Sever the Smith hardly ever thought of himself as Sean Watson anymore, unless he was staring down into the bottomless abyss left behind by the Tesseract Effect. Far in the future, he had been experimenting with exotic matter using a particle accelerator in his small, private lab outside of Leeds. Yes, he could still remember. Was it five…no, it was six years ago subjective time.
There was a reaction of some kind. Reality went berserk. Billows of strange energy shot from the accelerator’s ring engulfing the chamber and the labs beyond, and the scientific breakthrough the physicist and entrepreneur had anticipated, became his unending nightmare. Had everyone else been translated to another time or just been killed? He would probably never know.
“Say, ísensmiþ, mi friþhengest…” The voice came from the entrance of his shop. Sever quickly closed the lid over the well and stepped into the main work area, shutting the door of the antechamber behind him.
“Hugh.” It was Shepherd’s oldest here for his horse. Fine lad, but a bit on the slow side. His stallion threw a shoe as he was riding over the marsh to visit young Cate at her father’s. The maid had a comely set of breasts to be sure, but the true value of a match between them would be the merging of their fathers’ two herds.
“friþhengest fantbæjj.” The smith retrieved the animal from the stalls outback and handed him over. After receiving his wages, Sever waved away the younger man because darkness was falling, and the haunts would soon be descending on the moors. Besides, he had work to do. If his calculations were right, tonight would be most eventful.
The former scientist stabled, brushed, and fed the horse Hugh had borrowed. Then he walked briskly back to his smithy as a frosty breeze blew across the plain outside of the wee village half a kilometer in the distance. He supped on vegetables and bits of meat soaked in brine, then once more went into the back room which he kept locked, removed the lid from the well, and let bloodshot eyes gaze once more down into infinity. Then he began, for he had hours of labor yet to complete.
His destiny had looked bleak those years ago when the temporal accident deposited him in fifth century England, but he managed to trade his gold watch for enough funds to establish a blacksmith’s shop around what the accident had created, a portal at the bottom of a well, the gateway back through time.
The witch had helped, her spells being the only tools he had that would manipulate the temporal vortex in this primitive age. The only currency he had to exchange was his body and his love. She’d died this last spring of the consumption in her dilapidated hut deep in the fog shrouded heath, but dear, misunderstood Antonia had taught him what he needed to know. Now, on this Friday eve in late October, as a gibbous moon rose in the East, Sever thought he’d crafted the correct trajectory that would lead him back home. If not, how much worse could his final destination be?
The talismans were organized around the rim of the aperture in the designated order and positioning. He had applied the potions and recited the incantation, being careful with his Old English accent. Then Sean Watson, Ph.D, stood on the edge of the well and leaped into the arms of whatever fate awaited for him.
I wrote this for Bonus Wordle “The Letter B” hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The idea is to use at least ten of the twelve words listed, all beginning with the letter “B”, in a poem, short story, or other creative work. I used all twelve. The list is:
For some reason, I envisioned a bleak, 5th century Anglo-Saxon village, and a man of science depending on sorcery to manipulate time in order to return home. I had to look up Anglo-Saxon baby names, touch briefly on some history and even found an Old English translator online, though it only produces individual words and no syntax. I’m sure I got a lot of things wrong, but after all, my research can’t be all that extensive for an hour’s worth of effort.