Tuesday Tales: When the Minute and the Hour Hands Got Married [Part 1]

Prompt: Just a few days after getting married, a young newlywed couple becomes obsessed with building a time machine.

“Elodie!”

With curls bouncing, Connor Forks’s young bride dashed into the den, Alfredo-sauced wooden spoon in hand. “What is it?” Her bright eyes shone like glorious Martian moons. “Did you do it?”

Connor propped his goggles over his forehead. “Darling! Come and see!” He rounded the metallic contraption of coils, wires, and vacuum tubes which sat on the oak work table. “Quicksilver! That’s what we required.” The man removed his protective gloves, then loosened his collar. “I’ve applied it to the clockworks engine and the outer hull. The heat reflection was a success. We’re ready for a real test.”

“Mercury!” Elodie ran back into the kitchen. The spoon clattered into the sink, and a clanging sounded as she dropped a lid onto their dinner.

“Don’t forget to turn off the gas, darling!” Connor beamed at their invention as though it were their firstborn child. “God only knows when we’ll return.” He leaned on the table and gave each connection a gentle twist to ensure all bulbs and plugs were seated firmly in their sockets.

Developing the instrument had become Connor and Elodie’s obsession after a conversation they’d enjoyed over parsley poached eggs, toast, and jammies one morning on the H.M.S. Universe, a dirigible that would take them across the ocean to Paris for their honeymoon. Elodie had picked up a new book in the train station as they left Hartford Square—H. G. Wells’ newest literary work, The Time Machine.

After an initial perusal of chapter one, they decided to consume every page together during their trip. Yet, both avid readers, the young couple took turns embezzling the tome away to read ahead while the other was sleeping. They were too enchanted to wait to read it aloud, and nearly every discussion eventually wandered in the direction of building a working time machine.

When Elodie returned from the kitchen, she began to untie her flowered apron behind her back. “That’s pure brilliance. Mercury is a poor conductor of heat but a fair conductor of electricity. We’ll be protected from the radiation.”

“My dulcet bride,” Connor said, coming up behind her to help with the strings, “you are as astute as you are alluring.” He kissed her neck through her curls, causing her to yip with pleasure.

“Wherever did you find mercury?” She folded the apron and threw it across the back of a chair overrun with coffee tins full of nuts, bolts, and gears. “And enough for our purposes?”

“Roger Merritt was only too happy to oblige.”

“The pharmacist?” Elodie joined him at the table and bent forward to inspect the painted quicksilver.

Connor nodded and ran his hands over the machine once again, checking and double checking his work. “Think of it, darling. We can go anywhere we want to…”

“Any-when!”

With a wink, the young man snapped his fingers. “By Jove, any-when indeed!”

[to be continued…]

time-machine

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