Speculative Fiction 
Date Published: Jan. 31, 2015
Publisher: Cinnabar Press
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A clairvoyant young woman finds her visions of the future to be a nuisance, until she discovers that she is hardly unique. An entire group of seers has learned how to profit from their knowledge in ways that Ariel has never considered. Another group is obsessed with using their talents to understand a dark future they cannot ignore.
An alliance with either crowd looks dangerous, given that they both seem a little crazy. There is no possible way to help them both. Worse yet, each group is convinced that Ariel is more than a potential asset; she’s the one thing that they must have in order to fully succeed.

Once they arrived, they were met by their assigned host and taken to an ultramodern lounge where they could shower privately and change into swimwear. Ariel studied the famous murky turquoise water as they walked, and the combination of all the shades of blue and green in the mist created a feeling of wonder unlike anywhere she had ever been. She marveled at the many small geysers that shot into the air and at the sheer size of the stunning lagoon.

She’d already been told that there would be a catered lunch, time to relax in the healing waters, individual massages and skin treatments, and more spa time before the group headed to what was certain to be a lavish dinner. Under other circumstances, this could have easily been the best day at work ever.

Bloody Marys and pretty little snacks greeted them, along with Ulfur and his apologies that Baldur had been detained and would be arriving later. Several of the board members, however, were already enjoying the private lagoon, he added. Might he suggest that the Ullow staff take this occasion to get to know them better?

Ariel dutifully headed off to the mandatory shower, her most business- and family friendly one-piece in her hand. It wasn’t exactly a burqini, but it was the young woman’s moral equivalent of one, the swimsuit you can wear around your boss and your great-uncles. She had just stepped under the hot water, her eyes closed as she enjoyed letting her muscles relax after the travel, when her skin jumped. The touch was electric and familiar and she opened her eyes to see Baldur’s arms circling her from behind, his right hand moving up to quickly cover her mouth.

“Don’t scream,” He hissed. ”You’ll embarrass us both and to no end. Just hold still and let me concentrate. I need to understand what happens when I touch you. I’m not going to hurt you. I just want information.”

Ariel turned enough to see that Baldur had on his swim trunks, and true to his word he kept his arms and hands around her waist, leaving her bare breasts alone. His eyes were closed. He pressed his entire body hard against her back, and she couldn’t help but notice that he was having the expected response to holding a naked woman in a shower, but he made no move to do anything about it.

She was even more annoyed that he had chosen to run his little experiment while she had no clothes on and he did, and she considered several moves she had learned in self-defense classes over the years. Coming down hard on his instep with her heel seemed like her best bet. Oddly enough, it was his very touch that gave her the ability to see how effective that and other moves would be. She hesitated.

There wasn’t much she could do about being naked at this point, so why not gather a little intel of her own? If her experiences with Siarnaq were any guide, Baldur was now seeing weeks and months ahead, but at his natural pace. That meant he’d be getting quick little snippets of information, probably of the kind he was most used to handling. She was going to bet it had to do with fluctuations in stock prices at some time in the future.

She, on the other hand, was more than a helpless woman being held in a shower stall. For all that Baldur took, he could not help but give back to her as well. Touching him, she saw the near future, not in his little snippets but rather at her own natural pace.

She saw him walking out of the stall, in less than a minute, with no harm done. He would be silent, too engrossed in trying to remember the new information to apologize, thank or threaten. It was the most likely and the least messy alternative. As she realized that, it became a near certainty, and then the wave of time washed over the moment and the soon-to-happen became the now and it then it became the past, and Ariel found herself standing alone and naked in a shower stall. She reached for her towel.


About the Author

Sherrie Roth grew up in Western Kansas thinking that there was no place in the universe more fascinating than outer space. After her mother vetoed astronaut as a career ambition, she went on to study journalism and physics in hopes of becoming a science writer.
She published her first science fiction short story long ago, and then waited a lot of tables while she looked for inspiration for the next story. When it finally came,  it declared to her that it had to be whole book, nothing less. One night, while digesting this disturbing piece of news, she drank way too many shots of ouzo with her boyfriend. She woke up thirty-one years later demanding to know what was going on.
The boyfriend, who she had apparently long since married, asked her to calm down and  explained that in a fit of practicality she had gone back to school and gotten a degree in geophysics and had spent the last 28 years interpreting seismic data in the oil industry. The good news, according to Mr. Cronin, was that she had found it at least mildly entertaining and ridiculously well-paying  The bad news was that the two of them had still managed to spend almost all of the money.
Apparently she was now Mrs. Cronin, and the further good news was that they had produced three wonderful children whom they loved dearly, even though to be honest that is where a lot of the money had gone. Even better news was that Mr. Cronin  turned out to be a warm-hearted, encouraging sort who was happy to see her awake and ready to write. “It’s about time,” were his exact words.
Sherrie Cronin discovered that over the ensuing decades Sally Ride had already managed to become the first woman in space and apparently had done a fine job of it. No one, however, had written the book that had been in Sherrie’s head for decades. The only problem was, the book informed her sternly that it had now grown into a six book series. Sherrie decided that she better start writing it before it got any longer. She’s been wide awake ever since, and writing away.
Contact Links
Twitter: @cinnabar01
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