City of shadows, p.1
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       City of Shadows, p.1

           Alex Scarrow
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City of Shadows


  ALEX SCARROW

  PUFFIN

  Table of Contents

  Prologue: 13 September 2001, New York

  Chapter 1: 2001, New York

  Chapter 2: 11 September 2001, New York

  Chapter 3: 10 September 2001, New York

  Chapter 4: 10 September 2001, New York

  Chapter 5: 10 September 2001, New York

  Chapter 6: 11 September 2001, New York

  Chapter 7: 11 September 2001, New York

  Chapter 8: 21 August 2001, Arlington, Massachusetts

  Chapter 9: 12 September 2001, New York

  Chapter 10: 11 September 2001, Interstate 95, south-west Connecticut

  Chapter 11: 12 September 2001, Washington DC

  Chapter 12: 11 September 2001, outside Branford, Connecticut

  Chapter 13: 12 September 2001, Washington DC

  Chapter 14: 7.01 a.m., 12 September 2001, outside Branford, Connecticut

  Chapter 15: 7.20 a.m., 12 September 2001, Interstate 95, south-west Connecticut

  Chapter 16: 12 September 2001, New York

  Chapter 17: 7.24 a.m., 12 September 2001, outside Branford, Connecticut

  Chapter 18: 7.25 a.m., 12 September 2001, North Haven Plaza, outside Branford

  Chapter 19: 2054, outside Denver, Colorado

  Chapter 20: 7.27 a.m., 12 September 2001, North Haven Plaza, outside Branford

  Chapter 21: 7.29 a.m., 12 September 2001, North Haven Plaza, outside Branford

  Chapter 22: 7.32 a.m., 12 September 2001, North Haven Plaza, outside Branford

  Chapter 23: 7.34 a.m., 12 September 2001, North Haven Plaza, Branford

  Chapter 24: 7.37 a.m., 12 September 2001, North Haven Plaza, outside Branford

  Chapter 25: 7.42 a.m., 12 September 2001, Interstate 95, outside Branford

  Chapter 26: 2055, outside Denver, Colorado

  Chapter 27: 12 September 2001, North Haven Plaza, Branford, Connecticut

  Chapter 28: 12 September 2001, Interstate 90, Newton, Massachusetts

  Chapter 29: 12 September 2001, New Haven County, Connecticut

  Chapter 30: 13 September 2001, Interstate 90, Newton, Massachusetts

  Chapter 31: 2055, W.G. Systems Research Campus, near Pinedale, Wyoming

  Chapter 32: 13 September 2001, Interstate 90, Newton, Massachusetts

  Chapter 33: 2055, W.G. Systems Research Campus, near Pinedale, Wyoming

  Chapter 34: 13 September 2011, Interstate 90, Newton, Massachusetts

  Chapter 35: 2055, W.G. Systems Research Campus, near Pinedale, Wyoming

  Chapter 36: 15 September 2001, Arlington, Massachusetts

  Chapter 37: 16 September 2001, Interstate 90, Newton, Massachusetts

  Chapter 38: 16 September 2001, Interstate 90, Newton, Massachusetts

  Chapter 39: 16 September 2001, Interstate 90, Westfield, Massachusetts

  Chapter 40: 20 September 2001, Harcourt, Ohio

  Chapter 41: 26 September 2001, Green Acres Elementary School, Harcourt, Ohio

  Chapter 42: 1 October 2001, Harcourt, Ohio

  Chapter 43: 3 October 2001, Green Acres Elementary School, Harcourt, Ohio

  Chapter 44: 1 December 1888, London

  Chapter 45: 1 December 1888, Holborn Viaduct, London

  Chapter 46: 7 October 2001, Harcourt, Ohio

  Chapter 47: 7 October 2001, Green Acres Elementary School, Harcourt, Ohio

  Chapter 48: 7 October 2001, Washington DC

  Chapter 49: 8 October 2001, Green Acres Elementary School, Harcourt, Ohio

  Chapter 50: 8 October 2001, Green Acres Elementary School, Harcourt, Ohio

  Chapter 51: 5 December 1888, Holborn Viaduct, London

  Chapter 52: 9 October 2001, Green Acres Elementary School, Harcourt, Ohio

  Chapter 53: 9 October 2001, Harcourt, Ohio

  Chapter 54: 9 October 2001, Green Acres Elementary School, Harcourt, Ohio

  Chapter 55: 9 October 2001, Green Acres Elementary School, Harcourt, Ohio

  Chapter 56: 9 October 2001, Green Acres Elementary School, Harcourt, Ohio

  Chapter 57: 14 December 1888, Holborn Viaduct, London

  Chapter 58: 1 November 1888, Whitechapel, London

  Chapter 59: 14 December 1888, Holborn, London

  Chapter 60: 14 December 1888, Holborn Viaduct, London

  Chapter 61: 15 December 1888, Holborn Viaduct, London

  Chapter 62: 6 November 1888, Whitechapel, London

  Chapter 63: 15 December 1888, Holborn Viaduct, London

  Chapter 64: 2001, Piccadilly Circus, London

  Chapter 65: 15 December 1888, Holborn Viaduct, London

  Chapter 66: 2043, the ruins of Piccadilly Circus, London

  Chapter 67: 8 p.m., 8 November 1888, Whitechapel, London

  Chapter 68: 12.30 a.m., 9 November 1888, Whitechapel, London

  Chapter 69: 15 December 1888, Holborn Viaduct, London

  Chapter 70: 12.32 a.m., 9 November 1888, Whitechapel, London

  Chapter 71: 12.37 a.m., 9 November 1888, Whitechapel, London

  Chapter 72: 15 December 1888, Holborn Viaduct, London

  Chapter 73: 2067, Piccadilly Circus, London

  Chapter 74: 1888, Holborn Viaduct, London

  Epilogue: 2069, W.G. Systems Research Campus, Pinedale, Wyoming

  ALEX SCARROW used to be a graphic artist, then he decided to be a computer games designer. Finally, he grew up and became an author. He has written a number of successful thrillers and several screenplays, but it’s YA fiction that has allowed him to really have fun with the ideas and concepts he was playing around with when designing games.

  He lives in Norwich with his son, Jacob, his wife, Frances, and his Jack Russell, Max.

  Books by Alex Scarrow

  TimeRiders

  TimeRiders: Day of the Predator

  TimeRiders: The Doomsday Code

  TimeRiders: The Eternal War

  TimeRiders: Gates of Rome

  TimeRiders: City of Shadows

  Sign up to become a TimeRider at:

  www.time-riders.co.uk

  To the ‘TimeReaders’ – thank you for your patience thus far.

  The truth is finally beginning to emerge.

  And soon … very soon, something wonderful is going to happen.

  PUFFIN BOOKS

  Praise for TimeRiders:

  ‘A thriller full of spectacular effects’

  – Guardian

  ‘Insanely exciting, nail-biting stuff’

  – Independent on Sunday

  ‘This is a novel that is as addictive as any computer game’

  – Waterstone’s Books Quarterly

  ‘Promises to be a big hit’

  – Irish News

  ‘A thrilling adventure that hurtles across time and place at breakneck speed’

  – Lovereading4kids.co.uk

  ‘Plenty of fast-paced action … this is a real page-turner’

  – WriteAway.org.uk

  ‘A great read that will appeal to both boys and girls … you’ll find this book addictive!’

  – redhouse.co.uk

  ‘Contender for best science fiction book of the year … an absolute winner’

  – Flipside

  Winner of the Older Readers category,

  Red House Children’s Book Award 2011

  Prologue

  13 September 2001, New York

  Roald Waldstein stared at the Manhattan skyline. The pallid sky above the south end of the city was still smudged with a faint pall of dust. The thin twist of smoke, coming from where the Twin Towers had stood just two days ago, looked like the careless rubbing out of a pencil drawing, a ghost of the towers that had once been there.

  ‘God,’ he said. ‘And it’s still burning.’

&nbs
p; ‘My dad said it might carry on burning for weeks.’

  Roald turned to look at Chanice Williams. ‘Really?’

  ‘Uh-huh.’ She nodded confidently, working gum in her mouth almost mechanically. ‘Said so on Fox News too.’

  Like everyone else at Clinton Hill Elementary School, Chanice had become something of a news-station junkie, tuning in before and after school, the cartoon channels completely forgotten for now.

  ‘You think anyone’s alive in there still?’ asked Roald.

  ‘Dunno. I heard they lookin’ just in case, tho’.’

  He watched the puffs of dark smoke rising lazily. ‘I hope there’s no one trapped in that … alive. That would be horrible.’

  ‘Come on. We should get on to school,’ said Chanice. ‘We’ll be late.’

  Roald nodded at her to head back up the alleyway without him. ‘I’ll come in a bit.’

  ‘Shizzy.’ She clucked her tongue. ‘You gonna get youself another demerit. You want that, Waldo?’

  The kids all called him Waldo. As in Where’s Waldo? It took the first five minutes of the first day of school to get lumped with that stroke-of-genius nickname. The thick-framed glasses and untameable hair had played their part too.

  She shrugged her shoulders. ‘OK, your funeral, Mr Professor.’

  He watched her turn and go, weaving her way up the alleyway, stepping round a dustbin that had spilled rubbish across the cobbles.

  ‘I’ll be along in a bit,’ he called after her.

  ‘Your funeral!’ She shrugged again. ‘Jus’ don’t miss registration,’ she called over her shoulder. ‘Or Miss Chudasama gonna get medieval on yo’.’

  He turned back to watch the skyline. A train rumbled noisily overhead across the Williamsburg Bridge, heading into Manhattan. They were saying the trains and subway into Manhattan were still pretty deserted – easy seats. Everyone figured something else bad was bound to happen again at any moment: another plane, a bomb perhaps.

  His mother said that too. Just like Chanice, like every New Yorker, like every American, dull-eyed from watching too much TV. ‘They’ll be back. They’ll be back to finish us all off. Just you see.’

  It was just him and his mother and the TV set in their one-bedroom apartment. She had three different part-time jobs and what time was left after that was spent microwaving TV dinners or pop-tart breakfasts. Outside work, her life was Montel Williams, Judge Judy or Oprah Winfrey so she didn’t really ever have much to say that wasn’t already a newspaper headline. To be honest, she rarely had much to say that was original or vaguely interesting. But she had this morning. Something that had lodged firmly in his mind.

  She’d turned away from her small black-and-white TV in the kitchen to look at him, mug of coffee in one hand, cigarette in the other. ‘Roald, don’t you just wish you could go back to Tuesday morning and tell those poor souls not to come in to work? Or just … just … go in there and scream fire or something?’

  He nodded now. Such a small step in time that would be. Just two days to save three thousand lives.

  He turned away from the East River. Beyond the railing the low-tide shingle was covered with rubbish: nappies, shopping trolleys and plastic bags and seagulls picking for titbits among it.

  Just two days.

  He started to make his way back up the alleyway, passing a boarded-up archway to his right. Chipboard panels nailed over old rust-red brickwork, covered with lurid-coloured spray-paint gang tags. One of the panels had been pulled away, revealing a corrugated metal shutter that was halfway up. He squatted down to look inside. Curious. His mother was always cautioning him how curiosity killed the cat. That or got into very big trouble with the local police department if it didn’t mind its own gosh-darn business.

  The muted light of day pushed the darkness within far enough back that he could see the place had been used by drug addicts or vagrants. Broken glass, discarded needles, a dirty mattress. A forgotten part of Brooklyn. He wondered when this place last had a proper use, a purpose, other than being some dark hole for an addict to crawl into, or merely a dark empty space beneath an old bridge.

  ‘WAL-DO!’

  He looked up the alleyway. Chanice, bless her, was tapping her toe, waiting for him, acting like she was his big sister or something. She cupped her mouth. ‘You re-e-eally don’t wanna be late again. Ya mom’ll kill you! Come on!’

  ‘Coming!’ He got up and turned round one last time to catch a glimpse of the smudge in the sky over Manhattan.

  10 SEPTEMBER 2001, NEW YORK

  ‘Mr Waldstein? S-sir?’

  Roald Waldstein turned to see Dr Joseph Olivera approaching. The man joined him beside the railing and together they looked out at the sedate East River.

  ‘My apologies, Joseph,’ said Waldstein. ‘I was a million miles away there.’

  ‘Uh … that’s OK, sir.’

  Waldstein smiled. He liked Olivera. The technician reminded him of himself at that age: hungry for knowledge, to show the world what his agile mind contained. Hungry to show the world an incredible theoretical possibility: that it was possible to step backwards through the membrane of space-time. As easy as it was to step through the tattered rip in a bedsheet.

  ‘You know, Joseph, I came across this place when I was just a boy. When I was eleven.’

  ‘S-sorry?’

  ‘This place,’ Waldstein said, turning to look back at the alley. ‘The archway. No one comes down here. It’s a backwater.’

  ‘You … you lived round here?’

  ‘In Brooklyn?’ He nodded. ‘Moved to Chicago after my mother died. I lived with my aunt after.’

  Olivera nodded. He knew that much of this legendary man’s life – Chicago onwards. Waldstein’s early life – the first years alone with his mother – Waldstein had always preferred to keep utterly private. A media-stream interviewer had once called him a biographer’s nightmare.

  ‘Perfect location this,’ Waldstein said. ‘I never ever forgot about it. This time and this place. You know, Joseph, tomorrow every New Yorker will have their eyes up on the sky. We could walk in and out of this alleyway dressed as clowns all day long and no one would remember that.’

  ‘Yes, sir.’

  ‘Perfect location,’ Waldstein muttered. He smiled wistfully.

  They listened to the distant hiss of morning traffic, the cry of a dozen gulls strutting among the shingle and rubbish below, fighting for scraps.

  ‘Mr Waldstein? Can I ask you a question?’

  The old man smiled, pushed a shock of his wild, wiry grey hair away from his eyes. ‘You can ask, Joseph. I can’t promise you an answer, though.’

  Olivera sucked in a breath. Nervous. Waldstein suspected he knew what the man was going to ask. At some point or another, every person he’d ever worked with long enough eventually mustered their courage and got round to asking the exact same question. He let Olivera continue with it all the same. Better to get this out of the way.

  ‘Mr Waldstein, when you went back … that first time, you know, in 2044? The Chicago demonstration?’

  Here it comes. He half smiled. Yup … that question, all right.

  ‘Did you … did you ever get to s-see –’

  ‘My wife? My child?’

  Olivera nodded. Wide-eyed and very nervous. Waldstein suspected the man must have worked himself up for this moment. Must have spent the last few months at the institute, and the last few weeks here, waiting for that perfect moment to pop the question. And here it was supposedly – what this young man judged to be the perfect moment.

  Waldstein sighed as he cast his mind back to fading memories of that day. That’s what he’d intended. Wasn’t it? Just one last chance to say goodbye to both of them. To tell them how much he loved them. Because he’d been far too busy to say that before the accident. Far too busy with his work. A chance to say I love you. That and, of course, a chance to demonstrate to the assembled audience of invited journalists that the Chan–Jackson Tachyon Theory – with a few alterat
ions to neutrino channelling – could actually be put into practice.

  Olivera swallowed anxiously as he waited for Waldstein to answer. Back home, back in 2054, this precise question actually had its very own name. The question was known as the Waldstein Enigma. Alternatively it was known as the Billion Dollar Question. Any journalist who squeezed the answer to that out of him was never going to have to chase down a new story again.

  Waldstein turned to him. He toyed with the idea of answering this young man. Or at least telling him what he’d not managed to see.

  ‘Regretfully,’ he replied slowly, ‘I … never got to see them again, Joseph.’

  There you are … more than I’ve ever told anyone else. He hoped the young man would be satisfied with that.

  Olivera’s Adam’s apple bobbed. He was fidgeting. Licking his lips. Eager to ask the inevitable follow-on question. ‘So, what … what did you s-see, Mr Waldstein?’

  Waldstein laughed softly. Shook his head. ‘Now, Joseph … let’s leave it there, shall we?’

  ‘I …’ Olivera’s cheeks darkened. He looked down at his feet, ashamed. Aware that he’d overstepped a line. ‘I’m s-s-sorry, sir. I –’

 

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