Time travel sounds like Thunder and Church Bells
This Halloween we will be releasing Time by Einstein, the seventh book in the Jamie Poole series. This book is available in eBook format on all Amazon stores. Here are some helpful links:
Watch for the next announcement coming in November about the next book available in paper as the Year of Tristan continues.
For now, enjoy an excerpt from Time by Einstein.
October 31, Saturday.
I practically flew back to campus. I was psyched. I’d dined with my deceased grandpa. That might creep out other people, but not me. Perhaps I should insert here that I’d heard Voices of the Dead most of my life, but then, Dear Reader, if you’ve read this far, you already knew that.
Grandpa John passed away when I’d been young, and I waxed nostalgic recalling memories. With effort I recalled the smell of his aftershave. Nothing fancy. BRUTE, an old classic. I was grateful for his help. Lumen sang against my thigh. My head was full of thoughts. With his help, we’d find the alabaster statue. It had been an object of interest to me and to my dad since I was twelve. You might even say an obsession. It seemed like decades since I was twelve. I’d just begun my second year of university.
That statue was priceless both from a monetary standpoint and a scientific standpoint. It had been carved in the likeness of my ancestor, Eliyana. On the statue, she bore the same sword that I now strapped to my thigh. She’d been the last Emissary of the sword before she bequeathed it to me. As Emissary, I was to guard it and use it for good. It was my destiny even if I was still figuring things out. For reasons she hadn’t explained, she’d failed to give instructions when passing on the sword. What I’d learned had been trial by fire. Literally. I’d helped her rescue her people from a premature and unjust death as their island home exploded when an extinct volcano awakened. Death by volcano may seem natural and not unjust, but there was nothing “natural” about it. As to why I’d say that, it’s a long story which I’ve also detailed in a previous diary.
My hand touched the bag where I kept notes on Mr. Flagstaff. After returning from the Isle of Larupus, I’d begun rereading Doyle Dalton’s diary which he started in April 1907 at the age of seventeen. To be more accurate, I read a copy. Mary Sutherland kept the original as she toiled at translating part of it.
Mr. Dalton, an Englishman by birth, relocated to Australia as a young man. He’d sailing the globe for many years in search of odd and marvelous artifacts. His diary detailed awe-inspiring quests that sounded like odysseys befitting ancient heroes in romantic ballads. He could have made a mint selling his diary as fiction.
Shortly after relocating to Australia, World War I broke out, and he’d been stationed in Egypt. While there, he’d found the statue. On its discovery he’d been oddly mute. Blatantly absent was the playful prose describing some amazing adventure or an impossible adversary he’d felled in some heroic act. That raised suspicion. What was he hiding? Regardless, he’d returned home a decorated war hero—and with the statue and a cache of archaeological objects, thus furthering an already magnificent collection of objects: fossils, stuffed beasts, aquatic animals, ancient objects, religious artifacts, objects bizarre, and others not of this world. Most of them were questionable on their authenticity or how it was he’d actually come to possess them. Sure, he’d documented each find—aside from the statue—but I was still trying to filter fact from fiction in his words. He didn’t make that easy. The only obviously authentic object was Eliyana’s statue. I knew this only because of Eliyana, but its origin remained entirely a mystery.
After the war, he’d assembled his collection and opened a Cabinet of Curiosities, hoping to make money off his collection and his rampantly creative imagination. While he made no money in publishing his diary, he’d made money selling tickets to his Cabinet. Too bad I knew the fate of that cabinet after he passed. I knew the Dalton family in the present. They considered it and the statue a family curse. So much ill fortune. I wondered if there was truth that the statue was cursed. Eliyana knew nothing of its origin. What had Dalton actually found? Again I considered withdrawing the notes to reread them, but I didn’t want to pause.
I stood on the edge of some great discovery. Lumen would keep me safe…
I increased my pace. I’d read them back at the dorm. Perhaps a phrase would reveal itself and the solved mystery would bloom beautiful like a midnight flower.
I hesitated fleetingly.
Would I ever be able to filter his words enough to identify Mr. Flagstaff? Flagstaff had some knowledge of the statue, but I couldn’t discern what. Shortly after mentioning Flagstaff, and for reasons only known to Mr. Dalton, he switched to a foreign language for the climax of his tale. This Homeric odyssey concluded in such a way that it was impossible to know what actually happened. Where was the satisfaction in that? How did Flagstaff fit in? Was he a protagonist, standing faithfully at the side of Odysseus as Dalton often perceived himself? Or was he more of a Trojan, so to speak? What had Dalton to hide? I’d searched for something—anything—within his writing. The part in English anyway. The language he’d chosen to write in was an Arabic-like language. Jumeela, from Alexandria, Egypt, confirmed that it wasn’t Arabic. And Mary had yet to translate it, which was weird. A paleographer—someone who studied ancient languages—of her caliber should have been able to translate it. But what did I know?
Doyle Dalton’s decedent Burt Dalton, who last displayed the Cabinet of Curiosities, concocted a bogus story about the statue being a blue-eyed Queen of the Nile. His imagination lacked the broad and limitless bounds of his ancestor. To be blunt his imagination had all the excitement of a day-old soda. Then it struck me. What if the queen theory actually had been the result of Dalton Senior’s wild imagination? Maybe Burt quoted something passed verbally through the family? I shook my head at my musings. It still tasted flat. “That’s ridiculous. Neither of them knew about Eliyana.” I dismissed the fleeting idea as I continued to muse. A couple people stared as I if I’d been asking questions out loud.
Regardless, the Dalton family was incorrect in thinking the statue was Egyptian merely because Dalton found it in Egypt. Only recently I’d sat with Eliyana on the Isle of Osiris after Larupus had been destroyed. These islands were part of a subarctic archipelago of Scotland located near the Shetland and the Orkney Islands. “Egyptian indeed.” No one looked at me this time.
I halted halfway to campus as another thought hit me. Eliyana had Egyptian ancestry despite where she’d been born. I snorted at that. Still no Queen of the Nile, and the Daltons wouldn’t have known this either. Eliyana lived in the Sixth Century, and she had I were friends because time travel was entirely possible, especially if you had an otherworldly sword that opened portals in the fabric of Time.
Someone side-stepped me to avoid collision as I realized I’d derailed my already disorganized thought process. Where had I been going with that thought? I picked up my pace and tried to reorganize myself. Lumen. Eliyana. The statue.
Using the sword, she and I had both traveled in Time. It had other powers as well. It protected its bearer. Had it caused my vision? I paused on this, more careful to step to the side. I’d experienced a reoccurring, but ever-evolving vision much of my life. It had first come unbidden while I slept. Now it could sneak upon me while I was awake. I had no control. Did that matter? The point was the vision forewarned of things to come so that I could prepare.
Then again, perhaps the vision originated with me. I waffled as I wondered for the hundredth time. Hadn’t it occurred before I possessed Lumen? I was still working that out, and I’d almost succeeded, but my thoughts chased round and round these days. Never quite organized. I’d say I’d done too much homework. Maybe I was burned out. However, that wasn’t true. I should have been spending more time on the vision and less on Flagstaff. But alas! That was a lark. Flagstaff would remain until I’d sorted him.
Of this I was certain: Lumen resurrected the Dead. I resurrected a Druidess—Eliyana. In my defense, that had
been an accident. A beautiful accident. It hadn’t been an accident when I’d resurrected Bruce Sutherland. After that declaration, any further powers it possessed might seem mundane. It was powerful in battle. It harnessed the sun like a laser, a feature that would make any Star Wars fan drool, and it enabled its bearer to learn languages faster. I know, from weapon to words. It was a broad, multi-purposed tool like a Swiss Army knife of swords. I was still learning its features. I had a lifetime to learn.
Too bad it couldn’t translate Mr. Dalton’s diary. That was one language the sword seemed stumped with. Totally odd.
But like I started to say—or I think I started to say anyway—Eliyana’s grandfather had journeyed to Egypt with a fleet of men. They had met with the most learned men of Alexandria. He had returned with an Egyptian wife, Eliyana’s grandmother. Why hadn’t Eliyana’s bloodline occurred to me before? I laughed outright. Did I sound crazy to the people on the sidewalk? Doyle Dalton could never have known this. But he had almost gotten it right.
October 31, Saturday.
After rescuing Eliyana’s people from the volcanic explosion, I’d turned my attention to recovering the alabaster statue. Richard Strand had stolen it from Burt Dalton. Grandpa John would help me find it. I couldn’t help grinning like a stupid idiot. That’s when reality hit. Once I had the alabaster statue what would I do with it? I asked no one in particular, “What’s next?”
And again I had the distinct feeling I stood on the edge of a
groundbreaking discovery. I resisted further temptation to
reach inside my bag and read the notes. Flagstaff held the answer. One sentence and all of it would make sense. I’d learn the identity of the mysterious Mr. Flagstaff. I pressed on, almost running. Once I returned to my dorm I could review the notes all night. It might bother Lenore, but she’d get over it.
More importantly what would I do with the statue? Hide it? Return it to Burt Dalton? Allow Dad to study it? What if he tried to publish his findings? Would that compromise my possession of a mythical sword? What was the right thing?
Dad didn’t know I had it. He couldn’t know. If he did, his safety would be in jeopardy. Things—beings—from the Otherworld might come after him. Again. I had to keep this secret. Only a few people knew. Like Bruce, and Lenore, and Burt’s son, Peter. Then there was Dorothy Davis. Maybe the list was longer than I preferred. Mrs. Davis, a.k.a. Granny D, had even written a book, The Venus Prophecies, which included details about the sword. Believe it or not, her evidence was based on revelations she’d received during psychic meditations. Most considered her writing pseudoscience, but she’d come closer to the truth than scientists. At least I had her promise of secrecy. I could trust her more than I could my dad. I couldn’t share this secret with more people. Eventually it would cease being a secret.
My mind wandered to this and other things as I arrived on campus. I felt positively elated at coming so close to solving things. Once on the Montana State University campus, I passed under the Aasheim Gate. The Aasheim family had done a lot for the university and Bozeman. Most notable, besides this gate: They’d paid for the giant M, a rock formation laid against the one of the foothills and visible from most parts of town. It was a thing in Montana to erect huge letters like this, and it was an annual pilgrimage for students to whitewash the M. I’d never been interested. My head was stuck in the past which held considerably more interest. I know, color me weird. The gate was simply part of the scenery I saw every day.
I paused under the arch when I noticed one of my laces had come untied. I bent to tie it. The sword bumped into my knee. Suddenly I felt dizzy and my elbow felt like someone had hacked it with a meat cleaver. My elbow hurting was never a good sign. It meant something Otherworldly was about to happen.
I was on the edge…
…A church bell clanged in the distance…
The sky was clear but I distinctly heard the rumble of thunder. It must be storming beyond the mountains. Weather could be like that in Montana. Sunny on one side of a mountain. Storming on the other…
I leaned against the arch’s brick base as a wave of pain surged through my skull. I closed my eyes, and held my head. The church bells might as well have been between my ears. I felt like I was falling head first into an abyss. My eyesight faded, and…
…My name is John Crichton…
…Four years ago, I got shot through a wormhole to a
distant part of the galaxy…
…I ended up on a ship—this living ship…
…populated by escaped prisoners…
…who became my friends…
That might have gone through my head before it crashed against a rock pillar hard enough to rattle teeth loose. I wasn’t sure of anything. Except for the incessant clamber of church bells broken by angry thunder. Who the heck was John Crichton?....
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