Sep 30, 2010

Know. Speak. Read.

It's Banned Book Week. What we are allowed to read should never be censored. Never. No one should ever have the right to tell another person what they can or can not read. My favorite story on this subject is Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I also really enjoyed Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr [I met him once in NYC, he used to buy cigarettes in the building where I worked - cool]. Celebrate the week by opening your mind.

It is one thing to choose not to read a book. It is another to prevent someone else from doing so. The definition of freedom means, to me, each of us has the right to decide for ourselves. If you take away my choice, you take away my freedom. That is not OK by me. Not OK at all.

Here is a list of classics on the list. Winnie-The-Pooh? He was my first love. I had no idea he was such a bad boy.  More recent titles can be found here:
You can click on the years on the sidebar to see who folks are trying to prevent us from reading.

The titles in bold represent banned or challenged books. For more information on why these books were challenged, visit challenged classics and the Banned Books Week Web site.

The titles not in bold may have been banned or challenged, but we have not received any reports on them. If you have information about the banning or challenging of these titles, please contact the Office for Intellectual Freedom.

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
10. The Sound and the Fury, by William Faulkner
11. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
13. Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White
14. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce
15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
21. Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad
22. Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne
23. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son, by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
31. On the Road, by Jack Kerouac
32. The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
34. To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf
35. Portrait of a Lady, by Henry James
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
37. The World According to Garp, by John Irving
38. All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren
39. A Room with a View, by E.M. Forster
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
41. Schindler's List, by Thomas Keneally
42. The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton
43. The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand
44. Finnegans Wake, by James Joyce
45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
46. Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf
47. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
48. Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
51. My Antonia, by Willa Cather
52. Howards End, by E.M. Forster
53. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
54. Franny and Zooey, by J.D. Salinger
55. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
56. Jazz, by Toni Morrison
57. Sophie's Choice, by William Styron
58. Absalom, Absalom!, by William Faulkner
59. A Passage to India, by E.M. Forster
60. Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton
61. A Good Man Is Hard to Find, by Flannery O'Connor
62. Tender Is the Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
63. Orlando, by Virginia Woolf
64. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
65. Bonfire of the Vanities, by Tom Wolfe
66. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
67. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
68. Light in August, by William Faulkner
69. The Wings of the Dove, by Henry James
70. Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe
71. Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier
72. A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
73. Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs
74. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
75. Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence
76. Look Homeward, Angel, by Thomas Wolfe
77. In Our Time, by Ernest Hemingway
78. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, by Gertrude Stein
79. The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett
80. The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
81. Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys
82. White Noise, by Don DeLillo
83. O Pioneers!, by Willa Cather
84. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
85. The War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells
86. Lord Jim, by Joseph Conrad
87. The Bostonians, by Henry James
88. An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser
89. Death Comes for the Archbishop, by Willa Cather
90. The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
91. This Side of Paradise, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
92. Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand
93. The French Lieutenant's Woman, by John Fowles
94. Babbitt, by Sinclair Lewis
95. Kim, by Rudyard Kipling
96. The Beautiful and the Damned, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
97. Rabbit, Run, by John Updike
98. Where Angels Fear to Tread, by E.M. Forster
99. Main Street, by Sinclair Lewis
100. Midnight's Children, by Salman Rushdie

Knowledge is power. Don't let anyone take it away from you. Have you read any titles on this list? I've read quite a few of them.

Sep 28, 2010

Wistful Reads?

Anyone interested in an online bookclub? Of course, the books would be science fiction or fantasy. We could discuss them here on a scheduled basis. For instance, the first 100 pages and then the rest of the book, or however we decide to divvy the material up. We can vote on which book to read. We'll pace it reasonably. Something I thought up which I thought could be fun. For the first read, I would suggest "Replay" by Ken Grimwood. Any other suggestions? We can then vote. Let me know in the comments whether you're interested.

Seems Tuesday is the new 'it' night for the Syfy channel. Stargate Universe returns tonight. I'm looking forward to it. I will miss Warehouse 13 while it's on hiatus. I enjoyed it last summer yet it got better this year. I liked the story arc with HG Wells. Very well done, Warehouse 13.

I've seen the ads for Caprica coming back, too. The magic from BSG just isn't there. Maybe they worked on that while on hiatus. We'll see. The teenage girl angst with the robot just standing there most of the time and the virtual reality scenario were just not very interesting. All the smoking and drinking were distracting and also not interesting. It finally got good when the robot broke out in the very last episode. I will give it another chance and see whether it improved or not.

Started watching The Event on NBC. It's on at 9:00 p.m. on Monday nights. I liked the second episode better than the first. I thought it was rather exciting last night. I hope they keep it up. It would be fun to have something new and interesting to watch. Especially now that Lost is done. Haven't seen it yet? I think they put the episodes already aired on their website. So you can watch there.

Got an idea for a TV show of your own? How about using this as inspiration?

The Real Trashcans of Roswell

Oscar scowled at Tin Tin. "You always think you're so much better than everyone else!"

Tin Tin smiled, letting the others know he did not disagree. "I am made of stainless steel, not aluminum. Nope, I am not trashcan trash." He sniffed.

Remember to keep voting and add your comments at  Thankees!

Sep 27, 2010

The Last Hurrah of 2010

The last weekend of the season at Pine Mountain Observatory gifted us warm and clear. So warm, we didn't even put on our coats until after 11:00 p.m. on Friday night. At 6200 feet, that's a feat. The only thing marring the perfection of two cloudless, warm nights was the bright as heck moon turning our sky into city sky.

I hiked up to the summit both nights, knowing I would not see the place I hold sacred again until May. I soaked in the peace and renewal the mountain always offers. The moon and Jupiter rose together Friday night. Saturday the moon rose later, allowing us a brief glimpse at dimmer objects before they were washed away in the glare of moonlight. A very special gift. Clicking on any of the photos will enlarge them.

The lights of Bend coming on in the distance

The Moon & Jupiter rising over the summit.
The bright dot a little right of center is Venus.
A bonus, the thrill of discovering Uranus for the first time in my telescope. Uranus is very close to Jupiter right now.

The little blue dot is Uranus

We sat under the stars and blare of the moon, soaking up the esprit of nature under our feet and over our heads; enjoying the warmth and the peace and glory of what was around us.

The moon and some stars

The crowds cleared out early both nights. I went up to the 24 both nights and we roamed it over the skies looking at galaxies, nebulae, star clusters, planets and comets.

Jupiter. From left to right: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.

It was a great season with fun crowds and many clear nights. I filled my eyes with stars to serenade my dreams until May 2011. I hope to get out a few times on my own before then, but it's never the same. The thrill of discovery looking through my telescope is magical, but the true heart of the magic is Pine Mountain. I will dream of it often.

A view I never tire of.

Although I look forward to getting some semblance of a normal sleep pattern back, I am sad it's over. I can't believe it's over. I hold the memories dear. Till we meet again, Pine Mountain, till we meet again.

Sep 24, 2010


The use of dreams and the dreamworld is a theme which crops up time and again. The most well-known work using this plot device is "The Wizard of Oz". Did Dorothy really go to Oz or did she just bang her head and have a tripped out dream?

The Matrix mixes the dreamworld with reality. Which is real? Total Recall used it, too. Was Arnold really an agent trying to save Mars, or was it all a dream?

Freddy Krueger killed through dreams. Don't fall asleep!

The use of a dreamworld takes the character on an adventure in which the character and we learn something. The character usually has to overcome several obstacles before leaving the wondrous, bizarre and unpredictable dreamland. Then the character returns to reality [wakes up] and we are left wondering what is real. So is the character.

Lately audiences have come to think explaining things away via dreams is a cop out. So, it isn't used as much as it once was. I know it bugs me. Only a dream? Aaarrrgh! With that said, I thought Bob Newhart used the plot device successfully in ending his series set at a Vermont inn.

Can you think of any TV shows, movies or books using this device? Own any? Any you like? Any you hate?

Remember to vote and participate at !

Sep 23, 2010

The Vortex

Do you have a personal vortex? I do. About a year ago my mysterious shadow of a whirlpool swallowed up my car keys. They have not turned up since.

On a saturday in November, beginning of November, I went to a workshop with Nature of Words [Bend's writers conference put on through the diligence of Ellen Waterston] presented by Jane Kirkpatrick, a very lovely and talented person. I enjoyed the workshop on history, research, etc ... immensely, since I enjoy history and research. I find a lot of inspiration rifling around in the past.

The Sunday after, I prepared to attend my first ever Second Sunday [the first Sunday in November to coincide with Nature of Words], but I could not find the car keys. Since the car was locked, the keys had to be in the house. Well, I still haven't found them. I managed to find the spares - almost as daunting a task as locating the missing set - and sped off. Jane was there and said she looked forward to hearing how I put Ancient Mesopotamia into space. I chickened out though. I did not read that Sunday. No worries, my courage and husband saw me through a reading in February and I've been reading ever since.

As you know from Friday's post, the Vortex struck again inside Macy's a few weeks ago. Last week it took my wedding ring. I made crab cakes for dinner and put my rings in my pocket while I did so. Then I promptly forgot about them. Later when I folded up my jeans I heard the clink clink. I was able to locate the diamonds, but not my wedding band. Odd, as it is the fattest of the rings and, therefore, should have been the easiest to find.

So, I told my husband we were back to 'engaged' until the Vortex spat my ring out. It did. On Tuesday. So, we're back to being married. I was hoping when I located the ring, my car keys from last year would also pop up. No such luck. The Vortex is hanging onto those wherever lost socks go ... and all the pens that disappear from my desk.

Where is that place? Do you know it?

Sep 21, 2010

I Dub Thee

I appreciated all the great entries in the 'name my telescope' post last week. There were so many great names to choose from. I decided to name it Orson Bradbury. I will tell it this weekend. I can't believe I have to pack it up in the car and take it home this weekend. Hear that Husband! Clear me a spot in the garage!

The plan this week is to finish up short stories and begin submitting the new ones. I'll do more submissions for the old ones, too. Still reading through novel#2.

Busy literary week for me: critique group met last night, meeting fellow writers today and there's a Guild meeting this week.

I put a new discussion question and poll up on my website. Will you be so kind as to go there and participate? You can vote in the poll more than once. You can answer the question more than once, too, as long as you leave time in between. Think of the question like Facebook. There is a character limit. 250, I think. You guys rock!

Sep 20, 2010

Buckets of Hail Water

Patches of blue sky graced my drive out to PMO Friday evening.

A flirty moon peaked out.

But clouds were gathering all around.

They rolled in with a vengeance.

Lightning punctuated the skies on the way home.

Then I hit the storm. Like a wall of water/hail. As if fifty folks stood outside throwing buckets at my windshield. Couldn't see a damn thing. I actually lost the road. Fortunately, they just repainted the lines after doing some construction. So, I was able to find the white line and continue traveling slowly by straddling the shoulder and the highway. It would have helped if the idiots on the other side of the road dimmed their brights. Then I went really blind when a lightning bolt hit about five feet in front of me. I've had close calls with lightning before and could smell and feel the electricity. 

The hail lay so thick on some parts of the road, I slid through an intersection. Luckily, it was out in the sticks and not a busy one.

Saturday there were no sun breaks. We got rained out again. So the second last weekend of the season was a washout.

I read more of novel#2, read more of the sci-fi novel using a 'Stonehenge' [research], wrote a new short story long hand [good luck me on reading that] and worked at revising an already written story.

Sep 17, 2010

Zone of the Sisterhood Pants

Last week I ventured off to Macy's for nothing in particular, but in hopes of something nice to wear. With a real weakness for sweaters and jackets, fall is my favorite time of year to shop. Maybe it has something to do with being a Libra? Hey, that's astrology not astronomy! Oops.

First up on my 'wanted' list was a pair of jeans. I took several styles and sizes back to the dressing room and found a nice pair. The first pair I tried on as a matter of fact. They fit very well - not too tight, not too loose. A rare find indeed, so feelings of wariness crept right on in. Then I scampered off in search of a new winter coat.

While trying on the tenth coat of possibilities, a women and a sales lady spoke of jeans. Since they practically stood next to me, I couldn't help but hear the woman tried on the same sized jeans as me and claimed they fit. Not only was she taller, she had quite a bit of fluff. So, I knew I had entered the Twilight Zone or a sequel to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. How else would we fit in the same sized jeans?

I have to admit, I'm still flummoxed. A definite fright it was. Either I'm a lot fatter than I think, or she really squished herself into them suckers with a shoehorn. Or, there is some sort of vortex inside Macy's.

Do you have any shopping nightmares to share? May take me months to recover.

Sep 16, 2010


My telescope has no name. Will you help me name it? I think it's a he. Seems so. Picture here. I named my car, Pugsly. My computer has a name, Wrongway. My printer has a name, R2D2, and my netbook has a name, Tiberius. So why have I never named my telescope?

On Tuesday I mentioned I've written 8 short stories over the past month. Yup. Revised two and will get to revising another. Also have two stories in the works for Night Chills. Then it's back to editing. Time to quit stalling. Hey, it happens. We all need breaks. No word on anything yet. ???

Write up of my reading of Plantgirl in August can be found here:

I received an award from Deb [Debwillbethin]. I'm supposed to sum up this blog in 5 words. LOL As I novelist, I'm wordy by nature so this is kind of tough. Wistful Nebulae - Adventures of an aspiring novelist. Is it? Yes. Also my adventures as an amateur astronomer and things that inspire me. The name of the blog comes from my poem, DreamPlay. You can read or watch it here:

I pass on the award to whoever leaves a comment. Congrats, super star!

So, come up with a name for my telescope yet?

Sep 14, 2010


I'm blogging on my website today

Discovery. I wrote about space exploration, the ongoing exploratory missions of NASA and an upcoming mission to Jupiter launching next summer.

Writers Desk. An article on accomplishing writing a novel or any other dream. The secret is to keep at it on a consistent basis. For more go to

Under M. Pax Works you'll notice eight new short story titles. Yes, over the last month, I've written eight stories.

Second Sunday

Second Sunday turned 6. A wonderful program put on by local poets, which has enriched my life and gives me an opportunity to read. I happily attended. Open mic did happen, so I read a new story, Exposed. It needs a little more work, but most of it is where it should be. It's in the hopper with my critique group for next Monday.

Sep 13, 2010

Clear Yet Frigid

Not a cloud in the sky both Friday and Saturday night. Not one. Fall has a strong hold over the high desert with chilly nights and mornings [in the 30's] and warm, pleasant afternoons [in the 70's]. The wild fluctuation of 40 degrees or more during the day marks life in the desert. Friday night was very cold. My toes froze into rocks. Saturday night was much warmer. I stayed later and did some viewing through the 24 with the other volunteers. Saw a comet and the blue snowball [a planetary nebula]. We looked at the bubble nebula, but I don't know how anyone ever saw that. We didn't see anything even with our imaginations. I imagined a dark nebula, but Eric said it wasn't a dark nebula, so I imagined wrong. Oh well.

With the sun setting earlier, the telescopes were set up and ready to go earlier. 

My telescope needs a name. Strange, as I name everything
else - my car, my computers, etc..

Not a cloud in sight.
There are two plane trails lit up by the sun a little right
of center. Just touching the tops of the trees on
the right hand side.
We watched the ISS go over head both nights.

Venus is now past crescent phase, waxing again.

A flirty crescent Moon also set very early. So low, I had to view it through trees.

Jupiter is rising early. About 8:30.

Click on the photos for a larger view.
All 4 of the galilean moons are visible.
2 below Jupiter & 2 above. Callisto above is fairly far out.

The Pliedes rise over the summit about 11:00ish.

A few of the stars in the Pleides constellation

Good crowds. We're still popular from last week's article in the local paper. Saturday night was our biggest crowd of the season. Don came up and helped out Saturday night, which I was grateful for. A nice, knowledgable guy. He taught me the owl cluster last summer. He made me realize I need new starcharts. Was able to get a shot of Albireo, an optical double star which is the head of the Cygnus constellation - you can see the different colors of the stars.

Click to enlarge. The yellow looks more white
but you can see the blue star to the right of it.

I can't believe there are only two weekends left in the season. How fabulous to have a warm, clear night on Saturday. The last hurrah of the season. Next weekend and the one after we'll have Moon in the way, washing out most objects and restricting what we can show and see. Only two weekends left. Wow. Sniff.

Sep 10, 2010

Lost Lands

Lost lands are a common theme in fantasy. From the hokey Saturday morning Marty Kroft spectacular "Land of the Lost" with Marshall, Will and Holly to classics like Alice in Wonderland, Narnia, The Phantom Tollbooth, She, Erewhon, Willy Wonka, King Kong, Lost and Neverwhere. When I was a kid it fascinated me how Gumby could travel into books to different worlds. I wished I could, too.

It is enchanting to think we can walk through a mirror, a wardrobe, or float down a wild river to an enchanted land. Who doesn't enjoy getting lost in such worlds and having tea with the Mad Hatter or coming face to face with a viscious Knid?

The same theme crops up in science fiction. Kirk and the gang going through portals to other times and other worlds - finding alternative versions of themselves. O'Neil and the gang going through a Stargate every week.

What other stories can you think of using this theme? Bet you have at least one in your dvd collection or on your bookshelf. What is it?

If you could travel through a door or down a river to some place 'otherworldly' where would you go?

Sep 9, 2010

Steps into the Beyond

How's your week going? Mine is going along all right. It's been dreary and chilly a lot over this way. Reminds me a lot of Portland. I think it's time to put the A/C away for the year. Heaters have been kicking on in the evenings and kitties and humans are both glad to have the influx of warmth. If the weather doesn't improve, it's going to be a miserable weekend up at the observatory. It's our last nights with moon out of the way, so I'd love to get some viewing in.

Writing is going well. I have one more half-written story to finish up then I want to do some serious edits to a finished story. No word on anything. Nothing about short stories. Nothing about novels.

I'm still reading novel#2. The novice writing makes me cringe and has me itching to get at it, but I'm forcing myself to be patient. It's important to just read and immerse myself back in the world I created. Yet I dream about editing. I fix sentences in my sleep. Maybe that's why sleep has been hard to come by this week.

Started on research for the next book, too. I'm not sure which of the two ideas I'm going with yet. I'm reading Weird Oregon, Physics of the Impossible, books on places of power and spirituality, books on Stonehenge and places like it, and I'm reading a steampunk novel. I have another sci-fi novel using Stonehenge to read when done with the steampunk. Since the sci-fi novel teeters on an idea I'm toying with, I should read what someone else wrote. Weird Oregon is giving me great fodder for novel#3. It even includes alien encounters near Millican where I plan on setting novel#3. Excellent. And now I have the ghost of Kent, too [see Tuesday's post]. I wish I could write both novels at the same time, but that would not work out well.

This Sunday is Second Sunday at the Bend Public Library. It's their 6th birthday. The program begins at 2:00 p.m. If there is open mic, I will be reading a new story, 'Exposed', set here in Central Oregon. If not, I will just enjoy their celebration and save the story for October. This program has become invaluable to me for reaching a live audience, winning fans, practicing reading aloud in a friendly atmosphere and meeting other writers. My reading aloud has already improved.

Are there pockets of opportunity where you live? What are they? If you're not taking advantage of their existence already, you should get at it.

So how are things progressing for you? Last fall I implemented my 'get out there and get visible' campaign. It has been very rewarding. Step by step, I keep building. Even if you have nothing to sell/show yet, you should get out there and let people know you're out there. There's a learning curve to a lot of things and I think it's best to get that curve out of the way. Be ready to rumble. When your time comes, be ready.

If you need help in getting started, I'd be happy to help. We can talk about ideas for getting out there and getting ready. I dare you to plan and implement one step.

So tell me, what are your plans and what are you going to do?

Sep 7, 2010

Night Sky Guides

Saturday the volunteers of Pine Mountain Observatory were featured in The Bulletin, Bend's local newspaper.

You can read the full article here:

Here's my buddy Eric looking through the 24.

Oh no! It's the ghost of Kent!

We were called 'The Stars of Pine Mountain' and mostly talked about our love of what we do. I'm kind of disturbed they printed my actual age and the way my statements 'says her husband knows that she will be busy ever weend in the summer. "It's a little like therapy."' Has my husband teasing me about needing therapy from him. :-O He knows I did not say those things together or mean it that way, but I am never going to hear the end of it.

I am happy they added in how I'm a science fiction writer. Too bad I couldn't sneak in my website URL. Although, my husband passes it out a lot. He goes to Borders and tell folks they should check out a local writer. That's sweet.

Sep 6, 2010

Fiery Stars and Clear Skies

It was a gorgeous weekend for star gazing. Friday was warm and clear. We had a fair number of visitors. The shooting stars streaked fiery with long tails. The Pleides peaked over the summit. A sure sign of the approach of autumn.

Saturday was clear and cold and swamped. An article on PMO [which I will talk more about tomorrow] in the local paper brought out a swarm of people. So, didn't get to move the telescope around a whole lot. And, it wasn't just cold, it dropped to bitter after sunset. I don't think I'm warm yet.

I was shivering by the time I took the photos of Jupiter.

Jupiter and its 4 galilean moons
Good crowds. Kent said we got rave reviews from the visitors. That's always nice to hear. I felt we had a good time.

Venus is now nearing crescent phase

Sep 3, 2010

Terror in the High Desert


Brett held the phone up. It bleated out its plaintive ring. The shrill wails kept the bees back.

"Bees?" She picked off the one smooshed on her arm. Red mixed with red. Some of the pigment came from her wounds, the rest came from the insect. She tucked it into the breast pocket of her shirt.

"Keep calling, Bill, keep calling." She backed away from the swarm holding the phone up. She prayed the signal wouldn't cut out then swore every time a bit of lava turned her ankle threatening to take her down.

Her steps picked over the rugged terrain. Steady and slow, she headed toward where they had left the battered Ford that morning. Brett whimpered. Just a few hours ago she had Paul and Jen to keep her company. She didn't dream of making her way back to Bend alone when picking which lava tube to spelunk. She swiped the trickling tears from her cheeks. The phone went silent. "Damn it!"

She reeled, digging in for a life-or-death sprint. She could spy the dull orange paint of the truck through the trees. Safety loomed near. Brett glanced over her shoulder at the swarm buzzing into a frenzy. Death loomed just as near.

She put her head down and put everything she had into that run. As her foot hit the dust of the packed down parking area, the phone bleeped back on. Without looking, she held it up behind her and kept going. "Don't stop, Bill, don't stop calling me."

She pulled on the door handle. The truck stuck. Her fist pounded on its frame. "Damn it!" She risked closing the distance between herself and the bees to open the passenger side. With a great heaving gasp, she slammed the cab shut.

The truck put a needed barrier between Brett and death, but it also put a barrier between the bees and the sound of the cell phone. She groped around for the keys then remembered the spare key under the frame of the back tire. Of course on the side closest to the bees. Brett swallowed the dread. "Damn it!"

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