I open my eyes and find we are standing in the center of a small shack. Me, Noll, and the two Griffs are joined by a tall rumpled man standing with his back to us who is currently tinkering on a table covered with small tools.
He turns at the sudden blast of wind through his abode and sees the four of us standing behind him. He lets out a wild scream.
I let out a little scream of my own.
“You!” Griff yells, running forward and jumping on the man who just so happens to look exactly like the man we’re trying to stop from taking over the world.
“Wait, wait, wait,” The Wizard says, pushing Griff off of him. “It worked?”
“Where’s Christopher?” Griff yells at the youthful version of the man we’ve been looking for.
“How do you know that name?” The Wizard asks.
“Because he’s the man we’ve come here to see. The man you’ve obviously already made disappear,” Griff replies. Noll joins Griff’s side and holds The Wizard’s hands behind him.
“I’m sorry, I believe you are confused,” The Wizard states. “I’m Reprobus. Well, that’s what my parents named me. Yet, what is odd is that my newly christened name is Christopher. Only, I have just chosen that name this hour and have yet told no one.”
“You’re Saint Christopher?” I gasp.
“Ah, well, I don’t know if I could be called a saint,” he blushes. “I’m merely a man seeking the truth.”
“But,” Griff stutters, “but, you’re The Wizard, you’re the guy we’ve been—“
“I’m sorry,” Christopher interrupts. “The Wizard? Perhaps you are more mistaken than you think.”
“Are you trying to tell us you aren’t the man who’s been traveling through time and giving me a big headache?”
“I’ve done my fair share of traveling, I admit. However, I have not yet been able to traverse the river of time. Oddly enough, I had just now been–“
“You had just been working on a device to do that,” I complete his sentence for him, holding up the sphere in my hands.
“Yes,” The Wizard says in shock. He frees his hands from Noll’s grasp and grabs the device he had been working on from the table behind him, a sphere which looks exactly like the one in my hands, although a lot shinier and without the symbol of Saint Christopher.
“What the hell?” Griff screams.
“Where did you get that?” The Wizard asks.
“From the future. A long long way into the future,” Griff answers with an accusing look in his eyes. “Actually, maybe not. We’ve been swapping them so often now. I’m not sure where we got this one.”
“It works?” The Wizard smiles. “It really works? The design was only going to allow me to go back in time throughout the life of the device. I was concerned I would never know whether or not it was truly effective. But you’re here, you’re really here. You have the device. It works!”
“Yeah, now hand it over,” Griff says, holding his hand out at the man.
“Hand it over. Your sphere.”
“Absolutely not! This is my life’s work. You think I would be willing to just hand something this important over to a bunch of thieves like you?”
“I’m sorry, sir,” Noll says, retaking his hold on The Wizard’s hands. “But we have to do it. To save da world.”
“What?” The Wizard asks with confusion in his eyes. “How? From what?”
“From you,” Griff answers. “You have been going on a spree through time. We’re here to stop you. I just didn’t realize how easy it would be.”
“What?” The Wizard repeats, shrugging off Noll’s hold. Noll looks at me, questioning whether he should allow it. Looking at the feared confusion on The Wizard’s face, I decide to allow him this last moment before we take away all he’s worked on. I nod and Noll lets him go.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Griff screams. “This is the guy we’re trying to stop. You can’t just let him go!”
“He can’t really be the same guy though, can he?” I ask.
“What do you mean, kid?” Griff glares at me. “Of course he’s the same guy. Look at him!”
“Right,” I reply, “but, well, I mean, this is the saint, right? Maybe there’s something we just don’t understand.”
“May I see your version of the device?” Christopher asks me.
“Well, um, I don’t know,” I hesitate. “I wouldn’t—“
“Oh, come on, dear,” Christopher argues. “I promise you can trust me.”
I silently and slowly lift the necklace over my head, but am stopped by the firm hand of Griff. “Not a chance in hell, bub,” he says, pushing my hands down to my side. “You built the damned thing. You sure as hell already know what it looks like.”
“Certainly you are aware of the obvious differences between the device around the lady’s neck and the one here on my table. For one, the intricate design showing on the exterior of the sphere. What is that?”
“Don’t go trying to think you can fool us that easily,” Griff says, standing between me and The Wizard. “You aren’t getting your grimy fingers on that thing. Not today, not ever.”
“It’s an image of, well, of you. Saint Christopher.”
“Interesting,” The Wizard says with a twinkle in his eye. “Are you saying my image shall live on through history?”
“Not if I can help it,” Griff growls. “Noll, let’s get this guy out of here.”
Noll walks toward The Wizard to restrain his arms once again. The Wizard evades him and makes a lunge toward my neck. His fingers wrap around the sphere lying upon my chest as Noll swings his fist directly into the center of the ancient man’s back, laying him flat.
I look down and see my neck is bare. The Wizard looks up at me with an evil grin before jumping to his feet and flying out the door. A great wind whips up and pulls him into the air.
Go to Chapter Forty-Nine