Adventures of the Dimension Jumpers: The Inventors

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

The second short story in the Dimension Jumpers Series: Elliot, Riley, Buck and Spyke have found themselves in what can only be described as Steampunk Central. While wandering the city of bronze gears, they stumble upon two inventors, who offer them some hospitality. How could they possibly say no?

Elliot was scanning empty and boarded up shops in the little ghost town they’d found. He figured that something useful got left behind, and he and Riley needed some more supplies. They were running low. He was about to venture into another building when he heard Riley.

“Elliot!” she cried, barreling into his arms. “They’re coming!”

The familiar shiver ran up his spine. He didn’t bother to look around for the hellspawn or the hunters that followed them. He took Riley’s hand and started running. He kept his eyes on the shadows as they made their way to the field where Buck and Spyke were lying low.

Elliot heard the approaching growls of the hellspawn pack and the hunters thundering behind them. He pushed Riley in front of him.


“Keep going,” he ordered. “I’ll be right behind you.”

After being together for three months, Elliot still felt a pang of guilt whenever he told Riley to run ahead of him. She bit her lip to keep it from quivering and gave him a small nod. He saw the hesitance in her first few strides before he repeated the order. As soon as she was a good distance ahead of him, Elliot pulled some bottles with socks stuffed in them out of his backpack. He pulled out a box of matches and lit them. Once he ignited the socks, he threw the bottles on the ground, shattering them and spreading their contents all across the empty street. A wall of fire sprung up. It would be enough to buy them time to jump.

It didn’t take Elliot long to catch up with Riley. She never ran as fast as she could when he had them split up, no matter how many times he told her to. He still made sure that she was running in front of him. They spotted the tall, prairie grass of the field Spyke and Buck were staying in. Elliot let out a sharp whistle. Spyke and Buck came running out of the grass and met them at the edge of the town. Elliot seamlessly lifted Riley onto Buck’s back and wrapped an arm around Spyke. Riley clutched his hand as they jumped with a bright flash of light.

The shivers that came with the presence of hunters left the two jump pairs. The soft sounds of the prairie vanished and were replaced by the loud hum of an engine, the squeaking of pistons and the whir of helicopter blades. Elliot, Riley, Buck and Spyke found themselves on a metal platform, overlooking a giant city of bronze and gears. Everything was connected, whether it was by walkways, stairs or elevators.

“Whoa,” Elliot gasped. “Welcome to steampunk central.”

Riley glanced over the edge of the platform. “The city’s flying!”

Elliot’s eyes went wide. “Ookay, lets get you off Buck and away from the railing.”

Riley rolled her eyes, but listened to his suggestion. They followed the metal walkway from the platform and into the city. Riley started reaching for her backpack, but stopped herself. Elliot gave her a small smile.

“You can pull it out,” he assured her. “I don’t sense any nearby.”

“You sure?”


Riley beamed as she pulled her video camera out and started filming their journey through the city. Elliot’s smile grew as she narrated things about their current location. As they approached one of the busier streets, they noticed that Spyke and Buck wouldn’t realy need to hide. The streets were full of people walking with different, fantastic and almost impossible creatures. Their two companions barely stood out.

“This place is so cool,” Riley breathed, sweeping her camera over the street. “Elliot, look! There’s a dog with two tails! Just like Spyke!”

Elliot spotted the dog. Riley was right. It had to tails, just like his own dog. Unlike Spyke, the dog was completely silver in color. As he watched it, he noticed the light from the sun bounce off of it.

“It’s made of metal,” Elliot stated.

“A metal dog?” Riley replied, putting away her camera.”That’s…new.”

“It’s an automaton.”

Riley and Elliot jumped at the sound of a new voice. Elliot quickly moved himself in front of Riley. Spyke let out a low growl, his fur hardening into jagged spikes.

A girl about Elliot’s height was standing on a balcony, studying them with intense, brown eyes. Her hair was the color of fire. She wore a short, brown skit with gears embroidered on it and a pair of black leggings. Her blouse was white, but covered in soot and grease stains. So was her brown vest. A bandanna kept her her hair out of her face and a pair of welding goggles hung around her neck.

“Mind calling off your dog, mate?” she asked calmly. “I personally would like to avoid a dog fight.”

“Funny. I only see one dog,” Elliot remarked.

The girl moved to her left, revealing a dog about the same size as Spyke. It was baring its teeth and growling at them. A pair of bull horns sat on its head, just behind the small, rounded ears it had. Its head was red, while its main body was orange. There was a small, blue, triangle on its belly, and the back paws were covered in brown fur. Its thin, wiry, yellow tail stood straight up.

Elliot made a down motion with his hand. Spyke saw the motion and stopped his growling and lowered his spikes. He was still tense, ready to take any cue from Elliot to protect them. The girl leaned against the railing of the balcony. Her dog relaxed its stance, no longer ready to pounce.

“The name’s Tesla,” she said with a smirk. “My dog’s Ramrod. Now, if I had to guess, you folks aren’t from around here.”

“We’re travelers,” Elliot stated. “We just got into town.”

Tesla stared down at them. They felt like they were under a magnifying glass. Tesla slid her goggles over her eyes for a brief moment.

“You’re jumpers,” she gasped, lowering her goggles. “Great cogs. I thought I was the only one left.”

“You’re a jumper?” Riley piped, moving out from behind Elliot.

Tesla jumped off the balcony and continued her scan of Elliot and Riley. “You’re both younger than me, but you’ve done a lot of jumping. Definitely a lot more than I’ve done. Your jump cycles are almost completely synced. How long have you two been together?”

“A few months,” Elliot answered. “How do you—?”

“Goggles,” Tesla replied. “I figured out a treatment for the lenses that lets me see the pulsing energy fields that surround jumpers. So, what are your names?”

“I’m Elliot. This is Riley,” he answered, gesturing to Riley with his head. “The dog is Spyke and the…giant beaver? I still don’t know how to describe him, is Buck.”

Tesla pulled her goggles up again. “I’m guessing Buck is Riley’s and Spyke is yours.”

“How can you—?” Riley started.

“The energy fields,” Tesla said, handing her the goggles. “Each jump pair has a unique characteristic that separates them from others. Take a look.”

Riley pressed the goggles to her face. “Whoa. Elliot, this is so cool!”

The goggles put a slight, green tint to her vision. While looking at Tesla and Ramrod, Riley saw a thin field of energy surrounding them. The energy field was the color of copper and blinked slowly. She turned to Elliot and Spyke. They had a thicker field of energy around them that spiked out at odd angles. The field of energy pulsed much more frequently than the ones around Tesla and Ramrod. Riley took a quick glance at Buck. The energy field surrounding him was the color of fire and pulsed just a little bit faster than the ones around Elliot and Spyke.

“How did you figure this out?” Riley asked, returning the goggles.

“I had a little help from my uncle,” Tesla admitted with a shrug.

Riley’s entire body tensed up and her eyes widened. “But…But the hunters!”

“Easy, Riley,” Elliot said softly.

“What are hunters?” Tesla asked.

"You mean you don't know?!” Riley squeaked.

“Deep breaths, Riley,” Elliot instructed, noticing how her breathing became erratic. “Just like we practiced. In…hold…out…hold.”

Elliot repeated the exercise with Riley until she wasn’t on the verge of hyperventilating. Tesla glanced between the two with a concerned expression.

“Why don’t we head back to my workshop,” she suggested. “It’s a better place for talking.”

Elliot nodded and offered his hand to Riley. She took it without a word and trailed behind him as Tesla led the way.

It was definitely a good thing they’d bumped into Tesla. They would have gotten completely turned around in the streets of the city. Admittedly, there were a few times they nearly lost her in the crowds. Ramrod would come find them and lead them back to her.

Riley did her best to contain her freak out. She knew what happened to people that knew about jumpers. Hearing Tesla talk so casually about her uncle knowing made her muscles tense and caused everything in her brain to repeat a danger warning. She held onto Elliot’s hand like a lifeline.

The crowds got rough as they kept moving. Riley was pushed and shoved every which way. She blinked and suddenly found her hand empty. She scanned the crowds for Spyke’s colors, but couldn’t make anything out.

“Elliot!” Riley cried. “Elliot!”

Her mind began racing with worst case scenarios. She’d get ambushed, or Elliot would get ambushed and she’d be alone again. She might never find Buck and she’d be stuck in the city forever! What if—?!

Riley let out a shriek as someone bumped into her.

“Watch it!” A boy snarled.

She couldn’t find the words to speak. Her brain was running too fast with what ifs. Adding in a boy twice her size made it worse.

“The proper response is ‘sorry,’” he snapped.

Riley let out a small whimper. Her throat tightened up and her hands shook.

“Well?!” he snarled. “Say it!”

“Oi! That’s enough, Boris!”

Riley saw Ramrod leading Tesla. Right behind her was—

“Elliot!” Riley cried, latching onto him.

“I’ve got you,” he said softly, wrapping his arms around her tightly. “I’ve got you, kiddo.”

“Picking on kids is low, even for a brute like you,” Tesla stated sharply, glaring at the ghoulish boy.

me,” Boris replied. “Stationary clanker didn’t even apologize.”

Tesla’s eyes narrows. “You’d better rewind right now, mate.”

“Or what?”

“Or you find out what my dog’s name is Ramrod,” she retorted.

“That automaton couldn’t run coal,” Boris snarled.

“Leave it, Tesla,” Elliot interjected. “We need to keep moving.”

Tesla glanced between Elliot and Boris. Ramrod was still growling at the brute.

“You’re right. We should keep going,” Tesla said with a sigh. “But first—”

Tesla launched her fist and landed a solid punch on Boris’s eyes with a satisfied smirk. He fell to the ground, letting out several words that Riley couldn’t hear because Elliot promptly covered her ears. Tesla turned on her heels and led them away from Boris. Elliot kept one arm firmly on Riley’s shoulder the rest of the way to Tesla’s workshop. It was on the outskirts of the city. It was a giant observatory that overlooked everything.

“Welcome to my humble abode,” Tesla said, opening the door with a bow.

The inside was a mess. Tools, scrap metal, papers and parts were scattered everywhere. A forge was in the center of the room, burning brightly. A spiral staircase along the wall led up to the other floors.

“Uncle Enos and I aren’t the cleanest of people,” Tesla admitted. “Living space is on the second floor and the third is the telescope.”

“Tesla, is that you?!” an older man called.

“It’s me, Uncle! I’ve brought company!” Tesla called back.

Elliot, Riley, Buck and Spyke picked their way through the mess, following Tesla and Ramrod up the stairs.

The second floor was just as messy as the first, but it was a mess Riley and Elliot were familiar with. Dishes were piled on the counter. Clothes littered the area around two beds. There were papers strewn across various desks and the table was covered in the remnants of a past meal.

An older man came down from the third floor. His hair puffed out like Einstein’s, with a large bald spot on the top of his head. A pair of goggles identical to Tesla’s covered his eyes. His shirt and pants were covered in soot. The trench coat he wore was worse than his other clothes.

“Uncle Enos, I’m guessing,” Elliot said after finishing his scan of the man.

“That would be me,” he replied with a smile and a bow. “And, if I’m not mistaken, you two are jumpers. I thought Tesla was the last one.”

“Uncle, this is Elliot and Riley,” Tesla piped. “They just jumped here. Figured we’d talk about their travels.”

Enos immediately lit up like a Christmas tree. “I’ll put on a pot of coffee and get my notebook!” he cheered. “I want to know everything!”

Enos scurried about, cleaning a few dishes and clearing spots at the table for everyone. Tesla shook her head with a smile. Riley tugged on Elliot’s arm. He met her gaze and saw how she started drumming her fingers on her leg. He gave her shoulder a reassuring squeeze.

“Please, come sit!” Enos called, gesturing to the table while holding a fresh pot of coffee.

“We probably shouldn’t stay long,” Elliot said, taking the offered chair.

“Of course! You must be busy. Always more dimensions to see,” Enos replied. “I just want to know some of your stories. You know, the existence of jumpers is quite controversial. It is believed that they existed, but have since died out. So, imagine my surprise when Tesla found and bonded with Ramrod.”

“We never even expected to meet others,” Tesla piped. “And I don’t jump a whole lot. Gotta stay with my uncle. So, what’s it like?”

“Different,” Elliot replied. “I mean, we don’t always know where we’re jumping. We don’t really stay in one place too long.”

“It’s lonely,” Riley added, staring at her feet. “You’re lucky if you ever find another jump pair.”

“Surely your parents welcome you home,” Enos said, his smile losing some of its enthusiasm. “They must love the stories you and your brother have.”

“I’m not her brother.”

“My parents are gone.”

Enos’s smile vanished as he processed their statements. “Oh…oh, I’m so sorry, my dear.”

“I know how hard that can be,” Tesla said with a frown. “You’re about the age I was when I lost my parents. Seven years ago, an accident with one of the coal trams. It sucks.”

“What about you, my boy?” Enos inquired softly, turning to Elliot. “Are your parents—?”

“They’re alive,” Elliot answered. “I just can’t see them.”

“But you’re just a boy,” Enos replied. “And you’re taking care of another person all on your own?”

“It comes with being a jumper,” Riley stated.

“Does this have to do with those hunters you mentioned?” Tesla asked.

Elliot gave a stiff nod. “They hunt jump pairs with these monsters. We call them hellspawn. They…don’t like leaving loose ends. My family got lucky. They never found out I was a jumper.”

Tesla’s eyes widened. “You mean they’ll kill my uncle? They’ll kill Ramrod?”

“If they catch your trail,” Riley mumbled. “Jumpers have…a sixth sense for when they get close. As long as you stay fast and smart, you’ll be ok. If they catch you, the only way to lose them is to jump, and that only works for a few days, tops.”

“The hunters are the reason jumpers are nearly extinct, aren’t they?” Enos guessed. “They’re why you lost your parents.”

“She doesn’t like to talk about it,” Elliot stated, noticing how Riley began to make herself look smaller.

Silence fell over the table. Enos and Tesla held a silent conversation that Elliot did not and would not try to understand. His main concern was Riley. He placed his hand over hers, rubbing small circles on the back of it with his thumb. There was still a lot he and Riley didn’t understand about each other, but he did know that it felt like being stabbed in the heart when he watched her get sucked into her memories of when she started jumping on her own. He never wanted her to feel that alone ever again.

Enos stood from the table, clearing his throat. “Well, I’m afraid I must go down and work. I…Riley, would you like to come?”

Riley glanced from Enos to Elliot. Elliot patted her hand and nodded encouragingly. She slid out of her seat and managed to give Enos a small nod.

“Wonderful,” he cheered softly. “Perhaps you’ll find something that interests you. Tesla and I have quite the assortment of knickknacks.”

Buck followed them downstairs, leaving Elliot and Tesla and their partners alone on the second floor.

“You’re something else, mate,” Tesla said quietly. “Not everyone would take responsibility for a kid like that.”

“I have a feeling you and your uncle are like that,” Elliot replied.

“More my uncle,” Tesla shrugged. “I’ve got too many hot embers.”

Elliot raised an eyebrow. “Is that a way of saying you’ve got a temper?”

“Yup. I’m guessing you’ve learned how to pick up on figures of speech.”

“You could say that,” Elliot mused. “But I can’t for the life of me figure out what ‘stationary clanker’ means and why it warranted a black eye.”

“You won’t be happy when I tell you,” Tesla warned.

Elliot waited for her. She let out a small sigh.

“So, everything in this city is constantly moving: the cogs, the engines, the blades, everything. It’s how the city works. As such, people kind of spit on being still. It’s foreign, weird. And clanker is a term for an automaton that doesn’t work right. It just clanks and falls apart.”

“I can see why you punched that guy,” Elliot said, glaring at the wall.

“I would’ve also spouted a few words of my own, but there were little ears present,” Tesla admitted. “Now, sudden topic change, but I’m curious. What exactly can Spyke do?”

“His fur hardens into a bunch of spikes,” Elliot answered. “Buck breathes fire.”


“What about Ramrod?”

“He can turn his body into metal,” Tesla answered. “He loves to help out by head butting stuff.”

“Hence the name,” Elliot guessed.

A loud boom came from the ground floor, shaking he whole building. Tesla and Elliot exchanged wide-eyed looks.



They scrambled down the stairs with Ramrod and Spyke at their heels. Riley and Enos were standing in the middle of the room. The wall they were facing had a scorch mark that was definitely new. Riley and Enos turned towards them as they came thundering down the stairs. Elliot’s eyes were about to pop out of his head when he saw Riley holding what looked like a rifle. Instead of a barrel, it had a coil of copper inside a glass tube that was glowing with energy.

“Elliot, check this out!” Riley squealed, showing off the item. “It fires different kinds of energy. I fired a bolt of lightning at the wall!”

“Uncle,” Tesla scolded.

“In my defense, it’s impossible to say no when she begs,” Enos replied.

“He’s not wrong,” Elliot muttered. “She makes her eyes all watery and makes a pouty lip.” 

"Can I keep it?" Riley asked, bouncing in place. "Please, Elliot?"

“It couldn’t hurt to have the extra protection,” Enos reasoned. “And it’s quite lightweight.”

Tesla nearly laughed as Elliot turned to her. “Don’t look at me. You’re the one taking care of her.”

“Well…I…uh…” Elliot glanced back a Riley. He let out a small sigh. “Okay. Just let Enos teach you how to use it before we leave.”

“Yes!” Riley cheered. “Watch out multiverse! I’m a one woman army now!”

“Please don’t make me regret my decision!” Elliot called as Enos led Riley through a door on the other side of the workshop.

Tesla leaned against the railing of the staircase with a smirk. “She’s got you wrapped around her finger.”

“You try saying no to that face,” Elliot retorted.

She let out a laugh. “It can’t be that hard to say no to one kid. Although, Uncle’s not wrong about having a little extra protection…we should probably get you something too.”

Elliot attempted to protest to the idea. Tesla ignored them and dragged him into the mess. He had no idea how Tesla or Enos found anything. She handed him various items. He held them for about a second before Tesla pulled them away, deeming them to be ‘not his style.’

“This!” Tesla announced, proudly pulling a crossbow and quiver out of the pile. “This is definitely your style. Lightweight, easy to use, practical—”

“How is a crossbow practical?” Elliot asked as Tesla pushed it into his arms.

“It’s all in the bolts,” she answered, pulling one out of the quiver. “You see, inside the arrowheads are tesla coils. If they come into contact with anything that conducts electricity, it’ll get zapped with enough volts to cook a chicken.”

“Is that hyperbole or…?”

“Hyperbole…I think. Obviously, we’ve never tested them on living things. The quiver gets tied around your waist. Don’t worry, it’s made of rubber. When you load never. Touch. The tip.

Elliot nodded in understanding. He was promptly dragged away to go show Riley and Enos.

Despite Riley’s anxiety about it, the two stayed with the inventors for three days. It was one of their longer stays in one spot. Enos and Tesla were happy to fill them with food, restock their supplies and were understanding when one of them woke up screaming at night. Unfortunately, their stay had to end.

Riley and Elliot woke up early in the morning to a familiar shiver running through their bodies. Spyke and Buck stood attentively as they pulled their things together. Riley kept her rifle secured on one of her shoulders while Elliot fastened his quiver to his belt.

“Are you leaving?” Enos asked, roused from sleep by their movements.

“Hunters are close by,” Elliot stated. “We have to go before they catch our trail. We’ve stayed too long as is.”

“It’s the shivery feeling, isn’t it?” Tesla said, standing from her bed. “That’s how you know they’re close.”

“You and Ramrod should probably jump away too,” Riley piped.

“Figured as much,” Tesla mumbled, pulling a bag and her tool belt out from under her bed. “I packed a bag on your first night. Figured I should be ready.”

“Happy jumping,” Riley replied.

“Oh, no. I’m jumping with you,” Tesla clarified, shouldering her bag. “You really think I’d just say goodbye and leave you two on your own? Great cogs, no!”

Elliot let out a small chuckle. “What do you think, Riley?”

“Three is a pretty lucky number,” she replied.

“Guess our duo’s now a trio,” Elliot stated with a smile. “Don’t expect us to go slow for you.”

“Please,” Tesla scoffed. “You’re the ones that’ll have to keep up.”

The three jumpers looked over at Enos. He had a small smile on his face as he hugged Tesla.

“Take care of each other,” he said, his voice shaking. “And if you ever end up back here, the door is always open. I’d love to hear your stories. Hopefully, it won’t get lonely.”

Riley got onto Buck and offered her hand to Elliot and Tesla. Elliot took it while wrapping his other arm around Spyke. Tesla quickly followed his example.

“We’ll see you soon, Uncle,” she assured Enos.

“And with loads of stories to tell,” Riley added.

“I believe you,” Enos replied.

With that, the trio of jump pairs jumped. Despite the goodbye, Tesla was excited for the new adventure. 

Submitted: December 16, 2020

© Copyright 2021 cass stearns. All rights reserved.

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