Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday Writings # 29 - Taking Charge

My "Wednesday Writing" posts were initially created as a writing exercise for me to try and keep myself motivated and on track by making sure that I spend at least 30-60 minutes each week (with the follow-up goal to turn it into a daily writing practice).

Over the past few weeks, I've been continuing the same story with a single post each week. To help you catch up with this serialized story, you can use the following table of contents:
  1. Morning Machinations
  2. Communication Between Friends
  3. Daydreaming Decisions
  4. Off to the Park
  5. Driven
  6. Coming Home
  7. Revealing Photographs
  8. Just a Dream?
  9. At the Tower
  10. Caught
  11. Revelations
  12. Lunchtime
  13. The Watch
  14. Visions
  15. Escape
  16. Evan (part 1)
  17. Evan (part 2)
  18. Evan (part 3)
  19. Formulating a Plan
  20. Testing the Boxes
  21. Betrayal
  22. Julie
  23. Out of Time
  24. A Problem of Paradoxes

Some more interlude, but moving forward.

Anyway, critiques, suggestions, comments, etc. always welcome.


Taking Charge

Gabby had no idea how long she cried on Julie's shoulder. She felt disoriented and strangely cold. Holding onto Julie just seemed like the right thing to do. And from the way Julie was tightly hugging her and silently shuddering, Gabby knew that this was helpful to her as well.

But after a few moments, she pushed her friend back and broke the embrace with a smile.

"It's good to see you Jules. I'm so glad you're alright."

Julie sniffled and then hopped to her feet, looked quickly at her watch and then pulled Gabby up.

"We have to go! We don't have much time!"

Gabby started walking to the closed door in front of her but Julie was walking in the other direction. She turned and realized that Julie hadn't come in through the door. The sliding glass door leading to the interior courtyard of the hotel had been shattered. A sprinkling of glass twinkled lightly along the dingy brown carpet. The heavy red drapes were pushed aside and the thin white curtain ruffled into the room. Julie looked back and saw Gabby's gaze.

"Sorry. I couldn't think of another way to get into your room. At least not quickly. They're probably going to charge you for that."

Julie laughed and hopped over to the fluttering curtains. She pulled the curtain aside, debated for a moment about climbing back through the shattered glass, then slid the door open.

"Come on. We need to hurry!"

In the parking lot, Gabby climbed into the passenger seat of the silver Mercedes. She still hadn't bothered to figure out where all the money came from. Evan said Dalton was a college professor. Gabby wasn't a finance wiz, but she was fairly certain most professor's didn't live on a huge estate with dozens of luxury cars. Nor did they have piles of their own personal cash lying around to fund sketchy scientific projects like a time machine. Just another shady skeleton in Dalton's oversized closet.

She anxiously looked forward to answers. She pictured Dalton sitting handcuffed in the dining room of his own mansion. She didn't know how Evan had captured him, but she looked forward to bringing down her own style of interrogation. He had threatened her. Kidnapped her friend. Potentially killed a number of people. And all of this with a smug satisfied grin.

She looked over at Julie and smiled. The past few days were a blur of emotion. She was glad to know at least that Julie was safe now. And Julie had saved her as well. Her mind flashed back over recent events. Doubt exploded into her mind as she remembered once again the conversation between Evan and Dalton in Evan's hotel room. Some greater plan had existed in which Evan was to turn both Gabby and the repaired boxes over to Dalton.

In Dalton's home, Evan claimed to have taken care of Dalton. Then Gabby had seen Dalton handcuffed in his own dining room, sitting across from Evan. Her head whirled as she tried to decide what to believe. Was this still part of an elaborate plan to capture her? Had Evan deceived them again in convincing Julie to bring her back to Dalton? The fear and concern in Evan's voice had seemed real enough. But was his real concern for saving Gabby? Or for trying to reassemble the shambled remains of this greater plan?

Gabby looked back at Julie. She remembered the instructions from Evan. Julie was to save Gabby and then return to Dalton's home and lock herself up again before Evan and Dalton returned. Gabby pictured Julie again lying on the bed in the small, dark, locked room at Dalton's home. Anger welled up, a bubbling sensation inside her like a pot of water teetering on the edge of a rolling boil. Heat rose to the surface of her skin and she felt her muscles tense. She didn't know who to trust. But she knew she wasn't willing to risk her friend's freedom on the outrageous story of a man she barely knew. A story that could just as easily be a lie as it could be the truth. Most likely, it was some form of half truth, like everything else she'd dealt with lately.

"Stop the car."

Julie glanced at Gabby, her face wrinkled up in confusion.

"Stop the car Julie!"

Julie slammed the brakes and skidded rapidly to the shoulder of the freeway, her eyes wide and frightened. She spoke quickly, but with a whispered fear in her voice.

"What is it Gabby? What's wrong?"

"I don't want you going back to Dalton's."

"But Evan said…"

"I know what Evan said!" Gabby took a deep breath to calm herself. She'd been yelling and it was evident from Julie's face that the volume was creating an emotional whirlpool.

"I know what Evan said. But I'm not sure I trust Evan."

Julie's fear subdued to compassion.

"So what do you want to do?"

"I want some reassurance. I need to know that we're not jumping from frying pan to fire."

"How? I'm skeptical about all this. I had a hard time not laughing at Evan's lectures on time travel and the dangers of paradoxes. But that was before I actually traveled through time. Gabby. I'm scared of what happens if he was telling the truth."

The fear reappeared on Julie's face. Her eyes grew shiny and Gabby could tell she was forcing herself not to cry.

"I know. I'm scared too. But I've had too many surprises lately. It's time we take control."

She put her hand on Julie's knee and looked intently into her eyes, trying to exude confidence and strength.

"I'm done running. And I'm done doing what everybody else tells us just because they have all the information. We're changing the rules Jules."

Julie smiled and put her hand on top of Gabby's hand and patted softly.

"Alright. What are you thinking Gabby?"

Gabby leaned around into the back seat and brought forth the two boxes. The one Julie had used to come back and the one Gabby had used to Observe. Opening the lid, she was relieved to see that the lights and dials looked fully functional in both boxes.

"First, we're going to do a little research and see if we can't shed a little truth on the relations between Dalton, Evan and Carlisle. We're going to go through and Observe them as they interact. As they drive from the hotel to Carlisle's and then to Dalton's."

"But then how will I get back to Dalton's and avoid the paradox?"

"We'll stick close to them. Once we know they're heading back. Once we see there are only a few minutes left, then we return here and go back in time to this very moment. We get the full benefit of spying on them for the next 30 minutes while also having plenty of time to drive back and prevent blowing up the universe."

Julie sat silently in thought for a moment. Gabby wasn't sure yet whether or not her plan would work as expected, but she presented it with enough confidence that Julie nodded.

"OK. Let's do it."

Gabby smiled and then handed a box to Julie. Both girls manipulated the dials and switches. Gabby looked over at Julie again.

"OK. So we go back and Observe. I don't think we'll be able to see each other, so we need to coordinate. Once you're Observing, just think hard about the person you want to watch and you'll be taken to them. Try to stick close to either Evan or Dalton. Once they're on the way back to Dalton's house, we need to bailout. Then we flip the switches and Transport ourselves right back here to buy ourselves more time and get a new plan in place."

Gabby sighed and looked out into the darkness, then back to Julie.

"You ready?"

Julie nodded. Gabby smiled, then looked back at her box.

"On three. One. Two. THREE."

With a press of a button, the car filled with mist and both girls were whisked away.


Brian Miller said...

i felt a little let off the hook by the ease of the plan there at the end...and it is so easily accepted...i dunno...still liking it but...

Okie said...

Good call/feedback Brian. I do foresee some complications with the plan...but in the end it may end up problematic to work through and may be better just to have them rush back to Dalton's anyway without tailing the guys first. We'll see how it plays out.

As for the acceptance, I debated making Julie more reticent but then she told me (*grin*) that she's so worn down that she's tired of fighting and just wants to be done with everything...though I should have made that more clear.

Phoenix said...

This chapter was WAY too short! The suspense is killing me!! I love the character development and how the girls are finally growing spines but dammit! I want answers! (I know, I'm such a whiner.) ;)

Farnnay said...

I'm glad you are keeping up with this :) great post