Chapter 12

The Rescue

It’s nearly 10:00, Trevor.  We’re running out of time.  Grab the book and let’s go.”  Kash snatched the keys off of the desk, Trevor grabbed the book, and they both headed out to the car.  “Get in and I’ll teach you the Splitting Words on the way.”  Kash started the car and pulled out of the motel parking lot.  “Open the book to page seven.  Start memorizing the words that you see.”

Trevor opened the old book and read:

The summoning words of the Splitters Creed must be repeated accurately.  Do not be mistaken in believing that the simplicity of the rhyme will allow room for error.  One misplaced word or even a single unsaid syllable will render the entire directive powerless.  Therefore it is crucial that the Splitter be meticulous and articulate in delivering the command.  Preceding the mantra the password must be said ONLY ONCE, but the mantra may be repeated as often as the Splitter desires.    The command goes as follows:

Splitters Creed

The Password

I am a Splitter by destiny. (Spouse’s first name) is a Trekker by inheritance. (Spouse’s first name) and I combine together to split time.

The Mantra

By bloodline you’re destined, by marriage we’re tied; let the strength of our love bring you back to my side.

“Holy cow, as nervous as I am right now I’ll never be able to remember all of that in time to call Mattie back.” Trevor said.  “I should have started working on this hours ago!”

“Well,” Kash responded thoughtfully, “you did the best you could.  You’ve had some pretty big decisions to make in the last day or so.  If it’s any consolation, I admire you a great deal and appreciate you more than I can possibly express in words.  Don’t worry; it’s not as hard as you think.  You’ll do fine.  You’ll actually have a two minute span of time to get it right.”

“Oh, wow…a whole two minutes.  That’s makes me feel a lot better!”

“You only have to get it right once.  For the next five minutes why don’t you work on the password while I drive us back to the house?  Think about what you’re saying.  It really makes a lot of sense if you try to see the bigger picture.”

“OK, I’ll try.”  Trevor began to mouth the words silently, working on memorizing one line at a time.  “I am a Splitter by destiny.  I am a Splitter by destiny.  I…am a Splitter…by destiny…

As they neared the house Kash could see Lila out working in the yard.  He continued driving around to the opposite side of the block.  He reluctantly pulled over to the curb and turned off the car.  “That’s what I was afraid of.  Lila doesn’t work on Saturday until noon.  We’ll have to jump the neighbor’s fence to get to the shed and hope she doesn’t come into the back yard until we’re out of sight.”

Trevor let out a sigh and said, “Oh, great, more pressure.”

Kash tapped Trevor on his arm.  “Come on.  Bring the book; we’re going to need it.”  They walked around the side of the house where they could see the shed over the top of the fence.  By sheer luck, the neighbors were out of town for the weekend, but by dumb luck, they had left the dog chained up in the back yard.  As Kash rounded the corner of the house into the back yard he faced a black, airborne Rottweiler with teeth the size of a lion.  His drool was flying everywhere as he snarled through his sticky, wet nose.  Instinctively, Kash reared back and as it turned out, it was barely enough to allow the dog to reach the end of his chain.  The dog let out a yelp when he was jerked to the ground, landing flat on his back.  His stubby, fat legs kicked frantically in mid-air as he tried to right himself.  He twisted and turned until he was able to get back on his feet and run to the end of his chain again, barking incessantly.

Trevor had stumbled a few feet back, allowing Kash some room to retreat.  “I’ll handle this,” he said as he inched slowly forward towards the dog.  He started making a strange humming sound as he crept closer, pointing his fingers at the dog’s face and rolling his wrist in a slow, clock-wise motion. Trevor, seeking Kash’s admiration said, “I saw a guy do this in the movies once and it worked great!”  The dog started whining, then to their surprise, the dog lowered his head and chest to the ground and started moving backwards on his hind legs.  When the dog had retreated several feet and Trevor had advanced a couple, Trevor looked back at Kash with a cheesy grin on his face.  Meanwhile the dogs’ nose started to wrinkle, revealing a wet, toothy grin himself.  When Trevor returned his attention to the dog all he could see were chomping teeth traveling towards him at a vicious rate.  Trevor dove backwards as quickly as he could to avoid being chewed on by the aggressive predator.  Once again the dog was held at bay by his chain, but his bark was enough to arouse suspicion for at least eight square blocks.

“Good try,” Kash said as he laughed boldly.  “Get ready to run!”  He picked up a big stick, baited the dog with a couple of passes in front of his face and threw it to the other side of the yard.  To Trevor’s amazement the dog took off after the stick and Kash started running for the fence.  “You better get up or you’re going to be his next bone!” he called back.

Trevor jumped up and ran to catch him.  He arrived at the fence just in time to help boost Kash over the top.  The dog, however, had become aware of their escape and headed for the kill at an intense speed.  This time the chain would have no hold on the dog and it was apparent that the dog knew it.  Trevor tossed the book over the fence.  He jumped up to grab the edge at the same time the dog left the ground at the level of his seat pockets.  Trevor’s legs were sliding up and down on the smooth surface desperately trying to snag something rough enough to help lift him over the barrier.  The moment the dog’s huge, opened mouth was within snapping distance he felt Kash grab his arms and yank him up from the other side.  To his discomfort the dogs’ teeth sunk into the seat of his pants.  As Trevor cleared the fence, the dog was jerked back into his own yard with a piece of fabric as his trophy.  Trevor plummeted to the ground, safe on the other side and more flustered than ever. The dog had torn one of the back pockets off of his pants and the surrounding material with it.

“Good job son,” Kash said, smacking Trevor on his back.  “You’re certainly no sissy-la-la.  That’ll be a valuable trait for the future that lies ahead of you.”  He smiled and gave him a nod of approval.

Meanwhile, Lila, who was pulling a few weeds near the front side walk, had paused to listen when the dog became strangely silent.  She thought she heard voices coming from the back yard and got up to investigate.

Kash stood in front of the shed, glancing around to see if Lila was anywhere in sight.  He dug into his front pocket to get the key that would unlock the padlock, but it wasn’t there!  He tried the other one.  It wasn’t there, either.  He tried his back, left pocket only to find it empty as well.  His heart began to pound harder, worrying that he had left it on the desk in the motel room and there wouldn’t be enough time to retrieve it.  He sheepishly reached into the last pocket.  It was like a bottomless pit as he pushed his hand in deeper, sweeping his finger anxiously.  Finally, he felt the jagged edge of the key and let out a sigh of relief.

************************************

Lila peaked around the corner of the house to see if anyone was in the back yard. The bushes blocked the view of the shed from where she was standing.  She continued to walk briskly around the shrubs and hesitated only when she heard a creaking sound in the direction of the tool shed.

Kash and Trevor slipped through the door and locked it from the inside moments before the structure came into Lila’s view.  Trevor immediately reached down to pull back the dust filled rug, revealing the trap door.  Kash lifted its lid and laid it back against the old couch.  They stepped down into the tunnel when they heard some shuffling outside the door.  Lila stood hesitantly out front observing the bolt and the two-by-four lying on the ground.  She reached out tentatively to open the door. Since it was locked from the inside, her hand spun around the slick, unyielding knob.  Grabbing it with both hands she started tugging on it forcefully, cranking the door back and forth.  After it became apparent that the door wasn’t going to budge, she heatedly went from window to window to see if she could catch a glimpse of who was inside.

“Sh-sh-sh, don’t move,” Kash whispered.

“Who’s in there?” Lila bellowed.  “I know someone’s in there!”

***********************************

Amber sat on the edge of Mattie’s bed and gently shook her shoulder. “It’s time to get up dear.  I’m afraid I let you oversleep.  We stayed up far too late last night talking; it was selfish of me.”  Amber ran her fingers down Mattie’s arm in a tickling motion.

“Gosh, I miss that, Mom.”

“What, dear?”

“You tickling me in the morning when it was time to get up for school.  You haven’t done that for years.”

“You’re all grown up now and you probably get yourself up before I ever have the chance.”

“Well, that’s true.  Still…I miss it.”

“And I’ll miss the grown up you!  I’ll love sharing that time with you in a few years, but for now, I’m enjoying the little girl you.”

Amber pulled back the covers for Mattie to get up and walked over to the vanity to pull a hair brush out of the drawer.

“Where’re Dad and…little Mattie?”

Mattie sat down at the vanity and began brushing her hair.

“You’re playing in the championship game today.  By the way, your Dad said to tell you goodbye for him.  He wanted me to tell you that he enjoyed having you here and to come back soon.  I wonder if he’ll ever make the connection as to who you are when you grow into adulthood.  Anyway, I was wondering…who wins the game today?”

“We did.  That was the game that I smashed the cartilage in my middle finger when I slid into home.  You can still see how crooked it is.”  Mattie held up her right hand and sure enough, her middle finger bent slightly to the right in the last joint.

“Didn’t I take you to the doctor to get that fixed?”

“Sure, but there was nothing they could do for it unless they fused the last two bones together.  If you had allowed them to do that I would have never been able to bend the end of my finger again.  It would have stuck straight out when the others were in a fist.  You decided that wouldn’t be good at all, so you had them wrap it for protection until it healed.”  Mattie snickered at the thought of how that would have appeared.

“Oh…I see what you mean.”  Amber laughed, too.  “Well, it’s getting close to the time you need to Divvy, Mattie.  We need to get you ready.  You said that you thought you Divvied somewhere between the bottom of the stairs and your bedroom; is that right?”  Amber took the brush from Mattie and ran it down the back of her silky, black hair.

“Yes, as I recall, Dad and I were in the living room when he reminded me that I hadn’t finished packing yet and needed to get back to work.  I ran up the stairs to pack the rest of my things and here I am!”

“Well… it’s nearly 10:00.  We have a half hour to get you some breakfast and somewhere near the footprints before 10:30.”

********************************

Kash caught Trevor’s eye and beckoned for him to follow.   “Pull the trap door behind you as you come,” he whispered, “and try to bring the rug over the top of it if you can.”

Trevor grabbed the rug and slung it up over the top of the trap door.  He pulled the lid with him as he continued into the dark cellar below.  As he felt his way down he heard scratching sounds in the dark that made his skin crawl.  “Did you bring a flashlight, Dad… and what’s that sound?”

Kash ran his hand down the railing at the bottom of the stair well until he felt the cold metal object on the floor.  He continued to feel around until he discovered a box he had placed next to it.  “I always leave a lantern down here with some matches and that sound is rats.”  Kash lit the lantern and started into the tunnel.

“R-r-r-a-a-ats,” Trevor stammered uneasily.  “Did you say rats?”

“Yep!  Stay close.  Do you have the book?”

Trevor had a terrible fear of rodents, especially rats.  When he was about four years old he was at his grandparents’ house for a swimming party when a baby mouse shot out into the middle of the kitchen from under the refrigerator.  Trevor was snatched up by his aunt who proceeded to heroically jump on top of a chair to save them both.  Though his mother chastised her for doing such a thing to a ‘boy child,’ he’d never gotten over the fear of gerbils, Guinea pigs, hamsters or anything that walked like, smelled like or reminded him of a mouse.  And these were rats!

“Oh-no-no-no, I can’t go in there.” There was a trembling sound in Trevor’s voice as he stood back up on the last step.  “I can’t do it…I can’t!”

“Don’t turn chicken on me now, boy, we’ve only got twenty minutes to make this happen.  Besides, they’re as scared of you as you are of them.  The light will frighten them into the cracks as we move through the tunnel.”  Kash swung the lantern to give Trevor a feeling of security and continued on down the passageway.  Sure enough the critters scattered as the light came into range and they were able to walk through the channel relatively unmolested.

At last, to Trevor’s relief, they reached a big, blue, wooden door; the type that would be used for the meat locker at the grocery store.  It had a large round disc welded to a long metal bar that Kash pushed into the door to release the bolt.  He grabbed the thick handle with his other hand and leaned back to pull the heavy door open.  When he got it opened enough to slide in between it and the frame he turned to face the door from the inside to get more leverage to finish opening it up.  It was as dark on the other side of the door as it was on the side they were coming from.

“How much further is it?”  Trevor asked anxiously.

“This is it!”

“I don’t see anything in here except another black hole.”

Kash reached out, grabbing something in front of him and flung it aside.  The soft lamplight poured into the chamber revealing several mysterious objects that had no meaning to Trevor at all.

“Whoa, this is too weird.  Is that the contraption I’m supposed to squeeze into?”  Trevor walked over to the porcelain Time Keeper and slowly ran his fingers over every inch of the beautiful carvings.

“No, that’s where Mattie will be entering, you get the other one.”  Kash pointed to the dark blue box.  “Take off your shoes and socks.” He dragged an exquisite mahogany table out from behind the curtain where he laid the book.  “Have you got the mantra memorized yet?   We only have ten minutes.”

“I-I-I think so,” stuttered Trevor. “Do you want to hear it?”

“Let me show you how to get in position first and then you can try it out on me.”  Kash moved Trevor out of the way and backed into the Splitter’s box.  It was a tight squeeze, yet it seemed to fit him just fine.  “You can never let yourself get fat, Trevor, or you’ll never be able to fit in the time keeper.”

Trevor chuckled nervously.  Kash placed his feet exactly over the metal footprint in the floor and remembered that these prints were made for his feet, not Trevor’s.

“Oh, by the way, Trevor, what size feet do you have?  I hope a size ten and a half!”

“Pretty close.  I buy ten and a half shoes, but I don’t quite fill them up.”

“That’ll have to do.  I know if your toes were hanging over the edge we’d be doomed.”  Kash rested his forearms on the rubber pads and griped the shiny brass bars on either side in front of him. “This is the Splitters Mark, Trevor.  When the chime sounds in the Epoch Chronometer you say the password followed by the mantra.  You must not move off the mark until Mattie can be displaced from the past to the present, undergoing the harmonic motion, materializing completely.  If you slip off the mark at all she’ll be caught between dimensions and we’ll lose her forever.  Do you understand?”

“I understand,” Trevor said solemnly.   “Let me repeat the creed to you.”  Trevor began to recite the creed as he’d memorized it.  “I am a Splitter by destiny.  Mattie is the Trekker by birth.”

“No,” Kash interrupted, “that’s not right!  It should be Mattie is a Trekker by inheritance, not the Trekker by birth.  Try again.”

Trevor went through it again.  “I am a Splitter by destiny.  Mattie is a Trekker by inheritance. Mattie and I combine together to split time. By bloodline you’re destined, by marriage we’re tied; let the strength of our love bring you back to my side.”

“Perfect!”  Kash said with enthusiasm.  “Let’s get you into the box.  We’ve only got a couple minutes left.  Remember, it’s not how fast you say it.  The important thing is that you say it perfectly.  Got it?”

Trevor nodded his head timidly.  “I hope so. I’ll do my best.”

Trevor pulled off his shoes and socks, backed into the box, placing his feet directly over the footprint comparable to what he saw Kash do.

“Now grip the bar and rest your forearms on the armrest.  It’s easier if you lean back against the box for support.  We can adjust the portable time keeper to your height and weight later,” Kash coached.

“There’s a portable version of this thing?” Trevor asked as he settled into the box.

“Of course, how do think we do this when we’re somewhere else in the world?  We’d never make it back here in time from the other side of the planet with only a 24 hour period to make connections.”

“Well, that makes sense,” Trevor agreed.

Kash backed away from the platform and leaned on the edge of the table.  “Remember, you have two minutes to get it perfect.  Say the password only one time and then you can repeat the mantra as much as you feel you need to.  That should be plenty of time, so relax.  Don’t begin before you hear the end of the chime.”

“What does the chime sound like?  Is it just a ‘dong’ or does it play a tune?”

“It chimes a tune that lasts for about 10 seconds; wait until it ends.  The Splitters two minute time frame doesn’t start until it finishes. Oh, I forgot to tell you that once the chimes end, I can’t say a word to help you.  You’re on your own.”

“Great…that’s just great!  What if I can’t remember the words perfectly?”  Trevor was getting more concerned as the seconds passed.

“I can mouth the words silently, which probably won’t help much unless you are good at reading lips.  Don’t worry; you’re not going to have any trouble.  You’ll do fine.  Relax!”

“Yeah…right,” Trevor said sarcastically.  “Relax!”

Kash and Trevor sat quietly for a few seconds before the Epoch Chronometer began to strike. ‘Ding-g-g-g; ding-g-g-g; ding, dong, ding-g-g-g; dong, ding, ding, dong, ding-g-g-g-g.’  Trevor glanced over at Kash for reassurance.  Kash smiled and nodded his head for Trevor to begin.

“I’m a Splitter by destiny.”  Trevor had barely gotten out the first sentence of the password when Kash jumped up off the edge of the table shaking his head aggressively from side to side.  He mouthed the words, “start over” and then stared at Trevor intently.

Trevor had no idea what he had said wrong.  Never-the-less he immediately started over.

“I’m a Splitter…” was all he got out this time before Kash started throwing a silent fit.  Once again, Kash mouthed something that looked like “am”…”am” which he repeated several times.

Trevor tried again, this time the only word he got out was “I’m” before Kash started squirming all over the place.  A light went on in his head and he understood.  The first word was really two words.  He started over, saying the words carefully and more distinctly so he wouldn’t make another mistake.  There wasn’t any time remaining for error now.  “I am a Splitter by destiny.  Mattie is a Trekker by inheritance.  Mattie and I combine together to split time. By bloodline you’re destined, by marriage we’re tied; let the strength of our love bring you back to my side.”

A beautiful white light began to swirl within the chamber.  The jewels on the ceiling began to glisten against the deep, blue background.  Thousands of minute particles began to sparkle in the air as they migrated towards the white Time Keeper.  The house began to rumble as the particles gathered closer together.  Trevor continued to repeat the mantra, captivated by the sequence of electrical events that brought the room to life.

***************************

Lila screamed and ran to the center of the lawn when she felt the earth trembling.  Her body teetered like a baby elephant standing on a beach ball as she tried to balance herself on the shaking ground.  She thought it must be ‘the big one’ everyone had been talking about for years.  After the quaking stopped she waddled as fast as she could around the house to see what the damages were.  The second time around she was practically hysterical and her small energy supply was gone.  She rested her hands on her knees, trying to catch her breath when she heard a voice calling out to her through the hedge that bordered the driveway.  “What’s going on over there?”  It was her nosy neighbor that she now mistakenly assumed was concerned for her welfare.

“Are you alright over there?” Lila replied.  “Did you sustain any damage?”

“What are you talking about?  Why would I have sustained any damage?”

Fran was baffled.  She hadn’t felt anything unusual at her house and honestly didn’t know what Lila was having such a fit over.

“…from the earthquake, Fran, what else?”

“What earthquake?” Fran said mockingly.  “You are certifiably crazy!”

“Oh, go soak your head, woman!  You obviously live in another dimension or nut house, which ever comes closest to the truth!”

Lila left her neighbor alone with her attitude and ran into the house to call the city office.  She thought maybe someone could tell her the size and epicenter of the earthquake.  After it rang for quite some time she remembered that it was Saturday and no one was there to answer the phone.

***********************************

You need to get ready dear…it’s almost time.”  Amber stood up and reached her hand out towards Mattie.  “How are you feeling, Mattie?”

“I’m a little bit scared, Mom.  What if this doesn’t work?”

“Have some faith, dear.  You know it doesn’t hurt, since you’ve already done it once.  The only difference between coming and going is that you’ll be a bit tired when you return to your time.  It won’t last long though.”

“If it wasn’t for Trevor, I’d stay here with you.  I miss you, Mom.”

“I’ll miss you too, Mattie, but everything will work out; you’ll see.”  Amber gave Mattie a hug and a kiss on the cheek.  “You’re going to be a great Trekker, Mattie.  I have complete confidence in you.”

They walked up the steps together.  As they got closer to where the print had originally appeared, a new one formed in a warm yellow color.

“Look Mattie…there it is.”

Mattie stared at the print for a moment and turned back to look at her mother one last time.  She wanted to hold a detailed picture of her in her mind; since this would the last time she would see her mother alive.  This memory would have to last for the rest of her life.  “I love you, Mom,” Mattie said solemnly.

“I love you too, Mattie Pie,” Amber responded tenderly.  “Give your dad a hug for me when you get back.”

“I will, Mom.”  Mattie stepped away from her towards the glowing print, until their fingers separated.  She set her focus on the print, placed her foot squarely on top and was gone.

***********************************

The particles moved in a rhythm that created a delicate musical sound that bounced off of the curtains and intermingled within themselves as it rebounded to the center of the room.  The effect it produced was hypnotic.  To his utter amazement, Trevor could see a figure forming out of the tiny particles of light within the other Time Keeper.  It was Mattie.  He was so excited to see her that he could hardly contain his emotions.  It had worked!  Kash was down on his knees with his head bowed as though he was praying. The Epoch Chronometer began to chime again. ‘Ding-g-g-g; ding-g-g-g; ding, dong, ding-g-g-g; dong, ding, ding, dong, ding-g-g-g-g.’ On the last ring Mattie’s form filled in completely solid and the house became still.  She dropped to the arm rests within the Time Keeper, her body weak from the transfer.  Trevor’s strength was also gone and he slumped down in his box.  Kash ran over to Mattie and lifted her into his arms where he held her tight.  Tears were streaming down his face.  He tenderly removed her from the box and sat her down on a velvet couch over by the winding staircase.  He hurried back to help Trevor out of the Time Keeper and carefully sat him next to Mattie.  They were both incredibly weak from the Divvy.  Trevor gently reached over and took Mattie’s hand in his and gave it a gentle squeeze.  They had a deep appreciation for each other now.  They understood each other completely.

“You did it, son.  Thank you,” Kash whispered.  “Thank you for bringing my…our Mattie home.”

Everyone was exhausted and there were no words to express what each was feeling so they sat silently for several minutes.

Mattie sat up straighter.  Her energy was beginning to return.

“Dad?”  Mattie said, breaking the silence.  “Is it possible that Mom may still be alive?”

Kash’s eyes strayed towards the white Time-Keeper.  “I don’t see how.  I saw her evaporate myself when the lightning struck.  Why do you ask?”

Mattie’s eyes wandered about the room.  “I thought I saw her for a moment, before I could see the chamber forming.  It was kind of like she was between here and there.”

“I think you must have been mistaken, Mattie.  I’m sure you want her back as much as I do.  You probably imagined it.”

“Maybe so,” said Mattie.  “It has been a long, tiring experience the last couple of days.”

Kash stood up and walked over to the book. “There are two important things we have to do now.”

“What’s that?” Trevor asked.

“We need to find a way to get out of here without Lila seeing us and you two need to get married…legally!”

Go to Chapter 13

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