“Lost Gold and Quicksilver”: An Excerpt

For this post, I’m turning my blog over to my friend, fellow author, and occasional partner in crime, William Leisner . . .

I, like Scott, am excited to be a part of Crazy 8 Press’s upcoming anthology Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2021. My story, “Lost Gold and Quicksilver,” is set in the barnstorming era of the 1920s, featuring aviatrix and adventurer Casey Flynn, and Alice Ames, who’s hired Flynn to help her uncover an old family mystery.

The Kickstarter hit its primary goal the last week of October, but there are still a bunch of stretch goals to be met for additional stories, as well as interior illustrations. I for one would love so much to have my story paired with a piece of art in the style of the classic pulp magazines. I hope, when you read my excerpt below, you will agree and join in to take this project to the next level.

Lost Gold and Quicksilver

A flash at the edge of her vision derailed Flynn’s train of thought. Her head whipped sharply to the left, a dark part of her memory warning a squadron of Fokkers were about to swoop down on her. The reasonable part of her mind tried to tell her it was probably just Venus, but then it reappeared, blinking as it passed behind breaks in the cloud.
           Flynn broke off from her search pattern, pulling the stick back and rising to meet the unidentified object above. In response, the thing abandoned the cover of the clouds and moved to an intercept course.
           Flynn could see now it was another airplane, but not like any she had ever seen before. It was only half the length of her Jenny, with a single pair of stumpy wings and a skin of some highly polished metal. It looked like nothing so much as a bullet with a propeller and fins.
           Its resemblance to a bullet didn’t stop with its appearance, either. By instinct Flynn pushed into a sharp dive, just as the other plane shot through the space she’d occupied just seconds before, at what had to be nearly one hundred miles an hour! No man-made machine could fly that fast!
           “Wow!” Alice Ames had popped her head up to watch the streak of silver recede behind them. The Brownie was pressed to her eye, and she was snapping the shutter and twisting the winding knob as quickly as she could.
           “Get down!” Flynn screamed as she gunned the engine. Instinct took over as she tried to shake their tail. The rigging wires visibly vibrated as the horizon went vertical, then slipped away so that nothing but earth filled her forward vision. Teeth gritted, she silently counted off the seconds as the plane started to spiral, and pulled out of the dive and leveled off. For a brief moment, it seemed they lost their mysterious pursuer.
           Then the real bullets started to fly.
           As Acanthis slowed and shed altitude, the other craft slid into formation beside her, wings inches apart. The cockpit was covered by a transparent bubble, allowing the pilot to forgo aviator goggles, and show Flynn his bare, infuriated face. He gestured for her to follow him, and given little other choice, she nodded and allowed him to maneuver in front and lead her to what she could only hope was a safe landing spot. She had her concerns about how safe they’d be wherever they ended up, but that was a worry for later.

Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2021 also includes stories by Michael A. Burstein, Russ Colchamiro, Greg Cox, Paige Daniels, Mary Fan, Kelli Fitzpatrick, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman, Heather E. Hutsell, Paul Kupperberg, Karissa Laurel, David Mack, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Will Murray, Scott Pearson, Aaron Rosenberg, Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore, Richard White, and Sherri Cook Woosley. Please visit the Kickstarter page to preorder your copy, and to pick up a wide choice of other bonuses!


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