Highways In Hiding

Overview

From the creator of the Venus Equilateral series!

Someone had stolen an important part of Steve Cornell's life. It was bad enough when his fiancee vanished. It was infinitely worse when everyone in the world insisted it couldn't have happened the way he knew it had.

In a world where ESP and telepathy were normal, it was difficult to keep secrets. But Steve's search for his missing sweetheart brought him to the threshold of one of the greatest ...

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Highways in Hiding

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Overview

From the creator of the Venus Equilateral series!

Someone had stolen an important part of Steve Cornell's life. It was bad enough when his fiancee vanished. It was infinitely worse when everyone in the world insisted it couldn't have happened the way he knew it had.

In a world where ESP and telepathy were normal, it was difficult to keep secrets. But Steve's search for his missing sweetheart brought him to the threshold of one of the greatest secrets of all time. And it was obvious that somebody would stop at nothing to keep him from uncovering it.

What were the oddly sinister symbols along otherwise ordinary roads? What was behind the spreading plague called Mekstrom's Disease? Why were there "blank" spots where telepathy didn't work? Who was the elusive enemy with powers even beyond those ESP had bestowed on mankind?

And, most important of all ... could Steve find that enemy before they made him vanish too?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781434401199
  • Publisher: Wildside Press
  • Publication date: 6/16/2007
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Historical Note

In the founding days of Rhine Institute the need arose for a new punctuation mark which would indicate on the printed page that the passage was of mental origin, just as the familiar quotation marks indicate that the words between them were of verbal origin. Accordingly, the symbol # was chosen, primarily because it appears on every typewriter.

Up to the present time, the use of the symbol # to indicate directed mental communication has been restricted to technical papers, term theses, and scholarly treatises by professors, scholars, and students of telepathy.

Here, for the first time in any popular work, the symbol # is used to signify that the passage between the marks was mental communication.

Steve Cornell, M. Ing.

* * * *
I

I came up out of the blackness just enough to know that I was no longer pinned down by a couple of tons of wrecked automobile. I floated on soft sheets with only a light blanket over me.

I hurt all over like a hundred and sixty pounds of boil. My right arm was numb and my left thigh was aching. Breathing felt like being stabbed with rapiers and the skin of my face felt stretched tight. There was a bandage over my eyes and the place was as quiet as the grave. But I knew that I was not in any grave because my nose was working just barely well enough to register the unmistakable pungent odor that only goes with hospitals.

I tried my sense of perception, but like any delicate and critical sense, perception was one of the first to go. I could not dig out beyond a few inches. I could sense the bed and the white sheets and that was all.

Some brave soul hadhauled me out of that crack-up before the fuel tank went up in the fire. I hope that whoever he was, he'd had enough sense to haul Catherine out of the mess first. The thought of living without Catherine was too dark to bear, and so I just let the blackness close down over me again because it cut out all pain, both physical and mental.

The next time I awoke there was light and a pleasant male voice saying, "Steve Cornell. Steve, can you hear me?"

I tried to answer but no sound came out. Not even a hoarse croak.

The voice went on, "Don't try to talk, Steve. Just think it."

#Catherine?# I thought sharply, because most medicos are telepath, not perceptive.

"Catherine is all right," he replied.

#Can I see her?#

"Lord no!" he said quickly. "You'd scare her half to death the way you look right now."

#How bad off am I?#

"You're a mess, Steve. Broken ribs, compound fracture of the left tibia, broken humerus. Scars, mars, abrasions, some flashburn and post-accident shock. And if you're interested, not a trace of Mekstrom's Disease."

#Mekstrom's Disease--?# was my thought of horror.

"Forget it, Steve. I always check for it because it's been my specialty. Don't worry."

#Okay. So how long have I been here?#

"Eight days."

#Eight days? Couldn't you do the usual job?#

"You were pretty badly ground up, Steve. That's what took the time. Now, suppose you tell me what happened?"

#Catherine and I were eloping. Just like most other couples do since Rhine Institute made it difficult to find personal privacy. Then we cracked up.#

"What did it?" asked the doctor. "Perceptives like you usually sense danger before you can see it."

#Catherine called my attention to a peculiar road sign, and I sent my perception back to take another dig. We hit the fallen limb of a tree and went over and over. You know the rest.#

"Bad," said the doctor. "But what kind of a sign would call your interest so deep that you didn't at least see the limb, even if you were perceiving the sign?"

#Peculiar sign,# I thought. Ornamental wrought iron gizmo with curlicues and a little decorative circle that sort of looks like the Boy Scout tenderfoot badge suspended on three spokes. One of the spokes were broken away; I got involved because I was trying to guess whether it had been shot away by some vandal who missed the central design. Then--blooie!#

"It's really too bad, Steve. But you'll be all right in a while."

#Thanks, doctor. Doctor? Doctor--?#

"Sorry, Steve. I forget that everybody is not telepath like I am. I'm James Thorndyke."

Much later I began to wake up again, and with better clarity of mind, I found that I could extend my esper as far as the wall and through the door by a few inches. It was strictly hospital all right; sere white and stainless steel as far as my esper could reach.

In my room was a nurse, rustling in starched white. I tried to speak, croaked once, and then paused to form my voice.

"Can--I see--How is--? Where is?" I stopped again, because the nurse was probably as esper as I was and required a full sentence to get the thought behind it. Only a telepath like the doctor could have followed my jumbled ideas. But the nurse was good. She tried:

"Mr. Cornell? You're awake!"

"Look--nurse--"

"Take it easy. I'm Miss Farrow. I'll get the doctor."

"No--wait. I've been here eight days--?"

"But you were badly hurt, you know."

"But the doctor. He said that she was here, too."

"Don't worry about it, Mr. Cornell."

"But he said that she was not badly hurt."

"She wasn't."

"Then why was--is--she here so long?"

Miss Farrow laughed cheerfully. "Your Christine is in fine shape. She is still here because she wouldn't leave until you were well out of danger. Now stop fretting. You'll see her soon enough."

Her laugh was light but strained. It sounded off-key because it was as off-key as a ten-yard-strip of baldfaced perjury. She left in a hurry and I was able to esper as far as outside the door, where she leaned back against the wood and began to cry. She was hating herself because she had blown her lines and she knew that I knew it.

And Catherine had never been in this hospital, because if she had been brought in with me, the nurse would have known the right name.

Not that it mattered to me now, but Miss Farrow was no esper or she'd have dug my belongings and found Catherine's name on the license. Miss Farrow was a telepath; I'd not called my girl by name, only by an affectionate mental image.

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