Trapped in 1867

Chap­ter 10: Home

The Hamilton Spectator - - LIVING - WRIT­TEN AND IL­LUS­TRATED BY CHRIS FRAN­CIS

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.

Early Af­ter­noon

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.”

Yuck.

Late-Af­ter­noon

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.

Early-Evening

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!

Sun­set

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…”

The end.

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