Read Jigsaw World Online

Authors: JD Lovil

Tags: #murder, #magic, #sorcery, #monsters, #parallel worlds, #tyr, #many worlds theory, #quantum jumping, #heimdall

Jigsaw World (4 page)

BOOK: Jigsaw World
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Do you happen to know how far it
is to El Paso? I thought it was around here somewhere, but I didn’t
see it on the signs.” Tom said. Out of the corner of his eyes, he
was seeing flickering visions of the waitress and other people in
various parts of the diner, doing reasonable and acceptable things,
but seeming to violate the laws of time and common
sense.

The waitress, who was wearing a name tag that
called her Mildred, assumed a slightly confused, with a smidgeon of
suspicious look. “I never heard of a town called El Paso. There is
a town called Mosey Trail a few more miles down the road. Are you
sure you got the name right?”

Given the oddness of the situation, Tom
decided not to press his luck. “I may have got it wrong. What do
you people do for fun around here?”

Mildred brightened right up. “We mainly just
farm and ranch around here. Once or twice a year, we go raiding
across the border; rustle a few camels or the occasional Manticore.
In the fall, there are the sacrifices to do, of course. Those are a
lot of fun if we have caught enough border crossers. Otherwise, we
have to find some troublemaking teenagers in town to make up the
difference.”


I hate when that happens,” Tom
said. “Anyway, thanks for the info.” Mildred smiled and headed back
toward the kitchen just as her phantom-self had done a couple of
minutes before. Tom looked at Bailey, who was watching all of the
activity around them, both physical and spectral, with an intense
scrutiny that Tom had never seen from any other dog than
Bailey.

No sooner had Mildred passed through the
swinging doors of the kitchen, than Tom saw
some
manifestation of
her coming out of the kitchen bearing their food. She delivered the
platters to their table with a satisfied smile, and then flickered
back into the kitchen. The food certainly
looked
substantial,
despite his momentary worry that it shared the spectral nature of
the people in this town, but Bailey proved its validity by diving
right in, and wolfing down his patties. Tom followed suit, and he
had to admit that the fries were fantastic, and the burgers were
wonderful.

Twenty or thirty minutes later, they piled
into the van with full bellies, and a more cheerful disposition
toward life in general, and this trip in particular. They made a
brief stop at an Evolopump station for gas, and then they were off
headed east down Interstate 10.

Tom drove for a couple of hundred miles,
getting off of the interstate for a little while toward the end of
the second hundred. When they finally decided to stop for a little
rest, they found themselves in the restful town of Toyahvale. Town
might have been overstating it a bit. It was a small crossroads
community of perhaps a hundred souls, one lonely restaurant, a
Bed-and-Breakfast and several farms.

He pulled up to the restaurant parking lot and
parked. He and Bailey jumped out of the van and went into the cafe.
He had decided not to worry about whether Bailey was permitted in
any of these establishments, because so far, none of them seemed to
have had a problem with him. Maybe Texas really
was
the most civilized
state in the nation.

They settled into a booth at the back of the
restaurant, and ordered a coffee and the steak dinner for Tom, and
milk (in a bowl) and the steak dinner for Bailey. There were three
other customers in the place. One of them was sitting by himself,
and was an obvious traveler, and the other two were just as
obviously locals, laughing and sitting together next to the front
window.

Tom strolled over to the traveler, and invited
him to join Tom and Bailey. He promptly took Tom up on the offer,
joining them at the booth forthwith. It turned out that he was
Seth, a tourist just in from New Jersey, headed the long way to Los
Angeles to visit his Lesbian sister before shipping out with the
Peace Corps.

As they were talking, and smoking the
cigarettes that were forbidden to smoke indoors in most of the
liberal leaning states of the union, a loud, argumentative noise
rose up from the two natives that had been dining together. Both of
them rose to their feet, and the large bearded one pushed the
smaller one back, and took out a large Smith and Wesson revolver,
and shot the other one in the head.

The waitress and the cook emerged from the
back, and the survivor requested that they reseat him at a cleaner
table while they cleaned up the mess. While he was sitting down,
they called someone, and requested that they respond to the
cleanup. The waitress then came over to the table where Tom and
Seth was sitting, and advised them to stay away from the body and
the blood.


What happened?” Seth asked. “Why
did he shoot that man?”


Ted had a rash, and Brandon saw
it. He shot Ted so the rash wouldn’t infect anyone else.” The
Waitress said.


He was killed just because he had
a rash?” Tom asked. “That seems a little strict.”

The waitress sat down and told the two of them
the whole story. Some two months ago, a local farmer had wandered
into the restaurant with a vicious rash on his neck. He scratched
it a few times, and then he shook the Preacher’s hand when he met
him. The next day, the man returned to the ‘town’, and attacked a
couple, tearing out the throat of the guy with his teeth, and
eating the meat that he tore away. The wife ran away to get some
help, and finally ended up at the church with a couple of concerned
friends. Meanwhile, other townsfolk had put down the
attacker.

When they saw the Preacher, he had a vicious
rash extending the full length of his arm. They promptly loaded the
Preacher up and took him to the house of the local healer, who put
him in bed. Sometime during the night, the Preacher got up and
killed the healer, tore her body into pieces and started eating
her.

Ever since that horrible night, the sighting
of a rash in the town has been a death sentence. A few times, the
disease had been more advanced before the townsmen stopped the
carriers. The poor people who were infected were starting to change
into something more like a feral and predatory ape than like a
human. The hunger for freshly killed meat and blood was
overwhelming for the victims. Animal meat was like trying to
satisfy a meth problem with a cup of coffee. Only human flesh would
satisfy the hunger, and only for a few moments.

A man in an ill-kept Sheriff’s uniform came
into the restaurant, and took notes as Brandon told him what
happened. A couple of EMTs followed him in a few minutes later with
a medical gurney in tow. The EMTs loaded Ted onto the gurney and
took him out the door, just as a group of four men wearing clear
plastic coveralls, and carrying various cleaning agents and devices
came in.

The waitress came over to where Tom and Seth
were sitting and told them that they would need to leave the
restaurant, and that their food was on the house because of the
problem. Tom thanked her, and the two humans and one canine got up
and left the building.


Well, I would ask you if you need
a ride, but I know that you are going the other way, and that you
must have a car, because you would not have made it this far across
Texas hitchhiking.” Tom said.


I am all set.” Seth said. “The
car is doing well, and I think that I will try to make it to the
coast all in one long drive.”


Not a bad idea, but let me give
you some advice.” Tom said. “Don’t depend too much on what your map
says. I have noticed that things west of here seem to be different
from what the maps indicate, for some reason. Also, there seems to
be a number of dangerous storms and situations between here and
Phoenix, so sail through that area as fast and quietly as
possible.”


After this rash thing, I will
take you at your word on the danger. You take care of yourself and
your dog. Hope you get to where you are going.” Seth
said.

Five minutes later, Tom and Bailey are loaded
up in the van, clicking the miles off toward the interstate on
Texas Highway 17. Tom had an insane urge to stop somewhere and wash
his hands and skin after that last stop, but he recognized the
hypochondriac nature of that urge, and repressed it.

Once they regain the interstate, Tom popped
the top on one of his precious ‘road beers’ and nursed it as he
drove. With eight hundred miles between him and anything
interesting, he doubted that he would get much trouble from a
little drinking and driving right now. If he were to pass a County
Mounty, chances are that he too would be engaging in a little ‘road
beer’.

He kept an even pace, peeling the miles off at
63 of them per the hour. After a couple of hours, he started to
feel the pressures of an aging bladder, and in one of those
mysterious trip miracles, he sees a sign for a place called
Urstation City. He took the indicated off ramp, and rolled into a
small city which looked to be a college town interbred with a new
age food coop and second hand bookstore type of town.

Just for the hell of it, he pulled off into
the parking lot that fed the small house converted to storefront
with the sign advertising ‘Martha the Oracle’. After everything
that had happened, Tom saw no reason why getting his fortune read
would be unreasonable. Tom and Bailey walked up to the door, Tom
knocked twice, and then he pushed the door open. He had always been
confused about the protocol for entry in these sorts of
situations.

Inside the store/house, it was fairly dark,
with two candles burning on a table. On the table was a little bell
ringer, like the ones that you would find in a run-down motel with
some run down old man in charge of the night desk. Tom proceeded to
tap the ringer, and after a moment, a piece of black velvet cloth
that apparently served as a hallway door moved to one side, and an
overly plump middle-aged lady waddled into the room.


Hello, I am Martha.” The lady
said. “Have you come for a reading?”


Nope, I came for some coffee, but
if you are out of coffee, I will accept a reading.” Tom quipped.
“Lay it on me.”

Martha sat down at the table, and said,
“Please sit down. I will take a moment to reach a precognitive
state.” Tom sat down beside Martha, and Bailey lay down at Tom’s
feet. For about three minutes, Tom watched as Martha sat quietly,
with her eyes closed. At the end of that time, she opened her eyes.
She began to speak in a voice unlike that which she greeted Tom
with.


You are on a destined path. You
will speak to a god, and you will stand with bloodied hands above
the dead. You will see and overcome one whose soul is fire, and one
whose soul is a wolf. You will see the gate that bars a horror. You
shall see those without souls, and those with many souls. You will
find a place where time is fractured, and where many worlds touch.
You will see those who hide in the sky. You will risk a secret, and
find a love. You will find a stone, and build a world. You will
find the monster in the man.”

Having said that, Martha closed her eyes once
again, and after a few seconds she opened them again. In the voice
that she originally greeted him with, she said, “That will be forty
dollars, please.”

Tom thought about stiffing her for the money,
just for a second. He decided after a few seconds reflection, that
the entertainment value of the reading was probably worth the forty
bucks, and there might be a small chance that the reading was
valid. He reached into his billfold and pulled out two
twenties.


Alright, here is forty, but I
might be back for a refund, if your reading is off.”


In that case, you won’t be back.”
Martha said with a twisted grin. “My readings are never
wrong.”

After a couple of more exchanges, Tom got
directions to the nearest motel, and Bailey and he piled into the
van, and made their way to the motel. After paying another forty
bucks for a room, Tom had a room and was busy selectively unpacking
items for the night. The liquor store next door provided beer and
rum, and the bookstore next to it promised a cornucopia of fine
books to peruse.

Over the next half hour, Tom secured a twelve
pack of bud and a fifth of cheap rum, a pack of smokes and a large
Meat-Lovers pizza. Then he and Bailey ambled over to the Book
Store. They entered the store through a small set of steps leading
downward into a short brick corridor that terminated at the door of
the bookstore.

As they entered the store, they relaxed into
the darker and cooler world that the store seemed to exist in.
Somewhere the soft fragrance of vanilla incense magically made the
store a place of soft magic, where one could read the endless tomes
of knowledge and experience for long hours while a truce was called
for all the earth.

Forty-five minutes later, Tom was curled up on
one of the easy reading chairs, and Bailey was curled up in canine
comfort under his feet. Tom had an eclectic collection of science
fiction, travel, philosophy and occult books. He had just finished
a sci-fi book dealing with macro-wormholes used for travel by
aliens, and was into an occult book dealing with
lycanthropy.


Bailey, we have to get a silver
knife somewhere. I suspect that we will encounter werewolves
sometime soon, and the best advice is to stick them with a silver
blade. I wouldn’t put it past them to have mastered wormhole
travel, so if you see one forming, give me the high sign so I can
jab in time.” Tom said. Bailey thumped his tail against the floor
in agreement.

BOOK: Jigsaw World
7.66Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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