Sorry for not posting in a while but I have 2 good excuses.
1) I came down with a bad case of pneumonia. I was too busy coughing up phlegm to do anything productive.
2) After my health improved, I reread the ending to this and realized that not only is the ending really anti-climactic, but it was also borderline plagiarism. (That’s what you get when you don’t plan ahead, people!) So I’ve been editing it a bit in an attempt to not make it the worst thing ever. I still might get sued for plagiarism, but at least now my ending’s slightly original.
Also, keep your expectations low from now on. Just to be safe.
Chapter 9: The Penultimate Chapter
No bullet came out of the gun, and everyone save Smith sighed with relief.
Trying to make sense of this, I tried to count in my head the amount of bullets Smith shot earlier. Was it four of five times he shot the cyborg? The obvious answer was six, but there was no way it was more than five.
Then I remembered when L. Smith had shot down the hallway earlier in an attempt to wake Chloe. It added up.
“Thank goodness,” said Chloe, breathing a sigh of relief.
“I’m so glad you didn’t just die right there,” said Jake. “I would have been all like ‘Oh no!'”
“I know, right?” said Chloe. “That was quite the nail-biter. Even worse if you had to wait over a week to find out what happened.”
While the two were talking Smith just calmly reloaded his gun. “You do realize I could just shoot you again, right?”
“Okay,” said Chloe, indifferently. She even yawned. “You can kill me.”
“What?” asked Smith, just as surprised as the rest of us.
“You heard me,” she said. “You can kill me, but you probably shouldn’t.” Smith eyed her suspiciously. So did I. Chloe hadn’t been acting herself since she woke up, thought that was probably because of the current life-or-death situation at hand.
“You know something, don’t you?” asked Smith.
“Yeah,” said Chloe. “I’m surprised you, being from the future and all, haven’t figured it out.”
“If you know something that could potentially save your life, why are you just telling us about it now and not when I was about to kill you a couple seconds ago?” asked Smith.
“I counted the bullets,” she said. “I heard one in my dream where I shot a rabbit, but the gun was way too loud and realistic to just be part of the dream. And then you shot at the cyborg five times.”
“So what is it?”
She looked at the cyborg, “Now, I’m no expert, but I believe time traveling cyborgs have a self destruct system set automatically inside them when they die, probably so its remains won’t be found in the eighteenth century and cause a huge paradox.
Smith’s eyebrows raised a foot and his head turned towards the cyborg so fast I’m surprised he didn’t break his neck.
“How do you even know that?” I asked.
“I’ll explain later,” she said, as Smith turned over the body and cut into the flesh. Instead of blood and intestines and other humany stuff, there was a compute the size of a paperback novel buried inside. It was beeping slowly, barely audible, with the space between beeps getting shorter and shorter.
Beep… Beep… Beep… Beep.. Beep..
Smith, who wasted no time, picked me up by the chair and dragged me into the other room. Then he did the same for Jake, but Jake was being as difficult as possible. He was wiggling his legs and shaking his entire body back and forth—it was almost impossible to get him through the door.
After half a minute of awkwardly trying to position Jake’s chair through the doorway (all while yelling at him to stay still), Smith dropped the chair, causing the hind legs to break off and the back part of the chair to become slightly dislocated. The moment Jake fell he started slamming his feet against the front legs of the chair, which his feet were tied to. Smith then dragged Jake by the hair over towards me. He shut the door, locking Chloe in with the time bomb.
“Hey!” I yelled.
“What about Chloe? We need her!”
“Yeah,” said Jake, still kicking, “she’s the third musketeer!”
“While that is an excellent point, Jake,” said Smith. “She has no value to me, so why risk my life to save her?”
“What about Lindsey’s?” asked Jake. “I believe she’s the only last living one of your team.” That was true. Two other dead bodies were lying just five, six feet away from us.
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
Smith walked back into the room to get Lindsey, giving Jake just enough time to kick off his chair’s front legs. It took him about five seconds to fully stand up, and when he did he stood awkwardly hunched over. Then he slammed the back of the chair against the wall, splitting the back in half. He did it again, and again, and the chair fell apart, dropping to the floor.
Now his only real problem was the handcuffs behind his back, which extremely limited his ability to pick up the gun lying next to the dead body by the computer. He walked over to it, picked up the gun, and from what I could tell (I couldn’t see behind me), he shot the chain in the handcuffs with the gun. While that did successfully free himself from the handcuffs, it also sent a bullet scraping into the back of his shoulder.
“Ow.” said Jake, not really that badly hurt. Probably the adrenaline rush eased the pain. Either way, we had some slightly more pressing issues.
At the sound of the bullet Smith dropped Lindsey, who he had just gotten through the door, and turned around towards Jake, who was now pointing a gun at him.
Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep….
“Get Chloe out of there,” said Jake, his voice suddenly sounding three years older. Smith looked down at his gun, which hung at his belt, and back at Jake, who looked ready to shoot to kill. He obeyed.
Jake followed him into the room, and Smith walked out with Chloe behind him, completely unbound and carrying his gun. “Ha ha,” said Jake, “the tide just completely turned in our favor.”
“How secure is this door?” asked Chloe.
“Secure enough to stop the explosion,” said Smith.
“Good,” said Chloe, who then shoved him into the room and locked the door behind him.
“Hey, isn’t that a little too dark?” asked Jake as they heard Smith’s pounding from the other side.
“The guy kills for money,” she said. “And then he tried to kill me, which I’m not a fan of. If we let him live he’ll probably come back to kill us.
“What about Lindsey?” asked Jake. We all looked at her unmoving body.
“Honestly,” said Chloe. “I think she might be dead. Or at least suffered some severe brain damage.”
“Hey, can you guys unchain me?” I asked. And as the bomb went off in the other room (followed by uncomfortable silence), Chloe and Jake took off the chains.
“Ok,” I said, “So I think we should take all the chronivators and go back home.” They agreed. We searched around the base (first Chloe, with a cold detachment, stripped the chronivators off the two dead guys) until we found what I guess was the supply room. Here was the rest of the chronivators, including ours, where everything in our pockets was emptied out on the table. I saw the piece of paper Jake gave to us earlier and showed Chloe.
“Oh yeah!” she said, and then rewrote the letter on a separate but identical looking piece of paper. “We need you to do this thing for us,” she said to Jake.
“I’m not stripping for you.”
“No, I mean I need you to go back in time and deliver this message to us. Right before we were captured by Smith.”
“How do I know the exact time and place?” he asked, then looked back at the chronivator. “Oh, wait. It’s in the history section for this device. I just set the time back a few. How long after I left did Smith & Friends pop up?”
“About three minutes I think,” I said. “Put two chronivators on at once.”
“Ooh, that’s a good idea,” he said.
“You’re the one who gave it to me.”
“Actually, I’m gonna need three chronivators,” he said. “Imma get a magician’s suit.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because I want to be like a wizard, popping out of nowhere and whatnot.”
“So why not dress like a wizard?”
“Actually,” said Chloe. “That’s exactly what you were wearing when we saw you. Then you popped up a second time with cut hair and you were back in your normal clothes.”
“Okay,” said Jake, counting with his fingers, “So I first go and get a magician’s suit, then I go and give you friendly advice, then I come back here. Then I go back in time again, get a haircut, go back to my house and get my clothes, go back to where you were, and then back here again. All to establish a mostly meaningless time loop.”
“Exactly.” Chloe handed him the newly written letter. Jake disappeared, only to come back a second later in a magician’s suit. Chloe told him what to do next. “Then you said to us ‘And by the way, the chronivator can travel to different places, not just different times,’ and then Josh says ‘If only you went back in time to when we were in 1969 to tell us that,’ and you say, ‘Well, too bad.'”
“Okay, got it.” Jake disappeared again.
“How did you memorize all that?” I asked.
“What? I remember everything,” she said. This was not true; many hours of our lives have been spent looking for one of Chloe’s possession, which she could have sworn she’d put over there. I was about to bring this up, but there were more important things going on.
Jake popped up again, now in his normal clothes and freshly cut hair. “That was fun. Now what?”
“We still have some time travel related things to do,” said Chloe.
“Okay, Miss Sudden Expert on Time Travel,” said Jake, “What else do we have to do?”
“The fortune cookies,” she said. “Where did those cookies come from?”
“So it might have been us who put them there and put everything all into motion?” I asked.
“Possibly,” she said, checking the fridge. “Yes, it definitely was.” She pulled out of the side door four fortune cookies. “They just had it in the fridge. That’s a sign.”
“There’s a slight problem with that,” I said.
“There’s no way we could take off the wrapper for one of them, take out the paper without breaking it, put another fortune paper in it, and wrap it up exactly as it were.”
“I have an idea!” said Jake, and then grabbed one of the fortune cookies in Chloe’s hands and smashed it on the ground,
“What the hell, Jake?” I asked.
“Haha, I’ll explain later.” Then he picked up a gun, entered some digits into the chronivator and reappeared seconds later with a new fortune cookie.
“What did you do?”
“I went to an actual fortune cookie factory—this one’s located in America, ironically— wrote down that specific fortune on one paper, and watched that specific paper be inserted into the cookie and wrapped up in a bag exactly like those ones.”
“How’d you get them all to do that?” I asked.
“Oh, I just held them all at gunpoint,” he said. “They were so shocked by me appearing out of nowhere that they were too afraid to fight back.”
“That’s awful, Jake.”
“Hey, the factory was from the future, so no paradoxes were caused, no one died, which is always a good thing, and now we have the fortune cookie just as we want it,” he said. “But how do we know which one Josh picks?”
“Remember what Smith said? Time wants certain things to happen, so no matter where you put it, Josh’ll end up picking it up. If you think about it, but not too much, it makes perfect sense.”
“Okay,” Jake grabbed the bag of fortune cookies and vanished for three seconds. As he returned someone else reappeared behind him. He was a tall, skinny kid with acne, and he looked familiar.
“Who the hell are you?” I asked, and Chloe immediately answered.
“Josh, that’s you.”
“What, the ugly acne kid? He looks nothing like me.”
“I’m a cyborg created to look exactly like Joshua Blitz, as of May 17th, 2013,” he said.
“I don’t see any resemblance,” I said, picking apart every flaw of this person. “And stop slouching!” I yelled at me.
“That’s not important right now,” he said. “The important thing is that I give you this.” He pulled out a coin from his pocket and threw it at me. I caught it and looked at the date. This was the coin.
“How’d you get it from me?”
“When you were at Bill’s Deli in 1969, I pick-pocketed you as Smith shot down those policemen. Neither of you even noticed me.”
“Because Jake programmed me to.”
“Aww, thanks Jake.”
For a second we had a nice, peaceful moment where everything had worked out. Most, if not all of our questions had been answered, Smith’s men were dead, we had the coin, and we were off to live our merry lives in our normal time zone. Then we heard a noise from the other room.
It sounded sort of like a ‘zleep!,’ the sound the chronivator made every time someone used it. We all followed to the hallway where Lindsey had laid unconscious. Except her body wasn’t there.
“Of course,” said Chloe, letting out an exasperated sigh. “You leave your enemies alive, they come back to kill you.”
“Okay Jake, let’s get out of here,” I said. “Before she gets back.”
“Uh… sorry, Josh. but none of these recharge for another three minutes.”
“We should probably get out of this place,” said the cyborg version of me. “Lindsey knows this base a lot better than any of us. You guys all know the area of Wappingers’ Creek, so you’ll have a better chance of fighting back there.”
“Sounds like good advice,” said Jake. “Where’s the exit?”
“The third door to the left,” said Chloe, as if she’d been here her whole life. Before we left I stopped by one of the dead guys’ guns and picked it up. I didn’t know much about guns, but I knew a little about this one; this was exactly the same type of gun as my uncle’s. I remember being allowed to shoot it once and managing to be somewhat accurate.
As we entered the woods, we heard two people teleport directly behind us. I turned around, first noticing Lindsey, with her wounds suddenly healed, and then the man beside her. He looked familiar but it took me a while to remember who he was: the guy back in 1969 that Smith put in charge of getting rid of the dead bodies. I guess he didn’t die after all.
I didn’t have time to ask him exactly what happened to him, since the cyborg version of me pulled out his gun and pointed it at him, not before being shot by the other guy in the head twice.
The moment he opened fire the three of us ran into the woods, me grabbing Chloe’s hand and trying to make sure she didn’t get shot in the face.
The problem was, Lindsey and the Other Guy were trained soldiers, both a million times faster than us, and when Jake tripped as they were ten feet away, it became apparent that we weren’t going to get away by running.
Jake, hesitating, aimed at Lindsey and shot through an entire magazine, missing every single time. Even worse was that Jake had no idea how to reload a gun.
Chloe and I were hiding behind a tree, and I hesitantly pulled out what looked like my uncle’s shotgun, pointed and pulled the trigger. Much to everyone’s surprise, I hit my mark. The gun flew out of the Other Guy’s hand. He let out a horrific scream as he clutched his bloody disfigured hand with his other bloody, disfigured hand and dropped the ground.
Lindsey aimed at me, and I went back to cover just in time. I turned back to shoot again when Chloe did something unexplainable. Just as I was set in the motion of pulling the trigger, she jumped into the line of fire. No warning, no explanation. Nothing. An almost impossible amount of blood drenched the ground; her lifeless body collapsed, her face completely unrecognizable.
I could have let out a scream—a yell, some sort of sign of despair, but I was too shocked to do anything. The gun was kicked out of my hand. I barely noticed. I looked up and into the inside of a barrel.
“All I wanted was the coin,” said Lindsey. With vague interest I noticed she was crying. “I didn’t want anyone to die. I just wanted to be rich. Please, just tell me where the coin is, and I won’t shoot.”
Before I could answer, Jake tackled me to the ground, and I entered the time vortex yet again.