Excerpt for The Time Slipsters by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

This page may contain adult content. If you are under age 18, or you arrived by accident, please do not read further.

The Time Slipsters


Terry Tumbler


Copyright © Terry Tumbler 2015

The right of Terry Tumbler to be identified as the Author of the Work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

No resemblance is intended to any real person, living or dead.

This book is sold subject to the condition it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be circulated in any form or by any means, electronic or otherwise without the author’s prior consent.

ISBN PB: 978-1-5136-0763-4



Cover design by https://jeffreykosh.wixsite.com/jeffreykoshgraphics

Vsn 4d


If anyone cares to read other books by the same author, the suggested sequence is:


Seb Cage Begins His Adventures – where Terry Tumbler’s grandsons come to stay with him and his long-suffering wife, who live on the Costa Blanca, for the entire summer vacation. During this period, the elder one, Seb, experiences a number of futuristic adventures when he joins a summer campus run by a mysterious organization called The Sombrella Syndicate.

Series: The Dreadnought Collective Book 1


The Inlooker – where a presumably unique character, Thomas Beckon, realises his paranormal talents and changes the nature of society in Great Britain, and thereafter of the World, to help shape mankind in its future development.

Series: The Dreadnought Collective Book 2


The Time Slipsters – A group of friends take a trip together. It is the near future, and they will be traveling on the latest type of air-road transport. Unwittingly, they are entering a world where time travel is a reality, and soon they embark on a sightseeing tour like no other they could have imagined. More than one person has a hidden agenda, as they realise when they reach a highly protected secret location.

Series: The Dreadnought Collective Book 3


The Deaduction Agencywitness at first-hand a group of specialist investigators, as they set up and run a new agency. They are dedicated to the resolution of criminal cases using paranormal assistance. This will be a new and emerging brand of policing designed to protect the citizens of our country.

Series: The Dreadnought Collective Book 4


The Sightseers Agency the first recruit to the new Sightseers Agency is a remote viewer who actively seeks the resolution of events threatening world security. Both his fledgling agency and that of the Deaduction Agency belong to The Dreadnought Collective.

Series: The Dreadnought Collective Book 5

For those who may become more than remotely interested in his upbringing, the author Terry Tumblers’ childhood behaviour is recounted in a mildly fictionalised autobiographical work called:

The Rough & Tumbles Of Early Years

The author himself subsequently regarded this as a potentially valuable compendium of incidents, which could be serialised in the same vein as Just William. Originally, it was prepared for the benefit of his family, who would otherwise have known nothing about his outrageous childhood behaviour

Series: A Wonderfully Wacky World Book 1


Santiago Tales – where the irascible and incorrigible Terry Tumbler, based very loosely on the personality of the author, organizes a trip for himself and his cronies to travel to the sacred city of Santiago de Compostela, following parts of the St James Camino, in Northern Spain.

En route, as well as swapping stories in the same vein as those published in Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, they endure an interesting encounter themselves.

Conceptually, this is a semi-fictional book within a travelogue.

Series: A Wonderfully Wacky World Book 2

Note. Please be advised that English UK spelling is mainly used in this book.


This book is dedicated to my wife of many years, without whose help in its preparation it would never have seen the light of day.


This book acknowledges the bravery of researchers of UFO incidents. Their dedication and professionalism in the pursuit and publication of the truth has on occasion resulted in their death.

You have to know where to look to find sources for the following stories. Sometimes they are provided by whistle-blowers, others come from innocents who were not looking for the unexpected, it found them.

I am one of the fortunate latter, several times over.

Special thanks are extended to:

The Hungry Monster Reviews

Who have since emailed me with the following:


We are proud to present you with our Hungry Monster Gold Award.

This book deserves extraordinary praise and The Hungry Monster is proud to acknowledge your dedication, writing skill and imagination.

The Gold Award is bestowed on books that we found to be perfect in their delivery of original content, meticulous development of unique characters in an organic and striking setting, innovative plot that supports a fresh theme, and elegant prose that transforms words into beautifully written novels.

Thank you,

Thomas Anderson

The Hungry Monster Book Review


Story Summary

A group of friends who drifted apart decide to reunite and take a trip together. It is the near future, and their intention is to travel on the latest type of transport, in order to visit ancient sites in Turkey.

They want to do this in luxury, and the travel company they selected has done its best to accommodate their desires. They are lost for words when they first cast their eyes on the spectacular, gleaming new vehicle waiting for them. It is in fact alien in technology, and far more of a futuristic craft than a mere ground-hugging coach.

Unwittingly, they are entering a world where time travel is a reality and machines cater for individuals as well as the masses.

Soon, they embark on a sightseeing tour like no other they could have imagined, and meet a time-travelling stranger who takes them under his wing.

More than one person has a hidden agenda.

Setting The Scene Afresh

Changes of epic magnitude had become established in the United Kingdom, and were being rapidly adopted by other notable democratic countries. Some, Turkey for instance, were considering their options and had taken tentative steps in the same direction.

What were these monumental changes?

On Demand Democracy was the revolutionary flavour of the day. This was because, under the previous form of democracy, elections were only held at four or five year intervals.

In between these elections, politicians behaved as they saw fit, in ways rarely coinciding with what the electorate wanted from them.

By means of electronic referendums modelled on the Swiss style, voters were now fully participating in the democratic process. They had proved capable of forcing their elected representatives to debate issues with them in advance, and were getting their own laws passed by a majority vote in each constituency.

The tail was no longer wagging the dog, and the powers-that-be were being forced to accept the will of their citizens. There would be no more bailing out of rogue financiers, unless with the support of the populace.

With regard to their personal transport, people had become accustomed to using driverless vehicles, wherever and whenever they wanted to travel. These were hired from government agencies, and there was no additional outlay beyond a rental charge, based on the number of passengers being carried per journey and distance involved.

The Personal Official Transport System was the designated collective name for such craft, although individuals fondly referred to them as potties. These were introduced to the public as replacements for cars, but their initially hidden ability to fly soon became apparent.

People loved being driven from source to destination without suffering the inconvenience of having to make stops or changes en-route.

Hence, on the broad shoulders of rapid technical advances, there were two major influences forcing the pace of change in many parts of the world. These were: ‘On Demand Democracy’ and potties to sit on.

In the meantime, the world-wide population was in the throes of reducing dramatically. This was the outcome of one final, desperate act of autocracy by its leaders, for the sake of survival in a populous universe. They had intervened to ensure the human race temporarily ceased procreating.

By induced infertility, the world-wide birth rate was stabilising at a much lower level. In the ageing generations to come, the fertility needed to induce a controlled birth-rate would be gradually reinstated.

Naturally, while the population lessened, many adults were redeployed in leisure industries for the rest of their natural lives. Free enterprise was diminishing as state control over daily lives increased.

Given evolutionary change, this is surely the natural order of events? Nothing will be left to random chance in obsolete, free-trade economies.

There’s an apocryphal curse which can reputedly be invoked by stating, may you live in interesting times. This would have certainly applied under these circumstances.

Flying Carpets, Turkish Carpets

Moving swiftly through the air

Without noise above the ground

You’d hardly know they’re there!

Flying Carpets, Magic Carpets

Which transport you around

As they rush you everywhere

To where vendors do abound.

There are no nerves a ‘jangling

As they scatter you around

Amongst the populace who enjoy wrangling

With prices that astound.

But don’t forget the reasons why

To Turkey you did fly

To see amazing sights and scenery

Whilst people test your patience

Forever selling things to buy!

§ 1: A Fateful Decision Is Executed

“Fancy a trip to Turkey?”

Terry Tumbler, a retired detective from Scotland Yard, posed the question to his long-suffering wife, Sandra.

She snorted. “You’ll be lucky! What makes you think I’d want to go back there?” After their previous one and only visit, she’d said repeatedly there were too many people in the country.

Also, wherever they went, everyone was trying to flog them stuff.

She added in justification, “Besides, we’d have to suffer their notorious money-grubbing visa system on entry!” The first time they had visited Turkey, it was to see their injured grandson and they’d been given priority clearance.

He said in a hurt tone, “It’s changed a lot since then. We can fly there direct using a potty, the visa is paid in advance, and I’ll invite some friends to come with us.”

Huh!” she exclaimed. “What friends are you talking about? You upset everyone I liked on our last trip.” She was referring to their previous excursion to Santiago in Northern Spain, when his outrageous behaviour had caused ructions with most of the others on the coach. Since then, he’d stuck with family for company, and – as she insisted rather cruelly - they didn’t really like him either, did they?

He looked at her with a hang-dog expression. “Well, I’ll behave myself this time. Pretty please, baby give me one last chance?”

I’ll think about it.” This was her usual response when she had an open mind. Terry was therefore content to let matters rest; they both knew she tended to give in when she spoke in this way. Henceforth, the onus would be on him to find friends to join them.

The true reason he wanted to go to Turkey was best not confessed; he had a gut feel he’d been there before, in another incarnation. Quite possibly, it could be his last opportunity to find out if there was foundation to this belief.

This was being reinforced by a voice in his head telling him, “You need to come to Turkey and save us from oblivion!

He wondered, “How any of this is going to pan out lord knows, but I want to get there!

The first and most essential step was to gather his friends and invite them to join him on another trip by coach, to see the ‘Ancient Miracles of Turkey’.

That should pacify the missus!” he decided, trying to remember who she liked most on the Santiago pilgrimage.

So far, the list had stabilised, with only a small core of people expressing a wary interest in going with him. By implication, this meant he had to improve his behaviour else they wouldn’t come.

Plus, cost was a major factor.

The list read:

Billy, a retired Engineer, with

Bessie, his wife;

Graham, a retired soldier and boyhood friend of Terry, who lives in the UK with

Norma, his wife;

Wilf Right-Angle, a retired printer, accompanied by

Prissy, his wife, whose maiden name was Angle.

Hence the double-barrelled surname he had adopted.

The final couple were:

Dr John Watson Ph.D., retired librarian and poet, who had acted as the official record-keeper on his last trip with Terry, to Santiago. He was refusing to document anything if he went with him to Turkey.

Now he was with,

Mary. She was the younger wife who he had recently courted and married.

Only Graham and Norma lived in the UK, while the others were Spanish residents.

And so Terry buckled down to the task of offering them ‘an unrepeatable opportunity to go to Turkey’.

The recipients of his emailed tour offer read it with little interest, looked at the price and nearly fell out of their chairs. In the drop of a hat, they changed their minds, and viewed their friendship with the Tumblers in a favourable light.

His previous behaviour was now regarded as an aberration.

When shown the email, their equally indifferent soul-mates changed their tune and commented, “Well, she is really nice, so I suppose we can put up with him for the duration!”

Thus, in a spirit of forgiveness, they accepted the offer, gleefully glad-handing each other.

The sole exception to this hypocrisy was the gentlemanly and forgiving Dr Watson, who was still preoccupied with satisfying his newly acquired marital duties.

Each couple hired a two-seater potty from the nearest regional centre, to come direct to their home for the outward bound flight in two weeks’ time.

Using the world-wide web, the return journey was booked for 10 days later from the Turkish Potty Centre in Istanbul.

Terry, dismayed by the poor response, told Sandra, “That’s all I could muster! Including us, the total will be five couples.”

She eyed him with scorn, warning, “In that case, you’d better be on your best behaviour, hadn’t you!”

To Terry’s consternation, shortly before they were due to depart he got an urgent phone call, followed up by email, ordering them to attend the main hospital at 9:00am within the next two days. They were also told to bring with them all the medication they were currently taking. The reference to quote was ARNY 5070.

“What’s it all about?” they wondered, so Terry recited the reference into Twinkle Search. Nothing of true relevance was found, only mention of a long-dead actor and a film called The Terminator, so they decided to go post haste the next morning.

When they arrived, Terry went to a row of ticket machines, fed in their Health ID Numbers, and both were allocated Tickets showing their call numbers and area to go to; the title of it was Special Projects Team.

“Never heard of it,” Terry said, looking around for a relevant sign, which he found on the wall opposite with an arrow pointing to its location.

He and Sandra strode into a large waiting room full of wrinkly oldsters, just like them. The queue was clearing fast, as the call numbers showed on a display panel, and people rose to hobble through one of a row of doors opposite.

They would often pause, not sure which to open, as the lights above randomly turned from red to green.

“It can’t be bad news if all oldies have to attend,” Terry whispered to Sandra. “Maybe it’s a jab against the flu.”

When their numbers came up, Terry sang, “Green door what’s that secret you’re keeping?” and pulled one open as the light above it changed green.

He laughed as he passed through; there was only one room the other side of the row of doors, and it was full of white-coated doctors sitting at desks. Alongside stood nurses, and opposite sat their current patients.

A roving nurse came across, and asked Terry and Sandra to show their health cards, ticking their names off her list as she hummed happily.

When requested, they handed over the pills they were taking at present. She looked at them keenly, to ask, “Is this all? You must not keep any, or you could suffer when you start the new treatment.”

“Nope, you’ve got the lot,” he replied cheerily, and she told them to sit in front of the next available doctor

“What’s this all about, Alfredo?” he sang to the white-coated doctor sitting opposite, reading the name printed on his chest ID badge. Standing next to him was his assistant nurse, grinning as she held a large bottle containing a cloudy, dark liquid swishing lazily around as if it had a mind of its own.

The doctor replied with a smile, “You are taking part in Project ARNY. This is akin to the Flu inoculation you get every year, but this one is taken orally, once a day for a month, two teaspoons per dose. The instructions are on the bottle.”

The nurse handed it to Sandra, and they studied its label. The doctor said, “We are giving this free to all the older patients on our list.”

“Is it going to have side-effects, and does it taste vile?” Terry asked.

“No to both questions. In fact, it is tasteless, with no harmful after-effects, and will benefit your body and brain.”

“What does ARNY stand for?”

“Oh, Age Related something or other; I forget the rest of it. Have you given back all the drugs you are taking? As from now, your current prescriptions are cancelled.”

Terry asked, “Are you sure, the whole lot?”

The doctor checked Terry’s and Sandra’s medical notes, and pronounced his verdict. “Yes, all of them! I see your pills are taken to combat the perils of strokes, cholesterol and arrhythmia, and to keep your blood pressure under control with dodgy alpha and beta blockers. All are tailored for the pair of you ageing burdens on our health service!”

“Goodness gracious me, great balls of fire!” Terry chanted, while Sandra looked astounded.

“What we are about to take is really good, is it?”

Sitting back beaming, hands behind his head, the doctor replied, “Yes, it’s the Holy Grail of science, an elixir to give you a pain-free, germ-free life in your old age! You can leave here now and live in comfort. Go forth and multiply!”

As they left, Terry asked Sandra, “Did he just tell me to pee off, or did he mean we can have children?”

She gave him a kiss on the cheek, patted his bum and said, “Only time can tell, but don’t worry; no one is giving birth anyway, these days.”

Within two weeks of the potties being ordered, the five couples in the group were on their way.

Terry and Sandra were tracking the others, and arrived some 30 minutes in advance of them, landing in the gardens behind the Hotel Senator in Istanbul. The journey from their address in Spain had taken only a dizzying quarter of an hour.

They dismounted and walked to the front of the hotel, leaving the luggage to its own devices.

Each suitcase was branded a Bright Boy, because it had micro-chip intelligence and could do a variety of things on its own. These abilities became apparent, as they rose on anti-gravity pads from the rack behind the seats and moved into the hotel on their own, to sit on the floor by reception.

Collectively, they were jocularly called the ‘Bright Boys’, and being the same size, occupied less space as they sat neatly side by side.

The receptionist pointed a scanner at them, and checked the embedded bar codes against the bookings on his screen.

“Ah, the Tumblers are here!” he said, typing an ‘x’ against each of the two names shown.

The empty potty flew back to Spain on automatic recall.

The margin of half an hour gave them ample time, so they hoped, to confirm the booking-in procedure. They wanted it to be smoothly handled for the remaining couples in their retinue.

After checking the computer records at reception, they went up to the hotel room, with their bright boys in hot pursuit, to unpack a few essentials. Briefly, they freshened up before returning to the gardens to meet and greet their fellow companions.

The next potty to arrive held Graham and Norma, who greeted them warmly as they dismounted.

Terry asked their friends, “We trust you both had a smooth journey?”

Norma nodded, while Graham enthused, “Yes, but it would have been nice to view the scenery. The speed was terrific!”

Terry agreed, “True, but you could have had a catnap most of the time! How long did it take you to get here, from the UK?”

“Oh about 20 minutes,” Graham replied, staring at his and Norma’s suitcases floating unattended into the hotel entrance.

They didn’t have much time to natter before Billy and Bessie arrived, swiftly followed by John and Mary. For a while, the six of them stood chatting in the gardens.

Terry studied Mary with a professional eye, not having seen her before. She was shorter than John by a few inches, had naturally blond, wavy hair, and a shapely figure, emphasised by her dark red straight dress cut above the knees.

At first sight, she was adorable eye-candy. He was entranced as he looked intently at her face, with its blue eyes, straight nose, cutely-spaced cheeks, cupid lips and admirably proportioned chin. Not that he was staring at her, mind.

At the very least, she was 20 years younger than the doctor, and he thought, “You lucky son of a gun, she’s a cracker, if she’s got a brain to match!

She startled Terry by saying with a laugh, “Yes, I do have a brain to match!”

Sandra’s face was stony, as John interceded with a knowing smile. “Ignore him Sandra; she often gets this type of reaction from strangers. The problem for men is: she can read their minds!”

Feeling embarrassed and starting to blush, Terry diverted attention by saying, “There’s no sign of Wilf and Prissy on the horizon. We’d better move indoors and complete bonking-in…” He looked embarrassed. “Oops, sorry, I meant booking-in!”

Mary grinned wickedly, as Terry blushed deeper and said, “After you’ve escorted your suitcases to your rooms, we can meet in the bar, at the back of the hotel foyer. Later, if you’re okay with the idea, we’ll go out and see some of the sights.”

Sandra nudged Terry in the ribs as they walked, hissing, “She’s got better taste than me,” adding cattily, “John is more handsome than you are!”

Terry retorted, “It was far better for me to keep one woman ecstatic than twelve happy!”

Her reply was unprintable, until she realised John’s wife might be capable of reading her thoughts too.

The four couples had gathered by the bar and were sipping chilled lagers when Billy saw Wilf and Prissy arriving at reception. He rose immediately, to say, “I’ll go and tell them we’re here.”

Where have you been?” Billy quizzed them, after they’d completed the booking-in formalities.

“It’s a long story,” Wilf replied. He was all hot and bothered.

Billy looked at their suitcases and noticed they were the old-fashioned type on wheels, which needed pulling.

Without waiting for the inevitable questions to follow, Prissy added, “Yeah, we’ll tell you all about it later, when we’ve unpacked.” She waved to the rest of the group and pointing at her watch, indicating with sign language they’d only be a few minutes.

Ten minutes later they emerged from one of the elevators and shuffled over to the others.

Wilf apologised, “Sorry we got here late, but we’ve had a few problems.”

Terry whispered to Graham, “As usual!

Out loud, he asked, “Why are you using suitcases on wheels?” He’d heard the rhythmic clicking as the suitcases were being pulled along.

After ordering a brandy for himself and a lager for Prissy, Wilf explained, “What we ordered didn’t come.”

Terry whispered to Graham, “That’s one of the problems with living out in the sticks. No one can find him!”

Out loud, he asked Wilf, “But your potty found you, didn’t it, at your correct address?”

Wilf shrugged, leading Terry to suspect the new suitcases had been delivered, but he had sold them at auction.

Wilf gave a shifty smile, and said, “Maybe someone local kept them on our behalf, while we were out.”

Changing the subject swiftly, he added, “Anyway, we had to use our own suitcases and the blasted potty wouldn’t let us get on, once we’d loaded them!”

Unable to resist himself, Terry groaned, “Don’t tell me: you tried to smuggle your own booze on board!”

Wilf looked at him guiltily and asked, “How’d you know that?”

Terry kept up his attack, “Because I know you! You always try and do illegal things! I’ll bet you got fined a large sum for breaking the rules, didn’t you?”

Wilf guiltily nodded, while Prissy sat there with her jaw hanging slack, as it often did.

He looked at Terry and said, “Well yes, I need to speak to you about that!”

He added brightly, to a groan from the others, “And they confiscated all my brandy and whisky!”

Out of compassion as a fellow fisherman, Billy bought him and Prissy more drinks, while Graham quietly asked Terry, “Are they always like this? Why’d you bother with them?”

Terry didn’t like to admit he was short of friends on this trip, and replied, “They’re not bad when you get to know them, and a blooming sight nicer than many of the expats around me, in Spain. You would not believe how badly old people behave when they move abroad!”

Terry had forgotten his and Wilf’s bad behaviour over recent years, like during the trip he had organised to Santiago de Compostela. He, Wilf and the naive Billy had pushed off, leaving the others to walk the caminos (or pilgrims’ pathways) on their own, while they hired bikes.

Eager to start sight-seeing, Terry ushered his flock to the nearest tram station. He bought their tickets and they got on the next available tram, where they settled down to watch the passing traffic and bustling crowds, while ascending a long, main road and then slowly rolling down it the other side.

On the pavements, they soon glimpsed ruins from the earlier Roman Empire. Occasionally as well, they passed a few solitary examples of Istanbul's own 16th-century domestic architecture, built of wood and intricately carved.

In less than half an hour and after many stops to allow passengers to get on and off, they reached their destination station, only a few minutes’ walk to the Topkapi Palace and museum next door.

After guided tours at both venues, which all but Mary found tiring, they had lunch, and sipped chilled lagers at a nearby Turkish restaurant. This was in a busy area, opposite the high Roman walls protecting the palace and museum complexes.

It was a hot day with only a few fluffy, white clouds drifting overhead, and they strolled across to the park to wander aimlessly in the shade of the walls, before agreeing to head back to the hotel for a siesta.

Wilf asked, “Shall we use a taxi?”

Terry growled back at him, “You can, if you wish. I’m sticking with the tram system!” He was conscious of the fact Wilf had asked him, at the hotel, for a ‘sub’ of 500 Liras, to help ‘a good friend’ out.

Now, Wilf wanted to waste some of it on a taxi ride, when Terry was paying for him and Prissy to use the tram system.

In an aside, the inquisitive Graham asked Terry “Is he really short of money?”

Terry replied, “Yes, stony broke until Prissy sold her last remaining ‘buy-to-let’ house in the UK and it helped bail him out. There wasn’t much profit in it, so I was led to believe.”

Buy-to-let houses were what some people invested in, hoping for a steady income from tenants.

“For many reasons, he’s still got a mortgage on the old Finca they bought over here, and there are other debts on it as well, like his car. He’s in his seventies, and the greedy bank holding the deeds will no doubt seize the place when he dies.”

“I offered to look at the state of his finances, but he and Prissy are proud, and laid off the subject for a few months!”

In the evening, Terry took them to a nightspot opposite the Hotel Senator, located in a bazaar.

It was reached by a flight of stairs leading down to what was once a large Roman water cistern, and is now a popular venue providing high-quality meals for a fixed price, including a belly-dancing show.

All had gone well until Wilf was invited to reward one of the dancers with a paltry tip, and slipped when lodging the bank note between her breasts.

It took a lot of explaining to convince the staff it was truly an accidental stumble, and only the roars of laughter from the massed diners saved them from eviction.

§ 2: The Tour Begins

The following morning, they all awoke to an automated phone call arranged by Terry for 8:15am. They wandered down in couples to the restaurant, in which a self-service area had been set up, and ate breakfast while commenting happily on the previous evening’s food and entertainment.

It was a relaxed start to the day, and the coach was not due to arrive until 9:30am.

Terry took the opportunity to tell them about the time it had taken others to reach to reach their hotels in Cappadocia, using normal coaches; it was up to 14 hours, and their wake-up calls came at 4:30am in the morning!

Now they could expect to spend considerably less time on the road.

It was his way of raising their hopes of a much better overall experience than originally suffered, but in reality he had no idea what was in store.

The breakfast had been good, they’d filled their stomachs, and there was plenty of time before they assembled with their packed suitcases in the foyer.

Terry grumbled light-heartedly, “It’s a pity they can’t pack themselves, without our help!”

At 9:30am on the dot, the jovial Guide arrived carrying a clipboard with the travel company’s logo and his name printed on it, and asked the receptionist for ‘the Tumbler group’. When Terry was pointed out, the guide came across and greeted him like he was his long lost brother, introducing himself as Erdal; Terry was flattered, though he’d never met him before.

The hotel receptionist wished them a safe journey as they departed, and watched with a smile as their suitcases floated behind independently.

This of course excluded Wilf and Prissy. However, Erdal was a man of compassion, and took pity on Prissy by pulling her heavy, wheeled case along at the head of the group, chatting to her. Wilf stoically put on a brave face, pretending to enjoy his task as a porter.

A few minutes later, they arrived at the so-called coach, standing at the kerbside of a busy main road.

They stood there staring at this marvel of transport. It was only slightly larger than a normal, luxury coach, but in no other way did it resemble one. Was it meant to travel on the road, or did it fly?

In structure, it was a gleaming, metallic bronze tube with rounded ends. Midway up the top section was a row of oval windows from front to back, but they couldn’t see inside.

The lower part was defined by a narrow, raised flange, and was a third the height of the top, curving inwards at its flat base.

The overall impression gained was of a futuristic craft, standing on four short, stout struts straddling the road surface, there being no wheels visible. Yes, this was the deciding factor: it had to be some type of aircraft.

There wasn’t a single seam or joint visible on the fuselage, especially around the windows, which Terry suspected allowed light to flow into the interior of the craft, but obscured those inside from clear view.

To a gasp of amazement from the onlookers, two previously invisible door-frames emerged midway up, near the front and back. From each of them a single door seamlessly popped out and slid sideways with a hiss.

Ramps then extended down from them at a steep angle, and thumped as they made contact with the pavement.

At the same time, two long panels appeared from the lower section facing the group, and rose vertically upwards until they almost touched the upper tube. They revealed a cavernous storage-hold (or bay) for the tourists’ luggage.

Many ordinary suitcases had already been stored inside, so they were not travelling alone on this trip.

Admiring his new craft, Erdal asked them, “What do you think of it?”

Graham replied with awe, “Amazing!” The others nodded.

Billy asked, “What’s it called?”

He looked at Erdal’s puzzled expression and tried to clarify his question, “What is its name?”

Erdal’s face brightened in comprehension, “Ah, we think we’re going to call it The Magic Carpet or The Turkish Express!

John commented, “I quite like both of those! But Magic Carpet is more to my fancy!”

Wilf’s face lit up as he spoke, “I’ve got a much better name for it!”

Fearing the worst, Terry groaned, “Oh no!” while Wilf continued in a loud whisper, “I think it should be called The Turkish Floater!

Terry bellowed in exasperation. “NO WAY!” while Erdal’s face was a picture of innocent bliss. He endorsed the name with enthusiasm, “Yes, I like your choice more! It best describes what it does!”

Billy, Graham and John doubled-up laughing, as the older women tutted.

Mary piped up with a frown, “What’s a floater? Why’s the choice of name so funny?”

John had tears running down his cheeks as he explained to her, delicately, “In the bad old days, many coastal towns laid long, sewage pipes far out to sea, and used them to pump their waste into deep water.”

She nodded, so he continued.

“Often, the incoming tides would wash it back to shore.” She continued to nod, still frowning in puzzlement.

“Much of the human excrement, known as ‘poo’, would float around, like long, brown corks on the surface. That’s where the term floater comes from!”

“Oh!” she gasped, and slapped his arm as others creased up, laughing fit to bust. Erdal was confused.

Terry scolded Wilf, “Shame on you! Here we are, admiring this marvel of technology, while you want to describe it as a Turkish turd!”

“Yes,” Erdal said innocently, “I like the name you have chosen, Turkish Floater, it is good!”

Wilf added mischievously, “After all, bronze is a shade of brown!”

“Yes,” Erdal said, his eyes bright and eager, “You are most certainly right!”

Terry groaned, holding his head between his hands. He asked in despair, “What’ve you just done, Wilf?”

Erdal helped Wilf load his suitcases, and stared in admiration at the Bright Boys as they rose unaided and floated into the luggage hold. Each tourist then moved forward to stand in front of the rear door ramp, which shaped itself into an escalator, and they were soon whisked upwards one at a time until they all stood on the main passenger deck.

The interior of The Magic Carpet was a testament to spartan taste, minimalism, and easy-cleaning.

The level floor was seamlessly made from a non-shine substance, soft and warm to the touch, which could be mistaken for a carpet.

Appropriately, as Erdal clarified later, it was a metal alloy, with its molecules jostled with dye to give a dark colour known as ‘Turkey Red’. This was cleverly inlaid with swirls of black, shaped abstractly like scimitars.

In the long, central section of the craft, there were swivelling, reclining chairs, their bases welded to the floor, with round tables dotted between them, fixed in position.

Each currently upright ‘recliner’ was fitted with a loose, fabric cover, patterned with narrow, medium-blue stripes on a dark-blue background. On the black headrest cover, the name of the proposed occupant was printed in gold capital letters.

On each side of the craft, between the fuselage and long, central seating area, were open corridors used as walkways; both also doubled as observation areas, for those who wished to stand when looking out of the craft.

Internally, it was much like a wide, conventional aircraft cabin in shape, with cream coloured, storage units above the seats, fixed in rows of four facing front and back.

The overhead units were restricted to lightweight hand-luggage, within easy reach of clusters of seats below. Prissy tried to cram an oversized, sagging bag into one unit, and rapidly pulled it out when it made a pronounced groaning noise.

“That’s clever!” she drawled, looking startled.

The interior fuselage walls and ceiling were lined with cream-colored panels up to the edges of the windows.

At least ten other people were already standing around in small groups, sipping soft drinks. They stopped chatting to look at the new arrivals with mild interest, many of them giving a welcoming smile, to which all those entering responded by waving.

From the front ramp, the last to board was Erdal, who invited the British to help themselves to drinks from a fridge by the rear entrance.

He then went to where the pilot was sitting, in an open cockpit area surrounded by instruments. It was the same person who had driven Terry and Sandra on their first visit to Turkey, to see their grandson.

“That’s good,” Terry said to the others around him. “I know this man, and he’s a totally dependable, steady driver, or should I say pilot!” Unfortunately, he didn’t recognise Terry, who remembered how taciturn he’d been originally.

“Could you please sit down in your allotted places,” Erdal requested them in Spanish and English, which resolved the question of the nationality of the other group, as he gestured to all of them by lowering his hands repeatedly, with the palms facing downwards.

After finding their recliners they settled down, and swivelled round to face him.

As he stood by his own, comfortable guide’s chair opposite the pilot, six, solid three-dimensional images of Erdal sprang up at intervals along the walkways. They shimmered for a few seconds and stabilised, the sound system enabling his voice to be projected to the various tourists.

“Welcome to you all!” he said simultaneously, in their native languages.

“Cor!” exclaimed the British

“¡Hombre!” exclaimed the Spanish.

Everyone rose to their feet in amazement, before collapsing back down, some of them turning to look at the original, grinning Erdal in the flesh.

“You clever devil!” Terry said to Erdal’s nearest image, admiringly.

Erdal’s image responded personally by giving him a conspiratorial wink, before he addressed them all.

“We’ll be leaving Istanbul by the newly designated Super Highway. This is invisible to the human eye, and can only be detected by special instruments, like those we’ve got on board.

“It is literally a high way, well above the regular road system and its associated air corridors; these are used by normal traffic and the potties which will replace them.

“Our progress will be monitored separately by a dedicated control centre.

“You will only be able to get around when you become used to the exceptionally high speed at which we travel, and the extreme variations in acceleration.

“We have our own gravitational field on this craft, but you need to learn how to cope with what you see on the outside, or you will feel sick. It affects your eyesight, but I can help you overcome this.

“Our ultimate destination today is Goreme, in the province of Cappadocia. This was a secretive religious centre for early Christians, who carved it out of solid rock in isolated areas, when Christianity was frowned upon by the early Roman Empire.”

“En route we will spend a few hours in Ankara, our capital city. There, we will first of all see Atatürk's Mausoleum, which is dedicated to the founding father and first president of modern Turkey, and visit the museums built on the same site. After, we will go to the historic part of the city. Have you any questions?”

Billy put his hand up, like a schoolboy.

“Yes?” Erdal asked him.

“How long will it take us to get there?”

This reminded Terry of his younger daughter, who used to ask this question every blasted time they went on holiday. It still irked him now, many decades later.

Erdal patiently replied, “It will take a maximum of 15 minutes, to reach our first destination.”

Terry chimed up, “It used to take up to 4½ hours by normal coach!”

“Blimey!” Billy exclaimed. “What is the itinerary we will be following?”

“Since none of you declared your faith to be Islam, the default archaeological sites we visit will be Greek, then the First and Second Roman Empires, then we go to Turkish monuments and centres of prominence.”

Billy intervened and asked, “When you say, ‘The Second Roman Empire’ do you mean ‘The Byzantine Empire’?”

Erdal nodded and explained gravely. “The term Byzantine Empire was coined in 1557, by German historian Hieronymus Wolf to describe the second Roman Empire. This was a century after the fall of Constantinople.”

Billy beamed, and followed the first question with a second, which was loaded. “Why didn’t we get to see the itinerary, in advance?”

Terry squirmed in embarrassment as some of his own party of tourists looked at him accusingly; they’d not been given the opportunity to select their options.

Erdal came to his rescue, rising from his seat and saying hurriedly, “By the way, I’ve got these envelopes to distribute to the most recently arrived group; they detail the tour route we’ll be following. Naturally, with our mode of transport, there will be flexibility.”

Erdal passed them around for the contents to be studied.

It was a timely reminder to Terry about his main reason for making the trip; while he wanted to keep his group happy by enjoying their holiday experience, he also had priority issues he needed to address.

First of all, who was the stranger insisting he had to ‘come and save them’, whoever they were?

Secondly, why did he keep getting this persistent feeling he’d lived before in this part of the world?

Erdal interrupted his train of thought by announcing via his images, “Since you’re all sitting, we’ll begin the tour.”

The majority rotated their recliners forward, to look at what the pilot was doing; apparently, it wasn’t very much. Keeping totally still, he gazed at screens on the control panel, while instruments woke up and relayed information in a light shade of green.

At the same time, one of the screens showed the struts supporting the craft raising automatically.

Billy said, “I bet the gravitational field is taking over, to hold us in position.”

They barely glimpsed the scenery around them through the windows, as the craft ascended at great speed, turned in a set direction and shot ahead horizontally, as the scenery outside became a passing blur.

They gasped, feeling collectively sick as it affected their vision.

Gradually, they adjusted to their perception of speed, identifying in seconds what they were passing externally. They could make out a long bridge below them to their left, on which conventional traffic was stopping and starting as it tried to flow into and away from Istanbul.

Directly above conventional road-bound vehicles, potties streamed in multiple rows at a much higher velocity, but these were still slower than what their Magic Carpet was achieving in its Super Highway corridor at higher altitude.

Effectively, they were seeing things as a series of snapshots, without sound. There was little doubt this could also be turned on if wanted, but it could lead to subliminal brain-washing!

It was better not to expose travellers to the risk, in case advertisers or official agencies got involved!

On this view-only basis, events were shown in slow sequence, via a series of flat screens lowered from the overhead units. These displayed other traffic flows in one controllable stream which could be paused, replayed and fast-forwarded as the need arose, using mental commands.

That’s clever!” Terry thought, practising the key words to use when giving instructions; these were listed in his tour notes. In the process, his eyes began to close and he settled back to enjoy a few minutes of relaxation.

The Craft Controller introduces itself

At this exact moment The Magic Carpet used telepathy to communicate direct.

Mr Tumbler, Terry Tumbler?” it asked.

“Yes?’” he asked out loud, looking around for the source of the voice.

“What? Did you say something to me?” Sandra asked.

“No,” Terry said. “I was thinking out loud. Ignore me.”

She looked at him suspiciously and turned back to look through the window.

Who are you? What do you want?” He asked, using his mind to transmit the question.

I´m the Controller of the craft you are flying in. To be precise I am its command chip. Biological I am, like you are!” It sounded proud of the fact.

He recognised the chip at once; it was integral to the potty, and therefore The Magic Carpet had to be sharing the same technology.

It gave the craft the ability to communicate as an intelligent device with each person who mounted it. The most unsettling feature of this chip was its modus operandi: it was alleged to tap into the human spirit.

How else did it know so much about a person?

The chip continued. “Sorry to bother you, Terry, but I understand you wish to resolve a deep-rooted personal problem. Am I correct? If so, I can help you. This service is included in the package we provide as standard.”

Elucidate!” Terry demanded, thinking this was the best way to deal with this ‘Controller’.

No need to sound so stuffy!” the Controller said, with a simulated chuckle. “You are welcome to call me Chippy, or Mr Chips if you wish to keep some distance between us.”

What is it you wish to say to me, Chippy?” Terry asked, unable to resist a smile.

He wasn’t keen on this over-familiar device talking to him.

That’s better!” the Controller responded. “I have taken the liberty of applying hypnotic assistance to induce regression. This will help you resolve questions worrying you about your past life. I hope you will find the experience to be pleasurable and informative.

Yes, I hope so too, and thank you.” Terry replied, mildly annoyed by the notion he needed help. “Was there anything else you’ve decided to do, on my behalf?

Yes,” the Controller continued. “I intercepted a message from a gentleman by the name of Marius. He wishes to meet you. He is the top man at a secret shelter located in Turkey which is under increasing threat from outside forces.

He needs your help to assess the level of threat and combat it. You will receive a message from him this evening, so he can brief you on the situation. The time he will suggest will be 7:15pm. Please attend.

Terry sighed. “I don’t know what I can do, but I’ll go and listen.

Good man, over and out.” The Controller said.

Next, he introduced himself to Sandra, using a female voice.

Mrs Tumbler, Sandra Tumbler?

She started to shriek in fright, but Terry put a hand over her mouth when those nearby looked up.

Shush!” he told her, thinking she was having a bad dream, and laid back to try and have a snooze.

Cut it out! You’re a grown woman and should be ashamed of yourself!” the controller said to her, in a stern, female voice. “I’m Miss Chippy, the person who speaks to you when you’re on your potty! Don’t you recognise me?

Sandra nodded, dumbstruck, her eyes wide open, as the voice in her head continued.

You were scanned on entering the craft, and were found to have a minor ailment needing my attention. It will impact your travel pleasure if not remedied.

She sunk down in her swivelling recliner, scared by the diagnosis and its potential treatment. “What is it?” she asked.

The onset of cataracts in your eyes. I will operate on them within the next few minutes. Lay back, close your eyes, and relax, relax, relax…

In her brain, she could see a flock of sheep. They were wandering in a green, sloping meadow under a sunny blue sky. Soothing pastoral music was playing to help distract her from what was being done.

Terry looked at his wife sharply as she began to snore quite loudly, causing others around to nudge each other and laugh. This woke and startled her into opening her eyes, as a result of which she started to blink furiously and then burst out crying.

The onlookers resumed reading or talking, to hide their embarrassment, while Terry comforted her.

He asked, “What’s the matter dear?”

“Nothing, nothing at all,” she replied, dabbing her eyes with a tissue and blinking. “They’re tears of relief and happiness. I’ll explain later.”

Arrival at Ankara

Ten minutes later, Erdal announced their arrival at the mausoleum in Ankara, and the craft landed, to park at the far end of a row of conventional coaches.

Not many people in Turkey had seen anything resembling The Magic Carpet, and a crowd of curious onlookers gathered around it, taking photos as the doors opened and they all descended.

Some of the other drivers began questioning Erdal, who could be heard praising its capabilities and comfort, and speculatively referred to it as the Turkish Floater.

Oh no!” Terry groaned, cursing Wilf for his daft sense of humour.

The groups spent a worthwhile hour seeing the sights, and appreciating murals depicting Turkey’s War of Independence, before returning to their craft.

Soon they were being whisked to the old district of the city, called Ulus, and parked in the plaza in front of the hilltop citadel (or Hisar), which provides the best views of Ankara.

Another crowd of onlookers gathered around the craft, and Erdal was obliged to spend time answering their questions before his group were able to enter the citadel.

Afterwards, they toured the area inside, which included a traditional Turkish village, giving everyone photo opportunities and the chance to buy souvenirs.

Wilf whispered to Billy, “I’m not interested in this type of thing, are you?”

Billy was preoccupied and merely grunted, while Bessie rounded on Wilf and replied, “Well you should be! What’s the point of coming here in the first place if you’ve no interest in Turkey’s history?”

Wilf retreated into his shell, while Prissy was absorbed in a guide book describing the attractions in the area.

To aggravate him, she asked Erdal, “If we go down the hill a bit, it says we will find the Temple of Augustus and a mosque nearby, plus the Roman Baths of Caracalla. We can also walk on a sunken Roman Road, to see Julian’s column. All of it is near here. Can we go to these places, now?”

Wilf groaned and said, “Well I’m going back to the floater, for a nap.”

Erdal replied to Wilf, “You can’t. It’s locked up. We’ve got to stay together.”

Then he turned to Prissy, gave her a sympathetic smile, and confirmed, “Of course we can go to these places; they’re the reason we came here!”

They all continued, with Wilf at the rear, talking crossly to himself, until Prissy loudly told him to shut up. Terry was hoping she’d give him a cuff around the ears, but she didn’t.

Close to the citadel gate was located a favoured restaurant, where Erdal had pre-booked lunch.

While they were munching their food, Terry asked Sandra, “What was your problem earlier on? Were you having a nightmare?”

No,” she replied. “I had an amazing conversation with our craft. It has a biological chip in it, similar to the ones put in control of the potties. Guess what? It removed cataracts in my eyes, and I didn’t know I had them in the first place! Imagine, a machine looking at your health and performing minor operations to enhance your travel experience!”

He shook his head in shared amazement. “Wow, I’m glad for you. Now you can see me properly and tell our friends how good looking I am!”

She looked at him with affection. “Get stuffed!” she said.

It wasn’t until later in the afternoon they were able to leave Ankara.

The journey onwards

The Magic Carpet sped across the green countryside, initially at thousands of miles per hour.

They were told, “We are speeding above a long highway originally earmarked for a rapid rail service between Ankara and its province of Cappadocia.”

The Magic Carpet occasionally moved into the nearside ‘slow’ lane, to allow the tourists to stand at the windows and view the scenery.

It was splendidly fertile, with crops growing in rows stretching to the distant horizon, interspersed with fallow land waiting to be ploughed at intervals, for renewed use.

They could also see areas of deep grey cloud moving across the landscape, with sheets of rain pouring heavily down. Sometimes, when they picked up speed, the sound of water beating against the craft became loud.

Erdal announced. “It’s not really touching us; it’s bouncing off the plasma screen created all around our splendid craft by its propulsion system. Hence, there is no need for windscreen wipers!”

The tourists looked towards the pilot’s cockpit, where the windows in front were seen to be clear of beating rain.

As the journey continued, Erdal would order the pilot to slow down at intervals, for passengers to appreciate changes in the scenery. It reminded them of what they had left behind in England.

Billy could see big differences in the type of land below, as the plains receded and they ascended to higher levels.

He exclaimed, “Good lord, you would think we’re going through counties like Wiltshire, Berkshire and Surrey!”

Graham said, “I wouldn’t mind living here.”

Wilf whispered, “I’ve got plans to do so!” but didn’t elaborate further.

§ 3: Return To The Past (1 of 4)

Arrival at Goreme

Minutes later they rose over higher ground, and Erdal advised them they were nearing the open-air museum of Goreme.

This is located near crossroads used centuries ago by camel trains and invading armies alike.

The volcanoes of Cappadocia had erupted several million years ago, depositing countless layers of ash, lava and debris. This raised the altitude of the land by more than 1000 feet (300 metres) to form a plateau.

Over millions of years, the volcanic ash turned into a soft, pale rock called tuff, overlaid by a thinner layer of dark lava known as basalt.

The craft slowed down above a winding mountain road, giving them their first view of the famous ‘Fairy Chimneys’, made from the eroded Tuff and basalt. There seemed to be a large number of them in a valley on the left, like closed mushrooms on stalks poking up from the yellow, barren soil.

Terry leant over to confide in Sandra, “Can you imagine the reaction of an invading army? It would have been a barren, uninviting countryside into which they were riding and marching. When they saw this area, they must have found it evil and mysterious.”

“Brr…” Sandra exclaimed with a shiver. “I’m glad we didn’t live in those troubled times!”

Playing on her reaction, Terry said, “When they came to some of the towns and villages in this region the population had vanished!

“They had in fact fled underground, via hidden tunnels. Many such cities were carved out of the soft rock, with linking tunnels for a quick exodus.”

The craft continued slowly until they saw a narrow road signposted to Goreme. This twisted down the hillside, following its contours.

In seconds, they landed in the valley, and parked alongside a long row of normal coaches.

Before long, Erdal was ushering them through a specially opened side gate, at the entrance to the site of the secluded Christian dwellings.

Terry looked ahead and was dismayed. “It’s all up and down!” he said, referring to the terrain stretching into the distance; there were hardly any level pathways to be seen, and it was teeming with visitors.

The group had gathered around Erdal, who was smiling and loudly talking, while holding aloft a yellow placard. This would allow him to lead his flock on the sign-posted route, joining other slow moving groups.

Terry muttered to Sandra, “I’m not keen on this. Shall we make our own way round?” Sandra nodded, and they slipped off, hoping to get a better view at each stop. However, it didn’t take them long to realise the cave dwellings were empty!

The lack of imagination invested in the site was pitiful, considering the high number of tourists who were there. Later they would visit Konya, where a far more modern approach had been taken.

Getting bored as they progressed, Terry said to her, “I don’t want to see any more, do you?”

She shook her head, and replied, “I agree. Let’s go and sit somewhere quiet.”

The two of them found a quiet area, tucked away and overlooking the main valley far below. There they found solitude, and sat on a boulder intended for use as a bench.

Wordlessly, Terry put his head on her shoulder, and promptly dozed off.

He needs that!” she thought. “The nap will do him good!” His face was shaded by the broad-brimmed hat he habitually wore, to prevent his skin cancer recurring.

A return to the past

Within seconds, or so it felt, he was jolted awake by the sound of distant shouting. He nearly fell sideward, and couldn’t make up his mind if he had been leaning against someone.

Be that as it may, he was alone now, irrespective of the cause of the noise. He felt confused and, to his annoyance, couldn’t remember who and what he was!

Gently patting his bald pate and looking towards the lowering sun, he reckoned, Ah, I think I know the cause! Tis but a stroke of the sun!”

Shaking his head to fully regain his senses, he rose from the boulder and stood on his sandaled feet. Gathering the skirt of his faded black habit around him, he strode towards the exit of this favoured area, where he had been contemplating the surrounding scenery in solitude.

Continue reading this ebook at Smashwords.
Purchase this book or download sample versions for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-42 show above.)