(In the late 1800’s, the battle between two competing electric technologies, AC and DC currents, turned brutal. For Thomas Edison, it was a life and death struggle. This is a fictionalized version of true events in history. If you're just joining us, you can start at Part 1.)
August 6, 1890
His feet crunched on the rounded stones of the lake shore.
In the pure morning light, he bent to examine them. Some were bricks pounded smooth, and pieces of minerals speckled the deep red clay. Others stones he held up. They drank the light with a milky translucence.
Lake waves tipped onto shore while he collected. The water was shivery and clear.
After a while, his mother called him. The rest of the family were waiting.
On the stiff, grey blanket of his cot, a plate of chicken, potatoes, and fresh green beans went cold. He nibbled a few crumbs of the breading. It tasted good, even though it was breakfast time. It wasn't so different from his mother's food that day by the lake in Germany.
What was the name of the lake? He couldn't remember.
Lake Erie had stones like that. Its waters were vast. Smoke from Buffalo's factories disappeared far on the red horizon.
Footsteps entered the long hall. They stepped in unison.
Despite his nausea, he didn't have the energy to push away the plate. Time was cresting, ready to wave-roll over him in a white torrent. He fought, trying to drag against the motion, but it wouldn't stop. It wouldn't stop.
Two guards stood. The middle one unlocked the cell.
No one spoke.
A shadow of himself considered fighting, but he was far too tired.
Warmth matted the hair on the top of his head, and they shaved him while he dozed.
Someone was speaking. Maybe a prayer. He toweled himself clean and combed the ragged ring of hair remaining.
He walked, joining the strides in the long hallway, and the grip of the guards lifted him.
On to Part 7.
Back to Part 5.