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Fastburger!

Saturday, Jul 29, 2017

Fastburger!

This is a teaser. The following scene takes place right after The Event.

The book is currently projected to be finished and released in early September, 2017.

Chapter 2 Intro

Andrew and Chad wasted no time making sure all equipment was off and all cooler doors were shut. They had faced power outages before, and even in the near pitch blackness, by the light of their cell phones they knew their way around the store. Each called to the other as they shut off equipment until it was all turned off. Malcolm, for his part, went straight to the office for the flashlight, while Cliff moved to the front counter to make sure the straggling customers in the dining room were alright. Robert went to the restrooms to make sure anybody stuck in the dark would be ok. Sylvia nabbed the flashlight and headed out of the office. Everybody else pretty much remained calm, let out a collective "oof!" and started chattering immediately about the earthquake.

As Malcolm was approaching the office, he ran quite literally into Sylvia, not seeing her at first. As the two spilled, Andrew approached.

"Nice job," said Andrew. "It's just a blackout, you know."

"I know," said Sylvia. "I was just coming out with the flashlight to see what everyone was doing."

"Malcolm," said Andrew.

"Yes, Andrew!" responded Malcolm.

"I didn’t feel the P wave."

"What do you mean?"

"There’s a P wave that precedes an earthquake, I didn’t feel it."

"Have you been in an earthquake before?" asked Sylvia.

"Yes, and the P wave came about 10 seconds before the quake," answered Andrew.

"Do you really think this is significant?"

"Yes," said Andrew. "Because it means this wasn’t an earthquake."

"But the earth did indeed quake," said Malcolm. "So that makes it an earthquake, so what exactly are you talking about?" "It wasn’t an earthquake, even though the earth quaked," said Andrew. "You were still outside when it happened, did anything unusual happen out there?"

"Well," thought Malcolm aloud, "I thought I was going to get struck by lightning."

"Why?"

"Because I felt like I had built up quite a bit of charge, like the air itself was charged."

"I’m going outside, let me know if you need me."

"Why?"

"Because this doesn’t feel right, and the answers aren’t in here," answered Andrew. "I’ve done what I can do for the utility outage, so you really don’t need me for now anyway."

"Ok," said Malcolm. "Do whatever, I’ll send for you if I need you."

"When you need me, you mean," said Andrew. And without a further word, Andrew turned and walked out into the dining room. Jackie was standing by the door, looking outward wistfully.

"That’s a lot of rain," she said to Andrew in her sultry contralto.

"Yep," said Andrew. "And it was shining sun right before the earthquake. Care to join me?"

"Where you going?"

"Out there," answered Andrew.

"Really? In all that rain?"

"I’m not a witch, it won’t hurt me, it’s just water," said Andrew.

"Ok, let me check my cell first," said Jackie. Andrew took his out as well and looked at it.

"I'm not getting a signal," said Andrew. "In fact, we should turn these off anyway, since there’s no signal, and you may want to conserve battery life."

"Good idea," said Jackie. "Nice to know I’m not the only one not getting a signal."

"Oh I’m sending you signals," said Andrew.

"I know," smiled Jackie, "but that’s not what I meant." The two flirters pocketed their phones and stepped through the inner door to stand by the outer door watching the downpour. Andrew wondered how Malcolm almost getting struck by lightning would lead to an earthquake and a downpour. Technically, the downpour and lightning went together, but they didn’t match the perfectly sunny day that had been happening when the earthquake struck. Something wasn’t right, here, and Andrew was determined to get to the bottom of it. He had a gut feeling that everybody’s safety depended on him figuring out what had just happened.

While he was musing, Jackie announced her presence by putting a hand on his shoulder.

"Ready to go out?" she asked him.

"With you? Anytime," he said as he pushed the door open.

The rain was intense. It wasn’t like any Texas rain the two had experienced before. Andrew had only spent half of his life in Texas, even though he was born there, while Jackie had spent her entire life there. In any case, neither had taken more than four steps before they were sopping wet and couldn’t see each other anymore.

"Jackie," said Andrew, calmly.

"What?" said Jackie, sounding slightly alarmed.

"You’d better take my hand," said Andrew.

"I’m not scared."

"Neither am I, but I don’t want to get separated."

"Oh, right, good idea." Jackie took his hand, after a few moments fumbling in the rain looking for each other.

"There’s something symbolic about us fumbling in the rain, looking for each other," suggested Andrew.

"And finding each other," responded Jackie.

Andrew didn’t answer. Instead he reached out his right arm for the Fastburger sign that was by the door, and moved based on it. As his eyes adjusted to the rain, he started to make out car-shaped shapes in the parking lot.

"I think my vision’s improving," he said. He had to yell to get over the cacophonous rain.

"Really? How can you tell?" Likewise, yelling.

"Instead of seeing dark blurs, I’m seeing light blurs," he answered.

"That doesn’t sound like an improvement," Jackie responded.

"Do you see the shadows beyond the cars?" asked Andrew.

"I do," answered Jackie.

"They’re not supposed to be there," said Andrew. "That’s a parking lot over there, and over there is a Kimodo Express, but instead of a dark blur like a building, I’m seeing a smooth blur of some sort."

"Maybe we should go that way," suggested Jackie.

"As long as we can see the Fastburger blur so we can make it back in this monsoon," said Andrew.

"We’ll be fine as long as we stick together," answered Jackie with a gentle squeeze of her hand. Andrew smiled and moved into the parking lot towards the blur where the Asian fast food place should sit. It wasn’t a long walk before they hit the wall that divides the two places, but their view hadn’t improved. It looked like, for all intents and purposes, the earthquake had swallowed the fast food sushi restaurant.

"It’s not there," said Andrew, yelling again.

"No, it’s not."

"Let’s follow the wall a bit and see what we get."

"Ok."

The two followed the wall, heading in what should have been a westerly direction, keeping their hands on the guard rail that graced the top of the triangular wall, heading towards the place where the wall blended with the ground. As they reached that place, they used their feet to keep in line with the wall. When finally they arrived, there was only one conclusion.

"We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto," said Jackie.

"Nope," answered Andrew.

The two exchanged meaningful looks and then returned to Fastburger, still dripping wet.

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