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silverwolf1, August 10, 2015 in Round Robin
light was blinking on the console. Fred turned the selector to 'operate'. Relays closed and lights started to pop on through out the cavernous barn. Clouds of dust and bitter memories swirled before him. "This time..." he told himself, "I'll no let them be taken".
It was just before midnight - not that it mattered much to Fred. He was too focused at the moment. His only goal was to get his family to safety. With hesitancy, he began to get everything ready. It had been quite some time since Fred had even thought about his secret in the barn. He stopped short, being drawn back to the present by a quick snap.
A wall of the barn raised on mechanical lifters to reveal a time-gate. "Test mode complete" a tinny voice from the computer stated. Fred stood at the console, dialing in a time bitter in his memory when "They" came. A shuffle of hooves behind him spun him round, and he looked into the eyes of Shi'ire, the herd stallion. "You go then", the studs voice in Fred's head more an accusation than question. "I have to," Fred rasped, "I promised them. WE promised them!" Shi'ire puffed hot breath in Fred's face, "Then I go too." Together they stepped toward the glowing square.
Traveling through time is easy. Traveling through space was not.
The two walked into the same massive barn from the opposite wall.
Part of the time 'jump' computations was to take the rotation of the earth, and figure out when the west wall would be just to the other side of the where the portal was on the east wall.
Fred followed Shi'ire into the vast open space. They've traveled back six months. They had four months to prepare for the coming disaster.
How easy could it be to stop what was going to come here? What had already happened in the time they had just left. It couldn't be as simple as making a new choice or to do one thing difrent, could it?
They knew that they had to try no matter the outcome. They knew it was not going to be easy. Messing with the fabric of time never was an easy thing to change. Time seemed to have a set path and trying to change it was like throwing small people's into a raging flood hoping to divert it's torrent.
Yet lives depended on them and what they had to do.
Fred breathed a in relief that they has made it without incident. One miscalculation and the two of them could have found them self in a wall or worse. He had seen people materlize with half there body's in brick walls only to die agonizing deaths.
Shi'ire nulled his back getting him to move. A quick lock at his companion told him that he had also made the trip with out incident.
"Well we are here," Fred stated stretching the jump always made him feel like he had been hit by a mac truck.
Shi'ire's ear twitched. He turned his head following a sound that Fred couldn't hear.
Shi'ire head butted Fred in the back making the man move with a grunt. Fred cut off a curse as he heard the same noise of approaching footsteps. In a scramble, Fred hide. He didn't wish to be seen yet much less by himself or more appropriately by his past self.
Hiding behind some old green sacks and alfalfa bales he lay low and flat on the hardpacked ground that made up this part of the barn floor.
Shi'ire wasn't so lucky. The stallion size made it impossible to hide. Too late, Fred realized his companions predicament.
A young teen rounded the corner and flinched in surprise.
"Shi? How did you get in here boy?" The boy slowly aproched the stallion. The stallions nostrils flared as the boy rested his hand on the stallions forehead and began to give the horse light scratchs.
Fred had to fight not to rush out of hiding. He had to fight back the tears and the sob building up in his troat.
His son who had been killed so many months ago. Alive and standing before him now.
He had to force himself to stay hidden as Jim lead the stallion away. Then it dawned on him that the boy was leading Shi'ire to the stable where past Shi'ire was more then likely already bedded down for the night.
He had to stop that from happening. Seeing either of them with there past counter parts would lead to questions that he didn't wish to answer just yet. Slipping through a side door as quickly and quietly as he could he moved around the building to cut Jim off. he just hopped he didn't run into his past self.
With heart racing he rounded the building but niethor Jim or Shi'ire where in sight. He stopped glancing one way then the other. He had to suppress calling out to the boy in fear that his past self would hear.
Where was the boy? Jim couldn't have moved that fast.
With quickened steps he made his way to the stable.
Sneaking up to one side of the entrance, he carefully brought his ear as close to the entry as he could, while remaining hidden.
He could hear slow heavy breathing, with the occasional sniff or snort, and a very distinctive grunt, Shi'ire's normal sounds when he slept. Other similar sounds confirmed the rest of the herd, but there were no audible cues of a human presence.
He risked a quick glance in, but the dull red light from the heat lamps showed only the sleeping herd, each member in its stall.
Jim and the retrotemporal Shr'ire were nowhere to be seen.
Then he heard a sound to the left, towards where in that time should be the nearly completed tractor shed.
Slowly and carefully, he made his way towards the sound...
Carfuly looking though the frame of an unfinished wall of the shed, making sure to be hiden in the shadows and darkness of the night, he spotted Jim and Shi'ire. Jim was scratching the stallions neck and ears as he looked skyward, taking in the stars that had yet to be obscured by a roof.
"Why do you think she hates me, boy?" The boy whispered.
Who was he talking about? Fred wondered. Jim didn't even have a girlfriend or cush as far as he knew. A matter that had worried him given Jims age. At 16 the boy should have show some intrest in trying to date by now. Fred had suspected that Jim was gay, but he had clearly heard the boy say 'she'. Even if his son had been gay he would not have cared. But he would have been worried as they still lived in part of the country where a large part of the people thought that gay men should be lynched and lesbians just need a real man to set them sraight.
Shi'ire rested his neck onthe boys shoulder as his ear was scratched. The horse snorted. "I wish I could talk to dad as easy as I can you. I just don't know what to say around him."
Shi'ire nuzzled the boys hand.
"Come on boy, let's get ya bedded down for the night."
Fred stayed hiden in the shadows. He was thinking about his sons worries. Then his head jerked up.
Past Shi'ire was already bedded down for the night. He had to stop Jim.
Did he just stop Jim and say he take Shi'ire to the stable? No! What if the boy ran into past Fred a few moments later? He could always run to the stable and move past Shi'ire. Which meant future Shi'ire had already lived through this mix up. Yet it seamed his best course of action.
No matter how you cut it, time travel always ended up in a paradox.
No where to hide the past stallion until Fred could get this back under control?
With bearly a second to spare, he reached the stable, got past Shi'ire on his hoofs, and out the back of the stables just as Jim lead the future Shi'ire through the front. The boy might have seen the past stallion's tail swish if the boy had not been so preoccupied with his dilemma about his female crush.
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