by Abby Gayle
Vespira accidentally activates her sister's machine . . .
|Vespira knocked on the door to the garage, her sister, Tacita's, inventing room. When her sister told her she could come in, Vespira opened the door. She was greeted by a girl a little bit older than her, with light brown hair and glasses.
“Mom says it's almost dinnertime,” Vespira announced.
“I'll be right in,” Tacita replied.
Vespira peeked inside the room. The counters along all four walls were covered in random things, some tools and some inventions. The shelves weren't much better. In the center of the room stood a partially completed car, leaving barely enough room on the floor to walk around.
“What a mess,” Vespira said, shaking her head in disbelief.
“Hey, it's not that bad,” Tacita retorted.
“Yeah, right,” Vespira muttered.
After dinner, Tacita and her older brother, Benjamin, began playing chess. Vespira knew they were both so good at the game that it could take an hour or more until it was finished. Looking for something to do, Vespira made her way to Tacita's inventing room. She smiled as she cleaned up the mess, wondering what Tacita would think when she came back to see the room completely clean.
A considerable amount of time later, when the garage was only about half done, Vespira heard someone coming. She shifted the invention she was about to put away — a silver half-sphere nearly five inches in diameter with a small screen on the center of the flat part, and several buttons on each side of the screen — behind her back, so Tacita wouldn't see it.
“What are you doing in here?” Tacita asked. “And where are all my tools and inventions?”
“In their proper places,” Vespira said.
“Yes, but — wait, what do you have behind your back?”
“Just this,” Vespira answered as she began to pull the machine into view. Just as soon as Tacita caught a glimpse of it, though, it slipped out of Vespira's hands. She caught it, but as she did so, her finger pressed a button on it.
Tacita's eyes widened and she ran as fast as she could to her sister. Tacita was just inches from grabbing onto Vespira when Vespira blacked out and was transported away.
When Vespira woke up, she had a hard time focusing on her surroundings. It took a moment for her to realize she was lying down on a hard floor, but she still could only see blobs of color. A couple minutes passed before she could see things clearly. During that time, all Vespira could do was lie down and listen to her heart racing as she wondered what in the world had happened.
Vespira sat up, then managed to slowly stand. She grabbed onto a wooden bed to stabilize herself. Only then was she able to look around the mostly empty bedroom. The walls were painted black and the floor was dark wood. The bed she was leaning on, which was the same color as the floor, and a small, black desk were the only things in the small room.
“Where am I?” Vespira wondered aloud.
After a moment of resting, she let go of the bed and stumbled over to the door. She looked outside of the room to make sure no one would see her. The hallway was pure white and so well lit, the sight of it as she walked down the hall felt nearly blinding. The only sound was of Vespira's footsteps as she walked farther and farther from the black room.
After several minutes, Vespira finally got to the end of the hall. The door on the end was fancy and golden, which was quite different from the many wooden doors she had passed. She meant to open the door just a crack, but even the light touch of her fingers made it open wide. She was only barely surprised to see that inside was a huge throne room. The throne was on the other side of the room from where Vespira was, and a long, beautiful rug trailed from the throne to the door she was at. The rug matched the designs of the many tapestries in between large stained glass windows.
“Who dares come into the king's throne room uninvited?” someone called out in Russian. Vespira thought it was the man who sat next to the diamond throne, but she wasn't sure.
“My name is Vespira,” she answered, also speaking Russian.
“Ah, still passing down the name, I suppose?” the king himself asked.
“Uh . . . yes?” Vespira agreed, although she wasn't sure what the question was.
“They passed down the names, starting with the brilliant young girls, Tacita and Vespira Bates, a couple hundred years ago. They were such famous inventors, back then. But I'm sure you know all of this already.”
“Uh, yeah, yeah, I know all that . . . a couple hundred years ago?”
“You know, you're quite young.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, the first Tacita and Vespira were also young, you must have inherited something from them.”
“Um, thanks?” Vespira smiled.
“Guards, bring her forward,” the king ordered.
Two guards walked up and they each grabbed one of her wrists, and dragged her toward the king. The king stood up, his long, thick, colorful robes hanging down to his ankles. When Vespira was only a few feet from the king, he grabbed a hidden sword that was mostly encased by the diamond throne.
“I hate how your family destroyed my empire,” the king said, aiming the sword at Vespira.
As soon as Vespira saw the sword, she began trying to get away, but the guards were too strong for her. So instead, Vespira stepped on one guard's foot and, once he let go of her, kicked the other in the shins. She then ran away as fast as she could. As she ran, she pulled out the half-sphere, evidently the time machine her sister had been working on.
Vespira looked behind her and saw several guards chasing her. They were gaining on her quickly, and she knew that they would catch up soon. Vespira ran into the closest room she could and started pressing buttons on the time machine. Numbers appeared on the screen, although Vespira wasn't sure what they meant. She just hoped something would take her away from this time and place.
She could hear the guards approaching. Vespira had locked the door, but she wasn't sure how long it would last against them. Suddenly, Vespira's vision went dark as she blacked out.
This time, as she awoke, she was immediately able to feel something crunching against her hand as she tried to move it. This time, it didn't take as long for her senses to return, letting her stand up and walk around in mere moments after waking up.
Around her was a forest. It seemed to be autumn, wherever — and whenever — she was, as the ground was covered in brown and red leaves, and the trees barely had any in their branches. A boy, probably about eight years old, ran past Vespira.
“Get back here!” someone called, although it took Vespira a moment to translate it, since her brain was still mostly mush from the instant traveling, and she was still used to speaking Russian, which this definitely was not. By the time a girl close to her age ran past Vespira in the same direction as the boy, she had identified what was spoken and that the language was French.
In a burst of curiosity, Vespira followed the girl. She watched as the girl caught up to the boy and grabbed his wrist, nearly tackling him in the process. She waited until the girl had sent the boy marching back through the woods before she stepped out and into view.
“What was that about?” Vespira asked in French.
“My brother tends to run off when Mother or Father give him a chore he doesn't like. What are you doing here?” the girl said. Vespira had never before spoken with someone in person who was so fluent in French.
“I don't know,” Vespira answered. “I just sort of . . . arrived. My name is Vespira.”
“I'm Marielle. I have never heard of your name before.”
“I come from far away,” Vespira said.
“Where are your Mother and Father?” Marielle asked.
“They're not with me now,” Vespira said sadly. She missed her parents already, although it had been only a few hours since she had seen them last.
“Oh, so you're all alone, then? Well, you must stop at our farm,” Marielle insisted. “I'm sure my family would love to have you over. You can stay for dinner, if you like.”
“That's very kind of you. I think I might just do that. I don't really know my way around, though, so could you show me over there?” Vespira asked. Marielle nodded, and began walking in the direction her brother had gone.
“What's that in your hand there? The ball of metal?” Marielle asked as they walked.
“Oh, this?” Vespira asked, holding up the time machine. “It's what will get me back home. Kind of like a . . . like a map, I suppose. But it's broken right now, so I'm sort of lost at the moment.”
The farm was quite large. As Vespira soon found out, all the land she had been walking on was also their property, and it extended further than that. It took nearly ten minutes of walking to get to the simple farmhouse, where Marielle's brother, Leveret, greeted them. He acted grumpily at first, but his mood changed when he found out they were having an overnight visitor.
Vespira's dream was cut short the next morning, when Marielle woke her up. Vespira glanced out the window and closed her eyes again.
“It's not even morning yet,” Vespira grumbled.
“Sure it is,” Marielle said. “We need to start the chores now. Come on, get up!”
Vespira slowly got up. Once outside, the cool wind woke her up more, and she was pretty much awake. Vespira was not going to have herself outdone by Leveret, however, who was already up and helping milk the cows. The day went by fast with everything they had to do, and soon it was night again.
The longer Vespira stayed with the family, the more used to their schedule she became. However, she was so busy that it was the next week before she got a chance to even look at the time machine. When she finally got to be alone, though, she tried pressing buttons. She made sure to change the written language on the machine to be French, as she didn't want to accidentally speak English in front of the family she was staying with.
Vespira soon found the instructions to the time machine, after a long time navigating through the options and menus. She went through the rest of the day trying to figure out how to tell the family she had to go. She had grown fond of them, especially young Leveret. Just before dinner, she finally got it out.
“Will I ever see you again?” Marielle asked, hugging Vespira.
“It's not likely,” Vespira answered. “Although I promise to always remember you.”
“It wouldn't be easy to forget you if I tried,” Marielle said.
Vespira ran far into the forest and, just as it was getting dark, activated the time machine. She looked back in the direction of the house until she couldn't see any longer.
The next thing Vespira knew, she was right next to Tacita, in Tacita's inventing room.
“Tacita! How long was I gone?” Vespira asked as soon as her senses began working again.
“English, please,” Tacita requested.
“How long was I gone?” Vespira asked again, this time in English.
“Just under an hour,” Tacita answered. “How long were you gone?”
“Two weeks,” Vespira said with tears in her eyes as she hugged Tacita as tightly as she could.