Saturday, October 9, 2010

Seeking Hamish

A yellowed news sheet lazily meandered its way along uneven cobblestones. It was quickly whisked into a willynilly, disintegrating as the air around it zapped with energy. Tiny blue snakes linked and the dissipating lines raced around the cobblestones evaporating as quickly as they had appeared.
A lithe figure shimmered into the scene. She glanced down at her figure hugging outfit and made an exasperated throaty noise before flickering a hand over the opposite wrist. The material on her outfit blurred momentarily and within a blink, she stood garbed in the fashionable gown of Victorian London. Selenes hazel eyes shifted up and down the street, lingering momentarily over the greened Square and its promenading couples. She frowned, reading the screen details on her wrist.  “Allsop Place. He should be here. I can feel him even without this stupid thing.”
She felt a vague push of energy to one side and smiled. “Gotcha. Though this Augmentors readings are a bit off.” She tapped the screen and then looked down at her tightly laced boots. “Hope I don’t need to walk too far in these.”
“Selene what a pleasure. I see you got my call.”
Thick skirts whirled as Selene spun to face the speaker. Her heart hammered as her face shot red with confusion and anger.
“How did you….? Hamish, whats going on?  Our repel fields aren’t working. There is no way you and I should be able to stand so close to one another.”
Hamish taunted her with a slow lopsided smile and put his fingers to his lips. With a slight jerk of his head he indicated she aught to follow him. 
Selene crossed her arms and watched take a few strides and placed on foot on a set of stone stairs.
“What do you want Hamish? By rights, I shouldn’t even be here. This is Dianas territory. My jurisdiction starts in the Twentieth Century.”
He beckoned her with an outstretched hand.  “Symantics Selene; whats a few decades between friends? Come up to my office. Its not seemly for a young lady to stand around unchaperoned.”
Selene trudged after Hamish, graciously allowing him to open the door.  He hung his overcoat and strange hat on a hall cabinet and knocked on a door to the side.  “Mrs Hudson, I have a visitor. We’ll take tea in the front room if you please.”
Continuing the old world charm he waved Selene up the stairs and opened his office rooms door at the top of the landing. Selene wrinkled her nose and shivered. The darkened room was crammed with taxidermic animals, every table top overflowing with gadgets and papers. Finding a space near the marble fireplace, she accidentally knocked the coal scuttle. As it rattled over, she stared at the contents and shook her head at the cigars tucked up inside. Continuing her assessment as Hamish threw open the curtains, she noted bundles of unanswered mail tied with string on the couch and piles of books leaning at precarious angles about the room. A loud snore from the overstuffed couch at the far end of the room startled her and she frowned as she looked at Hamish.
Hamish waved vaguely towards him. “Don’t mind Arthur. He is still sleeping off last nights revelries…”
She picked her way over to him and traced her augmenter over his slumbering form; fher brow wrinkling as she read the screen. “Cocaine?”
A puff of dust billowed as Hamish shifted a badger from a seat and onto the carpet. “Its legal in Victorian England. Besides, everyone in high society is doing it.”
“Some things don’t change through the ages I suppose.”
Mrs Hudson masterfully traversed the maze and set afternoon tea onto the table. She coldly surveyed Selene before retreating and stomping downstairs.
“I’m not here for tea, Hamish. What is so important that you are willing to upset the time continuum just to talk to me?”
“I don’t go by that name here.”
“Since I’m not going to be here long enough to use it, I don’t care what you call yourself.”
Selene swept her fingers across the augmentor and began to program in her return co-ordinates.
The room lay silent bar tinkling of his spoon stirring tea. “Funny to see the great Selene using technology. Looks like the twentieth century made you soft. Just when you are going to need all your talents too.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“We are all being hunted down. Those things,” as he pointed to her wrist, “keep a track of our whereabouts.” 
“Hunted down?”
His spoon tapped twice as Hamish then lay it to one side. “Haven’t you noticed? Where are the Lost?”
“Now you are being deliberately tiresome. The Lost are lost.. thats why they are called that.”
“Never thought about who they were?  Why they would suddenly disappear from their time posts?  Dedicated Time Wardens eons old, suddenly decide to go wandering? To give up their stature their powers? Who called them ‘The Lost’ in the first place? ”
“Hamish - or whoever you are here, I have no idea what you are trying to tell me.”
“The Lost are men. Every one of them. There is only Johnathon and I left now.”
Selene slapped the couch arm and pointed at him “What about Jack? He’s safely in his Negative TIme Loop not far from here.”
Hamish took a long sip of tea. “Perhaps. Have you checked on him lately? The Ripper suddenly disappeared baffling the Law for decades afterwards.”
“What about Devereux?”
Selene puffed her cheeks, “Well, he's no loss to our kind.  That evil cane of his. His God Complex. A pity the Keeper can’t do something about him. Pity she doesn't get involved; especially with Time Wardens like him.”
“So you think.”
“Are you going to continue spinning tales or tell me what this is all about?”
“Its so elementary Selene and you can’t see it.”
“I’m still confused as to why we can be in the same space as one another. It goes against the laws of TIme.”
He flapped open his jacket, revealing a crude metallic disk. “This boosts the cloaking device. It also cancels the affect we have on each other, so we can have this charming conversation face to face rather than through the augmentors. Just one of the little things I have been working on here.”
Selene stared at it. “In spite of myself I have to say I am impressed.”
Hamish stood and extended a hand, inviting her to sit at the table. stood. “Now its just our own magnetism that draws us close.”
“Oh please, just when I was warming to you. You disgust me.”
“Making a habit of that Selene?”
“Rejecting us.”
“If by ‘us’, you mean you and your brother - good riddance to both of you.”
“You don’t mean that Selene. Not after everything we have been through.”
“Listen, I don’t care if you live in this disgusting flat forever. In fact why don’t I do everyone a favour and push you into a Negative Time Loop of 1 hour here for the rest of eternity?No-one is likely to come and save you. Not even the Keeper.”
“Of that I have no doubt. But she’ll find me Selene, sooner than you think. It doesn’t matter what I do now. My time draws near. None of us can escape her. Still, I suppose I can try another unassisted jump, try and hide for another century or so.”
Selene shivered again. “Did you feel that?”
Hamish stood and nodded. “A time crack and close. I’ll slip through that and see where it takes me.”
“What will you do with Arthur?”  She picked up one of his calling cards which lay strewn on the floor beside the couch and traced the elaborately scrolled name with a finger.
Hamish glanced back at him as he reached the door. “He’ll forget me and just dream exciting dreams. Then wake. Maybe he’ll write them down; be a famous author retelling some of our adventures.”
Selene snorted. “I doubt it. Theres no writers of any note by the name of Doyle or Conan from this time zone, Though,” as she tapped her chin with the card,  “I think in late 20th Century, Schwarzenegger made a movie about someone called Conan. He might have made it after all? Popular Culture was never my forte.”
“Hamish opened the door. “Ladies first.”
“I’ll jump from here and don’t worry, I won’t use Augmentor. Oh, what did you say you called yourself now?”
“Holmes, Sherlock Holmes.”
Selene giggled despite the brevity of the moment. “Thats the stupidest name I’m ever likely to not remember!”
His pierced stare chilled her into silence.
“Watch yourself Selene. Trust no-one. Its the end of times.”
“Save it. I’ve heard that throughout human history.”
“Didn’t say it was for humans. Its Our End. The End of TIme Wardens.”


Prompt - The theme of this weeks story is " Your Main Character is a time traveller. He/She arrives at a destination but not all is as expected…. "

It provides a link into the world of Choose Your Online Adventures first Series ( due for release in Dec 2010)

Story inspired by the [Fiction Friday] prompt at Write Anything and submitted to JM Strother’s #FridayFlash  via Twitter.


A Writer's Vein said...

I really love this one Annie. So many little ties to genuine and literary history with beautiful segues to new ideas.

Unknown said...

Thanks!! I aim to please.. and it was so much fun writing this one.. I just hope that readers actually pick up on most of the clues... did you get the Hamish one?

AidanF said...

Cute take on time travel. I'd read Laura's take on this so that helped as I realized this was part of the shared world early on. I like the victorian feel you've created here.

P.S. Minor note, the theme you've selected doesn't work on the iPad (where I typically read #fridayflash), it fails to scroll. Not too serious since I could read on a desktop, but thought you might like to know.

Laura Rachel Fox said...

Love it Annie!! I love how you bring in figures throughout time. Holmes, Miller, Jack the Ripper . . . One never knows who will show up in your Time Warden stories.

I'm interested in how The Keeper is involved. I can't wait to see how she is involved when we get to read the entire story.

Lots of juicy details to create a vivid scene.

Anonymous said...

SO COOL! What a great tie in to the CYOA lines. And I loved the pop culture references. Can't wait until the project goes live. Started a piece for this prompt but didn't get to finish it. Might go back and drag it out.
Adam B @revhappiness