The following day was glum and cloudy. Sleet fell for hours, so Fiona had to lock up Achilles until she could walk him. He sat patiently by her bedroom door as she lay on her bed reading Gulliver's Travels. She was halfway through the book when there was a small thump outside her window. She cautiously got up and tiptoed over to The glass. A huge crash of thunder and lightning roared through the room. Fiona jumped back with a screech.
Don't be silly! She chided herself.
There was another thump - right against the glass panels. She went up to it and threw open the window. She poked her head out and looked down below. There was Robin, on the ground throwing pebbles, looking up at her. She glanced back inside at Achilles. He had his ears pricked up attentively. Looking below again, he beckoned for her to come down. She shook her head vigorously. He nodded in return, pointing down. He got on one knee and made a gesture of begging. This was her chance to get some answers, but with this weather...
Fiona sighed and shut the window. She pulled on her waterproof red cape and rain boots, then commanded Achilles to heel as she tip-toed down the stairs.
"Where are you going in this blasted weather?" Glover asked from his chair in the sitting area. His back was facing her and he was reading.
Fiona quickly created an excuse. "Achilles really can't wait any longer to go out. He needs to take care of some business. I'll be back in about 20 minutes."
He waved a hand in reply, obviously engrossed in his book.
She slipped out the front door. A massive blast of icy wind took her breath away. She stood in the door frame, pondering whether this had been a good idea.
Fiona put up her hood and follow Achilles into the muck. They went behind the house and into the garden full of puddles. Robin was there, looking up at the window still, throwing pebbles. He jumped when Fiona walked towards him.
"I didn't think you'd come." He shouted over another rumble of thunder.
"I need some answers from you."
He wiped his wet black hair from his face and spat out rain water. "Yah? Well i need some answers out of YOU..."
"Have you noticed anything... Odd since you came here?"
She squinted at him. "A few things. Why do you ask?"
Robin smiled and cocked his head. "Do you believe in magic?"
"Magic is silliness. Only found in books and children's bedtime stories. Who are you and what do you want? Why do you stalk my family?"
He shook the water from his face like a dog. "As official greetings," he held out a clammy hand, "my name Is Robin Gibson."
Fiona took it cautiously. He planted a kiss on her knuckles, grinning broadly.
"Fiona Conners." She replied simply.
"Fiona, I need your help."
She shook her head. "How can I possibly-"
"Please, you have to listen to me. I understand that I'm a complete stranger and you have no reason to trust me, but I NEED your help. You are my only chance of getting out of here."
Fiona thought for a moment. "Where do you live?"
"In the woods over there, along with my pa and-"
"Precisely why I shouldn't trust you. You're a ruffian. A thug. I shall inform my Uncle immediately-"
He facepalmed exasperated. " GAAHH! I'm none of the sort!" He spat again. Fiona took a step back. "This is going to sound insane: I'm from the year 1903. There's this-this-this portal thing. I don't know what the hell it is! It sent me, my pa, and my brother here. I'm from London, in the future. There's others in the same predicament - some have been here for centuries! A band of Arab slave traders, two medieval knights, a Roman - I swear I'm not lying! There's some key that you have, I heard your uncle talking about it, it unlocks a door. I don't know all about it, but Fiona please! I want to go home. I've been here for 110 years."
This took Fiona back in a wave of doubt. "How can I believe that ridiculous story?! You are deranged! And let's not forget how that other boy tried to take me hostage."
"Oh, Rory. He didn't mean to startle you, honest miss. All he wants is to get home." Robin took a step forward, pulling her closer by the arms. "So do I."
They stared at each other for a long time. Fiona finally shook her head. "Meet me back here tomorrow, at midnight. We'll talk then. I have to go."
Fiona left him alone in the garden. So she thought. Little did she know that they weren't the only two present.
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