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Authors: M.L. Banner

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BOOK: Time Slip
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A giant solar storm will cause mass deaths and collapse the world’s economies. After this, one of the few places of hope left will be Cicada, a place from which I received much of my grant funding for my pandemic research that led accidentally to my cancer research.

 

To all who read this:

Get the formula below to Dr. Valdez immediately, but have him bring his patient to a safe place where he can still produce this and administer it. Results will occur almost immediately, and a complete recovery can be expected within days, assuming there was not too much cellular damage to her other organs
.

 

Preston flipped the page abruptly, his mouth slightly ajar. This, he didn’t expect.

 

You are to tell no one about this, even though you will be tempted to do so. You risk changing what has already occurred. And although it may mean you will save a few people temporarily, they will ultimately die anyway because there is no escaping what is to come. BEWARE! There are also enemies about, who would kill you to get this info. So protect yourselves and stay in hiding and on June 27th, the day before the Event, present yourselves to Preston at Cicada (38 32 48.55N & 104 52 30.00W). Tell him “Stephanie has blue eyes” and he will let you in
.

 

Preston looked up from the page with a
what-the-hell
? gaze that burnt holes into Monty, before returning to reading.

 

Then show him this message. Tell him your qualifications and he should let you stay. Finally, when I arrive at Cicada, with my invitation, seven days later, show me this message so that I’ll be convinced to write it.

 

To Dr. Valdez, here is the formula:

One part: C27H29NO11 to 4 parts: C17H26O4 administered in doses of 500 milligrams once per day for two weeks
.

 

Preston flipped back to the first page and read the whole message again. He thought for a moment before looking up at Monty. “How did you come by this information?”

“This is the part that will be hard to believe.”

Preston snorted. “That’s probably an understatement. Go ahead.”

“Well, my friend invented a machine that creates a controlled time slip, allowing him to monitor and get data from the future, and”—Monty hesitated, then continued—“and allowing travel forward to that future point, through the time slip.”

“So where is this Dr. Ron?” Preston asked and then answered his own question, in a snarky tone. “No, let me guess, he’s jumped back into the future in his trusty Delorean?”

Monty chuckled too, picturing Dr. Ron dressed like Michael J. Fox in the 1980s hit. “I know this is hard to believe. If I hadn’t witnessed it myself, I wouldn’t have believed it.” He pulled out the portable hard drive. “However, I have all of the research and test data here. Let me show you and any of your scientists the proof.”

~~~

July 1st

 

“Dr. Gregory Mendelson,” he said, extending his hand. “Preston says you know me and wanted to see me.” He glanced over at Betsy and Dr. Vasquez and pumped Monty’s hand.

“No, we’ve never met but I have a story to tell you that affects you—well, all of us. I believe you’ll want to sit down before I share it.” Monty motioned Mendelson to the same conference table where they had shown Preston the same message not long before. Monty slipped the pages across the table.

Mendelson took the news in stride, and after seeing his unique handwriting and speaking with Betsy and Dr. Vasquez, he knew the story to be real. He told them about the miracle cure that never made it to trials, as they were interrupted by the Event. He told him he was one of the scientists chosen for Cicada because he had suspicions that the world’s end would come as a result of genetic manipulations to fast-growing cancer cells. It was for this that he received funding from Cicada.

Next, they had to convince Mendelson to go, but he was the one that posed the question back to them. “The bigger question is what would happen if I didn’t go? This would cause an enormous paradox, because if I don’t go, how could I have written that message to begin with? And if I didn’t write that message, Betsy wouldn’t be alive and you wouldn’t be here.”

Mendelson agreed and then excused himself. His daughter Victoria had made it two days earlier, with her family, and he wanted to spend a little time with them before leaving the next morning. Betsy stopped him before he left and said, “May I ask you a big favor?” Her eyes begged him.

“For you, of course.” He smiled a genuine smile that reached clear up to his eyes.

“Would you leave this note for my husband below your message?” She thrust a piece of paper that was folded in quarters and stapled. On the front she had written in cursive, “To my Dearest Husband Ron.”

“I would be honored.” He took the note and kissed her hand. Then he looked up at her and said, “You know I’m going because of you? Your being alive is the culmination of my life’s work. I told my wife long ago, before she died, that if I could save just one person with my work, it would be worth it. Besides, I’m hopeful that your husband will find my message and now your message and will make it to Cicada and you. Maybe you both will get the second chance I never did with my wife.”

Chapter 28

Sometime Later

 

He pedaled at breakneck speed, almost losing his balance twice on the loose gravel, fueled by excitement and adrenaline. In spite of his muscles screaming in pain, he wasn’t about to relent now. It had taken him almost a month, although it felt longer, to bike the eight hundred miles. He was aware that his body showed the effects of all of those miles, not the least of which was that for the first time in his life, he was skinny—probably too skinny. But after a long journey and not eating at all some days because he couldn’t find food, that was to be expected. None of that mattered today as he steadied himself once more, almost going down again. He had somehow made it this far, and soon, maybe in a few minutes, he would see his wife.

His mind repeated the words from her note, left for him below the white board, with Greg Mendelson’s Sharpie attached to it—he almost didn’t see it with all the other debris, “I will watch and wait for you, that day you come back to me. That day will be the happiest day of my life.”

He hit the brakes, slid to a stop, and looked up at the massive gate. He wasn’t sure what to do next, so he yelled out, “Hello?”

After waiting a little longer, he yelled out again, “Hello, is anyone there? This is Doctor Ronald Stoneridge. I have traveled eight hundred miles to see my wife Betsy. Is she there? Hello?”

After a moment, the gates opened. They swung in and stopped, leaving just enough room for a single person. And then he saw her standing there, her arms outstretched toward him. It would be his happiest day as well.

Epilogue

 

 

Rodney Deerwester turned the bubble mailer around in his hands, inspecting it with the greatest curiosity. He stared at his name and address printed from some stamp program. There was no name on the return, only an address in Dallas, Texas. He only knew one person from Dallas, and that was his old friend Monty, who was horrible at keeping touch and whom he hadn’t corresponded with in years.

“Sign here,” demanded “Mr. Smiley,” the name the kids called him because he never smiled.

Rodney scrawled his name on the electronic pad, his writing almost unintelligible. “Thanks, Bob,” he said to the mopey postal worker and left, already zipping open the top of the mailer. Rodney stopped at the garbage by the exit, discarding the stringy piece and intending to dump the envelope too. He turned it over and gave it a flick to dislodge its contents. A stainless steel stick skidded out into his awaiting palm, but nothing else. He looked inside, thinking a note should be there, but there was nothing. Tossing the envelope in the trash, he pushed the flash-drive around his palm, as if he expected it to come alive and tell him its purpose. The mystery would have to wait. He had to get to the Y, then he had to give his class, and then maybe he could load the contents into his computer and find out the answer to this mystery.

He shoved the stick into the pocket of his warmups and walked down Massachusetts Avenue to the YMCA.

~~~

The man blew out a long cloud of smoke, dropped the cigarette on the ground, and drove his heel into it, extinguishing it completely. A woman walking toward him looked up, her face dark with scorn, her lips preparing to launch a tirade of words about his littering and smoking in public. Then she saw his face, and her scorn transformed into surprise and then terror. She wanted to look away, sure she was seeing evil in person, but her gaze was stuck on the man’s features: the long vertical scar on his cheek, the scabbed-over areas of his head, the hair mostly absent on one side, the thin lips that curled into a smile and those eyes, dark as a nightmare.

The man glanced past her, ignoring her altogether, as his gaze followed his target; he was headed to the Y to do his workout. Finally, he had gone to his box and picked up the package. The man had watched his target dump a stick drive in his palm and discard the envelope, before shoving the drive into his pants pocket. It was the stick he was after… Simple. Then that would be the end of this whole Stoneridge-Merriweather affair.

 

 

Read what happens next in
The Stick
(Coming 2015).

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Time Slip
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Thanks and Acknowledgments

 

 

To my friend Jeffry: I will miss our time together every Wednesday discussing life, your music, and my stories. Until we see each other again in our heavenly home.

 

To my wife Lisa: thank you for enduring the endless days that I spend in other worlds, away from you, and for always being willing to read and review my work so enthusiastically.

 

A special thanks to David, whose wife Amy is fighting for her own health. She’s in our prayers.

 

Finally, thanks to all my readers. I hope you enjoyed this one.

About ML Banner

 

 

 

ML Banner founded more than a dozen companies over the past thirty years, before he found his passion for writing. Quite by accident after reading about solar flares, he searched for a fictional book on the subject that was also strong on science. It didn’t exist, so he wrote
STONE AGE (
the prequel to
DESOLATION)
, which became a #1 Best Seller (in Post-Apocalyptic & Dystopian Fiction) in only three weeks.
DESOLATION
(also a #1 Best Seller in both genres) and
Time Slip
are his newest installments to the Stone Age World.

 

He and his wife split their time between Tucson, Arizona and Rocky Point, Mexico. If he is not penning his next novel or short story in apocalyptic fiction, you might find him on the beach reading a Kindle, with his
toes in the water
(the name of his publishing company).

BOOK: Time Slip
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ads

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