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.

“Sometimes.”

“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.”

“What?”

“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

Experiment #285

The Disappearance of Lilly Cole Part 6

No matter how hard Lilly swam the purple light stayed where it was. She would have given up, but there was nothing else to do. Without physicality or resistance, she didn’t get tired either. She could go on like this forever.

#

James pulled out his cellphone and dialed a number. It went to voicemail.

“Hey, Pink… I know we haven’t talked in a while but I need your help. It’s a timely twist.”

He hung up. Two minutes … Read More

Experiment #284

The Disappearance of Lilly Cole Part 5

Lilly hung in limbo. She was still herself, or seemed to be herself, but nothingness surrounded her, a darkness defined only by its depth, an emptiness defined only by its hollow ring. It was as if reality had turned its face away.

#

“I’m so sorry if he troubled you,” Aria said. “He looks young, but he’s over fifty now. The doctors diagnosed him with some new form of dementia last year. They’ve never seen anything like … Read More

Experiment #283

The Disappearance of Lilly Cole Part 4

Two hours later James opened his old front door only to find a strange family sitting at the dinner table. The father stopped with his fork in midair. “Can I help you?” He asked in a tone suggesting he wouldn’t. James mumbled an apology and left. Three hours, two more wrong doors and a call to Information later he opened the door to find Cassy with her angry face on.

“What on Earth took you six … Read More

Experiment #282

The Disappearance of Lilly Cole Part 3

He dropped the bottle in his hand. It fell to the floor with a satisfying thunk. He rubbed his eyes and stared at his surroundings. The synchronizing wall clock he’d used for the last decade ticked away.

He looked at his watch—no difference. He pulled out his smartphone. Synchronized to the microsecond. Everything else looked the same too.

“Just one more thing you can’t make work,” James muttered to himself. “Time travel. What a stupid idea.”

With the … Read More

Experiment #281

The Disappearance of Lilly Cole Part 2

Although the physics was rather complex, James enjoyed explaining time travel to his nine-year-old daughter. He always said it helped him think in new ways. Like most nine-year-olds Lilly hadn’t taken physics or calculus, or even algebra, but she had a sharp mind and followed along the best she could. She would ask questions and chime in to agree with her mother’s suggested tweaks to her father’s calculations. Lilly’s mother, Cassy, was a mathematician who … Read More

Experiment #280

The Disappearance of Lilly Cole Part 1

Great hexagonal sections of Lilly’s wall faded out of existence. They went individually at first but lengthened and spiraled as section after section disappeared, revealing perfect blue skies, the green pastures of distant farms, and the long, twinkly sweep of the river off to the right.

Her furniture faded as well. First the top drawer of her dresser, followed by the footstool she stood on to reach the sink when she was little. Oblivion consumed each … Read More

Experiment #279

Six Zeroes (An Excerpt)

Wonder who the scavengers Gideon and Sarah faced in the Stars Are Calling were? Learn about them and come face-to-face with Boss Clawf in Six Zeroes 

 

Inmates poured out of the giant hole into the forsaken landscape of the asteroid. They’d be dead inside seven days, but even death seemed better than continued service in the gulag. Colonel Kilmer and two of his men, each armed with a sniper rifle, stood a safe distance away.

“Prepare … Read More

Experiment #278

Adrift Part 3

“I’m hobbling along on life support here. All of my airlocks will fail eventually. Just bring her close and I’ll jump to her.”“Uh oh looks like the star drive is activating, see you later, captain…”

Kershaw sighed. “It’s called a hyperdrive, lifeboats don’t have one, and your comm link’s still on.”

The comms clicked off.

“How did that selfish ingrate ever become a medic?” Kershaw asked himself.

Then he felt a wind. A rock dropped to the bottom of … Read More

Experiment #277

Adrift Part 2

The seed pods were a heck of a cargo to load, particularly once the artificial gravity took over. Normally Kershaw would have turned it off in the cargo bay while they were loading but some rewiring Smats had been doing for the last four days to increase engine efficiency made that impossible. So he and the rest of the crew tried to shove around the six ton seed pods while Flanger’s blue eyes watched from … Read More

Experiment #276

Adrift Part 1

“Airlock 7 seal has failed,” the computer’s disaffected voice said. Kershaw slammed his fist on the console and tried to think what to do next. “What would Smats do?” He asked himself.

The doom-faced engineer, Silas Smats was tough to hold a conversation with, but could fix a hyperspace engine with a paper clip and some protein butter. Or he could have fixed it. He was in the engine room when the pods exploded. Kershaw wished he’d … Read More