Authors: Elizabeth Marshall
|Beyond Time |
Alone in a foreign city, haunted by the ghost of Robert Hamilton and confronted with a portrait of herself painted four hundred years ago, Grace Evans has every reason to doubt her sanity.
‘Haunting Grace’, ‘Changing Grace’ and ‘Saving Grace’ have been published in short story form to allow readers the opportunity to sample Ms Marshall’s work. These three books are part of a much larger piece of work; the ‘Highland Secret Series’.
‘Beyond Time’ is a compilation of the three ‘Grace’ books and is the second book in the ‘Highland Secret Series’. ‘Beyond Time’ will soon be available in both ebook and paperback format.
The first book in the ‘Highland Secret Series’ is ‘When Fate Dictates’; a full 90 000 word novel set in the Scottish Highlands and York and is available as an ebook and paperback.
The third book of the series, ‘Entwined’, is due for release shortly and will also be available in ebook and paperback format.
In the writing of this book the author seeks to tell a tale; a story of fantasy, mystery and intrigue. For the purpose of the tale, which is set in a real world at a real point in time, it has been necessary to include some historical facts and bias. However, it was never the author’s intent to write a book of historical fact or to reflect personal or political opinion in any way.
This book is a work of fiction. Names and characters are the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, either living or dead is entirely coincidental.
The Right of Deborah-Ann Brown to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988.
First Published 2011
Copyright © 2011 Deborah-Ann Brown
All rights reserved.
I dedicate this short story with all my love to my precious family, Andy, Sean, Kel, Ste, Rose, Dave, George and Emma - a tiny reminder of the many exciting adventures we have had over the years in the ancient city of York.
And to Eva Coppersmith! My friend, I have run out of ways to thank you. You are the best friend a girl could wish for. This past year has not been an easy one for either of us. May this story take you to a place of happy fantasy!
Andy I could not and would not have written anything without you beside me. You are my world and I love you with all my heart! For all the wonderful times we have snuck away to York together and the adventures that planted the seed of this plot, I thank you my love. For all the precious memories we have created together in York over the years – you put magic back into my life.
Oh, and you’re a pretty damn good editor and manger as well. Love you darling, so much. x
Kel and Ste for your patience, love and support, I thank you with all my heart. How you two put up with me, I will never know? Yet again you have stood with me and made this happen. You really are my guardian angels. To the two best proof readers and cover designers in the world, I love you both so much, thank you. x
Sean, where would I be without your guidance on plot and dialogue? Oh, yes, of course, everyone would sound like they’d just stepped out of a finishing school. Love you big lad so much and thank you for rescuing me. x
David, George and Emma – my little support team. Couldn’t do any of this without you. Love you all and thank you. x
Noreen Muller and Kim Bennett for being brave enough and kind enough to test drive this plot on its first draft. You are both absolute stars, thank you, so very much. x
Diane Castiglione for believing that I could write a ghost story and giving me the push I needed to do it. You are a lovely lady and a precious friend. x
Paul Anthony (author of ‘Bushfire’), Sonia Rumzi (who wrote ‘Caring For Eleanor’) and Zoe Saadia (author of The Cahokian) what would I do without you all? I value and cherish your friendship, support and kindness greatly. x
Terror clung to her soul as she stared at the portrait.
“How did you know, Harry?”
“How did I know what?”
“That his wife wasn’t from his time?”
The ageing man lifted the bottle of whisky and spun the metal lid off the glass top. She could smell the heady fumes of liquor as he lifted the open bottle to his mouth.
“Look closely at the portrait, Grace. Look at her wrist.”
She scanned the image, fighting the rising panic inside her.
“It’s my watch,” she whispered.
Harry put out his arm and dangled the bottle in front of her.
“Here, have some of this.”
Grace shook her head, wrinkling her nose at the smell.
“I don’t drink spirits.”
“It’s time you started then girl,” he said, lifting the bottle to his mouth again and taking a large sip.
“Harry I don’t understand. How could I have come to be in this portrait?”
“That is the mystery we must solve.”
“That portrait must be almost four hundred years old. That’s not a mystery in my book. It’s weird.”
He nodded, taking another sip from the bottle.
“Can’t argue with you there, girl.”
“What am I going to do, Harry?”
“Well you’re not going to panic, for starters.”
“How can I not panic? I’m sitting here on the floor of a pub, in a city I’ve only been in a week, looking at a portrait of myself that was painted nearly four hundred years ago.”
“I can’t tell you how this painting came into being, but Grace, you can’t deny its existence.”
She reached out and took the bottle of whisky from him. She ran her fingers absently over the label on the glass.
“What if it’s just a relative? That would make sense,” she said turning to face Harry with hopeful eyes. The elderly man shook his head.
“Why? It happens. Genetics are a funny thing. There are people whose looks can throw back hundreds of years.”
“And the watch?”
“Ok, so that is weird. Someone could have painted it on. It wouldn’t be the first time a genuine painting has been tampered with.”
“I found this twenty years ago. The watch was there then and no one has touched it since.”
“Twenty years ago I didn’t have this watch. I was only a young girl.”
“But your future self four hundred years ago did.”
Grace lifted the bottle to her mouth and took a tentative sip, gasping and coughing as the fiery liquid slipped down the back of her throat. Harry laughed and took the bottle from her.
“You were right, girl. Stick to wine,” he said helping himself to another swig from the bottle.
Grace smiled and rested her hand on Harry’s knee.
“You have been a good friend to me, Harry.”
“Careful, you’ll have me blushing,” he replied patting her hand gently.
“Would you mind taking that portrait down?”
“I think that would be a good idea. Now that you are here, we don’t want anyone else putting two and two together. Especially Kate. She has a bit of a fixation with your future husband.”
“Don’t call him that.”
“Sorry. That was crass of me. But it’s your fate and you will have to come to terms with it at some point.”
“How am I supposed to reply to that? It’s a ridiculous notion. No one travels in time. Einstein’s theory of relativity? Can’t be done, Harry, it can’t be done.”
“But what if he was wrong? What if neutrons could break the speed of light? Just because scientists haven’t seen it done doesn’t mean it hasn’t been done.”
“That would turn the world of physics on its head.”
“It would. But you can’t discount something’s possibility just because it will upset school curriculums.”
“I need a coffee,” Grace said, pushing herself up from the floor. Harry nodded and spun the cap back onto the whisky bottle.