Randall’s Ramblings, August 20, 2023

It’s been another week of topsy-turvy weather, in part from Storm Betty, which is lashing the UK with strong winds, lightening, and as much as a month’s worth of rain. In our area, we did manage to get some decent weather for a couple of days, although for the most part it’s been below par. At least there were some brights spots which allowed me to cut the grass before it got any longer.

Over the past week, the price of gasoline (petrol) increased another three pence, bringing it up to 1.51 a liter. With the current exchange rate, this increases an equivalent U.S. gallon up to $7.26. Meanwhile, the price of a liter of diesel rose to £1.52.

“Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.” — Henry David Thoreau. Compliments of https://selfpublishing.com/writing-quotes/.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on 20 August, the third Sunday of the month. (Compliments of https://www.onthisday.com/birthdays/):

Peter Opmeer, Dutch church historian and humanist (Historia Martyrum); Thomas Corneille, French playwright (Timocrates); Bolesław Prus, Polish writer (The Outpost); Innokenti F Annenski, Russian poet and interpreter (Laodania); Jakub Bart-Ćišinski, Sorbian writer; Edgar Albert Guest, English-American poet and newspaperman; Dino Campana, Italian poet (Canti orfici); Paul Tillich, German-American theologist (Die sozial Entscheidung); H. P. Lovecraft, American horror writer (At the Mountains of Madness, Weird Tales); Tarjei Vesaas, Norwegian poet and author (Det Store Spelet); Vilhelm Moberg, Swedish author (The Emigrants) and historian; Salvatore Quasimodo, Italian poet, critic and translator (Nobel 1959); Jean Gebser, German-born author, linguist, and poet; Jeanne Stern, German screenwriter (The Condemned Village); Jacqueline Susann, American author (Valley of the Dolls); Vasily Aksyonov, Soviet-Russian novelist (The Burn); Greg Bear, American sci-fi author (2 Hugos, Eon, Eternity); Greg Egan, Australian science fiction and hard science author; and Marcus Mastin, American author.

Any names familiar to you? Once again,  there weren’t any for me. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work In Progress

Mission- YemenThis week, I completed chapter nine  of Mission: Yemen, Xavier Sear Thriller Book 2. As always, it’s been posted to the two online writing sites I use. A further twenty-six reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 159. Once again there are plenty of recommendations for me to consider, and I’m always appreciative of the time and effort people put into my work.

Here’s another snippet. Please keep in mind that since these are first-draft chapters, things will likely be changed once I get to the editing phase. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions, please let me know.

After al Mishari departed, Shatara ripped the chador from her body and tossed it on the blanket. She leaned against the wall, sliding down to a sitting position with her knees up and her arms around them. What is to become of me? How will Baba ever find me?

As tears threatened to spill once again, a look of steely determination caressed her face. I will never betray Baba, but if I pretend to change my mind about marriage, will al Mishara allow me more freedom?

Shatara closed her eyes, thinking about the day she was whisked from her home. I was enjoying tea by the pool with Omm, sharing a dish of fasolia and khubz. I dipped the bread into the spicy pepper sauce and scooped the beans and tomatoes into my mouth.

Without warning, two men rushed around the pool, one on either side. They shoved Omm out of the way and grabbed me. One yanked my head back to stop me from escaping,  and the other pushed a needle into my arm.

Oh, I hope Omm wasn’t hurt.

Shatara opened her eyes and began to pray, the only sane part of her captivity.

The lightbulb popped on, signaling the paltry rations would be delivered soon.

Despite losing weight on the simple diet, her stomach rumbled in anticipation of her daily meal.

Moments later, the hatch slid open, and two small pieces of bread and a banana fell to the floor.

Allah be praised! My first banana since I was kidnapped. Shatara pushed the bread aside and peeled the banana, savoring every bite of the bruised fruit. After she finished, she broke the crust off the bread. No fresh water tonight. She dunked the bread in the remains of yesterday’s scummy water and shoved it in her mouth, gagging at the stench from the water.

Still hungry, she crawled onto the blanket and used the chador as a pillow. She cried herself to sleep.

She eventually woke. The light was no longer on, but there was moonlight filtering through the bars on the window. She spotted a shining star and focused on it. Oh, Baba. I hope this is you keeping watch over me.

Measured footsteps thudded along the corridor.

Shatara struggled into the chador seconds before the door was shoved open.

Two men stepped inside the cell, both gangly, with dark hair and scraggly beards.

One was slightly taller than the other and addressed Shatara. “I am Wazir and this is my brother, Yusuf. We are to take you to a new location.”

Yusuf pinched the end of his nose. “This place stinks. You are a mess.” He held out a black hood. “Put this on.”

“I have no control over the smell.” She pointed toward the waste bucket. “It is only emptied every two or three days.”

Yusuf shook his hand holding the hood. “I said, put this on.”

“Why? I have already seen your faces.”

“Do you always talk back?” Yusuf sighed. “If you must know, we do not want you to see where you’ve been held or where we are taking you.”

“It is for your own protection, should you be released.” Wazir pointed to the hood. “Take it—now.”

Shatara took the hood and pulled it over her chador. “I can’t see.”

“Good. That is the purpose of the hood.”

“How will I be able to walk?”

Yusuf grabbed one of her arms. “We will guide you.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2023 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

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