Chapter 1 (The Beginning)
The three looked at the lamp in the middle of the room. Gary was the first one to break the silence. “Okay we need to replace that bulb.”
“Why?” Andrew asked.
Sharon spoke up now. “We need to recreate whatever it was they were doing in this room, even if it does not make sense.” She had added this last part when Andrew got a confused look on his face.
“Well I got that part covered, this does not make any sense.” Andrew replied.
Gary laughed. “Well this stuff is not really supposed to make sense, this Disruption Field Generator does that, make things that don’t make sense become reality.” Gary stopped and scratched his head for a minute. Then he walked over to the lamp and unscrewed the burnt out light bulb. “Okay I need you too to go to a hardware store or any kind of store and find this exact same light bulb, except no substitutions.”
Sharon grabbed the bulb and examined it, then took out a notepad from her bag and made some notes after quickly looking over the base and top of the bulb. Then she grabbed a bandanna from her bag and wrapped the bulb up while still holding it in her hand. “Don’t want to take any chances.”
“Okay we can find the bulb, I know all the hardware stores in town, in fact I know the owner of the one right around the corner, but where are you going?”
“Back to the comic book store, I have to do some research.”
Sharon nodded her head. Andrew again looked confused. “What type of research?”
“I need to figure out what Gary was thinking about on the day the two of them disappeared.”
The search for the bulb took longer than they thought, first off the hardware store was closed, so they had to convince Andrew friend that it was an emergency for the bulb to be replaced that night. Then the bulb was not on the shelf and they had to go looking through the back room for the exact light bulb. After a hour away from the lab they returned but did not find Gary inside, they waited a half an hour and Sharon was about to call Gary when he came through the door with a box of comic books and DVDs.
“What is in the box?” Andrew asked.
Sharon spoke up from across the room. “I am guessing it is stuff from older Gary’s room, am I right.”
Gary put the box down on one of the cabinet’s in the inner lab. “Yes, yes it is. From what I could tell this was the stuff he was watching or reading when he went missing.”
Andrew pawed through the box. “Yeah Sliders I remember him talking about this show.” He said pulling out several DVD cases.
“And this is what I found on his beside.” Gary held up a trade paperback, ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths”
Sharon spoke up. “Yeah that is about alternate realities of Earth.”
“A similar premise to Sliders, same world different outcomes from same events.” Gary said.
“What about these books?”
“Found these in his bathroom in the magazine rack. ‘Time Scout’ some sort of accident causes doorways to open into the past, and a travel industry grows up around it, Ancient Rome, Victorian England, all can be traveled too.”
The three of them were silent for a few minutes as each of them looked at the items in the box. Then Sharon broke the silence. “So this is what Gary must have been daydreaming about when your Dad was doing his experiment.”
“Yeah I am sure watching water boil was not senior Gary’s idea of a good time.” Andrew said.
“But that does not explain the splitter or the use of two light bulbs.” Sharon said and revealed the replacement light bulb to Gary.
“Ah good you got it.” Gary said.
“Oh yeah by the way you owe me $50.00 Gary.” Andrew said nonchalantly.
“$50.00 dollars, what do you guys have to have it specially made.”
“No the light bulb was only $6.50, but my buddy was very irate about me making him open his dad’s hardware store on a Sunday night, so he made buy $43.50 on a hammer, screw driver and a box of nails.”
Gary was perturbed for a minute, but then he thought about it. “Okay, but I want the hammer and screw driver, you can keep the nails.”
Andrew simply gave him thumbs up sign.
Gary continued. “I am betting, that Gary was playing a joke on my Dad, Dad was probably doing something that distracted him, like putting notes into a notebook, or went out to fill or empty a beaker of water and Gary decided to drive Dad crazy thus the splitter and the two light bulbs.” While he was talking Gar took the bulb gently from Sharon. “Okay here is the plan.” Gary was carefully taking the bulb out of the package and slowly screwed it into the empty socket. After a few twists the bulb light up.
Something changed in the air immediately, it was not something anyone could put their finger on, no noise, no vibration, nothing noticeable, but something did change.
“Okay I don’t know what just happened but let’s go with it.” Gary said. “I will continue doing my father’s experiment, and since you too are more in touch with the fiction in the box, infinite worlds and such, you too start thinking about parallel worlds and wormholes and the like, rifle through the box and get your imagination on.
The two nodded and starting looking at the items in the box. Sharon the Time Scout novels and Andrew started to read the back of the Sliders DVD box set. Gary looked at the chart and placed a beaker of water on one of the hot plates and turned it on. Andrew was the first to notice the change.
“Hey guys look directly over the light.”
Sharon and Gary stopped what they were doing and looked up. There on the ceiling directly over the light a spot of blue light was growing. It shimmered and sparkled, dimmed and brightened, but was growing bigger with each passing second, then after a full minute when the blue light almost filled the ceiling, it seemed to collapse inward. It did not get smaller it just got deeper, that is when the noticed a slight breeze coming from the ceiling as though someone had opened a window.
“What is going on?” Andrew asked in a soft voice.
“I am thinking we are seeing what happened to Gary and my Dad.” Gary looked over towards Sharon who was reaching into her bag. She grabbed something and turned around. Gary saw that she had a spool of rope or twine and was tying an end to a table leg.
Gary was about to ask her what she was doing when he noticed the breeze coming from the vortex was getting stronger, he looked up and saw, that the light was starting to swirl around in a clockwise direction.
Sharon came over to him and made a loop with the string and placed it around the belt loop of his jeans, Gary looked at her confused. She spoke up. “It is military grade 550 cord, able to hold about 550 pounds, so if something starts to suck us up instead of blow down, we are anchored. Gary looked at her with a bit of suspicion. “Remember I said my Dad was an electrician among other things.” Gary mutely nodded his head and Sharon finished her knot. “Well the other thing was and Adventurer specializing in Alternate Dimensions and other weird and crazy stuff.”
Gary just shrugged and looked back up at the ceiling than back at Sharon. “Okay.”
Sharon smiled while quickly walking to spool away from Gary and over towards Andrew where she performed the same knotting of the belt loop.
By this time the spinning of, Gary guessed he could call it a vortex was moving faster than a blender set to puree, it made him dizzy so he looked down, this helped but he could still see it spinning in his peripheral vision. He noticed the wind, it could be called a wind now and not a breeze was coming down mostly along the edges, he inched closer to the lamp in the center of the room and noticed the strength decreasing. Almost like the eye of a hurricane he thought. “Hey guys move closer to the center, the wind is less intense here.”
As his two friends moved closer to the table something hit Gary firmly on top of his head. “Ow.” He said more out of surprise than pain.
Andrew reached down and picked something off the floor. “Hey a wallet, this wallet just fell out of that thing.” He said motioning up with his left while holding the wallet with his right.
It was right then that Sharon pulled open a Velcro closed compartment of her bag and pulled out a short sword.”
“Hey what are you doing with a gladius? Andrew asked. “And can I get one.”
“Ah honey, what are you doing with that sword?”
“It is called a gladius; it was the sword of the ancient Roman soldiers.” Andrew added the geek it him coming out.
Sharon put the sword down and was tying up her long blonde hair into a ponytail. “Just being prepared dear, you never know what may come out of an inter-dimensional wormhole thingy.” She motioned above her head.
“Yes, like this wallet.” Andrew said interrupting.
Sharon continued. “It is good to be ready for just about anything.”
“After this is over we are going to have a long talk.”
“Okay.” Sharon said smiling.
“Hey Gary, I think this is your father’s wallet.” Andrew said with the wallet open, he handed it over to Gary.
Sure enough it was his father’s wallet, his driver license, two credit cards, and a several pictures of Gary, going from kindergarten to high school. Gary looked up and Sharon and Andrew were looking at him. “It is his, we are on the right track guys.” It was just as he said the last part a pair of shoes came falling out of the vortex. Gary picked them up, a pair of red Chuck Taylor high tops, tied together.
“Those are Gary’s, older Gary’s I mean.” Andrew said picking them up.
Sharon looked over the shoes. “Did he usually tie them with rawhide strings?”
Andrew looked over the strings. “Ah no, just normal white strings…”
Gary did not hear what the rest of his statement was, because they were drenched with what must have been hundreds of gallons of water. Sharon was knocked over and Gary was hit with somethings that were definitely harder than water. Gary helped Sharon back to her feet, and she was licking her lips. “Salt water.” She stated.
“What kind of fish are these?” Andrew said holding up a fish and just as quickly dropped it when it squirmed out of his hands.
Gary looked at the fish, they were a bright orange, not orange like a gold fish more like the color of a brand new construction cone but it was like nothing he had ever seen before.
“The wind is picking up even more.” Sharon shouted.
The things falling out had distracted him and now he looked around and saw the wind was blowing enough to make the three be buffeted around, even in the center of the room. It was then that the lightning started, it was like the vortex, blue and restricted itself to the vortex, somewhere past the roof line.
“Hey no thunder.” Sharon shouted.
Gary nodded and looked straight up into the vortex. He saw a black spot, getting bigger and bigger. “I think something else is coming in guys.” He pointed up.
Sharon and Andrew looked up. Gary followed the spot, and it continued to get bigger and bigger. The spot did not go in circles as he had guessed it would, but seemed to jink back and forth far up inside the vortex, and it was definitely getting closer. All three gasped at the same time.
“It’s a person.”
The speed at which the person was coming was closing faster and faster but due to the bright blue light of the vortex all they could make out was a figure who seemed to be straddling something.
“Guys we should step back.” This was Sharon who started pulling the other two back toward the door to the lab.
Gary fought her. “That could be my Dad.” He said struggling with her.
“Yeah it could but I am sure he does not want to fall on you, I mean his wallet already did.”
“She is right dude.” Andrew said helping Sharon pull on Gary’s arm.
Gary had kept his eyes on the figure coming down from the interior of the vortex, he yelled. “Dad, Dad I am here.”
Behind his back Sharon and Andrew looked at each other with the message between them hoping it was Gary’s father, but Sharon carefully released the locking mechanism on the sheath of the short sword so she could quickly react.
The figure was close now and Gary shouted again. “Dad, Dad down here.”
At that point the figure turned and looked down. It was then the figure did some sort of twist and then came rapidly down. Unfortunately he misjudged and landed with a heavy thud on the table in the middle of the lab, right on top of the lamp and the momentum carried him off the table. In a split second everything stopped, the wind cut off, the vortex disappeared and the ceiling of the room reappeared solid and whole. The figure seemed to be struggling with something on the far side of the table. Sharon held onto Gary as he was about to rush into the room, but after a half second Gary caught himself. The person stood up behind the table, and hefted what could only be described as a huge saddle onto the table, the figure was in a dark green cloak, shirt and pants he was also wearing a pair of dark goggles and a cloth wrapped around his head. He looked around the room then he saw the door and the three of them standing in it. “Gary?”
The figure unwrapped his scarf from around his head and removed his goggles.
“Dad.” Gary screamed and ran into the room that is when he reached the end of the tether Sharon had tied, he stopped and almost fell. Sharon without being told unsheathed the gladius and cut the cord holding the three of them together.
By this point Gary’s father had come around the table and the two of them hugged.
“So your name is Sharon?”
“I am so glad to meet you, you seem pretty quick with that sword, you seem to be prepared more than most.”
“Family trait, family training.” Sharon said modestly.
“Andrew I am glad to see you to, I am glad you came back from your Army training safe and sound.”
“Yes, sir a couple of weeks now and I am glad to see you and all but I don’t need to be nosy, but where is Gary, older Gary I mean.”
The room got silent as the other three sets of eyes looked intently at Mr. Donnelly, he paused and he took a breath. “We got separated a couple of weeks back, I am not sure exactly where he is now but I do know he is alive.”
“How Mr. Donnelly?” Andrew asked quickly and he saw he had beaten the other two to the punch.
Mr. Donnelly held up a his left wrist and showed them a silver bracelet handcrafted with three glowing stones set into the bracelet. “During our travels a craftsman made these for us, it shows the wearer that the other people in his traveling group are healthy and alive.”
“So who are the other two stones for?”
“That is a very long story son and there will be time later for it, but right now where is that lamp.” The four saw the lamp, crushed and broken lying on the floor. “That is a problem.” Mr. Donnelly said.
Well folks that is the end of the story. But due to some feedback I left it open for a continuation. I have written this by a chapter every week for the past 22 weeks (the second posting I placed two chapters in one week) and I have been just hitting the self imposed Saturday deadline by forcing myself to write. This would not have been so hard if I had an outline completed before I started the story, but it just kind of developed as I went. Hope you all liked it, any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I would have done things a little differently but with releasing a chapter a week, you cannot go back and change things otherwise your readers might be confused, heck I am the writer and sometimes I am confused. It is far from perfect and looking back I would go back and edit it, but all in all I am proud of myself for sticking with it and putting out a chapter a week on time and consistently.
I received inspiration for this story from Comic Book Men on AMC, and I thought what if a guy worked in a comic book store who did not want to, but was forced to.
Again feedback would be greatly appreciated, particularly if I was to get someone to do a cover for this book what cover art would you suggest.
What next, stay tuned.
Your friend out here on the web A.A.