Some people can remember things
...it's the gift of time perception.
Orphans of Time-Space is a series of
"...an exciting chase backwards and forward across a number of different time-lines as the protagonists attempt to catch a murdering time-travelling rogue..."
"...Interleaved short stories combine to create a fascinating picture in
this novel, with young love enticing, characters reappearing... timelines gradually
melding into reality...highly recommended..."
At nine years old, Drake was sure he had a best friend named Timmy Browning, but it turns out, Timmy never existed.
Later, at age sixteen, he has other weird memories, which remind him of his earlier one of Timmy Browning. While looking further, he realises he also knows things that he shouldn’t, such as the interior of the actual house that Timmy would have lived in, and Timmy’s mum (now the mother of Drake’s girlfriend, Jeanette); and weirder still: the name of a mysterious assassin.
These types of memories are the mark of one who has the “gift” of time perception. Thus, Drake’s adventures begin…
Saving Timmy Browning is the first in a collection of short stories, novelettes and a novella, all set in the same universe, some with the same characters. Saving Timmy Browning is a novelette, with an “uh-oh” ending if you want to take it on its own; or a cliff-hanger if you want to read straight into the sequel…
The Sequel: Saving the Time-line - Timmy Browning and his younger sister, Jessica have been saved from non-existence, but now the world has been plunged into a nightmarish alternative history of international proportions (no, not like Biff Tannen’s Hill Valley)
By now, we’ve already met Johann, a member of “The Order”. They have the task of streamlining history, and helping humanity avoid nasty things like nuclear war and mass genocide. They’ve been working overtime to keep the USSR and Argentina from a devastating war. They’ve run out of options, except for one, that Drake, Timmy, Jeanette and Jessica can help them with.
Episode Three: The meek shall inherit the earth is more like a chapter in the book that ties a few loose ends together.
Victim Who Was Still Alive is a stand-alone short story, set
in the same universe, same premise. Police Inspector Dylan Murphy is
working on a weird case: the body of a six-year-old boy was found
buried under a pavement that hadn’t been been dug up in fifty
years. But the time of death was only two hours ago. What’s
even more strange: the boy, Mickey Stewart, is still very much alive.
A Couple of Years in the Early Life of a Time Traveller - How a young boy with the ability to remember broken time lines, perceives the Cuban Missile Crises and Kennedy's assassination. Read this one on line
The Great Time Shift (What would happen if Hannibal didn’t defeat Rome?) - How “The Order” was founded; Thoma tells the story of how it all started in a monastery in Iskandar (Kandahar). It was a time-line in which Rome never rose to be a great empire. First century Judea was under the Parthian Empire, so Christianity spread Eastward instead of Westward. India and China have been Christianised and Yoga is a Christian discipline. Thoma and his fellow monk Yoseph discover time-travel, and how to do it safely, avoiding the dangers of becoming embedded in the earth or dropping from the sky (because of the spin and orbit of the earth).
This novella answers the questions: how did history shift from the Parthian to the Roman time line; and how could the Incarnation and the rise of Christianity have possibly occurred in such a barbaric civilisation as the Roman Empire?
Excerpt from: Saving Timmy Browning
My parents thought Timmy Browning was my imaginary friend, but I swore he was real. I remembered him as my best friend.
Although the memories of time spent together were rather dim, I knew quite a lot about him; what he looked like, what would make him laugh or get upset, and what his favourite things were – everything anyone would know about their best friend. I also knew that he lived around the corner and down the road from us, he had a tree house in his front yard, his parents were George and Sally Browning, and he had a baby sister named Jessica.
The problem was, as my parents gently pointed out, George Browning died before I (or Timmy) was born, so he never married Timmy’s mum. They were going together at one time, but he was killed, probably murdered. Instead, Sally married Sam McGuire, and became the mother of my classmate, Jeanette. She had no brothers or sisters.
Was that the first time I heard that George and Sally had ever dated? I don’t remember.
So, where did Timmy come from? I clearly remembered him, and still do. But to everyone else, there never was a Timmy Browning. Whenever I dropped his name with my classmates, I got blank looks, or they asked if he were my cousin. My teacher, who should have also been his teacher, had never heard of him. When I persisted, some began whispering about me. Carter McKee, the class clown got a few laughs saying ‘Where’s Timmy Brown? Timmy Brown’s my friend!’ in a mocking tone of voice. They even got the name wrong! Another kid called him ‘Charlie Brown’. I got the point, so I clammed up about Timmy Browning.
Coming to the realisation that he didn’t exist was somewhere midway between losing a friend and discovering there’s no Santa Claus; actually the worst of both. On one hand, it’s bereavement with no funeral nor condolences; on the other, no one saying, ‘Oh the poor wee boy, he’s just learned there’s no Timmy Browning,’ nor even, ‘Yes, Virginia, there is a Timmy Browning.’
I cried myself to sleep several nights in a row. That was years ago.
A discussion in history class: the teacher said something like, ‘...can anyone give an example of that happening in recent times?’
I raised my hand.
‘Drake?’ the teacher acknowledged.
‘The Soviet invasion of Norway?’
The whole class looked at me saying, ‘Huh?’ ‘Soviet Union?’ ‘Norway?’ ‘But USSR broke up in 1991!’ and things like that. I think the only thing that kept the teacher from calling me a cheeky imp was the serious, and then bewildered, look on my face.
Of course I knew the Soviet Union had long folded! Why did I remember a recent invasion of Norway? It was as though I had been having a recurring dream that featured the Soviet Union as a world power, culminating with a recent invasion of Norway, and feeble protests from a weakened United States of America, and U.K. I don’t even remember having any such dreams – that’s just what it felt like...
Excerpt from: The Murder Victim Who Was Still Alive
What s hould have been the opening scene for a CSI episode:
Work men are busy digging up the footpath in preparation for the widening of the road. Scott’s on the jack-hammer, Nigel is manning the backhoe, while Tony waves the lollipops at the motorists. It’s only been an hour since they put up the signs and cones to block off this part of the road, and already they’ve dug up several metres of footpath.
Having loosened a sufficient amount of pavement, Scott steps aside and waves Nigel in. The iron bucket carefully picks up the pieces and drops them into the bed of the waiting lorry. The arm swivels back for another scoop.
Suddenly Scott waves both arms like a madman shouting for Nigel to stop.
Half an hour later, the place is full of flashing lights. Police ribbons surround the works site. Uniformed officers mill about the peripheral, while a couple of men in suits are examining the find, a child’s hands sticking out from under the concrete slab, strapped together with duct tape.
As Nigel expertly lifts a larger portion of the footpath, more of the body comes into view. A boy, by the looks of it, his skin only showing a bluish pallor from lack of oxygen, otherwise no decomposition. The clothes could have been bought last week.
More people arrive: the medical examiner, the works boss, the council officer in charge of engineering works.
The medical examiner thinks the boy has been dead only a couple of hours. The duct tape is fresh, and it also covers his mouth.
The ground around where the boy was found shows no sign of having been dug. It’s packed around him as though he belong there. Moreover, the city engineer assures them that the last time the dirt under this portion of the footpath saw daylight was fifty years ago.
Day One: Dylan Murphy opens the missing persons file, comparing the photo of the little Johnny Doe with anything recent, before scanning it and submitting it to national search networks. So far, nothing.
At least this is something to do. The other cases in his active basket are going nowhere. The murder of Jane O’Connor is a dead end. Though there is a description of the suspected murderer, he was a total stranger who had never been seen before that time, and no one has seen him since. Then there’s the supposed rape case of Melinda Carson that’s obviously nothing more than a tall story. As weird as this latest one is, at least it’s a diversion.
He’s been to the morgue to get further details, and a photograph. The boy appears to be about six years old, has stylishly long blond hair, all but one of his secondary teeth have come in leaving a gap in his upper left, has a large freckle under his right eye, and is wearing a blue and white striped polo-shirt and jeans. In his pockets were a red rubber bouncy ball, a toy soldier, a Mario Brothers game cartridge for a 3DS and a few other small items.
Dylan clicks ‘send’, and then calls the lab to make sure they received the DNA sample.
‘You’d think someone would have reported him missing, at least,’ says Sue, at the next desk.
‘Might not be a local kid. I’m checking the national files now.’
‘Let me see the photo.’
He hands her the report with the photo stapled to the corner.
‘Hey, I think I’ve seen a boy that looks like that in my neighbourhood,’ she says. ‘He rides by on his bike all the time, and sometimes on his skateboard.’
‘Do you know which house he lives in?’
‘No, but I’m sure someone else there would know.’
‘Let’s go ask around,’ says Dylan.
They gather their coats and basic essentials, and go in Sue’s car.
Reaching the street where she lives, they park, and get out. A boy is walking towards them on the footpath.
‘I’ve seen that boy with him before, I’ll ask him.’ She waves at the boy, who recognises her.
He comes closer.
‘Do you know the boy in this picture?’ Dylan had managed to get him looking alive for the photo.
‘Yeah, that’s Mickey!’
‘Where does he live?’
The boy leads them to a terrace house on the next street.
The lady of the house answers their knock. They show her their police ID, she introduces herself as Margaret Stewart. She invites them inside.
‘I’m sorry to bother you, but do you have a son named Mickey?’
‘Yes. Has he done anything wrong?’
‘Not that we know of. Do you know where he is right now?’
‘He’s right here,’ she says. Turning around, she calls, ‘Mickey?’
Sue and Dylan look at each-other. Dylan shrugs.
Mickey comes into the room from upstairs. Dylan does a double take.
He’s not wearing the same shirt as his double in the morgue, but all the other features match, even down to the freckle under his right eye, and the gap in his teeth. And he’s very much alive.
‘Mickey, these people from the police department want to see if you’re okay.’
‘Are you an inspector?’ says the boy, ‘Like Jack Frost and Inspector Barnaby, and Taggart?’
‘Can I have your autograph?’
‘Oh, that’s okay. Who knows? Maybe I’ll become a character in a TV show someday,’ says Dylan.
The boy gives him a piece of paper from a notepad.
‘And, you’re Mickey Stewart?’ says Dylan, signing his name.
‘Yeah,’ says Mickey. ‘I’ll give you my autograph too, for when I get famous.’
‘How old are you?’
‘Six.’ He signs his name on another slip of paper and gives it to Dylan.
‘Do you have any brothers and sisters?’
‘Yeah, Sandy and Alex.’
Margaret says, ‘Sandra is eleven years old, and Alex is four.’
‘No twin brother?’ says Dylan.
‘No,’ says Mickey, smiling.
‘Any cousins that look like you?’
‘None of his cousins are his age,’ Margaret says.
‘What games do you like to play?’
‘I gotta 3DS, and I like Pokemon, Legend of Zelda and Mario. I’m almost finished playing Mario Brothers, so I am.’
‘Remember, you borrowed that from Ronnie. You’ve got to give it back to him.’
‘Yeah, mum. But I haven’t finished it yet.’
‘Where does Ronnie live?’ asks Dylan.
‘Is there some sort of investigation?’ asks Margaret.
‘We’re investigating a possible missing person case,’ says Sue.
‘Who’s gone missing?’
‘It’s very complicated. We’re not really sure about a lot of things.’
‘What do you want to be when you grow up, Mickey?’ says Dylan.
‘A magician,’ says Mickey immediately, ‘Just like Zilbo the Wizard!’
‘Ah! You’ve been to see Zilbo!’ says Dylan. ‘I went to see that show the other day. Amazing, isn’t he!’
‘He can go backwards in time,’ says Mickey.
‘Really?’ says Sue, sounding impressed.
‘Oh Mickey, I’m sure he uses mirrors or something,’ says his mother.
‘Really, he does,’ insists Mickey. ‘I seen him do it, so I did!’
‘That would explain some of his illusions though, wouldn’t it,’ says Dylan. ‘Now, we’ve taken enough of your time. But please be careful. There could be danger.’
They get up to go. Mickey prances into the other room, bouncing a little red rubber ball as he goes.
‘You really should come with me to the morgue and take a look at our little “Johnny Doe”,’ says Dylan as they arrive at the precinct.
They step into the morgue. The assistant opens the freezer drawer for them. Sue looks.
‘Oh my God! It’s him!’
‘It sure looks like it.’
They return to the office.
‘You have the contents of his pockets in the evidence box, right?’ says Sue.
‘Yeah. You can take a look if you want.’
They look through the assortment.
‘He was playing with a rubber ball just like this as we left,’ says Sue.
‘His Mario cartridge. I suppose he borrowed it from his friend?’
‘What’s this?’ Sue picks up a tightly folded piece off paper Dylan hadn’t notice before, and unfolds it.
‘Oh my God!’ She hands it to Dylan.
To my friend, Mickey Stewart – Inspector Dylan Murphy, it says...