Time Traveler & His Wife: Flash Fiction

Dan Alatorre’s Plot Point Flash Fiction Challenge!

Rules are at the bottom, but I have to include this phrase: “Yeah! Not so easy now is it, tough guy???” and this RANDOM Plot from Movie Plot Generator:

Go for the Horde

He was a depressed cop on the edge, who had a dream of life and forearms of iron. She was a disillusioned housewife who lived in the dark and was seeking the spirit of love. Together they traveled back in time. Fighting fanatics and building bridges.

(Warning! I didn’t make the word count ‘limit’ and the story is TBC, but would love for you to read thus far anyway. Sorry, Dan, I ran out of time!)


The spectral shadows of night lurked everywhere, but Officer Kurt Darcy was just relieved to be off work. The pile of paperwork awaiting him at the end of his shift had been a mountain no man would look forward to tackling, but that was part of the job. Of course, going home didn’t leave much room for anticipation.

His wife, Leanne, would pull his dinner from the fridge and microwave it then leave him to sit alone and eat. She seemed distant of late, and he didn’t know what to do to make it like it used to be between them. They were strangers living together. The kids were so busy having lives of their own they never really connected either. How was it a man could live with three other people and still feel alone?

Since reheated spaghetti didn’t sound all that appetizing, Kurt decided to swing by the gym on the way home and work out the kinks in his neck from all that paper-pushing. He was also interested in forgetting about that odd 911 call they’d gotten toward the end of the shift. The man had been a loon.

When he finally walked through the door of his house it was to find Leanne sitting on the couch with only the light of the TV to illuminate the room.

“Hey, hon,” he said while placing his workout bag and baseball cap on the entryway table.

He reached for the light switch, but stopped midway. Leanne would probably get irritated if he did it. She always seemed irritated with him anymore.

Leanne paused the show she was watching then made her way to the kitchen.

“Hey. Had potato soup for dinner. I’ll warm it up for you.”

“That’s okay. I stopped at the gym and grabbed a taco on the way home.”

Her upper body leaned around the doorway of the kitchen. Kurt could feel her eyes squinting at him through the darkness. She must have flipped the switch near her because suddenly the bright kitchen light flooded the hallway, illuminating her and blinding him.

“I don’t know why I bother sometimes.”

He squinted against the assaulting light and had no idea what to say. Nothing seemed adequate.

“I’m sorry.”

She stood tall in the doorway and Kurt thought how good she looked. Her silhouette was curvy and just right in all the best places even after sixteen years of marriage.

Her hands crept up to her hips, and she said, “No, it’s fine. I just spent all afternoon prepping it and making bread, but then I got a call from Dane asking if he could stay at Jeff’s house tonight. Alexa had a date with her girlfriends scheduled to go see A Man from the Moon.”

She paused and he was compelled to fill the silence.

“Oh?”

“It’s that new chick flick in theaters. I don’t know. Didn’t sound all that romantic. But she and Beth left in Beth’s car before dinner was ready. She said they’d eat at the movie.”

“That stuff is overpriced. She should have eaten at home first.”

“I said the same, but she seemed to think $15 popcorn and drink was a good purchase to make with her allowance.”

“I never got allowance when I was a kid.”

“Well, we’re doing things differently than your parents.”

More silence.

Leanne stepped back into the kitchen, disappearing around the corner. Kurt could hear her putting the glass lid on the pot of soup and then the fridge door opening. The bottles in the door of the appliance clanked together as she closed it with more force than necessary.

“Listen, I’m beat. Gonna head up to bed.”

Silence.

She didn’t come back out or say a single word. Kurt bit back a sigh and trudged up the stairs to the master bedroom.

He hadn’t showered when he left the gym so he went straight to the master bath and turned on the faucet. In the time it took him to undress steam saturated the air to the point he couldn’t see anything through the glass door. He stepped in and stood with his hands on the wall then allowed the super-heated water to run down the back of his neck and across the tight muscles of his shoulders.

* * * * * * * *

Leanne tilted her head back and listened to the sound of the shower. She sunk into a chair at the kitchen table and wondered what happened to her life. For a married woman she was beyond lonely, and that man upstairs was a stranger. He wasn’t the man she’d married and she couldn’t seem to break down the walls he’d built.

She knew being married to a policeman was difficult, that there were things they couldn’t talk about, but she’d no idea it would put a wedge between them and leave her feeling like a single parent.

Ding-dong, the doorbell chimed.

“Who could that be?”

* * * * * * * * *

“Hey, Lee, honey?” Kurt said as he walked down the stairs feeling refreshed after his shower.

She didn’t answer, but halfway down to the landing he could tell all the lights were on. The TV was silent.

“Leanne?”

He heard a scuffling sound and a muffled voice and froze at the bottom of the stairs. Kurt took a step back and listened, an intensity he only felt at work building up in his gut. More muffled sounds, almost like crying, seemed to be coming from the kitchen.

He grabbed the closest weapon, an umbrella leaned up against the wall by the stair landing, and inched sideways down the hall.

“Leanne, I changed my mind about dinner. Potato soup sounds good.”

He stopped outside the doorway and strained to hear anything. Silence greeted him. There was nothing else to do but step in the room and hope he was just imagining things, but the sight he came upon was enough to stop his heart.

There, at the other end of the island, stood the crazy man who’d called 911 a few hours ago with one arm holding a knife wrapped around Leanne’s waist and the other plastered over her mouth. The only thing which registered in Kurt’s mind was the silent tears streaming down Leanne’s face.

“Everyone stay calm,” the man said.

“I’ll stay calm when you get your hands off my wife.”

Kurt inched forward and the man raised the knife in response.

“Just stay there and hear me out, Officer. I just want to talk. I’m not crazy and I need your help.”

“If you need my help then let my wife go.”

Kurt’s muscles were tense, and the sleeves of his t-shirt tightened against the iron strength barely held in check. He mentally checked off every area of the room which might afford him leverage over the other man, but he’d positioned himself in such a way it would put Leanne in more danger if Kurt made any sudden moves.

Kurt lifted his hands in the air. “You’re the boss. Just let Leanne go and we can have a civilized conversation. I know you were pretty distraught earlier and maybe we misunderstood. Let me help you. We can work this out.”

The strange man loosened his grip but didn’t release her. It was a start.

“The only way you can help me is by doing what I asked earlier. I can’t do it. If I try to go then I’ll be trapped, but if I stay, I can bring you back.”

Kurt nodded in slow motion. “I hear you. Leanne is crying. Just let her go, and we’ll do whatever we can to help.”

“I didn’t mean to make her cry, but she wasn’t going to let me in. This is terribly important. To all our futures.”

He let her go and stepped back. Leanne grasped her neck, let out a strangled cry and dashed around the counter to stand within the welcoming grip of Kurt’s arm. He pulled her close and breathed in the scent of her, vanilla . . . and potato soup.

“Thank you. Let’s sit down there at the table behind you.”

The man backed up and took the chair closest to the back door. He kept glancing at his watch. Kurt held Leanne close and sidled up to the table, taking a seat at the opposite end.

“There’s really no more time. It’s now or never. Officer Darcy, you seem like a nice man and you’re smart. That’s why I requested you on the 911 call tonight. You must go back in time and stop the Horde from changing the past. They will destroy the world as we know it and there will be no one to stop them.”

“Time travel is impossible. You’ve got to calm down sir and seek the assistance of a professional about this problem.”

“There’s only you, Officer Darcy. Only you,” he said and slid a strange watch band down the length of the table.

Kurt picked it up to examine it and saw a small paper attached to the back.

“I’m sorry,” the crazy man said in the next instant.

 * * * * * * * * * * *

Leanne heard herself scream Kurt’s name when a bright light flashed from the watch he held. It was all a dream. It must be. In the same instant she reached out and grabbed his arm, but then everything went dark.

A spinning sensation overtook her and her stomach tied in knots. The spinning increased to the point Leanne thought her limbs would be ripped from her body. She couldn’t feel Kurt anywhere, but in less than a minute, which felt like an eternity, another bright light flashed before her eyes and she slammed into the ground knocking all the wind from her lungs.

A headache throbbed behind her eyes and she lay still for the span of several heartbeats before venturing to open her lids. She found herself sprawled out in the tall grass of an open field surrounded by forest on three sides and what looked like a castle on the other.

“Kurt?” she said, the single word more like a squeak.

She came close to crying in relief when she heard his moan from not far off and crawled through the cover of grass toward the sound.

“Kurt,” she whispered, “are you okay?”

 * * * * * * * * *

Kurt moaned in response. His head felt like a train had crashed into his temple and exploded behind his eyes. The muscles of his arm twitched as though he’d stuck a fork in an outlet, and the sound of Leanne’s voice beat against his eardrums even when her voice was only a whisper.

He felt her before he saw her. Leanne grabbed his ankle and shook it.

“Kurt, wake up. Something’s happened. We’re . . . we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

He forced his eyes open and stared up into the sky. It wasn’t night any more and they weren’t in their home. How did they get there? What had that psycho done to them?

Kurt tilted his head to look at Leanne. “You okay? Not hurt?”

“I’m fine. You?”

“I’ll be all right.”

He rolled to his side and pressed up into a sitting position. The sight that greeted his eyes was beyond description.

“He must have shot us with some kind of sleeping drug and dumped us here.”

“I don’t think so, Kurt. I think he was telling the truth.”

“What, that we’ve traveled back in time?”

Leanne nodded, the solemn look on her face making it clear she was serious.

“No. No way. I’ve seen a lot of crazy things in my line of work, but nothing as insane as time travel.”

“Well, no matter what, we can’t just sit here. We need to figure out where we are and get home. The kids are probably beside themselves about now.”

He couldn’t argue with that and swiveled his aching body to his feet then offered his hand to Leanne. She reached out and grasped it with her small, strong one. They walked toward the castle, the only building within sight, but Kurt couldn’t shake the eerie feeling of being entirely alone out there.

When they reached the castle they walked around until they came to the entrance. The doors were closed and when they banged on them no one answered.

Kurt looked out over the road, if you could call two worn tracks in the midst of the grass leading away from the castle a road, and considered taking it to wherever all the people might be.

“Over here, Kurt.”

He stared back at where Leanne called from and noticed the little window about six feet up the wall. Leanne was attempting to roll a large boulder over under the window.

“Move,” he said as he approached her.

She stepped back and crossed her arms just under her breasts. He ignored her raised eyebrow and went to push the rock. It didn’t want to budge. He came at it from another angle.

Yeah! Not so easy now is it, tough guy???”

He glared at the rock and ignored the scoffing sound Leanne made while he continued to look for way a to move the behemoth.

Leanne sneaked up behind him and startled him by jabbing a long branch under the edge of the rock, freeing it from the soft ground it was sticking in.

“I’d have thought of that eventually.”

“Sure,” she said with a smile plastered on her face.

“Are you enjoying this?”

Leanne paused with her hands on the branch. “You know what? I am. I can’t remember the last time we’ve done anything just the two of us. And now you’re stuck with me.”

She pressed down on the raised end of the stick and the rock moved a little. Kurt reached under and gave it a hard push up making it roll in the direction of the window. He grunted and did it again.

“I’m not stuck with you.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

She sounded as though he’d ruffled her feathers which confused him.

“I just mean I like being with you. You’re my wife.”

One more hard shove and Kurt had the boulder under the window. It took two feet off the distance to the window.

“Oh. I thought you meant you were going to just leave me here.”

Kurt stared at her not sure he comprehended what exactly she meant when she said that, but pretty sure she didn’t think highly of him if that’s where her mind took her.

“I’d never do that, Leanne.”

“I guess I knew that, but well, nevermind. You’re too big to fit through that window. I’ll go through and open the door.”

“It might not be safe.”

“What other choice do we have? I’ll be fine,” she said and pushed past him.

He watched her step up on the rock and reach for the window ledge before he even had a chance to formulate a reply. She worked to pull herself up but wasn’t quite strong enough to lift her own body weight up to the ledge. Kurt stepped over and gave her a hand by lifting her up at the rear.

She gasped when his hands grabbed her buttocks but then she giggled.

“Well, that’s been a while.”

Kurt suppressed a smile of his own and helped her the rest of the way through the window.

. . . To Be Continued . . .


 

Sorry guys! I didn’t follow the rules at all well. I don’t have time to go back and edit anything, and I’m not done with the story, but I’ve exceeded 1000 words by 1500! I’ll probably write more to this baby just because I’m having fun with it, but I’ll have to stop there for now.

The power is still out at my house (there was a big wind storm on Tuesday in the Inland NW, knocked out power to more than 120,000 residents, and I’m still waiting for our power to be restored, so no wifi at my house this week) so I can’t access internet except on my phone which isn’t conducive to writing or blogging.

Thanks for reading! Would love to have your comments on the story. ❤

THE RULES

  1. You write 1000 words more or less on the topic
  2. Post it on your blog
  3. Reference us on your blog and this challenge so your regular readers don’t think you’ve gone rental-house-owner-in-the-Keys-style psycho.
  4. Post the link to your story here in the comments section.
  5. You have until Friday 11/20/2015 at 12 noon EST, that’s Tampa Florida US of A time, for those of you who live elsewhere.

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