Title: SOLSTICE – OF THE HEART
Author: John J Blenkush
Genre: Fantasy/Magical Realism/Romance
A despondent suicidal girl discovers hope in a wayward Lemurian boy.
Atlantis, I had been told, was the most ancient of ancient civilizations, so it surprised me to hear Aaron say Atlanteans were descendants of Lemuria. I want to question him on this, but he pushes ahead, his words sounding as though he’s reading from a book.
“Many millenniums passed. We prospered and, like the leaves on the trees, our numbers grew, a status of sixty-four million. We were as one, holding in reverence the Law of One, respecting and loving each as his own and cherishing our Motherland, Mu. There was no savagery on the land, nor had there ever been.”
Aaron stops talking.
I feel a chill spread across my sweat-soaked face. I struggle to break free of the trance and, initially, when I can’t wrestle free from what is holding me, I feel panic rise in my throat. How deep have I gone? Finally, with undue effort I am able to crack open my eyelids. It feels like we were under for just a short period of time, yet, now when I look, I see that the sun has crested the spires. The chill I’m feeling is the shadow cast on our faces.
The story Aaron told was but a few paragraphs of words, uttered, I thought, in minutes. Yet the sun doesn’t lie. Several hours have passed and I have no explanation to their disappearance other than I’ve been gone. But gone where? As I look at my feet, I see the soles are stained with grass and dirt, yet we haven’t walked barefoot on anything except the granite ledge. Or have we? I look to Aaron’s feet. His, too, are stained green and brown.
Aaron’s head lies back as far as his neck will allow. His eyes lay open. His mouth is moving as if he is still talking, yet I cannot hear him.
“Aaron? You okay?”
He doesn’t answer me. He continues to mouth words without sound.
I close my eyes, focus on my sounds and my own breathing, and slip back into another world and, again, I hear Aaron’s words.
“But here, too,” Aaron continues, “our world began to crumble. In time the waters became ravenous. The ocean ate at our shores. The lands shuddered beneath our feet. Fire thrust mountains skyward. Our high-priests foretold of the great cataclysm to come. Many lay in fright. Some sought refuge in new lands. Others burrowed beneath faraway lands, taking with them our lineage and heritage, and restoring life.”
I’m jerked back to reality by the stabbing of searing pain as though I’m standing too close to a fire. As I open my eyes, I see the sun has dropped below the spires and now we sit in full shadow. I’m shivering, yet at the same time I feel heat. From where, I do not know. I rise to my feet and pull on my pants.
Aaron continues to mouth silent words without regard for the deepening chill or the rustling of my clothes.
I slip on my shirt, sweater, coat, and beanie, yet I’m still shivering from the sudden drop in temperature. Suddenly, I hear Aaron’s words break through as though they are being shouted from afar and as though they are not coming from his mouth but from everywhere. I realize my shivering is not just from my being cold, but also from the fear gripping me inside. I feel as though I’m hallucinating and I’m not in control. It scares the hell out of me.
I squat down in front of Aaron, ready to awaken him from wherever he has gone when I feel heat, not from the sun, for it is behind the spires, but from radiation off Aaron.
I extend my quivering hand and lightly touch Aaron on the shoulder. In that brief moment a surge of energy rushes up my arm. I feel warm again, the shivers dissipate, my heart-beat returns to normal, and the knot in my stomach disappears. I wipe the sweat off my forehead and watch as the droplets on my hand turn to steam and rise as vapor into the frigid air. I look to Aaron and see he isn’t sweating. There are no droplets, no steam rising from him. It doesn’t make sense, him being so hot, the air being so cold, yet no physical indication of the two meeting.
“In a day and night,” I hear a voice say, “sixty-four million souls were lost, our beloved Mu cratered by fire and sent to a watery tomb.”
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Julissa and Aaron’s story draws one into their magical-realism world. “Blenkush has created a universe that stands out from the rest, wrapping his main characters up in narratives that are full of mystery, passion, and inspiration.” Red City Reviews
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Runs May 1 – 31, 2021.
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John J Blenkush is the author of the critically acclaimed thrillers REDDITION and STACY’S STORY, (Kirkus Reviews) and the epic SOLSTICE SERIES. Besides writing, John loves the great outdoors, running marathons, and recreational mountain climbing. He lives with his wife, Nancy, in Northern California.
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