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Authors: Jennifer Ellis

A Quill Ladder

Table of Contents

A Quill Ladder



Jennifer Ellis

Moonbird Press


A Quill Ladder

Copyright © 2014 Jennifer Ellis

All rights reserved.


No part of this book may be used, reproduced or transmitted in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.


This book is a work of fiction. Any references to real people, events, locales or organizations are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and events are imaginary, and any resemblance to actual places, events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


Cover Design by: Design for Writers

Editing by: David Gatewood


ISBN-13: (print)

ISBN-13: (ebook)


Moonbird Press


Book Layout © 2015


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Cast of Characters

The Sinclairs


Fourteen-year-old science genius



s twin


Abbey and Caleb

s older brother


Abbey, Caleb, and Simon

s father


Abbey, Caleb, and Simon

s mother


Potential Friends


The Sinclairs

twenty-six-year-old map-obsessed neighbor with Asperger




s mother


Apparent friend of the family


High school student from Greenhill; helped Sylvain by using the docks

– “

rescued from Nowhere living in Forrester house



s hairy and tattooed associates


Francis Forrester

s ex-husband/Sandy

s father


Francis and Paul

s daughter rescued from Nowhere


Map librarian in the future


Spaceship pilot in the future


Likely Enemies


Working with Sylvain


Seems to be leading the


faction; old friend of Peter Sinclair



One of Selena

s lackeys


One of Selena

s lackeys


Unknown investor who seems to be pulling the strings of the








For those who love treasure maps…


A note about the maps… If you are interested in looking at the maps provided in
A Quill Ladder
at higher resolution, please go to the
reader bonuses
section of my website and check them out. But don’t spoil the surprise and go too soon….





What Has Gone Before

In A Pair of Docks

Derivatives of Displacement Book One


Abbey, Caleb, and Simon Sinclair discover a set of stones that lead them to what appears to be the future

except that there seem to be not one, but three futures: one in which space travel is possible, one in which people live in a plant cell bubble in the desert, and one in which forest has overtaken the landscape and people live in tents. More troubling is the fact that someone named


appears to have hired someone to kill one of their future selves.

Abbey, Caleb, and Simon work to unravel the secrets of the stones and track down


which proves to be an alias for a computer company owner named Sylvain Salvador. They discover that the future they go to seems to be determined by who steps on the stones first, and that all three of them seem to inhabit different futures. Abbey meets an older Caleb in the forested future


s future

and he warns her to be careful, as there are many dangers associated with the stones.

When their neighbor Mrs. Forrester has a mysterious stroke, Abbey, Caleb, and Simon take her son, Mark, who has Asperger

s and is obsessed with maps, under their wing. When they travel to Mark

s future, they discover that he will end up in a time purgatory known as Nowhere, inhabited by other similarly trapped


because he will, apparently, try to change the future and create paradox. Drawings that Mrs. Forrester has given them lead them to a professor named Dr. Ford, who claims to know the secrets of the stones. Dr. Ford agrees to help them, but has unclear motives of his own.

When Dr. Ford tricks Mark into going with him to the future, hoping to rescue his daughter Sandy, who

s trapped in Nowhere, Abbey and Simon follow and end up in Caleb

s future. Mantis and a boy named Jake are there, and are in the process of helping older Caleb

now a leader known as

the Light
to move his people to Simon

s future via a set of docks that transport people laterally between futures. Only Jake, as a


can use the docks, because he is dying and therefore has no future. Mantis claims that he has no plans to kill any of them, but rather is helping Caleb

s people escape the forested future because the soil is too acidic to grow food. However, future Caleb must repay Mantis by betraying future Simon, who owns a software company that is competing with Salvador Systems.

During the transfer of his people, future Caleb tells Abbey that she must stop the event
the bomb that was not a bomb
that splits the futures; he tells her where to find a list of clues, left by her future self, in order to do so. Dissidents among Caleb

s people attack everyone during the transfer between futures, and Mark creates paradox by killing one of them and goes with Dr. Ford to Nowhere. Abbey

s mother comes to retrieve them all using the docks, and she rescues all of the witches from Nowhere, including Sandy. In doing so, reveals that she too is a camel, and she forbids Abbey, Caleb, and Simon from ever using the stones again.




The filtered light pried beneath the heavy curtains, pulling Abbey from slumber. She had grown accustomed to the mute blue sky of the new world, and the bubble was necessary to block out the harmful rays of the sun, but sometimes she longed for the bold azure of the skies she had shared with her brothers, that unconstrained world of movement, green forests and sharp and stunning winds. Other than Simon and Caleb, and her parents of course, it was the wind that she missed most. There were no variations in pressure in the bubble. The small breezes that managed to penetrate the porous cells of the protective skin did not satisfy Abbey the way that the wild crack of a storm once did.

Sam stirred against her, his warm hand slipping from beneath the covers to cradle her pregnant belly. She nestled into him for a minute but then eased away. It was time to rise and prepare for work at the lab. She had an early morning meeting, and judging from the size of her stomach, it was getting close to the day when she might have to help her younger self

if the timeline hadn

t changed.

Had she changed fate by giving her younger self the list? And if she had, would everything be changed? Or just some things?

She had taken to haunting the lab, moving her desk so it was pressed up against the glass of the atrium, going in earlier and remaining later so as not to miss the moment. Being there would be a risk to her pregnancy, she knew, but whom else could she ask to keep watch? She thought of Sylvain and his belief that the time periods moved along like side-by-side rivers, their velocity and acceleration the same. But there were moments of jerk and jounce where the change in acceleration, and the change in the change in acceleration, would shift in one river, and the time periods would briefly disentangle. Those were the exceptions.

What if this moment was one of the exceptions?

Sam attributed her new longer work hours to pregnancy nerves amplifying her usual work ethic and obsessive focus on finding the right answers. She should tell him what she had done, what she was doing. But he would be upset. The stones had always spooked him a bit.

Abbey padded to the bathroom of the small adobe shelter she and Sam shared and splashed a small amount of water on her face. Even with their careful efforts to recycle and purify grey water, showers were only permitted every few days. A time-saving policy, for sure. The gallons of water once dumped onto lawns seemed an utter pomposity now. She suspected most of the water in the world sat in Caleb

s uninhabitable future, a future heavy with cloud and the acidic, infertile soil of a boreal forest.

Her hair, normally dry, tolerated the lack of washing. Abbey prepared to pull it off her face and bind it into a plaited bun, her yet-unborn child thundering around in her stomach like a cyclone. She placed her hands on her belly.
Whatever happens, my little fighting man, I can

t lose you,
she murmured. She sent another plea to the universe that she had not risked altering the course of time too much.

But if younger Abbey succeeded in stopping the rupture, as people had now taken to calling it, it could change everything. What if she ended up choosing Jake, or Russell? This little babe in her body would cease to exist in a puff of paradox. But Abbey wouldn

t do that. Would she?

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