Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Fiction for May 13, 2011

Speak to the Mountain, and find our gracious hostess for Friday Fiction this week, Catrina. What better way to cap a busy week, than with some great fiction?

Did you ever stop to think about what you couldn’t use in the past, if you could go there?

Step Through

Part 3

By Rick Higginson

Ian looked from the check, to Jeff, and then to the floor. “What if I don’t want to step through?”

“Do you think my call was random? Dude, I already know you will, and I know why, even if you don’t know yet. Go – you’ll figure it out once you’re there. Just leave your modern tech here. It won’t do you any good back then, anyways, and if you accidentally pull it out, it could draw more of that unwanted attention.”

He handed his phone to Jeff, and walked through the oval before he thought better of it. I should feel something, he thought. The sensation was no different than if he’d walked from one side of the room to the other, and Jeff smiled at him through the aperture. “I just walk back through when I’m ready to return?” he asked.

“Depends on how long you want to stay. If you’re going to be just a few hours, I’ll keep the Step Through active. If you want to hang around for a few days, though, I’ll shut it off for now, and re-open it after the amount of time you tell me.”

“You’re not pulling my leg? I’m really twenty-one years in the past?”

“Walk around the Step Through; you’ll find I’m not there. Then, go downstairs and find any newspaper machine. Oh, you’ll need this - ” He tossed a keychain through the opening. “Front door key. You’ll find it easier getting in and out the normal way, rather than trying to break in again.”

“Okay. I’ll be back in a few hours, then.”

The stairs were dark, and when he reached for the switch for the LED lights, there was only bare wall. He descended by feel, and emerged into the dimly-lit front room. Light penetrated the dirty windows, except for the much newer one that admitted a bright beam towards a far corner. The dusty floor was liberally marked with scuffs and shoeprints, leading from the repaired window towards the staircase and the door to the back rooms.

He paused at the door, looking through the glass pane. No one milled about the old area, so he slipped the key into the lock and released the bolt. With a squeal that begged for some penetrating oil, the door swung inward, admitting moderately warm, and only slightly damp, air. After locking the door from the outside, he turned and looked skyward. Only a few scattered clouds drifted overhead, and none that even hinted at a threat of snow.

A Navy jet passed overhead, on approach to the nearby air station, and with a sense of wonder, Ian realized he hadn’t seen one of that model flying in over fifteen years. He really did it – I am in the past. Walking faster, he hurried away from the deserted old building, towards the business district and a bank.

The sidewalks soon filled with people, and he fought to keep from laughing at the way they were dressed. I can’t believe we used to think that looked good, he thought, glancing at the way one young man wore his hair.

He found the bank that matched the check Jeff had given him, and waited his turn in line for a teller. When he reached the window, he handed her the check. “I’d like to open an account with this,” he said.

She pointed to a far desk. “New accounts are over there,” she said.

“Oh.” The large sign above the desk stating ‘NEW ACCOUNTS’ made him feel a bit foolish. There appeared to be several people already waiting to create their accounts. “Well, can I just cash the check for now, and open the account later?”

“Certainly,” she said. “May I see some identification?”

Without thinking, he pulled his wallet and opened it to his driver’s license.

Her eyebrows raised for a moment. “I haven’t seen that style before; must be a new type they’re trying out.” She wrote the number on the check, and typed the information from the check into her computer.

With his heart thumping, he quickly put the wallet back in his pocket. Oh, man, if she had paid attention to the dates on my license? I wasn’t quite old enough to drive on this date.

“Are large bills okay?” she asked.

“They’re fine, through I do need some small stuff, too, and maybe some change. There is a payphone close by, right?” When was the last time I needed to ask that question?

She counted out the money, and had him sign the receipt. “Just outside the door, then turn left to the corner. There’s a stand of phones close to the bus stop. Will there be anything else, sir?”

He shook his head. “No, that’s all I need for now, thank you.”

“Have a nice day,” she said, and then looked towards the line. “Next, please.”

There was a wait for a payphone, and he chuckled at that reminder of an obsolete concept. There are cellphones, but not nearly as common or as affordable as in the future. Man, what would they think of my smartphone? A computer that doesn’t do a fraction of what it does, is freakin’ huge.

His turn came for the phone, and he dropped the coin in the slot. He dialed the number from memory, wondering if the time would come that he would ever forget it, and listened to the sound of the ring signal.

His heart jumped when the voice answered with a slightly annoyed, “Hello.”

Ian swallowed hard, and barely managed to choke out, “Dad?”

To be continued...


Catrina Bradley said...

Your writing talent humbles me. I totally got lost in the story and forgot I was sitting in front of a computer reading. That's a gift, my friend! I can't wait to find out what happens next. How is he going to explain who he is to his dad?

BethL said...

My heart almost skipped a beat when he pulled out his driver's license. And the fact that you can think in two different eras boggles my mind. What a great story, Hoomi! I can hardly wait for the next installment!