Iranno stared at the old music box and took a deep breath.
“Ok,” he said, winding the rusting key. “Where to tonight?”
The only answer was the raspy tinkling of the box’s tune. He relaxed and watched as the world he knew fell away one tiny, glittering pixel at a time. A relic from the era before space travel, the box held its rich colors and intricate carvings despite the passage of time. And the box was all about time. The strange melody transported the listener to the past. Not just anywhere, but to a place the box had been before.
As he drifted in the darkness, Iranno strained to remember how he came into possession of the box. Was it a family heirloom, a found treasure, or a gift from a stranger?
His thoughts were interrupted by the return of the light. He fully expected to be in some lady’s bedroom or at least a quaint antique shop. So he was not the least bit prepared for the sterile lab materializing before him. The box was completely disassembled on the lab bench. Immediately, Iranno felt something was amiss. He panicked. Without the box, he could not return to his own time. He picked up the component responsible for the melody and twisted the key. Nothing happened.
Suddenly, strange alarms sounded and a whirling sphere buzzed around his head. He swatted at the sphere and backed out if the lab.
In the hall stood a slender gray figure that stared at him with huge black eyes.
The figure stood in front of a large window. The blue and green orb of earth hung in behind it outlined by the vast backdrop of outer space.