Chapter 2: A Plan in Action
It was time. As they filed us into the assembly, I nervously gripped the cell phone in my pocket. So many things could go wrong. This could ruin my life! Doubts flew through my head.
Everything changed when I saw the time machine. It towered ten feet high, a pod that glimmered in the artificial light of the gym. A sleek black door covered the front of it. A control panel hung off to the side, a bright green screen lit up light a beacon. A low humming noise emitted from the machine, almost as if it was reverberating like a bell.
My chest suddenly swelled with determination. I was going to do this. Hello time, my name is Remy. I bounded up to the top of the bleachers and looked for Ashley, Kenny, and Spencer, but I was stopped by Shannon. Despite her comment about me being an idiot, the girl was still one of my best friends.
"Where do you want to sit?" Crap. I couldn't sit by Shannon. I didn't want to put her in any danger.
"Uh, I promised to sit with Spencer." I covered quickly, putting on a convincing frown. Shannon nodded sadly.
"Oh, okay." she turned and walked away. I sadly trotted up to my cohorts, seating myself between Kenny and Spencer. When Shannon found out what I had done, she'd think I was a complete fool... which I probably was.
From my vantage point, I counted the guards. Seven total. Three by the time machine, and one posted at each entrance to the gym. One scraggly old man stood by the time machine, examining the crowd with cold, calculating gray eyes. Large tufts of gray hair hung at his ears, in contrast to the rest of his hairless features. I leaned over to Kenny.
"That must be Braff." I whispered as the assembly began. He stepped onto the podium and began telling us all about the time machine. I tried to focus on what Braff was saying so I could glean as much information as I could from the lecture, but my restless eyes were glued to the clock. Ten minutes zipped by. Fifteen. Twenty. If you asked me to summarize Braff's speech, I wouldn't have been able to remember as single thing.
When the clock hit two-twenty five, I hit the send button on my phone. I felt the vibration in Spencer's phone since he was right next to me. He nodded, and went to the nearest teacher to ask if he could use the bathroom. They reluctantly let him go, not wanting to disrupt the assembly.
I waited anxiously to get the text from Spencer. Three minutes later, my phone vibrated. Time for my part in the action. I nudged my friend Ava who sat in front of me with the heel of my foot. She turned her head up to me.
"You have something in your teeth!" I whispered. She gasped and clutched her mouth. That was all the prodding Ava needed. She rushed off to the bathroom. Minutes ticked by. I waited patiently for the annoying wail of the fire alarm. When it came, a million things happened at once.
Almost simultaneously, everyone in the bleachers jumped or screamed, shaking the entire gym as if an earthquake had happened, all the while the peeling screech of the fire alarm wailed inside my head. I never understood why they had to make the fire alarm so annoying-sounding. I pulled Kenny and Ashley by their collars and slipped between the wall and the bleachers. The guards started shouting, teachers were dragging their students to and fro, trying to get them to safety. It was a mass chaos, and I was almost glad I was in the cramped, dark space behind the bleachers. Anytime we have a fire drill, all the teachers are given a heads-up the day before. So, no doubt they were freaking out, knowing it had to be a real fire.
If you're wondering why I chose to start a real fire instead of just pull the alarm, well, that's simple. First off, I'd have to have one of us pull the alarm, and that means the crowd would have blocked us from coming back into the gym. Secondly, if there was a real, visible fire, people would be in all the more hurry to get out and stay out.
After about five minutes, most of the people in the gym had cleared out. However, I heard two voices arguing, and I strained to hear them.
"…there's a fire! You and your men need to get out of here!" It was the voice of the principal, and he didn't sound happy.
"You fool! Do you even know how much this machine cost? Billions! I'll throw myself into that fire before I leave this machine in here to burn! We'll take our chances in here." An angry voice shot back. I recognized it. It was Braff! He couldn't stay in here!
"Fine! I'm getting out of here to make sure the kids are okay. Enjoy being choked my smoke inhalation." He shot back as he stormed out of the room. I had to use all of my willpower not to scream in frustration. What were we supposed to do now? I cursed, then called Spencer.
"What are you doing? They'll hear us!" Ashley hissed.
"Shut it! I'm handling our little situation." I said as Spencer picked up his phone.
"Can I come back in yet?" He asked. "It's getting kind of hard to breathe in-" He broke off as he coughed into the phone.
"The guards haven't left, and they're not going to. We're going to have to deal with them ourselves. You need to sneak through the locker room door and make a big noise to distract them so the three of us can get the jump on them." I told him. Before he could say anything else, I cut him off.
"Spencer, do not pick now to use your brain for once. Do as I say, and don't ask questions!" I said sternly. He sighed.
"Okay." He hung up. Ashley punched me in the arm.
"What the hell are you thinking? They'll annihilate us! They have guns, for God's sake!" She said in an angry whisper.
"I'll handle it! For once in your miserable life, will you please trust me?" I struggled to keep my voice down. How were we supposed to do this if she wouldn't have faith in me? Kenny remained silent next to me.
I wasn't a moron. I knew our chances were slim. I was mentally kicking myself in the butt even then. I had never even considered the possibility that the guards would stay inside! If I got the four of us killed, their blood would be on my hands. I should have just watched the assembly like a normal kid, waiting for time travel to be available to everyone.
I had screwed up royally, and now all I could do was think on my feet and try to get us out of this with only flesh wounds. As I was lost in my thoughts, I heard a wild yelping sound from the north end of the gym. Spencer! I thought briefly.
"GO!" I screamed as I pushed Kenny and Ashley out in front of me. The guard nearest us had been startled, and I took the opportunity to attack. I kicked him between the legs, and as he held his crotch, Kenny tackled him from behind and pushed him to the ground.
"Get his gun!" I yelled. Kenny grabbed the guys weapon. Upon examining it, he let out a sound of disgust.
"It's a freaking tranquilizer gun! Lame!" He said as he examined the label. Although Kenny wasn't too happy, I was relieved. A tranquilizer dart to any part of the body would hurt like nobody's business, but we wouldn't be dead, which was something to be thankful for. Not to mention we wouldn't do any permanent damage tothe guards, which eased my conscience slightly. I ripped the gun out of Kenny's hands and quickly aimed it at the guard, moaning in pain as he gripped his manhood. I felt a flash of guilt for the children this guy would probably never have, now. I brushed it away as I fired the dart into his shoulder.
He made a noise that could only be compared to the sound of a dog having a chainsaw shoved down it's throat. I blocked it out as I prepared to raise my gun at the next guard. I cast a fleeting glance at Ashley, who had picked up the guard's taser. The first guard's screams had blocked out those of the second, and I realized that I had completely missed Ashley tasing the guard by the west entrance.
The surprise had worn off by now, and even though we had evened the odds up a little bit, we still weren't in good shape. One of the guards near the time machine was grappling with Spencer. I took aim, hoping to God I wouldn't hit Spencer. I pulled down on the trigger, but I was shocked to see two darts speeding toward my friend's assailant. The one I knew came from my gun hit the guard in his left arm. The other one hit Spencer square in the chest. I turned to see where the dart had come from.
"Crap! I missed." Kenny said as he lowered his gun. I looked at him incredulously.
"You idiot!" I hissed through bared teeth. Now we didn't even have to wait for the guards to stick a tranquilizer dart in our butts; we could do it ourselves! With Spencer down for the count we were royally screwed. Despite the fact that he had the mental capacity of a three-year-old, he had us all when it came to size. I topped out at five-foot nothing. The only thing that I had going for me was that maybe the guards would miss me because they weren't staring directly downward.
Putting my anger aside briefly, I decided I would explain to Kenny later why kids with brain tumors shouldn't try to aim firearms. We had taken out three of the seven guards, not including Braff, who stood cowering behind one of the more burly guards. I doubted he would be much of a threat. The guy looked like a strong gust of wind would push him over, and I figured a good push from me would be enough to break the old geezer's hip. I realized in my flurry of planning the harm of others, I didn't notice the guard speeding towards me from the east entrance of the gym.
Ashley tackled the guard's legs before he could get within ten feet of me. As he tumbled to the ground, she grabbed the scruff of his collar and began banging his head relentlessly against the gym floor. Maybe bringing a girl with severe anger issues with me wasn't the most intelligent idea, but I supposed power wise Ashley equaled about twelve of me, so that was convenient.
The guard Ashley was beating to a bloody pulp was down for the count, so now it was three on three. After the poor sap Ashley was beating slipped into unconsciousness, I glanced at both Kenny and Ashley, indicating we should each take on one guard. Spencer was lying forgotten on the floor near the boy's locker room, drool streaming out of the corner of his mouth. We rushed forward to attack the guards that stood between us and the time machine.
Power surged through me. The time machine was right there! The future was nearly in my grasp, and no number of goons in suits were going to stop me. I sprinted towards the shortest one. I was determined, but not suicidal. I smacked him in the face with the butt of my tranquilizer gun, since I had absolutely no clue how to reload it. He grunted, and I took that window of opportunity to aim a strong kick to his shins. He reached to grab at me, and I seized his arm, and clamped down on his bicep with my teeth.
As I felt the man's wet blood fill my mouth, a wave of strong nausea overwhelmed me. God, I hope this guy doesn't have any diseases I should know about. I thought briefly. The guard yowled and struggled against my grip. Well, maybe struggled isn't the best word for it. More like he threw me off in about three seconds by merely twitching his arm. I flew and crashed against the floor. Curse my lack of upper-body strength. You know what? Curse my lack of strength in general.
I rebounded quickly, jumping to my feet and rushing the guard again. He grabbed me, and I pounded his chest with my fists to almost no effect. I tried my last trick. I went limp in his arms, and he loosened his grip for a fraction of a second. This gave me enough time to grip three of his fingers on his left hand and pull upwards as far and as hard as I could. He screamed as his fingers popped out of his joints. I took my gun and pistol whipped him in his temple as he gripped his fingers. His eyes rolled up into his head, and he collapsed. I just pistol-whipped someone. Cool. I think.
I looked over to see how Ashley and Kenny were doing. Kenny was strangling one of the guards while his knees dug into his chest. Ashley's taser was discarded of to the side as she wrestled with Braff's personal guard. She drove her foot back into his chest, getting him off her long enough to grab her taser. However, as Ashley readied the taser to shock the guard, he pulled out his gun. I raced forward. This one was armed with a gun, but it wasn't a tranquilizer gun, that's for sure. I grabbed the front of his gun at the same time Ashley fired the taser. I thought this would finish the guard, but I didn't remember everything I should of about circuits and electricity from science. As I gripped the metal barrel of the gun, the taser latched onto the guard's back.
A shock of electricity jolted through every inch of my body. Pure, searing pain took up every thought, every feeling. Pain was all that existed. Ripping, tearing, destroying every ounce of willpower I had slowly built up. I felt the skin on my hand blistering as it burned of from the intensity of the electricity. Stars danced in my eyes as the world faded in and out.
Eventually, I had a coherent thought. Time machine. Make history.. I thought through the haze of screaming pain that was demolishing my hand. I focused on the erratic beat of my heart. Bu-bump, bu-bump, bu-bump. Somehow, I rose shakily to my feet. Through blurred vision. I saw the last two guards laying on the ground around me. I could hear voices, but I couldn't tell who they belonged to. I focused. Ashley was talking. Her voice seemed a million miles away.
"Get out of our way! You can't stop us." I heard Ashley saying menacingly. My thoughts slowly becoming more organized. The initial pain from the electricity had settled into a dull throb, and the blistering burnt flesh on my hand was numb for the moment, so I understood the next voice perfectly.
"You scheming little bastards! Get away from this machine, or I'll-" he broke of into a coughing fit. Ashley shrugged.
"Well, he's almost dead anyway." She said. He smacked Braff in the head with the pistol. I groaned from behind them.
"That was rather anti-climactic, don't you think?" I asked in a haggard voice. Kenny and Ashley swung around.
"Hey! You're still alive!" Ashley said happily. I smiled weakly.
"It'll take a lot more that 120 volts of electricity to kill me!" I assured her as I stepped in front of the time machine controls. However, something was troubling me. We had just knocked out an old, helpless man to get what we wanted. I had the disorientating sensation that we were the bad guys in this scenario. I brushed it off after a moment. Eyes on the prize, I reminded myself. I motioned to Spencer's lifeless body lying about five feet away.
"Could one of you guys drag him over here? He'll wake up eventually, and he's still coming with us." I commented as I went to activate the time machine. I hesitated when I saw my left hand. It was badly burned, and the blistered skin rising in grotesque bubbles on my fingers made me sick to my stomach.
"Ash, can you handle this? I'll tell you what to do, just press the buttons." I said as I stepped away. I cradled my mangled hand. I was just worried about getting scars. I did not want to screw my flawless skin up. I quietly instructed Ashley on what buttons to press. After about one minute of sequential button pushing, the green lights began flashing at the crest of the time machine.
"Come on." I said. "It's time to get in." Kenny dragged Spencer inside first, then the three of us stepped inside. I held my breath.
"Anyone having any second thoughts?" I asked, amused. We had just overpowered seven guards, tricked scores of adults, and overall caused others and ourselves massive amounts of bodily harm just to reach this moment. We were either going to meet our untimely deaths as our bodies were ripped apart by the unstable machine we were about to trust our lives to, or we would be the first people to travel through time. I was betting a lot on option number two.
"Prepare yourselves, guys…" I murmured as I reached forward to flip the switch.
"One…Two…" I paused. I breathed a deep breath, closed my eyes, and nearly whispered the third number. "Three."