The Time-Keepers

When Sara is told that her best friend's adopted brother has disappeared, her world is turned upside down when she learns the truth. Sara's world will never be the same...

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3. Chapter Three

Chapter Three

When Mark parks the car next to Fins Wood, my mind is in overdrive. All the possibilities running around my head during the ride have got me almost scared of what Mark is about to tell me. Massive natural disaster? Apocalypse? Aliens invading the earth?

I mean, the world doesn’t look as though it’s going to end, I think as we walk along the hard track up the hill. The leaves are brown, as they should be in autumn, and the sky is blue. It can’t be that bad, can it?

“Mark…”

“Not here.”

The scariest thing about this whole situation is Mark. His jaw is set, and every now and then he mutters and shakes his head. His eyes (gold, like honey) are filled with a grim determination.

At the top of the hill, we come to a clearing. There’s a view straight across the city to the hills in the distance.  Any other time I would admire it, but not today.

Mark sits down on the grass and indicates to the space next to him. I sit down, and immediately feel the dampness soaking into my jeans.

“Come on then. Cough up,” I say.

Mark sighs and then looks at me.

“Alright. But what I’m going to tell you is going to change your life. Forever. There’s no going back and you’ll have to deal with the consequences. Deal?”

I nod.

“Silence until I’m finished. Questions can come at the end.”

“Okay.”

Mark looks into my mind for a long time. It’s almost like a competition- who will blink first? I always do, and this time is no exception. Finally he breaks eye contact and looks out across the city.

“A long time ago, some scientists were at work. These scientists were doing things that we can only dream of doing now. They were messing with the DNA of human beings, mixing it up, combining with DNA from animals.

“You see, the scientists didn’t like the world that they lived in. there were many wars, too much hunger and poverty. They wanted to change that, but the only way to do that was to time travel. So the scientist messed with some DNA and after many years of searching, they found the correct code. They inserted this gene into everyone that wanted it, and soon everyone and their parents had it. The world was a better place and people were happy.

“But then some people began to take advantage of their power. They used it to change how history had naturally happened. For example, the team that lost a war now won it when the history had changed. People vanished into thin air, because now the team that won were no more, having gone on to live their lives a different way.

“The scientist realised the power of what they had created, and how if an important piece of history was changed, the whole planet could be affected. Humans might even cease to exist.

“So the scientists destroyed the technology. The people still had the gene, but the scientists thought that these people would die out.

“But they didn’t.

“The scientists didn’t realise that the gene was dominant. This meant that every person that had the gene could time travel, and therefore was a Time-keeper.

“Before long, the government found out about this time-keeping gene. After a long time of hard, bloody fighting, the government told the Time-keepers that they must go into hiding. They must not use their powers. Time-keepers also have to move city every five years, for they don’t age, and this could cause suspicion in the public. These were just some of the rules written up for the Time-keepers.

“At first they obeyed these rules. But then the Time-keepers began to form little groups, all intent on bringing their leader to power by editing history. Other Time-keepers realised that this would lead to trouble with the government, so they set up the Time-Keeper government. Time-keepers could be trialled, taught and a variety of other things. Part of the government was dedicated to keeping history as it had naturally happened.”

That’s all. Mark’s waiting for me to absorb it.

I’m not absorbing.

Is he joking? Any second now he’s just going to yell “Joking!” and we can laugh about it later.

Mark’s not joking.

“How do I know you’re telling the truth?”

Mark shrugs. “You don’t.”

Yes. He’s definitely being serious.

I’m stunned. Blown away. Nothing interesting ever happens to me. I live the excitement in my life through Melissa and her endless stories and incidents.

And yet here I am, being told about a race of humans that have been genetically modified to time travel.

“So humans were genetically modified…”

“Yes.”

“To time travel…”

“Yes.”

“In a time when we didn’t know about genetically modifying things…”

“Well, that part was edited.”

“And now, at any point, I could just be unwritten?”

“Sara, throughout your whole life you could have been unwritten.”

That’s scary. It’s almost too much.

“Is this classified information?”

Mark shrugs. “If you told anyone, they wouldn’t believe you.”

This morning I woke up wondering what I was going to have for breakfast.

Tomorrow morning I’ll wake up wondering…

Well.

“What does this have to do with Marcus?”

Mark takes a deep breath.

“Sara. Marcus wasn’t kidnapped. A part of history was changed that involved Marcus.

I just stare at him. No, no no…

“Sara, this will be very hard but… Marcus was unwritten. Marcus doesn’t exist anymore.”

Oh.

My.

God.

I search Mark’s face for something, anything, that tells me he’s joking.

There’s nothing.

We’re never going to find Marcus. Ever. The police can search all they like.

He’s gone.

Forever.

Unwritten.

He never existed.

Is the world I’m living in today the way the world actually turned out, or was something changed?

If it has been changed, and was changed back to the way histry had naturally happened, would I still exist?

That’s terrifying.

And then it hits me.

Oh God.

No.

“How do you know so much about this?”

Mark looks right into my eyes.

I don’t look away.

“I’m a Time-keeper.”

My friend has a special gene.

My friend can change history.

My friend never ages.

Thank goodness I’m sitting down.

“But every five years…”

“Don’t worry about that.”

But I am. Mark can’t move away. Ever. I’d miss him so much.

“Mark?”

“Sara?”

Now for the question I’ve been dreading.

“Why are you telling me all this?”

Mark looks away.

“Your mum will never forgive me,” he mutters.

After a minute he looks at me. Into me.

“Sara. You have the gene.”

No. No.

“You’re a Time-keeper.”

 

 

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