Beyond Alpha Centauri
Beyond Alpha Centauri
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Tom and Rosey, a childless, little couple, have given up hope of being parents. Then they meet Duggan, a strange, quiet, unearthly child who would change their lives. They know immediately that there is something different about their new foster son; once they determine that he is truly not of their world, an adventure begins.

Duggan’s powers grow as his young body does, and his parents watch in wonder as he learns of his alien powers and abilities. He can read minds, and he knows if the family is being observed. He can take them for fantastic journeys in his invisible spaceship, soaring fearlessly through the clouds and through the terrifying depths of the seas with equal ease. Together, they explore his unknown potential and power, safe from prying eyes on their rural homestead.

But the one thing that Duggan works hard to conceal from his human parents is the depth of his love for his adopted world and his family. Earth’s gentle rhythms and savage beauty engages his imagination in ways that his snow-covered home world never could. Given a choice, Duggan would stay on Earth forever. To him, Earth is a giant playground, a place where his prodigious imagination can take flight without fear.

But somewhere, in the back of his mind, Duggan knows fear, as did Tom and Rosey. They all fear the inevitable—that one day, Duggan’s people will return for him.

The Abomination of Desolation The picturesque town of Ottawa, nestled in northern Illinois, was no more. Nothing remained now but a titanic mass of rubble. Its shattered streets and pavements had been heaved up as if by a monstrous earthquake. Fissures and chasms crisscrossed each other. Some, yards wide, had swallowed entire edifices with nothing left to mark their passing. Melted gas mains, torn and twisted from their moorings, still hissed into the cool evening air. Some fires fed by debris and the hissing gas spewed billowing clouds of smoke into the cloudy sky. Water mains, also torn and melted, spurted fountains of water that formed puddles, their overflow splashing into the chasms like so many waterfalls. Charred cars, lying too close to the edge of a fissure or chasm, fell into the abyss. No sounds issued from the seemingly bottomless holes. Collapsed utility poles—all exceedingly charred—were down, their power lines and their rubber coating melted off, hissing and cracking like bullwhips. No living creature reared its head amid this scene of destruction. No bodies were apparent, but numerous piles of scattered gray matter were strewn about the area. Police helicopters headed for the devastated area. An army convoy was headed there too from only a short distance away. Police officers Scott and Roberts’s helicopter was the first to arrive. The men were shocked by what they witnessed but decided to land, as there might be survivors. They walked around in silence for a while, seeing no bodies, no signs of organic destruction. They gazed at the scattered piles of gray dust. Some of it was heaped into mounds, but for some reason, the men did not check them out. “Scott,” Roberts said, “what in the name of God happened here? The place is totally wiped out. From the looks of those crevices and chasms, it was a particularly violent quake.” “Yes it was,” said Scott. “Other counties were calling in, telling of extensive damage to—well—everything: roads, bridges, buildings, you name it. Then all communication was lost, right before they sent us here to investigate. The other copters will soon be here, but God—who’d think we’d find this! The tremors didn’t last very long.” “Long enough,” Roberts injected as he gazed at the charred masonry around them. All the houses were down, and no cries of help wafted from the ruins. The men spent a half hour looking around before returning to their helicopter and lifting off, Figuring they might as well search from the air for survivors. The army convoy arrived, and some two hundred men jumped from the trucks and immediately started combing the area. Some were Vietnam veterans who had seen death countless times. But here were no deaths, no survivors in sight. The destruction was complete. No earthquake or bombardment, however severe or prolonged, can efface life so completely, so utterly. What had happened to the inhabitants? The answer to that question was discovered by a burly, red-haired corporal named Potsch. He had been walking around, looking at the numerous piles of gray dust. He had previously been employed in a crematorium, and the gray dust had stirred a memory. All of the piles were strewn about, as if stirred by a gust of wind. He came upon two piles, sheltered by a wall, which bore a distinct symmetry, a disquieting shape. It was manlike. Potsch walked to the spot that looked like the head. White glinted from among the dust. He stirred it with a booted foot and paled. A member of his team came running up. “Hey, Potsch, what’s up? Looks like you saw a ghost!” Potsch pointed down. “Teeth!” The other man recoiled, and more of the men gathered around. A private headed for the other pile, stirred it, and had the misfortune of finding dentures, charred and melted out of shape. The private retched. Police officers Scott and Roberts flew an ever-widening circle, looking for survivors. They finally pointed the chopper out of the devastated area, but the results were the same. “Hey, Roberts, I betcha the people out here left in a hurry.” “I don’t think so, Scott. How can you abandon an area in the middle of an earthquake? You couldn’t keep your feet under you. I’ll bet the survivors are hiding in whatever nook or cranny they find. Also, if there are survivors out here, why aren’t they out? The quake’s done.” “You got a point there. Fly higher. I wanna see if we can spot somebody.” As they climbed, the pair saw people moving far below in the distance, all headed in the same direction. When the tiny figures reached a chasm, they split right and left, looking for a narrower place to cross or jump. Roberts shook his head. “I wonder what’s up. Maybe the army troops are there. Yeah, look, there they are! Those poor people feel it’s safer to come out when the army’s around.” “So would I, in this case,” said Scott. “Remember, there are many of them military personnel and only two of us. Our partners are checking all the outlying areas.” “Hmmph, as if numbers could protect you in a quake. But still, like you said, why were they hiding? This just doesn’t make any sense! Let’s go down and see what those people got to say.” “Hey, look there!” Roberts said, pointing. Scott tried but couldn’t crane his neck far enough, so he turned the chopper. He saw a figure far below, heading for town. “What do you say we talk to him instead? It’ll be a lot better than many people talking at the same time.” The chopper landed a short distance from the man, amid a cloud of dust. As the officers approached, they saw that the man was very old, probably in his nineties. He moved back a few paces as the men drew near. “Hi,” Scott greeted him. “This is Officer Roberts, I’m Officer Scott. We were sent here to survey damages done by the quake.” The old man squinted at them through watery eyes. “It weren’t no quake,” he muttered, shivering and shaking. The officers looked at one another in amazement. “No quake?” Roberts asked “No.” Scott was going to say something but checked himself. The possibility of senility occurred to him, so he dropped the question. His partner said, “Sir, all buildings and structures are destroyed, so—” “So are most homes here too, Officer.” “There never has been such a powerful quake before,” said Roberts. “Cause it weren’t no quake, that’s why!” repeated the old man. “Well, we were looking for survivors over there,” Roberts said, pointing. The ancient man shook his head. “You won’t find any of those either.” “How can you be so sure?” The old man shivered. “The fire, sir, the terrible fire.” “Fire? But fire doesn’t belch out of fissures caused by quakes!” Scott said. The old man shook his head. “It didn’t belch outta the ground; it came from those rain clouds above.” He pointed a skinny finger at the clouds, which covered a vast area. “My family, my friends, all dead,” he sobbed. Scott laid a hand on the man’s shoulder, squeezing it in a comforting way. “I’m sorry,” he murmured.
Raymond Saldaña-Carrasquillo was born during World War II in Caguas, Puerto Rico; moved to Chicago as a child; and returned home to Puerto Rico to earn his degree in education. He taught English for twenty years. Now he is retired, enjoying the ravages of old age.
this book is really good.. years in the making.. I highly recommend it
Diana S. 

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