Ad tempus

“Oh Malcom, relax,” she pleaded. “Nothing bad is going to happen.

“Then why do it at all?” He grunted.

“For fun?”

“Tampering with magic is not my idea of fun.”

“Oh shush,” she chided.

BookShe flipped her flaxen bangs out of her face and pushed up her glasses. The text was old, she couldn’t even make out all the words let alone translate them all. Magic or not, this book contained history. It radiated out and washed over her. A cross breezed picked up and ruffled the pages. By the time she regained control of the book she had completely lost her spot. Looking down at the new page she quietly studied it.

“Huh,” she mused. “This seems to be some type of…protection spell? Apparently if you enchant an object that has a connection to you and follow the directions to secure the object, it can protect you. If, in the future, you are in trouble you will be brought to the object. Although I can’t quite understand it all. There are references to ‘displaced’ but it already says you’ll be transported. Weird.”

“Yeah, real weird Amelia,” he grumbled. “Can we go now?”

“I’ll make you a deal. We will do one spell, then we will leave.”

“No”

“Oh come on. Aren’t you the least bit curious?”

“No. If you want to try it  you can. I’ll wait for you in the hall on the condition you leave the book here when you are done.”

She figured it was her best offer and she wasn’t sure she could navigate the wooded path on her own. Malcom was also right, this place was creepy. She understood his desire to get out as soon as possible.

“You have yourself a deal. I might as well try this one. As good of an endeavor as anything right?

“Sure, sure. I’ll be right outside the door.”

“Chicken”

“Cluck, cluck, cluck.”

She looked down at the book seeing what she would need. She took of her necklace and removed the old wedding band. It had been her grandmothers and her mothers. Now it was hers. It definitely had a connection to her. Looking around the room she quickly collected the other items she would need and set to work. It wasn’t until the ritual was done that she saw the final condition. She had to bury the object, only then would the enchantment be complete. Well, she she couldn’t cast the heirloom aside so easily and certainly not here. If she were to leave it, she’d leave it with her mother.

She moved to shut the book, then looked down at it again. She looked at the incantation that she was suppose to say if she ever needed protection. It was latin, something about time. Why was it in latin? The rest at been in Old Norse for pete’s sake. Before she could talk herself out of it she ripped out the spell and the pages surrounding it. Instantly regretting the defacement she shut it and carefully folded the pages. The damage was done, the very least she could do was take the pages and study those. She didn’t want to leave the book but Malcom would pitch a fit if she did. Tucking the pages into her hidden jacket pocket she entered the hall. Malcom was no where to be seen. With the hairs on her neck rising she started to search for him. Creeping down the hall she began to hear raised voices outside.

“Citizen Tilio, we have reason to believe you have been acting out of emotions outside the acceptable ranges,” the DAEE Officer droned.

Amelia approached the front door momentarily loosing the conversation. Gingerly she slid up to the door and peered around it. Malcom straightened defiantly before replying, “What are the charges, exactly?”

“Malcom Tilio, you have been accused of acting out of love. If you could peacefully come in and submit to correction this doesn’t have to get any worse.”

She was frozen. Malcom was in love? With who? More importantly how could he have gotten caught? That was their first rule: Don’t get caught. So, so basic. She could hear the situation escalating outside. Malcom was angry, another offense, and she had to help him. Without any more hesitation she burst from the house. Luck was on their side because there were only two officers on the scene and one hadn’t been facing the door. As soon as Malcom saw her he was in motion. He had the officer that had been facing the door on his back before he could react to Amelia’s appearance. As the second officer moved to immobilize Malcom she was on his back and they were crashing to the ground. Finding her feet first she stood, pulled the man’s shirt up over his head, tied it and dashed to Malcom. He had doubled down onto the first officer and was locked in a scuffle.

Hating herself, Amelia kneed the officer in the temple as she ran up to the wrestling pair. Malcom froze, stunned, as the man fell to the ground. He rolled, grasping his head in pain. Clearly he would live. Without wasting more time, Amelia grabbed Malcom’s hand and they took off into the woods. As they skirted trees and rocks she couldn’t help but feel exhilarated. She had never been so defiant, so impulsive, so alive…maybe the rebels were right. Maybe people were suppose to feel emotions. She was scared out of her mind that the officers would catch them, and she didn’t care. She was glad to be feeling something, for once.

The gratitude slipped as the shots started going off around them. They made there way down a slope, zig-zagging down, hoping that made them harder to hit. Apparently they were wrong. Amelia was clipped in the arm. Distracted she misjudged the rocks and took a tumble. Malcom, ever faithful, dropped with her. There was a rotted-out fallen oak a few feet away. He quickly drug her to it and they hid inside. She started emptying her pockets, looking for her handkerchief. Her search was halted when the first thing to come out was the folded up sheets with the spell. She looked down at her hand.

The ring gleamed on her finger, never being returned to the necklace after being enchanted. She knew it was stupid and a waste of time but she couldn’t get the thought out of her head. Ignoring the growing pain in her arm she began to dig a little hole.Malcom was in a constant state of motion. He couldn’t decide whether staying next to her or keeping watch would be more helpful. He compromised by whipping his head back and forth ceaselessly.

Finishing the hole she unceremoniously dropped the ring in. She had just refilled the hole when she could hear the footsteps approaching. Tearing open the sheets she furiously scanned the pages for the incantation. Malcom was hissing something at her when the words filled her vision. As the officers crouched down with their guns drawn at the mouth of the stump Ameila shut her eyes.

Unsure of what made her do it,  she thought of all of her fear letting it fill her before she cried, “Ad tempus quo mihi et salvus eris.”

Nothing happened. She tried it again. Still nothing. She was partially through repeating in a third time when she disappeared. All that remained were the sheets of paper and her friend. Grief struck Malcom, confused as to where she could possibly he went, without fight, with the men. It would be weeks before he would realize the folded up book pages. Part of the possessions returned to him after successfully being corrected and allowed to return to his life. Now Amelia free. Years passed, the world changed and Malcom assimilated. The Department Against Extreme Emotion grew in importance and eventually spread to most of the world. They had even developed drones that could hand out notices for minor offenses. Offenses that just needed a DAEE group session to correct, things such as shouting or laughing too much.

One year, while Malcom was out hiking, he came across the old building. He couldn’t quite place the reason why, his ‘correction’ training had buried the memories deep, but he refused to enter old shack. Instead he wandered off into the forest surrounding the grounds, unknowingly retracing the path they had run years earlier. He had the oddest sensation he was being watched. The unease made him quicken his pace. He started to get careless and successfully regained his balance four times before falling, on top of an old log. The tree was so unstable he found himself crashing through the bark after a momentary pause.

He hit his head on a knot and paused to recover. Rubbing his head he had the oddest sense of deja vu. Painfully, he realized the water bottle that was clipped to his belt was digging into his back. As he wrestled to flip onto his side, pinned the way he was, the bottle finally broke free of the ground. When he finally looked into the ground where the bottle had been, a bit of metal winked at him.  Without thinking he reached out, picked it up, and wiped off the dirt. To his surprise it was a ring. Then he heard the voice of a phantom.

“I’m sorry sir, but can you tell me where I am?” Amelia whispered.

Before the man stood a teenage girl. The one he had loved, or thought he had loved. Love was a falsehood. A construct. In fact, she had been a construct. An imaginary friend. Or so he had been told. However, the blood trailing down her arm seemed genuine enough. As did the tears that started to fall from her eyes. Out of no where a DAEE Courtesy Drone appeared. It hovered up to the girl and a beam washed over her face. After a minute a probe came out of the drone with a ticket. Startled Amelia took it.

“Citizen,” it dictated. “You are officially cited for the crime of crying. Please attend the courtesy meeting that will be held tomorrow morning at 7:30. Your attendance is mandatory. Refusal to attend will result in a warrant for your arrest. ”

All done serving summons, the drone hovered off to find some other offender. Amelia stood at a loss for words. Although he was confused as if she was ever real or not he knew even in his imagination that was a rare occurrence. However, the drone had seen her. Cited her even. So she must be real. Feeling utterly ridiculous he pushed himself up onto his knees and slowly rose.

Meanwhile Amelia studied the summons. A ticket for crying? That couldn’t be right. Tears were unavoidable, the pain radiating from her arm demanded them, in fact. Looking up at the man she was utterly lost on what to do. Then she remembered Malcom had been in the log when she buried the ring. The officers had undoubtedly taken him somewhere.

“Excuse me sir, but do you happen to know Malcom Tilio? He is a boy about my age, nineteen to be precise, shaggy black hair, gray eyes, an inch taller than me.”

“I’m more than an inch taller Amelia,” he cut her off. “A lot’s changed. Not your injury though. Why don’t you sit down and I’ll fix it for you. I have a feeling you’ll want to be sitting while we talk.”

 

 

Part 2 | Part 3

Found via Pinterest.
Prompt: Write a story set in a world where crying is forbidden
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