Snoops in Prehistoric Times









   “Well girls, you’ve done it again!” DCI Barnable announced as his officers led the handcuffed jewel thieves into the police van. “I have to say, the rate with which you’ve been helping to put all these local crooks behind bars is really helping us deal with the government cuts to the police budget.”

   “Anything to make sure creeps like those guys are put away,” Joanne replied. Then the black girl whirled around with a twirl of her frizzy dark hair, and as the criminals took their seats she yelled, “Word of advice chaps. When you’re wooing a girl, try buying her a diamond ring instead of tying her up in a vault filled with them.”

  Red headed and freckled Amber re-adjusted her glasses before saying sheepishly, “I would like us to have one case where the bad guys don’t end up capturing us.”

  Lisa, a brunette with an expertise in both sport and science, responded, “Come on Amber, a bookworm like you should have realised that constantly getting captured and constantly escaping in the nick of time to save the day is part girl detective’s job description.”

    Bianca, a glamorous girl with short, curly blonde hair, weighed in by saying, “True, but it would be nice if it happened, like, maybe once in a while to keep things interesting?”

    “Well as long as we have Kimberley watching out backs then everything will always turn out alright in the end, what do you say Kim?” Lisa exclaimed.

    Kimberley, the dependable and strongheaded leader of the Goldwood Girl Detective Society, only responded with a distant sounding, “Yeah, right.”

   “Well, as I always say every time we do this, be careful, and try to stay out of trouble,” DCI Barnable told them.

   “Yeah good luck with that inspector!” Joanne laughed as she turned to head in the direction of the nearest pub. “See you when we have some more crooks to send to jail.”

   “I’m serious, remember what happened when you investigated that theft at the science lab? Leave some of the dangerous criminals to us in the future,” DCI Barnable protested.

   “Maybe if there’s a schedule clash or something,” joked Bianca, as the rest of the Goldwood Girl Detective Society departed the scene of the crime, flushed with success from another job well done.

    “So who’s getting the first round in at the Red Dragon?” Amber asked. “I don’t know about you all, but I could do with a glass of wine as big as my head.”

    “I’m in if Joanne is paying. She still owes me for the taxi ride home the other night!” Lisa joked, causing Joanne to protest profusely.

  “What about you Kim, you want something suitably alcoholic?” asked Amber.

   Kim, however, shook her long platinum blonde tresses to say no. “I think I’m just going to head home and have an early night.”

    Sensing something was amiss with the founder and leader of their girl detective band, Bianca asked, “Is everything alright Kim?”

    “Yeah, everything’s great. I just need some rest. Well done today gang,” Kimberly announced as she set off down a street which would take her back home instead of to the nearby pub. Joanne opened her mouth to protest, but Lisa stopped her, realising Kimberly needed some time alone.

   The remaining four set off for the Red Dragon, which was only around the corner. It was surprisingly deserted as they entered, only a handful of regulars and the stodgy, moustached barman serving them. He snapped to alert when the four young ladies entered, eager to have a celebratory drink.

    “I’ll have a glass of Chardonnay please,” Amber told him after Joanne and Lisa had had their orders taken. “Oh, and a packet of chive and anchovy crisps please.”

    “Eurgh, how can you like that flavour?” Bianca asked, wrinkling her nose in displeasure. “For one thing they make your breath smell revolting.”

   “Don’t worry, I won’t offer you one then,” Amber teased. “Wouldn’t want to spoil your blossoming romance with your fella by giving you bad breath. You never know, he might like it!”

   “I doubt a policeman from 1920s New York will like chive and anchovy crisps,” Bianca retorted, referring to her new boyfriend whom she had met in quite extraordinary circumstances.

    Amber and Bianca took their seats next to Joanne and Lisa, and seeing Amber begin to chomp happily on her smelly packet of crisps made Lisa feel hungry. She picked up the menu on the table top and began glancing through it. “Anyone else fancy a burger or something?” she asked as she looked.

   “What, you not tempted by the chive and anchovy crisps?” joked Joanne.

   “Do you want one?” retorted Amber.

   “No thanks, if I wanted bad breath I’d brush my teeth with mushed up onions th…”

   “Girls shut up and look at this!” Lisa interrupted in alarm.

    The brunette’s eyes were wide and her mouth hung open in shock. She couldn’t tear her gaze from the menu in her hands. The other three girls huddled around her, wondering just what had elicited such a reaction. When they saw it for themselves, they were also reduced to a state of shock.

   Written in black ink and block capital letters over the kids menu was the following sentence.


  Kimberly kicked an empty plastic bottle with the side of her black converse shoes, which she wore with dark nylons, denim dungarees and a black and white stripy top. The bottle skidded across the alleyway that provided a short-cut back to her home. The autumn wind sent both the falling leaves and her long, platinum blonde hair billowing through the breeze, as she kept her brown eyes firmly fixed to the ground. In the past she would have felt pride at her and her friend’s achievements. But after what had happened all those months ago, when they’d investigated the break in at a nearby science lab, all other crime solving seemed tame by comparison.

   Little had she realised that the day she went to investigate the Pitchford Brother’s criminal scheme that the way she viewed the world would change forever. For the Pitchford Brothers had ended up stealing a time machine, and planned to use it to commit crimes across the whole of human history. Kimberly and the girls had been forced to travel through time themselves to foil their scheme, and had ended up succeeding…well mostly. Kimberly had travelled to the year 3209, and the now colonised planet Mars. There she had foiled the plan of Kieran Pitchford, the youngest of the five brothers, but had been unable to prevent him being sucked out of an airlock into the wastes of the Martian landscape in his dramatic escape attempt. Kimberly had no idea if he was alive or dead.

   She regretted being unable to do more to change that situation. Granted she’d been tied up at the time, but the thought that she’d been involved in the potential death of someone, even a thief like Kieran Pitchford, made her feel uncomfortable.

    Also her whole view on the world and of humanity had changed. In the present day (or her present day) everyone was theorising what the future would hold for humanity, and how the challenges of the past, present and future would change them. She’d seen that future for herself, and while she marvelled at mankind’s ability to adapt and make scientific progress, she felt despondent at how little attitudes and beliefs had changed not just from past to present, but from present to future.

   She was basically suffering from a severe case of culture shock, and she couldn’t understand how well the other girls were dealing with it.

    She was so wrapped up in thought that she didn’t see the strange device concealed by the fallen leaves until she unwittingly stepped on it.

   She felt it click underfoot, before it started beeping madly. Kimberly bent over, and swept away the leaves to get a good look at the device. It was about the size of a dinner plate, perfectly circular with a bulge in the centre. It resembled some kind of futuristic, metal Frisbee.

   Even as Kimberly looked on in confusion, four even-spaced hatches opened up in the device, out of which streamed glowing bands of orange energy, flicking and whizzing through the air like strands of fabric caught in the breeze. Kimberly watched on in disbelief as these four bands circled her like a vortex.

    Before Kimberly could scream one of these energy bands wound its way around her mouth and head, sealing her mouth shut and somehow muting her panicked cries to muted squeaks. Another band whizzed around her arms and upper body, pinning her arms against her sides. The other two bands secured her legs, one fixing her ankles and lower legs together, the other weaving its way above her knees.

   The whole process was over in seconds, and a stringently bound Kimberly stood utterly stunned by what had happened, unable to move against the constricting energy bands that seemed to stretch in the direction of her wriggles, or cry out through the bands wrapped around her mouth and pinning her hair against her face. She made a few vain attempts to hop forward, which ended with the squealing young lady toppling over onto her side.
  Immediately Kimberly started writhing on the leaf strewn floor trying to break free from whatever material these bands restraining her were made of. But even as she kicked and thrashed in vain she heard footsteps approaching her position. They didn’t sound like ordinary footsteps, instead like metal clanging on a stone surface. Kimberly looked up as a shadow covered her inert, helpless body, before a shadowy figure examined the struggling girl.

 Kimberly desperately pleaded with this tall, mysterious figure, covered by dark robes which concealed every part of their body, like a monk’s habit. But the only response she got was when the figure picked her up in its gloved hands with incredible ease, slung her over its shoulder, before saying in a monotone, unemotional voice, “Mission accomplished, target acquired, returning to base.”

    Then from underneath this figure’s hood a series of beeps and whirrs were emitted, shortly after which there was a flash of light emitted just ahead of them. Kimberly cried out for help which didn’t arrive as this light increased in intensity and brightness, until it seemed to completely engulf both the figure and her.

   By the time the rest of the Goldwood Girl Detective Society ran into the alleyway some two minutes and ten seconds later, following the route home they knew she’d take, Kimberly and the figure had completely disappeared. In the position where they had both been standing was a time distortion portal. The four girls froze as they saw it, recognising the circular, shimmering vortex from the last time they had travelled in time.

   “It can’t be,” Bianca breathed in shock. “You mean more of these portals exist?”

   “How could this vortex exist without the stabilising effects of the time machine that the Pitchford Brothers stole?” scientist Lisa pondered.

    “Whatever caused it, I’ll bet pounds to pear cider that Kimberly is beyond it,” Joanne theorised.

    “Look, up in the tree!” Amber suddenly exclaimed.

    They all followed the line of her pointing finger to the overhanging treetops, where they saw a figure dressed from head to toe in deep blue robes, the clothing futuristic and almost militaristic in design. A large hood covered their head, and their face was concealed by a silver mask that gave the wearer an almost robotic appearance. The four sleuths looked agape as this figure jumped from their perch among the branches, landing without even a wince or gasp, before drawing themselves up to their full height.

     Putting the pieces together quickly Bianca asked, “You left us that message about Kimberly didn’t you?”

   Without speaking the figure nodded, before pointing in the direction of the vortex. Then this stranger darted away and ran into the portal at full speed, disappearing with a flash of white light.

   The four snoops in conjoined shock for a few seconds, until a grin exploded over Joanne’s face. “Last one in the present day buys the next round of drinks,” she exclaimed before charging headfirst through the time, quickly followed by Lisa and Amber.

   Bianca was the last one to run through the portal, muttering to herself before jumping, “I can’t believe we’re doing this again!”

    You would have expected that stepping through a rip in the very fabric of space and time would prove a terrifying and dangerous experience. But in truth the sensation was similar to that of running through a very warm sauna for a split second. For one instant all you saw was pure, undiluted light, before you ended up at your destination.

   The destination that greeted the four intrepid time travelling snoops was one beyond their wildest expectations. The first thing that struck them was the intense humid heat and the fierce sunshine filtering through the trees. They were also struck by how they had emerged in some kind of forest, one of large ferns and monkey puzzle trees with no grass covering the bare, dusty earth. Then they noted the many strange animal cries filling the air, which were unlike any that they had heard before.

   Amber took in the sights in a mixture of amazement and shock before saying, “I don’t think we’re in Buckinghamshire anymore.”

   “Wherever we are, we aren’t the first ones to the party,” Joanne remarked, pointing to the freshly formed footprints imprinted in the dry earth.

   So they set off through the palm fronds, following the trail which they hoped would lead to the missing Kimberly. They said little as they journeyed, each focusing instead on the intense heat that seemed to press in on them from all sides. It was bad for Joanne and Lisa, both of whom were wearing hoodies and jeans, Joanne with green high top sneakers and Lisa with black ankle boots. Bianca and Amber however wore fashionable casual dresses, Amber’s a blue and red floral pinafore dress with long sleeved maroon sweater, with knee high, brown leather boots with a two inch heel and blue nylons, while Bianca modelled a trendy purple dress with matching purple flats and dark tights.

   They walked in single file, Joanne leading the way, followed by Amber, then Bianca, with Lisa bringing up the rear. From her position Lisa was analysing the foliage and surrounding area, putting her scientific brain to the test. It was when she saw a creature flying through the treetops that resembled a bird without its feathers, that she put all the pieces together. She ran forward to catch up with her friends while shouting, “Girls, I know where we are. We’ve been taken to the age of the…”

    “DINOSAURS!” Bianca squealed as the trees parted into a wide open clearing filled with giant reptiles of all shapes and sizes.

   A large herd of horned and beaked Triceratops mingled with an even larger herd of Parasaurolophus, the herbivores traversing the clearing while munching happily on any roots and ferns that they could find. Around them skittered a gang of Pachycephalosaurus, the dome headed creatures playing with each other while trying to avoid the attention of the grumpy Triceratops. And among them flittered tiny Compsognathus, the tiny, chicken sized dinosaurs jumping in the air as they snapped at the many bugs and insects that were accompanying the bigger creatures as they journeyed through the landscape.

    Joanne, Lisa, Bianca and Amber stood in absolute shock, unable to process the sight of the massive prehistoric reptiles that had been extinct for 65 million years, but now very much alive and thriving. It was a breath-taking moment, interrupted by Joanne giving a loud whistle and remarking, “Eat your heart out Chris Pratt.”

   “This is awesome!” Aber breathed. “I’ve loved dinosaurs since I was a kid. I never thought that I’d end up travelling to the Jurassic period and see them for real.”

   “We’re in the Cretaceous period actually, Triceratops and Parasarolaphus didn’t appear until after the Jurassic period had ended,” Lisa informed her.

   “Guessing those are the names of beaky and horny over there,” Joanne said, pointing to the two largest species of dinosaur she could see.

   Bianca however had seen something else of interest. “So we’re in the age of the dinosaurs’ right? Some hundred million years before humans even existed?”

   “That’s correct,” Lisa replied.

    Pointing over a nearby line of trees Bianca asked, “So what’s that massive dome-shaped building doing over there then?”

   She wasn’t lying. Just across the clearing and behind some monkey puzzle trees was a large building. The ceiling was a large glass dome that reflected the sun’s light like a mirror, causing the building to dazzle anyone who looked at it for too long.

    “OK, that I can’t explain,” Lisa said in compete bewilderment.

    “That must be where they took Kim!” Amber exclaimed as she stepped out into the clearing. “Come on, we have to get there and rescue her!”

    “Look out Amber!” Joanne yelled suddenly, spotting another object that wasn’t from the Cretaceous period. A small metal disc embedded in the earth which Amber unwittingly stepped onto before Joanne had even finished her sentence.

   Just as it had happened millions of years in the future to Kimberly, from this disc large bands of pure, orange tinted energy shot out of hatches in the device and proceeded to curl and twist their way through the air around the girls. They barely had enough time to tell each other to run for it before these bands followed their programming and dived towards anything, or indeed anyone, they deemed as a threat.

    It was all over in approximately 16.6 seconds, after which, one after the other, Joanne, Lisa, Amber and Bianca toppled over onto the dry, dusty earth. All of them had been ensnared by these bands, bound stringently around the ankles, thighs and upper body, pinning their legs together and their hands against their sides. The bands had also wrapped around their heads and mouths, muffling their cries of shock and fear.

   A nearby triceratops looked over inquisitively at them as they moaned into their gags and struggled vainly for freedom, kicking up dust and earth as they rolled around and stamped their feet in frustration. It had never seen creatures like these before, but its tiny brain soon realised that these writhing and jiggling strangers were no threat to it. It soon returned to munching happily on a clump of nearby ferns, oblivious to the four hooded figures who had surrounded the restrained girls, and were now picking them up and carrying them into the nearby forest. Their frantic cries were drowned out by the grunts and roars of the surrounding dinosaurs, and soon the clearing had returned to normal.

   “HELLLLLOOOOOOOOO!” Kimberly yelled angrily, her voice echoing off the walls of the empty room in which she found herself held prisoner. “I know you can hear me! Let me go now or I swear I’m going to kick you so far back in time that you’ll be eating amoebas for the rest of your lives.”

   It was an empty threat. Kimberly knew full well she was at the mercy of her captors. She’d spent ages struggling against the energy bands now binding her against her seat, made out of a single piece of metal. Bands of energy protruding from hatches bound her ankles together and pinned them to the base of the seat, wound across her lap, held her wrists to the side of her seat and fixed her neck against the tall backrest. The seat itself was fixed firmly to the floor of this dark room, stopping her from even scooting it around searching for a means of escape. Kimberly could also see a further seven additional seats in a long line along from her, the only other furniture occupying this darkened room. This led her to realise that she was being held in some kind of prison facility.

   A prison? In the age of the dinosaurs? Kimberly had spent the whole uncomfortable journey slung over the shoulder of her captor while bound and gagged in shock as they passed by countless previously extinct species. She’d quickly realised she’d been captured by someone in complete control of time travel, someone who had managed to construct a base for themselves deep in the pre-historic era, well out of human jurisdiction. Why they had targeted her she couldn’t tell.

   After taking her into this facility and restraining her against this seat they had at least ungagged her, removing the band over her mouth via some kind of sonic device which caused the bands to dissolve into nothingness. Although it seemed like no-one would hear her cries, she kept on shouting at full voice anyway. Shouting helped her feel like she still had some degree of control, and she wasn’t going to take this without a fight.

   “Are you enjoying this you creeps?” Kimberly roared even as she renewed her struggles, her long platinum blonde hair whipping around as she twisted her head as best she could against the band encircling her neck. “You enjoy kidnapping an innocent girl. Well enjoy it while you can because I am going to make sure you WHAT THE HELL?”

   “For God’s sake keep up the shouting,” Kieran Pitchford hissed to her as he stepped out of the time distortion vortex that had formed a few feet in front of her. “You don’t want to let them know I’m here to rescue you.”

   For a few seconds Kimberly was speechless, dumbstruck at the sight of the young time travelling thief whom she had last seen on the planet Mars in the 33rd century. She managed to quickly regain her composure, and as the tall, stubble faced Kieran began fiddling with the concealed control panel in the back of her seat she resumed shouting, “AND ANOTHER THING, I HAVE A LOAD OF FRIENDS WHO WILL COME LOOKING FOR ME, AND THEY’RE EXPERTS AT TRAVELLING THROUGH TIME what the hell are you doing here?”

    “Saving the beautiful damsel in distress of course,” Kieran said, sounding rather pleased with himself. “I received a decrypted message saying these berks had nabbed yoy. Liking the dungarees by the way.”

   “I am not in the mood for your flirting YEAH THEY TRAVELLED ACROSS TIME AND SPACE TO BRING THE PITCHFORD BROTHERS TO JUSTICE AND THEY’LL DO THE SAME TO YOU do you have anything to do with this?”

   “Is that how little you think of me? No I have no idea why the Time Enforcement Agency targeted you.”

   “The Time Enforcement Agency?”

   “They’re a bunch of corrupt thugs who are supposed to regulate the use of time travel in the future, but have used it to take control of humanity without them even realising,” Kieran explained. “There’s this underground movement fighting against them, trying to free humanity from their control.”

   “People such as yourself Mr Pitchford!” spoke an ominous voice through the darkness.

   The lights were turned on, dazzling them both, during which countless hooded figures ran forward and surrounded the surprised Kieran. He fought them hard but he was completely outnumbered. He strained and swore as he was hustled over to the chair next to Kimberly, where he was forcibly sat down before orange energy bands bound him identically to the girl he’d tried to rescue.

   The pair of young adults strained and twisted as the ring of hooded figures was broken by a handsome man wearing a dark, sharp suit and tie. Kimberly analysed his grinning face, and found it strangely off putting. His face was too symmetrical, his skin too unblemished and shiny, his movements jagged. Even his voice seemed too perfect as he said, “At last, we finally have the famous Kieran Pitchford in our control.”

   “Glad to see I have a reputation,” Kieran grunted as he fought his bonds. “But why are you coming after me? Aren’t you lot too big for small time crooks?”

   “A small time crook? Ha ha ha!” the handsome man said in a perfectly timed laugh. “Is that what the leader of the Time Resistance calls himself?”

   “I’m not the leader of the Time Resistance. You’ve got the wrong bloke,” Kieran protested.

   “Your protests are futile. You fell into our trap as anticipated. We knew you’d risk everything to rescue your wife from peril.”

   Kieran looked at Kimberly with a look of utter disbelief on his face, and exclaimed, “MY WIFE?”

   Kimberly looked at Kieran with a look of utter disbelief on her face, and exclaimed, “HIS WIFE?”

    Out in the jungle, the four hooded figures stared down at their four captives, and the one stood on the far left said in a monotone voice from underneath their hood, “Targets have been contained. They are no longer trespassing on Time Enforcement Agency property and are no longer a threat.”

   Joanne wanted to say, ‘You want to bet?’ but all she could muster through the orange band gagging her was a garbled, “Yyyynnn wwnnnn ttttnnn bbbttt?”

   She, Bianca, Lisa and Amber were bound back to back in a circle, a long length of orange energy wrapped around their waists keeping them that way, with their hands bound behind their backs and their ankles and knees also encircled by these energy bonds. Their energy gags remained in place, even though there was no-one around to hear them. They were at the mercy of these mysterious hooded figures.

  “We cannot harm these trespassers, our directive forbids it,” one of these figure said to its accomplices.

   “We cannot, but the beasts that occupy these forests can,” said another.

    “Yyyy cccnntttt lllvvv ssss!” Bianca cried, sounding horrified at what they were implying. Her friends also protested as much as their gags would allow, but they could do nothing but watch as these hooded figures abandoned them to their fate.

   Instantly the four started struggling with all their strength, fighting against the bands, trying to pull apart from each other. But it was hopeless. These bands were fused as one unit, with no weak point or knot to exploit. They stuck to their bodies and responded to their every twist and flex. There was simply no breaking out of it. All they could do was wriggle about on the ground, stamp their feet on the floor and occasionally swear through their gags in frustration.

   Then they heard a harsh barking sound coming from the nearby palm fronds, followed by a chattering response. The four girls froze, all looking in that direction in terror, until out of the vegetation emerged a small pack of three Velociraptors.

   Unlike those in the movies, these raptors were small, only about two and a half feet tall, though measuring over two metres in length from snout to tail. They were also completely covered in bright red and blue feathers, and weren’t scaled like people usually believed. Nonetheless their famous teeth and claws were very much in evidence, and the bound snoops could only stare wide eyed at them as the chattering pack drew ever closer to them.

   They seemed to be paying close attention to Amber. The bespectacled red head whimpered as their powerful jaws, dripping with saliva, drew ever closer to her. Lisa tried scaring them off by stamping her feet and making as much noise as possible, but the creatures were un-deterred. Suddenly one dived it’s snout into the gap between Amber and Bianca, causing them to both squeal in terror. However the dinosaur wasn’t interested in them. Instead intrigued by the contents of the right pocket of Ambers’ pinafore dress.

   After a lot of energetic rummaging the raptor re-emerged, carrying Amber’s half eaten pack of chive and anchovy crisps in its jaws. It dropped the packet to the floor, where the rest of its group gathered. They tentatively sniffed the packet, chattering among themselves. Then they each ate a crisp.

   The reaction was instantaneous. The raptors instantly started gagging and retching in disgust. They continued to make spluttering noises as they decided this was not the meal for them, and they quickly scarpered back into the forest.

   The girls breathed a sigh of relief, realising they were safe for the moment. But they still had the original problem of being bound and gagged against each other. They squirmed and wriggled as they wondered just how they were going to get out of this one.

   Until they all heard a high pitched whining noise, following which their bonds instantaneously disappeared. They all took in a deep breath through their mouths and fell apart from each other. Joanne didn’t wait long before remarking, “Well that’s one of history’s great mysteries solved. The dinosaurs were wiped out not by an asteroid, but by a packet of anchovy and chive crisps.”

   “What happened to those energy bond things?” Amber asked, looking around in confusion.

    “I think we can thank that bloke up there for that,” Lisa remarked, motioning with her head in the direction of the hooded and masked figure who had initially directed them into portal. The figure nodded at her in response, de-activating the sonic transmitter that had dissipated their bonds, before pointing in the direction of the nearby domed building. The girls realised what they were referring to; they had a rescue to perform.  

   “For the last time we are not married you idiots,” Kimberly yelled to her captors as they checked her and Kieran’s bonds were secured.

   “You pleas count for nothing woman. They are nothing but lies that attest to your guilt,” the strange handsome man replied with no trace of emotion.

    Kimberly bit her tongue as she examined her new bonds. She was bound back to back against Kieran, her left hand bound to his right and her right bound to his left, with their ankles and knees also bound together. The bands of energy about their upper bodies formed a constricting harness that kept them pinned against each other, with more of these bands linked to a winch and dangling chain towering over the platform on which they stood, which in turn was positioned above an empty circular room several metres deep.

    “I don’t know what you are trying to do here, but isn’t killing prisoners against your directives?” Kieran asked, continuing to try and find a means of their release.

   “It is against our directive to kill,” the handsome man responded. “It is not however against our directive to save you from creatures that will cause you harm. Release the specimen!”

    At his orders a large hatch in the far wall of the circular room below, through which a mighty, ear splitting roar was emitted. The very earth seemed to shake as massive footsteps thumped the ground, drawing closer and closer. Then to Kimberly and Kieran’s horror, a massive, lumbering, carnivorous dinosaur emerged through the hatch. Standing nearly four metres tall, with feathers covering its body and tiny arms, the Tyrannosaurus Rex was a truly imposing sight. Particularly when it sniffed the air expectantly. It knew when it was summoned to this chamber it was usually diner time.

    “Prepare to winch them into the maw of the specimen!” the handsome man announced.

    “Wait you can’t do this,” Kimberly pleaded as she felt the winch begin to pull taught. “We haven’t done anything that you’ve accused us of. We’re not even fully fledged adults yet? How can you…”

   “HOLD!” the handsome man ordered after hearing her words. As the winch stopped lifting he gazed intently at the conjoined pair and said with a bizarre smile, “How old are you?”

   “Twenty,” Kimberly replied.

   “Twenty one,” Kieran said.

    The handsome man processed this information, before he gave another of his bizarre laughs. “Ha ha ha, how amusing. We appear to have travelled too early along your timestreams. But this is fortunate. We can now be done with you before your campaign against us has even begun, and change the future in our favour. Continue the winching!”

    “No, listen, do what you want to me, but let Kimberly go!” Kieran cried out, even as the winch lifted them up so their feet were dangling just above the floor.

   “Wait, how can you not tell how old we are?” Kimberly struggled and twisted for freedom, doing everything she could to break free to avoid becoming lunch for the king of the dinosaurs. She didn’t get an answer though, as she was winched higher and higher she began to realise that this time there was no escape.

   She wasn’t sure at which point she and Kieran started holding hands.

   But just as they were about to be whisked over the side of the platform and into the jaws of the hungry T-rex there was a high pitched whining sound, at which their bonds dissipated into nothingness and they both fell to the floor with surprised cries, landing on the platform at the surprised feet of the handsome man.

    “What in the name of binary is going…” the handsome man began to say in a voice that didn’t sound too surprised.

    “SURPRISE ATTACK!” Joanne yelled as she and Bianca ambushed the handsome man, rugby tackling him to the floor. Lisa and Amber pinned his hooded accomplice to the ground, before the four snoops ran over to rescue their very surprised looking friend.

   “Quick Kim, we need to get out of her before…NO WAY,” Bianca announced as she helped her friend to her feet, only to turn around and see that the handsome man and his accomplice were already back up. It had only taken them a second to leap acrobatically to their feet. They began to menacingly approach the Goldwood Girl Detective society and Kieran, forcing them to step backwards, ever closer to the drop into the T-rex den. “It would appear out Cretaceous Headquarters have been infiltrated,” the handsome man remarked. “Once you have been eliminated perhaps we shall relocate to the Triassic period to increase our security further.”

   But he never got the chance to saw another word, as behind him appeared the hooded and masked figure who had aided the Goldwood Girl Detective Society, and who had dissipated the bonds of Kimberly and Kieran with their sonic transmitter. They quickly withdrew a futuristic looking pistol, and before the handsome man could react they fired a volley of green tinged plasma, hitting the leader in the chest. The impact sent him staggering backwards and over the edge of the platform, where the awaiting T-rex swallowed him in one gulp.

       “Oh my God you killed him!” Amber exclaimed in shock.

      “No they didn’t, look!” Kieran informed her.

       Its recent meal had seemingly disagreed with the T-rex, and it was retching and gagging before it threw it back up onto the floor. But the handsome man was now no more…than a pile of frazzled and disjointed circuitry and metal.

   Kimberly’s eyes widened, realising why his face seemed to perfect, his movements disjointed, and how he’d failed to recognise her age. “He was a robot?” she exclaimed.

   “Every agent of the Time Enforcement Agency is a robot,” Kieran explained.

    “What the heck is the Time Enforcement Agency?” Joanne asked.

     As more of the hooded agents emerged through a nearby hatch and charged at them Lisa remarked, “Guessing it’s those guys.”

    Kieran and the hooded stranger worked fast, the stranger withdrawing some kind of glowing baton and using it to acrobatically fend off the approaching agents, while Kieran activated his distortion generator and created a vortex at the far end of the platform. “That should take you girls back to your own time. Quick, while you still have the chance.”

    “What about them?” Lisa asked, referring to the masked figure fighting the robot agents on their behalf.

     “I’ll make sure they get out, now go!” Kieran insisted.

     Bianca and Amber didn’t need to be told twice, and ran through first. Lisa had to drag Joanne through, as Joanne seemed to be itching for a fight. Kimberly however hung back. “You mean you’re staying here?” she asked Kieran.

   “Someone’s got to make sure this base is destroyed,” Kieran remarked.

    “But they’ll kill you!” Kimberly yelled.

    “No they won’t and let me tell you why,” Kieran told her. His answer came in the form of a rough shove against Kimberly’s shoulders, sending her tumbling backwards through the time vortex. She got one last look at Kieran as he waved almost nonchalantly at her, before there was a flash of white, and she landed on top of Bianca.

   Kimberly found herself staring up at the star filled sky, before realising she was in the back alley behind the Red Lion pub. Moving as quickly as she could she scrambled to her feet and made to run back through the portal she’d just travelled through, but it faded into nothingness before she could reach it, ensuring that she remained in the early 21st century.

    Kimberly stood still, breathing in the cool autumnal air as she processed everything she had just experienced, before she was embraced from behind by a very relieved Bianca. “Thank God you’re alright Kim. We were so worried about you.”

   “Although if every time you end up getting kidnapped we end up seeing dinosaurs, you have my permission to go full Daphne Blake on us,” Joanne smiled.

   “Are you alright Kim, did those freaks hurt you?” Amber asked in concern.

    Kimberly shook her head, “I’m fine. How did you find me?”

    “With a little help from that mysterious masked stranger,” Lisa explained. “I wonder who they were. They seemed to know everything about us.”

    “Maybe we can theorise over a fresh glass of wine,” Joanne suggested. “Come on, first round on me.”

   So one by one the members of the Goldwood Girl Detective Society filtered back into the pub to re-commence their celebratory drinks. Kimberly was the last to enter, looking around the abandoned streets as if checking the coast was clear, before walking through the front door.

   She failed to see the masked, hooded figure stood on a nearby chimney stack, watching her from a distance through a pair of electronic binoculars. When certain she wouldn’t be seen by the gang of girl detectives, they pulled back their hood…revealing their long platinum blonde hair as it tumbled past their shoulders.

   They then removed their mask, and a forty year old Kimberly breathed in the night air, taking in the sight of the streets she had once walked in her youth. As she stood in silence the electronic communicator in her left ear began to ring, and activating she said, “Kimberly reporting in…yeah I dealt with it. Don’t worry, that particular time paradox won’t be happening any time soon…no none of them recognised me, not even your younger self…yes you were devilishly handsome in your youth, even if you were a complete twat…OK, OK I’ll be back at HQ in a second…see you there gorgeous.”

   After ending the conversation, Kimberly took in one last look around her old hometown, before activating a time distortion vortex, running through it, and then disappearing as fast as she had first arrived.







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