The Timely Adventures of Rachel Evans: Lost in Medieval (and Decaf!) England
April 10, 2013
"Rachel, where are we?"
"Well, if I had to bet on it, I’d say Sherwood Forest." Rachel was fairly sure she’d have made a pot of money with that one, if only there was a place for betting on time-travel locations.
Hunter rolled his eyes. "Nice one."
"Unfortunately, I am dead serious." Rachel picked up her hoodie and looked around. They were standing in a glade of some sorts. Tall, leafy trees towered overhead. She could hear exuberant birdsong coming from a nearby tree. Rachel had always assumed this was a thing that only existed in cartoons.
There didn’t seem to be any way out.
She turned on Hunter furiously. "What the hell made you say Sherwood Forest? You couldn’t wish to visit the Space Needle? Buckingham Palace? Dunkin’ Donuts?"
"Why would I wish to go to Dunkin’ Donuts?"
"Coffee," Rachel told him, then added, "Duh." She pulled her hoodie on, brushed the leaves off her jeans, and tried to get her bearings to decide which way they should head first. "We need to find Leigh, and…"
Her phone was in her pocket, but no PD. It wasn’t lying anywhere near her on the ground. Hunter didn’t have it. Please let Leigh have it. For that matter, where was Leigh?
"Seriously though," Hunter asked, "Where are we?"
Rachel took this as a golden opportunity to punch her brother again.
* * *
How did you navigate your way around a forest? Marks left on trees? Broken twigs? Or was that only in Davy Crockett movies? Rachel racked her brains for anything she could remember on woodland matters, but her extent of knowledge came from the summer she tried to live in the patch of trees behind their house. There hadn’t been enough trees to get even remotely lost in, but Rachel had done her best.
"Which way is the sun?" Rachel peered upward at the trees. Too thick to tell. They were going to be lost here forever.
"The sun’s overhead." Hunter said in an unnecessarily patronizing manner, starting to look around the glade.
How did anyone get anywhere without Google maps? Sure, they were in Sherwood Forest, but what did that mean? Okay, it meant England, but what part of Sherwood were they in? The trees weren’t being remotely helpful. There was absolutely nothing to go by, just trees and moss and tangled undergrowth.
"Hey, there’s a path or something over there." Hunter had discovered a thin winding trail that led west, Rachel decided.
It was a start at least, but where was Leigh? What if she had lost her best friend? Of course, that was Hunter’s fault, but Rachel was the one who had wanted to go traveling.
Rachel checked her phone out of habit. The dreaded no bars were a horribly familiar sight.
"One of these days I’m going travel somewhere with coverage." She muttered.
"Rachel, where are we?" Hunter stopped in the middle of the path.
Rachel faced him. "You really want to know? Thanks to you, Sherwood Forest.”
"This isn’t Sherwood Forest," Hunter was still in denial. "Sherwood has jogging paths and a little gift shop."
"Yeah, well, I’m guessing the PD only thinks one particular time period of Sherwood Forest is relevant." She paused. "Jogging paths? Really?" That seemed wrong.
They started walking down the path again. Rachel wondered if outlaws would start springing from the trees to accost them, demanding their coin or whatever. Good luck with that, she had nothing worth stealing.
"We can’t be in Sherwood Forest. We live in Ohio."
"Yeah, but you didn’t think of that before you wished, did you?"
"What’s a PD? Why are you talking about wishing? How did this even happen?" Hunter was starting to whine, which was seriously annoying in anyone, but especially the person who had transported them here in the first place.
"Pocket Dictionary. It’s how we got here. Because you wished." And in doing that, Rachel had learned a valuable lesson. If you didn’t specify the exact time you wanted, the PD picked one out for you. Good to know.
"Hold on." Hunter stared at her. "Are you seriously trying to tell me that we have time-traveled back to Sherwood Forest and are going to die of the plague or something?"
"Yes to the first part. Hopefully no to the second part." Rachel stuffed her hands in her pocket, suddenly reluctant to touch anything, despite being surrounded by nothing but foliage.
Hunter was being awfully quiet.
"Are you, um, okay?" Granted, she’d only done this once before, but at least she had done that and made it back in one piece. She’d never really discussed the concept of time travel with him. Supposing his mind couldn’t cope. "You’re not going to freak out or anything, are you?"
Hunter stared at her. "Are you crazy? This is awesome."
"Yeah, good, right. Except there’s no coffee." Rachel’s heart lurched. There was no Internet and no coffee. At least the 50s had had coffee, but this was a caffeine wasteland.
"You need to get over that." Hunter told her. "You can have coffee any time. How often do you get to visit medieval England?"
"I have the feeling I’m going to need coffee to deal with medieval England." Rachel muttered.
Hunter looked at her suspiciously. "You’ve done this before, haven’t you? Why didn’t you tell me about it?"
"I dunno. Because I haven’t seen you since Christmas?"
"Did you travel before Christmas?" He eyed her. "You totally did! I can’t believe you."
"What’s it matter?" Rachel sighed. "You’re here now."
"But I wouldn’t be if I hadn’t wished!"
"Shhh," Rachel turned her head. "Do you hear that?"
"Yeah, it’s coming from over there." They crept off the path, cautiously approaching the noise. There, just beyond the undergrowth, was a road running through the forest. Hunter stuck his head out, surveying the scene.
"What is that?" He stepped out onto the road.
"Hey," Rachel poked her head out warily. "Let’s stay in the trees."
Hunter ignored her. "It sounds like…"
"Horses." Rachel said.
Horses, with riders, heading straight for them.
To be continued...