Author: Joseph Knox PM
When time becomes a maze of mind bending paradoxes and everything you believe turns upside down, sometimes it's you who becomes your worse nightmare.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Adventure - Chapters: 4 - Words: 6,322 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 10-07-12 - Published: 08-05-12 - id: 3047966
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I stood carefully. Around me the familiar library had distorted itself from the moment before. It was the same, but different. The shelves had moved, the walls darkened in color and Simon evaporated. In the place of the strange traveler was a woman. She sat behind the check out counter staring at a book in her hand. I guess she heard me fall because she soon put down the book and turned her gaze toward me.
"Are you okay?" I rubbed my head and straightened my back.
"Yeah. I mean, yes. I'm okay." I smiled awkwardly and sidestepped into an aisle of books. Weaving in and out, I lost myself in the maze of literature with my arm hidden under my shirt. I finally found the reference section and leaned my back against the wall. This was a good place to hide and I was almost positive no one would walk this way, no one ever did. The device on my wrist was silent and the screen was off. No date or information was given. Suddenly I felt like Simon, looking around at my surroundings I muttered to myself "Where am I?"
I searched my pockets. My phone! I pulled out my brand new smart phone and found that I had no signal. "Damn it!" I cursed, shoving the phone back into my pocket. I guess I would have to try something else. I walked slowly trying to act casual, which I guess I failed at because everyone I passed gave me odd looks as I tiptoed past them. In the center of the library I saw the row of computers that had always been there. I pulled a chair out and sat down. I prepared myself for a state of the art, technologically advanced interface with face recognition and voice control, but what I saw looked like a crappy computer with only Internet explorer and paint installed. Oh yeah, I'm in a library. I opened the browser and typed in "Today's date". Several pages popped up but I didn't have to browse through them, the top site answered all my questions. "Today's date is September 16th, 2034." I sat back and starred at the screen. Every now and then I blinked or breathed, but nothing else. I stayed in that position until the library closed.
As the doors were locked behind me I reached for my keys. Oh right, no keys. No car for that matter. I chuckled as I whispered to myself " Cars, Ya can't relay on em'." So I walked. The town around me looked the same. Then again Boston doesn't change much. I did notice a new freeway in the distance but nothing earth shattering or mind blowing. The future was rather dull. I put one foot in front of the other again and again with no direction. I could go home but it wouldn't be mine anymore. There's no family to visit, well, none that I know of at least. I ended up walking up to a bar. Why not, this night deserves a drink.
Inside the television was on and it displayed some guy in a suit I didn't recognize. Behind this man was the American flag, could be the president. As I sat down a man next to me shook his head at the TV and muttered something about the man being a moron. That confirms that, hello Mr. President.
"Anything to drink?" The bartender stood across from me.
"Yeah, whatever's on tap." He turned slipped away and returned moments later with my drink. I sipped at it slowly. After I finish the beer, what next? I could always press the button again and see where it takes me. I could go anywhere do anything. Simon really did give me freedom. I lifted the final sip to him and ordered another.
"What you drinking to?" A man took a seat next to me. He looked at me with an intense glare.
"I'm drinking to… A new beginning." I smiled.
The man was wearing a stiff grey coat that he proceeded to take off. "A new beginning, eh?"
"Yeah." I took a gulp and looked away. He leaned on the counter determined not to lose my attention.
"New beginnings are good. Sometimes you have to leave the past behind. Move forward." I nodded in response. "You have no idea who I am, do you?" I shook my head and took another gulp. He smiled. "Well then, I do apologize because this will seem entirely inappropriate from your prospective." I turned to give him a quizzical glance but my head was interrupted by his fist.
The stool I sat on fell over and for the second time in this future I fell on my ass. My head throbbed and I rolled around on the floor. The man grabbed his coat and stormed out of the bar. Pushing over another bar stool, I picked myself up and followed.
"Wait, do I know you?"
"Not yet apparently, but you will." He made his way down the road.
"How about we make that time now. I'm…"
He turned. "I know who you are."
"Oh, right." I rubbed my face. "Then how about your name in return for that punch?"
"Alright. I'm Demetrius, and before you say anything about it trust me you deserved that." He motioned to my face. I nodded.
"Okay, fair enough." I stuck out my hand "I'm…" I thought for a moment about what Simon had said. I can be anyone I want to be, use any name I want.
"I said I know who you are." He shook my hand. "How you been, Storm?" Storm? I could work with that.
"I actually just started. This is my first jump, umm, shift. Whatever it's called."
"Really? Brilliant! You never told me that you met me on your first shift."
"Well, you did punch me in the face." I shrugged.
"True." He laughed. " So you staying here for long or you gonna take another spin at the wheel?" I thought about it for a moment, but decided against taking another trip tonight.
"I think I'm just going to stay here for now. Maybe take some time to process this. Do you have a place to stay?"
"Sure thing. Follow me."
Demetrius lead me to a near by inn that I didn't recognize and approached the counter. He booked a two-bed room. I leaned over to him "I don't have any cash on me." I whispered.
"Not a problem. I got this one." From within his coat he revealed a stack of hundreds. He peeled off a few bills and handed them to the woman behind the counter. She smiled as he handed one more and told her to buy herself something nice.
"That line works in every time period." He said as we reached our room. He opened the door and flipped the lights on. I took my first good long look at him. He was older than Simon or I. I'd say late thirty's or so. His grey coat appeared rather cheap and tattered, which matched his stained pants and ripped shoes perfectly. He had untidy black hair with single strains of grey weaving in and out of it.
"Have you been doing this for long?" I asked as I took a seat on one of the beds.
"Yeah, for about twenty years now." Demetrius took off his coat and draped it over a chair.
"Holy crap. Twenty years? Where have you been? I mean, what have you seen?"
"Oh, I've seen it all. I've been to the past and the future. I've traveled all over the world. It's been a great ride." His eyes unfocused, like they had turned inward and were watching an old memory, and his face gradually dropped into a frown. "Yeah I've seen it all."
After that we went to bed. I couldn't sleep, my mind was still spinning with excitement. I had traveled time. I smiled a dumb smile, the kind that glues itself to your face and refuses to let go. I mouthed the words over and over "I traveled time." Each time it felt equally unbelievable. Hours passed before my mind relented and let me sleep.
. . .
I awoke to a loud crash. My eyes shot open and I sat up in fright. The door to the hotel was being rammed. Demetrius's bed was empty and I looked around for him. "Hey." He called from the bathroom. He came out in different clothes and starred at the door. "I think we've over stayed our welcome. Hit your button and leave."
"What about you?" Another loud crash against the door caused one of the hinges to break off.
"I need to confront him. I've put it off long enough. Now, go!" I sat in bed and looked from him to the door.
"I'm not going leave you here with that, whatever it is." Demetrius turned to tell me to leave when the door burst open behind him. In the doorway was the silhouette of a hooded man. It remained motionless as Demetrius turned towards it. Then with unbelievable speed it pulled something from beneath his cloak and we were both knocked back by some kind of force. I felt a pulse of energy hit me and knock me once again to the floor. This time I lay frozen on the ground, body tingling with hairs raised. Through the corner of my eye I saw the hooded man pull a blade out from his coat. He approached me but after a moments glance passed me by. He instead stood over Demetrius. With a single thrust he planted the blade into Demetrius's skull. I could feel his warm blood pool by my head and I tried to scream. I was still paralyzed. The hooded man leaned in close and whispered, "These people will promise you freedom, a new life, but you'll soon find it's all a lie." I quivered with fear as I awaited his blade to drop. Instead, I felt his hand on my arm. Then I heard it "Beep, beep, beep." He had pressed the button for me. The room fell out of focus. The world blurred itself and when it returned I couldn't believe what I saw. I was alone in a forest.