Angelica and Ash Time Travel Adventures
Time travel is real. Dogs and cats are aliens. Buckle up for a fun, touching, and unforgettable time travel adventure for dog and cat lovers everywhere!
Where The Past Belongs
When the alien telepathic corgi known as Angelica Huston saves middle-aged geek Ashton Bach’s life, they embark on the time travel adventure of a lifetime and everything changes.
With Angelica, Ashton defends the most powerful technology in the universe from desperate alien cats in hopes of undoing his greatest regret. But when Ashton discovers the truth about his past, he will do anything to turn back time, forget about time travel and alien dogs and cats, and return to his old life.
From Robert J. McCarter, author of Woody and June versus the Apocalypse, comes a fun, touching, and unforgettable time travel adventure for dog and cat lovers everywhere.
I know you’re not going to believe this. Hell, I have trouble believing it and I lived it. So I’m just going to come out and say it.
Time travel is real.
Yup, real as you or me, but not what you think it is. Or, rather, not who you think it is. Or… It’s hard to explain, so I guess I’m just going to have to tell you the story. And like any time-travel story, the “beginning” and the “end” are relative, subjective, but I’ll start where it begins for me.
My name is Ashton Bach, but everyone calls me Bach. When I was in junior high, I lobbied for the nickname of “Ash,” which I thought was cool, but that fell flat next to my last name, the same name as the famous German composer. Which is ironic, seeing how I am the least musically inclined person you will ever meet.
I just turned fifty years old and after what I’ve been through in the last few… well, I want to call them days, but we are talking time travel here, so let me try that again. After the last few days of my subjective experience skipping around the timeline, I feel a hell of a lot older.
Well, older in that I am tired and worn out, scratched and bruised. But I also feel younger, like I’m seeing the world as it really is for the very first time.
It’s much weirder and much more wonderful than I imagined.
And while it may seem like I’m meandering a bit, trying to find my way into the story (spoiler alert: I am) those pieces of information are actually important. I am a fifty-year-old geek who everyone calls Bach but wished he was called Ash.
Okay, here we go.
It started on a Saturday. I was at home working. It’s what I do. Well, I play a lot of video games and I go bowling on Sundays (kind of my church), and I volunteer at the humane society helping to take care of dogs on Monday. You know, since I work on Saturdays, I take Mondays off.
Yeah. I am a bit out of sync with the world. I bet you are getting that about me already. Another important thing to remember.
Anyway, I was working on a Saturday afternoon. Which I love. No one calls me. No one bothers me. I had Journey cranked (remember, I’m not a kid although I can sure act like one) on my smart speaker and was standing at my desk typing away.
Well, programming. That’s what I do. I make electrons dance and people pay me to do it. I’m a programmer for hire helping corporations fulfill their avaristic dreams via technology. It’s kind of like getting paid to play video games—except for all the damn meetings, copious messages on Slack, phone calls, and endless emergencies and… well, you get the idea. I may love my job, but it’s still a J O B.
Okay, so middle-aged dude (me) at a standing desk, long greying hair pulled back into a ponytail dressed in shorts, a faded Bob Seger concert T-shirt, and some cheap flip-flops.
My office is an ode to my era of geek with things like a vintage Star Wars poster of X-wings battling in front of the death star, and an original Raiders of the Lost Ark movie poster. Also bookshelves filled with first-edition hardbacks with names like Tolkien, Heinlein, Asimov, and the like. Other shelves with DVDs, Blu-rays, and games. It’s all a bit messy and a bit chaotic with no unifying theme except for “middle-aged geek” and that’s the way I like it.
I’m typing. I’m mouthing the words I’ve been hearing Steve Perry sing for decades. It’s my fun Saturday everyone-leave-me-alone groove, when a bunch of things happen at once.
During a break between songs, I hear some honking outside. My desk faces away from the window, so I turn around and glance out at the busy road and see a tall homeless guy standing there on the sidewalk, swaying like he’s having some kind of religious experience… or maybe he’s just starving. He’s way overdressed for Phoenix in a dirty and tattered trench coat, but at least he’s rocking a ponytail, a mess though it may be.
Right as a new song starts up, my smart speaker goes mute and I turn back around.
I hear my front door open.
A dog barks loudly, an urgent “danger danger, Will Robinson” kind of bark, and I hear the telltale click of nails on my laminate floors.
I take a step to the side so my monster monitor is not occluding my view of the door.
And then the dog is in my office. A corgi with pointed ears, short legs, and a lovely tan-and-white coat. Its big brown eyes connect with mine and I swear the dog knows me.
I know dogs. I love dogs. I’m currently living in an apartment, having recently moved to Phoenix to keep an eye on my aging parents, and I can’t have one here.
That’s the other thing I do a lot. Help my parents out. Yard work. Doctors’ appointments. Making sure they are okay. I’m their only child and it’s the right thing to do.
But back to our story and that corgi in my office. So I know what it feels like to look into the eyes of a dog. You can connect instantly. It can be deep. And this is that and a whole bunch more.
The corgi is panting, looking like it’s been running as fast as it can on those short legs.
I open my mouth, planning to say something doggy-adorable like, “How’d you get in here, you beautiful boy?” but the dog beats me to it.
He barks and then says….
Wait. It’s about to get weird, but stay with me, okay. Remember that I said time travel is real but it wasn’t what or who you thought it was.
So he barks, opens his mouth, and says, “Come with me if you want to live.”
Well, the dog doesn’t exactly “speak,” no moving of the mouth, but I hear those words in my head.
And no, the dog doesn’t sound anything like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2. In fact, the dog’s speaking voice sounds more female than male, the kind of voice you would expect from a young, well-educated woman with a high-brow English accent.
So I assumed wrong. The dog is a girl. I also assumed that the dog wasn’t telepathic, so zero out of two for me.
And yeah, T2 is something of a landmark movie for me. I was twenty-two when it came out. It was the best movie I had ever seen. I’ve probably watched it fifty times by now. I can say a lot of the lines from memory.
And I am geek enough to know that the phrase originated with The Terminator, but I think it was Schwarzenegger’s robotic delivery of it that embedded it into our cultural zeitgeist.
So, I’m confronted with a telepathic corgi uttering the ultimate movie catch line (for a dude my age, that is), so what do I do?
I follow the dog, of course.
And as I do, I clearly hear the honking of horns and then the crunch of metal. I’m in my modest living room, which is not much more than a comfy brown couch, huge flat-screen TV, and a gaming rig. I glance back into my office to see an old red Chevy pickup crash through the wall and take out my standing desk, my computer, and my beautiful, ultra-wide 49” monitor.
Remember, my desk faces the room, not the window.
I wouldn’t have seen the out of control truck hop the curb and head towards my building. If the speaker hadn’t glitched out I wouldn’t have heard it over Steve Perry telling me “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
And as much as it hurts to see my beautiful desk and monitor and computer turned into so much garbage, I realize the talking dog had been speaking the truth and had just saved my life.
I didn’t need any more convincing than that. I followed the dog.
WARNING: This book contains a twisting time travel plot and is unapologetically sentimental when it comes to the animals we humans share our lives with. The author and the publisher can not be held responsible that if, after reading this novel, you feel a very strong desire to find an animal in need and take very, very good care of it.
This is only the Beginning
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Robert J. McCarter is the author of seven novels, four novellas, and dozens of short stories. He is a finalist for the Writers of the Future contest and his stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Saturday Evening Post, Pulphouse Fiction Magazine, Fiction River, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, and numerous anthologies
His latest effort is a serialized novel called Woody and June Versus the Apocalypse, a story of adventure and love and taking things (even the apocalypse) in stride. Of his novel,Seeing Forever, Kirkus Reviews says, “Sci-fi as it should be: engaging, moving, and grand in scope.”
He lives in the mountains of Arizona with his amazing wife and his ridiculously adorable dogs.