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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Missy’s Mission: Hazytown (Part VII)

“How did this happen?” Missy questioned. She wasn’t shocked that it had been two years since they had stepped into the haze. After living in the world of salmon and choosers, nothing could really surprise her. She just literally wanted to know what had happened, so she could prevent it from happening again. “Did the haze alter time?”
“I don’t think that’s what happened,” Dar’cy said. “I think you did it.”
“I think you were in your own temporal bubble.”
“Oh. What makes you think that?”
“I think the haze causes your time powers to go haywire. I wasn’t always in there. I spent at least a day uncontrollably jumping through time and space before I made it out to this clearing.”
“But that’s not your power. You can’t just jump anywhere. You have to thread an object.”
“I think I was threading myself. Which makes sense, because...” She faltered.
“Because what?”
“Because I’ve known what I was going to look like as an adult since I was a child. I’ve been sliding across my own timeline, revisiting past events in my life. Greatest hits.”
Missy was silent for a moment. “You never told me that. Do your parents know?”
“I told no one. Ever.”
“It’s kind of a combination of all, or most, of Leona’s time traveling rules. Obviously I’m meant to avoid alternate versions of myself, but I also needed to never be surprised, but never assume I already had the whole story. It just seemed prudent to keep it to myself, and trust Future!Me would understand. She only ever showed up when I was alone. She never hurt me, and never said a word, so whenever she appeared, I just made like Elsa, and let it go.”
“Well, now that you’ve closed your loop—”
“I can die?” Dar’cy interrupted. It was true, now that everything she knew about her future had become the past, death was now back on the table.
“That’s not what I was going to say. Now that you’ve closed your loop, you understand why it happened, and it isn’t likely to happen again.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure of that.”
“Why? Did you accidentally thread into the future too?”
“Once, right at the end. Four, three, two...”
A different version of Dar’cy suddenly appeared next to Present!Dar’cy. Past!Dar’cy looked at Missy with relief. “Thank God you make it eventually,” she declared. Then she disappeared.
Present!Dar’cy smiled. “See? I always knew you’d find your way out of there.”
Missy nodded. “Not to sound ungrateful...” she hesitated.
“Why didn’t I go look for you? Once I made it out of the haze, I tried going back. It’s like walking through tar. If you try to escape, it’ll just tug on you until you get too tired to resist.” She looked up at the dome of haze above them. “I’ve not been able to go anywhere beyond the eye, as I’m calling it. I can’t even thread an object to my past again.”
“Does that mean this is it? This is the cure?”
“I dunno, man. I think it’s just a power dampener. If we found a way out, our powers would probably come back. Besides, if getting here is all it takes, we would see evidence of other people; other residents, or even bodies. But I’ve been alone the whole time. It hardly looks like anyone has ever lived here.”
“I’m so sorry. It must have been dreadfully boring.”
She shrugged. “Not as bad as you’d think. We packed enough food for a year, thank God. Since I had already seen myself with you in the future, I could reasonably believe you would return before my rations ran out. Knowing a sort of maximum ETA made it easier. It’s a good thing you came when you did, though. The food I had left would have lasted me another week. Then it’s another three weeks of slowly starving to death. As far as boredom went, there’s a decent library of books in there. I only had to reread two and a half books before today. I admit I did, uh...act out a few key scenes, to pass even more time.”
“Oh my God, I can’t apologize enough. Whatever you say, it is my fault. My powers slew me down, and you’re only here to help me.”
“I don’t wanna hear any further complaining or self-pity about it. I made my choices, and I don’t regret them. Being on The Warren wasn’t all that fun before, and I doubt it’s any more interesting now. At least here I’m on an adventure.”
“I don’t suppose you know what the next step might be. Is there a secret portal, or a special knock to summon one of the powers that be?”
“Oh, I know what the next step is. I found it my first week here. I couldn’t go through, because I didn’t know if I would be able to get back out. We can go together. You might wanna shower first, though. There’s running water.”
Missy took her up on that offer to clean herself up. She couldn’t even be bothered to get dressed afterwards. The relaxing water had reminded her how terribly tired she was, so she sent her face right towards the bed. She was unconscious before hitting the pillow.
Dar’cy was sleeping next to her when she woke up hours later, so she snuck out of the bed, and tiptoed downstairs. Feeling the need to contribute positively to this endeavor, she lifted the bag of holding, and began to empty it out in the living room, so she could take inventory. They had a few days of food between the two of them, and as much water as they had before, since Dar’cy was able to drink from the indoor plumbing. Their tent was still in good condition, as were their sleeping bags. Fire kit, extra clothes, duct tape, med kit, some random objects Dar’cy could thread to her past in an emergency, and everything else you would find in a doomsday prepper’s go-bag. She even packed two—
“What are you doing?” Dar’cy asked, having come downstairs unheard.
“What are these things?” Missy asked her.
“Tactical uniforms.”
“For, like, war?”
“If it comes to that. The pockets are microdimensions.”
“I though that’s what the bag was.”
“That’s a minidimension. But I’m glad you found those. We should put them on. Could come in handy.”
Missy just sat there.
“I’m not asking you to carry a gun, just put on a uniform. It’s rocketproof too, in a way that means anyone who tries to shoot you will only find the projectile being reflected back at them. We should have been wearing them the whole time.”
“How much did these cost?”
“Let’s just say I bought them on credit.”
“Dar’cy,” she scolded.
“Missy,” she exaggeratedly mimicked. “That’s what you sound like.”
“Fine, I’ll do it. But only because you look sexy when you wear your shirt backwards.”
“Oh, shit. I thought it felt tight around the neck.”
They changed their clothes, and stepped outside.
“The portal’s out here?” Missy asked.
“It’s not really a portal.” She walked over to the side of the house, and lifted up one of the vinyl panels. Inside was a flashlight.
“Is that the flashlight that Hokusai used to stop Durus from colliding into Earth?”
“No. That one was destroyed. This is a second Rothko Torch. We only have a few minutes before it snaps back in place. But that should be long enough to complete the show.”
“The what?”
Dar’cy gathered her bearings, and found the spot she was looking for several meters in front of the house. Then she flipped on the flashlight, and shone it in front of her. Three people appeared, like translucent ghosts, fading in and out as Dar’cy moved the light around. They paid the two of them no mind, so Missy didn’t think they had been transported to the past. This was like watching a three-dimensional movie. One woman was aggressively holding onto the other, while the man watched them, unrelenting to the victim, who seemed to be begging for him to help. Since the flashlight did not come with any sound, Missy had to guess what they were saying. The attacking woman overcame her victim with a powerful energy, that eventually consumed her entirely, until she was gone. Now apparently equipped with more power than she could handle, the surviving woman grasped her head, and started yelling at the man to run away, which he agreed.
“We’re reaching the point of no return,” Dar’cy explained. “I always stop watching after this, because I can feel it happening.”
“Yeah, I feel it too.”
The energy was too much for the woman from the past. She exploded, sending that energy in a wave in all directions, thereby creating the haze that Missy had been trapped in for two years. Once it had reached some limit, the wave started pulling itself back in towards the center. The flashlight disappeared from Dar’cy’s hand, presumably having been called back to its home in the wall, but the images remained. The two of them braced themselves against each other as the portalcane came rushing back towards them, bringing with it what looked like the man, who had not run fast or far enough. Light filled Missy’s eyes, forcing them closed.
When she was able to open them again, they were standing in the middle of a crowd of white monsters. The man was now being held up by one of the monsters, while another spoke to him. “Dwesben ke Ansutah,” it said.
“Ansutah?” the man asked.
“Ansutah,” it repeated as it presented the world to him. Then it laughed—as did everyone else—before punching him in the face, and knocking him unconscious.
As its friend was carrying the man away, someone in the crowd pointed to Missy and Dar’cy, who had been assuming they were still invisible. “Ondi dwesben foa laidi bim!” it cried to the leader.
“Universal translator,” Dar’cy advised under her breath. “Left breast pocket.”
Missy took out what looked like a very involved surgical mask, and placed it over her mouth and ears as the monster leader was walking towards them with a grin. Only then did Missy realize that there were other humans, scattered around the open area. They were still teleporting in randomly. These must be the ones who were seeking an end to their powers. The portal must have taken everybody to the same moment in time, no matter when they left.
“Do those things help you understand my language?” the monster leader asked in what sounded like English. His mouth still moved as if speaking his native language, though, which fictional stories about automatic translators never seemed to account for. Remember, subs, not dubs.
“They do,” Dar’cy answered through her own translator mask.
A guardsman came up, and reached for Missy, which forced Dar’cy into fight mode. She made quick work of him, getting him to the ground in a matter of seconds. The leader was surprised and impressed. A second guardsman came up to take the first one’s place, but the leader stopped him with a mere gesture. “Lock the others up!” he ordered his people. “I’ll speak with these two first! Please come with me,” he requested of them.
“Only if you don’t hurt the other humans.”
“Humans?” he asked with another laugh. “You mean the gods?”

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