Saturday, January 9, 2016

Overwritten: Confused and Grumpy (Part II)

Click here for the previous installment...
Click here for the entire story.

Brian and I make some big decisions. If I’ve been given a second chance at life then I have a responsibility to go full force. College was nice the first time around, but it didn’t really help me in the end. One thing I do know is what companies are going to succeed and when. Sort of. I don’t exactly have perfect recall, so it’s not like I can invest in a company and sell it off the day before it makes a big dip. I also feel the need to keep myself particularly anonymous, in case Horace Reaver or his sponsor realize that they weren’t the only ones who went back in time. Instead, it’s my job to tell Brian what stocks to buy, and give him by best estimate as to when to sell them. Everything is in his name. Lincoln Rutherford is nobody.
While we’re living off of our investments, we move to Kansas and try to keep tabs on Horace Reaver. Our families are shocked by our massive shifts in lifestyles, but the money I send to my parents on a weekly basis is enough to keep them from asking too many questions. I assure them that it has nothing to do with guns or drugs, and they consider that to be a satisfactory answer. It’s fairly easy to convince them since there is a paper trail, and I’m not lying. We don’t do anything too big because, again, we don’t want to raise suspicion. The IRS and the FTC are threats to us as well. As far as we can tell, Reaver isn’t killing anybody. But then again, he’s just a kid at this point in the timeline. He does check himself into a mental institution, but we don’t quite know why.
After a few months of being completely confused and grumpy about sometimes having the knowledge of two conflicting outcomes of events, Brian makes a suggestion. I start to keep a journal, and even later publish my writings to a public blog, under the guise of fictional stories. I write down anything and everything I remember from the alternate timeline, so that when this timeline overwrites my memories, I have some reference to go back to. I half believe the timey-wimey ball will erase my stories from the web just because, but it keeps rolling and leaves me alone. I spend a not insignificant amount of time rereading my own work after the memories in question have left me. The stories feel like just that; stories. They don’t seem real to me, and I barely recall even writing them down. It’s like another person’s life, but everything he does is what I would do. This gives reliable ol’ Brian yet another bright idea. Since my memory loss is giving me a fair amount of stress, he helps me check myself into the same mental institution as Horace Reaver. This allows me to get a closer look while also hopefully actually helping me feel better. Again, it’s not like I’m lying.
“My name’s Kyle,” a man several years older than me says with his hand outstretched, like we’re meeting for a business lunch.
“You don’t like to talk in group.”
“You’re losing memories?”
“I am.”
“I think there’s something more to it.”
“Whatever do you mean?”
Kyle eyes me curiously. “I’m just gonna throw something out there. Know that I’m a lawyer, and I can tell when you’re lying. So it doesn’t matter how you answer. I’ll know the truth from your reaction; your microexpressions.”
“Give it a shot,” I say, trying to sound as cool as possible. Does he know?
“Are you a time traveler?” He does, what the hell?
He smiles and lifts his head in understanding.
I take a chance, “I mean, yes. How did you know?”
“I’ve seen it before.”
“How do you know they weren’t lying?”
“No, I mean I literally saw it. A few years ago, my friend disappeared before my eyes in a cemetery. I just saw him about a week ago. He came to prove that he’s still alive and well. But I can tell that he’s the same.”
“What do you mean he’s the same?” I repeat.
“I mean for me it’s been years, but I can tell that it’s only been a few days for him, not because he hasn’t aged, but because he hasn’t grown. He’s been skipping time. I don’t know why since I’m not in his circle of trust, but he’s not my concern. I only used him as a template so that when a second guy told me that he was in a similar condition, it just confirmed it. Time travel is real. That second traveler actually lives here.”
“Horace Reaver,” I say.
“He’s talked to you too,” he says, only half as a question.
“As far as I know, he does not know about me. I would appreciate it if you kept me to yourself. It’s possible I was sent back with him to keep him in line.”
“Why would he need that?”
“He killed people in the future.”
“So you’re not having memory problems?” Kyle asks, not as worried about learning that his little friend is a murder.
“No, I am,” I clarify. “But my memories of 2038 have yet to be overwritten, so they’re still there. I know what he is, and I have to stop him.”
“We can do that together. As long as it means you’re not planning on killing him.”
“My friend says that you can’t kill Hitler.”
“He’s as bad as Hitler?”
“No,” I say, holding back a terrible laugh. “It’s just an expression. If I tried stopping him before he becomes what he becomes, then I could end up being the one who makes him what he becomes. So for now, I’m just going to watch.”
“He has big ideas about the future, Lincoln,” Kyle admits. “He doesn’t want to take over the world, but he wants to make it a better place. Whether he’s capable of this is yet to be seen, but he certainly believes that to be his destiny.”
“I see.”
“Since you apparently know what he turns into, should I stop him? Should I crush his dreams?”
I think about this for a moment. Brian says that Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act is not to be taken so literally. If time doesn’t want you to do something, then you won’t be able to do it. One thing to keep in mind is that Reaver is in the same boat. He knows the same things as me, if not more. He’s apparently already shown an interest in doing things differently. Perhaps his entire goal is to prevent his own murders by making his life better, so he’s not necessarily fated to become a maniac. There’s a chance to save him, but I have to be in it for the long haul. No single moment makes someone who they are. This is going to be a fulltime job, and I’m going to need help. Kyle is perfect, because I don’t have to convince him of the truth. I just need to stay with him, and make sure that we’re making the right decisions. But from behind the scenes. It is absolutely imperative that Horace Reaver know nothing of my involvement, or the plan fails; whatever that plan may turn out to be. “Foster his dreams,” I say, almost like an order.
“How’s that now? He wants to build a multi-billion dollar conglomerate. Are we sure that’s wise?”
“All the better. He wasn’t a billionaire in the original timeline, and that’s the one where he kills people. I was never familiar enough with the case to fully understand his motivations, but if he’s rich, maybe that’ll be enough. At the very least, we’ve stepped on a number of butterflies by helping him. We must diverge from the other timeline as much as possible. I understand this now.” I grow very serious and start pointing my finger at Kyle. “But you have to stay with him. You have to make him a better person. Don’t give yourself away, but don’t slack off. Give him what he needs, even if he doesn’t know what that is.”
“What are you going to do?”
I shrug. “I’m going to do what I already know. I’m going to become a security guard. And if he ever does build that conglomerate, I’ll be the first in line to apply.” Click here for the next installment...

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