Also, I had feedback that there were not enough female characters (none) and even some male readers said a little bit of romance actually helps (I always found meaningless romance in stories that don't advance the plot to be quite distasteful) so I decided to take their advice. Oh, and the violence has been amped up (I'll still keep with the no blood, no dismemberment, and absolutely no obscenity rule. I hope.) because everyone loves a little bit of action.
Luke Newton felt the cold hard chair pressing against his back. Although he thought of himself as quite dim-witted, he was pretty sure that chairs weren't supposed to do that. On their own anyway. Then a flood of memories gushed into his head, like a giant dam that suddenly collapsed, and now that the water is free to wreck havoc, it started damaging the surrounding hillside. Or Luke could also say that it hurt.
Snippets of thoughts wafted in and out of his focus. Time machine, Scribbins, mahogany furniture, big burly men with semi-automatic rifles and rainbow coloured Afros, an interrogation, Gyro, sweet Miss Muffet, "Goodbye", fireworks. He had hardly any idea how they could all be strung into one coherent line of thought, but he did remember something, which was a great start.
"I see Mr Newton has come back." said a lucrative sounding voice of a man. He could have done voice overs for movie trailers, only he probably decided to do something quite different instead. Like shooting people.
"Wh-Who'reya'ndwh'd'yawant?" Luke groaned. Luke opened his eyes to look around. He was in a small gray room. He was tied down on a chair in front of a desk, which explained the willful chair. On it was a couple of blank pieces of paper, couple of not-very blank pieces of paper with messy hand writing on, a black and red HB pencil, and a mug that said 'Best
The same smooth voice intoned, "I am quite sure you know what we want." There was an expectant, awkward silence afterwards of which Luke did not bother to fill. The voice coughed. He waited some more.
After about twenty seconds, the man on the speaker decided he can take it no longer. "The time machine, Mr Newton. We want it, and we want it now."
Luke brightened up a little. "Oh that!" He smiled weakly for a few seconds, creating another period of awkward silence.
Before the silence could take over again, the man behind the speaker decided he'd fill it himself.
"Yes. Where is it, and if you do this swiftly, we would not involve pain in this."
Luke started chewing his lips. "Well... I don't have it."
This time, it was the man who manufactured the silence, and only white noise from the speakers could be heard.
Luke went on. "Well see here, after the four of us came back from that wonderfully frivolous field trip, I accidently tripped on a mug, pushed Gyro over, who knocked down a vase, and.."
"You cannot be joking." The man intoned very slowly.
"Na, ah." Luke said happily.
Again, silence dominated the room, and stayed so for half a minute. Luke started humming the Harry Potter theme.
At last, the man said, "We will involve pain in this."
"Ahh! Help! I don't deserve this!"
Luke groaned, "Ahh! Help! I don't deserve this!"
The lady in the television continued screaming this at a poor man who was getting a variety of miscellaneous household items thrown at him.
"This is terrible!" Luke continued, as Grey's Anatomy continued playing on the TV which was recently set up in the room. Luke tried to turn away, but tipped the chair instead, and was left in the most uncomfortable position of being tied to a chair on its side.
"Ssh!" the speaker toned. "This is a good part. Lorrita admits that she..."
The show stopped playing, and instead showed Luke's house surrounded by many helicopters armed with menacing looking rocket launchers. The view was panning around the house, so it as probably taken from a helicopter as well. Luke slid on the floor so he was facing the television lying down.
"Ooh! Home, sweet home." Luke toned nonchalantly.
The faceless man snickered. "You wouldn't think so soon. See that? In the house?"
Luke squinted, then started back. "Oi! Gyro! Get out of the computer. When you mess up the government, it's me that gets arrested!"
The man continued to laugh. "Don't worry. Him and your house would be splintered very shortly..."
"I never consented to that!" Luke yelled.
"Unless..." Here, he paused for dramatic effect. It ended up being a silence that started conquering the atmosphere. He coughed.
"Unless you can hand over the machine."
Luke frowned. "You think they accept damage from firearms for insurance?"
The man behind the speaker breathed through his nose. "Very well. Fire away boys."
The multitude of helicopters fired their armed weapons at the little house, and the whole area exploded into a shower of lights. When the smoke cleared away, only some fake Indian carpet 'Made in China' and a grand piano was left.
The speaker blared out a maniacal laughter. "There you go!" the voice bawled. "And mind you, we'll find other things to destroy, like your wife."
Luke growled. "I think you've done enough. It took me three years to collect the whole Mario Bros. series. Anyway, I don't have a wife. Everyone hates me."
"No worries," said the man lightly. "We'll arrange a marriage just for the occasion."
Just then, a few of the hovering helicopters on screen collapsed, and started plummeting to the ground.
"What the... Air base! What the frickin' heck is happening out there."
Luke watched on and saw a gray blur hurtling towards the camera.
After the voice was done grumbling at some people, he said to Luke, "Well, it looks like Gyro was a bit hardier than we initial perceived."
"Ha. I don't need you to tell me. He's been on my back for as long as I can remember."
"Yes. We will punish you for the damage."
The speaker turned off, and the television played Coronation Street.
"Oh Jamie, I had to tell father about it."
"What!? No you couldn't've! I told you to keep it away from him at all cost!"
"Yes, but he was clever, and he tricked me... You do still love me?"
"Of course not. How could you? You not only betrayed me, but you've betrayed yourself."
"Oh no! I've shot her! I shot my only love Miranda! Oh, oh. How painful this is!"
The second bang was much louder, and was not accompanied with tasteless music. Jamie probably shot himself, which would explain the lack of dialogue.
Luke tried to move around, tied in his chair which was tipped awkwardly. At least the crime scene would be interesting.
As he turned towards the telly, he saw a leather boot, firmly standing on the ground.
The television too, was firmly on the ground in three detachable but barely attachable pieces, and there was a great big hole in the wall where it used to be.
Luke blinked again.
Yes, the hole was still there, and Luke wondered if that was actually a good thing. He decided that whatever terrible monstrosity that ble that hole must have left, so he tried to escape. Unfortunately, he was still tied to the chair.
"Aren't you going to ask for help?" a voice called out from no where. Luke tried to turn his head to where he though the voice came from, but, quite unfortunately, couldn't.
He felt the restraint around his shoulder, wrists, and legs loosen all at once, got up to stretch for a bit, yawned, and then turned around to see who had just released him.
A lady dressed in what could only be desribed as a "wha'd'ya'call that?" was flicking a knife in her carefully tended hands. Of course, if Luke did try to describe it, he would have called it something of a smart robe that doesn't get in your way. Her straight hair was done up neatly in a pony tail that reached down her back. Her face did not look like it had any make up on, but did not compromise its attractiveness. However, you always felt you were inferior to her, because she didn't look like she ever smiled, and had a semi-permanent disapporving look on her face.
She walked up to Luke. "Well, aren't you going to do something?" She was almost as tall as him, and Luke never liked woman like that because they never liked him. People always looked down at him, and if females started doing that, then he'd have no one to look down at except Gyro, who managed to stare back up with the sort of impertinence you could never manage with eyes.
After some silence, of which seemed to dominate his whole experience, Luke decided he was going to do something. He grabbed her knife and threw it at the speaker. The knife bounced back on to the floor. The speaker crackled a little bit, and it blared out, "Threat detected. Dispatch exterminators immediately." An alarm ent off near by.
The lady looked disapprovingly. Luke sheepishly retrieved the knife and handed it back to her.
"I think we should get going." she said, as if it was pretty obvious. Actually, it was.
Luke slowly made his way towards the hole in the wall.
"Where are you going?" the lady asked.
"Outside." Luke answered.
She grabbed him by his shoulders. "Not that way dummy! That's exactly where they would expect you to come out from."
Luke looked around the room. "Well? Where else are we getting out from?" Luke could see no passage, not even a small air vent that he could break. There wasn't even a door. Even worse, he could hear heavy footsteps from the hole.
However, the lady was already pointing a small gun with an unusually thick barrel at another wall. It was making an ominous whirring noise, and it was vibrating in her hands.
"I think you should cower behind that desk!" she called as the noise grew louder.
But too late. After a flash, bang, and some sort of crumbling, there was another hole in the room. Luke got hit in the head by a 'Best
"This way!" she yelled, as she hopped outside of the room.
Luke shrugged, and followed her.
The two walked through a long and dank corridor that branched off multiple times. Occasionally, the ceiling had a few speakers hanging down. While she glided through the air gracefully, Luke was basically bouncing on the ground, huffing all the way.
"Uh..." Luke said, as his head lolled around while his legs had an argument with his heart and lungs. "Miss... Do you... actually... know where we're going?"
She replied just as swiftly as her legs. "No." She thought again, and said. "Don't call me 'Miss'. I'm not much older than you."
Luke looked up and down her, and decided she was not older than him at all. But he kept quiet for fear of disagreeing with her.
The familiar voice called out, "You can't escape. You will be punished."
The lady spat at the closest speaker. Luke winced. He felt woman shouldn't do anything as vulgar. He certainly didn't.
Just then, three very large men came out from one of the path from the side. Luke had to admit, they were one of the most frightening things he had ever seen, although he was always too skirmish to watch anything over R13. They were probably made to look frightening on purpose, what with the variety of armament they had on them, the very needlessly large mini-gun they carried, and their cold black shades.
While Luke imagined the worst of them, the lady threw some black powder at them. The men slumped on the floor.
"Argh! You killed them!" Luke was a pacifist. Actually, he was just a wimp, and he wished everyone else was a pacifist.
"No I didn't." she said calmly, and Luke decided that was enough, because now they were writhing on the floor in pain.
They ran further and further, while the voice chased after them, saying "That's a bad place to run to!".
Finally, the two came to a dead end. The happy voice said, "I told you so!" and the sound of approaching footsteps could be heard. The man started laughing wildly.
"Stay close." she said, and Luke was not a stupid man. She pointed her wall-breaking gun, at the floor and pulled the trigger.
Luke felt a moment of weightlessness, and that wild ecstasy that results when you think you're going to die, and your subconscious is unwilling to make your last moment a miserable one. Then he was taken out of his dreamland and realised he was going to die. Then came that thudding feeling like your thighs are going to pop out of your pelvis, after a thrilling escalator ride downwards.
After a while, he saw that he has descended about ten metres from where he was just a fraction of a second ago. The girl beside him was inhaling deeply.
"I'm alive!" Luke exclaimed in joyous jubilation.
"Ssh! Dummy!" she whispered. Sure enough, three small heads came round to peep in at the deep hole. Then they pulled out their portable mini-gun.
"Were stuck!" Luke panicked.
Then the ground beneath them failed, and they fell another two metres onto the concrete floor below.
As the hail of bullet rained on them, they scrambled to get out of the way.
Luke looked around. It was a very large room they were in, if it was a room. It was so large in fact, that he would have doubted there were any walls, had there was no ceiling. All the feature that were visible were some pipes that ran along the ceiling, occasionally some pillars that kept the gargantuan ceiling up, and a hole in the ceiling that continuously dropped bullets.
"I think we can walk slowly for now." the lady said calmly. It's going to take a while untill they manage to come down here, Luke."
He frowned. "How the heck do you know my name? I don't know yours."
She smiled gently. "We'll have to keep moving. We'll talk on the way."
She took out a compass without needles, determined a direction, and started walking that way. Luke followed slowly.
"So, who are you?" Luke asked.
"My name is Emily Byron," she replied. "I was sent to protect you."
Luke laughed. "You've done a great job so far. Why now?"
She smiled again. Luke noted that it was a nice thing to see, and it wasn't because she looked so pretty, but because it meant she didn't disapprove of you. "You have something that we want."
"I don't have it!" Luke protested. " I accidentally tripped on a mug, pushed Gyro over, who knocked down a vase, and..."
"Yes, yes. I heard that. But you are the one of only three people who actually know how the time machine worked."
"What about Archie? Or Trevor? They'd do well." A pipe fell on Luke's head and spilled its content on him.
"Yes, but Archie is too young to involve in our work, and Trevor, as you know, is very dead. He died quite long ago."
They walked in silence for a few minutes. Then Luke laughed hollowly.
"Death is no obstacle for Trevor." he said. "In fact, if I'm any judge..."
"I haven't seen you in a long time." said a voice behind a nearby pillar. The two turned towards it, and Emily pointed a much more menacing gun at it. Luke motioned for her to put it down. She didn't.
Luke said, "What took you so long?"
Trevor walked out from behind the pillar. And he was very much alive.