Tuesday, September 18, 2018

FROM SPACE 1st Draft Update for 9/17/18: Where Wise's Nights are Spent May Surprise You

or read the latest words below this line:

So, I left her to eat and sleep and went back to the shelter I was staying at while in town. I’m about entirely sure that the manager of the place worked there the last time I was here. Or maybe he was there the next time I visit? Hard to keep all this straight. 

This is the one problem with traveling without your own ship.

The food at these places isn’t as bad as you’d expect. Of course, my taste buds are different every time so some times the food is worse than other times.

I’ve learned over time to just roll with the punches when it comes to what my life has become.
Minutes after dinner, I found my cot and went to sleep.  That body slept well.  I woke to a call from Sarah.  She was ready to head over to the storage unit when if I was.

I sniffed at my armpits and realized I should probably shower.  There was a shower at the shelter, but I decided to not bother for security reasons.  Minutes later, I was back at Sarah's.  With a bag of clothes that fit me.  I'd managed to procure them along with a bag for just this kind of situation.  

"I hate to impose, but could I use your shower?"

"Oh, uh, sure. Do you not, uh, does yours not..."

"Thanks, I appreciate it!"

Twenty minutes later we we showered, or at least I was showered, and we were on the road.  Where we stopped for a fast food breakfast.

With the taste of those delicious Earth fries still in my mouth, we entered the lobby of the storage facility off of a highway in New Jersey.

Monday, September 17, 2018

FROM SPACE 1st Draft Update for 9/16/18: The A-Word is Something Else when you're Breaking the Truth to a Being

Just a quick reminder: writing is pretty hard work!  You can encourage me with YOUR words by finding me on TwitterIG, or FB and letting me know what you think of my words.  You can also help by heading over to manfromzero.com and buying my most recent fully edited and self-published novel.  It's good and takes place in the same story universe as FROM SPACE--just way in the futrure.  In the meantime, if you want to make it easier for me to write, support me on Patreon! Just go here: patreon.com/petenicholls. Don't want to commit to Patreon?  Then buy me a cup of coffee!  Or hay, like I said, just let me know that you like my stuff.  That means so much, too. Find me on TwitterIG, or FB.

or read the latest words below this line:

"How do you know that..? How do you even know my mom HAS a storage shed?"

"I'm kind of a detective.  I do lots of research and I came across, I think it's called a paper trail?" Sarah nodded and I went on. "Of unusual technology sightings and was able to find records of your mom renting one of the sheds that closed circuit TV video showed a bunch of personal Earth belongings and some stuff not of this Earth, too."

"I don't remember either of them ever mentioning a storage unit."

"It's how I found you."

"What do you mean?" Sarah asked.

"I found an old diary in the shed with your name and address in it."

"For this apartment? How?  I didn't live here before they died."

"I... don't know," I said, honestly pretty surprised.

"And wait--you said you found it INSIDE the storage unit?"

"Is that what you call it?  A unit?"

"Yes.  But don't dodge the question, Wise.  Were you inside of my mom's secret storage unit?"

"Um, yes, yes I was."  Sarah seemed quietly angry all of the sudden.  I found myself worried that I had some how offended her sensibilities. This was confirmed by the next words she spoke:

"You violated her privacy and you broke the law."

"Well, yes on two but no on one. I am not sure how you can violate the privacy of a dead person."

"It's about respecting their wishes after they died."

"Do you really think you'd be better off not knowing you're an alien--" I realized the moment I said 'alien' that it was mistake.  She clearly wasn't ready to fully accept that part of herself. Her face looked like I'd just punched her in it.  She looked stunned.  Sick.  

"Sorry, but that's the word.  You're from space.  Not from Earth."

She nodded silently, clearly still shaken.

I had the urge to give her a hug, but I didn't know where that urge was really coming from.  An honest interest in making her feel better or... or something else.  I wasn't used to feeling like giving anyone a hug, but then, I wasn't used to changing people's lives simply by talking to them.  Well, that's not true.  I was once told that doing that "was my jam."

"Look, I have a few days until I have to leave.  I can help you if you have no one else."

"Who else would I have?" she said, her voice trembling slightly.

"I... I don't know. You're sure you don't have any aunts or uncles?  Maybe a friend of your parents who may have also been an al--a friend of your parents... from space?"

She sighed and shook her head.  "Maybe. It's been several years.  I know they had friends but I was a kid.  I thought their friends were nerds.  I thought THEY were nerds."

"Let's see what we can find in that shed--er--unit together.  I don't want to violate your mom's privacy.  I just want to help you."


"Well, right now, you had better call what ever restaurant you ordered delivery from and complain because it hasn't gotten here yet.  Also, the storage facility is closed this time of night.  What are you doing tomorrow?"

"Work. Well, I can call out."

"OK, when you wake up call me."  I handed her my card.  She looked at it and then at me.  "Did you have that up your sleeve? It looked like you pulled it from nowhere."
I smiled.  The former is more accurate."

Sunday, September 16, 2018

FROM SPACE 1st Draft for 9/15/18: Everything is Relative, Especially with Your Parents

or read the latest words below this line:

"Everything else they gave you was familiar--probably stuff from Earth, right?"

"Uh, yeah."

"Make sense. Well, I wonder what your mother wanted with this thing."

"Obviously I don't know--especially if it's some sort of space thing."

"So, you believe me now?"

"Maybe." She stared at me long enough for me to start to feel self-conscious. He smiled at her awkwardly and she shook her head. "Sorry, it's just that, you look like you look human enough.  Are you from out there somewhere?"

"Well, every being on Earth is from 'out there somewhere' from the point of view of most of the universe's sovereign beings."

"I know, I know. Everything is rel...a...tive..."


"Everything is relative--my mom used to say that a lot."

"It's true, really. Doubly so in space."

"She always seemed to be so patient.  I'd be angry at some kids in school and then she'd tell me that I needed to look at it from their perspective--to better understand why they thought it was OK to pick on me or to mock me."

"Did that help?"

"Sometimes, yeah."

"What about your dad? What was he like?"

"Busy.  Always out of town.  Leaving my mom and I while he was off doing business."

"What kind?"

"Mom never told me. I asked but she just said he did important work for a very big corporation that I'd never heard of."

"Never heard of? What was it called?"

"I don't know--she said I'd never heard of it, so what good would it be to know the name?"

"That seems odd," I said.

"It does, doesn't it?"

"Want to know what else is odd?"


"This space carburetor. What were your parents doing with it?"

"Well, what will YOU do with it?"

"It's a somewhat long story, but I'm going to use it to build a device."

"A device that will do what?"

"Give me my freedom back."

"Your freedom? What the heck does that mean?" She had a good question.

"Honestly, I'm not sure anymore.  I started this list quest so long ago, I have trouble remembering, myself--both literally the me, and my memories before I took this on.  What I'm worried about is that this component is actually important and useful to you in some way that maybe you are unaware of. I don't want to take it if that's the case."

"That's really nice of you, but I have no idea what that thing is or does."

"Well, your mom left it to you for a reason."

"Or maybe she just put it in that shoebox and forgot about it.  It's not like she and dad had prepared for their death."

"I think this item is far too functional to not be of some value to them and to you." 

"Well, there is literally nothing else I have of theirs that is even remotely related to that thing. So, I have no idea how I'd even establish that it was important."

"There was a bunch of stuff in that storage shed," I said.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

FROM SPACE 1st Draft Update for 9/14/18: What kind of person CHOOSES to live on Earth?

or read the latest words below this line:

"I don't know why I want to believe you."

"I'm surprised you are, honestly.  Most people from this planet are either stupid or cynical beyond measure.  It's why only a certain kind of being willingly comes here."

"What do you mean?" 

"Your planet is a tiny little piece of wet rock in the middle of nowhere.  You know, there's a spacelane that has a scenic waypoint that is one of the most stunning views in all of the galaxy."

"OK... and?"

"In your language it would be called the Hermosa Vista De La Galaxia."

"Yeah, that's Spanish, actually," she said.  "I speak English."

"Ah, yeah, sorry, must have had my translator app set to the wrong language when I looked that up."  I slid my finger around the ring tattoo on my palm and found the memory in English.  "Beautiful View of the Galaxy.  Hm. I think it sounds nicer in Spanish.  Anyway, so, if you focus in one on of the most inconsequential corners of this view with your megagoggles, you'll see a tiny little blue--"

"Oh yeah, the pale blue dot."

"You've seen it?"


"In person?!"

"No!  It's in a space documentary I saw once."

"Oh, well, that's how small and inconsequential this planet is. A trillion beings over a billion years took snaps of that view and never noticed this little planet here, teeming with lifeforms mostly in only survival, but one species interested in power and oppression of all others."

"You're talking about Earth men, right?"

"I suppose I am."

"Oh, what am I doing?!? You're crazy, you know that?"

"Am I crazy? Then why are you oozing green?" I pointed at some around her left eye.  She self-consciously dabbed at it with her finger and then pulled out one of those tissue things and dabbed it away.

"This doesn't--this--your explanation does not have to be the only explanation!"

"What do you mean?"

"Just because I ooze this goo, doesn't mean that the first explanation I hear, which happens to come from a kind of goofy woman who just randomly showed up at my apartment one night for a weird gizmo, doesn't mean that said first explanation has to be right!"

"Well, let's take this gizmo.  Any idea what it is?" I held it out to her.  She shook her head. "Take a guess."

"You said it was a space carburetor."

"No, I said it was LIKE a carburetor."

"I don't... even know what a carburetor is."

"How did you know what to hand me?"

"I didn't. It was the only thing my mother left me.  And hey, how did you find me here?"

"Your mother has a storage shed outside of town.  She paid for it waaaaay in advance."

"She what?"

"It's full of a bunch of old stuff.  You might want to claim it if you don't have much else from her."

"I have almost nothing. That space carburetor is the only thing she or dad left me that I couldn't figure out."

Friday, September 14, 2018

FROM SPACE 1st Draft Update for 9/13/18: Wise breaks out the details on what is about to happen to Sarah.

Just a quick reminder: writing is pretty hard work!  You can encourage me with YOUR words by finding me on TwitterIG, or FB and letting me know what you think of my words.  You can also help by heading over to manfromzero.com and buying my most recent fully edited and self-published novel.  It's good and takes place in the same story universe as FROM SPACE--just way in the futrure.  In the meantime, if you want to make it easier for me to write, support me on Patreon! Just go here: patreon.com/petenicholls. Don't want to commit to Patreon?  Then buy me a cup of coffee!  Or hay, like I said, just let me know that you like my stuff.  That means so much, too. Find me on TwitterIG, or FB.

or read the latest words below this line:

She just laughed at me. I was a little surprised but it only took me a moment to realize that this was Earth in it's twenty-first century. I'd been there before, but it had been a long time before and forgot how little they knew of the universe beyond their atmosphere.

"I don't know why I would lie to you, Ms. Church.  I just wanted to return the favor you paid me by giving me that item.  You don't have to repay me by laughing in my face." I stood up and started walking toward the door.  "Good luck transitioning to adulthood on your own!"

"Wait, what?" she said, suddenly sounding like she was about to miss out on important information. I stopped walking.

"The green film. It's a lubricant for a metamorphosis."

"You said I was becoming an adult?"

I turned around to face her. "Yes, you are--an adult elucidite."

"But that makes no sense--I'm in my late twenties.  I've been an adult for eight years."

"But you're not human. Elucidites live longer but take longer to mature.  You're parents really should have told you all of this.  Were they stricken with amnesia or some other memory-robbing Earth disorder?  Altimeters, maybe?"

"I think you mean Alzheimer's."

"Oh, right.  So it is."

"No, they were in a car accident."

"So, that's how they lost their memory?"

"No!  That's how they died."

"Oh.  I'm sorry."

She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.  I sat down on a chair next to the couch.  "How old were you when it happened.  In Earth years?"

"Eighteen.  Just about to go to college."

"College?" I said, in a tone of voice that betrayed my ignorance more than I had meant it to.  I ran my finger over the triangle and circle tattoo on my left palm that worked the Conveniencer nano-device incorporated into the body I was using to quickly remind myself that college was a form of school--attended as a final training for life on Earth as a human adult.  "Ah yes, your preparation school for life."

"Uh, sure..."

It sounded like I'd still gotten the definition wrong.  I quickly brushed past it. "So, you don't have any other family members here?"

"No, I don't.  I only got to go to college because my parents had life insurance and I was the only beneficiary.  I was lucky like that."

"But no one who can help you."

"Help me?"

"Yes, with your transition.  In two or three spins of your home world, Elucidea Prime, you will begin to really ooze that green stuff all over yourself.  You'll grow a cocoon around you and, in a couple more Elucidean spins past that, you'll come out a literal new person."

She stared off at the wall with a look on her face that told me she was horrified.

"Don't worry, Ms. Church--you'll still be you.  Your memories intact, your body will look nearly the same."

"Nearly the same?"

I tried to remember what the changes were when an Elucidean adults for the first time.  I had to resort to the Conveniencer again.  I ran my finger over the ring on my left palm and felt the menu knowledge write to my short term memory.  I erased everything in the list but Eluciditian biological processes and then tapped the triangle inside the ring and felt the memories write. 

"Ah yes, your eyes will brighten, literally changing color, usually to a brighter color.  And you will grow a tail."

"A tail?!"

"Oops, sorry. You're a female.  No tail for adult Eluciditian females."

I really needed to finish reading before opening my mouth.

"How long is a... Elucidean spin?"

"Oh, it's about one and a quarter Earth days, roughly."

"So, you're saying that in two-and-a-half days I'll start oozing myself a cocoon, and another day or two I'll come out of it a new person?"


"That's nuts, lady," she said.  I shrugged.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

FROM SPACE 1st Draft Update for 9/12/18: Wise Breaks the News to Sarah

or read the latest words below this line:

“Do you know what that is?” She asked me. 

I smiled, causing the corners of her lips to curl up every so slightly, along with her eyes. That’s when I noticed the green around her eyes again.

“Do you know what that green around your eyes is?” 

Her vague smile vanished, replaced by an awkward, embarrassed look. She closed the door leaving me alone. I looked at the device she’d handed me and smiled. One more tick off my list! 

Then something struck me. I knocked on the door. 

“Hey Miss Church, you gave me what I needed, why don’t you let me give you want you need.”

She did not respond, so I tried again. “That green stuff—you’ve been finding it on you for a day or two, right? A thin film of goo...”


“I can tell you what it is.”

Long Earth-pause...

“What is it?” she said from behind the door.

I had to remember to pick the best words in her language. 

“It’s a lubricant for metamorphosis. You’re changing. Did your parents not teach you about this?”

“WHAT are you talking about?!?”  She sounded upset.

“Are you an Earth orphan? Did your parents die—?”

Her door opened, revealing her perplexed face. 

“How did you—“ she paused, looking me up and down.

“You can trust me. You gave me the carburetor. Let me give you information it looks like you need.”

Moments later we were sitting on her couch.

“What is this stuff?” She said wiping the green from her eyes.”

“So, gosh, this is going to be... I’ll just tell you—you’re not from here.”

“I know that. I’m from New Jersey.”

“No, you’re from some place farther away than that,” I said, knowing only vaguely where New Jersey was.

“Really. So, where am I from?”

“From space.”

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

FROM SPACE 1st Draft Update for 9/11/18: The Food Doesn't Arrive

or read the latest words below this line:

She woke up again when I rang her doorbell. I wondered if her apartment was bigger than the building it was in let on because it took her much longer to get to the door than I expected. She answered the door and wearing a big robe and a towel around her head. The edges of the towel were green in spots and I could see green smudges underneath her eyes. 

“Oh. You’re not my food.” She seemed very disappointed.

“I’m sorry, does your food usually deliver itself to you?” I asked.

“What? Who are you if you don’t have my delivery order?” 

"My name is Wise and I think you have something I need.”

“Um, are you trying to pick me up? First off, I’m not a lesbian and I’m not about to let some strange woman into my apartment.”

“Am I that strange? I’m really trying to not be strange. I’m also not hu—”

“What do you want?!?” She interrupted me.

“I think you have something I need—I’ve been tracking down a list of things and one of the items on my list is a metal object, well, it’s a device really, that sort of looks like a part to one of your Earth c—it looks like a small carburetor.”

“Did you just say ‘Earth car’?”

No, I said carburetor.”

She stared at me for a moment and then sighed. “I... stay here.”

She closed the door and I waited a few Earth min—a few minutes, until she returned to the door and opened it. She held an item out toward me. It was the device in question. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

New Project! FROM SPACE! Read the first words of the 1st Draft!

Over the weekend, I finished the first draft of FIRE ESCAPE.  It was a great feeling to get there despite knowing that the structure needs a lot of work and the pacing feels a lot like my last novel MAN FROM ZERO.  I feel like there is a tighter story in FIRE ESCAPE and it's just a matter of me finding "the sculpture in the marble" as Michaelangelo would say.  I've been working on the premise for FIRE ESCAPE for over a decade so a little more work is not going to bother me.  That said, my goal this year was to write something for every day of the year, but just because I finished the story, doesn't mean I get to take the rest of the year off!

This is where FROM SPACE comes in.  It's a story that involves a character whom we first met in the first draft of FIRE ESCAPE but focuses on a young woman who is not from around here...

So, here are the first two days of words for FROM SPACE (or grab the PDF here):

20180909 Sun

The morning in question was like any other for Sarah. She woke up, went to her temp gig as a perpetual office assistant. The gig was originally supposed to be six weeks but it turned into six months. It was practically a normal job except for health insurance. Which was not a big deal since she pretty much hadn’t been sick in a long time. She had turned thirty a few years ago but did not care since she looked like she’d barely turned twenty-one. So the income was nice.

I came to meet Sara Church when the search for my one if my list items led me to her parent’s home. The night before I visited her, she had an experience that would change her life and I’m afraid meeting me did the same thing again.

The night before was like any other night where she invited her boyfriend to spend the night, for the most part.  The difference came in the morning when she woke to find herself alone and covered in a thin green film.

It wasn’t totally disgusting—it wasn’t a gross slime she was drenched in like you might find in one of your Earth movies. It was was just a thin film with think blobs in certain areas. She would later tell me it reminded her of a spider web. It was still gross, she told me, but my commentary is that it wasn’t as bad as what some beings have to go through.

But before all that, she had gotten out of bed, showered off all of the green webbing and left the green tinted sheets for when she got home from work.

The day would continue like any other. Again, for the most part.

She called her boyfriend but got his voicemail. She left a message and then texted him. After each action, she heard nothing back from him. She wasn’t so much worried as she was puzzled. Sarah always had her own way of doing things and found that it would often put off the men she would date.

In a meeting with all the departments at the tech startup she worked at, she was bored and absentmindedly fiddly with her fingers. After several Earth minutes, she noticed a strange green substance oozing from her left index finger’s nail.

20180910 Mon

A sour look crossed her face. She instinctively wiped it on the chair she sat on, turned her focus back to the meeting. From that point on, she was able to forget all about the green stuff and didn’t think about it again until after the meeting ended and she was back at her cubical sitting, staring at her computer screen. She wasn’t sure how long she sat there before she felt herself start to cry. Not full-on sobbing but just slight tears and soft sounds like she was clearing her throat. She grabbed one of those tissue-things Earth people keep in boxes on their desk and wiped her face with it. As she pulled it away and looked at it, she could see it was smeared with green.

She used her phone’s camera to see herself and make sure she wiped the rest of the green tears from her face.  Moments later she stood over the assistant to her boss as he sat at his desk.

“Hey, Chad, I’m not feeling so well. I’m going to work the rest of the day from home.”

“Ok. We’ll let you know if you need anything and you do the same—in fact, you’ve got some green on you—didn’t know that was you’re color!”

“Me neither. Thanks, Chad!”

She self consciously wiped her face as she headed out.

She thought about calling her boyfriend again but decided he would get back to her when he wanted to. Of course, after getting home to her apartment, she didn’t feel very well so she just took a nap.

At some point she had woken up, ordered food to be delivered and fell back asleep.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

FIRE ESCAPE First Draft Update for 9/8/18: The End (No, seriously, the first draft is done!)


Amazingly, the final words in the first draft of FIRE ESCAPE follow below.  Please let me know what you think!  Now is when I need feedback.  Reach out to me on TwitterIG, or FB. Or visit pete.ink and use the form there to connect with me.

Just a quick reminder: you can still support me if you like!  Head over to manfromzero.com and buy my most recent fully edited and self-published novel.  It's good and takes place in the same story universe as Fire Escape--just way in the futrure.  In the meantime, if you want to make it easier for me to write, why not support me on Patreon? Just go here: patreon.com/petenicholls. Don't want to commit to Patreon?  Then buy me a cup of coffee!  Or hay, just let me know that you like my stuff.  That means so much, too. Find me on TwitterIG, or FB.



Or, read the final words below this line:

"YOU CAN'T SEE THAT?" I said, once again pointing to the dimension-eating monster behind me.

She paused for a moment, seeming to realize something was wrong.

"Is something wrong?  Are you in danger?"

It was like that moment when you go to the doctor and they ask "How are you?" and you're like "I'M HERE, AREN'T I?"

"YES!!" I yelled pointing behind me again, adding: "AND YOU'RE IN DANGER, TOO!"

"What's that?"

I pointed directly at her.  "You are in danger, too!!"

"Um, what?"  She went silent for a moment but her lips were still moving.  I started shaking my head gesturing to my ears.

"Dr, Ellsworth, I can't hear you!"  That was when it hit me--maybe this is where she dies--disappearing in an alternate dimension that collapsed on us.  I knew I could not let that happen.  I moved to hold her hands.  As I reached for them, my hands passed through her's with some strange static-electricity-like energy passing through both of us.  I backed away from her as she looked surprised.

I still couldn't hear her as she tried to speak.

I was about to morph again and start trashing things when suddenly, I could hear her again.

"I told you, we're phasically out of sync.  I'm not really here.  That's why I'm having trouble understanding you.  Not all of the sound vibrations you are making reach my dimension."

"Sound isn't.  What about light?"  I had literally just though about how Kate might approach this problem.  Ellsworth eyed me for a moment.  I pointed to my mouth and spoke. "Read my lips!"

She smiled and nodded.

"So, we're seeing into each other's dimensions but are not able to interact," I said. She nodded and spoke very loudly, not understanding that I could hear her just fine.  "The fabric between the dimensions is allowing us to see but not interact!  Yes."

"I can hear you, no need to yell."

"OH.  Oh.  Sorry!"

I realized I had to explain everything quickly and in a way she could easily read my lips.

"This dimension is collapsing."

Her face went pale.  Her brow furrowed.

"There is a big, uh, I don't know, anomaly, that is surrounding this town and is slowly compressing it into nothing."

She looked horrified.

"Dr. Ellsworth: do you know how to stop something like this?"

She looked genuinely distraught and shook her head.

I threw my hands up.

"I'm sorry!  I barely got to this point!" She was yelling again.

I smiled and shrugged.

"Then there is nothing to be done," I said smiling.

"I'm so sorry."

"It's OK."

"Is it me? Is it my trimensional breacher that is doing this?"

"I don't think so.  Maybe?  This dimension has been slowly collapsing for a very long time and only recently got this fast."

"The anomaly, what does it look like?"

I smiled and took a moment to think of how to describe it.  "A monster."

"With claws and teeth?"

I shook my head.  "Imagine the laws of physics turned against themselves."
She looked horrified.

"You should go," I said, looking back at the monster as it was now a hundred feet away.  "You don't need to see this.  In fact, you won't be able to see this."


"This dimension will collapse and everything will cease to exist.  Since you can't see the anomaly,
it'll just look like the buildings and roads and me fading out, I'd guess."

"I don't want to go.  I want to learn.  Why is your dimension collapsing?"

"It's not mine.  I'm just a tourist, like you."


"Yep.  The work you do--well, I can't tell you how important it is but I can tell you that my big sister is a huge fan of yours."

"What's her name?"

"That doesn't matter--just know that you and your work does matter."

Tears started to fall from here eyes as I could feel the pull of the maelstrom.  It had gotten stronger.  It was like a cascade effect.  It was pulling me away from Ellsworth.  I tried to fight it, but it was so much stronger than before.  Then I remembered--to change.  "Memories."

But it wasn't enough.

Suddenly, Ellsworth, what was left of Isaac Newtown, the sky, the air, the everything was gone.  It was just me.  My change had kept me alive--strong enough to weather the collapse of a dimension--pretty bad ass.  But now what?  Certainly, my biological functions eventually require sustenance.  I don't know how long it was before I decided what to do next.

What did I decide to next?



FROM SPACE 1st Draft Update for 9/17/18: Where Wise's Nights are Spent May Surprise You

Get the most recent full draft   or read the latest words below this line: So, I left her to eat and sleep and went back to the sh...