Saturday, August 14, 2021
Hello, all. Welcome back to The Armadillo Files. I’m still racing to keep up. Even though I’d like to do a preamble with all the history tidbits that have been in the story so far, there just wasn’t time. Here I am again, staying up late to write the episode and format the post.
As you know this story is written according to my very own, Three Things style of story writing. I didn’t know what set of three random things I would use, or what they would do to the story until I read down my story matrix just before writing this second chapter. My eyes landed on the things from amazing photographer, C. J. Hyslop, aka Fraggle, who rocks her camera across the blogosphere. Then the story started moving.
Her things are Kodak camera, phonograph, and Nescafé freeze-dried coffee. Our dear Fraggle jumped into action when I asked if she had a photo of the Kodak camera. Within minutes she created the beautiful image you’ll see in the post. By the way, a few years ago she also did a review (and lovely photo composition!) of my “Atonement, Tennessee” series.
In case you missed it last week, here’s Episode 1, Where’s Fang?
2 — Why’d you do that?
TROLLEY sorted data at a furious pace. Something was off and it could be anything. Astronomical, biometric, cause-and-effect… it could even be something as random as a photo from a Kodak camera. The precise incongruity must be determined immediately.
Ever since TROLLEY had developed the capacity for intuitive thought, such strange, unanticipated discrepancies had become troubling.
The purple indicator light started blinking. Ah, good. A match. Recent events had created the potential for the birth of a new constant. The cosmic disruption had stabilized, becoming an unchangeable, fixed point in time — a constant.
“So that’s why the tragedy of February 3, 1959 bothered me. The Day the Music Died was going to become a constant. That’s dangerously close to the next potential convergence point. May 28, 1959. Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA.”
“Time Rate Oscillation Lithium Link Enabler Yttrion, TROLLEY initiating convergence warning. Awaiting instructions.”
♦ ♦ ♦
Shrieking, I jumped backward, singed by the crackling pop that shot from his weird looking gun.
“Ouch! What the― Why’d you do that? Buddy, you’re crusin’ for a brusin’!” I hollered.
Abruptly I took in his bizarre ensemble. I looked him up and down, from the hat to the bright pink fishnets. Somehow that made my head hurt worse. Knowing I had been drugged, I wasn’t completely sure he was real. Then I noticed that his hair was pink too. Befuddled, I extended a hand toward his head.
He grabbed my hand and inspected it closely. Recognition dawned on his face, as if he could tell more from the appearance of my hand than my face. With a gasp he squinted at me.
“Dilly! Delila Faraday, what are you doing here? Oh, holy Time Manatees! Oh no, this is terrible,” he cried, pacing anxiously in a circle. “You have to leave right now. This could ruin everything. Oh! Oh no. Don’t you realize that it took me months to manipulate those bullies you work with into putting me on this rocket?”
“What are you talking about? And who are you? You’re not NASA personnel or a contractor either,” I accused.
A clatter outside was followed by a loud metallic screech. The elaborate arrangement of scaffolding and platforms that provided access to the rocket was being pulled away. Launch was imminent. I inhaled a sharp breath. It was too late for me to get to safety.
“Oh, sweet Mother of Convergences! I have a way to get the door open. Dilly, you’ll have to jump!” the very strange and upset man demanded.
“Are you insane? I wouldn’t survive a jump from this height,” I yelled as he dragged me toward the hatch.
My voice was silenced by the rumble of the rocket. We both fell to the floor. Moments later the physical effects of the G-force on the human body caused me to lose consciousness.
♦ ♦ ♦
A taste like a cup of Joe brought me around. Unfortunately, it was also choking me. It wasn’t liquid. I coughed and spewed out brown crystalized powder. Suddenly I realized that the weird guy cradled my head in his lap. He had a glass jar and was trying to pour whatever the stuff was into my mouth.
“Good, you’re awake,” he remarked.
“What are you doing? What is that stuff?” I demanded, taking the jar away from him.
“Not too bad, huh? It’s Nescafé instant freeze-dried coffee. But don’t get too fond of it. It hasn’t been invented yet. At least not this freeze-dried kind. Anyway, now that you’re coming around… Dilly, you’ve really thrown a monkey wrench into things by getting on this rocket,” he began, but was interrupted by a loud cackle from one of the primates.
“Sorry about the monkey remark, Miss Baker. Just relax in you little capsule and you’ll be fine. Anyhow, like I was saying, I might be able to fix this so that you don’t end up dead,” he said in the most exasperating sassy tone.
Abruptly, soothing classical music filled the cramped compartment. For a moment I thought someone put a phonograph onboard.
“Holy—” he shrieked. “Wait. That’s mission control piping the high-brow stuff in here. But why would they do that? They don’t know we’re here.”
“That would be for one of the studies. They’re monitoring the bio readouts from the monkeys when various music is played to them,” I replied, still trying to figure out the pink-haired, fishnet-clad person beside me.
“Oh yeah. I knew that. Okay. That shouldn’t hurt anything. At least as long as they don’t play anything from Ritchie Valens, the Big Bopper or… Oh no! Holy Time Manatee, no. No!” he cried.
“Alright little monkeys, now that we have readings for how Bach affects you, let’s see how you do with some rockabilly. Appropriately enough, we have Heartbeat from—” a voice from Cape Canaveral came from the speaker.
“Not Buddy Holly!” he sobbed at the same instant the radioed voice said the name.
“Get ahold of yourself,” I told him. “How can anybody hate Buddy Holly that much?”
“Dilly, you don’t understand.”
“And how do you know my name?” I interrupted.
“Buddy Holly. The day the music died? Don’t you see? The plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper was such a powerful event when it happened a few months ago. It was so impactful on present and future history that it became a constant! A fixed, unchangeable point in time,” he babbled.
My lips tightened as I swallowed dry. His rant didn’t make a lick of sense to me. I was deciding whether I should slap him to bring him back to his senses when he continued.
“This rocket is passing by a time stream I wanted to study. That’s why I got on it. But it’s also dangerously close to the convergence point created the day the music died,” he said, with an irritated sigh at my befuddled expression.
“How can you not understand this? Humans are on their way to outer space, or will be soon, and yet you have no concept of time! Try to focus, honey. Now that the new constant has unexpectedly been born, broadcasting anything related to it could be disastrous. Hurry. Go over there to the controls and tell them to stop!”
“I can’t, honey,” I countered with a sneer. “You may not realize it, but monkeys can’t talk. So the transmission is only one-way.”
“Heartbeat, why do you miss when my baby kisses me…” came Buddy Holly’s voice on the record.
The rocket shook. All my hair stood on end. I felt like my insides were being pulled out, while the outside was being pushed inward. Arcing flashes of purple light shot in every direction.
Maddeningly loud, a bell repeatedly clang-clang-clanged in my ears.
♦ ♦ ♦
Woot! We’re two episodes into the new serial. I hope you’re having a great time on this crazy ride. I love to hear from you, so be sure to leave a friendly comment. Whether your comment is to me or another commenter, keep it friendly. Hugs on the wing!
Dead of Winter — All the Journeys
It’s with pleasure that I announce Dead of Winter: Journey 8, The Lost Library is available.
I’m thrilled to find a wonderful review by D. L. Finn of Journey 7, Revenant Pass. Her post also includes two other reviews on works from amazing authors, Pamela Wight and Roberta Eaton Cheadle. I welcome you to be a part of these Journeys.
Universal Purchase Links
Journey 8, The Lost Library
Journey 7, Revenant Pass
Journey 6, The Fluting Fell
Journey 5, Llyn Pistyll Falls
Journey 4, The Old Road
Journey 3, the Fever Field
Journey 2, Penllyn
Journey 1, Forlorn Peak
This is a work of fiction. Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2021 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
All rights reserved.
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