Alternate Currents

Alternate Currents

by Arleen Alleman

ISBN: 9781479798322

Publisher XLIBRIS

Published in Literature & Fiction/Contemporary, Mystery & Thrillers

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Book Description

A gifted child is caught between too many parents, the aftermath of misguided decisions, and mysterious kidnappers, when her family becomes a target of social and religious bigotry.

Sample Chapter

 Part One: Abduction Central 

 Day One—Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Penelope sat in her room suffering through another time out. She wasbored after a half hour of reading books, including her favorite, The Magic Tree House Collection. Leaning against the headboard with her bare feet splayed out in front of her, she stared across the room at Bear and Tipitu. The latter, a battered cloth rabbit, winked at her with its one remaining button eye. Sitting side by side on a comfy pink and white striped chair in the corner, these normally benign creatures appeared to stare back at her in an accusatory fashion.

She looked away from them and focused on the bright red and yellow plastic playhouse, which she no longer used because she was too big to fit inside. She was not fond of the jarring colors and wished she could have a larger pink and purple fairy castle model. She saw this very playhouse at a store in the mall, but so far had not been able to convince her parents that she needed a new one.

Finally, she sighed and let herself think about her earlier behavior because that is what her parents said she must do before she would be allowed to go downstairs. The bedroom door was ajar and faint sounds of food preparation reached her from below. She knew her parents were right. She had been disrespectful when she shouted at Papa. Sometimes she yelled without knowing she was going to because she had so many pressing thoughts, but couldn’t always find the right words to get her point across. This made her feel stupid and that made her angry. Her parents and teachers said she was a smart child, but Penelope wasn’t convinced.

She was already sorry and feeling guilty. As she thought about the words she needed for the apology she must deliver, she heard the front door open and then a voice. “What is this?” it sounded like, but she wasn’t sure. Then there was a noise that didn’t sound right at all. It was the sort of sound that meant something had fallen or broken. At least she could not be blamed for whatever was happening down there. Then the front door slammed shut in a way that would make her parents angry.

The silence that followed the odd sounds seemed even less normal. She was not supposed to leave her room, but the more she listened and didn’t hear anything, the more convinced she became that something had to be wrong. After she thought for a minute about what would be the right thing to do, she decided to risk her parents’ further disapproval in order to investigate.

Slowly, she descended the carpeted stairs with her hand trailing lightly along the polished oak banister as she peered down into the open foyer. The house was completely silent and she felt a shiver of fear like when she looked up at the mall and didn’t see her parents for a moment. She had never felt this way at home, though. Why isn’t anyone talking?

At the bottom of the stairs she could see a lot of Daddy’s colorful building papers scattered on the floor. He will be upset to see them like this, she thought, and stooped to pick them up. With two sheets in her hand, she looked toward the dining room and decided it was more important to see what was going on in the kitchen where her parents were fixing dinner.

Stepping around the brochures, she walked quickly through the dining room and entered the doorway to the kitchen. On the floor just inside, a man lay unconscious and bleeding from a head wound. His tall frame nearly filled the space between the entrance and the work table in the center of the room. Long blond hair was matted to the side of his forehead by a thick smear of blood.

“Papa!” She dropped down beside him and nudged his shoulder. “Wake up. Please wake up, Papa.”

When he did not respond, tears sprung from her eyes. She blinked and shook her head. Looking wildly around the kitchen, she did not see anything out of place. Why did Papa fall down? She shook his shoulder again, but he still didn’t move. She studied his body and the scary-looking open cut on his forehead and tried to think about what she should do.

Recalling that Papa kept his cell phone in the right front pocket of his slacks, she reached in and pulled it out. After trying one last time to wake him, she dialed 911 and pressed the green button as her parents told her she should if there was ever an emergency. She hoped this was in fact an emergency and that she would not get into more trouble for using Papa’s phone.

“911—what is your emergency?”

She was relieved to hear this validation of her decision. “My Papa is on the kitchen floor and his head is bleeding. I can’t wake him up,” she shouted into the phone.

“Are you at your own house? Is anyone else there with you?”

Penelope hesitated and looked around the room. It occurred to her for the first time that she did in fact appear to be alone. “Daddy is here somewhere I think.” She peered back into the dining room. Then, “I don’t know,” she wailed. “Please come help Papa. We are at our house.”

“What is your name and how old are you, honey?”

Penelope sniffed. “I’m Penelope Freeburg-Scott and I’m seven years old, but I’m almost eight.”

“OK Penny, do you know your address?”

“My name is Penelope. We live at 4218 Forty-Second Street in Laurelhurst in the big brick house with the pond.”

 “That is very good, Penelope. Is the man on the floor your grandfather?”

“My grandfather doesn’t live here. He’s my Papa.” Still on her knees she placed her hand on his chest and shook him gently, then sucked in a large gulp of air. With a wrenching sob she yelled, “He won’t wake up. What should I do?”

“Help is on the way, Penelope. It will only be a few minutes. Do you mean the man is your father?”

“Yes, my Papa.”

“Who is the Daddy you mentioned before?”

Exasperated now and crying harder, she raised her voice again. “My father, Daddy.”

“Oh, I see. Penelope, see if you can calm down a little for me. I want you to stay on the phone and talk to me until the doctors get there, OK?”


Excerpted from "Alternate Currents" by Arleen Alleman. Copyright © 0 by Arleen Alleman. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Arleen Alleman

Arleen Alleman

Arleen Alleman is a former senior analyst with the Government Accountability Office where she wrote extensively on many topics ranging from military satellite systems and highway technologies to endangered species and biotechnology. She has a science education, but also worked as a fashion model, teacher, insurance adjuster, jewelry designer, and proprietor of a home décor shop. Her interests include reading, health and fitness, origin and history of world religions, and travel. Her trips supply authentic backdrops and narration for her fictional stories. Born in England and raised in New Hampshire and Nevada, she now lives in SW Florida with her husband, Tim. She is the author of five Darcy Farthing adventure novels.

View full Profile of Arleen Alleman

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