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by Alex Haitz
Time is like the wind; it lifts the light and leaves the heavy.

-Doménico Cieri Estrada

Men talk of killing time, while time quietly kills them.

-Dion Boucicault

Clocks slay time.... time is dead as long

as it is being clicked off by little wheels;
only when the clock stops does time
come to life.

-William Faulkner
(Day 0, Evening)

Hugh left the tent in a rage. How could they have

mistrusted him like that? They had to take 3 days to
decide if he was fit for the task? This simple little
task?! He started pacing near the entrance of the
tent. Left, right, left, right. John threw open the tent
flap and walked out. “Hugh….are you seriously
angry? Normally, we wouldn’t let anyone of your
position perform a task like this. This should be an
honor.” “Yea, I know,” Hugh said, “it just seems like
you had to think about it for too long. Like you
thought I wasn’t up for the job or something. That I
wasn’t……qualified….for something like this. What
made you finally decide, huh? Don’t have anyone
else to do it? Is it because everyone that could have
done it is off working on the…” John quickly covered
Hugh’s mouth. “Shh!” John said. “Don’t say it!” He
took his hand off of Hugh’s mouth. “Sorry,” Hugh
said, “I keep forgetting.”

John and Hugh were standing outside of the HQ Tent
of their encampment. The encampment consisted of
about 20 tents tucked away in a valley in the desert
on the outskirts of town.
They were hidden in the perfect spot. They could
climb up the hill concealing them from the city and
monitor the open desert plane to see if anyone was
approaching the camp. They were in such a
secluded area of the desert that the chances of any
random person stumbling on their camp were below
miniscule. Although the camp was hidden deep in
the desert, they were still close enough to the city
that they could reach it in under an hour. It was the
perfect hideout.

Also, their camp was completely clean. They had no

papers or data relating to their mission. In fact, the
only equipment they had was camping-related.
Because of this, they could abandon it at any time
and not have to pack anything. So if any wanderer
happened to walk into their camp, it would look to
that person like a bunch of camping buddies out in
the desert.

Not only was their camp clean, but their

conversations were as well. They never spoke a
word that could connect to their mission. Even

though they were out in the desert, surrounded by
20 miles of open wasteland, they weren’t going to
take any chances. The plan had to be absolutely
perfect. There was no room for mistakes.

“Well, you need to stop forgetting!” John said. “I’m

sorry,” Hugh said, “it won’t happen again.” “That
had better be true this time,” John said as he walked
back towards the tent. “Come on. You still need to
be briefed.” Hugh looked at John for a moment then
looked up at the sky. The desert stars were
emblazoned across the sky in a magnificent display,
twinkling down on the camp from above. Hugh
sighed before looking back down at John. He walked
back to the tent and they both re-entered.

The Administration was still sitting calmly in their

chairs. Hugh gave a skeptical look at John before
turning back to The Administration and sitting back
down in his chair.

“Did you clear your head?” asked the man in the 4th
“Yes,” Hugh responded.

“Are you thinking straight now? Can we give you
your briefing?”

“Alright,” the man said. “I’m just going to start over

from the beginning.” Hugh relaxed in his chair and
propped his legs up on the chair in front of him. “We
need you to guard ‘The Item’ until it can be utilized
in our plan. It’s currently at a house back in town.
Since a lot of the other members have been “busy”
and out of town, it’s been unguarded for 3 days. This
is top priority right now. It’s a weakness in our plan
that we have to deal with as soon as possible. You’ll
be living in the house and keeping constant watch
over ‘The Item’. It may seem boring and
unimportant, but I assure you, it’s not. This is
completely vital to our plan. It needs to be guarded.
Are you up for this task?”

Hugh was staring at the roof of the tent as the man

finished up his little speech. He contemplated what
this job would entail. It seemed fairly safe. After all,
it was assumed that no one knew about their
operation but the people involved in it. How bad
could just staying in a house for a few days be?

Hugh looked back up at The Administration and
smiled. “Of course I’ll do it. I’d be glad too.” The man
smiled back and said, “That’s what I was hoping to
hear.” He stood up and shook Hugh’s hand. “You will
be driven to the house in the morning,” he said.
“Once there, ‘The Item’ will be in one of the rooms
upstairs. Just keep it safe until another member
arrives to collect it. Do you understand?” “Yes, sir.”
Hugh responded. “Great,” the man said, “now get
back to your tent and get some sleep.”

Hugh nodded and turned around. Along with John, he

walked towards the exit. As they neared the tent
flaps, the man in the 2nd chair yelled at them. “Oh
wait! Hugh!” Hugh and John turned back to face
them. “Yes?” asked Hugh.

“There’s one more thing,” said the man, “it may be

“Oh yes? And what’s that?” asked Hugh.

“It has been reported that ‘The Item’ has some…

peculiar side effects. Members have reported a lot of
anomalies that occur around it. You may want to be
careful around it. I just thought you should know.”

Hugh nodded. “Thank you for informing me. I’ll keep
an eye out.”

Hugh and John exited the tent. The warm, crisp

desert night air surrounded them again as they
walked away from the HQ Tent. “I’m going to go play
poker with some of the guys,” John said, “want to
come?” “Nah,” Hugh said, “I’m going to go get some
sleep. I feel tired.” “Alright,” John said, “I’ll see you
tomorrow, ok?”

“Ok,” Hugh said as he neared his tent. “See you

He watched as John entered a tent at the other end
of the camp. The stars were still twinkling in the sky
as Hugh entered his tent.

Once inside, he stripped down and got into bed. As

he lay on his cot, he got to thinking about tomorrow.
About having to guard the item.

However, he let these thoughts fade away as he

listened to the guys at the other end of the camp
talk and laugh. And finally, drifting off into slumber,
he thought about the stars outside in the desert sky.

Little did he know, however, that tomorrow he would
be seeing the stars from a new perspective. Up close
and personal.

Chapter 1: An
(Day 0, Morning)
Desmond walked through the rotating glass doors of
the Tyrexx building with a slight amount of anxiety.
Although in need of money, he wasn’t sure if he was
up for whatever his contact would assign him. He
decided to just brush off his worries and take
whatever he needed to do. He walked across the
fairly large and semi-busy foyer to the desk.

“May I help you, sir?” asked the woman sitting at the

“Yes you may,” Desmond looked at her nametag. “…
Felicity. That’s a name you don’t hear everyday.”
She smiled and said, “Well, thank you!” Desmond
smiled then slightly shook his head, becoming
serious again. “Anyway,” he said, “I need to see…”
He reached into his pocket and pulled out the note.
“…uhh, Mr. Glass.” Felicity started typing at her

computer. “Do you happen to know his first name,
sir?” “Oh yea,” Desmond said, looking at his note
again, “it’s uhh, Raymond. I actually have an
appointment with him for 11:30.” She typed some
more. “Oh, Desmond?” she asked. “Yep,” he replied,
“That’s me.” “Ok…he’s on the 11th floor, room
1142,” she said. Desmond smiled. “Thank you,” he

Turning away from the front desk, Desmond

proceeded to walk to the elevators. Even though he
wasn’t really nervous anymore, he still seemed to
have some second thoughts about this.

Approaching the doors, he pressed the up arrow and

waited. The doors slid open and the open elevator
was waiting there for him. For a moment, he just
stood there, mind empty, staring at the elevator
floor. This moment soon passed however and he
entered the elevator. Pressing the button marked
“11”, the doors slid closed, causing the elevator to
shake and begin to rise. The numbers began fly
past. 4…5…6…7…8…

He could back out now, if he wanted. There had to

be better alternatives to get some quick cash right?
He could wait a little longer for a better alternative.

But, before he knew it, the number “11” dinged on
the display, causing the doors to slide open,
revealing a neatly dressed man.
“Desmond?” he said.
“Yes?” Desmond replied.
“You are Desmond?” the man asked.
“Yes, I am,” he replied.
“Great,” the man said, “come with me.”

Well, too late to back out now.

The man led Desmond down a long hall of doors that
seemed to stretch to eternity. He felt like he was
being lead down “the long tunnel with the light at
the end”.

“So, Desmond,” the man said, bringing Desmond out

of his thoughts, “how are you today?”
“Uhh,” Desmond said, “good…how are you?”
“Doing great,” the man replied, “but I’ll be doing
even better if you accept what we have for you to
“What if I don’t accept?” asked Desmond.
“Then we have other perfectly capable people who
can do it for us instead,” the man said. “But, it would
be foolish for you to not accept this. This is, in a
manner of words, an offer you won’t want to refuse.”

The man stopped at a door about halfway down the
hallway. The door read “Raymond Glass – 1142”.

“So,” Desmond said, “what is it that Mr. Glass does

“Well,” the man said, “he’s an engineer. Just like all
the other people working here on this floor.
However, this is just ‘something he does on the
side’. Sort of like a cover up. Here,” he grabbed and
turned the door handle, “you’ll see.

As the man opened the door and walked in,

Desmond could see an illustrious office before him. A
well dressed man was looking out the glass window,
which apparently was the whole back wall of his
office, onto the foyer below. Potted plants and
expensive paintings adorned the room. There even
appeared be a small bar against the left wall. Mr.
Glass appeared to be fairly successful at his job.

“Sir,” the man said, “Desmond is here.”

“Thank you,” said Mr. Glass, turning away from the
window. “You may go now.” The man turned and left
the office, leaving just Desmond and Mr. Glass alone

Mr. Glass sat down in his chair behind his desk.
“Have a seat,” he said. Desmond sat down in one of
the two chairs in front of the desk. The fancy,
wingback leather chair was one of the most
comfortable chairs he had ever sat in. This helped
him relax slightly and take his mind off of his
troubling thoughts.

“Well,” Desmond said, “you’re supposed to have a

job for me to do?”
“Yes,” Mr. Glass said, “that’s right.” He must have
noticed Desmond’s tense demeanor because he
proceeded to say “You seem worried. Is something
bothering you?”

“Sort of,” Desmond replied, “It’s just that I’m not

sure whether or not I’m up for whatever you have for
me. Because, I mean, a job that pays $10,000 has to
have some risks right?”
Mr. Glass smiled. “I see what you mean. Well, it may
have some risks. But, if you are stealthy enough, or
for that matter, lucky enough, you’ll be just fine.”
“Oh, really?” Desmond said, “Now you have me
intrigued. Please continue.”

Mr. Glass stood up from his chair and began to walk
to the bar. “Before I begin, I’d like to have a drink.
You want anything?”
“No,” Desmond said, “I’m fine.”
“You sure?” said Mr. Glass, “I have just about
everything here. Any drink you could possibly
imagine. Come on, it’ll take a load off. Calm you
“Well…” Desmond said, “I suppose I’ll have
“Great,” Mr. Glass said, “what’ll you have?”
“Surprise me,” Desmond replied.
“Aha!” said Mr. Glass, “Adventurous. I like it. Keep
up a mindset like that and this job will be a breeze.”
“Well that’s good to hear,” Desmond said, “Oh and
by the way, don’t make it too strong. Not much of a

“Adventurous…yet cautious,” said Mr. Glass, smiling,

“even better.”
Mr. Glass returned to the desk with two drinks in
“Tell me what you think,” he said, handing a drink to
Desmond reached for the drink, brought it to his
mouth, and took a sip. “Very exquisite, sir. Perfect
blend and balance.” said Desmond. “Thank you,”

said Mr. Glass, but then shook his head, “Anyway, to

Mr. Glass took a sip from his glass as well before

putting his legs up and resting them on his desk.
“Firstly, I’m just going to flat out state what your
mission before going into the finer details.” he said,
“Basically, all you have to do is go to a house and
retrieve an item.”
“Well,” said Desmond, leaning back in his chair,
“that doesn’t sound too bad.”
“You’re right,” said Mr. Glass, “it doesn’t. Although,
it may not be as simple as that. The house could
possibly be guarded. We are not sure of that at this
time though.”
“So,” said Desmond, “Mr. Glass, is this…”
“Please,” said Mr. Glass, “call me Ray.”
“Oh, right. Well, Ray, is this person that’s guarding
the house, is he going to be armed?”
Ray placed his drink on his desk and stood up, facing
the window again.
“We don’t know for sure,” he said, “we are almost
certain he will have some form of defense though.
So, we aren’t going to take any chances.”

He walked back to his desk and opened a drawer.
After reaching inside, he pulled out a handgun.
Desmond fidgeted slightly in his chair.
Ray noticed this, smiled, and said, “Don’t worry. It’s
not loaded.”
He reached into the drawer again and pulled out a
box of ammunition. He set it next to the gun and sat
back down in his chair, grabbing his drink and
bringing it to his mouth for another sip.
“This is your protection,” he said, “Have you ever
used a gun before?”
“No,” Desmond said, “I haven’t. But it can’t be that
hard, right?”
“Not at all,” Ray said, “just push this button here.”
He pressed a button on the side of the gun and the
clip fell out of the bottom. “Load the clip.” He placed
a single bullet in the clip. “Replace the clip.” He
shoved the clip back into gun. “…and then simply
pull the trigger.”
“Ok,” said Desmond, “that’s pretty easy.”
Ray removed the clip and the bullet from the gun.
“Now, this gun isn’t registered,” he said, “So don’t
get caught with it or you’ll be in trouble.”
He reassembled the gun and gave it to Desmond
along with the ammunition.
“So,” Desmond said, “what does this ‘item’ look

“Truth be told,” said Ray, “we have no idea. All we
know is that it’s in one of the bedrooms upstairs.”
“How could you know where it is but not what it
looks like?” said Desmond.
“I honestly don’t know,” said Ray. “I get my
information and orders from a higher power than
“So you’re not in charge?” Desmond said.
“I am in charge of selecting someone for this job,”
said Ray. “But I am not in charge of this whole
“Ordeal?” said Desmond. “How big is this thing?”
“Big enough to be important to this whole country,”
said Ray. “Possibly even the entire planet.”
Desmond leaned back in his chair, dumbstruck. “You
can’t be serious, can you? Just getting an item from
a house is important to the whole planet?”
“I am completely serious,” said Ray.
“Why aren’t the police doing anything about this
then? Or the even the government for that matter?”
said Desmond.
“Because we can’t afford to mess this up. Only us
people on the inside are the ones who know about
this. Even then, there are only 5 people among us
who know about this item, including us 2 in this very

“I see,” said Desmond, “So, what’s so special about
this item that it could threaten the whole planet?”
“Honestly,” Ray said, “We don’t know. All we know is
that there is an underground community of sorts
that want to use it for whatever their goals are. We
think they are some sort of anarchists or something
similar. Anyway, whoever they are, they want to use
the item to accomplish what they believe is best for
the planet. But trust me, whatever they are going to
do will most certainly NOT be best for the planet.
Chances are it will utterly destroy it.”

“So, basically,” said Desmond, “I just have to go to

this house, get the item and bring it back to you?
And I’ll have saved the world?”
“Basically, yes,” Ray said. “But you have to
understand, if they know that we know what they’re
up to, they’ll abort, and we’ll never be able to get
the item. So, I’m going to call you tomorrow and tell
you when you should go to the house.”
He opened another drawer in his desk and pulled out
a piece of paper and a pen. “Here’s the address to
the house,” he said, writing it on the paper and
handing it to Desmond. Desmond began to reach for
it but then Ray pulled it back. “By showing you this
address, this would mean that you are accepting this
mission. Do you want to accept it?” “Of course,”

Desmond said, “For $10,000, this’ll be a breeze.”
“Great,” Ray said, handing him the piece of paper,
“But remember, don’t go anywhere near there until I
call you tomorrow. We can’t mess this up.”
“Gotcha,” said Desmond, standing up.
Ray also stood up and walked Desmond to the door.
“So remember, I’ll call you and tell you when to go,
ok? And also, if anyone is there, don’t kill them, just
injure them. We aren’t murderers.”
“Right,” said Desmond, opening up the door. The
man who had brought Desmond to the office was
waiting outside.

“You can take Desmond back to the elevators, John,”

Ray said.
John began to walk down the hall way with

A couple minutes later, John returned to Ray’s office.

Ray was looking out of the window again.
“He’s gone, sir,” said John.
“Ok,” said Ray, turning around, “So, what’s new?”
“Well, the organization has let me right in,” said
John, “It appears that they believe I am one of them.
No suspicions or anything like that.”
“Great,” said Ray, “anything else?”

“Not really,” said John, “But I’ve got to go now. They
are expecting me back at camp.”
“Alright,” said Ray as John opened the door and
walked out, “Good luck.”

Chapter 2:
(Day 1, Morning)
Hugh was awoken by the sound of a Jeep engine
outside of his tent.
“Time to go,” a voice said.
Hugh opened his eyes to see John holding open the
tent flap and peering in. “Ok,” Hugh said, “Just let
me get dressed first.”

John let down the tent flap as Hugh got out of bed
and began to get dressed. Outside, John checked his


“We have 58 minutes before we should be there,”

John called into the tent, “no huge hurry.” Within 2

minutes, Hugh emerged from his tent. “Alright,” he
said, “let’s go.”

Hugh and John got into the Jeep which was being
driven by another person. “Ok,” John said to the
driver, “let’s get out of here.” The man stepped on
the accelerator and the Jeep roared out of the camp.
The dust flew into the air and obscured their view of
the camp, which was soon out of sight.

“Ok,” said John as the Jeep raced across the desert,

“once you get there, you will only have to stay for
maybe 2 or 3 days. Some members from
Washington are coming soon to get it.”
“I see,” said Hugh, “So, what exactly is this item
going to be used for in Washington?”
“I honestly don’t know,” John replied, “Like you, I’m
also kept in the dark about a lot of these things.
Truth be told, I don’t even know what this ‘item’ is.
The only thing The Administration said was that it
would be used ‘to help the mission along’.”

Nothing much else was said until they could see

most of the city on the horizon.
“So, why keep the ‘item’ in a house?” Hugh asked as
the Jeep turned onto a dirt road leading into town.
“Again,” said John, “I just don’t know. Maybe it’s to

keep everything normal. No suspicious activity. I
don’t know.” The Jeep sped down the dirt road and
neared a paved street.

After a few more minutes, the Jeep was driving

through town. They were sitting at a stoplight when
Hugh randomly started talking. “Ah, I can’t wait till
the uprising,” he said. John glanced at him. “You
can’t wait? Till the uprising?” John said. “Well,” said
Hugh, “The aftermath of the uprising anyway. You
know, the new way of doing things.” Hugh had his
legs up on the dashboard and his hands behind his
head as he was talking.
“Oh, yes,” said John, “of course.”
The light turned green and the Jeep continued on. As
the city sped by, John stared at the buildings flying
past him. He thought of what would happen to these
buildings if the ‘item’ was used in Washington. They
would become rubble. Dust. A fragmented existence
of humanity. John had to blink and shake his head to
eliminate the vision of radioactive grey sky,
crumbled street and ruined buildings and bring him
back to the sun shined boulevard.
“You ok?” asked Hugh. “Yea,” said John, “I’m fine,
just a little light-headed.”

“We’re here,” said the driver.

The Jeep had parked outside of a house at the end of
a cul-de-sac. “So,” said Hugh, getting out of the Jeep
along with John, “This is it?” “Yep,” John said, “The
‘item’ is just inside.” “Alright,” Hugh replied, “Well, I
guess I can take it from here.” He walked up to John
and shook his hand. “I guess I’ll see you in a few
days,” said John. “Ok,” Hugh replied, walking
towards the house, “See you later. As Hugh
approached the door, John got back into the Jeep. “I
hope he finds the key…” thought John. The vehicle
accelerated and sped back off down the street as
Hugh entered the house.

He had no idea, however, that Desmond had just

entered the house, 1 minute prior.
-- 1 Hour Earlier –

Desmond woke as his alarm started to beep. Hitting

the Off button, he sat up and started to rub his eyes.
Today was the day. He had to go to a house, get
something, and come back. All for $10,000. Simple

Getting up from his bed, he got dressed and headed

from the bathroom. After brushing his teeth, he re-
entered the bedroom and grabbed his coat. His

phone began to ring. Thinking it was Ray, he pulled
his phone out of his pocket. It was Rose.

Desmond blinked, then answered.

“Hey, babe.”
“Hey, how’s it going?”
“Pretty good. Just woke up. How about for you?”
“Doing good, now that I’m talking to you.”
Desmond smiled as he put on his jacket.
“Well, that’s good to hear,” he said. “Hey, listen, you
doing anything tonight?”
“No. Why?”
“Cause I want to bring you dinner.”
“Oh, really?”
“Yes. So don’t make any plans tonight, ok?”
“Oh, alright. That’s very thoughtful of you.”
“Sounds like a plan then. See you tonight, sweetie.”
“Ok, bye babe.”

Desmond hung up the phone and closed his eyes.

“Bring you dinner?” he thought. “Really? That’s the
best I can do?” He grunted and threw his phone onto
the bed. “You’d think that being engaged for 2 years
would yield some results,” Desmond said to the
empty room. “But, no. And it’s my fault.” He sat
down on the bed. “I just can’t seem to……gah!” He
threw himself back on the bed. “I can’t seem to do

anything. I can’t seem to make any progress,” he
said, staring at the ceiling.

“What’s wrong with me?”

Continuing to stare at the ceiling, his thoughts

began to wander off to past memories. What
happened to the good days when things felt natural
and not strained? Was it his budget crisis? Did losing
his job years ago slowly tear them apart? Was it…

The phone rang again.

Taking his gaze off of the ceiling, he sat up and

grabbed his phone. It was Ray. He answered.

“Hey, Desmond.”
“Hi. Is it time for me to go?”
“Yes, as soon as possible. I think they are sending
the guard to the house today. I’m not sure how soon
he will be there however so the sooner the better,
“Alright, I’m on my way.”
“Ok, great. And remember, if he’s there, no fatal
wounds. We don’t want to kill anyone.”

“Of course. Oh, and by the way, what should I do
once I have the item? Should I take it home or bring
it to you right away?”
“I think bringing it here to my office will be best. In
case anyone follows you, we don’t want them to
know where you live. This building, however, has
many people working here. They won’t know who
you’re bringing it to. It’ll be safer here.”
“Ok, good. And one more thing, do you know where
in the house the item is?”
“Oh, right. It’s in a bedroom upstairs on a bedside
dresser. That’s all we know. Do you think that’s
sufficient information?”
“Yea, that’s fine. I’ll be able to find it. Well, I had
better get going. See you soon.”
“Alright. Good luck, Desmond.”

Desmond hung up, put the phone back in his pocket,

put his jacket on and left his apartment. Walking
down the stairs to his car, he pulled the keys out of
his pocket, got in and placed the keys in the ignition.
Turning the keys, the engine started and the needles
rose to their accurate readings on their respective
instruments. “Oh, great!” Desmond exclaimed.

The fuel gauge needle was just barely over Empty.

Shifting gears, Desmond headed down the street.
Trying to remember were the nearest gas station
was, he took about 2 extra minutes before he found
one relatively close to the location of the house.

While the gas was chugging into the vehicle,

Desmond leaned against his car and stared at the
money display rising. Dollar after dollar. Surprisingly,
he wasn’t very nervous. A little shaky, but not too
bad considering that he had an unregistered gun
under the passenger seat of his car. A gun that just
might be used to injure someone very soon. Trying
not to think about thoughts like these, he tried
averting his thoughts to the reward. It was enough
money to get him on the correct road. The road he
wanted to be on. The road he should be on, that he
should have been on a long time ago. It may also
help resurrect his relationship with his fiancée. A
confused relationship that had sunk underwater and
was drowning. But maybe…just maybe…

The gas clicked off.

Replacing the nozzle, Desmond flipped close the gas
tank door and got back in his car. Turning the engine
back on, Desmond left the gas station and headed
for the house.

Once in the correct subdivision, Desmond made sure
park a street away from the house, just in case.
Walking down the street and around the corner, he
saw the house at the end of a cul-de-sac. There
didn’t appear to be any cars near the house.
Deciding to not waste any time, he ran down the
street as fast as he could.

Finally, once he was at the door of the house, he

decided to check the windows to see if anyone was
moving around inside the house. After a bit of
investigating, the ground level appeared to be
empty. Trying the door, he found it to be locked.
“Great,” he thought, “What now?” Looking under
potted plants and the Welcome mat yielded no
results. “Maybe the back door...” he thought.
Walking around to the back of the house, Desmond
jumped a fence and approached the back door. He
tried turning the knob. Locked again. Searching
under the potted plants again yielded no results.
Although, lifting up the mat revealed a key.
“Really?” thought Desmond, “That seemed too

Opening the door, Desmond entered the house, gun
in hand, right as the Jeep rounded the corner down
the street.

Chapter 3:
(Day 1, Morning)

Desmond closed the back door behind him. Gun

ready, he began to explore the ground level to see if
anyone was around. He was nearly finished, walking
through the kitchen, when he saw a Jeep pull up
near the house. Peering through the front window of
the house, he saw two men get out of the Jeep and
start to talk. “Was one of these guys the person who
was supposed to guard the house?” he thought. Not
wanting to take any chances, he decided to go
upstairs and just finish the job. As he ran up the
stairs, Hugh opened the front door.
Hugh walked into the house and headed for the

Opening a cupboard, he grabbed a glass and filled it
with water. After draining the glass, he decided to
head upstairs and check out the item. Walking
through the kitchen and entryway, he walked up the
stairs to the second level.
Desmond reached the second level just as he heard
the door close downstairs. Rounding the corner, gun
ready just in case, he saw the door that led to the
bedroom with the ‘item’ in it. Only, it didn’t lead to
the bedroom. It didn’t lead to anywhere on earth.
Setting his gun down on a shelf near the stairs, he
walked towards the bedroom in awe. “What the…?”
he thought. Approaching the open doorway, he
peered out into the vast openness.

The doorway didn’t lead to the bedroom that it

should have. Instead, it lead out into a vast expanse
over what seemed to be a planet somewhere in
outer space. Stars were flying through the sky, and
the door seemed to be floating above a large crater
in the planet. The planet’s atmosphere must have
been rich with oxygen because Desmond was still
able to breath. Had the door been outside of the
atmosphere, in the vacuum of space, who knew how
catastrophic that would be to the house. To the city.
To Earth.

Desmond leaned slightly out of the doorway and
looked down. A slight breeze rustled past as he
surveyed the dark wasteland below. Then he heard
footsteps coming up the stairs. Realizing that he had
left his gun on a shelf, he had no choice but to
retreat into the bedroom next to the one leading into
space. He slightly closed the door behind him,
leaving a small gap to peer through as a man came
up the stairs.
Hugh stepped off of the last step and entered the
hallway. Noticing the doorway leading into space, he
approached it.
“This must be the sort of anomaly The
Administration was talking about,” thought Hugh.

Leaning out of the doorway, he examined the

strange and foreign planet. The air had a strange
smell and feel to it. Leaning back out and closing the
door, he turned and entered the bedroom on the
other side of the hallway. Walking up to the
windows, he looked out to see if anyone was around.
Not a single person was out on the streets near the
house. Hugh pulled on the cords and closed the
blinds to ensure privacy.

Walking to the middle of the bedroom, Hugh pulled
out his phone and dialed John’s number. After 10
seconds or so, John answered.

“Hi, John. I’m in safely and everything seems to be
“Great, is the ‘item’ there?”
“Well, funny thing, the door that leads to the
bedroom with the ‘item’ in it…doesn’t lead to the
“What? What are you talking about?”
“It leads out into outer space, John. It’s like a portal
of some kind. The Administration had told me that
the ‘item’ had some side effects, anomalies and
such. I didn’t think it would be this monumental
“So, you’re saying that the doorway just leads out
into space?! That can’t be possible.”
“It’s definitely possible. A whole planet, flying
through space, is just outside my door. However, my
real concern is the ‘item’. I don’t know how the other
members from Washington are going to retrieve it
when the room it should be in isn’t even connected
to the house…or something like that.”
“Well, I’ll ring up The Administration and get back to
you. Maybe they know something about this.”

With this, John hung up the phone.
Desmond was intrigued. “Members from Washington
are coming to get the item?” he thought, leaning
away from the semi-closed door, “I need to hurry up
and get this thing. But how? How do I get into that
room??” He decided to continue listening to hear if
anything of importance was said.
After John hung up, Hugh sat down on the bed and
Within 5 minutes, his phone rang.
“Hey. I checked with The Administration. Apparently,
there is a switch near the water heater in the garage
that affects the ‘item’, disabling it functions.”
“A switch near the water heater? How does that do
anything to affect things happened up here on the
second level?”
“I have no idea. Ask the guys who set up the ‘item’
in the house.”
“Whatever, I don’t really care. So, where is this
“It’s connected to a pipe that leads into the water
heater. The switch says C-33. Just turn it counter-
clockwise and it should put whatever the ‘item’ is

doing at bay. It’s supposedly unstable however.
Turning it off could be……glitchy.”
“Alright, I’ll keep that in mind.”

All of a sudden, Hugh felt a small sensation of pain

run through his head. Butterflies fluttered in his
stomach and his head felt dizzy. But, just as soon as
it had come, the moment passed.

“Hello? Are you still there?”

Hugh put the phone back up to his ear. “Yea, I’m
“What’s been happening? You didn’t answer for the
longest time. And just now it said my phone was
connected again. What happened?”
“What are you talking about? I was silent for maybe
10 seconds.”
“What? You didn’t say anything for a while so I just
hung up. That was 10 hours ago.”
“It’s 8:23. I hung up on you 10 hours ago. What
“Hold on a second…”
Hugh walked over to the blinds and pulled them
open. Sure enough, darkness and moonlight encased
the outside.
“What the…?” Hugh said.

“Hugh, you still there? What happened?”
“I have no idea. My head got sort of woozy for a
second but then it passed. That’s all.”
“Strange. It must have been caused by the ‘item’.”
Hugh turned and looked at his door. “Are you sure
this thing is safe? Will it be effective to the mission?”
“I guess so. If The Administration says it’s vital, it’s
“Hmm, well, I guess I’ll call you tomorrow.”
“Alright, good night.”

Hugh hung up the phone. Walking back to the

window, he stared out at the night. How did 10 hours
go by in the blink of an eye?
Was this ‘item’ really all that safe to be using for the
mission. If The Administration was going to actually
use it for what they said they would, how stable
would the operation be?

Deciding to just not think about the matter, Hugh

opened the door and walked back out into the
hallway. Sighing and running his fingers through his
hair, Hugh looked back towards the staircase. His
heart stopped. Walking over to the staircase, he
approached the shelf with Desmond’s gun on it.
Hugh took the gun and examined it. “Is someone

here?” he thought. Taking the gun with him, he went
downstairs to begin searching the house.
Once the light-headedness passed, Desmond placed
his hand on the door frame to stable himself. “What
was that?” he thought.
Then, beginning to hear the man next door
frantically start to talk about “10 hours” and other
things, Desmond decided that it was no longer safe
to be here. He couldn’t even get to the item anyway.
Quietly opening the door, Desmond walked down the
hall to the stairs, forgetting his gun on the shelf.
Walking down the stairs to the front door, Desmond
exited the house right as Hugh opened his bedroom
door upstairs.

Desmond was awe-stricken. He walked out into the

street, gazing out into the night in amazement.
“What!?” he thought, “What’s going on? It was
morning 10 minutes ago!........Was this caused by
the ‘item’, maybe?” Taking his phone out of his
pocket, he checked the time. 8:25. “What on earth?”
he thought, “Did I time travel?!”

Deciding his life was more important than standing

around gaping at the night, he ran down the street
and into the darkness.

Once he reached his car, he got in and put his key in
the ignition.

He was about to start the car when he saw a man

come running around the corner, looking around
frantically, Desmond’s gun in hand. He quickly
ducked down in an attempt to hide.
Hugh opened the front door and ran down the street.
“How could someone already know about the
‘item’?” he thought.

Reaching the end of the street, he looked around

An empty street, a couple empty cars parked near
the sidewalk, the street mailbox, trash
cans….Nothing of interest.

Stomping the ground in frustration, he started to

walk back to the house. Reaching for his phone, he
dialed John’s number.
“Hey, John.”
“Yea, what’s up?”
“Someone was in the house.”
“…Really. What did you do?”

“I didn’t realize until he had already left. I found his
gun on the stairs.”
“Hmm…well, there is nothing much we can do about
that now. Just lock all the doors and pay close
attention. Be very cautious.”
“Gotcha. Well, I guess I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
“Alright, bye.”
Hanging up the phone, Hugh walked up to the front
door of the house and looked back into the night.
The cold darkness stared right back at him. He
turned and entered the house, locking the door
behind him.

Chapter 4:
You’re on your
own, kid.
(Day 2, Morning)

Desmond woke with a start. His eyes were blurry
but soon came into focus. He was at home, in his
bed. His car keys were lying next to his clock which
displayed the numbers 9:42. Sitting up, his eyes
became blurry again as a huge stroke of pain
erupted in his head. Clutching his forehead, he made
his way to the bathroom, opened the medicine
cabinet and grabbed the bottle of pain relievers.
Filling up a glass with water from the sink, he
brought it to eye level and peered in. His reflection
looked distorted through the mirror and the water.
Blinking his eyes, he re-aligned his train of though,
threw the pills into his mouth and took a swig of the
water, swallowing the magical little pain reducers.
Setting his glass back down in the sink counter, he
walked back into his bedroom and began to get
dressed, waiting for the pills to kick in. As he was
finishing up, pulling his shirt over his head, his
phone rang. Walking back over to his bedside table
he picked up the phone and answered.

“Hello, Desmond? It’s Ray. How did it go?”
“Ehh….not so well.”
“Well, the ‘item’, whatever it is, seemed to be
having a strange effect on the house….”

“What do you mean? Did you get it?”
“No. The room it was in……..This is hard to explain,
so I’ll just say it plainly. The doorway that leads into
the room that contained the ‘item’ leads out into
“…………I beg your pardon?”
“You told me it might affect the whole planet and
you’re begging my pardon? You should be the one to
know what is going on here.”
“Yes, of course. I just didn’t think it could pull off
something of this magnitude. A portal into the outer
reaches of space. This is big time stuff.”
“Yea, I kind of guessed that. Why would it be so well
contained though? It wasn’t expanding anywhere
outside of the doorway. It seemed
“I assume that they have been able to harness it’s
power and control it in some form. By the way you
explain it, it seemed to be pretty cut and dry. Maybe
they are using the item’s portal as a safe. A form of
“Makes sense. I heard them talk on the phone about
a switch that would keep the item’s powers at bay.”
“Heard them?”
“Yea. There was a guy there who arrived just after
me. He went up into the room across from the item’s

room and talked to a guy on the phone the whole
time I was there.”
“Hmm, interesting. Well….this produces a dilemma.
The only thing I can think to do is to send you back
“….What? Are you serious? That would be stupid!”
“It’s the only thing we can do. We have to get that
‘item’. You need to go back and see if you can turn
off the switch, or whatever it is. We won’t make
progress by just sitting around.”
“I suppose you’re right. But I want a raise in the
reward money. $11,000.”
“Fine, seems reasonable. Money isn’t an issue with
an issue of this magnitude.”
“Alright. When should I return?”
“As soon as possible. The guard should still be at the
house but that’s still the extent of their security
“Ok. And one more thing……..I left the gun at the
“…..*sigh*…..Well, you’re going to have to hope it’s
still there because I don’t have another gun to give
you. You’re on your own, kid.”
“Fantastic……..Well, I guess I’ll be seeing you.”
“Yes. In this life, or the next. Good luck, Desmond.”
The line clicked, and then was silent.

Desmond turned off his phone and set it down on his
bedside table. Sitting down on his bed, he looked out
of his apartment window. The city was outlined in
the far distant horizon while a small park lay in the
central forefront of his vision. Kids sat on picnic
blankets and on swings while their mothers pushed
and fed them. A peaceful existence, outside. A
deadly backdrop of scheming, inside.

Desmond turned his head and looked at the

bathroom doorway. He saw the glass of water, still
sitting there peacefully on the counter. “The world
rests on my shoulders,” he thought. “I hold it’s fate
in my hands.”

He looked at his hands.

“And what small hands they are.”

He felt like Moses. Left with a huge burden that he

felt wasn’t his responsibility. Something he didn’t
want to bear. But in the end, Moses parted the Red
Sea, and lead his people out of Egypt.

“Maybe now it’s my turn to part the sea….and lead

these people to safety….”

With this thought in mind, he felt confident. Strong.
As if the ‘item’ was just beyond his grasp and all he
needed to do was take one step forward and grab it.

Getting up, he grabbed his keys and headed out of

the front door to his car. Getting in, he turned his
keys in the ignition and drove away from his
apartment. The park. The peaceful serenity. And
drove in the other direction. Towards the unknown,
and sinister.

The city was flying by. Houses and skyscrapers

blurring through Desmond’s vision. They stood tall
and firm, painting the city as a strong thriving
metropolis. But for how long would they stand and
keep the city alive? Only time would tell. Only time.

Desmond felt like the protector as the city flew by.

As if the whole world was his. He would decide which
path these buildings and people would take. He
would part the city’s sea.

He had arrived. Getting out of his car, he walked

down the street, looked around the corner and saw
the house. Standing, foreboding. He walked down

the street and approached the front door. Turning
around, he looked out at the neighborhood. Sunny,
relaxed. Turning back, he faced the door, opened it,
and entered.

Chapter 5:
(Day 2, Afternoon)
The house felt warm and stale as Desmond entered.
Constricting, almost. Walking forward, quietly and
cautiously, Desmond started to explore and scout
out the ground level. It seemed to be deserted. No
one in sight.

Keeping silent, he made his way up the stairs. Step

by step. Rounding the corner, he noticed, at the top
of the staircase, his gun was missing from the shelf.
Not a big surprise. He continued to climb the steps
until he reached the landing to the 2nd floor.
Crossing his fingers, he rounded the corner and
peered at the doorway.


“Gah!” he thought, “Now what?”

Continuing to be as silent as possible, he explored
the rest of the upstairs. No one to be seen. “How

strange,” he thought, “Where on earth could that
guy be? He has got to be here, for sure. But where?”
None the less, he still remained quiet, as he
continued searching.

Making his way into the room that Hugh was talking
in last night, Desmond started searching the
cabinets and drawers. “That guy mentioned
something about a switch,” Desmond thought,
“Maybe there’s information about it somewhere in
Hugh turned on the sink faucet and began to wash
his face. Hopefully this quick bathroom visit wouldn’t
anger The Administration. They had been getting
quick strict with him over the course of the day.
“Heaven forbid,” thought Hugh, “That this small
break from my sentry duty will yield disastrous
results in the mission.”

He scoffed.

Grabbing a hand towel, he began to dry his hands

and face when he heard, ever so quietly, a small
creak from upstairs.

He stopped what he was doing and listened
There it was again…A small creak in the floorboards
Could it be?........Could it be him?

Hugh set the towel down and quietly opened the

door. Peeking around the corner, he glanced up the
stairs. Cautiously exiting the powder room, he
quietly made his way upstairs. He was half way up
when he heard some definite rustling and movement
upstairs. He quickly went back down to the
bathroom and locked the


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