Sierra shivered where she was standing as she looked out into the night. She was no longer in the motel room. Someone set them on this path but Sierra has no idea who. They were destined to meet but she couldn’t figure out their connection. Why was she drawn to Avery? Find out in the next chapter of Catching Time!
[Read First Chapter Here.]
Chapter 12: Fate
It was hard to see. The yellow glow from the building’s cheap incandescent light’s flickered above Sierra. She shivered where she was standing and looked out into the night. It was still raining. Now her attention was drawn by mechanical wiring as the machine slowly turned it’s gears and stopped prematurely. Sierra looked through the glass in annoyance. She gave it a hard whack on its side but nothing happened. Then, she hit it again.
A package of powdered donuts fell out of the vending machine.
Reaching down, she picked up the package. The keys to her car were in her other hand and she was split on what to do. Sierra could leave, she never left the motel. The walkway to the rooms above gave cover from the elements and she turned around to watch the rain.
Sierra felt like she was glued to the cement when she knew she should run. It wasn’t safe here but part of her wanted to stay to see what would happen.
What was Avery going to do?
Now, Avery wasn’t a threat since her cell was destroyed. Sierra watched her make a number of mistakes throughout the night. She no longer seemed like some kind of military authority sent to destroy her life. Avery was only a woman. She seemed lost.
Sierra pictured Avery’s face in her mind, turning red for the third time that night. Who was Avery, what motivated her to be here when she’s clearly uncomfortable? She wasn’t trained for this, that much was certain.
The rain continued to fall and the keys felt heavy in Sierra’s hand.
The smart thing to do was run but instead, Sierra’s mind drifted to Avery’s body. You had to be blind if you couldn’t see that Avery was beautiful. Sierra’s mind wandered to a few minutes earlier. Sierra fought herself from going further. Closing her eyes, she pressed her back against the wall.
She treated so many people as a field medic for The Organization and she’d seen countless bodies in different states of undress but this wasn’t for work as much as she tried to play it out to be. It was cliche to think that she felt something between them in that room.
The memory of what had happened between them was fading fast. Sierra knew if she didn’t replay it in her mind she could lose the image forever. What if she left and never saw Avery again? That would be a shame Sierra thought as she let her mind drift further. She was going to savor it.
“Shit, I’m a horrible person,” Sierra mumbled.
As Avery tied her hands she had to lean in close. She must have been cold, Avery’s skin was peppered with goosebumps. Sierra had let her eyes wander up her hips and stomach. She was toned, a fact that Sierra had noted before but now she finally got a chance to appreciate her. Lingering for a second, Sierra let her eyes trace up Avery’s breasts. Her nipples were dark pink and hard.
Sierra shouldn’t have looked as intently as she did.
Avery was clearly embarrassed. She couldn’t meet Sierra’s gaze when she finished tying Sierra’s hands.
“Close your eyes for a moment,” Sierra remembered Avery saying. Now she knew why.
It was true that Sierra had seen her body before. After the gunshot wound, Sierra had cut through her uniform and dressed her wounds. This time Avery’s life wasn’t on the line and Sierra didn’t realize that seeing Avery like this would affect her so much. It finally occurred to Sierra how intimate this situation had been. Sierra had tried to play it off at the moment.
“Stop,” Sierra mumbled to herself.
What was she thinking, she needed to leave before Avery realized she was gone. This was something Bliar would do. Sierra didn’t daydream about random people. This was reckless.
Pushing herself off the wall, Sierra stepped into the middle of the walkway. She looked out into the rain and held the keys in her hand. Determined, she was going to leave, Sierra took the first steps to her car.
“Stop!” A door slammed and light entered the walkway.
Sierra froze, she knew who that voice belonged to. It was too late, Avery had rushed out of their room. Sierra lost her chance to make a clean getaway. They both locked eyes as the rain continued to pour. Sierra’s mind was racing.
In a split second, Sierra made a decision against her better judgment.
“Hungry?” Sierra held out the package of powdered donuts. She cringed inwardly but kept her composure. Avery wouldn’t fall for this.
“Hungry?” Avery held her robe closed. “I’m not hungry. If you even think about running-” She looked more put together than she did earlier.
“I’m not going to run,” Sierra interrupted. Oh shit, she was acting like Bliar, she thought as she held out the powdered donuts as if they explained everything. She walked towards Avery calmly.
When she got up to Avery she thrust the powdered donuts against her chest and Avery caught it awkwardly trying to keep her robe from coming undone. Avery looked at Sierra puzzled and followed her in the room. She shut the door behind them. The room was exactly the same as Sierra had left it. The belt of the robe was hanging loosely on the bedpost.
“What is with you?” Avery sat down on her bed and looked at Sierra intently. She looked irritated but she hadn’t bothered to bring out the Glock again. Sierra considered that a good sign.
“I was hungry,” Sierra shrugged, she took the package of donuts and opened it, taking out two of the treats. Sierra tried to stay calm as she held one donut out to Avery. She still didn’t know what Avery was going to do. Sierra was risking everything and she couldn’t figure out why.
“That’s not what I mean.” Avery took the donut from her. The look of surprise and irritation was still on her face.
“No?” Sierra took a bite of her own donut. She understood what Avery meant, she was being contradictory and not only to Avery but to herself as well. “To tell you the truth, I don’t know why I didn’t run either.”
“I can see that.”
“You suck at tying knots by the way.”
“Thanks, I won’t make that mistake again.”
Sierra placed the package of donuts down. Avery had no intention of abandoning her job. This was a horrible decision but sitting here together, Sierra concluded that she was right, Avery wasn’t intimidating.
They sat in silence for a while as Sierra finished another donut. She watched as Avery took a bite of hers and made a face. There was a huge difference in the ingredients that were in the ’90s compared to the 2090s. She could see that Avery was struggling with it.
“Not good?” Sierra asked.
“I figured,” Sierra said. She watched Avery as she attempted to finish her donut. Sierra’s eyes traced down the neckline of Avery’s robe, she was still not wearing anything underneath.
Avery sighed, she didn’t notice Sierra’s gaze, “Can I tell you the truth?” Avery popped the last piece of the donut in her mouth and chewed.
Avery swallowed the donut with a grimace before starting again, “Now that I’ve gotten to talk with you, I don’t believe you are responsible for starting the war.” Avery put her hand up to tighten the front of her robe again. “It’s just you’re not the kind of person to think things through.”
“Well, thank you for the compliment,” Sierra said sarcastically, she knew Avery was right about that. She wasn’t a leader and she wasn’t meant to start some war. “So, what are you going to do?”
“My job,” Avery said matter of factly.
“And you know I have no intention of going back.”
“I know,” Avery folded her arms over her robe. It was threatening to fall open again.
“I don’t want to fight with you.” Sierra got up, it was less tense in the room now than when they first got to the motel. They were getting comfortable with each other’s company. “We’ll figure this out in the morning.”
“I’m okay with that.” Avery watched Sierra.
Avery looked tired. Time traveling wasn’t the easiest thing in the world and Avery had gotten a rude awakening. Sierra leaned over and grabbed the belt to Avery’s robe off of her bedpost. Sierra sat down next to her and leaned in close.
“You look uncomfortable,” Sierra stated as she pulled the belt around Avery. She tapped her elbows to motion for Avery to lift her arms. When Avery did, Sierra tied the belt around her waist.
Avery watched Sierra, it looked like she was turning red again.
“Why are you so… who are you?” Avery fixed her robe, covering her chest completely.
“I want to ask you the same thing,” Sierra said as she placed her hands down on Avery’s knees.
This felt a little too close and Sierra removed her hands. She got up from the bed. It hadn’t occurred to her before that she was the one making Avery uncomfortable. At first, Sierra thought it was Avery’s lack of experience with the ’90s. She was like this when she was at the house too. Even with her memories back it didn’t change.
No, it couldn’t be because of me. Yeah, I’m flattering myself, Sierra thought. She wasn’t going to think about what she just found out.
Clearing her mind, Sierra walked over to the closet of the motel room and opened it. Inside the closet were two other robes hanging loosely. Sierra took the belt from one robe and placed it on Avery’s bed.
“It looks like you don’t think things through either.”
September 12th, 2086…
“Well, how do you like it?” Jason beamed.
“I… um, I think this is crazy,” Sierra answered honestly.
“I know, I did too. The first time anyone brought me here, I think I threw up a little.”
The siblings stood in the middle of one of the labs at The Organization. The time machine loomed over them like some kind of mechanical goliath.
Sierra didn’t know what to think. This felt like a dream. The dream was neither good nor bad but more of a feeling that she had a mixture of too much booze while watching a marathon of Back to the Future. Now, everything was getting jumbled up in this hazy reality.
“I seriously thought you were dead.”
“I did too but The Organization rescued me. Now, I’m rescuing you.” Jason continued.
“Hey, isn’t being here way cooler than being stuck in a boring life. I’m saving you from mediocrity,” Jason motioned with his hands at the machine in front of them, “You can really make a difference here.”
“Uh-huh, what about mom?” Sierra asked. They still had family back home.
“Mom’s gone. I’m sorry Si but everyone we loved is gone if you choose to stay. That is if you want to stay,” Jason put his hands in his pockets, “If you go, I can’t go with you.”
“What, why can’t you go back?”
“Remember, I’m dead and you’re not. I asked them to bring you in but you’re the only one who can make the choice to stay.”
“Okay well, I think I want to go home,” It was oddly uncomfortable here. Sierra missed her brother but just knowing he was alive somewhere else was comforting. She couldn’t imagine a life here.
“Hey, wait, first let’s go somewhere. You can make the choice once we get back, okay?”
“You mean time travel?” It was still hard for Sierra to wrap her mind around it. It still didn’t feel like she was in the future. One moment she was standing in the middle of her apartment and the next minute her dead brother showed up at her doorstep.
“Yeah time travel. I’ll introduce you to the team. I’m sure they’ll love you.” Jason said.
He left the room, leaving Sierra standing awkwardly by herself. She didn’t have time to respond. It was just like him to get overly excited about some adventure that he created. Normally, she loved following her brother around with all of his friends but this was all just a little much.
She still hadn’t gotten over the fact that she thought that he had died.
“Excuse me miss?”
“Yes,” Sierra turned around suddenly to find the strangest looking woman she had ever seen. She was tall and looked like some kind of living wax figure. Her hair was in blonde braids, she smiled but her face didn’t crease. It was unsettling.
“If you want to travel in the machine, you need to get into the proper attire. You will not be permitted to travel the way you are.” The woman glanced at Sierra from head to toe. “You are planning on traveling, correct?”
“Yeah, I think I am,” Sierra said. It wouldn’t hurt to try it.
“Good,” the woman replied.
It took thirty minutes for Sierra to get fitted. After a lot of fuss, she stepped out in something that looked like she was about to enter a combat zone. Sierra had no idea why she was wearing it. More people that looked like they were made from plastic circled around her. They were making sure everything on her uniform was just right until she re-entered the lab.
In the center of the lab, her brother was standing with three others that were dressed similarly. Sierra had no idea what to expect. Military personnel manned the lab stations. The people that looked like they were made of wax completely disappeared.
Sierra didn’t feel like she was ready for this.
“Want to see a dinosaur?” Her brother asked as she walked up to the group.
“A dinosaur?” Sierra repeated. “Out of all the places to visit, you choose to go see dinosaurs?”
“Well, yeah.” Jason shrugged, “The Organization usually doesn’t permit joyrides but this isn’t a joyride. This whole mission’s purpose is to recruit you.”
“And you think that I want to see dinosaurs?” Sierra raised her eyebrows. Out of all the places they could go, Sierra was expecting the Victorian age or even Ancient Egypt. That seemed more interesting to her.
“No, I want to see dinosaurs and you’re a vet. If one of us gets bitten you are familiar with animal bites. You’ll be wowed with anything we see anyway.”
“Wow, you haven’t changed at all.”
They were bickering and still standing with three other people.
“Excuse me,” A woman cleared her throat next to her brother. She promptly ended the sibling’s discussion. “Don’t listen to Jason, we agreed upon this because we thought it would be fun. Jason also forgot to introduce us.” The woman stuck out her hand and Sierra shook it on instinct.
The woman introduced the rest of the team. For right now, Sierra promptly forgot all of their names the second they were introduced. She was never good with names. Sierra wasn’t thinking about them. She was thinking about how odd it was that she’d be seeing a T-Rex for the first time outside of a textbook.
After the introductions, the group stepped inside the time machine.
It was a moment Sierra would never forget. As soon as the machine vanished, lights flashed everywhere, and then everything went black. She awoke in a world she didn’t recognize.
Dinosaurs looked nothing like how she was taught. They weren’t like giant lizards and they didn’t have scales.
Color was everywhere and everything smelled stronger than Sierra could imagine. The Earth wasn’t the same planet that she was familiar with. It didn’t look the same and it didn’t feel the same. Her brother led the way with an assault rifle in his hands but he didn’t have to use it. They picked the landing spot before they arrived and were clear of anything hazardous.
It was obvious that he was the muscle. The woman that she had met earlier was the leader and was in constant communication with the lab. The other two Sierra wasn’t exactly sure what they did.
Jason made sure she was instantly integrated into the team. Each one of them made it clear that they wanted her there. Although, she felt like she should have asked what happened to the last medic, she was too caught up in the moment to say anything.
It was almost as if this spot was meant for her.
They walked on through a location that looked like a forest. The trees towered over them and the leaves were larger than two people put together. The air was humid and it smelled musty as they walked. It took them an hour to find a clearing on a hill with a view of the valley below. They set up a picnic as a horde of herbivores drank from a stream down below.
The view was beautiful.
“Hey, you want to do this everyday? If you say yes we’ll get you the proper training to work on humans and we’ll start you.” Jason handed Sierra a sandwich.
“I haven’t agreed to anything yet.” Sierra took the sandwich, pulling it out of its plastic wrap.
“Really, come on,” Jason motioned to their surroundings.
Looking up, Sierra glanced at the horde of dinosaurs in the distance. The sun was starting to go down and it was casting an orange glow on the scene.
Sierra sighed, this was beautiful. Sierra knew this was only a taste of it and she wanted to see more.
“When do I start?” Sierra made up her mind. She didn’t even bother to ask any questions.
They returned on September 12th, 2086, five seconds after they initially left.
Back at The Organization. A room filled with filing cabinets lined a white room. A woman named Dr. Annabelle Fabre stood with a group of her colleagues as they updated a particular file. It was labeled with a large “M” on the front of the manila envelope.
“She’s here,” Annabelle said.
“Is she really going to stay?” A man asked. His waxlike features didn’t seem extraordinary when so many of them were in the same room.
“No need to worry, she will.” Annabelle was confident. Everything that’s happening right now had already happened before.
She should know because Dr. Annabelle Fabre was the one who made it that way.
A woman walked up to Annebelle, “Should we start updating this file now?” The woman was holding another manila envelope. This time, a large “R” was neatly printed on the front in large bold ink.
“Yes, we really need to work on that one too.” Dr. Fabre opened the file. It was empty but it would be filled soon.
During the same year several thousand miles away, a young woman stepped out of her cockpit. Her hands were shaking from adrenaline and she couldn’t make them stop. This was only the third time she had flown in combat. Some of her friends didn’t make it back. She almost didn’t make it back.
Her name was Avery Rozario.