Letting Go

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


A man attempts to change his past in a future where Time Travel is highly regulated and monitored.

Submitted: December 31, 2017

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Submitted: December 31, 2017

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Letting go

 

 

Wind bit at Tobias as he walked down the street, pulling his Toboggan more snugly over his shaven head to combat the wintry chill. Manhattan was as busy as ever, as close as he was to Times Square, and the lanky man stepped out from the alley he'd been looting for warmer clothes. He looked at a display of newspapers, rubbing his hands together while looking for the date. “December 6th, just in time.” He let out a laugh and started to jog down the street, catching a few concerned glances from others around him but otherwise blending quickly into the throngs of people around him.

He soon entered Times Square proper, blinking at the festive decorations that littered every available space. Windows shops, displays, a towering tree that burned with light, Tobias looked at it all and ached with a deep-set hatred for the holidays. They weren't a time for cheer, they were a time for the facade of cheer; assuming you had the money to pretend. He had never had the money, especially not back then.

A hand suddenly grabbed at the sleeve of the worn coat the man had found in a pile of trash bags, yanking at the sleeve. He pulled his arm free but turned to see one of the many eccentrically dressed people striving for attention, a collection plate set up next to him and a bell in his constantly moving hand. “Come on, now, Sir! Surely you got some pocket change in that there coat for the children. C'mon sir just a few cents helps out!” The man was met by nothing but a shrug, Tobias reaching in to flip his pockets out. “No such luck”

He hoped that would be enough to dissuade the bell ringer, but as he moved to walk past and on his way the man piped up. “Oooh so Mr. important don't have time for the children! Oh!” The man put on the theatrics, shaking the collection plate full of change. “Surely you got something in there, C'mon Sir!” The crier started to follow Tobias, raising his voice higher and higher and slowly drawing the attention of everyone around him. The man finally got in front of him, blocking his way to show his dissatisfaction. Tobias cursed under his breath and, after a brief moment to think things over, he shoved the man to the ground.

Coins scattered as the plate clattered to the sidewalk, the short fellow making a noise as if he'd just been murdered, and everyone started to murmur. A few moved to pick the man up while most of the group around them stared, watching Tobias sprint off to the other side of the crowded square. One of “them” likely had already seen the commotion, his only chance now was to sprint and hope he made it in time.

 

Jackie made her way towards Times Square, walking at a leisurely pace with her hands stuck firmly in the pockets of her long brown coat. She held up a piece of paper, reading off the instructions to herself to make sure she'd gotten them clear. “Times Square, 6:45, December 6th1976... Well I have a few minutes to wait, lets see.” She went to go sit on a nearby bench and wait for 6:45, letting out a yawn.

She only had to wait for a few minutes before that intelligence struck home, as she heard some yelling going on across the chatter of the hordes of shoppers. She stood up and watched as a tall, thin guy knocked another to the ground and went sprinting. “That looks like my cue.” She said with a chuckle and suddenly set out running after the man.

 

Jackie worked her arms as she finally made it across the square and onto the road that Tobias had gone sprinting down, trying to make up for her shorter legs by her experience with this kind of physical activity. She stayed with him well, her breath coming in quick, deep puffs. “Hey! Come on Tobias, we can talk about this!”

The man responded by slinging a trashcan back towards Jackie, making the girl stop and put her arms up to stop it. The can bends as she knocks it to the side and continues running, leaping over a bench that he tumbles into her way to try and slow her down. “This is only going to get worse for you! Stop throwing shit at me!”

Tobias ran with a sense of tremendous desperation, but soon his breath was coming in ragged wheezes. He felt his lungs burn in the cold air, and looked back to see Jackie quickly catching up to him. He turned back around and narrowly avoided hitting a lamp post, yelling for a group of people to get out of his way, yells which they didn't really seem to understand.

He was finally stopped by the group of people who took up the sidewalk, and the few seconds he took to press past them was all the time Jackie needed to close the gap. He felt two firm hands grab him by the coat, one at his collar and the other by the arm, and he was dragged off his feet and tossed into an alley a few doors down from the bank. “You're pretty fast for such a big bastard, Jesus.” She mumbled, slowly catching her breath.

Jackie really found no struggle in subduing the man, sleeves falling to reveal two metal hands and forearms as she slammed him back-first into a wall. “Alright Tobias, don't try anything. You know what I'm doing here?” She caught her breath as the man kicked and tried to yank himself free of her grasp before finally admitting defeat. He looked down at her, panting softly. “Please, just let me go, I can still go and stop it. Please”

After a few moments, Tobias felt himself being put down, his feet finally touching back to the concrete under them. Before he had a chance to thank the woman, however, he felt two rings of metal close over his wrists. He gave the shorter girl a pleading look, but she just shook her head as snow began to fall gently around them. A few flakes make it past the heat of the vents being let out from the apartments above them, peppering both of them with little specks of white.

“I'm sorry, man, but I've heard all that before. You can't change things just like that” The young girl looked out towards the street as police passed by, a commotion coming from the bank only a few doors down. She pulled the older fellow with her as she peeked out from the alley, watching as a younger Tobias stepped out of the bank, duffle bag tucked under his arm.

“Cmon, let's go back, the police have this.” She pushed the lanky fellow back into the alley, way back where they wouldn't be disturbed by anyone at the street. He sat on a nearby trashcan as Jackie pulled her phone from her pocket, eyeing him every few seconds as she got ready to send them back to their time.

“You couldn't just let me fix everything? I could have stopped myself, I did 30 years for robbing that bank, I could've gotten that back.” The man looked on the verge of tears, more and more snow dusting his form as Jackie worked. “We made those rules for a reason, Mr. Fournier.” She looked up and put her phone back into her pocket, turning to face the man directly. “Go back too far and you'll never know what you'll change.”

Tobias saw the girls facial features soften a bit as she talked, slowly showing that she pitied him more than anything. “Look, I get you man, I do. Sometimes you just have to let go, let your mistakes happen. The past is the past, and it's gotta stay the way it is” Jackie shook a dusting of snow from her short black hair as she stood right next to the cuffed man, light brightening around them. Eventually nothing occupied the alley but the disheveled form of a homeless man, blinking at the place where two people had just been standing. He grumbled and rolled over “Damn time travelers, too much time on their hands.” He paused before laughing at his pun, and soon fell back asleep, police sirens slowly growing quieter and quieter as dusk settled.

Case No: 79

Name: Tobias Fournier

Situation: Former felon attempting to return to year of arrest. Possible desire to aid in escape of younger self. Suggest looking in Times Square, NY on date of December 6th, 1976.

Status: Resolved.

 

Jackie sat back in her chair comfortably, arms cocked back behind her head as an old man in a suit chattered in front of her. He went over the full briefing of what happened during her mission, although it was hardly a lengthy one and he was soon finished. She sat forward, two metal elbows resting on the desk in front of her, both of her prosthetic arms in full view thanks to her sleeveless white shirt.

“Yeah, turns out he was going for the bank, just like you guys thought he would. I got to him before anything got too out of hand, though, he just shoved down some guy trying to collect money.” She uses two fingers to rub at her earlobe, scratching it. The man in the suit cleaned his glasses with a shaky hand, two bushy white eyebrows hiding his eyes. “Well, you certainly did stop him before things got out of hand, good job Jacqueline.”

The old man gave a small, cheerful little smile before leaning in. “Next time try to get to him before he makes a move though, hm? Your pay is on your card, with all the usual deductions of course.” He stood up and started to walk away before Jackie stopped him with a small cough

“Actually, I wanted to ask what was going to happen to Tobias. He didn't actually change anything, think they'll go easy on him?” She drummed a couple of fingers along the barren desk, drilling a hole in the back of the bald man's head with her gaze. “Oh they've already decided, he didn't change anything but the intent was still there.” He started, glancing back at Jackie with his arms tucked behind his back. “Not to mention stealing that teleporter. He'll be doing some more time in prison.”

The man continued walking away, leaving Jackie to stew at her desk with her head bowed. She finally put her head back up and leaned back in her chair once more, arms crossed and waiting for her next case to come in. “Sorry Tobias, that's the system for you...” She pulled a ball from her desk, starting to toss it up before catching it back, repeating the motion over and over to steady herself.

After a few minutes Jackie hopped to her feet, full of too much pent-up energy to relax and wait for her next job to come in. She grabbed her long brown coat and slipped it on quickly, intending to duck out for a quick walk while things were quiet. She tapped a finger against the back of Martin's head, who sat behind her.

“Hey, watch out for any paperwork that comes my way? I wanna go out for a smoke.” She waved as the guy held up a thumb before going back to his computer screen. A head of black hair looked out around the wall of the room where the desks of all the detectives sat, turning back and forth to make sure the coast is clear before Jackie jogs out of the front door. She comes to a slow stop on the sidewalk as she pulls out a pack of cigarettes, watching traffic and people come and go.

She looked back at the squat stone building she worked in, furrowing a brow before looking at the towering main office of the company they were owned by right next to it. “Pingitore Pharma.” She scoffs and sits on the retaining wall of the sidewalk garden. “Figures dad would name his company 'PP', what a joke.”

She finished her cigarette and started to walk down the sidewalk slowly, hands stuffed into her pockets. “Wonder if this is what you saw me doing, old man.” She huffed and laughed a bit. “Yeah right, you didn't even see any of this coming.” Jackie stepped around the form of a squat little robot, the wheeled contraption sweeping large bits of litter into covered bins on the side of the road.

Jackie continued down the road, watching as she starts to find herself closer and closer to Times Square, and before she knows it she stops outside of a bank, looking up at the sign. It's the same bank that she just saw, about 30 years earlier, and she takes a deep breath when she sees it. “Whatever, I don't get paid to think about it.” Jackie turned back and started to head away from the bank, forcing thoughts of her most recent job out of her mind.

She felt a buzz from her pocket, and pulled out her phone to look at a text from Martin. “Someone's trying to mess around in 1774? Who the hell would go back that far?” She sighs and breaks out into a jog, and finally a run, sprinting towards the squat stone building where she worked. “I swear if this is another person trying to throw some tea in the harbor I'm gonna do more than tackle them.”

 


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