“Time Within” Excerpt: A Novella By Yours Truly; Published February, 2020

(After about a year and a half, I’ve finally finished a novella that, on one side, explores elements of sci-fi, but mostly the unexplored world of celebrity in the scientific world. Here’s a short excerpt to give a little sense of the main protagonist: Rosaline Brennan and those in her orbit. However, this little scene doesn’t give any of its myriad twists away.

I’m still in the process of editing the last half. Once published around early February (presumably on Amazon), it should be a quick read at around 102 pages, not including a reasonable price. Consider this my nod to the assault on science and how much we may have to turn to people like Rosaline someday):

 

As what’s customary with every cable news show she appears on, Rosaline arrives early. Doing so allows her to tap into her brain to gather her memory and basically outline what she’ll say. With her memory powers, she’s able to remember basic talk show patterns so she can generally predict the questions she’ll be asked.

She’s already planted in the studio chair and tapping into her mind as the frenetic makeup crew smothers her with face pads. Rosaline doesn’t even pay attention as she goes inward to focus on the subjects she was here to discuss: Time paradoxes, and time travel in the movies.

But as she hones in on everything, she runs into a blank wall. Everything she outlined in her head from several days earlier isn’t there.

She doesn’t show any immediate panic on her face, yet she knows something isn’t right. With only 30 seconds to go live around the world, she’s facing the prospect of having to improvise for the first time ever in front of her devoted fans.

As the show goes live, she has to listen off-camera to the remote audio feed where the host, Derrick Larson, gives her one of the biggest buildups she’s ever heard to date.

“There probably isn’t any introduction necessary to introduce Rosaline Brennan. She’s one of the few people I’ve ever met who can correct you in an instant about something that happened a decade ago while simultaneously spouting a relational physics fact. If you think you can top her memory, we ask you to call in, though you’ve been warned. Rosaline, hello…”

Rosaline goes from a blank expression to a charming, bright smile that some might not calculate as genuine. “Hi, Derrick. You know, you have to be careful building people up so much in your intros.”

Larson lets out a boisterous laugh. “Well, Rosaline, I’ve done it before…but it’s been a few years. I’m surprised you didn’t call me out.”

Rosaline lets out a nervous laugh, though immediately gets serious while knowing she’d be asked some complex question any second.

At issue here was Larson’s ability to bring up the most complicated time travel paradoxes. Rosaline figured he researched these on his own to try to challenge her since he had no physics background. This time, it was a discussion about the Grandfather Paradox in time travel and how movies bent this rule numerous times.

Larson brings up the impossibility of this paradox in making time travel possible for human beings, at least in traveling to the past. However, he also brings up the film “Somewhere in Time”, and surprises Rosaline by telling her he’s a fan of the film.

“Are you shattering every male stereotype admitting you like ‘Somewhere in Time?’” Rosaline counters.

With another hearty laugh, Larson explains himself: “It’s because we know Richard Collier really time-traveled based on the causal loop used in the film. Or is there still an argument that he used self-induced hypnotism?”

Rosaline used this as a trigger to her discussion yesterday about the film with Deb and Joe. Although as she goes inward in seconds to retrieve her thoughts on ontological paradoxes in time travel, she again runs into a mind block.

Her memory is still primarily wiped, and it leaves her scrambling to form any logical sentence. Something happened during the night, almost as if it was outside sabotage in ruining her branded memory skills.

To go into quick reserve, Rosaline starts spouting about inconsistencies in time-travel films, though stammers when recalling movie titles. It’s not a good enough cover for her sudden problem, because she can see studio personnel giving her perplexed looks as if knowing something was amiss.

Derrick Larson also looks like he senses something isn’t right, and seems to relish the opportunity to rub it in. Rosaline knew that Larson secretly had a bias against women who could put him in his place on air. His staff once told her that Larson would stay up nights to study up on physics topics to try to top her, or at least sound like an equal.

“Are you forgetting about causal loops and how often it gets abused in movies? I remember when you explained the famous ‘billiard ball striking its past self’ analogy here a year ago,” Larson says.

“Yes, I remember. But let’s not repeat myself, Derrick. I want everyone to learn these complex topics on their own through resources found in my books and website,” Rosaline says as another cover.

She continues, and gives a hint to her public that her memory isn’t perfect: “Everyone with an extraordinary ability may find out it doesn’t always sustain itself.”

This led to 30 seconds of dead air in the studio as if everyone just heard a supreme leader disrupt reality. Rosaline looks a little uncomfortable, yet it’s the first clear message everyone depended on her memory to give clarity to the biggest mysteries in the world.

Knowing she can’t function intellectually in this interview, she’s about to give a curt ending to Larson’s show. “I’ll be back at a later date, Derrick…as a rebound.”

Not understanding what she means, Larson calls out Rosaline’s name several times, despite noticing she’s already vacated her chair.

Rosaline just made a beeline for the studio exit, though can hear Larson’s voice on the nearby monitors as he finally gives up repeating her name: “It looks like the great Rosaline Brennan finally found a flaw in herself. Now she’s off to repair it,” Larson says with a sneer.

Rosaline’s entourage tries to run after her through the studio’s long corridors, yet can’t keep up with her sprinting pace. Escape was the only thing on her mind. She’s able to make it out the studio exit and into a taxi in time before the media can mob her on the street.

Even the cab driver doesn’t seem to know who she is, which gives Rosaline a silent moment to realize what she’d just done.

The first thing she’s hearing is the sound of her smartphone alerting her to an overload of texts and calls. Almost all of these messages are from those who controlled her image, which Rosaline assumed were the result of them worrying about their own career reputations. Out of this influx, one text stood out: A note from Deb:

“Just saw TV appearance on Larson. Call me…I’m worried about u.”

Deb almost always used the word “you” when around Rosaline, which was a relief to the latter during times when she felt controlled by her media handlers. While Joe was frequently a good support system, Deb understood Rosaline down to every detail. Rosaline suspects Deb understands her more than she lets on, and this may become a new test.

This was all new territory for Rosaline, despite showing some mild rebellion before against her entourage when she insisted on managing her own image. Now, she suspects she’s breached some level of trust with them. She wants to talk to Deb first, though, before trying to explain anything to anybody.

Rosaline types a quick response back to Deb: “Meet me at my apartment asap.”

On the rest of her ride back to her apartment, Rosaline slumps down in the back seat of the taxi so no one on the street can see her. Fortunately, the coat she’s wearing has a large hood that she’s pulled over her head to give some level of anonymity.

As the taxi pulls up to her apartment complex, she’s noticing some media starting to gather. Fortunately, Rosaline knows an alternative way to get up to her apartment, and she manages to look inconspicuous as her hood covers her dark, shoulder length hair.

Once finding her apartment, she notices the main door is ajar. Then it’s hitting her: She gave Deb a key to use in times of emergency. She figures this is one of those times, or at least some strange definition of something unusual.

With a wild guess Deb is already in there, Rosaline went inside and quickly locked the door behind her. Turning around, Rosaline sees Deb standing in the foyer with an expression that made the latter look like she’d just had shock therapy.

“Holy shit! You shouldn’t be here…or anywhere else for that matter,” Deb screams.

“Thanks. I would have hidden in my head, but it’s not very inviting there at the moment,” Rosaline says in a way she knew only Deb wouldn’t find abrasive.

“I’m going to call Dr. Mayhill and see if she’s willing to do a house call,” Deb says while referring to Rosaline’s main doctor.

“She may be as perplexed about this as she’s always been about my condition,” Rosaline says, knowing her doctor (Dr. Brenda Mayhill) all too well.

“Well, all doctors get confused about those out of the ordinary,” Deb says while swiping through her contact list on her phone.

Deb finds Dr. Mayhill’s number in her phone, and you can see how many important contacts she has there related to Rosaline. Some of them are medical-related as proof Deb knows a day like this was coming.

Rosaline goes over to sit on her couch, leans back, and places both hands on her head as if attempting to heal her memory. She’s still a blank, though, while worried this could become permanent.

“I’ve either been hit by an object I didn’t see, or something bigger than myself stripped away my memory,” Rosaline utters. Her comment seems impulsive.

Deb goes over to sit next to Rosaline, with former wrapping the latter’s head in her arms.

“I’ve always envied your memory ability, Rosaline. But I also wouldn’t want to live with it without thinking it’s a crushing weight,” Deb says while trying redial to get through to Dr. Mayhill.

She finally gets through on the line.

“Brenda…this is Deb. We have a Code Red with Rosaline. We’re at her apartment, but enter in the back way to avoid media.”

Rosaline has her face buried in her hands, though peers up at Deb with a realization her own doctor and friend had already prepared for a Rosaline Brennan breakdown.