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Friday, February 5, 2010

#FridayFlash: To Catch A Terrorist

Welcome Friday Flashers! I hope you like this little 368-word ditty.

Damn. Blake had landed in the right building, but not far enough back in time. It was only minutes before Ahmed the Ghost’s suitcase bomb had blown, spreading radioactive contaminants and neurotoxins throughout the Ondrusek Weapons Facility.

And someone had just slammed the door at the end of the hallway.

Blake sprinted pell-mell into the door. Pain exploded through his right shoulder and head, but the door jamb gave way. Blake stumbled – and saw himself standing at a console.

“Hold this switch,” the other Blake said.

Blake’s vision blurred and refocused. “I have to catch the Ghost,” he said.

“You’re hurt, and you’re not thinking,” the other Blake said. “Which is why our first attempt to catch him failed. He was disguised as Brennan, and we missed it. Now come here.”

Blake tried to absorb the information. “Brennan, now?” That brought the Ghost’s known disguises to six. Blake started to shake his head, but stopped when pain pierced his neck. “How could we come back? The temporal spread was getting wide when I first jumped. A second jump–”

“Come here,” the other Blake said. “I jumped less than ten minutes after they pulled me out. Worth the risk.” He jerked his head. “Hold this switch. It’s the detonator. Don’t let it flip. I’ll get him.”

Blake’s mouth tasted of blood and tin as he moved to the console. Maybe they could have done it in ten minutes. The spread would be wider, but with a little more power he might have had a fifty-fifty shot at surviving the jump. He pressed his left hand into the switch. “Okay. I have it.”

The other Blake released it and raced to a ladder that was anchored to a wall in the corner, leading to a circular opening in the ceiling. “Don’t move until I get back.”

The pain in Blake’s arm was blinding. He tried not to shudder and asked, “Do we make it?”

“I’m here, aren’t I?” the other Blake called. He pulled himself through the opening. Blake heard a slam, followed by a click-spin and the sound of footsteps.

Damn, Blake thought. His shoulder throbbed. In ten minutes, my arm won’t be well enough to climb a ladder.



Blogger shannon said...

Time travel is tricky! You made this plausible and exciting, I just want to know what happens next :-)

February 5, 2010 10:51 AM  
OpenID windspirit-girl said...

Very interesting concept, asking questions about the nature of time (travel) and identity. This isn't a genre I normally read and I really enjoyed it. :)

February 5, 2010 11:43 AM  
Blogger Marisa Birns said...

This is definitely a story one wants to keep reading!

Enjoyed this ditty very much.

February 5, 2010 11:48 AM  
Blogger David Masters said...

I never read a time-travel story before where the protagonist meets the protagonist (unless Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' counts as time travel?). Great idea!

February 5, 2010 12:42 PM  
Blogger Jake Freivald said...

Thanks to all for your comments. I'm wondering if I'm being too subtle with the twist here: The protagonist isn't really the protagonist.

Maybe I should spell that out more clearly?


February 5, 2010 12:44 PM  
Blogger William Highsmith said...

I enjoyed it. I scratched my head and pulled on my chin awhile. I think that's good for a time travel story.

February 5, 2010 6:21 PM  
Blogger Cathy Olliffe said...

368 words of fun. Thanks!

February 7, 2010 8:15 PM  
Blogger mazzz_in_Leeds said...

Ah - clever!
I do like a bit of time travel to mess with my head, every so often.

I think the subtlety works

February 8, 2010 7:38 AM  
Blogger CJ Hodges MacFarlane said...

Maybe it is too subtle that Blake doesn't actually meet another Blake.. I didn't catch it. I was into the story at face value, more wondering about the implications of meeting oneself in travel. (It's always so taboo in SF.)

February 8, 2010 10:03 AM  
Blogger Draco Torre said...

Pretty slick and the brevity works well.

February 9, 2010 3:09 PM  

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