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Rated: E · Short Story · Sci-fi · #2141154
History is not such a boring topic after all... (Writers Cramp Win)
“I don’t know, Tim. It looks like a bomb.” Ivy Turner tried pulling her husband back but, of course, he just had to examine the thing. Doing a big job like remodeling either made or broke a couple. It was breaking them. “Please, Tim. It scares me.”

She didn’t let go of his sleeve. He jerked it right out of her hand. “This London basement was here long before World War Two. Heck, it might go back to Roman times. What is that thing?”

“You never listen.” Ivy’s tone of voice grew desperate. She was a tall blond in her mid-twenties just below Tim’s six foot, black Irish good looks. The last of the plaster chunks broke off the wall making the old Luftwaffe’s SC50 bomb slip. There wasn’t even enough time to scream. The blast from the past blew Tim back into Ivy, shattering them both against the far wall.

The ringing in Tim’s ears wouldn’t stop. “What happened?” He tried rubbing them as he got up from Ivy.

“The question should be, why aren’t we dead? Why did you have to touch that thing.” Every bone in Ivy’s body felt like it had been rearranged in the wrong direction. “How long have we been down here?”

“Acoustics. The way the walls are formed changed the blast pattern.” Tim’s engineering training gave him an educated guess. The ringing took on a decidedly strong cadence as if it were an anvil being struck. Sunlight shone in from where the basement door used to be. Faces appeared there, beginning to jabber. “What the… It sounds like your Latin history class has come to get you, Ivy, complete in costume. Shake the dust off.”

History was the reason Ivy had gotten the scholarship to Cambridge. She loved the second century when London was the capital of Rome’s Britain. “Pinch me, Tim. No student speaks Latin like that these days. I can barely follow the conversation.”

Forgetting her scrapes and pains, she scrambled up the steps for a closer view. “My God.”

The ringing in Tim’s ears ended when a deaf blacksmith stopped what he was doing to follow the others towards her.

Tim had stepped up behind Ivy. “We are dead or we’re dreaming.” The dizziness he felt wasn’t from the explosion. Where housing had stood now appeared the public forum filled with trade goods and merchants.

“This and the Basilica are the largest north of the Alps.” Ivy’s voice broke with passion as she realized where and when they were. “This is the time of the greatest expansion of the Roman Empire, the time of the five good emperors. I have died and gone to heaven.”

Soldiers showed up to see what all the commotion was about from the large explosion. People were pointing at Tim and Ivy like they’d appeared by magic. “...and you’re about to find out that a Basilica is a Roman public court. That seems to be where we’re headed.” Spears pointed the way.

“What do they want?” Tim gasped. The spear points were sharp and difficult to keep ahead of.

“They think we made the explosion. There used to be a store above the basement. They think we’re dressed kind of funny. Nobody likes strangers destroying things.” She was in awe of the majesty of the building they approached. It demanded respect and shone with a power which still emanated millennia later to a lesser degree in similar Roman ruins.

“Kneel before Emperor Hadrian.” Ivy repeated a court demand and knocked Tim off his feet before a guard’s spear made the same point. All Tim had done is stand there

With her specialized knowledge, Ivy pled their case. She was a seeress sent from the future to warn Hadrian of evil ways and opportunities in his path. Her name Ivy meant peace which all knew was worn as a garland on one’s head to celebrate the victories of conquering armies and peace which followed.

Her detailed stories of the accomplishments of Emperor Hadrian stroked his fancy and he wondered how she knew things about him no stranger could know nor did few others.

Runners approached with an odd tale as she finished. After the fire had burned down from where the store stood, a glowing light pulsed over remains which felt strange to the touch as if it were alive. It was a sure sign she was an unusual being, perhaps a half god spoken of in the temples.

Ivy led the way back with Tim at her heels, a yet unexplained personage. He was the only incautious one to approach the strange sight. His hand disappeared from sight, then his whole body on stepping back down into the cellar entrance.

“Ivy. Get in here. The basement is back to the way it was. It is our way back.” The cool light around the area began pulsing faster. The urgency in his voice made soldiers spears restrain her. She was the one the emperor wanted.

Ivy hesitated, looking everywhere but at the entrance, her husband called again. Soldiers hesitated but the emperor's hand kept them in place. “I guess I’m staying, Tim. There’s a reason I was brought here. I’m needed.”

Tim’s voice wavered up and down a high pitched scale with the fading light. “I’m going. Get your butt in here.”

“Goodbye, Tim.” Ivy watched the glowing sphere around the broken store wink out. “Perhaps I’ll leave a message down in the basement for those who may worry about me. Consider it to be my doctoral thesis on life in Londonium during the second century.” It too would be a blast from the past.

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