The Time Travellers - Free At Last

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The Time Travellers - Free At Last Empty The Time Travellers - Free At Last

Post by Kyle on Mon Jun 23, 2008 12:54 am

The sun shines in through the window and illuminates Professor Spalding, a geology and ancient history professor at Miskatonic University. She leans over her desk, brushing her short brown hair out of her eyes as she scribbles notes on a map of ancient Egypt. She slumps back in her chair and sighs, rubbing her eyes and trying to refocus on the work in front of her.
Just as she leans forwards again the small speaker on her desk crackles to life, “Professor Spalding?” She hears her secretary say, “there’s a man here to see you. He says he’s a mister Werner and that he has some news you’ll be very interested in.”
The professor rolls up the map with a sigh and pushes the speaker’s call button. “Fine, send him in.” She sits back in her chair resignedly, a look of boredom on her surprisingly youthful face.
Within a few moments a man with a small brown mustache and dust stained clothes walks in the door. He looks around at the collections of maps, charts, old scrolls and hand penned notes posted around the room and piled on shelves and whistles slowly. “They not have enough funding to buy you a computer in here?” He asks, laughing a little.
The professor glares at him from her high backed chair. “Call me old fashioned but I don’t like using computers, now do you actually have anything of interest to me or are you merely wasting my valuable time, Mister Werner?” Her voice develops an edge to it and she almost seems to grow larger in her chair.
“The names Jim, Jim Werner,” he says offering his hand and seeming completely unfazed by the woman’s obvious hostility. When she refuses to shake it he pulls it back and sticks it into one of his pockets. “Well, during my recent stay in the Mediterranean I was out exploring, looking for ruins, that type of thing. Anyway, I found something very interesting in a cave near Pompeii.”
“Near Pompeii?” The professor’s eyes light up for a second and an almost hungry look flickers across her face before she can compose herself. “What was it you found?” She asks, trying not to let any excitement show.
“Well, miss?…” He looks at her expectantly.
“Spalding, professor Spalding.” She speaks tersely and emphasizes her title, glowering at the man in front of her.
He seems disappointed at only being given her last name, but Mr. Werner continues. “I was exploring the side of the mountain and I found a small crevice, which I think was probably opened by some recent earthquakes in the area. Anyway, I managed to slip through and found myself in a maze of old lava tubes. I followed them for what felt like miles and found that they all branched out from a central chamber. And in that chamber I found it, I found the legendary Hell Stone of Pompeii!” His obvious enthusiasm fades as he sees the look on the woman’s face.
“You found the ‘Hell Stone of Pompeii’ did you?” She asks mockingly. “I’ve seen it, it’s just a ridiculous local legend they use to attract more tourists. The Hell Stone is just a very large chunk of obsidian with iron ore running through it. The iron has rusted and given the impression of red veins in the stone.”
“Oh, no.” Werner says empathically, nodding his head. “I’ve seen that stone too, it’s one of the popular tourist stops, but this is different. It’s a place off the trail that I doubt anyone else knows about, and the stone!”
“What about the stone?” Asks Professor Spalding unenthusiastically.
“It is, as you said, a very large chunk of obsidian. But this one has no iron veins in it and yet, when I looked at it closely, I thought I could make out glowing red and silver shapes moving within it.”
“Really? Now that is interesting.” The excitement returns to the professor’s eyes and she leans forwards across the desk. “Maybe not interesting enough to warrant a full expedition but I would certainly be willing to take a look. If you give me directions to the stone’s location I will ensure the university reimburses you for your trouble.”
“Oh no. I am not letting you go up there alone to take all the credit for this discovery. I found the stone and I want to be there when you get there to investigate it.” Werner stares at the woman in front of him, daring her to try to talk him out of coming.
“Fine,” she says simply, pulling out a small notebook. “Now, I can’t just up and leave the university, I do have duties here to attend to, but I will speak to one of my colleagues and see if he can take over for me for a few days. If you will kindly write down a number where I can contact you then I will call you as soon as I can to make arrangements.”
He takes the notebook and quickly scribbles a phone number on it. “This is the number for the hotel I’m staying at. I’ll be ready to leave as soon as you are.” He smiles widely and stands up. “Thanks for your time, I hope you’ll be ready to leave soon.” He offers his hand again and this time she shakes it vigorously.
“I look forward to this trip too, I can hardly wait,” she says as he turns and walks out the door. As the door shuts she pulls a battered notebook out from under a pile of old maps and leafs through it. She picks up the phone and dials the number of her colleague and friend, Doctor William Rudsfeld. “William,” she says excitedly into the receiver, “I need to see you. I have some very exciting news.”

Professor Spalding walks down the street as quickly as she can, heading for the café where she and William had agreed to meet. She walks inside and, after a few minutes of looking, spies his white hair sticking out from a booth. She runs over and practically dives onto the seat across from him. “William, you won’t believe it! I have the most incredible news! A man came to me today and told me that he found something remarkable in a cave near Pompeii. I think it may be what we’ve been looking for all this time. After so many years of searching we’ve finally found it!”
William simply stares at her incredulously over the rim of his teacup. “How many times have we had this conversation my dear? At least a dozen that I can immediately recall. Every time someone shows up with something interesting near the Mediterranean you go running off after it like a starving dog chasing a bone and then you come crawling back, devastated that it wasn’t what you were hoping. Why can’t you accept that maybe you’ll never find what you’re looking for and think about the future instead?”
Spalding sits with her mouth gaping at the man across the table from her. For a whole minute the only sound she can hear is the dull chatter of the students in the café and the low rumble of the machines preparing drinks. “What I’m looking for? What I’m looking for! What happened to us? Hmmm? I thought we were in this together? You used to be just as committed as I still am! What happened to you? What happened to ‘it’s our duty to keep searching?’ Are you suggesting we just give up?” William gestures frantically at her to quiet down, as people are beginning to look their way, but she continues. “I don’t care what you say, I’m never going to stop looking! I need this and I know that deep down you need this too. I am going to find what out what happened there all those centuries ago, and I’m going to find what was lost if it takes me the rest of my life! You can help me or not, I don’t care any more.”
William regards her calmly and then asks, in a hushed voice, “are you sure that some things shouldn’t just stay lost.” His female colleague merely stares as he continues. “I mean maybe there are reasons things become lost. Maybe they’re too dangerous to be found?”
Spalding stands up, her face livid, and slaps him across face with all her might. William simply looks up and blinks at her in shock. “I don’t care what you think,” she hisses. “I’m going out there whether you want to help me or not. I have a class tomorrow and one on Thursday. I won’t be at those classes to teach. You can either teach them or let the dean fire me, but I’m going to Pompeii.”
She turns on her heel and storms out, a few female students calling out “you tell him girl,” and “show him you don’t need him” at her retreating back.

The next day Spalding, still enraged at her confrontation with William yesterday, steps onto a plane. How could he possibly even think that? After all we’ve been through and all the work we’ve done. I will not give up; I’ll keep searching if it kills me. She weaves through the crowded aisles and takes her seat next to Jim.
“Are you okay?” He asks, “you look mighty upset. Have a falling out with your boyfriend or something?”
The woman glares at him and then pulls a novel out of her bag. She buries herself in it, trying to forget William and the fact that she was sitting inside a plane at the moment.
“Is everything alright?” Jim persists.
“I just hate flying!” She snaps at him, and he can see in her eyes that she doesn’t want to talk.
Although she is terrified of the idea of being in a metal tube flying thousands of feet above the ground the professor eventually manages to doze off and sleeps through the remainder of the flight.

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The Time Travellers - Free At Last Empty Re: The Time Travellers - Free At Last

Post by Kyle on Mon Jun 23, 2008 12:55 am

She is awakened by a flight attendant who informs her that they’re about to land. After landing the pair manage to locate their luggage and secure a rental jeep within an hour and proceed towards Pompeii. The drive and subsequent ferry ride are uneventful and darkness is starting to approach as they reach the foot of the great Mount Vesuvius.
“We should set up camp here tonight.” Suggests Jim, “there’s no way we’ll be able to find the crevice in the dark.
“Are you sure? I want to see this stone as soon as possible. There’s no way?” The professor is beginning to look anxious and her voice is almost pleading.
“No,” he shakes his head, “It was pure luck to find it in the day. I don’t want to risk falling off a cliff or stepping into a hole in the dark.” Jim stands and begins setting up a tent on the ground near the jeep. Spalding pulls a large notebook out of her bag and begins leafing through it. Seeing this, Jim stops assembling the tent and looks over at her curiously. “What are you looking at in there professor? Are those field notes?”
“Sort of.” She replies curtly. “They’re a collection of the legends I found about this stone. Although the details are different between myths they all agree that something very powerful was hidden inside it.”
An almost predatory grin appears on Jim’s face. “Powerful you say? Well if it’s that powerful, whatever it was, I’m sure it will be very valuable.” He pauses for a moment, imagining the possibilities. “And just how valuable do you think we’re talking here? Thousands? Millions? More?” He rubs his hands together in anticipation.
“Mister Werner! I became a professor to find things that time has hidden and ensure they are given their proper respect, not to sell them on the black market! Now I think this is enough talk about this. I’m going to sleep.” She lies down in the back of the jeep but can’t fall asleep for hours, thinking about what the next day has in store.

She wakes to find Jim packing the tent up. He grins over at her and offers her a cup of coffee. “Welcome back sleepyhead. We’re gonna have to walk from here, but I don’t think it’ll be too far. It’s maybe five miles at most as I figure it.”
The professor drinks the coffee as quickly as possible and leaps out of the jeep. “Then let’s get going.” She exclaims eagerly. Jim throws the tent into the jeep and she grabs her bag and they begin their hike across the mountainside. The walk is hard and treacherous and Jim often has them double back, as there are few landmarks, but after several hours a crevice finally comes into view amongst the boulders. “That’s it!” Jim exclaims and they squeeze through into the ancient magma tubes that litter the inside of the volcano. Their flashlights illuminate walls, floors and ceilings all made of black obsidian and the sharp spurs projecting from the walls in many places. They walk through the tunnels for hours before finally reaching a chamber at the center of the tunnel network.

“Is that it?” Gasps Spalding as she stares at the huge, roughly egg shaped chunk of obsidian sitting in the middle of the chamber. She slowly walks towards it and sees that there actually does appear to be dull red lights and movement coming from within. She cautiously touches it but finds it to be pleasantly warm. She leans against the stone and closes her eyes, the warmth reminding her of that given off by a comfortable fireplace. She opens her eyes to see Jim approaching it with a pickaxe. “What are you doing?” She asks him warily, her eyes darting around the room in search of an escape route or weapon.
“I’m going to open this thing up, you said whatever was inside was powerful right? And valuable? Well I think I want to see what it is. Now get out of the way.”
The professor, seeing she can’t argue with him, backs away as far as she can. She moves behind Jim, putting him between her and the stone.
“Now, let’s see what it is.” Jim smirks. He raises the pickaxe and brings it crashing down on the stone with all of his might. The red lights seem to flash brighter for a second, but the stone doesn’t even look chipped. Over his panting the man hears a mechanical click from behind him and he whirls to see the professor pointing an old fashioned pistol at him. “Now, let’s not be hasty here,” he stammers. “I’m a reasonable man, you said whatever was in there was valuable, right? We can split it and no one else will be the wiser.”
“You really are a fool.” Says Spalding, her voice cold and dangerous. “I never said it was valuable, that was all you. You really should have read the legends more carefully, or at all.” With that she pulls the trigger. The bullet slams into Jim’s chest and continues through, spraying blood all over the front of the great black stone he stands in front of.
Jim collapses like a bag of wet cement and as he breathes his last he hears a splitting, grinding noise coming from the hell stone. He turns his head and sees that wherever his blood touched the stone huge cracks are appearing in its surface. Suddenly a metal-clawed fist smashes out from the interior, spraying obsidian shards outwards. The shards cut into Jim and he groans and loses himself to the numb blackness of oblivion.
Spalding watches in terrified fascination as an armored being with razors for fingers and a featureless face with two red eyes glowing from beneath the surface steps out of the stone. She falls to her knees, her eyes wide and tears streaming down her cheeks. “Please,” she begs, “please spare me. That’s all I ask, I’m sorry. Please, just let me go.”
The creature steps over Jim’s corpse and walks slowly, purposefully towards the kneeling woman. The creature sniffs the air, cocking its head back and forth. It reaches its clawed hands out for Spalding as a fanged mouth splits its faceplate. “My dear sweet Catharine,” the creature says. “Why on Earth would I harm you? You freed me from that prison.”
“But it took so long,” Katherine sobs as she stands to face the monster. “William, I mean Wilhelm gave up hope of finding you. And even I was beginning to despair. It’s been centuries, millennia even since we lost you and I was beginning to think I’d never see you again.”
“There there,” the monster says gently as it embraces her, holding her against its warm body. “I’ve missed you too, I was beginning to think you had decided to leave me in there forever.”
“Never, I never gave up searching,” she cries. “I looked all over the world, but we were never sure where you were imprisoned. We even got jobs at a university so we could do research. I thought I had narrowed it down to near here but I wasn’t sure.” She sobs deeply. “I never wanted anything more than to see you again.”
“Now I’m here,” the faceless monster reassures her. “And I promise to never leave you again.”
“You do?” She gazes up at him, “you promise?”
“Yes. You have been as faithful to me as I could have possibly hoped and I will never again leave you alone like I was forced to.” The creature’s claws retract to reveal human-like fingers and it softly strokes the woman’s hair.
“I never want to be away from you,” Katherine whispers into his chest. “Please don’t ever leave me alone. I missed you so terribly, I thought I would die.”
“Don’t worry my little Katherine,” the monster whispers back, “I’ve returned and now we can be together forever.” The creature then straightens and looks back at the corpse behind him. “Now Katherine, after being imprisoned for so long I’m starving. Did you kill this man?”
“Yes, of course, I did it for you,” the woman says, nodding vigorously, and lets go of him. The monster turns and begins tearing into what is left of Jim. She watches and smiles. After all this time, he’s back! I’ll never have to live another day without him. She sighs blissfully as the monster continues to devour the corpse.
He stands and turns to her, his face and hands covered in blood. “Now where is Wilhelm, I think it’s time I paid him a little visit.”
“I’ll take you to him.” Catharine smiles like a little girl and takes him by his blood slick hand, leading him towards the surface.

Kyle Bentley December 22, 2007

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