-scrambles in almost late- STORY TIME FOLKS.
Enjoy your last few hours of February to their fullest by reading the new part of Long Lost! -jazz hands- eyyy
There is a sort of plan in motion now. And perhaps even a way they could find out more about Demetrius and Jane.
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Part 7: Clocked Out
“I don’t see why you need to check the watch log for where I’ve been,” Demetrius said, “when I have a list of where else I need to go right here.” With his hand that wasn’t hanging from the makeshift scarf-sling, he dug in his coat pocket and pulled out a piece of worn parchment.
Jonah sighed and shook his head. “No, see, we’re trying to figure something else out.” He paused for a second. “Trying to work out why there are folks coming after us. Something in that warp log of yours might give us a clue what you d-…”
“We think we might be able to find out something about Jane,” Chase cut in.
I looked at him out of the corner of my eye and gave a subtle thumbs-up.
Demetrius immediately perked up. “Jane? You…” he stopped for a second, blinking. “You think I overlooked her? That I passed by where she was and …”
“No, no, nothing like that,” I reassured. “There just might be some clues that would be … easier to spot with some help, you know?’
“Surely you’re not considering crossing back over my own timeline?” Demetrius side-eyed me. “It’s one thing for you young people to talk about travelling unprotected, but crossing back over somewhere there’s another version of you could have much more serious consequences than time sickness.” He swung his legs down off the edge of the cot and looked at all of us gravely.
Chase’s brow furrowed and he glanced over at Jonah and me. “… yeah?”
I frowned back a little at him, getting slightly worried myself, but shrugging. Not like I was wanting to cross any of our already existing timelines for anything. I could have guessed that would be a thing. Wasn’t that always like… point number one in all time travel movies, anyway?
Though crossing Demetrius’s timestream … with everywhere he’s been, all of history is a complete minefield.
Demetrius opened his mouth, but Jonah cut him off before he could get started.
“Right, yeah. We know about all that. None of us are in the mood to die today, anyway.” He moved over next to the cot and held out his hand. “If you’d kindly unlock your watch so I could have a look, here …”
Demetrius still looked suspicious, but got out his watch, pressing his thumb firmly against the top and carefully twisting a knob on the side before handing it over to Jonah.
I had to admit, I tensed up just a little bit. Jonah knew more about time travel than we did, sure. But he still wasn’t the safest person I’d trust with a time travelling device.
He turned it over in his hands and gave a low whistle. “Niiiice. You got a real high-end one here, didn’t you, buddy?”
“I’ve simply had it for as long as I can remember,” Demetrius replied. “Though…”
“That’s not a real impressive statement for how long you’ve had it,” Jonah raised an eyebrow.
I shot him a cold glare.
“… sadly,” he added as an afterthought.
“Do you know how to find the log?” Chase asked, impatience leaking through in his tone.
“Yeah, yeah, I got it.” Jonah moved back to his creaky old chair, still turning the watch over in his hands. He sat down and picked up his old tin mug with one hand, taking a sip of the stuff inside – something he apparently thought counted as coffee – before clunking it down again and focusing all attention on the task at hand.
He poked at a few parts, twisted the knob one way, then the other. And then he took a deep breath and winced like he was waiting to be punched as he hit the latch to flip the watch open.
I jumped a little, my heart pounding at the tiny, innocent click. After the last time that was opened, I was partly expecting to be zapped into the Civil War or something. But we all stayed just where we were. The only thing that came out of the watch was a projection of green letters and numbers in a data chart.
I let out a shaky breath.
Jonah grinned. “Ha! First try, too.”
Chase’s shoulders still hunched tensely as he watched the green text scroll past under Jonah’s fingers. “First … try,” he remarked flatly.
“Yeah. I’m usually pretty lucky with technology, as it turns out,” Jonah responded, his gaze flicking back and forth over the information that all looked backwards from where we were sitting.
I moved over next to him and peered over his shoulder. It was a list of dates and time periods. Then the column next to that had times.
Dublin, Ireland, 223 A.D. – 78 hours, 3 minutes, 56 seconds.
Bethlehem, Israel, 52 B.C. – 90 hours, 42 minutes, 4 seconds.
Toronto, Canada, 2148 A.D. – 50 hours, 20 minutes, 43 seconds.
Tons of dates and times scrolled past. All over the globe. All over time. And in none of them did the hours amount to anything over a hundred.
Chase moved over next to us, staring. “And you’ve … been all these places?” he pointed to the list and looked over at Demetrius.
Demetrius didn’t say anything for a few more seconds, his gaze just glued to the green columns of data flickering in the air. “I suppose I have,” he murmured. He looked somehow older than a minute before.
This was a lot more places than I would have ever guessed he could have been. A lot. If he’d picked up memories from all these places he’d been, no wonder he was pretty much insane by now.
Jonah seemed to be the only one not surprised, only pulling his mouth to the side and raising his eyebrows in a sort of “what’d you expect?” look. He leaned back a little, looking over at me. “Right, so what was it you wanted to see in this?”
“Just …” I flicked my finger in an imitation of his scrolling motion as I looked over the list of times. “Keep scrolling down.”
And he did. More and more random historical dates jumping all over the place. Just imagining visiting all these places and times almost made me dizzy. I love history, but I couldn’t imagine processing it at a pace like that.
The hours he stayed places consistently never hit above a hundred. Down and down the list, further and further.
And then, finally, I saw what I wanted to see.
Liverpool, England, 1915 A.D. – 8,544 hours, 22 minutes, 1 seconds.
“There,” I pointed. “Stop there.”
Jonah and Chase both stared. Demetrius looked vaguely confused.
“Liverpool?” he tilted his head. “What’s so curious about Liverpool? I’ve been there many times. I grew up …” he trailed off for a second. “At least I think I grew up there.”
As tempting as it was to ask Demetrius all my questions, his memories had already proved themselves to be really unreliable. I didn’t respond. And besides that, his accent sounded nothing like any of the Beatles.
“That’s a lot more hours than the other places,” Chase remarked. “That has to be like a year, at least. Everywhere else, he only stayed four days, if that.”
A cold feeling tickled down my spine. “Nineteen fifteen. That’s at the beginning of World War One.”
Talk about an un-fun time to get sent back to.
All the years before that, things fell into a pretty regular pattern. Mainly recognizable historical event dates, switched off with a time and place that wasn’t labeled, beyond just “HQ.” I guessed it made sense for the society headquarters to have a shorter log title.
Something definitely changed after that ping in Liverpool.
Jonah tapped on it a couple of times and a more detailed file came up. A few more pings within this one of different towns and cities in England, with more times. Most of them were small, but it looked like the majority of his time spent was actually in London. London was the last one on the list before he’d gone somewhere else.
I pointed to it. “Can you get a fix on the date and location so we could go like… the same location, right after that?”
“Around there, yeah.” Jonah scratched at the side of his head a little, squinting at the watch data. “Within a few days, probably.”
Demetrius looked offended as he stood from the cot, towering over the rest of us with his dangling scarves and swooshing coat. “My watch is always on time, Mr. Harkley.”
“Harkman,” Jonah corrected him. “And forgive me if I’m a little doubtful, Mr. Timehead.” He eyed him, looking up from under the brim of his hat skeptically.
“I’m the only one who can operate it anyway,” Demetrius reached over and took the watch back. “It’s DNA locked.”
“Okay then, if you can get us there, let’s go.” I straightened back up.
Chase’s eyes widened. “Hey, whoa, whoa! We can’t just … go back looking like this, can we? Victorian London and I’m still in my pajama pants. My very wet, dirty, torn-up pajama pants, now.”
“Nineteen fifteen isn’t Victorian times, actually.”
Chase raised his eyebrows.
“Okay, you do have a point.” I looked around at all of us. We’d stick out like a bunch of sore thumbs the way we all looked, currently. “So we … what do we do?”
Jonah stood up out of the chair and stretched. “We’ll do what we can with what we’ve got.” He shrugged. “Surprisingly, most of the time most folks don’t really care what you’re dressed like.”
“Well, I care,” Chase replied emphatically, gesturing to his pants again. “I’m already black. I don’t need to call any more attention to myself.”
“I should have some extra pants in my trunk over there.” Jonah gestured over towards the rough box in the corner. He twisted his mouth to one side. “This better be a pretty quick, there-and-back trip though, seeing as none of us really have scarves … Don’t want to be hopping around more than necessary, or stand out too much.” He turned his attention to Demetrius, squinting one eye.
I glanced over at him as well, pressing my lips together for a second. I could guess he was thinking around the same thing I was.
“What’s the matter?” Demetrius looked between the two of us.
One of the main ideas here was to find out more about what happened with Demetrius. And we were more than likely to run into a few people who knew him. Which would be good for answering questions, but as far as seeing Demetrius in his current state …
“You might want to clean up for London a little, buddy,” Jonah advised. He eyed the scruffy ends of Demetrius’s overgrown beard. “I’ll get my razor.”
While I was pretty antsy to get going, our morning routine took longer than expected. Muscling our way through breakfast, plus shaving an insane, time-travelling historian. Both were pretty serious tasks.
Breakfast was homemade jerky, though really, I was a little suspicious that Jonah might have just cut a piece of leather off his saddle and given a bit to each of us to gnaw on. And Chase and I already knew to stay far away from his coffee.
Chase, thankfully, was able to replace his pants, even if the legs of the new ones were a little short for him.
Demetrius looked almost like a completely different person with his beard gone. He looked more human and less like an escaped convict, even with his hair still so long. His face was thinner than I had thought before. He seriously looked like he was starving. If I weren’t so worried that it would pull out his teeth, I would have given him an extra piece of jerky.
The rest of our preparations for London were kinda pathetic.
I made myself a makeshift skirt out of a blanket. Chase buttoned his shirt up the rest of the way. Jonah shaved a little, but refused to give up his hat.
Thank goodness we weren’t planning to stay long.
So there we were, a few hours later–all huddled in the middle of Jonah’s cabin around Demetrius, as he took his time fiddling with a few knobs and tapping on the watch face.
Then finally, he looked up and smiled, showing the smile lines in his cheeks for the first time without the beard hiding them. “All ready to go?”
London, nineteen-sixteen. World War One, and hopefully some answers. I grinned back. “Heck, yeah.”
Chase blew out a sigh, looking less eager, and nodded.
Jonah touched his fingertips to the brim of his hat and straightened up. “Jane Doe, here we come.”
Demetrius wound one more dial on the watch, then flipped it open. And for the second time, I got sucked away into the whirling tornado of the timestream.
-bum bUM BUM-
Find out more, next Thursday!
Hope you guys have a great weekend. ❤