There are moments in our lives when something mysterious or baffling defies the most fertile of imaginations, such as mine. If it had not been for my inquisitiveness, that my mother declared was a curse, not attribute, I would not be in such a position to tell of my misfortune. Here, before I tell of my nightmare, I must warn others of the same curse not to tread the path I traveled. Sleepless nights and a mind full of voices from another place haunt me continually, making my life a living hell. With warning penned, I begin my tale, hoping I shall reach the end before the demons that torment me drive me to insanity.
It was in the year of 1851 at our Queen Victoria’s Great Exhibition, at the Crystal Palace. My mother had, at considerable expense, obtained a position for me of second clerk at the Lincoln’s Inn offices of James Battersby & Charles Talbot-Ponsonby Q.C. My work consisted of filing many papers and running letters of intent and summonses to clients or a multitude of files and letters to various London courts, mainly the Central London Court next to Newgate Prison.
I had been employed there for two years, and it was one week past my eighteenth birthday that Mr. James Battersby called me into his office with good news.
“Young George.” He grinned, “I have here, something that is both a birthday treat you will enjoy and an educational lesson I hope you will gain much knowledge from.” He held out a ticket. “The Great Exhibition is a few days old, and Mr. Talbot-Ponsonby and myself are agreed that a day with pay spent at the Crystal Palace will benefit you greatly.” He paused as he handed me the ticket. “While you are there, I want you to deliver a rejection note to one of the exhibitors, a Mr. Jeffrey Lysen. We are unable to accommodate him, but I am sure you will be amenable but firm if he should wish to convince you otherwise.”
Overjoyed, I thanked him and returned to my desk.
Lysen was obviously disappointed, and I suggested we take tea so that he could recuperate. I had taken the liberty of exploring the exhibition for the best part of the day before approaching Mr. Lysen’s stand that displayed a small money counting machine. I had time to afford him conversation.
“I’m sure you will get another lawyer to represent the legalities involved with your machine,” I encouraged.
“Not this machine, George. It’s one I have in my workshop. I need a brave man who’ll sign a legal letter of disclamation before testing the apparatus.”
“Is it dangerous?” I asked. “Can anyone work it?”
“Not so dangerous but an adventure into the unknown.”
Being inquisitive, I asked if I could see it.
“If you agree to test it,” he answered with a gleam in his eye.
“What is it?”
“A time machine, George, for the trip of a lifetime.”
Writers: Rau Stone (Cyprus),Ken Burns (NZ), Joe labrum (USA), Hemali Ajmera (India), Linda Alley (Australia), Rosemary Wakelin (Aus) Gabrielle Burt (NZ), Donna McTavish (NZ), Iliena Bosu (India), Suraya Dewing (NZ)