Date Published: March 15, 2021
Publisher: Del Sol Press
In the course of a morning, Dungsten Crease resurrects his neighbor’s dog, is arrested by TSA for carrying a weapon which never existed, and drowns a woman at an airline ticket counter—or could he be hallucinating? In his panic he locks himself in the men’s room of a coffee shop only to find a strange man in cycling togs sharing the space. The lanky intruder claims to be Dungsten’s neurally implanted concierge unit who has two disturbing messages. Dungsten is a Shaper—an obsolete, genetically programmed tool created by a bankrupt galactic corporation to terraform planetary experiences for vacationing clients; and the woman he inadvertently killed at the airport with his Shaper abilities will be the love of his life. Attracting government agents who want to weaponize him and Galactic Business Council assassins who want to terminate him, fear drives the Shaper within to inadvertently bifurcate, a second Dungsten also now running from his pursuers. But bifurcation comes at a price: loss of appetite, swelling of the hands and feet, an erection lasting longer than four hours, loss of bladder control, rectal bleeding, psychosis, convulsions, and sudden death. To pull himself back together and if he’s lucky, survive, he must master his Shaper abilities before he becomes a victim, or worse, accidentally destroys Earth and everyone he loves along with it.
Hiding in the darkness, door locked, he wanted to feel safe, but he couldn’t shake the feeling he wasn’t alone. As if to ward off the demons, he spoke aloud.
“I am not being followed. They don’t even know where I am.”
“Did they get a good look at you?”
A voice, someone else’s voice, had echoed off the bathroom walls.
Dungsten scrambled away in terror, his movement switching the lights back on and revealing the source of the voice. “Aaah! Who the hell are you? How did you get in here?”
His bathroom companion, for lack of a better term, was tall and lean with an Adam’s apple giving his neck the appearance of being double-jointed. He wore a black Rolling Stones “Sticky Fingers” T-shirt, black baggy biking shorts, emerald green leggings covering long, spindly, knobbed-kneed legs, and gold bike shoes. Atop his head sat a red cycling helmet aerodynamically constructed to give the impression of forward motion. The entire ensemble gave him the appearance of a deformed giant leprechaun.
He smiled a big toothy grin. “Calm down.”
Dungsten moved to a corner by the sink, looking to no avail for a weapon.
“Calm down? You pop in here like Captain Picard and I’m supposed to calm down? How did you get in here?”
“You let me in, Dungsten.”
Let him in. No, I didn’t let him in. I’ve been curled up in this bathroom scared shitless. I haven’t moved an inch. “Let you in?”
“How? And you better do some explaining because, well, my day so far has been off the chart weird. I’ve killed…I think. Yeah, I’ve killed, and I imagine it will be pretty easy to kill again. So, don’t mess with me.”
“Dungsten.” The giant leprechaun balanced against a wall with one hand, grabbing his foot from behind to stretch his quads. “I guess I could say you let me in here with your mind.”
About the Author
Richard Hacker, lives and writes in Seattle, Washington after living many years in Austin, Texas. In addition to the science fiction/fantasy novels, which include The Alchimeía Series, his crime novels ride the thin line between fact and fiction in Texas. Along the way, his writing has been recognized by the Writer’s League of Texas and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. As a judge in literary contests shuch as PNWA and ChicLit, and as a freelance development editor, he enjoys the opportunity to work with other writers. In addition, he is the Sci-Fi/Fantasy editor for the Del Sol Review. When not writing he’s singing jazz and creating visual art.
Del Sol Press books by Richard Hacker are available at Amazon
The Alchimeía Series
DIEBACK: Book One
VENGEANCE OF GRIMBALD: Book Two
Other books by Richard Hacker:
Nick Sibelius Crime Series
KILL’T DEAD OR WORSE
ALL HAT AND NO CATTLE