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Authors: Saxon Andrew

Jesse's Starship

BOOK: Jesse's Starship
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Jesse’s Starship
Contents

Introduction

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Epilogue

Books by Saxon Andrew

About Saxon Andrew

Introduction

J
ess knocked on the truck’s roof and indicated that he had arrived at his destination. The truck came to a stop and pulled over on the shoulder of the road. Jess climbed out the F-150’s bed and walked around to the driver’s door, “Thanks for the ride.” The trip back out to the desert from Phoenix had been uneventful and he was fortunate the farmer had picked him up almost immediately after he put out his thumb.

The middle aged man stared at Jess and slowly shook his head, “What are you doing stopping here? There’s nothing out there but coyotes and snakes.”

Jess smiled, “There are a lot of beautiful stones and a few loose treasures lying around. This is where I make my living.”

“How long have you been doing this?”

“About three years.”

The farmer’s eyes grew wider, “How old are you?”

“Nineteen.”

“This isn’t the best place to live a good life.”

Jess shook his head, “Sometimes, life isn’t all that good, sir.”

“What were you doing in town?”

Jess sighed, “I go to a specialty store about once a week to sell what I find out here; the money provides me with enough to pay for my food.” Jess looked at his dusty clothes and shook his head, “I also need to take a bath occasionally. It gets to the point where I can’t stand myself.”

The farmer put out his hand, “My name is Mike Sanders; I have a farm about ten miles down the road. If you ever need work….”

“Thanks, but I need to stay out here.”

The farmer looked out at the desolate desert, “For God’s sake, why?”

“You wouldn’t understand.”

“Try me.”

Jess stared at the stranger and saw he was genuinely interested. He sighed. “Nine years ago my family and I came camping out here. Our next door neighbor’s daughter came with us; her name was Mandy.” Jess pointed to the east, “We found a good camping spot about two miles into the desert from here.”

“What happened?”

“How do you know something happened?”

“You’re here nine years later. There must be a reason for that.”

Jess slowly nodded. After a moment he sighed, “I left them to answer nature’s call. When I came back; they were gone.”

“What?”

Jess looked Mike in the eyes, “They disappeared without a trace. My mother, my father, my younger brother and Mandy simply vanished. I wasn’t that far away and there were no screams, no sounds, nothing; they were just gone.”

“Surely there was some kind of tracks or something?”

“I was ten and it was night. I didn’t know anything about tracks or how to read the desert. I was great at Nintendo, but that was about all. Our SUV was still there and I just knew they had to be close by. I initially thought they were playing a joke on me and hiding; but after searching and screaming for an hour, I discovered it was no joke. I was hysterical and if they had been there they would have never taken the joke that far. I got in the car and managed to drive it to this road…” Jess looked around and pointed again, “between those two large boulders and waited for someone to drive by. An eighteen wheel truck saw me waving in the road and stopped. I told him what happened and he could see I was pretty much incoherent. He used his CB radio to contact the county Sheriff’s office and waited until they arrived. A month later, I was placed in a state children’s home and my family was listed as an unsolved case. I ran away when I was sixteen and…here I am.”

Mike stared at Jess and tilted his head, “There are some things you just have to let go, son.”

Jess looked him in the eyes, “This isn’t one of them.”

Mike slowly nodded and smiled, “Well… I admire your tenacity. It’s a shame you gave up your education and a normal life.”

Jess swung his back pack off his shoulder and opened it. Mike saw three books inside. Jess pulled one out and showed it to Mike, “I’m currently reading Stephen Hawking’s new book along with the last Nobel Prize winner’s book on dark matter and its effect on gravity.” Mike stared at Jess and saw him look up at the sky, “It’s too hot to move around out here in the desert during the afternoon. I pass my time by reading. I haven’t given up much on learning; although I could use some help with the calculus textbooks on occasion.”

Mike nodded and made a decision, “I go into town every Thursday morning to meet with my shipper; I pass by here around nine. If you want, you can ride in with me and I’ll give you a ride back in the afternoon or evening.”

Jess smiled, “Thank you. That really would be a great help.”

“Don’t mention it; I know how much a family means. See you in a week.”

Jess watched the truck pull off and waved. He watched the red taillights disappear and he turned toward the boulders. He looked out at the desert and felt the temperature start dropping as the sun touched the horizon. He began hiking to the site where his family disappeared. He hadn’t mentioned that the third book was one he always kept with him. “Unexplained Disappearances,” was the only book he had ever purchased. He discovered he was not the only one with missing loved ones. He used the regional library to not only check out textbook but to look online and research unsolved case logs from all over the Southwest. He learned there were six instances very similar to his. He knew from the statistics textbooks he had studied that there were probably many more. It was an accident that he had stepped away when whatever happened took place. The odds had to be much higher that the numbers of disappearances were more numerous than those recorded. Someone escaping the event had to be rare.

He smiled as he remembered what had made him decide to come back to this place of sorrow. He read a Field and Stream Magazine when he was twelve and a top ranked angler said that fishermen always returned to their best fishing holes. They jealously guarded their locations and always used them again and again. Jess looked up at the sky. Someone…or something, had caught his family. This is where they would come again. There were enough tourists that visited the park to make it an attractive spot for an alien angler. It was also located in such an isolated and desolate location that discovery would be next to impossible.

He hiked for ten minutes and saw four large boulders among the towering cacti. He went to the largest one on the right, bent down, and pulled a box from under the sand. He carefully wiped it off, opened it, and pulled out a plastic bag. He removed a holster and an H&K P-40 out of the bag and pulled the slide back. A forty caliber hollow point round snicked into the chamber and he put it in the holster. He ran his belt through the holster’s loops and adjusted it to where it felt comfortable. After three years of practice, rattlesnakes were slower than his draw. Snakes weren’t the only reason he had taken it. It belonged to his father and was in the SUV when he went missing. He resealed the plastic bag, put it back inside the box, and buried it under the boulder. He learned early on that it wasn’t a good idea to take a gun into Phoenix. This was the safest and closest place to the road to leave it. He just had to be careful not to walk up on a rattler before he picked it up. He turned abruptly as a desert breeze blew sand at him. He wiped the sand from around his face and neck and continued his hike.

Night was coming and the evening desert wind began blowing. The temperature was dropping fast and the temperature differential between the mountains and the flat desert below them started wind blowing down toward the desert. Sand began moving and his pants received a coating of the fine silicon particles. He stopped and looked around for rattlesnakes and then turned to continue his two mile hike. He moved around the tall saguaro cacti scattered like spikes dropped into the soil from high altitude. He always carefully removed those that grew on the worn path he followed to the road and knew if he ever left for any length of time, that path would close quickly. He saw a rattlesnake under a rock to his right as it started warning him to come no closer. The P-40 came out almost too fast to see and a shot rang out.

Jess collected the six foot long reptile and decided it would be the evening’s meal. He’d save the dry goods he purchased earlier in town for another day. He looked around and collected the shell casing ejected from the H&K and put it in his back pocket. The gun shop would give a small discount on the next box of rounds he purchased if he brought the used brass in. He could have ignored the reptile but it might have made the rock its new home and he didn’t need snake eggs buried that close to his trail. The sun moved below the horizon and he saw the small cut in the rocks ahead. He turned sideways and slid between two boulders and walked to the back of the small open space to his cave.

The opening in the rocks was a perfect place to cut a cave out. The overhang protected it from sand storms and the walls around it prevented the occasional storm from overwhelming him. He found the spot by accident; the cave was already there when he entered it for the first time. Someone must have dug it out a long time ago.

He cooked the snake and ate the raw carrots the farmer had insisted he take with him. He cleaned his plate with sand and put it into a plastic bag. He left the cave and climbed up the rock wall outside the cave entrance and looked off in the distance; he smiled as he saw the bright glow of Phoenix reflecting off a few rare clouds. His deep set green eyes missed very little. He was six feet two inches tall and appeared to have an average build. However, he was lean and his strength was phenomenal. Very few species that lived in the desert had much fat on them; the hot sun would burn it off quickly. His hair was somewhere between light brown and blonde; he had a light beard and a mustache that made him look older than his nineteen years. If you looked in his eyes, he appeared older still. One just didn’t acquire that expression as a youth.

He avoided most of the tourists that came to hike and explore Usery Mountain Regional Park. The park was located on the eastern edge of Phoenix at the beginning of the Superstition Mountain Range and offered a view back into Arizona’s history. There was a pool of water that was believed to have existed since the first early Americans appeared. It provided him with a constant supply of water, which was critical to survival in the desert. He would go to the pool at night to collect what he needed, and leave.

He would often have to wait for tourists to vacate the premises but he had time in abundance and he often hid close by; he found them amusing. The Cholla Cactus looked like it had a fine coat of fur on it from a distance; however, the spines were sharp and painful. It wasn’t a good idea to walk around at night and stray from the trail. The Cholla was ever present and the tourist’s screams could be heard from a distance…a long distance. Pulling those needles out wasn’t much fun either. It was those tourists that were the bait for whoever had taken his family.

He climbed down the wall and entered the cave close to the site of the disappearance and settled in. He lit a candle and listened to the sounds of the desert as he spread a fine nylon net over the small cave’s entrance. It was stretched tight from a series of hooks he had embedded in the rock around the opening and he placed four large rocks to anchor it to the ground and sighed.

The Farmer was a nice man. The ride into town would make it much easier to plan his week. He heard the occasional car horn where a child would blow it to scare their parents. He had done the same thing when his family drove up to the camp site those many years ago. He laughed when his father jumped two feet off the ground. That’s what made him think they were hiding to get even. He felt immense sorrow try to take him but fought it off. He put a sleeping bag under his head and eventually fell asleep. He nearly woke up when the rattlesnake crawled up to his net and attempted to enter; but the stones at the base of the net prevented it. It sensed the heat source in the cave with the small pits on its nose but quickly determined it could move no closer. It heard a small noise and recognized the sound as coming from a mouse. It turned, left the netting, and moved out of the small opening between the rocks. Jess returned to a deep sleep.

Chapter One

E
lese sat in her desk and thought about objects traveling at light speed. The Physics Professor was certain that no physical object could move faster than the speed of light. It was possible to come close…and the closer you approached it, some remarkable things would start happening. She was amazed that if a star ship could accelerate to within one mile per hour of light speed, time would change radically. Ten thousand years would pass outside the ship while only a minute would pass for the occupants inside. She struggled to get her brain wrapped around the concept and just couldn’t see it.

BOOK: Jesse's Starship
11.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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