Excerpt from “The Dancer: A Time Travel Thriller”

I wrote The Woman Who Fell Into Time as the prologue to an as yet untitled novel or novella that would include as the first chapter the contents of The Day I Discovered Time Travel.

Since then, I expanded “Discovered” and changed the title of the chapter/short story to “When Jason Was Three.” I’ve also written a draft of Chapter Two called “The Dancer” and I have a story idea for a third chapter tentatively called “The Sins of Their Fathers.”

Additionally, I’ve written a short epilogue, which you don’t get to see because of the plot twist it introduces.

However, I thought I’d post an excerpt of the Chapter Two draft just for giggles. Happy time traveling.

the dancer

Image: Stock Photo – Colourbox

Bennie Williams was called the Dancer for two simple reasons. The first is that he was famous at all the local clubs as the best couples dancer to emerge for the last twenty-five years, a fact that made him a few bucks and very popular with the ladies. The other is that Bennie had been “dancing” in and out of trouble, managing to avoid most of it for that same twenty-five years.

But the Dancer was getting old and slowing down and trouble was catching up.

Bennie was a con man, a hustler, a cheat, and a thief. It’s really amazing he’s gotten this far, but that was the thrill of being the Dancer, taking the risks and getting away with it most of the time. Tonight, he’s about to discover that the Dancer only has a few steps left, especially if Johnnie B’s enforcers catch him before he can dodge away.

“Down the alley.” Bennie was out of breath. At forty-seven, he couldn’t run as long as he used to. The alley was dark and it was a dead-end, a lot like how most people saw Bennie’s life. He’d had a good run. He liked the money that came with cheating the cheaters, and liked it more that, up until now, they couldn’t pin anything on him.

But the Dancer’s luck had finally run out. He could hear them coming. He wasn’t going to get away with being roughed up this time. “Damnit!” Bennie tried the first door he came to. Locked.

So was the next one.

“Give it up, Dancer.” They weren’t bothering to run after him now. Tito and Little Mike (six-foot, three and over 300 pounds of Little Mike) knew they had him. “Let’s just take it easy. All Johnnie wants is his money back.”

“Like hell.” Bennie tried another door. It didn’t give. Just one more a few yards further down on the other side.

“C’mon, Dancer.” Little Mike sounded like a cross between a chainsaw and the grim reaper, and the Dancer knew the grim reaper part had a double meaning. “Make it easy on yourself.”

“Easy my ass.” Fourth and last door, locked, but…

Tito and Little Mike thought the Dancer had hidden himself in the shadows but when they got to the doorway he’d been standing in…

“Gone.” They tried the door. Locked. No way he could have gotten in or run farther down the alley without them seeing him. He should have been backed into the dead-end. He couldn’t have doubled back. He’d have to have run right past them. “How the hell?” Tito was suddenly a lot more worried about himself than he was about what had happened to the Dancer.

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