Rick Slade turned the watch over in his hands. It was a man's watch, squarish and silver, with a smaller face that also showed the date. The band was leather, but the brand was worn off of the fastener. The hands stood still at 2:14, the 12th of some month. He checked his own pocket watch and saw that it was correct there, and the date was the 12th.
Carefully, Slade set the watch down on his table and waited. Gears inside his own pocket watch ticked the seconds and minutes and soon, hours by, a testament to Slade's ultimate patience in all things fantastic. In this, he was rewarded, at 5:00 PM, when the strange watch shuddered and, for just the batting of an eyelid, was gone from sight.
He rose from his chair, slow and deliberate, and took the watch up. The hands rested at 10:10, the date at the 15th.
"Well this is peculiar."
Ignoring all outside distraction, Slade slipped the watch on and fastened it. Nothing happened. Perhaps whatever occurred had just been a freak event, he thought, a mechanical fault coming through-
The room bent on its ear and folded through a ceiling that had shifted to a maelstrom of black and coruscating blue lighting. Like a magician's handkerchief, Slade was twisted and drawn through the opening, the core of him screaming against the impossibility of it all, but his mind grappling onto the cause - to the watch - and its innate realness. This was terrifying and horrific, but manageable.
He'd been through worse.
His perceptions and senses split a hundred times over, until he could discern no more than banded light and a rushing, like a mountain stream. Shutting his eyes, as they were little more than a hindrance, he reached out a hand towards the sound and felt it break some barrier and collide with a surface like hot gravel coursing through his fingers.
Concentrating, he forced his hand to close into a fist as he tried to gain some anchor in the world outside this one (or was he in some great outside?). He fought the colossal battle, opening his eyes to the struggle and saw a gash in the light spiraling around him, and through it was the real world. Cursing wildly in Zulu, Mongolian, Mayan - anything that came to mind - he plunged his other arm through, and as soon as the wrist wearing the watch passed the wall of energy, the madness ended.
Coughing, he banged against a wall, holding on with one hand. He looked up and saw a groove cut diagonal along the side of a skyscraper made of marble and steel and glass and soaring a thousand feet above the streets below. Pain awakened and condensed his fractured senses as he realized it was his hand that had done the damage as it sought purchase.
"I see," he sighed. "At least the worst that can happen is I plunge to my bloody doom."
"Ah, that is what you think, Amerikaner!" a voice screamed from behind him.
Slade leaned back and saw a man standing on a hovering platform, his brown jumpsuit snapping in the sharp breeze. With a stitch of a mustache below the shadow of his nose, dark brown, greasy hair fluttering around his head and the familiar twin lightning bolts on his lapels, this could be only one man.
Maximillian Hitler, time-traveling son of Adolph Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, grown in the robotic womb of Eva B.R.A.U.N.
"Max, shouldn't you be dead in a Sumatran volcano?" Without active thought, Slade snapped around and pistoned off the building into the floating facist. "Let's see if we can't fix that."
* * *
To be continued next week!
(c) 2007, E. M. Held, all rights reserved