"A Timely Adventure" CHAPTER 1
“A Parallel existence uncle, are you for real?” Bethany Waverly narrowed her eyes at her Uncle Charles, “Mad Scientist” in bold letters ran through her mind.
“Now Beth you’re not thinking scientifically. You’re only thinking in this moment. Physically what you see and how you perceive the world around you are limited at best. There are layers to our world that we have yet to understand. And I have yet to discover…or I should say uncover.”
Her uncle answered her without even looking up from his journal. Scribbling away as he was formulating some new theory that his mind was frantically trying to decipher.
Beth wondered how he managed to calculate infinite math inside his head when she had a problem adding her monthly checkbook balance without a calculator.
“Well you know, I’ve always had a problem with those layers to the universe stuff,” she kissed him on top of his head, “I’ve brought over some food from your favorite restaurant. How about a break and we can talk about your theory more in depth over some shrimp in lobster sauce?”
“Actually Beth, I think I’ve moved beyond the need to discuss it. I’m ready to try an experiment and if you wouldn’t mind letting the food get a little bit cooler, I’d like you to join me.”
Beth sighed, her uncle had requested her assistance in his many unsuccessful experiments. Maybe unsuccessful wasn’t entirely true, it may have been unsuccessful to her, as she didn’t see anything accomplished, but her uncle always felt he was closer to some elusive answer to the universe’s secrets. She’d always humored him because the rest of the family laughed at his single mindedness. Her mother Jillian, his sister, would sigh and shake her head whenever her uncle tried to talk to her about his work. Her father’s typical answer, whenever her uncle was out of earshot, was, “It’s a complete waste of life, that’s what it is Jillian. Your brother is wasting away his life.”
Beth was twenty four now and no closer to understanding her uncle’s discussions on the Quantum Mechanics of space and time, but she loved him dearly and wouldn’t hurt his feelings for the world.
Okay, “she nodded placing the take out bags on the coffee table, I’m game, if it won’t take too long. Take-out tastes less than appealing if it gets cold.”
Her uncle ignored her concern and smiled widely, “Lovely. We’ll need to get properly attired first and I’ve purchased just the outfits for us.”
“Wait, if this is something toxic and we need special suits maybe you should save this experiment for your lab and not your home.”
“No, you misunderstood me, it isn’t a hazmat suit, we just need to put on some period clothing incase my experiment works, so we can blend in better.”
“Blend in where?”
The twinkle in his eye as he handed her a shopping bag should have alerted her to the fact that he was already concentrating on the task at hand and not hearing her, but she was suddenly very uncomfortable with helping him.
Bethany turned in the mirror and could not believe she was wearing a 1920’s cocktail dress. It was gorgeous and the silver band in her hair flashed perfectly with the shimmering beads on the dress but she’d feel better about wearing it if it were a costume ball she was stepping out to. Instead, her uncle was asking her to step into the hall closet where he was going to transport them to 1927. Transport them to a past decade from the hall closet; every time she repeated it in her head she couldn’t believe she’d agreed to test this theory.
Maybe her father was right, maybe Uncle Charles had lost his grip on reality.
“Are you ready Beth?”
Her uncle called form the hallway outside the bedroom door.
“Sure, I guess so,” she shrugged and opened the door.
Her eyes widened seeing her uncle dressed in a pencil strip suit that looked like a costume from an old black and white movie, and he was holding what looked to be a portable record player in his hand.
“What’s that for?”
“This is my time displacement machine.”
“Oh, okay, does it play records too?”
“Not anymore,” he smiled, “Come on let’s get started.”
The hall closet had nothing hanging in it so there was enough room to stand across from her uncle as he set the record player on the floor and hooked it to some kind of battery pack. Then he lifted up what appeared to be tiny amplifiers from the sides of the player.
“Ready?” he asked with a merry twinkle in his grey blue eyes.
“As ever,” Beth sighed and leaned back against the closet wall wondering if she were going to have to toss away that shrimp dinner.
“Here we go,” her uncle said as he placed a solid looking silver disc onto the player’s turntable and switched on the battery pack.
The silver disc started spinning just like a record and before he placed the needle onto the silver disc he warned her.
“You might want to put these on.”
He handed her a pair of tiny ear buds and she humored him and placed them in her ears.
Then he placed the needle onto the disc and a high pitched sound filled the air.
“What is that?”
“It’s the time distorting frequency and I have to find the right wave length to open the portal.”
“You’ve got to be-“
Beth never finished her sentence because in the next second she was standing against the wall of a brick building looking at model T’s and model A cars passing by on the road in front of her.
Her mind could not compute what she was seeing. There were women walking by her wearing flapper hats and calf length dresses and there were three men standing across the street near a cigar shop all wearing suits, like her uncle’s.
Her uncle's glee had her turning to him.
“This can’t be real,” she whispered.
“Oh, little Beth it certainly is real. We’re standing on the corner of Michigan Avenue,” he said laughing happily and holding onto his strange record player.
Beth turned wide eyes on him and asked, “How do we get back to the hall closet?”
“We'll find the nearest phone booth and voila we'll be home, but for now you should enjoy this adventure. We are in Chicago, in the month of July in the year 1927, if my frequency was correct, and I believe it was.” Her uncle said as he pointed to a man walking by them with a newspaper under his arm and the date was facing outward.
It clearly showed June 12th, 1927.
Beth felt like she might actually pass out, this couldn’t be happening. No one could travel through time...via a record player?
“Please Uncle Charlie can we go home now?”
Charles turned to his niece and took note of her sick pallor. Time travel was going to take some time for her to get use to. He nodded, “Of course.”
He took her by her arm and led her into the small vestibule of a building, and placed the record player on the ground between them.
Once again the high pitch frequency filled the small space.
The familiar little closet was a welcome sight but Beth couldn’t walk out of it quick enough.
“I don’t know what just happened but that was beyond weird and I don’t know how it could have even been possible.”
“Exactly,” her uncle smiled “My experiment worked and now if I can perfect it, I can view history at any time I choose.
“Can they see us too?”
“Can who see us?” he asked absently as he walked to his desk to record the success of his invention.
“The people in that time, walking past us, did they see us too?”
“Oh yes, we were fully there Beth and we could have interacted but I am not sure what that might cause so I think for now, brief glimpses are all we should consider.”
“Us? Oh no, I'm not doing that again, whatever it was, not ever again,” she said vehemently but her uncle was already sitting at his desk scribbling in his journal and his noncommittal nod was the only response she’d get.
She walked to the coffee table thinking she needed to toss out the take out bags before she left but when she picked them up; she found they were still hot to the touch.
How was that possible?
She looked over at the grandfather clock in her uncle's study and saw it was the same time it had been when they’d entered that closet.
“Uncle Charlie I’ll have to return this dress tomorrow because I’m going home now and you should eat that food before it does go cold.”
“Yes, Beth goodnight.”
She grabbed her purse and quickly walked out of the house.
The automatic door lock clicked in place once she was outside and she took a deep steadying breath.
Had she just lost her mind? There was no possible way they’d traveled to Chicago’s downtown much less landed in the year 1927 but there was no way she could deny what she'd seen either.
A good night’s sleep was what she needed and tomorrow she’d tell her mom to bring Uncle Charlie his dinner, then she could assist him in his closet time travel.
She wasn’t ever doing that again.