The Upside of the Downside

airship

© Vadim Voitekhovitch – Found at Deviant Art

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.”

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Forlorn Rendezvous

goat island

Goat Island (now Yerba Buena Island) in San Francisco Bay.

“A child’s eyes light up when they see their Grandpa.” –Catherine Pulsifer

“Where is she? Are she and Leah well? Don’t just sit there man!” Isaiah was as frantic as Keisha had ever seen him during the short time they’d known each other. At the first mention of his Mom’s name, Josiah rushed over to his Dad. The teenager from another universe stood and waited.

The lighthouse keeper was rapidly writing on a pad and then put the pencil down. “She’s ceased transmitting. A moment, Isaiah.” Joachim began tapping at the telegraph key. Grandpa had taught Keisha Morse Code when she was little since one of the projects they’d worked on was building a working signaling system, but Rosenstein’s finger was moving too fast for her to understand the message. Then he stopped and listened.

“Sorry. I think she was cut off in the middle of her transmission. She’s not answering now.”

Isaiah put his arm around his son and took a deep breath. “Can you read out what you got?”

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Kiesha’s Grand Adventure

airship

From the 1986 animated film “Laputa: Castle in the Sky”.

Grandpa’s rathole, or what he called his “lab,” was full of devices in a state of desuetude. But the journal that arrived by messenger just five days after the old man’s body had been delivered to the crematorium told Kiesha an entirely different story.

The stench she had anticipated wasn’t so bad as she steered her way through the haphazard arrangements of arcane machinery. They were all in a state of becoming, but only one had been completed and was ready for use.

Her Dad told her never to visit here, and that the old man was involved in debauchery, his insipid character being capable of nothing else. A month ago, she would have listened.

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The Escape

 

bleak

© Sue Vincent

“Are you out of your mind, Jake? If we get caught here, they’ll add ten years to our sentences.”

“Relax, Hubie. We won’t get caught. Now get off your lazy butt and help me drag the raft higher on the rocks. We’ve got to get it in undercover.”

Jacob “Jake” Falco and Hubert “Hubie” Pavoni had both been sent up for twenty years to life for their part in the largest bank heist of the 20th century. Three guards and two hostages were killed during the shootout and only Jake and Hubie got away long enough to hide the $10 million in cash they’d made off with. That was six years ago, and they were still the only two men alive who knew where to find a fortune.

“Okay, Jake. We’ve got the raft and supplies under this outcropping, so it can’t be spotted from the air and sure as hell no one’s going to step foot in this place except crazy people like us.”

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The Colonials

pictograph

© @any1mark66

“Wallace, I’ve seen your evidence and the supporting papers, but they don’t explain one critical piece of information.”

“Like if the Chinese had visited America frequently and in numbers from 1,300 BC until 500 AD, why didn’t they colonize, right Hendricks?”

This was a frequent argument between the British and Native American archeologists, however Hendricks had a point. Pictographic evidence of extended Chinese visits to North America included numerous artifacts in Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. So why did they stop?

“I’ve already introduced Dr. Christina Esquivel, Hendricks.”

“Charmed,” though the older man’s tone indicated he wasn’t. “What’s a geneticist have to do with archeology, Wallace?”

Christina looked forward to deflating this air bag. “I’ve just finished a five-year comparative genetic analysis between various Native American peoples and those from the Hubei, Hunan, and Yunnan regions of China. DNA markers are too similar to be the result of chance.

Meaning?” Hendricks’s voice was laced with anticipation and dread.

“Meaning,” Wallace continued, “that the Chinese did colonize America. Indigenous people like Christina and I are their descendants.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge of the Week of November 14, 2017. The idea is to use the image above to inspire writing a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

The pictograph reminded me of articles I’ve read suggesting that the Chinese rather than Columbus or any other European or people from across the Atlantic, “discovered” America, perhaps sometime between 1,300 BC and 1,421 AD depending on which source you consider. Granted the information is highly speculative, but it makes a good basis for a story. The suggestion that there could be a genetic similarity between the Chinese people and Native Americans was also briefly mentioned in my source. To read more, go to DailyMail.com.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Restoring a Lost Eden (Expanded)

eden

Early photo of the Eden Hotel, Argentina, circa 1912.

It was dark but they still had to be careful. Ever since the anti-Fascists took over the country, Germans were being rounded up, incarcerated, and brutally interrogated for information related to the Nazis.

The woman looked to be thirty to thirty-five years old and about six months pregnant which was obvious even through the overcoat she was wearing. She and a man stood by the car watching the Hotel Eden in the distance. Once it had been a sanctuary for high-ranking party members and their friends. Albert Einstein had once stayed there as did many other notables, dignitaries, and celebrities.

But those days were over.

“It’s so sad, Juan. The end of a glorious era.”

“Indeed, Senora. But those days are not gone forever. Your husband’s legacy will live on in a future generation.”

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Time is the Longest Distance

timelines

Krenim timelines from the two part Star Trek: Voyager episode, “Year of Hell”.

The Present: Project Retrograde

“So, what’s going to happen when you throw the switch, Barnes?”

Colonel John Kellaries was facing Project Retrograde’s senior temporal physicist Antoine Barnes on the floor of the main personnel time gate chamber. Next to him was his Russian counterpart and recent defector Mineyev Duskin.

“Actually, it will be Mr. Lucius and Ms. Huỳnh who will be doing the switch throwing, Colonel. Dr. Duskin and I have devised a specialized start up and operating routine for the gate that will allow us to retrieve our agents, but it will be a dangerous thing.”

“Yes, I’m getting that impression. Just how dangerous?”

“Because of certain…well, quirks in the current nature of how the gates are working, we can only contact our agents by deliberately and simultaneously linking all gates operating in our present and perhaps even gates operating in other time periods.”

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Interlude: What Lies in the Deep?

lief erikson

Public Domain – Carl Rasmussen – Bruun Rasmussen, Copenhagen, 28 November 2011, lot 200 via ARCADJA auction results

Lief Erikson was only a child when his renowned sire Erik the Red had disappeared at sea. Before him, legends tell of Gunnbjörn Ulf-Krakuson being bold enough to drive his ship into the icy waters west of their homeland.

“For Erik,” he muttered under his breath. He was determined not to have he and his men suffer the fate of those who came before them. The sea was rough but his men were bold, courageous, warriors to the last. Loyal to the oar, to the sail, and to Lief.

“Land!”

“Are you sure, lookout?” Lief cried out to the man roped halfway up the mast.

There had been three false sightings before. Brave though they were, the Viking crew had been out of sight of land for many weeks. Provisions were sufficient, but there were legends of beasts so large and fierce that they could swallow a Nordic longboat whole.

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