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Stories from the Verse
Re Verse All
Chapter 1: Hastings 186
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Even as she ran, Lauren Hastings was assessing the situation, trying to determine the best action. The truck was already skidding, jackknifing as it bore down on the child. Her objective was to get the child to the curb. She noticed someone standing there, a girl, and if she could toss the child to the girl that had the best chance. She herself would certainly be hit by the truck, probably killed, once more sent to another universe, but as a verser her life continued and was a small price to pay to save the life of another. Reach the child, pick her up, throw her to the girl at the curb.
There was a problem in that. If she were holding the child when the truck hit, the child would probably come with her. This was a preschooler, and absent some extraordinary accident would remain a preschooler forever if she became a verser. This had to be done without grasping the child.
In the last seconds, Lauren bent low, formed her arms into something of a scoop, and ploughing into the child she leapt into the air, pushing the child toward the girl at the curb. She saw the child fly through the air, and then felt the truck collide with her side.
She felt bones crack, organs crush, blood vessels burst. With everything else she had not even attempted to raise a shield. She expected the impact would now throw her forward and to the ground, where she would have to roll to absorb the next impact, which would be excruciating given the injuries already sustained.
It did not happen. Abruptly everything was dark. She was standing, leaning forward and off balance. A quick step forward caught her, restoring her balance. She tried to look around, but there was nothing to see--not the slightest glimmer of light.
All was quiet, and the air was still and chilled. “Underground,” she said, and the echo seemed to confirm it.
She took a deep breath and released it. Better to think about her situation before taking any action, she thought; there were many things she could do, but before she did any she should consider what might happen.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with five other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #354: Versers Reorienting. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: