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Twisted Tails II [Out of Time Volume 2 of 2]
by J. Richard Jacobs

Category: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Description: 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, completely dependent on prevailing conditions and binding dimensions in its surrounding space--a causal result bound to the whole? Perhaps it's just a simpleminded construct humans have concocted to explain the inexplicable. Is it vaguely possible that it's a set of branes slightly out of sync and we may pass from one to the next at will? Maybe it's a simple kink in dimensions that can be crossed by anyone walking in precisely the right direction. It could be that it's just a mental state altered simply by a minor amount of imagination applied correctly. Perhaps it is no more than a drug- or mantra-induced change of mental state--something hallucinated--something seen but unseeable. Or is there more to it than we can fathom? In the world of physics, all of this--and much more--is being looked into by serious, conservative scientists as well as those with their mental equipment more loosely adjusted--or even unfastened completely, their brains rolling about like marbles in an empty railroad freight car. Whatever time is, it is a concept that has fascinated our species since we became capable of contemplating more than just our navels or being eaten by hungry predators. We consider the future, the present, and the past-how they may all relate and ... interrelate. We wonder what it all means or if it means anything at all. 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. Amazing flights abound as they probe orthodox disciplines in physics combined with unorthodox musings, stretching the envelope all the way to the breaking point, or take fanciful flights of mind into the unknown realm of ethereal time, gleefully, sometimes flippantly breaking the bonds of "real" science-whatever that means. There are even times when the concept of movement through time is naught but a ploy-means to an end. But they are always asking, "What if..." Just, what if...?" Then, they answer their own questions with trips up, down, through, across or outside the time and dimension lines, crawling cautiously from one time line to another, being ever vigilant so as not to fall off in the wrong where or when. 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 are subtle, others--just this side of a Force 5 tornado--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. No guiding hands. No protective wings. No way to say that, once you're into a story, you'll ever come out. Sorry, that's just the way it is, was, and will be--no guarantees.
eBook Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing/Double Dragon eBooks, 2007 Double Dragon Publishing Inc.
eBookwise Release Date: May 2007

eBookeBook

7 Reader Ratings:
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Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [318 KB]
Words: 69051
Reading time: 197-276 min.


FOREWORD TO VOLUME 2

Volume 1 of Twisted Tails II has done its dirty work. Now that your foundations have crumbled into loose sand and you are certain that the only certainty in life is its uncertainties, the Twisted Tails gang comes forward with ten more quirky little tales that are specifically designed to throw you for the last loop. They are here to sweep away the crumbs that remain of your once solid foundation, to leave you adrift in a void of time unraveled, trying desperately to rearrange your disheveled psyche, to find your footing in the quicksand they have happily dumped in your path.

But ... there is a sound out there in the deep black unknown. Do you think you can hear the muffled tinkling of maniacal laughter in the darkness? You may trust that you surely do--it is not your imagination wrapped up in a hazy and twisted time line. It is the sound of the gang as they prepare to deliver the coup de grace--a final, merciful humanitarian act on their part. Your suffering will soon come to an end as they selflessly queue up to relieve you of whatever sanity remains in your scrambled brain, to reduce you to a gelatinous, protoplasmic mass spread across time and space--a simple, thin smear on the windshield of life.

You have been warned.

* * * *
1. Martian Colours
by
Jeremy Davies

The time machine works, but that's not the only problem, my man. It's not even the biggest problem.

You see, I'm lost in a landscape.

I started calling them 'landscapes' after the third trip. Think of it like an art gallery, full of landscapes by a whole range of artists under a whole range of influences: everything from Dada to Classicism. Think of it like, instead of walking around looking at all these things, admiring the brushwork, taking in the light, trying to impress the skinny girl beside you with the couple of things you can remember from art school, instead of that, instead of actually getting to be you looking at them, you are them looking back at you.

You're not even sure if there is a you anymore.

Time machines aren't meant to be like this. I've seen the movies. And if you meet yourself you're meant to disappear in a flash of energy, or the universe implodes, or something. Or is that just if you touch yourself?

But it hasn't worked out that way, my man.

They came for me on a Wednesday. Wednesdays are always blue, and I can remember their so-serious clean-shaven faces were blue when I saw them on my doorstep. Their perfectly pressed suits navy, their ties bold cobalt, their noses deep sky, the rims around their ears a very dull aqua.

It's not a metaphor. Wednesdays are always blue.

'You're Chance.' It was a statement, not a question. 'Lucas Chance.'

I was still coming down that morning. I'd just escaped my second cluster headache from Hades for the year, and it was only March. Lake Shore Drive is the only thing that works, my man. It's the only place to go. Sometimes you can smell the green when your mind is feeling fine. Green smells like burnt toffee on Wednesdays. But it's blue.

I'm not a junkie, by the way.

I sniffed and sort of stood there. 'Listen ... You know ... I...' The sky is so blue on Wednesdays you could surf it.

The two suits pushed past me through the door. They stood there in the middle of my blue hallway and looked back at me.

One of them stood there and said: 'Chance, the government needs your help.'

The other one stood there and said: 'It's a real opportunity to do something with your life. Something for your country.'

'You have the characteristics we need.'

'High range synaesthesia.'

'Cluster headaches combined with drug abuse.'

'You are a perfect candidate for the program.'

'You'll be paid well for your services.'

'And you'll be a pioneer: a great voyager, like Neil Armstrong.'

'And you have no choice.'

'No choice.'

'We'll bust you for the LSD, Chance.'

'And we'll make sure you go down for it. Big. Time.'

They'd been turning a radiant yellow while they spoke, mixing with the blues, giving the whole hallway a green glow. And I could smell dog sweat mixed with barbecuing meat and sugary toffee. It wasn't unpleasant so I closed my eyes. Sometimes you can smell the green when your mind is feeling fine. The odour grew stronger.

I felt fine.

One small step for man, my man. I giggled and let them walk me out to the car.

The car was blue, but it was slowly turning green.


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