Beginning of a Time Tale

This is a story I’m working on about an award winning documentary film maker who is asked by a secret government organization. His trip takes a couple unexpected turns, but the government doesn’t give up after a single failure…

The day on which Peter found the recently opened soup kitchen started off reasonably warm, but by the afternoon a blizzard blew in that covered the city in three inches of snow in a matter of minutes. He had a coat that kept his chest warm, but both of his feet were exposed to the slush through the warn soles of his old boots. His socks were also years old and spotted with holes, not doing much but soaking up ice water. The new soup kitchen would be a perfect place to thaw for a few hours. It wasn’t where he wanted to be, but his primary concern at this point was not becoming a block of grey and brown ice. Secondary to that worry was his fear that the second voice that popped up every so often in his mind would surprise him, causing him to worry the volunteers at the soup kitchen. Since they were most likely new to the field, there was a good chance they wouldn’t understand his affliction.

Peter stood under an awning for a second, contemplating whether or not he should trek the few blocks to the new kitchen. Maybe they would have new socks or shoes that would fit better. Maybe they would lend him a nice suit jacket with a matching tie so that he could go back to work. All he really wanted in the entire world was for his next documentary to be funded. He had just began production with his hand picked, crack team when all of the sudden the voice in his head split in two.

He began making his way toward the new soup kitchen, dragging his left foot a bit because his ankle wasn’t as flexible in the cold as his right.

The voice that came about out of the blue wasn’t what he expected from insanity. Even so, it quickly ruined his career as a prodigy documentarian. His riveting debut, ‘An Orange Kind of People’, about a tribe living somewhere in Asia that primarily ate sweet potatoes, received prestigious accolades from just about every film society one would need cheers from in order to become ‘made’. Peter felt that he had it under control for the most part, a task which proved to be quite difficult for the longest time. He often pondered how his peers would have dealt with the disability. It wasn’t a demon or angel or God or an alien beaming prophecies, advanced quantum theories, or technological schematics into his brain. The voice that had abruptly invaded his reality was his own. It was a duplicate of the already existing voice in his head. Sometimes it thought the same thing he did, sometimes it thought the opposite and gave him a headache.

Peter was almost to the soup kitchen, but noticed a strange man in a suit similar to the one he was hoping to find, who was standing just down the road, hand at his ear. Peter paused for a second, then turned down an alley to his right and away from the stranger.

Less than three strides into the alley, Peter was drenched in a bright white light from above and in front of him. He looked back over his shoulder and saw the man in the nice suit had run up behind him. The suit’s breast pocket was holding some kind of small weapon, which the man pulled out and held out in front of him, steady as a rock. Peter tripped over a car hood, realizing the automobile’s headlights were the cause of the light in front of him and that he shouldn’t have been looking at his shoulder while picking up his pace. His heart was racing. His breath was hard to draw and quick to leave his chest. There came a pain at the base of his neck as someone pulled him down against the hood of the car and pressed something cold and round against it. He thought it was a gun, but second guessed himself when he felt something prick the skin above his spine and sting worse than any infection or puncture he’d felt previously. It hurt so bad that Peter lost consciousness.

Whatever day it was, there were palm trees bathing in bright yellow daylight outside the barred windows in the room where Peter awoke. The first thing he noticed was that he couldn’t think. His body seemed well enough coordinated, but he felt drunk. His eyes were being sucked towards his brain and his neck was completely out of control. He knew he was able to feel and able to move, but he couldn’t form a thought. What looked like an evil black knight covered in denim, plastic, and aluminum stood in the middle of the doorway to the room he was in. The door was open. The guard spoke into a radio, then left for a few seconds. When he got back, he had a bundle of fabric in his arms. It was a suit similar to the gorgeous one his attacker wore. There was a very nice gold watch with a leather band on the top of the bundle, as well.

“Here you go, pal. This will be better than what you came in with. They don’t want you to think you’re in Guantanamo or something.”

Peter snapped his head up and opened his eyes wide. He understood what the man had said. Why couldn’t his mind form a sentence. It was as though all of the words he wanted to think in a certain order instead happened at once. While still attempting to fix this problem in his own head, a group of men entered the room. One of them was holding a camera on a tripod. Another carried a microphone attached to the end of a long, bent stand. The third in the group held a small stack of papers. The final man to enter the room carried the same weapon that Peter’s fashionable attacker hid in his breast pocket.

“It’s been two days.” Said the man with the stack of papers.

“You’ve been moved out of America. We’re now in a safe place.”

“This isn’t the way we like to do things, but he’s right about it being safe.” Said the man who had brought in the camera and tripod. He was now setting up the equipment near the corner across from Peter.

Now that Peter’s gaze was moving about the room, he noticed that is was very clean. Though the windows were barred, there was a large bed with a beautiful red comforter, which he was lying on top of, and there was a night stand with a glass of water and a sandwich on top of it. As he focused more on his surroundings, his thoughts became clear enough for him to sit up. He could see out through the barred window. There was a tall sand colored wall around the complex he was in, though a gate was open and people in a vast variety of clothing were coming and going through it. A market of some sort appeared to be on the other side of the wall. Quite a bit of noise seemed to be on that side of the barrier as well.

“Peter, you’re not insane. The voices in your head are you. They’re you from the future, Peter.”

To be continued…

Author: A. M. Langston

Poet and Novelist

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