"A Jules and Wells Story."
By John Pirillo
"Their destiny is so entwined with that of the threads of time, that were you to unravel one thread, all threads would come undone." A Quote from Einstein.
When he awoke that morning, he neither recognized the bed he lay upon, nor the ornate wooden walls that enclosed the bedroom he slept in. He was stunned. But when he heard a noise beside him, a kind of soft nickering, he turned his head and found himself laying next to another man, whose face had a gentle composure to it. He almost screamed, but then held it back, muffling it as certainly as if his fingers could physically clutch its throat and cut off its air.
Where am I? Was his next thought. He gently untangled himself from the bedcovers and slipped to the floor, his feet touching a rich, plush carpet with thick piles of what felt like silk. He looked down and saw a pair of slippers, but they were ornate like the room and overly bright and gaudy. That alone was enough to send the alarm bells ringing, as if the sleeping man on the bed were not enough. He surveyed the room more closely and saw a tall coat rack like device that held clothes of gold and gold on two hooks. Clothing. But whose? Then he realized his arms were softly draped with a similar color as the cloth on the right of the hanging one.
He stood up and went to it, took it off and examined it. It had a hole in the middle and two arm slits. It was obviously meant to be worn like a dress of sorts. He slipped it on, doing his best not to disturb the sleeping man. He didn't want to make the situation direr than it already felt. He held no malice towards the sleeping one. He didn't know who they were, why they were there, or what they expected of him, though examining the bed sheets in the barely lit room, he could tell what might have been expected from him the night before. Except, that it couldn't have been him. He had no aversion to the male species, he just wasn't...well, male. Or female.
He looked around and saw a door of the most unusual sort. It was almost round with a well padded doorknob. He went to it and turned it quietly. He let himself out into a long corridor, where he could see endless doors stretching off into what appeared to be infinity.
Where in the hell am I? He thought.
Then a strange feeling welled within his body, as if every cell were waking up and about to explode. Ahead of him in the corridor something came. Something large. Something dark. He couldn't tell what it was. He only knew he couldn't stay there another second or he might never leave. He turned to run and as he ran, he felt the breath of something enormous blowing on the back of his body, and a heavy sound like labored breathing, then his feet vanished from beneath him and he seemed to stretch into a band of twisting ribbons of light. Before he knew what had happened, or why he did what happened next, he reached out and grabbed a string and was flung from that corridor of menace into a twisting, weaving inferno of dancing lights.
Stringers are neither devils or angels, but souls whose very essence is made up of the threads of time, such that they can easily dispose themselves from one timeline to another, with but a whisper of a trace of their existence or movement. Those were the thoughts that ran through his mind as he and Wells worked on their latest invention. A kind of radar for detecting movement through time, as well as space. True, they had one before, but it was too general. If they were to protect the fabric of time and space, they must be able to respond within nanoseconds of any disruption.
So the device that he and Wells constructed was enabled such as to pull either or both of them into a Stringer's current, so that they could mark the direction of the traveler, yet be unknown, unseen by them.
"Drats!" Cursed Wells when he accidentally burned his right thumb with the small welding unit he had built the day before. It was a micro welder, and capable of welding particles, even atoms together if necessary, but it also hurt like hell when it went off its course and touched a piece of human anatomy.
Wells could testify to that at this moment and Jules yesterday, when he made a neat little lancet of his own flesh by accidentally getting the beam off-center and drilling into his own palm. It still stuck the dickens every time he had to wash his hands, which was frequently, as he was a very neat and clean man, and the missus expected no less.
He smiled at the thought of his young bride. Even though they had grown children now, their travels through time had hardened their flesh to aging and none of them looked older than their original twenties when they began their time traveling campaigns to save the earth, and alternate earths their work had affected.
"See here, Jules."
Jules turned to look at the spike of golden energies that were spotting the screen that he had constructed for their monitor. "It looks human shaped."
Wells jumped up, grabbed Jules and the two of them danced about their warehouse, causing their wives, who had come over to bring lunches for them to think both had suddenly gone mad.
They stopped, grinned at their loved ones, and then settled back to their work.
"I think we need to test it further." Jules suggested.
The wives both exchanged knowing looks, and began to repack the lunches they had made.
Jules ran over to his loved one, took her close to him and whispered in her ear. "Tonight I shall propose a toast to your fine flesh that will tempt the gods."
She giggled, and allowed him to dimple her cheek with a wet kiss, then she and her friend, Well's wife, took exit from the warehouse, shutting the huge door that locked off their ventures from the outside world, then locking it, knowing full well that both men were likely not to be in the warehouse for long.
And they weren't.
They rushed to the Master of the World, whose boarding ramp was already down, raced into its passenger compartment, after in drawing the ramp, and then settled into the cockpit of the massive vessel. Powered by String Energy, the Master of the World, traveled not only through time, but space as well. It resembled a great golden, ornate jewel, so brightly polished and golden was its shape.
"Strings interacting." Wells announced, pleased at the swift response of the ship's engines. They had just serviced them. The battle against the Mummy things had caused a great strain on the engines, which were not supposed to be so close to the earth all the time. They had been fine tuned for space.
"Merci." Jules said. "Weapons?"
Wells checked their power ranges. "Fully charged and ready."
He quickly looked at Jules. "You don't think we're going into battle, do you?"
"Of course not. Do we ever think such, mon ami?"
Wells shrugged, knowing full well, there were few times they hadn't been in a battle when they flew the Master of the World. It seemed to be their fate to always be in the midst of a worldwide calamity, or battle.
"Launch!" Wells told his friend.
"Launching!" Jules said, the tension of doing so knotting the muscles in his neck and back.
They both silently prayed, for their new engines were supposed to be able to tell the difference between a roof and time space, and had been attuned to cross through solid objects by sliding slightly out of normal time and space.
The Master of the World rose like a mighty dragon into battle.
He erupted. More probably exploded through the maze of bursts of light and spectacular colors and found himself standing on a lonely landscape. Everywhere he looked in that cold domain there were collapsed structures, what must have been fallen buildings of some long lost civilization. He then realized his feet were naked, as was he. The clothing he had worn, the slippers, all gone. How? Why?
He shuddered. As much from fear as the cold that was seeping through his extremities into his limbs from the frosted ground beneath his feet. He looked down and saw something bright. He stooped to a knee and felt for it like a blind man might, not wanting to believe what he had found. He lifted it gently, as if it were the most precious thing in the universe, then a tear began to form. He had begun to recognize where he was. His heart pounded with the pain of it, flitting images of women and men whom he had loved, trusted and shared smashed through his mind, shattering on the reefs of cold, unyielding certainty. They were all gone. Forever.
"You know why." Jules voice spoke from behind him.
He turned around.
Jules and Wells stood there, a look of compassion written on their faces. They could feel his despair, for they had known it as well, but perhaps not as frequently as this man or being that stood before them.
"Who are you?"
"Where am I?"
"You already know that answer." Wells told him, feeling a kind of reluctance to speak, but knowing he must to help the man retain his sanity.
"You know that as well." Jules reminded him.
The man looked down at his feet, as if the solution to his questions lay there, then up again. "Can you help me?"
"No." Jules answered sadly.
"Then why are you here?"
"To point you in the right direction."
"Are you angels?"
Wells and Jules gave each other solemn looks bordering on mirth, and then looked back at the man. "If that will help you to understand. Yes."
"Then I will go with you."
"No. You won't." Jules told the man, who was looking more and more distressed as they spoke.
"You have nowhere to go." Wells told him.
The man sat down hard on a broken slab with an attached piece of metal to it. He glanced at the metal. It had San Francisco written on it. What did that mean?
"Do you know why I am here?"
"To escape the past and preserve the future." Wells told him.
"But there is no future here." The man said.
Jules and Wells sat down next to him.
Jules brought out some bread and offered it. The man took it and ate hungrily.
"No. There is no future here, nor anywhere for what you were. But there is a future for what you've become."
The man stopped eating and looked at them long and hard. "What have I become?"
"It sounds strange."
"It is. To us. But not to you."
The man suddenly nodded. He knew what they talked about. "I reached out and pulled myself from where I was with twists of color that stretched into infinity." He looked at Jules. "That is what a Stringer is then?"
"Yes. You can manipulate time and space."
"But why would I want to do that?"
"To save your sanity."
The man rose. "I am not hungry anymore."
Jules and Wells rose as well.
"You two don't belong here either, do you?"
"No. This world can no longer be helped. Its people made bad choices, and now they are gone." Jules responded.
Wells nodded. "It is one of many such chances for worlds."
"Chances?" The man asked, a bit amused at the way Wells said it.
"Yes. In the infinite tapestry of what the Creator has made, he has created many chances for us to learn what we must."
"You could say that our lives are our lessons and the world we live upon, the stage for those lessons to play out."
"You sound like gods."
"We do not feel like one." Jules said with the hint of a smile.
The man reached a hand out. "I think I understand now."
Jules took it and shook. "We thought you might."
"I'm not the first?"
"Then there are others?"
Wells smiled brightly for the first time. "Everywhere."
"How will I find them?"
"Just reach out." Jules said. "Just reach out."
Then he and Wells turned around and headed for what appeared to be a road of destruction, but as they continued a gigantic golden vessel began to become visible, emerging from the shadows like an invisible being thrusting into the light.
The man pondered the mystery of the two men a moment, then he felt something stir in the air near him. He felt a kind of radiance. He turned towards it and reached out. Something reached back towards him and he took hold of it and allowed himself to be thrust once more into bursts of twisting light that strung through infinity like endless coils of dancing laughter.
Wells closed the ramp door, and then he and Jules slid into their pilot and co-pilot positions in the cockpit. "You think we'll meet him again?"
Jules shrugged. "We did what we came to do. What will be, will be."
Wells sighed. "It must be lonely for them."
"I think not." Jules said with a smile. "For they have infinity to roam and forever to live and one can do so much with all of that."
"Yes." Wells said brightly. "That does sound nice."
Then Jules sent the Master of the World stringing back towards their home time and world.
John Pirillo"Writing fuels the heart and soul!" Science Fiction, Fantasy and Adventure Tales to Take Your Breath Away!