A Better Life (Conclusion)

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A Better Life  (Conclusion)

A flash of light as overwhelming as a thunderbolt ignited the room.

Dressed in jeans, sneakers, dark blouse with her sleeves rolled up, Josephine crossed through the time portal.

Knotting her long black hair behind her, she raced down the hallway. The eeriness of parading through a school she hadn’t seen in decades chilled her spine.

Dashing down the corridor, she stopped in her tracks. Using the red hammer, she broke the glass. Not a dangerous weapon as the shooter’s, but a fire extinguisher would have to do.

Two loud bangs in the distance startled her.

The shooter reached the security desk.

Less than ninety seconds before he shoots Jack.

Josephine scooted down the hallway, ducking into the empty classroom.

Several loud pops advised her two teachers just died. The killer would turn the corner in seconds.

She bit her lips in hopes of containing her breath. She swore the killer would hear her maddening heartbeat.

A loud gunshot appeared to explode in her ear.

She leaned forward to see the gunman shoot the fallen principal.

Within seconds Jack would turn the corner.

She darted out of the room. Swinging the extinguisher, she missed his head and struck a shoulder.

Killer spun around. The crazed look in his eyes shook her with fear.

Josephine sprayed foam into the gunman’s face as he fired two quick shots.

The first one struck a door.

The second hit her chest sending her crashing against the wall.

She watched Jack reach the shooter and knock him to the ground, disarming him in the process.

“Josephine, what are you doing here?” Jack ran to her. “Come on.”

Lifted off the ground, she held onto Jack as he carried her into the empty classroom.

He pressed the button on her wristband. They embraced and entered the light, collapsing on the ground in the familiar lab.

“Why did you risk your life like that?” He cried out.

Still dazed she could barely speak.

“Scott, call for an ambulance.”

Jack ripped her blouse open. Buttons flew in every direction. The priceless look of relief on his face when he found the Kevlar vest made her smile.  “Are you okay?”

“I will be when you promise to leave the past alone.” Grabbing her husband by the collar, she lowered him until their lips locked. “I love my time traveling fool.”

 

Thanks to everyone who followed my time traveling love story. I will be posting something tomorrow asking questions and seeking suggestions. Thank you.

A Better Life – 3

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A Better Life

A Better Life – 2

A Better Life – 3

Exiting the flash of overwhelming light, Jack hurried out of the rancid alley. He walked past a UPS driver who removed packages from his brown truck.

Jack stepped into the vehicle and turned the ignition.

“Hey, that’s my truck.”

Flooring the accelerator, he navigated the van through heavy traffic. “Come on. Get out of the way.”

Glancing into the rearview mirror, he noticed packages fall out the open back door, leaving a long trail. Two minutes later, he steered the truck up the stairs leading to the entrance. He had no concern for his own safety.

Jack raced out of the truck into the elementary school. Arriving at the security desk, he found the pudgy guard with two bullet wounds in his chest.

A loud pop sent arctic chills up his spine.

Around the corner he discovered the lone gunman stepping over the sprawled principal; reaching for the door to her classroom.

Running as fast as he could, Jack hurled his body at the crazed killer. They crashed to the floor. Wrestling for control of the weapon, several shots rang out.

Jack banged the gunman’s hand against the floor. The weapon fired before coming loose. Still struggling with the assassin, he kicked the gun.

It slid along the polished floor.

The sounds of loud footsteps approaching advised him the police had arrived.

Breaking free, Jack staggered. He slipped into an empty classroom as the gunman hurried after his weapon.

Several shots rang out. The murderer cried out.

Pressing a button on a black wrist band, a flash of brightness appeared. Relieved, he stepped through the time portal.

Entering the lab, Jack found Josephine and his assistant Scott waiting for him. He relaxed, mission accomplished.

A bout of dizziness sent him falling onto his back.

Gazing at his hand which pressed against his trembling abdomen, he noticed the blood stain on his white shirt growing like a spilled glass of wine on a table cloth.

“Scott, call 911.” Josephine rushed to his side.

Staring into her loving eyes, Jack opened his mouth to speak.

Everything turned black.

 

To be continued.

Photo taken from Google Images.

 

A Better Life – 2

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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?”

“Who?”

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

 

A Better Life

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A Better Life

A flash of light introduced a thunder clap.

Rising to his feet, he found himself in the janitor’s supply room; two floors above his intended location.

Every second counted. Jack burst out of the closet, dashing into the nearest stairwell. He only had one chance to prevent this horror. If he didn’t stop it now, the moment could never be undone.

Tripping over his feet, he tumbled down the stairs, smacking into the hard concrete wall. Head spinning like a carousel, he wobbled to his feet. Bolts of pain streaked down his leg.

His desperate eyes glanced at the time.

Stumbling away, he ignored the burning currents that tormented him.

Was he too late?

He limped onto the second floor. Seventy feet separated him from his destination.

He didn’t want her to be scarred forever.

Ignoring an out of service sign, Jack hurled himself at the bathroom door.

Clutching a torn white dress in his hand, the janitor stood over nine year old Josephine. Huddled in the corner, she wept.

Before anyone could react, Jack crushed Janitor against the wall and slammed his head against the sink.

Hobbling past the unconscious predator, Jack handed Josephine her clothes. “Did he hurt you?”

She pressed the ripped dress against her quivering body. “No.”

Jack turned away.

“Who are you?”

“That doesn’t matter.”

“I remember your face. You caught me last month before I fell down the stairs.”

Jack sighed. Preventing that fall spared Josephine from a wheelchair, leading her down a new life path.

“Are you my guardian angel?”

Guardian angel sounded better than time traveling soul mate. “Can you do me a favor?”

“Depends.”

“After I leave, count to ten before screaming. Tell everyone he slipped and banged his head. Tell them what he wanted to do to you. Can you do that?”

She nodded. “Will I see you again?”

He knew the heartless rules of time travel. Amend the past, you change the future. Rescue the girl, you alter the woman.

“I hope so.” He staggered away. Seconds later, he leaned against the stairwell wall.

How many times will he transform her life? Will each new path lead her back to him? He peeked at a photograph of Josephine on his cell phone. He admired his future bride standing in a white wedding dress. She sat in a wheelchair in the original photo.

Jack knew the dangers of playing with her past. Saving Josephine from tears may destroy their destiny together.

Will she still love him in her reconstructed future?

Only if they were meant to be. If not, he had to be content knowing he gave her a better life.

 

Photo taken from Google Images.