A clairvoyant young woman finds her visions of the future to be a nuisance, until she discovers that she is hardly unique. An entire group of seers has learned how to profit from their knowledge in ways that Ariel has never considered. Another group is obsessed with using their talents to understand a dark future they cannot ignore.
An alliance with either crowd looks dangerous, given that they both seem a little crazy. There is no possible way to help them both. Worse yet, each group is convinced that Ariel is more than a potential asset; she’s the one thing that they must have in order to fully succeed.
They were ready to part as friends, kindred spirits who had against all odds found each other and experienced a brief moment of understanding. Maybe they’d even try to meet again.
Ariel stood, intending to rejoin her group after paying for the coffee. She would have made it out of the door, too, if Siarnaq hadn’t reached out to take her hand as they both stood to leave.
Even his brief touch reignited the splatter of visions she had felt earlier, and she worked to steady the dizziness that came with them. While the giddy feeling was largely uncomfortable to Ariel, it seemed to intrigue Siarnaq, and he held on to her hand tightly for several seconds.
“May I?” he asked as he ran his other hand gently up her arm. “Please?”
It wasn’t like being touched by anyone else. The contact between new skin, and more skin, set off more images, as Ariel felt her own natural frequency start to piggyback onto the wavelength of Siarnaq’s visions. Her day-to-day clarity began to form around his far future events and the more skin contact she made with the man the clearer the melding of their two visions was becoming. He let go of her and took a step away. It stopped.
She took a step forward and placed the whole inside of her lower arm against his. The combined visions came back stronger. He gave her a curious smile. People in the small diner were starting to stare at them. This was not the ideal place for a science experiment. Ariel hesitated for only a second.
“Let’s go outside,” she muttered. Then, as they gathered coats and walked out into the below zero dusk, she realized that outdoors was not going to be any better. “Would you like to come back to my room?” He nodded. They both knew. At that point, they couldn’t walk away without finding out more.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sherrie Roth grew up in Western Kansas thinking that there was no place in the universe more fascinating than outer space. After her mother vetoed astronaut as a career ambition, she went on to study journalism and physics in hopes of becoming a science writer.
She published her first science fiction short story long ago, and then waited a lot of tables while she looked for inspiration for the next story. When it finally came, it declared to her that it had to be whole book, nothing less. One night, while digesting this disturbing piece of news, she drank way too many shots of ouzo with her boyfriend. She woke up thirty-one years later demanding to know what was going on.
The boyfriend, who she had apparently long since married, asked her to calm down and explained that in a fit of practicality she had gone back to school and gotten a degree in geophysics and had spent the last 28 years interpreting seismic data in the oil industry. The good news, according to Mr. Cronin, was that she had found it at least mildly entertaining and ridiculously well-paying. The bad news was that the two of them had still managed to spend almost all of the money.
Apparently she was now Mrs. Cronin, and the further good news was that they had produced three wonderful children whom they loved dearly, even though to be honest that is where a lot of the money had gone. Even better news was that Mr. Cronin turned out to be a warm-hearted, encouraging sort who was happy to see her awake and ready to write. "It's about time," were his exact words.
Sherrie Cronin discovered that over the ensuing decades Sally Ride had already managed to become the first woman in space and apparently had done a fine job of it. No one, however, had written the book that had been in Sherrie's head for decades. The only problem was, the book informed her sternly that it had now grown into a six book series. Sherrie decided that she better start writing it before it got any longer. She's been wide awake ever since, and writing away.