The Valley of The Living – In 1967 and 1968 the Vietnam War affects almost every corner of the United States and for the men who serve in the Aerial Rocket Artillery division of the historic 1st Cavalry, every mission is a reminder of their duty and of the uncertainty of coming home. Huey pilots and their crews bond as men in war often do and for two soldiers, raised on opposite sides of the continent, that connection is the difference between life and death. For Bobby Connelly, a 20-year-old pilot from California, and Russ Warriner, his crew chief, that difference is as thin or ephemeral as the dismal gray fog and mist that routinely lingers over the jungle treetops surrounding their makeshift airbase in the north.
For Connelly and Warriner, a single mission, a routine call for help on a fateful day in February, 1968 would forever link their spirits, and for one of them, the mysterious strength of that life force, a force that somehow goes back generations, would help him live to see another day. But would it bring them both home?
Running Through Snow Showers, the first short story in the collection, The Valley of The Living, is at once a scary and realistic tale of the future that just might be. It captures the human qualities we all share and the dreams we all hope will not come true. The setting for the story is the rocky and unforgiving Maine coastline – a place that at one time was a haven, but now, like the rest of the world, it has become an incubator for sickness and disease. David Arenstam projects us into a future time and place where the only hope just might be science and technology.
Blink, the second short story from the collection, The Valley of The Living, takes the reader on a dizzying bike ride down the back roads of the Maine coast. Along the way, Andy O’Brien, a bright and caring young science teacher with a promising future, dreams of making a name for himself and his school by conducting unsanctioned experiments.
If he’s right, he might change the way we look at disease, growth, and even the aging process. But, time is both his ally and his enemy, and he must move quickly to prove his theories.
The work is a combination of the world that might be and the world that is. Told with a storyteller’s heart, the author brings the reader to a place that is at once familiar and provocative. The pages will turn quickly and more than a little sleep will be lost.