Seeing the World with New Eyes

I screamed and screamed. The pain was unbearable. Why had Lina done this to me?Why had my daughter thrown me in this box? Why was she torturing me? Why? Why had she…why…what had she…what was she…why did Tilly…Tilly?

I could feel it. It was like a fog was lifting. Things started to make sense… and other things, started to make no sense at all. The pain stopped and I remembered who I was, who I really was. My name was Frank Clay, Mathilda was not my daughter, and I was most certainly not married to General Zlodeyskiy.

The last few days felt like a crazed nightmare, as if I had been watching them through someone else’s eyes. I felt like I had just woken up. The door to the chamber opened and I stepped out. Tilly was watching me, cautiously. “Frank?”

I gave her a smile. It was a bit wobbly like my legs, but it was sincere. “It’s me. I’m back.”

“Oh, thank god,” she said, looking noticeably relieved. “I thought I was going to go crazy.”

I nodded, feeling I had already done that. “What the hell is going on, Till?”

“I don’t know. One second the General’s picking up that horn thingy and the next second we’re sitting at his table eating dinner like we’re his family.”

“The horn?” It had to be. I suddenly remembered Zlodey…I mean, the General, General Zlodeyskiy, he had the horn on his forehead. Why did I keep forgetting that? “Maqesh said he could change the world with the horn to whatever he desired. That has to be it. That has to be what happened. The General picked up the horn and he altered reality!”

“Altered reality? Frank, that’s insane! That’s not just insane, that’s impossible!”

“It’s not impossible. You know we can alter reality through time travel. That’s why the Time Cops exist.”

“That’s not changing reality. That’s changing actions. It’s changing events. It’s not poof- new reality!”

“Trust me, it can be pretty ‘poof-new reality‘.”

“But this is still different.”


“Because you’re not suggesting that the General traveled through time and altered the past. You’re suggesting he changed the world by magic and that’s impossible.”

“What makes it so impossible?”

“Because magic doesn’t exist, Frank!”

I couldn’t help but laugh. “Really? After everything you’ve seen, you still think that?”

“Yes, everything has a logical explanation.”

I shook my head. “Well, we can worry about the whys and hows later. For the moment, we have something more important to deal with, namely putting everything back to the way it was.”

“How do you plan on doing that?” Tilly asked.

“Easy. I’ll go back undercover…”

“As what, Frank? You’re not a woman anymore.”

I looked down at myself and I surprised to find out she was right. For the first time in a seeming long time, I was not a woman. There was no way I was going to be able to pass as the General’s wife, Fran. I’d just be another stranger walking the palace. “Then you need to do it.”

Tilly gave me a strange look. “Do what?”

“Steal the horn!”

“The horn growing on his forehead?”


“You want me to pull the magical horn off of the General’s forehead?”


“That’s never going to happen, Frank. The General wouldn’t even let me get near him, let alone close enough to tear his horn off his head.”

“Of course, he would let you get near him. You’re his daughter!”

“I am not his daughter.”

“I mean in this world.”

“In this world, I’m not his daughter either. I’m yours.”

“It counts.”

Tilly shook her head. “I’ve barely seen him since the world reset. Haven’t talked to him, haven’t hugged him, haven’t waved. He doesn’t love me, Frank, and he certainly doesn’t trust me. He wouldn’t let me get anywhere near him. Not to mention, he’s already sent me away. Remember? I’m supposed to be off with Mayhew tucked away in a secure location. Your plan won’t work, Frank, and all it will do is blow our cover. Right now, he doesn’t know we know what’s going on.”

“Then what’s your plan, Tilly?” I asked.

“We need to get out of here and we need to go home, we need to get back to the Cave.”

That was a plan, I had to admit that. If we could get back to the Cave, we’d be able to regroup. We have resources there, access to information, not to mention the rest of our team. “That’s going to be much easier said than done,” I told her. “But first things first, we have to get rid of that. Where’d you even get a quantum chamber anyway?”

“I built it.” She held up her arm. “It’s in my database.”

I frowned. “That brings up some issues we’re going to have to deal with later. But for now, we have a whole set of other problems to deal, like we need to figure out how to sneak out of a secure, well-armed castle without being seen or, more importantly, killed. Then, assuming we can do that, we need to figure out some way to get out of the country and across the ocean without the General finding out.”

Tilly smiled. “Piece of cake.”

to be continued…


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