Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What Awaits Young Mackenzie?

An Excerpt from The Tomorrow Paradox (Book Two in The Adventures of Mackenzie Mortimer):

“I told Dad to use my watch to return to his own time.” Alex shook his head. “But you know what he’s like. Do you think he’ll do it? Or will he try to be the larger-than-life hero, as usual?”

“Mackenzie’s loyal, but he’s not stupid. He knows he’s out of his depth and there’s nothing he can do. He’ll have no choice but to use the watch, and in doing so, permanently remove it from the grasp of the authorities.”

The pinging of the videophone interrupted their conversation. Alex glanced at the phone. “It’s the secure line. There’s only one person who could be sending us a scrambled call.” He accepted the incoming call and an image appeared on the screen. “Dad, that looks like your car’s interior. Are you back from London?”

The driver had only a touch of gray in his sideburns and looked far younger than his sixty-three years. “Marlene and I landed an hour ago. We were going to stop by the house but I thought I’d call and see if you were still at the office.”

“It’s not safe here, Dad. We have a situation. The authorities, or at least Lysander Bryant and his son, are heading here to search the place and arrest us.”

Mackenzie Mortimer sighed. “I’ve had trouble with Bryants since I was in grade school. Lysander’s father, Tucker Bryant, was the schoolyard bully who made my life miserable until we eventually became friends. Have you activated the contingency plans?”

“Yes, Grandfather and I are doing that now.”

“Don’t worry, we can be at the office within twenty minutes. I’m sure the Fox can buy you enough time to get rid of any incriminating evidence.” The video screen went blank.

“You were right, boy.” Raymond chuckled. “Mackenzie Mortimer always has to play the hero. Still, I feel much better now that he’s home. I have complete confidence in your father’s abilities to deal with the Bryants. The Fox has gone up against much tougher opponents than Lysander Bryant, and he’s outsmarted every one of them.”

Alex nodded. “Dad is amazing. Even more so, now.”

“What do you mean?”

“As I was growing up, I formed a picture in my mind of what Dad must’ve been like when he was my age. But now that I’ve met young Mackenzie, I can see when Dad was a boy he was nothing at all as I had imagined him to be. How does that boy we met develop the necessary skills to turn into a saboteur and anti-corporate freedom fighter, attacking the governing bodies in the guise of the mysterious Fox?”

“I found young Mackenzie to be quite intelligent and resourceful, for his age.”

Alex shook his head. “No, that’s not it. Dad has a certain… hardness within him that enables him to do what he does. He’s like tempered steel that’s been forged in a furnace. Something made him that way. Something changed the boy I brought back from the past into the Mackenzie Mortimer of today. When young Mackenzie returns to the past, he’s going to encounter whatever that traumatic or momentous event was, and without the time viewer, we won’t be able to help him. He’ll be entering that forge alone, and it will shape and mold him into the man we know. I wonder what it was.”

“You could always ask your father, but I doubt he would speak about it. I saw the difference in him; even in the depths of his depression, I knew something had changed him long before Vanessa’s death or the bankruptcy. But he would never acknowledge it, and I had been absent for so much of his life that I didn’t feel I had the right to pursue it.”

“I suppose if he wanted us to know what he’d gone through, he’d have told us. Still, I wish he had, so we could have warned young Mackenzie what awaits him.”

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Time is running out… fortunately, Mackenzie Mortimer has a few more minutes than anyone else!

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