Get Caught Reading Month & #ThursdayDoors Writing Challenge — Story-1

Wednesday, May 1, 2023

Image collage by Teagan
Image collage by Teagan

Welcome everyone. It’s Get Caught Reading Month, which is all about reading books and raising awareness regarding the advantages of indulging in literature. Get Caught Reading is year-round for children, but during the month of May it encourages people of all ages to read.

As many of you know, May is also the month for Dan Antion’s Thursday Doors Writing Challenge So I hope you get caught reading some of the wonderful stories that are being written in response to that challenge.  Also, since it’s Wednesday, I’m including a bit about writing. 

Thursday Doors followers were asked to submit “doors” images to inspire writers, and I sent a few. (I’m also flattered to say that blogger, Mary J. wrote an amazing sonnet for one of my images. See that image and read it here. It’s a completely different scene from the one featured in this post.)

Writing Process

Image collage by Teagan Geneviene
Image collage by Teagan Geneviene

When Dan expressed an interest in one of the doors images I sent, I invited him to participate in a story with me. In attempt to get him to be a real part of creating the story I asked him a series of questions.  I thought you might enjoy them, or even use them as a tool to jumpstart your own story.

Since I had created all the names for characters and locations (and based on my image, the setting almost had to be the moon) I wanted Dan to design the main character and I would create the sidekick. Here are the multiple-choice questions I gave Dan. More than one answer was allowed, so were variations on the questions.

How to Create a Protagonist

Type of Story

  • Fantasy
  • SyFy
  • Mix SyFy/Fantasy

Main Character

  • Male
  • Female
  • Alien/magical mix of both genders

Protagonist’s General Type

  • Trickster, con artist
  • Unwilling or unwitting hero
  • Mercenary, bounty hunter, bossy family member with own agenda

Protagonist’s Basic Agenda about the Tower Door

  • Pure curiosity
  • Was dared to go
  • Following something/one who went inside the tower
  • Treasure
  • Rescue someone/thing inside

Protagonist’s Peeps

  • Single or married/committed relationship?
  • Only child or siblings?
  • Lots of friends, few, or none?

Protagonist’s Character Traits

  • Lost his/her moral compass, or Dudley Do-Right?
  • Slacker or go getter?
  • Average, genius, or “Thank God you’re pretty.”
  • Helps old ladies across the street?  Didn’t notice the old ladies were even there?  Old ladies help him/her across the street?

Dan’s answers created a somewhat flawed hero, which I liked. However, I’ll let you figure out his answers by reading the story.

After he had answered those questions (which gave me insight into how the story would go) I asked a few specific questions (What kind of weapon and did the character name the weapon?).  However, life being life, Dan got unexpectedly busy just as we were getting started. He answered my questions about the protagonist’s weapon and named it. Plus, he did contribute a terrific Syfy gadget scene. It’s a technically impressive sequence. Dan even worked in some of the Native American lore that inspired me to name the characters.  Here are the results.  I hope you enjoy it.

This post is a good deal longer than usual for me, especially with the “writing process” questions. However, I didn’t feel right about making the story into two parts.  If you’d rather read it at your leisure, I created an e-book, and made illustrations for it. (Those images are not included in this post.)

The Inyan Beacon

By Teagan and Dan

Image collage by Teagan
Image collage by Teagan


Dry and cracked, the ground crunched beneath their boots.  The walk from Maka Station to the bar was not far, but they had a good distance to travel from there.

The Beacon’s Shadow Saloon hummed with activity.  Compass felt the vibrations of it.  So did Tatanka Cody, although he picked up the vibe in a less literal way.

“Tank, is the intuition you inherited from your Lakota ancestors telling you something I missed?  Or is it your cowboy ancestor, Bison Bill?” Compass asked, but only received a grunt from Tatanka in return.

“Buffalo Bill,” he muttered and she smirked about getting that much of a rise out of him.

A patron had worn out his welcome and a cyborg bouncer tossed him out the door.

“Come on, compadre.  I haven’t finished my hooch yet,” the man complained.

Tank and Compass stepped out of the way without comment.  Although, Tank fingered the variable intensity sonic weapon that was holstered at his hip, making sure it was set to stun.  His gut told him that “Aretha” just might need to sing.

The cyborg gave Compass a skeptical look, but he moved aside to let both of them enter.  As soon as they sat down at an empty table, a barmaid was there.  She was heavily made-up and her words were fresher than she looked.

“Drinks?  Food?  Something else, cowboy?” she asked, leaning toward Tatanka.

At a nod from Compass, he ordered two drinks and food.  The barmaid wasn’t deterred.

“Cowboy, why are you wasting your time with that artificial woman.  That’s the strangest looking pleasure synth I’ve ever laid eyes on,” she remarked, earning a cold look from Compass.

“She’s not a pleasure synth.  And synths are human in every way, except for being created instead of born.  I don’t have time for small talk, just get the drinks and food,” Tank said in a flat voice.

Compass flaunted the fact that she was a synth, just as Tank made no secret of his genius.  He had made her, although her blue metallic skin was the synth’s request.  Compass detested pretense as much as Tank hated dealing with anyone whose intelligence was too far beneath his own.

“Have it your way then.  Lucky for you this solar system doesn’t charge a tax on artificials.  You’d have to pay just to bring her in here — ’cause she’d never pass for human,” the woman replied, but she saw that Tank was losing his patience.

“Look, she’s my friend.  Leave it alone,” Tank snarled and the saloon girl hurried away.

“Don’t be too mean to her.  She might spit in our drinks,” Compass remarked sardonically, but her gaze was fixed on the window.

In the distance stood Inyan Beacon.  That stone tower rose high above the hard baked surface of the terraformed moon that had been called Maka for uncounted centuries.  Stairs coiled from the ground and up the tower for a hundred feet before stopping at an arched door.

“It’s not exactly close, but we should be able to make it there before earth-set.  What are you going to do if it’s not in there?” Compass murmured.

“It will be there,” Tank stated it as incontrovertible fact.

♣  ♣  


The barmaid brought their drinks.

“Someone will be out with your food in a few minutes. Let me know if you need anything.”

Compass pulled some of the fruit out of her drink and began to nibble on it.

“You’re so sure it will be there.  Do you even think we can get in? From what I’ve heard, people have been trying for hundreds of years.”

Tatanka looked at his watch and twisted it into celestial mode. The small projection of objects moving slowly above the dial seemed to trouble him.

“That food better come soon. We need to leave within the half-hour,” he muttered.

“Call that bimbo back over and tell her we’ll take the food to go if you’re in such a hurry,” Compass stated mildly while she sipped her drink. “I don’t see the need to rush.  You packed plenty of lights.”

Tank waived for the barmaid.

“We have to be set up before astronomical twilight, and in this artificial atmosphere, that won’t last long,” he reminded Compass.

“You decided on something else after all?” the barmaid asked sauntering over.

Compass shot Tank a glance as a way of telling him to be nice.

“No, sorry.  We’d like our food to go.”

A few minutes later, food in hand and their small tab settled, they left the saloon.

“If we’re successful, we can stop back here, or maybe across the street for a celebration drink on our way home,” he suggested.

“If we’re successful, you’ll be too eager to see if this works to stop for anything. I’m sure we’ll head straight to the station,” Compass sighed.

As they approached the edge of the dusty town, two men stepped out of the shadow of a large vehicle. One pointed a small weapon at Tank.

“You. Get going. Leave your pack and little Miss Blueskin here,” one of the men sneered.

Compass spun to her right and punched the second man in the stomach. Tank drew Aretha from her holster and fired twice.

“Help kick them under that lorry-sled. They’ll be out for a few hours,” Tank said when the stunned ruffians twitched in unconsciousness.

They arrived at Inyan Beacon well before earth-set.  Tank dropped his backpack about fifty yards in front of the staircase.  He shook his head in frustration.

“What’s wrong?” Compass asked. “Why are we stopping here. Aren’t we going to try and open that door?”

Tank muttered something. All Compass heard was the word “forgot.”

“What did you forget?  It looked like you put everything imaginable in that pack,” she asked.

“I forgot about those damn posts beside the stairs.  I have to re-run the calculations.  Give me a minute.”

Compass had seen this before.  Tank was almost in a trance as he worked out some complex equation in his head.

Tank picked up his pack and began walking forward to his right.

“Sunset is one of the powerful times in Lakota tradition.  Nothing is going to ‘set’ here, but as the planet bounces on the horizon, the light will drift toward the blue end of the spectrum.  We need to focus that light on the door with these.”

He removed two cone shaped objects from his pack and started extending a small set of tripod legs from each.  Compass, sensing his desire to concentrate didn’t want to bother Tank, but she was not content in the role of bystander.

“Can I help?  Can you at least explain what you’re doing?  If not, I’d settle for your explaining why I’m here.”

Tank stopped.

“I’m sorry.  You know how I get.  These are solar concentrators.  The interior of the cones is lined with specially shaped mirrors.  We need to set them at seven-degree angles from that door.  Seven out to the sides and seven down from the door.  This side will run up just to the right of those posts. Your side,” he said, handing her one concentrator. “Needs to shine through that gap in the right wall.”

Compass began walking to the right.

“Seven-degrees?  I’m sure you know exactly where that is.  Let me know If I’m off by more than a few minutes.  What’s so important about seven degrees?”

Tank sighed.

“I wish I hadn’t included sarcasm in your range of expression.”

Tank hated explaining things in layperson terms.  He’d rather people just accepted the fact that he was right.

“The number seven was sacred to my Lakota ancestors.  They maintained their ancient beliefs, even as they adopted new technology.  Move that about one meter forward and half a meter to your right.  Then sight through the cone and aim the narrow end at the door.”

Looking through the mirrored cone was disorienting.  Compass found the sensation disturbing.  Tank knew what was happening.

“Ignore the reflections.  Focus on the door!” he cried.

With the two collectors in position, Tank moved over to Compass’s position and pulled her softly off to the right of her device.  A few minutes later, an eerie blue light bathed the entire area.  They could barely detect a soft blue beam through the haze.  The beam struck the stairs just in front of the door.

“Did we miss?” Compass asked sadly.

“No.  We’re right on target.  Give it about thirty-five seconds.”

Compass noticed Tank smiling — an expression she rarely saw.

As the faint blue beam drifted over the threshold and rose up the surface, the door appeared to absorb the light and began to turn blue.  Suddenly, the perimeter stones in the doorway emitted a strong blue light and the door appeared to dissolve, particle by particle.  When the beams faded from sight in the haze, the door was gone.

As they stood at the top of the staircase, Compass felt around the opening.

“So, it isn’t a door at all.  It’s a force field made to look like a door.  No wonder no one could open it,” Compass murmured.

♣  ♣  


Tatanka Cody stared, mesmerized by the spectacle of Compass, with her blue metallic-looking skin, bathed in the azure luminescence.  It was as if she merged with the light.

It took a moment before he realized that Compass was speaking.  He blinked once.  Then he stuck his hand into the pocket beside his knee.  He threw a fistful of pebbles across the stairs behind him.  Those weren’t ordinary rocks, but a scatter alarm.  If anyone stepped on them, it would create blinding bursts of light, incapacitating most intruders, as well as warning Tank.

Compass darted into the chamber ahead of him.  With an aggravated grunt, he followed.

“Do you value your life less because you were created rather than born?” came his annoyed question.  “You don’t have to protect me,” he added, noting that she held a shuriken in each hand.

He had modified the star-shaped throwing weapons at her request.  Her fingerprints activated a power boost that let them travel as far as a sonic blast.  Plus, they would slide across the ground, returning to her voice command.  Compass went through a few pairs of sliced up boots before he worked out the bugs in that part.

The extraordinary room was filled with a strange combination of archaic technology, some items that were utterly primitive, and others which were tech that was advanced beyond anything Tank or Compass had ever imagined.

Compass made a careful circuit around the room.  She inspected each console and every tabletop gadget.  However, she was careful not to touch any of them.

The synth paused at an artistic array of crystals mounted on the wall.  They pulsed with faint luminosity.  She stared, trying to determine if the pulses came randomly or if a pattern was involved.

“I’m not sure if this piece is art or more of that strange tech,” she told Tatanka who didn’t appear to be listening.

Finally, she turned back toward Tank, returning the shuriken to their pouch.  She took a shaky breath.

“It’s not here after all, is it?” Compass muttered, but Tatanka still did not respond.

She turned back to Tank just as he sank to the floor.  Frustrated and disappointed, he propped an elbow on his knee and put that hand to his brow.

“I’ve studied every record of what happened, relevant to Maka, for the past thousand years,” Tank mumbled.  “Everything related to the rift, the rip in the fabric of the universe.”

“You still believe the rift was caused when the terraforming of Maka, went awry,” Compass stated.  “This spot, Inyan Beacon, towers above the rock, or rather this moon, where the rift was caused.”

Tatanka had been secretive about the reason for their expedition.  She tilted her head, eyeing him curiously.  Speculations congealed in her thoughts and became certainty.

“You hoped to find the rift, to access the tear in the very universe…  And do what?  Harness its power?  To what end?” Compass asked bluntly, although concern for her friend carried through her voice.

“Everything has a spirit; including trees, rocks, rivers, and almost every natural being,” Tatanka began.  “When the terraforming of Maka had such poor results, all the elements of a natural environment here were damaged at best.  Most were twisted, or only survived for a few generations.  All of the spirits of those things became trapped here when the rift took place.”

Tank looked at Compass.  For the first time, she saw a hint of humility in his eyes.

“I wanted to find the rift, not to harness it, but because I believed I could figure out how to heal it,” he told her.

The sympathetic look on his companion’s face startled Tank.

“I always knew there was more to you than that genius-fueled ego.  You’re a compassionate soul Tatanka Cody,” she murmured.

As Tatanka’s name left her lips, clusters of white light bloomed on the wall-mounted gems.

“The shape this white glow makes reminds me of an ancient animal,” Compass stated, pointing at the illuminated crystals.

Abruptly, sharp cracks and a brilliant flash of light came from the scatter rocks at the entrance.

They both moved for a discrete view of the stairway below.  The blinding lights had dimmed to a soft radiance.  No intruders were there.  However, pinpoints of white formed an outline similar to the shape created by the wall-mounted gems.

“A bison?” Tank started, befuddled.  “Tatanka means bison in the Lakota language.”

Abruptly, the room lurched.  Tank pulled Compass away from the doorway.  They watched in astonishment as the entire room turned within the stone walls of the beacon.  The shift sealed off the opening where the force field had once been.  The view that had faced the earth changed to display unfamiliar constellations.

The artistically arranged gemstones on the wall were gone.  A modern door stood in their place.  Seated cross-legged on the floor in that doorway was a young man dressed in what the ancients would have called buckskins.  The leathers and his hair were white, but his skin was copper-brown.

“What took you so long, Tatanka?” he asked casually.

Startled, Tank drew Aretha.  Compass reached for her shuriken but stopped mid-motion.  She didn’t detect anything threatening or false about the youth.

“Simmer down, compadre,” the young man said, spreading his hands.  “I see an explanation is warranted… and you seem to need it from someone who looks more authoritative.”

He took a step away from the new door, and it became the crystal art again.  A few steps took him to what had appeared to be a mirror on the opposite wall.

Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ.  Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ,” he chanted.  “Join us, honored Haŋhépi Wi.”

Mist obscured the young man’s reflection in the mirror.  He breathed a slow exhalation across the surface.  The youthful image was replaced by another.

A woman in similar clothing smiled patiently.  Wrinkles covered her face and her hair was as white as her buckskins.  The woman nodded with no need for explanation from the youth.

“Welcome, Tatanka Cody.  Welcome, blue one — honest one,” Haŋhépi Wi intoned, nodding first to Tank and then to Compass.  “Worry not for the spirits of the animals and plants.  The rift did not trap their spirits.  This moon is as it needs to be,” she assured them, and then she explained.

In ancient times, climates were not equalized as they are now.  Some places were seemingly barren.  There were deserts where lifeforms were different from those who existed in verdant abundance.  The apparent failure in terraforming Maka created such a desert.

“This moon is as it needed to be,” Haŋhépi Wi stated calmly.

“But the spirits of the land,” Tank exclaimed.  “They must be in pain.”

“Are you saying the rift doesn’t exist?” Compass asked, feeling confused, but the elder shook her head.

“No, child.  The rift is real.  However, it is not a wound to the universe that is in need of healing,” Haŋhépi Wi promised.

“What then?  What is it?” Tatanka demanded.

“Haven’t you worked that out, compadre?” the young man commented with a smile of anticipation.

Thiyópa!” the elder cried.  “Thiyópa.  It is a door.  A door to parts of the universe of which you could never conceive.”

Haŋhépi Wi paused to gaze into the eyes of Tank and Compass.

“Tatanka, will you enter the door?” she asked.  “Blue one, will you accompany him?  I think this young bison has yet to find his moral compass.  He is in want of your company.”

Tank and Compass exchanged a glance and then a grin.

A softly glowing sphere rose up from a console.  The young man swiped his hand across it.  The room lurched again as it revolved within the walls.  The constellations beyond the window changed.

Compass gasped and Tank grunted in awe at the brilliant swirls of unknown galaxies in the night sky.

The door to the beacon opened and Tatanka and Compass stepped into a new part of the universe.

♣  ♣  

The end

♣  ♣  

Thanks for opening this door.  I hope you’ll “get caught reading” lots of indie books.  Join me and all the zany supernatural goings-on at my serial, Atonement in Zugzwang.  Read free every weekend.  Friendly comments are encouraged.

♣  ♣  

Available as e-book

The Inyan Beacon

The Inyan Beacon 6x9


Kindle only:


♣  ♣  

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. It’s hosted by Dan Antion.  Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).


2023 Badge Thurs doors teresa-my-camera-and-i

Thanks for opening this door.  Hugs!


This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2023 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene and Dan Antion

All rights reserved. 

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.


54 thoughts on “Get Caught Reading Month & #ThursdayDoors Writing Challenge — Story-1

  1. I commented on Dan’s site, too, but Teagan–you and Dan did such a great job with this story. The imagination it took to write something like this…! And all the details–this was wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Dan and Teagan, sorry it took so long for me to return and read your story. I love how you wove shades of Star Trek type science fiction around Lakota spirituality and tradition. It made for a great story and do I sense a sequel on the horizon with Tatanka and Compass in the new universe. Am I right or do I need to use my imagination? 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you kindly, Mary. There’s no such thing as late here. I’m particularly glad you enjoyed the Lakota aspect. I don’t want to put words in Dan’s mouth, but I think he probably has other writing projects at the forefront. So, there is not likely to be a joint sequel. Although your “Door” just might inspire me to do something with it, or at least with Compass.
          Thanks for spending so much of your weekend here. Hugs.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on No Facilities and commented:
    Teagan R. Geneviene contributed the first set of inspirational doors to this year’s Thursday Doors Writing Challenge. I thanked her and I mentioned that I might like to build a story around her first door. She suggested that we could collaborate on a story. She asked me some questions, so the important elements of the story would have input from both of us. Then she began writing. Then she asked me to continue from the point she left off.

    We had done this before, but not to this extent. When I was in the very early stages of writing my books, Teagan helped me get used to writing something “unbloglike” by conducting a series of writing exercises with/for me. I appreciated those exercises, and I appreciate her inviting me to work with her on this story. I think it turned out well. I know many of you read both our blogs, and you’ve already seen this, but I wanted to share the story. Note: I will be losing electricity for a while this morning as crews complete some upgrades to our local grid. Feel free to comment at Teagan’s place.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Teagan and Dan, I thought I left a comment yesterday, but apparently not. It’s been a busy week and finally finished a novel yesterday, so will be back to read your story and make worthy comments in the next day or two. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Kerfe. Yes, I feel the same about doors and portals. It seems to go beyond symbology… I remember reading a study several years ago — it was about how a person can get up to do something, and once in the other room suddenly forget what it was. (You know that kind of thing?). The study determined that there was a relationship between going through a doorway and forgetting. I don’t recall the scientific and psychological technicalities it stated, but the concept stuck with me.
      Anyhow, thanks for reading and commenting. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Congrats on the new release and how you put it all together. I am going to save my reading for the eBook I have waiting for me. Hugs xo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I made other illustrations for the e-book, and mostly hoped that people would get that version, since it’s long for a blog post. But I shared it here too, since it began as something for Dan’s blog challenge. Thanks very much, Denise — for everything. Hugs winging back to you.


  5. I know it’s self serving to say so, but I really enjoyed this story, Teagan. I also enjoyed the process, and I appreciate your inviting me to be a part of it. I’ve updated the TDWC page with this bit of fiction. Very well done!

    Liked by 1 person

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