I’m lounging around reading comics, watching Bitefighter—my loyal buddy and 10 lb. Terrier Extraordinaire—doodling on his PlaySkool whiteboard, and I can’t help but smile. Little fella’s always messing around with string theory-related stuff like the intricacies of a portable white hole or spontaneous manifestation of 11th dimensional phenomena in our 3-D world or something else just as cute. Needless to say, I’m shocked as hell when a shining rip carves the air three feet to his left and a snarling cat-thing—its outline blurs and fluxes in mad crackles of energy—spear-tackles my dog. They tumble into another portal that opens directly behind him. In the blink of an eye, they both vanish.
I bolt straight up, my eyes wide as dinner plates. WHATTHEFUCKISGOINGON???
Then I see them appear on my right, snarling and wrestling, falling toward the earth…but before they hit the floor they disappear into another portal. There’s a BRRRZZZT behind me and I turn quickly around, watching as another portal opens and spits them out. They tumble across the deck, then they phase through a portal that blips open on the wall. It disappears after it swallows them.
I look around, breathing in heavy, panicked gasps. Not an instant later a portal opens in front of me and they both come flying out of it—right at my face. I cover my head with my arms and duck down, falling onto my butt and scrabbling backwards with my hands. I see another portal open right where my head used to be, and they both vanish into it.
I get up and run over to the whiteboard, my eyes darting across Bitefighter’s equations. Dark Knight save us…there are numbers and letters on it, but it’s also filled with weird characters that are…Greek? Roman? I dabbled a little in precalc, but this is way beyond anything I—
Suddenly, Bitefigher and his extra-dimensional enemy appear ON THE BOARD. Their Expo-marker-drawn outlines change color as they exchange a vicious serious of punches, kicks, and of course, bites (his name is Bitefighter! He fights with bites!) Right in the middle of it, my dog levels a forepaw at me, and furiously squiggles out a message that appears in stark Expo black:
“ARF ROOF MCBARK ARFSKY MCROWF!”
I hold up both hands in a conciliatory gesture. “You got it bud! I’m not messing with your equations!”
Apparently, altering his equations could mess with the gauge symmetry of our universe and reduce every one of us into multidimensional quanta. Right—don’t want to do that.
But I have to do SOMETHING. I watch in sick desperation as the cat-thing begins to gain the upper hand, blattering Bitefighter with savage swipes. It opens its mouth and yowls—the hellacious sound actually manifests as a widening series of Expo-green curves that send my dog tumbling end over end, right off the whiteboard. The cat-thing lets out a triumphant cry and chases after Bitefighter. Both of them fly out of sight once again.
I start looking around. There’s got to be something here that…
Got it. My eyes lock onto my eReader.
As I run toward the eReader, I see Bitefighter and his enemy blipping into existence, rapidly winking all across my room. In one instance, I actually see both of them subdivide into ten phantom versions of themselves, kind of like a high-speed version of that mirror scene in Enter the Dragon. Every time they appear, it gets more complex. Sometimes they’re smaller, sometimes they’re bigger, sometimes they’re humanoid version of themselves, sometimes they’re wearing armor and wielding weapons, or in the pilot’s seats of fantastical vehicles.
I dive through the air, collapsing into a roll and snatching up my eReader. I open it to Echo. Magic flash.
All the detritus and dust that’s been thrown up by their conflict decelerates and then slows …then stops mid-fall. My eyes flick over to the wall-mounted clock and I see that the second hand isn’t frozen, but it might as well be. Each time it ticks forward it looks blurry and staticky…then ticks back into place. All the background noise I usually take for granted has gone completely silent.
Apparently, time has stopped.
Then I see a portal open to my right. Bitefighter backs out of it, raising his forearms to block a vicious series of hits from the cat-thing. Time speeds up as they drift by me, and suddenly they turn into swishes of lightning-threaded speed lines, just like you might see in a cartoon depiction of The Flash.
I manage to glimpse the bare semblance of a paw darting out and snatching the eReader from my hand. Amazingly enough, I hear the sped-up Bitefighter speaking in English.
SHOOOOOOOOMMMMM!!! Papers fly up and my hair ruffles as they whiz by me into another portal.
Before I can process what has just happened, the center of the whiteboard begins undulating—like a pond that’s just had rocks dropped in it. Bitefighter pops out, suited up in a burn-spotted, badass ensemble of post-apocalyptic-looking armor, kinda like what you might see on a Starcraft Space Marine.
“Roof arf bark rowf. Epsilon three, alpha omega.”
I wrinkle my brow. Did he just say—
And then the armor falls off him in a series of clanks. After lying on the floor for a few seconds, it turns transparent and then disappears. Bitefighter snarls and kicks his whiteboard over, then runs up to me and paws my leg, asking for a hug.
I lift him up and press him to my chest. He starts snoozing and I stroke his tiny little head.
“Yeah I don’t understand string theory either, little buddy.”
Have you started poking at the mind-melting code that forms the very fabric of reality, and are now in danger of tearing existence apart? Never fear! Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle #kindle #kindleunlimited #sciencefiction #scifi #books #novel #book