The Journals of Patrick Mac

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by CloranTraveler, Mar 23, 2017.

  1. CloranTraveler

    CloranTraveler Active Member

    I've always wanted to try my hand at writing journals from a perspective of one of the other Travelers, and since Patrick is my favourite Traveler, I figured it should be fun. Hope you like them! :)

    JOURNAL #1
    THIRD EARTH

    Are you reading this, Jay?

    If you are, then I have to breathe a sigh of relief. It's critical that you receive my journals, seeing as these are the only record of what's to come.

    In many ways, it feels like just yesterday that my life was as normal as could be. I spend a lot of time reflecting back to those days, because already it feels like a lifetime ago when actually, it hasn't been long at all. It's amazing how time can play with your mind. It's thrown me for a loop, that's for sure.

    Up until recently, I was a teacher and a librarian at Chelsea High, and I couldn't have asked for a more gratifying job. The school was like a second home to me, the students were great, and I was able to teach what I loved – history. Growing up, I never had a fleeting doubt that becoming a teacher would be the perfect job for me. It was no accident that I had ended up a teacher and librarian; this really was the one and only place for me to be. This had become my world – history, knowledge, and more books than I could ever possibly read. I felt safe and secure when surrounded by countless books and computers that allowed me to further my knowledge as a historian.

    What I never could have anticipated was that my once peaceful life – the life I loved – would be thrown completely upside down and inside out. There was no warning whatsoever, no indications at all that I was actually destined for something I never could have imagined in the first place. No, I'm still trying to wrap my head around all of it. I have an infinite number of questions, yet twice as many answers I've still yet to uncover. My only hope is that my head won't explode by the time I find more of the answers.

    Maybe I ought to rewind the clock back to when things first changed for me.

    It was the first week of October, and the leaves were just beginning to swap out their colors for the usual reds, yellows and oranges. Of all the seasons, autumn was always my favourite. I often traveled up to the aboveground world over Chelsea, just to get a glimpse of what looked like a painting. It was like something you'd see from Vincent Van Gogh. It was a beautiful sight, and the view alone was enough reason to take a trip aboveground. Up here, you could feel the crisp, cool breeze in your face while strolling amongst the green, rolling hills of countryside that stretched on for miles.

    I had gotten up at the same time I did every morning, showered, eaten breakfast, and taken the elevator down to the fifteenth floor. On most days, I was able to make it from my apartment to my classroom in twenty minutes or less.

    As for today, it was another seemingly normal day at Chelsea High. The only difference was that when I left home, it didn't occur to me that my ordinary life was about to change in ways that would have made my poor head spin.

    "That's it for today's lesson," I announced, looking around at my students. "Anyone have any questions?"

    "Do we have to have homework?" sighed Roger.

    "Yes, Roger," I answered, not surprised by the question. I knew my students well, and I knew them well enough to know that homework wasn't exactly exciting news. "I know you don't like homework, but history is important. If we want to learn and prepare for the future, we need to have an understanding of the past. We can't move forward while forgetting what's behind us. Besides, history itself is quite extraordinary."

    "But it's the weekend," he countered with a small smile, as if hoping to change my mind.

    "I know," I shot back, shutting down the computer system. "And you'll have plenty of time to get the assignment finished before the weekend starts."

    Of course no one ever looked forward to homework, so I tried not bombarding the students with too much. I knew what it was like having to spend the bulk of your weekend completing assignments or research projects. Then again, I always liked challenging myself, especially when it came to history. Math and science, on the other hand, I wouldn't have minded leaving behind in the classroom.

    It'd been a few years since I first started my teaching career. More than once it had been pointed out to me that I had a certain knack for presenting history in a way that made it seem fresh and interesting, alive even. To bring the past to life in an engaging, energetic way was something that came naturally to me, or so I've been told. I think it helps that I have a great passion for anything to do with history, so perhaps it helps others see history in a different light.

    No, I wouldn't trade being a teacher and a librarian for anything else in the world. I loved my work, but I was about to learn that there was another, shocking part of my life that would make me question everything about myself. Not only that, it would make me question the laws of how the world itself operated.

    It was the end of the day, and I was just packing up and was about to head back to my apartment. It was only a few floors down from Chelsea High, so I was always packed up and back home in less than five minutes.

    That was the plan – but someone else had other plans that apparently involved me.

    "Hello, Patrick."

    I heard the voice before I saw who it was. I quickly turned and saw a man who looked to be in his forties standing in the center of the doorway. He had shoulder-length brown hair, and wore a work shirt and jeans. Over this he wore a long tan coat that fell to his knees. By the way he carried himself, he seemed to be a man on a mission. There was an unmistakable spark in his eye, and without even needing to ask, I knew I needed to speak with him. How that even makes sense, I haven't the slightest clue. One moment, I'm thinking about home, and the next, my focus is on this stranger. But…who was he?

    "You know me?" I asked in confusion. "I'm sorry, but I don't think we've met."

    The man chuckled, and told me, "I've been watching you for a while now."

    "Uh…what?" was all I could say. I was feeling a little strange, but not in the traditional sense of feeling frightened by a stranger. For whatever reason, I didn't feel nervous around this guy, whoever he was. No, if anything, I felt like he was to be trusted.

    "There's a lot to explain," the man went on. "But it's time you learned the truth."

    "Excuse me?" I asked, perplexed.

    Instead of answering, the man simply remained standing in the open doorway, the expression on his face unchanged. It was like he knew exactly what I was thinking, as if he'd known me his entire life.

    "The truth? And what's that?" I asked, feeling both curious and slightly fearful.

    "Let's go for a walk," the man suggested. "It'll take a while to explain."

    "I don't know why," I told him, while following him out of the classroom. "But I feel like I can trust you, if that makes any sense."

    "I get that a lot," the man shot back with a knowing smile.

    "So who are you?" I asked, my head swimming with questions.

    "Press Tilton's the name," he said, holding out his hand to shake. "Nice to meet you."

    I shook his hand, and said, "Okay, Press. So what exactly is it you need to tell me?"
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2017
  2. CloranTraveler

    CloranTraveler Active Member

    "Patience, Patrick," he said, stopping in front of the glass elevator. "One step at a time. I'll tell you this though: your entire life has been leading up to this. Everything you've ever done, it's all been in preparation for this."

    I gave him a quick dumbfounded look, the confusion written all over my face. With a smile, Press stepped into the elevator and without a word, I followed behind him. Whatever it was he was referring to, it sounded, well...a tad bit ominous.

    "What do you mean?" I asked, hesitation creeping into my voice.

    "Don't worry," he assured me. "I'm here to tell you of your calling, your true calling. It's what you've been preparing for, though you didn't know it till now."

    "I have a…true calling?" I asked, running my fingers nervously through my hair.

    "That you do," said the man with confidence.

    But I'm just a teacher! I thought. I felt like I'd just been shoved into a vast ocean, and then sucked into a whirlpool with no hopes of escaping.

    Without another word, the two of us left the elevator and began heading to a place that was all but familiar to me – the New York Public Library. As always, the stone lions on either side of the stairs were there to greet us. Like Chelsea High, I always felt at home when at the library. It was a place filled with the knowledge of the ages, and if ever I needed answers, it always seemed I could find them here.

    "Any particular reason why you brought us here?" I asked Press. I took a seat on the stone steps, staring out at the sun that was just starting to make its way beneath the grassy hills.

    "No," was his answer. He took a seat next to me, also gazing out at the view. "But I know you feel at home here, so I figured this was as good a place as any to come and talk about things. I'm guessing you've got a million questions."

    "Something like that," I agreed. "What do you mean by my true calling?"

    "You're a Traveler, Patrick," Press explained, once more throwing my head for a spin. "As am I."

    "Traveler?" I said, unsure of what he meant. "Sure, I've traveled to a few places, Colorado, Texas—"

    Press chuckled and interrupted, "No, I don't mean traveler in the traditional sense. Though you're not too wrong about that, actually. When I say you're a Traveler, I mean you're destined to help keep things on the right path, to restore order and promote peace."

    "Uh…what?" I said, trying to make sense of this. "Let me get this straight. So, I'm supposed to what, exactly?"

    "There are ten territories, Patrick," Press went on. "Each territory is soon going to reach a crucial point, a turning point, we call it. Depending on the outcome, the territory will either continue in peace, or will be thrust into a state of despair and chaos. That's where the Travelers come in. It's our job to keep things in line. There's just one problem."

    "Problem?"

    "He goes by the name of Saint Dane," Press said, turning to me with a serious expression. "He's the one who's positioned himself against us. Unlike us, his intentions are nothing less than to break down the walls, cause pandemonium and bring Halla to its knees."

    "Halla?" I asked, raising a brow.

    "Halla is everything," said Press, gesturing out to the grassy fields. "Every person, time and place that ever existed or will ever exist. Every thing, every person and every time out there all still exists. The sea of Halla keeps it all together."

    All I could do was stare at the guy with a bewildered look. It was like my jaw had just hit the floor. What on earth was he talking about? Halla? Travelers? Saint Dane? By the look on my face, it was like he'd just grown ten extra heads. What he was revealing to me sounded like something out of a wild fantasy, or a science-fiction tale. He couldn't possibly be serious!

    "I know," said Press with a laugh. "It's a lot to absorb."

    "I think there's some sort of mistake," I said to him. "I mean, I'm not a hero. I'm just a teacher and librarian. That's it. You can't be serious when you say I'm actually some kind of…of…protector? There has to be a mix-up!"

    "I'm dead serious," Press assured me. "And there's no mistake. You are a Traveler. And you're capable of a lot more than you think, Teacher."

    "But I'm not a hero!" I shot back incredulously. "There's no way I could ever do something like what you're saying. I teach history! I teach students and work in a library and look after books and…and I'm not cut out for anything other than that. I'm sorry, but if you're looking for someone to take on a great and noble task, then I'm not the right person for that. If you need a teacher or a librarian, on the other hand, then I'm your guy."

    Press smiled in response and asked me, "Anything else you can tell me about yourself?"

    I shrugged and said, "No, I think that's about it."

    "You're resourceful, Patrick," Press told me, sounding as confident as I'd ever seen anyone. "You've got a real gift when it comes to digging through history, solving problems and finding answers to complex problems. You might see yourself as just a teacher or just a librarian, but look beyond that."

    "Well, sure I'm good with computers, but—"

    "Every Traveler is going to play an important role in this war," said Press thoughtfully. "Yours will be no different."

    I sat there, trying hard to wrap my head around all he was telling me. But no matter how hard I tried, it just didn't make an ounce of sense. I was just an ordinary guy who lived to study and teach! There was no way I was cut out for the higher calling duties Press was telling me about. It made me wonder if maybe he truly had gotten me mixed up with someone else. What other explanation was there?

    "You must have meant for someone else to take on that responsibility," I said, staring out into the distance.

    Instead of answering, Press simply sat there in silence. I waited for a response, but the guy just remained sitting there, as if waiting for me to throw another question at him. Was there a chance this might all just be a dream? It wouldn't surprise me to wake up in my own comfortable bed with Earnest curled up next to me. It made far more sense to assume this was all a dream as opposed to reality.

    "This is all a dream," I concluded, laughing to myself. "That I can make sense of. People dream up ridiculous things all the time. But to think what you're telling me is reality is just…not possible. In a few minutes, I'll wake up in my own bed in my own apartment back in my old life."

    "If you say so," said Press, the knowing smile still evident on his face.

    I turned to him, studied his expression for a moment and then shook my head in disbelief. I rose to my feet and stared out again at the towering trees, grassy plains and wished more than anything that I would find myself awaking in my own bed. I didn't want to have to accept that this was reality. But the growing pit in my stomach told me I might not have a choice.

    "This can't be real!" I told him firmly, a hint of stubbornness creping into my voice. "All this about Halla and Travelers and Saint Dane. It just sounds too fantastical! Ridiculous even."

    "I understand, Patrick," said Press with empathy. "You're overwhelmed. But trust me when I tell you, it'll all come clear. Trust me on that. It won't stay like this forever."

    "But why me?" I asked, the nagging question still stuck in my brain. "Why am I a Traveler?"

    "That would take an even longer time to explain," was the reply. "You'll learn more as you go along and with time, all the questions will be answered and things will become clear.

    I shook my head, rubbed my eyes tiredly and took a seat beside him.

    "But I'm just a teacher," I told him again. "I'm not cut out for that sort of stuff."

    "Push, Patrick," said Press, as if reading my thoughts. "We all need a push every now and then. And you might not realize it, but you've been preparing for life as a Traveler from the very beginning. A few weeks ago, when you and your class ventured out into the woods to retrieve that stolen book, that was all to help prepare you."

    "Prepare me?"

    "You were extremely resourceful out there," he told me. "You and your class were able to fend off a pack of wolves and ultimately found the missing book. And though you never knew, it was one of your own classmates who helped bring you up to become a Traveler."

    "But…but they're just kids!" I shot back in confusion.

    "Em Stickler," Press continued. "She was the Traveler before you. Now you are the Final Traveler from your territory. It was her job to prepare you for this job, and now it's time for the Last Generation to step forward."

    "Em never told me that," I said, my head floundering. "She was a Traveler?"

    "Yup," said Press. "But her time is now up. It's your time now, Patrick. But I should warn you, things aren't going to be easy. You'll have to encounter things you never thought possible but no matter how low things get, I need you to remember something. It's probably the most important piece of advice I can offer you."
     
  3. CloranTraveler

    CloranTraveler Active Member

    There was a brief pause. In that one, single moment of silence, I found myself wishing more than ever that I was back home in my underground apartment in Chelsea. Instead, I was sitting beside a guy who was quickly transforming my life in more ways than I could have thought possible.

    "I need you to remember who you are. You're capable of more than you think, Patrick. When things get hard and you want to give up on it all, I need you to look to yourself. You won't find the answers out there, or through anyone else. Just look to yourself."

    I took a few minutes to replay all he'd told me. I was still struggling to accept the fact that someone as completely normal as myself was supposed to suddenly embark on some heroic mission. In a way, I could somewhat make sense of Travelers and Halla. Sure, I'd always supposed there were other worlds and the idea of those wanting to protect the balance of things I could bring myself to conclude as being real. What I couldn't make sense of was what kind of role I could possibly play in something as grand as all this? I was a teacher! A librarian! But this Press guy seemed to think otherwise, considering that he kept assuring me I'd have an important role to play.

    "Okay," I finally said. I took a hesitant breath, collected my racing thoughts and went on, "So, what next then? Am I no longer Patrick Mac?"

    "Oh, no," Press said quickly. "You're still Patrick Mac. You'll always be who you are, there's no changing that. The only difference is you'll now be embarking on a journey that's long been waiting for you. And you won't be alone. You and the other Travelers will have to work together if we have any hope of keeping Halla together. It's the only chance we've got."

    I took a minute to try and assure myself I wasn't spiralling into a state of madness. It was mind-boggling to think that from this point forward, my life would never be the same. It didn't matter what I thought, because if Press was right – and I had no reason to think otherwise – then I had no choice but to accept it.

    "I-I can't say I'm happy about this," I told Press nervously, fiddling with my fingers. "I've never done anything like this before, traveling to other worlds and…and battling demon Travelers. It all just sounds so…so…"

    "Impossible?" Press asked, finishing my sentence.

    "Well, yes," I admitted, shrugging. "It certainly has me feeling pretty shaky."

    "One step at a time, Patrick," he said. Once more he gazed off into the distance, as if his mind was traveling to a million other places. "It'll be a difficult road ahead, absolutely. But don't doubt for a second that you can't play an important role in the war to come, because each and every one of you will play your roles, count on it."

    I rubbed my eyes with my hands, and took a deep sigh. I was suddenly feeling very tired, and wondering how in the world I'd ended up in what truly felt like a fantasy. To think that myself and a group of other people would soon be bouncing about to other worlds, fighting wars and chasing an evil demon whose only goal was destruction and chaos, well…it was hard to believe.

    "So…what now?" I asked, fearful of the answer.

    "Now it begins," Press responded. He rose to his feet, appearing as confident as when I'd first seen him earlier back at Chelsea High. He looked back to me, and added sombrely, "Each of the territories are unique, and more different than the next. But Third Earth is special, Patrick. It's crucial we do all we can to keep this territory from falling under Saint Dane's control."

    "And if it does?" I asked, the fear creeping into my voice. The thought of something dreadful suddenly happening to my beloved home was a frightening one.

    "One step at a time," he reminded me. He then reached into his pocket, and retrieved what looked like a ring. It was like no ring I'd ever seen though. It looked to be made out of stone, and engraved around it were odd, mysterious symbols that seemed to be from a secret, alien language. Of course, it was no language I'd ever encountered, but all the same, I couldn't help feel a little intrigued as to what they each meant.

    "What's that?" I asked curiously, staring at the ring.

    "Your Traveler ring," Press instructed. He handed it to me, and I took it gingerly. I held it in my hand, staring down at it with countless questions rushing through my head. "You'll need it to communicate with the other Travelers. It'll help show you where the flumes are and above all, you'll use them to deliver your journals."

    "Journals?"

    "It's important you keep record of everything," Press went on. "Everything you see, feel and do. I know it's confusing, but trust me when I say, you'll likely need them again someday. So starting now, I'd like you to begin your own series of journals."

    I nodded slowly, and then took another breath. I was struggling to come to terms with all I was learning; it was just so difficult. In the back of my mind, I kept on thinking I was no one else but Patrick Mac, a teacher and librarian. That was who I'd been all my life. But I was now a Traveler. What that meant, I still wasn't entirely sure. All I knew was it had me feeling pretty uneasy.

    There was a short pause, and then Press shared eye contact with me. "Lot to take in, isn't it?"

    "Yes," I declared, slipping the ring onto my finger. Oddly enough, it fit perfectly, as if it had been crafted solely for me. "I have to admit though, I'm…I'm pretty scared."

    "I'd be surprised if you weren't," Press shot back. He placed a hand on my shoulder in a fatherly gesture and told me, "But you won't be alone. And whatever happens, when times get hard…keep your head up, Teacher."

    "I'll try," I said, returning my focus to the ring.

    Before leaving, I had just one more question to ask him.

    "Does this mean I have to give up teaching?"

    Press chuckled, and assured me, "No, you'll just be juggling two different lives now. Don't worry though. You don't have to give up what you love. Like I said, you're not giving up what makes you you."

    I nodded in silence, and gave a small, weak smile. "So where are you off to?"

    "Oh, around," he answered casually. He winked at me, and started down the steps, sounding once more like a man on a mission. "Places to go, people to see. The usual."

    "Busy man," I commented.

    "Yes, indeed," he agreed, looking back to me. "As are you. You've got a busy day tomorrow."

    At first, I didn't quite understand what he meant. Tomorrow was Saturday. I didn't have much planned for the weekend, other than taking Earnest down to the vet for her usual check-up, and picking up a few groceries afterwards. I'd assumed he'd only brought me here to explain everything and that would be that. But now it seemed like he wasn't quite finished with me just yet.

    "I do?" I asked, puzzled.

    "Get some rest, Patrick!" he called, turning and heading off to…somewhere. "I'll swing by to get you in the morning."

    "Right, okay…" I called back to him. I didn't know what else to say, considering that my racing head was already filled with never-ending questions that were fighting for brain space. All I could hope was that a good night's sleep might help clear my thoughts. Either that, or my head would erupt from the overwhelming sense of impending doom.

    As I expected, sleep didn't come easily. When someone drops by to inform you that your life isn't quite what you thought it was, it makes sense that nodding off to dreamland would be practically impossible. I tossed and turned most of the night, still dwelling on everything Press had revealed to me. I wanted more than anything to nod off and get some sleep, but sleep refused to come. As I watched my sleeping cat with drowsy eyes, I found myself thinking how nice it must be to drift off without a care in the world.

    Life must be nice as a cat! I thought, suddenly wishing I was a cat.

    So while Earnest slept like a log through the night, I went on tossing and turning restlessly. As the hands of my bedside clock went on ticking constantly, the hours passed by, the questions in my head still bouncing about in a state of chaos. No matter how hard I tried and despite how sleepy I now felt, all I managed to do for the rest of the night was lay there staring up at the ceiling, completely dazed.

    This is where I'll finish up my journal, Jay. I'd give anything for even a few hours sleep, but I feel like that's asking for the impossible. What with where my head now was, there wasn't a chance in the world I could doze off.

    Am I excited about a trip into the past? A hundred and ten percent yes.

    Am I fearing my own future as a Traveler? A hundred and twenty percent yes.

    END OF JOURNAL #1
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2017
    empire_c2 likes this.
  4. CloranTraveler

    CloranTraveler Active Member

    JOURNAL #2
    SECOND EARTH

    I’ve often wondered what it would be like to travel back in time, to see what the world was like thousands of years ago. I’ve spent much time at the library searching up information from centuries ago, always wanting to see and learn more. While I enjoy educating myself on what the computers have to offer, what I wouldn’t give to see firsthand what life on Earth was like back in the twenty-first century! As a historian, it would truly be the icing on the cake to turn back the hands of time, if only for a single day. But as there was no possible way of traveling back in time, it seemed as though I’d have to content myself with the holographic images.

    Or so that’s what I’d thought. Truth was, I couldn't have been more mistaken.

    As it turned out, there was indeed a way that would allow me to step back into the past of my own home. How do I know? Because I can now say that I have ventured into the past itself and seen what Earth was like centuries ago. To say it was the most exciting trip I’d ever embarked on was an understatement. As a historian, there was nothing more amazing than seeing with my own eyes what Earth was like a few lifetimes ago. What amazed me was how different it all was– the smells, sights, sounds and just about everything else imaginable. It truly was a world unlike the one I’d grown up in.

    As for having traveled through time itself, at one point I would have dismissed the idea as being simply impossible. Yes, there were always theories regarding the possibility of time travel, but nothing solid had ever yet come to the surface. It was an idea that had been pondered about for the longest time, but to no avail had any groundbreaking discoveries been made.

    The funny thing was that amongst all the constant speculations and doubts and rejections, I had been proven that the impossible…was possible. Using the strange power of portals called flumes, I’d been transported back to a time I had only seen through holographic screens of the library computers. But unlike at the library, the past had no longer been staring back at me from three-dimensional screens.

    There’s no question about it. Jumping back through time was undoubtedly the most incredible experience of my life. I can’t think of a single thing that can even come close to the excitement I felt during that trip. While it doesn’t change the fact that I’m still frightened as anything about my own future, that one trip was one that I’ll absolutely, always, remember.

    The day before my trip into the past, I spent much time pondering over a hundred questions. After meeting a man named Press Tilton, I’d then begun reflecting on so many things I never had till now. What with all the anxious wondering and fearing what life as a Traveler would have in store for me, it made sense that I didn’t sleep a wink.

    When morning finally arrived, the first thought that popped to mind was: I wonder when Press will be here?

    Ding-dong!

    Almost instantly, I heard the familiar chime-like sound of the doorbell. I didn’t have to open the door to already know who’d be standing there. He wasn’t kidding around when he mentioned stopping by bright and early. A quick glance at my bedside clock showed it was only 6am! Talk about starting the day early. Normally, I wasn’t up and about till closer to seven, but I suppose when you’re a Traveler, there’s no sleeping in.

    “Coming!” I yawned. I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, stretched, and left the bedroom.

    When I opened the door, I saw right away that my prediction was right. Standing there wearing the same long coat that fell to his knees and smile on his face was Press. Here was a guy who was already dressed and ready to go and looking as wide awake as if he’d gotten ten hours sleep. It was like adventure was his middle name.

    “Morning,” he announced, sounding far more awake than I felt. “All set?”

    “I suppose so,” I said, another yawn escaping me. Then again, I wouldn’t really be ready till I was properly dressed and out of my pajamas. “Where exactly are we heading to, anyway?”

    “You’ll see,” said Press, as if wanting to keep it a secret. “I’ll say this much though. Where we’re going, history comes alive. Literally.”

    Despite the dancing butterflies in my stomach, I couldn’t help feeling excited at that remark. Though I felt a rush of fear and doubt spreading through me at where this might lead to, I wasn’t one to pass down the opportunity to take a trip through history. After all, I was a historian!

    “Should I bring anything with me?”

    “Nope, just yourself,” was the answer.

    I then saw Press glance down briefly at his feet. I followed his gaze, and noticed Earnest introducing herself to him. She wasn’t one to fear strangers, and Press was no exception. She stopped at his feet, nuzzled up against his leg and let out a welcoming chirp.

    “Guess she wants to tag along,” Press remarked, chuckling.

    “Come on,” I said, scooping the cat up in my arms. “Let’s get you fed.” I turned back to Press and asked, “We’re not in a hurry, are we?”

    “Got to have a coffee, first?” asked Press with a small laugh.

    “I’m more of a tea guy,” I said to him, shrugging. “I was never all that fond of coffee.”

    “Well then,” said Press, taking a seat at the kitchen table. “Mind whipping up an extra one?”

    It wasn’t long till Press and I were leaving the apartment and heading to…well, I wasn’t entirely sure where. Wherever it was, he felt pretty strongly that I’d enjoy this trip. I loved anything to do with history, so I certainly didn’t mind an unexpected outing. For the time being, I wasn’t even thinking about Travelers or Saint Dane or Halla. My thoughts were now focused only on taking an incredible trip through history, despite the fact that I was still as baffled as ever as to what all of this had to do with me.

    Once we’d taken the elevator up to the surface, Press led me straight to the subway tunnel. As usual, it wasn’t overly busy; only a few people stood around waiting to catch the next train to wherever they were headed. White light shone down from tubes lining the ceiling above, and the tunnel itself stretched off far in each direction. I’d seen many images of more ancient subway stations, back when they were far more crowded, noisier and filled with constant hustle bustle activity.

    “We catching a train?” I asked. Already I could hear the familiar sound of an incoming subway train heading our way.

    “Nope,” said Press, not slowing his pace. I’d known this guy for less than two days, but never had I encountered someone who traveled with such purpose.

    I raised a brow in growing confusion, but followed him without question. “So where are we headed then?”

    “This is where the gate is,” he answered.

    “Gate?” I said, walking quickly to keep up with his long, purposeful strides.

    Before I could ask any further questions, we arrived at our destination. I didn’t know what to expect to see, but it certainly wasn’t this. Situated before us appeared to be some sort of rocky cavern. Its mouth was dark, vast and staring into it, I immediately got the sense that whatever was to happen next, we were in the right place. Yet again it was another strange example of some part of me knowing I was where I needed to be, but not exactly being happy about it.

    “This is it,” Press declared, walking up towards the cavernous structure.

    “What…what is it?” I asked. I was feeling more than a little overwhelmed.

    “The flume,” he said casually. “It’ll take us where we need to be.”

    “And where’s that?”

    Press then turned to me, gave me a smile and said, “The past.”

    I blinked in surprise, and went on staring at him with a dumbfounded expression. What on earth did he mean by that?

    “I…I don’t understand,” was all I could say. “I thought we were taking a trip through history. Am I missing something here?”

    “We are,” said Press, the smile still on his face. “We’re going to take a trip to Second Earth, back in the 21st century. Where we’re at right now is Third Earth.”

    “Second Earth?” I asked, stunned. I paused for a moment, replaying those words in my head. “Are…are you serious?”

    “Absolutely!” In a loud, clear voice, he faced the flume and called out, “Second Earth!
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2017
  5. CloranTraveler

    CloranTraveler Active Member

    What happened next caught me so off guard, I actually took a few steps back in surprise. The flume – as Press called it – was coming to life! I kid you not! It was a spectacle that was both mesmerizing and startling. The opening to the flume lit up in a bright shower of light and music that seemed downright impossible, yet it was real as could be. Though my mind tried convincing me it was a trick of the eye, or an optical illusion, I knew the truth – this was no illusion and no trick of the eye.

    It was like the rocky walls of the flume were transforming into brilliant, radiant crystals. As for the music, it sounded like a mixture of odd, random notes that were all bouncing off one another in a chaotic dance. To say I wasn’t expecting this was a vast understatement. When Press mentioned taking a trip through history, I hadn’t expected this. I’d assumed he’d planned for us to explore some historical site; it hadn’t occurred to me that he meant leaving this century and entering another. That was something you’d see in a science-fiction show!

    “Ready?” Press asked me.

    “For what?” I asked, wide-eyed. I didn’t have to see my own face to know that my eyes had grown to the size of golf balls. Now I was beginning to feel the weight of this unexplainable journey pressing down on me.

    “It’s time to go.”

    “Whoa, wait…are you really suggesting we—”

    “Yup, this is our ticket to the past. All aboard the flume express.”

    “You mean to say we’re going to…to travel…through that?” The look on my face must have said it all, because Press’s only response was to chuckle.

    “Come on!” he cajoled, moving closer to the flume. “Time to go.”

    “Is…is it safe?” I asked timidly. Sure, I trusted Press but all the same, the brilliant light and music was starting to make me wonder what might happen should I get swept up in its path. I felt perfectly safe here on solid ground; I wasn’t too sure jumping into the flume would leave me feeling just as safe.

    “Nothing to fear,” he said reassuringly, looking back to me. “Besides, I thought you liked history?”

    “I do, it’s just…I just wish there were an easier way at getting there. This seems a little, I don’t know…overwhelming.”

    “It’s cake. You’ll feel a little tug, and off you’ll go. It’ll be just like flying.”

    I looked back and forth between Press and the flume, my mind racing. In just a few seconds, I’d already come up with about a dozen scenarios of what could happen if I got sucked into this swirling mouth. None of them were good, of course. Most of them involved me becoming forever trapped in an endless pit of blackness, never able to see the light of day again. I don’t know if that’s what would happen, but regardless, I couldn’t help think it.

    “But how can it just…pull us in?” I asked. I was seriously having second thoughts about going through with this. And I wouldn’t be fooling anyone if I said I wasn’t scared. “How does it know to do that? What’s controlling it? How does it know where to send us? What if we die in there? Can you promise me that I’ll make it through that safely?”

    Relax, Patrick,” said Press, sounding perfectly calm. He was the complete opposite of myself. While I was creeping closer to the hairy edge of panic, he couldn’t have been any calmer. “Don’t overthink it. Just kick back and enjoy the ride.”

    “I was never really into roller coasters,” I uttered, thinking this was bound to be similar. “They make me nauseous. I’m not so great with heights, either.”

    “Then no need to worry,” said Press with a wink. “This’ll be more like a water slide.”

    I shot him a quick, uncertain look. Water slide? I wasn't entirely convinced that would be any better. Already I could picture myself bumping into walls, or plunging down headfirst into a pool of rushing water, or speeding down a drop that would send my stomach flying into my throat.

    Was I a worrywart? Yes, in every sense of the word.

    “Don’t worry,” said Press, clapping me good-naturedly on the shoulder. “It’ll be fine. We’ll go together.”

    “Won't that be kind of, I don’t know…claustrophobic?” I asked. “Because if it is, I’m sort of claustrophobic too.”

    “Nope,” he answered. “Space isn’t an issue.”

    I scratched my head, sighed lightly, and took a few steps closer to the flume. With each step I took, I had to will my feet to keep moving. As I stood there next to Press, I could see out of the corner of my eye that the guy was still smiling, as if actually enjoying this. Me? Well, considering that my heart felt like it might pound out of my chest at any second, you could say I was feeling pretty anxious. No, terrified was more like it. I just kept hoping we’d make it to the other side in one piece, wherever we were headed. All I could do was place my faith in Press, and the rocky mouth in front of us.

    “All set?” I heard him say.

    I nodded slowly, working hard to keep my countless emotions from exploding. “Sure,” I told him, though I’m positive he noticed the hint of fear in my voice. I figured there was no point in trying to sound calm, since I was feeling anything but. Besides, I’d never been very good at masking my fears.

    Before the entire world vanished before us in a flash of light, sound and color, he called out to me, “Then let’s see history come to life!”

    Did I want to see history come to life? Definitely. Did I want to step through this portal called a flume? Let’s just say I’d much rather be on a roller coaster right about now.

    The next thing I knew, the colors and music seemed to swallow us up. I wanted so badly to fight the urge to turn and run off, but I had to trust in Press. If he assured me the flume wasn’t something to fear, then I had to believe him. So rather than give in to the growing knot in my stomach, I did my best to remain calm, and let the flume sweep my away.

    And that was exactly what happened. I quickly found myself growing closer and closer to the dazzling lights that swam around me. The next thing I knew, my feet were no longer touching ground. I was now inside the flume, on my way to visit Earth in the 21st century.

    The trip itself was like nothing I’d ever experienced. It was the strangest, most mind-boggling sensation to be sailing along on a seemingly invisible carpet of air. A million thoughts raced through my head. How was this possible? What was the flume made of? How could we travel back in time? Why was I a Traveler? Would I ever find the answers to any of my questions? Was there a chance this might all still be a dream and I was still sound asleep in my bed?

    “You alright there?” I heard Press say.

    I glanced over at him with wide eyes, swallowed hard and stammered, “I…I think so.”

    “You’re doing fine,” he said encouragingly.

    “My heart wants to burst out of my chest though,” I admitted, chuckling nervously. “But aside from that, I guess I’m okay, considering the circumstances.”

    “Nice view, isn’t it?” he commented, gazing upward.
     
  6. CloranTraveler

    CloranTraveler Active Member

    Up till then, I’d been so focused on the shock of what was now unfolding, that I didn’t notice anything else. But when I turned my attention to what lay beyond and all around me, I swear it looked like I’d just landed in outer space. Spreading around us as far as I could see were thousands upon thousands of stars. Like tiny, gleaming dots you’d see in the night sky, they seemed to form countless constellations, but none looked familiar.

    I was so mesmerized by the display of stars that it hadn’t struck me that I was gradually starting to relax. I wasn’t completely comfortable, but there was no ignoring the breathtaking sight. No roller coaster in the world could offer a view like this.

    Not much time had passed till I heard Press call out, “Almost there. There’s the light up ahead.”

    Suddenly, I saw the light growing so brightly, I thought I’d have to shield my eyes but oddly enough, I didn’t need to. It was like my eyes grew accustomed to the white shower of light that flooded around us. The music grew in intensity, as if reaching a crescendo. As before entering the flume, I wasn’t sure of what to expect. Would the flume shoot me out like a speeding rocket? Would I trip over my feet? Would I fall flat on my face on the way out? Would there be something nasty waiting for us at the exit?

    What happened was none of the above. With surprising grace, the flume deposited me back on solid ground. Amazingly, when I refocused back on the flume, I saw it had returned to its original state. Gone was the shower of dancing light and musical notes. It was dark once more, and the silence that now filled the room was unmistakable.

    “Welcome, Patrick,” declared Press while walking ahead of me. “To Second Earth.”

    “Second Earth,” I said, more to myself. “So we’re in the twenty-first century?”

    “That’s right.”

    “We just traveled back in time?” I asked, numb at the realization.

    “A few thousand years, give or take a year,” said Press, who seemed to be enjoying my reaction.

    “But…but how?” I asked. I quickly followed him, wondering how I was ever going to keep my head from overflowing with question after question. “You mean to tell me that we really just traveled back in time to the twenty-first century?”

    “That’s exactly it,” said Press with confidence. “You’re now looking at your home…three thousand years in the past. Neat, eh?”

    I stared at him for the longest time. Finally, I shook myself together, laughed softly and uttered in a daze, “Yeah…that’s one way of putting it.”

    “Not too rattled by the trip?”

    “No, I’m…alright,” I said slowly, still trying to wrap my head around where we now were. “Or as alright as you can be after having gone back in time a few dozen centuries. So we’re really in the twenty-first century?”

    “That we are,” was the reply. Glancing back to me, he asked, “Want to look around?”

    “I…uh…sure,” I managed to say. I shook myself together and in a dazed voice, added, “I can’t believe this. This…this kind of stuff is impossible. But it’s not. That flume thing was real, wasn’t it? Wow, this is a lot.”

    “You okay there, son?” asked Press, watching me. I saw a knowing smile tugging at the corners of his lips.

    I nodded quickly and willed my feet to start moving. “Sorry, I…I guess I’m still trying to make sense of all this.”

    “One step at a time,” Press said, leading the way. “For now, just let history come alive. First thing's first though, we gotta change out of these clothes."

    "Why?" I asked.

    "We have to blend in," was the answer. "When arriving at a new territory, you'll find clothes left at the flume. Put them on, and away you go."

    Instead of asking more questions, I went along with the program and proceeded to change out of my Third Earth clothes. There really wasn't a huge difference in the clothes. I swapped out my short-sleeved shirt and jeans for a blue turtleneck sweater and khakis. Luckily, the shoes fit, seeing as there was no footwear that molded to the form of your feet. That hadn't been invented yet.

    Once I was dressed, I asked curiously, “So where are we going?”

    “Wherever you’d like,” he answered casually. “This trip’s all about letting you get your first glimpse at the Earth territories. Anywhere special you’ve always wanted to see?”

    It didn’t take me long to immediately come up with an answer to that question.

    “The library,” I uttered softly.

    “I figured that’s where you’d take us,” Press laughed. “The library it is then.”

    “So let me get this straight,” I said, looking directly at Press. “We can actually go to the New York Public Library as it was thousands of years ago?”

    “That’s right.”

    “I’ll get to see books!” I exclaimed, unable to contain my giddy excitement. The librarian in me was all but ecstatic. “Real, physical books that I can hold! Hundreds, no thousands of books. I…I’ve never held a real book before. Computers are great but I’ve always wanted to see an old, traditional library. I’ve read all about them and seen pictures but I never thought I’d get to experience one for myself. We can really go there?”

    “Told you you’d like this trip,” was all Press said, and started leading the way.

    As we made our way to the library, I let my wandering eyes take in the sights and smells and sounds around me. This really was recognizably Earth – no doubt about it – but yet it felt so alien and strange. On Third Earth, I’d grown up in a world that had resolved problems like overpopulation and allowed nature to once more take over. What I now saw was completely different. For one, it was far more crowded. As we walked along the congested sidewalks, I kept having to avoid bumping into people, that’s how busy it was. Then there was the traffic. We passed several streets and intersections and I saw with my own eyes what Earth was like back in its busier days. An endless number of cars drove by, filling up the streets and more than once I heard the honking of someone’s car.

    Yes, in so many ways, this was a world unlike the one I’d been grown up in. But then again, this was back when people hadn’t started living off-planet, or underground, or in underwater habitats, eliminating the issue of overpopulation.

    “It’s…so busy,” I remarked. I couldn’t take my eyes off the never-ending supply of people and cars.

    “That’s the twenty-first century for ya,” Press said, also surveying the view. “A lot different from back home, eh?”

    “Yeah, you could say that,” I agreed. I then added, “Home sweet home.”

    “Indeed.”

    “So how much farther is it to the library?”

    Press turned, pointed behind us and stated, “We’re here now. Look.”

    When I turned and got my first, real look at an old-fashioned library, I felt an immediate sense of awe. What I now stared up at wide-eyed was a large, imposing structure that was the New York Public Library…three thousand years ago. Compared to the library of Third Earth, this building was enormous! Still situated on either side of the wide cement stairs were the two stone lions; they looked no different to how they did three thousand years in the future. Rather than the much smaller, modern building that was the library in 5010, this building consisted of arches and columns that gave the place an ancient Rome kind of feel.

    “What do you think?” Press asked. He was already starting up the stairs toward the entrance doors.

    “It’s huge,” I proclaimed. “There must be thousands of books in here!”

    “Enough to last you a lifetime,” Press added. He then stopped at the doors and looked to me with a smile, “Ready?”

    “Ready as I’ll ever be,” I said, unable to keep from smiling in utter excitement.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2017
  7. CloranTraveler

    CloranTraveler Active Member

    The two of us then left the outside world, stepped through the doorway…and it was like I was entering yet another world. None of the holographic images – not even one of them – can even begin to compare to what I was now seeing with my own eyes. Spread out before me was a traditional library with old, wooden shelves that were stacked with innumerable volumes. No matter where I looked, all I saw were books, books, and more books! Scattered about were wooden tables where people sat reading, or listening to music or talking quietly amongst themselves.

    “This is amazing!” I exclaimed, maybe a little too loudly.

    “Shhhh!”

    I turned and saw an old woman staring over at me from her desk with a disapproving expression. I didn’t have to ask to know that she was the librarian. I also felt the eyes of a few others watching me with puzzled looks.

    “Uh, sorry ma’am, ” I apologized awkwardly.

    Press chuckled quietly and reminded me, “We’re in a library, remember? Gotta keep it down in here.”

    “I couldn’t help it,” I admitted with a shrug. “This is just so fantastic!”

    Without another word, I made my way over to a shelf of books to get a closer inspection. I took my time examining each precious book, holding it in my hands reverently and flipping through the pages, reading the words of so many authors. I can’t recall how many books I took down from the shelf to explore, but I’d look through each and every book if I could. Having never experienced real, physical books before, this was an experience a librarian from my time could only dream about.

    When I left one shelf and moved to another, my eyes fell on one particular book. It was a book I instantly recognized. It was the one physical book that remained in my library back home as a reminder of the past.

    “Green Eggs and Ham!” Just like before, I spoke a little too loudly and with enough excitement to attract the attention of dozens of people. No doubt they were all wondering why I was expressing so much enthusiasm over a children’s book.

    “Please, lower your voice, sir!” the librarian scolded.

    I felt a rush of embarrassment at having yet again let my geeky excitement take over.

    “Uh, sorry. Really, it won't happen again, ma’am. Honest.”

    The woman kept her eyes on me for a moment, as if debating about whether or not to send me on my way. Instead, she shook her head, adjusted her glasses, and returned her focus to the mountain-like stack of papers in front of her.

    I saw an amused smile break out on Press’s face. “Might want to keep that excitement to yourself,” he suggested.

    I picked up the classic Dr. Seuss book, and whispered, “Sorry, I just can’t help it. This is hands down the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.”

    After a little more browsing, Press then asked me, “How about we grab a bite to eat?”

    “Sure,” I said, suddenly feeling pretty hungry. “Any recommendations?”

    “Oh, I know a place,” he said with a gleam in his eyes.

    Not long after, the two of us were sitting on a park bench, enjoying ourselves to a helping of French fries. We’d gotten them from a place called Garden Poultry, and I have to admit, they were the tastiest fries I’d ever eaten. They were piping hot, cooked to golden perfection and flavored with just the right amount of salt.

    As I finished the last crispy fry, I told Press, “What a day. Who knew I’d wake up in 5010, only to then jump back a few thousand years in time, and see the library, and explore the city, and…and I don't really know what else to say.”

    “So where’s your head now?” he asked me.

    “I don’t know,” I shrugged. “I guess I wouldn’t mind a nap. All that walking around has made me kind of tired.”

    Rather than answer, Press rose to his feet and walked off, his long coat flapping behind him.

    “Where are you going?” I called after him.

    “We’re not done yet!” he called back.

    “Huh?” I jumped up from the park bench and hurried after him. “What do you mean? Is there somewhere else you wanted to take me?”

    “Yup.”

    “Where?” was all I could say.

    After all I’d witnessed in that one spectacular day, I thought my brain couldn’t possibly be taken for another spin. I couldn’t have been more wrong. What Press was about to reveal to me would yet again throw me for a loop, and not the kind you experience on a roller coaster.

    “1937.”

    I stood there dumbfounded, the shock written all over my face. At first, it was like I hadn’t even registered what he’d said. I simply stood there looking like I’d just seen a UFO plummeting from the sky.

    “Excuse me?” I called out, flabbergasted.

    But all Press replied back with was, “Time to go!”

    I'll finish up this journal here, Jay. It's incredible to think that the next time I write you, I will have jumped back even farther in time, as far back as 1937. With all this flume riding, dimension-hopping voyaging, I really feel like a nice Third-Earth style cup of tea would do me good right now. As thrilled as I am to see the ancient past of my own territory, already I'm kind of missing Earnest. But I'm not too sure she'd be happy about traveling through the flume, so I think it's best she stay home at the apartment.

    I'll wrap things up by saying that as a historian, I can't wait to dive into my own home as it was back in 1937.

    END OF JOURNAL #2
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2017
  8. CloranTraveler

    CloranTraveler Active Member

    JOURNAL#3
    FIRST EARTH

    In the very short time that I’ve now been a Traveler, Jay, I’ve quickly realized that just when you think you’ve seen it all, the truth is…you haven’t seen anything at all. It wasn’t till Press Tilton entered my life that I’d been shown things that would have made anyone’s head spin. Me? I felt more like my entire being had just been given a wild shaking and I’d now been hung out to dry, like clothes on a line. In spite of how unbelievable a concept as time-travel sounded, it couldn’t have proven more real.

    And I was just getting started.

    After having just explored my home territory three thousand years in the past, an even more staggering idea had just been dumped into my head. It turned out visiting Second Earth was only the beginning of my trips through the flume. As crazy as it seemed, I was now about to travel even farther back in time.

    As I stood there trying to keep my emotions in check, Press was already strolling ahead. Just like before, I had no choice but to hurry after him, and throw yet another hundred or so questions at the guy.

    “Wait,” I began, my thoughts racing ahead in rapid-fire. “So you’re telling me we now have to go back in time…again?”

    “Second Earth was just the first stop,” was Press’s answer. “Next stop: First Earth.”

    “In 1937?” I asked numbly.

    “You got it.”

    All I could do was shake my head in a daze and utter softly, “Please tell me I’m not going crazy. Please tell me I’m sane and that my head’s still on straight.”

    “You’re perfectly sane,” Press said, giving me a friendly cuff on the shoulder. “Besides, there’s someone I’d like you to meet on First Earth. Name’s Vincent Van Dyke. Goes by Gunny.”

    “And if I’m the Traveler from Third Earth,” I said, putting the pieces of the puzzle together. “And you’re the Traveler from Second Earth, then is this Gunny fella-”

    “Yup, he’s the Traveler from First Earth.” With a smile, he added, “You’re catching on pretty quick, Teacher.”

    “Trying,” I said with a shrug. “Though it’s still got me pretty baffled.” It felt like I’d just been told to prepare a history lesson based on events I knew absolutely nothing about. Maybe that wasn’t exactly the best comparison but regardless, it still felt like it would be an awfully long time until things started making sense. Yes, this was going to be a long, tiring road.

    “I’d be surprised if it didn’t,” Press told me in understanding. “It’s a boatload of information.”

    “Or a mountain of information,” I threw in.

    “Yes, that too.”

    “Speaking of mountains, I think I’d actually rather try my luck at climbing Mount Everest than saving worlds from massive destruction.”

    Press chuckled at my comment, and said, “Well, how about for now, we focus only on jumping back in time?”

    “Sure,” I said. “1937. First Earth. Okay, just have to let that sink in for a minute.”

    Press paused for a moment, and then asked, “It sink in yet?”

    “Not really,” I admitted. “But it probably won’t sink in till later tonight when I’m in bed staring up at the ceiling, replaying all these outlandish events in my head for the thousandth time. That’s usually when I spend my time pondering over things. When I’m in bed with only my thoughts for company. And my cat.”

    Press chuckled at my remark. “That sounds about right.”

    “But I have to say,” I went on. “I am pretty excited, about seeing First Earth, anyway. From what I’ve seen on the computers, it’s this busy place that’s nothing like Third Earth.”

    “Well, you’re about to find out,” Press announced.

    The two of us had finally reached our destination – the flume. Standing there staring in silence at the dark, rocky cavern, I found myself once more wondering how any of this was possible. Amazingly, this all felt so much like a fantastical dream that I’d awake from at any moment. But as the hours passed, I had to accept that as dream-like as it all was, I hadn’t dozed off and entered dreamland at all.

    “Ready?” Press asked, staring boldly into the mouth of the flume.

    “Ready, set go,” I said. I gave Press a small smile.

    “Alright,” he responded. He then winked and announced, “Fasten your seatbelts then.”

    “I would…if there were any seatbelts,” I joked. Despite how nervous I still was about everything else, I didn’t want to let my fears completely take over. Besides, seeing as I was about to take yet another trip through history, I had to let go of my fears and simply enjoy this adventure into the distant past. There’d be plenty of time for worrying later.

    Press laughed at that, and said, “Then let’s hope it’s not a bumpy ride.”

    I shot him an uncertain look, now suddenly re-thinking the questionable safety of this flume device.

    With another clap on the shoulder, he assured me, “Kidding. It’s perfectly safe, Patrick.”

    “I’ll trust you on that,” I answered, stepping up slowly towards the flume. It was incredible to think that one moment, the flume was perfectly still and lifeless and the next, it was like an unexplainable fireworks display of light and sound.

    In a loud, clear voice, Press called out, “First Earth!

    Those were the magic words.

    As if it had been sleeping, the flume awoke and with it came the familiar spectacle of shimmering light and musical notes. From far in the distance I recognized the brilliant crystals that sparkled intensely, filling the cavern with a shower of magnificent light. The light grew rapidly, the sound of the musical notes was all I could hear and next thing I knew, I was sucked into the swirling mouth.

    There was no difference in what I felt or saw while sailing along inside the flume. Similar to my last trip, I gazed out in wonder at the vast, mesmerizing star field beyond. It was impossible to try and count the number of stars but however many there were, each was like a shining diamond. Traveling along like this, the one, single thing that sprung to mind was: I wonder if this is what it’s like floating in outer space?

    I didn’t have long to stay wrapped up in my thoughts. The musical notes grew louder, the light ahead of me grew blindingly bright, and I instantly prepared myself for the landing to come.

    It was comforting to know that exiting the flume wasn’t the jarring departure I’d assumed. No, instead it was like whatever power controlled the flumes ensured we landed safely and without tripping over our feet.

    “Seems you’re getting the hang of this flume business,” I heard Press say.

    “I’m just happy I don’t end up falling on my face,” I said to him. “That would hurt.”

    “Can’t argue with that,” Press agreed, now focusing on a pile of clothes. “Let’s get dressed and get going.”

    It didn’t take long for the two of us to exchange our clothes for those that had been left here for us. I undressed out of the turtleneck sweater, khakis and sneakers I’d gotten from Second Earth, and put on clothes that made me feel like I was a long way from home. I was soon dressed in wool pants, a jacket, black cotton socks, leather shoes and even suspenders. I’d never worn clothes like these before but when I looked myself over, I felt that familiar geeky excitement rising inside me. As a historian, I couldn’t ask for a more incredible trip through history than what I was currently experiencing. If I wanted to live my territory’s history, it made sense I had to dress the part.

    “You look like a teacher and librarian, First Earth style,” Press joked.

    I smiled at the comment and said, “I’m so used to clothes back home, but this is pretty cool!”

    Press then asked me, “Ready to go?”

    I nodded, thrilled to get my first taste of 1937 and declared, “Let’s go!”

    I then focused my attention on our newest destination – First Earth. In a short amount of time, we had traveled from the fifty-first century back to the twenty-first century, only to then jump back yet again to 1937. And even more amazingly, it had taken practically no time at all!

    “1937,” I whispered to myself reverently.

    As I took in my surroundings, it struck me how noticeably different First Earth was from Second Earth, and how different both were from Third Earth. Staring around with widened eyes, I watched as the subway station was swarming with people. Right away, I noticed even the clothes were distinctly unique from what most wore in the fifty-first century. Here, men mostly wore suits and hats while women wore dresses. It wasn’t so much that it was alien and unrecognizably Earth, but there was no mistaking the difference between First and Third Earth clothing. I had a difficult time spotting anything more modern like sneakers or jeans.

    Compared with the subway station back home, this was much busier. The level of activity made the place itself feel alive. It was a little crowded for my liking, but then again, I wasn’t used to seeing so many people in one place. Token booths were open, newsstands were selling papers to various customers, and subway trains pulled in and out of the station, taking passengers to and from work. I was used to the sleek, quiet trains that slid in and out of the station with hardly any noise. Here, it was just the opposite. Beneath my feet, I felt the shaking of the track and heard the sound of metal-on-metal as the train came barrelling along.

    “What do you think?” Press asked, watching me taking in the sights and sounds.

    “Wow…is all I can say,” I answered, stunned. I was unable to take my eyes off what I was seeing. “This is nothing like home.”

    “Nothing like home,” Press added. “Yet still home just the same.”

    “I’m not used to this much…noise,” I said, reflecting back to quiet, peaceful Third Earth. “And people, and activity and…and everything.”

    “You’ll get used to it,” said Press with confidence. “It takes some adjusting and getting used to, for sure, but it’s not that bad. Busy, absolutely, but not a bad kind of busy.”
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2017
  9. CloranTraveler

    CloranTraveler Active Member

    “Can we check out the library?” I asked eagerly. “My to-do list won’t be complete till I’ve explored libraries both on Second and First Earth.”

    “You’re quite predictable, you know that?” said Press with a grin. “Sure, we can do that. Then we’ll head on over to the Manhattan Tower Hotel. We’ll find Gunny there.”

    As with my exploration of the library on Second Earth, I marvelled at the sight of so many books all in one place. Gone were the advanced computers that allowed me to search up anything I wanted regarding almost anything or everything out there. Instead, all I saw wherever I looked were hundreds upon hundreds of books. I let my wandering eyes take in as many as I could, while pulling them from the shelves, letting myself enjoy the simple pleasure of holding a real physical book in my hands. I couldn’t have been more satisfied.

    “No way!” I exclaimed. I stopped at one of the shelves, reached up, and retrieved one of my all-time favourite books from my childhood – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz! “I haven’t read this in ages!”

    “Shhh!”

    I was so surprised by the unexpected voice that I almost dropped the book. I fumbled, and then whipped my head to my right to locate the source of the voice. The voice might have surprised me, but when I realized who the voice had come from, I wasn’t surprised in the slightest.

    Oh man, I thought, instantly realizing my mistake. I did it again?

    “Please lower your voice,” the librarian ordered. She didn’t even peer over at me from beyond her stack of books.

    “Right, sorry,” I apologized, mentally kicking myself for having spoken too loudly…again.

    I could tell Press was holding back an amused chuckle.

    “I think you forgot your library voice back on Second Earth,” he joked.

    “Very funny,” I said, breaking out in a grin. “Guess I ought to go back and find it.”

    As I stood there holding the Wizard of Oz book in my hands, I thought back to when I was a child. I have memories of reading this book more times than I could count, and while I don’t remember every detail, I do recall my favourite character in the story. While I liked the Scarecrow and Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion had always been the character I liked best.

    “One of your favourites?” Press asked.

    “I read this one so many times the cover was starting to fall off,” I said, placing it back up on the shelf. “I’d love to go back and re-read it again.”

    “I bet you’d read every book in this library if you could,” Press remarked.

    I broke out in a smile and keenly replied, “More than once.”

    Being in that library filled me with such an amazing feeling, I almost didn’t want to leave. I felt like I could have stayed there for days and days, just strolling through the multiple aisles, gazing up at the never-ending display of books.

    But there was still more I needed to see of First Earth.

    Leaving the library and re-entering the outside world was a little jarring. Within the library, I was met with perfect silence and the peaceful atmosphere that libraries were known for. Stepping out into the wide, busy world was like someone whispering in your ear, and then suddenly screaming at you with no warning. Outside, I was thrown once more into the congested side streets that were teeming with people. As Press and I walked along, I wondered how anyone got around without constantly bumping into someone. On Third Earth, there was no such thing as too many people, because we’d found many ways of expanding. Here, you had to keep your head up, look where you were going or you’d likely stumble over your feet and trip.

    Actually, that’s exactly what happened as we were leaving the library. I was strolling along, completely distracted by the numerous buildings that towered over us when I felt myself bumping into somebody. I didn’t have time to register what was happening because it all unfolded so quickly.

    “Watch where you’re going, sir,” a woman told me, giving me a slightly irritated glance.

    “Sorry,” I apologized, clumsily rising to my feet.

    Without another word, the woman then gave me a final look over, turned abruptly and continued on her way.

    “Guess I have to look where I’m going,” I uttered, looking to Press with an awkward expression.

    “It’s not like home, is it?” he asked.

    “Not even close,” I said to him, as we again started on our way. “Back home, we don't have all these busy streets, and people are more spread out than this.”

    “It’s like night and day, in a way,” Press said thoughtfully.

    “Exactly,” I agreed. “Two entirely different places yet…still the same world.”

    “That it is.”

    “You know what’s really remarkable though?” I said to Press.

    “What?”

    “The fact that you can see a movie for only twenty-five cents!” I exclaimed, the historian geek in me resurfacing. “Now that is…well, it’s extraordinary!”

    As we traveled through the busy city of Manhattan, I took in the odd, but fascinating sights around me. I saw billboards that promoted things like gasoline and toothpastes, but it was like nothing you’d see on Third Earth. It was a little strange thinking that this was still Earth, yet it was hard wrapping my head around the fact that this was my home – thousands of years ago.

    After touring the city, we eventually took a cab that would take us to our final destination – the Manhattan Tower Hotel. Back home, I’d seen several holographic images of the building, and was eager to finally see it up close and in person.

    When the car finally pulled to a stop, the cabbie announced, “Fifty-ninth and Park.”

    Press paid the cabbie, the two of us stepped out of the taxi, and I lifted my gaze up at the building that was the Manhattan Tower Hotel. Standing thirty stories, it was an impressive sight and situated directly in front was a decorative garden with bubbling fountains and colourful flowers. Compared with the rest of the neighbourhood, this hotel was like a skyscraper that towered over the other buildings. Its color was a soft, subtle pink and as I stood there inspecting it, I felt that if I needed a home here on First Earth, this would do quite nicely.

    “I wouldn’t mind staying here,” I said to Press, following him towards the entrance doors.

    “Nice, isn’t it?” he agreed. “I can see why Gunny enjoys working here.”

    “He works here?”

    “Yup, he’s a bell captain,” Press explained. “And a great one, too.”

    “And he’s the Traveler from First Earth?”

    “You got it,” said Press.

    A doorman then opened the heavy glass doors for us, and the two of us walked inside…and into a place that was all but fantastic! Stepping into the lobby, I immediately gazed upward and was met by the sight of stained glass images displaying a stunning green forest. Lining the floor were thick, oriental carpets and soaring over our heads were brilliant crystal chandeliers that only made the place feel even more spectacular. Scattered about were several red-leather furniture chairs and couches on which people sat on, reading newspapers or chatting quietly amongst themselves.

    “Well now, if it isn’t Press Tilton!” I heard a man’s voice call.

    Approaching us was a tall, dark-skinned man who looked to be in his sixties. He wore a deep, dark red jacket with shiny brass buttons and carried himself with unmistakable confidence. The collar was lined with gold trimming and on each of his sleeves were four golden bars. A fancy logo was on his left breast that read MTH and on the other breast was a name tag reading “Vincent Van Dyke, Captain.” His pants were black, and running down either side of his pant legs were gold bars. One look at this guy, and right away I could tell he was a proud man who enjoyed his work and took it seriously.
     
  10. CloranTraveler

    CloranTraveler Active Member

    “Afternoon, Gunny,” said Press. He gave Gunny a warm hug and said, “Good to see you again.”

    “Likewise,” said Gunny. He then turned to me and said with a smile, “And you must be the fella from Third Earth.”

    “Patrick Mac,” I said, holding out my hand to shake. “Nice to meet you.”

    “Hello, Patrick,” said Gunny, shaking my hand with a firm grip. “Welcome to First Earth. Hope you’ve been enjoying your stay here.”

    “It’s different,” I said with a chuckle. “But it’s been terrific.”

    “Press took me to Third Earth,” Gunny told me. He then shook his head and said, “My, what an amazing place. It was like out of a book of fantasies, or a place of paradise. Though I couldn’t begin to understand those computers you folks use in that library place. It was like a different language to me.”

    I laughed at that and said, “Kind of like how I can’t make my way down a busy sidewalk without bumping into people. Still trying to figure that one out.”

    The three of us broke out chuckling.

    “How about we head down to my apartment?” Gunny suggested. “I’m guessing you’ll want a more private place to talk about…things?”

    “Absolutely,” said Press.

    When we reached the apartment, right off the bat I noticed how different it was from mine back home. First off, there was no television. Instead, in the corner of the living room was a large wooden cabinet that looked like some kind of radio. Positioned around the radio were two easy chairs and a sofa. Proudly hanging on the wall directly above the radio was an oil painting that depicted a U.S. Civil War battle. I recognized that battle from my frequent research into Earth’s history. It had involved union soldiers who had all been members of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment. It was one of the first black army units in the Civil War.

    “Make yourselves at home, gentlemen,” said Gunny, gesturing for us to enter. “Did either of you want anything, coffee, tea?”

    “I’ll take a coffee,” said Press, taking a seat at the kitchen table.

    “Alrighty.” He then turned to me and asked, “How about you, Patrick? Can I get you anything?”

    “I’ll take a tea,” I said. I sat down next to Press and smiled, saying, “I’m not much of a coffee guy.”

    Gunny shot me a surprised look, and asked, “Really?”

    I nodded, and shrugged. I’d only ever tried coffee once, but didn’t care for it. Tea, on the other hand, I did care for.

    “So one tea and two coffees,” Gunny announced. “Coming right up.”

    The three of us spent the next hour at the kitchen table sipping coffee (I stuck with tea), discussing the future to come. The time for touring and sightseeing was no more. It was now time to settle down to business and focus on the real mission at hand. No surprise, I felt the butterflies dancing in my stomach, as they always did when I got nervous.

    “It’s finally time,” Press informed us. “The planning and preparation is over. It’s now time you two stepped forward into the fight.”

    “So I’m the Traveler from First Earth?” Gunny asked, setting down his coffee.

    “You are,” Press confirmed.

    “And I’m the Traveler from Third Earth?” I asked, already knowing the answer.

    “You are,” Press repeated.

    Gunny shook his head and told us softly, “I have to admit, all this talk of Travelers and flumes and Halla, it’s a lot for an old fella like me to absorb. This Saint Dane character, is he really as wicked as you tell us?”

    “Worse,” said Press soberly. “His intentions aren’t to be overlooked. I’ve no doubt he’ll stop at nothing till he’s accomplished his ultimate goal.”

    “Destroying the territories?” I asked fretfully. I glanced down at my tea, my appetite suddenly long gone. Now I just felt nauseous.

    “It’s more than that,” Press told me. “For Saint Dane, it’s about disrupting the natural order and re-creating things in his own vision, the way he sees fit. I can’t say I completely understand what he’s after but mark my words, we’ll unravel it all in time.”

    There was a long, uncomfortable silence.

    I can’t speak for Gunny as to where he stood with all of this, but I was really wishing Press had found someone else to be the Traveler from Third Earth. At the end of the day, I kept on coming back to the same fact: I was a teacher and a librarian. I was not some dimension-hopping warrior who was destined to promote the well being of Halla. My place was on Third Earth. I belonged in a school where I could teach, and in a library where I could study and think.

    “You feeling okay, Patrick?” Gunny asked. “You’re looking a little pale.”

    “Just tired is all,” I answered, rubbing my face with my hands.

    “It’ll be a long, hard fight,” Press told the two of us. “There’s no escaping that. It’ll be hard for us all. But one thing’s certain: none of you are alone. You’ll enter this fight together, go through it together, and finish together.”

    “Well, nice knowing we’ve got some teammates,” Gunny said, trying to sound positive. “Can’t say I’d be too happy about facing this Saint Dane fella alone.”

    “Tell me about it,” I said uneasily, my voice cracking. “I’d probably pass out.”

    Press placed a hand on my shoulder, reminding me with an encouraging smile, “Head up, Teacher.”

    I nodded slowly, trying hard to suppress the anxiety rising inside me.

    “So what happens now?” asked Gunny. “Where do we go from here?”

    “Forward,” declared Press.

    I'll conclude this journal here, Jay. After having jumped back through time to visit both Second and First Earth, I couldn't begin to imagine what was next in my new life as a Traveler. If I had the choice, I'd love nothing more than to return to my old, comfortable life. I was perfectly happy with being a teacher and a librarian, I loved my home, but that was a life I now had to leave behind me. Or at least, allow room for this newest life.

    The next time I write you, I'm sure I'll have uncovered more answers to the endless list of questions I have. I have to thank you for being my acolyte, and agreeing to look after my journals. You were a great acolyte to Em, and I've no doubt you'll do all you can to help me out.

    In the meantime, don't forget to do your homework.

    END OF JOURNAL #3
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2017
  11. CloranTraveler

    CloranTraveler Active Member

    JOURNAL #4
    THIRD EARTH
    Loneliness.

    It wasn't till recently that I truly understood what that felt like. I'd always had someone else to turn to, someone else who'd lend me a shoulder to lean on, or would offer me advice when I was lost and confused. It was times like these when it was reassuring to know that when I needed words of comfort, I had people to turn to.

    But I'd now been hammered with a truth that felt like a hundred bricks pressing down on my shoulders. The sad, but unavoidable reality that had now become mine was that I was now alone. No longer did I have someone to turn to and the empty feeling that now hung heavy in my heart was like nothing I'd ever experienced.

    After Press had taken me back in time to Second and Firth Earth, my mind had been so wrapped up in that fascinating trip. I kept replaying all the amazing sights that I'd so often seen through the computers of the New York Public Library. I'd seen the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, American Museum of Natural History, and even the New York Public Library – all as they'd existed thousands of years ago! As a historian and a librarian, I couldn't have asked for a more fulfilling trip. It exceeded all of my expectations, and went above and beyond what I'd been hoping for as a passionate teacher who loved expanding his knowledge of the world.

    As incredible a trip as it was, there was no ignoring the more important matters at hand. The time for sightseeing and marvelling at the wonders of the past had come and gone. It was now time to redirect my focus on the most troubling thing of all – my own future. Exploring the history of my own home was a blast, and I'll forever remember it, but the time for fun was over.

    That amazing day of discovery already feels like a lifetime ago. Actually, it was only yesterday. It's strange how traveling through the flume can distort your perception of time so drastically. As I lie here on my bed staring up at the ceiling, I can't help wondering about the mechanics of that mysterious cavern. How it was able to send us through time like that is a concept I'm not sure I'll ever understand.

    For now though, all I could do was prepare for the future, and try and keep my head on straight.

    I rubbed the sleep out my eyes, then glanced down to the foot of my bed, expecting to see Earnest curled up in her usual spot. When I noticed she wasn't there, I crawled out of bed and made my way towards the kitchen. No doubt she was already there, waiting for me to fill her bowl with breakfast.

    "Earnest?" I called, entering the kitchen. I looked about in confusion, puzzled as to where my cat could have vanished to.

    "Pss, pss, pss?" I figured she'd come trotting out from behind the living room chair, or from under my bed. But after a moment of waiting, my little cat was nowhere to be found.

    I swallowed hard, fearing she might have snuck out. Earnest had always been an indoor cat, and not once since I'd brought her home had she escaped from the apartment. She wasn't the type of cat who craved for the outdoors. No, she loved the indoors where she had her collection of toys, treats, and above all, the all-important litter box. So when she didn't immediately come hurrying into the kitchen, I felt a sudden fear rising inside me. It was completely out of character for Earnest to hide from me like this.

    "Earnest!" I called again, a lump swelling in my throat. "Earnest, come on. Don't you want to eat?"

    I stood there, waiting nervously for the appearance of my orange tabby. I waited a few more minutes, my eyes darting around the apartment in frantic search of her. This wasn't like my cat and it didn't take me long to realize the unfortunate truth.

    My little cat…was gone.

    Where she could have possibly gone, I hadn't a clue. I suppose she could have been wandering the halls, or there was always the chance she might have snuck into the apartment of one of the other tenants. But that just didn't make sense! Earnest had never gotten herself lost, or left the apartment, or vanished or…and it struck me that I had to go out and look for her.

    I'll find her, I thought anxiously. Wherever she's at, she couldn't have gone far.

    But just as I was about to open the front door, it hit me. The tracking device on Earnest's collar. Yes! I actually chuckled to myself, wondering why I hadn't thought of that sooner. The tracking device I'd had installed into her collar would alert me on my comm as to her whereabouts.

    I quickly picked up my comm from the kitchen table, and scrolled down till I found what I was looking for. I thumbed the Pet Location button, waited momentarily for it to inform me of where my cat had gotten to…but the screen remain unchanged. I blinked in utter confusion, and tapped the button again. A few seconds passed, but still nothing.

    "But…but that doesn't make sense," I whispered to myself. I stared down at my phone in a daze, thinking that maybe the device needed upgrading. But I'd just recently upgraded my comm, and it was fully up to date and functioning well. Not once since I'd gotten my comm had I ever had any kind of problem with it.

    I was now faced with a troubling question: why couldn't my comm locate Earnest?

    "Okay," I said to myself, trying to think logically. "She's not far. She's probably out in the hall."

    As I left my apartment and strolled down the long hallway, the rising fear inside me was only growing. I searched up and down the hallway, and even asked a few of the other tenants if they'd seen Earnest at all, but no one reported having spotted her. Feeling lost, I searched the hallways of the upper floors, but was met with the same discouraging sight – my cat was nowhere to be seen.

    "Where are you?" I uttered softly.

    I tucked my comm into my pocket, and decided my next step was to check the one place I hadn't yet tried – my parent's apartment. They lived five floors above me, and I'm sure there was every chance my cat could have ventured upstairs to see Mom and Dad. Whenever they popped by for a visit, Earnest would always pamper them with rubs against the legs, and friendly chirps, and basically display her excitement at seeing them.

    As I rode the elevator up to my parent's apartment, it occurred to me that I'd been so occupied with Press's arrival that I hadn't even thought to inform them of...well, everything. The moment Press introduced himself to me and revealed my true calling, it was like I'd been transported to a different world, filled with numerous fears and curiosity. But now that my trips into the past were over, my thoughts were now returning to my life – my old life. I might have been a Traveler, but all I wanted right then was to find my little friend and speak to my parents. If there was anyone who could help put my mind at ease and offer me some much-needed advice, it was them.

    Stepping out of the elevator, I strolled down the long hallway. The floors were lined with soft, green carpet and a distinct smell of wild flowers filled the air. I only passed a couple of doors till I found the door that led to my parent's apartment – 20A.

    I knocked on the door, waiting for an answer…that didn't come.

    My first thought was: they must be out running errands. But it was Sunday. Mom always liked relaxing on Sundays. She enjoyed getting all her weekend-chores done on Saturday, so it wasn't like her to not be home today.

    I reached for the doorknob, pulled, and opened the door and stepped inside.

    What I then saw Jay…will haunt me forever. Just seconds ago, I assumed my parents were out shopping around, or maybe taking a trip up to the aboveground to catch some fresh air. Never could I have prepared to see what my disbelieving eyes now saw. If there was one word I could use to describe what this felt like, it was nightmare. I truly felt like I'd somehow wound up in some gut-wrenching nightmare. Whether it was real or a frightening dream, there was no disregarding the truth.

    The parents who'd loved and raised me…were gone.

    I stared ahead, the numbness rushing through me like wild fire. I closed my eyes, desperately hoping, desperately needing to open them and find that this truly was a nightmare.

    But when I opened my eyes, it was like I'd been hit in the face with freezing water. The truth had smacked me in the face and given me no choice but to accept what was so obviously clear.
     
  12. CloranTraveler

    CloranTraveler Active Member

    The apartment that once belonged to my parents was empty. Not a single piece of furniture, painting, or unique touch to the place remained. Instead, what now stared back at me was a lonely home that looked so forgotten and sad that anyone would think no one had ever lived here. But that wasn't true. My parents had once lived here. I'd just been by here last weekend! The three of us had been sitting at the kitchen table talking over tea.

    Reflecting back on this, I hurried inside, refusing to believe this. No, there was no way my parents could have vanished. I couldn't explain the disappearance of all the furniture, but there had to be some explanation as to where my parents were.

    "Mom?" I called out uneasily.

    In a daze, I walked into the living room that was now entirely empty. Not a single rug lined the floor, the walls had been stripped of all the paintings, and there was no indication that anyone had ever lived here.

    "Dad?" I uttered, working hard to keep my fears from escalating.

    As I stood there staring down at the floor, it dawned on me that since that morning, everything had started unraveling. First was the mystery of Earnest, and where she'd gone to. But this startling mystery had now presented itself in a way that had my thoughts tangled and my heart aching.

    "What's going on?" I whispered, a cold shiver shooting up my spine.

    That was when I heard a familiar voice cut through the eerie silence.

    "Morning, Patrick."

    I didn't even turn to acknowledge him; I was too caught up in my own racing fears. His arrival was unexpected, but here was the one person who had kick-started this entire mystery. Without needing to hear anything else, I knew instantly that whatever words would next be spoken, would piece together the answers to this unsettling incident.

    "I…I don't understand," I stammered, my voice sounding shaky and unlike my own. "W-where did everything go?"

    "It's okay, Patrick," Press told me soothingly. "It's the next step in your life as a Traveler."

    I whipped a look at him, and shot back incredulously, "This can't be happening! I…I was just here a few days ago! An entire apartment doesn't just vanish, like…like it was never lived in. This isn't real! Don't try and convince me that this here is…normal! This is the farthest thing from normal!"

    "Try to relax, Patrick," Press said, stepping up beside me.

    "Relax?" I shook my head and argued, "How can I relax when…what in the world is going on here?"

    Press paused slightly, and then sighed before continuing. "Patrick, I want you to listen carefully, and believe what I'm about to tell you. I know it's a lot to wrap your head around, and I understand that. But I need you to have faith in what I'm going to say."

    What he then revealed to me next almost sent me off the deep end right then and there.

    "Your parents are gone, Patrick," he said gently. "It was their job to love you and raise you into the person you are today. As their job is now complete, it was time for them to move on."

    "Wait, they're…they're gone?" I uttered, the words catching in my throat. "But…no! No, they can't be gone! They were just here!"

    "They've begun a journey of their own now," Press went on, laying a hand on my shoulder in a fatherly gesture. "But believe me when I say this, Patrick: you will see your parents again. I know that sounds hard to believe, but believe it."

    "They…they can't be gone," I cried helplessly. I then felt tears welling in my eyes. In that one despairing moment, I felt more hopeless and alone than I'd ever been my entire life. All I heard from Press was that my parents were gone. Everything else just didn't matter. It went in one ear and out the other.

    Press must have sensed the emotions that were flooding inside me. Rather than say anything more though, he simply kept his hand on my shoulder and let me cry. It was like I was in a state of shock, and didn't want to accept this. But as painful and terrible and nightmare-like as it was, I had to accept it.

    I could have stood in that empty apartment crying for days. When Press had explained to me that my life was about to change, I hadn't anticipated this. I'd assumed it meant taking on a responsibility I didn't necessarily feel ready for, but not having my family vanish out of my life.

    Right then, I didn't care about Halla or Travelers or even Saint Dane. All I wanted was to see my parents again.

    "I don't understand," I said glumly, wiping the tears from my eyes. "Why did they have to leave?"

    "Because it was time," said Press patiently. "It was time for them to move on to their next journey, as it was now your time to begin your own journey. It was all about raising and preparing you for the ultimate journey."

    "Are they…dead?" I asked anxiously, swallowing hard.

    Press paused briefly, then continued, "I'll make you a promise, Patrick. One day you will see your parents again. You'll even see your cat again. But it's time both you and your family begun your own seperate journeys. One day, the time will come when you see them again."

    "But…but where are they?" I demanded to know, sounding like a lost, lonely little boy. Why was Press sounding so vague about what had happened to them? It was obvious he knew more than he was letting on, but for whatever reason he wasn't revealing more.

    "There's a lot you and the other Travelers don't know," Press said to me. "And the answers to your questions will become clear…in time. For now, I need you to have faith in knowing that they have not been harmed."

    I sighed tiredly, rubbed my eyes and whispered, "This can't be happening."

    "One day at a time, Patrick," said Press calmly. "I know it's hard, but I have confidence in you. But aside from myself, it's crucial you find confidence in yourself. No one else will be able to give you that. Only you can keep your head up and stand on your own two feet again when times are rough."

    "I know," I said, running my fingers through my hair. "It's just…it'll be hard not having them around." I was doing all I could to keep my emotions from taking over, but I knew Press could tell I was hurting badly.

    "It'll be okay," he said reassuringly. "Just remember what I said. And don't forget that you won't be alone. Besides the other Travelers, you've got a family of teachers and students at Chelsea High."

    My only answer was to nod silently. The pain in my heart kept telling me that in spite of what Press told me, wherever my parents had gone, they were no longer here. I don't think it mattered what he told me; I'd now always wake up with the lonely feeling that my parents were gone. I'd had no siblings growing up, which meant I now truly was on my own.

    "But…I will see them again?" I asked quietly. Through all the heartache, I so badly wanted to hold on to whatever words of hope Press could offer me. At this point, I felt like a drowning man. If he could throw me a lifeline, then I'd gladly take it.

    "You will," was the answer. "I can't say for sure when that will be, but you will see them again. Trust me on that."

    "I do," I said softly. I then smiled sadly, telling him, "But it's not going to be easy."

    "So much about life isn't easy," said Press thoughtfully. "But while there's often a lot of bumps in the road, there's also a light at the end of every tunnel. It's our job to always be on the look out for it."

    A few moments passed, neither one of us saying anything. I think Press knew I was still struggling to make sense of all this, so he let me grieve the loss of my family. Rather than say anything more, he simply stood there quietly as I walked about in a daze, exploring each of the now eerily empty rooms.

    "I know you said I'm not letting go of my old life," I said slowly, my eyes glued to the floor. "And that being a Traveler doesn't mean letting go of everything or my old life…but I'm having trouble believing in that."

    "I know," said Press, still with that same calm tone. "But you're stronger than you think, Teacher. You might not see that, but one of these days, you're going to wake up and realize there's more to you than even you yourself know."

    With those final words, Press then left me alone with my own thoughts. Where he was headed, I couldn't begin to guess. It struck me that most likely he was on his way to one of the other territories to meet with another Traveler.
     
  13. CloranTraveler

    CloranTraveler Active Member

    As much as I wanted to stay here, there was no sense in me doing so. There was no changing that my parents were gone, and any sign that they had ever lived here was erased. From this point on, I would have only my memories of my parents to remember them by. I'm not certain how it's possible that I'll see them again someday – the only possibility that springs to mind is Heaven – but I don't think that's what Press meant. As strange as it sounds, I really feel like he meant for the three of us to meet up again in this lifetime.

    When I returned home to my own apartment later that night, it was a lonely feeling crawling into bed. I was so used to Earnest curled up beside me, and not hearing her constant purring was an alien sensation. Even more uncomfortable was knowing that when I woke up the following day, my parents would still be gone.

    Similar to the night prior to Press taking me through the flume for the first time, I tossed and turned for hours. Somewhere in the middle of the night I made my way into the kitchen for a cup of tea, but found that did nothing to suppress my emotions. I didn't know what my future as a Traveler would look like, but all I could focus on right then was the empty hole now in my heart.

    I tried time and again to nod off, but eventually grew restless at trying, so I stopped trying altogether. Instead, I lie there gazing up at the ceiling, feeling numb and alone and more confused than I'd ever known was possible. The tears fell out of my eyes, and I didn't even try and keep from crying, because that would have been futile.

    Memories of my parents came rushing at me, one after the other.

    My mother taking me to the New York Public Library for the first time.

    My father showing me how to interface with the computers.

    My mother reading me bedtime stories as a child.

    The three of us touring New York City together.

    But somewhere amidst all the heavy loneliness, I managed to doze off. How long I stayed asleep, I wasn't sure. It could have been for only an hour, but however long it was, something strange did occur.

    It was a dream. Or at least, I thought it was a dream.

    I found myself in a place that was completely unrecognizable. Despite my attempts at trying to pinpoint where I could be, it was all but impossible. I was surrounded by a hazy fog, but it wasn't a grey, thick sort of fog. No, it was a swirling mass of colourful fog that seemed to envelope me like a comforting blanket. I wasn't afraid of it, because oddly enough, this all felt…right.

    "Hello?" I called out, my voice echoing in the distance.

    I don't know whom I expected to answer, but I felt the unmistakable presence of life around me. It wasn't that I saw people, but there was no denying or ignoring the fact that I wasn't alone.

    "Is anyone there?" I asked, my eyes glancing around curiously.

    That was when I heard a voice. Actually, I heard two voices cut through the tranquil silence. They were the last two voices I expected to hear…and hearing them froze me in place.

    "I'm so proud of you, sweetheart," a woman's voice said.

    "We'll always be with you," a man's voice added.

    When I finally turned around to face them, I couldn't think of a single thing to say. It was like the words had caught in my throat. So instead, I smiled at them but no sooner was I able to rush over towards them then I felt a sudden rush of wind sweeping me off my feet. I didn't have time to register what was happening because moments later, I was back in my own bed in my underground apartment of Chelsea.

    As I sat up, replaying the unexplainable dream over in my head, I broke out smiling.

    "Thank you," I whispered gratefully.

    I'll wrap things up here, Jay, and send this journal to you. It's amazing to think that something as fantastical as sending letters through a ring has become part of my life now. But compared to what my future as a Traveler is going to include, I suppose sending mail through a ring really isn't all that complicated, so to speak.

    I'm still puzzled as to what this dream was trying to tell me. All I knew was that dream or no dream, I swear the man and woman who'd spoken to me were my own parents. I felt total confidence in that. I also felt a growing sense of relief at having seen them, even if it was only for a precious, fleeting moment. Moving forward, I hope their spirits will stay close to me, and comfort me in knowing that I'm not alone in this war to come.

    As Press mentioned, it seems the only place to go from here is... forward.

    END OF JOURNAL #4
     
  14. A new story??:D

    Okay, let me get my blankets, tea, cookies and memopad.
     
  15. CloranTraveler

    CloranTraveler Active Member

    Here's the first part to Patrick's Journal #5. Much of the dialogue here will be taken straight from The Never War, so it'll read very similar to this portion of the story. There'll be 2 more parts coming, and I'll get started on those as soon as I can. :)


    JOURNAL #5
    THIRD EARTH

    It’s amazing how I sometimes tend to forget how changed my life has now become, and how unpredictable my future now is. The last time Press had spoken to me was months ago – though in many ways it feels like years – and I haven’t seen or heard from him since. It was when my cat Earnest and my parents had abruptly and strangely vanished. There’d been no warning whatsoever that my family was going to disappear from my life. It wasn’t until Press Tilton returned to help clarify things that I started to understand. It scared me to death but with no choice but to move forward, that was exactly what I needed to do.

    The last thing he’d mentioned to me the day my family vanished was that one day I’d be called upon for help. He told me his nephew Bobby Pendragon would one day show up on Third Earth in need of my help. He hadn’t revealed when that might be, but I made a mental note to remember this, and be ready for when that day would arrive.

    Until then, I returned to doing what I loved – being a teacher and a librarian.

    It’s been great refocusing my time and attention on teaching at Chelsea High. Diving into history and re-entering the vast world of the computers helps me feel calm, in control and like I’m in the one place I’m destined to be.

    Of course, I haven’t forgotten about being a Traveler and the mission to protect Halla from Saint Dane. It’s tucked safely in the back of my mind until the day I take my first step into this fight. The fact that I’m always wearing my Traveler ring, and writing these journals to you, Jay, makes it impossible to forget my secret life. So I’ve done my best to carry on with my duties here at Chelsea High, all while wondering what the next step in my life as a Traveler would be.

    So I waited. And waited. And just to make things more interesting, I waited some more. I was starting to fear that perhaps things had taken a turn for the worst. Was the fight against Saint Dane already at its end? Would I no longer be needed in this war because the war was no longer being fought?

    The answer to all of these questions was no.

    It was a Saturday morning. I was in my underground apartment sitting in the living room, doing some historical research into the early 1900’s. It never failed to fascinate me how much there is to uncover about our own history. Thanks to the amazingly advanced computers of Third Earth, a wealth of information is always at my fingertips. I’ve been able to study moments in history from just about every period in time, each more remarkable than the next.

    “Computer,” I said in a clear voice. “More information on—”

    That was when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. I glanced down, and pulled out my comm from my jeans. I immediately noticed a bright, green light flashing on the screen. It lasted only for a moment and then grew dark, my comm appearing normal once more.

    This was it. This was what I had been waiting months for. It now seemed that I was finally going to embark on my first task as the Traveler from Third Earth. What lay ahead and how things would play out, I could only speculate. Whatever the case, I knew it was time to put my teaching duties aside…because it was now time to be a Traveler.

    Ten minutes later, I was in my car driving up to the aboveground world. It had been a while since I’d taken a trip up here and feeling the warm, breezy air in my face as I drove along was a great feeling. On my way toward the Bronx, I took the time to take in the familiar, comforting surroundings – green countryside, numerous apple trees, and grassy, rolling hills. As always, I didn’t come across too many people, though I did see a few people lying under the sun with closed eyes, or reading, or strolling about.

    It was a short trip and I was soon pulling up my car behind two people, one whom I recognized instantly. It was Vincent Van Dyke, or more commonly known as Gunny, the Traveler from First Earth. It was on my first trip to First Earth that Press had introduced me to him. Standing beside him was a young guy who I couldn’t recall having met before.

    “Looks like we’ve got a couple of tourists in town!” I called out in a friendly voice.

    The two turned, and upon recognizing me, Gunny said, “Afternoon, Patrick. Thanks for coming to fetch us so quickly.”

    I hopped out of the car and gave Gunny a warm hug. “Good to see you, Gunny,” I said. “Where’s the wild man?”

    It felt like forever since I’d last seen Press. I figured he was probably off taking care of things, or checking in with the other Travelers. I was surprised when I hadn’t seen him with Gunny, but I’m sure I’d be seeing more of him soon enough.

    Gunny motioned to the guy next to him and announced, “This is his nephew, Bobby Pendragon.”

    Of course! It all made perfect sense now. Press informed me that I’d be visited by his nephew someday, and now that day had finally arrived. The pieces of the puzzle were starting to come together.

    I shook his hand with a firm grip. “Pendragon! Press told me you’d be showing up someday. I’m glad to meet you.”

    “Me too,” said Bobby.

    “So? Where is he?” I asked, still confused as to why Press hadn’t joined them. I’d fully expected him to be leading the way, always ready for the next leg of our journey.

    Gunny then shot Bobby a silent look that gave me the grim feeling that something wasn’t right. Though no words were spoken, I could tell by the unmistakable look on both Gunny and Bobby’s faces that I was about to hear some unfortunate news. I hoped I was wrong, but there was no denying what their faces told me.

    “Press is dead,” Bobby answered softly, staring down at the ground.

    Dead? I replayed the word over in my head, as if I couldn’t believe what I’d just heard. When I expected Pendragon to show up on my home territory, I hadn’t prepared for this. In the time that I’d spent with Press, I’d come to see him as the sort of guy you could rely on, or go to when you needed words of wisdom. He was the one guy I’d grown to trust and seek comfort from. To hear that he was now dead, well…it felt like I’d just been splashed in the face with freezing water.

    The three of us remained silent for a moment, out of respect. It was hard to imagine moving forward in this fight without Press. But it seemed we had no choice.

    “I’m sorry, Bobby,” I finally said, feeling like I too had just lost someone important to me. “Your uncle was like a brother to me. I’m going to miss him.” After my family had vanished, I’d felt alone in so many ways, but I felt a sense of comfort at knowing Press was always there. To hear that he was now gone as well was an unsettling feeling.

    “Just before he died,” Bobby added. “He told me it was the way it was supposed to be. I have a tough time buying into that.”

    “I know,” I told him softly. I paused briefly, and then said, “But Press believed it. And sure as we’re standing here right now, I can’t remember a time when he was wrong about anything. That’s one thing I can say for certain.”

    Bobby nodded silently.

    “We need your help, Patrick,” said Gunny, shifting gears. “I thought you could take us to that library place with all those fancy…what do you call them? Computers?”

    The library. Aside from Chelsea High, the New York Public Library was the one place I could truly call my home, my beloved fortress of solitude. I’d always wondered what my role as a Traveler in this fight might be. Hearing mention of the library, it was now becoming clear that I would indeed need to step up as a Traveler. And the first place I would be doing that would be the one place I spent so much time in – the library.

    “Absolutely,” I replied. “Hop in.”

    Before stepping into the car, Bobby asked curiously, “Are most of the cars on Third Earth this small?” I couldn’t argue with that. My silver vehicle wasn’t much bigger than a golf cart but despite its size, it served me well while up here on the surface.

    “Yup,” I said, settling in behind the wheel. “It was all about designing vehicles that were energy efficient and ultimately environmentally friendly.”

    While in the library, I searched up information on various subjects, always intrigued by all that was out there. It fascinated me seeing what cars had been like thousands of years ago, and how remarkably different they now were today. I recalled reading of the staggering contribution cars had with regard to air pollution and climate change. Fortunately, such issues have since been resolved and cars of today’s world were a major improvement.

    While Gunny settled in the back, Pendragon slid in front next to me. After hitting the accelerator, the three of us quietly zipped ahead, headed deeper into the peaceful countryside.

    “Have you ever been to the New York Public Library in Manhattan?” I asked Bobby.

    “I’ve been by it,” was his answer. “The place with the big stone lions in front, right? Is it still there?”
     
  16. CloranTraveler

    CloranTraveler Active Member

    I smiled. “Yes, but, well things have changed a little.” Saying that the library had changed a little was an understatement. Compared with the library that had existed in the ancient past, the library of 5010 was practically a different place in a completely different era.

    “Yeah, no kidding,” Bobby threw in. “So far, seems like everything’s changed.”

    I chuckled, and said, “I’ve been to First and Second Earth. I hear you. But there are still many links to the past. There’s a strong sentiment that history should be respected. You’ll see what I mean.”

    For a while, we drove along in silence. Where Gunny had been here before with Press, this was Bobby’s first trip to Third Earth. I could tell he was speechless, as he took this time to survey the surroundings of the wide, green countryside. In the holographic images I’d seen of the 21st century, this had once been a place known for its heavy traffic, dense crowds of people and constant noise. Here in the 51st century, wherever you looked, you were met with the sight of rolling hills, farms and trees laden with fresh fruits.

    Bobby shot me a puzzled look, and asked, “Where is everybody? I mean, it’s so…quiet?”

    I figured he would ask that question. In contrast to the congested atmosphere that had existed on Second Earth, it was near impossible to overlook the significant evolution that had occurred over thousands of years.

    “I’ll give you the short version,” I began. “By the mid-twenty first century, we were running out of natural resources. Pollution was worse than ever and overpopulation was beyond serious. Governments had to start getting smart or it would have been disaster. There was no getting around that. With the clock ticking down, it was only a matter of time before it was too late. So from then on, Earth functioned as one planet, as opposed to a group of countries with different agendas.”

    “So they went underground?” asked Bobby.

    “That was one solution,” I answered. “It began with manufacturing and energy. There are power plants close to the center of the planet.”

    Bobby shook his head in amazement. “Unbelievable,” was all he said. I suppose from a Second Earth perspective, learning of the many advancements and positive changes of 5010 must have been quite incredible.

    “It took more than a thousand years,” I went on. “But by the year 4000, every commercial enterprise was moved underground. From factories to the Gap stores.”

    “You still have the Gap?” Bobby asked, sounding clearly surprised. “Seriously?”

    “I think that sweater you’re wearing came from there,” I told him.

    “So the Gap’s lasted a few thousand years,” Bobby commented. “How cool is that?”

    “The only businesses that stay above ground are farms and some solar power facilities,” I continued. “Most of the big power sources are out West in areas that are unpopulated.”

    “Makes sense,” said Bobby.

    “Then people began relocating underground as well. There are vast housing complexes just below the surface, all interconnected by a train system.”

    “Isn’t that a little claustrophobic?” Bobby asked. “I mean, being underground and all?”

    “Not as bad as what it was on the surface,” I explained. “We were running out of space. It was only a matter of time till we ran out completely. That’s what prompted the other move. We not only went down, we went up.”

    “Up?” said Bobby curiously.

    “Space colonies. It started with Space Station Alpha at the turn of the twenty-first century. A few larger orbiting space platforms soon followed. From there we could jump out farther and expand. The next step was the moon. There were colonies of a thousand people each, living on the moon by the year 3000. Mars was next, followed by Venus and two of the moons of Jupiter. By last count there are one hundred and fifty-five million people living off-planet. Combine that with the fact that people finally started getting smart about family planning, and we finally achieved zero population growth.”

    “How about underwater?” Bobby asked me. “Are there colonies under the sea as well?”

    “Oh, yeah, that too,” I answered casually. “But that’s not significant. Maybe only a few million people are in underwater habitats.”

    “A few million? Not significant? Amazing,” was all he said.

    “I’ll tell you what was amazing,” I said, gazing out at the never-ending line of trees. “Once man began to pull back from the surface, nature began to take charge again. Pollution was reduced. The air and water gradually cleaned up. Forests re-emerged, starting with the rain forests in South America. In a lot of ways it was like the world took a giant step backwards.”

    “But what happened to all the stuff? I mean, most of the buildings and roads are gone. Where did everything go?”

    “It was all slowly dismantled,” I said. “It was like a giant recycling project. Much of the material from the surface was retooled and used below to create the underground cities. There were billions of tons of material that couldn’t be re-used, like road surfaces. Not to mention all the material that had to be dug out to create the cities below. Most of that was broken down and used to create new terrain. The rolling hills you’re looking at were made from the streets and buildings of New York that was demolished. The whole idea was to heal the surface and preserve our resources for the future. It certainly didn’t happen overnight, but in the grand scheme of things, mankind really did rebuild this world for the better.”

    “But some people still live on the surface?” asked Bobby.

    “Oh, yeah. There are still cities all over the world. My guess is that it’s about half and half, surface dwellers and below grounders. But the below grounders spend a lot of time on the surface, too. People still take vacations to the ocean, or the mountains to ski, and pretty much do most of the things they did on Second Earth. If you want, we can go to a Yankees game.”

    Upon hearing this, Bobby shot me an excited look. “There’s still a Yankee Stadium?”

    I smiled and replied, “Of course. There are some things that shouldn’t be changed.”

    “It’s like…perfect,” said Bobby, still taking in the scenery.

    I laughed, and said, “No, nothing’s perfect. But it’s better than the direction man was headed. What we’re seeing now is a new world, so to speak.”

    As we continued on towards the library, neither Bobby nor Gunny spoke another word. I could tell by looks on their faces that the two were still wrapped up in the simple beauty that surrounded us. Seeing their transfixed expressions reminded me of how I felt when I’d gotten my first, fantastic glimpse into Earth’s past. The sheer wonder I experienced on those two trips was something I’ll not soon forget. I imagined Bobby and Gunny would remember this trip into the distant future, the same as I’ll remember mine into the ancient past.

    Before reaching the library, we passed a familiar sight that I knew all too well as the heart of New York City – the Empire State Building. I’d seen many holographic images of the famed structure as it had existed centuries ago. In the fifty-first century, it now presented with a shiny, steel surface that was distinctly different from its previous appearance.

    It didn’t take us long till the New York Public Library was at last in sight. I pulled my small car up to the bottom of the stairs, turned off the ignition and glanced up at the place that I called my second home. Whatever fears I had regarding my future as a Traveler, there was one thing I felt total confidence in – that my beloved library would always be here to welcome me home.

    “This is it,” I announced, hopping out of the car.

    Bobby and Gunny did the same, but I noticed Bobby inspecting the library with a puzzled expression.

    “This is it?” he asked with surprise. “It’s kind of…small.”

    Indeed, the New York Public Library of 5010 was considerably smaller in size compared with what had once existed on Second Earth. While absolutely different, the large stone lions on either side of the cement stairs were still in place, serving as a reminder of the past. The building, however, had transformed into something that was undoubtedly unlike its former structure. Gone were the arches and columns that had often been described as having an obvious “ancient Rome” feel. What had since been constructed was a small, modern building.

    I laughed at Bobby’s remark, telling him, “We haven’t used traditional books in about two thousand years. It’s amazing how much room they took up. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed."

    “So there’s no books in there?” he asked, still sounding flabbergasted.

    “Nope,” I said, starting up the stairs. I looked back to him with a smile and assured him, “Actually, that’s not entirely true. We’ve still got books…they’re just all stored in our computers. You’ll see what I mean.”

    As I stepped through the entrance doors of the library, I was once again filled with a sense of…comfort. Despite all the fears and doubts I had about myself and our mission, it was comforting to know that I’d always have this place to come home to. Of course, I had my underground apartment in Chelsea, but there was something special about this place. It was filled with more knowledge than I could ever possibly obtain, and above all…was the one where I truly belonged.
     
  17. Melbo

    Melbo New Member

    informative details here.
     
  18. Orpha Peck

    Orpha Peck New Member

    nice read :)
     

Share This Page