Tuesday Sampler: The Time Detective by Mark Carnelley

A broadsheet copy of the Express and Echo was laid out together with a few more local rags. The date hit him like a sledgehammer, April 17th, 1956.

Marshall Bellows is a present-day crime fighter and Allan Besley his alter ego in 1956 (after the discovery of a wormhole during the chase of a sick, perverted serial killer).

Can Marshall/Allan survive this double life in two times, two seemingly different worlds and two loves or will one the worlds pull him in deeper, where he finds it harder and harder to leave?

This first book, Discovery, begins the fight for Marshall in both worlds. A man with strong convictions with no qualms about “getting his hands dirty” if that is what’s required. Is he judge, jury and executioner?

Strange and desperate times require certain measures and Marshall is the man for the job, in both times.

Mark Carnelley

Sampler: The Time Detective

Marshall was still here at 16:45 hours, the time they had surmised that Abby must’ve been brought here by the man in the black van. He had walked the perimeter over and over again, sometimes coming to the burial sites and slowly walking around all four, though paying more intensive attention to the last.

He thought he saw something out of the corner of his eye, just near the site from which young Abby had been found. He turned and moved closer slowly, sensing something. His vision seemed to waver ever so slightly, and he shook his head to clear what he put down as tiredness. He took a step and seemed to stumble. The next instant, he was on his knees, trembling. He took deep breaths to clear the nausea that clamped his stomach tightly and called out to the constables, “Lads, have you any water there with you?”

Upon receiving no answer Marshall looked up. To his shock, he saw no constables, no taped-off area, and just in front of his hands was a fresh mound of dirt with a piece of shale that looked oddly familiar.

He stood up and looked around. It was certainly the glade, of that he was sure, however, the surroundings were different, the sounds different as well as the air. Though he couldn’t tell exactly what was so different about this place, what had been a damp and overcast day was now only partly cloudy with patches of blue sky and sun.

“What in the blazes just happened, and where the fuck am I? No … I know where I am, but …,” Marshall asked no one except himself. He still felt slightly dazed, as if he had just alighted from a roller-coaster. His stomach ached from the tenseness he felt from trying not to let go of his breakfast.

He stepped back from the mound in front of him. He knew immediately what it was and what he would find if he dug down, which he wasn’t going to do. He needed to know more than a few answers to the myriad of questions running through his mind.

Marshall walked to the edge of the glade and looked back. What he saw made no sense. The air was shimmering next to the mound, almost in the shape of an oval but almost pointed at the top and bottom. Colours seemed to swirl within and the air almost crackled with electricity. He had seen St. Elmo’s fire before and this almost duplicated the effect.

“Beam me up, Scotty,” Marshall laughed, almost insanely, as he thought, get a bloody grip on yourself, man, or you will end up in a six by four padded cell.

Marshall walked until he found the car park. It wasn’t what he was expecting in the slightest. No café, no signs for any of the trails; it was barely recognisable as the place he was here only a few hours ago, and yet it was the place.

He knew that Exeter was a brisk two-hour walk and he set off, his mind still reeling. What he was coming to

believe was impossible with a fucking capital ‘I’. Yet, what other explanation was there or could there be? He didn’t have any answers, only questions and he knew those questions would not be answered any time soon.

A few cars passed him on the main roads that he recognised; he didn’t want to detour off, lest he lose his way. The cars were Austins, Hillmans and one was even a Triumph TR3 – cars from a bygone era that were in front of disbelieving eyes. An Exeter City open-top bus drew past him and pulled over roughly 40 meters in front to let a couple off. Marshall yelled out to hold the bus and flashed his police ID to the driver, “Police business. My car just broke down.” The driver gave Marshall a quick up and down with his eyes and said, “Right guv, just park yerself there. We’ll be in town soon enough for yer.”

“Are you going anywhere near Heavitree Road?” asked Marshall when he was seated. “Aye guv, just bide yer time,” came the gruff reply. Marshall sat with wide eyes, watching as history went past with every meter they moved. He had seen photos of these areas and buildings, knowing that they no longer existed in the Exeter he knew. Take the Heavitree Brewery, he knew for a fact that it had been demolished in 1980 or thereabouts. Yet here it was in all its glory, lights blazing from its windows.

He shook his head again and pressed his forehead against the bus window. It was cool to the touch and gave him more of a sense of reality, which was very badly needed. The bus slowed and stopped, “Here ye be, guv,” said the driver. “Yer not all that well lookin’, if yer ask me.”

“Thanks,” Marshall replied as he stepped down off the bus. He looked around to try and get his bearings, but it was impossible. He knew where he was, though his mind was refusing to accept the when. And that was the other problem, he didn’t know the date. He thought that it must be the mid-1950s, but how could he ask? They would think him barmy straight away.

He walked down Heavitree Road, a road he thought he knew so well, but now? He shook his head as he continued down it until it became Fore Street. He walked past the old Post Office, which he knew was now a franchise of the fast-food Subway chain from which he had ordered a six-inch breakfast roll many a time. He wandered in and asked if they had a copy of the most recent local paper, just for him to browse. He was directed to the table next to the left hand side of the counter where a broadsheet copy of the Express and Echo was laid out together with a few more local rags. The date hit him like a sledgehammer, April 17th, 1956.

Please click HERE to find The Time Detective on Amazon.

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