Chapter 1

Written by: Ray Stone

The district of Old Ford was an area of poor housing, sandwiched between Bow and Mile End. Kenilworth Road lay just the other side of the Hertford Union Canal. 

A Hackney carriage dropped me at the nearest footbridge, and cautiously, I crossed over, carrying a heavy club stick. Footpads roamed the area at night, and many a poor soul had been found floating in the canal despite an increase in Peelers patrolling the area.

Quickening step through the unlit narrow cobbled ways, I was soon knocking on Jeffrey Lysen’s door. His house was one of a row of tenement buildings that hugged the canal.

“Welcome, George,” beamed Lysen. “I was not sure if you would come. I worried that your initial enthusiasm might wane after giving the matter further thought.”

Lighting a wick, he picked up a lamp and turned to me, his beaming face aglow in the yellow of the flame. “If we are to be partners in this venture, George, you must call me Jeffrey.”

Holding the lamp above his head, I followed him down into a damp brick cellar that smelled faintly of the sewers below the house.

At first, there was nothing to see, but as he lit several other lamps, my eyes focused on a large dust sheet that covered his invention. Impatient to examine it, I took a step forward.

“First, George, before you see my machine, I need your signature on this paper, swearing you to secrecy and freeing me of any liability for any ill health or death in your own recognizance.”

His warning made me think seriously about my mother, and how she would manage without me but my curious mind got the better of me. I signed the paper and pulled the cover from the machine.

Shaped like a massive artillery shell, there were two pipes running along each side and in front of a seat inside the shell was an array of dials showing air pressures and lightspeed. Another clock like device was numbered between ten and one thousand. A small brass handle that slid back and forth was situated in front of the seat next to a start switch. 

“Where is the engine?” I asked.

“In the nose,” replied Jeffrey. “It’s a device that propels you forward in time by thermal forces drawn from fields of magnetic power that circumnavigate the earth. Your speed will drive you through folds of time, each one being 100 years. Let’s start with one hundred on the dial. Reaching that time, the machine will stop – somewhere – but it will return here.”

I climbed in and sat, my heart thumping with anticipation. As Jeffrey stepped back, I threw the switch and pushed the lever too far to 110. I heard nothing but the walls blurred. When vision cleared, my machine was hidden behind rubbish in an alley and a strange noise rent the air. Above a door, large red letters proclaimed ‘The Cavern Club.’ Curious, I entered.    

***

It's been a hard day's night…”

Comments

Wow, Ray! I would love to be in the Cavern Club watching the Beatles. Your intricate descriptions of the machine itself makes it sound very plausible. An exciting chapter.
Thanks Rosemary. I went to a concert in the early days to the 'Odeon' cinema in Southend on Sea, UK for a Rolling Stones concert and the Beatles were supporting them! Memories, eh?
That would've been unreal!
Ray, what a wonderful memory. I loved the chapter. Your description of how it might happen was also believable...I really liked the description of the cavern. I was there. It certainly shows where they began and that it wasn't always screaming women at airports. Superb!
Great chapter, Ray! This reminds me of H G Wells' Time Machine, one of my favourite stories. What a great choice of times for character confusion and conflict.