Sinkhole: A Short Story

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How devastating is a sinkhole?
How tragic is it when it occurs in the bedroom of a small house?
How much worse is it when the sinkhole begins talking to the young woman it has thrown out of bed about a child’s murder?
And how unwise is it for the young woman to climb down into that sinkhole?

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Published: Aug. 14, 2011
Words: 9,900
Language: English
ISBN: 9781465805454
About John Brinling

Author Bio: John Brinling

I was born in Pittsburgh, Pa. on June 8, 1936. I grew up in Pittsburgh and didn’t leave home until I was 21 and heading off to graduate school at the University of Illinois in Chicago. I’ve attended multiple universities: Duquesne, U. of Illinois, U. of Pittsburgh, Columbia. And I have a B.S. in Pharmacy and an M.S. in Pharmacology. I was married in 1975 and have one daughter.

I have been writing all of my life. I wrote my first novel when I was sixteen. “Black Dawn.” It dealt with segregation and the KKK. Whatever happened to it I don’t know.
Since then, earning a living has preempted long periods of my life when I wrote very little. My wife and I are both in data processing (IT nowadays) and we usually work long hours when we are on a contract, which meant I spent little time writing fiction when gainfully employed. The birth of my daughter offered me another excuse for not writing, but that’s what it was: an excuse. Writing is hard. But it’s in my DNA and I keep returning to it, despite some part of me that prefers the lazy life. However, not writing is unthinkable, and I am constantly exploring ideas even when I’m not committing them to paper.
I lived and worked in Europe for seven years. I met my wife In Italy where we both worked for the same company, and were married in 1975. The contract we were working on ended that year and we took two years off to live in England, in a 300 year old farmhouse in Wiltshire. It was in that farmhouse that I wrote “The Ghost Of A Flea,” as well as another book titled “Quarantine,” which is a science fiction thriller.
“The Ghost” has a strong autobiographical component. I was a programmer/analyst. The office ambience in the novel is similar to life in my New York office, although the intrigues were of an entirely different nature. I had a good friend who lived in Sparta. I lived for a time near the George Washington Bridge. The building manager was an Irishman, who became a good friend, and an integral character in the book.
“Quarantine” is set in East Africa, where my wife and I vacationed, and I drew liberally on what we read, saw, and experienced.
I had an agent back then who marketed both books, and came very close to selling them to both Doubleday and St. Martins. Unfortunately he died before completing the sale and I put the books on a shelf and forgot about them for 35 years. Only this year did I resurrect them and publish them on Amazon’s Kindle and Smashwords.
In 1977, my wife and I returned to the states and founded our IT consulting firm, Brinling Associates. For the next fifteen years we worked hard building our business. I wrote one novel during that time, a book titled “Alone,” which dealt with a man in an irreversible coma who is aware of what is happening around him, but is unable to communicate with the real world. I thought the book was lost, but have just recently found a hardcopy of the book and have begun reworking it..
In 1990, during a down period in our business activities, I wrote several other novels which I am attempting to bring out of retirement. These novels were also put on the shelf when circumstances re-ignited our business opportunities. One book – “The Watcher,” an occult horror thriller – is already self-published. The other is a much larger work, a rural mystery series tentatively titled “The Valley Mysteries” set in Vermont, that I’m still working on.
As you can see, writing books is one thing, marketing quite another. I am perhaps the world’s worst marketer, which helps explain why my writings have spent most of their lives on a shelf in my home in Vermont staring out at me asking “Why am I here?”
For the past few years I have been writing screenplays, which are more bite-sized writing efforts. I have done fairly well in some contests, but am still waiting to be discovered. The small royalty checks I earned from Amazon this year are the only money I’ve ever earned from my fiction writing.
My writing is pure escapism. When I sit down to write, I embark on an adventure. I let things happen and I let the characters be who they are. Since I strongly avoid outlines, I am as surprised by events as I hope the reader is. Pulling together loose ends is a subject for revision, which I do endlessly. This undoubtedly makes for more work and takes me longer to “finish” something, but it seems to be the best, the only, way for me. It is the candy bar just out of reach that keeps me at the keyboard.
My background illustrates my chaotic approach to life. I have been at different stages a pharmacist, a pharmacologist, a tech writer, a programmer/analyst, a business consultant, a business owner, a teacher, a novelist and a screenwriter. At one time I thought it perfectly acceptable, if not desirable, to change jobs/professions every year or so. I didn’t worry about the future, assuming I would always find a way to muddle through.
I’m still muddling through.

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Reviews

Review by: louise mcdougal on Aug. 21, 2011 : star star star star star
Sinkhole is an amazing short story that is a gripping scary ride the reader takes with a young woman called Angela. Initially there is fear for her safety as she hears a voice coaxing her into the hole that suddenly appears. You want to tell her not to listen but are at the same time intrigued enough to wonder what story the hole needs to tell. John Brinling does, once again, a superb job of keeping the reader in suspense and turning pages. I don't want to spoil the fun for new readers of Mr. Brinling's stories by sharing any more about the hole's secret. The outcome of Angela's scary adventure in that hole is worth the wait. Does justice prevail? Read the story and see for yourself. It does not disappoint.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: dag64 on Aug. 18, 2011 : star star star star star
I very much enjoyed "Sinkhole: A Short Story"! I'm a big chicken when it comes to creepy, horror type books, I really enjoy them but I can get spooked pretty easily. I didn't find this to be a "leave the lights on" type of spooky horror story. Instead, as odd as it sounds, it was one that left you with a good feeling. Don't get me wrong, there was plenty of suspense as the story unfolds that kept me turning the pages as I was trying to figure out what/who was talking to Angela from within the sinkhole. That's all I'm going to say about the story because I don't want to spoil it for anyone, so if you want to find out what/who was talking to Angela and how a horror book can leave you with a good feeling, you're just going to have to pick up a copy and read it for yourself! :)
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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