Figeroa’s Mirror

mirror

Found at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie – No image credit available

Patrick Figeroa knew he had to get back inside the quarantine area and shut down the experiment within the next hour or it would become unstoppable. General Conrad Buchanan and his so-called “military experts” thought that just cutting power to the transfer unit would close the rift, and although the field remained active, they believed it was a residual effect that would gradually fade.

They were spectacularly wrong.

At thirty-five, Figeroa was considered the world’s foremost expert on transdimensional dynamics, but he had been certified a genius since age three, so such accolades meant nothing to him.

The remote testing ground in central Nevada seemed even more alien to him as he approached ground zero. It had been child’s play to shut down a sector of the defense grid  in one sector surrounding area LI, including sonic, visual, and infrared sensors, so he could get inside. It was just after eight, and desert mornings in November were particularly unforgiving. Fortunately, he was well dressed for the freezing weather, but although he was prepared for what he had to do in every other way, the landscape, and especially the birds sailing above in the overcast sky puzzled him.

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Return to Dieselworld

ford sedan

MorgueFile April 1408991814e81x2

It looked like a 1938 Ford Sedan, but the lavender paint on the body shone in its own light, and the headlights were black.

The radio message from Josiah Covington said her ticket back to his world would be in the poppy field south of town. He’d been definite that she shouldn’t use the dirigible this time.

Keisha Davis expected the car to be rusty and full of holes, but the door swung open easily, and everything looked brand new. She’d gotten her license just after her sixteenth birthday, but she didn’t think it covered this dieselpunk contraption.

She turned on the radio. It emitted an eerie glow as she adjusted the tuning dial. Seconds later, she heard him calling. “Josiah Covington to Keisha Davis. Transmitting at 1450 hours as arranged. Come in, Miss Davis.”

Keying the mic, she grinned at hearing her old friend’s now adult voice. “After all we’ve been through, you can call me Keisha.”

“What are you waiting for? Hurry!”

He was right. Her friends were in desperate trouble, and she was the only person in two worlds who could help. Turning the keys in the ignition, Keisha mashed down on the starter and then vanished!

I wrote this for the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner challenge for May 9th. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200 words.

Hopefully, you all have been following the steampunk adventures of fifteen-year-old Keisha Davis in this series. Seeing the prompt, I decided to tip my hand a bit, since I’m actually envisioning the character appearing in a trilogy. While the current storyline occurs in a steampunk universe, I want the sequel to feature to be somewhat in the alternate reality’s future, depicting a dieselpunk environment.

This would be the beginning of that second saga.

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

Oh, Roger’s linkup still needs lots of love, so it would be great if you jumped in and contributed a story. Thanks.

From Wind to Steam

hot air balloon

© Susan Spaulding

Lee Guzman had been operating his small, hot air balloon business for five years, but he always got the same question.

“You sure this thing is safe?”

“You bet, Craig. As easy as riding a bicycle.”

The latest pair to grace his gondola were Craig and Shawn Tucker, brothers who ran a parcel delivery service in nearby Macon.

They’d been steadily climbing under partly cloudy skies, but now the balloon was ascending into a gray mist that hadn’t been there a minute ago.

“What the hell?” They all grabbed the rigging as the five-mile-an-hour breeze from the northwest suddenly turned into a hurricane.

“Beats me, but hang on!” It was all Lee could say. This wasn’t just unpredictable weather, it was crazy impossible. Amazingly, the balloon held together, that is, until they all heard the rip.

“We’re going down!”

The wind quit abruptly, and they descended below the mist.

“Hey, ain’t that the Golden Gate Bridge?

It was, but nowhere near their San Francisco. Steamships were crossing from the City to Marin County, and the air was full of dirigibles and biplanes. It wasn’t the past, it was something else, like another world, and a new adventure had just begun.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction for May 6, 2018 writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

Since I’ve had steampunk on my mind lately, and since the prompt is an image of a hot air balloon, I decided to send these three guys on a little trip.

In the 1961 film adaptation to Jules Verne’s novel “Mysterious Island,” escapees from a Confederate prisoner of war camp in 1865 steal an observation balloon in a storm, and are taken over the Pacific Ocean, eventually to be deposited on a “mysterious island.”

I used that basic premise, setting the initial scene near the former Andersonville Prison (later known as Camp Sumter) near modern day Andersonville, Georgia, and then had the “strange gray cloud” be a gateway, not to a mysterious island or the past, but an alternate “steampunk” universe, like the one I’ve been crafting in this series.

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

Police Pursuit

steampunk city

Steampunk wallpaper – Found at 1zoom.me

Some people don’t believe in heroes, but they haven’t met my Grandpa. –Anonymous

Keisha sat frozen in the pilot’s seat of the airship Graceful Delight as the image of her Grandpa, forty years younger than the day he died, stood like a living apparition just ten feet in front of her.

“Did you hear me? Let me take the controls, quickly!”

“Oh, yeah.” She stood up just as the Delight pitched to port and she sailed to the floor.

“Grab the netting and hang on.” Isaiah Covington immediately took the chair she had just vacated and began to work the controls. “I apologize for my lack of chivalry and social grace, but I’m afraid saving our lives must take precedence.”

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Ashurbanipal’s Library

london being nuked

Image: Getty-US ENERGY

Aiyana Kaleya Zheutlin had been reading strange languages for the past three weeks, ever since returning to the present and the arctic base of Operation or rather Project Retrograde and discovering how much of the present they’d changed. Something Kelgarries and the fastidious and annoying Dr. Antoine Barnes had mentioned in their briefing when the six time agents got back caught her interest.

She was pouring over photographs and reports on The British Museum’s collection of clay tablets originally discovered in the ruins of the ancient city of Nineveh by Austen Henry Layard in 1849. The Library of Nineveh’s King Ashurbanipal was a monumentally historic find. It contained important works, all on baked clay tablets, such as the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Law Code of Hammurabi, the former included a non-Biblical account of a great flood like the one in the Book of Genesis.

The Museum’s collections database counted 30,943 tablets in the entire Nineveh library collection. Most were written in cuneiform and a few in other near east languages. However, Aiyana was looking for clues of the use of a previously unknown language in these records.

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Crossover: The Expanded Version

ferry

© Ted Strutz

“The next leg of our vacation takes us on the ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria where we leave the U.S. for Canada.”

“Honey,” Glenn’s wife complained. “You sound just like a tour bus driver.”

In the backseat, eight-year-old Brittany groaned while her six-year-old brother Jackson rolled his eyes. They had been on the road for almost a week and would rather have been back home in Fullerton spending their days with their friends at the community pool.

“Just trying to brighten the mood while we wait to get onto the ferry, Sara.”

It seemed to be taking forever for the line of cars to move, but as Glenn and Sara looked out, they realized they had much bigger problems.

“Glenn, I thought it was the rain on the windshield at first, but…is everything…twisting?”

Everything around them, the cars and ferry in front of them, the pedestrians, roadway, the hills in the distance were all changing, becoming indistinct, as if they didn’t really exist.

Then everything abruptly shifted and shimmered, and then everything was different. Glenn had to grab the steering wheel tight because the car was now moving forward at 35 miles per hour rather than sitting still. They were part of a line of cars traveling on the Port Angeles/Victoria Bridge, crossing not only the Strait of Juan de Fuca but into another universe as well.

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The Crossover

ferry

© Ted Strutz

“The next leg of our vacation takes us on the ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria.”

“Honey,” Glenn’s wife complained. “You sound like a tour bus driver.”

Their two kids in the backseat groaned.

“Just trying to brighten the mood while we wait to get onto the ferry.”

Then the parents in the front realized they had bigger problems.

“Glenn, is everything…twisting?”

“I thought it was rain, but…”

Everything shifted and shimmered and then they were part of a line of cars on the Juan de Fuca Bridge, crossing not only the strait but into another universe as well.

I wrote this for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image at the top to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 99.

Decades ago, science fiction writer Larry Niven wrote a series of stories based on the outlandish idea that fog was not caused by water vapor but by a distortion between one quantum universe and another. A person who was in the fog might disappear from our world and reappear in a parallel one.

The image above seems to distort the cars and ferry we can see, and while in real life, this was probably caused by rain on the windshield, I decided to take it in a different direction. There really is a ferry that travels across the Strait of Juan de Fuca between Port Angeles to Victoria, northwest of Seattle, Washington, though I’ve never been anywhere near it (but Google is good).

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