Two cousins have a very exciting day.
Mrs Crowe stuck her head out of her kitchen window and called out, “Hi, Elizabeth, I noticed you had a new appliance delivered,”
Elizabeth carried on walking to her home next door. She simply nodded, muttering under her breath, “Nosy old bag.”
She entered her house and called out to her husband, Stan. “So, I gather from Mrs Nosy, next door, the new washing machine arrived.”
Stan was in the basement, “We’re down here, Liz.”
Elizabeth went down to where her husband and their seven-year-old son, Jedd, were installing the new washing machine. “Hi, baby, are you helping, daddy?”
Jedd was hiding in the box the machine had been packed in. Even standing up, Elizabeth couldn’t see the top of his head. She laughed and pretended she couldn’t see him until he tipped it over and crawled out.
“Great box, huh?” She ruffled his blonde hair. “Well, now I can catch up on all that laundry that’s
been piling up since last week.”
The following day, Elizabeth’s sister came for a visit, bringing her new baby and six-year-old Jacob. While they were all fawning over the baby, the two cousins went outside to play.
Jacob was as dark as his cousin was fair, but they were like best mates and loved spending time with each other. Jedd, being the oldest by six months, was the one who usually came up with their games.
The two boys loved annoying Mrs Crowe next door. She owned a little dog, Percy. Jedd’s dad had said it was bollocks to call a dog Percy. Since then the boys liked to go and call him to the fence using that name and get him to come over.
“Bollix!” they called softly, “Come here. Come and play with us.” Jedd waved a lamb chop bone through a small gap in the fence.
Percy had recently dug a little hole under the fence and wiggled under. His bristly fur went every which way. He had one eye patch that made him look like a pirate, one ear that stood up, the other one drooped.
Jacob grabbed the dog and ran. They were waiting to hear Mrs Crowe begin to search for her dog. When she called out for Percy it always cracked them up.
Jedd opened the outdoor entrance to the basement, and they ran down the stairs, laughing, still holding tight to Bollix.
“What’s this?” Jacob pointed to the huge cardboard box, which still stood in the middle of the floor.
“It’s a time machine.” Jedd had a great imagination.
His cousin always went along with Jedd’s great games. “Yeah? Have you tried it out?”
“Sure! Last week, I went forward to next Christmas. It was great, I’m getting a new red bike.”
Jacob laughed, getting the joke, and dropped Bollix into the box.
“He won’t be able to get out of there himself unless we tip the box over. Let’s climb in and play.” Jedd grabbed an old chair and helped Jacob in before he followed and closed the cardboard flaps above their heads.
Although it was quite dark, Jacob could see where his cousin had fashioned a control board of sorts. What looked like knobs and levers were drawn in black and red marker pens.
“What’s this one?” Jacob pressed the red button.
Suddenly the box began to tremble and shake, then to rock this way and that. The two boys gripped each other, and Bollix slid around. Then it began to spin. Jedd shouted, “Dad, stop doing that!” thinking it was his father playing tricks.
However, the box continued to rock violently, the spinning continued until the boys could no longer stand and ended up piled in a corner with Bollix on top of them. They felt a sensation that told them they were no longer on the basement floor but were floating. There was no other sound except the whistling of the wind as they sped up. From out of the gaps at the top of the box, they saw the sun, then the stars, before the sun appeared again. Clouds, rain, thunder, lightning. Then utter silence as their time machine suddenly became still.
The three occupants stared at each other. The whites of Bollix’s brown eyes showed as he stared at his young companions. He cocked his little head and his questioning look said it for all of them.
“What happened, Jedd?” Jacob’s shaky voice enquired of his cousin.
“Dunno.” Jedd’s knees, which were just under his chin, shook.
“Open the flaps. Stick your head out. Maybe there was an earthquake.” Jacob’s voice trembled. “Perhaps everyone’s dead.” He began to cry.
“Don’t cry. I’ll just have a peek. He opened the four flaps of the box, and cautiously, straightening his skinny brown legs, he stood himself up. He wasn’t tall enough to see the whole way out, but the first glance told him they certainly weren’t at home.
He could see blue sky and fluffy white clouds, which on the face of it was pretty normal other than the fact they’d started out in a basement. But a great, flying bird-like creature with a wicked looking beak wasn’t something which normally flew around their town. Jedd ducked back down to join his buddies.
“What did you see?”
“I think we must have been blown away by the storm.” Jedd’s voice trembled. He was near to tears, but somehow kept control of his voice. “It’s okay though, we seem to have landed somewhere nice and warm. Come on, let’s get out of this thing.” He rocked the box until it fell over on to its side and they all scampered out onto the red earth.
The three unlikely travellers stood silently for a few moments before Jacob whispered, “It looks like we’re in that movie, Jurassic Park. Look at the mountains and the cliffs. And that!” He too saw the same winged creature soaring above the earth. “That’s a Tetradactyl!”
Jedd had forgotten his cousin was dinosaur obsessed. He had pictures of them stuck all over his bedroom walls. It had all started after he watched the Jurassic Park movie. Jedd’s mum had said he was too young to watch and the movie would give him bad dreams. But Jacob had seen it and couldn’t stop talking about it. Especially about when the T. Rex munched the man’s head off!
Bollix suddenly let out a yelp, the boys watched as he tried to jump back in the box. They wondered what had got into the dog, but they didn’t have to wonder for very long. From out of a forest of strange looking trees there came a… “Triceratops!” Jacob tried to scream, but Jedd clamped his hand over his cousin’s mouth.
“Shhh. Don’t let him see us.” They threw themselves behind a huge boulder and watched as the massive creature came nearer.
Bollix whimpered. The boys glared at him, their looks pleading with him to keep silent.
The Triceratops lumbered on by. Thankfully, it seemed to have a destination in mind. The ground on which they crouched trembled with each step until it reached a grassy plain in the distance.
“I don’t understand what happened. How could a washing machine box turn into a time machine?”
“It’s the power of imagination. Mum always told me if you believe hard enough, anything is possible. Anyway, it doesn’t matter how it happened. We need to get back home before we get eaten for supper by one of these creatures.” Jedd had decided to take control of the situation.
“Do you have a plan?” The younger boy’s voice held a glimmer of hope. He looked up at his slightly taller cousin.
Just as Jedd began to formulate a plan, the earth trembled again. Their first instinct was to run for their lives, but when they saw the T. Rex heading towards their hiding place, Jacob screamed. It was all too much for him and his bravery was running out.
The creature’s long neck swung in their direction. They’d been spotted, there was to be no escape.
Bollix ran from behind the boulder, his little legs running as fast as they could.
“He’s trying to lure the T. Rex away from us. He’ll be killed.” Jedd felt sick. He simply closed his eyes, not daring to look.
“Look, the Triceratops is coming back. We’ve got to run.” Jacob turned to go back to the time machine.
But the mortal enemies had other things on their minds besides two little boys and a scruffy terrier.
T. Rex and the Triceratops both roared and snarled at each other and before long were locked in mortal combat. Triceratops, the three horned, plant-eating behemoth, attacked his enemy with a viciousness the boys could hardly bear to watch. But the Tyrannosaurus Rex wasn’t one to be defeated. This giant lizard king was, as almost everyone knows, the most fearsome killing machine in the history of life on earth. It charged at top speed, ramming Triceratops on its flank, using its massive head. The herbivore staggered, regained balance, and attempted to inflict damage with its horns. T. Rex lunged for his opponent’s throat but collided with its massive bony frill instead, and both creatures toppled to the ground. The battle hung in the balance.
While all the fighting was going on, Jedd and Jacob had grasped the opportunity to climb back into the time machine. Bollix came racing up just in time before the T. Rex raised his bloodied head and saw them.
Jacob grabbed the dog by the scruff of his neck and hauled him in. “Quick, he’s coming for us!” He screamed.
The great looming head leaned down, just inches from their faces. The stink of his breath almost made them vomit.
Jedd pressed the button with the word ‘Home’ written in red ink.
The box began to hum, then to tremble before it began to spin. The brave trio clung together as a repeat of their previous journey took place. Stars, darkness, bright sunlight, storms. And then nothing.
“Oh, there you are, boys.” It was Jedd’s mother’s voice. “Your Mum’s been looking for you, Jacob. It’s time you went home. Oh, and Mrs Crowe has been calling for Percy for the last hour. Did you tempt him to come under the fence again?”
They all climbed out of the washing machine box. Percy ran like the wind, scrabbling under the fence as fast as his little legs could take him.
“We’ll be there in a minute, Mum,” Jedd called out to his mother as she left the basement.
Jacob smiled at his cousin. “Well, that was a great adventure. Shall we do it again?”
Jedd just winked, and they both went inside the house.