Think of the sparkle and happiness children can bring.
Children illuminate and unveil so much to parents.
Like magic, we see ourselves in them.
Like an inverse mirror,
we feel and hear our parents words and attributes expressing themselves.
We hear our wrongs and rights exposed and shouting back at us.
Wonder touches the very moment their eyes open.
Alive with honest agony they cry and scream.
Upon the world left without the cord filled with Mother’s dream.
Thrust and awakened filling a new space both odd and frightening. …
Susan’s fascination: Glints of sunlight edged through the slats of the flat beige panels piercing her resting eyes. The black-out curtains never failed to fail their manufacturer’s claim ‘No sun penetration, even on the brightest days.’ Susan fell asleep after breaking the encryption and reading the drive’s first few pages. The Enceladus data stick yielded more information than she thought anyone could read in three lifetimes.
Many of the abbreviations and notations documented precise coordinates, travel to and around Saturn. On September 15, 1997, the Cassini spacecraft launched from the north end of Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Space Launch Complex 40. …
Susan’s science: Her grey sweatpants and hoodie shielded her from video surveillance recording, and the drive home at the quiet hour of five A.M. meant not many would notice her arrival. South Peninsula Drive’s sparse lighting and traffic provided Susan with security; she hoped not false.
Most of Daytona Beach still slept. The helicopter searching for her lost hope of discovering her when they noticed the signal they followed drifted down the Halifax River.
Hacking the ten 2-terabyte flash drives stung her curiosity, overriding her need for rest or desire to sleep, and Susan began breaking their encoded security. She sat at her desk and listed the small drives by their curious labels. …
Before arriving home, Susan pulled into the empty Deck Down Under parking lot, her favorite seafood restaurant adjacent the Halifax River, and began changing her clothes. The lump in her throat and instincts gained working black ops with Mossad agents, instructed her hyper-vigilance.
She scanned the skies and surrounding area, looking for possible stalkers.
While driving over the Dunlawton Bridge moments ago, she thought the orange Moon was a good luck talisman; tonight, it shined brighter and more prominent than she could recall. …
Susan’s hunters: An image returned to his mind, curling Betsinger’s lip in frustration, and he growled as he thought of his amateur mistake: pointing his gun at the ground in route to apprehend his attacker.
The captain of the guard called back, “10–4 Sir, the dogs have a scent. Suspect left blood traces on several branches. Request to continue pursuit.”
“Sounds like arguing, Captain.”
“No, Sir.” The captain abruptly ended the phone call and Betsinger ginned.
With a bit of luck, his team would pick up the signal the General’s security badge emitted; its distinct coding left a signature wherever it was, but there was a five-minute delay in receiving the data. …
Susan’s limited success: She knocked off the palm branches and leaves covering her vehicle then drove back to I-95. Her adrenaline surged, but she took long deep breaths and calmed every fiber of her body. Susan wondered how she got away so easily. Running through woods, backyards, and around houses slowed her pace.
The guards and dogs in pursuit could have caught her. She saw dirt bikes with their knobby motorcycle tires leaned up against a building at the BOWO compound. Why did they stop their pursuit?
“Halt your search after a five hundred yard perimeter. The suspect will be too far gone if not found by then. We have a bird in the air,” the General commanded. Betsinger felt he would track the trespasser himself. He wanted to micromanage this op. …
I didn’t expect my nuts to get soft when I washed them, but that’s what happens when your nuts are really drupes. I love it when I get useful Christmas gifts, instead of someone’s guess about what I want. This year one of my gift requests was almonds. And, I got them, Yeah!
But, and it’s a big but, they bought me salted almonds. Boy, did they have a lot of salt. My tongue recoiled every time I looked at the bag (Almonds are my preferred snack).
My solution processor, CPN (Central Processing Noodle), calculated simply washing the almonds off in a colander, followed by air-drying them, then roasting at low heat in the oven, would solve the salt challenge. …
Aiding Medium writer’s title effectiveness: What the hell is long-tail SEO, and why Shortform Publishing will help you bring in more reads. Long-tail SEO is a method to generate reads, views, and traffic for our stories. First, we need to understand the meaning of SEO and how it applies to us.
Using three or more words to create long-tail keywords instead of short-tail keywords, consisting of one to two words, enables you to target broad concepts and user intents. …
Susan considered the day a disaster. She didn’t know where the hours disappeared to, but she couldn’t stop doomscrolling. The government stalled again on stimulus checks, the virus rampaged through the United States without restraint, and domestic terrorists threatened her hometown streets.
Slamming her fist down on the kitchen countertop, she screamed, “Why!” It wasn’t a question but more of an indictment. She watched the video, and her mouth dropped in shock as a large recreational vehicle pulled up outside a restaurant. People ate outside at a beachside cafe in Daytona Beach, Florida.
The RV stopped and seconds later exploded, killing the groups nearest the street and wounding many others. Several other buildings suffered damage, and concrete with metal debris scattered the road. …
Susan’s race: She ran faster than she could remember and didn’t stop when impaled by small, sharp branches or pygmy date palm spikes. Susan couldn’t be sure how long it would take the search team to come hunting her. The five-mile sprint back to her black Toyota Prius flashed by in a breath.
The guards found General Gabriel Betsinger, MD, recovering from his assailant’s pistol-whipping on the lab floor. The sound of her voice created an itch floating behind his slight concussion.
The guards’ captain said, “Sir, any idea of the suspect’s 10–20?”
“No, they knocked me out before they left.” …