Adam and I argued about today’s post for a while. He wanted to stay with the ‘one chapter a day’ he’s been doing, and I told him he was nuts.
Felt good. Usually people are telling me that I’m insane.
But he gave in. You’ve got two chapters today, they’re both short, but important.
And Adam’s got a cover in a competition this May, so click the button below and you’ll be brought over to vote. Please do!
And now, enjoy a couple chapters! Audio is at the bottom, and click on any cover image to buy the book and stop waiting!
Chapter 18: Reach Out and Touch Someone
Lisa’s reply was quick to arrive, and terse.
‘‘What the fuck happened to you?’ Well, it’s to the point,’ mused Cass, reading it aloud.
‘Tell her. No names, or places, but I think she’s looking for a reason to trust you.’
Cass muttered the message as she typed. ‘’Hard to explain. Problems with work, but not really. Remember my pet project? It might be feasible and that’s scaring some heavy hitters. Had to get out of town, fast. Am OK, she’s with me but he isn’t. Need a favor.’ Vague enough?’
‘That’ll do. You sure she’ll understand?’
‘We talked about our projects several times a week. She knew I was working towards practical teleportation. She knew about the wedding -’
‘Why wasn’t she there?’ Kendra sounded suspicious. ‘If she’s such a good friend…’
‘Oh, her husband had a vacation planned for them months ago, way before I proposed to you. She thought about being there in telepresence but couldn’t quite swing it.’
‘Sorry. Professional hazard, there’s no such thing as coincidences.’
‘Except when there are.’
‘I suppose. You trust her?’
‘Almost as much as you.’
Chapter 19: Unexpected Visitors
The master alarm sounded – a jarring, discordant klaxon, flashing red lights, and a cool feminine voice saying, ‘Red Alert! Red Alert!’
‘What’s that!?’ exclaimed Cass, jumping to her feet.
‘Silence alarm!’ shouted Kendra. The din ceased, though the lights continued to flash. ‘It’s a perimeter alert. Come on, we’ve got to get to the control room.’
‘Can’t you deal with it from here?’
‘Deal with it, yes, but all the sensors are down there.’ Kendra left the room at a run, leaving Cass little choice but to follow. When she caught up, Kendra was already bent over the controls, examining the data.
‘What – is – it?’ panted Cass.
‘Looks like a couple kids poking around the old ventilation house,’ answered Kendra. ‘Don’t think it’s anything to worry about. It’s happened before.’
‘Didn’t you just say there’s no such thing as coincidences?’ countered Cass.
‘Point. Computer – arm active defense sequence Gamma. Connect me to HQ.’ A speaker burst into life, static-filled for a moment before falling silent.
A deep male voice filled the room. ‘Identity.’
‘Kendra Foster-Briggs. ID Foxtrot Romeo India Delta Alpha Yankee Seven Seven Zero Seven.’
Cass said, in a prison whisper, ‘Isn’t it Kendra Cassidy?’
Kendra replied, equally quietly, ‘I haven’t changed it with the office yet. Hush.’
‘Voiceprint confirmed. Respond: Life is short.’
‘But the years are long.’
‘Identity confirmed. How can I help you, Agent?’
‘I am currently in active protection mode, subject Aiyana Cassidy Foster-Briggs. Possible incursion against secure location in progress. Defensive systems activated, but human intervention by outside agency desired.’
‘Call the cops, in other words.’ The voice held a tinge of humor. ‘You’re always by-the-book, Kendra.’
‘Just get them out here, will you, Tom? It could just be a couple kids; if so, I‘d rather have the locals take care of them rather than reveal what this place can do.’
‘Roger that.’ A momentary pause, then Tom continued. ‘An anonymous call has been placed with the deputy closest to the property. He should be on-scene in a few minutes. They doing anything worrying?’
Kendra checked the monitors. ‘No, just poking around the old controls.’
‘Keep the link open, just in case. Lamparty, out.’ The voice cut off, but the static didn’t return.
The minutes crawled past. Then there was a change in the way the kids stood.
‘Looks like they heard something – yep, there he is.’ Kendra pointed. A uniformed figure could be seen entering the ruined control room. Both boys looked stricken before bowing their heads to whatever the officer was saying.
‘I can imagine it now, can’t you? ‘Boys, what are you doing up here? Don’t you know this is private property? I ought to take you two back to the station and give your parents a call -’’
Cass laughed. ‘You remember that night too?’
‘How could I forget? Old Man Ringo’s run-down shack, out on Long Lake? I nearly peed myself when those flashlights lit us up!’
On-screen, the two boys shuffled off to the exit, followed by the officer.
‘See? Coincidences do happen. Let’s go back; maybe Lisa’s answered us.’ Cass took Kendra’s arm and led her out.
Neither saw the taller boy drop a tiny object in the grass outside the dilapidated building.