Sentience of Time – Chapter XVII: Hope Not Lost
August 24, 2013

Sentience of Time – Chapter XVII

The following story is a work of fiction and is 100 percent original work. I will be publishing a chapter per week on Saturdays, which can be viewed right here on redOrbit Blogs / Sci-Fi Saturday. I have always been interested in writing science fiction and this is a step toward realizing my dreams. I hope you enjoy this serial novel a chapter at a time!

Chapter XVII: Hope Not Lost

(June 9, 2020 – 4:40 a.m.)

Jazz sat in the car quietly waiting for Jack to finish pumping the gas. She glanced over at a store clerk who was standing by a window looking out at the duo. Jazz for the first time felt like something was more than amiss. There were several questions, but only a few answers; perhaps no answers that she wanted here. She shook the communicator again hoping it would come back online.

“Why won’t this thing work?” Jazz sighed. She threw it in her lap and slapped her head back against the passenger seat’s head rest. She looked over again toward the store and noticed the clerk was now on the phone and was pointing in their direction. Jazz opened the car door to alert Jack.

“Jack, I think we have an issue.” Jazz stepped out of the car and looked over the rooftop in his direction. She pointed toward the store. “Why does that not look right?”

Jack slid the nozzle into the gas pump slot and then looked on toward the store. “What is wrong?” he responded curiously.

“Umm,” Jazz noted with nervousness. “He is looking this way, pointing this way, and he looks like he is afraid. That look is fear.” She walked over toward Jack. We need to just get in the car and go. She tried to push Jack toward the driver side door.

“We just can’t leave.” Jack shrugged off Jazz’s motion. “I have to pay the man.”

“Uh, yeah,” Jazz replied. “I don’t think we should worry about that right now.” Just as those words left her mouth the sound of sirens could be heard in the distance. Jazz turned her attention to the road. “Okay Jack, we have to go.”

Jack started walking toward the store. “I am paying then we can go.”

“Jack!” Jazz demanded him to stop. “The law is coming and I know what they want. We have to go now. Please,” she begged. She raced to the driver’s side door. “Either you come back now or I will have to leave without you.”

Jack, who did not understand why there was such urgency, who did not understand why the police were being called, who was still trying to make sense of everything that had happened, motioned that he needed to go inside.

“I don’t know what the hell is going on, but I am paying the clerk and I am asking him what the hell is going on. We can deal with the police when they get here. Now sit in the car and wait for me.”

As Jack pointed his finger toward the car, Jazz noticed the clerk locking the front door of the store. “Jack, he is locking the doors. Please come back now.” She watched as Jack approached the door. The sirens became louder. Jazz jumped into the driver’s seat and shut the car door. She turned the ignition and then glanced back over toward the store.

Jack tried pushing the door open but as Jazz had noted, it was locked. He still tried a few times. He peered in and watched the store clerk as he disappeared into a back room. Jack turned his attention to the car. He threw down a fifty-dollar bill on the ground and then began racing back toward the car.

Jazz slid over into the passenger seat as Jack approached the car. “Come on Jack, we got to get out of here now.”

Jack jumped down into the driver’s seat and sped off just as the door was slamming shut. He raced off in the opposite direction of the sirens. Jazz turned to look over the back of the seat. She could see lights flashing several hundred feet away. She hoped they would not discern their exit.

(June 9, 2020 – 1:15 p.m.)

Cobi continued punching numbers on the communicator, trying to determine why it was not working. He paced back and forth in the wooded area yelling out expletives to himself. He moved toward a stump and cleared it off and sat down. He gleamed at the box and thought about what could make it not work.

He pondered the possibilities, which of course did not include the likelihood that the future world had shut off a link to the past.

“What the hell?” Cobi stood up and walked over to the communicator sitting on the ground. He reached down and picked it up. He thought maybe the communicator was directly associated with Jazz and he needed to be within her presence for it to work. However, going back to that area could be risky.

Still, he needed to try it and see.

(June 9, 2020 – 5:25 a.m.)

Jack pulled the car over at a turnout on the side of the road. They had been driving for about 20 minutes and Jack needed more answers himself. He put the car in park and turned off the engine. His eyes peeked over at Jazz. Who looked pretty shaken up.

“I need to know what the hell is going on and I need to know now!” Jack demanded. “I have been extremely willing to extend my help in this debacle, but I need to know everything.” Jack grabbed Jazz’s arm. “Why did he call the cops on us?”

Jazz turned to Jack. Her eyes were reddened as she had been sobbing in silence. She wiped her eyes and then wiped her hands on her leg.

“That guy was at the store when I jumped. I remember seeing him now. I remember seeing him as I darted out the door after you touched me. What I don’t understand is how seeing you made him act. What did you do that caused him to call the law?”

Jack looked down in his lap. “I left and followed you. I remember seeing him now too. He was walking in through the door as I ran out. But why is he calling the cops? We didn’t do anything? Did we?”

“We need to find my future self. If everything is working out like it should, we should converge sometime today. But I need to be close in order for it to happen. We need to go back to that store. The answers are there.” Jazz pulled out her box; it was still offline. “However, if this thing doesn’t work again then why am I even bothering?”

Jazz held her head down and began weeping again.

(June 9, 2020 – 1:23 p.m.)

Jazz had been lying on the ground for what seemed like hours. She tried to pull herself closer to the side of the road. She felt warmth on her face and moved her arm up to feel it. The warm feeling ran slowly down the side of her face. Jazz looked at her fingers and discerned the thick redness was blood. She remembered now what had happened.

She wasn’t sure how bad it was, but for some reason she was still living. The bullet that entered her back was providing the most pain, and she couldn’t get to her feet. The forehead wound must have only been a grazer as there was no massive amount of blood coming from the wound. Still, she knew she was likely going to die from the wounds. The other bullet luckily only caught her left arm.

Jazz struggled to get herself to the edge of the road to a point that hopefully someone would find her. It didn’t look like the road was heavily traveled; at least it wasn’t driven on. But she had hoped a jogger or hiker would happen by and save her life. But she did not expect to see a return of Cobi. In fact, she hoped he would not return.

As Jazz lied there in her bloodied body, she pondered how it would go down. Would Cobi return to the future and kill them all and then end time travel? Would he plea to return to the life he once had? Would he just go back to where he knew he belonged? “Whatever the reason, it sure sucked she was left out of the equation,” Jazz thought to herself.

Cobi found himself at the entrance to the dirt road leading to Jazz’s body. He hoped that nobody would have found her yet. He turned onto the small pathway and began driving toward Jazz.

Stay tuned next week for Chapter XVIII

Image Credit: Bruce Rolff / Shutterstock

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