“Oh dear,” a familiar reedy voice was heard. “Oh dear, oh dear oh dear.” Kluber sat up slowly, peering at the man in white.
“The hell just happened?” he croaked. He looked around. The machine sat in the center of the clearing but something was off. The trees were wrong, different somehow.
“Well, looks like we’re companions.” The man said in an uncomfortably cheery way, looking about. Kluber peered at him incredulously. The man’s eyes snapped back to the pitcher. “It appears we’re 75 million years in your past. Welcome to time travel.”
Kluber stared at the strange man for a minute, processing then reprocessing what he’d said. He rubbed his eyes. He scratched his head. He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose to help with the growing headache. I’m pretty sure this guy is nuts. I think he set off a firework, he thought. Then his vision cleared up and he got a better look at the trees. They were gigantic, like palm trees on steroids and ferns run wild.. And Good Lord, it was hot, so humid, his shirt was already sticking to him, and next to him Jasper was panting and whining for a drink.
“Wait, what?” Kluber felt the world spinning around him for a second. He shook his head to clear the cobwebs, making the pounding in his temples worse. “What do you mean, ‘time travel’?” What the hell just happened?” The man simply smiled at this.
“Why, you were caught within the temporal borer’s displacement bubble,” he said matter of factly. “when I triggered it, you and your canine friend there were pulled with me. I must say you were quite lucky – there’s a non-zero chance you could have been atomized.”
Kluber peered up at the man, squinting because the light here was… odd. Bright, almost washed out. Slowly he climbed to his feet and strode to the man, grabbing him and spinning him around.
“Are you goddamn serious?” He stared into the man’s eyes, surprisingly calm for being apparently 75 million years in the past and having a much larger, stronger man standing over him. The man brushed Kluber’s hand off, seeming almost offended.
“Why yes, why wouldn’t I be? I’m a scientist, a horologist actually, my name is Blix Manafate.” Kluber’s confusion must have been evident. “I study time, it’s a burgeoning field where I come from. Or rather, when.” He chuckled at this.
June 5, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber (28) pitches against the New York Yankees during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. Yankees won 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
Kluber wasn’t laughing. Blood rushed to his head, the world went fuzzy. He took two steps backwards and tripped on his own feet, tumbling to the ground in a cloud of dust. He lay there for a moment, staring up at the sky. High up, a bird flew over. As he watched it, he noticed things about it. Leathery wings. an incredibly long neck. No feathers. It was a dinosaur. A pterodactyl, he guessed from his limited memory of middle school history. That was impossible.
He sat up again, and looked around, eyes clear, head pounding. The forest definitely wasn’t Alabama. Trees stood impossibly tall all around, palm trees big and small with some pines, the underbrush full of big ferns and bright flowers. The edge of the forest was trimmed smooth just like the clearing he’d first found, the dirt beneath a dark brown. It was quiet, that unnatural quiet of a forest scared silent.
Jasper’s head suddenly filled his view again, tongue and dog breath helping to fix the spinning in his brain. Corey started laughing in spite of himself, and pushed his dog away then sat up, and looked around. This didn’t make any sense. But he’d never seen trees like this, or flowers that large on the edge of the clearing. He rose to his feet and made his way back to the newcomer. No sense in being impolite.
“My name’s Corey, Corey Kluber, nice to meet you I guess.” He extended his hand to shake, but his new companion was busying himself with the chair’s base, silent but for the soft clink of metal on metal and an occasional grunt or murmur. It was like he’d forgotten Kluber was there. Corey turned to his dog, who was pacing back and forth in the clearing sniffing all over, plainly agitated.
“C’mere Jasp, here boy,” he dropped into a crouch and his dog sauntered over, tongue still lolling about like usual. Jasper nuzzled his head into Kluber’s chest while the pitcher scratched him in that place behind the ears he loved so much to soothe him. “This is pretty wild, huh boy?” he said softly as he peered around at the dense foliage surrounding them. “Time travel. Makes no sense. Neat trick if it is one. Never seen trees this big though, except for that trip Masty and me took up to the redwoods last year in Oakland.” He looked back down to his faithful canine companion. “Glad you’re here though, keep me sane.” This elicited a licking frenzy, pretty soon Kluber had fallen back, wrestling with his dog, lost in the moment. A clang and fizzle drew him back, the scientist had stepped away from the chair. Kluber rose to try talking to the scientist again.