19. Grassland [V]

“Think about it,” Aidelle said, for the third time that day, “You once told me a lot of valuable advice, only a day or so ago, but it seems so long, like inconsequential years, now; you encouraged me to open my eyes and work things out in my own mind.”

Zara continued to look unclear, and rather dumbfounded.

“Okay…maybe not,” Aidelle sighed, “Well, you’re only young- and only young once, mind, so enjoy it whilst you can, my dear. Don’t have too many forbidden liaisons, and certainly do not let the man of your dreams slip through your fingers, as I have done. There is a chance, isn’t there, that I may never see Phillip again…?”

The last sentence was, Zara hoped, rhetoric, for she could say no words of console to her young grandmother. To Aidelle, the thought was one to mull over in the last of dwindling sorrow.

“Grandmother. Now is not the time for a lecture… Please can you get back to the point?” Zara muttered attentively. Both women sat, for a moment, in silence, and paused, thinking.

The young Aidelle was thinking of her actions and the pain they were, at that moment, causing throughout the time-streams in which she was ‘one flesh’ with Phillip. She was considering what to do if all her ideas were nothing but well-wishers: waving a hand, but not worth much at all. If that be the case, she would have to get a grip on her stilled situation, and accept the fact that she had lost her one true love and ‘killed’ their future family, all because of her greed of wanting to be with him forever. Yet, a sin it may have been, but Aidelle could not, could never even, see what was so wrong with wanting her fiancé where he truly belonged.

Zara, on the other hand, was thinking along a route far more positive. It had taken her unpractised mind longer to see the same natural-forming patterns that Aidelle had, and it took her more time to understand exactly what Aidelle had been implying and describing, amongst all melancholy.

Finally, Zara found the last piece of the jigsaw.

“Aidelle Masters,” she said, a grin spreading right across her face as a slow wave might, “Are you suggesting what I think you are? It’s impossible, but it just might work. (That’s the second time I’ve said that; we seem to be speaking round in eclectic circles). Okay. Life moves like the tectonic plates below our feet, and time is the magma it floats on. If someone dares to get burnt but succeeds in their taking of the burning liquid, and they place said stuff into everyday objects, like-”

“This broken clock!” Aidelle exclaimed, nodding, and recklessly poking the time-piece, “Then a different line of time-”

“Is concealed just like the hidden oil or element ore, until the time-energy is released and escapes back into the time of the present, in the air around us, and the new line alters what we have known, or will, hopefully, know.”
“Yes!” Aidelle cheered, clapping her hands, and standing up more abruptly than she ever had before, “Exactly. And do you know what I was also thinking? Ores are formed naturally, right?  What if a new line of time ‘grows’ in the earth, which is absorbed, in mineral or in liquid form, by a tree, which is chopped down and used to create...” She paused, expectantly, and this time was not let down.

“A clock. Oh, Aidelle, nobody has harnessed the time-energy yet! Nobody put it in the clock! It grew and lived there naturally.”

“Yes!” Aidelle embraced her granddaughter, who had also got to her feet in the excitement of their discovery, “I knew that there was a Masters’ brain in there.”
Zara blushed a deep red sheen.

“Well, a Costello brain really. Or a Costello-Masters’, I suppose.”

“Hmm,” Aidelle pondered with a giggle, “‘Costello-Masters’, I like that!”


“One more thing,” Zara said, when they had both calmed down a bit, and whilst she had helped herself to a cream biscuit, grimacing as she realised that it was becoming half-stale.

“Did the institute build their ‘hospital’ there, just to catch our naturally-growing sap of time-energy (I really like that phrase, by the way)? In order to fix their time-travelling problems?”
Aidelle laughed, the music of her joy plain and clear, spilling from her voluminous, luscious lips. It was a sweet laugh, but it had a slight tint of mockery towards her naïve granddaughter. Some people never changed completely with age or time.

“You’re missing the point completely again, Zara.”


“Ah huh. Listen. There’s a reason the institute built there. Because raw energy needs a source, a channel, otherwise it would have just been wasted into the atmosphere. Remember, minors can’t make a dig unless they can see a way to get the oil: a crack.

“Zara, the heath is that crack in time. That sparse, grey expanse of random, once-useless land is the foundation of so many ‘what-could-be’s. It is the motherlode of time-energy itself.

“And it’s our ticket out of this mess.”

The End

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