A Bit of Self-Publicity....and a bit of fun!
LEAP OF FAITH extract Part 3.
Part 1 was put on my blog last night and the second part was posted this morning. Both are still available.
Part 3 takes you to the end of chapter 1. and I'll hopefully be posting parts twice a day up to the end of chapter 3 at least.
Please feel free to buy the book if you want to happens beyond there. Believe me it'll be worth it! You can get it on:-
Enjoy! And watch out for my normal incredible postings!
Blog on, Dudes!
Chapter One (cont)
Going through the Time Portal is a bit like flying through a tunnel…bloody narrow and best done in films. Looking back I could still make out the shrinking Inspector sloshing around in the Trafalgar Square fountain trying to arrest a ghost and, at the other end, my friends were coming towards me like a train. I’d used the Portal loads of times, but when I ended up on Nelson’s Column it was the first time I’d literally been sucked through it to somewhere not of my choosing. Come to think of it I wanted to know where Nelson’s statue had gone and whether Marble Arch’s disappearance was a fluky coincidence. The copper obviously didn’t think so and had me pegged as a statue and monument thief. I was well out of it and dead pleased to be on my way back home to the pleasures of a hot cup of tea and dry clothes.
It was then that things went all fuzzy as I shot off on a sort of temporal branch line and ended up sprawling on a cold stone floor. I lay very still in case I was on yet another column and slowly opened my eyes half expecting to see more pigeons, but it was less than twilight dark and there were no birds, just stuffy darkness.
I was in a room staring at a boy, which seemed a promising start. He was crouching down behind a moldering packing case and mumbling what sounded like “Stop, stop! Oh, please stop! Lords above, what have I done? Oh, crap!” He didn’t seem in control of things and by the look of it I wasn’t the only unexpected thing to have come out of the Portal. Damaged wooden boxes and smashed pottery littered the place while dust rose into the air as though there’d been a mini-explosion. After a minute of silence, the boy peeked out from behind his crate, inched forward on all fours towards a candle and swore as he burned his fingers on the still-smoking wick. He fiddled with flint and tinder and eventually managed to relight the candle stub.
The room was small with a solid-looking oak door, had no windows and hardly any light to speak of other than the dim shimmer from the boy’s candle and an unholy ultraviolet glow coming from the Portal archway. I never really liked that glow. The brick walls were bare and dripped with what looked like green slime, or really cheap hospital paint, but aside from the odd packing case and bits of broken crockery the room was empty and held nothing of interest except me lying on the floor covered in white dust.
The boy walked nervously towards the archway, ignoring me for some reason, and put out a hand to touch the switch that still glimmered to one side of the ultraviolet Portal. He pushed it up and dived full length across the cellar floor sliding to a halt by the door with his eyes shut and his hands over his ears. He probably thought the Portal was going to explode, suck him into some hellish netherworld, or slit his body down the middle and turn him inside out so his guts would slither over the floor like half-set red jelly. Which I suppose considering what had just happened to me and Nelson wasn’t so crazy. All the boy got was silence as the Portal’s whine wound down to a stand-by hum and the ultraviolet light blinked out.
He got up and by the remaining light of his candle stared at me as though he was trying to see if I were a statue, or just dead. I thought he was going to have a pants accident when I sat up, rubbed my eyes and said, “Where am I?” Understandable, I suppose. I coughed, beat at my robes causing billowing dust clouds, then held out both arms at full stretch as though magic were going to ripple from my fingers, as he hesitantly approached again.
“Stay where you are, boy.” I stood up and gave him a threatening prod with my forefinger. “One more step and I’ll turn you into a rabbit. I can do that you know, because I’m a wizard. Or pretty well nearly a wizard.” Amazingly the boy seemed to believe me, or at least he decided to stand back. “Tell me where I am and be quick about it. It doesn’t do to keep Tertia, the nearly-wizard, waiting,” I glanced at my clothes, “even when I look like a used duster. If you’re going to open and close your mouth like a fish, then for pity’s sake get some words out and answer my question.” I looked around. “Ok, this is not Merlin’s cave, or the Olé Grill, so where am I and what do you know about disappearing statues?”
I made the last words a stinging command and the boy sprang to attention although he managed to stop short of saluting me. “Y-you’re here.” He spread his hands wide. “You’re in my father’s cellars and we’ve no right to be here. He’ll skin us both alive if he finds us down here, especially after what I’ve done.” He looked as though he expected to hear his father’s footsteps at any moment. “Honest, I don’t know anything about statues. I only pulled a couple of switches and this devil’s machine went mad. Things went flying round and all sorts of garbage got spewed out. Present company excepted,” he added quickly and very wisely.
So far I hadn’t actually made any attempt to turn him into a rabbit and he was probably feeling slightly braver, so I decided to seize the initiative back. “Enough of your tomfoolery, boy. How dare you talk like that to a nearly-wizard member of the Temporal Detective Agency? I’ve a mind to teach you a lesson you’ll never forget.” Giving him the choice between an angry father and a vengeful me seemed to have the desired effect as a bead of sweat trickled down his forehead. “However, as you seem to know where I am and presumably how I got here I shall let you off and trust that your manners will improve. In consideration of my leniency, boy...”
“Bryn,” the young man said quietly. “My name is Bryn, not boy.”
I ignored his mumbled resentment. “...you’ll tell me where we are and what you’ve got to do with Nelson’s missing statue and Marble Arch.”
Bryn looked at me suspiciously. “You’re not from round here are you? I can tell. If you’re from the Tax and Excise people the best thing you could do would be to jump back through that archway thing.”
“I told you, boy,” (there was a muttered “I’m Bryn”), “my name is Tertia. Actually I’m not sure if I did mention it, but it is,” I waved dismissively as though names were unimportant, “and I have no interest in taxes of any kind. I try to avoid them like any sensible person.”
“Oh, so you’re a girl then,” said the boy called Bryn with remarkable insight, “which round here would make you quite acceptable if you weren’t English and appeared out of my father’s Time device. Personally, I’ve got nothing against girls, even if you do think you’re a wizard and wear strange clothes. I’m quite open-minded and after all, this is the eighteenth century.”
“Twenty-first,” I said without thinking. “This is the twenty-first century. You’ve got to add a century onto the actual year, not take a couple away. A lot of ignorant people make that mistake.” I was busy brushing dust off my robes when I noticed the look on Bryn’s face, which roughly said I’m getting out of here. This girl’s a loony or I’m an Englishman! I watched him edge back against the wall and realized almost too late that he was feeling his way towards the door.
“Where do you think you’re going, young man?” I was watching Bryn like a one-eyed lizard. “Either you help me get out of here, or I take you with me through that infernal archway to whatever fate awaits us.” I flicked the switch on the side of the Portal and spun a small wheel with numbers on it that made the thing hum. I smiled when the archway started to shimmer as the familiar whine reached a point just above human hearing and the ultraviolet pulsing glow throbbed into life. “Amazing! I’m not normally very technical. I usually leave things like this to my cousin. Now, boy, the decision is yours.”
Before Bryn could answer we both heard footsteps approaching the cellar. They sounded strange. They weren’t the confident steps of a man who knew he had every right to be there, but they sounded aggressively loud enough not to be friendly. “My dad!” Bryn sprang away from the door and grabbed me by the sleeve. “Are you really a wizard?”
I gave half a nod. “Apprenticed to the world’s best. Merlin herself.”
“And you’re really from the future?”
“If I’m from the twenty-first century and you’re from the past then I must be in a way I suppose. But originally I’m from long ago.”
“You’re mad! And you reckon you can change people into rabbits?”
“Well I exaggerated slightly there. That comes in year four with Merl I think.”
“Then I’ll come with you if I may. I like a bit of an adventure and if you’re really a wizard where you come from it’ll be more interesting than staying here and meeting my dad. You haven’t seen him when he gets really mad. Actually neither have I, but after what I just did I don’t want to either.” He shuddered and glanced at the door.
The footsteps had stopped and though I couldn’t see it I sensed the handle was turning. Bryn grabbed my arm and hurried me towards the welcoming archway. “So tell me then, if you’re not from around here, how come you’re a female wizard dressed in those funny clothes and covered in dust?”
The handle was definitely turning now.
“Okay, if you want to waste time.” I stood still and faced him with hands on hips. “Firstly these are my wizard robes, and secondly I was on top of a column somewhere in London and the next thing I knew I was here, for which it looks as though I can blame you. There was lots of dust up there, there’s lots of smashed pottery down here and if you hadn’t noticed I’m soaked up to my knees.”
The door was inching open now on well-oiled hinges.
“That’s fascinating, Tertia,” Bryn hadn’t been paying attention to a word I’d been saying, focused as he was on his father, “I’d like to leave now, please.”
I hung back. “You haven’t told me where we are yet.”
“Haven’t I? You’re in Port Eynon in South Wales in the year 1734...”
I uttered words like “Dang it!” and “How the bloody Hell!” which is most unlike me, because I know how to really swear.
“...and I strongly suggest we leave now.” He pushed me into the archway and grabbed my hand. “I know my dad uses this thing so I know roughly what it does, but where are we going to end up? In the village square?”
As if I knew.
All he got in reply was, “Home I hope, but really I’ve absolutely no...” As we walked through the archway I glanced at the opening door and caught a fleeting look at the man entering the cellar. I recognized him instantly as a murderer, a fraud, a thief, and the man who ruined my parents and nearly killed them and half of Camelot. I thought he’d died centuries earlier when Sir Gawain defeated him and I still hated him. I ran.