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Stephen Chiarelli

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The Connected
by Stephen Chiarelli   

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Category: 

Science Fiction

Publisher:  Stephen Chiarelli ISBN-10:  1435754832 Type: 
Pages: 

276

Copyright:  July 22, 2008 ISBN-13:  9781435754836
Fiction

From the time Richard Kerr was just a young boy he had vivid dreams of another world with two suns in the sky. He experienced over two thousand years of history on this alien world through the eyes of hundreds of inhabitants in succession from their birth to their deaths. The planet was called Tarantova and his dreams portrayed a world that was saved from the brink of savagery to become a peaceful and harmonious society.
As Richard grew older he began to sleep more than he was awake so that he may dream about Tarantova. At the age of twenty-two his dreams ended abruptly, but not before they gave him a gift that he was to extend to the people of Earth. Richard was to introduce a new reality that would forever change the way the people of Earth live and interact.
Gary Franks was guided through his life by a guardian angel, what he believed to be an angel of the Lord, and thereby gave him an undying faith in God. The ‘guardian angel’ put him in the spotlight and he became an international celebrity. Gary believed so strongly in his faith that he used his stature to promote the spreading of the word of God. However, the ‘guardian angel’ had a different agenda.
The two men were destined to meet and the world would never be the same again.

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In the Large Megellanic Cloud, 160,000 light years away, a blue giant star goes supernova, an event that is destined to change the direction of mankind on Earth.

Richard Kerr was born within days of this event. In his first two decades his dreams take him through several different lives on a faraway world called Tarantova. His dreams conclude with the planets destruction after the same blue giant star goes supernova but not before he is shown his destiny.

He must deliver a new understanding of life to the people of Earth, a realization so powerful it will wipe out the present political and religious landscape.

Richard sets out on his journey to find others from Tarantova that are to help him complete his mission unaware that there are other-worldly forces at work to achieve goals contrary to his own.


Excerpt

Prologue

Blood and sweat rolled down from his forehead and blurred his vision as he lifted his head. He was expecting a fast end but the time had moved painfully slow over a tortuous three hours. The skies were dark with heavy rain laden clouds overhead. Why hadn’t he been relieved from this mission, this life that was to change this world forever?

Blurred robed figures milled about below weeping for him. Others passed by again and again to shower him with saliva and laugh at his agony. He could not recognize any faces any longer; though he believed one bystander observing him from halfway down the slope of the hill was the persecutor who gave the order to put him where he was. It was the sparkling jade colored eyes that gave him away.

His mind was drained of all hope for he felt sentenced to be left on display for all eternity.

“Father, Father, why have you forsaken me?” he yelled out and up towards the heavens. He hung his head down, tears now mixing with the blood and sweat in his eyes.

A sponge on a stick was shoved into his face from below and he greedily drank down the vinegar it contained. He lifted his head to look at his benefactor, blinking his eyes to clear them from the murky fluid.

As his vision sharpened his attention was drawn away to a figure coming up the hill, kicking up dust from the limestone trail. Fine white hair flowed down from his head and chin over a heavy brown robe tied around his waist by a rope. Worn sandals were on his feet and a long staff in his left hand. He nodded at the observer with green eyes that seemed to indicate a dismissal of his presence as he abruptly left the hill.

No one among the weepers or disdainers paid the old man any heed as he glided past them to stand in front of the persecuted man. The old man looked up into the eyes of the man hanging before him, a true sadness showing on his face for the pain that had been subjected upon the tortured soul.

“The time is near my son. You will not have to endure this for much longer,” the old man whispered through his feathered whiskers. He was not part of the Earth for his hair did not blow in the wind from the impending storm.

“Can I go home now Father? I have done all you asked of me,” the tortured man hoarsely pleaded, tears streaming down his face and dripping from his chin.

“You have done well. But this is your home.”

“This place is very different from what I was used to. Surely you can find it in yourself to grant me my wish to go home. I have done all you asked of me.” He choked out the last few words.

“You have been through a harrowing journey my son. It was much to take in. You will remember that your home was shattered and now you must continue on here. We have much planned for you here,” the old man said, a glint in his eyes. “But your time in this vessel has come to an end.”

The old man raised his staff into the air and a bolt of lightening lit up the skies with a deafening crack of thunder scaring the disdainers and unfaithful from the hill. The weepers increased their sobbing and moved closer to the wooden cross that was planted firmly into the ground. The old man turned and began to leave the same way he had come.

“Father, into your hands I command my spirit,” the man upon the cross wailed after him.

Father stopped halfway down the hill and turned to look up towards him. He shot his hand up into the air releasing the spirit from the decrepit body nailed to the cross. The spirit watched as Father proceeded to slam down his staff upon the limestone path, dust blowing out in several directions at the contact point as the earth began to shake and rocks started flowing down from the skull shaped mound.

The weepers in front of the cross realized what had happened and began to wail with grief and sorrow. The disdainers and soldiers became frightened. Father could feel the fear and uncertainty as they fled to hide from the repercussions of their immoral actions.

He felt satisfied that the foundation had been set for the design to grow without intervention for a while.

“Well, there are always small corrections that need to be made now and then,” he thought, “but we’ll deal with those as they arise.”

Turning towards the base of the hill he looked out towards the city beyond. He raised his staff towards the heavens causing numerous lightning bolts and earth shaking thunderous claps to transpire.

“They need to be thoroughly convinced at what they have done here,” he said to himself.

Slowly he started forward, satisfied with a job well done. In an instant he immersed into a point of light and soared up through the clouds into the heavens.

Chapter 1

“But I thought we had decided we weren’t going to have children,” Bill said, staring down from their thirtieth floor apartment to a bustling Yonge Street below. He loved being in the midst of Toronto, feeding off the energy from the nightlife downtown.

“I didn’t plan it Bill. I didn’t have any expectations of trying to have a child when I’m damn near forty years old,” Beth said angrily to her husband. She sat on the tanned leather couch unwilling to accept the blame for her pregnancy. Her dyed blonde curly hair flopped into her eyes and she brushed it aside. “What do you want me to do, abort it?” she snapped caustically at her husband.

Bill had been raised Catholic and, although he didn’t always practice it, most of the beliefs were engrained in him through his staunch Catholic upbringing. His parents always expected him to follow the Church’s teachings. Once they had actually sat him down in the living room when he was young to discuss if he would like to enter the priesthood.

Elizabeth had met William Kerr tens years earlier and after a brief courtship they married. They both had concentrated on their career paths coming out of university and as fate would have it, that’s what brought them together.

Beth had just become the bank manager of a branch on the outskirts of Toronto when she met Bill, a highly successful high-tech salesman.

Through a series of lunch and dinner dates, they found they had a great deal in common. Both of them had aspiring career goals and the hunger for the highlife in the trendy part of the city. They married and realized their dreams.

Beth was now working at the downtown head office of the bank as an assistant vice-president while Bill had taken the position of vice-president in charge of sales at a high-tech company in the city.

“Don’t be ridiculous Beth,” Bill said frustratingly. He stared out towards the CN Tower a few blocks over, stretching up into the last hint of the blue autumn sky at sunset. His eyes scanned the different parts of the sprawling city he could see. He felt a flutter in his stomach as each picture of the cityscape his mind grasped reminded him of how much he loved his life among the high rises and the city lights and noises. A lump formed in his throat at the thought of leaving it, but he knew they couldn’t raise a child here, in the heart of the city.

“When’s the due date?” he asked.

“It works out to be June tenth, according to the doctor,” Beth said as she walked over to the window beside Bill. She heard the resignation in his voice. “Our lives are really going to change,” she said as she stroked his back and laid her head on his shoulder. He buried his nose in her hair, enjoying the familiar smell.

“God, Beth, I’m going to be forty-four years old next year when the baby’s born.”

She could hear the crackling of his voice. Her emotions started to get the best of her and a tear ran down her cheek.

The thought of children had never entered their lives except very briefly at the beginning of their marriage when they both were relieved to find the other didn’t want any. Now Beth felt some excitement at the prospect, but it was overshadowed by the dread of a drastic lifestyle change.

In some ways she felt their life had become dull and uneventful. The things they had aspired to; fancy dinners, the nightlife of the city, financial success and unlimited friends and engagements; had become the norm. A quieter life out in the suburbs or back home, where she grew up in the Niagara Peninsula, felt a little more appealing now than it did ten years ago. But Bill hadn’t known anything other than Toronto. It would be hard for him to get used to a completely different way of life and change of environment.

“I guess it’s our fate, Bill. Maybe this baby is someone who needs to be born, someone special,” she said in a consoling tone.

“My parents are certainly going to be happy. I can hear exactly what they’ll say, ‘better late than never’.”

Both of them laughed and cried as they enjoyed the view of the lights coming on across the city below them.


Chapter 2

Mr. Breckinridge sat behind his desk studying Gary’s school transcript. He turned to the next page as Gary twitched nervously in the chair in front of him.

The end of the school year was approaching and it was time for Gary Franks to choose the courses he would be taking the following year. It was the most important decision of his life up to this point in time. Next years courses were to be chosen as they related towards a career objective.

“Uh-hmmmmm,” Mr. Breckinridge cleared his throat as his finger ran down the final page. He was Gary’s English teacher and had been assigned to him as his career councilor as well.
His eyes slowly lifted from the page and met with Gary’s. They were an intense green. “You have some impressive marks and comments… and some not so much,” he said looking down and rolling his eyes.

Butterflies ran through Gary’s stomach, nervous from the deep resonating tone of his teacher’s voice.
Mr. Breckinridge pushed the wooden chair back as he stood up. He was a large man, almost six and a half feet, and carried a large amount of weight. A tangled mop of salt and pepper colored hair covered his head and upper lip. His students had an ongoing joke that if he ever fell down he would look like a walrus looking for water. But they would always be careful not to say it within earshot of him.

“What kind of career are you thinking of Gary?”

“I don’t know, maybe a teacher,” Gary said timidly. He always felt insignificant near Mr. Breckenridge. Although he was one of the more popular students, and was sought after by the female students, he couldn’t help but feel insecure in the presence of a person of authority.

“I don’t think you have ‘teacher’ in you Gary,” Mr. Breckinridge said as he strolled over to the window and watched the other students leave for the day. He stood silently for a couple of minutes while Gary shifted in his chair. “Have you thought about going into journalism or theatre?” he asked turning towards him, his right eye cocked slightly.

“Uh,” Gary stumbled for an answer, not wanting to disappoint Mr. Breckinridge. “You mean acting?”

“Yes Gary,” Mr. Breckinridge said excitedly making Gary jump. “Sort of, but not necessarily being in movies or on a mindless TV show, in front of the camera in some other capacity perhaps. You’re a good looking young man, I’m sure the camera would love you. And I’ve seen you with the other students. You really are able to command their attention. Have you ever watched the news at all Gary?”

“Yes, now and then,” Gary answered, making sure to speak properly as Mr. Breckinridge demanded of all his students when in his presence.

“Have you truly watched how the reporter reports his segments and how the anchorman introduces each story and controls the flow of the telecast?”

“A little bit I guess,” he lied.

“Well, Gary, you have the qualities to do those jobs. You have the looks. You have the voice, when you want to use it, and you have the personality that commands attention,” Mr. Breckinridge stated definitively.

“Do you really think so Sir?”

“Yes, most definitely. I’m telling you son you could go far in that field. All you need to do is get the confidence and the initiative to go after it.” Mr. Breckinridge put his large hand on Gary’s shoulder. “Believe me Gary, you have what it takes. All you need is a little push in the right direction; get to know the right people.”

Gary had never seen his teacher show much emotion but it was truly pouring out of him now, and all over Gary. He thought about what Mr. Breckinridge was proposing and began to get affected by the enthusiasm he was showing. For the first time Gary found his confidence with Mr. Breckinridge in the same room.

“Yeah, I really like that idea, Mr. Breckinridge. Does the school have courses that can prep me for that type of career?”

“Oh, definitely my man,” Mr. Breckinridge said like they were the best of friends, “and I’ll help you every step of the way. As a matter of fact, I have a few friends in the journalism business, TV journalism. I could probably introduce you to them and maybe we could get you a part-time job at the TV station they work at.”

“Wow! That would be great sir.”

“It would definitely help you with your studies. Get you that edge that’s really necessary in the business. You think you would be available over the summer?”

“Sure, just give me a time and place.”

“Ok, Gary. Let me make the arrangements, set up your courses for next year and we’ll get together before the end of school.”

“Great, thanks Mr. Breckinridge. I really appreciate it.”

“Don’t sweat it kid. It’s my job to get you pointed in the right direction.”

Gary left the meeting feeling more directed than he had ever felt in his life. A career in television would be an excellent way to get anything he wanted and all the attention he could ever ask for. For the first time in his life he had a true incentive to strive for something to give his life purpose.

Chapter 3

The September air was cool and clear.
Richard Kerr raced down the sidewalk toward the lakeside park, the bottom of his unzipped fall jacket flapping behind him. Occasionally he would stop to look back towards his house, on the other side of the street, where his father had parked the van.

This was only the second time he had been to the park by himself, the farthest he had been away from home alone in his six years, other than school. He passed the last house before the open field that led to the playground and Lake Ontario beyond that. Again he looked back the way he had traveled. His house was out of sight now, lost around the bend of the street.

His father had come to get the rest of his belongings. He and Richard’s mother were separating. They told Richard they would be living apart for a little while but they would both still be his mother and father. He didn’t really understand why. It was something to do with his father working in Toronto and not being able to make it home all the time because of the weather or because he had to work late.
So his father was going to live in Toronto, the city where he had taken Richard to see the baseball team win the championship last year.

“You’ll be able to see it across the lake from the park. You know Richard, the city with the big tower pointing up into the sky,” his father had explained. “Why don’t you run down there now and see what I mean?”

“Can I Mom?” Richard had asked.

“I guess so,” his mother said sullenly, “just stay away from the water.” Richard ran to get his shoes on. “And put a jacket on,” she yelled after him.

Richard was staring across the lake at the city with the tower piercing the blue sky. The scene evoked memories of a dream he had during the previous night. He was in a place that looked a lot like where he was now, looking across a lake, except in the dream the sky was a pale green and he couldn’t see quite as far as he could now. His mother had told him that dreams could be like cartoons instead of real life.

The tower was really close to where the baseball game was he thought. He remembered when he was there last year the roof of the stadium was open and Richard had spent most of the time staring up at the colossal tower.

He moved down towards the beach where the gentle waves were lapping the shoreline. A cool breeze was coming from the lake and he clumsily zipped up his jacket.

“Do you see it buddy?” his father’s voice came from behind him. He turned around to find him walking towards him from the playground.

“Why you going to live there?” Richard asked sadly. “It’s so far away.”

“It’s not that far,” his father answered, putting his hand on his son’s shoulder.

“I remember when we were at that baseball game, that tower was humongous. From here I can block it out with my little finger,” Richard said closing one eye and putting his little finger in the air.

“Would you like to go to another game? There’s a good chance they’ll be in the championship again.”

“Can we?” Richard asked excitedly.

“Sure. We can sit in the same seats we had before.”

“Do they always win the champ… the champ…?”

“The championship?” his father chuckled. “No. No ones won it two years in a row for a long time. But it looks like they may do it again this year.”
Richard turned, smiling as he stared out across the water again. Sadness crept into his thoughts and his smile faded.

“I’m not going to see you very much any more if you’re living all the way over there.”

“I’ll come and see you as often as I can,” his father said soothingly, squatting down and putting his arm around Richard. “For sure I’ll see you every other weekend. I’ll pick you up and take you back to my apartment in Toronto.” He buried his face into Richard’s cheek. “There are lots of things to do there.”

Richard giggled. “Your whiskers are tickling me.”

His father stood up and put out his hand.

“Come on buddy. Come see me off. I have to go now.”

“Already?” Richard whined.

“Yeah, I have a few more stops to make on the way back to Toronto.”

“Can I come with you?”

“No, sorry buddy, but we’ll ask your mother if it’s alright if I come pick you up next weekend. And maybe I’ll be able to get tickets for a game,” his father said, wiggling his eyebrows and winking the way he always did when he made a promise of something exciting to do.

Richard tried to wiggle his eyebrows and wink back at him without succeeding.

“Come on,” his father said laughing and scooped him up with one arm. Richard laughed till his stomach hurt as he was carried out of the park and down the street.

When they got back to the house his mother was waiting on the porch steps, her sweater wrapped tightly around her. She was staring towards them but didn’t seem to be seeing them. Richard kept waving toward her from on top of his father’s shoulders, but his mother just kept staring. His father set him down on the ground and he trudged up the driveway toward his mother disappointed she didn’t join in their fun.

“I told Richard that I would come and get him next weekend,” his father said to his mother. She just stared at him for a few seconds and then looked away rubbing her neck.

“We’ll see,” she said coolly.

“Come here buddy,” his father said as he squatted down and opened his arms. After hugging and kissing Richard he nodded towards his mother and jumped into the van. One last wave and he was gone down the street and out of sight.

“Can I go with Dad next weekend?”

“Like I said Richard, we’ll see,” his mother said gruffly. She then went into the house, to her bedroom and closed the door.

“I’m going to watch cartoons,” he yelled up after her.

“Ok,” she said, barely audible through the door.

Richard put the TV on and sat down on the couch in the living room, every now and then staring out the window when a car went by hoping his father might have changed his mind and come back for him.

It didn’t look like his mother was going to be much fun for a while.




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Reader Reviews for "The Connected"

Reviewed by Stephen Chiarelli 5/28/2009


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