Robert Whiting In search of awesome

Finishing the machine


After the curse lifted, the wedding ended, and life had settled into a new normal, Maurice’s thoughts returned to his time.

He remembered a tour he took once of a castle dungeon–swept clean as part of an exhibit, and the only remaining portions of the castle he how inhabited.

With the help of Cogsworth and a few of the other staff, he moved his time machine to the dungeon and began his immersive work of restoring his machine. The resources of a castle sped his timeline significantly, and before his daughter had returned from her honeymoon, it was ready.

While he waited for Belle and Adam’s return, he told all the stories of his time to Cogsworth. Maurice had not been so alive in a very long time, and it spilled out of him.

But then he told of the ancient guilt he felt for the two people on horseback and how they had fallen down an embankment when he first arrived. Cogsworth was quiet after that and excused himself.

A thunderstorm shook the castle the next day, and Maurice hurried to the dungeon. It was the perfect opportunity to charge the battery bank.

But he heard the machine spinning–a sound he hadn’t heard in decades. He threw the door open, and the light of the machine pulsed. Cogsworth sat in the seat adjusting dials.

“What are you doing?” Maurice yelled over the loud hum of the machine.

Cogsworth looked up, surprised to see Maurice. Then his surprise turned to a snear, “I’m going to stop you. You murdered a good king and a good queen.”

Maurice grabbed a wrench and hurled it as he yelled, “I won’t let you, this is my life!” The wrench shot passed the spinning disks and his the controls.

Cogsworth shouted in pain and pulled a lever.

Maurice grabbed an iron bar and swung it at the machine.

Lightning struck.

Maurice awoke to blinding pain. He slumped against the wall and remains of his desk. The middle of the room was empty. Like his soul.

He looked around the room at the scattered papers. His life’s work. Timelines and equations, diagrams, and pictures his darling Belle had drawn for him. A love note from Collette lay by his knee.

He remembered teaching her to write.

He reached to pick it up, but his hands were gone. There was so much red on the papers.

When had the room become smokey?

But it didn’t smell like smoke.

And cold.

He felt Collette’s lips on his.

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