Allen went on to class. His big project was due in a couple of weeks and he needed every minute of his professor’s time. He hoped to finish out the semester with a perfect 4.0. Marie watched him speed away in the distance on his mountain bike.

The soft wind lifted the waves of hair resting on her shoulders before the whistling sound of air rushing through pine tree needles roared in her ears. The timeless sound had always been a comfort, as though the forest itself was speaking to her. This time, though, it was a haunting sound. The hairs on the back of her head stood upright causing a shiver to shake free down her spine. She ran her fingers through her hair and scratched her scalp to stop the feeling as she slid off the window sill and slid the window shut.

A quiet knock at the door made her turn away from the window altogether. She opened the door to find a man patiently waiting.

“Are you Marie St. Clair?” he asked with a voice like bourbon warming her insides.

“Yes. Who are you?”

“I’m the person that is going to save your life.” He smiled broadly.

“Excuse me?” She thought that was quite a pick up line.

“You’ve got about thirty seconds to take my hand. Don’t make me waste my trip here.”

“What are you talking about? Who ARE you?”

“The name is Jack but you don’t know me yet. Take my hand. Now!”

She looked at his outstretched hand and then the smile on his face that seemed familiar despite never having set eyes on him. With a leap of faith knowing she lived a life that was always slightly unbelievable, she put her hand in his.

At the moment she felt the warmth of his skin, light exploded behind him and through the corner of her eye she noticed a figure appear to her right. It reached for her, but at the very same moment she was pulled forward into Jack’s arms and a darkness surrounded them as all sound muted. A sharp stab of electric fear shot through her abdomen as she lost control of reality. She squeezed her eyes shut and held onto Jack waiting for whatever was going to happen to happen.

“You’re okay. Open your eyes, sweetheart,” she heard Jack say.

Blinking, darting her gaze around them, carefully extracting herself from his hold, she asked, “Where are we?”

They were standing in a cabin next to a dinner table. It was evening and the lamps glowed with warm yellow light and a fire flickered in the hearth. A woman sat at the table and Marie knew exactly who she was despite the extra decades of wear on her face.

The woman smiled with approval as she took in the sight of the guest, “My, my! Was I ever that young?”

(Read the next chapter here.)