April 4th, 2018. 14:55
Danika rose from the pavement and looked around, her gaze focused first on the perimeter, and then the skies, as she seemed to orient herself; looking for the cardinal directions, and the position of the sun.
As she did so, Joe wheezed and clutched at his chest. She advised him to “Breathe man. Deep breaths.”
He seemingly followed Dani’s instructions, sucking in lungfuls at a time. And he spluttered, “Jesus! What the hell is happening to me?”
“Turbulence. That's what it's called. Don't worry, everyone feels sick in the beginning. Though most just die.”
“You’ve just travelled through time. Okay? You shifted.”
Gasping in between words, Joe replied “Ugh! For fuck sake! Give it a rest already! There’s no— such thing as time travel!”
She turned. “Oh, is that so? Well genius, care to explain how we went from the AM to PM so quickly?”
Joe looked at the sun now, squinting as he did. Though he didn’t expect it would help. He wasn’t quite sure where he was, let alone north, and he was more focused on breathing. The headache that almost felt like he was being whipped on the inside of his head. With a flail of nails. And the overwhelming taste of jet fuel and peppermint burning in his mouth, so strong he worried his tongue would melt or burst open.
Nevertheless, Joe hacked up an explanation, having accepted that it was no longer morning. “We could have woken up in the afternoon. You could have reset the clocks when I was asleep.”
“Unbelievable,” she said to herself. Sighing, Danika replied, “Well, then you must be one hell of a deep sleeper. Of course, none of that explains where that lovely Spanish couple came from when we were fighting in the bathroom.”
“They were... what?”
“Oh really? Actors, huh?”
“Er, no! You’ve just been— You must have drugged me. Once in the tub, and once outside the restaurant. I’ve been hallucinating, and what I’m feeling right now is— is the result of the drug. That’s what this is. You said yourself that you injected me.”
“To save your life, fuckwit! You think— Oh nevermind. You know what, just get up. Stand up, and start walking. The cops’ll probably descend on this place pretty soon. God knows what kind of corollaries we’ve made.”
The man grunted as Dani hoisted him to his feet.
“Come on,” she said. “You think you’re hallucinating this gun?”
“That’s what I thought. By the way, try to run and I’ll shoot you.”
“In this heat?” Joe coughed, “Try to run and I’ll pass out.”
“And don’t be a smart ass. Or else I’ll shoot you. Comprende? Now… we need energy. Specifically vitamin K, or the next time we shift we could end up looking a little bit like puddles. Do you have any more cash on you?”
Joe hobbled forward and answered, “Sorry. You bled me dry.”
“In that case I suppose we do have to walk. I was going to be generous and have you pay for us to take the bus.”
“Oh, you’re practically a saint.”
Danika prodded the history professor along until they finally emerged out onto Santa Monica. On the road, in either direction, were massive pile-ups at least twenty vehicles long. A few of them had been totalled. Some side-swept. Others simply fucked in the ass. Flames burst from a couple of cars, and many of their occupants howled. Either out of pain, fear or distress. And in the distance came the wailing of sirens. Of which there were too many klaxons to count.
“Jesus! What the hell happened here!?”
“We happened, Joe,” Dani muttered. “This is a corollary.”
“What the hell are you talking about? How do you figure we caused this?”
“Just—” Dani glowered, looking very much like she wanted to pistol whip the man again. “Just shut up and keep walking, alright? Head toward the AMC theatre.”
“The wh— Why?”
“Oh, well there’s a movie I really wanna watch; it’s supposed to be good. Where the fuck do you think we’re going? Further down the road is a Gelson’s. They should have what we need.”