Time Chaser: Jim Wrath

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium


This is a follow up to my story Time Chaser. It shows what happens to the detective from that story and gives a little more information about what him and William are up to.

Submitted: April 29, 2018

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Submitted: April 29, 2018

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His back ached, popping as he stretched. His legs shook as he rose from where he lay in the ferns. The spot where William hit him was now throbbing. Once Jim was on his feet he began making his way up the hill. So far everything had gone according to plan. All he had to do was get to the top of the hill and inside the building. He checked his watch. Right on time. At the top of the hill Jim saw a bright light coming from across a small clearing. As it faded he saw a door closing behind the light. He took off at a sprint. The door was massive made of thick gray steel with rivets holding it together. The door and the building in general reminded Jim of an old bomb shelter. There was a large lever that actuated the locking mechanism. It wouldn’t budge. Jim stepped back and looked around, trying to see if there were any other openings. At a fast jog he circled the building. The bunker was circular, made of solid concrete, and covered in chipping faded blue paint. There were no other entrances, windows or even vents other than the large metal front door. He rounded the building. When he was near the front the edge of the doorway came into view. A the loud snap, like a firework, made Jim instinctively reach for his side arm. He took a deep breath to steady his nerves. An egg shaped metal pod, similar to the boxes Wrath had been sending him, sat on the doorstep. The pod hummed and with an audible click it opened. A heavy stock paper folded once lay at the bottom of the pod. He opened it.

 

Jim,

 

By now the Wrath you knew. The one who brought you to this doorstep is gone. He is dead. While I didn’t kill him, I am the reason he is dead, just as you will be the reason I die. It is your turn. If you try the handle again you will find the door is now unlocked.

 

The Watcher

 

Jim read the letter through twice before he placed it back in the pod. He moved it aside as he stepped up to the door. Grabbed the lever for the second time and lifted. It moved with ease, a solid clicking noise came from the door. The bright light, once again released from behind the door, enveloped him. He covered his eyes trying to see as he stepped into the building. He heard the heavy door shut behind him with a loud clang. In time his eyes adjusted to the light. He looked around. The room he was standing in was circular like the building but much bigger than he would have guessed. There were no lamps or torches lighting the room instead a ring of small glowing orbs hung in the air inches below the ceiling. They reminded Jim of a pearl necklace his mother used to wear. There was a round table in the center of the room with a large machine hanging over it. Cables and wire bundles stretched up from the machine and disappeared into the concrete roof. There was a work station across the room. He walked over to examine it closer. It was like nothing he had ever seen. The surface of the work station was soft and fluid almost like a fluorescent blue gel. The screen above it was close to ten feet wide and filled with the same glowing substance. He jerked his finger back when his touch caused ripples to roll across the work station.

“Amazing isn’t it?” Said a voice behind him.

Jim spun around. Standing in an open doorway, he had not noticed before, was an old man.

“Who are you?” Asked Jim.

The old man scoffed and smiled, “I am known by many names. Some know me as the Watcher others as the One Who Sees. You are one of the few people who know me as William,” The old man began to shuffle towards him. “I know what you’re thinking. It is true, I am the same William whom you chased up this mountain and followed inside. To you it may seem like only a few minutes have passed but to me,” he paused and let out a long, tired sigh, “It feels like centuries.” The old man sat down in the tall executive style leather chair in front of the work station. “It seems as though you and I have been caught in a never-ending rivalry through time,” this made the old man laugh again though it seemed weaker than before.

Jim stood in stunned silence. He opened his mouth to speak then closed it. He didn’t know what to say. Didn’t know what to ask. The old man lifted his hand reaching for the work station.

“I am not going to pretend to understand how this works. And I’m not going to explain it to you. My younger self is currently working to counter act the horrible mess you created in Perth last night. I don’t have much more time. You being here is causing a time anomaly,” he pressed what looked to be a random spot on the control panel. Traced his finger around drawing a strange looking symbol and spoke again, “I will let you explain it.” The screen lit up a familiar face filled the monitor. It was him, Jim Wrath.

“Press that button once it is quiet again,” Said the old man as he sat back in his chair. Jim looked at the old man, then around the room. It was quiet. There was no sound at all, except the slow labored breathing of William. As soon as that thought finished his ears perked up. A vague noise was building in Jim’s ears. It sounded like static from an old television when it lost signal. It grew louder and louder and Jim realized it was coming from William. He flinched from the pain in his ears, slapping his hands over them to muffle the sound. He turned his head away eyes squeezed shut. Then it was gone. The static, now replaced once again, by silence. The only noise was the new ringing in Jim’s ears. He opened his eyes and looked back at the now empty chair. He looked around the room. He was gone. William had simply disappeared. Jim remembered what he had said. Press the button. Weary of a chair someone had ceased to exist in he pushed it aside and pressed the button.

The recording was long, so long that Jim eventually fetched the chair. His head hurt. Trying to wrap his mind around everything was daunting. Somehow he was sitting in a room watching a video of himself telling himself about time travel, how the control panel works and his general purpose in the universe, “You are Wrath. It is your job to protect the time line and take it down the correct path.”

“Well that’s all I will tell you for now,” said the recording of Jim, “In the other room you will find living quarters you can sleep there.”

Jim hit pause. Sat back in his chair and rubbed his temples. It was a lot to take in. He got up and went to the living quarters. As he looked around he was again surprised by the size of the room. He had walked around the entire building and could not understand the enormity of the interior. Half of the room was a full-size kitchen with a small cocktail bar. The other half of the room was a lounge. Set up with multiple big screen televisions and a variety of seats. Jim went to the refrigerator and opened the door. His stomach growled as he stared at all the food that filled the refrigerator. Even with his stomach growling he didn’t grab food. Instead his hand shot to the six pack of green bottles. He removed the beer and read the label. Imported from Munich, Germany a lager, established 1397 it was Jim’s favorite beer. He popped the top with the magnet opener stuck to the front of the fridge. Took several long swigs before taking another look at the bottle.

“Damn, that’s good,” he finished the bottle and grabbed another as he explored  he rest of the living quarters. There were two doors off of the main room. Both doors were made of wood with identical metal name plates mounted in the center. The door on the left was labeled Jim. The right William. He went into his room first. It was neat. Nothing out of place. One wall was covered in framed photographs. He moved across the room to inspect the photos. He awestruck. All the pictures were of him. There was a picture of him shaking hands with Winston Churchill in London. Him standing on the beaches of Normandy the day after D-day. In one photo Jim was sitting on a log next to a man wearing a badger skin hat. He recognized him as John Colter.  There was a caption under the photo that said, "Day before Colter’s Run." There were two doors inside the bedroom. One opened up into a walk in closet. The other was for the bathroom. It was immaculate, like Jim’s room. A shaving kit stationed next to the sink a pair of gray towels hung neatly on the rack. With his drink finished he returned to the main room to dispose of the bottle. He dropped the bottle in the box labeled bottles. Leaning up against the counter he looked across the room at the other door. He couldn’t help but wonder what William’s room looked like. After a moment of slight hesitation he pushed off from the counter. Stopping at the door his hand hovered over the knob. He opened the door. The room was at best disheveled. It was much like the studio apartment Jim had kicked his way into earlier that week. Papers covered a small desk the bed wasn’t made. There were pictures on the wall in this room too but Jim didn’t recognize any of the people. There was a photograph of the Titanic the day it set sail, hundreds of tiny people stood waving from the ships deck. He made his way across the messy room stepping over the a pile of dirty cloths. Something in the bathroom caught his eye. Where Jim’s bathroom was painted plain white William’s bathroom was covered with a mural of the ocean floor. Orcas and seals were the primary subject of the painting. There was also a sunken sail boat and a castle at the bottom of the sea. It was beautiful. Strange but beautiful, thought Jim. His head was starting to feel cloudy from the drinks. After everything he had been through over the last week chasing William and ending up here still not fully understanding what was going on. That could wait till tomorrow. Right now he wanted to sleep.


© Copyright 2018 JackCrawford. All rights reserved.

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