Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: April 7, 2031

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Click here for the 2015 table of contents.

Aura (formerly known as Lauren) Gardner dove across the car and tackled her son. “Matty!”
He hugged her tightly back.
“I’m so sorry,” she apologized. “I didn’t want to leave you. I didn’t have a choice. They took me. They took me away from  you, and I’ve been trying to get back ever since. I never thought I would, but I guess they’re done with me. I’m here. You’re here. Everything is going to be fine.” She backed up a bit. “Let me get a look at you. My, it’s been, what? Fifteen years, maybe twenty? Oh, you have so much to tell me, I’m sure. But first, I need to explain where I’ve been.”
“I know where you’ve been,” Mateo admitted.
“How would you know that? Did you find Edward’s records?”
“Better,” Theo jumped in. “He found Edward. I go by Theo now.”
Aura stared at Theo like he was a ghost and fell back to her seat.
“You were reincarnated too?” the other man asked.
“Indeed...what name has been chosen for you this time?”
“Samsonite,” the man said. “Aura and I felt our new assignments before we left. That’s how we knew that we were jumping soon. But we figured we would land in the eleventh century. What year is this?”
They exchanged as much information as possible, but there wasn’t nearly enough time. Mateo thought that all five of them would be sent to the future, based on what Danica had said about them being a whole party.

Unfortunately, Mateo was wrong. Midnight came and sent both Mateo and Leona to April 7, 2031. They were alone in the clearing. They waited for signs of life but nothing came. They remained there alone for a half hour, hoping to see Leona’s brother, Mateo’s mother, and her significant other. “Leona. We should call them. Danica gave us those phones, remember?”
“I have the phones,” Leona replied in a huff. “I have all of the phones. I forgot to pass them out.”
“Okay,” Mateo said gently. “That’s okay. We’ll find them.”
“Where?” Leona asked angrily. “We’re in the middle of nowhere Canada! Your mother was only familiar with this area back in God-knows-when. Other than that, we have no connection to this town. We don’t know anyone, and we don’t have money! It’s pretty cold here for April, so that’s not great! Our only chance is to get back to Kansas, wishin’ and hopin’ that your family thinks to check there every year, just in case, but that’s practically impossible!”
“Give me one of the phones.”
“I told you. I have all of them. There’s no one to call!”
“Would you just trust me?” She was not happy, but handed one of the phones over anyway. While she walked away to kick the dirt around, Mateo discovered that they had access to the present-day internet. It was a little tough to navigate. Not only was the phone probably from deep in the future, but the internet had changed in the last 17 years. “I found it. Let’s go.”
“Where are we going?”
“There’s a hotel not twenty minutes from here by foot.”
“Do you remember me telling you the part about not having any money?”
“At the very least, we can get out of the cold. Hopefully we can work something out. If not, we’ll figure something else out.”
“Great plan, Mateo.”
“If we don’t try something, we’re going to die out here.”
The moonlight was hardly enough to see her face, but she was very obviously fuming. “Good point.” She began to walk away. “What are you waiting for?”
“It’s this way,” Mateo told her.
“Well why didn’t you say that?”
They walked out of the field, along some kind of body of water, past the high school, and through town. They ran a little bit of the way, not only to warm up, but because they were in a hurry to find a way out of their predicament. As soon as they walked into the inn, the man at the counter greeted them. “Welcome to Canada. Here is your itinerary.”
“Pardon?” Mateo asked, slightly out of breath.
“The jet leaves in one hour. A car is being brought around to automatically drive you to the base. From there, a state of the art aircraft will take you all the way to your final destination in San Diego. Shouldn’t take more than two hours.”
Leona took the itinerary. “What’s in San Diego?”
“I’m afraid I don’t have that information. But Mr. Reaver personally came out to ensure that you were taken care of. He said that you would be able to find the rest of your party there.”
Mateo looked up from the packet. “Our family must be down there. But why?”
“Let’s go outside,” Leona suggested.
“Wait, I have a few more questions.”
“Mateo. Outside. Now,” she insisted. She turned to the innkeeper. “Thank you very much, sir. Mr. Reaver will be very pleased with your service.” The innkeeper smiled as they walked out. Once they were out of earshot, Leona pulled him to the side. “We cannot get on that jet.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You don’t find this a little weird?”
“Nothing in my life has been normal for the last couple of weeks...decades.”
“Do you recognize the name Reaver?”
“I’ve heard it before. I can’t place it. We know him?”
“His company is the one who bought up the warehouse district where we had our surgeries. He’s been under a lot of suspicion. The authorities haven’t been able to find any evidence, but his business practices are shady at best. He’s responsible for a lot of unemployment, gentrification, and even a standard increase in the business day. He’s basically the anti-Google, and he’s just as powerful, if not more.”
“Why the hell would a guy like that have anything to do with us?” He started to look up Reaver Enterprises on his phone. “Theo is a pretty interesting kid, but I have a hard time believing he’s already networked this much. He’s not yet a teen—oh my God,” he interrupted himself
“What is it?”
He was looking at a picture of Horace Reaver. “This is him. This is the guy who tried to kill me when I jumped to the future.”
“He’s a salmon. That actually makes sense. It explains how he’s advanced technology so much.”
“What are we going to do? He probably has our family. We have to get them back, but you’re right, we cannot get on that jet.”
“This packet has the address of where we’re supposed to go once in San Diego. We have to find a way to get there on our own.” A car pulled up in front of them. The door opened, revealing the inside to be empty. “Run,” Leona ordered.
As they ran away from the inn, Leona looked through her phone for the nearest airport. The directions said that it was going to take almost an hour to walk to Lake Vernon, but they were able to wade through a stream and cross a highway to cut that down. They were exhausted when they arrived. Just as they were deciding whether they should try and figure out how to steal a plane, a woman approached them on the dock. “Can I help you?”
They froze, unsure of what they should say. They had already established that they had no money, but they also had no other form of compensation. They didn’t have a fancy watch to sell, or any special skills to trade. No one in their right mind would help two freaky people looking for a trip to San Diego at two in the morning. They say that honesty is the best policy, but Mateo decided to fudge the truth a little. “An evil business magnate kidnapped our family and is holding them hostage in San Diego. He says only he can get us there in time before he kills them at midnight since he stole our passports. We were going to steal your plane, because we’re desperate.”
“Are you talking about Horace Reaver?”
“We are,” Leona answered.
“Get in,” the woman said. “My brother died of cancer after working for Evil Enterprises.”
They got lucky. True to her word the woman, who refused to exchange names, flew them all the way to California. They were there many hours later than Reaver would have expected them, which could either be very good because he would have no idea where they were, or very bad because he may have decided to kill their family. The woman couldn’t be any more involved than she already was, so she immediately started getting ready to leave after dropping them off on Lower Otay Lake, having not filed a flight plan. The last thing she did was give Leona a few hundred dollars and a gun, saying that they might need it. Leona later said that it seemed very un-Canadian of her.
Mateo and Leona made their way towards the address written at the end of the packet, hoping that it wasn’t a diversion. It took quite a long time to get across town, especially since they were not quite in San Diego from the start. They had to find a cab that was not only driven by a human, but who would also accept Canadian bills. He appeared to be sympathetic to their troubles after they mentioned Reaver again. It would appear that everyone hated him, but no one was capable of defeating him. Mateo couldn’t help but feel like doing just that was exactly the reason he was turned into a time traveler, despite the Delegator’s claim that he had no official job.
They found Aura, Samsonite, and little Theo chained up in the middle of an abandoned warehouse, drained of energy and literally starving. They weren’t even under guard. After getting some food and freshening up, they posited that Reaver was only ever interested in killing Mateo and Leona, and that the jet was engineered to blow up or crash. The only reason he was keeping the other three hostage was so that they wouldn’t be able to make contact. Why he bothered giving them the address was the only thing that truly could not be explained.
Mateo wanted to finally catch up with his long-lost mother, but he fell asleep while they were talking. By the time he woke up next to Leona in the motel bed, it was noon of the following year. Click here for the next installment...

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