EVERYONE WINS in the Rabble Preorder Campaign & Giveaway

Receive the first 13 chapters of Rabble (book 2 of the Cosmic Conspiracy) AND a 50% off coupon for Babble (book 1) just for entering. When you enter the giveaway, you’ll automatically receive the option to download the excerpt and start reading right away. You’ll also be entered in a drawing for a Rabble t-shirt, mug, and autographed copy of the book.



But no need to wait. Here is the next installment of Babble

One young boy is the key to the universe.

Babble is the story of Bobbie Cagle — a teenage misdiagnosed autistic boy who is the first human to leap into a brave new world of consciousness — an evolutionary leap as great as the first fish that crawled from the sea onto land.

But unfortunately, everyone wants Bobbie for their own purposes.

Installment # 6  (If you’ve missed an installment, go HERE.)

(And if you’re enjoying the story, please share it with your friends.)

At the bus station, Angie’s luck held. The young man behind the counter eyed the ring greedily, then tried to act like he was doing her a favor. Hell, the ring was worth three times the price of the tickets, probably more, but Angie held her tongue and made the trade for two tickets on the first bus traveling in a westerly direction from Charlotte. They’d have to change buses in Hickory but at least they’d be further away from Mystery Man. The bus ride would give Bobbie a chance to nap for a few hours. It would also give her a chance to think about their next action and whether Penland was their best choice.

During their long game of hide-n-seek, Angie had noticed bus stations had grown in number and size as fewer families could afford their own cars, and those that did kept them for years longer until they finally couldn’t be repaired and were left abandoned on the streets. These auto skeletons had become a rich source for Bobbie’s artwork. Despite the growing popularity of bus travel, the stations continued to be located in the most run-down parts of metropolitan areas.

Angie carried her luggage to a dark corner of the terminal, where she could keep a close eye on people coming and going. All she saw were folks like herself, barely holding on to life, clawing to make the most of it. Of course, you’d never see Grubbers around a bus station, especially one as run down as this one. They’d gotten their name from the term, money-grubbing bastards that had been so popular after the financial collapse of ’08 and again in ’16 which had led to the establishment of a universal currency and the global electronic financial system that made physical money not only worthless but illegal.

No, the wealthiest half-percent preferred staying sequestered on their floating estates known as Luxury LilyPods and flying to each others’ lavish parties in their private heliospheres. Originally designed to provide housing for the millions of people displaced by rising ocean levels, the LilyPod patents were all under one name—Matthew Morritee. Morritee had become the richest man in the world by selling these multimillion-dollar floating fortresses to the uber-rich Grubbers. It was rumored that Morritee rarely if ever left his own LilyPod estate that floated between Bermuda and the Bahamas most of the time. He frequently hosted decadent parties that always made headlines in the social pages of the Internet, but never attended them in person, preferring to observe his social network from afar.

Angie felt her shoulders grow heavy from the late night and depressing thoughts. She glanced over to Bobbie where he sat quietly next to her, trying valiantly to keep his eyes open, his backpack resting against one leg. She reached over and gently ran her fingers through his hair, using its disheveled appearance as an excuse to touch him.

“You’re my brave young man, aren’t you?” she said knowing better than to expect a response. Her words were as much to bolster her spirits as they were for him. “The bus will be leaving in just a few minutes. We’ll wait until the last call before we board. Then you can take a nap.”

She brushed his hair to the side one last time, as she gazed around to be sure no one else was paying them any attention. Her gaze paused a moment upon the face of an old man which was partially hidden by the dirty fedora pulled down over his eyes, and an even dirtier bandage covering his right ear. She could imagine from his appearance that he’d recently gotten in a fight and his opponent had tried to chew his ear off.

Something about him looked familiar, but then again, dirty, disheveled bums were everywhere nowadays. Had she seen him sitting in the alleyway? She glanced down to his shoes, an old pair of Reeboks that he’d probably pulled from some Dumpster. She continued her gaze around the waiting room as a disturbing feeling continued to grow in the pit of her stomach. When she returned her attention back to where he’d been sitting, the man was gone. Had he felt her stare upon him? Did he suspect he’d been made? She was about to scan the room again when she heard the last call for Hickory.

“That’s our cue, Bobbie. Let’s go.” As they strolled through the terminal, everyone they passed looked suspicious to Angie, but no one made any move toward them. They arrived at the bus, gave their tickets to the driver, stored the luggage underneath, and boarded. Within minutes they were on the road, and finally, Angie could take a breath. She glanced over to the seat next to her where Bobbie was already asleep.

She sat back and tried to relax. They’d come so far since those early days. She wiped the droplets of perspiration from her forehead realizing she’d sweated buckets over these many years of being vagabonds.

The muted pastel colors of the waiting room and the soft background music were supposed to put a patient’s mind at ease. Even so, Angie could feel a trickle of perspiration running down the inside of her arms.

I’m sweating like a pig, she thought, then smiled. Mom would have a fit if she heard me say such a thing. Gloria Roberson would much prefer thinking her daughter knew all the physiological reasons people perspired when nervous, but unfortunately, Angie had resisted the urging of her parents to pursue a medical career.

That was not to say her perspective on life wasn’t affected by her parents’ careers. Between the two of them, Gloria and Edgar Roberson had more than sixty years of experience in medicine. Being raised by a prominent physician and nurse had had its effect. Otherwise, she’d not be in Dr. Carter’s office sweating so profusely for fear of what she was about to learn about her son. The last three days of waiting for Bobbie’s MRI and other test results had been excruciating. Fortunately, her mother still carried a bit of weight in the local medical community. Otherwise, the wait would likely have been much longer.

Dr. Carter walked in studying the papers in his hand, his crisp white lab coat looking like it had just been ironed. The thick lenses of his glasses enlarged his eyes giving him an owl-like appearance. As he sat down behind his desk, he looked up and smiled at Angie. Angie wondered if the graying at his temples was due to age or was Carter’s attempt to look wiser and more trusting. In either case, it worked.

“Good to see you again, Ms. Cagle. Where’s Bobbie?”

“I thought it better to leave him home with his grandmother,” Angie replied, then added nervously, “Oh, was I supposed to bring him in today? I could…”

“No, no, that’s fine,” Dr. Carter replied. “Just a curiosity question, more to break the ice than anything.”

“Oh, okay. Just so you know Doctor, I’m more of a pull-the-bandage-off-all-at-once girl.”

“I see. Well, in that case, let’s get down to it.”

Angie took a deep breath and slowly let it out. Please, God, don’t let it be too bad, she prayed silently to herself.

“It appears from our testing that Bobbie is autistic.”

Well, that was sure pulling the bandage off quickly, Angie thought. “And what does that mean exactly?”

“Autism is a developmental disorder that affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills,” said Dr. Carter. “Generally, it appears in the first three years of life, though recent studies have suggested the changes in the brain happen much earlier. Of course, there is a wide range of different symptoms and degrees of the condition.”

The news shocked Angie into silence. Developmental disorder…affects the brain’s normal development. What am I going to do now? How am I ever going to break the news to Brian? Going behind his back like this suddenly felt like a very bad idea. Well, she’d just have to cross that bridge later. Right now, she needed to know what she could do to help her son.

“So, the strange spells and the ‘speaking in tongues’ are actually just effects from the autism?”

“Well, that brings us to the second matter,” Dr. Carter said as he flipped over a few pages. “While Bobbie was here, I had Dr. Elizabeth Mechner examine him as well. She’s a linguist specializing in such matters including glossolalia…that’s the medical term for ‘speaking in tongues.’”

Angie nodded.

“According to Dr. Mechner, Bobbie isn’t speaking in tongues.”

“So, he’s just babbling away because of the autism?” Angie asked, growing more frightened by the minute.

“No, I wouldn’t say that. You see…well, let me read to you what Dr. Mechner wrote here in Bobbie’s record: ‘Glossolalic speech resembles human language in some respects. The speaker uses accent, rhythm, intonation, and pauses to break up the speech into distinct units. Each unit is itself made up of syllables, the syllables being formed from consonants and vowels taken from a language known to the speaker…but it’s not an actual language.’”

Dr. Carter looked up from the records. “In other words, speaking in tongues is really more babbling than anything else. It’s not really a language, but an imitation of a language.”

“So? What does that have to do with Bobbie?”

“Well, according to Dr. Mechner and two other specialists, what Bobbie is saying is a language, not an imitation. It’s simply a language no one understands.”

I’m not sure how long it’s been since I first discovered the door. Time has always been pretty slippery to me. I suspect even more slippery for me than for most normal kids. Along the path, time is even harder to hold onto than it is in my life with Mom. It just seems like it’s always been there available to me when I need to get away. However long it’s been, I always find myself looking forward to returning to my friends. As I prop my head against my mom’s soft shoulder and drift off, I wonder if Rabbit will be back from his latest escapades. He always has fun and interesting tales to share even though Hatter sometimes questions whether they’re true or not, especially stories that include his mysterious friend, Alice. In all my visits, I’ve never met Alice. Even though everyone talks about her as though she’s real and a frequent visitor to this strange land, I’m convinced they’re just pulling my leg.

I stroll along the now-familiar trail that leads to the door. It’s not long before I see its vague outline appearing through the fog through which the path winds. The fog makes the door look like it’s floating in space, but I know it’s only at the top of a small knoll and that the path will guide me to it. I lose sight of it a couple of times as I pass through first a cotton-candy-colored cloud and shortly thereafter a light brown cloud that has the scent and taste of milk chocolate. But then the mist clears and I’m standing in front of the door with the clear gothic lettering: Wonderland.

Once again I recall the door of the original Wonderland story that Mom used to read to me. Alice found herself at first too large to enter it before drinking some potion that shrank her down. I’m glad my entranceway to Wonderland is not so complicated. I smile as I reach down to turn the doorknob.

“Gentle with the schnoz. It’s sore from the cold I’m still recovering from,” the door says in a nasal voice followed by a long sniffle.

“Ahh, you said that last time I was here,” I reply as I continue to turn the knob. “How long are you going to play that sick card?”

“As long as it gets you to be a little gentler, young Master Bobbie,” the door replies with a chuckle. “It’s good to see you again. I’m sure Chessie and Hatter will be thrilled you’ve returned as well.”

As the door opens, the golden light of Wonderland pours forth along with a cloud of exotic fragrances coming from the gigantic multicolored flowers lining the path into Wonderland. As I step through the door I’m overwhelmed by the colors: brilliant pinks, indigo, periwinkle, and other colors for which I have no names. At the same time, a familiar warm feeling comes over me. Ahhh, I think, it’s good to be home.

Stay tuned next Friday or jump ahead by joining the Rabble Preorder & Giveaway.

EVERYONE WINS in the Rabble Preorder Campaign & Giveaway

Receive the first 13 chapters of Rabble (book 2 of the Cosmic Conspiracy) AND a 50% off coupon for Babble (book 1) just for entering. When you enter the giveaway, you’ll automatically receive the option to download the excerpt and start reading right away. You’ll also be entered in a drawing for a Rabble t-shirt, mug, and autographed copy of the book.