Twicebound: Chapter 4 – part 2

Contrary to all expectations, including my own, I actually managed to write about 75-80 percent of this post last week.  That put me so comfortably far ahead of the game that I almost had time to get my resident artist (my sister, the one who did the original Hunter sketch) to do an illustration for today’s installation.  However, I unfortunately dragged my feet getting a description to her, so you’ll have to go without pictures for this week’s installment of…

Twicebound

Chapter 4 – part 2

Vancura shook his head and sat back down, watching as the cop led Kaul away. Lieutenant McKechan let them go, then turned back to the holding cell. The problem was out of his hands, which meant he could turn his thoughts to more interesting matters.

“You. Vancura, is it?”

A sardonic expression met him as the big man’s eyes turned to take him in, but the reply was polite.

“Vančura, Lieutenant. The č is pronounced as ‘ts’. Van-tsura. It’s Czech, I believe.”

“Okay, Vančura. You know that guy? Kaul, I mean.”

Several moments passed before he got an answer. Vančura seemed to be thinking that question over, as though it were a completely foreign idea, or one that he had never before considered important. When it came, the reply sounded like Vančura were more thinking to himself than responding to the question.

“Know him. Yes, I suppose I do. And I did. But will I? That’s an interesting concept. Since he’s here… I suppose I won’t know him, because I do know him. If it were two days ago, it would have been “I will know him”, but things have changed.”

Suddenly, the big man focused on McKechan and his eyes hard narrowed. The lieutenant could see his mind racing, almost as if he were watching a set of gears click out of low-speed and whir away, working towards some hidden goal. Vančura looked so entranced by his line of thought that McKechan found himself leaning forward in anticipation.

“If I know, and knew, him… but I won’t “will know”… something changed. What was it?”

The shrewd eyes searched McKechan’s, as if he were expected to give an answer, but Vančura went on.

“Nobody’s ever gone through with me before. Why should things have changed now? For that matter… why should he have been put on the bus with me that day? It didn’t happen before. Why now? Nothing’s changed, not that I can see. Things don’t change… not that fast. Give it time, yes, then they change, but you brought him in here the same day you brought me in. That means whatever changed happened… before I went back. But that’s not possible. It was already done, but I haven’t changed it, so what could it be.”

Then, a light went on behind his eyes and he leaned back against the cell bars, staring up at the ceiling in blind realization.

“I haven’t changed it. But someone did change it; which means it might be me who will change it.”

McKechan stared at him, trying to sort through the chain-fire sequence of thoughts and make some sense out of it. Finally, Vančura’s eyes drifted down and locked on him again.

“Well, Lieutenant, I’m sure you have a lot of work to do and I have a great deal of sleep to catch up on. The judge will be all through with Mr. Kaul soon, thanks to the more-than-usually speedy ‘fair trial’ for which you people are famous, so he’ll be wanting me next.”

McKechan blinked at him a few times, then spun round and headed for the coffee pot. If any of the other cops had been paying attention, they might have noticed that he wasn’t quite as steady on his feet as usual.

* * *

“Time-travel will be fun, dey said. Yeah, sure. D’same way electroshock therapy is fun.”

From across the bus came Vančura’s dry chuckle.

“Except they didn’t ask you, my friend. That makes you the wiser of us, strange as it seems to say. I volunteered. Well, not volunteered, precisely, but the closest thing to that.”

Eddie snorted.

“You wanted t’get pushed tru d’danged knothole? You’re crazy, man.”

The big man considered that for a moment, then shook his head.

“Crazy? No, I don’t think that’s the right word. A little more adventurous than is healthy is more like it. I wanted to know what would be on the other side.”

He frowned.

“And I’ll admit, the opportunities it presented were quite fascinating.”

“Cept dey didn’t work out f’r you, either, did dey? I tried playin’ ev’rybody I met since dat cop pulled me out of d’drainpipe. Didn’t work: All of ‘em jus’ figured I’m crazy, or psychic. Either way, it jus’ scared ‘em, didn’ do me any good.”

Vančura nodded.

“It’s not as straightforward as you might think, now is it? This is my… fourth? No, my fifth trip through the STAd and only now am I starting to figure out how to pull the all the little strings that get things to change.”

Eddie stared at him in disbelief.

“You mus’ be a bunch slower than I thought. You been tru dat thing five times, an’ you ain’t figured out a way out of dis mess?”

A slow smile rippled across Vančura’s lips.

“How do you know I haven’t? Or more importantly, how do you know I won’t? It’s time-travel, my friend. There’s no reason we can’t be escaping from the Sandglass Project facility as we speak. Or perhaps we already did. It’s very confusing, until you have a chance to get the hang of it. And don’t worry, you will.”

With a mournful sigh, Eddie sagged back into his seat.

“Dat’s what I’m afraid of.”

End Chapter 4 – part 2

Go to Chapter 4 – Part 3

Please ‘Like’, ‘Tweet’ about it, or comment!  Every mention helps me spread the word about ‘Twicebound’.

Come rain, or shine, or rabid squirrels, the new installment comes out every Saturday!

Did you miss the preceding installments?
Chapter One:  Part 1Part 2 Part 3
Chapter Two:  Part 1Part 2Part 3
Chapter Three:  Part 1Part 2Part 3
Chapter Four:  Part 1

21 thoughts on “Twicebound: Chapter 4 – part 2

  1. Lars

    Good heavens! I’m not even gonna try to figure this one out!

  2. Mad

    Ouch, how long did you have to think about that one?
    Thanks for the headache 😉

  3. Aerin

    rain shine or rabid squirrels?? I’m scared to ask.

    • Listen to that fear. It’s the wiser course of action.

  4. I always wondered how to pronounce the ç in Vançura! 😀

    Keep up the fantastic work!

    • And now you know! I ran across the name while researching something else one day and I thought “wow, that is a cool name!”

      *bows* A better compliment I couldn’t ask for. 😀

      • Would you believe I came up with a bunch of awesome surnames while looking at the names of interesting grains in the supermarket? 😀 (Expect to meet folks by the names of Amaranth, Freekeh, Sorghum, and Millet in my future writings….)

        • That’s completely bizarre and totally hilarious, but I can absolutely believe it. I gotta try this!

          Please, please tell me they’ll be in the Flora Dennis story? 😀

          • Just go to the foreign foods aisle and take a peek – you’ll have a blast! It’s the best thing since sliced bread. (And who names their character Sliced Bread, anyway?)

            That’s definitely where I’d like them to appear! 😀

  5. Wow!! Things are getting complicated and very interesting!! 🙂

    • I’m doing my best! 😀 I have to say, this book is terrifyingly complex. The time-travel is really tangling around on itself. 0.0

      • Yeah…I don’t really do time travel, it hurts my brain! 🙂 However, this is really keeping my interest, I read every post soon as it goes to my inbox, when my computer and phone and all that is actually working properly!! I really like Vancura’s character, and the story, but I wouldn’t want to write it!! I think I’d be really stressing about all the different twists and turns, but I’m loving reading it!! 🙂

        • Actually, I’m not a crazy fan of it, either, to tell you the truth! However, I just thought one day, that none of the time-travel stories I’d read had ever answered the time-travel problem to my satisfaction, so I was going to write one that did!

          Vancura coming into the story was pure luck. I have no idea where he came from. 🙂

          And you’re the fourth person to tell me they love the story, but would HATE to have to write it. XD I’m beginning to wonder what you guys are seeing that I’m missing….

          • I think so many great characters just turn up out of the blue and basically storm their way into the story or threaten the author with a literary sword…oh wait, maybe that’s just me! 😀

            Anyhow, with regards to whether or not you’re crazy for writing this story, maybe that’s why some of the best stories come about because a writer is willing to take the plunge and just do it! 🙂

            I’ve read a and watched a few time travel scenarios and have to agree the reasons are usually blurred by obscure possibilities without ever giving any solid results for why this happened or how! Science is not my strongest subject, but time travel both confounds and fascinates me!

            I’m looking forward to more instalments of Twicebound!! 🙂

          • Hahahaha. That’s probably the best explanation of it I’ve heard yet. XD

            ROTFL. Oh, I don’t MIND being crazy. The problem is not being sure, one way or the other. XD

            I LOVE time-travel paradoxes and I’ve actually run across a few really logical theories as to what would happen. It’s a very cool field of study, even if it is all theoretical.

            Glad to hear it! They’ll keep coming! 🙂

          • Excellent…I look forward to reading more! 🙂

      • Once you free yourself of the requirement that cause precedes effect, time travel isn’t as complex. I not only like the story, I think it would make for interesting writing too – but of course, I’m biased. (Been there, done that.) I THINK all the pieces are in place now. Up next, Vancura merely has to steer that cop into getting Eddie arrested for vagrancy (which may or may not echo/ripple to explain his presence) and then devise the plan for why he needed a partner in the first place. Possibly.

        My main question is what the inventors of the “knothole” are getting out of it, via their little chip. They also seem to be have trapped themselves in a sort of predestination paradox, in that they’ve resigned themselves to sending Vancura five times, not someone else they’ve got in their complex.

        • Hahahaha. Exactly!! LOL Time-travel stories are tons of fun for that very reason: you don’t have to be so linear.

          I won’t give you any spoilers on what happens next. 😉

          Yeah, actually, their reasoning is a lot more prosaic than that. They’re using Vancura to calibrate the machine. His chip carries information, so each time they find him it’s the first time, but also the second time, so they have new information to work with each time, rather than doing the same thing every first time. (wow, that’s confusing)

      • Thanks for no spoilers, I’m partly laying out my thoughts so you’d see where someone might be at upon reaching this point in the narrative. As to the chip thing, that’s actually not confusing at all – I already assumed there would be information contained on it from each… interaction (I hesitate to use the word ‘loop’, as it’s self-triggered). But calibration had not occurred to me. That makes sense, thanks.
        (Of course, I suspect I’m also not a normal reader. Been meaning to get to this for a while.)

        • Welcome. And I appreciate it. Every reader comes to this story with a totally different perspective. Yours is particularly interesting (since you’re a mathematician)

          I like the word “iteration”. It conveys the repetitive nature, while still showing that each ‘loop’ progresses. The ‘calibration’ is a major part of the plot-line, especially later on.

          I really hope you enjoy it all the way!

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