The Time Machine Strikes Again

26 04 2010

Based on a story suggestion courtesy of Jenn Sansom. Extra points if you can identify the two specific allusions to the original book.

My name is Viktor San Margolis and it was not my intention to come to this place.

I blame Richmond. When he left the machine to me he neglected to include any of his notes. Without his notes and diagrams I was in the dark when it came to properly setting the controls. Also to blame is my own intelligence. After a lifetime of being correct I was not prepared to be wrong during the most important experiment of my life.

I’d always known about Richmond’s work. I helped sketch out the first few casings for the Time Machine when Richmond was visiting me in Austria. He was always a terrible draftsman. I was more than pleased to leave him to his tinkering, as I mistakenly assumed that he was a lovable idiot and would fail. When I received the news of his demise I was shocked. We may never know where or when he ended up. What we do know is that he disappeared and only the Machine remains to attest that he ever lived. The authorities assumed he had died on a journey overseas. When I was notified of his “death” and came to Surrey to tend to his final affairs the Machine was the first thing that I investigated. I saw the tell-tale blood stains, and the utterly foreign soils and plant matter clinging to the casing. I knew then that he had succeeded.

Richmond had become a time traveler. Indeed, he was THE Time Traveler.

I was determined to follow in his footsteps.

It took me three years of tinkering and investigation and minor experiments before I ever dared attempt to Travel. My first five experiments- jumps of only minutes- were successful. I was enthralled. The heady power of a scientist controlling time turned my brain. I lived for the Machine. I ate little, grew thin and pale.

My plan was to jump forward in time three years only. I was unsure of my ability to return to the present and even in my excitement I remembered to be cautious. Unfortunately I failed even in the small measures of planning that I implemented. As previously mentioned, Richmond had changed the larger interval controls significantly from the original plans. Those drawings I did for Richmond, the only involvement I had with his project, were less than useless and I had no idea.

It was a Tuesday when I set off. I carried a revolver, two watches, three pocket handkerchiefs and a basket of food and wine. I thought that nothing else would be needed.

I was wrong.

I set the dials and settled into the seat of the Machine. The entire contraption whirred and rustled and shook like an aspen in a hurricane. It seemed that the room bent around me. I saw a bright light, felt incredible pressure and swooned.

When I woke I was lying in a thicket of some kind, bracken heaped liberally around me and my body aching madly. A shaft of light filtered through trees overhead and blinded me. A careful shifting of my position allowed me to locate the Machine. I’d been thrown far clear of it and it huddled in the deepest part of the thicket, shuddering like a trapped animal. With very careful movements I stood and walked to the machine, every step sending ache after ache through my body. A few flipped dials and several cranks turned the Machine off and in the lowering quiet I looked around.

I was in a forest. The realization was like ice water pouring through my spine. You see, the Machine does not travel through space but through TIME. It was not possible that a forest had grown up in the middle of a thriving city in just three years. Something had gone terribly wrong.

The only question was in which direction the error had occurred. Was I eons in the future or only a few dozen years in the past? I may not have mentioned it before in this record but my specialities were botany and astronomy. These were tools that I could use to determine my location in time. Wherever I had ended up I knew that if the Machine were to be discovered I would be in terrible trouble.

At the time it seemed only logical to hide the Machine and, leaving it behind, find open space where I could observe the stars once night fell. Accordingly I covered the Machine carefully with branches and plants, brushing out my tracks around the hiding place. I then set out.

Soon after I made the second most disturbing discovery of my life.

To be continued….

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4 responses

26 04 2010
NinjaEditor

Love it!!! I can’t wait to see what happens next.

I’m thinking H.G. Well’s The Time Machine, of course, based partly on the machine but mostly on the British voice of the piece.

Update: I looked up The Time Machine on Wikipedia just to confirm it was Wells and not Verne (sometimes I forget who wrote what), and I think I spotted the two allusions…

26 04 2010
Meghan

Extra points for Jenn! You are pretty awesome in general and I look forward to actually meeting you. Ha!

28 04 2010
NinjaEditor

Hey, me too! So when is that going to happen?? 😀

28 04 2010
Idhrendur

Followed Jenn’s link here. I like it!

Now, it’s been awhile since I’ve read any H.G. Wells, but with a quick brush-up on wikipedia I’ve got some guesses as to the allusions.

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