tagSci-Fi & FantasyTempus Frangit Ch. 06

Tempus Frangit Ch. 06

byThe Wanderer©

By Denham Forrest, writing as Misnomer Jones

Tempus Frangit, Capitulus VI

For the next few months, I was forever expecting Professor Pemberton to suddenly appear out of the woodwork, but she didn't show. To be honest, I could not understand why she would want to visit me anyway.

Eventually though -- probably because she didn't put in an appearance -- I all-but forgot about Professor Pemberton's prophesied visit. A good five years were to pass -- two more daughters and one son (by Chaise) had been added to our family -- before we had another visitor from the future.

Well, as I implied there were other things to take my attention. A little more rapidly than I'd expected, both Ciera and Chaise had fallen pregnant for a second time.

-----

In the meantime, Douglas got on with setting up our business ventures, we were buying land and houses left right and bloody centre, much to everybody's confusion. Most everyone thought we were nuts and that the land was going to remain all-but worthless. No one envisaged the politicians and pen pushers in Whitehall would make a decision about the power plants in a hurry. Those self-appointed spokesmen for the common man and the anti-nuclear power lobby were quite powerful back then and all, were... they making a good job of frustrating, all attempts to move the project forward. Even the big power companies -- who one suspects were supposed to come up with the cash for such a grandiose scheme -- didn't really want to know. They could make much better profits from natural gas power plants, which were far cheaper to build. I really don't think the moneymen in the City of London cared much about where the gas was going to come from in a few years time, when present stocks began to run low.

So Doug and I just patiently sat back and waited for the politicians to get off their arses and do something, i.e. make the decision to cancel the project which we knew was coming sometime.

-----

As the years passed, life settled down to as much normality as it could when there're a plethora of young children in your lives.

Whatever, it was around the time of Ottilie's second birthday that our neighbours (the Drury's from across the lane) youngest daughter arrived back from Canada. Joan Drury had gone out there with her then boyfriend just after Rose and I had bought our cottage. She returned to the UK a young widow with two youngsters in tow; her Canadian husband -- not the guy she'd gone out there with in the first place -- had unfortunately been killed in a road accident.

However I got a really funny feeling in my stomach, the instant I learnt that the Joan Drury who had left the UK, had returned home again sporting the name Joan Pemberton. What's more, her son John, was just a few months older than our daughter Ottilie.

As the years rolled by, there was to be no mistaking the fact that young John and our Ottilie... Yeah well you have to see that kind of thing for yourself. But I knew -- and so did Ciera and Chaise... and probably Myra -- that eventually one day, our little Ottilie would be sporting the surname Pemberton. Almost from the instant the two children first met... well they... Oh Christ, you've either seen that sort of thing happen or you haven't.

-----

Anyway another four... almost five years were to pass, before anything much out of the ordinary happened again.

I was out in the garden of our -- much improved and enlarged cottage -- babysitting all of the children. Douglas was on fun and lifeguard duty down the beach, so that our wives could enjoy some surfing time without the worry of having to keep an eye on the young ones. Having young children about while you are surfing, doesn't make for a good mix, if you understand me. Well, lets put it this way, you can't get out there yourself into the good waves and keep a close watch on the little ones at the same time, as every good parent should! Ask any beach lifeguard and they will concur, I'm sure of it.

Besides there was always the chance that one of the more adventurous little ones, might decide to go find mummy, or daddy.

Anyway our standard method for dealing with the issue was for either Doug or myself to baby-sit at the cottage, while the other went surfing with the girls. And... er, chased any unwanted admirers away, I might add. They'd all had at least a couple of children each by that time, but those three women really could turn every red-blooded males head; if you jet my drift?

Whatever there I was sitting in the rear garden -- sipping a cold drink -- while the children played together, when I sensed something. But for a while I couldn't put my finger on what. I wasn't sure what it was, but it instantly put me on the alert and made me look around.

Then a stranger -- but at the same time, oddly familiar looking young woman -- strolled around the side of the house, like she owned the bloody place.

"Can I help you?" I asked.

"No granddad, I'm here to help you! Well... my grandmothers actually... and aunt Myra." She grinned back at me, taking me a little off-guard, until I realised that I'd spotted her so quickly because I had sensed her approach, much as I would Ciera and Chaise's.

"Sorry?" was the best I could reply. I was actually trying to equate the... lets call them pleasant vibes, I could sense emanating from young woman with the vibes that children gave out when they were pleased about something.

"I'm Jean, grandfather. Ottilie's eldest!"

I found myself turning to look at my eldest daughter, who had only just turned six years. Then I looked back at the new arrival.

"Eventually granddad, eventually! It's very strange seeing your own mother when she's only..."

"Six!" I replied, with a smile.

"Pretty little girl, wasn't she!"

"Is, Jean... is! It is you who is out of time sync here, not your mother! What are you doing here, anyway?"

"Can't a granddaughter visit her grandfather before he's developed into a miserable old..."

"Watch it kiddo! I'm still young enough to put you over my knee and tan your backside for you, you know, and I doubt your mother will try to stop me."

Both of us had grins all over our faces, by the way; just in case you thought we were being serious. As I said, Jean was emanating those... vibes, and I was sure she could sense my emotions as well.

"I've got a little chore to do Granddad, but it will have to wait until grandmother, Chaise and Aunt Myra get back from the beach. In the meantime a cold beer would go down very nicely. That's something Simul really needs to get her boffins working on.

"So I gather you've been there sorting out their fertility problems for them."

"Yes, but really mother did most of the work," she replied, looking across at young Ottilie again. "I've only carried on her research and being the younger, mother decided that I should be the one to go and do the hard work. Maybe she thought that I'd fall for one of those... what did you call them... Neanderthals?"

"Something like that."

"They're not all that bad, grandfather. Some of them are quite cute actually; Sylvia and Rose seem to have fallen on their feet anyway. Whoops, sorry; I didn't mean to mention them!"

"So what have you been doing in future world?" I asked, ignoring her last remark

"Oh nothing much. I can't say much Granddad... you know... Thomas. But it was basically down to a chemical imbalance that had developed. Mother believes it had something to do with the fact that they don't eat meat anymore. And of course it was coupled with a little bug that most of them appear to carry around with them. Probably a result of chemical warfare, that one! That's why I'm here really, I've got to give mother and..."

"An infection. Christ, could we have passed it on?"

"No grandfather, nothing like that. It's the other way around, Ciera, Chaise and Myra, weren't brought up in our time. There are a few inoculations I suppose you might call them, that Simul's people overlooked. Nothing drastic, but there's no point in taking any chances."

"Christ, I never thought of any of that. Microbes, bugs and things... well, they change... evolve over time. We could have brought something really nasty back with us. Bugger we could have picked up something really serious ourselves and died."

"No, grandfather you couldn't! You remember that first meal that Adona brought to you?"

I must have nodded in reply.

"Well, that was laced with... Well you, Douglas, Rose and Sylvia, were inoculated against everything that could have harmed you or anyone from this time. And anything that you might possibly have brought back with you! The air in the dome around your cottages was laced with all that was necessary to prevent a catastrophe from occurring.

"But it was only after mother started her medical studies that she realised that, grandmother, Chaise and Myra are missing a few... bugs." Jean winked at me, "When she'd first arrived here... now... in this time. You're right granddad it is all a little confusing, but you know what I mean anyway. They were... are, in no danger here in the UK, but had any of them had gone abroad... to Africa or somewhere like that for instance, or even when people from around the world start visiting the holiday complex. Well, it makes sense to, take all precautions necessary. Besides, if anyone ever does a full work-up on any of those threes blood, it might prove to be... embarrassing or at the very least inconvenient if certain microbes are missing. Do you get where I'm going?"

"I think so, kiddo!"

At this point young Ottilie came over to us. I had been aware that the child had been watching us from afar, while we spoke. But my daughter didn't address me, it was pretty obvious that Ottilie was fixated on Jean.

"Hello, I know you, don't I?" she asked.

"Yes Ottilie. In a way, yes you do!" Jean replied.

"In the future?" The child suggested. Taking me completely by surprise.

"A very long time in the future, Ottilie." Jean replied, with a smile.

A little confusingly -- from my perspective -- but obviously satisfied, Ottilie smiled back at Jean and then turned to me. "Mother and Aunt Chaise are on their way up from the beach daddy; they wont be long. Shall, I turn the kettle on?"

"Good idea Ottilie. I'm sure your mother and Jean here would enjoy a cup of tea together."

The youngster smiled back and then toddled of toward the house.

"Trust mum, whatever happens, put the kettle on. Tea is always her cure-all for everything." Jean commented, with a smile as Ottilie moved out of earshot.

"You realise that I had to teach her mother how to make that stuff, don't you?"

"Yes grandfather. So, it's you who are to blame, I could kill a decent cold beer right now."

"You're too young to drink anyway! Remember you aren't even a twinkle in young John Pemberton's eye yet, young lady!" I grinned back at her. "Besides, it's not done to drink booze until the suns over the yardarm."

Jean squinted at the empty can in my hand.

"Funny how I can't recall my grandfather ever quoting that rule before. When is that likely to be, anyway? Jesus that stuff that Simul serves-up as wine is..."

"You don't have to tell me, young lady, I've been there, remember? Anyway when I say it is. How long have you got here?"

"As long as it takes, I've got this little do-whatsit here. All I've got to do is push this little button and hey presto, I'm back in the laboratory in the City. Or so Adona assures me, anyway! Why do you ask, are you trying to get rid of me already?"

"No sweetheart, I thought that... Well if you're going to be here a while... then, maybe we'll have a little party later... Hey, you might even get to meet your father. He's out with his family today; shopping I think."

"Okay Granddad, I think I'd enjoy that."

"Christ Jean you'd better cut out the granddad lark. Some bugger might figure out what's going on. Besides folks get confused enough around here as it is."

"What do I call you then?"

"I don't know, George or something... Uncle George if you like? That should suffice to muddy the waters enough; no one around here has met any my immediate family... Besides my two wives, that is. And that causes enough..."

"You don't have to tell me... Uncle George! You were quite notorious by the time I was at school. The other kids couldn't get their heads around the fact that I had two grandmothers. Well, three actually... oh God, you know what I mean. I think mother had some fun with that one as well when she was at school."

"Stands to reason. Oh, here come your grandmothers now."

Ciera and Chaise had chosen that moment to appear around the side of the house. No words were exchanged, Jean jumped up from where she'd been sitting and ran over to Ciera who enveloped her in the arms. Then Jean and Chaise hugged each other.

But while that was happening, Ottilie had reappeared through the back door of the cottage. I watched as an expression of understanding came over her young face; one that belied her age. To this day I have no idea how, but I at that instant I became sure that Ottilie knew exactly who Jean was. Or rather, maybe I should put it, who Jean was going to be, one day. The child sort-of smiled at the full-grown woman that I'm sure she knew she would one day give birth to.

However Ottilie didn't mention, or confirm our suspicions, to any of us. Although Ciera and Chaise sensed the same thing as I did. Oh shit, you know what I mean! They also thought Ottilie knew who Jean was going to be. Christ, this people jumping around in time all the time lark, makes things so bloody complicated.

That evening we did have a party out in the rear garden. The Sugget's and the Drury's were there of course and many times I saw Jean staring at the two children who would one-day be her parents. I'd watched as Ottilie had made a point of taking the young John Pemberton over to meet Jean.

You know, I've often wondered just how powerful Ottilie's mental powers actually are. As time went by I came to suspect that Ottilie's were far stronger than Chaise's or Myra's; even stronger I believe, than her mother's.

Oh, my own senses had become... pretty acute by then, and I could often sense Ottilie was near -- and what kind of mood she was in -- well before I could any of the others. What I mean say is, I could sense Ottilie's mind at a far greater distance, if you understand me. I know for sure that Ciera and Ottilie were in touch mentally, at vast distances.

I have to wonder whether Ottilie could... can actually read other peoples minds. And although she didn't say it -- I'd felt her presence before she stepped around the building -- maybe my granddaughter Jean, had inherited her mother's mental powers. Of course that begs the question, exactly what did pass between Ottilie and her own child (to-be one day) when the six-year-old came over to us in the garden that day?

There are a great number of questions that I will never know the full answers to; I've come to accept that fact. Between us, my wives and I never discuss their/our mental connection... well, not verbally anyway. I'm not exactly sure why, but we just never have. Although I have to admit that we have experimented... well sodded around, discovering just how far apart we can be from each other and still sense either of the other's presence. But that was done mentally with something akin to "George, are you still there?" kind of thought's. But our mental contact was not in actual words, as I've tried to explain before. All very difficult to explain, really.

Anyway I was telling you about that party we had for Jean, wasn't I? As I said, I noted that Jean spent a lot of the evening gazing at Ottilie who similarly gazed back at her. Both must have spent a greater part of the evening smiling at each other; even when Jean was talking to Douglas and Myra, which she appeared to for a very long time. Jean also spent a very long time in conversation the little Emily, -- at sometime to come -- her kind of adoptive Aunt Emily. But really it was only on reflection that I noted the amount of time she spent with the Sugget's and little Emily.

It didn't strike me at the time, that Jean, Douglas and Myra, appeared to find so much to talk about. I just supposed that they were talking about the future. Doug was always more... how can I put it? More interested in the scientific side of it, than I was. Christ hadn't he... well nicked that light emitting paint stuff idea (and possibly the makings of the formula) from there. Well, I have to assume that's where it came from.

On reflection I kind-a wondered whether Douglas was trying to pick a fellow scientist's brains, with a mind for more lucrative ventures; if you get my drift. Jean was -- even at her relatively young age -- a professor, after all.

Around midnight when everyone had gone home and the youngsters were safely tucked up in bed, asleep, Jean decided it was time she left us.

Jean hugged and said goodbye to her grandmother's and then turned to give me a hug.

"Thanks for everything Granddad." She said.

"What did I do, kiddo?"

"Oh you haven't yet, well not for me. I've not even been born yet, have I? But you keep everyone at their studies, and make sure we can all surf like dolphins. It's a pity we didn't have a chance to get out there together today. And you're there whenever any of us needs you."

"I'm sure that it was for my own pleasure, Jean!"

"So am I Granddad, but thanks anyway!" She grinned, and then she kissed me on the cheek before saying "See you later."

Then she just wasn't there anymore. No sound, nothing; Jean was just gone!

"A bit disconcerting that our family is getting into the habit of vanishing like." I said out loud, but my two wives were smothering my mental disappointment at Jean's leaving, by other means.

-----

As the years passed, I gathered that my son (Sylvia's boy) George (herein after "my George") had somehow talked Simul into allowing him to return to visit us whenever he wished. Well, that's the way it appeared to me at the time.

Every-so-often he brought Rose and Douglas's son with him, but not always. Roughly my George would appear about once, sometimes twice a year and he'd usually stay for a day or two. My George said he'd like to stay longer but his studies prevented him from doing so.

But I have to add that my George's visits were not that far apart in his own time. It took me some time to workout that he was letting his younger half-siblings catch-up, age-wise. I thought for a long time Ottilie, to be precise. But then again it might have been another child; I'll let you hazard a guess about the whom for yourself. Perhaps George used Ottilie as a sort of age marker!

Anyway, once Ottilie neared his own age. My George appeared to time his visits so that they all grew-up together (chronologically), or at least someone did; but one never knows whether the Simuls' have had a hand in that kind of thing.

When my George was with us, he avoided -- as much as he could -- getting into conversation with any other young people but his half-siblings and Myra's two daughters. But my George could not avoid Joan Pemberton's children because her son John was nearly always wherever Ottilie was to be found; or seemingly so. But for some reason, John Pemberton never queried my George's presence or appeared to ask any questions about him; to my knowledge, anyway.

Mind you, John Pemberton was so fixated on Ottilie that I doubt the poor little bugger noticed much else that was going on around him. Not that he wasn't an intelligent lad; but his whole life appeared to revolve around Ottilie and her wishes. But then again, as they grew older, most of the time Ottilie's life appeared to revolve around John Pemberton's, so it was tit-for-tat as they say.

In consequence I noted that when he did visit, my George spent a lot of his time with his half-sister Sian and their younger siblings. Ottilie and John Pemberton being somewhat otherwise occupied most of the time, if you get my drift. It took me quite a while to realise that whenever George did visit, Doug and Myra's two daughters were never far away either; or more specifically their elder daughter Emily.

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