Then I went through the wall as well and into the lobby of an apartment building. We continued running right through it and through the wall on the other side to the outside. Then, despite my protests, we ran through several more buildings. When we finally emerged at the end of the block, I glanced down the street and saw the fight behind us, the Kink’s magically animated buildings versus Freyja’s spaceship from the future.
“Hurry!” Tilly yelled at me. “My dad’s apartment is right up ahead!”
“Yeah,” I shouted back. “I know! I was alive in this time. Jamal was my friend! I’ve been here before!”
“Well, then get your butt moving! And stop making me do all the work! We need to get to him before they do!”
The explosions behind us were getting louder, meaning they were also getting closer and/or bigger. I tried to speed up to take the lead, but it turned out future Tilly was just plain faster than me. So trying to not be left behind was the best I could.
I recognized Jamal’s apartment building as we came up on it. I remembered this place even though it had been quite a while since he had lived there. Tilly continued on to the door, but before she could reach it the door swung open and Jamal stepped out. She stopped dead in her tracks. “Mr. Sampson?” she said.
He looked at her, then me, and I realized not only didn’t he recognize her, but he didn’t recognize me either. Tilly was his grown up daughter who he hadn’t yet been conceived, so of course he wasn’t aware she did or would ever exist. As for me, at this point in time, Jamal and I were friends. I, however, did not currently look anything like myself, younger or otherwise, thanks to my Quantum Instabiliity.
And to think, not too long ago I was deciding whether to cure myself of it. If I had not been delayed by everyone and been able to make a decision, our problems might be solved. Or some of them. One of them. One of them might be solved, in that Jamal might actually recognize me. Still, I guess even if I hadn’t taken the time to listen to all of them, I realized I could have at least returned myself to my original body, at least temporarily.
“We need to move,” Tilly said to him.
“Come on, Jamal,” I added. “We need to get out of here. Right now!”
“Who are you people?” he asked, before being distracted by the explosions down the street. “What is going on here?”
“It’s a little complicated,” Tilly said. “Needless to say, you’re in danger and we need to go. It’s very important you don’t die here.”
“Danger? We’re all in danger! What the hell are those things!?”
“Things we need to get away from,” I said. “And fast!” I reached out to grab him, but he backed away.
“Why me?” Jamal asked. “Why did you come here for me?”
Freyja suddenly appeared behind us. “Because one day, Jamal, you will be my consort.”
It was a difficult thing getting used to people suddenly appearing out of nowhere. It took a lot of time not to be freaked out by it. This version of Jamal had had none of that time. “What the hell? Where’d you come from?”
Freyja giggled. “Oh, Jamal. You’re so sexy when you’re scared.”
Tilly stepped between them. “Get away from him, Freyja. I’m warning you!”
“Oh, Matti dear, it’s always so good to see you all grown up.” She then pointed to her cybernetic parts. “Though I don’t know about those things. A bit retro if you asked me.”
“No one did.”
“Who the hell is this? Who the hell are any of you?” Jamal demanded. “What the hell is going on?”
“I’m your future lover, darling,” Freyja said. “And I’m here to save you…and maybe ravish you a little.”
“Save me? Save me from what? From those!?” He pointed down the street at the fighting that was still going on. Several of the non-animated buildings were now on fire.
“No, Silly,” Kink said, appearing behind him. “From me. I’m here to erase you from time. Sorry about that.”
“What!? Erase me?!?”
“Relax. It’s not really about you.”
“What? How is erasing ME from time not about ME?”
Kink pointed at Freyja. “When it’s really about her.”
“How is this about her? I’ve never even met her.”
“Well, one day the two of you will do a lot more than just meet.”
“What?” Jamal asked, completely lost.
“She’s coming at me through you. Kink’s trying to erase you so she can erase me.”
“I’m your daughter, Dad. Freyja’s my mother. Kink can’t hurt Frejya directly, so she’s coming after me instead. Unfortunately, for her, and you, Freyja has already protected me from most threats. So that means the only way to get at me is to come for you.”
“Basically,” Kink summed up, “I get rid of daddy, there’s no baby. No baby, mommy gets sad. If mommy doesn’t want to lose baby, she better back the hell off.”
“Or,” Freyja said. “I could just pull out my own secret weapon.” With a wave of her hand, Lu Wu appeared hovering over Freyja’s shoulder. He was hooked up to some strange device. “Him.”
to be continued…