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Excerpt: Darcy, from the future, unsuccessfully tries to explain time-travel to Brogan, a man from the 19th century.
‘Damn you, woman,’ he snapped, throwing the remnants of his pie back on to the plate. She looked taken aback but he didn’t much care. ‘You speak in riddles, disappear for years at a time, when I do see you, you never seem to age, and you never tell me the truth!’
The other patrons of the shop all watched the outburst with mild interest.
‘Whoa, keep your hair on,’ she said. ‘All right, I’ll tell you everything but don’t blame me if it sounds like nonsense to you.’
‘Aye, well, that’ll be my decision. So, go on. Explain yourself. Are you a witch?’
She erupted into a bout of laughter. ‘A witch? I thought we were friends.’ He didn’t join in, just remained stony-faced, waiting patiently. Noting his expression, she cleared her throat. ‘I’m from the future.’
‘What does that mean?’ he said, after a beat.
She sighed audibly, and then muttered to herself. ‘It’s going to be fun trying to explain time-travel to you. Right,’ she went on, a bit louder. ‘Okay. In five years time it will be?’
‘Correct. So, if I said that I am from 1832 but have travelled back to 1827 then I would be seen as someone from the future. See?’
Her tongue darted out and ran across her bottom lip, then she shifted in her seat. ‘This is impossible. All right, I was born in 1955. In the future.’
‘Stop teasing me, woman. How can you be born in a year that’s not happened yet. Nineteen fifty-five, you say? Over one hundred years from now?’ He laughed at her.
‘Brogan.’ Her voice was strained. ‘I’m finding it very hard not to bang my head against this table. Look, I was born in 1955. Fact. Just because you don’t understand something, doesn’t make it a lie.’
‘It doesn’t make sense, though,’ Brogan protested. He couldn’t account for her ageless appearance but the thought that she was insane crept into his mind.
‘Last attempt. Put it this way, if you found yourself in the year 1618, for instance, then to people living in 1618, you would be someone from the future.’
‘But I wasn’t even born in 1618. Neither were my parents, nor were -’
She waved a hand, dismissively. ‘Yeah, yeah. I get the picture. I don’t need your family history, and I really don’t need the hassle of trying to explain all this to you. I’ll leave enough money so you can get a couple of more pies. You look in desperate need of fattening up.’
‘You’re not leaving are you?’ He shouldn’t have been surprised. This, after all, was what she did. Appear then disappear, like a conjurer’s trick.
‘I’m a busy woman, Brogan.’
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