Contains some language.
So, this is chapter 6 of a long-lost novel. This was the novel I started writing for NaNoWriMo, which failed sadly. XP In this there is my first instance of language ever in any of my writing, and it’s just one word, so it’s kind of minimal. In the previous chapter, Samuel negotiates a deal with Hercules and Ethena to allow him to travel to the ninth dimension. Here we see the beginning of the result of that, as well as getting some more back story about the characters and stuff. So yeah, enjoy. 🙂
The cars rushed by below Samuel like so many busy little insects. He watched them rhythmically clump to a stop at red lights and spread away from green lights. The sight was– calming. Sitting up in this aerie served as a cathartic for the eccentric entrepreneur. For that was what he was, of course, an entrepreneur, always seizing opportunity whenever it befell him, never letting a chance slip by.
A mere inch separated the front wheels of his wheelchair from the precarious drop. His feet themselves rested in the footrests, and they stuck out over the edge. Doctors told Samuel his fascination with being so close to death arose as a result of his traumatic childhood, but despite the number of shrinks and psychiatrists Samuel saw, none of them had succeeded in doing anything. So he sat there, like a king on a throne, studying his empire, the city, which sprawled out before him.
Money and power, more power than money. Those were the two things Samuel cared about. Power gave him control, and control, for a wheelchair-ridden individual, held great importance. Of course, the prevalent three were money, power, and women. The billionaire’s face darkened. Women.
They used to look down on him, from their high-heel-boosted stature, low-cut tops, and scandalously smeared lipstick, but now that he had achieved status and fame, they sung a different tune. This disgusted him. There had been a time when, like every other young fool out there, he had sought the attention of the opposite sex. Now he could not care less about the feminine half of human society. He was not misogynic, but to the cold man, there was no place in his mind for women. Let the stupid man fall for the cunning female, he thought to himself. As for me I will make them both bow.
But no, these thoughts were distracting and extraneous. They had no purpose. Samuel had retreated to his sanctum for more demanding and serious thought. He had no doubt the Unseen would bring him to their ninth dimension. That was not what bothered him. What he had come to consider was what to expect when he did go to the ninth dimension. Scientific theory made visualizing and understanding this other world possible, but nothing could replace experience. With science we can conquer the universe, but with experience we can keep it.
These thoughts and more flew through the genius’ head faster than the cars below him flew through the streets. Finally, Samuel’s watch alerted him to the fact that he had spent half an hour in his private den, and backing from the edge in precise, measured movements, he rolled towards the doors and through them.
“Where the hell were you?” Bradley shouted at his daughter, who, to her credit, did not flinch at his verbal assault.
In a measured voice, she said, “I was with friends.”
“You told me you were at Holly’s!” he continued, the volume of his voice, which had once drilled soldiers, not lowering a decibel.
“I–” Rose faltered, staring at her shoes. “I’m sorry Dad.”
All the anger vanished from Bradley like a race car from the starting line. His brow furrowed. Was I too harsh with her? I was so worried… Face softening, he approached his daughter and tilted her chin up. Looking into her eyes, he spoke in a measured voice:
“What were you actually doing? And tell me the truth this time.”
“I– um. I was uh–” Rose stuttered. She had never been actually confronted by her dad when away with the Unseen, and so had never actually created an excuse for it.
“Drugs?” Bradley asked, not believing it for an instant himself. This merely served as a lead-in for his next question. The CIA had taught him as much. Always start with a question the interrogated can answer in the negative. Makes them more confident so that they will hesitate or stutter on the next one when it is something they will have to lie about.
“No.” Rose told him definitively. A part of her wondered how her father could even think that.
This was unexpected. The thought had never crossed Rose’s mind. “Uh…”
Bradley raised an eyebrow. “How long has this been going on?” Rose could hear the smile in his voice.
“Um…” She made up a quick lie. “Just a week, honest.”
The extra word made Bradley narrow his eyes a bit, but he brushed it off. This was much simpler than he had imagined, and a load of worry lifted off his shoulders. Almost jokingly, he said, “What is this fellow’s name?”
“Samuel.” The word slipped out of Rose’s mouth before she could even think. “N– not Samuel Dalus of course,” she hastened to amend, as her father’s brow darkened. “A guy from school.”
“Well,” Bradley said, looking in the fridge for a beer and finding it still lacking of that particular alcoholic beverage. “I will have to meet this Samuel. Soon.”
The intent behind the word was not lost on Rose, and struggling to not give herself away with her facial expressions – the turned back of her single parent helped – she spoke in the affirmative. Bradley then dismissed her, and she fled to her room, wishing to speak no more about her fictional boyfriend who just happened to have the same name as her employer.
Bradley smiled and sipped a little from a glass of water. He shook his head. A boyfriend. Who would’ve thought? His daughter. Is she a bit young? doubt questioned in his mind. No, he reassured himself. Of course not. Emma and I were married when she was twenty-two. That’s only a year away from how old Rose is. Washing the glass and putting it on a dish rack, Bradley left for his room, still shaking his head.
Samuel scrutinized Rose as she walked up towards him. She wore a sleeveless denim jacket over a plain grey shirt with the design of a black rose on it. The rose blossom was done quite artfully, but it contrasted strongly with the thorns on the stem that curved wickedly. Beautiful like a rose, but prickly– no, deadly when handled, the handicapped man thought to himself with a slow smile. Seeing his smile, the person of his scrutiny looked away and shivered. This gave Samuel the chance to study her carpenter jeans, which were a deep blue, and the casual converses she wore. Fashionable but not garish, he thought to himself. Tasteful.
Her hair was shoulder-length, blonde, with waves in it. Curly when short, straighter when long, Samuel mused. The hair was loose but tucked behind her left ear. It framed the three-quarter profile of her face Samuel could see quite well. Her jaw was not very pronounced, but not weak either, curving gently down from her ear towards her chin which was firm but not protruding. Her cheekbones were raised slightly and her nose was a little big, but it served to give her face character rather than make it look awkward.
Rose stood awkwardly beside her employer, twisting a lock of her hair. They were both in Samuel’s house, at the fault which Ethena had used before. Here they waited. Samuel seemed relaxed, still maintaining a poker-straight sitting posture, but with a looseness of his shoulders indicating he was at ease. Rose on the other hand stood stiff as a ramrod, occasionally shifting her weight from one leg to the other, scuffing her feet just a little, and eyeing everything but the man next to her.
“I have that effect on people you know,” Samuel said matter-of-factly.
“What effect?” his companion asked shortly.
“Making people nervous.”
She seemed almost frustrated. “It’s not that, it’s–” She cut herself off.
“You’ve never visited the ninth dimension have you?” Samuel asked, a hint of incredulity in his voice.
Rose ignored the billionaire, but he knew he was right. He leaned back in his chair, touching his fingers together in his classic thinking pose. Bradley seemed awfully protective of a daughter sprung out of an affair. No, there was something more to Rose than Samuel knew, and the businessman had made it a point to find out. How, he was not so sure, but whenever he had an end, he never failed to find the means to get there.
Watching the spot Ethena had appeared from the night previous, Rose checked her watch nervously. Still another ten minutes. The excited and anxious woman started pacing back and forth. Samuel snapped at her, complaining that her pacing would make him nervous. This was enough to stop her. She did not want to have to deal with a worried megalomaniac; there was no guessing what kind of eccentricities he would pull. Samuel already disturbed her enough with his tinted glasses and ever-impeccable tailor-made suit.
What goes on behind those glasses? she wondered. What color are his eyes? What do they look like? Rose had the sinking sensation she would never know the answers to these questions.
Jessie hobbled in bearing a tray with a glass of lemonade on it. He paused before his master, and Samuel took the glass before waving the butler away. As the two of them waited in silence, Samuel sipped on his drink and nodded in appreciation. Rose looked at him and raised her eyebrows.
“What?” he asked sharply, never turning from the fault.
The woman started laughing.
With an edge sharper than a razor in his voice, Samuel said, “I would appreciate it if you would enlighten me as to what exactly you find so humorous.”
“I just–” Rose started, trying to catch her breath. “I just didn’t think some big shot like you would drink–” She paused for another breath. “Lemonade,” she finished, and erupted into another fit of laughter.
Samuel studied the glass in his hand. Her laughter grew louder and louder in his head until it was drowning out all other sound. It became less like laughter and more like the roaring of a waterfall. The knuckles on his hand whitened as his grip tightened around the glass. They had laughed. They had laughed when they kicked him. He still felt the toes of their boots hitting him all over his weak, fragile, unprotected five-year-old body. Rose abruptly fell silent.
Shattered glass lay scattered on the floor, a puddle of lemonade in the midst of it all. Jessie limped in quickly, his gun dangling from his hand. He quickly surveyed the situation, holstered his gun, and started cleaning up the mess. Samuel’s shoulders were moving up and down, and Rose could hear his every breath. He looked off into he distance with a look so hard and cold that Rose hoped she would never be on the business end of that look.
Ethena and Hercules both phased into existence at the fault. Exactly on time, Samuel noted, checking his watch. To the second. Like the soldier he was, Hercules surveyed the situation before anything else. He looked at the glass on the floor at the butler cleaning it, then his gaze went to Rose, who jerked her head in Samuel’s direction. The big man eyed the seated invalid, but the billionaire’s face was marble and unreadable. Hercules raised an eyebrow, but said nothing.
“You got permission then,” Samuel said placidly, an implied question in his words.
“Of course not,” Ethena told him. “That would have taken at least half a year, with the rate at which the Board works. Politics,” she added with disgust. “I managed to dig up some former contacts and got us a flyer.”
Samuel cocked his head slightly.
“Military ship,” Hercules explained. “We call them flyers. It’s actually an S48 Dragonfly. More than capable of holding four, despite only being a scout ship.”
“Let’s go then,” Samuel said, rolling forward.
“Um… you know guys…” Rose started backing away.
Samuel grabbed her wrist with a grip of iron. Before she could protest, he dragged her forward, towards the fault. Hercules pressed a few buttons on a watch lookalike. There was a blinding flash of light, and then Samuel blacked out.
“Hey, Rose,” Bradley said, knocking on his daughter’s bedroom door.
She did not answer.
“Must be asleep,” he muttered to himself. Then a thought struck him.
Whirling on his heel, the agent turned the doorknob. At least he tried to. The door was locked. He knocked again. Nobody answered. Growing more anxious by the minute, Bradley knocked louder on the door. Still no one came and unlocked it. Heaving in a deep breath, Bradley stepped back and kicked open the door. It flew back, busting the latch, and smashed against the wall, dinging it. The worried father charged in and looked around, his chest heaving like that of an angered bull.
“Dad!” The astonished voice jerked Bradley into his senses.
He turned to his left. “Rose!” Then he noticed the towel wrapped around his daughter’s body and the open bathroom door behind her.
“What in the world are you doing Dad?” Rose asked, mouth agape.
“I– um. Nothing. Sorry.” Bradley backed out of the room, closing the wrecked door behind him. It didn’t latch. Finally, after three attempts, he moved quickly down the hallway to his own room.
Later that day, after the November sun had set, and the grandfather clock in the house had dinged six times, the father-daughter pair sat eating dinner in the breakfast nook. They never used the formal dining room. Too many memories resided in that place. Both Bradley and Rose stirred the food around in their plates, neither really eating anything. Occasionally one would look up but then instantly look down again. This continued for all of five minutes. Then, as if they had planned it out, the two spoke in unison.
“I hate brussel sprouts.”
This made them both smile.
Putting down his fork, Bradley decided to start. “I’m sorry, Rose, about earlier. I– I don’t know what I was thinking. It’s just– I was worried.”
Without a word, Rose reached across the table and took her father’s worn hands in her own. She started rubbing each one of his fingers, feeling the calloused, scarred hands which had helped to save so many lives. Coming to his ring finger, the girl stopped, her eyes becoming fixated on the simple gold band.
Bradley noticed and grasped his daughter’s delicate hands between his massive ones. “Your mother loved you very much, you know.”
There was no answer, and when the hurting man looked up at his daughter, he found tears streaming down her cheeks. Bradley blinked. Not because his subconscious told him too, but because the water that was in his eyes had just threatened to overflow. Standing up, he moved around the table to Rose’s side. She leaned into him, wrapping her arms around his waist, and he gently rested his hands on her back, soothing her. They remained like that for half an hour. With her face buried in her father’s shirt, Rose never saw it when her father gave up trying and let the teardrops fall.
Samuel leaned back in his bed. He closed his eyes, masking out the glare of the computer screen. Shaking his head, Samuel thought of how he had continuously broken his schedule in the past few days. Circumstances called for it of course, and he knew that life was designed to be unpredictable in the extreme. No matter what we try, we can never control what happens. We only pretend we can.
He opened his eyes again and stared at the screen. Complex equations were plastered across it, while a complex computer algorithm worked in the background. Slowly, gradually, Samuel had started to work out the physics of the ninth dimension. When he had come to in the alternate dimension, Ethena was occupied in strapping a watch similar to the one Hercules had on his wrist…
“What’s this?” Samuel murmured, still groggy from his loss of consciousness.
“Timepiece,” Ethena told him brusquely.
Hercules opened his mouth to explain, but the genius cut him off. “Stabilizes time for the wearer to that of standard Earth time. Prevents side effects like unconsciousness, dysfunctional aging, and time-sphere interference. How does it work?”
“You’d have to talk to a scientist for that, know-it-all,” Ethena said acidly. “And even if we did have a scientist aboard, no way we’re letting you figure out how these work.”
Rose sat across from Samuel, still knocked out, her limp frame held in place by a force field. Looking down, Samuel found him and his wheelchair were held in place by a similar apparatus. He glanced out the window of their transport. An S48 Dragonfly Hercules had said. Stretching out below them for miles was a large forest, reminding the businessman of pictures he had seen of the Amazon.
He could see no sign of life, but as they flew, the airborne transport passed over a winding break in the trees that signified a river. True enough, as they got further from it, his field of view lined up just enough that he caught a glimpse of blue. Looking off into the distance, Samuel noticed a curious phenomenon. The horizon was not the solid, unbroken line he was used to seeing. Instead, sections of it were dark while others were light. Some looked like the sun was setting while other parts made it appear as if it was just breaking dawn.
Ethena moved up to the front of the fast-moving shuttle where Hercules sat, guiding the flyer. She glared over her shoulder at their observant passenger, who had now decided to study the inside of the spaceship. The soldier had chosen this transport for its subtlety which she believed would keep Samuel from finding anything out, but she did not trust the slippery billionaire for a moment.
“Remind me again why we’re bringing one of the rogue Seeing into the ninth dimension?”
“This particular rogue happens to know more than any fourth in the history of the Unseen,” Hercules said, using the Unseen term for people from the four dimensional world their passengers were a part of.
“Right,” Ethena said mockingly. “I had completely forgot. This random guy knows a little Unseen history and so we welcome him open-armed into hearth and home.”
“We are not– welcoming, him into hearth and home,” her superior said tightly. “And I would remind you to respect your superior officer.”
This brandishing of rank by her friend irked the fiery female obrix who jabbed a finger into Hercules’ shoulder. “I have a sister here. And she is all that I have left. If anything happens to her because of this– outsider–” Suddenly realizing how far she had overstepped bounds, Ethena cut herself off, leaving her words hanging.
Hercules said quietly. “At least you have something left. As for me, when she abandoned me, all that I cared for went with her.”