Author: Justin Cantelo

I love life. I love books. I love reading. I and I absolutely love writing!

Titan Run Part Four


Once Kayla got all her paperwork sorted at the monitoring station and retrieved her beacon, she decided to head towards the food court before grabbing her supplies. The race lasted up to 24 hours with all the obstacles, and as her father used to say, ‘You can never be too prepared.”
(more…)

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Titan Run Part Three

Titan Run Part Three

Martin Sr. thought about how he hadn’t really taken a strong interest in the case surrounding his younger brothers incident. They got along well enough when they were younger.

When their mother passed away and their father was still heavily into his command. The two of them were sent off to the Academy on Mars, where their bond grew weaker. That didn’t change the fact that they were brothers, and he loved him. (more…)

Titan Run Part Two

She remembered the stories that her father used to tell her about the construction of the moon bases throughout the solar system. Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, was their first attempt to build something more than just a base, it became a city, a ‘metropolis’. It spanned a huge part of the moon’s surface and housed well over fifty-thousand sentient life forms. (more…)

Titan Run Part One

The agonizing conditions on the surface paled in comparison to the emotional turmoil that coursed through Kayla’s mind. (more…)

Voices by Justin Cantelo

“If I cannot fly, let me sing.”
~~ Stephen Sondheim

“Daddy tell us a story,” Martin Sr. heard from across the table. Looking up he saw Sarah, his youngest beaming at him with an impossible smile. (more…)

Soul Collector

I barely let him get into the cab before I push her into him, “It seems that fate has finally caught up with you Mr. Collins,” I peer at him through the rear view mirror.

“Who are you?” he demands.

“Yes, I can imagine that my face has faded from your memory,” I say, “Much like that of the innocents that have suffered at your hands, much like those of my people.”

“Your people?” Silence fills the car as I put her in drive and start to pull away, “Where are you taking me?” he asks.

“Look down?” I call to him, watching as his eyes finally register what has happened, “Do you recall where you were twenty years ago?”

“How can this be?” he asks.

I twist the blade which causes him to react violently, “I know a great many things about you – actually I know everything about you,” I continue to look forward as we drive, “By the end of the night you will be dead,” I speak with certainty, “First we are going on a trip down memory lane.”

“Fuck you,” he spits, as I simply add pressure to the blade that is wedged through the front seat directly into his stomach, causing him to flinch in pain.

“What do you want? Who are you?”

“What I want should be obvious,” I continue, “As for who I am well that is the question isn’t it?”

“You know who I am?”

I slowly pull to a stop turning on the inside lights, “I know exactly who you are, you are the man responsible for taking me away from my mission, you are the man who is responsible for turning me into what I am today,” I sigh, “Where were you twenty years ago?”

“Twenty years ago,” he starts, “What are you?” his question trails off.

“I see you are remembering.”

“It can’t bed,” he stutters, “no one survived, I killed everyone.”

“You thought you killed everyone,” I turned around letting him see my face for the first time, “you really should have gotten all your facts straight before you came into my home.”

“Impossible,” he says as he sees the scars across my face.

“Nothing is impossible,” I reply, “Did you even bother to learn anything about my people before you set out to slaughter them,” I ask.

“It wasn’t you I was after,” he says, “It was the sword, you were just collateral damage.”

“Collateral damage,” I scream, “You killed my people and all you can say is we were collateral damage.”

“Wait you can’t kill me,” he pleads.

“Why not?”

It goes against your –”

I cut him off before he can finish, “Against my what,” I yell violently, “My code, What code? After you slaughter my people and leave me for dead, after you turned me into this?”

“Then why not just get on with it and kill me,” he challenges as I see a spot of blood at the corner of his lip.

“Do you know the legend of this sword?” I ask him, “Did you even know what you had when you first took it?”

“It’s just a sword.”

I shake my head as I proceed to twist it once more causing him to scream, “No Mr. Collins,” I start, “It is much more than just a sword, she is called ‘Soul Collector'(.) (D)do you know why?”

“Some kind of superstitious bullshit,” he spits out as blood foams from his mouth.

I start to laugh, “You know nothing, nothing at all,” I turn away from him, “You know I can never die, on that day I was the first person to feel your wrath, as you entered the sacred room and took the blade,” I pause, “you didn’t see me as I slept on the floor behind the altar, but I felt your wrath as I was consumed by the fire you set.”

There is a long silence before I look upon him again, I can see the blood pooling even more upon his lips and realize my time is short, “I want you to know that even though I blame you for slaughtering my people,” I pause, “I know you did so at the behest of others, I want you to know that when you are gone, when your soul is resting with my Brothers and Sisters, I will seek those others and they will join you.”

“You have no idea who you are dealing with.” he whispers.

“Oh I do,” I state matter-of-factly.

“How?”

“You know it took me more than three months to get out of that valley, after I pulled myself out of the charred remains of my home, I mean” I push forward. “My body was weak, well as weak as that of a twelve year old, but I pushed forward, my mind was blank then, I had nothing, only knowing that I could not die – so I just walked.”

“When I thought I could walk no more I became delusional, seeing the ghosts of my people, hearing their pain within my soul,” I continue to look into his eyes. “Hearing all their screams, experiencing all of their pain was enough to drive me insane.”

“When my walk was done, I found myself on the streets of Shanghai, this is just before the second world war,” I stop again to reflect. “I saw a lot of change happen over that time. To survive I became a common street thief, stealing from the unsuspecting, – that was until I met her,” I pause again. “She found you for me.”

“Who is she?” his breathing short desperate.

“She’s the reason I am here today,” I continue to reflect. “The war had come and gone, China was becoming a much different place and I happened upon a mark that could read me better than I could read her,” I smile. “The way she flipped me using all the tricks of the east I am a warrior, I could not die and a western woman, lets just say she showed me a few things.”

“Who is this woman?”

“Karla Windcroft,” I finally answer, “she took me in, she brought me back here and raised me, she taught me how to live my life again,” I pause, “but she also knew that one day it would come to this, that I would have to finish this chapter of my life,” I pause. “When she wasn’t traveling the world on one adventure or another she was here helping me to find you. I think she realized it was better to help me rather than let me go off unprepared into the world.”

“Why would she even care?”

I smile as I twist the blade again cause more pain and even more blood to pool, “Why because we had something in common, I not you in particular, you were mine, but something,” I speak briskly as I know the time is almost at hand. “I was afraid that I wasn’t going to be prepared for you tonight. We found out that you were going to be here but something was missing.”

“What?”

“Her,” I say as I look down upon the sword that stood between us, “I could not find her after you took her away from me, I would have killed you one way or the other but Karla had a gift for me. She never told me, but while she was out in the world without me, she was seeking ‘Her’.”

“Mr. Collins are you ready?” I say, “Do not worry,” I tell him as I slowly pull the sword up ripping through his chest, “They will be joining you soon.”

“Who?”

“Those set you on this path,” I say calmly, “Those people who feel they can destroy innocence, that they can take as they please without recourse.” I look into his eyes, “Do you know why they call her ‘Soul Collector’?” he shakes his head. “Well you will soon,” I say as I rip her out of his chest stealing his last breath along the way.

11:11

“I lost my friend this mornin’, woke up screamin her name, She meant so much to me, I’m scared I won’t be the same” ~~ Big K.R.I.T. “The Vent”

The water runs, cold and hot together to create the perfect mixture. I can feel the tensions seize my body, the aches wreck my soul, this day has never been an easy one, it has always brought me back to that moment, the one single moment when time stopped, the lights dulled, and memories became a silent killer stalking me in my waking dreams.

I reach down and push the faucets in watching the last few drops trickle, as I slowly remove the robe that covers my body, I look down upon the gentle reminders that blanket my legs, arms, chest and each one marks a release, a memory, each one a memory of ‘Time Lost’. I lower myself into the water letting out a small yet audible moan, as I lean back drifting deeper and deeper in until my ears are submerged with the water and everything disappears, the water was there for me than as it is here for me know as the memories steal me away.

The water was my sanctuary in that moment, it was my retreat from the business I had set in motion, she was coming down, she was going to be here with me, finally a Christmas with my family. I remember the water washing over me, the goosebumps of this pending moment, I can still feel them. I tried so hard to scrub them out of my soul, but they never fade, they are just there.

I slowly pulled myself away from the safety of the water, the water never judged me, never rejected me, it was calm and there for me whenever I needed it, as I pull myself out of the tub, I don’t bother to dry off as I embark into the coldness that continued to haunt me, it wasn’t the winter crisp, it was the memories.

My skin is naked much like how I feel, as I pass through the house entering the kitchen as I am swept away once again by another sensation as my nose is filled with the smells of that fateful day, my eyes sting as I try so hard to pull myself away but to no avail my feet are planted and I am swept to yet another moment I cannot seem to outrun.

***
Remembering the water on that day, it was early, it was going to be special, and it was going to be forever. I wanted to loosen up as I could feel the butterflies in my stomach so overcoming with their need to spring out and just celebrate with me, I was going to do it, I was finally going to do it, what better day than Christmas Eve to pop the question, what better present could I give my beautiful ‘Tristan’ then the gift of my love for all of time.There was so much to do, I had to finish preparing dinner, and as my friends know I can’t cook at all.

I can smell the turkey it is so rich with its sweetness, as I sit there listening to the mundane Christmas music but in this moment it was beautiful, everything was beautiful, that annoying phone call from that telecommunication person was beautiful, there was nothing on earth that could steal this moment from me, the phone rang and when I saw the caller ID the smile that crossed my face… oh that smile, I can still feel it, I think it was the last smile that crossed my face.

“Hello”

“Why hello Beautiful,” never had that word held so much meaning then when it came from her lips, from there it was like I was a masterpiece to be looked upon with some kind of admiration, that word was so rich coming from her lips.

“T… ummm…”

“What’s the matter?” she had called out.

“Oh… it’s just that no one has ever made me feel as beautiful as you do,” I paused, I wasn’t’ going to blow it so early, she would be here in a short time and then I could let go.

“You are Beauty in all shades of Red to me Mitchell,” at this I looked over towards the dining area which was covered in the red aura of Roses.

“Thank you T… I don’t know where I would be without you”

“Well Babe we’ll be together soon,” she tells me, “love you Mitch.”

I worked my way through the kitchen, slicing the turkey, making the gravy, mashing the potatoes, checking on the pumpkin pie.

Oh how my ‘T’ loved pumpkin pie. I open the oven and lean in the aroma of Cinnamon mixing with the pumpkin sends me into a tailspin.

I moved towards the dining room, looking up towards the clock, she should be here shortly, I light the candles two candles signifying our union, two candles signifying our love, they blur and bend as time passes.  My mind wandered until I heard the whistle of the kettle go as I look through the steam that poured out, “Where are you ‘T’?” My vision blurs as I stared straight towards the clock, ’11:11’ I looked over towards the window to see that the sun was long gone, the darkness consumed the light, the reds were drowned in the blacks and my heart skipped.
***

“I love you Tristan,” Those would be the last words we spoke to one another. Those were the last words before the attack, before they came and took everything away from me.  It’s funny how one can become so consumed with something so mundane like preparing dinner that they don’t even realize the world outside is being destroyed.

It was at that time when the invaders set upon the earth carving death and destruction upon every corner of this tiny planet and yet I was clueless.  I was lost in my thoughts, in my love as the world outside was set on fire.

11:11, Those numbers will always be etched within my soul, those numbers, that time, this day will always consume me. Maybe that is a good thing, maybe I deserve this.  What good can come from love when a simple set of numbers can destroy you.

I continue to move through the house of a thousand memories, of pain and torment, of tragedy and sorrow, then it hits me, two beading lights penetrate my eyes as flashes of metal and chaos surrounds me, to find out that way left me barren without emotions, to turn on the TV only to see flashing red lights, chaos and destruction, and there she was my beautiful ‘T’ lifeless, alone, gone.

I didn’t see the world, I didn’t see the lives lost.  All I saw in that moment was my beautiful ‘T’.  The world had been set on fire and for me I selfishly only saw the person I loved. Why that memory is so pronounced will haunt me forever, my heart skips at the mere thought of my beautiful flawless angel shattered, broken. Red of Blood, lifeless.  They pronounced her death at 11:11 PM.  The moment, the exact moment my world was consumed by darkness. The exact moment my life ended.

I come back to this place every year at this time to remember why I became what I’ve become.  A Warrior, whose only destiny in life is to kill all those that took her away from me.  I kneel here in this garden of memories allowing the tears to surrender to the cool night air, I grieve for her, my beautiful ‘Tristan’,

I grieve for the secrets yet to be revealed, she carried our unborn child, and I carried the proposal, the tears seem to stop, frozen by the brisk air of night. Then I feel it’s gentle kisses from the sky as I looked up and see the stars fall and I can hear her whisper to me, “I love you,” as the snow starts to fall, and it is Christmas, the day I almost had my family.

***
(Special Thank You to Dorrie for sharing the song that inspired me while writing this story)