Drained by his journey through the time portal, Jack stumbled across the lab. How have I altered her past?
Scott, a scarecrow of a man entered. “You know unauthorized trips are unacceptable.”
Jack hurried past his assistant, “Josephine in her office?”
Jack dashed down the hallway leading to his office. He settled behind his desk.
Scott whispered, “These excursions have a dangerous ripple effect.”
Jack speed dialed her number.
An unexpected voice mail answered.
Looking around, his office appeared different. The framed photograph of Josephine no longer occupied the credenza. “My wife?”
“What wife?” Scott’s voice contained traces of concern.
Jack eyed his cell; the screen no longer displayed his wedding photo.
Something had gone terribly wrong.
He jotted down ideas of how to trace her past; school records, municipal records. A sudden thought plunged him into the darkest recesses of fear.
Jack bolted from his seat, pushing Scott away. He raced down the hall, running past security, and out into the pouring rain.
Turning the ignition to his Infiniti QX80, his hands trembled. His mind raced through the endless possibilities. He crushed the accelerator.
Two hours later, he sped through the heavy black gates. He prayed he wouldn’t find the answer here. Please let it be anywhere but here.
The SUV screeched to a halt. Leaving the engine running, he raced out of the car, dashing over the wet grass.
Heavy rains drenched him until his white shirt clung to him like wet wall paper.
Please don’t let me find her here.
Arriving at his destination, he fell to his knees, sinking into the wet dirt. “What have I done?”
Kneeling in his wife’s family plot; Jack read the expiration date on her tombstone. One year after he stopped the child molester.
He had one opportunity to correct his error or she would be lost forever.
Crawling over her grave, he embraced the slick tombstone. “Oh God, I never meant for this to happen. Please, forgive me.”
Refusing to release the gravestone, Jack wept.
Cold rain and his burning tears failed to cleanse the regret that plagued him.
To be continued.
A Better Life