Now’s the season to be shrinking!

“Here we go again”, go on admit it you are all saying it. And I admit I have been here before telling you how I was going to diet, exercise and shift this weight. ANd where are we now? Yep, I’m heavier than when I started last time.

Today I went to see my GP, and I asked him for a referral for baryatric surgery. He put me on his scales (straight off scale) but fortunately I had weighed myself on those scales that do the whole weight, height and BMI thing and give you a printout. My BMI is 43.7 and while he is was not certain the hospital will consider hypertension to be a danger factor he has referred me. He threw the whole “this is not a magic cure for being overweight” at me but as I am currently supporting my partner through the same process (her surgery is on March 18th) and have been to all of her hospital sessions with her I am aware of the whole process, it’s risks and it’s rewards. I have just checked and it seems that the current guidelines are anything over 40 BMI or 35-40 with a weight related condition are the acceptance criteria so I have high hopes.

There are several factors that have triggered this decision, which I am not overly happy with as it is invasive and is a way of enforcing a reduction in food intake(I am aware of the failure modes here), and oddly most of them are not about me except indirectly.

  1. I once considered suicide, but found I couldn’t do so without my family knowing why I found life so unbearable. And then I put the same family through a different hell while they tried to find a way to accept me. And now I was slowly killing myself again while they watched me eat myself into the grave. Time to stop being so cruel to those who love me.
  2. I am a carer to my partner, she needs me to help and support her. And here I am making myself incapable of offering the assistance she needs.
  3. I used to love getting out for long walks, I once planned to take a minimum 6 mile walk in each county of mainland Britain. I did get a few done including 12 miles that took in Oxfordshire and Berkshire. And then I was finding it too tiring. Right now even last years 5k walk is probably too far to do easily.
  4. I am finding so many things hard to do now, I’m avoiding stairs wherever possible, getting ready for work in a morning is tiring, and I’ve been getting some shortness of breath and pains in my chest (the GP is not concerned because they are non-specific on location and are not bought on by exercise. Though he has booked an ECG for me.

And my girls clubbed together at Christmas and bought me a Fitbit which doesn’t get the use it should because of my fitness problems.

Put all of the above together and you see all of the powerful factors that I would need to get me off this fat backside and doing something about it. And adding in the extra impetus of a surgical intervention around summer 2017 I should be able to do it.

Hmm, should, would, lets add could in there too.

I should do it but…

I would do it but…

I could do it but…

Sounds like I’m setting myself up to fail before I start, and the GP did notice that and try offering inspiration and sage advice…But he a younger, slim and fit, he runs marathons for fun! I am a person who sees the gym as one of the circles of hell, the local regular Park Run as evil torture. Fun is curling up with a good book, it is taking a walk through interesting scenery taking in the beauty of the world. How can these two diverse worlds ever meet?

So, I’m going to take the slow road, I’m looking into mindful eating and the 8 types of hunger(used to be 7 and I think there are at least 9), smaller portions and as health permits adding hills into my currently short walks. And while I now have this potential promise of an operation in the future to add a tool to my weight loss toolkit, if I can get a habit going I might, just might be able to do it without.

For those who are still on the whole “I’ve heard this before” thing, this isn’t becoming a diet blog that hobbles along for a while and fades again like last time. Sure, I’m going to bore you at times with this (not a diet) and I’m going to bore you with aspiring author stuff, and probably a whole load of other boring crap too. But please do continue to read and follow me, comment sometimes to encourage me because putting down thoughts does help me.

And just to warn you all…Normal service is unlikely to be resumed any time soon. But who the hell wants normal anyway?




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In the Beginning

If you are visiting my blog for words of wisdom then all I can say is “Nothing to see here, Move along folks.”

Of course if you are of a sadistic bent and love to see abject suffering then you have come to the right place. I’m dying by inches here!

An old friend sort of issued a challenge to me once, not sure if that is old as in ‘known for a while’ or as in ‘no longer a friend’. But the challenge was quite simple and oh so very hard. “Everyone has a book in them you know, why don’t you write yours?” And I bit didn’t I? Took it hook, line and sinker. And I opened the gates of Hell, just a little you understand, and this little demon snuck out and crept into my head. And the little bugger has set up home hasn’t she? Got herself a nice little place in the stranger part of my mind, a nice little demon husband and they seem to be creating quite a large family in there.

My first attempt at writing should have taught me the important lessons. Having an idea so wonderful and intoxicating though. I started writing and in a very short time my idea appeared on the page, there it was in all of it’s glory, all dressed up…and no where to go. I had nothing, not an inkling of where it it would go next. So I sighed, claimed writers block and just got on with life. Then a while later a small (very small as it turned out) lightbulb lit up and I hauled out the stump of a story and encouraged new growth, for a short while and then the ‘block’ clamped down again. And that seemed to be it.

And then Karanthia came along, though she introduced herself to me as Kara, just breezed into my life whispering hints of tales and a way to evict what was now a demon horde festering in the depths tormenting me with the story that got away because I wasn’t good enough. So; of course, I listened to this silver tongued temptress and wrote a story, again no planning, but this time it reached a sort of end. And The Winter Tree was duly polished a little and sent off, it was rejected of course and now sits waiting for me to work on it for more attempts, though it also beckons me with the hints that it is part of a linked series of short stories.

Then came Seeking, a whimsical little tale of Karanthia’s that she recounted to me during a quiet moment or two, that didn’t even get on to the long list in a writing competition, but I loved the little tyke.

And you have already seen Whisperer, that was added to my last blog post, what did you think of it? I feel there is a nice little story in there somewhere but it needs a lot of sanding and polishing to make it appear.

And so for the moment I plan, and research and plan again. Scrivener (my weapon of choice) as slowly filling up with places, people and all of the other bits and pieces that will one day be used to craft a story of loss and pain and non-magical witchcraft in a place not too unlike our own world.

Oh, and the story that began it all, it has found a home with Kara, and one day soon it will be told!

If you ignored my warnings at the beginning and managed to get this far then I’m afraid I don’t have a reward for you, though I would really appreciate it if you left a comment or two, maybe even tell me what you thought of the story in the last post.

See ya for now




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Back to Basics

Three for three so far. That is three stories rejected by three different places. Two were professional and mailed me to let me know, the third was an online writing competition that didn’t even let me know any results. I had to visit the site to see news items. Guess which won’t be getting any of my words again?

And I’ve got bogged down thoroughly on the novel length story I’ve been working on. I’ve even completely rewritten parts twice and it still doesn’t work. But at least I’ve admitted the reasons to myself now and it’s time to address my problems.

I wanted so desperately to get the ideas out of my head that I ignored planning, so far for each thing I have worked on I have had an idea, and I have started writing…but I have no training, no skills and no practice, I ust poured out words. And then I looked them over, tweaked and submitted. Almost no review by others. I was setting myself up to fail I think,

So, now is the time to research, to look at the basic concepts of my stories and as they all currently share a common history and set of central characters I need to take the time to create my world, to give birth to my characters and give them life and personality. Once I have this done I can begin the hard work.

Planning, even for a short story is the next important step, each scene I build needs to be choreographed with care, each character needs to interact with others in just the right way based upon exactly who they are. Each chapter has to agree with all of the others without contradiction or the whole story fails to do it’s primary job of telling a history.

I have a long way to go now before the story of the world of Karanthia of Ynys Mon is properly told but at least now I have found the correct place to begin this journey.

And for those that have gotten this far through this post here is the latest of my rejects, watch this space for the improved version that I shall one day share.


Whisperer in the Dark

By Emily J Roe

Camp had been exciting this year, five nights on the North of the Isle overlooking the sea with the rest of her class. As usual the boys were always trying to spoil it, especially now that awful Johnny McAllistair had started at the school. Their tutor had told them that he had been found in a place called Glasgow a long way to the North in Hibernia. They said that he had promise, that his Gift was strong but he needed training. All Karinthia Reynolds knew was that he had a nasty streak, and a very sharp tongue. There were rumours of fights in the boy’s rooms after dark and she had seen bruises and black eyes several times. And she had heard complaints from some of the girls too about his heavy handedness. She tried to keep out of his way but suspected that it was only a matter of time before she came to his attention

The best part of the camp for her was the Fireside Feast on the last night. The tutors and assistants allowed them to stay up until midnight eating a barbecued food around camp-fires and singing. At the end of the night, before fires were doused and everyone made their way back to their tents, the stories began. And the tutors always told the best ones.


Karanthia woke suddenly. She lay listening while her eyes adjusted to the faint light of the crescent moon shining through the window. She could hear nothing but the faint susurration of the breeze moving the leaves of the tree outside her window. Her eyes, now fully adjusted saw nothing out of place in her room.

She turned over and closed her eyes ready to return to her sleep. There! In the room, she could hear a whispering sound, it almost sounded like words coming out of the darkness.

Snapping her fingers she drew up energy from her body and used it to make the atoms of a small volume of air to fluoresce forming a disc of light. She was quite proud of this effect, the tutors had only shown them how to modify the state equations for a lightball a few days ago and she was still the only one of her class who had succeeded in collapsing it from three to two dimensions. Using movements of her hand she moved it all around the room but there was no sign of anyone, and the whispering had stopped. Maybe it had just been a dream. With a flick of her fingers she unlinked the disk and it snapped out. Darkness returned to the room.

Something whispered again from across the room, it seemed to be coming from near the window. Setting the equations again in her mind she clicked her fingers and brought the light back into existence. She concentrated on a variable and increased the brightness until the whole room was lit brightly. Looking around carefully she climbed out of bed and ran across the room to close and lock the window securely, then darted back to bed. She was starting to feel the strain of running the light this bright as it was feeding it from her own body reserves of energy. Turning it down low she reached for her power pack on the bedside drawers. Her fingers met empty space where her charging cradle should be and she remembered that the pack had developed a fault and she had needed to send to the workshop. She lay there for as long as she dared with the light turned low and then extinguished it.

Again! Where was it coming from? She created another disk and looked around nervously. Maybe it was invisible, maybe it was hiding, maybe it was both. Under the bed! It had to be there, she maneuvered the light down to the floor and slowly, carefully lay on her stomach and looked under the bed. Just dust bunnies. Relieved she sat up sharply and looked around, still nothing. The wardrobe? She crept across the room looking around desperately for something to use as a weapon, her eyes lit on her guitar on its stand by the wall. Picking it up she approached the wardrobe. The door was slightly ajar so she carefully hooked her foot underneath and pulled it open while raising the guitar over her head. Nothing!


Her thoughts jumped back to the last night of camp a few weeks ago, when Mr Evans stood up to tell the last story of Feast Night. He had gathered the children from the other fires too, so that all of them were facing him across a single blaze. The flickering of the flames made the shadows in the trees behind him shift as if there were living creatures flitting between the trunks.

Gather around children, make yourself comfortable and I will tell you the story of the Whisperers”

Every one had groaned, they all knew this one, the tales of the group of men who had roamed the Isle three hundred years ago, stealing children and selling them as servants on the mainland. “Stay close to home or the Whisperers will get you,” had been a warning from all of their parents when they were little.

Mr Evens waited until they had quietened down again. “No, I don’t mean that little baby story used to frighten small children, this is the real story.”

They looked at each other, a little fear starting to grow in their minds, they all shuffled a little closer together, several of the girls started to hold hands.

This story goes back to the early days of the Isle, before even our Druid ancestors arrived here ahead of the Roman Legions. In those days a few farmers tended herds and grew their crops across Ynys Môn. No one knows how long they had been here but the oral tales speak of many lifetimes. And they worshipped their own gods, gods even older and darker than the ones of our ancestors.”

He paused and looked around the circle at the faces of the enthralled students, his own face breaking into a crooked looking smile in the flickering light. Some of the children shuddered.

And then the Druids came, and with them their followers and the first War of the Strait began. During this time the farms of the first islanders were taken and used to provide food for the newcomers. The Druids and their Gifted adjusted the weather to extend the growing seasons and the islanders were ‘persuaded’ to grow more food to feed everyone. Then came the Persecution when the islanders were forced to worship the our gods. Any who tried to continue with the old ways was punished, in extreme cases by death. After the second war and the third had passed an uneasy truce developed between the newcomers and the old inhabitants and a small amount of ‘appeasement’ was allowed to the old dark gods.”

Again he paused in his narrative and watched the young faces around him, he could see the tension building up and that was good.

But this wasn’t enough for the Old Gods, they had been receiving offerings and prayers from the farmers for so long that the loss of the worship had angered them greatly and they now wished to inflict punishment on the invaders and their upstart gods. And so, one night in the deep winter, just after the Yule celebration a sound was heard in the encampment where most of our ancestors still lived after their arrival. A whispering, almost words but not quite recognisable. It was heard inside huts, inside the temple and outside in the rough streets, but none could find it’s source. The sound continued through the night disturbing sleep for many. And when morning came a great wailing sounded through the encampment, in many of the huts a child had vanished!”

At this last Mr Evans voice had risen suddenly from a whisper to almost a shout and several of the girls squealed in fright. The tutor’s face again seemed to twist into a distorted smile for a second, but that could have been the fire light.

The menfolk searched high and low through the encampment and into the surrounding countryside but nothing was found of the missing children. The Druids prayed and made sacrifice to their gods but that did not help. The only clue to the disappearances was the small patch of disturbed ground by each dwelling where a child had gone from, and in one of these a small straw doll, which was confirmed by the mother as belonging to her young daughter, was found half buried. After this the Druids agreed to let the islanders continue their worshiping but started to encourage and then enforce the intermarriage of the two peoples and slowly over many, many years the old practices died out.”

He stopped and again looked at the children, he could see that he had them now, time for the last little piece before it was time to send them to bed. He really loved this part, and it always served it’s purpose.

But, even to this day, the old dark gods are jealous and despite the loss of their powers when their worshipers deserted them they still have a power within the world. And every ten years just after the Summer Solstice they send their Whisperers out to steal children in revenge for what our ancestors did.” He paused for a few heartbeats and then almost too quietly to be heard, “the last unsolved child kidnapping was ten years ago.”

Alright everyone,” boomed a voice from behind them. Everyone jumped and there were several shrieks of terror. They all turned sharply to see the stern face of Master Davies, one of the observers from the College, “It’s time you all went to bed, we break camp and return to the school in the morning.” He clapped his fingers loudly and ignited several light balls to illuminate the way back to the tents. “Lights out in ten minutes so lets hurry along.”

All of the children jumped up and ran along the lighted path back to the tents where they quickly changed into nightclothes and dived into their sleeping bags. Karanthia was one of the first into her tent and soon had the sleeping bag pulled up tight around her, making sure she was in the middle of her friends, she might like them but the Whisperers could have them first!


Maybe the old stories they had been told round the fire on the summer camping trip were true, the Whisperers in the Darkness really did exist and they came for children in the night. She dived back to her bed and pulled the covers over her head. The lightdisk illuminated the little tent she had made for herself. She was safe in the light. But she was tiring, the light drawing on her reserves now, she had to let the light go. She relaxed and the disk faded into darkness. Silence, maybe the Whisperer had decided to go and pick another child, she was safe.

It was next to the bed this time, the whispering directly in her ear. She screamed and threw herself across the bed and on to the floor. Shaking violently in terror she managed visualise the equations she needed and snap her fingers. Not a disk this time but a ball fully 10 inches across and powered not by the small reserves in her body, for she had managed somehow to pull on the heat of the room to power it. The light blazed out like a miniature sun, banishing shadow in a brilliant white light. The temperature began to drop steadily and then plummet towards zero. And still she saw nothing, not a thing in her room that could make such a sound. Was she going crazy?

Frost began to form on the inside of the window, she was shaking more now and not just from fear, the temperature was now below freezing and still dropping. And still the light blazed out. Then faintly through the thick walls of her room she heard the faint sound of boys laughing… and Johnny McAllistair’s voice. And then the whispering was all around her and she knew it for what it was. For a few moments the light doubled and then tripled in brightness as her anger flared. Then she clamped down hard and dismissed the lightball.

Sitting there in the darkness, shivering still as warmth slowly returned to the room, Karanthia Reynolds felt a cold darkness seep into her mind. She would find a way to repay Johnny McAllistair for his cruelty. She would make all of them pay for this.




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My name is Karanthia…Karanthia Reynolds

I have been a little busy for the last few days looking at my first ever submitted (subsequently rejected) story. The Winter Tree was written too quickly in response to a submission call for an anthology. At the time I just couldn’t resist writing it. While I did get some good comments about it from friends who read it I knew it wasn’t overly good though I think the idea behind it was. Anyway, I looked long an hard at the story and considered filing it away as a failed idea. Then I had a thought, wondering if a change of viewpoint would make a difference as I found the original didn’t seem to flow quite right. And it seems to be working, by becoming Kara and telling my ‘own’ story of the events in Bearstead on that winter’s day, the story is looking much better. First redraft is almost complete and I’m going soon going to shelve it for a few weeks before revisiting it. Might even submit the revamp later this year. And if this works I suspect I might have to become Karanthia Reynolds for a while to tell my stories to the world.

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Experiment 10a

“Alternate Reality Access. Experiment 10a. Cancelling the effect of the last experiment.”

Kara looked at the new equation she had worked out. “Here we go. Activate!”

She sniffed the air, despite the constant removal of the Hydrogen Sulphide from the air in front of her she could still smell a constant faint stench of eggs. She tried again and still nothing happened. That was worrying, a self-sustaining reaction was going to keep using up the raw materials locally…just where was that sulphur coming from anyway? Then she noticed the box of matches she used to light her prayer candles. Aha! She picked them up from the table and put them away in her sleeping area.

Back at the table the smell of eggs started to diminish. A wave of relief swept over her momentarily, but had the reaction stopped? She thought for a moment, noticing as she did that the air was still very dry in her throat. Snapping her fingers she invoked a small flame, with a whoosh a ball of pale blue fire blossomed in front of her. “Curse it. Looks like that reaction is still disassociating the water in the air. I’d better re-tune the dispersal field.

Well, she mused, if the worst happens I could make a small fortune selling hydrogen to the chemistry department.

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A ride in history

Yesterday felt like a good day to go out for a trip somewhere. In this case I asked J to find some idea while I popped up to Feisty Daughter’s. I cam back to some excellent ideas though several of them on closer examination turned out to be non-starters. £10 unlimited travel on Great Central Railway (Nottingham), only on Sunday. Timed tickets for a National Trust property (prebook). We decided on a visit to the Crich Tramway Village in Derbyshire in the end, J has been suggesting this for years now and as I have never been it was agreed. We arrived a little after 2pm with the site closing at 5.30pm.

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After paying our admission we were given a map/guide and two penny coins of the pre-decimal variety to pay for our tram tickets which would give us unlimited rides.

Our first sight as we walked down the slope was this wonderfully ornate bridge which like everything else in this former quarry was transported from it’s original site.

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Walking under the bridge through the left hand arch we passed the tram shed on the way into the village proper. Here we went into Rita’s Tea Rooms for our lunch. We were delighted to find they were still serving hot food and after a perusal of the blackboard J settled on Faggots with Thick chips, mushy peas and gravy and I went with Cheese and Onion pie with chips, beans and cheese sauce. We were amazed when our plates arrived, J’s faggots were the biggest we had ever seen being almost the size of tennis balls and my pie portion was huge. For those of you reading this and looking confused the faggot is an old fashioned dish made from Pig offal and meat formed into a ball (see here). Think the next visit we need to ask for one meal and a spare plate!

After lunch (which turned our meal later from chinese to a bit of cheese on toast) we popped into the traditional sweet shop (just for a look around you understand).

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At the end of the street is a sort of town square with the facade of the old Derby Assembly Rooms which is the entrance to one of the museums and also had one or two other things dotted around including this

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I waited for ages but the Doctor refused to whisk me away on adventures and I’m still sulking about it. Instead I had to make do with the other interesting things including the Beargatti collecting for charity.

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Then came the time to spend our pennies…no, not on that, on this

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This is No.7 a lovely piece of engineering which was rescued from a site in Two Dales where it had been split into two pieces and was being used as a holiday home! We paid our coins and received our punched tickets and away we went through the village and up the hill. The tramway has three stops and some beautiful views. I didn’t take too many pictures on the ride unfortunately as I was too busy enjoying selfishly. But here is a picture of a bit of equipment from the old Glory Mine.

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After returning to the village from this run we popped into the obligatory gift shop and then across the road to the Red Lion pub for refreshment before taking a second ride on No.7 to the entrance and back to our car.

If you haven’t been to Crich then it is well worth a visit to look at the things above and also all of the history in the museum and exhibitions. If you have been then you will already know it is worth going again as we shall be doing.


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Experiment 10

Several days passed before the doctor allowed Kara out of the infirmary. During that time she had been questioned several times about the events in her room and had skilfully evaded the truth. Now she was back, the room repaired and her table replaced along with a stern note from stores about damage to College property.

“Alternate Reality Access. Experiment 10. Leaving term one alone for the moment. In this experiment I will be increasing the value of iota in term three by 20%.”

For a few seconds nothing seemed to happen, then Kara threw herself back from the table and ran to the window choking and gasping. Behind her the stench of rotten eggs filled the room. She took several deep breaths of cool clean air and then, holding her breath she turned and with a muttered “gwasgar”, dispersed the Hydrogen Sulphide to the outside air. A fresh gust immediately sprang up and Kara realised she hadn’t got a neutralising equation formulated for her experiments and this one seemed to be self-sustaining.

She thought for a few seconds and then, “gwasgar gweithredol , that should take care of it for now.” With that tied into the main electricity supply it should keep going indefinitely. At least she would be able to live in her room while she came up with a cancelling equation.

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Saturday is made for all sorts

Fairly busy day today it appears. First off is a trip to my daughter, a while back I recovered their precious photographs from a slightly dodgy laptop and stored them on my portable drive. Today they will be re-united. And as requested I haven’t peeked so I have no idea what I have been looking after! Speculations in the comments please.

Then I need to pick up some meat for this evenings low cal sweet and sour pork, and general shopping. As you can see I do have a very exciting life.

This afternoon though we are going to take a run out somewhere, don’t know where yet but it has to be no more than an hour’s drive from Bramcote, and pleasant to look at too. And it needs to have or be near a place where we can find something tasty to eat. Was originally planning a picnic but don’t have the makings and won’t really have enough time after the shopping to prepare much (prefer eggy butties and you need all of that cooking, cooling and mashing). J says she would prefer to go today rather than tomorrow too.

And today is going to be the day that Castaway Mage sees the new laptop too, I have everything set up well enough on here that I think I can get back to writing Kara’s first adventure again. Oh, and watch out later for Experiment 10 in the mini-saga.


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Just another Friday night

So, here we are, start of the weekend. And it’s shaping up well. J is happily watching Coronation Street and I’m sharing with all of you. The new laptop is shaping up slowly, Scrivener is up and running and so is Dropbox with my scribblings. My main email accounts, Twitter and Facebook are looking good too. So now I can relax and enjoy a couple of pleasant days. For us that will include visiting my daughter and heading out for a picnic somewhere pretty. And all of you won’t be forgotten either, I have a few more of the rough and ready stories for you. Hope you all have as good a weekend as I intend to have.


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More Experiments

“Day Two. Alternate Reality Access. Experiment 6. The results from experiment 5 were interesting. Today I am going to repeat the experiment with the value of beta in term one set to a negative value which should set up two out of phase oscillations increasing the shear force on the continuum.”

Kara looked down on the table in front of her wondering what stores would say about this, she was certain that they had accepted her story of the building focusing the earthquake effects on her room to wreck the table yesterday though she had received some funny looks. But how was she going to explain the perfect circle cut out of the centre and the pile of sawdust on the floor?

“Alternate Reality Access. Experiment 7. The earlier experiment seems to be a blind alley. I have returned the beta value to default and am now going to adjust gamma in term two. Looking closely at the equation leads me to believe that delta needs to be held at unity or it might impose movement on the force locus.”

She rubbed her elbow and eyed the broken legs of the chair speculatively. She had absolutely no idea how intense that gravitational field had been but she was certainly grateful that it was so constrained. Even so her legs had been snatched from under her as the chair legs snapped. Better leave gamma alone in future if that was what a five percent increase did.

“Alternate Reality Access. Experiment 8. I am tweaking term epsilon by one percent, it is on the same side of the equation as gamma and so might have a similarly amplified effect.”

She winced as she invoked the activation word. Nothing! Another failure but at least it was non-violent. Then she noticed that the pile of sawdust had moved a little.

“Alternate Reality Access. Experiment 9. I have decided to adjust epsilon by a further one percent. This is a branch from the main thrust of my work to investigate a possibly interesting phenomenon.”

Kara’s eyes were wide with shock as the door burst open a few minutes later. And she kept glancing over to the far wall as she was led, shaking, from the room by concerned neighbours. The wall that had a four in deep hole where the pile of sawdust had impacted at such a speed that it had momentarily acted like a solid object. Now that the military would love.

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