21. The Crack in Time [III]

Aidelle cleared her throat, and stood up again, standing over the table with the blueprint and Zara. All traces of tears and angst had vanished in the sea of determination that washed over her countenance.

“This is what I suggest we do. But first, the time? We need to gage how much time I can spend explaining, and how much we should spend on action.”

Zara glanced quickly down at her watch. It was only then that she realised that she had not looked at it for a while and had pushed aside their dire situation, for the joy of Aidelle’s bubbly company, even though the lady had been down on bubbles recently…

“The time is almost half past ten. At night. I don’t need to remind you that we lose everything, all the work that we have attempted, once that clock hits 00:01.”

Aidelle pursed her lips and closed her eyes for a second, almost wincing. She ignored Zara’s side-comment with some stubborn, and buoyant, pride.

“After I’ve finished my explanation of the extension to my plan (because, of course, you know the basics that I’ve already explained), this is what we shall do. We’ll have to brace ourselves for the outside, and we might need equipment like a camera, and something to write observations in (although finding that stuff in this old place may take a while too long, so ignore that suggestion, if you think it’s ridiculous…well you know what I mean), but otherwise, it shouldn’t take too long.

“Now once we’re outside…”

And she continued with her long-winded explanation of a plan, delving into the marvellous world of what she expected to encounter outside, reaching into every depth of her excitable mind, plucking some rather bizarre thoughts from the airy parts of her sense, and smoothing them together with the shine of a metaphor, and a flick of her hair. This was the Miss Masters whom life could have treated so very differently; if she had not been a lover, she would have been the most stunning of academics, taking a degree or two where mathematics, or the science of the sky, was concerned, and, in such a way, showing society that she was less of the ‘airhead’ that everyone presumed, and an avid leader for the change in women’s fortunes. But it was not to be, and here she was, dumped by fate, concocting away what was left of her energy.

It involved the women heading, as they’d discussed before, to the line of red thistles and checking the earth below them for physical cracks. If that failed, they would search the area for any sign of time-energy, a way to harness it, or some spell to reverse the course of events.

To neither of them it occurred that there might not have been any way to fold up such elaborate events. But the Masters women were determined in body and mind beyond most everything; they had seen enough in their different pasts to know that the dispute had been, in no way, an ordinary situation.

Finally, and when time had left only an hour in which the women had to complete their mission, Zara sighed.

“I hope this works,” she prayed.

“Of course. Don’t be sure that it won’t.”

However, Zara wanted to tell the lady that she shouldn’t be so sure that it would. Nothing, yes, even more than nothing, was certain in that tangled web of time.

Aidelle then hurried upstairs to look around the house once more, in case of the possibility that she would not make it back home.

She peered into every room before she locked it; she passed the thrown-down chocolate umbrella and laughed at the memories that bloomed: memories of meeting her granddaughter for the first time and shunning her as a trickster, or fraud. How many doubts had vanished since that moment!

She lingered a minute longer in the unused master bedroom, knowing that every second was precious to Zara’s clasp of her own time. There was a lost future amongst those sheets, though, and it was right to say goodbye properly, at least, it was a whispered “goodbye” for if those plans of hers went to ruin.

Turning away, with a tear clinging to one of her dainty lashes, to lock the door, Aidelle noticed the only other clock that had been in the house before the couple’s arrival, and some new, annoying thoughts pulled at her mind irritably.

“Zara…” she called, running downstairs, having forgotten to lock the final interior door.

The End

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