An Excerpt from The Tomorrow Paradox (Book Two in The Adventures of Mackenzie Mortimer):
Alone with Mackenzie, Zigs decided to confront him. “Do you read much? That’s a silly question, I suppose. Kids these days watch holo-vids and surf the neural net. Reading books is passé. But when I was a boy, I read lots of books. They were gateways to adventure. Alice tumbled down a rabbit hole and found herself in a peculiar Wonderland; later, she fell through a mirror and found herself in another Kafkaesque environment, inside the looking glass. A Kansas twister transported Dorothy Gale’s house to the strange and wondrous land of Oz. I grew up reading adventures of children transported to places that defied the imagination. I envied them, curious as to what it might be like to be a stranger in a strange land. I imagined it must have been exciting, even if dangerous at times. Yet, from the moment Dorothy arrived in Oz, all she desired was find her way back home. Homesickness is a powerful emotion.” Zigs handed Mackenzie the photograph. “Do you ever miss them?”
Mackenzie looked at the photo and gasped. He couldn’t hide the glint of recognition in his eyes.
“Why, Mac? I can’t believe Raymond would sanction plucking someone from the timestream. If the authorities found out, it would be the end of Mortimer Enterprises, but more importantly, it has the potential to create untold temporal paradoxes.”
Mackenzie grimaced. “I guess there’s no use denying it. Alex traveled to the past. It wasn’t the first time I had encountered a time traveler. The first one disintegrated before my eyes, and later, someone from the future left me a present – the ship in a bottle that I later gave to you.”
“I used to collect bottled ships.” Zigs reminisced back to his childhood. “I remember that one. It was illuminated by solar power. There was nothing else like it in my collection.”
“That’s because nothing like it had been invented yet. It came from fifty years in the future. I didn’t realize when I gave it to you that there was a bomb planted inside it.”
“A bomb?” Zigs shook his head. “I don’t remember any bomb.”
“I was with you when it exploded. I used my pocket watch to get us out of your house. I expanded the chronal energy field around us. We were safe as long as we were in Q-Time, watching the explosion unfold in slow motion. But you tried to go back to your room to get something. Your leg extended outside the field, into real time. It was caught in the explosion and the shrapnel embedded in it.”
Zigs’ eyes glazed over. “The day my leg was injured, I woke up in the hospital. They said it was a gas main explosion. I didn’t remember anything. I still don’t remember the explosion.”
“I never forgave myself for that. I should have known better than to give an artifact from the future to a little boy. The trip through time must have made it molecularly unstable.”
Zigs shook his head and turned away. “No. I overheard Alex telling Raymond he planned to travel to the past to leave that bottled ship for you. I stole it and duplicated it in a 3-D printer, adding a time bomb inside.”
Mackenzie gasped. “You planted the bomb? Zigs, why would you do such a thing?”
“To kill you.”
Time is running out… fortunately, Mackenzie Mortimer has a few more minutes than anyone else!