In the small hotel room Geoff stood looking out of the grimy window, watching the sunrise. He wondered what Leigh’s parents would be doing now. Would they have started funeral preparations? Would they be calling up friends and family to break the news? Did anyone even care? He clenched his fists and dug his human fingernails into his palms. They had to get there this time. He couldn’t fail; not again. He didn’t blame Corby for the train, it wasn’t her fault. It was just another tiny factor which can change the direction in which our lives are headed. One little thing can change a whole future. Maybe because they weren’t there, Leigh hadn’t committed suicide. She thought better of it. She may not have even been on Madison Avenue; she could be safe and warm at home right now...
Geoff’s wishful trail of thought stumbled along in this manner for some time. He turned to see Corby sleeping lightly on the bed. He had already slept for half an hour; that would keep him sustained for a week, at least. Humans, he sighed. So fragile. And spend far too much time sleeping.
Just as he silently moved away from the window and perched on the moth-eaten chaise by the door, Corby stirred. She looked disorientated for a moment, frightened almost, and then clapped eyes on Geoff, and realisation flooded back into her eyes. She rubbed them tentatively and swung her legs of the side of the bed.
‘What time is it?’ She asked through a yawn.
‘About 7.30am. I think we should think about leaping back further this time, and go directly to the scene, so we can stop her before she even gets near to where she threw herself out.’ Geoff spoke firmly, staring at the wall. He spoke distractedly, almost to himself.
Corby nodded solemnly.
‘Yeah, I think that’s the best idea. But just a quick question; when we stop her- I mean if we stop her, what are we going to say? To her I mean? Like, “please don’t kill yourself, I can travel through time and he’s got wings?” I don’t think that’s gonna swing too well.’
Geoff smiled wryly at this. He turned and stretched his arms out.
‘Well, not quite as eloquently as you just put it, but something along those lines.’ He replied.
‘But, she won’t want to know – she won’t except it!’ Corby cried ‘Look, I’ve tried okay? Anyone you get close to, when you share the secret...they just can’t handle it.’
Geoff sympathised. This was also something he was well experienced in.
‘Look, you know, before you realised you were a time-leaper, you knew, didn’t you? You knew there was something more, deep down, than what you saw. Well, special humans, like Leigh, they know too. Deep down, hidden away, they know. That’s why they shy away from this world. They belong to both worlds, thats why she feels lost and alone. Like, two halves of you don’t quite fit together, you feel...incomplete.’
Geoff looked quickly at the floor, not wanting to give away anything. He took a deep silent breath and turned back to Corby, whose wide eyes could see pain, just as she saw straight through his human disguise. Without any reference to his speech she got up and pulled on her jacket.
‘I’m ready.’ She said confidently. She knew this time, she had to get it right.
Geoff admired her for her rigour; she looked strong, as if she really meant it. She reached out her hand and then closed her eyes.
‘Right. Third time lucky.’ She laughed awkwardly and concentrated hard on the images flashing through her head.
Geoff took a deep breath and focussed too. He thought hard about Leigh, about her stepping off the train and onto Madison Avenue. That’s where they needed to be, to intercept her. He concentrated hard, and suddenly the tiny room dissolved away as they were thrust through enveloping darkness and scorching lights simultaneously.
Their feet hit solid ground. Geoff opened his eyes. They were standing just out of plain sight next to the metro station on Madison Avenue.
‘Is she...?’ Corby started, but Geoff saw her. She was trailing behind her mother coming up the stairs of the station.
‘Look, there! We did it!’ Geoff exclaimed, his face flushed with energy.
‘I felt so strong...like I knew we were coming to this exact moment...it was as though-‘
‘My thoughts were fuelling you?’ Geoff interrupted. ‘I was thinking of this very spot too. So hard, I must have channelled it into you.’
Corby nodded. Well, now we know two is definitely better than one when leaping.’
Geoff rolled his eyes and pulled Corby out onto the main street.
‘We can’t lose her this time.’ Geoff urged, his face taut with seriousness.
‘Don’t worry; nothing can go wrong this time.’ Corby smiled, and they made their way through the crowd, tracing the movements of Leigh and her mother.