The notes sounded out clear and clean through the strangely empty land, preceeding the small shape of the foxboy by some distance. The music was light and cheerful, very much out of keeping with the dismal surroundings, unless one was familiar with the outlook of the player. The tune stopped in mid flow, and the soft pad of unshod feet hurrying forward was heard.
Tepic examined the strange machine and it’s bearded occupant with his usal curiousity. He was not very good with machines himself, but he knew Gadget would love to hear about, so he tried to commit every detail to memory. It was odd, but it reminded him of something he had seen before, if only he could remember! Looking over the man, he was almost like a wax-work, though Tepic was certain he was alive. There was a determined look on the face, teeth clenched on the cigar, and it looked as if he had just started to pull a leaver when everything had stopped for him. Just behind the man was a pack, which oddly enough looked as if someone had rifled it. Being curious, the boy opened it up, and checked out the contents. There was a box of cigars, a box of matches in a rather nice silver holder, embossed with a flowery design, a journal and pen, and some other oddments. He held on to the journal to have a closer look, and returned the other items to the pack, including the box of matches.
Sitting cross-legged by the machine, he carefully read the cover, then settled down to read the rest, occasionally glancing up at the man with a raised eyebrow at particular passages. It might have suprised some in his home City that he could read at all, let alone enough to understand the gist of the man’s journal. It would have suprised them even more to know he could have read the document even if it had been written in several other languages.
There were instructions on how to operate the machine in the journal, but having read the chap’s exploits in detail, Tepic thought it wiser to leave well alone. He carefully took the pen, and at the end of the entries wrote “You should be nicer ter people if yer expects em ter help yer Mr!” in his careful handwriting. It was with a carefree step that he walked away, playing music to his heart’s delight, his own box of matches safely in his pocket, protected by a beautiful silver cover….
As the small figure faded into the distance, there was a joyful laugh, and a cry of “Mr. Wells!”.