THE CROOKED CITY
by Ryan Whitwam
GENRE: Sci-fi Thriller
Jonah doesn’t want to run–he has to. There’s only so much pain one man can cause before he needs to start over. Unstuck from his tainted past, he craves the anonymity he can only achieve by vanishing like a specter in the night.
Before his new life is even underway, a chance encounter leaves him in possession of a curious object–something the mysterious Keepers of The Oracle will kill to obtain, but there’s more to the Keepers than Jonah could possibly imagine. They have the ability to do much worse than kill, and now he's in their sights.
The Keepers wield power unlike anything Jonah has ever seen, and they’re closing in fast. He’s placed a new group of innocents in danger this time, and he can’t run away again.
It was a simple matter of picking Mr. Cosgrove up at home that morning. In the breast pocket of his sport coat sat a note, clearly explaining his intention to end his life. A search of his memories upon his arrival at the facility had given the scribes all they needed to forge a believable story.
After that, Gordon slipped on his Mr. Cosgrove suit, and tried to adjust to the man’s rotund shape. First came a stop off at the man's lawyer. Gordon saw to it that Mr. Cosgrove voluntarily dissolved the prenuptial, and submitted a new will naming his wife as the sole beneficiary.
With that done, he caught a cab to a random part of town, and selected a medium tall building. He stopped briefly at the small cafe on the ground floor to get a cup of tea. Gordon hated to go a day without his cup of Earl Grey.
He sent the tea back twice before he realized it wasn’t the tea at all, but the way Mr. Cosgrove tasted it. The man’s taste buds were all wrong. Earl Grey wasn’t supposed to be so metallic and tart. The novelty of the man’s body was already wearing thin.
Gordon, like the other Keepers, knew the answers to all the questions first-year philosophy students wrestle with. There was no objective Earl Grey taste, just like there was no universal color red. Red was just a name attached to the wavelength of light. Everyone’s senses perceived red differently. Mr. Cosgrove saw the color red as a much more ruddy shade than Gordon was used to, and he didn’t much care for it, either.
The café looked to have some nice kebabs on offer, but Gordon didn’t dare test Cosgrove’s sense of taste again. He resolved to go back later in his own body, but first he had to finish up with the job, so he headed for the roof.
The people below had their mobiles out, probably calling the police and taking pictures. Right on time. Gordon rocked forward and hung Mr. Cosgrove’s foot over the edge, preparing to tip over. Just then, the phone in his pocket gave a small vibe. It was a pre-paid burner; untraceable. He stepped back just far enough to glance at the cell without letting anyone on the ground see.
Blocked: Done soon? We need access.
Gordon tapped out his response: Yes.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Ryan lives in Minnesota with his wife and dogs. He writes words like the ones in this book, as well as some very different words on the internet about technology and science. He likes smartphones, sci-fi, and people who read his book. He's not very good at describing himself.
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