An Excerpt from The Tomorrow Paradox (Book Two in The Adventures of Mackenzie Mortimer):
Marlene Prentice turned and gazed out the rear window of her family’s SUV for one final glimpse of her neighborhood, before embarking on the great adventure that awaited her at the elite Ferncrest boarding school. A wave of memories flooded the 13-year-old’s mind as the SUV passed the familiar sights on the street where she had grown up. She spotted something moving in the distance. When they stopped at the first stop sign, Marlene was able to make out a figure on a bicycle. She could tell it was a boy, pedaling at a frantic pace. She wondered if she should have brought her bike with her. Did they even allow bikes at Ferncrest Academy?
Her father stepped off the brake and the SUV ambled down the street, but not before Marlene caught a better look at the bicyclist. Mac! She gulped. She hadn’t been able to bring herself to say goodbye to Mackenzie Mortimer – her best friend and the boy on whom she’d had a crush since third grade. Yet, somehow, it seemed appropriate her last view of Serenity Valley should include the boy who had meant the most to her throughout her whole life. He was fading into the background now, as the car moved forward. Marlene hoped for one last look, at the next stop sign as the bicycle caught up, so she’d see Mackenzie framed against her neighborhood and could commit the image to memory. It would be her way of freezing a moment in time.
The SUV paused at the stop sign and Marlene peered out the rearview window, waiting for the bicycle to draw close enough that she might see Mackenzie’s face. She placed her hand near the glass, as if to wave. She watched the bike whiz past a stop sign. A car that hadn’t been there a moment earlier streaked into the intersection. Marlene heard the chilling sounds of squealing brakes and a harsh horn blare. There was a flash of light and the scene grew distant as the SUV lunged forward.
“Stop the car!” Marlene cried. “Dad, stop!”
“What is it, hun?” her mother asked from the front seat.
“Stop the car!” Marlene insisted, in an urgent tone.
Her father placed the car in park and glanced in the rearview mirror. He saw his daughter bolt from the back seat and race out of the SUV. “Marlene? Come back here.”
Marlene ran down the street in near panic. Maybe it wasn’t Mac, she thought. Maybe it was a boy who looked like Mac. It could have been any boy and because she missed Mackenzie, she had imagined it to be him. That’s what the frantic girl told herself. That’s what she wanted to believe.
The 21-speed bicycle lay at the foot of the car, its front tire twisted in a pretzel-like fashion, but Marlene recognized the bike. She gazed around the street for any sign of the damaged bike’s rider. She wondered if the impact might have propelled him into the bushes, or if there might be a young boy’s body beneath the car. Marlene swallowed, and dropped to her knees, hesitantly peering under the vehicle. She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw only oil stains on the asphalt. “Mac?” she called out. “Are you all right?” He must have used the pocket watch, Marlene surmised. Of course, Mac can freeze time and walk away from all this. All he had to do is use the… A glint of metal caught the young girl’s eye. She picked up the largest piece of the shattered shards, springs, and tiny gears and recognized the bronze casing of a pocket watch. Marlene Prentice stared in horror at the remnant, as its significance sank in. Squatting on the road, she let out a primal scream: “Mac!”
Time is running out… fortunately, Mackenzie Mortimer has a few more minutes than anyone else!