Dave Melde

Author of science fiction and fantasy.

Category: Author Blog (Page 2 of 2)


monkMarpa drifted in and out of consciousness as he lay dying at the monastery. His fellow monks carried him to his favorite spot, to the chamber with the large open-air window that overlooked the snow-capped mountain. The full moon gave the chamber a pale glow. It illuminated their breath as it hung like fog in the cold mountain air. The stillness of the night was broken only by the swirling wind and the mumblings of Marpa as he made his journey to the other side.

Marpa’s eyes opened and he looked around the chamber. He was startled for a second, until he saw the face of the mountain. For over eighty years he had lived in the mountain’s shadow. He stared up into its beloved face. He felt it beckoning for him to come home. Marpa, once again, fell back asleep.

In his dream, Marpa walked on top of the mountain- on the roof of the world. He heard the mountain ask him if he was ready to go. Marpa nodded yes. The mountain then asked him if he had learned the true meaning of life. Marpa answered it by barking like a dog.


His fellow monks smiled when they heard Marpa bark. They didn’t know why he barked, but they recognized the joy in their friend’s voice. They were happy for him, for this was a happy time. They didn’t mourn his passing, for all must make the journey, but they would miss him. They brought Marpa’s most prized possessions to him; his walking stick, pipe, pen, and prayer bell. The monks set them at his side. Perhaps he would choose one before he left.

The mountain swirled around Marpa and lifted him up. The heaviness and pain of life were gone. They traveled together to a place of immense size where Marpa sensed a large gathering of souls joined together in communion. As he approached, Marpa felt the gathering stop as it turned its undivided attention towards him. His entire life lay bare before them. His judgment day, his time of reckoning, occurred in a flash, a mere moment in time, and then the moment was gone. Marpa joined in the communion and he forgot about the man called Marpa. Then, the mountain asked him a curious question.

“Do you want to go back to say goodbye?”

Marpa once again remembered his past, and he thought that yes, it would be nice to say goodbye.

The next instant, Marpa woke up and looked into the faces of his friends. They were his family and to each, in turn, he said his goodbyes. A monk gestured to his possessions.

“Choose one, if you want.” He said.

Marpa looked and with a squeal of delight he picked up his prayer bell. He patted it against his stomach. Then, with a final nod, Marpa’s eyes closed, and his breathing stopped.

The monk gently took the now-sacred relic from Marpa’s hand. He cradled it protectively against his body. Tonight, it would join the other relics of the past in the great hall, and take its place of honor.



Edgar and the Midnight Visitor


old cemeteryOnce upon a midnight bleary, while I nodded, drunk and cheery.

“No, no, no, that’s no good.” Edgar mumbled to himself. “Gads—this poem is dreary work.  I’m so tired of it.  I really should get off to bed.”

He took his quill pen and crossed his writing out.

“Hmm…dreary…weary.” Edgar pondered.  “Maybe my poem should be about that.”

Suddenly, there was a tapping at his front door.

“Oh, for the love of—!”  Edgar stopped short of swearing.

He had promised Lenore he wouldn’t swear anymore.  He hastened to straighten his night cap and gown.  Lenore was asleep, and he was afraid that whoever it was might get impatient, and rap louder than before. Then, he opened wide the door.

“Edgar!  You scoundrel!” Devin said, stepping into the candlelit room uninvited, “pack your bag.  I’m leaving town and you’re coming with me.”

Devin was dressed in traveling clothes and a cloak against the damp night air. Edgar straightened to his full height and looked down at his diminutive friend.  “And, pray tell, from whence to hence will you be taking me?”

“Foulness is afoot Edgar!  A boy’s gone missing. We’re going to Bogshire Cemetery to unravel the mystery.”

Edgar stared at his friend, and lifted one eyebrow.  “Let me get my coat. Wait here and be quiet. Lenore is asleep.”

On their way to the cemetery, Devin explained what had happened—

“It occurred a fortnight ago, at the crypt of the mad Duchess.  The groundskeeper heard sound coming from inside of the crypt; scratching, as if someone was trying to get out, and wailing, as if someone was calling for help.  But when the groundskeeper opened the crypt, there was no one there.

Word of it spread and Thomas, the young village fool, went out that night to hear the sounds for himself.  According to friends brave enough to go, Thomas entered the crypt, though none dared enter with him.

Next, they heard Thomas cry out, and then all was quiet except for the rattle of the trees in the wind.  His friends called out his name. There was no answer.  They waited until daylight to enter the crypt, and when they did, Thomas was gone.”

The night air was damp but pleasant and the horses made good time. After several hours they saw the cemetery sitting high up on the hill, its crosses and gravestones silhouetted against the moonlit sky. Stunted trees were bent over, shunning the sky, as if cowering before God.

Their horses grew nervous, neighing and bucking, backing away from the entrance to the cemetery. They refused to enter through the iron gate.  Edgar and Devin dismounted and they walked through the moonlit night to the crypt.  Icy coldness gripped both men.

“Well Edgar, what do you think?” Devin asked.

“I think Thomas was a fool to come here. Do you have a pen and paper, Devin?”

“I do. You have a plan then?

“If we are to find out what happened, perhaps the best way is to simply ask.”

Edgar wrote on the paper and then rolled it up and placed it, along with the quill and bottle of ink, in Devin’s travel bag, He tossed it far into the crypt.

“We’ll return in the morning to retrieve it.” Edgar said.

The following morning Edgar and Devin returned and they entered the crypt. The travel bag lay on the ground in shreds, as if some wild animal had torn it apart with its sharp claws. The quill and ink bottle were missing, but the piece of paper lay intact on the ground. Edgar picked it up.

“Last night I wrote two questions on this piece of paper and someone, or something, has written two answers.” Edgar said.

He gave the paper to Devin

It read:

Who are you?          I am the Duchess of Bogshire.

Where is Thomas?  Thomas is no more, he belongs to me now.   

Devin shuddered when he read the answers.

“Herein lies evil.” Devin said.

“Call for a stone mason, Devin.  We must wall off this crypt.  The mad Duchess of Bogshire must be stopped once and for all.” Edgar said.

“And Thomas? Can we not save him?”

“I don’t see how, Devin. The best we can do is to make sure she kills, nevermore.”







E-Z Portal 9000


Wish you could go back in time? Boy, I sure do. Well now you can!

Introducing the new E-Z Portal 9000!

Offered here for the first time on television!

Why waste your time and money on old fashioned remedies like therapy or drinking yourself into a stupor. They simply don’t work. How many times are you going to have to apologize for your mistakes?  Do you wish you could go back in time to change things, but you don’t know how? Now there’s a way to wash away your sins with the E-Z Portal 9000. Go back in time and change who you married. Go back and change how you voted. Play the stock market and become rich. The E-Z Portal makes it so easy!

Let’s watch as John demonstrates how easy it is to use the new E-Z Portal 9000. There he is, out in his backyard mowing the grass, the same grass that he’s mowed over and over again. He regrets the thousands of hours he’s wasted over the years cutting grass that he knows is just going to grow back again anyway. He’s fed up but what’s he supposed to do? There has to be a better way!

Watch as John removes the E-Z Portal 9000 from its attractive carrying case, included free at no additional charge. See how he places the Portal on the grass and, before you know it, a tunnel appears right before his eyes leading to his past.

John looks through the tunnel and sees himself when he was a boy, cutting the exact same grass over forty years ago. If only he had known then what he knows now!

“Burn the damn lawn!” John yells out to a startled little Johnny.

[CAUTION: Read all instructions before using. Side effects include sudden heart failure and possible jail time.]

John was able to wash away over forty years of wasted time cutting his grass in the blink of an eye. And now you can too! We’ll even include with every order the pocket-sized Demon Extractor at no additional cost. Simply pay separate handling and shipping charges.

Is your cat possessed? Does it attack defenseless furniture for no apparent reason? The Demon Extractor can stop this unwanted behavior. Simply attach the Extractor to your cat with the enclosed, reusable stick pads, and your cat will receive a gentle zap-zap-zap every time it misbehaves. Your cat is guaranteed to start behaving differently the very same day.

But wait, there’s more! Order in the next ten minutes and we’ll double your order!

You heard that right, order now and you’ll received two E-Z Portal 9000s for the price of one! Just pay separate shipping and handling.

You can go back as far as you like. You pick the date and time! That’s right, with the E-Z Portal 9000  it’s never been easier to go back in time and fix whatever it is that needs fixing.

So what are you waiting for? Call 1-800-GET-PORT. That’s 1-800-GET-PORT. Operators are standing by. 1-800-GET-PORT.

[Must be 18 years of age or older. Portal cannot be used to go back in time to cancel your order to avoid payment. Other restrictions apply.]


Which Will Scarcely Be Understood

First published in ‘Weird Tales’ in 1937 by Robert E. Howard

Small poets sing of little, foolish things,
As more befitting to a shallow brain
That dreams not of pre-Atlantean kings,
Nor launches on that dark uncharted Main
That holds grim islands and unholy tides,
Where many a black mysterious secret hides.

True rime concerns her not with bursting buds,
The chirping bird, the lifting of the rose—
Save ebon blooms that swell in ghastly woods,
And that grim, voiceless bird that ever broods
Where through black boughs a wind of horror blows.

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“50 Writing Tips…”

typewriter-1227357_960_720Some people write while others paint or create music. Some people tell their stories through graceful movements of dance or athletics. Everyone is the author of their own life’s story.

I came across this article of “50 Writing Tips From My 15 Years As An Author” by Kevin Kruse. His article has straightforward practical advice and business rules of thumb on writing. You can check out more of Kevin’s thoughts on writing here, at his blog.



prison wireA flash fiction story~

Father Ryan rolled to a stop in his rusty light-blue Chevy, fifty feet from the prison’s main gate. He peered out through the dirty cracked windshield as thick fog swirled upward in a mix of light and dark shadows. A black tree line rose from the shadows far away in the distance.

Guard towers swept upward as black sentinels on each side of the main gate into the dull gray sky. The inky silhouettes of two guards walked rhythmically back and forth on top of the wall. The scene before him looked so surreal that Father Ryan felt he must be dreaming. It seemed that all color had abandoned this dismal place. He prayed that hope had not deserted it as well.

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“For a true writer …”

ernest-hemingway-typewriter-promo              “For a true writer, each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed.”   ~Ernest Hemingway

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