Chapter 10

11:30 am

Nov 9 1985

Marty McFly walked out of the general store holding a bottle of milk, a carton of eggs and a newspaper in a bag. In his opinion it was much too early in the weekend to be out, but his mother had insisted. He shivered in the chilling wind. A freak storm had hit the town the previous night, bringing a light fall of snow. This was absolutely unheard of in Hill Valley, especially for the time of year.

Marty observed that the snow was already turning into slush. In fact, the snow was not even firm enough to hold a coin. Coin?

He reached down with his free hand to find it was only a nickel, an old one. "I guess this is what they call cold cash." He looked closer at the year on the coin and did a perfect double-take. "1894? That could only mean..."

He looked around at what was left of footprints. There was an assortment of different sizes shoes, including one with an exceptionally long stride and some dog prints. Marty quickly tracked the prints to a bakery a block away. He barged through the door, nearly bowling over a woman standing in the line.

"Oh, sorry Ma'am. I'm kinda in a hur..."

"Marty!"

"Clara! Just one of the very people I was looking for." He looked in front of Clara to see who was with her. "Hi Doc."

"Marty, just the person we were about to visit. What are you doing here?"

"I'm out picking up some stuff for my Mom. Is this yours?" He held out the coin.

"Indeed it is. I'm glad you found it. Imagine what would have happened if someone else found it," Emmett said in a half relieved, half worried voice.

"Imagine what might have happened if Clara had called me Clint, or Mr. Eastwood."

Before anyone could answer, the baker's assistant called, "May I take your order?"

Emmett spun around to face the counter and rattled off, "I'll have one cinnamon bun, one chocolate ├ęclairs, and two pieces of vanilla slice."

As the woman began to collect the requested items, Marty turned to the back of the store, wondering if he would find some more Browns who would be eating the vanilla slice. He quickly located Jules and Verne who were sitting on a small bench gazing at the drink machines. He walked over to them.

"Hi Jules, hi Verne. I'm Marty McFly."

They instantly turned to him.

"Hi Marty."

"Greetings and salutations. Verne, that means the same thing as hi."

"Oh?"

Marty laughed at this exchange. "You boys have sure grown since last time I saw you. I guess it's been a lot more than two weeks for you."

Jules nodded and said quietly, "Not in here."

"Yeah, that's a good idea. Uh, the snow's nice."

"It makes really slushy snowballs," Verne said excitedly.

Jules rolled his eyes, and Marty noticed a large wet patch on his shoulder. "I see you've experimented with them already."

"Sure have, but Dad made me stop. He had to make Jules let go of me too."

"Let's go boys. The food's ready," Emmett called.

The brothers scurried out of the shop, followed closely by Marty. They quickly found a park bench and brushed off what was left of the snow. When they had all sat down, Marty asked, "So what brings you do this time? I mean, I'm glad to see you, but I'm sure there must be some particular reason why you're here."

"Yes there is," answered Emmett. "I need to ask you, how's Jennifer?"

"Jennifer?"

"Yes, Jennifer Parker. Do you know who and where she is?"

"Of course, Doc. She's visiting her Grandma. She does that from time to time. What's the big deal?"

"Ah, now that's a very long story. How about we move somewhere warmer for that? I don't know about you, but Clara's teeth are chattering. I can hear them."

"Oh Emmett, don't tease."

"It really is that cold. What would you say to relocating to my house?"

"He means his garage," corrected Clara.

Emmett gave her a playful nudge for that comment, and Marty answered, "I gotta get this stuff back home to my Mom, then I can come over. But first I need to remember where I parked my truck. It's been weird; having a truck I don't remember getting.

"Indeed it would be unsettling. It's just like the time when I sent you the letter from 1885: it changed my past, causing me to dress you in those ridiculous cowboy clothes. Because that was causes by my actions in the past, I couldn't..."

"Emmett dear, you must let Marty go home. His mother is waiting," admonished Clara. "You can finish this later."

"Thanks Clara," said Marty gratefully. "See you all in half an hour." Marty waved to the boys as he left.

Jules and Verne waved goodbye with sticky fingers.

"Wait a minute. Wait a minute, Doc. Are you telling me that in this other messed up reality, Bess Tannen was my girlfriend?"

"Precisely!"

"Heavy. So that made me get stuck in 55 a bit longer and you destroyed the DeLorean after rescuing me instead of going to the future?"

"In short."

"And it was all due to Jules stopping this Stewart goon from bullying some Annabelle chick, over in Rocky Flat."

"So it seems. The exact path of the effects of the disturbance remains to be determined. In any case, the most relevant change is the absence of Jennifer, despite the existence of some Parkers in town. It seems that he mother's side of the family has changed."

"Yeah, well I'll ask her about her mother's family history some time."

"Good idea. I'd better let you get home now, and we should be going too. Boys!"

Jules and Verne, who were meddling with an electronic circuit and Einstein respectively, wandered over to where Emmett, Clara, and Marty were talking. "You called, Dad?" Jules asked.

"Yes. We'd better get going now."

"Where are you going, Doc?"

"House shopping," Emmett answered.

"Whoa, are you... moving back... to the present?"

"We most certainly are. I can't justify staying in the past any longer, after the recent accident."

"Cool. So I guess you're looking for a place where your whole family can live."

"Yes. And I also need plenty of space to secretly store the train and to continue working on other experiments."

"Can you afford that? I mean, it would be hard to buy a big enough place from selling a little lot like this."

"Actually, I could easily get a very good price for this place. Several businesses have had their eyes all over it. They've been trying to buy it out from under me for nearly ten years."

"That's great. I guess I'll let you get on with it. But what will people say when you show up with a wife and kids? How can you explain it?"

Emmett gave a wry grin. "Do you think I need to explain anything I do to anyone in this town? With the general opinion of me, I could do anything and no one would think any less of me. And the few people who understand me wouldn't react either. My cover story is that Clara was teaching school in another state, and couldn't leave her job. It's a big stretch, but seeing as I've spend so much time out of town, people will think they understand."

"And you'll let them think that." offered Marty.

"Of course. People will come up with a logical explanation for anything, if you let them."

"But what about records and stuff?"

Emmett gave another wry grin. "The less you know, the less you will need to lie. Let it suffice to say that I plan to make good use of the time machine."

Marty gave a chuckle. "Right, I don't want to know about it. I'm feeling worried enough already, what with the Libyans."

"What exactly happened about them?" Emmett asked. "All I know is that there was a tiny article in the paper about their crashing into the photo stand. Other than that, nothing seems to have come out."

"Yeah, not much has happened. They hit the booth so hard that only one of them survived the crash, and he's been in such a critical condition that he hasn't said anything. I heard that the feds had found some of their plans, which fortunately did not mention you at all."

"I did maintain as much distance from them as I could," interrupted Emmett.

Marty laughed. "Not enough. It was dumb to even talk with them in the first place. Anyhow, the surviving terrorist is in pretty hot water, so if he ever gets out of the hospital, he'll be straight into prison or out of the country or something."

"That's good. I'm glad I took precautions to ensure that nothing radioactive could be traced back to me: I got rid of all that in the future, when I converted to fusion power."

Marty chuckled at the phrase 'I got rid of all that in the future', finding the use of the past tense when referring to the future somewhat laughable. "That reminds me, where is the time machine, at the moment?"

"In the woods. We'd better leave now. I'd like to get a good start on the house search before we go back."

"Back where? I mean, back when? To 1895?"

"Not directly. First we're going back to the future."

Verne jumped up and down. "You mean we're goin' to three thousand and thirteen?"

Jules shook his head madly. "I believe you mean 2015."

"Yeah, that place. No, that time, right?" the boy added, hoping he was correct.

"Correct," said his father. "We'll make a stop there on the way home. There is a couple of components I need to buy, and I'm sure you boys would enjoy seeing the future again."

Marty laughed, making the joke, "On the way home? It's thirty years out of your way. Speaking of which, I'd better be on my way."

"In that case, we'll see you in the future. Both next week and next century."

"Sure thing Doc. I just better make it a good one this time."

"You do that Marty. We'd better get started on our future."

"See you then." Marty waved to the boys and Clara and left the garage to drive home. Emmett locked up his old house and he and his family started walking to the nearest real-estate office in search of their new home.

The end. Or is it just the beginning?