He put 11 in the age box, keyed 6 am into the time box, entered the park’s coordinates in the location box, and clicked send.
From outside the closed door a female voice stated firmly, “Eric, Get off the computer it’s time to go to bed.”
Eric replied, “OK Mom.”
Eric’s Mom and sister continued down the hallway and entered the sister’s room.
Eric’s sister showed an expression of concern and asked her mother. “Will Eric be OK.”
Her mother hesitated a while looking at her daughter and then answered, “It just takes time.”.
Saturday morning arrived and the alarm went off at 5:30. Eric was already dressed and quickly pressed the alarm to stop the sound of the ringing. He quietly left his room, his house, and walked to the park. He sat on the bench just inside the park. Looking at his watch he saw it was 25 minutes until 6. He wondered why he got up so early or maybe he didn’t sleep at all. He looked at the houses across the street. Everything had the still calmness of the morning. A few birds chirped and fluttered in the trees.
Eric heard from behind, “Eric. Six o’clock. We should be going now.”
He stood, turned, and saw two young looking adults.
The male said, “I’m Robert Minter.” motioned to the female and continued, “This is Sara Chainman. We’re here to take you to Riverport in 1847.”
Eric stood in amazement. He didn’t know if this was real. He didn’t know what to say. He didn’t know he could say anything if he knew what to say.
Sara after observing his astonishment explained, “The chamber is over there.” And pointed to nothing in the park. She continued, “You can’t see it until just before you enter.”
Eric stood looking at the nothing in the park..
Sara said, “Just come this way we’ll show you.”
Eric followed until the chamber appears 5 feet in front of them. Eric stopped and looked at the open door.
Sara said, “It’s OK. You can go in.” and held her hand toward the open door.
Eric slowly walked by himself into the time chamber. Sara and Robert followed him. The door closed.
Sara said, “We’re arriving on a slope behind the house so we can see the river.”
In 5 seconds the door opened to the view of Riverport and the Mississippi. They were behind a farmhouse by the edge of town. Eric, Robert, and Sara walked out of the time chamber.
Eric spoke for the first time asking Sara, “Is this 1847?”
She answered, “Yes. Time travel really works. We’re really here.”
A young girl and a dog come out the back door of the farmhouse. The dog ran around the yard. The girl sat in a chair under a tree.
Eric asked, “Is that Luke’s grandmother?”
Sara answered, “Well that’s Luke’s many generation remove grandmother. But you could call her his grandmother.”
Eric started walking toward the backyard.
Sara asked Robert, “Should he make communication with her?”
Robert replied, “Far as I know. I don’t know how it works. But others have made communication and nothing ever happen.”
Eric entered the backyard and after a few steps the girl asked, “Who are you?”
Eric stopped, hesitated, and answered, “I’m Eric.”
The girl replied, “Oh. Eric. Eric where do you live?”
Eric didn’t know want to answer so he said where he lived by answering, “By the park.”
The girl replied, “I’m Susan. I live here.” pointing at the back door.
The dog ran to Eric and put both front paws on Eric’s shirt. Eric rubbed the dog’s head.
Susan said, “That’s Mindy. The Grangers gave her to me when she was a puppy.”
Eric lifted Mindy to his chest and ran to the chamber with her.
Susan chased after him yelling, “You can’t have Mindy. Give her back.”
Eric reached the chamber. Robert and Sara were in front of the chamber watching the whole incident. Susan ran up and stated to Robert and Sara, “He sold my dog. I want her back.”
Eric, still clutching Mindy, heard Sara say, “You can’t take her dog. Give her back.”
Eric slowly sat Mindy on the ground. Then Mindy ran over to Susan.
Susan leaned over and patted Mindy. Then, Susan noticed the time chamber and said, “That wasn’t there before. How did that get there?”
Sara answered, “We brought it with us.”
Susan looking at Sara said, “Are you moving here?”
Sara replied, “No we’re just visiting.”
Susan asked, “What to eat supper with us? We have plenty.”
Sara answered, “No. Thank You. We’ll be leaving before suppertime. But maybe you could help us.”
Susan said nothing and waiting to see how she could help Sara.
Sara recognized the willingness to help and asked, “Do you know when the Sundown will arrive?”
Susan answered, “It arrives at 8:30 each Saturday morning. Always on time.”
Susan looked south down the Mississippi River. From their view on the slope they all watched as two riverboats steamed north.
Susan said. “The Sundown is the second boat. The first on is The Frontier. They go to St Louis. They don’t stop here most the time.”
Just then Susan’s mother stepped out the back door, looked around and couldn’t see either Susan or Mindy.
She shouted to the empty yard, “Susan. Where are you?”
Susan and Mindy walked into view. Susan’s mother then saw them and said, “Oh. There you are. I need you and Mindy to go to the store and get some sugar.”
Susan said while crossing the backyard, “Be right there.”
After Susan and her mother reentered the house. Eric, Robert, and Sara entered the chamber and the door closed.
Sara is explaining to Eric, “It’s a genetically inherited disease called Treegles. Once in a population it will remain in that population. There are times when one population can infect another. That’s what happen here. Once in a population it came be completely eliminated by neutralization. That’s what we’re going to do. You might not need to do anything. But we want you on the boat just in case.”
The chamber door opened and the three time travelers began their walk to the Riverport docks.
After arriving at the Sundown’s dock, they stopped beside the gangway.
A crewman saw them and asked, “Are you folks going with us today?”
Robert replied, “Not today. But were thinking of going to Memphis is in a couple of weeks.”
The crew member said, “Ahh. Memphis. A lot of people like going to Memphis. They like going to the island. But with the youngster, you folks aren’t going there.”
Robert replies, “No. We’ll be visiting the wife’s mother.”
The crew member looked at Sara and then said to Robert, “Ahh. Yes. It’s good to have a close family. We stop here going south ever Monday morning at 9:30. Come aboard I’ll show you the seating area.”
All three followed the crewman across the deck. The deck had stacks of boxes and bags and other cargo. The crewman stopped at the top of the stairs going to the seating area, then looked down the stairs and entered the lower area.
Near the boat’s railing, Eric saw a group of rats on the deck beside a stack of bags. Eric looked at Sara. She returned his look and saw the rats. Then she nodded yes and followed Robert down the steps. Eric then entered the seating area.
The crewman said, “Look around. I’ll be on top if you want something.”
After he left Sara watched the steps. Robert took a device from an inside pocket. He turned it on, waited a while, and turned it off. He returned the device to his pocket and climbed the stairs.
Eric said to Sara, “What happen?”
Sara replied “The disease has been neutralized.”
Eric replied, “You mean that device neutralized the disease?”
Sara said, “Yes. That device did. It only takes 20 seconds.”
They climbed the stairs onto the deck. While the three walked across the deck to the gangway.
Susan and Mindy were walking down the dock to the Sundown.
After meeting them on the dock beside the Sundown, Susan said to Sara, “I see you found her OK.”
Before Sara could answer a rat jumped from the boat onto Mindy. The rat bit Mindy behind the neck and red blood oozed into Mindy’s fur. Susan, with the force of her hand, knocked the rat into the boat hull and the rat fell into the water.
Susan knelt beside Mindy, held her, and said, “It’s gone now. You’re alright. It’s only a little bite.”
All of them walked back to the farmhouse. On arriving they all went into the backyard and to the time chamber. They all entered and the door closed.
Eric woke up on the park bench. Eric’s dog, Luke, jumped on the bench beside him and rubs his nose on Eric’s chest. Eric held onto Luke almost suffocating him. Eric’s mother and sister were standing in front of the bench.
His sister said, “How come you got up so early?”
He replied, “I met the time travelers here. We went to Missouri in 1847 and neutralized Treegles. That’s the disease Luke inherited before he died.”
His mother looked around the park not knowing what to say. Finally she said, “Let’s get some breakfast.”
Eric, his mother, sister, and Luke walked home.
After watching them leave the park, Robert, Sara, Susan, and Mindy entered the time chamber. The door closed.