His six foot two inch, two hundred pound frame lumbered into the shower, collapsing under the scalding water, determined to burn away his skin, his thoughts, his memories.
That was the key to all of it. Why was he being tortured with visions of Abby? Why was she in a warzone? Why wasn’t she here with him, or at least somewhere she could have a chance at a normal life? Why was any of this happening? What had either of them ever done to deserve this?
The cold hard reality of everything that had happened sent shivers rippling over Conal’s skin. Conal wrapped a black towel around his waist, his back bright red and burning. He examined his scruffy facial hair for a brief moment. No grays yet, maybe tomorrow. He ran his hand through his wavy wet brown hair and headed for the kitchen to heat up his standard frozen dinner.
Conal flipped through a few frozen dinners he had, glancing at each cover and then tossing them back in the freezer one by one.
Lasagna, or chicken and carrots? “Lasagna.” In another life, I might be eating lasagna out at some fancy restaurant, with a bottle of wine and…
He snorted and went upstairs to change while he waited to hear the familiar ding from the microwave. After two years of the same routine, he had this down to a science.
In his room, he put on a pair of sweatpants and a clean undershirt. A picture on the dresser caught his eye. It was of his parents. Another lump caught in his throat. They reminded him of when life had been easier. Duller, perhaps, but easier, sane. He turned the frame around and looked at the photo he’d stuck in the back. A wallet-sized photo copied from a high school yearbook. Abigail Bradley, age 18. It was the only photograph he had of her.
We never even took a picture together.
Conal heard the ding of the microwave, put the frame back and headed downstairs.
He carried his dinner to the living room and sat down to read. Conal had spent every night of the past two years reading, ever since the loss of Abby. The house was covered top to bottom with books of every genre and on every subject: history, physics, language, anatomy. What had once been a favorite pastime had become an obsession, an only way out. Aside from the History Channel, the television was never on. Edie would stop by occasionally to nose around or drop off some baked goods. Conal would accept politely, then shoo her out as quickly as possible.
The library had a purpose, but he wasn’t about to discuss it.
The storm had picked up again, so he lit a candle in case the lights went out. He opened a book to where he had left off, dissecting Einstein’s theory of relativity, a subject he was beginning to know uncomfortably well. Reading helped ease his anxiety, it gave him a sense of productivity, the illusion of moving toward a solution. He often read for hours at a time. Tonight, though, his eyes began to droop under the weight of depression and exhaustion. It had been a terrible day.
“I promise I’m trying, Abby. I promise. I’m working on it. I just need to rest my eyes for a minute, Abby, just a little while.”
He was asleep within seconds.
Conal Benjamin never let the love of his life Abigail Bradley know of his romantic feelings for her. Years of living with that regret haunted Conals life and left him with an emptiness in his heart. In one serendipitous moment they are reunited at an alumni science exhibit giving Conal a second chance but in a cruel twist of fate Conal’s triggers an unexpected chain of events sending Abby and himself through a wormhole to 1888 Whitechapel, London, the time and place of one of the most horrifying serial killers in history, Jack the Ripper. With the time machine lost and Conal and Abby separated, the fate of both of their lives hang in the balance. Nothing is what it appears to be and it’s up to Conal to unravel the mysteries that await him, before it’s too late.
“I could not put this cleverly crafted paranormal fiction novel down. I can’t wait to go on the next time travel journey with Benjamin! It would make for a great TV Series/Feature Film. Out of 5 stars I give it 6!” - Kelly V. Dolan, NBC News Radio
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Genre - Paranormal Fiction
Rating – NC17
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