Author Topic: Ashes of a New Day-first 5  (Read 1082 times)

Offline paddler

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Ashes of a New Day-first 5
« on: January 17, 2019, 11:59:05 AM »
If it had been anyone else, the media probably would have balked about simultaneous news conferences in New York City and DC, but Justin Thomas was news. He had first affixed his place there when he uncovered and dismantled a terrorist plot. He excused it by saying that he just wanted to make sure an employee was safe. He got the Presidential Medal of Freedom for it though.

Then inventions put out by his companies made huge waves in the global market. Those waves were big enough that it scared a bunch of magnates into offering a 50-million-dollar contract for his assassination. Justin got out of that one too, gaining a Congressional Gold Medal when the dust settled.

There were other rumors, but they were just that. Then another election went down. It really went down, like four or five others had done through history. Something happened between Justin and the new President. He walked away from his DARPA contract, much to the very vocal cries from military folk up and down the ranks.

This would be the first time Justin had called any kind of news conference since that election. This could be something really big, if it didn’t drive the wedge between the two disparate parts of America completely through. It might also mean the prime time for some of the reporters.

Instead of the expected traffic snarl, there were two turnouts in the front of the address. They looked like the arrival and departure lanes at an airport. Two big guys opened a velvet rope to let them in. Soon the view was covered with satellite discs and the reporters checking their hair and makeup a few more times because the buildings were closed and locked. There were no easy windows to look into either.

Then the appointed time came and the doors opened. A young man and a young woman stepped out and beckoned them inside. A long table with pastries and urns of coffee were visible but Bryn Stephens, the CNN stringer, was looking the other way.

That way held some weird looking pink things backed up to what looked like a curb. She saw what might have been four seats on a platform. Three pieces of something spread around each like flower petals. Movement caught her eye and she looked further out to see several dozen things like big pink bumper cars. At first their paths seemed aimless. Then Bryn picked one and followed its progress. In a remarkably short time it passed in front of the things against the curb. It headed straight towards the wall and disappeared. Smoke and mirrors, Bryn found herself saying out loud.

Movement again caught Bryn’s eye. Across the room one of the cars seemed to pivot and open, like a flower. A head appeared, and she recognized Justin Thomas, even though he now sported a beard.

He was dressed like those who had opened the doors. It was a uniform of some sort. It looked almost like a Star Trek uniform made of very high-grade materials. She could also see that, though his hair and beard were almost silver, it was a full head of hair and a beard her ex would kill for.
“Howdy, folks. Welcome. I’ll be with you in a moment.” He said

Then, with an amazing amount of grace, he hopped onto the roof of a car near him and started striding across them, belying his hair color. In a few moments he hopped off on the side they were on. Holding up a hand he took one big breath and smiled.

“I still wish that I hadn’t smoked most of my life. You are all here to see the greatest invention my companies have yet produced. This one is a true game changer. Do I have a volunteer?”

“A volunteer for what?” Bryn said

“To join me in a trip to DC. We have tamed the magnetic vortex. We have created a stable wormhole, if you will. This is our first commercial usage of it. That wall is one step away from DC. The wall over there is the far end of a step from DC.”

“What?”

It was a rather garbled ‘what’ because every voice voiced it simultaneously.

“New York is now almost immediately accessible to DC and vice versus.”

“Is it safe?”

“For people, yes. For electronic equipment, no. That is the reason for the cars. They block the magnetic energies so they don’t wipe out hard drives, watches, GPS units and such. Actually, the gates are not safe for people with such things as pacemakers. But the cars will also stop the energies from doing damage there. A volunteer?”

“Have you gone through it? Bryn said

“Six hundred and seventeen times.”

“I’ll do it.” Bryn said

Justin stuck out his elbow and Bryn put her fingers there. Then she took a strong breath and took a step forward. Her videographer sighed. Justin led her forth and handed her into a seat. He took the other seat in the front row. She noticed that there were no controls in the car before her attention was diverted by Dakota, her videographer.

“Is it okay if I record this trip?”

“Not a problem. We have tried to see what is inside the wormhole with no luck. Maybe you will get lucky. It will also be more believable if you stand behind it.”

The three parts of the car closed and it slid into the queue.

Bryn noticed that there were six cars between theirs and the wall.

“So, you are from CNN. That almost suits. Y’all seem to be stuck with me. Both of the other times I got stuck in the news, it was with you and yours. The first time, I forced the issue. I had a young woman named Janet Reider with me and she was in a bad way. I needed to get her into a more controlled environment.”

Bryn noticed that there were now only five cars ahead of them. She caught her breath and answered.

“I thought that was about those two cases of weapons grade Anthrax you had on your boat.”

“Those could have been thrown overboard and picked up later. Janet had been brainwashed and needed serious attention. Four.”

“Four, what does that mean?”

“It means to you missed one in your counting of cars. Please have some faith in me. I would not have spent so much money if it wasn’t truly safe.”

“I guess your brain is working faster than mine, Mr. Thomas. What did that mean?”


“Please call me Justin. It means that those waters are past the bridge and we stand and look at a new place on the river of time.”

“Do you really talk this way?”

“Not at all. I like to kayak and fly fish. That is why I add in crap like rivers. I think that your mind needs to be occupied and I don’t know you well enough to do that on your terms. Two now, pay attention.”

“Oh My God, did I miss another one?”

“That is what I was trying to do. We will get to the wall and you will swear that the car turned around. The building in DC is as close to the same as I could make it, considering the three-foot difference in the height of their ceilings. One car.”

Bryn couldn’t respond. She couldn’t respond because the car in front of them disappeared. Their car slid closer to the wall. Then she wasn’t looking at a wall. There were windows ahead and beyond them she could see the landmarks of DC.


« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 08:52:42 PM by paddler »

Offline kaperton

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Re: Ashes of a New Day-first 5
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2019, 01:25:01 PM »
If it had been anyone else, the media probably would have balked about simultaneous news conferences in New York City and DC, but Justin Thomas was news. He had first affixed his place there when he uncovered and dismantled a terrorist plot. He excused it by saying that he just wanted to make sure an employee was safe. He got the Presidential Medal of Freedom for it though.

Then inventions put out by his companies made huge waves in the global market. Those waves were big enough that it scared a bunch of magnates into offering a 50-million-dollar contract for his assassination. Justin got out of that one too, gaining a Congressional Gold Medal when the dust settled.

There were other rumors, but they were just that. Then another election went down. It really went down, like four or five others had done through history. Something happened between Justin and the new President. He walked away from his DARPA contract, much to the very vocal cries from military folk up and down the ranks.

This would be the first time Justin had called any kind of news conference since that election. This could be something really big, if it didn’t drive the wedge between the two disparate parts of America completely through. It might also mean the prime time for some of the reporters. Four paragraphs in, and I still don't know who the narrator/protagonist is. Start with her and explain this Justin guy later. You can put this stuff in when they're traveling together as a way to break up the dialogue. You shouldn't spend your first four paragraphs giving a resume of someone. Start with action and tell me something about Bryn right away, anything so I know anything about her. Is she nervous? Is this her first big assignment? Is she a veteran reporter? Is she thinking about some personal crap or workplace issue? Give me anything. If I don't know the first thing about her, I don't care about her, and if I don't care, I'm not going to continue reading.

Instead of the expected traffic snarl, there were two turnouts in the front of the address. They looked like the arrival and departure lanes at an airport. Two big guys opened a velvet rope to let them in. Soon the view was covered with satellite discs and the reporters checking their hair and makeup a few more times because the buildings were closed and locked. There were no easy windows to look into either.

Then the appointed time came and the doors opened. A young man and a young woman stepped out and beckoned them inside. A long table with pastries and urns of coffee were visible but Bryn Stephens, the CNN stringer, was looking the other way.

That way held some weird looking pink things backed up to what looked like a curb. This is a really vague visual - pink things? I'm imagining a blob of spam. She saw what might have been four seats on a platform. Three pieces of something spread around each like flower petals. Movement caught her eye and she looked further out to see several dozen things like big pink bumper cars. At first their paths seemed aimless. Then Bryn picked one and followed its progress. In a remarkably short time it passed in front of the things avoid the word "thing" when you could be more specific/interesting against the curb. It headed straight towards the wall and disappeared. Smoke and mirrors, Bryn found herself saying out loud. Put it in quotes then.

Movement again caught Bryn’s eye. Across the room one of the cars seemed to pivot and open, like a flower. A head appeared, and she recognized Justin Thomas, even though he now sported a beard.

He was dressed like those who had opened the doors. It was a uniform of some sort. It looked almost like a Star Trek uniform made of very high-grade materials. She could also see that, though his hair and beard were almost silver, it was a full head of hair and a beard her ex would kill for. Finally, a tiny piece of personal info about Bryn. That's good! We need more of that earlier.
“Howdy, folks. Welcome. I’ll be with you in a moment.” He said "Howdy folks," he said. "I'll be with you in a moment."
Then, with an amazing amount of grace, he hopped onto the roof of a car near him and started striding across them, belying his hair color. In a few moments he hopped off on the side they were on. Holding up a hand he took one big breath and smiled.

“I still wish that I hadn’t smoked most of my life. You are all here to see the greatest invention my companies have yet produced. This one is a true game changer. Do I have a volunteer?”

“A volunteer for what?” Bryn said asked.

“To join me inon a trip to DC. We have tamed the magnetic vortex. We have created a stable wormhole, if you will. This is our first commercial usage of it. That wall is one step away from DC. The wall over there is the far end of a step from DC.”

“What?”

It was a rather garbled ‘what’ because every voice voiced it simultaneously.

“New York is now almost immediately accessible to DC and vice versusversa.”

“Is it safe?”

“For people, yes. For electronic equipment, no. That is the reason for the cars. They block the magnetic energies so they don’t wipe out hard drives, watches, GPS units and such. Actually, the gates are not safe for people with such things as pacemakers. But the cars will also stop the energies from doing damage there. A volunteer?”

“Have you gone through it? Bryn said asked.

“Six hundred and seventeen times.”

“I’ll do it.” Bryn said This is the third time you've left off a period at the end of the sentence. A lot of little typos like this will turn an agent off.

Justin stuck out his elbow and Bryn put her fingers there. Then she took a strong breath and took a step forward. Her videographer sighed. Justin led her forth and handed her into a seat. He took the other seat in the front row. Is she also in the front row? Maybe say he led her to the front row and took the seat next to her. She noticed that there were no controls in the car before her attention was diverted by Dakota, her videographer. That was an abrupt scene change. They just walked off in the middle of the press conference? Did everyone else just disappear? I think it would be cool if you made it clearer that either she was the only one who volunteered, which would show that she's braver than everyone else, or that she was the first to volunteer and others joined in later, or that many volunteered but he chose her. As it's written now, it's not clear and I think any of these three options would make the scene more interesting.

“Is it okay if I record this trip?” Where is he sitting?

“Not a problem. We have tried to see what is inside the wormhole with no luck. Maybe you will get lucky. It will also be more believable if you stand behind it.” Is it intentional that she doesn't use contractions? It sounds really stilted. "We have" vs. "We've" and "what is" vs "what's". I've put other instances in bold. Is she a robot?

The three parts of the car closed and it slid into the queue.

Bryn noticed that there were six cars between theirs and the wall. How is she feeling? Is she scared? What is she thinking?

“So, you are from CNN. That almost suits. Y’all seem to be stuck with me. Both of the other times I got stuck in the news, it was with you and yours. The first time, I forced the issue. I had a young woman named Janet Reider with me and she was in a bad way. I needed to get her into a more controlled environment.”

Bryn noticed that there were now only five cars ahead of them. She caught her breath and answered.

“I thought that was about those two cases of weapons grade Anthrax you had on your boat.”

“Those could have been thrown overboard and picked up later. Janet had been brainwashed and needed serious attention. Four.”

“Four, what does that mean?”

“It means to you missed one in your counting of cars. Please have some faith in me. I would not have spent so much money if it wasn’t truly safe.”

“I guess your brain is working faster than mine, Mr. Thomas. What did that mean?” What did what mean?


“Please call me Justin. It means that those waters are past the bridge and we stand and look at a new place on the river of time.”

“Do you really talk this way?”

“Not at all. I like to kayak and fly fish. That is why I add in crap like rivers. I think that your mind needs to be occupied and I don’t know you well enough to do that on your terms. Two now, pay attention.”

“Oh My God, did I miss another one?”

That is what I was trying to do. We will get to the wall and you will swear that the car turned around. The building in DC is as close to the same as I could make it, considering the three-foot difference in the height of their ceilings. One car.”

Bryn couldn’t respond. She couldn’t respond because the car in front of them disappeared. Their car slid closer to the wall. Then she wasn’t looking at a wall. There were windows ahead and beyond them she could see the landmarks of DC. Give us a better visual. She sees the Washington Monument - that's the most obvious thing you see when you get close to DC. That or the Capitol Building. The national mall, depending on what angle they're coming in.


« Last Edit: January 21, 2019, 01:32:29 PM by kaperton »

Offline rivergirl

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Re: Ashes of a New Day-first 5
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2019, 07:35:21 PM »
If it had been anyone else, the media probably would have balked about simultaneous news conferences in New York City and DC, but Justin Thomas was news. He had first affixed his place there when he uncovered and dismantled a terrorist plot. He excused it by saying that he just wanted to make sure an employee was safe. He got the Presidential Medal of Freedom for it though.

Then inventions put out by his companies made huge waves in the global market. Those waves were big enough that it scared a bunch of magnates into offering a 50-million-dollar contract for his assassination. Justin got out of that one too, gaining a Congressional Gold Medal when the dust settled.

There were other rumors, but they were just that. Then another election went down. It really went down, like four or five others had done through history. Something happened between Justin and the new President. He walked away from his DARPA contract, much to the very vocal cries from military folk up and down the ranks.

This would be the first time Justin had called any kind of news conference since that election. This could be something really big, if it didn’t drive the wedge between the two disparate parts of America completely through. It might also mean the prime time for some of the reporters.

Instead of the expected traffic snarl, there were two turnouts in the front of the address. They looked like the arrival and departure lanes at an airport. Two big guys opened a velvet rope to let them in. Soon the view was covered with satellite discs and the reporters checking their hair and makeup a few more times because the buildings were closed and locked. There were no easy windows to look into either. I'm having to read this para. several times to understand what you are trying to say. What do you mean the front of the address? The view was covered with satellite discs? Is view the right word? I'd speak more plainly so not to lose your reader.

Then the appointed time came and the doors opened. A young man and a young woman stepped out and beckoned them inside. A long table with pastries and urns of coffee were visible but Bryn Stephens, the CNN stringer, was looking the other way. Again I'm having trouble visualizing what is happening. Maybe a bit more description here. "As the crowds of reporters funneled into the conference hall, Bryn Stephens, the CNN stringer, looked out into the night, distracted by the sight of blah blah blah..."

That way held some weird looking pink things backed up to what looked like a curb. She saw what might have been four seats on a platform. Three pieces of something spread around each like flower petals. Movement caught her eye and she looked further out to see several dozen things like big pink bumper cars. At first their paths seemed aimless. Then Bryn picked one and followed its progress. In a remarkably short time it passed in front of the things against the curb. It headed straight towards the wall and disappeared. Smoke and mirrors, Bryn found herself saying out loud. WE need better descriptions than 'three pieces of something.' I'm not visualizing this scene at all. If it's not already (italics don't translate here), put Smoke and mirrors in italics. Smoke and mirrors, Bryn muttered aloud.

Movement again caught Bryn’s eye. Across the room one of the cars seemed to pivot and open, like a flower. A head appeared, and she recognized Justin Thomas, even though he now sported a beard. She's in a room? Just checking. It's a problem that your reader doesn't know if she's outside or inside. Does the car open like a Delorian? This question may be answered below if this is a futuristic novel.

He was dressed like those who had opened the doors. It was a uniform of some sort. It looked almost like a Star Trek uniform made of very high-grade materials. She could also see that, though his hair and beard were almost silver, it was a full head of hair and a beard her ex would kill for.
“Howdy, folks. Welcome. I’ll be with you in a moment.” He said He should be in lower case and a comma after moment. I like that you put me in the head of Bryn and gave me a hint of who she is (divorced). She feels like the MC I want to latch onto. If she is the MC, I wish the story had started with her. The information about Justin could be easily incorporated below as she's observing this celebrity, or as she's standing around waiting for him to arrive.

Then, with an amazing amount of grace, he hopped onto the roof of a car near him and started striding across them, belying his hair color. In a few moments he hopped off on the side they were on. Holding up a hand he took one big breath and smiled.

“I still wish that I hadn’t smoked most of my life. You are all here to see the greatest invention my companies have yet produced. This one is a true game changer. Do I have a volunteer?” This intro doesn't work. I'm guessing the big breath is supposed to illustrate he's winded from jumping up on the car, but to your reader its just a big breath. just say he's winded. Justin greeted his audience with a raised hand as he leaned on a knee to catch his breath. "I wish I hadn't smoked my whole life." He took a few more breaths before straightening his back and grinning broadly. Ok this is wrong i'm sure, but it illustrates the scene (I think)

“A volunteer for what?” Bryn said period is needed here. She's watching from afar I though. Would she be shouting??

“To join me in a trip to DC. We have tamed the magnetic vortex. We have created a stable wormhole, if you will. This is our first commercial usage of it. That wall is one step away from DC. The wall over there is the far end of a step from DC.” (This needs more mumbo jumbo. This inventor is really excited about what he's accomplished. He needs to tell more about it.)

“What?”

It was a rather garbled ‘what’ because every voice voiced it simultaneously.

“New York is now almost immediately accessible to DC and vice versus.” this is too clipped. He should be bragging!!

“Is it safe?” someone cried.

“For people, yes. For electronic equipment, no. That is the reason for the cars. They block the magnetic energies so they don’t wipe out hard drives, watches, GPS units and such. Actually, the gates are not safe for people with such things as pacemakers. But the cars will also stop the energies from doing damage there. A volunteer?”

“Have you gone through it?" Bryn said asked. What is Bryn feeling? Is she afraid, is her heart beating fast?

“Six hundred and seventeen times.”

“I’ll do it.” Bryn said a period is needed here. this whole scene is devoid of emotion. put me back in Bryn's head!

Justin stuck out his elbow and Bryn put her fingers there. (Bad imagery. Justin held out an arm and Bryn timidly took it.)Then she took a strong breath deep breath? and took a step forward. Her videographer sighed. Justin led her forth and handed her into a seat. Just say Justin led her to her seat. Your selection of words is distracting at times. He took the other seat in the front row. She noticed that there were no controls in the car before her attention was diverted by Dakota, her videographer.

“Is it okay if I record this trip?” show us this character. Dakota hoisted his camera onto his shoulder. He  always looked unkept, but Bryn noticed he hadn't even bothered to shave for this--the story of the season.. or whatever works.

“Not a problem. We have tried to see what is inside the wormhole with no luck. Maybe you will get lucky. It will also be more believable if you stand behind it.”

The three parts of the car closed and it slid into the queue.

Bryn noticed that there were six cars between theirs and the wall.

“So, you are from CNN. That almost suits. Y’all seem to be stuck with me. Both of the other times I got stuck in the news, it was with you and yours. The first time, I forced the issue. I had a young woman named Janet Reider with me and she was in a bad way. I needed to get her into a more controlled environment.”

Bryn noticed that there were now only five cars ahead of them. She caught her breath and answered. Why did her breath catch? This doesn't work.

“I thought that was about those two cases of weapons grade Anthrax you had on your boat.” Does Bryn's gaze move over her companion? What does she feel or observe?

“Those could have been thrown overboard and picked up later. Janet had been brainwashed and needed serious attention. Four.”

“Four, what does that mean?”

“It means to you missed one in your counting of cars. Please have some faith in me. I would not have spent so much money if it wasn’t truly safe.”

“I guess your brain is working faster than mine, Mr. Thomas. What did that mean?”


“Please call me Justin. It means that those waters are past the bridge and we stand and look at a new place on the river of time.”

“Do you really talk this way?” I"m not seeing this character. Does she push a blonde hair behind her ear, or cross her bare legs?

“Not at all. I like to kayak and fly fish. That is why I add in crap like rivers. I think that your mind needs to be occupied and I don’t know you well enough to do that on your terms. Two now, pay attention.”

“Oh My God, did I miss another one?”

“That is what I was trying to do. We will get to the wall and you will swear that the car turned around. The building in DC is as close to the same as I could make it, considering the three-foot difference in the height of their ceilings. One car.”

Bryn couldn’t respond. She couldn’t respond because the car in front of them disappeared. Their car slid closer to the wall. Then she wasn’t looking at a wall. There were windows ahead and beyond them she could see the landmarks of DC. and beyond them, she could see the Jefferson Memorial...details make or break a story.the storyline sounds very interesting, but i'd recommend zeroing in on your MC right away. I assumed Justin was the MC at first. If Bryn is the MC as I suspect, put us in her head and keep us there. Good luck with this

Offline paddler

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Re: Ashes of a New Day-first 5
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2019, 10:26:48 PM »
Thanks Kaperton and Rivergirl. I appreciate your time and consideration. I have to admit that I had not gotten this to a normal Beta Reader yet. She had said the book needed to start here, so I laid it down and posted it too soon. Thanks again

Offline paddler

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Re: Ashes of a New Day-first 5
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2019, 08:51:52 PM »
Updated and some small, but positive responses from my friends. Let me know if it works. Thanks again, y'all

Justin Thomas hoped his plan to get media attention on his new invention worked right. He was back in the news cycle, but that was because of him walking out on his position as a DARPA contractor.

That put him in the rotation of those who were calling out the new President. His walking out had started an avalanche of others walking out too. He was in the main rotation because of the Presidential Medal of freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal he had stashed in a drawer somewhere. Things had, again, changed in a way that made his being proud of them less than a thrill.

He looked over the cadre of little pink carnival cars, brushed off his start trek uniform, checked his too grey hair and beard in a reflection, and signaled for the door to be opened. He pasted a smile on his face and turned to meet the arriving media.

“Welcome, welcome. You are all here to see the greatest invention my companies have yet produced. This one is a true game changer. Do I have a volunteer?”

“A volunteer for what?” Bryn Stephens asked as she flipped her light brown hair over her shoulder.

“To join me in a trip to DC. We have tamed the magnetic vortex. We have created a stable wormhole, if you will. This is our first commercial usage of it. That wall is one step away from DC. The wall over there is the far end of a step from DC.”

“What?”

It was a rather garbled ‘what’ because every voice voiced it simultaneously.

“New York is now almost immediately accessible to DC and vice versus.”

“Is it safe?”


“For people, yes. For electronic equipment, no. That is the reason for the cars. They block the magnetic energies so they don’t wipe out hard drives, watches, and such. Actually, the gates are not safe for people with such things as pacemakers. But the cars will also stop the magnetic energies from doing damage there. A volunteer?”

“Have you gone through it? Bryn asked

“Six hundred and seventeen times.”

“I’ll do it.” Bryn said, though her light green eyes disagreed.

Justin stuck out his elbow and Bryn put her fingers there. Then she took a deep breath and took a step forward. Her videographer sighed. Justin led her forth and handed her into a seat. He took the other seat in the front row. She noticed that there were no controls in the car before her attention was diverted by Dakota, her videographer.

“Is it okay if I record this trip?” he said, though his skin had dropped a few shades of color.

“Not a problem. We have tried to see what is inside the wormhole, with no luck. Maybe you’ll get lucky. The video footage will be better believed if you warranty it.”

The three parts of the car closed and it slid into the queue.

Bryn noticed that there were six cars between theirs and the wall.

“So, you are from CNN. That almost suits. Y’all seem to be stuck with me. Both of the other times I got stuck in the news, it was with CNN. The first time, I forced the issue. I had a young woman named Janet Reider with me and she was in a bad way. I needed to get her into a more controlled environment.”

Bryn noticed that there were now only five cars ahead of them. She caught her breath and answered.

“I thought that was about those two cases of weapons grade Anthrax you had on your boat.”

“Those could have been thrown overboard and picked up later. Janet had been brainwashed and needed serious attention. Four.”


“Four, what does that mean?”

“It means to you missed one in your counting of cars. Please have some faith in me. I would not have spent so much money if it wasn’t truly safe.”

“I guess your brain is working faster than mine, Mr. Thomas. What did that mean?”

“Please call me Justin. It means that those waters are past the bridge and we stand and look at a new place on the river of time.”

“Do you really talk this way?”

“Not at all. I like to kayak and fly fish. That is why I add in crap like rivers. I think that your mind needs to be occupied and I don’t know you well enough to do that on your terms. Two now, pay attention.”

“Oh My God, did I miss another one?”



“That is what I was trying to do. We will get to the wall and you will swear that the car turned around. The building in DC is as close to the same as this one as I could make it, considering the three-foot difference in the height of their ceilings. One car.”

Bryn couldn’t respond. She couldn’t respond because the car in front of them disappeared. Their car slid closer to the wall. Then she wasn’t looking at a wall. There were windows ahead and beyond them she could see the point of the Washington Monument, not the New York buildings she had left behind