Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Time Train - Chapter 2

Because so many people requested it, here is the second chapter of "Time Train."

It took Rhubarb approximately ten days to coax several of his neighbors to help move the time traversing locomotive out of his parlor and onto the street. Out of the ten days, nine of those were spent cajoling and coaxing his neighbors into helping him, as Rhubarb was both a very persuasive and influential man. It required another month to again plead with and bargain with his neighbors to help him move the locomotive to the nearest railroad track and station. Throughout the ordeal, Florentine stood steadfastly behind her husband, and out of the way of her neighbors’ flying garbage. But with his locomotive now on track, the always plucky Rhubarb T. Porterhut III was ready to proceed.

He had decided on exploring the near future. That way, should he find himself unable to return back to his own era, he would not have lost a considerable amount of time.

With his wife, Florentine, at home generally engaged in her own pursuits, Rhubarb mounted the locomotive with his faithfully reluctant dog, Columbus, strapped to his back.

“It is now, at this precise moment, 8:35AM, November fifth, 1897. As God as my witness and guide, let this first journey be an auspicious one. Let us head forth with little trepidation as we venture into realms unknown. Let us be safe and find our return as securely as we travel forward.”

There were no bystanders, with the exception of the stationmaster who swept the platform, and Columbus barked throughout the speech, which Rhubarb accepted as overwhelming approval of his invocation.

Rhubarb began shoveling coal into the firebox to stoke the fire. He then turned the time knob, a simple knob situated over a circle bisected into “PAST” and “FUTURE” halves, slightly to the “FUTURE” half. Then, as the machine slowly roared to life, it stirred up an immense cloud of dust which engulfed the whole locomotive.

He laughed loudly as the locomotive churned in place. As the cloud spread and dissipated, the triumphant Rhubarb exclaimed, “Traveling through time, I am here!”

It took a few more seconds for the air to clear, after which Rhubarb felt it was finally safe to step down. He examined the murky sky, and tasted the burnt air. Everything seemed different. Even the train station in front of him seemed somehow more filthy and worn, covered with the thin film of aging. Rhubarb stepped onto the platform and lunged at the stationmaster.

“Tell me, sir, what time is it?”

“Why 8:43 in the AM,” replied the stationmaster.

Ever more frantic and concerned, Rhubarb grabbed the stationmaster and shook him.

“But what day is it? What year?”

Columbus yelped his concerns as well, as he hoped that they were not too far off course.

“Why, the fifth of November, 1897.”

Rhubarb’s face went from anxiety, to confusion, then finally to elation.

“It works! It works! Hallelujah, Columbus, it worked!”

A large clump of fur fell off from Columbus, a clump of relief. They had indeed made it. They had traveled several minutes into the future. With victory in his heart, Rhubarb leapt from the platform, Columbus in tow, as he raced home to see how his wife fared in this new world.

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