Aether - Book cover

Aether

Kate McKeown

2: Chapter 2

Sitting in his police cruiser outside Del Muerto, Deputy Sheriff Steven Littlefoot was reading a Stephen King novel, drinking a cup of coffee.

Usually in the office at this time, another deputy Sarah Winchester was called home to a sick child, prompting him to take over her patrol.

He didn’t mind, he actually enjoyed the quiet of sitting in the cruiser, doing what he wanted to do, reading a little bit, quietly letting the peace of the desert invade his soul.

Sheriff Jack Higgins radioed out to Steven, “Steven you there?”

Steven picked up the cruiser’s radio, “Yes sir, just sitting here. Do you need me to come in?”

There was a long pause on the other end of the line, “No, be alert. Keep your eyes open for anything OK?”

Steven looked at the radio, “Yes sir, as alert as you can be sitting out in the middle of nowhere waiting for something to happen.”

There was a chuckled on the other end of the radio, “Oh, something is about to happen.”

At 21 years old, Steven was the youngest Deputy in Del Muerto, put through school by a scholarship from the citizens of Del Muerto because everyone in town agreed he was the best choice for the job.

With a department of Sheriff Higgins, Steven and Sarah along with a few volunteers, there wasn’t much to govern, the sleepy town not providing much in the way of crime.

Steven leaned back in the car, enjoying the quiet of the afternoon. He closed his eyes, taking a deep breath, letting it cleanse his body, slowly letting it out.

Far out along the rim of the Canyon del Muerto, several things lined up, something formed out the Earth, pulling different things from the sky, the sun, the arid ground, testing it first before starting its journey through the air drafts running along the side of the canyon.

Picking up speed, it turned, moving faster than a car along the highway, until it hit, moving through Julie’s car like a whisper, continuing down the highway finally hitting Steven straight in the chest.

Julie’s hair stood on end, her fingers gripping the steering wheel as the car sputtered a few times, the engine fighting against the pulse of energy rather than riding with it.

She looked down at the speedometer confirming the car was slowing down, trying the gas pedal again but after a sputters, slowly pulling it to the side of the road.

Opening his eyes, Steven sat straight up in the car, his breath coming out in one long gasp.

His hand touched the spot on his chest where the energy went through, looking up and down the lonely highway for the source of his anxiety, finding only a few clouds of dust sweeping by.

Something stirred in him, making his heart beat faster, Steven checked the police monitor, waiting for it to go off. Usually his intuition was on target, telling him something was wrong.

He looked up and down the highway, finding only lonely road. He started sweating, his hands slowly closing the book as he put the coffee cup in the holder. Something was not right.

Something was making him start the cruiser, throw the car in gear starting down the highway away from Del Muerto.

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