Professor Fidget And The Trouble With Time travel (Part 2)

Good Moooning…. I’ve had one or two requests to post more of my story, so here it is: part two. This continues directly from where my last post left off so if you haven’t seen it i recommend you have a wee peek at that before reading this one.

I hope you enjoy.

As usual, all thoughts and comments completely welcome x

Professor Fidget And The Trouble With Time Travel

By P.J. Greystoke

(part 2)

“Well you can start by getting out of my machine before you hurt yourself.” Echoed the Professor’s voice from behind the book. “Professor? You can hear us?” Molly and Arran asked simultaneously. Fidget peered over the top of her book and stared at the children. “Now would be good.” Fidget was beginning to sound more like Mrs Anderson.
Now afraid, having never heard the Professor speak in such a serious tone, both children alleviated the machine and walked slowly toward her. She put down her book and stared at the children. “Do you know how dangerous that could have been?” “Yes Professor” both children answered whist bowing their heads, in the same way a puppy does when he’s being reprimanded for leaving a smelly parcel on the rug instead of outside the house where he’s supposed to.
Fidget got up from her seat; walked round to the front of the desk and propped herself up on it whilst facing the kids. She drew a huge breath before allowing a slight smile to appear on her face. “So what do you think, you like it?” Relieved and unbelievably excited, both children embraced the Professor. “Like it?” laughed Molly, “It’s amazing.” “It’s a time machine” contributed Arran. He was aware his input was screamingly obvious, but it seemed to be all he was able to add to the conversation.“Yes it is.” answered Fidget, and it is vitally important that this remains entirely between us. In the wrong hands this could be very dangerous.” Both children agreed.

“We have a project on Cleopatra at school” said Molly. “Can we go see her?” The Professor allowed herself a slight chuckle.“No, we can’t interfere with history, what has gone, has gone, besides, the machine does not work like that, the furthest back in time this machine can go, well you have already been. That image you pressed on the front panel was no ordinary image, the machine took an exact photograph of the room eight hours ago, and by exact I mean every single atom and molecule was captured in that image, enough for it to act as a gateway for us to travel back to that point in time as we please. “Forward time travel is much easier” Fidget continued “We can travel forward to any point in time simply by the turn of a dial and the push of a lever.”
Fidget opened her old fashioned pocket watch, 3.20 am “which reminds me, it’s quite late, go get some rest. We’ll go on a journey tomorrow.” The children’s faces beamed with excitement. “Remember not a word to anyone” “Not even dad?” asked Molly. “Not even your father.” said the Professor. “Can we tell Batsy?” continued Arran. The Professor allowed herself a cheeky smile, “No, though I’m not sure Batsy’s only working brain cell would understand anyway. Now off you go to bed.”

Chapter Six
The Ghost

The night seemed to last forever in wait for the next morning, rather fitting as time seemed now to have lost all of its meaning. The children sat up for as long as they were able, talking in wonder about all of the things they could now do, until Mother Nature, as if she was trying to assert her own authority on the situation eased them into a restful and somewhat reluctant slumber.
The Professor’s sleep was less than restful.
Crying from outside the bedroom woke Rebecca Fidget barely moments after her eyes had closed. It sounded like a young girl, but who? She sat up in bed and listened carefully. Not Molly, definitely not Molly; The Professor knew all too well her expressions of grief, after spending many hours through the years comforting her, usually as a result of Johns terrible temper.

There was a pause, the bedroom door moved. The Professor froze; her heart rate suddenly increased and made a thumping sound which seemed to drown out the grandfather clocks solemn chime which could now be heard in the background. “Please help me,” came the weak and feeble voice from the other side of the door. The Professor wanted to answer, she wanted to help, but couldn’t bring herself to move or even offer a verbal reassurance that everything would be ok.
How could everything be ok? She was imagining this, she had to be. The young girl spoke again “Please, you’re the only…” A sudden door slam from across the corridor cut her sentence short and made the girl cry more. Heavy footsteps with a menacing dark and meaningful purpose moved rapidly closer and closer to the bedroom. The young girl screamed; the Professor jumped out of bed and swung the door open. All was quiet; there was nobody there, and no sound but that of the grandfather clock.
The screams and footsteps surely had to have woken more than just her. Putting on her dressing gown she decided to walk toward the children’s room, just to be sure the sound had not come from Molly herself, although she loved Molly dearly there was a small part of her which hoped the tears and cries for help had indeed come from her, at least then she would have something to rationalize and make sense of what had just happened.
The moonlight from outside the children’s room was bright enough to show Rebecca Fidget that there was no way Molly could have made that sound earlier. Molly lay on her back, peaceful, one arm extended off the bed side with Lancelot lying on the floor beneath her hand. The Professor smiled, crouched down, picked up the teddy bear, placed it on the pillow and kissed her forehead.

Footsteps again. Only now not heavy and menacing but those of a small child could be heard running past the children’s room. The Professor rushed out and looked down the corridor just in time to see a young girl, turn and stare at her. For a moment both were transfixed in each other’s gaze, “Hello” said the Professor calmly not wanting to alarm her. The girl turned and ran down the stairs, quickly perused by the Professor. “Wait” she called after her “I only want to talk” The young girl descended the stairs that led to the basement, ran inside and closed the door behind her.
The Professor was barely three seconds behind. Once at the bottom of the stairs she reached for the handle and turned it but the door wouldn’t open. It was locked. Locked? That door hadn’t been locked for as long as she could remember, there wasn’t even a key for it. “Please open the door,” she called through the keyhole. She tugged at the handle a few more times before stepping back to sit on the stairs. She buried her head in her hands and rubbed her eyes trying to make sense of the evenings events. There was a click. Sudden warmth from the rooms light was now shining upon her face. She quickly looked up.
The door was open. She cautiously stepped inside the room clueless in what to expect. The little girl she had chased earlier was on the ground, almost collapsed, looking like a lone survivor of a terrible disaster. Her clothes were now torn and dirty. There was little hope in her tired looking eyes, she stretched out an exhausted hand with fading energy toward an empty space and part clenched it as if holding onto an invisible object, no sooner had her hand rested in its final position than she froze; the slow movement of the her chest breathing in and out had stopped. Her eyes fixed, staring endlessly into the empty space ahead of her. A single tear emerged from the bottom of her right eye and began to roll slowly down her cheek till that single tear, only half way through its journey stopped. The little girl was as still as a statue.
The Professor cautiously moved toward her and reached out an outstretched hand to wipe away the glistening tear from the girls face. No sooner had her hand touched the tear than a sudden cold sensation passed through her hand. She quickly snatched it back; or at least she tried to.
The Professors hand was frozen solid too, unable to move, her proceeding struggle and screams were futile as the ice spread through her veins like a ravenous virus, till she too was frozen solid, unable to move or speak but somehow conscious and very aware of her environment.
“My little angel” came a male voice from behind her; it was accompanied by footsteps, but the voice, very familiar, but who? “Please don’t cry.” The little girl started to sniffle as the tears once again were free flowing down her cheeks. Mobility had at least returned to her. The Professor was still unable to move a muscle or make a sound. The little girl who was now quite transparent stood up and faced the Professor; she appeared almost like one would imagine a ghost to, rather ironic as the Professor felt like the girl was looking right through her.
Still frozen solid, the Professor had no choice but to stay put and let this play out. “Oh daddy,” cried the little girl, her gaze fixated on the unseen man behind the Professor. “I don’t want to do it. I can’t, and it’s not fair!” “We have no choice” the man replied solemnly. “But Daddy” the little girl said once again before burying her head in her hands unable to face the finality of what was to happen.
The man walked past the Professor to comfort the girl, who obviously was his daughter. She didn’t get to look at his face and could only see him from behind as he crouched down on one knee to hug the little girl.
He was partly transparent also, a man in his mid to late 30’s she guessed, good head of white hair, all be it un-styled and rather erratic, and a rather strange taste in clothing. He wore an old tweed jacket, unfashionable corduroy trousers and scuffed brown shoes. “Was the girl Albert Einstein’s daughter?” The Professor wondered.
“One day you will understand my daughter,” the man softly spoke, and with that turned his head so he was no longer facing the little girl but was looking directly into the Professors eyes. She wanted to run, as fast as she could but was still frozen to the spot.
The man feigned a slight smile as he spoke the words “Find Me Rebecca.” The Professor felt a tingling sensation return to her fingers, the same feeling made its way round her entire body as her mobility began to return. Now able to move, but somehow transfixed on the man she starred dreamily into his eyes. She felt fragmented memories returning, dormant lost images, like missing jigsaw pieces from the Professors past falling slowly into place, and then there was the sudden realisation.
Tears formed in her eyes. “Daddy?” she said and started to cry. “You’re my …” A million unanswered questions fleeting without form rushed through her mind, so many things she wanted to say, to ask, to express. She just needed to get a handle on the situation.
The moment was suddenly halted by an aggressive deafening sound; footsteps, the same ones she had heard earlier began to approach and were now close to the door. They both rushed a look in that direction before her father shook his head. “John must never get this” he said as he reached inside his jacket pocket and pulled out a white envelope, which he then proceeded to place beneath a loose floorboard near the Professors desk. As the footsteps got closer the little girl, who she now thought of as a younger version of herself began to shiver, petrified.
Watching the young girl now felt like re-living an earlier past experience. To comfort her now would seem oddly self-serving, but walked toward her anyway. A sudden door slam made her turn and then, nothing.
The Professor was in bed. Her room, exactly as it should be, nothing was out of place. Her dressing gown was still attached to the hook on the back of her bedroom door. She shook her head “Now that was a dream” she said to herself whilst attempting a rather unconvincing snigger.
Just as she was about to take her attention from the door it suddenly started to open, very slowly. Her heart race increased again and the Professor instinctively buried her head under the duvet, not that it would offer much in the way of protection or camouflage. She heard tiny footsteps approach her bed. She clamped her eyes shut as the duvet was slowly pulled from her head. Silence.
Gradually she resigned herself to open her eyes, only to see Arran and Molly’s smiling faces beaming down on her. “Mooning Professor,” Molly said as she rubbed the remaining sleep from her eyes. “what?” she replied, this time laughing and very relieved. “Molly keeps saying mooning instead of morning” complained Arran. “It’s getting irritating.” The Professor pulled both children close in a heartfelt embrace, “Well I think it sounds wonderful.”

Chapter Seven
The Envelope

“Morning Batsy” Arran said as the ever joyful house keeper made her way into the dining room pushing a breakfast trolley containing scrambled eggs, toast, Rice Crispies tea coffee and juice.
“Mooning Arran” Batsy replied as she placed a bowl of breakfast cereal in front of him. Molly laughed. “Did you say Mooning?” Arran asked. Batsy nodded eagerly, so much in fact her little chef’s hat nearly fell off her head “Just for you. Molly said it’s your favourite word and you like to pretend you simply hate it, so I have to say Mooning to you every morning.” “Thanks” said Arran sarcastically smiling as he propelled a rice crispie off his sister’s nose.
“So Professor, where are we going in the ‘you know what?’” The Professor was starring into her empty coffee cup, lost in concentration. “Earth to Professor Fidget?” Arran continued. The Professor looked up and starred at him “Sorry, yes, emm I mean coffee would be great, thanks.” With that she stood up, and walked out of the room leaving her empty coffee cup and the two children at the table. Molly and Arran exchanged a confused glance before shrugging it off and tucking into their breakfast cereal.
Once at the door to her laboratory the Professor paused, took a deep sigh and pushed it open, everything as she left it, the machine still covered. She gazed at the wooden floorboards upon which the desk rested. “Well,” she said “if it was a dream, there will be nothing under that floorboard but dust and dirt.” Kneeling down in front of it she flexed her fingers in front of her face before tugging at what appeared to be a loose corner.
“What are you doing Rebecca?” Startled, the Professor spun round to see John standing in the doorway.
She still wasn’t sure if last night was a dream or not, but it had left her with an uneasy untrusting feeling regarding John. Her father’s last words that John must never see the envelope that may or not be lodged beneath that floorboard. She didn’t know why, but she wanted John out of her house.
“John you shouldn’t creep up on people!” She stood up and pushed the loosened piece of floorboard down with her heel “I thought you were going away for a few days?” John’s eyebrows came close to meeting in the middle in that familiar way they always had done when he suspected someone was lying to him, or all was not quite right. “No my trip was cut short.” He paused for thought. “I came to collect the children, but they tell me you’re taking them on a trip?” The Professors eyes widened, “Oh yes, that’s right,” she replied. “Did they mention where?” “No” said John. “Are you alright? You seem shaken up.” The Professor did a rather unconvincing impression of a smile “No No I’m fine and breezy.”
She placed her hand back to lean on her desk which unfortunately missed and she was, without support, propelled backwards onto the floor. “Yes still fine,” she lied as she began stumbling again to her feet. John rushed forward and took her hand in an effort to steady her upright. “Alright now?” he enquired looking into her eyes. “Strange dream that’s all” she concluded finally. “And I don’t think I got any sleep last night.” “You had a strange dream, but didn’t sleep?” John sat on the corner of her desk and regarded her accusingly. “What’s going on Rebecca?” He turned his attention to the floorboard the Professor was trying to loosen, bending over to examine it. “What were you doing on the floor when I walked in?”
Rebecca glanced at the floorboard then back at John. “Nothing important” she answered. “Thought I dropped an ear ring.” “You know I don’t think I’ve ever known you to wear ear rings, didn’t think you had your ears pierced.” She raised her hand to the bottom of her ear lobe, hiding the fact that there was no hole. “Clip ons” she finally offered. You know I’m not really into this girly stuff, but saw them as I was out shopping yesterday and thought,” she gulped “they looked rather nice.”
Unconvinced John knelt down over the loose floorboard “I’ll help you look.” The Professors eyes opened wide, her heart rate increasing as his hand neared the loose floorboard. “No Need John, really. They were just cheap nasty things.” “It’s no trouble” he said as he pulled the floorboard up.
There it was exactly where her father had placed it, a white envelope covered in dirt and dust. John turned his head and looked at the Professor before pushing his hand in the small crack. “Well I’ve got it.” he said, placing something in his hand and turning to face her. When his hand opened there was no envelope, instead a tiny clip on ear ring. “There you go” he said as he handed it to her.
“Have a good trip with the kids, bring me back something.” John left the laboratory and walked back upstairs.
Walking to the doorway she listened to make sure John had left the house before re approaching the loose floorboard. Had she just imagined the envelope? Where did the ear ring come from? She looked again where she’d seen the envelope, and there it was, plain as day. John couldn’t have missed that surely?
Lifting it up there was nothing special about it, just a normal white envelope slight yellow colouring round the edges. Nothing unusual in that, it had been there for over thirty years after all. On the reverse side the words To My Little Rebecca.
“Professor” Batsys voice echoed through the stairwell “Would you like me to get the children ready, they say you’re going on a trip.” She glanced at the empty doorway. “Yes do please; I’ll be up in a moment.” “Okey dokey” she replied.
There was a letter inside and a few photographs. Pulling out the letter her hand began to tremble. Last night was no dream. Though her logical mind couldn’t explain it she began to read.
Rebecca my darling,
If my calculations are correct you will have reached your 32nd year by now. To confirm what you are no doubt aware, your vision last night was very real. Your memories have been hidden to protect you from John. As yet they are not yet complete and exist as mere fragments. I promise they will be restored when the time is right and not all at once, again for your protection.
John is not to be trusted, I can’t divulge too much without awakening the resting images in your mind so for now will say keep the two children safe and away from him without arousing suspicion.
Under no circumstances must he be aware you have completed the machine. The fact that -he thinks- you have not finished is the only reason you are still alive.
I wish I could be there with you.
All my love
Richard Fidget 8013.
The Professor sat behind her desk. She put the letter down then took out the photographs, they made very little sense. They were simply pictures of empty rooms, one looked very much like the laboratory she was sitting in but much more Hi-Tec. Most of the equipment in the picture was alien to her. She placed them on the desk and rose to stand looking again toward the basement door.

Chapter Eight
The First Planned Journey

Arran and Molly’s faces, almost as if on cue, appeared round the corner. “Mooning” said Molly with a cheery grin on her face. Arran looked hard at her and rolled his eyes toward the heavens. “Can we leave her behind?” Molly said nothing, feeling the sharp kick in the leg he was about to receive would be answer enough.
“So where are we going?” Arran asked. Molly kicked him in the leg. “Oh I’m sorry” she said. “I slipped.”
“Well are we going?” they both asked taking the dust sheet off the machine and climbing inside. “Can I go in the front?” asked Molly. The Professor afforded herself a smile as she walked round the desk to join them. “You in the front on the way there and Arran on the way back,” the Professor said placing her hand on Molly’s head. Both children agreed.
“Well if we can’t go back in time,” said Arran “how far forward?” The Professor thought back to the date on her father’s letter. “8013” she said “six thousand years into the future.” Both children cheered as the Professor made the necessary adjustments on the panel. “Ok here we go” she announced pushing the lever forward.
Within moments the outside laboratory disappeared and the machine was surrounded in white light. The digital display rapidly increased from 2013 as they rapidly moved through the years as if they were seconds finally the display read 8013 and the machine vibrated.
Hover mode engaged was written on the display.
De materialisation in twenty seconds.
“Yea we seen that before” laughed Arran. This time they were in no hurry to return back to 2013.
Once the display reached zero both children eagerly looked at the Professor. “Why can’t we see anything outside the machine?” Arran asked. “Oh” she replied “The machine is doing an environmental check give it a moment.” Gradually the room around them came into full focus.
The children were not impressed; their faces were rather reminiscent of youngsters eagerly opening a Christmas gift only to find it was filled with all their old toys. “Are you sure we’re six thousand years into the future?” Molly queried. “Of Course I am,” the Professor answered with utmost certainty. “But we’re still in the laboratory, and it’s exactly the same as it was before we left.” “Yes interesting isn’t it?” the Professor answered stepping out of the machine.
“Well the air seems quite breathable” said the Professor with a huge grin on her face. “Imagine that” said Molly, disappointed. “Come on Arran; let’s go see If Batsy has any of that ice cream left.” With that both children leapt out of the machine and ran toward the doorway. “Arran turned before following Molly upstairs “Sorry it didn’t work Professor, would you like me to stay and help fix it?” The Professor chuckled. “No that’ll be fine, go save me some ice cream. I’ll be up in a moment.”
She pulled the green button from the machine pressed it between her fingers and watched as the time machine disappeared from view. With that she placed the green button in her pocket and made her way upstairs to join the children.
Unable to find Batsy and convinced the machine was not working both children made their way outside to play in the garden.

Chapter Nine
Grombit

“It’s a pity about the Professors machine” said Arran. “Yea” said Molly as they ambled across the grass to the swings at the foot of the garden. “Do you think we were rude just running out like that, she may be upset?”Arran shrugged “I got the impression she wanted to be alone. You know how she gets.”
“You know what I think?” he added. “Good morning” came the reply. Arran looked confused “What?” “I said Good morning.” “Well at least you’re not saying Mooning anymore, that was really annoying.” “Emm Arran, that wasn’t me,” Molly said. She pointed to a hedgehog which was perched on Arran’s shoe.
“Ahh isn’t he cute” Arran smiled as he crouched down to pick it up, just before touching it he had second thoughts “wait a minute, they may be cute but these things are supposed to be riddled with fleas and stuff.” The hedgehog took a step backward before retorting. “Fleas indeed! Do I come into your bedroom then turn up my nose for fear you will be riddled with lice, no thank you very much. I’ve never heard such rudeness!” Both children were astounded. “I’m sorry Mr. Hedgehog” Molly said. “Quite alright Miss Human” he replied. “I do have a name you know.”

“I’m dreaming” said Arran “It’s the only explanation.” “There’s no explanation for rudeness,” the hedgehog said. “My name is Grombit.” He twitched his nose in a very proud manner “4th generation if you please.” “4th generation?” both children said in unison, still trying to digest the fact they had found a talking hedgehog. “Yes 4th generation, do you two have mental problems?” “But you’re a talking hedgehog.” they once again said together. “So you do have mental problems Grombit replied.” “But how is it you can talk emm Grombit?” Grombit looked confused before laughing a deep and hearty laugh. “Is this a joke? Am I being recorded? Did my wife put you up to this? Yes yes very funny you can come out now dear.”
“No really” said Molly. “We’ve never met a talking hedgehog, or any animal before.” “Except for parrots” added Arran. “Talking parrots” Grombit chuckled. “I don’t think so.” He shuffled his spikes before continuing “And how come you have never seen a talking animal, where are you from the 23rd century? Ha.” “Not exactly,” said Arran “the twenty first. Is this the future?”Both children now knew the Professors machine worked all too well and they were indeed six thousand years into the future.
Grombit opened his eyes wide so he could see them both more clearly then said in a slower more cautious tone “Only if you’re from the past children. Are you familiar with Professor Fidget?” “Why yes” Molly said. “She’s in the house.” “She? A woman?” Grombit asked rather confused. “Professor Fidget is a man not a she, a he. He He He!” “What’s so funny?” Joked Arran. The hedgehog was not amused though Molly found it quite funny.
“Well Professor Richard Fidget, a man developed a kind of translation in the air if you like. “Humans animals and even the environment exist in perfect harmony and understanding.”
Standing in the doorway that opened out to the garden the Professor watched as the children spoke to Grombit. Finally she decided to approach. “How do you do I am…” “Oh my worms,” Grombit interrupted. “It can’t be. Are you, excuse me for asking, Rebecca Fidget?” The Professor nodded “How do you know me?” “It’s my job to know you” he replied, “well my family’s job at any rate.” Grombit bowed his head “It is my honour Rebecca Fidget. Your father was a great man.”
“What do you mean was?” “I do beg your pardon” Grombit apologised “Greatness never dies of course.” Fidget shook her head. “That’s not what I… Is my father” she paused “dead?” Grombit gasped. “Good heavens no. Definitely not.” The Professor sighed with relief. “I don’t think” he continued. “What?” “Well I’m not sure, some say he’s dead. Others say he’s being held captive and some even say he’s missing.” “Missing?” repeated the Professor. “Yes missing, like the brain cells of these two children.” “Hey” shouted Molly as she marched toward Grombit who on a reflex curled himself into a little ball. “Sorry” he said from inside the ball “Just my idea of a joke.”

“That’s ok” laughed Arran “She can dish it out but she can’t take it.” “Can too” answered Molly and took a step back. Grombit popped his nose from his little ball and looked at his three visitors.
“Ok Miss Professor Fidget, come with me to the other side of the hedge, we have much work to do.” They followed him to the hedge and watched as he disappeared underneath. “Are you coming?” He shouted from the other side. “We can’t fit under there” said Molly. “Oh yes you two are blessed with brain cells aren’t you? Perhaps you might try the gate. I don’t know, this is supposed to be your house.”
Fidget took the children by the hand and walked out of the same gate, like she had a thousand times before whilst making her way to the school. Once on the other side she found that the similarity from her own time period ended there.
What was once a large expanse of fields enclosing a quiet suburban village comprising a few hamlets and a quiet country lane which led to the local school was now a bustling metropolis. The sky turned a beautiful scarlet colour then back to bright blue. The sound of thunder could be heard in the distance then the rain fell, but not everywhere; raindrops very specifically dropped on the trees grass and vegetation leaving the people bone dry. One couple who were resting on a field, relaxing and taking in the sun, upon seeing the rain did… nothing at all. They remained bone dry; the rain seemed to completely bypass them. It was as though the weather planned itself around the convenience of the animals and humans.
All manner of people and animals seemed to be living quite harmoniously together too. Business men and women were walking together, smiling and laughing, in and out of busy office blocks. One middle aged man crossed a road, with a tiny white mouse on his shoulder; for all intensive purposes it looked like he was having a conversation with the rodent. Having reached the other side of the road he knelt down so the mouse could jump to the ground. After a short affectionate wave the mouse continued with his days business and the man walked in the opposite direction.
A young girl walked past the Professor suddenly stopped and began uncontrollably laughing then began to do a strange dance waving her hands up and down like a rather like a cartoon chicken. Molly laughed, “reminds me of your last girlfriend.” Arran looked scornfully at her “She had a wasp in her hair, and you made fun of her for weeks after.” “I know” said Molly “I put it there, still was funny though”.
“Are you alright?” the Professor called out. The little blonde girl turned to face them “Yes we’re fine thanks,” she looked to her left, gave an affectionate wink to the empty space then looked back at the professor. “And you are?” “Oh I’m Professor Fidget” The girl laughed again, this time at her, looking her up and down. “Like the network? Sure you are” with that she turned and began to chat to her imaginary friend on her left and walked off.”
“What an odd girl” the Professor said as she looked around the bottom of the hedge for some sign of the hedgehog. “Grombit are you there?” “Out in a moment” Grombit called from behind the tree. “Takes a while to get changed.” Arran laughed imagining the hedgehog jumping out wearing mini trainers, tracksuit bottoms and a baseball cap.
A young man appeared from behind the tree wearing jeans, t shirt and a pleasant smile “There, ready. Shall we be off?” Both children exchanged a confused glance “And you are?” Asked Molly “I’m Grombit, brain cell.” “Grombit brain cell?” repeated Molly. Grombit sighed. “No just Grombit. You are the brain cell… or not.” “That’s amazing” exclaimed Fidget walking around Grombit. “Some sort of perception projector.” Grombit laughed. “You sound just like your father.”
Now irritated, Molly shouted “Professor, where is the hedgehog?” “I think he is the hedgehog” interjected Arran. “He just looks human” “Very clever” answered Grombit “ Are you sure you two are related?” Molly folded her arms and snorted in disgust. “So can all animals here do that, walk around as humans?” “No no no” Grombit replied. “Just me.” He produced a small back box from his pocket “This was a gift from your father. He said I was to use it if ever you should turn up. I’m still the same handsome hedgehog you met a few minutes ago. This box works as a kind of advanced hypnotism and everyone connected to the Fidget network sees what I want them to see. I can even become a tree or a table.”
“Fascinating” the Professor said prodding him in the nose “I can even touch you” Grombit sneezed “Yes your father was a very clever man.” Fidget raised her eyebrow un-amused by his persistent use of the word ‘Was’ when describing her father.
“But we have just got here said Arran and we’re not connected to the Fidget network, whatever that is. How is it that we can see you as a young boy?” “All will be explained in good time…

Stars at midnight

Jane Dougherty Writes

1149px-NGC_3603b

The blue of eternity

Is dense and deep as the darkest star-filled sky,

The deepest ocean trench,

The colour of your eyes at midnight.

The rogue star

Is the diamond

That falls from the corner of midnight,

When birds are silent,

And only the fox barks at the moon.

In your eyes,

Midnight diamonds scatter wild starlight,

The fox barks,

While stars fall,

And the world is a deep, ocean, midnight sky blue

Wrapping us about

In the silver mantle of the moon.

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Professor Fidget And The Trouble With Time Travel

intense meIn case you’ve been wondering… I haven’t died or fallen off the flat surface of the Earth in a vain attempt to prove that it’s round. I’ve been taking a break from the short stories to finish my novel which is now complete and being edited.

I thought you may like a sneak peek at the novel so please do have a gander. There will no doubt be more to come out as I try to chop out as much as I can bear to loose.

As always all thoughts and comments welcome…

 

Professor Fidget And The Trouble With Time Travel

P.J. Greystoke

‘Don’t you dare…!’
Her eyes were red; worn from the river of tears that had passed though them. Her words lacked all authority and the little hope she had clung to was diluted by her unanswered cries.
He sat in the machine. The two infants were asleep in the seat next to his.
She took a tentative step closer. As though on cue, he moved his hand to the glowing green button on the dash board. She stopped her advance and he relaxed his hand.
“Please just let them go…”
She started to cry again. “Please Jhonas. You used to be our friend. It’s not too late”
Jhonas Spletka sighed. “I’m sorry Professor. It wasn’t supposed to go like this.” He shook his head wiping the sweat from his brow. “You have your sanctimonious father to thank for this.”
The Professor’s next plea for him to release the children faded quickly into the background as Jhonas pushed the green button. The machine started to vibrate and the Professor dove forward and grasped at the bar at the back of the machine.
A blinding white light flashed around them making the room disappear from sight. The temperature outside the machine dramatically fell and the air was so close it felt like she was both freezing and drowning at the same time, like being trapped treading water just beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean.
She had to get inside the machine and quick. The extreme cold came close to rendering the Professor unconscious. A single thought, an image, of those two children kept her awake and allowed her to delve into whatever energy stores she had stored within to climb into the machine behind Jhonas.
His attention was focussed on the panel in front. He did not notice the Professor sneak up behind. He did become more aware however that he was not alone in the machine when an arm wrapped itself around his neck from behind.
His eyes, on instinct, turned jet black. If he could just catch a glimpse of the intruder, if he could lock eyes with her she would be powerless to do anything but follow commands. She knew this and tightened the grasp around his neck whenever he attempted to turn and face her.
She used her remaining free hand to place a green luminous strip on his forehead. Jhonas stopped struggling almost immediately and the lids of his eyes came down, submissive and restful.
“Now” said the Professor, “Stand up” Jhonas compliantly did as he was told.
“Step outside the machine.” He walked to the edge and stopped, his hands trembling.
Deep down he knew that to step outside a machine in flight was suicide and he was fighting it.
The veins in his forehead began to pop as he tried to battle the overwhelming will of the Professor and the obedience strip on his forehead.
“Jhonas step outside”
“It’s safe. Do not worry”
“Jhonas you cannot resist. Step outside”
“Step outside now!!”
The obedience strip had never been used to force someone to end their own life. The humans survival instinct is just too strong and Jhonas Spletkas’ will was stronger than most.
He was using all his strength to defy Professor Fidget. She watched in amazement as his arm, tensed as though thousands of volts of electricity was running freely through his veins, made its way up so he was within grasping distance of the obedience strip. Acting as quickly as she could she charged into Jhonas Spletkas midriff just as he pulled the strip free of his head.
He was sent flying backward and out of the machine. There was a moments quiet. The Professor leaned over to see out of the machine. A kind of white mist surrounded it, it looked almost heavenly.
Suddenly and without warning a hand appeared from beneath the cloud locking itself on her wrist pulling her half out of the machine. She tried to free herself but the grasp was too strong. Jhonas’ head emerged from the cloud, his eyes jet black. He stared directly into the Professors eyes. She tried to look away but could not.
A sound echoed in her brain.
Pull me up
Pull me up now Professor
The Professor was perhaps one of the most intelligent and equally strong willed women of her time and bewitching her was not going to be as simple as Jhonas had hoped.
She fought for all she was worth before exhaustion took its toll and the Professor momentarily lost consciousness. With no fight to keep her inside Jonas pulled her clear of the machine. The instrument panel hissed. Tiny sparks on the dashboard facilitated larger explosions till the whole panel burst into flames. A huge flash of light preceded total darkness and finally quiet.
The laboratory faded gradually into focus as the Professor slowly opened her eyes. The housekeeper stood over her exhausted and limp body.
“Sleep in your clothes again last night Professor?”
The Professor thought for a moment before answering.
“Who am I?”

Chapter 1
Arran and Molly

Mrs Anderson was not the sort of lady to put up with any nonsense, a wannabe head teacher whose recent appointment to become head of science, served only to give her an overly inflated view of her own superiority. She had disheveled red hair and wore red horn rimmed glasses which balanced quite remarkably on top of her thin pointy nose. She looked so old she may well have invented the famous cliché, ‘The bell, is a signal for me not for you.’
Mrs Anderson was by far the worst tempered teacher in the school and derived far too much pleasure when administering her famous long, uncompromising stare; a stare so intimidating that children often referred to it as the death stare and it was enough, usually, to drive even the most disruptive student to tears.
The classroom fell silent, all eyes yet again were on Molly and the teacher. Molly was sometimes known as the class clown. She was small for her age, something she more than made up for in her attitude, never afraid to voice her opinion and very good at persuading others that her point of view was always right too.
“Step forward girl” the teacher quietly commanded. Molly’s twin brother Arran was sitting third row from the left. He shook his head and sighed. “This isn’t the first time is it?” Mrs Anderson asked. Though it was a question, the teacher clearly was not expecting an answer. Molly took a step forward. “No!” she retorted; her reply seemed all the more defiant when she stopped looking submissively at her own feet and began to stare directly into Mrs Andersons eyes. “Your beloved Professor is gone” said Mrs Anderson “And you can’t just pick fights with anyone who dares to question her sanity.”
Professor Rebecca Fidget to whom Mrs Anderson referred was brilliant, some might say a genius, but as far as Arran and Molly were concerned she was ‘The cleverest person in the whole wide world, even cleverer than the lady who daddy liked to watch on Countdown.’
Mrs Anderson never liked Professor Fidget; she was always a little too eccentric for her conservative sensibilities.

The Professor was also eight years old, well in a manner of speaking: Although she was nearing the ripe old age of thirty two an accident eight years ago left her with almost complete memory loss. Only fragments of her past remained. Though her intelligence and memories of all things scientific were intact doctors held out little hope that her past would one day return to her.
Her memory wasn’t the only loss that fateful day. Her father, with whom she shared the house, also disappeared. Unexplained. Never to be seen again.
The Professor had been working on a rather unique invention practically every night following the accident. Recently her experiments had taken an unexpected turn for the better. This prompted her to leave her post as head of science at the school; she simply couldn’t be distracted by meaningless pursuits such as employment.
“Please miss…” Arran raised his hand. “Never one without the other is there?” muttered Mrs Anderson without altering the direction of her gaze, which was firmly focused on Molly “I really don’t think you can help your sister out of this one Arran.” “Molly didn’t start it” said Arran earnestly. “It was…” “She knows” interrupted Molly, “She was there. She was there and did nothing!” “I’m not sure I like your tone Molly” bellowed the teacher. “Oh like I care!” shouted Molly. The rest of the class, including Mrs Anderson was stunned by Molly’s temper. No one had ever dared to speak to the teacher like that let alone not be frightened by her ‘death stare.’
It only took a moment for the gnome like expression of shock to leave Mrs Anderson’s face. This was unchartered territory, none of the children knew what she was going to do next; the metamorphosis which took place was quite remarkable though: Her nostrils began to flare, her breathing slowed and was much more deliberate. Her face, like an eager volcano, began to grow a deep shade of red. Rage was slowly building from within. She slowly clenched her fists and raised one arm.
The class was dumbfounded. Arran quickly arose from his seat and stood in-between his sister and the teacher. “Leave her alone!” He paused, remembering that confrontation was not his strongest quality. “…Please miss.” He turned his face away. He wasn’t about to let his sister be hit but certainly did not want to see it coming if the purple faced rage monster decided to attack.
The shocking red lipstick that was caked to the teachers wafer thin lips formed itself into a seditious smile. This was indeed a day for firsts, Arran and Molly had never seen her smile before and both wondered if the sudden shock to her face would cause it to crack. A few children in the class covered their eyes, too afraid to witness what was to follow.
“Well” Mrs Anderson finally said with all the calmness of a child psychologist “You want to share in your sisters punishment do you Arran?”
“Yes miss?”
“Very well.”
She handed them each a pink slip of paper from her desk. The papers already had Arran and Molly’s name scribbled on them.
“One weeks suspension to begin immediately. Now leave. You are no longer welcome in this classroom.”
Relieved, Molly shrugged and turned to walk out of the classroom followed by her brother.
“Oh and children.”
They both stopped without turning around.
“I’ll be calling your father to see what he makes of all this!”
Molly turned. “Oh please miss don’t. I’m sorry I…”
“Goodbye children.”
Mrs Anderson waited till they left before she continued with the days lesson as if nothing had happened.

Chapter 2
Professor Fidget

The phone rang again. Professor Fidget hardly flinched, scribbling away in her note book; a continuation of the journal her father had efficiently maintained till his sudden disappearance. The persistent and unrelenting ringing forced the Professor to look up from her book and stare at the telephone. “Batsy” the Professor shouted. The ringing noise continued. Much more impatient now the Professor looked toward the stairs that led out of the basement and slammed her pen down on the desk. “Batsy!!” she yelled again “will you please, for the love of my sanity and your own self preservation move down these stairs and answer this confounded telephone.”
Barely a moment later the telephone ringing was accompanied by an equally distasteful sound to the Professors ears, a rather out of tune rendition of the Annie show song ‘The sun will come out tomorrow’, was being hummed by Batsy the Professors ever joyful housekeeper, which grew noisier and more irritating as she moved her ample plump and bouncy frame toward the telephone. Of course by the time she got there the phone stopped ringing. The Professor was not amused.
“Do you know who that was?” The Professor quizzed Batsy. The housekeeper thought for a moment before answering “Was it…” she paused “the school offering you your job back?” the Professor buried her head in her hands, “No no obviously not” she continued, “was it Arran? Molly? The Queen? No not the Queen how silly.” The Professor looked up and glared at her. “I don’t know do I. It was rhetorical.”
Batsy looked up and concentrated hard as though she were trying to recall a distant memory deep in the cobwebbed and vacant lot of her mind. “Don’t think we know anyone called terrorical Professor.”
“No Rhetorical. It means… Never mind. It was probably Uncle John.” The Professor thought for a moment, “calling to see if I had changed my mind regarding the sale of my father’s house.”
“Call him back and say thanks for the offer but tell him the answer is still no, I can’t leave.” not now I am so close to finishing she thought.
She stood up and walked toward the old dust sheet in the centre of the room; the unassuming stretch of army green material covered possibly the greatest invention of all time, something, for personal more than academic reasons she was now dedicated to complete herself.
“Are you not selling this house then Professor?” asked Batsy. The Professor turned to face her, “Not that it’s any of your concern”, answered Fidget, “but” she smiled, “no, for a few reasons, the least of them being that if I do you will become an unemployed homeless lady selling lucky clovers on street corners faster than you can click your fingers.”
The housecleaner then bemused Fidget as she, for the next two minutes proceeded to try unsuccessfully to click her fingers. Her unrelenting focus was disturbed only when the Professor gently put her hand over hers and said calmly “can you call Uncle John, today, and if possible, before one of us dies of old age?” The house cleaner did as she was told.
John was not actually the Professors birth uncle but a close friend of the family, and more importantly friend to her father since she was a child. This meant that he was now the closest family and link to her father she had. He also had two children whom Fidget absolutely adored.

“You always do this” said Arran, as he and Molly ambled slowly out of the school gate and down the country lane that led to Fidgets house. “What?” said Molly. “Miss Andersons not all that.” She laughed as she recalled her earlier defiance in front of possibly the meanest teacher in the school. “Well she certainly won this one” Arran pointed out “We’re now suspended from school. Dad will kill us.” “Who cares?” replied Molly. “Besides, we’re not going to dads are we?”
They both smiled as they approached the Professors front door. After three knocks the door slowly opened and out popped Batsy’s smiling face. “Children, come in” said the house keeper as she stepped aside to allow them passage into the house. One after the other the children jumped in through the front doorway. “Hi Batsy” said Arran, “Is the Professor downstairs?” “Shouldn’t you both be at school?” came a familiar inquisitive and friendly voice from the basement. The house keeper closed the front door as the two children rushed downstairs to see Fidget.

 

Chapter 3
John Pentka

The solicitor, Jeffrey Peabody pushed the papers across the desk toward John Pentka. “It’s her house. If she doesn’t want to sell it, then she doesn’t have to. Her father’s instructions were quite specific, and it basically gives her power of attorney over the whole estate and everything contained within it.” “Why now?” asked John “And after all this time…”

He took the papers pressed them into the open briefcase on the desk, slammed it shut, picked it up and walked out of the office without saying goodbye.
The solicitor, rather used to his behavior thought nothing of it and proceeded to scribble into his note book.
“Is it finished yet Professor?” Molly asked Fidget. “Yea can we see?” continued Arran as they made their way toward the hidden object in the centre of the room. “Stop right there” Fidget quietly directed. “You can see it” she paused for thought “soon” she said.
Very soon, she thought.
Batsy popped her head round the corner. “Professor” she said; the Professor looked up. “That was John on the phone he’s coming over to see you; something about the house.” The Professor sighed as her eyes rolled toward the heavens. “I know he means well” suggested the Professor to the children, “But that father of yours can become a bit too embroiled into the affairs of other people.” “What does em-boiled mean Professor?” asked Molly. “It means she should tell dad to mind his own business” laughed Arran. “We’ll have none of that sort of talk about your father” instructed the Professor as she sent them upstairs with Batsy to sample some of the new double chocolate cookie ice cream Fidget had picked up for them when she went out to do her weekly shop, well, her weekly shop which was, as usual five weeks too late.
Once the children were out of sight, Fidget moved toward the centre of the room and in one swift movement yanked the sheet from the mysterious machine. A cloud of dust filled the air and settled onto the object that lay underneath. She marvelled momentarily at it in the time it took for the dust to settle.
The object was housed by a reinforced aluminium cage. Four red satin covered seats as you would expect to find in an old fashioned carriage, both front and rear, faced the front panel which comprised two silver dials, a series of buttons, a screen, a lever and a hollowed out square panel originally built by her father and later more recently amended and completed by his daughter, Rebecca Fidget.
She sat in, if it was a car what would be described as the driver’s seat and ran her fingers proudly across the front panel , glancing momentarily toward the front lever; she smiled and her heart rate increased as she slowly moved her hand so she was touching it. Just one push and the Professor would be sent hurtling through the fourth dimension; traveling through time.
The temptation was so great; there had been so many occasions over the past two weeks, since she completed her father’s machine that she had dared herself to push that lever.
She was only completely sure the machine finally worked when Muffy the housekeeper’s pet hamster re appeared after the Professor had sent him hurtling a few days into the future equipped with a mini electronic time piece and calendar all inside a miniaturized version of the time machine.

Fidget took a sentimental glance round her laboratory: her desk, her father’s journal, her father’s old camera; it was originally her father’s laboratory. The time machine was his project, and in truth the main reason Rebecca finished it was in the hope that one day her father and she would once again somehow be reunited.
Ok, it’s time she thought. The hollowed out panel was blank, she placed her fingers firmly in the middle of it and pushed, the panel began to glow a very bright white, she removed her hands from the platform, as she did so the light in the panel began to gradually dim, as it did the whole room around the Professor began to glow that same bright light, so bright in fact that Fidget had to momentarily cover her eyes, a few seconds later the room looked as it had done before.
Fidgets eyes were now firmly fixed on the panel, which was still a dull glow, she clenched one of her fists in eager anticipation “Come on, please work” she said to herself. All of a sudden the dull white expressionless glow from the panel began to change and an image slowly appeared in its place, gradually coming into focus like a developing photograph in a dark room.
The Professor afforded herself a huge grin and a triumphant punch into the air with her still clenched fist, the image of the room that surrounded her was now in firm focus in the panel in front of her.
“Ok, we’ll store that image” she said as she pushed a button to the right of the panel “And now for…” Her train of thought was interrupted by the sound of somebody walking down the stairs to the basement, calling her name.
“Rebecca, Rebecca are you down there?” John was close to the door but not yet in sight. The Professor had just enough time to get out and cover the machine over with the dust sheet then quickly sit behind her desk, pick up a book and pretend to be studiously reading.
The door opened.
“Working again I see.” He paused recalling the usual and unnecessary pleasantries that needed to be said before getting down the order of business. “How are you?” he enquired in his usual uncaring businesslike manner as he made his way from the door entrance to the Professors desk, carrying a briefcase under his arm.
He slammed the case on her desk, prompting Rebecca Fidget to slowly put her book down and look up toward him. “I’m fine thank you uncle” she answered sounding slightly irritated. She looked at the briefcase then back at John. “To what do I owe this ‘unexpected’ visit?”
Before John could answer, the temperature in the room suddenly fell quite dramatically; the Professor shivered and rubbed the sides of her arms in a futile effort to keep warm. “I see you brought the weather with you John.”
John seemed inexplicably distracted by this temperature change as he started to sniff the air and walk slowly with outstretched arms towards the centre of the room. Each step towards the centre resulted in a slight temperature drop. “John, for pity’s sake what are you doing?” the Professor asked. As John turned his head to look at the Professor the room temperature returned to normal. He lowered his hands and reluctantly walked back towards the Professor and his briefcase.
“What was that all about John?” Fidget asked. He looked accusingly at Fidget, studying her gaze before relaxing. “Nothing” he said, “to business.”John released the catch to unlock his case, took out a small selection of papers and handed them to the Professor. Before she could start reading he pushed a pen toward her and raised one eyebrow. “Come on Rebecca” he insisted. “Sign the papers; what do you want with this old house anyway?” “Oh uncle not again” she snapped back as she pushed the papers back across the desk toward him. “I’ve told you, many many times. This was my father’s house. I’m not selling it, not now not ever. What do you want with it anyway?” Johns face started to glow that familiar red which meant he was about to loose his temper and begin shouting.
Their conversation was abruptly interrupted by Molly and Arran running down the stairs. “Professor, Professor” Molly shouted, “Batsy said fathers on his…” Her sentence came to a sudden halt when she came face to face with John. “… way.” She finished her sentence without the same bravado she had displayed earlier in front of Mrs Anderson. “Hello Father” she said very politely. “Molly, Arran” John acknowledged without paying them much attention. “Hello father” said Arran “we’ve been suspended from school; you see Molly and the teacher…’
John only half listening interrupted, “you two are going to have to stay with the Professor tonight. I’m going away on business.” Trying hard to control their inner smiles the children nodded their heads in agreement. “I assume that’s fine with you Rebecca” he said to the Professor. “We’ll continue this discussion when I return.”
Once John had left, the Professor ushered the children out of the basement and up the stairs, followed closely by the Professor herself, turning to take one last look at the object covered by the dust sheet and affording herself a cheeky smile as she did so.

 

Chapter Four
Just One Look

“What do you think the Professor is working on?” Molly quietly asked Arran later that night, whilst sitting up in her bed and looking toward him as he lay in the bunk across the room. There was no response, of course there wouldn’t be, it was two am and both kids were supposed to be fast asleep. Molly whispered again hoping to wake her brother. There was still no answer apart from an outward sleepy snort sounding remarkably like a frog had just escaped from his mouth. He followed it by a rubbing of his eyes as he turned to continue his slumber.
Looking rather like she had given up on waking her brother she resorted to speaking with Lancelot her favourite teddy bear instead. “What do you think the Professor is working on?” she asked the teddy as she looked intently into his plastic eyes. She raised the teddy bears arms into a shrugging pose and in a deeper voice than her own natural tone mimicked Lancelot answering her back. “I don’t know, but she’s being very secretive about it.” “Do you think Arran would know?” she continued in her natural tone. She then made another shrugging movement with Lancelot’s shoulders before smiling and throwing him with all her might at Arran’s head causing him to roll over and off the bed onto the floor “Oh I’m sorry, said Molly very innocently, did I wake you?”
Arran got up from the floor rubbing his head with one hand and carrying Lancelot in the other “Either that or your stupid teddy learned how to fly and fancied a chat!”
“Oh there he is; I’ve been looking for him” Molly lied as she held out her hands indicating her desire to have her teddy bear safely returned to its owner.
Arran handed Lancelot to Molly. “So what did you, em I mean Lancelot want to talk about?” Arran asked as he sat back on the bottom corner of his bed rubbing his sore head to check for bruises.
“The Professor” Molly replied. “She spends every day in that basement, every night till way after we have gone go to bed and the only thing we’re not allowed to see, the only thing that’s kept secret is under that green sheet.”
Arran nodded in agreement then shrugged his shoulders. He was not quite as inquisitive as his sister.
“Remember the time the Professor threw her shoe at Batsy’s head for trying to clean it?” Arran asked. “Yea” Molly chuckled. “Was quite impressive; she didn’t even look up from her notebook. Kept writing with one hand whilst slipping off her shoe and bopping Batsy on the head with the other.”
“Fancy a look?” Molly asked her brother with a raised eyebrow. “The Professor would kill us” said Arran. “She can’t tell us off for what she doesn’t know” said Molly “besides I just want to see.”She walked out of the room and crept down the hallway towards the stairs reluctantly followed by her brother.
The big old house looked rather different at night. Looming shadows from aging pieces of furniture appeared much more menacing than in daylight. Invisible echoes amplified every movement the children made, the sound of creaking floorboards and the wind rattling through the pipes masked only by the ticking of the old grandfather clock outside the Professors study. “Why is it when you’re trying to keep quiet every footstep makes the house creak more?” Arran whispered as he carefully made his way down the stairs that led to the basement “Shhh” replied Molly as she turned round with her finger pressed against her lip.
Molly turned the handle and opened the basement door. Once inside she ushered Arran to follow. He cautiously did so reaching for the light switch on the wall, and with one flick illuminated the whole room. “I’m not sure about this” said Arran with one foot out of the door. “I might go to bed.” “Go to bed then!” snapped Molly. “You’ll never find out what’s under that sheet, cos I won’t tell you.”She folded her arms and turned so she was facing away from Arran.
Arran thought for a moment, he was after all curious as to what was under the sheet, not only that, walking on his own back through the dark stairs and corridors back to bed was not his idea of fun, so he resigned himself to stay. “Ok one look and we go back to bed” he said to Molly who was already advancing toward the hidden object. “Yes just one look” she replied as she yanked off the cover and threw it over to the corner of the room.

 

Chapter Five
The First Flight

The time machine now visible by both children lay before them “Cool” they both said in amazement. “What is it?” Arran asked. Molly shrugged her shoulders, “I dunno.” She circled the time machine, studying the front panel and red satin seats. “It’s like an old fashioned car without wheels” Arran said. “Of course!” Molly finally concluded. “It’s a hovercraft.” Arran was unconvinced. “I don’t think so.” “It is!” she said. “Look I’ll drive, get in.” With that she hopped into the driver’s seat. Arran stayed put. “Are you getting in or not?” asked Molly. Arran shook his head. Molly was a little deflated by her brothers lack of enthusiasm. “I promise I won’t touch anything.”

He cautiously walked around the machine and sat in the passenger seat. “Good day sir.” Molly playfully said in her poshest voice as Arran sat down. “I am your chauffer for the day. Would you care to go to the palace?” Arran smiled and joined the role play “Why yes Jeeves. Go through the park first; you know how I love the park.
Arran looked at the dashboard, then at the front panel. “Hey Molly, look” he said pointing at the image in front of him, “it’s a picture of this room.” “Oh yea” replied his sister. “It’s probably a safety thing” she continued as if she was very knowledgeable as to how hi tech hovercrafts work. “It makes sure we don’t bump into anything or hit the ceiling.” “How do you know?”He asked. “This is your first hovercraft too.” If that’s even what this is he thought.

Molly shook her head and using her usual jump first and think later philosophy by which she had lived her life so far stretched out her hand and pressed the image in front of her.
The image began to glow and she pulled her hand back as fast as she could; both children’s heart rates increased. “What did you do that for?” shouted her brother. “I didn’t do anything” she replied defensively. “But look at that” she pointed to a green button which had started flashing to the right of the image. She glanced at Arran who, like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a car, was too afraid to move anywhere, but was clearly not fond of the situation he was now placed. “I think I should press It.” she said with a slight chuckle and before Arran could voice any objection she quickly pushed the button and held it there till the green stopped flashing.
For a moment nothing happened. Arran breathed a huge sigh of relief whilst Molly, rather disappointed, grunted “Fat lot of good that is, it doesn’t even…” She didn’t get to finish her sentence as the time machine started vibrating; this was soon accompanied by a low pitched hum as the room around them began to fade and drift out of focus. It gave Molly a slight headache looking out; it was as if she was putting on a pair of glasses that were far too strong for her.
Arran didn’t have the same feeling at all, he was too busy closing his eyes as tight as he could whilst pressing his hands against his ears.

Normally Molly would have laughed at her brother behaving in this manner, but for the moment she was just as scared. Suddenly there was a huge explosive flash of bright light outside the machine. As quick as it had arrived, the light faded and the children found themselves looking outside into the laboratory again, everything as it had been before.
But wait, something was different. The Professor was sitting at her desk reading a book. “We’re in trouble now” said Arran. “Sorry Professor” he said, “It was Molly’s fault. I told her I wanted to go to bed but then she hit me with a teddy and so I switched on the light and now we’re in your hovercraft.”
The Professor didn’t even look up from her book. “See what you’ve done?” said Arran. “The Professor can’t even look at us. I’ve never seen her this angry.” The basement door opened and in walked John, their father. “Dad’s here” said Molly. “Shh” said Arran. “Wait a minute, he’s ignoring us too.”
John Pentka was wearing the same boring suit he had on earlier that day and was carrying the same briefcase. He also had the same un-empathetic look on his face, though the children were used to that. Arran wondered what he was doing there in the middle of the night.
John walked across the room without so much as a glance toward the children and slammed his briefcase down on the Professors desk; she put her book down and began speaking with their father.
“He can’t have not noticed us” said Arran. “He’ll notice if we stand right between them.” snapped Molly who didn’t like spending too long in any situation she didn’t understand. With that she turned round and attempted to get out of the time machine. “Ouch!” she yelled as she banged her head. There was an invisible wall surrounding the whole machine, soundproof and inescapable. “I can’t get out.” Molly shouted.

Arran wasn’t paying any attention he was much more concerned now with what was in the machine itself.
“Molly look” he said, pointing at the dashboard. Directly under the picture of the room was a digital display it read:
Destination 8 hours: 32 minutes into the past. Hover mode engaged.
“Oh my goodness” said Arran “It’s a time machine. Professor Fidget has invented a time machine!” Molly turned to look at the display in disbelief; she then turned to face her brother. “I mean I’d have preferred a blue police box that was bigger on the inside, but still, a time machine. This must be earlier today when father was here.”
Materialization in 20 seconds.
“Twenty seconds?” shouted Arran “It’s counting down.”
19,18,
“What do we do?” Molly’s attention was firmly fixed on her father who was now looking right at her from the other side of the room. “Dads stretching out his arms. He’s walking this way. Arran he knows we’re here!” Arran was still looking at the display.
13, 12
“Molly do something.” “Oh yea. I’m quite the time traveller; I know exactly how this thing works.” Molly shouted sarcastically as her father drew closer.
6, 5,
“Molly now!” Shouted Arran. “Press anything!!”Molly began randomly pressing a series of buttons.
4, 3,
“If we end up landing in Jurassic Park you’re getting eaten before me!” snapped Molly as she finally came to press the same green button that had transported them there in the first place. The display changed:
Flight mode.
The time machine began to vibrate and the laboratory disappeared from view. Almost immediately they found themselves back in the same place they started from.
Both children sat back in their seats and breathed a huge sigh of relief. “That was close” observed Molly. “Do you think?” shouted Arran in the most sarcastic tone he could find. “I suggest we get out of here, put the sheet over this thing and hope the Professor doesn’t…” “Oh no” Molly interrupted, “look over there. We’re right back in time again.”

Both children looked across the laboratory to see the Professor sitting behind her desk reading her book as she had done a minute or so before. “What are we going to do?” asked Arran. There was a pause, Molly shrugged.