Chapter 6

The Jingle

Mattie had no idea what had taken place as she continued her dance on into her bedroom.  She was ecstatic that Trevor was coming along.  When she entered her bedroom what she saw stopped her cold.  The smile that stretched ear to ear disappeared from her face instantly.  Every bit of the luggage was gone and in fact, the entire room had been rearranged.  Her favorite dolls covered the foot of her bed like they used to when she was a little girl.  There were pictures hanging on the mirror that appeared to be painted by a child.  She walked over to the closet and threw back the doors to find it full of children’s clothing, shoes, and toys.  Someone in the hall began humming the tune to a song that her mother always used to sing as she busily cleaned the house.  Her heart started pounding harder and faster.

“Mom?” she called out expectantly.

“Mattie Pie…is that you in there?  What are you doing home so soon?  Where’s your Dad?”

Mattie couldn’t believe her ears.  It was her mother!  Only her parents called her Mattie Pie.  In her excitement she leapt into the hallway outside to see if it was true.  Amber stood up at the same time Mattie appeared and they both let out a scream.

Amber reached for the broom that was leaning against the banister and her face turned fierce as though she were a mother in battle to protect her child. “I don’t know who you are, young lady, but you better get your fanny out of my house before I get close enough to use this on it.”

Now Mattie was really perplexed.  She blinked her eyes several times in disbelief.  Why would her own mother talk to her like that?

“Mom?  It’s me…Mattie!”

Amber’s head twisted in thought, though still ready for a fight.   She locked her eyes sternly on the stranger who stared back at her from her daughter’s room.  Mattie could see that her mother’s mind was racing through the possibilities, but wasn’t going to take any chances.

“Where did you come from, Mom?  You died yesterday!”

Amber lowered the broom and searched Mattie’s face.  Her fluorescent blue eyes were a dead giveaway once her mother took the time to reason, not to mention how much Mattie looked like her.   “If you are my Mattie, tell me what we got you on your eighth birthday and why you cried about it.”

“I lost the locket that you and Dad had given me when we went water skiing that afternoon.”

Amber smiled warmly and opened her arms to her grown daughter.  Mattie rushed towards her mother and hugged her firmly, “I thought I’d never see you again.”

Amber turned, wrapped her arm around Mattie’s waist and walked her towards her bedroom. “Apparently we have a lot to talk about dear, but first you need to know that you’ve moved backwards in time.”  Mattie’s head snapped quickly towards her mother in shock.  “Sit down dear, and I’ll see if I can help you sort this all out.”

Mattie spent the next hour telling her mother all that had transpired the day before.  She told her about the picnic, the red footprints and how the lightning had struck her in the open field.  She described what happened in the room behind the refrigerator and how she saw so many wonderful things her mother had done.  She told her about the dreams; shared her feelings about Trevor; and expressed her concerns about the predicament she and her dad were in with having to leave the house and relocate.  Amber sat patiently listening.  Mattie hadn’t detected any signs of concern in her mother as she continued to paint a verbal picture of the strange events that had taken place.

“Wait here, dear.”  Amber sauntered into the next room and returned with a large, leather-bound book under her arm.  She removed the lid from the pen, opened the book and asked calmly, “What year is it in your present time?”

“It’s February 22nd, 1992.”

“Let’s see, that would make you about 18 years old wouldn’t it?”

“Uh-huh.”  Mattie was curious about where this was all headed.

“My, you’ve grown into a beautiful young woman.  I would like nothing more than to sit and talk with you further about this young man you seem to be interested in, but I’ve got a lot to teach you in less than 24 hours.  We’ve got until 10:30 tomorrow morning to figure out a way to get a message to your father–eight years into the future–so you won’t be stuck in this time frame.”

“Why don’t you just tell him when he gets home this afternoon…while I’m here?”

“If I do that, our entire future will change and that could be devastating.  The first rule of the Divvy is that you can’t talk to any Stagmas about what you do or who you are while in venue.”  All kinds of questions began to whirl around in Mattie’s head.

“What’s a Stagma?”

“Non-time travelers, dear; people who are limited to a single time frame.  There’s only one Trekker alive with full powers in ‘present tense’ on the earth from each generation of our family.  Apparently you are the current one since I was killed in the field. You can only travel backwards in time on your own through the glowing, blue footprints and when it’s time to return to the future, you’ll see yellow footprints in the same location the blue ones had appeared.  You only have two minutes to connect with them.  After that, you can never return.  If you have to return early, the prints will appear when you get within a few feet of them.  However, you won’t actually be able to materialize in the Time Keeper until your Splitter calls you back home.”

“If I have to return early, where do I go until I’m summoned?”

“I really don’t know.  I guess you’re suspended in time somewhere.  My memory of what takes place in between time frames is always wiped clean before I re-enter.”  Amber raised her finger in point.  “Oh…also, it’s especially important that you never step on a print that is any other color than yellow or blue.”

“What if I do?”

“It’ll transport you to an entirely different time corridor without a direct route back to your own realm.  Your Splitter won’t be able to locate you through an alternate passageway and you may be lost in time forever.  There are specific rules for safe Divvying and you must obey them with precision.”

Mattie’s mind started racing with the possibilities and began to worry about whether she could remember everything.  “How many rules are there, Mom?  How will I remember them all?”

Amber placed the large leather book on Mattie’s lap and opened it to the first page which read:

The rules of the Divvy are clearly set,

If you break a rule you’ll pay the debt.

Mark these words and learn them well,

Or pay the price that time will tell…

Mattie turned the page where the list of rules began.  To her dismay each rule was fairly detailed and they went on for many pages.  “There are dozens of rules Mother.   I’ll never be able to learn them fast enough to get home.”

Amber chuckled and said softly, “You don’t have to learn them all right now, dear.  The Book of Ancestors is kept in a secret drawer at the base of the fireplace in the guest room.  Push on the face of the clock that’s carved in the mantle and it’ll open for you.  I’ll show you later.  If we can manage to get you back to your realm, you’ll be able to learn the rules at your own pace.  You’re much too young to have received your Inheritance and probably won’t be able to access all of your powers for several years yet.  I think you’ll have plenty of time to study.”

Mattie felt relieved.  A gradual sense of excitement grew as she perused through the heavy, yellowed pages of the book.  “Who are these people and what do the dates mean that are listed under them?”

“Those are the names of your ancestors who were Trekkers before you.  Each date beneath their name represents each Divvy they performed.  There is a box of remnants for each Divvy that has DNA ties to each individual that had summoned them back in time for help.  These boxes are kept in a special locked chamber in the city library.  Your aunt Lila is the current keeper of the artifacts, although she doesn’t understand the significance of the content of the boxes.  She simply receives them in the mail and files them away in the underground corridors that run to the outskirts of town.  You’ll learn more about these later.”  Amber turned the book to the back where there were several blank sheets.  “Now we need to spend some time creating a message for your father.  Tell me what it is.”

“Me?  Tell you?  How would I know?”  Mattie said with a baffled look on her face.

Amber smiled and placed her hand gently on the top of Mattie’s.  “…because you’ve heard me sing it for the past eight years.”  She paused to let Mattie gather her thoughts.  “Think about it Mattie…you know what it is.”

Mattie sat quietly; her eyes shifting about the room as she thought.  She sat up straight and started laughing.  “Oh Mom, you’re so clever!  You sent a message to Dad through the words you made up using the tune you were humming in the hall a few minutes ago.”

“I did?” Amber asked, smiling, “How does it go?”

Mattie hummed the tune and then began singing:

“Two, two, two of ninety two, Daddy knows just what to do,

To bring his baby home again he’ll call for her bout’ half past ten…

He’ll speak the words that Mommy wrote amongst the family’s many notes,

The final page to catch his eye will help him find his Mattie Pie.”

They looked at each other and began to chuckle.  “Two, two, two is tomorrow’s date in my realm.  It’s the second of February, 1992.  I was transported at about half past ten or 10:30 this morning.  I remember Dad used to whistle the tune all the time and sometimes we’d even sing the words together before I went to bed.”

“Yes, I would have especially made sure your father knew the jingle.  I hope it comes back to him.”  Amber began writing down the words to the tune in the Book of Ancestors.  She jotted down notes for Kash in hopes that he would remember the jingle and think to check in the book before the time limit was up.  “He’s very smart you know…your father.  If he’s not too distracted, he’ll figure it out — no need to worry.  Now…have you had anything to eat recently, dear?”

“No.  Dad didn’t get back with lunch before I divvied.”

“Well then, let’s go get you something to eat.  I’ll bet you’re starving!”

CHAPTER 7

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