For your reading pleasure, we offer a short story by Katrina Patton We hope you enjoy . . .
Travels Into Time
“Hi everyone! I am Adnap Nottap, the newest and coolest reporter in town. This here is Freddie, my camera man.” Freddie turned the camera on himself. A huge face appeared on the monitor. “Thanks to my new invention, I can now go back in time. With my video camera, you should be able to see everything I do. This is my first time testing out my invention. So hopefully everything will go as planned.” Adnap stood next to a machine in her living room speaking into a microphone. Her assistant Freddie held a camera taping her speech.
“Oh, here it goes.” She flipped a switch on the machine. Adnap and Freddie sat down in the machine. They buckled their seat belts as her bedroom dissolved around her. “Uh oh. I forgot to set a date.” Freddie groaned. The machine spun wildly. Suddenly it dropped to the ground. Adnap looked around her.
“I wonder where we are.” They got out of the time machine and attempted to find what year they were in. “Excuse me, sir,” she said. “Do you know what year is?”
The man gave her an odd look, and then answered her question. “Yes. It is 2000 B.C.”
“Really? Thank You.” She turned to the camera and began her report. “As you can all see, my time machine has worked. We are in a town in the year 2000 B.C.”
“Uh, Adnap, I think we are in Greece.”
“Why do you think that Freddie?”
“Well, that sign over there says, Welcome to Greece.”
“Oh, this is great! Lets go find the city!” Adnap said as Freddie obediently followed behind. As they entered Grecian city, they were met by celebrations and laughter. “This must be a party of some sort. Perhaps it is a holiday they celebrate.” They continued down the crowded street, getting weird looks from everyone. Adnap stopped at a vendor’s stand. The vendor was selling decorations with the date printed on them.
“Excuse me kind sir, but what are these decorations for?” she asked.
“Aye, these decorations be for the 2000th anniversary of the human race. How come be not knowing that lady?”
“Oh, I am visiting some of my family here. Thank you for informing us about the celebration. As you can see,” Adnap said, turning away from the vendor, “this celebration is very important to these Grecian people. Lets ask this kind lady over here what the whole festivities celebrate.” They walked over to a woman that looked like some sort of fortuneteller. “Good day miss. I was wondering if you could explain the celebration of the human race to us.”
“There are many stories about how our existence began. But the gods, they are the ones responsible.” She fell to her knees and drew a symbol of an owl.
“Is that the symbol for one of the gods?” Adnap asked, beckoning Freddie to get a close-up.
“Yes, this is the symbol of our great Lady Athena. The goddess of wisdom.” She drew another symbol on the ground, this time of a lightning bolt. “This is one of the most sacred symbols. It is of the greatest god, Zeus.” She began to dance around the symbols.
“Right, maybe we should ask someone else about this.” She began pushing Freddie in the opposite direction as the lady began to chant. “Now that we are away from her, lets try asking someone who may be a bit more sane. Ah, this child looks bright.” She walked toward a small child. “Can you explain the celebration that is going on right now?”
“Yes. There are three stories of how our world was formed. The world was formed by the gods.” He got on his knees and began to draw the symbols in the dirt.
“It is ok, you don’t have to do that.” Adnap said, trying to avoid another situation like before.
“The first story is about Prometheus and Epimetheus. They were titans, and sons of Father Heaven. Prometheus was in charge of the humans; Epimetheus was in charge of the animals. Epimetheus gave all the best things to the animals. Things like feathers and shells to protect themselves. Prometheus got mad and gave us fire. That is only one story though. The second one had Zeus. He created a girl to punish Prometheus for giving them fire. He named her Pandora. Pandora was very pretty but a bit dim. She had curiosity. She received a box full of bad things and was told not to open it. When she did, because she was curious, all of the evil things were released. That is why so many people get sick today. The last story is after the humans were destroyed. Zeus had seen how bad everyone was and he sent a flood to kill them. Two people stayed alive though. Zeus felt sorry for them and he showed them how to make other people. That is how the stone race was formed. Is that all you wanted to know lady because I am getting really hungry?”
“Yes. That is all I wanted to know. Thank you.” The little child ran off. “That is something very interesting. However, they speak of these gods as though they were real. There was something interesting in his story though. Lets see who this Father Heaven man is.” They walked down a small alleyway.
“Uh, Adnap, are you sure that this is such a good idea?” Freddie asked.
“Oh of course it is.” She told him going into the darkened alley. Freddie sighed and shook his head sadly. How did he get himself into these things?
They came to the opening of the alley and found themselves in a huge church like area. “Oh, it looks like there are weddings going on here.” Adnap said happily. “Hello fine ladies and gentlemen. May I ask who is getting married?” There were two couples standing at the front of a big crowd.
“Those two on that side are Cupid and Psyche. The others are Hades and Persephone. You won’t be seeing much of them. Hades gets to have her for half the year, while her mother gets her the other half.”
“How was that arranged?” Adnap asked, handing the microphone to the woman. She smelled the microphone oddly and then spoke into it.
“Hades came out of the underworld one day and he saw Persephone sitting on a hill. He fell in love with her because of her beauty. Then he took her back to the underworld. She learned to love him. Demeter, Persephone’s mom, was not too happy though. The only way she would allow Persephone to marry Hades was if she agreed to stay out of the underworld for half of the year. It really is a rather romantic story.”
“Yes it is. What about the other two? Do they have a story behind their relationship too?” Adnap asked.
“Yes. It seems more romantic than the other. You see Cupid’s mother gave him orders to shoot Psyche with an arrow and make her love some horrible creature. Aphrodite was extremely jealous of her because everyone loved Psyche and thought that she was more beautiful then even the goddess of beauty. Cupid saw Psyche and fell in love with her so naturally he could not make her fall in love with something horrible. Psyche had to undergo many horrible tasks to prove her love for Cupid. In the end, she proved that true love prevails. They are such a cute couple.”
“Yes indeed, they are. We had better be moving along. There are so many things to see. Come along Freddie.” They walked down another dirt road where they heard groans coming from behind some trees ahead.
“Adnap, I have a bad feeling about this. Maybe we should go investigate some more of those weddings.” Freddie said hopefully.
“Don’t be scared Freddie. I am sure that nothing is wrong.”
“But,” he took one look at Adnap’s determined face and sighed. “Ok, you’re the boss.”
“This is incredible. If I am not mistaken, this is Hercules, doing one of his twelve tasks for the King of Mycenae. Excuse me Hercules, may we have an interview.”
“Adnap, I think he is kind of busy now. He is wrestling a lion.” Freddie said cautiously.
“He can’t take two minutes out to give us an interview?” She asked innocently. Freddie groaned and continued taping.
“Hercules, Mr. Hercules sir. May I have an interview?”
“What are you talking about? I am busy. Come back later!” The lion almost bit his head of as he talked to Adnap.
“Please it will only take a few seconds.” She said holding the microphone up.
“Look, I am busy. Can you or can you not see that I am trying to kill this lion?” He said, his temper rising. The lion swiped at them grabbing the collar of Freddie’s shirt with his claw.
“Uh, Adnap” he said, “HELP!” Hercules grabbed Freddie from the lion’s claw just as he was reaching its jaws. He threw him on the ground angrily.
“Will you two leave me alone?” Hercules yelled.
“I can take a hint. I guess I am not wanted here. Come along Freddie. We have more important people to interview.” Adnap said turning her back to the fight.
“Adnap, maybe this isn’t the best era to go into. Lets go somewhere else.” Freddie told her, still visibly shaken from his near death experience.
“Don’t be silly. This is a great era. Besides, we haven’t gotten nearly enough material for our documentary.” Adnap told him. He groaned and followed behind her.
They went back past the weddings and through the alley to the market place. There were hardly any people in it anymore and Adnap could hear faint music coming from somewhere near them.
“What do you suppose that is?” She asked Freddie.
“I don’t think I want to know.” He told her truthfully.
“Come on. It sounds interesting!” She said pulling him along.
“Oh great.” He shook his head sadly.
As they got closer to the music, they could hear someone’s voice ringing through the crowd. The music began sounding more and more depressing as they got closer yet the crowd had the enthusiasm that would appear in a celebration.
“Welcome one and all to the free performance of the Underworld Circus!” A booming voice said. “You can buy your tickets from Charon here, one Obolus for children seven and under, and two Obolus for adults. See here,” the announcer said pointing to a poster of what looked like three hags. “These are the Three Fates. They are dying to give you their prediction for your future.” He laughed evilly. Freddie sighed deeply behind Adnap. “This is the fearful three headed dog Cerberus. He is the guard to the gates of the underworld. If you do not buy your tickets now, you might miss your chance to see Polyphemus, the cannibalistic Cyclops. Perhaps some of you men out there like tall women. We have just the thing for you. The allusive Amazons are here in our circus. The monstrous Minotaur of Dedalus’s maze will terrify you out of your wits. Come now or lose your chance.” The announcer said. “Here live we have the man of the hour, the one who supported these monsters when they were sad, straight from his wedding, it’s Hades!” the crowd clapped and cheered as Hades bounded out with Persephone close behind him.
“We have a magical show for you today. We can only show you one act though. If you want to see more, you must buy your tickets now. Our first and only free act is the fates.” The three ugly hags they had seen on the poster clambered out. The crowed gasped and started moving away from the stage.
“Get a close-up on them Freddie!” Adnap said excitedly. “As you can see this circus is big news in Greece. There are some very famous sideshows performing here. These three hags that you see before you, those are the famous Three Fates!”
“Uh, Adnap, I don’t think you should call them hags.” Freddie said nervously behind the camera.
“You two, out there in the crowd. Come here.” One of the Fates said angrily. Catarina and Freddie approached the stage. “How dare you say that we are hags? We look beautiful right sisters?” the same Fate said. Freddie gave the camera to Adnap. He got up on the stage.
“Most beautiful Fates, my name is Freddie. I am sorry that my companion offended you. You three are the most gorgeous undead people that I have ever seen.” Adnap zoomed in on the Three Fates faces. “I just came up here too say that you are too kind to do anything to us.”
“Freddie? Well Freddie, we have your life thread here. Would you like to see what happens when someone gets on our bad side?” Freddie shook his head. “What do you think sisters?” they nodded their heads eagerly.
“That won’t be needed my fine ladies.” Adnap said, coming on the stage. “I am the one who said that terrible thing about you. You did not understand what I meant by hags though. I meant it in a very good way. Where I am from, hags are treasured. They are given the best jewels and presents. I meant it with the greatest amount of respect. Your beauty shocked me.” She said bowing.
“That is more like it. So where are our jewels?” one of them inquired.
“Well, they are,” she looked at Freddie.
“Uh, right here.” He said taking out three candy necklaces that he had bought before they left.
“Oooh! Those look lovely!”
“We have to be going now. Thanks for being so great and hospitable. Goodbye!” They said, getting off the stage quickly and rushing through the crowd.
“Now can we go home Adnap!” Freddie asked taking the camera back as they ran.
“Yes, I think we have had enough adventure for today.” They found the time machine and started it.
“Don’t forget to put a date!” Freddie told her.
The field around them disappeared as the time machine headed back to the correct year. When they landed in Adnap’s bedroom Freddie collapsed in a chair and turned off the camera.
“So, where do you want to go next Freddie?” Adnap asked.
“Nowhere! I was almost killed twice today, I think that is enough. At least you came through in the end. You saved my life there with the whole jewel thing.”
“Yes, well, it was nothing.” Adnap said.
“Yes, it was nothing.” He let his head fall back. “Lets just copy this tape and save it. I don’t want to go through that again.”
“Ok Freddie, come on! Lets get ready for the next documentary! This will be fantastic. Tape the ending of this one though.” He turned on the camera again.
“As you can see, time travel is not always easy. We had lots of fun today but you should not try any of this at home. See you all next time!” Catarina waved and then took the camera so Freddie could wave goodbye. “That’s a wrap!”
“Thank goodness. Lets rest now Adnap.”
“Ok, come on.” They left the room to watch their tape. They were ready, well, almost, for their next adventure.