Out of Time: Three

Fiction By Anna // 10/3/2011

“She’ll be all right?” immediately followed my exclamation and awkward embrace. I pretended I hadn’t buried my head in his black coat and that he hadn’t stroked my hair. But his lemony smell was still in my nostrils.
“Do you want to make sure?” he said. I nodded, and a few more tears blurred his image.
He disentangled himself and stood; I sprang to his side, unwilling to be alone for another second.
“Jess,” he said rather quietly, but his voice carried. She turned to look at him, at us together, and he waved.
She went still and quiet, confusion still struggling in her hazel eyes, but at least she had relaxed a little. Dad beckoned her back to the house.
“Don’t try to speak,” he murmured at me. “I don’t want to agitate her. She just needs some sleep.”
The cruelty of the situation struck me. How could I treat my aunt as if she had become a frightened house pet? And yet I was doing it with my dad, who was as unremembered as I was.
Jess floated into the house after us. In silence, I handed her a favorite sweater. After wrapping it around her, she did something that surprised me—collapsed into her brother’s arms.
My dad… get that, my dad, cool as you please… scooped her up and tucked her into bed like a little girl. I drew the shade but watched them from the corner of my eye, thinking, He’s so gentle. She just lets him hold her as if she still knows him, knows she can trust him. That must mean it’s true. He is my dad and I can trust him.
But why’s he here after all this time?
Time… he mentioned time.
My eyes narrowed at his straightening form. Pressing his finger to his lips, we slithered out of the shadowed but not night-darkened room.
He said I was out of mine. But he’s no more a nutter than the rest of this family…
I took a last peek at the woman who’d raised me before I closed the door. She had fallen asleep and looked collected, her wispy blonde hair wearing away the angles of her pale face. The closest memories I had to such calmness were the days in my early teen years.
When I couldn’t handle life in general, I let it out it through sulks to arguments to screaming. Aunt Jess understood enough to wrap her arms around me even when I wouldn’t even try to wrap words around my feelings. She held me when I sobbed and told me, often, “Everything’s going to be all right.” She never said why or how or claimed to be the one to fix it, but she reminded me how much I loved the parts of the world that didn’t need to remember me. I loved her.
She forgot me, but she never abandoned me. I could almost believe that if I walked out of here now with my dad, I’d come back to live with her again and it would all be right. Really, though, I got the sick feeling that I would never even see her again.
I scooped my handbag out of the front doorway and slung it over my shoulder. In this manner, my dad and I walked off together, out of the house and down the street, as if we’d known each other all our lives. Sad, isn’t it?
“Want to get a Coke or something?” Dad suddenly asked.
My eyes fell on the edge of his trench coat. I had just drunk Coke with Brodie, hadn’t I? It hurt to remember. Less than twenty minutes ago, too.
“How about chips?” I said at last. I hoped I wasn’t too far behind our conversation.
“Quite right!” Our walking took direction. “Don’t really like caffeine anyway. I know a chip shop in this time that’s superb… They serve in newspaper, even. Never too greasy or burnt.”
“Lovely,” I said, so meaningless that I was ashamed of myself.
“We’ve a lot to talk about,” he said in contradiction to my thoughts.
Truthfully, I wanted to hear all about him—and to tell him about me. But I couldn’t think of a solitary question to start that wouldn’t probe the huge mystery of our past.
“Like what?” I said, bracing myself for my own awkwardness. If only I’d braced for him.
“Like, I’m a time traveler.”
I was so shocked I couldn’t even trip. “What?”
“Is that so hard to believe?”
Dark hair invaded my vision in the wind. I furiously pushed it back. “You’re mad!”
He grinned sarcastically. “That’s harder to believe. No, really, I am a time traveler. Oh, the people I’ve met in the past and future, the events I’ve taken part in, the movies premiering next year!”
I felt as if I’d missed the last stair in the dark. My stomach lifted, my heart skipped, and my lungs contracted. That’s not the moment to say, “Prove that the floor exists!” No, I just wanted the moment of relief on the floor, hugging the wall and laughing at myself.
So I didn’t ask him to prove it. “Today’s been really scary,” I told him, “and my whole life’s been just weird enough to let me say this. Dad, I believe you.”
He flashed me a smile of relief that mirrored mine. I could see the family resemblance between him and his sister in the smile: it grew upward instead of stretching out.
“It’s impossible, but I believe you,” I repeated.
“Want breakfast?”
“What?” I said again.
“Lewis Carroll wrote… Never mind. Someday we’ll meet him.”
What precisely had he said about time?
“I know a chip shop in this time that’s superb…”
No, before that.
“You’ve been out of your time too long.”
“What did you mean, I’m out of my time?”
He crossed the street, and I followed. “Sometimes people are misplaced in time. And time doesn’t try to help. I don’t even think it wants them back.”
“Are you talking about… wormholes or something?” I squinted at him.
He scratched his chin, deep in thought.
“Because I haven’t skateboarded through one, not if I’m your kid. ‘Cause I know for a fact this is your time.”
“My time used to be sixteen years ago. One day changed that. I was only nineteen when we found the machine. I thought, ‘Ooh, I’ll pop off to a Beatles concert in the past and be home in the present for tea!’ But that isn’t how time travel works. All of time isn’t my sandbox… It’s more like a beach. Because I’m out of my personal time, the boardwalk, the waves keep erasing my footprints. When you’re out of your time, people don’t remember you, but you can remember other time travelers.”
He crossed his arms, lowering his head as if cold. I knew he wasn’t. “We are both out of our times, and that’s why Jess is so confused, and I’m so sorry about that. She’s a wonderful sister.”
How can this happen to me if I was born in your time? I started to ask. But I remembered Jess’s words: “He was too old when he came… One day nineteen, the next thirty...”
I turned the “How?” my mouth had formed into a breathless, “I have loads of questions.” I threw my windswept hair over my shoulder. “But I don’t know where to start.”
“Seize your first random thought! I like random. I could tell you a story about being random that resulted in the great work of art known as—”
“I turned sixteen yesterday.”
“Hm? Oh, you started. Yes, I know that.” He took a deep breath of the smell of decaying leaves. “I always liked October birthdays.”
“Does my age make you… late forties?” I scrutinized him—probably just over one meter and eighty centimeters, brown hair like mine, deep-set blue eyes and deeper laugh lines. Then I blushed. “Oh, right. Time traveling. You probably dropped me off a week ago.”
He shook his head. “At first my plan was to visit you once a year for both our ages, but it was so long… and far too hard, so I cut it in half. I’m forty now, give or take. Blimey, how do you track birthdays when any day of the year is available?”
“You married late.” Some great curiosity about this tickled my brain, but he kept on talking and wiped it away.
“Settling down… also hard. Notice I didn’t just visit you once a year, though.” He grinned. “I couldn’t help myself.”
“About that.” My eyes narrowed. “Could have said a word now and then, eh? Paced all this information? You didn’t have to come for me sooner, but we could have talked! Fathers and daughters tell each other… stuff, don’t they?”
“I’m talking now,” he said softly. “I wanted you to live as normal a life as you could for as long as you could.”
“Then why would you take me out of my time in the first place?” I whispered back. I didn’t realize how angry I was until later, but it started there.
“Rhosyn. My Rhosyn.” He seemed to savor my name and face. “Look at you. And listen! Going Londoner—practically Cockney.”
My eyes widened. I had just thought about how nice my name sounded in his Northern accent.
“I bet you hate ‘Wotcher, Watcher’ jokes,” he continued. “Sorry, I know that’s an exaggeration…” Abruptly, he shifted his eyes—glistening almost imperceptibly—to the road and swung one foot in front of the other. Hesitating. All desire to rush left his voice. Each word heavy, he said, "Your'e here... because... of your mother."


 Well, let's see:I think

 Well, let's see:

I think it's probably best that she leave Aunt Jess, since her aunt can barely remember her as it is.
Is Mr. Watcher Rhosyn's father? If so, I'm not sure what to think, at the moment. Why'd he leave his daughter? I mean, wanting her to have a normal life seems like a pretty weak excuse. Wouldn't a father rather have his daughter with him, even if she didn't have an exactly 'normal' life? (I'm being a total homeschooler here, I know). I like him, what we've seen of him. I think he's heaping a lot of information on his poor daughter :)
I'm not sure that I understand this 'out of time' concept. It's kind of confusing. But my advice would be to keep making it come naturally from the story. Like, something happens, and she learns more about the time travel stuff, but not enough to bore or totally confuse your readers (though, if it confuses Rhosyn, that's fine!)
It's kind of hard to remember that this is supposed to be in England. The Britishisms aren't really wrong, they're just kind of absent, I think (except the chips part :)
I did notice that you left out a word somewhere up there, but I can't remember where :P
There wasn't a whole lot of humor, but this tickled me:
"Oh, the... movies premiering next year!"

Anyways, I like this chapter. A tad bit slow, but that's not a bad thing! I'm interest in seeing just where it's going to go. You're grammar is intact, and your writing doesn't frustrate me by constantly making me rework sentences or figure out what that misspelled word was supposed to be :D Keep up the good work!

Laura Elizabeth | Mon, 10/03/2011

The best stories are those that are focused, unassuming, and self-confident enough to trust the reader to figure things out. --


Oh! I get it--

Oh! I get it--

He had his daughter out of his original time, and the sixteen years difference has caught up with her. Aunt Jess is so confused because it has. My only question is, how can she still see them if she couldn't at first? I hope Aunt Jess remembers what her brother told her about time, AND that we might see her again. Maybe...? 

I had to read it over twice to understand, and then I was like, "I'VE GOT IT!" It makes sense! And really, it's a brilliant concept and idea. You handle it well. I would just maybe put a few more hints regarding the whole 'time' thing in for the reader to better understand. Or maybe I'm just slow and everyone else will get it right away. ;)

*reading again* I fully understand now...sixteen years ago, he was actually nineteen. By going back into the future and past, he keeps changing his age. His age doesn't go automatically back with him. Sorry for my random thoughts! But I get it! And I LOVE it. 

Now I'm anxious to meet Rhosyn's mother! 

In reply to your questions: 

1) I sort of answered the one about Jess. I like her--I'd like to see her again.

2) I like her dad. He's a likable character--funny!

3) I basically poured out all my thoughts on time above. But I would give your readers a more basic understanding of everything, so they don't have to figure it out as much by themselves. Or maybe that was intended. If so, I understood it after re-reading, and I'm sure others would. This is a great story, Anna, and I'm anxious for more! 

Post soon! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story to AP! 

-HomeschoolGirl :o)

Madeline | Mon, 10/03/2011

everything was better when/you would call and I'd be like/yeah babe, no way


It kind of makes sense: Time as a big bad Silent-beast :) If you're outside of where you should be, people keep looking past you.

Julie | Mon, 10/03/2011

Formerly Kestrel

 This is so awesome. I must

 This is so awesome. I must say that I was still a little confused about the whole time thing until I read HomeschoolGirl's comment. I don't think that's a totally bad thing though, because I probably would have understood better after a while.

I like Jess, so it's sad leaving her, but that's how it goes I guess. I hope we'll see her again?

looking forward to reading more soon!!!!

Renee | Mon, 10/03/2011


 It's beginning to make a lot of sense. :) 

Kyleigh | Tue, 10/04/2011

 Leaving Jess: Well, I guess

 Leaving Jess: Well, I guess it's the only thing to do, since she doesn't remember Rhosyn anymore. (BTW, love the name Rhosyn.)

First impression of David Watcher: Well, the name alone intrigues me--Watcher. Did you specfically pick the name to signify something he does that's important, or was it just a good name for him? I like him--he's funny and a bit Doctor-ish. Probably because you compared him to Christopher Eccleston and he travels in time (just like Wygate reminds me of the 10th doctor...BTW you need to continue with that story!). 

I understand the whole "out of time" bit, so no problems there, I think.

Part 1 makes much more sense now, and I liked the explanation about how being out of your time throws everything out of whack. It's interesting and unique, and I'd definitely read the book just to see more of the characters' adventures from being out of their time.

 Is the exposition overwhelming? No, I don't think so. It's all very intriguing.

Does it flow? Yep.

Do you see contradictions? Not thus far.

What’s missing? Nothing.

How can I better show versus tell? Honestly so far I don't see a problem with this. I'll definitely keep coming back and reading this, however, I tend to do better when I get to read an entire work through, then make comments. I wouldn't at all mind doing that once you're finished with this story.

Heather | Wed, 10/05/2011

And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

I love it! It's definitely

I love it! It's definitely keeping me interested. I did forget that they were British until Rhosyn's father mentioned that she sounded like a Londoner.

E | Wed, 10/05/2011

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond


Ditto to Laura Elizabeth and HomeschoolGirl, word for word!

I'm getting a small inkling of the Out of time concept... I'm still trying to understand, but HomeschoolGirl's comment helped a lot!

So.... he went away to another time and grew older in that time, then found a way back to the time he was previously in and he was the age he grew in the time he had visited. So... He found a lady and had Rhosyn and kept on visiting Rhosyn throught the many different times and years... I understand now about the father being out of time! But I still can't understand why Rhosyn is if she has never time traveled and she was always in the time they are in now! LOL! It is all so very fun and confusing, like a satifying jig-saw puzzle!

Love it!

Yeah, I did notice that missing word up above too! t definitely stood out! Here... let me try to find it! It was very small! But sort of like a thorn stuck in your shirt, or something that jutted out awkwardly... "Aunt Jess understood enough   wrap her arms around me even when I wouldn’t even try to wrap words around my feelings" just ad 'to' and your good! or... maybe some other word that strikes your fancy! LOL!

I totally forgot they were british! until he said "Blimey"  LOL!



Kassady | Thu, 10/06/2011

"Here's looking at you, Kid"
Write On!

Thank you all so much for your enthusiasm

Laura Elizabeth: Yeah, David Watcher is her father. His name doesn't actually come up for a couple of chapters, since she's the one narrating, but I did mention Watcher was her last name.You're right on that he's giving weak excuses, although that's all I'm saying for now... ;) I guess it isn't extremely funny now... The humor will probably never get laugh-out-loud, just hopefully smile-worthy. It's corniness I'm trying to avoid.

HomeschoolGirl: "My only question is, how can she still see them if she couldn't at first?" I'm not entirely sure what you mean. If you're referring to Aunt Jes... Well, she still can't, not quite. I added a sentence which I hope clears this up: 

I drew the shade but watched them from the corner of my eye, thinking, He’s so gentle. She just lets him hold her as if she still knows him, knows she can trust him. Her eyes didn’t say, “Oh, of course, you’re my brother,” but she submitted anyway. That must mean it’s true.

Other than that, yeah, you have the concept down. And thank you for being such a trooper!

Kestrel: Precisely. The behavior of Time is one of the few good ideas I had for the story not ripped out of DW... which means I have to throw in a few references to make fun of myself. :)

Renee: Thanks! I do hope things will continue to clear up as it comes out in the story.

Kyleigh: *glomps* Thank you for getting it!

Heather: Thanks on both counts for the names! I gave them the last name "Watcher" because that was my initial idea of him - watching everything that ever was from the shadows of time. And a pocket watch figures in later. Before I gave him a first name, all my notes called him "the Watcher," which didn't at all help rid me of the Time Lord image. Once I've finished the story, I hope to go back and make it less of a DW ripoff. I also hope that, as the characters progress, you'll see that David in particuarly is actually quite unlike the Doctor. Speaking of Wygate's Used Books, I am still writing it - but it's going to be one chapter at a time, and very long in between, and they might not be big on continuity as my random ideas evolve. So far I have 3ish pages out of an estimated 5... I completely understand about going back and making comments after, which I hope you'll do. :)

Erin: Thanks! Out of curiosity, were you thinking of potato chips instead of French fires, then?

Kassady: David's chronology will become clearer in the next chapter, including why Rhosyn is out of her time when she grew up in his. She never asks about it directly because she wants to know about her mother, but the question is answered indirectly.

To more than one of you:

For the sake of not spoiling anything or raising hopes, I won't say too much about Jess, but I'm glad people actually found it all sad. I was wondering if Jess wasn't well enough developed to affect anyone.

Gotta work on the British-isms still, I guess. Part of me thinks I'm actually not doing so bad, and the thing that would really make a difference is an audio version...

And the missing word is taken care of now. :) Thanks for pointing it out!

And my biggest problem is obviously filling in a few blanks so that you non-abstracts understand what's going on. I did not in the least mean for any reader to have to go over the chapter more than once to understand. I will get on this and keep it in mind before I post the rest of the chapters.

I'm glad everyone likes David... for now, anyway. ;D

Anna | Mon, 10/10/2011

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief



Kassady | Sat, 10/22/2011

"Here's looking at you, Kid"
Write On!

It's coming! I'm trying to

It's coming! I'm trying to get together Wygate's Used Books for this week and the fall theme, but it's coming soon.

Anna | Sun, 10/23/2011

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief


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