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Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Cricket and Biscuits by A.J. Llewellyn

Dance choreographer Michael Makris has the chance to go back in time to find his recently deceased husband, John. Encountering his lost love is magical and romantic, but Michael soon bounces back to the last place he wants to be—the present.

Clementime, the gifted witch who sent him back to the moment he first met his husband, tells Michael that John wants him to move forward, without him. Clementime also cryptically reports that John said, “Life isn’t all cricket and biscuits.”

But can Michael give up the love of his life, or will he find a way to go back and fight for it?

Genres: Gay/Contemporary/Time Travel/Paranormal/The Arts/Mystery
Heat Level: 3
Length: Novella (25k words) 

Read a short excerpt...

...“Michael, are you sure you want to do this?”

“Yes,” I said. “I’m very sure.” Six weeks I’d waited, and the stress and tension had almost killed me. I’d only discussed my plan with one person, my best friend, Howie. He was the one who’d told me about the witch in the first place.

My hands were still shaking, so I slid them beneath my thighs, sitting on them atop Clementime’s red velvet sofa. That thing was not as comfy as it looked. I tried not to stare at her bric-a-brac, or wonder about cooties on the sofa. Her place looked so normal outside. Like every other small beach cottage on Superba Avenue in Venice. Inside, it resembled the kind of jumble sale I’d seen on desperate people’s front lawns. The unmistakable stench of eau-de-cat-piss invaded the cramped space, but I saw no kitties in sight. In a gloomy corner over her left shoulder, I spotted a tree-shaped plant stand and felt a shiver of alarm. All the plants were dead.

Don’t look at them. Don’t think about it. You can’t back out now.

“I know you’re the one who can help me,” I said, as her lovely, almond-shaped green eyes seemed to bore into my soul. Howie said she had a massive ego, and I’d been stroking it ever since I first made contact with her.

Howie had a friend who’d been to Clementime and had experienced her promises of time travel. She had wanted to connect with her mom who’d died and was very happy with the results, according to Howie.

Clementime said nothing for a moment. I still couldn’t get over the whimsical aspect to her name and wondered if she’d changed it from “Clementine” to “Clementime,” but she always got mad when I asked too many questions. I held my breath, worried that she was going to send me away. After all, she’d been difficult to get hold of, and even harder to pin down to an appointment. She’d asked me to think about it, pointing out certain dangers in going back in time.

“You might not cope with what you find out,” she’d said on the phone. “Once you go into the past, I can’t bring you back to the present, unless you and I happen to connect and we repeat the process.”

“Is that likely?” I asked. “That I run into you in another place and time?”

“Oh, yes.” She’d sort of chuckled. “You and I have danced together before, Michael.”

I had no idea what that meant, exactly. I knew I wasn’t much of a dancer in this life. I suspected she wasn’t referring to actual dancing, but didn’t care. I wanted to be with the man I loved. Going on without him was no longer an option.

My soul was in torment. “I don’t care where I am in time, as long as I’m with him.” I fidgeted on the sofa, recalling our earlier chat. Having accepted me as a client, Clementime spent an awful lot of time trying to dissuade me from taking the plunge. I kept thinking about the movie Kate and Leopold. I got goose bumps every time I thought about the moment Leopold told Kate’s brother, “I am the man who loves your sister.”

John loved me like that. He really did. If he had survived me and could have found a way to go back in time so we could begin again, he would. I was sure of that. But since he was gone and I was here, and I could do it, I went for it.

“Oh,” Clementime had said when I told her what I wanted. “Going back in time is easy peasy for me, when the other person is alive. It’s a little trickier when they’re dead...”

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