Horologium

721 77 10
                                                  




From nowhere, a hulking man in a dirty blue shirt and suspenders, a man nearly twice Parker's size and weight, grabbed him by the arm and yanked him backwards.

"Aaahhh!!!" Parker cried out as the lead horse's hooves shattered his right shin and left ankle. The following driver's side wagon wheel then pressed his freshly broken legs into the mud.

Parker's massive savior managed to pull him away just in time to avoid the suffering of any further damage from the rear wheel.

The young man was now slowly losing himself to unconsciousness. He looked up into the smudged face of the man who rescued him, his eyelids feeling heavier and heavier. "Thank you..."

"You're goin' ta be okay, there fella...I promise. Just stay awake," the large man said. "Hey, can someone call the doc!?!!"

Parker closed his eyes, falling prey to the darkness.

...

When he awoke, Parker found himself lying in a clean bed covered with a patchwork quilt. A middle-aged man wearing small, round spectacles and a white coat was busily washing his hands in an antique porcelain wash basin across the room.

"Where am I?" Parker asked shakily. His lower legs and ankle burned as if they were on fire.

The man turned. "Ah, you are awake, stranger. That's wonderful. You're very lucky Samuel came along when he did."

"I imagine." Parker's face contorted as he moved his legs. "Damn it, that hurts!"

"I wouldn't move too much, son, your legs are broken. And you might as well get used to it, 'cause you ain't goin' anywhere anytime soon," the physician said, removing his spectacles from the bridge of his nose. He lifted the lenses to his mouth, huffed a warm breath over their surface, and then wiped them clean with a handkerchief. "Might I ask, what's your name, my boy? From where do you hail?"

"Parker. Parker Raymond, doc. From New York, originally," Parker replied.

"Long way from home, I see. You're not alone, as I'm sure you know. Lots of men here from the east trying to strike it rich."

"Okay, I'm officially confused. Where am I?"

"Nevada City...you really must have tied one on last night to fall asleep in the road like that and to forget where you are," the doctor replied.

"Maybe," Parker rubbed his head and acknowledged what the doctor said with the understanding anything was possible at this point. If it weren't for the pain radiating up from his lower legs, he would have easily believed he was somehow dreaming. Parker glanced over at a vintage, framed diploma attached to the rough plank wall with a nail. He pointed at it with a shaky finger. "That's cool. Who'd it belong to?"

"Belong to?" the doctor asked, raising an eyebrow. "Me."

"Oliver Bradley, Doctorem in Arte Medica...1834," Parker read and generated a weak smile. "Come on, that says 1834."

"Well, it appears your vision has thankfully returned to normal," the physician said, leaning in to look into Parker's dark eyes. He lifted each of the young man's eyelids with a thumb and inspected the glassy orbs. "That's a really good sign you don't have a head injury."

"Really, all joking aside, doc, whose is it?"

The older man stood away from Parker and crossed his arms, his face generating a serious expression.

"Is this a youtube prank?...it is isn't it?" Parker said, looking around for a camera.

"You tube?" the doctor asked.

Parker winced as he overextended his legs, the pain erasing any sign of humor from his youthful face. He laid his head back and closed his eyes. "Okay, okay, I give. Tell me what 'year' it is, then, Doc Bradley," he said, producing air quotes with his fingers as he said the word, 'year'.

"1850."

Parker laughed aloud. "1850 he says. I've seen more realistic western towns in first person shooters."

The doctor raised a hand to Parker's forehead. "Hmmm, no fever and the morphine I gave you has to of worn off by now..."

"You're not kidding are you, doc?" Parker asked as he sat up on his elbows.

"No, son. I'm not. What year do you think it is?" the man asked as he pulled a wooden stool between his legs and sat next to Parker to observe him.

"2017."

Oliver scratched his chin in contemplation as the last rays of the sun faded behind the mountains and darkness began to envelop the room. The physician spun on the stool and located a nearby oil lamp. He lifted the glass chimney, struck a match, and lit the wick. The slowly growing flame bathed the rustic room and its contents in an orange hue.

"Alright, son, tell me, truthfully...where'd you come from? I've seen many things in my life and been many places around this old world, but I have never seen anything like the materials and craftsmanship of this little object here."

"What object?" Parker asked in confusion.

"The thing Samuel found in your hand. You almost lost it in the mud when you passed out. Good thing ol' Sam saw it," the doctor said holding a bronze, roughly three-inch circular device out in front of him in the light of the oil lamp. With his other hand he tapped one side of it a few times. "This here thing of yours appears to be a watch, but unlike any I've ever seen. Tell me about these peculiar animals on this side, Parker. How'd they change like that?"

"I, uh..."

The doctor nearly dropped the device as it began to hum in his hand.

Parker sat up, ignoring the pain in his legs. "Doc, give that to me, quick!"

"Hold on a dadburn minute. What's it doin'?"

The device fell silent and the doctor shrugged his shoulders. He held it out toward Parker. "Can you make it do that again?"

Parker nodded as he snatched the strange thing from the physician's fingers to clutch it in his hand. He wasn't completely convinced, but Parker thought if he were actually in the year 1850, this buzzing device had to be the reason.

"Looks like a full moon, tonight," Oliver said as he stared out of the cabin's singular paned window.

Parker felt the small machine begin to vibrate in his hand and then stop as the light of the foggy moon flowed in through the window.  The pockmarked celestial object crawled skyward from behind the darkened, tree-covered mountains.

Doctor Bradley watched the glowing disc rise a bit higher. He heard the little clock rattling once more and turned to ask Parker another question. "So, Parker, where did you say you were from?" But, there was no answer. The young man was gone...vanished into thin air.

...

Parker found himself lying on his bedroom floor with his arm under the bed. Strangely, his legs were no longer broken and the pain was gone. He carefully extracted the small, metallic device from beneath his grandfather's bed and held it up into the moonlight. "What the hell are you?"

At the bottom of a dog-eared page in his grandfather's open notebook was a rather crude depiction of the strange device Parker held in his hand and the word 'Horologium' circled in red ink.

Voynich Shift - Season One (COMPLETED)Where stories live. Discover now