Read Chapter 8 “The Time Loop”
The team upstairs moved swiftly from one room to another, evidently looking for something, as sounds of the drawers being turned over kept echoing throughout the whole house.
Based on his experience, Patrick knew that the group roaming around his house wasn’t only well-organised but also working in coordination with one another. They surely weren’t random robbers hitting a random house.
Ever since Maggie was a child, she hated feeling helpless. And now, in the most crucial moment of her life, when she needed to act fast, she was stuck in a room without a way out. Each passing minute was adding to her desperation and the more distressed she became, the less clearly she experienced. Within a couple of minutes, her hopelessness threshold started tipping over.
Needing to do something, act somehow, she decided that regardless of what was happening upstairs in the next five minutes she was going in. Luckily she still had her backpack and was able to log onto her ship’s system to request backup.
As for Patrick, he desperately tried to track back his steps to see if he was responsible for dragging them into that spectacular trap. He knew for sure that for the Corporate Government to track him back here, his personal drone would have to be up and running. Since the power to the main IT generator and the emergency supply systems had been blown up his droid was non-operational and unresponsive the Old World’s powers couldn’t trace them here.
While he was pre-occupied analyzing his every move, Maggie whispered, – “I’m going in.”
– “What? You can’t go in. We know nothing of what’s out there.”
– “We have no time, look.” Maggie pointed to her wristwatch, which showed 36 hours and ten minutes (It was an electric watch, it still ticked like the old-fashioned did.)
– “What is that?” – Muttered Patrick.
– “This is how much time we have left.” – Maggie explained.
Patrick still couldn’t wrap his head around how an educated, intelligent woman, a leader of Ecotopia could be so naive to believe in the concept of time travel.
– “To do what, Maggie?” Patrick asked, although he already knew what she was going to say.
– “To find our kids, of course, have the blood transfusion and be on our way back to 1999 if the time allows.” – She replied with so much confidence and conviction in her voice that it was hard not to believe her.
Since Maggie was determined to act and do something, she swiftly opened her backpack, and as quietly as possible took out two small handguns.
– “I know that Ecotopia is much more advanced than the Old World but for heaven sake, time travel doesn’t exist Maggie!” – Patrick tried to argue his case. But he knew that once Maggie makes up her mind there is no turning back.
– “Only because you have no tangible proof of the time travel, it doesn’t mean it’s unreal. I’m going in.”. She was just about to make her move towards the door when Patrick grabbed her hand. She stopped for a moment and closed her eyes. In that very instant all her senses remembered how his touch felt.
– “Maggie, Maggie, can you please wait? Can you give me a few moments to think? I need to think. I… I need to make a plan.” – Patrick was trying to buy himself some time.
– “I am afraid we don’t have that luxury anymore.” – Maggie sadly confessed.
Between all the whispering, discussing and arguing they failed to notice that the noise coming from the house died down. When the silence finally reached them, without giving much thought, Maggie quickly entered the four-digit code on her watch.
Then, in a spare of a moment, she touched Patrick’s cheek and kissed him. It felt just like it used to feel when they were young and careless before the revolution shaped their destiny. When the kiss ended, Patrick moved Maggie aside and stepped towards the door. He was just about to reach for the handle when Maggie’s watch beeped. That distracted him enough for her to swiftly get ahead of him and open the door with a bang. She was expecting to meet the enemy, but no one was waiting for them. Patrick was as surprised as Maggie was.
Without a moment to spare, Patrick grabbed his droid and made his way towards the back door. However, neither Maggie nor Patrick anticipated that the enemy would wait outside, surrounding the house.
Even though the garden was pitch black, they could both see the red light at the end of the weapons pointing at them. At that very moment, the escape felt impossible. Maggie dropped her guns to the ground.
-“Who are you?” – Maggie demanded to know. But no answer came back, neither no one moved from the shadows.
-“What the fuck is that?” – She turned to Patrick feeling her anger reaching the boiling point. “Is that part of the Old World’s strategy? What the fuck is that, Patrick?”
– “It’s not the Corporate Government. Since you turned up a few hours ago, everything in my world seems to be falling apart. I should be asking if it’s not the Ecotopians pulling some sick trick on me.” – Patrick was starting to feel angry too. She had no right to direct her fury at him.
Instead of confronting Patrick Maggie picked up her guns and begun walking away. Suddenly, a warning shot was fired.
– “Who the hell are you and what game are you playing? If you say nothing, I’ll keep on walking.”- Maggie replayed.
– “Maggie?” – came from the shadows – “We know why you crossed over to the Old World and what you have discovered.” – A woman said.
Maggie said nothing but her mind went into overdrive trying to figure out how the hell someone knew about the Time Loop if no one, besides a very few people directly involved in the discovery, knew about it all.
– “We also know where your children are” – The same voice continued.
Maggie wanted to say something, but Patrick stopped her. He wasn’t sure what kind of game their captors were playing, but he surely knew that revealing such sensitive information was unwise.
– “We know you came here to find your kids and take them back to 1999.” – The woman kept on talking.
Patrick’s heart started beating faster. Maggie wasn’t crazy after all, and there was a real possibility that the Time Loop was real; it seemed that not only the Ecotopians knew about it.
– “The time is ticking and the longer we spend here, the less time you have to find your kids.” – Said the voice calmly. Maggie looked at her watch and finally asked.
– “How do you know about the Time Loop?”
– “We opened it.” – The voice replayed confidently.
– “It’s impossible.” – Maggie responded.
– “Why? You did it and your technology isn’t nearly as advanced as yours.”
– “What year are you from?” – Maggie wanted to know.
– “2447” – Echoded the voice, while walking out of the shadow. A black mask covered her mouth; her long hair was tied up in a ban, her clothes were loose and dark, made from a heavy fabric neither Maggie nor Patrick could recognise.
From under the black mask, Maggie could just about to see her face covered in scares. While the woman was moving closer to them with her high tech weapon pointing at Maggie. Neither Maggie nor Patrick moved but both could see the bushes moving behind the woman.