Good afternoon campbellsworld visitors, and welcome back to WordPress Wednesday.
This afternoon for your immense reading pleasure I’ve got a story from author Trish Hubschman that is certain to please even the pickiest time travel/romance enthusiast. I must say, when I began reading I wasn’t at all prepared for how enjoyable Trish’s tale would be.
If you enjoy this as much as I did, I’d like to encourage you to give it a like, and share. I’d also love it if you’d comment here onto the blog and let Trish and me know you did.
Thanks for stopping today and do make sure to keep reading once Trish’s tale is through to learn about all her other fabulous work.
Have a great day and be sure to drop back by soon, because we’ve got more great stuff coming up.
Where Am I?
By Trish Hubschman
1895 – Rocky Mountain, Colorado
“Is that young’un comin’ around yet, Martha?” a man’s voice asked.
“I’m sure it’ll be soon, Horace,” a woman replied. “Color’s returnin’’ to her cheeks some.”
Karen heard them from wherever she was. Their voices were louder and clearer now, but her eyes were still closed and it was dark in her head. “Who are you?” she wanted to ask those unfamiliar voices. “Where am I?” She wanted to know that too, but she didn’t have the strength to do anything except listen.
Her last memory was running toward her boyfriend James in that dark cave or whatever it had been. She hadn’t wanted him to follow through on his time travel scheme. He was a chemistry major at UCLA and was searching for the formula to make time travel possible. “The past is out there, Karen. I know it is, so do you. We just have to find the way to get to it,” James said.
Karen was against the idea. It was too dangerous. She had told him that this morning at breakfast. He wasn’t going to listen and she couldn’t let him do it alone. That’s why she had been running through that strange place trying to meet him. She saw him too and he held out his hand for her. Right before she was about to grasp it, her foot caught on something and she went down. Now, she was waking up here, wherever here was.
Karen felt a wet cloth being placed on her forehead. She wanted to smile. These people were obviously caring folks. She was fighting to open her eyes. They were heavy, but slowly they moved upward. She stared into the weathered face of a kindly older woman.
“You feelin’ better, girl,” Martha asked. Karen tried to speak, but no words came out. Martha patted her shoulder. “Now, now, child, no rushin’ on your part to rejoin the world. Just take it easy. Horace and I ain’t go nowhere. Martha turned her head to look at the man, who now stood closer to the odd-feeling cot Karen was lying on. “See, Horace, she’s just a harmless sprite who got herself in trouble out there,” Martha said warmly.
Horace grimaced. He spoke to Karen. “What you doin’ out there all alone traipsing through the desert, girl? It’s not a safe place, even for a man. And dressed like you is in long knickers.”” He shook his head in disgust. “Martha’s gonna find you some decent clothes to wear while you’re here.”
Karen had to absorb all that she’d just heard. She was from Los Angeles, California. She was a history major at UCLA. She had no clue where she could possibly be or how she got here.
“Our boy Michael found you out there earlier when he took the horse and rig up to Denver,” Martha explained; “He had to pick up some supplies for his Pa here and he was going to visit his sister ‘Lizabeth,” Martha went on. “He’ll be back sometime next week.”
Standing beside his wife, Horace’s line-hardened face showed disapproval. “Our girl married a rich fella up in Denver,” he explained. “You’d think she’d want to bring him back to meet her folks, show him where she come from?” He shook his head. “Nope, she doesn’t. We mountain folk here ain’t good enough for Mrs. Elizabeth Watkins Smith.”
Martha swatted Horace’s arm. “Now, Horace, we’ve been over that,” she said curtly. “Best thing to do is let it go. When Lizzy’s ready to come home, she will. At the moment, we’ve got an ailin’ houseguest. Let’s get her all mended up and back on her feet. When our boy gets back, girl here can meet him.”
Horace nodded. “We got lots of questions to ask you you, girl,”” Horace said. “Martha here will take good care of you. She’s a good Ma.” He patted his wife’s shoulder. “
Karen blinked her eyes. She had a lot of questions to ask them too, but she couldn’t do it right now. Just a few minutes listening to Horace and Martha, had worn her out. She had a strong feeling wherever she was, she was going to be here for quite a while. Karen closed her eyes and drifted off, thinking of James and wondering where he was.
. . .
Six Days Later
She wanted to go home! She wanted to be with James. Where was he? Where was she? She was almost certain this cabin in the Colorado Mountains wasn’t in the 21st Century. It was just too “outdated”. That was the only word she could come up with to describe her present surroundings and Martha and Horace Watkins.
Michael Watkins should be returning soon. Karen was eager to meet him. She had a feeling all her unanswered, unaskable questions to her benefactors lay within their son. She couldn’t pinpoint how or why that would be, but it just made sense somehow. How did she get to Colorado?
Why was she here at all? Looking around her surroundings for the second time she’d awakened in them, definitely told her this wasn’t anywhere near home and in so many ways.
Four days earlier, Martha helped Karen sit up in bed. It felt like a brick wall hit Karen’s head, but she steeled herself. “Slow and easy, girl,” Martha instructed. The following day, Martha assisted her off the cot entirely. Karen’s knees almost buckled, but she refused to let them. “Horace is going to bring in some water from the well, child, so you can take a bath,” Martha said, then we’ll get you dressed in one of Lizzy’s pretty things.”
And that’s what they did. Horace brought in a big wood basin of water and set it down in the middle of the room, then left the cabin again. Martha helped Karen off with the dressing gown she’d been wearing and step into the tub. Karen was surprised to find the water lukewarm and pleasant. She settle herself down and began washing herself with a scratchy bar of soap Martha had furnished.
The older woman vanished behind a curtained-off section of the cabin and reappeared a moment later with a lovely dress belonging to her daughter. Karen stared at it, stunned. It was ankle- length, long-sleeved and high-collared. It was a sophisticated Ladies dress from the, oh gosh, Karen realized, the late 1800s.
“Nothin’s too good for our children,” Martha said. “Lizzy likes finer things and our boy, Michael’s as smart as a whip. Horace and I are so proud of them.””
All Karen could do is smile and stare.
Now, she was alone in the cabin, making herself a cup of tea on the wood burning stove. She had opened the shutters over the pump sink behind her to let in some fresh air and sunshine. Suddenly, she heard a man’s voice behind her.
“If I hadn’t just been up visiting my big sis in Denver, I would think I’m’ lookin’ at her right now,” he said with a teasing bounce in his voice. Karen swung around. She knew she was staring at Michael Watkins. He was a good-looking man, probably not much older than herself. “Should I introduce myself? I’m the feller who found you out in the desert a week back.,” he said, smiling. He came into the cabin and dropped a satchel on the kitchen table.
She had to fine her voice. “I’m Karen Sullivan and thank you,” she replied. “Would you like a cup of tea?” she offered, sitting down at the table and watching curiously as he removed books from the satchel. “I thought you went to Denver to get supplies,” she said.
He smiled and nodded. “Dropped that stuff off in the barn before I came in here. These books here are from Lizzy, She enjoyed reading them and I intend to as well.” He chuckled.
Karen picked up one book after the other and read the title, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by mark Twain, Her breath caught in her throat. She picked up a third book. “You keep a journal?” she asked him surprised. He smiled.
“Sure do,” he said. “Life here might not be too exciting, but someday, maybe folks would want to look back and read about the old days. Go ahead. Open it. Take a look.” He waved toward the book she held.,
Timidly, she did as she was instructed. On the inside cover the present year stared back at her, 1895. Karen didn’t know if she should laugh or cry. She was living proof that time travel was possible, yes, but now, how was she going to get home? Los Angeles 2019 wasn’t a few hundred miles away, but a hundred plus years in the future!
. . .
1895 – Denver, Colorado
Henry Foster walked into his office at the bank and placed his hat on his desk, then went
around to the other side and sat down to prepare for his first meeting of the day. Richard Smith was coming in to the bank on Foster’s request. The younger man said he had a financial matter to discuss with the bank president as well. Foster hoped they could come to an equitable deal. The bank was foreclosing on Smith’s in-laws property in Sanoa Creek. Foster hoped he could get Smith to pay off their small mortgage. In return, Foster would push the bank trustees to grant a large loan to Smith for an undisclosed business venture.
“I’ve never met Elizabeth’s parents,’ Smith said, his tone level. He sat in a comfortable-looking wing chair across from the bank president. “She’s sent them letters inviting them up, but thus far, they haven’t.” Smith shrugged. “Her brother was in Denver a few weeks ago. Nice fellow! Said the journey in was rough.” He paused a moment. “Maybe Horace Watkins isn’t in the best of health anymore and the journey would be too much for him.””
Foster took it all in. Smith had given him a bit to think about. “That may be the case, yes,” he surmised. “In due courtesy to the Watkins family,” Foster began, “I have to send someone down to their place and inform them of this unfortunate matter with the bank and themselves.”
Smith nodded and rose to his feet. “I think that’s a commendable idea, Mr. Foster.” Smith picked up his hat and placed it on his head. “I’ll discuss this matter with my wife and get back to you on it.” He left the banker’s office.
Foster let a few minutes pass, then went to his door and opened it. He poked his head out and called his grandson in. He explained what he wanted James to do. “I need you to go down to a property on Sanoa Creek for me to deliver some papers to the family there.” “Take one of my best horses, a compass and ask your Grandmother for the map I had a speculator draw for me of the route.”
“Of course, sir,” James replied. “That won’t be a problem.”
And that may have been a tad of a lie on James’ part. He had no idea where Sanoa Creek was. He didn’t know anything about Colorado or 1895. That was Karen’s department. Oh jeez, where was she? He hadn’t even known his great-grandfather had been the president of a bank. He thought the old man was in the automobile business. He had gone it with some guy named, um, what was it? It was an easy name, Jones, Brown, yeah, that was it, Smith.
James wanted to go home! He wanted to find Karen and swear, swear, swear to her that he would never dabble with time travel again if he got out of this alive. The past few weeks in Denver hadn’t been too bad, but this quest Henry Foster was sending him on was too much danger, to say the least. He was hot, thirsty, hungry, afraid he’d fall off the horse and was pretty sure he’d have to take a piss soon…
As he sat on top of the huge horse, he kept repeating the famous words from The Wizard of Oz “No place like home, no place like home.”
. . .
Two days later
A teenage boy who lived down the road ran into the Watkins’ cabin. “Aunt Martha?” he called out. Martha was at the stove preparing the evening meal for the family after being out in the field all day with Horace and Michael. “She looked up at her nephew. “There’s a man riding up the road comin’ toward here. He looks half asleep and about to fall off his mount,” the boy went on.
Martha’s lips thinned into a line of disapproval. She reached behind her back to untie her apron. “Goodness, of all things at the dinner hour!” she muttered. “I best go see who the caller is and bring the man some water to drink and some tidbits to eat.” She turned to begin her preparations.
Karen stopped her. “No, Martha, you’ve done far too much today. Let me handle this unexpected caller.” Karen rushed over and took the worn wicker basket from Martha.
Martha sighed resolutely. “Are you sure, dear? You should be resting.”
That was one thing Karen was definitely tired of doing. She wanted some fresh air and exercise. She needed to get out of the cabin. And she did! As she headed down the path, Horace and Michael were coming up it. “Ay, girl,” Michael said. “Where you headed?”
Karen explained in a rush and he offered to join her, but she said no. She wanted to do this herself. She didn’t know why she was shrugging him off. In the past few weeks, since Michael had returned from Denver, she and he had become good friends.
“Go into the house,” she instructed the men. “Martha has a wonderful meal on the table for you. I’ll be just a minute.” She darted off before Michael could make any further protests.
She was heading down the main road now. She could see the man on horseback slowly cantering up the road. His hat was low and she didn’t think he saw her. “Mister, do you need any help?” she called, holding up her basket. The man looked up. Karen’s breath caught in her throat. She couldn’t believe her eyes. “James?” she whispered. “How?” She began running toward the horse.
When she was up alongside him, he slid from his mount and pulled her into his arms. She was crying. He was shaking with fury. Karen didn’t understand. “You’ve been here all along?” he said, anger tinging his voice.
Karen pulled away. She slid the back of her hand beneath her wet eyes. She sniffed, then laughed. “It’s a long story. Oh, James, where have you been all these weeks?”
He took her elbow. “Is there a place we can sit and swap stories?” he asked. They both looked around. “over there,” he instructed. “We can sit on that big rock.” He led her to it.
“What are you doing here?” she asked. And many more questions spilled from her lips. James answered all of them and asked his own.
Suddenly, they were interrupted. “What’s going on here?” Michael asked suspiciously. Startled, James and Karen jumped. Karen slid off the rock and ran to Michael. Taking his elbow, she pulled him over to James and introduced the two men.
“Can you imagine my running into an old friend from California while out here in Sanoa Creek?” she asked.
Michael ignored her and glared at James. “Foster, that your name?” You related to that bank guy in Denver?” he asked.
“My Grandfather,” James explained, coming forward and handing Michael the papers Henry had given him to bring to the Watkins’s. Michael opened them and scanned them.
“You’re going to take my folks place away from them?” he asked. “It’s all they’ve got and I promise you, it’s not worth much to big city folks like Foster.”
James was prone to agree. “No, my grandfather isn’t foreclosing. Your brother-in-law, Richard Smith, might be paying off the mortgage.”
Karen clapped her hands.
Michael scowled. “My Pa’s proud. I don’t know if he’ll accept that.”
James shrugged. “I don’t know if he has much of a choice.”
. . .…
Late that night
Dressed in the clothes she had arrived in, jeans and a yellow t-shirt, Karen slipped out of the cabin and made her way through the darkness to the rock down the road she and James had sat on earlier. He was waiting for her there.
“How are we going to get back to our own time?” she whispered. He had told her earlier that he would reverse the code he had used to elicit the time travel, but he didn’t have a cell phone here in 1895 to punch the numbers in on.
“I’ll try tapping them on a rock with another rock,” he replied. It seemed logical. They both began searching for rocks in the dark, then together they sat cross-legged on the dirt road. He held her hand while tapping the smaller rock on the bigger one with the other. He wasn’t going to risk losing her again.
Karen glanced around her. She realized suddenly that she would miss Sanoa Creek, Martha and Horace, Michael, the outdated cabin. “I want to know what happened to all of this, them, after we leave,” she said. James didn’t reply. He was busy tapping. “I can’t wait to get back to my iPad, laptop computer, cell phone, big screen TV.” But those were only just material things of the future, she realized. They didn’t matter. This, she glanced around her again, was what mattered.
. . .
Horace Watkins died shortly after his daughter Elizabeth brought her husband Richard Smith down to Sanoa Creek. Smith paid off the Watkins mortgage. Horace never knew who the benefactor was. After his father’s death, Michael sold the farm and moved himself and his mother up to Denver. They were both very happy there.
Michael eventually met and married Henry Foster’s daughter Carrie. They had three children. Michael told his mother, sister and bride that he had fallen in love with a girl who had appeared on his parents farm suddenly and disappeared just as mysteriously. He dedicated his first book, Echoes Of A Mountain, to Karen. It was a bestseller of the early 20th Century.
With a broad smile on her face, Karen hugged the iPad to her chest. “I knew he’d be a famous author someday,” she said.
James wasn’t perturbed. “Guess you wanted to stay there and” enjoy the attention of that guy?” he said easily.
Karen shook her head. “” No, I didn’t belong there,” she replied. “But I admit, it was kind of fun for the few weeks I was a participant of the 19th Century.”
This was true, but she never ever wanted to do anything like that again.
MORE ABOUT TRISH HUBSCHMAN AND HER WORK…
A Romantic Suspense Novel
Stiff Competition (Miss America): A Tracy Gayle Mystery
by Trish Hubschman
In e-book ($2.99) and print ($9.50) on Amazon and other bookselling sites.
227 pages in print.
Cover, free text sample, author bio, direct buying links, and more: https://www.dldbooks.com/hubschman/
About the Book
America’s favorite rock band, Tidalwave, is playing the Miss America pageant. Band leader Danny Tide is emceeing the event. All is going according to schedule. The judges have picked the 10 semi–finalists. Suddenly, everything comes to a halt. Miss New Jersey is missing. Nobody knows what happened to her or where she is. Danny calls his longtime PI friend, Tracy Gayle, and asks her to come down to Atlantic City to help figure things out. In need of her best friend for personal support and eager to get to another case, Tracy agrees. There’s an all–out search of the hotels on the boardwalk. They find Miss New Jersey, but it’s not good. Her kidnapping leads to another assault and murder. The big star and the lady PI work together on this one, so that the Miss America pageant can continue as usual.
About the Author
Trish Hubschman has published three books with America Star Books: a short story collection of time travel and romance stories called Through Time and the first two books in the Tracy Gayle/Danny Tide series: The Fire and Unlucky Break. Trish attended college at Long Island University’s Southampton campus, earning a BA degree in English with an emphasis in writing. She lives on Long Island with her husband and dog.