Authors: MK Alexander
“Where’s Mortimer?” I asked Fynn, once we were alone.
“I wish I could say.”
“Wait, what do you mean by that exactly?”
“Are you lying to me in this timeline?”
“No… I’ve lost track of him. Doubtless, he will return soon enough.”
“To wreck havoc?”
“Well, what happened to him?”
“As in vanished in the blink of an eye?”
“No, as in running down the road like a madman and turning the corner.”
“That might be a significant difference.”
“I agree whole heartedly.”
“And the jackal cane?”
Fynn smiled and led me to the living room. “I believe we are safe so long as this cane remains undisturbed.”
“Seriously though… where do you think Mortimer went?”
“Likely he is stranded here… perhaps he is a very old man by now, or perhaps he has died of natural causes.”
“What happened exactly?”
“It was all fairly uneventful. I returned to the party in London, nineteen sixty-four. Mortimer, quite predictably, came at me with murderous intent. I was however prepared for exactly this. I wrestled away his cane and made my way back to the present, more or less.”
“That’s it?” I was disappointed.
“Rather anticlimactic, sorry to say.”
“What about all that stuff Mortimer said?”
“At the quarry… His view of reality versus yours.”
“Yes, they are distinctly different.”
“And me, a time traveler?” I laughed nervously.
“Have you ever traveled in time?”
“Not that I know of.”
“Well, there you have it.”
There was a soft knock on the door. I turned to see a pretty young girl in her twenties poke her head in. “Pader?” a sweet voice called out, perhaps with a slight French accent.
“Ah, Anika my dear, come in, come in… join us.”
“I didn’t want to interrupt anything.”
“Not at all. You remember Patrick of course?”
She was still absolutely stunning and probably on her way to the beach, judging from the bikini under her top and shorts. She came walking over and gave me a big hug. “Well, where have you been all summer, eh?”
“You work too hard, I think,” she said and smiled. Anika turned to Fynn. “Pader, I’m on my way to meet some friends. Can I take the scooter?”
“Of course, my dear. Drive carefully and have fun…” Fynn added something in Dutch and his daughter let off a giggle before departing.
“What do you remember?” I asked Fynn as we sat in the living room.
“How many timelines?”
“There is just the one, Patrick. The one you live through.”
“Okay how many versions then, how many revisions.”
“Ah, but this is more difficult to answer.”
“Do you remember Arantez going to Holland for three months, the ICEP?”
“Arantez in Holland? That’s difficult to imagine. And for three months you say? I doubt he’d last a week.”
“The Policeman’s Ball?”
“A great success,” Fynn said and smiled.
“Well, everything is as it should be, I believe.”
I saw a book on the coffee table with Fynn’s name on it, but couldn’t make out the title, as it was in another language. “What’s this?”
“Oh, I’ve finally finished writing my book.”
“Really? The Quantum Detective?” I asked and smiled.
“No.” Fynn laughed and picked up the book. “I write best in German. I will translate,
Occidental Policing Methods in an Asian Cultural Context: Assignment Hong Kong
“Why did you want to see me then?” I asked.
“No special reason. I’d like to take you out to dinner this evening. I’ve heard the Governor’s Inn has a new chef…”
“Hans or Pierre?”
“I don’t suppose it really matters.”
On our way out I noticed something a bit odd. “What’s that thing?” I asked and pointed to a metal box on the stoop.
“For the milkman, of course.”
“The milkman? I’m pretty sure he retired a few months back…”
“What’s his name?”
“His name is not known to me. Maybe Lorraine or Anika knows.” Fynn gave me a glance. “Do you think this is important?”
“Patrick, have you forgotten something?” Fynn asked.
“My compass… is it safe?”
“Of course.” I smiled, reached into my pocket and handed it to him. “Sorry.”
“You can travel without it though?” I asked.
“Oh yes… it just makes things a bit easier for me.”
What I couldn’t see was the white truck pulling into Fynn’s driveway early the next morning. I wasn’t there, and most likely asleep. It wasn’t Marvin the milkman however. It was a different old man. He was tall but hunched with age. He had long white hair and a scraggily mustache. And he paid no attention to Fynn’s galvanized metal box on the stoop. Instead, he smashed through the glass entrance, opened the door and went right to the living room, right to the jackal-headed cane. His old hands wrapped around it fondly. It was a long lost friend. He brought the jackal to his lips and kissed it, climbed onto a nearby table and leapt off. He vanished in the blink of an eye.
I sincerely hope you have enjoyed reading this story. And now, I implore you to take a moment to click the “like” button, add a few stars, or, if you have the mind to: write a brief review. In the modern world of ebooks, these simple actions mean the difference between life and death. My other books and more information can be found at this link:
About the author:
MK Alexander has been writing fiction for more than 20 years and has published several short story collections. He is a long-time reporter and editor for various newspapers, and worked for The New York Times for well over ten years. Winner of the BBC Short Story Award. Recent titles include three novels, three novellas, a biography and short story compilation.
Other Titles by MK Alexander:
The Farsi Trilogy
When the CIA has a clever cyber-war program to shut down Iran. But things never go according to plan. Meet Aydin Llewelyn, computer genius, deadbeat and accidental spy. Can he and his ex-girlfriend make it to Tehran and save the day? Find out in this fast-paced, amusing, twisty tale of travel and intrigue.
A faithful sequel to the famous horror classic:
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,
by Robert Louis Stevenson. The story picks up some 25 years later as Henrietta Jekyll comes upon her father’s old journals and takes it upon herself to recreate his notorious formula with unexpected results.
Genre Jam, Volume One: Death & Injury
A compilation of five short stories resulting in death or grievous harm. A mix of genres, from science fiction to urban fairy tales.
A highly original espionage thriller about Libya, its infamous dictator, and strange events that take place on a summer day in 1981.
My New World A Teenager’s WWII Odyssey
A biography of Mary Cotsis, centered around her World War Two experiences as she escapes from the Nazi Occupation of Greece and travels to America to begin a new life.