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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: November 01, 2017

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Submitted: November 01, 2017

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The rusted handle wobbled slightly as I gripped it and then gingerly turned it. The door opened with ease, creaking loudly before something prevented it from opening all the way. After letting it go, the handle fell to the ground with a thud, dust rising from the worn floorboards. I peered into the darkness that enveloped the inside, with the pale moon acting as the only source of light. After removing my hood from my head, I slowly entered through the gray doorway, minding the low entryway.

Once inside, I raised my wrist and flicked it, causing a small light to shine from my forearm. With my arm raised in front of me, I slowly turned my body to shine my light on the room. The green couch, the broken television, the old, ratty rug. They were all still here.

It was just as I remembered it before the disaster.

The far wall caught my eye and I found myself walking towards it. Several framed pictures hung limply and crookedly on the cracked, tan wall. Pictures of my mother and father, as well as my twin brother and I, were in several of the frames. The pictures sent memories careening through my mind, and soon enough, I was back in my old home. When I turned around to face the rest of the home, I could see my mother in the kitchen, smiling and laughing with my father, who sat in the living room. My twin, Kent, was sitting next to him, with his dark brown hair and glasses. He would always bring up his latest project at the lab, convinced that his latest inventions would solve all of the world’s problems.

I stifled a dry chuckle as I turned away from the pictures, not wanting to see any more. I shifted on my heels and walked down the hallway towards the bedrooms. The broken mirror on the wall gave me a start as I stared into my own reflection.

Wow, I look horrible.

I could see my untrimmed beard and disheveled hair through the cracks in the mirror. It was no wonder I was unrecognizable. Kent would probably scold me if he saw me now. Even three years ago, I would never have let myself look this rugged.

Suddenly, a loud beep ringing from my forearm startled me out of my trance, making me jump and shift away from the mirror. Bringing my raised forearm towards my chest, I looked down and noticed that I had an incoming transmission.

Maria. What does she want?

I pressed a button on my forearm and lifted my other hand to my ear to turn on my communicator.

“What do you want?” I asked sharply.

“Kael. Did you find anything?” an pompous voice replied.

An exasperated sigh fell from my lips, and I started down the hallway once again.

“No, not really,” I snapped.

“Well, get on with it. We have other homes to cover before more rebels show up. And TECHLAB needs those samples.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“Oi, Kael!” A brighter, chirpy voice entered the transmission. “Let’s see who can find the most techs!”

I huffed out a quiet laugh, amused by his antics. “Sure, Jace,” I responded calmly.

“Jace, shouldn’t you be focusing on keeping watch?” Maria reminded.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever!” Jace responded.

“Jace,” Maria warned.

“Fine, fine! I’m hanging up.”

My communicator thankfully went silent, and I continued down the dusty hallway towards the bedrooms.

My brother always kept a few of his techs in his room.

I faced the rotted, tan door and carefully turned the handle. The door opened with ease, and I found myself staring into a tidy bedroom. Nostalgia forced its way into my chest, pulling my heart into my throat. The blue bedspread was still neatly made, just how it was left three years ago. His nightstand was still tidy, save the dust that lingered around it. A smile crept onto my face when I noticed that his desk was still as messy as ever. I walked over to the desk, pushing stray papers aside.

His multiple monitors were still in place, but unresponsive when I prodded a few random buttons. I pushed more papers out of the way before finding the keyboard, and I found that it was also broken. After a sigh fell from my mouth, I crouched down underneath the desk to search through the hard drives.

Bingo.

The hard drives were still intact, and I immediately began to take one of them apart, searching for techs. Pieces ended up scattering everywhere, but I managed to find a few techs buried inside.

Just as I was about to move on to the next hard drive, a small, metal switch tucked underneath Kent’s desk caught my eye. It looked like a switch for a light, but it was so well hidden that my suspicions rose. I glanced around, searching for a lamp or computer around his desk that the switch could possibly be connected to, but I found nothing. It was something that I had never noticed before, and obviously something that Kent wanted to keep hidden.

The switch stared at me, and I could feel my curiosity eating my spine. I pursed my lips and reached up to the switch, hesitating slightly before firmly flipping the switch downward.

A loud, scraping sound crashed from his closet, sending me reeling back on my hands. My eyes widened and my brows furrowed, confused as to what could be lurking behind that door. Quickly springing to my feet, I rushed towards the closet and slung the door open. To my surprise, I discovered a descending staircase that led to a lighted room. I glanced around the room once before cautiously easing down the metallic stairs. Once at the bottom, I was able to flick my wrist and turn off my light.

My eyes widened when I walked into the open room. Several large screens, computers, keyboards, and other machines were everywhere. They were left untouched and fully operational.

What were you up to, little brother?

I walked up to the main monitor and stared down at the endless array of buttons. Taking my chances, I pressed one of the bigger buttons, and all of the machines started to boot up. I studied the room, watching as all of the lights on the machines flicker and then turn on.

“Uh, okay, so . . . test number thirty? Or is it thirty-one?”

A familiar voice pierced my ears and caused my heart to sink in my chest. I whirled around and saw none other than my younger twin brother Kent on the monitor. His glasses were on top of his head as he was reading a chart, furiously scribbling on some paper.

I felt my jaw open and I took a breath to call out to him, but then he continued to speak.

“Okay, today’s date is uh,” Kent stammered. “August 5th, 2041.”

As he faced the monitor and spoke the date, I realized that this was a video log. He was doing tests of some kind. Then, I realized the date. 2041 was two years before the disaster happened. A twinge of pain throbbed in my chest, and I felt an anger growing inside for getting my hopes up.

“So I’m going to test the multi-dimensional portal again,” Kent said with a tired smile on his face. “Let’s see if this works this time!”

My heart jumped inside my chest. Multiple dimensions? As in other worlds?

I watched my brother as he walked to the machine with the giant ring and turned it on. A swirl of purple of blue appeared within the metal ring. I felt my pulse rise as my brother stepped into the portal for a few seconds and then return with a disappointed frown smeared across his face.

“It seemed to only take me back to that same spot in the city in this world. Again. I guess I’ll have to reconfigure it. Again.” Kent sighed as he ran his finger through his dark hair. He walked up to the monitor and hit a button, and the video froze.

I took a deep breath, feeling overwhelmed by my brother’s constant brilliance. If he had escaped the disaster with me like I wanted him to, then maybe he would have made some crazy invention to help this country.

He would still be alive if I had saved him in time.

I hit a few buttons on the keyboard and another video popped up. This video was from 2042.

“Something weird is going on at TECHLAB,” Kent started. I glanced down at chest and saw the TECHLAB insignia sewn into my shirt. A cold sweat started to trickle down my back, sending shivers down my spine. “I’ve been working there for a year now, and I’ve noticed that something is off. They tell us to do these experiments, but they won’t tell us the purpose. They’re very secretive. I’m not sure I like what’s going on.”

I frantically searched through other videos, the desire to learn more burning hot inside my chest. More videos of experiments popped up before I found another video of Kent staring into the camera with a petrified look on his face.

“Today’s date is June 5th, 2043,” he began. I gulped, realizing that it was only a few days before the disaster. “I think I’ve discovered what TECHLAB is trying to achieve.” Kent’s voice was shaky. “They’re building something that could destroy this city, this country even—”

A piercing ring came from the video, and Kent stood to his feet in alarm. He quickly looked down at the keyboard to turn off the video, and then the feed froze. I felt panic spread through my body, wondering what happened to my brother. My hands fumbled with the buttons below me to move on to the next video. The next video popped up on the screen, and my brother’s face once again appeared. This time, however, his face was shining and bright.

“I’ve finally got it!” Kent shouted. “Oh, right, it’s uh . . .” Kent paused to look down at his watch. “Right, June 9th 2043.”

It was the day of the disaster.

“So I was finally able to find another world through the portal! This is incredible!” Kent was ecstatic, his bright smile widening to his ears. “Kael, mother, father . . . we can escape this world and travel to a new one; world without TECHLAB, and without all of this chaos. Just wait for me, Kael, I’m coming to get you so all of us can escape!”

Just as I was getting used to Kent’s smiling face, a loud bang rang through video, and the camera shook violently. I felt my heart sink in my chest, my eyes desperately looking for my brother. Once the feed steadied, I saw my brother being held onto the ground by a man wearing armor and a helmet. Other men soon swarmed my brother’s lab and started to rummage through his things. The portal machine that was once in the room was swiftly carried out by several of the men, and my brother yelled after them. A man approached the camera and took one look before rearing his fist and then punching it, causing the feed to end.

I took a few steps backwards, letting the new information process. A pain throbbed in my chest as I thought about my brother’s safety.

I should have been here instead of ditching my job. If I had done what I was supposed to, then he could still be here.

As I turned to leave, a blip sounded on the computer. I slowly turned back to face the monitor and saw words beginning to appear on the screen. I could feel a sharp pain jolt through my body as I saw my name.

“Kael,” the computer began. My eyes rapidly followed as more words appeared on the screen. “Your DNA was processed the moment you entered my lab. If you are reading this, then it means that I could not stop the devastation of our country. I’m sure by now that this country is in great ruin.”

There was a light pause as the screen cleared, and then more words quickly emerged on the screen.

“My main plan what to get you, mom, and dad out of this world and into a safer one; world without TECHLAB. But, I discovered something else that could be of help.”

The words suddenly disappeared, and a map took its place, a red dot blinking in the right corner. I leaned forward to study the unfamiliar map, searching for any clues.

“Kael, Maria!”

An anxious voice suddenly broke my concentration, and I snapped back to reality. I fumbled with my communicator to respond.

“What is it, Jace?” I inquired.

“We’ve got company!” Jace yelled. “Rebels approaching from the south.”

“All right. Kael, grab what you can and let’s go!” Maria commanded.

“Right, I’ll be out in a second,” I responded.

I rushed towards the monitor and pulled out a cord from my forearm. I quickly attached it to the keyboard and started to download the map. My heart jumped after hearing gunshots and yelling above me, and I begged the download to finish faster.

“Kael, we’re ready to go, where are you?” Maria asked, her voice as stern as ever.

“Kael, c’mon! Let’s go, let’s go!” Jace yelled.

“Almost done here, just hold on!” I yelled back.

Finally, the download finished, and I pulled the cord out and rushed towards the stairs. I took one final look at my brother’s lab, and gave it a farewell nod.

After scrambling up the stairs, I grabbed the techs and rushed down the hallway towards the door. After bursting through the front door, I stared up into the sky and saw a jet hovering above. Jace and Maria were standing on the side, and they threw a rope down. I reached and gripped the rope, securing it within my grasp, and Jace and Maria quickly pulled me up. Once I was near the platform of the jet, Jace gripped my arm and yanked me up. As soon as I was in, the jet took off at full speed, flying over a herd of rebels.

“Man, what took you so long?” Jace panted, now lying on the floor.

“Did you find anything useful?” Maria asked.

I glanced down at my forearm, the image of the map still burned into my mind. After a moment of staring at my fist, I opened my mouth.

“Nothing important.”


© Copyright 2018 A. L. Rogers. All rights reserved.

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