Greetings everyone and welcome to another installment of the WE ARE INFINITE stories and giveaway! I'm so grateful to be able to do this and to share stories that remind us all of connection and our intrinsic worth.
Now, before we dive into today's tale, let's have a quick refresher on what's happenin' 'round here:
1. Contest is simple: you send me (email@example.com) your INFINITE STORIES and I post 'em. I also promote them, so if you want to include a link to a novel you wrote, an etsy shop, or other such awesomeness, then by all means, include that in your entry! I want to share the love!
2. INFINITE STORIES are tales that remind us of connection: ghost stories, past lives, prophetic dreams, a moment that changed your life, how you found faith, how you found love, how you recovered from heartache, a friend who saved your life, a dog that meant the world, a cat that knew too much, a feeling that spared you or a loved one from pain, a feeling that hooked up a pair of friends for marriage, kids, and life. Anything and everything goes!
All the details about what I'm looking for and how to play are found HERE.
3. Each story enters you for the grand prize. What is it, you ask? Well it's Amazon cash, artwork, and a book!
4. Don't have a story you want to share? No problem! Sharing information about the contest also constitutes an entry for the grand prize! More details about that are right HERE.
5. More questions? Check out the FAQ or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
And last but not least, don't forget to check out the always-accumulating-ever-impressive-oh-so-powerful WE ARE INFINITE STORIES INDEX, where all the contest entries will be linked for you to peruse anytime you need a reminder that you are never, ever alone!
Today's entry is one of mine. I love the chance to be publicly grateful for all the incredible ways the people in my life and the Universe at large has helped me out over the years.
I'll be posting my entries mixed in with others as the contest rolls on.
Deadline for all entries is FEBRUARY 8, 2015!
Much love, many thanks, and light and love to you and yours.
Follow the Raven Part IV
The art project L was hosting and the accompanying story Raven and I were writing were coming to an end. With only two months left, Raven and I were planning out how we were going to wrap up our characters' fate. I'd been right about the symbols being the same as the ones in the video game, so we knew which "virtues" were left. We discussed the story and our ever-diminishing faith in the project all the time.
Neither of us could figure out what we were supposed to do with L. Did we need to reach out or stay away? What business was it, exactly, of ours, what he was or wasn't doing with his life? Why should we bother/care/interfere/even think about it? Was there something to learn here, more than we had? Thanks to the book journey that started with The Hours and ended with The Dream Hunters, I'd hatched a plot for a book I was loosely calling Fox and Monk (which eventually took on a name that might be more familiar to you). Raven had written a book, too, inspired by the events going on in our lives. Finding stories is always a worthwhile goal. We debated over and over if that's what we'd been led there to do: find the stories, write them, and learn from the experience, overall.
It may sound as though we were reading too much into the whole situation, and, don't worry, we also debated that for hours on end, too. For days we banned L's name from conversation, attempting to get him out of our minds.
It didn’t work.
The Universe always intervened. The dreams would ratchet up a notch. We were both having them, Raven and I, and even through there was the usual amount of writing, social interacting, and living going on, we couldn't shake the thought that the situation was far from resolved.
We were still missing something; there was a meteor in our blind spot, hurtling toward us. We could feel the heat, but we couldn't see the source. We were beyond frustrated. We were well into drinking and denial.
One day in the middle of our confusion, I found myself in my car heading to an appointment. I ran into a traffic jam. I've run into thousands of traffic jams on various sojourns across this country. I've trekked East and West, one side to the other, four times. I've gone north, I've gone south, and I've had just about every conceivable kind of traffic jam there is to have.
But on that particular day for what turned out to be a very particular cosmic reason, I got stuck in traffic for two hours and had the worst panic attack I've ever had in my life. I got physically sick and had to crawl over guardrails and down into a drainage ditch to use Nature's Finest Facilities. I was completely disembodied, out of my ever-loving mind, and the fugue state from the experience lasted for days after the initial attack.
I'd never experienced anything like it, and as a result, I began to have problems leaving my house. Driving anywhere became a trial. Going for long meandering drives had always been a source of relaxation, but no longer. I'm the kind of person who's apt to get in a car and drive to another state on a lark just to buy a coffee at a shop I'd not been to before, but I could barely get out of my driveway.
Never one to take a crisis lying down, I sought help. I developed a regimen to get me over this hurdle involving daily drives, unscheduled drives, etc. I did everything the books and my therapist friends told me to try. I set about trying to get myself better, but the lingering fear, well... that shit lingered.
On a random Thursday morning, I was writing up emails and planning my next moves in the Get Kelly Over the Damned Anxiety So She Can Go To Dunkin Donuts Again campaign, and my phone buzzed with a text message. I ignored it, determined to finish my work. It buzzed again. And again. Finally, I checked.
It was Raven. Messaging me in all caps.
HOLY GOD GET ONLINE CHECK YOUR EMAIL YOUR BROTHER NEEDS YOU!
Raven had taken to calling L my brother, for lack of better term, and also, I think, based on some philosophy that L and I were connected if not by blood, then by experience. We hadn't exactly pinned down the nature of that experience, but Raven was perpetually hopeful that it did, indeed, exist.
Honestly, you'd have to ask him about it.
Anyway, I dutifully got online. Raven had chucked work out the window when the email from L had come through. L had sent it to both of us. I got online, chatting to Raven while I read.
"Did you SEE what--?!"
"Yes, I see," I said, "but I can't read with you flapping around me."
"CAW!" Raven cried, jokingly and laughing, but also excited, worried, and anxious.
I read the email. L appeared to be having a moment of sincere doubt and panic, and he was reaching out to Raven and myself for lack of any other options. He was concerned about who to trust in his life and how to proceed. He confessed all about his relationship with the man covered in the virtuous tattoos, confirming each and every one of Raven and my suspicions, but the situation was far more involved and complex than we could have suspected.
"Well," I said. "Shit."
"No shit," Raven said.
"Rather a lot of it, really," I argued.
"I email him back," I said.
"No!" Raven squawked. "We don't know if this is really him!"
My fingers paused over the keys. "Wait... what?"
"Look, this email is full of sincerely personal details and information. At the end, there, he tells us we can use this information in a story if we want or do something with it. What person in their right mind would tell two writers to use such an intensely personal story in a book or whatever?"
"Er...? We use personal stuff all of the—"
"Nevermind that!" Raven huffed. "He also tells us that he's not sure who has access to this email account or this info. We need to confirm it's him."
"Okay, Sherlock. How?"
"Well, we could invite him to get on Skype. If there's one thing we know, it's his voice."
"He's apparently a technologically challenged dude," I replied. "Much like yourself. And I think I read somewhere that he's traveling. He might not have a computer or a phone with Skype."
"Well, what other option is there?" Raven asked.
I didn't even have to think it over. "Give him my number. Tell him to call me, I'll hear his voice, and we'll go from there."
"Okay." Raven didn't argue. Instead, he composed a very nice email explaining our position and our concerns. Raven handed over my phone number, hit send, and right about then, the panic set in.
"OH MY GOD WHAT DID I JUST DO?" I wailed.
"It'll be fine!" Raven soothed. "Really. I'm sure he's a perfectly lovely—"
Raven didn't get to finish because my cell phone started to ring. I may have screeched. I may have flailed around my office. I may have been tempted to go hide under my bed.
You have to understand: it wasn't only that I found L interesting or was a fan of L's. I was both those things, but it didn't end there. It wasn't only that I knew things about him thanks to his on and offline semi-celebrity status.
No, it had to do with the entire journey, most of which he wasn't privy to. My feeling that I'd lost my way, strayed from the path that had never failed me. My artist friend, sending me his picture, saying it reminded her of a character I nearly lost when someone I considered one of my closest and best friends decided they didn't want me, my words, or my worlds anymore. Then the cry to the Universe; the signs, the phone call, the edict from the cosmos: Follow the Raven. Finding L's post, doing the story. All the emails, the messaging, the random bits of silliness back and forth among L, Raven, and me. The dreams. All the damned dreams. The book journey. The story ideas. The sensation that L was a beacon highlighting the way, but that he had no idea he had such an important role to play, and I didn't know how to tell him or to explain or even if I should.
When the phone started to ring, it wasn't only L reaching out.
Fate was calling me direct.
And I answered. I confess, I'm not entirely sure what went on in the first ten minutes of the conversation because I was so thoroughly freaked out that someone I'd randomly selected off the Internet to follow, write for/with, and attempt to befriend was now on the phone with me. It's a humbling experience, reaching out and having it work. It'd been a very long time since I'd done that directly and I have to tell you, the last time didn't go so well. I was gunshy and wondering all over again what in the devil I had to do with this man's life and why I thought it was okay to sort of nudge my way into it.
I remembered something Raven said, though, in the email to L asking for identity:
"Your words have touched us both on very personal levels that we feel are intrinsically and possibly spiritually connected to you and your current situation. Kelly would like to add that there are few coincidences in life... she believes 'they're God's way of showing us patterns we need to see, either for help or to prevent harm.'
"And I would like to add that when one reaches out spiritually into the Universe, as you did with [your art project], sometimes people like Kelly will hear and answer. It's sort of what she does."
Raven's faith was almost as overwhelming as the phone call, but it helped to ground me. I got over the nerves, and listened to his story. We talked on the phone for four hours that day, downloading our lives' stories to one another in the most succinct ways possible to fit into time constraints.
It turned out that his relationship with the man with the virtue tattoos had ended very similarly to the painful separation that started my crisis of the faith. L and I discussed a host of reasons why our supposed "failures" happened. With no real explanation, one has to cover all the bases from "I'm just crazy" to "Maybe they are" to "It ain't ours to reason why." We talked coping mechanisms, reassured one another that we weren't insane or, if we were, then we were in it together and weren't alone. I referred him to help groups online that made me feel better after the catastrophic split, and he said he needed to go to get to the gym.
"I have one more thing to tell you," I said, the words leaping out of my mouth before I could think better.
"Oh yeah? What's that?"
Hesitantly and feeling like a Class A fool, I told him about the book journey. I hinted at the dreams, laughing about them and blaming them on a writer's imagination. When I was done, I was met with a brief silence followed by a soft, "Wow."
"Yeah?" I asked.
"That book sounds like something I should read."
"I thought so too. I'll send it your way."
We hung up, and I went to eat lunch, as I'd skipped that whole eating thing for the sake of the phone conversation. As I chewed chicken salad, I got a text message with an address. I promised myself I'd get the book in the mail ASAP.
But as it happened, despite my best efforts, I sent the book too late.
Much love & fate knowing your number,
Kelly Wyre enjoys reading and writing all manner of fiction, ranging from horror to romance. She used to work in advertising but is now happily chained to her writing desk and laptop. She believes she's here to tell stories and to connect people with them. She's written several novels, novellas, and short stories and has no plans on stopping anytime soon.
Kelly relishes the soft and cuddly and the sharp and bloody with equal amounts of enthusiasm. She's a coffee addict, an avid movie lover, a chronic night owl, and she loves a good thunderstorm. Currently Kelly resides in the southeastern United States.
Meet Me at the Gates by Kelly Wyre
Outer Banks bookstore owner Hyacinth Silver Fox has a secret millennia in the making: her soul was magically entwined with another, and at night she dreams of every lifetime they've ever spent together. The rules of their magic are simple: Hydee always knows her lover, but he, or she, doesn't remember her. It's up to Hydee to find and make her soulmate see they are destined for each other, and this lifetime is no different, but there's one problem: her soulmate is Theo Monk, heartthrob actor and Hollywood's sometime-infamous badboy. Hydee's hope of reuniting is wearing thin, but she has no idea how dire the situation really is.
Because meanwhile in California, Theo Monk is losing his mind. Anxiety and paranoia rule his life, along with his on-again-off-again girlfriend and her entourage. When fear and frustration push him to an edge, Theo cuts and runs as far from his problems as he can without knowing Fate's giving him one last shot to unite with the only person who can help him. Hydee and Theo must save one another before hope runs out and Hydee's despair and Theo's fear keep them apart forever.