“Right behind you!”
That’s all I need.
Alec’s leather suit creaks, as he leans over to shut off the master inhibitory signals on our implants. The log-tunnel lights up.
Protocol, protocol. My babysitter-in-time is a babysitter-by-the-book; dutifully complicating my plans. He’s the best. He’s the best I can buy. His missions are like good thrillers, never lost anyone – neither in combat, nor on a time trip. Alec is going to be so pissed, when he finds out I switched coordinates.
I am going to have a lot of fun!
My bulletproof vest feels like a second skin. Low static jacket – check. Ammo check. Boots. Check. Dog collar. Check.
Let’s get going!
Alec’s hand falls on my shoulder. “Remember safety training. Hold your breath, when the vortex appears. Medical staff is on stand by. Emergency pull-out in max ten seconds.” Blah blah blah. “Remember to tap the life seal collar.” I nod. “Try not to get shot.” Stop patronizing me!
Fingers tingle. Come on. I pop a chewing gum. Come on, come on. The adrenalin sings in my veins. I can’t stand the waiting in the log-tunnel.
“Come on!” I tap the collar around my neck. It hums with high-pitched whine. My very own electromagnetic protection bubble comes to life.
“Relax. You’re safe with me.” I know Alec’s flashing a smile, no need to look. Like I’m some pathetic house wife. Someday I’ll smack that grin out of that face.
The air starts sizzling, the guns heat up. Finally! “Yes!”
“Countdown. Minus fifteen. Buffering site and timeline. Safety locks disengaged. Proceed to marked areas.“ A mechanical female voice chirps over the humming of the walls. Awesome! The CPU accepts the new coordinates I’ve programmed.
Goodbye Colombo, hello L.A.! Anyone can shoot a small fry armed only with a shotgun. How bout some bigger fish? How bout UCIs, how bout more players?
“Nine.” Silence, before I’ll be shitting death. Hell, yeah.
“Seven.” At the end of the tunnel is blood and pain.
“Six.” Patience. Keep cool.
“Five.” Keep cool.
Good things come to those who- “four.” I don’t give a fuck!
“Three.” I know where I want to go. It’s just a step into the fog. I know the way.
“NO! Wait!” He can scream all he wants. Lights out.
Get going. The pale greenish-yellow vortex forms a hole in space, an arm length in front of me. Behind it, a sprayed door appears. No number on it. No peephole. Trash lying around. Let’s play some music! Another step and I’m through.
“OPEN SESAME!” Time stops, comes back crashing down, as I pass the timeline lapse. My kick blows the door off it’s hinges. Wow. What force!
Gasping. Two men.
One on the couch, one in the doorway.
Dog on a rug, in left corner of the room.
I hate dogs!
Take it out first.
The gun kicks in my hands. It spits fire and death. Things happen so fast, I’m not sure, who I hit first. Dog. Man on couch. Man in doorway. What surprised looks! Stomping feet coming my direction.
Alec´s hand grabs my elbow. Shit!
He got to me too fast. I charge on, anyway. We’re here to fuck with fate! I shrug him off.
“Back!” He screams. Time stops. Exhale. One. Two. “Now!” Alec yells. THREE!
The pale green light grows in our direct line of movement. Fuck! Too soon! A warp opens, sucking in the front wall and windows of the room. The electrical fizzle on my skin creeps up my spine. My collar burns, and the implant screams at me! In three seconds it’ll be taking over, blocking all deliberate muscle movements. Shitshitshit!
The stomping sound comes closer.
I aim at the wall and pull the trigger. Ammo eats through it.
A thud. I hit! I hit!
“JUMP!” Alec grabs my collar, throws me right into the warp.
Shit! I land on my hands and knees. Everything’s white. Clicking in front of me. Ah, my gun must have locked.
The receiving room blinds me with its lights. I hate being tossed round like that! “WHAT. THE. HELL?!” Alec screams at me. Ha! He’s really pissed… Look at that handsome face, all distorted in rage! That shade of red isn’t healthy. But hey, why should I care? I do what I paid for, and I booked the premium package. A little bloodshed of my choice shouldn’t be a problem.”If you want to kill, you take a one-fucking-way ticket to the last century!”
The door slides open and staff floods in. “What happened?” Someone asks. They look at Alec. And like a good babysitter, he points at me, and I cannot help it, but chuckle.
“I tell you! That idiot changed coordinates! They do not lead to the Columbian drug wars, with confirmed kills, five minutes later. No family, no casualties. No! They lead to Los-fucking-Angeles! You have no idea, if you started a chain reaction! Call security. ASAP!“ Now they all stare at me. Fine!
“Tourists are real jerks,“ muffles one of them.
Can’t stop myself. “Shut the fuck up!” Maybe that’s only the adrenalin, but I really don’t care!
Author: Ramona Darabant
R. C. Darabant was born Romania and lives now near Vienna, where she works as a family physician. When she isn’t working, she writes poetry, flash fiction and short stories. She recharges her batteries during storms and night strolls. In her stories, there is a distinct lack of happy endings. It’s not pathological, rest assured, she had that checked.