New writing ideas are born.
By Thursday, a new idea was forming, which culminated in a journal story on Friday that's launched me into a new novel. I'm not sure if this will be a stand alone, trilogy, or series, but I'm open to any of the above. It's going to need a lot of research, brainstorming, and work to develop, but I'm excited about it.
And so, without further ado, I present the birth of my new novel idea. Enjoy!
Broken Time 6-18-2021
How did it come to this?
Cindra huddled under a pew in the darkened church, studying the astronomical readouts on her computer. Now she could see it. The shimmering light of the comet hurling toward Earth directly below Antarctica wasn’t on a natural trajectory. The readings from the satellites stabilized for a few seconds, long enough for her to see the spatial distortions in the area where the comet appeared ten hours ago.
It literally came out of nowhere. Or so it seemed. Now, it looked like it came through some kind of spatial distortion. A wormhole? A tear in space-time? She couldn’t tell. The satellites were mostly useless since the geomagnetic reversal started six months ago, rendering navigation and satellite systems useless.
It was aggravating to be reduced to living under early twentieth century conditions. It was frightening to experience the earthquakes and frequent lightning storms from the auroras shooting through the sky all over the earth. The comet coming out of dead space was just bad luck.
Cindra didn’t believe in luck.
Nobody did anymore. This all seemed too much by design.
A man’s face appeared in the dust falling in the space next to the pew. “What’s the latest?”
Cindra crawled out of her hiding spot. “The comet will make impact on Antarctica soon.”
“How long?” he asked as the ground shook again.
“There’s no way to say,” she pulled out her laptop and zipped it in the sleeve by the crystal keyring of planet earth, a gift her husband gave her with her diamond ring when he proposed over spring break her senior year of college. He said he wanted to share the world with her forever.
Forever was ending now. “Our satellites and relays are useless. I got a brief glimpse of what’s happening, and it was enough. That comet is on a collision course with the South Pole, and nothing can stop it.”
“Then we’re doomed.”
Cindra and the man tumbled to the floor as the ground shook again.
“How long do we have once it hits?” he asked.
Other people crawled toward them, listening to the conversation. Cindra pulled herself to her feet.
“It won’t be immediate. We’ll feel the impact. There’s no doubt about that. But it will take time for the effects to spread across the globe. It might take a few days for it to reach us in North America.”
“Or a few minutes?” a woman said. “We’re already vulnerable! The radiation will kill us quickly.”
“No it won’t,” another man said. “Radiation poisoning takes time. We’ll die a slow, painful death.”
“We don’t know what will happen, or how,” Cindra said. “We will be affected. That’s certain. Unfortunately, our technology can’t help us, so all we can do is wait.”
“Wait to die,” a woman sobbed.
“This is no the end, but a new beginning,” the priest said from the back of the group. Everybody turned to the kindly old man. He stepped to the crumbling pulpit.
“Father?” the crying woman uttered.
“You don’t have to be a scientist to know the truth. This is the end. Not just the end of us, but the end of the world and the end of time. Cindra has been kind enough to lend us her expertise as a Physicist and confirm as much of this as she can. Nothing can save us, can it?”
All eyes turned on Cindra. She shook her head. “No.”
“Then let us prepare for the end of this life and the life to come. Let us pray.”
The chatter in the flickering light of the sanctuary silenced.
“Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.”
“I don’t want to die!” the sobbing woman screamed.
“Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
“I hope Heaven isn’t collapsing in fire and ash like we are!” a man yelled.
“Be quiet!” another person yelled.
“Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
The parish secretary, a kindly older woman, stood with her rosary. “Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.”
Cindra closed her eyes, tears falling from her eyelids and dripping on the crystal keyring dangling from her laptop case on the floor next to her feet. “Amen.”
A knock made Cindra jump. “Cindra, are you alright?”
She opened her eye to see her father standing in the doorway of her room. “What?”
He walked in the pink bedroom. “Look, I know you’re uncomfortable and upset about your grandfather, but you need to come out. The church went to a lot of trouble to make us dinner.”
“I know. It’s just that Mom’s crying.”
“She misses her Dad.”
“I know what that’s like. I miss you --.”
Cindra froze, looking around the pink bedroom.
How did it come to this?
Her gaze turned to her father. It was him. Not ravaged by the lung cancer that killed him a year ago, but healthy and happy. As happy as he could be after losing his father-in-law and dealing with a grieving family.
Her heart skipped a beat. She hadn’t seen him in over a year, and the last time was in a casket. It was unreal.
No, this was unreal.
“What’s happening?” she asked.
“What do you mean? Cindra, are you alright? You locked yourself in here as soon as we got back from the funeral, and that muttering was the first thing we heard out of you in nearly an hour.” He reached for her, but she stumbled backwards against the wall across from her dresser. She glanced in the mirror.
It was her reflection, but she was 13 years old. She looked at her hands. They were her hands, with her diamond and wedding ring on her left hand and her college ring on her right hand. Her long, dark hair fell on her arms, but the reflection showed the short, curly hair of her youth.
“Cindra?” her father said.
“No,” she warded him off. “What’s happening? Who are you?”
“I’m your Dad!”
“You died! It happened a year ago. This is long ago. It’s all wrong. The end was here. It was all over. The priest was praying –“
“Cindra, what are you talking about? I’m fine. I’m right here.”
“No, you aren’t. But at least you got a proper burial. The rest of us collapsed in fire and ash.”
Thunder rocked the sky. A flash of lightening lit the window, sending a sparkle from the crystal globe keyring lying on the dresser before the room went black and silent.