Coming of age as a time traveler isn’t easy. Young George St. James gets help from a magical medieval monk and a 23rd century geneticist. But they can’t keep him safe from a secret society dedicated to eliminating time travel. When love unexpectedly arrives in a distant century, George must use all his skill to thwart his foes while trying to save his beloved from their malice.
A sharp pang in his shoulder startled him. What was happening? An attacker straddled him, but George wrestled and freed himself. Getting to his feet, George saw that the man was a few feet away.
His enemy leaped forward and gouged him in the shoulder. George lurched around the cell, remembering the Optimalists. Had he said his mantra?
Suddenly, the figure evaporated.
George just caught his breath when another man appeared—tall, robed, and coming toward him. At the last moment, he saw it was his mentor.
Brother Bernardo leaned down. He pushed open George’s shirt. “This is a shallow wound. I’ve brought unguent and herbal pills.”
The monk handed the pills to George, who swallowed them with spit as Bernardo squatted next to him and dabbed salve on his cut.
“You won’t be able to timegather until this heals, my son.”
“Can you partner me away?”
Bernardo nodded. “I can, but first let the pills work.”
“How did they find me?”
“You must have left traces. Did you repeat the mantra?”
“I can’t remember.”
“Never forget! The prayer is your lifeline. Keep it as close as your dagger.”
“I don’t carry a dagger.”
George could see Bernardo’s disdainful look. “Even monks carry daggers. Can you stand?”
George tried to stand up but sank down, his back against the wall.
“Give it a few more minutes. I wish I’d brought you wine.”
“I’d rather have water,” George croaked.
“Don’t be silly. No one drinks water.”
“You’ve lived too long in the Middle Ages. In 2061, we have pure mountain water from the tap.”
His mentor laughed. “I’ve forgotten civilization. Are you able to stand? We don’t have much time. Medieval justice is swift.”
Rachel Dacus is the author of three novels touched with the supernatural, The Time Gatherer, The Renaissance Club and The Invisibles. Magical realism also runs through her four poetry collections: Arabesque, Gods of Water and Air, Femme au Chapeau, and Earth Lessons. Her writing has appeared in many journals, including Atlanta Review, Boulevard, Gargoyle, and Prairie Schooner, as well as the anthology Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and a tiny but feisty Silky Terrier. She loves exploring the outdoors and raising funds for good causes. More at racheldacus.net.
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