Three times before, eighteen-year-old Keisha Davis had been transported into an alternate universe. For her, only a year passed between each transition, but in the world where the Covington family had become her own, each leap put her twenty years into their future.
Standing inside her Grandpa’s workshop located at the edge of her small, northern California town, she stared into the vastness of the converted warehouse. The first time she saw it when she was fifteen, she didn’t understand why he had built such an eclectic collection of odd technologies, but now it was painfully clear. Each one was a doorway.
“Grandpa, I know why you did this to me. Cancer took you too soon or you discovered the other world too late. Either way, you were never able to take on the missions yourself. You knew I would be the only one who’d understand what you needed and what kind of help that strange alternate Earth needed. Now it’s like your ghost is telling me I can’t go back again, not to him anyway, not where and when he lives in Atomworld.”
Keisha had gotten messages from the radio of a 1935 Ford Sedan, but one that could drive and fly without anyone at the wheel, as well as a crazy looking spacesuit helmet, but nothing that NASA would ever have recognized. The African-American college freshman entered the Victorian-age airship named “Graceful Delight” for the second time in a day, but before that, she hadn’t touched it in three years. She had been launched into her first adventure in this vessel, and met the alternate and younger Isaiah Covington and his family in a place she called “Steamworld.”
Last night she’d been studying in the workshop at Grandpa’s old desk when she heard the wireless aboard the Delight unexpectantly crackle to life. She climbed into the gondola, adjusted the frequency, and received a message in old Morse code from a man she thought long dead.
An atrocity was about to occur halfway around the world and a universe away, and Isaiah Covington once again needed her help. She’d waited twenty-four hours so she could check the history of analogous events in her own reality. It fit all too well. For her, the Armenian genocide happened over a century ago, but in Isaiah’s world, it was still days away.
Once again, she had to cross the dimensional barrier between their quantum universes, and turn that crazy steam-driven downside history upside again. But how could she face the Covingtons knowing everything that was going to happen to them over the next forty years of their timeline, including the fact that she was destined to fall in love with Isaiah’s grandson?
I wrote this for the Sunday Writing Prompt – Select a Heading challenge hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. Today, anyone who wants to participate needs to select a title from the list presented and use it as the prompt to craft a poem, short story, or some other creative work. Obviously, I chose, “The Upside of the Downside.”
But let’s say these turn into a great trilogy of novels, and after the third one, people still want to read more about Keisha? What to do, keep projecting her forward in alternate time? That might get messy. However, an equally messy alternative presents itself. She could enter the alternate world in between the original times she’s visited. Yes, that presents horrible continuity problems, and I’d have to pay attention to the details, but it would be interesting.
I know, I’m being arrogant. I haven’t sold even one short story yet, so who’s to say I can create a commercially popular novel? Oh well. Guess I’ll find out one way or the other.
Oh, yesterday, I wrote a piece of flash fiction referencing the 1915 Armenian genocide. Since my “Steamworld” is more or less set around 1915, I thought it would be interesting if crusader Isaiah Covington once again pressed Keisha, now age 18, into service to help him stop it from ever happening using Steampunk technology.
I may never write this, but it’s an interesting thought.