From Time to Time
Book 1 of 'The Course of Time' saga
Marius A. Smith
Copyright 2012 Marius A. Smith
Published by Marius A. Smith at Smashwords.
All historical individuals or places mentioned or referred to in this book are portrayed in a purely fictitious sense. All other characters are purely fictitious, and no resemblance to individuals living or dead is intended.
Chapter 1: Exile
Everything shuddered and lurched violently as the small ship penetrated the Earth's atmosphere at high speed. Completely out of control, it went into a spin as it plummeted towards the planet. Its spatial stabiliser wasn't functioning, neither was the life support system. The air in the vessel was now almost completely devoid of oxygen, and the solitary occupant in the cockpit fought desperately for each moment of consciousness while being tossed about the room. He considered slapping himself in the face a couple of times as though the fading of his clarity of thought was due to fatigue alone, but reconsidered, since that would just be wasting what little energy he had left, and several precious seconds. Instead he tried, and to his own surprise succeeded, in pulling himself up onto his knees before the helm controls, hanging on to the main chair for support. A violent thud threw him across the short distance to the back of the cockpit and against the side of the open doorway. The ship had crashed backwards and skidded across the ground to a halt. The asphyxiating vampire knew amidst his clouded thoughts, which were hurtling towards delirium with each passing moment, that he had to find the strength to move before oblivion triumphed. His whole body felt like it was going numb, aside from his aching lungs that were starving for oxygen. Every inch a cherished achievement, he pulled himself out of the cockpit on his elbows to the exit hatch in the side wall of the room behind it. He'd lost pretty much everything except his life, and that only by good graces alone, yet something spurred him on. It was something more than just survival instinct or the agony in his bursting lungs that'd become so intense he could've sworn they were on fire. It wasn't in him to give up, especially when he needed answers. With a final thrust of energy he threw his hand up towards the release control next to the hatch, and after a moment's fumbling he managed to find the right button before collapsing against the hatch. There was a slight hiss as the hatch slid aside and the air pressure equalised. Warm fresh air spilled into the room. In that same moment, with the hatch no longer holding him up, he fell through the opening and onto hot sand, gasping for breath so quickly that the sudden rush of oxygen made him light-headed and completely disoriented. Almost immediately, when his skin had regained some sensation, the pain from his aching chest gave way to a scalding pain as his vampire skin started to smoulder in the harsh afternoon sunlight. Gradually the pain subsided and he started to wonder if he was dead, which would've been a relief in light of his recent fall from grace if he wasn't so determined to resolve the situation, or at the very least find out why. Having one's adventurous life and successful career torn away so abruptly might've made another man give up hope and plummet into the depths of despair, but not him. He'd hunted criminals through time and space, across every conceivable terrain, and his perseverance had always been the key factor in his victories. He defiantly refused to be beaten by this situation.