Shady

TT3.67b: Woodlands Detour

Previously: Hank Waterson writes a story about woodland creatures with magical powers who have the names of Carrie’s friends. … Roll with it.

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PART 3.20b: WOODLANDS DETOUR 2

MiniBanner“The others… are coming…” Carrie panted out as she skidded to a halt at the water’s edge. She reached out to splash a little water on her face. “Oh yes, didn’t even take the direct route, and I still win!”

“Some things never change?” Clarke said, swimming closer to the bank.

“Ooh, yes, you always seem to do it, Carrie!” Laurie said, having come closer herself. “You’re so cool, with the hopping and the bouncing and the dashing and it’s hard to say whether a bunny can tap into the magic better than we can or if you’re just naturally so athletic but either way you’re an inspiration to us all and I really wish I had some of your coordination because I can never seem to stand on my ball for very long without falling off of it though you know that stuff could be completely different from magical ability so forget I said anything about it and oooh, what’s that new thing you’ve got hanging around your neck??”

By the time Carrie had explained to Laurie about the charm Glen had given her, Frank, Luci and Chartreuse had all made their way to the lake. “I found, you know, most of the early sentients,” Chartreuse hooted at Clarke. “I figured we didn’t need Jeeves or Megan or especially Azure or…”

“This is fine,” Clarke assured. “Now, the reason for calling you all here is because of what I found while felling some saplings to the north.”

“Near the human settlement?” Corry said, arcing an eyebrow.

“Right,” Clarke answered. “See, there’s this place that’s kinda glowy and tingly which does not feel good and… well, you have to see it for yourself. I ran into Lee up there and he’s keeping an eye on things.”

***

“Freaky,” Luci said at last. None of the others had spoken since arriving at the outskirts of the small clearing. “So,” the squirrel continued, “any ideas on what’s causing the weird green glow? Or any of the other effects, like the dying trees?”

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TT2.47: Respite

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PART 47: RESPITE

“Ten seconds. Sorry guys, I guess Carrie’s gonna, like, fry us after all,” Chartreuse said glumly. The three teenagers were all sitting on their hands now, Shady standing far enough away from the wall to shoot them – probably even if they all moved at once.

“I should have jumped him,” Lee murmured. “Damn it, I’m not going to get to say goodbye to my sisters.”

“You’re a real bastard, you know that?” Corry shouted at their captor.

“I will die for our cause,” was his only reply.

Chartreuse wondered if it would be better to have her eyes open or closed when the bomb detonated. Which was when a gust of wind blew through the area, as if a freight train were rushing by, and then Carrie was standing there with them. The blonde with the golden eyes raised her palm to the bomb timer.

“Or not,” Carrie remarked.

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TT2.46: Out Of Time

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PART 46: OUT OF TIME

Lee joined the others at the hospital. He’d already been tracking Shady in the vicinity, so it had been easy enough to hook up with the group after hearing from Clarke about the latest development.

“So, you’re saying future guy is gonna make a play for the track tease again, and that this act is what will make her explode?” he confirmed.

Chartreuse nodded vigorously, then frowned. “Okay, we aren’t totally sure,” she admitted. “But probably.”

“The new problem,” Corry mused, “Is whether we should try to stop this Shady – or merely warn him that Carrie knows he’s coming.”

“Warn him?” Lee asked, doing a double take. “Why?”

“To let him try something that would be more effective.”

“WHAT? Are you, like, SERIOUS?”

Corry reached up to pull the pink haired girl’s fingers off his shirt. “Chartreuse, Carrie seems bent on killing everybody no matter what,” Corry countered. “How does that old saying go, ‘The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one’?”

“Corry,” Laurie said quietly. “Didn’t you tell me two days ago that you would never, ever do something that would kill a person? Was that a lie, for my benefit?”

“Laurie, no! But we’ve been told Carrie isn’t really a person, she’s more of a…” Corry’s voice trailed off as he saw his sister’s expression. He gulped. “Okay. Thanks for the conscience check, sis. My bad. So, we stop Shady then. The question is how?”

“Maybe the track tease knows a way,” Lee suggested. “She seems to know about everything else going on.”

“You think she’d tell us?” Chartreuse wondered.

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TT2.43: Desperate Times

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PART 43: DESPERATE TIMES

***PAST: ILLINOIS

A figure stirred within the quiet, suburban home. Hazel eyes blinked open and a brunette teenager slowly picked herself up off the ground. She looked around, spotting a calendar hanging on the wall. Her mouth quirked up into an odd smile, and she tapped the barrel of her gun on her chin.

“It worked,” she murmured. “It worked, and now I’m… home.” She began to laugh hysterically.

***

Fingers drummed nervously on the floor. Having decided a short time ago that her situation wasn’t actually funny at all – certainly nothing to laugh about – Julie had moved on to taking stock of her current situation. So, she had traveled back to the year of her birth. The time machine had worked, as described to her by Carrie that time in her former associate’s bedroom.

It was a stroke of luck that Julie had apparently ended up on November 9th. Almost as if the machine had already been set for that day, merely requiring Frank’s coin to provide the year. She looked down at the notes she had grabbed. Should she risk reprogramming the thing, to try and jump a little closer? No… she didn’t have the right tools, or the confidence. Better to destroy the device instead. To prevent pursuit.

Julie proceeded to rip out what seemed to be the most important microchips, tossing them into the backyard. She put the notes into the garbage, and took the black box down into the basement, cramming it into one of the many half empty cardboard storage boxes she found. Her parents rarely decluttered, so there wasn’t much chance of it turning up – though even if it did, without the chips or the notes, it would be practically useless.

So, what was she supposed to do for the next three days? Devise a plan, of course. A plan to kill a baby. Julie felt her stomach lurch, but then again, she was already a murderer, right? She’d killed Carrie, and probably Frank too with her second shot. So what was one more death? Particularly when it would be her own. Merely one more death…

Something didn’t make sense. Her mind detoured.

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TT2.42: Tied in Naughts

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PART 42: TIED IN NAUGHTS

***PAST: ILLINOIS

“You know,” Corry said as he wheeled his bike along the sidewalk. “If I ever decide to take another trip through time with you guys? Stop me. I don’t think I could take another day of this traveling through unknown territory, sharing cramped quarters and dishwashing for money and food.”

“I know there’s something I can’t take much more of,” Clarke murmured.

“My previous time trips haven’t been like this,” Frank said, half slumped over his own bike. “But here, we had to allow extra time to find Julie, and we lacked enough currency for this time period. You knew all that before you came.”

“Yeah, well, I didn’t know this would be a one way trip,” Corry argued.

“It won’t be,” Frank assured. “Remember, all we have to do is figure out what Julie did with the circuitry she removed. With that, I can repair our version of the time machine, and get us back.”

“Oh, and I’m sure Julie will be very forthcoming with that information,” Corry groused.

“Don’t mind Corry,” Clarke suggested to Frank. “Complaining seems to be his way of coping. We’ll manage, somehow.”

“Phil Clarke. Always the optimist,” Corry grumbled. “Oh well, at least this ordeal is almost over. How much time until… uh, the big event we’ll need to stop?” Even now, he couldn’t bring himself to say ‘death’.

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TT2.41: Rescue Efforts

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PART 41: RESCUE EFFORTS

The wind blew through the empty field, bending the long grass back. A few clouds floated by overhead as the sun approached its highest point in the sky. There was no one around for kilometers – miles, even.

Which is when, in the wink of an eye, three individuals appeared, along with a bunch of equipment. There was a brown haired boy with glasses, a tall blonde, and a redhead. Only the first of them was conscious. As such, only he was able to cry out in horror before all of them plummeted metres – feet, even – from the air down towards the ground.

***PAST: ILLINOIS

Clarke pressed a hand to his forehead. “Corry, that language isn’t going to improve the situation.”

“Falling bloody well HURT,” the redhead fumed. “Damn it Dijora, you didn’t say we’d arrive in free fall. Good thing I DIDN’T let my sister go on this trip, she’s liable to have ended up with a broken leg for gods’ sake!”

“Clarke’s right, calm down,” Frank said, taking deep breaths to try and steady his own nerves.

They were all regaining their bearings in the middle of the empty field where they’d fallen. “Obviously there was a little spatial problem with altitude that we didn’t account for,” Frank reasoned. “But the long grass cushioned us, and I get the impression no one sustained any injures above some bad bruises.”

“This from the guy who didn’t half land on a BIKE,” Corry fumed. He flexed his arm, then rubbed his shoulder. “Little altitude problem, my ass… I’ve half a mind to force you to take me back home right now.”

“You mean back home to Miami?” Clarke asked. “Since that is where you’re living at this time, right?”

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