Taking a deep breath, Larkspur Bei Kynaston stepped through the portal. A flash of momentary cold accompanied the bright light before she found herself in the past, back on Earth.
She found herself in the middle of a half-full parking lot, a hot sun shining down from a deep blue sky. Due to the lack of screams, it was hoped no one had seen Lark appear out of thin air.
Spinning in a slow circle, Lark took in her surroundings. A busy street with noisy cars next to the parking lot in front of her. A small strip mall filled mostly with restaurants came into view as she turned to the right, filling the air with a delicious mix of smells. On the other side of the parking lot lay an empty dirt lot.
Still turning, Lark finally faced a large tan building, with people going in and out of the glass double doors, pushing shopping carts in front of them.
A rocky mountain range was the backdrop for the store, with the occasional spot of green.
Ignoring the slight ache behind her eyes, Lark powered up the silver bracelet on her wrist. The engraving was the Kynaston family crest: a white tiger resting beneath a wisteria tree.
“Where and when am I?” She whispered into the metal.
A black holographic square popped above her arm. White lettering spelled out:
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States of America
Date: May 19, 2015
“New Mexico? Seriously? There were no Franklin Particles any closer to South Carolina?” Lark grumbled. “I don’t know anyone here.”
This secret trip to the past was more of an experiment than anything else, since she was still trying to figure out how time travel worked. But now that she was this close to her brothers again, she would have given anything to see them, even from a distance.
Getting an idea, Lark checked to make sure she didn’t look out of place. Her hands not on fire or covered in blue lightning? Check.
Striding towards the store, Lark acted as if she hadn’t just spent the last few weeks two thousand years in the future, on a different planet, getting used to new superpowers.
That’s right. I’m just an ordinary twenty-year-old. Nothing to see here.
Making her way to customer service, Lark smiled at the grey-haired lady working the counter. “Would you happen to have a phone I could use? I left my cell phone at home.”
Not at all a lie, since she had left her VPhone two thousand years in the future. It wouldn’t have worked here, anyway.
“Of course.” The lady, whose name tag said BETTY, smiled sweetly at Lark. “Use that one. You’ll need to press nine, then enter the number you want to call.”
“Thank you so much!” Lark stepped over to the phone hanging on the wall across from the customer service desk.
Seeing that Betty was at least pretending to give her privacy, Lark punched in the familiar old phone number, fingers shaking from nerves.
“Hello?” A deep voice answered after a couple rings.
Lark’s heart stuttered.
“Alex.” Lark could barely breathe.
“Hello?” Apparently he hadn’t heard her whisper.
“Yes, um—” Lark stuttered.
Oh no! What could she say? She couldn’t exactly tell him who she was, or that he and Sterling were going to die within five years.
“Who is this?” Alex’s voice was still polite, but getting a little impatient.
Oh how she had missed him! Heart clenching, she took a deep breath.
“Alex!” Sterling’s voice came through the phone. “Lark has a headache. I’m not sure—oh, sorry.”
Tears filled Lark’s eyes. How long had she dreamed about hearing these voices again?
“Alex? Ah!” Now Lark heard a young girl’s cry of pain.
“Larkie? What happened?”
“I’m sorry, I have to go.” Lark heard thumps and crying before Alex unceremoniously hung up.
Now there were tears in her eyes for far different reasons than sentiment. The moment she heard her younger self’s voice, Lark’s head felt like it was exploding. She just barely kept herself from retching on the white tiled floor. Lark nearly dropped the phone, wanting to cry right along with Little Larkie.
No wonder you’re not supposed to cross your own timeline.
Wishing she could have had more time to talk with Alex and Sterling, Lark stumbled back to the parking lot.
Without even checking to make sure no one was watching, Lark activated the Franklin Particles and dove into the muddy liquid that appeared between two parked cars.
Well, painful lessons learned. But those precious few moments had only made the hunger to save her brothers even more ferocious.
Wait for me, Al and Sterl! I’m coming for you.
I’m not sure why you took the scene out, but I love it! What a poignant glimpse into Lark’s heart along with an effective bit about the dangers of time travel.