A Chapter by JayG

Zack has come to the desert seeking a quiet place to die. Ada has been left there to die. With no hope and no future, has there ever been a less likely pair to go Starfaring?


It took a long time for the noise to attract Zack’s attention"even longer to resolve itself into anything meaningful.

“Mr. O’Neil? Mr. O’Neil? Can you hear me?”

He was still alive. Not a happy surprise.

Disoriented, he gathered his flickering consciousness together and opened his eyes. As he’d feared, he was surrounded by a variety of high-tech appliances. The overpowering smell of antiseptics placed him in a hospital.

A face appeared in his line of sight"a professionally cheerful face.

“You had us worried for a while, Mr. O’Neil, but you’re doing fine, now.”

When he only stared in reply she patted his shoulder and said, “Just rest. You’ll feel better when you wake up again.” It seemed particularly stupid of her to wake him only to tell him to go back to sleep. But the effort of thinking was too great to sustain, so he let go of wakefulness and fell back into drugged slumber.


°  °  °


She was an exceedingly plain woman. Her white coat had Psychiatric Services stitched on the breast, and Zack assumed she’d gone into psychiatric practice as a form of revenge against an unkind world. She dragged a chair close to the bed, losing little time in diplomacy.

“They tell me you’re refusing your meds, and won’t eat. Why is that?”

He studied her for a few seconds before shaking his head. “You didn’t do me a favor by bringing me back when my heart stopped.”

“Why not, Mr. O’Neil?” She showed no reaction to his words.

How like a psychiatrist. Never say what you think, just ask questions that make the patient say it for you. But two could play at that, so he answered with a question of his own. “What do I have to live for?”

Before she could answer he snapped, “And don’t ask me trick questions, lady. Just give me an answer. I’m old…I feel like s**t…and I’m not in the mood for games.”

That rated a raised eyebrow, and, “At least tell me why you want to die, Mr. O’Neil, so I have something to work with.”

“I don’t want to die. But when my heart gave out it was my time. It still is. I don’t have a reason to live, and that’s not the same thing as wanting to die.”


“No…it’s not.” In spite of himself, she’d drawn him into discussing his reasons for refusing food and medication. But what else was there to do but talk to her or stare at the ceiling? He blew out a breath in resignation. She would have her way after all.

“Believe me, Doctor, I’m not suicidal, I just don’t have anything to live for. I’ve been waiting to die for nearly a year"since they told me my heart wasn’t repairable"but then, when my time was finally up, you people stepped in and took it away from me.”

At his use of the term, “you people,” she unbent enough to say, “I’m Dr. Malvern, Mr. O’Neil. Clarice Malvern.” She still sat ramrod straight on the edge of her chair.

Telling her to go to hell was an option, but in the end protests were futile. The drugs were added to the bags that dripped nourishment into his arms"rendering his defiance symbolic, only. And it made little sense to do battle with the woman.

“I’ve lived nearly seventy years, Doctor, and I’ve done everything I’ve ever wanted to do. I built a successful business three separate times, once out of boredom after I retired. I’m still bored. More so, since my wife died.” He glanced over at the doctor, to find her leaning forward, interest in what he said apparent. Deciding for the hundredth time to stop judging people by appearances, he went on.

“Amanda was both my wife and best friend. Without her there’s no one and I’m just coasting.”

“Friends?” she offered. “Children? Business? Surely there’s someone?”

That brought a long sigh. “No. We had no children, I’ve sold my business, and there’s no family left that matters.”

He shifted in the bed, easing himself into a less uncomfortable position before saying. “I have friends, doctor. I’m just tired, and it’s far too late to think of starting a new life.”

His voice was empty as he said, “It doesn’t matter, though. No matter what you’ve done, I have a bad heart, and unless you were stupid enough to give me a transplant, it’s still a bad heart.”


Dr. Malvern studied the man on the bed. He was stronger than he thought. His medical history, other than his heart problems, was unblemished. It was his state of mind that worried her. Still, this wasn’t a good time to tell him he no longer had a heart.


© 2016 JayG

Author's Note

People have asked me to post a sample of my writing. And since Starlight is something I just released—and believe to be section the best work I've done—here's the opening. If it does its job you'll have no choice but to go to Amazon to read the rest of the chapter in the excerpt. If it doesn't you can tell me what kicked you out of the story. And that will help.

My Review

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Featured Review

Mr. JayG
Read your dialogue again, I think the person talking over there does not sound like a patient, nor someone just reluctant to continue. The conversation is drastically opposite. I perceive two people talking in an office or at a table facing each other.
It sounds like it may be a good story, nonetheless, check it out.

Posted 1 Year Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


1 Year Ago

• I perceive two people talking in an office or at a table facing each other.

In a.. read more


Hey, great start to a story, I'm intrigued.

Posted 2 Years Ago

1 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Love it, I'll have to look into the Amazon link! Awesome work

Posted 2 Years Ago

1 of 2 people found this review constructive.

I came here after reading one of your very thoughtful reviews, and you have certainly caught my attention with your writing as well. I could certainly find myself sitting down to read this entire book. Your writing is rich and diverse, and it seems to reflect a wealth of experience (which I gathered somewhat from your personal introduction).

While it's only the opening, I can certainly tell by this setup that this could make for a wonderful story, and could be taken in a multitude of different directions. I also love that you use a wealth of detail and imagery to draw the reader into the setting, and you have a great understanding of how to display the more subtle feelings and emotions in thoughts and dialogue.

The only thing I noticed that was a little distracting was the sense that your dialogue was so succinct that it seemed a little too calculated, making it just a tiny bit unnatural. Granted, it's difficult for me to judge your work fairly based on such a short excerpt, but overall I think that you have an amazing talent for writing.

Posted 2 Years Ago

0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Brilliant. I'll have to check the Amazon link. I've always admired people's ability to build up a plot. Myself I'm a bit more of a simple one liner/poem/songwriter; but I've always wanted to try my hand at something like this. I'd need some practice, but this is quite inspiring. Thanks for sharing, JayG.

Posted 2 Years Ago

0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Couldn't find the rest of it on amazon.

Posted 2 Years Ago

0 of 1 people found this review constructive.


2 Years Ago*Version*=1&*entr.. read more

2 Years Ago

Thanks. I found it with the link you posted.

2 Years Ago

It's interesting, it's hard to follow the plot from the sample on Amazon, but the blurb shows that a.. read more
words that stay close to heart. Waiting for the rest

Posted 2 Years Ago

1 of 2 people found this review constructive.


2 Years Ago

Thank you. That gives me hope. You won't be seeing more here, though, because I just released it on .. read more

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36 Reviews
Shelved in 6 Libraries
Added on May 5, 2016
Last Updated on May 5, 2016



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