Hey guys, welcome to the first chapter of my new novel.
It is a mixture of 3 time lines, with 19th century, modern day and ancient times. The genre is probably something you would call a mixture of sci-fi, mystery, adventure and a bit more.
Well, I welcome you to be the judge...
It seemed as nothing was different in yet another cold and slightly windy London evening. The smog from the river was rising up as usual and the chilly wind would bring the smell up to the embankment, where Charles was taking a rest, sitting down on his favorite bench.
From here he could see the might of the power station from across the river and something was special in the way those chimneys threw out the smoke onto the city.
He just finished his walk along his usual route, walking amongst the cemetery outside the chapel. It always amused him; that mix of emotion and sorrow amongst the busy city people, especially during the busy afternoon hours.
That rusty smell kept mixing with up with the light freshness of the leaves from the tree nearby Charles’s bench. As he threw a brief glimpse onto the clock on the parliament building he noticed that the small arrow was on 45 minutes…
Suddenly he heard a murmur of horses; he turned his head before he could finish realizing what time it was. He saw that just a few yards up the road two horse carriages didn’t manage to share the drive way.
One of the coachmen was shouting something and angrily waving his hands. Charles was able to see from here that the coachmen’s grey clothing was partially covered in dirt, probably from the splash of the puddles from underneath the wheels.
The coachmen kept shouting something, Charles was unable to see the second carriage from where he was sitting, but was able to see some passersby, that starting to gather around the incident.
It was obvious that, just like him, those people had nothing better to do on this late afternoon then to watch in amusement the accident in the middle of the avenue.
Just as Charles was starting to lose interest in the whole situation, the door of the cab that Charles could see, opened and a man dressed in a black suit and holding a pipe stepped out. He calmly put his hand in the upper inner pocket of the suit and pulled out some coins. The man made two steps up to driver and handed him the coins. At this moment the driver stopped shouting for a moment and it was clear from the look on his face that he was confused.
The cab driver counted the coins and said something to the man in the suit, the passenger didn’t answer. He turned around and started to walk in the direction of the chapel. The cab driver clearly wasn’t happy. He started to shout once again, but this time at the passenger. While the cab driver turned his attention to the passenger, Charles noticed how the second carriage that was involved in the accident managed to move a few yards back.
It was a much smaller carriage, and the driver was clearly seeable to Charles now. He seemed somewhat happy that he was not in the middle of the light anymore; he hurryingly turned the carriage and the horse around and started to move also in the direction of the chapel.
At this moment the driver of the first carriage started to lose interest in shouting and decided to clean himself up. As he started to calm down, the bemused passersby begun to walk back to where they were heading and Charles also turned his head back towards the power station.
Charles was so busy watching the situation unfold that he didn’t noticed that the passenger of the first carriage crossed the road and was now heading not towards the chapel anymore, but exactly in the other direction, towards the grey bench that Charles was sitting on.
At first Charles didn’t pay any attention to just another man who was walking by. But then he noticed that calm walk of his and it hit him that this was the same passenger from the carriage.
“Excuse me sir?” said Charles as the man closed up to the bench. “You are the gentleman from the carriage, aren’t you?” “I saw you a minute ago, what happened?”
The man stopped to walk and shared a look with Charles; he calmly sat down beside him and carried on smoking his pipe, as he was not hearing the questions Charles asked him.
“I do apologies for the intervention, but you must not be local, I can tell by your calmness, all the folks round here are always in a hurry” Charles carried on talking as if not noticing that the man was ignoring him.
All of a sudden the weather begun to change, wind started to blow stronger and the few leaves that the tree was holding blew in the direction of the bench. The smell from the river rose up and as if that wasn’t enough Charles felt like a small rain drop hit his head. He could clearly see the green water from where he was sitting through the decorations holes of the embankments fence. It was clear that it will start to rain soon by the appearing circles on the top of the river.
After a few minutes of quietly seating by his new neighbor Charles caught himself looking at the clock on the tower, once again he saw the small arrow on 45 minutes…
“And what do we pay the government for?” “It would feel though they are taking our money and spend it on their fancy hats and suits, don’t you find?” Said Charles.
At this point the man took out the pipe into his left hand and begun to cough. After he finished coughing Charles heard him speak, at this point Charles understood that for some reason he would remember this moment for a long time to come.
“It is likely to assume that they deserve to spend the money they earn” Said the man, his voice was quite low and he had a certain accent Charles could quite catch.
“I don’t think that money is of importance nowadays” Said the man.
Charles looked at the man with a smile - “What is of importance? One might assume that philosophically speaking, importance can be found in nothing but what is good to us”.
“No body knows what can be important to others if we carry on like this, then…” Charles didn’t finish his sentence as the man turned away from him and looked the other way. He then turned his head back and Charles noticed his eyes. His eyes were nothing like what Charles had seen before, they looked as though they were glass like and the as if they were blank, there was nothing behind them.
“What is important is that I am here now and that it is happening today. It is important to live your life because, just like your life Charles, it has an end”, the man looked somewhat happy when he said that and Charles jumped back on the bench a little, he felt a small shiver run down his spine.
“What? How do you know my name sir? Have you been following me?” questions were racing through Charles’s mind.
“As I said, this is now of importance. You life can find its end today when you get back to your gallery in your cold basement on Kinnerton street or you might listen to me and…” Charles didn’t let the man finish his sentence. He jumped up from the bench; his cane flew within millimeters of the stranger leg as he jumped.
“How dare you sir? Who gives you the right…” Charles raised his voice, he never allowed himself to raise his voice at a stranger beforehand.
“I think this conversation is over!” exclaimed Charles. “That would be your choice” replied the man, “Do you think the time is right?”
Charles had already turned away in anger and was about to make his first step away. Something in the words of the man about the time made him think for a second, thoughts raced through his mind. The number 45 and the small arrow of the parliament clock were stuck in his head.
“I don’t understand said Charles…” he turned his head back towards the clock; the arrow was still on 45 minutes. “How is that possible?” Charles turned his head to the man, but there was no one on the bench.
Charles begun to search the street rapidly with his eyes, it didn’t even occur to him that it was heavily raining until that moment.
The streets were empty; there were no carriages or people to be seen around. Feeling scared he turned his head to the clock once again – “How can it still be 45 minutes...” Charles was speaking out loud.
The next moment he felt like his knees weakened, his head was swirling and he dropped his cane, last thing he could hear was the clinging the of the cane’s handle against the pavement. His thoughts mixed up with his eyesight; the man and his pipe, the handle of the clock, the carriage, the passersby, the power stations smoke…