“Time’s Jewel” up at Fusion Fragment!

Posted by Nicky Drayden on Feb 12, 2011 in Announcements, My Fiction |

Photo by Jurveston, Creative Commons

My story “Time’s Jewel” is available online (free!) at Fusion Fragment! This one’s longer and darker than the normal the  Nicky Drayden fare, but I hope you enjoy nevertheless. Here’s a little taste to get you hooked…

Time’s Jewel
by Nicky Drayden

My clients always insist on doing it in the reactor room. The pulsing of electrostatic forces is similar to making love on the beach in broad daylight, waves breaking over our intertwined bodies. More sensual, perhaps. And then there’s the added thrill of knowing their fiancees are waiting for them not even a hundred meters away. They don’t wait long, though. Ninety seconds on average, not nearly enough time to raise suspicions that I’ve had my way with their future husbands, once, twice, and sometimes again if their consciences don’t start catching up. That’s what I love most about the Pequat Reactor — it nurtures inhibition and postpones regret, like a double shot of Everclear on the subatomic level.

Nearly every one of my clients fits a particular type. Rich, that goes without saying. Workaholics. Sexually repressed. Mommy issues. They want to be good husbands, but don’t know how. They yearn to be liberated, but the ruthless structure of corporate life’s got them by the balls. That’s where my services as cruise director come in — bending time and packaging freedom into little bite-sized chunks.

“And that, Mr. Thomas, concludes the tour of Time’s Jewel,” I say as we enter the ship’s waiting room. Antwerp Thomas stumbles in behind me on rubbery legs. I give him a subtle glare and he straightens up before the lovely and well-kept Nadia Bishop notices.

“Well, dear, how was it?” Nadia says half-interested, not even ten pages into her Elle magazine. To her, we’d only been gone a couple minutes. She’d opted out of the behind-the-scenes portion of the boat tour and never would guess that beneath the frilly wallpaper and stark white wainscoting existed a maze of circuitry embedded into meter-thick alloy walls, anchoring the waiting room to Real Time.

“Absolutely amazing,” Antwerp says, his voice cracking. I can tell he wants to look at me, but he keeps his eyes focused on Nadia like I told him. The other telltale signs of recent infidelity can be written off as side effects from the reactor.

I shake Antwerp’s hand, then Nadia’s. “So your honeymoon is all set. I’ve got the Assayer Suite reserved for you, fourteen days Ship Time — two days Real Time. Room service, turn down service. Stocked mini-bar. Full gourmet menu. On-call masseuse.”

“Two weeks, and you won’t even miss a day of work, dear.” Nadia squeezes Antwerp’s hand. She’s smiling, so giddy that she doesn’t notice him slipping. He’s staring at me. Hard. Regret’s catching up to him. I bet he’s wondering if he’ll be able to stomach consummating his marriage in the same bed he and I shared. We’ll see. Too late for him to back out now. The fifteen thousand dollar non-refundable deposit’s already dented his bank account.

Click here to read more…


Feb 12, 2011 at 11:50 pm

Great story! It didn’t end dark, not totally. I actually felt very hopeful and optimistic coming away from it, and found myself hoping that despite the pain that was coming for all of them, especially Rissa, they could work through it and be okay. I was left with the sense that they would. And I loved the concept of the cruise ship in a different time-motion.

By the way, I swiped your table idea for W1S1 stories. Great idea!

Nicky Drayden
Feb 13, 2011 at 1:35 am

Thanks for reading!

I hope the table works for you. I was starting to lose track of what week I wrote which story, so I thought it’d be a good idea.

Feb 13, 2011 at 4:40 am

Nice, Nicole. Do i remember critting this over at AW, or am i having a alternate reality moment?

Nicky Drayden
Feb 13, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Yes, it is! Don’t you just love that “Did I read this before, or am I just going crazy” feeling?

Feb 13, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I enjoyed this. It *is* dark but there’s a touch of possible redemption in the ending that keeps it from being overwhelming.

Nicky Drayden
Feb 13, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Thanks, Sylvia. I’m glad it wasn’t too overwhelming. 🙂



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