There were no witnesses to the car crash.
Nobody to hear her scream.
But it wasn’t her time to die.
Instead, she was sent back in time to revaluate a life she thought perfect.
How could she have gotten it so wrong?
Excerpt from Chapter Four – Julie (Jules) has crashed down an embankment, after skidding off the road on her way to a work meeting.
I scrabbled around, getting my things together, knowing I had to get out of the car before it became my grave. It was still daylight. I reached to grab my bag and briefcase from the footwell. My hand stopped in mid-air. A beaded yellow and red bag was in place of my Ted Baker handbag.
I took the bag anyway. I needed money to make phone calls for a recovery service and a taxi. Whoever’s bag it was, I’d pay them back. I grabbed my briefcase and opened the car door. The car was at an angle, pointing downward, and I slipped. I had to grab the door one-handed as my feet disappeared beneath the car. But I felt strangely light, as if I could jump and easily reach the swaying trees making a canopy over the road. I threw the bag and briefcase to the top of the embankment and climbed up.
On my knees, I opened the bag, hoping to find a phone inside. There was a packet of cigarettes. Players No. 6, to be exact. I turned it over in my hands. Even as a non-smoker I knew this brand had long been replaced by something else. I dropped them in the bag. Maybe whoever they belonged to was a retro smoker.
I searched further, but other than a discoloured makeup bag, an opened packet of strawberry Spangles, a pen, a diary, and a hideous brown purse there was nothing that I could use to help me out of my predicament.
I reached for my briefcase, but as I did, I realised it wasn’t mine either. In fact, it was nothing like mine. This wasn’t genuine leather, it had no long handles, and it was scuffed and well-used.
An old Cortina whooshed past, but I was too slow to react. I tried anyway, standing quickly, yelling and waving my hands, but it had disappeared around the bend in the road. I ran after it a few paces but stopped, knowing it was futile.
There was nothing for it—I’d have to walk. I couldn’t be far from civilisation. This was England, for goodness’ sake! I picked up the handbag and briefcase. I didn’t want whoever owned them to say I’d stolen them. I’d have to look after them until I could return them. The garish-coloured bag went over my shoulder.
Something made me turn to look down at my poor, smashed-up car. Ghost-like figures surrounded it. I couldn’t make out features, colours, or anything much, just strange transparent floating shapes hovering around my car.
Fear caused me to step back. I wasn’t religious; I disbelieved in anything hocus-pocus and was suspicious of anyone who claimed they believed in an afterlife, but I couldn’t explain those ghostly figures as anything other than Death trying to find me. Trying to find out how I’d cheated it, maybe.
I closed my eyes, rocking on my feet as dizziness brushed over me, then opened them again carefully, almost afraid of what I’d see. But it was low-laying mist that surrounded the car now. It was almost invisible.
‘Silly woman,’ I said, and turned to look around at my surroundings. I was on a typical narrow country road, and I was afraid I’d have a boy-racer come up behind me and finish me off. I wondered what time it was. I never wore a watch, and as my mobile was broken I didn’t know the time. I stopped and squinted up at the sun. It was high in the blue sky, but how could that be? It was January; the sun never rose much during the winter months. I looked around at the gently swaying trees—fully leaved. The field to my left was full of tall rapeseed. The yellow flowers gave off a familiar smell that reminded me of my childhood in the village before I left with my father as a teenager.
This was crazy. It’s January! I’ve not only slept through the night, but the entire winter? Noticing I’d crashed near a T-junction with a signpost, I walked over to read the sign:
Potterspury 1/4 mile.
Good God, that’s the very village where I lived as a girl! I lived in a small house on a street called Blackwell End in Potterspury. But how? I was in Harrow! Dropping the case and letting the handbag slip down to my elbow, I stared at the sign.
Want a good time-travel yarn written before Covid? It’ll take you from 2017 back to the ‘easier’ times of the 70s and 80s.