Timeline

Prague's Astronomical Clock

FlashBack Timeline

This is a list of all the work we’ve published so far, in chronological order of each piece’s historical setting.  We update this list at the end of each season.

It’s been a rough day. Ice Age in the morning, Vesuvius after lunch, and the loss of God’s favorite trattoria in Pompeii….

Oh yeah, life’s been nothing but sweet for Jasper since he invented that flat round rolling thing of his.

Remembering the stories he’d heard about her: the face, the ships, all that. That first time he saw her, his idiot brother smirking by her side: That’s her? All this, for her?

My parents consign my eldest sister, Paola, to Venice’s Santo Spirito convent. There is no dowry for Paola and so her duty is our salvation.

We held our fortified port for six weeks while the King killed Protestants in the northern lowlands but the South Gate finally gave way during a fight for fresh bread. So many died in battle that no sacred ground was left for burying the dead. We stacked the bodies one on top of the other in the gendarmerie tower and covered them in salt, of which we had plenty.

  • Late 1600s/Early 1700s: Footsized by Sarah Peploe

Her breasts hurt with milk, still. They’re heavy. They leak sometimes, dark and obvious through her dress. She is behind with the washing. Her big girl who is nearly seven has been helping, and her sister Doll, but Doll is close to her own confinement.

“I’ll come home,” he said, taking on the face of a soldier. Serious. Focused. “We’re fighting for independence. Liberty.”
He liked to repeat things I already knew.

I thought about what had made the orange bleed. Was it hurt when it was picked, when it was cut? It wasn’t special, it was tainted and I didn’t want it.

I see those small ones about me betimes, when I bind rope or thresh corn. My living childer work with me, all three, but the others appear and do their share

Perhaps there are actors, however lowly, however unrecognised in the world, who are born to act, to take on other names and others’ words. If they cannot — well, possibly they end up here, in a grubby boarding house in miserable London.

  • 1800s: Tyn by K.B. Carle

Tyn, a man the color of the coals that collected under his mama’s good cooking pot before turning to ash when the fire got to them, digs his hands deep into the earth, letting every bit of pain loose through the tips of his fingers.

A miracle became—
“Necessary,” said the midwife.
“Imperative,” insisted the father.
“A thing best left to God,” thought the mother, meaning the miracle, not the baby, but possibly meaning both.

I shrug them loose, lean in and swaddle you tight so you won’t feel the cold. Pretend I’m still here. Your eyelids close, open, close, open less… As they slide down, sealing you into sleep, I am still here. I brand my mind with the moment, breathing in deep, sucking you into me before they take my wrists.

I’d have his bath waiting for him, the water warmed by the same coals he blasted and carved from the earth, the same coals they paid him with. A bonus, they called those coals. A pitman’s hearth should never go cold.

Somewhere outside Jacksonville, Illinois, the train slows to a crawl. Clara cups her hands and peers into the darkness but sees only the rail bed stones and the ragged edge of a sorghum field.

With this same rifle he learned to shoot at Cemetery Ridge, taking Confederate soldiers from a distance of two hundred yards. In those three days of slaughter he knows exactly how many men he killed. At night, each pallid face comes to visit.

The heat made her an inch shorter as she watched the dust devil tread toward her down the only road in this not-even-a town. Her hands rested at her hips. No—her palms hovered, brushing the grips of her pistols.

The thumb is indistinct, mid-sized and slender. If it were a tree limb, it would reveal I was fifty years old.

Some say Conan Doyle is only here because the organisers offered him a good seat to watch the athletics. Others say he is here on behalf of the Daily Mail. I really don’t mind about that.

These are the facts of the matter. The warehouse fire was entirely accidental. I don’t know the cause of it; I’m not privy to that level of information.

When he was used up the lads gave him the grand title of Chief Splosh Maker, and he’d spent a few happy weeks warming the pot, spooning loose tea and pouring for the exhausted gang. But they couldn’t cover for him for long.

Mother’s pinkie draws away from the teacup, reaching towards our glorious past. The footmen have been drafted, the maids soldier on in factories, but the afternoon tea is holy in our house.

I last saw my big brother Charlie laugh in 1937, the day after George VI’s coronation. He nearly wet himself when I asked him about a word in the National Anthem. Why were we supposed to send the King Victorias? They weren’t in season.

Years later, she would think back on how she had cried for her dolly, and not her brother who had been buried by the roadside. Years later, she would wonder about the home they had left – if the new owners feasted on the mangoes from their trees.

It is realy horrible here. The journey took AGES and AGES and I blubbed and the lady took my pear drops away so I didn’t choke.

  • 1950s &1960s: Balm by Charmaine Wilkerson

“What? What?” her son said, with that down-curved oh-shape that his mouth took on when he was annoyed. He wouldn’t understand. She couldn’t expect him to. Tiger Balm in America, after all these years.

  • Late 1960s: Estelle by Sheila Scott

‘It was on the clipboard at the last check.’ The commander pulled open a small drawer beneath the seats and rifled through its contents, sending odd items drifting into the air around them.

First time in New York; first time in Brooklyn. Johnny P has a bit of blow and some weed he needs to dispose of on account he doesn’t indulge during the week. Would be rude not to help him out.

Steel melts at 2500°F. Pigs made sure it’s hotter than that so our dark, meaty flesh roasts to a crisp at the police barbeque. Feels like I’m melting. Can’t barely breathe.

Guess that was the end result they were counting on.

They say Noah died, 350 years on from the Great Flood, as a naked, purple-lipped drunk. But some know better.


Image of Prague’s Astronomical Clock by Vera Kratochvil.