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Author Leigh (Bella) St John is interviewed by Clarissa Burt (supermodel, entrepreneur, television/video producer, award-winning actress and Miss Universe (Italy) licensee) about Ms St John’s latest book, “Quantum Lace”.
Interview with Books Go Social:
Click the image to read the interview…
Quantum Lace by Leigh (Bella) St John is a remarkable science fiction novella about a young woman’s introduction into the exploration of time and space. … [this] is an intriguing science fiction short story that takes the reader on an adventure into another era. It is the first story in a series that is based on actual studies and scientific data. I was immediately caught by the imagery of the setting and couldn’t put the book down until the startling and sudden ending. The story line is mesmerizing, and Ms. St John has done a magnificent job of melding fact with fiction. I love science, history, and fiction stories that stay true to reality and this novella achieves that criteria. Although this is not a standalone, it is a phenomenal science-fiction novella. I highly recommend it to those who are fans of time travel and wish to explore the concept by applying quantum physics.
Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers’ Favorite
““Quantum Lace” by Bella St John (CreateSpace, $7.99) is the first in a projected series of five books starring Lady Bridgit Darnell, set initially in 1895 in England.
It’s an intriguing, well-researched tale involving time travel, not as a possible concept, but as reality.
The slim 100-page novella opens with Bridgit believing that she’s having a strange dream, when she meets a time-traveler named Markus in present-day South Carolina. He explains the concept as not just theoretical – he’s living proof that it can be done.
The author deftly mixes reality with fiction, as she notes in a brief prologue, it’s a vivid combination “largely based on real science, real people and real events.” … There are life-altering changes; it ends with a cliff-hanger – followed by the first chapter of the next book in the series.
More information is at St John’s website QuantumLace.com.”
This review by Ray Walsh appeared in the Lansing State Journal. Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, has reviewed books regularly since 1987.
“Intriguing! I have never heard anyone present such a compelling notion of how time travel could ACTUALLY work. Makes me want to test it for myself.”
“Beautifully written story about acharacter I already feel I know and love. But you can’t leave her there! Hurry up and write the next one!”
“The research you have done for this book is beyond impressive. It is a mark of a true craftsman. Brilliant!”
Ralph L. Masterson
“With a family and a career, I rarelyget a chance to read novels so when my mother gave me a copy of Quantum Lace, I was overjoyed that it is a short, doable read once everyone has gone to bed. I loved it. Sign me up to read them all!”
“Being a student of quantum physics, I was expecting to spend my time picking holes in this book, but quite the contrary. It is an interesting combination of physics and spirituality that makes you question what you thought you knew. I wish I could say I hated it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
“Any book that makes me think is a good book, and this is one of the best I have read.”
Mrs. E. Marshall
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From the Author
It has been a labour of love creating this first book in the “Quantum Lace” series and I hope you love reading Bridgit’s journey as much as I have loved writing about it.
It’s funny how a character can become such a reflection of one’s self ~ and that is exactly what has occurred with Bridgit.
Well, off to research and write the next book… and I hope you love that one just as much…
“Sit down before fact like a little child and be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss Nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.”
Thomas Henry Huxley
(4 May, 1825 – 29 June 1895)
As you read this book, may you follow Huxley’s words, not his example (that’s another story!), and be prepared to give up every preconceived notion of what you thought was impossible.
As Audrey Hepburn once said, “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!”
Once upon a time… Sounds like a simple enough way to start a story – and particularly a story about time travel, but what does it mean, ‘once upon a time’? What is time?
Clocks can tell us what time it is, but they cannot tell us what time is!
In fact, we can only define time using terms that are related to time. One definition states time is “defined by its measurement”. Even the most un-educated will agree there is something very circular in that reasoning and lacking in that definition.
The story of time travel you are about to read, while a work of fiction, is largely based on real science, real people and real events. Where fact leaves off and fiction begins is for you to decide.
Do a search on just about anything in this book and make up your own mind what is ‘real’.
For instance, Morgan Robertson really did publish a book on the sinking of the “unsinkable ship” that hit an iceberg fourteen years before Titanic; the edition of “The Time Machine” published by Holt, really did misspell Wells’ name as H.S. Wells and his address listed on the letter sent to Bridgit, was Wells’ actual address at the time; Lord Brassey really did go off to Australia to become Governor of Victoria and his first wife did die on board the ‘Sunbeam’; the quotes from Tesla’s presentation are actually verbatim of the words he uttered in 1892; and the quantum physics mentioned is all real scientific fact as we know it today…
In this first book of the Quantum Lace series, Lady Bridgit Darnell’s life in 1895 in England is interrupted with what she initially thought was merely a strange dream – a dream in which she meets present-day Markus in South Carolina who tells her not only that quantum physics has shown time-travel is possible, but he outlines how he himself has already been able to travel through time.
Awaking back in what she recognizes as her own time and place, Bridgit is convinced the vision must have been a fantasy of her own making until an event occurs that proves the dream was in fact real, and the ripple effect of which alters Bridgit’s life forever…
Chapter One – The Dream
“I am home,” Bridgit mumbled sleepily to herself as she slowly opened her eyes and carefully looked around her familiar bedroom, reflecting on the events of the past several hours, or was it just a few minutes?
Some dreams are simply a jumbled mish-mash of the day’s comings and goings. This had not been one of those dreams… Nor was it a problem-solving dream where one has visions of cryptic clues that help alleviate a challenging situation.
To be completely honest, this did not feel to Bridgit as though it was a dream at all, but yet…
Her thoughts were interrupted by Dixon who came in to open the curtains, releasing a bright display of dust particles dancing in the shard of daylight that came streaming into the room.
“Are you well this morning, Miss?” asked the short, slightly plump but very agile Dixon with a caring tone but displaying a lack of any interest in not only the answer, but indeed whether or not an answer was even given. She was too intent going about her morning chores, confident that if Miss had been other than well, she would already know about it.
Although originally hired as lady’s maid to Lady Bridgit Darnell, when the housekeeper, Mrs. Capwell, left to move to Brighton with her son, Dixon took charge of the household with such military precision that it was not deemed necessary to hire a replacement.
With the precision of a well-rehearsed soldier, the be-spectacled, grey-haired Dixon went from one activity to the next, all the while commenting in great detail on the unusually fine weather and excess of sunshine that May of 1895 in Warrior Square had bestowed upon them.
“You’ll be wanting to take this shawl with you down to the shore, Miss. It may be bright and sunny out theres abouts, but it is still mighty chilly and you don’t want to catch cold. I’ll be back up in ten minutes to help you dress. I’ve laid out the blue for today. Mrs. Patterson still hasn’t fixed that rip you put in the hem of your brown one when you caught it the other day. I keep telling her ‘we ain’t made of clothes, you know’ and all I gets is ‘I’ll see to it…’ See to it my foot. That woman would take seven minutes to boil a three-minute egg, she would…”
Normally not the role of the cook to mend a hem, but Mrs. Patterson took extra pride in her sewing ability and when she once criticized Dixon for a crooked seam, it was decided in order to avert domestic warfare, that in the future all manner of things to do with fabric and thread would be the domain of Mrs. Patterson.
Only Bridgit and her father were in residence and, despite their social position entertaining was something they did rarely, so aside from Dixon and Mrs. Patterson, the remainder of the household staff consisted only of Mr. Chapman the butler; Perkins the valet; Annie, who took on both responsibilities of kitchen maid and general under-housemaid duties; and the tasks of houseboy fell to Perkins’ nephew, Rodney.
There was one other addition to the household staff – the rather now aged French chef, Monsieur Dubois who had worked for Sir Frank Darnell decades ago and, when Sir Frank discovered the man was now homeless and penniless because he was infirm and no longer able to run a large kitchen, had hired him to join the staff at their home in Warrior Square as chef – however, the only time Monsieur was required to cook was if either Sir Frank or Lady Bridgit felt in the mood for something in particular – the rest of Monsieur’s days were spent reading and reminiscing.
As she had completed her immediate chores and not waiting for a response from her mistress, Dixon left the room, closing the door behind her and leaving Bridgit again to her thoughts.
Yesterday had been quite an ordinary day, yesterday evening equally so. Bridgit retired as usual and went to sleep, but as she began to dream, that was where normal ended.
She imagined she was seated in a booth in a large restaurant overlooking a harbour. Massive arched windows gave her an almost one-hundred-eighty-degree vista, but something was odd. The boats were all white in colour and almost to a vessel they were absent of any masts…
“How strange,” Bridgit remarked supposedly to herself but obviously loud enough that a young woman standing near her said, “I’m sorry? I didn’t hear you. What would you like to order?”
“Oh, ah… tea would be lovely, thank you.”
“Is that all?” asked the server in an accent that was completely unfamiliar to Bridgit. Since ‘talkies’ were many years away in Bridgit’s reality, the only people in 1895 England who would have heard an American accent were those who had either travelled abroad or had met someone originally from America – Bridgit had done neither.
“Yes, thank you,” replied Bridgit feeling rather confused. The young woman was dressed in tight black trousers and a form-fitting shirt with short sleeves, all of which showed off her figure in a way that caused Bridgit to stare. If only she had looked at her own apparel, Bridgit would have been startled to discovered she was wearing something similar, although a skirt not pants and not quite so form-fitting.
“Well, if you want anything else, I’ll leave the menu here with you,” said the server as she walked off with her white-soled shoes squeaking on the floor as she left.
Looking down at the large document as it sat on the solid, heavy wooden table, on the cover Bridgit read the name of the restaurant and below it the location – Charleston, South Carolina.
Suddenly even more aware of her surroundings, Bridgit’s eyes darted about the room, her ears picking up on sounds and conversations.
It was not just the young woman who was dressed oddly. The entire establishment was full of people whose dress, manner and even conversation were beyond comprehension.
“Thank goodness you’re still here!” exclaimed a man in his early thirties as he hurriedly sat down in the booth opposite Bridgit.
“Excuse me?” remarked a startled Bridgit, but the man was undeterred.
“I did it, Bridge!” he continued. “I did it!” he exclaimed again as he excitedly reached across the table and took both Bridgit’s hands in his, quickly squeezing them and letting them go.
“How dare you!” exclaimed Bridgit but to her surprise, Markus didn’t seem at all perturbed by her response.
Bridgit was wide-eyed and totally aghast at the cheek of this man. Thinking he must surely come to his senses, apologize and remove himself, Bridgit waited in silence, eyeing him with bewilderment and suspicion.
“I know, I know – I should have been in touch and I’m sure you’ve been worried, so I’m sorry for that, but Bridge!” He paused very briefly, then continued. “Wow, where to begin,” Markus said with a sigh, totally oblivious to Bridgit’s horror as he sat back against the bench seat, allowing his manic enthusiasm to dissipate slightly and eventually looked down searchingly at the table in a vain hope he would somehow see the starting point for his explanation in the grains of the wood, unaware of Bridgit’s perplexed glare.
The moment was interrupted by the waitress who returned with Bridgit’s order and placed a glass of iced tea on the table.
“What is this?” asked Bridgit who was expecting a very English pot, cup and saucer.
“Tea,” replied the waitress. “You’ll find sugar and sweeteners at the end of the table,” as she pointed to a container of blue, pink and white small paper satchels.
Bridgit reluctantly took a sip. It looked and tasted like black tea but why on earth was it cold?
The waitress asked the man now sitting opposite Bridgit in the booth what he would like to select from the menu.
“Nothing yet, but I’ll wave you down when I’m ready to order,” he said very obviously wanted to get rid of the server as soon as possible.
Bridgit felt a flood of emotions course through her. Enraged at the impertinence of this man… Curiosity at the bizarre nature of his actions, her cold beverage, and of essentially everything within sight and earshot… and a mild sense of fear that she that she was seemingly trapped in a bizarre play from which she knew not how to leave.
“OK, well, I guess it all started when I found out that Dmitri Mendeleev, you know, the guy who came up with the periodic table of elements.” The fact that this man seemed to know her was one thing – he might simply have made an error and thought she was someone else… But he called her “Bridge”! …and then there was the fact that everyone and everything around her was peculiar beyond measure…
“Where am I?” Bridgit wondered apprehensively to herself but didn’t venture to say aloud.
At a loss for any other course of action and, if she were completely honest, more than a little intrigued enough to learn more, Bridgit nodded and motioned for the man to continue. “When I learned that he discovered the whole periodic table in a dream – a dream! – the entire periodic table, in a dream! – that started me thinking…” Markus trailed off in thought.
Bridgit didn’t know what to do other than to sit patiently and await the continuation.
Markus looked at Bridgit intently and said, “It’s like it all came together, Bridge. Quantum physics, holographic universes, spirituality… Everything I have read and studied by people like Dr. Fred Alan Wolf – you know him, Dr. Quantum – and Neville Goddard, and the research done by… What’s that Reverend man’s name? I can never remember it.”
Bridgit shrugged. “Fanthorpe, that’s it. Reverend Lionel Fanthorpe,” he continued. “Even the work of people like Giorgio Tsoukalos or however you say his name – you know, the guy with the crazy hair – and Gene Roddenberry… They might seem totally unrelated, but they are not – they all came together in that moment and,” he lowered the volume of his voice but not his intensity, “I knew that the piece I had been missing was to time travel in a dream when all resistance has stopped!” He emphasized the word with such veracity and passion that even though she was perplexed by this man and her current surroundings, her instinct was to trust him and allow him to continue.
As he looked at her face, Markus could see Bridgit was confused but there was an directness in her eyes that gave him the confidence she would give him a fair hearing, even though he knew what he was saying sounded crazy, even to him.
“Let’s start with some basics,” he began. “You know that for some time we thought that Steven Hawking was right when he said nothing, not even information, could escape a black hole?”
Bridgit had no notion of what he was talking about but decided it was best to just nod and allow him to resume his explanation.
“When Leonard Susskind proved that Stephen Hawking was wrong – that information is not obliterated in a black hole but rather that information cannot ever be destroyed, it felt as though I had somehow been given permission to continue with my quest. Instinctively I knew that Hawking’s theory didn’t fit with what I believed, but I had no way of challenging it. Thankfully, Susskind did that for me! I love him for that!” he chuckled as though the only one in on a private joke.
“Well, since we now know that information cannot be destroyed, that means that every thought anyone has ever had, every dream, every experience… It’s all still available – right back to the beginning of time.”
Bridgit again nodded and although she didn’t understand the rest of what he was saying, that element at least made sense.
“It is called the Unitarity Principle,” he continued, “and it says that information can never be lost – it is always there, even if it’s not visible. The only challenge we have is being able to tap into it, and that’s where personal resonance comes in.”
“Personal what?” asked Bridgit, now too far out of her depth so simply nod obligingly and follow along.
“There was a psychologist called Anderson who proposed that we can tap into all that information, but only if we have some type of connection to it – a personal resonance. Kinda like a vibrating tuning fork will resonate with another tuning fork only if the second tuning fork is the same frequency as the first – or in other words, the vibrational frequencies match.”
Since Bridgit had learned of the musical vibration principle in her formative studies, she was at least following along in this part of the conversation, but did not understand how it applied to whatever the man opposite was attempting to convey.
He continued, “For instance, if you have a tuning fork tuned to middle C and then you tap it on the table and stand it on its end so it sings, any other tuning forks near it that are also tuned to middle C will also start to sing, but a tuning fork tuned to A for instance, will not.”
Markus looked intently at Bridgit to see if she was following. “Go on,” she said hesitantly.
“Sound waves are amazing!” enthused Markus. “I mean in 2007 scientists showed that sound pulses can travel faster than light – imagine that, faster than light! – and then in 2008 it was discovered that if you are able to determine the resonance or vibrational frequency of a virus, you can destroy it using that resonance – and in 2015 they even built a machine that was able to levitate objects using nothing but sound waves! Or think about the invention by a guy called Peter Davey that is able to boil water in seconds using only sound waves!” Markus was on a roll and Bridgit was sure she must have misheard him – “2015?”
“Don’t you get it? They are central to being able to travel through time,” he said, misunderstanding her expression of confusion. “We can’t simply bounce around aimlessly in time – we need to have some sort of connection to where we are going. We need to match the vibrational frequency, just like they did with the virus – to have a personal resonance, just like the tuning forks.” He paused, then smirked, “Hmmmm, or perhaps that should be when we are going,” again, he laughed to himself. Bridgit was not amused.
Noting her scornful look and feeling like a chastised schoolboy, Markus composed himself and resumed, “Part of the preparation for time travel is to have some vibrational connection to where you want to go,” he continued. “Einstein said, ‘Everything in life is vibration’ and everything has its own vibrational frequency, whether it is a rat, a rock or this table,” he said as he patted his hand down on the sturdy chunk of wood.
“Einstein?” asked Bridgit tentatively.
“What?” questioned Markus looking at her with raised eyebrows. He didn’t realize it would still be another ten years in Bridgit’s time before Einstein’s famous works were published.
“Who is Einstein?” she replied in an almost staccato fashion.
After a momentary pause, Markus chuckled aloud. “OK, funny, Miss Smarty Pants. Trying to throw me off.” He sat back again, grinned, and then again leaned forward saying, “Look, Bridge, I know this sounds crazy, but I have already done it – and I have proof that it works…”
Bridgit didn’t understand why he mocked her question, but decided to again simply be quiet, nod, and follow along as best she could.
“OK, I will get back to the resonance and objects in a minute. The other thing you need to know is how reality is created.” He looked at her for some indication that she was ready to proceed but getting only a bewildered stare he decided to continue regardless.
“With every choice and decision we make, with every event in our life that could go a variety of different directions, a parallel universe branches off… Now, just stick with me – I’ll explain…” he hastily added before Bridgit could interject.
“Back in 1982, a physicist named Alain Aspect proved that either objective reality does not exist – meaning there is no such thing as what we consider the see it, feel it, touch it reality – or communication with both the past and the present is possible – and that’s not just hypothesis. He proved beyond a shadow of doubt that one of those two options must be accepted as fact. I mean, how amazing is that?” He looked at Bridgit whose complexion was now turning significantly pale and peaked.
“Are you ok?” he asked, reaching out for her hand as she slid it slowly back under the table and out of reach.
“Quite,” Bridgit replied quietly and a little breathlessly. She had never been a very believable liar. In her mind, she was attempting to put all the pieces together to defy logic and somehow make it make sense, and felt she was holding her own until ‘back in 1982’? Surely, she had misheard him. But then again, one look around her confirmed she was no longer in England in 1895.
Feeling he was in too far to back out now, Markus continued.
“Every time you make a decision, you create reality – but up until you make that decision, every possible alternative exists as a potentiality. Look at it this way – say you are considering whether or not to cross the road. There are countless – infinite, really – possibilities. You could choose to cross the road now, you could choose not to cross the road, you could jay-walk, you could walk part way across the road and come back… They are all possibilities until you actually make the decision and take the action. Do you follow?”
“Not really, but keep going,” replied Bridgit honestly.
“Well, for each of those possible decisions, any that are strong possibilities actually branch off and form another holographic universe, just like this one – but in one universe you have crossed the road and in another you are still where you started.”
“Why do only the strong possibilities form another universe?” she asked, still not following, but doing her best.
“Any possibility needs to have enough energy so it can branch into another universe,” Markus replied as though this was common knowledge. “Those without enough energy are called ‘terminal universes’ and cannot survive – and actually, that leads us to an interesting point,” Markus continued, now feeling on another roll.
“The way we create reality is primarily through our focus, our emotions and our imagination. When we think of a possible outcome for a situation, the ones to which we give our focused thought, where we vividly and with intense emotion place ourselves in the desired outcome in our imagination – those are the possibilities that survive and split off as separate universes – and the strongest is the one into which our consciousness continues – what we would call ‘reality’.”
Bridgit briefly contemplated a conversation she had with her father many years ago as he was discussing the notion that everything that exists was once a thought – every chair, every building, every piece of art…
“Hugh Everett proposed that everything that is physically possible happens in some branch of the multiverse – and I happen to largely agree with him,” continued Markus. “So, if you take that and combine it with Aspect’s finding that either objective reality doesn’t exist or communication between past and present is possible, just think about what that means in relation to time travel! Not only can we travel back in time, but we can explore just about every possible choice we could have ever made! …and,” he said emphatically and enthusiastically, “we can travel to the future simply because our ‘now’ is part of the future’s past! Do you get it?”
At that moment, there was for Bridgit a welcome interruption.
“Hey, Markus! Good to see you, buddy. Y’all going to the game on Saturday?” said a man in his thirties who was taking a seat at the bar but addressing the person sitting opposite Bridgit in the wooden booth.
“Sure! I’ll text you. Let’s grab a drink afterward,” Markus replied.
Bridgit’s head was spinning as she took a sip of tea, her shaking fingers almost spilling the contents of the glass.
“Anyway, like I was saying,” he continued as he brought his attention back to the table, again lowering his voice slightly. “I’ve even been able to take care of the paradox that H.G. Wells encounters in his book, ‘The Time Machine’,” Markus continued.
“Bertie? What does he have to do with this?” Bridgit blurted out, now momentarily feeling on solid ground as she took a deep breath, her confidence on the rise.
“Who?” replied Markus.
“Wells. Herbert Wells. You said you solved the paradox in his time travel story in the New Review.”
“The New Review? What on earth are you talking about?” questioned Markus rather confoundedly.
Bridgit and Wells met at Uppark in West Sussex when they were mere teenagers and had remained life-long friends. His mother was housekeeper at the estate and Wells, Bertie to his family and friends, had the run of the place when he would come to visit – in particular, he spent countless hours with the collection of books in the magnificent white and gold saloon with its almost floor to ceiling windows looking out over the estate, and the room in which the two friends first met and often discussed theoretical and philosophical concepts such as travelling through time and space…
Bridgit had just recently read Wells’ serialized version of his time machine story in the New Review periodical, but the tale was yet to be published into a book. In fact, the story had been published several times, in several different formats, under several different titles and with several slightly different storylines, but not yet as one cohesive volume.
“Never mind, please continue,” she said with a resigned sigh.
Markus tipped his head to the side and down slightly, raised an eyebrow, and gave Bridgit a considered look, but then continued.
“It was funny – they didn’t even get his name right when that book was first published, and now it’s a classic!” he laughed. Seeing Bridgit was more perplexed than amused, he continued.
“Anyway, the grandfather paradox that you can’t change the past by going back and killing your grandfather before your father was born. You see, it’s not really a paradox at all because nothing you do changes that past – the one where you needed to be born in order to exist to be having this experience in the first place.” Bridgit gave him a blank stare.
“The same applies for the chronology tenet Wells put forward,” Markus explained, “where you cannot go back in time and change something that would mean you now don’t go back in time in the first place. They are all holograms of an infinite number of pasts, all different universes, different realities, if you will. You cannot go back in time in this reality,” he said as he tapped the table, “but you can explore every other universe – every other decision and alternative where your consciousness hasn’t yet been.”
Bridgit’s head was swimming but not seeing any means of retreat from the situation, and despite her discomfort, actually being quite captivated by the entire fantastical discourse, she encouraged Markus to continue.
“But, like I said,” elaborated Markus, “time travel only applies prior to collapsing the wave function, prior to taking action, when all other alternatives are only potentialities – or in other words, once you have made a decision and taken action, and your consciousness has moved forward into that new, branched-off universe, you cannot travel back prior to that point in that universe, but you can travel back in an alternate one.”
Markus stopped and looked at Bridgit for a signal of how to proceed, or even whether to proceed.
“So, if you believe all this to be true…” Bridgit’s question was cut off.
“The question is: Are we sure what we know now is everything there is to know – or even if what we think of as fact, are we sure that we are correct? Or, is it possible there may be things that are in fact real that we are presently ignorant of?” replied Markus, heading off any suggestion that he may be imagining the whole thing.
“For instance, I have always wondered whether Morgan Robertson was a time traveller,” said Markus. “The coincidences are just too freaky.”
“What do you mean?” Bridgit inquired, not sure she would even understand his answer, but willing to continue further down the rabbit hole.
“Just before 1900 – I think it was around 1897 or 1898 – Morgan Robertson wrote a book called, ‘Futility’ all about a huge British ocean liner that was considered unsinkable, and that struck an iceberg in the Northern Atlantic, 400 miles from Newfoundland, around midnight in the month of April. It sank, with most of her passengers drowning because there were not enough life rafts. Sound familiar?” Bridgit had no recall of any such incident but nodded for him to continue.
“More than that, Robertson’s ship was called ‘Titan’. How’s that for weird?” he said as he raised his eyebrows and looked at Bridgit.
“There were only a few minor differences between the real Titanic ship and the Titan ship in the book – for instance, Robertson said the ship was travelling at 25 knots when she hit the iceberg, and we now know that it was 22.5 knots – which isn’t a big difference, but makes me think that Robertson must have been around in 1912 and then went back to the 1890s,” he looked briefly out the windows at Charleston Harbour before continuing.
“You see, I figure he must have been around at the time of the real sinking and travelled back to the nineteenth century from there, because that – the 25 knots – was the speed some of the newspapers reported at the time on the incident. But even apart from that, so many other elements are identical to the real Titanic – that, remember, didn’t sink until 1912 – more than a dozen years after he wrote the book!”
“I would like to think that Robertson went back to write about the Titanic as a warning, rather than knowing it would sell more books when the real ship actually sank,” Markus continued.
“I mean, think about it.” He proceeded in a comic overly-British tone to his Southern accent. “‘Hello, chaps – I know I’m from America and I know nothing about shipping, but if y’all build a great big unsinkable ship in the future, it’s going to hit an iceberg and sink – so, don’t do it, OK?’”
Markus chuckled. “The idea that he could have warned them is ludicrous, so I guess he did the next best thing – he wrote about it hoping they would see the similarities.”
Markus looked at Bridgit with a solemnity as he continued, “Either way, history shows we didn’t listen. He did give it another shot in 1914 when he wrote about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, but no one listened to that warning, either – well, they didn’t in this reality at least,” he sighed with a sadness that touched Bridgit’s heart. “Maybe in some other reality we didn’t needlessly lose all those lives…”
Markus sat looking contemplatively at the table and tracing the grains in the wood with the tip of his finger.
“Reality is more than what you can perceive through your physical senses, Bridge,” he expressed, coming out of his reflective trance. Looking directly at Bridgit, he continued, “Every rational person understands that, even if they never think about it. They acknowledge radio waves exist – waves you are not physically aware of. To you, those radio waves are non-existent – you can’t feel them or pick them up with your physical senses. Yet, anyone with an inexpensive receiver can pick up – or more precisely, tune into those signals that are all around you.”
Bridgit nodded, again finding just enough in his commentary that made sense to her to allow him to continue.
“Time travel is possible, Bridge, but it’s like a jigsaw puzzle – you not only have to have all the right pieces, you have to know how to put them together in the right way to bring the picture – the alternate time-travelled reality picture – to life.”
Markus continued, “You know, it’s amazing, we think that reality is all ‘out there’ but consider when you go to the movies. Not only are you simply seeing one still image after the next that gives you the illusion of reality and movement and travel through time and space, but when you see a scary picture and something happens suddenly, causing you to jump, your heart-rate goes up, your fight-or-flight reaction kicks in – but yet nothing ‘out there’ has changed at all! You are still sitting safely in your seat, eating your popcorn that is now probably scattered all over the place,” he chuckled.
Seeing Bridgit still did not appear to be amused, he asked, “So, it makes you wonder – what is reality and how do we know it exists the way we currently believe it to exist? Because ‘reality’ certainly isn’t the scary bogey-man on the screen who is coming to get you right here and right now in this moment in time – he is just a series of still pictures strung together with some words and music – but yet your mind and your body react as though he were real… So, how can we say we know what ‘reality’ is for sure?”
Bridgit didn’t understand much of what Markus said but did recall reading a book by Mary Shelley that had scared her to the point where she lit several extra lamps in her bedroom in hopes they would make her feel safer and to calm her agitated, frightened state – and yes, just as he said, the monster was not actually in her bedroom and she was not in any danger. Her reaction was merely to harmless printed ink on a page – hardly life-threatening – but yet what she perceived as her reality, her quickened pulse, her heightened senses were all as if the monster was indeed right there with her.
“Interesting,” Bridgit said, as she pondered this bizarre, confusing and nonsensical conversation and situation.
Feeling Bridgit was becoming a tad more promisingly engaged in the entire concept, Markus quickly continued while he had positive momentum. “Another crucial element is dreaming, like I said at the beginning.” Bridgit nodded. “Well, not exactly dreaming as you might imagine it, but rather the dream state.” Markus looked at Bridgit for some signal to continue but at least not getting one to stop, he picked up where he left off.
“When we enter the dream state, all resistance ceases and we are able to move about without the constructs that our perceived reality in our waking hours places upon us – or more specifically, when our conscious mind that tells us what we can and can’t do, takes a nap. For instance, think of a dream where you were flying,” he waited for an acknowledgement from Bridgit.
“Can you fly like a bird in this reality?” he asked.
“Of course not,” replied Bridgit, shuffling uncomfortably in her seat.
“Actually, what if you can,” said Markus with a smirk, “but the reason you don’t is that you think it is impossible. Think about it…” he said leaning forward toward Bridgit. “Once upon a time it was thought impossible to sail around the world. Once upon a time it was thought physically impossible to run a four-minute mile. Once upon a time it was thought impossible to put a man on the moon. Now we know they are not only possible, but we have actually done them, all of them, and more.”
Bridgit was about to interject but held her tongue, partly because she didn’t know what to say and partly because she felt she might be physically sick if she even opened her mouth at this point.
“We also thought that time travel was impossible, but what I’ve done,” he said and then paused… He wasn’t sure what it was, but he only just now realized there was something unfamiliar in the manner of his best friend, however dismissing any concern and taking a deep breath he said, “What I’ve done is to find a way to travel back and forward in time, Bridge, and I thought perhaps together we might even…”
Markus trailed off the sentence – or was it a question? – and looked at Bridgit to gauge her reaction.
Taking a deep breath and releasing it slowly, Bridgit put her fingers to her temples in a futile attempt to stop her head from throbbing so loudly she could barely hear his words.
“What you are saying, if I understand correctly, is that you want to teach me how to travel through time?” Bridgit’s eyes now fixed on Markus’, her fingers still pressed to the sides of her forehead.
“I know you can do it, Bridge,” Markus replied enthusiastically and started giving her instruction as though she had already said yes.
“One vitally important thing you have to remember is to make sure your emotional state is in check before you start the process. Remember the tuning forks – like attracts like. You don’t want to be feeling all frantic and upset when you begin or you’ll find yourself attracting a frantic time and place like a war zone somewhere else in time! Believe me, I’ve done it,” Markus cautioned, “and it ain’t pretty.”
“That, and you have to follow exactly what I tell you to do, or my research all shows that you won’t be able to come back to the same time and place you left,” Markus said with an added level of warning and concern.
“OK, do you think you can give it a go?” he almost sounded as though he was a child asking for something special for Christmas. “Please?”
All Bridgit could do was to remove her fingers from her temples, place her hands on the table, let out a sigh of resignation and say, “Proceed.”
At that, Markus excitedly straightened in his seat and gushed, “Excellent! OK, the first thing you need to learn is about psychometry – or the personal resonance objects we mentioned that act kind of like Dr. Strange’s ‘sling ring’. With the object in your hands, you have to focus. Take what you think of as the physical ‘real’ world in front of you out of focus and instead, visualize and focus on the destination – the time and place you want to go to – in your mind.”
As he spoke, he pulled a small silver article from his pocket and placed it on the table.
“Where did you get that?” Bridgit almost screamed with alarm as she reached for her waistband, only to find it bare of any accessories.
The object on the table in front of her was an antique ladies belt hook, the same chatelaine that Bridgit wore every day – the repousse rose chatelaine Bridgit’s father had made for her mother as a wedding present and upon which he had hung both the keys to their new home and a silver verge fusee pocket watch that he said would mark with a pleasant ticking sound every moment of the many years they would spend together. It marked but two years before a black satin ribbon was threaded through the loop at the top, tied into a bow and the now silent piece placed in a drawer along with the rest of Lady Mary Darnell’s jewellery.
“Answer me!” Bridgit demanded, but as Markus attempted to answer, his attention was diverted as a small device he had placed on the table vibrated and emitted a loud musical sound that jolted Bridgit awake, back in her own room, in her own time and space…
“It has to be here,” Bridgit said frantically to herself as she leapt from the bed and raced to the mahogany dressing table. Sure enough, as she opened the drawer in which she kept her mother’s jewellery, Bridgit found the silver chatelaine was sitting where she had placed it last night. She breathed a sigh of relief and clutching the small piece in her hand, curled back up in bed, feeling somewhat more secure with the beloved artefact firmly in her grasp and the weight of the covers providing a welcome sense of protection – protection from what, she wasn’t sure – until she drifted back off into a light, albeit restless slumber.
Upon waking and being comforted that she was safely tucked up in her own bed, just as Bridgit was again starting to mull over the events from the dream, precisely ten minutes after she left it Dixon re-entered the bed chamber to help Bridgit dress in time to go downstairs for breakfast. Before leaving her room, Bridgit felt her waist for the wayward chatelaine, just to make sure it was exactly where it ought to be and then, reassured, continued on her way.
Sir Frank Darnell was already seated at the table reading the newspaper when his daughter walked into the room.
Peering over the top of the freshly ironed pages, he commented in a soothing, concerned tone, “You look frightfully tired, my dear. Didn’t you get any sleep?”
Giving him a kiss on the forehead as she passed absent-mindedly by on her way toward the food, Bridgit replied, “Not really, Papa. I had the most unusual dream…” but she allowed the sentence to go unfinished as she helped herself to the selection Mrs. Patterson had prepared for them.
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