I rushed to the time machine house as quickly as I could. I was filled with anger, fear, and all the other things that lead to the dark side.
“Rachel Lynn!” I shouted repeatedly to the second story as I arrived.
The neighbors heard the commotion and began trickling out of their homes to get a look at the source. I had no time for pleasantries... or for behaving in a way that wouldn’t cause a scene. At the stroke of midnight I would be stuck in this bizarre world, and Rachel Lynn was evidently the culprit that brought me here.
I leaped up the stairs two at a time and kicked in the door. Rachel Lynn was halfway down the staircase when I barged in.
“Bad news for your little scheme.” My eyes bugged out as I pointed at her. “I’ve been warned about you, and I know all about it!”
“Jack, what are going on about?” She asked, giving me a doe-eyed look.
I figured she’d try and play stupid, but I wasn’t buying it.
“Don’t you play stupid with me. I’m the master of playing stupid. No one out-stupids The Six-Minute Man!”
The expression on her face turned evil and grim, so startling that I took a step back.
“I’m not letting you go anywhere,” she snarled in a threatening tone.
“Try and stop me! It’s the clock, isn’t it?”
I ran to the grandfather clock and grasped the sides of the wood frame, pushing and pulling at every surface I could reach.
“What’s the trick to it? Does it unlock a portal or something?”
Rachel Lynn simply stood there, looking at me like I was a halfwit.
Just then, voices and footsteps sounded on the porch outside the door my foot had left ajar.
“Ma’am, the neighbors flagged us down; said you might be in danger?”
It was a pair of police officers.
“Thank god!” I left the clock to confide in the cops. “She kidnapped me from the future and she’s trying to hold me hostage here in 1940!”
The room went silent.
“Officers, as you can see, my husband is all worked up and is not acting like himself.”
“Don’t listen to her! We aren't married. If I don’t stop this clock from striking once at midnight-”
One of the officers forced me to turn around. “Clocks strike twelve times at midnight, dummy. Now, hands behind your back.”
“Look, Barney Fife, I don’t want to brag, but I absorb blows with the best of ‘em!”
“Please don’t hurt him officers.” Rachel Lynn chimed in. “He just needs to cool off for the night.”
“Not a problem, ma’am.” The policeman said, twisting my arms tightly behind my back. “We’ll put him in a holding cell to think it over.”
“You don’t understand! I’m from the future!”
So there I was, back in a holding cell, yelling at the police to let me out.
“Why does this keep happening to me? I already made your buddies look stupid earlier this week. You want me to do it again?”
They were ignoring me, refusing to look my way no matter how obnoxious I got. Time was ticking by; minutes grew to hours. I was going to need a miracle if I wanted a chance to get home. Then… a voice.
“What are you doing back in a cell?” He asked curiously.
“It’s another conspiracy, I tell you. You gotta get me released.”
“I don’t think I can do that. It’s not my beat anymore. I’m getting a promotion thanks to you!”
“That’s great.” I said in monotone. “In that case, I think you owe me.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what I can do.”
I scrambled for an answer. There had to be someway to get me out of there.
“James!” I roared.
“The man you were in the other cell with?”
“Yes! Go to his house and tell him that I’m calling in my tab. Get him back here to bail me out, and do it fast!”
I was asking the officers what time it was on a loop. They continued to ignore me so I had no way of knowing, but I knew the deadline must have been close. It felt like James and the suckup were taking forever. I was squeezing the bars of my cell and hopping around. They finally arrived; James had a worried look on his face as he came near.
“What did you do this time?”
“James, we could stand here all night conversing about things that happened in the past and the lessons to be learned from them, but I suggest we move on with our lives and you GET ME OUT OF HERE IMMEDIATELY!”
“Ok, ok,” he said, hastily retreating. “I’ll post your bail.”
When the policeman opened my cell door I darted out and somersaulted into the station lobby.
“What time is it?”
“That’s terrible news!”
I grabbed James by the arm and pulled him along towards the parking lot.
“Tell me you drove, James.”
“I drove.” He replied, nervously.
“Give me the keys.”
I was a man on a mission. Laser-focused. I hammered the gas and peeled out of the police station parking lot, which caught the attention of more men in blue. We soon found ourselves in a high-speed chase.
“Listen very carefully…” I lectured James while he squirmed in the passenger's seat. “Rachel Lynn is not your friend. She is a demon-woman who captures souls and brings them here to forget.”
“You sound crazy. How do souls forget?” James questioned, as he kept an eye on the squad car behind us.
“I don’t know how it works, but I’ve seen a lot of strange things in this town. I think it’s because of the people she brings here and traps. She told me to become a different person. I think that’s the trick. She needs them to agree to it, and when the countdown is over, they forget and integrate into this world. But they hold on to certain traits that give them almost supernatural powers.”
“This is all too phenomenal to believe, Jack.”
“I think you might be one, James; you might have been one of her trapped souls.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Your inventions. They’re astounding! I think you did something with technology in a future life and brought remnants of it back here.”
“Future life… I like that.”
James smiled and didn’t say another word. It was as if part of him believed me.
We arrived at the house with no time to spare. I got out and ran ahead of the cops, lunging at the door which came completely off its hinges. I climbed to my feet and locked eyes with Rachel Lynn.
“It’s over!” I told her.
“Nothing is over. There are only seconds to go, and you don’t know how to turn it off.” She laughed.
“What if I do this?”
I made a break for the clock. Rachel Lynn jumped on my back, trying to choke me, but I powered through the last few steps. Just as the clock was about to strike, the police rushed in to tackle me. I gripped the top of the heavy timepiece and toppled it over. As the face of the clock crashed into the floor, I lost balance and braced to have the weight of Rachel Lynn and two policemen pile on top of me.
But there was a flash…
It was quiet…
I opened my eyes and lifted my face from the floor.
They were all gone; I began noting my surroundings, the furniture, the wallpaper, the house was old again.
“I did it… I did it!”
I shot up and checked to see if I was ok. I went to the window, still not quite believing what had happened, and saw modern cars parked along the street.
“Hah!” I pumped my fist and went to grab the door... but paused.
I crept up the stairs and into the master bedroom, still skeptical and fearful the Rachel Lynn could jump out at any moment.
Everything was still.
I opened the closet and crouched down to find the bowling ball I had used to open the false wall. I reached in, just as I had when everything spun out of control, but this time I felt it. I pulled out a children’s book, one of those large hardcovers. It had been tied tightly with string. When I pulled the string back and opened the front cover, I saw it; I had Action Comics #1 in my hands! It had been preserved in great condition all this time.
I was going to make a killing.
I was the best cat burglar in the world!