Ray Sullivan publishes science based fiction adventures on Amazon, Smashwords, Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, WH Smith and other good eBook retailers as e-books. Additionally all of his books are available in paperback on Amazon. He also muses on technology, posts comedic books in serial format and discusses the world of self publishing.
Books written by Ray Sullivan
Wednesday, 10 October 2012
Parallel Lives Chapter 3
After the questions asked by the local CID, a lack lustre
attempt at tidying up the periphery, the less than comforting conversation with
the Operations Director – ‘your job’s probably safe’- Jack eventually found
himself standing in the front car park in the falling light, watching the
drizzle form halos around the street-lights while listening to the MD attempt
to revive the Dunkirk spirit with a workforce numbed by the events of the day
and the realisation that there may not be a job to come to in the near future.
Along with the other departmental heads he had watched the remainder of the
day-shift leave the premises, had helped brief the night-shift counterparts on
the recovery plans, detailing which parts they were to leave alone until given
the all clear by the authorities, ignoring their voyeuristic questions.
Walking towards his car, Jack fumbled for his car keys,
pulling out John’s house key in the process. Initially he stared at the stranger,
turning it over several times. Jack had pushed the conversation with John
firmly away from his mind during the afternoon and would dearly have loved to
forget the whole affair completely, but he had promised. The man might have
been ranting a bit but, as the medic had said, he might have been suffering
from some sort of shock if he felt responsible. Feeding the cat would only take
a few minutes, the house was virtually on Jack’s route home, and it would take
his mind off the day’s events.
Finding the house took longer than Jack expected, so much
so he ended up phoning home to let Karen know he would be delayed further. He
could tell from the strain in her voice that she was only just holding herself
together. She started to say something but stopped herself, Jack could tell
that much. Then she changed subject suddenly, mentioned that a meal was ready
to go and to give her ten minutes notice. Jack agreed and terminated the call
reluctantly. It was going to be a longer day yet.
Walking up the three stone steps to the unlit front door,
Jack became aware of the net curtain in the bay window to his left moving, the
dim light from the watcher’s room silhouetting a circular disk against the
pane; almost certainly, Jack thought, a neighbourhood-watch sticker. The key
John had given him turned the latch easily and Jack found himself tripping over
an eager and probably hungry cat within moments of entering. Cursing, he
fumbled for the light switch, which was unconventionally located behind the
front door. Flicking the switch revealed a sparse but clean hallway, untidied
only by a pile of magazines halfway down. A dark, mottled cat of indeterminate
origin and gender vied for his attention, clearly forgiving his failure to see
in the dark previously. Jack, closing the front door behind him, opened the
nearest door off the hallway. This led him into the front room, complete with
television, music centre and several bookcases, all generally tidy save for a
few books strewn on the couch. He headed for another door, located at right
angles to the one he had entered through, and found himself in the kitchen,
which was lit by the light of a half, November moon. Finding the strip light
switch was easier than the one at the front door and the cat made locating the
repository for the cat food positively a breeze, however the search for the can
opener was less fruitful and eventually Jack resorted to using the device on
his illegally sourced American pocket combination tool.
Once the food had been decanted into the bowl on the floor
– Jack was unsure whether he should use a new bowl or clean the existing one
but just re-used it in the end without cleaning it – he looked around the room.
Less organised than the hall or front room there were several plates and cups
sitting in a washing-up bowl.
Having sated the cat’s appetite and, more importantly, his
own desire to fulfil an obligation, Jack retraced his steps, leaving the
kitchen light on. As he passed through the front room his eye caught a
dog-eared exercise book propped limply at one end of a bookshelf. The thought
that this could be the notebook John had mentioned flashed suddenly into Jack’s
mind, over-riding his immediate desire to get home. Grabbing the book he
flicked through the hand-written pages from the back to the front, noting the
differing pens and styles used throughout. He sat on the edge of the couch arm
to read through the first entry dated almost exactly two years earlier.
It’s happened again. I have to write it down this
time while everything is fresh in my mind. For all I know, I might write it
down every time and not realise it. If I do this now, and it happens again at
least someone may find this notebook and realise what has happened, as if they
would believe it!!!
I don’t know how to describe what happened, except
that I was involved in a serious accident at the works today. I was working
with Adam Wilkins on the boiler maintenance, and had been away at my locker
trying to find the right wrench for one of the larger pipes. When I got back
Adam had told me that he had isolated the system in my absence, to speed things
up a bit. Anyway, I was just telling him that I had already closed off the
correct valve when I saw the pressure gauge on the boiler shoot through the red
bar. I knew then what had happened. He had closed off the relief outlet, which
should have been okay as there is a relief valve in addition to it, but that
would have stopped the pressure rising as it did. I guessed that the relief
valve had failed and made to open the valve Adam had closed. Then there was an
almighty explosion, with bits of red hot metal ripping through my body. I
remember the pain, seeing the blood and Adam falling to the ground as a large
piece struck him to the head. Then I was standing next to the boiler house,
tools in hand, watching Adam lumbering up to me. Except Adam was fatter than he
used to be, and had shaved off his moustache.
This has happened to me before, once when I was a kid
and many times as an adult. Each time things are slightly different, but more
or less the same. It’s like having two sets of nearly identical memories
competing with each other and I can’t really tell the difference between each
one, except I find I look for people that don’t exist anymore, or find myself
walking past people who I’m supposed to know. I’ve just read all of this and I
know it doesn’t seem to make much sense. I’m going to stop now, but I will
write down as much as I can remember about the other times and the other lives
over the next few days.
Jack flicked through the rest of book, from front to back
this time, but didn’t read any further. He agreed with the last but one
sentence, and readily closed the book, placing it more or less back where he
found it. Leaving the room he was vaguely aware of the sound the book made as
it slipped off the shelf onto the carpet, but he was unconcerned. He had fed
the cat and now it was time to get home.