Saturday, 6 August 2016

The Ring

Chuck has us mashing up a list of 20 prompts. We have to pick 2 from it and write a story in 2,000 words. I picked out 'Time Travel' and 'Parallel Universe'... 


“Where did you come from?” his voice was clean, educated and right in front of me in the darkness of the lane, “I repeat, dear heart, where did you come from? One moment, you were not there and the next, you were.”
I looked down at the plain gold ring on my finger, inset with a garnet quickly, “Um, I passed out, and just awoke.”
He stepped up closer and, after hearing a match lighting, I saw his face, “Oh I am so sorry, I didn’t know. Are you all right?” he offered me his other hand – gloved against the cold – to help me up.
“Yes, I think so.” I muttered taking his hand as he blew out the match.
“Step gingerly, dear heart, the cobbles aren’t even here.” His arm moved around my shoulder, my waist, making me feel safe and assured I wasn’t going to fall over, “You are wearing strange attire.”  
Looking around, I barely recognised the city I was in, that was until I saw the large copper hand and flame, “I’m in New York.” I muttered as his warm cloak was wrapped around me, “I’m okay, really.”
“I do not doubt you’re warm. However, it’s your clothing which will attract unwanted attention to your… um… your.” He gestured to my body and I looked down, “Do you understand?”
Pulling the long dark cloak around me, I nodded, “Yes, fully.”
“Now, please allow me to take you back to my house.” He offered his arm, which I laid my hand on it and we walked to his carriage across the road.
“How did you see me from all the way over here?” I asked.
“I didn’t. My dog jumped from the carriage and raced to you. He smelled you. He’s a hunting dog, but he’s also a protector.” He smiled.
At the carriage door, I hesitated. I was going home with a man who I didn’t know the name of in a strange city I had never been to, in a time I knew wasn’t mine, “Wait. I do not know your name, and I’m going home with you? A little bit too trusting of me, isn’t it?”
“Forgive me, please. In my haste, I forgot myself. My name is Franklin Joseph Ellison, from the Ellison’s of Maine. We are in the newspapers and railways here in New York City; having expanded from Maine to the south… but I doubt you’d be interested seeing we’re only a small company thus far.” He paused, “Your name, dear heart… I cannot keep calling you that.”
“Oh… Megan May Thompson. I’m sorry I don’t know my family history as much as you do.” I blushed, “I’m not from America.”
“Obviously, from your accent, you must be English.”
“No. I’m Australian.”
He hesitated, “Australian. I see. You must have had some money to travel here.”
“Some, but not enough to return home.” I said, “This doesn’t change anything, does it?”
“No, Miss Thompson, of course not.” His driver opened the door and Franklin climbed in, offered out his hand and I climbed in after him.

Over the next week, I learned so much about Franklin and his family. Even though he knew my story was a farce, he lied for me to his friends and even to his mother – who seemed to eat up whatever he told them. We attended dances and he permitted me to go shopping.

I loved this life!

However, I knew I had to return to my life in 2016. I was missing my computer, my television… everything I was so used to two centuries into the future. I looked my hands over at the ink all over them, rubbing at it as I had tried to use the ink well and pen that day.

“I’m not going to survive here.” I whispered as snow coated the roofs and footpaths surrounding our building, “I have to go home.”
“Megan?” Franklin’s voice whispered at the door of my room, “Are you all right, dear heart?” I loved it when he called me that. It was becoming so that I developing feelings for this wonderful man. In the semi-darkness, tears came to me quickly as I fidgeted with the ring on my finger, the ring I knew that if I took it off, I’d vanish from his life – just as I had vanished from 2016 a week ago. He hurried in, placing down his lamp on the nearby table and sat with me in his long, mahogany-coloured dressing gown, his hair messed up from sleeping, his features aware I needed to talk to somebody, “What is wrong?”
“Franklin, I don’t belong here. You know this… I know this.” I looked down at the ring, “It is the ring I wear which brought me here. I am homesick; and I’m in a time where there is no technology at all. There is no radio… no television… no computers…” I looked at him as I spoke and he gave me blank expression; an expression of not knowing any of those polyglot words, which were old, yet new, “I need to go home, back to my time.”
“I have an idea.” He smiled, his thumb moving away the tears from my left cheek, “In Philadelphia, there is a World’s Fair coming next week. I bought tickets to it and was going to surprise you with them.”
“World’s Fair? I’d love to go… see all those inventors.” I smiled, “It’ll be just the thing for me.”
“Right.” He kissed my hands, both my closed eyes then my wet cheeks, “We shall go in two days. It will take time to travel to New Jersey.” He rose and walked to the lamp.
“I have no papers for the border.” I said.
“Worry not of that.” He smiled, “I shall tell them you are my wife.”

The following week was so difficult. I couldn’t sleep, could barely eat and still felt as though I was in some kind of dream – that I had found a wonderful man in my life. Why was it that I had to jump time – centuries – to meet the man of my dreams, only to have to leave him? I often sat in the library with a book in my hands thinking about how I was going to tell him about this. He knew how unhappy I was, however I think he felt dreadful that I didn’t exactly know my way back home. After all, Franklin had given me everything I had ever wanted in my life. He bought me lovely dresses, shoes, hats and books (Oh! Did he buy books of all kinds!). he loved it that I was so educated and we could talk for hours on a subject without my mind wondering onto what he called ‘womanly things’ too much.

He also knew I needed to meet like-minded people.

We arrived in Philadelphia, staying in a gorgeous hotel and attended the World’s Fair. There were so many things on display with just as many inventors standing by them. The very first typewriter was there – as was its successor – which nobody knew how to use. I sat down at it and typed up a few lines to everyone’s amazement. It clacked so loudly and the audience cringed right up until the sound of the bell; at which point I looked up to find the inventor staring at me. Franklin was simply beaming – he knew that I knew things nobody else did. He knew I wasn’t from his time; as I had never lied to him about anything of my life from the very time he had found me in that lane.
“How did you know how to do that, Miss?” the man asked as Franklin assisted me from the very uncomfortable chair, “I have been trying to teach my daughter to use this thing and she hates it.”
I blushed, “I guess it’s just instinct. I felt the keys and knew what I wanted to type.”
Franklin smiled, “Can you make one? I shall buy it.”
The man grinned, “Yes! An original or a Qwerty?”
At this question, Franklin looked to me for the answer, “A Qwerty please… they are so much easier to use.”
Our time at the World’s Fair was wonderful! I felt as though I had a connection with every inventor there as we walked around perusing the place and enjoying each invention – which was the first time for Franklin, but was the birth of my technology in the future for me. It was wonderful to see this all on display at such a time when it was all still very new to the public – and Franklin bought as much of the new inventions for me as possible. There was the typewriter (which he wanted to learn to write on), the fountain pen, the wonderful and new vacuum cleaner, three large boxes of Hershey’s Chocolate Bars (which we nearly made ourselves sick on) and a movie projector (and yet we didn’t have anything to show on it).

On the way home, we passed the lane where he found me and I stopped the carriage, turned to him, “I want to show you some of my world – just for a minute.”
“If you feel it’s wrong, will you come back with me?” Franklin asked.
“Yes.” I smiled.
We stood in the lane with the carriage nearby. His arms were around me as I took the ring off and we were transported back to 2016 – back to my house – where I had put the ring on in the first place. Nothing had changed.
“Oh my god, what is that smell!” he pulled handkerchief from his pocket.
“My world.” I said, “Look outside.”
He walked to the window and saw how bad this world had become. Turning back to me, he shook his head, “How can you stay here? Why would you want to?”
“I was born in 1973 and I am past 40 years of age. Why would you wish to be with somebody who can no longer give you children?” I asked.
He walked to me, took my hands and kissed my forehead, “I do not care if you cannot give me children. All I care of is if you are in my life. Megan, please stay with me, this time please be my legal wife.”
“Oh, yes.” I smiled.
He took the ring from my hands and placed it on the third finger of my left hand as he held me close; and we found ourselves in the lane again. The carriage was waiting for us with the driver smoking his pipe, “Sir, you have been gone for hours. Thought you were not coming back.”
“I had to view Megan’s world.” He said, “We have made a decision.”
When we arrived back to the house, I sat down immediately and wrote a letter with my new fountain pen. I posted it off to Australia the next day.

‘25th, May, 1895
Dear Gabriel,

I am writing this to you because you will be the only one who will understand and believe me. Do you remember that strange ring our late Uncle left me with a note that it was a time-traveling ring? It has a garnet set in gold – it doesn’t look like much.

I put it on a few weeks ago and ended up in 1895.

I met somebody here and spent a few weeks here enjoying his company. We attended the World’s Fair in Philadelphia and he bought me so many grand things to use! I saw the first typewriter ever! So very cool! I wish I could speak to you again… we would have so much to talk of.

Let Mum and Dad know I’m doing well – very well – as Franklin is from a good family and said he will care for me. We are marrying in three weeks from this date (look it up on Google and you’ll find me).

Love to you all.


25th, May, 2016 – There was a knock at the door of Megan’s brother, who lived at Brighton in Brisbane, Australia. He answered it and there was a lawyer standing there with a box, a key and a typewriter in its container. The lawyer introduced himself with identification and asked to come in. After sitting down at the table with the family, he pulled a letter out of his briefcase.
“Megan penned another letter to you, Gabe.” He said, “This one was longer and is more detailed.”
“What’s the rest of this stuff?” he asked.
“Well, Megan passed away just after the Great Depression. She and Franklin had no children to speak of and so in her Will, she said she’d like to leave her most prized belongings to her brother and his family.” He pushed the box across the table, “There’s about five unpublished books in there. The key is to a storage place in New York City where her book collection is kept. And this typewriter was the first commissioned typewriter from the inventor of the very thing. Franklin ordered it at the World’s Fair for her to use for her books – along with other things on the day they went.”
“My god, she really did go back there.” He said.
“And she wanted to give her ring to you and your wife as well.” He said, “She claims in her Will it doesn’t make one travel through time anymore; but be careful – it just might.” He placed a metal ring box on the table, “If I was you, I wouldn’t even try it.”
Gabe picked up the box, looked at it, then opened it to find it gone! Looking up at his wife, he whispered, "Where's Riley?" 
Riley stood in her bedroom gazing down at her Aunt Megan's ring, glanced up at her dresser mirror and smiled, "Aunt Megan, here I come!"