WARNING! MASSIVE REVELATIONS INCOMING. YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO READ PRIOR PARTS THE SAME WAY AFTER THIS. ARE YOU CAUGHT UP?
PREVIOUSLY: Did Carrie go back in time to find her mother? Is Mindy somehow pulling strings in the present?
PART 81b: DO YOU MINDY?
Luci frowned, but apparently couldn’t think of an immediate defence for her position. After a troubled glance in Frank’s direction, she resumed her pacing.
“Let’s all back up,” Lee suggested. “Consider ways our rich witch’s note COULD have been written by our version of the track tease. For example, maybe it was dropped off after destroying the chip, but before she went after her mom? Thinking it was possible for us to make another chip or something.”
Julie shook her head. “Doubtful. Carrie’s started using new stationery in the last couple months. My note was on plain paper. Why the difference?”
“Also, Carrie was pretty adamant about not invoking more time travel,” Chartreuse added. “Problem is, I’m not sure I, like, buy Luci’s theory either. After all, the mystery note’s basically led to all of us, you know, being here and theorizing about time travel. Which is, like, exactly what ‘Future Carrie’ would want to avoid, yeah?”
“We weren’t always working together,” Clarke pointed out.
Julie winced. “Yeah, look, about that… Clarke, I…”
He flashed her a tired smile. “We’ll talk later.”
“Know what? We’re putting a lot of faith in handwriting here,” Corry decided. “And handwriting can be forged. Moreover, Julie, the note never referred to you by name, did it?”
“No,” she admitted. “You think it was a setup by someone else? But who outside of our group would know enough to be able to pull it off?”
Corry pointed his cane at her. “Mindy.”
“But that… actually fits,” Frank realized. “Mindy did have a couple hours in our time. She could have devised backup plans, gone to Carrie’s house, planted notes…”
“Mindy DID go to Carrie’s,” Clarke recalled, leaning forwards. “The day after the banishment, when I was with Carrie? She mentioned a letter by Mindy that had been left with her father.”
Luci leaned forwards against the back of the couch. “So Julie’s been working for MINDY all this time? Why? Surely if Mindy had enough knowledge to build a time machine, she’d have hired a reputable scientist rather than work to dupe a bunch of teen… she’d hire a…”
She snapped her gaze over to Tim at the same time as he turned to look at her. “L-Luci, the person in L-Linquist’s notes. Who might have been a relative, or associate…”
“No way. No WAY!”
“It would explain why that associate came up with the idea for the %gun of temporal freezing%.”
“Okay! Context for those of us out of the loop, please?” Lee requested, waving his hand.
As Luci seemed too stunned to speak, Tim turned to address them. “Linquist’s work on time travel. F-From once sensing the problem in Luci’s DNA to creating the t-temporal gun we found in the safe. What if all of his recent work was due to Mindy?”
“Linquist used to be a more reputable scientist,” Frank agreed. “Even won a local award once. When did that change?”
“When Mindy arrived,” Julie concluded, smacking the back of the chair. “After her banishment. She’s been working with him this whole time.”
“That can’t be,” Chartreuse gasped. Laurie reached out to again grasp her friend by the hand.
“But if that’s true,” Luci finally vocalized. “Mindy’s temporal banishment was, what, back fifteen years MAX?”
“That girl was Carrie’s first ever banishing attempt, right?” Corry remarked. “Maybe she didn’t do that great of a job.”
“Unless Mindy moved away and then came back into town,” Clarke countered.
“Well hey, why not look for evidence?” Lee suggested. “I’m working some hours in the library this afternoon. Now that you know what to look for, why not come with me and see if there’s something tying that Mindy to this Linquist? Maybe we can even figure out where they are now.”
“Wait, that plan, um, it doesn’t seem to help us get a time machine to pursue Carrie,” Laurie pointed out, waving one hand in the air as she continued to hold Chartreuse with the other. “Since even if present Mindy is tracked down, it still leaves us at the mercy of her, um, mental powers, right?”
“Lee’s immune, and I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve,” Julie said.
“No, Laurie right,” Frank sighed. “Without Mindy’s help, we have no time machine, and we need one. So Mindy can demand stuff, and we’ll have no choice. Worse, I don’t think she’ll have wanted a time machine so that we could all save Carrie.”
“Threaten Mindy with that gun maybe?” Corry suggested.
“Not if she h-helped to invent the thing,” Tim reminded. “Wouldn’t she know h-how to defend against it?”
Clarke sighed. “How about using Glen?”
Chartreuse jerked out of her thoughts. “Clarke, seriously? HIM?!”
“Maybe Mindy’s been warning us away from him because he’s the one guy who can take her down,” Clarke said, shrugging.
“Maybe we, you know, WANT her to take him down.”
“The devil we know, or the devil we don’t,” Julie muttered. “It’s like choosing Corry instead of Megan all over again. But in that respect, Clarke’s right – at least with Glen, we know what we’re getting.”
“Megan was merely misunderstood!” Chartreuse said.
“Maybe Glen is misunderstood too!” Clarke insisted.
Luci came around the couch to step between them. “Here’s the thing though. If Glen’s goal is to get Carrie back, and our goal is the same… I can’t believe I’m saying this, but maybe Clarke’s right. Maybe we should at least ask Glen if he wants to help retrieve Carrie?”
Everyone in the room exchanged uncomfortable looks.
Glen stared back at Clarke and Lee, an expression of disbelief on his face. “You’re serious, aren’t you.”
“Hey, I’m inclined to ask that question of their group quite a bit lately,” Lee put in, before Clarke had a chance to respond. “But instead I roll with it. Turns out anything that doesn’t make sense either eventually does, or doesn’t matter.”
“Ha!” the redhead scoffed, turning away from the two other boys. He leaned against the window frame of his hotel room, staring outside, trying to find the flaw in their reasoning. It wasn’t coming to him. “So you expect me to believe that Mindylenopia has been in town for years? That she somehow remembered enough to be behind Julie’s time machine? And that getting the machine away from Mindy is our only chance to help Carrie?”
“Right, though Mindy doesn’t have it yet,” Clarke noted. “We only know that she told Julie it could be rebuilt with her help. So we can’t simply take Mindy out pre-emptively. Unless you can make us a time machine as well…”
“I’m not a technical guy,” Glen grunted. “I only know the theory. Mindylenopia was a full-on tech, that’s why it was a big deal when she supposedly joined the idiot Mundanes in the resistance.” He shook his head. “She shouldn’t have been capable of introducing such technology into the past though. Not to mention the issues with causality… unless she figured it was less of a deal to tell all of you, since you knew already?”
He began to tap his fingers on the windowsill. Mindylenopia. Was it true? How much might she remember? Was this a game changer? Did he want to work with Carrie’s so-called friends?
Clarke cleared his throat, as if he was going to speak again. Out of the corner of his eye, Glen saw Lee signal him to stay silent. Yeah, of course they would have sent along the guy who couldn’t be influenced. They didn’t trust him – nor did they have any reason to. So was this a trap, or were things just that serious? Glen grimaced, continuing to tap his fingers for another minute or two, before turning around again.
“When did Carrie travel to?”
“We’re not sure,” Clarke answered.
“But you must suspect. Hence wanting the machine.”
When Clarke hesitated, Lee spoke up instead. “That information isn’t on the table here, dude. If you agree to help, and to never again pull any sort of stunt like you did with that chip, then maybe. BIG maybe.”
Glen narrowed his eyes. “And how do I know Julie didn’t create two chips? Or maybe once you have the time machine, your whole plan is to return to yesterday and take Carrie away for yourselves!”
Clarke’s jaw dropped, a sign that either those weren’t, in fact, possibilities, or that the guy was a better actor than Glen gave him credit for. The latter seemed unlikely, as the blonde only pulled himself together when Lee’s hand fell on his shoulder. Then again, maybe the others simply hadn’t told Clarke the true plan.
“High guy. We’re getting nowhere. We should go.”
“I guess,” Clarke said. “Unless… Glen, is there’s anything that might convince you that Mindy’s the real enemy here?”
Glen rubbed his chin. “Proof might. Yes, proof of actual scheming by Mindylenopia over the last ten years.”
Clarke nodded. “Okay, well, Tim and Luci are looking back over their notes, and Frank is already at the library, which is where we’re headed. So by tomorrow, we should–”
“Nope, by 5pm today.”
“What? Glen, that’s less than six hours away! And there’s so much data we’ll have to sift through!”
“Well, I can hardly give you the time to come up with a grand song and dance number for me, can I?”
Lee shook his head. “Paranoid much, red barren? You could use your mental gifts to see if anyone is trying to trick you.”
Glen shrugged. “Maybe your plan would be to try and figure out how I use that power, in order to turn it against me. No, I think if you’re really serious, you’ll put the effort into making my deadline. Oh, and I choose our meeting site, which won’t be the LaMille mansion, so don’t even bother.”
“Okay,” Clarke sighed. “Okay, fine. We’ll have something for you. And then you’ll see, Glen. You’ll see that we’re on the same side here!”
Julie had a sip of her tea as she sat in the kitchen, peering at her laptop. She, like Corry, had opted to do some searching online, rather than get in the way at the library records room. Besides, with Chartreuse and Laurie down in Linquist’s lab doing… whatever Chartreuse had insisted on doing, it had made sense for her to stay at home with them anyway. Unfortunately, the internet wasn’t providing much aside from a couple of references to Linquist’s jargon filled papers.
Julie glanced towards the pantry, which held the access down towards the hidden room. It was already past 4pm. What was going on down there? Chartreuse had said something about mapping timelines, and Laurie was popping up every so often to ask Julie about a specific date, plus there had been that one time for sandwiches… should she disturb them?
Julie shrugged. One of the library group was due to phone her soon, giving them the location where Glen wanted to meet. If the mystic and her friend hadn’t materialized by then, then she’d go down and see what was happening for herself.
The doorbell rang as she finished her tea. Jeeves would have already left to pick up Corry by car, what with that turned ankle, so Julie closed her laptop and rose to answer the front door herself. Maybe Clarke had come back to share some information in person?
Except it wasn’t any of the library people – when Julie opened the door, she found Tim standing with a rather more unexpected visitor. “Theresa?” the brunette questioned Tim’s companion. “What’s going on? We don’t usually see you out of the cafe.”
The waitress half smiled. She wasn’t even wearing her cafe outfit, instead she wore a red blouse and dark pants. “Yes, well, I was talking to Tim here and realized that the time had come to explain certain things.”
Julie frowned. “What things? What do you…” She stopped. Noticing Tim’s worried expression, she looked a bit more closely at Theresa. And at her red hair.
“You know what things,” Theresa said. “In fact, you came damn close to figuring me out once before. Don’t worry, I won’t mentally guide you away this time.”
It hit with such force that Julie felt like she’d been punched in the gut. She grabbed for the doorframe. “No. It can’t be. You mean you… you’re…”
“Yes, Julie.” The seemingly twenty-something cafe waitress stretched her arms out to the sides. “I was once known as Mindylenopia.”
NEXT: Remaking History
ASIDE: Anyone seen my microphone? I seem to have dropped it. Feel free to speculate on the repercussions of this part in the comments. Oh, and vote for T&T, maybe even encourage friends to read?