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The Barnes Wallace (standard:science fiction, 2165 words)
Author: Richard EganAdded: Apr 10 2001Views/Reads: 2389/1211Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A time travel adventure serial that spans over a hundred years. Leigh is a twenty year old student, home for the Christmas holidays. She is expecting a quiet couple of weeks with her family, before returning to the heavy routine of university li
 



The Barnes Wallace Part One 

It was late when the train finally reached its destination, and the
station was almost deserted.  Leigh hurriedly finished the paragraph 
she was writing and closed down her laptop, pausing briefly to accept 
the save changes prompt the machine gave her.  She slid the computer 
away in its protective carry case, then got up from her seat and 
reached into the overhead compartment to retrieve the remainder of her 
luggage.  First she pulled down the medium sized backpack, and slung it 
over her left shoulder, before collecting her clarinet case.  Then, 
with the bag on her shoulder, her computer in one hand and the 
instrument case in the other, she followed the other passengers down 
the aisle to the exit. 

Leigh Woodward was a twenty-year-old student.  She was in her last year
at university studying for a National Diploma in New Media, and was on 
her way home to spend Christmas with her parents and her two sisters.  
She was a tall woman with short hair, which most people said was ginger 
but she insisted was "Strawberry blonde".  She was traveling light, as 
she didn't expect to be home for more than a couple of weeks.  She had 
brought with her the lap top computer she used for her course 
assignments, and her clarinet.  Before she went away she had been a 
highly active member of a local marching woodwind band, and the group 
was always glad to welcome her back when she had the opportunity to 
come home.  Leigh knew that over the next couple of weeks the band 
would have a number of engagements, as the Christmas season was always 
a busy time for concert bands. 

As she stepped down off the train and onto the platform, Leigh wasn't
surprised to discover that it was raining.  It wasn't very heavy at the 
moment, but it would be just her luck if it decided to pick up now that 
she had nowhere to shelter.  As the train pulled away behind her, she 
tucked her clarinet case under her arm and searched through her pockets 
until she finally found her phone.  Struggling to prevent the 
instrument case slipping from her grasp, she located the stored number 
that would automatically dial home.  There was no answer, apart from 
the recorded voice of her mother apologizing for being unable to take 
her call, and asking her to leave a message after the tone.  Leigh left 
a few words, saying she had arrived at the station, and would call a 
taxi to get her home, then she ended the call and put the phone back in 
her pocket.  Returning the clarinet case to her other hand, she looked 
around the dark, almost deserted railway station in the hope of finding 
someone or something that might help her find a taxi.  As she was doing 
so, she happened to catch sight of someone on the opposite side of the 
track.  The man was a complete stranger.  She had never seen him before 
in her life, but for some reason he seemed strangely familiar.  He was 
fair-haired, lightly freckled, dressed in dark navy blue jeans and a 
light brown leather jacket, and he seemed to be looking straight at 
her.  Starting to get a little scared, she glanced quickly around, 
looking for a quick way off the platform.  It was getting very late now 
and there was no one else around apart from her and the man.  There had 
been a number of reports in the papers and on the news recently, about 
young women out on their own at night being attacked.  A cold chill 
passed over her when she realized there was no exit on this side.  The 
only way out was via the subway that led to the other platform, as the 
exit from the station was on that side.  She looked back to see if the 
man was still watching her, but he had gone.  She looked around, both 
ways, up and down the platform but there was no sign of him.  He 
couldn't have left so quickly without her seeing him, could he?  She 
turned to glance behind her at the entrance to the subway, sure that he 
was about to jump out on her at any moment, but no one emerged from the 
tunnel.  Slowly, peering nervously ahead, she stepped forward into the 
tunnel.  It was the only way she could go in order to leave the 
station. 

Victoria Babbet grabbed her handbag off the desk and dashed out the
office door just as her boss switched out the light.  Once outside the 
room, she waited as he closed the door and locked it, before turning 
back to her. "Thanks for staying," Reuben Greggs said, as she hung her 
bag over her shoulder.  She pushed a few loose strands of her long 
blonde hair back behind her ear and smiled at him. "No problem," she 
replied, as she followed him down the corridor in the direction of the 
elevator.  "I didn't have anything planned for tonight anyway." 

Reuben Greggs was head of Systems Development at SynTec.  Victoria was


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