The Time Turner

Brighton Pier

A little scene I threw together for a project for my writer’s group. I may go on to develop it into something more but in the mean time I’d love to hear what you think of it. Hope you enjoy.

John Wilson sat on a tall stool in his shed humming along to the Glenn Miller tune that was playing on his ancient radio. He was hunched over a large, illuminate magnifying glass, tweezers in his right hand and the watch in his left. He delicately picked up what looked like a small purple crystal and dropped it into the back of the watch. It made a barely perceptible clicking sound as it locked itself into place.

“Right, let’s see if I can get this bad boy to work.” He put the watch on his wrist and tapped it twice.

It started to glow with a pearly light. A voice spoke out from the watch, “destination?”

John gulped and stared a moment at the dial. “Brighton Pier, 29 June 1996. The day I met my wife.”

“Calculating.” The watch started to buzz. “Stand by for transport.”

John took a deep breath and closed his eyes.


There was a loud whooshing sound in his ears and for a moment it felt like the shutters had come down over his closed eyelids. Everything went black. He was on a roller coaster, twisting and turning at breakneck speed.

Then suddenly the whooshing stopped with a jolt and John felt soft, warm light fall on his eyelids. He heard the sound of small waves tumbling onto a pebbly beach, of children laughing, the arcade machines ringing and a seagull squawking overhead. He opened his eyes and had to shield them from the sun. There he was sitting on a bench at the entrance to Brighton Pier. He picked up a newspaper discarded on the seat beside him. Sure enough the date said “29 June 1996.”

“Blimey, I’ve done it!” He said to himself.

Just then three girls in beautiful sun dresses, alice bands in their hair, wearing enormous sunglasses made their way arms linked, along the pier towards him. John was transfixed by the girl in maroon in the middle. He could not take his eyes off her.

She saw him staring and looked puzzled, lifting her glasses a moment to reveal large brown mischievous eyes. She whispered something to the other girls as they passed John on the bench. All three of them turned around one more time, giggling as they did so, then continued on down the pier and out of sight.

John’s heart was fit to burst in his chest. He’d seen her. He didn’t care that all she had seen was an old man sitting on a bench watching her. For he knew that in the cafe at the end of the pier was a young man ready to sweep her off her feet.

“I did it,” he said to himself, fist clenched, punching the air. “I really did it.” He tapped the watch again.


A man walking by turned and stared at him.

Picking up his paper John began sauntering down towards the sea front until the crowds thinned out and he eventually found himself alone.


The shed was empty. Glenn Miller was still playing on the radio, when with an enormous flash of light and a whooshing sound John reappeared on his stool, his heart pounding in his ears.

“Incredible!”he whispered. “Absolutely incredible.”

He ran through the garden, and forgetting the golden rule of knocking first, opened the door of his daughter’s bedroom. Sophie lay face-down on her bed, headphones on and laptop open. She glared at him.”Dad! Can’t you knock?”

“Never mind that Sophie. I’ve done it! It worked. It actually worked.”

Sophie took her headphones off and sat up. “What worked? What are you talking about?”

“I’ve seen your mother! She looked beautiful! This is amazing!” John was gesticulating wildly.

Sophie looked worried. “Err Dad, you feeling okay?”

“Couldn’t be better. I’ve found a way to travel through time!”

Sophie shook her head. “Now I know you’re bonkers!”

He sat on the bed. “Let me show you. It’s this watch. I’ve been working on it for years… and it works. It really works. We can go anywhere at any time. I just went back to Brighton Pier the day I met your mother!”

Sophie sighed. “Okay,” she said. “Show me!”

“Where would you like to be?” He watched his daughter sit there pondering. He knew she didn’t believe him and that she was just humouring him. He would show her.

“How about 1920s Chicago?” she said. “You could be a bootlegger and I could be a gangster’s moll.”

Sophie was laying down the gauntlet. Without hesitating he said, “okay then, let’s do it. Are you ready?” She nodded. He tapped the watch and grabbed his daughter’s hand. “January 1, 1925 Chicago”.

A bright light engulfed them, followed by a crackling noise and they were gone. Sophie’s room was empty.

1920s Fashion



One thought on “The Time Turner

  1. Pingback: A Letter to my Younger Self – Olivia McCabe

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