Hello and Welcome!
The following are excerpts from completed short stories found in our first fiction anthology titled The View From Here: Glimpses of Possibility. Within the pages of the anthology, you will find stories of travel, but not just ordinary travel, rather travel to faraway lands and to places of inner darkness. You will even find a journey into the depths of a bellybutton. More than that, however, you will find expressions of the imagination, some based on real events and others culled from the deep recesses where only nightmares live.
It is our sincere hope that you will find these morsels of creativity to your liking. You may purchase the complete anthology, in both paperback and e-book formats, by clicking the link below. Enjoy and feel free to leave any feedback in the comments section of this website.
Also, please check out the promotional video used to help market The View From Here. Special thanks to Joseph Herbst who created the video and to the great Lloyd Lindsay Young who provided the narration.
Thank you and Happy Reading!
The End of the Road
by Joseph R. Herbst
Her mind raced backwards through the jumble of shattered and disjointed thoughts.
She recalled driving through the Arizona darkness along a lonely and forgotten road, somewhere south of Three Points. Her vision was limited to just a few yards by an unusual, thick fog. A tight and tangled knot formed slowly in the pit of her stomach. Anxiety clawed at her mind. This shouldn’t be. She was in a desert in mid-August. How could there be fog?
The road in front of her suddenly disappeared, dropping away into oblivion. Just seconds from disaster, she slammed on the brakes and yanked the steering wheel hard to the left, her tires skidding across the loose gravel. The car careened wildly off the side of the road and plowed into a cluster of boulders heaped in the darkness just beyond the shoulder. She shook off the impact and stared into the stark emptiness. No road. No land. It was as if the entire world ahead of her had been swallowed up; leaving nothing but the strange, gray mist.
She shifted her focus. A small, dilapidated service station, lifeless and dreary, crouched in the eerie gloom just to the left of the severed road. A malfunctioning neon sign teetered on the sagging roof, sputtering its questionable welcome: END OF THE ROAD GAS.
She squirmed out from behind the crumpled steering wheel of her mangled car and crept towards the crumbling structure. A portion of the roof had collapsed, perhaps decades ago, leaving a gaping hole in the top of the building. The exterior walls lay in disintegrated mounds at the foot of the old service station, having surrendered long ago to the relentless elements. It was a wonder the sign still had any power to it at all. She peered past the exposed, dry-rotted framing to what remained of the interior. Except for a heavy rope hanging from a massive, wooden ceiling beam, the building was completely empty.
“Hello, dear child,” a voice rasped.
by Sandy Stuart Shaller
My Uncle Abraham McCandless was the most important person in my life. He was as tall as a redwood tree with frizzy white hair like Albert Einstein, and a big white moustache like Mark Twain. I came to him thirty-four years ago when I was, “No bigger than a palm cake…” according to him. He carried me out of the hospital, in his palm, and wrapped up in a red and green plaid blanket that his dead wife Ellie-Beatrice had made.
He put me in a basket on the floor of his old Ford pick-up truck and drove with me from New York City to Lower Waterford, Vermont, three hundred and twenty-nine miles north of the city.
“I just kept looking down at the wild mop of red curly hair that you popped out with and thinking, the Maker has given me a little miracle.”
I never knew my parents. They died two days after I was born. Mother had a sudden hemorrhage, and my Father had a car accident racing to the hospital when he found out. So Uncle Abraham was my Mom and Dad and most everyone else.
I never cared, though; Uncle Abraham was all I needed. During the day, I helped him in his antique shop, The Treasure Chest, and outside on the big plot of land in front of the store. We were trying to create a Shakespearean garden. We had a willow tree in one corner and a sundial in the center. Around the sundial we planted violets, primroses and daffodils, eglantine, honeysuckle, gillyflowers and plenty of pansies. Uncle Abraham had read “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to me, acting out all the parts, and I was convinced that if we grew a purple pansy I could use it to make Petey Hannochy fall in love with Betsy Mooney who was always writing him notes.
The Starter Kit
by Norma Armon
I put my hand against the slit at the opening of the underground bunker. My palm didn’t recoil at the shaft of light that streamed in, so I knew the sun’s glare had begun to wane. Soon darkness would come and it’d be easier to breathe. Time to go look for food and water. I scrambled out on all fours from the makeshift quarters Papa had dug under the house and overheard him talking to Nomama. I stopped to listen.
“That’s it! We’ve ransacked what was left in town.” I saw her nod. “The stream is bone dry … I haven’t even seen animals around for days … the place is deserted. We’ve got to go … we must find a community to attach the children to, before it’s too late.” Papa’s voice scared me, it sounded like the booms in the heavens. Too late for what? What was Papa afraid was coming?
“Do you think you’re strong enough to start walking? Papa asked her.
Nomama nodded again. I hadn’t heard her say a word since Papa carried her in all those darks ago. We’d taken care of her until the gashes and cuts healed and her mangled foot stopped oozing. Maybe she had wandered to our area from far away and didn’t speak our language. Or maybe there was something wrong with her voice. Or, she didn’t want to talk about what had happened out there. But we could tell she understood what we said. I had given up wanting to know – I just wanted her to get better and go away.
by Kathy Oldham
It was exciting to be driving in such a different way from what I was used to in America, and I was quite glad we had the road to ourselves, unobserved by other drivers. Keep to the right, keep to the right, I kept reminding myself to avoid veering too far and driving out of my lane or off the road.
Time was running out. The end of my first six months in England was approaching, and after that date I was no longer permitted to drive on an international license. I had to have an English driver’s license to be insured and drive legally. I was nervous to test in what, for me, was a foreign style of driving, full of quirks and different signs. After the first time behind the wheel, I agreed with my husband to book proper driving lessons. At first, I didn’t know whether to feel relieved or insulted, because taking lessons had been his suggestion and not mine.
One evening after work I waited by the kitchen window for the instructor to arrive. He drove up in front of our flat in a little white car with a large red block letter “L” on the roof. It looked like the naff sign on a pizza delivery car. I had seen these L placards on other driving instructors’ cars, but it didn’t lessen the conspicuous feeling of being seen as a ‘learner’ driver. To me, the L placard was a public display of incompetence and inadequacy. I was young enough to think that anyone noticed, or cared, that I was having lessons.
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