Friday, July 24, 2015

He Was Fairly Certain No One Had Ever Seen a Man Die Like That.

An Excerpt from The 25th Hour (Book One in The Adventures of Mackenzie Mortimer):

The tremor shook Mackenzie from his reverie. He gazed up to see the space ahead of him billow and fold, as if he were viewing it through a smoky haze. A figure hurtled toward him, seemingly coming from nowhere, and landed at his feet.

Mackenzie dropped the broomstick in surprise. “Are you all right, mister?”

A wrinkled, liver-spotted hand pushed against the pavement, propelling the figure to his feet. He stood, studying Mackenzie’s face. The man’s voice was raspy and he spoke in gasps. “This is the right date, the right place. It’s got to be you. Tell me your name.”

“Mackenzie Mortimer.” He stared at the ancient man, who appeared to grow even older as they spoke, fascinated and repulsed at the same time. “But everyone calls me Mac. Except my mother. She calls me Mackenzie, especially when she’s mad at me.” He knew he was rambling, but he didn’t know what else to say. He considered running away, but the man was too old to be a threat to him and looked like he needed help.

“Your mother,” the man repeated. “She mustn’t find out about the watch. If she does, the consequences will be tragic. I’ve seen it. In the future. I couldn’t bear to watch her die again.”

Mackenzie backed away. “I think I should be going.” He noticed the man tremble. “Do you want me to call 9-1-1 to send an ambulance? You don’t look too good.”

The old man pulled a key from his pocket and thrust it into Mackenzie’s palm. “I’m out of time. You’ll know when to use it.”

Mackenzie studied the ornate metal key. He had never seen one quite like it. The iron key was black and heavy, with an intricate design forged into the key head. “Look, mister…”

The man trembled again. His body shook, vibrating for several seconds before crumbling into dust.

Mackenzie stared in horror at the empty clothes strewn at his feet where the old man had stood. His hand squeezed the sturdy key until his fingers turned white. He ran past the old man’s remains, down Warehouse Row, not looking back. He ran faster than if Tucker Bryant were chasing him. Mackenzie would have preferred being chased by the bully. He was afraid of Tucker, but that was a different kind of fear. Mackenzie had never seen a man die before. And he was fairly certain no one had ever seen a man die like that.

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

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