I'm working on a Novel, the working title being "The Child on the Playground"
The genre might be classified as "paranormal fiction." It follows a troubled individual who has mystic abilities, but is frustrated that he can't use his psychic power to help himself.
Underlying this plot-line, the work explores a number of themes, including spirituality, relationships, and humanity's interconnectedness.
The following are two excerpts from the aforementioned book. The first is from the beginning. The second, is from the third chapter.
~ driving south ~
Through the windshield of a grey economy-size rental car, Daniel fixated on stark white clouds. They looked surreal, as if painted onto a giant canvas over the horizon. He was driving toward South Florida, on Interstate 95, the main East-coast interstate highway, which followed the Atlantic coastline. The landscape was virtually unchanging, with similar patches of scrub oaks, Florida pines, open pasture land, and cypress swamps, over and over again. He could have been going in circles and never known the difference, except that the scarcely bending road left little doubt of its direct course. This fact, along with the dull hum of tires rolling on pavement lulled him into a trance-like state. In this moment, he forgot where he was going, where he was, and even who he was.
Startled by the sharp ring of a cell phone, Daniel jumped in his seat a bit. He reached into a small dashboard compartment, fumbling to pick the device up while remaining focused on the road. Palming the small flip-phone, he used his thumb to pry it open, and managed to glimpse the small screen showing it was his cousin John.
“John! Hellos to you.”
“Dan! What’s goin’ on? Knew-it-was me, eh? Guess nowadays everyone knows who’s calling who.”
“Technology, my friend. It’s almost the year 2000! Pretty soon we’ll have devices that tell us the future.”
“Can’t you do that already?”
“Huh? Oh, you mean when I had a bad feeling about your mom, the day she unexpectedly died.”
“Yea, right,” John melancholily replied, “…and when you knew Tony would win big at the casino… and, about that accident at the processing plant, you'd never even been there!”
Indeed, Daniel had experienced a number of fleeting moments where he could sense an impending event. He never viewed these premonitions as a special ability, however, but rather some fluke of nature—a temporary window opening, that allowed him to see things from a broader perspective; a flash of realization, revealing how the individual puzzle pieces fit together to create the whole. One speculation he did make, was that a connection existed between these insights, and the fact he questioned everything, and looked at things a little differently than the average person.
As a thick cypress head, which the highway sliced through, passed him by, Daniel responded to John: “Well, every once in a while I have a gut feeling about things. Too bad that doesn’t work on myself though.”
“Hmm. Don’t think I’d want to know my own future. You?”
“I guess not for some things, but there’s others I sure wish I could’ve avoided.”
“Don’t we all.”
“Fitting topic for the present moment… lost my job, almost died in a car wreck, am about to lose my wife… although, that might be more of a relief at this point.”
Daniel hated saying those words. He had desperately wanted to find a soul mate, yet his soon-to-be ex, Janice, seemed so far from that ideal. More importantly, they had a four-year-old son, and the last thing he ever wanted, was to create a broken family.
He followed this road for some time, and eventually came to a very large school. It was a huge structure built almost entirely of small yellow bricks. A daunting feeling ensued as he approached the structure, which appeared to be a relic from decades past.
As he pulled up to a stop sign, a playground came into view, but no children were there. Everything both looked and felt surreal, as if he had entered some alternate dimension. Though his head was clear, it felt like a dream. What seemed strange moments earlier, now felt commonplace.
He pulled over, felling as if drawn by some magnetic force. Exiting the car, he walked toward the modern playground equipment, which looked incredibly out-of-place next to the antiquated school. After standing there a moment, he began recalling all the strange incidents throughout his life—those evanescent impressions seen from the corner of his eye. An epiphany occurred: The only reason these phenomena were so fleeting, was that he had not completely opened up to them. It all fit together.
A hint of the chills ran through his body, for the first time in years. The sky suddenly grew darker, though no rain clouds could be seen. Then, an apparition began to appear. It started as a bright, silver point of light, then expanded into a vertical line. It looked something like an old TV turning on. The line then began to unfurl, like a scroll, into a flat surface resembling a giant mirror, though no reflection could be seen.
Then, like an elaborate hologram, the “mirror” formed an image. It was this same place, but in the past. The modern equipment on the playground were replaced by a rusted swing-set, a broken merry-go-round, and a tattered see-saw. These long-forgotten archetypes seemed to beckon. Then, once again, Daniel saw the boy, who—this time—did not disappear. The boy appeared within the image-of-the-past, looked to be around six or seven, had light blonde hair, and was using one foot to draw in the dirt.
As Daniel stood there, entranced, unable to move, the “mirror” began to form an image. It was this same place, but transformed. The school, in the background, looked about the same, but the modern playground equipment was replaced by a rusted swing-set, a broken merry-go-round, and a tattered see-saw. These long-forgotten archetypes seemed to beckon. His thoughts raced, but he felt removed from them, dissociated from all but the true essence of his being. From this state, he watched his mind ponder this surreal experience. Then, superfluous thoughts vanished, as he saw the boy appear within the apparition.
The boy looked to be around six or seven, had light blonde hair, and was using one foot to draw in the dirt. More children began to appear. A familiar scene took shape, of children playing at recess. The boy looked happy, as he began walking around the outskirts of what appeared to be the designated play area. He gathered some small stones, sat down, and began placing them next to each other in the sand. After some minutes it became a cross between abstract artwork and an imaginary city. The boy smiled at his creation, looking as if he wished he could pick it up and take it with him, or maybe live in it.
Daniel then saw another boy, on the other side of the playground. This child had an embittered countenance, void of any youthful joy, as if he had long-abandoned his childhood. What should have been childlike bliss was replaced by a hollow emptiness mixed with anger. The child’s eyes embodied all that anger, and those eyes kept glancing at the first child. Daniel felt a sudden, sick feeling in his gut.
The images then began to fade. The mirror-scroll rolled back together into a vertical line, then the line grew shorter till it was a point again, and then, it was gone. Daniel had a feeling, however, such visions were far from over. It was now clear, the feelings he had while approaching this place were about this child. It was also clear, the circumstance that brought him here—his car losing power—was no accident.
But who is this child on the playground? Daniel asked himself.
He’s like a ghost, but one that doesn’t jibe with popular descriptions. Although… what does that even mean, right? Maybe this was how spirits truly appear. Or… maybe they appeared differently to different people!
Are these visions some kind of message from this ghost-of-a-child?
Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to work?
Along with the barrage of questions, and an overwhelming sentiment of “what the hell is going on?” there was something euphoric and exhilarating about the situation. Normal life had become stale, tasteless. This child on the playground provided a new sense of adventure and wonder.
Regardless, seems I finally have a practical use for these “mystic abilities!”
** If you're interested in this book, and would like more info, you can send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org