Just before William Sheppard is admitted to a psychiatric hospital, he presents his nephew Billy Maxwell with an old pocket watch. Billy discovers that the watch possesses incredible powers. It allows whoever carries it to travel through time! Could the watch be the reason for Uncle Will's erratic behavior? What about Uncle Will's case worker, the enigmatic Dr. Janus? Does his interest in Uncle Will involve more than mere psychiatry?
Join Billy on a roller-coaster ride through the obscure corners of history as he comes face to face with heroes and villains, the famous and the infamous. Find out if Billy and Uncle Will can protect the present by saving the past.
Curt Yengst is a professional broadcast engineer who currently resides in Eastern Pennsylvania with his wife and four children. A Jersey boy by birth, Curt has lived in as varied places as Minnesota and North Carolina; so he is clearly no stranger to culture shock. Curt is also a born-again Christian and has spent the last decade working in the Christian broadcast industry. He likes to describe himself as one of those rare people who get to make a living engaging in their hobbies.
Curt is the owner of Zerro House Productions, a small project studio and production company. An occasional songwriter, Curt uses his studio as another of his creative outlets.
Being an engineer, he is endlessly fascinated with all things technical. He credits (or blames) this fascination with his being a "behind-the-scenes" kind of guy. Curt says he would rather be the one behind the camera than in front of it, on the control-room side of the glass than on the studio side. He admits that most of his heroes are individuals that most people have never heard of.
His literary tastes tend to lean in that direction, and he usually enjoys reading non-fiction of a technical or historical nature. His interests, aside from audio engineering, include collecting pocket watches, building dollhouses for the girls in his family, military aircraft, and anything and everything pertaining to the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. He also enjoys spending time with his family.
Tempus Fugit is Curtís first novel, but with all the ideas he has banging around in his head, it wonít be his last.
At that moment, something odd occurred to Billy. Why was this man speaking to them in English? Weren't they in Holland? He couldn't stand it anymore. He felt like a mortally wounded mouse being batted around by a cat. He slowly turned his head, slid the board aside, and ventured a look. His eyes widened in terror as he recognized the face of Dr. Janus, grinning at him with obvious satisfaction. He was the man in the black uniform, his hat bearing the Death's head emblem of the SS. Billy felt a wave of nausea race through his body.
"What ever are you hiding from, young man?" Janus asked. Slowly, the three young people began to emerge from their grossly inadequate hiding place. The other two soldiers leveled Schmeizer sub-machine guns at them, waving their prisoners out into the corridor. They were unceremoniously shoved across the room to the stairs and down to the workshop. Anastasia was nearly sent tumbling down the steps. Once everyone reached the watch shop, the three captives were lined up in front of a glass display case. Janus began to pace the floor before them, studying their faces carefully. He stopped in front of Billy.
"The watch. I want it."
"But I don't..." Billy failed to get out another word as Janus' open hand slammed across his cheek. The force of the blow nearly knocked him over. Anastasia gasped loudly.
"You know very well where it is," Janus hissed. "Now tell me!"
"I said I don't..." Another blow landed on Billy's still throbbing face. He could feel a lump forming in his throat as he tried desperately not to cry out. His fists clenched tightly.
Janus continued, "I doubt very much whether your demented uncle would leave you and your time traveling friends to your own devices in such a place. Perhaps he is here also."
"He left," Billy replied. "I don't know where..." He was again interrupted by Janus' raised hand. He flinched, but no blow came.
Janus merely rolled his eyes. "Yes, yes, so you keep saying. You don't know. Of course not." Janus moved in front of Anastasia, who eyed him very nervously. "Her Imperial Highness, Grand Duchess Anastasia, I presume."
She looked back and forth at the two boys, who were also glancing at each other in bewilderment.
"I wonder, Anastasia," Janus purred, "why these brave young men only managed to save you from the Bolsheviks and left your dear family to die."
"What are you talking about?" Nik asked.
Janus stepped toe to toe with Nik. "It's ironic, really. You had the power to save all the Romanovs, but you didn't use it." Janus took a few steps back and folded his arms.
"What is he talking about, Nikolai?" asked Anastasia. "What does he mean?"
Nik's face was turning red as his bottom lip began to quiver. Billy was equally horrified.
"Billy?" Anastasia's voice was cracking.
"What I am talking about, fair Anastasia," Janus explained, "is a piece of history!"
She grabbed Nik's arm and looked straight into his eyes. "What does he mean?!"
"I'll tell you what I mean," Janus said.
"No!" shouted Nik. "I will tell her." He turned back to her, lowered his gaze, and drew a deep breath. "We were able to rescue you because we knew what would happen to you. We knew what would happen to your family too."
"Indeed, it is an historical fact even now," Janus added with a smile. "Tsar Nicholas and his family, including you my dear, were killed. These two heroic young men knew about it from recorded history, and they didn't do a thing to save the rest of them."
Anastasia stood frozen for a moment, tears flooding her eyes. All Nik could do was stand there, crushed.
"Anastasia," Billy said in a pleading tone, "we couldn't. It had already happened. You've got to understand..."
Even Billy realized how ridiculous he must have sounded to her, especially when he remembered how much she missed her family at the party.
She turned her head and glared at him with obvious pain in her eyes. Slowly, she stepped away from them, shifting her eyes to the floor. Dr. Janus broke the brief but heavy silence that followed.
"Now, where is William Sheppard?"
"I told you we don't know," Billy growled.
"Very well," replied Janus. He then turned to the two soldiers and barked an order to them in German. They responded by dashing out the door, their guns still at the ready.
Once they were gone, Janus turned and approached Anastasia. Suddenly, like a rattlesnake striking its prey, he reached out and clutched her arm, causing the girl to cry out in pain. With his free hand, he reached into his jacket and withdrew a large pocket watch. Billy and Nik recoiled at the sight of it as the sunlight shining through the window reflected from its polished gold case. They could see the engraving on the cover: Tempus Omnia Relevat. All at once, they realized that they were indeed too late; Janus had beaten them to the watch. He knew all along that they would come there to look for it. Billy could feel hot blood flushing through his body. Janus stepped to the window and snapped the watch open. Once the dark hole had formed, he placed the watch back in his pocket, and then turned to the captive Anastasia.
"My dear little princess," he said, "you have an appointment with history."