“Good heavens!” Gabrielle pinched herself and yelped, as the resulting pain brought home the realisation that this was indeed happening to her!
Walking down the school corridor, in Gabby’s very direction, was ... her sixteen-year-old mother.
At that age, Maria was a veritable doppelganger for Gabby. Unbelievable; the professor’s dubious-looking time machine actually worked!
Professor Lewis had explained that anything, be it living or material, sent back to an epoch it had not previously existed in, would not be seen by the beings living in that era.
Which was a good thing too, because Gabrielle did not think her mother would have been able to make sense of her (as yet) unborn daughter standing before her, gawking, in what would only be considered an outlandish getup from another millennium.
One thing that didn’t quite fit the picture of time travel that directors the world over had envisioned, was that one could not remain in the past or the future indefinitely.
Due to the enormous amount of energy necessary for the endeavour, the maximum amount of time one could spend in the past was directly proportionate to how far into the past one wished to travel.
So, the Professor Lewis had warned Gabby that she should brace herself for being whisked away at any given moment. (At least until he could work out the formula that would enable them to know the exact moment they would reappear in the present.)
And that, in turn, would require a great deal more travelling, for research. Research Gabby was more than willing to participate in.
As the weeks and months passed by at breakneck pace, Gabby witnessed Shakespeare scribbling away at his first attempt at Macbeth; saw Michelangelo tentatively beginning to paint the roof within the Sistine Chapel; held the apple that had, moments earlier, fallen on Sir Isaac Newton’s head; and ran alongside Archimedes, as he streaked down the Ancient Greek streets of Syracuse. (Albeit unbeknownst to him, and, obviously, with her eyes averted ... She had a certain modicum of honour to live up to, after all!)
Once Gabby had visited absolutely every era that met her fancy, she decided to leave the next decision up to the professor. The greatest mentor she’d ever known.
“Professor Lewis, how ‘bout you pick our next destination?”
The professor smiled enigmatically. “You’re sure that you want me to choose?”
“Absolutely,” answered Gabby.
“Well then, I choose the day on which all history – past, present and future – is said to be hinged. The day my Lord and Saviour died on a cross, at Calvary.”
His smile became gentler then, but Gabby still had to roll her eyes. The professor was an exceedingly sweet and discerning human being, but he had the awful tendency to be quite the fundamentalist, when it came to his faith.
He was pretty vociferous on that account, and she couldn’t quite comprehend it. For such a discerning man to believe the hogwash he did –about a deity coming to earth to die for humanity – was beyond her.
She sighed. “Alright, let’s give it a bash.”
She sincerely hoped the professor’s love of life would not diminish, when he discovered that Christ was no more than a deluded individual, despite being a great man. The fact remained that he was a man, and nothing more.
Half an hour later, Gabby found herself at the foot of the cross, with the professor.
She had to cringe at the sight of Jesus dying.
His back was ripped open, exposing stark white bone against blood the deepest red she’d ever seen.
Blood and sweat mixed upon his brow, only to drip down to the raw flesh patches on His face, where His beard had been torn out and the flies were gathering.
She gasped in horror at the sight, and buried her head deep in the professor’s lab coat, muffling the sobs that instantly wracked her slight frame.
When she dared to look up again, Gabby could discern, for the first time, that this man was not a madman, but that He was who He claimed to be: the very Son of God.
More than that, He was the being she desperately wanted to call her Saviour.
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