Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: July 30, 1818

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Everyone was all smiles at breakfast when they awoke in 2145. The only person not smiling was Mario Matic, who no longer existed. Mateo’s once-mother, Aura wasn’t able to see the wedding, but at least his once-father did. He had always been more committed to developing a relationship with the son he barely ever knew, and couldn’t remember. There was a chance that Arcadia would take give them a break for a honeymoon, but they weren’t all that upset when they discovered this to not be true. Their chances hadn’t been that high.
After everyone was finished with their meal, Dar’cy, who was growing up so incredibly fast, stepped away from the group and started talking in monotone. “Mario Matic was also known as The Kingmaker. Like his sister, he would travel the world, saving people’s lives. But he wasn’t doing it in just a general sense. It was his job to ensure that certain future leaders and significant historical figures survived to realize their greatness. You wouldn’t believe how many times a president, or a politically-driven rapper, or an actual king was in danger of dying—or giving up on their dreams—before they could do anything with their lives. You will be adopting some of his responsibilities for the next three days. You’ll be given no instructions for any one of them, but I will allow you to dress for the occasion. Please proceed to the costume shop once you have finished cleaning up camp.
“What kind of clothing is this?” Mateo asked as he was deciding what to wear. He had to choose from a loose white button-up shirt and a different loose white button-up shirt.
“Looks like nineteenth century,” Lincoln said, admiring a black top hat.
“Lots of patches,” Darko pointed out.
Mateo put on one of the shirts, along with denim pants with braces. He topped it off with a straw hat. The ladies, Serif and Leona were wearing long dresses with long sleeves, and bonnets.
Dar’cy peaked her head in the temporary shop. “Lemme know when you’re ready.”
They found themselves standing on the edge of a field, next to a wooden building with a tall stone foundation. Horses were walking slowly around this large turny thing, being led by their owners. A young boy was walking up with his own horse, followed by a man who must have been his father.
“No one seems to have noticed our arrival,” Leona said with relief.
“Abraham!” one of the men called over to the boy. “You’ve come!”
“As always,” little Abraham replied.
The group of outsiders approached awkwardly, obviously unsure of what they were doing, or how to hold themselves.
“Can I help you, friends?” one of the men asked.
“We’re visitors,” Rutherford told him, “from New York. We would just like to watch.”
“Feel free to help,” the boy’s apparent father said, “we could always use it.”
“Don’t be rude, Turnham.” He approached the time travelers, took off his hat, and showed his hand. “Mornin’, I’m Noah Gordon. This here mill’s mine.”
“Pleasure to meet you,” Serif replied with a slight curtsy.
Mateo didn’t know what kind of names existed back whenever this was, so he tried to alter them. “I’m Matthew, this is my wife...Leona. My brother, Darrell; and our neighbors, Lincoln and Sarah.”
“Lincoln?” Noah asked, surprised.
“What?” the little boy asked while waiting his turn at the horsey turny machine.
“His first name is Lincoln?”
“Uhhh...” Mateo had no idea what to say to that.
“It’s a family name,” Rutherford said, shaking Noah’s hand. This was an excuse that apparently solved all problems anyone had with someone else’s name.
“Abraham, this man shares your name, but as his given name!”
“Oh, okay!” Abraham said.
“Holy shit, that’s Abraham Lincoln,” Mateo whispered to Leona.
“Perhaps you should just call me by my middle name, Isaac.”
“Sounds good, Isaac,” Noah said. “Stay as long as you’d like. Let me know if you’re thirsty.”
“We’re fine, thank you,” Serif answered.
The travelers moved a little closer so they could watch Abraham-frickin-Lincoln. He was uncomfortable with this, as anyone would be. He would grow up to be one of the most famous and influential U.S. presidents in history, but today, he was just a nine-year-old farm boy. When Arcadia said that Mario was the Kingmaker, she really meant it. What was going to happen today? Mateo asked the others whether they had any idea, but they didn’t. The majority of their knowledge on his history involved him freeing the slaves, and getting shot at the theatre.
Young Abraham Lincoln wanted to hurry this along, probably so he could get away from the creepers staring at him. “My dog could eat the meal as fast as the mill can grind it!” he yelled up to the people ahead, like a soccer mom at the post office. The travelers giggled at his impatience, while everyone else just didn’t care. They spent a long time there before it was Abraham’s turn to hitch his horse to the turny thingymabob. If only Samsonite were here to explain this to them, or Téa, who had grown up around this time in a past life.
Finally it was Abraham’s turn. He hitched his horse up and tried getting it to move the machine. “Git up, you ol’ hussy!” he yelled at it, desperate to prove that his impatience was not unfounded, and that he was better at this than the others. “Git up, you ol’ hussy! Git up—!”
The ol’ hussy took his words to be mightily insulting, and decided that she didn’t have to put up with it. She lifted her hind leg and struck Abraham in his head. He fell backwards to the ground, and did not move. Oh my God, he was going to die. The man who ended the Civil War was going to die on Mateo’s watch, and it would be all his fault.
Noah ran over and tried to wake Abraham up, but wasn’t able to. “Go get his father, Turnham,” he ordered to the man who had come with Abraham. “Go get Thomas.” He lifted the bloodied boy in his arms, and started walking away.
“How far is his house?” Mateo asked.
“‘Bout two miles,” Turnham answered.
“Darko, do you think you could...?” he turned around to ask his brother for help, but Darko was already running over to the horse. He placed his hand on the horse’s rope, and disappeared. It must have been nice to have his powers back.
Just after he was gone, Darko reappeared, coming down the road in a horse-drawn wagon. Another man was at his side, holding the reigns. Darko then took those reigns so the man could jump out and run over to his son. Darko had gone back in time to when the horse’s rope was still at home. He then somehow figured out how to coordinate it so Abraham’s father would show up just at the right time. None of the natives understood what had happened, but were also too preoccupied to question it at the moment. Darko, having just now learned how to drive one of these things, kept control of the horse so Abraham’s father could keep his son comfortable in his arms. He was still trying to wake him up as they drove off. The rest of the time travelers followed on foot.
By the time they reached the Lincoln log cabin, they expected him to be fully awake and recovering, but he was still unconscious. His father was convinced that he was already dead, and it didn’t look like he was going to make it. Darko pulled them to the side and said that he still felt a pulse, but that it was very faint. “There’s nothing we can do. Not here. Not without a doctor, and supplies. So I’m leaving.”
“Where will you go?” Serif asked.
“If Baxter isn’t coming to help us, then I’m going to find the only other doctor I trust. Leona, I’m going to need my bell.”
“You’re what?” Mateo asked.
“His bell,” Leona said, taking from her pocket what Mateo only knew as part of one of those things that doctors used to listen to heartbeats. It was the special object that Darko had given her so that she would never forget him.
After taking it from her, Darko approached Abraham’s father. “Thomas, I’m going to save your son, but in order to do that, you’re going to have to leave the room.”
Already having learned to trust him, Thomas Lincoln left the cabin and closed the door. Darko slipped off Abraham’s shoes, then took him by the shoulder, and disappeared. They both reappeared seconds later. “He’s gonna be fine,” Darko said, now holding Abraham’s shoes. “He just needs time.”
“How did you find his childhood shoes in the future?” Leona asked.
“I can help with that.” Thomas came back into the cabin, but was holding himself differently, not at all concerned with his son’s health.
“Thank you, Quivira,” Darko said to Thomas. “You know where to hide them.”
Before Thomas could leave once more, little Abraham started shaking in the bed. “You ol’ hussy!” he suddenly yelled. He then plopped back down and gathered himself.
As Lincoln was keeping his namesake company, Mateo pulled Darko to the side and asked what was happening. He had gotten better this weird time travel stuff, but this was confusing him so much.
“Abraham was dying, and nothing in present day could help him, so I had to take him to the future. I know a doctor, Mallory who spends her time treating human victims of time travel. I don’t mean like how Meliora helped Isaac with his time sickness, I mean people who get hurt because time travelers arrive and start changing things. I used the stethoscope to get back to her, which she gave to me years ago for this very purpose. She treated him in the 21st century, and then I used Abraham's shoes to get back here.”
“And where did you get his shoes?”
“Doctor Hammer works with this reality’s version of Gilbert Boyce, Quivira. She’s sort of the quantum leaper of the real world. She possesses other people the past, and helps others. She jumped into Thomas so she could hide her son’s shoes in a safe place. I then retrieved them in the future, and used them to come back here. It’s all very complicated, I know.”
Mateo watched from the other side of the room as Abraham Lincoln and Lincoln Rutherford were taking turns spinning the latter’s top hat on their fingers. “But bottom line is that he’s gonna be okay.”
“If the future tells us anything, then not really. But he’ll live until he’s meant to die. And before you ask, he never woke up. The Runners don’t have an 1810s isolation room, but he didn’t see anything anyway. He has no idea what we are.”
“Maybe we can jump to the 1860s and save his life again.”
“I doubt it,” Leona said. “We should go. I think our job is done.”
“Isaac!” Mateo called. “We’re leaving.”
Before getting out of the bed, Isaac placed the hat on Abraham’s head and flicked it so it wouldn’t cover his eyes. “Looks good on you.”
“Can I keep it?”
“That there hat is yourn,” Isaac answered.
Many believed Abraham Lincoln to have owned many hats, but a choosing one named The Weaver ultimately imbued the one that Isaac had given him with the power to transform into slightly different styles. It was really all the same hat that he wore his entire life, and he even had it with him at the moment of his death a half century later. Click here for the next installment...

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