(Go to Chapter One here if you are new to the story.)
Marie looked at Jack and a tickle traced the back of her neck. An awkward hesitation made her pause. This man knew her but she didn’t know him. His face was etched with soft lines of age. Older Marie was still waiting for her to take it all in, as though she knew intrinsically that younger Marie would need a minute to absorb this.
“So what do you want me to do?” she asked the older woman.
“It’s simple really. You see, despite the fact that things are happening all at once for you, they are still spread chronologically in real time. In your time, Selena hasn’t murdered anyone. She hasn’t even been born.”
“That makes sense.”
“The one problem is that Allen has already been taken.”
“But I just saw him. He went to class to work on the project.” Marie shook her head in confusion.
“Well, here’s the rub: he was never taken in my time. Things just, adjusted. There has been a change in the time line and the past I remember doesn’t exist anymore. It must have something to do with his dream. You need to go back to just before your escapade to the meadow and wake him up. Don’t let him have that dream.”
“Well, that sure sounds easy enough.” She thought for a minute. “But how can I go back to a specific point in time? My trips are all random.”
Older Marie smiled. “That’s where I can help you. I have had a little more practice. You have to lock on a memory that occurred at a particular time and reach out to it. Our memories are the only tangible connection to the timeline in the past that we have. For you, activation of a memory in your cortex at the same moment as you jump will take you to that time.”
“So what did you do just before you did that last time jump?”
Marie though for a minute. I had breakfast and studied for art history.”
“Great. So go lay down and concentrate on that moment. Hopefully it will work.”
“It’s never an exact science.”
Marie stretched out on a couch and closed her eyes. Feeling like she was being watched, she turned her back to them. She felt oddly tired. Maybe all this really was a lot to take in. She tried to refocus and concentrated on what she had for breakfast. She imagined the flavor of the jelly on the toast. In a wave of dizziness, she felt like she was floating. She blinked open her eyes to find herself sitting at the kitchen table in the dorm.
She looked around and the clock caught her attention. It was 8:30, well before the nap. She got up to go directly to Allen. She peeked around the door and saw Allen’s sleeping form in the bed. She breathed a sigh of relief and went in. As she approached him, he turned over and looked straight through her. She stopped dead in her tracks at the odd behavior. He sat up and rubbed his head without even noticing her. It was like she was invisible. He looked at the clock and groaned. Then he laid back down on the bed and rolled over pulling the blanket over him as he went.
“No, no, Allen! You have to get up,” she told him. She reached for his arm and her hand went right through him. “Well, great! Fine time to be a ghost again!”
(To go to the next chapter, “Driving the Time Machine” click here!)