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A Time Traveler's Tale
Out of everything I do, time travel is what I do best.
Who am I? My name is Veronica Duffy, Ronnie for short, and I have been granted the privilege of being able to tell my tale as a Time Traveler. By this time, I’m pretty good with the whole thing, but I wasn’t always as talented with the gift.
I discovered my super power (as I like to call it now. I mean, I am like one of the X-men, just that I don’t squeeze into tights and fly around with a cape) when I was ten. I was sitting in my room playing with my dolls. My parents were arguing downstairs and I just wanted them to stop. I wanted everything to just stop. And it did. My dolls hung in thin air, my parents were quiet, the world was quiet. I looked outside. The neighbor boys who were playing catch were in mid throw, both stone still like statues.
It happened on and off after that. Being ten, I cried to my father about it. He told me I must have had a nightmare and sent me back to my room with a chocolate chip cookie, my Dad’s cure for every ailment. I couldn’t control the power until I was about fourteen, and even now at seventeen, the power turns on by itself sometimes, usually when I’m upset.
Now I use my power to get me out of sticky situations. When I forget my homework I put my life on pause so I can go get it. When someone I don’t want to talk to comes over to me I stop time and move out of their view before I unfreeze time. But like I said, I’m a time traveler. I should be able to travel back to the middle ages if I want to. Well, it’s not so easy. So far, I can only travel back and forward a couple seconds and it’s a real pain, literally. When I go forward or backwards, my skin crawls and burns and after moving forward or back in time those few seconds, I snap back to the present, like I’m a human rubber band. Needless to say, I stick with just freezing time.
I didn’t know that things would ever change the way I viewed my power. I figured it would always be the cool abnormity I harbored in secret to the day I died. It would help me out and that would be it. I never knew that one day I might view it as a disgusting thing.
It started at school Friday. It was a week before school let out and I was cleaning out my locker. I still had all my books in there and my classes were scattered around the school. I activated my power. Usually all I have to do is think ‘stop time’ and it works. I started my trek to deliver the books to the various classrooms. I caught sight of my friend Jenna and her boyfriend in a heated kiss behind the large bulletin board. He was gripping her hair and she was gripping his.
Jenna and I have been best friends since we went into middle school and she is the only person I have ever considered telling my secret to, but never did. Maybe that was a good thing. This past junior year wasn’t the best one for our friendship. Whether Jenna noticed or not, our friendship had been on thin ice since she started dating Kyle. She would regularly blow me off to go with him to where ever he wanted to go and when he hung out with us, their constant kissing and flirting was just plain annoying.
I was considering pulling Kyle’s pants down to his knees when my eye caught something. Movement. I whirled around my heart racing and examined the students in the hall. All were frozen, locked in time, as usual. I shook my head.
“Must have been my hair.” I reasoned.
I put all my books back and went to my locker again, my heart still beating a little faster than normal. This time lock was my sanctuary of sorts, my place where I could be alone. It was my place that no one could enter. It gave me the creeps to think that anyone could intrude on that. Besides, if someone knew, what would happen to me? I might be locked away in a lab; chemicals shoved down my throat and never be able to use my ability for fun again.
After school I went home to my apartment complex. It is the most dirt bag filled, ugly apartment you could ever imagine. Let’s just say, the tenants all don’t use their bathtubs and they sure don’t clean their rooms. But that doesn’t matter to my mother. She is always gone and doesn’t make enough money as a bartender to get a nicer place. So I sit home alone at night, locking all the doors and windows and praying I won’t get killed by the neighbors. Sometimes I think of what Dad would do if he hadn’t left. Would he stick around and only work when I was not home? Then again, we probably would live somewhere nice if he was here.
My mom was gone by the time I got home. I threw my book bag in the corner. Next week we weren’t allowed to bring them to school, all because some idiots might bring eggs to throw…or guns to shoot…whatever suits them I guess.
I threw a bag of popcorn in the microwave and flipped on the tube, thinking about Jenna and whether she would keep her promise and spend the night tomorrow.
“Stop calling! Stop calling! I don’t want to think anymore! I left my head and my heart on the dance floor!” My phone rang. My ringer for unknown caller.
I sighed, dug my phone out of my pocket and checked the id. ‘Pick up’ it said. I rolled my eyes. This was probably a telemarketer’s new tactic to get people curious enough to answer the phone. I sighed and pressed talk.
“Veronica Duffy?” said a guy’s voice. “You have to do exactly as I say right now.”
I rolled my eyes again. “Who is this? I’m not in the mood for jokes.”
“This isn’t a joke.” said the guy. “Just call me Sid. Now listen okay? There are people looking for you, bad people. You need to walk out of your house right now, take nothing with you except enough money for a bus fare. They are coming.”
“Uh-huh.” I sneered. “Riiiiight. Now tell me Sid, why should I believe this fantastic story you’re telling me?”
“I know your secret.”
I burst out laughing. “Which one? The one about me having a crush on all the football players? That’s about the only one I can think of, and that isn’t much of a secret.”
“I know you can stop time.”
I felt something inside me rattle, my stomach turned to liquid. “What?”
“You need to leave, now.”
“How do you know that?” I gasped, feeling dizzy. “Who are you?”
“If you want to find out, catch the bus, go! They are in the parking lot!” The phone went dead.
I felt like I was about to puke. Someone knew, someone knew what she could do. Who was it? Sid? The name didn’t ring a bell. Almost like a robot I pulled out some coins from my bag and a couple dollars, shoved them in my pocket and walked out my door, not bothering to lock it. I felt my body shaking all over. It was hard to breathe. A couple men ran by me, official looking. Some were in suits.
My phone rang again. I fumbled with it before picking it up.
“Walk to the bus stop, don’t run. Whatever you do, don’t use your power.” The phone went dead again.
I walked to the bus stop. I could see the bus coming down the road. I looked down at my hands. They were shaking so violently the coins in my hand were falling out.
“Miss?” said someone behind me. I looked. A man, probably apart of the group of official people that passed me, stood there. He was an old man, dark skinned, with curly salt and pepper hair. He wore a name tag that read ‘Agent Green’ He smiled kindly at me. “Do you know of a Veronica Duffy who lives in this building?”
I felt my throat get dry. These were the men Sid were talking about, and even though I didn’t know who this Sid character was, I trusted him. He knew my deepest secret of all, and right now, what he said goes. I gulped and put on my best nonchalant face. “Who’s asking?”
“Agent Green.” he said, smiling. “My men and I have just come to ask her a few questions. Do you know her?”
“Yeah.” I said. “She’s in my class I think. Ronnie.”
Agent Green pulled out a note pad. “Ronnie is what she goes by?”
“Is she in trouble?” I asked, trying to sound eager, but despite myself, I sounded concerned.
“Oh no.” said Green. “Not at all. What is your name?”
I tried to get my brain to function, racking it for a name of a girl in my class. “Jenna Levee.” I said.
“And where do you live?” He asked. I gave him a look, hoping it was a ‘back off I don’t know that much about you, and I’m not giving out that information’ look.
He smiled and wrote down my name. “Smart girl. Well Ronnie, I thank you for your help.” He walked back towards the apartment building.
I let out a sigh as the bus approached and I got on. It was going Westbound towards the beach part of my town Cocoa in Florida. I watched as the men all got in cars and Agent Green was looking directly at the bus, and if I didn’t know any better, I would think that he was looking directly at me.
I thought about what he said. I wasn’t in trouble, but they wanted to ask me questions. Maybe they were the good guys and Sid wasn’t so nice. But Sid knows my secret. I wrung my hands looking at my cell phone’s screen, waiting for his next call when something struck me. I felt like lead just dropped into my stomach. Green hadn’t called me Jenna, he called me my real name.
“…Well Ronnie, I thank you for your help.”
He knew I was Ronnie. He knew, and, whether it is what Sid said over the phone, or just the feeling Green gave me, him knowing I was Ronnie, and him searching for me made me feel more scared then I have in a long time.