…I have finished the first draft of “Sapphire City”! First draft… which means I now have hundreds of grammatical, spelling, and continuity errors to check over. But that’s all part of writing! In fact I wouldn’t consider myself the least bit creative if my fingers matched the speed of brain perfectly.
Anyway, as I promised those who attended our Creator School panels at Saboten last weekend, here is a snippet from the book. Enjoy!
Detective Lumen and Dinah scoured the crime scene with fresh light now coming into the windows, thanks to the removal of several sheets that had been hung up. They busied themselves looking around the room for anything that might explain what Professor Langston had been working on, all the while scratching notes as they went.
“What kind of machine would have caused such terrible burns on the professor?” Dinah asked.
“I’m no electrician, but it would have to be pretty strong,” Travis said as he sifted through stacks of journals. “His burns run up the entire left arm to the shoulder and neck, so it could have been a sustained shock. The current would have stopped his heart almost instantly.” Travis said, as he jotted down something on his notepad.
“I thought you said you were not an electrician?”
“That kind of information was fairly common knowledge when I was your age. We were always told as children not to play with wires, or electrical outlets. Nearly every single item I dealt with on a daily basis from clocks to cellular phones to computers to televisions, and microwave ovens, all ran on electricity. We even had electronic books.”
Dinah laughed and shook her head. “Now that’s just silly. How can you possibly have electronic books? Do the pages light up for you?”
“Not entirely. You had one screen…uhh…a single page that would change the words you read as you read them.”
“That sounds confusing to me,” Dinah said.
“It was entirely simple. Too simple. People forgot how to think for themselves. There were machines that did it for them.” Detective Lumen turned around in a circle, tossing the journals back onto the desk, and dropped his hands at his sides.
“I’m not sure we’ll find anything in here,” he said. “You might be right, the professor was moved to here from a different location, but where that location is I haven’t a clue.”
Travis crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back against a bookshelf, built against the back wall of the office. Dinah regarded him a moment, cocking her head slightly as she stared at the collar of Travis’ jacket. It moved slightly, as if nudged by some unseen force.
“Detective, do you feel a draft?” She asked him.
Travis slowly moved his head to one side, twitching his nose as the hairs of his mustache waved gently. He turned his head in the direction of the bookshelf to stare full on at a small crease in the wood. Pressing his eye to a gap between two books, a faint light crossed over his pupil.
Travis grabbed onto the edges of the bookshelf, and gave it a hard shove, sliding it to the side and revealing an opening that lead into a second room. Dinah excitedly followed him, as he cautiously stepped through the porthole.
The two of them entered into the next room, a hidden laboratory filled with dimly lit light bulbs of various kinds. A crude but functional clock sat on a desk with its numbers illuminated, while a device with two meter-long metal rods sat on the floor nearby, electrical pulses dancing up the rods to disappear at the top.
Dinah’s face lit up with amazement as she watched the strands of electricity dance between the two rods and disappear at the top, only to be replaced by another strand at the bottom that repeated the process. Travis, however, was mortified by the scene.
“It’s all so beautiful,” Dinah whispered.
“Don’t touch a thing. Not one thing. The slightest change in even air pressure could set them all off,” Travis warned.
“Set them off? What do you mean?”
“Officer Lee, what were you taught in school about the Great Blackout?” Travis asked.
“It was a world-wide catastrophe that knocked out all the power across the globe,” Dinah said flatly, her eyes drawn to the clock as she slowly moved towards it.
“Not even remotely accurate. It was a, science experiment, I suppose you could say, gone horribly, horribly wrong. We haven’t time for details…don’t touch that…so we need to find the switches and turn these all off.”
“I don’t know what a switch looks like, but I think I found something else here, Detective,” Dinah said, as she pointed to the ground behind the desk. Travis strode over to where she stood, and looked down at a large circular burn on the wooden floor, with a gaping, untouched mark in the middle.
“I think we found where Professor Langston died,” Travis said.
That’s all for now! Keep following for more as I get to making corrections!