This is the twenty-first part of a fiction serial, in 766 words.
When the eleven year-old Emily returned to the room, Roger had made up his mind to ask her something. As soon as she sat down, he asked her if she had some idea of asking him to be a guardian.
“I can see why you might think that, but I have a very different offer in mind for you. It is something that has only been done a few times, and it must be approached with great care. However, in the last few months I have come to the conclusion that you would be a perfect candidate. As far as Delia is concerned, she will indeed be offered the chance to become a guardian. In fact, she will be asked to become my guardian. Yamada has been requesting a return to America, and we have a project for him in Califoria that he is most suited for. If Delia agrees, she would become my guardian after New Year, before the school starts again.
She hesitated for a second, then lowered her voice slightly.
“It will involve moving location to Edinburgh, as I intend to change to the age of eighteen and attend university in Scotland. I will pay the fees as a private student and Yamada has arranged the sale of some diamonds to fund all that. We also have a house there, so the move north will be easy. I want you to ask her. And I would like you to convince her”.
He was far from sure that Delia would agree, but told Emily he would do his best to sell her on the idea.
“As for you, I think you will be excited at what I have in mind for you. You would become one of the elite, one of the few chosen to travel forward through the portal into our time, and then be able to go back to any time of your choosing. As a History teacher, I suspect that would appeal to you. Once you are in one of the cities of the future, you would receive all the medical treatment necessary to extend your life to at least twice of what you can expect if you stay here in your time. Your life experience in our past would be invaluable, and you would become something like a university professor, refining our knowledge of this period. Does that idea appeal to you? I appreciate it may be very scary to contemplate, but you do not have long to make up your mind. If you agree to go, it will happen on the thirty-first, in a few days’ time”.
When he nodded that he understood, she continued.
“To make it work will require an implant, similar to the type we all have. The portal will recognise someone with that specific implant, and allow travel back and forth in time. This will mean a small surgical procedure that will be carried out by a robotic device that I will bring back through the portal. It is not painful, but it will require that you rest here for twenty-four hours while your brain adjusts. That means that you have to decide soon, and have the implant procedure on the thirtieth. Perhaps it is best if you go back to Delia’s now, and talk it through with her”.
Delia was excited when she opened the door. “I was worried, my love. Come inside and have a drink, then you can tell me all about it”. After giving him a large glass of white wine, she patted the cushion next to her on the sofa, and he sat where she had indicated. For the next hour, she listened without interruption as he told her every detail of what had happened at the lakeside house. She sat thinking for a full ten minutes before speaking.
“Well you wouldn’t have to be gone forever, surely? You could choose to come back at some stage, couldn’t you? I mean, if I am to be Emily’s guardian in Edinburgh, then she will have one of those portal things, and you could come back and visit whenever you wanted. I can understand why you might want to do it, I really can. But you only have three days to make such a huge decision, and we would both have to contact the headmaster and make up some story about why both of us are leaving. Perhaps it is best to sleep on it tonight, and approach it all with a clear head tomorrow morning. Let’s go upstairs, my darling”.
Roger didn’t need to sleep on it. His destiny had arrived.