Thrillers & Suspense

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Escape
Excerpt

The van was flying.
Jeff Conroy stared out the window, nose to the glass, breathless. Seconds earlier, they’d been driving along on solid ground, but now their rusty old van was sailing through the sky.
The road was so far below that it looked like a snake winding its way through the grass. Except those weren’t blades of grass. They were trees. And those weren’t little model houses or toy cars like you’d find on a train set. They were the real thing.
As amazing as it might seem to be in a van that could fly, Jeff was not enjoying the ride. He was scared, and feeling more than a little sick to his stomach as the vehicle swayed back and forth through the air.
The van continued to sail along gracefully, but the view out the windows was partially obscured by the thick black magnetic straps that clung to the van’s metal body. They led up to the large helicopter above, and had been used to lift the vehicle off the road.
Harry Green, sitting at the now totally useless steering wheel, glanced back helplessly at Jeff, who was in the middle of the van, next to his dog Chipper.
“What are we going to do, Chipper?” Jeff shouted over the noise of the rotating chopper blades as he looked at the ground far below.
Chipper did not know. Chipper had only just woken up.

Five minutes ago, before their van had been tracked down by The Institute, Chipper had been dreaming.
Even though there were almost no other dogs like Chipper on the entire planet, he still resembled the most common of mutts in at least one respect.When he slept, he dreamt.
While the scientists at The Institute had spent millions of dollars to create what was in effect a running, barking, sniffing computer, outfitted with some of the most sophisticated software ever invented, the one thing they could not do was keep it awake twenty-four hours a day.
Chipper could read multiple languages, access maps in his head and do complicated calculations but, unlike an ordinary laptop that could run all the time, Chipper sometimes needed to lie down, shut his eyes and catch a few winks. Well, he didn’t have to shut his eyes, considering they weren’t real ones, but he could put them into sleep mode.
And when Chipper did finally drift off, he had dreams. Sometimes they were happy dreams, and sometimes they were nightmares.
Before the van became airborne, Chipper had been having a very happy dream, a dream of happier times.
He was dreaming about when he was a puppy.
Oh, what a glorious time it was, before his body was outfitted with chips and wires and circuitry and memory banks. Back then, Chipper’s thoughts weren’t like the ones he had now. These days, Chipper tended to think in actual words, just like people, but when he was a puppy it wasn’t like that at all. There were impulses, and instincts, and feelings of joy and fear and curiosity.

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The Hill

The Hill

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