The golden, analogue clock, perched subtly in the corner of the time master’s workshop, with the intention of no one seeing it, spun for the first time in one hundred years. The time master wiped the oil off his hands, propped up his wired glasses, and stared in amazement at the grandfather clock, now proudly singing along to midnight.
The girl’s Victorian gown swept up the dust on the wooden floor as she rushed into the workshop. She moved swiftly; her thoughts so consumed that she forgot to unlock the door. The time master rolled his eyes at the thump that soiled the clock’s chime. “You’re late,” he told his apprentice.
She flicked the sweat off her brow. “This was never supposed to happen.” Her defenses were up and ready for the forthcoming attack on her character.
“I still work because this could happen. I never took you for one who didn’t believe.” The grandfather pulled open the raggedy door. He flipped the iron switches, spun open the curtains around the electrifying platform, and waited.
“It’s a fluke,” the apprentice insisted. Her fingernails dug into her palms.
“Mora.” The time master lifted his aging hands into the air. “They’re coming.”
Amazement and fear meshed together, creating an unknown emotion of something one never experienced before.
They were coming.
An illusion of lightening surfaced. The champagne glasses spilled, the clocks bumbled, and the copper pipes surged with energy that hadn’t been witnessed in one hundred years. The platform, vacant silver that once collected blood and excitement and love, was full once more, contaminated for the first time in one hundred years.
The five men and women were not the same as they were the last time they breathed in the dusty workshop. They didn’t hold themselves the same way they did all those years ago when they last graced the aging platform. Physically, they were frozen in time with the gifts of the universe. Mentally, it’d been nearly one hundred years.
Blood lingered over the redhead’s darkened fingers. He clapped his hands and broke into an enthusiastic beam of relief. “We saved the world, welcome.”
Mora rocked on her heels. He looked exactly how her mother described: tall, handsome with a darkened air and mischievous genes, standing with misguided confidence. But most of all, he looked just like her father. She was fascinated by the way genetics popped up every once in awhile, how doppelgangers flourished. She’d admired that face for years. She’d worshiped a pair of arms similar to his that used to tuck her in every night. Her throat clogged and she willed herself to not lose herself in the memories.
The redhead hopped off the platform with a grace learned long ago, acquired from interacting with fascinating, historical figures. He lifted the Victorian styled hat off his head and gave Mora a slight bow. “Have we met?”
The time master knew better than to interrupt this upcoming conversation. He scrambled the rest of the time travelers off the platform before something wrong occurred. He willed them to follow him to the tea room, where he would hear the stories he dreamt of imagining since he was a little boy, not much younger than Mora, who first learned of his family’s peculiar legacy.
The time travelers brushed off the time master’s pleading. They were not leaving a valued member of their intimate team behind to battle whatever the universe decided he would soon encounter, alone.
Mora admired the ticking alarm clock from afar. She wished her father was here to see this, to experience what she once believed was nothing more than a tall tale grown from a stormy day in the attic. “We haven’t met before,” she cautiously explained, pulling in her arms. “But I know you.”
“What a fascinating mystery,” one of the women on the team replied.
Mora ignored the sarcasm. “My father.” She sucked in as much air as her tiny lungs allowed. “My father was your son.”
The woman spitted out words. “He doesn’t have a son.”