Sunday, June 6, 2010

Time Travel

Imagine that you could move forward 1 hour in time and return, or 1 hour backwards in time.  My new novel is based on that idea.  Here's the opening chapter:

The Pocket Watch, by James Burke

I first met Samuel while he was hunting for his missing arm.

“I’ve lost my pocket watch, “ he said without looking up, as he continued to paw through the weeds with his left arm. His right arm was missing⎯the stump spurting arterial blood, draining his life force.

“Sir,” I said, “you’ve been injured in a car accident. Let me help you to the ambulance.” I reached for him.

“Sonny,” he said, slapping away my hand, “either you help me find that watch, or go away. There isn’t any time left, and I need to get back.” He continued pawing through the weeds, reaching in to pick up a bloody hand and arm. “Good. The watch must be nearby.” He tossed the hand aside, reached deeper into the over growth and retrieved a dull pocket watch.

“Quit staring at me like I’m crazy. I don’t have time to explain. Take this,” he handed me the watch, “and set it back an hour. I can’t do it with only one arm.” He looked at me, waiting.

“Then will you let me get you to the hospital?”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever⎯just set the damn watch back an hour, OK?”

I looked at the watch he handed me. Bent, corroded and missing the hour hand, it deserved a final resting place among the weeds. I twisted the stem. A rainbow engulfed me.


“Ah, that’s better. Thank you Sonny, couldn’t have done this without your help.”

I was riding down Skyline Blvd. toward Portland in an antique sports car looking at Samuel, both arms present and accounted for.

“Look,” he said, “isn’t that you over there loading someone into that fancy ambulance of yours? Coulda been me, but that’s not for another hour⎯this time.”

“My name is Samuel, and we need to talk. You look like you could use a stiff drink,” he said.

1 comment:

  1. This is such a great beginning chapter James. Can't wait to read more of this story.

    Reminds me of one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes.