The Fae Worlds

Going Back In Time

“We need your help.” The voice echoed around Eleanor, making it impossible to know where exactly it was coming from. She stilled, heart pounding, fear sweeping through her. According to her client the job was an easy one. An exorcism, to rid the building of a trapped spirit, but something about the voice told her they were wrong – and if she hadn’t needed the money she’d have already been out the door. “Lea, we know why you’re here.”
“How do you know my name?” Before she could stop herself the words were out. “I don’t know who, or what, you are, but I’m not getting involved.”
They, whoever they were, laughed. “You’re already involved. You’re here. As you’re here we can use you to change things.”
“I’m not interested in being used.”
“Do you really think you can stop us if that’s what we’re going to do?” Three women were suddenly standing in front of her, and all she could do was stare at them. It was the one in the middle, slightly taller than the other two, who was speaking. “Normally we wouldn’t be getting involved. Keeping our distance from messes like this is the most logical thing, and we would have done, but this… it was never meant to end up like this. It was meant to be the beginning of something. Instead it turned out to be the end of something, something very important, and we need someone to fix it, before the changes make things worse.”
“From what I read this all happened years ago.”
“It did. That doesn’t change the facts. What happened was a mistake, and, if it isn’t set right, it’s going to cause some real problems in the not too distant future. We need someone to make sure that doesn’t happen. You’re here, so you’re that someone.”
“Why me?”
“Bad luck.” The three women all shrugged at the same time. “We can’t let you leave, so you’re going to have to do this, even though it’s obvious you don’t want to.”
“No, I don’t. I’m being paid to sort out the ghost problem, nothing more, and I’m pretty certain you won’t be able to pay me for this if I do help you.”
“Does money really matter that much to you?”
“Paying my bills matters to me. If I don’t earn enough money I can’t pay my bills, so if I was to help you I’d need some sort of financial contribution.”
“You’re going back in time ten years. You’re going work for this company, who will be paying you to work for them, and, like all of their employees, you’ll live here. Anything you earn will exist when you return to the future. I hope that’s enough of a financial contribution.”
Eleanor didn’t have a chance to reply. The women, all three of them, made the same gesture at the same time, and she found herself standing in the same place. The room was different, cleaner and full of people, none who noticed her sudden appearance. She ran her tongue over her bottom lip as she looked around. Next steps. Going back to her time wasn’t going to happen until she fixed whatever went wrong… and it would be a hundred times easier if she knew what that was. She’d done enough research to know the ghost she was dealing with was named Megan, who, like all trapped spirits, died before her time in unpredictable circumstances.
If Eleanor thought for a moment it was possible she’d be thrown into the past by three strange women who obviously knew more than she did she’d have done more research. Sighing, she raked a hand through her hair. First step was working out what the job was. As she walked in the direction she’d originally been heading she stepped through a set of double doors into what looked like a lab, everyone wearing the same white jacket, most focused on whatever it was they were working on.
“Newbie.” Eleanor looked at the speaker. “Catch.”
A guy in the middle of the room threw something at her, and she put out her hands to catch it. Second mistake of the day, the first one having been walking into the building in the first place. Most people wouldn’t have been able to catch what he’d thrown. Their eyes met, and she was surprised to see he was grinning. “Good catch.” He nudged the person next to him. “Meg, she caught it.”
“I told you she would.” Meg, probably the same Megan Eleanor was there to help, sighed. “That’s why she was hired.”
“Yeah, we’ve been told that before, and quickly found out that the person they hired was lying. Eleanor wasn’t.”
“Lea.” Eleanor looked between the two of them. “The only two people permitted to call my Eleanor are my parents.” Seeing them was something she’d not be free to do until she was back in her own time, especially as her other self would be around somewhere. “What, exactly, was I meant to be lying about?”
“Having fae blood. We’ve been looking for someone like you for months, but most people were willing to do anything for the money we offered them.” He shrugged. “I’m guessing you aren’t here for the money.”
“No, I’m not.”
“Good.” He took a couple of steps closer. “I’m Scott, and this is Megan. We’re the two people who are in charge of this lab, which means you’re working for us, and we look forward to getting to know you better, Lea.”
Megan looked up for the first time. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Lea. As you know why you’re here it would be great if you could get started. You’re at station three for now.” A flash of pain filled her eyes, and then it was gone. “If you need any help then let us know.”
“Will do.”
Eleanor walked over to station three, trying to work out what the lab was for, although it seemed likely it had something to do with fae magic. She did her best to seem as though she was meant to be there, she was the newbie they’d hired, and hoped the women made certain the true newbie, whoever they were, wasn’t going to turn up unexpectedly. A notebook was in easy reach, and she pulled it closed to her, hoping it would explain why she was there. It looked like it had been written by the previous occupant of station three, who, fortunately, had easy to read handwriting.
“Megan and Jenna were close.” Scott’s voice was right behind Eleanor, and she jumped. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you. I just thought you might need a little more information than you were given, because it’s not easy when you get thrown in the deep end.”
“That would be helpful.” She turned to look at him. “I take it Jenna’s not coming back.”
“I haven’t known anyone to, but anything is possible. This isn’t an easy job to do. Obviously you know that. I can’t imagine you would have got yourself into the middle of something like this without doing your research.”
“Of course not.” Bluffing all the time wasn’t going to work, so Eleanor would need to find the time to do that research, if she wanted to work out what she was meant to be stopping. Not that it would be as useful as it would have been in the future. She looked down for a moment. Maybe her lack of knowledge was the reason she’d been chosen. Looking back at Scott she gave him a smile. “Tell me what I’m meant to be doing.”
“Station three is for experimenting with magics the fae haven’t had for decades. When they travelled here, from Kalinia, they’d been damaged. You know all of this. Everyone knows it.”
Nodding, Eleanor realised she really had been tossed in at the deep end, but it wasn’t by Megan and Scott. It was by the three women who’d sent her through time, to a lab that studied fae magic. Surely she should have known it existed. She hunted deep in her memory banks for anything that might be useful, only to find there was nothing. “Everyone does.” She hoped she hadn’t left her reply too late. “My own family have had their issues.” Shrugging, not certain how honest she should be, she nibbled her bottom lip. “I’m half fae. My father is Kalinian. My mother was born on Earth.”
“Having you here is going to be great for our research. No one half fae has ever wanted to get involved in this before, which, I guess, is understandable. Experimenting with magic isn’t the safest thing to do, but we are doing it for the right reasons. We believe it is possible for us to fix the problems caused by the fae staying for too long on Kalinia, because they didn’t want to believe what was happening, but, in order to do that, we need to learn as much as possible about how the magic works in the first place.”
“You haven’t got as far as you’d like, have you?”
“No, we haven’t. Willow is happy enough for us to be doing something like this, but even she can’t convince the fae to help us at the moment. It’s too soon.” Scott laughed. “Honestly, I think you could be here for millennia, and it would still be too soon. There’s no reason for me to believe there will come a time when the fae and the humans will be able to work together, and it will be the fae who are the problem.”
“Change is hard for the fae. My father… he’s very different to the average fae, and I know that. It’s always something I appreciated about him.” Eleanor shrugged. “Experimenting with magic like this isn’t a safe thing to do.”
“I never said it was. We’ve had numerous accidents, and there will be more. Nothing is going to stop me, or Megan, from believing this is the right thing to do. Surely your father would like to be able to use the magics he lost.”
“Possibly, but there are those who say we lost those abilities for a reason. If we did, and you’re trying to get them back, then you could make life much more difficult for all of the races here.”
“Yes, we could.” Scott studied her. “Why are you here?”
“Honestly, I don’t know. Not for certain. I think what you’re doing could well be the best thing anyone’s done for the fae, but, at the same time, it could also be the worst thing. Does it matter than I don’t think the same way you do?”
“Not entirely, but it’s not as though we haven’t had saboteurs before. We’ve lost people thanks to them.”
Eleanor surprised herself by touching his hand. “I promise you I’m not a saboteur. I know too much about fae magic to want to do something that stupid. I’m here to help, as much as I can, although I’m not sure how easy any of this will be. I do want a chance to be able to veto something if I think it might be too dangerous to give to the fae. I truly believe there are magics we shouldn’t ever be able to use again, but there are those we need.” She smiled. “I know it’s not going to be easy for you to trust me when you’ve had those issues before. I get that. I just… I’m not them.”
“Maybe I shouldn’t, but I do believe you.” He smiled back. “How about we get back to talking about station three? We can have the philosophical discussions when we aren’t meant to be working.”
“Okay.” Their eyes met. “What is station three for?”
“We’re learning about the magics by family. You’re studying the Wests.”
For a moment all Eleanor could do was stare at him. “I know why Jenna left.” She glanced down at the notebook. “I’m going to need five minutes.”
Before Scott could reply Eleanor walked away, leaving station three and the lab behind her, wondering if there was any way of getting back to her time before everything fell apart – and took her with it.

A Mistake?