“Okay,” he said. “I have information about an interesting recent invention of his. I need you to ask him about it.”
The next day at lunchtime, I found myself walking towards the empty table at which Martyn Barrelis was seated. “Hello, Martyn?” I asked tentatively.
He looked up at me, seeming annoyed that I had interrupted his reading. “Do I know you?” he asked bluntly.
“Ah... No, I don’t think you do. However, we share a mutual acquaintance,” I told him, pulling up a chair.
He put down his book. “And who might that be?”
Martyn stared at me. He turned his attention to his book, breaking his gaze from me and not meeting my eyes. “Glen’s dead,” he said plainly.
“It’s more difficult than that,” I said. I then told him everything he had to know about what had happened.
He looked at me in awe once I had finished. He shook his head slightly. “What does this have to do with me?” he asked, perplexed.
I didn’t answer him. “Time travel,” I said. “Is it possible?”
He thought for a moment. “In theory. I’ve been working on something for a while, but I haven’t tested it yet.”
“When will it be finished?” I asked him excitedly.
“Hold your horses, um... What did you say your name was?” he asked me.
“Lily Baines,” I replied, not loosening my attention.
“Well then, Lily, I have finished the invention but it’s still a prototype. I need someone to test it,” he said, glancing guiltily at me.
“I’ll do it,” I said quickly.
“Are you sure? I really don’t think-”
“I need to go back and save Glen,” I protested.
Martyn sighed. “Do you know where my house is?” he asked. I shook my head. “Here’s the address,” he continued, writing down his address on a piece of paper.
“We live on the same street,” I realized.
“Even better. How soon do you need to go?”
“As soon as possible,” I said. “I’ve already committed to this, so the sooner the better.”
He nodded. “I’m free today. Could you meet me in front of the school so we can walk to my house?”
“All right,” I responded. I didn’t like the idea of going into a stranger’s house, but I would have done anything if it would help bring Glen back.
The walk to Martyn’s house was shorter than the walk to mine. We walked in silence, before I was aware of Glen following silently behind us. I shot him a glance, then motioned inconspicuously towards Martyn.
“Don’t worry, he can’t see or hear me,” Glen said lightly. “Don’t say anything, I just wanted to give you this.” He stuck a folded piece of paper into her jacket pocket. I looked up at him questioningly. “Give it to... me. When you see me in the past.” I nodded slowly.
Martyn took my wrist in his hand and led me up to the front door of his house. “The machine’s in the basement,” he told me. We walked through a small, tidy kitchen towards a large door. It swung open to reveal a stairway descending into darkness. Martyn clicked on a light and started down the stairs. I followed him towards a table in the middle of the room. “Just a second,” he said.
He dug through some plastic bins in the corner before finally pulling out a device no bigger than the palm of my hand. “Is that it?” I asked him skeptically.
“Just trust me, okay?” he said. “Sit down there,” he said, pointing to a chair. I complied, and he attached wires to one end of the contraption and taped the other ends of the wires to my arms.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“I’m setting up the machine,” he replied, deep in thought. “Sit still okay?” I sat as still as I could, and soon Martyn straightened. “Put this in your pocket,” he instructed, handing me a small device with a single button on it. “Press the button when you’re finished, and I’ll bring you back.”
I nodded. My breathing was becoming short and irregular. My heart was beating faster, and I wondered what I was getting myself into.
“Are you okay?” asked Martyn. I nodded. “Lily, you’re sure you want to do this? The machine hasn’t been tested before.”
“I promised,” I said quietly. “I need to go to April 5, 2010.”
“Okay,” he said apprehensively. “Don’t change the timeline too much. The car has to crash, and Glen has to be in it. Whatever you do to fix this is up to you.” He looked at me once more. “Be careful, and good luck.”
He reached for the machine, and I shut my eyes tightly. There was a loud rushing noise, and my hair whipped around my face as if in a high wind. Then, everything went silent as quick as it had started.