An Unwanted Guest
Orange lamp posts cast eerie shadows along the deserted street, where an eighteen year old girl was making her way back to her dorm room. Unbeknownst to her, she was being followed by a group of her buzzed peers, who had been keeping an eye on her, making obscene comments about the girl walking in front of them.
At first, she simply ignored them, rolling her eyes. However, when they started to call out to her with some of those obscene comments and gestures, she had had enough. She stopped and turned around.
“If you guys are so horny, why don’t you just find a room and do it with each other?” she yelled out to them. The guys stopped laughing, and instead started flipping her off and swearing at her. The girl smirked, thinking to herself that maybe it was time to have some fun.
At the moment, the group of frat boys were discussing what they should do to her, when suddenly, they all found their shirts over their heads and their pants around their ankles. In their surprise, they fumbled around and tripped over each other. When they finally got their heads out of their shirts, they found themselves falling right into a dumpster that had been filled with water. In the morning, they would chalk up this event to their drunkenness, but in reality, it was due to the powers of the eighteen year old girl they had just been harassing.
Cadi Wille stood a few feet away, watching them and silently laughing from the shadows. Being able to pause time always made life more satisfying. After wiping some of the tears from her eyes, she continued on her way back to her dorm, where she was looking forward to getting some sleep after several hours of tutoring at the school. However, when she finally showed up at her dorm, she found her roommates waiting for her outside.
“What’s going on?” she asked curiously as she wondered why they were all outside in their pajamas.
“There’s a guy in there looking for you. And he’s weird.” her friend Maren explained, tossing her long blonde hair. “We would have called the cops, buuut he kind of just materialized into our living room, and seeing as how you have your powers and all, we figured we might just let you handle this.”
“You forgot to mention that he’s also sexist.” her roommate Marnie piped in, her hands on her hips. “Get him out of our apartment please.”
Cadi looked through the window to see an older man sitting on their couch, looking at everything around him in confusion. The fact that a stranger was in their living room was odd enough, but he was also wearing a vest, trousers, and a jacket as if he were going to some decades party. At the sight of him, Cadi pulled out her phone and called up her best friend.
“Yo yo yo! Buenas noches mi amiga!” Juno answered. “It’s late man. What’s up?”
“There’s a guy in my apartment that I think might have something to do with Mary-or that Time person.” she explained, keeping an eye on the guy in her apartment.
“Woah! But-you haven’t seen her since you were a kid right?”
“Yeah, but she always acted like I’d see her again someday. Maybe this has something to do with it?”
“I’m coming over right now!!” Juno said excitedly. “Adios!”
Cadi took one more good look at the man in their apartment through the window, and then decided it was time to introduce herself. She stepped inside and was about to say something when he immediately stood up.
“Are you Cadi Wille??” he huffed, his face a bit red.
“Uh… yes I am.”
“Then where’s your husband? I need to have a word with him.”
Cadi groaned. After all, her roommates had warned that he was sexist.
“Well, I don’t have one, so too bad. You’ll have to talk to me.” she told him with slight annoyance.
“Then where is your father?”
“He’s not here, and I speak for myself thank you very much, so what do you want?”
The man stood there for a moment, twiddling his thumbs and glancing around at things in their living room.
“M-My name is William Johnson and I overheard some gangsters saying your name before suddenly finding myself here. By the way, where am I?”
“Philadelphia. You… know where Philadelphia is right?”
“Yes I know!!” William said with annoyance. Cadi raised a brow.
“Aaaand you’re not drunk are you?”
At this, William seemed to be deeply offended.
“Well I say-I’m not any bootlegger or lawbreaker! I wouldn’t be caught dead in one of those speakeasies! I’m not even half-rats!”
Cadi paused. If this really had something to do with Time, then maybe…
“William, what year do you think it is?” she asked.
However, before he could answer however, Juno burst through the door.
“What did I miss??” he asked, breathing heavily as if he had just run the entire way from his dorm to hers.
“How rude!” William spoke up. “You can wait outside while we finish discussing our business matters. Know your place!”
Juno blinked and then walked in anyway, turning to Cadi.
“Su nombre es William. Es sexista y racista, así que ten cuidado.” she replied. William looked inbetween them.
“What are you saying? Are you speaking Chinese? Speak english you skilamalink youths!”
“Skilamalink??” Juno laughed. “What in the world is a skilamalink?”
“Are you from the 1920’s?” Cadi said with a chuckle. William seemed a bit taken aback.
“N-Ninetween twenty six to be exact…”
At the sound of that, Cadi nodded.
“The whole ‘alcohol is illegal thing gave that away’.” she mentioned with a jab to Juno. “Good old prohibition era.”
“Wait-is-what year is it?” William asked quizzically.
“2027.” Juno said with a wink. “And yes, the prohibition ended a loooong time ago. You can totally drink alcohol now if you want.”
At the sound of being suddenly a hundred years in the future, the older man slowly sat back down on the couch and put a hand to his head.
“T-twenty… twenty seven… I-I was wondering why everything looked so… odd…” he chuckled to himself in disbelief.
“Oh! And before we talk about anything else…” Cadi said, stepping up. “Things have changed drastically in a couple of areas, mainly… with women and people of color, so… You can’t just say certain things that might have been seen as ok back in the twenties…”
William looked at them in confusion.
“What do you mean?”
Juno and Cadi regarded each other awkwardly.
“Uh… you know… for example… you can’t say… certain words…” she said slowly, cringing a bit. “Um… you tell him Juno.”
Juno took in a deep breath.
“Um… There were certain words used to refer to black people that start with the letter n, and… you just can’t say those things anymore. Because it’s racist. And being racist is really looked down upon in our time.”
At the sound of this, William folded his arms angrily.
“What? Do negroes rule the country in this time or something?”
Juno facepalmed and Cadi cringed.
“Ok. William, that is one word we don’t use in 2027.” Cadi told him seriously. In response, the older man scoffed.
“I’m not going to let a woman tell me what I can and can’t say. Let alone a colored person.”
Juno and Cadi both narrowed their eyes, really starting to gain a disliking for this man in front of them.
“You know, if all white men from the past are like this, I’ve decided I don’t like any of them.” Cadi said as calmly as she could, trying to mask the rage she was starting to feel.
“Well all of these things in the future could make a stuffed bird laugh.” William spat back. “I mean-look at the two of you in your gas pipes.”
“I have no idea what you’re even saying.” Cadi scowled. “But I think it’s time for you to leave. I was going to help you and figure this all out, but I don’t think I want to anymore. Juno, will you help me escort him out of my apartment?”
“With pleasure.” Juno smiled, stretching his fingers. William backed away from the two of them.
“No-wait-I’m not leaving until I get answers!!” he exclaimed, picking up a chair and pointing it at them. Cadi grabbed the chair and became involved in a tug of war with him, and Juno grabbed him by the air.
“Let go of me!!” the man raged.
“Get out of my apartment!!” Cadi yelled at him, grabbing him by the other arm. However, when she did so, the three of them felt tingles shoot through their bodies, and it felt like they were being pulled from every side. The three of them gave out a yell, which then caused some nearby birds to flee from the roosts in their trees. Wait-trees??
The three of them stood and gawked at their new surroundings, which was now a jungle in the middle of the day. No longer was it a cool night in Pennsylvania. Instead, a hot humid wind rolled over them. Cadi immediately grabbed their new companion by the collar.
“What did you do??” she demanded angrily. “This is some time power of yours isn’t it?”
Despite this girl being much younger and smaller than him, her intimidation took William by surprise, and he thrust his hands up in the air.
“I swear I don’t know what’s happening! This is the same thing that happened before when I showed up at your apartment!”
Cadi let him go and then took a step back.
“Alright, fine. I guess we have no choice now but to talk it all out. Great.”
With a sigh, she went to sit on a stump, when Juno cried out to her.
Before she realized what was happening, William had moved from one place to another in the blink of an eye, watching as a snake slithered away from them.
“You almost sat on that viper young lady.” the man scolded her. “We need to be more careful about what’s around us. A jungle is a very dangerous place.”
Cadi and Juno stared at him for a moment.
“Did-did you just pause time?” Juno asked. William raised a brow.
“Well for a-for someone like you that was very… quick for you to figure that out…”
“So you have time powers like I do.” Cadi nodded, checking the stump now before she went to sit down. “Have you met Mary before? Or-er-I guess her name isn’t Mary-Time? The lady named Time?”
William waved himself down in the heat, taking off his jacket.
“Ah. So we have some sort of connection then. I’ve met Time once. Interesting girl. She was a bit podsnappery for my taste.”
“Pod-snapp-er-nevermind…” Juno mumbled, slapping a mosquito on his neck.
“We should walk and talk at the same time. Being in the middle of a jungle is probably not a good thing.” William told them, wiping the sweat off his brow and cleaning off his glasses. Juno and Cadi gave each other ‘ugh… if we have to’ looks, and then started to follow him.
“So you said that you heard some gangsters mention my name back in 1926?” Cadi asked slowly as they battled against the foliage in their way.
“Yes. There were three of them. Looked like classic bootleggers to me, except they had a strange device on them. You see, I was on my way to my work at the bank, when my briefcase broke open and all my papers went everywhere.
As I was picking up my things, I overheard them mention things about pausing time, which caught my attention, since I’ve never met anyone else other than Time herself that can stop time like I can. Then, I heard them mention your name specifically, and that you were a threat to them and that they needed to get to you without her stopping them. I’m assuming that the woman they were referring to there was Time.
They also mentioned some other peculiar things, such as time anomalies, bubbles, and fluxations. They mentioned a few other names, including mine, which is when they seemed to notice that I was staring at them at this point…
I of course paused time so I could get away from them post haste, but for some reason, it didn’t work on them. The world around me stopped, but they didn’t. They shot me with one of their devices, which I thought was a gun at first, but it ended up simply sending me to your apartment. Now I’m stuck in the jungle. What a miserable day!”
Juno looked over to Cadi, who didn’t seem too concerned. She blew her bangs out of her eyes and tried to wave some annoying flies away from her face.
“So some dangerous guys probably want to kill me or something. Awesome. It means I get to let out some of my frustration by beating someone up.”
“Did you not hear what I said about pausing time not working with them?” William scorned, jumping and flicking a beetle off his shirt.
“It doesn’t matter.” Cadi growled. “I’m confident with my powers to know that I’d win anyway. I mean-you’ve taught yourself other time powers other than just pausing time right?”
William paused, blushing a little out of embarrassment and partially because of the heat.
“I-uh… what other time powers?”
Cadi groaned, and Juno gave her a pat on the shoulder.
“You know, if these bugs are really getting to you, we could pause time until we get out of the forest.” he reasoned. At this idea, Cadi grinned.
“Juno, this is why I keep you around.” She then quickly grabbed a hold of the two of them and paused time. The heat was still as prominent as ever, but at least the bugs had stopped biting and crawling all over them.
“Ahhh. Soooo much better. You are such a genius mi amigo.” Cadi told him.
“Oh yeah. I know.” Juno smirked. “Now, how about you get to higher ground so you can see what direction we should be going in.”
“A great idea once again coming from the infamous Juno.” she nodded, immediately looking around to pick up some rocks and pieces of wood that were large enough to step on.
“What are you doing?” William asked. Cadi didn’t answer him, and instead dropped some of the things she had gathered, pausing time for each of them in such a way that she could use them as a staircase. The old man gawked at her.
“What-what did you do?”
“I paused time on the individual objects.” she explained, stepping up until she could reach the branches of the tree. Then she made her way to the top so she could try to see over the forest. It was strange how much lighter it was once she was out of the undergrowth, and she squinted as she saw something in the distance.
“Hey-I think there might be some ruins to the west of us.” she called down. “We could at least have some shelter while we try to figure things out.”
“Sounds like a plan!” Juno yelled back up at her. Instead of climbing down, Cadi jumped out of the tree, causing William to give a little yelp. However, right before she touched the ground, she paused time on herself. Juno reached up and pulled her down to the ground, where she started moving again.
“This way!” she smiled, leading the way for them. William stared at her and Juno, not knowing how to feel about these two young people basically giving him all the orders.
“I bet this guy’s world has been completely shattered.” Juno scoffed under his breath to his best friend.
“Oh no-a woman and a mexican telling him what to do?? I don’t know he’s able to take all this! Egad!”
The two of them laughed, causing William to scowl from behind him.
“It’s obvious the two of you are talking about me, despite the fact that I can’t hear what you’re saying.”
“I’m not even going to deny that fact.” Cadi said blatantly.
The three of them walked for a while, William remained mostly silent as Juno and Cadi simply talked about things that had been happening at school. It was still sweltering and humid in the undergrowth of the jungle, but at least the bugs weren’t biting them anymore.
They soon came up to two large stone statues with jaguars on them.
“Wow these are some of the most pristine statues I’ve ever seen.” Juno said in awe. “What civilization do you think these are from? Aztec?”
Cadi was silent for a moment as she ran her hand over the stone.
“Um… Juno, since… William here was sent into the future, you don’t think we might have been sent into a different time as well-do you?”
“I think it’s very likely, but we have no idea what time period we might even be in. We could be in the past or the future. We just won’t know until we find some people I guess.”
Cadi nodded and pushed her way past the stone statues, where the hum of the jungle suddenly came back alive again.
“Why’d you unpause time?” Juno asked. Cadi looked around, confused.
“I… didn’t. It just started on it’s own.”
She stood there for a moment, trying to pause time again, but found that it didn’t work. She looked back to the statues and walked to the other side of them, where she found she could pause time again.
“For some reason, I just can’t pause time in this particular area…”
Cadi began to feel uneasy. For years now, she had been able to freely use all her powers as she pleased, and the last time she hadn’t been able to do that, was when two scientists had kidnapped her and her brother…
“Well, I guess we should figure out what’s going on then…” William told them, starting forward again. Cadi hesitated, which Juno noticed.
“I’m sure we’ll all be fine Cadi.” he assured her as if he were reading her mind. “And didn’t you say that those two scientists from all those years again are dead anyway? They can’t hurt you anymore.”
“I know, I just… I don’t have a good feeling about this. I don’t like not being able to pause time.”
Juno quietly took her by the wrist and led her through the forest, where they started to hear the chatter of what sounded like a large crowd. The three of them pushed their way through the foliage and found themselves looking down at a large city, bustling with people.
“Uh… Juno? Do you remember when the height of the Aztec empire was?” Cadi asked, blinking in surprise at what she was seeing before her. Juno and William found themselves staring as well in disbelief.
“I think it was in the 1400s… which would mean that… we are in the 1400s…”
The three of them looked down in the city in silence for a moment.
“Well, I am no longer feeling up to dick.” William said, mostly to himself.