The year is 2065, three years after cross-country caravans were sent the way of the dinosaur by the insurance companies. Someone knows that Adams is the only guy left who can lead one, and doesn’t know, or doesn’t care, that someone else will do anything to stop him. And that someone else can change screen records and make people disappear.
Take a wild ride to a future today. Go to amazon.com/author/charlesvella. If you go today there’s no cost, except for the feeling that comes from a glimpse at a future that’s run off the rails.
Would you go back in time and undo the worst thing you’d ever done if you knew there was a one percent chance it would kill everyone involved? How about two percent? What if you had to send someone else without telling her why she was going? It gets complicated.
Go to amazon.com/author/charlesvella today and get a free Kindle copy of Soul Source or Back and There Again to see just how complicated it can get.
Here is what readers have to say about Soul Source.
OMG!! My neck is suffering from whiplash because I sat up all night to finish reading this book and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to steady my heartbeat!! WOW! What a masterpiece of work. It gives you a lot to think about concerning our future. Pick it up, read a couple of pages and I dare you to put it down. Kudos to Charles Vella!!
Great read which makes you think about the implications of Time Travel on what we perceive as reality. The possibilities the author has created makes one hope that Time Travel never becomes a reality. Or has it already….. This reads like a good mystery novel so don’t miss any little detail. I read it twice and it was better the second time through.
“Meddling with cause and effect is like shaking a tree with mankind hanging from every branch. It’s more profound than splitting the atom. Inventing a time machine is the equivalent of harnessing nuclear power. No. It’s even more fundamental. It has the ability to light up the world or melt it down.”
Scientists discover that it’s not nice to mess with Mother Nature Father Time as they venture back to 2012 to stop a terrorist attack . . . or are they trying to keep secret the identity of someone involved in the attack . . . or is there another reason entirely?
Time travel is risky. Things can go very, very wrong.
These people were talking about doomsday scenarios. But how could stopping one crime cause the end of the world?
“Think of the deviations as ripples in a very still pond,” Pruitt said. “No matter how softly something lands, no matter how tiny it is, there’s always a ripple. Always something you can’t anticipate. Someone sees the landing and runs home to tell someone else, and because he’s in a hurry steps out in front of a car. As the missions go farther back thee deviations are compounded. The person who stepped in front of the car doesn’t have children he otherwise would’ve had. Those children don’t have children. The deviations grow exponentially and their variations spread out. Fictional time travel is comical. People go back hundreds of years, fight battles, kill people and them come back to a world that’s exactly the same.”
You’ll need to put on your thinking cap for this book. You’re dropped down into the middle of the action, there’s a large cast, and it may be confusing at first. Don’t worry; it will all make sense eventually, and the payoff is oh, so sweet. You can expect a clever, intelligent story that does not insult a reader’s intelligence . . . though it may make your brain hurt just a bit when you think too hard about a sentence like this one:
“. . . he got the idea to bring you back before you leave because he saw you come back before you left.”
Or this one:
“That’s you at the door. You better hide.”
If you’re looking for a smart, funny, challenging read, get to this one in a timely manner.
Who is Infil 1? Even more important, where is Infil 1? And most vital of all, what is Infil 1 going to do next?
To find out, keep reading for chapter 2. Missed chapter 1 or want a copy of chapters 1 and 2 for your Kindle or other device? Just click here. Want to see other books by Charles Vella? Then click here for Charles Vella’s Amazon page. If you have any problems then just email me at CharlesLVella@gmail.com. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy Infil 1.
Copyright © 2017 by Charles Vella
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written permission of the author.
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental
Chapter 2: Not even a mouse
“Passing the target. Not a creature stirring. Not even a mouse,” Jackson’s voice from Echo Two had the dulled edge of routine that came from watching the dawn through a dirty windshield at the tail end of a shift. It pushed a disconnected thought into Nadim’s mind. Some quote about some English general, said he’d strike like a dagger, and some American said ‘probably more like a butter knife,’ or something like that. History hadn’t been Nadim’s best subject, but he did like reading about World War II. Back when both sides wore uniforms so everyone knew who was who. When you could join a side and everyone would believe you were really on it. When you didn’t have to constantly prove yourself to a bunch of people who don’t have any more right to be here than you do.
“Funny man,” Gallagher growled to himself, taking a sip from his cup and slouching further into his seat.
“Copy,” Nadim yawned into the mike. Shoved it back onto the dash as he coasted to a stop at the curb. He pushed the shifter up into park and worked his jaw with his hand as he turned to his partner. “A comedian.” He looked left and could just make out the taillights of Echo Two disappearing into the early morning gloom up the street between the rows of cars parked at the curb. Why Echo? Were there Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta teams wandering around somewhere, wasting their time the week before Christmas, watching people who probably weren’t doing anything more than looking like terrorists? And what’d it mean to look like a terrorist anyway? Nadim for instance? Did Gallagher think he looked like a terrorist? Did Jackson? Nadim shook off the thought. Focus on something positive. Like what’re the chances the brass’ll pull the plug on this and he’ll get home for the holidays? He should’ve put in for a few days off, but that wasn’t done. Not in law enforcement. Not if you want to go anywhere. You just sit and hope someone somewhere took a breath between eggnogs and said, ‘do we really need to leave those poor bastards out there over Christmas?’
“Rats ate all the mice anyway,” Gallagher grunted. He balanced his coffee cup on the dash and tried to retract his square jaw under the bill of his cap like a turtle whose head was too big to get into its shell. “Then the locals roast the rats for Christmas dinner. The circle of life in dumps like this.”
“Should’ve followed him,” Nadim said, watching the house a couple of hundred feet up on the right, just starting to appear as the sky made half-hearted attempts to lighten from black to a dull gray. You couldn’t make out the little iron fence yet, but Nadim knew it was there. Unless it’d disappeared since they’d taken their last turn around the block an hour ago. A waist high fence, painted black, leading out to a cracked sidewalk and a strip of trash embedded into the hard dirt by the feet of a million winos and druggies. An occasional spindly tree stretched pathetically toward the dark sky like an old man reaching for a loved one he couldn’t see anymore, pulling up the sidewalk with its roots.
“Sure, sure,” Gallagher grunted from under his cap. “Then another one leaves and we follow him. Then the third one leaves and, no wait, we only have two cars. Take off your mittens and you can do the math yourself.”
“We don’t have any idea where he went.” Nadim drummed his fingers on the dash. His partner sighed and lifted the cardboard coffee cup off the dash, blew across the square hole in the top and took another tentative sip. He held the cup in both hands to absorb the warmth. Wherever the guy who’d left the house’d gone, following him had to be better than sitting here. Anything had to be better than sitting here with Mr. Congeniality three days before Christmas.
“Probably picking up Uncle Muhammad for the holidays. Oh that’s right,” Gallagher corrected himself with a knowing nod of his head. “You people don’t celebrate Christmas, do you?”
Nadim nodded. You people. Four months on the team and he was you people. Dipshit Gallagher tried that on Wallace in Echo Two he’d be up on charges. But Wallace was black, not second generation Lebanese. His people’d gone through fitting in for the last century. What would the HR asshole say to do in this situation? Talk it out? Explain that he’s a Christian? That his family makes a big deal out of Christmas? That while Nadim was sitting here listening to this racist bullshit they’d be cooking turkey and opening gifts? Sure. Then they’d hug it out like some lame ass sitcom. Become buddies for life. No. If he got through the holiday without killing Gallagher he was finding another partner was what he was doing. They’d only stuck him with this jerk because Nadim was new. They also probably figured a guy with a name like Nadim’d be so honored to be accepted on the task force they could shove him in with the Son of Sam and he’d say thanks. Not anymore. The guy was an asshole. An asshole with bad breath. It’d been bad enough when they were fully staffed, but with the holidays and flu they’d gone down to three cars, one on either end of the street and one swing car, and yesterday dropped to two. So Gallagher, in his infinite wisdom, had decided they’d ignore the target who’d walked down the street past them and turned right, toward the water, buried in an old army coat, hands jammed into his pockets. He’d disappeared into the early morning mist like a character at the end of an old movie. Swallowed by cold that was starting to feel unusual, even in late December. It’d gotten to almost sixty yesterday, but’d dropped back down over night. Cold now.
“We generally sacrifice a virgin,” he finally said through clamped teeth. We’d use your sister but, you know, we have standards.
Gallagher shivered, and pulled himself into his coat. Either not listening or not giving a shit. “Christ it’s cold in here. Turn the heat up huh?”
“The heat’s on,” Nadim said, but pushed the fan up a couple of notches. It wouldn’t get cold in here if you didn’t open the window to smoke, which you aren’t supposed to do in these cars. He leaned back in the seat and looked down the street, fighting off his drooping eye lids. He watched Gallagher place his cup carefully on the dash in front of the mushroom cloud of condensation it’d formed on the windshield. Should’ve gotten a coffee too. Something to do at least.
Houses, cars, the occasional pedestrian, slowly appeared in the dawn, like the setting as the lights went up on scene one of a play. Except this was a play with no action, and a setting that looked better in the dark. The street that the house was on snaked up the hill between a gauntlet of parked cars for a few hundred feet before twisting out of sight, but Nadim knew from driving it thousands of times that it dumped into a three-way intersection. Auto repair shops, bars, square brick buildings marked as houses or apartments by the people going in and out or hanging out in front when the sun peeked down enough to lure them outside. Window air conditioners idle in December, even with the warm weather during the day. Trash occasionally drifted down the street like urban tumbleweed, but most of it was ground into the dirt or flattened to disks on the street by years of being run over, stepped on, ignored. What kind of neighborhood was it? Women pushing strollers and loitering men drinking out of paper bags, watching the world through plumes of smoke as the red tracers of their cigarette ends formed arcs from their mouths to their hips. Cars pulling up in front of houses and roaring away after hurried transactions accompanied by furtive glances up and down the street. No Christmas decorations in sight, although St. Paul, the street that ran next to and joined the street with the target house in an acute angle a few hundred feet away, was liberally decked out with lights, manger scenes, and Santas shoved into postage stamp yards. No trash on St. Paul either. Funny thing. One block away and a completely different feel. Normal houses. No sounds of air wrenches ringing in the morning air. Two different neighborhoods. And you couldn’t watch either from two cars. Not if you didn’t want to be watched back that is.
Two non-descript sedans with small aerials poking from the trunks. Gallagher’d at least had enough sense to find some dirty lots to drive through so they hadn’t shown up shining on the gritty street. They’d gone down to three units, one car parked at either end of the street while the third cruised the block. Then down to two, making due with rotating which end of the street one car idled at while the second car cruised. Nadim, one black guy and two white guys, all with haircuts right out of central casting for The FBI! In color! At least they were in plain clothes, so occasionally one of them went strolling aimlessly down the street, glancing around out of the corner of his eye, about as inconspicuous as Santa Claus at an Easter parade. They must’ve been made days ago. Everyone in the neighborhood probably knew they were watching someone. The only mystery was who. Nadim reached for the key.
“You trying to freeze my ass off?” Gallagher growled. Nadim hesitated, then pulled his hand back, silently cursing himself for doing it. He hated idling. Every second the car ran he could feel poison pumped into the air, poison that would come back and choke his young children. If he ever had young children. Anyway, letting the car idle was weakness. Damaging the environment for your own comfort. But it wasn’t worth the fight. Even if Gallagher hadn’t outranked him. Nadim thought that idling might even be against policy, but he knew it was an argument that he’d lose even if he won. Was that cowardice? Should he’ve turned it off and told the jackoff to…sure, he chuckled to himself. And then what? Dragged Gallagher’s sorry ass out of the car and kick the shit out of him? That’d go over well in the debrief. ‘Anything interesting happen out there today?’ Not really. Just Nadim slapping Gallagher around on the hood of the car while the suspects watched. He took a deep breath. Well, when the holidays were over he was marching in and demanding a new partner.
“Just passing,” Jackson’s voice yawned over the radio after what seemed like hours of silence had crawled by. “Not a creature stirring.”
“Not even a mouse,” Nadim mumbled.
Keep reading, tell a friend
If you’ve enjoyed Infil 1 so far the next chapter will be available soon. Thanks for your interest and please consider telling a friend. Because Infil 1 isn’t for sale yet you can’t leave a review, but I’d love to hear your feedback so please leave a comment on my blog or Facebook page. Thanks very much for reading.
Thanks to everyone who downloaded one or more of my books last weekend. The promotion was very successful in terms of downloads, over a thousand. My goal remains to get 10 reviews on all my books so if you read one and like it please consider writing a review on Amazon and telling a friend. I’ll be putting up the second chapter of Infil 1 in a couple of weeks. If you’ve got a few minutes give that one a try as well.
Below is the promised Chapter 1 of Infil 1, the novel I am serializing here. If you’d like a pdf, epub or mobi version then just click the link to charlesvella.com. If you have any problems getting your copy just email me at CharlesLVella@gmail.com. I hope you enjoy Infil 1.
Copyright © 2017 by Charles Vella
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written permission of the author.
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Read more by Charles Vella at amazon.com/author/charlesvella
“We lost him.”
The line hung silent. Dead. Dead like the frigid, still night air. Dead as they’d all be if they didn’t get in front of this. Dead for so long it seemed no one was on the line when the receiver coughed.
“Are you on a secure line?” The voice following the cough was a three a.m. croak. The question explained the delay. He’d looked at his cell phone and make sure it was the secure one. Did he have to do it in the dark? Make sure not to wake up his wife? Or did people with that kind of money, that kind of wife, sleep in separate rooms?
“What do you think I am? Stupid?” This time the silence hung over the line just long enough to answer the question.
“Where? How?” Not who. The working definition of a vital mission. Wake someone up in the middle of the night and say ‘we lost him’ and his mind goes right to damage control without slowing to figure out who the hell you’re talking about. Must see him in his sleep. As they all did. As they all had for the last few months.
“He entered the country a couple of…”
“Entered the country?” Wide awake now. That message dropped like a bucket of cold water over his head. Could hear him bolt up in bed. His voice dropped to a hiss. Must be in bed with his wife. Probably wondering when her clearance had last been updated. Not that it mattered. No one was cleared for this. “This country? The United States? He’s here? What the hell happened in Paris?”
“His passport’s here at any rate. It passed through Kennedy a couple of hours ago. We’re getting the surveillance video to verify it’s him. Paris says he hasn’t left the apartment there but I wouldn’t put much faith in that.”
“Why the hell would he come here?”
“No idea.” Or plenty of ideas. Just none that aren’t too terrifying to contemplate.
“Wait a second, wait a second. Paris is saying he’s still there?” You could almost hear the gears clicking in his head, running through scenarios, possibilities. Trying to find a glimmer of hope in the vat of dog shit they’d fallen into. “Then maybe it’s just his passport. They might’ve given it to someone else. We could live with that,” he said with growing confidence. “That passport isn’t traceable. Even the FBI can’t follow it back to us. And you can’t interrogate a passport.”
Or a dead man. The thought slipped past, like a subliminal messages in a movie theater. ‘Buy popcorn.’
“I wouldn’t get my hopes up. They’ve probably been sitting outside the apartment drinking coffee with the heater running full blast waiting for him to come out the front door. My guess is he walked out the back.” But to be fair, don’t discount the possibility that they’d nodded off and he’d walked right past them, slapping his hand on the hood as he passed.
“Sitting outside the apartment? The entire time it took to fly across the Atlantic?” A deep sigh and a rustle as he got out of bed. “OK, OK. Let’s assume the worst. He’s here. You’ve got to bring him in. We can’t have…”
“You haven’t been listening. I said we lost him. By the time I got the call he was long gone. Immigration said ‘stand over here’ and he just walked away. Never picked up his suitcase. We have that. Mostly the crap we gave him. He evidently hasn’t bought much in the past six months. If that’s worth knowing.”
“Walked away? They got the alert and didn’t hold him? Why the hell not?”
“Because we−” We meaning you, you arrogant bastard. We meaning you over my yelling, cajoling and begging, “only put a watch flag on the passport. Remember? We didn’t want some cowboy hauling him in and screwing up two years of work. ‘Keep it low key. We don’t want him hauled in every time he crosses a border.’ ”
More dead air. Maybe, just maybe, he’s getting the hint about who owns this fiasco. But that’d be too much to hope for. Better stick to realistic dreams, like Santa Claus or super models who said, ‘you’re the man I’ve been looking for’.
“Then they should’ve flagged it and told us.” Not trying to keep the petulance out of his voice. The kid who didn’t get a violent enough video game for Christmas. Life isn’t fair.
“They did?” he exploded. “Then why the hell−”
“Word came through channels about an hour after he’d passed through Kennedy.”
“Channels,” he said dully. His anger gone soft like a balloon with a slow leak.
“Channels is what we wanted and channels is what we got. According to the immigration agent the passport was flagged but there weren’t any instructions to hold him. He wasn’t sure what to do so he told him to wait on the other side while he called a supervisor. He just walked away.”
“He just walked away,” he repeated tonelessly. “What time?”
“What. Time. Did. He. Just. Walk. Away?”
“Midnight.” The word slid out on a small rush of air. Another migraine coming on. Another migraine? It’d been one long migraine ever since getting involved in this travelling shit show. “Quarter after. Flight from Paris was delayed. They called me about one.”
“And you’re just now calling me? What’ve you been doing in the meantime?”
“Looking for him. What do you think?” Staring at my phone and thinking about this conversation? Trying to convince myself it’s just a nightmare? Just wait a while in case I wake up? OK. That too.
“Why the hell would he come here?” he asked again, this time with a small grunt that said he’d reached his home office and lowered himself into a chair. It was easy to forget how old he was, until little things like that grunt gave the game away. You get over seventy and you might look fifty, but it was still painful to get up and down from chairs. Botox and tailors can’t keep the age from creeping into your bones.
“That’s the question.” The question that didn’t bear thinking about. If they’d suddenly come up with something for him to do in the US you can bet it wouldn’t be Christmas shopping.
“Why hasn’t he reached out to us?”
“He did. From Europe. The train. Remember? We have to assume that since then they’ve been sitting on him too carefully.” At least that’s what we have to hope. Like clinging to a life preserver while the Titanic sucks you under. If I just keep swimming…
The silence settled like the dust after an explosion, stinging their eyes but giving them the leisure to survey the carnage around them. “Do you think…” he finally began, but the words trailed off, as if they scared him and he’d decided he couldn’t bear to hear them out loud.
I’m not paid to think. I leave that to the people who created this fiasco. The big picture boys. “If they’d made him they would’ve killed him back there.” Wouldn’t they? Yes. Unless… The unless didn’t bear thinking about, what they could do with him over here. Now there’s a headline any terrorist would die for. ‘US Undercover Agent…’ just fill in the atrocity. Details at eleven.
“You’ve got to go back.” A note of panic in his voice now. His mind’d shown him the same headline. “Over all of it. Make sure there’re no loose ends. No holes. No way anyone can trace him back to us.”
“They can’t trace him back to us.” Keep hitting that note of confidence and maybe it’d fool one of them.
“And you’ve got to find him. Make sure he’s not picked up by anyone but us. Ever,” he snapped out, as if revoking a statute of limitations. “But don’t raise any wind. No one can know we’re interested. Understand?”
“Sure. Anything else?” Peace on earth? Goodwill to men?” But he was talking to a dead line. Dead like the frigid, still night air. Dead as they’d all be if they didn’t get in front of this.
Keep reading, tell a friend
If you’ve enjoyed Infil 1 so far the next chapter will be available soon. Thanks for your interest and please consider telling a friend. Because Infil 1 isn’t for sale yet you can’t leave a review, but I’d love to hear your feedback so please leave a comment on my blog or Facebook page. Thanks very much for your interest.
I’ve had at least two people ask me when the sequel to Right of Passage is coming out. Since this is a large portion of my readership I thought I’d let you in on my writing schedule.
I have a working title to the second book in the Police State of Anarchy series but I’m not sure about it yet so I’ll just call it Book 2 for now. Book 2 is a dystopian road trip across the America of 2065 so if you want to see how the craziness around you might play out be sure to watch for it. I’m about 30,000 words into the first draft, which is probably between one third to one quarter the ultimate length. I’ve worked out most of the plot at a high level so I’m aiming to put it out in the late spring or early summer next year.
In the meantime I’m going to serialize the first installment of a new series, Infil 1. I’ll post a chapter here every month. I’ll also make a cumulative version available on my website so if you join late, or if you just want a Kindle-compatible or pdf version you’ll be able to get that. If you want to know more, you’ll find Chapter 1 here next week, so watch this space.
As always thanks to those who have taken the time to read and to write reviews on Amazon.