The Collective


Tony awoke with a stiff back. Someone had left the window open and the cold breeze had been blowing on him all night. While there were blankets neatly piled on the chair, they had apparently just thrown him on the bed after bringing him from the party.

As he lay on the cold bed, he waited for the liquor sinews to release his thoughts. Last night’s words rang back and forth in his head. “It’s over!”

“It’s over,” he thought again. “What were they talking about?”

He tried to lift his hands to rub the sleep out of his eyes. Something was holding them back; he realized he was restrained face down, with his arms and legs bound to the bed frame. Twisting his head he could  only see the white walls of the room and the stainless steel bars of the bed.

It dawned on him that he might not be alone. “What’s going on?” Tony rasped. “What is happening to me?”

A voice behind him responded. “You didn’t return at the appointed time! With so many waiting their turn, did you really believe the guardians would just let you stay?” “You bargained for and were granted the most precious gift of all… Time. Now despite your futile attempt to extend the bargain, your time is over!”

“Over, it’s over!” Those words triggered memories of a ceremony he had tried to forget for the last two years. Stark images of a darkened altar flooded back to him. Memories of the Temporal Guardian standing before his select group of Travelers, holding the ceremonial wine chalice in front of the golden pendulum which swang back and forth. Its movement and eerie swooshing reminded all of the meter of life’s paradox.

Behind the Travelers, stood the Collective who chanted their single message: “Tricks, ticks, and tocks of essential time, sink the spirits lower than wine.” In response we, the Travelers said. “While pinching and prodding may reduce life’s toil, the end arrives just as soon.”

“In us, with us, time must run its course” the Temporal Guardian exclaimed! “Those who challenge life’s repose must travel a final course.” “Travelers of the Tempus Optimum, drink from the chalice of your dreams. Journey sans the years of wear and port the earthy strife of stage” With that I drank deeply from the Chalice and received its’ golden spirit.

My head was clear as I lie here now, face down in the sunlight. “The time is over” the voice behind me said. “Return the golden spirit and join with the collective, to allow another their travel phase, to gain a time perspective.”

With those words the bindings fell clear and I sighed and united with the Collective.

-Clarence Holm

The Augmentum

The Augmentum (A Flash Fiction based on Ronovans Friday Fiction Challenge #5)

Tonight Zachary, on the occasion of your 15th birthday, it is my responsibility to tell you a little bit about your future. It is the same information I received, on a night just like this, 110 years ago. It is a story of a time when life could be cruel, when misfortune and disease were everyday occurrences.

Many, many years ago, the world was a much different place. While everyone worked hard, chance ruled people’s lives. Today we live in a time when there is no sickness! Our society has eliminated disease and with it, most of the poverty on earth. At one time though, not everyone had access to health; they were at the mercy of whatever illness they encountered. Sickness spread with terrifying speed, consuming families and friends. People lived shortened lives and those who survived, ended their final years crippled and in pain.

Scientists looked for answers. At first they considered medicines to treat disease and while it extended the lives of some, not everyone had access to them or could afford them. To make matters worse, the treatment did not always work and eventually lost all ability to handle the problem. As soon as one found a solution to an illness, another problem took its place. Mankind struggled endlessly and so many lives were lost too early.

It was almost by accident that we learned the secret to health. External methods would not heal sickness; the power was within. Actually the Ancient Ones knew it long ago.

Many religions spoke of the “One”, but scholars mistakenly assumed that the One was a separate higher being. It was only after we understood the significance of the “Sixth Sense” that we began to understand that we are truly one. Once we gained control of ourselves, we were able to utilize that portal connection. We began to combine our thoughts and harness that power for good.

Unfortunately to truly join in the one, a person had to sacrifice self. While everyone was willing to do this, mankind realized that to continue our growth, we needed to bring order to the procedure.

Man decided that each individual would live as a singular until their 125th year. At that time, they would relinquish their self and combine their experience with the one. The name given to this unification of minds was the Augmentum.

To help ease the pain of not being able to be part of the one, people who are singular have perfect health, allowing them to devote their time to study and creativity. At their chosen time, they would bring their learning and experience with them to the One.

So Zachary as you now enter your 110 year period of the singularity, I have finished mine. While you are beginning your search for knowledge, I have ended mine. I yearn to join my fellows and link with them forever, protecting you and your children’s children.

Good luck Zachary, I will see you again soon.

-Clarence Holm

Fractured Christmas Memories

The Way I Always Remembered It To Be!

(Midwest Lutheran Christmas Memories)

Come Join Us


Holly Jolly Christmas Eve Potluck and Candlelight Service
5:30 P.M. Thursday, December 24th 1968
Second Original Acts of Christ Church
Just down the street from the Hi-10 Bowling Alley
Pleasantville, USA

Candlelight Service Program

O Holy Night (Sung by the Women Choir and Quilting Circle)
Gospel (Luke 2)
Ave Maria (Performed by Holy Spirit Wind and Bugle Quintet)
Christmas Sermon “The Shepherd’s Lost Sheep” (Senior Pastor Leigh Olafson)
Communion (Open to all Good ELC Lutherans)
Second Grade Rhythm Band Performing Little Drummer Boy
(Verses 1,3, 4 & 5)
Must Be Santa (Guest Appearance by The First Lutheran’s “Men Holding Womens Purses”

Pastor’s Christmas Blessing
”Hallelujah Chorus” from Händel’s Messiah (Full Choir and Featuring the Soprano Talents of Charlotte Peterson)

Immediately following the service join us in the Lutheran Fellowship Hall for:

Holly Jolly Christmas Eve Potluck


Aunt Betty Olson’s Ultimate 12 Bean and Hamburger Hotdish
Josephine Torgerson’s Red and Green Shimmering Surprise
Joyce Anderson’s American Cheese Wrapped Cervelat Chunks
Justine Larson’s Swedish Meatballs Served with Mint Flavored Toothpicks
Ethyl Bjornson’s Scalded Milk and Oysters with Toast
Bonnie Gustofson’s Holiday M&M’s Mixed with Planters Salted Peanuts
Lois Goldenstein’s Cranberry and Ginger Ale Punch with ice cubes shaped like Christmas Bells
Coffee and Cookies served by the Ladies Prayer Circle

-Free Will Left on Entry Table-

Please note that the Men’s Service Unit 2 is responsible for putting away all tables and chairs this year while the women folk take care of the dishes.

(Please remember to label your casserole dishes so we know who did it.)

RONOVAN WRITES Prompt Challenge #3 –Friday Fiction

This is the first time I have ever tried writing a piece of fiction to share.  I am understandably nervous about the prospect of rejection and ridicule. Luckily I am emboldened by the feedback I have received from previous postings about family memories, poetry, photography and Ronovan’s Haiku challenge.  So nothing gained shall be my mantra.

“Number 26”

-Clarence Holm


For two days, the 757 has occupied the runway, commanding the attention of the world. The great Rolls Royce engines stood silent, yearning for the sky. Camera lenses capture the unmoving exterior of the plane, the stillness broken only by the sudden drop of a body to the tarmac below the cargo door.

The latest body was identified only as “Number 24” “Number 26” by the press, continuing the two-hour cycle between killings.

To the outside world, it seemed so surreal. The rear exit door would open and a body would tumble out. A few minutes later an armored vehicle would approach, towing a steel canopy allowing medics to retrieve the lifeless corpse under metal cover. It was an intricately choreographed dance preformed without words or music for a captivated national television audience.

Oddly there has been no contact with the hijackers, no list of demands, and no proclamation of a righteous cause. It was a silent picture, punctuated by rhythmic death.

Unseen by the public were the 200 remaining passengers and flight crew. Mixed in were the 6 hijackers who brandished weapons and bombs planted by a confederate who worked for a catering company, providing pre-packaged passenger meals. They had waited till the plane was airborne before retrieving their automatic weapons. Once armed, they rounded up the flight attendants and brought them to the closed cockpit door and began shooting them in their knees, within sight of the locked door. The sound of their screaming could be heard throughout the plane. Only than did the hijackers demand to have the door opened or they would kill the wounded attendants, one by one.

After the sounds of two more shots, the cockpit door opened and the pilots surrendered. They were given orders to return to the Dallas airport to await new instructions.

Upon landing they taxied to the middle of the runway and shut down the engines. Then the first of the two attendant bodies were thrown from the plane, followed by the second, two hours later. The next four victims were chosen at random every two hours, with no attention to age race or sex. Then the hijackers added an additional cruel twist. They threatened to start killing children unless the passengers themselves chose each new sacrifice to their unknown cause. So it had gone for the next 36 hours.

I was one of the remaining prisoners who could easily be chosen to be executed next. I could be Next! I remember our decision to place our names and seat numbers into a bag of potential sacrifices. In exchange we were given a promise from the hijackers to allow the 25 children under 16 to not be included in this macabre lottery.

Each succeeding lottery brought the same sense of terror, relief and shame. Terror that I might be chosen, followed by relief that I wasn’t, than shame at my realization that someone else had been selected and was about to die.

As the time approached for the next lottery, the cabin of the airplane was calm with soft sobs filling the air. The remaining untreated attendants who had been shot, had long ago passed out from blood loss and were tossed into the galley where they awaited their almost certain death. The smell of their blood was in the air. It reminding me of the butcher shop our family lived above in our small town in North Dakota. The salty sweet smell reminded me of the pleasures of youth, but at the same time caused me to be repulsed at the senseless slaughter of these innocent humans.

I thought to myself if I were to die it should be for some noble cause, but these people had not given us a reason for their actions. It appeared they were soldiers following orders from some barbaric group. Perhaps if I thought they were avenging some atrocity it would make more sense, but no words were exchanged as the next name was drawn.

They called out a seat number and a name and I thanked God it wasn’t me. Then a young woman screamed “No!” and buried her head into her sister’s shoulder. The hijackers came down the aisle and grabbed her by the hair. A big white bearded male dragged her to the back of the plane and she continued to scream until a shot rang out.

The rear door opened and “Number 25” fell from the plane.

I and a number of people vomited from the horror of the show. It was not the first time I had thrown up and I was sure it wouldn’t be the last. My mind went into a type of shock; friends I had known in childhood surrounded me. They offered me comfort as I drifted with the memories of the old school yard. Rodney and Paul spoke to me for the first time since their death in that car/train accident on the way to the junior high game. They told me I would be okay, that this was only one part of me.

I fell asleep for the first time in over forty-eight hours and dreamed of my parents.

I woke from the deep slumber as I heard my name and seat number called. I was confused, was I still dreaming? The big white man grabbed my shoulder and pulled me to my feet and shoved me to the rear of the plane. I fell to the floor in front of an open cargo door. and as I looked up to see his gun posed in front of pointed at my face then it went off and he smiled at me.

“Number 26” fell from the plane.

Flash Fiction – The Opossum

Thought I would try my hand with a new medium. I have been reading quite a few of these flash fiction efforts and like the way ideas are presented, like personal glimpses of a bigger story.

I am definitely interested in everyone’s reaction to this story

She seemed unsteady tonight. The opossum rubs up against my leg, just as she had for the last two years in this camp. When I reached down to pick her up, my hand came away covered in pus from a wound on her back that had erupted from my touch.

I instinctively knew she would be dead soon, the victim of her primordial urge to fight others of her own kind. Their razor like teeth had punctured her skin and had become a breeding site for the infection that now doomed her to a horrible death within days. With no medicine or antibiotics at my disposal, the only way to help the animal would be to end its suffering quickly.

She had stumbled into my bunk during the first week of my internment, just a small scared animal seeking the warmth and comfort of a bed. We were alike, each lost in our journey, each trying to survive in a new reality. Both of us are ejected from our pouch and now prisoners of this war.

-Clarence Holm