Chapter Thirty Nine
Jayne took Griffin by the hand and led him back to the main room of the carriage house. She set him back into the desk chair and took the list from his hand.
“First, let me assure you that there is nothing sinister happening, at least where this list and I are concerned. I have no idea what those other women are after or if their behavior is solely due to the rose. You need to accept those facts before we go anywhere with this. Do you believe me?”
Griffin nodded. Jayne pulled an ottoman next to Griffin and sat facing him.
“I told you that I have done some unforgivable things in my past and I want to set them right.”
“I told you the bracelet is key to me setting things right.”
“Yes. But you didn’t say how or why.”
“I’m getting there. The bracelet has limited abilities of its own, but its main function is to link me to the Traveler. This is my list of who had each bracelet. I told you that I was looking for the El Camino so I could retrieve the bracelet that I had hidden under the dashboard. Hannah’s name appears on the list because she had acquired the vehicle.”
“Okay. I can accept that. There is more than one bracelet?”
“Yes. The bracelets allow their wearers to accompany the Traveler. The Traveler is the person who is in control of where you are going. Traveling can be dangerous and shouldn’t be attempted alone.”
“When you say ‘traveling’, I am assuming it doesn’t mean everybody hops into the station wagon and heads to Disneyland.”
“You would be correct. I’m referring to, for lack of a better term, time travel.”
“Dum,dum dummmmmmm. . . ” Griffin added a musical sting.
Jayne frowned. “Stop it. Either act serious or we are done here.”
“Okay, I will. Please continue.”
“So, what most people imagine is that you zip around on this linear path through history and travel all over the earth. What they fail to realize is that you are moving through time, not space and time. That is why we have established safe zones like this carriage house to use as portals. That empty room you walked into is kept free and clear of all objects at all times to insure a safe place to travel. Believe me; you don’t want to reemerge in a spot that is already occupied. It can be pretty messy. ”
“What do you do when that happens?” Griffin asked with a grimace.
“You collect the bracelet and record the exact time and the location of where you were when it happened so it doesn’t happen again. Locating and securing safe zones can be time-consuming but then again, you have all the time in the world, literally.” Jayne chuckled.
“Can’t you just send ahead something to clear the area to make sure you’ll be safe?”
“You can, but then you risk injuring or killing any living thing in your path. That would be pretty reckless, wouldn’t it?”
“I notice you called it time travel because you said there wasn’t a better term. What did you mean by that?”
“Wow, you’re paying attention. A gold star for Griffin!”
Griffin smiled. Jayne scooted in a little closer.
“Time is far more abstract than a series of events strung in a straight line.”
Jayne picked up a book and handed it to Griffin.
“Let’s call this book the first in a series that tells the story of your life. You finish this book and it is time to start reading the next.”
Jayne took Griffin by the chin and redirected his view to the bookcase on the wall.
“All of those books have the possibility of being the next book in the series. In fact, all of them are the next book. Each one is slightly different from the other. Go ahead, pick a book.”
Griffin walked to the bookcase and removed a book.
“Okay. You now have chosen the direction your story will take. Now look back to the bookcase. It is still loaded with books, right?”
“All of the storylines continue even though you will only experience the story you hold in your hand. Every decision you make is another choice of a book with just as many options you will never get to experience. The bracelets and their counterpart allow you to jump into and move around in another book, another story, another life. ‘Time’ is a bookmark. It is merely a reference point in the story.”
Griffin walked back to Jayne and eased himself back into his chair.
“Have you traveled a lot?” Griffin asked, intrigued.
“Is it fun?”
“Actually, it is a lot of work. Hitting a specific date isn’t too hard. Finding the right storyline can take a while. As a matter of fact, this is the sixth version of this storyline I have experienced. I’m thinking this is the right one to get me to the ending I want.”
“What? You have been through this with me five times?” Griffin sputtered in disbelief. “Why five times?”
“I told you every story is a little different. Some went well, others not so much. None of them went where I needed them to go, so when I got to a point where I could see they weren’t going to pan out I would jump to another story.”
Griffin thought for a moment.
“Could you tell me how I faired in those stories, or is that against the rules?”
“No, I can tell you. Let me see. If I’m remembering the order correctly, it went badly injured, minor injuries, dead, paper cut, coma, and unforgettable sex.”
Griffin counted on his fingers as Jayne recited his outcomes. He became confused when he extended the thumb on a second hand.
“You said you have been through this story five times before. I counted six endings.”
“Think about it,” Jayne sighed.
A rush of pink filled Griffin’s face.