A woman inherits a watch that enables her to travel time...but is it blessing, or curse?
|APRIL 18, 2018
"I don't think that person knows how sandwiches work," said Dawn, pointing to behind the counter, where a new employee was trying to scrape burned bread off the hot panini press. Jim nodded, placing Dawn's hot cup of spearmint chamomile tea on the table.
"It is a bit confusing, isn't it?" he chuckled, before going over to help. Dawn turned back to her laptop, which was on a blank Microsoft Word document. She was fighting a bout of writers' block, and ideas just weren't coming. This freelance stuff was cool on paper, but when you had no creative flow of inspiration, it tended to be difficult.
She looked up at the door when she heard the entry bell ring. A man in a snazzy-looking deerhide-colored three piece suit walked up from the door to her table. "Ms. Dawn Bosco?" he asked.
"That's me," said Dawn, feeling puzzled.
"I was told to bring this to you by your late uncle, Charles Bosco. I am his lawyer, John Pedderson." He pulled out a small black box and a sealed security envelope from his pocket, placing them on the table. "I was also told to give these things to you, and only you."
"Did my uncle tell you why he wanted it only given to me?" asked Dawn.
"No. My errand is finished, so good day to you, ma'am," said the lawyer, turning away and walking out. As he left, she studied the box meticulously. Why her? Her father had mentioned Uncle Charles once or twice, but never as though he wanted to. He'd always said the man was best left undiscussed. The envelope had but one word on the front: "Dawn". She thought briefly about throwing it away, but something in her mind said, "Open it".
Dawn broke the seal on the envelope and pulled out a letter:
If you are reading this, it means the Society had me killed and destroyed my workshop. I am sorry there was no time to see
you before it happened, but know this: you now have time in your hands. I have enclosed with this letter a pocket watch made of a material called "quicksilver". When used properly, it has the ability to fold time. The watch will bring you back in time anywhere from one hour all the way to seven days, exactly. Please note two things, though. One, the watch cannot send you into the future because the future hasn't happened yet, and after being used, will need to recharge for one hour before it can be used again. There are two knobs on the watch. The knob at the 12:00 position with the integrated button can be used to set the hour, minute and second you want, while the knob at the 3:00 position will set the day, up to seven days in reverse.
I have given you an inheritance, and now my dying wishes. First, this letter contains the only instructions on how to use the watch. Memorize the instructions then burn the letter and envelope. Secondly, beware the Society. They wish to change history for the worse in many ways. DO NOT let them get hold of the watch.
I have the honor to remain,
Your uncle Charlie
Dawn put down the letter and opened the box. The contents looked like a silver pocket watch on a chain, nothing more. That is, until she held it. Suddenly, she heard a faint humming, as though someone was running a vacuum cleaner at some distance, but a little more musically. She put the watch back in the case and closed it when some strange feeling caused her to look towards the entrance. Two men in long gray coats were consulting with the waiter, Jim. They looked grim, as though they would just as soon kill you as look at you. Suddenly, Jim pointed to Dawn's table, and the two men started to approach her.
Unsure of what to do, Dawn stood up as the men came up to her. "Can I help you gentlemen?" she asked.
"Dawn J. Bosco?" asked the shorter of the two men.
"That's my name," she replied. Shorty nodded to the taller man.
"You need to come with us," said the taller man, in a quiet tone
"What, am I behind on my Sony bill again?" joked Dawn, even though internally, her mind was racing.
"This is not a request, Miss Bosco," said Too Tall, drawing an extendable baton from his coat pocket and flicking it to full length. "Come with us, or we will take you with us."
"Do you have a warrant?" asked Dawn, when Too Tall swung into her stomach. The impact knocked the wind out of Dawn's body and forced her to double over in pain. Before she could react, Shorty caught her in a chokehold. Dawn tried to struggle, but was unable to resist and went unconscious.
When Dawn came back to her senses, she was in the back of a sport utility wagon, a Subaru Outback, from the looks of it. She was bound with her hands behind her back, and her mouth was gagged. Her abs were also hurting like nobody's business. This must be the Society her uncle had mentioned in the letter-
The letter! Dawn felt her pocket with her elbow, only to find both the watch and letter had been taken out. Shorty and Too Tall were in the front seat, driving silently. No sighing, no throat clearing, nothing. Dawn started to pull her butt over her bound hands. Somehow managing it without attention, she got one leg, and then the other, through the hole. Wiggling to the driver's side rear door, she opened it, causing Too Tall to slam on the brakes and her to roll out of the back. Dawn quickly got to her feet, as Too Tall tried to bum rush her, baton in hand. Swinging her arms as hard as she could, Dawn delivered an ax-handle blow to Too Tall's body, knocking him down and the baton out of his hand. Shorty tried to tackle her, only to have Dawn get her hands behind his neck and knee him in the chin, knocking him cold. She turned to Too Tall, who had just returned to his feet, and delivered a spinning heel kick to the side of his head. As he went unconscious, she searched him quickly, finding a box cutter in his pocket.
Cutting the cord that bound her hands, Dawn searched the car until she found the watch and her uncle's letter. Pocketing them both again, she got into the Outback and turned it around, driving it back towards Haven Bay.
Going to her apartment was not an option. Dawn saw the Terminator movies, and knew the...Society...would probably anticipate that. She needed to lie low, and figure out if this watch did what Uncle Charlie had said it would do. Then she had an idea: the Haven Bay Library's bathroom. No one would think to track her there, right?
APRIL 18, 2018
The bathroom was, mercifully, empty and only smelled faintly bad. Dawn went into the smaller stall and took the watch out of her pocket. It was still humming as it had been at the cafe. Following the directions on the letter, she set the watch back two hours to one o' clock. Before she checked the theory, she pulled the letter out, tore it to shreds, and flushed it down the toilet. She took a deep breath and pushed the watch's button.
APRIL 18, 2018
The sensation felt like what she imagined being birthed to be like: white light and pain. When both faded, she found herself back at the Evergreen Cafe, in front of her laptop. The cafe looked exactly as it had when she'd been there two hours ago, except she held the watch, which was no longer humming. She took a pair of one dollar bills, placing them on the table, then shut her laptop, put the watch in her pocket and walked out. Dawn had read at least one spy book in her lifetime, and knew better than to look around, but her eyes moved constantly, looking for anyone giving her undue attention. What to do now, she thought. Can't go back to my apartment, can't get a hotel room...now what?
Dawn whirled around to see a man standing about six feet behind her. He came no closer to her, as if trying to be non-threatening. "I come in peace," he said, holding up two empty hands as though he meant it.
"What do you want?" asked Dawn, keeping her tone neutral.
"My name is Mason Gerrick." He stood about six feet tall, and though he wore no weapon, had an air of being able to handle himself. "I was your uncle's lab assistant, and decided to follow the lawyer here to help you."
Dawn glared at him warily.
"What was his nickname for me, then?" she snarled.
Mason didn't even flinch. "He didn't have one, at least not that he told me," he answered.
Dawn relaxed a bit. Mason seemed trustworthy, for now at least. "What can I do for you?" she asked.
"Two members of the Society are en route to capture you," he replied. "They want the watch, and the letter Dr. Bosco sent you."
"Why is this 'Society' so hell-bent on time travel?" Dawn snapped. "I've been thrust into a game without even a chance to learn the damned rules!"
"I will explain, but not here." Mason beckoned to his left. "My car is over there. I'll drive you to your apartment, and explain on the way," he added, with a wink.
That's pretty blatant, thought Dawn, until it dawned on her: He meant to go somewhere else.
"To my apartment, then," she replied, with a wink of her own. Mason's facial expression did not change, but something in his eyes showed approval.
Mason's car, a Chevy Malibu, looked nondescript. A dark-green paint job, with a license plate out of Washington State: LXG1899. When they were seated inside, Mason put a finger to his lips, signaling silence was needed. He pulled a cassette tape out of his coat pocket, inserting it into the tape deck. A loud ten second blast of white noise filled the car, followed by silence. Mason ejected the tape, putting it back in his pocket.
"That'll take care of any sound bugs," he explained. "Now we can talk."
"Good," said Dawn. "Because I have a LOT of questions."
"Ask away," said Mason, in a more friendly tone.
"Well," said Dawn, "First off, who are the Society? Secondly, why do they want the watch so bad? Third, how are you so knowledgeable of their methods?"
"The people you know as 'the Society' are known as the 'Society of Reasoners.' They have been trying to figure out time travel so they can go back in time and erase false gods from history. According to them, that includes Jesus of Nazareth. Your uncle converted to Pentecostalism a few years before he figured out time travel." Mason started the car, shifting it into reverse and backing out of his spot. "He discovered quicksilver and its temporal reversal properties. Charles refused to destroy the knowledge, believing it could be used to benefit mankind." Turning the car, he pulled onto the highway's northbound lane and sped up to match the speed limit. "He sent the watch to you, and then destroyed his lab and killed himself so he could not be made to talk."
"So how do you know so much about their methods?" asked Dawn.
A moment of sorrow crossed Mason's face.
"I was one of them until two years ago." His expression changed from sad to determined quickly. "I was sent to get the information from your uncle, and of course, the watch. Somehow, he got wind of what I was going to do and stopped me, talking me out of it. He told me of what his life had been like until he discovered Jesus."
"And you listened?" asked Dawn, with interest. "What convinced you to leave those people?"
"By rights, he should have killed me, as I had intent on his life. Your uncle's compassion, as much as his story, convicted my heart. Long story short, he led me in the Sinner's Prayer, and I became his assistant. I want the watch to go back in time to about five days ago. I want to stop the assassins that killed your uncle."
"And you need to be in the lab with the watch, to go back," concluded Dawn.
"Your uncle is my brother in Christ. I owe it to him."
TO BE CONTINUED...