Disclaimer: I do not own Penny Dreadful or any of the characters.
Here's chapter four. In which Emily remembers.
As anxious as Caliban was to hear the story of Frankenstein, he decided not to nag or push her the next day. Poor young woman had enough on her mind already.
For example, almost as soon as she had woken up that morning, she had asked him a very unusual question.
"Caliban," she'd asked him in a quiet, hesitant voice. "This is going to sound very strange, but I need to know something."
When he nodded, she continued.
"What year is it?" she asked in an even softer voice. She kept glancing at her hands in her lap, then over at him, who was sitting up next to her, and then back down to her hands.
"What year is it?" he echoed, as if he hadn't heard her right.
"Yeah," she confirmed. "What year is it?"
A strange question, indeed. But given his own background, and how long it took him to learn about the world since he'd been brought to life, he did not think it as strange as some of his own had once been.
"It's 1895. Why?" he answered.
She looked up at him, then, as if startled.
"1895? For real?" she asked, her eyes wide and her tone one of shock.
"What year did you think it was, or hoped it to be?" he asked gently, not wanting to sound ridiculing. He was sincere in his questions.
Her bottom lip quivered, as if she was about to speak, but kept changing her mind. She looked down at her hands again, which she was wringing anxiously.
"2016," she whispered. "The last time I checked the date, it was in the year 2016."
Now he stared at her. While he was no stranger to the impossible, as he himself could be called such, the idea of time-travel was new to him.
"You think I'm nuts, don't you?" she said, as if resigning herself to the idea. "I can't say I blame you if you do."
He exhaled slowly, and thought carefully before he answered.
"I find that, due to your strange clothes, mannerisms, and that strange metal machine you crashed in… I believe that you speak the truth. Truth, as the saying goes, is stranger than fiction."
Emily stared out into space for a minute, then nodded.
"I agree. Thank you, Caliban. I remember now, what I was doing and where I was, before I wound up here. You were right. I think I just needed to rest."
She still spoke quietly, and Caliban wondered if she needed some time alone to think. He needed to go look for another job, and would go if she needed him too, even if she didn't say it.
"And what were you doing, before the crash?" he asked.
But Emily shook her head.
"I understand," Caliban said before she could speak. "You think about it. You don't even have to answer if you don't want to. I know what it's like to have secrets, and I feel that, whatever it was, it's your decision to tell, or not to tell."
"I appreciate that. And it's not that I don't want to tell you," Emily tried to explain. "It's just complicated. If it were just me, I would. But there are other people… involved, you know? It's nothing bad, though, what we were doing. It was a good thing. Difficult and dangerous, but definitely good."
He could tell she was being sincere, but her rambling told him that she needed time to collect her thoughts.
"I believe you," Caliban assured her. He stood up, then.
"I've got to go, now. I've been looking for a new job these past few days. But I'll be back later, I promise."
"Okay," Emily answered. "I guess… I'll be here. Would it be alright if I looked at some of your books, while you're gone? I don't think I can walk on my leg yet, so I don't really have much else to do."
He realized that she would likely need help getting around, even just to the facilities. But he had no way to help her presently. Until he could, letting her read some of his books to help pass the time was not an unreasonable request.
"Please do," he answered. "I don't mind."
"Thank you," Emily said. She smiled. "I'll be sure to check out Tennyson while you're gone. Give us more to talk about, poetry-wise, if you want."
Caliban saw her statement for what it was. She was asking if he wanted to keep up their rapport. It meant that she wanted to be his friend.
"I would like that," he answered. He returned her smile.
"Until later, then, Miss Emily," he said, feeling awkward as he did when he wasn't sure how to act or what to say in certain social situations. He wasn't used to having someone to come back to, after all.
Emily nodded. "See you later. Good luck."
Caliban nodded back, then turned and left. He'd recently heard they were looking for workers someplace near to the river, not too far from the clinic. It would be his first stop.
Emily's point of view:
As soon as Caliban was gone, her anxiety began to set in.
It was 1895. She was, somehow, impossibly, over one hundred and twenty years in the past.
But how had she gotten there? The last thing she remembered, before everything went to hell in a handbasket, was being on a small, two-person spacecraft. She'd been doing some scouting around where there had been reports of enemy shape-shifter activity.
Yes, she'd been in space. Yes, she'd been investigating alien activity. She was part of a group of humans who had been befriended by another, much friendlier, alien race, called the Siesiens.
She wondered if it had been some kind of attack by shape-shifters that had stranded her there, in 1895, London. All she knew was that something had hit her ship, knocked out her sensors, and sent her careening back to Earth. Sometime during the fall, she'd blacked out due to the number of G's pulling and straining her body.
That was the cause of the crash, obviously, but not the time-travel.
She'd awoken to blaring alarms, freezing water rapidly seeping into the ship, and pain. The emergency lighting worked, but not much else. By the time she'd managed to get the emergency manual eject mechanism to work (yes, they still had those, in case of crashes inside a planets' atmosphere), the water had filled nearly the whole compartment. She'd been trying to stay calm, and nearly lost it after she'd taken the last breath of air that she could before the water was above her head.
But then the eject worked. For a moment, she rejoiced inwardly. But, unbeknownst to her, during the crash one of the wings had been warped so that it bent into the ejection path. She lost most of her air screaming after her leg hit the wing just after being shot out of the ship. It was also during the time she ejected that the water outside and inside the craft had heated up to a scalding temperature. Hence her burns.
It was a miracle she hadn't lost her leg. It was also a miracle that no other part of her body had hit the wing, either, and that she was still alive.
After the momentum from ejecting ran out early (possibly due to being underwater), she managed to undo the safety belt, floundering until she figured out which way was up. Eventually, she reached the surface, and then she could breathe again.
The frigid water of the river was both her aid and hindrance. While it kept her burns from worsening, and helped keep her leg feeling somewhat numb, it made it hard for her to move the rest of her body to swim. But she kept trying.
She could see the shore, but not much beyond it, given the heavy gray mist and rain. Eventually, she managed to reach it, but not until the current had carried her downstream. Because she was so cold, she forgot, momentarily, about her injured leg. When the water gradually became shallow enough, she had, naturally, tried to stand. Big mistake. Even with the way water made one feel weightless, her leg gave out on her, and she slipped underwater once more. Realization dawned on her that her leg was in worse shape than she'd thought.
Using her one good leg, she'd kicked up from the river floor (now, thankfully, only about five feet deep) to the surface, and resorted to swim the rest of the way. Once it became too shallow to swim, anymore, however, she had to crawl.
She didn't care, as long as she could keep her head above the water. Her leg began to hurt, though, and she'd involuntarily cried out more than once as it dragged along the bottom of the shallows.
She made herself move, though. She had to get out of the water. She was freezing, hurting, utterly lost, and very afraid.
It was then she heard the tell-tale sound of people. Instinctively, she called out for help, no longer thinking as a pilot, but as a lost human being.
But no one came. The rain continued, cold and unrelenting.
She dragged herself along the gravelly shore, until she had no strength left. Everything hurt, and there were times she couldn't help but groan in pain. Still, no one responded. Eventually, she stopped, rolling onto her side in an attempt to relieve the pressure on her broken leg.
Exhausted, and the adrenaline leaving her system, she'd closed her eyes. At least she was out of the water.
But then, a few moments later (or hours, for all she knew), Caliban had shown up. She thanked God for him and his help, then and this morning. Otherwise, she likely would have died from exposure.
And the rest was history.
She must have gone into some kind of shock during and after the crash (and the ensuing struggle to reach the shore). That would explain her memory loss, as well as how it came back that morning.
This, at least, was progress.
Seeking to fend off a sense of panic (due to a question she refused to ask herself, let alone answer at that point in time), she remembered how she needed to find her own cot. Or just a space on the floor of her own, if no other cot was available.
She'd been in worse places. She couldn't think of any at the moment, though she was sure she had.
There was one other thing that she was able to remember, then, that she hadn't been able to last night. The realization brought a tiny smile to her face, and a shred of hope to her heart.
She remembered Alex.
The thought of him alone was enough to make her almost forget her broken leg. She suddenly longed to be able to get up, move around, and do what needed to be done.
She needed to get back to the river and look for her ship. She needed to know if the automated distress signal had been sent out or not. She needed her emergency supplies…
First, she needed to be able to walk again, though. Or, at least, limp without help from another person.
Only then could she worry about how to get to the bottom of the river and back again, and somehow survive.
There was one other thing she was absolutely certain of, though: she could not manage the task alone.
I'm so sorry I haven't updated in so long, you guys. And I know that this chapter isn't as long as the others, but I will do my best to make the other chapters a more reasonable length. I can't give an estimate on when I will update again, but I'm sure it will happen. Eventually.
Oh, and the next chapter will definitely have more of Caliban in it than this chapter did.
Please remember to review! They motivate me to continue writing this! Let me know what you think of Emily. I promise more explanations are to come, most likely in the next chapter.