It’s not that much fun having a bloodied stranger lying on your kitchen floor. Sierra is stuck with a decision that will change the course of her life. Will she let this stranger bleed out or will she try to save her life? The story continues in the second chapter of Catching Time!
[Read First Chapter Here.]
Chapter 2: Danger
Sierra left Avery on the sofa, she needed some sleep. It had been a stressful three days. She walked upstairs to the master bedroom and pulled her hair out of her ponytail.
“Dim the lights,” She said, and seconds later the bedroom lights dimmed.
She never thought that anybody would come after her. Nobody knew what she had done and she guessed that people in high places wanted to keep it that way. She sighed, and put her head in her hands as she sat down on the bed.
Staying like that for several minutes, she finally put on her pajamas and slid into bed. It had been hard drifting off to sleep with a stranger inside her home these last couple of days. Sierra knew it was only a matter of time before Avery would start to remember. She didn’t know what to do next but she knew she didn’t really want to kill anyone.
Slowly, Sierra drifted off into a light sleep. Her dreams were muddled with images of her past and present.
Three days ago…
Sierra sliced her finger open with a box cutter. She watched as the sliver of skin pooled up with blood and dripped to the floor. Quickly, she grabbed a tissue and added pressure to it. It was just a scratch, nothing too deep but just enough to add discomfort.
She had woken up late today, having spent most of the night packing up the remainder of her brother’s possessions. The house was now a blank slate and officially hers. It didn’t feel like it though. Staying here reminded her of all the holidays she came to visit. She had already told herself that she was going to sell the house. It felt wrong to live in it after all that happened.
Getting up, Sierra went into the bathroom to get a bandaid. Washing the blood off her finger, she looked in the mirror. Her eyes were foreign to her. Her once brown eyes were now a golden yellow. They had been like that for the past two years but this change was still hard to get used to. The radiation had eaten up the melanin in her eyes. It was the price she paid for messing with time.
The doorbell rang. Sierra quickly dried her hands and placed a bandaid on her finger. She wasn’t expecting anyone. She didn’t even bother to put her contacts in to change her eyes back to brown. It was probably just some kid or something.
“Alright, I’m on my way.” She yelled down the hallway as she made her way to the door. Whoever was on the other side seemed impatient. She looked through the door’s peephole and saw a woman on the other side. The woman was in uniform and Sierra suddenly felt hesitant to open the door.
The last time anyone from the military knocked on her door, Sierra was on their side. With the constant changes of the government, she never knew if they considered her an ally or a threat.
“Are you Sierra Mirza?” The woman looked at her as she opened the door halfway.
She was about the same height as Sierra and around the same age. Wavy brown hair went to her shoulders and freckles sprinkled her nose over olive skin. The uniform she was wearing had changed since Sierra had last seen anyone enlisted.
“Ensign Rozario…” Sierra read the tag and rank off the woman’s uniform, “Get lost.” She closed the door but Rozario stopped it before it shut all the way.
“That’s no way to treat a guest. Can I talk to you for a minute?” The woman said with a sly smile. Sierra begrudgingly opened the door again. She stared at her for a few seconds, trying to figure out her intentions before deciding to let Rozario in. This could be a huge mistake but dealing with one officer was better than dealing with several.
“You have five minutes and that’s it.” Sierra stepped to the side and let the woman walk in.
“Thank you.” Rozario said, she was now inside Sierra’s kitchen and she closed the door behind them.
“Right.” Sierra folded her arms. She knew that someone being sent to her house wasn’t a good thing. It had been three years since she was last in the field and she no longer answered to any of them. “Why were you sent?”
“It’s a sensitive matter. Can I get a glass of water?” Rozario asked.
Sierra looked at her skeptically. She didn’t know what to think of her. In the back of her mind, a big part of her knew she was in danger. On the outside, she stayed calm and got a glass from the cupboard and filled it with water from the sink. Then, she gave the glass to Rozario.
“My name’s Avery Rozario by the way,” she said before she took a big gulp of the water. Sierra had no idea why she was telling her this. She seemed to be stalling from what she was going to say.
“Okay, I’ll find out if it’s a pleasure to meet you once you tell me why you’re here.” Sierra took the empty glass from Avery and placed it on the counter.
“I can’t really put this any other way. I regret to inform you that you are under arrest,” Ensign Rozario said calmly. “You need to come with me.”
“What?” Sierra lifted up her hands defensively. “For what?”
“I’m sure you know something about time travel?”
“What?” Sierra said again.
“You have been charged with altering the timeline.” Rozario stepped closer and Sierra backed away.
“Bullshit, how do you know that?” Sierra tried to position herself at a better angle. She had no intention of leaving with this woman.
“Your eyes. I’ve heard stories… about what that machine can do to you.”
“Really?” Sierra really doubted that the woman had heard stories. Only a handful of people knew what she did. It’s not like the government would just let anyone time travel. “What have you heard?”
Avery hesitated, “They’d told me that I knew who I was looking for by the color of your eyes.”
It wasn’t the answer Sierra was looking for. She could guess that her commanding officers didn’t tell her anything about what she actually did.
“Did they tell you anything else?” Sierra wanted to diffuse the situation but she knew that she wasn’t great at talking her way out of things. She was too blunt and too sarcastic. Telling people what they wanted to hear wasn’t her forte.
“No, don’t make this harder than it needs to be.” Avery pulled out a gun that had been at her hip.
“Do you just want to sit down, have some breakfast instead?” Sierra stepped a little closer this time, trying to show that she didn’t have any fear in this situation. She’d have to think of something else. This wasn’t the first time she’d had a gun held up to her. “I’m sure we could come to a different agreement after some coffee?”
“Tempting, but I’m just following orders. You know how that is.” Avery shrugged emphatically. She stepped even closer to Sierra now, the gun now inches from her.
“Yeah, I do.” Sierra said, she could see Avery’s dark brown eyes clearly. She looked calm and relaxed, as though this was just another stop and nothing more. This was it, Sierra had to catch her by surprise.
Quickly, Sierra swatted the gun to the side clumsily.
Avery didn’t seem to be expecting a fight. She was caught off guard. The gun slipped between their hands from the force of the push and skidded across the wood floor. Both of them stared at each other in stunned silence for a beat. Avery glanced at the gun but Sierra moved first. She dived towards the weapon and Avery followed behind.
Sierra got to it first, her fingers wrapped around the trigger, followed by a short buzzing noise, and a grunt. Avery skidded across the floor in the opposite direction.
The gun had gone off.
Quickly, Sierra scrambled to her feet and stood over Ensign Rozario, pointing the weapon at her. Rozario wasn’t moving as Sierra circled around her. She kicked Avery’s legs gently with her feet but she still didn’t move.
“Shit-please don’t be dead.” Sierra turned Avery on her back. Her side was oozing with blood and Sierra dropped the gun and knelt beside her, adding pressure to the wound. Warm blood pooled between her fingers and Sierra looked up at Avery’s face. The color in her cheeks had quickly drained away.
Sierra was not expecting her day to go like this at all.
Expertly, Sierra checked the damage in Ensign Rozario’s side. She found an entry and exit site in a perfect circle that was charred around the edges. She knew it was bad. Avery needed surgery and fast.
“Please don’t die.” Sierra repeated, she never liked taking a life.
Sierra got up and ran to one of the closets. She still had some of her emergency medical kits from the mid 2070’s. It was the best she could do. Running back to her kitchen with the medical kit in hand, she knelt beside Avery. Scattering her gear on the kitchen floor, after washing her hands, she reached for the kitchen scissors and cut Avery’s shirt open to get better access to the wound.
Not only did Avery need help but Sierra needed help too. She didn’t know how she was going to hide this and she decided to call the only person that she knew would help her bury a body if necessary.
Sierra rolled up her sleeves and took her phone out. Dialing a number, she put it on speaker as she got to work. She had to stop the bleeding. The gun that Avery had on her was not standard issue. At least, not any standard issue that she had ever seen. Sierra had no idea why she was carrying something that powerful.
“Hello?” A voice on the other line picked up.
“Hi, Bliar?” Sierra said, wiping some blood from her hands on a kitchen towel before organizing the tools around to be within easy reach.
“Sierra? Is something wrong, Whats up?” Bliar said on the other line, clearly sensing something was wrong by the sound of her voice.
“Fuck, I think I messed up. I need your help,” Sierra took a deep breath. It pained her to say something had happened. She didn’t like asking for help but she didn’t know who else to turn to.
“What, you’re asking for help? Did you burn your brothers house down with your cooking?” Briar said trying to lighten the mood. Sierra never asked for help with anything and it had always gotten her in trouble in the past.
“Right now, I wish that’s what I did.” Sierra sighed.
“Ok, I’ll be there. You’re in that creepy little house on the edge of town, right?” Bliar asked. She had actually never been to this house before. Sierra talked about her brother’s house but she never invited friends over to visit.
“Yeah…” Sierra stopped and stared at the unconscious woman on her floor, “I don’t know what’s going on. Someone tried to arrest me today.”
“Who’s trying to arrest you? What’s going on?” Bliar asked, concern finally started dripping into her voice.
“I’ll let you know when you get here.”
“Alright, I’m on my way now.” The phone clicked and Sierra was left with silence.
For the next hour Sierra worked on Avery. She finally got the bleeding to stop when her doorbell rang for the second time that day. Quickly, Sierra got up, not bothering to wipe her hands from her work.
“Hey?” Sierra opened the door for Bliar. She felt relieved that she finally had someone she could trust with her in this situation.
“Are you alright, you’re covered in blood?” Bliar stepped inside, and reached out to Sierra’s bloodied hands taking her by the forearms to get a good look. Her yellow eyes were wide as she took in all the blood.
“It’s not mine, I’m fine.” Sierra pulled her arms away and closed the door behind Bliar. “Come with me.” She walked to the kitchen, Bliar following behind her.
“What the hell, Sierra, did you murder someone?” Bliar stopped as she got her first look at Avery on the kitchen floor.
“Well, not yet if you’d just help me.” Sierra knelt down beside Avery again. “Wash your hands and get over here.”
Bliar did as she was asked silently. They had both known each other for eight years now. Sierra had no idea why Blair bothered to stay in this timeline. She could have gone anywhere and lived out the rest of her days. Sierra had only stayed in this timeline because of her brother. Anyway, Bliar had blended into this decade well. The only evidence of her being from the early 2000’s was her affinity for bell bottom jeans and the urge to bejewel everything.
“Who is she?” Bliar asked as she handed Sierra a clean tool.
“Military.” Sierra took the tool and scrapped the edges of Avery’s wound with it. She didn’t bother to look up at Blair.
“And you shot her?” Blair raised her eyebrows.
“It was an accident.” Sierra continued working with precision.
“So, you said someone was trying to arrest you on the phone. Was it her? Blair asked.
“Yeah, and if they came after me that means that they are going to try to arrest you next.” Sierra finally finished what she was doing and pointed towards a needle. Blair handed it to her. “She said that I was charged with altering the timeline.”
“Oh, she was right then. I guess it’s now considered a bad thing.” Bliar stood up and stretched her legs. “What are you going to do if she wakes up?”
“Do you still have that memory eraser thing?” Sierra asked. She was done and now all she could do was wait. Hopefully, Avery could pull through after the trauma of that wound. If she had better equipment, Sierra could have treated her injury better.
“Yeah, you mean the memory regressor? That bulky rectangle we were testing before they fired us?” Bliar washed the blood off her hands in the sink.
“Yeah, that one.” Sierra joined her at the sink and washed off her hands. She grabbed another clean towel and soaked it in water to clean the blood off of Avery. “When she wakes up I’ll just throw her back on her ship, by the time she remembers anything, we’ll be gone.”
“Huh,” Bliar said skeptically.
“You think it’s a bad idea?” Sierra could already tell by the tone of her voice.
“You know, the best that regressor thing can do is do a memory wipe for a few days. It never lasts completely, she’s going to start remembering why she came here if you wait too long. It also never got out of testing, she might even remember bits and pieces anyway.” Bliar shrugged.
“Well, what do you expect me to do, just let her die?” Sierra said, clearly annoyed. This was the best idea she had.
“Sierra, your idea is horrible. It’s best just to let her bleed out and run. It’s what I would have done.” Bliar dried her hands on a clean towel. “I mean look at her, she’s practically dead anyway.”
“Yeah, I’m not going to do that. I shot her so it’s my call. You can leave if that makes you uncomfortable.” Sierra picked up some clean gauze from the kit and positioned herself to wrap Avery’s wound.
“Fine, if you put it that way I’ll stay. Even if your idea sucks,” Bliar sighed.
Sierra didn’t care what Bliar thought of her plan. It was going to work, it had to work. She wasn’t going to take anyone else’s life. She knew it didn’t bother Bliar but it bothered her.
“Ok, she’s stable. I need you to help me bring her downstairs to the basement,” Sierra pointed towards the tools. “I’m taking those down too.”
Blair just nodded, she didn’t say so but Sierra knew she disapproved. “You don’t think she’d be more comfortable up here?”
“Yeah, I can’t have her bleeding on all of the furniture.”
“Touchè.” Bliar smirked.
“Ok, and I’ll feel more comfortable if she wakes up down there then if she was up here near me.” Sierra finished. She knew the furniture comment sounded bad before she even let it slip passed her lips.
Bliar shrugged at Sierra’s answer and watched her as she finished wrapping the tools in a towel before putting them back in the kit. Sierra motioned for Bliar to help her. Bliar took Avery’s feet while Sierra took Avery under her arm’s and they carefully carried her down the basement steps.
“Is that the sofa you want to place her on?” Bliar asked as they got close to the couch in the basement.
“Yeah, just a moment,” Sierra positioned herself to get a better hold of Avery, “Can you place her feet down and get a blanket?”
“Sure.” Gently Bliar placed Avery’s feet down and took a blanket from one of the boxes. She set it down on the sofa and smoothed out the fabric. Bliar then picked up Avery’s feet again and they both gently laid Avery on the sofa. They tried to get Avery as comfortable as they possibly could on the old loveseat. They were lucky she wasn’t that tall or her legs would have been sticking out past the couch.
Once they finished getting Avery comfortable, Sierra quickly left to grab the tools and came back to place them on the coffee table in case she needed them again. Bliar helped her set out the tools in silence.
It would have been a hundred times easier to have let Avery bleed out but when Sierra looked at the woman, she just couldn’t do it. She had killed someone before and she didn’t want to do it again.
“What do you need me to do next?” Bliar asked as she looked at Sierra after setting down the last tool that looked like another knife but with strange uneven ridges.
“I need you to find that memory regressor and look for her ship.” Sierra sighed, “She shouldn’t have landed too far from here.”
“Ok, I’ll get it.” Bliar got up and put a comforting hand on Sierra’s shoulder, “Try not to accidentally shoot someone else while I’m gone. This cleanup business is a pain.” Bliar said and dropped her hand.
“Hey, Bliar, before you go?” Sierra said before Bliar could move.
“Yeah?” She said.
“When you come back, you should really get as far away from here as possible.” Sierra was serious, she really didn’t want to get Bliar caught because of her decisions. It was easier for Bliar to leave before anyone came looking for her.
“Yeah, not going to happen.” Bliar smiled. “We are in this together.”
“You sure you want to be this reckless?” Sierra asked, eyebrows raised.
“Too late, I always am. I think you learned it from me.” Bliar winked. She made her way to the basement steps and walked up, closing the door with a slam behind her before Sierra could protest. It was silent again now that Sierra was alone with an unconscious Avery.
Another few hours passed by and with each passing moment Sierra greatly regretted what she had to do. Wiping someone’s memory completely for a few hours was a scary experience. It had happened to her once. She remembered how completely lost and defenseless she felt.
While she waited she tried a little harder to get Avery as comfortable as she could on the sofa. The color was slowly starting to come back to Avery’s skin as time passed. She had taken off her shoes, changed her into an old university shirt that would be easy to access her injury, covered her in a warm blanket, and set her up with an IV from her kit. Sierra injected pain medication into the IV and sat on the floor next to her.
It felt like it came on quickly but suddenly Sierra felt exhausted. She leaned her head on the side of the couch cushion and closed her eyes. The events from the last several hours finally started to weigh on her. She stayed that way until she started to feel movement above her. Avery had moved her arm slightly and shifted her weight on the couch.
“Hey, welcome back to the land of the living,” Sierra said, sitting on her basement floor with her head resting against the couch.