, even days working up in his tower. Always with a book in hand and always looking up at the void. Searching for what, no one ever knew because there was nothing in their void. But he believed there was something out there in his sky.”

“What type of experiments was he working on?”

“Elias had several projects going at once. In one, we took stones and minerals from all around us, ground and mixed them into powders to see what might happen. One batch of powder burned when lit. It would explode when compacted into shapes. Elias began firing those shapes into the void up above. They would burst and fill the void with shimmering colors. That’s when the questioning began. What if there is something out there? What if he angers whatever it is?”

“Did no one support him?” Mathias questioned.

“At first, yes, then an experiment went wrong and there was a great explosion. The top of the central tower and the crystal were destroyed.”

Ulysses stopped and pointed at the tallest tower.

“Elias handpicked a team and it was all rebuilt.”

There near the top was a jagged line between the original stone and the replacement stone.

“The People could see the almost imperceptible difference in the rock and it wore on them. That’s when the People began to doubt,” he said as he continued walking. “They said he had too many ideas. They said he was making too many changes. They said he made them too quickly. They said he was out of control.

“The whispers were that he was full of himself. He was insane and Eleanor was the true power behind the throne. They quietly wondered why they had to care so much for those who couldn’t fend for themselves.

“We were becoming divided. Poets, scientists, scholars, inventors, historians and politicians struggled with Elias, and they pulled at the boy. They questioned him about his father’s work as he traveled around the village in his mechanical carriage. The boy tried to warn his father, but Elias was too busy to notice, or listen to him, and then it was too late.”

The innkeeper stopped at one of the last turns in the downward pathway. He was out of breath, and the wine was taking a deeper hold on him.

“The deaths of the Family Darke reunited us and made us appreciate what we had lost,” he said as he breathed in deeply. “Then we became lost again, and even more than just question, doubt and whisper, we became suspicious of each other. And rather than trying to solve our problems by helping young Oracle, we began to fight amongst ourselves for control.

“We hunted each other like the early days, before fire, only instead of clubs and sharp tools we used words and thoughts. We singled individuals out. We suspected whole groups.

“Fear is a dangerous thing, stranger. It blinds you. We had taken away our ability to see clearly. Some were aware, their eyes were open. They tried to fight back. Other’s watched and did nothing. Some tried to take advantage of the situation for their own gain. A board of advisors put itself in place to help the boy. They tormented him. They pushed and pulled him to their own desires.”

Ulysses motioned to Mathias that it was time to start moving again. The innkeeper stumbled a bit but Mathias held him up.

“Everyone began deciding for the child. Then the child decided for us. Then he released the Fetcher. The children of his advisors were among the first taken. Then he came for the children of those who openly spoke of being better than others. Then he came for all the rest.

“In the end, many parents just prepared their children to go and waited for the Fetcher to come. They were convinced that the situation was only temporary. The Fetcher took those children quickly. Some were hidden by parents who realized the danger. The Fetcher came and tore those children from their hiding places.”

The two men stepped off the pathway and onto the beach. The surf rolled in with a steady rhythm. The ruins in the water would have to be traversed in combination to make it across to the rock tower.

“Why didn’t the bridge hold?” Mathias wondered aloud.

“After the last child was collected, the first thing Oracle did was to destroy the land bridge so that none could enter and none could escape.”

“How does Oracle get across?”

“Conveniently, for him the bridge still exists.”

“How is that possible?”

The innkeeper just shrugged and belched.

“Is there a boat?” Mathias asked hopefully.

“Long gone,” Ulysses said with another much louder belch. “You’ll make it across, Stranger. You walk. You jump. You swim. You’ve a strong back. The climb is risky, but relatively easy.”

“What should we expect in there?” Mathias asked as he looked up at his constant yet elusive destination.

“Can’t help you with that.” the innkeeper said with a slight slur in his voice. “I haven’t been in there since it all happened.”

Ulysses squatted down, then dropped with a thump on his rump onto the black sand.

“This, Stranger, is where my services as a guide come to an end.”

“Are you alright?” Mathias asked, trying not to laugh.

“Never felt better,” he said with a wink and a smile.

Mathias walked over to his fallen comrade and plopped down next to him.

“I haven’t indulged in my creation for a very long time,” Ulysses whispered to Mathias. “Alma would not be happy.”

“I’m sure she would forgive this vintage indiscretion,” Mathias whispered back. “We used it for a purpose. It was a bonding agent.”

The innkeeper barked out a laugh.

“I like the way you think, Stranger,” he slurred in a drunken whisper. “I love her very much, you know?” he added after a moment.

“I can sense that,” Mathias reassured him.

“She’s a good woman. I don’t know what I would do if I lost her,” he said wistfully. “She loved those two children. I did too, very much.”

Ulysses put two fingers up to the bridge of his nose and squeezed hard. He was forcing back his tears with a vice like grip.

“I was the one who found the bodies,” he said, letting go. “I raced up the tower and found the boy in the playroom. He was shaking. He was so scared. I tried talking to him, but he stayed silent.

“Oracle went to the window and looked down. He turned back around and looked at me. ‘And I live.’ was all he said. The child then fainted. I tried to aid the boy by bending to pick him up, but there was something else in the room that stopped me. It was the Fetcher, but in his first form. He looked just like Oracle.

“The Oracle Fetcher knelt by Oracle the boy and touched him on the forehead. The boy blinked and opened his eyes. The Oracle Fetcher helped him up and the two walked out of the room hand in hand. As they went, the two turned and stared back at me. Their stares were equally chilling.

“We created the child of all lies, and he took possession of the symbol of our future,” he said with a yawn. “We shaped our destiny in the twisted form of the thing we most loved once. A child.”

Ulysses looked up to the castle.

Mathias could see all the history he was just told written all over the man’s face.

Ulysses closed his eyes and lowered his head.

“I was once a brave man, until I learned to fear a child,” he said through a dozing haze. “When you stand before him, look into his eyes, if you see the child, save him.”

Mathias had to lean in closer to hear the rest.

“If you see nothing, destroy him.”

With that Ulysses, the innkeeper, groundskeeper, inventor’s assistant, thinker’s friend, loving husband, and perhaps the last brave man in the Village Darke, fell asleep sitting up on the black sand beach of his world. He had spoken in truths of the place he called home, truths that had not been spoken of in a very long time, and now he was done.

NEW MBKS1

Amazon author Edward Medina is proud to introduce you to what was his bestselling debut, It Is Said (MBKS1), the first book in the Mathias Bootmaker and the Keepers of the Sandbox trilogy.

This dark fantasy adventure full of mysteries, riddles, and secrets is the story of Mathias Bootmaker, a young man searching for the better parts of himself. His search for what he’s lost begins an amazing journey through a world of extreme imagination. A world he helped to create, but a world he can’t remember anything about. It’s the story of his life, the birth of creativity, and the true power of the energy all around us.

The world of It Is Said (MBKS1) is a dream embedded within a nightmare. A maze inside a labyrinth. It reads like an adventure. It plays like a thriller. It’s designed to make you question every place you go and every character you meet. It’s designed to be a puzzle you must solve.

“It Is Said (MBKS1) is a book for readers who remember what stories can do when in the hands of author who knows a little magic.” – J. Fields Jr. author the Casino Shuffle series.

“If you haven’t tried It Is Said (MBKS1), boy, are you missing out. It’s exquisite. – Jamie DeBree author and blogger

It Is Said (MBKS1) debuted in the top ten on the Amazon bestseller lists for both Fantasy and Action Adventure. To date it has earned 22 Amazon and Goodreads ★★★★★ reviews from readers, reviewers, teachers, authors, and bloggers.

It Is Said (MBKS1) is available at amazon.com.

Alice Author Pic

Edward Medina is an Amazon KDP bestselling author of high fantasy, dark horror, and epic adventure books, short stories, and poems. To date his combined works have earned over one hundred and fifty Amazon and Goodreads five star reviews from readers, reviewers, bloggers, teachers and fellow authors.

He is a native New Yorker who over time has built a significant and multifaceted career. He has been a producer, director, and writer for both digital media and the New York Off and Off – Off Broadway stages. He also had the honor and the privilege to work for the late great Jim Henson creator of the Muppets.

Edward founded a successful independent production company dedicated to family entertainment and children’s causes. He also established a multimedia company in order to assist nonprofits achieve their own cause related goals. He went on to become a theme park designer. For fun he became a steam train engineer and has been since childhood a sometime magician.

Currently Edward is a critic and feature entertainment columnist covering Broadway, Off Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, Clubs and Cabarets for TheaterScene and The Fire Island Sun. He also maintains his love of theatrical production by continuing to create new works for both stage and screen. And his dream of building a fully realized world of fantasy on tropical shores is still very much alive and well.

If you’d like more detailed information on Edward’s work, visit his LinkedIn profile or his website. You can also explore his books, follow him on Twitter, like his page on Facebook, and subscribe to his blog on WordPress.

Edward Medina is proud to be a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, the Dramatists Guild, the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, and the Horror Writers Association.

16
Sep
12

It Is Said (MBKS1): High Noon in Fears Corner

high noon

It is said that every frightening moment that ever existed has taken some physical form and walked the dusty streets of Fears Corner.  The people who conceive these anxieties in the flesh, men and women, young and old, the anonymous and the anointed have all at some time or another also trod its boards.

They bring themselves here to face whatever they fear most. They arrive here hoping and praying that faith in themselves will see them through. Those that have already passed this way would tell you that if you’re going through hell, you just keep going.

When the worlds were created, no one ever expected that such a lonely and desolate place would ever come to be. Other than the players in each nightmare, there are never any people here. The businesses are all shuttered, the stables are all empty, the wind howls incessantly, and the time is always high noon. 

Once, with the help of a vicious prairie fire, the entire frontier town burned down to the ground.

It was rebuilt.

No one knows how. 

Fears Corner still smells of scorched earth. 

Recently a black blizzard had blown through town and buried everything in the dust and debris of the massive sandstorm.

A cyclone came along afterwards and unearthed it.

Fears Corner, some say, is indestructible.

On this day there was rain, a light, steady, annoying rain. Far off in the distance, explosions of lightning began reflecting off the surfaces of the dark, flat clouds that clawed at the horizon. Soft booms of thunder were heralding the impending arrival of another event.

Music is never heard here which is why it was odd to hear a slightly out of tune piano straining to play its last tune. You could almost hear the hushed voices of settlers that never ventured here singing…

 

Buffalo gals, won’t you come out tonight,

Come out tonight, Come out tonight,

Buffalo gals, won’t you come out tonight,

And dance by the light of the moon.

 

It was coming from the only place in town that it would if it could, and the last place in town where anybody should be – the Abandon All Hope Saloon. 

Most frontier towns would build their most moving and meaningful structures at the heart of their communities. A steeple would reach up to the heavens for those of faith. A town hall would stand for those who believed in governance above all. A grand train station would be waiting for those who welcomed visitors from all points of the compass. 

In Fears Corner, it was the Abandon All Hope Saloon that stood at the center of town. There was nothing remarkable about this two-story wooden building with its once fancy facade now faded away. Those that entered here weren’t looking for fancy facades, or welcoming embraces. They were looking for trouble and trouble was the rule of law.

The saloon’s large windows, now covered with filth, allowed anyone inside a full and direct view of the street. Those that dared to sit in this place liked to see danger coming. A wise gunslinger always sat with his back to the wall and a sharp eye on Main Street. 

Alice sensed this as she stood watch at her post.

She had taken the sleeve of her blouse, put it around her hand, and rubbed a clear spot in the window. She didn’t know how long she had been peering through that spot.

It was best not to think of those things.

It was best to concentrate. 

But as long as that old clock on the wall kept tocking, as long as its weight kept swinging, Alice couldn’t help but think of time, and pressure, and fear. She had hoped the piano would drown out her overwhelming thoughts. She could hear the piano just fine, but between the notes, she could still hear that tocking, she could feel the heavy weight swinging. 

Daniel sat at the piano banging away at that tune.

His fingers were tired, but he was determined to be done with this particular problem and if he had to sit at that piano for a whole day in order to lure that monster in here, then that’s just what he was going to do.

Besides, he had faith in Alexander.

Alexander had the idea. Alexander planned the plan. He believed in Alexander. As long as he was strong, Daniel knew he could be strong too. 

Alexander stood tall at the center of the room.

He stood there looking tough and stern-lipped.

He was never more afraid in his life.

Alexander was the leader of this little gang of outlaws, and when he first stepped onto the saloon battlefield, he knew this endeavor wasn’t going to be easy, but he believed it was possible. 

A dozen or so tables with their accompanying chairs were scattered about the main room. Billiard and gaming tables didn’t provide much cover. Most of them had been demolished in the numerous bar brawls that had happened here.

Alexander chose to make his stand with his back to the large bar that ran across the back of the room. A balcony with once carpeted staircases on either side loomed above the bar. Behind it was a huge mirror. The mirror was housed in an ornately carved wooden frame and stretched across the full length of the bar.

Alexander wanted that mirror behind him so that the monster that was coming could see itself as he it faced it down. 

The dreaded Bully Bob had to be shown a thing or two.

Through the rain, the sun, the haze and the filth on the windows, Alice had kept watch. Knowing that her friends were relying on her keen eyesight to spot the approach of this villain was an honor.

She pushed her glasses back up and onto her nose and squinched her eyes to focus, but the thumbprint she had left behind on the lens made that impossible. Alice took off her glasses and used the edge of her blouse to clean the lenses.

Her little hands were shaking.

Alice had put her favorite lucky rabbit’s foot on the chain that hung around her neck. The chain also held a gold four-leaf clover. The clover had been a gift from her grammy, and as long as she had it, she would be safe.

At least that’s what Alice kept telling herself.

Satisfied that the lenses were as clean as they were going to get, Alice put the glasses back on and returned to gazing through her spot.  As soon as her eyes focused through the rain, the sun, the haze, and the filth on the windows, she saw him.

Just on the outskirts of town.

Riding slowly towards Main Street.

Bully Bob had arrived at last.

Alice had seen him a thousand times at school picking on some poor defenseless kid. She knew it was Bully Bob, the terror of the Theodore Roosevelt Grammar School and Kindergarten, but here in Fears Corner, sitting tall in the saddle, looking like the devil himself, she could only think – that’s the Man in Black, and this whole thing was a really bad idea.

“He’s here!” she half whispered, half screamed. 

Daniel froze.

He couldn’t remember the next note.

He couldn’t even remember his name. 

“Keep playing,” Alexander quietly ordered, never taking his eyes off the saloon doors. 

Alexander remembered this scene from every western he had ever read. The villain would soon be at those swinging doors, and the showdown would begin.

“Keep playing Daniel.”

The old clock on the wall began to strike noon.

“I want him to know we’re here and waiting for him.”

Daniel just sat at the piano too afraid to move.

Alexander and Alice could only stand there staring at his back. They both knew that if this part of the plan didn’t work, the rest of it wouldn’t either. They both found themselves breathing to the rhythms of the chimes.

The last one sounded.

Then there was nothing but silence.

Not a single tock from that old clock.

The weight had stopped.

Time was up. 

Daniel took a deep breath, reached deep down inside himself, found his courage, and began to play. Hoping that the Man in Black was gone, Alice quickly returned to her spot.

He wasn’t gone.

He had only paused.

Just at the end of Main Street.

Alice could see his coal black horse was restless. She could see its hideous yellow eyes darting back and forth as the horse shifted its weight from side to side.

Alice watched as the Man in Black pulled back on the reins to control the beast but it wasn’t enough. He then wrapped his black leather covered fist around the horse’s mane and pulled at all that long black hair.

That was enough.

With the animal back in his control, the Man in Black started down Main Street straight towards the saloon.

The rain began to pour. 

“He’s coming!” she said – but no one heard her. 

Only her lips had moved. Her voice was caught somewhere in her throat. She tried to turn around to say something, but she couldn’t move. She couldn’t take her eyes away from the Man in Black, not for a single moment.

Alice jumped when Alexander’s hand touched her shoulder. 

“Don’t worry. I see him,” he said. 

She looked up at him as he finished clearing away his own spot on the window.

“We never should have come here Alex.”

He looked at her, and smiled.

“It’ll be okay. Your turn is next. Just remember, wait for the signal.” 

With that Alexander turned and walked back to the center of the room to wait for the Man in Black.

“That’s enough Daniel,” he said as he took his place. “He knows where we are now.”

Daniel was relieved.

He had done his part, and he was proud of himself, but for now, he would continue to sit at the piano with his back to the saloon doors. The less he saw of this bully, the better he would be at his next task. 

Alexander’s focus, however, was completely on those saloon doors. He couldn’t see the Man in Black, but he knew he was there tying his coal black horse to the hitching post. He couldn’t see him, but he could hear his black boots splashing in the muddy street. He could hear the creaking of the boards as the Man in Black stepped up to the doors of the Abandon All Hope Saloon. 

This day was Alexander’s thirteenth birthday.

His friends Daniel and Alice were younger than he was, but not by much. They were his best friends and that was all that mattered. A boy begins to become a man when he turns thirteen and a man takes care of himself, his family, and his friends.

The Man in Black was standing tall and dark against the harsh haze and the sheets of rain. The brim of his black hat cast a shadow over his face, but his eyes were clearly fixed, focused and glaring at Alexander. Only the saloon doors and a bit of distance stood between them. 

Things were changing for Alexander.

This was his last day playing in this particular sandbox. Alexander would soon be moving on to the world of men, and his friends needed to learn that they would be all right without him. They needed to know that they could be brave and take care of themselves.

The Man in Black took one step forward.

“Before you come in here,” Alexander calmly explained, “we want you to know, we don’t want any trouble.”

The Man in Black put his hands on the saloon doors.

“If you ride on, right now, you’ll suffer no consequences for all your past actions.”

They could all hear his black gloves stretch as his fingers clenched the rotting wood and his knuckles bulged up against the tight leather.

“But if you come through those doors,” he continued, “well, I can’t be responsible for what fate has in store for you.”

The Man in Black stood stone still.

He had one foot over the threshold by just the sharp point of his black steel tipped boot.

“Ride on,” Alexander said sternly.

The Man in Black turned his head, lowered it slightly and spit on the ground. He chuckled a little, mostly to himself, as he pushed open the saloon doors and took one step inside. Alexander took two steps towards the imposing form they all chose for the thing they feared most. 

“We don’t want to fight. But you won’t stop picking on us and that’s not fair.”

The Man in Black surveyed the room, looking down at each child with indifference as he sized them up.

He turned his attention back to the tall thin boy.

“I’m not afraid of you, mister. You and I both know you’re just a coward, a yellow coward.” 

The Man in Black spoke for the first time.

“I know you are,” he growled. “But what am I?”

It was Alexander’s turn to chuckle, mostly to himself, and then he quietly said, “Now.”

The spitball that hit the Man in Black surprised him.

He turned to his right and eyed the little blonde girl by the window. She was crouched low behind a table. The straw was still at her lips. He wiped the spitball from his face and glared at her. She pulled the straw from her mouth and stuck her tongue out at him. 

A loud sound from behind the Man in Black caused him to spin on his heels. The quick turn to his left revealed that the chubby boy at the piano was up to no good. He had thrown open the top of the piano and was reaching inside. Recognizing his true target, the Man in Black advanced on the boy.

Daniel was standing on the piano bench, half inside the piano and half out. His prop, which he had cleverly hidden, was stuck. No matter how hard he pulled, it just wouldn’t come loose and the Man in Black was coming. He could feel his presence with each step. Daniel closed his eyes, grabbed the object with both of his little hands and pulled as hard as he could.

The Man in Black was almost on top of the boy when the child suddenly turned. At first, he didn’t recognize what the boy was holding. But he could see that the boy was not in control of the device, and he was fumbling with the trigger.   

When Daniel turned, and opened his eyes, he got his first full look at the Man in Black. This was not the Bully Bob he knew. But in that monster’s eyes, he could see the essence of every bully there had ever been. Daniel raised the seltzer bottle in his hand and pulled the trigger.

A blast of bubbly water hit the Man in Black square between the eyes propelling him away from Daniel. 

“Now!” Alexander shouted.

A dozen children stood up from their hiding places behind the bar.  Each one was different.  Boys, girls, tall, short, chubby, skinny, brave, and not so brave. They all held their seltzer bottles up, pointed at the Man in Black and fired. 

The overwhelming spray of water drove him towards the saloon doors. He stumbled backwards reaching for anything in his path that might stop him.

Nothing worked.

Then the streams stopped.

The Man in Black had managed to get a hold of the saloon doors, and he held on tight anticipating another blast. But none came. He turned slowly and surveyed the room again.

Same saloon.

Different odds.

He was grossly outnumbered.

In this situation, the Man in Black instinctively knew that the best tactic was to strike at the leader. He let out a scream so loud that the windows shook as he rushed the boy.   

Alexander stood his ground.

“Now!” he screamed.

Suddenly, there were children everywhere.

They popped up from behind the dilapidated billiard tables.

They came around from behind the broken gaming tables.

They appeared at the railing of the balcony and every single child held a water balloon in each hand.

The Man in Black never stood a chance.

Balloons filled with water flew in from all sides.

Burst after burst.

Splash after splash.

Wave after wave of water.

It was a clump of mud on the bottom of the Man in Black’s right boot that brought the final moment upon him.

All that water had dissolved that clump and let loose the tiny pieces of rock that slid under his heel.

Down he went.

Flat on his back. 

The Man in Black lay there quite still and quite wet.

Through the fog of defeat he could see a wrought iron chandelier hanging above his body.

This was not a good place to be.

He tried to roll to his left, but there was a child their standing over him. He tried to roll to his right but there were more children there, standing over him.

The Man in Black slowly sat up.

Alexander, Daniel and Alice pushed their way through the pack and looked down at their vanquished foe. 

“Say it!” Daniel ordered.

The Man in Black sneered at all of them until he noticed Daniel was holding a seltzer bottle.

 It was fully loaded. 

“Uncle,” was the last thing the Man in Black would say to them.

The children started cheering.

Their screams of happiness and shouts of victory filled the saloon. They had defeated their bully and better days were ahead. 

The Man in Black watched all of this with a stunned disbelief.

In one moment, the Man in Black thought of revenge. In the next moment those thoughts faded as all of the children, one by one, began to vanish until the Man in Black was left all alone.

Lightning struck close by and lit the windows with bright white light. The deafening roar of thunder followed, shaking the saloon through to its rafters. Taking its cue, the player less piano began a twisted little tune. The final note hung in the air as the piano disappeared.

The old clock on the wall began to chime.

It was high noon once more.

With each strike a little of his world was taken from him.

Bong.

Gone were the tables.

Bong.

Gone were the bar and its beautiful mirror.

Bong.

Gone were the balcony and its once carpeted stairs.

And so it went until there was nothing left but the old clock on the wall, and on the very last bong it vanished as well.

The Man in Black stood himself up and surveyed the room for the third time. There was nothing left except for a sound. A creaking. A groaning. A shrill, metal pulling on metal sound.

But there was nothing in the room.

Then he looked up.

The Man in Black dove towards the saloon doors just as the wrought iron chandelier hit the floor with a crash. The dust barely had time to settle before the chandelier, like everything else, was gone. 

The Man in Black had thrust himself with so much force through the saloon doors that he flew past his horse and landed in the middle of Main Street. He lay there in the mud and watched as the Abandon All Hope Saloon, the entire building, disappeared, leaving a giant gaping hole deep in the heart of Fears Corner. 

A bolt of lightning, a crash of thunder, and the rain just stopped. A cold stillness, a blast of wind, and the hail began to fall.  The ice balls, each a different size, from tiny to huge, pelted everything else left in town. They coldly tore through wood and window. The never ever used jail was obliterated when a giant hailstone dropped square on it. 

The Man in Black turned away from the blast of destruction. He tucked himself into a tight little ball right there in the middle of town and waited for the giant hail to fall on him. Then just like the rain, the hailstorm stopped.

The Man in Black dared not move. 

With his arms wrapped around his head, the Man in Black couldn’t hear a thing, but with his body so close to the ground, he could feel a low rumble. He opened his eyes and there it was, two or three miles away, the biggest twister he had ever seen. It was coming fast, and the wind that roared up was proof of it. 

His horse, once a fearless demon, was terrified and in a panic. The horse chomped at his bit and pulled at the reins. They were still tied to the hitching post. The frightened beast was tugging hard enough to almost pull the posts themselves right up and out of the ground. 

The Man in Black could see his only means of escape about to escape on its own. Against the brutal force of the wind, he dragged himself up and began to fight his way to the horse. The tornado was bearing down on the town and the wind was getting vindictive. In its relentlessness it picked up the Man in Black and threw him towards his own horse. 

He landed with a glancing blow under the hitching post. He reached up and grabbed the reins. Pulling them down, he used the slack to untie the horse. Free, the horse whinnied and reared up, pulling the Man in Black up into the air. As he flew over the horse, out of the corner of his eye, he could see his last hope of fleeing this place vanish. 

The wind violently deposited him several feet away. He rolled along Main Street never letting go of the reins of his once present companion. Miraculously, the Man in Black rolled up and onto his feet and in a defiant gesture he raised his fist into the air. He brandished the reins in his clutched hand to the sky like a trophy.

“You can take everything away,” he screamed at the massive windstorm. “But I will not forget!”

The reins disappeared along with his hat, guns, holsters, belt and boots. He was left standing in only his black pants, black shirt and bare feet.

“I will not forget!” he screamed again as the most devastating tornado ever seen in these parts arrived in Fears Corner.

Building after building was simply blown apart. Annihilated in the tornado’s wake. It was traveling down Main Street and heading right at the Man in Black. He could see the end of the street. If he could just make it to the edge of town.

He was running, but not fast enough.

The twister was on the heels of the Man in Black when a door appeared at the end of the street. He threw his full weight against it, forcing the door open. The Man in Black stumbled inside and it slammed shut behind him.

The door stood alone against the oncoming onslaught. Its frame cracked, but held together. Its hinges squealed, but did not give. The doorknob, in the shape of a silver cowboy hat, rattled but did not turn. 

The door wisely vanished before it could be destroyed.

NEW MBKS1

Amazon author Edward Medina is proud to introduce you to what was his bestselling debut, It Is Said (MBKS1), the first book in the Mathias Bootmaker and the Keepers of the Sandbox trilogy.

This dark fantasy adventure full of mysteries, riddles, and secrets is the story of Mathias Bootmaker, a young man searching for the better parts of himself. His search for what he’s lost begins an amazing journey through a world of extreme imagination. A world he helped to create, but a world he can’t remember anything about. It’s the story of his life, the birth of creativity, and the true power of the energy all around us.

The world of It Is Said (MBKS1) is a dream embedded within a nightmare. A maze inside a labyrinth. It reads like an adventure. It plays like a thriller. It’s designed to make you question every place you go and every character you meet. It’s designed to be a puzzle you must solve.

“It Is Said (MBKS1) is a book for readers who remember what stories can do when in the hands of author who knows a little magic.” – J. Fields Jr. author the Casino Shuffle series.

“If you haven’t tried It Is Said (MBKS1), boy, are you missing out. It’s exquisite. – Jamie DeBree author and blogger

It Is Said (MBKS1) debuted in the top ten on the Amazon bestseller lists for both Fantasy and Action Adventure. To date it has earned 22 Amazon and Goodreads ★★★★★ reviews from readers, reviewers, teachers, authors, and bloggers.

It Is Said (MBKS1) is available at amazon.com.

Alice Author Pic

Edward Medina is an Amazon KDP bestselling author of high fantasy, dark horror, and epic adventure books, short stories, and poems. To date his combined works have earned over one hundred and fifty Amazon and Goodreads five star reviews from readers, reviewers, bloggers, teachers and fellow authors.

He is a native New Yorker who over time has built a significant and multifaceted career. He has been a producer, director, and writer for both digital media and the New York Off and Off – Off Broadway stages. He also had the honor and the privilege to work for the late great Jim Henson creator of the Muppets.

Edward founded a successful independent production company dedicated to family entertainment and children’s causes. He also established a multimedia company in order to assist nonprofits achieve their own cause related goals. He went on to become a theme park designer. For fun he became a steam train engineer and has been since childhood a sometime magician.

Currently Edward is a critic and feature entertainment columnist covering Broadway, Off Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, Clubs and Cabarets for TheaterScene and The Fire Island Sun. He also maintains his love of theatrical production by continuing to create new works for both stage and screen. And his dream of building a fully realized world of fantasy on tropical shores is still very much alive and well.

If you’d like more detailed information on Edward’s work, visit his LinkedIn profile or his website. You can also explore his books, follow him on Twitter, like his page on Facebook, and subscribe to his blog on WordPress.

Edward Medina is proud to be a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, the Dramatists Guild, the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, and the Horror Writers Association.




Edward Medina Author

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