It was cloudy, as were most days that time of year.
A forest that hadn’t seen fire in 200 years stood without canopy to keep anyone who might have been there from seeing the gray ocean flow endlessly above them.
No one was there, however, and the singular dirt road running through the forest had a singular set of automobile tracks in the snow, which had fallen a week ago.
As a church bell rang to signal twelve noon somewhere off in the distance, a slight crunch of snow settling after the sudden application of weight, and Eleazar appeared.
Several months of travelling through history had made him an expert, he thought.
The light brown hair, previously neglected, had been combed, but not styled, riding a line between medium and long.
His face, too, once pale and bearded, now tanned, with enough facial hair to count as a beard or shadow, depending on how he wanted to spin it.
An off white button down shirt and brown, thick pants were mostly obscured by a gray overcoat, which entirely hid the handgun and aged knife in his belt behind him.
Over this hung a large leather messenger bag styled to not draw attention in any time.
In his left hand, a device resembling a calculator, with a cord running into the bag, while in his right was a plastic sandwich bag.
In his eyes, a smug, confident look was chased away by one of uncertainty and panic.
He had come from his own time: a short reprieve in 2014 to regain his bearings before heading back to times long past.
While taking in the familiar surroundings, he came upon a tree, fallen with the roots still attached, when a metallic glint caught his eye.
As unbelievable as it seems, the falling of a nigh-hundred year old maple had revealed the tip of a knife encased in plastic and the wood of a particularly large root.
Years had caused the roots to grow and engulf the knife, to the point where only the tip of the blade was visible.
Extricating it was a chore, but well worth the effort: the knife was nearly an exact match for his own, only older.
Eleazar puzzled over the blade, and came to the conclusion that he could place his own knife in the roots of a sapling, where it would lay until he found it not an hour ago,
creating a funny little loop in the timeline of his knife.
Eleazar, with a silly smile on his face, made the necessary preparations for the trip, and was on his way; entertained until the moment of his arrival in 1925.
The woods were too old. He had counted the rings in his time, and there should only be saplings a couple years old here, not old growth forest.
He slipped both the plastic bag and the calculator behind a false lining of the leather bag, and walked down the road in the direction he thought he remembered hearing the church bells.
An hour of walking had brought him one possible explanation. He must have somehow missed 1925 and landed himself before the death of the forest his forest would grow to replace.
The hour had also brought him to a village. It didn’t offer much to take in. A church, general store, school, and several houses were positioned around a small town hall.
A few people were visible: several children playing in front of a house, an old man reading a newspaper on a bench in front of the general store,
a small gathering of adults in front of the church, but that was it.
The old man drew Eleazar’s attention. Walking down the old man’s side of the street, Eleazar found a point in front of him to kneel and tie his shoes, giving the opportunity to read the date.
January 10, 1925. With that, Eleazar, who had been allowing himself to become confident in his hypothesis, was lost.
He knelt, mind racing, in front of the old man for minutes, until the man felt awkward enough to leave, eyeing Eleazar uncertainly.
Eleazar’s next destination was the school. It was obviously the weekend, so it stood empty, and without much effort he gained access to a classroom.
Drawing a pad of paper from his notebook, he began reading, copying, working it all to the blackboard.
Lines, graphs, numbers and symbols began filling the board, as the chalk taps became faster, meaner, infuriated: from asking politely for answers,
to doing their best to beat them out of the board.
After some time of this, Eleazar stopped abruptly. Fury far from abated, he had pursued every possibility that had occurred to him, until now; things had stopped occurring to him.
Exhausted from the enhanced interrogation he had taken out on the chalkboard, he sat in the front row of student’s desks, and fell into a trance staring at the work he had completed.
“Hello!” A woman’s voice addressed Eleazar, and strode into the room, smiling brightly. “I have been following you since you got here. Where did you come from?”
Followed me?! She doesn’t look crazy. She didn’t. Neat, time appropriate skirt and blouse, 19 or 20 at the oldest. And a smile which was becoming strained the longer Eleazar sized her up.
“Uh...Chicago.” It was the best answer he could think of at the moment, and noticing the scrawl of mathematics on the board, added: “I’m a profess-”
“What? Oh, you don’t know who I am.” She brought a necklace out of her blouse and showed it to him.
A strange symbol on the pendant that looked like a seven attached to a vertical line, but it meant nothing to him. “I mean, when did you come from?”
Panic. I didn’t tell anyone. Well, he had once. Another trip, when he made an ill advised attempt to assassinate Hitler in 1918. It hadn’t worked, but Eleazar couldn’t tell why.
He had emptied a magazine into his chest, but a quick trip to 1939 revealed him having risen to power nonetheless. For a while he suspected telling someone may have led to his failure.
“Do you realize you’re crazy?”
That was the wrong thing to say. From her waistband came a revolver, and she made her way to the desk where he had set his bag.
Putting it over her own shoulder, and training the revolver on his face, she spoke again:
“Who are you? Where did you get this?”
“My name is Eleazar. I got the bag in Chicago.”
She rummaged around a bit in the bag, still holding the revolver on him. As she rummaged, Eleazar reached for his own handgun as slowly as he could.
Clothes, notepads, a book or two came out, spilled on the floor, until with a ripping sound, she exposed the false lining.
The plastic bag, filled with his newer knife and silica gel, was left alone in favor of the time machine. “Chicago seems quite incredible,” she said, obviously sick of the games Eleazar played.
At this point, Eleazar figured he was zero for three. Bluffing wasn’t working, and he was one wrong answer from a bullet.
Not having reached his pistol in time, he figured it was time to come clean.
“My name is Eleazar, and I built that. I came from the year 2014,” he stated, then, to get the focus off himself, added, “What’s the pendant all about?”
It was obvious she was proud of it, because the question launched her into a monologue that Eleazar only really caught the gist of.
Apparently, throughout history, most tragedies, genocides, major depressions, and unsightly insect bites were caused by one group.
The person they thought to be the first and only time traveller had formed their group, which they called the Resistance, to do whatever they could to stop them and rescue whoever they could.
Vital to their operation was a book given them by the traveller.
A tome which told of everything the Society (their term for the group responsible) would attempt, and how it would be remembered by history. This town was a hub for the Resistance.