Day five! I picked the name Minerva in honor of Minerva McGonagal, but this isn’t meant to be fan fiction. I don’t presume this is the Harry Potter universe. The name Minerva is just awesome. So, here we go, another entry into Time Travelers, Witches, and Saints: A Compendium of Lesser Known Time Travelers and Other Terrors.
Nineteen-year-old Minerva Baines had five tickets from the Mrs. Fellinghast’s Time Travel Fair. Minerva had been saving money since she was twelve and saw the fair’s an advertisement folded up and tucked into her mother’s purse. Mrs. Fellinghast’s Amazing Tent of Portals! The largest collection of time travel in the known world! Visited by royalty and presidents! Come to the fair where it is never too late.
Minerva’s mother never went to the fair, any fair. Every coin she ever had she handed over to her parents or her husband, and they didn’t believe in fairs of any kind or midnight balls or dream markets or witchcraft parades. “Do you believe in them?” thirteen-year-old Minerva asked her mother just weeks before her mother died.
Her mother had clutched her high collar. “Of course not dear. I only took that clipping to burn it. It was perfect for your father’s Sunday fire.”
But Minerva knew the clipping hadn’t seen her father’s regular Sunday burning. Every Sunday after breakfast but before church service began, Mr. Baines welcomed the congregation and any neighbor so inclined to come to his front lawn and thrown cursed and wicked papers in the fire. There was always someone waiting in the Sunday morning light with something to burn.
Minerva had hated the fire since she was eight. A teacher had given her a poem, and her father found it in her school bag, declared it unfit for a girl, and tossed it into the Sunday fire before anything else. The teacher had simply scribbled tiny poems to every student, each poem unique. “Just thoughts to carry with you,” the teacher had said.
Now Minerva stood at the entrance to the Time Travel Fair, whispering the poem to herself. People crowded the path into the fairgrounds, but no one look her way. Five tickets warmed her pocket. Where could she go?
She’d read the very small print on the back of each ticket at least a dozen times. Valid one use. One traveler per ticket, non-transferable. Mrs. Fellinghast & Associates bear no liability for travel incidents or affects. Minerva patted her pocket and ventured forth, thrilled that her father believed her at revival on the other side of town. She couldn’t imagine anyone at the Fair would know her or her father.
The wide path into the fair lead to a circle of twelve tents, each different and suggesting to which era it lead. Unsure and not wanting anyone to see her indecisiveness, she walked purposefully to the tent of deep red velvet. Gold light spilled from the opening. She stepped in and gasped.
Mrs. Fellinghast stood there at a heavy wood cabinet, talking seriously to the girl taking tickets. The girl, no more than eleven, Minerva guessed, looked well-groomed and cared for but for the scar from her temple to her collarbone. Mrs. Fellinghast wore a stunning green and black striped dress, its bustle defying physics and her hat its own entertainment of feathers and beads. She cast a glance at Minerva and looked her up and down. “A ticket holder, I see.”
Minerva nodded. The girl and the woman were impossibly glamorous in the their silks and brocades. The girl didn’t wear a hat, but she wore shiny red ribbons in her braids.
The girl stepped forward. “This is here you wants to go, is it?”
Mrs. Fellinghast cleared her throat.
“I mean,” the girl said, “Would you like to see the future?”
“I think so, miss. But, excuse me for being ignorant, please, but what future? It’s my first time here, you see.” Minerva didn’t want to confess being new, but she didn’t want to look foolish pretending what she didn’t really know.
Mrs. Fellinghast moved forward. “My dear, we’re so glad you’ve decided to give us a try. You’ll find we run the best time travel fair in the country. More options and safe returns. Always.”
Minerva blushed though she didn’t know why. “That’s what I heard, ma’am. I’ve been wanting to come here ever so long.”
“Good, good.” Mrs. Fellinghast patted Minerva’s arm. “Thank you for placing your faith in us. Now what our precious April Mae can explain…”
The little girl curtseyed.
“is that this portal goes two hundred years into the future. It’s one of our biggest journeys we have so far. If you wish to travel somewhat closer to home, we do offer the one hundred year forward cabinet to 1980. Young people such as yourself seem especially fond of that particular cabinet. But there’s also more modest cabinets going five years forward and twenty.”
Minerva pulled a ticket from her pocket. She didn’t want to look hesitant. She had four other tickets. She could use one for the first tent she stumbled into. Perhaps she wished she’d told her best friend, but as much as she loved her friend, Dolly tended to spill secrets to her parents. but Dolly did love an adventure and was so much better at them. “This is perfect,” she said. “I’d love to know the world 200 years hence.”
April Mae held out her hand. “One ticket, please.”
Mrs. Fellinghast nodded. “You’ll be so amazed. Trust me.”
Minerva placed the ticket in the little girl’s hand. “I can’t wait.” She stared at the cabinet door. “What exactly do I do?”
“It’s very easy, miss,” April Mae replied. “This here cabinet connects to another cabinet in our lord’s 2080. With your ticket…” She looked down at the silvery colored paper in her hand. “You get five hours. For five hours the connection remains open and you just take a stroll, look around to your heart’s content, and come back. That’s all there is to it. But you got to remember to when the connection closes.”
“What happens if I don’t make it back in the five hours?”
April Mae almost shrugged, but glanced at Mrs. Fellinghast. “Best thing to do is wait for the next traveler to come through. It don’t make no never mind for you to come back on someone else’s ticket.”
Mrs. Fellinghast cleared her throat again.
“I mean, it’s fine to use the cabinet any time it’s open once you’re on the other side.”
Minerva approached the cabinet and put her hand on the latch. “Doesn’t it get confusing for the future if people from now keep wandering in? Won’t my clothes be all wrong? How will I get along?”
“You don’t got to worry about that, miss,” April Mae. “I mean, you’ll understand when you get there.”
April Mae moved back from Minerva and the cabinet door. “You can come back earlier if you like to. No harm in that.”
“Of course,” Minerva replied turning the latch and pulling open the door. For a moment the cabinet was dark, then a light shone through. Her heart leapt. As gracefully as she could manage, she climbed inside the cabinet, staring at the light.
Mrs. Fellinghast glided over to the cabinet door. “Thank you for your patronage, young lady. Your life is about to change.”
The cabinet door closed and nineteen-year-old Minerva Baines stepped into the light. “Travel wise,” she whispered as two hundred years of time blew over her.
Thanks for reading!