Tuesday, January 18, 2011

American Apocalypse IV - Chapter 17a - by Nova

I woke up in the middle of the night, or did in my dream. I wasn't sure what state it was other than it felt real.

"Hello sleepyhead."

Freya was sitting on an overturned five gallon bucket maybe five paces from me.  Her hair was unbound, golden, and gleamed in the moonlight which was strange as the sky was overcast with clouds. 

"How do you get your hair to gleam like that?"

I wasn't surprised to see her, in fact it seemed pretty natural for her to appear sitting on a bucket in the middle of nowhere.

She replied straight faced "Unicorn urine."

For half a beat she had me believing that but she started to smile and I caught myself.

"That's nice.  Pony piss is supposed to be high in vitamins too." I stretched, smiled back, and asked "Bring any cookies?"

Her smile went away. "No. Everything is stale that used to be good. Before you kill people can you ask if they know how to bake?"

She asked it seriously too. Just as seriously I replied "No."

We both stared at each other for a couple of beats, then she grinned and told me "It's good to see you."

"Thanks.  Whats up?"

"I've come to bring you home." She looked over at Zane and Woof.  Woof was awake too and watching the both of us. She looked over at the sleeping Zane and said "So that's him. The once and future king."

"Somehow I don't think that's Arthur."

She shrugged. "I like saying that.  It reminds me of the old days.  So that's Max's kid.  Kind of scrawny."

That should have taken me by surprise. It didn't.  "When did you figure that out?"  I was expecting her to tell me she had seen it from afar in the stillness of a pond or a crow had told her. Instead I got "Looks like him and Max is not exactly Mr. Celibate."

"Oh. Okay." Somehow I wasn't really comfortable with the idea of discussing Max's sex life.

"Yes." She looked off into the distance for a second, I heard a crow caw three times, then she said "Warriors are not supposed to be. It's part of the job description." She paused "Well it used to be."

I really hoped this wasn't going to turn into one of those Freya speaks in cryptic phrases conversations. That shit got old fast.  "So how far away are they?"

"Maybe twenty miles as the crow flies.  Max will send a team to meet you. Just keeping going north when you wake up."

"I thought I was awake."

"No silly man. I'm not going to walk this far unless I have to. Now go to sleep."

That was all I remembered until I woke up just before the dawn.  The weird thing there was a five gallon bucket exactly where I dreamed it was.

"Wake him up Woof."

Woof got up and Zane moved. I told him "Wake up kid. We got some walking to do."


  1. Thanks for the installments and take your time, nova - moving is an incredible PIA...

    And on the storyline, a pause before some realignments occur...perhaps some significant ones?

  2. energyecon,

    It is very time consuming. Especially with multiple contractors involved. Plus the packing etc. as you well now.

    Oh well, it will all be over soon and I will actually have a library! I've never had a library.

    No. Nothing significant. Well, maybe...:}

    I am taking all kinds of hits for the Freya thing but it is fun to write so I am going back to it. This was more of a Gardener book than an AA book.

  3. "I am taking all kinds of hits for the Freya thing"

    Bohica here,

    When Freya entered the story, I was aghast, was this to become Sci-Fi ?
    Now I'm glad she is in the story.

    I may buy some property in Sullivan County NY and and list it on the tax rolls as property of "Church of Freya".
    that would really piss off the Catholics and Hasidim.

    BTW, I'm a 58 YO Irish Catholic, (non-practicing).

  4. Bohica,

    That is funny. Hell, you might be surprised at who likes the idea. All three of them probably

  5. Nova, should your fans start sending you books? empty shelves in a library are so sad looking...

  6. I am glad I checked in. Been nursing the most awful head cold all weekend. Getting caught up and a surprise visit from Freya along with a couple shots of 100 proof Southern Comfort with a squirt of lemon and honey.

    Feeling better already.

    Jim in MO.

  7. Nova,

    Glad to see you back writing, for purely selfish reasons. As Energycon said, moving is a huge PITA. It's like a house fire, but without all the benefits ;)

    You know I'm a huge fan. And Freya is a great benefit to the story. She allows you to speak truth more broadly- to speak about the human condition across time and geography. You said before that if gods didn't exist, we'd invent them, or summon them into existence. (I'm foggy on the details, but bear with me, I'm rolling.)

    The survivors need to have a reason to live. Freya is the ideal of Justice, incarnate. It's not a pretty sort of justice, but they've not lived in a pretty sort of world. It's rough and ugly, but at least it gives them some reason to help the good and punish the bad.

    There's no absolute 'realism' in this future. There's nothing real about the future, it doesn't exist. And that's the wonderful thing about science fiction and fantasy writing. It's just what you imagine. But there's lessons to be learned.

    I remember reading a young boy's book that taught how to make snares and dead-fall traps. In the story, this boy survived a year or two in the wilderness. As a boy, I thought this was great and practiced the skills in the woods behind my own house. So there are practical lessons from fantasy fiction.

    On a different level,there are moral lessons to be learned from good fiction. What are the basic requirements of a civilized society? What are the tenants of behavior that we expect from men and women? How are the strong to treat the weak or the sick? Or the children?

    Those are the things that Freya opens up for a narrator. A goddess that punishes the wicked and rewards the righteous according to their behavior. I think of her as a moral compass, that can lead the people back to some sort of sustainable civilization, even if she fades away once it's reached. Sort of like anti-lock brakes and traction control- things that keep you from the brink of self-extinction even if they can't make you a better driver.

  8. Tom,

    That's to much to ask. Besides I don't have any shelves yet. I just have packing boxes.


    I hope you feel better. I drank a pint of SC on New Years Eve when I was 15 and puked my guts out. Never could drink it again.


    Great comment as usual. You sure you don't write?

  9. Nova - I have a bunch of unpacked boxes to donate. Where should I ship them? Moving is almost worse than going to work.

  10. Forrest,

    No, work is where you go to rest.

  11. Thank you for the stories nova.

    I like the banter between Freya and Gardener. I'm curious to see where the comment about being choosy about who he sticks while saying her name goes, nice presaging.

  12. I also didn't really like the Freya turn when it first happened, but have since come around. I think D^2 expressed it very well. Also, someone else earlier who commented that it took the story out of the "typical" post apocalypse survival story - I totally agree. Thanks for the story. G is a great character. I enjoy the "moral" anti-hero fine line that he walks. Makes him really interesting.