More from Zeit and Kylie’s story…
“Tea?” Kylie asks with a hint of humor and sarcasm. She motions with her hand toward the area of the store once occupied by my time portal. “Do you realize when you… whatever it is you do to get around… you’ve landed yourself in Seattle, the coffee capital of the country. No, I don’t have any tea.”
I stare at her, momentarily struck speechless. “Wait a minute. I reveal I can travel through time, and your most pressing concern is that the only refreshment you can offer me is coffee? Hmm… I think we’re going to get along just swimmingly. Now then, where were we?”
“How about I close up early and put a pot on, while you tell me how and why you’re standing in the middle of my shop?”
“That would be agreeable.”
She stares at me a moment longer before turning to lock the front door and switch the sign to ‘Closed‘. It makes me wonder what thoughts had her so captivated in that moment. I gaze at her, watching her glide down the aisle, every movement a testament to the love and care she pours into this place every single day.
“What?” She asks. “You were staring.”
“Oh, it’s nothing. Lead the way, my dear.”
She leads me through a heavy maroon curtain at the back of the shop and into what I assume to be the break room. Although, I can’t image she has many employees to take advantage of such a space.
“Does anyone work here with you?” I ask nonchalantly.
“Just one, but he’s part-time, not due to show up until tomorrow’s evening shift.”
I nod, and she motions toward the round table and chairs set up in the middle of the room. I set my top hat on the table, lift my coat tails and take a seat while she starts preparing the coffee.
“Can I help?” I offer, starting to rise.
“Are you kidding?” Tea drinkers should not be in charge of making the coffee.”
She snickers softly, and I do the same. She is quite amusing, this one.
She is gone but a few minutes, and returns with two steaming mugs.
“So, Zut,” she says, sitting down.
“Zeit,” I correct her. “Unusual name, I know. It’s German, means Time.”
“German? I thought you said you were from England?”
“I say England because it is easier for humans to identify with me if I am from a place they are familiar with. Although, I do greatly enjoy it; it is a place I return to often, and I speak as if I was from there. But as I exist outside of space-time, I do not have any one origin point, nor do I have a past or future. I simply am.”
Kylie nods, and I wonder if she is actually understanding my explanation.
“Can I come with you?” She says after pondering silently for a moment.
“You want to join me on a Time Walk?”
No one has ever requested that of me before. Most humans fear my kind, keeping their distance as best they can.
“You are sure?” I say. “What about your store?”
“You can travel through time right?” She pauses, and I nod in affirmation. “So… can’t you just bring me back to this same moment when we’re done? Then no time will have passed and the store will be fine.”
I have, without a doubt, never met anyone such as her, easily grasping the concepts of time travel and so willing to step into the unknown.
“Alright, we have an agreement.”
Pounding from outside the shop interrupts our conversation.
“Is that coming from the front door?” Kylie says.
“No, please!” A voice yells from outside before the pounding resumes.
The voice sounds eerily familiar, sending a chill up my spine. We must leave. Now.
“If you are adamant about accompanying me, the time has come. We must hurry.” I say. “Are you ready?”
She casts a concerned look in the direction of the commotion, then back at me and nods.
I retrieve my pocket watch from my inner coat pocket, return my hat to my head, and hold out my hand for hers.
“Is that how you get around?” She indicates the watch.
“You shall see. Please take my hand and close your eyes. This next part can be quite a rush.”