Lost In Time
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by Tony Chandler
Category: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Description: Gordon Smith and Sarah Nightingale are lost in time? And most disturbing, they have no memories of their lives prior to time traveling. As they journey through Earth's timeline, they search for clues to their previous life and to the most important question of all -- what happened to wipe out their memories?
The one thing they do know -- they are being chased throughout time by dangerous Shadows and the faceless Anon. But, they have a plan. They travel back to meet Jane Austen and set their strategy in motion. But events quickly spiral out of control.
Gordon and Sarah are forced to travel again in order to rescue William Shakespeare. A new and greater enemy threatens Earth's timeline with an evil act that could change history forever. As the battle reaches its climax, they discover that time and space is shifting in a state of flux all around them.
They now find themselves in a desperate race against time itself!
eBook Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing/Double Dragon eBooks, 2011 Double Dragon Publishing
eBookwise Release Date: June 2011
3 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [289 KB]
Reading time: 175-245 min.
Tony Chandler's newest book, Lost in Time, is an energetic romp through worlds, times and concepts that blends fun, physics, and a little light what-if philosophical conversation in a fast-paced read.
Chandler's layers of story are engaging and peel away at a good pace to keep the reader both informed and curious. The interlude with Shakespeare includes persuasively philosophical and humanistic musings, and the not-quite-quantum physics conjectures the pair of wanderers have with their somewhat enigmatic time-traveling guide are refreshingly different.
In all, fans of Doctor Who if not Audrey Niffenegger should have fun with this quest by the popular author of Mothership. -- Alexis Brooks de Vita, 2005 Colorado Gold Award in Speculative Fiction for The Books of Joy: Blood of Angels
* * * *
Gordon awakened as an electric shock of danger surged through his body.
He lay completely frozen in the strange surroundings of the hotel room, straining to listen.
Total darkness engulfed him. He glanced quickly around the room, but all was still and silent. And yet, something had awakened him. His heart hammered against his chest so hard it seemed certain the sound could be heard all the way into the hall.
And though every fiber in his body screamed for him to jump up and flee, he forced himself to stay completely still.
Seconds passed like an eternity ...
From out of the darkness, the walls groaned and creaked horribly from every direction.
In the next second, total silence enveloped everything again.
A tidal wave of emotions swept though him as the eerie silence closed in around him like an invisible vise. In seconds, waves of fear and excitement and every emotion in between subsided into a single, all-consuming feeling.
He knew what was coming next.
That absolute certainty filled him now -- deja vu, the feeling that he'd been here before -- and he knew what would happen next.
Again, the eerie creaks and horrible groans rose quickly to a heart-pounding crescendo. All around his bed, the darkness was filled with unseen activity.
And it all suddenly stopped.
They were in the room with him now.
He braced himself.
Gordon Smith threw off the covers and leapt toward the door.
From every direction, the 'Shadows' moved and reached for him.
"Away! Get back!" he shouted as he fumbled with the locks.
He felt their cold grip on his ankles and heard the whirring of their wings directly behind him.
Gordon turned and flailed at the darkness filled with Shadows as he kicked at the others below. Their pincer-like grasp fell away as he stared at the darkness.
At the edge of his vision, the darkness writhed with Shadows.
In a single movement he turned and threw back the last bolt and ran outside, pulling the door closed behind him.
He ran toward the stairs with a quick glance back.
The Shadows poured out from around the edges of the door and flew after him!
"Help! Anyone! Help!"
But he knew the futility of his cries even as he uttered them. He knew that all the people asleep in each room had a Shadow sitting over their faces, sucking at their breath and keeping them each in a state of deep unconsciousness while their Shadow brethren attacked him.
As he took the stairs three at a time, he felt them flying around him in the darkness.
Tiny, viselike fingers reached for his arms and legs. He let go of the railings to push them away.
And instantly stumbled, then missed the next step, and fell forward to the landing on the second floor in a heap.
The Shadows covered him in a writhing blanket of half-seen movement. He felt their tiny hands all over his body as they sought to hold him down.
He couldn't let them pin him. If they did, he knew something more sinister waited in the darkness to come and finish the job.
Gordon flung himself up with his arms flailing and legs kicking.
The Shadows screamed their fury as they bounced off the walls.
He ran down the last flight of steps in two bounds.
He sprinted through the darkened foyer toward the street outside. Without warning he crashed straight into a small end table, fell onto it and crushed it into pieces. Gordon leapt forward, rolled head over heels and bounced right up. He was smiling to himself at his acrobatic recovery when he suddenly smashed his toes into a chair leg.
"Ow!" He fell to the floor, holding his injured toes.
The Shadows suddenly flew down the last steps and came at him.
Gordon rushed forward and flung the door open.
The street was empty at three in the morning. And worse, a hazy fog filled the night air with an eerily floating cloak of evil.
Worse and worse!
Or was it?
He looked down at himself and felt a tiny sense of relief.
Well, at least he had on more than just his underwear -- he hated it when he was chased by the Shadows wearing only his underwear.
Of course, pajamas were only tolerably better.
And the only other item on his body was the leather necklace holding the key to his 'Time Transporter.'
"Just great!" he muttered out loud.
Everything was ruined now.
He actually had a ticket, a press pass actually, for the royal wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana tomorrow -- the storybook wedding of all times. And, he had so wanted to see it in person for once!
The Shadows shrieked behind him.
And worse, Sarah wasn't here to help him.
She was probably on a quiet, country walk with Jane Austen at this very moment ... this moment relatively speaking, hodge-podged somewhere within the infinite threads of the vast circuitous rivers and oceans that comprise the eternity that is the space-time continuum.
Or, something like that.
His memory was a bit fuzzy at the moment -- this moment in time ... here in this time ...
He felt the Shadows closing.
Gordon raced into the foggy London night with the Shadows right behind him.
The chase was on again, as it had been for as long as he could remember.
And remembering, well, that was a bit nebulous as well -- almost as nebulous as time traveling. His memories were as jumbled as the times he'd visited -- they had no beginning and they had no end.
The only thing he knew for certain was the chase. He had to run; he must never get caught.
But it seemed no matter where they ran, the Shadows always found them and the chase began anew.
And one fact became dreadfully clear: the Shadows were getting closer to catching them each time.
But as much as the chase brought anxiety and fear, another fact brought him comfort to counteract it: Sarah Nightingale.
He wasn't in this alone -- well, he was this time. But, most of the times ... he wasn't.
That one, sure, comforting thought filled his heart with courage.
The next, logical progression of thought was just as certain though not comforting in the least.
Gordon Smith and Sarah Nightingale were being chased throughout time ...
But now, they had a plan.
He ran into the night as the wet, wispy folds of the fog engulfed him.
The Shadows shrieked with joyous terror.
Frantically, his mind raced as he ran faster. He had to find a place to make a stand and fight the Shadows off. And then, he would have to get to the Time Transporter and leave this time -- before the greater danger appeared.
The shrieks roared all around him as shadowy wings fluttered against his arms and back while he ran.
The fog and the night swallowed him whole as he raced down the London street. And yet, he couldn't get away no matter how hard he tried.
Gordon suddenly turned and raced down a side street. The darkness closed in as even the hazy streetlights disappeared.
He felt something on his back. But even as he twisted to throw it off, he felt tiny arms wrapping themselves around both his legs.
Gordon screamed and kicked frantically while still running.
He stumbled and lost his balance.
He twirled around, slashing out with his arms, trying in vain to dislodge the hated things off his back.
Gordon didn't realize it, but he'd stumbled out the side-street and back out on another main street.
"Off me! Get off me!"
In the next instant, Shadows lunged from every direction. He felt them all over him now. He threw some off only to have two more attach themselves like shadowy leeches.
They were all over him.
He screamed as they forced him down onto the cold asphalt.
The Shadows writhed all over him as they beat their wings to hold him place.
They pressed his face against the hard street. He felt their clammy skin all over his body now as they shrieked with delight at their victory.
He tried to struggle, but each time more Shadows pressed against him.
He couldn't move.
Suddenly, the sound of footsteps echoed in the darkness.
Gordon cringed against the inevitable.
The footsteps grew closer until he felt them right beside him.
"We have you at last, Gordon!"
He felt his heart sink.
Of course, he'd been caught before. But, this was the first time he'd been caught alone. Sarah had always been there to help him. And of course, he had rescued Sarah when she'd been caught.
"Your precious Sarah cannot help you this time!"
Gordon looked up.
The cloaked form standing above him laughed. And as he watched the creature laughing at him, it pulled back the hood that covered its head.
The faceless head stared down at him, laughing harder.
Gordon stared at the silver skin crisscrossed with diagonal lines across the featureless face.
"Who are you?" Gordon struggled against the Shadows' relentless grip.
"I am Anon."
"Just you? Or all of you?" Gordon had seen others of his kind chasing him in other times.
"We are the mighty Anon."
"Sounds a bit like a rock band."
The Anon raised his arm high above his head.
Gordon saw the glowing staff in its grip. And at the end of the staff, around a glowing golden globe, miniature bolts of electricity sizzled and danced and made the air hum and crackle with power. And every few seconds, at irregular intervals, sparks erupted into the air.
Gordon recognized the staff -- all the Anon carried them. And all of them used them as some sort of weapon, though neither he nor Sarah knew for sure how.
He nodded at the staff as a shower of sparks blossomed again.
"You ought to get that fixed."
The Anon laughed crazily.
"Really, that can't be good -- giving off sparks like that."
"I am going to use it and send you into the vortex."
"Hmmm, doesn't sound all that bad."
"I will send you into time -- lost in time!"
"Well, that certainly doesn't frighten me. You see, I'm kind of lost in time already." Gordon chuckled.
The Shadows shrieked and held him tighter.
"No! You don't understand!" The Anon leaned over him until his silvery, featureless face almost touched his own.
Gordon felt a sudden panic.
"You'll be totally alone. Sarah will have no way to find you. And, you'll have no way to leave -- your Time Transporter will still be here! You will be lost and trapped until the day you die!"
Sarah -- her laughter, her wit, her companionship, her love -- made life worth living. She made everything fun, interesting and exciting. And most important, she was the one constant in his life as they bounced from time to time.
She was always there.
Without her, life would be ... unbearable.
And, without his Transporter ... he would be lost forever ...
Gordon struggled mightily against the tiny Shadows, but they pressed him down like thousands of tiny vises.
He couldn't escape.
"And now, we shall bid you adieu. The chase has been grand. But alas, now it has come to an end ... for you!" The Anon raised his silver face to the night sky and laughed out loud.
Gordon looked frantically around, searching for something, anything, that might help him escape.
But the fog cloaked street was empty.
The Anon straightened as he stopped laughing. The eyeless face stared down at him.
Gordon tensed, watching the staff coming toward him.
The Shadows howled into the night air as the electric bolts crackled and leapt higher around the glowing globe on the end of the staff.
"No!" Gordon shouted.
The Anon turned his head.
Suddenly, blinding spotlights cut through the night fog and filled the air with light. In the next second, screeching tires and the blare of a horn deafened them all.
Gordon closed his eyes as he realized the car wouldn't have time to stop before it ran over them all.
The screeching of tires and the acrid smell of burnt rubber filled his senses.
And then, all was silence.
Gordon lay there a moment, afraid to move. But, when he realized he was still alive -- and that the Shadows no longer held him down -- he opened his eyes.
The car's front bumper was right above his face.
He rolled to his right and sat up.
"All right, what's going on here, eh?"
Two police officers stepped out of the car.
Gordon looked around quickly.
Of course, the Shadows had fled. They couldn't bear bright light. But, the Anon ...
Gordon spotted him lying on the road. The car had struck him and sent him flying.
As he watched, the creature rose up, pulling his black cloak tight around his shoulders.
"C'mon then, be careful. You've just had a nasty blow there," the policemen on his right said. "Just lie there until we get an ambulance."
The Anon rose to his full height, obviously unhurt. He raised the crackling staff towards the first policemen.
"Careful there, Johnny! He's got some kind of weapon!" the other policemen cried out as he pulled out his baton.
In the next moment, the Anon aimed the staff and lightning bolts leapt across the night air and engulfed the policeman, who screamed as the bolts of electricity grew thicker until the very air around him glowed.
And suddenly, he was gone.
The other policemen retreated with a gasp. He grabbed a spotlight mounted on the car window and switched it on. The beam hit the Anon square.
"The lights!" the Anon shouted as he turned and ran.
Gordon jumped up and ran in the other direction.
Behind him, he heard the policemen calling for backup on his radio.
At the next corner, he checked the signs. He smiled. He was almost there.
And none too soon, either.
The fog and darkness surrounded him again, and he heard the wings of the Shadows as they sought him out. And the Anon would not be far behind.
He just needed a few more minutes!
He reached the next alley and turned down it.
It was just a common dead-end little alley, like thousands throughout the city. The alley was empty, devoid of anything. And at the far end, the brick wall signaled he could go no further.
Gordon slipped the key off around his neck and held it up to eye level.
The outline of a door shimmered in the air, and when it grew solid it opened right before him.
Gordon jumped inside and shut it.
The door disappeared again.
He searched hurriedly inside his Transporter. He threw objects off the shelves and jumped to another row and searched again. He had to hurry; they mustn't know he'd been inside.
He rushed back, inserted the key -- and it opened. Outside, the foggy night beckoned.
Gordon raced out and waved the key at the air behind him. The door closed, and again the Transporter was invisible.
He heard the sound of wings in the air.
"Oh no! I'm stuck!" he shouted with emphasis.
The air filled with moving Shadows seconds later.
He waited for them.
They swept over him and again pinned him down. As he feigned to struggle, he made sure his hand concealed the small object.
He turned toward the sound of running footsteps.
"Hold him!" the Anon shouted. "We must be quick and leave this place!"
"Ah now, don't be in a rush and all," Gordon chided.
The Anon twisted his head in puzzlement. He raised the crackling staff and slowly turned it toward Gordon, the bolts of energy leaping ever higher.
Gordon flicked the switch on the omni-torch he held and opened his hand.
The light was a hundred times brighter than the policeman's spotlight. And although it fit comfortably within the palm of his hand, it flooded the entire alley in a bath of white light.
The Shadows cried in agony and pain as they fled.
The staff fell from the grasp of the Anon as he stumbled backwards in shock.
"Now then, let's have a look at this."
Gordon picked up the staff.
The Anon rushed at him while he covered his face with one hand.
Gordon pointed the staff, and bolts of miniature lightning leapt out. They surrounded the Anon until the air glowed around the creature.
And suddenly, he was gone.
"Well now, it works on them too." Gordon laughed.
Farther down the street, sirens wailed.
"Oh well, I guess I'll have to miss the wedding anyway." Gordon stood up with the staff in his hand. He flicked the switch on his omni-torch, and the alley returned to darkness.
"I'll just have to amuse myself at the dance." He smiled a moment. "In fact, I'll ask Miss Austen if she'll give me the pleasure of having the first dance with her."
* * * *
* * * *