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Authors: Alexander Hammond

9781910981729

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TALES FROM THE EDGE OF FOREVER

An Extraordinary Collection of Short Stories

First Edition

Published by The Nazca Plains Corporation

Las Vegas, Nevada

2010

 

ISBN: 978-1-91098-171-2

Ebook: 978-1-91098-172-9

Published by

The Nazca Plains Corporation ®

4640 Paradise Rd, Suite 141

Las Vegas NV 89109-8000

© 2010 by The Nazca Plains Corporation. All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, microfilm, and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Printed in the United States of America.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE

Tales from the Edge of Foreveris a work of fiction created wholly byAlexander Hammond’s imagination. All characters are fictional and any resemblance to any persons living or deceased is purely by accident. No portion of this book reflects any real person or events.

Galaxy Photo, Sergii Tsololo

Mountain Photo, Yurok Aleksandrovi

Male Photo, Helder Almeida

Art Director, Blake Stephens

DEDICATIONS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER

Thanks to some very special people…

Brian, for his 25thcentury tech support and laconic grin

Carolina, whose intelligence and uniquely indomitable spirit continually inspires and challenges

Elita, whose generous and totally unselfish nature helped me find my feet again

Jill, who’ll never read this but who gifted me my love of reading (Thanks Mum)

Jordan, my dear friend, an outstanding writer and movie buff par excellence

Julian B, the very best friend one could ever ask for and the finest man I know

Julian P, the ever cheerful ‘man from the movies’. Stay frosty Dude!

Lena, who despite being Swedish continually offers warmth and encouragement

Laura, whose gentleness, perceptiveness and dark humour always passes muster

Michele, for critiquing me relentlessly and affectionately since our schooldays…and whose support is never less than 110%

Pam, for her undying effervescent enthusiasm, great sleeve notes and cheeky smile

Philippe, who notwithstanding he’s a bloody Frenchman always believed in me. Merci!

Jan Arzooman, my brutal and no nonsense editor!

Sheraz, test reader, valued friend and SF fan par excellence

TALES FROM THE EDGE OF FOREVER

An Extraordinary Collection of Short Stories

First Edition

Alexander Hammond

CONTENTS

THE END OF THE WORLDARTISTIC LICENCEMY SPECIAL GUEST TONIGHTDEITYSCIENCE FICTIONCHANCE MEETINGA WORK OF QUALITYTHE HOTEL AT THE EDGE OF FOREVERTOP SECRETTHE MAN WHO THOUGHT HELL WAS A BREEZETHE HITCHERALIENSWARRIORTHE TRUTH GAMEPROOFAMBITIONTHE FUTUREAN ASTRONAUTS DREAMA GLIMPSEABRACADABRATHE PROGRAMCONSEQUENCESTHE BUTTONABOUT THE AUTHOR

THE END OF THE WORLD

The night was warm though not unbearably so. It was for nights like these that the lone figure walking along the beach had travelled so far.A balmy ambiance pervaded and with the sun long gone, the walker was content to note that the sand still held some of the Caribbean sun’s fierce heat.

A full moon was high in the sky casting an unreal light across the beach. In the sea phosphorescence could be seen glistening enticingly just beyond the shore. The decision to walk back to the hotel was surely a good one. The baked fish at the restaurant had been more than satisfactory and the wine passable. Maybe the second brandy hadn’t been such a good idea but after all, it was a vacation.

A shooting star flashed past overhead. The walker made a fervent wish with the merest hint of sadness. Amanda, with her stunning African features, was beyond reach as apparently were all women that the walker truly desired and that was that. One day, Sam thought ruefully, maybe tolerance would emerge and prejudice vanish. Perhaps I should have wished for that instead the walker mused. This reverie was interrupted by the flash of someone ahead lighting a cigarette.

The smoker was clearly visible in the moonlight. A woman in an adventurous bikini sat cross-legged, staring out to sea. She seemed to sense she was not alone and looked round. “Hi Sam,” she said. Startled, Sam walked over to her. When the two strangers were only a meter apart the girl held up her hand and breathed, “Don’t ask; just enjoy the view.”

Sam made to speak again when the girl put her finger to her lips and patted the sand next to her. Rather awkwardly Sam sat and stared out to sea. After a few seconds the urge to speak was almost unbearable. As if sensing this the girl said, “Silence is a deep well in which all things can be found. You must reach into it and take that which you need.”

It appeared that this was both a conversation opener and closer at the same time. Evidently enjoying Sam’s awkwardness she said brightly, “I’m here to watch the end of the world.”

“Tonight?” Sam offered.

“Most definitely,” the girl confirmed.

As the girl looked round to venture these comments her face was fully disclosed in the light of the full moon. She was beautiful. There was something Oriental about her but there was so much else in the mix. Her hair was long, black and straight and reached to her waist. She had unusually wide almond shaped eyes. Her exquisitely shaped cheekbones accentuated finely defined features that were as sublime as Sam had ever seen. Her skin was flawless and the dramatic curves of her physique completed the perfect picture.

“Aren’t you afraid?” Sam asked.

“Of what?” the girl replied.

“The end of the world?”

“Of course not,” she replied, with a light laugh.

Beguiled, Sam pressed on. “Why have you chosen to watch it from here?”

“Because here is where it’s going to happen,” was the enigmatic reply.

They both stared out at the sea in silence for several minutes before Sam plucked up the courage to speak again.

“What makes you think that the world is going to end?”

The girl laughed. “For something to begin something has to end. It’s the truth of all things. Summer must end for autumn to begin. A flower must die to produce seeds for a new plant. Beginnings are endings. Endings are beginnings.”

The brandy and this stranger’s beauty were having a profound effect. Desperately trying to keep up with the eclectic thought process Sam continued, “So if this world ends, what’s going to come after it?”

The girl stared back and murmured so quietly it was almost impossible to hear, “It is not of this world I am speaking.”

Sam could smell her perfume now, heady, musky. She seemed to be everywhere.

“This is the moment that your world ends,” the girl almost whispered, “And your new one begins.”

As they embraced Sam felt as never before. The deliciousness of the girl’s femininity descended like a blissful mist as her long nailed fingers began their sensual exploration. Within moments the girl skilfully liberated Sam’s skirt from her tanned legs and started on the buttons of her flimsy blouse.

- The End -

ARTISTIC LICENCE

Being an immortal pan dimensional being, the entity didn’t understand his creativity knew no boundaries; indeed he wouldn’t have understood the concept of limitation even if you’d sat him down and tried to explain it to him. Besides, even sitting him down would have been a problem because, being pan dimensional, he didn’t have physical form. Additionally, he certainly wouldn’t have understood the concept of sitting. It would also have been difficult to talk to him about his views on the benefits and possible drawbacks of immortality because, like all his kind, having always been immortal, he knew nothing else. He had always ‘been’ and would have been totally unable to conceive otherwise.

Existing pan dimensionally was a tremendous advantage in his line of work, though he wasn’t aware of the true scope this gave him. Unlike most of his kind he was an artist. He was rare in his choice of interest. Most of those he knew were philosophers and deep thinkers who conjugated for infinity on the true nature and meaning of existence. They metaphorically wrung their hands in frustration as they grandly genuflected on the limitless possibilities, which, as they had no frame of reference, was a pretty pointless endeavour. They ruminated fiercely amongst each other on the reasons that they were that which they were. Despite an eternity of debate they were bereft of answers. Evidently theywereall that was, and no matter how potentially enlightened the exchanges between them became they were unable to see beyond this.

The artist preferred creativity. Though the concept of beauty was one that he could not have grasped, his creations gave him, and sometimes others, pleasure. Occasionally, when he’d allowed himself to go with his feelings, he’d create something that would give him pause for thought. He recognised this on the odd occasion when it happened. He recognized what he’d created made him feel ‘different’. It was a hit or miss affair but when he struck gold it stood out. Thus his philosopher friends encouraged him. They all relished the altered state that one of his ‘special works’ could engender.

He unveiled his latest work with some trepidation. As far as he was concerned there was something special, something relevant about it; though relevant to what he couldn’t even begin to conceive. His peer group studied his creation intently. It was interesting, it was complex and adventurous, yet there was balance. It had been thought through logically but it reached out in a way that gave them a frisson of excitement. They looked intently at the complex lattices weaving in and out of each other in a harmonious pattern, a pattern that incredibly embraced both logic and chaos simultaneously. The form of the highly organised possibilities and probabilities were based on random elements that gave it its uniqueness and yet it had a rigid structure that held together. It was as the work was studied more closely its impact and implications began to make themselves apparent. Whichever way they looked at it, it worked. It was dichotomy expressed as art. A unique achievement.

“You know, this is a breakthrough; there are possibilities here.”

Gratified at the response to his endeavours the artist basked in their appreciation.

“Thank you,” he said. “I’m going to call it ‘time.’”

- The End -

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