Out of Luck.

There are days when everything changes. Something irreversible happens and the world will never be the same again. Some of these events are global. Some are personal but the world will be forever different.

There may be many of these days in our lives; days that we wish that we could be on the other side of. Theses moments are written in time – never to be forgotten. In these days we wish we could just move with what remains of our lives. We wish we could regain that lost innocence, if only for a moment.

Sometimes, we are just out of luck.


3. Jason.

Her skin was pale. Her skin was to pale as I listened to the steady been of machinery ring through the room. The white sheets around her form only served to highlight the extent of her injuries and the deep red that seeped through the bandage on her forehead. I couldn’t help but notice how young she looked, sleeping off the pain killers that Damien was forced to give her.

Dressed only in a dark blue shirt and black trousers, her jacket lay discarded on the chair by her side as the moments sped by. Inside her pockets lay a small mobile phone and a wallet, filled with credit cards and the image of a young man with striking blue eyes. We confiscated her belongings as evidence. As usual, they would be thoroughly examined before being returned to their rightful owner.

I cursed under my breath.

This was what the gateways did to us.

“She’s got a broken rib from the fall and one hell of a concussion.” Damien told me as his eyes scanned through the list of note before him. The clipboard in his hands was dark blue and had a faded logo emblazoned on the back. A sigh escaped from his lips as he dropped his notes onto the table with a loud clang. Even with Damien’s reassurances, sat by her bedside, waiting for her to wake up – I felt nothing but dread. Of course, I was relieved that her injuries were minimal but in the hours that she had been unconscious, I’d had time to think.

What would I have done if I had slipped into a parallel earth? How would I survive?

The truth was, I’d cope. I’d go back to the army, train again and make a new identity for myself. A new life and a new beginning. Maybe it would be nice to start again. Maybe this time, it would be better. Maybe this time, it would work out.  I’d been given my job because of my time as a soldier and because of what I’d lost.

Shaking my head, I forced myself back into the depths of reality. This was what happened when you didn’t sleep for two days and had the weight of the world resting on your shoulders. This was what happened when you gave your life to the multiverse and your soul to protecting the innocent.

God. I needed to sleep.

The alarms never seemed to stop ringing and our mission never seemed to end.

But that was just life.

The sound of footsteps broke me from my trance as Kate stepped into my line of sight. Brandishing a steaming mug of brown liquid, I smiled up her before gratefully accepting a gift from the gods. The white ceramic was warm against my skin as I watched the steam bellow out – into the open air. AS the liquid reached my lips, the bitter brew cast a cloud over my taste buds. I held back a wince as the burning coffee made its way down the back of my throat. The explosion of flavour seemed to dissipate as I moved in for a second gulp.

Coffee was the best.

Coffee was a lifeline.    

Most of the time, our lives ran on a mix of sleep deprivation, caffeine and adrenaline. Coffee had saved my life more times than I dared to count and now I was forever in its debt.

“How is she?” Kate asked whilst passing Damien his mug. The milky colour seemed to send my stomach churning as I averted my gaze back to the patient in our care.

She was just another victim in an ever growing line.

In the end, we were all just victims.

Damien shrugged, ignoring the concern in Kate’s voice as he snatched up the beverage without a word of acknowledgement or thanks. Kate and I shared a look.

He just didn’t see it, did he? He didn’t see how much she liked him.

Damien was many things but in no way was he observant of his teammate’s emotions. The man was smart – he could solve crimes and save lives on a daily basis – but he just couldn’t see her. Instead, he looked straight through.

“She’ll live.”

“Good.” She paused for a moment, considering her options. “Is there anything that I can do to help?”

“Are you a certified doctor?”

“No. But I can still-”

A cold look silenced her. Kate gritted her teeth as Damien turned away – ignoring her advance and the crestfallen look which lingered on her face. She brought a sense of humanity to our team although sometimes was blinded by emotion and the need to help others.

Damien had the opposite problem.

A breath escaped from my lips as I placed my mug back on the table and pulled myself back together.

Control yourself. You are their leader. So lead them.

“Right.” I sat back in my chair, becoming a soldier once more. “Kate, check the readings. I want to know when the next flare will be. Damien, check over the files. I want to know which world she’s from and if there’s even the slightest chance of getting her back home.”

“Yes boss.” Damien mock saluted before exiting the medical bay, leaving Kate alone with me.

“One day he’ll see you.”

“I hope so.”

And with that, she made her exit.

I let out a sigh as my gaze shifted back down to the woman in our care. Taking her hand in my own, the ring on my finger caught the harsh light – casting shards of colour across the veiling and across the expanse of the walls.

How many years had it been? Four? Five? I’d lost count.

And the pain never seemed to dull.

All those years had gone by in the blink of an eye and still, I was left to suffer. This was my life now and I had a job to do – in her name and in her memory. On that fateful night, the rift had taken her and now I was left all alone in a world that I no longer recognised. I was one of the lucky ones. I had found a place for myself – I had found a way to utilise my knowledge and my skills in order to save the future and save all those lives in place of hers.

The universe was cruel, but nothing was without reason.

We each had a part in the greater game and a duty to save what we could. I knew what it was like to lose everything and I knew what it was life for the world to change within an instant and I knew the damage that came in tow.

“Jason?” Kate called out.


“The next reading will be in a few hours.”

I let out a sigh.

“Better get some rest then.”

Letting my eyes slip closed, all sound seemed somewhat muted around me as I let the pull of exhaustion tug me away. This lifestyle wasn’t health but it was necessary in order to carry out my duty. At the end of the day, that was all that mattered.

Running. Running. Never stop running. She’s in front of me smiling and then within a moment, she’s gone. Her eyes were so bright to match her smile and now she’s gone. The ring on my finger weighs me down and she’s gone. She’s really gone.

The ground seems to rise up around me, swallowing me whole because the love of my life – the one who I’d vowed to stay with forever – was gone. I couldn’t breathe. My anchor. My world. Gone within a moment. I would have given anything just to see her smile again and so feel her skin against mine as we laughed in the moonlight – oblivious to the torture that the future had in store.

I needed her. I needed to be with her.

The light was looming closer.

It was just a few steps and then we’d be together. It was so close and yet so far away. I just wanted to say goodbye; I just wanted a moment to grieve. I just wanted -

 A sharp movement snapped me from my daze as I shot upright. Panic swept through my veins as I slowed down my breathing and let my instincts take over. It took me a moment to look around me in order to figure out what the hell had happened. The coffee mug was still on the table. The clipboard was still on the bench.

So what the hell just happened?

It was only then that I saw bright brown eyes staring back at me.

Then, there was a moment of silence before everything went to hell.   

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