Point Zero – Chapter 1


Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 4.5 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 1: Changes, Walking, and Helicopters of Death.

Other than the searing pain and the green fire, the thing that is most etched into my memory is the smell of burnt hair. While my hair had been getting shaggy, for me, it had been completely burned away. That stench still makes me wretch any time I smell it.

The five of us were alone on a plane of emerald glass and four of us were moaning in pain. All of us had burn marks on parts of our bodies, but they looked months old. 

“Frank… Oh shit Frank’s not breathing.” James bent over Frank’s now scarred face and tried to do mouth to mouth and chest compressions. We all reached for our phones to discover there was nothing there. After what felt like much too long, he stopped. 

Gasping for air, James asked, “Why is it so hard to breathe?” He reached up to his neck and felt under the corners of his hoodie. It had two otters on it and said, Otterly Adorable; Mel had given it to him. He said a few curse words before adding, “I have gills. How did I get gills?”

“Where are we?” Jane asked, either oblivious to James’s panic or ignoring it. 

I felt the green glass we stood on and looked around. It stretched for almost as far as the eye could see. Far at a distance I saw trees. “I think I see forest over that way.”

“I have webs between my fingers!” James started to hyperventilate. Mel grabbed his hand and tried to calm him by helping him breathe. It wasn’t working. “I couldn’t save him… He’s already cold…” James was gasping for air and crying at the same time.

“It’s not your fault James. Don’t feel Gill-ty,” Mel punned, but had the good taste to cringe. Everyone stopped what they were doing and we just stared at her. She sheepishly said, “Sorry.” We all burst into manic laughter.

When we were done, James was softly sobbing. Mel and I picked up Frank’s body and we started walking towards the trees. 

After the burning feeling, the cold was almost a relief until it became too much. My head was the first part to get cold and I looked at my friends, “Why am I the only one who doesn’t have hair?”

“Hey, at least you don’t have gills. Wait, maybe I’ll actually be able to breathe underwater.” James started to sound excited instead of upset.

We were all dressed for September in Northern Ontario, but the weather was closer to winter now and our long sleeves and hoodies weren’t cutting it. We were all shivering and the sun was hiding from us behind clouds.

“Man, I wish the sun would could out of those clouds. I could at least pretend to be warm,” I said. Trying to be funny was Mel’s thing, but I need to talk.

The others stopped and looked at me funny, Jane tilted her head and said, “It’s the middle of the night? We can barely see each other. The only reason we’re going this way is ‘cause you said you saw trees.” The rest of them nodded in agreement and I looked up. The bright spot behind the clouds wasn’t the sun but the moon.

“I can see clearly all the way past the glass. What the hell happened to us?”

We moved slowly towards the forest and just as we were giving up hope of ever feeling warm again, we were blinded by a bright light and the loud noises of helicopters. Someone over a loud speaker yelled, “This is the RCMP please lay down flat on the floor and don’t make any sudden moves.” We all swore, some of us in surprise and others in fear. Mel’s dad was native and both of them had been harassed by the cops more then they should. RCMP were always called in during a protest to protect land or anything else to do with the local Reserves. We had all been arrested for loitering in a provincial park once while camping; that wasn’t fun.

We started to move but I guess we hadn’t moved fast enough, ’cause I heard gunfire. I was looking at Jane and she turned bright white before completely disappearing. I threw up my arms and bright green lightning formed a dome around us that the bullets just bounced off of.

“How are you doing that?” asked James who was starting to hyperventilate again. “We have to get out of here.”

Whatever I was doing to create the protective dome felt like running at top speed. I tried to breathe like they’d taught us in gym class, not that I paid much attention, but I tried. Unfortunately, the effort was too much and I fell down gasping. “Sorry.”

“We’re not dead, you did great.” Mel put her hand on my shoulder. She was looking fuzzy like a chalk drawing. I assumed I was about to pass out.

“Lay down on the ground and no one gets hurt,” the loudspeakers shouted at us.

A small flash of light appeared beside us and Jane grabbed our hands. “This is going to hurt. Sorry.”

Bright white light and searing pain blocked everything out for me. When it was over I felt like every nerve had been poked with a very sharp stick.

I looked around at the dusty old furniture and asked, “Where are we?” 

Read Next Chapter (February 2020)


While you wait for the next chapter, check out previous serial stories:

Serial Story 2020 – Point Zero

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

You voted and were quite clear on what story should become this year’s serial story.

This year’s serial story will be Point Zero!

Point Zero

Setting: Our world after an alien attack that destroys several small towns before the aliens disappear.
Genre: Disaster, Post Apocalyptic, Super Hero

Follow Sam as they and their four best friends must deal with an alien attack that leaves the world irrevocably changed and the superpowers that it’s given them.

Every generation has a disaster that is etched into their memories. My grandparents had JFK, my parents had 9/11, and we had first contact.

It was a cool August night in my childhood hometown. It had a name at the time, something nature related that no one cares about; now it’s called Point Zero. It was a small town barely numbering in the four digits. I sat on the duck in the grade school playground, it sprung back and forwards every time I took a drink from the bottle of vodka in my hand.

Go Read the Rest of Point Zero

What is a Serial Story?

A serial story is a story that I write every month. I don’t plan ahead, I don’t have any idea how it’s going to end.

If I miss a month, you are rewarded with a bonus chapter. Yay!

It’s that simple.


I’ll have have Chapter 1 ready some time this month.

Thanks for voting and reading,

Éric

While you wait for the next chapter, check out previous serial stories:

Serial Story 2020 – FINAL FIGHT

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

That was a close vote. I’m extremely surprised by the outcome.

You have until Sunday the 12th at midnight to vote.

Final Vote

Serial Story 2020 - Final Battle

  • Point Zero (90%, 9 Votes)
  • Sailing the Rubble of Galaxies (10%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 10

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Point Zero

Setting: Our world after an alien attack that destroys several small towns before the aliens disappear.
Genre: Disaster, Post Apocalyptic, Super Hero

Follow Sam as they and their four best friends must deal with an alien attack that leaves the world irrevocably changed and the superpowers that it’s given them.

Every generation has a disaster that is etched into their memories. My grandparents had JFK, my parents had 9/11, and we had first contact.

It was a cool August night in my childhood hometown. It had a name at the time, something nature related that no cares about; now it’s called Point Zero. It was a small town barely numbering in the four digits. I sat on the duck in the grade school playground, it sprung back and forwards every time I took a drink from the bottle of vodka in my hand.

Read More

Sailing the Rubble of Galaxies

Setting: 2000 years in our future. The empires of New Mars and Ares fight for dominance while Earth is thought of as a myth.
Genre: Science Fiction, Epic, Space Opera, Arthurian Myth

Follow former commander Nessa Muldune and the crew of the Camlann as they try and stop an unstoppable enemy and survive on their own against all odds.

“Nice of them to design these cells with portholes,” admired former security commander, Nessa Muldune. It seemed like a strange waste of outer hull but she appreciated being able to see the stars.

“Shut up traitor,” sneered her jailer. Lieutenant Alfred’s disdain was a relief after the months of him awkwardly hitting on her. “We’ll be at New Mars soon and you’ll get what’s coming to you.”

Read more

Thank you for your help and hopefully the more wanted story wins.

Éric

New Year, New Schedule

We’ll be changing things up on the JenEric Designs blog for 2020, starting next week.

Monday/Friday will be Éric’s blog time.

Tuesday/Thursday will be Travelling TARDIS pictures (Paris/Cosplay continuing).

Wednesday will be something special that we’ll announce later. I will still occasionally post Fandom Travel and Blush posts, but not on a consistent schedule.

Happy New Year from our family to yours! I hope 2020 is the best year yet!

Éric’s 2020 New Years Resolutions

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

2019 was a big year for me and my family. Our son was born, both me and my wife were nominated for Aurora Awards, Everdome was released, and many other great things happened.

It’s hard to live up to or plan after such a good year, but I have to, so here are my resolutions.

Garfield from December 29th, 2017

Writing

1. Finish Writing The Dancing Lights

I’m a third of the way through the book and I really need to finish it and submit it this year if I want a chance at a 2022 slot for the book.

2. Finish Writing Paragenesis

I’m mid way through Chapter 11 of 15 and that means I have less than 15000 words to finish the story. I’d like to get this one done and sent to betas.

3. Write a Monthly Serial Story

I’ve managed it every year I’ve tried and it’s something I really enjoy doing.

Go vote on what I’ll write this year.

JenEric Designs and Coffee

4. Ensure there’s content 5 days a week on JenEric Designs

We’ve missed this once in six years and I don’t want to miss it again.

5. Design and Produce 2 new coffee flavours

I have already tested and have 4-6 flavours ready. I just need names and designs.

6. Print, Package, and Sell Oneshot – The Simplest RPG

I just need to figure out how to put it all together and sell it.

Editing and Marketing

7. Finish Playtesting the higher levels of Fadds

I’ve done a lot of work on this system over the past 10 years and it’s close to done I need to playtest the higher levels and then I can start some cleanup of the wording and other basic editing.

8. Figure out how to market my books better

Renaissance Press is a fantastic publisher but, as with any other publisher, a lot of work still needs to be done by the author. I need to figure out how to get my books into the hands of people who will enjoy them.

Personal

9. Read 20 books

Last year I barely made this goal so I’m hoping I can surpass it this time.

10. Don’t Burnout

Two years ago I burned-out pretty bad. I was just doing too much. After being on parental leave for 9 months, going back to work is going to be hard. I have to be careful not to fall into over-doing it again.

11. Be More Patient 

I love my family, kids, and friends but sometimes I just want to scream at them… unfortunately I sometimes do.

I’m working on it. Let’s hope I can continue to improve.

12. Play Some Video games with Dragon

I really enjoy playing with her and I think she does too. It’s a great stress relief.

13. Play Some Board Games with Dragon

She’s still young, but I think she can figure out some of the simpler games we have. We’ll try it out and see.

Hopefully I can succeed and survive this year.

Good 2020 to everyone!

Éric

Serial Story 2020 – Part 2

Hello Imaginary Friends,

Last vote was pretty definitive. Let’s see who wins this next round. You have until New Year’s Day.

Serial Story VS Word of the Day

Serial Story 2020 - Serial Story VS Word of the day

  • Point Zero (55%, 6 Votes)
  • Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station (45%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 11

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Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station

Space Mystery, YA, Adventure

Hokulua Station is the newest in generational exploration and protection space stations. Brand new and not quite working right.

Seren’s dad is the head or engineering for the new station and in charge of getting all the bugs worked out before the rest of the colonists arrive. That leaves her with plenty of time to explore. Something isn’t quite right though, weird noise, things going missing, and power drains that no one can explain.

Seren and her best friend Jan are going to do their best to figure out what is going on before someone gets hurt.

Point Zero

Disaster, Post Apocalyptic, Super Hero

Every generation has a disaster that is etched into their memories. My grandparents had JFK, my parents had 9/11, and we had first contact.

Short Stories VS Series

Serial Story 2020 - Short Stories VS Series Bracket

  • Sailing the Rubble of Galaxies (55%, 6 Votes)
  • The Tree of Worlds (45%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 11

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Sailing the Rubble of Galaxies

Science Fiction, Epic, Space Opera

“Nice of them to design these cells with portholes,” admired former security commander, Nessa Muldune. It seemed like a strange waste of outer hull but she appreciated being able to see the stars.

The Tree of Worlds

Epic Fantasy, Steampunk

The Tree of the Worlds connects all the realms with it’s branches but there is a wyrm burrowing through trying to conquer or destroy. These are the stories of those that resist the Empire of the Wyrm.

Includes: Little DaggerCiamon of ChymarThe Ruby Child, and Battlemage Taika.


Enjoy Voting and thank you for your help,

Éric

Serial Story 2020

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

For this coming years serial story, I see it as a chance to revisit old stories that are begging for continuation, sequels, or spin-offs. We’re going to do this bracket style and see what happens.

There are 4 categories; Serial Stories, Word of the Day Stories, Short Stories, and Series. Only one of each will move on to the next round.

Click on the title to check out the story. Voting on the first Brackets closes on 19th of December.

Serial story

Serial Story 2020 - Serial Story Bracket

  • Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station (67%, 4 Votes)
  • Only Human (33%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Only Human

Urban Fantasy, Supernatural, Romance

The story of an ordinary-ish human, who enrols in Monster University to find her sister’s killer but finds love instead.

Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station

Space Mystery, YA, Adventure

Hokulua Station is the newest in generational exploration and protection space stations. Brand new and not quite working right.

Seren’s dad is the head or engineering for the new station and in charge of getting all the bugs worked out before the rest of the colonists arrive. That leaves her with plenty of time to explore. Something isn’t quite right though, weird noise, things going missing, and power drains that no one can explain.

Seren and her best friend Jan are going to do their best to figure out what is going on before someone gets hurt.

Word of the Day

Serial Story 2020 - Word of the Day Bracket

  • Point Zero (67%, 4 Votes)
  • Blue Victory VS Doctor D.U.M.B. (33%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Point Zero

Disaster, Post Apocalyptic, Super Hero

Every generation has a disaster that is etched into their memories. My grandparents had JFK, my parents had 9/11, and we had first contact.

Blue Victory VS Doctor D.U.M.B.

Superhero, Comedy, Romance

“You have besmirched my good name!” The man in a long purple lab coat bellowed as he took a step closer to the edge of the building.

“What name is that?” I asked, trying to sound calm. I had no idea who this person was or why he’d taken my date hostage.

Short Stories

Serial Story 2020 - Short Story Bracket

  • Sailing the Rubble of Galaxies (80%, 4 Votes)
  • The Cosmic Cuckoos (20%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 5

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Sailing the Rubble of Galaxies

Science Fiction, Epic, Space Opera

“Nice of them to design these cells with portholes,” admired former security commander, Nessa Muldune. It seemed like a strange waste of outer hull but she appreciated being able to see the stars.

The Cosmic Cuckoos

Mystery, Science Fiction, YA

While some children dreamt of candy, school, or some other mundane things; Helen dreamt of the stars. Not literally the large balls of gas, but of everything that was and could be between them. She’d curl up, with a blanket, on her parents’ balcony and stare up wondering what was waiting for her up there.

Series

Serial Story 2020 - Series Bracket

  • The Tree of Worlds (60%, 3 Votes)
  • Sun Speaker (40%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 5

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Sun Speaker

Space Opera, Adventure

In the distant future humanity has spread to the other planets in our solar system. These stories follow Hal (a prophet for a godlike entity that lives in the sun), and his friends, as they try to make the solar system a better place.

Includes: Hal The Sun Speaker, The Assassin, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral, Gladiators in SPACE!, and Ghost Ship Robinson

The Tree of Worlds

Epic Fantasy, Steampunk

The Tree of the Worlds connects all the realms with it’s branches but there is a wyrm burrowing through trying to conquer or destroy. These are the stories of those that resist the Empire of the Wyrm.

Includes: Little Dagger, Ciamon of Chymar, The Ruby Child, and Battlemage Taika.


Good reading and Voting.

Thank you for your help,

Éric

Disney World 2020

Disney World packages will be available to book as of June 18, 2019! This is for bookings from January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020.

Image from yourfirstvisit.net. Please go check out the link. It’s a pretty great assessment of the parks for the next few years.

Have an urge to go to Disney World for Christmas 2020? Book early and save with early booking bonuses.

We’re hoping to go at the end of January 2020, when the crowds are quieter. We’ll have to wait and see what the deals are for Canadians – we’re hoping for free meal plan again. 😀

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca