Trapped in 1867
Chapter 10: Home
As fire engulfs the McGregor house, Gauri desperately searches for a way out. Hearing the words ‘Pin-di-gayo’ in her mind, she lifts up a rug with the bird-symbol on it and discovers a small escape hatch. Did the Odawa girl save her life?
To do list:
1. Learn how to say ‘Thank You’ in the Odawa language 2. Research the Intercolonial Railway 3. Get back to Burlington 4. Write a letter to Thomas 5. Visit an Odawa community when I get back to 2017
July 11th, 1867 Burlington, Ontario. Morning.
Okay, you will never believe what has happened in the past few days. I wish I wrote this down earlier. It’s been seriously crazy. Okay, where do I start? First off, after the fire, Thomas left to deliver mail somewhere in Ontario, and because there was nothing left of the McGregor house, Ben and I had to sleep in a toolshed in some stranger’s backyard.
Secondly, Ben and I got in a huge fight because he was convinced there is an Intercolonial Railway system because of what Mr. Fleming said in that postal office a few months back. Ben claims we can catch a ride on a train back to Burlington. I told him he was a goofball, and he took off.
He even told me he hated me— which was no surprise.
Third, I see that strange large bird hovering over me as I aimlessly walk out of the city—and guess what? It led me straight to a group of horses—and would you believe they all had large blankets wrapped around their backs with the same bird symbol woven into them—the same symbol as on my bracelet—the same symbol as the rug in the McGregor house. I now know it is a thunderbird. Nuts eh?
Okay, and then what was even crazier was Ben was there, waiting for me. Apparently he saw the bird in the sky as well and followed it.
When he saw me, he started to cry, but not because he was sad, it was because he was so happy to see me.
I had to admit, I was really happy to see him too—but I didn’t cry (well, maybe, just a little).
And guess what? That isn’t even the best part. The Odawa girl was also there with a man named Pontiac (apparently he is named after a great warrior). I explained we were trying to get back to Burlington and Pontiac told us they would guide us.
I seriously want to cry again— people can be so nice.
Ben and I each got to ride our own horse. I was a natural.
Anyway, we ate corn, beans, squash, cornbread and soup along the way. We had campfires every night and slept under the stars. We ate like royalty. It was so awesome.
I love Canada. Have I said that already?
“My name is Daphne,” the Odawa girl says to me finally as we step off our horses. We both hug. “I will remember you all my life,” she adds.
“Thank you,” I say to her. “I’ll never forget you.” I pull away from Daphne—my lip trembles.
We hug again and then she hops back on her horse and disappears through the apple orchard with Pontiac.
My butt is killing from riding for so long, but I don’t care, I am just so happy to see the Lotus-Five.
“We made it!” Ben shouts, kissing the time machine. “We actually made it.”
I scurry over to it and check to see if the panels are fine and the levels are stable. The hydraulics on the door are stuck a little but it opens after a few tries.
“This is too good to be true,” I say, feeling a rush of energy surge through me. “I just have to set it to 2017, and we’re ready to go.” I can picture my house, my parents, my brother—I can’t wait to get home— I can’t wait to share our amazing presentation.
“I can’t wait to use WiFi again!” Ben skips around the machine, pulling off broken twigs and dried leaves.
However, before the two of us can climb in, a bony grey wolf springs out from behind some fallen brush. It eyes us, it’s teeth glowing in the sunlight.
“OMG, OMG, OMG!” I whip back and grab Ben by his arm. “Don’t move. Whatever you do, don’t move.”
A loud thunderous explosion blasts the silent air and echoes out around the orchard.
The wolf, startled, darts away, finally disappearing into the trees.
“You there,” calls out a voice. “Alien girl?”
“Thomas McGregor!” I shout, racing over the tall grass.
He jumps off his buggy and embraces me. “Are ya headin back to your planet?” he asks, eyeing the Lotus-Five. “Ha. Very funny,” I reply. Thomas smiles and shyly lets go of me. “Well, if you’re hungra, I ‘ave all the potatoes you can eat in me buggy.”
It’s been two hours. The Lotus-Five won’t work. I need the app on my phone to initiate the freon and release the combustion chambers.
But my phone is dead. Obviously.
Once again, we are officially trapped in 1867.
What a nightmare.
Do you remember how much I hated Ben? Aka, Bully-Boy?
Would you believe he is my hero? He managed to piece together a string of Thomas McGregor’s batch of potatoes with some leftover wire from the storage unit, and ‘fandangle’ an electric current. And guess what? Ben Wiseman, charged my phone! I love potatoes. I actually love potatoes!
This is it. Everything is set, the controls and levels are fine. The app on my phone is compatible with the converter. “Are you ready?” I say to Ben. He looks at me and nods—there is excitement in his eyes.
Thomas stands outside the Lotus-Five, with his goofy smile and pile of potatoes.
I pull on the controls, and in a flash, we are swept into an abyss of emptiness.
Goodbye Thomas McGregor. Thank you for everything.
January 17th 2017 9:02 AM
Ben and I sit in class. Mrs. Dudley has a clipboard in her hand.
“Okay students, we are about to begin. Remember, you’ll need to be able to compare what Ottawa was like 150 years ago, to today.” My feet bounce under my desk. Ben is biting his nails. I know he’s not nervous. I know he’s excited. He leans over to me as his elbow rests on my desk. “I’m sorry I’ve been so mean to you all this time,” he whispers. “That’s okay,” I reply. He swallows and touches my hand. “It’s because I’m jealous of you. I’ve never met anyone so determined to succeed. I like that about you. I realize that now.” He awkwardly smiles and sits back in his chair. “I like you Gauri Sandhu.”
“I like you too Ben Wiseman,” I say. My heart beats faster and my face is warm. But it’s a good warm. It’s a happy warm.
Mrs. Dudley fixes her glasses and scans the clipboard. “Our first
group to present is…”