Sunday, January 26, 2020

Charity Sunday for Oz - #Bushfires #CharitySunday #PNR

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Welcome to the first Charity Sunday of 2020.

My post today supports the victims of the horrific fires that have been ravaging Australia. While the world watches in horror, Australia burns. I have many author colleagues from “Oz” and this post is particularly in solidarity with them.

There are so many charities supposedly working to alleviate the suffering of the people and the animals affected by the fires that is it quite difficult to choose. I’ve decided to be conservative and dedicate this post to the disaster relief campaign of the Australian Red Cross. I love animals and I’m tempted to donate to help the unique and severely threatened fauna of Australia, but this month, I’m focusing on the human cost. (Maybe I’ll donate to an animal-related cause next month.)

Image by Monika Schröder from Pixabay

Anyway, I will donate $2 to the Australian Red Cross for each comment I receive on this post.

Meanwhile, I don’t have any books or stories that feature bush fires, but here’s a bit from my MM paranormal romance Necessary Madness involving paranormal visions of catastrophic fire.


Nineteen year old Kyle sees visions of disasters, visions that tear his world apart. Everyone assumes that he is schizophrenic, but Rob, the cop who picks him up off the street, knows better. Rob's own experience has taught him that psychic powers are real, and potentially devastating.

Since his telepathic sister's brutal murder, Rob wants nothing to do with "gifted" individuals like Kyle. Yet he can't deny his attraction to the beautiful, tortured young man – an attraction that appears to be mutual. When a brilliant, sadistic practitioner of the black arts lures Kyle into his clutches, Rob faces the possibility that once again he may lose the person he loves most to the forces of darkness.

First came the flames. Then, the screams. Each cry was distinct to Kyle’s ears—the men’s hoarse yells, the women’s shrieks, the inarticulate wails from the infants. He couldn’t see them, not yet. Sooty smoke billowed up, hiding the plummeting bodies, making his eyes sting. Orange tongues of fire pierced the black cloud. The cries grew louder as the heat intensified.

He took a big swig of cheap vodka. The bottle was already half empty. His head spun and he knew he couldn’t stand, but the awful screams still rang in his mind.

Please, he thought. No more. I can’t take any more. Let me pass out soon. He drank again, his gut churning as the raw liquid splashed into his empty stomach.

He tried to focus on the present—the rough stone pressing against his back, the chill wind biting through his ragged jacket, the faint smell of urine that filled the passageway under the highway. Useless. The sensations of the real world seemed thin and frail, powerless to overcome the horrible scenes in his head.

Every time, it got worse. It took more alcohol to remove him to that state of blissful oblivion. I’m adapting, just like any drunk. Before long, I’ll need a whole bottle to drown out the visions. Eventually, it will kill me. The thought was a relief.

The spells came more frequently these days, and not just during his waking hours. Nightmares stalked him, full of bloody flesh and torn limbs, searing fire or icy floods. He’d claw his way back to consciousness, howling like an animal, trying to escape. He’d been kicked out of every shelter in the city. He upset the other residents too much.

He could always go back to the hospital. Thorazine didn’t completely smother the visions, but it deadened the emotional impact. He could sit for hours, watching disasters play themselves out on the screen of his mind, and not care.

It worked for a while, but then he always ended up signing himself out again. As painful as consciousness was, it was better than the half-life of being drugged. At least, that was what he told himself, on the good days when his curse was in remission. The staff looked relieved when he left. Even the professionals had trouble dealing with his ‘hallucinations’.

Hey, gimme a drink, will ya?” A voice cut through the screams echoing in his head. The grizzled man lying next to him on the sidewalk smelt like long-unwashed socks. “Come on, please? Us bums got to stick together.”

Kyle handed him the bottle. His hand shook. “Sure, help yourself.”

The old timer took a deep swallow, then grinned at him. “Thanks, kid.”

The flames flared up, hiding the man’s pock-marked face and gap-toothed smile. A woman’s cry rang out, full of terror. “No, please, no more…” Kyle muttered, closing his eyes. The hungry fire continued to dance behind his eyelids, mocking his attempt at escape. He groped for the bottle.

Brilliant white light flooded his vision, momentarily chasing the inner fire away. “Okay, boys, time to get up.” The masculine voice held a natural authority—strength without cruelty. “Off to the shelter with you. You know you can’t stay here, getting drunk and blocking pedestrians.” A firm hand grabbed his arm and tried to haul him to a standing position. “Come on. We’ve got a wagon right here. Wouldn’t you rather be in a nice warm bed than a stinking underpass?”

Kyle opened his eyes, blinking in the glare of the cop’s flashlight. “I…no, please…I can’t…” A scream of agony assaulted his inner ears. He doubled over, answering the pain tearing through his stomach. Only the cop’s grip kept him from collapsing onto the damp cement. Another pang knifed through his abdomen. The fire roared inside him.

Are you sick?” Barely conscious, Kyle had a confused impression of the other man’s face—square jaw, sandy hair, warm blue eyes.

My stomach… The fire…”

What fire?”

Kyle couldn’t think, couldn’t focus. The policeman searched his face, trying to understand.

They’re dying,” he moaned. Maybe he was dying himself. He retched and tasted blood. He was sinking into a rosy, fire-lit haze.

Who? Who’s dying?” The policeman gripped his shoulders, shaking him, trying to bring him back. “What’s going on, boy?”

The address appeared out of nowhere, written in chalk on a wall of black stone. “Gardner Street,” Kyle whispered, slipping away. “29 Gardner Street.”

The last thing he saw was the cop’s handsome face, the mingled suspicion and concern. The last thing he felt was the man’s heartbeat as he clutched Kyle’s body to his chest.

Don’t forget to leave a comment. Every one means a donation to the Australian Red Cross. And I hope you’ll visit the other blogs participating in today’s hop.

Thank you!


James Robert said...

It is so terrific you are doing this. I have been watching the news with these fires and it is heartbreaking. Not to mention, the 3 firefighters from the USA who lost their lives as they were there to help them out. God Bless all of them in Australia and may these fires end soon.

Desiree Holt said...

I totally support what you are doing. The Australian fires were and still are devastating. So many people died and injured, and more than one million animals killed. Bless you for this effort.

Tina Donahue said...

Kudos for doing this! Hope the devastation ends soon.

Nightingale said...

This is a good charity to support. I commend you and the other authors for your efforts.

bn100 said...

Nice of you to do

Bea said...

Fantastic idea, and yes, there are so many organizations providing relief it can be hard to choose.

Colleen C. said...

You always choose such wonderful causes to help!

Sadira Stone said...

Thanks for helping this important cause! I've shared on Twitter and Facebook. My publisher is also working up an anthology whose proceeds will got to Australian wildfire relief. Such a heartbreaking tragedy.

Cheyenne Blue said...

Thank you, Lisabet. This is fantastic what you're doing

Debby said...

Thanks for supporting this. I am trying to as well.

Marle said...

Thank you for your supporting the Red Cross/Australia fires. What a tragedy for all humans affected by the fires and all the animals lost.

Fiona McGier said...

You rock, Lizbeth! You truly have a big heart, along with being a great writer!

GothicMoms said...

Got my comment in! And sharing now. 😍😘

Dee S. Knight said...

This is what I did last Charity Sunday for and it's a wonderful thing! Thanks, Lisabet!

Author H K Carlton said...

The devastation is heartbreaking. A worthy and timely cause, Lisabet.

H.B. said...

A really great one to support too and much needed at this time.

Lindsey R. Loucks said...

Fantastic cause and what an excerpt! Thanks for doing this!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much!


Chuck Barksdale said...

It's sad what's happening but I'm happy you are supporting this charity.

Annette said...

This is so nice of you.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Thank you for your fantastic response. This is the most successful (most expensive LOL) Charity Sunday so far. I'm off to donate $40 to the Australian Red Cross.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for our February Charity Sunday, next weekend (23 February).

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