*Short story originally written for The Iron Writer Challenge in which no more than 525 words could be used to tell a story involving the following elements: suffering, time travel, Stonehenge. and any of the lyrics from Arwen’s Song from Lord of the Rings (I chose “You’ll find that the world has changed forever”).
I had a full week to write this story, but I waited until the last possible night to even begin. I spent half a day of that time on another short story challenge (NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge) and actually borrowed the opening sentence of my piece for that. I’m telling you that now, in case I ever share the other story.
Even though this one was pretty rushed, I think it turned out well and I’m excited to see what you all think of it. Please, please let me know in the comments!
I hate boats. I never understood how people could be so comfortable with the constant motion, the relentless bobbing from side to side.
I also don’t care for spontaneous plan changes, precisely because they lead to me being at a total loss of control in unexpected scenarios.
Which is exactly the situation we’re in now; completely unexpected, uncomfortable, and entirely unprepared.
I had a relaxing vacation planned for myself and Gloria at Stonehenge. Introspective walks around the curious stones and intellectual conversation with the locals. But my bloody machine was on the fritz so here I was… suffering.
Instead of landing in 2357 BC near Amesbury, England, we were somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean circa 300 AD. On a boat.
I felt my stomach turn with each rocking motion of the rickety old beast. Perspiration dripping from my forehead, I steadied myself on the railing and urged the moment to pass.
Gloria smiled at me from her spot on the bow, no doubt finding immense humor in my misery.
“Edgar pull yourself together, mate! You’ve got to help me get this machine working or we’ll be stuck here for ages. Literal ages, I feel like we’re coming up on the bronze or something. Gold? Golden age would be rather cool, I suppose…”
I let her trail off, she was obviously amusing herself. But she did have a point – I’d better get to work soon.
I swallowed hard, hoisted myself up and used my pocket square to wipe my brow. Places to go, times to see, no sense wasting the day on a stupid boat surrounded by very a very serious crew who had yet to realize who we were.
“Keep your britches on love. I’ll be right as rain in no time!” Perhaps there was something to that old saying of ‘fake it till you make it’.
“Bloody better be. Or I reckon I’ll leave you here and travel alone.” Gloria quipped, ever the teaser.
“Do that, love, and you will find that the world has changed forever!” She leaned in and kissed my nose. Her signature move when my cockiness got the best of me.
I looked around the boat, the crew were talking amongst themselves in what appeared to be a Peruvian dialect. I returned my attention to the machine as Gloria asked, “What do we need to get it working?” I wasn’t sure, but I sensed a bit of fear in her voice.
We’ve already adjusted the calendar quotient and reconfigured the mooring module. The only other possible problem was the intergalactic excursion tank and wouldn’t you know it – it ran on salt water.
“Gloria! Find us a bucket, I’ll get a rope! We’re getting out of here!”
Within moments she scurried back, wide eyed and full of excitement. That’s what I loved about her – she was always resourceful, adventurous and rather helpful in times of crisis.
We loaded the tank with as much salt water as we could hoist and soon we were off. No longer bobbing on the water, but instead, through time and space, headed to explore the wonders of ancient England and some relatively large stones.