Finding it hard to concentrate, she worked slowly, cleaning up the damage. Her body felt sluggish. Maybe the stress of Addison’s vanishing was finally taking its toll. Eyelids weighted with heaviness, she noticed fuzzy images pushing at her temples. They were blurry and indistinguishable from one to the next, but they moved like silent pictures on an old movie screen. Something wasn’t right. She felt different. Distant. Detached. Confused. She stopped cleaning to massage her forehead and ease the pressure.
The images moved faster, rotating in circles, dancing along the boundaries of her mind and just out of reach. She was getting dizzy from their movement, yet they held her in place. Every once in a while a vision seemed recognizable. A familiar glimpse of two girls laughing, a majestic fountain spraying drops of crystal water, people dancing, yards of fabric twirling as they turned. Her senses were clouded, but the fabrics, brilliant green and velvet blue, pink lace, ribbon, and white taffeta seemed so real, spinning quickly like a child’s kaleidoscope.
Through the clouded fog she reached out. Just to try and touch. Everything around her was beautiful. So vivid in color and texture. Grasping at a piece of fluttering silk, she lifted her hand and instantly felt the pulling. It immediately consumed her body, leaving her numb to its force. She tried to resist the heavy pull, yet with every move she made, it yanked her harder. Tugging, bit by bit, until Elissa had absolutely no control over her limbs. Her arms were as heavy as rocks. Her legs as solid as lead. She was helpless to the potency of this unknown power. What was happening? What was this energy that pushed her forward yet held her in place? She tried to speak, to cry out for help, but nothing came out of her mouth. Just silent breath. Her own, frightened and scared.
The internal tug pulled harder at her chest, accelerating at a rapid and dangerous speed—yet all she could do was stand there, motionless. Pinned like the forceful pressure of a fast rollercoaster, pushing her back into her seat. She was trapped. Panic darted through her blood, overtaking her cells as the intensity of the images pushing against her mind, grew. Spinning, spinning, spinning, they turned in unison, filling the four corners of the little store room. A pair of ladies riding gloves, a powdered wig, marble floors. The draw to the images was magnetic, leaving her helpless to stop as the pictures zipped and collided in front of her as she stood frozen. A garden, a trimmed hedge, a vase of fresh roses. The dizziness was making her nauseous.
“No more!” she cried, although it was a soundless plea. She closed her eyes and prayed.
And then just as quickly as it had come, the turmoil stopped. Just after Elissa blacked out.
Title: Scent of the Past
Author: Erin Marie Bernardo
Genre: Historical Fiction
Scent of the Past by Erin Marie Bernardo
A secret diary. A forgotten past. Another time.
When people think of time travel, they think of the clichéd manufactured kind. Of giant electronic machines with flashing lights and buttons calibrated to shoot you into the past with one press. But it doesn’t work that way. You need a reason, a connection, and—most important—a link. But you can’t choose when and why you go. That would be too easy, and we’d all be snapping our fingers in hopes of seeing lost treasures of yesteryear. It must choose you.
Close cousins Addison and Elissa live in present day New York City and lead somewhat ordinary lives. When uncertain circumstances surrounding a set of antique perfume bottles sends them back to eighteenth-century France, they must uncover the truth behind their travel.
Disaster strikes when Addison finds herself in a nearly identical situation to a mishap she experienced in the present—the witnessing of a murder and release of a secret. Only this time the truth could destroy the entire French monarchy. With Addison’s head on the line, the young women search for answers before Addison suffers her unlucky fate twice. It is only when they discover the haunting connections to life in the present, that they understand why they both were sent, and why a repeating past…may not always be such a bad thing.
Erin Marie Bernardo is an American writer of historical fiction. She has a degree in Communication Studies from the University of Minnesota, and is the author of the time-travel novel, Scent of the Past. A lover of historic places, Erin’s novels connect the past with the present.
Erin is currently at work on her second novel, Blackbird’s Bounty, set in the bayou of Louisiana – and is actively seeking a home for her children’s collection, Beautiful and Extraordinary Barnyard Stories, based on true events from on her farm.
Erin lives in Tennessee, but has roots in both Minnesota and Washington State. She is married with two young children.