To his somewhat fuzzy dismay, Eddie discovered that the side effects from traveling through the knothole lessened with time. In short, he was getting used to time-travel, and that scared him. As his senses gradually sorted out the world through a grey-white blur, he noticed that someone had pulled him away from the STAd platform. That someone was standing over him, black combat boots uncomfortably close to Eddie’s head.
He squinted around, trying to suppress a feeling of seasickness. Off to one side, Vančura stood, rubbing at flash-burned eyes with cuffed hands. Colonel Bosze and two squads of soldiers were watching him, their weapons down, but still ready to hand. None of them looked happy.
Once Eddie’s guard realized his prisoner was conscious, he got Bosze’ attention. Before the colonel could inflict any questions on the little man, though, a flicker brighter than any flash-bang signaled the arrival of another time-traveler. The smell of ozone grew strong and then faded as the electricity crackling in the air dissipated. Someone barked an order and two soldiers thumped forward to haul Armelle off the STAd platform to lie beside Eddie.
He considered taking the opportunity to do absolutely nothing for a moment, since no one was paying any attention to him, until he realized Vančura had moved. He was beside Armelle, waiting for her to wake up. Eddie even thought he saw worry on the big man’s face, but it was hard to tell. Between Vančura’s red and watering eyes, and his own out-of-focus sight, he couldn’t be sure.
Regardless, he’d made a promise. “Dat’s not a good place t’be, Van…”
Vančura shot him a cursory glance. “What?”
Eddie concentrated on mustering the energy to try again, but he was distracted by a sudden movement from Armelle. There was a wicked thud and Vančura rocked back on his heels, holding his nose.
“I take it my future self did something… unpleasant?” Vančura’s voice was muffled and thick, but he was helping Armelle to a sitting position. With a heavy sigh, Eddie relaxed his wobbly grip on consciousness, hoping he’d drift off to somewhere that didn’t hurt quite as much. He’d tried his best, but Vančura had still gotten a punch in the nose.
Worse, they were right back where they had started. Only, this time, even Vančura didn’t have the slightest idea what came next.
End Chapter 27 – Part 1
I have got to start writing these things earlier in the week…
Want to read the previous installments? They’re right here!
Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three,
Chapter Four, Chapter Five, Chapter Six,
Chapter Seven, Chapter Eight, Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten, Chapter Eleven, Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen, Chapter Fourteen Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen Chapter Seventeen, Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Nineteen. Chapter Twenty, Chapter Twenty One