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S. J. Beres

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Member Since: Mar, 2003

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A minor devil plays on the grief of a young widower. Arthur Goodbody reluctantly goes along with him and discovers that he must fight the devil's empire...  
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   Recent stories by S. J. Beres
· The Nose Knows
· Incident in Kansas City
· The Price of Freedom
· W.A.G. the God
· Prince of Hearts
· Change of Heart
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           >> View all 10


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Be Careful What You Wish For
By S. J. Beres
Sunday, September 10, 2006

Rated "G" by the Author.

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One of the benefits of being a writer is that it doesn’t matter where you call home. Living in New York as I had, being close to the publishing scene meant little in the world of computers and e-mail. Electronically, everything one might need was virtually next door. With this in mind, I moved from the concrete forest to a real one, a beautiful little cabin in the Colorado Rockies.
The change of scenery did much for my imagination and I could just feel my creative juices flowing as I sat drinking coffee and watching deer feed in my backyard. I was working on a period novel about pioneers journeying across our great land and the hardships they had to overcome. I lived smack in the middle of wilderness and it took no great thought to set my scenes, they were right in front of me.
My mother has always disparaged my interest in the past because it seems to her I live there instead of the present. One of the reasons I loved the era was that ‘men were men’, strong, self-possessed, unafraid, the kind of man that doesn’t seem to exist anymore in the world of cell phones and trial lawyers. Two hundred years ago men took responsibility and relied on themselves but those traits have disappeared, at least in the men I had dated. “If you’re waiting for Jeremiah Johnson to come and carry you off,” my mother often said, “you’ll have a long wait!” Well, I will probably never meet Robert Redford, but I can dream.
Seasons change, and after the first storm of the fall I was living in a winter wonderland, a carpet of snow for my yard and stalagtites of ice on the eaves. The morning dawned clear and cold, and though another storm was predicted for this evening, I gauged that I had time to go to the little store at the crossroads about six miles away. Experienced in New York winters, I dug my SUV out of the garage and, undaunted, set off to shop.
It didn’t take long to realize that I might have made a mistake. My steering felt so light that I knew that I must be driving on a layer of ice under the snow. The road was narrow and there were no places to turn around until I got through the mile of S-curves and switchbacks ahead. I reduced my speed and crept and the SUV seemed to settle down.
I had just entered the curves when three large deer burst from the woods and leaped into the road in front of me. Without thinking, I did the worst thing I could possibly do; I hit my brakes and turned the steering to avoid them. My SUV lost traction and spun at least two complete circles before I could straighten it out, and then I was moving backwards and completely disoriented. My vehicle managed to squeeze between a mountain side and a guard rail and drop down a steep, tree covered slope, and roll over several times, bouncing off of trees like a pinball. It came to rest, passenger door against a tree.
I struggled to clear away the deflating airbags and draw a breath, still dizzy from my ride. Thank Goodness for airbags and seatbelts! Although my car was probably destroyed, a quick inventory of body parts showed that I was unhurt. I thought of that TV commercial where the two squirrels are doing high-fives after causing a car to wreck and wondered if those deer were doing the same thing. Turning serious, I surveyed my condition.
I had laid my parka on the seat beside me but it was gone. The windows were cracked and broken and it was getting very cold inside. My seatbelt had pulled up tight against me and when I couldn’t release it I felt the first cold fingers of fear clutch at my throat. I tried to open the door, but it was jammed shut. So, here I was, trapped in my seat, no coat and the temperature was dropping. To top it off, snowflakes began falling and covering the cracked driver’s window. I knew that I was in real trouble!
Surely in this day and age, I thought, someone would come along and see the marks in the snow and find me. I flashed my lights and honked my horn until the battery failed, but no one apparently heard. The snowfall turned my world darker and I started to shiver, the first signs of freezing to death. I felt so weak!
Suddenly the snow disappeared from my window and I was staring into a pair of beautiful brown eyes. I could see nothing else for the parka and beard he wore.
“What is your condition?” A deep voice asked.
“I’m fine, just trapped in here,” I replied, finding hope at last.
“Turn your face away, I’m going to break out your window.”
I complied and was showered with little sparkling diamonds of broken safety glass.
I saw two large gloved hands grab the doorframe and the SUV shook from my rescuer’s efforts. He kept pulling and the door creaked and flew open. He ripped it from its hinges and threw it aside. A very large knife appeared and cut my seat belt and two very strong arms took me out of the car to stand before him. I was shaking so hard that I started to fall when suddenly he unzipped his parka and drew me inside, folding the coat behind me. It was warm, so warm, and his beard tickled my forehead. I passed out.
When I awoke, I was lying on a huge sofa, covered with blankets in front of a roaring fire in a stone fireplace. I was in a low ceiling genuine log cabin and I could smell chocolate. I struggled to sit up.
A giant appeared with two large coffee cups and a beautiful smile. He had to be at least six feet six and was built like a linebacker. Corded muscle bulged in his forearm as he handed me a cup of hot chocolate.
“I brought you to my place because it was closest. I’d guess you are the writer woman from New York that bought the old Carter place?”
Not trusting myself to speak, I nodded.
“Why, that isn’t a mile away, we’re practically neighbors.”
I glanced around. This was a male’s cabin, no pictures on the mantle, no sign of a woman’s touch.
“Let me introduce myself,” he said. “My name’s Johnson, Jerry Johnson.”


© S.J. Beres 2004

       Web Site: www.sjberes.com

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Reviewed by Mary Cunningham 9/11/2006
Very interesting story. It made me want to read more! Nice hook at the end.

Mary




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