A World In Edgewise: Thirteen Sidereal Journeys
"The stories in Jack Preston King's A World In Edgewise alternately disturb me, haunt me, make me think, and send sinfully titillating tingles of delight running up and down my spine, often delivering all of these sensations at once... -- Vincent Casspriano, Jr., author of The Simplest Path to Personal and Planetary Transformation: Free Your Mind More
"The stories in Jack Preston King's A World In Edgewise alternately disturb me, haunt me, make me think, and send sinfully titillating tingles of delight running up and down my spine, often delivering all of these sensations at once... -- Vincent Casspriano, Jr., author of The Simplest Path to Personal and Planetary Transformation: Free Your Mind
"I recommend this collection to anyone who enjoys well-crafted, mind-bending science fiction. It's more the psychological variety of SF than the "nuts and bolts" kind, but in my book that's a good thing. If you prefer deeply realized, often troubled, but always interesting human characters to shiny spaceships and aliens with laser guns, this is the book for you." - Janet Erinda, Amazon.com Review
A World In Edgewise
Lightning carved a name into the black night sky, then erased it before his eyes could focus. Rain against the glass patio doors became a fist, an urgent wall of water pounding and boiling just beyond his nose, fighting to reach him with its baptismal fury. Danny Tripp began to count; the number of seconds times seven told you how many miles...
Thunder struck behind him, like a door banging open.
"Would you guys please keep it down in there? I'm trying to sleep!"
Negative vibes. Guilt.
In fast motion Jeff shot off the couch and disappeared from the room, following the voice.
Danny spun away from the night. "Hey, man, wait..." But it was too late. Jeff was gone.
Ghostly voices drifted into the room to hang before him like shimmering vapor. Apologies and promises, kissing and snuggling hovered there briefly, then sank into the carpet with a sigh.
Glowing orange clouds of togetherness rolled in from the hallway, but they would not approach him. Not this one, they sang in soft chorus, Evil rejecter of life! Alone... Alone... Alone... The clouds skittered off and vanished through the wall.
Whisper, whisper, cuddle cuddle... Unintelligible words drifted in from the hallway.
You're a loser, Danny Tripp translated to himself. You're a loser and your friend Danny Tripp is an evil rejecter of life. The kind of filth that would abandon his girl when she needed him most. Would you do that? No, Honey, never. Only Danny Tripp. He deserves to be alone. He deserves to be squashed like the miserable crawling insect that he is...
The transformation began. Danny shrieked as the backs of his hands split and peeled away. Long, jointed tendrils sprang out of his wrists. A fine network of sensitive dark hairs glistened wetly in the candlelight.
Black clouds of accusation rose up before him, chanting Insect... Insect... Squash him like an insect...
He fought his way to the couch. The split in his hands moved up both arms, joined at the neck, then traced a wide gash down the center of his chest.
Help! he tried to shout, but the sound he made was Click click click! Chkata! Chkata!
The black clouds laughed and their laughter made the gash tear a zipper of fire down his legs. The whole of his skin fell away in two dead, curving flakes; a shiny new skin pushed through - a carapace, hard, chitinous, insectoid, black like the night. He folded his delicate new legs beneath him and watched a thousand swirling facets blend as the clouds before him shifted and solidified into Jeff and the girl.
They had stopped laughing.
"You okay, man?"
Soothing globs of blue light poured from Jeff's mouth as he spoke. The globs of light busied themselves about the room, twisting reality gradually back to its old, familiar shape. The girl mutely studied a worn spot in the carpet, her face red.
"What!" Danny demanded. "Why are you staring at me?"
"Jeez, Danny, you're naked." …