Elements and Echoes

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Echoes and Elements

Elements and Echoes is a NA Science Fiction work in progress.

Read the first chapter draft below.

1

Unintended

 

Please dump your life into the bleak, grey bucket.

That’s what the sign should have said. Shoes, belts, jackets, jewelry, electronics—all of it. Nowadays it seemed everything including the kitchen sink was deemed a travel hazard and had to be whipped off, and displayed in front of complete strangers no less, in a matter of seconds.

I hated international travel.

But it was well worth the hassle once I landed in Italy and could look forward to three months of ancient cobblestone walking paths, stain glass duomos and Italian men who spoke the language of love with exaggerated hand gestures, hopefully in more ways that one.

The woman behind me inched uncomfortably close when I didn’t move up in the line as soon as the space to do so appeared. I glanced over my shoulder with a scowl of irritation, pushed my bucket onto the conveyor, and waited for the TSA agent to call me forward.

With a two-finger wave the man, who made no attempt to hide his hatred for his job, beckoned me through the detector—one of those full body tubes that left little to the imagination for the attendant behind the computer.

I lifted my arms, separated my legs, and waited for my moment of decent indecent exposure. Once the machine swiped around me, I released my pose and turned to exit. The guard on the other side halted me with a firm hand. “Did you remove all jewelry and spare change?” He extended a smaller, but equally as bleak bucket my way.

I patted myself down, checking all crevices where an overlooked culprit may be hiding. “I believe so,” I shrugged with honesty.

“Please step inside to be re-scanned.”

Obliging, I prepared myself for a second exposure within a five minute period. I was well on my way to headlining the local strip club.

Another agent joined, this one female, guiding me aside. “Just need to perform an additional search. Please step out of line.”

I huffed internally but painted a smile on for the agents. “Sure,” I answered, more cheery than intended.

“Do you have any medical implants; a pin or plate, perhaps?”

“N-no,” I stuttered. “Is something wrong?”

“Standard procedure. Arms out, and please hold still.” She waved a baton around my body. It passed in silence before blaring to life right by my ears, behind my neck. As if beeping an announcement proclaiming my deceit.

“Are you sure you have no medical implantations?” she asked a second time.

“No. I’ve never even had surgery before.”

She waved the baton over the back of my neck again. Sure enough it sounded, loud and proud.

“I swear, I have no metal on . . . or in my body.”

“Ma’am, we’re only going to ask you one—”

“And I already answered!” my painted smile gone, now displaying the obvious frustration I felt. “There’s no metal in my body!”

The guards exchanged looks, then addressed me, “You’re going to have to come with us . . .”

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© A.M. Ruggirello // All Rights Reserved.