Lost In Time

Inspired by: [WP] You are a time-traveller that offers a premium service to the families of missing persons. For the right price you travel back and “rescue” people from when history says they disappeared, reuniting them with their loved ones in the present day.


“I will need details. As many as you can give me.”

The lady paused to dab her forehead with a tissue, and replied in a wavering voice. “It was three days ago. John was leaving our house for work that morning. He got on his bicycle and was cycling down the street. when suddenly a black car pulled up -”

“I’m sorry,” I interrupted. “May I know exactly what time this was? In this line of business, it’s rather critical. To the minute at least, the second if possible.”

“Well, I remember glancing at the clock before he left. It read 8:05. In the morning, that is. It couldn’t have been more than two minutes after that.”

I nodded. “Thank you, that will suffice. Could you also write down your exact address here? Your house’s UTM coordinates too, if you – it’s all right, most people don’t. The address will do. ” I took the paper back. “Thank you, please carry on.”

“The black car drove up beside him and rolled down the window. Then there was some shouting. I couldn’t hear what they said though, it was too far away. I remember John raising his hands up, like someone was pointing a gun at him! John got off his bicycle and went into the car. And then, and then -”

“And that was the last you saw of him?” I asked.

The lady nodded, tears welling in her eyes.

“I see,” I said. “Do you remember the license plate number?”

“The plate was blacked out, it looked like someone had taped over it.”

“How about the kidnapper? Did you see what they looked like?”

“There was only one man in the car. He was wearing a black mask and a black shirt. I never saw his face.”

I had all the information I needed. I put down my pen. The lady looked as if she might burst into tears at any moment. “The police couldn’t get any leads, neither could the search parties. You are my last hope.”

“I cannot promise you anything. Whatever I go back to do has already been done. I cannot change the past, I can only turn up to play my role. You must understand that. Please be prepared for the worst.”

She nodded again. “Thank you.”

I stood up from my desk. “I will be back in ten minutes. I will do everything within my means to bring John back for you.”

I turned and walked into the back room, where clients were forbidden to enter. I permitted my professional facade to slip, and a smile grew on my face.

It was almost too easy.

I locked the door behind me.

I picked up my gun, pulled on my black mask, and stepped into the time machine.

One Day Later

Inspired by: [WP] You get on a short-haul flight and fall asleep about an hour in. Upon awakening you realise you have now been flying for close to 24 hours and no-one else seems bothered in the slightest.

Updated on 14 January 2017.


There was a rumble, and my seat shook under me. Sterile air filled my lungs, and I heard the low humming of the engines.

I stretched and opened my eyes. It had been a good rest, but it had left my stomach empty. Emptier than usual, it seemed; it let out a loud growl. I wondered if I had accidentally missed lunch or dinner, given how hungry I was.

That was when I noticed the time on the in-flight entertainment system.

It was just 1pm. That would not usually be a problem, except that I was pretty sure the flight had only taken off at 2pm.

And that was when I noticed the date. It was Tuesday. Again, not usually a problem, except that I had taken off on Monday.

The flight was only supposed to be three hours long.

And I had an extremely important meeting two hours after landing.

My stomach began to sink. Was it the drink? I had only had one glass before falling asleep, though. Perhaps I was recalling the takeoff time wrongly? I fished my flight ticket out of my pocket. Nope.

I glanced around. Nobody else seemed to have noticed. The man to my left was reading the flight catalog. The man to my right was simply staring into space. Come to think of it, hadn’t Left been reading that same catalog since the start of the flight? How could someone be reading the same thing for twenty-four hours? Was he only pretending to read it, while really watching something – or someone – else?

I became acutely aware of how alone I was on this flight. I was on a solo business trip to a foreign land, with a tailored suit, designer briefcase, and not a single friend.

Right reached for his drink and lifted it to his mouth. In that simple action, I could see his rippling muscles. His eyes were still fixed on the seat in front of him. My apprehension tripled.

In that moment, I knew the truth. I was being kidnapped. They had diverted my plane, and would hold me hostage to my family or company. They drugged my drink to hide the flight diversion, but they had made one amateur mistake: they had forgotten to reset the time on the in-flight entertainment. I thanked whatever powers above had helped me. This one lucky break had at least given me a measure of control over my situation. I now knew what was likely to come.

I decided that if I was going to be kidnapped, at least I shouldn’t go hungry. I called the steward over. Out of the corner of my eyes, I think I saw Right glance over, as if alarmed. Ignoring him, I asked in my most confident, untrembling voice, “Could I have my lunch now please?”

Silence. Damn, I thought. So the staff were in on it. I was doomed.

The steward finally spoke. “I’m sorry, sir, but we do not serve lunch at this time.”

Huh?

The steward glanced at my screen. “Ah, I see, sir. The time displayed is the local time where the place is right now. We have just crossed the International Date Line, so the time was set forward by almost one day to 1pm. According to the time where we took off, it is now 4pm, and we do not serve lunch at this time.”

I have never been more relieved in my life. So Left had really been reading the catalog! And Right hadn’t been staring into space for a whole day. My tension released itself instantly, and I found myself booming with deep laughter. Many heads turned, but I didn’t mind. In my euphoria, I addressed my seatmates, “Thanks, Left and Right, you’re not mafia thugs and you’re not here to kidnap me. ”

Theirs were the weirdest looks of all, but I paid them no notice. I was safe.

 


 

Epilogue: One Day Later

“He knew our names,” Wright said.

“Someone must have tipped him off,” Lev added.

“That’s not an excuse.” The voice from the shadows cracked like a whip. “You had all the tools. You could have overpowered him easily.”

“It’s not that. He laughed like a madman.” Lev said. “He was crazy confident. He must have had security. It wasn’t worth the risk.”

The shadow seemed to consider for a moment. “Fine. This will be the last time you fail me and live. Get out of my sight, both of you!”

They left right away.

Teeth

Inspired by: [WP] The tooth fairy is real. Why does it want teeth?

Updated 14 January 2017.


Glowing, blue irises under a shadowed hood.

In the darkness, a small silhouette approached. Its small feet made no sound. Next to the bed, it stopped, still as a stone. Oblivious to the silhouette’s presence, the girl slumbered on.

For the longest time, there was only the sound of quiet breathing.

The burning blue circles regarded her patiently.

Eventually, the girl stretched. She rubbed her eyes, adjusted the sheets, and rolled her body to one side. All was still once again.

The silhouette’s hand darted out, a flash of silver in its palm. Its hand slid under the pillow, dropped a silver coin, and returned, clutching the prize. The silhouette turned and fled to the kitchen, vaulting effortlessly out of the window where it had entered an hour ago. It paused for a moment, eased the window closed, and melted into the shadows.

Save for the coin, it had never been here.

The silhouette glanced left and right, then lifted the grille of a drain and slipped in. It crawled in the narrow space. An adult would have gotten stuck, but the silhouette fit easily. Several drains converged, and the silhouette could now run in a crouch.

The sewers sloped down, going deeper and growing wider. It became pitch dark, but the silhouette did not break its pace.

The darkness faltered. The sewers were wide here, and torches hung along the stone walls. Figures moved in the half-light of the torches. Figures with piercing blue eyes.

The silhouette passed large hollows in the sewer walls. Their walls were rough, like they had been hewn from the surrounding rock. Some of them held bundles of cloth. One stored shovels, axes and other tools. A few were cast in deep shadow. Another was filled with mounds of small, silver coins. Several had racks and racks of knives.

The silhouette reached the last room. It was the only one with a door.

The silhouette pushed, and the door swung open, revealing a circular room. The silhouette walked to the centre. It pulled the tooth from its pocket, and laid it reverently on the floor. The silhouette retreated, and left the room.

The doors closed.

The girl’s tooth lay in the centre of an empty room.

The ground under the tooth began to glow. Strange symbols and patterns shone and rippled, casting blue light around the room.

The glow faded.

The tooth cracked in half.

A white substance rapidly oozed out, moving upwards and outwards, enveloping the tooth and grew, formed, took shape.

The girl stood in the centre of an empty room.

Her eyes burned blue. They saw.