Newspaper reporter John Teddy’s miserable life is turned upside down when he uncovers a voice from the past—a voice that suspiciously knows far too much about the would-be future. John’s natural curiosity to understand the hidden message takes him to places he never imagined seeing, and ongoing conspiracies he never thought existed. The more John gets involved, the more he is led towards mysteries that are beyond his understanding. The circle of people involved grows bigger stretching from west to east; each step forward is like a step backward
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I have been fascinated with Time Travel ever since I was six. I remember watching a TV show in the eighties called “The Time Tunnel”. I believe it was a program from the 60’s, From that day I fell in love with the idea.
The day I decided to write, what better subject!
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
From different paths of Life
Waking up to that awful sound of his two-dollar alarm clock, John felt frail and depressed again. He hadn’t had a decent night’s sleep for months, and that continuous nagging from Susan had really taken its toll. Her voice kept playing over and over in his head—all her talk about needing more money for the house, her ongoing criticism about her husband getting nowhere at work, and her wasted dreams. That was all the woman could talk about, it seemed, and John had to wonder, Is any of this worth it?
Things had really changed since they’d first met. They’d been introduced eight years prior, at a fundraiser John was covering for his paper. Susan was a nice-looking lady, the type any man would want to settle down with. She had an innocent smile, reddish cheeks, and curly brown hair, all of which gave her a cute appearance. She was a few years younger than John, the daughter of a war veteran and a pharmacist, and she had been brought up in a lovely home.
Unfortunately, for all of her good attributes, Susan had an attitude problem. One moment, John wished he could spend every moment holding her hand, but the next, he regretted ever meeting her in the first place.
After the fundraising event, John and Susan started dating. Things took off from there, and two years later, they married. The following year, their son Adam was born, and since then, it had been a downhill slalom. As time passed, her animosity began to reveal itself. She was continuously discontent, and her interests had changed significantly. Socially, the couple just didn’t click anymore, and the hard life of being married with limited resources had spoiled the relationship of the once-close family.
John tried his best to make his wife happy, but all his efforts were in vain. His marriage was utterly dreadful because of her, and if it wasn’t for Adam, he would have left her without giving it a second thought.
After a quick shower, John left the house without even bothering to say goodbye, as he figured there was no point. After a quick stop at the newspaper office, he was off to cover a new story. He had worked for the same paper for over ten years, since he was 23, and he’d covered over three hundred and fifty stories during that decade of journalism.
At first, he seemed to have a bright future ahead of him. Within his first year at the paper, one of his stories made a real impact, and that gave his career a quick boost right off the bat. A few other successes followed, but then things began to fade and dwindle, and it seemed as though John had somehow lost his spark. He never reached the level of success he had hoped for, and most of the stories he wrote after that first stellar one struggled to leave a mark. As the years went by, he became just another man doing his job at an adequate and tolerable level—an unremarkable cog in the wheel.
The story he had to cover now was another one of those “reality fairytales,” as he used to call them: An ordinary person barely scraping by under the poverty level had managed to go from rags to riches. Another person had made a risky business move that served well in the end, jolting that person to instant millionaire status in the hardest of economic times, arguably during one of the worst financial crises of our modern history. Despite the fact that John had to cover such stories, they seldom impacted the reporter at all. In fact, he never understood why anyone would want to read them, why they had any sort of following, or why people always seemed interested in such “news.” Why do care about an average stranger doing something special? he wondered. In some way, it revealed how desperate most people were, living vicariously through the successes and joyous moments that belonged to others.
This particular story turned out to be about Vesselin Lechkov’s mother. Mrs. Lechkov had a broader vision than others when it came to medical insurance companies. An American of Bulgarian origin, the struggling mother decided to invest a meager $600 back in 1972. Shortly thereafter, around ten years ago, she suffered a car accident and as a result,lost her memory. During that time, no one was aware of the stocks she had bought, and only after the old lady’s passing did Vesselin come across the holdings while clearing out his mother’s meager belongings. That $600 had grown over time and was now worth well over $560,000. Word got around, and now John was tasked with covering Vesselin’s story. Sadly, Vesselin wasn’t the hero of the story at all; he merely profited from the wise decision made by his mother, a woman who would never receive the recognition she deserved for the risk she took.
A nice two-hour chat with the fellow at his home—a trailer, to be more accurate, the place where Vesselin, his wife, and their two kids had lived as long as he could remember—and several photos later, John was done. The awful, rainy weather didn’t inspire him to spend any more time there than necessary. His mood was still down in the dumps, and while a little sun would likely not have had him dancing around in the streets, anything was better than being soaked.
Back at his office, John added the final touches and edits to his article and sent it along. For the first time ever, the story actually touched him somehow, he realized, and he grabbed his mug of stale coffee and began to browse the Web to find out more about it. With the world going downhill like this, maybe I need to do something like that old lady did, he reasoned. Maybe I should try to leave something for my son.
Everything in life only seemed to be getting worse. The whole world seemed to be turning mad, and every person John encountered seemed to be hung up on talking about their struggles. Really, it was all about business: crisis this, crisis that; Euro down, gold down, oil up; governments being toppled; people faulting on house payments; unemployment running rampant. The crisis was becoming too much for everyone to bear, and John couldn’t help but feel sorry for everyone, himself included. It was all hitting home. John’s very own brother had already lost his home, and a good friend of his had been forced to cancel his health insurance. John, himself, wasn’t exactly living the “American dream,” but he took some comfort in knowing that at least his payments were on time—for now.
The reality was that life was getting harder, and Susan’s negative attitude was just adding fuel to the fire. She seemed to blame him, as if he singlehandedly brought Wall Street to its knees and split the European Union; she just could not take the good things in life for granted or appreciate them without complaining about the bad things or the rough parts. Everyone is suffering, for God’s sake. Can’t she even grasp that she’s not the only one going through rough times? Does she really think the world is out to get her and that no one else is hurting? John often thought to himself.
After spending an hour reading all kinds of reports about the economic downfall of mankind, John grabbed his coat and headed toward the Metro. He picked his son up from the nursery and returned home. One of the few things the dysfunctional couple did agree upon was that Susan would drop Adam off in the morning, and John would pick him up in the afternoon. John loved his child, but he had never thought he would become a father so quickly. It was a lot of pressure, but he seemed to manage it well. It was Susan who struggled to deal with it.
Several hours passed before Susan returned home. She rambled on and on about her day and mentioned how nice Andrew, her boss, was for praising her work. Again, she bragged about what a fine motivator he was, repeating the same stuff over and over again.
John had gotten used to it and was able to let her rattle on about it, but when she decided to turn the tables on him, accusing him of not working hard enough and his lack of progress in life, it just ticked him off. He had always loved her and been good to her, and he was doing his job, but nothing was ever enough. “The hell with this. I need to go to the bar before I’m gonna listen to this nonsense.”
That was his answer to the constant bickering, and he had been going to the bar around the corner very often lately. In the past year, he had spent more time there than he had at home. It wasn’t so much the alcohol he needed, but the company and the peace of mind. He needed someplace to cool off and ease his mind. The whole thing with Susan was annoying; he wasn’t happy at home, so the bar was his escape. He had begun drinking heavily, and though he didn’t think of himself as an alcoholic, he had to admit that he was drinking far more than he ever had in college.
Once he ordered his beer, talked with the guys a bit, and played a round of pool, he decided to watch TV. Unfortunately, the only TV broadcasts were reports about how financially lost the world was. This time, it was some South American billionaire talking about how it was a great time to make money, claiming that hard times are the perfect opportunities to find fortune and that with the right bold moves, one might hit the jackpot, even in the face of so many huge obstacles.
The encounter he’d had with the Bulgarian trailer park family earlier, coupled with his fight with Susan and the beer and the South American money guru talking about taking financial chances got John thinking that maybe it was time for him to make a bold move of his own. He reasoned that it might be exactly what he needed to do. “To hell with writing,” he mumbled into his frothy mug. “That paper’s getting me nowhere. Besides, maybe it’ll get Susan off my back.” He decided it was now or never. If that old woman did it, it can’t be that hard, right?
John knew his only source of cash would be their savings account, around $24,000. Sitting there on that barstool, he decided he would simply withdraw the money, learn more about the market, and see if he could make it grow. It was as simple as that. Susan doesn’t even need to know about this, John told himself. She doesn’t even need to know how much I invest and where. I’ll just tell her it’s coming from the paper, and she’ll be none the wiser.
John figured he could learn a lot from Al, an old friend who had made a decent living off the stock market. John and Al were old college buddies, and right from the start, it was easy to sense that Al’s dreams and goals had nothing to do with journalism. He was only in those classes to follow his parents’ desires, but his real passion was for the business world. He basically wasted his college years, but he eventually received his degree and moved on. Al started his career writing for the business section in one of the local magazines. From his direct contact with many businessmen, he quickly gained experience and learned how to maneuver his way through the business world. After two years, he finally left the magazine and started working on Wall Street. John felt rather safe and confident taking advice from an old buddy that he knew personally, one who had enjoyed some success.
The next day John called Al, and the two met for lunch. From what Al said, the wealthy South American’s ideas were on the money, so to speak, because Al told John, “Yeah, even in this economy, you can hit it real big…or you might go down in flames. There is money to be made, but it’s risky.” Al asked John about his sudden interest in the markets, and John explained to his old friend that his job wasn’t helping much and that a recent story he’d covered had opened his eyes to the potential of risk-taking. “Stop by my office when you get off work,” Al said. “We’ll sit down, and I’ll explain how things work in the investment game, as much as I can, anyway.”
Al got right down to business and offered to help John invest his money, but that was something John wanted to do on his own. He wanted to be involved directly, so Al taught him the easy way: He taught him about online trading and how to buy stocks on margins, something Al referred to as “the high-speed route to heaven or hell.” It didn’t require much money, and if John played his cards right, he would make a fortune, but he could also easily lose it all. “It’s a big like gambling,” Al admitted, “so you just have to take it slow at first. You should practice with demo trading for at least a week and then go live when you have the confidence to dive in with real money.”
As the days past, John finished his work at the paper as quickly as possible and hurried home to get on the Web to trace the stock market. Even Susan’s bad mood and yapping stopped bothering him, because he was immersed in his own little world. For the first time in a long time, he felt isolated from the stress his home brought. He decided not to tell Susan about his plans, as he was sure she would be as negative and critical as usual, one minute screaming at him for not doing anything and in the next, insulting everything he was trying to do. The best thing to do was to leave her out of it.
Strangely, Susan didn’t seem to be talking as much as usual. She’d also been upgrading her looks, taking better care of herself, and wearing nicer clothes and more makeup and jewelry and fooling with her hair. John was happy to see it. Hey, it gets her off my back if she’s focusing on her looks—something she hasn’t bothered with for the past two or more years. Maybe she is getting back to be her own good self, he hoped.
After four days on the demo money, John felt he had the tools and had learned enough. In his first five days, he’d made $3,200—more than what he could earn in two weeks of working at the paper. This is amazing! A month or two of this, and I’ll really prove my worth. Maybe then Susan might see that I am taking action. Maybe my whole marriage might be saved and we can at least start to work things out.
With one eye on the political news and another on several companies’ financial reports, John carefully made his choices. His dreams were growing, and he was taking more chances. Ultimately, it proved to be fatal.
Several reports seemed to indicate that Germany was the safest and strongest economy, so John felt his shares placed in German companies had reached their limit, and it was time to fish them out and make it, big time. As it turned out, German shares were not immune to the financial disasters taking shape in Europe. After just one week of big losses, poor John was on the ropes. The world was closing on him. He had withdrawn all of the savings he and Susan had acquired over the years. He had taken a chance and gambled away the family’s money, and he had little to show for it. By noon that day, his account had a mere $2,700 in it. He withdrew it and decided to leave the office early.
He walked for an hour, trying to think of what he should do or say to Susan. He was in real trouble now, and nothing good had come from keeping it quiet. He’d hoped money would fall in his lap from his efforts and all would be good again, but now he realized that kind of thinking was much closer to a dream than a reality. I’m just…doomed, he worried.
Finally, he decided to take a cab back home. When he got there, he noticed that one of the lights was on, and he assumed Susan had forgotten to turn it off in the morning. He opened the door and went to the kitchen to grab a beer to help him cope with the dreadful reality of his situation.
He heard some noise upstairs. When he went upstairs to check on it, to his agony, he recognized sounds coming from his wife, growing louder by the second. He opened his bedroom door to the sight of Susan and the perfect Andrew in bed together—in his bed.
Andrew immediately grew pale. He covered himself up and ran away, stuttering “Sorry! I’m so…sorry!”.
John didn’t say a word. He simply took out a bag and started stuffing his wife’s things in it. Susan was crying and begging his forgiveness and understanding, but John remained mute. He didn’t utter a word, and honestly he didn’t even hear her; he was caught in a dreadful silence for several moments.
Finally, after he had finished packing up her things, without making eye contact, John said, “You have five minutes to take whatever else you want and leave. Pick up your son from the nursery and never come back here again. And don’t even think about taking the car!”
After fifteen minutes, it was all over. Susan was gone, so John sat down to have a drink. Beer wasn’t going to do the trick, so he took out his scotch whiskey and began drinking it straight from the bottle. All he could think about was how his world had changed over the years. He loved giving to charity. He helped people a lot and was a good husband, but when money started to get tight, everything seemed to collapse around him.
Maybe I am a loser, he thought. Maybe Susan is right, and my life is not even worth living. Seeing his wife in bed with another man was a traumatic event that insisted on playing over and over again in his head. In an instant, he jolted up from his seat and went to look for his gun that he had hidden in an old shoebox in the top drawer. Once he had the weapon in hand, he put three bullets in it. He stumbled to the bathroom, looked at himself in the mirror, and whispered two words: “Bye, Johnny.”
And then, John pulled the trigger…but nothing happened.
The gun was jammed, so he tried to fix it and then pulled the trigger again.
Finally, John threw the useless gun and began to cry, rivers of tears running down his cheeks as if he was just a little lost boy with a broken heart.
After half an hour, he still couldn’t grasp the truth of all that had transpired in his miserable life. The noises of their lovemaking echoed in his ears, and he realized he could stay in the house no longer. He jumped in the car and drove off. He had no idea where he was going, but he knew he was heading toward insanity.
Finally, after driving around to nowhere in a depressed and defeated haze, John saw it: a small parking area near a cliff, with a panoramic view of the sea, about forty-five kilometers north. It was perfect for tourists wanting to take photos, but that was not how John intended to use it. “If a gun can’t do the job, I’ll just throw myself over the edge,” he said aloud.
John parked and got out of the car. He walked slowly to the edge, sweating and shivering. As he neared the edge, he looked below at the big, dark, salty waves crashing against the jagged rocks. Among them, he noticed something that looked like a box of a strange shape and color. His manic state began to calm, and he decided to get a closer look, to see what the thing was. “What’s a dead man got to lose?” he repeated to himself.
There were some steep stairs about twenty yards away that led to the rocks below, likely created and used by locals who wanted to fish when the tide was in their favor. John watched each step carefully, so as not to lose his footing, as he made his way slowly down. He decided it was a good thing he’d taken only a few sips of whiskey; otherwise, he wouldn’t have been able to make the descent.
At last, he reached the parcel. He picked up the dark green leather octagon-shaped box with maroon stripes. It had two locks, and curiosity filled his mind about what could be hiding behind them. He took the strange case and headed back to the car, so he could go home and have a look at it.
As soon as he walked inside, he noticed the flashing light on the answering machine. He was sure it had to be Susan, trying to weasel her way back into his good graces after her indiscretion. John didn’t care, though, as there was nothing else on his mind other than the strange box and discovering its contents.
He placed the case on the dining room table. He had no clue what it could mean or what it might contain. Why did I find it now, of all times? It weighed around twenty pounds and was constructed of high-quality leather. The locks seem to be old, as they were rusted, but hey still held securely. John knew he’d never be able to safely open them with the tools he had at home, so he decided he’d have to head to Chinatown for the following day, if the curiosity didn’t kill him overnight. There isn’t a thing those guys can’t open.
In spite of his worries and curiosities and woes, the hectic day finally took its toll on John, and within seconds, he was fast asleep on the sofa bed with the green box right next to him on the floor.
It was a good thing that all of that mess happened on a Friday, as John couldn’t have imagined going to work the next day; honestly, he could barely imagine living after all he went through that day. At nine thirty a.m., John woke up with many thoughts swarming around in his head, but his real focus was on finding out what the box contained, if anything, or if it was simply a strange washed-up box of no significance.
A quick ride, and he was off to Chinatown. He passed several small shops and finally came across a locksmith. After twenty minutes of light banging and hammering with his special tools, it was wide open!
Inside the box was another container, a plastic one, something like a box within a box. John thought it was probably meant to prevent any water leakage, though the leather already did a great job of that. It seemed that whoever had put it all together went to great lengths to protect whatever was inside. The interior of the box was the same color as the outside. It was cushioned to protect it from any hits or bumps, and the smaller plastic container was totally sealed and air- and watertight, except for a small circular window that could be opened from a little slip.
John thanked the locksmith, gave him a twenty-dollar bill, and went back to his car.
The inside contents included a plastic-wrapped cassette of some sort and a business card written in something that looked like Asian; the card didn’t seem to contain a name—only an address. There was also a silver ring with an odd symbol on it, as well as some letters engraved on the inside of the band. The writing on the ring also looked to be in Asian. Interesting, but what does it mean? John wondered.
The tape looked like one of those old small cassettes he hadn’t seen in a long time. He was glad he hadn’t left Chinatown yet and had decided to check it out right there in the parking area, as the cassette would require a visit to a shop that sold secondhand, outdated electronics. He thought he might take the business card along as well, hoping that the salesman might be able to tell him what it said.
As it turned out, the tape was a small videocassette used in the eighties. The first two shops he went to didn’t have any device that could play it, but John didn’t have to worry, because Chinatown was packed with shops that sold used electronics. After a bit of searching, he found what he was searching for, and for a mere forty bucks, John bought a compatible player. He wasn’t as lucky with the business card, as no one in Chinatown seemed to be able to read it; clearly, it wasn’t written in Chinese, but one of them suggested to him that it did look like Japanese.
Eager to see what was on the tape, John hurriedly headed home. He was starving, so he stopped on the way to pick up a pizza.
Once he was home and settled down with his piping-hot dinner in front of him and the video player properly connected and the tape inserted, his heart began to throb. He couldn’t remember being so anxious to watch anything since the opening of Terminator 2 back in 1991, when he stood in line for two hours at the cinema. He pressed the play button, and in that moment, from that very instant, John began to see the world in a whole different way.
The tape began with an Asian man introducing himself as Yaturo. He seemed to be in his late forties, and kept talking about his guilty feelings, claiming, “This is the least I can do.” Great, John thought. A suicide tape. Could the timing be any worse? Or more awfully perfect?
Then, the picture went blank for a few moments and then the same guy appeared again, only he looked younger and was standing in a large parking lot, seemingly at a concert, event, or game, though John couldn’t tell for sure. The Asian began to speak: “I am now outside Estadio Azteca in Mexico city. It is June 22, 1986, and Argentina will play England in the quarter-finals.”
John increased the volume of his TV and slid his sofa closer, getting more interesting. As outdated as the game was, he remembered it was quite a match.
Yaturo continued with the stadium in the background, “I want to ask some fans about what they think the results might be.”
Some of the passersby answered, projecting, “England two to nothing,” or, “Argentina, one to zero,” but then Yaturo managed to stop three fans wearing the British flag on their shirts. They looked to be in their twenties.
Yaturo asked, “Can you guys give me your names, where you’re from, and what you think the results will be in today’s match? I am doing a program for a sports channel.”
No one bothered to ask him which channel he was from. The first one answered, “Jim Owen Steadman, Dorking, two-nothing, England,” and started dancing.
The second spectator, a young woman, answered, “Lisa Farry, same, and England, two to one.”
The last guy answered with a smile, “John Humphrey, and I say England will win on penalties.”
Then all three began to chant: “England, England, ENGLAND!”
Before they left, the first guy, Jim Owen Steadman, asked Yaturo “What about you? What do you think?”
Without a moment of hesitation, Yaturo answered, “Two to one, Argentina,” and put one of his hands in a fist shape above his head.
The British fans began chanting again and went on their way.
John suddenly paused the tape, in total shock. An avid soccer fan himself, as well as a soccer player in both high school and college, John knew that match by heart, especially since it was one of the most talked-about matches in history. In the end, Yaturo was absolutely correct. Argentina won that game two to one, and in the course of that victory, Maradona scored two of the most talked about goals in all of soccer’s history, dribbling half the English team to score one and the other with his fist, just as Yaturo mentioned and gestured before the game began. It was far too exact, too accurate to be mere coincidence. “What in the world is this? Some kind of bloody joke?” John began to shout to his pizza, demanding answers.
He pressed play again, and he saw Yaturo with the stadium still in the background. This time, Yaturo said, “September 11, 2001—what a sad, sad day for the United States of America. December 26, 2004—what a disastrous day for the people living along the Indian Ocean…” And then, the tape went black.
In complete and utter shock, John stood and went to the bathroom to splash cold water on his face. His head felt as if it might explode any minute, and he was trembling violently. He ran outside to smoke a cigarette, trying to get a grasp of everything that he’d seen on that strange tape from that strange box.
Over the next two hours, John watched the tape at least ten more times in deep concentration and focus, studying it, trying to find any error in it. Is this…real? Or is it just some silly prank those four were playing? You know, video technology lets people do amazing things nowadays. But he was…he was talking about two world disasters way before their time. Everyone knows 9/11 changed the world and spawned wars, and that tsunami took the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. What…how? And who is he? But John’s many questions only seemed to lead to more questions
Being a journalist and organized by nature, he took the time to write down all the information, including the names and dates and everything mentioned on the tape. He immediately turned to the Internet for help. The Web was teeming with people named “Yaturo,” as it seemed to be a common Japanese name. The address on the business card didn’t get him anywhere, as it was really just the name of a place, offering no exact location. When he Googled “Lisa Farry” and “John Humphrey,” he had no luck piecing anything together. Fortunately, though, his search for “Jim Owen Steadman” did afford him some answers.
The results of that search included information and snippets about fifteen or so people. John was specifically looking for a guy in his late forties or early fifties, since the tape was allegedly recorded in 1986, while he was still in his twenties, and nearly three decades had passed since then. John assumed Mr. Steadman was likely still living in England, and after narrowing his search based on those criteria, he finally restricted his hits to four people in the UK, one of them in Dorking, aligning with the information from the tape. The guy was fifty and listed soccer as an interest of his, so it seemed John had the right guy—as long as the Jim Owen Steadman on the tape and on the Internet listing was actually telling the truth. The photo on his profile on the social network where John found him didn’t seem to mesh, but John knew as well as anybody that twenty-six years can take a toll on a person’s appearance, among other things.
John was completely intrigued, and the natural inquisitive nature of the reporter in him demanded that he take action. He knew there was no better way than to hop on a plane and go visit the guy. Things needed to be clarified, one way or another. The truth was, it was the best diversion from his shattered reality that John could have hoped for. It was a chance to get away from Susan and those painful memories, a chance to solve a mystery. He thought if it was true, something great might come of it. John was still a dreamer, and even if it turned out to be nothing at all and the tape was merely a fake, a prank, at least the trip would be a welcome escape for him from the reality of home.
Before visiting the guy, he wanted to stop in Estadio Azteca in Mexico City to check out the authenticity of the video by investigating the camera angles around the stadium. He requested a week off from the paper, and there was no objection, as he hadn’t taken a vacation in over a year. All it took was a short call to his boss.
In spite of his anger and angst with his wife, he hadn’t forgotten his son, of course, and he visited Susan’s parents’ home to bid the kid goodbye. While he was there, he wouldn’t say a word to Susan. He realized there was nothing left of their relationship, and he should have made the decision to leave her two years earlier, when she started her nonsense with that awful attitude and constant bitterness. Come to think of it, though, he rationed, if it wasn’t for me catching her in bed with another man like that two days ago, I wouldn’t have found that box floating in the sea. In some odd way, he had Susan to thank for the adventure he was about to undertake.
The flight was booked for Monday, and all was ready for the trip to Mexico City. If everything went well, John would be off to Dorking via London. It was a good thing he still had his credit card to add to his measly $2,700 that was left over from his stock market fiasco, and he hoped that would be enough for now.
John made a DVD copy of the movie, scanned the business card, and had a replica of the ring made. He was thoroughly prepared. He took several names from Jim Steadman’s profile; he would contact them if he was unable to locate Mr. Steadman himself. He even took the box along. When it came to details, John was an expert, which probably stemmed from all his years of working as a journalist. His continuous hunt for stories had brought him to this.
He decided to visit the cliff where he had found the box just before sunset, hoping it would bring him some kind of luck and prepare him for the unknown. “What a view,” John said. Exactly two days prior, he planned to jump from that same cliff to end his life in the abyss. “How a moment can change a person’s life,” he said to the crashing waves. No matter what lay ahead, it was the start of a new life for him.
Ahmad Ardalan was born in Baghdad in 1979. At the age of two, he moved with his parents to Vienna, Austria, where he spent most of his childhood and underwent his primary studies. After his father’s diplomatic mission finished at the end of 1989, he returned to Iraq, where he continued his studies and graduated from the University of Dentistry. As a result of the unstable political, military, social, and economic conditions in his home country, Ahmad decided to leave Iraq and move to the UAE. After facing difficulties to pursue his career in dentistry, he opted to pursue employment in the business world. Since then, Ardalan has held several senior roles within the pharmaceutical and FMCG industries, throughout much of the Middle East. His early childhood in a mixed cultural environment, as well as his world travels, increased his passion for learning about cultures of the world and inspired him to pen The Clout of Gen, his first novel. After eleven years of being away, Ahmad returned to Baghdad in January 2013 on a visit that was full of mixed emotions. Inspired by his trip to Iraq, he wrote his second novel, The Gardener of Baghdad.
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