Chapter 4

Written by: Linda Alley

The humming grew louder and more insistent, its pitch increasing in intensity every few seconds. It throbbed in Masterson’s eardrums and pounded dully in his head. A vivid white light suddenly radiated from the walls. He screwed his eyes tightly shut and his pupils burned fiercely. Intense pain rippled through every cell in his body. The pulsations reached a deafening climax, swallowing his screams. 

Silence. Darkness. He felt red hot heat close to his face. It wasn’t unpleasant. In fact, there was something familiar, almost comforting about it. Masterson gingerly opened his eyes and gasped. He was lying among great white sand dunes. Slowly, he moved his head from side to side and stretched his legs. Amazing - no damage! Sitting up, he saw for the first time in his life a great body of blue-green water, glittering under the sun. He’d watched enough simulations to know what it was.  

He hurried to its edge, touching the foam as it broke on the sand. He licked his fingers. Salty. Impossible! Yet he knew no other planet had such an asset. So…how? 

Masterson turned around. A row of weatherboard buildings lined the beach. He jumped as a rubber ball landed by his foot. A dog with spindly legs bounded up, circling and sniffing him. Masterson stiffened. His hand searched for his taser gun. It was gone!

“Here, Ruffles!” a teenage girl in a sundress scooped up the ball and threw it further along the beach.

The dog immediately abandoned Masterson and tore after it. The girl carried on walking, glancing curiously back at Masterson.

He wiped his palms on the coils of his spacesuit and clambered over the sand dunes. An unfamiliar aroma drifted across to him. His stomach growled and he reached for his packet of nourishocarb pills. Empty. No doubt the final foil enclosing today’s tablet broke during his….What was this? How the hell was this even possible? He’d travelled over 600 million kilometres!

A waiter came out of a restaurant carrying two sizzling slabs of meat which he placed in front of a middle-aged couple. Masterson clamped his jaw shut with embarrassment as he felt a trail of saliva glide slowly down his chin.

“Can I help you?” The waiter arrived at his side.

“Um…I…the same as them,” he murmured, collapsing into the nearest chair.

The waiter nodded, casting a puzzled glance over his shoulder before he disappeared inside. He reappeared within seconds.  

Masterson sunk his teeth into the tender steak. Buttery basil exploded in his mouth, mingling with salty juices. He closed his eyes in ecstasy. 

As he finished his last mouthful he noticed someone watching him. He looked up. A dark-haired boy sat alone at a table, only his eyes visible over the top of a menu. Masterson knew those eyes. He saw them every morning in the mirror beside his bunk at Moonbase. 

They were his own.

Comments

Well here's a great example of the impossible being possible. We know this cannot happen today, or can it? If not - then certainly possible in the future. Writers' imaginations are wonderful. They stretch the readers mind and if written well, convince us we not only have a great story but a believable one. Linda's chapter has us totally hooked right from the start and even though we are taking a sharp turn, mentally, we are still in tune and everything is understandable and flows. This is great chapter writing. Love this, Linda.
Thanks, Ray. I've always found the idea of time travel/time slip fascinating!
Ooh Linda. That last twist is incredible. This is so well written my eyes glided over the page and I couldn't wait to see where the words led. Fabulous! The next writer is really lucky to have such an amazing lead to play with.
Nice chapter. The style lines up with the scene, conjuring a dreamy flow and capturing the incredulity and confusion of Masterton succinctly.

This is becoming an interesting serial! There are multiple POVs and the next few authors need to start drawing the threads together. Moonbase, Bret, Masterton, time-slip Masterton... what a smorgasbord!