Splashdown Vol. 1

With stories by

Fred Warren, Caprice Hokstad, P. A. Baines,

Adam Graham, R. L. Copple, Travis Perry, Mike Lynch,

Keven Newsome, Kat Heckenbach, Ryan Grabow,

Grace Bridges and Walt Staples

Copyright Splashdown Books 2011

Cover Art by DeAnna Newsome,

All rights reserved

Edited by Grace Bridges

Narrated by Walt Staples

Editor’s Assistants:

Diane M. Graham, Kat Heckenbach, Robynn Tolbert, Travis Perry

Narrator’s Assistant:

Keven Newsome

Published by Splashdown Books, New Zealand

aqua (n)—water, used in compound names, or substances in water.

synthesis (n)—a joining of elements into a unified entity.

aquasynthesis (n)—a combining of worlds within a pool of water; an anthology of stories from Splashdown authors.


Introduction—Grace Bridges

Narrator—Walt Staples—between each story

Facing the Cave—R. L. Copple

Dude—Kat Heckenbach

Old Saint Nick—Travis Perry

Bob—P. A. Baines

When The Game Became Too Real—Ryan Grabow

Second Site—Grace Bridges

Between the Pages—Kat Heckenbach

Fettered Soul—Caprice Hokstad

The Kissing Part—Fred Warren

The Artist—Kat Heckenbach

A Stretch of Time—Grace Bridges

One Smile at a Time—Fred Warren

Summer Snaps—Keven Newsome

Faith’s Fire—R. L. Copple

The Unjust Judge—Adam Graham

Dry Places—Travis Perry

The Assistant—Keven Newsome

Ears—P. A. Baines

Lily’s Tale—Grace Bridges

Gravity—Travis Perry

The Field Trip—P. A. Baines

Your Average Ordinary Alien—Adam Graham

Weapons of War—R. L. Copple

A Small Sacrifice—Mike Lynch

Closer to Home—Keven Newsome

Author Information

Introduction—Grace Bridges

Do you remember diving into the water as a child?

You leap from your perch, a bit scared of the wet world waiting below. The exhilaration of flight. The rush of air. The tingly anticipation of a good soaking.

Then, the splashdown.

You hit the surface. It surprises you, even though you knew it was coming, even though you’ve done this a hundred times before.

In a second the cool wetness submerges you. You are immersed in the embrace of an alien world. Strange noises fill your ears. You cannot breathe. Peering through the murk, you glimpse a fish, a waterweed, a sandy seafloor, riverbed, or pool tiling. Slanting sunbeams play through the ripples.

You are refreshed and revitalised. Your body propels you back to the world of air and light. You burst out of the water and yell just for the fun of it.

Change of scene, from the familiar to the fantastic. You are an astronaut inside a tiny lifepod. The journey has been long, but finally you are arriving on a new planet. Consider what lies ahead as you approach splashdown time. It’s been lonely out there, and you eagerly anticipate meeting other beings again. Feeling your toes sink into dirt, seeing buildings kiss the sky, tasting food that isn’t just mush. Even if those beings, that dirt, those buildings and those foods are like nothing you’ve ever known before.

You have come to a new world. This runs through your head as your capsule hits the alien ocean. Water bubbles up around the window. Gravity sucks you down and down and down. It reminds you of that other picture, jumping from the wharf in childhood—this plunge into the wet, this foreign underwater world. For a moment you wonder if this sea has the same flotation properties as the salty brine of your home.

Then the downwards movement eases and you sense you are ascending. How far down did you go? The gases inside your lifepod now rush you up towards the new atmosphere. What will you find in this new world?

It is with these thoughts of water and discovery that we present Aquasynthesis for your enjoyment. Why Aquasynthesis, and why the H2O on the cover with its composite parts? Because Splashdown is all about water and all about teamwork. My heartfelt thanks to all the contributors, whether authors, editors, assistants or designers. It is your synthesis that has made this project possible.

Splashdown Books promotes an international team of Christian writers of speculative fiction, their short works synthesised here in a unified story structure. I decided to let each author keep their native spelling, so don’t be surprised if you read both American and British variants. These are the things that give our synthesis its flavour, along with the mix of humour and impact, and about every speculative genre you can think of.

And now, dear reader, it is your turn to synthesise with us…and let Walt introduce you to Gizile and Tok, who will guide you from the first page to the last. Dive in with us!

Grace Bridges

Auckland, New Zealand

August 1, 2011