In case you’ve been wondering… I haven’t died or fallen off the flat surface of the Earth in a vain attempt to prove that it’s round. I’ve been taking a break from the short stories to finish my novel which is now complete and being edited.
I thought you may like a sneak peek at the novel so please do have a gander. There will no doubt be more to come out as I try to chop out as much as I can bear to loose.
As always all thoughts and comments welcome…
Professor Fidget And The Trouble With Time Travel
‘Don’t you dare…!’
Her eyes were red; worn from the river of tears that had passed though them. Her words lacked all authority and the little hope she had clung to was diluted by her unanswered cries.
He sat in the machine. The two infants were asleep in the seat next to his.
She took a tentative step closer. As though on cue, he moved his hand to the glowing green button on the dash board. She stopped her advance and he relaxed his hand.
“Please just let them go…”
She started to cry again. “Please Jhonas. You used to be our friend. It’s not too late”
Jhonas Spletka sighed. “I’m sorry Professor. It wasn’t supposed to go like this.” He shook his head wiping the sweat from his brow. “You have your sanctimonious father to thank for this.”
The Professor’s next plea for him to release the children faded quickly into the background as Jhonas pushed the green button. The machine started to vibrate and the Professor dove forward and grasped at the bar at the back of the machine.
A blinding white light flashed around them making the room disappear from sight. The temperature outside the machine dramatically fell and the air was so close it felt like she was both freezing and drowning at the same time, like being trapped treading water just beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean.
She had to get inside the machine and quick. The extreme cold came close to rendering the Professor unconscious. A single thought, an image, of those two children kept her awake and allowed her to delve into whatever energy stores she had stored within to climb into the machine behind Jhonas.
His attention was focussed on the panel in front. He did not notice the Professor sneak up behind. He did become more aware however that he was not alone in the machine when an arm wrapped itself around his neck from behind.
His eyes, on instinct, turned jet black. If he could just catch a glimpse of the intruder, if he could lock eyes with her she would be powerless to do anything but follow commands. She knew this and tightened the grasp around his neck whenever he attempted to turn and face her.
She used her remaining free hand to place a green luminous strip on his forehead. Jhonas stopped struggling almost immediately and the lids of his eyes came down, submissive and restful.
“Now” said the Professor, “Stand up” Jhonas compliantly did as he was told.
“Step outside the machine.” He walked to the edge and stopped, his hands trembling.
Deep down he knew that to step outside a machine in flight was suicide and he was fighting it.
The veins in his forehead began to pop as he tried to battle the overwhelming will of the Professor and the obedience strip on his forehead.
“Jhonas step outside”
“It’s safe. Do not worry”
“Jhonas you cannot resist. Step outside”
“Step outside now!!”
The obedience strip had never been used to force someone to end their own life. The humans survival instinct is just too strong and Jhonas Spletkas’ will was stronger than most.
He was using all his strength to defy Professor Fidget. She watched in amazement as his arm, tensed as though thousands of volts of electricity was running freely through his veins, made its way up so he was within grasping distance of the obedience strip. Acting as quickly as she could she charged into Jhonas Spletkas midriff just as he pulled the strip free of his head.
He was sent flying backward and out of the machine. There was a moments quiet. The Professor leaned over to see out of the machine. A kind of white mist surrounded it, it looked almost heavenly.
Suddenly and without warning a hand appeared from beneath the cloud locking itself on her wrist pulling her half out of the machine. She tried to free herself but the grasp was too strong. Jhonas’ head emerged from the cloud, his eyes jet black. He stared directly into the Professors eyes. She tried to look away but could not.
A sound echoed in her brain.
Pull me up
Pull me up now Professor
The Professor was perhaps one of the most intelligent and equally strong willed women of her time and bewitching her was not going to be as simple as Jhonas had hoped.
She fought for all she was worth before exhaustion took its toll and the Professor momentarily lost consciousness. With no fight to keep her inside Jonas pulled her clear of the machine. The instrument panel hissed. Tiny sparks on the dashboard facilitated larger explosions till the whole panel burst into flames. A huge flash of light preceded total darkness and finally quiet.
The laboratory faded gradually into focus as the Professor slowly opened her eyes. The housekeeper stood over her exhausted and limp body.
“Sleep in your clothes again last night Professor?”
The Professor thought for a moment before answering.
“Who am I?”
Arran and Molly
Mrs Anderson was not the sort of lady to put up with any nonsense, a wannabe head teacher whose recent appointment to become head of science, served only to give her an overly inflated view of her own superiority. She had disheveled red hair and wore red horn rimmed glasses which balanced quite remarkably on top of her thin pointy nose. She looked so old she may well have invented the famous cliché, ‘The bell, is a signal for me not for you.’
Mrs Anderson was by far the worst tempered teacher in the school and derived far too much pleasure when administering her famous long, uncompromising stare; a stare so intimidating that children often referred to it as the death stare and it was enough, usually, to drive even the most disruptive student to tears.
The classroom fell silent, all eyes yet again were on Molly and the teacher. Molly was sometimes known as the class clown. She was small for her age, something she more than made up for in her attitude, never afraid to voice her opinion and very good at persuading others that her point of view was always right too.
“Step forward girl” the teacher quietly commanded. Molly’s twin brother Arran was sitting third row from the left. He shook his head and sighed. “This isn’t the first time is it?” Mrs Anderson asked. Though it was a question, the teacher clearly was not expecting an answer. Molly took a step forward. “No!” she retorted; her reply seemed all the more defiant when she stopped looking submissively at her own feet and began to stare directly into Mrs Andersons eyes. “Your beloved Professor is gone” said Mrs Anderson “And you can’t just pick fights with anyone who dares to question her sanity.”
Professor Rebecca Fidget to whom Mrs Anderson referred was brilliant, some might say a genius, but as far as Arran and Molly were concerned she was ‘The cleverest person in the whole wide world, even cleverer than the lady who daddy liked to watch on Countdown.’
Mrs Anderson never liked Professor Fidget; she was always a little too eccentric for her conservative sensibilities.
The Professor was also eight years old, well in a manner of speaking: Although she was nearing the ripe old age of thirty two an accident eight years ago left her with almost complete memory loss. Only fragments of her past remained. Though her intelligence and memories of all things scientific were intact doctors held out little hope that her past would one day return to her.
Her memory wasn’t the only loss that fateful day. Her father, with whom she shared the house, also disappeared. Unexplained. Never to be seen again.
The Professor had been working on a rather unique invention practically every night following the accident. Recently her experiments had taken an unexpected turn for the better. This prompted her to leave her post as head of science at the school; she simply couldn’t be distracted by meaningless pursuits such as employment.
“Please miss…” Arran raised his hand. “Never one without the other is there?” muttered Mrs Anderson without altering the direction of her gaze, which was firmly focused on Molly “I really don’t think you can help your sister out of this one Arran.” “Molly didn’t start it” said Arran earnestly. “It was…” “She knows” interrupted Molly, “She was there. She was there and did nothing!” “I’m not sure I like your tone Molly” bellowed the teacher. “Oh like I care!” shouted Molly. The rest of the class, including Mrs Anderson was stunned by Molly’s temper. No one had ever dared to speak to the teacher like that let alone not be frightened by her ‘death stare.’
It only took a moment for the gnome like expression of shock to leave Mrs Anderson’s face. This was unchartered territory, none of the children knew what she was going to do next; the metamorphosis which took place was quite remarkable though: Her nostrils began to flare, her breathing slowed and was much more deliberate. Her face, like an eager volcano, began to grow a deep shade of red. Rage was slowly building from within. She slowly clenched her fists and raised one arm.
The class was dumbfounded. Arran quickly arose from his seat and stood in-between his sister and the teacher. “Leave her alone!” He paused, remembering that confrontation was not his strongest quality. “…Please miss.” He turned his face away. He wasn’t about to let his sister be hit but certainly did not want to see it coming if the purple faced rage monster decided to attack.
The shocking red lipstick that was caked to the teachers wafer thin lips formed itself into a seditious smile. This was indeed a day for firsts, Arran and Molly had never seen her smile before and both wondered if the sudden shock to her face would cause it to crack. A few children in the class covered their eyes, too afraid to witness what was to follow.
“Well” Mrs Anderson finally said with all the calmness of a child psychologist “You want to share in your sisters punishment do you Arran?”
She handed them each a pink slip of paper from her desk. The papers already had Arran and Molly’s name scribbled on them.
“One weeks suspension to begin immediately. Now leave. You are no longer welcome in this classroom.”
Relieved, Molly shrugged and turned to walk out of the classroom followed by her brother.
“Oh and children.”
They both stopped without turning around.
“I’ll be calling your father to see what he makes of all this!”
Molly turned. “Oh please miss don’t. I’m sorry I…”
Mrs Anderson waited till they left before she continued with the days lesson as if nothing had happened.
The phone rang again. Professor Fidget hardly flinched, scribbling away in her note book; a continuation of the journal her father had efficiently maintained till his sudden disappearance. The persistent and unrelenting ringing forced the Professor to look up from her book and stare at the telephone. “Batsy” the Professor shouted. The ringing noise continued. Much more impatient now the Professor looked toward the stairs that led out of the basement and slammed her pen down on the desk. “Batsy!!” she yelled again “will you please, for the love of my sanity and your own self preservation move down these stairs and answer this confounded telephone.”
Barely a moment later the telephone ringing was accompanied by an equally distasteful sound to the Professors ears, a rather out of tune rendition of the Annie show song ‘The sun will come out tomorrow’, was being hummed by Batsy the Professors ever joyful housekeeper, which grew noisier and more irritating as she moved her ample plump and bouncy frame toward the telephone. Of course by the time she got there the phone stopped ringing. The Professor was not amused.
“Do you know who that was?” The Professor quizzed Batsy. The housekeeper thought for a moment before answering “Was it…” she paused “the school offering you your job back?” the Professor buried her head in her hands, “No no obviously not” she continued, “was it Arran? Molly? The Queen? No not the Queen how silly.” The Professor looked up and glared at her. “I don’t know do I. It was rhetorical.”
Batsy looked up and concentrated hard as though she were trying to recall a distant memory deep in the cobwebbed and vacant lot of her mind. “Don’t think we know anyone called terrorical Professor.”
“No Rhetorical. It means… Never mind. It was probably Uncle John.” The Professor thought for a moment, “calling to see if I had changed my mind regarding the sale of my father’s house.”
“Call him back and say thanks for the offer but tell him the answer is still no, I can’t leave.” not now I am so close to finishing she thought.
She stood up and walked toward the old dust sheet in the centre of the room; the unassuming stretch of army green material covered possibly the greatest invention of all time, something, for personal more than academic reasons she was now dedicated to complete herself.
“Are you not selling this house then Professor?” asked Batsy. The Professor turned to face her, “Not that it’s any of your concern”, answered Fidget, “but” she smiled, “no, for a few reasons, the least of them being that if I do you will become an unemployed homeless lady selling lucky clovers on street corners faster than you can click your fingers.”
The housecleaner then bemused Fidget as she, for the next two minutes proceeded to try unsuccessfully to click her fingers. Her unrelenting focus was disturbed only when the Professor gently put her hand over hers and said calmly “can you call Uncle John, today, and if possible, before one of us dies of old age?” The house cleaner did as she was told.
John was not actually the Professors birth uncle but a close friend of the family, and more importantly friend to her father since she was a child. This meant that he was now the closest family and link to her father she had. He also had two children whom Fidget absolutely adored.
“You always do this” said Arran, as he and Molly ambled slowly out of the school gate and down the country lane that led to Fidgets house. “What?” said Molly. “Miss Andersons not all that.” She laughed as she recalled her earlier defiance in front of possibly the meanest teacher in the school. “Well she certainly won this one” Arran pointed out “We’re now suspended from school. Dad will kill us.” “Who cares?” replied Molly. “Besides, we’re not going to dads are we?”
They both smiled as they approached the Professors front door. After three knocks the door slowly opened and out popped Batsy’s smiling face. “Children, come in” said the house keeper as she stepped aside to allow them passage into the house. One after the other the children jumped in through the front doorway. “Hi Batsy” said Arran, “Is the Professor downstairs?” “Shouldn’t you both be at school?” came a familiar inquisitive and friendly voice from the basement. The house keeper closed the front door as the two children rushed downstairs to see Fidget.
The solicitor, Jeffrey Peabody pushed the papers across the desk toward John Pentka. “It’s her house. If she doesn’t want to sell it, then she doesn’t have to. Her father’s instructions were quite specific, and it basically gives her power of attorney over the whole estate and everything contained within it.” “Why now?” asked John “And after all this time…”
He took the papers pressed them into the open briefcase on the desk, slammed it shut, picked it up and walked out of the office without saying goodbye.
The solicitor, rather used to his behavior thought nothing of it and proceeded to scribble into his note book.
“Is it finished yet Professor?” Molly asked Fidget. “Yea can we see?” continued Arran as they made their way toward the hidden object in the centre of the room. “Stop right there” Fidget quietly directed. “You can see it” she paused for thought “soon” she said.
Very soon, she thought.
Batsy popped her head round the corner. “Professor” she said; the Professor looked up. “That was John on the phone he’s coming over to see you; something about the house.” The Professor sighed as her eyes rolled toward the heavens. “I know he means well” suggested the Professor to the children, “But that father of yours can become a bit too embroiled into the affairs of other people.” “What does em-boiled mean Professor?” asked Molly. “It means she should tell dad to mind his own business” laughed Arran. “We’ll have none of that sort of talk about your father” instructed the Professor as she sent them upstairs with Batsy to sample some of the new double chocolate cookie ice cream Fidget had picked up for them when she went out to do her weekly shop, well, her weekly shop which was, as usual five weeks too late.
Once the children were out of sight, Fidget moved toward the centre of the room and in one swift movement yanked the sheet from the mysterious machine. A cloud of dust filled the air and settled onto the object that lay underneath. She marvelled momentarily at it in the time it took for the dust to settle.
The object was housed by a reinforced aluminium cage. Four red satin covered seats as you would expect to find in an old fashioned carriage, both front and rear, faced the front panel which comprised two silver dials, a series of buttons, a screen, a lever and a hollowed out square panel originally built by her father and later more recently amended and completed by his daughter, Rebecca Fidget.
She sat in, if it was a car what would be described as the driver’s seat and ran her fingers proudly across the front panel , glancing momentarily toward the front lever; she smiled and her heart rate increased as she slowly moved her hand so she was touching it. Just one push and the Professor would be sent hurtling through the fourth dimension; traveling through time.
The temptation was so great; there had been so many occasions over the past two weeks, since she completed her father’s machine that she had dared herself to push that lever.
She was only completely sure the machine finally worked when Muffy the housekeeper’s pet hamster re appeared after the Professor had sent him hurtling a few days into the future equipped with a mini electronic time piece and calendar all inside a miniaturized version of the time machine.
Fidget took a sentimental glance round her laboratory: her desk, her father’s journal, her father’s old camera; it was originally her father’s laboratory. The time machine was his project, and in truth the main reason Rebecca finished it was in the hope that one day her father and she would once again somehow be reunited.
Ok, it’s time she thought. The hollowed out panel was blank, she placed her fingers firmly in the middle of it and pushed, the panel began to glow a very bright white, she removed her hands from the platform, as she did so the light in the panel began to gradually dim, as it did the whole room around the Professor began to glow that same bright light, so bright in fact that Fidget had to momentarily cover her eyes, a few seconds later the room looked as it had done before.
Fidgets eyes were now firmly fixed on the panel, which was still a dull glow, she clenched one of her fists in eager anticipation “Come on, please work” she said to herself. All of a sudden the dull white expressionless glow from the panel began to change and an image slowly appeared in its place, gradually coming into focus like a developing photograph in a dark room.
The Professor afforded herself a huge grin and a triumphant punch into the air with her still clenched fist, the image of the room that surrounded her was now in firm focus in the panel in front of her.
“Ok, we’ll store that image” she said as she pushed a button to the right of the panel “And now for…” Her train of thought was interrupted by the sound of somebody walking down the stairs to the basement, calling her name.
“Rebecca, Rebecca are you down there?” John was close to the door but not yet in sight. The Professor had just enough time to get out and cover the machine over with the dust sheet then quickly sit behind her desk, pick up a book and pretend to be studiously reading.
The door opened.
“Working again I see.” He paused recalling the usual and unnecessary pleasantries that needed to be said before getting down the order of business. “How are you?” he enquired in his usual uncaring businesslike manner as he made his way from the door entrance to the Professors desk, carrying a briefcase under his arm.
He slammed the case on her desk, prompting Rebecca Fidget to slowly put her book down and look up toward him. “I’m fine thank you uncle” she answered sounding slightly irritated. She looked at the briefcase then back at John. “To what do I owe this ‘unexpected’ visit?”
Before John could answer, the temperature in the room suddenly fell quite dramatically; the Professor shivered and rubbed the sides of her arms in a futile effort to keep warm. “I see you brought the weather with you John.”
John seemed inexplicably distracted by this temperature change as he started to sniff the air and walk slowly with outstretched arms towards the centre of the room. Each step towards the centre resulted in a slight temperature drop. “John, for pity’s sake what are you doing?” the Professor asked. As John turned his head to look at the Professor the room temperature returned to normal. He lowered his hands and reluctantly walked back towards the Professor and his briefcase.
“What was that all about John?” Fidget asked. He looked accusingly at Fidget, studying her gaze before relaxing. “Nothing” he said, “to business.”John released the catch to unlock his case, took out a small selection of papers and handed them to the Professor. Before she could start reading he pushed a pen toward her and raised one eyebrow. “Come on Rebecca” he insisted. “Sign the papers; what do you want with this old house anyway?” “Oh uncle not again” she snapped back as she pushed the papers back across the desk toward him. “I’ve told you, many many times. This was my father’s house. I’m not selling it, not now not ever. What do you want with it anyway?” Johns face started to glow that familiar red which meant he was about to loose his temper and begin shouting.
Their conversation was abruptly interrupted by Molly and Arran running down the stairs. “Professor, Professor” Molly shouted, “Batsy said fathers on his…” Her sentence came to a sudden halt when she came face to face with John. “… way.” She finished her sentence without the same bravado she had displayed earlier in front of Mrs Anderson. “Hello Father” she said very politely. “Molly, Arran” John acknowledged without paying them much attention. “Hello father” said Arran “we’ve been suspended from school; you see Molly and the teacher…’
John only half listening interrupted, “you two are going to have to stay with the Professor tonight. I’m going away on business.” Trying hard to control their inner smiles the children nodded their heads in agreement. “I assume that’s fine with you Rebecca” he said to the Professor. “We’ll continue this discussion when I return.”
Once John had left, the Professor ushered the children out of the basement and up the stairs, followed closely by the Professor herself, turning to take one last look at the object covered by the dust sheet and affording herself a cheeky smile as she did so.
Just One Look
“What do you think the Professor is working on?” Molly quietly asked Arran later that night, whilst sitting up in her bed and looking toward him as he lay in the bunk across the room. There was no response, of course there wouldn’t be, it was two am and both kids were supposed to be fast asleep. Molly whispered again hoping to wake her brother. There was still no answer apart from an outward sleepy snort sounding remarkably like a frog had just escaped from his mouth. He followed it by a rubbing of his eyes as he turned to continue his slumber.
Looking rather like she had given up on waking her brother she resorted to speaking with Lancelot her favourite teddy bear instead. “What do you think the Professor is working on?” she asked the teddy as she looked intently into his plastic eyes. She raised the teddy bears arms into a shrugging pose and in a deeper voice than her own natural tone mimicked Lancelot answering her back. “I don’t know, but she’s being very secretive about it.” “Do you think Arran would know?” she continued in her natural tone. She then made another shrugging movement with Lancelot’s shoulders before smiling and throwing him with all her might at Arran’s head causing him to roll over and off the bed onto the floor “Oh I’m sorry, said Molly very innocently, did I wake you?”
Arran got up from the floor rubbing his head with one hand and carrying Lancelot in the other “Either that or your stupid teddy learned how to fly and fancied a chat!”
“Oh there he is; I’ve been looking for him” Molly lied as she held out her hands indicating her desire to have her teddy bear safely returned to its owner.
Arran handed Lancelot to Molly. “So what did you, em I mean Lancelot want to talk about?” Arran asked as he sat back on the bottom corner of his bed rubbing his sore head to check for bruises.
“The Professor” Molly replied. “She spends every day in that basement, every night till way after we have gone go to bed and the only thing we’re not allowed to see, the only thing that’s kept secret is under that green sheet.”
Arran nodded in agreement then shrugged his shoulders. He was not quite as inquisitive as his sister.
“Remember the time the Professor threw her shoe at Batsy’s head for trying to clean it?” Arran asked. “Yea” Molly chuckled. “Was quite impressive; she didn’t even look up from her notebook. Kept writing with one hand whilst slipping off her shoe and bopping Batsy on the head with the other.”
“Fancy a look?” Molly asked her brother with a raised eyebrow. “The Professor would kill us” said Arran. “She can’t tell us off for what she doesn’t know” said Molly “besides I just want to see.”She walked out of the room and crept down the hallway towards the stairs reluctantly followed by her brother.
The big old house looked rather different at night. Looming shadows from aging pieces of furniture appeared much more menacing than in daylight. Invisible echoes amplified every movement the children made, the sound of creaking floorboards and the wind rattling through the pipes masked only by the ticking of the old grandfather clock outside the Professors study. “Why is it when you’re trying to keep quiet every footstep makes the house creak more?” Arran whispered as he carefully made his way down the stairs that led to the basement “Shhh” replied Molly as she turned round with her finger pressed against her lip.
Molly turned the handle and opened the basement door. Once inside she ushered Arran to follow. He cautiously did so reaching for the light switch on the wall, and with one flick illuminated the whole room. “I’m not sure about this” said Arran with one foot out of the door. “I might go to bed.” “Go to bed then!” snapped Molly. “You’ll never find out what’s under that sheet, cos I won’t tell you.”She folded her arms and turned so she was facing away from Arran.
Arran thought for a moment, he was after all curious as to what was under the sheet, not only that, walking on his own back through the dark stairs and corridors back to bed was not his idea of fun, so he resigned himself to stay. “Ok one look and we go back to bed” he said to Molly who was already advancing toward the hidden object. “Yes just one look” she replied as she yanked off the cover and threw it over to the corner of the room.
The First Flight
The time machine now visible by both children lay before them “Cool” they both said in amazement. “What is it?” Arran asked. Molly shrugged her shoulders, “I dunno.” She circled the time machine, studying the front panel and red satin seats. “It’s like an old fashioned car without wheels” Arran said. “Of course!” Molly finally concluded. “It’s a hovercraft.” Arran was unconvinced. “I don’t think so.” “It is!” she said. “Look I’ll drive, get in.” With that she hopped into the driver’s seat. Arran stayed put. “Are you getting in or not?” asked Molly. Arran shook his head. Molly was a little deflated by her brothers lack of enthusiasm. “I promise I won’t touch anything.”
He cautiously walked around the machine and sat in the passenger seat. “Good day sir.” Molly playfully said in her poshest voice as Arran sat down. “I am your chauffer for the day. Would you care to go to the palace?” Arran smiled and joined the role play “Why yes Jeeves. Go through the park first; you know how I love the park.
Arran looked at the dashboard, then at the front panel. “Hey Molly, look” he said pointing at the image in front of him, “it’s a picture of this room.” “Oh yea” replied his sister. “It’s probably a safety thing” she continued as if she was very knowledgeable as to how hi tech hovercrafts work. “It makes sure we don’t bump into anything or hit the ceiling.” “How do you know?”He asked. “This is your first hovercraft too.” If that’s even what this is he thought.
Molly shook her head and using her usual jump first and think later philosophy by which she had lived her life so far stretched out her hand and pressed the image in front of her.
The image began to glow and she pulled her hand back as fast as she could; both children’s heart rates increased. “What did you do that for?” shouted her brother. “I didn’t do anything” she replied defensively. “But look at that” she pointed to a green button which had started flashing to the right of the image. She glanced at Arran who, like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a car, was too afraid to move anywhere, but was clearly not fond of the situation he was now placed. “I think I should press It.” she said with a slight chuckle and before Arran could voice any objection she quickly pushed the button and held it there till the green stopped flashing.
For a moment nothing happened. Arran breathed a huge sigh of relief whilst Molly, rather disappointed, grunted “Fat lot of good that is, it doesn’t even…” She didn’t get to finish her sentence as the time machine started vibrating; this was soon accompanied by a low pitched hum as the room around them began to fade and drift out of focus. It gave Molly a slight headache looking out; it was as if she was putting on a pair of glasses that were far too strong for her.
Arran didn’t have the same feeling at all, he was too busy closing his eyes as tight as he could whilst pressing his hands against his ears.
Normally Molly would have laughed at her brother behaving in this manner, but for the moment she was just as scared. Suddenly there was a huge explosive flash of bright light outside the machine. As quick as it had arrived, the light faded and the children found themselves looking outside into the laboratory again, everything as it had been before.
But wait, something was different. The Professor was sitting at her desk reading a book. “We’re in trouble now” said Arran. “Sorry Professor” he said, “It was Molly’s fault. I told her I wanted to go to bed but then she hit me with a teddy and so I switched on the light and now we’re in your hovercraft.”
The Professor didn’t even look up from her book. “See what you’ve done?” said Arran. “The Professor can’t even look at us. I’ve never seen her this angry.” The basement door opened and in walked John, their father. “Dad’s here” said Molly. “Shh” said Arran. “Wait a minute, he’s ignoring us too.”
John Pentka was wearing the same boring suit he had on earlier that day and was carrying the same briefcase. He also had the same un-empathetic look on his face, though the children were used to that. Arran wondered what he was doing there in the middle of the night.
John walked across the room without so much as a glance toward the children and slammed his briefcase down on the Professors desk; she put her book down and began speaking with their father.
“He can’t have not noticed us” said Arran. “He’ll notice if we stand right between them.” snapped Molly who didn’t like spending too long in any situation she didn’t understand. With that she turned round and attempted to get out of the time machine. “Ouch!” she yelled as she banged her head. There was an invisible wall surrounding the whole machine, soundproof and inescapable. “I can’t get out.” Molly shouted.
Arran wasn’t paying any attention he was much more concerned now with what was in the machine itself.
“Molly look” he said, pointing at the dashboard. Directly under the picture of the room was a digital display it read:
Destination 8 hours: 32 minutes into the past. Hover mode engaged.
“Oh my goodness” said Arran “It’s a time machine. Professor Fidget has invented a time machine!” Molly turned to look at the display in disbelief; she then turned to face her brother. “I mean I’d have preferred a blue police box that was bigger on the inside, but still, a time machine. This must be earlier today when father was here.”
Materialization in 20 seconds.
“Twenty seconds?” shouted Arran “It’s counting down.”
“What do we do?” Molly’s attention was firmly fixed on her father who was now looking right at her from the other side of the room. “Dads stretching out his arms. He’s walking this way. Arran he knows we’re here!” Arran was still looking at the display.
“Molly do something.” “Oh yea. I’m quite the time traveller; I know exactly how this thing works.” Molly shouted sarcastically as her father drew closer.
“Molly now!” Shouted Arran. “Press anything!!”Molly began randomly pressing a series of buttons.
“If we end up landing in Jurassic Park you’re getting eaten before me!” snapped Molly as she finally came to press the same green button that had transported them there in the first place. The display changed:
The time machine began to vibrate and the laboratory disappeared from view. Almost immediately they found themselves back in the same place they started from.
Both children sat back in their seats and breathed a huge sigh of relief. “That was close” observed Molly. “Do you think?” shouted Arran in the most sarcastic tone he could find. “I suggest we get out of here, put the sheet over this thing and hope the Professor doesn’t…” “Oh no” Molly interrupted, “look over there. We’re right back in time again.”
Both children looked across the laboratory to see the Professor sitting behind her desk reading her book as she had done a minute or so before. “What are we going to do?” asked Arran. There was a pause, Molly shrugged.