Tag: Three Remain

R. A. Andrade Books

R. A. Andrade Books

This is a R. A. Andrade books update post. Since I am a writer, I get to do this occasionally.

The Field Trip

The book printing industry has been in turmoil since mid-2018. Book releases at major publishers have been delayed, paper supply has been troublesome, and book printers have closed their doors as consolidation of other printing companies is ongoing. Selladore Press, who is the publisher of The Field Trip, was informed during the past two week that their book distributor closed their business. As a result, The Field Trip in either print or eBook is temporarily not available from Amazon or other booksellers. This will be rectified once Selladore Press secures another distribution system for the title. In the interim, if anyone wishes to purchase a copy of The Field Trip for the selling price of $9.95 please contact me at ron@raandrade.com or by means of the contact tab of this website menu.

R. A. Andrade Books

Three Remain

Three Remain is ready for printing and eBook creation. I will be working out channels for early, pre-release reviews. Tentative release date is September 23, 2019. A few, exclusive, pre-release copies may be available in June for local sales and through this website. The final front cover is shown below, created by cover designer Vanessa Verstraete:

R. A. Andrade Books

THREE STRANGERS AWAKE TO A WORLD GONE QUIET. NO PHONES, INTERNET, TELEVISION, RADIO, OR ELECTRICITY. AND NO OTHER PEOPLE.

After witnessing a meteor explode in the sky above his home the night before, Glen awakes to a loss of all communications and power.

On route to a work assignment before dawn, Sara’s car veers into a roadside tree. Crawling from the vehicle to the ground, her last memory is the fragrance of dirt and Queen Anne’s Lace.

Thirteen-year-old Traci opens her eyes to complete blackness. A wave of fear brings a shudder as she recalls falling asleep in the movie theater. Immediately groping for her phone, she wonders why her parents hadn’t picked her up.

A girl, young woman, and a man discover themselves in a countryside void of people and imprisoned by thick fog. Brought together by circumstance, the three confront bizarre, life-threatening challenges as they try to unravel the mystery.

Dependent on one another, the unlikely trio must find a path to rejoin humanity.

In a place of “beserkedness,” Three Remain.

What is Next for R. A. Andrade?

I will continue to issue website posts based on topics inspired by passages in The Field Trip and Three Remain. I also will return to a draft of a novel with the working title of Lunar Base Two.

This is the first chapter of Three Remain:

 Traci glanced up from her phone long enough to grab the stub from the ticket-ripper and hear him say, “Better move it. Movie begins shortly.”

Odd, she thought to herself. How would he know which film I’m seeing? He didn’t even look at the ticket. Traci lowered her head, returning to texting her delinquent friends. “All three late and not even a text…what the hell? she muttered aloud, bumping into a cardboard display of “Spider-Man.”

Red-faced, she snapped her head up for witnesses to her blunder. Instead, she faced an empty lobby except for the young man manning the concession, fiddling with the drink dispenser. Shaking the embarrassment from her head, she returned to her phone, texting her friends that she would save seats for them. “What the heck,” she uttered. “Where is everyone?

“I’ll have a jumbo Dr Pepper,” she told the lanky, blond boy behind the glass counter.

He nodded and placed a giant plastic cup under the dispenser.

“Not many people here tonight,” Traci said, making conversation.

“Yeah, kinda slow,” he answered while foamy, brown liquid filled the cup. “What movie you seeing?”

Zombie Cats From Hell,” Traci responded meekly, her cheeks flushing.

“I want to see that too,” the boy said with an easy smile, placing the overfilled cup on the glass in front of her. “Maybe on my night off.”

Relieved she had a momentary ally in movie taste, Traci smiled and placed a ten on the counter. “Keep the change.”

She did her best to suppress her sense of disquieting frustration mixed with uncertainty. Connecting the deserted lobby with her missing friends, and now the empty seats around her, she sensed all was not normal. Picking the back row, center seat, she settled in with a gulp of her drink as an ad about a local painless-dentist played. A bitter aftertaste forced her to run her tongue against the roof of her mouth to rub away the peculiar, clinging bite. Setting the awful drink aside and wondering if her phone’s brains were fried, she pulled up a few websites to ensure those connections worked while an ad about some nearby legal firm staffed with blond, pretty people filled the movie screen.

Coming attractions commanded Traci’s attention as the lights dimmed. The first, The Witch Terminator, caused her to lay her phone in her lap. Her tongue suddenly numbed, and eyelids drooped. Struggling to stay awake, she watched a woman wearing tight shorts and pistol flamethrowers strapped to her thighs crash through a window into a coven of witches on a spooky, stormy night. Lightning flashed on the screen, and Traci surrendered, her eyes sealing shut.

#

Opening the refrigerator, Glen laughed. Staring back at him from a lightless cave was a heavily bruised apple, wrapped slices of plastic cheese with a rumored shelf life of twenty years or more sporting green patches of mold, and a carton of milk with an expiration date twelve days earlier. A sorrowful transformation from the cornucopia of supplies typical only a few months ago. Ignoring the gourmet delights, his eyes finally set on a single bottle of Corona.

Sitting at the table, he faced his reflection in the sliding glass door. “Cheers!” he said, raising his arm in a toast to himself. He sat and watched condensation trickle down the Corona to form a puddle at the bottle’s base on the mahogany table, which had never suffered as much as a minor scratch. Reaching to take another swig, his lack of focus produced careless movement and he knocked over the Corona. The bottle rolled across the table, falling to the hard, tiled floor. It shattered, beer spreading across the ceramic surface.

“Oh, that’s just great,” he shouted, jumping up to get paper towels, broom, and dust pan. “This just makes my day complete.” After picking up pieces of glass and while sopping up the beer with paper towels on hands and knees, Glen caught movement through the glass in the sliding door. Lifting his head to look, a pair of eyes surrounded by a black mask returned his stare. “Really? Now a raccoon.”

Glen returned his attention to finishing the cleanup but soon heard scratching from the door. He watched in disbelief as the raccoon pawed and bit at the vinyl trim covering the outside of the door. When he saw a long string of vinyl in the animal’s teeth, Glen crawled quickly to the door to tap on the glass.

The raccoon found the noise interesting, so paused its task to study the man behind the glass who it found even more interesting. Glen rapped more sharply. The raccoon waddled off into the dark, vinyl prize in mouth. Sighing, Glen grabbed a light jacket from the closet and flashlight from the junk drawer to inspect the damage.

Once outside on the patio brick, he ran the light over the door trim and groaned. “Enough is enough,” he mumbled, plopping onto the webbed fabric lounger, shivering once with the chill of an early August, Michigan night. Lying back, he stared up at the billions of icy points of light, ranging from brilliant gems to dusty smears as his ears picked up a faint ripping noise and his body sank a little lower into the chair. He wondered if falling through the old, shredded, nylon straps to land on a skulking racoon would complete his glorious evening.

A meteor flashed overhead. The possibility of only a raccoon to share the event with tempered his excitement. Slipping into thoughts of his solitary life, Glen vowed never to permit himself to love another person because of the inevitable pain and misery.

Resting back, he hoped to glimpse another meteor before the lounger gave way, and as if fulfilling his wish, one appeared. It was big. Astounding. Not merely a streak of light, but large enough to discern the solid sphere of the meteor enveloped in a seething, burning gas. That image imprinted in his brain. A blue-green fireball racing to Earth. Not only towards Earth, but also towards him. Glen jumped to his feet, raising an arm across his forehead as if to protect his face from an impact equivalent to a nuclear detonation.

A second later, it exploded high in the night sky directly above his head, fragments hurtling outward from where the parent object had been. No shockwave. No kaboom. No sound at all. Glen swiveled around and around, his head cocked back as far as his neck would allow, trying to view the canopy of falling lights. Hundreds of miniature fireballs, looking like a Fourth of July firework display, silently fell to the Earth in an umbrella of streaking lights and smoky tails miles around him.

The placid night sky returned. Releasing a breath, Glen explored the heavens. Not a trace of the spectacular, celestial event remained. Dropping his sight to the horizon, he searched for telltale signs of fires, or unusual lights, but saw only ordinary nighttime silhouettes of tree lines and fields.

Lunging to the patio door to return inside, he hoped to find bulletins on the unusual meteor strike. Retrieving his cell phone from the kitchen counter, Glen checked the national and local news websites but came up empty. Nothing concerning a meteor event. He concluded reports of the incident would take time to trickle into the news unless a piece hit something notable like a building, car, or circus clown.

 Glen readied for bed by first setting the clock radio and phone alarms for 6:00 AM, the usual workday wake time. He made one last effort to survey the seeable area from a back window for signs of meteor strikes. Finally drifting into sleep, he awoke occasionally with flashes of recollection about the extraordinary heavenly event. Unable to pinpoint the reasons, the experience was not only exciting, but unsettling.

#

Glancing at a map on her phone, Sara read the estimated travel time to her destination at under five minutes. Dispatch had given no sensible reason why she was assigned to tail this guy. His record unblemished, it made no sense. “Just stay close and report anything unusual,” the dispatcher said last night. And starting so early in the morning for a seemingly pointless assignment irritated her. At least traffic had been great, she had not seen another car on the road since she said goodbye to her cat at the apartment.

A curve in the road ahead showed in the headlights and brightening sky. Worried about finding her next turn, her eyes darted to the map again. In an instant, she felt the car swerve. Her eyes jumping back to the windshield, she saw a tree instead of the road rushing toward her. About to wrench the steering wheel to the left, her world changed with a deafening bang and a punch into her chest.

Gasping to inhale a breath, her ears ringing, Sara pushed an airbag out of the way, opened the door, tumbling onto the ground. Her cheek felt gravel beneath it. The mixed aromas of Queen Anne’s Lace and earth dominated her senses as consciousness slipped away.

Holiday Cheer – A Holiday Short Story Concerning Executive Greed

Holiday Cheer – A Holiday Short Story Concerning Executive Greed

This post is a seasonal short story entitled Holiday Cheer. It deals with executive greed in the corporate world. Not another Scrooge tale, since Charles Dickens, I am not.

This is also a break from the theme of my past 40 posts on The Field Trip topics. Future posts will be prompted by subjects touched upon in my upcoming novel, Three Remain.

I wish all a good and happy holiday season.

 

HOLIDAY CHEER

by R. A. Andrade

 © 2017

 

Miles Candish glanced down at his wristwatch and then looked across the large meeting room at the faces of nearly one thousand Dackman Corporation employees, their eyes fixed on him. Most leaned forward in their seats, anticipating the rumored bad news. Although many were already on Christmas vacation, they had come to the office just to be there for the end-of-year company status report from their CEO.

“And so, given the unacceptable financial results you have just seen, it is necessary for all of us to make near term sacrifices for the long term viability and health of our business and preservation of your jobs.” Miles paused, looking briefly at some notes prepared by his communication staff. “I know that all of you here know the value of teamwork for success at Dackman so I am confident I can count on each and every one of you to give your full support for the measures I am about to roll out. I’m sure these actions being implemented on the first of the new year will resonate with fiscal responsibility.”

Miles looked to his right and nodded to the assistant who was operating the PowerPoint presentation from a laptop. He began speaking as the first bullet point appeared on the large screen behind him. “All departmental expenditures exceeding $200 will require executive approval.” Another line slid onto the screen as he continued, “Each department head will review cell phone call records to insure company phones are not being used for personal use.” The lines continued to materialize on the screen as Miles got to the more significant actions. “Ten percent of the staff will be placed on layoff by January 15th. All employees will take a 15 percent pay decrease effective February first.”

A murmur of grumbling arose from the team.

“I know these are hard actions, but these are difficult economic times and like all families, we need to pull together. Our finance director, Mark Schitzel, will now take any questions you may have.”

Miles walked away from the podium, moving to a nearby side door. Rushing down the hallway, he became flanked by a herd of his management team.

“Great presentation, Mr. Candish,” one said.

“I thought that went much better than the previous two sessions,” another observed.

“I think you portrayed the gravity of the situation well, Mr. Candish,” a third shouted because she was falling behind the pack.

As Miles reached the door of the executive conference room, he stopped and then turned to face his admirers. “Thanks for your support. Tough times call for tough actions, and I know I can count on you as members of management to set an example.” Realizing they had been dismissed, the group disbanded, wandering away chatting in pairs.

Entering the bright sunlit conference room and closing the door behind him, Miles Candish’s face broke into a smile as looked over the seven senior executives seated at large rectangular table. This was the corporation’s top leadership staff. He moved to the wall of glass on the western side of the room, staring out over potted plants on the narrow balcony, still green with the unusually warm December. “I think our plan is going to work just fine. Many of the employees will probably complain, but what choice do they have. What are they going to do, threaten to quit?” He laughed.

Turning, he looked directly at their chief financial officer, Ann Parker. “Stroke of genius to move so many of next year’s expenses into this year’s last quarter,” he said to her. “On the books, we’re losing money big time. And with the money we’ll save with the pay cuts and staff reductions, next year’s profits will take Wall Street by surprise. Our stock price is going to go out of sight. The stock options we just gave ourselves are going to be worth a fortune.”

Moving his eyes to Samuel, the HR vice president, Miles added, “I know you don’t think this is fair to the employees, but remember, most of them will still have a job. They should be thankful for that.”

“How do we explain it to the employees when we exercise the options?” asked Jennifer Alvarez, head of Corporate Communications, as she fidgeted in her seat. “It’s public record.”

Miles Candish turned around to face the sun once again. He slid open the glass balcony door, inhaling the fresh December air. “Jennifer, that’s what we pay you for. I’m sure you can come up with a way to spin this so we look good to our people.”

The door to the room opened. All faces moved to the sight of a Santa Claus entering through the doorway. Miles swiveled his head, saw the seasonal icon, but his mind filled with visions of a new winter place in Maui and soon returned his focus to the outside world. “And to what do we owe this honor?” he asked, looking at the setting sun.

“Ho ho ho,” replied the Santa as he moved into the room wrestling with a large bag he carried over his shoulder.

“That’s got to be the best Santa Claus I’ve ever seen,” Jennifer said, studying the plump red cheeks, and the flowing white beard, like he jumped out of a “The Night Before Christmas” story book.

 

The Santa Claus moved to a spot behind Jennifer, put his bag on the floor then sorted through it and withdrew a package for her. He said, “Merry Christmas Jennifer, you’ve been a good girl this year.” Unwrapping it quickly, a smile spread to her lips when she discovered the ornate, gold-plated laser pointer she secretly desired last Christmas.

Santa dragged his bag to the HR vice president, and repeating the routine, handed him a present. “Merry Christmas Samuel, you have been a good boy this year.” Sam’s face broke into a grin when he removed the wrapping and saw a Star Trek memory stick for his computer.

Miles shook his head, wondering what idiot in the corporation came up with the hokey Santa Claus idea. He made a mental note that if someone paid more than $50 for this clown, a waste of corporate funds would go on the individual’s performance review.

After similarly providing gifts to each of the other five senior executives, Santa Claus made his way directly behind Miles Candish, but still facing the conference table. Spreading his arms, he unscrolled a long document and then said, “Let’s see who’s been naughty this year.”

Still gazing over the rooftops of the neighboring buildings, Miles Candish rolled his eyes.

Reaching in his bag, Santa withdrew a small, black, glistening stone. Holding it in his hand, he swung the bag of goodies over his shoulder.

The bag struck Miles Candish in the back. Miles stumbled forward through the open balcony door, tripped over a potted holly bush, and disappeared from sight over the railing.

Santa turned, tossed the lump of coal over the balcony, and then shouted, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight.”

“Three Remain” Replaces “Sunshine at the Oasis”

“Three Remain” Replaces “Sunshine at the Oasis”

This post concerns the title of my upcoming novel and therefore departs from the usual theme of my posts. What is Three Remain you ask? The working title for the new novel has been Sunshine at the Oasis since its inception. I have assumed this would be the published title until both my editor and an individual who I rely upon for insightful critiques both said, “No, sounds good but doesn’t capture the essence of the story.”

My Argument for ‘Sunshine at the Oasis’

I like it and it does have meaning for the story.

The Debate

Those opposed: “There’s no oasis in the story.”

three remain
Oasis

My argument: “But yes there is.” And then I proceeded to define “oasis” and why it relates to the storyline.

Those opposed: “No, I don’t agree. And ‘Sunshine’ doesn’t give proper attention to all the main characters in the story.”

three remain
Sunshine

My argument: “But it has a double meaning and…”

Those opposed: “No. Get over it.”

My argument: “But…”

Those opposed: “No.”

The Outcome

three remain

The title of my upcoming novel has changed from ‘Sunshine at the Oasis’ to Three Remain.

It is the right title for the book.

Updates can be found on the Three Remain tab in the menu.

Note:

The following are the first two pages of Three Remain:

 

Chapter 1

 

Traci sat on the small bench provided inside the changing room, deciding to watch funny cat videos on YouTube to pass the time. She could text her friends later about her parents being so late to pick her up. Her friends would get a laugh out of that because it happened so often, but a girl needed priorities, and funny cats ruled at that moment. Feeling groggy, she balled up a sweater she brought in to try on, then stretched out on the narrow slab of wood watching a cat fall into a toilet on her phone. She giggled. The desire for sleep became overwhelming. Traci closed her eyes.

 

#

 

Pulling himself up from the leather chair, Glen felt weariness in his arms and legs and tried to remember the last time he ate. He was not hungry, but maybe just the act of eating would distract him out of his restlessness, or so he hoped.

Moving to the kitchen and opening the refrigerator, he laughed. Staring back at him from a lightless cave was a heavily bruised apple, wrapped slices of plastic cheese with a shelf life of twenty years or more sporting green patches of mold, and a carton of milk with an expiration date twelve days earlier. Quite a transformation from the cornucopia of supplies typical only a few months ago. Ignoring the gourmet delights, his eyes finally set on a single bottle of Corona.

Sitting at the table, he faced his reflection in the sliding glass door. “Cheers!” he said, raising his arm in a toast to himself. He sat and watched condensation trickle down the Corona and form a puddle at the bottle’s base on the twelve-year-old mahogany table, which had never suffered as much as a minor scratch. He sighed.

Glen checked his watch; only fifteen minutes had passed. Not exactly the time-killer he anticipated. Too early for bed, he decided a walk around the back yard might soothe him. Grabbing a light jacket to ward off the chill of an early August, Michigan night, he slid the door open, pulled his shoulders back and inhaled the damp air before stepping into the darkness. He had no mission in mind other than circling the yard, the grass still wet from an afternoon shower. Eventually confronted with a lounge chair set on the patio brick pavers, he elected to settle onto the webbed fabric, shivering once as the cold dampness seeped through his jeans. Soggy Nikes dampened his socks and the flesh beneath thereby continuing the grand evening experience.

Lying back, he stared up at the billions of icy points of light, ranging from brilliant gems to dusty smears. A meteor flashed overhead. The fact that no one was there to share the event tempered his excitement. Again, he slipped into thoughts of his solitary life. He vowed never to permit himself to love another person because of the inevitable pain and misery.

Resting back, he hoped to glimpse another meteor, and as if fulfilling his wish, one appeared. It was big. Astounding. Not just a streak of light, but large enough to discern the solid sphere of the meteor enveloped in a seething, burning gas. That image imprinted in his brain. A blue-green fireball racing to Earth. Not only towards Earth, but also towards him. Glen jumped to his feet, raising an arm across his forehead as if to protect his face from an impact equivalent to a nuclear detonation.

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