Chapter 8

Written by: Ray Stone

My words were lost to all save my own ears as a gunshot rang out, accompanied by a shriek of panic and fear. The scene before me faded and Patty’s echoey voice whispered. 

“You cannot change history, George. The world’s past and future timetable of events would spiral into unbelievable chaos. It would mean the end of order, stability and, possibly, the world. This was your warning, time traveler. Do not interfere with history but merely observe.”

The voice faded as did the vision and my eyes closed. 

“Are you well, young George? Is your mind still sound?”

I recognised Jeffrey Leysen’s voice and was surprised at my surroundings as my mind cleared. The cellar was as I had left it. Leyson stood next to the machine and grinned with triumph. In his hand, he held a stopwatch. 

“Five minutes and twenty seconds.”

I could not believe him. I had traveled and stopped several times in at least two days, I thought. 

After relaying to Jeffrey my experience and recounting a barely believable meeting with Patty the Time Guardian which Jeffrey put down to an inner voice of conscience and common sense, I was ready to travel again. However, the machine would have to undergo several modifications, not least of which was another control to guide the traveler to a particular location as well as a year in time.

With high spirits and a longing to travel in time, I returned home. Sleep was impossible, and so I arrived ten minutes late the following morning at the office in Lincoln’s Inn. Mr. James Battersby greeted me with a stern look that quickly turned to a smile.

“I had a message from Mr. Leysen this morning,” he said excitedly. “He was most impressed with you and requested that you attend him tonight for dinner. I must say I’m impressed myself. It appears there’s an investor in his machine after all and we will be representing him. Well done, George.”

I spent the day in a state of high and low expectations, not knowing if a new investor would mean I would be allowed to travel again or not. My fears were quickly dispelled that evening when Jeffrey hurried us through dinner while explaining in great detail how I could now navigate the craft to a precise designation.

“You will use two more controls that adjust longitude and latitude to a particular city in any part of the world. I have a chart, and so any destination you want to arrive at can readily be determined by the appropriate figures on the edges of the chart.”

We hurried down into the workshop, and I climbed into the cockpit to get a better look of the new controls. There were two more dials, marked LAT and LONG set below two clock faces. As each dial was turned the figures in the individual faces changed. 

Jeffrey tapped my shoulder. “I think you should meet the new project investor.”

A voice I recognised greeted me. 

Comments

Science fiction at its believable best, Ray and what a twist at the end. I wonder who the new project manager is. Don't keep us waiting for the answer....please.