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‘So,’ I said as two empty cans occupied the coffee table, ‘you’re saying forces from the future are dabling with our past?’

‘Spot on, mate,’ Kai Diamonde replied. ‘They could wreak all sorts of havoc for us in the present day. Just take a look at your own situation. If they read Dickens Christmas Carol to Richard Duke of Gloucester in fourteen eighty-three, you’d be in the clink right now.’

‘How do you figure that?’

‘Because Scrooge seen the error of his ways and was then kind to his nephew and that would’ve encouraged Richard to be nice to his.’


‘Well, mate, he would no longer have put the princes in the tower so the eldest would’ve then become king instead of Richard the Third and it was old Dickie the third who introduced the revolutionary concept of bail during his reign, so you wouldn’t be out on it now for that traffic violation back in April.’

‘How come you know so much,’ I responded saturated with indignation. ‘Am I being stalked here? This is bloody obscene.’

‘Plus, old chum, you wouldn’t be able to overact as you are now doing,’ he chuckled. ‘As Sir Lawrence Olivier introduced overacting with his portrayal of Richard the Third in the film adaptation of Shakespeare’s play.’

‘This is all very interesting although bizarre,’ I opined, ‘but what’s it to do with Strange Phenomena UK Magazine?’

‘Basically,’ Kai said, shuffling on the sofa as if preparing to reveal something of major import. ‘the magazine is a front, as is its US counterpart and others around the globe. You see, I really work for a New York City based organisation called The History Maintenance Commission. The mags exist to flush out the phenomena we are really searching for, that indicate something in history is in the process of changing. All we know of yours so far is you’ve an original photographic negative plate from eighteen-eighty-one where something has now appeared that wasn’t there previously. That’s where we step in. Once Professor Delphi can concentrate his considerable brains on it in New York, he can figure out just what is happening, the threat it poses to us and the actions we need to take to prevent disaster and in the meanwhile alerts that need to be issued so precautions can be made in case history suddenly changes.’

‘Alerts?’ I remarked. ‘I’ve never heard any alerts that history might change.’

‘Alerts aren’t given out to the general public, mate. It would cause mass panic.’

‘Oh, all very convenient for this story you’ve concocted. It’s total bollocks.’

‘Then I shall let you in on a current alert,’ Kai revealed with a smug grin. ‘Why do you think I switched the TV on? Take a good look at the tennis, now.’


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