{Excerpt} THE ACTIVATION by J. Cafesin

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Here's an excerpt from The Activation,
one of four short stories in the

...It's dusk. The sky's indigo, but the trees are all silhouetted black. Micheal isn’t afraid. He knows his way by heart. The family has come to Hindley State Park the last seven years in a row to mark the official start of summer. This year's probably their last though, since Amy doesn't want to come anymore. She'd begrudgingly agreed to join the family, but is likely she'll be miserable all weekend so they’ll nix the trip next year. She really is a killjoy now.
He's at the river in three minutes. The stones are still there, along the waterline and gathered in the shallows, though they don't appear to be glowing. Outnumbering the normal rocks among them ten to one, and no longer in waving strings, they line the riverbank in multiple rows, clacking like pool balls as the water bumps them against each other.
Twilight's set in and everything radiates midnight blue. Micheal kneels to examine a large cluster of stones gathered in the inlet of the spit. They look to be mostly granite speckled with quartz. The glowing effect he’d seen earlier had to be from the crystals reflecting the last of the day’s light. Years of flowing down rivers could account for their spherical shape and smooth surface. These rocks weren’t really so strange after all.
He reaches out and pokes one. No shock. Feels like a rock. Micheal snatches one, stands and examines it. It's surprisingly light, more like a Nerf ball then solid stone. It feels warm, really warm, already dry though it has been only seconds since he’s lifted it from the water. He rolls it from hand to hand examining its gently pocked-marked surface. Could be geodes—hollow with crystals inside. And all he has to do is crack it open for the treasure...
With as much force as he can, Micheal hurls the stone down hard against the cluster in the shallow.
The clatter of the rock across the tightly gathered stones turns into a strange hum. The hum amplifies with each rock the rolling stone touches, activating them to hum, setting off a ripple effect that continues even after the rock he’s thrown lands atop several others.
Micheal stands on the sand barely breathing, the hum resonating in his chest as it grows louder, spreading among all the round rocks. It sounds almost like music, like violins blending with the river’s rhythm and weaving with the rushing water. Micheal stops breathing completely when he notices the rock he’d thrown radiating a vibrant cobalt blue from its center. A blue/green light arcs into the several round rocks it rests upon, lighting them up, the light then spreading outward among them. Suddenly it seems hundreds of stones glow prosperous green along the riverbank as far as he can see.



J. Cafesin writes taut, edgy, modern fiction with complex, compelling characters that bring story live, and linger long after the reads... 

Check out J. Cafesin's website and follow along on Twitter and Facebook

Author: J. Cafesin
 Publication date: Dec. 13, 2013
Publisher: Entropy Press

Fractured Fairy tales meets The Twilight Zone in this short story collection of four uniquely captivating, edgy, fantastical tales, each with a powerful message that lingers long after the reads... 

1. In Finnegus Boggs, Confessions of a Marid, Djinn, the genie grants two Oakland punks a chance to save the other's life. 

2. Hawk and Megan learn a valuable life lesson about love in Bird's Eye View

3. The Activation is a cautionary tale for bickering children, and the parents who fail to silence them. 

4. Sylverster McCain travels a sliver of light to reset Faith's path in life in The Morality Police.

Author: J. Cafesin
 Publication date: March 1, 2010
Publisher: Entropy Press

James jumped from the car into the cloud of dust as his dad pulled into their campsite parking area at Hindley State Park. 

Wizards and warriors were surely hiding among the huge old redwoods he ran through. The sun-dappled forest always ignited his imagination, until his sister Amy's shrill voice demanding he return to camp disrupted the roar of the raging river. James hid, but when he snuck up behind where she stood on the sandbar yelling, he was as amazed as she to see hundreds of round rocks lining the river's edge faintly glowing. Amy bent to retrieve one. James warned her not to, inadvertently revealing his stealth position. His sister turned on him, both forgetting about the bizarre stones with their rancorous exchange, setting in motion a string of disastrous events, never realizing the terrible cost of their incessant squabbling. 

The Activation is a cautionary tale for bickering children and the parents who fail to silence them...