Thursday, January 20, 2022

It was then that my ear caught the first interruption.



If, by some lucky, unforeseen twist of events, I were to find myself in her presence ever again, which I doubted, I would probably freeze, not knowing what to say. I was a nobody, and she—a star. Unreachable. Glamorous. There could be no connection between us, except through her music. It would illuminate my life and at the same time, deepen its shadows, giving full meaning to what I felt, in joy and in pain. Such is the power of a muse.
I leaned over the radio, eager to hear, ready to find delight in what she was bringing my way. I was hoping to grasp every note before the battery would run out of power and go dead.
It was then that my ear caught the first interruption. From a distant radio at one side of the building, a CBS anchorman broke in. At the beginning of the sentence his voice was still subtle, but by the end it became amplified into a blare. 
“We interrupt this special news bulletin...”
Before I could cry, “Hey! You deaf? Lower the volume, down there,” a second interruption occurred at the other side and a third one right here, out of Aaron’s radio. In place of the music, which came to a strange halt after just a couple of notes, a deep, resonant voice said, “We interrupt,” which was echoed once over, “We interrupt...”
Struggling not to become downright emotional, it trembled now on the airwaves from three different distances, to deliver the same grave message. 
“The Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, by air. Details are not available. They will be, in a few minutes.”
I caught my breath. The cook came running through the corridor, and several other guys gathered around him, all in shock.
"What did they say?”
“What do they mean?”
“Where is Pearl Harbor?”
“Should we do something?"
"Well, we're in it now,” said the cook, and to my surprise he added, “We cannot let Japan get away with this."
“Let's whoop them,” said one. 
“Yes,” said another. “Let's whoop them."
Meanwhile I was flipping stations on the radio, trying desperately to learn some details about what happened. The reports were vague, all except one. A reporter for KGU radio climbed to the roof of the Advertiser Building in downtown Honolulu, microphone in hand, and called the NBC Blue Network on the phone, with the first eyewitness account of the attack. 
“This battle has been going on for nearly three hours... It's no joke, it's a real war,” he said. 
Then his voice was cut off. 
My heart was racing—no, it was running the gauntlet of emotions, stricken by disbelief, confusion, fear, guilt, and most of all, profound sadness. I had never thought that anyone would dare attack the United States. Now I was wondering what was to come and how it would affect us, how this would affect America as we knew it.
I thought about the dead, and asked myself how many lives would be lost before this was all over. 
Feeling lucky for staying behind, on safe ground, and at the same time blaming myself for it, I slapped my hands over my face and there, there was my friend, Aaron. He was, at this moment, on the other side of the world, but I felt his presence awakening in me, in the darkness of the palms of my hands. First he winked at me, as if to ask what’s a little joke between friends, and I shouldn’t ask him any questions for now, because he wasn’t prepared to answer, not yet.
Then he turned away from me, and in a snap, a strange thing began to happen: as if I came to be in his skin I shivered in fright, and saw it all through his eyes. 
What I saw was a vision of the battleship where he was stationed, which was one of our eight battleships under attack. The USS Arizona, which used to be the symbol of our national might, of our naval dominance, was now engulfed in flames. 
Falling into it through the black clouds of smoke was a bomb. It was coming with a shriek, and when it hit, for a split second there was no air. 
Then sparks came raining down, all the way down through the hollowed floors. They hit the ammunition, then the gasoline, and soon the whole place caught on fire. The blaze roared with such maddening intensity in my head that I paid no attention to the silence, the sudden silence on Aaron’s radio. Its battery must have run out of power. It was dead. 


The Music of Us

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"Lyrical, musical, and hauntingly genuine, told in a voice that ages convincingly and loves completely, The Music Of Us lingers beautifully in the mind, long after the story's told, and is a truly great read." 
Sheila Deeth, Author, Top Amazon Reviewer, Vine Voice

I must get to school, must find the child, must save him. Before it’s too late.



Releasing myself—even with the key in my possession—is easier said than done, because the shackle is holding my elbow up behind me, which forces me to contort my body in a strange acrobatic feat while dangling from the chain, in order to reach the key lock. But somehow, the urgent need to escape the blaze sends a charge of adrenaline through me. I twist around despite the spinal pain, catch the lock, and push the key into it.

It unlocks.

I’m free.

And blocked by fire.

Until now, it’s been playful, flaring, leaping into a shower of sparks in the center of the room, where it’s consumed the heap of papers. Nothing remains of them but glittering ash. At this point, the flames blaze into a hungry inferno, chasing me as I leap out from under the closet rod and run around the room along the array of targets, all of which are riddled by bullet holes.

Through the gathering smoke, I hurl myself down the spiral staircase with a speed I never thought was in me. I slip down, swinging around the central industrial pole that holds the treads. It feels hot to the touch, but I ignore my scorched skin and pay little attention to the burnt smell of my hair. 

I must act fast, or Timmy will not make it.

At the bottom step, I stumble over Mrs. Gore’s body. She is crumpled in a strange, unnatural position. No breath, no pulse. By the flicker of light, I see my cellphone lying next to her mangled legs. I’m not sure if it still works, after being banged, kicked about and thrown down here by my captor. 

I grab it anyway and climb through the hole, out of the broken wall and into my living room. As I roll across the floor, trying to extinguish the fire that has caught my hair, I hear three things: my dog, barking in the backyard. Sirens, coming closer. And my cellphone, buzzing.

It’s the sheriff officer, Joe Miller. With shaking hands, I answer.

“Thank God,” he says. “Where were you? I’ve been calling—”

“Didn’t you get my distress call?” I ask, choked by the bitter smell of burnt things.

“Distress call?” he repeats, in astonishment. “No, never got it. Why, what happened?”

“Paul.”

“What d’you mean? What about him?”

“Paul, he took Timmy,” I stammer, “and he’s heading to Clearwater High School, and he has a gun—”

“You sure?” says Joe. “I’m asking because—this is what I’ve been calling to tell you—we already have the school shooter in custody—”

“No!” I scream. “You don’t!”

“What d’you mean, I don’t?”

“Whoever you have in custody is a fake. Listen, listen to me! Paul is about to start another shooting spree if you don’t stop him. He’s just killed my landlady, too—”

“Okay,” says the officer. “Got it. We’re coming, right now.”

“And,” I stress, “Timmy is with him. So you be careful. You must make sure the child is not hurt, in any way—”

“Understood. It’s an emergency.”

“Yes, it is.”

“We’re on the way.”


Meanwhile, the sirens outside rise to an alarming peak. Through the window, I see the tires of three firetrucks grind to a halt near the curb. Within seconds, my entrance door pops open—but to get out, I’ll have to push my way through the firefighters, who are pouring into the place in helmets fitted with heat resistant eye-shields and goggles, extrication gloves, and boots. 

They break open the entire wall, because the hole in it is too small for them. There, under the black puff of smoke, they discover Mrs. Gore’s body. By now, it is already charred. A couple of them load her remains on a stretcher, then carry it out. The rest start climbing up with thick hoses to douse the fire.

I don’t stay to watch it being extinguished, nor do I wait for first aid. I must get to school, must find the child, must save him.

Before it’s too late. 



Overkill

(Volume II of Ash Suspense Thrillers with a Dash of Romance)

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A secret room, a stalker, a missing boy and a schoolyard shooting lead to a nail-biter of a conclusion that will leave you gasping for breath as Poznansky spins a tale of intrigue, tragedy and pure evil that might cause you to reconsider turning the lights out at night. 
A must for thriller fans.
~Aurora Dawn, Audible reviewer

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

I used to think that my youth was to blame for failing to understand my wives

 

A long time ago, I used to think that my youth was to blame for failing to understand my wives. No longer can I use that excuse, because I know all too well, there is no youth in me anymore. Which leaves me as baffled as ever, especially when it comes to the one woman I adore: Bathsheba. 

When I catch her scent, or even when I imagine it, something in me turns to liquid. Then, trying to harden my heart and remove her from my mind I find myself confused, and the rage in me intensifies, perhaps because I cannot remember the last time I have seen her. Alas, the distance between us seems to expand in so many ways with each passing year. 

So imagine my surprise this morning, when I wake up to the soft sound of her footfalls, which makes me turn my eyes to the wall to try, to catch sight of her reflection. There it is, moving fluidly across the blade, the wide, polished blade of Goliath’s sword which is hung in my chamber, right here over my head. 

First Bathsheba throws open the window, letting in a cold morning breeze. As if to tell me that this is already autumn, a smell of dry leaves wafts in. The silk curtains start swishing as they sway, they billow wildly around her, blotting and redrawing the curves of her silhouette, which in a blink, brings back to me the fullness of her figure back then, when she was expecting our first child. I remember the way I held her in my arms that hot summer evening, right there by that window. Together, we looked out at the last glimmer of the sun, sinking. 

  

A Peek at Bathsheba

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"Told in Poznansky's distinctive style, the story is a lyrical delight, granting David a frank honesty the Old Testament never would have dared and interweaving brief passages of the original text with the author's eloquent, entrancing style. This is a David you won't find in the Bible and a kingdom that sometimes feels almost modern."
Aurora Dawn, Audible Reviewer

Friday, January 14, 2022

At the moment, there is no better place to hide



Ed lies still on the sidewalk, his eyelids open but unflinching. The only thing about him that moves are the lapels of his corduroy coat, flapping slightly this way and that across his neck as the wind floats chilly feelers over his body.
Timmy gasps—but his eyes are not tearful, not yet. In that second, when time slows, the driver side door is swaying with an annoying noise. With each squeak, the child takes a gulp of air as if about to ask, “Dad, will you get up? Will you grab the door handle?”
No blood is visible, at first. So, I too allow myself to wonder: Will Ed climb back into his seat, dust off his shoulders, and wave goodbye to his son, before driving away?
I expect him to do so. Almost.
Until another round of gunshots blasts the air. 
Without even thinking, I push Timmy down to the asphalt, which is quite easy because he’s such a skinny child and utterly in shock. Then I land hard on my elbows beside him and push a hand against his chest until he crawls backwards, until he butts against his father’s car. It casts a shadow over him. At the moment, there is no better place to hide.
Up on the pavement, a short distance from us, blood starts puddling around Ed’s shoulder. I try to block Timmy from seeing it. 
He shakes his head, still in disbelief. 
Please, God, no. This can’t be true.
Everything around us is in a state of utter confusion. The sidewalk is strewn with abandoned backpacks, as some pupils are running for their lives. Others cower behind a bush or a car. One uses his flimsy umbrella as a shield. 
A teacher cries out to him, “Duck!” 
And another teacher, by the gate of the school, yells, “Run! Get inside! Get down, crawl under your desks! And for Heaven’s sake, stay away from the windows!”
A couple of parents attempt getting out of their cars to pull their children to safety, but at the sound of shooting they drop to their knees with empty arms.
Next to me, Timmy turns onto his stomach, mashes his nose against the tire, and wedges himself, somehow, between the curb and the Ford. Then he crawls under it toward the rear bumper, making room for me, too. 
I try to cock my head up from the damp surface. Looking at the scene from under the belly of a car is a whole different experience. Someone stands at the other side of the car, and all I can see is his sneakers, socks, and the hem of his coat, flaring at its bottom. Also, the muzzle of his gun. For a heartbeat, before dark clouds close in, it glints in the sunlight. 
I reach over and clamp a hand over Timmy’s mouth to prevent him from screaming, from drawing the killer’s attention. A hail of bullets rains down, sparking off the front bumper. 
Timmy tenses up. His breath trembles as it escapes my touch. I must protect him. I must bring him back safely to his mother. 
The edge of the curb gouges into my back. I adjust, I turn over. Now it presses against my belly. 
I must not lose this child, either.
Now, the killer kicks the grill of the car, then jams his weapon, hard, into the front window. I know it by seeing only one of his feet on the ground and by the sound of cracking. It reverberates all over as the car shakes. Shards of glass come pinging against the asphalt and stab at my fingers. 
Why is he wasting his time—at the risk of being identified, or even caught—on an empty car, when all around us, juicier targets come into his view?
The first police patrol car tears around the intersection, lights and sirens screaming. It screeches to a halt. A second car follows suit, then a third. Officers file out of both of them, weapons drawn. 
Would he shoot at them? 


Overkill

(Volume II of Ash Suspense Thrillers with a Dash of Romance)

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"This is a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, but it will also tear at your heart.." 
~Jan Romes, Author

Thursday, January 13, 2022

When tears well in your eyes, I will kiss them dry

 I wish I could lie here forever, by her side, but it’s time to get up. First I turn on the radio. A song is playing, and it is so beautiful, so poignant, such a fitting note to accentuate what I feel, to bring about a possible conclusion to the highs and lows of the music of us.


In times of sorrow, when you sigh

When tears well in your eyes

I will kiss them dry

I’m on your side

You’re not alone, no need to cry

Between us there is no divide


If you’re in trouble, if you stumble and fall 

I will help you rise

If you happen to falter, if you crawl

I will help you rise


I put my pants on, go to the kitchen, fill a small pot with water and bring it to a boil for the eggs. Meanwhile I squeeze grapefruit juice into two glasses and wait for the two slices of bread to pop out of the toaster. I set two plates on the table, one on each side of the crystal vase. It is the same vase her Pa bought for her Mama to mark their anniversary a generation ago. 

I had been too drained to think about it until last night, when on a whim I bought a bouquet of fresh flowers in lovely hues of white, pink, and purple. Why did I do it? Perhaps for old times’ sake. By now I have stopped hoping to surprise my wife with such frivolities, because she pays little attention, lately, to the things I do. So for no one in particular I stand over the thing, rearranging the orchids, spray roses, and Asiatic lilies as best I can, to create an overall shape of a dome. 

And then—then, in a blink—I find myself startled by a footfall behind me. A heartbeat later I hear her voice, saying, “Lenny?”

I turn around to meet her eyes. My God, this morning they are not only lucid but also shining with joy.

In a gruff voice, choked, suddenly, with tears, I ask her, “What is it, dear?”

And she says, “Don’t forget.”

“What, Natashinka?”

“I love you.”

Spreading my arms open I stand there, speechless for a moment. Without a word she steps into them. We snuggle, my chin over her head. She presses it to my bare chest. I comb through her hair with my fingers. And once again, we are one.

Then she points at the vase.

“For you,” I say. “Looks like some old painting, doesn’t it?”

“Still life,” she whispers. “With memories.”

Then Natasha lifts her eyes, hanging them on my lips as if to demand something of me, something that has been on her mind for quite a while. Somehow I can guess it. She is anticipating an answer, which I cannot give. 

Instead I kiss her. She embraces me but her eyes are troubled, and the question remains.

“Without the memories,” she asks, “is it still life?”




The Music of Us

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The atmosphere of the 1940s is beautifully portrayed, and on a secondary level only to the (mostly) unrequited love story, it was my next treasured experience while reading this book. I loved the sounds and sights of the era, the music, the cars, and the lifestyles so well depicted. It was a fascinating dip into the life of those dynamic times.
~Aaron P. Lazar, author and Audible listener

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

A work of music

 A short and sweet review for my WWII love story, The Music of Us:


Reviewed in the United States on December 19, 2021
This book plays itself out like a beautiful work of music. The characters are so smitten with each other that their story takes on a life of its own.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Trust me, it is with a heavy heart that I must kill you



Then he pulls open a drawer and takes out a small bottle, filled with pills. I strain my eyes to read the label, but from where I’m sitting, it’s a bit too far.

Kabir casts a sly look at me. His lips curl, as if he’s about to tell some joke. “This is the single most prescribed psychiatric medication in the U.S. I ought to know, not only because I am a medical professional and not only because I married into a family that owns a pharmaceutical company but also because of my wife. She passed away because of it. Overdose, you know.”

Kabir takes a pause, perhaps to see if I would ask anything about her death. I don’t. Why upset him? What’s at risk at this point is my own life! 

A moment later, he pivots to an entirely different subject. In his professional tone, he asks, “Are you pregnant, or plan to become pregnant?”

“Not anytime soon!” I gasp, somewhat in shock. “Why?”

“Because.” He shakes the bottle to a loud rattle. “Your pills are about to run out.”

“Pills? What pills?”

“Xanax.” 

He steps closer to me and raises the bottle to my unbelieving eyes. The name, printed on the label in bold letters, is mine. 

“What? That can’t be!” I cry. “I’m not on any medication, let alone this—”

“You’ve been taking it for months, to treat your anxiety.”

“Oh no, I haven’t—”

“Why try to deny it?” Kabir laughs in my face. “You seem to be in panic, even now!”

About that, he’s right. But the only cure for my dread is for him to let me go, which is doubtful, or for me to find a way around him, which is far-fetched. 

Kabir crushes a bunch of pills into a small heap of powder, transfers it to a glass, and pours some wine into it, all in plain view, as if wanting to show me the method of my own demise.

I can’t afford to give him what he seems to want: the pleasure of seeing how scared I am. 

He swirls the wine about, then raises it to my nose, so I may smell its aroma. “I’m happy to hear you’re not expecting a baby.” His tone is loaded with sarcasm. “I wouldn’t want it to suffer any ill-effects, once you have your little drink.”

I brace myself into being stubborn. “You can’t force me.”

“You know I can.” He coughs up a sharp laugh. “And then, there would be no more need to have this prescription renewed.”

What I want—even more than a chance to save myself—is to give the doctor a taste of his own medicine.

In a heartbeat, my hands turn clammy. “I don’t know what I did to deserve this.” 

He growls, “Sure you do! You’ve been asking too many questions about me, about my trip to India years ago, and about the woman I married there. No one gets to do all that and live to tell the tale.”

I hesitate to ask, “Not even your wife?”

“Especially not her.”

“What about me?” I ask, already knowing the answer. “Am I going to survive the night?”

“Trust me, it is with a heavy heart that I must kill you.” Kabir comes closer, strokes my chin. “Such a beauty.” For a second, his eyes seem sad, almost. “Such a waste.”



By popular demand, all three thrillers in one box!
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"I am a devoted fan of Uvi Poznansky, and keep coming back to her wonderful books. In Ash Suspense Thrillers are three gripping novels all in one, each suspenseful with a wonderful, courageous young character who will stay with you."
J.A. Schneider, Author