‘Overtone’ – Excerpt 1

I’m usually quite liberal about sharing my writing, plots, and stories on the interwebs.  I’ve learned that plots and ideas are a dime a dozen, but that it is writing style and skill that sell a story.  That said, I have three projects that I’m keeping close to the vest, here is the first part of an excerpt from one of those three that has already been shared elsewhere online in the past:

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Lucien stepped off the plane and into the Carter Companies Airport. A week ago he would have been ashamed to have set foot on anything owned by one of the lesser rivals of Gamma Comm. But, since his experience in the unfinished wing of the Ursus Center, much had changed. He had felt liberated when he left Gamma Comm. after that day. He felt even more so now, for though he carried nothing more than the clothes he was wearing and a backpack containing a small, secret artifact, he knew that nothing could restrain him. He had entered the airport back in the city with nothing but what he now carried, and yet everything that he needed had been provided for him. A man flying north to the mountains had unexpectedly met his wife, who was not at all pleased that she had not been told about his secret rendezvous. He had watched as the man tried to hide his ticket, and eventually left with his head hung low under the weight of the tongue-lashing that he was still receiving. That ticket had borne Lucien here; far north into the Rocky Mountains to a small and seemingly insignificant town. The airport was tiny and there was no public transportation to take him anywhere. He wasn’t sure what he should do. All he knew was that this was where he had been instructed to go.

It was raining outside when Lucien stepped out into the street. He began to walk down the road. He didn’t like the rain. It slowed him down and made him feel cold and alone.

But Lucien knew he was anything but alone. His skills in using the substructures had increased greatly. Mercury had led him in discovering methods of thought and concentration that expanded his awareness far beyond an ordinary human’s and he could now easily detect macrobes in any environment. Mercury had in fact introduced Lucien to other macrobes like himself bu subordinate to him, and they were now together working to bring their plans for mankind to their final fruition.

The key to Mercury’s plans lay in the use of very special artifacts. All artifacts from times gone by carry with them memories of where they have been and what they have done. The effects of environment and use etch the experiences subtly into its form and forever seal it in its substructures. Sometimes, when the deep powers of the substructures are involved in their use, simple objects can inherit elements of the works they were used for as substructural powers.

In Lucien’s pack was one such artifact. But this tool was not one needed for their plans directly; those were much harder to come by. The ancient bone knife he carried originated in North America and was used in many religious ceremonies. This trip and the knife were actually a detour from their main plan, a way to bide their time and build their strength while they waited for contacts to find the artifacts they genuinely needed.

Lucien soon found himself on a lonely stretch of road in an empty part of the old city. Lights from behind suddenly lit up the rain ahead of him like a shimmering wall. There was a vehicle quickly speeding down the road. Lucien could see from the height of the lights that it was a small truck and his Cyberneural Algorithmic Interface Network (CAIN) quickly determined its speed by the change of his shadow as the headlights drew near. By use of the implant in combination with the substructures he could tell that the driver was likely a young woman and that she likely couldn’t yet see him. Without the slightest hint of fear Lucien stepped directly into its path.

There was a sudden wet squeal of tires and a spray of water as the driver swerved and tried to avoid the pedestrian that seemed to appear from out of nowhere. Lucien was able to dodge the old, beat-up vehicle buy I few inches, as he knew he would, but for good measure he gave the front corner a solid thud with his fist as it passed by.

Lucien let himself tumble to the ground as the rusty old truck screeched to a stop. He rose back to his feet slowly when he heard the driver’s door open.

“Oh, my god! Ar-are you OK?” shouted a petrified voice through the rain. Lucien guessed her to be about 20 though he could barely see her from the opposite side of the truck.

“I think so,” he replied feigning amazement at the near miss. He felt a little bad being deceptive like this, but it could have taken all night to bum a ride any other way.

“What the hell are you doing out in the rain in the middle of the night?” Lucien was surprised that though her voice betrayed anxiety from the near miss the girl seemed to have little fear of him as a stranger. All the same he modified his posture and voice such as to portray a small unassuming presence.

“I’m just lost, I’m trying to get to the far side of town. I was supposed to meet someone but they never picked me up.” This was not exactly a lie since it had been his plan to find someone to drive him where he needed to go. “Do you think you could give me a lift?”

The young woman got back in her truck to avoid the rain and rolled the passenger window down to finish speaking with the poor stranger that she had nearly killed.

“I really shouldn’t,” she said biting her lip. Lucien could see her better now, her blond hair was mostly pulled back by a loose elastic at the base of her neck. The wet stranger waited patiently in the driving rain as she thought. “I guess I can’t leave you here. Hurry up and get in.”

She reached across and opened the door for him. Lucien obeyed and got in quickly, glad to be out of the cold miserable rain.

“Thanks,” he said, “I really appreciate this.”

“Yeah just don’t tell anybody,” Lucien watched as the girl continued to drive. She was clearly an “outsider”. Outsiders were those who did not work for any particular corporation but instead made a meager living away from the security of the corporate protection zones. She was very nervous as she drove them on, but Lucien’s heightened perception told him that it was not him that made her nervous but someone else whom she feared. Lucien tried to make conversation to lighten the mood.

“My name’s Lucien, what brings you out on a nasty night like this, uh..”

“Katie,” She replied quickly, “ and I just needed to get out and take a drive.”

“Oh I see,” replied Lucien compassionately. She was clearly hiding the whole reason she was out, but Lucien needed other information from her and didn’t want her to close up if he asked more questions.

“So what brings you here?”

“Well, I heard that there was something unusual going on in the far end of the old town, and so I thought I would come check it out,” the truth was that Lucien wasn’t quite sure what he was looking for. The macrobes typically had a way of being vague about things. One of Mercury’s companions had come up with this little mission while they waited for elements of their main plan to fall into place. All that Lucien knew was that he was to purchase the knife, which he now carried in his pack, and travel to this town on the edge of the mountains to get something that would help him.

“Oh you mean all the bums that’ve gone missing. That’s been going on for a while now but there’s no real mystery to it,” Lucien’s super keen senses told him that Katie was very bright and physically strong. In spite of these strengths Lucien could see as she spoke, the remains of bruises and old injuries that caused her to move and hold herself differently that she would otherwise. She had clearly been through a lot.

“Oh, really?” he encouraged her to go on.

“Yeah, it’s not uncommon for animals to come down from the mountains and take a few of the homeless. Not many notice, I mean so many die all the time anyway from fighting or sickness. It’s only the weak and useless that get taken by animals anyway so it doesn’t much matter, or so my Daddy says…”

At the mention of her father Katie’s eyes dropped down and to the left, and her breathing rate increased slightly. Lucien now knew what it was that she feared, he himself looked down at his lap, and reminded himself that he was on a greater mission; one to stop all of the sorrow like this.

Through the vents that were blasting warm air into the cab of the old truck a faint smell that was quite out of place for this deserted neighborhood caught his attention. He suddenly he needed no reminder.

“This is the place,” he said abruptly.


About jaurelguay

I'm a Research Scientist, a Husband and Father, and Published Writer. View all posts by jaurelguay

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