Flanolla Scobie didn’t even bother to look as she crossed the road. She also ignored the chaos of the various horse-driven traffic behind her as they shunted to a halt. She was focused on one individual. She had only listened in to the telepathic traffic discussing which famous person she had to pursue. The chat was more in line with who was around that Max would have an affinity to. It was unlikely for Beatrix Potter to be down from the Lake District and Jules Verne visiting from France.
Charles Dickens was too much on social injustice. Conan Doyle into fantasy too much and dancing with the fairies. Scobie always wondered what the Cimmerian’s surname was. Someone called Bertie Wells seemed a better option even though someone pointed out that he might not have written ‘The Time Machine’ yet. That didn’t mean he hadn’t used it yet. They used the word ‘yet’ a lot, along with probabilities. That was her target.
Scobie gave up and that point and wished there was a radio she could play. She stared absently into the window, just wishing for a pizza not the assorted pigs heads staring back at her. Too late to rescue them, she walked across the road, ignoring the traffic again and took a side road towards Pall Mall, trying to collect her own thoughts. The others told her it was important to follow Bertie Wells as he left the Reform Club and she shouldn’t be late.
He had an eye for the ladies, although adjusting her hat, Scobie thought a scamp allure would work better than showing some flesh, even if it was an ankle. Maybe offer him a carrot. She searched her own pockets and found one she had acquired that morning from the market and bit a piece off and chewed as she looked at the entrance to the Reform Club and seeing it was a men’s only place.
Since when had that stopped her? The voices in her head said no, he was coming out soon. Remember the time. Max’s only heard of your reputation. Never actually met you. If he is using Bertie as an avatar, you need to ensnare him.
They forever kept telling her not to do the one thing she was good at and wanted to unleash her. She was still feeling odd after Sheena shook her hand. There was a need to create cracks in this reality. Maybe they can find some holes they could escape in. Who better than Scobie to cause chaos? As if she created chaos? Things just happened around her and they wanted her to control that.
Unsettle him. Make him want to flee and try to escape. Did they think she could do that with a stare? Harbinger can do that. I need to do more than flutter my eyelashes. Oh…
‘What’s up, doc?’
The moustached man stared back at, before giving a charming grin and a slight bow.
‘I’m not a doctor. I was a teacher for a time. I write a little now.’
‘Little enough to attend a surprise party in your honour tonight.’
‘You’ve ruined the surprise.’
‘Not when you knew there was one, doc. Can I call you Steve? You look like a Steve.’
The man gave a curt bow, ‘Call me Bertie.’
Scobie shook his name. ‘Call me Weena Eloi or is it Eloi Weena.’
‘You’re not sure of your own name?’
‘It depends on the day of the week and the weather.’
‘I’m not keen on the rain.’
‘Y’know, I wonder about that myself. No one’s thought to just leave it on when everyone’s asleep.’
‘There’s a time for everything. Even during the day.’
‘Only if you can make time.’
‘Indeed.’ Wells looked intently at the woman before him. ‘You sound a little crazy.’
‘It depends on what scale you’re working from.’
Scobie took another bite from her carrot as she quickly contemplated. ‘Crazy like a mad hatter. He couldn’t help it because of mercury poisoning and tea parties with Alice. Not keen on mercury. Tungsten’s different. Good for light bulbs.’
She kept in stride with him as he walked off.
‘There’s mildly crazy but it’s not that time of the month. Do I look neurotic? Outright mad would mean a straitjacket but I don’t look good in white or straps.’
‘Do you insist on following me?’
‘No, doc. You came with me.’
‘Well, stop it, ma’am, I really am late for an appointment.’
Was he getting annoyed with me? Scobie contemplated as she paused and Wells strode off alone this time.
And I didn’t even tear his coat, Scobie mused and smiled, as she fingered the second invitation card she rifled from Wells’ pocket.
There were exclaims in her head but she ignored them as she walked off in the opposite direction.
Finally, shouting, ‘I’m doing this my way.’
She looked at the people staring at her. ‘I took a left looking for Albuquerque…or a dress shop. Do you think I look better in green or red or blue? Maybe a bit of all of them.’
‘So Bertie tells me he likes my name so much that he’s going to use it in his latest novel. Sometime in the future. Not sure if that’s in his future or the book. Weena Eloi. Sounds something out of Star Trek, doesn’t it? What’s Star Trek? What’s the stardate?’
Scobie looked at the six men at the banquet intently listening to her up to that point and their eyes were glazing over. Bewitched but confused.
‘Joking. Bertie’s story is much more fun. Should I tell you about it? Might be spoiler…spoil the inner message. Anyway, you know how Bertie attention to detail. Well,’ she lowered her voice to a lower tone, ‘he told me he built a time machine and it actually works.’
‘What are you doing here?’ Bertie Wells said looking down at here.
Scobie waved her invitation card, ‘I was invited. That was what I was trying to tell you this afternoon, doc. We were on the same table.’
‘I couldn’t bring my wife tonight because I lost her card. That’s why I’m late, gentlemen as we searched high and low for it.’
‘She can see the repeat.’
‘Is it true that you’ve created a time machine, Bertie?’ asked one of the men.
‘Can we see a demonstration?’
‘Do you need funding.’
‘Do’s it fly?’
Everyone turned at that remark.
That man’s eyes shone for a brief instant and winked at Scobie. ‘Knows sense it do’s land in da ground.’
Wells picked up a drink from the table and downed it in one. ‘Are you mocking me, gentlemen?’
‘No one’s mocking, doc.’ Scobie pointed to each of the men at the table. ‘He wants to see it go into the future. He wants to fund it. He…he wants to know you don’t dig into the ground. Who’s mocking, doc? They want to see it.’
‘I was just giving the build-up, doc. Sample population and all that. You win the prize. They want it. A best-seller. They’re your greatest fans. I was pointing out that they’re real experiences. Well, maybe not the Martians..Ironclads…Did you meet Doc Morreau?’
Scobie fluttered her eyes as she watched Wells’ blood pressure rise and his cheeks reddened.
She thought outwards but there was no reply. Scobie gave a slight inward shrug. They didn’t think she could pull it off.
<<You need to get him to the time machine.>>
Scobie handed Wells another drink, keeping both his hands full. ‘How about another demo, doc? Beats playing with rocks.’
‘Young lady, you are crazy.
‘But in the nicest way.’
‘I can’t take all of you.’
‘Only want to watch, doc. Honest.’
I didn’t actually build this…time machine’, Wells said turning the light on. ‘It just arrived in this room with a diary of events. I used it once and went a day into the future. It only worked the once. I didn’t invent it contrary to what this lady says.’
The men from the feast listened carefully, all looking at the machine before them. It looked nothing like anything they’d seen before. A pair of mounted seats surrounded by mechanical contraptions.
‘Not a lot happens in a day. Not unless you’re collecting lottery numbers.’
‘Numbers, doc. They don’t mean much. Terrible odds.’
Scobie studied Wells trying to comprehend what she was talking about and thought a distraction was needed and studied the time machine. It looked nothing like a TARDIS or even from the Rod Taylor film. True it had two seats queuing with backs but there was no big tombola dial behind it, just a few controls and seat belts.
‘You are very confusing, young lady.’
‘I get told that a lot. Did you try to repair it, doc?’
‘I prised that panel there open but it didn’t make sense. I’m not an engineer.’
Scobie touched the panel and it slipped down. Wells obviously hadn’t bothered to replace the screws. Five of gentlemen that had came stepped closer, while one held back, trying to see what she saw. It was meaningless to them but not to her. It looked like a flux capacitor. Definitely out of place in this time but not where it came from.
‘Move back a little. Like the Bible, I need some light in or give me a candle please. Bet God never asked for that. Oooh! It’s sold state.’
She ran her fingers along the panel.
‘Maybe you turned the safety on, doc.’
One of the voices in her head spoke out.
<<Polly will bring a tool kit…of sorts.>>
<<Don’t do anything reckless.>>
Scobie called out. ‘It’s not damaged. Just a loose panel in the slot.’
The men looked at each other, not quite sure who she was talking to.
She pressed the panel in and instantly vanished with the time machine.
Simultaneously, all six men had moved back from the machine with five of them doing a dance.
‘Youse told dat crazee ditz ta wait?’ Libertine Rush called out using Bertie Wells’ body. ‘She’s didnts.’
<<Random unpredictable element.>>
<<If we couldn’t anticipate it then neither can Max.>>
<<We didn’t even expect the time machine to work.>>
<<Trust Scobie to find the only working model.>>
<<It probably wasn’t until she touched it/>>
<<As long as she kept hold of it.>>
<<Is she that lucky?>>
<<Only if she met Lucky Heather.>>
<<We better hope she can complete her mission.>>
<<Or she’s allowed to do so. We might only be believing she’s gone and Max sent her somewhere else.>>
<<She could forget.>>
<<Max would also have made us believe she escaped and it didn’t really happen.>>
<<Scan the area….just in case.>>
<<Time to jump back, Baroness. Leave them to wonder about modern science.>>
© GF Willmetts 2019
© Psi-Kicks, Flanolla Flamin’ Scobie, Libertine Choisi Rush-Eshow
All rights reserved
As before borrowing