Leila watched helplessly as her home went up in flames. She, Dawn, and Eliana had been at a sleepover when they'd gotten a call about the fire. Upon arriving at the scene, her two sisters behaved exactly as she'd expected them to.
Eliana had started crying and freaking out.
And Dawn immediately began harassing the emergency personnel for information about what was going on.
Leila heard her questioning a hapless fireman. "Where are my parents? Why haven't they been rescued yet?" Dawn punctuated each question by jabbing her finger at the poor man.
"I'm sorry ma'am, we're doing the best we can. If your parents are in there, we'll get them," he tried to assure her.
Leila was so distracted by Dawn's antics that she failed to notice her eldest sister had arrived on the scene.
"Are you insane?" she heard a fireman yell at Clementine as he pulled her back from rushing into the burning building.
"That's the general consensus," Clementine replied which seemed to take the man aback.
"You can't just go barging into a fire," he finally said.
"But my parents—" Clementine started.
"We've already been informed about them. I have men checking the house as we speak."
"Chief," called another man as he approached. "Can we speak privately," he asked, casting a meaningful glance at Clementine.
"Oh no, you don't," Dawn said as she stepped into the conversation. "You will tell us what is happening."
The man looked at the chief who nodded.
"I'm sorry, your parents... We weren't able to get to them in time," he told the girls gently. "The bedroom's completely collapsed, we'll have to dig through the rubble to be sure, but if they were in there... There's no way anyone could have survived," he continued, looking pained.
Upon hearing this, Eliana immediately collapsed into wracking sobs. Dawn tried to comfort her sister, the blank expression on her face making it evident she was in shock.
Clementine turned to watch the house burn, but not before Leila had seen the tears streaming down her face.
Leila stood, lost in the sea of misery and chaos, wondering if she might have been able to prevent all this if she hadn't given in to her sisters and agreed to go to their dumb slumber party.
Then an idea struck her.
Leila looked at her newest invention. Luckily the fire had almost entirely bypassed the garage which was empty except for Leila's workbench and a washer and drier. The fire chief explained that's probably what had saved it.
"Why did you have to drag us in here?" came Dawn's voice from behind her.
Leila gestured towards the machine. "I think that can help us save Mom and Dad."
"Can it bring them back to life?" Eliana asked hopefully.
"It's a time machine," Clementine replied.
Leila's eyes widened. She wasn't sure how her eldest sister had known that. She was always full of surprises.
"That's right," Leila finally admitted. "I thought I could go back in time and try and prevent the fire from happening. I haven't had time to test it yet, but I'm seventy-eight percent positive it should work."
"That's not going to happen," Clementine told her in no uncertain terms.
"What? Why won't you let me try to save them?" Leila was upset.
"You're my responsibility now," Clementine said. "It's too risky. I'll do it myself."
"But, what if something goes wrong? You don't know how the machine works." Leila protested.
"If you think something's gone wrong, go tell Devon what happened. He'll take care of you," she replied, matter-of-factly.
Leila sighed, she wasn't going to win this one.
After she calibrated the machine, Leila and her sisters watched wide-eyed as Clementine stepped inside and disappeared.
"I'm telling you something's wrong!" Eliana insisted after several hours had passed and there was no sign of Clementine nor any noticeable changes in the space-time continuum.
"I think we should go tell Devon like Clementine wanted," Dawn insisted.
"You're right," Leila said. "You two go tell Devon and I'll see if I can find Clementine," she continued as she stepped towards the time machine.
"You mean you're going to...?" Eliana's eyes widened.
"No, no, no!" Dawn practically yelled as she blocked Leila's path. "We are not splitting up. If you go, we all go."
Leila shrugged. If her crazy sisters wanted to join her in facing who knows what, who was she to stop them?
She showed them what combination of buttons to press before stepping into the machine herself. The moment it started humming, she felt an unbearable pressure against her skin before the whole world exploded in a burst of color.
Uh oh was Leila's reaction once the world had finally stopped spinning. She was standing in front of what appeared to be a medieval castle.
"Where are we?" asked Eliana who had appeared behind her.
"More like when," Dawn answered looking at Leila questioningly.
"Based on the architecture of the castle, and assuming it was constructed in the past fifty years, I would estimate the year to be around the turn of the thirteenth century," Leila replied.
"Shit," Dawn said eloquently. "What went wrong?"
"I'm not sure, I'll have to take a look at the time machine. First, I suggest we try and find Clementine."
"Alright," Dawn agreed. "But we're sticking together."
They headed towards the castle which seemed like the most logical place to start their search. Dawn knocked on the huge wooden doors, but there was no answer.
"Let's see if it's open," she said as she pushed on the doors.
"Wait!" pleaded Eliana. "We don't know who's in there."
But Dawn was already through the doors. Leila and Eliana looked at each other before following her inside.
Leila looked around. Torches flickered, casting eerie shadows against the stone walls.
"Which way do we go?" asked Eliana looking at the three doorways before them.
"Straight," Dawn replied without hesitation.
The girls followed her, stepping into a small courtyard.
"Look!" squealed Eliana as a butterfly landed on her hand.
Dawn just rolled her eyes and continued through the courtyard into what appeared to be a chapel.
Leila was impressed. Although the chapel was small, it was clear that it was well maintained. Her sisters didn't seem to care.
"Moving on," Eliana said once she joined them.
They had to backtrack to the entrance hall. After taking a right turn, they ended up in what was obviously the library.
Leila stood in awe at all the scrolls and books. She couldn't imagine the wealth of knowledge to be found in this place.
Dawn and Eliana had to physically drag her out of there in order to continue the search.
Going through the last remaining doorway brought them through the great hall to the kitchen.
"Eww, is that a dead duck?" exclaimed Eliana as she looked around.
Leila ignored her and continued into the next room which appeared to be a secondary hall.
"I guess it's time to check out the upstairs," said Dawn.
The three girls had barely finished climbing the stairs when a half-naked woman came barreling out of one of the nearby rooms.
It was Clementine.