I’ve been sitting in this hotel lobby trying to look busy for over an hour. I have my laptop, my algebra homework, and my book, Bleak House. I can’t focus on any of it. I’m concentating on the conversations happening around me, but no clues yet.
I’m here for a purpose. For the last two weeks, i’ve heard rumors at school about one of the elevators at this hotel. There’s one special one that not only goes up and down; it goes back and forward in time. It might be only a rumor. Kids in my eighth grade class like to talk. But it could totally be real, and if it is, it would be a dream come true. I mean, my life here in 2019 is great , but it would break up the monotony of homework and some boring classes if i could escape to a different time sometimes. Not forever, just for like, a couple of days once a month. I’d have to figure out what to tell my parents, but i don’t want to count my chickens. First things first.
There are three elevators in this building; and six floors. This place is swanky, as my Mom says. It’s not a rumor, but a fact that Stephanie has stayed here a few times. You know, Stephanie, the youngest of the Three sister Fates. That’s another reason why people think this place is full of secrets. I want to learn them all. I’ve been watching people get on and off the elevators, and they all look bored. They don’t look like they’ve visited other times. I would be excited!
Sitting here eavesdropping isn’t getting me anywhere. I’m going to get on one of those elevators, push a button, and see what happens.
I pack up my stuff and head for the elevator in the middle. I think of starting at the left, but i feel more comfortable in the middle. It’s one of my many quirks.
No one else is going on. I press the up button. I could go down. I know there’s a basement, but i’ll bet that’s the only place down goes. It’s a long wait; almost three minutes. I take out my phone to text my Mom. I’ll be home by supper. She thinks i’m at the library. I shouldn’t have lied, but what should i have said? That i’m going downtown to the Ten Golden Junes to ride the elevators and see where they go? No. No, i couldn’t say that, though it would have been the truth.
The doors open, and I wait for one woman and her dog to get off. As always, i notice the dog first. She’s a beagle, and i think that’s a real silver collar she’s wearing. Her person says, come on, Julia. We don’t want to be late. Time is waiting. And i think, Time?
On her way out, the woman smiles at me and says, enjoy your stay, young lady. I notice she’s wearing workout clothes, but also, a lot of jewelry. She doesn’t look bored, though, like the others coming off the elevators. She looks like she and her pup have been to a party.
I step on, and the doors close behind me. I see something shiny next to my left foot. I pick it up and press the open doors button. It’s not too late. I haven’t pressed a button for the floor i want. I haven’t made up my mind. The woman must have dropped it on her way out. It’s a ring. I’d say a size six. And it’s a beautiful emerald, pear shaped, about five carats. My grandfather was a jeweler, and he taught me a lot about this stuff.
I press the open doors button again, but they won’t budge. I hear music piped in. It’s Franz Liszt.
I hear a voice. It’s a woman’s voice. It can’t be! Yep, it’s coming from the ring. I’m not imagining it. She says, Come in Agent Fifty Three! Fifty Three, are you there? You need to get here! Where are you?
And i think, well, now what do i do? I wanted a vacation from boredom, right? …
To Be Continued