Short story of a the unexplained friendship between a mad scientist and a little boy.
Hello, I am Thomas Sullivan, but you can just call me Tommy. I live at number twelve Robinson Avenue, in a small wooden house with my parents. I am an only child so life was pretty boring when my parents were working, until one day a very strange man moved in next door at number thirteen.
He had black hair, with grey streaks, sticking out in all directions. He had jet black eyes which looked just positively wild and really terrified me. Every time I saw him, he was wearing a white lab coat which was always covered with a greeny mixture and smelt a bit like dirty socks, and he was always running from his little red, ramshackle house to his little beat up Volkswagen. He was also always muttering to himself.
I suppose now I should give ‘him’ a name. His name is Luigi Vunicci and he is a retired scientist from the south of Italy. Well at least that’s what my mother tells me. I also heard her whispering to Dad that he would probably be the reason for things going “bump in the night”.
My story begins on a Monday night, the 20 April to be exact. I was lying in bed after Mom had come in to kiss me goodnight, when a heard a loud clanging noise, then an explosion, then silence. I got out of bed and tiptoed to the window. Looking out, I saw charcoal coloured smoke seeping out of Mr Vunicci’s basement window.
So I put on my gown and slowly slipped out the door. I crept past my parent’s door; both were snoring soundly, fast asleep. I tiptoed down the stairs and felt around in the dark until I felt my hand curl around the cold, brass doorknob. Gently I twisted it, and pulled the door open while trying to muff the sound of the faithful old creak. I stepped outside as the rather cold winter air stung around my face and my toes. I silently closed the door and sprung off the porch. I snuck next door through the hole in the wooden fence and crawled to Mr Vunicci’s basement window.
I peeped inside, but could see nothing. Frustrated, I stood up and debated whether to go back home when I spotted the outside door leading into the basement. I walked up to it and slowly grabbed the handle and pulled the door open ever so slightly. I peeked my head inside, what I saw was quite a surprise.
The basement resembled an old run down laboratory. There were steel tables against the walls with all sorts of exciting equipment on them. There were cages with rats, lizards and even ratards (rats head with a lizard’s body). The room smelt similar to Mr Vunicci’s lab coat. I couldn’t see much more as the smoke covered the room with a soft, veil curtain. But as the smoke escaped through the door I could make out Mr Vunicci standing in the centre of the room, next to a very large, very strange looking machine.
The machine had millions of little buttons and blinking lights of all different colours. It was made from kitchen appliances; well at least I saw what looked like a microwave door, sticking out of one side. The machine was almost double the height of Mr Vunicci and about the same measurement in width, but Mr Vunicci was a rather small man.
Mr Vunicci was standing on a small step ladder, painting a green strip along the top of the machine. To get a closer look, I crept in a little more, but accidentally knocked a cow bell which lay on the floor which let out a small, metallic screech as it skid across the floor. Mr Vunicci looked at me, “What …. ?” but he was so surprised, that as he turned around, the ladder gave an unsteady shake and Mr Vunicci came tumbling towards the floor. He landed on the ground with a thump and as he was shaking off the shock, the paint bucket which he was holding, came tumbling towards him and landed on his poor, grey head with a splat!
I ran forward and helped him up, minutes later we were both seated at his rickety kitchen table on two equally unsteady looking chairs. He was telling me about his past, well future. Mr Vunicci, I mean Luigi as he told me to call him, said that he came from the future. “I had built a time machine; many thought I was lying so I told them I would prove it. I climbed into the TimeFlash and started it up by jump starting it” he said that jump starting was a new trick he had learnt from his son, “comes in handy sometimes!” He said as he gave me a wink. “So I jetted off into space, jumping through time zones. All of a sudden my generator crashed and I was flying through light years. I crashed through a time barrier and crashed into a tower an Italy. I believe you call it the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Well now son, you know why it is leaning.” He said with a smile. “I moved here to get some parts for the TimeFlash at a funny place called Wal-Mart, amazing place, absolutely amazing.” I had caught him in the middle of adding his last piece to TimeFlash. “I don’t suppose you could help me to finish it off?” he asked. “Of course!” I said with a beaming smile. Wait until the boys at school here about this!
We trotted off, back down to the basement. We work well together. He asks for things, I pass them to him with the occasional “What’s that?” in between. Finally, at half past one in the morning, 21 April the TimeFlash was finished. Luigi turned and gave me I sad smile. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “Well,” he began, “I have been living in this time zone for hundreds of years, and I suppose I am going to miss it. But thank you for helping me and I promise to come and visit soon. As a token of my gratitude is there anything a can get for you? A dinosaur bone? A cell phone from the year 2900?” “Well,” I said, “I would really love to have a copy of our Geography test next week?” Luigi laughed and gave me a smile, “Of course. Now I must be on my way, my family is probably missing me. When I give you thumbs up Tommy, I need you to press that button over there ok?” He said, pointing at a large red button on the side of the time machine. “Ok!” I said.
Luigi climbed into the TimeFlash and gave me the thumbs up. I saluted him and gave him a small wave then I pushed the big, red button. The time machine gave a screech, and then blasted forwards into the sea of time. Wow, I thought. What. A. Night.
I switched off the lights and crept out the basement door, shutting it firmly. I snuck across the garden, to the hole in the fence and climbed through it and up the porch stairs to my front door. I glanced up at the sky and saw a green light shoot across the sky. I opened the door quietly and came inside. I tiptoed up the stairs and past my parent’s door. Still sleeping. I went into my room and slid into bed, pulling the duvet up over my head and fell into a deep sleep.
I woke up the next morning and got ready for school. I suddenly remembered what had occurred the night before. With a sneaky smile on my face I walked downstairs to the kitchen. While eating my cereal I heard Mum mention to Dad that Mr Vunicci had moved back to Italy. I just smiled into my cereal bowl and ran off to school.
I never knew what became of Luigi but when I got home that afternoon, I found a surprise on my bed. The top paper on the pile said:
29 April 2009
I smiled to myself and sat on the striped carpet in my room and began to study for my test. I passed with flying colours, but failed my History test on Italy. Apparently Pisa was built skew, but come on, who would make such a stupid mistake?
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