“What are you doing?” Victor hears his father ask.
Immediately his fingers go cold with fear. He hurriedly puts down the book, and turns around to answer his father. “Nothing Dad, I’m not doing anything.”
His father’s eyebrow raises, a quick glance of the room, papers scattered everywhere, sheets hastily made, show that he is lying. His father says as much. “I know you’re lying to me Victor. So, why not be honest with me. What is it that you’re doing exactly?”
Victor’s mouth opens. The words are forming, but for some reason they won’t come out. He stands like that, his mouth open, no sound being made. He jams his mouth shut, inhales deeply, then opens his mouth again. “I was doing some reading.”
His father’s eyes narrow. “Reading on what exactly?”
Victor moves his head from side to side, analysing the contents of his own room. It is a room he knows well, the cupboard contains things from when he was a kid, dinosaurs, story books, the usual sort. He hasn’t looked at it for a long time. His attention moves to the chest of draws near the bathroom, where his clothes are kept. He needs to throw some of those clothes out, they’re too tight for him now. He brings his attention back to his father and sees that the man has his hands folded against his chest, waiting. Swallowing, Victor responds. “I was reading up about the timescope.”
His father’s eyebrows lower, his eyes soften then harden. “I thought we spoke about this Victor.” Victor shifts, he’s not in the mood for another lecture. “The timescope is not something we should be researching. We are only here to protect it nothing more.”
“Why?” Victor demands, stepping forward. “Why should we only keep it, and not look at it? What is it about this thing that so frightens you, Dad? I do not understand. I need to know.”
“You do not need to know anything Victor. I have told you what needs to be done and I expect you to obey me in this.” His father replies, his tone brooking no argument.
“I am not a child, Dad.” Victor replies, his voice becoming heavy, after the things he’s read, he wishes he were still a child. “I do not have to do anything you say.”
He expects his father to protest this, he knows for certain that if it were his Mother, she most definitely would protest. However, his father merely nods. “I suppose not. I also suppose that unless I actually tell you what is so important and dangerous about the timescope you will keep poking around?”
“Yes.” Victor says, butterflies fluttering in his stomach, he’s finally going to learn something.
His Dad closes the door behind him and steps into the room properly. “Very well. You have the timescope with you?” Victor nods. “Good.” His father says. “Now, how much do you truly know? I know you’ve been reading a lot, but how much do you truly know?”
Victor runs a hand through his hair. “I know that the timescope comes from the east. It was brought here by some ancestor of ours a long time ago. And that our family has held it for a long time. I also know that it is said to have some sort of power, the ability to travel in time, either to the past, or to the future. Apart from that I do not know much else.”
His Father sighs, a deep rumbling sound. One that used to comfort Victor when he was a child. “That is all true. But there is more to it.” His father stops speaking for a brief moment and then continues. “The timescope was created by someone known only as The Mage in what we would know today as Lebanon, in around the Third Century Before Christ. How it was made, no one knows. From the very beginning of its existence it has been valued very highly for what it can do. For as you say, it can allow the user to travel back and forwards in time, to any moment they so desire. As such, many wars were fought over it, until eventually around the First Century Before Christ it was entrusted to our family. We were tasked with watching over it and ensuring that it never fell into the wrong hands.”
“How were we to know who the wrong hands were? Or even who the right hands were?” Victor asks, this question having been nagging away at him for a long time.
His father raises a shoulder and lowers it. “I do not know. All I know is that the timescope has been in our family for a long time, always being passed down, from father to son. When my father gave it to me, he told me that the time was soon to come, where we would all know the truth.”
“What does that mean?” Victor asks, his hands hovering above his pockets.
“I do not know. All I know is that when you were born the timescope did something it has not done for centuries. It sang.” His father says, his eyes burning holes into Victor.
“What do you mean?” Victor whispers.
“It opened up, and it sang a song that my Mother used to sing to me, and her mother used to sing to her. And so on. The same song played forth from the timescope, and I knew.” Father says.
“What did you know Dad?” Victor questions, his voice barely above a whisper.
“I knew then that soon enough this day would come. We must go.” Father responds.
“Go? Go where?” Victor asks stunned.
“We must go to the only place where we can deal with this properly.” Father replies, and with that he turns opens the door and walks out of Victor’s room. Victor watches his father go, uncertain of what has just happened. However, he very quickly decides to follow his father, and so in silence he hurries out of the room catching up with his father as he opens the car door and gets in. Victor sits in the passenger seat, silent, waiting, his father says nothing, merely starts the car and begins driving.
They move passed the cobbled streets of their hometown in a few moments, the car going at what seems like an incredible speed. Soon they enter into the marshland of the countryside, where there are more sheep than people. Indeed, they must wait a little while, as a farmer gets his herd to cross the road-if it can indeed be called that- once the sheep have passed, they continue their journey. It is only then that Victor finds the courage to speak. “Where are we going Dad?”
Keeping his eyes on the road, father speaks. “We’re going to the one place where this can be done properly.”
“Where what can be done properly?” Victor asks again.
“The timescope needs to be dealt with properly. I should have seen this coming before, but I was blind. So, now we need to go to the chamber. To deal with it.” Father responds.
“The Chamber? What are you on about?” Victor risks a look at his father and sees that there are lines forming under his father’s eyes.
“The Chamber was a place that your grandfather created in case the timescope ever started acting up. Considering how obsessed you’ve become with it as of late, I’d say that now is the right time to take you there. We shall be able to handle everything properly.” Father replies, before falling into silence once more.
Knowing that he likely won’t get anything more from his father, Victor remains silent also. Content simply to look outside the window at the scenery they pass. Marshland, painted yellow and green is bountiful as they drive, there are lots of sheep, he’d forgotten about that. A few cows are scattered here and there, and even a few bulls. The timescope, thrums in his pocket, and he feels as if the bulls are watching them pass. He does not know what creates that impression, but he pulls at his shirt collar nervously. Slowly but surely the car comes to a stop, before a slightly derelict building in the middle of all of this. Victor looks at it and then at his father and asks. “Is this the Chamber?”
“Yes. Now come on, we need to get this done quickly before anyone else can come looking.” Father says, shutting the car off and opening his door. Victor finds himself wanting to ask who would come here, but decides against it, he follows his Father out of the car.
They walk from the car to the entrance of the Chamber; the door opens easily enough. They walk through the hallway, into a dark room, with a low hanging ceiling. The timescope thrums even more, a light coming from it. “Dad, what’s happening?” Victor asks as he takes the timescope out and sees it burning brightly. “Why is it doing that?”
His father looks at the timescope and sighs. “We must hurry, follow me.” Victor follows his father through the dark room into a room with barely any light. The timescope continues to vibrate in his hand, causing it to ache. Father stops before an altar, and says. “Place the timescope here.” Victor does so and watches as the timescope begins glowing even brighter than it had done so before, it shakes and groans. The walls seem as if they are doing so as well. “Now, we must wait.” Father says.
“Wait? Wait for what?” Victor demands, though he is not sure he wants to know.
The timescope opens, a host of images flashing before their eyes. A great flood engulfing the world, sweeping away the debris of corruption. A King standing before the world, head bowed, as a necklace is wrapped around his neck. A boy being born in a stable as a crowned head whispers treason. A war being fought on the fields of poppies as young men die for men and women who they will never meet. “For that.” Father says. “It is happening. The timescope is working.”
“What do you mean?” Victor asks.
“It is working for you Victor. You’re the only one who can handle it now, move towards it.” Father yells as the sound of planes running overhead grows louder.
Where are, the planes coming from? Victor wonders as he moves toward the timescope, he places his hands on it, and pulls back sharply at the heat that rushes through him. He puts his hands on the timescope again, holding on for dear life as the images keep coming. His hands ache, his eyes water, but still he holds on. In the distance, he hears a cracking sound, he turns and his father is no longer there. “Dad!” He yells. Suddenly his father appears before him, lying on his back, his head cracked and bleeding. Victor watches horrified as the timescope runs through history. His father’s body disappears into the images of time, floating into space.
The images slowly stop coming, they disappear into nothingness, leaving behind a trail of ash and dust. The timescope gets incredibly hot, so much so that Victor must pull his hands off it, lest he be burned. That his hands aren’t already burned is a huge surprise. The timescope shakes, rocking backwards and forwards, lines appearing on it. Victor stares stupefied as it causes the ground to quake. He falls to his knees, unable to keep his eyes off the timescope. The thing that has consumed so much of his time. The timescope keens a high tune, then splits in half. A scream echoing from it as the memories of a thousand things come rushing forward, hitting him hard in the chest. He is pushed backwards, landing flat on his back. The sky dances before him, the stars grinning and winking. Then the screaming stops, the ground ceases its shaking. Slowly, painfully, he gets up onto his feet, the timescope lies before him cracked and broken.