This is the first chapter of my first book, which is a story about time travel and growing up into the future called Time Tempest.
It’s currently available on Amazon for the Kindle.
Here’s an excerpt from the story:
“Charlie jumped out of the front seat and into the back. Almost before he grabbed the old, yellow photograph with white edges, he noticed something peculiar about the contents of the photograph. It was a picture of him, wearing the same green shirt with white sleeves and a ketchup stain at the bottom. Charlie’s mind started racing. “Who took this picture?” Charlie started backing away from the car, still holding onto the picture. “Who are the other people in this photograph? When did this happen?” Charlie, almost in a panic, ran towards the door. He shoved the picture in his book bag and ran to school, suddenly unsure of what was going to happen next.”
It was morning in the spring. Charlie lay in bed asleep, dreaming, when he heard his mother speak.
“Charlie?” she asked, more sweetly than usual, “We fixed a special breakfast for you. Get dressed and come downstairs. We have something we want to talk to you about.”
Charlie’s mind immediately began scanning the possibilities of what they could possibly want to talk to him about. “Is it because I haven’t applied for college yet? Are my parents getting a divorce? Someone died. Who could have died?” He put on a green shirt with white sleeves and a pair of blue jeans. It was his last day of school.
The table was set with eggs, bacon, toast, and oatmeal. Charlie’s dad insisted on having oatmeal for every breakfast. He swore it was the secret to keeping himself healthy, but Charlie couldn’t stand the stuff. He sat down, grabbed some eggs and some ketchup while his mother spoke.
“Charlie, we have something to share with you, but first of all, we wanted to say how proud we are of you for graduating high school.”
“Thanks, Mom. What’s up?”
“Your father, well…”
“Divorce?” he thought. “Really? Things seemed okay at home. I mean every once in a while Dad drinks too much and yells at Mom, but that’s hardly grounds for divorce.”
“He lost his job.”
“Oh,” he said, pausing to look at his father. “I’m sorry, Dad,”
His Dad could barely make eye contact, looking down at his oatmeal he said, “It’s going to be okay, I just wish you…”
“Daddy,” she interrupted, “We each have our own lives to live and we have to deal with the choices we make as they are, not as they could have been. You made your choices and Charlie has to make his.” She turned and as if asking with her eyes, she said, “Right, Charlie?”
Her eyes troubled him. He had never seen her this scared before. “Mom, everything is going to be alright. Dad will find another job and I can help out as much as I can. You know that.”
Her face changed as if someone had flipped a switch, “Charlie, you promise me that you go to college and make a life for you, do you understand? You promise me, right now!”
“I promise, Mom, I promise.” He was so shaken by her words that when he went to pour the ketchup on his eggs, it splattered all over his shirt. He stared at the red stain on his green shirt. Had he dreamt about this last night? He wasn’t sure. Suddenly, the California sun rose enough to hit him in the eyes. “Wait, what time is it?”
“I wanted to let you sleep in as much as possible,” she said.
“I can’t be late again, Mom, you know that.” She nodded her head. He thanked her for breakfast, gave her a kiss on the cheek, grabbed his book bag and headed out the back door. If he cut through the woods behind his house he may be able to make it there on time. He didn’t like going that way because there were stories that people in the neighborhood told about odd things that had happened there – strange lights and sounds, and a mysterious building with no windows or doors. No one knew exactly who owned the property or what was inside that building, but whoever built it hasn’t used for the last 50 years. But this morning was different, it was the last day of school and he was determined not to be late. Even if his parents drove them, because of the traffic patterns, it was still quicker to walk, even when he went his normal way around the woods.
The woods were thick with prickly vines and trees, with the occasional batch of poison oak. It was if it had it’s own natural coverage and security system. The leaves had just come in, but through the foliage, Charlie could see the strange, brick building up ahead. He had seen it many times before and always wondered what was inside. There were no markings or signs anywhere and despite this part of California being prone to earthquakes, the concrete walls were relatively free of cracks. “Whoever built this structure, built it to last,” he thought, “but why here? And why make it so inaccessible?” As Charlie got closer to the building, he noticed something was different. “No, it can’t be,” he said out loud to himself. There was a brand new door that had just been installed on the wall facing Charlie. He could tell by how white the door was and the dust still laying on the ground where a saw had apparently cut a hole through the wall. His first thought was to approach the door and test it, but then he remembered he was going to be late for school. If he was late one more day he could risk graduating.
“I’ll just try the handle, to see if it’s unlocked,” he rationalized to himself, “And if it is, I’ll come back by after school and check it out.” Charlie walked slowly over to the door, unsure of what he was afraid of and slightly scared to find out. To his surprise, the door handle was not locked and he opened the door.
It was dark inside the building, which was approximately the size of a detached, two car garage. Charlie reached for where he though a light switch might be and not surprised by the existence of a switch or the availability of electricity, turned on the light. What stood before him was a 1962 Pontiac. It was beige and brown, and although a little dusty, it seemed to be in good condition. It sat on a floor of poured concrete and the walls and ceiling were insulated. There was nothing else in the room except for a box of light bulbs and a quart of oil setting on the ground in the corner of the room. He walked over to the car. It’s chrome trim shined in the fluorescent light even despite being covered in a thin layer of dust. The seats were leather. He opened the front door and sat down in the front seat.. “The keys are still in the ignition?!” he said, still trying to figure out why anyone would build a building around a car in the middle of the woods in the middle of a California suburb. He wondered if it would start, but knowing enough about cars from working with his dad, he wasn’t willing to try turning it over until he had checked some other things first. He checked the glove compartment to see if it had any information about who the owner was or what it was doing here, but the box was empty. He sat back, trying to sort all of this out in his mind, when through the rear-view he noticed a photograph in the back seat.
Charlie jumped out of the front seat and into the back. Almost before he grabbed the old, yellow photograph with white edges, he noticed something peculiar about the contents of the photograph. It was a picture of him, wearing the same green shirt with white sleeves and a ketchup stain at the bottom. Charlie’s mind started racing. “Who took this picture?” Charlie started backing away from the car, still holding onto the picture. “Who are the other people in this photograph? When did this happen?” Charlie, almost in a panic, ran towards the door. He shoved the picture in his book bag and ran to school, suddenly unsure of what was going to happen next.
Read more on your Kindle at Amazon.