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Just the thing for Friday the Thirteenth!

Jones In Chicago--Part the Last  (at last!)

 

WHAM!  The three time/space travellers landed with a thud on the shore of Lake Michigan.  Lake Shore drive was there, but had much less traffic than either George Mandible, Lt. Jones, or Valeria were used to.  They were near to Eckhart park on the West side, and Valeria led them to a nondescript looking house on Ashland.

‘We can see and move in this plane, but we cannot be observed,’ said Valeria. ‘Stay close now, and watch how your precious Chicago operates.’

The Lieutenant and Mandible had no intention whatsoever of wandering off, thank you, and stuck close to the alien woman as they watched the house. Presently another glowing field appeared at the front of the dwelling, a pale blue this time, which after a moment grew transparent so the observers could see the doings inside. From the dress and the lack of automobiles, Lt. Jones placed the time in the 1890s.  Soon a man strolled jauntily up the walk and knocked on the door. Well-dressed and pleasant appearing, the maid permitted him entry but instead of waiting politely in the study, barged up the stairs to the bedroom of the man of the house.  The watchers heard indistinct shouting followed by gunshots.

‘There!’ shouted Valeria in their watching bubble.  ‘There is the mayor of this city being murdered by a man who was rejected for a job in the administration!  A civilized place? Pah!’

‘Crimes occur everywhere at any and every time,’ said Lt. Jones, mildly. ‘That doesn’t mean Chicago is any better or worse than any other place.  Besides, as we reckon time, this took place over one hundred years ago.  Do you judge a society on happenings a century past?’

‘I do not judge--I try to change things for the better!’ voiced the woman.

‘Seems to me that’s all you’ve been doing, casting us as the villains here,’ drawled Mandible.

‘Now I will show you the future!’ said Valeria, as if she hadn’t heard either man.  Again they found themselves falling, falling through an inky black void with pinpoints of light that looked for all the world like a bevy of stars.  Veteran time/space traveller that he was, the Lieutenant rather enjoyed the sensation, but it unnerved Mandible greatly.  At length, and after having traveled for what seemed to be quite a while, they alighted on a sand dune, amid a sirocco blowing fiercely from the north. Their travel bubble seemed to offer them protection from the elements in order for them to see the goings-on.  But here there were no goings-on, just a desert wasteland. Sand and wind and that was all.  

‘Why did you bring us here,’ asked Mandible, who was sounding and looking decidedly queasy.  

‘This! This is the future of this city!  Your foolish, childish testing of weapons has turned this land mass into a desert!  A wasteland more suited to the north of what you call Africa!  See the fruits of your attempts to annihilate one another!’

Taken aback by Valeria’s outburst, Lt. Jones took a moment to gather his thoughts.  Then something occurred to him. ‘Ma’am,’ he began, ‘this--’

‘LOOK!’ shouted George Mandible.  Suddenly looming large before them was another many-tentacled creature, impossibly huge but so far unthreatening.

Valeria began vocalizing, a high-pitched ululating kind of wail, but tuneful in its way.  

Mandible said, ‘Now there’s nothing like that in our world!’

‘George is right,’ agreed the Lieutenant. ‘Obviously there are many possible futures possible, this is only one of them.’

‘But my people!’ cried Valeria.

‘You, like I, can travel interdimensionally and interspatially,’ explained Lt. Jones.  ‘All you need do is seek the best possible futures for your people, just as I have done.’

The many-tentacled giant ‘spoke,’ with its own quavering wail, only much much louder than Valeria’s, which she listened to with intent interest even as the two Earthers covered their ears with a grimace.  Slowly, Valeria nodded.  ‘Yes...yes, it may be done.  Thank you, father.  I shall join you presently.’

Holy smokes!  This creature was her father?  The universe truly is queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose!

‘You are wise, Lieutenant, and you, Mr. Mandible.  My father has impressed upon me the need for cooperation and judicious selection of our time and space continuums.  We will endeavor to work together with inter-species to enjoy the best possible future for all beings.’

‘Good,’ smiled the Lieutenant.

Valeria drew herself up to her full height, with a look and sense of regalness about her.  Were she and her many-tentacled father royalty on this world?  Perhaps someday Lt. Jones will find out!

‘And now, let me show you our world!’ exclaimed Valeria.  Again the the trio whisked through time and space, bound for...who knows?  Perhaps we will meet Valeria and her people again in a future adventure!

 

Questions/Comments/an interdimensional spaceship?  crimeclubs@mysteriousbookshop.com





 

 

Written by Ian Kern — October 13, 2017

Specializing in Mystery Fiction and all its subgenres, including Detective, Crime, Hardboiled, Thrillers, Espionage, and Suspense.

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