Friday, November 10, 2017

THE TIME PACER, excerpt


CHAPTER 1
♫ … hold your ground … ♫

“SO … HOW ABOUT this extragalactic nebula?” I took my eyes off the screen to wiggle my brows at Selina. She gave me “the look,” one she’d been giving me since we were twelve. I’d say something goofy and she, in her infinitely cute way, would shoot Cupid’s darts into my heart with a quick smile.
“Alex,” she said, casting a stern look at me, “don’t make me laugh.” There it was: her quick involuntary lip curl. If I said chocolate fondue now with a Swedish accent she’d lose it. She glanced away from me and over at Coreg who had his eyes tightly squeezed shut, hands above his head holding the spaceship’s control levers, feet tucked into the pilot divots, and concentration at maybe Mach 5. I’d been pacing along with him as well as I could for most of this journey, helping us get to his planet, Klaqin, in a fraction of the time. But, dude, I needed a break. My claustrophobia was threatening to resurrect itself in this cockpit.
I discovered I was half-alien, or rather half-Klaqin, a mere day ago and then

it was fight the star cannibals, blow up Gleezhian space ships, punch an alien in the face for kissing Selina, say good-bye to my dad, and begin this epic journey with these two: Selina, one-quarter alien girlfriend; and Coreg, full-blooded alien rival. Now we had a mission: use our time manipulation skills to help the Klaqins repel the invading enemy Gleezhians and keep them on their side of the universe, away from Earth.

I’d been suspicious of Coreg as soon as he, with his white hair and body-builder’s physique, had shown up as a foreign exchange student at our high school. He and his buddy Marcum, equally intimidating, had taken too intense of an interest in Selina. But it didn’t take long to figure out they intended to kidnap her for her quote super power. I’d always known there was something special about her. I had no claim on her then, other than best friend status, but after we ended up in outer space things changed in my favor.
Who knew we both had parents who kept our unique ancestry from us? And then there were our time manipulating powers: she could time-bend and I could time-pace.
Selina’s waving hand drew me out of my thoughts. She indicated the lower screen where stars and glowing clouds of interstellar dust made hypnotizing patterns.
“Think we’ll see any black holes?” she asked. Her hair floated sideways across cheeks that were pleasantly pinked up at present.
I shrugged. “Keep your eye out for angels though.” I knew she thought of me as her guardian angel; she called me that whenever I helped her through a seizure. The look she shot at me now made me gulp and my pacing wavered.
Coreg was an experienced pacer; he could speed up the passage of time to make a light year pass in a minute. I didn’t know how long it would take me to match him. This inherited power drained me mentally. Selina, on the other hand, could slow time almost effortlessly. I’d been aware of how she could make a minute drag into eternities since we hit our teens, making a host of awkward encounters beyond uncomfortable and, of course, allowing me to fall in love with her … slowly.
I beefed up my pacing as soon as she turned her attention back to the screens, but my concentration withered. I hadn’t taken a nap since kindergarten, but a good long siesta sounded extremely tempting now. Maybe Selina could use her time-bending gift to slow things down long enough for a satisfying snooze. At least the smell of oily bio-metals had subsided, becoming a minor note in the symphony of stinks aboard this ship.
Suddenly ripples of excruciating pain filled my head. Selina groaned and Coreg popped his eyes open and hissed at me. “Alex, pace! We’re in the space alley.” He pointed at the helmet clamped to the spaceship’s interior bio-metallic wall next to me. “Use that if you have to.”
He’d warned us about this anomaly when we started out from Azoss, leaving Marcum, super powers unknown, to return to Earth with my dad and Selina’s. The helmet blocked most of the condensed radio waves that played havoc with our brains. He only had one helmet so we’d left it on the wall, but Selina’s pathetic whimper changed that. I handed it to her and concentrated on speeding up time.
The pain wasn’t quite as uncomfortable for me once I resumed pacing. Selina gave me a thumbs-up signal, then rubbed her nose—our secret message. That was more than enough encouragement for me. I tripled my effort and a buzzing, felt rather than heard, flickered from ear to ear, and seemed to rumble and shake me from my feet to my head though I didn’t move a muscle. In no time we burst out of the space alley and the larger screen showed a clear picture of the fantastic galaxy we entered.
Safe and sound. Song lyrics echoed in my head. That was so much better than the jolting static of moments ago. But I realized right away why I was repeating some of the song’s lines over and over. It wasn’t just to relieve the buzzing. It definitely looked like the skies were falling down. Stars rained from the top of the screen, but we weren’t getting any closer … to anything. I kept singing in my head that we were safe and sound.
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THE TIME PACER is available to order on Amazon