tagSci-Fi & FantasyTempus Frangit Ch. 05

Tempus Frangit Ch. 05

byThe Wanderer©

Tempus Frangit

By Denham Forrest, writing as Misnomer Jones

Tempus Frangit, Capitulus V

The craft that had brought Douglas and Myra to Simul's residence hung around until we were ready to leave, and then took the five of us directly back down west.

As it came in to land near the cottages, we were surprised to find that there were many other such craft parked in the vicinity. And a very dense ring of yellow shirts were dotted around the nearby hilltops.

I spotted Kay the moment we stepped out of the craft, and what's more, she had several ladies with her who I instantly suspected were some of the other Simuls, from elsewhere on the planet. They all wore the same distinctive purple attire anyway, and everyone treated them with extreme reverence.

Kay removed herself from her little clique and came over to greet us, or more specifically the three women. And very affectionately I might add; much hugging went on between them. Then she turned to Douglas and I and wished us all the best; or words to that effect anyway. Douglas and I didn't discuss it, but we both took her words as a dismissal, maybe even a "Well, get on with it!"

So we headed off towards the door in the dome. But we hadn't gone five yards when Douglas suddenly stopped. Obviously he'd been doing a little more thinking than I had.

"George there's something we haven't thought of... paperwork."

"Not with you, Doug?" I replied.

"The girls, George; they are going to be nonentities in our time. No passports, birth certificates or anything. When they find out about them, the bloody immigration people are going to give us a real hard time."

"Shit!" I said out loud. Then I went back to Kay and began to explain our worries to her.

She just smiled at me, "Do not worry, George, all that will be taken care of!"

I have no idea of what expression I had on my face, I should imagine, confusion.

"Remember Thomas, George. Now, don't worry about anything my friend; I'm sure, all will become clear to you once you are back in your own time."

The five of us entered the dome and retreated as far as the front garden of my cottage while a couple of Adona's guys removed the door; not as spectacular an operation as the installation of the thing had been, that's for sure.

Then, so suddenly that it made me jump, there was a strange whooshing sound, made by the higher-pressure air rushing into the sphere, I suspected. I know we all felt the effect of the rapid change on our ears, but we'd been forewarned by a technician to be prepared for that. No, what made me jump was the fact that suddenly it was almost pitch black -- it was the middle of the night -- and we were... well I was, looking up at the overcast sky.

Very cautiously, I turned to look to where Ciera and Chaise had been standing, and was pleasantly reassured to see the vague shadowy outline of two people.

"We're back!" Douglas's voice said from somewhere out in the darkness.

"We sure do appear to be," I replied. Then I recalled that there should be a torch in the glove compartment of my car, if I could only find the bugger without breaking my neck. "Everyone, stay where you are, I'm going to find some light," I was saying, when a string of rather graphic expletives filled the air. Douglas had found the stone edging of my front lawn.

"Broke anything serious?" I asked.

"Just my pride. Where's that bleeding torch, George?"

It was one of those times when you begin to appreciate what it must be like for people deprived of the wonder of sight, as I blundered about in the pitch dark.

Eventually, however, I did manage to locate my car; but somewhat confusingly, not the collection of odd tools and other detritus, that Douglas and I had left lying around it. Frustratingly, not even the front wheel I'd been sitting on whilst I'd fitted the front brake calliper; that should have been lying on the driveway. That being missing confused me, and somewhat slowed my progress for a while. I didn't wish to find the bugger the same way that Doug had located the edging to my front lawn; I had hoped to use the wheel as a kind of landmark to the car's position, if you understand me.

On opening the passenger door, the car's courtesy light came on, illuminating the scene, very eerily. At that instant, I knew that something was very different; but I couldn't put my finger on exactly what at the time.

However, I knew that all wasn't how I had left it. That ruddy interior light had never worked properly. That should have kind-of warned me that things had changed a little. I believe that the first thing I really noticed -- yeah well, the interior light coming on had surprised me; although it had rarely worked since I'd bought the damned car, but it wasn't averse to coming on when it felt like, if you get my drift -- was the fact that the inside of my car was remarkably clean and tidy. And, I don't mean that someone had just cleaned the interior of the car either; it had not been unkempt or anything, anyway.

No, it was like I was reaching into a spanking brand new car. For an instant I must have been rooted to the spot, until Doug called out, "Where's that bleeding torch, George; a person could get killed around here. Shit, it's dark tonight!"

Coming back to my senses, I retrieved the torch and then shone it around my immaculate garden. Only, of course, it wasn't my - 'immaculate garden'! I'm not much of a gardener at the best of times, especially when the surf is up. Someone had certainly paid my domain a visit and given it a bloody good once-over; or maybe even two once-overs. However, I noted that some of Sylvia's rose bushes were missing.

"Jesus bloody wept, what's happened here!" Douglas had also noticed the change in ambiance.

"What's wrong?" Ciera asked.

Doug and I explained, and all three women started laughing. Then they went on to explain that most probably service androids had been dispatched to guard the cottages.

"Service androids insist on perfection, George," Ciera grinned at me, "Anything that was worn or damaged, in any way, will have been... well serviced and returned to perfect working order."

"Service androids?" Douglas repeated, "We never saw any robots or anything like that in the city."

"No, you wouldn't. They cut the grass in the communal areas of course, usually at night." Chaise said, "But they don't do everything for us. That would lead to a sedentary lifestyle; not healthy for anyone! But they are programmed to repair anything that they come across that is not in perfect working order."

"Well, how come they've nicked some of my rose bushes? There was sod-all wrong with them, Sylvia..."

"Sod-all?" Ciera echoed.

I'd forgotten myself again, the girls had no idea what sod-all meant.

"Sorry, there was nothing wrong with them. Sylvia doted over the buggers."

"Perhaps, if Sylvia liked them, she asked for them to be removed," Myra replied, "There are very few pretty flowers in our time."

"Of course. That's why only half of them are missing, George," Douglas interjected as Myra ran out of steam. I think the young woman was not sure if she was speaking out of turn, if you understand me.

"George, the androids will have been in your..." Ciera began to say, but she suddenly stopped speaking.

".... Cottage, and they will most probably have... well, serviced anything they deem required any maintenance in there, as well," Chaise completed for her.

I had become accustomed to this method of conversation with the two girls, but I could see that it was still confusing Douglas, more than a little.

Mind you, besides the occasional confused expression on his face -- and the odd bewildered double-take as he looked back and forth between Ciera and Chaise -- Doug never has commented on the subject. I believe he knows... and he knows that I know and understand, what is going on -- so he tries his best to ignore the phenomenon. Not that I would like to have to try to explain it to him anyway; it's bad enough, trying to explain it here to you.

As the girls had suggested, the cottage had received a makeover. Everything was as it was -- or should I say looked the same -- but at the same time, brand spanking new! Carpets, curtains, wallpaper, furniture, everything as it was -- and probably better than -- when it was new. Much to his delight, Douglas's place had received similar treatment.

I was surprised -- as I really do think the girls were at first -- when we discovered that all of Sylvia and Rose's personal gear and clothing had been removed from both cottages. In their place, was twentieth century clothing -- I do believe modelled on Sylvia's and Rose's -- for the three new arrivals.

Oddly enough, including wet suits. I was kind-of curious about what Sylvia and Rose were going to do with their wet suits in the city; a few years later, I found out.

What Ciera, Chaise and Myra were going to make of their wet-suits, I wasn't too sure at the time. But I must say, that helping them get into the things for the first time a few days later, proved to be great fun. Well, I had some fun helping Ciera and Chaise into theirs, and I assume that Doug got the same enjoyment out of assisting Myra.

Doug proved to be a little more circumspect, where talking about Myra was concerned, than he'd ever been talking about his interactions (physical or otherwise) with Rose. But then, the two women had completely different characters.

I won't go into all the chaos that reigned over the fact that the girls found themselves parachuted into -- what to them must have appeared as -- a very primitive society. But they all handled it extremely... confidently. Cooking they were pretty quick at picking up, although both Doug and I became veggies rather quickly. Not because the girls made a hash of cooking meat; more because we both could see that they found the thought of eating flesh of any kind, upsetting.

Of course the first thing we had to worry about was that we had the locals to introduce the girls to. That proved... er, very bewildering and somewhat confusing for nearly all of our neighbours, and every other bugger in the village as well.

Well think about it? As the locals saw it, one day Doug and I were living with Rose and Sylvia... And the next, Myra, Ciera and Chaise had mysteriously materialised. What's more, Doug and I were telling everyone that Rose and Sylvia had deserted us. We tried not to talk about our new partners if we could get away with it.

Yeah, it didn't wash! Within a couple of days, we had the police knocking at the door asking awkward questions. Someone in the village had not swallowed our line of bull; not very surprising really.

However, early that very same morning, a courier had delivered a parcel, the contents of which surprised Doug and myself. It contained a note from Adona and official papers for all three girls. Including birth certificates, passports, and full medical and educational histories; all legal and above board by the look of them.

I figured that the note directly contradicted what Simul had led me to believe. Simul told me that the time shifting device would be dismantled. However, Adona's note informed us that in the following few years they had perfected the system further, and that they had sent operatives back to a time before our present. Where they had... er, made some nefarious additions and alterations to numerous official records.

I kinda got the idea that the people they sent back ,did not travel through time as we had though. They must have just appeared inside whatever record office they chose, where they would then make alterations and additions as required. This sudden (and I can assure you, unexpected) appearance lark, was to be confirmed to me later; but I'll relate that shortly.

So the girls being able to produce paperwork confirming their legitimate existence -- and legal history -- in our time, prevented the police asking too many awkward questions about them. Although a couple of police officers were more than a little suspicious about everything and those papers did nothing to stop those same police officers being a lot more than curious about the disappearance of Rose and Sylvia.

Over the next few months, the police returned again and again, to ask probing questions. Actually, we got to know those officers quite well, but I'll return to them shortly as well.

-----

A week or so after our return, when the chaos had settled down a little, Douglas sat me down one evening and told me he wanted to talk about our future; our financial future to be precise.

Douglas then laid a cloth on the table, wrapped up inside which were a whole collection of cut diamonds and other precious stones.

"Jesus wept, where did those buggers come from?"

"Simul thought we'd... well, you really, would need some money to help you support two wives until..."

But I didn't let him finish.

"Holy cow; what are they worth? Must be..." I blustered,

"A good few million at current prices, George," Douglas replied, with a grin. "We're going to need it to set up in business. I've got some contacts on the continent who will buy these for a good price, no questions asked. Then I would suggest we set up a company and start buying some of the properties and land around here, a bit sharpish."

I have no idea what expression I had on my face; after-all the land around us was still suffering from planner's blight.

"Don't panic, George. I know what I'm doing... I think!"

It turned out that Douglas had done a lot of research that I hadn't even thought of doing while we were in the future. Mind you, he'd only had one woman chasing after him.

"George, the power station gets cancelled in a couple of year's time, and then the value of land around here goes through the roof."

"So we sell-up and make a stinking great profit?" I suggested.

"No, not exactly, we turn the whole damned area into a holiday experience. By that time, we own most of the damned village anyway."

"Successful?"

"Very! The premier surfing location on the Southwest Coast eventually."

"You're sure about this, Doug?"

"It was all there in the records, George, I can assure you!

So that was what we spent the next few years doing. Douglas and I (and our descendants) eventually ended up owning almost the whole damned valley between us. Well, actually owning the company that owned the whole damned valley to be precise.

But for a while, our financial situation was pretty chaotic. But hey, what's new about that in this day and age? Well, our new wives coming from a money free environment that's what!

It took the girls some time to get their head around the idea that everything has to be paid for with cash. But they got the hang of it eventually. Ciera put her mathematical genius to extremely good use in the company, once it was up and running.

But Douglas didn't finish with the holiday centre. After purchasing the remains of a WW2 airfield at the edge of the valley, he went on to open a research establishment there. I didn't argue because... Well, by then I was looking after the holiday side of the business; if Douglas wanted to play with his chemistry set, then he had every right to do so.

It was some years before I was to discover exactly what he was actually doing there, though. And then only then after one of the big chemical companies released a wondrous new paint on the market that -- when energised with a small electric current -- emitted light.

Obviously, Douglas had been a very busy boy while I'd been lounging around Simul's Villa with Ciera and Chaise.

But really, that all came much later.

-----

One thing I think I should mention is the bedroom at our cottage; ours being Chaise, Ciera and mine, that is. Hey now, not what went on in that bedroom; that I'm going to leave to your own lurid imagination. The immediate problem was the size of the master bedroom in the cottage. Or to put it a little more succinctly, the size of the ruddy bed, when you take into account that the two girls had got used to sleeping in the same bed with me all the time at Simul's villa. They wanted to continue with those sleeping arrangements.

The bed had been fine for Sylvia and I; but, there was only two of us, wasn't there. To say it was a bit of a squeeze with the three of us climbing into it every night, would be putting it lightly. Interesting, but not what one could describe as comfortable for any of us.

Luckily, even though the external walls of our very ancient cottage were built of stone, almost all of the internal walls were built of timber studwork; clad in tongue and groove planking; okay plasterboard in some places, but the majority was wood. Douglas and I had to -- very hurriedly -- redesign the upper floor to make the master bedroom large enough to accommodate the biggest bed I could find. Whatever, it kept Chaise and Ciera happy.

It was just a bloody-shame, that we didn't have a couple of those Androids, the girls had mentioned, to help with the conversion.

-----

Life sort-of settled down reasonably quickly. The girls took just about everything in their stride; although very often they ended up confusing the hell out of some of the local women and many other folks they met. I think almost everyone took the new arrivals as some kind of hippies or something, what with their strange eating and drinking habits. Introducing the girls to the delights of tea and coffee -- and the secrets or rigmarole of their brewing and serving -- was possibly the greatest problem Douglas and I had, really.

-----

One morning, while Douglas and I were still working on the bedroom, the two police officers who'd been probably the most curious about Sylvia and Rose's vanishing act, arrived at the front door; all smiles and apologies.

They'd stopped by to inform us that Sylvia and Rose had sent letters to various other members of their families, explaining to them that they were both fine and in good health. In those letters they'd informed their relations that they were living in a closed religious community somewhere.

The officer also informed us that around the same time as those letters had been posted, two women with documents to prove that they were Sylvia and Rose, had visited a police station in Greater London, and informed the officers there, that they were quite healthy and they had left their homes of their own volition.

"Must be in some weird community," one of the officers said, "The report says that they were dressed-up in bright purple robes; not the kind of thing most folks wear around London, at this time of year. Must be something like that Hare Krishna crowd I suppose!"

Doug and I both kind-a shrugged at that statement. To be honest we were both totally shocked by the officers' revelations.

It was pretty clear to Doug and I, that Simul had been aware of how suspicious the police were going to take Sylvia and Rose's disappearance, as she/they were about how authorities would have reacted to finding that our new partners had no papers. Consequently she (or they) had had Adona organise the document side of things, and then later sent the girls back in time to clear our names about their disappearance.

I wondered exactly how much other information there had been in Thomas's... er, good question, what to call it? Historical account, I suppose.

-----

We had another little problem at first, because all three women were of the opinion that they should... well, go out to work. Unfortunately they were about as equipped to work in the twentieth century, as someone from our time would have been to work back in the Stone Age. Eventually Doug and I managed to talk them out of that idea, and they settled for going to college and studying; until a few additions to both of our families came along.

Mind you, I think in the short time they did attend the local college, they managed to flummox their college professors a few times. But other things were to take precedence in all three girl's minds very quickly, much more quickly than any of us had envisaged.

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