Chapter 10

Written by: Suraya Dewing

Terrible shock seized me when I arrived in Auckland. 

As second clerk to James Battersby & Charles Talbot-Ponsonby Q.C. I often went down to South Hampton to wave relatives off on voyages to New Zealand. Was this really what they sailed into? I believed it to be a land rich with promise. This was not what I saw.

My machine had landed on high point of an island before a building that reminded me of ancient Greece. Below me the sea angrily churned. Bits of debris crashed against up-turned steel carriages folded like tin cans. Airborne machines buzzed about like bees. They carried a few passengers (two perhaps half a dozen) and dropped them off on the flat area we had landed on. A sundial stood on a plinth beside me but my gaze kept darting to the desperate people crowding the tops of half submerged buildings waving for help. 

A needle-like spire poked out from a circular bowl-like building. People, the size of ants, clung to the spire screaming and waving. I desperately wanted to help but could think of nothing. Someone lost their grip and fell. I watched, heavy heart breaking, as the murky water carried the struggling body towards a cone-shaped island many miles away. I knew that person was lost. 

The water's current was terrifyingly swift. As a wave came towards me I feared I would drown. But by the time it reached me its force was spent and it began sliding away. I was aghast. 

What kind of terrible disaster had just happened?

Bits of jagged wood, which I presumed had once been the walls of houses, crashed and cracked as an angry wind whipped eerily through the corridor created by the hill on which I and my machine perched. These islands, I began to realise were the tops of mountains. 

What an odd sensation to stand atop a mountain and watch tower blocks appear gradually, coated in grime as the water receded. 

I gripped the leg of the time machine to steady myself. This was not what I had expected and I realised that this was not the grand place to which my ancestors had bravely sailed. 

How could I leave this place in such trouble? The sun dial caught my eye. As if understanding my dilemma the time machine began to whir and shake. I clambered aboard and took my seat. As it rocked back and forth I saw that it was nudging the sundial. To my amazement the water that had so destructively washed into the City began to roll away as if time was being reversed. 

Suddenly order was restored. The time machine had altered time and saved many lives. Now it was over to the citizens to ensure their city stayed safe for evermore.

Feeling that I had given people the chance to avoid great calamities in the future I set the LONG and LAT dials. However, I feared the news I carried would not be entirely welcomed by Mr Battersby.