29 End of year special reading
Charity: welcome to loose leaf author podcast, where we are unscripted. So you never know what you're going to get. My name is charity Bradford, Hillary and Khale are not with me today, but I did want to. Post one more little blog cast this year, before we head into 2021, I hope your holiday season has been great.
Ours has been a bit of an up and down. Our three oldest children came home from college, which was wonderful to have them home. Unfortunately right after their arrival, my husband was diagnosed with COVID and pneumonia, which. Quickly escalated and ended up in a three night hospital stay, which kind of put a damper on our holiday cheer.
The good news is three weeks later. He is mostly oxygen free and he is home. And uh, every day is a little bit better. Hopefully going into 2021, things will continue to improve and we can get back to some kind of normal life. In the meantime, like I said, all of my kids are home, which has been wonderful.
And hopefully Hillary and kale have enjoyed their time with their families as well. And since my kids came home a week before the end of the semester, they had to turn in all of their final assignments, as well as do their exams from home. And one of the cool things is my son's English teacher. Needed a term paper turned in, but she was tired of having to grade so many, eight page papers.
So instead she assigned a more creative final project and my son chose to do a podcast. So this is his first ever podcast. And that's what I'm going to give you today. And I'm going to give it to you an edited because this is what he turned in for his assignment. He is reading one of my short stories and I'll be honest when I listened to it, I cringed a little bit mostly because I could hear all of the mistakes that I made.
This is a story that I wrote almost. I guess it would have been at least five or six years ago. And hopefully I've learned a lot since then, but he reads the story and then he does a little commentary on it. He has his own intro and outro music, and I will let this podcast end with his outdoor music, but before we get started, I just wanted to thank all of you guys for listening to us this year.
It has been so much fun recording these podcasts for you. And I would love to hear from you your thoughts on what you would like to see from us going into the new year. We will continue journaling our journey, but what can we do to help you in your journey? Feel free to leave a comment. Wherever you listen, or send me an and let us know what you're thinking about and what it is you would like to learn this year.
And we will get to work on putting together some podcasts just for you. And without further ado, here is my son, Adam Bradford, with his very first podcast.
Adam: ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to this episode of fiction reading podcast, where we read and analyze works of fiction. I'm your host, Adam. And today I will be reading a short story written by charity Bradford. Charity has loved reading ever since the fifth grade, when she found it easy to lose herself in worlds created by all of her favorite authors.
She currently lives in Arkansas with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and the cat, her preferred writing. John rhe includes a mix of scifi fantasy action, adventure and romance. The piece we are reading today comes from chapter six first stellar cloud collection, and is titled instinct. Permission to read this story comes from the author instinct by charity Bradford, lightning flashed.
It looked just like the electrical storms on earth, only this wasn't earth. And I had more to fear than being struck by lightning. I tried not to flinch at the creatures roaming over the ground. Thousands of insect, like aliens cleaned the area of anything living any movement. And it would be over in minutes.
Just like the poor man in front of me, I closed my eyes as slowly as possible to relieve the growing dryness visions of the giant arch road. Taunted me. The space port was a veritable fortress situated on top of a Mesa in the desert region of Avalon. I should have insisted. They let me stay with my children at the massive steel and plexi glass pyramid exhaustion threatened to be my undoing ever so slowly.
I opened my eyes once more. At least the screaming had stopped in the pile of sludge. That used to be the Colonel had been reduced to clean white bones. His last words echoed in my head. Avalon is perfectly safe. I promise this had been the Colonel's first trip away from the arc row. I guess he didn't realize sunset came early on the edge of the giant forest at the Alpine settlement.
The sunlight kept the creatures at Bay because of a chemical reaction in the UV race. They tunneled underground or hidden the forest until nightfall. The Colonel said they were close to duplicating the UV combo with the floodlights. I guess they were close enough. The glare of white light flooded the courtyard in front of the biodomes giving a false sense of security even now, although they didn't send the creature scurrying back to the shadows, those Heights had probably saved my life.
At least for a while, they snapped on as a Colonel made his promise and the glitter of approaching hard shell backs caught my eye moments before the first wave hit us instinct had frozen me in place, sealed my lips and glued my eyes open. I became a living statute praying to go unnoticed, but mine couldn't stop.
The stream of questions. Had the colonists watched his death from behind the safety of their windows. With my back to them, I had no way of knowing. But I didn't know that no one had to come to save us or the others from the bus, from the corner of my eye. I could see two piles of bones. Why didn't the colonists try to help?
Was it really pointless to try to fight these creatures? Lightning hit the generator and the courtyard went dark, but my ears picked up every click of mandible, every hiss and whistle. I stiffened the sod before it could escape things, brush I'm in the night. And the only thing that kept me still was the years of trying to be invisible in my own home.
And the thought of my son and daughter. Did someone read them a bedtime story? How could I bring them to such a place? My mind drifted back in time to my earthly nightmares days and nights of sitting as still as possible. While Norman tried to wash his sorrow away with Plutonian whiskey. When the strongest drink in the solar system, couldn't make him feel more like a man he'd searched for me.
Luckily the whiskey effected his vision and if I didn't move, he often passed out before locating me. I could have survived that miserable life, but I wouldn't put my twins through it. How do you teach a three year old not to move or make a sound for hours on end? I pushed the memories of their bruised bodies away.
My reasons for fleeing earth felt justified at the time, but to trade that for this, at least the children had been required to remain at the art grow for more survival training. A shiver ran through me at the knowledge that they would be dead. Now, if they had come with me, the ground became strangely silent.
I held my breath and cursed my body's natural reactions. Sounds started up again, clicking bumping of shell. Again, shell larger shadows had joined the flood of our size insect. These were the size of dogs and cats lightening split the sky and revealed the larger ones snacking on the smaller creatures.
The crunching finally made sense. I wished it would rain. Maybe the creatures would retreat in the deluge. But no only lightening continued to pass through the night. Each flash showing me the nightmare around me, the larger insects moved on to devour the bones of the fallen, every muscle ached. I couldn't even look at my watch to see how long until Dawn lightning flash and I heard soft laughter in the night.
The colonists continued living while I waited to die. If I survived the night, would I become just like them calloused to the death that waited in the shadows? I wished I was safe behind windows, but only because my children leave the art grow in a few days to join me, my motherly instincts mingled with those of the battered wife, making me stronger, tougher.
If anyone could survive the night. It would be me. I will be there to greet and protect my children. Okay. So that's the end of that story. What an amazing story. It really jogs your mind and makes you wonder what you would do in a situation like this. I mean, could you five? I don't know if personally I could, um, my largest takeaway from the story is that sometimes bad memories can help grow our character and define who we are.
She talks about in the story. She says, um, I opened my eyes once more, at least the screaming had stopped in the pile of white sledge. That used to be the Colonel had been reduced to clean white bones. I mean, that had to be a terrible thing to watch and she managed to just stand there still and silent and just watch.
And at the beginning of the story, you kind of started to think. Well, how could she do that? Cause I mean, if I saw that I'd be freaking out, I'd be like, Oh my gosh, the kernel. Um, but she managed to stand there still and firm and brave, and she goes on and she tells you about her children, who she left to be here.
And I'm assuming they're somewhere on the same planet with her. But that she's not with, she left them. And she talks about how that fear that if her children had come with or that they would be dead right now. And that really kind of grabs your heart a little bit because she's standing there terrified.
She just watched a mandate. Eaten by these hard-shelled critters alien, like things. And her thought is to her children. She's hoping maybe someone will read them a bedtime story. She talks about her past. She talks about how she says talking about her husband, Norman, when the strongest drink in the solar system, couldn't make him feel more like a man he'd searched for me.
He would look for her and it's kind of the same situation. She also talks about how the whisky would mess up his vision. And if she stood still enough, he wouldn't see them. Now we don't know about this creatures. We can assume that because she's standing still and hardly moving that they're probably blind or have a hard time seeing, and you have to stay still if you're going to survive them.
And so we see this. Almost like training she's had in her past this awful experience. The reason she fled earth is the reason she might survive. She was beaten and, uh, in this horrible situation, but if she stood still enough, her drunk husband or boyfriend couldn't see her. And so this situation in her past.
Is gonna help her really survive, frankly. And she talks about this saying toward the very end, um, that her motherly instincts mingled with those of the battered wife, making her stronger and tougher. If anyone could survive this night, it would be her. And that's quite spectacular actually, when you think about it, because.
Once again, she's thinking to her children, she says that she will be there to greet her children when they come to this planet and that she will be there to protect them. Um, and so she's motivated by this. She took her kids and she left earth to come to space. And now. She's terrified. She is standing in this forest.
She can see bodies or what, at one point in time were bodies, um, that these creatures just consumed fairly quickly. I would imagine since she can see white bone and that's all that's left of them and that fear she has. She's going to take it. And she's going to think about how scared she was for her children and for herself on earth.
And she left earth to come here where it will be safer, but yet she's still here in this forest, terrified thinking of her children and how she will survive this night, because she's going to be there for them. She is a mother who loves her children unconditionally. And she is not going to let them come to a plan like this alone.
She is going to stand there as still, as she can possibly be. She is a statue. She says a statue that she prays will go unnoticed so that she can be there to greet her children when they come to this planet in a few days and that she will be there to teach them and protect them. And I love that. I love that this story, just reading it, you get this spectacular story of a woman who happens to be a mother she's in the woods and there's these creatures eating people and she's scared and she wishes she was inside safe.
But. Then you kind of start to analyze it some and you get these features, you get these thoughts of hers and her fear and her hopes that she'll survive the night. And you can feel that strength of a mother who loves her kids and wants them to be safe and happy. I do really love. That aspect of this story.
I love when she's talking about her kids and she says, did someone read them a bedtime story? How could I bring them to such a place? And it's almost like this. I hope my kids are okay. I mean, she's trapped and I've said it a hundred times. She's trapped in this forest. But yet, she's just like, I hope my kids are okay.
I hope they're having a better night than I am. And then she asks, how could I bring them to such a place? How could I take them from earth where they were mostly safe or their only threat was Norman, her husband or boyfriend? Um, it doesn't really say in the passage or which one he is, but then she continues to go through this night and she's talking and thinking about them and she's still.
She seems pretty confident that she still made the right choice to bring her children away from that, to this planet where there's a new problems. And she's just trying to work out how she's going to do it. Um, which is. When she starts to think of that power in her past, defining who she is now, she's taking that memory and she's saying that was bad and this is bad, but I can't think of my children's battered bodies anymore.
I need to be there to help them build this better life on this foreign planet. Um, and I'm going to survive this night through these creatures, these hard shelled creatures. So that they can be here and they can be happy and live, uh, all around better life. And so I just love that. I love that this is a story of love earlier.
We talked about how charity writes romance. I think it's not a romance story. It's definitely a scifi story, but it's got that love aspect to it that she loves her children. She loves him so much that she is going to stand there through this horrible night so that she can be there when they arrive to this planet.
She talks about her fears though. She talks about how she's sitting here and she's terrified, but no one's coming to help her. She can hear the colonists inside their domes laughing and just living a normal life. But no, one's out there to help save people who gets trapped in the night, which is scary.
She wonders if I survive this, am I going to become like them? Am I going to be the one sitting on my cool science fiction space, planet, couch, watching a space soap opera or something. While there's someone standing a hundred feet, 10 feet, maybe 15 feet from my window, terrified about to be consumed by these creatures.
Am I going to become like them? Could this happen to my children? And I love that. Um, I love that we get all the sides of her. She is scared of many things. She scared of dying. She scared of her children being left alone in space on this new planet. She scared of becoming someone who might not help someone else because she's been in the forest.
She said, Uh, I've already been there, done that zero problem. I made it through. She's scared of that. And it kinda makes you wonder if she survives this night, which we don't know we're left with this clay cliffhanger and it leaves you to wonder you can create two endings. Maybe she just got to take hold in her nose and she sneezed.
And it was just up like that. Or, you know, maybe she stood there strong, full of love, full of power. And she stood there until that sun Rose. And she was there to greet her children. Maybe she goes on to start, like, I dunno, a force that watches in the night they have these bright lights and their sole purpose is to use these UV Ray fog lights they talked about and to go out and make sure that everyone stays safe and you kind of, you don't really know, it could be either one.
And I like that too. I mean, I like a solid ending where they told me what happened, but I like this kind of cliffhanger ending innocence too, because it leaves me to wonder and to think. And I think that's important in a story. I think it's important that a story leaves you to think sometimes you don't always get all the answers you get to wonder, you get to think, and it's nice.
It keeps you from getting bored in a story. So I think with that, I'm going to wrap up this podcast today, um, by just reiterating that. Um, I think this story is saying that bad memories can help you grow and character and define who you are. Um, that her bad memories turned her into this strong mother who loves her children and would do anything for them to stand through this night.
And I really loved that and I love this story. Uh, I want to thank charity Bradford for letting me read this story. And so with that, I think I'm going to end today's episode. Uh, thank you for coming and listening and I hope you all have a wonderful day. .