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A Timewalker Novel
BY M.L. CALLAHAN
For centuries aliens have waged a covert war for control of Earth using time travel as a weapon. A select group of humans become their soldiers, genetically modified pawns destined to be caught in the crossfire. But this time, the pawns have a plan of their own…and the fate of all mankind rests in their hands.
A Timewalker Novel
BY M.L. CALLAHAN
Alexa had discovered the truth about her life, and her destiny, when she was nine years old. Since then? Well, since then she’d just been waiting to discover if provenance and circumstance would ever align to seal her fate.
She accelerated out of the curve and punched the gas pedal down in frustration. According to her mother, her date with destiny was well past due. They had come for her mother when she was twenty-two years old. Taken her grandmother at nineteen. Alexa was already twenty-six and feeling like the last girl without a date to the prom.
“What the hell are you waiting for?” She screamed into the night air, her window open in defiance of the cold, spitting rain that hit her face. Like the rest of the Pacific Northwest, living along the Oregon coast in winter was like living inside a cloud where the sunshine never penetrated and raindrops hovered in the air, content to allow humanity to live among them.
Stretch jeans and knee high boots kept her legs from getting too cold. Her long hair was woven into a braid that she’d pulled forward over her right shoulder. Like most Oregonians, she had learned to dress in layers. Plain cotton t-shirt under a sweater, and everything covered by a thigh length rainproof jacket with a hoodie.
Only her face and hands were exposed, and cold. But she welcomed the rush. Her brother, David, had offered her the keys to his car for a spin, and she had jumped at the chance, desperate to get away from her three year old niece’s birthday party. Her entire family was there, all four of her younger brothers, two of her brothers’ wives, two beautiful nieces, and her parents. All chatting and happy and planning their lives. Living their lives.
Alexa downshifted to rev up the engine and dug her boot heel into the carpeted floor matt so she could press her foot to the accelerator. Hard. The car’s back tires fishtailed around a sharp curve. She didn’t slow down. She smiled.
The problem wasn’t the cake or kisses, it was the inevitability that hung over her head and kept her separate from all of them. According to her mother, Archivers were part of a race of immortal aliens that tracked and recruited humans who were different. Humans like her. The Archivers tracked her family’s lineage for one very incredible reason, the women in her family could survive travelling through time. So, her mother, her grandmother, and the incredible women who came before, her matriarchal line, had been tracked and recruited, like a secret army, to protect the Earth from disasters. Some of those disasters had been the result of mankind’s own mistakes. But others? The Archivers claimed that Earth was simply caught in the crossfire, that in some cases, humanity’s suffering was caused by a war between the Archivers and their enemies.
Who those enemies were and exactly what they wanted was where her mom got a bit fuzzy on the details.
She raced around a tight curve and headlights flashed in front of her, appearing out of nowhere. Her heart jumped as the roar of wet tires on pavement preceded three cars speeding past her, one right after the other.
That fuzzy area had always made Alexa nervous. From the day her power had manifested, her mother had offered lots of information, but no real answers. Who were the Archivers? Where were they from? Who were they fighting? How long had they been on Earth?
And how was it possible that no one knew they were here? Where was the all-powerful government surveillance system? And not just the U.S. What about Russia or China? Was all of Europe clueless as well? Or did they know and choose to keep it secret in some massive, international conspiracy?
And just how many Timewalkers were there? Women just like her. Marked and waiting.
Alexa loosened her death grip on the steering wheel and lifted her right hand to rub her chest where she knew the birthmark colored her skin. Her mother insisted it was a mark of honor, of a higher calling.
“More like a cattle brand.”
The cold rain hit her cheek and ear like tiny needlelike darts of ice. They pricked and stung, coming in the window at over seventy miles an hour, then melted into a nagging chill. But Alexa didn’t mind the cold making her cheek go numb, or the wet. It made her feel alive
She pushed the car until the wheels broke contact with the pavement and she started to lose control. Recovered. It was reckless and she knew it. She was tired of waiting, tired of wondering if every good-bye she said to her family would be the last.
Just tired. She couldn’t date, couldn’t fall in love, didn’t dare make plans beyond tomorrow. All she could do was train. Train with guns, with knives, and in hand-to-hand combat. Endless training. She memorized history books and kept herself in shape. And she waited.
With a sigh, she slowed the car to a reasonable speed and looked for a turn out area with enough room to turn the car around. It was time to go back to the party, and the cake, and three year old kisses that made her heart hurt.
She flipped the car around and turned on the radio, worn-out by the thoughts chasing their tails in circles inside her head.
She didn’t see the delivery truck until it was too late. Blue, gold and white decorated the truck’s hood and trailer with the logo of a local brewery. The driver was collapsed over the steering wheel so she couldn’t make out his face. He had a dark baseball cap on his head, which had slumped to the side to be caught between the top of the steering wheel and the side window.
The truck was heading straight at her.
Alexa swerved and accelerated, trying to dodge the truck before it could hit her in the much smaller car. The truck’s cab and front wheel sped past her and her heart leapt. Maybe she could make it.
The bottom of the white trailer was even with the top of her head. She sped past it, her right tires hitting the gravel on the edge of the road. The steering wheel jumped in her hands as the car tried to get away from her. A couple more feet and she’d be gone, hundreds of feet down into the roaring surf.
A wall of rotating black appeared next to the driver’s door, then slammed into the car. The airbag exploded, knocking her head back and breaking her hold on the steering wheel. The smell of burnt dust and wet tires filled the car.
The gravel caught and tugged at the right tires and the car went into a spin as the truck’s back end pushed the car over the edge.
Her head reeling from impact, time seemed to stop as the car hung suspended, half over the cliff.
Then her stomach was in her throat as the car started to fall.
Michele Callahan is a full-time science geek and writer who often makes emergency trips to the store for coffee, pickles, or a Twix candy bar. A confirmed sci-fi nerd, she studied human anatomy, physiology and chemistry before working in the medical field for over a decade. She then returned to her first true love…writing. Michele suffers from a dangerous case of sci-fi/fantasy fever and never turns down an opportunity to sit through a Star Wars, Star Trek, True Blood, LOTR or Matrix marathon. Her favorite things in books? Courageous characters (whom she loves to push to their limits), superpowers, true love, and freakish things that can’t be explained by modern science. Her mother, an English Lit teacher, inspired her love of books and reading, and Michele is eternally grateful.
Links to M.L.’s website, blog, books, etc.
Be sure to enter M.L.’s giveaway for a chance to #WIN a $50 gift card or one of five (5) ARCs (print or digital US and Canada only)!