“This is a nightmare!” Aidelle cried.
She had no wish to be parted from Phillip for the rest of her days. She didn’t like the sound of starving to death before her thirtieth birthday either.
“I’m sorry. Surely, there’s something we can do?” Zara continued to hang her head, but had cheered herself back to being more optimistic within the previous half an hour.
Suddenly an idea popped into Aidelle’s mind and she seized the moment.
“Well, first we need to think back (or forward) to your time. You said that you had ‘friends’ there that were working on some sort of time-travel?”
”Not exactly…” Zara mused.
“’Not exactly’ meaning that they were not working on time-travel? Or… ‘Not exactly’ as in your ‘friends’? Zara, I think I can guess.”
Zara looked up, surprised.
“Life is stressful for you, then, am I right? What with exams coming up. And then, terribly, your family members start disappearing. I can see why you wouldn’t want to fail this mission…but there’s something more, isn’t there?”
Zara gazed up at Aidelle. Her eyes were wide and glassy, sorrowful, yet full of hope.
“How can you know how I feel?”
“I can read people like I read books… As long as neither have complicated words in them.” She managed a nervous half-laugh.
“A couple of days after Grandfather died,” Zara continued, “A man turned up on our doorstep. He was dressed very mysteriously in black and claimed that he was there to help our family. Stupidly, we let him into our home and listened to the words he spouted out; he told us exactly what we wanted to hear:
“He told us that he was from a secret institute down the road, built on the grassland and disguised as a mental hospital-”
“Wait. You can build on the grassland? First time-travel, then solar energy, and now, impossible building; what next, miraculous conceptions?”
“-Where really, he told us, the institute was experimenting with time-travel, and the problems it created. Apparently, one of the members was a lady trapped there from the future. At first, I thought it was all so wonderful; my science-fiction dreams had come alive and this man could solve all the problems that had arose over the last couple of days.”
Aidelle nodded; she could see how a young woman would be taken in by this magic.
“So what happened?”