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Melt Down (Seasons of Change part 14)

This is a continuation of my story that I am writing for Blogophilia. Be sure to check out the other fabulous writers.

Ecrits Blogophilia Week 52.13 Topic: Melt Down

Hard Bonus (2 points): Incorporate a line from a Pablo Neruda poem “Death arrives among all that sound” from the poem Only Death

Easy Bonus (1 Point): Include a character from Dr. Who I went with weeping angel and time lords

All bonus attempts are in italics Marvin. I will guess Stormy for the topic and David Schrader for the picture.

Picture phrase guesses 1) mad scientist, 2) hair raising experience, 3) potions, 4) mixology, 5) Professor Snape, 6) weird science, 7) Dr. Jeckyl, 8) Chemical Romance, 9) hedgehog wig, 10) Breaking Bad

NSFW warning for language

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

She stood staring across the solemn landscape. Tombstones and other monuments to the dead as far as the eyes could see were periodically broken up by the occasional weeping angel. A slight smile crossed her face. She could never see those statues as anything else now. Not since Olaf introduced her to Dr Who so many years ago.  

In a way she thought this trip would be like an episode of that show. They would be the Time Lords destined to change the past, in order to save the future. It didn’t work that way. It never did.  

She thought back to that fateful moment. She had changed her actions. She didn’t try to reason with herself. Armed with her knowledge of the past, she ignored what her head told her to do and ran. Her younger self should have gone back to her partner. She should have saved him. She didn’t. 

Since that moment she had been having conflicting memories. Those she knew she experienced and new ones. Ones that told her she stood stunned, unable to leave the restroom for way too long. Long enough for Olaf to go to the hotel for the phone call. Long enough for him to die again. 

Her new memories hadn’t begun emerging when she had the melt down the day after the explosions. She had gotten a newspaper from the corner shop, intent on learning if their target had indeed died. He did, but strangely, not in his car. That claimed the life of a local hoodlum who saw the car as a payday. No, their target was found dead in the lobby, rather close to where Olaf was found. At least what was left of Olaf.  

Her tortured screams woke Olaf from the next room where he was sleeping off his bottle of whiskey. It took him the better part of an hour calming her down. They were lucky no one thought her reaction anything else than that of one horrified at the terrorist attack.  

She hadn’t spoken a word since that scream fest. Olaf knew anyway. That night they headed back to the hotel. As she placed a wreath of flowers in memory of her fallen partner, she caught sight of her younger self doing the same. She realized the sound of those explosions would forever haunt her. Death arrives among all that sound. She had thought death was silent. Now she fully knew better. Death reveled in letting itself be known.  

They had turned away, scurrying along the sidewalk so as not to be seen by the distraught agent. That would complicate things more. They took random lefts and rights, not really paying attention, just intent on moving. Then, strangely enough the portal stood before them.  

That stopped them in their tracks. The portal should have been gone. They had killed the creator of the machine. How was this possible? At that moment only one option remained for them. To go back to the future. So, they took tentative steps towards the unknown.  

It was when they passed through the portal the memories began. They were starting to force their way into her consciousness when Anna spoke. 

“I see you didn’t catch up to your target again? What the fuck are you two doing? If I didn’t know better, I’d think you two were just trying to stall so you could spend more time together.” 

Their “What the hell?” response shut Anna up. 

After what seemed like hours of back and forth, they finally pieced together what happened. It was a tiny statement from Anna.  

“You have to hurry up and get this done. The guy who thought up this machine plans to go back to the past tomorrow morning. He wants to save his father from some bombing in Brighton.” 

That was when they realized just how impossible it was to change the future by changing the past. Time does not want to change. Time wants to go forward. You may be able to change minor details about the past, but time will still find a way to achieve the same outcome. Realizing the futility of the mission, they decided to destroy the machine here and now. Anna was sent to kill the son of their original target. Neither Jenni nor Olaf could stomach killing someone with motivations so close to their own.  

Now, two weeks had passed. Two weeks of Olaf, Jenni and Anna on the run. Alexie had the entire company after them for what was deemed a complete betrayal.  

Only Jenni knew the full extent of the dangers of changing the past. At least dangers for those that travel back in time to change the past. Her original memories, though fainter, still remained. She also had her new memories. Memories that contradicted her original ones. Olaf didn’t suffer these problems. Perhaps because his past had not changed at all.  

Every other person in the world had their memories completely rewritten instantly. They hadn’t been grounded in the past when the changes occurred. They hadn’t experienced it with the knowledge of what was supposed to happen. Which is why she only found true comfort in the silence of a cemetery. Only then would the memories stop clamoring.  

She wondered if it would be best to stay forever.  

~fini~ 

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2021 in short stories, stories, writing

 

I’ll Have Just One (seasons of change part 13)

Once again this has been written for blogophilia. Definitely check out all of the other fine takes on the topic.

Ecrits Blogophilia Week 51.13 Topic: I’ll Have Just One

Hard Bonus (2 points): Reference a Sesame Street Character Bert

Easy Bonus (1 Point): Mention a Cooking Disaster sparking microwave

All bonus attempts are in italics Marvin. I will guess Tyler for the topic and Dia Jade for the picture.

Picture phrase guesses: 1) head in the clouds, 2) sweet dreams, 3) silver linings, 4) ladder to the sky, 5) Field of Dreams,

Photo by uff2cuff41uff52uff41 uff33uff41uff4euff54uff4fuff53 on Pexels.com

So many thoughts went through his mind as he watched their younger selves down shots and pints. What would they do? What would happen if they ran into each other? Why the hell did his younger self ever think that hairstyle was cool?  

As if she could read his mind, Jenni laughed.  

“I forgot about that hairstyle of yours. You know it made you look like Bert from Sesame Street.” 

Well, they say hindsight is twenty-twenty. I certainly know better now. I should have gone for the Don Johnson look. I think I could have pulled that off.” 

“Nah, you were always more into the punk and rock scene. You almost pulled that look off back then.” 

“Anyways. That is the least of our concern Jenni. We can’t let them see us. It could cause drastic repercussions to the timeline.” 

“Normally I would say you were right, but I think it is inevitable. But we have to try. I’m going to slip out past the restrooms. There’s a fire exit that was never alarmed there. You try and slip out through the kitchen. We’ll meet down the block and figure out our next steps.” 

Olaf nodded. The plan made sense. Then, he paused as 99 Luftballons began to play. Suddenly he realized what was going to happen. “Wouldn’t it be better if I go by the bathrooms? After all, younger Jenni is going to head that way shortly.” 

“No, as you said. We cannot chance screwing up the timeline. What has happened will happen. We are just pawns on the chessboard of this life.” 

Olaf gazed quizzically at Jenni. He didn’t understand what she just said, but he couldn’t argue. They had to get out. They both stood. He watched Jenni head towards the bathrooms, then he made his way towards the back and the small kitchen.  

He walked into utter chaos. The microwave the bar used to heat up their cheap fare was smoking. Sparks were flying. He was sure something would erupt in flames any second now. He learned some poor smuck had forgotten to take the food out of the metal container before placing it in the microwave.  

He thought about helping the fire along. He was sure it would prevent young Jenni and Olaf from the upcoming tragedy. He didn’t have time though. He had to get out of there.  

** 

Jenni glanced back as she approached the restrooms. Olaf was entering the kitchen. Good. It was best he never saw this. The knowledge of what was coming tore her soul to shreds. She saw her younger self glance her way. Their eyes met. She got up, said something to young Olaf and headed her way.  

Sensing fate catching her in its tangled web she fought back her terror. She slipped into the ladies’ room and tried to hide in one of the stalls. She heard the door open. She tried to outwait her younger self even though she knew it was hopeless. She tried to slip silently out of the stall and she was there. Staring at her. She began to proposition herself.  

Jenni did something then she didn’t remember happening in the past. She shoved her younger self out of the way. “Look, whatever you think you know about me is wrong. Just get out of my way.”  

She ran out of the restroom and out the back entrance. She couldn’t run fast enough. She didn’t look back. She just hoped Jenni would make it back to Olaf. Maybe it would change the future. She didn’t know.  

She ran until she couldn’t run any more. Olaf caught up to her as she was still trying to catch her breath. Seeing her distress, he started to ask if she was ok. That was when the explosions occurred.  

Smoke and rubble erupted from the hotel several blocks away. It was obvious one occurred in the lobby. A second occurred several floors up, where their target’s room was. Then a third explosion. This one sent smoke and debris out of the garage entrance. He had to be dead. The machine would be gone. They would be stuck here.  

“Shall we hit another bar, Jenni? I think I could use just one more bottle of whiskey.” 

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2021 in short stories, stories

 

The Escape

What have I gotten myself into? I wonder as I look across the cavernous space. Momma was right. I never should have entered the forbidden land. But I was so cold, and the warmth emanating from within beckoned. I could not deny its pull. So, I did what I knew was wrong. I slipped in when the opportunity arose. It was the worst mistake of my life. I cannot go back that way. Some invisible barrier prevents my passage, though I can see my destination right there. It seems forever out of reach. 

Now, I find myself trapped in this labyrinthian land. Dangers never before encountered surround me. In random areas barriers jut up, impeding any thought of progress in those directions. Hideous creatures lurk throughout the area. Some just stare out at me as I slip silently by. Perhaps they’re blind? Perhaps they just don’t care to acknowledge my existence. Those ones don’t scare me nearly as much as the other ones.  

They look so similar to the unobservant creatures. However, these are far from unobservant. They reach out to grab me. Or maybe to strike me down. I’m not sure. I don’t stay in one place for long when they appear. Speed and agility are my only weapons to defend against the merciless onslaught.  

I spend most of my time in the few locations I’ve learned those creatures cannot reach. I rest. I ponder. I feel my thirst and hunger grow.  

Though those creatures represent a clear and present danger, they are not my only concern. I’ve searched everywhere. I have not found a drop of water anywhere. Nor have I found anything to eat. What I have found has been occasional images of things I remember sustaining me. I remember Momma showing me how tasty they were. My stomach growls.  

But these images are phantasmagorical in nature. A cruel joke laid forth at my expense. The sustenance I crave never lies there. My hunger persists.  

None of my kind are here. It’s just me, alone with these images and nightmarish beings who seek to harm me. To punish me for the temerity I showed by entering their territory. I shall huddle here and pray that tomorrow brings me salvation. 

*** 

My prayers have gone unanswered. Whatever god is out there obviously decided to forsake me. I have no hope.  

I’ve discovered so many holes in which to seek salvation. They are lies. They taunt me with the possibility of escape, only to slam shut with vicious regularity. So many of them end abruptly, forcing me to backtrack to the beginning. Others show me glimpses of the outside. But only that. More invisible barriers block my progress forward. Again I have to backtrack.  

Those aren’t the worst though. That title is reserved for the few paths that I followed for what seemed like hours, only to emerge back in the land I started from.  

Every time I thought this will be the one to lead me home. I will see Momma again. Every time I suffer anew. Will I ever see Momma again? Will she know what has befallen me? Will she grieve? Or will she shake her head in disappointment that I didn’t heed her warning? I miss her so much. I’m sorry Momma. 

I still move with growing urgency as the time passes. I still avoid the creatures and their grasping appendages. I still rest, and contemplate upon my hidden ledges. But my despair grows, eating away at my very being. I close my eyes. Perhaps tomorrow will bring an end to my suffering. 

*** 

I feel so weak. It’s been so long since I’ve eaten. My thirst is overpowering. I can barely make a sound. But I have to try. There must be a way out. I just haven’t found it yet. I must have missed something. I keep searching. 

Is that an opening? My cynical mind tells me no. It’s just shadows. You can’t escape from here. I approach cautiously, yet hopeful at the same time. I don’t see any of those creatures blocking my way.  

The closer I get, the more my hope grows. It is an opening. One I know I have yet to try. Will this be the one? Will I finally escape this madness? I slip through. 

It is dark ahead. The only light comes from behind. From the land of the damned, as I dubbed it. I promise myself that no matter how dark it becomes, I will not turn back towards that light. I hobble forward. My strength weakens with every move I make. 

The darkness surrounds me. The passage of time means nothing. My hunger continues to gnaw away at me. My thirst continues to grow. I must not stop. I know if I do, I will never start again. 

My existence has become simple steps in time. One step after another, I move forward. The monotony lulls my already deadened mind. There is nothing else. 

Slowly, the darkness is less pervasive. Though I still cannot see, faint hints at images lurk just out of reach. I continue on and the darkness recedes with every step. There is light, somewhere far off ahead. I continue to force myself forward. The light grows. Please don’t let it be that land again. Please let me free. 

Finally the darkness is gone. I stare at a beauteous sight. A small puddle of water. I feel my throat constrict as I tentatively move to cross what I hope is not another invisible barrier. I take one step. Then another until I find myself at the puddle. I plunge my mouth into the waiting water, eager to suck up every last drop.  

As the water slides down my throat, I feel my strength begin to return. I continue to drink until I am full. I don’t even think about food. The water is so amazing. It has never tasted so fulfilling. 

I feel a breeze. Wind. I cannot believe I forgot how it felt. The air caresses me as it gently ruffles my feathers. I spread my wings and take flight. True flight into the open skies, not the haphazard version I performed in that dead land.  

Joy suffuses my being as I rise higher. Home! I see home. Without thought I soar towards the nest. Momma will be there. I have to see her. 

*** 

“Hey Bob. Is that bird still flying around the store?” I asked as I typed my code into the register. 

“I haven’t seen it since yesterday. I kept hoping it would go out the doors, but I never saw it. Maybe I just missed it.” 

“I hope he did do that. Or maybe he found another way out. I don’t want to think of the alternative.” 

“I hear you there, buddy. I wish he would have let us help him. He just kept flying off when we reached for him.” 

“Yeah. Well, I guess we should open the store for business. Just don’t let any other birds in when you do.” 

Photo by Freddie Ramm on Pexels.com
 
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Posted by on February 27, 2021 in short stories, writing

 

Promised Rose Garden (seasons of change part 12)

I have continued writing this story for Blogophilia. This is a wonderful group of writers who put their own twist on a given topic. Feel free to try it yourself and to check out the many other wonderful blogs.

Blogophilia Week 50.13 Topic:Promised Rose Garden

Hard Bonus (2 points):
Use a song title from Frankie Valli and/or the Four Seasons “Let’s Hang On”

Easy Bonus (1 Point):
Mention a town or city from North Dakota Edingburg

All bonus attempts are in the blog in italics Marvin.

I will guess Irene for the topic and Ruggi for the picture. Picture phrase guesses: 1) pursed lips, 2) Kiss, 3) Mick Jagger, 4) Rolling Stones, 5) beauty mark, 6) Revlon, 7) mouth, 8) love note, 9) valentine, 10) desire

Warning! NSFW for language.

Photo by Rodolfo Clix on Pexels.com

Olaf sat forlornly at the table with Jenni. So far this sojourn into the past had not been the promised rose garden. They had spent the better part of a year hunting down the creator of the machine. Olaf knew his name and general whereabouts, but they always seemed to miss him. As if time itself was actively working against them.  

He downed a shot of Jägermeister as he thought back to how this journey started. That should have been the first clue things would not go smoothly. They had meant to travel to Edinburgh, Scottland in the early 80’s. That was the cool thing about this machine. Not only could they go back in time, but they could choose where to go too. That made it much easier than trying to fabricate the correct documents to allow them to cross borders in a pre-European Union era.  

A stupid typo as they rushed to achieve the impossible dropped them off in Edinburg, North Dakota. In the middle of a fucking blizzard. Once they realized how terribly off they were, they had a devil of a time finding the portal back to the future. At least when they returned, it appeared they had left only moments before, not the day it was to them.  

That’s how these trips usually went. Pop back into the past. Spend days, if not weeks, trying to locate the target, only to realize they missed him. Then, return to the future, seconds after they left. For everyone else it would be nearly instantaneous for the needed changes to occur.  

Actually, they might not even realize it ever happened. One minute the machine would be there. Olaf and Jenni would be hopping in and out of time. Then, even the memory of the machine would be gone. Would anyone from the future remember any of this? 

Olaf mused on these things as the old juke box in the corner began playing “Let’s Hang On” by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. It was rather disconcerting hearing someone from the past playing a song from further back in time. It made Olaf’s brain throb just trying to wrap his thoughts around it. He knew that soon the juke box would fall silent as the live performance began.  

Now it seemed like things were finally taking a turn for the better. They had finally tracked down their target, which led to them sitting in this bar. In this time. Planning to add to, rather than stop the coming chaos. Time certainly had a macabre sense of humor. In a way, Olaf resigned himself to the knowledge that it had to lead back here. 

A small bar in Brighton, where Jenni and he were forever scarred, mentally and physically. A time where one of them would be shattered beyond repair. They would have to watch it happen. No, they would have to help it happen. 

Their target was staying in the Grand Hotel. A place where in a few hours an IRA bomb would detonate, forever destroying their lives. The irony was they had to place two other devices. One, a time bomb in the target’s hotel room. It was close enough to some of the real targets of the IRA that they would surely be blamed for the carnage.  

In the event the target was not in his room, they had placed a secondary bomb attached to his vehicle. That one would be harder to tie to the IRA, but one could hope. Unfortunately, that meant they couldn’t stop the IRA’s attack. They had to let it happen, therefor letting one of them die. 

He watched as Jenni’s eyes flittered across the room. He noticed when they paused. Following her gaze he found himself chuckling. 

“I see you still have the same tastes. Why don’t you go over and talk to her? I can be your wingman.” 

That brought a slight smile to Jenni’s face, brightening her visage for a brief moment. He couldn’t imagine the weight she carried, knowing she had to not do the one thing she had lived for.  

“You know, that’s why I love you Olaf. You never judged me. Out of everyone in the company, you were the only one I trusted implicitly. I knew I could be myself around you. There was nobody else who would have accepted me so unabashedly. I missed that so much when you were gone. I never trusted anyone again.” 

“You could have trusted Anna. At the very least she would have understood you. Maybe she would have given you some needed perspective. Who knows, maybe you two would have hit it off.” 

“Oh, I won’t deny the physical pull she exuded on me. I just didn’t want to ruin the relationship we did have. Plus, I didn’t trust Alexi to not separate us if we got too close.” 

“You were certainly right to mistrust Alexi, but what about now? I know the world I come from is more accepting of people’s differences. Surely, you could have found a kindred spirit. The world wouldn’t have condemned you.” 

“I see you still see the world through rose-colored glasses. The world will now, and forever, always be judgmental. No matter what, people will always find fault in their differences. No, you were the only one who never cared who I invited into my bed.” 

“As long as I could trust you with having my back it didn’t matter. Nothing did. Well, there was that one time we both wanted the same woman. I briefly hated you for winning that contest.” 

That time Jenni couldn’t hide her laughter, though it died quickly. 

“But don’t you see. That was what caused me to suffer so much at your death. I failed to have your back.” 

“You’re too hard on yourself. We all have to go to the bathroom sometimes. Fate deemed it my turn to die.” 

“No, my libido did. I did go to the bathroom, but I found myself captivated by an older woman. One who I knew in my heart was like me. That I could have a grand time with. Well, I had followed her to the restroom. I didn’t really have to go.” 

“Huh?” 

“The weird thing was even though I could tell she liked women as much as myself, she seemed to be trying so hard to stay away from me. I should have accepted that and returned to the bar. Then I would have gone to receive the call. I would have been at the front desk when the bomb went off. I would have died, not you.” 

She took a tortured breath, then continued. 

“Instead, I took it as her playing hard to get. I tried harder to change her mind. I became one of those guys I abhorred. Meanwhile, fate as you call it, reared its head. You took the call. You died, and it was my fault.” 

Olaf gazed at Jenni. Shock filled his mind as he tried to process all the intricacies of her confession. Then, out of the corner of his eye, he noticed two figures slide up to the bar. His stomach lurched as he watched the younger versions of Olaf and Jenni sit down. 

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2021 in short stories, stories, writing

 

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Memories of Tomorrow (seasons of change part 11)

Once again this is being written for Blogophilia. Do make time to check out the other fabulous takes on the topic.

Ecrits Blogophilia Week 49.13 Topic:Memories of Tomorrow

Hard Bonus (2 points): Use a Billie Eilish Song Title : “Goodbye”

Easy Bonus (1 Point): Include a School Mascot: Warriors

All bonus attempts are in italics Marvin. I will go with Tyler Myrth for the topic and Rebecca Revels for the picture.

Picture phrase guesses: 1) hummingbird, 2) reflection, 3) sipping the nectar, 4) I’ll have another, 5) focus, 6) buffet for one, 7) hiding in plain sight, 8) extreme close-up, 9) road less travelled, 10) Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Photo by Pok Rie on Pexels.com

Anna couldn’t believe what she was hearing, much less seeing. Without even taking a moment to breathe, she took the few steps to Olaf and spun him to face her. 

“We need to talk. Now!”  

Not waiting for an answer, she stormed back into the office from which they came. 

Jenni chuckled as she motioned Olaf to follow his irate partner. “Even I know not to keep Anna waiting. Don’t worry. I won’t leave without you.” 

With no other option available, Olaf followed with the hopes of diffusing her misplaced anger. No sooner had he entered the room when Anna spat venomously at him. 

“What the hell are you thinking? You’re sending me home? How do you really know you can trust that woman? It’s obviously both of you had a thing some years back, but what if she’s changed? What if you have? Everything each of you experienced beyond the explosion has affected both of you. That’s even assuming she really is the same person you think she is.” 

As she wound down her speech, Olaf began to process her argument. Then, suddenly he barked out a laugh. “Oh, Anna, if you only knew why that was so funny. No, Jenni and I did not have a thing. I’m not going to explain all that to you. I don’t think it is necessary. But I do want to explain my thoughts on us.” 

He reached out to her, gently tilting her chin up so she would be looking into his eyes. He would not hide anything from her. She would see it all confirmed in his gaze.  

Her eyes glistened with unshed tears. He had hurt her. He never meant to do that.  

“Remember the first thing I taught you when we became partners?” 

“Yes. You said the best partners were like family. You said that our group of warriors was a big family. We all cared about each other and would do what we had to for each other.” 

“Right.” The continuation was tougher for Olaf, but he persisted for Anna’s sake.  

“You were the daughter I never had. I strove to teach you everything I knew. I made every effort to instill my moral compass and values into you. I watched as you blossomed from a young, raw recruit into this amazing woman who could accomplish anything. You far outshined anything I have ever been. I could not be prouder had you been my daughter in truth.” 

Her lips trembled a bit as she responded softly. “And you were the father I should have had. You meant…mean so much to me. That is why I cannot fathom leaving you. I have to stay with you.” 

“I know you feel that way. I wish it was true, but sadly it’s not. There comes a time every parent must let their child move on, to make their own way in life. You are destined for great things. I know this because I see you in all your gloriousness. Well, and your quirks, but those are cute.” 

He saw her struggle to keep the smile off her face, so he continued.  

“You have a place back in our time. You have friends. You have someone you care deeply about, and who cherishes you. I would be selfish to pull you along with me. Where I am heading, I do not see a way back.” 

“But I can’t lose you Olaf. Please.”  

Her begging nearly broke him. 

“Don’t you see Anna, were you to come with me, we would be together for a while longer. I do not know how long though. The odds are I would die before you, leaving you alone in a strange land with just your memories of tomorrow to keep you company. I cannot do that to you.” 

“But how can I let you go with her? How can you trust her?” 

“You do so by trusting in me. I trust Jenni. I have always trusted Jenni with my life. That’s why losing her the way I did hurt so much. She didn’t fail me. It was I who failed. I have a chance now at redemption. I cannot do this alone, nor can I take you further. She will not let me go through that machine without her, and I cannot ever hurt her. My only choice left is to place my trust where I had always placed it and hope for the best.” 

Realizing she had no further arguments for Olaf, Anna remained silent. Instead, she quickly embraced him in a massive hug. One she wished would never end. Softly she kissed his cheek. Just before she released him, she whispered. “Goodbye old man. I love you.” 

“And I you, my young padawan.” he replied as he ushered her to the portal. “Go now. And remember, make our world better for all.” 

He stood there for several minutes after she left and the portal vanished. Tears streamed down his face as he failed to hold back his emotions. It seemed like eternity before he felt Jenni’s hand on his shoulder. He accepted her silent comfort as he fought to regain composure.  

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2021 in short stories, stories, writing

 

On a cold, dark night (seasons of change part 10)

This is another writing for the blogophilia group. Make sure to check them out to see everyone else’s take on the topic.

Ecrits Blogophilia Week 48.13 Topic:On a Cold Dark Night

Hard Bonus (2 points): Include a song lyric from the original Willie Wonka movie “There’s no earthly way of knowing which direction we are going.” from The Rowing Song

Easy Bonus (1 Point): Use the term ‘the zings’ correctly (it means hungover)

All bonus attempts are in italics Marvin.

I will guess Rebecca Revels for the topic and Lissa for the picture.

Picture phrase guesses: 1) in mourning, 2) black wedding, 3) resident evil, 4) coming storm, 5) beyond the veil, 6) flowers, 7) gothic revival, 8) seasons of wither, 9) nice day for a funeral, 10) in my darkest hour

Photo by Skylar Kang on Pexels.com

Olaf stood frozen just outside the office. Even though he knew what he would find, he could not make himself move. He always blamed himself for what happened to Jenni. How could he not? After all, she died while he relieved his bladder. He should have been with her. He could have done something.  

Logically he understood nothing he changed about that day would have done anything other than kill him. Someone had to answer the boss’ call. If it wasn’t Jenni, it would have been him…or both of them. That was always an option too.  

He lowered his rifle. He could never harm Jenni. Even if it meant his death on a cold, dark night so very far from home, he would not hurt her.  

He saw the shock disappearing from her eyes. She was processing what she saw.  

“Stand down Anna.” she ordered. 

“Yeah, stand down Anna.” 

“Fuck that you prick. You don’t get to tell me what to do.”  

“I wasn’t talking to you.” he muttered as he motioned his Anna out from the office.  

This time the silence was deafening as steely glances were passed back and forth. Finally, Jenni decided to break the impasse. 

“You died. I was going to the bathroom and you went to the hotel to receive the call. There was a bombing. You were caught in it. How?”  

Tears welled up in her eyes. She always had trouble hiding her emotions.  

“I’m sure that is how it happened to you Jenni. But to me, it was different. You were the one who died. I spent years hunting down and killing those responsible for the bombing. I don’t know if I got them all, but I did my best.” 

“You were always one to go full speed ahead, regardless of the outcome. I mean, how are you here? I spent months drowning my guilt at your death at whatever bar I could find. I never got to feel the zings. I was always drunk. Until Alexi intervened. He said I was too valuable. I didn’t believe him. But he told me about this project. He told me if I sobered up, he would assign me to head of security. He gave my life purpose again. He gave me a chance at redemption.” 

She paused, seeking some sort of response from Olaf. He stood silent, so she continued. 

“There was this machine being built. A time machine. I think Alexi knew what I would try to use it for. He didn’t care. He just wanted my head back in the game. But I haven’t used the machine yet. I haven’t gone back to change the past. So, I ask you again, how are you here? And how is there a second Anna?” 

Olaf sighed. “It’s more complicated than you could possibly know. I didn’t come from the past. I came from a different timeline. One where instead of a time machine, they created one capable of allowing travel between the parallel universes. As I said, one where you were the one to die. I only sought to eliminate the machine from all the parallel universes. Only then could the reality I was from be safe. Not every reality had a philosophy of live and let live.” 

“I assume Anna became your partner, much like she became mine in that other universe. Our goal was to find a universe where a time machine was created. We would use that to go back in time and eliminate the creators of the machines. We would hopefully prevent the splitting of realities. No machine, no danger to our reality.” 

It was the Anna from this reality that responded. “There’s a flaw in your plan. Actually, there are several. First, if I understand parallel universes correctly, that would at most prevent the machines from being created in half of the universes. Every possibility will occur. Even your failure. More importantly, how did you ever plan on returning to your reality? If you destroy the machines, then there would be no machine to bring you back home. So, you’d be stuck in the past. Actually, two versions of you would be stuck in that past. Who knows what danger lurks there?” 

She took a breath before continuing. “Then there is the paradox conundrum. If you go back and change the past so that no machines were built, how did you travel between realities and to the past?” 

“That last one is something you should ask Jenni about too. She had the same idea.” 

“Not really. I was going to go back and kidnap you. Bring you to this point in time with the machine. I believe that would preserve my past knowledge of your death, while also saving your life. You’d be much younger than me now, but you would be alive. That’s all that matters.” 

“I stand corrected. Jenni had it figured out.” Olaf muttered again. 

“It doesn’t matter how slim the odds of success were. We had to try. I cannot fathom ever giving up.” 

“No, that is definitely not a trait you had.” 

“But things are different now. Jenni and I could go back to the past. Even if we got stuck, we would be together. That would fix some of our regrets.”  

He turned to his partner. “You go back home. Destroy the machine there. You have no reason to take this one-way ticket. There’s no earthly way of knowing which direction we are going. You have a future ahead of you. I don’t see one for myself. At least not one that doesn’t start in the past.” 

Olaf could see she was preparing to argue. “Don’t. It’s better we do it this way. It hedges our bets.”  

He turned back to Jenni, “At least, that is as long as you are willing.”  

For the first time in decades, he saw her Cheshire grin. He knew their adventures were continuing.  

“You don’t have to ask. Where you go, I follow. I’m not going to let you die on me again.” 

“Anna, you always knew this day would come. I’m leaving you in charge. Just make sure no one stops us from using the machine.” 

She was just about to grasp Olaf’s hand when she thought to add, “Oh, and don’t kill yourself. I don’t think that’s necessary this time.”

 
20 Comments

Posted by on February 4, 2021 in short stories, stories, writing

 

Wall of Confusion (Seasons of Change part 9)

This has once again been written for blogophilia. Make sure to check out this amazing group of people.

Ecrits Blogophilia Week 47.13 Topic:Wall of Confusion

Hard Bonus (2 points): Include a Song Title from a One Hit Wonder I included several “99 Luftballons” by Nena, “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia, “Save Tonight” by Eagle Eye Cherry and “Somebody that I used to know” by Gotye featuring Kimbra.

Easy Bonus (1 Point): Use the Word “Shenanigans”

All bonus options are in italics Marvin.

I will give a double guess of Stormy Gail for both the topic and picture.

Picture phrase guesses: 1) Jenny (in blog but spelled differently), 2) lose my number, 3) Tommy Tutone, 4) Forest Gump, 5) life is like a box of chocolates, 6) cold snap, 7) forecast, 8) highs and lows, 9) Stiffler’s mom, 10) Stacy’s mom.

NSFW warning for language.

Photo by Natalie on Pexels.com

Weeks had passed. The never-ending missions were all blending together for Olaf. Go through the portal. Set the self-destruct sequence. Return home and shut the machine down before anyone else comes through. It was all becoming clockwork. Nothing ever changed and the monotony was killing him.  

Save tonight. Suddenly things were much different. When they came through the portal this time, they found themselves inside an office. On the other side of the door, they could hear 99 Luftballons playing. The German version, not the piss-poor English version everyone seemed to remember. He froze momentarily, remembering back to the last time he heard that song. His skin prickled, at a combination of the memories and the force of Anna’s gaze. She didn’t know. 

Anna hadn’t always been his partner. Before her was Jenni. Jenni had been an incredible partner and mentor. Everything he knew about this business came from her. She was why he survived so long. But more than that, she had been his best friend, his compatriot. No, that word wasn’t correct. Nationality wasn’t the glue that held them together. She was proud of her East German heritage. Of course, she despised her family, most of whom still held onto some of the vilest beliefs of the Nazi party. The party her grandparents had belonged to during the war. The party whose views had been passed down through the family generation to generation until it found an unwilling host in her. When he was with her, trouble always followed. Oh the shenanigans they got into. Those were the best days of his life.  

At least, that was until that one fateful day. They had been in Brighton, waiting for their next security assignment. The drinks were flowing heavily. The music blasted Jenni’s favorite song through them as they soaked in the atmosphere. Then, fate intervened and he had to take a piss. He never made it back from the bathroom. He never saw Jenni again. At least not outside of a picture.  

The bar they were in was attached to the Grand Hotel. Jenni had slipped over to take a call after the song ended. The IRA’s bomb had ended her life way too soon as she was torn to pieces. It had also ended his belief in any form of political system. He believed in the power of the holy dollar over that of any nation. As long as he was paid, whomever he was told to shoot, he would with no complaints.  

“It’s nothing. We might want to look around first” he whispered. “Who knows what has changed in this land.” 

Anna blinked once, then turned towards the filing cabinets lining the walls. Olaf focused on the ornate desk that dominated the room. Using his penlight to remain undetected he flipped through the papers scattered across the desk. Nothing stood out.  

So, he turned his attention to the computer. It was still powered on. The cover of Nena’s album flitted across the screen. Tapping the space bar made it vanish, to be replaced by a request for a password. On a whim he typed in 8675309 and the computer came alive. He knew. Jenni.  

Clicking on a few icons he brought up documents on a machine written in German. Luckily Olaf was fluent in several languages, amongst them German. Skimming through, he caught the gist. The machine was a prototype. They hadn’t tested it yet, but it was believed to be able to allow time travel. He flinched as Anna brushed against him, trying to see what caught his attention. Her exasperated sigh made him chuckle.  

Quickly he summed up what he read. He could see the spark of interest in her eyes, not only for the potential for their mission to end, but that he could understand what was written. In response he tilted his head towards the door.  

As he grasped the door handle, he became aware of someone speaking German. He opened it to the inevitable. Silence descended. Jenni stood there; her lips open in a small circle as her eyes widened in shock.  

“Jenni, who the fuck is that?” a voice eerily similar to Anna’s barked out. 

Somebody that I used to know.” she gasped after a couple seconds. 

 
15 Comments

Posted by on January 25, 2021 in short stories, stories, writing

 

Remember tomorrow (Seasons of Change part 8)

Photo by Julia Volk on Pexels.com

This has been written for blogophilia. Make sure to check out their link on the side to see all the other amazing posts. This week is a writer’s choice challenge. We had the choice of topic and bonus point options.

I chose a topic of This is just the beginning

My bonus point options were: Hard bonus (2 points): include a quote from Neil Armstrong. “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Easy bonus (1 point): Include a song title from Iron Maiden: Remember Tomorrow (title) and Stranger in a Strange Land.

All bonus choices are in italics Marvin. Picture phrase guesses: 1) Big Ben, 2) Yogi, 3) BooBoo, 4) Shouldn’t I be hibernating? 5) Grizzly Adams, 6) the bear necessities 7) bruin

Crouched down in the pristine snow, Olaf and Anna surveyed the entrance to the lab. Nothing moved. Inch by inch they closed the distance to the entrance.  

Over two days had passed since they took that step through the portal into this strange but familiar land. Olaf still remembered the thought that flittered through his head when they did. That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind. He had no clue as to why the words of an American astronaut popped into his head. He knew very little about America, much less about any Americans. No one he came in contact with ever brought up the subject. Yet it felt so right. They had taken one tiny step. The fate of worlds hung in the balance.  

After that first step transported them to this version of Russia, he felt like a stranger in a strange land. He did not know the building in which they found themselves. Olaf knew they were lucky to have survived that first step. They had had the foresightedness to toss a couple grenades through the portal first. The resulting explosion had torn apart the bodies of the soldiers waiting on the other side. Even better, the domicile they emerged into had no other buildings in close proximity. The explosion went unnoticed.  

After that, the hardest task had been to make the long journey to the lab without being seen. Anna had come up with the plan when she found the two vintage snowmobiles sitting forsaken in the shed behind the house. They loaded the snowmobiles onto a trailer and, using the old pickup that the house’s owner seemed to have neglected, they drove out of the city deep into the frozen north. Eventually they stopped to unload the snowmobiles. Those they used to make the final approach.  

Now all they had to do was kill the guards, sneak into the bunker and activate the self-destruct sequence of which the scientist informed them. Then the machine, if it existed in this world, as well as anyone who might possibly be able to reverse-engineer it, would be destroyed. Of course, that always assumed this world had a self-destruct sequence. Olaf thought the odds were in their favor on that account. 

After that, the plan was to high-tail it back to the city, and the portal. They would cross back over and turn off the machine. Then, the process would be repeated however many times necessary to ensure the world would survive. They would make sure when they did turn the machine back on, they would have it open in a supply closet in the lab. Neither wanted to waste too much time travelling back and forth.  

As these thoughts slithered through Olaf’s mind, he noticed Anna slowly aim her rifle towards what was an exact duplicate of their guard post back home. Not knowing why, he followed her lead. He panned over the small building while his eye took stock through the scope. Movement at one of the windows drew his attention. Someone was slipping the barrel of a rifle through the small opening along the bottom of the window frame.  

He took careful aim and fired. Red splashed out behind the shattered window. He heard Anna’s shot almost at the same time. He only hoped if there was a second guard, Anna had taken that one out.  

He continued scoping the shack. A second shattered window came into focus on the other side of the wooden door. Her shot had been just as true. They sprinted forward. Moments felt like hours while they were exposed to view from all sides. A deafening silence smothered the landscape. Instead of popping in through the door, they dove through the windows. Just two dead guards lay in pools of their still warm blood.  

Exiting through the door. They next sprinted to the bunker entrance. Olaf watched as Anna typed in the sixteen-digit code the scientist had provided them with. The light on the keypad flashed green with an accompanying chirp. The lock disengaged and the door popped open. So far so good. 

Minutes later they found themselves in front of a little used workstation. Following the scientist’s instructions, they were able to log in, set the self-destruct sequence, and disable any warning. Nodding to each other they turned and retraced their steps. They were just arriving at the snowmobiles when a dull whump echoed in the distance.  

Then they heard a loud rumbling from the same direction. They turned and watched the location of the lab being buried by an onslaught of snow and ice. The underground explosion must have triggered an avalanche from the nearby mountain.  

Climbing aboard the snowmobiles, they began the long trek home.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2021 in short stories, writing

 

Holiday Blues (Seasons of Change part 7)

This has been written for blogophilia. I highly recommend checking out the other stories and blogs that come from these entertaining topics.

Ecrits Blogophilia Week 45.13 Topic: The Holiday Blues

Hard Bonus (2 points): Use a Twilight Zone series title from 1959-1964

I used two: A Thing About Machines and Come Wander With Me

Easy Bonus (1 Point): Incorporate a board game : Risk

Bonus options are in italics Marvin. I will guess Dia for the topic and Colleen for the picture.

Picture phrase guesses: 1) tomcat, 2) glamour shot, 3) it’s so fluffy, 4) cat got your tongue?, 5) whiskers, 6) it’s electric, 7) cat-o-nine-tails, 8) nine lives, 9) shiny, 10) I see the light.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

Anna slithered her way into the cavernous room that housed the machine. Slowly she inched along, trying to keep an eye on every conceivable hiding spot at once. She knew her life was not the only one on the line. She thought back to the last time she was in this position and grimaced.  

It was Christmas Eve fifteen years prior. Eleven-year-old Anna was defying her father, making the attempt to stay awake and catch Santa. She just knew he was real. She would catch him and teach her older brother Kristof. He would certainly have egg on his face after she proved not only that Santa was real, but that she was the superior stealth agent. Kristof only thought Santa wasn’t real because he couldn’t catch him. If Anna could, she would prove she was better than him. Father would finally see her for who she really was.  

That was how it was supposed to go. Instead, five minutes into her vigil Anna felt herself being lifted from behind and tossed unceremoniously onto her bed. Her irate father loomed over her. Her brother cackled behind him as her father roughly bound her spread-eagled to the four corners of her bed. Then he gagged her, saying, “I told you to go to sleep you insubordinate whelp. Maybe now you will listen to your father.” 

Santa didn’t come that year. He never came again. Kristof still claimed it was because Santa didn’t exist. Anna always wondered if it was because her father killed him, as punishment for her trying to stay up. She didn’t know nor did she care. Many people suffered holiday blues. She didn’t. She hated them with a passion. She focused that hate into what she now had to do. 

Unfortunately, she believed her opponent may very well have that same hatred. They had carefully examined all of the bodies after Sergei and Alexi died. Duplicates of the entire team stared back up at them. She remembered seeing the look in Olaf’s eyes as they found his doppelganger, laying there riddled with bullets, with a neat, double-tap hole in his forehead. Until then she had not contemplated what it would feel like to kill herself. 

Well, she would know soon enough…or not. Only one member of the doppelgänger team was unaccounted for. They had not found Anna. Did that mean the invading reality didn’t have an Anna, or did it just mean she was waiting to ambush them. They didn’t know, but they couldn’t take the risk that she wasn’t ahead somewhere. If they did, they might as well kill themselves then. It would save dark Anna the time. 

Anna mentally shook her head and began her surveillance again. She had to return to her machine-like state. A thing about machines: it never mattered what information you entered. The results were always the same. Success or failure, there was no grey area. If Anna was not up to this task, dark Anna would be. They would be dead. Their story ended. The world dead.  

So, she focused, and in doing so she luckily saved her life. She saw a flash to her left and, instinctively stopped and rolled to face that way. As she did the bullet exploded an inch from where her head was, where it would have been had she not changed course. Instantly she aimed and fired her rifle. A grin spread across her face as she saw the red bloom behind her target.  

Carefully she approached to see what she had wrought. It had been pure luck the light from the room had reflected off the scope of the rifle dark Anna held. That was what had saved Anna’s life. She had instinctively aimed for the flash, so her bullet went through the scope, and into dark Anna’s eye, then through her brain. She may have never known what hit her.  

As she stared down into her own death for the first time Anna felt Olaf’s breath on her ear.  

“Now that that is done, care to come wander with me?” 

In answer she turned, grinned and gestured to the portal. 

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2021 in short stories, stories, writing

 

Stay or Go (Seasons of Change part 6)

Once again this has been written for blogophilia. Make sure to check out all of the other great takes on the topic.

Ecrits Blogophilia Week 44.13 Topic: Stay or Go

Hard Bonus (2 points): Use a Lyric from a Song with the name of an Animal in the Title (also please note the title of the song the lyric is from somewhere in the blog) I used “Smoke was slowly drifting by” from the song Yellow Raven by the Scorpions and “There’s no back door to heaven, just a front door to hell” from the song Lock up the Wolves by Dio.

Easy Bonus (1 Point): Incorporate a Strange Food Morcilla Blood Sausage

All bonus attempts are in italics Marvin. I will guess Dia Jade for the topic and Irene for the picture.

Picture bonus phrase guesses: 1) writing on the wall, 2) pseudonym, 3) diary, 4) type set, 5) pen name, 6) writer’s block, 7) disguises 8) Hemmingway, 9) blank pages 10) tools of the trade.

Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

They watched as Alexi and Sergei slowly made their way towards them. Maybe they would have a better idea of what to do. Olaf wasn’t sure of that, though. He believed Alexi was too ambitious. He would try to figure out a way to use the machine to his advantage. It wouldn’t surprise Olaf one bit if it was Alexi’s doppelgänger that orchestrated the invasion of these labs in the first place. Surely they had the same mentality.  

Just as the word Rasputin echoed softly to them gunfire erupted. The two senior officers had no chance. They watched as bullets riddled their bodies. Eventually silence descended. Olaf felt like he was going to throw up. In fact, the last time his stomach rebelled like this was when he had eaten Morcilla blood sausages. Anna had bet him he wouldn’t be able to finish an entire plate of them. She was right. Only two bites in, he was projectile vomiting all over. The taste was absolutely horrifying.  

Slowly he began breathing in through the nose and out through his mouth. He felt his equilibrium returning. He scanned the room as Anna slowly slithered further into the outer room. There was no telling how many enemy soldiers were out there.  

Motion drew his attention back to where Alexi and Sergei lay. Several figures stood around them, slowly panning their guns, looking for further targets. Olaf was getting ready to fire, but worried this was a tactic by the enemy to flush any others out of hiding. Whatever it was, it didn’t work. He noticed something slip out of Alexi’s hand. Moments later an explosion rocked the room as the grenade erupted, throwing the enemy soldiers away.  

Once again, a deafening silence filled the area. Only this time smoke was slowly drifting by his location, further obscuring his view. Then, slowly more figures began to shift through the smoke. Four more to be precise. He took aim, held his breath for a second, and then pulled the trigger. Just as he was pulling the trigger, he heard gunfire erupt from where Anna had slithered. The ensuing crossfire immediately took out the approaching soldiers.  

Minutes later, while Anna kept watch Olaf took more precise aim and placed a round in the head of each of the prone bodies. There would be no way they would be caught by a last breath grenade.  

Eventually they regrouped in the restroom. Olaf looked briefly at the scientist and spoke.  

“Look, there’s no back door to heaven, just a front door to hell that I can see here. Let’s say we are able to kill the invading force. Could we then shut the machine down, stopping that reality from having access here?” 

“Theoretically yes. I still don’t see how that helps.” 

“It buys us time. I’m thinking we perhaps have a chance. We can then regularly turn on the machine. We go through the portal, and if the machine exists in that reality, we destroy it and the creators of that machine.” 

Olaf stared firmly. “We then come back and continue the process. Every time we destroy a machine, we make our reality a little safer. Furthermore, you said you thought time travel was discovered.” 

“Yes, so what?” 

“If we find that machine, we use it to go back in time before this machine was created. We kill the creators of the machine, which I’m sorry, but I guess that includes you. Then we succeed in saving our world.” 

“Maybe. First off, you are proposing we kill ourselves in all of these realities. What will that do to our psyches? Secondly, what if that is what this invading force intended to do? We actively stopped it from happening. Plus, I would just think it would create more alternate universes. I don’t see how this helps us.” 

“As I said, from here, like Dante, we have no choice but to go straight through hell. We may fail. It may make things worse. But we have to try.” 

“I agree.” Anna stated softly. “We can’t just stand here doing nothing. We have to try. Plus, those invaders used our portal. They can’t be trying to do what we are going to try. I would think they were trying to steal the technology for themselves.” 

Understanding he had no other option, the scientist agreed.  

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2021 in short stories, stories, writing