“So… no smoke, no fire, just ash… and the F***ING STRINGS ARE DISSAPEARING?!?”
Ok, so I may have lost my cool for a second there. I pace up and down, hands behind my head, breathing deep to try and calm down. It wasn’t working.
“So just what are we dealing with here?” Tome asked, his voice calm but betrayed by how his hand was shaking.
“Try and read them” Lix suggested, propping Pete up so he wouldn’t fall down onto his injuries. Tome stepped forward, placed a hand on one of the fading strings and closed his eyes.
Alright, I’m going to have to do another explaining session, but I swear, this will be the last one. I’ll try to fit everything in, because I’m tired of stopping and starting because of you guys anyway.
Everyone in Sanctuary, well, you could refer to us as ‘gifted’. Seems like we got in on our merits. Tome (not his real name) can ‘read’ the strings – find out who or what each one represents, look at their timeline, like reading information from a book (hence the nickname). Harmony is super-observant, and remembers everything. It’s weird, but amazingly useful. Jimmy was telepathic, and Pete can create things out of junk. Change matter, or something like that. Though I don’t think he’ll be able to do that any more with his hands cooked crispy.
That leaves Lix, and me. Both time travellers, which is an increasingly rare find these days. I was brought here by other travellers (long gone now) and Lix just appeared here one day. Made a blind jump, and ended up outside of time and space. What are the chances.
As the string continued to turn to ash, the bottom getting closer to Tome’s hands, I got more and more worried. Usually Tome would talk to us about what he was seeing, so Harmony could remember it if he didn’t. But this time he was silent. Like he was locked in, like right now for him, nothing else seemed to exist outside of the string.
Turns out I was only half right/wrong.
As the bottom of the string rose above his hands, Tome jerked back and fell down. The ash covered his palms, and he brushed it off quickly like it frightened him.
“What did you get?” I crouched down in front of him, drawing his eyes to mine. His wide and bloodshot, mine simply questioning.
“What do you mean?”
“There was nothing there.”
“The string focussed on… nothing?”
“Yeah. No… wait.”
“The smoke blinds your eyes. The heat makes it unwind.”
Four heads swung round to look at Pete. He was sat cross-legged on the floor, smiling. Harmony stopped her first aid and took a step back. We waited for more, but none came.
“What was that, Pete? Say it again mate.” Tome whispered.
Pete repeated what he said, then rested his chin on his good hand, staring at Tome.
Silence reigned for a few minutes. Tome broke it.
“Guys… it wasn’t nothing. It was normal to start with – just some bloke in the twenty-ninth millennium. Just showed his life, like it should. But then it started to… change. Something re-wrote it, working backwards from end to beginning. And then there was nothing. Nothing after that part got turned to ash.”
Another few minutes of silence. Harmony broke it this time.
“Fixer, that doesn’t make sense. Yes, history can be changed, but if another traveller had gone back, we would have seen his string glowing brighter, not… doing this. It doesn’t add up. This is something more, like nothing I can remember seeing.”
“The smoke blinds your eyes. The heat makes it unwind.”Pete chanted.
Harmony whirled round. “What does that even mean?” she shouted at him.
Without hesitation, Pete reached out and grabbed Harmony and I by the forearm. Then we vanished.