The Time Machine Strikes Again (Pt 4)

2 05 2010

Part four. With apologies to Jenn Sansom for my continued lack of editing and/or grammar.

Cold sweat stood out in beads on my forehead as I stared at my friend. For some reason, whether exhaustion or pure fear, I began to feel ill. “Merlin? The legendary magician?”

“Not quite so legendary as I would have hoped. And not quite a magician.”

“I don’t understand.” I scraped my chair across the floor but the sound fell dead.

Richmond leaned forward then, his hand coming to rest on my head. “I know my friend. This day has been long enough. I will have someone show you to a chamber. Sleep and I will send someone to bring you back to me in the morning, heya?”

“Yes.” My eyelids grew heavy at the mere suggestion but I managed to stand. It was only moments before a cadaverous servant, his bare feet making hollow slapping sounds on the stone, came to lead me away. I remember nothing about the trip to my bedchamber save only the pattern of torchlight on the walls.

When I awoke it was to a metallic taste in my mouth and the smell of damp wool in my nose. The  mattress under me was thick, if somewhat lumpy, and required an artful kind of rolling motion in order to extricate oneself. The servant must have removed my boots but had left all my other clothes undisturbed. I was a wrinkled mess.

There was a pitcher of water near the cold fireplace. I plunged my face into the liquid, it’s mineral taste unfamiliar but not unpleasant. The heavy door swung open with a resounding creak while my face was still underwater. Surprised, I threw my head back spraying myself and the nearby servant with water. He beckoned to me, ignoring my mumbled apologies and waited patiently while I put on my boots.

The journey back through the castle was not markedly different than it had been the night before. Occasionally an arrow slit allowed thin shafts of weak sunlight to permeate the stygian gloom. The light was so rare that I found each instance a pleasant novelty.

After many turns, twists and several shallow staircases we arrived and I was ushered into a palatial bedchamber. Richmond stood by a larger version of an arrow slit peering outward. A table and two chairs were pulled up next to a roaring fire. The servant was dismissed and I was waved into one of the chairs. Before me sat a meal of bread, cured meat and wine.

“Eat, please. I have already dined.” Richmond crossed to sit across from me, his papery skin even more ancient looking than I remembered.

“Tell me what is going on, please Richmond.” I broke a loaf of bread. “What did you mean when you said that Merlin was not quite a magician?”

He laughed then, the barest hint of a chuckle but filled with both derision and dry humor. “I mean, dear sir, that Merlin is a man out of time.”

My mouth dropped open. Why I found the idea so unbelievable I do not know. After all, the term could have applied to myself and Richmond. There was no reason on earth why it should be reserved for just us two of all men.

“You mean that he is from the future.”

Richmond’s brow furrowed into deep creases and the effect was as if stone had somehow folded on itself. “I mean, Viktor, that the man we have known as Merlin is as far advanced from us as we are from that servant you saw this morning.”


“Oh yes. I have encountered him only twice. The first time he stole the Machine and sent it away. He told me it was punishment for thinking myself so advanced that I was entitled to muddle with Time. The second time was less pleasant.”

“Less pleasant than being stranded in the Dark Ages?”


I wanted to ask him to tell me more but felt that it would be unwise to do so. Instead I asked the most basic question I could form. “What are we going to do?”

“Ah. I have been considering that very question all night and I believe I have a plan.”

“Let’s hear it!”




2 responses

2 05 2010

A plan! He has a plan! What is the plan?! More story pls, kthx!!! 😀

Continuing to really enjoy the story. Your apologies are adorable but not necessary as long as you keep writing this.

5 05 2010
Jennifer James

I finally had time to read all of these! Loving the story, you are delightful. I’m sorry it took me so long to read them, but I WANTED to give them the time they so richly deserve.


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