The City Never Sleeps At Night

Chapter 2

Posted on: June 12, 2014

Hey guys! Sorry it’s taken so long to get this chapter up! I had it all ready to go and completely forgot to press the “Publish” button. My bad! 

So here’s chapter 2. As a refresher, it’s in Julia’s POV and she’s telling Agent Tate the beginning of their story.


September 18, 2008. It was a Thursday.

After Luke got out of football practice, he treated me and Adam to free pizza at his uncle’s place downtown. We sat at our usual booth in the corner. Luke used a knife to carve another tally mark underneath the table. Adam used a napkin to get rid of the grease off the pizza like usual—and as usual, Luke and I laughed at him.

Luke’s Uncle Shawn came over, sang “happy birthday” and even handed me a gift card for his restaurant—which didn’t matter, he never charged me anyway. Being his, and I quote, “favorite little girl” had its perks.

We went back home to my house to hang out and watch the Boston Red Sox game. Dad would have gotten on to me if I had told him we didn’t watch the game. Birthday or not.

As if on cue, my mom yelled out from the kitchen the second the door was opened. “Hey there birthday girl! Your Uncle Dustin’s package came. It’s on the kitchen counter.”

Now if there was one thing I could always expect on my birthday, it was one awesome present from Uncle Dustin (mom’s older brother). They ranged from a poncho woven in Argentina to a small marble bust of a Greek god or goddess (I still can’t tell which one it is, honestly). When we lived back in Georgia, he would stop by all the time and tell me stories about all the places he had been, all the types of people he had met and all the cool things he had done. After we moved up to Boston, he rarely visited. He never gave me an explanation for why he never showed up anymore, but he always sent a gift on my birthday. If there was one thing that was constant in my life, and always has been. It’s been Uncle Dustin’s birthday gift.

“Now that I think about it, most of his stories are probably true. I used to think he was the world’s biggest liar, but there’s no way I would think that now.”

Adam scoffed, crossing his arms. “Yeah right Julia. I’m positive the Atlantis story isn’t true.”

“Atlantis?” Agent Tate asked, for his own curiosity.

Julia waved his question off with her non-injured hand. “Long story. And completely irrelevant to this part of the story.”

So I walked into the kitchen and saw the package. I saw down on one of the stools next to the counter. Luke came up behind me.

“Open it already, dang it! It’s not just going to sit there. It wants you to open it.”

I rolled my eyes and opened the box, picking up the envelope on top. It was a handwritten note from the infamous uncle himself.

My dearest niece Julia,

I hope you enjoy this book. It has all the knowledge you could ever want or need. You’ll find great adventures, the world’s best romances and its worst criminals. And you might just find something about yourself along the way. If you have any questions about what you find, don’t hesitate to ask.

With love, Dustin.

I put down the note on the counter next to the box and saw that nothing was in the box…the already opened box. I turned around and saw Luke holding up a huge textbook.

“You know the part in the movies where there’s dramatic music playing that makes it seem like something amazing is about to happen and then nothing happens and you’re all disappointed? If our lives were ever made into a movie, that’s exactly what would happen.”

“Dude you got a textbook for a present!” Luke said as he tossed it to me. “The universe is telling you that you’re dumb.”

I put the book back on the counter. “I thought you were the dumb one?”

Luke stuck his tongue out at me right as my mom came over.

“Oh I haven’t seen this book in years!” I turned around and watched as my mom treated the book as if it was some rare diamond. She picked it up and gently started flipping through the pages. “Your uncle and I used to read this all the time. It meant a lot to us.” She sighed as if remembering that wonderful childhood of hers that she always referenced but never talked about. She coughed, bringing herself back to reality. “I meant him…It meant a lot to him.” She straightened up. I could have sworn she had a few tears forming in her eyes, but I could never be sure with her. “It’s a big deal for him to give something like this up.”

She put the book back down right in front of me and walked out of the kitchen, ending that conversation.

Luke put his hand on my shoulder. “Congrats Jules. You inherited a textbook.”

Adam ran his hand over the cover, trying not to laugh. “It’s such a beautiful heirloom. What on earth are you going to do with it?”

“Oh you two just shut up!” I got up and walked up the stairs to my bedroom, leaving the book behind.

“Now as much as I’d like to hear your minute-by-minute analysis of your fifteenth birthday, Holbrook. I’d like to actually hear the stuff that matters.”

Julia pretended to be offended, eyes wide and everything. “I’m insulted Tate. This is important.” 

Tate glared at her, as if to say really? Her mocking sarcasm wasn’t going to get her very far and she knew that. It was almost as if she knew she was fighting a losing battle.

Julia waved him off. “Oh, fine. I’ll skip the game—which was amazing, by the way—and get to the good stuff.”

It was almost midnight—11:47 P.M. to be exact—when Luke and Adam finally left. I brushed my teeth, changed into my pajamas—black Nike dry-fit short with a red Boston Red Sox t-shirt—and plopped down onto the bed.

I had finally gotten all relaxed and was about to turn off my bedside lamp when I saw my new textbook on the foot of my bed.

I let out a frustrated sigh and sat up. Obviously mom had moved it there while I was distracted by the game.

At first, I just stared at it, unsure of what to do.

The cover was black. No words. Nothing. It had to be at least like a thousand pages thick. The book was obviously very old. The corners of the pages were burnt, torn, bent, etc.

I figured if it meant so much to Dustin I should probably at least look at it. I started flipping pages at random.

Page 32: Ancient Roman architecture. A few notes were scribbled on the side, but the ink had bled together—like it does when paper gets wet—so I couldn’t read it.

Page 732: Napoleon in Egypt.

Page 398: Jamestown.

Page 115: Samurais. At first, I could have sworn the article was written in Japanese, but then I blinked and it was in English. Back then, I thought it was because I was just tired.

Boy, was I wrong!

Page 1488: Somali Pirates.

Page 99: Rebellion Finally Crushed in Boston. The newspaper article was dated 2099.

I pulled the book a little closer so that I could look at the newspaper article better. There was a picture that took up the top half of the article. The main focus of the pictures was an old street sign that read 3rd AVE, which was the name of the street that I lived on. I looked past the street sign to see the street and saw destruction: bombed buildings, rubble in the streets, soldiers with huge guns walking around checking it out.

And I made the dumb decision to say the following out loud: “What the heck? When did that happen? I don’t remember that hearing about that in history class.”

The book decided to show me that it didn’t make anything up…the hard way.

“I’m going to skip all the details of exactly how the books.” Julia looked over at Adam. “I don’t want to confuse him anymore than he already is. Unless you want to explain Mr. Theoretical Physicist.”

Adam shook his head. “We don’t have time to explain exactly how time travel works. We’d be here for a decade. Besides, nobody truly knows how it works.”

Julia smiled. “Point Adam.”

Agent Tate and Luke both simultaneously rolled their eyes. “Keep going Holbrook,” the FBI agent muttered through gritted teeth. These kids were really starting to get on his nerves. He had a million other things he could be doing right now, but instead he was stuck listening to four delinquent teens tell their story about time traveling. More like four loons escaped from the looney bin, Agent Tate thought to himself.

So long story short, I fell down onto the sidewalk—which hurt a ton.

Just at first glances, the street looked just like one of the many streets of Boston. Various historic looking buildings on either side of the street with a small roadway for cars. A bunch of cars were parallel parked on the side of the road…but they looked…how do I put this…futuristic? They weren’t flying cars—you would think they would, being 100 years in the future, but they weren’t. The people were dressed fairly normal. No crazy outfits. Just regular clothes. Honestly, I could barely tell I was 100 years in the future.

I forced myself up to see two girls standing in front of me.

The girl on the left was wearing black pants that hugged her curves. Her black leather jacket covered up the bright, neon yellow shirt underneath. Her black hair was pulled up into a tight ponytail, making her look even more intimidating. She had darker skin and ice-cold grey eyes. She was definitely giving me the creeps.

The girl next to her had bleach blonde hair that was perfectly straight, bangs pinned back with a few bobby pins. She was wearing the same black pants but she had a long-sleeved pink shirt. She was about as pale as snow. If she had black hair, I would have totally called her Snow White. Her smile was contagious, but it seemed to overshadow the fact that something made her seem out of place. I just couldn’t put my finger on it quite yet.

Both had the same black bracelet on. It had a glowing green W on it.

“Hey! Are you okay? You took a pretty hard fall there!” The blonde asked me as the other brushed my shoulders off. “My name’s Candy. What’s yours?”

“Julia…where am I?”

The two girls looked at each other and laughed.

“Boston silly!” Candy said in between giggles. “You would think you would know where you are! You used to live here and all.”

Candy turned around and started walking down the street.

The other girl held out her hand for me to shake. “I’m Maria Lynn. Call me Lynn.”

I shook her hand and she started walking down the street after Candy. “Come on Julia,” Lynn called out. “We’ve got places to be, people to see, things to discuss!”

After catching up, I realized I had more questions than I could spit out. So I started with the obvious one.

“How did you know that I used to live here? Whoa…wait…I live in Boston right now!”

The two girls stopped in their tracks and looked at each other as if what I had said was a taboo of some kind.

Candy got really close to me and whispered into my ear. “Welcome to 2108, Julia. Please don’t freak out too much.”

I stumbled backward, away from her, and stared wide-eyed at the pair of girls. “WHAT?”

“Sshhh…we’ll explain that later. But…not here.” Lynn kept walking again, but a lot faster this time.

None of us said another word until we got to wherever they were headed. It was an apartment, which based on some of the other buildings we walked past, was super old. Candy ushered us in and shut the door behind us. She locked the door with six different locks. Paranoid, much?

I then followed Candy and Lynn down some stairs into a sketchy basement. Lynn reached up and pulled down on a piece of string and one single light bulb turned on. I hadn’t seen anything like that in ages.

A bunch of random boxes overflowing with multiple generations worth of stuff. There were three book shelves overflowing with more stuff—not just books, but mostly—giving it the abandoned library look. One wooden table, about to fall apart, was located near the stairs.

The room looked like something straight out of an old 80’s movie. Nope, I take that back. Even further…like 60’s or 70’s. Nobody has basements like that anymore (at least I don’t think so…). So the fact that it was here in the future made it extra ancient, in my opinion.

Candy, Lynn and I all sat down at the horribly built table. Candy started the conversation I was so anxious to have.

“Okay, now that we’re in a secure location we can talk. We know you Julia because—” Lynn elbowed her.

“Don’t start with that!” Lynn scolded her.

“It’ll get it out in the open. She’s got to know eventually!”

“We are not starting off the conversation with that,” Lynn said through gritted teeth.

“Fine,” Candy rolled her eyes. “Where do we start then?”

Lynn thought for a second and sighed, crossing her arms out of frustration. “We should have thought this through more. We knew she was coming after all.”

“So let me get this straight, you knew I was coming?” I asked.

Another look shared between the girls. There was so much they weren’t telling me. This conversation was going to be the tip of the iceberg. I knew that much for sure.

“We…uh…can’t tell you how we knew you were coming,” Lynn started.

“That’s ultra-complicated,” Candy added.

“Yes, but we can tell you the simpler stuff. Like that book your uncle gave you for your birthday? That’s super important and much easier to explain.”

“Okay…and how is that textbook important?” I ask, putting my elbows on the table, leaning forward.

“We all belong to this…this…kind of secret club or…uh…organization. And this organization revolves around time travel.”

Both Lynn and Candy raised their wrists and showed their bracelets off.

“A secret organization? You’re going to have to explain more.”

Why I didn’t question the time travel part immediately puzzled me. For some reason I wasn’t shock about time travel, but I was shocked that I wasn’t shocked. If that makes any sense.

“See there is this…this…”

“Power source,” Candy cut in. “And it’s the only reason that time travel is possible. For as far back as history can go, there have been select people that have had knowledge of this. And somewhere early in human history, the power source got broken up into nine pieces.”

Candy then got up and started searching for something on the bookcase behind her, continuing to talk as she went.

“And see there’s a member of this…organization, per se, that went rogue—or at least, is going to go rogue—and wants to take over the power source and use it to take over the world. Or something like that. You know, typical bad guy stuff.

“And see one of the oldest members thought that this would come and figured out a solution for it. I have a copy of that letter in here somewhere.”

After searching around for a few minutes, Candy finally found what she was looking for and brought it back to the table and pushed it over towards me. “It basically states how when this bad guy comes about, there has to be a group of four ’members’ that will be the only ones to be able to find the pieces of this power source and put them back together—with the help of…others.” Lynn elbowed Candy, but she ignored it and continued. I noted that the “others’ seemed like at touchy subject for them. “But only one of the four will have the ability to destroy the bad guy for good. It’s been the general idea that the one will be a member of the Ducit family.”

“The what family?” I asked, trying to keep up with what Candy was saying.

“Ducit…it’s Latin for leading. The leading family…or…the…umm…royal family per se.”

“Do you know how the British Parliament works?” Lynn interjected.

I shrugged. “A little, why?”

“It’s like the Ducits are the House of Lords and the other members are the House of Commons.”

“Oh.”

“That’s the easiest way to explain it,” Candy ceded.

“And,” Lynn getting us back on track, “we think that you are apart of the Ducit family and Luke and Adam are two of your companions.”

All that I could do is stare at this letter. What are you supposed to say to that? These girls I just met claim that we’re all apart of some secret club that’s as old as dirt and that Luke, Adam and I are going to basically “restore peace to the universe.” WHAT? 

Did I really just say that?

Luke? The guy who is a huge player and is dumber than a rock.

Adam? The nerdy guy who is scared of literally everything.

Me? The most average and invisible girl ever.

There was no way they were talking about us.

“Hey!” Luke and Adam yelled out at the same time.

Julia shrugged. “I’m not taking it back.”

Adam rolled his eyes and Luke pouted like a little child. Some things never change.

I’m pretty sure the reason that I didn’t say anything immediately was because my mind was blown into a million…nope, a trillion…pieces.

“How did you know I am apart of the Ducit family?” I asked. If I was some kind of time travel royalty, I wanted to know about it.

Lynn leaned forward on her elbows and continued, this time ten times more serious.

“You have the book in your possession correct?” I nodded. “Only members of the Ducit family can be in possession of such a thing.”

“And you think that means that I’ll be the one to save the world?”

Lynn nodded. “It makes the most sense.”

Candy must have seen my freaked-out look get even worse because she jumped in and elaborate.

“If you ever meet another Warper, they’ll treat you like royalty,” Candy said, in an effort to make me feel better. Honestly, it didn’t.

“Warper?”

“It’s the name of the secret organization. The Warpers.”

I stared down at the paper. am the one who’s going to have to save the world. This is not happening. Worst. Birthday. Ever.

We sat in silence for a few minutes. Lynn and Candy told me to ask anything and that they would try their best to answer. They wanted me to understand. If this was all true, I definitely wanted them to help. They seemed to know what was going on—at least most of it.

I took a deep breath and looked up at both girls. “You said there were four people, but you only named three.”

“That’s because we don’t know who the fourth one is yet.” Candy answered. “You’ll have to figure that one out on your own.”

“But—”

“Don’t even ask how to figure that out,” Lynn interrupted. “We don’t know.”

“Okay…” I took a moment to contemplate that and figure out my next question. “So how do you know when the pieces are missing?”

“The more pieces that go missing, the more bad things that start happening.” Lynn explained. “Things like natural disasters, epidemics, wars, rebellions…you get the picture. Supposedly the ninth piece disappeared the day the so-called ‘savior’ was born.”

Lynn looked right at me. Her use of air quotes made the savior sound like a joke.

“But bad things happen all the time, how do you tell the difference?”

“The difference is: those who belong to the Warpers will either know it’s going to happen beforehand or will be the cause of it.”

“Wait a minute. So you’re saying sometimes you know natural disasters are going to happen before they actually do? Wouldn’t you want to tell somebody and save some lives?”

“We don’t find out that far in advance.” Lynn rolled her eyes. “It’s usually like a weird feeling a few minutes before.”

“So you just get a weird feeling and then you know something bad is going to happen?” I was having a hard time believing this at the moment.

“Pretty much. And usually the rebellions that occur after another piece has gone missing have to deal with us too. Seven times out of ten it’s just some crazy people outside of the organization finding out about us and trying to do something about it. The other three times it’s the government trying to shut us down. Neither work out really good for either of us.”

“This would be one of those other three times, Agent Tate,” Julia added quickly.

“So it’s mostly crazy conspiracy theorists finding evidence?”

“Yeah. The sloppy Warpers leave evidence,” Lynn said eyeing Candy. I sensed a lot of tension, but neither of them looked like they wanted to talk about it.

“The last big rebellion was in 1848. “Candy added, dismissing Lynn’s comment. “Well if you don’t count the one from a few years ago.” Candy glanced at Lynn, but she dismissed it and continued.

I think they were referring to the 2099 Boston rebellion I saw in the book, but I didn’t mention that.

“But the one in 1848 was the exception to the rule,” Lynn retorted. “Most people think that the best evidence for most of the pieces being gone is having two world wars within thirty years of each other.”

It could have just been me, but Lynn seemed as bored as I was back in Mr. Morris’ seventh-grade science class.

“Wasn’t that the first class we had together in Boston?” Luke interrupted.

Julia gave Luke a smile. “It was.”

Luke rolled his eyes at the memory. “I hated that class!”

“You two can have your little lovey-dovey moments on your own time,” Agent Tate rolled his own eyes. Julia glanced down at his legal pad and saw that he had a few things written down. That could be really good or really bad. Julia cleared her throat and continued.

“What happened in 1848?” I felt even more lost. I probably should have paid more attention in world history class. But in my defense, we hadn’t make it past the year 0 yet. So it’s really not my fault I wasn’t clued in.

It became obvious to me that I would need to pay a lot more attention in that class from now on.

Lynn rolled her eyes. My lack of history knowledge was annoying to her…along with a lot of other things, as I would find out in years to come. “In 1848, rebellions spread all over Europe. Most historians say that it was just the common people rebelling against conservative governments, but we don’t believe that to be true.”

“Why not?”

“Because we have evidence that some of the main leaders of the rebellions knew about time travel and were using it as leverage to overthrow the government.”

“How does that make it the exception to the rule? You said seven out of ten—”

Lynn waved my question off. “It’s the exception because only three pieces missing at that point in time, which isn’t very dangerous at all!”

“How many pieces have to be gone before its deemed ‘dangerous?’”

I’m gonna be honest here, I was being a little bit sarcastic with her. Lynn’s one of those people that you’re sarcastic to and then regret it later.

“Four. After that, it’s like a slippery slope.”

“Well then how come the world hasn’t come crashing down yet?”

Again, more sarcasm.

“Because there is said to be a certain amount of time between the day the last piece goes missing and the end of the world. We think it’s around 20 years. According to that letter the clock starts ticking—”

“Lemme guess…when the ‘savior’ is born?”

Before Lynn could retort, Candy jumped in.

“Jonathon thinks that started on your birthday. September 18th 1993. So you have until your twentieth birthday to find them all.”

“Who’s Jonathon?” I asked. This was way too much information to take in at one time. With every thing that came out of their mouths, I got more confused.

Candy’s eyes went wide. She covered her mouth with one of her hands and slowly turned to face Lynn.

Lynn glared at Candy. It was a few intense moments before Lynn cleared her throat. “He’s a friend of ours.”

“He knows just about everything you could possibly want to know about this,” Candy added.

“Then why isn’t he here?” I asked. “Shouldn’t I be asking him these questions?”

I’m sure the frustration in my voice was showing. Lynn was glaring at Candy even more now. Candy looked like she wanted to drown herself in her own sea of guilt. Obviously Jonathon was someone I wasn’t supposed to know about.

“He…he couldn’t make it,” Candy whispered. Her eyes were locked on her hands in her lap.

There was a long, drawn out awkward silence I spoke up.

“So do you have any ideas on where this first power source piece is?”

“Actually, we do!” Candy jumped up and put the letter back on the shelf. She seemed extra eager to get a chance to leave that awkward conversation. “We knows its on 3rd Avenue somewhere, but we didn’t want to risk getting caught there without you guys.”

“So it’s here? In Boston? In…in…2108?”

“The sooner we find it, the sooner we can all go home.” Lynn said bluntly. Something told me she was still really ticked about the whole Jonathon thing.

“Where is home for you two exactly?” I asked slowly. They shared another look. “Oh stop with the looks and just tell me, dang it!”

Lynn rolled her eyes. “For me, my hometown is Boston. For Candy…”

Candy’s eager expression turned to a sour one. “My home…isn’t here. Not in 2108.”

“So you time travelled here…like me?”

“Yeah, I guess.” Candy’s gaze lingered on the floor. “I don’t really have the option of going home, unlike you. I’ll go to another place.”

Lynn took the mysterious comment as the “let’s get out of here” cue. I was so glad she had, because I was ready to get out of here too. I wanted to go home. Now.

Candy and I followed Lynn up the stairs and out of the house. We then walked around the city until we stood at the beginning of 3rd Avenue.

3rd Avenue looked exactly like it did in the newspaper article I found in the book—minus the soldiers. It was completely empty. It was almost unrecognizable to the 2008 version. Half of the buildings were torn down. Windows were broken. Doors broken down. The piles of rubble were neat piles now, as if someone had gone on a cleaning spree and were waiting for the giant trash trucks to come take them away—except the trash trucks never came.

Lynn and Candy immediately slipped into the first alley on the right. At the end of the alley there was a dented trashcan. I followed Candy over to it while Lynn kept watch. Inside the trashcan were two pistols and one shotgun hidden underneath old newspapers.

“W-w-what are those for?” I asked–

Adam burst out into laughter. Julia turned to him and smirked. “I thought you’d enjoy that.”

“What’s so funny, Washington?” Agent Tate asked, oblivious as to how her story had taken a hilarious turn. Rachel covered her mouth to hide her laughter.

Adam composed himself. “Sorry. Sorry. Inside joke.” 

“Goes back to the time we went to Ancient Greece,” Julia could hardly keep the smile off her face at the memory. “Luke and this girl in the camp and…oh we’ll get there.” 

Luke crossed his arms. “You both suck,” he mumbled under his breath.

Where was I? Oh yeah… “what are those for?” In all truth, I didn’t actually say that exact line, but I did ask why guns were necessary on a deserted street.

“We’re not supposed to be here,” Candy whispered. “3rd Avenue was the base for the Boston rebellion for the longest time. We need to be careful.” She checked all three guns to make sure they were loaded. She handed me one of the pistols and we headed back to Lynn.

I later found out that the reason they didn’t have futuristic weapons was due to GPS chips. Before the rebellion started, the government added chips to several new types of guns before distribution. That’s how they raided so many rebel bases in the beginning. Eventually, the rebels caught on and reverted back to the older guns—guns that couldn’t be tracked with a GPS.

“Oh,” Julia added, glancing at Adam briefly. She looked down as if she was in shame before slowly returning her gaze to Agent Tate’s. “Sorry, uh…spoiler alert…for the future.”

We carefully headed out of the alley and slowly worked our way along the edge of the street. I felt like I was in a horror movie trying to run away from the serial killer. After getting about halfway down the street, I finally saw something I recognized: my house.

The only thing that was different was a couple of busted windows. I couldn’t help wanting to know what it looked like on the inside after all these years. Before I realized what I was doing I walked up the steps and stood in front of the front door. There were some bullet holes going through the door and the paint was faded and chipped. Dad, if he were alive in 2108, would be furious.

“Are you sure you want to see it?” Lynn whispered from behind me. I turned around and saw that she was on the top step staring at me. Candy was crouched down beside the bottom of the stairs, watching the street.

“I don’t know. Is there something I’m going to find in there that I’m not going to like?”

Lynn shrugged. “No clue. The entire street’s been abandoned for about nine years now. There’s no telling what you’re going to find.”

I nodded and turned back around, slowly turning the door knob. Holding the gun in front of me–like they do on those crime shows, you know what I’m talking about Agent Tate–I walked around what used to be my house. All the furniture was gone. In the kitchen, there were a few broken pieces of china thrown on the floor. The stairs leading up to the bedrooms were torn to pieces. I walked around to where the top of the basement stairs was. I opened the door to find them still in tact.

I motioned to Candy and Lynn that I was going downstairs and they nodded. With my gun held in front of me, I slowly started descending down the stairs. There was no telling what I was going to find. I stopped at every single sound I heard, even the creaking of the stairs.

Once at the bottom, I led my hand along the side of the wall until I found the light switch. Since there were no windows in the basement, I figured turning on a light would be safe. I flipped the switch and a complete mess was revealed to me.

Books were thrown around. Chairs smashed against the walls. Picture frames broken.

Overall, just a chaotic mess.

I lowered gun and started looking through all the stuff. Nothing really looked like it belonged to my family and I. Most of it was business papers, statistical analysis worksheets and newspapers from the late 2000’s. I was about to head back upstairs when I saw one picture in the corner. It was of Luke, Adam and I when we were twelve. I can still remember the exact day that picture was taken.

“Let me guess, you’re going to tell me the story behind the picture?” Agent Tate asked sarcastically.

“I wasn’t,” Julia smiled. “But now that you made a comment about it, I’m going to.”

It was just a few weeks after Luke had moved to Boston back in 7th grade. Luke and I were at some stupid work party that our parents dragged us to. Being the social butterflies that we were, Luke and I took our plates of food, sat on the couch and were watching Jeopardy. If the party had been at either of our houses we probably would have locked ourselves in one of our rooms and played video games, but since this was somebody else’s house, Jeopardy on the couch was the best we could do.

Alex Trebek read the clue to three contestants: “Of all the romance languages, it has the greatest number of native speakers in one country.”

“Romance language? Uh…flirting?” Luke said with a mouthful of food.

I slapped his arm. “No, stupid, it’s French. Nobody speaks French outside of France! And besides, the French are very romantic.” I waved a French fry in front of his face. “They have a whole type of kissing named after them.”

Luke winked. “I know, I’ve French kissed plenty of girls.”

I rolled my eyes, but before I could reply, somebody behind us spoke up.

“It’s Portuguese.”

Luke and I turned around to see Adam Washington standing there with a plate of food in his hands. He was the smart kid who had skipped a grade and was now in my math class.

“What are you doing here Adam?” I asked him. I could have cared less about getting the answer completely wrong.

“This is my house,” Adam retorted. After a few awkward seconds, he continued. “My step-dad is the catcher for the Red Sox.” Adam walked over and sat on the couch next to me.

Luke and I both looked at each other and shrugged. It couldn’t hurt to have another kid join our little anti-social group.

“I didn’t know you would be here Julia.”

“Yeah, my dad is the first basemen. Luke’s is the third.”

“Hey you’re that nerd that skipped a grade right?” Luke blurted out, pointing his fork at Adam, mouth full of food.

“Yeah, that’s me,” Adam whispered, looking at his food now. I punched Luke in the arm.

“Luke, that’s mean! Play nice!”

“It’s okay,” Adam said, “I’ve heard worse.”

Adam sighed and turned back to Jeopardy. After losing an intense staring contest to me, Luke apologized to Adam and we continued to fight over Jeopardy. Adam showed both of us up.

My mom had came in later and taken the picture of us three sitting on the couch. It was the first picture we ever had together and it was one of my favorites. Luke was pointing at the screen with a French fry, arguing that his answer was clearly right, when it clearly wasn’t. I had my arms crossed and looked like I was about to kill someone. Adam, on the other hand, was laughing so hard he was about to fall off the couch.

“What was the answer to that Jeopardy question?” Agent Tate asked. “Just out of curiosity. I want to see if I was right.”

Julia and Adam exchanged smirks.

“I was right,” Adam answered. “It was Portuguese.”

“So Luke, flirting isn’t an official language? Go figure.” Agent Tate retorted. He meant it as a jab on Luke’s intelligence and it was most definitely taken as such. 

Luke rolled his eyes and muttered something under his breath that only Julia heard. She pinched him, but he didn’t do as much as flinch. Luke’s eyes never left the agent’s. 

Agent Tate nodded at Julia to continue.

Seeing that picture really got me wondering where Luke and Adam were. I mean Lynn and Candy had said they were supposed to help me save the world and all, but yet they weren’t here. Were they back in 2008? Do they know that I’m gone or is time frozen there?

For once in my life I honestly didn’t have a clue how to answer that question.

I heard two loud thumps outside and froze where I was. After composing myself, I put the photo back on the ground where I had found it and hurried back up the stairs and into the living room, gun at the ready.

Before I could make it into the living room, I heard two very familiar voices shouting.

“WHOA! NO NEED FOR THOSE!” Adam yelled as he threw his hands up in the air.

“WE COME IN PEACE!” Luke added on as he put his hands on the top of his head.

I rushed to the front door, in between Lynn and Candy and convinced them that these two weren’t going to hurt us in anyway. Once the door was closed and the girls had settled down, I explained that they were pointing their guns at Luke and Adam. Candy laughed it off. Lynn didn’t show her embarrassment, but I could tell it was there.

That’s when I noticed that Adam’s glasses had a huge crack on one of the lenses and Luke had a cut on his forehead.

I pointed to Luke’s forehead. “What happened?”

Luke looked up, as if he could see the cut on his own forehead. “We landed on top of one of those dang piles outside! Is it bleeding?” I nodded and Luke sat down on the floor, took off his jacket and used the sleeve to soak up the blood.

I sat down next to him. Adam turned to me and threw his hands up in frustration. “Julia, what in the world is going on? None of this makes sense! Where are we? Why does the street looked all abandoned and what not?”

“Adam. You’re in my house.” I said as bluntly as I could. I gave Adam a few seconds to look around the room so that he could realize I was right.

“How? What? Why? Did we just—”

“Lynn? Candy? Why don’t you handle this one?”

Lynn nodded and started explaining to Adam what I had already heard. I walked over to the broken window and took a peek outside. Everything looked so…different. The view was almost unrecognizable…but at the same time it was the same. I know that doesn’t make sense, but it’s the best way to describe it.

“So this is weird.”

I looked to my right and saw Luke standing beside me. He had put his jacket back on. The blood was staining the left sleeve.

“Yeah. How do you think we get home?”

“Technically, you’re already there.”

“Ha. Ha.” I rolled my eyes. “You know what I mean.”

“Like I know! Why don’t you ask your new friends over there?”

I rolled my eyes. “Don’t you want to figure out what’s going on? Shouldn’t you be over there with Adam?”

Luke shrugged. “He’ll give me the time-traveling for dummies version later.”

I turned and gave him a confused look. We hadn’t said the phrase time-traveling…and Luke isn’t exactly the smartest person ever… “You know we time-traveled?”

“Duh. How else do you explain what’s going on?”

I shrugged. Honestly, time travel had not been my first explanation. Sometimes that boy has strokes of genius. This…was one of them.

“Oh, I almost forgot! Did you have a good birthday?”

“Yeah, I did.” That was honestly the last thing on my mind right now. It seemed so far away. Technically, it was 100 years ago.

“That’s good. Are you going to the football game tomorrow?”

“To see you sit on the bench?” I couldn’t help but smile. Since we were only freshman, Luke didn’t get much credit on the football team. Normally freshman didn’t make varsity, but Luke did. Normally that would mean playing a lot because you’re God’s gift to football, but not for Luke. He hasn’t stepped on the field during a game all season—4 games so far.

“Ha. Ha. You’re hilarious.” Luke glanced over at me. “So you’re not coming?”

“Oh, I’m coming. I never miss a game.”

“But you’re not coming for your best friend?” He gave me the puppy face, which he knew wouldn’t work.

“Of course not! I’m coming so that afterwards you can sneak us into your uncle’s pizza place and get us dessert pizzas.” I elbowed him playfully.

Adam, Lynn and Candy were finished talking by this time and they told us to come over to where they were standing. Adam looked flustered. I could tell by the look on his face that he had a million questions at the tip of his tongue, only needing someone to address him to open the floodgates and have them spilling out.

“The first place is located further down the street,” Lynn informed all of us. “We need to make it down there quietly and quickly. If anyone sees us down here, which might be possible, we’re dead.”

“How do you know where is it?” Adam asked her.

“All the Warpers can see the piece if they see it,” Lynn pointed between herself and Candy, “which we have. But we can’t touch it. Only you guys can. Since you’re three of the four.”

Adam nodded, but didn’t looked convinced that we were the ones who were supposed to save the world and all that. Honestly, at this point…neither was I.

“I think there’s more guns upstairs. I’ll go get them!” Candy said excitedly. I don’t know where she gets her energy from, but right now it was kind of annoying.

“How are you going to get up there? The stairs look like they’re going to fall apart!” I called out after her as she ran over to the stairs.

“I’ll manage!”

Julia turned to her friends. “She never did tell us how she got up those stairs. I still can’t figure out how she did it.”

That’s what’s blowing your mind? Not the time traveling thing? THAT’S what blows your mind? The broken stairs?” Agent Tate looked pretty mind blown himself, in Julia’s opinion. He probably wasn’t willing to believe that these meddling  kids were telling the truth. He was probably just punching the time clock so that he could paid. Life as an FBI agent was time consuming and it didn’t pay that well, Julia knew at least that much from TV shows. He probably didn’t want to wrap his mind around the fact that the four of them actually time-traveled one hundred years into the future. 

They’re obviously hiding something huge, Agent Tate thought to himself. Or they wouldn’t be creating such a ridiculously elaborate story.

“You obviously didn’t see those stairs. Even a mouse could have collapsed those things.”

“Time-traveling doesn’t blow your mind?”

“Well it doesn’t now,” Julia retorted, rolling her eyes. “You get used to it.”

Agent Tate just shook his head. He still couldn’t wrap his mind around the concept of time travel yet. This story seemed to be getting more ridiculous by the second.

“Now Adam,” Lynn said, “you’ll be with me and Candy. We’ll go first and scope out the area first. We’ll then wait at the location for Julia and Luke to catch up.” Lynn turned to face me. “Stay at a safe distance behind us just in case. If something happens to us, we’ll make sure that Adam comes to find you so you three can get out of here. We can’t have all of us getting caught—especially not you three. Candy and I can handle ourselves here if we get caught. You three can’t. Sound good to everyone?”

Lynn looked around for an approving nod from us three.

“Got ‘em!” Candy came back into the room and handed the two futuristic-looking guns to Adam and Luke.

“What are these?” Adam asked while inspecting it. Luke was already pretending to shoot bad guys with it.

“These are RZ-570s. Invented by rebels about a decade ago so that they could use guns without having the government trace their whereabouts. Most were confiscated but we managed to find a few that weren’t. They are the most powerful guns you’ll probably ever hold, so be careful.” Candy explained, intending for Luke to hear, which he didn’t. He was too busy twirling it around in his hands.

“It’ll only take one shot to kill somebody no matter where you hit them, so be careful with who you aim at.” Lynn said cautiously. “If you have horrible aim, we might want to switch.”

“I’m the champ at darts. My aim is the best!” Luke said while pretending to shoot the invisible bad guys. “Adam sucks though, might want to trade out for a smaller gun little man!” Adam’s face twisted with disgust, but he adamantly refused to exchange guns, claiming he could handle it.

As planned, Lynn, Candy and Adam went first. Luke and I waited ten minutes and then followed behind them. We decided walking on the other side of the street would be a good idea. I was ahead of Luke by about two paces. Every minute or so, I looked back to see if he was still there—just in case. About twenty minutes into the trip, I looked back (as I had been doing the entire time) to find him gone.

I ventured a little bit out into the street to get a better view and saw Luke standing far away down the street staring into one of the windows of a shop. Funny thing about 3rd Avenue, the beginning and the end were full of apartments for upper middle class people and in the middle there were some shops and cafes and what not.

I caught up to Luke and stood behind him, quickly checking over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching us. Luckily I didn’t see anyone.

“Luke! What are you doing?” He didn’t respond. I cupped my hands to look into the shop window to see what looked like a restaurant. At first, I didn’t connect the dots, but then it all clicked. Luke’s uncle’s pizza place was on 3rd Avenue. Right where we were standing, to be exact.

I took a step back from the window and looked at Luke. He still looked in shock. I fumbled around with what to say for a while, but he broke the silence first.

“What happened? I can’t believe it’s destroyed! Who would do something like this?”

“This all has to do with that rebellion Lynn and Candy were talking about.” I mumbled—mostly to myself. “I’m sure it just fell victim like the other buildings on this street have.”

“Then why half of the things in there look burnt?”

“I…I…don’t know.”

Luke peered into the window one more time. He then turned around, facing the street and checked if anyone was watching us. He tried the doorknob, but seeing that the door was locked, he took a few steps backwards and kicked the door down.

“Luke!” I whispered as loud as I could. “What are you doing?”

“Sshhh! Get in here!”

I walked in and continued to scold him. “You don’t know what you’re going to find in here! We need to be following the others!”

Luke wasn’t paying any attention to me. He was turning over tables, moving chairs, as if he was looking for something important. So I fit my gun into one of my belt loops and started doing the same. There was nothing to find here, from what I saw. There were burnt menus, broken tables and chairs, and the occasional half-burnt dollar bill.

“Hey Jules, come over here.” Luke whispered. He was holding up a table over in the corner by the window. I walked over there to see a table with a bunch of scratch marks on the bottom. “Know what this is?”

“Is…that…our table?” I couldn’t help but get excited.

“What’s so important about a table?” Agent Tate asked.

“In my uncle’s pizza’s place we had our own table, in the corner by the window. In all the years of us going there, we’ve never sat anywhere else. Since the first time going there, Jules and I have scratched a tally mark under the table, to count how many times we’ve been there.” Luke replied with a smile on his face, proud to have such a long tradition with his girl. “Last time I checked it was somewhere around 380.” 

Julia looked down at her hands, the edges of her lips curling up into a smile, but said nothing. They still had a lot to talk about, but she couldn’t help but smile at the fond memory. She cleared her throat and continued with her story.

“I believe so! Look how many tally marks we’ve got!” Luke attempted to count all of them. Somewhere around 60 he stopped. “What the…”

Julia turned to Luke. “What did you see? You never did tell me.”

It was Luke that looked down at his hands this time. “I don’t know,” he mumbled. “It was four years ago.”

Agent Tate rolled his eyes. “Just keep going.”

Julia completely ignored Agent Tate, eyes widening with realization. “You remember! I can see it on your face. What did you see?”

“It was just a heart with some initials in it,” he mumbled again.

“Then why not tell me? You always point those out to make fun of them.” Luke couldn’t not tell her, for he knew that she would find out eventually. Keeping secrets from her was an unfortunate weakness of his.

“Okay…it had L and J in the heart.”

Rachel and Adam were paying full attention. Wide eyes and curious expressions. Rachel placed a hand over her mouth to stop herself from saying anything. Luke didn’t want them to see the shame on his face, but they knew him to well.

“Why didn’t you just tell me?” Julia asked, this time her voice was much quieter. Luke knew she was trying to make their conversation seem more private, despite the fact that they had three people watching intently.

“I…I didn’t want to believe it back then. You were fifteen and I was fourteen. Give me a break!”

“You kept that a secret?” Julia let out a little laugh. “You could have just told me you know. I wouldn’t have cared. It’s not like it would have affected anything.”

“That’s what I was afraid of…”

“Luke? You seriously thought—”

“After I started liking you, yes I was afraid of that!” Luke blurted out. He took a deep breath to calm himself down and continued. “I liked you for a long time before I got the courage to tell you. I felt like if I told you about that you would think that I was only asking you out because of that. And Lynn and Candy always talked about how if we found out things about our future we could screw it up…and I flipped.”

Julia looked as if her heart was broken. Luke had had this moral dilemma over that table all these years and she had never known. But if he was so torn up about something as simple as seeing their initials carved under a table 100 years in the future, how was he going to handle what was coming next? She looked at him, trying to catch his gaze, but he wouldn’t look up from his hands. It’s probably better this way, Julia thought to herself. Less pain.

After an awkward moment of silence, Agent Tate butted in. “Let’s just continue.”

Julia took a deep breath, wiped a tear from her cheek and faced Agent Tate. “Where were we?”

Oh right. The table.

“Nothing. I don’t see anything.” Luke put the table back the way it was and walked away. I figured whatever he saw wasn’t that important, so I didn’t look for myself. Apparently it was important to Luke, as we all now know.

We finished looking through what used to be the dining room and moved back into what used to be the kitchen.

“What happened here? It looked like a bomb went off.” Luke said as he walked through the kitchen. There were so many things that were melted to the floor, and the walls, and the ceiling.

“I think that’s exactly what happened.”

And right when I said that something fell from the ceiling and landed right in front of me. I jumped and was about to scream but Luke ran over and put his hand on my mouth.

“We’re not supposed to be here, remember?” After a few seconds, Luke pulled his hand off and kept going. “Hey, look over here. The wall’s black over here.” Luke walked through a doorway and into a second room. “I don’t remember there being a room back here.” He kept talking, but I couldn’t hear him.

I followed him into the room and was horrified with what I saw. There’s no good way to describe what I saw, but I guess I’ve got to try, for the sake of the story.

All of the walls were black except for splatters of dark red. You could tell it had been a long time since anybody had been in here since there were bones all over the place. Human bones. Skeletons. It was possibly the most horrific sight I’d ever seen at this point. There had to be at least ten of them—dead people that is. Luke was standing over in the corner. He looked around in shock. I couldn’t even move. I felt like I was walking into a mass grave.

“You were right. A bomb definitely went off here.” Luke bent down to pick up what looked like what was left of the bomb. He picked it up slowly, inspected it, and then dropped it. “There’s got to be like ten people in here.”

“Let’s get out of here Luke. This room is creeping me out.” As I started walking back out of the room, I thought about Adam and how we left him with Lynn and Candy, and how were supposed to be following them. “Oh crap!” I hurried towards the door, pulling my gun out my pocket.

“Jules! Wait!” Luke ran after me. “What’s going on?” I had gotten to the door and waited a second for Luke to catch up.

“We left Adam, Lynn and Candy!” Luke and I shared a look that said: Oh crap! We’re screwed!

“How are we going to find them?”

“I guess we just go in the direction we were going in, and hope we find them.”

“Sounds good to me. I’ll lead.” Luke pushed past me, with his gun at the ready. I just shrugged and followed. There was no point in trying to take the lead now. Neither of us really knew where they were. All we had was a simple direction.

In a few minutes we caught back up to where I was when I had realized I had lost Luke. We continued along 3rd Avenue for a few more minutes when I heard a loud bang to my right. I immediately turned and pointed my gun out in that direction. I just had the regular pistol, so my gun was like a toothpick compared to Luke’s RZ-570, but I figured whoever—or whatever—it was didn’t like getting shot by any kind of bullet.

After a long silence, we heard it again, but this one sounded closer.

“WHO’S THERE?” Luke yelled out. I immediately punched him in the arm.

“What are you doing?” I scolded him about as loud as my whisper would allow me. “We’re not supposed to be here, remember?”

Mocking Luke is a specialty of mine.

He rolled his eyes at that, like usual. “Well whoever it is obviously spotted us.” Luke then started moving out into the street, still with his gun in front of him. I hesitated before following him.

He’s such an idiot! We’re gonna get killed doing this—I just know it! We’re done for. Doomed. End of story. This is it—I’m going to die.

“Luke…this is the dumbest thing you’ve ever done!” I whispered-yelled as I could once I caught up to Luke.

“Oh shut up Jules. I’ve got this new fancy gun thingy. Nothing can hurt us.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure about that dearie. That gun won’t be able to protect you from everything.” Came a voice with a British accent off to our left.

Luke and I turned to see where the voice came from only to see a woman standing at the door of one of the shops we had just passed. She was of average height, had curly, brown hair so dark it was almost black, with blue eyes. Not just any blue eyes—blue eyes that were like a stormy sea. She slowly started to walk towards us. She didn’t have any weapons, but her stare was cold enough to kill someone. Luke and I automatically pointed our guns in her direction.

“Oh, don’t you two just look adorable holding up your guns, thinking you can hurt me with those.” She let out a creepy laugh. “You can’t kill me now! We’ve barely gotten to know each other! At least let me buy you a cappuccino or something.”

When we didn’t lower our guns, or answer her, she continued.

“Not a cappuccino person? Hmm… what about a cup of tea?” After another few seconds of silence she kept going. “Fine then. You two obviously need to lighten up. Alcohol will do the trick—oh but you’re too young for that! Silly me!” She laughed at her stupid joke. Today, I would compare her to Mother Gothel from Tangled. “At least let me introduce myself.”

“Go ahead.” I tried to sound as tough as I could, but she probably saw right through that.

“My name is Maddie. It’s a pleasure to see you again darling. I’ve been waiting for this day for …hmm…fifteen years now?”

“You know who we are?” Luke asked her as he lowered his gun—but I hadn’t noticed that quite yet.

“Oh of course I do! You’re Luke Madden, and this beauty here is my niece Julia Rose Holbrook.” She was standing at an arm’s length now. My wimpy pistol was only inches from her stomach. All I had to do was pull the trigger and she would be gone.

Thinking back to that moment, I wish I had at least tried to pull the trigger. It would have made me feel better in the future.

“I don’t have an aunt.” I retorted as I pushed my gun right up against her stomach.

“Oh dear! You don’t remember me, do you?” She reached out to stroke my hair, but I slapped her hand away. “I’m your father’s older sister. I was there the day you were born. I held you and told your mother how beautiful you were. I actually babysat you once before I went back to England. I used to get your family’s Christmas card. You should ask your dear mother to add me back on the list, while we’re on that topic.”

“You’re making this up! I would have heard about you—or seen you at the family reunions!” At the mention of family reunions, Maddie shuddered, as if I had just offended her in some weird way.

“My father disowned me. He did not…approve of me. Never has. He just loves his son—the Red Sox player. That’s probably why you don’t hear of me—I’m not accepted in that dysfunctional family.”

“What’s your business with me then?”

Her face lit up when I asked that question. “Oh that’s the fun part darling! Our fates are intertwined—on a crash course, per say.” She walked slowly around me, twirling her finger in the ponytail. “I figured our paths should cross before all the fighting begins.”

“Fighting?” Luke interrupted.

“You’re the bad guy.” I murmured. Lynn and Candy mentioned some bad guy coming along and Luke, Adam and I having to defeat them.

“Bingo!” Maddie walked past me, over to a pile of bricks that were lying in the middle of the street. “And just so you know, the one piece of the power source that I need will be mine. Don’t you forget that either! But by all means, please don’t give up. I love a little competition!” She flashed a quick smile and kept walking down the street. “See you later my darlings! And I wish you all the luck the world has to offer!”

And just like that she was gone—disappeared into thin air.

“She just disappeared into thin air? I doubt it.” Agent Tate asked in disbelief.

“It’s true.” Julia said with a straight face as she crossed her arms in defiance.

“How did she do that then? Magic?” He asked jokingly

“Actually, yes she did.”

Agent Tate raised an eyebrow. “Magic doesn’t exist.”

“Time travel doesn’t exist either…but we proved that wrong. Didn’t we?” A smirk grew on her face.

Agent Tate stared back, taken aback at her question. She had meant it as rhetorical, but he didn’t feel it to be that way. To him, it was obvious. Time travel and magic do not exist. End of story. He glanced at his watch. He was to leave at five. It was ten in the morning. Seven more hours to go… 

Luke and I just kind of stood there for a second.

“What a weird family you’ve got there Julia.” Luke patted me on the shoulder and moved back off the street and onto the sidewalk.

“Like your family’s much better!” I followed. “You’ve got the deranged aunt who’s walking across the country.”

“And you have a crazy aunt with a British accent, and honestly I think that’s pretty creepy compared to—“

All of the sudden I got the worst headache—almost like a migraine. Every step I took hurt so I stopped. The ground underneath my feet started spinning and before I knew it, I was on the ground.

I closed my eyes for a second and opened them up to see a totally different place. I wasn’t in futuristic Boston anymore.

I was in a bedroom of what looked like a boy who—based off what was in his room—was probably a little bit younger than me. There were sports posters on the wall, along with the occasional photo standing in a frame. Against one of the walls was the bed, which I was standing over. The boy was sleeping. He had brown hair and blue eyes. Honestly, he looked like the boy version at me when I was nine.

I took a few seconds to look around the room. There was a glass of water on the nightstand, along with a copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (what a good choice—I might add), and a pair of reading glasses. There was a desk in the far corner that had huge, messy pile of books on it. The window was opposite of the desk, and right when I looked at it, it flew open, letting in all the bitter cold winter air.

In through the window came a person with a creepy cloak on. The kind of cloak you see the Grim Reaper wear in movies. It (as far as I know it was the Grim Reaper) walked right past me without even a glance.

Was I even visible? Was I a ghost here? Who is that? Whoever it was, it walked straight over to the nightstand with the glass of water on it, put its hand over it and turned back toward the windows and disappeared. The water glowed purple for a brief second, changing back so far I questioned if it had even changed colors in the first place. Right before the thing left, it took a quick glance right in my direction, and it was then when I realized it was Maddie.

I immediately went over to the window and tried to shut it after Maddie disappeared, but my hands went through it, confirming my theory that I was a ghost here.

Right as I did that, the boy woke up coughing. I could barely see him, but he reached for the glass of water and drank some. I just stood there in shock with the realization that Maddie had done something to his drink. The boy’s coughing turned into choking when a woman ran into the room. I couldn’t see her face, but she struck me as familiar. Before I could figure out whether or not he had died, I came back to reality.

“JULES!” Luke was violently shaking me. “JULES!”

“Luke, you’re making it worse! Stop!” I put my hand on my forehead. I felt like I had just been run over by a truck, repeatedly. What just happened?

“Oh sorry.” Luke let go of me and helped me up. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah I’m fine. Just my head hurts.”

“Are you sure? You just completely passed out!”

“I…I…I don’t know what just happened. My head started hurting and then all the sudden I’m in another place.”

“What? How hard did you hit your head when you passed out?” Luke put the back of his hand on my forehead like he was taking my temperature. I swatted it away.

“No, Luke. I was there, but nobody could see me. I was like a ghost. And…and…Maddie was there…and she killed that innocent boy.”

“What?” His face scrunched up in confusion. “You’re not making any sense.”

I shook the crazy thought out of my head. “We need to find Lynn and Candy. I think they’ll know what’s going on.”

Luke sighed and put a hand on my shoulder. I could see the concern in his eyes. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah Luke. Let’s just find the others.” I started walking, even with my head still throbbing. What was I supposed to do? We had to find them. I wanted to go home now.

After walking for about half an hour, the pain finally stopped. That’s when I saw Candy peeking out of a window of one of the houses across the street. Luke and I knew that crossing the street was probably a bad idea since other streets were in view, which meant other people would be able to see us. The only way we could think of doing without being completely obvious was to go from one pile of bricks to another across the street.

I set out first, pistol still out in front. I went to the first pile, checked to see if anyone was walking by, and then proceeded to the second. Once I got to the other side, I waited underneath the staircase leading up to the front door while Luke was finishing up. I counted to three and then we both ran up to the front door and knocked like maniacs.

We don’t exactly make the best decisions sometimes. You might as well know sooner rather than later.

Candy opened the door and we almost fell in.

“Nice to see you guys finally caught up! What took you so long?” Candy asked.

“We uh…got caught up a ways back.” Luke said as he walked in and took a seat on the slightly torn-up couch in the corner. “Where are Adam and that other chick?”

Lynn,” Candy rolled her eyes. “And they went searching for the piece.”

“So it is here?” I almost forgot why we were even here in the first place.

“Well, I thought so, but they went looking for it…and I haven’t seen them since.”

“How big can this house possibly be?” I looked around to see a pretty small house. There was a staircase going up to a second story, but if it was anything like the other houses on the street: it was very small.

“Not sure. But now that you’re here, let’s go look. I’ll look in the kitchen, you two go upstairs.” Without questioning her, Luke and I immediately started walking around the house, with our guns in our hands—just in case. Luke went up the stairs first, with his fancy futuristic gun ready to shoot any unsuspecting person.

Once upstairs, we found a small hallway with three doors: one on the right, left, and at the end of the hall. I opened the door on the left to see a little girl’s bedroom. Lynn had informed us back at my house that the piece would be glowing, so since I saw nothing, I closed the door. Luke had just closed the door to the room on the right.

“Anything?” I asked him.

“Nope, just a bedroom. What about you?”

“Same.”

“Did you check that one?”

“Nope.” I walked over to that door and slowly turned the knob. I looked down at my feet to see a faint glow coming from underneath the door. “Luke…look…” I pointed down to my feet and smiled at him. “This is it!”

“Could just be a light, Jules.”

I rolled my eyes. “Just trying to be optimistic.”

I opened the door to see a set of stairs going upwards to the attic. Luke and I walked up very slowly.

At the top was a bunch of old photo albums and other crap. I noticed that there was a faint blue glow that was sticking to the floor.

I pointed to the floor. “Told ya.”

He rolled his eyes. “Let’s split up.”

So Luke and I split up to try to find the source. I started moving things around to find the dang piece. While moving one of the boxes off the floor, the bottom of the box fell out and all of its contents spewed out into the floor.

I said a word or two that probably would have gotten my mouth washed out with soap by my grandma and put down the box and started picking the things up.

I noticed a bunch of photographs of the same people. Duh Julia. This is somebody’s house: of course all the photos are going to have the same people in them. But then I came across a wedding photo that struck me as odd. It had four different people in it: the bride, two guys in tuxedos (I’m assuming one was the groom) and another girl in a red bridesmaids dress.

Since I’m a girl, the natural instinct is to think aww, how cute, but then I looked closer and saw the faces. They all looked familiar…and then I realized who the people were. It was me in the wedding dress, Luke and Adam in the tuxedos and a girl from our school named Rachel in the red dress. Does this mean I’m going to marry either Adam or Luke? And what is she doing there? We’ve maybe spoken two words to each other since 6th grade!

I immediately put the contents back into the box and shoved it on a pile of boxes as far away as possible. That picture was too weird. The last thing I wanted to think about was a wedding. Especially if I was marrying either Adam or Luke.

“No offense,” Julia muttered. She stole a quick glance over at Luke before speaking up, not letting him add anything to the conversation.

No matter how many boxes I moved around, I couldn’t find this dang piece—or even where the blue glow was coming from.

Luke and I were probably searching for ten minutes before Luke moved one of the boxes and the entire room illuminated with the blue glow. He reached down and grabbed the piece. It was about three or four inches on all sides.

“Is this what we’ve been looking for the whole time?” Luke held it up and looked at it. As he was holding it, the blue glow dimmed, making it easier to look at. “It’s really small! The dang thing could have been anywhere!”

“But it was in somebody’s attic…”

Luke’s face scrunched up. “Don’t make it all creepy.”

“Fine then scared-y-cat, let’s go downstairs and get out of here.” I took the piece from him while I left the attic. With the glowing square in one hand and the pistol in the other, Luke and I went back down to the ground floor of the house to see Adam, Candy and Lynn just sitting there, chatting away. Lynn looked a little bit aggravated, probably from Adam asking too many questions.

“Look what we found!” I sang lightly as I waved the piece around.

“Oh goody!” Candy jumped up and grabbed the piece. She and Lynn examined it, admiring how it looked.

“This is amazing Julia! I can’t believe you actually found it!” Lynn ran over and gave me a hug—something I found impossible based off her standoff attitude she’s been giving me the entire time.

“Whoa there! Break it up!” Luke put a hand right in between my hug with Lynn. “How do we use that thing to get home?”

“Oh simple! All of you just need to close your eyes and put a hand on it…” She paused so that all but Candy would all do it. “Now think of where you were before you came here…”

I was thinking about home. I couldn’t wait to be in my warm bed. I felt like I’d earned it.

“Now Luke…let go of the CZ-570…”

“Dang it…” You could hear the gun drop probably a mile away.

“Now keep thinking of that place…and count to three…and…”

“One…two…three…” Luke, Adam and I said out loud together.

“Okay now what?” I said.

When I didn’t hear anybody answer, I opened my eyes to see that I was back in my room on my bed. The book that Uncle Dustin had gotten me was sitting there on my bed, still open to the exact page that had started this whole thing. I closed the book, put it up on one of the shelves, when the piece fell out of my pocket. I had almost forgotten about it! How it got in my pocket, I’ll never know—but that’s not important. I figured that this piece was probably something I needed to hide. The perfect place came right to my mind…

I hid the piece in that oh so perfect place, and no I’m not going to tell you where that is. I turned around to see that the clock read 11:47 PM. It was like no time had passed at all.

After crossing a few things off of my pre-bedtime routine, I went downstairs to retrieve my cell phone that I had left on the couch in the living room. I picked it up and saw that I had seventeen missed calls. They were all from Luke and Adam.

Before I could call either one of them back, the doorbell rang.

The second I opened the door, I was pushed aside as Luke and Adam hurried in. I shut the door slowly and walked over to the living room, where Adam and Luke were standing now.

“JULIA! Oh good! You’re okay!” Adam looked like he was out of breath—which was weird since he lived right across the road.

“What’s going on?” All three of us sat down on the couch. “Why did y’all show up? It’s past midnight!”

“We had to make sure you were back! You didn’t answer your phone, so we came over as soon as we could!” Luke looked as if he had just had a panic attack—which never happened: another weird thing.

“I left my phone on the couch. I literally just saw all the missed calls. Y’all need to calm down.” I took a deep breath to calm down. “Do y’all need a drink? You look like you just ran a marathon!”

“Yes…please.” Adam said in between taking huge breaths. I got up to go get all three of us a glass of water and came back to the couch.

“So what now?” I asked.

Adam drank every last drop of water, placed the glass down on the coffee table and turned to me. “We just time travelled. This is big stuff.”

“Dude! We’re going to be famous!” Luke exclaimed excitedly.

“Ssh!” I turned around just to make sure my parents weren’t standing there. “Luke, we can’t tell anybody!”

“Why not?”

“You really are dumb.” Adam murmured.

“I heard that you little punk.” Luke pushed Adam.

“STOP IT!” I whisper-yelled. Yes, that is a thing. “You two fight enough as it is.” I put my glass down onto the coffee table. “We need to be together on this.”

“She’s got a point Luke. We can’t tell anybody. If anybody knows, we could never accomplish the mission.” Adam shoved Luke back. “Did you put the piece in a good hiding place, Julia?”

“Yeah. And don’t even think of asking where I hid it. The less people that know the better.”

“So we’re really doing this?” Luke normally wasn’t up for huge commitments. His longest relationship at this point was three months long.

“Yeah. It looks like we are.” After that there was a few moments of silence.

“It’s not going to be easy, is it?”

“Are you chickening out?” Adam joked.

“I don’t chicken out, Adam. This is Luke Madden you’re talking about.”

“Oh I know exactly who I’m talking about.” Adam joked. I put my hand over my mouth to hide my laughter. Luke glared at us, but said nothing.

“It’s either all of us, or none of us. What do you say? Wanna save the universe before the aunt, I never knew I had, destroys it?” I picked up my glass off of the coffee table and offered it up as if to toast something.

Adam grabbed his glass and did the same. We both looked at Luke, waiting on him to pick his up.

“I’m going to regret this, aren’t I?”

“Probably,” I smiled.

“Fine,” Luke smiled at me as he raised his glass to complete the toast.


So that’s chapter 2! Please let me know what you think in the comments. Good, bad, hate, love, etc. I wanna hear it all! I’ll try to have chapter 3 up as soon as I can! Have a wonderful day! 🙂

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A little bird told me…

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