The Science Behind Time Travel
by Laura Pauling
I’ve always loved stories or movies that involve time travel. Not so much the science fiction aspect behind it, but how it affects the characters and the storyline. But, that didn’t mean I could ignore the science in my time travel novel.
At first, when Heistwas going to be a humorous upper middle grade novel, there was going to be a science lab, a failed experiment, an explosion – and voila – time travel. That didn’t quite fit with the story that was coming out on the page. After the first draft, while doing more in-depth research, I stumbled upon a sickness called, the Stendhal Syndrome. This is a psychosomatic disorder causing dizziness, fainting, confusion, and even hallucinations, when exposed to a large amount of art, and more particularly, beautiful art.
I had my answer. In Heist, Jack Brodie, the main character, has this experience. Copies of the stolen art from the Gardner Museum Heist, bring him back to the night of the crime, March 17, 1990. Also, this fit better with my realistic, gritty time travel, then trying to have an actual futuristic time travel machine.
And now here is an excerpt from Heist
Jetta stops. The March breeze blows strands of hair across her face, partially masking her eyes. People walking to work flow around us. “How would you know about that?”
I stammer. How did I let that slip? The answer comes immediately and I blurt, “A psychic used to live in the coffee shop.”
Jetta crosses her arms, and her eyes narrow in on me with a dangerous look. “And you picked up some tricks?”
“Just a few here and there.” The doubt in her eyes forces me to scramble for a way out. A distraction. “Do you want me to read your palm?”
She pulls me out of the flow of pedestrians and holds out her hand, disbelief in her eyes. “Leave out the bad crap, ’kay?”
I wipe my sweaty palms off on my jeans then grab hold of her wrist. The contact sends tiny bolts through me. My gaze travels up to her face, her creamy skin, the lips that seem so kissable. I gulp. “No prob.”
“Why is your hand trembling?” Jetta asks.
I puff out my chest and make my voice as serious as possible. “It’s the psychic power getting ready to be unleashed.”
“Should I be scared?” Jetta whispers mockingly, her voice breathless.
I wink. “You’re in the hands of a professional.”
“What a cheesy line.” She rolls her eyes. “Hope you can do better than that.”
“Don’t disturb the master while he’s at work.” I raise my voice and manipulate my voice to sound like a gruff old man. An elderly lady flashes me a strange look.
Jetta giggles, light radiating across her face. Her eyes sparkle.
Slowly, I trace my finger down a line that stretches across her palm. My fingers tingle. The overwhelming smell of peaches comes to me. “You like peaches.”
“That’s my body spray.”
I clear my throat and try not to look at her soft pink lips. I trace a line that runs diagonal opposite her thumb. “Creativity flows through you like a mountain spring.”
“You already know I like art. Doesn’t count.”
I throw her a stern look, which produces another round of giggles. “Fine.” I search for the right words to save Jetta from her grandmother. I’m the only one who can warn her. I wish I had that kind of power in Dad’s life. In Stick’s life. “Stay away from art festivals today.”
“Why would I go to an art festival? I just moved into town. And that doesn’t count because that’s like saying, ‘Don’t climb Mt. Everest during lunch break.’”
“You’re testing the powers of the Great Fiasco.” I think hard about what to say next. This might be my only chance. What simple fortune will protect her?
“Does my hand say anything about being late to school on my first day?” she demands.
“Zippo. But wait,” I pull her hand closer, “I see a silver Mercedes.”
Jetta’s breath catches in her throat. “And?”
“Stay close to your friends so trouble won’t find you.”
She yanks her hand back as if I shocked her. She smoothes her hair and fiddles with the bow. Her face pales as if she has secrets in her life—reasons to be in trouble.
“This is silly,” she states and forges a path down the sidewalk, ending the conversation. “Let’s go. I need time to pass in my transfer records.”
I follow, trying to not watch her hips sway with every step, and suppressing the curious feelings beating with my heart.