“Are you sure this is going to work?” I looked at the big, whirring piece of metal covered in buttons, knobs, and levers that my friend was fiddling around with.
“Nope.” He responded. “But hey, even if you die, you will do so spectacularly!” I gave him a look to let him know that comment did nothing to calm my buzzing nerves. “Sorry.” He went back to adjusting a large dial labeled “Sinister and Deadly, DO NOT TOUCH”.
“Ugh I’m so worried…” I shook myself, and resumed my path I’d been tracing around the room.
He shrugged, then stepped back from his work. “Don’t be. This could be the biggest scientific breakthrough ever! Enjoy your moment.” He turned and walked over to hug me. “You’ll be fine, I promise.”
“Thanks. So, when will it be ready?”
“Now.” He grabbed my hand and tugged me across the dusty floor to the machine. “Just step inside, you should be fine, okay? You have to be…” He turned his face away, and I was pretty sure it was to shield me from his own fears. And maybe tears…
I opened the door. Inside was like a large, squishy, pillow-covered barrel. I let out a big breath, and climb up and inside. Three steps in I almost tripped over an extra blanket. We had covered the room – and me – in padding. We had no idea how bumpy the trip would be, and it would be a waste if I got to my destination dead from banging around on the walls. So there were pillows and blankets in the room and I was wearing a huge, heavy winter coat over three layers of clothes.
“Hey Gayle, can you hand me my bag? And the straps to hold it down.” The black duffel bag I was borrowing for my trip came flying through the doorway and I had to duck to avoid it. “Thanks.” I muttered, as I started to tie the bag down with the straps that had followed it.
Once I was done I leaned out the door frame. “Hey Gayle, do you have any snacks for the trip?” His head poked around the corner and he rubbed dirt out of his eyes.
“You cannot be serious. You do realise that we have no idea what lies ahead? Snacks? Not the best idea.” He disappeared behind a humming, and slightly rattling, box.
“I was joking. Although, I could go for a chocolate bar right now…” A balled up piece of paper soared past my head. “Wow, you really like throwing stuff at my face today, don’t you?”
“I didn’t throw anything at your face.” He sighed and walked over to me. He put his arms around me, his tall lanky frame enveloping my short one. “Be careful.” He whispered quietly. “You have to come back safe, Nata. . Okay?”
“Got it. Don’t do anything stupid while I’m gone.” I pulled away, climbing back into the Time Machine’s cavernous and now-terrifying stomach. “I’m taking the pill now. When I wake up, I should be where again?”
“When is a better question. Ancient Egypt, and you have to find Cleopatra, and you have to tell her about Caesar’s plot, and you have to warn her, okay?”
“Okay. Now, lets get this over with, if we wait any longer I’m going to chicken out, big time.” I curled up on the floor, pulling the extra blanket around me, and pulled out a small capsule from my jeans pocket.
Unscrewing the lid, I picked up the pill that would render me unconscious for just long enough for me to have an uninterrupted trip to 48 BC, where, if all went well, I would meet Cleopatra and Julius Caesar, and complete the mission that Gayle and I had been planning for 3 years.
I popped the pill in my mouth. It tasted terrible, but it did the trick. Drowsily I closed my eyes. In the distance I could hear Gayle’s voice, but it sounded…blurred…surely he wasn’t actually telling me he loved me? That was too cliche for his style. But then there was a thud as the door swung shut and I could hear mechanic locks shutting me in.
Then my eyes closed, and I was out.
To be continued…