“Chapter 4: A day back for Emilia Day”

Emilia was now pacing up and down the room, with the vigilant eyes of Aru watching her every step. A cocktail of emotions was rushing inside her, sending various vibes all over her body. Thrill, excitement, fear, curiosity, all blended together inside her head.

“A time machine… Hugh and Petersteel discovered this… the Government discovered a way to travel back and forth in time! This… this is… total bullcrap!” she cried. “No, no, I refuse to accept this! YOU HEAR ME? JOKE’S OVER!” she yelled at the watch, but no response came from the light-blue screen. Emilia let out a sigh and was about to have another go at taking the watch off her hand, when the doorbell rang.

“I swear, if it’s that old bag again, I’ll let you bite her” she told Aru, who followed her down the stairs, wagging his tail.

“Coming! Jeez” she yelled, as the person outside kept knocking. She opened the door, and saw a middle-aged man standing outside. His hair was black, with grey sideburns. His eyes, the color of a cold grey, wrinkles forming around them. He looked like a man who wouldn’t take kindly to bullshit. He had his dark blue trenchcoat draped over his shoulders, and Emilia could see the gun strapped to his left thigh. She saw him scanning her and the room with a blank, sour expression, as if he was really bored with all this. When he opened his mouth to speak, she felt nauseated from the stench of smoke and alcohol in his breath.

“Detective Inspector Bogart” he said in a deep voice. “I am here because of the call we received early this morning, regarding sightings of the fugitive, Max Petersteel, in your area. I’m here to ask you a few questions” he went on and entered the house without waiting for an invitation. Aru bared his fangs and growled, but Emilia patted him on the head, calming him down. However, she was not a person to take a breach of her privacy lightly.

“Detective or not, this is my property! And you entered uninvited. This will not go unreported!”

“Miss Day, this is a dangerous, deranged fugitive we are talking about. This is a matter of national security. There is no time to play around. I suggest that, for now, we forego the unnecessary courtesies and proceed with the investigation. I want this to end as soon as possible. So, miss Day, have you seen or heard anything around here at about 4:30 AM?”

Emilia put her arms on her waist with her fists closed, her favorite ‘warrior pose’, and looked at the Detective directly in the eyes.

“No. I was asleep at the time.”

“Are you absolutely sure?” the Detective asked, seemingly unconvinced.

“Yes. Now if there’s nothing else…” she responded and pointed at the door.

“Actually, there is. You see, miss Day, the report suggested that Max Petersteel entered your house last night.”

Emilia panicked. She wanted to look convincingly surprised, and thought she half-succeeded, yet the thought of the letter upstairs wouldn’t let her relax. She placed her hands behind her back and tried to calm down. Easy. You can do this.

“Wha… my house? How could that be? Aru would have woken me up for sure! He’s not exactly kind to strangers either. Surely, there would be some commotion!”

“The person who informed us was absolutely certain. Petersteel entered your house at 4:30 in the morning. Through a window upstairs” said Bogart. “I would like to check the upper floor, if you don’t mind” he added sarcastically.

Emilia’s blood froze. The letter… it’s still up there! She couldn’t let him see it. She needed answers first. Also, she had just withheld information from the police, which could only mean trouble…

A crazy idea crossed her mind. It was the single stupidest thing she’d ever thought. She would use the watch. She would buy herself time. If it worked, it would help her hide the letter and prepare a convincing lie. If not, well… she hoped that prison would not be as bad as she had heard.

With every muscle tense and her heart pounding inside her chest, Emilia brought the watch close to her mouth and shouted “BACK! 3 AM, March 20, 2016!” Bogart’s eyes opened wide and his mouth twitched. A vein popped dangerously on his forehead as he drew his gun and aimed at her.

“So you had it, you lying scum! I knew you were hiding something! I knew about Petersteel and your deceased ex!” he shouted and prepared to fire. Emilia closed her eyes, just as Aru ran towards the infuriated Detective and bit him on the leg. A shot was heard and Emilia opened her eyes. But, before she could see what exactly was going on, a strong vibration shook her down to her very core. Then, a sudden feeling of being pulled back by many hands. The scenes changed rapidly, images flashing before her eyes, without her being able to process them. Noise filled her ears. It was like riding a rollercoaster, only backwards. She felt sick. I’m gonna throw up!

Suddenly, everything stopped. She was lying on the kitchen floor, shaking uncontrollably. A familiar sensation of moisture and cold snapped her back to reality. She opened her eyes, only to see Aru’s face over hers. She raised her left hand. The watch was still there. The time was 3:00 AM. And the date was 20/3/2016.

“You son of a…” she murmured, still feeling light-headed. “It worked!”

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