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Authors: Sandy Goldsworthy

Aftermath

BOOK: Aftermath
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A novel by

Sandy Goldsworthy

 

THIS book is a work of fiction.  Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the authors' imagination or are used factiously.  Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

NO part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights.  Purchase only authorized editions.

 

Aftermath

Copyright ©2014 Sandy Goldsworthy

All rights reserved.

ISBN-13: 978-1-940534-88-6

Cover Design by: Marya Heiman

Typography by: Courtney Nuckels

Editing by: Cynthia Shepp

 

For more information about our content disclosure,

please utilize the QR code above with your smart phone or visit us at

www.CleanTeenPublishing.com
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Table of Contents

 

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

Chapter 61

Chapter 62

Chapter 63

Chapter 64

Chapter 65

Chapter 66

Chapter 67

Chapter 68

Chapter 69

Chapter 70

Chapter 71

Chapter 72

Chapter 73

Chapter 74

Chapter 75

Chapter 76

Chapter 77

Chapter 78

Chapter 79

Chapter 80

Chapter 81

Chapter 82

Chapter 83

Chapter 84

Chapter 85

Chapter 86

Chapter 87

Chapter 88

Chapter 89

Chapter 90

Chapter 91

Chapter 92

Chapter 93

Chapter 94

Chapter 95

Chapter 96

Chapter 97

Chapter 98

Chapter 99

Chapter 100

Chapter 101

Chapter 102

Chapter 103

Chapter 104

Chapter 105

Chapter 106

Chapter 107

Chapter 108

Chapter 109

Chapter 110

Chapter 111

Chapter 112

Chapter 113

Chapter 114

Chapter 115

Chapter 116

Chapter 117

Chapter 118

Chapter 119

Chapter 120

Chapter 121

Chapter 122

Acknowledgements

About the Author

Preview One

Preview Two

 

Chapter 1 

Ben's Story

 

Tell me you didn’t go back to that lake again, Benjamin.

Molly’s piercing thoughts jerked me back to reality. I shook my head and cast a second line into the murky waters of Lake Bell. The narrow passage on the backside of the island was home to the largest northern pike in the county.

You’re pretending to be fishing, but you’re really sitting in that tin can of a boat that’s decades older than you would be, if you were still alive.

After a long mission, I should be entitled to some time off.

I can read your mind. Or, has that human disguise made you forget our world?

I chuckled and nodded to the electronic device humans called a phone. It sat on the bench in front of me. The hologram of my brunette partner appeared. We were alone, but I glanced around anyway.

Maybe Molly was right. I was on earth far longer than any other time since I died.

“Relax, Benjamin. No one in their right mind would be out at this time of the morning.”

“Hey! I used to fish in this spot every day when I lived here.”

Molly’s eyes widened. “That proves my point!”

“Nice. I’ve been gone for almost ten years, and this is how you welcome me back?” Our laughter was muffled against the thick vegetation lining the shores around us.

“Tell me. How was your mission?” Molly flashed a telling smile.

“We both know you came here to lecture me.” Molly shook her head and started to respond. I held up my hand. “No. Before you tell me it’s time to let go, it’s time for me to pick up the pieces of my existence and look to the future, I want you to know I’ve done some serious thinking.”

“Benjamin—”

“Nope. You should know this is my last trip. I visited the bait shop in Riverside, said goodbye to the owner this morning, and drafted papers to sell my folks’ house on the other side of the lake… I’m ready.”

Molly wrinkled her forehead for an instant.

“Don’t worry. I’m okay with it.”

Molly looked down, her hands clasped together. “You should really think about what you’re doing.”

“I did. And I moved on.”

“Don’t make any rash decisions, Benjamin.”

“Rash? I’ve been looking for Elizabeth since 1941, and you’ve been nagging me ever since.”

Molly’s face went pale. I peered into her mind, but her thoughts were clear, an obvious sign she was shielding me. It was a game we used to play when I was in training at The Farm. As a rookie, my skills were constantly tested. At first, Molly was stronger than I was, blocking me out of her mind. Eventually, I learned to break her barriers. All I had to do was concentrate…

“Benjamin, stop! We got a call,” Molly blurted out.

“Huh?”

“While you were on assignment, a call came into dispatch.”

“So? Hundreds of calls come in every second.”

“A girl broke her arm. She was rather distraught, I’d say. She was only six years old. Poor thing. Else, I’d never known. Dispatch would have assigned her case to a patrol unit to investigate and then filed it away.” Molly took a deep breath before continuing. “Did I tell you I was assigned to office duty? I can’t say I enjoyed it. Of course, giving tours wasn’t bad. I had a chance to meet some new recruits. Not that I’d want to partner with any of them. Oh! I heard you met Bianca. She told me to say hello.”

“Molly!”

She jumped in response. “Oh, yes. My apologies for drifting.” For a slight moment, Molly looked uncomfortable.

“What are you trying to tell me?”

After a moment of hesitation, she whispered, “I found Elizabeth.”

The movement of my fishing pole distracted me. I stared at the spot where the line pierced the water and hung the bait precisely twenty-eight feet, five-and-a-half inches below. Pointing my index finger, I moved it in a slow, circular motion. The line stopped twitching, and the fish moved on.

Silence lingered in the crisp, predawn air.

Out of habit, I lit up a cigarette and took a long drag. Regrets suddenly hit me. She was gone. Lost. All those years I looked for Elizabeth, the years undercover I searched for her… Instead, she was living another life?

“Benjamin?” The water’s surface shivered when Molly spoke.

I took a second hit and held my breath for a moment.

Memories of my wife, Elizabeth, warmed me. Her bright blue eyes and gentle smile had caught my attention back in 1931. We were young, innocent, and alive. I didn’t know it then, but that Saturday, at Hudson’s Grocery in Riverside, I met my soul mate. We married a few years later and welcomed a son, Danny.

Did you hear me?

I ignored Molly and recalled the last time I saw Elizabeth.

“These eight months will go by quickly. You’ll see.” It was my last tour of duty on the
USS Arizona
. “I’ll be home soon. I promise.” They were words that still haunted me today.

I never made it home and never saw Elizabeth again—not on earth or in my world, either. I died on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor. It was the reason I chose to join the Bureau and train as an undercover agent. It gave me a chance to search for the love of my life.

“Benjamin, she couldn’t contact you. There was a breach of contract.” Her tone was soft. “It wasn’t your fault, or hers.”

Thoughts circled silently between us. I was numb. Emotions I expected, words I wanted to speak, failed me.

A fish nibbled on my bait again. This time, I didn’t move to stop it. I watched the tapping of the line in the calm water, one, followed by another. The fish grabbed hold and the line tightened, bending the pole downward. I reeled in my catch and released the fish back to the waters below, in one automated motion.

To the east, the sky turned a dark purple—the dawn of another day.

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