Saturday, June 20, 2015

Seeing is Becoming: Antibiotics (Part V)

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Saga trekked through the mud and thicket of the Diamond Forest with determination. Despite being natives to this land, her small search party found themselves easily falling behind her. They informed her that their home continent had more mountains and lakes, and fewer forests and deserts. She, on the other hand, was used to extreme terrain. Her job required adaptation, and she absolutely loved it. Sometimes she was miles and miles away from the nearest human. She found comfort in being alone, not because she didn’t like people, but because it left her to her own devices. The knowledge that the smallest of problems could lead to death made life that much more exciting. It was then that she realized that, aside from Vearden, she was probably lightyears from the nearest human. That was enough to make her shiver. Isolation is one thing.
Saga kept pushing forward, and eventually found herself in a clearing. The land was much flatter and barren ahead of her. When she looked back, the forest was gone. She had been transported again, but to where? Up ahead was a small white building. It could have been a home, or a one-room schoolhouse. She hadn’t really seen how the common Orothsew live, so she very well could have still been on the same planet. The rest of her group hadn’t come with her, though, so she shrugged her shoulders and moved on. There was obviously nothing more she could do to find Vearden.
Seeing no other option, she knocked on the door. A man answered it. He looked exhausted and scared, and barely noticed that she was dressed in unusual garb. She was so shocked that she barely noticed he was wearing unusual garb as well. “Can I help you?” he asked.
“Um...I was just wondering if you...had a telephone that I could borrow?”
That woke him up. “A telephone?” he said with a bit of a laugh. “You have about a decade before the telephone is invented, if I recall correctly. It’s 1868.”
“Oh, really?”
“What year are you from?”
“21st century,” Saga said. “You?”
“20th.” He looked a bit relieved. “Don’t tell me what happens.”
“Are we on Earth?”
“The hell else would we be?”
“Never mind.”
“You wouldn’t happen to be a doctor, would you?”
“Nah, I’m sorry,” Saga replied. I’m just a photographer.”
He was phenomenally disappointed. It did seem that she was sent there to help. They didn’t know who was sending them through time and space, or exactly why they were doing it. But the...powers that be, let’s call them, appear to have some kind of reason. It couldn’t just be random. The fact that she was sent back to Earth, but over 150 years earlier, had to mean something. Either she was there to help him, or he was there to help her. She was sure of it.
“But I did happen to have a medical kit when I slipped back.”
“Do you have antibiotics?”
“Indeed, for animals.”
“I thought you took pictures.”
“Yes, but you can’t usually buy human antibiotics unless you’re already sick. Survivalists buy from pet stores to be prepared.”
“You’re beautiful,” the man said. “Come on in, please. My name is Sam, by the way.”
“Saga,” she volleyed. She stepped inside and began to dig through her pack.
“Interesting name. Common in the future?” He led her into another room where a woman was sitting up in bed. She was coughing and sweating profusely. Another man was keeping her cool with a wet towel. “Who is this?”
“Our savior,” Sam answered. “She has antibiotics. Right now, we’re the only people in the world who can effectively treat pneumonia.”
“She does?” the other woman asked.
“Are those the things that kill germs and cure diseases?”
“They are,” Saga confirmed. “In so many words.”
“Looks like we’ve encountered another salmon,” the second man said. “I’m Edward. This is our friend, Lorena. Those two are from the future. I’m from the past.”
“Saga,” she repeated. “Future.”
“Are those them?” Sam asked.
“Uh, yeah.” She handed him the bottle. “Here, sorry. I just didn’t expect to meet anyone else like me. Have you been doing this long?”
“Well, with time travel, it’s a little hard to tell,” Sam said while he took a couple pills from the bottle and gave them to Lorena. “But it’s been at least a year. She and I come from the same time, and we keep meeting him at different times. Something is pulling us together, just like it pulled you here.”
“That’s fascinating. I just started. There’s no way to tell what year, though; not where I was.”
“What does that mean?”
“I’m not sure you’re ready for that.” She pointed to Edward. “I know that he isn’t.”
Edward laughed. “I think I would surprise you.”
“How many of these can you spare?”
“Every last one of them,” Saga said. That there bottle is yourn.”
Lorena nearly spit out her water. “That’s the spirit. You’re already acting like it’s 1868. You’ll fit right in. But where did you get those clothes?”
“Thats what you’re not ready for,” Saga said teasingly.
“Just tell me one thing,” Lorena started, sitting up to get more comfortable. “Do they still remember Kurt Cobain where you’re from?”
Saga shook her head affirmatively. “Of course we do.”
“Was it Courtney? I’ve always thought she did it.”
“Still just rumors, far as I know.”
Lorena grew sadder. “Could I ask you a favor?”
“I’ll do whatever I can. I can’t be sure how long I’m staying here, though.”
“We consistently head backwards in time. Edward has agreed to look him up if he reaches that point, but I was hoping you would too. It’s my son. I left him in 1994.” She began to choke up. “I don’t think I’ll ever see him again. But if you only just started, there’s a chance your pattern lets you go back and forth.”
Saga breathed in deeply. She had been hesitant to explain herself, but it was probably inevitable. She didn’t want to lie. “It’s true that I don’t know my pattern, and that my foray into 1868 was...unexpected, even after my first jump. So there’s a chance I’ll run into him. But I feel it’s only right that you know that I’m not, strictly speaking, a time traveler. I was sent to another planet. That’s why we didn’t know what year it was while we were there. I promise to look for your son if I can. I fear, however, that such a thing rests in the hands of whatever entity is controlling us.”
“I know,” Lorena agreed. “We do not appear to have control. I would still like to think that they listen to us. Maybe the three of us are stuck with our patterns, but maybe you’re not. Maybe you don’t have a pattern at all, and they really will take your feelings into consideration. I’m very religious. And I actually don’t believe in the powers that be. I believe only in God. And I trust in him.”
“I sure hope you’re right, Lorena. After these last couple of days, I’m not certain I’m not already home. But for you, I’ll pray to go back, if only to check on your son. What’s his name. Where might I find him?”
Lorena gave her the information. Sam had a few requests as well, but nothing quite so profound. To their surprise, Saga remained with them in the mid 19th century for the next three years. At that point, a portal opened up in the middle of nowhere, and she felt drawn back through it, knowing in her heart that Orothsew was where she belonged at the time. She stepped through and looked back at the friends she had grown to love deeply. Sam and Lorena disappeared to continue their travels in time, leaving Edward behind alone. He smiled and waved as well. The portal closed.
“Where did you just come from?” Vearden asked. He then took her in a bear hug. Click here for the next installment...

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