Prompt: Write a story with a time machine
Word Count: 1300 or less
Due Date: Wednesday, March 7 at 9:00 pm ET

This chapter from Never, introduces one  main two main protagonists. I must be honest about two things… First, I completely forgot about the words we were supposed to have in our entries – my work has grown and grown over the past couple of weeks, and it is difficult to put more than half an hour aside, and second, I much prefer writing first person than third. Although the omniscient third for the dragons was fun. (they’ll be back, by the way).

Anyway. Time for the tale…

Soaked

 He needs you.

What?

He needs you now.

I’m busy.

Silly thing thinks it owns me, for gosh sakes. Tonight, I’m afraid, is steak night and I found the loveliest little piece of tenderloin for my Friday dinner, and I have no intention of over-searing my treat just because it decides it’s time again.

The fact that I’m a picky eater doesn’t really matter since I’m alone all the time now. The only person it bothers is… well… me, and what the hell do I care?

I don’t.

Ah, the aroma is wonderful. Tsssstststsss… Just the sound of the small steak makes my tummy rumble, and the smell is like icing on the cake. No scratch that. Icing and steak, that doesn’t really mix, does it? I don’t think so either.

Unless you are pregnant. Which I’m not, and these days the chances of becoming so could be compared to the chance one has to see the dance of Quarks and Leptons on the sub-atomic level with the naked eye. Which means nil. And I don’t mind at all, I remember well what being pregnant was like, and—

Now.

Aw, hell, come on! Another minute and a half, and I can give this steak a proper end digesting comfortably in my very empty stomach. You don’t bother me for weeks and now you decide I have to go somewhen? You heartless twat. Well, tonight, you do not own me.

It is true. Sometimes my home thinks it I belong to it, and that I should do what it wants, when it wants. And honestly, I do try to abide by it. Whether I like it or not we are partners after all but sometimes… sometimes…

Sometimes I just don’t want to. And honestly, who in their right mind would abandon a nice steak?

It’s a big house with lots of creaks and cracks, but it treats me right enough. The front part of the house is set up to carry spices for sale or trade; from Anise to Za’atar (and few from outside the alphabet), I’ve got them all. Or rather, it has them all. The spice deal came packaged with the house. But more on that later, my main concern right now is my very ready steak and glass of Chianti. My mouth waters.

“You can leave me be for a half hour. It’s been a really long day. Did you see that whiny, fat swindler of yours? ‘There is no better Saffron in the realm of Tiberius the Great than mine, my dear Sydnée, and is well worth my price!’

I do a pretty good imitation of the portly trader, with just enough grease in his voice to slide him back out the door, if he was really here.

“He thinks he can fool me with strands that are moldier than he ideas about women.”

Indeed. In my travels with this house over the past year, I have come to appreciate how much things have changed in history, when it comes to being a woman. And how, sometimes, it hasn’t changed at all.

But my home doesn’t care one bit about that, I could be a house cat for all it cares. For all I know, it may well have had before I came along.

A small piece of steak melts in my mouth like the second snow fall of winter— just a bit of tasty crust on the outside and delectable on the inside. So worth the wait. I’m standing in the kitchen (my mom would kill me for doing that, if she wasn’t already dead herself), the early evening rain tapping the window over the sink. My world is very dreary this spring…

My cell phone dingles on the side counter. Ruthie perhaps? We were supposed to meet last weekend, but I was sidetracked by a suspicious hanging plant in the gardens of Babylon. Picking my phone up, my eyes roll.

“You must go now.” The words appear in the message window with the label ‘no caller ID’. It knows how much I love my phone, my teddy bear, my only proof I’m not completely alone. My phone is a much better way to get my attention than telepathy, any day.

“Alright, I’m going.” My words squish through another mouthful of steak. “Will I need a sweater? Not that it ever really answers me.

In the time I have spent here, I still don’t understand why sometimes it insists I leave at a particular moment. Seems to me it wouldn’t matter, I could arrive whenever necessary, just at the right moment there, no matter when I leave here. Apparently it doesn’t quite work that way.

Of course not. That would be too easy, now, wouldn’t it, and we all know that life is not supposed to be easy.

It tried to explain it to me, back at the beginning of our partnership, after that awful… Well, it tried to explain but couldn’t find words for it. It used images instead, like a movie, but that was almost worse, watching the strange back-and-up-and-forth-and-down pictures gave me motion sickness something terrible. I threw up for an hour. The heartless thing was pleased, because it said that was what time was all about.

Very funny, I had stated.

It is only because you are tangible, it had said to me once my stomach had stopped its revolt.

Tangible, touchable… What have I done to my life? It is slipping away from me, every day, and what do I do? Everything I can to avoid life, get away from it. Here I can forget the time I lost and can never have back. Ever. Not even it can get that for me.

Help him. You will Probably help him. You will Probably die.

“So I won’t need a sweater then?”

Before I came to meet It, time was killing me. While I am here, I can ride it.

“Well then, don’t wait up for me… which door do I use this time?”

Do not fear, Sydnée.

I stop cold. It has never done that. The house has suddenly changed for me, a place that is my refuge but has never been particularly welcoming, one way or the other. But now, with that one word, it feels like I am leaving home.

Not once has It ever used my name. The game has changed and it’s time to go. Ridiculously, I wonder if it is raining where I’m going. I don’t like being wet. But I already am. Wet through and through with time.

I am soaked.

 

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