Losing Time

When Bryn sees a story on the local news about three children who disappeared without trace twenty years ago, she and Harley agree that this is a mystery that they should investigate.

Using Bryn’s pocket watch to trace the clues in real time, they discover a twisted mess of lies and deceit which will impact many more lives than they thought.

Not to mention the clues Bryn uncovers in her grandfather’s journals – clues that will change the way she sees the watch forever…

Formats: ebook $3.99

Genre/s: science fiction, mystery

Series: Time Will Tell

Audience: general, young adult

Length: novella

Available from your favourite retailer here.

Excerpt:

1.

Bryn Maher sighed with mingled relief and frustration as she slid her key into the lock of her tiny unit. Relief because she was finally home after a three-hour round trip, two of them sitting on buses, and frustration because the trip looked to be a bust. She’d done everything right for the job interview; she’d researched the company, she knew the products they made and even some of the processes they went through, even though she’d only be working on reception. She’d worn her smartest pale yellow blouse and beige pencil skirt and had got Mrs Holloway next door to help her do her hair…

And all for nothing.

She’d known it almost as soon as she entered the interview room, when the two people on the interview panel gave each other a long look before shaking her hand. And the first question – ‘Do you have a licence?’ – had confirmed it. When she shook her head, they went on to describe why it was necessary for a receptionist to have a licence, detailing jobs that hadn’t been listed in the Seek job ad. Bryn had let them talk, her stomach tying itself in knots and her throat closing with misery then, because she was so intimidated and cowed, she’d thanked them for their time and left.

Why did some people have to be so… judgmental? So what she couldn’t see as well as they could! It didn’t mean she couldn’t do the work! She had a Certificate III in Business Administration, along with two months’ practical voluntary experience in the local council office of her home town of Gerringup – more than their ad had specified. But they hadn’t even asked to see her resume.

They’d just assumed, because she wore glasses, that she was stupid.

She’d had to fight not to cry on the bus home. And, typical for today, that bus ride was the longer of the two – and it had been late to the bus stop.

She pushed her door open slowly, putting her bag into the gap to stop her small black cat, Orion, from escaping. He didn’t like it when she left him alone for a long time. She’d found him three months ago outside her unit block, his leg broken, his little body already fighting fever. But he’d pulled through, dragging his leg around in a cast until it was healed. Now, although he was still rail-thin and would never be able to use the leg fully again, he was happy and healthy and meowing his head off as he scrabbled at her bag.

‘Hey, cutie,’ she said, scooping him up and hugging him close. His clean-cat smell, the tickle of his whiskers as he butted her chin with his head, was already starting to make her feel better.

Besides, the stupid job was too far away – she’d spend two hours getting there and back. Trouble was, there weren’t many jobs where she lived.

And she’d pretty much put a resume into every business within a one-kilometre radius that she thought she could do.

Still hugging Orion, she kicked off her shoes and crossed to the tiny kitchen, putting him down beside his bowls. His water bowl was still half-full, but she refilled it anyway. And he’d eaten the small stash of biscuits she’d left for him.

‘Not quite dinner time, but I don’t care,’ she told him, spooning his ration of tuna into his food bowl. She didn’t feel like cooking, not even heating something up. A sandwich would do for tonight. There was a tin of tuna-and-tomato mix in the cupboard, she’d have that with lettuce and tomato slices. But for now, she was going to get out of her interview clothes and into shorts and shirt.

Her phone rang as she finished getting dressed. She hurried out to where she’d left it on the kitchen counter, and smiled at the name on the screen. Harley. Her smile widened as she pictured his mild grey eyes and sandy hair. Just last week they’d shared their first kiss, and were now officially girl- and boyfriend. The words still gave Bryn tingles.

‘Hey,’ she said after she swiped to accept the call. ‘Is something wrong?’ Harley worked during the day at his family’s antique store. It was rare that he called within business hours.

‘Hey yourself.’ Harley’s voice was warm over the phone. ‘No, everything’s fine. Just ringing to find out how the job interview went.’

‘Okay, I guess,’ Bryn said, and before he could ask for details she hurried on, ‘How are you guys? Have you heard from Tammy? How’s Cory?’

Tammy and Cory were Harley’s cousins. Bryn had met them the week before, when Harley had invited her as his ‘plus-one’ to Tammy’s wedding to her fiancé Dave. Cory’s story was a little more dramatic. He’d been kidnapped by his own mother and hidden for over a year in a series of tunnels beneath the Woodsides’ massive old house. Malnourished and terrified, he probably would have died down there within a few months if Bryn hadn’t found him.

‘Yeah, Tammy’s good. Cory’s been released from the hospital but because Aunt Kat’s dug her feet in and refused to give them permission to foster him they’ve had to go through court and stuff. They’re still down on the coast. But hey… about your pocket watch…’ He trailed off, then went on in a rush. ‘There’s something on TV tonight, a segment on a show called Behind the Headlines…’

Bryn crinkled her nose, intrigued. Harley didn’t watch a lot of TV. And if it was about her pocket watch, then it wasn’t just idle watching.

Harley was the only other person who knew the truth about her watch.