Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: April 21, 2045 (Part I)

Click here for the 2015 table of contents.

Reaver had far more loyalists than Mateo thought he would. Once they jumped into 2045, a decently-sized security contingency overwhelmed them. They patted the two of them down to make sure they didn’t have any weapons, and then bound their wrists behind their backs before taking them back up to the house. Reaver was in the middle of cooking breakfast foods when they were ushered into the kitchen. “Really?” Mateo asked. “Cooking? What did you do, watch every movie with an evil villain and just copy their movements? Next you’re going to speak in an accent and touch my skin with vaguely homoerotic overtones.”
“Mister Matic,” he said, “I’m impressed. You so often prove yourself to be completely out of touch and uncultured, but here you are making hollywood cliché references.”
“I like to play to my audience.”
“We had a deal,” Leona said. “We help you out of prison, and you help us stop the powers that be.”
“No, you misunderstood,” he explained. “I needed your help breaking out of prison. And good job with that, by the way. Very clever using your own pattern against the security system. Very clever indeed, however, I would have preferred not waiting a whole year for your return. You were right; that was torture. I’m not surprised people go crazy waiting for you to come back.” He finally switched back to his main point, “but I’m not here to help you find the choosing ones. You’re still the ones helping. I’m intending to contact them for my own reasons, and that may or may not work out for you.”
“Well, we don’t know the context,” Leona said. “How are you contacting them? You said you know where they are, but how do we get there? You obviously do still need us quite a bit, otherwise you would have done it this past year. So you have a day to get it done.”
“You’re right,” Reaver agreed. “You’re not just helping; you are vital to my plan. But we can’t actually do anything for the majority of today. Like your prison break, my plan hinges on the fact that you’ll jump into the future in 24 hours.”
“Explain.”
“I will. Be patient,” he said coyly. “I’m gonna stick you two in a comfortable room for the time being. Don’t worry, there aren’t any cameras. I have no interest in seeing you two do whatever you do when you’re alone. I suggest you get some rest since you were up all day last year, paranoid that I would kill you in your sleep.”
“Why should we be less paranoid now?” Mateo asked. “Nothing’s changed.”
“Right again. But what are you gonna do? Ten feet up, or six feet under; your choice. You’ll be given food later, maybe some noodles, but it won’t be my world famous quiche. You’ve hurt my feelings.”
“Reaver,” Leona started, probably wanting to know more about his plans for them.
“Okay, you can have the quiche. As long as you promise not to ruin it with additional seasoning.” He redirected his words to the paramilitary officer still holding onto their arms. “Take them upstairs, Lieutenant Franklin.”

Against their better judgment, Mateo and Leona found some sleep in their latest prison. Being locked up was becoming a trend; one that needed to be put to a stop. Lieutenant Franklin came in with food every six hours. They tried to interact with him, and ask why he was loyal to someone who had caused so much destruction, but he never said a word. At about a quarter to midnight, he came in once more and escorted them all the way down to the basement where Reaver was once again putting on a show; acting like he was in the middle of a good book.
“We know you’re faking it,” Mateo whined. “Just tell us what your plan is. We don’t have all year.”
“Haha,” Reaver pretended to laugh. “Good one.” His demeanor changed. He became more serious and concerned. “Here’s where things change. Last time I went through this day, I did nothing. I had to wait for my rewind, or the plan would fail.” He took out a fixed-blade knife and almost began to cry. “Now, here’s the thing. I don’t want to do this. I just don’t know any other way.”
“You said you would stop trying to kill us.”
Now he really was crying. “I need to one more time. Just once more. Then it’ll be over. The choosing ones will jump in and send me back. Then this will all be erased.”
Leona stood in front of Mateo and spread her arms in defense. “You’re not going to hurt him again!”
Reaver continued to cry as he shook his head. “No, I’m not. This one’s not about him. I’m sorry.”
He raised his weapon in the air and prepared to plunge it into Leona’s chest, but an arm came out of nowhere and held him back. “Get that thing away from my daughter-in-law,” Mateo’s birth father, Mario commanded.
Reaver laughed through his tears. “I should have known they would send you.”
Mario knocked the knife out of Reaver’s hand and pushed him to the floor. “Yes, they finally gave me this assignment.”
“Dad?” Mario asked. “You’re one of the powers that be?”
“No,” he answered. “What makes you think that?”
“He said they would come if he tried to kill her.”
“They’ll only come if I do kill her,” Reaver said from the floor. He jumped up and tackled Mario. They struggled with each other on the floor.
Mateo tried to help, but a man he didn’t know came out of nowhere and held him back. “What are you doing? Let me go!”
Leona tried to help Mario as well, but the man was strong enough to hold her back too. “Screw you, Mateo.” His spit landed in Mateo’s ear. He pushed Leona to the floor where she hit her head on a table, and then he stabbed Mateo in the gut.
Mario screamed, “no!”
This gave Reaver enough room to reach under his chair and take out a gun. He pointed it at Mario’s head and squeezed the trigger.
This time, Leona screamed, “no!”
“Who the hell are you?” Reaver asked of the man as he was standing up, a bit out of breath. Apparently, he didn’t know him either.
The man switched his knife to the other hand and all but growled at Reaver. “I’m the cleanser. I am the yang! I am here to end this!” He lunged with his knife but Reaver just shot him in the head as well.
Reaver sort of shook his head in a twitch like he had just tasted something sour. “That was weird.” While Mateo was trying to stuff his blood back into his stomach, Reaver slowly walked over to Leona who was massaging her head. He whispered loud enough so that Mateo could hear, “I’m going to save you, my love.” He dragged the blade across her neck and let her life seep out of the opening.
Now it was Mateo’s turn to scream, “no!”
A woman appeared out of nowhere with seething anger. “I never thought you would go this far.” She was the same woman that Mateo saw in the Constant following his escape from Reaver’s facility. She was also at Daria’s funeral.
“It’s a sad world when a father has to kill the love of his life to get his daughter’s attention.”
Mateo kept his hands pressed to his stomach while he pushed himself to sit against the wall with his elbows. “Love of your life?” he repeated listlessly. His whole body felt heavy, and his world became blurry. He was dying. “Daughter?”
“Not only that,” Reaver said, haphazardly dropping the knife on the ground. “She’s one of the choosers. She’s one of the people doing this to us.”
“I am doing nothing to you,” she amended. “It would be a conflict of interest.”
“Can you save her?” Mateo asked through tears. “Can you save Leona and my father?”
“Yes, dear,” Reaver agreed. “Do save her. Send me back to the point of divergence and let’s try this one more time!”
“I can’t send you back,” the woman said. “Like I said, it would be a conflict of interest. There are rules. I literally have no way of subverting them.” She looked towards Mateo. “But I can send him back.”
“If you send him back, he’ll ruin all this! He’ll do everything he did before!”
“I’m not sending him back to the point of divergence you’re talking about. I’m just sending him back one day. That is, if he would like me to.” She turned to Mateo. “But you have to decide in the next thirty seconds. I’ll only be able to hijack your jump just before it happens. If you jump to 2046, all is lost.”
Mateo slid his back against the wall and painfully got to his feet. “Do it.”
Come midnight, Mateo jumped, but this time backwards. It was once again April 21, 2045. Click here for the next installment...

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