I missed Tudor Tuesday. In my defense, I didn't know it was Tuesday. Summer = loss of all sense of time. To apologize, I shall *cringe* post a snippet of my as yet untitled WIP. Yeah, you should feel thoroughly apologized.
I have decided that this WIP is the one that is the most stubborn of my two WIPs (the other one being Web), thus I will be working on it for the remainder of the summer. Tudor fans, rejoice!
This snippet is still brand new. As in, I just wrote it a few hours ago. So be gentle. It takes place at the beginning of Chapter Three, when Crystal decides to show Docker (one of her professor father's physicist students) the machine her father built that got him fired from Columbia. She's none too pleased with her father's loyalty to the machine and not his job/family, as the machine ("The Eloi" -- supposedly a time machine) has taken precedence over everything else in his life. Even though, to this point, it has proved entirely useless.
Commence the snippet!
The Eloi looked like something that had been stolen from NASA. A half-moon-shaped control panel barred anyone who entered from getting too close to the platform that took up the rest of the windowless room. The metal disk bolted to the ceiling above the platform and the boxes of gadgets and flashing lights behind the entire contraption left one phrase echoing in the imagination:
“Beam me up, Scottie,” I announced as I shut the door behind us.
Docker didn’t respond. He walked to the control panel, the look of concentration and awe on his face all too recognizable. He was a scientist through and through.
While he let his hands hover over the knobs and switches, his lips moving wordlessly as he mumbled God-knows-what to the machine, I ducked under the control panel. The last time I saw The Eloi had been a few months after dad started to build it. Then it had been half this size, still mostly a jumble of wires and charts and theories, nothing this – complete. Though it brought up an endless supply of sci-fi, Twilight-Zone-esque quotes, it didn’t look entirely laughable. As I stepped on the platform, tested its durability by bouncing in the toes of my stilettos, I hated to admit that, all in all, The Eloi looked entirely legit.
Too bad it needed to work too.
“What did he test it on? Objects, people, animals?” Docker glanced away from the machine long enough to make eye contact before he resumed his analysis of the control panel.
I frowned. “I’m not sure.” Pushing the heel of my left stiletto into the platform, I smirked at the completely absent scientist-Docker. “Though I haven’t seen the family cat in a few weeks.”
Docker mumbled something that sounded like “Of course, of course.”
My smile widened and I fought to keep the laughter out of my voice. “And the neighbor’s little girl came over once. Haven’t seen her since January.”
Docker, now flicking a switch up and down, nodded. “She was a little monster anyway.”
I burst out laughing and Docker looked up again, this time meeting my eyes for longer than a second. He leaned over the control panel, resting his hands on a few levers. “Why are you so angry at him?” he asked.
My lips snapped shut. “Wouldn’t you be?”
Docker shook his head. “Mad at someone for following their heart?” He flipped a lever, and the room filled with the buzz of The Eloi turning on. “So few people do it anymore, I couldn’t be mad at someone for following their heart. No matter the repercussions.”
I crossed my arms. “I guess I’m just selfish.”
He dropped the lever down and the buzzing snapped off. His eyes wandered out again, but he wasn’t thinking about The Eloi. “We all are.”
I stepped to the edge of the platform, wanting to ask what he was talking about. Docker flipped the lever again, shaking out of his trance while The Eloi’s electric buzz filled the space between us. Before I could find the courage to ask anything, he absentmindedly fiddled with a few more buttons and switches and sighed.
“It’s human nature to–”
The buzzing exploded into a high-pitched wail, an octave or two below what only dogs could hear. I snapped my hands over my ears and tried to yell at Docker, but nothing from my mouth could pass above the wailing.
Docker’s eyes went wide and his hands flew from lever to lever as he tried to stop the buzzing. He looked up at me and shouted something, but I shook my head to let him know I didn’t understand. He paused, his eyes getting wider, his mouth opening in a wordless scream. The last thing I saw was Docker leaping over the control panel, just feet away from the platform, from me.