Emerald Eyes Trilogy- 3 fantasy novels

Novel 1 – Emerald Eyes Destiny

Cindy Meikin, a high school senior, has a strange experience that puts her in contact with Sylvia, a girl her own age from another world. After taking Sylvia home she discovers that her mother, Natasha and herself came from this world and not from Eastern Europe as she had always been told.

Cindy, Natasha and Sylvia return to through a void to find themselves involved in an ongoing war against foreign invaders. They meet Archwizard Lightshield, who originally knew Natasha, in a castle under siege.

Cindy also finds that she is an Emerald Eye Wizard and has strange magical powers in this new land that come to her without being called upon. The adventure continues with Cindy’s powers becoming stronger and seemingly being controlled by some unknown force.

Other characters include dwarfs helping to defend Uronia, Prince Gerard from a northern country in the same world and some dragons they seek out to help in their battles.

But why has this all happened to Cindy? What is her real connection with Sylvia and will the pair be able to drive off a ruthless enemy?

Emerald Eyes Destiny Ebook


Novel 2-Emerald Eyes Mist

This second novel starts on the non-magical Earth. It is Christmas and Cindy and Sylvia from Emerald Eyes Destiny are skating on a lake in Washington State . A strange mist swirls in and a little bird arrives with a message on his leg asking for help. They travel through a magical void to another world and find Muftin, the bird, can speak. Gikre a dwarf, is with Tulco, a girl with emerald eyes like their own. She is caught in a bear trap set by human invaders trying to catch them.

After freeing Tulco from the trap Cindy and Sylvia help her to escape from the humans. However, they must cope with strange mists called vapin that appear to come in two forms; a white one helps them but a red one is a terrible enemy.

After being attacked by the red vapin the white vapin comes to their assistance and communicates with them with thoughts. They are told to head to White Sword Peninsular, far away up the coast.

Xentrix the dragon provides transport for this perilous journey. There they meet a strange community isolated on a small peninsular. For some reason these humanoids cannot leave the peninsular. Why is this so and what is the dark secret held by these people? What of the strange mists? Are they just a force or something alive?

In this adventure all these problems must be solved including the one about Tulco, herself. It appears that Cindy loses her magical powers as Tulco gains them. The youngster matures at a phenomenal rate to become a woman the same age as Cindy and Sylvia. Why is this so? How does this new Emerald Eye Wizard use her special powers to solve the problems in this magical world?

If you’ve read Emerald Eyes Destiny you’ll love being with Cindy and Sylvia again. This novel, though, is a complete story in itself that can be enjoyed in its own right.

Emerald Eyes Mist Ebook


Novel 3- Emerald Eyes Pyramid

In this third adventure, the Emerald Eyes wizards and talking birds find themselves in a land a millennium back in time. Xentrix the dragon is with them and they rescue a flying girl about to be sacrificed on a pyre in front of a pyramid.

She is Kondel a Pyram, a humanoid creature with wings who live inside magical pyramids. The enemy in this world are ancient human priests determined to eliminate all flying creatures from their land. Birds have already disappeared and it appears that Kondel is the last of her species left.

But is she?

Cindy, Sylvia and the others set out to find the truth about the evil priests and search for Kondel’s kind. Will their magical powers be enough to overwhelm the priests who appear immortal with the ability to travel through time? And why are the tiny birds so important in this latest quest?

Remember, this is a complete story in its own right and can be read even if you have not followed the earlier Emerald Eyes adventures.

Emerald Eyes Pyramid Ebook


 

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Claire – Book 2 in our December Theme

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The truck’s engine rumbled and black diesel fumes belched out the exhaust as the wheels crunched through the icy surface to the gravel beneath. It was a well-formed track, though, and the old truck had made the journey a thousand times before. Alan clung on when they went around the bottom corner. This was one of two ninety-degree bends on the track. From here, it was a steep straight climb up the hillside until they reached the top bend that turned another ninety degrees onto the table flats.

The warning that something was wrong only came when the Bedford swung wide on the last bend. Alan heard a scream of gears as Hazel attempted to change down. In this old truck, first gear was not synchronized and to get into it involved a double-declutch. Hazel as a confident driver but something went wrong. The engine howled as the gearbox slipped into neutral and the truck stopped and began to slide backwards.

“Don’t brake!” Alan screamed but Hazel had already reacted.

She braked slightly with the result being the opposite of what she had intended. On the icy surface the back wheels locked and the tray swung out. The hay bales that covered half the deck began to slide. Jiggy skidded sideways with a yelp of fright but Alan managed to grab her collar with one hand and hold the frame behind the cab with the other. He stuck a foot out to defect a hay bale away from them and waited for the truck to level out.

But it didn’t. He saw the snow covered valley and gasped in alarm as the hay bales hit him and he was propelled forward. The tray disappeared and Alan saw the blur of ground beneath him. A hay bale hit his shoulder and his legs went from under him. There was a bang of something snapping that penetrated his brain, the feeling of excruciating pain as he tumbled down onto a rock hard surface and the vision of the truck careering by down the slope.

There was more though. As he watched in frozen horror he saw the spinning back wheels. The truck was on its side as it skidded by!

More hay bales hit and Alan screamed involuntarily before the world around spun and he remembered no more.

*

Barking right outside her bathroom door made Claire jump in alarm. She opened the door to find not only Jiggy there barking but also one of the farm dogs. This one was a female but she didn’t know its name. The dog stood back looking almost nervous as if she knew she shouldn’t be inside while the little terrier continued to bark, run up the corridor and back again.

“What is it, Jiggy?’ Claire.

The farm dog stood up and whined.

“Where’s Alan?” Claire asked.

Both dogs stopped, sat down and gazed at her with sensitive brown eyes.

“They sent you to get me. Is that right?”

Jiggy barked and ran back along the corridor again. This time, though she didn’t stop but disappeared into the kitchen. The back door was wide open and icy air blew in. Claire followed Jiggy and the other dog out to the veranda. There was snow everywhere and the day clear and cold, far colder than she had ever experienced in Wellington. Both dogs ran out onto the drive and stopped between the truck tyre marks in the snow.

“You want me to come?”

Both dogs barked and the farm dog sort of pawed the snow and ran along the ruts created in the snow by the truck tyres while Jiggy stayed by her but continued to bark.

“I’ll get a coat.” Claire gazed out but could see nothing except snow and the tyre marks disappearing around the side of the far shed. She assumed this led out to the farm.

The farm dog watched while she put one of Hazel’s raincoats on and found a pair of gumboots. Her hands and ears were already freezing but there was no time to find a hat or gloves. As soon as she stepped out onto the drive, the farm dog sort of yelped an acknowledgment and disappeared out of sight. Jiggy stopped barking and trotted along beside her.

Behind the shed the truck marks followed a wide track that was fenced on both sides. Claire pulled her collar up and stepped out to follow the farm dog moving rapidly away in the distance.

*

In spite of the freezing temperature, Claire was perspiring and puffing by the time she reached a paddock where cattle were munching hay in two long lines. By the look of it, the truck tracks had turned in and come out again. Jiggy ignored the paddock, though and continued to run just ahead to where the track turned up the side of the hill.

“Oh hell,” Claire gasped when she saw how steep it was. “Jiggy, slow down, will yah.”

The little dog turned, ran back, around her and ahead again around the corner. Clair followed and heard something beside her. She glanced down and saw another dog. This was a larger male who had slowed its pace to trot beside her. Its tongue hung out the side of its mouth as it gazed up at her with almost pleading eyes.

“So you stayed behind until your friend arrived back, boy,” she said and reached down to pat the dog’s head. Unlike the females it did not bark but instead his tail wagged three or four times as he fixed her with a knowing expression his eyes.

The hill was steep and slippery. By the time Claire was half way up she was wheezing and gasping for breath. She ignored a spasm of pain under her ribs and continued on. Ahead, the track went left around a small cutting so only distant hills were visible. That was when she noticed that the tyre marks in the snow were different. The single front marks and double rear ones had become a continuous line that churned up snow and slush everywhere.

Claire stopped and gasped. The tracks went straight ahead, not around the corner beneath the cutting. She broke into a run, slipped and staggered but reached the edge and looked ahead. Half way down a steep valley she spied the truck surrounded by tossed out hay bales. It was jammed between two pine trees and looked as if a branch had crashed across the cab while the tray, devoid of any hay stuck grotesquely up in the air.

“Alan! Hazel!” Claire screamed but there was no reply. Everything was deadly quiet in the frosty air and the only movement was steam was curling from the truck engine. The three dogs stood in a line beside her with their ears forward, backbone hair ridged and tails drooping.

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Scene 1 from Embrace the Fog

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Scene 1 from Embrace the Fog

Travis swung the oversized steering wheel of his pride and joy; a seventy-year-old Jaguar Mark IV saloon took the loose gravel with ease. Ahead on the narrow winding road was yet another tight corner. He glanced out at the scene to his left. The hillside sloped down a steep valley of native bush to a steam barely visible in the valley below. Ahead, mountain peaks with summer snow still in the shady sections, poked out of the blue sky.

If it wasn’t so late in the afternoon and the annoying situation they were in, he would have stopped to admire the view.

“We have definitely made the wrong turn.” The young woman beside him swished a strand of blonde hair out of her eyes. “I knew we should have made that turn fifteen kilometres back.” She held up the map on her lap and switched her eyes back to the road. “Slip ahead!”

Her voice rose a little but Travis had already braked. A small mudslide of dirt and foliage covered half the road.

“It’s not too bad Jacey,” he said. “We won’t need the spade again.”

Fifteen minutes earlier they had had to shovel debris aside to give them room to squeeze  through a gap between a cliff face to the left and an almost vertical drop on the outside.  This cross-country orienteering drive for vintage vehicles was proving to be more difficult than he had planned. He grinned to himself as he changed down to low gear and cursed the lack of power steering as he edged the heavy car around the slip.

Jacey pouted as they increased speed a little on a small straight section beyond the slip. “Travis Crichton, why are you grinning? You have to admit that the only thing we’ll get out of this contest is the wooden spoon. What’s the bet this is a dead end road and we’ll have to go all the way back. It’ll be midnight before we reach the highway again.”

“And who is the navigator Miss Roden?” he replied, imitating the voice of one of her pupils at the local school where she was an assistant principal.

Jacey grinned. “Okay, but none of the side roads we passed are on the map. We just kept going as per the instructions and here we are.” She sighed. “At least this Jag hasn’t broken down or crashed.”

Travis nodded. Earlier, they had passed two stranded cars in the rally, one had a steaming radiator and the second was stuck in a ditch. After stopping to see that the occupants weren’t hurt, they had continued on. That was almost three hours ago and the last rally car they’d seen was a cloud of dust in their rear vision mirror about fifteen minutes later.

As they continued up another steep climb, Travis thought back to the two most important things in his life. He had bought the Jaguar three years earlier from Jacey’s grandfather and had spent most of his spare time since in his garage, renovating it. It had taken longer and cost more than he had ever imagined but it now seemed all worthwhile. In the first rally entered he had got nowhere but received a ‘commended’ ribbon for the authenticity and condition of his restored vehicle. More interesting was the offer he that had been made to him by a Japanese investor. It more than doubled the price he had originally paid and even with the money he had used in the renovations, he would have made a great profit. He had though, turned the offer down.

The second and probably more important part of his life was the young woman beside him. Jacey was eight years younger than himself but had filled the gap in his life after an acrimonious separation and later divorce from his wife. He knew their friendship over three years had grown into something more since meeting at the university where they both were studying for post-graduate degrees. She had succeeded but he’d dropped out. An MA wasn’t really necessary for his small electronic business but hers had helped for her to win a high position at a sort after intermediate school in one of the top suburbs in town.

“Watch out, Travis,” Jacey screamed. “Can’t you keep your eyes on the road?”

He braked and skidded in the loose gravel on the sudden corner but again the old vehicle responded well and they were never in any real danger. They reached the top of a saddle and ahead he could see the road winding down into a fog-covered valley below.

“We must be going somewhere,” he muttered. “I know most of these roads circle back to the main road.”

“You hope!” Jacey retorted, caught his eyes and broke into a smile. “Okay, I’m glad you persuaded me to come rather than attend that dreary teachers’ course. The Board of Trustees chairman isn’t going to like it, though.”

The BOT chairman was in his mid sixties and had grandchildren at the Wakefield Avenue School where she was the principal. The rumour was that he had no other interests and would probably die in the job wasn’t far off the truth. However, he was still respected and modern enough to only mumble about but not hinder paying for new technology that modern schools needed.

“Travis!” she interrupted. “Stop day dreaming and keep your eyes on the road.”

“Sorry,” he muttered. “Just thinking.”

“About the car?”

Travis switched his eyes to her. “No, you,” he whispered.

She flushed a little and looked away. “Yeah, okay but concentrate on the road will you?”

“Of course, Miss Roden,” he laughed as he swung the car around one more tight bend in the road.

*

Ten minutes later they were in a belt of thick fog. Travis slowed and admired the fog lights that he was using for the first time. They cut a low beam across the road ahead whereas the headlights just reflected back and dazzled him. He edged the Jaguar forward and heaved a sigh of relief when they drove out into evening sunshine and a wider road ahead. A few moments later they arrived at a T-junction.

“Which way?” he asked.

Jacey frowned. “Nothing is on the map and there’s no reception so I can’t find maps on my iPhone.” She glanced up. “I’d say take the road to the left. It looks wider than the right hand one.”

“I agree.” Travis looked to the left. “Funny that there was no road sign. Usually, even on these backcountry roads they have them at the intersections.”

“Probably fell down years ago and locals know where to go,” Jacey replied.

Ahead, the gravel stopped and they drove onto a, still narrow but sealed road. It curved around the base of the valley with farmland around. Moments later they passed an ancient truck coming in the opposite direction but there was no problem for the road was now wide enough for two vehicles. The driver of the other vehicle gave them a wave as the truck drove by.

Travis waved back and grinned when they passed an old but well maintained farmhouse and power and telephone poles appeared along the roadside. “Civilisation!” he chuckled.

Five minutes later the road become still wider and a county store appeared. It was ancient building with a front veranda. A sign on the top was plastered with a Coca-cola add and the words Valley Store. On the footpath at the front were two ancient Shell gas pumps while further along the road verge was covered in thick clover plants that were beginning to flower. No other vehicles or people were around.

“Good,” Travis said. “I think I’ll stop for some gas. We’ve probably got enough to get back but it pays to be careful.”

“Probably!” Jacey retorted and leaned over to glance at the fuel gauge that hovered just under the quarter mark.

“There’s a jerry-can full at the back,” Travis said. “It’ll probably cost like gold out here but we’ll get some anyhow.”

“Definitely,” Jacey replied.

They pulled into the kerb by the pumps and both got out. The shop looked deserted and Travis was about to reach for the pump handle when an elderly man wandered out.

“Gidday to you folk,” he said. “Don’t see many outsiders here this late in the afternoon. I like the flash new car. You from the government, I guess?”

Travis grinned. Flash new car! The old guy had a sense of humour, “Can you full us up, please?” he asked.

The old guy tugged on his unshaven chin. “Don’t rightly know. Got your ration coupons?”

Ration coupons? Okay, he was having them on but it was becoming somewhat annoying.

A hand grabbed his arm and he glanced down at Jacey beside him. “Have you still got Grandad’s logbook in the Jag?”

Travis nodded. “Yes. It’s in the pocket on your side. Why?”

Jacey looked serious. She opened the passenger door and, a moment later produced an old leather bound folder that she opened. From one side she produced an old booklet, opened it and unfolded a page of stamps.

They weren’t stamps though but numbered coupons with an official looking government blue circle and writing on them.

The old guy’s eyes lit up, “You must be important officials to have that many or did you get them on the black market?”

“How many do you need?” Jacey asked.

“Depends on how much gas you want.” He glanced at Travis. “Fill her up, you said?”

Travis nodded and watched while the old pump dial lever swung around and made a ding just before it pointed to the twelve o’clock position. He frowned for he realised that it was registering gallons, not litres that had been used his entire life. He mentally shrugged. No doubt the old guy had some conversion table inside.

A few moments later the tank was full, the man ripped off eight ration coupons and grinned. “Come in,” he said. “The good wife and me were having a cuppa tea when you good folk came along. Want one on the house?”

“We’d love one thank you… err …” Jacey replied.

“Tom. Everyone calls me Tom in the valley.” The old man grinned. “Old Tom usually, but I prefer just Tom.”

“Hi Tom,” Jacey said and held out her hand. “I’m Jacey and this is Travis.”

Tom looked almost embarrassed as he shook Jacey’s hand but gripped his own with a powerful grip. They followed him into a museum type store with stuff everywhere and a long counter across the back. Tom led them through a rear door and into a surprisingly comfortable looking living area. A chubby woman at a sink turned, wiped her hands on a frilly apron and smiled.

“This is Mavis, me wife. Mavis, meet Travis and Jacey, two government inspectors from the city. Did yah see their car?”

“Most impressive,” Mavis replied after she shook both their hands. “But why did you come in from the upper valley?”

“We came over the hill,” Travis replied.

“The top saddle?” Tom raised his eyebrows. “You were lost weren’t you?”

“A bit,” Jacey acknowledged.

“It was closed last winter with a massive wash-out. I thought the county council weren’t going to bother reopening South Road.” He shrugged, “Looks like they did. Us locals are always the last to find out about what’s happening.”

Travis frowned. County councils had been abolished and replaced over thirty years before. Everything was now district councils! This was the second strange thing. He was about to reach in his pocket for his credit card to pay the bill when he again felt his arm being squeezed; Jacey caught his eyes and lifted her eyebrows a little.

“I’ll pay, Travis,” she said. “I need a few groceries and perhaps one of the bags over there.” She nodded at a row of colourful cloth bags hanging from a hook.

“They’re good value,” Mavis said. “One of the valley ladies makes them herself. We sell quite a few to outsiders.”

“Thanks,” Jacey said. She selected some grocery items from the shelf behind the counter, added a small box of chocolates and produced some money from her purse to pay Tom.

“Whoa there! That’s way too much,” he said, took less than half that held out and handed her some change. “We aren’t that much dearer than the city, you know?’

“Sorry,” Jacey replied.

“So how about that cuppa?” Mavis cut in as she held up a steaming teapot. “Do you have sugar and milk?”

The elderly couple chattered away about the weather and other nondescript items that strangers have in common as Travis sipped his tea and bit into a newly baked bun. He noticed that Jacey looked quite pale and was unusually quiet. Usually she was the chatty one with strangers and he’d follow on.  Neither of them mentioned the rally or their trip there. Travis wondered why his partner was so coy but decided to follow her lead and say little. The two shopkeepers did most of the talking and he added a few words here to keep the conversation going.

“Well we must be off,” Jacey said a few moments later. “Thanks for the afternoon tea. It was lovely.”

“No problem,” Mavis said. “On a weekday the locals drop in after the mail van arrives and I usually have two or three having a cuppa. In the weekend, though we are usually by ourselves. I told Tom we should shut at noon on Saturday and Sunday but he insists on staying open.”

“We’re here for more than just the profit, Mavis,” Tom replied.

The pair walked out with them, admired the car again and were seen waving in the rear vision mirror as they drove off.

*

“What’s with you?” Travis asked. “And don’t tell me nothing. Why did you want me to clam up about the rally? Also, you look as if you’ve seen a ghost.”

Jacey glanced across at him and her chin quivered. “Perhaps we have,” she whispered,

Travis frowned. “Something’s seriously wrong isn’t it?”

Jacey nodded. They were travelling past a line of old but well kept houses with cut lawns and well tended gardens. To the right was a building that looked like a pub, another closed shop and a tiny church.

“Is the garage out of sight?” Jacey asked.

“Yes.”

“Good, now ahead is an intersection. Turn left, the next left and about a kilometre along a final left.”

“So we end up where we started?”

Jacey nodded. “We’re avoiding the garage and going back the way we came in. I don’t want that Tom and Mavis to know we’re going back up the valley.”

Travis slowed as the intersection came into view but nodded at the well formed sealed road that went straight ahead. “But why? There’s obviously a better road out of here.”

“Bear with me, please,” Jacey now looked almost frightened.

He changed down and turned left. This crossroad also had a sprinkling of houses on each side. A man mowing his lawn out the front of one house waved and a couple of children who were pushing a homemade cart stood and just stared as they drove by.

Moments later they made all the other left turns and now turned right and reached the gravel road beyond the village. It was only when they began ascending the windy road that Jacey relaxed a little,

“We’ll reach another belt of fog soon. Don’t stop but use our fog lights again.”

Again Travis frowned. It was now after eight but in mid-summer there was still an hour or so of daylight but the sun had disappeared beyond the western hills. There was not even the slightest sign of any fog.

That was until he drove the car around another tight bend, Ahead was a blanket of fog that, if anything looked thicker than the one they’d come through on the way in.

“How did you know?” he gasped as he slowed to a crawl and switched on the fog lights.

“Just keep going. Don’t stop!”

The fog swirled around but the fog lights gave enough light for him to be able to drive up the centre of the road and navigate two more S-type bends, The temperature dropped so quickly he reached across and turned on the heater; these old cars were designed well before air-conditioning was in vogue. The whine of the fan heater jolted him out of a lethargic feeling that he realised was overcoming him. He glanced at Jacey who was holding onto the dashboard so tightly her knuckles were white and appearing to keep her eyes open.

Suddenly they were out of the fog, a ray of sunlight shone though a gap in the hills and Jacey burst into shuddering tears. “We made it!” she cried and turned to him with tears running down her cheeks. “Thank you for trusting me. It’s okay now. We’re back!”

“From where?” Travis asked.

 

Our Latest and 40th novel is getting there

Embrace The Fog

Prologue
Sago
English Translation
In the convention of Year 674.658 of The Meeting it has been agreed by all participating life identities that the intelligent species of the known galaxies shall be divided into four categories. These are solids, androids, gaseous or organic intelligent species, henceforth known as Sago.

Individual life forces can select which category they wish to be incorporated into. However, for simplicity’s sake it is not recommended that more than one category per life force is selected. In stating this, the Federated Council is prepared to recognise the rights of individual species to abstain from being included in any category and to also amend the categories, if or when new life forces not yet contacted or known in our universes, wish to be known as intelligent identities.

Earlier agreements of mutual respect for each intelligent species’ right to be alive are not altered by this classification nor is the agreed protocol of what an intelligent species is.

*
Kevin Petersen rolled the epaper up, tossed the rubberised cylinder aside and stared at his companions, partner Susan Roden, her brother Nick and sisters Jacey and Azaria who were all sitting across the evacuation chamber. “Didn’t work, did it. The war is all but lost and humans will be superseded by androids, either by mass genocide or compulsory electronic genetic modification.”

“Does it matter now?” Susan whispered. “With more important things happening I don’t know why you waste your time going back over these ancient historical papers, anyway.”

Kevin glanced up. “Because finding out about the past may have stopped us from repeating our ancestors’ mistakes.”

“Where did you get this old script anyway?” Nick appeared to be the only other person really interested. Perhaps it was a gender thing.

Kevin shrugged. “By mistake actually. My pack originally held stuff I was studying at the university. In haste I shoved my clothes on top and it ended up coming with me.” He grinned. “Better reading than playing those mental warp games you do all the time, Nick.”

“Oh leave him alone, Kevin,” Jacey cut in. “At least he followed your advice and doesn’t get high on hallucinatory pops most of the other teenagers on the ship have become addicted to.” She reached over and affectionately squeezed her brother’s arm. He was the youngest in their family and was almost mothered by his three sisters.

Nick grinned and turned back to Kevin. “I have something concrete and useful,” he said and produced several cylinders from a pocket in his evacuation suit. “A protection and navigation device for each of us.”

“That does what?’ Kevin asked.

“I programmed in our genetic codes. Being family, well everyone except you Kevin, it was pretty easy to do. I managed to add your’s too so Susan wouldn’t throw a fit” He grinned at his eldest sister. “Haven’t been able to test it, though but it should work.”

“So what does it do?” Azaria appeared interested.

“If we get separated any time it will help us navigate towards each other.”

“And if we are all in different worlds?” Azaria continued.

“It will go towards the strongest signal so if Kevin and Susan are together their two signals will pull your one signal towards it. With three signals it will become even more powerful and attract the remaining two of there too.”

“And where did you get it?” Kevin asked.

“From the mists aboard.”

Kevin frowned. Two gaseous intelligent forms were aboard Starcruiser 164 to help them get through the android blockade around Planet Gamma 6, one of the last human outposts to surrendered to the enemy. However, even with their help after the destruction of the planet their escape had been followed. In his opinion, the mists were dubious allies at the best. He switched his attention back to Nick who held one of the containers out to him.

“Well go on,” Nick said.

“What?” Kevin grinned. “Sorry, I wasn’t listening to you.”

“Oh Kevin,” Susan said. “Just do what he says. It won’t do us any harm and could actually help us. You know how mysterious these gaseous life forms are, don’t you?”

Nick met his eyes. “Take it out of the wrapper, hold it in the palm of your hand and squeeze. That’s all you have to do.” He grinned. “It may prick a little.”

The wrapper was like thin plastic that peeled away. Expecting it to be cold metal,Kevin placed his fingers around the object. His heart leaped in fright for it was hot, not enough to burn his hand but not far from it. Also it felt soft like squeezing a tube of toothpaste.

That was before a thousand pinpricks hit his skin. He gasped but knowing that the boy was watching his every move, grimaced and held on. Seconds later, the cylinder became smooth and cooled down.
“How was it?” Nick asked.

“You little trickster. It hurt as you know.”

Jacey and Azaria laughed while Susan grinned.

“What’s so funny?” Kevin retorted.

“None of have have activated ours yet,” Jacey held her unwrapped cylinder out for him to see. “You’re the first one.”

Kevin grinned and looked at the cylinder lying in the palm of his hand. It now felt like metal and had cooled right down. His skin beneath showed no sign of any pinpricks, either. “Your turn, Jacey,” he said.

Her superior look turned to a gasp and she suppressed a scream as she squeezed her cylinder. Azaria swore and stoic Susan showed no reaction. Nick grimaced but his determination not to react failed when tears edged out from the corner of his shut eyes.

Kevin refrained from making a sarcastic comment when he caught Susan’s eyes. “Now what, Nick?”he asked instead.

“Just stick it in your pocket. If it seems to disappear, that’s okay for it is searching.”

“What for?”

Nick shrugged. “I don’t know. A way to help I guess. I couldn’t really understand the technology the mist told me.”

*

Without warning, a siren shrieked and flashing blue and red lights lit up the chamber. There wasn’t even an electronic announcement into their minds. This was bad!

After five seconds of dead silence a metallic voice, like those used in ancient craft from a museum echoed through the tiny space, “Life support and artificial gravity are off line. Your air supply cannot be replenished. Your personal time/space continuum codes have been activated. You have five minutes to use them or risk expiry.”

At the same time gravity disappeared and only his restraining belts stopped him from floating towards the ceiling. Everyone looked scared.

“We were told never to use the codes unless it was a life or death situation,” Susan gasped as she floated ten centimetres above her seat.

“And this isn’t?”Azaria yelled.

“We have to do it together.” Kevin moved his tongue across to his right wisdom tooth. It felt loose and warm just ass he had been told in the original instructions.All he had to do was to push it.
“I’m ready,” Susan reached out and gripped his hand.

“Me, too,” Nick sounded nervous.

“Mine’s loose,” Azaria added.

“Do it on three, Kevin,” Jacey whispered.

Kevin nodded and looked at the intense expressions of those around. He loved Susan and her family. They had come though so much together.

“On three!” he said. “One… two … three.”

He pushed his tooth forward and felt agonising pain as the evacuation chamber exploded and disappeared. The last thing he remembered was that Susan’s hand wasn’t holding his any longer.

Shadows Behind- Scene

After four hours, the exhausted refugee came to one more bend and another patch of nothingness. Thoughts turned to her family, husband, father, mother, elder brother and almost everyone else she knew. They were all dead. Her only other friends were those at the army camp. If for no other reason, she owed it to them and the unborn child within her to survive and to tell NATO of the atrocities that had befallen her people. God, she was hungry. Her stomach rumbled while the unborn baby kicked. She staggered as the scene in front became blurred and the trees above began to spin. No, she was not about to give in. Somewhere ahead was her own kind, someone to help.
Niana gritted her teeth and rose once more to her feet. Another bend was ahead, more snow, more trees, the weak sunlight and another bend. She stumbled forward and blinked. There was something else. A farm wagon covered in snow was parked on the roadside as if it had pulled over, perhaps to let an oncoming vehicle pass. Linked to the front of it, looking so bright in the white world, stood a tractor; a red tractor. Hope surged through her. The depression and fatigue of a second before disappeared as she broke into a slithery run.
“Hello,” she screamed. “Is anyone there? Hello.”
But all was quiet. Not a sound returned. She reached the wagon and grabbed a canvas cover tied to the wooden side. Shaking with anticipation, she lifted the corner of the flap and gazed into the dim interior. Four enormous brown eyes ringed in terror gazed up at her and children’s sobbing filled the air.

Claire – Excerpt of our novel set in 1961

Taihape Railway Station was lit up by a massive headlight through the mist as the steam KA locomotive thundered in. Smoke belched into the night air and steam hissed from the driving wheels as it flashed by the platform. It slowed and the dark red carriages followed. Some windows showed a yellow light but most remained dark as the passengers inside attempted to sleep. Brakes beneath the carriages hissed and the mighty, if somewhat antiquated Limited Express stopped.

"The Limited Express from Wellington will remain in Taihape for fifteen minutes while the engine replenishes its water supply, Refreshments are available at the refreshment room. Passengers are reminded that they may take their cups back onto the train..."

The loudspeaker announcement continued but Alan stopped listening. Instead, he stood on the platform and watched as passengers dismounted. There was a surge of bodies as everyone jostled for space in front of the counter. Nancy and three other assistants filled cups with tea, handed out pies and sausage rolls, collected money and went on to the next customer. People, carrying hot tea and plates of food slipped between those who had not yet been served and headed back to their carriage. It was one mad scramble akin to the refreshment room at a racecourse.

Alan glanced through the horde but could see nobody vaguely resembling a young pregnant girl. He gave up and turned to watch the railway employees unhitch the engine. It puffed out a cloud of smoke and chugged away up line. Here, Alan knew, its boiler would be topped up from a high wooden tank. By the time the engine returned and was hitched up to the carriages again a guard would have blown his whistle and everyone would be back aboard.

He grinned as the inevitable late passengers balanced their food and drinks and clamoured up the steel steps. A guard walked along, slammed every carriage door until he reached the end guard's van. There he turned, shouted at one last passenger who climbed aboard, blew a whistle and waved a grubby green flag. As the train pulled out, he swung himself up to the guard's van and disappeared.

The crowd had gone, as had the train that headed north with its destination at Auckland rescheduled to arrive mid morning, over three hours late. All that remained was the smell of smoke and an empty platform.

A girl stood at the far end of the refreshment room, almost beyond the platform itself. Alan walked closer and wondered if this was the one he’d been sent to meet.

She wore clothes that were far too light for the harsh weather but they were of high quality, a long blue cardigan and dark floral dress that, in modern style, barely reached her knees. She had no hat and the modern high-heeled shoes shone in the light. Her slim body showed no sign of any pregnancy.

Alan hesitated and studied the young woman. This couldn't be her. He expected someone with a swollen stomach stretched beneath a tatty high school raincoat, tartan skirt and flat-heeled shoes. He turned and glanced in the refreshment room. It was empty.

He turned back and, for the first time, noticed the girl's face. She looked utterly forlorn. Perhaps this was her! She certainly looked lost. Alan walked up to her and coughed.

She gasped and swung around.

"Claire?" he asked

"Why yes," she replied, biting on her bottom lip. "I'm Claire Woodham."

Alan held his hand out. "Alan Sloane." He took her cold, somewhat limp hand.

*

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