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S. Bradley Stoner
Author and wordsmith
Author and wordsmith

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John is looking for beta readers.
#SaturdayScenes2017 #ScienceFiction #Anthropomorphic #GeneticModification #CyberPunk

Looking for interested Beta-readers to read the whole story and give me feedback. Interested? Email me at

Today, a new chapter. Campfires, roasted pig, and love.

City of Passage, book 2 of the Passage Series

Reality Dreams

Redwood Regional Park

She was leaning up against her wolf. They were sitting on the lowest branch of an old oak. Her other companion, Tomiroc, hung upside down from an upper branch in front of her gently swinging in and out from her. When he got close enough, he would playfully lick at her nose. She giggled at his antics. One of her more pleasant dreams surfaced of this moment. And she turned a little to look up at the handsome wolf that was part of her and Tomiroc. She made eye contact with Mathias, and he responded by wrapping his strong arms more firmly around her.

She smiled at him. She felt their branch shake a little as Tomiroc dropped down onto it. He had convinced her and Mathias to climb the tree. He thought that the wolf should be able to climb since he was part human. After some encouragement and some basic climbing lessons, he found that he could indeed climb. At first, Mathias wasn’t too sure about the heights, but once he found his balance, he discovered to his great delight that he could see the sunrise and the world from a new perspective that he hadn’t known existed. Together they had watched the sun crest the distant mountains high up in a large old oak. They climbed back down to the lower bowels of the tree to settle in and eat the last of the smoked pig meat.

Tomiroc straddled the branch facing her. She turned back to him, nose to nose. He pushed forward at her, rubbing his cheek along her jaw. He purred at her contentedly. She reached out and ran her clawed paws up and down the side of his ribs. He shivered and purred louder.

Seeing his reaction brought back the events yesterday afternoon. They had carried the boar back to the place where they had left their belongings. Tomiroc climbed the tree and dropped their clothes. Rather than getting dressed, Kaniko fished out her long bone knife and small pocket igniter that she carried with her. The igniter had been a gift from her father when she was twelve seasons old. He had said that a good hunter would always keep it handy in case a hunt took him or her far from home. Like a precious treasure, she had carried it every day since then. Now, she was grateful for it. She went about gathering down and dead wood in the underbrush and bringing it back to the small clearing. With Mathias’ help, she broke the wood into manageable pieces and constructed a teepee of wood. Tomiroc started on the butchering of the pig, while she directed Mathias on what to collect to make a bird’s nest for the fire. She showed him how to shave cedar bark and rub it into a soft fuzz. Using small dried grass and twigs, she formed a bird’s nest and placed the cedar fuzz in it, placed the whole thing into the teepee of kindling. She took the small igniter and placed the nose of the extendable rod into the nest with the cedar and touched the activator. A bright plasma arc flared, and the fuzz burst into flame. Within minutes the teepee of wood was blazing. She added larger pieces of wood to build and stabilize the fire.

With the fire done, she took the cedar limbs she had shaved the bark from and fashioned a tip on three of them. Tomiroc handed her the first few chunks of meat to put on the skewers. She handed the first one to Mathias.

He looked at it and asked, “Are we cooking the pig?”

She turned her head sideways a little and looked at him. After a minute she answered, “It’s not a clean animal like a rabbit or deer. It could make you sick if you don’t cook it.”

His yellow eyes grew a little larger, and he looked from her to the meat on his stick. He nodded his acceptance of this and tilted the stick and pork over the fire.

Later, with their bellies full, they lay around the fire letting their dinner settle and watching the flames slowly grow small. The stars were bright in the night’s sky. The moon wasn’t due to rise for another few hours, and even then, it was in its last phase, and only a sliver would shine down on them. The sounds of the night forest around them were alive with chirps and quiet chitters, as the small animals moved around in the underbrush.

Kaniko sighed contentedly and rolled from her side onto her back and looked up through the branches at the stars in the clear night sky. She heard Mathias near her feet shift a little and scrub his back on the ground to get at an itch. She said quietly, “Come here babe and I’ll get that itch.” He moved to sit up. She sat up as he moved close to her and settled down next to her with his lean, and strong back to her. She ran her claws down his shoulder blades and to the middle of his back till he wiggled when she hit the right spot. She noted that his skin under his pelt felt dry and was most likely the cause of his discomfort. She wished for some of her mother’s lemon grass oil for his coat and skin. It made his fur shine and smell so nice. The water they had bathed in their first day in the forest was clean, but she hadn’t found any plants with the right oils to rub into his coat. She breathed in his scent. She had grown familiar with his wolf musk and now discovered that she missed it when he wasn’t near her.

With Mathias’ itch taken care of, she lay back down and punched at her rolled up clothes and long jacket under her head to make them more comfortable. Tomiroc’s eyes glowed in the orange light of the embers from the fire as he watched her from across the fire. After the meal, she had considered getting dressed again, but then realized it was a silly notion after having been naked shortly after arriving, making love the first night and even gone on a hunt. But now he was watching her from across the fire, she felt both exposed and excited. She could only see his eyes and only the shadowy outline of his form. She assured herself that he saw the same, then smiled at the ridiculous thought. He knew her form, for he had explored her body only the night before.

His quiet tenor voice floated across the fire to her. “Are we sleeping on the ground or the trees?”

She looked over at the wolf. He was on his back again with his head closest to her. She said, “Mathias doesn’t climb trees.”

“You didn’t answer the question?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Fine, we sleep on the ground. But, I’m teaching Mathias how to climb trees tomorrow.”

Mathias lifted himself up on one elbow and rolled on his side towards the fire. “I will try it.”

She watched her wolf roll back onto his back and look up at the stars. She wanted to lay next to him, with his warm, strong arms holding her and his warmth against her back. She fugitively looked over at Tomiroc. She realized that she wanted him too and would not feel complete without him.

He was still watching her. The dying embers of the fire cast an orangey red tent that was reflected in his eyes. So much so, that she couldn’t tell what his thoughts were. He seemed to know this and sat up and moved next to her and Mathias. Now, so much closer and the firelight behind him, she could see that his eyes were dilated with desire. His paw rested gently on her thigh, where he kneaded her leg muscles. Tentatively, she leaned into him and licked the edges of his lips. He still tasted of the wild pig they had roasted on the open fire. Mathias stirred behind her, and she felt his paws on her back. His wet nose touched the back of her neck, and she felt him nip at her mane of hair that cascaded off the back of her head. A shiver ran the length of her body. She reached for them both and pulled them to her. She let them touch her and purred with their attentions for her. She felt the warmth as passion flowed through her whole body and out to encompass her two lovers. A rainbow of colors softly circled at the edges of her vision. She closed her eyes and opened them again. She realized they were their auras and like her brother, she could see them as well. She discovered she could feel the invisible field that surrounded each of them. The sensation was nothing like she had ever felt before. She wondered briefly, why she hadn’t experienced this last night. Was it because she was not sure about the outcome that first night and she held herself back? Tonight she had no such reservations. She gave herself over to them completely that night as she felt their auras come and twist together, completely blending into each other.

Back in the present, she reflected on her ability to see her own and lovers’ auras. She hadn’t spoken to either of her lovers about it because she wasn’t even sure she had actually seen it. She decided that given a quiet moment when they returned to the Inn that she would meet with her brother, Domic and ask him about it.

Tomiroc was nuzzling her cheek. Her own desire was surfacing, and she knew his had already risen. She took his face in her two paws and held him back, so he looked into her eyes. With Mathias’ arms still holding her, she said, “I want to love, I do. But we should be headed back to the city. Nonna said two days. Time is up. Besides, we’ll have tonight.”

He smiled at her and lay back on the branch they sat on for a moment before he rolled off to fall the short distance to the ground. She turned to the wolf behind her and gave him a quick lick before springing from the branch to follow Tomiroc. She gathered up her clothes and watched as Mathias, a little less gracefully, slid off the branch and dropped to the forest floor. He dropped to one knee with the impact and squatted there for a moment before standing and retrieving his own clothes.

She inquired, “You alright?”

He looked at her and gave her a wolf smile and nodded. “Just realized, I needn’t be concerned about heights.”

She smiled. “Good, we’ll have to do more tree climbing till you feel comfortable enough to sleep in a tree.” She watched that thought sink into his consciousness. When she saw his eyes widen, she added, “I’ll teach you how not to fall in your sleep. Don’t worry.”

They finished getting their city clothes back on and made their way towards the road when Mathias turned abruptly. Kaniko nearly ran into him. She looked up and saw that he was smelling the air intently. She touched him and silently asked, “What’s up?”

Without glancing down at her, he replied in her mind, “Something is behind us. Watching, stalking us.” She turned and looked down the game trail and perked her ears forward, listening intently. She was aware of Tomiroc taking to the nearest redwood and climbing its bark to the lowest branch for a better view. Mathias’ paw tightened on her shoulder, and she felt him pull her back protectively. Then like a ghost they appeared. Five of them, two from the left side of the trail and three from the right. She saw their yellow predator eyes first. The dark gray and brown fur blended well in the early morning gloom of the underbrush. They pushed through and revealed themselves.

Next week, Family and memories

All rights reserved 2016 John J. Sanders

This story is now available in Beta if you have enjoyed the story to this point and would like to read the whole story and help me reach the final published version, email me at

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The Square Peg - Greenis Envy
The Square Peg - Greenis Envy © S. Bradley Stoner Bingo Bob was in fine
fettle this morning . It wasn’t even ten o’clock and his red nose and
rosy cheeks told me all I needed to know. Yep, he started celebrating early. I
saw him sauntering down the street, ...

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This is a dark, but well worth the read piece of fiction. Although, I don't think I'll be showing Susan my knife collection any time soon.
You are warned. The tale that I am about to tell is dark. VERY dark. It is one of loss and betrayal. Enjoy Penance.

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If you sign up for the mailing list, CJ Rutherford will send you a free electronic copy in the e-book format of your choice.

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RT Bestseller "MAN HUNT" trilogy. When the court system fails vengeful women take control. #Kindle #BookBoost #IARTG

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The Square Peg - Tax Time, I.R.S.
The Square Peg - Tax Time, I.R.S. © S. Bradley Stoner Well, I went fishing on
the coast last week . I had a great time... caught   a lot of fish, Gaftopsail Catfish, Sand
trout, Mullet, and one ugly fish (aka Stargazer/Monk Fish). I even started to
write a ...

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Author #plug for +Michael Allan Scott.

Flight of the Tarantula Hawk
Named to IndieReader’s Best Books of 2014!

Check out Michael's books on:

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For all of you who have that "haunted" feeling.
Blood Stones: The Haunting of Sunset Canyon (Volume 1) by Krista Lynn

Blood Stones: The Haunting of Sunset Canyon by Krista Lynn begins in 1911 during the Summer Solstice in Little Springs River at Sunset Canyon, Arizona with a story that sets the stage for a supernatural suspense.

Fast forward 100 hundred and four years later in Sacramento, California where Darcy Peel lives and teaches at a prestigious university. Darcy is forced to return to her rural hometown of Dry Creek, Arizona when her sister, Deanna Peel, suddenly disappears in the desert canyons while pursuing her research. The local headlines relate Deanna’s disappearance to the deaths of other Peel family members who entered the canyon and presume that she is also dead. “Deanna is well known in her community as an activist for desert preservation and anthropological research in the “Canyon that Sees the Sun” as that deep gorge is known from Indian myth”. Some of the locals believe that Deanna “fell prey to the Curse”.

Intent on doing her own expedition to find her sister, Darcy drives the long hours back, stopping alongside the highway a half-mile from her family’s 76 Diner and Gas Station to view Prospector’s Mountain. What awaits her is Déjà vu as she holds up an old Polaroid photo from June 22, 1986 and stares out her windshield at the mountain, then back to the photo. The cloud formation she sees over the mountain top is identical to the one in the old picture which was taken the day of a horrifying experience that happened on the date of the photo.

Darcy has to stay focused on her mission to find her sister as the dark magic of the New Moon at vernal equinox draws near, bringing its strange energy to the mountain, its canyons, and the small community steeped in rich Native American legends. Darcy might just find more than the answers she came in search of when a young deputy named Alan Brandt is willing to assist. Their attraction to each other another is yet another mystery that will need to be solved.

Author Krista Lynn weaves a tale conjured up from her childhood where she lived with her family sixty miles north of Arizona on an old gold mine. The nearest neighbor was twenty miles away. Krista draws from her own memories of an isolated desert life with her brothers, animals and the supernatural desert landscape. Descriptive writing, easy to follow dialog, well developed characters will draw you into this first story in her Blood Stone series and will leave you waiting for her next novel coming soon titled ‘Cast In Stone’.

If you enjoy stories that speak of supernatural legends and curses, suspense and mystery, humor and romance this book is for you. It is a multi-genre geared for young adults and up.

I personally endorses Blood Stones: The Haunting of Sunset Canyon by Krista Lynn. I bought and reviewed this book from Kindle on July 6, 2016.

Amazon Print Purchase Link

Kindle Purchase Link

Amazon Author’s Page

Professional Website

Cold Coffee Press

Cold Coffee Café

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Interesting... this in context of a second definition of ramification... the first being "the consequence of an action or event, especially when complex or unwelcome."
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