“What crime did she commit?”
“None that I know of, sir.”

“Then why is she living in my jail?”
“It’s safe and warm, sir.  And hot meals …”

“I want her out. Now.”
“Just one more day, sir, to find out who she is?”
“Twenty-four hours, Sergeant.”

Sergeant Dan walked away, frowning. The prisoner wanted to tell him something, something important.

Je suis perdue … She said the words over and over, followed by another unintelligible phrase.

I’m lost. His heart went out to her – so fragile, so alone.
Ta famille? he asked. Her eyes filled with tears.  Perdue, she repeated.

This situation needed a woman’s touch. Sergeant Dan called in Della – fashion maven, history buff and brilliant lawyer. She took one look at the prisoner and gasped. “That dress! Those ringlets! That stylish corset! She’s not from here.”

Sergeant Dan showed Della the prisoner’s possessions – a ruffled hat, an ivory comb, a pair of soft leather gloves, and a watch with multiple dials. One dial measured ten hours, not twelve. “Is she a thief? I didn’t want to tell the Chief, but I saw this watch in the museum when I was a boy.”
“Call them.”

Marie-Claude answered the phone. He described the watch and she asked him to hold.
Finally, “Yes we have a watch that answers your description. It’s a rare example of French Revolutionary Decimal Watches. They …”

He interrupted her to clarify. “Your watch is safe, then?”
“Of course! Guarded night and day. These watches were only made for eighteen years, in France, just after the Revolution. They are museum pieces now, all cataloged and counted.”

When Sergeant Dan finished the call, Della showed him the inscription she had discovered.
Pour ma cherie Mimi.  “This watch was a gift!”

As they entered Cell Three,  Della called out, “Mimi?”
The prisoner looked up. Oui, she answered.
Della put her arms around the woman, rocking her like a baby. Ma pauvre petite.

Mimi clung to Della, sobbing.  Je suis perdue … Je suis perdue … dans le temps.
This time Sergeant Dan understood her perfectly. I’m lost … in time.

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Voice-Team (@voice-team)
2 months ago

Heartrending with an ending that only confirms the feeling. A lot of research went into this writing. It’s a great mix of reality (“French Revolutionary Decimal Watch”), emotions, and time traveling. Well-written and memorable.

Sandra OReilly
Sandra OReilly (@sandra-oreilly)
3 months ago

Loved this – although I don’t speak French it was made very clear what it meant – very intriguing. How did she get to a different time – good job, well done!

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
3 months ago

Wow. I love it, Fuji. I enjoyed it so much. It is unique. I used to read stories of time travel to the past, and in this story she traveled to the future and got lost. And thanks for the French words. Nicely done.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
3 months ago
Reply to  Fuji

You’re welcome, Fuji. Yes. But I enjoyed it the most. Good job.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
2 months ago
Reply to  Fuji

Congratulations, Fuji.

Greene M Wills
Greene M Wills (@greene-m-wills)
3 months ago

Je suis perdu dans votre histoire, Fuji!!! I absolutely love the way you described the sense of despair Mimi feels! There is the language barrier to consider, as well as the fact that all is out of sync for her. I feel a lot of scope for a round 2 and many questions… was she escaping the guillotine? Who sent her back in time? Yes, yes, more to know….

Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei (@margarida-brei)
3 months ago

Fuji, I like the way you wove French and a different historical period into your writing.

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Allan Neil
Allan Neil (@allan-neil)
3 months ago

Fuji, I finished reading this story ten minutes ago and my spine is still shivering. This is a masterful building up of suspense and realisation within the stricture of 350 words. Vraiment, vous êtes un auteur très talentueux.

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
3 months ago

I love this story, Fuji! Not only because of your great use of the English language, your different take on time traveling, the French setting, the descriptions of the people that are appearing in your story… but also the enlightening information about the French revolutionaries’ use of the metric system even for measuring time. (Don’t get me started on the absurd fact that the US decided to keep the medieval systems for measuring length and weight!) It’s a wonderful story in all its tragedy!
I am glad to see that you also know French! (May I just point out that the adjectives attached to feminine words and persons get a final -e? The French teacher in me wants to change the phrases to “Je suis perdue” and “Ma pauvre petite.” “Mon pauvre petit” would be used for talking to a boy. Maybe we could ask the Voice Team to step in here.)

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Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
3 months ago
Reply to  Fuji

Even the French Enlightenment revolutionaries gave up on their idea when it came to measuring time. It just didn’t work. I knew about the idea, but not that they actually made watches in the way your photo shows. Thanks for enlightening me!
The French details to correct are just those: “perdu” should be “perdue,” since it’s about a woman. Since also “famille” is feminine, it is “perdue” there as well.
“Pour ma petite cherie Mimi” is perfect. “Mon pauvre petit” should be “Ma pauvre petite.”
That’s it. It seems that you love to create your wonderfully crafted stories in all kinds of times and places. Please ask me again if you think I can help. Spanish? Swedish?

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
3 months ago
Reply to  Fuji

As always, Voice Team did a perfect job, and your story is spotless. I read it again and was, as always, impressed by your creativity. Now, I’m waiting for your Swedish story, lol.

Susan Dawson
Susan Dawson (@susan-dawson)
3 months ago

Absolutely fascinating, Fuji, the whole story and the watch. After the discussion of the genders in French, maybe Allan’s should say une auteure talentueuse. At least, after many conversations on here, I have always assumed you are female, Fuji. ?

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Heather C
Heather C (@heather-c)
2 months ago

Fuji, your stories are always so magical and vivid. A French woman from the past stuck in a modern day jail cell…I loved this!

Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
2 months ago

Having read all the comments on your story Fuji, there is little more I can add except to say I too found it really fascinating and very emotional too. I love a story that keeps me wondering and yours did just that, in spades! Fabulous!

Henry Vinicio Valerio Madriz
Henry Vinicio Valerio Madriz (@henry-vinicio-valerio-madriz)
2 months ago

Intrigue all the time and excitement! Nicely done!

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
2 months ago

Congratulations, Fuji. This was a truly brilliant story and a well deserved win.

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
2 months ago
Reply to  Fuji

Thank you, Fuji. I was stunned that both of my stories were selected in the finalist list. That made my day!

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
2 months ago

Congratulations, Fuji! A very well deserved win. Your work is another masterpiece.

Sandra OReilly
Sandra OReilly (@sandra-oreilly)
2 months ago

Well done Fuji – I knew you were in with a good chance with this one – worthy winner

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Greene M Wills
Greene M Wills (@greene-m-wills)
2 months ago

Well done Fuji! Mimi had her recognition through your story… Maybe by now if she is back in her time!

Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
2 months ago

Congratulations Fuji, a truly fascinating story. Enjoy your win!

Allan Neil
Allan Neil (@allan-neil)
2 months ago

A great finish, sprung upon the unexpecting, and your historical knowledge and research are spot-on. I may have said that before but make no apology for repeating the facts.

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