The Newton Enigma.  A novel by Linton Herbert


Chapter 1


New York, 9th avenue, fortieth floor, October 21, 11 AM:


Terra Lane Montgomery did not notice the first drop landing by his left ear.  He sat at his computer screen in an enormous bull pen with dozens of others at their computer terminals doing the routine business of maintaining and running a huge online food delivery service, the biggest.  There was so much commotion that anyone would develop the habit of over concentrating.  This morning, more than usually, he had shut everything else out but the information on his screen; the pipes seemed to have been running all morning making a cheerful but distracting singing sound.


The second drop got his attention.  He reached up to wipe away the wet and glanced at it to see if it was just water or an overrun toilet at fault.  It was blood.  Terra Lane looked up and saw the patch of widening red on the ceiling tile as the gooey liquid changed from isolated drops to a thin stream.  Then somebody screamed. 


As if summoned by a witch, a number of patches of blood appeared on the ceiling and grew.  There was a general panic as people rushed to the doors only to find them locked from the outside.  A few smashed windows and looked desperately down at the pavement far below.  Acoustical tiles began to disintegrate, and the whole ceiling started to bulge.  Terra Lane stabbed at his keyboard a few times and then started to type as fast as he could, oblivious to the highlights that the outraged spell checker threw onto the screen protesting that there was neither spelling nor grammar in what he was doing.


As he worked, the ceiling descended farther with a profound groan.  Tiles fell.  Ventilation ducts twisted out of their mounts.  Lights and a speaker broke lose and dangled.  In moments, the message was complete.  He glanced it over out of habit and then made a few more stabs.  Text cheerfully announced that the message had been sent on its way.  Then the electricity failed as the entire unthinkable weight above crashed down, driving the room through the floor and the floor below that.


Like a huge satanic piston, the down-rush burst floor after floor, accelerating with the unleashed energy of uncounted tons of matter dropping hundreds of feet.  At last the avalanche buried the whole mass in the basement and continued to press the blood and juices from the bodies of a thousand innocent people. 


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