Samuel dropped to one knee on top of the Eiffel Tower. He held up a ring with a large, rare, blue diamond in it. A dirigible floated iconically in front of the setting sun. A gentle breeze blew in Melinda’s face. Her hair flared like the supermodels from a century later. Samuel had calculated everything to be as romantic as time travel would allow.
“Melinda, you are the love of my life,” Samuel said. “In all the times I have seen, in all the worlds I have traveled, there is no one who compares to you.
“Melinda Maltese Jones, Will you make me the happiest man in all of time and join with me as my partner, my love, my wife?”
Melinda pursed her lips then offered, “Ummmm… Can I think about it?”
Hope and confidence drained from Samuel’s face. He spluttered.
“Ummm…uhhh…yeah…I guess so…I…”
Melinda pulled Samuel from his knees into a standing embrace and kissed him, hard.
“Uh, you decided?” he asked when they came up for air.
“Of course I’ll marry you, Samuel James Quinn,” she said with that smile he couldn’t resist. “Just had to make you work for it.”
He returned her smile. “I don’t know,” he said, melting into her arms. “I might have to take it back now.”
She poked him in the ribs, “Not on your life.”
They watched the sunset arm in arm, as happy as a couple could be. Then they climbed down to the ground.
Each opened their coats to access large mechanical devices draped over their chests: time shifters.
“See you back at the base, my love,” Samuel said.
Melinda nodded and kissed him.
They both turned green, blue and then violet as they time shifted toward the future.
Six hundred years later, Horatio Rasch stood in an abandoned field that had once been in the midst of Iowa. Brock and two of Horatio’s acolytes set up equipment. They punched four large metal posts into the ground around a red X spray-painted on the dying grass. Two giant generators stood to one side. Large cables, thicker than a man’s forearm, ran from the generators to the posts and from each post to its two neighbors. Electricity crackled and fizzed and jumped from one post to another like a sci-fi boxing ring. A set of smaller wires wound from one of the posts to a large console, where Horatio stood.
Horatio sang to himself as he flipped switches and turned knobs. When that work was done, he danced and sang to himself as he checked the cables and their connections. Brock and the two acolytes followed him, though without dancing or singing.
Finally Horatio returned to the console. “Ready, boys?”
“Magnetic resistors are ready, boss,” Brock said.
Horatio pulled goggles down over his eyes. On his right side he looked like a twentieth century airman. On the other side he looked ghastly. The goggles magnified the emptiness where his left eye should have been. Horatio flipped a final switch. “Let’s go fishing.”
The lightning grew more twitchy and sporadic as Horatio worked.
A form appeared in the center of the ring. Lightning shot into the center of the ring as the form solidified into a man. He let out a long scream of agony before he collapsed on the spray painted X.
Horatio smiled. He shut off the machine and the lightning died.
Brock and the acolytes tied the man’s hands and feet. They sat him up and turned him to face Horatio.
“Why, hello, Sammy. You gonna invite me to the wedding?”