This is something that started off as an LJ entry, made a detour as a(n unsuccessful) submission to a magazine, and now returns to its earlier purpose: LJ entry.
While her father examined the various antique doors, complete with their door frames, leaning against one of the long walls of the curio shop, Sharon lingered at the front of the shop, attracted by the fanciest pair of binoculars she'd ever seen. They were standing on a tripod--itself quite fancy, decorated with paintings of men in slashed sleeves and striped doublets, holding falcons and mandolins and ornate cups--and facing out the display window. Through the eyepieces, Sharon could see Cold Spring’s town common, and on the far side of the common, an old-fashioned pickup loaded with hay.
“Hey Dad,” she said, knowing his love of old things extended to cars and trucks, “take a look at this truck!” Sharon glanced behind her when her father didn’t respond and saw that he was deep in conversation with the shop proprietor. A quick look out the window showed that the pickup had already moved on, in any case. But something was odd. Sharon bent to look through the binoculars again, then lifted her head and gazed directly out the window, then repeated this.
On the common, near the low spot that the fire department flooded each winter for ice skating, was the broad stump of a sugar maple that had only this summer been cut down. Through the binoculars, however, Sharon saw a tall, slim tree still decades away from the girth of the stump.
“Whoa,” she breathed. Carefully she turned the binoculars on the tripod, so they pointed diagonally across the common at the liquor store and pizza joint inhabiting the old building at the corner. When she peered through the eyepieces, the FedEx drop box beside the building was gone, as were the air conditioning units in the upper windows. Something about the roof of the building’s porch seemed blurred, but by twisting a butterfly-shaped knob in front of the eyepieces, she was able to make a long sign appear there, with peeling paint and faded letters. Another twist of the knob, and the letters appeared clear and crisp: “Bardwell Dry Goods & General Store,” the y of “Dry” and the e of “Store” ending in flourishes. Sharon gasped as a horse-drawn carriage appeared from behind the store. She tipped the binoculars to pull the scene beyond the store into view and saw apple orchards where a Laundromat, gas station, and nail salon ought to be. She turned the knob several times and the apple orchards dissolved into forest.
“Ah-ah-ah, careful with those,” said the proprietor. With a firm hand on Sharon’s shoulder, she moved the girl away from the binoculars. “They’re from the early eighteenth century, made by Pietro Patroni, the Italian pioneer in chrono-optics. They’re temporal binoculars.”( Read more... )An actual pair of binoculars by Pietro Patroni