A Surprise Encounter

Author’s Note: This particular post was my attempt at writing a story in 1st person. I normally write in 3rd person limited, so I wanted to see the difference. I must say I did not care for it. When reading this story please keep this in mind. You may or may not like this style; I know I don’t. You will find all my other posts in my traditional style. In addition this story was first published in four parts therefore I elected to combine the story, however I did not re-edit it. Feel free to comment.

Kevin


I felt myself moving from sleep to an awareness of things around me. My eyes broke free of their sleep mode and I peered at the room I was in. I looked around with my eyes only at first, not moving my body. The walls of the room were made of wood, and smelled of cut pine. The sunlight illuminated the room, and I could see a rustic dresser.

I attempted to move in order to continue my survey; however I felt a sharp pain in my collar bone on my left side. The pain chased away my sleep and my senses engaged. My mind began to work too. Not too well though. It was only bits and pieces. I could remember that I had been in a room with various computers. It was sketchy, but it seemed I was involved in something where others in that room expected me to do something, but I couldn’t remember what. It was sketchy. The place was definitely different that where I am now.

As I became more aware of my surroundings, I heard voices coming from another room. It sounded like a man and a boy’s voice. And I could smell something cooking. This made me realize I was hungry.

I managed to sit up, despite the pain. As I did I noticed that my clothes felt unfamiliar. My shirt was cotton like material and appeared to be a night shirt. I looked around and saw some clothes on a chair. I managed to stand and examined the clothing. I recognized these clothes and I was able to remember that I had been wearing them in the room I had recalled earlier. I put on the pants and shirt. I was able to overcome the stiffness and pain due to the smell of the food. I was definitely hungry!

As I opened the door to the next room, I saw a boy, probably about 12 or 13 years old, who also saw me. He was placing a bowl of food on the table.

“That food smells good.” I said.

“Paw,” he spoke out as he continued to look at me.

I man came into view. He was a tall man, about six feet four with sandy colored hair. He smiled at me.

“Well, I guess you’re feelin’ better” he said. “Matt, set a place for our guest. I’m sure he must be hungry.”

I made my way to the chair that the boy moved to the table. My mind was still in a bit of a fog, however the small of the food made me recognize my reality.

“Thank you.” I said as I eased into the seat.

“You’ve been out for a while. How do you feel?” the man asked.

“I have pain in my back and the left side of my color bone hurts” I said placing the palm of my hand against my left shoulder.

“I’m sure it does. That’s were doc took out the bullet.”

“Bullet?” I asked.

The man stopped and looked at me was a puzzled look. Then he changed to a smile.

“My name’s John Daniels and this is my boy, Matt. We found you on the side of the road to our ranch.”

I now remembered that I was on a wagon. I also remembered that this wagon was important to me somehow.

“Do you have a name?” asked John.

“Oh, I’m sorry; it’s Frankie, Frankie Savage.”

“Well good to know you Frankie Savage.”

I took a bite of food. Things were coming back very slowly.

“This is good.” I said.

“My paw made it. He makes the best stew.”

“Now Matt,” John said.

“How did you come to be left wounded on our road?” John asked.

“I don’t remember clearly. I know I was on a wagon and I remember three men riding up to me on horses.”

“I don’t recall seeing a wagon when we found you. All you had was some sort of pack with you.”

“A pack?” I looked around.

“It’s over by the fireplace. Matt, go get it for Mr. Savage.”

“But, you didn’t see a wagon?” I asked

“No, no wagon. Did you have you supplies in it?”

I remembered what was in the wagon; however I didn’t think it was a good idea to mention those items right now.

“No, I had some things of mine, but nothing in the back of the wagon.”

Matt handed me my backpack. I opened it and looked inside. I pulled out a compass, and what was left of a radio. It was been smashed.

“What’s that?” asked Matt.

“Well, it is what’s left of my radio.”

“Radio? What’s a radio?” he asked.

“You don’t know what a radio is?”

Matt shook his head and looked at his father who also had an inquisitive look on his face. Suddenly I recalled what I was doing in the room with all the computers. We were experimenting with teleportation; the transfer of matter from one location to another. We had made some successful transmissions of materials and we were loading the transfer chamber with a vehicle. I was in the camber where it accidently came on. This led me to an important question.

“John, what the closest city to us?

“Medicine Bow is eight miles from us.”

I knew that city. It was located in southeastern Wyoming. I now recalled our experiments were being conducted at Ft. Collins, Colorado. Apparently I was transported here. But there was still a question; Medicine Bow was close to Laramie, Wyoming and therefore the concept of radio was not uncommon. Then Matt discovered something that was even more confusing.

“Paw! Paw, look at this!”

Matt was holding the compass. The compass is a military grade digital compass with a global positioning feed. Matt handed it to John. He looked at it and then looked at me.

“Yeah, that’s pretty new. Only the military has them right now.” I reached for the compass and John handed it to me.

“I’d like to see if we can find my wagon.” I said changing the subject. “Maybe we could go to Medicine Bow.”

“Maybe in a few days; I think you need some more time to rest. Then we can go into town and see the doc.”

John made sense, and I needed some time to remember. A lot was coming back now. I felt I should be careful with what I say until I get some answers. Like, why have these people never heard of a radio. Also, I noticed that there was no electricity throughout the home. At first I chalked it up to the fact that they were a low income family, however everything in this house has the look of antiques. Yet everything seemed new.

It had been five days since I was able to get up and around. I still had a very foggy view of what happened after I was in the transfer chamber. However, everything up to that incident was clear.

John announced that we would ride in to Medicine Bow today, so I got my backpack and dug through it finding my expandable PR-24. I attached the holder to my belt and clicked the PR-24 to it. John had loaned me a trail coat which concealed it nicely. The coat also came in handy as the weather was turning colder.

We rode into town on John’s buckboard, which kept my curiosity up. Why no cars? Perhaps they were like the Amish and did not believe in automation.  As we traveled along John asked if I could remember anything yet. I elected not to talk about anything other than my contact with them. As it was it was still unclear.

“So, you don’t remember anything yet?”

“I only remember the three men riding up to me. After that it’s all blank.”

“But, you remember the wagon? Do you think you’d know it if you saw it?”

“I’m pretty sure I would.”

I had placed some item in a compartment under the seat. If they were there, then I would know it. One other thing bothered me though. When I was transported, I was in the chamber with a new aircraft. Where is it now? As we rode along, I felt the bite of the wind.

“Sure feels a lot like a November wind.” I commented.

“It should; it is November,” John said.

Now there’s something to ponder. As I recall it was April when we were loading the chamber. As we rode into Medicine Bow, it painted a picture of an old west town. No paved roads. No traffic lights or electricity anywhere. We stopped in front of the mercantile store.

“I’m going to get some things” said John

“If it’s okay, I’ll just wait here.”

Matt saw some friends and went to talk with them. I looked over the town. The people dress matched the vintage of the town. In fact the women dressed with the long skirts and bonnets. I have been in Medicine Bow before, and the only buildings I recall were the stone ones. The wooden ones I don’t recall at all.

Suddenly I heard some laughter. Not the laughter from a good joke. Rather it was laughter which generally comes from someone picking on a person. I looked around and spotted a guy that I recognized. Thin and lanky, he looked like a cowboy, with a revolver strapped loosely to his side. He was one of the three who rode up to me. I also saw a young girl, dressed in a long skirt. She apparently had been wearing a hat however the cowboy now had it. Each time she would reach for it, he would move it out of reach. She was clearly frustrated and he was laughing sadistically. I felt my blood pressure rising. I walked over to them.

“You know, I think you should give the young lady her hat back.” I said.

The two of them stopped and looked at me. The girl grabbed for her hat, but he still held it out of the way.

“I think you should mind your own business,” the cowboy replied.

“You don’t remember me, do you?”

The cowboy looked me over quickly.

“No, I don’t. And when I kill you, nobody else will remember you either.”

“Well, I suggest you just give her the hat, and then I can help you remember me.”

“You won’t be doing much; you isn’t even wearing a gun.”

I had maneuvered myself close enough to reach the hat, and I snatched it from him. The cowboy was startled. Without taking my eyes off of him, I handed the hat to the girl.

“Run along now.” I said to her.

Like a pressure cooker, I could see the anger build in the cowboy. My hand was resting on the PR-24. The cowboy glanced at it and smiled. The second his had started to move towards his gun, my hand shot downward extending the PR-24 to full length. It then shot back across the front of the cowboy as he was raising his gun. The PR-24 struck his forearm with full force. The arm broke with a loud crack and the gun was sent flying.

The gun landed at the feet of the town marshal. The cowboy held his arm in pain.

“Good job” the marshal said. “I think this one needs some time in my jail.”

“What for?” the cowboy shouted.

“Disturbing the peace” the marshal answered.

As I stood in the street I looked for the young girl I had rescued, but I didn’t see her. John walked up to me with Matt.

“That’s an interesting weapon” said John.

“It’s called a PR-24” I answered. “It’s a non-lethal alternative.”

“Well, that person you just used your PR-24 on is George Diamond. He has three brothers and I don’t think they will be happy you broke his arm.”

“Yeah, well George Diamond is one of the three who road up to me. And now that I have seen him, I also remember that he was the one who shot me.”

John was silent as he and I watched the marshal take George into the jail. Without looking at John I spoke.

“And I can tell you we’re not done; not yet”

As I entered the jail my mind was still putting together the missing memories concerning the day I had been shot. I was confident that George Diamond was the person who had shot me that day, despite the failure of my mind to retrieve any real details. The room was warm from a fire in the pot belly stove in a corner. It was good to get out of the cold wind.  I saw George sitting in a chair and a man I assumed was the doctor sitting in another, facing him. The marshal was pouring a cup of coffee near the two. I overheard the doctor speaking with George.

“No, I don’t believe your arm is broken,” said the doctor, “but it’s going to be pretty sore for about a week.”

I was a bit annoyed that George was not in a cell. I walked past the marshal and stood behind the doctor. I was prepared to question George about his part in my being shot when George looked up and started to yell.

“Marshal, that’s the cowardly long rider that tried to rob me!”

I was taken back by this claim. I was certainly not ready to be accused of robbery.

“Whoa, I tried to rob you?” I asked in disbelief. “You were the one who shot me.”

“Yeah, because you tried to steal my wagon,” George replied.

The marshal stepped up to me and took me by the arm. I felt my mussels tease, and the Marshal’s grip became firm.

“Calm down mister. Why don’t we walk over here and talk about this?”

We walked to the other side of the room next to a desk. The marshal took a sip from his coffee and spoke.

“Alright, why don’t you tell me your side of this?” he asked.

It took me a second to regroup my thoughts, but after a moment I started to describe what I could remember.

“Marshal, I did not try to steal anything.”

“So what were you doing on that road?”

I paused, trying to recall exactly what happened. My mind could still only pull up bits and pieces.

“I don’t remember marshal.” No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t remember the details.

“You don’t remember?” the marshal repeated, a tone of disbelief in his voice.

“After being shot I haven’t been able to remember anything much. There are only small bits of memory which don’t seem to connect.”

“Alright then, how ‘bout the fight you had with George today?”

“There’s not much to tell. George was harassing this young girl, taking her hat and teasing her. I just asked him to stop but he got mad at me and went for his gun, I just defended myself.”

“And you hit him with this,” the marshal pointed to my PR-24 baton.

“Yeah; I didn’t have a gun and I had to stop his shooting me… again!”

“And that’s your story?”

“That’s the truth, marshal.”

The marshal looked over at John who had been listening to their conversation.

“Did you see any of this, John?”

“No marshal, but don’t think I’d be incline to believe George over Frank.”

“I’m sorry but even if it was you, the facts support Georges’ story. He says that Frank here jumped him and he tried to defend himself with his gun.”

“So you believe I attacked George with only a baton against his gun?” I injected.

“It would be more believable if we had the girl, but we don’t.” the marshal said.

“There was a girl. I can give you a description; she was young, about 16 or 17, with…”

“That doesn’t help your situation. Right now you stand accused by George Diamond of attempted robbery.”

“I know it sounds thin, but it’s all I can remember.” I said.

“That seems awfully convenient.  The problem is George witnesses.”

“Witnesses?”

“Yeah, he says his brothers can verify his story. They were with him on the trail when you allegedly tried to steal his wagon. They are on their way here to give me their statements.”

The marshal took me by the arm and led me to a cell. I stepped in and the door closed and locked behind me. I turned to face the marshal and John. The marshal picked up his coffee and then walked over to George. John stepped to the bars and took a fast glance towards the marshal. His eyes returned to mine.

“I’ll do whatever I can to help,” John said.

“Right now I think if you can find the girl and she will tell what happened, that will give me credibility. I’ll deal with the brothers when they get here. By then maybe I’ll remember more.”

“Well I can do that much, but first I’ll have some words with the marshal.”

John turned and started over just as the marshal was releasing George.

“You’re not holding him?” I heard John ask.

“Got nothin’ to hold him on” the marshal answered. “We’ll see what he and his brothers have to say when they get here.

“Let me talked to you about this.” John said. Both men looked at me and they walked outside the jail. Through the front window I could see them talking on the front porch.

I sat on the bunk in my cell. I knew the harder I thought, the less likely I would remember. I had to let it flow on its own. I laid back and closed my eyes. I started to consider all that has been happening. I also wondered what this was all about.

I took inventory; first I remember being in a room full of computers and a lighted platform. I was placing item on that platform. As I recall now those items were secure cases containing equipment and weapons. Coming into view in my mind was an aircraft. It was a small two man fighter!

My mind switched to where I am now. I’ve been to Medicine Bow, but it did not look like this. Medicine Bow had asphalt streets, and there were no such streets here. I also could not recall when I was in Medicine Bow, or why. From all appearances I was in the old west, however that would not be possible. I pondered what could be happening. Maybe this was a deception by some enemy.

As I lay with my eyes closed I heard a voice calling my name. The voice seemed distant. It seemed to be that of a young person. The thought immediately entered my mind that the young girl was found. I opened my eyes and looked. What I saw was stranger than anything I had seen thus far!

A young boy was standing just outside my cell. He appeared to be about 17 years old, with golden blond hair and crystal blue eyes. He was wearing what appeared to be a blue long jacket with inlaid designs of gold stitching. The jacket was tied at the wait with a red sash. He was calling me by name.

“Frank, wake up Frank” he said.

I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming. In fact I wasn’t sure of anything. Although she didn’t seem real, I felt compelled to answer him.

“I am awake. Who are you?”

“I am your guardian” he answered.

My guardian? Like my guardian angel?”

“In a way; I know you don’t belong here.”

“You’ve got that right,” I answered as I looked around at the cell bars.

“No, I don’t mean in jail. I mean in this time.”

His words were strange, however they confirmed my belief that I was really in the old west.

“You don’t remember right now, however we met briefly when you arrived. I spoke with you on the road just before you were shot. I have returned because your place in this time is becoming critical. You have become comfortable here and you cannot stay.”

“I don’t wish to stay, but I don’t know where I am from or how to get back.”

“Frank, you are from the year 2081. You were working on a teleportation system which malfunctioned while you were on its transport platform. I cannot tell you everything now, however to put it simply, your transport beam was intercepted by another transporter. The result caused you to materialize here, in the year 1881.”

I was speechless. My mind was trying to counter his explanation with ones of its own. I knew this sounded impossible, yet I also knew of the theories concerning time-space travel.

“So you are here to restore me to my own time?”

“Not yet. The young girl you helped also does not belong here. She needs to be returned to her time as well. I need you to find her and then I can help you both get back to your own time.

“I don’t understand. You found me; why can’t you find her?”

“I am limited in my involvement with time travelers. I can only advise. You’ll have to do the rest.”

“Well, that’s going to be problem with my being in jail.” The guardian smiled at me.

“Since your arrival, you have confined yourself to thinking like you’re from 1881. You need to start remembering who you are and what time you are from. You need to get your backpack and find your data recorder. It contains important information you need. However you do not have much time. Those responsible for the girl being here are already on their way to get her. You must not let that happen.”

“Again, the bars are a problem” I said. Again he smiled.

The guardian pointed his finger at the locking mechanism. A blue flow of energy appeared and the door drifted open slightly. I looked at the lock as he took a step back. The mechanism was gone from the housing. I looked out the window at the marshal who was seated in a chair. I then looked back at the guardian.

“Remember, you do not have much time. The people who are coming for the girl will be here soon” he said as he turned to leave. Then he turned back to face me. “Oh, I need to tell you that there are some properties associated with time travel. Right now the most important one is that you will not be permitted to kill anyone from this time.”

“I’m not permitted; what does that mean?”

“Any attempt by you to kill another human being from this time will not be allowed! Remember.”

At this point a bright light caused me to close my eyes, and when I opened them again, he was gone.

I had been released from jail by the Guardian, who had suggested I obtain my data recorder to discover more information. I figured I should follow his advice and head for John’s ranch. I located my PR-24 baton from the marshals’ desk. I then left the jail by way of the side door. It was now night which aided me in my need for concealment. The ranch is five miles from the town. Considering my best time running such a distance was about 30 minutes I should be at the ranch by 8 pm, even with trying to keep myself concealed until I got out of town.

As I started along the back side of the town I also noticed the brisk cold wind that was blowing in the opposite direction as my run. I wondered how many other obstacles I would face trying to get to the ranch. Just then a cowboy walked into my path. I ran into him sending us both to the ground. Despite the darkness I recognized him. It was George Diamond; the cowboy that I fought with that morning.

“You Again!” he shouted indicating he also recognized me as he drew his 6 gun. I was too far away from him to use my PR-24 to disarm him, so I leaped as he fired.

I knew this shot would bring others, so I had no choice but to engage him. As he fired another shot I charged him expanding the PR-24. I swung it by the handle over his arm and grabbing the end of the baton with my free hand, pulling down. This took him off guard and he tumbled forward. I took hold of the gun he was holding and twisted it outward prying it from his hand. Then with the advantage of his face in the dirt, I ran.

As I was running, I could hear voices. I had no time to look back. I decided to take a more scenic route to John’s ranch. When I felt I was far enough away, I stopped to get my bearings. At this point, I looked at George’s gun that I had removed from him. I could still smell the gunpowder. Then I saw something that made me shutter. There was a finger still in the trigger guard. However, my shock turned to curiosity. There was no blood. In fact, the finger wasn’t human. It was mechanical. At the joint I could see metal and circuits. My attention turned back to the task at hand. I placed the mechanical appendage in my pocket and the pistol in the waist of my pants. I then took off again for the ranch.

About two hours later I was position just outside Johns’ house. My intended arrival was delayed so that I avoid those looking for me. From a concealed position I could see John talking with two cowboys. One I recognized as the marshal; the other one I didn’t recognize. However, nearby were three horses with saddles which made me believe there was another rider. The question was where is the other rider? I made my way to the back door of the house. On entering I saw Matt by the front door watching his dad.

“Matt” I said in a whisper. Matt turned and looked at me.

“Frank! Frank, you need to get out of here. Those men are looking for you.”

“Yeah, I know. I need my pack. Do you know where it is?”

“It’s in your room. I’ll get it.”

Matt headed for my room. I heard the horses. It sounded like they were leaving. I started across the room to a window to see if all the men had left when John walked in. He had a rifle in his hand and on seeing me he raised it. He wore a stern look on his face.

“Frank, I don’t know why you broke out of jail, but I’m taking you back.” John said.

“No paw!” It was Matt’s voice. He had my pack and was standing by the doorway to my room.

“Matt, stay out of this. He escaped from jail and he needs to go back.”

“But paw, he came for his pack. Can’t we give him a chance?”

“No son, running makes him look guilty.”

“But I’m not running,” I injected, “I’m looking for the girl.”

“I’ve already tried…” John started.

“I need to find her, not so that she can help me; I need to find her so I can help her. There are men looking for her, and I believe to harm her. I need to get to her first.”

John’s face changed and he lowered his rifle.

“You need to explain” he said. “Who told you someone is out to hurt her?”

“You need to trust me” I replied. “I can’t go into detail, but I can tell you that someone told me that she is being sought by some people and I am convinced it’s not good. I need to find her before they do. I’m also convinced that George Diamond and probably his brothers are in on it.”

“Why do you have to look for her?” John asked. “We could search together.”

“It’s complicated, and I believe far too risky for you.”

“Maybe I could go with you. I know the area and I’m a good tracker” Matt pleaded.

I hesitated, thinking it was a good idea; however, I reconsidered after realizing the dangers involved.

“I’m sorry Matt, it’s just too dangerous.

John lowered his rifle all the way, and motioned for Matt to give me the pack. I took the pack and reached inside finding the data recorder. There was also a gun. It did not look like the guns used in this time. Handling this gun jogged my memory. I now recalled why the wagon was so important. I had used the wagon to move all the equipment that had been transported to a safe location. After moving it, I created a map so I could find the hiding place. I placed the map in a metal box that I placed under the seat on the wagon; however I still did not recall what else may be in that box.

The gun was an automatic, high energy weapon. Also in the bag were a series of blue magazines and red magazines. The blue magazines were stun rounds. I loaded a blue magazine, and the gun registered 50 rounds. I then placed it in the holster.

I opened the data recorder which automatically powered up. The readout display began recalling the teleportation process. From the recorder I learned that another transporter beam near the army base caused our transporter to start. The two beams ultimately intersected and cause the time shift.

From the data recorder information, I believed that the people seeking the girl were part of the second transporter beam. The fact that they were here also lead me to believe they were from another time, and their travel through time was something they had control over.

“Is there anything I can do, Frank?” asked John.

“No…ah, yes you can. Find my wagon. It has a metal box under the seat. You will know it right away because it will appear not to have a lid or any way to be opened.”

I put on my holster and, putting the data recorder back in the back, started for the door.

“If you don’t mind, I’m going to borrow a horse” I said as they followed me outside. John helped me saddle up a horse and I climbed on. As he saddled the horse, I told him I was planning on using his place as a home base. He said that would be fine.

“By the way, if you come across something, something big, made of metal with windows, don’t mess with it. Just remember where you saw it, and tell me about it when we see each other again.”

John didn’t speak. He just nodded and smiled.

“Thanks, John. See ya Matt.”

My first stop was to head back to town and a visit to the doctor. I quietly entered the doctor’s office and was able to locate the room the doctor slept in. As I peered in, I could see the bed was empty. I drew my gun and pushed the door hard. It hit someone and they yelled. I pulled him out from behind the door and pointed my gun at the doctor.

“Alright Doc, I need to know about the girl.”

“Why ask me? Why pick on me?” he clamored.

“Because you treated George Diamond, so you must be aware he’s not human. Therefore, you probably know something of the girl. I need to know what you know. I need to know how to find her.”

The doctor was silent, but his eye shifted as if to look behind him, and I knew what that meant. Instinctively I swung around to see George standing with a shotgun pointed right at me. Without hesitation I fired. A bright yellow ball of energy shot like lightning to George, striking him in the chest and lifting him backwards. He hit the floor dropping the shotgun.

The doctors’ eye got wider.

“Okay, okay. George is helping someone named Raven. They found that the girl rented a horse and road towards White Rock Canyon.

“Where?”  I asked sternly.

“White Rock Canyon; due south, out of town.

I released him and started for the door. As I did, a thought occurred to me.

“You’re not going to mention this to anyone are you?” I asked. The doctor hesitated, shifted his eye back and forth for a second, and then replied.

“No; No sir!”

I started riding south.

As I rode through the darkness I was glad I had spent time in the saddle in the past. As a kid I often thought of myself as a cowboy, however I grew up in suburban Florida so the only opportunity for riding was a nearby stable. As a teen I would always look for opportunities to ride, and even did some hard riding. However as I approach White Rock Canyon, my saddle was reminding me that I was not use to the amount of hard riding I was doing tonight.

I reached the entrance to the canyon, however it was a moonless night and I was forced to slow to a trot. Suddenly, the sky was filled with lights; small and bright, they rode up from the canyon. There must have been several hundred of them. As I watched I heard a noise behind me. I pulled my pistol as I spun around.

“No, no, don’t shoot; it’s me, Matt!” came the voice.

“Matt?” I replied. I thought I told you to stay at the ranch.”

“I know, I thought I could help. You don’t know this area like I do. Paw and me, we hunt here all the time.”

“Does your father know you followed me?”

“No, he was in bed when I left.”

“Well you can bet he’ll be on his way here when he finds you’ve gone.”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

“Well, you’re here now, so come on. We have to find the girl.”

Matt rode up next to me. I continued to watch the light as they headed away from the center of the canyon, their lights changing from white to red, and then fading to a dim level.

“What are they?” Matt asked as he watched too.

“Drones,” I answered. “They are machines that can fly. No one is in them. I imagine they are sent up to guard those we are looking for.”

Matt’s face acknowledged hearing; however I don’t think he understood me.

“Let’s go, but be quiet,” I said in a softer voice.

We made our way into the canyon, sticking close to the shadow. Soon we came upon a strange looking series of buildings that were concealed by the thick trees. There were very few people around, which made me nervous. As we reached the edge of the woods I held up my hand to signal Matt to stop. There was no need to remind him to be quiet; he was pretty much already quiet due to being awe struck as he viewed the buildings and lights.

I dismounted and tied my horse to some brush. Matt did the same. I thought about what we were looking at. Then we saw something that took Matt’s breath away. Coming from one building were two silver looking creatures. Robots! Apparently these “people” who were pursuing the girl were not people at all. The guardian had told me we could not kill anyone while in this time. I don’t think destroying robots is the same thing. I got my bag from the horse, and took out three red magazines. Taking the blue one from the gun and reloaded with a red magazine.

We waited until it seemed that the area between us and the building entrance was clear, and then we made our way quietly to the door. I knew there was a risk that the door may be alarmed, however we had no choice. I drew my gun and opened the door. No alarm; good!

The inside of this building was illuminated by blue lights. It was also very hot. Almost immediately I could feel the sweat on my skin. The room was a collection of various pipes, conduits and consoles. From our position I could see another room adjacent to where we were. I elected to try that room and as we entered in we came face to face with the young girl escorted by a robot. Its body was chrome and her eyes were glowing green, although as it apparently saw me, they changed to glowing red. I didn’t think this was a good thing as I moved Matt behind me.

I fired my gun. The energy round hit the robot square in the chest and burned a hole straight through the metal, disrupting its operational components. It fell backwards, sparks emitting from the metal structure. The girl watched as it fell and, after a short pause, ran to me. I took her by the hand and we ran towards the main room I had entered.

There were robots in the room now, yet they didn’t seem to notice us. We paused to determine our next course of action. As we paused, the girl spoke to me in a hushed voice.

“Thank you. They were taking me to their time portal.”

“I know. I mean, I figured that was probably what they had in store for you,” I replied. Where are you from?”

“I’m from Japan.”

I looked at her. I had not really looked at het before this. Our encounters had been brief. I now saw that she was Japanese, with long dark hair and dark eyes. I also noticed that she was younger than I thought, about 16 to 18 years old.

“Actually, I was wondering when you are from.”

She paused in thought. I considered that since the guardian knew she was from the future, she would know the guardian as well.

“I’m aware that you’re from the future. The guardian never confirmed what time you’re from.”

“I’m from the year 2154; December 25th to be exact.”

I was amazed. My concept of time was changing. It was like a picture I have often passed by but never really looked at. Now I was seeing all its details. I also now recognized that Matt was aware we were time traveler, although his comprehension must be leaving him confused. I saw the robots had left.

“Let’s go!” I said and taking the girl by the hand we ran for the main door. We reached the door and I gently opened the door to see if our way was clear.

“What’s your name?” I asked of the girl.

“Maddie,” she replied, “what’s yours?”

“I’m Frank, and this is Matt,” I told her. “It looks clear; let’s go!”

We started across the clearing when we were suddenly stopped by a cowboy. He did not look like a robot; however he was pointing a rifle at us. I instinctively raised my gun to fire, however I could not pull the trigger. I then heard a voice which I recognized as the guardian.

“Remember Frank, you cannot kill” said the guardian. I had forgotten that I had loaded the gun with the red magazine. The cowboy took a step forward. There was a dead log between the two of us and I figured I could use it. I planned to grab the barrel and pull him as he stepped over it causing him to fall.

As the cowboy took the step and I reached for the gun, we heard the distinctive sound of a rattlesnake. He had been sleeping under the log and as the cowboy tripped, it disturbed the snake. I reacted to the sound of the snake by releasing the barrel of the gun in order to step back. This move caused the cowboy to fall backwards. He landed directly on the snake.

I looked around and saw several robots around us. They were holding some type of staff that appeared like a weapon. They also had my gun. We were escorted into back into the building and placed into some type of tube. A robot came by each of us and, using a hypodermic gun, injected each of us in the neck.

“Hey!” I called out. “What…”

“Quiet!” answered the robot. “You have been given a recall chip. With it, we will be able to bring you back.

I deduced that they were going to sending us through time. My gut tightened. I simply wanted to get back to my time. I looked at Matt and Maddie as their tubes closed. Matt looked scared, but Maddie simply closed her eyes.

“Where are you sending us?” I asked as a robot passed by. That robot did not answer, but another robot spoke.

“You are going to our base. They are going to the front lines. They will be useful to us there are spies.”

“We’re not going to the same place?” I asked with apparent tension in my voice.

“No!” answered the robot as it closed my tube.

They engaged the system and Matt and Maddie’s tube grew bright and when the glow subsided, they were gone. I immediately forgot my situation. I became concerned to the point of worried as my tube tuned bright. Then it was quiet. Quiet and pitch dark.

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The Experience

Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn. (C. S. Lewis)

J. Rae Moore

Writer of MG and YA Fantasy. Author of nothing. Reader. Quintessential introvert. Often confused. Looking to publish Youngspell. Contact at j.rae_moore@yahoo.com

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