The Singularity Wheel

When I published The Eye-Dancers in 2012, I did not envision nor expect that there would be a sequel.  “This is a stand-alone, a one-off,” I said at the time.  “There won’t be a second book.”  But as so often happens in literary pursuits, new twists and turns develop, ideas strike from the ether, demanding to be released onto the page.

And that’s what happened here.  Just over a year after the release of The Eye-Dancers, I was struck with a creative bolt from the blue.  Quite literally.

I was taking a walk, and suddenly, with no warning, a mental image came to me.  It was so strong, so swift, that I literally stopped moving, and just stood there.  In my mind’s eye, I saw the main characters from The Eye-DancersMitchell Brant, Joe Marma, Ryan Swinton, and Marc Kuslanski–older now, at the cusp of graduating from high school, standing before a monstrously large building, looking up at its near-unfathomable size and scope.  And above them, in the sky, taking over the sky, were the blue eyes of Monica Tisdale, “the ghost girl,” glaring down at them like celestial lasers.

I knew right then.  I had a new story to tell.  A sequel.  The Eye-Dancers was not a “one-off,” after all.  And now, that germ of an idea has been fully realized, and The Singularity Wheel is the result.


Here is a brief synopsis of the novel:


Five years ago, Monica Tisdale, the “ghost girl,” invaded their dreams and led them through the void.  Now she is back, more desperate and more powerful than ever.

For Mitchell Brant, Joe Marma, Ryan Swinton, and Marc Kuslanski, the intervening five years have seen them advance to the cusp of their senior year in high school.  They have girlfriend troubles, job stresses, future careers to consider.  They don’t have the time, or the inclination, to be whisked away to Monica’s world again.

But when Monica calls on them to leap into the abyss and bridge the gap between dimensions, she will not take no for an answer.  She has tapped into the deepest pools of her mysterious powers, leading to consequences as unforeseen as they are disastrous.  For Monica, the multiverse, the concept of a limitless number of parallel selves and parallel worlds, has become all too real.  And all too terrifying.

Through it all, she knows that Mitchell and his friends are the only ones who can save her.

If she doesn’t kill them first.


And here is the full Prologue of The Singularity Wheel . . .



She was endless.  Infinite.  She knew that now.

Monica Tisdale smiled.

With her eyes tightly closed, she sent out a mental thought-wave to . . . herself.

No.  That wasn’t right.  Not to herself.  To herselves.  She was more than one—far, far more.

She had practiced religiously, diligently, ever since she’d contacted the boys who later rescued her.  The boys who had come here from another world.  That knowledge had awakened a thirst in her, a quest to learn and discover.

And connect.

She was not like other girls.  She had always been different, attuned to phenomena most people didn’t recognize and didn’t see.  As the weeks merged into months, and the months to years, her awareness of these things had sharpened.

She was ready.

She sent out another thought-wave—trying to reach the Monica Tisdales in a billion billion other worlds.  She was out there, pieces of her, aspects, alternate versions, spread throughout creation like seeds scattered in a cosmic wind.  She wanted to communicate with herself, with all of her selves—everywhere.  Why should she be so confined to this world, this small town of Colbyville, New York, where she lived?  In other universes, perhaps she lived in exotic locations, beachfront homes, exciting, bustling cities.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to learn what she knew in those other worlds?  To tap into the memories and experiences of an infinite number of Monica Tisdales?

“Yes,” she whispered.  She was sitting, cross-legged, on her bedroom floor.  Duss, the dog she had bonded with during her ordeal years earlier and who she had subsequently adopted, sat nearby, whining softly.  She knew that if she opened her eyes she would see him staring at her, wondering what she was up to.

But she did not open her eyes.  She would not allow herself to lose focus.  She had come so close the last time she tried.  Now she was determined to succeed.

“You’re in me,” she said to her alternate selves, and the dog whined again.  “You’re so far away, but you’re so close, too.  All of you.  Yes.  Yes . . .”

She felt a jolt, like an electric shock.  For a moment, she wavered, her eyelids quivering.  But only for a moment.

Her eyes still firmly closed, she saw tiny pinpricks of light illuminate the blackness.  The pinpricks multiplied, slowly at first, but then faster and faster, dotting the dark canvas of her own personal universe like shimmering clusters of stars.  This was where she had faltered in her last attempt.  The light was too bright and she had opened her eyes.  When she’d closed them again, the light was gone, and no matter how hard she tried, she wasn’t able to will it back.

This time, she would not fail.

“I know you’re there,” she said.  “I know I’m there.”

Suddenly the pinpricks of light, a galaxy of them, a number beyond counting, merged into a giant white ball.  Monica gasped.  There was no way she could look at it a second longer.  It was blinding, brilliant.

“Please, it’s too bright,” she said, and she felt, vaguely, the dog licking her hand as it rested in her lap.  The sensation of his wet, paper-thin tongue on her skin seemed to belong to a different world.

Just when she thought she would need to open her eyes, short-circuiting the connection, the white ball began to break apart.  The fragments fell away, in every direction, confetti floating across an endless black cosmos.  But the fragments weren’t simply nameless, shapeless things—they were her.  A million Monica Tisdales spiraled away from the rapidly shrinking ball.  Ten million.  A billion.

“Oh, my G—”

She couldn’t complete the thought.  As quickly as they had dispersed, the fragments now merged again, one into another into another, until the impossibly white ball was back—pulsating now, like a living heartbeat.

That’s when the madness began.

Sounds, images—flashing across the video screen of her brain at incalculable speeds.  The pieces of her, the versions that had been scattered throughout all time and all space but which had now coalesced into one entity, were in her, and she in them.  The stories of their lives, the joys, heartbreaks, fears, hatreds, filled her in a microsecond.  She saw faces—adult faces, children’s faces, smiles, frowns.  She felt love and disapproval, belonging and estrangement.  And horror.

“No,” she said.  If Duss still licked her hand, if he pawed at her, she did not know, did not feel it.  “No.”  She saw the ripples of choices made and not made, actions taken and not taken, in universes without number.

“Stop it!” she yelled.  She had made a terrible mistake.  She had to end it, while she still could.  Before it was too late.

It already was.

She tried to open her eyes, but could not.  It was as if they were clamped shut with staples.

What have I done? 

That’s when she felt, more than heard, an eruption inside her head.  She feared her brain would explode, the shrapnel of her essence bursting through the shattered holes of her skull.  There was a pounding, incessant, and the voices rose in volume, the screams and hollers and cries and laughter and longings.

She wanted to protest, to wish it all away, but it was a bullet train, a rocket ship breaking through the speed of light.

Who was she?  It was no longer clear.  She was an endless chain of beings.  In her mind there resided a collective eternity of memories.  She was everywhere, in all places, in all creation.  She was nowhere, nothing, usurped by the onslaught.

“Monica,” she heard someone say, from a distant, faraway place.  “Monica!  What’s going on?  Are you all right?”

It was then that she realized she was screaming.  She felt hands shaking her, back and forth, back and forth . . .

. . . and then there was nothing but blackness.

Voices.  Muffled at first, then growing clearer, more distinct.

“She’s coming to.  She’s waking up.”

She opened her eyes.  An attractive young woman in nurse scrubs smiled down at her.  She was lying in a bed, covered with crisp white sheets and blankets.  She swallowed, looked around the room.  Plain beige walls, a window overlooking a large parking lot filled with cars.  A television mounted high on the wall opposite her, the screen black and silent.  And another woman, gray-haired, older, also wearing a nurse’s uniform.

“Where am I?” she croaked.  The words came out as if scratched with sandpaper.  She reached for her throat.  She was thirsty, so thirsty.

The young nurse handed her a glass of water.

“Slowly,” she said.  “Just take a sip.”

She did.  “What is this place?” she said, and took another sip.

“Poor girl,” the pretty nurse said—but her lips hadn’t moved.  There was no sound.  Monica listened—there it was again.  “She has such beautiful eyes.  But she must be so disoriented.  Out for two days.”

“Two days?”

The nurse pulled back, as if slapped.  “Oh.  I must have said that out loud without realizing.”  She glanced at her older colleague, who just shook her head.  When they looked at Monica again, there was something in their expressions that hadn’t been there before.  Fear?  Bewilderment?  Disbelief?

“What do you remember, Monica?” the older nurse asked.  “We’ve run a series of tests on you while you were . . . not awake.  But everything came back normal.  Do you remember what happened, what you were doing, before you blacked out?”

She closed her eyes.  She remembered feeling a powerful surge, as if she’d been blasted with a 100,000-ampere ray-gun.  She remembered the screams and the cries and the unending echo of voices upon voices, filtering through the tunnels and tributaries of existence.  There were layers of her that extended without end.

What she did not know, and did not remember, was which Monica Tisdale she was.  She was all of them, all of her.  She was a single storehouse for an infinite number of lives.  Their consciousness was her consciousness.  Their joys and torments were hers.

It’s too much, she thought.  I’m too much.


“Shut up, leave me alone!” she snapped.  Didn’t they understand?  She didn’t know who she was!  There was no way for her to distinguish.  The memories she’d acquired here, wherever “here” was, were no more and no less tangible than the memories she now possessed of countless other worlds.

“Honey, we just—”

“Shut up, go away!  Won’t you please just leave me alone?”

The nurses exchanged worried looks, which irritated her still further.

“Oh my.  This one’s gonna give us a hard time.  Just what we need.”  It was the old nurse.  Her thoughts came through as if the words had been broadcast over a PA system.

“I’m not trying to give you a hard time,” Monica said.  “Don’t be such a dribbler.”

The nurse gaped at her.  And then she pressed firmly on her ears, shaking her head, crying out in pain.

“Gladys, what’s wrong?”  The young nurse went to her, but the older woman motioned her away.

“It’s all right,” she said.  “Whatever it was has passed.”  She looked at Monica, a silent accusation on her face, and then left the room, grumbling.

It was not an errant accusation.  How she had done it, she wasn’t sure.  It hadn’t been intentional.  But Monica had no doubt that it was she who had caused the old nurse’s pain.

“I don’t like her,” she said.

The young nurse smiled, weakly.  Hearing her thoughts, Monica knew she was afraid of her.  Good.  Maybe she’d leave her alone.

She had been able to read the thoughts of others once, too.  And communicate with them, without ever opening her mouth.  She tried that now.  “Go away,” she thought.  Nothing.  The nurse remained where she was.  But it had been different with those others.

She closed her eyes again.  If she could only remember who they were—locate them amid the endless catalogue of memories now swirling in her brain.

But it was hard to think.  She was so tired.  She wanted to go back to sleep.  Maybe there would be peace and stillness in her sleep.

“I’ll call for your mom and dad, Monica,” the nurse said then.  “I’m sure they’ll want to see you now that you’re awake.  They’ve been here at the hospital since they admitted you.  They haven’t even gone home to eat or rest.  Maybe seeing them will . . .”

Make me normal?  Help?  She stifled an urge to laugh.  Her parents?  Which parents?  She had parents everywhere.  Her parents in this world would be no more real to her than those in any of the others.

This is all so impossible, she thought.  So totally and completely impossible!

Needing a diversion, something, anything, she glanced at the stand beside her bed.  A dozen playing cards were spread out in a circle, like the face of a clock, and a single card was placed in the middle.

“Just something to pass the time,” the nurse said, following Monica’s gaze.  “I like that game.  Do you know how to play?”

“I . . .”  She didn’t know how to play—at least she didn’t think she did.  Nothing was clear anymore.  And yet there was something so striking about the cards, the way they were arranged.  So familiar.  But where was the queen?  Wasn’t there supposed to be a queen involved?  Didn’t—

“Oh!”  She sat up in the bed, the cards instantly forgotten.

“What is it?” the nurse asked.  But her thoughts betrayed her.  She was growing more startled by the second.  Who was this strange patient on her watch?

Believe me, you don’t want to know.

Monica squirmed, violently, as if having a seizure.  The nurse rushed out of the room, calling for assistance.  In a moment, a doctor would come in to probe, prod, and examine her.  It didn’t matter.  Nothing mattered.

She was in so many places, undergoing so many things . . .

From somewhere, a universe away, and yet inside herself, she heard the buzz of a dentist’s drill, and the dull, thudding pain of its tip as it bored into her upper middle incisor.  She shouldn’t have felt anything, but the dentist hadn’t given her enough Novocaine.

Somewhere else—she heard laughter, taunting, jeering, as a group of bigger girls pushed her into a mud puddle.  “Get up, you little freak,” they said, and she felt a wet glob of spit land on her face.

Somewhere else again, she was in a gloomy, shadow-filled room, thin streaks of sunlight filtering in through the gaps of brown window slats.  She stood up, tried to open the door, but it was locked.  In the hallway, beyond, she heard a man’s loud, angry voice, and then the smack of his hand striking flesh.  A cry, a scream.  Another slap.  And a sense of utter helplessness, entrapment, no escape.

“No!” she yelled, from that locked room worlds away, and from the hospital bed where she thrashed and spasmed.  How could she shut off the images and sounds and feelings?

“Please.  Please . . . stop . . .”

Mercifully, it did.  Her mind went blank, and then, she was only here, in this one room, this one place.  But for how long?  When would the next episode occur?  And when it did, would she be able to stop it?  Or would she remain, simultaneously, in an infinite number of worlds, without respite or reprieve?

She didn’t want to think of that.  She just breathed a sigh of relief that it was over.  Outside her door, she heard the approaching footfalls of doctors and nurses.  She could read their thoughts, know what they were going to say before they said it.

If only they could help her.  It didn’t seem possible, but maybe . . .

She shook her head.  She was past that now.  “Maybe” wasn’t good enough.

She had to contact those others.  But who were they?  Where were they from?  She had to remember.  She concentrated, blocking out the rush of thoughts all around her.  A picture formed in her mind.  At first it was blurry.  Then the colors and contours took shape.  Yes.  She had done it—she knew them.  Four boys.  They were from another world, a world where she herself did not exist.  She’d been in trouble (once, somewhere), and had called out.  They were the ones who heard.  They were the ones who helped.

She did not know if they would want to help her again.  But it didn’t matter.  The decision wasn’t theirs to make.

It was hers.

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