Saturday, February 17, 2018

Except from my new novel The Courier

Since I am almost finished with the final corrections on my novel The Courier I decided to post some excerpts from it. This is 3,880 words of the first chapter. It ends with a cliffhanger.

I am not sure when I will be publishing the full novel but the way it is going now it will be in April. I have said this before but the corrections are going slow because they are tedious and I keep losing my place and have to spend time finding it. But since I am somewhat past half way I am starting to feel like I want to get it done so am spending more time on it and less on other writing and social media. I may end up doing four excerpts but three for sure. I will be publishing it on E-book and paper formats. And at the usual sites: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords etc. I am still looking into setting up my own site for the paper versions at least.

And I remind people that I have three novels already published. Two are in a Urban Fantasy series and one is a steampunk-special ops fusion. They are under L. E. Doggett and are at the usual sites, in paper and e-versions.

The novel is steampunk but set in our time. It is about a young woman who is a member of the Couriers. An organization of men and woman—even though there are mostly women couriers in this tale, it just worked out that way—who carry and deliver messages and hand held objects. That could be contracts, love letters, blueprints, gold, gems, parts, pictures, books and anything else that will fit in the special pouch they use. They have a reputation of delivering what they carry on time, if not early, no matter how far they have to go, or what obstacles they have to overcome-including gang members, robbers, ocean storms, dogs, and time. Kara Stronggear is one of them. And she will deliver what is entrusted to her no matter what, for she has a rep to build. She will become one of the better known couriers if she lives long enough to grow up.



Kara Stronggear ran around the corner of the high-rise office building. Steam cars and trucks rolled down the city street and the sidewalk up ahead looked half filled with people. A white steam bus with wide blue stripes went by, but she wouldn’t be able to catch it. The few people out and about got out of her way. The brown, denim-and-leather bag she carried gave away her occupation. Her short stature made it easier to whip around the slower ones.
A cool wind blew at her after she made the turn and made the few strands of her red hair outside of her cap flip around. A BMW steam bike roared by.
She had just passed a newspaper stand closed for the day and the smell of its fresh paint—for the first time in ten years—followed her. It mixed disagreeably with the odors from boilers: wood, oil, and coal fires and something else that a huge old steam truck burned that stunk and produced black smoke. She wouldn’t be surprised if the EPA went after that company soon.
Along the way she glanced at the theater and political posters stuck to the side of the building, as usual for New York they looked dark with grime. The many doors she passed invited her in but they might be locked and she didn’t want to take the chance that an office would turn into a trap. She had a rep to uphold, a bonus to earn and a baseball game to see after this delivery. The noise of the street vehicles echoed from the brick and steel buildings, but her hearing had adopted to it. She could pick out individual voices near her and still heard the footsteps of the person who chased her.
Maybe she should head for the new 911 memorial building. So many people there she could lose herself with ease. But no, too far away. That Baptist church nearby, had afternoon meetings for drug addicts and Celebrate Recovery, but she didn’t want to place those people in danger.
A white minivan with clear smoke that smelled of french fries almost jumped the curb when it hurried around another slower car. She glanced at it but it continued on. She spat, a very unladylike action, but the mixture of the paint and smoke produced a bad taste in her mouth. Her brown, with autumn red pockets, dungarees and leather shirt, with light read shoulders and pockets, would show people she wasn’t a lady anyway. Her shorter auburn hair lay mostly under a baseball cap snugged down tight. That made her scalp warm in this weather, but her whole body had to endure that. The cap's front panel showed her logo: a lightning bolt zipping down a city street. The bolt carried the same bag she did.
This time she had no idea what she carried in her reinforced bag. The pouch could carry more than ten red bricks. She knew that for once she had carried that many for a client. That job had taken a lot of her physically. She didn’t know who would want what she carried in it this time. If it contained cash or gems she could understand why, even if those contents were usually kept secret, which meant no one should know about it. But that knowledge could have gotten out. No one usually cared for contracts unless it involved industrial espionage or gangsters. The same went for plans and blueprints, or just plain letters. Unless it was some form of communication someone thought they could use for blackmail, no one cared. In her eighteen months of experience, and from advice from other couriers, she had learned that those who go after couriers hardly ever resorted to violence. The Mob might, but she had never had gangsters after her before. She might also be carrying evidence for a criminal case or secret government or military plans. The Mob could be after the first, but as far as she knew she hadn’t carried any secret papers or devices. That might be almost fun if she ever did.
The person who chased her now might be just interested in her. There were rapists around this city, after all. She thought of herself as attractive yet on the lower end of the pretty scale, with a pixie face to go with her light red hair. All of her walking, running and carrying, not to mention workouts, gave her figure a nice shape but that included muscles that most women didn’t carry. This guy might learn the same as two men, and a few assailants had. And experienced the unpleasant surprise of finding out how strong she was.
That brought up the memories of when she had been attacked on two of her recent jobs. By men who had wanted what she carried not her. That didn’t make any difference to her though, she had a good rep for getting what her clients wanted delivered on time and in one piece. She always made sure she kept that rep. One of the men had woken up in a steam ambulance while the other two had been run off even though they had knives. They had found out the hard way that she was armed in more ways than one.
That included her outfit which hid a steal underlay-a new type made stronger than ever. Chest, stomach and back armor covered her and her hat hid padded segments that would protect her head from most blows. She also carried a small three-shot pistol, two knives—one for throwing, which she hadn’t had to use so far—and two other weapons no one but her knew about. Not that her other weapons were common knowledge. Lastly three ball bearings of various sizes that were good to throw, marbles to drop on the ground in front of someone running, and a pocket full of long tacks for the same purpose but for anything with air tires.
She turned another corner and zipped through a space between buildings. Her steps echoed between the two buildings and the shade cooled her a little. A leap over some empty boxes got her on the far side fast. But the stinks here were so bad her body thought she could taste the mixture of rotten food, poo, decay and old paint.
The man hadn’t even slowed but by his footsteps she knew he still chased her. Kara wondered if she would have to resort to weapons. The father she barely knew had taught her the uses of a knife along with the marble and tack tricks. She picked up moves from two different boxers in training and she had taken courses from a teacher of eastern martial arts. An old Indian friend of her dad’s had showed her how to run long distances and how to hunt. The lessons had started when she reached ten years of age and had been living with relatives. Kara used lessons from the last to detect anyone hunting her. It had safeguarded her life once at least—before she had gotten the idea of this job—and saved the bag she carried twice. The padding and armor were her own ideas as had been her second knife. One long and thick enough to serve as a very short sword. On top of that a professional had shown her how to drive many types of land vehicles which included the multi-gear older trucks, and she knew the controls of some boats. She had picked up the basics for airship control. The large cargo and passenger ships needed more than one operator however but she thought she could pilot one if she ever needed to.
Kara dodged in and out of the walkers on the sidewalk—she hoped to lose her tail in the mix of clothing on this block. Workmen in blue denim, men and women in business suits and casual outfits, some women dressed in skimpy outfits that worked in a certain other type of business. The last were supposedly illegal in this city but the police usually left them alone unless they gathered together in a brothel or near a prominent building, church or school.
She aimed for a group of the last as she hoped their clothes would distract any man who followed her. She began to breath hard but a block later though she knew that last gambit hadn’t worked. He must be a pro or perhaps he was gay. It didn’t matter though. She weaved between a small mass of teens, through a group of nuns, turned right to cross the street, but as she passed around one very tall couple she made a sudden turn to the left into an alley. The darkness in it might throw off her tail if they had seen her flit down there. It smelled of urine, vomit, alcohol, decay and maybe old blood, but she heard no scuffles beyond rats. No breathing or snores either. The air cooled down, probably because the buildings on either side blocked the sun.
The rotten-food odors reminded her of the time she had had to eat some moldy bread and cheese to live, only a couple of years ago before her current career. Even now Kara appreciated she had left the meat alone. She had barely held down what she did eat, even though the old cheese hadn’t been too bad in its flavor. With a shake of her head she pushed those memories back where they belonged.
Kara studied her surroundings—shadows covered almost everything. Some light came from both alley mouths and from some widows two and three floors up. She didn’t know if those were tenants or offices. Offices might be easier to open up and climb into if needed. Some windows would be unlocked. Her dad and uncle taught her that. But she hadn’t wanted to make a living being a second-story man or cat burglar to work her way up to a top level all around crook like her dad.
Damn
That came so sudden she almost let it out. A scoff at the mouth of the alley she had come through warned her. She caught a slight movement there when she pivoted so quick she almost received an air burn on her cheeks. This guy knew his stuff. If he came from the Mob he was no ordinary gangster or hit man. From the government maybe—a special forces operative. If so, she would be dead.
Maybe she should give him the bag this time. She would more than likely be alive then even if she had to rebuild her rep. With slow steps Kara moved backward to the wall. The end of the alley proved to be a wall made of large, rough, cement blocks instead of the side of a building. The wall might lead to another alley or a parking lot. Either would be good.
Kara stood still, not only to make herself a harder target to find but also to listen. He would more than likely make a noise in an unfamiliar, dark space full of unseen objects just waiting to be bumped or stepped on. A nice cat’s tail would be good, or a trash can’s lid. They used bins now, but some habits die hard.
Damn, no sounds!
No deeper shadows, no breathing, no tiny movement of air caused by someone moving either. Either he was waiting for her to make a sound of her own or of that movement had been her imagination. That had happened once before, not long ago.
She breathed in as soft as possible through her nose: no extra odors. Not sweat, aftershave, hairspray, or other bodily smells. That last had let her know the position of one attacker a year ago and twice since. She had been out for a day of nature bonding when she had almost mistaken BO for animal droppings.
Now nothing. She hoped her body wouldn’t betray her, her own sweat at least might be tracked to her. And maybe she should start being careful what she ate the day before a run like this one.
How long could she stay in this position?
I am going to have to move one way or another soon.
A touch made further internal debate stopped, for it wasn’t needed anymore.
Minute vibrations through her bag alerted her. Something touched it. Her mind went through a series of possibilities: cat or rat? A huge spider? But she dismissed them almost as quick as they formed. It got to the only real answer in a heartbeat.
Damn, he’s even better than I thought.
He had moved without the slightest noise, or shadow and had found her. How? Kara asked herself as she pivoted, elbowed the guy with her left arm, and as she finished the turn, rammed the heel of her hand into the man’s chest—or that had been her plan. Her elbow hit something soft and hard but the heel of her hand just grazed a part of his torso. She pivoted outward and away but even as she settled two hands gripped her and a second later a knife edge found her throat. It just rested there, but her skin knew how sharp it was. Her sudden breath inward brought a whiff of her own fear-infused sweat. What felt like a hand moved along her bag; she knew the choice he had just given her. Her life for the bag. She breathed in again, and this time she tasted blood in the air. Her own? From her throat? Or maybe she had bit her lip again. It didn’t matter now. The choice did. It wouldn’t be a fair trade, for only one side would be permanent. Her rep would be gone, but as she had thought earlier she could remake it. Her life was another deal. Her eyes narrowed as did her lips. She willed her muscles to relax. She sighed even though she couldn’t say sure how much of it got out between her lips.
He seemed to be giving her time to think on it. She couldn’t stomp on his foot as much as she wanted to, as the motion might force her throat onto the blade and he would know that trick. His hand moved up the strap, stopped at the level of her chest. It moved over slightly. She couldn’t help it— she grunted, jerked, and smothered a snarl, before she realized he wasn’t copping a feel. The buckle for the strap lay against her body there. He probably didn’t mind his hand being there though.
Now her anger was up, even if he wasn’t manhandling her breast, she thought. He couldn’t see her face so wouldn’t know what the expression on her face meant. When her upper cheeks hardened, her nostrils flared and her mouth set in a certain way she knew. A tinkle suggested he had hold of the buckle and would be able to undo it even one handed.
A slow deep breath—she no longer could smell her own fear—and she waited.
The knife slipped very slightly but before she could react a memory of what her dad and Twoskunks each had said. In this situation it boiled down to wait more—it could be a fake. A second move of the knife hand—this could be a fake too but he almost had the buckle undone. Grabbing the hand would not do, as he had more strength than her. Kara could tell that by his hold. Being this close she could feel his strength and a few muscles. His warmth and build wormed its way into her thinking. She wanted to roll her eyes, but it did something for her feminine side. Now wasn’t the time to even feel that much less think about it and it went against her personal morals anyway. But his body felt like a good type of warmth, her face burned as if she were blushing, when she responded to his strength. Part of her feelings might be caused by the way his wrist rubbed her breast—not hard enough to bruise but still it created some friction.
Her mind back on her danger. Bite his wrist? Ready or not that would distract him. Might cause him to back hand her too through. She would have to take the chance. All she needed was a few seconds to get her other weapon into her hand. She tried a move for his eyes, but her fingers encountered something hard, smooth and glass-like.
A steam bike roared by outside the alley, it sounded like the rider rode on the sidewalk, headed in here, she thought perplexed and a tiny bit hopeful. They always made more noise than a steam car even with smaller boilers. The toot toot of a back-up steam horn sounded for seconds. She pulled in a slow breath through her nose. Got some of his scent along with her sweat. She rolled her eyes. No more distractions.
Kara let out a moan of pleasure that wasn’t all faked, and he paused as if thinking about what he just heard. She reacted by sliding away from the knife through the crook of his arm on that side. From the way his arm had rested she knew where that space would be. Her smaller size came in handy here. She brushed against his side and arm as she squeezed through that space. A smile crossed her face when she made it through before he could close his arm to trap her.
Once free she took a step to one side and spun around in a circle. In a second, even faster circle to gather speed, she lifted her right leg as far as possible as she came around the second time. She figured, hoped, that he would be facing her at this point. Her ankle connected with something hard with a flap. It moved. The sound of a body as it impacted the cement floor showed her that she had been correct in her aim—mostly. Her foot not her ankle should have hit his head. That joint now hurt, but she wouldn’t let it slow her. The pain reminded her of practice sessions. None of her teachers allowed her to stop because of pain.
To give her ankle time to recover and to do something unexpected, she drew her newest weapon. Slid a small knob on one side of it with her thumb. A very slight buzz sounded, she backed up, aimed to where the sound of the impact had come from, waited two heartbeats and then press a stud under it. A bright electrical bolt shot out. In the darkness the bright light dazzled her eyes, even through her closed lids. The hiss and very small electrical thump it made when it hit the cement revealed that she had missed. She backed up more, not caring about any noise she made for he knew where her location. Kara drew a breath in, breathed hard even as she moved. The air brought with it a tang of ozone. As she knew there would be.
Another three heartbeats and she moved to avoid whatever motions he made for her. A touch of air movement caused her to slide sideways, a darker man height mass in the darkness caused her to duck instinctively. She duckwalked three steps and stood. She knew he came for her. It hadn’t been quite long enough but Kara aimed the device in front of her and pressed the stud again even as she moved her arm. A less bright bolt shot out. She thought it moved slower—but that had to be her imagination. By the flash, she saw her bolt hit his side. He had to have slid that way when she aimed it. Too slow this time though. Again her vision clouded with stars and bright flashes, yet that didn’t interfere with the sound of a body impacting the cement a second time. The charge hadn’t been powerful enough to knock him out, but this time he should stay down at least long enough for her to climb that back wall.
A look around OH OH.
If I can find it again.
The darkness surrounded her, probably because her eyes had adjusted to the two bright strobes. A quick mental replay of their fight and she headed in one direction. The image of the area created by the electrical shock she supported her choice. There were no sounds except for those outside the alley. That included a siren. No way to know if someone had seen their fight and called the police. She didn’t want to talk to them anyway. Not only would that make her late but the electric stunner was illegal.
With her ears tuned to any sounds of the man getting up she hurried toward the wall. A solid bump on her nose that stopped her progress, revealed she had been closer than she thought. A short rub on the nose and a grunt was all the response she would give to the pain. React to it later; more lessons from her teachers but she had learned that one that hard way, too. The stink here also revealed where she as. An old, odor of urine strong enough for this to be a latrine for an army of homeless bums, she hoped—she hadn’t stepped in anything worse, but it hadn’t felt like it or smelled like it.
From around her waist Kara pulled out a small multi-pronged hook with a rough, very tough rope tied to it. She spun it then threw it upward. A clink followed. A heartbeat later by a second one on the alley floor. Another throw. She knew the height of the wall so she should be able to get this hook over it. The third try worked, she pulled on it to test how strong it stuck. It held so without further thought she started up. The wall was rough against the back of her hands and it tore her skin. The substance scraped her nose and one cheek when her body swayed, but she had known it that could happen. Sweat dripped into her mouth but she ignored the salty flavor it brought, as she couldn’t wipe her eyes or mouth.
Darkness showed above her and below. Some light behind her, but she climbed in shadows. It felt like she had been stuck there forever. Muscle strain began. She had to get up there before he caught her.
Just Darkness. Where am I? How much longer before I get to the top? If he gets me he will no doubt kill me and steal get my bag. I will have failed in this job, too. I can’t let that happen. Pain doesn’t matter, scraped skin isn’t important. My dad will know I failed for the rest of his time here, in the seconds I have to live I will know I failed. I want this life and this job-I need to do it!
She snarled and mouthed, “No! I have to get up there.”


end excerpt

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Triple tales Valentine's Day '18

Feb 10 close to Valentine’s Day. In honor of that day, even though a lot of what goes on is more for lust than love, I decided to do three more or less Romance stories. The idea though to celebrate what a Saint who married couples he was not suppose to, did and love. 

The first deals a growing relationship. The second one involves a married couple getting romantic and the unusual result of it and finally a wife who loses her husband-he was there a minute ago.

A few of you may have read the first one recently, it is in my Stories Inspired by Pictures Collection on Google+. I posted the second one last year and so some of you may have read it then. I doubt if anyone read the last one. I wrote it two years ago as a kinda of sequel to a more serious, longer one I wrote about Time.

Next week I believe I will do one of a couple in my revised and almost ready to go Courier Novel.

The three stories and about 3,735 words long and are a mixture of genre






The Moon Castle



Susan said, “Hey, you picked a good place for us to talk. That ancient city is beautiful with the full moon behind it.”
“I saw it last month when I was there. I knew you would like it and I wanted to share it with you.”
Tony looked up from his tablet, Grey was right that was a nice place to talk about love. Even though he wouldn’t say the city was ancient. It’s only four hundred years old give or take up to fifty years.
It was a walled city; an almost prefect example of medieval towns. The ten foot hight three foot thick wall around it is still complete almost like they built it yesterday. Except for the age discoloration and the cracks in some of the stones, he thought. From his position next to the SUV parked on a sand dune he could see houses, Inns and other businesses between the wall and the castle that stood on that small hill for hundreds of years. It looked dark now that it was night and that no one lived there-thus the mystery they were studying here, but in day light he could see the dark gray mixed with a light gray with a few black spots.
One reason it had been left whole might have that it had been built here in the middle of no where; no one fought over it evidently. Little water around here except for the four large springs inside the walls. Enough for the people, horses, a few cows and sheep, plus a few small gardens and farms inside. A lot of the food had needed to be imported. That may have what ended the city. It didn’t look like a drought or famine did the people in, but they still had digging and translating of documents to do.
Grey said, “I wish we could be there together but these two laptops will do. We can see each other and the city.”
Susan said, “I like that. You can be thoughtful at times.”
“It’s easy with you. You’re beautiful and you are so easy to talk to. You’re smart too.”
Tony frowned. He had positioned the two laptops in the sand just right so the cameras in each could pick up the other person and the city with its romantic moon.
Grey really did think she was smart. He liked that he could talk to her about archeology and she understood it even though it wasn’t her major interest. But he was in danger of laying it on too thick.
A pause that made him think he had been right in his thoughts.
“The moon is quiet lovely there. I wish I could have come to visit you there. Not only is that a beautiful view but it should be quiet interesting to learn more of what you do.”
She overused the word “quite” but that was for Grey to decide about, Tony thought. But now she was using relationship techniques on him. She really liked him though, if he judged her correctly from the two times they met. He thought they would be a good couple.
Of course they almost blew it earlier, so they could again. They knew each other at one collage but he transferred to another university with a better archeological department. They wrote some to each other but stopped. A year later they met again, this time they traded E-mail addresses and communicated via video texts.
Grey said, “The city is four hundred years old and very well kept up. Its people left when the Duke in charge of it left. They straggled out though for some still tried to make a go of it. I wished I could have stayed longer. So much to study and to learn there. They even left books and scrolls behind. Some barrels had residue of ale and wine in them.”
Oh oh, don’t talk too much about your boring work.
He then added, “Your studies must be interesting.”
Susan nodded, “I have learned a lot about business and how one manages different sizes of businesses. Some of it is quite hard though.”
“You can do it. I know you can, probably finish in the top percentile of your class.”
So he also used techniques but I see it in his eyes he really feels like she can graduate high in her class.
Something howled in the distance. Tony’s head jerked up, Ohoh, wolves or hyenas or something. But if they come near I have a gun, bright lights and a very loud noise maker. The weapon will be for last chance. The air horn should make whatever it is jump, and run.
He turned back to the images he was following.
They had talked more while he was distracted.
Grey said, “I wish we were together. Your eyes look great on these new screens but they are much more beautiful in person. I like staring at them.”
She blushed, Tony thought.
Susan said, “I am glad we met at the coffeehouse, the fact that they were filled and we had to share a table was fate. That was nice music and I like talking with you. You have a strong face.”
Tony thought, yeah at the Rusty Bean according to Grey, back three years ago. Grey said that after they had stopped sending letters he had gone to the Bean Pit at the new university but never met anyone like her. Since they had people and places they both knew he hoped they would run into each other again.
Grey smiled and they talked more about each other.
They had met again after Tony became his friend but then separated, but later she wanted the video chats. Grey liked them too.
The couple looked at each other and smiled. Tony rolled his eyes and tried not to listen too closely. That howling helped. It didn’t sound any closer. There was the camp with lights, fires and noisy people not far from where he had set up the laptops but they, whatever they were, could decided to come check him out anyway. He made sure his large bright flashlight was still handy as was the gun.
He glanced back at the images. They seemed ready to call it a night. He was glad this was just a video conference. If they were live they would be kissing now, maybe beyond kissing. And he would have to wait for them while trying not to watch. Grey wouldn’t like it and he was sure that Susan would blush but after a while not care.
They ended, Susan said, “I will have to go to England next semester.”
“I have the chance to go on a dig in France, if I can raise the money. There are grants I can try for,”
Oh, Tony thought, that meant he wouldn’t be there to help them out. They would be on their own. But most couples in the last two hundred years had been on their own and worked things out even in a long distance relationship. Many had failed but obviously not all by any count.
The two said good bye and after each thanked him for his part they signed off. He gathered the laptops one at a time and signed out and turned them off. He set his tablet for music and started the jeep. Glad to be of help but also glad to leave those howls.

end



Preoccupied On A New Planet

By L. E. Prescott



Judy’s bare legs and top tingled. Her shoeless feet smacked the hot ground; she let out small pain cries. As she ran for the safety of the new barn near enough to see the low silhouette building shone with reflective brightness. She tried to pull the hem of her mini skirt down. A useless gesture for she wore nothing else-damn she shouldn’t have fallen asleep after her and her husband spent some time together this far from any building.
They were new here but that wasn’t a reason to forget that the suns here created radiation storms that can turn the wind deadly on this planet. The first killing breezes rubbed her bare body.
Once awake all she had time for was to grab the nearest piece of clothing. She had worn that outfit to get him back to the house, but she loved the flavor of his lips almost as much as she loved him-and it had been ages.
He may have decided she wanted sleep when he went to the house-her nose said he had needed a shower after all. She hoped he was there; the beep from her radio had probably been him. Now the second sun shone and would stalk the world with that weird radiation wind until the larger third sun blocked it.
She needed to reach the barn with its reflective, anti-rad roof designed to protect animals. It had an anti-sun suit so she could search for her husband even through the wind, if she needed to.
Damn, she could hear the wind blow through the trees as far away as they were. They must make that sound to warn the animals to hide in holes in the ground or in the thicker trees.
Somehow her legs moved faster, there the barn, from the now heavy breeze she would need that thick, decayed sap they had found that leached the radiation out, but there was some in the barn.
Judy shivered as the wind blew across her back and legs, but not from cold. Somehow she reached the sliver door, punched in the three digit code they all had to memorize. It slid open she skidded inside, it skated closed. A deep breath, she found the right locker but grabbed the comm unit instead.
A voice she knew said, “I’m here, God I’m glad you made it, I was on my way out.”
She blinked, she hadn’t turned it on yet. A shadow moved. She turned her husband stood there with one of the anti-rad robes on. The cowl covered his head down to his eyes. He held the eye-mouth piece.
A gasp came out of her mouth, she wanted to grab him and hug him feel his body even though that ridicules robe. He moved though, reached into the locker, got the jar of sap. A moment later she gasped again for he had started to splash it on her. It was thick, clammy and smelled. In the process he took off the robe and covered himself too.
Once done he stood back, the wind howled like it wanted in, but they were safe.
Judy looked at him, thought about how this all got started; her emotions now relaxed. Tension drifted away, it left something else behind-they were both safe after a too close of a call. He looked at her with a puzzled expression. He would find it that she decided that since they had to wait anyway, she could find out how his sap covered body felt next to hers.

End










Time For A Fit
By L. E. Doggett


The young woman jumped up and down in the center of the street and cursed. Her voice echoed around the older Middle Class houses around her. Very few cars sat in drive-ways and along the curb.
A middle aged man, tall, slightly punchy heard her, hurried out of his house and ran up to her.
He slowed though when he caught a whiff of sweaty clothes. Was she drunk or high? But her and her husband didn’t do that.
Ben said, “Brittany, what are you doing? Do you need help?”
She stopped, turned to him, her expression showed anger and helplessness.
“My husband disappeared and no one wants to help. I called 911 and asked the neighbors. Most people are gone but those that are here said they couldn’t help.”
While she talked he felt a prickling sensation on his skin. He glanced at the sun, the day felt hot already but they stood in the shade. A sniff brought a whiff of her fear sweat.
He said, “What happened?”
“He was getting in his car when I heard a rushing sound, almost like a train. I looked out our living room window and saw color lights strobing, almost like a storm made of up different colored lightning. I ran outside but by the time I got out the door the lights were gone...so was Jim. I looked everywhere, but there was no sign of him.”
“What colors did you see?”
“All types: Red, burnt orange, green, hunter green, blue, mauve, turquoise, yellow and two I didn’t know.”
“Show me where it happened.”
Brittany nodded and led him down the street to a small yellow house. It looked older and the trim might need paint soon.
She pointed to the window, then to a blue older model car in front of the house, “I was in there when Jim went outside because he was going to the store. That was when I heard the noise and saw the light show.”
He nodded and walked over to a spot halfway to the house. That prickling sensation felt stronger. Maybe it wasn’t caused by the high temperature after all.
Ben looked around, dropped to his knees--with a groan--, sniffed a scorched mark on the grass. He traces of ozone along with scent he couldn’t identify filled his sinuses.
He said, “I’ll be right back,” he stood in a quick movement and was off.
Brittany shouted, “You know what happened to Jim,” but he ignored her.
Within ten minutes Jim hurried back to Brittany’s house. He carried a black leather bag the size of a large purse. A pair of thick, goggle like classes sat on his face.
He sat the bag down and opened it. With much care he lifted an electronic device out. It looked two feet by half a foot, with two screens, one the size of two cellphones.
After he set it down he knelt in front of it, he pressed two switches, pushed a button in the back. A second screen the size of a smart phone screen, lit up. He pressed three buttons on the larger screen, studied both screens. The grass blades and tiny stones pressed against his knees, he ignored the pebbles. He rubbed one arm, the skin felt warm...the ozone scent grew.
“Damn, thought so.”
“What? Is this going to help find my husband?”
“Yes, but I have to move fast. No time to explain now.”
The two screens changed, one with something that looked like a sound wave pattern switched color. As quick as he could manage move he stood, moved over to the burnt spot.
She said, “Hey, what’s going on?”
“No time.”
After a count to ten he reached forward. She stepped back and gasped. He knew she did because his hands disappeared. As he continued to reach, more of his arm vanished. Brittany let out a small scream. He wanted to spit for the smell was worse than full outhouse on a hot, rainy day. A different smell of course but it still produced a bad taste in his mouth.
With the thought, I hope this is the right guy, he reached in a bit further, grabbed something. Once he held the object in a secure grip he pulled back. Nothing happened, he pulled harder. He could feel his upper back, and arm muscles strain. With a “uuuuufff,” he pulled harder.
His arms came into view--he sighed--as more of them came back into existence. Ben’s hands appeared. Something was in them. With a grunt he pulled harder. A piece of cloth popped into view. The cloth turned into an arm. A shoulder appeared next. His hand slipped but he pulled harder. A face showed up.
Brittany let out a scream when lights appeared. He couldn’t see them all but he knew they included all the colored she had described. A rushing noise started. It might have been a train but sounded louder and higher pitched.
With another grunt he pulled harder. A whole man popped out of no where. Ben sighed but pulled the man away from the spot.
Brittany screamed “Jim!”
Jim stumbled, moved with Ben. A moment later he halted and pulled his arm away out of Ben’s hands.
He looked around with confusion on his face, “Where am I? Brittany how did you get outside so fast? For that matter who is this?”
Ben took off the goggles as Brittany said, “He’s Ben from down the street, he moved in here two months ago. I don’t know where you were, but you were gone for three hours at least.”
Jim looked more confused, he looked around, glanced at Ben, looked at his wife.
“I feel funny but I just walked out here.”
Ben said, “You remember any noises or lights.”
“Yeah, now that you mention it. I heard a loud noise. I looked around and saw lights, then nothing. A moment later I saw them again and heard that noise again. You were pulling me.”
Ben thought the guy badly needed a shower but he said, “I know where you were: the Quantum energy flux field.”
Ben said, “Time? Come on.”
“Well, you were somewhere,” he turned to Brittany who nodded, “someone, around here, must have been playing around some quantum energy or a detector. I don’t know who or why, it’s possible they didn’t know what they were doing or were testing some equipment. Whatever the case, spare energy found a flaw in the structure that keeps the quantum flow energy field separated from our world.
“You happened to walk near it at the wrong time. It opened and you fell in. You saw the quantum energy as colored lights, our brains translates the energy from the flux field that way for some reason. The sound you heard at first and we heard later was the movement of time. I felt the energy on my skin. You probably felt something on your skin.”
Jim looked dumbfounded but nodded, “It tingled.”
Ben reached into a pocket but drew it out empty. He thought, Damn, didn’t have time to grab that root beer float flavored gum. I need some too, with this long conversation.
“Once you were inside NoTime, you started to travel through time.”
Jim and Brittany together said, “No time?”
“NoTime, it’s what we call the flux field for short. In an ironic situation time doesn’t flow in there. Which is why he didn’t know any time had past.”
He swallowed dry and said, “Moving in that field is much like floating on a moving river. You don’t stay in one place unless you work at it. If you don’t stop yourself, you drift with the current.
“I moved here to study NoTime which is why I have a detecter. There seems to be weak places around...I have no idea why but the detecter can send signals through weaknesses without effecting the time flow. I used the detecter to find the hole I knew had to be around here, these goggles allowed me to see it. After I was sure where the hole was I reach in and grabbed you. If I hadn’t I have no idea where you would end up. Ten years in the future, a thousand five hundred and two years? If you moved into another stream it’s possible you could end up in another timeline.”
“There’s no such thing as time travel!”
“Yeah, I used to say that too but...”
Brittany spoke up, “I saw him pull you out of nothing. You really disappeared. I saw the lights, heard the noise and felt the same thing he felt but I didn’t know what it was....I looked everywhere and no one would help me. I called 911 but they must have thought I was playing games when I mentioned the colors. I tried everything I could think of and nothing. I...I totally lost control. I cursed and jumped. I knew it wouldn’t help and the neighbors would think I was crazy but I couldn’t stop myself...until Ben came and asked me if I needed help.”
Jim shook his head and looked like he wanted to believe and didn’t want to believe at the same time.
Ben said, “I know it’s hard but you can try to go back into the hole.”
Brittany said, “No! You might not come back this time.”
Jim looked at her but said to Ben, “Is this hole going to be there forever?”
Ben said, “No, it should heal in a manner of minutes.”
Jim’s eyes widened and Brittany said, “That’s why you were in such a hurry. He...he could have been trapped in there. Oh God.”
Ben said, “Yes, he could have been.”
A pause then Jim looked around at the ground, bent over, picked up three stones. He threw them one at a time toward where he had been. The middle stone disappeared. He did it again. The second two disappeared. He walked around, counted the stones on the ground.
“It’s crazy...but the evidence shows something is there. I really heard the noises, saw the lights and felt something strange.”
Ben nodded, “I know the feeling well. There’s no reason you should know about the Flux field, most people have no interest in how time really operates,” he shrugged, “there's no need for them to.”
Jim said, “Yeah, unless they fall into a hole”
“That is very, very rare. It takes some unusual circumstances to create a hole, even around here. On top of that the chances of one being big enough to pull a person in are even smaller.”
“Lucky me.”
“I’ll go now. There’s nothing I can do to make the hole heal any faster so stay away from it for a while. It should be almost closed by now. Hopefully no birds or cats get into it. A small stone won’t do any damage, but a moving, angry cat might.”
Brittany looked at her husband and at Ben, “Thank you.”
Jim still with an unsure look on his face shook Ben’s hand. Ben warned them again, took his time putting the detector in the bag, and headed off for his home, at a slow speed this time.

The End.