Well, it’s been a while since I posted here. We’ve been busy at Duncurra, building our publishing company and the YouTube channel. But I have also been working on a special book that I’m really excited to release. The Choice has been in the works for quite a while–I started it last July, while I was in Venice. In fact, I went to Venice planning to set the book there. However, what started as one book, became two.
If you’ve read any of the Pocket Watch Chronicles, you know that Gertrude is fond of saying, “The universe unfolds as it should.” But I started wondering, if she offers someone the pocket watch for a particular reason, what happens if they say no? After all, they do have free will. And from that, The Choice was born.
Gertrude meets Sara Wells at a sidewalk cafe on the Grand Canal in Venice and offers her the pocket watch. But in this story, you, the reader decides whether Sara accepts it or not. Intrigued? Read the prologue to get a little taste of what’s to come.
The place you find yourself
Gertrude walked into the room and smiled. “Hello. Do ye mind if I come in?”
“Ye there…yes ye, reading this book. Do ye mind if I come in?” Gertrude smiled at the reader’s perplexed expression. “Surprised I’m here for a chat, are ye? Ye mean a character in a book has never spoken to ye before? Well, I guess I can understand that. It’s a bit like breaking the fourth wall, isn’t it—like a television character speaking directly to ye from the screen? It simply isn’t done.” Gertrude chuckled. Clearly, the fact that something simply isn’t done, didn’t bother her in the least.
“I do apologize if ye’re finding this a bit awkward but I really did need to speak with ye and I promise, I won’t stay long. Just keep right on reading. Frankly, if ye ever want me to leave, ye’ll have to keep reading to get past this bit.”
The old woman glanced about, taking in her surroundings. “Lovely place ye’ve got here.” She chuckled again. “No pet, I’m not talking about the room around ye—I can’t see that. This brain and consciousness of yers is absolutely remarkable. It allows ye to open a book and be transported into it. It affords ye limitless possibilities. ‘Tis yer mind that gives me life and form. Yer imagination very literally wills me into existence. So while, ye’re at it, ye wouldn’t mind shaving a few pounds off me would ye? Think of me as a stately—but svelt—elegant, mature woman of indeterminate age. That’s it, pet. Now, if ye don’t mind, could ye imagine a full-length mirror, so I can see myself?”
Without warning, at the mere mention of the word mirror, one appeared. “That’s the ticket.” She perused her reflection. “Well, it isn’t exactly what I had in mind, but then ‘tis what suits yer sensibilities, so I’ll take it.”
She glanced over her shoulder. “Upon my word, where did that pink elephant come from? There, ye saw it too, didn’t ye?” Gertrude laughed. “Oh, pet, I was just having one over on ye. ‘Tis the oldest trick in the book. Ye can’t not think of something, once the suggestion is made. So, do be a dear and think me up a nice place to sit, while we chat.”
And just as the pink elephant had, a chair appeared. “Come now, something a bit more comfy than that would be nice. Perhaps a rocking chair. Yes, there we are. Perfect. I do love a good rocking chair.”
Gertrude sat down, making herself comfortable. “Now, as I said, I won’t stay long, but there are a few things I need to make clear before ye settle down into the story. If ye’ve read any of the other Pocket Watch Chronicles, ye might recognized me, but even so ye probably don’t know exactly who I am. And if this is the first of the Chronicles ye’ve read, no worries. Ye’re on equal footing with everyone else. So don’t put the book down and go running to find another one. It absolutely isn’t necessary. This book completely stands alone.”
She frowned for a moment. “Where was I? Oh, yes, I remember now, I am about to tell ye who I am.” She sat up a little straighter. “I am an immortal spirit. I have existed since the dawn of time; from the first moment of creation. Throughout history we have been given different names. Among them are: angel, fae, muse, spirit guide, messenger, eudaemon, dakini, Deva, elemental spirit, Gandharva, watchers, Grigori, one of the ancients, or a servant of the Divine. Sadly though, all human language is painfully imprecise and human understanding limited. There is no one word that sums up our true nature. So choose the name that works best for ye.”
She smiled. “It’s perfectly fine if you don’t believe in any of these things, we can accomplish what has to be done whether ye believe or not. Our purpose is to guide humans, helping them to discern the Creator’s will. We are each given unique skills and tools to aid us and we have but three rules. We cannot lie. We cannot break a promise. And, above all else, we cannot interfere with a human’s free will.”
Gertrude steepled her fingers under her chin for a moment. “This last point is often the hardest to understand. What if the person we are trying to guide doesn’t listen, or says no or intentionally tries to circumvent the Creator’s will? Well, very simply put, when humans close doors, we open windows. There is usually more than one way to accomplish anything. The story ye’re about to read, illustrates this. In it, the heroine will be given a choice, and ye my dear reader, will be able to make that choice for her.
“If ye choose one course, the story will go one direction. If ye choose the other, it will go a different direction. I promise ye, both stories have happy endings. And the best part is, once ye’ve read one, ye can go back, make the other choice and read the other. It is a completely different story.”
Gertrude gave the reader a moment to let this soak in. “That’s right, one choice, two completely different full length stories complete with happy endings. If the concept is intriguing to ye, it’s likely ye’ll enjoy the adventure. But if it isn’t, close the book now and return it for a refund. I will not be offended. There’s no reason to waste yer time or money.”
The elderly woman, rose gracefully from the rocking chair. “Well now, I’ve taken up enough of yer time so I’d best be going. If ye decide to stick around for this tale, we may see more of each other. If not, I wish ye all the best in yer future endeavors. But remember…when humans close doors; we open windows.”
And in the blink of an eye, she was gone.