Submitted to a Flash Fiction competition where the word limit was 300 and the theme was “Time”. Where would your imagination have taken you? There was only one way my imagination was ever going to go.
The three people closest to Professor Herbert Nation stood together in his basement laboratory.
His sister Edwina was an archaeologist. His girlfriend Cecily Sherman was proprietress of the local village bookshop. His friend Dr Alfred Wells was a well-travelled zoologist. Each had received the same enigmatic summons;
Whatever anyone tells you, I am not dead. Be in the basement of my house at midnight on Saturday 21st June. I have a secret to impart and an offer to make.
The letters were in Professor Nation’s handwriting and postmarked Tuesday 10th June, two days after his mysterious disappearance.
“Where could he have been?” Cecily pondered aloud. “Is this a practical joke?”
“Knowing my brother,” said Edwina, “I doubt it.”
“It’s time,” Wells announced, studying his watch.
Suddenly, the air convulsed and the trio backed away as a brightly glowing figure faded into being. When they dared to look, Professor Nation stood before them, haloed in amber light.
“Please, don’t be frightened,” he beamed. “I hoped you’d come.”
“Herbert!” Wells stammered. “Where have you been?”
“Not where, my friend,” the Professor said affably, “When. Through my intellectual pursuits I have discovered a process for making a sentient being one with the Fourth Dimension. I performed it on myself. Now all eras of history are mine to explore at will. That was my secret. Now I make my offer.”
He smiled warmly, extending a luminescent hand towards his companions.
“You want us to travel through time with you,” breathed Cecily.
The Professor nodded.
Naturally, they were deeply unsure, but the Professor had chosen his companions wisely. Wells’ wanderlust, Cecily’s vivid imagination and Edwina’s passion for history – the qualities they had built their careers upon – soon overcame their diffidence.
They linked arms. Cecily grasped the Professor’s proffered hand.
An amazing journey had begun.