Experiment #302

Two-Bit Town Part 4

Gideon woke at the knock on the door.

He pulled on his pants and tucked in his shirt. “Coming,” he growled.

He opened the door to see Rille in a revealing dress and leaning coquettishly again the door jamb. “Hello,” she said.

“Come back when you want to talk,” Gideon said and swung the door shut.

Rille pounded on the door. “Open up.”

Gideon opened the door again.

Rille pushed past him in a huff and sat on the bed.

Gideon turned, … Read More

Experiment #301

Two-Bit Town Part 3

That evening Gideon rode down Main Street and out of town on his Morse. He missed his Falsparian anti-grav bikes, but he’d lost both in the scuffle the former sheriff had referenced. And getting a new one from the central colonies would take more credits than he could legally get his hands on. Thus, he was stuck with the loaner Morse.

After nightfall, he returned to town with his Morse on silent. He stashed his Morse … Read More

Experiment #300

Two-Bit Town Part 2

Gideon asked around town about a translator, but the former Sheriff Rodgers was the main one. There were others, but no one willing to help an outsider. No one spoke to the undertaker, or any undertaker unless they had to. Burying bodies was all it took to be an undertaker. Funerals weren’t much more than a few words and a prayer supplied by the bereaved. When there were no bereaved it didn’t much matter what … Read More

Experiment #299

Two-Bit Town Part 1

Gideon straddled his Morse. “Morse,” Gideon said under his breath with contempt. “They ban weapons here, but not stupid names.” “Morse” was a combination of “mechanical” and “horse,” and, Gideon was certain, the idea of some hollow headed fool in one of the central marketing departments who’d never even been to the Aphelion Worlds. Worse yet, the Morse was made by the Slixx company who shipped nothing else out to the edge Worlds. In his … Read More

Experiment #298

8 words of Sci-Fi

The empath read his thoughts and wept quietly.

He pulled out his Ferbie. The aliens ran.

He pulled out his nuclear warhead. They smiled.

He pulled out his Bazooka. The aliens laughed.

He pulled out his Beretta. The aliens laughed.

The cowboy bowed to the alien, “Howdy, Pard’ner.”

The robot killed its master and wept bitterly.

It made the Kessel run in 120 parsecs.

He brokered a trade: spam for intergalactic travel.

“Braaains,” he said though he couldn’t remember why.

The dog happily returned with … Read More

Experiment #297

Unpredictable Part 2

We fought about it on the Titanic, our sixth date.

“You come here often?” I asked. My tone could have sunk the ship. “Bring every flunky here? Wowing him with your defiance of linear time?”

“You’re not a flunky,” she said. “I don’t think you are, anyway.”

She’d seen herself with the other man too. “It’s in my future. I don’t know anything about it.”

Time traveler excuses.

In fact, the order I’d known of our dates wasn’t the order … Read More

Experiment #296

Unpredictable Part 1

I was a year and ten paragraphs into writing my novel. She was three lattes and a cappuccino into understanding the 21st century obsession with coffee. Our eyes met across the grocery store café. The rest is mostly history… for her.

On our first date, she took me to Rome, to a gladiator match in the Colosseum. She thought I’d like the theatrics of it, and I did, but I liked her in a toga more. … Read More

Experiment #295


Xander hadn’t wanted to shove her out the airlock, but the risk was too high. They’d been friends, shipmates, lovers, and everything in between for the last decade.

“Stop crying,” she said, though Xander wasn’t sure whether she was talking to him or herself.

“Khrys, don’t make this harder than it has to be.”

The radio in her spacesuit squawked with solar interference.

“What? You sending me into space so I don’t take out half the ship?” she asked. “How hard … Read More

Experiment #292

The Disappearance of Lilly Cole Part 13


The house echoed. A boy who looked just a year or two older than Lilly came out of the hallway. He’d gotten his Mom’s good looks. And, James hoped, something good from his father too.

“She’s downstairs, Dad,” said the boy.

James saw her anger in his eyes. And even then, a rush of love for this boy he’d never known flooded his heart. James pulled Jimmy into a hug. Over and over again James whispered, “I’m … Read More

Experiment #291

The Disappearance of Lilly Cole Part 12

The shooter ran for the door.

Both doppelgängers from the future took off after him.

Lilandra ran to Fowler. She put his head in her lap and clutched him. “You stupid fool. You weren’t supposed to get hurt,” she said.

Fowler moaned.

James, now fully awake, ran after his doppelgängers. He didn’t have to follow them far, though, as the two future doubles had caught the shooter and were dragging him back.

“Let me go,” the shooter said.

“Who are you?” … Read More

Experiment #290

The Disappearance of Lilly Cole Part 11

For a moment, a second, an eternity, the purple light dimmed and dispersed. Panic rose in Lilly’s throat, but there was nothing to do but press on and hope it returned.


Fowler had not been as close to time travel as either James or Fowler himself had hoped, and James saw many long hours ahead of him.

That night Lilandra called Cassy. “Hi. Do you know where James is?” she asked, though it wasn’t a question.

Cassy slammed … Read More

Experiment #289

The Disappearance of Lilly Cole Part 10

James spluttered. “W-where’s Fowler?”

“I locked him in a bathroom stall.”

“Can’t he get out of there pretty easily?”

“Look, have you figured it out or not?”

“No. I found these weird files…”

“Forget the files,” she snapped.

From a closet at the back of the room there came a moan, as though someone were dying in slow-motion.

“What was that?” James asked.

Lilandra sighed and turned toward the open door. “Come on in, dear.”

Fowler walked through the door. He had his coat … Read More

Experiment #288

The Disappearance of Lilly Cole Part 9

Lilly woke; not from sleep, but from monotony. For a long time she could not put her finger on what was different. Then she noticed that if she moved her head, the light moved, or rather, she realized, quite the opposite–it stayed where it was. Her head movement changed the perspective of where the light came from. Instead of surrounding her, there was now a direction, a way to go: toward the light.


Lilandra picked James … Read More

Experiment #287

The Disappearance of Lilly Cole Part 8

“Have you been drinking?” Cassy almost yelled after James had explained everything.

“Am I a drunk in this life?” James asked.


“Look, I want to give our daughter a shot at life.”

“And what about our son?”

“Look, Lilly is-”

“You better be talking about a daughter and not that…that woman.”

“I am. Our daughter is amazing and wonderful and worth fighting for.”

“And Jimmy isn’t?”

“No, it’s that Lilly doesn’t deserve to be non-existent.”

“Neither does Jimmy.”

“Well, what am I supposed to do? … Read More

Experiment #286

The Disappearance of Lilly Cole Part 7

“Unless the echo has dissipated, which wouldn’t happen until…Oh, crap. I did marry Aria.”

“Who’s Aria?”

“My wife.”


“Not me-mine… time-echo-me’s mine. I mean I-he went back to stop me from pursuing time travel and focus on my marriage.”

“Which marriage?”

“I… err… my time echo went back to fix my marriage with Cassy, but must have realized he was stuck, used my middle name, and settled down with Aria.”

“A lot of good focusing on your marriage did you…”

“Yeah, two … Read More