Arctic Nightmare by Richard Gradner

The polar bear looked up from the bloody seal carcass, as the thundering sounds of an iceberg cleaving a large section off the ice sheet, rumbled across the tundra like a herd of stampeding bison. Shards of ice, the size of houses, crashed into the Arctic, pounding the near-freezing waters with explosive force, sending wave after powerful wave smashing back against the glacier wall like angry Poseidon pent-up in a watery cage.

A dark smear in the ice sheet was revealed, an ugly stain in the pristine, white landscape. It shifted and then bulged, threatening to break through its icy prison. Cracks began to appear, spreading through the ice like a virus; the sound of splintering glass on a thousand windowpanes, ricocheting across the barren wilderness. The cracks began to tear apart from the powerful pressure exerted by the entity beneath the frozen landscape, followed by an explosion of ice and snow that sprayed up high into the air.

Out climbed a huge dinosaur-like creature. It had a long neck with a pair of gills, an elongated body with a pair of hind legs, and a long, jagged tail. It opened its mouth to reveal three sets of razor-sharp fangs and out came an ear-splitting shriek. The creature slid across the ice on its belly, dropping into the churning ocean, disappearing into the swirling depths in search of prey to feed its emaciated body.

Sixty Three A

Beady, black, unblinking orbs

Reflecting shades of green and brown

Grip softly swaying limbs up high

Soprano cries, staccato lies;

Grey obscuring blue begins

Silent stifling wraiths above

Darker now as colours fade

Falling drops the ground accepts;

Swaying left then to the right

Revealing method in design

Breath gives life to rooted trunks

Rustling shapes respond in kind;

Tearing through the moist divide

Golden beams smelt silent shadows

Shining down on basking beasts

Sharing warmth and love divine

By: Richard Gradner

Gold! – A short story by Richard Gradner

“Senór, look.” Pablo pointed at an Amazonian pyramid that came into view.

Julio raised his hand to shield his eyes from the shafts of sunlight that cut through the canopy of trees. The familiar sound of howler monkeys echoed in the distance and a flock of colourful macaws swooped overhead as Julio gradually made his way towards the ancient relic. Pablo followed, albeit reluctantly, hopping nimbly over thick roots that twisted through the earth like the mangled tentacles of a slumbering leviathan.

Julio stopped at the foot of the ochre-coloured structure and gazed up towards its summit. He opened the palm of his right hand.”Give me the talisman” he instructed.

Pablo dropped his backpack to the ground and shoved his hand into a side pocket. “Here” He produced a brown stone disc, the size of a saucer, placing it carefully into Julio’s outstretched hand.

“Look up there” Pablo pointed at the top of the pyramid.”The air, it’s shimmering, like ripples in a stream.”

Julio ascended the steps with Pablo in tow. They reached the top of the pyramid and faced the wall of vibrating matter. It pulsed and shifted with a life of its own.

“Pablo” said Julio, pointing at a gaping hole at the foot of the shimmering wall. Julio bent down to place the stone talisman into the hole. It fit perfectly. The disc glowed softly and the wall dissolved to reveal a sight that took Julio’s breath away. “Eldorado,” he whispered. “The lost city of gold.”

 

Inferno

In my upcoming novel, Servant of Memory, I’m currently writing about the famous polymath, astronomer, physicist, philosopher and mathematician, Galileo Galilei, who gives a lecture in Florence about how to calculate the dimensions of hell in Dante’s 14th century epic poem Divine Comedy.

The famous renaissance artist, Sandro Botticelli, painted a visual interpretation of Dante’s Inferno below.

I’m really enjoying this project that combines non-fictional events in history with a fictional character who is reincarnated through multiple lives over the course of over 2,000 years.

Inside Story

I’m about 20% into writing my next novel, so I thought that it was time to share some of my enlightening experience, without giving too much away of course!

Although this is my third novel, it’s very different from the first two. In fact, all three novels are very different from each other. My first novel was an incredible learning experience. While I was writing, I was learning about the craft, how to write, edit and publish both online and in printed format. My first novel is a magical tale about Lemuria, a long lost continent, and how its descendants plan to take over the world.

My second novel, Unicorn, is set in Harappa, in the Indus River Valley, over 5,000 years ago. Harappa is an ancient city in what is today, Turkey. Ancient carvings, consisting of a variety of animals such as tigers, elephants and buck were found on stone seals that are believed to have been used for trading purposes. There was one stone seal, however, of a four-legged creature with one horn, known as the unicorn seal…

My latest novel is a rich, educational experience. It’s called Servant of Memory and it’s about an individual that gets reincarnated into multiple lives, each one set during an important time in human history. As a result of this storyline, I have learnt many fascinating, historical facts

Marco Polo embarked on a three-year journey from Italy to Cathay (present day China) where he spent many years in the service of Kublai Khan, the great Mongolian emperor. A few hundred years later, inspired by Polo’s travels, Christopher Columbus, decided to sail west, thinking he could reach Cathay and India much quicker from the other side. Naturally, he misjudged the distance and landed in the Bahamas, believing he was in India, which is why this area is called the West Indies. He called the natives Indians as a result, a name that has stuck to the present day and is the same name given to the American Indians and all other natives of South America

These and many more historical gems have been written into my story that culminates in an exciting twist in the tale. Watch this space for more…

Home

The g-force was akin to a rollercoaster as the metal hulk lifted up into the sky, pulling my head back and into the headrest for support. The roar of the powerful jet engines, burning enough fuel to empty a small swimming pool, blasted through the cabin, numbing my senses and reverberating the very air around me like a mini tsunami. 

I opened my Dean Koontz novel, Your heart belongs to me, and was immediately engrossed in the epic thriller about a man who was told that he had a year left to live if he didn’t find a replacement heart in time. 

We approached Cape Town. The pilot announced that we were in a queue to land and then before I knew it, he was taking us on a scenic trip past the Mother City, along the coastline, all the way to Hout Bay! I’ve flown many times but this was the first time that I’d been privy to this beautiful route. I pulled out my phone and began snapping photos. It was too magnificent to miss. 

The pilot banked to the right to give the passengers on the other side the same incredible view and announced, ” those of you on the right, what a view!”

We flew back towards the airport and touched down safely. The pilot announced, “I am honoured to have flown with my father aboard this flight. He used to work for this airline (BA) and has clocked over 22,000 air miles.” The passengers applauded.

I was one of the last to disembark. A red carpet lay across the tarmack together with a group of crew members awaiting the arrival of the distinguished pilot. It was only then that I realised the true nature of the fly-by…

​​

Serenity

Luna ran ahead of me on the path, excited to be out on the mountain. I marched briskly behind her, the coarse, tan-coloured sand crunching loudly under my trainers with every step, immediately announcing my presence to anyone within a thirty meter radius.

I looked about, quickly taking in the scenery as I walked. To the left of me was the mountain, stretching up and into the blue yonder. To the right, was a copse of trees and beyond that, the deep, expansive ocean, stretching out to meet the horizon in the distance. The air was unusually warm for this early in the morning, and, despite the fact that I was still walking in the shade, a fine film of perspiration had broken out on my forehead. 

I briefly closed my eyes, took in a deep breath and sighed it out once more, grateful for being alive. 

Luna turned to gaze back at me as I topped the next rise. She tilted her head to the left as if to say, Come on, come on! What’s taking you so long?  Move it already!

I trudged on methodically, passing the rear of a slew of mansions, positioned to take advantage of the magnificent view. A young couple popped into view. He was behind her – a young mother with a baby secured safely against her chest in a sling. She instinctively cradled his head in her hand as Luna approached.

Morning! I sang cheerfully, smiling warmly as we passed each other. 

Morning, they replied in unison. 

Luna trotted on, sniffing at the ground as she walked. Every now and again she would stop for a closer inspection of a bush or a rock, scrutinising the myriad of smells that must have been assaulting her nostrils. We rounded the next bend to find a pair of what could only be described as miniature lions on the path. Their light grey bodies were mostly hairless but this was balanced by a mop of wispy, beige hair that sprouted out of their necks to cover their faces. Their walker was sitting on the side of the path as I approached. 

Hello. Good morning, I announced. 

Hi, he replied, lifting his hand for a quick wave. 

Luna rolled over onto her back as she always does upon meeting an unimposing stranger. slut.

I walked on before giving a short, sharp whistle and Luna came bounding past me. The path gradually wound its way around the mountain, hugging its perimeter like a garter belt on a bride to be. We climbed gradually up the next hill and the path split. Luna went left without hesitation and I followed, acquiescing to her preference. 

We climbed several steps, lined with dark grey metal sleepers to prevent the path from eroding into a slippery slope, and then came upon a group of about sixty tall, majestic pine trees, swaying in a gentle breeze. I sat down on a weathered wooden bench built upon concrete supports beneath the imposing pines and breathed. 

The welcome breeze washed over me, thankfully separating my t-shirt, clammy with sweat, from my torso. I watched Luna explore the new terrain with interest. She marked her territory and then disappeared behind me. I closed my eyes and was instantly transported back in time by the enchanting sound of the wind through the trees. 

Memories of the soothing sound of the South Easter whooshing through the tops of the pine trees in my grandparent’s garden in Camps Bay, while I lay in bed before going to sleep as a young boy, coursed through my mind. The meditative sound grounded my spirit. My soul smiled with delight. I was pleased to have found a new happy place. 

Watch Your Thoughts, They Become Words; Watch Your Words, They Become Actions.

There is so much wisdom in this quote; a passage that still, to this day, has a most mysterious origin. It has been enunciated in a plethora of texts and verses across many different cultures, all with the same inherent warning. 

In Judaism, it is believed that the Creator of the universe spoke the world into being with the power of His voice and breathed His breath into Adam to create the first true man. It was the power of His voice again, this time uttering the first two commandments, that the Children of Israel witnessed beneath Mount Sinai several thousand years ago; a voice so powerful and omnipotent, that it blasted their souls right out of their bodies. 

The Hindu Vedas, ancient, spiritual texts, thousands of years old, talk more about thoughts and how they hold great power in our lives. “As you think, so you become” is agreed by many to represent the greatest foundational understanding of what it means to be conscious – that your very thoughts will affect your life and the way in which you live it.

The late Dr Masaru Emoto, famous for his findings on human consciousness and it’s affect on water, showed how thought, yes just thought, not even the spoken word, has an effect on water at the molecular level. Positive thought directed at a body of water a long distance away makes the water purer and cleaner, while negative thought makes it impure and stagnant. This was proven when Emoto photographed the affected molecules at a microscopic level.

In today’s society, we are all guilty of allowing our egos to control our thoughts and actions to some degree. This prevents us from connecting to our true selves, which stifles our true potential as individuals. Mindful activities such as meditation, yoga and positive intention give us the weapons to fight this spiritual and psychological battle in our minds, with the objective of becoming good, honest, self-aware individuals on a path of enlightenment and selfless piety.

It all comes down to choice. Free will. We can choose to think depressing thoughts that encourage doubt and negativity, poisoning the mind in the process, or we can choose happiness, positivity and purity in conduct and behaviour. The key to unlocking our true spiritual identity is hidden in the chaos of our negative thoughts. 

What do you choose?

5 Star Review!

Phenomenal 5-star review of my latest novel Unicorn, by author and four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Frank Scozzari: http://amzn.to/2dWqm5e

“UNICORN is an action packed adventure fantasy that includes themes of friendship and loyalty and, in a very unique way, explores eastern thought and spirituality. After reading the first few pages I was a goner—lost in an imaginative world of struggle and redemption.

Three protagonists set out on a perilous journey to find a cure for a debilitating disease. The task at hand is a noble one, to save Sanjit’s mother. Sanjit, Halim, and Taja encounter many hazards including treacherous mountains and barbaric tribesmen.

The characters are well-developed and will have you routing for them early on. I particularly liked the philosophical undertone of this story. It’s nice to read a story that replenishes the soul, and this one did that fore me. Overall, a great fantasy novel worthy of a place on anyone’s bookshelf.”

Visit www.books2read.com/unicorn to get your copy today.

unicorn 3d