In Trapped in Time, Noah Greenly at age 12 is unaware of what he’s missing. To him its perpetually 2020; chalkboards and erasers, slide rules for arithmetic, and mimeograph machines. He also has a school bully, Dalt Hardiman, determined to dunk his head in a toilet, and Dalt is relentless. But after seeing Noah in two places at once―cafeteria and homeroom―he steals Noah’s time journals for the secret.
Soon, scientists vanish―Tesla, Jules Verne, Edison, Bill Gates―along with their collaborative invention the computer. Noah traces the first missing link to Mark Twain who never wrote a word. Noah must restore Twain’s destiny, thus history’s. So begins Noah’s cat and mouse chase through time to retrieve his journals and uncover Dalt’s nefarious plans. If Noah fails, he might return to 2020 and find the only available history is pictured on cave walls.
The Time Pendulum #1Trapped in Time - Words 59,000Chapter 1 – Face to Face No way would Noah Greenly ever want his body to explode into a million, billion, trillion, kazillion bits. But he’d gladly take the risk to own a time machine, even for just one day. See, Noah was absentminded. Too many times he’d gone to school wearing different colored socks, forgotten to put on deodorant, and left his homework on the kitchen counter. He’d made worse mistakes too, like leaving the freezer door open which spoiled all the food, washing his jeans with teacher notes still folded in the back pockets, and not turning off the bathtub faucet; many times, overflowing water seeped into the floor and saturated the downstairs ceiling. Last month, the soggy drywall finally collapsed all over the kitchen table and chairs. Every one of these accidents upset his dad, and these times were the wrong days to upset his father. As a twelve-year-old science wiz, Noah loved to tinker with gadgets and figure out how they worked, made sounds, and lit up. So, learning how to operate a time machine would be a cinch. Owning one would solve all his problems. He could go back in time and fix things before the accidents happened. Plus, it’d save his dad from future headaches. Except for one thing. Exploding. He'd read in an old copy of Omni magazine that if one traveled in time, your atoms wouldn’t be compatible with those in the past or future, something about a shift in ambient radiation, antimatter stuff. So, you’d explode. Plus, you’d run the risk of meeting yourself, and you’d definitely explode if you did that. Time travel, though, would let him warn himself about the school bully hiding in the boy’s bathroom. Avoiding the next wedgie was a very good reason to risk being blown up. “You’re thinking of time travel again, aren’t you?” he heard. Boy was he. It would be perfect to jump through time and skip over tomorrow, which was going to be a really bad day. “Noah,” his father said as he pulled the car keys from the ignition, the engine sputtering down to stillness. “Whenever you’re in an uncomfortable situation, you dream of being somewhere else and in some other time.” “Can’t help it, Dad. Tomorrow is. . .” “I know. First day at a new school.” When Noah graduated from elementary to the 5th grade, it was the only time he changed schools. He stayed in that middle school until halfway through the 7th grade, the other half starting tomorrow; he’d be the newest stranger amongst all those judging eyes. He and his dad moved to this town only a few days ago because of his father’s new job. He didn’t want to give up their old life either. The engine coughed one last chug and rattled the entire car. “It’s a lemon,” his dad complained. “A Valiani Compact Runabout, and a brand new 2021 model. An uncomfortable, cantankerous, four-wheeled piece of—” “Dad!” “Unreliability.” His dad reached into the back seat and retrieved his blue office blazer. Next, he adjusted his necktie in the rearview mirror. “A mechanic will need to disassemble the entire motor to identify the bug. Not like the engine can tell him what’s wrong.” “Maybe, Dad, you should invent something that will.” “Oh, I’m not the inventor in the family. That was your grandfather. He helped design the replacement generators we’re about to see.” “But you’re the Hoover Dam’s new electrical engineer.” “I can repair. Not create. Maybe, Son, that’s your destiny.” “Aw, Dad, I’m just a tinkerer. I don’t know what I’m going to be when I grow up.” “You’ll figure it out. You always do.” It was every bit of one hundred degrees here inside the parking deck, despite it being built half inside a mountain face. Noah had read up on Arizona; blistering hot year-round, little rain, few trees, lots of stars, no friends. Nothing about moving out here interested him, and he still hadn’t explored the old house they inherited from his grandfather. But he had not complained once so his dad would feel like he’d made the correct decision. After tragedy, life moved on. Noah dutifully walked beside his father into the bright sunshine, crossed the two-lane road atop the dam, and entered the open-air escalator leading down to the visitor center. He’d admit this was exciting, especially the panoramic view of Lake Mead and its sparkling blue water pushing against the chiseled canyon walls. Touring one of the world’s largest dams was cool and all, but he craved to sit at the master control console and throw at least one switch. After pushing through the glass front door, they were greeted by his dad’s new boss. A tour group gathered across the lobby and their loud chatter echoed upward into the two-story high ceiling. The man practically needed to shout. “Hal Greenly, welcome . . . Welcome to Hoover Dam.” He extended a handshake. “Mister Whitman, thank you.” He shook the man’s hand. “It’s great to be here. This is my son Noah.” Noah offered a slight wave, still a bit shy about meeting new people. Whitman’s smile seemed sincere. “Yes, a budding scientist, I’ve heard. Chip Off the Old Block like your dad and grandfather. We’re all grateful you’re here, the both of you. Shall we go below?” Whitman led Noah and his dad around the cackling tourists and over to the elevator. The brass doors slid open and Whitman narrated the experience; they would descend five-hundred and thirty-seven feet to the powerhouse and turbines; the dam weighed 6.6 million tons; made with enough concrete to build a highway from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast; supplied electrical power to eight million people. Noah bet the control room had lots of dials and switches. Lots and lots of switches. “Most people don’t know this,” Whitman said proudly, “but built into the dam is a four-story office building. And, yes, it has plenty of air conditioning.” “That’s good to know,” Noah’s dad said. “From here on, Noah, if you have any dam questions, feel free to let me know.” His dad looked at him and they shared popped-wide, mortified eyes. Mr. Whitman could have meant you-know-what. But he didn’t and Noah giggled. At the elevator base, they stepped out into a wide corridor with walls and arched ceiling plastered with polished white tiles offering a subway kind’a feeling. Noah’s sensation of comfort, however, soon turned to dread, for the corridor ended at a narrow passageway cut into the mountain. Bare rock lined these walls and ceiling, and electrical conduits with suspended light sconces ran along the crown. Soon they entered the Acclamation Room where windows gazed upon the cavernous turbine chamber. Whitman stepped close to a window with his arms folded. “Seven jumbo turbines out there and a duplicate set of eight on the Nevada side. Two thousand megawatts and an average yearly generation of 4.5 billion kilowatt hours.” “That’s a lot of kilowatts,” Noah said, impressed. He wondered how many football fields would fit out there, and the powerhouse must be at least five stories high. Along the ceiling, steel trellises and globe lights crisscrossed the vastness, while a gigantic crane with a dangling American flag traveled steel tracks mounted along the topside of the concrete walls. Down on the main floor, a walkway with iron rails led to individual metal staircases that gave access to each of the seven turbines. Noah couldn’t wait to get down there. “Intake tunnels bring in two-hundred-thousand cubic feet of water, or 1.5 million gallons per second. You can feel the vibrations at your feet.” “That’s a lot of water,” Noah’s dad said. Noah nodded, transfixed. “The overhead crane can lift three hundred tons. Engineers will soon extract a turbine core for maintenance. And, yes, we’re going down there. Noah, be sure to keep behind us for safety.” “Yes, sir, I will.” Noah’s heart skipped. He so wanted to see those massive turbines up close. They reminded him of the giant barrel ride at a carnival, the one you leaned against the interior wall as the barrel spun and the floor dropped, centrifugal force keeping your back pressed flat. Mr. Whitman removed hardhats from a locker, passed them out, then unlocked a door and led everyone down a flight of metal stairs to the main floor. Noah’s oversized hat came halfway down over his ears, but he could still see out from under the brim. The rumble at his feet increased. Every machine engine and tool clang echoed around the immense chamber. The roar was deafening. Noah loved it. As they walked past turbine after turbine, they soon arrived at the opposite wall where an opened door led into another hallway. Noah’s dad and Mr. Whitman huddled together and talked shop as they watched the overhead crane move out over the expanse. Noah stayed near the doorway and thought this adventure would impress some of his new classmates. Perhaps he could ease the transition if he— “Noah.” “Yeah, Dad.” His dad and Mr. Whitman kept talking and watching the crane. “Dad?” “Yes, Son.” “What do you want?” “What?” “You called me. What is it?” “I didn’t call you.” “But I heard . . .” His dad turned back to speaking with Mr. Whitman. “Noah . . .” There was his name again. Who was calling him? “Psst.” Someone was trying to get his attention. Turning his head and aiming his ears, he searched for the origin of the voice. The loud powerhouse noise almost drowned it out. It seemed like a kid’s voice, a little high pitched. But no kids worked down here, and the tour group was still up in the visitor center. “Pssssssst.” That came from the hallway. Noah turned and looked. Sure enough, he spotted someone down the hallway. A head peeked around a corner, just some of its black hair and half a small face, a kid’s face, a boy about his age. He glanced back at his dad, and he and Mr. Whitman were paying Noah no attention. The head moved backward and out of sight. What should he do? Tell his dad? Mr. Whitman? Scream for security? He couldn’t resist the mystery, so he crept into the hallway where more white tiles lined the walls and ceiling. If he got caught— He made it to the corner and peeked around it himself. Here was another gray rock lined hallway with ceiling conduits and sconce lights, one about every ten feet, running deep into the dam. He caught a glimpse of a figure, that boy, almost a shadow, waiting at another passageway. Maybe to see if Noah would follow? The boy zipped right and disappeared into a side passageway. Who was that? Why was he being taunted? He rushed this time. Noah made it to the next bend in the path to discover he faced an open iron gate leading to an infinity metal staircase. It was steep, too, almost straight down, as if descending into a bottomless pit, and lined with sconce lights that cascaded into a distant point. His tormentor was there too, waiting about fifty steps down. “Who are you?” “Nat Geo 9152,” said the boy. He sped down more steps. “Wait.” The boy stopped and looked back. “What do you want?” “Nat Geo 9152,” said the boy again. “Hurry. There isn’t much time.” “What does that mean?” The boy moved down to the next step. His face was caught in the overhead light. Noah couldn’t believe his eyes. His brain lied to him. These things did not happen, not even in a nightmare. Maybe he suffered from heat exhaustion. After all, Arizona was hotter than his old Missouri home. He saw himself. This boy, this phantom, was HIM. How could this be? He didn’t have a twin, a brother or a sister. He was an only child. “What are you trying to tell me?” The stranger grinned, pleased at passing on knowledge, even cocky about it. He turned and darted down the steps, his feet pounding the metal steps, urgent to be somewhere. The clanks reverberated within the narrow passageway. He jumped steps, two here, three there, always surefooted. Below the boy, a swirling vortex of blue light appeared out of nowhere, its glow seeping over the rough rock ceiling and walls. The boy ran right into it. In a heartbeat, he and the light dissipated, leaving only empty air. They were gone. Noah stood petrified. What did he just see? What should he do next?
The Time Pendulum #2Mining Time - Words 58,000Chapter 1 – Step Out of Time A blood-curdling scream erupted off to Noah's right, across the dirt street perhaps thirty feet away. It came from an older woman standing on a front porch outside the Hannibal Mercantile store where rocking chairs lined tall windows and a brass spittoon guarded the door. Her trembling, flattened hands covered her mouth and her terrified eyes blazed white. Noah guested she was upset that her woven basket, which lay upturned at her feet, sent her purchase of flour and sugar cascading down the half dozen wood steps toward the sidewalk below. She acted as if she'd seen a ghost. In broad daylight! She kept screaming. Over and over. Full volume, too. Powerful lungs for someone her age. The sound waves blasted past Noah like a gunshot and bounced about the town square; to the brick bank, past the jail, on to the blacksmith stable at the end of the street, then back to the two-story motel across from the saloon, and finally to a pair of sweaty brown horses pulling a wagon piled high with cut wheat. They turned their heads to look at her. She even startled men and women who stepped out of buildings and stores to aim their curiosity. It was as if a gigantic alarm clock woke the entire town. Noah wondered what made this woman so distressed. It couldn't be him, a boy of twelve, a seventh grader, a science whiz with a 132 IQ who also owned his own time machine. For this timeseeing trip, his best friend Beaver dressed him in authentic moccasins, well-worn tan work pants, a chained pocket watch, and a double-pouch leather saddlebag, all matching this time period. No way could he be mistaken as a kid from the future. See, during his first trip here a week ago when he came to meet his favorite author Mark Twain, he'd been branded a witch by two woodsman who saw him step out of his Time Pendulum vortex. Noah had landed on a Mississippi riverbank, fallen into the water, and pulled to dry land by young Sam Clemens, also twelve, destined to grow-up and become Mark Twain. The frightened woodsmen raced their horses into Hannibal and brought back the sheriff and deputy who branded both he and Sam as witches. How ridiculous was that? This all happened because Noah had transposed the digits of his destination date from 1874 to 1847, thus meeting Twain as a boy rather than the adult future writer. It was Sam's clever hornswoggling of the lawman that helped them escape and avoid arrest, Sam racing him to meet his outbound vortex for home. But when Noah finally returned to 2020, he discovered history had been changed. Every one of his Mark Twain books was erased from history. Though he had made sure Sam did not see his vortex, it was not he who'd done the damage. He learned from Beaver that Dalt Hardiman, his middle-school nemesis, had used his newly built time machine to travel back and somehow stop Sam from becoming a writer, the reason for doing so still unknown. Noah also learned that meeting young Sam was no accident. Beaver explained Noah and Sam were destined to meet, thanks to the River of Time linking their fates from the start of history. Noah had returned to Hannibal moments ago through his time vortex so he could stop Dalt and restore Mark Twain's rightful destiny. But first, he must find young Sam Clemens. He hoped the boy hadn't— What a minute. Vortex. Vortex? Of course. This woman saw his time vortex, the swirling bluish energy through which he traveled, Beaver's Wormhole, the one he stepped out of smack-dab in the middle of the Hannibal town square. In the middle! Her ghost was him. “Witch!” screamed the old woman as she pointed a quivering finger at Noah, eyes still blazed white. Noah did the only thing a time-traveler could do. He ran. He turned toward the blacksmith’s stable down the street with every intention of running past it, but took one step and sunk his right foot deep into fresh horse manure. Disgusting. Why would anyone leave― And in the street? He remembered. Cars were decades away. These people only had horses. No time to scrap his shoe against the sidewalk edge. Running directly toward him came a burly man with a scruffy beard and a brandished rifle. The man reached; a hero determined to capture the witch. Noah ducked as the man’s huge hand swept overhead. He pivoted and took off at full throttle. Clutching his valuable saddlebag and its contents under an arm like a quarterback protecting the football, Noah beelined it right down the middle of the street. People were coming at him from all directions: two men from the saloon holding beer glasses, a man from the barbershop wearing a white bib, a man with thick eyeglasses from a lawyer’s office, a woman from a bakery wielding an umbrella, and the sheriff from the jail with 10-gallon hat, sidearms, everything; a complete cowboy. This man had attempted to arrest him during his first timeseeing trip. Blindsided from the left, a man managed to grab Noah with strong arms, trapping his arms at his sides. But Noah wiggled his way to freedom, kicked the man’s shin and left him hopping on one foot while clutching his leg. Noah continued to run, leaving that man behind and vowing revenge. Up ahead, more manure. Noah managed to leap in time and protected his left shoe as he sailed over the disgusting heap of sh― “I―” After impacting the dusty street, he dug in his heels, gained speed, determined to avoid capture, and followed the road that led out of town toward a forest. He’d find seclusion there. He hoped. Up ahead, more you-know-what. He jumped. “Hate―” Landing surefooted again, he maintained course, the end of town not far ahead. But a group of men appeared to his left, blocking his pathway. He veered right and aimed for the bank where two ladies crowded the entrance. As he neared, they screamed. One lady raised her arms and sent her wad of cash flowing into the summer breeze. Noah punched through that money, nearly knocking the ladies down. Inside he searched for a back door, an exit, a way to escape this craziness and those men chasing him. But no back door existed. So, he zigzagged through waiting patrons, sped around the autograph desk, nearly crashed into a teller carrying a tray of coins, and whipped back toward the front door. As he punched through the entrance and the panicked ladies, he caught a glimpse of his chasers crashing into that teller, the coins splashing through the air. Back outside and into the dirt street, Noah again leaped over that same pile of― “Manure!” When he touched down this time, the deputy had emerged from the jail and in pursuit through the street. So, Noah veered left this time, aimed for the nearby saloon, the entrance crammed with curious men. He punched through them as if they were paper. And he kept on running through the cluster of round wooden tables and chairs, zigzagging left and right, sideswiping men watching the action, up to the bar where the barkeeper with a grizzly mustache retrieved a rifle from under the counter, past a saloon girl wearing a feather encrusted hat, and back toward the front entrance―no back door either. As quick as before, he was back racing through the street toward the blacksmith stable. But more angry townsfolk were now swarming the street. Noah knew his time was running out. Sooner or later one of these men― He veered again, this time toward the motel. But he made it only a few yards when an angry mob attempted to surround him, corral him, capture him for the town lawman. He turned blindly and ran face and chest-first into the bulging stomach of a horse that pulled the wheat filled wagon. The horse reared onto its hind legs and whinnied in terror, jabbing at the air with its front hooves, the wheat pouring out the wagon and onto the dusty road. Another pile of― In that moment of dizziness, Noah bounced backward and into the arms of many men who rapidly took control of him, clawed at him as they grabbed his arms and neck to ensure he could not escape, which he couldn’t, though he kept tugging his arms and kicking at the legs surrounding him, all in vain. Now held in place, Noah saw the sheriff and deputy approaching through the street and the swarm of onlookers squeezing together for a closer look. Each lawman hosted the same sneer he’d see on their faces during his last encounter with them on the Mississippi riverbank, with Sam at his side. These men meant business. “Ain’t no point in fightin’, boy,” said the sheriff with a smug grin. “I'm lockin' you up.”
The Time Pendulum #3Race to Save Time - 57,000Chapter 1 – A New Threat Noah Greenly stared at the most terrifying sight that history had ever shown this twelve-year-old time traveler. It occurred a few hundred yards away, out among the parched sand dunes under a blistering hazy-orange sun. This was Yucca Flat territory, a desert wasteland home to rattlesnakes and bird-murdering tarantulas. But what he saw and its potential meaning was out of this world. “Do you see that?” he asked of the friends beside him. He stood in front of a train tunnel where minutes ago he watched a forty-foot silver missile with its rocket engine fully engaged punch through that tunnel. It took off out over the desert, crashed among the dunes, and exploded in a grand fireball. It now lay sad and split open with its innards aflame while a column of black smoke drifted skyward. The nosecone was what caught Noah’s concern. At the bottom of that fire, there sizzled an ember that radiated a red glow more intense than the fire itself―ruby red. “There. See it? The red glow?” Noah knew his science. Fire was basically yellow, orange, and the cooler portion black, like sunspots which also appeared black on the sun’s molten orange surface. To get green, blue, pink, or even red fire, like in fireworks, salts and chlorides were added. But there were no fireworks here in the desert. And he was a long way from any sunspots. “The nosecone. Look.” Before leaking fuel ignited the engine and launched that rocket, Noah had taken a hatchet, split open the nosecone outer casing, and mangled a satellite inside, the payload. He’d found sensitive instruments, copper panels, wires, gizmos, and metal support rods, plus maneuvering thrusters which burned ammonia gas as fuel. But no part of this machine would burn red. So, something else was inside that satellite. “I don’t see anything,” answered Beaver, Noah’s best friend who stood at Noah’s left side. Beaver was forty-four-years old here in 2052, thirty-two years away from the seventh grade when he and Noah attended school together in Boulder City, back in 2020 when they were both twelve-years-old. It was also the same time Noah discovered a time machine built by his grandfather and hidden in his basement. After Noah went on his time travel adventures and deemed missing by his brokenhearted father, Beaver grew up to buy their old home. He discovered the time chamber and had been helping Noah repair the damage inflicted on history. Noah’d also traveled here to confront the one person who had caused the most damage to the past. “Are you blind? It’s right there.” “No, I’m not,” answered Beaver. “But what I do see is a time traveler who should be celebrating. Why today, Noah, you survived drowning in a toilet, helped blow up a mad scientist’s lair, foiled the diabolical plot of a monster, and got kissed by a girl. That’s a full day.” Yes, all that was good. Noah especially enjoyed being kissed by a girl, Ginger Clarice Cole, the red-haired twelve-year-old from his 2020 school bus. She had traveled into this future moment in 2052 to be here with him. She stood to his right with an arm around his waist, her thank you for his protecting her while inside that mad scientist’s lair. “Ginger, you see the red, don’t you?” “Well, now that you mention it, I think I see it.” “You think? Look at the sparks. They’re red too.” He wondered why he was the only one to notice. Maybe the desert heat had gotten to him, gave him mirages, played with his mind, infected everyone. No, he dismissed that notion. The red was real. And the mysterious meaning of it was what he feared. This all started when he and Ginger arrived in Yucca Flat. They’d snuck aboard a freight train bound for this tunnel gouged out of the hilly rock. Noah’s 2020 school bully, Dalt Hardiman now age forty-five, had hidden a time machine that he built; he’d stolen five of Noah’s six journals―one recaptured by Ginger―that contained the secrets of time travel. Dalt was busy taking over the world by changing history, and Noah and Ginger were on a mission to stop the man. They were members of Time Miners, a secret organization led by the adult Ginger of this 2052 time period that repaired damages to history. Noah found his books here in Yucca Flat and was planning to destroy Dalt’s time machine when he and Ginger were captured by Dalt’s military-style assault team. When Beaver arrived with his team of defenders, a skirmish broke out. During that firefight, Dalt grabbed Noah’s remaining four books and escaped into a time vortex that someone had sent specifically for him. And that vortex was red. Noah knew the science of vortexes too. Halions, an energetic particle siphoned from the solar wind, initiated time Wormholes and turned the swirling eddies blue. Dalt’s vortexes were purple made of halions mixed with plasma residue, like that found in the aurora borealis. But for a vortex to be red, like the one that helped Dalt escape, meant some other exotic particle helped to generate that vortex. It also meant Dalt had discovered an entirely new form of energy, and that was just plain dangerous. Dalt could further alter history and, even worse, time itself. For all Noah knew, he, Ginger, and Beaver could be standing in a completely different universe. That meant he might never be reunited with his father, his ultimate goal in all this. “We need to bring Hermie Shellhammer here,” Noah suggested. “He’s the expert who built that satellite. He’ll know what’s burning.” “I hate to breakup this mutual admiration society,” said John, standing to Beaver’s left. “But I need to address a problem more urgent.” John Duc Pow was the combat training instructor from Time Miners that led Beaver’s resistant assault team. The name was a handle; John Duck or Get Pow-ed, punched. He was a bearded grizzly Irishman with orange/red eyebrows and piercing green maniacal eyes, and he enjoyed busting up the enemy. Almost singlehandedly, he took on Dalt’s men. But when it became known that the rocket fuel was about to explode inside Dalt’s hideout, the fighting stopped and everyone rushed to find safety. Dalt escaped through a red vortex. His dozen assault goons escaped into their purple vortexes. But John and his men were forced to run through the train tunnel; their vortex emitters had ceased functioning, drained of halion energy by a hidden deactivating radiation, another secret weapon of Dalt’s. John was still ticked off about that too. “This heat is grueling. I need to get my men to safety.” His dozen team members were scouring the sand for their dropped rifles and helmets. The oppressive heat was rapidly zapping their strength. “Water and cool air are what we all need.” “Noah,” interrupted Ginger. “Why is that red glare so important?” “Excuse me.” John added irritation to his voice. “We’ll address your concerns in a minute,” Beaver said. “Go on, Noah, tell us what you think.” “Well, I’m a tinkerer. I like to understand how things work. I believe the red color is coming from a new form of energy that Dalt went into the future and stole, then brought it back for Hermie to build into that satellite. Plus, we have no idea what it is and what its capabilities are.” “And that makes it dangerous?” Ginger asked. “Yes, but that’s not the only thing that’s bad,” Noah answered. “What else is there?” “This energy source, this new power, is in the hands of a madman.”