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"These stories [are] designed to catch you off guard, and
they really do just that."
~ Beverly J. Rowe, MyShelf.com

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A Thread from the Space/Time Fabric of Twisted Tails II, Vol. 2: Out of Time

Copyright 2007 ... K.L. Nappier

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Double Dragon eBooks, a division of Double Dragon Publishing Inc., Markham, Ontario Canada. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without the permission in writing from Double Dragon Publishing. Published by Double Dragon Publishing, Inc. ISBN: 1-55404-192-9

A DDP First Edition May 11, 2007

From Out of Time’s Foreword

Does time exist as a separate dimension? Does it have a unique place with definable limits in space? Does it move independently according to its own purpose? Or does it only move when other things move,. a causal result bound to the whole? All of the following stories pursue these and other ideas, each in its own way. Time gives way to the authors’ imaginings in ways astounding. But beware, these stories were designed around the surprise of twist endings, going places unknown, unforeseen. They have been written specifically to catch you looking in some other direction. Some will send you careening through space-time to another place or a different when, perhaps both, and we cannot ensure you safe passage. From now on, you are on your own.

An Excerpt from K.L. Nappier’s

 The Thing Most Precious

Dean twisted around again, looked at Elgin for a second, then reached an open hand toward him. "Let’s see the latest batch."

Elgin looked toward Katie. Katie looked back through the car's rearview. Dean wiggled his fingers in a "gimme" gesture. "Fork ‘em over, gramps. I know you got ‘em." He grinned. "And we’re partners now!"

Elgin acted like Dean was asking for one of his kidneys, but he finally pulled a small velvet pouch from inside his suit coat. Dean snatched it, turned back around in his seat and tipped the pouch.

A palmful of brilliant, tinted diamonds tumbled out. Quarter, half, even one that was a full caret. Deep rosy ones, light flamingo shades, some the pink-orange of coral and one was even a psychedelic hot pink. The smaller ones were the classic diamond cut, but the big one -the hot pink one- was pear shaped. They all sparked and glittered as the car rolled along.

"I read all about these online," Dean said, working his hand around in a sun beam. "Rich people’re crazy for ‘em. I saw a ring, three carets or so, sold for a million-five. Rarest damn diamond on the planet. Only a few places you can mine ‘em ... Brazil ... India. Some place in Africa ... Tanza-something ..."

"Tanzania," Elgin piped up, still sullen. "Those places had their hey day a long time ago. Today, the best pinks come from western Australia..."

"I know, gramps, I already told you I did my homework." Just to prove he knew his stuff, Dean added, "I’s called the Argyle mine."

"That’s where these are from..."

"Direct from the mine. The Argyle mine in Australia."

Katie went quiet. She looked in the rearview again, like she was sending ESP messages to Elgin in the back. Finally she said, "Elgin goes there. He prospects for the ones close to the surface, that’s why we don’t have any really large ones, but ... we don’t need really large ones, not with such quality, not at the prices these go for ..."

Dean stared at her for long moment. "Elgin traipses back and forth from Australia, picking up the easy bits from a mine that’s walled up and armed to the teeth? Just waltzes in past Star Wars-grade security and helps himself. And the armed guards don’t mind looking the other way. That what you mean when you say it’s not illegal?"

Katie’s eyes flew back up to the rearview once more and she did her ESP thing again. "When we say it’s not illegal," she said, pulling up to the gates of the Royal Palms U Store It, "we mean that, when Elgin goes there, no one owns it yet. Except, maybe, the Aborigines. But they’re never around."

She entered the code for the key pad and drove through, Dean still not sure if he should laugh or give her a hard slap for trying to pull such a thin, cheap piece of wool over his eyes. What the hell was she thinking, shoveling such a load of horse shit?

They pulled up to Unit 7 and Dean asked, "What are we doing here?"

Behind him, Elgin replied glumly, "Going to Australia."

* * *

Dean crossed his arms and took in the rest of the storage unit -barren of all but the equipment, the computer and a metal clothes locker- then eyed the dom’s cage once more, like it was a car with its hood up. "So, you’re calling this a what, now?"

Elgin was pulling off his suit coat as he shambled over to the locker. "Quantum String Anomalous Flexor."

"So that’s what I’m supposed to be looking at? You’re telling me that this mess of Rube Goldberg is a time travel machine? Gonna H.G. Wells me to the Argyle mine before it was a mine?"

"The way it was explained to Elgin," Katie said, "you don’t travel anywhere. It’s more like anywhere travels to you."

"The flexor manipulates the quantum fabric of space-time," Elgin said. "Think of it as rebuilding your surroundings ..."

"So you’re saying that when I saw you come outta here the other night, you had a piece of prehistoric Australia in here?"

Elgin shook his head, looking supremely impatient and started talking faster. "Not the whole storage unit, just inside the cage. At the quantum level, all matter is a series of vibrating strings. Different vibrations stimulate different manifestations of matter. At that level you can manipulate anything that exists in the universe. You can even mix and match variations of space-time. So when you’re in the cage, you can be two places at once and two times at once ... here and in Australia. In the past and in the present. And that’s all the science class we have time for. Just get in the cage...please."

Finally Dean shrugged and joined Elgin inside the cage. He made a show of letting Elgin have the chair. "I’m guessing I won’t be on my feet all that long, gramps."

"No, you won’t."

Katie grabbed the syringes, putting one in either pocket of her slacks, and entered the cage. Dean gave her a sharp, suspicious look. "Thought you weren’t coming."

"I’m not," she said as she pulled out the first syringe.

"What the hell’s that for?"

"It’s a mild muscle relaxer. Without it, you’ll seize."

"Believe me," Elgin said, "you don’t want that to happen. They aren’t your garden variety seizures."

He held his arm out to Katie, the one that was in the sleeve he had rolled up while he was dressing. But Dean took a step back.

"Bull shit."

Katie pulled away from Elgin’s arm. "Listen to me. You have screwed this up more than you know and now there’s no telling if we’ll get another chance to do this. Those pictures you took? You printed them out at some public photo kiosk, right? You just gave the Pentagon a clear footprint to follow. So if you want to do this, then damn it, do it. Otherwise, Elgin and I may as well go ahead, blow everything and disappear right now. It’s earlier than we planned, but we can do it if we have to."

"Disappear? You think I couldn’t find you? You forgot who you’re taking to..."

"And if you force us to leave, it won’t do you a damn bit of good to come looking for us, will it? Everything you keep threatening us with will have already happened."

Dean’s face looked as stony as it ever had in all the years she’d known him. But, in the end, he said, "Shoot up Elgin first."

Katie took Elgin’s arm again and stuck in the syringe. He grimaced. She rubbed the place of injection. "Sorry."

She looked at Dean. He crossed his arms and watched Elgin until he weaved slightly and went for the chair. Dean relaxed his arms and held one out to Katie. She pushed the sleeve of his tee shirt up, pulled out the syringe waiting in her left pocket and drove the needle home.


Katie stuffed the syringes back into her slacks. Dean rubbed his arm.

"Aren’t you gonna tell me you’re sorry?"

She walked out of the cage and went over to the computer, tapped at the keyboard, then headed to the unit’s door without a word.

speculative fiction,fantasy and science fiction


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