Sunday, May 21, 2017

Making Freedom Fighter: The Surprising Superhero With A Surprise Ending!

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s been a long time coming, but the first full story arc of Freedom Fighter is now available for purchase!  With the release of Freedom Fighter #4 from Insane Comics last month, it’s all out there and ready for you to divulge!  If you’re one who hasn’t got a copy yet, here’s the link: Click Here

The task of getting Freedom Fighter onto the page has been a long and at times an uncertain one.  Not exactly sure, but best guess is eight years ago, AJ Fulcher and I met online and pretty much instantly, a friendship in making comics was born.  We were both novices (still consider myself so) and we knew just enough about the business of making comics to be dangerous.  Sadly, I don’t know how Freedom Fighter was truly conceived.  I remember we wanted to create a superhero book, and we wanted to build a history with the character.  I’ve always liked conspiracies, so wanting to do something along those lines clearly had something to do with Freedom Fighter’s creative birth.  At the time, AJ and I had both considered the book to just be a practice book; something to get our feet wet.  We figured we would break out with something much bigger in the future; but as we built our story and creative team, Freedom Fighter took on a life of his own.  When I finished the first drafts of the scripts I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out.  It tuned into something much more exciting and original than I had expected for a superhero story.  Weird, right?  Shortly afterwards, AJ finished the character designs; at that point it was clear that Freedom Fighter was more real than we had anticipated he would ever be.  He was there to stay.

Obviously, we thought that our book was going to be great at that point, but the big question was: Would we be able to convince anyone else that they should check it out?  Reality was sinking in, and we realized that an Indie Super Hero comic book was going to be a hard sell.  There are so many bigger mainstream options out there, there was no doubt our little practice book would be swallowed up.  But once again Freedom Fighter was destined to surprise us.  We submitted Freedom Fighter #1 to nine publishers at first (Three of which were bigger publishers that were most likely out of our meager reach).  About a month later, Freedom Fighter was picked up by Outpouring Comics.  AJ and I felt like we had made it.  We were going to be published comic book creators.  And just as amazing, Freedom Fighter was going to see print. 

A few more months passed and we were knee deep in promoting the release of Freedom Fighter #1!  It was an amazing feeling to have a printed copy of our character’s book in our hands.  And the feeling was only amplified by the fact that we had a team of people inside out publisher’s company that were supporting us and helping us push the book out there.  The whole experience was extremely satisfying.  But even with a great publisher helping us promote the book, AJ and I still didn’t know if we were making the impact we needed to.  I had promoted my books in the past to book sellers and readers on the internet, but selling a comic book felt like an entirely different animal.  But more on promoting later…

Outpouring Comics took our book to several shows in the course of our time with them.  In all honesty, I had low expectations of how the book would perform; I wanted to keep them that way in case of a massive failure.  But once again, Freedom Fighter pulled his surprising tricks.  Sales were great!  Better than great, the publisher informed us that Freedom Fighter was one of its top 3 sellers in print!  And to ice the cake, Freedom Fighter #1 held the number 3 spot on for digital sales!  Talk about feeling on top of the world!  How was that for a surprise?!  Alas it’s true what they say:  The higher you are, the further you have to fall.

I wasn’t ready for what would happen next.  We were gearing up for the release of Freedom Fighter #2 which was less than a week away.  I’d scheduled appearances to a few cons in the near future, and ordered plenty of copies of Freedom Fighter #1 to stock up.  Out of nowhere, (No Warning Signs, Period!) I get a call from our publisher.  He explains to me that they are changing the direction of their company to publishing books of their own creations, rather than everyone else’s.  Long story short, Freedom Fighter, along with a handful of other books, would be dropped from their roster.  Yeah, that happened!

I felt betrayed, left out in the rain, screwed over.  There’re a lot of euphemisms that I could use to describe my feelings of the situation, but I think you get the point.  The question was, how was I going to handle it?  Certainly, cursing the publisher and going public wasn’t a great option; it wasn’t going to help my situation, it was only going to make us look like some unprofessional whining babies.  Perhaps we had grounds to sue, but for what?  The minimal cost of the books I had preordered?  The cost of my show passes?  Emotional distress?  Was a legal battle really going to be worth it?  No.  AJ and I decided that it was best to dust off our feet and move forward, and that’s exactly what we did.  But where would forward take us?

Re-submitting Freedom Fighter to other independent publishers seemed like a dead end to both of us.  It wasn’t long ago that we were realizing that an Indy Superhero book was tough sell, and on top of that, what publisher was going to pick up a book that had apparently been dropped by another publisher?  That being said, we sent out about a dozen more submissions for the hell of it.  In the meantime, AJ and I had decided that self-publishing Freedom Fighter was our best option.

For the next few weeks we worked on page formatting and placement building the print files for Freedom Fighter from scratch.  We worked out the numbers, and it appeared to be most profitable and suitable to publish the entire story as a graphic novel.  It wasn’t what we preferred, but it was what made the most sense.  After finally formatting the book to our liking, we sent the file to be proofed.  There was nothing more to do but wait.  It would take a few days before we heard back from the printer, even so, I checked my email daily hoping to find the final proof ready.  What I found instead was that Freedom Fighter had yet another surprise in store!

Opening my email one afternoon, I found that Insane Comics, a fairly new publisher that was making big waves in the industry, was interested in publishing Freedom Fighter.  After answering a few questions and a little back and forth through email, Freedom Fighter had found a new home!  Insane, right!?  And as it turns out, it was the perfect home.

We’ve now published Freedom Fighter #1 - #4 with Insane Comics.  I’ve attended two comic cons with the publisher, and have tables reserved at a few shows later this year to promote the book.  We’re also talking about putting together a Trade Paperback of the first story arc which will include a ton of extras!  More on that later…  But Freedom Fighter in TBP form will open several other sales platforms for the book which is nothing short of super!  And get this, later this year we’re expected to release Freedom Fighter #5!  That’s right, surprising us once again, this little indie superhero practice book has warranted a second story arc, at least!  Surprised?  I’m not anymore.  In fact, I think Freedom Fighter is going to be turning a lot more heads in the very near future.  Let’s see what else this little book that could has up its sleeves!

Read on…

Follow and Like Freedom Fighter on Facebook! 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

ENTER THE HERO: It's finally finished!

After nearly seven years of hard work, the artwork for the final page of my graphic novel, Enter The Hero, is finished.  Huge congratulations to Simon Butler, the artist who pulled off the 135 page, full-color feat with the many personal struggles he had along the way.  Now off to editing, and some polishing up.  Won't be long till Arcana Comics is shooting this puppy through their printer and sending it out to the many comic book shelves across the country.  I'll post more updates as we have them.  Hopefully, it won't be another seven years till he gets here!


Sunday, March 16, 2014

FREE: Download Becoming Mortal gods to your Kindle today!

Just a quick post here; I want to make sure I get the word out that my book, Becoming Mortal gods, is available for FREE to download today through Thursday from

Here's the link:

I'm trying to generate reviews for my book, so if you can help in any way, even if you just share this post, please do.  Thank you!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

This Blogging Thing...

So, I know, you don't have to tell me, but this blogging thing is not really my cup of tea.  It's hard to come up with things to write about often enough to post on here.  Plus, I want the posts that I put here to have some kind of purpose or meaning; I don't want to write posts like this one, just to be posting something on my blog.  I've had a lot going on for the past year, (writing, reading, starting a new business, fathering...) so maybe I've just been too busy.  Well, we're already a month and a half into this new year, and this is my fist post.  Maybe I'll get better, maybe I won't.  Maybe I'll drink another.  Only time will tell.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Short Story: A Black Hole Ate My Homework

Time for another short story.  This one I wrote rather quickly.  Hope you enjoy!  Tell your friends.

A Black Hole Ate My Homework
By:  Michael Heitkemper

“You had all of last week to finish this project, Brian,” my World History teacher, Mr. Thindle, said to me.  He wanted to make sure my humiliation was well received.  Everyone in the classroom stared at me as they handed in their own essays.  “So where is it?  Where is your homework?”
I took a deep breath because I knew that what I was about to tell him was going to be hard for him to swallow.  
“It could be anywhere by now; another dimension maybe?” I said.
There were a few giggles amongst the class.  Most in the class knew that I was a bit of a joker, but I’m sure they didn’t know where I was going with this one9. 
“Quiet!” Mr. Thindle snapped. 
Mr. Thindle looked at me with a frustrated stare.  He knew that he was about to hear one heck of an excuse from me; it wasn’t going to be the first time.  I had already filled his ear with many tall tales that year.  Only this time, he had no idea of the doozy I had in store for him.  And this time, it wasn’t just an excuse; it was the truth.
“Well Brian, let’s hear it?” Mr. Thindle said.  
“I had the paper done.  Really.  I was actually finished with it before the weekend,” I said.  “But something happened Sunday morning…”

…I had just gotten up.  I came downstairs to the living room and flipped on the TV.  There wasn’t anything on; there’s never anything to watch on Sunday.   While trying to accept the fact that nothing enjoyable was on TV, I noticed my homework paper lying on the coffee table in front of me.  I had a good feeling of accomplishment seeing that paper there.  I really felt good that for once I had finished my homework ahead of time.  I had the whole day to do whatever I wanted.  The sky was the limit. 
A few hours later, the clock reached noon.  I was still on the couch, in the clothes that I had slept in, watching ridiculously old movies that I had absolutely no interest in watching.  It was going to be the typical Sunday.
“Brian, you’re not going to sit there all day are you?” my mom interrupted my stasis.
“Don’t know.”
“Your father and I are going out to the mall.  Do you want to come with us?”
“Hmm, cruising the mall with my parents?  No thank you.”
Soon, my dad entered the room. 
“Since you’re going to be hanging around here all day, don’t forget to drag the trash cans out to the end of the drive.”
“Ugh,” I moaned.  We lived out in the middle of nowhere, and our driveway was like a half mile long.  Ever since my dad traded his truck for his mid-life crisis sports car, taking out the trash was terrible. 
My parents left and I returned to my lazy slouch.  It was one-thirty.  I was still on the couch, and there was still nothing new on TV.  But my day had only begun.
For no reason at all, a large hanging photo frame fell down and smacked the floor.  It startled me.  When I realized what had happened, I really became bothered.
“Ahh, man.”  I started to think of the ways that my parents were going to blame this on my carelessness.  They would probably assume I was throwing my football in the house again.  Who could blame them though?  I was the poster child of carelessness.
I walked over to the wall where the picture had fallen.  Luckily the glass in the frame wasn’t broken.  The nail that was holding the frame had just pulled out of the wall.  There was a piece of drywall, about two inches wide, barely hanging on by its paper layer.  It must have chipped out when the nail pulled out.  I pressed the hanging piece back into place, but I must have pressed to hard.  The piece instead disappeared into the darkness inside the wall making a strange suction like sound.  THWOOP!  Now the hole was about two inches around.
Several swear words came to mind.  I should have just left well enough alone.
I started to think of the best way to fix the situation.  The frame was not broken; why not just hang it back up.  It could hang a few inches higher and cover the hole.  No one would ever know.
I grabbed a hammer and nail from the garage.  And in seconds, I had a new nail ready to hang from.  I held the frame up to the wall, hooked the wire on the nail and slowly laid it back against the wall.  As the back of the frame neared the wall, I started to feel something; as if there was some sort of vacuum pulling the frame closer.  As I let the back of the frame touch the wall, I again heard the strange noise.  THWOOP.
Confused, I pulled the frame away from the wall.  There was a very light resistance.  I unhooked the wire, and then laid the frame safely on the floor.  I felt around the edge of the hole.  I could feel a draft; like air was being sucked into it.  I cupped my hand over hole, covering it completely.  THWOOP.  There was a strong suction holding my hand against the wall.  I pulled my hand away. 
What could this be?  Why was there some kind of vacuum inside the wall? 
I placed my hand near the hole again.  I could feel the air pulling around my palm.  It was insane.  I had to get to the bottom of it.
After a quick run to the hall closet, I came back with a flashlight.  I shined the light into the hole, but all I could see was darkness.  I was frustrated with those results, so I decided to dig deeper. 
I started to break away small parts of the drywall with my hand.  I opened the hole up piece by piece, each being sucked right into the wall like the first one.  Before long, I had opened a hole in the wall the size of my head.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I should have been able to see the back of the drywall from the opposite wall, but it wasn’t there.  Instead, there was only a swirling black circle of darkness.  I don’t know how else to explain it; but there was a miniature black hole inside my living room wall.
The hole was only about eight inches in diameter.  The swirling circle of darkness was an unnatural thing to look at.
I didn’t know what to do.  I mean, who do you call for something like that?  A scientist?  The idea of calling 911 crossed my mind for a minute, but I wondered if there was really any true emergency.  It wasn’t like the black hole was trying to eat me.
I decided to experiment.  I grabbed the first thing that I saw, my dad’s hammer.  I held the hammer about six inches away from the black hole.  I could feel the suction and it was much stronger now that the drywall around it was peeled away.  I let go of the hammer handle, and as fast as I could blink, the hammer was sucked inside.  THWOOP.
Where did the hammer go?  I didn’t know, and I didn’t really care.  The only thing going through my mind was, “What else can I stuff inside this thing?”
The first thing to come to mind was really a no brainer for me.  There was no way I was going to drag those trash cans out to the street.  So I drug them inside instead.  One piece of trash at a time, I tossed each into the swirling black hole, all with a smile on my face.  Plastic wrappers, milk jugs, egg cartons; THWOOP! THWOOP! THWOOP!  It all went in without a problem and like everything else that goes into a black hole; it all seemed to disappear from existence.  I’ll admit, I was having fun with it.  So much fun, that I failed to notice that the hole was getting larger with every piece of trash that I fed it.  The hole started to grow larger than the hole that I had made in the drywall.  And as its sized increased, it would consume more of the drywall around it.
I was down to the last bag of trash.  I held the last bag, and gauged it by eye to be about the same size as the now almost three foot wide black hole.  I decided to have fun with this one.  I stepped back from the hole.  I held the bag tightly by the draw strings and started to swing it around staring at my target.  Finally, I flung the bag toward the hole.  It was a direct hit, but my gauging was apparently a little shy.  The bag was too big for the hole, and it became lodged in the wall.
I stepped over to the hole, and gave the bag a good push, but it wouldn’t budge.  So I grabbed the bag the best I could and tried to pull, but it was no use.  The vacuum had too strong of a hold on the bag.  I could hear the sound of air whistling around the bag from the suction.
I grabbed a broom from the closet and used the handle as a battering ram, pushing the bag into the hole.  I could tell that I was making progress.  The sound of the hissing vacuum was getting louder and louder.  Finally, all at once, the bag zipped into the hole.  PHWOOSH!
I tried to smile about my accomplishment.  The hole was unplugged, and the bag was gone.  But something was wrong.  The hole was different.
The black hole was more than four feet wide now.  It started to make a swooshing noise that was coming from deep within it.  And though I was standing more than six feet away from the hole, I could still feel the vacuum of it.  The air in the living room started to swirl from the black hole’s vacuum that was growing stronger and stronger.  I knew that I had a real emergency then, and it was far too late to call 911.
The curtains over the windows were streaming toward the hole.  And with one quick snap, the rod gave out and they too were sucked in.  It was as if with every item the hole consumed, the hole would grow larger and stronger.  Soon, as the deep swooshing sound turned into a growl, even the furniture on the floor started to rattle across the floor toward the hole of swirling darkness. 
I dodged one of the sections of our sectional couch as it slid across the floor toward the black hole.  I made it to the other side of the room where I could barely feel the vacuum.  I pressed my back against the wall, trying to stay out of the way of the chaos.  The couch flipped up on its side and pressed against the wall where the black hole had formed.  It was too wide to be pulled into the hole. 
I didn’t know what to do.  I didn’t know if there was anything that could be done.  But I knew that it was only a matter of time before the black hole grew so large that it would consume the entire house.  And who knew then if it would ever stop growing or consuming.
In one sudden second, the couch cracked, and then snapped in half.  Each half of the couch was instantly sucked into the black hole and devoured forever.  But then something happened.  The black hole shuttered and the swooshing turned to a growl.  For a second, the hole looked like it was collapsing in on itself.  It was as if the large couch was too much for the black hole to handle.  I came up with a plan.
I rushed back into the swirling winds in my living room.  I got behind the center section of the couch and gave it a heavy shove.  That was all it took before the vacuum took over.  The center section of the couch hit the rim of the black hole and was stuck for only a second.  But then, like the last piece it too was sucked into oblivion.  Again, just as I had hoped, the black hole reacted like it was going to fall apart. 
Before the hole could recover, I shoved the final piece of the couch toward the hole.  As the final piece of the couch was pulled in, the black hole started to loose it’s perfect round shape.  It became oblong and distorted.  Even the vacuum in the room seemed to be getting weaker.  I figured that one more hit just might kill it. 
I gave the coffee table a good shove.  The slowing vacuum pulled the coffee table closer and closer.  Then, just like everything else, it was gone. 
The black hole started to bellow and burp.  Its swirling motion slowed and slowed, until it finally stopped.  Instantly, the vacuum inside the room was gone.  I watched the black hole sit still and motionless for a few seconds before the outer rim of it began to shrink toward the inside.  After another moment, the black hole had disappeared completely.  The danger and everything that it had consumed was gone forever.

“And your essay paper?” Mr. Thindle asked.
“It was on the coffee table,” I replied.  “I didn’t really have time to save it.”
“Of course not,” Mr. Thindle nodded in a mocking way.
I looked around the classroom.  I could tell that no one believed my story.  But from their smiles, I could tell that most all of them had enjoyed it. 
“So, Brian, if I understand you correctly, you don’t have your essay paper because of unfortunate events in which you were quite possibly saving the world?” Mr. Thindle said.
The class chuckled.  Who could blame them?  Not me.  But I was about to make them eat every giggle.
I pulled a slip of paper from one of my folders, and carried it to the front of the classroom where Mr. Thindle was standing. 
“Is that your essay?” Mr. Thindle asked as I handed the paper to him.
“No,” I replied. 
Mr. Thindle examined the paper from top to bottom.  I could tell his genuine shock from his expression.
“It’s a letter from Homeland Security requesting that you excuse my missing essay paper, and thanking me for my quick thinking in the catastrophe that I was faced with,” I said. 
Mr. Thindle didn’t say a word.  I’m sure Mr. Thindle was questioning the authenticity of the document; however, I think the signatures at the bottom were enough to convince him. 
“You’re welcome,” I said.  And then, I returned to my seat.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A cover for Powerless...

So, over the past couple months, I've been trying to revamp my short stories.  I've realized that as I'm trying to sell some of them as ebooks, I really need to have some covers made up.  Here's the first one for my short story, Powerless.  A great artist named, Cem Iroz, created an entire cover jacket.

Powerless is now available as an ebook HERE, And in print HERE.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Short Story: The Orchard

I guess it's time to post another one of my short stories; guess it's been a while since I've posted anything here.  Well, without further delay, here is the horror of THE ORCHARD.  Enjoy!

             The prosecutor paced the courtroom.  He gave the judge a quick nod.  He then looked at the jury, sizing them up.  Finally, he looked at me, sitting on the witness stand.
“Miss Rika, you are on trial for the murder of your former employer, Johnston Ryan,” the prosecutor began.  “Would you please tell the jury your position at the Ryan Orchard?”
“I was the senior orchard keeper,” I nervously answered. 
“How did you obtain that position?”
“My father had been the orchard keeper for many years before me.  He started work there as a young boy.  He lived and breathed for that orchard.” 
Talking about daddy seemed to calm my nerves a little.
“Could you please tell the jury what happened to your father?” 
Suddenly, talking about daddy wasn't comforting anymore, “He died.”
“Please tell the jury where he died.” 
“Objection!” My lawyer demanded as he stood up.  “Relevance, you Honor?”
The prosecutor was quick to defend his question.  “Your Honor, Miss Rika’s defense depends on the history of her father.  It’s only fair that I am given the opportunity to contradict it.”
“I’ll allow it,” the judge declared.
“Where did your father die?” the prosecutor asked again.
“In prison.”
“And why was your father in prison?”
I was reluctant to answer, but the prosecutor was right.  My defense depended on it.  “Fifteen years ago, he murdered John Ryan.”
The prosecutor’s eyes widened.  He pretended that he was surprised, even though he already knew.  It was insulting to me. 
“John Ryan?  The father of the man that you are accused of killing?  The original owner of the same orchard?  Strange coincidence, don’t you think?” the prosecutor mocked.
“Some may think so.” 
“Do you know why your father killed John Ryan?”
“Please elaborate.”
I took a deep breath, and began my story.  “My father use to sweat blood for that orchard.  He did his best to produce the yields that were adequate to Mr. Ryan.  Daddy could make the trees produce the sweetest apples.  And the roses; the colors were brighter than anyone had ever seen.  It was like he could control the plants, and make them produce what he needed each and every week.”
“Control them?” the prosecutor interrupted.  “What like mind control?”
I shrugged off the prosecutor’s remark, hoping that the jury would agree he was being overly sarcastic.  “Daddy use to say that he had pricked his fingers on the thorns of bushes and plants so much, that the plants were literally feeding off his blood that spilled on the ground.”
“A little grotesque, don’t you think?”
“Not really,” I said.  “Daddy had the passion for growing those plants.  I’ve always thought that passion runs through your blood.  He claimed it was poetic justice.”
“Did your father also have a passion for killing?”
My lawyer stood up again, “Who’s on trial here, Your Honor, Miss Rika or her father?”
“Withdrawn,” the prosecutor replied.  “Miss Rika, please continue.”
I looked over to the jury, they appeared anxious to hear my story.  “One day, John Ryan, and my father had an argument about the yields.  John threatened to burn the orchard to the ground.  My father wasn't about to allow that, and so he killed John.”
“And you condone his actions?” the lawyer asked me.
“I don’t condone them, but I also don’t believe in destroying a persons dream,” I explained.  “My father died in prison for what he did.  And I fulfilled his last request; to have his ashes spread across the orchard.”
“I see.  Your father finally became one with the orchard,” the prosecutor mocked me. 
The prosecutor smiled at the jury, trying to turn them all against me.  He'd have loved it if they laughed at me.  “We talked about the similarities of this case and your fathers.  You’re aware of one more similarity, are you not?”
“The police chief informed me, yes.”
“Would you mind sharing that information with the jury?”
I swallowed, “My father killed John Ryan by stabbing him the stomach with a sharp tree branch.  He then hung Mr. Ryan from a vine in the same tree.  It appeared as if the tree had killed him.  Mr. Johnston Ryan was killed the exact same way.”
“That’s interesting.  In fact, that’s more than interesting.  To the naked eye, one could easily suspect that the same killer murdered both victims.  But that can't be, the original killer is already dead.”  The prosecutor paced the room, rubbing the side of his head.  “But, your defense is that your father, reincarnated as a tree, killed Mr. Ryan.”
“That’s correct.”
I heard the jury gasp at my claim.  The judge looked at me and rolled his eyes.  At that point I was sure that I’d be asked for the fourth time to take a mental evaluation, but instead the court continued. 
“Why would your father want to come back from the dead and kill Mr. Johnston Ryan?” the prosecutor asked.
“Because Mr. Ryan had just made a deal to sell the orchard to a shopping mall.  They were going to bulldoze the orchard to the ground, and turn it into a parking lot.  I’m sure that daddy wouldn’t approve of that,” I said.
“Yes, I’m sure he wouldn’t,” the prosecutor mocked again.  “But with that sale, Mr. Ryan informed you that you would no longer have a working position at the orchard?”
“That’s correct.”
“And that angered you?”
“Not at all.  I own a successful flower shop downtown.  I only worked the orchard for Mr. Ryan because he requested that he have the same blood working it as his father did,” I responded.
“Even with the fact that your father had killed his?”
“Both Mr. Ryan and I agreed that our father’s did not share the same feelings on everything.  And we also agreed that their feud should not affect our working relationship,” I explained.  “A man like that is not come by very often.  Why would I kill someone like that?”
There was another sigh from the jury.  I actually felt like I was about to win them over. 
“You know Miss Rika, you’ve made mention of blood, and blood lines several times during this questioning.  It makes you think maybe you’re right; maybe it is something in your bloodline.  And maybe it’s murderous tendencies.” the prosecutor stated.  “No more questions.”
I was excused from the stand, and shortly the prosecution rested its case.  My lawyer closed by stating the obvious; the only reason that I was accused of any murder was because of my family history, and a very slim motive.  There was not evidence of my involvement, nor could anyone place me at the crime scene.  The prosecutor wanted to bring back to life a fifteen year old murder, for nostalgias sake.  The prosecutor was up for election later that year, and he wanted a big win; something that made the papers. 
The prosecutor made his closing arguments with more of the same.  No one appeared impressed.
The jury deliberated for only an hour, and then came back with a “not guilty” verdict.  Nothing could describe my joy as I walked out of the courthouse that day.  I expected an apology from the prosecutor, but he wouldn’t even look at me.
That next week, I visited the orchard.  Standing in front of the locked gates, I watched as a bulldozer was unloaded from a trailer.  The orchard was about to be turned into a parking lot.  I wanted to be there for it, and I wasn’t the only one.  The prosecutor approached me from out of no where.
“You know that the jury didn’t believe your story,” he said to me.
“They didn’t believe yours either.”
“What’re you doing here?” 
“I just wanted to see the orchard one last time,” I explained.  “I practically grew up in there.”
“Saying goodbye to the old man, huh?” the prosecutor continued to mock me even then. 
I smirked at him, “I didn’t kill Mr. Ryan.  I still hold firm to my story.”
“Yeah.  Whatever.”
Soon, the bulldozer’s engine was started.  The operator rolled it to the other side of the gates where we were standing.  He lowered the blade, and began to dig into the soil. 
As the blade of the dozer pierced into the trunk of the first tree, the snapping of the branches made an eerie sound.  The prosecutor looked around in a confused way.  I could tell that he agreed; the snapping of the branches sounded like the shriek of a man in pain.  The prosecutor looked at me as if I had set something up, but clearly I hadn’t.
Suddenly, the operator of the dozer stopped the engine.  “What on earth?”  He climbed of the dozer.
The prosecutor and I looked through the bars of the gate, trying to see what the problem was.  A dark red liquid was dripping from inside the trunk of the busted tree.  The dozer operator appeared hesitant to get too close.
“What is that?  Blood?” the prosecutor asked.
I turned and looked at him, “That’s daddy.”

By:  Michael Heitkemper