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SHIFT by D Doyle Reynolds (aka Giskard)
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  1. CHAPTER EIGHTY-TWO

    Sandy watched as Cassie disappeared and then, almost immediately, reappeared with vigor. There was a physical thump that jarred the ground so hard, everyone stumbled. A change in air pressure made everyone human wince and hold their ears, yawning to try to equalize the pressure on their eardrums. All fighting stopped as the sunlight flashed in and seemed to melt the clouds away into a vapor, leaving trails as they blew outward into the blue sky, creating fog.

    Sandy picked herself up off the ground. She'd done it. Odd little CJ with her talent for shifting and a penchant for rainbows actually saved the day. Literally.

    Cassie opened her eyes and looked at Sandy, “Something made me stop. I couldn’t do it.”

    “Honey, you did something,” she responded.

    When the earth settled, the creatures and humans quickly reassessed. The gargoyle king of the west cast his eyes about wildly, and bellowed, sounding like something between a raptor and a panther. It was a signal the creatures of darkness, those principalities, interpreted as retreat. Even as the clouds tried to re-coalesce, they were scattered to the four winds. The beings of light took pursuit, but there had to be far too few of them to follow all the creatures of darkness.

    Then the thrumming from the Dark Cloud device stopped. The sudden quiet seemed the first in what felt like days, had been mere hours. Cassie slid off the Dark Cloud device. She looked down at Vargas and he smiled at her and gave her a thumbs-up.
    She ran to Sandy and hugged her tight. Pip bounced his forepaws against Sandy’s leg and ran away, barking urgently.

    Karen, Valerie, Sandy, Manuel Vargas, and Cassie watched after him. Vargas choked out, “Pete,” and erupted into a coughing spell.

    Karen stayed with Manuel while everyone else ran after Pip. They couldn’t see where Pete fell, but evidently Pip knew. Then they found the unthinkable; the unbelievable, on this blue, warm homecoming. Pete Williams lay in the snow-covered weeds, bleeding from the chest. Pip gently licked at his face. Valerie and Sandy tried to revive him, but it was too late. He was gone. Valerie sat back and sobbed, holding onto his hand.

    The New Ventura Militia began to arrive on the scene, the able-bodied helping the wounded walk. Sandy stood and she stopped Cassie from getting closer to their fallen friend when she arrived, out of breath. They held each other and cried. All the joy of this momentous occasion bled away with the life of this man – this sweet, brave friend of less than one day. A friendship from which they were cheated while he was robbed of enjoying his remaining days. Militia members removed their hats and bowed their heads. Their leader died a hero.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  2. CHAPTER EIGHTY-THREE

    Eddie had the bike moving along at a faster clip than he knew was wise, especially with Mark on the back. He knew before long it would be dark. He could ride in the dark because the bike had a headlamp, but it would be slow, and not exactly stealthy. Besides, given the stress of the day, not knowing Cassie’s whereabouts, combined with Eddie and Mark not being home by dark, wouldn’t be good for Mom and Dad.

    They were yet several yards from the rim of the sinkhole when a sudden jolt in the ground almost caused Eddie to take a spill. He came to a stop as quickly as was safe, just in time to see a wall of dust blowing their way. He yelled to Mark, “Get on the ground! Lay down, quick!” They covered their heads and the cloud blew over them.

    The stale mist didn’t last too long, but it was still a lingering combination of mixed dust and fog when they sat up and looked around. Through the eerie fog they could see what they at first interpreted as flocks of birds flying in all directions. They quickly re-evaluated though when some of them got closer, flying overhead, loomed larger, and larger still. They blinked and squinted at the strange sight of bat-like wings, gargoyles, angels, dark wispy shadows and streaks of light whisked overhead and on foot into the horizon. Into the world.

    “What the heck?”

    “Eddie, I’m scared. Were those the aliens?”

    Eddie looked at Mark, but didn’t know how to answer. Instead, he said, “Let’s go find Cassie. I don’t want to be out here when it gets dark.” He got up and lifted the bike.

    “Oh, heck no. Me neither!”

    Eddie kicked the bike into gear and off they rode. They had to take it somewhat slow because the dust was still a little thick in the air. Ultimately, this pace proved to be prudent when they came upon a nasty three-foot gap in the trail that looked like it ran down at least eight feet. “Can we jump it?” Mark asked.

    Eddie tooled the bike along the edge a ways until he found a spot where the edges were together and sped across there before heading back down the trail where he opened the throttle. They paused just on the other side of the radio broadcast tower and surveyed the area. Mark commented, “I don’t see no sinkhole.”

    “Yeah. Kind of what you might expect with a cover-up.” Then he pointed to the crowd still in the ravine at the battle site. It looked to them like armed men, along with Cassie, Sandy and a few others, although they couldn’t distinguish details at this distance. Helicopters swept the sky over the most populated part of the city. They saw none flying over the gathering of people in the ravine. They could see people out there laying on the ground.

    “What d’ya think is going on there?”

    “Let’s find out,” said Eddie. He cut across and headed down to the battle site.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  3. CHAPTER EIGHTY-FOUR

    By the time the boys made their noisy motocross entrance into the gully, all eyes were on them. Cassie was the first to recognize them because, even at a distance, she knew the sound of her Dad’s bike. She jumped up and down, “It’s Eddie! And that’s Mark on the back!”

    Now Sandy could tell she was right. Her thoughts ran to the practical in light of the day’s events and to protecting Cassie. She knelt to her and said, “CJ, you remember our talk and you were saying you were frightened of the lab coat guys?” Cassie nodded. “I think you should go with Eddie before the police and the Army or whoever shows up. They’re going to have lots of questions and I don’t want you to be here.”

    The boys rolled to a stop close by and Eddie killed the engine. “Hey! Are you guys okay? What’s going on?” Mark slid off and Cassie gave him a big hug.

    “I’m so glad to see you guys. I want to go home. I’m hungry.” She hugged Eddie too.

    Sandy shook her head, “It’s a long story. We’ll tell you about it later, although it's kind of hard to believe. Can you get CJ home for me? We’re all tired and I don’t want her to have to deal with the authorities.”

    “Sure!” said Eddie.

    “Okay, look. You have to go home the back way, like you came. Stay away from the roads until you’re out of this whole area. Try not to get the attention of those choppers up there. Don’t make a big dust trail. Keep your lights off as long as you can. Can you do that?”

    “Yeah,” said Eddie. “What’s going on?”

    “Later. I promise. How are you all going to get home on that bike?”

    “Oh. I got it figured out. They can sit and I’ll stand the whole way. It’s a big seat my dad put on for giving us rides. If his big rump plus mine can fit, then Cass and Mark will fit, plus a piece of the front if I need to.”

    Sandy rolled her eyes, “Okay. This goes against my better judgment, but... Go now.” She helped sandwich Cassie between Eddie and Mark. Mark took his helmet off and stuffed it on Cassie’s head. Pip was jumping, trying to get to Cassie.

    “Pip, stay. You’re with me.”

    Cassie said, “Pip. Stay boy. Miss Sandy needs you to stay. I’ll see ya later, I promise.”

    His little ears drooped but he ran over by Sandy and sat. Mark asked, “Where’d you get the dog?”

    “He found us,” Cassie corrected.

    “Okay. Now. Seriously, be careful!” Eddie kicked the bike in gear and rode back the way they’d come. Sandy watched Cassie lean sidewise and wave to her. She returned the wave before going to Valerie’s offering comfort. One of the militia had put his coat over Pete’s face. Sandy couldn’t help but wonder how many people died and how many lived. How many escaped the dark ravages of the last day holed up in their homes.

    Then she wondered about the hours left before them. There would be questions. What about Cassie? There was no question a lot of people saw her do something extraordinary. She wondered again at her extreme traveling, where it came from and where it might lead. What does the future hold for a little girl who can ride the other rainbows? How would she ever explain all this to Bob and Giselle? How will she keep CJ safe once word gets out?
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  4. EPILOG

    Choppers were flying overhead when they picked up the first radio contact. It came from one of Ventura’s Finest who attempted, with all urgency, to convince the military to be alert to hostiles in the area. He described them as cross-dimensional hostiles, thinking that this at least would sound most plausible given the circumstances.

    Further, he advised them of angelic-looking “friendlies” they would likely see and advised them not to engage or attempt to detain.

    The chopper pilot who took the call looked over at his partner to see if he was laughing. They decided to pass it up the line. Some were rounded up for purposes no one may ever discover, and many were killed or vanquished or however one describes what happens. Of a certainty, many escaped into the world to make trouble another day.

    To the best of anyone’s knowledge, no one was successful in capturing, speaking with or even seeing an angelic being. It is not known whether they were exceptional at hiding, darn fast fliers or whether God snapped them back into their own realm. Then too, they were rumored to be masters of disguise.


    Karen administered CPR on Pastor Vargas until he was medevaced from the ravine. He spent several hours in surgery and would pull through. Karen stayed at his side the entire time of his recovery. She even prayed for the first time in years. She would conclude, maybe this is why sometimes bad things happen. She and Manny began to spend more and more time together researching their experience in light of the Bible.


    Valerie went back to work for Pravus, but only after an extended LOA, during which time she and Sandy remained in regular contact. Valerie had really taken a liking to Pete Williams and had taken his death harder than the rest of the survivors. Sandy’s own experience as a young widow helped Valerie through the roughest times. A lifelong bond formed between the two.


    Many bodies were carried out of “The Zone” for the next several days. The President finally admitted the sinkhole story was a cover-up for a terrorist attack. They claimed a dirty bomb of a biological variety had gone off and they didn’t wish to create a panic until the terrorists could all be rounded up. Much of that part of Ventura would be razed due to “contaminants.” Many families wouldn’t be permitted closure by saying their good-byes to departed loved ones for the same reasons. Their bodies were cremated and returned to their families in urns instead, regardless of wishes otherwise.

    The sheer number of survivors from the area was nothing short of miraculous. The number was in the thousands. Most survived just fine by holing up until the storm was over. Those who lived to witness strange goings-on were instructed that was they saw was the unfortunate results of the biological attack. That people had undergone gross changes in personality and appearance as a result to exposure of the biological agents. A handful were clueless what happened beyond simply a really big storm that took the power out.

    The remaining Venturans, such as the Militia, were debriefed and strenuously advised to keep their mouths shut, other than the talking points given. Talk and they were certain to lose more than just guns. The same was true for the prayer group at the cross.

    Some wouldn’t keep their mouths shut but, already, disinformation and discrediting back-stories were in play. Thus ensuring that, upon hearing such tales as aliens or angels, the media would quickly relegate them to the lunatic fringe along with the tin-foil-hat-wearing UFO nuts, right-wing wackos and religious extremists.

    Few could agree as to the true nature of the inhabitants of that other dimension, and the debate continued. Few will agree that they were angels and demons of the religious variety.


    The Johnsons were eternally grateful to Sandy for keeping Cassie protected during the attack. They were given a cover story, but rather than lie, they chose to dismiss all discussion as too traumatic to talk about. The event was so traumatic and Pip’s original family never came forward, Cassie was allowed to keep her new friend.

    Under interrogation, the authorities were forced to concede that the notion of a kid who could pop in and out was absurd. Otherwise, why did she not just pop home? Cassie and Sandy had to know, so Cassie quietly tested her ability to, as they referred to it, shift. Little Cassie still could.


    Cassie continued to read. She finished Great Expectations, and then she moved on to read the entire Bible and other classics. After a failed attempt at Macbeth, Cassie decided Shakespeare would have to wait until she was older. Neither Miss Sandy nor little Cassie had any notion what the ongoing purpose of Cassie’s ability to shift could mean, or how God might ask her to use it again. What Sandy did hunger was to know more about the Creator in the Bible, and compare what she assumed to be real with what the Bible really said. She wanted to know Danny's God.

    Then one afternoon at Miss Sandy’s home, Cassie’s angel dropped in for another visit. Sandy still didn't get to see him. That was the day when Cassie learned that she had more abilities yet to be discovered, and more work to perform.

    Not bad for a little girl now six, going on seven.


    End Book One

    ####

    visit http://www.DDoyleReynolds.com
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  5. Do me a favor? If you enjoyed SHIFT, please visit Amazon and write a quick review and Rate it for me. Evidently this affects search results on the site and will help me sell a couple more books. Also, if you would be so kind, copy your review and paste it into a review for me at Barnes & Noble for the same reason.

    Now, if you are feeling really charitable, there are a couple more sites where you may paste your review:

    Smashwords

    CreateSpace

    Good Reads

    Oh, yeah! And feel free to leave your comments here as well! I appreciate the encouragement and I appreciate those of you who help me spread the word!

    -Dave
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  6. #126
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    West central Georgia
    Posts
    17,057
    Awesome read!!! Thank you! And, yes, I'll go do a review or two or three...

    ETA: Smashwords won't let me do a review unless I buy a copy of the book from them.
    Visit my Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/TheCrochetFarm

    If we aren't showing love, His love, then what are we doing calling ourselves Christians?

    Psalm 73: 25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
    26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

  7. #127
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    High Desert, Elko NV
    Posts
    23,709
    a fine story sir! reviewed it everywhere i could. when is the next one going to be finished?
    The only rights we have are the ones we're willing to fight for.

    http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y29...diplomacy2.jpg

    http://www.n3kl.org/sun/images/status.gif

  8. Thanks and may God bless! I'm thinking the next should be done before the end of the world next year.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  9. Excellent! Thank you very much.

  10. Thank you very much, Sabre. Happy you enjoyed it!
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  11. #131
    Glad to see you got it published, I loved this when you wrote it before, I kept a copy and have reread it several times, good to see it going up over here.

  12. Thank you, antik. It has been through a few rewrites since those early days and is markedly different since that time. I'm glad you've enjoyed it.

    Tell you what; If you'd like a permanent hard copy, go to createspace.com/3611012 and enter Promo Code: KVMRK8F7 for a full $3.00 off of the regular $9.99 price. That ends up being, of course, about $7 plus their shipping. You may find you enjoy it reworked more than that early first draft.

    That Promo Code, btw, is not real public. I hand it out to friends and family, including my friends here.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  13. #133
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Middle of Florida
    Posts
    701
    Great read!!
    I thoroughly enjoyed your story Giskard. Well written. Thanks for sharing with us.

  14. Quote Originally Posted by idum View Post
    Great read!!
    I thoroughly enjoyed your story Giskard. Well written. Thanks for sharing with us.
    Thank you, idum! So glad you enjoyed it!!
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  15. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    Shift as an eBook just 99 cents!

    https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/54137
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  16. #136
    Just finished your story, WOW I can't say enough good things about it. I have to say that it is one of the best I have ever read, I hope you write a sequel, or a bunch more.
    You are truly a gifted writer, keep writing and we'll keep reading.
    Wayne

  17. Thank you, Wayne! I'm happy you enjoyed it.

    If you'd care to share, was there something in particular about it you liked or a particular character or portion? That might help me check and see if I have my hand on the pulse of what people consider best in a story.

    Thanks again!

    Dave
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  18. #138
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    The Gunshine State
    Posts
    9,237
    I just popped in here and plan on reading this!!!

    Thankyou for providing us with a bit of your craft.

  19. Quote Originally Posted by VesperSparrow View Post
    I just popped in here and plan on reading this!!!

    Thankyou for providing us with a bit of your craft.
    You are welcome and I hope you enjoy it!
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  20. #140
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Where fog and sun meet.
    Posts
    3,551
    Thank you for posting your story here.
    Will there be book two soon?

  21. I have been messing with Book Two, but it's been a crazy year; mostly in a good way. Very busy working and gone from home about 55 hours a week or more, raising three kids and involved at church (what would I do without DW?) and moved 2000 miles from Nev to Tn. Now we are about to move into a better home situation, so getting ready to move to a more remote home. All good, just leaves me a little wiped out for creativity.

    Maybe I should post a bit at a time with my first draft. A little input would not hurt. It may help me refocus on that task. I have the nasty trait of Perfectionist and tend to hold back until I can get it just right...which is not always good.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  22. Book sales on Amazon have trippled, just because I changed the cover art!?

    Does that seem strange? Ah well. I'll take it.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  23. #143
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    State of Jefferson Sierra Mountains
    Posts
    3,985
    Thank you for posting your story here, it was great!!! I can't wait to see what other powers Cassie has in book two...

  24. Happy you enjoyed it. A bit of fun escapism. At this rate I may never get the next book done. We'll see.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  25. #145
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    490
    What an excellent read! Thoroughly enjoyable, fast-paced, and well written. The characters are well developed, and the story line flows well. Absolutely gripping! Bravo!

  26. Quote Originally Posted by Just a Nurse 2 View Post
    What an excellent read! Thoroughly enjoyable, fast-paced, and well written. The characters are well developed, and the story line flows well. Absolutely gripping! Bravo!
    Thank you much! Very kind of you.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  27. #147
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    OR
    Posts
    376
    Just finished "Shift" and I loved it. It is very thought provoking. Looking forward to reading your other books.
    Thanks,
    Prep4four

  28. Quote Originally Posted by prep4four View Post
    Just finished "Shift" and I loved it. It is very thought provoking. Looking forward to reading your other books.
    Thanks,
    Prep4four
    Thank you. Not your conventional Prep story, to be sure. Maybe I've read too much Koontz.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  29. #149
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    West central Georgia
    Posts
    17,057
    Moved this from the private stories to public viewing per author's request. And I'm bumping because our newer members may not have read this excellent story.
    Visit my Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/TheCrochetFarm

    If we aren't showing love, His love, then what are we doing calling ourselves Christians?

    Psalm 73: 25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
    26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

  30. #150
    great story

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