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Chapter 49

“I don’t think either of you will be going anywhere,” Matt dished out, contemptuously. He turned a dial on his wrist gadget and shook his head. “I think that cliff did them both in rather nicely.”

“They may still be alive and we should help them,” Allison exclaimed defiantly.

“No, you see this little thing here,” he replied, pointing to his wrist, “it tells me otherwise.” Matt reached into his coat and pulled out a gun. “Besides, I don’t think you’ll be in any shape to help them.”

Without warning, Matt fired the gun and time stood still ... until Allison fell into my arms with a bullet to the stomach.

“Allison!” I shouted, in shock.

“How romantic,” Matt mocked. “The love of your life will die in your arms, just like in the story books.”

“You bastard!”

“I told you this would happen, Trenton. Now, give me Augustus’s coin.”

I stared at him perplexed. “What?”

“You heard me. Hand over his time travel coin and I won’t shoot you too.”

“What do you need that for?”

“Stop stalling and give me the coin or I’ll put a fist full of lead in your body and collect the coin once your dead … now hand it over!”

At this point I truly believed he would follow through on his threat. For all I knew, Matt had gone nuts. Not wanting to find out, I reluctantly retrieved Klovatz’s coin, which he thought belonged to Augustus, and tossed it Matt’s way, purposefully making him reach for it. As he did, I grabbed my ski pole and in one fluid motion swung it toward his arm and knocked the gun from his hand.

Matt, still concentrating on the coin, confirmed it was firmly in his glove before switching gears and focusing on the gun. Unfortunately for him, it was too late, as I was already diving for it. He instinctively reached down, but my distraction had worked and stopped him cold ... I pointed the barrel square in his face.

“You don’t have it in you, Trenton,” he spat.

I swallowed, fighting the urge to pull the trigger, but Allison moaned and I glanced back. Using this opportunity, Matt skied away as fast as he could and soon disappeared in the darkness.

I rushed back to Allison and saw that the red blotch seeping through her clothes was starting to grow. It was only a matter of time before she would die. My options were clear: follow Matt to pick the remains of the dead guys and make sure he didn’t acquire the theory, or help Allison by getting her to a hospital. I certainly didn’t want to take her to a hospital in this day and age, so I had no choice but to get her back to the future … and fast!

This in itself was no easy task. We still only had one coin and I wasn’t sure if two people could use it simultaneously. It had only been designed for one person’s transport at a time. Oh well, I thought, as I located the coin inside her pocket.

I twisted it a few times and placed it on a flat patch of snow. After a moment, a bluish-white force field emerged, spraying an area four feet wide by seven feet tall. I admired it momentarily, but heard a few voices from up the hill. Returning my attention to the task at hand, a holographic screen with a map appeared. A moment later, a soothing female voice chimed in, “Time and place, please.”

I marveled at the technology, but snapped out of it as the voices grew louder. I quickly scanned the screen in front of me and pressed the home icon on the map.

“Home. Thank you. Place, please,” the holographic voice requested.

I wasn’t sure where to go or how specific I needed to be. This was the U.S. version and I wasn’t sure if there were any differences from the Chinese program.

“1437 Maple Street, Washington D.C.” I offered.

“Configuring … geographical coordinates 230915 157243. Thank you.”

I gently scooped Allison in my arms and took a deep breath before stepping into the portal, which closed behind us. For a nanosecond, everything turned white until another translucent portal opened in front of us.

I stepped through the purplish hue and found solid footing on Allison’s front porch. The portal again closed behind us, leaving the coin-shaped device lying on the ground. Without hesitation, I kicked the front door open, surprising Colonel Montgomery, who sat reading in his lounge chair. His jaw dropped and his eyes widened.

“Trenton … Allison!” Upon realizing Allison was unconscious, he glared at me. “You bastard, what did you do to my daughter?” He started to rise, but I’d had enough of his crap.

“Shut up, old man and listen!” He was shocked. I’d never before spoken to him in that tone. Before he could adjust, I continued, “Get Allison to a hospital … and fast!” I placed Allison on the couch. “She doesn’t have much time.”

More concerned about Allison than verbally sparring with me, the Colonel examined her.

“What happened?”

“She was shot in the stomach with a gun. I don’t know what kind.”

“I should turn you in.”

“You can’t afford to. Now get her to the hospital!”

The Colonel glowered for a moment before lifting her from the couch. I looked at Allison one last time. I wanted to kiss her, but moved to the door instead.

“Where are you going?” he asked.

“That’s none of your business, Colonel.”

He shook his head and rushed in the other direction toward the garage. I stepped out onto the front porch, picked up the time travel device, and suddenly had the strangest feeling that everything I had learned as a result of my brush up with Crimson was now gone.

My next thought was scarier: had Matt succeeded in finding the manuscript and with it the theory?

I trotted down the steps wondering what to do.

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