CHAPTER TWO “This is bad, guys,” The ship wobbled and jerked. “I’ve pushed every button on the damn ship, and nothing’s working –” A voice interrupted him over the comms. “William, don’t you think that might be the problem?!” “We’re spinning and going down, and there’s nowhere to land. I’m trying to gain some altitude. I don’t want to wipe out the whole southern part of Elton but it’s looking very likely.” His voice rose an octave. “Any suggestions, ideas, thoughts? Any damn guesses?” “William, stay calm. We’re checking it out. According to what we see on this end it may be your time jump, hold on, we’ll get right back to you…” He heard himself scream as the ship encased itself in a blinding light. His lungs felt rigid, like flattened pancakes. Everything rolled together and out again as indistinguishable bits of matter. Then he was suddenly back, flying over the city. He took three deep breaths, forcing himself to think. “The river, that’s my only shot. I’m heading for the river!” “William, we’re not really certain that’s wise. We’re on this,…just a moment.” Emily, the ship computer screeched at him. “Forget the idiots. Dive into the river, you moron. Dive!” He pointed the ship toward the river, jolted by impact as plumes shot up, covering the bridges and harbors. Thrown side to side he was finally slowing it down. It floated downstream toward the harbor, finally crashing into a loading dock, taking out only a few ships. Ships could be replaced. “Minor damages, really. Our people are safe, that’s the main thing.” William told a Fidean News reporter waiting for him by the ship. He looked at the destruction around him and nodded. “You could have been killed! What were your thoughts in those final moments?” William shrugged, rubbing his hair with the emergency team’s towel. “Oh you know, I just wanted to save the people. That’s a big ship. Could’ve caused some major damage.” “So brave!” The reporter rubbed his arm and he smiled. “What do you think happened?” “It’s simple really. Some engineers screwed up and the time jump malfunctioned, whipping me forward than back again.” By this time more press had arrived and a balding, sweaty man stuck a microphone in his face. “You signed up for this job, right? And you crashed a ship that costs how much? The budget of a small country? What do you have to say to that, William? Not the first time you’ve destroyed property, right? Would you like to comment?” William smirked, stared at his towel then took a deep breath. “What do I have to say about that? The budget and so on? We could stop developing and when the attacking hordes come we will simply say... what’s your name, sir?'” “Reginald Blue.” He stepped back. “Glad to meet you, Reggie. As I said, the attacking hordes will come to call and we’ll tell them who to talk to, right?” He smiled at the reporter. “My job, while exciting, is necessary for the safety of our planet. In fact, there are few pilots qualified to test and use the newest technology and the latest designs. After this experience I understand why many don’t sign up,” he said. Turning up the charm, he winked at a few of the people. “Those people are intelligent people who want to live.” The crowd nodded, laughed, and clapped, sharing all-knowing looks that said William was wonderful and their personal hero. A young boy pushed through the crowd and asked him for his autograph. He obliged. Suddenly, his boss, Kasani Royale, drove up with three of the department’s engineers, taking William’s place in front of the press. “We are very grateful that no one was injured in this unfortunate incident. Also, naturally, grateful for the skill and bravery of one of our top pilots, Sir William,” he said, patting him on the back, perhaps a little too hard “He is known for his exemplary bravery, demonstrated by the destruction of the powerful photon monster, Chi Pequel. But, and I do apologize, we need to take him back to the lab and allow our medical team to make certain that he has not sustained any injuries.” William appreciated this only to the point that he was impressed with Kasani’s expertise at lying and misdirection, especially when it came to the press. On the way back to the lab Kasani was more direct. “Do I really need to say it again? Let me handle the questions! I can’t trust you to be discreet and your obsession with the press is exhausting,” he said, dispensing his favorite blue vodka from a nozzle on the dashboard. “In the future you will refer any press or public relations groups to me. You know our research is classified. And our funding is always volatile.” “Kassy, old man, don’t fret so much. You’re like one of those little yapping dogs that barks uncontrollably and pees on the carpet when you pet it. I didn’t tell them anything classified. I should have, however, told them the names and addresses of these three idiots in the back who call themselves engineers. Don’t take me to the lab. I’ve had enough fun with you people today. I’ll go to Height’s for a calming pint or two.”
Now available on Amazon CHAPTER THREE Mac, always on time was now cursed with a seven-year-old cousin, Misha, living in the category of always late. Fifteen minutes passed as he waited under the old oaks, kicking rocks across the crumbling driveway. But according to Misha the first few minutes of school were boring anyway. Misha hopped down the back steps with the left sleeve of her sweater on her right arm. The other sleeve, confused, dangled down her back. Grabbing her, cramming her arms into the correct sleeves, they began the daily drudge to school. Only it was far from a drudge to his cousin as she loved twirling. She never just walked anywhere, no matter how much Mac yelled or threatened, bribed, or begged. Misha simply twirled, a world-renown twirler. Mac glanced down the street, yelling “Misha, quit! Now!” It was too late. “Look who it is boys!” Rhett James and his friends: the morning was complete. Rhett was in the usual place, the sun was in its sky, and snotting snails lived under rocks. “Check it out.” Rhett’s followers nodded on cue. “If it isn’t our new best buddy,” Rhett’s bony shoulders shook up and down as he laughed. “Hey Rhett. Morning, henchmen.” Mac walked on keeping Misha far away from them. “You know what everyone calls you at school? Orphan boy. Yeah. Everybody knows that you’re a freak. If we beat the shit out of you right now and tossed you in the river, no one would care. But you know what?” “Oh, please, wise one, tell me.” Mac, bowing waved Rhett on. Rhett, the tallest of the group, with spindles for legs, dirty red hair and a wide, ugly mouth, was always shadowed by his enforcer, Monster. He could pass as a hairless bear, shorter than Rhett but three times as wide. “Nobody wants you here. Loser. Just a big loser, loner, no friends, nothin’. Why don’t you go back to your old school? Oh, that’s right, you can’t. Mommy died so now you’re living with your hot little aunt. You guys seen her?” The ‘guys’ smiled. “You’re way over the line,” Mac pointed his finger at him. “You are not, will not, talk about my aunt like that.” Rani, Rhett’s sister, walked up, wrapping her long hair into a loose pony tail. Glaring at the boys Mac thought it was interesting that they immediately took a step back. “‘Orphan boy’? Are you really that cold and st-t-t-tupid?” Rani leaning forward, hands on her hips, ready to charge. “Get lost, Rani. None of your business.” “God, I hat-t-te you!” “S-s-shut up! I wish you’d d-d-died when you were b-b-born,” Rhett mimicked Rani’s stutter. “Honest to God. Mom and Dad get embarrassed when you’re around. You’re a ffffucking f-f-freak just like orphan boy. They make a great little couple, don’t they guys?” The “guys” all nodded. Mac was sure they were afraid not to. Mac stepped toward him. “This has nothing to do with your sister. It’s about you and me, and you’re nothing but a damn bully. You’re a coward. I’d like to have this conversation when you’re all alone.” “Yeah? Think I can’t handle you?” Rhett ran full force at him, but Mac stepped back and slammed a fist into Rhett’s gut, knocking him face-first into the rocks and gravel. Rhett, spitting out dirt and pebbles, slowly stood. “Orphan boy, you’re really going to be sorry you did that. Have you met Monster?” Monster grinned, almost drooling. “Yeah, how couldn’t I? First period he smacks me on the back of the head every day. Sure, I know Monster.” Monster grabbed his shirt shoving Mac backward. Mac swung and hit him in the jaw, but Monster stepped back, wiped a small trickle of blood from his lip ramming his thick shoulder into Mac’s chest, pinning him against a tree. Sharp bark cut into his elbow and forearm. Mac fell, moaning. Rhett walked by Mac, his head up, shoulders back, clucking at the cut on Mac’s elbow. “What a shame, you’ve torn your sleeve. Now your aunt will have to buy you another one. You’re really costing her, right, orphan boy? My dad says she’s losing her house. And you sure haven’t helped, right, orphan boy?” Mac tripped Rhett, knocking him to the ground. Bloody snot ran down Rhett’s face. Mac was going to laugh, looked at Monster hovering over him, decided to laugh later, maybe Thursday, around seven, after dinner . . . Rhett glared at Mac as he wiped his face on his sleeve. “I’ll get you. You’ll pay. Big time.” He vibrated with anger, jiggling up and down. “Just die. Then your pretty little aunt won’t have to feed your sorry ass anymore. No more burden, right? Die, orphan boy. Do us all a favor.” “Fuck off!” he snapped. Mac had never said that to anyone before and it didn’t feel good. It just reminded him how out of control his whole damn life was. In a flash he missed his mom. The thought was a total surprise. He missed knowing that she would be pissed at him if she knew that he had said ‘fuck’. There wouldn’t be anyone who cared what he did or said. But she always had, and he had lost that. Now available onAmazon He missed her. He choked up and tried to hide it. Misha, convinced that she could kill Rhett sprang at the boys, a stick over her head, twirling ninja style. Rani caught her and wrestled her down before she hurt herself. Rhett stepped toward Misha. Laughing he kicked at the gravel, sending a small cloud of dust into her face. Mac rushed him, knocking him against the tree, pushed him harder, his arm against Rhett’s throat. “You touch my cousin and you die. Got that?” “Ooooh, so Mac’s gonna keep me from getting his little cousin. I think I’ll run away.” “Yeah I think that would be a good idea.” “Whatever,” Rhett backed up, snickering as he looked at Misha Rani stomped over to her brother kicking him in the shin, making him hop away. Following him she kicked him with each word, “No-one-wants-ttto-see-your-butt-ugly-face-around-here-any more!” Monster walked away, glancing back at Rani. It was strange to see the big guy afraid. “I hate him! I’ll get him if he ever comes close to you, Mac.” Misha picked up a rock. “He’ll be sorry, dammit.” “Don’t cuss. Calm down, you’re seven. I think he might win.” Mac brushed his hands off on his pants. “Stay away from him, got it?” Rani walked beside Mac but stared at the ground and the houses they passed. “Mrs. Ruben loves gnomes,” she pointed at a small garden with little statues. Mac nodded rolling his sleeve down, covering the scratch. “Some people like that kind of stuff.” “Yeah. How’s your arm?” “It’s good. Nothing, really. It’s okay.” He struggled to find something, anything, to say. “I hear that Brandon has mono, going to be out all s-s-semester. Mr. Stout said that someone else could b-b-be your chem partner. I said I would. If you want.” She blushed, which made Mac smile. “Yeah, that’d be great. I’m almost flunking.” “I have an 'A'.” He grinned. “Figures.” She laughed. Turning the corner they were caught in the loud crowd of yelling, pushing, running kids. Misha’s school was next to the high school and Mac watched her twirl into the building. The first bell rang just as they walked in. “I’m going this way,” Rani pointed at the stairs. “That way for me. I hate home room. I guess Monster will be there. What a bizarre day.” The noise around them made it hard to talk. “See you in chemistry.” Staring at her, he stood still until the second bell rang. “Lunch?” She asked. “Oh, yeah. I didn’t realize that we both had first lunch. See you.” The sounds and kids pushing around him faded as he watched her disappear in the crowd. Walking into homeroom he couldn’t stop smiling, even when Monster smacked him on the back of the head. “Good morning, ass.” “Morning, orphan boy.” Mac turned staring at Monster who looked surprisingly uncomfortable. “Name’s Mac.” Monster looked away. “Mac . . . Whatever.” Monster saying his name felt like defeating Rhett. “Name’s Ted.” Surprised Mac said, “Good morning, Ted.” Monster actually giggled. “Ready for the history test?” “Never!” Mac ignored the daily announcements trying to cram for the test.
Mac stepped in the cafeteria line, looking for Rani but didn’t see her. He usually dreaded lunch, mainly because he had the free lunch. He qualified because of Aunt Holly’s income. People around him would stare, sometimes laughing. Free lunch was usually milk, a cheese or bologna sandwich on stale white bread, an applesauce, and a cookie. The real lunch was tacos. He loved tacos. An older woman with a name tag that read ‘Betty’ glanced at Mac and coughed, looking away, handing him a tray with tacos, three instead of the two that everyone else was getting. “I don’t get a regular lunch,” his voice was low as he looked around to see if anyone was paying attention to him. “Oh, darn. I guess I messed it up. I do that sometimes.” Handing him the tray she moved on to the next kid. “Thanks.” She stared at the meat and lettuce, ignoring him, but he saw her grin. A group of girls pushed by laughing in a high pitched sound that would make dogs howl in pain. Then he saw Rani, sitting in the back next to two other girls and a guy. Seeing him she smiled. He was surprised to see that she had free lunch, too. “Hi.” She pulled the top off of her applesauce, glancing at his tacos. “The weirdest thing,” he put a taco on her plate, “I usually get the free lunch, too, but today the lunch lady gave me this. Have a taco.” “She did? Betty, right? Once in a while she’ll g-g-give me a chocolate milk and an extra cookie. She’s really nice.” “I talked to Monster in homeroom. Couldn’t believe it. We kinda bonded. He told me his name.” “Yeah, Ted, but no one’s called him that since about third grade. We all used to call him teddy bear so that’s when he started telling everyone to call him Monster. That’s amazing that he told you that.” “Yeah.” “Yeah.” Mac took a bite of the taco. It crumbled, some landing in his lap. He shook his head, embarrassed. At first she looked sympathetic then giggled. “D-D-Don’t you hate that?” “Yeah.” “Yeah.” More silence. “I had an algebra test, pop quiz,” she said. “History test. It wasn’t anything that I had studied.” He thought about kissing her, about asking her out. For those few seconds she stared back then turned away, blushing. The bell rang and neither one had eaten their cookie. They both slipped it into their backpacks. “For later,” he said. “Right.” Chemistry was on the other side of the building so they had to rush to get there. Chemistry was one of the classes he liked, mainly because of the teacher, Mr. Stout. He was tough and never lectured from notes. That was impressive. This was the first time that he and Rani were partners. Fern, the girl at the station behind them, grinned at Rani. It seemed that Rani had told her about him. He thought that was good, he hoped that was good. As they were getting out their Bunsen burners and lining up the chemicals, they brushed hands a few times. She blushed again and a rush of excitement hit him. Suddenly a flash of fire exploded from Fern’s station. The flame shot up to the ceiling and the crackling of glass breaking and the wall scorching set off panic. People screamed. Mr. Stout grabbed a blanket, wrapping Fern in it. Panicked, she cried and tried to get away but he held onto her, lowering her to the floor, putting out the embers in her thick hair. . “Sam!” he yelled at the tall kid in the front row, “run to the office and tell them to get an ambulance!” Mac put his hands over the flame, pushing it down, back into the bottle. The fire was out. He had no idea why he had done it, or why it had worked. He trembled. Paramedics came quickly and, lucky for her, Fern only had a chunk of hair burned, a few burns on her hands and arms, and her eyebrows singed off. The smell of it, along with burnt rubber tubing, lingered in the air. One girl sat down on the floor crying. No one could get her to stop. Most of the kids stared silently at Fern’s station. Mr. Stout tried to go over safety around the flames but they were too stunned to listen. “Alcohol, open bottle, causes a flammable vapor. The flame was fueled and erupted. Going forward we . . .” As the shock wore off a few of the kids stared at Mac, but he was just as confused as everyone else. After school Rhett and a group of kids stood waiting, staring at him. Rhett stepped forward, lit a piece of paper and threw it at him. Everyone laughed. Mac knocked it off his shirt and stepped on it, walking away. “Hey, orphan boy, I didn’t know you had such talents. Be interesting to see what else you could do. Like stop a fire in a house. Like yours!” Mac walked on. He hated Rhett, but now, more than anything he hated what was happening to him. Everything felt out of control. Passing the gnomes he thought that he saw one of them wave at him. He didn’t stop to look. What would he do if it had moved? Walking on he refused to look back. Now available on Amazon
CHAPTER SIX Dylan ran. The bird would take him down, ripping his flesh from his bones. He would scream, just like the butchered animals that he’d heard. “God, I’ve never been a praying man, but please help me. I’m not who I pretend to be. I’ve lied. I’ve pretended, God, oh, God. Help me!” The sun setting left him adrift in this sea of scratching branches, sliding mud, and sharp rocks. His face bleeding; the deep rips in his skin stung. His hands were slick, with blood or mud, he wasn’t sure. Then rain--angry, heavy rain—fell making it almost almost impossible to see. Exhausted and unable to stand he dropped to his knees, crawling. The scent of the mossy ground and wet leaves should have been wonderful, always had been to him, but now the scents seemed like the depths of a grave. Every movement painful, his knees were punctured with sticks and rocks. He sat. There was little use in moving on, possibly going in circles. “This wouldn’t be a bad place to die. Better to die here, even in the pouring, freezing rain than at a cubicle. You could die in one of those and never get noticed. At least I’ll be a food source here. Beetles mostly.” Thinking about death brought thoughts of Mac and his heart ached with grief and regrets. The rain wasn’t as sharp now and he thought about getting up, but he was tired. The soft, wet fur of a creature brushed up against his hand. He didn't move. It was incredibly soft, low to the ground, with a large fluffy tail. Skunk. He held his breath and kept still. It moved on and he decided the universe had given him a sign, get out of there, keep moving or smell like a skunk. As he grabbed rocks and tree roots, pulling himself along, he found one that was thicker than his leg. He tugged on it. He had discovered that these roots usually didn’t have any bushes on top of them and he could move without getting scratched. The rain stopped and fell into shallow puddles. The ground below him gave way and the sound of a fast moving stream below made him dig in his heels trying to stop. It was too late. Head first he dropped into the icy black water. Fighting to get to the banks, he climbed over moss covered logs and rocks but they were too steep causing him to fall over and over, just to start the climb again. The cold numbed his legs and feet, his teeth chattered. Bouncing side to side he caught his ankle on a log and excruciating pain ran up his leg. It was possible that it was broken. The swirling water twisted his backpack, catching it on sharp overhanging branch. He had to slip it off or be sucked under. The current dragged him on but he hit a log that wasn’t slimy and slippery. It must have just recently fallen. Climbing on top of it he could feel the bank. It seemed shorter than the others he had tried to reach. He dug his fingers into the wet mud and rocks “No, no, no,” he whispered spotting a shadow moving further down. The silhouette took a step, and its head dipped to the ground then rose incredibly high. It turned its head and stared at him. “God, please God. Help me, help me.” It trampled bushes charging after him, soon joined by another and another. The fear gave him a burst of energy and he quickly pulled himself higher on the bank, opposite the birds. He slipped, dipping down into the water then pushing up the hill again. Then he felt an opening. A cave, not large but definitely a cave. Laughing he clawed at the dirt and pushed, throwing himself into the dark space. “Thank you, God. Thank you!” He might never make it out but he didn’t want to think about that. In this moment he was safe and he could finally rest. The entrance was narrow but as he crept along he was eventually able to crawl. Before him was a faint glow, some type of light filtering down and being reflected. Crystals. He’d seen caves like this before. As he pushed himself further back into the darkness of the cave he stopped, stunned. He was not alone. Now available on Amazon Amazon.co.uk Amazon.de Amazon.fr Amazon.it Amazon.nl Amazon.co.jp Amazon.in Amazon.ca Amazon.com.br Amazon.com.mx Amazon.com.au See what's coming .
The Bokor are hunting Mac. Book 2 of the Sir William & Mac Life Without Slippers Series.
Releasing this winter. Limited number of copies will be given away. Stay in touch.
The Sir William & Mac Life Without Slippers Series
This science fiction humor novel series is just what you need to cozy up in your slippers and enjoy your donuts and sauerkraut, William's favorite snack.