Having spent the day harking back to an alternative Victorian age at a steampunk convivial, I thought I’d take this week’s snippet from Trick of Time, a novella whose hero, Ted, nips out for a crafty fag only to find himself travelling back from the present day to the 1880s:
I shouldered through the heavy front door, popping a cigarette in my mouth and fumbling in my pockets for my matches…and found Piccadilly Circus full of ghosts.
I stared, the cigarette almost dropping out of my mouth in amazement. I’d always thought there ought to be something more, something beyond this shallow world of fragile lives and shattered dreams. But to see it confirmed was like being hit with a tsunami in the bathtub.
Gone were the garish neon signs, the buses, the endless ravening packs of tourists. Even Eros no longer pranced naked on his plinth, ready to shoot his poisoned darts of love at the unwary. I stopped dead, bewildered, as my hands mechanically carried on the business of lighting my cigarette.
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A lover from another time
When Ted Ennis steps out the doors of the Criterion Theatre for a cigarette and finds himself in Victorian London, he begins to doubt his sanity. At first he thinks it’s all a film set, and is sure that the strikingly handsome young man leaning against a lamppost must be the leading man…
What starts as a sordid transaction with a beautiful rent boy quickly turns into something much deeper, drawing him back again and again as he gets to know Jem and craves meaningful encounters with him.
But Ted doesn’t understand the exact conditions necessary for his trips through time—and for Jem, time may actually be running out. Now Ted has one last shot to get back to Jem and save their relationship, before it’s too late…