Samuel had only opened his timekeeping shop three weeks ago, but he was nearly certain customers came in the front door. Yet, there the old man stood behind him at the counter.
The old man seemed familiar to Samuel, like an estranged uncle who resembles your mother. The man wore an old brown coat that fell to his knees.
“May I, umm, help you?” Samuel, ever the good shopkeeper, asked.
“Excellent, excellent.” The man said, ignoring him. “It’s just as I remember it.” Goggles sat on top of his head, mussing the remains of his hair. A scraggly white beard adorned his face. Under his coat he wore an odd mechanical device as a chest plate. It clicked and whirred like a clock.
From what Samuel could see, the intricacy and precision of the mechanism rivaled even Breguet’s delicate work. “May I help you?” he asked again.
“Oh, yes, oh, yes,” the man said more to himself than to Samuel. He turned and his eyes fell on Samuel for the first time. “It’s so very good to see you alive.”
Before Samuel could say another word the front door opened and the bell jingled. His second customer, a young man, entered the correct way. He looked less out-of-place than the old man, but wore a bandanna over his mouth. He seemed to be sweating, and mumbling to himself, “Kill him and the pain goes away…Kill him and it’s gone…”
“Oh, we’re running late.” The old man pulled down his goggles and fiddled with the knobs on the machine at his chest.
“Can I help you?” Samuel asked the newcomer, struggling to gain control of the situation and help someone.
The young man raised a pistol and pointed it at Samuel’s chest. His coat fell open and a device similar to that of the old man’s, but less refined, peeked out.
“Samuel Quinn,” the young man said, “You have brought horrors upon this world.” His hand shook.
“What?” Samuel asked.
“In your future you’ve caused untold suffering by creating the Tempus Subcinctus, the Time Shifter.” He touched the device at his chest with his free hand. ”For this you must die.” His hand shook with such ferocity that Samuel feared the gun would go off accidentally.
“Not his time!” The old man jumped in front of Samuel, putting his back to the gunman, and grabbed Samuel around the waist.
As the gun went off the scene before Samuel’s eyes turned to shades of green then blue then fiery purple then black.
To Be Continued…