Wessex Tales: "Julia" (Story 11)

      Robert Fripp
Wessex Tales: "Julia" (Story 11)

This story in the "Wessex Tales" collection—"Julia" (Story 11)—is sequel to "The Face in the Floor" (Story 10). It was Julia’s parents who commissioned their villa's magnificent mosaic floor in the previous tale; as a child, she watched the master-mosaicist lay it. As "Julia" begins, Julia is a young woman angry at life, angrier at expectations, and resisting marriage. (circa 335 CE)Another gem from the Japanese maestro of storytelling Kenji Miyazawa. Gauche plays the cello in the town orchestra, but he needs to do a lot better if he wants to keep his place. He realizes he is going to have to practice every spare moment if he is going to improve in time for the big concert. But will that be enough? Just when he is getting into his rhythm a visitor drops in - and then another. This beautiful short story (around 5,000 words) by Kenji Miyazawa explores themes of passion and music. Is there music in nature? Can there be music if there is no passion?

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    Wessex Tales: "The Face in the Floor" (Story 10)

      Robert Fripp
Wessex Tales: "The Face in the Floor" (Story 10)

The earliest known mosaic floor to depict Christ was laid in a remote Roman villa in Dorset around 325 CE. (Discovered under meadow grass in 1963 it was moved to the British Museum.) The larger end of this mosaic measures 17 feet by 15, the smaller end, 16½ feet by 8. Why lay this magnificent floor in rustic Dorset? “The Face in the Floor" gives the origins of this floor an imaginative history.When his ship is damaged after being caught in a crossfire, Billy is left to drift across the blackness of space. His calls for help are finally answered, but by the one thing he would rather not get help from.Disclaimer: Strong language.

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    Wessex Tales: "A Short Walk in France" (Story 30)

      Robert Fripp
Wessex Tales: "A Short Walk in France" (Story 30)

Friday September 15th, 1916. Just before dawn a young soldier from Okeford goes over the top, advancing into enemy machine gun fire. It's the first day of the second battle of the Somme.In the deepest, darkest midnight of her soul, acclaimed poet Gabriella Carmichael writes a horror novel, pours all her pain into a paranormal mystery about demons. Then one of them crawls up out of the pages into her life. A deranged fan who believes he is The Beast of Babylon from her novel turns up at a book signing and stalks her, determined to claim her as his bride. And to sacrifice her son, Ty, as a blood offering to seal their union. Yesheb al Tobbanoft is a man with the kind of obscene wealth that means he can do anything he wants and get away with it, and the kind of soul-less insanity that means there’s absolutely nothing he won’t do. Gabriella, Ty and Ty's grandfather, Theo—a crusty old stand-up comic called Slap Yo Mama Carmichael—run from the lunatic back to the only place in Gabriella's life where she ever felt truly safe. But once in the solitude of the Rocky Mountains, she discovers that facing the demons from her past may be more difficult and dangerous than facing the one who stalks her. What happened the summer her family spent on Mt. Antero when she was 8 years old—that killed one brother and set the other on an inexorable path to self-destruction—had it really been her fault? And the rest of what happened on the mountainside that day, the magical part—was it real or merely a fantasy born of the loneliness of two child prodigies? Gabriella didn’t come to the cabin called St. Elmo’s Fire looking for answers to those questions. Or did she? Or is it that the answers have finally, after all these years, come looking for her? Yesheb is desperate to find her, to corner his prey the same way the Beast of Babylon cornered his in the pages of Gabriella’s novel—under a full moon as lightning dances in the velvet darkness behind the mountains. If he succeeds, all their lives and demons will collide in a final, apocalyptic celebration of one man's madness. Then Gabriella's only hope will lie in the great mystery of her childhood—the unexplainable power of a 2,000-year-old tree. Is its magic strong enough to save them? Can a single, perfect bristlecone pine somehow determine the fate of them all?

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    Wessex Tales: "Schelin's Daughter" (Story 14)

      Robert Fripp
Wessex Tales: "Schelin's Daughter" (Story 14)

The Norman knight Schelin (from whom the village of Shilling Okeford or Shillingstone takes its name) was awarded the manor of Okeford for his service to King William at the Battle of Hastings. Schelin holds the richest agricultural land in Dorset, but he still has a problem. His daughter would rather get herself to a nunnery than marry well. A Saxon wise woman’s potions are called for. (c.1085)This is a collection of over 250 poems that altogether seeks to reflect man as both the poet and the actor who handles the helm of his own affairs, on a timed cruise, down his very own banked personal river. Using his abilities to compose and steer his poetic story, faring only as suitably as his capabilities and fate enables him.The essence of poetry is in its use of eloquent apt words to convey the poet’s exact thoughts, as they are felt or experienced by him. Like it is the actor’s ability to apply specific skills to portray a scripted character reveals a story, it is likewise the poet's grant to create the content and set the beauty of the words.If the soul is scripted, if the mind can think, if the heart does feel and the body is specific; then every individual distinctively roams on a course throughout their lives that can be manipulated to fit their own different experience, but not actually change it. For the poet mans the helm, and the cruise is his composed poem.

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    Wessex Tales: "For Viviana's Wedding" (Story 16)

      Robert Fripp
Wessex Tales: "For Viviana's Wedding" (Story 16)

Viviana de Eskelling was the last in the family line of the Norman Schelins. Her family had held Okeford for 200 years. A single woman (a woman sole) was disadvantaged in law. So around 1287 Viviana married Bartholomew Turberville, taking Okeford into the Turberville estates. (Thomas Hardy tweaked 'Turberville' into 'D'Urberville'.) In Okeford, villagers prepare for their lady’s wedding.After two hundred years of isolation, the colonists of Capicua, a fertile super-earth orbiting Gliese 667C, are suddenly faced with an unknown and hostile military force.Oblivious to the impending invasion, Toni Miura joins Capicua's decrepit armed forces in a bid to escape domestic troubles, aiming for the privilege of driving the Hammerhead, a bipedal mobile suit which is the epitome of his planet's ailing warrior spirit.With the arrival of the earthborn invaders, Toni's unqualified platoon, brimming with misfits and plagued by internal differences, is suddenly thrown into the midst of battle. Abandoned by their seniors in the course of their mission, Toni and the remnants of his unit become lost in a world which, owing to the nature of its orbit, suffers periodically from planet-wide hurricane conditions.So begins a race against time, where a handful of cadets will be forced to outmaneuver a pursuing enemy in the boondocks of a turbulent planet, all the while seeking to deliver an odd but important Bavarian prisoner-of-war to their headquarters."Comparisons to Heinlein's Starship Troopers are justified. Fans of hard Military Science Fiction, salute your new commander!" - D. B. Rose"Much better than expected! I can barely wait for the next installment. Very interesting world building, good extrapolation of current technological warfare!" - RAZVAN ANDREI

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    Wessex Tales: "The Dorset Ooser Dines" (Story 26)

      Robert Fripp
Wessex Tales: "The Dorset Ooser Dines" (Story 26)

In the village of Child Okeford a ‘Bull’ or 'Ooser' used to show up uninvited at Christmas festivities, causing mayhem. One guest at his manor's annual ball sees an opportunity to make a good match for his daughter. He pays the Ooser to carry her off. Rescued by her otherwise timid suitor, the girl's future is assured. *The Plain Text version cannot display the photo of the Ooser in this tale.Nineteen-year old CeCe Mackenzie leaves Virginia for Nashville with not much more to her name than a guitar, a Walker Hound named Hank Junior and an old car she'd inherited from her grandma called Gertrude.But Gertrude ends up on the side of I-40 in flames, and Nashville has never seemed farther away.Help arrives in the form of two Georgia football players headed for the Nashville dream as well. When Holden Ashford and Thomas Franklin stop to offer CeCe and Hank Junior a ride, fate may just give a nod to serendipity and meant to be.

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    Wessex Tales: "In the land of the great stone rings" (Story 5)

      Robert Fripp
Wessex Tales: "In the land of the great stone rings" (Story 5)

Turig, a Bronze Age farmer, tells his grandson how he had been drafted for labor service decades before. The work was long and dangerous but his supervisor’s flirtatious daughter presented the larger threat. Two years later, Turig helped lift the last sarsen stone onto a structure we know as Stonehenge. [PS: New research revises this date by a full millennium, from 3,600 to 4,600 years ago.]Sometimes a murder is just a murder, but this time it is a child. It looks like Voodoo. T.K. Fleming wants nothing to do with it. He's retired English professor living on his boat in Key West and trying to make some things go away. But he has no choice. Surrounded by interesting, and sometimes strange,friends, he launches into a investigation. The results lead him to places he doesn't want to go. But like it or not, he is the Ghostcatcher.

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    Wessex Tales: "Crossing" (Story 31)

      Robert Fripp
Wessex Tales: "Crossing" (Story 31)

Long ago, the ancient lady in the darkened bed had been the first white woman to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Or had she been the first to walk around it? Whatever the truth, that legend from her lifetime would soon die with her. Unconscious on her deathbed, scenes from her life run through her head while caregivers chatter around her. [1976]A short story about hunting waterfowl in Northeastern Wisconsin. If you've ever wondered what it might be like to head out to the lake on a cool November morning in search of waterfowl, this is the story for you!Also included is a short preview of Derrek's upcoming YA Fantasy novel, Threshold.

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    Wessex Tales: "The Infant and the Hare" (Story 1)

      Robert Fripp
Wessex Tales: "The Infant and the Hare" (Story 1)

“The Infant and the Hare” is the first, earliest story in Fripp’s new collection, “Wessex Tales: eight thousand years in the life of an English village.” Stone Age hunters make camp on Okeford Hill. As dawn breaks the men go hunting while a woman gives birth. And the end? In an age when human beliefs were much different than ours, the end is mystical.In her youth Brenda found the family home at the foot of the Adelaide Hills stiflingly quiet. She fled to the coast and city life. Now, much older, she relishes the quiet life and shares the rambling family home with her elderly mother. Both women are widows and their constant companion is a little West Highland terrier dog called Diddum. While Brenda’s mother is away for a few days, Brenda spends a quiet day at home. During the course of the day, both at home and out walking the dog, Brenda experiences a range of distinct weather conditions: a crisp early morning frost; clear blue skies and warm sunshine; swirling windswept autumn leaves; flowers in bloom and a brewing storm at the end of the day. She remembers various poignant moments from her life, from the summers of childhood through to the loss of her husband to cancer during a long, cold winter.

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