This week’s prompt from the Odd Prompts writing challenge was “Mrs. Griswold was embarrassed when she got home from her shopping trip and realized that somewhere along the way, she had forgotten Mr. Griswald again.” (inspired by https://www.thefarside.com/2020/09/04/2 which is sadly no longer available to view) and came from ‘nother Mike.
Mrs. Griswold hurried into her workshop, carefully cradling her find, completely absorbed in the process of preservation. She lovingly cleaned it with a soft brush, teasing specks of sand out of the crevices, sprayed it with a preservative, then carefully placed it into a museum case. In triumph, she turned to Mr. Griswold’s bench to announce her success, only to find it empty.
After checking the rest of the house/lab, she realized that she must have left him behind at the dig site…again. It was an easy thing to do, given that they were both so focused on their work, and one could easily leave the work area without the other even looking up from their work. Still, it would be embarrassing if any of their colleagues found out that she had come home from yet another “shopping trip” without her husband. Archaeologists were notorious for their vicious senses of humor.
At least he would be nominally safer this time. They had been working in the tomb of Tutankhamon, and she would have to do is to get there in time to retrieve him before the tomb robbers came back. She paused to have a little laugh at that. Mr. Griswold never appreciated temporal humor. The last time this happened had been rather humiliating and she had come close to losing him to a stampede of aurochs.
Mrs. Griswold paused for a moment in her planning to just think about Mr. Griswold. She smiled as she thought of the first time she had met the young Dr. Griswold, about their laughter as people looked on in confusion when they both answered to that name after being married, which is why “mister and missus” became pet names for one another.
Because the prior location where they had been working had been wide open with near endless lines of visibility, she couldn’t risk going back to get him herself and possibly doubling herself in time. Heaven forfend she should ever meet herself in person; that would be soul wrenchingly bad. That time she had needed to ask a colleague for help and her minor error in keeping track of her husband in the Eurasian Steppes became the titter of the year.
She’d learned from that experience and laid in a few extra precautions. Having realized that no amount of planning was ever going to prevent her from being so swept up in a discovery that Mr. Griswold wouldn’t periodically slip from her thoughts, Mrs. Griswold had found a way to ensure that her presence was easier to notice. She had always favored the sound that a string of rattles from a Scottish horse harness that she’d filched in the Bronze Age made, so she had taken to wearing them on her belt whenever she was on an excursion. Thus she had belled her own cat, somewhat ironic for a time traveller and one she should have stumbled across earlier.
The Griswolds would not be laughing toast of the Eon’s Feast this year, not again. Not this time. The cramped crypt full of twists and turns should make it easy for her to avoid stumbling into herself. Removing the the rattles from her belt and laying them aside by the entry port, Mrs. Griswold concentrated briefly and vanished.
Mrs. Griswold was nearly back to the entranceway, following the glow sticks laid along the pathway without a thought and clutching her find to her chest lovingly as her mind contemplated what this find might mean. The gentle melodic sounds of the rattles at her waist sounded rhythmically, a calming backdrop to her racing thoughts. Thank goodness the tomb robbers hadn’t grabbed this up on their first quick foray through the tomb. They would have melted it down and removed all the precious stones without regard to the amazing example of the Egyptian Pantheon that this artwork represented. Two more lightsticks and turns past dark side paths and she was out into the desert air again. A quick glance at the stars for their position, a moment of concentration and she was gone.
Mrs. Griswold stood quietly in the darkness waiting for her cue to act. The approach of the gentle tinkling bells was calming as always, in even more ways right now, since they weren’t on her waist. Well, they were and they weren’t, she thought, unable to suppress a small smile. And then they were past. She waited until the sounds fully receded from her hearing and then stepped from the dark and began following the light sticks back to her husband.
As Mrs. Griswold entered the Tomb of Tutankhamen again, her breath briefly caught in her lungs. This never got old. The raw feeling of discovery each time they saw something fresh before it was despoiled by time and humanity, this was what made her feel alive.
Mr. Griswold at this moment stepped from behind a statue and looked over lovingly at his wife. “I will never tire of seeing the joy on your face as you breathe in new discoveries.” Looking at her empty arms he shook his head, “Shame you didn’t find anything for your collection.” He hoisted the Tri-V Camera in his hands, “At least the images are stunning.”
Mrs. Griswold held back the look of chagrin and covered it with a glance towards her husband’s pocket watch. “Well, dear, I believe we are out of time. We should likely gather our debris and head home before the next round of despoilers arrive at the site.” Mr. Griswold grinned and opened his dump pouch starting to collect the luminescent sticks as they walked towards the entrance way. “At least you didn’t leave me behind at the ‘store’ again, dear.” waving his arm back at the Tombs. “Whatever would the Society say if we did that again?”
In another case of what comes around goes around, our prompt went to ‘nother Mike, who had to tell us about what happened when “You’ve finally stepped foot into the quiet halls of the museum on 42nd Street. You had always wanted to go. As you walk through, you turn to face an image of a painted forest, seemingly peaceful. Then you lean closer, because you could swear you saw the acrylic trees begin to sway.”
Like what you saw? Why not hop over to More Odds Than Ends to see stories from other members of the group? There’s new stuff every week. If you happen to enjoy writing or drawing, you could even join in. We can always add another chair to the table. Don’t want to commit on a weekly basis? Not a problem, grab a spare prompt and create.