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Zeit and Kylie Grand Finale

“Zeit!” I screamed, but it was too late. He couldn’t hear me; I had already started my walk through time. My stomach lurched and turned as centuries passed before my eyes in streaks of color and ghosted visions. Men and women lived out their lives, oblivious to my tiny, fleeting window into it.

And then with a jolt, the visions coalesced into solid matter, and I was back in my own time. I was in the middle of the sidewalk, just down the street from my bookstore. The sun was past its apex; still a few hours left in the day. Whatever day it was. I teetered as I tried to regain my bearings, put my hands on my knees and squeezed my eyes shut to keep the world from spinning.

Deep breath in. Long exhale. Repeat.

“Now what?” I said out loud. How do you go back to normal life after such an experience? Seeing all of time and space laid out before you, falling in love with the person who brought you that amazing world. Then to have it all ripped away…

A sob broke free from my throat, thick and heavy, no matter how hard I tried to keep it back.

“Excuse me, Miss, are you alright?” A voice said behind me.

I turned around. A man in his fifties stood there, kind eyes looking into me. “Uh, yes I’ll be fine,” I mange to get out, though not very convincingly.

“You look sort of familiar.”

It was only then that I noticed it. He was older, silver hairs speckled the sides of his head and wrinkles creased his forehead and smile lines, but there was no denying his identity.

“Carlo.”

“How do you know my name? Where do I know you from?”

“I was there. That day in the square. How is she, did you find her again?”

“Julia.” He paused, a faraway smile on his face. “Yes, I remember you. You were standing in the street with that strange looking fellow.”

The reminder of Zeit shot a pang through my chest. I couldn’t speak, but nodded in response.

Carlo continued. “To answer your question, I did find her. It took many years, and I almost gave her up as dead, but we did find each other. Thank you. I don’t know how you did it, or how you haven’t aged a day in all these years, but thank you for the role you played in saving her life.”

“You’re welcome. It… cost a great deal, but words can’t express how happy I am for you both. I own the book shop just up there. Please come visit me sometime.”

“I’d like that.”

Carlo patted my arm and turned to leave.

“One more thing before you go?” I said, and he stopped to look at me. “I know this may sound very strange, but what time is it, and more importantly, what day is it?”

A questioning look twisted his face, but he answered me without protest. “It’s about three in the afternoon, Thursday, the fifth.”

“Thank you.”

The fifth… That’s the day I left!

I broke into a run toward my shop. If I hurried, I could still make it. I don’t know what I expected to find. Zeit, maybe. If I could stop him before we left, maybe I could keep him from dying. But then I never would have fallen in love with him in the first place.

The endless loop of quantum mechanics was starting to make my head spin. At the very least, if I could just see him one more time…

I made it to the storefront, and pushed the door to enter.

But it didn’t budge.

The memory of my actions that day snapped into place.

After Zeit had introduced himself, I locked the front door so that we could talk without being interrupted.

I was too late. I banged on the door in desperation. “No! Please!” And then in a cry almost to myself, “Please don’t be gone.”

I don’t know how long I stayed there, crying into the locked door.

“Don’t tell me those tears are for me,” an impossible voice said from behind me. The breath escaped my chest and I spun around. “What would the other Time Walkers think of me if I made a human girl cry.”

“How?” I asked as I ran to him. He pulled me into his arms and held me there for an extended moment. It ended far too soon.

“I told you, Love. I exist outside of space/time. I have no past or future. Which, apparently, means I did not die. I was never aware of my inability to die, but none the less, here I am.”

I stood there, speechless and smiling. “So when to now?”

“Anytime you want. Time is at our fingertips.”

I hope you’ve enjoyed the story! I had a blast bringing these characters to life, and maybe I’ll revisit them someday. If you missed any part, check out the full story here.

Zeit and Kylie part 5

Consciousness returns to me, albeit, hazily.

“Zeit!” Kylie screams. Her voice is distant and distorted, like hearing someone try to yell underwater.

I slit my eyes open, letting a little light into my dark world. I see the blurry image of Kylie hovering over me. I’m lying on my back, I gather.

Then the memory of the day’s events return full force.

“Kylie,” I say with a hoarse voice. “Did it work?”

She looks over her shoulder, presumably at the woman we were trying to save.” She’s alive, but still unconscious. The helicopter is gone, and so is Carlo.”

“They bought it then.” It is a statement rather than a question. “They thought she was dead and left. It worked.”

Kylie nods.

I look down at my chest; my clothes are blood-red, and I probably don’t have long. That was it, I realize. No matter how many times I tried, I never would have been able to do it on my own. Kylie was the missing piece. Or, I should say, she and I together. Kylie had to intervene and I had to take the woman’s place. We were meant to be here now, together.

“Kylie, listen to me.”

“Don’t you dare say what I think you’re about to say.”

She sniffs back tears, and something forms deep in my chest that I have never felt in all of my existence. Could I? Are my kind even capable of it? And why did it take dying for me to experience it?

I know what I have to do.

I slowly, and painfully, reach into my coat pocket and retrieve my pocket watch. Reaching across my body, I motion for Kylie to take it, but she refuses.

“What are you doing?”

“You need this to get you home.”

“No.” Tears are running freely down her face now, her next words come out fast and strung together, “No, you have to come too. You have to take me home. I can’t use that thing by myself. I won’t leave you here.”

“Kylie…”

Before I can say anything else, her lips are on mine, her hot tears searing my cheeks.

“I love you,” I whisper, with all the strength I can muster.

“I don’t know how I could after such a short time, but I think I love you too.”

Helicopter blades startle us out of our conversation. They have returned. I know the kind of men they are, and I must get Kylie out of here.

“They’re back?” She asks and looks around. “The woman is gone too.”

“Something tells me she will be just fine. But you must go. It is the only way. I cannot let those men get to you.”

She nods, and finally reaches for the watch. I clutch the watch and her hand in mine.

“Live a good life, and remember I will always love you.”

“As will I,” she says and kisses my hand.

I close my eyes, knowing if I look into hers any longer, I will not be able to send her away.

“Goodbye, love.”

With those parting words, I split time once more, and send her through the void.

I hope you’re enjoying the story! There’s one more installment to come. In case you’ve missed any of Zeit and Kylie, check it out here.

Zeit Meets Carlo, Writober Part 4

Now where have you taken me?” Kylie gasps. At least she doesn’t vomit this time. “It’s too hot here.”

She looks around at the desert landscape. We are standing in a town square, of sorts, where some children are playing baseball. The square is surrounded by a few tall buildings. Hot air whips at her hair as she tries to keep it out of her face.

“In my many travels, I met a very compelling man named Carlo, an assassin trapped in a world he wished beyond anything he could escape. Something about his story calls to me. It is this very moment that defines the rest of his life. We travelers are not supposed to meddle in the affairs of humans, but as you may have learned, that is not always so easy. I have tried, and failed, many times to change this. For both their sakes.”

“What happened here?”

“Happens, present tense,” I correct her. “Watch, up there.”

I point to the roof several stories above our heads. I see the familiar scene unfold as it always does. Carlo is on the roof, looking through the scope of his rifle.

“He’s going to kill someone?” She asks.

“Her.” I point to a woman on the ground a few feet away from us. Her face is beautiful, framed by brilliant auburn hair. “He loves her more than his own life.”

“Then why kill her?”

“He has no choice. Punishment, for trying to leave his profession.”

The deafening thunder of helicopter blades drowns out further conversation. It hovers just above the rooftop where Carlo is perched. After seeing the helicopter, Carlo runs to the closest storm drain, trying to reach ground level.

“He can’t do it,” Kylie realizes. “He loves her too much.”

“No, but they will.” I point to the men with guns hanging out the door of the chopper.

“We have to do something.”

“I have tried.”

“But I haven’t.”

I doubt Kylie can be successful. I have tried talking the woman into leaving, sheltering her from the bullets, every time she somehow ends up dead.

But Kylie still frantically searches for inspiration. Finding it, she grabs a baseball bat from one of the kids and runs to the woman.

“I’m taking her out of the equation,” she yells to me.

I follow, unsure how this new development will change things, if at all. My nature as a Time Walker allows me to perceive events as if they were happening in slow motion. The scene unfolds around me…

Carlo makes it to the ground and locks eyes with the woman just as we reach her. The helicopter descends, the sound of which distracts Carlo for just long enough. Kylie swings the bat and knocks the woman unconscious, who crumples to the ground. The inevitable shot from the helicopter’s gunman splits the air. I push Kylie down so that both women are out of harm’s way.

Then fire rips through my chest.

In case you’ve missed any of Zeit’s story, you can read all about him here.

Zeit Part 3

I feel the familiar tug in my gut, the very fabric of my being wrenched from the moment and space I once occupied. I am not surprised by the sensation, but rather welcome it, like returning home. But even after centuries of Time Walking, it still sends a thrill through me. Surrounded by black, lights sweep past my field of vision, like shooting starts in the dead of night, and for a brief moment, I feel as though we are flying.

And as immediate as the Walk started, we jolt to a halt. I look over at Kylie, who stumbles to the ground from the sheer force of the abrupt stop.

“Are you alright?” I ask, though I know she probably is not.

“Excuse me while I hurl,” she says.

And she does.

Though I can hardly hold it against her. I can only imagine what an experience like that must feel like to a human.

When she finally composes herself, she stands and straightens her clothes. “I think ‘quite a rush’ doesn’t cut it. Time Walking should come with a disclaimer.”

“That is why humans do not typically attempt it. I must applaud your bravery.”

“Umm… thanks. So where, or when, are we?”

“This is my favorite place. Victorian England.”

Kylie looks around at the people bustling by on the cobblestone street, then looks back at me.

“Wow, you really do fit in here. You’ve got the top hat, waistcoat, long coattails… You even have the scarf thing.”

“ I believe the term you’re looking for is cravat.”

“Oh, pardon me.” She smirks and turns to walk away.

“Hold up a moment. You cannot go galavanting around by yourself. We need to lay low and blend in.”

“You mean everyone can see me?”

“You could see me when I came, could you not?”

“I guess you’ve got a point.”

“Hey!” A voice yells from across the street. A man in his mid thirties starts running toward us.

“What’s his problem?” Kylie whispers to me.

My stomach drops. Now I know when we are. “If I am not mistaken, it is about to start drizzling.”

Raindrops splatter our clothes and Kylie looks bewildered at me.

“How did you know that?”

“I must apologize, I believe I forgot to mention something. Traumatic and/or historical events tend to pull those of my kind toward them when we travel. Sometimes we cannot help it.”

“Okay…”

“I did not realize until this moment when exactly we landed.”

“What happened here, Zeit?”

“This was one of those traumatic events for me. I made a mistake many years ago and involved myself a little too deeply into the affairs of the humans in that time. They found out what I am, and let’s just say they did not take kindly to someone messing with their lives and futures. They tried to kill me.”

“Is that possible? Never mind. Tell me later. But that’s where we are now?”

I nod and pull out my pocket watch.

“Oh no, not again.” Kylie shakes her head. I’m not ready for another one of those whoosh feelings in my stomach yet.”

“It is either that or this man will try to kill us both.”

“If I die while I’m with you…”

I nod, not letting her finish her train of thought. She immediately grabs my arm and squeezes her eyes shut.

“Here goes nothin’,” she mumbles.

Zeit the Time Walker – Writober Part 2

More from Zeit and Kylie’s story…

“Tea?” Kylie asks with a hint of humor and sarcasm. She motions with her hand toward the area of the store once occupied by my time portal. “Do you realize when you… whatever it is you do to get around… you’ve landed yourself in Seattle, the coffee capital of the country. No, I don’t have any tea.”

I stare at her, momentarily struck speechless. “Wait a minute. I reveal I can travel through time, and your most pressing concern is that the only refreshment you can offer me is coffee? Hmm… I think we’re going to get along just swimmingly. Now then, where were we?”

“How about I close up early and put a pot on, while you tell me how and why you’re standing in the middle of my shop?”

“That would be agreeable.”

She stares at me a moment longer before turning to lock the front door and switch the sign to ‘Closed‘. It makes me wonder what thoughts had her so captivated in that moment. I gaze at her, watching her glide down the aisle, every movement a  testament to the love and care she pours into this place every single day.

“What?” She asks. “You were staring.”

“Oh, it’s nothing. Lead the way, my dear.”

She leads me through a heavy maroon curtain at the back of the shop and into what I assume to be the break room. Although, I can’t image she has many employees to take advantage of such a space.

“Does anyone work here with you?” I ask nonchalantly.

“Just one, but he’s part-time, not due to show up until tomorrow’s evening shift.”

I nod, and she motions toward the round table and chairs set up in the middle of the room. I set my top hat on the table, lift my coat tails and take a seat while she starts preparing the coffee.

“Can I help?” I offer, starting to rise.

“Are you kidding?” Tea drinkers should not be in charge of making the coffee.”

She snickers softly, and I do the same. She is quite amusing, this one.

She is gone but a few minutes, and returns with two steaming mugs.

“So, Zut,” she says, sitting down.

“Zeit,” I correct her. “Unusual name, I know. It’s German, means Time.”

“German? I thought you said you were from England?”

“I say England because it is easier for humans to identify with me if I am from a place they are familiar with. Although, I do greatly enjoy it; it is a place I return to often, and I speak as if I was from there. But as I exist outside of space-time, I do not have any one origin point, nor do I have a past or future. I simply am.”

Kylie nods, and I wonder if she is actually understanding my explanation.

“Can I come with you?” She says after pondering silently for a moment.

“You want to join me on a Time Walk?”

No one has ever requested that of me before. Most humans fear my kind, keeping their distance as best they can.

“You are sure?” I say. “What about your store?”

“You can travel through time right?” She pauses, and I nod in affirmation. “So… can’t you just bring me back to this same moment when we’re done? Then no time will have passed and the store will be fine.”

I have, without a doubt, never met anyone such as her, easily grasping the concepts of time travel and so willing to step into the unknown.

“Alright, we have an agreement.”

Pounding from outside the shop interrupts our conversation.

“Is that coming from the front door?” Kylie says.

“No, please!” A voice yells from outside before the pounding resumes.

The voice sounds eerily familiar, sending a chill up my spine. We must leave. Now.

“If you are adamant about accompanying me, the time has come. We must hurry.” I say. “Are you ready?”

She casts a concerned look in the direction of the commotion, then back at me and nods.

I retrieve my pocket watch from my inner coat pocket, return my hat to my head, and hold out my hand for hers.

“Is that how you get around?” She indicates the watch.

“You shall see. Please take my hand and close your eyes. This next part can be quite a rush.”

New Story from Writober – Zeit’s Grand Entrance

So… Writober just ended, the anual writing event I participate in every October. So I’ve got a fun new story for you all. I’ll be posting it in segments. I hope you enjoy!

“Where the heck did you come from?” The blond woman from behind the counter says as I emerge from my portal. I’ve arrived in a meager antique bookstore, rows of weathered first editions line my path. How fitting that such books, little snippets of their time, should welcome the arrival of one such as myself.

“The proper question to ask would be ’when,’” I say with a dip of my top hat. “But then that would depend on what timeline you’re perceiving me from, and that is another matter entirely.”

She gives me a puzzled look, one I’ve grown quite accustomed to over the centuries. “Suffice it to say, I am from… I believe you call it England, just a different time period than yourself. My name is Zeit, and I am a Time Walker.”

I remove my hat and bow as I announce my title. She stares at me a moment longer, then sticks out her hand.

“ Kylie. Nice to meet you,” she says.

I take her hand in mine and place on it the gentlest kiss.

“A pleasure,” I say. “Now, do you have a spot of tea?”

Writober Part 13

Ryan jumped from landing to landing, making his way up the staircase. He didn’t have time to do it the slow, human way. Once in the upper levels, guards started pouring into the halls from every door. They must have known he was coming. Good. The more eyes were on him, the less they would be on Violet and the group.

Igniting the fire in his fists, he fought his way out. Flesh sizzled with every punch he threw. It was still dark when he finally made it outside. Good. Better viewing conditions for his little show.

He hurled fireballs until the entire base turned into a green inferno. By now, most of the employees and guards had encircled him, desperately trying to get close enough to take him down.

Not today, he thought, keeping them at bay with the occasional burst of flames.

Now, there was only one thing left to do.

Inching to his left, the crowd reacted like the opposite end of a magnet—no one wanted to get too close. Once he was within range, he held out both arms, and poured every ounce of his energy into sending a solid wall of green flame in the direction of the generators. He held it for as long as he could, and with one final push, the wall of fire ceased. But it had done exactly what he intended. There was a small explosion in the generator, but it set off a chain reaction throughout the entire base. Ryan did an about-face and ran toward the hills.

As he neared them, Ryan saw Violet cresting the hill. Good, she made it.

“Violet, get down!” he yelled as soon as he was within ear-shot.

The entire group ducked with their hands over their heads, just as a ground-shaking explosion erupted through the valley.  The percussion vibrated his chest and rang in his ears.

“Are you okay?” He said as they stood up. What little was left of the base smoldered behind them.

“Yes. You made it,” Violet said with a smile.

“And now that it’s all over, I can finally do this.” Ryan reached his hand to the side of her face, and pulled her lips onto his.

~

The Hunter crawled out from under a pile of debris, retrieved and dusted off his hat, and placed it gently on his head. Every human inside the base had died instantly with the explosion.

It was a good thing he wasn’t human.

He could see the pack of maimed mutants at the top of the hill on the outskirts of the valley. Now that his employers were dead, the pyros were no longer his concern.

Except those two, with the green and indigo flames, they were responsible for this mess. And they were his next targets. No more capturing and hauling them back like a dog playing fetch. This time, he would be hunting for keeps.

[hr]

This concludes the Writober series. I’ll definitely continue Violet’s story, so stay tuned…

Need to catch up on the story? You can read earlier Writober posts, or you can read Violet Blair’s entire story.

Writober Part 12

Ryan finished explaining to Violet how to navigate the tunnels, and the two of them prepared the group to leave.

“What you’re doing,” Violet said, holding back tears she didn’t want Ryan to see, “it’s more than likely a one-way mission. I…”

“I’ll do my best to make sure it isn’t.”

Violet nodded as he pulled her close and wrapped his arms around her. She desperately wanted to tell him how glad she was to have known him, even if it was for just a short time. But she couldn’t find the words. So she just stayed there in his arms until he pulled away.

He mouthed the word “Goodbye” as he walked back to the stairwell.

Violet took and deep breath and turned to the group. “Tunnel’s this way. Follow me.”

The tunnel was dark and damp, and their progress was slow, due to how many were injured and barely conscious. The stronger ones helped the others as they made their way through the twisting underpass.

We have to be getting close, she thought just before she saw it: the ladder that would bring them to the surface. Violet went up first, opened the grate, and checked their surroundings.

All clear. She helped the others up the ladder and closed the grate behind them.

They were on the outskirts of the base. In the distance, she could see the lights from the power plant and the surrounding buildings. Behind her was the hill she and Ryan had descended on their way in.

Looking in the direction of the base, Violet saw sporadic flashes of green light. Ryan was putting up quite a fight. That was her cue. When all the guards were distracted with Ryan, they would have a straight shot to escape.

“Please be careful,” she whispered. Then to the group she shouted, “Okay everyone, run as fast as you can to that hill, and don’t quit until you reach the top.”

[hr]

For the month of October, I’ve joined a writing challenge called Writober. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, we write something and send it to the entire group.For Writober, I’ll be continuing the series I’ve started about a tough pyro named, Violet Blair.

Need to catch up on the story? You can read earlier Writober posts, or you can read Violet Blair’s entire story.

Writober Part 11

“They’re using fire from pyros to generate power; they’re being drained.” Violet said, tears streaming down her cheeks as she stared unblinking at the unconscious girl. “We have to get them out of here.”

“Blast the doors with your fire!” Ryan yelled as he started running to the other end of the hall.

She tried, but the doors held.

“It’s not working.”

“Try the windows.”

Glass breaking at the other end of the hall let Violet know that the windows would work. So she held out her arms, closed her eyes, and sent all the fire she could muster through her hands.

The explosion of glass made her jump, but she quickly recovered, climbed through the broken window, and lifted the girl to her feet. Her eyes cracked open. She was alive! Violet helped her through the window and hurried to the other cells. One by one, blast by blast, they freed the tormented pyros from their prisons. Those responsive enough to know what was going on joined in and started freeing others.

Violet couldn’t believe that no one had heard all the commotion they were making. But they were quite a ways underground, and there were probably no security cameras. Don’t want anyone to know what goes on in the lower levels…

Soon, fire blasts of every shade and color lit up he dismal corridor as more and more pyros came to. Within an hour, the entire network of tunnels had been freed.

“Now how to we get everyone out of here?” Violet said as she met up with Ryan. “There’s no way we can sneak this many people out the way we came in.”

“You’re right. What do we do?”

“You’re the map. Is there some sort of back exit we can take?”

“This whole compound is connected through these underground tunnels. We can take those, but we still need to find a way to make sure these people can never do this again.”

“Any ideas?”

“Actually, yes.”

[hr]

For the month of October, I’ve joined a writing challenge called Writober. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, we write something and send it to the entire group.For Writober, I’ll be continuing the series I’ve started about a tough pyro named, Violet Blair.

Need to catch up on the story? You can read earlier Writober posts, or you can read Violet Blair’s entire story.

Writober Part 10

Violet stared, jaw dropped and eyes wide. On the computer screen were dozens of faces she recognized from her school and neighborhood. They were all operatives sent undercover to watch her.

“You know these people?” Ryan asked.

“Yes, you?”

“Yes. I’ve seen each person at some point. They are everywhere. Their reach seems to be without end.”

“But what do they want?”

Ryan’s fingers flew across the keys. “Look at this. It’s a breakdown of their energy usage. This whole compound is completely self sufficient.”

“Through what? Solar power?”

“No. Fire.”

“I don’t understand. Are they burning wood?”

“We need to go.”

“Where?”

“Down below. Where… where I was held.”

Ryan grabbed her hand and they ran from the room, down the hall, and into a stairwell.

“Do you have this whole placed mapped in your brain?” Violet said.

“Once I determined that I needed to come back one day, I hacked my way into the official blueprints and memorized the layout.”

“We’re not taking the elevators?”

“No, they can stop them. But to save time…”

With the stairs spiraling around the outer edges of the room, it left the entire middle clear. Ryan hopped the rail and sailed through the air, landing gently on his feet at the bottom level. Violet followed right behind him, exhilarated by the free-fall.

The stairwell exit led them to a series of dark hallways lined on either side with double-paned glass windows. Each looked into a small concrete cell, but what was inside sent chills through Violet’s body. Each room held a person, chained by their hands and feet. But their eyes… They were distant and unfeeling, as if there was no one left inside.

As they walked, one cell held a girl about Violet’s age. Orange fire ignited at her hands and quickly spread, covering her body. One she was fully engulfed in flames, she began to scream, louder and louder. The fire started to rise to the ceiling, as if it were being sucked through a vent. When Violet thought she could take no more of the poor girl’s wailing, the screaming stopped with a chilling echo, the fire vanished, and the girl slumped to the floor.

[hr]

For the month of October, I’ve joined a writing challenge called Writober. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, we write something and send it to the entire group.For Writober, I’ll be continuing the series I’ve started about a tough pyro named, Violet Blair.

Need to catch up on the story? You can read earlier Writober posts, or you can read Violet Blair’s entire story.