DCLXVI – The Numeral of the Beast - Part 107


Stories around my fantasy trilogy - Breaking the Tranquillity of Solitude.

A long read

After last week’s test read I’ve had quite a lot of positive feedback. I doubt if Jackanory will be phoning anytime soon but it was nice to hear that people found it “enthusiastic” and “compelling”, especially when it was not a particularly exciting passage. So at the risk of losing regulars I thought I’d push the boundaries a bit and go for a longer attempt. I hope you like it. Let me know any feedback as next week is my big day reading in front of authors from around the globe. It’s an opportunity to show case my literary work and get exposure in a peer pressure situation.

Here goes… Obviously you’ll need to tune in to the VLOG to see/hear me read but here is the passage in its full glory.

Back in pod one, on his ‘one final test’ Brody believed wholeheartedly he was ready. As on all six hundred and sixty-five previous tests, regardless of minor resultant data conflict, he had always got one hundred percent categorical physical success.

Why then was he suddenly feeling sick to his stomach and reeling within the pod? Before he could answer this question or his gut could regurgitate his breakfast, he passed out cold and fell to the floor. An unknown period of time passed… He eventually awoke and got shakily to his feet.

The sweat was dripping from his brow as the mag-lock on the transportation pod door spun, finally clicked and the door slid back. A wave of emotion coursed through his system and he felt faint again as he realised he wasn’t back in his lab or even in the return pod where he should’ve been. He was still in pod one and it was the outside environment that seemed to have changed. This was a fact that contradicted all his understanding of the science he was trying to further. Both pods were bolted down to their earthing plates and so couldn’t move.

Brody, dazed, automatically tried to comfort himself with humour and spoke aloud with a mixture of sarcasm and worry.

“Did the Earth move for you, babe?” With nobody there to hear his jest, he couldn’t even muster a smile himself in response to his frivolous question and so stared blankly out of the pod. Neither his normal predilection for humour nor the habitual thinking about Charley were of any comfort now. He’d fallen head over heels the day they met but despaired at the chance of her ever reciprocating the feeling.

He heaved a huge sigh of ‘no going back now’ proportions, then very tentatively took his first Armstrong-esque small step out of the pod. He definitely wasn’t mentally prepared for the giant leap into the complete unknown that he was just about to take…

Incredibly, what he now saw in front of him as he stepped outside of the pod was a wide beach scene with what looked like a huge Viking ship in the distance.

“What the f…?” he said it out loud, but his words trailed away to nothing.

Taking a moment or two to steady himself from the dizzy experience, he stepped cautiously further out. With his feet in casual loafers he sank into the crisp sugary sand.

‘It’s real’. The mere thought was astounding let alone the reality.

“It’s actually REAL!” His anxious thoughts spilled from his lips now but still he bent and touched the sand in disbelief, running his fingers through it like an excited child, a child at the seaside for the first time, having never seen the sea let alone a Viking ship. It wasn’t excitement he had felt though.

This was just not right. He knew only too well that he should, by rights, still be in his lab returning from a twenty-five second, two-billion-mile phased transportation that he had successfully completed so many times before.

‘What’s happened? What could possibly have gone wrong?’ As he started to try to compute the possibilities while thoughts were randomly jostling for position in his mind, he was promptly interrupted by the sound of the transportation pod door beginning to slide shut behind him. Letting go of all the computations, he turned to see the whole pod fading from vision, he desperately dived goalkeeper-like; clutching at the disintegrating image he grabbed only air as he landed firmly on the soft, warm sand where the pod had previously stood.

Panic now began to edge into his mind.


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