"Beyond Psychic Powers"An Excerpt from the New Book
CONTINUUM by Marlys Beider
CONTINUUM is the fictional tale of twin souls born minutes apart in separate cities -- souls who share a spiritual ancestry that extends well beyond psychic powers. At age 27, these female visionaries learn of an impending biological terror attack against the United States. Together, they must use their unique gifts to stop the attack as authorities work to capture the terrorists.
The excerpt below takes place in New Orleans and details
the beginning of a necessary "affair" between visionary
Angela Atwood and Hakan Ozturk, a brilliant scientist who
is secretly involved with an Islamic terrorist organization
while working with the CIA. Angela must use her mysterious
powers on Ozturk in order to alter his deadly plan and
protect the United States from biological disaster.
Beyond Psychic Powers
an excerpt from Continuum
by Marlys Beider
Angela drove faster than anyone else on Interstate 10. She realized that with her jovial chatter she was able to loosen up her fellow passenger and engage him in animated conversation, but also noticed that his hands were tightly clasped around his knees and that his knuckles were white. It was obvious that Hakan never before sat in a sports car traveling at high speed.
"You can relax. We're almost there." Angela smiled at him. With her right hand, she patted his white knuckles."Relax," she said again. "I've never had an accident -- you're perfectly safe. After all, I have big plans with you."
The Pontchartrain Hotel was a longtime local landmark. Even though it was a little worn at the edges, it still provided old-world gentility and plenty of elegance.
"I hope you have a weakness for faded grandeur," Angela laughed when she dropped him in front of the hotel. "But I think you'll find this hotel as charming as I do. The Pontchartrain has lured dignitaries from all over for years; you'll be in good company."
"How soon will I have to be ready?" Hakan handed his light-weight bag to the porter.
"I don't live far. I'll drop off my car and swing by in a taxi in fifteen minutes. I hope you're hungry because I'm starving!"
The late-lunch crowd at Tujague's was still in full swing when they arrived. As with most of her favorite places, Angela didn't need a reservation. The chef rushed over as soon as he heard she was there. "Angela, ma chère, I almost did not recognize you; another new hair color, another new style. You're full of surprises. Mais, as always very becoming and très chic."
After Angela introduced Hakan she pointed at her stomach."This needs some serious filling up. What can you do about that, Gaspard?"
During the next hour Angela successfully encouraged the skeptical Hakan to help her feast on fried crawfish tails, oysters, gumbo, baked garlic, and 'Bonne Femme' chicken. She talked about her friendship with many of the local restaurateurs, her strong connection to the various blues and jazz artists in the clubs, and her fascination about the multitude of writers in New Orleans. Even though she was not a writer, she often got invited to literary meetings or readings by captivating new authors.
"For centuries New Orleans has been a mecca for writers and their work," she explained.
"William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, and many more... they've all lived and worked here." She saw that Hakan was hanging onto her every word. "Some of our native authors have made it to stardom with their novels. Have you read Anne Rice, Chris Wiltz, Nancy Lemann...?" She stopped when she saw him blush and shake his head.
"I'm sorry, Ms. Atwood. I've only heard about some of these famous people. I'm ashamed to admit, I never took the time to read anything other than material related to my research, studies, and work." His eyes shifted to his plate and he poked at the last few pieces of food. "Perhaps I've been too dedicated to only one cause."
"Look, you're a brilliant scientist and you have your own agenda. Most people wouldn't be able to follow your line of work, nor would they understand your intense ambition."
"What do you mean?"
"Your research is so sophisticated and uncertain. The majority of people only become intrigued when the results are ready to be put to use. They're not interested in the tedious years of studies, but always are grateful when a cure for another disease is found."
She saw him staring at her and held his gaze. She wanted to grab his hand and get the full benefit of his innermost thoughts, but for now she was content with what she sensed.
The subject of conversation became lighter again after a taste of the chef's famous bread pudding.
It was almost four in the afternoon when they left the restaurant. They started a walking tour through the French Quarter with Bourbon Street. Angela did not care much for the many T-shirt stores and early drunks who came swaying out of the rows of bars, but she allowed plenty of time when she saw Hakan's fascination, especially in the bustling activity of Jackson Square. They stopped and listened to every musician, laughed with the crowd during the entertainment from street performers, smiled with the mimes, marveled at the peculiar "living statues," and paid compliments to the artists while admiring their drawings or paintings. Angela could see that Hakan's hard shell had started to soften.
They walked by the expensive antique shops on Royal Street and looked into other interesting stores on Chartres and Decatur streets. Angela gave a running commentary of the origin of the historic buildings, the Cathedral, and the memorials in The Quarter before finally taking a break at the Central Grocery. They sat on the riverbank, finishing their ice-cold drinks.
When Angela saw Hakan wiping his damp face with his cotton handkerchief, she said, "The summer turns this city into a gigantic steam bath -- very hydrating for the skin." She was used to the heat and humidity. "Look at me. My hair got liberated and went from the confines of styled straightness to its natural unruliness of curls and waves." She saw the desire in his eyes and took his hand so his fingers could touch her soft hair. "It's just another mystery of this city." She smiled when she saw his face redden.
After walking through the French Market, Angela suggested a stroll through Woldenberg's Riverfront Park. As Hakan admired the greenery in the heart of the city, they stopped on the Moonwalk at the Mississippi and sat on a bench to watch the busy port of New Orleans.
On the way back to the hotel, Hakan thanked Angela. "I have not once thought about my work at PIGR," he admitted. "This is a whole new world for me."
"It's only the beginning," Angela promised. "I'll pick you up at nine tonight. That'll give you enough time to freshen up, rest your feet, and build a new appetite for something really special."
She watched as he slowly walked toward the hotel entrance. He turned around three times, smiled, and waved his hand.
"There'll be a rocky road ahead for both of us." Her lips barely moved as she saw him disappear through the door. Even though her visions had become much clearer during the day, there still was vagueness -- almost as if she were looking through an out-of-focus lens. Despite knowing of his deadly intentions, she felt sorry for him and his destiny. "You're going to be held captive by besotted love," she sighed, stepping on the gas pedal. "It's the only way you will open up to me; it's the only way to prevent the ultimate tragedy."
About the Author
German-born MARLYS BEIDER is president of the Mid-America Hotel Corporation in Chicago and has traveled extensively to the locales she writes about. She divides her time between homes in Tucson and Chicago. Continuum is her second novel.
About the Book
by Marlys Beider
Published by Hats Off Books
(ISBN 0-9711748-1-4, 457 pages, soft cover, $15.95)
Available through this site or from the author's web site:
The terrorist group Al-Saafi is about to unleash its newly developed weapon of mass destruction. Soon the devastating MAX 18 virus will rid the world of infidels, beginning with the president of the United States and his cabinet.
Two beautiful and extraordinary women, born only minutes apart at opposite ends of the country, share a spiritual ancestry that extends well beyond mere psychic power. Together they have less than nine months to follow a trail of secrets and unthinkable deeds to keep mankind's future intact.
This heart-pounding story explodes with corruption and deceit, goodness and love. Through a brilliant blend of intriguing characters and a fast-paced plot, CONTINUUM makes you wonder if indeed there are those among us who have been given the awesome responsibility of saving the world from a violent end.
"German-born Beider is a writer to watch, as this is only
her second novel. CONTINUUM is a wild and exciting ride,
and a treat for readers who enjoy suspense, thrills and a
tasty touch of the supernatural to top it all off."
"CONTINUUM is a marvelous pastiche which combines the
suspense of a down to Earth spy novel with an ethereal
spiritual cosmology. The passages describing the realm of
spirit are transcendent while the passages describing the
evil logic of modern day bio-terrorists are all too
disturbingly earthy and real."
"From the novel's first page to its last, CONTINUUM's
riveting subject matter and interesting characters grab the
reader's attention in a surrealistic fashion. The mysticism
and medical details realistically interweave the stories
within a story, holding the reader captive to the end."