Keiren reached into the locker he had rented at the recreation center, locker 13. His back was to me, he pulled something towards him and froze. His shoulders stiffened.
“What is it? What’s wrong?” I asked.
He turned and looked at me while holding something out. There were two of them; little bronze, metal hearts with gears showing. They were both on bronze chains.
“Do you know what these are? Or how they got here? I’ve never found anything in this locker before and I always rent this one out.” He stated.
“Maybe someone else rented it and accidentally left them; they could be best friends necklaces or something. See how they’re identical?”
“But what’s with the numbers?” He asked.
If you looked really close at the hearts, you could see numbers through gaps, on three of the gears.
“It looks like a date. What’s the sense of having that, time moves faster than the days do. Most people carry watches that only show the date as an extra feature, not as something primary.”
“Why’s it frozen on that one date?” He questioned. “It isn’t today’s date.”
“Maybe the...batteries died.” EHHHH, wrong. I could hear the buzzers going off in my head. I turned one of the hearts over in my hand. There was no battery cover, nor anywhere to fit a battery. Maybe it’s solar-powered? There aren’t any little black squares to collect the sun’s energy with, so no. That couldn’t be it.
“Maybe it’s a type of remembrance thing, ya’know so the owner could remember an important moment in time?” Keiren suggested.
“I don’t think so. It looks...too complicated for that.” There was a little button on the lower end of the right side of the heart and two on the top left. I tapped the left side button that was closer to the bottom. It made a clicking noise and changed to today’s date.
“Hey. The date on mine just changed to today. Like magically.”
I bet it was because I pressed the button on mine. I pressed the lone button that was located to the right. It moved a year backwards.
“Did anything happen to yours?” I asked Keiren.
“Yeah, the year changed to last year, that was weird.”
“Every time I change something on the one I have, yours changes, too. Hm, curiouser and curiouser.” When I looked back down, I saw that there was a light in the middle of the heart that glowed bright green. “Hm, what’s this?”
“It’s glowing...look so is yours!”
He looked down at the heart in his hands and turned it over and over, looking over every square inch to try and see what was making it glow. I decided to just push the light to see if it were some type of button.
As soon as my finger applied a slight amount of pressure, I felt like I was a ribbon being pulled behind a running child. I felt like I was being twisted this way and that, I felt like I was being waved like a flag. Everything was pitch black, then all I saw were stars that expanded so they became the light of day. I was pulled to the concrete sidewalk, like a screw to a very powerful magnet. I wobbled slightly and steadied myself as I came to a stop that left my head spinning. I heard a snap and Keiren landed next to me with his hand on his head. He almost fell over as he tried to steady himself as I just had.
“What was that?” He asked with a slight slur. He, then shook his head and asked again more clearly.
“I don’t know. What I want to know is how we’ve gotten outside. I don’t remember stepping through those doors.” I said matter-of-factly hitching a thumb at the doors of the old recreation center that loomed behind us. We both looked around. Things looked a little different. Where was the bench that was out outside last month? They couldn’t have brought it in already; the nice weather just started. There was a newspaper booth behind us. It looked old and rusted, though a new one had been bought about 3 months ago. It was supposed to be shiny and red, with maybe only a few scratches or evidence of wear. I felt a pull towards it.
“Hey, can you grab a paper?” I asked Keiren as I turned to look at him.
“A paper? For what?”
“I don’t know. I just want a paper, can you get one, please?”
He walked over to the old newspaper booth, grabbed a paper and handed it to me. He then walked over to the window of the recreation center and peered through. A few people were walking on the street, but no one paid us mind. I recognized them all, that’s a good sign; things couldn’t be as out of whack as they seemed.
I looked down at the paper. The news story on the cover was something about a house fire that had happened. I don’t remember hearing about this. In this small town, news traveled fast. Way too fast for my liking; if there was a fire, I probably would’ve known and there would probably be some type of donation box at the recreation center for the family. I looked at the date of the paper: “April, 15, 2010.” But today was April, 15, 2011. That is a nasty misprint; something the editors definitely wouldn’t have overlooked.
“Evie! Look here!” Keiren still had his faced pressed to the window.
“What is it?”
“Look, it’s Miss Daisy! I thought she died this past December.”
“You must be mistaken, maybe it’s someone who looks like-” but there she was. Sh even had her metal walker, which was adorned with pink tennis balls on the legs and the teddy bears attached to the top bar. She was walking slowly toward the door to the hall they reserved for bingo. She smiled at everyone who she scuttled past.
“Hi, Miss Daisy. Nice day, huh?” “Here, Miss Daisy, I’ll get the door for you.” It was definitely her. But it just couldn’t be. I backed away from the window slowly. The Pizza shop across the street had its Thursday special board hanging in the window. Today was Friday. I jogged across the street with Keiren on my heels. I went up to the shop clerk.
“Hi, how can I help you?” the clerk asked with generic happiness.
“I was wondering why the Thursday special was in the window, today’s Friday isn’t it?” I asked very quickly.
“No, today is Thursday, thanks for your concern though.” the clerk replied as she hitched a thumb towards the calendar on the wall.
I went to look at it. Sure enough the heading read: April 2010. The kittens on the calendar looked down at me with their big eyes. It felt like they were begging me to understand. I realized I still had the metal heart clutched in my hand. The smallest gear read: “4,” the middle sized one: “15” and the biggest one: “2010.” I saw Keiren’s head shoot up in surprise. He was looking at the metal heart in his hand, too. I think he came to the same realization that I had.
“Evie. I think we traveled a year in the past.”
We went over to the recreation center and sat down on the steps in front.
“I don’t understand. All I did was press a button. I didn’t turn any dials or anything. I don’t see why it would send us to today.” I said with a bit of exasperation. “And how are we going to get home, to our time, if we don’t have any clue as to how to work them?”
“Well, let’s retrace what happened before we traveled here.” Keiren said. “Ok, so first what did you do to it?”
“I pushed the bottom, left side button and it changed to today’s- well the present time’s- date. Then I pushed the right side button and the year changed to 2010.” I said with my my fingertips pressed to my temples. “Then I pushed the glowing green button. And finally we ended up here. I didn’t do anything else.”
“Maybe we should try that again. Then maybe it’ll change back to 2011. What do you think?”
“Okay, we can try. If it doesn’t show “2011” we just won’t press the green button to make us travel.”
“Alright. Sounds solid. Ready when you are.”
I nodded at him and pulled the metal heart closer to my face. I pushed the bottom left button. The heart clicked, but nothing seemed to change. Then I pushed the right side button. I stopped breathing for a moment. What if it didn’t change to 2011? What if we couldn’t figure it out? What happens if we can’t get back to our present time?
I tried willing it. I kept saying a steady mantra of “2011” under my breath. I pressed the right side button. The click seemed to echo, my eyes squeezed shut at the sound of it. Please, please, please. I carefully opened them and exhaled easily. On the biggest gear “2011” was displayed. The green light started a steady glow and I showed Keiren with a smile.
This time, he pressed the button. Then everything went pitch black and the sky ignited into stars.
We ended up back where we were; at locker #13 in the recreation center. The florescent lights were buzzing at an almost inaudible level. I was surprised that I could hear them over the sound of my beating heart. We decided not to put them back in the locker. What if someone who didn’t know how to work them found them? They’d be stuck.
“So, what should we do with them?” Keiren asked as he kicked rocks across the concrete.
“Hide them, I guess. So no one will find them. Who knows what trouble they could get into? Besides, many people today believe that wishes don’t come true.” I replied with a smile.
Keiren looked at me strangely. I looked down at my feet. I was skipping over all the lines in the sidewalk. After all, wishes really do come true. I just wanted to see my grandma. One. Last. Time. I just wished I could’ve brought her daisies.