Tag Archives: 16Sunsets

Sixteen Sunsets

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[Update 02APR15]There are 41 installments total, with the longest chapter being 1,650 words and the shortest at 495 words. You’re basically reading a very rough draft. The draft submitted to my editor has additional chapters and many of them have been reorderd. On the site, you’ll read about 42,000 words. I submitted a 53,000-word draft to my editor and I expect the word count to fluctuate up as plot holes and other strange first draft issues are resolved. If you get lost or need to come back for some reason, the 16Sunsets tag will get you back on track – think of it as the 16Sunsets table of contents, but with a few extras. Be sure to comment on any individual installment, as the 16Sunsets novel is still being edited.[/Update]

* * *

“Have a seat.”

“No thanks, doc. Hit me with what ya got.”

The oncologist adjusted the name plaque on his desk. Glare from the open window obscured the writing while he fidgeted with it.

“Doctor Flax, I already know I have cancer and not much time to live. How long? A year? Two? Three?”

Doctor Flax cleared his throat, stood and walked around the desk. “Two…” he said quietly.

“Two years? Medicine can move rapidly in two years.”

“Kristof.” The doctor clasped Kristof’s shoulders. “Not two years. I’m sorry, but you only have two weeks to live. Sixteen days at the most.”

Kristof sunk into the chair he had rejected only moments before. “Sixteen…” he started to say before clamping his hand over his mouth.

“I can go over the x-rays if you…”

A waive of Kristof’s hand silenced the doctor. The two men shared a poignant silence for a few minutes. Kristof stood and clasped the doctor by the arm. “Sixteen days. I’d better get going.”

“Kristof, do you need me to call your wife?”

“No, man.” Kristof smiled, “I’ll talk to Krystal myself.”

Kristof walked to the office door and grasped the doorknob. He turned to the doctor. “Thanks for your concern. I’m gonna be all right.”

Kristof stepped through the door and made his way to the parking garage. A slight drizzle had started while he was at the oncologist’s office. He found his sedan parked close to the exit ramp. A sharp beep startled him as he realized he had pressed the disarm button on his car key. His hand on the door handle, he stared at his reflection in the tinted glass of his car door. The rain had intensified and he was aware of raindrops bending and distorting his reflection.

Beep, Beep.

Kristof shoved his keys in his pocket and walked through the garage’s pedestrian entrance. He stared up at the sky and as if on cue, the heavens opened up loosing a deluge to match his mood.

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Sixteen Sunsets – Continued

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“Krystal! Something amazing has happened!”

Krystal dropped her phone and turned to the front door.

“Where have you been?” She screamed. “I’ve been on the phone for hours. Why did you leave your car at the hospital?”

Kristof held up his hands. “I’m sorry. I had some stuff to think about.”

Krystal pushed Kristof towards the door. “I know, I talked to doctor Flax.” Tears streaked day-old makeup. “I thought you might have done something to yourself.”

Kristof sat on a bench in the foyer and pulled Krystal down to sit beside him. “I’m sorry, but you have to listen.”

“I have to listen? Ever hear of a cell phone?”

“Listen!” Kristof exploded. He paused to regain his composure and looked out a window next to the front door.

Krystal sat mute, waiting for Kristof to continue.

“How long has that green car been out there?”

“What?”

“The car in the street. How long has it been out there?”

“I don’t know! Don’t change the subject!”

Kristof shushed her and peered out the window.

“Did you just shush me?”

“Look, something crazy happened to me. I gotta check this car out.”

* * *

Kristof exited the house through the back door and hopped over the eight-foot cinder block wall separating the back from the front yards. He slinked to a bush a few feet behind the suspicious car. A pile of cigarette butts pooled by the driver door.

Kristof recognized the reflection of the driver in the side mirror. It was the thug from the night before. Kristof didn’t recognize the other three occupants in the vehicle, but he remembered the threats from the thug.

Kristof considered his options and before he came to a conclusion, Krystal opened the front door. The thug and the other occupants started to open the doors and Kristof knew he had to act.

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Sixteen Sunsets, Part Three.

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“What about subject two-six-seven?”

“She expired before the incident with three-one-six.”

“And her extra-human strength?”

“Three-one-six appears to have assumed her attributes.”

The doctor looked up through the destruction in the wake of Kristof’s escape. “Any idea on what he meant on the fifteen day thing?”

“No, Doctor Globe. We’re acquiring his records as we speak.”

Doctor Globe rubbed the elbow that hit the floor when Kristof pushed him down. “I want those records. Expedite the acquisition.”

“Yes, Sir.”

* * *

“Holy Shit! You guys see that?” Joaquin was still sprawled on the pavement where Kristof had left him.

“I’m getting the hell outta here, Joaquin. This was supposed to be an easy score with benefits.”

“Come on, don’t puss out on me.” Joaquin stood and watched the rest of his crew as they fled the scene. “Pussies.” He muttered under his breath and jogged down the street.

* * *

Kristof landed in an empty aisle in the hospital’s parking lot. The emergency room was on the opposite side of the hospital as the parking garage he had walked out of several hours ago. When he landed, the alarm on a car two aisles away sounded.

He ran to the emergency room entrance and when he got to the intake desk, he shouted. “My wife was hit my falling debris! I think her arm might be broken!”

Nurses, orderlies and the desk police officer rushed to assist Kristof and his wife.

* * *

“Report.”

“Doctor Globe.” A woman in a lab coat clutched a folder to her chest. “Or is it Major Globe?”

Doctor Globe smiled and let the pen he was writing with flop to the desk. “Either is fine, but I prefer ‘Jacob.’”

“Yes, Doctor. I have some preliminary information on…” She looked at the folder, “subject three-one-six.”

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Sixteen Sunsets, Part 4

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Kristof slept and memories overwhelmed him. He remembered a defining moment in his young life:

He recalled words spoken by his father the night before. “Ten year olds don’t wet the bed, Kristof.”

“I know daddy.” He responded. “One more glass?”

Kristof’s father sighed. “I don’t think so, Son.” He smoothed the blanket covering Kristof. “Go to sleep. Tomorrow brings another sunrise.”

Kristof smiled and closed his eyes. He could hear his father walk to the bedroom door and flip the light switch.

“Good night, Daddy.”

Kristof’s father paused at the door and sighed. “Go to sleep, Kristof.” He replied before closing the bedroom door.

Kristof counted to one hundred before he opened his eyes and retrieved his favorite comic book and a flashlight. Throwing the blanket over his head he read the comic book over and over until he fell asleep.

* * *

Kristof woke and discovered he had wet the bed. He slapped his flashlight, but got no beam of light. He undressed in the dark and put on a clean pair of underwear. He knew his mother would be cross if he didn’t take care of the soiled pajamas. The laundry room was in the basement and Kristof peered down the dark staircase. He knew he had another set of stairs to descend before he got to the laundry room.

He made it down four steps before the darkness compelled him to return to the second floor. His eyes were moist as he sat at the top of the stairs, his soiled pajamas in a pile beside him.

“Are you my brave boy?” Kristof remembered his mother saying that when he refused to climb a slide ladder at the park. Aloud, he said, “I am a brave boy.”

He picked up the pajamas and descended the stairs to the first floor. He opened the door to the basement and prepared himself to overcome another dark staircase.

A shiver rocked his body and he saw goose bumps on his arms. He tossed the soiled pajamas down the stairs and ran back up the stairs to the second floor. His bed was still soiled so he ran to his parents’ room and the warmth of their bed.

He crept to his mother’s side of the bed and pulled on her arm dangling off the bed.

“Momma?” He whispered.

No response from his mother, so he tugged and called out again.

“Damn it, Nadine. Answer him.” Kristof’s father rolled over to scold his wife and his son. When she didn’t respond again, Kristof’s father shook the still form of his wife.

“Nadine?”

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Sixteen Sunsets Cover Concepts

Joel Cotejar sent me two cover concepts for 16Sunsets. I like them both, but I need to make a decision. I figured I would let you all help me decide.

In case you want a refresher on the story so far:
Part one
Part two
Part three
Part four

Tell me in the comments which one you like better:

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Vertical Arrangement

 

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Split Arrangement


Sixteen Sunsets – The Enemy Rule

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“My name is Anne Henderson.” Anne extended her hand to Joaquin who ignored it. “Very well. You don’t have to say anything, just listen. I’m with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.” Anne smiled. “We call it the O-J-J-D-P.” Anne produced a business card and when Joaquin made no attempt to take it from her, she placed it on the table. “You were a lucky young man today. If that gun hadn’t misfired…” Her words trailed off and she raised her eyebrows.

Joaquin leaned forward. “It didn’t.”

“Pardon?”

“The gun. It didn’t misfire. That fuckin pig shot me.”

“That’s not what your booking papers say.”

“Like I give a shit what some damn papers say.”

Anne stared at Joaquin as if to urge him to continue.

Joaquin sighed. “You gotta keep my secrets, right?”

“I’m not sure I follow.”

“Like on those lawyer shows.”

“I’m not a lawyer Joaquin. I’m an advocate.”

“How about you advocate my ass outta here. Some strange shit is goin down.”

“What do you mean?” Anne placed a folder between them. Joaquin noticed the folder was absent of any logo, but it did have a simple stamp on it.

“Three-seventeen?” Joaquin asked, reading the stamp.

Anne pushed the folder across the table. When Joaquin opened it, he saw it contained all the details of his life, including information on his parents and deceased older brother. After flipping through a few pages, he came across photos of his failed carjacking. There were photos of the car, but what was most interesting to him was the photo of a spent 9mm copper slug. One end was crushed as it if had hit something and malformed. He recalled the intense pain when the officer shot him. Anne closed the folder and secreted it back into her satchel. She then produced a metal letter opener and placed it on the table.

“You’re gonna escape now.” She said.

“Why’re you doing this?”

“Do you know the famous quote from the Godfather?”

Joaquin sat up straight. “Yeah, the enemy rule.”

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Sixteen Sunsets (5)

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Peter awoke in his cabin. He preferred the desolation and the wilderness that the Yukon provided. It wasn’t just the desolation he desired, but the anonymity the vast frontier offered.

Peter climbed out if his bed and straightened the layers of blankets and animal furs. His fireplace was burnt down to embers, but a handful of tinder coaxed flame from the red coals. He ate his bowl of cereal and milk at the only table he owned. When he finished, he cleaned up promptly and returned his spoon and bowl to their proper place at the edge of the sink.

That’s weird. Peter thought to himself. My statue has been moved.

He walked up to his statue and put his knee into it. It may have moved a quarter of an inch, but that was enough to satisfy him.

He looked at the calendar on the wall. “Monday.” He said aloud. His voice echoed off the tall roof. Listening to the echo and it seemed to put him at ease. The New York Times. He thought as he fished a newspaper out of a pile secured with twine at the foot of his bed. Let’s see what you reveal to us today…

He flipped pages until he reached the police blotter. A tag line caught his eye. Smashed car leads to failed carjacking attempt. Peter circled the tag line with a grease pencil, removed the page from the rest and tossed the remainder of the paper into a pile near the fireplace.

Peter went about his day and it eventually concluded with a tumbler of Jack Daniels.

***

Peter awoke in his cabin. He climbed out of his bed and straightened the layers of blankets and animal furs. A handful of tinder brought life back to the red coals. After eating his cereal and milk, he begun the process of cleaning his meager dishes.

He looked out a window and gasped. Has someone been here? He thought while reaching for a pair of binoculars. He peered through them, Must be my imagination.

“Tuesday.” He murmured, before walking to the pile of papers bound in twine at the foot of his bed. He rustled a copy of The Daily Telegraph and spread it out and opened it. He scowled at the date printed at the top. It takes too long… What happened in the last week?

After circling a few items of interest, The remnants of The Daily Telegraph took up residence near the fireplace.

As he had the day before, he cross referenced the circled articles with the vast library of books aligning an entire wall of his cabin. Just before retiring, he poured a tumbler of Jack Daniels. Downing it swiftly, he climbed into bed and quickly fell asleep. His snores echoed off the tall roof.

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