A Turn of the Century Tale of Fancy

Young Writer

“A Turn of the Century Tale of Fancy”

Evelyn opened her eyes and looked around the cabin. She blinked a couple of times washing the months’ long sleep from her eyes. Everything looked pretty much the same as when she lay down in the chamber, her body being put in a suspended state during her long trip, far from home.

She had stripped to her petty coats before her sleep not wanting to sweat on or permanently wrinkle her good clothes. Evelyn looked to her left and saw Miles, still sleeping. At least he had taken off his tie. How uncomfortable he looked. She had often wondered how she could find such a stiff old boy so exciting at the same time.

To her right Evelyn saw the Professor wrapped in a quilt his wife had given him just before the blast off in London, two, no three months ago if all had gone according to plan.

Gingerly lifting her head she looked around the cabin for Moxy. Moxy was the trained chimp the professor had brought from one of his expeditions to the Dark Continent. Moxy was an amazing creature. Some thought he was part human, as absurd as that may sound. Moxy seemed to be able to communicate silently with the professor as if they were having a conversation. Miles thought it intriguing, Evelyn thought it just strange. She was a realist and knew that animals could not talk. Darwin was correct. We came from them not the other way around.

Moxy sauntered over to Evelyn and with a cup full of water which he lifted to her lips. Evelyn drank thirstily and patted the ape on the head.

“Good boy, Moxy. Is anyone else up?” As silly as she knew she was being, one still talks to dogs and cats, one just doesn’t expect them to talk back do they?

Still not being able to wholly lift herself out of the iron chamber she did her best to look around more. Everything seemed to be as they left it. There was some packaging from food stuffs on the floor and a layer of dust on some things. Where did the dust come from? One never knows, do they?

The cabin was lit by electric lighting ingeniously run by a generator which ran off the propellers continuously running at the back of the ship. The propellers kept the ship ploughing through the cosmos on course and generally in a straight line. The Professor and Miles had met each others’ match when they were introduced to each other at the Explorers Club one spring evening at Professor Challenger’s talk about his Lost World. Hard to believe what Challenger had to say but like Conan Doyle said, “The little bugger that popped out of that egg was no hoax.” And Conan Doyle was always right. Always did have a keen sense of observation.

Evelyn thinking back on how they got started, Miles and the Professor tried to get Challenger to come along with them on this journey, but he was heading into the earth this time. Challenger had met a Swede that knew of a secret entrance up in the Alps that led into the underworld. Said he was going to try and reach the center of the earth.

Evelyn had almost told Miles that it sounded much warmer and safer under the earth’s crust than flinging oneself off its borders and into outer space, but Miles was so convincing and he made such a good case for his need of Evelyn’s knowledge of astronomy. What could she say? Miles always the romantic, said he’d bring her some extra wraps to keep her warm.

After a few minutes Evelyn was able to sit up and peer out of her chamber. These sleeping chambers had been made by the Professor’s assistants for our comfort and somnambulant sleep during our journey. Moxy was supposed to keep an eye on things. Evelyn never understood how a chimp could keep the ball rolling, but apparently he did as Evelyn was still alive and the others appeared to be breathing. Evelyn was trying to figure out if she had woken up too early or if she was just the first and they were finally approaching their destination.

“Moxy, wake one of the boys. We need to make sure they haven’t sustained any harm from the drugs.” Moxy obediently went over to Miles and gently tugged on his sleeve. Miles groaned and turned his head towards Evelyn.

Blinking, slowly coming out of his foggy sleep, “Love, is that you?”

“Yes, dear, we seem to have survived. At least this far.”

Miles started rubbing Moxy’s hand affectionately. Then his eyes popped open when he realized it was the chimps hand and not Evelyn’s ivory appendage. He started coughing and flailing about in his chamber, bonking his head on the iron sides more than once. Evelyn lunged towards Miles, herself staggering, and trying to steady him at the same time.

“Miles, relax. We’re alive and Moxy hasn’t eaten us or smothered us in our sleep. The chimp is only doing his job. And doing it quite well I might add.”

“Ev….Ev….Ev….Evelyn! For gods sake! What the devil is going on?”

“We are waking up in the cabin, dear. We are in the space, flying about at a great speed approaching the Red Planet! Get a hold of yourself, old boy, and stop acting like a woman.”

It was then laughter was heard coming from the Professor’s chamber. Moxy ran to his master with a pipe and slippers.

Evelyn left the side of Miles’ chamber and unlocked one of the wooden storage cabinets on board the ship and rustled through a crate to find her traveling clothes. The slacks and frock she put on had been made especially for this trip with lots of pockets and plenty of room to maneuver. She even had a small inside pocket made to hold her derringer. One never knew what to expect on a trip such as this.

While Moxy attended to the Professor, Evelyn, now fully dressed, tried to massage Miles’ legs and arms. He was especially stiff but Evelyn put him straight and had him up in short order. First thing Miles did of course was find his bow tie and tie it ‘round his neck. Evelyn wanted to pull it tighter but restrained herself as she knew there was no fighting Miles and his manner of dress. He dressed like it was still 1872 and not 1900.

“Miles! Miles! Come here! Look out the window! We did it! The Red Planet is here? Look! We did it!” the Professor was beside himself with enthusiasm.

For an old man the Professor had recovered from the Haitian concoction more quickly than both Evelyn and Miles as he was standing by the large observation window looking at their final destination. He had said that the zombie serum would enable the explorers to save their strength,, stave off boredom, and survive the long journey into outer space without ill effects. For all accounts he appeared to be correct.

Moxy was busy in the galley making a hearty stew to fortify the adventures after their long sleep. Miles and the Professor now were sitting at the round table in the middle of the cabin with charts and maps plotting their course of action after anticipated landing on the Red Planet. Evelyn stood still, transfixed, marveling at the deep black sky with the infinite number of twinkling lights that although she had studied and knew their earthly names did not realize how beautiful they would be from this seemingly close distance.

Since she was a little girl, Evelyn knew that her life would be special and now she could hardly contain her delight as this adventure would surely be known as one of the great exploratory events at the turn of the new century. Just another example of the capabilities of the human race at this special time in history. Her hope was that this exploration would enable her and Miles to acquire the monetary means and knowledge for their real passion, the study of the cooling of the earth. Their predicted new and coming ice age could possibly freeze her beloved England and end life as she knew it and she was determined to find the formula to save the earth from this frozen devastation. This safari to the Red Planet, a frozen lifeless planet, should enable Evelyn, Miles, and the Professor to set in motion plans to save their world.

Kozmicdogz  © 2013

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