Silent Meridian

The Time Traveler Professor:

Book 1

* Excerpt

Elizabeth Crowens


First edition published in 2016

© Copyright 2016

Elizabeth Crowens

The right of Elizabeth Crowens to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1998.

All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this publication may be made without express prior written permission. No paragraph of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted except with express prior written permission or in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright Act 1956 (as amended). Any person who commits any unauthorised act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damage.

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious or used fictitiously. Except for certain historical personages, any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and not of MX Publishing.

Paperback ISBN  978-1-78092-977-4

ePub ISBN  978-1-78092-978-1

PDF ISBN  978-1-78092-979-8

Published in the UK by MX Publishing

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London, N11 3GX

www.mxpublishing.co.uk 

Cover Design by Brian Belanger


Edinburgh, 1898

Scotland was just barely crawling its way out of the nineteenth century. I was a naïve, but ambitious student studying music at the University of Edinburgh hurrying over to meet Arthur Conan Doyle, the man who would change my life forever.

“John Patrick Scott, sir,” I said as I approached Mr. Doyle, who was already seated at a back corner table where he hoped he wouldn’t be recognized. He had picked the Deacon Brodie, the pub that inspired the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

I extended my hand to greet him and removed my rain-soaked hat, while my overcoat slipped out of my hands and fell on the floor by accident. It was still hard to believe that good fortune had finally brought us together, but we were both nervous.

“The pleasure is all mine.” Doyle responded like a father to his son.

“Mr. Conan Doyle, or should I call you Doctor Doyle?” I said unsure how to address him.

Doyle scrutinized me from top to bottom as he signaled the waiter. “John, call me Arthur,” he said casually, ignoring the tension I couldn’t control.

“Sir, I’m so honored that you agreed to discuss this matter. Perhaps you can enlighten me in a way that I’ve failed to comprehend.”

I wanted to ask him about my unusual turn of events straight away but he caught me off guard and was dead set on pulling me into the swift current of an unexpected conversation.

“Can I assume you believe in the transmigration of souls?” he asked.

“Until now, I haven’t given it a lot of thought,” I said, unsure as to which direction he was leading.

“Did you ever read those books about that Swiss doctor who felt his body and soul had been taken over by a Benedictine monk? That presented a curious case. He claims that he was approached by the spirit of an elderly monk before he died, and that the monk needed to rent his body to continue his spiritual mission.”

“Rent?” I choked in disbelief.

“We truly don’t take anything with us when we pass on, do we? This monk knew that he was dying, and therefore had to replace his physical body with something more youthful and vital.”

“That’s incredible. It debunks the theory that you have to die and be reborn as an infant to carry on your spirit,” I said.

Mr. Doyle had the tinge of excitement in his voice.

“John, here’s another instance. I’ve had my suspicions about a famous musician who had an obsession about a notorious and controversial mystic. You’d surmise by his overwhelming attraction to that person that he might’ve been him in a previous lifetime, but facts were clear that he was born three years before the mystic died. My understanding is that the mystic knew he didn’t have long in his present incarnation. Therefore he made plans for some sort of partial soul transference while he was still alive to imprint his essence upon the child. That would’ve allowed him to carry on and accomplish unfinished business that couldn’t have been executed otherwise. Essentially he had the ability of being two places at once.”

“Sounds more like Spiritualism,” I replied.

“Honestly, John, I don’t think there are any steadfast rules when it comes to this matter. That’s what makes it so intriguing.”

I sensed he had a secret agenda.

Doyle reloaded his churchwarden pipe with fresh tobacco and continued, “This is not at all like anything you’ve ever read from H.G. Wells or Jules Verne. We’re poking holes in every treatise written on the subject— the idea of being able to reincarnate a part of yourself while you are still alive into another soul.”

Our conversation was quickly becoming like a speeding train ready to jump the tracks. Realizing this, Doyle slowed down the pace and took a deep breath. He carefully composed his next statement.

“Fiction it may seem to be but it’s not hocus pocus. Don’t you also find it strange that you somehow found yourself initiated into a mystical order on a commuter train bound from London to Edinburgh when the instigators kept on mistaking you for me? There are no accidents.”

I became silent for a moment, stalling for time as I slowly raised my glass of ale to my lips. As soon as I fished a small red book out of my coat pocket and placed it on the table in front of us Arthur eyed it intently. It had been the source of intrigue that led me to Doyle in the first place and had piqued his curiosity as much as it did mine.

“Could I have done something terrible in my youth that caused this to happen?”

“You have no recollections, John?”

I bit my lip as internal chaos wrested with memories. “I remember so little of my childhood. I wish that I could.”

“You’re a smart young man. I’m sure you’ll come up with a clever deduction.”

Mr. Doyle paused to relight his pipe. He had an unnerving look in his eye, which I vainly tried to read into, but he took me for a spin when he brought up the next topic.

“On another note, John, have you ever considered that people have the capability of communicating without speech, and I’m not talking about writing letters?”

“Pardon me?”

“Imagine communicating by mere thoughts. I’ve always wanted to experiment with someone open to these concepts. God knows—my brothers at the Society for Psychical Research certainly talk enough about it. My wife, Touie, has been an unwilling subject and is not the most objective choice.”

I looked at him, somewhat perplexed. “Are you asking me to accurately guess what you’re thinking?”

“Come now. We’ll play a game. I’ll form an image in my mind, and for the next minute I will try to project it into yours. Clear your thoughts of any distractions and be as receptive as possible,” he explained.

As much as I tried, I couldn’t have been more preoccupied. Images of that fateful event flashed through my brain. Once again, my recollections revealed my rain-soaked train ticket in hand. I kept arguing with the steward that I thought he was putting me in the wrong cabin. An erroneous judgment had been made when three strangers insisted that I was Arthur. He and I couldn’t have been more different in physical appearance. He was a large, athletic man with a distinguished moustache. On the other hand, I had baby smooth skin and couldn’t grow facial hair to save my life. I was nearly twenty years younger and much shorter with wild auburn hair that resembled Maestro Beethoven’s with the exception of premature strands of gray.

It was impossible that I could’ve been mistaken for him, so why was I singled out? Was there laudanum in my brandy? Details spun like a whirlwind. I must’ve been in a drug-induced stupor but I was initiated into some secret Masonic-like society, and when it was all over those mysterious men were gone. What remained were an engraved silver ring on my finger and an ominous red book on the seat beside me.