The year seemed to go buy much faster than any other, as we worked rapidly preparing for the event. We made an inventory of artifacts that may be useful in the future, and locked the most dangerous of the rest in a hidden underground storage just in case she decided not to return to this present year, in which case I was going to go to the Americas to wait for her. The rest didn't matter, and would eventually be tracked down and moved into government facilities or private collectors keeping them out of use.
We also had to practice using the Sundial to channel her powers. We didn't use it on the Pocketwatch itself, so it wouldn't accidentally pull her forward forcibly to some other random time period, but used it with several other objects. Results were rather promising, as it turned out to be easier to control then we thought, and we were confident we were ready for the move.
Finally, the year grew towards a close, and we got ready for the experiment. It was New Years Eve, and we were in the largest room of her mansion, the dining room, completely cleared of all furniture and other objects. In the center of the room was chalked a large circle, empty, which is where she was going to stand.
"So let's go over the plan again," I said, as we began our final preparation. In her hands was a small briefcase, with several objects that we thought would be handy at that time. At the same time, I was looking over some notes I had taken and comparing them to illustrations in the book, after finally given the chance to dismantle the Pocketwatch.
"You will go to 2080," I continued, "figure out from leftover news reports what the cause of the war was. Then you can flip over the gear to the outermost hand and it will read time in reverse, allowing you to travel backward, and stop the event."
"Right," she said, nodding to me. She closed up the briefcase, and walked over to the center of the circle. "In the mean time, if I don't return to the present, you will seal up the vault, destroy the house, and take the most dangerous of the objects and move them to the New World and hide out there to wait for me."
I nodded in response, and closed the book up on the notes. I set it down on the floor next to me, and walked over into the circle, setting down the Sundial in the center. We both nodded to each other, and she hugged me for a moment, before I stepped out of the circle again. "Good luck," I said.
She smiled, and took out the Pocketwatch. She removed the chain from it and held it into the air above the Sundial, and after holding it there a moment she pulled back her hand, and the Pocketwatch remained floating in the air, above the Sundial.
A gong rang through the house, a new clock ringing in the midnight hour, and we both nodded again. I picked up the book and stepped back, and she closed her eyes and began focusing her energy. On the floor around the Sundial, a pool of energy began to form, a deep maroon in color. After a few moments, it began to swirl around the Sundial, being drawn in as if it were a whirlpool. The Sundial glowed brightly for a few moments, and then a corkscrew of the energy made its way up towards the Pocketwatch.
She set her hand on top of the watch, waiting for the energy of her power to make its way up into the gears. Once it did, however, I couldn't believe my eyes. The moment that the energy of her spell touched the watch, a bolt of lightning emerged from it and arced with the book. I dropped it on the ground and stepped back, and several more bolts came out of the watch, connecting with the book, while a small tear in space opened up, the portal to the future emerging.
A third bolt of electricity then came out of the watch, hitting her straight in the chest. She was knocked back several feet, and laid on the ground screaming out in pain as the bolts of lightning hit her several more times. I ran quickly over to her side to try and drag her away from the bolts, and once she was out of range they stopped arcing between the book and the watch as well.
"Why," she cried out, half delirious from the blows. "Why do you hate me so? Why couldn't you let me help you?!" I had no idea what she was talking about, and tried to gently raise her into a sitting position against the wall.
"Thank you," she said to me finally. "You're going to have to go in my place, it seems."
I shook my head. "No, we should stop the experiment. You need medical attention, and we need to figure out what went wrong."
"No," she shouted back to me, and then was startled because she apparently was louder than she had intended. "We must finish the mission!"
"But, I may get-"
She put her hand on my shoulder, and let out a sad smile. "I should have figured that I couldn't actually do it myself. I was hoping that its incomplete state would protect me, but our actions apparently completed it and set the trigger." She pointed back to the watch, the small portal had grown to about a foot wide and was twisting and weaving, and the Pocketwatch itself was a near white glow now.
"Quickly," she said. "Before it overloads and the watch is destroyed!" I had to follow her order, so I ran over, grabbed the briefcase, and went up to the watch. I was still cautious however, and held my hand over it before actually grabbing it, but there was nary a peep of electricity from either the book or the watch. Taking a deep breath, I clamped down my hand on the watch.
Almost instantly, the portal expanded and engulfed me, and I felt a sensation of falling as everything around me went black. This continued for what seemed like several minutes, until I once again emerged into the light. As I looked around, I was on a grassy surface, and from the looks of it I was at the location of the mansion, which itself was long gone.
I looked down to the Pocketwatch, and found that the hands had all stopped. Shrugging, I attached a chain to it and placed it into my vest, and started walking down toward where the town had once been.