Spectators of the Time Machine, Chapter 5
A week later, Charlotte was unexpectedly late to store. Dan and Rickey waited as long as they could handle before Dan went out to get the paper on his own. They couldn’t resist flipping to the lifestyle section to read about time traveling exploits, although they had not noticed any differences in the town that morning.
Ryan Turgon was an adventurer, well, he was not actively seeking work and he had the money to travel the world and do whatever he pleased due to a chronic case of an engorged trust fund. He was renowned for posting pictures on social media of his varied collection of weapons. He had a fixation with the idea that he was new royalty, naming himself a warrior king of present day. It was not incredibly surprising that when he bought his ticket on the time machine he chose to go back to medieval England and that he was going to bring his own armor and weapons back with him. He wasn’t supposed to be able to bring weapons with him so he concealed currency of the day so that he could buy his own broadsword and small axe upon entering the medieval world.
Mr. Turgon had hired a team of scholars for years to research just for this trip. They investigated ancient texts researching the movements and exploits of medieval knights to find the perfect time and place for Mr. Turgon to interact with knights. Originally the scholars tried to convince him that he needed to go to the Middle East for the Crusades to find a concentration of fighters that might stray from their cohorts to stumble into battle, but Mr. Turgon was dead set on seeing the land of Arthur, seeing the forest and a freshly built castle or two.
He found himself at the top of a bluff watching through the trees as a pair of knights and their squires rode down a path to a small stream. The knights dismounted to dip their faces into the water to drink. The taller of the two knights had a freshly painted blue crest on his chest plate, and the shorter had an older set of armor blotted with rust spots. This was when Mr. Turgon snuck up on the two squires and viscously wedged his broadsword in a head of a dark haired young man who let out a crackling scream as he died. He had wanted to surprise the knights and engage them off their horses but he did not want to waste the experience of fighting knights by ambushing them so the squire was a bit of a coldhearted warning shot to the knights. He swung his smaller axe into the throat of the other, dusty haired, squire as he tried dislodging his sword from the lifeless skull of the dark haired squire. The slice was swift and clean and the dusty haired squire’s blood spurted all over Mr. Turgon’s armor.
He had studied the trees and the foot placement of the stream an hour before the knights came down the path, so fighting two armored knights skilled with their own broadswords was an even match for Mr. Turgon. He used the trees to block swings by the Blue Knight while engaging the Rusty Knight, swinging around to stick the axe between plates near the armpit, only to turn back to engage the Blue Knight. With one swing he injured the Blue Knight’s sword-holding forearm then with five brutal downward bashes with his sword he pummeled the knight to death.
As the Blue Knight was bleeding out in the trickling stream, the Rusty Knight swung his sword gashing Mr. Turgon’s thigh. With that, the much larger Mr. Turgon slashed down at the Rusty Knight as though he were splitting firewood, swinging with both hands. As both knights and their squires lay dead in the forest, Mr.
Turgon pulled himself up the hill to the point where he could be extracted back to the future he could just see a castle in the distance of the valley. When he returned he learned that in the dead leaves and dirt of medieval England he had infected his leg wound with a fungus that had not been seen in hundreds of years and that it would need to be amputated with the hope of avoiding a spread through his body or to others.
Dan and Rickey were riveted to learn this account in the lifestyle section. They were so riveted that they did not notice Charlotte come through the door. She was a woman again. It seems the genetic dice had been rolled yet again. One of the knights was either an ancestor or had a serious effect on the ancestors of Charlotte. She was not completely the same as she had been, her nose was not as long as it had been and her cheekbones were higher than when she was last a woman, but she was closer to her previous self again.
“Can I keep calling you ‘Charlie’?” Rickey remarked when he finally looked up to notice her.
They laughed, unaware that Mr. Turgon’s fungal infection was soon to spread through their present day town and beyond.