An Unwanted Traveler
“Daddy Daddy! Do it again!” little Leena cried as she kicked her legs underneath the table. Rick Wille sighed with a little smile and took her dinner plate from her. With absolute ease, he cause her spaghetti and meatballs to revert back to being uncooked, and then back to the ingredients that made the noodles. Then, he brought it back to how it was before he messed with it. His three daughters squealed with delight as they watched their food change. For some reason, it never got old to them.
“Rick, stop playing with their food and let them eat!” his wife Darby exasperated. Their children groaned and started eating their spaghetti. Rick went to eat his own food, but his wife snatched it away from him and then placed the plate on his head.
“You must first pass the challenge of giving your wife a kiss before you receive your reward of pasta.” she said in a deep voice. Rick chuckled, paused his plate in mid air, ducked out from underneath it, and then kissed his wife.
“There. Thanks for dinner hon.”
His wife winked at him as he took his plate of spaghetti out of midair, and then the two of them sat down to eat.
Their dinner went on mostly without incident. His seven year old, Leena, was talking about how school was going, his four year old Cassie was trying to make a spaghetti tower, and his toddler Sariah was blowing bubbles in her drink. None of them were expecting anything out of the ordinary, so when a woman suddenly appeared a few feet above their table as they were finishing up, they were quite surprised.
The woman yelled as she crashed into their table, breaking it in half and sending dishes and spaghetti everywhere. Rick jumped up and grabbed his four year old before she fell, and he paused time on his daughter Leena’s chair as it started to go backwards.
“What the heck?!” Leena exclaimed, staring at the woman who had interrupted their dinner. Rick blinked, hardly believing what he was seeing in front of him.
“Mary?!” he exclaimed.
The woman picked some spaghetti off of herself in disgust, standing up from her crash landing.
“Ugh. Sorry about the table. I’m still not used to this whole teleporting thing... Hold on-let me fix it.”
She stepped to the side as the table and dinner they had been eating flew into the air to rapidly fix themselves. The three children in the room cheered at the showcase of abilities as their parents kept staring at their intruder.
“Is this that woman you met as a teenager?” Darby asked.
Rick cleared his throat to get the woman’s attention, as she was a little preoccupied at fixing herself up and trying to smooth down her hair.
“Mary-what are you doing here?” Rick asked. The woman regarded him with a confused look.
“Mary? My name’s not Mary! Did I tell you to call me that?”
“Ten years ago you did.”
“Oh. Uh… wait. Oh yeah-ten years for you, not for me, so… ugh this is still so confusing!!”
Rick and Darby exchanged glances. This was not the woman he remembered at all. She seemed a lot more… immature.
“Then what do you want us to call you?” he asked slowly. The woman thought about it for a second.
“Uh… I uh…”
“Do you want to just call you Time? That’s another name you introduced yourself as…”
“I guess so.” Time said with a shrug. “Ok… why did I come to this time again? Crap! How am I supposed to keep all of these things straight?!”
“How about we all sit down in the living room and take a moment to breathe so we can talk about things?” Darby reasoned, taking Sariah out of her high chair.
“But we don’t have time to do that!!” Time protested. At the sound of that, Rick laughed out loud.
“Don’t have time? Are you serious right now?”
In response, Time put her hands to her head like she had a massive headache.
“Ugh… Hold on… D-what are your names again? What am I supposed to call you?”
All of this was taking Rick by surprise. He had never imagined that Time would forget his name. She had seemed so composed and mature when he was a teenager. Now, she looked like a teenager herself that didn’t know what she was doing.
“Um. I’m Rick, and this is my wife Darby. These are our girls, Sariah, Cassie, and Leena. Is this your first time meeting us?”
“No!!” Time immediately said, sounding offended. “Uh-I-how many times have-wait-hold on…”
Time took a moment to sit on the floor and take in some deep breaths.
“Breathe girl. Breathe.” she mumbled to herself. “You can do this. You need to do this. Come on!”
After one more deep breath, she stood up, having composed herself better.
“Alright.” she said with a smile. “R-Rick, I need you to come with me. Your sister is in danger.”
In response, Rick looked at her incredulously.
“If she’s in danger, then why are you smiling?”
“I’m trying not to freak out.” Time responded with clenched teeth. Rick looked over to his wife, who simply nodded.
“Well, wherever you’re going, be safe.” she told him, giving him a hug. We’ll all be here when you get back.”
Rick sighed and knelt down to hug his daughters.
“Where are you going Daddy?” Cassie asked. “Are you going with Time lady.”
“Yes, but I’ll be back soon. I might not even be gone for that long. I’ve just got to make sure Auntie Cadi is ok.”
“What’s wrong with Auntie Cadi?” Leena asked, frowning. Rick put his hands on both of their heads and messed up their hair, standing up.
“I don’t know yet, but I’ll tell you a great story about it when I get back. How does that sound?” he told them with a smile. In response, the four year old and seven year old jumped up and down and cheered. Rick turned to his wife again, kissed his one year old on the head, and then turned to Time.
“Well, I’m guessing you want to take me to her?” he asked. “I heard you mention teleporting. Cadi and I didn’t know that was a thing.” Time nodded and hesitantly held onto his arm.
“It kind of is and kind of isn’t. I think? This is all too weird…” she mumbled to herself again. “Alright. Before we get to your sister, we need to make a stop first.”
Rick suddenly felt himself being pulled from all directions, and then he was suddenly standing right in between a black woman and her open fridge door.
“Zafando!!” the woman exclaimed as Rick fell backwards into her fridge in surprise. It was not a type of refrigerador he was used to however, for it looked a lot more high tech.
“Agggh! I’m sorry-I-Time!!!”
Time was currently hanging from a light fixture, her hair tangled in the fan.
“Ow ow ow ow!!” she exclaimed, trying to get free. The woman who they were intruding on sighed when she saw her.
“Oh it’s you. How old are you this time around?” she asked, taking a little device out of a drawer and pointing it at her. A laser shot out, cutting her hair free, and letting her fall to the floor. Time took in a deep breath and grew her hair back out with her powers, and then fixed up the place with a twirl of her finger.
“I’m sixteen. I think. I’m still unsure how aging works with all of this.
Rick and the stranger stared at her for a second.
“You’re only sixteen right now?” Rick asked, completely flabbergasted. “Do you even know what you’re doing?”
“Not… really…” Time blushed, pulling at her hair a little bit. “Um. Rick, this is Xolani. She is from the year 3029.”
Rick would have shaken the woman’s hand had she not been so preoccupied with how young Time was at the moment.
“This has to be the youngest I’ve ever seen you.” she said with a raised brow, the lined pink tattoo on her face glowing a bit. “But since you know who I am, this isn’t the first time you’re meeting me is it?”
“N-nope!” Time said with another blush. “I… My first time meeting all you travelers is actually a bit hazy to me… I don’t remember all the details, only bits and pieces.”
“Interesting.” Rick said, folding his arms and looking around. “So this is 3029 huh? Where in 3029?”
“Hold on-Rick, is this your first time here?” Xolani asked in surprise. “Your first time meeting me?” When Rick nodded, she whistled.
“Well then. We’re in Kenya.” she said proudly, thrusting her chest out and flipping her neon tipped hair to the side. “One of the leading world powers besides Ethiopia.”
“D-Daddy? Is that you?” a small, muffled voice asked. Rick paused, and then turned to one of the cabinets lining the walls. Xolani pressed a button, opening the cabinet door, where Rick’s seven year old daughter spilled out.
“Leena??” Rick asked in surprise. “What are you doing here?”
“I don’t know.” she shrugged. I saw you start to disappear and I felt a pulling and then I was in a dark cabinet.”
At the sight of the little girl, Time suddenly screamed.
“What is she doing here?!” she exclaimed, pointing. “Did she grab onto you or something?”
Rick sighed and picked his daughter up.
“No. She was on the other side of the room when we left. I saw her.”
“Does she have time powers?” Xolani asked curiously. “I’m assuming you do.”
“I do, but she hasn’t shown any herself.” Rick replied, feeling slightly worried. “However, something similar happened to me when I first got abilities myself. Whenever my sister would pause time, it would stop for me too. I wonder if this is similar?”
“Well, she’s got to go home now!” Time said, acting all flustered. “We can’t have some kid going with us where we’re going. It’s too dangerous.”
“But I want to go on the adventure with you Daddy!” Leena whined. Rick shook his head and chuckled slightly.
“Sorry bug. I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“But you can heal me up!” his daughter pouted, folding her arms. Rick regarded her sternly.
“I really don’t want to have to do that. It would still hurt wouldn’t it?”
“Fiiiiine…” his daughter groaned.
“So where are we going Time?” Xolani asked as if she had done this many times before.
“Cadi suddenly disappeared off my radar, but I’m pretty sure she’s in the height of the Aztec empire.” Time responded, grabbing a hold of Rick and Xolani’s arms.
“The Aztecs? Who were they?”
A moment later, they were standing back in Rick’s living room, where thankfully, Time gave them a better landing. Darby looked up.
“Oh thank goodness!” she exclaimed, running over and taking Leena from Rick’s arms. “I was hoping she was with you. When she disappeared I didn’t know what to do!”
“Mommy! I went to Canya!” Leena exclaimed happily.
“Kenya.” Rick corrected. He then turned to Xolani. “You don’t know about the Aztecs?”
“We kind of lost a lot of information during the Nuclear war.” she said with a shrug. Rick nodded in understanding, not really surprised.
“I’m guessing the United States was somehow a part of that.”
“Pffft of course. It’s hard to think that it used to be a first world country.”
“Ok. Enough chit chat. We need to go.” Time told them, grabbing on to their arms again.
Once again, Rick felt himself being pulled from all different directions, and then he was suddenly hanging off of a jungle tree branch.
He only barely managed to keep himself from falling, which was not the case for Time, as she landed flat on her face a few feet below. Rick carefully climbed down as Xolani jumped, and then they both stood over the person who was supposed to be this all powerful personification of Time.
“Do you… need any help?” Xolani asked. Time simply lay there for a moment.
“No. I’m good.” she said into the dirt, giving a pitiful thumbs up.
“Woah! Are we in the jungle now??” Leena asked from a few feet away, looking up into the trees. Time’s head shot up.
“YOU! WHY ARE YOU HERE?!?” she asked angrily. The little girl shrugged as Rick went to pick her up again.
“I’m sorry Time. I swear we’re not doing this on purpose or anything.”
“She. Can’t. Be. Here.” Time growled, holding on to Rick’s arm again. “We’ll be back in a second Xolani.”
“Alright.” the woman replied, leaning against a tree and whipping out some kind of pipe. For the next few minutes, Rick found himself back and forth between his living room and the jungle, where no matter how many times they tried, Leena always somehow ended up teleporting with them. Eventually, Time gave up and resigned herself to hitting her head against a tree.
“WHY. WON’T. THIS. WOoooOORK?!” she lamented. Xolani casually stopped a suspicious spider from landing on Time’s head with her powers and then flicked it away.
“You really don’t know what you’re doing this go around, do you?” the Kenyan asked. “This is odd. I guess I’m going to have to lead things this go around.”
Time scowled and then took in a deep breath.
“Fine. Rick, just keep an eye on your daughter. We can’t have her suddenly getting into everything with her dirty little child hands.”
Rick didn’t like how she had just referred to Leena, but he shrugged it off and put his daughter on his shoulders.
“Well Leena, I guess you’re coming on the adventure with us.” he said. The little girl smiled. She decided to didn’t like this Time person that much. And for saying she had dirty little child hands, she was going to touch everything.
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