I intended the "wednesday writings" to be individual exercises or stories but since April, I have been continuing the same story thread and doing some general free writing using the same characters and continuing the plot. There are some definite continuity issues in the overall course of the story, but I have slowly come upon a cohesive plot (which will require significant editing of earlier editions to make them valid). You can find the entire story by clicking through the following chronological links:
- Morning Machinations
- Communication Between Friends
- Daydreaming Decisions
- Off to the Park
- Coming Home
- Revealing Photographs
- Just a Dream?
- At the Tower
- The Watch
- Evan (part 1)
- Evan (part 2)
- Evan (part 3)
- Formulating a Plan
- Testing the Boxes
- Out of Time
- A Problem of Paradoxes
- Taking Charge
- The Chase Begins
- Friends Reunited
- Unraveling the Plot
- Applying Pressure
- Parallel Theories
Well...this week has been hectic and a bit harried so this post doesn't really feel all that fulfilling to me. But, in order to keep the exercise going, here's this week's writing.
Gabby and Evan followed Carlisle into the library. Gabby stumbled back in shock, trying to make sense of what she was seeing. The large floor to ceiling windows at the far end of the room were shattered, shards of glass jutting precariously from what was left of the frames and the heavy red curtains wrapped around the wall and fluttering outside in the cold night air. All of the furniture in the room was smashed against the outer walls as though something had stood in the center of the room and given an immense push outward. The only thing left in the center of the room was Dalton, lying motionless on his back with his legs and arms bent at awkward angles and his back arched as though he were lying on something.
Carlisle raced over to the fireplace and pulled out the remains of a chair that had shattered inside the hearth and had caught fire. He pulled at a large oriental rug and threw it over the burning chair to stop the flames before it had a chance to do more damage. Meanwhile Gabby and Evan slowly walked towards the center of the room.
As she approached, Gabby noticed Dalton's chest rise and fall slightly. Whatever had happened, he was still alive. His face and arms were scratched. A trickle of blood rolled down his dirty cheek. As they reached him, Evan crouched down and felt for a pulse. Gabby noted that his entire skin had a grey tinge to it as though he were covered with a thin layer of ash or dirt. His lips were parted slightly and trembling. His lower lip looked parched, cracked and white around the edges. His hair was frazzled and looked singed near his temples.
"How is he?"
Gabby jumped slightly. She'd been so focused on Dalton that she hadn't heard Carlisle come to stand right behind her.
"He's unconscious but he's got a pulse and he's breathing. But his skin is hot. Real hot, like he's got a major fever. What happened here Carlisle?"
Evan stood and looked around the room as he stepped next to Gabby. She felt his arm brush against hers. Feeling him so close helped soothe her growing anxiety. She scanned the room as well wondering what had happened. She looked back to Carlisle expectantly.
"It seems that one or more of us came back and created a paradoxical event that caused a severe disruption around Mr. Dalton. The event seems to have been centered on Dalton and sent out a powerful pulse of energy."
Carlisle's voice trailed off as he spoke. He slowly paced around the room, pulling back the shattered furniture, tinkling the broken piano keys and uprighting fallen chairs. He turned back to face the group but stared beyond Gabby and Evan. Gabby followed his gaze and shuddered as she looked at Dalton lying behind her. Before she turned back, Carlisle suddenly raced across the room and squatted beside Dalton. Gabby gasped as he pushed Dalton onto his side, a little too forcefully. He shuffled around for a second and then slowly rose to his feet. When he turned around, he was staring at one of the time machine boxes. He raised his eyes and stared back at Gabby and Evan then stepped forward and held out the box.
"Was he lying on that?"
Gabby looked between Evan and Carlisle, waiting for his answer.
"He was. It was right in the center of his back. This box has been slightly modified. It's almost definitely been fixed by us and then used to come back and confront Dalton. There's a scorch mark on the ground. I don't see any of the other boxes, so my best guess is that perhaps we brought this box in contact with it's former self. Doing so could cause this sort of disruption. Although, I don't fully understand the purpose beyond just trying to subdue him and give us opportunity to escape. While I applaud that as a worthy goal, I'm not entirely sure what this suggests about our next course of action."
He looked over his shoulder at Dalton once more and then back to Evan and Gabby. For a moment no one spoke, then Gabby stepped over and knelt beside Dalton. She looked back at the men and then back at Dalton. With a feeling of disgust, she pulled him onto his back.
"First thing we should do, is make sure he's alright."
Dalton looked more horrible up close than he had from her standing position. Evan was right about the fever. He was burning up. She leaned over his chest to feel his breathing and watch his chest, like she'd been trained in her CPR classes.
"One of you go find some towels and get them wet with some cool water. Cool. Not cold."
Dalton's breath was rank against her cheek and she had to fight back the urge to jump away. Or the urge to grab something and just smother him. Instead, she tried to slide his body around into a more comfortable position as Evan left the room in search of towels and water.
"See if you can find me a pillow or something soft to prop his head."
As she straightened his arms and legs, Gabby noticed that Dalton's breathing started to grow more regular. She looked up at the door as Evan came back in with a couple of small towels which he handed to Gabby. She took them and lightly draped them over Dalton's forehead and forearms and then dabbed at his cheeks. Carlisle held out a small throw pillow to her.
"What are you doing Gabrielle?"
Before she could reply, Evan defended her.
"She's doing what she thinks is best. Dalton may have treated us poorly, but he still deserves the same compassion as anyone, doesn't he?"
Gabby looked up at the aggravated look on Carlisle's face. From the stern frown and the silence, Gabby could tell he disapproved. She wasn't even sure she approved, but she knew it was the right thing. No matter what he'd done or why, it wasn't her place to deal out his punishment. A small groan slipped softly from Dalton's lips. Everyone scooted close and looked expectantly at the man who'd just recently threatened each of their lives.
Dalton's eyes fluttered and his head turned softly to the side. A scratchy moan echoed out of his mouth followed by a pair of small coughs that shook his body. Gabby softly slid a wet towel across his cheek and pulled his head to face them. As she did, his eyes fluttered again. The muscles around his temples flexed and his eyelids became small slits as he strained to open them. After a few moments, his eyelids opened halfway and Gabby saw his eyes strain to focus on the group crouched beside him. A gravely croak erupted from his mouth, followed by a string of coughing that sent his body into convulsions.
Gabby placed one of her hands on his shoulder and slid the wet towel over his cheek with the other. After a moment, the coughing subsided and he lay still for a few moments, his glassy eyes pointed at the ceiling. Gabby leaned over and stared down at his face.
"Dalton? Mr. Dalton? Do you know where you are? Can you hear me?"
She stared down at him for a few seconds and then looked up at Evan and Carlisle. The two men were whispering something back and forth. Evan nodded his head slowly, concern mirrored on his face. Carlisle looked positively furious. When he noticed Gabby looking at him, he narrowed his eyes and glared back at her. The look on his face made Gabby's skin crawl. Strangely, she felt better looking back at Dalton rather than continuing to look at Carlisle.
Dalton's mouth opened and closed slowly. A croaking erupted from his mouth again but he was able to stop the coughs before they shook his body again. A moment later, he closed his eyes and began to speak. Each word took considerable effort. He gasped deeply between phrases. His muscles tensed and shook as he strained to speak.
"Please don't let me die. Take me to my wife. Let me see my girl."
And then, he was still.