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12



Alternity, an Alternate History Novel
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“No problem.”

Single Gold Bar sat himself back down at Saifullah’s table, and looked straight ahead at one of the blank walls until the metal door had clanged shut upon himself, the prisoner, and the two silent guards. Then, with a glance at that door, he reached over to pull Saifullah’s file to a review position. Saifullah, for his part, continued to look at the tabletop in his hunched-over position.

“You run quite a good marathon,” Single Gold Bar observed, seeming not to solicit a response and certainly not receiving one. He glanced at Saifullah from Saifullah’s name on a race results page. “I ran Marine Corps last year. You heard of it?” Without looking up, he continued with, “It’s called the ‘People’s Marathon.’ We ran through Dee-Cee and Virginia. Used up quite a lot a Vaseline.”

Single Gold Bar glanced at the door, then hunched over himself and looked at an impassive Saifullah. “Help us save the lives of innocent people, Mister Rasheed.” Single Gold Bar leaned forward, into the crack he sensed in his subject’s psyche. “If innocent people die as a result of what your friends plan to do, there’s no turning back for any of us.”

Saifullah choked on a set of tears, then inhaled sharply as his interrogator leaned back to give him room, to make the choice between the self and the world that includes the self.

Saifullah spoke, and then he spoke louder.

############

“We’re not going to cancel the race unless you can’t find them: that was the deal.”

The FBI representative, shaved of all cranial hair and possibly of all non-life-threatening concerns, looked down at his watch as if to make a point to all in the room. “It’s half-past-six the night before the race, Mister Vargas, and these guys’ve already picked up their race numbers. With thirty thousand runners, there’s no way we’ll be able to guarantee they don’t get into the start area tomorrow morning. If we can’t find them by this point...” He allowed his voice to trail off, and shrugged his shoulders in the slightest sense.


















































The Running Men by W.R. Hammons:

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14

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