Home > Come Back to Me (Waters of Time #1)(7)

Come Back to Me (Waters of Time #1)(7)
Author: Jody Hedlund

Instead, she found herself looking at a small flask and an assortment of papers.

What if he’d written down the formula for a breakthrough drug? Perhaps it was on one of the sheets.

She unfolded first one paper and then another only to find them to be pages torn from his books. One contained a picture of a strange Gothic-like sculpture at the top of a pillar and the other the floor plan of an ancient church.

She continued unfolding the rest of the sheets, discovering an odd assortment of articles and a typed-out list of Bible references. A final paper revealed her dad’s short, messy handwriting with these words underlined at the top: “Speculations of Breaching the Time-Space Continuum.”

A scan of the six points on the sheet only made her want to toss up her hands in exasperation. She let the paper fall on top of the others.

“Oh Dad.” Did he seriously believe in time travel—like going to the past or to the future? He was more deranged than she realized.

For a full minute, she stared at the papers scattered over the table, a keen sense of disappointment warring within her—not disappointment in Dad, but for her and Ellen and all they’d lost because he’d been lost in his own world. Marian had the overwhelming urge to crumple the sheets and toss them into the wastebasket by the door. The time he’d spent on his stupid research had been nothing but a waste. A complete waste.

After years, this was all he had to show? These were his most prized possessions? The things he had to lock away in a bank for safekeeping?

She fought back a sudden swell of bitter tears. He could have used his skills much more productively—like in being a father. Instead, he’d been pursuing mythical trees—and time-crossing possibilities.

She reached for the last item in the box—the flask. The dull metallic-looking artifact was very old. Not more than three inches tall, it was rectangular in shape and rose to a spout flanked on each side by arm-like handles. She fingered the intricate details carved into the flat surface of both sides.

It was too small to serve as a drinking vessel. Perhaps it had once been a relic worn as a pendant. She shook it gently and then tipped it over, praying it would contain something—anything. But it was empty. She raised it to her nose and sniffed but couldn’t detect an odor or any other clue to help her understand why Dad had put it in his box.

Over the years of living in Kent, Dad had collected unique historical artifacts. That was no secret. As home of the famous Canterbury Cathedral, the area was steeped in history and folklore. Even though Marian hadn’t studied history as much as her dad, she still loved the aura and rich cultural heritage of Canterbury.

She stuffed the items into her purse. Perhaps if she returned to Dad’s house and sorted through the mess, she’d find evidence to help her understand why he’d put the flask and papers into the safety deposit box.

After she returned the box and stepped out of the bank, she scrolled through the contacts on her phone to find Harrison’s number. She’d call him and let him know she wouldn’t be returning to the hospital right away after all.

A man wearing a navy suit and mirror-like sunglasses collided with her.

“Pardon me.” She took a step back. Was she becoming one of those people glued to her device, not paying attention to the world around her?

The man bumped her again, and this time, he grabbed her purse strap. “Give me your bag.”

For a moment, she could only stare at his fingers gripping her purse. Was she being robbed? The idea was absurd, surreal.

“Now.” The man’s tone was steely. He flashed open his suit coat, revealing the handle of a gun sticking out of an inner pocket.

 

 

~ 4 ~


“I’M AN AMERICAN.” Marian willed her voice not to tremble. “And I only have American cash.”

“Just hand over your bag.” Her attacker yanked at the strap. His hair was clipped short, and he was well groomed—certainly not the appearance of a man desperate enough to rob her in broad daylight.

The rational part of her mind warned her to cooperate, that nothing was worth the risk of getting hurt. On the other hand, she didn’t want to lose the items from her dad’s safety deposit box—not before she’d had the chance to investigate them more fully.

“I’ll give you my wallet.” She reached inside the bag.

“I want the whole thing.”

Her fingers closed around the papers and the flask. She jerked them from her purse and at the same time let the strap fall from her shoulder.

Without his hold, she lurched away, trying to put as much distance between them as possible. Her assailant fumbled with her purse, digging inside, before glancing at her again and honing in on the papers and flask in her hand.

A warning clanged in Marian’s head, urging her to run, to make a commotion, to do something to attract assistance. She stumbled back several more paces and then flagged down two women exiting a shop across the street. “Help! This man is robbing me!”

With his attention trained on the papers, the thief tossed her purse to the ground and stalked toward her with quick, certain steps.

The women had stopped, shopping bags in hand, but were either too entertained or too afraid to do anything but stare.

In her high heels, Marian spun and tried to sprint but was as wobbly and unsteady as a patient coming off anesthetic.

Her pursuer’s footsteps pounded on the cobbled sidewalk behind her.

She spotted another group ahead. “Help!”

At the screech of tires on the pavement and the sight of a black Bentley headed directly for her, she froze. This is it. I’m about to die.

The Bentley squealed to a halt only inches away, and the back door swung open. “Get in!” Harrison’s familiar voice shouted from the interior.

The thief’s hand closed around her arm.

She swung her elbow backward as hard as she could. It connected with some part of the man’s face, giving her the split second she needed to break away and dive into the car.

Without waiting for her to close the door, Harrison yelled at his driver, and the car roared away, sending her sprawling across the seat.

Harrison grasped her. “Hang on!”

She latched onto him as the Bentley careened down the street. The door swung open wider before banging closed. Only after they’d taken several sharp corners and were on a long stretch of road did she push herself up and take a breath.

“That was close.” Harrison peered out the rear window.

She reached for her seat belt, but her hand was trembling too much to get the clip into the fastener. In her other hand, she still clutched the papers and bottle from the safety deposit box. Somehow, she’d also managed to hang on to her phone, but her purse and all her ID and credit cards were back on the sidewalk.

She blew out a shaky breath. “What’s going on, Harrison?”

Harrison’s gaze darted from one side window to the other and then behind them again. “That man is a security guard for Lionel Inc. Clearly, Lionel is after the items you just emptied out of your dad’s safety deposit box.”

Harrison was right. The thief hadn’t wanted her purse or wallet. He’d been after the papers. “How did you know I’d be at the bank? And how did you know I was checking Dad’s box?” For that matter, how had her attacker known she’d be there? She hadn’t told anyone where she was going.

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