Alden Walker—sport pilot and skydiver—finds himself and his light airplane mysteriously transported into an alien world . . . The Bridge Between Worlds by Stephen M. DeBock. Available from Amazon, other fine eBook vendors and Gypsy Shadow Publishing at:
Alden Walker—sport pilot and skydiver—finds himself and his light airplane mysteriously transported into an alien world: a parallel Earth peopled by exotic-looking humans as well as a host of animals that have evolved into human-like form, with human-like powers of thought, but which have retained their appetites for flesh and blood. Especially human flesh and blood.
Accompanied by a beautiful indigenous woman with a score of her own to settle, Walker must set out upon a covert mission to retrieve a vital element from the creatures who have stolen it, employing his piloting and parachuting skills in combination with her superb swordsmanship.
On their quest they will encounter a host of anthropomorphic predators, until they finally reach their goal: a mountain fortress occupied by a coldly calculating race of humanoid vampire bats. And upon the success or failure of their mission hangs the fate of both their worlds.
Word Count: 50000
Pages to Print: 174
Price: $4.99 in eBook
From the Baltimore Sun:
REPORTER KILLED IN SKYDIVING ACCIDENT
SALISBURY, MD—A skydiving mishap has cost the life of a well-known feature writer for this newspaper. Lynda Murray, 26, perished when her parachute failed to open. She was a veteran of over 100 jumps.
Murray was the correspondent who penned the popular “Girls Do It” feature that appeared monthly in Sunday’s edition of this newspaper. The column chronicled her forays into offbeat and occasionally dangerous hobbies and pursuits, especially those favored mostly by men. Last September, she learned of a parachuting school located at Walker Field, here, and signed up for a jump course. She wrote a full-page article about her experience, complete with freefall photographs, in a subsequent “Girls Do It” column.
Having become enamored of the sport, Murray coupled her love of skydiving with her growing affection for the airport’s owner, Mr. Alden Walker. The two were married last Saturday while enroute to jump altitude in the center’s airplane. Their plan was to be pronounced man and wife during freefall by the Rev. Donald Wilson, a fellow parachutist. They were then to perform aerial maneuvers for the entertainment of their guests on the ground before opening their chutes.
Features editor George Murray (no relation), an invited guest, reports that whereas the parachutes of Walker and the minister deployed normally, “Lynda’s never came out of her pack. All of us could see her struggle to pull the ripcord. When she finally pulled her reserve, it was just too late.” He added, “Lynda was a vital part of our Sun family. She will truly be missed.”
Murray’s parents are deceased and she had no siblings. She is survived by her husband, Alden James Walker. The Hemby Funeral Home, Salisbury, is in charge of arrangements. Rev. Wilson, acting as spokesman, has asked that in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts be made to the donors’ favorite charities in the name of Lynda Murray Walker.
I could tell Gus wanted to smack me—hard—upside the head.
“When are you gonna stop moping around, Numbnuts? Two months and you still won’t get back on the horse that throwed you. Fly a plane. Take a jump. Even better, take a student pilot up, run a jump lesson, earn the company some money for a change.”
I attempted to deflect the sting with a weak stab at humor. “Just so I’m clear on this, Gunny. You’re calling the man who signs your paychecks Numbnuts?”
He tried to look contrite, something he was never able to do. “Oh, I’m sorry; Mister Numbnuts—sir.” He scowled and shook his head, his short gray hair still cut high and tight and flat on top, just as it had been when he was in the Marines. “Come on, Walker, all due respect to Lynda, you’re not the one screwed up. I’ve told you every day, every way I know, and you know I’m right. From now on, convince yourself And do it fast.” He put his hands on his hips, as he used to do when he wanted to intimidate recruits. “I’m carrying your load as well as mine around here, and my sea bag’s gettin’ kinda heavy. Know what I mean?”
I had to admit he was right. I was as useless as teats on a boar hog since what folks euphemistically called the accident. Don Wilson, Nate the jump pilot, Lisa the head instructor, Dennis the chief rigger, all the club members—they knew full well accidents are caused; they don’t just happen. And they were kind enough never to mention the obvious—that I was made a widower after forty-five seconds of married life because of human error, not mechanical. And the human in question wasn’t me.
So here I stood, in the ops building next to the airport parking lot and directly across from the jump school, attempting the impossible: staring down my former drill instructor, now my fixed-base operation’s chief administrator. Gus ran the FBO with the same no-nonsense, by-the-numbers approach he’d used on the grinder at Parris Island. And his calling me Numbnuts was mellow. I can remember from when I was an eighteen-year-old recruit his getting within two inches of my nose, his stogie breath nearly gagging me, screaming all sorts of imprecations and aspersions upon my ancestry. I remember too, his famous threat to the platoon, which he regularly made good on to individuals throughout our boot training: “You little pissant, I’ve decided I’m not going to chew your ass out! No, private! I’m going to chew around your ass, and let it fall out by itself!”
From day one, when my ragged platoon mates and I had to stand on the painted yellow footprints in our first formation, eyes front, thumbs on our trouser seams, heels together, feet at a forty-five-degree angle, Staff Sergeant Bellows (how appropriate the name) and his two junior drill instructors rode us hard, kept reminding us that we weren’t Marines, we wouldn’t make a pimple on a Marine’s ass, we were nothing but a bunch of high school pussies. And they kept reminding us there were: “only two ways to get off my beloved Parris Island—in a Marine Corps uniform or in a pine box.” Most of the recruits both feared and hated their DIs. But I didn’t. Well, I admit to a certain amount of fear. But I had gone in knowing what they had to do.