DRIFTING Book 1 Teaser

Drifting Book 1 has been released so let me give you a taste of what you guys will be getting. Enjoy Chapter 1 of Drifting Book 1.

CHAPTER 1

It was Dr. Nadia Markoff’s first time speaking in front of a large crowd. She waited behind the curtains of the stage of the massive college auditorium. The place was already jam-packed with people coming to listen to her speak at the scientific seminar about Drifting. It is the study of the unnatural brain wave phenomenon, and Nadia was the formal representative presenting its current findings and how understanding it could impact the future as the world knew it. The lights in the room dimmed as the noise from the crowd reduced to complete silence. The host, the college chancellor Henry Dean, stood at the podium ready to speak. He looked about the room and once casually tested the microphone with his finger to make sure it was on.

“Ladies and gentlemen, patrons of the scientific pursuit of knowledge and those craving to understand the unknown, I want to thank you all for being here today to talk about Drifting. Drifting, or Astral Drifting as we sometimes call it, is a rather recent phenomenon that has taken place in various regions throughout the world. People capable of projecting their self-consciousness onto others, sometimes teetering along the edge of the very fine line of time. With numerous reports of Drifters being able to predict events within our immediate future to needle-point accuracy as well as being able to recall events of the past right down to provable detail, the phenomenon has become its own focus in scientific study. Joining us today is the woman leading this scientific field. A doctor in neural sciences who has dedicated her life’s work and studies to the study of Drifting, Dr. Nadia Markoff.”

Nadia breathed out heavily with nervous anticipation as she walked out on to the stage and waved anxiously to the crowd of people. She cleared her throat as she pushed up on her black, thick-rimmed glasses and brushed back some of the loose strands of blonde hair that she had otherwise balled up into a neat bun atop of her head. She held out her notes and took in a few short breaths as the host graciously moved the microphone down to meet her, as he stood over six feet tall and Nadia was bare five and a half. She nodded a pleasant thank you to him as he hurried off the stage.

“Thank you all so much for coming and showing your support for the scientific discovery on this wonderful evening,” she said with a mild stutter hidden in her faint yet distinguishable Russian accent. “I had always dreamed of coming over to the States as a little girl with the hope that I would one day be in this position, talking to a group of avid listeners about the true beauty of discovering mysteries in our world. Over the past five years since this phenomenon has come to light to the public, we have seen its use be depicted in fictional crime drama television shows and in books exaggerating the supernatural as a glorified fantasy. I’m here to tell you that it is not fantasy, but reality.”

She paused to clear her throat as a few people in the audience shouted on in a supportive cheer for her as she nodded and laughed.

“You’re doing great! We adore you!” some of the voices claimed.

“Thank you, but I am hardly anyone to admire,” said Nadia gracefully. “Rather, I would prefer our focuses be turned to our demonstrator here today.” She smiled as she gestured offstage where a young, handsome gentleman stepped out, dressed in a fine suit with combed-back hair. He couldn’t have been any older than Nadia was, in his early thirties. The spotlight turned to focus on him as he waved and approached Nadia. He smiled at her and shook her hand as Nadia maintained control of the mic. “This is Peter Russo, a construction worker from Staten Island here today to voluntarily commit himself to sleep so that we can witness first hand the powers of a Drifter.”

She looked at Mr. Russo and smiled kindly, mouthing a ‘thank you for being here’ as some of the staff brought out a comfortable chair for him to sit down in. Mr. Russo smirked and nodded to the doctor as he rolled up his sleeve and sat down in the chair. Nadia approached him with a syringe that contained a short term sleeping sedative that made the entire audience gasp in anticipation. She gave it to Mr. Russo in the arm as he sat comfortably and nodded towards her. Nadia smiled and quickly moved back to the podium and touched the mic, making it squeak as she adjusted it and winced.

“Oh! So sorry about that,” she said as she grinned awkwardly and cleared her throat. “Now, Mr. Russo has volunteered and for the sake of time he’s agreed to be put to sleep by a concentrated anesthetic. This will put him in a dream-like state almost immediately. We will then be able to study his brain wave patterns through the monitor you see these fine gentlemen bringing out here for us now.” She gestured to the large neural monitor as the assistants hooked the wired nodes up to Mr. Russo’s head. “We will start with reading Russo’s brain waves and detecting his neural wiring as they will at first operate like a normal person would when dreaming.”

As Mr. Russo started to slip into a deep sleep with his head against the chair’s cushion, the monitor started to buzz and beep with its readings. There was a long awkward silence as Nadia waited and watched, her heart pounding with anticipation. She hoped Russo would be able to perform under such peer pressure. He had volunteered to be one of Nadia’s few patients whom she had studied the brain patterns of regularly. He was not only cooperative but had managed to provide readings with confirmable proof of drifting on a consistent, nightly basis. Once he started to visibly snooze, the readings began to fluctuate.

“Now, as you can see here, what is happening is the drifter is entering the dream state of rapid-eye-movement sleep. His brain is working its neural network the way most humans do when they dream.” The graph began to spike and beep which caused several of the audience members who were invested in the demonstration to gasp with surprise. “And here we can see the moment that separates a normal dreamer from a drifter. By all accounts and purposes, Mr. Russo’s body is asleep and in a catatonic state, because his mind is no longer with him. His mental state is, in a metaphysical sense, drifting through the air as we speak. He is connecting with someone or all of you. We can not possibly determine yet if the process is done subconsciously by the drifter or if the selections are random. Still, when the drifter wakes, he will be able to retain a picture-perfect memory of his experiences during drifting which we will then be able to record for further study.”

The beeping suddenly started to rapidly increase and Nadia turned and looked at Mr. Russo, alarmed. It was then clear to the audience that what was happening wasn’t supposed to happen. Nadia suddenly felt a powerful onset migraine hit and she pressed her fingers to her temple. The assistants on stage hurried to get Mr. Russo unhooked from the machine as the auditorium lights started to flicker from the strong power fluctuation. Nadia stumbled over to Mr. Russo and placed her hands on his as she felt him suddenly grasp hold of her wrists.

“Mr. Russo?! Peter!? What is happening?!” she called out to him.

One of the assistants hurried over with a bottle of smelling salts which they quickly popped open and placed it under Mr. Russo’s nose. The drifter proceeded to convulse as he wafted in the ammonia from the medication and his eyes popped open. He reached out and grabbed hold of Nadia. “It’s okay Nadia! I’ve got this!” he cried out. “Just hand it over to him and we can be on our way!”

Nadia’s eyes widened to hear Mr. Russo speak these words. They harkened back to a memory she had long since repressed, and to hear them again sent shivers down her spine. The assistants both managed to pull him off of her as she stumbled back and gasped in shock. It was unprecedented before this moment that a drifter managed to embody an event that took place in her personal past. To just have had heard those words repeated back to her the way Mr. Russo did lay heavy on her heart. She felt the sudden headache disappear almost as quickly as it came as she walked over to the podium and looked to the audience, unsure exactly what to say.

That was when the host came back over to take control of the situation. “Ladies and gentlemen, we seem to be experiencing some unforeseen phenomenon in the act of drifting and will have to ask at this time for you to stay in your seats while we escort everyone off the stage.”

He then helped Nadia who suddenly found it difficult to walk off the stage. “I don’t understand, Henry,” Nadia said with a gasp for air. Her heart was racing a mile a minute. “I don’t understand what happened that was so different from all of the other times.”

“Let’s just get you seated, Dr. Markoff,” said Henry. “You look like a seasick sailor right about now. We can’t have you getting sick on us, now.”

“Something with the monitoring system,” said Nadia as she continued to ramble. “Maybe it was taking in too much information at once. Is Mr. Russo okay?”

“He’s waking up though acting incoherent,” said one of the assistants. “We’re taking him to a quiet room so he can find himself once again.”

Nadia nodded in agreeance as Henry helped her sit down on one of the chairs backstage. “Yes, do that,” she said with a grunt as she sat down and rubbed her temple. “I think… I think he targeted me.”

Henry curiously knelt down next to her. “Do drifters usually cause mental duress on the people they’ve connected with?” he asked.

“No, usually a drifter simply observes. And the information transferred from the connection is like nothing more than a simple touch of a finger to a shoulder, but this…” she rubbed both parts of her temple and looked back at Henry. “He repeated the same words my fiance said to me just moments before he died. That is not something anyone else but I know.”

“Oh my god,” he reacted as he reeled back from the revelation. He reached out and gently rubbed the doctor’s back. “I am very sorry to hear that.”

A tear finally escaped Nadia’s eyes as she rubbed them. “It’s okay,” she said with a heavy sigh. “It happened nearly six years ago now. We were walking home from a long night out in the city when a mugger held us at gunpoint.” She breathed out and closed her eyes as she could still envision that moment just like it was yesterday. “He wanted my purse, and I remember David, he said to me, ‘It’s okay Nadia, I’ve got this, just hand it over to him and we can be on our way.’ He then tried to reason with the mugger, and when the man took my purse he tried to take his gun. It went off and killed him almost instantly.”

“Jesus, doctor, I am so sorry for your loss,” said Henry, unsure what else to even say at that point. “That is a terrible thing that happened to you, and you’re saying this isn’t something that Mr. Russo had any reason to know about?”

“No,” said Nadia as she shook her head. “I don’t share my private life with my patients. The only way anyone would know that about me is if they knew me back then or recognized me from the news that night.”

“Well then, at any rate, this is a phenomenal breakthrough that happened live on a stage,” said Henry. He stood up and held out his arms, ready to take a positive spin on the event. Nadia looked up at him, wondering if he was serious. “Look, Dr. Markoff, it is a terrible ordeal, of course, and you have my sympathies. But I plan to use this information at the board to further push your research studies, so you’re going to want to find a positive light in all of this quickly.”

Nadia nodded and breathed out. “I suppose you’re right,” she said. “Just… give me a few minutes, if you don’t mind.”

Henry nodded and patted her shoulder before heading off past the stage to see how the drifter was faring. Nadia could still hear the commotion outside talking about what they saw and what was going on. The tangibility of such a new and phenomenal science was hard to prove. Nevertheless, Nadia knew this event was going to open up new doors to her and her research. Her concern started to drift towards Mr. Russo as she wanted to block out her past memories the best she could. She was already going to have to share the story more times than she is willing to, to provide a credible connection to the event and the drifting phenomenon. After taking the time to regain her composure, she habitually pushed up on her glasses and stood from her seat.

As Nadia exited the stage, she was approached by a handsome young gentleman. He had been watching the whole event from the audience. “Excuse me, Dr. Markoff?” came the soft-spoken yet enthusiastic voice. Nadia paused and looked at him with a smile. He was likely a student, but couldn’t have been much younger than her. As he approached she felt her heart flutter with a strange sensation. He held out his hand to shake hers. “Thomas Cochran, ma’am.”

“Thomas? Or Mr. Cochran?” she asked with a smile.

“Thomas, ma’am,” he said with a nod. “I watched the whole thing and was mesmerized by the proceedings. I honestly wasn’t aware of how much work had already been done in studying this phenomenon.”

“Well, it’s been in no short thanks to chancellor Henry Dean and the school for leading our funding,” said Nadia with a nod. “Did you want to ask me anything specific? Seeing as students aren’t normally allowed back here.”

“Oh, I’m not a student, Dr. Markoff,” said Thomas. “I was actually coming to ask if we could help each other.”

Nadia’s eyes widened in surprise. “Help each other?”

“I can do the same sort of things Mr. Russo can do,” he explained. “Ever since I was a child.”

“A child drifter?” Nadia seemed taken aback. As far as her research had seen thus far, drifting was a phenomenon that happened as subjects got older. It was one of the reasons why the skill seemed so unhoned and uncontrollable amongst her many patients. “You mean you’ve been experiencing astral drifting since you were a child?”

“Yes ma’am,” said Thomas. “I read your thesis on astral drifting that suggested the phenomenon happened when the brain reached a certain age of maturity. Something that just sort of triggered, often with puberty. I’ve been able to do it since I was at least five or six years old. I thought maybe we should talk?”

Nadia looked at Thomas up and down like he truly was the whole package of a fine specimen. A handsome young man with auburn hair and deep green eyes brought a certain soothing quality to his presence. The fact that he stood there and claimed something so bold to contradict past presumptions she made happened to make the situation all the better. “I see,” she said, scrambling to collect a coherent thought with her words. “We might just have a lot to talk about.”

Thomas nodded and smiled with excitement. “Perhaps, I mean, if you’re not busy at the moment, or later today…?”

Nadia looked back to listen for Mr. Russo and the assistants attending to him. She pondered the urgency in that moment and figured it was too immediate an opportunity to let go of. Her heart was still pounding feverishly as she looked back at Thomas and smiled. “I’m free right now,” she said. “If you’d like. Just let me check on the well-being of my patient and I’ll meet you at the front?”

“I’ll see you there,” said Thomas as he breathed out with some relief of tension and turned to hurry out to the front of the building.

Nadia watched him leave as she curiously rubbed her chest to calm her racing heart. She wasn’t sure what it was about the mysterious young man that triggered her emotionally like that. She was always such a calm and composed person, but in that moment it was more of a struggle than she’d ever like to admit.

She turned and hurried to the room behind the auditorium where Mr. Russo was taken to ensure he was in good health. The rugged young man sat up as she entered and smiled. “Dr. Markoff, I’m so glad you’re okay,” he said as he breathed heavily. “The way these people were talking about what happened, I was afraid I gave you some serious head trauma.”

Nadia reached out and gently cupped his hand graciously and smiled. “I’m fine, thank you Mr. Russo,” she said. “That was quite the episode you had there. We’re going to have to talk more about it in your next session, I just had something come up.”

Mr. Russo furrowed his brow. “Oh?” he simply asked.

“It’s just something that can’t wait,” said Nadia. She nodded to him in reassurance. “Take it easy and rest a little without attempting anything too wild and keep this in your thoughts. We’ll keep up with our regular weekly meetings and talk more about it then.”

She nodded to her assistants knowing they will take care of her patient as she hurried along out of the room. Nadia felt her heart skipping beats as she proceeded to make her way to the front of the building. The thought of spending some quality time with this handsome and fascinating young stranger seemed to really rile her up in ways she didn’t expect from herself. She had just turned thirty two years old and this was the closest thing that’s come to a man asking her to do anything since before she met her former fiance. She knew she had to keep the appearances up but she felt like a giddy school-girl, completely shutting out everything that had brought her mood down before. Nadia was always good at turning negatives into positives. She was alive in that moment, much like in a dream, as she opened the door to see Mr. Thomas Cochran waiting for her.

“Doctor,” he said in acknowledgement and with a soothing smile as he pulled on the strap to his bag that was thrown over his shoulder.

That was the look that he made when he first approached. The look that seemed to melt away everything around her. Nadia saw remnants of the past and her fiance standing at the foot of the university where she finally walked away with her fellow graduates.

He said the same simple word of acknowledgement to her as they embraced. Nadia caught herself from reliving the moment verbatim. She approached Thomas with open arms only to drop them to her side and laugh awkwardly. “Well, Thomas, it seems you have me a little off guard today,” she said as she tried to laugh off her unusually warm approach to a total stranger. “It’s not everyday I have someone actively seeking me out to talk and share in their gifts.”

She noticed the bag he carried on his back and remembered his confirmation against being a student at this particular college. It surely didn’t strike her to be a typical college student’s backpack. “Did you travel here?”

Thomas nodded as the two proceeded to walk down the sidewalk towards the bus stop. Nadia didn’t have a car nor did she need one living in such a large and bustling city. Neither did Thomas by his readiness to follow right alongside her. “I traveled from upstate,” he said. “About three hours by Amtrak.”

“All that way just to come to the demonstration?” asked Nadia. “I didn’t even realize the story had much of a following outside the city limits. Drifting is a very niche topic of conversation, and many people still don’t seem to take it very seriously.”

“They treat us like we’re something on television, like the Long Island Medium, and all that crap,” said Thomas as he shook his head. “It’s not the same as a charlatan playing a weak minded crowd or family.”

Nadia looked at him and just smiled with curiosity. “What about your family? How did they take to your episodes?” she asked curiously.

“They thought that I had some kind of epilepsy or night seizures,” said Thomas. “I was committed when I was twelve until they couldn’t hold me anymore. I’ve been my own since then and have rarely talked to my family.”

Nadia stopped as they reached the bus stop and looked at him sorrowfully. “I’m so sorry to hear that,” she said. “I’m sure that was a very hard time for you.”

“I don’t dwell on it often,” said Thomas. “Once I learned to sort of controll my drifting, I was able to focus my attention on my parents and see what sort of life I was missing. They may have done right by sending me away.”

The sound of the bus approaching filled in the dead silence as Nadia breathed out and Thomas turned his attention to see it pull up and come to a stop. The two shared a moment without words as he smiled and gestured to her to be the first to get on the public transit. More than willing, Nadia proceeded to step on with the handsome stranger and ride to wherever his idea of a good place to eat was.

How was that? Excited to get your hands on the complete book? Tell me your thoughts over in the comments section on my Facebook post and don’t forget to order Drifting Book 1 if you haven’t already.