Lance would have easily argued the manner exhaustively if I hadn’t made the decision. With or without him, I had to correct my mistakes. I had fibbed enough to Aunt Esther. If her wrath would stop at merely returning me to my mother’s house, I would have gladly packed my belongings and departed the premises. Deep down, however, I speculated that our aunt was a vengeful woman who would not hesitate to punish her family—even if they weren’t quite adults.
My brother hung his head and glanced up through his ridiculously long lashes. “How do we go about this endeavor?”
Plastering on a smile, I said, “Simple. Do you recall what you saw in the textbooks?”
“I do. I shall have need of paper, a quill, and ink.”
“Nonsense.” I squeezed my hand and materialized a see-through implement with an attached nib. Within the body of the instrument was a storage container for ink. “Use this.”
Lance’s eyes became as round as saucers. “What, pray tell, is that?”
“You’re not the only one who pays attention. I saw such a thing when we met Ellie.” I shook the item. “Are you going to stand there all day with your mouth open?”
He snatched it from my hand and grabbed a stack of receipts from behind the counter. Carefully, my brother tested the writing device from the future. Seeing the ink transfer onto the page, he muttered, “This is truly unbelievable, sister. Imagine the time saved.”
Growing impatient, I put my hands on my slender hips. “Please, just draw what you remember.”
“Yes, yes.” He hunkered over the counter and began sketching.
Although it remained to be seen whether Lance was a born Spelltwister, he worked a different type of magic when it came to art. My brother put his eidetic memory to good use. Within minutes, he had a reasonable image of a man and woman dressed in apparel belonging to the year 1945.
Taking the slip of paper from him, I closed my eyes and envisioned the images on us. When I next looked at Lance he wore pleated dark-gray wool slacks, an open-collared white shirt, and a flag-red jacket with wide lapels. Sturdy leather shoes with laces were on his feet. I smoothed my hand down the front of a cornflower-blue floral, knee-length dress. My shoes were sensible with straps and tiny buckles.
“We’re ready.” I waved my hand again and summoned the pocket finder. “We’ll go to the coaching inn and follow our dear brother.”
Ordinarily, our odd clothing would have drawn attention, but I created an illusion as we moved through the roadway. The mere humans—Terestriens we called them—only saw what we wanted them to see.
Lance and I dodged the usual muck and bustling carriages as we raced toward the inn. I was delighted not to have to worry about dragging my dress through the filth. The entire time I kept hoping that Trevor behaved as we needed him to—rushed into the future thinking we were already there.
Our travel took us to the Crowley Bridge area, a place that attracted a great many working women and girls. All about us were women carrying bundles of umbrella-frames and wooden cages full of hats. The ever-present coster-girls, hawking fruits or vegetables, peppered the zone along with sack makers. If Mother knew that we were meandering there, she would surely tan our hides.
After a time, we found ourselves in a courtyard with a tall archway. It led us into another yard where passengers were exiting coaches and horses were being changed. We had arrived at the inn. I twisted the pocket finder left and right, searching for Trevor’s whereabouts. Within seconds, the gadget quivered in my hand.
“He’s gone ahead of us, Lance.”
My brother paled slightly as he swallowed hard. “Are we really prepared to do this?”
I steeled my spine and gave him an incredulous look. “We have no choice. Either come with me or get yourself home. I cannot have naysayers with me.”
He held out his hand. “Let us go with speed.”
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