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Book Extract: The Ragged Edge of Time #10

Tags: gideon callie

image of a book

The tenth of several extracts from my soon to be published science fiction novel.
Title: The Ragged Edge of Time.
Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel, Alternate History.

You can read other extracts clicking #1, #2, #3, #4, #5,  #6, 7#, 8#, or 9#.

New York

A strong wind was whipping up from the Hudson River east of where Callie and Gideon sat, at the medical station, waiting their turn. They sat on the sidewalk with the drab khaki coloured tent behind them. Every now and then someone from the impromptu queue would be called into the tent. The medical station was for the walking injured, more badly affected people were taken to hospital by horse and cart. Gideon had learned an awful lot about New York City life, sat on the sidewalk, talking to Caillie.

Their conversation had petered out as more people joined the queue. Gideon watched Callie pick up pieces of brick or cement and throw it across the road, trying to hit an empty, dented can. He mused on the possibilities of time-travel and alternate realities as Callie tried to hit the rusty old tin can with a stone. Gideon smiled inwardly and wished his life choices were as simple. He had not really come to any conclusion as to where he was or how he managed to be here, except it had something to do with the so-called TimeSlip device. He was either in an alternative parallel world or maybe it was his world, but time had somehow been altered. What was real was that in this world, the second world war was going badly for what was left of the allies, which amounted to the Eastern seaboard of the United States. The rest of the country was occupied by Nazi Germany, having invaded the USA via Central America in 1943, after Japan had destroyed the US Pacific fleet. Great Britain had fallen soon after the war had started in 1939, the Nazis use of Blitzkrieg overrunning France. The use of advanced jet powered fighters and bombers had overpowered the heroic attempts by the RAF to hold back the Nazi advance. Britain was now a Nazi staging post for long range rockets hitting the US eastern seaboard while Nazi forces drove onward from the west into Canada. Only Russia had managed a short lived campaign against Nazi world domination, but that campaign in the East of Europe had led to a brutal suppression with two atomic bombs dropped on Moscow that had wiped out the Soviet Union’s will to fight.

Even the Nazi allies had not fared well. Italy was one big concentration camp and Japan had been attacked in late 1943. Conquered and then enslaved, the Japanese population were used to continue the war in the Far East and ultimately leading to the defeat of Australia and New Zealand. The final blow to the free-world had been the invasion of Africa from the Mediterranean and ever onward, down to South Africa. Nazi scientific superiority had produced an incredible engine of war and no nation was safe against their onslaught.

All this Gideon had learned from a few minutes conversation with Callie, who was now looking at Gideon as if he was something more than a simple amnesiac. But Gideon had determined not to tell Callie the truth. If he did, and this scenario he was in was indeed an alternative timeline, then he may pollute that timeline irrevocably.

Callie had given up on her target practice and was scraping her tough leather lace up boots with a stick, trying to clear mud from the soles.

“You’re a strange guy, Gideon. Your clothing is odd, your speech is odd and your mannerisms, above all are, well, odd. Who are you, really?”

Gideon felt awkward. He hated to lie, but could see no way round the situation. He had to find out what had caused this alternative reality and his only hope of doing so was to have an ally in this strange land. But his ally must be kept in the dark about his true reality. Gideon was once more confused, and his emotions were beginning to get the better of him without his father’s calming influence.

“I’m unsure,” was all Gideon could think of saying.

Callie opened her mouth to speak when a low rumble from the sky caught their attention.

“Shit, it’s a lone wolf.”

“A what?”

“Messerschmitt Me 540 fighter bomber,” Callie quickly said as she took her camera out of her bag.

The camera looked vintage to Gideon, vintage and yet brand new almost, despite a few scratches on the casing. He watched as Callie lined up the camera on the rapidly approaching aircraft and pressed the shutter button.

“Come on!” Callie shouted. We have to leave, now!” Callie grabbed Gideon’s left hand and pulled him up from the pavement with surprising strength. Gideon blindly followed as Callie led the way to the end of the street and down into the New York subway.

Behind them they heard the low crump of an explosion followed by rapid machine gun fire. In seconds the low rumble of the jet engine had gone. As they made their way back out they could see where the aircraft had dropped a bomb. At the top of the subway steps the pair stood and watched as a horse drawn fire tender rattled down the street.

“The Nazis are bombing you back into the Victorian age.” Gideon’s simple statement made Caillie nod in agreement.

“Looks that way, doesn’t it?”

Gideon watched the tell-tale vapour trail receding and was suddenly aware that there was a slight tremor beneath his feet. “Is the subway still working?”

“Uh huh,” Callie mumbled, absentmindedly.

“There is a problem. The tunnel beneath us is damaged.”

Callie looked at Gideon. “How do you know?”

“I can feel it. Beneath my feet.”

“What? No way, man.”

Gideon nodded. “Yes, way.”

No sooner had he uttered these words than the ground shook and a chasm opened with Gideon on one side and Callie on the other. It was not wide, Callie could have jumped it easily, but Gideon felt certain it would widen over time. It was as he thought this, the chasm did indeed widen. Gideon jumped to Callie’s side and grabbed the young woman, picked her up in a fluid motion and ran a few yards away from the ever widening chasm.

“Jeez, Gideon. You’re one fit sonofabitch.”

“The chasm was widening, I could not leave you to fall in.”

“I appreciate that, my friend.”

Gideon looked at Callie with a puzzled expression. “I have never had a friend before. Does my saving your life make me your friend.”

“Gideon, like I said earlier, you are sometimes a little odd. Who brought you up, a bunch of nuns or something.”

“I was not brought up I was crea…”

Callie waited, but could see Gideon had clammed up. “Cat got your tongue again, fellah?”

“I…”

The ground suddenly lurched and Callie grabbed Gideon’s arm for support. “Earthquake,” she screamed.

The chasm opened even further and buildings began to tumble into the widening gulf between the street. It was then that Gideon noticed, down in the gloom below, an open elevator shaft and a man and women inside the elevator cage. The woman was clutching a small child that was screaming with fear. The family were a few floors below them and Gideon was about to shout them when he noticed the live subway rail below the elevator shaft. Sparks flashing madly as cables from the elevator swung freely below the base of the elevator car, like some mythological Greek serpent.

“Oh god, they’re gonna fry, Gideon. What the hell can we do to…”

Gideon was a blur of speed. He had seen wooden drums with cabling wrapped around them, his sensors easily recognizing a rubberised type of rope used in the construction of subways. These were on an abandoned vehicle and above the vehicle was a small abandoned crane, its arm slightly swaying as the ground continued to undulate. Gideon ran to the cable drums and unwound a length, dragging it behind him as he climbed the crane. There he attached the cable to the swaying crane. Gideon jumped to the ground from the crane and Callie let out a stifled scream, that turned to a gasp as Gideon hit the ground running.

Gideon was estimating the distance between the family below and the top of the crane. He ran out more cabling and snapped the thick rubber with his bare hands.

Callie was watching Gideon as though she was watching a strongman in a Circus demonstrating impossible acts of physical prowess. She could not believe her eyes.

Gideon tied the other end of the cabling round his waist and once more climbed the crane. At the top he made sure the cable was secure and then took a diving stance and dove from the crane to the dark abyss below.

Callie almost screamed again as Gideon disappeared into the hole. Then the crane lurched downward, steadied and after a brief pause the rubber rope sprang back. Out of the jaws of death, Gideon Prime emerged with the young family in his arms.

At the apex of the spring back up Gideon nimbly dropped onto the arm of the crane. Gideon released the rubber cabling from his waist then made sure his passengers were okay and then with one arm round the woman and child and the father riding on his back, Gideon climbed down the side of the crane to the ground using his legs and free arm.

AS they reached the ground, the young family were so shocked at their rescue they simply stood and looked at Gideon in awe.

“We are friends now,” Gideon said with a smile.

The man grabbed Gideon’s left hand in both his hands and shook it up and down, vigorously. “We sure are fellah, we sure are. If you ever make it to Queens, look us up. Joe Simons is the name.” He slapped Gideon on the back and turned his attention to his terrified wife and child.

“That was some display, Gideon.”

Gideon turned to the voice behind him and saw Callie looking at him with deep suspicion in her eyes.

Tom Kane © 2017
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You can read other extracts clicking #1, #2, #3, #4, #5,  #6, 7#, 8#, or 9#.

My Books on Kindle & Paperback
An Indie Author Guide to Blogging – Helpful advice, hints and tips for bloggers
A Pat on his Back – Lifestyle humour
Living in Cyprus: 2013 to 2016 – An expat’s life in Cyprus
Diary of a Debt Collector – True life humour
Operation Werwolf – WW2 action adventure fiction
Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb – The evidence for Hitler’s atomic weapon program
Ciao Roma – A guide to short stays in Rome
How to Start Your Own Embroidery Business – Home working
The Eternal Man – Science Fiction short stories & flash fiction
On Kobo
An Indie Author Guide to Blogging – Helpful advice, hints and tips for bloggers
The Eternal Man – Science Fiction short stories & flash fiction

On Smashwords
The Eternal Man – Science Fiction short stories & flash fiction

Coming Soon
The Ragged Edge of Time: Science Fiction Time Travel Alternate History

Welcome to Beyond: 1950s Style Science Fiction

Ascension-Brave – New Earth: First Contact Becomes Humanities First Galactic War

The Brittle Sea – Drama

See details on my website by clicking here.

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