Thursday, August 22, 2013

Excerpt: Serving Time (The Timemakers Trilogy) by Nadine Ducca

“Many have tried to beguile me,” Time’s voice thundered from above. “Many have come to me speaking promises of glory or revenge, but none have succeeded. Why should you be any different?”

Robert sensibly stepped back and clasped his hands together. “Please forgive me, my Goddess. It was not my wish to offend you. I only wish for some time for myself…to enjoy the expanse of the universe around me. Surely you understand this modest man’s yearning? If only you had a little time to spare for me, for my purposes, for my—”

A little time to spare? Your people only understand divisions of me—you are too closed-minded to fully grasp my brilliance.” Time brushed her waving hair away from her face, her voice now breathy and low. “So be it.”

She placed a finger against her temple and closed her eyes. “Eight hundred and fifty-five billion, nine hundred seventy-five million, eighty-three thousand, seven hundred, and eleven years, two months, twenty-six days, four hours, thirty-seven minutes and nineteen…eighteen…seventeen seconds is what remains of me, if this helps your organic brain to understand my magnificence.” She crossed her arms, still scowling, still towering over him.

Despite himself, Robert smirked and muttered, “Ah, so now I know when you come to an end. Lucky I won’t be there to see it.” He raised his voice. “All I request is a little bit of you for myself. Not much, you see. Perhaps something as simple as one hair from the top of your head. May I ask how much time it would be?”

“Pluck a hair from my head? Preposterous!” Her voice echoed until it was lost, blended into the mist.

Robert’s lips curled into the beginning of a smirk. “I have an offer that might interest you, my Goddess.”

Those words made Time stop short. The winds receded.

“Just one hair,” Robert pressed. “In exchange for what I have to offer.”

Time gently pulled at her locks. “One of these…?” Slowly, her rage ebbed away and she shrank. “Well,” she murmured as she caressed her hair, “this one is quite long… I would say this one would be about nine hundred forty-seven thousand, six hundred and eighty-two years.” Her eyes locked onto Robert’s. “Does your eminence consider that an adequate amount?”

Robert’s stomach turned into a simmering lump of coal, and when he spoke, his voice came out dazed, hardly his own. “Oh, yes, it would be more than enough.”

“And what are you planning on giving me in return for my generosity? A heartfelt thank you? A dedication in your memoirs? I have been offered all that before, and have turned down whoever was foolish enough to believe I could be interested in honor. Surprise me, please. I would appreciate it if you were more original than the fools before you.”

Robert gave her a shy smile, although excitement pulsed through his veins. Now was his moment to shine. His hand disappeared into his pocket and came back out holding the unlabeled tube of cream. He held it on his open palm. “I bring this.” His voice rang out across the empty plane. “Especially made for you.”

Time leaned forward. “What is it?”

“Please understand I do not wish to insult you, my Goddess, my Time…but there is something I must tell you.”

“Tell me what?” She lifted an eyebrow.

“I have discovered an imperfection in your otherwise flawless complexion.”

Time’s starry eyes narrowed. She stared at him, her mouth now no more than a thin crimson line. Robert nodded to himself. She suspects something… Now he could chance being more direct.

He lowered his voice to a murmur. “You wouldn’t want people to begin traveling through them, now would you?”

Time gasped and her hands flew to her face. Robert’s chest swelled with pride, for he had discovered her secret, her shameful, embarrassing secret. He knew she had…wrinkles.

Her fingertips caressed the tiny web of crow’s feet at the corner of each eye. Robert waited in silence, still holding out the tube of cream.

Time straightened her shoulders and said in a huff, “You dare come here and distract me with your ridiculous request? And now you call me a wrinkly old hag! Presumptuous little man!” The constellations in her eyes shifted, and, for a speeding second, Robert thought he saw Sagittarius place an arrow in his bow.

He collected his thoughts. “Believe me when I say I would never call you anything other than beautiful. Your beauty is what inspired me to fabricate this cream, to protect you from harmful cosmic agents. Please take it. Do not let anything alter your perfection.”

Time glared at him, her lower lip trembling. Her shoulders sagged. “My perfection is gone—adulterated! Millions are using my cursed wrinkles as interstellar highways.” She sighed and let her head drop in defeat. “They come and go. With each voyage, they make the furrows run deeper. I do not know what to do.”

Serving Time

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Genre –  Science Fiction/Fantasy

Rating – Adult

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