up at the sunny sky. It was great weather – great for losers, that
was photosensitive. He could easily burn, and yearned for those
endless days of mild temperatures and overcast skies. James was
a little vampiric.
he strayed onto the sidewalk in front of his red-bricked townhouse.
“Another day of
this garbage, and I’m going to refuse to go to wor—
James heard a
scream. There was a little girl, probably about 6 years old, standing
in the middle of the street holding a toy firetruck.
recognized her: Irene Wilton’s daughter.
He saw two cars
racing, one in each lane, speeding inexorably towards a disaster.
Idiot kids playing chicken, or something. He grit his teeth in contempt.
his moment of anger cost him dearly. James did what he had to do-
But did not do
so successfully. He leaped in front of the cars, but before he could
throw the child out of the way or even touch her—
The cars’ breaks
squealed. They still slid onward, mowing through the Wilton girl
as well as James Draylin. Blood shot up in their windshields. They
smashed into Irene Wilton’s decorative brick fence…
James found himself
standing in some kind of a metal cage. Well, it didn’t seem to be
meant for imprisoning people, as it was mostly some kind of metal
portal. He was dizzy. He remembered the accident, remembered the
pain. He let out a scream of distress.
He was still standing
from the grave, Mr. Draylin. Have a good trip?”
James got his
bearings. He was in some kind of dungeon-like room. There were electrical
wires, canisters of things, and this device – a square, 3-dimensional
door in which James was standing. A million tiny gears cranked.
Some kind of electricity spread through it.
the hell am I? Am I dead?” James spat.
The voice came from one of three men in the room: the one who spoke
was a middle-aged man in a well-stitched grey suit, his face drenched
in sweat despite continuous wipings with a hand towel. The second
man was much bigger – a man in a military uniform. However, it bore
no marks or indentification. Lastly, the third man was wrapped in
a lab coat and looked up through long-left-unclean thick glasses.
James was still
in shock from being struck by the car.
The man continued
speaking. “Let me fill you in, Mr. Draylin. You were killed in an
attempt to rescue a child who was in the middle of the road when
the racers came. It’s the thought that counts, I suppose. You’re
a true altruist, albeit an unsuccessful one.”
you people? Where am I?” James blubbered.
“You’re in a underground
science facility, a good distance in the future of the scenario
you just participated in.”
“But…I died, like
you said…how did I get here?”
The lab guy took
over. “The miracle of technology. This technology.”
but we have been able to build this machine and localize to that
point in time when you and Miss Wilton perished… Well, more accurately,
shortly before your death.”
“I travelled through
time? This is the future?” James was pretty receptive to any explanation
at this point.
The man in grey
nodded. “This machine can only find one locus in time and space.
We were fortunate to be in this position.”
“I don’t get it…am
I really dead? Not waking up in hosp…well I guess not a hospital,
but maybe I was kidnapped…” James’ thinking aloud was not helping.
“You may call
me Dr. Felham. I assure you.. …well, I suppose we did kidnap
you, from a few seconds before you died into the future.”
“But I felt the
car slam into me.”
“You did die,
but we had your imprint in our locus of control and brought you
“Why?” James asked,
“Sorry about the
technical babble. Essentially, we can send you back and you’ll appear
shortly before the accident.”
James didn’t get
all this. This business about a time machine. Him dying, but not
dead? Or dead and resurrected?
“You were in the
area,” the lead man said, “The only one present close enough to
“What locus is
The man slicked
his hair back and straightened his tie. “The locus of the little
Even though this
was all completely baffling, James came to a realization; he knew
what was coming.
“You brought me
back to save the girl, right?”
solemnly. “Your effort, admirable as it was, didn’t succeed. We
would like to send you back so you can try again.You were the only
one in close enough vicinity.”
James was in magic-land,
but it sort of made sense, if you ignore the absurdity of all of
it. He had a million questions. Will I be changing the future?
Why is this accident so important? Did I really die, or lose my
memory due to brain damage? He was still unclear about this
time machine. He was no technical wizard and no physicist. There
were definitely gaps in the story, but this would not be surprising
since he may just not get all the details.
“Can I live? If
I manage to live, can I just go back to my life?”
“I’m afraid not,”
Felham spoke, “you see, we are sending you as sort of a…well, a
faked image from another dimension, one apparently created by our
device. If you succeeded, the Draylin from that time would just
keep on living. You affect his destiny, you see? However, your form,
semi-incorporeal, will seem like a translucent man. Unfortunately,
this form has one major disadvantage.”
James was too
overwhelmed – he decided to buy this for now. After all, he felt,
remembered, experienced the car striking him. He should be dead.
“Your form, sent
back, is temporary. In other words, you have little time, and after
it is spent, you decay away and the remaining Draylin is left with
the fate that you affected onto him.”
some time, you turn to mush.”
“If you fail to
save the girl, we can send you back again. That time, though, you
“You’ve got to do this for us, Mr. Draylin. Die with some peace
knowing that you saved a life.”
James just nodded.
“Okay, okay. Save kid. Good stuff.” He said, deciding not to make
this any more complicated.
don’t idle. Throw the child out of the way. Save her life as you
intended!” Felham threw a switch.
in the middle of the street, like before. Maybe that was just
a dream, he thought. He got his bearings ---
the Wilton girl on the street. “It’s real…” he muttered, “I’d better…”
the screech of the cars’ approach. He realized that the situation
was arriving quickly. James did feel like a …sort of an incorporeal
form. His image didn’t quite match up with the James Draylin image.
It was almost like he was somewhat of a spectator.
here --- he dove into the street…
been so confused when he jumped in that he wasted too much time
in thought, like before. He flew towards the child—
himself melt away. He felt his arms lose feeling—looked down and
saw that they had turned gray and were falling away like piles of
dust. He was fully melted away into a puff of grey powder as he
saw both himself and the child being killed as before.
As the men
had explained, he re-appeared in the same room.
Just like before.” Felham said. The three men were there.
James felt, he figured it had to be the feeling of dying, or something.
“I was distracted…
…this is all very confusing – it was like I was the same person
but I appeared to be slightly out of sync with my body – felt like
a ghost, controlling him..”
(assumed the part due to lab coat garb) spoke. “Yes, it’s a long
and complex process you just undertook. You see, part of you is
superimposed on your original. It would take quite a while to explain
the paradoxes we are trying to avoid. If all of this is destroyed,
it still would have, hopefully, become successful.”
the girl, of course. Get ready for your next try. Remember – this
time you will expire earlier.” Felham interjected.
was odd. This whole thing is odd, James mused. He did notice
that he wasn’t getting very many details about any of this.
felt obligated to comply. It was for a good cause, anyway. He would
feel better about it – a hero’s death, anyway.
The scientist asked, hand on the switch.
James could respond, he was back at the scene again. His first feeling
was bewilderment, as before. He realized he probably had to get
used to –
the cars. Turned and saw the girl. She was playing. James leapt
across the cars, but landed on a windshield after being struck.
The cars crashed into each other and the child was covered in car
himself turning grey, dissolving into nothingness.
He was in
the portal again.
still thought too much. Obviously, you’re not used to this … situation.
We can try again, but you’re going to have to hurry before you dissolve
away.” Felham straightened his tie.
changed.You’ll have to—
“Have to go in again? Look, I’m not sure what’s going on here. This
is very strange and I’m not quite digesting it.”
you the story.” Felham responded, unwavering in his calmness.
haven’t. Why this point in time? Why me and the girl? Do you just
pick people off the street randomly and prevent someone from dying?”
know basis.” The military man spoke for the first time, and it was
I need to know. Why this basement?”
again.” Felham motioned to the scientist.
in the street again, feeling like he was cut off in mid-sentence.
Apparently, these people weren’t keen on discussing things. They
had avoided his questions. Why the girl? The room was like
a dungeon. They did not seem like typical scientists nor military
personnel. Why this situation? They said that nothing had changed.
Did that mean they were trying to change history in some way? In
wheels moving. He dove to the child as fast as he could, trying
to slide in like a batter nearing second base. However, he tripped
and fell face-first into the pavement. He looked up, watching as
the vehicles’ screeching tires slammed—
before he could see the accident.
a danger period,” The scientist said, “He may have too little time
to save her.”
the military man muttered to each other.
explain this, because this may be the last time you have enough
staying power to possibly save the child.”
“I almost got her…just tripped. Might work if I start on it right
before I go, I insist you answer some questions. Firstly, who are
you? Secondly, where are we? Thirdly, why this sit—
him off. “That girl must live. She’s important. Otherwise, the future
looks bleak. We’re a crack team in an underground basement representing
didn’t get it all. These men just seemed to be so goal oriented
that they didn’t care about him, only what he could do. But there
was no other option. Overpower these guys? No. Escape the scene?
No; he would expire. James was still bound, however, by the desire
to save the child. No child deserves to be murdered like that.
It seemed like he was dead. It made sense.
ready. Really clued in. You have minimal time and this mission is
of utmost importance, for us all, and for our leader.”
himself on the street. He quickly slid down, which worked this time,
and with his last momentum, thrust himself towards the child. He
felt himself turning grey, fading away …
thing he saw was the child rolling up the curb. Before the smash
he smiled – he had saved the girl’s life after all.
yelped in pain. Then he realized where he was.
a room; this time, a white room with scientific equipment everywhere.
He was once again, though, in the portal device. This time there
was a group of people around him: Four people, 3 men and one woman,
were clothed in full laboratory garb; One man was dressed in a black
suit; and directly in front of him, a tall, blond-haired, stern-looking
woman, also in a lab coat. This place was much more well-lit.
so sign of Felham, or the mystery militia.
struck James: there was a giant smbol on the wall of the room. It
was of two arms, crossed, hands in fists. An aura of white light
James looked around.
“Am I dead
now?” he asked.
spoke. “James Draylin, I presume?”
“What happened…? Where’s Felham? Where am I now?”
is Laurel Bester. What do you remember?”
“I… I… died,
then got brought back… eventually saved a kid’s life… now I’m here…”
James seemed to be talking mostly to himself.
to the man in the black suit.
out a silly laugh. “How do I know it’s everything?”
– what DO you remember?” Bester said, unfaltering in her stern poker
sort of like… the situation here. Some guy named Felham, a military
guy, some scientist. Looked a lot different than this, though. It
was like someone’s oily basement there. I was killed… trying to
save a kid’s life. They kept sending me back to save her, but each
time I would turn to dust sooner snd sooner. I finally rescued the
kid, but I still died in that accident – now I’m here.”
saved the life of Alexandra Wilton. You obviously don’t know her
around again. “You…you are being much more… open about this than
they were. It was like they snatched me up, didn’t explain what
was going on, and sent me on this mission.”
in black stepped forward. His shirt, now more visible, had the wall
symbol on it as well as his name: S. Agent Ray Tennant. Bester
had the same logo on her pin.
spoke up. “You’ve been deceived, Mr. Draylin. That day, that minute,
that second when you and the girl died (and when she subsequently
lived), was so significant to history that it became a powerful
locus of energy. We have some devices constructed that rudimentarily
try and send someone through time. All failures until your locus
getting more, rather than less, confused.
what is the significance?!”
over. “You see what’s around you, Mr. Draylin? Compare these surroundings
to the ones you briefly witnessed. You’re in a portal again.”
picked up the obvious. “I… I changed the future?”
“That little girl, Rebecca Wilton, was the daughter of Irene Wilton,
was born with psychotic tendencies. She thought she was god and
satan, and told her mother on numerous occasions that her mission
in life was to ‘blow up everything’.
an ardently committed Christian. She saw visions, and bad things
started to happen. She found organs of cats and dogs lying around
the floor. She felt that her daughter was the spawn of Satan, and
she felt that even if it was her daughter, it was her duty to God
to purge Rebecca.”
starting to come to a grim realization. “So I saved her… she lived…”
did, despite Irene Wilton’s decision to place her in the middle
of the road while she was distracted.”
his teeth. “I saved her…”
Wilton became a key figure amongst hate groups. While she clearly
suffered from Asperger’s disease or some other psychosis, she was
a charismatic figure. Her group grew, and to make a long story short,
eventually took over the government.
the underground here. We are called the Conglomerate of Light. Our
symbol represents solidarity, and the crossed arms indicate the
power of many united.”
feeling worse and worse. I unleashed a Hitler-type figure?
some rudimentary plans for the device you are standing in.” Bester
explained the technology, the expiring figures, the locus, everything
like Felham’s group described.
the only one in proximity to what was called F-Day, or the day where
the leader was saved and began her quest of fascism.”
“So… I killed
the leader…” James wandered off in his speech. I killed the leader—obviously
Felham wanted to change the past to bring about this future I’m
help us, Mr. Draylin. Restore the timeline.”
get the girl killed?”
directions were over, he found himself sliding into the child. He
didn’t get the first couple of tries, but in the third phase, he
managed to jump over the child, leaving her to be smashed.
He was in
a dark room again. A room he recognized.
Mr. Draylin.” The group was all there.