Wednesday, August 3rd, 1870

Dear Diary,

Please forgive the layer of soot and smoke that still permeates the upper floors. I’ve opened every window and door in an attempt to clear the air. Alas, the odorous miasma still clings.

I’m not exactly clear on what happened. It seems that my new houseguest, a wounded pilot of Danyell’s, has tinkered more than he ought to do. When I offered him the use of my attic as a workshop, I expected a workbench, some cogs, and possibly a saw. Imagine my surprise, then, when a monstrous roar emanated from my attic windows, followed closely by black, bilious smoke.

The good doctor and his nurse, Rose, with whom I’d been conversing at the time of the accident, ran close by my heels. The explosion was such that they took a moment to gather their medical kit. I, too, feared the worst.

Upstairs, we found a slightly singed Mr. Bluebird. He declined the generously offered medical care (the doctor is truly a saint, even if his nurse does wear dreadfully revealing dresses that make her look a tart rather than a proper lady). Instead, Bluebird twisted knobs to and fro, exclaiming in high, hurried tones that he could not stop, else we all might die!

Through the smoke, I then perceived a number of scientific devices. Some boasted gyroscopes spinning like mad. Other pulsed with electricity. Still more blinked eerily in the smoky dark, lighthouse beacons on the solitary shores of science. I crossed my arms and glared. I’d thought a convalescent in need of activity to satisfy an active mind. I’d never imagined how active that mind might be, let alone how dangerous.

Mr. Bluebird gave me to understand that this dazzling array of machinery was all perfectly necessary. A scar had opened, a tear in the so-called “fabric” of space and time. Personally, I always considered space and time to be more of a mist than a fabric, but Bluebird assured me that space and time can be bent, rent, and otherwise manipulated in ways more suited to the fabric comparison. When he pointed to what he described as a sort of aethereal bandage, a large gyroscope, I could not but believe him. The wound happened to be located in the general vicinity of Matilda’s recent miracle. I supposed it possible that this mad scientist of a man may actually have been reading some residual energy left over from that ordeal. Whether or not that necessitated the scorching of my rafters is another thing entirely.

The conversation that followed elucidated much. Mr. Bluebird has a talent for time travel. Well, at least he managed it once. He is from the mid twentieth century, but he has never quite made it back. Ge us quite wary of creating a paradox, which he fears might destroy existence. For my part, I explained the miracle, which led him to explain the dangers of what he called “inter-dimensional…” well, inter-dimensional something or other. The point is that his rather brilliant (however mad) mind and his 20th century education render this gentleman exactly the sort of man who might be able to help me alter the terrible future that I’ve seen!

I even ventured to inquire as to whether it might be possible to alter the future. My focus remained on saving the man I’d killed. Truly, however, I care less for saving once life than for taking or preventing a few more. The world must be spared the depravity of Fineshit and Hax. I need never suffer the attentions of that woman who haunts my every dream. Perhaps the entire 21st century can be unmade, or made new in the gentler, more sophisticated image of my beloved 19th.

We shall see, Diary, if my decision to take in this man bears any fruit. You know my goals. We have only to wonder what his may be.

In the meantime, I begin to spin the thread of a new idea. Might it turn to gold? If I cannot actually change time, could I not then change my own perception of it? What if I took a draught similar to that with which I rendered the sergeant less of a threat? If I don’t remember my past, it is as if it never happened. I could be free to begin anew, untainted by murders or other sinful deeds. Imagine it! I could wake a blank slate. I could be as innocent and as good as ever.

I would not miss Mary if I never knew her. I would not know how to wield a weapon if a fist if I’d never had a need. Of course, neither would I know Matilda or Danyell or anyone else. Would I even know English? Hmm… this is a matter requiring a great deal of careful consideration.

I must retire to think on this some more. Until tomorrow, I remain —

Your Contemplative,

–Miss Palabra Puddlegum–

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