Lock & Key

by Gordon Bonnet

What if your future lies in your past?

When Darren Ault meets his friend Lee McCaskill for dinner, he doesn’t expect the second course to be a gunshot to the head. Even more unexpected is the fact that the bullet doesn’t kill him—instead, it causes the rest of humanity to vanish. Darren’s attempted murder has caused a temporal paradox extending back over a thousand years, and now it’s up to him to repair the damage.

Embarking on a mind-bending journey through time, Darren encounters Vikings, a depressed Norwegian silversmith, a cult that believes in salvation through pain, a beautiful Hebridean lass, and Archibald Fischer—the foul-mouthed, Kurt Cobain-worshiping Head Librarian of the Library of Timelines, where all of the possibilities that could ever happen are catalogued, tracked, and managed.

Published:
Publisher: Oghma Creative
Cover Artists:
Genres:
Tags:
Tropes: Fish Out of Water, Time Travel
Word Count: 100400
Setting: Seattle, Scotland, Norway, Kentucky
Languages Available: English
Excerpt:

Darren Ault woke in pitch darkness, which was odd, because he was fairly certain he was dead.

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He brought his hands to his face, tentatively, and felt for gunshot wounds.  Finding none, he sat up, blinking, and began to move his hands around.  This was done with considerable trepidation.  He was understandably curious about his surroundings, but at the same time, the problem with darkness is that anything could be in it with you, and you’d never know until it was too late.  As far as he knew, he could be sitting in a tiger’s lair, the cat's dark-adapted eyes already sizing him up and deciding which parts of him would be the tenderest.  He could be in a basement, at the mercy of the gangs his mother had repeatedly warned him about during his childhood in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle.  Worse still, his high school chum Lee McCaskill could still be there, somewhere, with the neat little pistol aimed at his forehead, like it had been minutes ago.  Only this time, Lee would be wearing night-vision goggles, so he could see him in the dark.

Or maybe all three at the same time.  Just because those were unlikely scenarios didn't mean they were mutually exclusive.

But whatever horrors might await him in the dark, he couldn’t sit where he was forever.  For one thing, the floor felt like tile, and was hard, uncomfortable, and cold.  And for another, he was, much to his own surprise, beginning to be more curious than afraid.

This was largely because, however impossible it seemed, he had evidently survived a shot to the head not only without dying, but without injury.  He had felt the bullet strike his forehead—the sensation had been pressure rather than pain, and over in a flash—but now there was not so much as a scratch on him, much less the kind of wound that a point-blank gunshot to the head would cause.

Honestly, he should have been dead, and missing a considerable portion of the top of his skull.

COLLAPSE

About the Author

I write speculative fiction -- my stories center around changing one or two of the rules and seeing what happens.  What if myths were based on something real?  What if there was a place that kept track of every possible outcome for every decision made by every human on Earth?  What if there was a universal junkyard -- where all the lost things go, including lost people?

My novels take perfectly ordinary people and place them in completely extraordinary circumstances.  I not only ask, "What if...?", I ask, "What if it happened to you?"


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